Monday, December 31, 2012

2012, A Year In Review

What a year it's been.  Wow.  My Notie Kari said this would be my year - I hoped she was right, but I doubted her.  Sometimes it seemed like too much to hope for, the idea that all my hopes and wishes would come to fruition.  But she was right.  2012 was my year.  My best so far. 

It started off with me in a funk.  I was sad and depressed - there'd been no proposal from Jimi at Christmas, and I wasn't pregnant.  I didn't see either scenario changing any time in the near future, and I sank into a quagmire of feeling sorry for myself.  My body was broken and my sweetheart wasn't in any hurry to make me his wife.  Woe was me.

Winter wasn't all bad, though.  Stacy had a baby in January, and watching her grow has been amazing. We babysat her when she was just over six months old and starting to move around, and in a true dumbass moment, we left her alone on our bed - and she rolled off of it onto the floor. *facepalm* She survived without damage, though. Thank goodness. A few weeks ago, I got to be the first to hold her one Saturday morning, and she wrapped her little arms around my neck and hugged me so tight - my heart melted all over the floor. If it felt that amazing to get that love from my niece, I can't imagine how it'll feel to get the same from my own child.

In February, I spent a weekend in Nashville with Kim, Tracey, and Angela.  It was the first time I've done a girls' weekend, and it was a total blast.

I don't know exactly when my mood started to lift, but when I look back on the year, it feels like the sun came up at my birthday.  Jimi knocked it out of the park - a great gift (Kindle Fire) that was completely unexpected, and a surprise overnight trip to Indianapolis to stay at a swanky adults-only hotel specifically designed with lovin' in mind.  (Sybaris - if there's one near you, GO!  I can't encourage it enough.  It's amazing.)  It was only one night, but it's amazing what one full night of concentrating on nothing but your partner can do for a relationship - it felt like we reconnected.  I think my mind reset itself, and remembered to focus on the awesome that we have together every day, rather than the idea of how I'd come to believe it had to be in order for complete happiness to exist.  I felt the stress fall away, the pressure fade, and I fell in love all over. 

During the winter and spring, I attended boot camp classes, the last round with Melinda, and as I saw my body changing, I started to gain some self-confidence.  If I couldn't get pregnant, I could at least get a rockin' hot body.  I was becoming comfortable in my own skin, moreso than I'd ever been in my life, and I felt good.  I felt strong. 

In May, we went to the Kentucky Derby with my Daddy, and I cashed my first-ever winning ticket.  I was saddened by the state of my Daddy's health - I hadn't realized before then how hard it is for him to breathe well - but we had a good day and I enjoyed it very much. 

At the beginning of June, we went on our first (of two) canoe outing of the year - a six-mile float down the Elkhorn River.  I'd sworn the previous year I'd never canoe the Elkhorn again, and I should've followed my first impression - the water level was terribly low and we probably carried our boat 3 miles out of the six.  It was a long, exhausting day, but I was strong from boot camp and felt like a badass hauling that boat around the rocky dry river.

Days after our canoe trip, I got the shock of a lifetime.  The night before I expected my usually-regular period to arrive, I put my hand on my lower belly and thought about how much I would love to find out I was pregnant, and I felt something.  It wasn't a physical movement or anything, but more like a mini-explosion inside the spot where my hand lay.  I don't know how to describe it.  If you could imagine the way it'd feel to be touched with a magic wand, maybe that's what it'd be like.  I fell asleep thinking maybe this month would be it, but I didn't dare allow myself to get hopeful.  When I woke the next morning, Jimi was in the shower downstairs.  I couldn't resist - I took one of the pregnancy tests I kept on hand out of the bathroom closet and went to the upstairs bathroom to do my monthly pee-on-a-stick routine, not expecting results to be any different than they'd been each month for the previous year.  When that second faint line showed up, I couldn't believe it.  No Fucking Way!  I kept staring at it, waiting for my vision to clear and my eyes to right themselves and show me that my wishful thinking was causing me to imagine things, but that second line stayed.  My stomach turning and heart racing, I made my way to the downstairs bathroom, where Jimi was still in the shower.  "Baby?" I said as I opened the shower curtain and held out the stick, "I think maybe I'm pregnant."  He wiped the water out of his eyes to look at what I was showing him.  I think we were both afraid to get too excited - we'd been through this before and it had ended in heartbreak.  But this was different.  This time wasn't that time.  I'm sitting here typing this with aching wrists and numb fingers caused by pregnancy-induced Carpal Tunnel, occasionally patting or rubbing my swollen belly where I'm growing our baby girl, and I'm reminded just how very different things are this time. 

The next few months passed in blur - I spent longer than I should have terrified of miscarriage, so I stopped working out (I didn't want to take any chances, and sitting on my ass seemed like the best way to not shake her lose from my womb) and tried my best to make the right choices for the child I was desperately hoping to carry to term.  I thought of our baby as a conditional maybe, not a sure thing.  That mind set started to shift once we saw her heartbeat on ultrasound at 9 weeks, July 19, 2012.  She already had arms and legs, and Jimi swears she did the cabbage patch while on camera.  At 18 weeks, in the middle of September, we saw her profile, her heart and brain, and learned, to my surprise, that she's a girl.  Getting a clean bill of health that day, and learning that all of her pieces and parts were accounted for and working properly gave me permission to stop thinking of her arrival as a possibility and instead start focusing on the fact that I'm finally going to be a Mom, and I'm still blown away by the fact of it. 

My pregnancy has been a dream.  I had no morning sickness, and until the last few weeks, I hadn't experienced any negative side effects at all.  I had a few weeks early on where I was an emotional wreck at work - I spent some time each day out in our parking lot, crying amongst the trailers - but after that passed, my disposition mellowed and I've been happy and content.  Jimi even joked with his sister once that I've been so happy and pleasant since becoming pregnant, maybe he'd just have to keep me knocked up all the time.  It's the relief, though, that's made my mood better.  I'm not broken.  My body works the way it's supposed to - I can get pregnant and make a person!  The weight of not knowing that fact was so heavy, it tainted every part of my personality, and altered my normally-cheerful disposition so subtlely, yet so completely, it was like night and day when the weight was finally gone. 

Finding out we're expecting was the only the first of two awesome, life-changing events that happened in 2012, though.  Knowing we were about to become parents, of course the topic of marriage came up again.  One night in August, I asked Jimi about his intentions - "I thought you said you wanted to wait until after the baby?" he replied.  "You obviously misheard me, then.  I want to get married before this baby comes - I want us to all have the same name.  It's very important to me."  We set a date, made some quick plans, ordered some custom bands, and in the middle of September headed off to a cabin in the woods of Gatlinburg, TN for a week of rest and relaxation - and got married on our first full day of vacation.  We were married by a preacher, in a gazebo in his backyard, at his house in the mountains, with our dog at our side, and raindrops falling at a steady pace all around us.  Finn desperately wanted to check out the woods and strained at his lead the entire time; his back end is all you see of him in the few pictures the preacher took with the camera we borrowed from Stacy.  Our vows were not traditional, but covered all of the bases, and we were given a copy and told to re-read them to each other each year on our anniversary, so that we don't forget the promises we've made to one another.  The rest of our vacation/honeymoon was terribly relaxing and exactly what we needed.   We spent lots of time in the hot tub, enjoying the contrast of the warm water and the cold raindrops.  We shopped at the outlet malls and spent a full day driving in the mountains, exclaiming over and over again at the breathtaking views.  We shared an apple dumpling on the main drag in town, and explored the Ripley's Believe It or Not museum.  We visited Alewine Pottery, where Jimi bought me a cookie jar, and stopped in Berea, KY on our way home, where I bought him a thumb piano; these were our wedding gifts to each other. 

What more is there?  There's plenty more, really.  I've forgotten most of it, or it passed in a blur and I didn't take the time to notice it when it happened.  2012 will always be a year I remember with a smile.  All my dreams have come true. I'm married to the man I love, and we've made a baby together.  After that, there wasn't much left for the year to accomplish. 

Saturday, December 29, 2012

32.3 - Still in awe, and now also a little embarrassed

Less than 8 weeks before baby girl's estimated arrival date.  Wow.  Every milestone we've reached has been amazing to me, and now that we're in the home stretch, I'm no less awed or shocked by this miracle that is happening inside my body.  I can feel her little feet and knees, her little back and butt, just by touching my belly.  There's a baby inside me!  Eight months I've been growing her, and I still can't get over the fact that this is finally happening to me, to us, that we've made a whole new human. 

I'm just starting to daydream about how she'll look - I'm convinced she'll have red hair, but I wonder if it'll be curly like her daddy's or straight like mine?  We saw her profile on ultrasound at 18 weeks, and she's got the cutest little nose; I can't wait to kiss it.  I want to hold her little feet in my hands, and stroke her little arms and legs.  I want to rub her sweet little back and smell her head.  Just two months to go, and I'll get to hold her close and snuggle her all I want - it seems like a dream.

Maggie mailed baby shower invitations two days ago - the shower is two weeks from today.  Time is flying. 

The nursery will be painted this weekend.  Come hell or high water, the nursery will be painted this weekend.  There's no time left for procrastination.  None.  It has to happen, and it has to happen now.

A few hours later, and Jimi's working on the nursery.  I've got dinner in the crock pot and I'm trying to get my arms around our laundry situation.  I'd love to have everything organized and sorted and folded and hung and put away before baby girl shows up.  I'd love to have our house in perfect order before she arrives.  Time to get on the ball, I guess. 
My hips hurt.  The yoga still really really helps, and I've been back on the almost-daily wagon in an effort to make the pain go away.  The fingers on my right hand have been numb for weeks and now there's never any change, they're just always numb.  I finally bought a wrist brace and it helps for a few hours, but it's not a solution for complete relief.  I guess I need to resign myself to the fact that this is the way it's going to be until she's born - but I think I'm going to check out an acupuncturist, just in case there is relief to be found.  My fingers on both hands are getting puffy - not that I've ever had slender fingers (I wear a size 8 ring), but I can feel and see the change and it annoys me.  The ridges on my ankles at the end of the day, left by the bands of my socks as my lower legs swell, those annoy me too. 
Want to hear a great story?  Baby girl is doing her best to slow my bodily processes down, and my normally-like-clockwork system hasn't been so regular these days.  The juice we've been making is supposed to help with that, but after two days of no results, I was beginning to doubt all the stories I'd heard.  Yesterday, though, Kim and Jordan had to leave the office for a couple hours, leaving me alone with our salesman to catch the phones and help customers.  Of course, juice kicked in.  After a brief "Can I hold it?" hesitation, I decided the answer was no, and told Jeff he'd have to fend for himself for a few minutes, but that I'd hurry back.  Everything went swimmingly...until I flushed.  Everything went down, except the water level - it just kept creeping higher and higher.  Shit.  This has never happened to me before; at least, never at work.  I grabbed the plunger and worked it a few times, and heard what I thought was the sound of clear pipes.  Thinking I'd fixed the problem, I flushed again, and that was my downfall - instead of going down, the water rose dangerously, and then, to my horror, spilled over the edge of the toilet.  I watched helplessly, urging it to stop flowing up and over, but it ignored my pleas and continued its journey to the floor.  By the time it stopped, half the bathroom floor was flooded, and all I could do was stare at it incredulously, cursing loudly in my head, wondering how in the fuck I was going to fix this problem without announcing to our salesman that I had just flooded the damned bathroom. 
I looked at the roll of paper towels and considered them for a moment before deciding this job was much bigger than some cheap roll of generic paper could handle.  I sighed, resigned myself to the inevitable, left the bathroom and walked the few feet to the closet where the industrial-sized mop and bucket live.  Fate was smiling on me, Jeff was on the phone.  I rolled the loud-ass bucket out of the closet, down the hall, and into the bathroom and began the tedious process of trying to sop up the toilet water covering the floor.  It took forever.  I stopped two or three times to come out and check on Jeff, even taking the time to show him how to set up a price matrix for a new customer, and then going back to my task.  I'm sure he was wondering what in the fuck was going on, or knew very well what in the fuck was going on, but he was too much of a gentleman to ask any questions, thank goodness.  To save myself some dignity, I left the bucket in the bathroom, planning to roll the loud contraption back to the closet later, when no one was around to hear it and ask questions about why it'd been in the bathroom.  When Kimmie and Jordan returned from their errand, Jeff was out of the office on an errand of his own, so I brought the girls up to speed on my tale - because now it was funny, and these are girls I consider friends, so I wasn't embarrassed to tell them what had happened.  They laughed at me good-naturedly, and we continued on with our day.  Why I didn't move the bucket to the closet then is beyond me - I guess I just didn't think about it. 
I'd planned to work only until noon, but status quo dictates that if I plan to leave at noon, I may get out by 2.  At 2:30, Kimmie said she couldn't wait for me to leave so she could tell my story to Jeff and our boss - I threatened her with bodily harm.  At 3, Jordan's day was ending, and she made a trip to the potty before heading out - when she was finished, she rolled the bucket out of the bathroom and down the hall to it's closet home.  My boss was at his desk at the end of the hall - "What's that doing in there?"  He wasn't in the best of moods - it was year-end inventory and nothing was going his way.  "Natalie had it in there," was Jordan's non-committal reply.  "Why?"  He wasn't going to let it go!  Kimmie came out of her office, laughing her ass off, "I was going to wait until she left before I told you the story!"  Fuck.  Some friend she is.  I tucked my tail, went to the end of the hall, and told my tale to my boss, expecting a hearty laugh.  He wasn't nearly as amused as Kim and Jordan - I didn't even get a smirk!  I blame inventory. 
So yeah.  There you have it.  Proof that pregnancy eliminates all pride. 

Monday, December 24, 2012

31.5 - Orange you glad I'm updating?

Baby Center says I'm fat.  F you, Baby Center!  Okay, it didn't really say that.  It does say that with a weight gain of 20+ pounds already, I'm outside the ideal range of weight gain for this pregnancy.  "What are you going to do about it?" Jimi asked.  "Eat some more cake," I replied.  I just don't care.  I've not gained excessively, and I feel like I still look pretty damned good for a woman who's nearly 8 months pregnant, so I'm not going to stress over a few pounds.  There will be plenty of time for boot camp and calorie counting once baby girl is here. 

Baby girl is over 16 inches long and weighs over 3 pounds now (the size of several oranges, according to Baby Center).  At my midwife appointment last week, my belly measured right on target, her heart rate was in the 130s, and she is already head down, because she loves me and wants our birth experience to be as perfect as I'm hoping it'll be.  With just a light touch on my belly, I can feel her little feet or knees at the top of my uterus, and if she's laying just right, a butt or a back.  It's crazy to remember those first little flutters back in September - movements and kicks now make my whole belly jump. 

I've been listening to my Hypnobabies tracks.  Well, I'm trying to.  I can only get comfortable enough to stay still and relax for the required 30 minutes if I'm lying down, and so I tend to fall asleep while listening.  Something about it makes me drool; I'll wake up with my mouth open and a wet spot on my pillow and chin.  They say that you're still getting the info you need even if you're sleeping, though, so hopefully my subconscious is better at paying attention than my conscious mind. 

I still feel good.  Not quite as good as I felt pre-pregnancy; I have limitations now and that's a difficult adjustment.  I can't stand or walk around for more than an hour without facing repercussions - achy, swollen feet, sore legs, serious exhaustion.  The fingers on my right hand are in a state of semi-numbness just about all the time, and at night I have to constantly reposition myself or both hands will go completely numb.  Of course, I have to reposition constantly because of my hips, too, so at least I'm killing two birds with one stone.  As of a few days ago, my wedding band is too tight to be worn comfortably, and that's a bummer. At least I still have the garnet ring he gave me years ago - it's been way too big for my ring finger for probably 2 years (I continued to wear it anyhow), but now it fits just right.  I've not been doing my yoga like I should, but I'm getting back on the bandwagon - I have a lot of aches that seem to be aleviated when I'm doing it regularly, plus I need to stay on it to keep up with my flexibility; I'll regret it at birthing time if I don't. 

The nursery isn't any closer to completion than it was the last time I updated.  BUT.  Karen is coming over Wednesday to paint - she claims to enjoy painting, and says she wants to do it as her gift to us.  I'm all for it - Jimi and I are great at making plans to do things, not so great at the follow-through.  Once the painting is finished, I think things will start to come together rather quickly.  We've got a new light fixture to install, and the dresser/changing table should be ready by next weekend.  I need to find some comfortable cushions for the rocker, since it looks like a new glider or recliner isn't going to happen.  Mom & Dad are buying the crib - I don't know when, but at least the room will be ready for it when it arrives.  We've got the bassinet and bouncer and swing upstairs ready to be moved into place.  My first baby shower is scheduled for January 12th, the second for the first weekend in February, and I anticipate those events will provide the finishing touches. 

Time is flying by and she's going to be here before we know it. 

The anniversary of the birth of my sweetheart - a review.

Yesterday was Jimi's birthday.  I wanted to write something to record how special and important he is to me, but I never made it here to do so.  A day late, as usual. 

I bought him a juicer for his birthday.  I wasn't sure what to get him - he really wanted a shotgun, but who's got an extra $700 sitting around for firearm purchases this holiday season?  Not this pregnant girl. If I had that sort of cash to spend, I would've bought a recliner and claimed it was for him while secretly plotting to use it each and every day of my maternity leave.  Instead, I scoured his Amazon Wish List and kept coming back to the juicer he picked out months ago.  Lately, whenever we're browsing in Target or Walmart, he beelines to the housewares section and checks out their juicing offerings, specifically, the Ninja.  The Ninja is not what was in his Wish List, though, so I hope he wasn't secretly pining for one of those.  I don't remember the name of the one he ended up with, and it's in the kitchen and I'm too lazy to get up to go look, but if it turns out to be super awesome, I may come back and talk about it more later.  In anticipation of a night of juicing excitement, I went to the Kroger today and stocked up on produce: kale, spinach, carrots, oranges, apples, bananas, strawberries, blueberries, peaches.  JUICE FOR DAYS!!!  And once all of this produce is gone, I've got five bucks that says we never use the damned thing again, but I could be wrong.  This one makes pasta and nut butters and baby food too, so we'll see.  It could have a longer usable life than I anticipate. 

We had breakfast at the Cracker Barrel (his choice) and sat at a two-top table in front of the fireplace, enjoying the warmth while we played checkers and sipped our coffee, waiting for our meal.  He was really happy about the fire, and the checkerboard table; his bright eyes and sweet smile warmed my heart more than the crackling logs.  After breakfast, he worked on cleaning out his garage to make room for the dresser we're refinishing and turning into a changing table/dresser combo.  (See how thrifty we are?  Saving money left and right, yo!)  While he worked, I baked him a from-scratch devil's food cake.  I used a can of cherry pie filling between the layers, and we frosted it last night with homemade cherry icing - I'll let you know tomorrow how it tastes; somehow we managed to have a cake in the house and not get around to eating any of it.  I'm just as shocked as you. 

His brother stopped by with Christmas gifts for us both, and Momma brought him a card.  Mom was just getting up to leave when Daddy walked in, so she sat back down and we all visited for a while.  Unfortunately, our topic of conversation was awful and heartbreaking (but this is not the post where I can talk about that in detail).  After they left, I tried to maintain the happy-go-lucky mood I'd been in all day, but the sadness was overwhelming, and eventually Jimi said, "Honey, maybe you should just go ahead and cry and let it out," so I did.  I curled up with Finn on the bed and bawled, and Jimi came in and held me, and after a few minutes, I felt better.  I hated to be so down on his day, but I guess sometimes life just works out that way.   

We finished our night with pizza and a zombie movie, in true Nat/Jimi fashion.  I think it was a good day, though I wish I would have done more to make his day extra special.  Of course, he says I did more than enough, but he always says that.  I just want to show him how much he means to me, how much I adore and appreciate him, and I feel like I always fall short of the standard I set in my head for doing that. 

He says I talk him up too much, that I put him on a pedastal and hold him to a standard much higher than that to which I hold others.  He feels like I brag about him here and when in conversation with others.  He says he's not that good, not that special, that he's just a man.  He is just a man.  But he's the man who changed my world; who makes my life complete and full.  He is the man who returns every bit of the love I give to him, without question and without condition.  He comforts me and supports me and encourages me in all things, in all ways.  He makes me feel safe and protected;  I no longer fear the judgment of others, because they don't matter - Jimi loves me, all of me, and that's all that matters.  He's shown me how to be compassionate when I want to be scornful.  He's shown me how to forgive when I want to hold a grudge.  He's just a man, but he's the man who helps to make me a better woman.  And, of course, he's made me a mother.  I didn't think my love for him could grow any more, but these last few months have made my heart grow way more than the Grinch's heart grew on Christmas morning. 

I'm awfully lucky. 

Monday, December 17, 2012

30.5 - A Nightmare

My second appointment with the midwives.  The nurse drew some blood and gave me a long stick with a brush to *ahem* insert, for a culture.  She had me pee on a stick - it looked like a pregnancy test, but tested my beta/hcg numbers.  I watched the numbers go up to 1000, then back down to zero, and I knew something was wrong.  She gave me a pregnancy test to pee on, a square with a little circle in the corner that I was supposed to aim for.  I peed on it and waited for the plus sign to come up in the middle - instead I got a weird line that looked like it may have been a plus sign one time, but the horizontal line was broken and misplaced.  I was starting to panic.  I went to the lobby and got my Mom - "Something's wrong, please come sit with me."  The midwife came in with a doppler and put it to my belly and there was silence.  "Are you sure you're pregnant?" she asked doubtfully.  "Yes!  I'm 30 weeks!" The tears started to fall, and suddenly I was having a hard time drawing breath.  As the midwife readied the probe to do a vaginal ultrasound, I looked at my mom and started to cry.  "The baby's dead, Momma.  Oh Fuck.  How could this happen?  She's been moving!  She was fine!"  I was becoming hysterical.  My world, my life, it was in shambles.

When I woke up, I knew it was just a dream.  Still, it took every ounce of restraint not to panic and become as hysterical as I'd been in my nightmare.  I put my hand to my belly and felt the lump that is my daughter.  I pushed on it, then again on the other side, trying to wake her up, urging her with every ounce of my being to move, just a little kick, sweetheart.  She complied nearly immediately, and relief flooded through me.  I lay there for a moment, trying to slow my racing heart, then got up for another trip to the restroom.  When I made it back to bed, I tried to push the dream out of my mind - "It was just a nightmare, it's not real, she's fine," but I was too shaken to let it go that easily.  I reached over and touched Jimi's shoulder, hoping that he'd already be awake.  He wasn't.  I considered leaving him be, but in the end I couldn't comfort myself.  I spoke softly, "I had a really bad dream."  He was awake immediately, and rolled over to me, asking if I was okay.  I told him that the baby had died in my dream, and he shushed me, told me it was just a dream and it wasn't real and everything is okay.  He pulled me to him as closely as my nest of pillows would allow, and kept his arm around me, kissing my head and whispering sweet words to make the tears go away.  I was asleep again within minutes, onto another dream that was much less emotional and horrid. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

29.4 - A lovely Sunday

We started off straightening and cleaning the house, rearranging living room furniture, making the house liveable again.  Then his brother came over, followed shortly by Momma and Daddy.  The men-folk headed off for an afternoon showing of "Lincoln", leaving Momma and I behind to make a couple of batches of peanut brittle and a few hours of conversation.  It was wonderful to spend the afternoon with her - I don't spend nearly enough time with my Momma, and lately I have a nagging sense of guilt over that fact.  She lives so close, I have no excuse for not making time with her more of a priority.  Lately I feel a sense of urgency, like I NEED to be in her presence more often.  Impending motherhood is to blame, I imagine, and the realization that she's not going to be here forever and I sure as hell better appreciate her while she is. 

After the candy-making, we sorted through a couple boxes of baby clothes passed down to me from Stacy - we oohed and aahed over the tiny pastel outfits, sorting by size and saying over and over again how no one needs to buy us any more, we've got plenty to get us through at least the first six months. 

In between the candy-making and clothes-sorting, I picked apart the beef roast I'd been simmering in the crock-pot all day and turned it into veggie beef soup - it's finishing its cooking on the stove now while I'm lying back on the new chaise and Jimi watches the latest Batman flick. 

It's been a perfect day; I'm happy and content.  Life is good.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

29.1 - Nesting with new furniture

I bought a couch this past weekend, and it was delivered today.  This is the first time I've ever purchased a couch - all couches I've had in my homes in my adult life have been hand-me-downs.  (The exception is the one Jimi came with when we moved in together, but we broke it a few months after he bought it and it was never the same after that.  Yes, we broke it exactly how you think we did.)  We got rid of the broken one years ago and have lived without since well before we bought this house.  For the last three years, we've made due with a variety of chairs whose comfort levels range from semi-acceptable to "eh". 

I love our new sitting space.  LOVE.  It's dark brown leather, long enough for Jimi to stretch out on, with low arms that work as excellent pillows and an extra-wide chaise that fits my legs and a curled-up Finnegan.  It's perfect.  I can see myself happily existing here while nursing our little girl for the six to eight weeks I'll be home on leave - good thing, too, since that was my motivating factor in making this purchase.   

If Kimmie still read my blog, she'd read this post and say, with an extra dose of sarcasm, "Wow.  What a great story, Natalie."

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

29 is a good number.

29 weeks today - baby girl is two and a half pounds and just over 15 inches long.  She's flipping and flopping and kicking up a storm.  I can't believe she's going to be here in less than 3 months - it's happening so fast! 

I've switched medical providers.  At 29 weeks.  Whoa.  Here's the story:

At my last OB appointment, I attempted to have a conversation with my doctor about my desire for a natural unmedicated birth.  She cut me off and said, "That's great.  I'm going to put down that you would prefer a natural delivery but you're open to an epidural."  Um, that's not what I said.  I tried to correct her, but she wouldn't let me get my words out, instead telling me how if I want to deliver naturally, I need to make sure I don't gain too much weight, because she'd wanted natural childbirth but gained 50 pounds and ended up begging for an epidural at 3 cm.  My efforts to steer the discussion back to me, to my birth preferences, were futile, and she breezed out of the exam room when I was still mid-sentence.  I left feeling extremely uncomfortable and very nervous about my chances of labor and delivery going the way I want.  I'd already had reservations about this particular doctor and practice, so this treatment was a tipping point for me.  I'd heard of a group of doctors and midwives across the river, and decided to look into my options.  Imagine my surprise and excitement when I learned they're considered "in network" through my insurance!  I called their office, and the phone was answered by a live person, rather than an answering machine.  Yes, they're accepting new patients.  Yes, they'll take a new patient at 28 weeks pregnant - there's an appointment available on December 5th, would I like to schedule?  Yes.  Yes I would. 

I picked up my medical records from the old OB and cancelled my future appointments with their office, and today I had my first appointment with a licensed nurse midwife.  My impression after the first visit is this:  I feel like I've made the best medical decision I've ever made for myself, and I'm thrilled.  The intake staff, the nurse who weighed me and checked my blood pressure, the midwife herself - they all made me feel so incredibly comfortable and at ease.  They gave me a welcome bag full of healthy pregnancy literature and prenatal vitamin samples and information on the hospital where I'll deliver.  They have signs all over their office encouraging patients to file a birth plan with the office by 36 weeks, and provided a form for mothers-to-be who may need a little help figuring out what info should be included in a birth plan.  They strongly encourage allowing labor to begin on its own and for women to be active during labor.  They encourage women to make the birth experience their own and promise to do everything possible to support each woman's requests when it comes to pain managment and delivery.  In other words, they are exactly what I'd hoped I'd be able to have in a medical team during labor and delivery.  Reading their birth plan form, I was so overwhelmed with relief, I started to cry; sitting in the exam room, waiting for the midwife, crying tears of happiness that I will be able to have the birth experience I'd hoped for without having to beg and fight for it.  The hospital where I'll deliver has an excellent record for non-intervention, and the nurses are very familiar and comfortable with unmedicated deliveries.  They have garden tubs to soak in during labor (can't deliver in the tub, but I can live with that). I can't explain how thrilled I am. 

Assuming I don't get a partial refund of the money I've paid to my former OB's office, I'm looking at this switch costing me an extra $40 over what I'd planned to spend.  $40.  Best money I've ever spent. 

Today, I feel more confident than I have in weeks.  I feel like I've made a choice that will guarantee I've done everything in my power to get this baby here in a natural way - it still may not end up that way, but I can rest assured knowing if interventions become necessary, it won't be because I didn't make the right choice when it came to my medical providers.  I can move forward without fear of regret.  I'm so relieved.  I'm so happy. 


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