7 Quick Takes Friday: (Please No) Having a Baby in a Blizzard Edition (Vol. 39)

Seven Quick Takes Friday

—1—

This week’s 7 Quick Takes starts just like last week’s: Tired mama falls asleep on the sofa at a ridiculously early hour, wakes near midnight, and promptly experiences a burst of energy that she feels she should take advantage of.

So here we are. One o’clock AM blogging, it’s nice to see you again.

[Random note: I just sneezed and I think it scared the (still in utero) baby. She seemed to jump and stretch there for a second. I wonder if she did that funny little startle reflex thing?]

—2—

Apparently this has been 2016’s Week of Freaking Out in Anticipation of Snow. My region – the Mid-Atlantic – seems to have one of these every few years. This edition has us preparing to be snowed in against the wilds of a 36-hour snowstorm/blizzard that could bring 20-30 inches of accumulation, 40-50 mph winds, white-out conditions, widespread power outages, and… thundersnow. (Yes, thundersnow.)

Sounds like fun, hm?

—3—

Normally, I’m that damned-by-others sort who stands in the face of such dangers and says, “Bring it on!” But this year I happen to be approaching my 39th week of pregnancy. So I’m a little nervous.

I’m not super nervous: I’ve never fully gone into labor on my own. My first and third children were induced and I required Pitocin to get contractions going with my second. So it’s not like I have some history of sudden, fast, or early labors.

But this is my fourth baby. And we do live 45 minutes from the hospital in ideal conditions, up a long, steep driveway that we’ve gotten stuck on more times than I can count.

And there was that second labor, when my water broke ten days before my due date. Ten days before this baby’s due date… was yesterday.

—4—

I’ve been voicing my fears about this blizzard/baby combo on social media, but of course. And it was funny to see yesterday that I was quoted, via one of my blog-page Facebook posts, in a Reuters article on women who are worried about giving birth during the blizzard. Here’s the post that the reporter took notice of:

It’s 11 days shy of my due date with baby #4, 1 day shy of the earliest I’ve ever gone into labor, 15 days shy of the latest I’ve ever been induced, and 2 days before we’re supposed to get a potentially record-breaking blizzard.

I’m vascillating between thinking this is no big deal and freaking out because GOOD LORD, WHAT WILL I DO IF I GO INTO LABOR IN THE MIDDLE OF A BLIZZARD?!

—5—

I’m a little less nervous about that happening than I was, because we’re actually pretty well prepared at this point: We have plenty of food (so much that I plan to spend part of the weekend preparing meals to freeze for after the baby comes). My husband is taking off work today to (among other things) get the snow thrower all gassed up and ready. Our neighbors (who have some large snow-removal equipment) are prepared to help us keep our driveway clear. A friend who regularly drives emergency personnel in snowstorms has offered to drive me to the hospital if need be. And – here’s the kicker – my parents are coming to get snowed in with us. (They’re even bringing salt for the driveway, a 4-wheel-drive truck, and maybe a generator!)

As one of my girlfriends pointed out to me, there’s no way I’ll go into labor when I have my parents here to help.

—6—

I had another ob appointment and sono this week, and I thought the reactions to my “Hey, I’m a little nervous about having the baby in this snowstorm” concern were pretty funny.

On Tuesday, my obstetrician was clueless: “Oh, is it supposed to snow?” (Wouldn’t you think that folks in her line of work would need to be a little more aware of such things?!)

On Wednesday, the nurses in the sono department seemed to think the whole situation was pretty funny: “And Saturday is a full moon!” they laughed. “Once we had a woman who the ambulance hadn’t been able to reach because her street wasn’t plowed, so her neighbors put her on a sled and pulled her down to the main road!”

It’s good to receive such sympathetic responses from medical professionals.

—7—

To give you a sense of what we have to work with at our house, here are a couple of pics from the winter of 2013-14, when we had several “big” snows (but nothing like what we’re expecting this weekend).

Here is the upper part of our driveway – the part that’s all gravel, and mostly flat.

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And here’s part of the lower, steeper part of our driveway – the part that’s paved, but which we get stuck on all the time. (Yes, the van + Christmas tree are stuck in this photo.)

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Also, for good measure, here’s a snowy view off our front porch.

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People keep asking me how I feel about all of it. Physically, I feel pretty well. Though I continue to have lots of little contractions all the time, that’s not unusual for me, and I’m nowhere near as uncomfortable as I was at the end of some of my other pregnancies. So I really don’t think I’ll be going into labor this weekend. In all likelihood, this whole thing is No Big Deal. It’s just that if I do go into labor, it suddenly becomes a Very, Very Big Deal.

This is going to be fun! (I’ll keep you posted.)

 

Linking up with Kelly for 7 Quick Takes Friday. Stop over there to check out the rest!

Thoughts From This Side of L&D

So here I am, just days (hours? please?) before welcoming baby boy #3, and – surprise, surprise – I have a bunch of pregnancy/labor/delivery things stewing in my mind. I’m scheduled to be induced this Friday, April 4. (Though you’re welcome to come sooner if you like, little guy!) And I feel like I’m on something of a precipice:

I’m coming off of this (really, quite good) pregnancy a little tired and uncomfortable and ready to move on, but also wistful, not knowing whether I’ll ever experience another. I’m trying to enjoy and appreciate my littlest boy’s movements while I still have them all to myself.

I’m also looking out onto the always-daunting prospects of labor and delivery, not to mention the readjustment to life with a newborn. That’s some scary stuff, there. I’m trying not to dwell on it. (Praying? Yes. Dwelling? No.) I give you, therefore, mostly lighter thoughts from this side of the Labor & Delivery unit:

—1—

It’s really funny to see what search terms people use to find my blog. The other day I had “enormous belly pic week,” “huge tummy pic week,” and “belly pic comparison bigger.” Umm… what are you trying to tell me, Mr. Search Engine?

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38.5 weeks — probably the last belly pic for this pregnancy!

 

—2—

No, really, it’s okay. I know that a lot of women have issues with how their bodies change during pregnancy, but as I’m naturally pretty thick-waisted and round-bellied (can’t believe I’m admitting that on the internet), I’ve never found that I have much to mourn in the figure department when I’m pregnant. So really, bring on the belly. It’s just nice, for those nine months or so, to be able to toss out a happy little response when people ask me when I’m due, rather than wincing and squirming and trying to find a non-mortifying way of telling them I’m not pregnant.

All that is to say: my “bump” doesn’t bother me and I’m not particularly eager to get rid of it. Except for one annoying thing:

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I tried to get my feet in the pic, but honestly — there was no way.

 

Please tell me that I’m not the only pregnant lady whose belly becomes a magnet for bits of food. And water – I’ve found it impossible to wash my face without soaking my belly, even though I’m standing on my tippy-toes trying to bend (my short-waisted, 5’3” frame) over far enough to reach the sink.

—3—

I haven’t registered any weight gain at all at my past two doctor’s appointments (though baby boy has) and thank goodness, because boy oh boy, have I had an appetite lately. I’ve been finding myself ready for a meal just about two hours after finishing my last one. At first I think, “Nah, you can’t really be hungry again.” And then soon enough I’m conceding, “Okay, okay! You are hungry! I get it!”

The other night I was hungry as I got ready for bed – in spite of having consumed my second dinner not long before – but figured I should just push through and go to sleep. So I woke in the middle of the night, famished. I pushed through again, and sure enough, I just about bounded out of bed the next morning to make a dash to the kitchen. I’ll be interested to see what I weigh at my appointment tomorrow. Could my body be burning that many calories right now, or is baby boy gouging himself on my caloric excesses and my reserves?

—4—

Speaking of which… if, at around lunchtime today, you happened to see some very strange, very sweaty, huge pregnant lady actually buy food from one vendor while in the line to buy food from another – yeah, that was totally me. I admit it. I was in the middle of a blood sugar crash, desperate to make it through the line at Subway without passing out, when – behold! – I noticed that the new soft pretzel counter was open! And there was even somebody working there! I ordered a cup of cinnamon pretzel bites while standing in the Subway line; I had devoured them by the time our sandwiches were complete. I have no shame.

—5—

Need I even point out that today is April Fool’s Day? Between this being my late grandfather’s birthday and exactly ten days before my due date (which is when my water broke with my last baby), and it being, I don’t know, a date that just seems… fitting, today’s the day I’ve had a hunch about all along. But, as we’re already more than 18 hours in and I’m not feeling anything suspicious… I think April 1 is a no-go for me. Boo…

(Though – Yay! One of my cousins had her baby today! Congratulations, Bibi and Kris! I was hoping the two babes would be born on the same day, but we’ll just have to content ourselves with the same week.)

—6—

This one has nothing to do with baby, but everything to do with the date: Each year on April Fool’s Day, a bunch of my silly cousins call our grandfather to inform him that the cows have gotten out. (As in, out of the field, through the fence, and into the road.) Granddad’s last cows were sold something like 15 years ago and his once-beautiful fields now grow nothing but houses. Jolly good sport that he is, however, Granddad always plays along. I love my family.

—7—

You would never know it by the piles of unfolded baby clothes all over the nursery or the disassembled basinet and car seat pieces strewn across its floor, but I think this is the most prepared we’ve been for any of our babies. All the furniture is in the right room, a few things are even hung on the walls, most of the baby clothes are washed, and though not all the gear is assembled, most of it is clean. What a relief. As much as I was hoping that today would be The Day, it will be nice if we can get our few loose ends tied up in the next couple of days so we can bring baby home to a completed nursery.

—8—

Why, oh why can’t I experience that most amazing of phenomena: nesting? Everybody I talk to and read about lists off a litany of tasks they’ve completed and obscure places they’ve cleaned before having their babies. Me? I’ve never had a late-pregnancy energy spurt. I drag myself through a task, rest for a while, and then maybe attempt another.

Besides the aforementioned nursery stuff, I have several dirty floors and bathrooms that could use my attention before this baby is born. Hello… Nesting? Nesting, are you out there? How about you come by to pay me a visit?

—9—

Yesterday afternoon my mother-in-law asked me what I plan to do if I go into labor while Brennan’s at work. I replied something like, “I don’t know… call him to come home?” (He works 40 minutes away.) She made a funny face and said, “This is your third baby – what if your labor goes quickly?” Again, I stumbled. “Umm… I’ll just have to see who’s available?”

How could I not have given more thought to this scenario?

The honest truth is that I think I’ve always assumed that this pregnancy would end in another induction. It seems to be the only way my contractions will start. (Even when my water broke on its own last time, I needed Pitocin to start the contractions.)

And I guess I’ve also had in the back of my mind that if I needed help quickly, I’d probably just put out a plea on Facebook. I figure that would do as good a job as anything else of filtering out local folks who are available to help. And in the absence of any other game plan, that’s as good as I’ve got. Local friends and family: please be on notice.

(And yes, if I were absolutely desperate, my mother-in-law could drive me to the hospital. Though with her new to our roads and not a city driver, heaven help us if she has to get us through the Beltway while I’m in labor.)

—10—

To end on a more sober note, I’m going to just admit that I’ve been a complete and total sap when it comes to my boys this week. I look at them and think on how much I love them and how desperately I want to see them grow… and my throat catches.

Labor and delivery are scary things. Though I have no expectation that anything will go wrong – I’m in good health, I’ll be in a good hospital, I’ll have good medical professionals assisting me – you never know what will happen. I don’t forget that childbirth has always been dangerous for women and babies. And that sometimes it still is.

In my middle-class, 21st-Century, semi-rural, American life, bearing a child is one of the most dangerous things I will ever do. I’m not so worried about the pain – I like to get an epidural if it’s possible; if for some reason it’s not, I know the pain is something I can get through. But, safety, health – those are what I worry about.

Not terribly – I don’t work myself up over it. The worry lingers at the back of my mind, rearing up a bit when I gaze sappily at those beautiful boys. I’m sure I’ll shed a few tears on Friday morning when I kiss their (probably sleeping) faces before I leave for the hospital. But then I’ll say some more prayers, grit my teeth, and get on with it all.

And, God-willing, some hours later my baby and I will be safely through his birth. I’ll hold him in my arms and know that every discomfort, every pain, every worry was completely worth it. Until that moment, I’d appreciate if you could send a prayer or two heavenward on our behalf.

Thank you.

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Twenty-Three

In the interest of not completely neglecting my blog during this busy season of preparing our home for two new additions (not twins – just one baby and one mother-in-law), plus the actual welcoming of the mother-in-law and the ongoing prep for the new baby, I thought I should at least do a little catch-up post. But all I can muster is a list, so that’s what you get – a random collection of 23 goings-on, thoughts, and questions from the past week or so:

1)  We’ve been working very hard here – harder than we’ve worked since we moved into this house a year-and-a-half ago. May this (please) be our last push of purging and organizing and moving furniture for some time. (For years. Plural.)

2)  Everyone is very, very tired.

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3)  Pregnancy insomnia is one of the stupidest, most nonsensical things ever.

4)  On Saturday, a few of my lovely girlfriends took me to a lovely lunch to celebrate the impending arrival of baby boy #3. I felt just about giddy to be getting out of the house on a beautiful, spring-like day to hang out with my friends and eat delicious, wood-fire pizza. Mmmm… Thank you, ladies!

5)  There was absolutely nothing spring-like about yesterday, however. It snowed for something like ten hours straight. On March 25th. Will this winter never end?

6)  Change is hard. Or, at least it is for me. Every first day of school, every move, every new job, every new phase of life, every new child – every big change, no matter how wonderful – has been difficult for me to process. I know this about myself and yet I’m always somewhat taken aback when a round of change triggers its inevitable, big, emotional, revelatory moment (which necessarily involves tears). This round’s moment came to me on Sunday afternoon in that most glamorous of places: the driver’s seat of my minivan in the middle of the Safeway parking lot. Boo-hoo.

7)  In the scramble to get preparations wrapped up before Brennan’s mother’s arrival on Sunday evening – and the stress, and the exhaustion, and the pregnancy-related discomfort, I didn’t get to mass this weekend. I hate that. There’s no feeling of Catholic guilt quite like that of missing mass. Beyond the guilt-driven regret, though, I feel like I suffer a loss each time I miss Sunday mass. (Fortunately, it’s a rare occurrence.) Missing mass makes me realize how much I depend on it. Whether or not the little ones (or my own distracted brain) have let me pay attention to the readings, whether or not I’ve been wrestling a jumble of little arms and legs, whether or not I’ve been stressed out or agitated, the mass feeds me. Without it, I feel like I go into my week empty-handed. Missing this Sunday’s mass certainly wasn’t the way I wanted to go into this week of welcoming-the-mother-in-law and maybe-giving-birth.

8)  All that said, Hilde’s move into our home went just about as smoothly as it could have. She’s got quite a way to go to get things unpacked, but she’s safely here and we’re all getting acquainted with one another.

9)  Just about overnight, I have gone from feeling good-but-tired to feeling very uncomfortable and full-of-baby. I feel like this baby is coming soon – like, really soon. But what do I know?

10)  I had my weekly ob appointment (and sono) this morning and all went well. My doctor offered to go ahead and schedule my induction for 39 weeks on the dot, which is… next Friday! As long as the hospital’s got room for me, it looks like I should be having this baby by the 4th!

11)  I still think I’ll go before then, though. My discomfort level has been prompting many a game of “Is Julie in labor?” The answer so far has, of course, been “no” – but I’m making good progress on the dilation front, so… it could happen!

12)  Last week I bought the boys a copy of Frozen to occupy them after the baby is born. Yesterday afternoon I totally cracked and popped that sucker into the DVD player. I may regret it later, but at the moment I was glad to have bought myself precisely 108 minutes of quiet time in which to (finally) pack my hospital bag and (too soon) fret about whether I’m going into labor.

13)  Instead, I started writing this post. Priorities.

14)  Note: when you’re 8.5 months pregnant and threatening to go into labor at any minute, you should probably give your husband a little warning before venturing out at 6pm to give your mother-in-law a tour of her new town. Because when he arrives home from work to find no minivan, wife, boys, or mother on the premises, he’s likely to panic. Just a little.

15)  Another note: eating dinner at 5pm is waaayyy nicer than eating dinner at 9pm. I mean, it gives you actual free time in the evenings that doesn’t involve falling asleep on the sofa.

16)  I’ve got a little poll for the mamas out there: While in the hospital after having a baby, do you (a) change into your own clothes or (b) wear the hospital gown provided to you? My best friend and I were having a conversation about this yesterday. On the one hand, we’ve seen pictures of ladies in real clothes in hospital beds and all the cool mommy bloggers seem to dish out great advice on the comfiest clothes to pack in your overnight bag. But we, ahem, don’t understand the logistics of such a move. Real clothes seem awfully inconvenient for all the checking and prodding and poking everybody seems to want to do to you, like, every 20 minutes. And then there’s the not-wanting-to-ruin-our-clothes thing. Are we alone in going the practical, dowdy route or are there more mamas in our camp?

17)  One more important question: Is gorging oneself on delicious, home-made (but not by me) bar cookies a sign of imminent labor?

18)  We really enjoyed the brief visit from Brennan’s sister and uncle, who drove Hilde here from Minnesota. The boys especially enjoyed their aunt and uncle and were beautifully, pathetically disappointed to learn yesterday morning that they’d left before dawn. It was so heart-breaking/cute.

19)  I had to carry my two-year-old (under my arm – just about the only way the belly will allow) out of his big brother’s preschool classroom yesterday, literally kicking and screaming, because he didn’t want to leave. It was also heart-breaking/cute.

20)  Last week my three-year-old said two particularly cute things before heading to school. One morning, as soon as he woke up, he said, “Today is my wucky day!” Me: “Why is today your lucky day?” Him: “Because I get to go to school today!” His teacher loved that one.

21)  Another morning, on the drive into school, he said, “I’m going to have so much fun at school today! I’m going to be happy and be nice and behave…” Then, to his little brother, he said, “I pwomise not to do bad sings to you anymore. I won’t kick you or hit you ever, ever, ever, ever again. Okay? Okay? Okay?” Finally, his brother gave the obligatory reply: “Otay.”

22)  Big brother’s “pwomise” didn’t last long.

23)  Fortunately, the little one’s tough. Fierce, we call him. He can take it.

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