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Is this real or am I dreaming?
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17th-Jul-2014 11:37 pm(no subject)
Things I'd love to devote a blog post to if I had the energy, time, and/or motivation:

1)  It bothers me when women don't breastfeed because it "makes them uncomfortable."  It just does.  It's really none of my business how someone chooses to feed her own child, but nature gives mothers this amazing milk that actually changes as your child grows and his/her needs change. The human body and all of its processes are such miracles in themselves.

2)  I'm most definitely not progressive when it comes to many of my ideas on parenting and children.  I can't stand the world of diagnoses and labels that we live in because it does children such a tremendous disservice.  What if we never gave a kid a label?  Would they ever really know that there was anything "wrong" with them?  In many cases, I don't think they would.

3)  The border crisis. Seriously, WTF?!
13th-Jul-2014 12:18 am - General update.
It's been awhile.  My life is rushing by me much more quickly than it ever has; I've determined that it has a lot to do with having Jane on a schedule.  I've figured out that three 60-90 minute naps seem to work best for her, and then she sleeps for about 12 hours after she goes to bed, which is between 7-8 PM.  Generally there are about two hours between naps, and this flies by with nursing, various playtime/learning activities, walks at the park, and errands to run.  Before I know it it's her bedtime.  I'm tremendously relieved to have gotten into a rhythm to where I can usually have a few hours to myself every evening.  It's nice to have dinner with my husband, clean up a little, and maybe read a book or take a bath.  And crawling into bed every night?  I <3 it so very much.  I used to use Benadryl to get to sleep quite often because I've been plagued with various sleep disturbances in the past, but I don't think I've taken longer than two minutes to fall asleep since she was born.

It's safe to say that I'm fairly obsessed with my baby, who will be four months old on the 18th.  I marvel every day at the fact that she grew and developed into a perfect little human inside my body.  She's getting bigger, smarter, and more adorable by the second.  Though I know she'll change over time, she seems to have a lot of the best physical characteristics of my husband & me.  She's even got an adorable dimple in her right cheek, which my husband had when he was a baby - I guess he grew out of it because it's not there, anymore.  For years, I've thought about what the genetics lottery would give me, and now I know, and she's amazing.  I take a lot of pictures & video of her every week because I can't resist documenting what she's doing at that point in time.  These days are so short, and I know it'll seem like I've blinked and she'll be graduating from high school.  I look so forward to learning who she is and who she's going to be in her life.

All this said, both my husband and I are torn about trying for another one.  You see, having a child really shines a light on how selfish you are (and I don't mean that in a "negative" way, necessarily), and being a successful parent requires sacrifice unlike anything you've ever imagined.  I mean, we could be shitty parents and go on about life like nothing has changed, but raising a human being is a tremendous responsibility that I don't take lightly.  We both enjoy having our freedom, but I can't just hop in the car and go wherever I want, anymore.  It's an adjustment all around, and I'm definitely going to need a little time to think about how I want my future to look.  I've always wanted to be a mother, but I also knew that I'd never have more than a couple of kids. Don't get me wrong - I LOVE being Jane's mommy & am so very grateful that she's come into my life, but I'm just not the barefoot-and-pregnant, surrounded by lots of babies type. I respect the hell out of the women who are like that because I can only imagine how incredibly difficult it is and how much self-sacrifice it requires.

Also, we had been gearing up for my husband to go on recruiting duty, which he was selected for well over a year ago.  I was *beyond* excited because it meant getting to go somewhere in the US that was probably not going to be near a military base.  This whole Marine wife thing has really made me realize how much wanderlust I possess.  But I digress - he got taken off of recruiting duty due to some paperwork complications.  He has several options as far as special duties go including reapplying for a later recruiting duty; I'm trying not to push in any direction because I don't want to be *that* wife that causes her husband to be resentful and bitter for putting him in a position to make him hate his life.  I think he's leaning towards doing security forces, which has some really great options (Washington, Virginia, Spain, etc.) and some not-so-great options (south Georgia, Cuba, etc.) as far as stations go.  The worst of the list is Kings Bay, Georgia, which is just north of the Florida border on the Georgia coast.  Yes, I'd be closer to many friends & family, but - and no offense to my loved ones - I don't want to be anywhere familiar.  I want to EXPLORE.  I want to be somewhere with four distinct seasons.  I need to be somewhere different, somewhere that stimulates me.  Over the past few years I've crossed every interstate in the southeast multiple times, and I'm ready for a change.  Washington state appeals to me because it's somewhere that I'd never move to by choice, but it's a landscape I'm interested in seeing.  Also, I'd get another cross-country drive out of it, and this time on a completely different route.

I'm also thinking about what I'd really like to do once Jane (and other kid, if we have one) hit school age.  Depending on where we are, I'd like for Jane to go to private school. And as a mother, the whole summers off thing is very appealing - but, as we know, I won't teach in a public school again unless we're in danger of becoming homeless/other catastrophe occurs, so I'm looking in the direction of teaching private school (also, many private schools offer tuition breaks for the children of faculty).  I'll say that part of me would really LOVE to do mental health therapy, but again, as a mother, working during the summers when I don't have to?  I don't ever want Jane spending her summers in a daycare center, so working in a school is my only option.  Right now I'm looking at other areas I can become certified that I'd actually be interested in teaching because only being certified in music limits me - I'm looking at English, gifted & talented ed, and then I haven't taken the school counseling option off the table (which would likely have more favorable duties than school counselor at a public school).

Sometimes it feels like I've gone from single orchestra teacher in the city to Marine wife/mom in a split second.  Other times it feels like a lifetime ago.  In reality I'm the same person, just older and (hopefully) wiser.  Oh - and significantly more exhausted.
21st-May-2014 12:22 am - 9 weeks old

This entry, like the previous one, has taken me several weeks to finish.

I'm starting to understand how many mothers have issues with making time for themselves.  I can honestly say that even though I'm not working outside of the home anymore, I have less down time than I've ever had.  Taking care of an infant is 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, but in addition to that there are a million things that have to get done around the house.  This all requires halfway decent time management skills because if something doesn't get done, a huge mess piles up at the speed of light.  I don't know how women with more than one young child manage any of this - I can only say that if they're doing it halfway successfully, you've gotta assume that they have some semblance of a system established.  I have a whole new respect for those women.

My "time for myself" has consisted of evening errands by myself every other day or so.  I love my alone time in the car and am thankful that I can have a little of it.  I'm thankful that my husband knows that I'm angsty & wanderlusting & when I was feeling horribly depressed several weeks ago, the fear of losing that was definitely part of it.  It might sound ridiculous, but it's the truth.

I will admit that I get nervous leaving Jane with my husband.  He's very good with her, but he has slept through every nighttime cry that she's had, and what if he fell asleep while I was gone?  Additionally, I'm kind of a control freak, but that's an issue for another time.  Also, as I've gotten more comfortable with mommyhood and caring for an infant, he's at work all day, doing the father/man thing (as he should be), so he's just not as comfortable dealing with a baby.  I know he's eager for her to be more interactive.  Really, she gets more interactive with each day that passes.  She's beginning to do a lot of social smiling, and that's pretty amazing.  I mean, I know that I'm biased, but she's the most adorable human being that I've ever seen.

It's incredible to see who she looks like and how she changes every day.  She looks like both my husband and I at different times.  When she came out everyone was gushing about how much she looked like my husband, but my genetic influence is definitely coming out as the days pass.  She has my paternal grandmother's smile, which is pretty special.  It's so amazing how many people one person is biologically related to.  I find my child endlessly entertaining, though she's a handful.  I don't have much experience with infants, but I wouldn't describe her as an "easy" baby.  She's often fussy and quite sensitive, but as she gets older all of this gets easier to deal with though it's no less exhausting.  I was never overwhelmed by the prospect of being a parent when I was pregnant, but it's incredibly overwhelming now that I'm actually in the thick of things.  Intending to be a highly engaged parent is very stressful for me because I see so many moments as teachable ones.  The human brain takes in new information constantly, and a child - an infant in particular - is a sponge simply because she has zero previous experiences.  Children observe *everything.* They may nod their little heads and possibly even hear what you tell them, but they'll do what they see you do whether those things are incongruous or not.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

I'm going to end this here because I'm passing out while typing this post for the 95th time.

29th-Apr-2014 01:09 am - Six weeks in.
I've been wanting to update for several weeks, now, but my life has changed to the point where days fly by due to the fact that the majority of my moments are now taken up by a tiny human.  Chances are that I'm going to fall asleep while typing this (Edit: I did fall asleep while typing this...for about 21 days in a row. The fact that you're reading this is a miracle, actually.)

This blog certainly has changed since I first started it.  2001 to 2014.  I was a few months from turning 21, still in college, with so very much ahead of me - so very much that I'd happily do all over again.  Somehow, in so many ways, I still feel exactly the same as I did then.  I guess it's a testament to the fact that a person doesn't ever really change that much, not at their core.

Baby Jane seems to have figured out night vs. day to some extent (she's been getting up once around 3-4 AM, usually), which is wonderful, though all it means for me is that I get a chance to put dishes in the dishwasher, shower, do some laundry, etc.  The husband has been helpful, but there are some things that I prefer to do if I can.  That and sometimes it's just easier for me to do things myself.

Transitioning to parenthood is difficult, particularly if you had a pretty well established identity prior to baby making an entrance.  The first couple of weeks were kind of a nightmare, honestly.  Picture a lot of crying (me more than Jane) in between a lot of falling asleep while sitting/standing up.  Now things have switched around as far as the crying is concerned, as she's extremely gassy, which causes her a lot of pain sometimes.  I just started giving her infant probiotics. Fingers crossed that they help - I have plenty of reason to believe that she needed them (coming three weeks early, being a C-section, & me taking two rounds of antibiotics just before and just after her birth all had a good chance of affecting her digestive tract).

Also, the entrance of a little one will inevitably affect your relationship with your spouse.  Just expect it. How it's affected all depends on who you both are to begin with, but I now firmly believe that you don't know your spouse until you have a kid with him/her.  There are just so many aspects to parenting, both practical and emotional, and how these aspects express themselves in your spouse may be more of a surprise to you than you may realize.  It's really just one more thing to adjust to in the transition from two to three.

Being tired all the time is now something I'm getting used to, and I suppose that's some sort of ingrained biological quirk.  During my third trimester I was very tired and did a lot of falling asleep in strange places.  Now, somehow I can fight the exhaustion until it's around 10 PM, and I'm in bed or on the couch.  I'm a pretty highly educated woman with a pretty decent resume, but caring for a newborn is the most challenging, exhausting thing that I've ever done.  It makes me wonder about these celebrities who become parents; I'm sure some of them are doing the "normal person" thing and caring for their babies 24/7, but some of them have baby nurses, nannies, cooks, maids - how much easier would this whole thing be if you had a staff of people there to help you?  But then, you'd definitely miss out on some bonding time with your baby, and of course, the bonding is necessary in making this whole thing even more special.

I'm in bed & exhausted right now.  I still have a lot to say, but the part of my brain that does all the philosophizing is mush at the moment.  I'll get back to you later.
30th-Mar-2014 03:57 am - 12 days postpartum. Birth story!
I spilled a cup of organic pregnancy tea (+ honey) on my MacBook about a week before the baby was born.  The thing shut down and wouldn't power on, so I let my husband deal with it.  We finally attempted to turn it on, today, and by some miracle, the thing seems to be working perfectly.  Thank God because I certainly can't afford to shell out the cash for another MacBook.

Anyway, rewind to several days before Jane's birth - I was being screened for preeclampsia because my usually normal blood pressure went up about 20 points seemingly overnight, which is a red flag.  I did a full blood work panel to check liver/kidney function as well as a 24 hour urine collection in order to measure the amount of protein in my urine.  When all was said and done, my blood work came back with really great numbers, but my protein level was right at the minimum level needed to diagnose me with preeclampsia.  Jumped the gun?  Yeah, maybe...but there have been women with numbers like mine where the situation suddenly turned serious overnight, therefore I was willing to follow instructions without much argument in this particular case.  So, my induction was scheduled for late Sunday the 16th.

My dad, brother, sister in law, and nephew came into town for the birth, ultimately anticipating that things would happen on the 17th.  We had an awesome dinner at the local Thai place, and I calmly went into the hospital around 8 PM.  The first step to this whole induction was to use Cervadil, which is essentially a tampon-ish thing with a prostaglandin in it meant to help soften/dilate the cervix.  Cervadil is meant to work over the course of 12 hours, but after about 4, I started having contractions that were 1-2 minutes apart.  I was told that having contractions from Cervadil was rare and that I'd more likely just feel some menstrual-like cramping, so for about 45 minutes I was laying there thinking that these were super severe for cramps...and why were they coming in waves?  And if I was feeling so horrible from "cramps," then I must have zero pain tolerance... thankfully, just before I was about to use my call button to ask someone what was going on, a nurse came in and saw that I was actually having contractions, also noting that Jane's heart was being affected because the contractions had come on so suddenly and so often, so  they pulled the Cervadil out and then told me that they were going to use a Foley balloon to dilate me. I had no idea that this was even an option, and I'd already been thrown for a loop with the contractions.  I honestly felt really clueless and just wanted to do what was going to be effective yet still be okay for my baby.  At this point, I already felt a little traumatized by what had happened.  But after about an hour of resting, they gave me a small dose of Fentanyl (pretty great stuff), stuck a balloon inside me, and inflated it.  Just thinking about this procedure makes me kind of sick because yeah, it's totally barbaric and not something that logical, in her-right-mind Elaine would have ever considered being okay with...but at this point I was fully realizing how mentally unprepared I was for an induction.  Anyway, the point of the Foley balloon is to dilate the cervix to 3-4 centimeters and "get things started" because the Cervadil had only gotten me about 1.5 cm. In the end the stupid Foley balloon got me 2-3 cm and was pretty horribly painful because the Fentanyl didn't kick in until after the procedure was finished.  I also got a good look at my mucus plug following this procedure.

If all of this sounds unnatural, it is.  Tremendously so.

So I continued having contractions on my own at this point at about 4-5 minutes apart.  They weren't horribly painful unless I was in a certain position - a position which the nurses insisted that I remain in because they were "unable to monitor the baby" when I was in any other position.  And you can be damn sure that I bitched and moaned about this.  I was most comfortable sitting straight up or standing up, but Jane shifted around a fair amount while I was in these positions, making the constant monitoring difficult, so they had me laying down half on my hip, half on my back.  I just found it ridiculous that I had to be a) in a horribly painful position (which raised my blood pressure, something they were trying to avoid, supposedly) while b) the positions that were comfortable also worked with gravity to help the baby move down, right?  And wasn't that the goal?  And yes, I totally understood the need for baby to be monitored, but the situation itself was very frustrating, especially when three or four nurses come in while I'm pretending to be asleep.  I hear them looking at my blood work from the night before and saying "why was she even induced? Her numbers are better than mine."  And then another says "well, they're not going to send her home, now."  Ughhhh.

So by now it's Monday morning and they've started a low dose of Pitocin.  My contractions remained painful but manageable after awhile.  I still had to stay in that horrible position, but after a couple of hours my body just got used to it.  They continued upping the dose of Pitocin, but things weren't getting more intense or anything.  The biggest issue seemed to be that the nurses couldn't keep the baby on the monitor, so one of the midwives came in and said that if I had dilated enough, they wanted to break my water so that they could put a monitor directly on the baby's head since she was moving too much on the regular monitor.  Soooo...by then I was at 3-4 depending on who was checking me (and at that point I was getting checked constantly).  The worst part of this was the midwife saying something like, "I can't tell if this is baby's head or the bag of water..." so she sticks some sharp object (I know it wasn't the regular hook thing that they usually use to break water) hoping that she was getting the water bag and not the head.  Thankfully it was the bag, I felt the gush, and she put the monitor on Jane's little head.  The contraction pain went from a 3 to a 6 after my water was broken.  At this point, I had had so many medical interventions that I was just resigned to being comfortable, keeping my BP down, and remaining mentally stable, so I asked for an epidural. I was breathing pretty well through the contractions, but at that point the idea of breathing through them every three or less minutes for another 12-24 hours was pretty daunting.  I mean, it's not like you're going to sleep through these things, you know?  And to do that and have the energy to push at the end?  I know that people do it, but I also felt very mentally unprepared for the situation, as the induction plans rolled out somewhat quickly.  I was banking on at least an extra couple of weeks to mentally prepare for a very different birth experience.

Getting an epidural isn't fun, either.  It's extremely weird to feel something being threaded through your spine while the anesthesiologist asks you questions like "do you feel it on the right, left, or center?"  I kept being afraid that I was going to answer incorrectly and cause paralysis or something.  And wow, having contractions while the epidural is being put in?  Ahhh!  Not fun.  However, in the end the epidural helped me to be able to get some rest and deal with the next 15 hours in relative peace.  Also, I was still able to move my legs, and I had some feeling, which was unexpected but welcome - no pain, though.

Alright, so fast forward to Tuesday, the morning of the 18th.  I'd spent the last two nights *kind of* dozing while nurses & midwives came in at least twice an hour, checked my vitals, checked my cervix, asked me questions, etc.  At this point, I was ready for the whole thing to be over with.  I hate to admit that level of emotional weakness, but I could only take being prodded and poked and "tested" for so long.  I had one of the doctors on duty come in to tell me that she didn't think that there was any reason to order a c-section and that we were going to turn the pitocin back on (it had been turned off overnight) and see where that got me.  I was quite pleased to meet such a sane-appearing doctor.  Anyway, supposedly upping the pitocin was starting to put Jane "in distress," but they were going to try it again.  Matt & I discussed that we didn't think it was the pitocin contractions causing the "distress," but the positions they were leaving me in not allowing for any progress to happen.  But what do we know, right?  A few hours later, the other doctor on duty - who I had had a previous bad experience re: discussing vaccinations a couple of months ago - came in and said, "let's just go ahead and do a c-section, we don't think you're going to progress any further."  And considering that this was an induction, I can't say that it would've progressed any further.  Jane would likely still be in my uterus if the induction hadn't been ordered.  Anyway, I said okay, I signed some paperwork, the anesthesiologists came in and gave me a spinal block (where you *really* can't feel anything below the waist), Matt put on his a cute little sterile hospital surgical uniform, and off I went into surgery.  There, I had more hep locks placed in my arms (I seriously had like five IVs or something going). Once they brought Matt in, they cut me open and Jane was out within three or four minutes.  Matt said "there's our daughter!" and I heard the cutest little baby cry EVER.  He went over to hang out with her while they stitched me back up.  After a few minutes, he brought her over so I could look at her. <3  Then, Matt went to accompany Jane to the nursery for her bath.  The next half hour or so was one of the most traumatic half hours of my entire life because for whatever reason, not being able to move my legs freaked me the fuck out like you wouldn't believe.  I started begging the anesthesiologists to knock me out or give me SOMETHING.  They said they wouldn't knock me out because I might have amnesia and not remember what had happened, so they gave me two doses of Ativan (an anti-anxiety medication) in my IV.  I ended up falling asleep for a short time, thankfully, but when I woke up, I was still freaking out, so they put some Fentanyl in the IV.  That helped a bit, and the next thing I knew, I was being wheeled out of surgery.  I went into a recovery area where Matt met me and showed me all the pictures he took from when she was born.  Another hour later, I was wheeled into my regular hospital room, where Jane, Matt, & I spent the next three days.  She was born March 18 at 3:13 PM at 6 pounds, 8 ounces - within the margin of error for the ultrasound weight estimate that I received the week before.  I was able to feed her right away - I was kind of floored with how the baby automatically comes straight for your boob.

We went home last Friday.  My husband has been a huge help, though I really have a difficult time just laying in bed doing nothing but nursing & diapering.  The only thing keeping me in bed some of the time is that the pain from my c-section has been bad at times. I try not to think about the fact that my child was cut out of me - not only was it not an ideal situation, but it turns my stomach a little.  I could never have done anything in the medical field - I can't even watch my own blood get taken.

Jane is definitely a beautiful baby.  I really can't believe how completely perfect she is, and I feel incredibly blessed.  So far she hasn't been a huge crier, though my guess is at this point it's also pretty easy to figure out why she's crying - hungry, dirty diaper, tired, gas.  The mommy-exhaustion is no joke and no lie.  I don't know how a working-outside-of-the-home mom functions if she's also getting up all night for feedings, diaperings, etc.  Also, postpartum hormones and sleep deprivation don't play well together.  That said, this newborn time is brief, and I know years from now I'll look back on it and miss this time.

I could write a lot more, but this I've been adding to this entry for a week, now, so it's time to post because I haven't had the chance to write/email/call many people to share the birth story.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
6th-Mar-2014 12:06 am - 35w4d
Potential TMI alert:  Today, I took a semi-emergency trip to the doctor to get a staph infection on the back of my thigh diagnosed & lanced.  This was the first time I've ever had any sort of anything "cut off" of me, and it was pretty horribly unpleasant.  It crept up super quickly, and I think it originated from a shaving nick on the back of my leg.  Usually my skin can take pretty much anything, but it's definitely more sensitive during pregnancy, and with the compromised immune system, I guess I was just more susceptible to an infection.  I was trying to wait it out in hopes that it would go away, but it was getting really painful and uncomfortable to walk, sit, drive, etc.  And potentially, a staph infection could eventually get into your bloodstream and cause super serious problems, so I'm just really glad that I got it taken care of even though the experience was quite icky and slightly traumatic - not to mention the doctor's bedside manner exuded an insecurity when he finished.  I had to go to my primary care doctor, who is non-military and seems to work mostly with elderly patients, and he was really 'cautious' about prescribing me antibiotics because of the baby.  I already knew that there were several antibiotics that preggos are prescribed regularly, so I wasn't super concerned until he got all weird and unsure about it.

I have some other issues going on.  I had a high blood pressure reading at the OB's office (140/73, nothing crazy - 140/90 is considered "high"), so I've been doing a ton of lab work because the docs are apparently very, very cautious about preeclampsia.  The BP reading is quite significantly higher than it's been in weeks past, so I don't mind the cautiousness.  Better safe than sorry.  My only concern is if they decide to give me a "pregnancy hypertension" diagnosis, they're going to be assholes about wanting to induce me if the baby doesn't come by week 38-39ish.  I've never had a baby before this, obviously, so I don't know if it's a military doctor thing or just an OB thing in general for them to be this cautious.  All the threatened intervention is starting to weird me out, honestly.

All of this said, I will say that I'm thankful that there are many aspects of modern medicine (particularly in genuine emergency/crisis situations and NOT when dealing with chronic physical or mental illnesses) that are pretty amazing.
4th-Mar-2014 02:37 am - 35w2d
I've been in the process of writing this post for several days, now.

My feet. Are. Swollen.

I was hoping this wouldn't happen, but it started the night before my baby shower, and the swelling has repeated every night since.  It's not obscene or anything, but no woman wants to see part of herself get bigger in a matter of hours.  I ordered some compression socks - cute ones - and they seem to work, but putting them on is a giant pain in the ass.

I don't remember if I mentioned this before, but I'm falling asleep EVERYWHERE.  My husband thinks that it's hilarious, but it honestly freaks me out a little bit, particularly if I'm driving.  Actually, the problem of falling asleep when driving is something I find slightly horrifying. I've had a close call or two, and I really can't even think about what could've happened :/

Lately I'm getting a lot of joy out of eating a variety of things.  Last week, we had dinner in New Bern at a lovely local place, and I found myself ordering with reckless abandon even though I knew I couldn't eat all of everything - first, my stomach wouldn't have been able to hold it all (things are pretty squished in there at this point) and second, my blood sugar would've been *through the roof*, and I take that shit pretty seriously.  Last OB visit I had a three pound weight gain.  I wasn't happy with it, but considering it was the first gain I'd had in 10 weeks, I figure it's normal.  The doctor didn't blink an eye.  This puts me up about 16-17 pounds total, which is completely acceptable, but my belly is starting to look so massive that it just seems like much more than 16 pounds to me.

And stretch marks.  They really started showing themselves about three weeks ago, and I'm *amazed* at how quickly these things appear.  Last night, I was thankful that nothing had shown up underneath my belly button...tonight, I take a look just to see that apparently I spoke too soon.

My Braxon Hicks contractions went from 1-2 a day to happening randomly off and on all night, tonight.  And I can definitely tell that even though Jane has been "low" the entire pregnancy, she's gotten even lower in the last couple of days.

I could go into way more detail about other strange things that my body has started doing in the last couple of weeks, but I'll spare you.

Being pregnant is still pretty amazing, though I can definitely see how some women are "done" with being pregnant by the last few weeks.  I'm getting to the point where I feeling like I'm not quite ready from a practical standpoint.  I really need to clean out my car - like a serious, top to bottom, vacuum & dust project - before the car seat goes in.  I feel like the carpet in the house needs a good shampooing.  We still need blackout curtains in the baby's room.

Alright, I'm posting this. It's kind of incomplete, but I've gotta pee, again.
20th-Feb-2014 02:28 am - 33w4d
The husband drove to Raleigh to go to a shooting class with a friend - he's almost finished with his post-deployment leave - so I'm here by myself for a couple of nights.  I've been increasingly "hormonal" as the days go by, and tonight is no exception.  Mostly it's just that I'm in this insecure pocket of feelings.  I spent most of my pregnancy feeling good, feeling like I looked good, etc., but I'm starting to get some negative moments in there.  I'm also feeling really clingy towards my husband, which I've read is some sort of typical biological reaction.  My comfort level is also decreasing, which I fully realize is to be expected - I was just hoping it wouldn't happen :/  My belly had rarely been an issue until recently, as I can no longer bend over or reach to grab anything without feeling pain.  Turning over in bed is a feat. Sitting on my bed isn't always comfortable because my belly now pushes into the tops of my thighs.  I genuinely don't mind as I know this is all part of pregnancy, and being pregnant with this baby is such a tremendous blessing, but I figure I'm allowed to vent a little about my discomfort.

I'm also falling asleep *everywhere.*  This has just started in the last week or so.  I'm sure part of it is that I have this pregnancy rhinitis issue which has made it incredibly difficult to sleep at night because I can't breathe out of my nose.  I even broke down and used some Afrin nasal spray as well as some Claritin (as suggested by a L&D nurse), which didn't do much of anything.  So far the only combination that makes it even a teeny bit better is saline nasal spray immediately followed by a Breathe-Right strip.  I'm also using a humidifier.  Going to bed for the night has become a ritual of nasal passage prep...and moisturizer.  Lots and lots of moisturizer.

I'm less nervous about labor than I was several weeks ago.  The childbirth classes we've been attending have helped, as the nurse is very into natural pain management, breathing, positioning, etc. and against medical intervention unless absolutely necessary.  She's always telling us about the things that the medical staff at the naval hospital will attempt to force us into doing, but that we need to question everything and accept nothing without a completely valid explanation that makes sense to us.  Of course I dig her approach because she was a government contracted nurse & is still a government contracted employee, yet she's not feeding us bullshit.  The other members of the class are a more diverse group than you might expect - mostly couples, but a few are female Marines w/ civilian husbands, then there's a lesbian couple as well as a young teenaged girl accompanied by her mother.  It all reminds me how much I enjoy learning other people's stories, no matter where they come from or who they are.

With regard to med-free labor & delivery, I figure that if X number of women that I know have given birth with little to no medication for pain management, then I can certainly handle it, too.  Of course I'm still nervous about the unknown

My baby shower took place last weekend in Savannah.  The shower itself went off without any drama, and I was very pleased and felt really blessed to have family & friends there to celebrate the baby.  Now, unfortunately, I'm just having some weird residual feelings about my father-in-law and his wife and how it's become painfully obvious to me that they completely misunderstand who I am.  Granted, a fair amount of that may be my fault, but I can't help but kick around a little bitterness related to the fact that I was alone and pregnant for seven months and heard nothing from either of them - not an email, a text, a call, nothing.  Perhaps it's really bitchy to expect that they should have thought of me (and yes, I did reach out to them first), but I was hormonal then, and I'm hormonal now.  I've tried to be empathetic regarding the fact that they certainly have their own shit to deal with...but at the moment, that rationale doesn't always work.  There are also specifics regarding this situation that make me feel shitty about being a little bitter :/

My mother wasn't at my baby shower, which is another thing that I don't really feel like processing.  I don't want to make excuses for her - I told her how important it was for her to be there - as did my father - and she chose to make up an excuse so that she didn't have to travel.  Okay, fine.  She'll always choose to throw money at a situation that requires nothing but her emotional support.  She's now implying that she'll see us this summer when we bring the baby to visit her.  Uhhhh....???  I would never want to sever ties with my mother because she means well, but she has zero idea how to provide emotional support.  She doesn't do it for my brother, and she doesn't do it for me.  And she, like other people I know, don't like that I can see through her bullshit, so she chooses to talk to me less and less.  It saddens me because a mother/daughter relationship shouldn't be like this, but it's just not my fault, and I have to remember that.

I'm so glad to have my husband back from his deployment.  He's definitely still his 'old self,' but he's definitely doing a mental transition towards fatherhood, all of his own volition.  I'm actually beginning to feel bittersweet about our relationship as a childless couple turning into a memory.  I believe that having a family is among the most amazing things that a person can do in this world, but it's inevitable that our relationship will transition into something else.  I'm anticipating some definite stressful moments in this transition; I can only imagine how world-rocking those moments would be for couples who aren't prepared for it.  I also think about how my relationships with others will change, whether I'm talking about family or friends.  I've enjoyed quite a bit of freedom even after getting married, and I'm mourning the loss of that, as well.  I've definitely lived a life where I've pretty much done whatever I wanted whenever I wanted.  Jane changes that, but I'm welcoming that change.  
5th-Feb-2014 01:42 am - 31w3d
My husband got back on Sunday!  I honestly didn't realize how much I missed having him around until he was actually here, but things definitely feels more complete, now, especially with little Jane in the picture.  He's not on leave just yet because they're doing post-deployment briefings, but he'll get a nice break, soon.

Tomorrow evening, we start a four-week round of childbirth classes.  If they're being run by the woman who did my nutrition class, it should be informative and still a good time, but we'll see.  I'm not someone who joins classes for the social aspect - in this case I definitely need some sort of organized motivation to help me focus on the reality of the fact that I have to give birth in 2-ish months.  While I fully realize that plenty of women don't do anything specific to prepare, I can't really jive with going into the experience with that kind of naiveté/ignorance/carefree attitude/trust of the medical community/whatever the case may be for not doing much preparation.  I mean, let's all remember that I'm that woman who did two months of research before purchasing a hamster.  And while I welcome hearing the experiences of other moms, I have to take their experiences and just use them as a resource in trying to create something that fits me.

Jane's making very deliberate movements on a pretty constant basis.  In the last few days, I've started to get to where bending very much is not only uncomfortable but slightly painful - but it would seem obvious that bending at the waist too much when there's a baby in there wouldn't be the most pleasurable thing for either of us.  I've gotten a couple of shocked looks when I explain that I'm still not due for two months.  Depending on Jane's position, my belly is usually sticking out quite a bit from the side & is also quite round...and then at this point she also seems to be growing noticeably almost every day.  I'd avoided much with regard to stretch marks until this week, too, though there are now the beginnings of a couple at the top of my belly.  I do what I can to attempt to keep them at bay (Earth Mama Angel Baby Stretch Oil followed by organic cocoa butter), but if stretching like that is what my skin needs to do to accommodate the baby, there's not a whole lot I can do about it.  Shaving my legs is also an ordeal that takes at least three times longer than it used to.  And believe me, I'm not complaining, but these small things are just physical proof that my body is serving a purpose that definitely supersedes my personal desires, now.
1st-Feb-2014 10:34 pm - Ethnicity. 30w6d.
I'm posting this mostly for my own benefit & because we know by now that I'm a total ancestry nerd.

So based on both the Ancestry.com & the 23andMe DNA analyses completed on both myself & my husband, Jane is approximately:

24% East Asian (Han Chinese)
23% British
17% Irish
14% French/German
13% Scandinavian (Swedish)
4% Eastern European mix (Russia/Finland)
4% Italian
Less than 1% Native American
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