The Final Stretch

Final Stretch of Pregnancy

The last month of my pregnancy was a bit of a rollercoaster. It started smoothly enough; I was feeling pretty good, just huge and tired. Work was keeping me more than busy as I wrapped up lots of loose ends, and of course Parker kept me on my toes at home.

But at the beginning of my 37th week, things went a little downhill. Zach left on a company trip to Puerto Rico, so of course something had to go wrong.

On that Friday I woke up feeling fine; Parker and I had a nice morning playing and eating breakfast. But as we were sitting on the couch reading, I got a bad case of the chills that wouldn’t go away and started feeling some pain in my back. I called my doctor’s office, and they thought it sounded like the symptoms of a UTI. The pain kept getting worse, though, and later that afternoon I thought I felt contractions. So they told me to go to the hospital.

Luckily Parker was able to stay with my mother-in-law so my parents could go with me to the hospital, and that’s when the real fun began (and by fun, I mean total misery). It turned out I was completely dehydrated, so much so that they couldn’t find a vein to start an IV of fluids. They had me drink a ton of water, and my contractions — which had been coming just a few minutes apart at their peak — started to die down. They sent me home at 8:30 that night with instructions to come back if I started feeling worse.

I woke up around 3 in the morning feeling completely awful…horrible chills, pain, and more contractions. My mom had stayed with me that night, and she insisted we go back to the hospital. By the time I got there I was running a fever and my contractions were worse than ever. They had to call an anesthesiologist to insert an IV since my veins were still so bad, and then they started running tests. Later that morning they admitted me and did an MRI to try and find out what was causing my fever. They thought it might be kidney stones or something even more serious.

All this time, there was a threat that the baby could arrive early if the contractions were effective, which was so scary since I still had over 3 weeks left and Zach was out of the country. My doula Janet stayed with me and helped me through the pain, and my mom too. The results of the MRI came back negative, so they decided it was some type of flu that had caused the fever and other symptoms. Also, I wasn’t dilated at all, which was AMAZING news after all those hours of contractions. After getting all that IV fluid, I started feeling better and later that day they discharged me.

The next couple days were rough, since I had basically been in labor all that time and my body was feeling the effects. Parker stayed with my mother-in-law and my mom stayed with me until Zach got home.

I returned to work after taking two days off, and at that point felt pretty much back to normal. I took it easy for the next couple weeks, but I also realized it was probably a good idea to get ready for the baby in case she did end up coming early. I got all of her clothes washed and put away, had Zach set up the pack n’ play downstairs and install the carseat, and packed my hospital bag.

And then I waited. I was convinced she would arrive at the start of week 39 just like Parker had, but she seemed nice and cozy. I continued working, even though at that point I was pretty uncomfortable and exhausted. In fact, I worked up until the day I went into labor…


3rd Trimester

3rd Trimester Belly PhotosWe spent the first few days of my 3rd trimester in Florida, which was (as) relaxing (as vacation can possibly be with a toddler in tow). But there was nothing relaxing about the following month, which I spent feeling completely miserable with a never-ending sinus infection.

It didn’t help that I had a LOT going on in the month of March, including several performances, a new music therapy group, a speaking engagement at Illinois State University, and the list went on. Looking back, I have no idea how I survived that month without completely losing my sanity.

By the time April rolled around, I was finally starting to feel better and ready to try and enjoy my final trimester. And I have, for the most part — despite feeling pretty huge and uncomfortable. We’ve been making progress around the house (I finally unpacked my dining room with the help of my mother-in-law, hurray!) and I’m making plans for maternity leave.

The hard part is feeling like I’m overdoing it with just about every physical activity. Even simple things like taking Parker for a walk, leading a music class, or organizing around the house, completely wear me out. I fantasize about the day when just getting off the couch doesn’t require all my energy — and then I remember that I’m probably MONTHS away from that, if baby girl causes as much sleep deprivation as Parker did.

As I write this, I’m exactly 1 month away from my due date. I’m determined to make the most of these last few weeks of pregnancy, especially my one-on-one time with Parker before he loses his only child status. Oh, and sleep. A lot of sleep.

Things are Getting Real

Parker Loves the Snoogle Pillow

Before I talk about just how real things are actually getting, I have to wonder why in the world I waited until week 35 to get out my Snoogle pregnancy pillow? It was a nighttime necessity from the beginning of my 2nd trimester on when I was pregnant with Parker.

It took our trip to Denver, where my newly postpartum sister-in-law so kindly left her Snoogle in the guest room, to remind me how amazing it is. As you can see from the photo, I’m not the only one in this house enjoying it :)

Anyway, on to the reality that I’m going to have a baby in a few weeks. People keep asking me if I’m getting excited, and the truth is, I haven’t really even had time to process it yet. Life has been so full and busy between keeping up with Parker and everything I have going on at work that the thought of a newborn in my arms rarely crosses my mind.

Does that sound terrible? I’m kind of hoping that’s a normal second-time mom thing.

But a couple things happened today that served as a BIG reminder of what’s to come. First was a meeting with Janet, my wonderful doula (who was the main reason Parker’s birth was such an amazing experience).

Talking to Janet about the labor and delivery process and figuring out my birth plan, which I haven’t really even thought about up until now, was a heaping dose of reality — in a good way. Of course I’m nervous, but staying positive was key the first time around and I plan to do the same this time.

And then tonight when I returned home from work, the furniture was all put together in the nursery. It’s been sitting in boxes in our garage for a couple weeks, but now I officially have two cribs in my house. Craziness. I have a feeling the nesting bug will hit me this weekend since I can finally start decorating baby girl’s room.

At this point in my first pregnancy, the nursery was completely finished, my hospital bag was packed, the house was completely organized, and I was already starting to wrap up loose ends at work. Of course, back then I also had time for naps and pedicures.

I’ll be back soon (although, no promises) with a recap of 3rd trimester so far. Until then, feel free to enjoy the pregnancy archives, most of which was written in my B.C. (before child) days.

A Child’s Angel

A Child's Angel Poem

A few weeks before Parker was born, the mother of one of my students gave me a printout of a beautiful poem she had received when she was pregnant for the first time. It hung on our fridge right up until we moved a few months ago, and I’ve been meaning to share it here for a long time.

A Child’s Angel

Author Unknown

Once upon a time there was a child ready to be born.
So one day he asked God:

“They tell me you are sending me to earth tomorrow,
but how am I going to live there being so small and helpless?”

“Among the many angels, I chose one for you.
She will be waiting for you and will take care of you.”

“But tell me, here in Heaven, I don’t do anything else but sing and smile,
that’s enough for me to be happy.”

“Your angel will sing for you and will also smile for you every day.
And you will feel your angel’s love and be happy.”

“And how am I going to be able to understand when people talk to me
if I don’t know the language that men talk?”

“Your angel will tell you the most beautiful and sweet words you will ever hear,
and with much patience and care, your angel will teach you how to speak.”

“And what am I going to do when I want to talk to you?”

“Your angel will place your hands together and will teach you how to pray.”

“I’ve heard that on earth there are bad men. Who will protect me?”

“Your angel will defend you even if it means risking its life.”

“But I will always be sad because I will not see you anymore.”

“Your angel will always talk to you about me and will teach you the way for you
to come back to me, even though I will always be next to you.”

At that moment there was much peace in Heaven, but voices from earth
could already be heard, and the child in a hurry asked softly:

“Oh God, if I am about to leave now, please tell me my angel’s name.”

“Your angel’s name is of no importance, you will call your angel…Mommy.”

2nd Trimester

2nd Trimester Photos

I’m only a couple weeks out of 2nd trimester, and I miss it already. It really is the “sweet spot” of pregnancy, especially after my rough 1st trimester and all the morning (a.k.a. all-day) sickness I battled.

Despite feeling super big compared to my first pregnancy, I really didn’t have anything to complain about for those 13 or so weeks. I was super busy with work and settling into the new house, so there were many days when I honestly forgot I was even pregnant!

And that’s probably the reason why our nursery is still empty. I have yet to choose and purchase furniture or any baby items at all. There are bags and bags of baby girl clothes sitting in my basement waiting to be sorted, courtesy of my sister-in-law. I did go through the latest Pottery Barn catalog and choose some bedding and curtains, which I tasked Zach with ordering — it’s a start, right?

With spring just a couple weeks away, it’s beginning to hit me that this baby is coming sooner than later. I have so much on my plate right now work-wise, and a house that is FAR from being “done” (as in, we still need a kitchen table and many other basics), but I need to get in gear and make some progress on the baby front. I have high hopes for 3rd trimester…