Monday, April 25, 2011

My Last Hurrah

At my 28 week appt my blood pressure was 135 over something. The dr seemed pretty concerned about it and sent me to the lab for blood tests. She called later that night and said the blood tests were normal for now but she was predicting blood pressure problems in the future. I thought she meant way in the future....

So Saturday, April 9th, was my baby shower. We drove home the next day and stopped at the Motherhood outlet where I got some work clothes. I was supposed to start work on May 6th and I was going to be the cutest pregnant waitress ever!

I spent that night clipping tags off of our baby's new clothes and Brian put the swing, bouncer and stroller together. Now that the shower was over it was time to get down to business! I was so excited to wash all the baby clothes and organize them in the closet and get the nursery set up and finish shopping for everything else we needed. I would have washed everything that night but I was waiting for the weather to warm up so I could hang them on the clothes line. (We decided not to have a dryer in the house. We do have one but it was going to cost over $200 to get it hooked up to our propane tank PLUS the cost of propane which we all know by now is a very sore subject in this household. It costs us less than $1 a week to dry our clothes at the laundromat in the winter and we hang dry them in the summer.)

On Monday Brian started back at work after 5 months off.

On Tuesday we had a 3:15 OB appt and a 7pm childbirth class, both in Petoskey which is a 90-mile round trip. Obviously we're not going to come home between the two so Brian said since it was such a nice day out (almost 60), that we could grab some takeout after the dr's appt and have a picnic by the lake.

I remember a friend of mine asking me after my bridal shower in 2008 if I got everything I wanted and I said, "Everything except the picnic basket." And she burst out laughing. She said I was in for a major reality check. "You'll do a lot of things as a married couple. You'll argue over money disappearing from the checking account, bills that were supposed to be paid but weren't, you might even have to pawn your wedding rings just to keep your lights on, but you definitely won't be going on any picnics!"

So when Brian suggested a picnic I was stoked! Since we don't have a picnic basket I packed up a plastic bag with napkins, plates and silverware and practically skipped out of the house, without a jacket on might I add! As we were walking towards the car Brian said it was going to be even warmer tomorrow and I said I was definitely going to start yardwork and he said to make sure I wore gloves in case there were bugs in the flowerbeds. And we headed down the road with the windows rolled down. I felt great. I was happy. I was looking forward to so many things.

My blood pressure was 155/87. Nurse tells me to lie down on my left side and the Dr would be right in. Dr comes in and takes my BP while I'm lying down. 110/65. I made a comment about how I checked it at the Walmart pharmacy over the weekend and he said, "What were you doing at Walmart? Aren't you on bedrest?" I said no. And he said, "Well you are now."

Everything after that happened so fast. He said I needed to be lying down on either my right or left side for 23 hours a day. I can get out of bed to shower and use the bathroom and I can sit upright for meals.

He said he can't give me medication to lower my BP because the BP is a symptom of the preeclampsia and I'd still have preeclampsia even if the BP was under control. He didn't tell me what preeclampsia was though.

He said, "We're gonna hold off on delivering as long as we can. I'm hoping with the bedrest that we can get 4 more weeks but 6 would be even better." (I was due in 10 weeks at this point).

I asked him what would happen if I wasn't on bedrest and he said seizures, organ failure, placental abruption and even death for me and Ian!

When Brian asked if that meant we shouldn't go to our childbirth classes anymore, Dr said the classes would actually be good for me and I could consider that my weekly treat.

And that was it. We left the office scared and confused. But we were an hour from home and I still needed to eat so we got some chicken and went ahead with our picnic on the lake. I called it my last hurrah because apparently, my pregnancy was basically over.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

How BC Became Ian

There are certain things in life that I always thought would be fun.

Like going to the Prom! My date left with another girl because she had a joint.

Or choosing your wedding gown! Ugh, I tried on over 30 dresses at 8 different bridal salons and I never got that clouds-parting-sun-shining-this-is-it moment. I ordered one off the internet that I had never tried on and, while it was a nice dress, I still ended up looking like a Beluga whale. Granted, Belugas are one of the smaller whales, but still whales nonetheless.

Naming your baby! That's gotta be fun! And that is where this story begins...

Just like I scoped out bridal magazines when I was in junior high, I've also been keeping a baby name list since about 5th grade. This was definitely going to be the most exciting thing about having children, right? BIG FAT WRONG.

It was loads of fun before we found out the sex, probably because it didn't seem so real then. But once we knew for sure we were having a boy, it seemed like panic set in. There really was a baby in there and that baby had to have a name and we were halfway into the pregnancy and absolutely clueless. So many options and we could only choose one! (Middle names don't really count). We made a list of criteria to help us along the way.

1. No trendy names like Bentley or anything that ends in X.
2. No uber-popular names like Aiden or anything that rhymes with it.
3. But it can't be so unpopular that you need to repeat it 4 times and then spell it when meeting someone for the first time.
4. It should be an acceptable name for both a child and an adult.
5. No Twilight names or Glee names. Even though I love Finn and Quinn, I have a feeling they are about to take over the world. Too bad you can't play the baby name market like the stock market.
6. No "old man" names like Henry. There are so many babies named Henry these days. I just don't get it.
7. No names that end in a C or K sound, including nicknames. A lot of great names were out with this rule like Linc, Lochlan, Nicholas, Zachary, sad.
8. No names that end in ER because our last name ends in ER and Brian didn't like the way it flowed. Goodbye Dexter and Oliver...sniff sniff.
9. I would like a Scottish name to reflect my heritage but it isn't a must.
10. Brian and I BOTH had to love it.

Can you see why this is more stressful than it is fun?

We finally settled on Jonah Louis. My dad's name is Joseph, I'm Jodie and I thought Jonah would be following in tradition. Brian really wanted to honor his late grandpa whom he loved and missed very much and I had no problem with that. That's where the name Louis came from. Also, I intended on calling him Joe-Louis, after a hometown hero. It was perfect! A little bit of mom, a little bit of dad, a little bit of ancestry and a little bit of hometown pride. Plus, there are tons of baby things with whales on them; bibs, towels, washcloths...

So we named him Jonah Louis and continued to call him Jonah or Joe-Louis for several weeks. I didn't say anything, but I wasn't feeling 100% right about it. I always thought that when we found the right name, I would just "know" it and I didn't feel certain about Jonah. I was secretly relieved when Brian finally confessed that he didn't want to use Louis anymore because it might hurt people in his family, that he used this person's name instead of that person's name. It made sense. We decided to scratch it and start from the beginning.

Next up was Cohen. I've loved the name since the OC and Brian also loved it and wouldn't the nickname Coey be adorable?!?!? Then I googled the name and found out that Cohen is the most popular Jewish last name and that a non-Jewish person naming their baby Cohen was like a non-Christian naming their baby Jesus. It was seen as a mockery and an insult. Granted, I can count the number of Jewish people I've met in my lifetime on one hand but who knows where our lives will take us in the future? I didn't want a name that would offend people.

Then there was Brody. A combination of Brian and Jodie and it's Scottish, too. All of our family and friends seemed to love it and it was the cutest name for a little boy or a young man but it didn't seem to age well past like 25. Could you really take a 50-year-old professional gentleman seriously with a name like Brody? I liked it best in its long form of Broderic but that was out with the Cs.

Due date was getting closer and closer and we had nothing!!!! I was waiting for a name that really spoke to me. Finally, just a few weeks ago, I was looking at the Scottish names one more time and reading them out loud to Brian. Cameron? It's a girl name now. Cullen? Twilight name. Finley? Glee name. Ian?

And Brian looked up. He seemed inspired and thoughtful. "Ian," he repeated. "I like it." Then he put his face to my belly and said, "Hello in there baby Ian. Daddy loves you." And that was the moment that spoke to me. That was when BC became Ian.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A Gender Reveal!

I know I promised I wouldn't renege on this decision again but I lied. Remember the day we found out that BC was a "perfect" baby and the ultrasound tech put the gender picture into an envelope for us to open on Valentine's Day?

Right after that appt we went to Target to register. All along I'd been saying that I didn't care what sex the baby was as long as s/he was healthy. Then, like a typical woman, I found out BC was healthy and changed my mind. I blame this on Target.

See, they had set up all the summer stuff in the baby department. In Northern Michigan....where we have 4 inches of snow on the ground as I write this on April 20th. They had a summer accessory set for baby girls that came with a pair of pink sunglasses, pink sandals and a hairbow. They also had a newborn size bathing suit that was turquoise with big hot pink flowers on it and a matching hot pink sunhat. And that was all it took. I wanted that sunhat and I wanted a girl.

When I was a child I was the only girl in the neighborhood. I was forced to play with GI Joes and didn't own a single Barbie doll! I lived with my dad and two brothers. Though my dad did like to do my hair (and still does sometimes), neither he nor my mom knew a thing about makeup, jewelry or high heels. To this day I can't stand the way foundation makes my face feel greasy or the way high heels feel more like devices of torture than fashion statements. I only own one belt and its purpose is not to look cute, but to hold up my pants when I'm dieting. The only jewelry I wear are my wedding rings because earrings hurt my ears and necklaces make me feel strangled. Sometimes I'll go more than 6 months without a haircut because I forgot to get one! Basically, I'm really bad at being a girl and I think this is why I wanted one of my own. All it took was a cute summer display of girly stuff and suddenly my life with a daughter was flashing before my eyes. The hairbows and headbands and cute baby legwarmers! Getting pedicures and highlights together. A Kate Spade for me, a Kate Spade for you...

That night I posted on FB that baby was perfect and we were excited to find out the sex on V-day. And instead of being happy about the healthy baby, people commented on how disappointed they were that we were finding out the sex! These comments hurt me. They put a damper on what had been a great day for us. I tried to put them out of my mind but a few days later I was still upset about it. I decided to rebel against them and take control of my own pregnancy. I had Brian go into the garbage and dig out that ripped up photo. We kept the results to ourselves since certain people clearly didn't want to know. I was afraid that I would be ashamed of myself for peeking but I have never regretted that decision. Knowing the sex of my baby really did make me feel closer to BC. And it also helped me let go of the hurt and anger I felt over the FB comments. It was a win-win! Now we just had to be very careful not to accidentally use certain pronouns!

Our baby shower was on April 9th and it was wonderful! I got my hair cut in the morning and after a mental breakdown over my flabby arms and a last minute costume change, everything went perfectly! My mom did a great job of picking the venue because the food was excellent. My dad surprised us by taking a painting of Dopey from the Seven Dwarfs that I painted in 9th grade and having it framed for BC's nursery! I didn't know he kept it!

After all of our gifts were opened (everyone was so generous) we had a surprise for them, too - a gender-reveal! I had talked to the baker beforehand and told her what color to make the cake. When I cut into it and held up the first piece, everyone saw that it was blue. We are having a boy and everyone got to find out at the same time! Even my brothers were on speakerphone from NC! It was really neat. If I had waited to announce it after the birth, most people would have found out through phone, FB or email so I think we did the right thing.

So no, there will be no hairbows or hot pink sunhats just yet, but I wouldn't trade this little boy in for anything! It's probably for the best anyway. That fictional girl at Target was starting to turn into a diva.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Labor Superstar, That Is What You Are

Our first Childbirth class was Tuesday night. I have heard great things about different methods of childbirth like Bradley and Hypnobabies but we don't have those kinds of options up here. What we have is a basic 6-week class taught by a nurse from the Labor & Delivery unit at our hospital. I know that labor is not something I can plan or control but it's not like we have anything else to do. And I'll be more comfortable going into labor knowing what my options are.

It started off just like in the movies. We filled out a name tag to clip to our shirts then we went around the circle and introduced ourselves to the group. I kind of felt inadequate when the first couple spoke. "My husband's a lawyer and I work in child behavior and development." But the second couple made me feel a lot better. Her perky voice could cheer up Ebenezer Scrooge. "My husband works at the hospital in General Surgery and I'm a yoga instructor!" Seriously.

Then we split into two groups for a game of trivia. Name as many physical signs of impending labor as you can in one minute. Brian starts spewing things off faster than they can be written down. Back pain! Nesting! Flu-like symptoms! We started off the round up by one.

Next question: What percentage of babies are born on their due date? Everyone stared at each other blankly. Someone said 20. I had no idea. Brian said it was 5%. And the answer? 5%! How did he know that?

Then, when asked when it was generally time to head for the hospital Brian said, "When contractions last 60 seconds and are 5 minutes apart!" I was so proud of my husband. Everyone in our group won a Snickers bar thanks to my labor superstar!

The two perfect couples were on the other team.

Disclaimer: I don't mean to sound like I have anything against them. I actually know 2 perfect couples myself (I'm sure they know who they are) and I don't be hatin.

After the trivia game the instructor dimmed the lights, put some lullabies on the boom box and had us moms lie down on pillows and mats to practice relaxation techniques while the "partners" massaged our hands with lavender lotion. It was kind of creepy and I don't believe I'm going to give a crap about a relaxation technique when I'm in labor since my fake contractions have been painful enough to bring me to tears. (BTW, I found out those weren't Braxton Hicks. They were episodes of uterine irritability brought on by dehydration. Totally my fault and totally preventable so they won't be happening again).

It ended up being a fun night out for us and I'm looking forward to next week. She told us to wear comfy clothes because we'll be trying out the birthing ball and birthing peanut. I don't even know what a birthing peanut is. I'll have to ask Brian.