Contractions

Allen and I were unbelievably tired yesterday. He from a raucous Saturday night at the amazing Rare Beer Festival (which I silently shed tears over not attending) and me because… pregnant and toddler. Oh, toddler is an excuse for Allen, too. I did try to let Allen sleep in yesterday morning because I knew he’d be in rougher shape than I, but Henry had other plans. I knew it was going to be a problem after I got him out of his sleep sack and he said, “Daddy? I see him? Daddy?! DADDY?!” I tried to distract him with his favorite things like making coffee and feeding the animals, but, alas, it did not work. So he stood outside our pocket door wailing about seeing daddy and trying to open the door for a solid 5-7 minutes before I could coax him away. But at that point, sleepy and slightly hungover Allen had already been rudely awakened.

After we put Henry to bed at 7 we crashed on the couch to watch the first two episodes of House of Cards (the first episode – so good; the second episode – I have little idea, I kept wishing it were over so I could go to bed). I looked over at Allen and told him that though I am desperate to be a singular human being, I was not interested in labor last night. I was too tired to be in labor and push a human out. He agreed. We officially put in our hold request to baby.

I should have clarified what I meant in that request.

I was sound asleep by 10:00pm, because even when I am exhausted I have a hard time going to bed “early.” I was awoken at 12:30pm by an intense need to use the restroom and searing back pain. I did not think much of it, took care of my needs and crawled back in bed. 20 minutes later I was timing contractions. Real contractions. Not the ninny braxton hicks – back hurty, low belly clenching, regulate-your-breathing contractions.

Goodness, they were 3-4 minutes apart and lingering for 45-55 seconds.

BABY. COMING. And then I thought – baby coming on Pi Day? Could there be anything better?! THIS IS MEANT TO BE! And yes, oh yes, he would be forced to endure things like this (even if the day is really about math nerdery):

I got excited. I got anxious. I got up and went to the couch and timed contractions for the next 90 minutes and waited for the pain to intensify. Contractions were consistent for about an hour. Then they moved to a 6-7 minute pattern, then back to 2-3 minutes apart, but less hurty and more braxtony. No no no no nonooooononono! I called the hospital and explained that I was confused and unsure. They said I could come in if I wanted. I said I would wait and walk around and see how things played out.

Around 3:00am everything stopped. I grew angry. So. Very. Angry. Then I tried to climb back into bed but I could not settle down. I moved back to the living room around 3:30 and finally shut my brain down enough to have some very strange dreams about being pregnant around 4:30. 7:15 came far too fast.

Listen, if I was going to be up for hours in the middle of the night because of contractions, I would have preferred the baby come with them. I guess… baby listened to our request. He didn’t come. It was just not what I had in mind at all when the request was submitted hours earlier.

I will publicly state my new request: the next time I have real contractions (and I am okay with them coming whenever is convenient for this little guy (but it would be really nice if they started at a reasonable 8am. Heck. 6am.), please please please let them end in a tiny little bundle of squishy face, squinty eyes, and tiny fingers laying in my arms.

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2nd Time

I am not sure that anyone specifically told me that the second time would be easier because you are equipped with knowledge and experience, but this is certainly something I believed to my core. But this second time is leaving me in a tizzy.

With Henry, everything leading up to labor and the onset of labor felt like, what I imagined in my head, textbook steps. I lost the plug, 4 days later I had the show, less than 24 hours later contractions began. I didn’t have any braxton hicks contractions. I knew immediately what I was experiencing was the real deal. Low heat in my back, lots of pressure that wrapped around to my belly. As time went on, pain increased. I timed them. I knew not to call until things had progressed to a certain point. I called. I went in. I had a baby. Easy peasy.

This time. Oh. This. Time. I am driving myself absolutely crazy because my body is driving me absolutely crazy. About a week ago I started having braxton hicks contractions. For two hour periods in the evening, usually after I finally sat down for the day. Just as I knew the real contractions were real, I know these ones were not. No back heat or pain. No pain at all, really. Just a clamping down across my belly. I would call it more a nuisance than anything. They are happening daily. Sometimes while I’m sleeping and they wake me up and I have to lay there until they pass knowing that nothing is happening.

Meanwhile, baby 2 has dropped. He is so low. I know he is. And people feel free to comment on this, too. A co-worker stopped me yesterday and exclaimed, “That kid is so low he’s going to reach out and give you a high-five!” or “Are you able to even sit any more?” People. I technically have 24 days until my due date. I also do not require your commentary. I am aware of the physical placement of the human being in my body.

Then yesterday I had my 36 week and some odd days (I would know that precisely with Henry) OB appointment. I didn’t let my Kansas OB check me for dilation because I felt it was either going to get my hopes up or make me feel discouraged. And dilation and effacement doesn’t mean anything in the end about the onset of labor. You can be dilated for weeks without going into labor. Or you can go from being 0cm to fully dilated in a 24 hour period. So this is information that I feel is unnecessary and would stress me out. My plan this time around was not to be checked.

I had to get the Group B step test done and before I had a chance to comment she had already checked my cervix. Well, at that point I wasn’t going to let her know something that I wasn’t going to know. So, here we are 3cm dilated with an official medical diagnosis of “Woah, your baby is low!” Then yesterday there were more indications that my body was moving toward labor – thanks gross things happening! And last night I spent 90 minutes timing real contractions (or I thought they were real…), followed by 30 minutes of braxton hicks, and then they eventually stopped. But that was between 1:30-4:00am. At least I got to finish that episode of The Voice. Needless to say, I’m exhausted today. And confused. SO CONFUSED.

I feel like my uterus is saying, “Hey, Body! I’ve done this before. I know what I’m doing. Wanna see what I can do? LOOK LOOK! OVER HERE!” and my body is saying, “Uterus, shut up. No one cares what you have to say. Can you just keep quiet? You’re annoying.” And so I am having these stutter/stops. It is making me doubt everything. I am no longer sure I’ll know what a real contraction feels like because my body is in a constant cramp with pressure on my pelvis. I am a lady that likes to be in the know. And my body isn’t being cooperative in providing the information I would like. I am frustrated. And tired. And am going to rage like mad if this baby, my uterus, and my body continue to have this argument for three more weeks.

A shining moment from yesterday: I had a prenatal massage. I have never had one before. The super cushy belly hole was pure magic. I laid on my belly for the first time in many months. Glorious! Trevor, my massage therapist, looked like someone that should hang out a biker bar. He cracked me up. I was a little hesitant about him at first. And then I thought… wait… a big burly guy? Yes. This is EXACTLY who should give massages! I was uncomfortable for the first 30 seconds of the massage worrying about someone touching my squishy body, but then I realized two things. 1) Trevor is a professional 2) I have a human being growing inside my body… squishiness is acceptable. Then I actually managed to relax and enjoy the rest of the hour. For 59 and a half magical minutes I didn’t feel like I was pregnant. And that is about the best review one can give a prenatal masseuse.

I will conclude this with the following: I’m cranky. And tired. Sorry to those who are required to interact with me.

Ambition>Skill

This morning… was a morning. We haven’t had a morning in quite some time. Thank the toddler gods. But this morning our good-natured toddler was exerting quite a bit of independence in the form of yelling and crying and thrashing when it was time to get dressed.

I love how helpful he is. That kid will help with nearly anything at almost any time. I have this tiny piece of paper! Can you put in the garbage? GARBAGE! Can you bring mommy her coat? MOMMA’S COAT! ‘CARF! ‘CARF! Yes, you can bring her the scarf, too. Can you help me take your shoes off? SHOES OFF! The list is endless, really.

But then there are mornings when ambition > skill level. Then you have a morning like today where toddler insists on dressing himself but lacks the coordination to say… get a sock on. He cannot figure out how to stretch the sock mouth and pull with two hands while wiggling his toes into the end. Okay, describing it that way does make it seem pretty complicated to put a sock on. Instead, he ends up putting the sock on top of his foot, yelling when it falls off, yelling harder when you try to help him. “Don’t touch! My sock! I do it! I DOOOOO ITTTTTTT!” Okay. I get it. But… we are already 5 minutes late and you are naked.

Allen actually had to give up putting a shirt on Henry and distract him with brushing his teeth. While this distraction did calm him down and he was a delight while brushing his teeth, he went right back to “I DO IT”s when it came time to get dressed again. I was able to get him to wiggle in to his pants with little fight. He was pretty excited to “Stand with your arms over your head! Clap clap clap! Armies in sleevies! Shirt over…” Then I lost him. He really wanted to pull it on himself; I’m happy to let him, but he doesn’t always get the angle right so his head doesn’t get through the head hole. And then more yelling. Then last… the dreaded socks. Oh. The socks. So. Much. Fight. I am much bigger than he is. Why is it so difficult to muscle socks on a two year old? And that is what I had to do. Essentially pin an arm and muscle the socks on. This makes no one feel good. After the trauma of being fully dressed, it took a few minutes, we practiced putting our hands on our bellies and taking big breaths, but he calmed down. And then the morning carried on like everything was rainbows, sunshine, and puppies from the get go. I’m glad he’s so resilient, but it leaves parents baffled at the drastic mood shift.

I feel bad for him in these instances. I really do. How frustrating to want to do something SO BAD and you cannot figure it out? Not that I’m saying he gets it from me, but I haaaate help. If I could acceptably yell, “MINE! I DO IT!” at people interfering with my tasks, I would. In fact, I think I have yelled that at husband more than a few times. This is my absolute worst trait, I would say. I struggle through things unnecessarily. I wait until I’m at my wits end, crying, and frustrated. And even then, I might not ask for help. It means I will stubbornly carry 50 pounds of groceries and not ask Allen to carry any (this has earned me the nickname “Pack Mule”). It means that I make life way more difficult than necessary for myself. (But I INSIST on helping others – because… hypocrite?) And I can see it – I see the problem and I can’t won’t fix it. And I’m worried I’m imparting this on Henry.

I probably am. But this is also regular toddler, I believe. It does makes me realize that I don’t want him to be like me in this regard. And that means… gulp… changing my own behavior so I can be a good role model. Sigh. Sometimes raising a child shows you a reflection of yourself that you do not like and you are forced to acknowledge and deal with it lest you pass it on to your child. 33 and still learning these important life lessons. But please don’t help me learn them, I’ve gotta do it on my own.

In other news. 33 days until baby 2. In my mind, 19 more days until baby 2. Healthy. I KNOW.

Lastly, the lighting is off, but this is how a two year old rocks his ABCs and makes his parents very very proud…