Childbirth Prep Class

Today, I attended a childbirth preparation class with Brian. I think it may have scared him a little bit because he kept asking if I was still okay with all this. I must admit, it makes me laugh that he thinks that I’m really THAT frightened.

I’m not scared of the actual childbirth process. I know it will be painful. I know that I will probably be about to strangle everyone in the room. I know that every woman is different and that every birth is different. But I also have a rough guess of what is going to come, and for me that is all it takes to alleviate (most) of my fears.

It’s the after part that frightens me. It’s the part where I don’t even know how to hold a newborn, other than I know you have to support her head because her neck isn’t strong enough yet. It’s our precarious financial standing, the too-numerous amount of animals in both houses, dealing with my mother and his mother and trying to explain that they are grandparents, not parents, and that Brian and I have final say in what is taught to our daughter. It’s not knowing how I’m going to react as a new mother.

The class just gave me a broader look at how things are going to happen during the birth process. It gave me a much clearer picture of what labor will be like. More importantly, it gave Brian the reasons I haven’t been able to voice to him about why I want him there with me. Why he is just as important in that room as the nurses and doctors are.

It’s also given me a very clear image of just how little I have been able to voice to him. Just how much I do not communicate through my voice, just how much I hope that people just “pick up on” in the long haul. I’m sure someday Brian will be able to figure out most of what I’m trying to say, before I say it. But right now we’ve only been together a year and he still misreads things. He’s gotten really good at telling me what I need to work on (like saying what I mean instead of sugarcoating it to the point where I say something completely different).

I admit: I write quite a bit more clearly than I have ever spoken. It’s part and parcel to having such a limited group of social interaction. It’s not my mother’s fault that I stopped hanging out at other kids’ houses at a very young age. It’s not her fault that I closed in on myself, into the books, into the writing, into the art, rather than taking the time to express myself verbally too. There are times I wish she had encouraged me to go over to my friends’ houses rather than save the gas to keep me home.

The childbirth prep class taught me a lot about things related to the birthing process, but more than that it taught me just how much I need to start focusing on verbalizing what I want. More than that, it taught me that I need to figure out what I want. Where I stand. Why I’m there. I need to start working out the me part of my life, rather than focusing so much on others. How else will I be a good role model for my daughter, if I can’t even reach into my own mind and draw out a decision?

Curiosity About Pregnancy

Before I ever graduated from high school, I decided that I didn’t want to date because I didn’t want to have kids (because for some God-awful reason, men cannot date a woman without the end result meaning sex). Both those notions quickly flew out the window a few years later. So, here are some curiosities I had about pregnancy that I’m finding the truth of now that I’m nearing the end of this one.

Your belly button does not always reverse. I know, I know, this is totally laughable, but in every image I’ve ever seen of a woman who is pregnant, her belly button is reversed. This seems to be the trend in women whose stomachs get enormous. I’m still not convinced that it’s the skinny-mini women who have this happen. I got pregnant when I was 255 pounds and lost a considerable amount of that weight in the process. (Don’t worry, I’m gaining roughly two pounds a week now). If the sonogram technician’s initial guesstimate is correct and I AM due on the 28th of this month, tomorrow is 38 weeks exactly. I am not very large by any means.

Stretch marks are not always apparent. Unfortunately, with my yo-yo-ing weight over the past four or five years, I already had a group of pale white stretch marks. They don’t seem to have gotten any larger or darker, though, which is a relief. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t get very much larger than my heaviest weight pre-pregnancy?

Not all women experience morning sickness. Yes, I am one of the lucky 25% of women who do not have morning sickness during the first trimester. I did, however, throw up a few times (three), but I attribute that to taking my pills on an empty stomach. Yes, I am stupid. No, I do not think I will ever believe that taking even a small pill on nothing but a miniature cupcake is okay again.

Lying down when your stomach gets large is uncomfortable. This I didn’t really expect, though I probably should have. Sleeping on my back makes me dizzy. Some internet research has suggested to me that it’s bad for me to sleep on my back because there’s some artery that feeds oxygen to the baby and me that her weight interferes with. The dizziness coincides with that notion, so I only sleep on my sides. My stomach stretches in either direction and my upper pelvic bones become painful after too long laying on one side or the other. This might be the contributing factor to the next curiosity.

Sleep comes easily, but too often. I’m constantly asleep, it seems like. I can stay asleep for only three or four hours at a time before needing to wake for one reason or another. Sometimes I can’t readily get back to sleep because I need food or my legs are too restless. Almost as soon as I’ve eaten or taken a short walk, though, I can fall right back to it. I think it has something to do with not being able to lay still for more than half an hour at a time.

It’s a bad idea to try and ignore cravings. Almost immediately upon a craving strike, I need to start looking for a means to gain access to it. Trying to ignore it only makes it worse. Trying to “replace” it with something else makes it three times more so. For example: I crave ice cream. I try to replace it with frozen yogurt. In order to satisfy the craving, I must now eat twice as much ice cream AND I have the frozen yogurt to contend with, too. And now I’m overly full up on sweets. Yes, best to just indulge the craving to begin with. Some others I’ve had: hot dog with mayo and honey BBQ, spinach salad with dried cranberries, dark red kidney beans, cheese, and ranch dressing, tuna salad with green grapes, and Mexican food. ANY Mexican food seems to work.

Only God Can Unfold the Rose

Plans change, people change, and the world as you know it changes when you get pregnant with your first child. I’ve noticed this particularly in my situation, where the timing of my pregnancy could not have been worse – and yet I am completely happy with it. It isn’t so much that I suddenly changed personalities, but it’s more like suddenly I have more confidence as a woman.

For instance, it was I who proposed to my fiancé. Rubbish with all the traditions. I asked for what I wanted, no more, no less. We had been talking about it for months before I ever found out I was pregnant, but we’d both agreed that we wanted more time to get to know one another. His reaction to my pregnancy – this stubborn, genuine, often opinionated man – forced me, the just-as-stubborn, just-as-opinionated, but lacking in the decision-making department of a woman, to make a decision. No, not the decision of whether to marry me, but the one of whether to keep the baby.

I knew very well that I couldn’t kill her. I may be an advocate for women’s choice in abortion, but that is one choice I would never make for myself.

It took me all of half an hour to agonize over how a baby would change my life – change our lives, change my parents’ lives, even change my brothers’, as little as I thought they would even be interested in being uncles at the time. I thought about how my mother would take it – I was already living at home, jobless, and I’d somehow gotten myself pregnant. I was never certain how my father would, and there was a point where I panicked that I would be out on the street. I knew both Brian’s folks would be thrilled, if not so much with him or me as with having a grandbaby right in town to spoil rotten. Never mind that mom said later that neither set of parents would have allowed the baby to go up for adoption outside of the family – it was simply out of the question.

My very first priority was to triple the search for a job, for both myself and my fiancé. I thought more about things, made more contingency plans; even as I waited to tell my father that he was about to be a first-time granddaddy. (Obviously, I’m still living at home.) I knew from the beginning of our relationship that I would be the main provider of a family for my fiancé and me. It’s not because Brian won’t work, but because, for a variety of reasons, it is exceedingly difficult for him to get work. It causes no end of hurt pride on his part, but I’d actually prefer one of us stay home with the baby.

My financial know-how, learned from experience and from others’ experiences from years of financial stupidity, has been enough to carry us on 600 dollars a month for the past three months. I think that, once I am a teacher, I will be able to make things work. Even a starting wage of 18 grand a year will be plenty enough for me.

A world that was never very kind to me has suddenly opened up to the land of opportunity that America once was touted as. You would never imagine the kind of things that change when people find out that you’re having a baby, your first baby, and you don’t have much. My baby girl is set, almost, for her first couple weeks of life. All that remains is a car seat to bring her home in, and I may yet be able to get that on my own.

I had expected to run into purists who did not agree with my decision to become pregnant before marrying Brian. I had expected rudeness and malcontent. Instead I have faced nothing but arms-open support from every direction. It has reaffirmed my belief that the human race is actually decent at heart, and reaffirmed my belief in God. For only God could put me in a situation that I had never believed I would be in and make me a stronger person for it. As the song goes… “Only God can unfold the rose.”

I Hate Mood Swings

Some things in life are inevitable. Trying to convince my mind of that, however, tends to be a little bit difficult. I suffer from some form of ongoing depression, but because I had little access to medical care outside of what I could afford out-of-pocket, it remains undiagnosed. Prior to my pregnancy, I’d been on two medications: one for depression and one for severe, blinding migraines. However, the moment we found out, I was taken off of both.

The mood swings that occurred early in my pregnancy should truly have been the warning sign, but since I was already prone to bouts of tears or unexplainable irritability, I didn’t question it. They cleared up around mid-April and then began again in earnest in late June (a month after I’d discovered my pregnancy).

Admittedly, I have a lot to be depressed about. I live at home with my parents at age 24; I’ve failed to receive the degree I financially ruined myself for; my financial situation is worsening; my health and my mother’s health are both growing worse; I have failed to keep my mother’s house clean in spite of all attempts. The list goes on and on and on.

But I also have a lot to be very happy about. I’m about to be a mom, something I never believed I’d be able to achieve; I’m engaged to the most sensible, sensitive, gentle, and generous man I have ever met; I am finally in the home stretch for a bachelor’s degree and well on my way to achieving the dream I’d started college with.

I am not necessarily unhappy. It’s just that, on any given day, the conflicting ups and downs of my life are causing the hormonal mood swings to rise and fall to a degree where I’d even call it Bipolar-ish. Today was definitely, for the most part, a “down” day, though.

I was woken up from what was possibly the deepest sleep I’ve had in over a week because one of my fiance’s mother’s dogs was throwing up/vomiting. Perhaps what makes me feel worse is that I assumed it was merely a bacterial infection and gave him some leftover antibiotics that the cat never took (don’t worry, I looked it up — perfectly safe for dogs!). I was half right — there was a bacterial infection, caused by an obstruction somewhere in his digestive tract. I still haven’t heard back to know if he’ll be all right or not.

The “up” portion of today was a meeting with Healthy Babies, a Wichita-based free parenting group. By going to the group, and several other methods, I may be able to “earn” my baby’s car seat in time for her birth. If not, there is plenty of time to earn something else from the list — like a Pack n’ Play or just some diapers or wipes. Plus, I’ll have access to a group of women that are all due around the same time, some of whom have had kids before (more recently than my mom and Brian’s mom), with different OBs.

Other pluses to the program include a 75% discount to the local hospital’s baby-related classes. DEFINITELY taking the baby/toddler CPR course. The program continues on till the baby turns two, which will be great when I start trying to figure out when I’m supposed to start something new.

I came home right after and fell right to sleep. I wanted to go with mom to her ENT appointment and now I really wish I had. I HATE doctors who don’t listen. She was sent to the specialist for extra tests. Instead he looks at her, goes “you don’t have an infection” and tells her to take Allegra for allergies. Um, DUH, she doesn’t have an infection. She’s been treated acutely for no less than FIVE sinus infections this year, the most recent with a month-long course of antibiotics that she only just completed. I wanted to throttle him, but noooo, I was asleep.

I was supposed to make supper for the night, but the meat didn’t thaw all the way (even though I took it out last night). So that was another major disappointment and there’s no other meat in the house. My iron is STILL low and I’m being ordered to eat more red meat. So, off to the store we go. My system crashes yet again when we get home because I, like the stupid person I am, had not eaten anything more substantial since 9am this morning. Then I start just bawling when I wake up because my appetite is completely gone again and I just can’t stand the smell of the meat that’s been cooked.

Brian goes to make me a plate and NOW I convince myself that I’m being ridiculous and follow him. I manage about half the steak he got out for me, and wolf down the mixed veggies, and glare at the rest of the meat. I give myself a pep talk in my head: I need more protein. I need calcium (I don’t drink milk, so I get all I can from other sources).  I need to give this baby food.

Well, that seems to motivate me, so I fight with the can opener (so much so that my mom actually asks if I need help with it, when normally our roles are reversed) and open up a can of refried beans (believe it or not, an excellent source of iron and protein). I make a bean burrito with lots of cheese and settled here to write this journal.

In summation, I’ve been a royal train wreck all day, and yet I still have managed to not snap at anyone yet. Though I did keep moving the stupid dog off of my stomach. Am I ever glad she doesn’t weigh much. The larger dog has tried climbing on me a few times and I think I’m finally beginning to get through to her. I’m not sure how much, though, because she still tries to jump on me when she’s excited.

And yes, the mood swings are daily.

Hello, world!

To start off this fresh blog, I do want to use the generic “hello, world” post that wordpress.com kindly started me off with. Allow me to tell you, the world, a little about myself to get things started, and then we’ll see where things go from there.

Right now, at this very moment, I am sitting in a clustered bedroom in my parents’ home, my fiance asleep behind me, and my firstborn baby still kicking me from inside. I am seven or eight months pregnant, with a due date that has been switched between Aug 28 and Sept 26 so many times that I’ve just shrugged it off. When the child comes, she comes. I am cooking dinner for six people (seven, if you include the unborn baby) and fending off a total of eight dogs (one is a visitor) and eight cats.

For the future, I plan to teach. Unfortunately, I’m a little unclear on WHAT I want to teach at the moment, other than that I like the idea of helping children learn to love learning. I am working now on my sixth year of university education, at my fourth college. Too much to explain in one post, but let’s just put it this way: a combination of college bureaucracy, government restrictions, and some really bad choices have made it close to impossible to graduate now.

So right now, I attend the American Public University System, a 100% online school, with the intent to graduate in roughly a year and a half with a BA in English. I am hoping that my perseverance through all of these past troubles will allow me a place in either an alternative education program or the Teach for America corps, both of which will allow me to teach while obtaining my credentials to be a permanent teacher.

Knowing all of that, what do I really plan to accomplish by making this blog? I plan on writing at least weekly to those who have a sound ear (so to speak) for a variety of topics, ranging from educational, criminal, and political news and opinions on the latest products. Obviously, you’ll also get an inside look into my life as a student, new parent, and the new generation of children who have had to move back home. You’ll also be privy to my opinions on my geeky hobbies, which include books, Facebook, drawing and painting, and owning far too many animals to be sane.

Like I said before: Hello, world!