Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Nursery photos!

Well, the nursery isn't completely finished, but it won't be until after my shower on February 1, so I thought I'd post some mostly-done pictures. We're in love with it... it's the only room in the apartment where everything matches! Sorry the pictures look so gloomy. It's snowing here yet again, but I promise it's a bright and happy yellow room when the sun shines in!

This is the view from the door.

The wonderful big (and usually very sunny) window!

My nursing glider... I sit in it once in awhile just to look around the room. I made that lampshade, by the way, out of an extra valence that came with the bedding set. (It was a plain white lampshade before.) The little table is just temporary-- Tyler's dad is building us one to match the rest of our nursery furniture.

Changing table with quilt hanging above it and diaper stacker. I found that fold-up travel swing on the right at a yard sale for ridiculously cheap. Actually, everything in this room came from a yard sale except the changing table and glider.

And the crib! The thing hanging on it is a playmat that I made by cutting up the bumper that came with our bedding set. I'm too paranoid to use the bumper since there have been all those studies that show they may increase the risk of SIDS, so we have the breathable mesh kind on there instead. I didn't want to waste the cute bumper, though! I left the ties on the ends to tie rattles and toys to so they don't get away from the baby while it's playing.

So there it is... our bumblebee nursery. It has a bookshelf on another wall that's already filling up with baby books, and a nice big walk-in closet too, which we are in the process of organizing. I love it!!

A quick update on other things: the contractions are somewhat better, I think resting has helped a lot. I still constantly feel like I'm in early labor, though, so that is... exhausting. Tyler is in New Zealand (!) for the next two and a half weeks, on a trip with some other geology and paleontology students. I'm really jealous (and pretty lonely and bored), but he'll be back soon enough. It's weird-- he's been planning this trip for so long that I always think of it as "sometime a long time from now, Tyler will go to New Zealand, and then after that we'll have the baby." And now he's there, so that means baby is coming really soon! Ack! Nine weeks until my due date is not a very long time... here's hoping baby stays put for at least another six.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

29 weeks: maternity photos

Well, Tyler and I have been snowed in for the last couple of days, so we've been passing the time by organizing the nursery (pics soon, it's almost done!) and taking a few amateur maternity pics to remember my hugeness by...

I wanted to take them before I got too enormous and bloated, and before any stretch marks developed (I know they're coming, I just don't know when)... we don't want to scare anyone, now do we? :) Seriously though, strangers have been looking at my belly and saying "awww, how exciting, a Christmas baby!" Fortunately, I have so far restrained myself from following this up with a nice big Christmas kick to the shins.

Happy holidays to everyone!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Suddenly a stay-at-home mom...

...at least in the short term. I made a big decision this week. I decided to take the upcoming semester off from school, possibly the whole year.

My contractions have continued since last Friday... now that I have been able to rest a little, it seems like they only start up when I'm active, which stinks because I like to be active, but at least I don't feel like I'm constantly on the edge of going into labor. It's more of an uncomfortable thing, instead of a dangerous thing. I've seen my OB three times this week (getting a little sick of that!) and she says that some women just contract throughout the last part of their pregnancies due to an "irritable uterus", and although she can't predict when I'll deliver, it is likely to be somewhat early and I will just be very uncomfortable for the remainder of my pregnancy. She said I should stop working if I can, so that's what I'm going to do.

Okay, uncomfortable. I can deal with that. Pregnancy isn't exactly a walk in the park anyway towards the end, right? I'll take uncomfortable with my baby still inside me any day over comfortable with my baby in the NICU. I do have the terbutaline, but it doesn't work unless I take the maximum dose, so I just try to rest as much as I can to keep the contractions from starting in the first place.

(Side note: "irritable uterus". Haha. Hahahahaha. Doesn't it just make sense that even my uterus is grouchy?)

So, back to my leave of absence from school. I don't think I'm as happy about it as I should be. I should be thrilled that I can sleep in, and get the nursery done, and read my parenting books, and most of all I should be ecstatic that I get to spend more than 6 weeks with my baby. And don't get me wrong, I am, but it's hard not to feel anxious about missing so much school when I've worked so hard to get where I am. I feel sad about the fact that most likely I won't graduate with my class, and I'm going to miss my friends and just being around people, because this means I'll be alone in the apartment a lot since Tyler doesn't get home until 7:30 at night. I'll miss taking care of patients and being in clinic, because even though it's stressful (too stressful for me at this point, with these complications), I do enjoy it and it really is what I want to do with mylife. I never saw myself being a stay-at-home mom for any period of time because I've always been so focused on my career, but I know that this will be time with my baby that I'll never get back, and I don't think I will regret taking this time to be home. I definitely know that I have to do everything I can to try to keep my baby from coming early, and since it doesn't really matter exactly when I graduate and we don't need my student loan income to live, this is the right thing to do. Tyler is relieved that I won't be running around in the clinic anymore, and as he pointed out, it certainly will make things easier for him now that I'll be home! We won't need the very expensive daycare, for one thing.

I guess this is just one more lesson for me in the School of Things Don't Always Go As Planned. I've always been such a control freak about my life. I don't believe that anything is "meant to be", I've always believed that it's you and the decisions that you make that determine what happens to you, but honestly I'm starting to wonder...

I did need to learn that sometimes you have to work around things that happen rather than working to make things happen, and I have definitely learned that by now! I wonder what else I have in store for me.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Preterm WHAT??

I told this baby a few months ago that I didn't want to go back to L&D until I deliver, but apparently he or she is as stubborn as his or her father... (what?? It's definitely not from my side of the family.)

I woke up this morning around 4 and then again around 6 with intense cramping and, ah, digestive issues. I also had a little bit of spotting, which freaked me out, but I went to school anyway because I had to do a root canal this morning and, oh right, I am an idiot. I guess I went because I felt okay when it came time to go to school, and the spotting was just a tiny little bit and it had stopped. Anyway, I got to school and googled it (FYI, if you are pregnant, do not google "bleeding in third trimester" unless you really want to freak yourself out), and decided I'd better call my OB. The doctor on call said that I should probably go in to get the bleeding checked out, but it sounded like just a GI issue.

So I reluctantly left school a half hour after I'd arrived, and went home to get Tyler before heading to L&D (labor and delivery). By this time I was having some cramping off and on-- it didn't exactly hurt, but it was uncomfortable. I didn't say anything to Tyler, he seemed anxious enough as it was... We checked in and they hooked me up to some monitors, and as soon as the nurse got it on my belly she pointed at the screen and said "look, see? That's a contraction... how far along are you again?"

So, okay, this is something that no pregnant woman and her partner ever wants to hear at 28 weeks. We stared at her in a kind of horrified way and she said "well, we'll just watch it for awhile, I'll go call your doctor" and left the room while Tyler and I silently freaked out. A couple minutes went by and I had a stronger contraction. Another few minutes, and another one. That's when I realized that they were regular and timeable and I started to feel panicky, because that means it's the real deal, not just Braxton Hicks. Tyler started pacing around the room and hovering over me nervously while I stared at the ceiling and tried not to cry.

Soon my doctor came rushing in, and she and the nurse somehow produced this ridiculously enormous spotlight out of nowhere to shine on my lady business while she did an internal exam to see if I was dilated. (My first internal: not pleasant. That's all I will say about that.) She said that the baby was high up and my cervix was still closed, so I wasn't considered to be in preterm labor-- it was just preterm contractions that weren't efficient enough to dilate my cervix. And even though I know that means I could have gone into labor if I hadn't gone in to L&D (and wow am I glad I went in, because I was strongly considering staying at school), I can't tell you how much better that made me feel. She said they'd monitor me for awhile and give me terbutaline to stop the contractions, and she took a swab for a fetal fibronectin test.

The test came back negative, meaning that I have a high probability of not delivering within the next two weeks. My OB said that it was a very positive sign, but that was all they could really tell me for now. Luckily I have my regular appointment tomorrow so I can ask if this puts me at a higher risk for preterm delivery, because I was too scatterbrained today to ask.

Anyway, what a nightmare. To top it off, before we left the nurse told me I should consider this a "wake-up call" and start taking better care of myself... WTF?? I don't know what I could possibly be doing wrong, other than being stressed about clinic, which I really can't avoid. And I guess I should be drinking more water. I eat well, I work out, I sleep as much as I can, and I don't do anything physically strenuous. I didn't really know what to say to her, but it's been really bothering me tonight. She didn't say it in a mean way, but I still can't help but feel like she was kind of accusing me of not caring for my baby. Believe me, lady, I worry all the time about whether I'm doing enough for this child. I don't need your "suggestions" about wake-up calls, and I especially don't need them after I've just had a preterm labor scare. Biznatch.

I'm counting my blessings, though, because the baby is still in there and I didn't get put on bedrest! And I guess I got another day off, too, which is always kind of nice.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I think I'll be needing one of these

Meet the Gopher. I found it while searching for closet organizers on Bed Bath and Beyond online. I'm officially getting so lazy and so large that I can't be bothered to bend down and pick things up when I drop them (which is often)... so this super-duper reaching tool is at the top of my Christmas list.

I'm just kidding. I'm not that bad (yet). In fact, for me, the third trimester seems to have come with a burst of energy... or at least motivation. I'm more tired than I have been, but the fact that suddenly the baby seems right around the corner has jolted me into making endless baby to-do lists and knocking things off of them every day. Just this week, I've cleared out the nursery closet, organized the utility/laundry room, put down a deposit on our daycare, signed up for birth classes, reorganized my spring rotation schedule to allow for my maternity leave (which my school kindly failed to do for me, despite the fact that this was the entire reason I informed them that I was pregnant), revamped our baby registry, put together lists of addresses for my shower and for sending out birth announcements (which I also designed, one for a boy and one for a girl), and researched and bought some nursing bras and tanks.

All this in addition to school and some Christmas shopping here and there... whew!! Now that I think about it, I am pretty tired. :) So it's off to watch a movie with Tyler for his 26th birthday, which is today. Belly pic this week, though, I promise! I have to justify my Gopher somehow, right? And what better way than to post a picture of my hugeness for the whole internet to see?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My patients are trying my patience.

27 weeks today-- I should put up a belly pic, but I am too tired to change out of my scrubs and figure out the new camera Tyler and I bought each other for Christmas. (We figured we should be ready take pictures of the baby with something a little better than our iPhones!) I guess this means I'm in the third trimester now... this is all going so fast!

I have something on my mind today that might offend some people who read this blog, because I know it's a lot of pregnant women, many of whom are all about the birth plans. So, I apologize in advance if it does.

This morning, I had a new patient come in for a treatment planning session, where we do a thorough exam and make a plan for all the treatment they're going to need to fix up their mouth. She's a really sweet older lady, I've seen her before on an emergency basis (in fact, she was my first extraction), but today was the day we were going to figure out everything she needed to get done and get approval from all the different departments. After I did her exam, I told her she had moderate periodontal disease and was going to need scaling and root planing (sort of a deep cleaning procedure) in addition to a few fillings and some crowns on her front teeth. She told me she didn't want any sort of gum therapy, she doesn't like to have her teeth cleaned, and she doesn't want crowns-- she just wants this one filling in a front tooth replaced. I tried to explain that at the school, we have to give our patients comprehensive care, and the faculty won't let us place restorations of a type that are likely to fail, and we can't do any kind of restorative work in a mouth that doesn't have a good periodontal status, because essentially it's a waste of the patient's time and money. Anyway, our goal is to get people to have healthy, functional mouths rather than teeth that look okay from the outside but are secretly falling apart. But she just insisted that she had come to the school to get this filling replaced and that was all she wanted. So I had to let her go.

And you know, it's something I've seen with other patients too, although I can usually get them to see my point of view (and they want to stay with the school because the care is so inexpensive). I think it's a really unfortunate trend these days, that patients think they can and should dictate what care they receive. I get that dentistry is a business, and patients are customers to an extent... but the clinic is not a store, and you can't just come in, sit yourself in my chair, and inform me that I'm going to do this filling and nothing else, and furthermore I'm going to put a pin in it because that's the only kind of filling that will stay in your teeth. I mean, seriously?? Why would you even come to me for treatment if you know better than me, and you know exactly how it should be done and I'm just there to do it for you exactly as you specify? What the hell am I going through all of this school for if my patients are going to expect me to do as they say and forget everything I've learned? The irony is, we definitely spend 90% of our time in dental school learning about diagnosis and treatment planning and the "why" of things... and the remaining 10% is spent on physically learning how to do the procedures. And then patients come in with expectations like that. It's really frustrating.

In my opinion, it's a similar situation with the birth plans that pregnant women write to express what they'd like to happen before, during, and after their labor and delivery. Don't get me wrong-- I have certain expectations and wishes for my delivery. I don't want a C-section or an episiotomy. I want an epidural and I want to breastfeed as soon as possible after birth. But you know what? I picked a group of doctors that I trust, who are against unnecessary interventions unless the baby or I are in danger. Beyond that, I'm satisfied to let their superior education and experience be the guide as to what happens to me and my baby. I'm not going to walk into that hospital and and hand everyone a sheet of paper telling them how to do their job.

Patients should have a choice as to what happens to their bodies, that's definitely a basic human right. But there needs to be some kind of limit to that, and that limit seems to be getting pushed further into ridiculous territory as patients get more "empowered" when it comes to their care. If a doctor or dentist caves into a patient's demands even though they know deep down that it's not best for the patient, they are doing that patient a disservice because they went to school so that they would know better.

Anyway, that's what's been on my mind today... I can tell this is going to be an issue for the rest of my career, so that's pretty frustrating to me.