Sunday, March 29, 2009

Schrodinger's first appearance

L.E.O.'s followers are already gathering. Preparations for her appearance are underway, and we have gained a valuable assistant in the work:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Flower Hospital visit

We visited Flower Hospital yesterday, and made our final decision in favor of Bay Park. Flower was pretty nice: not as long a drive as I thought it would be (twenty minutes, though that was only to the campus and not to whatever entrance we'd be using to drop me off when the time came, since there was no label for "maternity ward" or "breeders this way" or anything so we didn't know which way to go), and the rooms were spacious and well-kept.

But Eric and I both got an unpleasant vibe from the place. We had to talk it out a bit before I was convinced that we had reasons to reject it other than gut instinct--or rather that the gut instinct was based on something substantial. I think on Eric's part it was partly the big tour group we were in and the tour guide's (necessarily?) talking-down-to-the-poor-ignorant-people tone. I didn't like it either, but I can forgive it in a situation like that. We were both put off by what felt like a very unexpectedly traditional attitude towards labor and delivery: "We will cure you of the disease of pregnancy."

I'd heard that Flower was very progressive and modern and mother-friendly; they certainly do encourage having the babies in the rooms, and have birthing rooms with no separate recovery rooms, and no official visiting hours and such. But we got a handout that stated that every woman is placed on electronic fetal monitoring as soon as they're admitted; we got the strong impression that the hospital's, or at least the nurse's, opinion is that every woman would and should want an epidural ("or you can get other pain medication through your IV" and, in the handout, "we also have alternative things like beanbag chairs and aromatherapy"); the nurse asked who was having a boy and reassured those people that the circumcision would take about ten minutes and "usually they do just great." I wondered whether they would kick up a fuss if we were having a boy and didn't want him circumcised. I also wondered whether they were really progressive other than introducing birthing rooms to the area. The guide asked "Is anyone using a midwife?" and when one women raised her hand, said, "There are also two rooms with tubs, if you're interested in that," sounding very dubious about anyone who would do such a thing; whether she meant working with midwives or laboring in water, I wasn't sure which.

(Apparently they used to have a birthing room for water births, but there was some situation in which a woman in the tub needed a bed and there was none in the room, so they took the tub out. I don't see why they couldn't have just added a bed, since the rooms were certainly big enough.)

So I called the midwife group attached to Bay Park this afternoon and got an appointment. I'm to bring in my records from my current doctor when I go; since the appointment is in a week I'm probably going to go pick them up rather than having them mailed. I have to admit I'm looking forward to leaving my doctor, now that we've made the decision--her administrative staff have continued to drive me crazy. And Eric doesn't need even more crazy on his hands.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Wakeups and warmups

I woke up crying this morning. I had just finished a very sad dream (which had nothing to do with L.E.O., incidentally; I'm not so sure my subconscious knows I'm pregnant), but the feeling of sadness persisted long after I realized I had only been dreaming and tried to think of more cheerful things. I'm inclined to think that my hormone levels had shifted during the night, and I'd had the dream as a consequence of already being sad, not the other way around. It's very interesting to feel emotions and know that they're caused by my internal workings rather than my reactions to events or memories; interesting, but not comfortable.

The dream was about death, and it also occurred to me that maybe my subconscious was trying to tell me something, so I laid in bed with my hand pressed to my abdomen until I felt a couple of L.E.O.'s movements. These have been changing, growing both more strong and more diffuse--I'm not always positive that they're not just uterine muscle contractions. (Or maybe they're my muscles contracting in response to being kicked.) I looked up week 22 (which we're just starting) this morning, and the Mayo Guide says of this month in general, "You'll probably feel your baby's first kicks. These are a far cry from the fluttery, butterflies-in-the-stomach movements of last month." It also says that around 22 weeks I may start experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions, which are painless, "warm-up" contractions, also called false labor. I don't think that's what's going on, since it says they're easy to mistake for real contractions and I never had any impression that that might be what was happening, but things are definitely warming up down there.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Because the kicking wasn't enough

I have just started to really notice that there is extra girth around my middle. Bending over to get a lid from the cabinet this evening was not as easy as it used to be. I guess I'd better try on those maternity pants Mom sent. L.E.O. is making herself known.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bay Park hospital

We visited Bay Park Hospital last night. They don't have set tour times, just a "pop in whenever" policy, though they do ask that you call ahead to make sure a room will be available for viewing, and when I called they asked if we could come a little later than we'd proposed because that was just at shift change. "Um, hi," I said as we approached the nurses' station. "We were wondering if we could get a tour...?"

"Sure!" said one of the nurses, Lisa, leaping up. It was a slow night, apparently; she said as much as she was showing us one of the rooms. They have ten rooms there (two with tubs), where labor, delivery, and postpartum recovery happen; you don't get moved. "We have cable," Lisa said, "and a DVD player, and a little fridge down here. The couch pulls out into a bed. There's a shower in the bathroom, there. The bed isn't very comfortable because it's a labor bed, but we put a mattress-type cover over it. There are no visiting hours, just quiet time at night." She showed us the nursery and the OR and the kitchenette ("snacks are for the mothers only," she said, "but there's coffee and tea and cocoa for guests. The cafeteria closes at six, but there's a Meijer right outside") and the waiting room, told us about "the lactation Nazi," and gave us cards for the midwife group and her favorite OB/GYN attached to the hospital. "Congratulations, thanks for coming down, and I hope you choose us!" she said as we left.

We liked it a lot. It looks new and efficient and fairly comfortable, and very family-oriented, and all the personnel seemed happy to be there. We definitely like it better than Toledo Hospital, and it's very close to work, so appointments with the midwives or OB/GYN would be convenient. We're touring Flower Hospital on Monday, and then we'll decide for sure, but Flower will have to be pretty impressive to get me to forsake the sixteen minutes' drive to Bay Park.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Halfway there

This was not the picture I meant, but since I've had to put away my old pants, we decided it was time to start thinking about bump pictures again. So here's me at twenty weeks:

There's a bit of a change if you compare it to the baseline, but so far I just look like I need to do some sit-ups. At least when I'm wearing my regular clothes--Mom sent some maternity clothes that pretty much scream "look at me, I'm pregnant!" so if I start feeling insecure about my disappearing waist I could always walk around in those.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

That's Ms. Overlord to you

The ultrasound went very well, despite the two of us still sneezing and coughing. The goop wasn't that cold, though it did get all over my clothes, and I didn't get nauseated as a friend had warned me I might. We saw one heart, one head, two arms, two legs. The technician was most devoted to the pursuit of getting a shot of a foot. If we'd realized we'd be getting a bunch we would have asked for one of the brain.

Sexing was difficult because L.E.O. apparently decided to cross both legs under her butt like a miniature contortionist, but the technician finally said, "Here we go. This is right between the legs...and there's nothing there." She warned us there was a 3% chance she was wrong, but failing that, we're having a little girl. She's showing exactly the growth she should, and the doctor afterward told us that the quad screen and the CF test had both come back negative. So it was a very happy visit. Pictures are forthcoming. We also feel compelled to warn you: L.E.O. will not accept sacrifices in pink.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Immunosuppression strikes again

I have another cold. I am displeased. I went clothes shopping today because my waist has finally expanded a couple of inches, but I didn't stay out too long because too long without hot tea makes my sinuses shrivel and complain. I'm intensely tempted to stay home sick tomorrow (after having successfully resisted "calling in pregnant" during the first trimester), but work remains very busy, plus I'm going to be out at least half of Tuesday for the ultrasound. Just two days more of ignorance until we find out (assuming L.E.O. cooperates) if our next evil overlord will be a Master or a Madame. You may place your bets now.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


It feels mostly like little muscle spasms, but every once in a while there's an actual tap or bump. I do believe there's something in there. It makes me so happy, especially since I've been starting to feel like I've somehow gotten a small bowling ball lodged down there that sloshes around whenever I get up from a chair.

("You see?" says Eric. "Everything's fine. You were worried for nothing." Ha! I have not yet begun to worry.)

We took the Toledo Hospital maternity tour last night, with five or six other couples and an assortment of friends/sisters/grandparents (I assume). Normally the tour is recommended in your seventh or eighth month, I believe, but we went early because we're still researching hospitals. I was slightly embarrassed to be in the company of all these obviously pregnant women, one of whom had already been to the hospital for a false alarm and another of whom is due next week, with no discernible bulge under my sweater.

I was more embarrassed when we gathered in one of the labor and delivery rooms and I started getting dizzy and had to sit on the floor before I fell over. All these women in their third trimesters and I'm the one who can't handle standing in a room for ten minutes. I don't know what caused it--too much dinner, not enough air in the room, thinking about "the equipment" in the room's closet, instinctive reaction to hospitals? If I have the same reaction when we look at the other hospitals on our list, maybe we'll consider a home birth. We can refinish the bathtub by July, I'm sure.