Yep, Still Waiting

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I kind of wish our doctor hadn’t said (several times) that this baby would be early. First, I don’t think doctors can really tell. Second, I feel like she jinxed us. And lastly, I feel like she set us up for the expectation that he might be early and then…39 weeks comes and still no baby…disappointing! Especially considering MOST first babies are LATE.

So for three-ish weeks now I’ve had off and on cramping every day and every few days I start having contractions that last a few hours and then stop. Every time it happens I think “this isn’t real” and then the contractions start to change and I think “hmmm maybe these ARE the real thing?!” I try not to get too excited but it’s hard not be excited! And then…the contractions stop.

39 Weeks

Had our 39 week doctor appointment. Blood pressure was 102/58. Everything sounded good and normal and I was measuring on point.

Not much has changed. Still around 1 cm dilated–not quite 2 cm. She said he’s lower than he was last week; which I was actually wondering about because I thought he felt lower. And I used to be able to feel his little butt and legs in certain spots and haven’t felt them there the last few days.

39weeks

Because of my age (I am a geriatric mom afterall — I hate that label) the doctor said they probably wouldn’t let me go too far past my due date so if he’s not here in the next week or so we might be talking induction. I really hope not. While my Birth Plan was’t all that detailed and I am in the “whatever happens, happens” boat, scheduling an induction was not on my radar for this thing. Who knows. I’m crossing my fingers he decides to make his grand entrance this weekend.

Emotions

At the tail end of Week 38 and the beginning of Week 39 I think I had some kind of surge of hormones or something. Suddenly I was an emotional mess, crying at everything. Even little things that shouldn’t make you cry. Probably a combination of hormones + lack of sleep + feeling ready to be done. Also, I’ve had an acne outbreak with I’ve thankfully been avoiding for the last few months…so more hormonal changes??

Am I nervous? Starting to be. I hadn’t been nervous and anxious about the birth process mostly because I didn’t really know what to expect and hadn’t given it too much thought. I know, that makes no sense. But the last week or so I decided to read some birth stories by bloggers I like and I think the details kind of made me nervous. Mostly the time involved in the birth — like what if it takes 2 days?!?! And also the pain. So that has me slightly nervous but I’m trying not to overthink it too much. I mean, what can I do about it? It’s going to happen the way it happens…

My Body 

How am I feeling? Mixed bag. I was officially over it a few weeks ago. The body aches and pains are kind of constant. It is difficult to walk sometimes because of the pressure, how low he is and the ligaments feel stretched to the max.

Despite that, I suppose I am feeling okay. No other real complaints other than being uncomfortable. I’m still working out. Swimming is the best. It’s the only activity and time where all the aches and pains go away. I can swim and feel good, which is nice. I do a mile twice a week and always feel better after I do it. I do the elliptical 1-2x a week and that feels ok. There’s not much else I can do at this point.

I got some tea that is supposed to help with labor –red raspberry leaf. It tasted really good. Supposedly it helps “tone” the uterus and can assist in moving things a long with labor. I drank it once and about an hour or so later I felt sick to my stomach. Like I was going to be sick. I’m not sure if it was a fluke because I haven’t tried the tea again since. Lots of people swear by it so I will give it another try. Maybe I just won’t have it right before bed.

Nesting

Not really having the nesting urge lately. I’d had the urge (like crazy!!!) for months but the last few weeks it’s been the opposite–I feel more like a slug than some super-crazy-nesting-clean-everything. But we did go couch shopping (about 2 years overdue) so maybe that’s nesting?

The animals have been going ABSOLUTELY BONKERS lately.

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I swear, either it was a full moon, the Spring Crazies or an impending Earthquake or something because for the last week they’ve all been absolutely CRAZED OUT OF THEIR MINDS. Bella is doing laps through the house, unable to sit still for 2 seconds, she’s chasing Fat Kitty, Fat Kitty is teasing her. They are both being such spazzes! I have no idea what’s going on. And in between the crazy spazz-outs they both come over and sniff my belly. Maybe they can tell something is happening?!?

This is kind of my mood lately:

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So that’s about it from our neck of the woods. Probably won’t update again until he’s here! 🙂

Self-Care, Anxiety and Post-Partum

I’ve struggled with depression and anxiety most of my life. I’ve taken medications on and off, I’ve been in therapy. After years of therapy and reflection I believe that my issue is mainly anxiety, not depression. While they can go hand-in-hand, anxiety seems to be my biggest problem. I’ve had a lot of therapists over the years, and different types. I’ve gone years without therapy or medication. I know that exercise helps a LOT with the issues I have.

The most recent time I was seeing a counselor, I really liked her a lot. She’d also lost a lot of weight (like 80 pounds I think?) and for the first time I was able to work through some body issue stuff that most people, and most counselors, can’t relate to. She understood. She was great! Then she went out on maternity leave and I had the option to see someone else but decided not to. Of course, she decided not to come back so I couldn’t see her anymore anyways if she came back. It’s been over a year since I’ve seen a therapist and decided it was time to go back.

The search for someone new began.

This part sucks. Big time. Like I said, I’ve had dozens over the years. I moved, insurance changes, therapists leave, etc etc. So I am well-versed in the “find a new therapist, give them the cliffsnotes version and see if we’re a good match” routine. It still sucks. I hate starting over.

This time, I was on a mission. My focus was not going to be body issues or other issues I’ve discussed in therapy in the past. This time I had something very specific to discuss: post-partum depression (PPD).

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Knowing my history with anxiety and depression, being off medications for a year and a half, not knowing what it would be like after the baby arrives, I knew it was good to find someone to talk to NOW and make sure I’m on the right track. I felt like it was better to be prepared. Know the warning signs. Learn some coping skills NOW. Try and avoid what may (or may not) happen.

I know very little about PPD. And I find that in my reading, not a lot of people talk about it. I don’t know why. It seems like it’s a common occurrence.

“Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby.

The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms for depression, but they also include:

  • Trouble sleeping when your baby sleeps (more than the lack of sleep new moms usually get).
  • Feeling numb or disconnected from your baby.
  • Having scary or negative thoughts about the baby, like thinking someone will take your baby away or hurt your baby.
  • Worrying that you will hurt the baby.
  • Feeling guilty about not being a good mom, or ashamed that you cannot care for your baby.

According to a CDC survey, 8 to 19% of women reported having frequent postpartum depressive symptoms. (CDC)”

I’ve seen stats that are kind of all over the place but the general number seems to be between 11-20% of women suffer from PPD. Reading more into it, I feel like what *I* personally need to be more aware of is Post-Partum Anxiety. Considering that anxiety has been my biggest issue (far over depression), it stands to reason that this could become an issue.

Something that I’ve found disappointing with the blog world is the lack of disclosure and the sugar-coating of things. Blogs I loved to read…I ended up feeling disappointed because they’d have a baby and everything would be portrayed as rainbows and sunshine and everything was PERFECT. Then, sometimes (but not always), they’d share months later that things weren’t the perfect portrayal they presented. They struggled. Baby was tongue-tied and couldn’t breastfeed, everyone was suffering stress and exhaustion, mom suffered from PPD, etc etc.

I just wish there was more of a community, more transparency, more honesty. I feel like women are expected to be perfect, not complain about anything…when the reality might be very different and wouldn’t it be NICE to be surrounded by people that understand? And have been through it? Can relate? Can assist? Why isn’t there more of a community??

Anyways…I saw a new therapist and discussed my concerns with her. I really like the new person I’m seeing. She’s a behaviorist and with just a few sessions I already felt like I understood how to “fix” anxiety better with HER than any other therapists I’ve seen.

My post-partum plan:

Of course this is just a plan, it may or may not happen. But it’s my goal, at the very least.

  1. Take a shower and get dressed every day.
  2. When cleared by my doctor, get back to exercising when I can. I know myself and I know that physical activity helps with my anxiety. Even if it’s just taking the little boy and Bella outside for a walk every single day, I need to do something.
  3. Continue going to therapy and learn coping skills for my anxiety.
  4. Self-care!
  5. Get out of the house, see friends and family, do outings! I know myself and being cooped up in the house will make me a little crazy. 🙂 I get stir-crazy after being home sick with a cold for a few days!
  6. Learn to ask for help, and accept help when it’s offered.

 

I talked to a friend recently who suffers from debilitating anxiety. I understand that my anxiety is not a panic disorder (like hers is) and that I do already have SOME coping skills that help me with my anxiety. I’m doing okay–is my anxiety conquered? Not by a long shot. But I am managing it. Anyways, my friend is in cognitive behavioral therapy and she had a fabulous suggestion that she’s being doing for her anxiety. When the panic and anxiety starts to take hold, she closes her eyes and tries to name 5 sounds she hears in that moment. She said it’s really helpful to get her to focus on something else, calm down, take the rising panic out of the anxiety and try and re-focus her energy and mental thread. I’ve tried it and it works!

I really struggle with vague “just try to refocus your thoughts” kind of advice, which is why some therapists have just not worked for me before. I don’t do abstract. Don’t just tell me to be “mindful” tell me what that MEANS. Tell me what it LOOKS like to be “mindful.” So I tried my friend’s advice and I liked it. Trying to name 5 sounds I hear in the moment of anxiety is a good distraction.

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Self-Care

Self-care is kind of a popular buzzword these days but it really is important. In the past self-care for me looked like this: spending time with friends, working out, treating myself to a pedicure, getting regular massages (thank you insurance!), having downtime to read and watch Netflix, cuddling with my fur-babies.

I’ve started keeping a list of things I want to do. Here are some ideas I found on self-care.

80+ Self-Care Ideas

Seven Types of Self-Care Activities for Coping with Stress

134 Activities to Add to Your Self-Care Plan

You Just Had a Baby

 

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I’m so excited about the baby’s arrival! I want to BE PREPARED the best I can so I can enjoy every second of this amazing journey we are about to go on.

Do you have any advice or can you relate to this? What helped you?