Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 159: Something in the Air

I've got to vent.  One blog for complaining.  Just one I promise.

You know that feeling you get right before you are about to sneeze?  That sort of uncomfortable anticipatory hazy pressure behind your nose and eyes, which, if you're lucky, is immediately released when you actually do sneeze?  Well I have that feeling all the time now.  Nonstop.  With no end in sight.

This is what I get for posting my last blog about how this pregnancy is going to be as all-natural as possible and how don't like taking drugs.  Normally this time of year when all the pollen is blowing in and the weather is changing, I take Claritin D as-needed and it keeps my allergy symptoms under control.  I've never fully known the extent of my allergies because I've always just taken that antihistamine/decongestant at the first sign of allergens in the air.  This year I am getting a glimpse of what my life would be like if antihistamine/decongestants had never been developed.  And oh man am I miserable.  This weekend I started having allergy symptoms unlike anything I have ever experienced my whole life.  No joke yesterday I probably sneezed upward of two hundred times. I could handle the nose and eye stuff, but then it spread to my lungs and I've been wheezing and coughing up grossies since Sunday morning.  I literally can't think straight.  My eyes are so watery I can't see straight.  I cough and sneeze (and pee my pants) myself into uncontrolled frustration.  I almost broke a glass when I was trying to unload the dishwasher last night and a violent sneezing fit came on.  I can't sleep.  I've been through a whole box of Costco tissues in the last 12 hours a.k.a. the skin under and around my nose is completely destroyed.  I've got chills and itchies all over.

According to some, it is still safe to take loratadine and pseudophedrine during your second trimester of pregnancy, but many others say that there is no such thing as a "safe" drug to take when you are pregnant because anything you take, your baby (mine is <1% of my body weight right now) takes.  I'm not taking any chances especially since I know someone who took pseudophedrine during the latter half of her pregnancy and her breast milk never came in.  Supposedly Benadryl is "safe" for the baby throughout all nine months of pregnancy but Benadryl doesn't really do much for me besides knock me out (although I have taken it a few times when I've known I'm going to be in a cat house) and I'm still trying to not take drugs unless absolutely necessary.  So I suffer.

I saw my OBGYN yesterday (routine 22-week check up, everything/everyone looks good!) and he could see how sick and miserable I was... but what else could he say besides "call us if you get a fever, otherwise lots of fluids and rest"... it's not like there's anything he can do besides quarantine me to a room with no air particles.

I'm seeing an Allergist next week to get some testing done and hopefully devise a natural treatment plan.  In the mean time we've purchased two HEPA allergen air filters from Costco and I'm doing saline nasal rinse about three times a day.  And eye drops.  The baby can't feel eye drops.

The humor in it is that the baby seems to think it's hilarious.  He/she has been the most active EVER today.  I like to think my munchkin knows I'm bummed out and wants to cheer me up.  Nothing is more delightful than feeling your baby have a party in your womb all day.  So I'm trying to focus on that!

Alright.  No more complaints after this.  Thanks for listening.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Au Naturale

Anyone who has ever had a conversation of the personal nature with me that lasted more than twenty minutes probably knows that I am a huge fan of Natural Family Planning (NFP).  It's no secret that I love the NFP method for spouse communications and knowing/loving/respecting the body's design, and that I generally oppose introducing artificial chemicals, devices, elective surgeries and petri dishes into the reproduction process or 'marital embrace'.  Most of this comes from my Catholic roots and beliefs about how God designed marriage, sexuality, and the sanctity of life; but it also meshes really well with logic and science/bioethics*... and with my general distaste for pills and procedures when my body might be be just fine without them.

So it shouldn't be a huge surprise that there would be some overlap in this ideology into how I plan to handle my pregnancy and birth.  I had always known I wanted to "try" to have a natural birth, but never really looked into what that would entail.... until I met my husband, who is very passionate about womens' ability to birth naturally and the medical community's tendency to convince them they shouldn't.  Before we were even trying to get pregnant (maybe before we were even married, I can't remember), he encouraged me to watch two of his favorite documentaries: Orgasmic Birth and The Business of Being Born.  They really made me think.  He is as passionate about natural birthing as I am about ending abortion if that tells you anything.

Anyway, I am not as passionate as some about natural vs. medicated birth (it's not a cause I would dedicate my life to) but I definitely know that my preference for bringing my own family into the world is to go all natural.  I also know that I really like and trust my OBGYN (who is totally supportive of natural birth and who I trust to determine if a natural birth is not a safe option for me when that day comes) and that I want to give birth in a hospital, at least for my first.  If it were up to Dan I would be giving birth in a tub in our basement... but I'm just not there yet.

So... the balance between... We looked into the Bradley Method.   We had first heard of it when my doctor recommended it, and then I learned from my mom that my parents did Bradley Method when she had me back in the 1980's -- so I'm a "Bradley Baby" myself.  I've also encountered a few friends who took the classes and loved them.  Basically it's a method for husband-coached natural childbirth, developed by Dr. Robert Bradley in like the 1950's and 60's back when it was unheard of for women to give birth without being drugged up and strapped to a cage, and men certainly didn't go into the delivery room!   It trains you how to tap into a woman's mammal instincts for pain management and to practice healthy nutrition & exercise; gives you all kinds of real knowledge about the labor and birth process and how to handle different scenarios; teaches relaxation for all the months of pregnancy and then labor/birth; and gives the husband all kinds of tools in his tool box to be the best coach and support for his laboring wife.

We went to class #1 of twelve last night in Queen Creek and we are pretty stoked. Shout out to our teacher who we can tell is going to be a wealth of knowledge and a great resource and friend to us during this latter half of my pregnancy.  Also a shout out to my doctor, who not only runs a medical practice where dignity of women, focus on family and sanctity of life are top priorities, but also is supportive of his clients who want to have natural births and doesn't insist on them sticking their feet in stirrups.  And a major shout out to my husband, Daniel, who is going to be so enthusiastically amazing when the time comes for me to endure the athletic event that is labor and birth.

Now, on this lovely afternoon of my lovely day off work, I am going to go do my homework: daily birth squats, tailor sitting, butterfly, pelvic rocking, walking, and relaxing for ten minutes.  Yes please.

Then I get to go finish our taxes...

(*On the topic of bioethics, this site has a lot of great and thorough definitions, although I wouldn't say I agree with all of the opinions presented.  Also, I tune in to hear Fr. Tad Pacholczyk speak whenever I can, he's brilliant.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

ten fingers and ten toes; one miracle

Did you know that with today's sonogram technology, they can check pretty much EVERY part of a baby's anatomy?  I had no idea just how advanced sonograms had gotten until we went for our 20-week appointment.

They checked our munchkin's four heart chambers to make sure each was working property.  I'm not talking about just looking at a beating heart, I'm talking about measuring and examining ALL FOUR chambers of that heart and seeing each doing its job.  Other notable things we got to see were the baby's eyes and nose bridge, his/her stomach filled with fluid (which means he/she is swallowing fluid and practicing for eating on his/her own in another 18 weeks or so), cranium measurements, both kidneys, the length of the itty bitty leg and arm bones, perfect little footprints with ten toes, the baby's spine and ribs and perfectly formed tailbone... there were other things they looked for but I just can't remember them all.  He/she was very active that day so the ultrasound tech had to kind of work around all the movement -- we've got a feisty one.  At one point the baby had his/her fists up in front of his/her face like a boxer, then he/she stretched.  It was so cute.

The most amazing thing to me was when we got to see our baby's face.  At one point we were looking straight at the face of our child, and the mouth was opening and closing, like a puppet almost.  I really felt like I could see what my baby looks like and that he/she was looking right back at me saying mamamamamama.

I just did a little research and found that baby Griffin right now in his/her development TODAY (I'm 21 weeks and 6 days) is the same age as the most premature baby to ever survive.  Amilia Taylor's mother had to lie to doctors about how far along she was (she told them 23 weeks) so that they wouldn't refuse her care when she was born 21 weeks and 6 days after her conception.  She went home four months after she was born.  Amilia is now two and a half years old and doing great.  Google her for more info and pictures.  I found this story kind of neat and inspiring, especially since today when I looked it up out of pure curiosity, turns out she was born at the exact same point that I am in my pregnancy -- to the day -- coincidence for sure, but still pretty neat.  Another article from 2006 talks about how in the UK, premature babies born before 22 weeks are refused care and that the birth is considered a miscarriage even if the baby is born alive and kicking.  I'm not sure if this is still the case but at the time that was the National Standard in their socialized healthcare system.  I didn't have the emotional energy to look into it further, but it really bummed be out.

The more blogs and articles I read about mommyhood and birth and fetal development the more I am in awe at the MIRACLE of conceiving a child and carrying him/her in the womb until he/she is ready to greet the world.  I feel so lucky that I get to do this.  Every time our little munchkin gives me a swift kick to the belly button or wakes me up in the middle of the night I am reminded that I am not just me right now.

This video is a pretty awesome visualization.  If you've never watched it on TED Talks, it's worth the ten minutes!

Oh and some of you might have noticed my superfluous use of "him/her" and "he/she" throughout this blog -- I want to be grammatically correct and avoid saying "it".  The sex of our little baby will be a surprise to the world when he/she is ready to come out and meet everyone.  (But yes, Dan and I know if it's a boy or a girl... we're trying not to rub it in!)

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