I was officially 37 weeks yesterday. And because of it I think my brain flipped some crazy emotional triggers. I had a doctors appointment, which was good. Got to reconnect with my doctor who’d been away in Cambodia doing some missions work for a couple weeks. I love that. She goes places and uses her medical skills to treat and train others who are working and living in anything but first world conditions. I also like it because she “gets” our family more than most would. That’s a blessing to us.
She’s amazing. Her bedside manner is so good. When it came time to listen to the heartbeat she got Olivia up on the exam table with me and let her push the buttons and showed her how to move the doppler. If you’ve ever had a toddler while being pregnant with the next baby you’ll know this is a big deal. Rather than Olivia not wanting to “talk about it” (it being the baby) she got to be engaged and involved and in turn felt pretty darn proud of herself.
We had some shopping to do later and while out I got a phone call from my doctor because she’d had more time to go over my ultrasound results from the day before and to flip through my chart from Haiti a bit more. She basically confirmed something that we had already guessed – Junior is a big boy. I get to go for another one of those fabulous glucose tests today just to make sure we didn’t miss any gestational diabetes. I did the test in Port, as well as another glucose fasting test, but she just wants to confirm. We also get another ultrasound in a week and a bit.
Speaking of ultrasounds… the one on Tuesday was fun. I know now that for a good part of the pregnancy I had some emotional distance because of the miscarriage I had back in 2008. It wasn’t major or bad, just that it was hard to wrap my head around certain things. Like, I kept thinking about the baby as being about 10 inches long – for most of the last 4 months or so. And I know that wasn’t the case by the look of my expanding middle, but in my head that’s the way it was. Kind of like it was hard to believe that he was growing so fast. It wasn’t until our last ultrasound in Haiti when he cooperated and showed us his face. We could see his eyes, nose, cheek bones, chin and lips. He became more of a little person to me that day. On Tuesday I got to see those little cheekbones now covered in lots of baby cheek chub, and a little foot. Now I’m more eager to meet this little man that’s been rolling around inside me.
I think after a miscarriage the fact that you get to a point where you realize everything is fine, that the baby is fine and that things are normal is, well, in some ways hard. It’s hard to shift that brain stuff. But it is. This pregnancy has been great overall and I’m SO thankful. And in a few weeks we’ll be meeting our little man. After I emailed the pictures to Chris we were talking and we both said that we’re at the point where we can’t wait to see what he looks like here on the outside.
The thing that was hard about the ultrasound was that Chris wasn’t there. Mom came with me which was fun and special in it’s own way, but it was the first time Chris hadn’t been with me and that was hard. Yesterday I pretty much had a pregnant woman meltdown on the phone and we both realized it was because I was just ready for him to be here. Hitting the 3 weeks to go mark made reality settle in too – Junior could make his appearance at any time. I’ve been thinking about that and I just want him to wait for his Daddy. That’s what I want and need. And I’m sure he will, but you know how us pregnant ladies think…
The good news is that as I write Chris is sitting in the airport in Port waiting to board a plane. He’ll be arriving in Seattle tonight and spending the weekend there doing some speaking and visiting friends (Hi Everyone!). I wish I could be in two places at once, but I can’t so I’ll suck it up. I think knowing that we’ll be in the same time zone, finally, added to my meltdown yesterday. To be honest, I’m surprised it took as long as it did! We’ve never been apart for more than two weeks since we got married, let alone as a family. I think overall Olivia and I have done well, as has Chris on his end thanks to having some great people around him. I was expecting the separation to lead to lots of kid meltdowns and the like, but Olivia has been amazing.
What Olivia has not been privy to is the exact date of Daddy’s arrival. She knows he’s coming and says things like “This is Daddy’s side of the bed when he comes.” Knowing my kid the way I do we’re in eliminate the opportunities for melt down mode. We talk about “when Daddy comes” and what things we’ll do, but no specifics. I decided I didn’t want to go there. If I did, and did the count down and the “how many sleeps?” thing it would lead to tears and behaviour stuff I just don’t have the energy for. Sooo, on Monday her and I will go to school. Then we’ll come home for lunch. And then we’ll hop in the car and when she asks where we’re going I’ll tell her Kelowna. And when we get to the airport she can know why. And then all that’s left is to be excited that within a short period of time her Dad will be walking through the doors. And it’ll be one sweet reunion, I know that for sure. The thing that makes me the happiest is that I know after we get back to Haiti we won’t have to do separations like this unless there are some unforeseen circumstances. We won’t be taking separate vacations because we’re waiting on kid paperwork or anything like that. We’ll be a unit and that makes my heart so happy. It’s been a long haul over the last few years. Worth it when I look at the reasons why, but long in so many ways. I feel like we’re closing a chapter and that feels so good.
And, once Daddy is here we all get to try and keep ourselves occupied while we wait for the appearance of Junior. One thing that made me really happy yesterday was that my doctor informed me that she doesn’t induce for big babies. That was a question we’d had and it was so nice to hear her views on it. Even though I’m overweight, I’m also tall. She said that she doesn’t induce for large babies because it can open the door for a lot of other interventions that she didn’t feel necessary, and that by letting things go on their own it was actually better for my delivery and for the baby. Huge relief. I was worried people would be pressuring us to move things along.
One thing that has been interesting to me is the conversations I’ve had with people around the whole birthing issue. I want to preface this next bit by saying that I AM NOT JUDGING ANYONE with what I’m going to share. Just sharing my thoughts/feelings. Our thoughts/feelings.
When I tell people that we want to have a natural childbirth, if possible, I get a variety of responses. Interestingly enough, one of the most frequent responses is along the lines of “Don’t feel like you need to be a hero, there’s nothing wrong with wanting some pain relief.” Okay. I didn’t say that there was. I just said that for us, we want to go as naturally as possible. That decision is based on the things we’ve read, watched and learned. It’s based on what we feel is best for me and for our baby. I’m not making that decision because I want to be considered a superhero. Mixed in there is also the knowledge that labour and delivery doesn’t often go as we plan it to, and that we need some flexibility in there. And we want to be flexible. The thing I love is that we have a great doctor who absolutely supports our wishes, but also cares about my well-being and the well-being of our baby. If we’re in an emergency situation, she’ll let us know so we can make the best decision possible at the time.
For me, I want to try for a natural delivery because that’s something that’s really important to me. I do feel it’s the best option for me and my recovery, and I feel it’s best for my baby. I think part of my feelings on this have also been developed from living in a place where I see that women have babies every day without even having the option of having pain relief or other interventions. Babies come when they’re ready and women deliver them the way their bodies were designed to. I don’t believe it’s wrong to want pain relief, etc. It’s just not the choice we’ve made at this point. It’s not being judgmental, it’s just what we feel is best for us personally. It kind of makes me crazy when I feel like people are trying to persuade me to feel differently because they do. Let’s face it. About 30 years ago, the option wasn’t even really there and women had babies every day and were fine. And today women have babies every day and are fine. How a woman and her husband choose to do that is actually a personal decision.
There, those are my thoughts on pregnancy and babies right now.
On an entirely different note, I’m going to attempt something this weekend that should be interesting. That’s my way of saying I have no idea what the results will be.
We had Olivia’s hair done a few days before we left. It was the first time Yvania did “chording”, the rope style twists. She also used a softer kind of hair that felt more natural. It looked really cute. But, it didn’t hold up well, I suspect because of all the swimming etc. I had to take them out earlier this week. In some places the braids were pulling and I was afraid Olivia would have hair breaking off. She’d lost a few already, which means small bald patches if you know what to look for. So, this left me with a dilemma. Do I just leave her hair for the next two months and feel like a crappy Mom because I know with the baby coming I’m not going to have the energy to do it etc every day, or do I try to do something about it?
I decided on the later. There was an ad on the radio for a new store that had opened up in Vernon that sold hair extensions etc so I decided to check it out. Their prices for doing them there were not anything I would ever pay considering I know how cheap we can do it in Haiti, so that ruled that out. My biggest concern for trying it myself was just starting the braids. I know how to braid etc, just don’t do it all that often. I had watched Yvania do the braids and figured I could give it a whirl. I asked for help and picked out the hair and it cost the same amount as paying Yvania to do it, so I didn’t feel like I was taking a hit.
The cool thing was that the two women running the store were Haitian. As I talked to the one helping me she asked where Olivia was from. When I said Haiti she said, “I was adopted from Haiti too!” We then talked about a lot of things and it was fun to just make that connection. Vernon is getting to be more and more multi-racial, but it tends to be more East Indian and Pakistani families, not so many black people. Finding those connections as an adoptive mom are good.
My favorite part of the whole experience was right when I was paying. I had given Olivia the bag to hold and as I was gathering my stuff and chatting she wandered around a bit, then came back to where we were standing and said, very matter of factly, “Mom. I want orange hair.” Then had this little indignant look on her face that crossed with a small sigh, almost like she was saying, “Okay, I told you. Now what are we going to do about it?” I burst out laughing and then told her that when she’s older she can pick whatever color hair she wants, but right now, it was going to be brown!