Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Slow...

I know last week it sounded like baby S would be here any second and I really was afraid that might be true. I have hoped a few times that labor would start just so that well things could get going. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy to wait it's just that with every day waiting is being uncertain about how things will turn out. At least labor would be the next step. I feel like a traveler. I have a bag packed. I try not to buy too much food. I try to keep plans light and loose. I have things ready most of the time.

Well fast forward to today. A week of lap swimming in the mornings and laying down (and sometimes napping) for an hour or 2 every afternoon plus lounging in the pool as much as possible does work wonders. I'm glad to say today's appointment was better than expected. My blood pressure was down to the somewhat "normal" range and though they did 20 minutes (read 40 but told me I needed 20) on the fetal monitor in a non-stress test everything looked great. I left the office feeling fantastic. I have been having contractions pretty regularly for the past week. I'm not sure I'll believe it when I actually go into labor. Every day feels like a gift to me, to my task list, of time with my firstborn, to cherish being pregnant (which might never happen again), to just be. Mike calls it the "calm before the storm." I'm not sure who's feeling calm about all of this. He just had a major victory at work and is continuing to work hard on some pending big-deal projects at the office. I am trying to get things together at home. There's a birthday party I'd like to bring Sophie to on Saturday. I'm trying not to over commit or over plan the next days it's just difficult not to knowing how life will be post baby. So now is a time for rest, to take it slow. Now is a great time to read my Bible then a book, lounge in the pool, fix my nails and play tea party with my 2 year old. Speaking of that 2 year old. She is currently in bed, it is way past bedtime, she is not sleeping and sounding louder than ever. Unfortunately not everyone agrees that this is a time to take things... slow.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Get Set...

You might think that little things don't matter. Sometimes I think that but not this week. Not in a week where each deliberate thing I did was with blood pressure in mind. I don't usually think about blood pressure. I take it for granted because mine is fine (usually). I don't check it. I don't worry about salt intake. I don't eat a pile of potassium. Bottom line, blood pressure is a little thing and one that doesn't really affect me much. I can't see it. I don't feel it. I forget about it.

This morning I canceled my walk (with a friend) because of blood pressure. I stayed home from the gym (where I usually meet another friend) so I could do an hour of yoga to help lower blood pressure. I ate a potassium rich breakfast, got a babysitter and tried to pray and stay calm on my way to my appointment but alas all the attention gave the blood pressure stage fright and a spike was the unpleasant result.

I lay on my left side in the exam room crying, praying and worried. Last time my blood pressure was THAT high I was sent directly to the hospital and had a baby by morning. But last time I was at my due date. This time I'm at 37 weeks. Baby is little. I feel frustrated and I may be more ready than I was last week but this can't be time. She can't be fully developed enough. Yes some items are checked off of the lists both practical and eternal... but eeeeeeek! Dr. A came in, was kind and sensitive. He recommended an ultrasound to make sure baby and placenta and amniotic fluid were all okay. I could come back in a couple of hours. I could bring my own blood pressure monitor -courtesy of my parents- to calibrate. I need to rest. I ask if that means no more spin class. He looks at me sideways and says you need to be HORIZONTAL when you rest. So I say - that's a yes for no more cardio or? He says I can swim or do water aerobics if I must exercise as long as it doesn't raise my blood pressure when I check it. That is assuming I don't go directly to the hospital after my ultrasound.

Serendipitously my dear friend is in the waiting room for her own appointment as I'm walking out. I get a quick hug then tell her the condensed version of the scoop. I'm thankful just to see her sweet face. God sent her. She might not know it but she wasn't there for an appointment today. At least not in my opinion.

I get my tail to the hospital and preregister. Kind of late, I know, but better now than in 2 hours. I rush to work and tie up loose ends. I make sure Mike has cleared his afternoon and can make it to the 1PM ultrasound. I rush home, get big sister settled and off with her grandparents for the afternoon with an overnight bag just in case. I snatch 2 pb&j sandwiches, my computer, my hospital bag and the infant car seat. There are a few things undone but they don't matter. Husband and wife (me) converge at the doctor's office on time. We scarf down our pb&j and wait.

We wait an hour to get into the ultrasound. The ultrasound machine is new. There are 2 people in the room running it and trying things out on it. It takes another hour. I'm irritated and relieved because they appear to think everything looks great and are busy trying to show me feet and face and other baby characteristics. They want to play with the new machine. I do not but I'm feeling somewhat confused about how to react. They send the doctor in who says it all looks great and I can calibrate my portable blood pressure monitor then I am free to go home if I promise to rest. (horizontal = rest, remember?)

My blood pressure measures fairly low on my portable. They take it on their monitor. It measures much lower, normal. It measures 2 weeks ago pre-worries low! I remember how many people have been praying. I remember many things about how today could have or might have gone. I retake my pressure on the portable. I'm no longer a risk. I assume that's why suddenly all nurses and doctors have gone on with their business. My husband says that the monitors measure close enough. We walk out. No one really notices. I'm relieved.

It feels like being on the starting line at a big race. Last week I heard the official yell "Ready" this week "Set?!" all that's left is a shot or an emphatic "GO!"

It's the little things that I don't notice that do matter. Last night a couple from our Lifegroup (Cove Church Bible Study) gave us all the leftovers from the dinner they made for the group saying "now you don't have to cook tomorrow." Oh am I thankful. Maybe to them it was a little thing but tonight we had soft tacos and tasty rice and I only had to press buttons on the microwave. All seems settled and right. I even get to exercise! I'm allowed to do all things water, swim laps, water aerobics and whatever else I think up as long as it's not on land. The little things do matter even the ones I usually don't see or feel or think about. Tonight I'm tired but I'm also more thankful. It could have gone much differently today and so the little things like my own bed and my own couch, tucking my daughter in and getting her off to sleep all seem more significant. The little things are so crucial.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Getting Ready

Getting ready for baby S to be born in less than a month has been at the front of my mind. I have a room full of baby gear new and from big sister staged but not ready. We recently got sister a bunk bed so that the toddler bed could reconvert to a crib. It's converted and waiting. Sister's room is not quite redone. Our house was housing my parents recently moved from California. I think this is their second week in Carolina... and their move has been a big prep for us too. Though our part in helping them do projects is less now than it was a week ago. Nothing is finished. Nothing is in order. I'm not due for 3.5 weeks but I have this sneaking suspicion, well I'll ignore that for now. Tuesday my blood pressure was up at my checkup. Big surprise. Guess what lovely treat awaits those with a blood pressure spike in the last few weeks of pregnancy? 24 hour urine collection. Joy! I have a 2 year old. Please don't touch that. What is it? Can I hold it? Can I help? This is one thing you canNOT help with. Please go to the other room and shut the door behind you. Yes, I'm okay. Yes mommy is okay. (Am I okay?)

So I read about lowering blood pressure, without medication. Diet - check. Exercise - double check. More potassium - this I can use, I will eat more cantaloupe and watermelon and bananas yum! A massage - oh yea I can do that! Meditate - when? Breathe deeply. Remove stress - haha thank you that's funny. Drink red wine - I wish. I know the real cure for gestational hypertension which this isn't, at least not yet. I'm still on the border of having high pressure.

Then a slip of the tongue reminds me that preparing for baby's arrival is more like preparing for a marathon than it is a sprint. It's more preparing my heart for raising 2 daughters in a godly way than it is preparing for a smooth delivery and welcome home for baby. Those first weeks are hard. I know what I'm up against this time. Yes, there are things to be done before baby arrives like cleaning up and washing clothes, buying diapers or rewashing the cloth ones that I'm daring to try. Yes I do need to get together my hospital bag and preregister for heaven's sake! But aside from the essentials is our family and my character ready for the arrival of baby girl S? I've been preparing big sister for months. She seems ready. The transition out of the highchair and into the booster at the table was seamless, easy, even enjoyable for her. Well, except that the dog can reach her lap now so she need only put the offending piece of zucchini in her lap and it magically disappears. We're working on that. The transition into her new bunk bed was easy. Even if she fell out the first night she loves her new bed that daddy built and does not complain. She joyfully looks at my belly and says how happy she is that baby S is "a comin'." I worry that my labor might start in the evening when I'm clearly a morning person. I'm worried about having enough love, enough energy, giving enough attention. I'm worried about the word "favorite" and the pain that it's misuse can cause (mostly from well meaning others). I'm worried about everything rather than being ready for anything. I'm worried about getting too busy. I feel too busy already. That has to be a justified one right?

I read Matthew 6:31-34 http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%206:31-34&version=NIV Worry isn't all that it has cracked up to be. Besides Jesus reminds me that I'm not in control even if I want to pretend that I am. If I seek Him first everything else will be added as well. Oh and what are they worried about? What to eat/drink... we're good on that. God's already got us covered, our family has enough food and baby S too. I'm equipped without doing a thing! What to wear, mostly good but by necessity's standards we are more than overstocked.

I need to take my cues from the 2 year old in my life. I need to prepare my heart, accept the essentials cheerfully and really get ready to be the mother of not one but 2 girls. For me, that means thoughtful meditation on God's heart, reading my Bible daily, working on my character diligently and realistically tackling only what is needed today. By His grace I'll be ready even when I'm not prepared for the "getting" ready.

By the way, the cure for hypertension caused by pregnancy really is quite simple. I know it is effective. It's called delivery.