going to try to keep a daily diary during ThatKid's final month of gestation.
get much sleep last night. Linda had contractions
thoughout the night. For awhile, she was able to sleep during the 10-15 minutes between
each one. Mike would hear Linda's breathing become a faint snore as she fell asleep.
Then he'd hear the breathing gradually tense up and turn into moans as the contraction
arrived and Linda awoke. Then he'd hear the moans turn back into snores as Linda
fell back to sleep. It went on like this for much of the night.
called our doula at 4:30 a.m. and got some advice, Linda crawled into a warm tub and labored there for awhile. We called the doctor around
10 a.m. At that point, contractions were lasting one minute and were 5 minutes
apart, and continued that way for an hour (the 1:5:1 rule). The doctor said to
go to the hospital.
hopped in the Trooper, which was packed with
pillows, hospital bag, media bag, birthing ball. Our neighbor Steen bid us farewell.
We made a quick stop at the video store to drop off movies, then headed to the
hospital. (Linda cringed every time we hit a pothole or speed bump. Pregnant women
appreciate smooth-riding cars.)
doula Holly met us up on the Labor and
Delivery floor. As is the drill in L&D, they first put Linda
in triage, just as they did during the false alarm two weeks ago. But once
Linda was lying on the gurney, with monitors attached, the contractions slowed
to a crawl -- maybe 10, 12 minutes apart. Apparently this happens a lot when moms-to-be
arrive at the hospital. The nurse checked Linda's status. The good news: She was
100 percent effaced (the cervix was completely thinned for childbirth). The bad
news: She was still only 1 cm dilated. The cervix was still practically closed.
We had the option of hanging around the hospital for a couple hours and walking
the halls (walking can stimulate labor and dilatation) or going home. While we were
trying to make a decision, Linda's parents
showed up. We decided to go home and wait it out there.
was probably a wise choice because, as I write this at 10:30 p.m., Linda's contractions
are back to more than five minutes apart. She isn't experiencing the intense,
close-together contractions that are characteristic of "active labor." Things
are moving slowly. The doula and Mike spent the afternoon helping Linda work through
contractions on the couch and on the birthing
ball. We took a walk around the neighborhood
to try and stimulate things. Early on, Linda ate some scrambled eggs and cheese,
and later had a Power Bar and toast. Holly has been making sure Linda has been
drinking lots of water and using the bathroom. (Taking in lots of fluids is critical
during labor. Why? I can't remember.)
has been tallying the stats on Linda's contractions -- how long they last, how
often they occur. Five minutes between contractions, three minutes between them,
seven minutes, two minutes... It seems every time we get a string of short numbers
(which means we're closing in on the end), a long one comes along to spoil the
party. (It would be great to see a consistent series of times. But I guess that
rarely happens in real life, right?)
we'll have reason to head back to the hospital soon, since it's now been more
than 24 hours since Linda had her first contractions. She's getting *really* tired.
We took a
morning walk to Cafe Fanny to meet our friend
Rebekah and her newborn daughter Claudia for
breakfast. It was a beautiful day and we had a tasty
breakfast. Linda had a fruit crisp and Mike had ham-and-cheese crepes.
started having subtle signs of labor before breakfast, so at noon we went
to the doctor to have her checked out again. The doctor
said things still looked pretty closed. Indeed, it could be as long as another
week or week and a half before labor really got started, the doctor said. We went home with our hopes
again dashed. That afternoon, we both took long naps, which I'm sure screwed up
our sleep schedules even further (we've been taking day naps and staying up late
all week). If contractions start at midnight, we thought, we'll be ready.
what? While we watched the movie Hurlyburly (thumbs down) late that evening, Linda
started having these twinges in her gut. They were similar to the Braxton-Hicks
contractions she'd been having for the past few months, but longer in duration,
evenly spaced, and slightly painful. Yes, at long last, this seemed like
it was *really it*. We both got a rush of adrenaline. Linda
made a casserole. Mike scrubbed the tub
(Linda is planning to spend some of her labor there). Linda made sure her hospital
bag had everything (PJs for Linda, clothes for the baby, Power Bars, etc.). Mike
packed the "media bag," which includes camcorder, camera, tripod, and other equipment.
I type this at 2 a.m., Linda has gone to bed to try and get some sleep. Lying
down seems to have stopped the contractions for now. Hopefully, they can
wait until the morning to start up again. This may be just another false alarm,
but I doubt it. (But what do I know? :-)
The due date
came and went. It was no different from the other days of the past week.
had our weekly visit to the obstetrician. She confirmed that, no, the baby hasn't
dropped (Linda is still measuring 40 cm). However, it turns out Linda is 1
cm dilated. (That's 1 cm more than last week.) We
asked about standard tricks that are said to bring on labor -- certain spicy foods,
long hikes. The doctor said none of them have any real merit. The baby is going
to come when it is ready, she said, which is usually all for the best. (Still,
this weekend we may try going to an Italian restaurant whose pizza is famous for
activating pregnant moms.) The doctor said the only thing that might bring on
labor is intercourse, on account of the prostaglandins in the semen.
evening we ate another batch of hamburger stoganoff and watched the 1973 movie
Badlands (liked it).
drove down from Novato, where they are staying in their motorhome on "Baby Alert."
The last time Linda had seen them was in July, when she flew down to SoCal for
her dad's birthday. (Pictures: Linda and parents,
looking at garden.) They brought ThatKid
a bag of gifts, which included a bear- and pig-covered
quilt that Linda's mom had sewn. We gave them a tour of the nursery (which
is half of Mike's home office), and chatted for an hour or so. Mike did a virtual
reality panorama of everyone in the living room (requires QuickTime
to view). (Here's a static image if you don't
have QuickTime.) We all went to Picante for an early Mexican dinner, after which
Mike and Linda came home and took naps. In the evening, Linda finished thank-you
notes for the second shower.
with life-insurance salesman. Linda walk dogs, sleep on couch. Linda parents now
in North Bay. Great Grandma Pat knit cute hat
and booties. Rent five videos. (Pushing Tin really bad.) Greg and Susan find
humor in furniture purchase. (Sears Homelife synchronicity.) Matt interview a
lot, sing to sixty-year-old woman's plants.
We got up
late and went to breakfast at Fatapple's (waffle special for Mike, pancake special
for Linda). Next, we went to Andronico's to stock up on food for after the baby
comes (Linda thinks she can make several freezable meals for those first few post-baby
weeks -- we'll see). Linda spent the rest of the day on the couch, reading and
napping; Mike worked on the shack, getting it ready for relatives.
Our friend Rebekah and her baby Claudia
stopped by for dinner (Mike's famous strogie), then kept Linda
company while Mike went with his friend Greg to a Japanese noise concert in
the City. Rebekah had lots of great advice for Linda. Claudia
pretty much slept through everything, even Belle's
snout in her face and Lucy licking her toes.
most of the day trying to get dog hair out of the oriental carpet in the living
room. He also put up blinds in the backyard shack (which may be housing relatives
soon. Who feels lucky? :-). Linda took the dogs for a much needed walk at Pt.
Isabel. Penny stopped by in the evening
and helped us eat BBQed hamburgers. It was warm and windy today. All the parks
had fire warnings up, and indeed fires broke out in several places in the Bay
morning, we watched one of our doula's videos, which covered pain management techniques.
(Linda had seen the video previously at one of the childbirth classes.)
pictures: Linda baffled by stroller directions,
Mike baffled by stroller
we drove out to Alamo to attend David and Dana's wedding shower. Dana's sister
and her husband hosted it at their home at the foot of Mt. Diablo. The shower
had an Italian theme, to match the honeymoon destination, and everyone was encouraged
to buy Italy-related gifts. (We bought them a bowl, pie dish, and spoon rest made
of the party games involved putting a name tag with a celebrity's name on each
person's back. We then had to ask other people questions to determine who we were.
Mike was Dylan from 90210; Linda was Princess Leia from Star Wars. We had a great
time. The pasta dinner was excellent (Mike had three big plates of it) and David
and Dana's friends and relatives were very nice and talkative.
shower hosts had a cute four-year-old boy and seven-month-old girl.
father of Claudia, stopped by late this evening
on a dog walk.
a busy day. In the morning, we met with Judy, our other doula. (Our doulas work
in shifts, like doctors do. The one that happens to be on call the day Linda goes
into labor will be the one that attends the birth.) Judy had lots of great advice
about the birth plan Linda had drawn up. She also taught us some pain management
techniques and took us through a visualization exercise. (During the exercise,
Judy told us to think of a place where we felt the most calm and relaxed. We both
imagined St. John, where we had vacationed in June.)
had an afternoon appointment with Dr. Lanner-Cusin. Linda's now measuring 40 cm.
(The baby hasn't really dropped at all. The other doctor had just measured her
tummy differently during the last visit.) Lanner-Cusin felt Linda's belly and
told us that we have a good-sized baby, maybe in the high sevens in terms of weight.
After the appointment,
we drove to Home Depot to buy new blinds for the living room and bedroom. (Yes,
we're still on our buying kick from Sunday.) We hit the Toys R Us next door for
some baby essentials -- shampoo, ointment, Q-Tips, etc. Linda started feeling
a little faint , so we didn't stay long. She'd had a long day.
dinner, we BBQed salmon for the second night in a row. Linda has been on a salmon
kick during pregnancy. We used to eat tons of pasta. Now all we eat is salmon!
Took the advice
of our friends who have babies and saw a movie, American
Beauty. Loved it. Ate dinner beforehand at the Emeryville Public Market. Linda
had her usual pad thai. Mike had his usual Indian dish from Waz Wan.
Maybe it was
the nesting instinct kicking in. Or maybe it was the fear of baby-crazy relatives
descending on our house and seeing how we lived. Whatever the reason, we decided
to go furniture shopping at a mall.
to its anticapitalist stereotype, Berkeley doesn't have any malls. (But it does
have lots of funky, over-priced boutiques where you can buy hemp skirts and $36
drawer pulls. :-) If you want to do serious middle-class conspicuous consumption,
you have to go west to San Francisco or east to the suburbs. We went to the suburbs
because there's better parking.
the mall, we bought a dark-brown leather couch and chair. Leather because our
big dogs shed about a sweater's worth of hair each week. Dark brown because our
dogs like to lean against any furniture we happen to be sitting on.
new furniture won't arrive until early November, so our living room will still
look like hell when the baby arrives!
this entry. :-) In the morning, the pack took note of the warm weather and headed
to Point Isabel for a stroll. The dogs swam, Linda waddled.
Next on our busy weekend schedule: a trip out to Concord for our third and final
baby shower, this one hosted by Grandma Vicki's friend Janet. Besides old family
friends, guests included Mike's cousin Kris and her baby, Kailey (sporting a fabulous
head of hair), and a surprise visitor all the way from Washington, Mike's stepsister
received enough presents to fill an SUV, most notably a carseat/stroller
from Grandma Vicki, a big box of goodies
from Grandma Shirley, embroidered receiving blankets
from Aunt Debbie in Connecticut, and a homemade quilt
from Aunt Vicki. Later, Mike and Linda gorged on BBQ beef with Vicki and Dick,
then headed home to play with the dogs and the presents (and keep the dogs from
playing with the presents). As it turned out, the excitement was just beginning...
Saturday night, sleepy and having strewn baby clothes and toys throughout the
living room, Linda began to suspect that her water had broken. After calling
our doula and the doctor on call, a very cranky OB we'd never met, we threw
Linda's bag (which had been packed for weeks) and the carseat into the car and
drove, Mike talking nonstop, to Alta Bates. Linda still wasn't having any other
sympoms of labor, but apparently once the amniotic sac breaks you have 20 to 30
hours to have the baby or you have to be induced.
In the triage room, where laboring women are
checked out before going to a labor and delivery room, Linda was hooked up to
monitors (one to monitor the baby's heartbeat and one to monitor her contractions)
for 20 minutes, then examined for the presence of amniotic fluid. Since the nurse
found no trace of amniotic fluid and the contractions being recorded weren't painful,
we were sent home‹much to Linda's relief. Mike had been excited about the prospect
of having the baby in the near future, but Linda was apprehensive. Among her objections:
"I can't have the baby now, I haven't finished reading my pregnancy books!" and
"My last day of work was yesterday and I need some time off."
arrived home around 2:00am, ate some cake left over from the shower, and hit the
sack, relieved that it wasn't happening just yet and (at least in Mike's case)
maybe a little disappointed.
adds: It was an exciting night. I was sure this was it. We passed a police car
on the way to the hospital and I wanted to yell, "This woman's having a baby!
We gotta get her to a hospital!" just like in the movies.
Linda had her
last prepartum workday. She had tons to do to finish up, and didn't get home until
7:30. Her coworkers were somewhat relieved that she was finally taking time off.
They'd been worried that Linda would go into labor in the office and they'd have
to deliver a baby! (Linda had been having intense Braxton-Hicks contractions at
her computer these past weeks.)
night, Mike went out to dinner at Pyramid Brewery with his friend Brian. Linda
stayed home and rested on the couch.
went to another weekly doctor visit today. This time she saw Dr. Kanwit (matter-of-fact
but friendly). Linda measured 36 cm, one cm less than last time, which means the
baby is beginning to drop. She hadn't gained any weight since the last visit.
The doctor recommended that Linda stop working (her last workday will probably
be Friday). After the appointment, we both met with our doula, Holly.
We mostly discussed pain, and how to manage it. Most of the stuff we'd gone over
before in our childbirth classes, but it was nice to get personal attention from
Holly. She's great. We also went over the birth plan Linda had typed up. Holly
showed Mike some pressure points on Linda that would help shift her pelvis and
give her some relief during labor. Mike had to move Holly's car halfway through
the meeting so it wouldn't be ticketed by the street sweeper. I think we're ready
to have this thing!
out to dinner at that cheap Italian restaurant on Solano. Mike had a Caesar salad.
Linda had a spinach salad and a pasta dish. We waved to DNAI's
Dror and his family, who were eating at the other end of the restaurant. After
dinner we went across the street to Safeway, where we bought smoothie supplies
and toaster waffles. Gotta love those handy toaster foods. Did I mention that
Linda's belly is huge?
d ad came by this morning to drop off the big gifts (a dresser and chair/ottoman
glider) from the previous day's shower. We grabbed a late breakfast at Fatapple's,
then spent the afternoon writing thank-you notes. The donut lady's prediction
from the previous Sunday has not come true.
and Janelle gave us a coed shower today. Lots of family and friends came. It was
held at Paul (Mike's stepbrother) and Becky's house. Here are a couple of pictures:
opening presents, Becky
and three ThatKid cousins. More to come. Doug and Julie announced they were
expecting a kid (Julie is at seven weeks). Cool! Asha and Rael had their baby
(Samuel Lucas Dornfest) this morning. Congrats!
we has our final childbirth class. We learned positions that will give the mother
comfort during labor and watched a video of a C-section. Classmates Stefanie
and Peter arrived halfway through the class with their son, who was born on
Monday. (Their due date was a day after ours!) The baby was very cute.
Peter said that their life as new parents is pretty strange -- "It's like being
on vacation, but without any sleep." :-) We'll be getting back together with our
class after everyone has given birth.
had her weekly doctor's appointment today. Since it's getting near the due date,
she's begun seeing the other doctors in the practice beside the primary physician
(because any one of them could be on call when the baby comes). Today she saw
Dr. Katarina Lanner-Cusin, who was able diagnose the strange aches Linda's had
for the past few weeks (it's probably round ligament stretching -- nothing to
be worried about). Lanner-Cusin was enthusiatic about the fact we're having a
boy ("They're so different from us!"). Linda gained half a pound since the last
checkup, and now measures 37 cm -- right on target. While Linda was at the doctor,
Lucy spent an hour at work with Mike
in downtown Berkeley. That night we went to Cobb's Comedy Club to see our friend
Brian perform. His act had
a lot of great science humor. He also did a bit at the end (for Linda) about pregnancy.
we made a trip to Andronico's for groceries. Linda moves down the aisles a lot
slower these days. The only thing we bought worth mentioning was some frozen pizzas
that you cook in your toaster. I cringe at the thought that a growing boy will
soon rely on us for three square meals. Rented movies at Five Star: 8mm, Night
of the Hunter, Celebrity, and a homemade documentary about Pink Man, a nutty guy
who wheels around Berkeley on a unicycle wearing a pink full-body leotard. Lucy
ate one of the zines Jesse gave me (the one with all the neo-surrealist "exquisite
coworker Steve gave her a bunch of great CD music mixes for listening during labor.
Dinner was salads from Barney's (Linda: Cobb, Mike: Thai chicken). Mike talked
to Greg and Susan on the phone about the cradle bumper Susan is making for us.
Mike also did some Photoshop work on the old family photos Greg had sent him.
Belle and Lucy
on a long, late-morning dog walk. On the way, we got donuts. The Happy Donuts
lady (a sweet old Asian woman who speaks broken English) told us the baby's sex
(correctly), then told Linda that she should plan on giving birth next week. She
said this was because Linda's hands were so swollen. Mike went to Karen and Michael's
for pea soup dinner.
went to Stockton with Brian
and Jesse to see the Wings
Over Stockton air show and Robosaurus (see pictures).
Brian had gotten press passes for the three of them, so they were able to get
into all the expensive seating areas and eat food for free. Linda stayed home
(a good move; temperatures were in the 90s in Stockton) and was visited by her
brother Steve and his British friend Rowena.
work gave her a baby shower. They ordered a blue
cake with cute baby booties on it and served milk with it (Linda hadn't had
straight milk in 25 years; she didn't finish her glass). Gifts included a cute
blanket covered with moons and stars, two baby caps with knots at the top,
and a gift certificate to Kidiniki, a baby store in SF. Linda was totally surprised
by the shower (she thought she was having a meeting with her boss at 11 a.m.).
had her week-36 doctor's checkup. Everything checked out fine. Linda's uterus
is measuring 36 centimeters, which is just right. The Strep B test came back negative.
Dr. Matlock says that Linda has gained the right amount of weight (31 lbs.). The
German nurse with the accent checked Linda's ketones (at least that is what Linda
thought she said she was doing).
our third childbirth class at Alta Bates. We talked about pain management, in
particular the options we have for pain drugs (Nubain and Fentonil) and what is
involved during a epidural. We broke into mother and father groups. The fathers
made a list of what they planned to do during the birth (call petsitter, call
doula, bring birth plan, give massages, etc.). The mothers made a list of what
they wanted the fathers to do. We then compared lists. The instructor played a
video of another birth. We also practiced pain management by putting ice in our
hands, squeezing, then doing breathing exercises. (Note to self: Ice can hurt
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