We have a busy and fantastic weekend celebrating the birth of our first child. Three years ago, we took that amazing 3am car ride through the rain to Stamford, CT, and held on for quite a ride as I labored and delivered our sweet awesome little boy. D was born at 12:56pm on April 15, and that was one of (heck, maybe I can say straight-out "the") most exhilarating moments of my life. D loves to hear how he came out of my belly and was placed on my chest. Mike and I can recount the story of his birth with such excitement and awe.
And now he is 3! So besides a small celebration on his actual birthday (and a little early celebration when my parents were in town), we have his "big" birthday party at the New Canaan Nature Center in CT. He gets his Angry Birds Cake (he's been talking about this for months!), he meets 6 cool animals (including a chinchilla and bearded dragon), goes on a nature walk, and plays with 15+ toddler friends as they run about the Education Building. Basically, we have a whole lot of good ole fashioned fun!
The next day, Mike leaves for a business trip for a few days. His parents, my emergency back-ups, are also out of town (or, out of the country, visiting family in France). All has been going relatively well with my pregnancy, but since my last appointment where I realized I was having way more braxton hicks contractions than normal, I've been a bit more cautious. If I have more than 5 an hour, and water and rest don't make them go away, I'm supposed to call and get checked out. And after my last appointment 2 weeks ago, I realize, when counting, I'm having them sometimes 1 or 2 a minute for extended periods of time! Going to the hospital is something I do not want to happen, especially when my husband and in-laws are out of town (i.e. I do not want to drag my toddler to the hospital at 10pm). Luckily, several local friends graciously offer to help if I need anything, and Mike's cousin in CT serves as my awesome back-up, and checks in with me every day.
But to prevent these braxton hicks contractions from skyrocketing I have been drinking a ton, and I mean, a ton of water--like 16 oz an hour if I can. And trying to "rest" when I can (not always easy, esp when Mike is gone, but I do my best). Amazingly, this actually helps a great deal, and I'm able to reduce the frequency of BHC enormously.
My toddler and I have a very busy week planned, including his 3 year wellness exam (all goes well) and my 32+ week OB visit. So D gets to come with me for the third time to see Dr. T. While he hesitates going to his own doctor's appointments (knowing the nurse may give him a shot), he is always willing and eager to visit my "baby doctor." At the end of our last visit, he saw a Cars Mac Truck in the toy basket in the waiting area and wanted to play with it. I told him we were leaving, so we didn't have time right now. "Next time, when we come back, I will play with that Cars Mac Truck." (My mature little boy! Thankfully, he went in that direction instead of the, "No! I want to play with it right now!" direction!) And so, sure enough, as we enter the waiting area, he rushes to the basket to look for the truck.
We enter the exam room, truck in hand, and wait. D plays for a while and comments, "Why is Dr. T. not in the room yet?" "Well, he's probably with another patient, or maybe he's doing some paperwork." Do looks around, plays and makes an adorable comment to me. He walks over to the table I'm sitting on, pats my knees and says, "Mommy, you look so cute sitting up there!" My heart melts. Why I look "cute" sitting up here, I've no clue, but I'll take the compliment. I thank him, stroke his hair and tell him he is very sweet to me. He makes this comment again later when Dr. T. is there ("Mommy, you are so cute!") and once more in on the car ride home ("You looked quite cute sitting on the table, Mommy."). What pregnant woman does not want to hear that she looks cute? D is not my husband, but he is a good companion to my OB appointments, very interested and engaged.
When Dr. T. arrives, D greets him cheerfully, and I make sure Dr. T. acknowledges him (he has a tendency to ignore D, not answer his questions or say much to him. Granted, if you don't ignore him, you are going to spend the entire visit answering his rapid-fire questions, so he really can't spend too much time talking to him. But still, as much as I like my OB, he definitely is usually just focused on me. Even when Mike would come with me during my first pregnancy, Dr. T would barely acknowledge him most of the time.). This seems to help their relationship and Dr. T. talks to D for a minute and comments on how he's seen the same dump truck shirt earlier that day on another boy
Soon, Dr. T. examines me, and D gets a bit too close, and my doctor tells him, "Why don't you go back and sit by Mommy, by the chair?" Then to me, "These boys, I swear, they want to see everything."
The good news--everything is moving along as it should. I am not dilated (always a relief when there have been signs of premature labor--like the early onset and frequency of BH contractions, pressure etc), and apparently the water has been working. "Although," Dr. T. says, "You should not have to be drinking 16 oz of water an hour to keep them under control. You must be peeing constantly." Yes, I am, I inform him, and I have been cutting back on the water now. I just wanted to be completely positive that all was ok. Now that I feel that it is, I can ease back some. In any case, it is a big relief that my body has adjusted itself, and finally, I have fewer BH contractions (although it is quite possible I still have over 5 an hour, but at least it's not as noticeable as before).
My uterus is also measuring perfectly on track. I ask my doctor if he can tell where the head is now. "It's a bit early for that, but--actually--since we're here..." the ultrasound equipment is right next to him, "Let's just check it out." So in a super fast 15 second sonogram, he shows me the head is down low (yay!), the back is to the left (where I often feel the baby hiccuping) and the "little parts" (feet, arms) are on the right side (where I usually feel the most kicking and moving). So it has been a good appointment and I leave feeling lighter than before. I am relieved again that the baby has turned, and, barring anything crazy happening, the baby should remain head-down. What is a bit crazy is that I'm far enough along for the baby to have already started to move into position to be born!
And I am truly excited to meet this little baby. I've been catching up on the latest season of "Mad Men" (the AMC show about "ad men"), and in one episode, Joan, a new mom, is in the elevator of her apartment building with her infant and her own mother. The baby has not been sleeping well. Joan, the buxom smart redhead is in her bathrobe, glasses on, hair messy. Joan's mom is wearing a night hair cap. They've recently discovered the baby falls asleep riding the elevator. Someone steps into the elevator with the women, and Joan says, "Shh...He's finally gone to sleep." And in that moment, I feel, well, I feel that relief. That amazing wonderful feeling that, aaahhh. He's finally gone to sleep...Peace.
I don't think about the "before" moments--the crying, the fussing, the screaming which makes the peace feel so...peaceful. I just think of that relief. When you can look at your precious little one, see his eyes closed, his face looking so adorable, smooth, hear his cute little baby breathing. You just feel so amazing. So lucky, so blessed. I have tears in my eyes, watching "Mad Men" at 9 o'clock at night while my toddler is sleeping, my husband is in Florida at a conference. I know there are going to be tough times, for sure. I'm not naive in the least this time around. But I can't wait for those precious times. The cooing and gurgling and cuddling. And I don't really have to wait too much longer...just over a month and a half...it's really not long at all.