Saturday, March 23, 2013

In the waiting place

I love the Dr. Seuss book. “Oh the places you’ll go.” My grandmother gave me a copy when I graduated high school and I find that book has stuck with me and had more meaning in my life than any other. After my last spin class that I taught on Monday I thought about that section in the poem that has to do with waiting:

You can get so confused
that you'll start in to race
down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
and grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
Waiting Place...

...for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake
or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants
or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting”

This is where I am. 38 weeks pregnant. The waiting place. Waiting for something to happen. My week was filled with yoga classes, naps, grocery store runs, vizsla walks and waiting. Every night I go to sleep unsure about what’s going to happen during the night (besides waking up 11 times to pee) or the next day. I have started to feel crampy like contractions akin to menstrual cramps. I know my uterus is warming up for the big day. I can feel the baby becoming more restless as it tries to punch and kick its way out of me. I have slowed down on working out (silly me thought I’d be taking at LEAST three classes a day and yeah that hasn’t happened) because I don’t want to bring on labor. My in-laws are not here yet, my mom isn’t here, my doula Casey isn’t here. Going in to labor before they get here is like playing in the super bowl without your starting line up. If you have a choice you don’t do it right? I must be the only pregnant lady in the world not in a hurry to go in to labor.

So I sit in a place of waiting.
it's about like that

In preparation for the big day I have been taking my prenatal vitamins as well as drinking raspberry leaf tea, taking evening primrose and a probiotic. Raspberry leaf tea is nutrient rich and contains many of the vitamins and minerals necessary for a healthy pregnancy including vitamins A, C, E and B, magnesium, calcium and iron. Consuming raspberry leaf tea can not only help mother and baby get all the nutrients they need but can also help to replenish a new mothers stores after the birth. Raspberry leaf tea also contains the alkaloid 'fragine' which is said to strengthen and tone the muscles of the uterus, helping them to contract more efficiently during labour. Research has found that taking raspberry leaf tea during the weeks prior to delivery helps to shorten the second stage of labour by making contractions more effective. Some studies have also found that it reduces the need for an assisted delivery (i.e. an emergency cesarean or use of forceps or ventouse).
Sipping raspberry leaf tea during and after the birth is also said to help the uterus contract back down to size, reduce after birth bleeding and help initiate the let down of breastmilk.
While there hasn't been a huge amount of research into this area, the general consensus does seem to be that drinking raspberry leaf tea during the latter stages of pregnancy can help to make for a 'better' labour with few side effects.  The primrose is supposed to ripen your cervix in case you were wondering. And they recommend taking it orally as well as…well you know where. The cervix is what has to thin and dilate from a 1 to a 10 to let the baby pass. It’s kind of like the gatekeeper of the baby and you can think of dilation like a moon eclipses…or at least I like too anyways. These are not routines to be taken on until 36 weeks for obvious reasons. I’m not trying to induce my labor but I’m all about getting my players in shape game day.

I’ve had to start taking a probiotic as well because I tested positive for strep B. I’m not happy with those results but since one in three women test positive I guess it is what it is. It’s a strain of strep that lives, you guessed it, in the vagina. It’s not contagious but it can be fatal to infants in rare cases and at the very least you can infect them so they have to run you on antibiotics every 4 hours while you are in active labor for about 30 minutes at a time. The downside to this is I have to have a hep-lock in. I have amazing veins and I’m not scared of needles at all but just the idea that I have to have something put in my arm is annoying. I can still move around of course and it won’t hinder my plans of a water birth which is fantastic. The probiotic is because the penicillin they run you on kills all the good bacteria as well as the bad so I’m taking a precaution to up my good bacteria levels ahead of time. The strep B test is one they give at 36 weeks and I wasn’t even aware this was something that was tested for although there’s really nothing you can do either way to ensure you don’t have it.

I’m having weekly appointments with the midwives now and so I went today and they told me everything was looking good. Blood pressure is normal, baby’s heartbeat is great, deposit for the water birth has been put down and birth plan has been made. Pediatrician has been picked out and bag has been packed for the hospital. I’m measuring right on target although my midwife did say it felt like the baby was face up (although the head is still down which is great). She suggested doing twice daily pelvic tilts to move the baby into optimal position which is face down. You don’t want the baby’s boney head pressing against your tailbone so cat/cow pelvic tilts are a way to keep the baby’s head from pressing into that bone. You have to think of your pelvis as a lock and the baby as the key and there are positions you can do to help the key move into the lock. Although the baby hasn’t dropped yet, cat/cows are always my favorite in yoga so I take advantage of the time in that space to remind myself to do them.

There is nothing more to say when I return for my weekly visits. I’ve gained a total, I think of 27 pounds and shouldn’t gain but one or two more if any I wouldn’t think. Usually by the end the weight gain slows or stops altogether as the body has already prepared the sufficient amount of fluid and blood and baby has gained the optimal weight it needs. My appetite has slowed down and my bladder has sped up. I’m in the waiting place. My body knows what to do and although I can help here and there I’m mostly just along for the ride at this point. I feel as if I just accepted being pregnant and now it’s almost over. I have enjoyed the journey even though it has not come without its challenges. It has gone by far quicker than I imagined and I will say I will miss the bump I was so hesitant to embrace. I wish I hadn’t worried so much about the weight gain because I feel great and am exactly where I need to be. I did not swell in my face, hands or feet. I have no stretch marks. My body knew better than my mind it could handle pregnancy and I’m glad I let it prove me wrong.

And I know sometime in the next few weeks I will escape the waiting place just like in the poem:

That's not for you!

Somehow you'll escape
all that waiting and staying.
You'll find the bright places
where Boom Bands are playing.

With banner flip-flapping,
once more you'll ride high!
Ready for anything under the sky.
Ready because you're that kind of a guy!”

Ready for anything under the sky. I think that about describes the next chapter.

Thanks Dr. Seuss-

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The long good-bye

Going on maternity leave from flying was a welcome break. Of course it is difficult knowing I have no income coming in on my end but to stop flying at 36 weeks meant nothing to me. I work with a company of over three hundred flight attendants in Denver alone so I rarely see or fly with the same group. Stepping away from that job has further enforced I have no emotional attachment to that line of work. Passengers don’t know I’m gone, pilots and flight attendants don’t know I’m gone (except the very few I’m friends with) and it’s the same thing day in and day out so I’m not missing anything important.
Stepping away from teaching fitness however, well it’s been a really long good-bye.

Anyone that knows me knows I have a hard time saying good-bye even to my friends I know I’ll see again in the next day or two. I’m one of those persons that lingers. I can’t ever quite cut the conversation. I am sure on more than one occasion I have annoyed my husband as he will be waiting in the car while I’m still saying my last good-byes at a get together. I’m that person that will say good-bye to you and walk the opposite way then turn around and watch you go when you probably don’t even know I’m watching you. I hate endings- whether that’s in a book, a movie or my own life. I stay awake far past when I should because I don’t want the day to end. I really try and hold on to each moment and that’s probably why I document so much of life in photographs. So I guess it should come as no surprise that I have spent the past few weeks trying to figure out how to say good-bye to teaching yoga, spin, kettlebells and barre.

I wrestled over when to take my leave- even extending it a week past when I thought I would. This weekend marks the last of my classes and I almost cried after yoga Saturday. I spent time after class lingering in the studio. I knew I would be back to take classes in the next few days but for me it would be the last time to lock the studio door as a teacher for awhile. It’s not that I don’t think I’ll ever be back, it’s just that I know the person who will come back won’t be the person that left. I’m stepping back to embark on one of life’s hardest and probably most important journey and the person who comes back and stands in front of class won’t be the same.

It’s hard letting that person go. The person who had the freedom to come and go as she pleases. The person who can get up at 7am on a Saturday and rush out of the house to teach an eager group of kore barre students. The person who can teach at 6am on a Friday then take a nap and go back out and teach spin at noon. The person who can have lunch after class with a friend or go get their hair done or run any other of those simple errands you take for granted when you don’t have a child in tow. I guess the current version of myself is grieving as she watches the simple life version walk away – knowing now I have to turn and walk into an uncertain life in another direction.

Some of my day classes I don’t know if I can come back to teach and that makes it hard. We don’t have family in town so I don’t have built in babysitters or child care lined up. I haven’t thought that far into the future yet but I know something will have to give. While I am excited to take some time for myself and to just enjoy these last few weeks of being “alone” I am also sad to be taking a step away from teaching. I have worked hard to build up relationships with my students and to build up my classes. I know that time will not stop just because I am gone and they may move on in the meantime. When you teach yoga and group fitness classes you get to a point where you realize that a lot of these students are there for YOU. To be inspired by you, to have you lead them and to have you kick their butts. And the ego inside wonders, “if I’m not there who will take care of them?” Of course my studio has many many great teachers who will in the meantime – I guess I just don’t want to be forgotten.

So I have drawn out the good-bye. And sometimes stories don’t end like you think they will. There’s a scene in my favorite movie, “Big Fish,” where the son is talking to the dad at the end as the dad lay in the hospital bed dying and the son is telling the dad a story. In this story they escape from the hospital and the son takes the dad down by the river and to say good-bye and set him free and there’s every person the dad’s ever known there so say good-bye and wish him on his way. His whole life is there on the banks waving good-bye as the dad is put in the river by his son and sent out to sea. Of course in reality the dad is in the hospital bed and it’s just him and his son and that’s how he leaves this world. (I cry buckets every damn time I watch this part below)

And at the end of the day that’s how I left the respective studios this weekend. Without fan fare. Without a line of all the students I’d ever met waving good-bye; just a hug here and there and a lingering. Then it was just me alone as it was meant to be. Turning out the lights and closing and locking the door. Knowing I’ll be back in a new form when I do return and being ok with the uncertainty of the future. For me it took great courage to step into the shoes of a teacher so I guess it’s no surprise that it took the equal amount to know when it was time to step away. I’ll miss it I really will.

I guess that’s the true test of loving something – knowing when to let go but also the invitation to miss it when it’s gone.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Where to start...the overwhelming registry

"What the hell do I register for?"

This is the question I was asking myself a few months ago in preparation for the baby shower. For those of you who have been married or are in the engagement period you know how the registry works. You pick a few stores and go in, get a scanner gun and basically swipe the barcode of everything that looks like what you'd want in your home. The difference between registering for a wedding and a baby is, however, that a home is a lot easier to register for things. Also consider the fact you might have an invite list of 200 people like we did and there's really not too much you can't put on your list of wants.A baby on the other hand, you have to consider what it needs. I didn't need a garlic press for my house but I need a car seat. So how do you decide what's important and what's just fluff?!

First let me preface this whole blog by saying that you can register for whatever you want for the baby but people are going to buy you what they want to buy you. End of story. Unlike your wedding you will not get half the things you took the time to pick out. Don't panic, it's ok. Just know this going into the journey and it will make your life a lot easier. Consider the baby registry a check list for yourself and if people actually buy you what you need then fabulous and if you end up with lots of cute clothing and baby shoes that's wonderful too. I admit pre-pregnancy I rarely took the time to buy people what they wanted off their registry. Mostly because Babies R' Us gave me a panic attack every time I set my foot in the door.After having this baby I will be much better at assessing what my friends need and can pick items off their list accordingly.

Here are the two websites I used to determine what to register for the baby. These women have done all the leg work for you. They have researched everything from strollers to car seats and recommend something for each price point.
blog one
blog two

Both were recommended to me by my friend Nikki and I found them extremely helpful in deciding what items we needed. Between my family and friends we got the top items that we needed most. Chad and I of course had to put our own money into the big ticket items because that's what you do when you have a baby. You can't expect someone else to fund your little blessing (better get use to this now right?! you've got 18+ years of funding this kid's existence) so you better start saving your money now. Out of pocket we bought:

This crib from All modern:
The mattress we bought at Babies R' Us.

This dresser from Ikea which of course had to be assembled but I love the quality and the look of it and plan to use it as a changing table as well like this person did in their nursery:
With some money my aunt gave me I purchased this glider as well. It wasn't my first choice but the price was right and it went with the white decor of the room:
My friend Michelle, who recently had a baby of her own knew we needed something practical to keep from losing our minds so she bought us the snugabunny bouncer from our registry:
I registered for the snugabunny swing as well but when we were at target my mom ended up buying us this swing which I actually like better because it is collapsible and portable:
You may be asking yourself, "why would I need a swing and a bouncer?" Apparently you need both my friend. The bouncer vibrates and plays music and is small enough to go into the bathroom with you (you will need a shower at some point and need a way to confine the baby) or even put on the table while cooking dinner but the swing with gently rock them to sleep and moves at various swings. Maybe you can get by with one or the other I don't know I haven't had the baby yet but they are both fairly small and pack up easily so when the baby outgrows one I can move on to the other. According to my mom some babies love the swing some hate the swing...hopefully with all the spin I've been doing the baby will love it.

I received three different carriers as well for the baby. To some this might seem like three too many but I'm one of those on-the-go people so I wanted different ways to transport the baby at different stages. We ended up  with the baby k'tan which my sister purchased for me which is a sling that you can use when they are little. My brother had a baby bjorn that I was able to have which is great for when they get bigger and can hold their head up. Unfortunately the baby bjorn doesn't offer that much back support when they get bigger so that's why I went for the ergo baby as suggested by my friend Casey. Her daughter is 15 months and fits comfortably in it wherever she goes.

Most important you will need a car seat and stroller and if you are lucky someone else will buy these for you as they can be pretty pricey. I originally wanted the Chicco key fit as recommended by one of the blogs I mentioned above but when we went to Babies R' Us that car seat was out of stock. So we looked around and ended up going with the Graco combo stylus travel system with Snugride 30 stroller:
I'll admit I wanted the three wheel jogging stroller but this combo just made the most sense. It was on sale so we got it for a steal and now we won't have to buy a separate stroller because the carseat locks into the stroller or you can use it separate. I'll admit the cupholders sold me as well. I mean who doesn't want cupholders on their stroller?!

I ended up registering at Amazon and Babies R' Us. Both have great return policies and make it easy for those who want to purchase items for you to send them directly to your house if they are out of towners. Just remember that you will have to buy many things for your baby that you need and don't depend on your shower to get all those items. Start stocking up on diapers and wipes as soon as you can. Don't worry about buying blankets because trust me you'll get more than enough. If you are cloth diapering look for a system you can buy with 15 or so in a bundle. You'll need at least 30 to cloth diaper full time. Also stock up on a few newborn clothing essentials. Lots of people will buy you clothes but they will be three to six month size since newborns outgrow theirs quickly. However you still need an outfit for it to go home from the hospital in and most onesies don't have pants. You can't leave poor babies legs out in the cold so look for something that covers them neck to toe.

So that's my registry advice. I did all of it from the comfy confines of my couch instead of bothering with going in-store. Take your time, think about what you need and then know you'll have to front many of the items out of pocket. Make what you can (my mom is making me a bobby, crib skirt, nursing cover etc because they are all essentially fabric pieces sewn together) and enjoy the items you get...take back what you don't need and most of all be thankful for all the support your loved ones show you because that's most important in this whole process!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Party of Two soon to be Party of Three

It is the final countdown (cue Europe song). This marks week 36 and next Tuesday I will be considered full term. That means baby Magee could come at any time although I’m having daily pep talks with the honey dew (that’s it’s size now) and telling it not to come before my family can arrive. 40 weeks would be about perfect. I am on maternity leave from my flight attendant job because they won’t let you fly after 36 weeks and my last trip was out of Aspen. I gazed up at the same hill that inspired me to write about acceptance of the lemon in the fall and thought about how far I’d come since then. Everyone asks how I’m doing these days and I must say I’m excited, scared, and happy all at once. My heartburn has subsided which I believe means the baby has dropped down lower. I’ve been taking naps because I sleep so horrible at night but I have no low back pain (thanks yoga!) and no more leg cramps or sciatica pain. I have been nauseated lately like the first trimester so I’m eating less but that’s just as well because my stomach is pretty much smashed up in my throat. Otherwise I can’t complain. No swollen ankles or face and I can still see my toes. I consider that winning.
all bump!

This past Sunday was our baby shower. The whole weekend was about getting ready for the baby and having one last hurrah with friends. My mom flew into town Thursday and helped us out so much. She took us shopping and we put together about 10 freezer meals for us to eat when family is gone and we just can’t drag ourselves out of the house to get food. Friday was my friend Michelle’s 30th birthday party and mom was a good enough sport to come with us and celebrate and enjoy some Hurricanes at the Mardi Gras themed bash:

My mom also took us to buy the things we most needed off our registry – a swing and a car seat and stroller. They won’t let you take a baby home from the hospital without a car seat so this was a pretty important purchase. Of course what I had registered for was the Chicco key fit but we ended up going with a Graco because of price and practicality. We could get the car seat and stroller combo for what the Chicco cost because the Graco was on sale. I tell you it felt weird picking out a stroller and envisioning what I’d be wheeling around the park but we are now prepared nonetheless.

The shower was what I had been most looking forward all weekend. As you may remember I wrote a blog on having a meltdown about the shower in January. Well it turned out everything I could have hoped for and more. My four friends did a wonderful job putting the day together for us. I had wanted a couples shower because I am on the less traditional side and didn’t really want to do the whole diaper cake-guess how big I am using a ribbon- guess the “poop” in the diaper type of thing. Basically I wanted my friends to come together and have a final celebration before the Magee’s become a party of three and that’s what it was.
Michelle and Jordan and I (two of the hostesses)

Kelsey did a fantastic job organizing and putting food together!

Candace made sure there was plenty to drink!
  Jordan put together a jeopardy game that had a variety of categories:

Which, seeing how competitive my friends are was perfect. And there was also a boob piƱata which was good for a laugh watching me flail around with a baseball bat hitting blindly into the air:

One of my favorite things the girls did however was to ask guests in lieu of cards if they would give us children’s books and write their names and a message in there. It was so amazing to see all the books my friends had picked out and knowing the message inside will forever remind me of Sunday. Guests were asked not to wrap gifts because I didn’t want to open them in front of everyone but instead saved that moment for when I was at home and could really sit in the fullness of the day. And when we got home that’s exactly what Chad, my mom and I did. We opened the gifts at our dining room table, we read the cards and the notes and the poems and we spent time looking at each gift and acknowledging how blessed and full our lives really are.

I think the worst part about the shower was that it had to end. It was bittersweet seeing each of my friends go. Not because I’ll never see them again, of course that’s not the case but because I knew it would be the last time I’d have everyone together that I cared about in one space. I enjoyed talking to each and every person and felt very fortunate to have such a great circle of support. As I told them at the shower each one had been with me from the beginning of this journey. Some knew about my pregnancy before even my own family and helped me deal with the coming to terms of this life changing event. Some knew later and have been nothing but supportive even if it’s just to tell me I look great or to sub my spin class when I was tired (or to offer me their classes so I could make extra money!).
my favorite yoga and spin Qip mentors!
Jasmine is as convinced of the gender and name as I am

When I moved out to Denver about 8 years ago I knew no one. I have truly built the life I now have from the ground up. In eight years I have met some wonderful people and I finally feel I have my place in Denver. While my immediate family may not be here they are only a short plane ride away and for that I am grateful.
me and mom!

Some people ask me if I’m scared to give birth. I’m not scared. I am ready. I surrendered to this journey a long time ago and it’s made the process easier. I can’t predict what the future will bring, but I feel as ready for it as one can be. Everything is done that can be done. All we do now is wait….