Sunday, September 30, 2007

Quick update

We had our NST today and they added on an AFI just to check the fluids around Cambria. The monitor was showing that I was having a lot of contractions so even though I couldn't feel them, they were concerned and decided to check to see if I was dilated. They saw that the fluids looked good and after a very painful pelvic exam they saw that I still wasn't dilated beyond one centimeter. So since the heart rate and Cambria looked good and I wasn't in pain, they sent us home. I was in a lot of pain from the pelvic exam so I laid down and I've been sleeping all day. I'm just trying to take it easy. Now I'm going to go watch a movie with Cody.

-Alicia

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Getting nervous!

I was just discussing the laboring process with my mother and it made me more nervous than ever before. She didn't say anything I didn't already know and she wasn't trying to scare me, it's just really sinking in now that it's going to be happening very soon. Last night I was laying in bed and I began to experience some pretty intense contractions. I almost woke Cody up, but I waited for them to let up. While I was in pain I felt a sudden moment of panic and I almost prayed to God that it wasn't time to go into labor. I have always been deathly afraid of giving birth and now that it is fast approaching, I am becoming more and more terrified. I know now that Tuesday night will not bring any sleep and I wouldn't be surprised if I vomit Wednesday morning from being so nervous. I've never had a medical trauma and I've never really had to experience a great deal of pain for an extended period of time. I have no pain tolerance and I don't do well at the sight of blood. I am a very emotional person and I get stressed out easily. I wish now that I had taken Lamaze.

Just to give you a clue as to how awful I am with pain. At one of my doctor's appointments I was very nervous they were going to do a painful exam (I won't go into details) and when the nurse took my blood pressure, it was somewhat high and after I took a deep breath it went down a little. Just the thought of pain was stressing me out. When the doctor checks to see if I'm dilated and she says "A little pressure here..." I hold my breath and all I feel is pain, pain, pain. I know the majority of it is in my head, but just knowing this about myself puts me at a disadvantage and I'm going to suffer through some self fulfilling prophecies.

I plan on having the epidural (and I refuse to feel guilty about that) but I don't know when they give it to you when they induce you. Are they going to give me the injection and then give me the pain medication or vice versa? Will they make me suffer through hours of contractions so as to avoid the epidural wearing off? I don't even know the doctor who will be delivering and I don't know when the epidural will even be available to me. I know... I need to stay calm. If Braxton Hicks bring tears to my eyes how am I going to handle the real thing? This is definitely one of those situations where if I can do it, anyone can.

On another note. Today I got some cleaning done and I got a few things taken care of. I put my bag in the car and did a few loads of laundry. I still need to shampoo the carpet, change the crib sheets, vacuum my bedroom, do more laundry, clean off this computer desk, make room to open the sofa into a bed for our visitors, return some library books, put more music on my iPod, and clean the lower half of the house so it's acceptable for guests! As you can see I have a lot to do... and I'm not doing it. Oh yeah and I want to pack up any of Cambria's clothes that aren't 0-6 mos. We have so many baby clothes I just don't know what to do with them all since they won't fit in her little dresser. Everyone loves buying clothes! I should probably attempt to organize our diapers a little, too.

Tomorrow is our doctor's appointment and as far as I know they're just doing an NST. Usually if we go to OB Triage instead of Maternal Fetal Medicine then they're just doing an NST. Whenever I go to OB Triage they only allow one visitor in the room with me at a time. At Summa hospitals (where I am delivering) they seem to be very strict about who and how many they let into the delivery areas. During the laboring process I won't mind having people who are in the waiting room rotate into the delivery room to say hello. The plan as of now, though, is that as soon as they tell me to start pushing, everyone needs to be out of the room except for Cody. I just want to be able to focus and be myself and get it over with as quickly as possible. I wouldn't want all my family there cheering me on. As long as Cody keeps it together, stays calm, and focuses on helping me through it, he's all I need.

I hope Kemah is ready for a little sister! I know she has a difficult time meeting new people and she especially doesn't like kids, but hopefully it won't be a problem. I think the reason why she doesn't like kids is they all tend to run at her screaming "Keeeemaaaaah!" and it freaks her out- as it should. Children are totally unaware of how to approach a strange dog. When I walk Kemah at the park across the street from our house, there are usually kids who come at her quickly and Kemah gets defensive. I tell them to leave her alone, but some of them are brats and they insist on upsetting her. This does not help the situation of her not liking kids! Kemah is also, very much, a mama's girl. Wherever I am, she has to be there with me. If I pet another dog or give someone else attention, she doesn't like it. She watches my every move and lives for the moment I walk in the door. Of course I love her very much and I play into it because it's so sweet, but I know I've created a monster. She has taken up real estate on my lap. Cody and I are going to do our best to teach Cambria how to deal with a difficult dog and how to approach someone else's dog. My hope is that Kemah will see how much Cody and I love Cambria and Kemah will protect her like her own- the way she protects me.

Well, I just heard that dinner's ready, so I'm going to go eat! I'm going to try to minimize my stress and maybe watch a few Lamaze videos on Youtube or something to make me feel better. We can't wait to meet our little girl!
-Alicia

Friday, September 28, 2007

Every minute feels like an hour

I hope that womb's not too warm
Cause it's cold out here
And it'll be quite a shock
To breathe this air
To discover loss
So I'd like to make some changes
Before you arrive
So when your new eyes meet mine
They won't see no lies
Just love.
Just love.
-Bright Eyes

Nothing new here. I forced myself to clean up a little around the house, but all that bending made me very nauseous and my sore ribs felt like they were going to break. I still need to clean my bedroom and change the crib sheets and take out the bumper pads. I also need to put the reinforcements in the car seat. I just remembered today, too, that I still need a baby gate! I don't really need it in order to prevent Cambria from going up the stairs or anything, but to keep the other dogs from coming down and to keep Kemah from going up when I can't keep an eye on her. Unfortunately there is an extra dog in the house right now and poor Kemah has to hang out in her cage for the weekend because she can't get along with her. If I watched them they'd be OK, but I have better things to do with my time (like watch Bringing Home Baby) than babysit dogs.

I need to go to the library and do some laundry. I have a lot of new music to listen to, so I'm hoping that motivates me. Once I start cleaning up down here again I can let Kemah out of her cage and shut the door. If only I had a gate! I guess once my dad comes home he can monitor the dogs if he's not busy. Really I feel like the whole world is out to frustrate me lately.

Well, I need to go to the library and get moving. As of now (despite my pleas with the doctors) Wednesday is still going to be our induction date. I would like to mention here, politely, though, that we would prefer not to have a lot of visitors at the hospital. I know I told a few people that they were welcome at the hospital, but in order to avoid hurt feelings I'm just going to extend the invitation to immediate family (grandparents of Cambria). Also, even though we are very thrilled that everyone is so eager and excited to meet our little creation, we're going to ask that you do not stop over to the house unannounced within that first week. We promise that everyone will get to meet her and hold her and love on her, but Cody and I would like to have the opportunity to get to know her first. Thank you to everyone who has been so supportive and kind during this pregnancy and we honestly can't wait to show her off!

We love you all and we love that you are just as excited as we are to meet Cambria!

-Alicia


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Anger, frustration, and more anger

I am losing it. I can't take it. Get this baby out of me! At this point, today, I don't ever want to have another baby again. I know I will change my mind later, but right now, I'm done with it. I feel angry, bitter, resentful, and mad at the world. Everyone is driving me nuts. The only person I can stand to be around is Cody and he's been working so much (which is a good thing) that I feel like I barely get to see him.

I can't get anything done around the house because I am completely miserable and frustrated. Just the thought of starting a load of laundry makes me feel homicidal. I don't want to do anything except eat, sleep, and cry.

Part of me is so excited to meet Cambria that I just can't wait. But the other part of me is not looking forward to it because I know it's going to be a chaotic, stressful time. We will have countless visitors and tons of phone calls to make and answer. We will be sleep deprived and miserable at first. I will be dealing with breastfeeding, recovering, caring for a new baby, and juggling visitors all at the same time. Her coming late has everyone so excited and eager to meet her that it seems like people just can't take the anticipation. Nobody knows how much I want her here and how miserable I am waiting. I will never have a quiet moment for the rest of my life. Heck, if I ever even get a moment alone with my baby within the first few months of her life it will be a miracle.

It's not cute or fun anymore. It's not tolerable or manageable. People who mean well only upset me. People who are insensitive upset me. Nobody can win. Imagine having an eight pound baby kick you in the ribs so hard it takes your breath away then you get people smiling and saying "not much longer!" You, too, would be tempted to harm someone.

I called the doctor today and they said they have no intentions of moving the induction date up at all. If I have to have a c-section because she's too big, I will be one of the most unhappy people you have ever met. I will not have another baby until I have good health insurance that will afford me a good personal doctor. Yet another reason I love my country- great health care for the underprivileged!

I love my husband, but he told me today that he didn't feel good. I wanted to scream and kick and throw a fit. Nobody is allowed to be miserable except for me. I'm reserving the right to be irrational, rude, mean, hormonal, and emotional. Everyone around me can just deal with it.

-Alicia

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Come out, come out, wherever you are!

OK. So it's Wednesday and Sunday was our due date. We had three doctor's appointments today and here's what's going on!

The morning began at 8:15 AM. I signed in at the doctor and made a joke to the receptionist/nurse that I was just going to move in. They weighed me in at 158.8 lbs. and asked if there had been any symptoms or "progress". I told the nurse that there was nothing new and she sent in the doctor. The doctor examined me and said there was no progress and I was still at one centimeter (you have to be at 10 to deliver). She said that they won't let me go past 42 weeks, checked the heart rate, and sent me back to the waiting room while she prepared my next appointment time. After a few minutes she called me back and explained how things usually work at this point. She decided that we should come back on Sunday morning for another NST. She said normally they would give you three more NSTs before they induce, but there was no point in waiting that long for me. Cody politely told her that she could induce today if she wasn't too busy :-p So she said I will do my NST on Sunday then normally they would do another one on the Wednesday after that, but she had gone ahead and scheduled me to be induced that morning. She seemed to think that since there wasn't much progress from week to week that things won't get moving until then, so that will probably be her birthday.

After that appointment we waited around Akron until our appointment with the Maternal Fetal Medicine dept. for an NST and AFI. Our NST went smoothly and they sent us in for an AFI which is an ultrasound where they check the amniotic fluids in the sac to make sure Cambria's completely nourished and protected. During this they also checked for the size of the baby. Cambria was in position just as she needed to be and her feet were in my right ribs. We could see her face and she was very active throwing her arms in front of her face like she usually does. Every ultrasound we have she has her arms in front of her face. Even with the 2-D ultrasound we could tell that she has chubby cheeks! The nurse also said she had a chubby arm haha. The measurements of her abdomen, head, spine, arms, legs, and internal organs looked good. After all those measurements the nurse checked for Cambria's weight. She was shocked to tell us that Cambria was weighing in at 8 lbs. 8 oz. already! I was so shocked and a little terrified when she told me that! The nurse pleased us with another 3D ultrasound too! Cambria was more cooperative this time with the 3D. We could see her very clearly and the nurse commented numerous times on how "beautiful" and "gorgeous" she looks in there. Here are those pictures (some of them aren't very good quality, but I do what I can):



















Last night I had a bit of a mental breakdown and Cody was there to talk me back to sanity. Going past your due date is truly hellish and I cannot even express the frustration it causes. She may not be stressed, but I certainly am. My ribs are constantly sore and I can't sleep for more than a couple hours at a time because she is always pushing so hard on my bladder. I talk to her all the time and beg her to come out and I've even prayed to God that He would end this agony, but I remind myself that I do not know what's best for me and I'm trusting that God is working through the doctors and I'm trusting them. Being on maternity leave is also killing me because I'm sitting around with nothing to do all day! There's a lot of cleaning I could be doing, but bending over is impossible, not to mention staying energized long enough to get things done. Our house is a mess and I have to get motivated to clean it this week!

My car is fixed for the most part, but the windshield wipers aren't working now! As I've said before: if it isn't one thing, it's another. Cody put my new stereo in my car and I love it, but I can't even enjoy it because it's been raining since I got my car back and the wipers just will not turn on. I paid to have my car fixed and now it's still just sitting there. I don't know what to do next! We even got the car seat put in place and everything.

Well, I will keep everyone updated and I ask that you keep us all in your prayers on Wednesday. Naturally, I'm very nervous about everything, but of course I'm very excited to meet her. Thanks, everyone, for all your love and support and I hope to be introducing you to our little girl very soon!

-Alicia

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Let the real waiting begin

Welcome to our due date! Today we've been to church, Fashion Bug, and we've taken some photos (which I will post later). Otherwise, there's no unusual activity. Part of me feels happy because I know for a fact now that it won't be much longer. The other half of me feels depressed that I haven't yet met my little girl. Then... if there were another half of me... which is impossible... but if there were... I'd be extremely terrified of giving birth. I try to ignore it.

Anyway, just wanted to update and let everyone know there's nothing yet.

-Alicia

Friday, September 21, 2007

Another Day...

Today is Friday and Sunday is our due date. Last night I was complaining that women who go into labor early don't know what true pregnancy is because they didn't have to suffer through the anticipation as long. I know that's not true, but I certainly do envy people whose babies are ready to come out early. I definitely don't envy women with premature babies as that can be very dangerous and scary, but after 37 weeks you're golden.

I forced myself to have a short burst of energy and I got my bag packed today. There are a few things I could add, but they aren't necessary, so if it gets added in that's fine, but if not, that's OK, too. My room is still quite messy, but that short burst of energy didn't last long enough to get that done. Besides, I think I've got at least another week before Cambria decides to show up. I hope I'm wrong about that, but I really believe it will still be awhile.

Everyone tells me I look like I'm "about to pop" (which I hate hearing) but I don't think I look that big. I haven't gained a lot of weight during this pregnancy really. As of now I have only gained 31 pounds since the pregnancy began. The last two weeks I haven't gained any weight and I've basically plateaued at 31 pounds. The nurse at my last appointment said I've got a nice little table right now. I'm "all baby" as they say.

Our neighbor noticed that my car has been sitting across the street for awhile and he offered to fix it for me. He said he wouldn't charge us a lot and he would start on it tomorrow. I really hope it gets done before Cambria comes- it would be so exciting! I would like to go ahead and put my bag in the trunk and lock in the car seat in the backseat so we'd really be all ready to go. I don't have the most reliable car, but it would be nice to bring her home in my car instead of using my parent's car if for no other reason than it would seem symbolic of starting a new independent chapter of my life (even though my dad bought me the car haha). I'm not going to count on it being done in time, but it would be nice.

So tomorrow's another day that I'm sure will come and go with no Cambria. She still hasn't dropped completely. Last night I had a few intense contractions, but after I walked around for a few minutes they went away. If contractions feel like pressure on your bladder then I seem to have a lot of them, but I just don't know what they should feel like honestly. I just assume that any intense abdominal pain is a contraction.

Tonight I'm going to a Tastefully Simple party which means I'll get to taste lots of free yummy food and that's always a good time.

There's still a little more cleaning that needs to be done before she arrives, but otherwise, we are ready to meet her. She's kicking now!

-Alicia

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Last day of work, horror stories, and a little preaching...

No news yet. Today was my last day of work for awhile and I'm glad for that. Sarah told me I could work Tuesday and Thursday if I feel up to it, but I'm pretty sure I won't be able to handle it. There were moments today when I thought I wouldn't be able to stand any longer and by the end of my shift I felt like I was being rude to people. In true Fashion Bug style, every customer today asked me when I was due, what the gender was, and if it was my first baby. I will be so happy to no longer have to answer people's endless questions.

Jamie (my boss) came into work today and she told me her birthing story. She had a very long, painful labor that eventually ended in a c- section. However, her baby is only 7 weeks old and she's already saying she wants another one so it must not have been that bad! I can't imagine being prepared for another one already. Anyway, she told me her horror story and answered some questions of mine. She said that even though the epidural is painful it's worth the relief from contractions and I was glad to hear that. I get tired of people judging me for wanting the epidural and it's really rare that someone tells me it's a good decision. People sometimes forget that what's right for them isn't always right for someone else.

Someone on the radio the other day was complaining that "women these days" are just too wussy and babied because they have all these birthing options available to them. Not to mention women now get more maternity leave than ever before and a lot of women are opting to be stay-at-home moms. I take offense to the statement that we are wussy than women before us... you better believe a lot of them would have taken their full maternity leave if they could have! I plan to be back on my feet and in the working world as quickly as possible after having Cambria. As for the hot-button issue of stay-at-home moms... I understand why people do it and I'm sure it's a lovely thing to do if that option is available to you, but I don't think I would be a stay-at-home mom even if I could be. My dad recently said that he thinks children of stay-at-home moms are better adjusted than other children and I disagree with that. I think that sending a child to daycare or to a babysitter (in the family or otherwise) is good for the child and the mother. Giving your child other social opportunities is vital in order for them to someday be good communicators and well-rounded people. Either way, I don't have that option, but I think I'd go crazy being at home all day by myself while everyone else gets to go out and experience socializing and community. That's just me. Don't get me wrong, though, I have a lot of respect for stay-at-home moms and I think they make the world go 'round, it just isn't for me. I will step off my soapbox now.

Tonight Cody works all evening and I think I'm going to eat, nap, and finish packing my bag. Everyone tells me I'll have a huge burst of energy before she comes, but I feel more and more exhausted everyday. When I do have the occasional burst of energy it happens at work and when I get home I'm ready to sleep! Well, dinner's ready and I'm sleepy, so I'm going to go! I will continue to update frequently and I'll let everyone know if anything progresses!

-Alicia

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

So it goes...

Today was our weekly appointment. I am dilated one centimeter, whatever that means. I know you have to be ten centimeters before you can deliver, but it can take weeks to reach that. Everyone keeps saying "She'll be here soon!" and I just tell them that they've still got awhile. Believe me, if there's anyone who wants this baby out as soon as possible, it's me, but I have my mother's intuition that's telling me she's going to take her time (just like her daddy).

Tomorrow is my last day of work and I'll be working a 6.5 hour shift. I should be grateful for the hours, but I am surprised that Sarah would schedule me such a long shift three days from my due date. I hope after she gets pregnant she realizes how tough I was throughout mine. I really try my best to not complain at work and to be as polite to the customers as I can stand to be.

We had another NST and fluid check today and everything looked good. Again, the nurse asked me if I was having any contractions and when I told her "no" she said I'd had one. I laughed and she said I might just breeze right through labor. Wouldn't that be lovely? I told her I didn't even know what they felt like and she explained what other women have said and I told her I haven't experienced any of that. I think I'm having contractions, but they do not sound, at all, like what other women explain. I get a sharp shooting pain that bolts into my hip bones and thighs and groin. I feel these sharp pains for about an hour and then they go away completely. Everyone else describes them as menstrual cramps or pressure on the bladder. I always feel pressure on my bladder, so that's not a new sensation to me. I would rather have menstrual cramps than whatever it is that I'm experiencing for sure.

So our due date is Sunday and after that it's just a waiting game. I continue to assure everyone that she isn't going to be here by then, but there are those who are doubting. My mother thinks she will be here by the 20th (yeah, right!) and my dad says the 27th. Cody says/wishes the 21st. I hate this waiting game and I am ready to meet her. I feel like she's going to be in there for all of eternity.

Yesterday at the laundromat (yes, our washer quit working) a little boy grilled me on what it's like to be pregnant. He poked me in the belly softly and said, "What's that?" I told him it was a baby and his eyes got big. He asked, "A whole baby is in there?" I laughed and told him that yes, a whole baby was living in my tummy. He looked a little terrified and said, "What'd you do with her head?" I laughed and told him it was in there with her. After about a hundred more questions he asked me if she had any toys in there to play with. He was very funny and I slyly avoided the "Where did she come from?" question. I didn't mind talking to the little boy, but I did mind that his parents sat obliviously on the other side of the laundromat allowing me to, in essence, babysit their kid.

My bag still needs a few things added to it, but it's all cleaned and ready to go, I just need to squeeze it in. I'm watching for the signs of labor every minute of everyday and I'm just trying to not let it show that I'm going absolutely insane on the inside. I still need to do some cleaning around the house, but I need the motivation to do that... and I don't have it. As soon as Cambria graces us with her presence, I will be sure to alert the media.

-Alicia

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Videos of Cambria!

I've never done video on blogger before, but this was just so amazing I thought I'd try to figure it out. Of course I'm home alone so nobody got to see it! The videos do not do the real thing justice, but it's still awesome. I hate my stretch marks and belly button scars, but I'm trying to just accept that they make me real and they are what I'm going to have to deal with for the rest of my life, so I might as well just share this anyway. Plus as long as Cody thinks I'm beautiful (and he does), I don't care what anyone else thinks. Enjoy! You don't need the sound on for the videos, I don't say anything.

video

video

Friday, September 14, 2007

NST and 3D!

We had another doctor's appointment today. First, I would like to say that I would not deal with Summa or Akron hospitals again simply because they do not communicate with one another and it makes my life very frustrating. Moving on.

We went in for an NST and, of course, the results were great. There was no irregularity in her heartbeats and the heart rate was normal. When we arrived for the NST they informed us that we were also scheduled for an ultrasound I was not aware of. Again, an example of our hospital(s) not communicating with one another.

The ultrasound was amazing. They were looking to measure fluids around Cambria to ensure that there was enough fluid and in the right places. For some reason the nurse who was performing the ultrasound decided (after she saw that all the fluids were normal) to get a few 3D photos of Cambria's face. I think the 3D device was new and she wanted to try it out and we were lucky enough to be there! Once they figured out exactly how to operate the thing, we got some incredible photos of Cambria's face. On the screen, they looked so clear that I couldn't hide my fascination and excitement. The photos she printed out for us (below) were black and white and are not as clear, but still quite amazing. Cody has the best photo at work with him, so I will post that one later. Her arm is in front of her face in the pictures. Hopefully you can make sense of them, the scan isn't so great.







So we are nine days away from our due date, no dilation, the cervix is still softening, and Cambria is locked and loaded. I'm still working and I have some 6- 7 hour shifts next week that I'm sure I'll be around for. I am living proof that you can be fully functional while pregnant. Granted, I take a lot of breaks and I'm not as fast around the store as I used to be, but I'm not going to let it hold me back. Not to mention, we need the money!
We are all very eager to meet our little girl. I still have a feeling that she's going to be late. She may not be an October baby, but she will not be here by the 23rd. You just wait and see... I'll be right.
-Alicia

Thursday, September 13, 2007

10 Days to go!

Things are going well. I'm ten days from my due date and I'm ready. No dilating. I weigh 154 pounds now and that's a pretty good weight.

Tonight a girl in the walmart bathroom asked me if I had a tampon and I laughed, pointed at my belly, and said, "Sorry, I don't have to deal with that right now!" Her friend looked at me then turned to the girl and said, "Duh! Why'd you even ask her that!?" I laughed and told them it was OK and I was sorry I couldn't help them. The girl asked when I was due, if I knew the gender, and what the name was we had picked out. I told her the name and she said, "Oh, cool, like Coheed and Cambria?" and I said, "Yes! Exactly like that." She said, "Is that why you're naming her that? Because of the band?" Yep! She got really excited and said, "Man, your daughter's going to be COOL!" I laughed as I heard them leave and the one girl explained to the other girl who Coheed and Cambria was.

At work another woman told me that, based on the size of my butt, I was having a boy. I laughed and told them I'd heard it all now and reassured them that I've seen the results... and it's a GIRL!!! Just an FYI you cannot tell the gender of a baby just from looking at the mother! When our little girl emerges from the womb, I'll be so happy to tell everyone how wrong they were.

Tomorrow I have another No-stress test just so they can continue to monitor Cambria's heart. Everyday I'm busy with either working or doctor's appointments (or both) and I can't wait until I have a day where I don't have to be anywhere all day!

I had two dreams about Cambria last night and I'm more eager than ever before to meet her. I imagine that everyday the anticipation is just going to intensify until she's finally here. However, I am absolutely terrified, horrified, mortified, frightened to give birth. I know she will be worth it all, but I'm still scared!

Thanks again for every one's love and support- we appreciate it so much! I can't wait until I (and all of you) can meet this little creature that is currently kicking me in the ribs.

-Alicia

Monday, September 10, 2007

Echo Cardiogram

Despite the fact that there are no comments on the previous post I know that a lot of people read it because we got phone calls wishing us well and telling us we were being prayed for. Thank you to everyone who prayed- it seemed to work!

We had our echo cardiogram today and to make a long story short, the doctor told us that every thing looked great. The test took about thirty minutes and I swear it was the longest most stressful thirty minutes of my entire life. As I laid on the bed watching her little heart beat, I felt breathless, helpless, and terrified. He told us at the beginning of the test that he wouldn't be explaining anything as he went along because he needed to concentrate. He did, however, explain a few things to a nurse/student who was observing. He pointed at the screen one time and said, "... just as I suspected." and I thought I was going to lose my mind. Finally the test was over and we got some answers.

He explained that she did seem to have an irregular heartbeat, but that was nothing to worry about. He also explained that where most people have two "tubes" pumping blood, Cambria has one. One tube shoots up into the neck and the other tube is supposed to go into the right arm. For some reason Cambria doesn't have the tube that shoots into the right arm. He said, however, that it is nothing to be alarmed about, it doesn't affect anything for her and it's common. He gave us his business card and told us to schedule an appointment with him for Cambria when she is two weeks old just to be sure that things are going as planned.

She is not a high-risk baby, I don't have to be admitted to the hospital, the NST's should be over, and the pregnancy will continue as planned to the due date. Friday is our next doctor's appointment and she will check, again, for dilation. There are still no signs of birth anytime soon. No mucous plug or frequent contractions. I do have contractions everyday, but they aren't consistent.

Soon enough I suppose. If one more person tells me to be patient though, I might lose my mind. It's not that I'm impatient, I'm just extremely uncomfortable.

Every heart has a certain amount of beats in it before it's going to quit and it was fascinating to see that those beats have already begun for this little girl that we haven't even met yet. I have faith that her heart will continue to beat long after mine quits.

-Alicia

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Irregular Heartbeat and continued frustrations

My ribs hurt and Cambria is kicking very hard, so I'm going to keep this short. Here we go...

Friday we went into our normal weekly appointment at Women's Health Center in Akron. Like always, our nurse took a heart rate with the Doppler. As we listened we started to hear a skip in the heartbeat. Thump-thump, skip, thump- thump, skip. We listened quietly for a few more moments and she decided that the heartbeat was definitely irregular. She examined me and told me that I was not dilated any, but she could feel that Cambria was in position (she could feel her head!) and my cervix was softening. She left the room and told us she would be back in a moment.

She came back and told us that she was trying to reach OB Triage and she wanted a No Stress Test (NST), which we'd had before. During an NST, they hook you up to a fetal monitor and they look at the heart rate and they watch to see if you're having any contractions. She explained that if the NST showed that there was a consistent skip the doctor's may want to do an ultrasound to look at the heart. After a few more phone calls on her part, she sent us up to triage for our NST. Sure enough, as we watched the monitor, we saw that her heart was skipping. The monitor would register her heart rate around 140 then it would drop off completely and go back up to the 140s/150s. The heart rate being so high and varying so much is normal, so that wasn't alarming. However, seeing the red line that was showing her heartbeats was very frightening for Cody and I. Multiple doctors and nurses came in to watch the monitor and they eventually decided that we needed an ultrasound.

They wheeled me over to the neonatal ward and hooked us up for an ultrasound. Cambria has grown so big now that you can't get a shot of her whole body, but we could only see an arm or a leg or her face all at one time. The ultrasound technician took the measurements she needed of the head, the bones, the kidneys, and other organs. She looked at a graph of the heartbeats and showed us the little dips that meant her heart was skipping. The ultrasound was long and thorough. Finally, she began to look at Cambria's heart. On the monitor we could see clearly that the four chambers were pumping. She checked the blood flow and saw that it was flowing properly and that was a good sign. Also, she confirmed the gender for us by showing us the labia :-) She said she didn't doubt, at all, that it was a girl.

After getting all the measurements, she tried to get a better image of the heart. She had me roll onto my right side. I began to get cramps because the ultrasound was so long and she had been pushing on my stomach for quite awhile. She still couldn't get a good picture of the heart so I had to roll onto my left side and then back onto my right. Over and over she tried to get Cambria to roll into a position that would let us see her heart better. She tried "buzzing" her with a tool that creates a loud buzzing sound, but Cambria wouldn't move.

She paged the doctor and not long after, he returned the call. She said, "I'm trying to get a good image of the heart, but I can't. When I can see it, it kind of looks like the right ventricle is larger than the left ventricle." When I heard her say this into the phone, I felt very sick and worried. The doctor came over and tried to see the heart. He asked me multiple questions- any smoking, any drinking, any caffeine, any sugar, medical history... etc. Finally, he gave up on trying to get a good image and he began to explain things. He said that more than likely it was just a murmur that would fix itself after birth. But he also thought that maybe the right side of the heart looked bigger than the left side, but it was difficult to tell because of her position. He said that we would need to have an echo cardiogram (sp?) done by a pediatric cardiologist who could see better if anything was seriously wrong. The doctor explained that if something was wrong with the heart there would be nothing they would do before she was born, but they would be prepared for delivery. If there were a heart problem, we would be delivering at Children's Hospital in Akron because she would be considered high- risk.

Long story short, we went back for more NST's and the heart didn't stop skipping. Finally, we were sent home and told to come back the next two days for more NST's and they made an appointment with the pediatrician on Monday.

Saturday we went for an NST and the heart rate was normal and there was no skipping at all. Today we went again and there was no skipping again. I firmly believe that God reached his hand into my womb and fixed her heart. We had many, many people praying for us and I know that their prayers made a difference. She has been very active since Friday and things seem to be going back to normal.

Needless to say, I am exhausted and emotional. I am having cramps very frequently and the heat is getting to me. I want to cry right now because I don't want to be pregnant anymore. She is full-term and I want to meet her now. I want to wear jeans with a zipper and a button. I want to sleep on my stomach. I want to hold Cambria and kiss her little chest and make her heart all better. My life is on hold until she gets here and I'm tired of waiting. Everyone is getting so excited and I feel like I can't even get excited because I'm so miserable. Everyone keeps saying, "Don't worry, you'll make it! Just a little bit longer!" But hearing that only frustrates me because they just can't understand how exhausted and drained I am.

Of course, though, I need to do more laundry to get my bag completely packed for the hospital and (if it's not one thing it's another) the washer is broken now. Also, they were supposed to come pick up my car for repairs a week ago and it's still sitting in front of my house untouched. I don't have the energy to tote all my laundry over to Ryan and Lydia's house to clean it right now. I need to be cleaning a lot of things, but I'm beyond tired.

Luckily I don't work tomorrow, but I do go back to work on Tuesday. I don't particularly want to work anymore, but sitting at home isn't going to make her come any more quickly than she would if I were at work being productive and making some money. Two weeks from my due date and I'm still working. I will probably either go on leave next Monday or the 23rd will be my last day. The way I see it I might as well distract myself as much as possible. Waiting is just driving me insane.

Cambria, you have scared us once before when we were told you may have downs syndrome. Even if you do have DS, we will still love you just as much as any parent could ever love a child. Now you've scared us into thinking there may be something wrong with your heart. We will love you no matter how your heart beats. No matter what you may scare us with, we will always love you intensely and unconditionally. Never forget that there is nothing you could do that could make us not love you. But even so, could you please stop scaring us?! Oh yeah, and whenever you want to make your debut, we'll be waiting. We love you!

-Alicia

Quick

No real time to update, just thought I'd tell you... no baby yet! I will update as soon as I get a chance to sit down!

-Alicia

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Do I complain too much?... probably.

Tomorrow is another doctor's appointment. We go every week now to see the doctor. Actually, we see a nurse and occasionally the doctor steps in to check on me. Tomorrow they will begin checking for dilation as Cambria is full term now. I almost wish they wouldn't even check for dilating because I know when they tell me that I'm not dilating at all that I will want to cry and beg them to get her out of there. Besides, even if I am dilated it doesn't mean anything really. I don't want them to check me out and say "Well, nothing yet, but soon it will all be over!" I want them to say, "Wow, you're dilated a gazillion centimeters, we better go to the hospital and have this baby!"

In case you couldn't tell, I'm basically miserable. My hemorrhoids cleared up weeks ago (thank God), but I'm to the point of exhaustion nonetheless. I've been having what I think is round ligament pains and they can get very intense. The pain feels like a sharp spasm in my lower abdomen and it shoots into my groin/hip area. Usually the pain only lasts for a few seconds, but it is so unexpected and sharp that I sometimes let out a little shout of surprise. If I bend over and lift my stomach up from underneath it usually eases the pain a little, but soon after, it's followed by another jab. Oddly enough, after the pain goes away, Cambria moves around a lot and of course that adds to my discomfort.

My motto for this pregnancy (actually, it should be a motto for any pregnancy) is "If it's not one thing, it's another." Yesterday morning I woke up very early to a very intense charlie horse (leg cramp). I laid in bed, half asleep, and tried to rub it out. Finally, when I was near tears, the pain let up and left my leg feeling tense and sore. I fell back asleep and a couple hours later I was awakened by a charlie horse in the other leg. I sat up and tried to rub it out, but the pain was so unbearable I couldn't stay quiet. Cody woke up because I was groaning and he kindly rubbed it out for me as I fought tears. The cramp went away and then both my legs were very sore, weak, and tense. Naturally, because it was morning, I had to pee very badly so Cody had to help me limp up the stairs into the bathroom. I sat down on the couch afterward and I got a cramp in my foot. I had to stand on my tip-toes despite the aching in my calf to try to get the cramp out of my foot. Later in the day I had to work a 6- hour shift on my achy legs. By the end of the day I was begging God to just let Cambria come already. So yes, if it isn't hemorrhoids, it's hip pain, if it isn't hip pain, it's round ligament pains, if it isn't round ligament, then it's braxton hicks (false contractions), if it's not that, then it's leg cramps, headaches, back aches, heartburn, exhaustion, mood swings,... general discomfort! My mind has turned into mush.

So if I'm finally pain- free and having an OK time, then I have to deal with a customer who brings it all right back to "frustrating" for me. There is a woman who comes into the store regularly and the last time she was in and she was just going nuts telling me that I was having a boy and not a girl. I think I wrote about her before. She kept saying, "I'm never wrong! I'm NEVER wrong! It's not a girl! You're having a boy for sure!" Well, that irritated me and I told her repeatedly that it's a girl. Yesterday she came in again and on her way out, she said "Your baby's due in a few days, right?" I said, "Still a couple weeks." She looked at my stomach and said, "Such a big boy!" and started laughing maniacally. I took a deep breath and said, "It's a girl." She continued laughing and said, "Remember last time I was in?! I'm still SO shocked!" I smiled sarcastically and said, "Yes, I remember." For the rest of the evening I had multiple customers telling me that it's a boy.

Another regular customer (whom I usually don't mind at all) came in and said "Look at those feet!" very loudly. I looked down at my swollen feet and said, "Yeah, I know." She said, "You are pretty swollen!" I wanted to call her "Captain Obvious", but I just grinned and nodded my head. People are rude, blunt, and obnoxious. Julia, a girl I was working with, pointed out that if I weren't pregnant customers would seem to have nothing to say to me. I told her that I couldn't wait for that day.

I was supposed to work at 3PM- 9:30 PM tonight, but I'm just so exhausted and achy that I called Kris (another associate) and she's going to come in at 5:30PM and work the rest of my shift for me. I know I need the hours and we need the money, but I need the rest since I work tomorrow morning. I just don't want to be pregnant anymore!

I'm going to go lie down for awhile before I have to get ready for my short shift. But alas, I remembered, I have to do some laundry first! Oh it never ends.

-Alicia

Monday, September 3, 2007

The countdown is on...

It won't be much longer. I feel like it's going to be forever until I get to meet this little girl, but I know it will be here before I know it. I still have a feeling (call it intution) that she's going to be at least a week late. She's a slow mover like her daddy, I think, so it will be awhile yet. We have 20 days until my due date.

Kemah has noticed a change happening and I don't think she likes it too much. She has been clinging to me nonstop and she's hopeless without me. I appreciate all the love and attention, but it gets exhausting. Especially at night when she's in her cage crying while I'm trying to sleep.

My hospital bag still isn't packed! I need to wash my nightgown and a few other things. Other than the hospital bag, I just need to change the sheets on the crib and take out the crib bumper (and wash the bumper) and we'll be ready.

My car should finally be getting fixed this week and I'm thrilled about that. As soon as it's in my driveway and driveable, I'm going to put the carseat in, put my bags in the trunk, and I'll feel 100% prepared for the whole process to begin. I want to go into labor and have every thing ready to go to the point that Cody and I are looking around the house wishing we had something to do to get ready. Jamie always said that when she went into labor she was going to shave her legs before going to the hospital, haha. I don't think she followed through with that.

I don't know if I've mentioned it, but I am still planning to breastfeed as long as my milk comes in right away. Even if my milk doesn't come in right away, I'm going to find a way to breastfeed as soon as I can. I don't plan on giving her bottles or pacifiers for, at least, the first three weeks. These are, of course, plans and you never know what will happen. She is technically full-term at 37 weeks (we hit 37 yesterday), so there shouldn't be any reason why she would need supplementing with formula unless she's jaundice or something. If she were to be born now her lungs would be ready for the outside world and she'd be fine! That makes me really eager! But then I think about how painful it's going to be and I'm not so eager.

That's all! Today is Labor Day and we're having a cookout later tonight. The mosquitos are really awful though, so I hope I can handle it. I'm ready for the cool weather to begin.

To Cambria,
I hope you enjoy reading this journal someday! I'm already in love with you and your daddy and I cannot wait to meet you and learn all about you for the rest of your life. Now come out and play, silly girl!

-Alicia

Saturday, September 1, 2007

22 Days to go!

Wow, it's my due- month! As of tomorrow (sunday) we will be full- term at 37 weeks. The due date is Sept. 23rd and we are eagerly awaiting her arrival. Today I was fantisizing about her first Christmas. I'm very excited! But... what do you get a three- month old baby for Christmas?! Anyway... soon, soon, soon we will meet this little girl that is still a bit of a mystery to us. I thank God for such a blessing.

-Alicia
PS- my car is getting fixed this week, yayyyy!