Friday, September 28, 2007

my first visit to L & D

today i had my first visit to the Labor & Delivery ward. i had a routine, scheduled appointment with a nurse practitioner at 10:30. during the appointment, they noticed my blood pressure was elevated and i had gained four pounds since my appointment last week. oof! my BP wasn't dangerously high, just barely above the threshold. the nurse checked to see if i was dialated at all, and i'm still shut up tight. so i went down to the lab to do a urine and blood sample, and then back up to L & D.

L & D was SO busy today! the nurses kept saying, "must have been a full moon." i guess there was a full moon on wednesday. anyway, there were a number of pregnant women being checked out for various reasons, and one woman actually giving birth! we were in L & D for about three hours, and listened to her labor and push for over an hour. i'm not going to lie, it was slightly terrifying! we saw her brand new baby girl being wheeled down the hall shortly after delivery. that part was exciting!

anyway, they hooked me up to the fetal monitor and something to monitor my heart beat and any contractions, as well as a BP cuff. i was hooked up for about a half an hour, and then they cleared me out of the exam/labor room because another woman needed to be monitored. mom and i waited in a room down the hall for the doctor, but the doc was pretty preoccupied with the birth going on, so it was a bit of a wait.

when we did get to see her, she said my blood and urine samples were good and did not indicate any signs of pre-eclampsia, which is great. since i've had no headaches or changes in vision or other symptoms to indicate pre-eclampsia, she didn't seem too worried. she also did an ultra sound to make sure there were no problems with the amniotic fluid, and she said that looked great.

i'm scheduled to return to L & D on monday morning to check that all still looks good. since my visit, my contractions have increased slightly, but i'm still up to no more than three an hour. however, at this point, i'm just happy to see SOME progress! hopefully soon we'll be done waiting.

after we finished up at the hospital, we did check out the Lakenheath bazaar, which was kind of disappointing. i didn't see anything i wanted (well, except for some belgain waffle cookies, but no good Christmas gifts, which was what i was looking for.)

it was a long day, and when i got home, i had a small situation with a neighbor which was all kinds of awkward and uncomfortable and pretty much left me feeling like a huge jerk. it's no big deal, to be honest, but given my over-emotional state of being right now, it's just no fun to have to look at yourself and wonder if you are the jerk you feel like. bugh.

anyway, i'm just really glad mom was here today. it would have been a bit more worrying to have to hang around L & D for four hours and wonder if everything's okay without someone to talk to. and i was so wiped by the end of the day, it was great to have someone here to drive home. i'm so grateful she's here. it really does cut some of the loneliness which would probably have made me an emotional wreck otherwise. hopefully my appointment on monday goes well, if we even make it till then! if we're lucky, maybe Caleb will show up sooner! :)

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

word to your mother.

here's a list of why having my mom here is GREAT:

  • she made me cheesy scrambled eggs for breakfast yesterday.
  • she made yummy italian chicken and pasta for lunch today.
    she encourages me to take naps when i start fading.
  • she entertains herself and figured out how to find and watch Law and Order on our Sky box.
  • she mixes well with people. whether we're at church or a deployed spoused event, i can leave her alone and come back five minutes later to find she's made a friend.
  • she helps me with the laundry.
  • she makes coffee every morning! i try not to drink it every day. you know, supposed to limit my caffeine intake and all. but even just the smell of it when i wake up is so nice!
  • she reminds me of all the stuff i forget. and i forget a lot! i'd like to chalk it up to pregnancy brain mush, but really, i was just as forgetful pre-pregnancy.
  • she lets me sleep in and doesn't make me fell bad when i wake up late!
  • she puts up with my crazy dogs. it's so funny to see them worming their way into a snuggle spot with her on the couch. haha. :)
  • she's a great walking partner. weather and schedule permitting, we've walked the dogs almost every day she's been here. it's nice to have someone to chat with on the walks.

anyway, it's just been great having her here, and i know i'll appreciate her even more during and after labor. i'm so glad to have her here! :)

Saturday, September 22, 2007


Today was such a fantastic day! My mom and I were going over to my friend and former coworker's house to hang out this afternoon, and instead I was surpised to arrive at baby shower for me and Caleb! I was absolutely floored and humbled and amazed at the sheer amount of planning and plain covert sneakiness of Meagan and Kristy! It was, quite honestly, one of the nicest days of my life.

They did the whole shower in Caleb's nursery color scheme (blues and browns.) And my former assistant branch manager, Kim, made her fan-freakin'-tastic homemade cake! (Forget stinkin' Betty Crocker, Kim should have her own line of divine cakes. I would certainly pay for them!) Even the games and favors were so creative and well-thought out. If I could have designed a baby shower in my head, this would have been it. It was perfect! The only thing missing were friends and family from the states, but that's inevitable!

I was so blown away by the generousity of my friends. Not only that, but there were a handful of stay-at-home moms I just met last week who came and brough wonderful gifts, as well! I feel so humbled and blessed and grateful. It's hard to put into words!

I received so many adorable outfits, packages of diapers, numerous health and hygeine care items, a Bumbo chair, a high chair, a Boppy nursing pillow, many rattles and toys to help stimulate learning and development, bottles and liners, pacifiers, and more. But more than that, it was so wonderful just to feel the love and support of friends, and to be able to have my mom there to share the day. It's such an exciting and intimidating time, but to know there are so many people around me to support and encourage me as I flail my way through this just makes my heart give a little sigh of releif.

I've been so blessed with a wondeful pregnancy. My only real complaint has been my husband's absence, and when you think about it, even that isn't so bad. There are so many women who do not just pregnancy alone, but also have to raise the baby alone. Even some married women really don't have a loving support system at home. My husband may not be here now, and he may leave again. But I know in my very soul, in my bones, that he loves me and our soon-to-be-born child more than words can express. I know that he supports my decision to stay home and care for Caleb and that he'll be the dad that's worth writing a thousand essays about.

When I look back at the last nine months or so, I feel such a sense of gratefulness and appreciation. And when I look forward to Caleb's birth and the many years to follow, I feel such excitement and humility that I have the amazing opportunity to live this life. Wow.

Friday, September 21, 2007

don't call it nesting!

mom and i have spent the morning cleaning the house. and i don't mean straightening up, i mean cleaning. it's the kind of clean i'd be proud to have my husband come home to, and that, my friends, is a high standard of cleanliness! the floors are swept, mopped and vacummed. the bathrooms are scrubbed down and sanitary. everything has been dusted, and i even cleaned the windows! in the words of radiohead, "everything is in it's right place." (that song inevitably gets stuck in my head every time i clean the house.)

i even took to the backyard and did poop patrol! talk about clean. (for the record, i'm really proud of myself that in my last month of pregnancy i am still able to do about 90% of what i would be doing normally. i'm also really proud of the fact that i did four hours of walking around cambridge earlier in the week without passing out!)

i've finally packed my labor bag and have started making the list of numbers to call when caleb arrives. i've picked out a "going home" outfit for caleb. i need to buy a BT phone card, but i'll probably do that on one of our walks downtown. we've been taking the dogs for extensive walks almost every day, which is good for all of us.

i had the battery replaced in tommy's car on wednesday, and my coolant leak was taken care of today by the same garage that replaced the radiator. THey fixed the coolant leak for free! jackpot! tommy's car has been gassed up as of yesterday, and i'll gas mine up today so that while i'm in the hospital, mom can drive either car without any worries. (she's legally allowed to drive, but she's not allowed to gas up on base, because gas is rationed. and there's no way we're gassing up off base! WAY too expensive!)

we did the laundry last night, and i even washed my bedding. the dogs got a bath last week, so they'll be good to go for another month or so, especially given that the weather is starting to cool off and they are spending less time outside. i've reread the labor chapters in my books, practiced my breathing, and blown up my stability ball (which is supposed to help ease discomfort during labor when used in various positions.)

my check list is just about done. the only thing left to do is wait for caleb to feel ready to evacuate.

i swing between sheer impatience and wanting him to wait until he's ready. i figure he'll know when it's time and my body will know. no hurry. we haven't even hit 40 weeks yet. but the waiting gets to me sometimes. i'm so ready to meet this little guy!

in the mean time, i guess i should go ahead and have some lunch!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007


fifteen days left till my due date. i feel like caleb is entirely too comfortable where he's at to make an early escape and suspect he'll stay there as long as possible.

i had my 38 week appointment today. my blood pressure was a little higher than my average, but still within a healthy range. caleb's heart rate is still strong, and he's still head-down and ready for birth, should he ever choose to leave his current home. no dilation yet, which doesn't surprise me. my contractions have been very irregular and not very intense yet, so i didn't think it was going down this soon.

in some ways, i just want to meet him already. in other ways, i'm glad i have a little more time to prepare and to enjoy my mom's company before the real work begins! i guess one of these days i should actually get around to packing a bag for the hospital! i've brought the bag out and put a few things in it, but i guess if ever there was a time to get serious, this is it!

spent the afternoon in cambridge with mom yesterday, which was great! we did about four hours of walking, which really took it out of me! we visted two church and King's college. cambridge is such an awesome town to visit in the fall! there are so many more colleges and churches to see. i'd love to bring the dogs out there one day. there are SO many parks to explore!

today we went back to the mid-week market in bury st edmunds, and also wandered around the abbey gardens. took a few pictures, so hopefully we'll get those up soon. i'm introducing mom to the world of flickr so she can share her pics. :) by the time she leaves here, she'll be a technological genius! haha!

Friday, September 14, 2007

coming soon

My mom is currently sitting on the floor of the nursery sorting Caleb's clothes by age (Newborn, 0-3 months, 3 months, 3-6 months, etc.) We've spent a good portion of this afternoon and evening washing all of the clothes I've received or purchased in baby-safe detergent.

Tomorrow we're attending a Red Cross class designed to prepare you (as much as a class can) for labor and life after birth. Lots of breathing techniques and the like, among other things, I'd imagine. I've reviewed the workbook that goes along with it and expect to learn a lot.

In the last few weeks, my pregnancy symptoms have shifted. My hunger, as previously mentioned, is insatiable. I've started experiencing mild (not troublesome) swelling in my hands, ankles and feet. In fact, I put my wedding band on the wrong hand and couldn't get it off for two days! I'm not sure I'll put it back on just yet, because my little sausages of fingers are just too chubby.

Additionally, I've had a flare-up of carpal tunnel syndrome. This is something I've never been formally diagnosed for, but have had symptoms of off and on for a few years. It's never been worrisome enough to need real medical treatment, but I did invest in a drugstore wrist brace a few years back. I haven't needed it in years.

Apparently, though, pregnancy can cause this sort of thing! Something about the swelling and fluid retention of pregnancy increasing pressure on the nerves in your hand. It's ironic that I made it through six months of working at a credit union and with the repetitive motions of counting out people's money and working on a computer all day with no symptoms. But as soon as I stop working, my poor left hand starts falling apart! I've started icing it down with a pack of frozen peas and wearing that stupid brace again. Pardon any typos. (As if they wouldn't have been here anyway.)

Sleep is, of course, complicated. I have a series of pillows placed strategically around me to help support this strangely contorted body of mine. I've also started putting the dogs in their crate at night. They're really good about sleeping in their, and they like their crate. I just didn't want them to associate the baby's arrival with them being "grounded" to their crate at night. I wanted to give them a few weeks to get used to that routine before we introduce the next chapter of chaos.

(This is in no way related to anything else, but we encountered the most beautiful whippet on a walk in Thetford the other evening! It was like a statue, it was so gorgeous. An 8 month bundle of energy, I just wanted to eat it up! And boy did it make me realize how chubby my own pups have gotten! Hopefully these evening walks will help bring their weight back down.)

Anyway, it varies from day to day, but tonight, I am SO ready to meet Caleb. I'm ready to bring him home and nurse him and rock him to sleep. I'm ready for the dogs to meet this squirming bump in my stomach. I'm ready for my mom to be able to hold the grandson she flew thousands of miles to see. I can't wait!

My due date's in 20 days. I'm hoping for something shorter than that, and I have a feeling I'll become the most impatient woman alive for the next couple of weeks. But soon, he'll be here! The wait will be over and the real adventure will begin!

Monday, September 10, 2007


So, mom is here! I picked her up on Saturday with no problems (other than an exceptionally long line through Immigration), and she's been doing really well with the jet lag! In fact, I think I'm more tired than she is! Ha. The dogs are excited to have a guest and are doing their best to convert her to a dog person. Hehe.

Had my 36 week appointment today, and it went well. Baby's heart rate was good, my fundus measured at exactly 36 cm, my blood pressure looked great, and his head is still positioned down, so he's ready to go! I also got scheduled for some baby/birthing classes and made numerous visits to different offices on base (Family Advocacy, WIC, Red Cross) that weren't possible while I was working. For being my first day off, it was really busy!

Mom and I took a long walk (with the Z's, of course!) down to the town center of Thetford today. Her first three days in the UK have been gorgeous! Sunny and mild. Perfect.

We've also put together the Graco Pack 'n' Play that my coworkers generously gave me when I left Keesler on Friday. (Seriously, they are so cool.) And we've started setting up the nursury. This is the fun stuff! :) I really wish my husband was here, but if he can't be, there's no one else I'd rather share this time with than my mom!

I think mom is amused at how much I eat. I've heard lots of women get full very fast at the end of their pregnancy, which is understandable since there is so much less room in your belly than you're used to. Well, not me! I eat pretty much normal sized meals and snacks, but all the stinkin' time! Seriously, I eat just about every hour or two hours. And when I'm hungry, I am SO hungry! Like dangerously hungry! It's nuts. And then I relapse back into being tired. I'm in a constant state of hunger or fatigue.

Anyway, it's nice to have my mom here. Now Caleb can go ahead and show up any day! ;) Only 24 days till my due date!

Friday, September 07, 2007

the end.

today was my last day of work. it was also the last day for another coworker of mine, michelle. our coworkers threw a fantastic potluck, and even gave us some gifts on the way out! they were WAY too generous and bought the Graco Pack 'n' Play i've been eyeing at the furniture store, along with a little bouncy chair.

it was a busy day, fraught with ATM issues, so the innevitable end didn't really strike me until i had sold all of the money out of my cash drawer to another teller and saw my completely empy cash can sitting on the counter. that was it. even if i wanted to, i couldn't do another transaction for another member. every penny, every pound was gone.

on the drive home, it really began to sink in. i am done working. this is not a temporary state of unemployment between moves. this is the big one. there is no defined date of re-employment. come monday, there is no routine, nothing special i need to wear or prepare, no lunch to plan for. there is nothing but an open calendar with only a dr's appointment at ten.

this is what i wanted, right? this is what everyone wants! to not be a slave to the alarm clock. to not be told what to wear and where you can or cannot consume food or liquids. to have time to do things you want when you want them. to have freedom.

so why does it feel so scary?

i feel my heels digging in at the thought that not only am i no longer employed, but now there is absolutely no denying that this baby thing is happening. my full-time job is now mother.

and i am terrified.

i have been so excited about everything coming together, but for some reason, this last peice has revived all of the intital fears i felt the day we learned i was pregnant. i feel unprepared and inadequate in every sense of the words. i haven't read enough books, i haven't attended enough classes, i haven't had enough practice. i am not enough.

i know i can do this. for crying out loud, think of all the mothers in third world countries that can't read and have no classes to attend that raise perfectly healthy and well-adjusted children. if they can do it, surely i can in my pampered western culture with every resource available to me. but even though i know i can do this, and even though i have the best help in the world coming tomorrow, i can't help but be scared. it's like pre-wedding jitters. that gnawing anxiousness that preceeds what you know is a fantastic new journey.

anyway, this is just a long way of saying i'm sad tonight. i'm sad i won't go to work on monday or any day after that. i'll miss my coworkers and having a job in general. and i know this is a good thing. as much as i hate the idea of not working, i hate the idea of returning to work when Caleb is only a few weeks old even more. this is what i want to do. but it's doesn't make it easy to do.

Monday, September 03, 2007


today i drove to norwich all by myself! it was my first england adventure in which i've attempted to drive in a large city by myself on my first time into the city. previously i had the luxury of josh and michelle showing us around bury st edmunds or cambridge before attempting to navigate the city alone.

anyway, it felt great just to get in the car this morning and cruise up the A-11 into norwich. it felt like a mini-road trip, and my life has been sorely lacking road trips this year. it took about 45 minutes to get into norwich from thetford, and then i had to que for parking for a half and hour! it was nuts. i finally got a parking spot, and checked out the Castle Mall, which is really nice!

the funny thing is, i'm so used to the complete lack of selection on base, that when faced with so many options, i totally froze! i kept picking things up, trying things on (maternity jammies at Mothercare) and making plans to purchase items (such as cute baby clothes), but i couldn't bring myself to actually buy anything! part of the problem is i still think "ya know, i'd pay twenty bucks for this shirt, but twenty pounds is the equivelent of fourty bucks. and this is NOT a fourty dollar shirt." and the one time i finally found a pair of earings worth buying at a dcent price (GBP 2.50), the line was so long, i couldn't justify standing in it for a pair of earrings.

but i did have a fantastic smoothie! :) and hopefully the next time i go into norwich, i'll do something decidely less American, like go tour the cathedral, or just wander the streets.

anyway, it just felt good to get out of my house, do something off base, and attemp something slightly adventurous on my own for the first time in a long time. i was so proud of myself for finding the mall and finding parking and finding my way back home again. it made me feel like ME. i never want to become someone who's afraid to try new things and go new places, even if i have to do it alone sometimes. i don't want to hole up in this house and let the sadness of deployment eat away at me until i'm no longer myself. i don't my husband or the lack of my husband to define who i am. i want to get out and find little peices of kelly all over england.

the countdown to mom is on! five more days! :) i know she's feeling anxious about leaving home for so long, and i feel like the luckiest daughter in the world to have a mom who loves me so much she'd leave her own life behind for a few months to help me in this next adventure. i can't wait for her to get here! :)