And Then There Were Three.

We welcomed sweet Samson into the world on August 13th after 40 weeks and six days of gestating and a short ten hour labor.

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Samson means light and he is our ray of shining light.

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I’ve created a new space, a public space open to friends and family. If you would like to join me there, feel free to email me.

Sending light and love,

Kristin

Comfort In, Dump Out.

I came across a brilliant article this week. It popped up randomly in my Twitter feed, and the tweet was enticing enough for me to link through. How to give comfort?, it asked. Yes, pray tell, because many individuals don’t know how to give comfort to women experiencing infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. I think this piece is especially timely given the proximity to National Infertility Awareness Week. Many of us have linked to the popular article on infertility etiquette from Resolve.  I think this article, both succinct and clear, offers an additional resource to pass along to others.

Here’s the premise, the person or persons in crisis are at the center of the circle, in the inner-most ring. In my case, this was just me, Big Guy was in the next ring. You decide who gets placed into what ring, but you are always in the center. Individuals in each ring are placed there based on their proximity to the trauma. You decide the information they receive. You have the choice to provide information as you see fit because the crisis is yours. You get to share what you want, and you get to express your pain, frustration and grief in any way that you choose to anyone in any ring. In short, you get to “dump out” to anyone in any ring. The same came be said for those in the next ring, and so one. You get to dump out to anyone in a ring that is further away from the center as yours. Period.

With that said, those that are in a more distant ring can only send comfort inward. They don’t get to tell the person in the center how they would handle the crisis. There are no “just relax” or “just adopt” comments, no “buck up, champ” punches to the shoulder, no critiques, no harassment or judgments. Only comfort. This principle is brilliant in its simplicity.

As I mentioned earlier, Big Guy was in the second ring, and I was in the center. Without fail, I dumped out to him, and he only offered comfort in. I’m really fortunate to have such a kind, compassionate and understanding partner. The same can be said for our friends and family. We are blessed, indeed. Comfort in, dump out!

Public Patients Please Use the Backdoor.

I’ve always wanted to have a home birth. For a variety or personal and political reasons, I did not want to subject myself, my partner or my child to the perils of a hospital birth – not unless medically necessary. When choosing a new practitioner in Sacramento, I let my anxiety get the best of me. I searched and googled for an OBGYN practice that had a natural attitude towards pregnancy and birth. I finally came across the perfect practice. Their c-section rates were low, they had an all-woman staff, and they looked like they birthed babies at The Farm while on vacation. Done.

While perusing their website, I noted that they had two offices. One in a tony suburb and another in the city. Again, a perfect match. I could take the bus from work, and minimize my time in a car. I called the number for the city office and excitedly made my first appointment. After a few hours, they called me back and changed my appointment to the suburban office. Confused as to their method, I asked why.

“Well, that’s where our private patients go.”

I made the change resigning myself to the idea of a 25 minute drive to the suburbs, then I sat with their response. “That’s where the private patients go.” I thought I had made a mistake and choose a practice affiliated primarily with an HMO. So, I returned to their website and took a closer look at the insurance companies that they contract with. The list was extensive. Twenty or thirty companies. Nope, that wasn’t it. Embroiled in the trials and tribulations of relocating and starting anew, I marked my calendar with the updated address, and I put the strange comment aside.

On the day of my appointment, I was the first to arrive, yet they were already running 45 minutes late. The doctor didn’t believe me when I told her that I knew that I ovulated on November 14th. She questioned the efficacy of monitoring via ultrasounds, OPKs, and charting. All of them in tandem did not provide enough evidence for her that I did indeed ovulate on the 14th. Evidence-based medicine at its best. She was rough with the speculum, and was not forthcoming with any information on my progress, thus far. She also wasn’t one of the hippie midwives that are featured on the website. She definitely would not deliver babies at The Farm while on vacation. It wasn’t a good fit.

In scheduling my next appointment, I specifically explained why I wanted to have my appointments at the city office. It’s closer, I explained. I don’t have to drive 25 minutes to get there. They looked at me quizzically, and they said it again, “But, we have our private patients come here.”

“By private do you mean the opposite of public? As in your Medicaid patients?” I asked.

“Yes. We have all of our public patients go there and their appointments are scheduled on seven minute increments.”

A bit shocked and incredulous at the blatant discrimination, I put my foot down. “That’s where I want to go. I don’t want to drive to a suburb I would never set foot in otherwise. I don’t give a shit how the person next to me is paying for their care. And, you were 45 minutes late today, so it can’t get much worse.” I walked out with an appointment at the city office.

I probably would have changed caregivers anyway. I want to birth with a midwife, assuming that I don’t risk out. I don’t want to have a hospital birth unless it is medically necessary. I don’t appreciate the attitude and condescension I repeatedly get from OBGYNs. So, I probably would have changed caregivers anyway.

However, something must be said about the way in which this practice goes about providing healthcare. Repeatedly, I was told that they segregate based upon insurance coverage. To be clear, this is discrimination based upon socioeconomic status. In an era with a widening chasm of income inequality, segregating and providing a different quality of care for low-income women is not the answer. I recently finished reading Origins where the author neatly outlines an enormous body of scientific literature regarding the prenatal environment and its lifelong effects on individuals. As you can guess, low-income women need quality care to ensure their children are provided with a prenatal environment that will give them building blocks for a healthy life, not the converse. Additionally, the US maternal mortality rate has doubled in the past 25 years, and the rate for African-American women is three times that of white women. We are ranked 50th in the world in maternal mortality despite spending more on maternal healthcare than any other nation.

So, when faced with the prospect of receiving care from a practice that would find it acceptable to segregate by healthcare coverage, I took my baby and ran.  When safely ensconced in a comfy chair at my CNM’s office, she casually asked me why I changed practitioners. I explained my aversion to the suburbs, the condescension, and the segregation. She then noted that they require their “public” patients to enter the practice from a separate door. I wish every woman, regardless of socioeconomic status, had the option to run.

My Big Guy.

Our lease in Palm Springs expired and Big Guy finally moved the rest of our things to Sacramento. He now will be in Palm Springs three days out of the week and working remotely for the remaining two. We’ve only seen each other for a few days in the past six weeks, and a number of them included a trip with his father in tow. All of them centered on moving. As you can imagine, we didn’t have a lot of alone time.

This weekend we finally had the opportunity to have some alone time, but first we went on a tour of a hospital birth center. While standing in the midst of the group, Big Guy was rubbing my sides. He then leaned in and said, “What is this?”, as he poked my right boob hanging out of the side near my armpit. “That, Big Guy, is my big guy.” All the way by my arm pit.

Throughout the weekend, Big Guy kept on making comments like “Oh my God.” or “Holy Moly.” or simply “Look at your boobs.” See, in the process of setting up our new house, we placed hanging our mirrors at the bottom of the priority list. The mirrors that exist in this rental are pretty high and don’t afford a good shot of the entire body. We finally managed to hang a full-length mirror, as well as several others. So, taking Big Guy’s advice, I took a look at my boobs.

Now, the American Pregnancy Association states that pregnant women should expect a number of changes to their breasts, including the following:

  • Growth and enlargement
  • Tenderness and hypersensitivity
  • Darkening of nipples and areolas (the skin around your nipples), due to hormones that affect pigmentation of the skin (emphasis added)
  • Darkened veins along your breasts (due to increased blood supply to your breasts)
  • Your breasts may start leaking a yellowish, thick substance known as colostrum
  • Nipples stick out more; the areolas and nipples will grow larger
  • Small glands on the surface of the areolas called Montgomery’s tubercles become raised bumps

Dear God. I know that the nipples darken and expand so the baby can see the target, so to speak. I also know that I have awful, awful, awful vision. My baby may need extra large or extra dark targets if it inherits my awful eyes. However, this has gotten out of control. I also don’t quite know how I didn’t notice. It is as if my nipples are painted on with sloppy watercolors and are bleeding outside of the lines. Or, perhaps, as if they have been colored in by a preschooler. My nipples have not remained within the lines.

Of course, good ole Righty is doing the best to outgrow poor Lefty, so there is also some serious imbalance in the “targets”. At this rate I wouldn’t be surprised if Lefty just gave up and decide not to produce any milk at all. This would then leave me with one pert, taut left boob and on saggy, leaky sad right boob.

Eh. There could be worse things in life.

Movement.

The movement in my life these past few weeks has been exhausting and exhilarating.

First, we’ve finally moved into our new home in Sacramento. I have a long and sordid history with Comcast so I selected the self-installation kit in an effort to avoid a long installation wait. As per usual, I overestimated my handy quotient. Several trips to the appropriate Big Box stores, a number of infuriating phone calls to customer service, and I now have super fast wireless internet. Plus cable television. I’ve missed you prime time TV, but, fear not, I am back. It just took a week. Now I can fully participate in life, er, Facebook, reality television, blogs, email….

Big Guy is still working in Palms Springs.  In the past five weeks we’ve only seen each other for a couple of days, and that included the moving days. Bah Humbug! However, he begins his commuting schedule this week. He will be in Palm Springs Sunday through Wednesday and here in Sacto for the remaining time. It isn’t ideal, but we are going to make the best of it. At least we both have jobs, now! After four years of chronic un- and under-employment between the two of us, we don’t even know what one does with two salaries. That’s fun.

I’ve also seen some movement at work, so to speak. I really hate the first initial days and weeks of employment when you are gaining perspective and learning the ropes. I always feel as if I’m not doing enough. That changed this past week. The learning curve has been a bit rough and a bit steep, but I am getting into the swing of things. I won’t lie, a year of unemployment has made for a rough transition back to full-time employment. I constantly wonder how people find time to do things. Simple things like grocery shop and write blog posts!! I suppose it doesn’t help that I worked 50 hours this past week! They say it is an anomaly. I sure hope so.

And, lastly, for the last type of movement in my life. I can now feel the baby. I started feeling the baby at about 16 weeks. I wasn’t so convinced that what I was feeling was the baby because it didn’t feel like gas or bubbles, as it is so often described in the books. Besides, I don’t think my gas or gastrointestinal bubbles fit the norm of the typical woman. What I was feeling was like insistent prods or even random twitches. However, the movement has picked up, and I can now recognize the baby moving! I’ve been lucky enough to feel it from the outside a couple of times, too.

This has been so incredibly exciting. Once, while listening to the heartbeat with the doppler the babe gave it a giant kick. Typically the kid runs swims from the thing, but I think the “fight” part of the fight or flight reflex developed, and the baby decided to take on the doppler. Noted, kid, you hate the doppler.

I try to limit the doppler to times when I get panicky about the viability of the pregnancy, such as when I haven’t felt the baby move in a while. I would like to think that my confidence will continue to grow as my belly grows, but every day I find something else to worry over. As I once read elsewhere, I think I will be kissing this kid good-bye as s/he departs for college while simultaneously worrying about the viability of the pregnancy. At 18 weeks, I feel the giant 24 week milestone looming ahead of me, and I can’t wait. Can’t wait.

All of this fetal movement has been incredible in regards to bonding. I’ve been remarkably detached up until now. It all felt a bit surreal, especially since I didn’t experience any awful and dramatic pregnancy symptoms. But this movement? This makes it real. I feel it! It is alive inside of me! Bananas. I’ve since started talking to baby. I love the baby, and I hope I get to meet the kid in 22 weeks.

 

OMG. Bananas. Crazy.

The past few weeks have been ridiculous. I’ve definitely lapsed on both blogging and commenting. I’m going to give you a recap in bullets so as to not worry about transitions and themes and such. Well, I guess I have a theme: Crazy.

  • I accepted the job offer from the nonprofit on February 4th and Big Guy and I headed up to Sac that next weekend to look for a mid-month rental. No dice! We submitted paperwork for one rental, but we just had a bad feeling about it. Something about the landlord, something about the neighborhood, something about the house, I don’t know. We opted out.
  • My initial start date was the 20th, so this left me in a bit of a bind. After scouring sites like vrbo, airbnb, and homeaway, I was able to rent a room with a young professional that travels a lot for work. This was my only option located anywhere central including extend-a-stay type suites. So, I had to take her condition – her dog. Not just co-habitating with a dog, but taking care of a dog while she was travelling for business. She said the dog was easy, and I didn’t think critically about the bias dog owners have for their pups. I should have thought critically about the bias dog owners have for their pups. I sent a payment and we were set.
  • I packed up the few things we had in our furnished rental the week of 11th, which primarily was hobby type stuff. Lots of books, essential oils, clothes, camping, biking, etc. I then kissed Big Guy goodbye and moved with nothing but my clothes to Sac on the 15th. Our hope was that by moving early I could use the weekend to secure a rental for the 1st.
  • At the final hour, with zero options in the wings, I was able to charm my way into a rental bypassing two other applicants. I have a way with little old ladies, because I love them, and I charmed her pants off. The place is nearly perfect, and it was by far the best we could find. Who knew that that the Sac center city rental market would be so damn competitive? Not this girl. Dear God. At one point I started leading with my degree and my credit score. Obnoxious, I know.
  • I started my job on the 20th, and I just completed my fourth day of work. I want to give a shout-out to all you ladies that blog so prolifically while working full-time. When I get home I want to lay down and do nothing. I don’t want to work out. I don’t want to cook. I want to do nothing. And by nothing I mean watch television with a plate of jalapeños with a side of cheese.
  • Big Guy lost his wallet this past weekend so we have been scrambling to secure documents that will allow him to still rent a truck. It has proven tricky so his dad is flying out to Palm Springs tomorrow and they are picking up the truck on Wednesday. Loading on Thursday. ETA in Sacramento on Friday at 8 am. Big Guy and father-in-law fly out mid-day on Sunday.

Things have been crazy. I hope that once we have our things in a place and we are settled that things calm down a bit. I will strive to be a better blogger as soon as I am sleeping in my own bed and making food with my own fully stocked pantry. Until then, blargh.

Over the Shoulder Boulder Holders.

Two weeks ago I tried on a small tee and took a look in the mirror. What did I see? I saw a triple boob. Not just a double boob, but a triple boob. I refer to the double boob as the bit of breast that pops up and over the cup. The triple boob? The bits that fall out on the side by the armpit. It wasn’t a good scene.

Not only did the bras not fit, but they were uncomfortable – borderline painful. I was having the same problems with my pants. I long ago vowed to not try to restrain my body in ill-fitting and uncomfortable clothes while pregnant, so I took myself to the mall. Acknowledging the enormity of my ta-tas, I went to the famous mall bra shop and got fitted by a wee lass of a thing.

As I explained my delicate situation, she nodded in understanding and whispered, “They are only going to get…bigger.” Now, I don’t have giant boobs. I am a small C cup, but while on birth control in my teens and early 20’s, my boobs were huge. A large D. Overflowing at times. With that in mind, I knew that my body would respond abundantly to pregnancy hormones, and I fully expected to jump up a cup size.

I was wrong. I jumped up two cup sizes. Double D’s. Holy bananas, Batman.

And then, the coup de grace: The salesperson leaned in and cleared her throat. “Ahem. Perhaps you would like to…try on…your sister size.” Not quite sure what my “sister size” is in VS-lese, I asked for clarification. “It is a size up in width and a size down in cup size. You know…in case…you gain weight…everywhere.”

Noted, my saleslady friend. I walked away with over the shoulder boulder holders that leave plenty of room for weight gain…everywhere.