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I’m not alone, am I?

Please tell me all pregnant women get unreasonably cranky at some point in the final few months?  Because I am there folks.  And cranky might just be an understatement!

Sleep is hard to come by.  My back aches.  When I’m at work I want to be at home.  When I’m at home I think I should be at work.  I’m bored and overwhelmed all at the same time.  I feel like the end of May is still far too far away and yet too close all at the same time.

I am quite certain I am not a very fun person to live with at the moment and feel some serious sympathy for my husband at the moment.  Although every thing he does…regardless of how thoughtful…only seems to contribute to the crankiness at the moment.  I’m trying to chalk that up to the post-deployment balancing act, but I bet it has more to do with hormonal crankiness than anything.

I’m totally open to brilliant suggestions for getting over this.  I’m thinking I’ll see whether a giant bowl of chocolate ice cream helps, but I’m slightly concerned that the idea of it making my butt any bigger will just increase the cranky-factor three fold…so I’m still on the fence with that one.

Wow – where to begin?? Our first week as a family has flown by already and although things are going incredibly well I am only now finding time to sit down in front of the computer for more than 5 minutes – having already had an afternoon nap. I think the thing that strikes me most about this past week is that despite the fact that throughout my entire pregnancy, somewhere in the back of my mind I doubted that Dale and I were really ready to take this next step to becoming parents, I now realize that we really were ready. Despite the sleep deprivation, the initial pain of breastfeeding, the millions of questions about caring for and nurturing a brand new human being – everything feels totally natural and right.

I know that some of you are dying to here the birth story, so I will try to recount as much of it as I can. First I have to say that I am overjoyed that we decided to have a home birth. It was truly the right thing for us – which is so odd considering the option never even occurred to us as a valid possibility until 36 weeks into the pregnancy. Friday afternoon we headed into Courtenay to do some errands and see the midwives at 4:45. Well, when we got to the clinic at 4:30, Sadie immediately let us know that she couldn’t see us because she was off to another home birth and that we should call Monday to set up another appointment. I kind of jokingly said that I wanted to have this baby before the weekend was out, but really had no idea whether that would happen or not. Dale offered to take me to a nice dinner and we went to Atlas, one of my favourite restaurants in town, so we headed over there. At dinner I started have contractions, which basically felt like all the practice contractions I’d been having for months, but we started vaguely keeping track of timing. By the end of dinner they were about 10 minutes apart.

We came home, took Turner for a good walk in the field and then settled into watch a movie – all the while somewhat keeping track of the contractions, which seemed to be getting closer and a little stronger. By the end of the movie they were about 6-8 minutes apart and while we did some dishes we debated calling Sadie to give her a heads up. At 9:45 we did just that and she suggested a bath to relax and then trying to get some sleep. At this point we still weren’t convinced that this was really it and while I had my bath, Dale did some Yoga. But after my bath there was birth show when I used the toilet and I was barely able to talk through contractions and had to concentrate on my breathing. dale called Sadie back and hurried to make up the bed with the sheets for the birth. He also called Gill and told her to come over and asked Brandon to come pick up Turner for the night.

After that things start to blur for me – especially time wise. Since Sadie had just been at a birth, it was decided that Emma would come to the house first and I think she arrived sometime just after 11. She checked me pretty much right away and I think she was a little surprised that I was 7cm dilated already. She started rushing a bit to get things set up while Gill and Dale tried to help me relax listening to my hypnobirthing CD and doing some light touch massage. The last time I really remember looking at the clock it was 12:15 and things were pretty intense. I kind of wish that we had started with the hypnobirthing relaxation techniques a little earlier, because I was definitely a little panicked and overwhelmed by the intensity of the contractions. Eventually, with help from Emma, Dale and Gill, I was able to breathe a little better through the contractions and relax more in between. I tried lots of positions – side lying, leaning over a huge stack of pillows on the bed, the toilet, semi-reclining and just when I thought I really couldn’t take it any more Emma said that I was transitioning and there was only a little lip of cervix left.

Sadie had arrived somewhere around 1 am. Shortly after that Emma broke my waters for me because I was having a lot of back pain, and that helped a little bit with the pressure on my back. I was exactly back labour, just that my muscles were really really tired. Things were a little rough for a while trying to get the lip of cervix to move by trying different positions for contractions. Eventually when it was really close Emma helped to move it out of the way as I was starting to want to push. Sadie and Emma were fabulous in helping me figure how to push when I felt the urge and relax in between and make the contractions worthwhile. Gill and Dale were equally wonderful and encouraging. All in all I ended up pushing for about 45 minute – most of it squatting by the bed, leaning back against Dale. Sadie and Emma were a tad concerned because, although there had been no meconium visible when Emma broke my water, there was meconium when I started pushing, so right at the end we moved back onto the bed so that they could suction the lungs when the head was out. However, they never got the chance, because as soon as the head was out, the whole body was out and our baby was crying up a storm! Dale immediately announced that it was a boy and they put him on my chest and covered him with blankets.

I was totally and utterly in awe. I guess it doesn’t matter how prepared you are for the fact that you are carrying a baby inside you for 9 months – when that little tiny human being emerged from my own body I was somewhat shocked. Gill cried and Dale and I just smiled at eachother. Our baby!

Our first challenge was deciding on a name. Although we had had a girl’s name picked from the beginning we had never been able to decide on a boy’s name. We had a short list though, so we ran through it and decided on Nathaniel – Nate for short. It’s definitely growing on us as he becomes more and more a part of our lives. His middle name, Steadman, is my Uncle Frank’s last name. I guess it’s kind of confusing, because “Uncle” Frank isn’t a blood relative, but he has been a treasured member of our family since my Dad was a baby and seeing as he has no children or grandchildren of his own, we thought this would be a fabulous way to honour him.

There is so much more to tell…but this post is already getting long. The bottom line is that we are so happy that Nate is finally here, so thankful to Sadie and Emma and Gill who helped us have the home birth we wanted and so appreciative of everyone’s well wishes, wise words and support. I am looking forward to sharing lots of milestones and frustrations, joys and sorrows as Nate grows and changes and becomes his own person.

Well, the non-stress was pretty uneventful. They monitored the baby’s heart rate for about 30 minutes and everything looked great. The hospital was pretty busy when we were there. The best part was that we ran into a couple from our Prenatal classes who had just had little baby boy names Aiden on Wednesday morning. Unfortunately Mom ended up with a C-section because the cord was wrapped around his neck a few times and was causing him to yo-yo up and down. But both Mom and Aiden are fine now; they were heading home this morning and Dad looked beyond ecstatic about their new addition. He was all excited that it might be time for us…but we assured him that our babe was taking his/her sweet ol’ time!

I was waiting till later today to blog hoping to have a further update from our midwives appointment this afternoon, but we didn’t end up having one because just as we were arriving there was a quickly progressing home birth happening and Sadie needed to rush out to help the first midwife who was already there. So instead Dale took me for a nice dinner at one of my favourite restaurants, Atlas. It was great. We had baked Brie and Roasted Garlic on Foccacia to start, I had the Mediterranean platter which includes their stellar Greek Salad and fantastic hummus, and Dale had a wrap, and then we finished with Belgian Chocolate Espresso Mousse. So super yummy….did I mention I love mousse? It’s this perfect mix of rich and delectable and smooth and light.

At the moment I’m having contractions about 6 to 8 minutes apart (and have been for the last hour and a half), but we’re trying not to get too excited in case they stop again. In any case, it would be prudent for Baby Campbell to wait at least a few more hours since I’m sure Sadie and Deb are still busy with the other home birth right now…and we’d really prefer not to have to go to the hospital.

Oh – and before I go, I just thought I would pass on a story to those of you who read my post on organizing your digital photos and having been meaning to get to it soon but aren’t quite there yet. One of my scrapbooking friends, Heather, recently had her computer hard drive fry on her and lost a whole ton of important photos, including her daughter’s first birthday. Luckily I had shared my method with Heather a while ago and she had some of her pics printed and/or backed up, but she still lost a lot. So…yet more reason for you not to delay! In case you missed my post the first time around you can find my method here. It really doesn’t matter what method you use – just use something so you don’t end up with no photos!

So – hopefully these contractions will keep going and tomorrow there will be much more exciting post, but given my track record I’m not getting my hopes up. In the meantime Dale and I are gonna chill on the couch and watch Supersize Me.

Today has turned into a bit of a day of opposites. I decided to pamper myself a little bit since Dale was working his last shift this afternoon, so I called around this morning and managed to book myself a pedicure at the Kingfisher. It’s a fabulous spa and resort just south of Courtenay (for those of you not from around here) and the view alone was well worth the money. I had a fabulous aesthetician who made my sadly neglected and somewhat swollen pregnant feet look more decent than they have in nine months and I got lay back and watch the sail boat going in and out of Comox across the bay. Decidedly worth the money!

Then I returned home to a message from our midwife Emma letting me know that she has booked me an appointment for 10 am tomorrow morning for a fetal non-stress test at the hospital since I will be 41 weeks. I was kinda assuming that they wouldn’t be doing that until I was closer to 42 weeks so I’m a little bummed. But on the other hand it will be nice to know that the baby is still doing fine. They will monitor me at the hospital for about 20 minutes to ensure that the placenta is still healthy and the baby’s heart tones are still strong. I’m certainly not worried since the baby is still moving lots and regularly and I’m feeling fine, but I would totally prefer to just have the baby and not have to go through the monitoring at all!

The other good thing is that Dale is off tomorrow and will be able to come with me for moral support. Since we’re planning to have the baby at home I wasn’t really expecting to have to go back to the hospital at all. We have a midwives appointment tomorrow afternoon (unless of course baby arrives tonight!) so at least we’ll get to discuss the test results with Emma or Sadie right away.

So keep your fingers crossed for us that everything is still fine and that Baby Campbell decides to make an appearance sooner rather than later! Mommy should be revelling in the post-pedicure relaxation – not worrying about non-stress tests!

Jen is baking. Yes that’s right – baking. It usually only happens at Christmas, or in the presence of especially inspiring people. But no – here I am, sitting home alone on a random Tuesday afternoon baking what promise to be the biggest, gooiest, yummiest chocolate chip cookies ever! Or at least the best ever made by me. If they turn out well…I’ll post the recipe for everyone to try. If not…maybe I’ll post it anyway as a way to occupy myself tomorrow in the seemingly never-ending baby-waiting contest.

As a side note – I’d just like to comment on the fabulous September weather we’ve been having here in Comox. I am almost starting to forget (almost – but not quite) the fact that this was a truly rotten summer weather wise with way too much rain, wind and general yuckiness. The beautiful sunshine and crystal clear mountain views remind me of the fall Dale and I moved here. Can you believe that was 4 – yes 4 – years ago!?! We had a super warm fall then too and Dale and I spent every free moment exploring all the parks and trails around. I’m hoping the weather will hold out for a few more weeks so that when the soon-to-be Grandma’s are here we can get out and about with the fabulous new stroller (thanks MOM!) to walk the beast (that would be Turner) and show off the baby.

Oh – the oven is beeping. I’m off to try my cookies, but I’ll leave with a few pics taken way back when.

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Or at least that’s what it felt like. But alas – no baby yet. So here are the top ten reasons why I’m so very ready to meet this baby and NOT be pregnant any more:

10. I miss being able to reach my toes;

9. I’m really tired of trying to explain to Dale what a contraction feels like – I’m pretty sure he just doesn’t get it considering he doesn’t have a uterus (although I appreciate his desire to participate in the pregnancy);

8. I don’t want to have to tell another human being that I was due last Friday;

7. I’ve almost finished an entire bottle of Tums and would prefer not to have to buy another one;

6. I’m tired of cleaning the house “for the last time”;

5. It’s no fun not being able to use all the adorabe new baby stuff I’ve bought and received (think opening Christmas presents then just packing them away for a few weeks);

4. If I never go into labour how will I ever know whether hypnobirthing works or not??

3. It’s getting harder and harder to keep our baby names a secret;

2. Once there is a baby here, I will never again need another excuse to get out my camera and take millions of pictures; and

1. I’M TIRED OF BEING PATIENT!

So now I’m off to stock up on a store of scrapbooking magazines, trashy novels and funny movies in feeble hopes of keeping myself occupied for the next couple days. Here’s hoping they will lie untouched beside the bed while I’m giving birth and eventually be forgotten amongst the feedings, diaper changes, cuddles and sleeplessness of our impending parenthood!

(Since Wednesday wasn’t Wordless)

40 Weeks at Air Force Beach

Well, I made it to the milestone of 40 weeks.  I’m not too sure how excited I am about that fact at the moment though – despite the fact that I spent a good chunk of my pregnancy trying NOT to focus on a due date, I think I was secretly hoping that this baby would arrive at least a little bit early.  No such luck.

My midwives appointment today was rather uneventful (which I kinda expected).  My blood pressure is getting a bit high (especially for my normals) so they will keep monitoring it.  It it gets too high our planned home birth may be in jeopardy, but there is nothing to really worry about at the moment – just something to keep an eye on.  Otherwise, Deb agreed that all my pre-labour signs were good indications that the baby could come pretty soon.  But there are obviously no guarantees.  For now, I have another midwives appointment booked for next Friday which hopefully I’ll be able to cancel.

I’m slightly worried about how I will cope with the boredom of waiting next week if the baby doesn’t arrive over the weekend.  This week I had appointments every day and lots of little errands to run…but as of today I have nothing booked and the errands are pretty much finished off.  On the up side however…maybe the baby knows that the nursery furniture is still MIA and has decided to wait until that arrives before making an appearance!  It would definitely be nice to have the nursery all set up before the little one arrives.

Anyway…you can all keep your fingers crossed for us that Baby Campbell will decide s/he wants an early September birthday and will come out sooner rather than later.  Until then, I will continue to stockpile food in my freezer and watch an inordinate number of daytime home decorating shows.

I’m beginning to think that everyone else is actually more anxious for me to have this baby than I am myself!!  I’ve had about a gazillion phone calls today –  which is great, because it kept me busy.  I also occupied myself by baking 4 loaves of  zucchini bread with home-grown zucchini from Dale’s fabulous vegetable garden and doing a load of laundry.  Now it may just be me – but a basket of wet laundry is feeling much, much heavier these days.

I have a midwives appointment tomorrow but I can’t imagine that they’re going to be able to tell me too much at this point that I don’t already know.  At least I was able to sleep pretty well last night after my false alarm.  I can’t say the same for my sister –  who apparently went to work grouchy after tossing and turning all night long waiting for me to call and tell her a baby was on the way! Alas – no baby on the way yet.  At least I know she’s REALLY excited to be an Aunt!

In other news though – Megan over at Sorta Crunchy had a beautiful bouncing baby girl yesterday.  Be sure to check out the adorable pics and say hi to Megan.  Now I know it must be my turn next!

I guess that you could say that we had our first “false alarm” this afternoon.  After getting my hair cut this morning (note that I had instructed Baby Campbell that s/he HAD to wait until after my hair appointment to come out, ’cause anyone with short curly hair can attest to the fact that 6 weeks is TOO long to go without a hair cut), I was hanging at my friend Barb’s place this afternoon and started getting LOTS of downward pressure on my cervix and stronger contractions.  By the time I left and went to deliver some Timmies to my sis and her boss I decided that maybe I should kinda time these contractions since they didn’t seem to be going away.  Anyway – for about 2 1/2 to 3 hours I was having contractions that were consistently between 5 and 9 minutes apart.  But alas – they have since subsided and I’m back to totally irregular, less intense, very decidedly “practice” contractions.

We were getting a little excited to think this might actually be it.  I’ve had a few other “pre” labour signs over this week (I’ll spare you the gory details) and on some level I feel that we are getting close, but then I remember “What do I know? I’ve never done this before!” and realize that we could still be days or maybe even – gulp – weeks away!

So one more day with no baby, one more night to try and sleep through comfortably and at least one more tomorrow to fill up with relatively inane activity in hopes of staving off the boredom of “waiting”.

Sigh!