Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Buying time....

Dear Soybean,

I've bought you some time, now what you do with that is up to you  :-) 

I had some spotting late yesterday morning about 11:30; I called up to the doctor's office and the nurse told me that it's the body's normal way of getting ready for labor.  Thus, I didn't have to go in early--we kept the 3:40pm appointment.  Your daddy and I went to the doctor together; the ultrasound was a bit of a disappointment, but only because you are so cramped that there weren't any good views of ya.  You seemed to get really active the moment the sonographer put the warm goop on my belly.  It was neat to see, through wincing eyes, you move as I felt it.  Apparently the big lump I get on that right side of my belly that you love so much is your foot.  We could see on the ultrasound you flex your foot and then again your hand trying to grab your foot (the sonographer had to do a lot of pointing stuff out to us, because as I said, it was mostly unintelligible to me with you all cramped up).  Very cool.  The songorapher could only manage to give us one glimpse of your face because you were so cramped and she mentioned that it looked like you were frowning.  It was true!  Perhaps there was a "shadow" on your face from the arm you had partially blocking our view but I have never seen such a frown--a deep, upside-down "V".  I promise, you'll be much happier out here--there's more space! You're estimated to weigh 6 lbs 2 oz.  Can you imagine how much less room you'd have if you were any bigger??

You were at 41 weeks 1 day yesterday and the doctor went over the sonography results with us.  He said the amniotic fluids were getting low and that "anything" could happen over 41 weeks so he gave us the option of inducing "tomorrow or... tomorrow."  I asked if the fluids were dangerously low, or just low.  He hesitantly said they weren't dangerously low and I then asked if we could wait until Friday morning to induce.  He paused and said it makes him a bit nervous but since all the test results were satisfactory, he would honor my wishes and let the cervix soften up a bit and let us wait for Friday.  I was having some discomfort just sitting there on the examining table so I was pretty sure you'll come before Friday on your own.   The doctor checked my cervix (ask your daddy what the doctor said as he put on his glove!).  It was really uncomfortable but I guess he was finally able to "push through" the cervix because he stated with some relief when he did so that he had wanted to be sure he'd at least be able to get through to break my water Friday.  I was having some tightness and more spotting yesterday evening, but as usual, the signs of impending labor eventually receded instead of built. 

So... there is a clock ticking.  Friday morning at 5:30 your daddy and I have to report to the hospital for the induction.  I'm telling you, this has all taken on a bit of a surreal feeling.  There around the due date, everyone's excitement reached such a fever pitch that it was downright crazy. I swear the same 6 or 8 people reached out to me twice a day to ask if I was in labor yet and there were a lot of other inquiries from the non-regulars.  Maybe that's why I took it so hard when you didn't come "on schedule."  But thankfully, people have calmed down in the couple of days since (you have to forgive their excitement) and I've been able to relax and just wait for the most part and do things like looking into refinancing our mortage for a cheaper monthly payment and shopping around for cheaper auto insurance rates.  It's amazing the ways you can find to save money when you're not actually too busy trying to earn that same money.

Your daddy and I discussed names again last night.  We've gone back and forth between Natalie Ann and Aaryn Dawn.  Some days one is our favorite and then the next day we're liking the other best.  As it stood last night, we preferred Natalie.  Your daddy mentioned that it seemed like a "good, solid name for a firstborn."  I had to laugh because I had thought the exact same thing.  It sounds responsible and sophisticated and elegant.  Aaryn carries a bit more of a carefree, whimsical tone which might better suit a younger sibling.  Your daddy said with a chuckle, "Here we are about to have the first and I'm already eager for the next."    He has wanted to be a daddy for so long.  :-)    I just hope your face shouts out us what your name should be.   And, please, no huge frowns!  I'm telling you, that frown we saw on yesterday's ultrasound was scary enough!  haha

Your dad had kinda hoped you had would yesterday so that you and he would both share a birthdate of "the 18th" but as I was making your dad's breakfast this morning and heard him loudly singing "My Baby Loves Me" with Martina McBride on the radio I had to laugh and believe that any day starting out like this would be a good day to be born too.

Love you baby girl. 


Saturday, October 15, 2011

You should have seen his face...

Dear Soybean,

Happy Sabbath, first of all, little one.  I know it's a day of rest but I think you've been doing plenty of that already, hehe.  Don't you think it's about time to come?

I'm looking back today and thinking of when I called your Uncle Adam on my way to your Great Aunt Cindy's 50th birthday party.  I didn't get him on the first try so I left him a voicemessage telling him that since he wasn't going to be at the party to hear the big announcement, I wanted to go ahead and let him know first.  He was an uncle!   Of course, I didn't get to hear his reaction but his girlfriend was with him when he listened to the message and said he was whooping and hollering... simply elated.  I got a call back  from him shortly afterwards and he made me make him an absolute promise--to make sure that someone took a video of your Grandpa Scheffler's face as he heard the news he'd be a grandpa for the first time.  He was positively serious and I made good on my promise.  Thing is, your Uncle Adam never saw the video; he died only 15 days later.  I feel badly that I waited too late to share it...  BUT here it is now.

Your Uncle Stephen texted me at 4:05am the other night saying,

"I was just thinking about how excited Adam would be right about now.  How much sleep he would lose because he was too happy anticipating his niece's debut."

Last night your dad and I watched the video again and talked over the experience of the Big Announcement.  We both felt it was so surreal, so perfect, so overwhelming.  We both expected a good reception for the news but nothing like what we got.  I'm telling you, I may have never felt as loved as I did in that moment.  There was a literal ROAR of love that swept up your dad and I and surrounded us on all sides for a loooong time. 

I guess having the father-to-be being the one to take the video was a mistake, as he got so many bear hugs that most of the video is of people's feet, but how could you ask someone else to take the video with the request to make sure they kept your Grandpa Scheffler's face in view without arising suspicions? 

I was so nervous, as you can probably tell from the footage.  I even felt a remnant of the stress coursing through me again as I watched the video last night.  I guess I just wanted everything to go perfectly and there were still all the questions of what kind of horrible situation it'd be if I were to have a miscarriage (since it was still so early in the pregnancy) and have to go back and tell everyone after them being so happy for us.  Plus, there had been the stress of trying to make sure everyone was out there to hear the news without giving ourselves away.  I can't tell you how many times one of the uncles or my dad would disappear into the house and as soon as I made sure he was outside, another one would disappear  :-)

Start the video at the 3min45sec mark if you want to skip a lot of the fluff.  And, yes, the look on my dad's face was priceless.  Just wish your Uncle Adam could have seen it.  After seeing this video, you can never doubt that you aren't the most loved and wanted baby ever.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

October 12, 1977

Dear Soybean,

Your Grandpa Scheffler called yesterday and said it would be neat if you were born today because October 12 was the day in 1977 that he and your Grandma Joy got married.  I assented that if it hadn't been for them getting together and having me, there would be no you, so October 12 would be a nifty date indeed.  It even falls on the same day of the week this year, a Wednesday, as it did that year.  I wonder if they know there was a full solar eclipse that day in 1977 (oh, the wonderful facts one can find on the internet!).

HOWEVER, you are going by your own schedule and no one else's  :-)    The doctor checked to see if I had dilated today and stated, "She's not even thinking about coming yet!"  He has us scheduled to come in next Tuesday (which would be 41 weeks and 1 day) for an ultrasound to see whether the amniotic fluid levels are still sufficient and for a non-stress test in which I just lie on my side and have you monitored for 30 minutes to make sure you're not in any distress.  As it is, your heartbeat sounded great today and my blood pressure is still good too.  If next Tuesday's test results are satisfactory, he'll defer an induction until the end of next week.  I'm hoping you come before then.  An induction would mean pitocin, which often means constant monitoring and stronger-than-normal contractions, which in turn means the possibility I ask for paid meds would increase too.  I really am going to try and do this the natural way.... we'll see.  Not only do I prefer for you not to be flooded unnecessarily with pain meds, the $1500 price tag for the anesthesiologist is nice deterrent too.

I should amend my statement that "my blood pressure is still good" to say it was good.  Upon leaving, I found out that I still had a $300+ balance on my account.  I had thought I was all paid up (because I had been told I was)!  Well apparently the down's syndrome test that I had asked not to have if insurance didn't cover, was done even though it wasn't covered so that was $200 right there and then the rhogram shot I had to have (since I had the bad manners to be born with B- blood type) was not part of the "global plan" quoted to me at the beginning.  And then there was the $25 fee for them filling out my disability forms.  Healthcare cost is a ridiculous, necessary evil.  All I want to do is have a baby!!!

I told your daddy that it would be cool if you were born tomorrow.  Thursdays are my favorite weekday.  My favorite two tv shows come on those nights and I can't think of a better way to get my mind off contractions... haha.

So, as it turns out, every day would be a great day for you to be born  :-)  It was so cute last night.... your daddy was talking to "the belly" and telling you "you better come out, little girl".  You were pushing from the other side with a knee or foot or something and touching his face... following his voice it seemed. 

Yesterday I walked quite a bit and also worked on reflexology points that are supposed to bring on labor--all to no effect.  It's weird how even though we're only two days past your arbitrary "due date", it can still play mind games on a person.  You're just a baby but yet the thought has crossed my mind that you don't like us and don't want to join our family.  I know that's completely absurd and I hesitate to even write the stupid thought down. It could also be taken as though you are a "mama's girl" already and are unwilling to leave me (much better scenario!).  It's just nerves getting to me, I guess.  I have all these questions about whether I'll be a good mom and then for there to be a seeming reluctance on your part to make your appearance...well, it's taking it's toll.  You know what, though, little girl?  I'm making a promise to you and myself right now to breathe and relax and just chill out about the whole thing. 

In a way I have felt anxious too because these days with you still in the womb could be seen as "wasted" days in that I'm already using up maternity leave just waiting around and that means fewer days with you once you're born.   But I have to ask myself if I'd rather be at work being all big and pregnant?  Nope!!  It's been actually fun getting to do house-wifey things like running errands for Chris and making home-cooked meals.  It's been interesting to see life from a slightly different point-of-view for a change.  Changing to the role of a "helpmeet" and not being the main"bread"-winner has been refreshing.  I know apart from a miracle, this arrangement won't last long and I'll have to return to the workforce but I appreciate this time for what it is.

Well, chicadee, it's getting a bit late so I'm going to put us to bed.  Love you!

Sweet dreams,


Monday, October 10, 2011

Answered Prayer

Dear Soybean,

Well, today was our first day of maternity leave together.  We went grocery shopping and I went on some kind of cooking/baking binge.  My way of nesting, perhaps??  Probably more like my way of trying to ingratiate myself with your daddy so that he will be willing to do anything to make it work where I don't have to go back to a full-time job at the end of my maternity leave.  hehe.  Sneaky, sneaky!  I made a King Ranch Casserole (I knew they tasted good because your Grandma Barbara makes it from time to time) from scratch.  I think it was the first time in my life that I boiled a full chicken, extracted the innards, took the skin off, deboned it, etc. It was a lot of work but it paid off.  Your dad said it was wonderful, even better than his mom's.  You know that has to be good!  I also made a cheesecake.  Your dad is anxiously awaiting for it to finish its 4-hour mandatory chilling in the fridge; in the meantime, we're watching Monday Night Football. Rather, your dad says he's watching the game but really he's sleeping off some muscle relaxers and pain killers he had to take for his back pain. Somehow the grocery store trip and the cooking took all day and I tired out.  Your dad and I did some more walking today, but only from the house down the street to see your Grandma Barbara.  I joked that you may be confused as to what direction you're supposed to be going because you always seem to try to push your way through the right side of my belly, haha. 

It's just to the point where everyone is just eager to meet you.  I thought I should take this opportunity to tell you again what an answer to prayer that you are.  Your dad and I quit using any form of contraception in February 2008.  We had just been to your Grandpa Nall's birthday party and seen his friend Troy's large family (they have like 8 or 9 kids).  It made me think... and we decided, yes, we were ready.  At the time, your daddy and I were going on 7 years of marriage and I was in the last year of respiratory school so even if we conceived right away ,by the time you would come around, I would have graduated.  We thought we would have no trouble getting pregnant.  Well, fast forward through three years of disappointingly negative home pregnancy tests and saying "it will happen when it's meant to" in answer to the well-intentioned questions from family and friends as to when we would have kids. I had even started on a quest with a fertility doctor to see where the problem was; I believe it was December of last year when this occured.  The doctor suspected PCOS from some of the inital test results like the ultrasound and wanted to do some extra testing for a definitive diagnosis.  They also wanted your daddy to come in to give a "manly sample."    Thing was, the test they wanted me to do needed to be done on the third day of my cycle.  With not knowing exactly when my cycle would start and their Woodlands office being only open one day a week, it was nearly impossible to be able to "schedule" anything and they wouldn't accept a walk-in.  I got fed up and was intending on asking around about some fertility specialists close by whose offices were open M-F.  Then, there comes along the chili cook-off and pinewood derby at church on January 29.  Pastor John MacFarlane, being the awesome person he is, asked a very John MacFarlane-esque question as he was getting food in the potluck line.  He looked me straight in the eye with his direct Jesus-like gaze and asked, "So, April, what is your focus in life right now?"  Even though there was a line behind him, I knew he wasn't moving because he was genuinely looking for an answer.  With that kind of direct question, I couldn't help but give a direct answer.  "Family," I replied.  He asked, "Your nephews and niece?"  "Well, yes, but mostly a family of my own."  He nodded in seriousness, reached out a hand, put a pointed finger on my belly, and said simply but with authority, "In Jesus name, move!"  And the moment was over, he had to move on, the potluck line continued.  But I claimed those words as healing for my body and awaited for God to reveal an answered prayer.  Two days later at the doctor's office, as already detailed in a prior post, I was sick with sinus issues and realized, from the doctor's routine question regarding the first day of my last period, that I was two days late.  Sure enough, I got a positive home pregnancy test.   Now some would say that the pastor's strange words were just a coincidence, but I think maybe, perhaps just maybe, you, in fertilized egg form, did indeed move and implant in a favorable spot at last.  Then again, maybe you were already set but God still wanted me to know that my inward heartache and feelings of loss had been noticed and that the good news I was about to receive about you was indeed a gift.

As before when we were trying to get pregnant, your daddy and I are still waiting, but this time we are waiting with the knowledge that it is now only a matter of days before our dream is realized before our eyes.  Even as impatient as everyone is (including your dad), this kind of waiting is far better. 

Whenever you're ready baby girl, we're ready for you.

Love you!!


P.S. Ha, and what do you know?  Of course your daddy perks up as the cheesecake's allotted time in the fridge winds down and he slyly inquires about it. He says it's sooo good... better than Sara Lee's.  If he's just trying to make me feel good, it's working  :-)

Sunday, October 9, 2011

"When the Switch Goes On"

Dear Soybean,

Tomorrow is your due date!  :-)  I thought labor might have been starting last night.  Since I had a $3 for $25 coupon for Crush Wine Lounge at The Woodlands Waterway, we decided to give it a try.  The coupon excludes alcohol and since I'm obviously not drinking anyway, it was perfect.  The walking there to the restaurant from where we had to park was probably the longest I've walked at any one single time in a good while so when we got there, I had some lower back ache and some tummy tightness.  But it went away.  The food was horrible (gag!) and way over-priced for the quality and quantity; however, the view from our table on the terrace of The Waterway was its redeeming feature.  We could see families milling about, the lights in the fountains changed colors, the moon was shining, and the weather was absolutely perfect temperature.  We then went and saw the movie Real Steel, which your father loved and I tolerated as half-way decent.  Your dad treated me to some ice cream at the theater as we waited for our movie to start (since Crush didn't offer any tantalizing desserts); I was a bit perturbed that the vendor charged 50 cents for each condiment.  So 50 cents for the sprinkles, 50 cents for the chocolate syrup, and 50 cents for the whipped cream.  I would have told your father not to worry about it at those prices but I didn't know until it was too late.  The walk back to the truck produced some more of the same interesting effects as before, but again they slowly subsided.  We were peckish by the time we got close to home so we stopped by Whataburger for a midnight snack.  Your daddy and I both talked about how this was probably our last outing for awhile with our focus being all on you and pinching pennies pretty soon.  It had been awhile since we'd gone to dinner and a movie though--it used to be all we did. 

With your delivery story yet to be written, I thought you might be interested in finding out the story of how I was born so I asked your Grandma Joy to write it down.  She did and this is what she wrote:

     "Your dad and I went to the theater to watch a Rocky movie, maybe Rocky 2.  While we were standing in the long line outside waiting to get our tickets, it seemed that something heavy was weighing down on my pelvic floor.
     I ate a lot while watching the movie.  I had a soda, something chocolate like Milk Duds, some hot candy like Hot Tamales or Red Hots, and some nachos with cheese and jalapenos. 
     After we got home and went to bed, I was unable to fall asleep because of constant pain in my lower back.  I had had back pain before during my pregnancy but it had never kept me from sleeping. 
     By daylight the following morning the pain had shifted from my back to my abdomen, and the pain was no longer constant but intermittent and was occurring at somewhat regular intervals.  "
She told me that she had never indulged with junk that much before during the pregnancy.  As far as the movie being a Rocky movie, it doesn't really check out date-wise, but I had hoped it did.  I am such a Sylvester Stallone fan.  I joked with your daddy today that he would know when I was in labor.  He asked, "How?"  In reply, I took off my ballcap and put in backwards. Your dad got the reference to "the switch" in the Stallone movie Over the Top right away and chuckled.

Today started out to be a great day.  The rain which we badly needed came down steady.  We grabbed a bite from Sonic and made it home in time for the Texans game and they had a good start.  During halftime your daddy and I made some no-bake cookies.  Ahh, but then, situations always change, don't they, baby girl?  The Texans lost momentum in the second half (it's getting to be a pretty ingrained pattern for them by now) and gave up the game in dramatic fashion at the last moment.  Your dad lost it (he apologized later).  And the cookies absolutely refused to firm up (your daddy is trashing them as I type).  Your Grandpa Nall was harassing your dad on the phone looking for Mike. Your Grandpa had already called your dad earlier today wanting him to do some errands for him when it's not even your dad's week to help (it's your Uncle Bobby's week to help but your Grandpa would rather just inconvenience your dad instead since Bobby was just there a day or two ago).  And we find out that your 15-year old cousin is home alone with his 16-yr old girlfriend.  I was thinking wryly to myself that my teenage nephew and I could both be having kids pretty close in age here pretty soon.  Breaks my heart.  But what can one say without coming off as appearing judgmental and interfering when the parent is okay with it and everyone knows that you yourself are far from perfect?  Family.  You gotta love them, and I do with all my heart.  I wouldn't care nearly so much if I didn't.  So, a little of bit of everything started weighing my heart down when I thought to myself, "At least the weather's still nice--still raining."  I caught myself.  I should have said, "At least God is still in charge."  I know my attitude should never depend on circumstances, much less the ever-changing weather.  I'm still trying to learn, pumpkin. 

Friday was my last day of work.  It was a powering feeling knowing as I left work that evening that the next time I returned, my world will have been changed forever--for the better.  I will be different.  I will be a mama.  A new person will have made her appearance in the world.  It was a little emotional so I made my good-byes to everyone really quick.  I met up with your "Aunt" Kristi at Starbucks for my favorite white mocha cappuccino (decaf of course).  I got teary-eyed a little telling her about the baby bundle (which I have yet to do here) and telling her I will miss her a lot.  She may be moving to Seattle since her hubby has a job opportunity there.  When I had told Chris about the possibility of her moving away, he smiled compassionately and gave me a big hug as he exclaimed, "Our baby won't have her Aunt Kristi; what are you going to do?"  I'm happy for her if it works out though, and I've always wanted to visit Seattle, so seeing her would be my perfect reason to go.

The rain has slacked off and your dad's NASCAR race is over, so we're going to go to the college grounds and do some walking to see if we can't jump start this labor thing  :-) 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Countdown Begins

Dear Natalie Ann or Aaryn Dawn...

Your due date is less than a week away!  I had been feeling some sharp pains in a new place yesterday and the day before so I was sure that this time doctor would be able to report some dilation at our appointment this morning, but all he could say was that "it was softening."  He said that he would only let you go a week past the due date; I mentioned that I had heard that it was okay to go two weeks past.  He said that was an old wives' tale and that the chances of something going wrong after a week dramatically increase.  I told him that I felt you'd come when you are ready and  he replied that you will be ready.  I'm not so keen on induction but neither do I want to butt heads with the doctor (but I will if I have to!), so I'm hopeful it won't even come to a decision like that.  I see some walking in my future!  :-)  Your daddy says if you're anything like me, you'll be right on time and will come exactly on October 10th.  We both had a laugh when I said you could be just like him.  We agreed that in that case, you would be so very late that you might decide not to come at all... You might decide you rather like where you are right now.  Your Uncle Stephen said that his friend Chelsea was born three weeks past her due date, and she's one of the smartest people I know.  If I was more bent on traditional/westernized medicine, I would love my doctor.  But he seems to sniff at anything I have remotely inquired about such as water birth or waiting two weeks--he hasn't even bothered to go over the birth plan I brought in and hasn't mentioned the Prozac since first prescribing it.  I told your Uncle Stephen today that he should get into women's medicine.  He's enthusiastic and knowledgeable about the subject and, being the "people person" he is, gets engaged with whomever he's talking.  And I told him that "engaged" is what women want in an OB or midwife.  They want to feel special--all I have felt from my doctor is like I'm simply another number, another patient, another 2 minutes carved into his schedule. 

I've been experiencing some blues here lately, but again maybe it's because I've been so tired here lately.  I'm not quite sure.  Anyway, I told my boss today that Friday will be my last day before maternity leave.  Monday's the due date and I just don't have the "want-to" to keep climbing in and out of my truck all day long for work and waddling from patient's house to patient's house.  Maybe my blues will be allayed by getting to spend some quiet time thinking about the hour we get to meet at last. Speaking of which, I'm a bit scared about labor.  I know your daddy and I "graduated" from childbirth class Monday, but it's one of those things that I just don't know what my personal experience will be.   It's hard to feel prepared for something that you've never experienced before, regardless of how many stories other women tell you about what it was like for them. Because I'm not them and just as some women don't like chocolate, their experience may be completely foreign to me.

Uncle Bill, or my "beautiful Uncle" as I call him, calls every day now to see if there's any news.  He has been "bullying" your Daddy and I over not having any children for years now  :-)  I told him I want pan-crust Pizza Hut veggie lovers pizza as soon as labor is over.  I told him I'll be starving since they only allow you to have ice chips during labor in the hospital.  He said that he was pretty sure Pizza Hut would deliver to the hospital.  I had to grin just thinking about it.  Your Grandpa Scheffler calls every day or nearly every day now too.  I don't think there's EVER been a more excited grandpa and I mean it.  Your great-grandma Hazel must write my appointments on her calendar because if it's past noon and she hasn't heard any news from my appointment that morning, she'll call and leave voice messages ever so often until she hears back from me.  You have so many family and friends that already love you and can't wait to hold you.  It's a bit surprising to me, in a way, that they can all love you without even knowing you--but a baby is a special thing and I know they love your daddy and me so maybe they just assume you'll be a combination of our "awesomeness."  ha!  but then again, some people are just "kid people" regardless.  As for me, I still have some some quiet fears--what if you don't like me?  what if you wish you were born to someone else?  It's not like meeting another stranger in that I can't hold you at arm's length until we can get to "know" each other.  You will need me from moment #1.  I can't stand idly by and observe you.  I will need to be involved, extroverted.... I guess that means that while you are still impressionable I can brainwash you into believing that I am a great person to know.  :-)   You know, perhaps that "maternity instinct" they talk about with wash in and overwhelm me the moment I see you and I will no longer have any of those questions lurking in the back of my mind.  Perhaps at that moment I will simply be metamorphed into "your mama" and there will not be the slightest question of whether you and I are the perfect fit.  I guess I've just seen too many tv shows where these out-of-touch mamas just assume their babies will be a mini-me of themselves.  I am much too independent myself to have any such misconceptions of you.  You will be your own person, and rightly so.  I can't wait to see the person you become. 

It's time for bed, but I will write to you about the baby bundle I took to Monday's class and the daycare your daddy checked out today.

Sleep tight little Soybean,