Monday, March 22, 2010

OMG, Big Baby! (41 weeks & waiting)

That's what everyone's saying, at least. I had an ultrasound and non-stress test today, because I am "overdue" (I feel like a library book) at 41 weeks. Everything is still good with both the baby and I, and I am still planning on a natural birth, but he is measuring at 10 pounds 12 ounces. I know that the ultrasound can be off by 2-3 pounds, and that women have has 12 pound babies vaginally, so I'm not worried too much, but several people around me are freaking out. My midwife said she would schedule a c-section if I wanted, but she also didn't see any reason why it would keep me from having a natural birth as long as everything (kick counts, placenta, etc) stays OK. She would be shy of inducing if he got much bigger, and would not want to use pitocin on a baby this size if labor's not progressing.

My mom went with me to the ultrasound, so she's a little worried about the size, but told me to do what I want as long as I feel comfortable. I think she would choose a c-section in my situation, but she is being pretty supportive and understands that I'd rather take the risk of a big baby and possible tear than the certainty of a major surgery. She still doesn't think they should "let me go this long", but most babies in my family were induced and/or born early, so even a week post-dates seems like a long time. My sister was freaked out by the size, and was just like "you need to have a c-section now!", but I just told her the risk of surgery was more serious to me than the chance that the baby may be big, and that the hospital would be able to do a section pretty fast if it ended up being necessary. Most of my friends think I'm sort of nuts for even considering a natural birth, but I am mostly getting support, encouragement, and offers of help.

I am still only about 1cm dilated, and not very effaced, but he has moved down into my pelvis some. My midwife stripped my membranes a little when she checked, with my permission, and said we'll probably do the same thing on Thursday if I haven't had him, depending on how things look. I want to give it at least another week of watching and waiting, but am hoping I go into labor soon just so other people's concerns don't rub off and cause me to be stressed out and tense during birth. I still feel like everything's good, and there's a reason he's growing and hasn't come yet, but I can also use some baby/labor vibes and good thoughts sent my way right now. :)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mom's Visiting & Helping Out

Yeah, pic is is mostly unrelated, but I thought it was cute. :)

I just wanted to do a quick update post, because I probably won't be online or on Twitter much in the next week, because I have company and because the baby will probably come some time next week.

My mom came up yesterday, and is staying for about a week, to help with the baby. Since I still haven't had him, she's helping me out around the house in the meantime. We've gotten a lot done already, but for some reason my husband is being a totally passive-aggressive asshole about the whole situation - I think he feels threatened because she is pointing out how much of the stuff in question is his, and that I am pregnant and he is not helping me at all with the actual work that needs to be done.  He's doing his usual criticize, blame, then walk away routine, but it's not working as well on her as it apparently has on me.

Despite all that, we are getting things done. The husband ran off to his dad's this morning, and will probably spend the day up there to avoid helping with the house, but he did say he was going to try to do the bathroom floor tiles, and finally finish the bathroom, this weekend. I went ahead and put the curtains and things up in there around the shower, so all I need to do is put the stuff back in the cabinet and put it up once the floor's done. I got most of my clothes sorted and hung up too, which was nice - it's amazing how much faster it went with some help. There is still a lot to be done in the bedroom, but at least we were able to sleep in the big bed again, and can get to things in the closet. The kitchen is also mostly straight now, although the majority of that was moving paint buckets, his tools, etc out of there and onto the shelves I'd put up in the washroom for that purpose. This was followed about an hour later by protests that he couldn't find them when they were on the tool shelf, rather than sitting on top of a 5 gallon bucket of paint blocking the pantry door.

The dog keeps following my mom around and barking at her, so he is hanging out on the back porch now. I don't get it. She likes dogs, and they usually like her, but I don't think he's too comfortable with anyone he's not used to in the house, especially when they're around me. I'm hoping he warms up to her over the next few days, because I feel bad about him acting like that, and I think she's a little upset that he doesn't like her, even though I explained he's like that with most people.

I am doing OK pregnancy-wise right now, just really stressed because of the way my husband is acting, and have been tense and crying a lot over the past day or two. I'm trying not to let it get to me, but that's easier said than do. It's just hard when this is supposed to be a happy time, and instead I've felt sad, lonely, and mistreated for most of it. A friend of mine sent me links to some verbal/emotional abuse support sites, and that does explain a lot of what is going on, but I don't really know how I'm going to deal with it right now. I'm pretty sure he doesn't even realize what he's doing right now, but when I try to point it out and tell him how it makes me feel, it just makes things even worse.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I am So Frustrated Right Now

There is a forum I've been a member of for a while now, starting at time in my life where I embraced a very patriarchal and fundamentalist denomination of Christianity. Even though my views on religion any many other things have changed over the years, I remained a member, because the main focus was on homemaking and there was a lot of good information shared there and a group of mostly very sweet and welcoming women. I had seen and heard complaints in the past from women who left or were banned about the board owner, and about how you were only welcome if you conformed with her particular views and prejudices, but I never really saw that, so I ignored it and figured it was the typical "sour grapes" that follow when people are banned from any sort of online community.

This past week, I've seen that people were right. I can't complain too much, I guess, because I am no longer the conservative Christian submissive wife type that the forum expressly caters to, but I still find the way it was approached hurtful and insulting. With no prior notice or complaints, I received a private message from the forum owner asking me to remove my blog link from my signature, and telling me she had gotten several complaints about it, with no explanation as to what the complaints were. I removed the link, but asked her what was so offensive, because I couldn't really find anything. (I was really confused by this, especially since none of the people who were supposedly offended ever bothered to contact me about it). After several days, the answer I got back was, "The imagery in the poem was disturbing, and not God trusting. Women who visited your blog also checked out your links, that is what drew the most criticism.".  (The poem in question was "Fight Like A Girl")

This both frustrates me and pisses me off. For one, I don't see what's disturbing about a woman standing up for herself, and I don't see how refusing to allow yourself to be beaten, raped, or disrespected would prevent someone from also trusting in God. Then again, if that is the worldview expected of "God trusting" women, I guess it explains why so many Christian friends and acquaintances of mine have been victims of rape and/or  spousal abuse, and then further victimized by shaming from a community which expects them to obey and submit not only to God, but in some cases to the very man who was the source of their abuse. Nothing specific was mentioned about the links, but as most of mine are either related to pregnancy or rights issues, I'd bet it was the feminist and reproductive rights blogs that chafed these people, and probably for the same reason. I just don't understand the mentality of a woman, or women, who'd get so out of sorts about a woman choosing to stand up for women's rights that they'd go and tattle to a forum admin and ask for censorship, rather than approaching the person they had the problem with first.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Baby's Already Taking After His Daddy...

One of my pet peeves with my husband is that he's always either running late, or taking until the last minute to get ready for something, which means we're both running late if we're together, while I'm one of those people who feels "late" if I don't have at least 5-15 minutes to spare. Since my "due date" is tomorrow (not even counting the 2 times the previous OB moved it ahead because I was measuring a little big), and I my cervix had not even started to open on Thursday evening at my midwife appointment, it's a good bet that baby will be "late".

It was always my understanding that a baby wasn't even really considered post-dates until they went past 42 weeks, but I guess with the prevalence of induction and scheduled c-section deliveries, most people have forgotten that. My midwife, and her backup doctor, are really cool about it - they will be seeing me twice weekly from here on out and doing a non-stress test next week, then an ultrasound to check the placenta if he's not born by next week, but there's been no pressure to induce, and they don't recommend it unless there is an actual health problem, not just a calendar problem.

Some of my friends and family on the other hand, not quite so relaxed. A lot of women I know were induced early and told they had to be, so it's really freaking some of them out that I've been "allowed" to get to 40 weeks, much less go past it with an "OMG BIG BABY" [estimating at 8 1/2 to 9 lbs right now, which isn't all that big, especially considering the size of his momma & her bone structure]. While I'm thinking it'd be cool if he was born on Wednesday [St. Patrick's Day], I'm content to just wait and let him pick whatever birthday he wants, so long as he's still healthy floating around in there. He's gonna run out of room soon anyhow. ;)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

WARNING: I Fight Like A Girl!

I read this in a forum recently, and tried to find the author before sharing it.  Apparently it was written anonymously, by a young woman from Australia. Several places sell it online as a poster, sticker, etc.

I Fight Like A Girl
  (author unknown)

I fight like a girl who refuses to be a victim.
I fight like a girl who is tired of being
I fight like a girl who's sick
of not being taken seriously.
I fight like a girl who's been pushed too far.
I fight like a girl who OFFERS and
I fight like a girl who has a lifetime of
pent up in her girly body.
I fight like a girl who doesn't believe in
I fight like a girl who knows that
THIS BODY and THIS MIND are mine.
I fight like a girl who knows that
I fight like a girl who will never allow you
to take more than I offer.
I fight like a girl who FIGHTS BACK.
So next time you think you can distract
from your insecurities by victimizing a girl,
She may be ME and

Monday, March 8, 2010

"I'm Pregnant and... I'm a Hoarder"

We're done with the first part of taping the show. The next two will be when I am giving birth, and then a followup like a month later to see how it's going. The episode will be called "I'm Pregnant and... I'm a Hoarder", but I don't know when it will air or anything yet.

It feels weird to even say it - with all the shows about it and all, it's easy to admit to being messy or having a clutter problem, but hoarding seems like such a strong word after seeing people living in much worse conditions than my own, with sanitation problems, no power etc. the thing is, I realize that I am/was setting myself up for that if things had continued - we went over a year with a badly damaged roof because we didn't want to let a work crew in [ended up letting the damage get much worse, and costing about 3 times as much as an early repair would have], have several non-working phone jacks because of mouse problems several years ago when the house was at it's worse, and don't even want to picture what things would look like with 10-15 years more clutter [my big advantage over a lot of hoarders is that I am still young, haven't lived here very long, and realized there is a problem in time to get it under control with a reasonable amount of effort].

I've been doing a more detailed breakdown of the filming and my progress over on the FlyLady forum, so I'll just do a short recap here, and link to the forum thread for those who want details.

We filmed this whole part over the course of about 2 1/2 days, which was pretty tiring. I got a call Wednesday afternoon to confirm that we were doing the show, and to let me know they'd be here Thursday morning at 10am. Thursday was mostly getting acquainted, both with the crew and the television viewers - we met, I let the dog get comfortable with everyone to try to keep him under control, then we went through on camera and I gave a "tour" of the house and a brief history of how it got so cluttered. They also went to a midwife appointment with me, and filmed part of that plus and interview with my midwife - we did a short discussion on waterbirth during the appointment, to help educate viewers, because that particular program has never shown one.

Friday was when we did most of the actual decluttering. Marla Cilley [aka FlyLady] came over to the house with her assistant [who my dog insisted on following obsessively for some reason, until I put him in another room or outside], and helped advise me on what things to tackle first and how to get things decluttered the best way for me. I cannot express how nice they both were, and how she really seemed to care - I'm just impressed, because you can tell when someone is doing something from the heart, and she is one of those rare people who is. I gave her a quick tour of the house 7 we talked about how & way things got that way. My husband came home from work partway through the day, and she also talked with him some, then both of us went to work on the clutter. It was easier to hurry and sort, instead of deliberating over each item, with someone there to talk me through it and knowing I was on camera. It did get easier as I went, but there were a few things that gave me pause, and it was too much to start going through clothes and all on camera, so I mainly stuck to the sides of the room and the computer desk area. I was really surprised at the progress my husband made in the other room, and the amount he got rid of that I figured he wouldn't ever do anything with.

Friday evening, I had an appointment with my therapist, which was also filmed. It was different than normal, because my husband came with me, and because we mainly focused on issues around the hoarding. I'm glad we did it though, because it got my husband and I talking about things we never had really been able to before, and I feel like he understands me more now and I can ask him for help when I need it. I also think it would be a really good idea for us to look into more sessions as a couple, especially with a the new baby coming, to help us deal with this and some of our other issues [mostly related to communication and stress].

Saturday morning, they filmed the interview part of the show, and the voice-overs and things they're going to use to introduce different parts of it. Since they were filming us one at a time, my husband loaded up the truck and hauled off some of the junk we had gotten out of the house while was doing that. We spent Saturday evening & Sunday still working on the house - him finishing up the bathroom remodel so I could clear the tools & things out of the nursery, and me continuing to declutter, then starting to set up the nursery. We've gotten so much done this weekend, but it still seems like there's a lot left to do. I feel like it's more manageable now, because I don't feel so alone in it anymore. I just hope I am able to get everything done, and that I can keep things straight and not accumulate more.

I'm still a little anxious over the show itself, and the idea that people will see my house and my junk, but I am hoping that it will help other people with the same problem realize they are not alone and they can change things. One of the biggest things for me was realizing that I had a real problem, and wasn't just lazy or a bad housekeeper, but that I had to deal with the issues and things causing me to hang on to everything before I could stop and get things straight. If this show helps at least one person realize that and they get help, or if it helps one spouse or family member be more understanding & helpful and less judgmental of somebody in their life with a clutter problem, then it's totally been worth doing.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Coming Out of the Clutter Closet

I just found out today that I'm going to be on television, and they start filming tomorrow morning!

Discovery Health has a new series called "I'm Pregnant and..." which their website says "follows the stories of women facing serious issues - emotional, physical, mental, or circumstantial - as they navigate their nine-month journey through pregnancy". The show I will be on has to do with hoarding & clutter problems.

The reason things are moving so fast is I just found out about it late last week, but I am due any time now. It's kind of funny, because a friend sent me a link to the casting post on a pregnancy web board, and then I read about it on the FlyLady website, which gave me more confidence in it. I say I'm "coming out of the closet" because I am pretty open about a lot of things, but the condition of my home has been a touchy point for a long time, and something I've mostly kept hidden. If I know you in real life, and you wonder why I've never invited you over in the past 5+ years, this would be why.

My home is not as bad as those I've seen featured on "Hoarders", or in some of the websites, shows, and magazine articles I've seen dealing with hoarding, but I do realize that the clutter is way out of hand, and if I don't get it under control I may end up being in that type of situation (one thing I never realized was that most people don't recognize they have a problem until they are much older than I am now, which means things have many more years to pile up before they ever start trying to change it). I could live with it before, and would try to declutter for a while or do a big crisis cleaning, only to "crash & burn" after a few weeks or months, but things are different now. It's not just about what I'm living in or having people over anymore; it's about making sure my son has a clean, safe environment to grow up in, and that he can have friends over to play and not feel ashamed. I am also hoping to have routines established enough to keep things clean and organized, so that he will learn that, instead of picking up cluttering and procrastination instead.

I've tried this before, and made some progress:
2007 Living Room2009 Living Room

2007 Family Room2009 Family Room

Then got burnt out & ended up back where I started:
2010 Living Room2010 Family Room

I am hoping that by doing this show, and finally getting things out in the open, I will not only get help and advice on getting and staying organized (Marla Cilley, the "FlyLady", has offered to come & to help me get things under control), but will give me the encouragement to keep things that way permanently, and will also help other people with the same problem to recognize it and seek some help, either in bringing in professional help or in looking for resources to help them fix the problem on their own, or with help from friends & family.

The other part of the show is going to be focusing on the birth itself, and on a follow-up after about a month to see how we & the baby are doing. There are good things about this, too. For one, it will be different from the typical OB-attended, medicated & monitored "standard" hospital birth shown on most television shows. I've already posted my birth plan, so there's no need to go into the details again, but I think it's great that I'll get to be part of a waterbirth, attended by a midwife & doula, and shown on TV as a normal option at a regular small-town hospital. The follow-up visit & filming will also give me an incentive to have and keep the house in order by then, and will hopefully encourage my husband to help keep the cleaning and things up while I am recovering from the birth and may not be feeling up to doing as much.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Pregnancy = Productivity?

I'm 38 weeks now and still going. I'm getting tired more often and can tell my joints are loosening, especially in my hips & ankles, so I'm having to take things a little more slowly and cut back on walking and shopping/browsing. Still, I think it's funny just how much stuff is getting done know that I'm in the last few weeks.

My mom called yesterday to tell me this week would be a good time to have the baby, since my dad had a week off from his chemo treatments. I think she's getting nervous because my sister and I were both early, so the thought of a full-term "big" baby is a little scary to her. I told her he'd come when he was ready, and that he's doing just fine.

I'm still going overboard with the nesting stuff, but at least the house is looking good, and we're getting caught up on a lot of projects that have needed doing for a while. We put up the tub surround in the bathroom & decided to take down the paneling strips, cabinets, etc and paint the rest of the room while we were at it. Everythings down & spackled, and we have the first coat of Killz/primer on it. I'm not too happy how some spots turned out [hubby isn't as picky as I am about smoothness when spackling, and then slopped a second coat of primer on before the first dried, which left bad lines & lumpy spots], so I'm going to go re-sand a few areas and prime back over it after breakfast. It'll need at least one more coat of primer before we paint, because it's printed panelling/wallboard, with a dark design that is showing through. I'm going to try to finish the painting in the next day or two so then we can do the floor, which won't take very long, and move on to the washroom. The irony here is that the nursery/baby's room will get painted later, because we want to put down laminate flooring in there first. He'll be sleeping in our room for a while anyway, so it's not like it will matter too much though.

I'm also trying to get my car all ready for baby and in top shape before he's born. I got it checked out to make sure nothing was damaged, had a new rear bumper put on where the car that hit me dented the old one slightly, and had the front end aligned and new tires put on it. The alignment had worn out one tire, and the others were low on tread, so it rides so much better now. I'm also getting my oil changed and the 35,000 service done on Friday, so hopefully baby will hold on until after then [the dealership was backed up over a week on appointments, but I get free oil changes, which are worth the wait with a diesel]. I ordered some kick mats to protect the backs of my seats, and a mat to go under the carseat, and am still waiting on my  seatcovers to get here [I did not realize they were made to fit & take a couple weeks to ship]. Hopefully, those will baby-proof the upholstery enough for it to last and look good for a while.

I bought some more gowns and comfy nursing-friendly clothes this weekend, too, because we went into a new outlet store and they carry a lot of plus size stuff, including maternity, pretty cheap [lots of Motherhood Maternity & Lane Bryant regular for around $10 a piece].  I'm trying to hold off on shopping too much until I know what sizes I'll be wearing, but I figure the first month or so I'll be pretty close to wear I am now, and will care more about something comfortable to wear at home than what looks great for going out. Now I just need to wash everything and finish packing my hospital bag.

I'm also working on some freezer- and husband-friendly meal plans for the first week or two, when I know I'm not going to feel like cooking. My mom will be down to help some, but I don't want to impose by asking her to cook a lot either [she had gastric bypass, so it doesn't seem fair to ask her to cook when she's limited on what she can even eat]. I'm thinking things like casseroles, lasagna, chicken & pasta [pre-cook the chicken & sauce], and anything else that would be easy to thaw and heat. My husband is willing to do what he can in the kitchen, and can manage OK if you give him directions, but he doesn't really "cook" and isn't comfortable just winging it or following a recipe by himself, so I'm trying to keep things easy. If anyone has meal ideas or recipes, please let me know.
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