Ignorance or poor maternal instinct

Lately we've been joking around that I have had the "express" pregnancy:  I didn't know I was pregnant until I was well into my second month and Nathan was born a month early, so technically my pregnancy only lasted 6 months.  While this is very funny to joke about, I have honestly been wondering if I am a terrible mother!

What kind of woman is so out of touch with her own body that she doesn't even realize she is pregnant until well into her second month?  What if I hadn't decided to buy the pregnancy test, which I swore was going to be negative?  How long would I have gone not knowing?  There are women that say they "just knew"the moment they were pregnant.  I would love to know how.  Is it some sort of internal monitoring system that simply says "knocked up"?  You just wake up one morning completely enlightened and you say to yourself, "I'm pregnant today".  Whatever this feeling or instinct is, it seems to have missed me.  I suppose it is like the check engine light in your car, and mine simply was out of service.

As if that is not bad enough, what kind of woman doesn't know they are in labor until they are 8 cm dilated?  If Cornel had not forced me to go to the hospital that night, I probably would have given birth to our son in our home, or if not en route to the hospital when the pain got too unbearable.  I truly do not know how I missed the first 7 centimeters without feeling a thing.  Is is that I was just too ignorant to realize what labor was?  I know my pain tolerance isn't very high, so it is not like I was just a trooper and put up with the pain.

I always used to hear those stories about the teenagers giving birth at prom because they didn't know they were in labor.  I never believed that someone could not know they were in labor and give birth in a bathroom.  It sounds completely absurd and unbelievable, and yet it happened to me.  I would have thought that I was much smarter than a teenager on prom night, but alas, I was wrong.

It seriously dumbfounds me that I am so completely out of touch with my body or at the very least have an incredibly poor maternal instinct.  I just hope that Nathan can forgive me for all the terrible things I did during the first two months of his "life" and for almost giving birth to him in our bathroom!  Luckily my dear husband has his head on straight, or this family would surely be in trouble!
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My Birth Story

While this should have been the week that I was posting my 37 week update, it is instead where I am posting my birthing story.  Our son, Nathan, decided to make his appearance at 36 weeks, and we were all in shock.

On Friday, Nov. 6th, I spent all day at the hospital.  Nothing was seriously wrong, but I had to go and see the anesthesiologist and get a scan of my pelvis.  I was there from around 9 a.m., to around 12:30.  After getting my scans the nurse suggested that I drop them off with my OB so that I wouldn't have to carry them around until my next appointment on the 16th (which ironically is today).  When I went to the secretary, she said "Why don't you just hold on to them in case you get contractions this weekend".  I laughed thinking "yeah right" and kept the scans.

The rest of the day was normal and I felt fine, I never thought that I would be having Nathan that night.  When Cornel came home from work, I even made him take my 36 week picture!

That night about 11 I went to the bathroom and noticed that I was bleeding.  Of course I freaked!  Cornel called the nurse on duty who told us that if there was no pain associated with the bleeding, not to worry, and that if I still wanted I could go in the next morning.  That was fine by me since I had a lot of things planned on Saturday morning, such as taking my maternity photos.  I told Cornel that I would just go to bed and if I was still bleeding in the morning we would go to the hospital.  When Cornel came to bed about 12:30, started feeling back pains.  They weren't severe and felt pretty normal considering my back had been in constant pain for 3 months.  It wasn't until about 1 in the morning when Cornel finally got sick of my whining and made me go to the hospital.  We grabbed my scans from earlier in the day and the rest of my papers and we were on our way.

On the way to the hospital, the pain got worse, but I still didn't know I was in labor.  I kept thinking it was just pregnancy back pain.  I thought it was exaggerated that we were going to the hospital since I knew they were going to give me some pain killers, let me rest, and send me on my merry way.  When we arrived at the hospital, I still managed to go to the bathroom before making it to the obstetrics ward.  While we were there in the waiting room, my back pain was so severe that I couldn't sit on the chair, so when the midwife came to call me into the examining room, she was surprised to find me on squatting on the floor.   We went into the examining room, and it was all a blur after that, it was 1:45 am.

She examined me, and then asked "Did you want to get the epidural".  I thought this was a strange question for back pain, and then she continued "You are 8 cm dilated, I am not sure if there is enough time".  At first I wasn't sure if it was because she was speaking in French and I was tired but I didn't really understand what she was saying.  I understood, but it didn't seem real.  She transfered me to the delivery room and then said, "This is going to go by very fast, I will explain later", I was not reassured.

After a quick look at my pelvic scan the doctor said she did not think that my bones were wide enough to deliver the baby.  She continued to say that we would try, since the baby was so small to see if he could be delivered vaginally, but that I should be prepared for the possibility of a cesarian.  It wasn't until this moment that it all hit me, Nathan was coming now.

We were not ready, the nursery was still not finished, and we didn't have our hospital bag, and then I thought of my mom.  She was supposed to be here, and she doesn't even know what is going on!  The panic grew when the midwife came back to tell me that at 36 weeks, Nathan was still considered premature and that I should be ready for the possibility that he might have to go into neonatal or the incubators.  I was still in shock.  It was 2 a.m and the anesthesiologist was there for the epidural.  They sent Cornel out of the room and I was balling my eyes out.

After the epidural, I was feeling much better. The pain had subsided and in the meantime Cornel had called our families to let them know what was going on.  He also managed to go back home (thankfully we only live 10 minutes away) and get the bags.  When he came back, the midwife asked if I knew how to push.  This is ironic since we still had not finished our birth preparation classes, and it was that next wednesday when I would find out how to push.  She gave me a crash course on what I needed to do, she broke my water and Nathan dropped, it was 5 am.

I was prepped and started pushing by 5:15, the doctor came in at 5:20 and after five pushes Nathan was out at 5:35 am.  I couldn't believe that this tiny little person had been inside me the entire time.  I started crying and I looked over at Cornel who was also crying.  We had our son.  We got to spend an hour together before they took us to our room and  before Nathan was put into a warming incubator to regulate his body temperature.

The first few days were hard, he was born very small at 2.39 KGs (5.3 pounds) and with jaundice.  When he wasn't in the warming incubator he was in the "tunnel", the special incubator for the jaundice.  He was getting his blood drawn every day and his little hands were purple.  This was augmented by the fact that Cornel was super busy at work and couldn't get any time off.

Now we are all safely home and I am so happy to have an extra month getting to know my little one!

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36 Weeks

It is amazing how fast time flies! I am now beginning my ninth and (hopefully) final month of pregnancy. I am seriously filled with so much anticipation to see and meet Nathan for the first time. His room is practically ready and just waiting for him to arrive.

According to the experts, he is still the size of a honeydew. His skin is getting smooth and soft and his gums are rigid, his liver and kidneys are in working order and his circulation and immune system are basically good to go. His lungs are the only organs that still need to fully mature, but every day he gets a little closer to breathing on his own.

How far along?
36 weeks
Maternity clothes? Still in maternity pants and still mixing and matching shirts. Since I only have to get dressed up a few times a week or whenever I go into town, I am still pretty much in my comfy lounge clothes.
Stretch marks? I have made it one more week without a stretch mark, only four more to go.
Sleep: We are both still sleeping through the night, although some nights are better than other. Some nights I make about four or five trips to the bathroom, while others I make one.
Food cravings: No food cravings this week, but since being at home on maternity leave I have become quite the housewife and started actually cooking and baking, if you can believe it. This week I made not only a strawberry cheesecake, but also banana bread (okay, so I don't own a loaf pan so it was more like banana cake, but still delicious). Now if only I could figure out how to make cupcakes from scratch... then we'd be talking!
Gender: Most definitely a boy.
Labor Signs: Still nothing. And from my last doctors appointment the baby is still high, whatever that means, so it looks like he might be in there for a while longer.
Belly Button in or out? Belly button is still in, but I can definitely start feeling that it is running out of room in there. Hopefully Nathan will make an appearance before the belly button does.
What I miss: This is going to seem strange, but I miss working! I miss the human interaction of adults and I don't think that staying at home is for me. I might change my mind after the baby is here, but for now a girl can only do so much to occupy her day!
What I am looking forward to: I am looking forward to our maternity photo session this weekend! These will be the first professional pictures of our little family. I can't wait! I am also looking forward to picking up more baby goodies this weekend that someone is giving to us! It is like Christmas came early!
Weekly Wisdom: I have none this week.

This week has been a very long week, due to the fact that I have nothing to do and I am going stir crazy on maternity leave! What is this all about? Last Saturday, prepped with our hospital list we hit the baby stores and began buying all of the things that were still missing on the list, like diapers, lotions, etc. to make sure that when the time came his little suitcase would be ready to go. It is incredible the amount of things that they ask you take to the hospital and how I am more than sure I will never use some of those items again! And to go along with nursery theme, we bought Nathan a "Sophie La Girafe". An adorable little french giraffe which is meant to be sucked on, bitten and basically anything else that Nathan can think of doing with her. She is so cute and as I just found out, she is very posh and hip in the US, selling for over $25! I could not imagine paying that much for this little rubber chew toy that squeaks, but since here she is only about 7 euros, why not!

Also this week, we had a bit of a scare and thought Nathan was going to make his arrival early. In a panic we made his suitcase and prepped the nursery for the "just in case". Luckily, nothing was seriously wrong, and it motivated us to actually finish the suitcase and the nursery!

I spent all day at the hospital today. It started off with our appointment with the anesthesiologist who explained the process of the epidural and how it would work. He examined me and then sent me down for some blood work to ensure everything is okay for me to get an epidural. He also explained the process in case I have a C-section. Which brings me to the next part of my hospital visit - the scan! Last week when we saw the doctor he noticed something abnormal with my pelvic bones, so he ordered a scan of my pelvis to see if I could even give birth normally. Well today was the all-important scan! I was terrified. I had never had a scan before and didn't know what to expect. The scan part was easy, now the hard part is waiting a little over a week to find out the results!

Other than this, there hasn't been much happening this week. Last Friday we completely forgot to take a picture, so there is no 35/35 day belly pic! I will not make that mistake today, and I will post the 36 week (9 month) belly in my next update!

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Maternity Leave

It has now been two weeks since I have been on maternity leave. I don't really understand this concept here. You are given by French law 16 weeks of maternity leave, however 6 weeks HAVE to be taken before the baby's due date. Now, I have four more weeks until the baby is "supposed" to be here, and I am struggling to find ways to occupy my time. While I think that 16 weeks of maternity leave are amazing compared to the 6 or so you get back in the US, I don't understand why I have to take it before. There are no complications with my pregnancy, I am not excessively tired and honestly- my job consists of sitting behind a desk how exhausting could it be. I would have loved the chance to work up until the day the baby is born and then have 16 weeks to spend with him. But now, assuming he makes it on time, I will have only 10 weeks; and if he decides to be a few weeks late then I get even less time.

Instead of complaining I should be grateful to have this opportunity; at least that is what everyone tells me. And I am grateful for paid maternity leave, most women are not so lucky. But what I do not understand are the women that tell me: "Rest up now before the baby comes". Really? Is it that easy? Do I have some sort of rechargeable battery where I can store up all of this energy to use in the next coming months? If this is true, then why am I always so tired on Monday morning, in spite of having "rested" and done nothing on Sunday? I don't see the logic in this theory.

While I have not "rested" for the future, it is becoming harder and harder to find things to occupy my time. I thought I would have a lot of time to set up the house since we just moved in, set up the nursery, etc. And after two weeks I am very happy to report that the house is set up, the nursery is done (other than a few last minute details) and I have run out of things to do! I have become the happy housewife, and now prepare lunch for my husband everyday, and have even started baking! Yes, you read right baking! In the past week I have made a strawberry cheesecake and banana nut bread! Who am I?? And what is maternity leave turning me into??

I guess the worst part about having such a long maternity leave is the fact that now the anticipation before having the baby here is worse. That is all I think about! How soon it will be before he is here! I can't wait for him to be in his nursery and to be able to hold him. I guess for now, I will just have to keep cleaning the house, reading, baking and cooking before my I head back to work at the end of February!
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