Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And Then There Were None...

Today was our LAST prenatal Dr's appointment, measuring in at 39.5 weeks, 35lbs total weight gain, good 2cm, head dropped since last visit, carpel tunnel in my arms, puffy feet, and still hanging on for Oct. 7th. I even asked the doc if she had plans for this afternoon, we could nip this in the bud, but unfortunately she was all booked up. She seems to think that he will be one of those babies that just needs a little extra enticing... she said she has had to "evict" many of babies through induction and all have been fine. And as of right now he is still measuring of average size, which means natural birthing is still the plan.

But, with all that, I have developed a new outlook. This baby isn't stubborn, he is just a go-with-the-flow, laid back, hippie kid who isn't in a rush to venture out of his nest. Though his name literally means "peaceful wanderer", he just hasn't found his vagabond spirit yet. I was really starting to feel discouraged and exhausted, tiring of hearing people tell me that "he will come when he is ready"...but now we know that he will be here within the week at the most, what is there to fret about? My parents are coming up to help and Heather will be back and forth offering her love and support. Chris' mama will be here mid-October to stay for a week... we will have mucho help spread out throughout the month, so why be frustrated that I have to be pregnant an extra week? Maybe because I am normally a spontaneous kind of girl this whole induction thing was throwing me off my game, way too planned and organized, but it may end up working to our advantage to have folks help us out.

Heather and the boys came over for a quick visit and birthing pep rally last night. She said she wanted to "measure" for herself to get the feel for if he was coming soon or if he would wait. She seems to think he will hold out, or at least she's hoping so she can get back south before he comes! I was craving some of Granny's chicken and dumplins so she brought all the fixin's and as it should be, we Bowen girls were barefoot and pregnant standing over a hot pot of dumplins. It only took us 3 hours, but man, were they worth it! Not quite right on the nose as Gran's, but pretty darn close:

Chris and I also were given a very generous gift (thanks, my sister) to continue to stock up on our cloth diapering supplies. Like I've said before, we are super pumped about how much money and resources we will save over time by using cloth diapers, however, it is an investment to get started... so being given a gift to grow our supplies in any way is a huge blessing. Heather seemed to think that we would breeze through the first sizes of diapers and covers and doesn't want Noah's butt to go uncared for, so we went to Cutie Tooties and were able to supply most of the larger size necessities. With that being said, I also updated the registry there if anyone is interested. Thanks, Giustis, our kiddo's butt will now be covered from 15-30lbs. :)

Please continue to pray for us and our healthy pregnancy/delivery. We are loving the cooler weather and I think God knew that I needed to feel the fall friskiness... it is my favorite, you can't help but be in a good mood. If you haven't heard from us before then, October 7th at 6:30am is when we "report" to Parkwest to evict the little guy from his cozy little hiding spot. If you think about it, say a little prayer before you go to bed on the 6th... no 12lb babies.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

As If Waiting for Baby Wasn't Exciting Enough...

We moved! Yep, that's right... we have made the move down the hill to the Program Director house here at camp. Don't worry, our address is the same, so you can continue to send the baby gifts here. :) There are still a few "organizational pieces" we would like to add to our laundry room and bedroom to help store those random things you don't know what to do with, but we are mostly settled in. We decided that it would be easier to make the move sans baby than try to wait until we have a newborn... GOOD IDEA. Other than the constant downpour that fell on our heads, I essentially unpacked boxes as Chris and friends brought them down. This house is much smaller (PTL) and easier to keep clean and much more our speed. We are thankful to be here and for what our future holds here at camp.

I don't have pictures of the WHOLE house, but the nursery is the first room we made sure to get settled, so here is a glimpse. Remember, we know there are "touches of love" that this house will need over time, but we are running on low as far as time goes these days.

In other news, we are one week from Noah's due date and still pregnant. Very pregnant. At the last Dr's appt. on Tuesday she measured me at a "tight 2" and his head still pretty high up, but still it could be any time now. But, because we are slowly/not-so-slowly approaching D-Day, we decided to go ahead and schedule an induction if little dude decides he is just having way too much fun to come join the world. The Dr. gave us the option of waiting another week to see if he would cooperate, but she didn't want me going past 41 weeks. We chose to hold out another week to give me (and him) the best possible scenario for completing a natural birth. So, if he doesn't join the party by then, he will be peer-pressured into this world on October 7th at 6:30am. And being the morning person that I am NOT, I have already figured that I might as well not sleep the night before because we will have to leave the house by 5:30am to get there on time... which means up by 4:30am to shower, wake up, love the doggy, etc. If he knows what's good for him...

And Dan, you will win the privelage of a swift kick to the rear when I see you next if your date is correct. Mama don't wanna wait no more...

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Losing Steam...

Alright... I am officially done being pregnant. Sort of. I guess really, officially, I'm not done until the little booger makes his arrival, but it would NOT hurt my feelings if that's today, or yesterday even. Our Dr's appt. went well, but no REAL progress. She says I am a little more thinned out than last time but still sitting at "one and a wiggle"... but then she also says that it could happen any time now. Geesh.

I am victim to sporadic bursts of energy followed by not-so-bursts of lethargy. I get real fired up to do something and then within 10 minutes, if I haven't started whatever the task, I hate the thought of doing it. I am sure I'm about to drive Chris absolutely insane.

We finished our birthing classes last week and pre-registered at the hospital yesterday. I am certainly glad we got all of that out of the way, I signed my name at least 100 times. We also were reassured by the Registration RN that the team of nurses would know from my chart that we are aiming for a natural childbirth, hence, they won't be shoving drugs in my face. We have heard mixed reviews about the nurses' support of all natural, but hearing it from a nurse herself who has worked there for 9+ years made us a little more comfortable. They have a "rule" that they won't take your answer or request DURING a contraction, they will wait and ask you if you meant what you said after the pain is over. Makes sense.

So yes, I am ready. If anyone is praying that he WAITS for a certain date, please stop. I have already threatened to break my sister's legs, with love of course, for praying that I wait until after she gets back from vacation. All I have to say to that is I have been pregnant since January, you all have had a chance to plan ahead. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"One and a Wiggle, Almost Two"

I am not sure if it's a legit medical term, but Doc says that I am at "one and a wiggle, almost two", which for those keeping up, is progress from five days ago! Hey, every little bit counts. I have been having contractions on and off for the past week as well. They aren't strong yet, but sometimes they are seven minutes apart and then up to thirty minutes apart, and then they go away entirely. That's slightly frustrating, but I know it's just my body gearing up to do it's thing... Dr. C also said that because of my experience with cramping and such, I may not even be in pain or discomfort until I am at 6 or 7cm, but I will know by the consistency and duration when it's time to go to L&D. Our next appt. is Monday... pray for more progress! In the meantime, a picture for your entertainment of my expedition of birth:

We also had our John Knox Baby Shower yesterday which was amazing and fun. Barbara made an adorable cake. Rachel planned baby games (can't say baby, finish the nursery rhymes, etc.) for our entertainment. Bri had amazing trivia ($242,000 to raise a kid from birth-18... yikes!) that terrified and excited us all at the same time. Julie put together quite the spread of yummy-ness. Eddie provided comic relief and broke a filling. Matt and Allison came over for the morning and shared in the baby fun. EE Staff also came by to show their love and share in the celebration.
And of course, we were once again completely blessed by the generosity of our family and friends in helping us to prepare for Noah's first moments of life. We love the fact that folks are supporting us in our effort to welcome our little guy into the world as naturally and organically as we see fit for our lifestyle and means. I can't wait for him to smell like Burt's Bee's soaps and to put a little cloth diaper on his booty... and the handmade gifts have a special place in my heart as well. There's nothing like it... It's amazing, too, that we haven't receieve anything in excess or that's unnecessary. All that we've been given will be put to great use and won't have time to collect dust in the nursery...

Yummy Carrot Cake by Barbara
                           My brother (Uncle Matts RULE!)                         
Ms. Allison
Christopher and me, 36.5 Weeks

Thursday, September 3, 2009

One Down, Nine to Go...

Voicemail from Heather this morning went a little something like this: "Hello... just calling to let you know that I am headed to Pensacola so you can't have the baby this weekend. You are on hold until I get back Monday..."


Today's appointment discovered that I am 1 cm dilated (for those who aren't in the know, 10cm is the goal). Woo hoo! Now, I could stay like this for the next 4 weeks or could continue to progress, who knows? Dr. Cottam said his head is still a bit high but the more he drops the more progress will be made. Hence my new motto: Lunge, squat, birthing ball, walk, repeat. She will check again at our next appointment on Tuesday. :) Here we go folks...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

I'll Never Eat Corn on the Cob Again...

Before I get into the details, I will start by saying Grits is home and feeling MUCH better than she was two days ago... but not before much drama and a couple of rather emotionally draining days.

Sunday night Chris and I got home from hanging out with Matt in Etowah to find two rather foul deposits of diarrhea upstairs. No biggie, Grits has gotten into trash before that's made her sick to her stomach, and to her defense she had been in the house for about 11 hours without going out. We didn't think too much about it and got ready for bed...and to paint a picture, Grits has her bed at the foot of our bed, but normally she sleeps under our bed for the first hour or so, moves to her bed for most of the night, then jumps up on the end of our bed usually just before sunrise. Well, this night she was pacing around the room, occasionally whining, huffing, or moaning, trying to get our attention. She does this from time to time, but she was particularly persistent so Chris and I took turns getting up and letting her out four or five times. Now, we live at camp and she thinks the whole thing is her backyard, so each time she would kind of wander around, at times where we would have to go look for her with a headlamp. One time I found her behind the house eating grass like a little moo cow and she would NOT come inside. It wasn't a defiant "I am not listening to you" refusal, she just didn't want to come back inside. When we would finally coax her back in, she went in the bathroom and slept on the tile floor. This went on all night, every few hours...

So, around 8am Chris and I awoke to the horrendous sound of massive amounts of vomit being released on our bedroom floor (thank God, seriously, for hardwood floors). We both sprung up, Chris took Grits outside in case she was going to continue to be sick, I buried my head in my pillow in disbelief and exhaustion after a long night. They came back in, Chris began to clean up the mess, Grits stayed downstairs... where she continued to be sick in the kitchen. I went down to tend to her, letting her out on the back porch for some fresh air and hopefully some water that would relieve her stomach. She just got worse. She continued to be sick (sparing you the details), couldn't hold down even water, and quickly becoming withdrawn from me. After she would "get sick" she would have drool and foam on her mouth... at this sight I knew in my gut something was really wrong. I went to the kitchen to get a wet towel to clean her up and I LOST it. Absolutely fell apart. Chris came running downstairs, thinking I was now throwing up or that Grits has passed out, unresponsive, or something along those lines.

While I was losing it downstairs, Chris discovered (after bravely dissecting the specimen) not only a LOT of grass, but 2 pieces of corn on the cob (one about half, and the other about a quarter) and some waxy paper used to package meat. This was not good. We decided that we would try to keep getting her to drink water and watch her the next couple of hours before we took her into the vet, but I went ahead and called Heather to get the number to the clinic in Knoxville where she and Mike have vet school friends, just in case.

I decided I would head back upstairs and try to nap for a bit, which I did for about an hour when Chris woke me up. He said we needed to go ahead and take her, she wasn't getting better and she was becoming more lethargic as time passed. So I quickly showered, trying to wake myself up, and we loaded up the car and headed into town. It was going to take about an hour to get to the clinic so I made all the calls on the way... it was about 12:30 and I had just set our appt. with Tracy for 3:30 when Grits "got sick" all over the back of the car. We stopped at the Mom and Pop store about 10 min from the house and cleaned out the car, now contemplating if we could wait until 3:30 to take her in. We continued on, stopped for lunch, found the clinic, and shortly after decided that we couldn't wait another hour and a half, she clearly wasn't getting better and was obviously dehydrated at the least.

So we took her in to the Central Vet Hospital (highly recommend it for Knoxville locals) where they worked us in immediately. At this point, Chris is having to carry Grits in and out of the car, really having to make her walk on her own. I am still on the verge of meltdown when they call us back... I take one step into the exam room and walk right out, bursting into tears in the waiting room. I am sure the folks in the lobby were a little nervous to see the very pregnant lady sobbing in the waiting area...and it seems the first Dr. who looked at her said "Yeah, that's probably best..." when I walked out. :) They examined her, I gathered myself, went in and heard that she is in shock, her gums are cold, and she's very dehydrated. They took her downstairs immediately, hooked her up to IV fluids to try and get her stable enough for further exams and x-rays, then Tracy would be able to look at her.

They carried her back up and we followed her into Tracy's exam room. There he told us he was fairly certain he could feel the "obstruction" in her intestines, but wanted to see x-rays to make sure. If in fact she had corn cob in her intestines, she would have to have surgery to remove it. After a little while of waiting, we went back to see the pictures, and sure enough, plain as day, there was a corn cob sitting in her little intestines. Her stomach, which is supposed to be about the size of your fist, was swollen up to about the size of a large pancake. She was headed to the operating room, we were headed home, and Tracy would take her to stay at the Emergency clinic overnight where they would tend to her and watch her until morning. I was very upset, but very confident that Tracy would take good care of her and that she was in the best hands this side of the NC border. :)

So we are almost home and get a call from Heather telling us that she had just gotten off the phone with Andrea, Tracy's wife, who is also a vet. She came over to the clinic to ultrasound Grits' tummy, but before she could get there Grits took matters into her own hands and decided to pass the corn cob out on her own. So Andrea went ahead and ultrasounded her to see what she could see, and was pretty certain, along with Tracy, that she no longer had an obstruction. Now, leave it to my dog to say "Heck no, you aren't cutting me open. I will get this thing out right NOW..."

No surgery, two nights at the clinic, lots of IV rehydration, potential need for blood transfusion (because the corn cob wasn't too nice coming out on its own), lots of TLC from the Drs. and staff at the clinic, a shaved tummy and front legs, four prescriptions, a basketcase owner, and a corn cob later and she is now back home with us resting and recuperating.

I think I was given just a taste of motherhood during this adventure and ya'll better start praying now for Noah's emotional mama. Chris will have to be holding my hand and his every time we go to the pediatrician. I will conveniently blame this emotional breakdown on the pregnancy hormones...

A big thanks to Dr. Tracy Matthews and his crew at Central Vetrinarian Hospital for the support and comfort. Apparently, in Grits' fashion, she quickly stole the heart of all the staff who worked with her. We are very thankful for them all and especially for the Drs. Matthews who went above and beyond... apparently this could have been really intense and could have turned out not so good, but they never let on.

Thanks, family & friends, for praying for our Grits. You all know how much we love her and how much she is part of our family... though I never thought I would be someone to say that, they make their way into your heart and you just can't help it.

Oh yeah... we now have two big galvanized trash cans with serious lids...so hopefully there will be no more corn cob incidents in our future.