We took our walk today on Bridge St in Phoenixville and stopped at the chocolate store to pick up a surprise for Daddy – yum!
My last few days of being pregnant were actually pretty relaxing, except I did call out sick on Monday because my lower back pain was so bad and I needed rest. Now, I think that this may have been the first sign that something was wrong, but even with hindsight I’m not entirely sure. I was in a car accident a few years ago and have a compressed disc in my spine, and I did not start out as slim and trim as I would have liked, so my back pain started early and was pretty steady throughout my pregnancy. I exercised as much as I could throughout, but it was really uncomfortable and I ended up spending the last few weeks sleeping in our guest room because I would toss and turn and never get comfortable, which would keep my poor husband awake all night too.
Luckily for me, I know the wonderful Kym Berrien of Berri Healthy (such a cute name, isn’t it?) who is a licensed massage therapist, doula, and all-around expert on all things pregnancy. We had bartered services, I helped her launch Berri Healthy’s social media program and in return she answered my approximately 8.5 billion questions and scheduled me in for a prenatal massage that was a little slice of heaven. Seriously, if you are expecting, you NEED to take the time to do this. Kym has special cushions like these so you can lay face-down on the table – that alone would have been worth it for a stomach sleeper like me who never got the hang of sleeping comfortably on my side or back when the belly got too big!
And the massage itself was just magic. Relaxing, and the first time my back didn’t hurt in I couldn’t remember how long. Another friend told me that she got a “prenatal massage” that was basically a shoulder rub, in a chair, because the massage therapist didn’t have the special cushions or the training in how to work with a pregnant client. Do not settle for this! If you are unlucky enough to live too far away to go to Kym herself, then make sure you ask questions and get yourself a real prenatal massage from someone who is properly trained.
At the end of our massage appointment, Kym mentioned that she had noticed that PJ was lying transverse – sideways, instead of vertical, like this: (I mentioned this to Paul later, who immediately said “Oh, you mean like an engine!” Mechanical analogies were vital to a shared pregnancy experience!) With what Kym told me and what I found later on the internet, I learned that a transverse baby that doesn’t turn either head down or breech requires a C-section. This made me nervous, and would have made me hysterical if I had known that I was only three days away from PJ’s arrival!
I would imagine this is pretty common for first-time moms, but one of the worst parts of being pregnant for me was being terrified of what it would be like to go through labor and delivery. About a week after I found out PJ was coming, a colleague’s wife gave birth to an 11 lb 8 oz baby. Yes, you read that right. He was the cutest little toddler I’ve ever seen all swaddled up, but there was some serious hyperventilating “Oh my God, what have I gotten into here!” on my part when I got that announcement. Every time I freaked out like this, I reminded myself that I had already told my doctors to put it in big red letters on my chart “YES TO DRUGS” and that they were talking up this shiny new hospital where I would be tortured with all the comforts of room service and on-demand entertainment (and drugs. Did I mention the drugs?) So, I scheduled myself and Paul a tour of this high-tech torture chamber at Einstein Medical Center Montgomery.
I won’t dwell on the facilities, which are beautiful, because as it turned out I never got to try a single one of them. I thought I hit the peak of crazy when Organifreak joined our tour group (oh silly, silly pregnant lady).
The question I have heard the most often since becoming a mom in May is “What the heck happened?!” (in various uncensored forms). Not surprising, since I wasn’t supposed to become a mom until July 16th, and that I had a pretty uneventful pregnancy. Checkups were great – in fact, I had one less than 24 hours before he was born and there were no indicators that baby boy was about to make an appearance.
The short answer is, we don’t know what happened. No tests came back with answers, there were no “ah ha!” moments of realization that I or the doctor had missed something, it was just listed on both my and PJ’s charts as “spontaneous precipitous delivery” (more on that precipitous part later!) and earned me a spot on the high-risk list if we ever have another baby.
If you know me well, it won’t be a surprise that I will also give you the long answer – which includes how we ended up at the “wrong” hospital, how I went from calling out sick for a day to calling out on maternity leave for the summer in less than an hour, and how this tiny little man showed us over and over again that he was going to play by his own rules!
I’ll start the long story tomorrow, and be prepared, because it kicks off with one of the scariest people I’ve ever met – Organifreak (da da duhhhh…)
Maternity photo by: M2 Photography
You may be wondering (because I’ve asked myself this already), why on earth I would take on writing another blog with a new baby, when I’m about to return to work in a week? Am I crazy? Maybe a little, and I’m a writer, which in a lot of ways is the same thing! I’ve thought about it, and what finally made up my mind was this:
That’s the look of amazement on my tiny baby’s face the first time he saw leaves blowing in the wind. And I realized how many adventures we have in front of us, and that I don’t want to forget what it’s like to see the world through those little eyes. So I’ve started writing things down for me, and for him someday, and decided that I will share some of them with you too.
Another reason I’m going to tell our story is that while PJ was in the NICU, I received a lot of support from other parents who have been there, and I would like to pay it forward and put our story out there for people who are going through it and maybe don’t have the support network that we did. I received an email this weekend from a work contact who was apologizing for not answering a question that quite frankly I’d forgotten I’d ever asked! He told me that his daughter spent the summer in the NICU at a different hospital, and we ended up swapping stories and pictures of our itty bitty miracles. There are so many of us out there, it just feels right to give our story its own online home.
So welcome to it, I hope you’ll stay awhile!