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Anne's Pregnancy Journal

27 weeks 5 days
~ Challenging week, back pain

Iíve been feeling pretty emotional this week. Having our HypnoBirthing® class postponed last week has left me with an open can of worms that I had been counting on cleaning out last week. Nothing to be done about that except to keep breathing, I guess. Iím feeling like every day is a nice fresh start that turns into some kind of stress, disappointment, or upset.

Friday we got an electrician and a plumber in to give estimates on some work weíve been meaning to have done. Even though they gave us more than fair prices, itís still more than we were hoping we would need. You see, whomever installed the dishwasher put it on the same circuit as half the house Ė literally. Most of our kitchen, dining room, downstairs family room, finished basement, and half the upstairs bedroom seems to be wired on a single circuit. That means we have to make sure not to run anything else while the dishwasher is on. If we want to vacuum, we have to turn out most of thelights and not use the microwave. Itís manageable, but itís getting old.

The electrician felt that our best bet ultimately is to upgrade the service coming into the house and do some re-wiring. I was afraid he was going to say that. Oh well. Maybe next year? In the meantime, he pointed out that the switchplate that gets hot when the light is on needs to be fixed immediately, being that it indicates a pretty good fire hazard. Oh goody. Youíd thing we would have figured that out in the two years weíve had this house, and Iím sure someone mentioned it, but it sure is different hearing it from an electrician.

On the up side, the plumbing estimate was close to my expectation, so at least Iíll finally have a knob to turn the water on in the bathtub, instead of a half inch nub of steel. Another advantage to having these guys out is that the drywall work is going to be started on the basement ceiling this weekend, so now we know weíll need to run some heavier duty wire for the future outlets before that goes up. Matt is a little cranky about the added work, but it will make the wiring job a little easier when we get around to hooking those outlets up Ė that is, whenever we decide to go ahead and upgrade the service.

As I mentioned, the weekend held quite a bit of construction in the basement. Matt, his dad, and his uncle worked hard two days in a row, with help from Mark (one of the other guys in the band) on Saturday. They managed to get the resilient channel system up (metal strips which will hold the ceiling away from the joists and dampen the sound conduction Ė good, since this is being done to soundproof the space), and to screw most of the drywall to the channels. Just one duct that still needs to be covered, and theyíll be ready for the messy and thankless job of taping and spackling. I canít tell you how glad I am not to have to be the one up on the stepstool spackling a ceiling! (I cleaned some in the house and made chicken and noodle dumplings instead.)

We had a bit of a respite during the evenings. Saturday night we went to a party. We have several friends from New Orleans, and this particular couple was up in Delaware for a while. Since Paul was part of the original band Matt played in (Seven Ė a Grateful Dead cover band), they got a whole bunch of folks together at some other guyís house to hang out and jam for a while. I went early enough to say hi to Paul and to enjoy the food that was there, but I found my energy fading quickly and left before the music started. I knew Matt would tape the jam, so I wasnít too fussed by that.

Mattís dad and aunt both have September birthdays, so Sunday evening was slated for family dinner at his dadís. Since Joe (dad) and Pete (uncle) were over at our place working on the basement ceiling, I took the opportunity to invite Carol (aunt) and Nina (stepmom) to make a trip to Babies R Us to finish the registry. They suggested we lunch together also, so we made a day of it. The men started working, I went to lunch with the ladies. Generally, this was a good thing. Neither Carol nor Nina ever had children, so our time together, to a certain extent, was an opportunity for some Q&A, which I sense was overdue.

Fortified by our meal at Caffe Gelato (I had a lovely paella), we bravely trudged off to Babies R Us. Since Iíd done most of the nitty gritty bits of registering with Heather a few weeks ago, this was the fun trip Ė crib bedding and cute things. Not to say there wasnít some stress involved. I swear, nobody should go in to Babies R Us alone! All three of our brains and sets of eyes were necessary to find bedding I liked. What was up on the wall wasnít necessarily on the display and vice versa. Things on display looked nothing like how they looked on the wall. Whew!

By the time we settled on a nice bears and bunnies set, we were pretty well fried. Carol and Nina, being the expert shoppers that they are, refused to leave emptyhanded, so we are now the happy recipients of a stuffed bear, stuffed bunny, teddy bear quilt clips, and a soft teddy bear rattle. Thank you, ladies! (In fact, when I tried to scan those items into the registry, they snatched them away and informed me they wanted to get the NOW. I love it!)

My integration into Mattís family has been, for the most part, fairly easy. Iíd say I can occur as a bit of an enigma to them, and I donít always know what I need to do to ďbeĒ an Urban. At times, this has felt a bit alienating for everyone. I do my best to keep things warm and cordial, and mostly I do a good job of it. I canít help feeling at times though that I will never quite fit in. Thatís a bit of a theme in my life Ė always the Fish swimming upstream Ė so at least itís not a shock. I guess on this particular day, I mostly felt ok, but there were times I felt like maybe I had three heads and didnít know it. At least it was only lightly stressful.

After shopping, we headed back to Joe & Ninaís to prepare for dinner. We snacked first, then dinner preparations began. Eventually the Joe and Pete arrived from our place, and things got into high gear. I was feeling quite tired and a little talked out, so I retreated to a Sky Chair (fabric hammock-type chair) on the porch. At some point, Matt arrived, too. He and Joe and I sat on the porch for a bit, chatting, when Nina came out to call me in for my culinary expertise (I used to cook for a living). She was wondering if this piccata sauce should be green. Uhh. Ok, I guess Iím going out to the kitchen now.

The sauce was not green after all. The garlic, however, had turned a vibrant turquoise blue. I have never, ever, in all my years of cooking, seen anything like it. Quite disturbing. We thought perhaps to attempt a modified batch of sauce, thinking maybe the sulfites in the white wine had oddly reacted. I melted some butter, tossed in some freshly chopped garlic, and watched Ė no turquoise. Then for some nice fresh lemon juice, which minutes after adding had begun to turn the garlic turquoise. We were dumbfounded. We debated about eating any of the sauce. We still have no idea what turned the garlic blue, but we put the sauces on the table anyway, and people ate them (although I will admit, I used little to no sauce on my halibut).

Matt and I had planned to finish our yet-undone homework for HypnoBirthing® class when we got home from dinner and birthday gifting, but we were just too tuckered out for serious conversation. We headed to bed early, planning to do our assigned sharing before leaving for class Monday evening. In the meantime, I developed some discomfort in my back, which I figured a quick trip to the chiropractor on Monday morning would take care of. I indeed got an adjustment on Monday and felt better, for a while. The back pain has become its own saga, which Iíll say more about in just a bit.

We did, in fact, share our lists of fears and concerns before class, leaving Matt frustrated, and me a crying wreck. I cried until we were halfway to class, walking into my own office, as a student, looking like I was in need of more help than anyone there was ever going to want to give. Those fears had me firmly in their sharp little claws, and I was ready to climb out of my own skin to get away from them. Good thing the main exercise in class that night was to be the Fear Release, which is particular to HypnoBirthing.

Some words about releasing fear . . . Next to the philosophical foundation itself, the Fear Release exercise is what sets HypnoBirthing® apart from all other childbirth preparation methods. If we assume that pain is caused by tension, and that tension is caused by fear, then only through releasing fear can we truly break the Fear-Tension-Pain cycle. The less fear, the easier the birthing. The funny thing is, I have few to no fears about actually giving birth. All my fears are about what happens afterward. Will I have enough support? Will my husband bond with the baby? Will I turn out to be a bad mother? Will I hate being a mother? I was eager to let those (and others) go.

Most of the time in life, previous experience with something turns out to be an advantage. For a lot of us, when we know what we are going into, we feel more confident letting go into the experience. I assumed this would be the case with me and the Fear Release. Youíd think that having taught the thing over and over for the past six years would have me sail through it. Oh, how wrong I was! Knowing the exercise verbatim as Beth was speaking it ended up leaving me even more anxious than before. When it didnít go ďtextbookĒ for me, I freaked. That said, the other women in class LOVED it, as they almost always do. I just had the curse of being an instructor in a studentís chair, so Beth and I will work together separately to deal with whatever is leftover.

On the positive side, when we got to the part of the exercise (after having released our fears) where we imagine ourselves holding our newborn babies for the very first time, I had no trouble at all conjuring that experience. THAT was comforting. My hypnotherapist brain tells me that it would not have been so easy to get to that vignette if I hadnít at least let some of that stuff go, even though it hadnít felt the way Iíd wanted it to feel at the time. Just goes to show, you never know until you get there! All is not lost after all. I know that if I keep focusing on what I DO want to have happen, the things that I DONíT want will start to fade into the background to a place where I can more easily let them go.

Even so, I was still mightily stressed when we got home from class, and finding myself furious with Matt for no apparent reason. We ended up getting into an argument, which in my hormonally-amped state, had me in jeans and t-shirt at one in the morning with a bag full of underwear and toothbrush. Donít ask me where I thought I was going! I have no idea. I just all of a sudden was very convinced that I could not possibly sleep in the same house with this man. Thank goodness Matt was a bit more rational at the time.

My sweet husband was able to very calmly ask me if I would talk to him for a while before I left, and if I was going to leave anyway, would I mind at least telling him where I was going so he wouldnít have to worry about me? I did stay to talk, and he talked me down from the trees. It was not an easy conversation. My deep fears about ending up abandoned and forgotten as a side-effect of parenthood kept rearing their nasty little noses. I wish I could tell you what Mattís concerns were, but I was not rationally registering them at the time, so thereís no recall.

Ultimately, he convinced me to crawl into bed and let him hold me. That REALLY kicked off the waterworks, and I sobbed hysterically for a good hour. Bless him - that man just held me, and hugged me, and spoke lovingly and encouragingly until I finally stopped sobbing. I think tears were still flowing from my eyes even as I was finally dropping off to sleep, but at least I felt like I belonged there at home, in my own bed, with my husband again.

Tuesday was a new day, and BOY was I tired! Monday night took a lot out of me, but I knew I had clients in the office, and I had to pull it together. I had planned my schedule for the day so that I could come home and take a nap mid-afternoon, which was badly needed. I had great clients that day, too, which always lifts me a bit, too. When it comes right down to it, I really do love helping people get what they want out of life, and itís just such a privilege to be able to actually do that.

After work, I went over to one of the other HypnoBirthing® momís home. Her husband had missed the first class, and I offered to take them through the birth videos from that class. Since Bethís husband is at Fort Bragg for a few weeks and her older kid is recovering from that broken collarbone, I was happy to make that happen. That, and Jen is due about a week before me, and sheís a lot of fun!

Not only did we get through the birth videos, but she and I got to hang out a bit and compare notes. Believe it or not, I havenít had the opportunity (besides one potluck at the midwivesí office) to hang out with other pregnant mommies, so I was greatly looking forward to that aspect of being in a HypnoBirthing® class. I got to pass on some of the information that Iíve gleaned over the years, and I also got to find out that some of the weird little physical changes Iíve noticed arenít just me. What a relief! We set a time to meet next week to hang out, which Iím really looking forward to.

Wednesday the hormones hit again. I was tired, grumpy, and just couldnít seem to get anything accomplished the way I wanted to. By the time Matt got home, I was thoroughly frustrated and not nice to be around. Not the week for Matt, either, he seems to be coming down with something and does not look all that well. Fortunately, I had my first yoga class that night, which I figured would help my attitude as well as my back. Well, it helped my attitude! Having that 90 minutes to focus on my body really helped calm my mind. Iíll miss class next week, because we have concert tickets for that evening, but I thing having that class weekly until December is really going to make a difference for my mental and physical comfort. (And, thereís at least one other really cool mom-to-be in the class, so I can look forward to some camaraderie there as well.) My back seemed to be a little better after class, but . . .

Today is Thursday, I didnít really sleep, mostly because of my back. That, and steering clear of Mattís germs. (He NEVER takes sick days, and heís staying home this morning because he feels so crappy.) Beth and I had a meeting at Möbius (Mattís company) about our logo design and website, which went fairly well. I got home after the meeting, got us some lunch, and Matt went into work for a while. I found that this has really been the week that pregnancy discomforts have decided to start Ė final week of my second trimester, and now I have back pain.

My back starting hurting on Monday, so I did some stretching, was careful about pillows at night, tried not to overdo it, etc. I couldnít reschedule my Tuesday clients to get to the chiropractor, and Wednesday, I figured my new yoga class would take care of it. Not really.

After a sleepless night Wednesday feeling like someone was holding hot coals to the bottom of my back on the right, I called the chiropractor on Thursday, just to make sure I didnít need a special appointment. Nope, just come in towards the end of adusting hours in case you need extra time. To top it off, the guys Iím used to seeing at the office were in Florida, and one of the newer docs was adjusting. Great. Not a confidence builder.

To top things off, after the back pain started, the baby decided to move out of a nice occiput anterior position into a transverse lie, which wigged me out a bit. Although the babyís position isnít really much of an issue this early in the game, I had been pretty chuffed that Smallumus had mostly chosen to hang out in good birthing position since I first felt movement. I also found myself feeling a little guilty, not knowing how much the emotional wreckage of Monday night may have contributed to the change.

I figured my spine was out of balance, and Dr. John confirmed that. I had only been adjusted by this guy a handful of times, but I found myself impressed at his gentleness and his genuine willingness to listen to my concerns. (Now if we could just find a pediatrician like that!) He checked my back and let me know that my sacrum had indeed gone out of alignment on the right. AND he even took the time to explain to me how that was causing my discomfort (by dropping down on the right, the sacrum was pulling on the muscles in that side of my back, causing some inflammation and spasm). He got me back in alignment and kindly reminded me to keep motion in the area with seated hip circles, etc. I let him know I planned to come in again the next morning, which he felt was probably a good move.

So far, so good Ė Iím feeling a little calmer this evening, and my back is feeling a good bit better. Even so, Iím aware that the muscles all over my back are readjusting, and my poor sick hubby has even agreed to rub my back before we go to bed tonight, so Iíll sign off for this week and go get my backrub now!

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