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Jeanette's Pregnancy Journal

Week 35
~ Oh My, What a Surprise!

I arrived to work on the afternoon of the last day of Nurses' Appreciation Week. There had been various activities held throughout the week including raffles, meetings, and continuing education. I came in to find our supervisor calling nurses up one-by-one presenting them with kind words, certificates of appreciation and taking photos. Feeling shy, I tried to slump down in my cubicle but a colleague spotted me and I was quickly called up. Damn! Don't get me wrong, I love being appreciated. I just do not like surprise spotlights.

I followed Crystal, a colleague, who was literally running out of the door, red and clearly just as embarrassed as I was by the attention. It was her last day. She was moving on to another position. I smiled for the camera while being presented with my certificate and was all too happy to return to my cubicle when he told me not to sit down yet. "We saved you for last for a reason. Please follow me." "What!? What the heck is this?" I thought. I wanted to say, "No thanks. My certificate is all I need really." They led me to an adjoining room. The door swung open and I was encouraged to walk inside. It was so surreal.

The room was filled from wall-to-wall with blue-colored baby stuff. There was a wooden bassinet, boxes of diapers, car seats, playpens, swing sets, clothes, bibs, bottles, booties, t-shirts, receiving blankets, outfits with matching shoes, pacifiers, toys, etc. You name it, it was in there. It looked like a game show showcase room. My eyes immediately welled up and I felt the urge to scream, but I held myself back. I did not know who to hug first or for how long, because everyone had obviously taken part. I just thanked everyone I came into contact with. What a lovely surprise!

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I never ever expected such a lovely, wonderful surprise from my co-workers. Syed and I had absolutely nothing and now we have just about everything our new baby needs to get started. I had to work the entire afternoon fighting the desires to return to the room and evaluate everything and to call my husband who was to pick me up later on. I purposefully did not tell him. I wanted Syed to be just as surprised as I was. He should have known that something was up when he arrived and I invited him in to help me with some heavy things. He, too, was just flabbergasted when he saw all of that stuff. "Oh, our baby is so blessed," he just kept saying. "Didn't I tell you how great God is?" he kept asking me.

Syed phoned everyone he knew and explained about the baby's gifts. This just reinforced his, and his family's, belief that our child is going to be the next head of State, perhaps America or his country.

It truly was a blessing. I cannot thank my co-workers enough. The Creator has done great things through their kindness and generosity. We recently found ourselves at a department store contemplating how and when to purchase the items we need. I had thought about having a baby shower, not really knowing how to throw myself one, but I obviously do not need one now.

In other news, I have a UTI this week and have begun a 7-day Amoxicillin antibiotic regimen. I have been running to the bathroom like crazy with much frequency and urgency. UTIs can cause premature birth, so I am going to put my dislike of antibiotics on the back burner.

Within two weeks time my baby will be full term per se at 37 weeks. Any birth at that time or after should be relatively free of complications, especially in terms of neonatal respiratory complications. So, this is comforting to know. My biggest fret when I had premature contractions was the health risks premature birth posed to my baby. To this day no practitioner has been able to explain my premature contractions. Albeit I am happy to have them behind me, I still have a need for an explanation.

These days my pregnancy discomforts include my infamous hemorrhoids; round ligament, back and diaphragm pain; and Braxton Hicks. The hemorrhoids increase and diminish in size and number at will. I have given up on treatment options and just sit with them. Only one day thus far proved difficult walking. I am always cognizant of their presence, but there has been no excruciating pain that screams for immediate treatment or else. As I may have wrote earlier, the Preparation H does not help and the suppositories the doctor prescribed for me with hydrocortisone make me dizzy with headaches. So, I am hopeful that they will go away after the baby's birth like my last pregnancy. I know that they are pregnancy-related because the only time I ever had them has been while pregnant, 12 years ago.

The round ligament, back and diaphragm pain are present all the time. Everything is just pushed up, fighting for space and it is hard to find a comfortable position. Sometimes I even find driving (that fact that I have to sit upright) troublesome.

My Braxton Hicks are not painful per se, but they are not comfortable either. These days I liken the sensation to being tagged by a freeze gun. It feels like I am being momentarily frozen and then thawed out. They never go without being noticed. They do not occur all the time, but often enough and bothersome enough for me to sit here and write about them.

People tell me that my stomach has dropped. I wish I could see what they see. It still looks big and round to me.

My daughter is still struggling with her feelings about the baby. She has told people that she is not excited about the baby's arrival. We have taken the position not to put any pressure on her and let the chips fall as they will. My mother told me that when they brought my brother home from the hospital I went into a corner and cried and demanded they take him back at once. I was four. My grandmother reassures me that she will come around. "She'll see how precious the baby is and will fall in love with it. It's just jealously that's all." Well, I am going to have to count on that.

Instead of feeling excited about my upcoming trip, I feel ambiguous (and so is Syed). I feel extremely vulnerable at the possibility of feeling vulnerable. I do not know if that makes sense, but that is the best way I can explain it. I feel like a mother animal (I am, aren't I?) anxiously searching for a comfortable place to birth. We had planned to travel to either my parents' or my brother's home, but I feel so incredibly torn. While they have welcomed us, neither of us want to impose, or feel as though we are imposing on anyone. We are very prideful people. I will be in a very dependent position with a crying newborn. I might feel more concerned about us being guests, rather than just living the moment and bonding with baby.

While I am truly concerned about an unnecessary c-section and subpar medical care, I feel even more stressed about feeling uprooted however temporary. It just does not sit well with me. Throughout my journals, I have gone back and forth on this issue endlessly. Now more than ever, I have this desire to stay put. I need familiarity around me and so does Syed.

Syed has had his emasculating struggles since being laid off. He recently admitted that if we travel for the birth, he knows nothing about the areas where my parents and brother live and would not be able to even run out to get anything for the family if necessary. "I could not even drive you to the hospital."

I never truly considered his feelings on this level, but I do understand where he is coming from. I took it to mean that he as a man, especially in this strange land (America), has a fundamental need to take ownership of the arrival of his baby. He has already explained where we are going to put the bassinet and set up the baby's clothes and other belongings. He talks at length about how he intends to raise him, cultural lessons that must be instilled, and the languages that he will speak. He talks all the time about the sheep that he is going to slaughter after the baby's birth and the guests that will come to eat and celebrate. I never quite acquired a taste for sheep while living in Africa, but I know that this is an important custom for him.

Syed is not alone with his ambiguous feelings about our departure. I, too, want to own this birth experience and everything that comes after it. It belongs to both of us.

So, I play out all that I will need post-partum if we do decide to stay put. My main concerns are meals and a clean house. My family is heavily reliant upon me to cook, although my daughter and my husband can both cook. After my last birth, I remember feeling as though I had been hit by a Mac truck. I lived in a two-story duplex and could not make the trip up and down the stairs, so I just parked myself on the couch where I stayed until I was able to get my strength up. My husband struggles with American-style dishes although he makes wonderful mash potatoes, chicken wings, and anything grilled. My daughter is apt at baking (in fact that's her specialty) and some American-style meals (tacos, hamburgers, hot dogs, etc.). However, neither of them cooks on a regular basis. I think I will prep two week's worth of meals and put them in the freezer.

We have a cleaning lady that comes once every other week. Although Syed swears that he can clean 100 times better than she does (and maybe he can), he has not been motivated to prove it to anyone. She cleans, washes and irons. I am going to see if I can budget for her to come every week, for at least a month during my post-partum period. However, before the birth I need to do some serious spring cleaning and see this place scrubbed from top to bottom.

The only things we need now are a breast pump, stroller, oscillating fan, glass bottles (I do not think plastic is good), special nipples, baby washing detergent, baby soap and shampoo, bathtub, A & D ointment, blue pads, and super deluxe sanitary napkins. Next week begins my 36th week. I have to see the OB/GYN every week now. This is the last stretch. I feel ready now, provided I have time to get my house/nest in order. I had not been before. It has been a process, but I am now ready to meet my new baby.

Jeanette

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