March 7, 2011

My chance to be a supermodel

Posted in pregnancy, Uncategorized at 9:08 am by bethmillett

One of the things I wanted to do during my pregnancy was have some maternity portraits taken. I wanted to be able to document this awesome part of my life (better than the iPhone self-portraits I’ve posted here), and I also wanted to give my mom some nice photos for her collections. She has lots and lots of pictures of our growing family on the walls, and her birthday is in late February, so it would be a great birthday present.

My friend Zach Dobson is a professional photographer, so there was no question about who to ask. I was about 30 weeks pregnant — late enough to look really pregnant, but not so late that I was bloated or super tired. (And of course, now I’m really glad we didn’t wait until, say, 36 weeks!) And I’ve set up a portrait session for late March, when Evan is about six weeks old. I’m already excited about it!

Here’s a link to the gallery of photos he took. Mom hasn’t decided yet which one(s) she wants for her birthday. Contact him today for your own chance to be a supermodel!

March 1, 2011

Not quite according to plan

Posted in motherhood, pregnancy, Uncategorized at 5:37 pm by bethmillett

Tuesday, February 8, I posted an update on the pregnancy, commenting that I had five weeks left and I hoped to use that time (now that the home improvements were complete and there were only a few loose ends for the nursery, etc.) to write a few more blog entries about becoming a single mom by choice.

Little did I know that in less than 24 hours, I was going to be a single mom by choice! Here are all the gory details…

Wednesday morning, my alarm went off at 5 a.m. When I rolled over to turn it off, I felt a little pop and some moisture. It wasn’t enough to worry me, though, because I ended up hitting the snooze button three times. I remember thinking “Oh, maybe that was my mucus plug,” which can fall out early but isn’t necessarily a certain predictor of impending birth. Or, maybe my bladder had leaked, which happens sometimes when I sneeze or laugh too hard.

So, when I did get out of bed and go to the bathroom, I said “Oh, wow!” when I saw how wet my pajama pants were. Then I looked in the toilet and saw blood. (I said something a little stronger than “Oh, wow!”) There were a few minutes where I acted like a chicken with my head cut off — there wasn’t enough blood that I was worried I was hemmorhaging and needed to call 911, but I knew I would need to be checked out. It never occurred to me that my water had broken.

I called the doctor’s office and talked to the on-call service. While I waited for the doctor to call back, I gathered up a few toiletries, but my brain was racing and I couldn’t quite decide what clothes or other items I might need to bring. I also texted my friend/birth coach Angela to let her know that there might be some action today. The nurse called back very quickly — the doctor was already in the OR doing a c-section — and I described what had happened. She said what I knew she would, which is that I should come in and get checked out. So, I grabbed my laptop, my purse, and a book and drove myself to the hospital.

While I was in the car, Buster woke up and started kicking around, the way he always had been, so I knew he was doing okay. I also called my mom and left her a message. Just the night before we had talked about the time window during which I should call versus e-mail or text to let her know what was going on, and we had decided that I would call if it was after 6 a.m. It was 6:07. She didn’t answer, so I left a message, trying to sound as calm as I could.

At the hospital, they checked me into triage. When I changed into the gown, I noticed that the blood had slowed down a lot, so that was a relief. The nurse asked lots of questions, hooked me up to monitors, took my vitals, and waited very patiently when Mom called back and I filled her in on what little I knew. I told her I’d call back when I knew more. The doctor arrived and said he’d do an exam to see if 1) I was in labor (he doubted it) 2) my water had broken (he suspected it) and 3) how everything felt. He wasn’t worried about the baby, since they were watching his heart rate closely, and he was doing just fine. So, after an exam, the doctor knew the answers — no labor, but yes, my water had broken, which meant Buster was on his way. They would hook me up to Pitocin to move the contractions along and monitor us both closely. He suggested that the bleeding was a result of my cervix trying to get ready. He reassured me that 35-week babies are technically preemies but often do very, very well. So, everyone was very calm about it, although I started to cry (with joy and excitement) when he said that today would be the day.

Mom and I reconnected and I told her the good news. She and Dad had already been looking at flights and getting themselves organized. Then I was moved into a labor and delivery room where I got hooked up to all kinds of IVs and things, while I also fired up my laptop and starting sending e-mails to the office and people. I updated my Facebook page and the good wishes and congratulations started flying in.

Angela called me around 7:30 or 8:00, amazed and excited. (She had missed my two texts and voice mail and instead had first seen my Facebook update!) I assured her I was fine and that she should take her time putting her daughter on the bus and gathering up her things. (She of course, had not packed her bag either!) Then, she would stop at my house and pick up things we would need for labor (these are called “comfort measures,” like heating pads, massage devices, hard candy, etc.) and come to the hospital. The contractions were steady, every few minutes, but very weak and very tolerable. I was mostly worried about how long this would take, given that my body was not showing any signs of being interested in labor. I also hadn’t eaten anything since the night before, and I hadn’t had my precious diet Coke that morning. I knew I was going to get pretty bored and pretty cranky.

Angela arrived around 11:30ish. The nurse was turning up the Pitocin every half an hour, until we reached the max. I caught Angela up on everything, and we started watching a movie. Every once in a while, Angela would look over at me, and then the monitor. I’d say, yup, just had a contraction, but on a scale of one to 10, it was probably a two. I could definitely feel them, but there was no need for any comfort measures, distraction or pain meds. It was going to be a long day (and maybe night).

Around 3:00, the nurse came in to check my vitals and Angela stepped out to eat a snack. (So nice of her not to eat in front of me!) I reclined the bed a little bit, to find a new position since my butt was going numb in the uncomfortable bed. I felt a gush of fluid and buzzed the nurse back to the room. She took a look and said, “Yes, that was blood. I’m going to call the doctor now.” Now that I knew I was still bleeding, and that things weren’t progressing, I began hoping we could just get it all over with by doing a c-section. I had heard from a lot of people that they weren’t a big deal and recovery had been just fine.

At some point, the nurse mentioned that the doctor who examined me when I first arrived had found a blood clot the size of his fist. That sounded a little alarming, and I was glad he hadn’t mentioned it to me at the time! But she reassured me that Buster was doing fine, and this was my blood, not anything from the placenta.

So, Dr. Richardson arrived about 4 p.m. and did a quick exam (ooh, very uncomfortable). He said I was only one centimeter dilated, which did not make me happy. Then he said, very gently, that given that I was still bleeding and had so far to go, it might be time to consider a c-section. I think I blurted out something like, “Dude, I’ve been thinking about that for a couple of hours. Let’s do it!” No one seemed in an incredible rush, so I pointed out that my parents would be arriving in about an hour and a half — did he think we could wait? He said he’d rather not, and I said no problem, let’s go!

The anesthesiologist came in and ran through the process and the spinal block he’d be given me. He spoke at the speed of light and was bouncing all over the room, looking at my IV, checking my charts, etc. When he left, Angela said, “Wow, think he has ADD?” I left my sister and my mom voicemail messages. Mom and Dad were still in the air, and I had arranged for my friend Marie to pick them up.

In the next half an hour or so, they ran more fluids into me, got me into a surgical cap and gave Angela her scrubs (which were large enough to hold several people). She’d be able to join after I had my spinal and was all settled in. As Dr. Richardson and my great nurse Jen rolled me into the OR, there was a lot of joking and giggling. I couldn’t believe it was all happening so fast.

The 10 minutes after the spinal was administers were the worst part of the whole process. The drugs cause your blood pressure to plummet (hence the extra fluids earlier) and I threw up a whole bunch. The anesthesiologist had prepared me for all this, so I knew it wasn’t a bad thing, and he was really nice during the whole thing, suctioning out my mouth and wiping off my face. But I remember thinking, “If this is what I’m going to feel like the whole time, I’d rather they just put me under.” Thankfully, it passed, and Angela came in to sit by my head and soothe me. As soon as the surgery started, I began crying, again out of joy and excitement. I couldn’t believe that something I had wanted for so long was about to happen!

I’m not sure what time the cutting started, but I didn’t feel a thing and at 4:59 p.m., out came Buster! Angela, who is a nurse, peeked around the curtain a few times to see what was going on, but I was just as happy not to see what was going on. Apparently, all my innards were out on my tummy.

He weighed 5 pounds, 15 ounces. Because he was a preemie, there were staff from the special care nursery who cleaned him up and checked him over. He started crying a moment or two after he came out, and Angela hovered taking pictures. The doctor came over and explained that he seemed to be in really good shape but that they were going to keep an eye on his breathing for a little while.

I double-checked that he was really a boy and everyone laughed. They wrapped him up and Angela brought him over to me while Dr. Richardson finished sewing me up.

The doctor did find a dead fibroid in my uterus, and removed it for pathology to check out. When I met with him a week later at my checkup, he confirmed that’s what it was, and that he suspected that is what caused the abruption and my water to break. It’s not a big deal, apparently, and not something I need to worry about much in the future.

We returned to the labor and delivery room, and Angela went to bring my mom back to meet Evan. I was still pretty loopy, but I remember that Mom and Dad and Marie each came back to the room to say hi, and I threw up in my water pitcher as some point. Then, the nurse told me that they were still a little nervous about Evan’s breathing, so they were taking him up to the special care nursery. While he was up there, my parents left (or they may have left before he went upstairs — I’m not sure), and Angela packed up all our stuff and I was moved to a recovery room on the third floor.

Evan was in the special care nursery for about two hours and when they brought him to me, explained that everything had settled down with his breathing. He hadn’t needed any intervention or supplemental oxygen, but they had wanted to have him close to all those things in case he had. From that point on, he was fine, and stayed in my room for the whole stay.

I will try to do a better job of keeping the blog updated, now that we’ve settled in at home. (Evan turns three weeks tomorrow and is already up to six pounds, six ounces!

February 8, 2011

A very belated update

Posted in pregnancy, Uncategorized at 8:30 pm by bethmillett

I’m now 35 weeks pregnant, and can’t believe how quickly time has flown! Buster (as I’m calling him for the moment, but no, that won’t be his “real” name) is quite vigorous, with a lot of moving around. As he runs out of room in there, the jabs and somersaults have turned into pretty firm motions as he drags his butt or an elbow or something across my belly. And I think I had my first Braxton-Hicks contraction this evening.

My friend/coach Angela and I went to childbirth class a few weeks ago, and I learned a lot about the process and what to expect, and got a tour of the hospital where I’ll be delivering. My doctor is pleased with my health and Buster’s, so everything appears to be on track! I still have a lot to do in the nursery, in terms of organizing and putting away the tons of clothes I’ve received from my so very generous friends and co-workers. I hope that once that is done, I’ll be able to write some of the retrospective blog entries about my journey through the fertility process and the decisions I made leading up to the amazing day that is coming very soon!

Here are a few photos from the last five weeks:

30 weeks

33 weeks, at my baby shower with cousin Susan and sister Julie

35 weeks

November 18, 2010

A first look at the nursery

Posted in Home Improvement, pregnancy, Uncategorized at 9:12 am by bethmillett

So, the last two months have been a flurry of getting the rest of the house ready so that when Mom and Dad visited in November, I could use all of Mom’s great decorating powers to help me figure out what to do with the nursery. I had been thinking about royal blue, lime green and brown, but other than that, and the fact that I would need a crib, I didn’t know what the heck I would do.

So, Mom and Dad were here for an extended weekend last weekend, and we got right down to business. The biggest part of their visit was a trip to IKEA on Sunday, where we spent six and a half hours shopping for all kinds of things — new kitchen table and chairs; new office furniture, because I was moving my computer and books out of the nursery; dressers and a for the guest bedroom, to replace the removed closet (photos of that once the drywall is repaired and painted); and nursery furniture. It was a long day — my pedometer measured more than 3.5 miles by the time we got in the truck.

But we found adorable fabrics and a pillow to build the nursery around. It’s the Barnslig pattern, and Mom will make a wall hanging out of the fabric with the white background and curtains out of the one with the stripes.

We also bought the Mammut crib, a cute, kind of cartoony crib with big feet and rounded edges. They don’t show it on their website, so I can’t link to it, and I haven’t assembled it, so photos will come later. It converts to a toddler bed when the time is right, so I hope it will last a while. Here’s a link to other Mammut products, so you can get a feel for the style.

I happened to be in Lowe’s the other day and saw some great fabric baskets, covered in lime green and royal blue! Perfect for diapers, changing supplies, burp cloths, etc.

Now that I’ve picked fabric, I won’t be using brown as an accent color; I’m going to paint the walls a light gray and the built-in bookcases will be returned to their original white. (Painting over the brown should be loads of fun. Not.)

And, while at IKEA, I picked out this chair. It’s not really a rocker, but it does have a little bounce to it, so it will be good for midnight feedings and, later, bedtime stories.

Most of the home repairs are almost done, so I hope to focus on the nursery in December and be all set by the time I get too big to want to do any manual labor. Then I have to figure out what I need to put on my registry! I hope my sister and I will be able to work on that a little bit over Thanksgiving. My nieces are three and one, so she knows what moms can’t live without! If you have any ideas, or want to share the tools/furniture/etc. that you couldn’t live without, let me know!

November 5, 2010

Feathering my nest

Posted in Home Improvement, pregnancy at 8:16 am by bethmillett

There’s been a flurry of activity at my house lately. Some would say it’s nesting, but it’s actually a long chain reaction of events. It all began with Tazzy, the cat who peed all over the living room. Once she moved on to greener pastures in July, I needed to replace the carpet in the living room/dining room.

And if I was going to do that, I should replace the carpet on the stairs.

And if I did that, based on the width of the carpet stock, I was buying enough carpet to do the upstairs hallway (which is sporting a nice iron-shaped blemish from where I dropped, well, and iron.)

And if I’m going to do the hallway, I might as well do the four bedrooms upstairs so I don’t have a seam where the two different types of carpeting meet up.

I also had to treat and seal the concrete slab under the living room carpet so that any residual cat pee smells would not permeate the new carpet. So, for the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a very industrial-style living room, with exposed concrete floors.

Then, there was a list of things that should be done before the new carpeting goes in. For the last six years, I have been meaning to paint the stair balusters and handrails to match the paint color I’ve used on the rest of the trim in the house, but painting around the carpeting posed a bit of a problem.

Then Mom suggested that I replace the colonial balusters and newel posts with something more sleek and modern. Okay, so I’ll tear that out and have the handyman rebuild it (doing repairs and painting myself).

Then, she also suggested that we (and by “we,” she meant me) tear out the closet in the guest bedroom, patch the drywall and instead use small dressers as nightstands and an armoire for hanging clothes. Great idea! But that had to be done before the carpet, so the new carpet could fill in holes where the closet was removed. That means new baseboards in the guest bedroom.

My mother is my enabler. And don’t worry, I have plenty of great friends who have helped me with the heavy work.

I printed out two months’ worth of weekly calendars and filled in all my social and work obligations, and then started planning the cascade effect of what needed to be done. It’s been going pretty much on schedule, except that Home Depot is now five days late on their promise to have the new balusters and newel posts. I’m now under the gun to get them painted since the handyman arrives at 7 a.m. on Monday to start the staircase project. And today and tomorrow are tied up with the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon — so I think I have to squeeze in a late night or early morning to get the first coat on.

So, watch for some posts with photos and details soon! I’ve been meaning to write for a while now, but I’ve (understandably) been a little wiped out lately! I’m tired just reading the list!

October 18, 2010

19 weeks

Posted in pregnancy at 8:28 pm by bethmillett

I’ve been feeling great lately — more energy and stamina than in the first trimester, so I’ve been getting a lot of things done around the house. I cleaned the garage out over two weekends and did a lot of purging of empty boxes, useless construction materials, and other things I will never need again (like the shoebox of photos and letters from the guy I broke up with 1997). My garage is probably about 50% empty now, which is just delightful. My parents might actually be able to pull their car into the garage when they are here in March for Buster’s arrival. (That’s what I’m calling him for now — still no progress on a “real” name, but I’ve got plenty of time for that.)

I am tearing out the old staircase railing, painting all the trim and installing new, more modern balusters and newel posts. (Well, I’ll admit that I’m having a handyman do the install. But I’d never pass up a chance for demolition.) I’m also tearing out the closet in the guest bedroom, an idea that never would have occurred to me, until my mom said, “You know, I have a secret plan for that room.” We had been talking about some old furniture I have and whether it should be moved into that room. So, her dream is to rip out the closet and to buy some dresser-type furniture to go on either side of the queen bed as storage and nightstands. Then, with an armoire on the wall opposite the head of the bed, she and Dad will have a much more spacious guest room, where I hope they’ll be spending lots more time.

Look for more pictures as those projects progress! In the meantime, here’s the last photo you’ll probably see of me in my thirties!

October 9, 2010

Snips and snails and puppy dog tails

Posted in pregnancy, Uncategorized at 5:59 am by bethmillett

It’s a boy!

October 5, 2010

17 Weeks

Posted in pregnancy, Uncategorized at 8:03 pm by bethmillett

It was hard to figure out when to start posting pictures of the baby bump. I’m never going to be a swimsuit model, and the hormones for the IVF procedure had already padded my belly a bit, so it was hard to tell when it stopped being me and started being the baby.

But I can certainly tell a difference, at least in the way it feels, if not in the way it looks. Last week I was laying on my stomach trying to coax a cat out from under the bed, and things were definitely firmer than they had been, like there’s really something besides donuts and beer.

On Friday I’ll have an ultrasound to get a good look at all the internal organs and bones, measuring things and making sure that everything is developing the way it should be. And I’ll also find out the gender so I can stop referring to it as “it.” Look for an update soon!

September 14, 2010

The next big adventure

Posted in pregnancy at 4:49 pm by bethmillett

13 weeks, 3 days

Many of you have asked what I’m going to do now that I’m done renovating my house. I’ve been working on a little something for the last several months and I’m very excited to announce that I am 14 weeks pregnant! The baby is due in mid-March. All the early tests have come back clear and it looks like the baby and I are in great shape. I’ve been feeling mostly okay, with a few days here and there of not feeling so great.

I’ve always wanted to be a mom, and as I approached my 40th birthday, I decided to join the growing ranks of single mothers by choice. I worked with a great fertility doctor and used an anonymous sperm donor from a bank in Virginia.

So, there’s the big secret I’ve been keeping for a while — and it’s been killing me to do so! I do plan to blog about the process, the decisions I had to make along the way, and the developing pregnancy. Right now, I’m home sick with a cold, so the words aren’t exactly flowing smoothly today.

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