I came into my 40 week doctor’s appointment with a desperate need to know that I was going to go into labor soon but I was returned home with more than I bargained for.

As quickly as the doctor stepped into the room I hopelessly shouted “Is the baby on his way!?!?”

The doctor gave me a big smile and replied “Let’s take a look!”

As she removed her gloves she indicated that nothing had changed. Argh! I became overwhelmed with anxiety but regained hope as she reached for the ultra sound. We were watching my lil’boy on the screen when suddenly the doctor stopped, mumbled to herself and took a couple photos with the ultra sound. “I’ll be right back” she said as she rushed out of the room carrying the photos. My anxiety turned into panic.

“Now there is no urgent need for concern!” the doctor explained as she returned to the room. The placenta in which Jericho was protected in was starting to calcify. The placenta provides him with the nourishment and padding he needs to survive. It links my blood supply with his, transferring oxygen, nutrients, and anything that enters my bloodstream directly to him. It also works in reverse, removing waste and in helping protect him from infections and harmful substances. Once a baby has passed his due date the placenta ages and begins to calcify hence putting the baby in a dangerous environment.

I held my tears back as the doctor placed us in the observation room. I laid on one of many small hospital beds with curtains draped around us for privacy. JJ sat to my right tightly holding my hand. The nurse walked in and began to strap sensors onto my belly. Immediately we could hear Jericho’s heartbeat and see its rhythmic patterns on the screen in front of us. JJ and I stared silently at the screen. Minutes passed but it felt like hours. Was my baby OK?

Finally the nurse walked in and explained that even though the placenta was calcifying the baby appeared to be under no immediate danger! I cried in relief! My baby was doing good!

The nurse stayed and talked to us cheerfully when unexpectedly the monitor caught her eye. She looked at me and asked “Did you feel that?”

I replied “What?”

“You’re having a contraction!” she said smiling.

“I AM!!!” I shouted in disbelief.

Sure enough I looked at the monitor and I could see it. I was ecstatic. The nurse soon removed the devices and sent us home with the confidence that Jericho was on the way SOON!

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Week 40 – Due Date

May 29, 2009

From the beginning when they told me Jericho’s due date, December 2, I imagined I would deliver early. In fact, I pictured a dramatic scene similar to the movies…

JJ and I would be celebrating Thanksgiving with my family about to cut the turkey when suddenly…. I cut the cheese… no… I mean… my water breaks! Everyone frantically jumps up from their seats and we head to the hospital. We then cut into some crazy driving scene with turkey flying everywhere,  in which I never make it and some how give birth in a taxi cab.

Ok! So maybe I have seen to many movies! Instead imagine the boring reality of what really happened and my disappointment when I had to return to work on Jericho’s due date still pregnant. It was the longest day of my life.

On top of that I cannot seem to keep my phone from ringing. And the question everyone is calling to ask is: “Did you have the baby yet?” or “You’re still pregnant?”

News Flash – If I was in labor or had Jericho, would I be on the phone talking nonchalantly to you right now?

I don’t think people realize how torturous it is to have to answer the same obvious question multiple times when your as anxious as I am right now. I know everyone has good intentions and is just as excited as JJ and I. So at this point I am willing to do anything to get labor going.

Here are some birth inducing methods or old wives tales that have been passed down to generations.

Vacuuming. Supposedly cleaning or nesting is a sign the baby is coming soon. Many women claim vacuuming was what induced labor for them. So watch out! I will run you over with my vacuum if I have to!

Pineapple juice. Women have claimed eating pineapple juice induces labor. I say “Why eat it when you can drink it?” It should digest faster as juice and work better and faster… right? I’ve had about 6 glasses and several bathroom visits today!

Make Plans. Some women vow they didn’t feel a thing until they had to attend an important event. I have no important events to attend… but i can pretend…  JJ and I decided to go out for one last dinner together and I’m trying to act like I don’t want the baby to interrupt… so maybe that will trick the lil’stinker. Pairra Suiza here we come! yum!

Walking. I have lapped miles around every mall, supermarket, neighborhood… you name it… I feel like my feet are more likely to give birth at this point.

Sex. No comment.

Nipple stimulation. I guess this can release your own natural oxytocin and bring on contractions. It can also lead to painfully long and strong uterine contractions. So I think I’ll pass.

Castor Oil. This is based on the theroy that a strong laxative will stimulate not only your bowels but your uterus into contrating. Since I do not want to poop my pants I decided to pass. It didnt sound like a beautiful way to start labor.

Herbal tea. It is thought that raspberry leaf tea can bring on labor. However since no studies have been done to establish the safety of any herbal treatments I decided to go for the next best thing… I ate several raspberries.

Unfortunately, as far as medical science is concerned there is no proof that any of these actually will bring on labor. So unless Jericho pops out tonight…  I will just have to keep on waiting with my pineapple juice in one hand and raspberries in the other!

This week Jericho probably weighs anywhere from six to nine pounds and measures between 19 and 22 inches. Come out already! ARGH!

Week 39

May 29, 2009

A Prayer of Thanksgiving for a Newborn Child

God our Father, you bestow your greatest blessing on us when you call upon us to take part in the miracle of bringing new life into the world. You fill us with wonder as we watch this life grow from its very beginning. And you teach us to love as we love this child whom you entrust to our care. We give you thanks for this gift of life, and as we cherish this gift we ask you to encircle us always with your fatherly love. Amen

Happy Thanksgiving!

Week 38

May 29, 2009

Only two more weeks! (Hopefully!)

Months ago when I announced I was pregnant, I was asked if I was fighting the urge to nest. This question often offended me being that nesting is what birds do… and although I may sometimes stand tall on one leg (like a flamingo)… I am no bird. So I would kindly inform them I did not believe in the whole “nesting instinct”. I felt you naturally get ready for a baby in the same way you prepare to receive a guest, or go on a trip, or start the first day of class. You know the day is coming so you do everything you need to be prepared for it.

Then suddenly, it kicked in – that same “nesting instinct” I denied so strongly. I soon learned nesting is not just getting ready for the baby to arrive, it is a compulsive urge to clean, organize, and basically exhaust yourself to the point of giving birth.

So instead of releasing this impulse on organizing the baby’s room, I have spent it doing things around the house. So far this week I have cleaned and organized the garage, finished painting the backyard, scrubbed the kitchen, vacuumed everything and organized every drawer, cabinet and closet.

So why is my home sparkling clean while the baby’s room continues disorganized? Well, I cannot seem to decide what to do without knowing how and where the crib will go. Maybe it is my current compulsiveness but I cannot start anything until I have the crib. When it does arrive, expect I will have his room setup and ready for Jericho’s arrival.

So what have I learned from this “nesting” experience? Well… It can be very time consuming trying to organize the pantry in alphabetical order and I would not recommend it! Hey I am only human… (with a hint of bird!… i guess!)

This week Jericho should weigh approximately seven pounds and 21-inches in height. He continues to shed off the vernix and lanugo. His lungs also continue to grow and mature. All systems are ready to go or should I say ready to enter the his nest!

Week 37

November 29, 2008

sono-36-weeks

We are now 9 months and Jericho is considered a full term baby. Which means he is good to come out any day now! (Yeepee!) So to prepare for his arrival, JJ and I attended a weekend birthing class.

We woke up Saturday morning and like usual realized we overslept.(Yikes!) We panicked, brushed our teeth, got dressed, grabbed two pillows and headed to our class. We arrived to the waiting room of our obgyn, where the class was taking place. As we tried to sneak in, the instructor spotted us and kindly welcomed us to take a seat.

Looking around the room we could see everyone arranged in a half circle facing the instructor. The instructor or doula had an array of props, displays and videos. She introduced herself to us and the other five couples in the room. She then asked each couple to introduce themselves, mention their due date, if their expecting a boy or girl and what they have enjoyed most about their pregnancy. I got a bit nervous about what I would say as each couple shared their information with the class.

It was now our turn. I blankly stared at JJ and he quickly began to speak. I was relieved. He shared with them our due date(December 2), introduced me and Jericho, and finally shared his biggest joy of our pregnancy. He mentioned two of his joys: 1. The happiness and relief he felt when he found out we were pregnant, since there was many doubts if that could happen and 2. becoming a father to our baby boy. (It may be all the pregnancy hormones but I had tears in my eyes.)

After everyone finished introducing themselves the doula went on to explain the course. The first day consisted of breathing and relaxation techniques, pain management, birth exercises, and signs of labor and the stages. I enjoyed the relaxation techniques… and most of all practicing them. It involved no work from me, and a lot from JJ. He massaged my back, foot, and hands while coaching my breathing or combining it with some birth exercises. It was really relaxing. Too soon it was over and we moved on to pain management.

The doula introduced pain management by handing us ice, asked us to hold it tightly, and for a minute distract ourselves and not focus on the pain. At first this was somewhat difficult but after a few seconds I was able to ignore the feeling and remove myself from the pain sensation in my hand. I actually think this is a skill I have perfected since I was young. Many times as a child, I would daze into my own world with no sense of reality or time.(who am I kidding… I still do that) This skill was also very useful at the end of the class when we studied the signs of labor and the stages. Which I will not discuss. (Just imagine me sitting with eyes and legs tightly closed… I’m in my happy place.)

Day 2 – It was Sunday morning and once again we panicked, brushed our teeth, got dressed, grabbed two pillows and arrived to day two of our birthing class. Just as we stepped in we got ready for our tour of the facilities. It was great to see the place in which Jericho will be born. The rooms are for one patient only and are fairly large, so we can have the medical staff and up to three family members during labor. Each room has its own bathroom with shower, birthing ball and bar, a nice view, and a crazy adjustable bed. The bed completely transforms for whatever position a mother may want to give birth in.(which I just found out are several) It really helped in visualizing Jericho’s birth and how that day may go.

We soon returned to the classroom were we discussed pain medications, birth procedures, breast feeding and finally some “going into labor” role playing. Role playing was very humorous. Just imagine me pretending to give birth and yelling out to JJ… “You did this to me…”… “I hate you”… “You try squeezing a watermelon out your….” Just kidding!

At the end of the class JJ and I received certificates of completion and the confidence we needed to deliver Jericho. Though the class was very educational for the two of us, I feel that JJ really came out of there knowing better what to expect and how he may need to deal with my mood swings and pain. I know he is going to be a great coach. He has already been a great daddy-to-be and husband!

This week Jericho is now a little over six pounds in weight and should measure slightly more than 20 inches in length. He sleeps a lot to store up all the energy needed for delivery and is getting ready for life on the outside.

Week 36

November 16, 2008

sono-35-weeks

This week the big focus was the elections, though I don’t want to dwell on it too much, it’s hard not to explore the significances of it for Jericho and the generations to come.

The suspense of our country’s future grew as we awaited to see history in the first woman vice-president or the first African-American president. I know this election was more than that to many, but for this brief blog, one should look past the politics. Look now at this milestone in history and its impact on our children and future generations.

This election inspired a new generation to take action. Our efforts created a place where it is no longer hard to image a woman, African-American, or… Czech-xican (my Mexican-Czech son) as a respected leader. We have opened doors for our generation, and our children’s generation. Lets find comfort in knowing that our children will have equal opportunities to follow their dreams. I know it puts a smile on my face to know that Jericho will have the same chance to shine as any other person out there.

But don’t worry, Jericho is not even out of the womb and he is already shining… Though the average baby this week would weigh around five and a half pounds, this week he was measured to be 6 pounds and one ounce. (He’s a fatty!) He has five more weeks to grow and most of of his growth over the next month or so will be in weight. Which means his once skinny face now has chubby, plump, and irresistibly squeezable cheeks.

His cheeks are not the only thing that’s plump. (get your mind out of the gutter… I’m talking about his big’ol lips) In this weeks ultra sound –

Photo 1 – Jericho’s profile sticking out his plumpy lips.

Photo 2 – Turn to its side you can see his little cheeky face. (he looks a bit grumpy)

Week 34

November 10, 2008

shower1After returning from Cancun, Jericho and I had one day to recuperate before getting ready for his baby shower.

The shower, hosted by my mom, took place in her backyard which was decorated beautifully with “Its a boy” decor. Placed in the yard was one small table and three long tables with baby blue table cloths and lil’candles. A table on the side had appetizers of mixed nuts, fresh fruit and a fountain filled with chamoy. (delicious!)

The guest started to arrive at 4pm. I spent most of the evening greeting people, relaxing, talking and catching up with old friends. As the afternoon darkened we began the games.

First game was “Guess What This Un-labled Baby Food Jar Is!” (I may have made up that name) I was happy not to be taking part in the games, seeing that I’m still not familiar with many of the baby food flavors out there. To me all the orange jars looked like carrots, green… maybe green beans, and the brownish jars… well… I don’t want to say.

Game 2 consisted of baby items placed in a paper bag in which you would feel around and guess what that item could be. Unfortunately, everyone was very good at this game. Imagine a bunch of women frantically waving there winning answers, getting up and wanting to claim their prize. (…it was a scary scene!) So as a tie breaker we had everyone guess how many starburst and m&ms in a jumbo baby bottle. Luckily this narrowed it down to two winners.

Game 3 involved me and my big lil’belly! Everyone took a piece of string and guessed the diameter of my belly. Most guesses were a lil’long (I guess I looked fat!), others a lil’short (I guess I didn’t look fat enough!) and just one that had it spot on! All the games were a lot of fun.

For dinner my mom made an amazing chicken salad which was placed in a bread nest, brought especially for the event from Mexico, and centered in a raspberry salad. There were two beautiful cakes; one non-edible diaper cake and another delicious strawberry cake from Village Bake House. It was amazing.

By the end of the night there was about 40 or more people there. Many of them were friends and family that will be in Jericho’s life and who have already been a big part in mine. All the gifts for Jericho were amazing. He is a blessed boy. Thank you everyone who was able to join us and those who helped out. It was a special event.

Most of all – thank you to my mom. I know that she always wants the best for JJ, Jericho and I, and we appreciate all she has done for us. She puts so much care and detail into everything and truly makes every event more enjoyable. The shower and her efforts means more to us then we can express. We hold some precious memories from it all.

At the shower Jericho was about 5 pounds and could be as tall as 20 inches. His fingernails are now visible.

Week 33

October 28, 2008

Several months ago, JJ and I decided to join his family on a trip to Cancun. Soon after purchasing the tickets we were surprised to find out we had a baby on the way. After counting the weeks we figured I would be about 32 to 33 weeks into my pregnancy. We assumed we would not be able to travel, seeing that most airlines and doctors will not allow pregnant women in their third trimester to do so. So naturally we informed JJ’s family we would not be able to join them and we started looking for someone to purchase the tickets.

As the tripped neared and the tickets still in our position we got curious. So about a month away from the trip we met with our doctor. We asked what he thought about us taking a four hour plane ride to Mexico, staying in Cancun for a week, and having a six hour plane ride back. He looked down at my hospital chart, looked back up at us and said with a big smile “Sounds like you’ll have a great time!”

I immediately got excited and began thinking of all the things I wanted to pack and imagined myself drinking a virgin daiquiri on the beach when… suddenly my train of thought was interrupted by the doctor saying “but….” (Argh! but what??? I screamed silently in my mind) He went on to explain all the caution and care we should take. For example; drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding the local water, being cautious of what I eat, making sure I walk around every hour or so on the plane for good blood circulation, etc…

So JJ and I went home after the appointment, discovered the airline would also let us travel and decided we wanted to go! But… (argh!) we had no passports to go. So we made an appointment to get our passports. but… (argh! enough already!) we ran into a problem with his birth certificate. We would have to call his mom to get it. Not wanting to get her excited about us maybe joining her in Cancun we called her and asked her to send it so JJ could cross the border to visit my family. (in other words we kinda lied!)

Now two weeks before the trip JJ received his birth certificate and we ordered our passports. We were informed that even with expediting the passports it would still take about two weeks. (Argh! We needed more time!)

After three long days at work JJ and I arrived home and behold our passports arrived! (argh!… I mean… yeepee!!!) Time to go shopping! I purchased some tops, a maternity swimsuit and traveling medical insurance. Got packed, got on the plane, and arrived to Cancun with no problems!

It was beautiful. Most days were spent relaxing next to the sparkling aqua blue beach, were the scent of the ocean was in the air, and though it would occasionally rain the water and weather were warm. When hungry we could choose from one of the many delicious buffets or restaurants which had a variety of foods, fresh juices and desserts. When I was not on the beach or eating I would lay in our room which overlooked the ocean. On the comfy over sized bed I would fall asleep to the sound of the waves and in the morning I would wake up to a breathtaking sunrise over the ocean. I was in Cancun heaven.

Though Cancun, Tulum, the hotel, the food, and all the great culture in Mexico was wonderful, one of the best memories JJ and I hold from the trip was being able to spend it with his family. The surprised looked on Jericho’s Grandma when she saw JJ and I arrived was priceless. We were delighted to be able to be there with her not only on vacation but for her birthday. It was a great family trip.

While in Cancun Jericho weighed about four pounds and could be up to 19 inches long. Space is getting tight for him and movement is limited to tapping and squirming. He has fully developed his digestive system and because he is getting chubby, he no longer has see-through skin. In preparation for that big day, he has developed a sleep cycles of 20 to 40 minutes long.

And may I add that Jericho was a very well behaved boy in Cancun and I did not get sick at all!  I would recommend a relaxing trip like this to any pregnant (or not pregnant) woman. Who knows when you’ll get a chance to relax like this again!

Week 31

October 16, 2008

I have noticed that pregnant women bring out the kindness in people. Throughout my pregnancy, at least during the times I started showing, strangers have been very friendly towards me.

Last Sunday JJ and I went to Fry’s for some groceries. We collected everything we needed and got in line to check out. As we waited JJ realized we forgot something. So he jetted off to get it as I held our place in line.

While waiting, an older woman lines up behind me. I noticed her smiling at me while looking at my belly. When suddenly she kindly asks, “Are you cold?”

Not exactly what I thought she would ask but I politely replied “Nope, I’m enjoying the weather.”

She continues to look at my belly and finally what I expected her to ask “What are you having?”

I reply with a big smile “A Boy.”

She smiles back and takes the opportunity to tell me a little about her children. Warm-heartedly she wishes me the best on my pregnancy just as JJ returned. We pay for our groceries and I start to push the cart forward when unexpectedly, the older woman stops me. She hands me a piece of paper and says “I think you dropped this.”

A little startled, I took the paper without question, said thanks and began to walk away. As JJ and I walked out of the store, I opened up the piece of paper and cracked-up laughing. JJ looks at me and ask “What is it!?!”

I hesitated a little and said “A coupon.”

JJ replies “‘So it wasn’t yours? What kind of coupon?”

I responded “Definitely not mine… it’s for tampons!”

Although the situation and older woman were a bit comical, it was really a neighborly act. I have been very fortunate to have many good-natured, caring, and affectionate people in my life and I know Jericho will also be as fortunate.

This week Jericho should be measuring about 18 inches and weighs a lil’over 3 1/2 lbs. We can still expect him to gain at least three to five more pounds before December 2nd. (Ahh! Im going to tip over!)

Jericho’s brain is still developing. He can now perceive information from all five senses.  He spends most of his time making faces, hiccupping, swallowing, breathing, pedaling with his little hands and feet and of course a lot of thumb sucking. In fact, some babies suck their thumbs so much while in the womb that they’re born with a callus on their thumb. So cute!!

Invite

October 16, 2008