Tomorrow’s my due date, so I think it’s time to dedicate an entire post to the new baby on the blog.
Here’s my latest bump picture:
This pregnancy has been a blessing.
Physically, it couldn’t have gone better. I set a weight gain goal of no more than 25 lbs and have stayed within it. I had much less nausea in the first trimester and could tolerate vegetables fairly well. I had aversions to vegetables for the entire last pregnancy, so it was nice to be able to continue cooking for and eating with the family fairly normally. I was able to get up before KLC to walk up until this past month of craziness and separation from T. I have had almost no swelling, which was my biggest discomfort last time around.
Emotionally, the pregnancy has been smooth until the past month. It seems funny to say this, but we were actually fairly surprised to find out we were expecting again. Because I was still nursing KLC, my cycles hadn’t returned. (This is within the range of normal but still a bit unusual at 18 months.) We wanted to have another child around 2 years after KLC, but nursing was still such a bond for us and still so easy to offer as a stay-at-home mom. I told T I would wean at 18 months if necessary, but the thought of that was hard for me. (who knew I’d be such a crazy nursing lady? certainly not what I expected!) Two days before she turned 18 months, coincidentally when my sister A was visiting in June, I had a few “off” moments including being completely nauseated by an Italian salad one day after making it and finding it the most delicious thing ever. I decided to take a pregnancy test while she was out on a run, and…ta da! I called T and said, “Come home now. Please.” We were so happy!
Logistically, the pregnancy has been hard. I had such a wonderful experience seeing a group of midwives in Houston, attending a doula-taught childbirth class, and learning about birth from many perspectives when KLC was born. I also developed very strong opinions about what I want for any birth experience I would have. We agonized over the decision of which care provider to use and where to give birth. There are so many factors!
At first we considered both of our parents’ towns and Nassau for the birth location. We started leaning heavily towards Nassau so we wouldn’t need to have any separation, but I grew more and more uneasy about it. The birth community there does not offer many options. There is a high c-section rate, and most women who give birth vaginally are given episiotomies. Many ex-pats choose to leave the island if it is feasible. I did like my doctor, and I know he would have worked to give me a birth I wanted with minimal interventions, but I had a hard time trusting that in the heat of the moment he would make a low-intervention decision. Added to my unease about the actual birthing process was the reality that we don’t have much hands-on support in Nassau when I felt we would need it leading up to, during, and after the birth. Also, the dad is not allowed to sleep at the hospital after the baby is born. What? That’s too weird to me. One of my additional concerns once the baby was born was how baby-friendly the hospital would be and whether they would honor our wishes to not offer formula, etc. I was planning to keep the baby with me in the room, but not being allowed even one overnight visitor would make that rather difficult.
I started thinking about Atlanta as a possibility at some point, and things started coming together. I found a group of midwives who deliver in a hospital. Our Bahamian insurance approved the costs for birth in the US. Our families offered their support for whatever decision was made, and my sisters were very excited to have us in Atlanta for a couple of months. I found a house to rent for the month of the birth. We realized that having a direct flight in case of an urgent need for Thomas to come if I went into labor and for after the birth when we fly home would be helpful. Also, there is a passport office right in town, and obtaining one after the birth as quickly as possible will be our priority so we can return home.
After pulling the trigger and deciding officially on Atlanta, we have been happy with the decision. The biggest change to our plans came when Baby K and her new husband Uncle D offered for us to live in the basement of the house they were intending to rent after their wedding. The basement is a 1 bedroom/1 bathroom apartment with its own kitchenette. After a call to make sure they REALLY wanted us here, T and I decided it was a great option. We have been enjoying all the family time since we moved in one week ago (KLC and I were here first and T joined us Saturday).
We came to the US on December 19 to celebrate Christmas and then Baby K’s wedding on December 28. After that, T flew back to Nassau, and KLC and I spent two weeks in Kingsport. KLC stayed in Tennessee for another 10 days, 4 of which were spent with her cousins in Knoxville, and my dad drove me to Atlanta one day shy of 37 weeks pregnant. I was really looking forward to having plenty of rest and down time before KLC joined me and T joined the two of us, but I spent most of those ten days recovering from a bout with the flu. I wasn’t sleeping because I was coughing so much, and I managed to pull a muscle in my abs as well from coughing. Altogether, I was sick for about 3 weeks. The last week was by far the worst. I only really felt flu symptoms like achiness and fever for a day, and then I had minor congestion and fatigue. But then BAM the crazy coughing hit and I was completely miserable.
So, as I mentioned above, the last month has been rather hard as we have dealt with the flu, separation as a family, and since being reunited tough moments with the toddler. The one thing that hasn’t been hard at all yet is the “when will I have this baby?!?” question. I went to 41 weeks and 6 days with KLC, so in my mind I’m in it until 42 weeks at least. We’re still freely making plans and only occasionally thinking to add, “oh yeah, if I’m not in labor.”
I’m going to take some time to rest now as KLC takes her afternoon nap (HOORAY–she’s been fighting them). We are anxious to meet this new little one! We chose not to find out the gender, so that has us all guessing. We still haven’t finalized a boy name. I’m so curious about this baby’s personality and temperament and looks. We had a late ultrasound that showed a lot of hair, and that has me very curious as well!
KLC isn’t sure what she’s in for as a big sister, but she has her sweet moments with the baby. Only a few more days as a family of three!