The last weeks

Late stage pregnancy has been a study in patience and perseverance. As I write this, I’m about 7 hours away from the start of my labor induction at 37 weeks and 6 days. I’ve had it in my head for weeks that her birthday would probably be 2/20, and I will probably end up right.

Last Tuesday, we took a trial run to labor and delivery for a blood pressure spike. While we were there, the doctor gave us the choice—induce then or probably come back Thursday. After equivocating for half an hour, we decided to go home.

So, we went home. We spent Wednesday half thinking the next day was it. We took it easy, went out for breakfast then kept feet up all day. Blood pressure stabilized. Went to Thursday’s appointment and then…

another crossroads conversation. “I could send you today, but it would probably suck, or we could give you the weekend for your body to get ready.”

So, again, nesting, taking it easy, waiting today’s appointment and thinking that today they would say we’re going tomorrow. And then the OB, in her soft and calm voice, sees my record of readings and says, “Amy, you need to just have a baby.”

And, so, well, we hurry up and wait. We go to the hospital tonight, we get started, and we see what happens. As in childbirth, so in life.

Milestone Achieved: Mucus Plug

There will be a picture below, so gird your loins if you aren’t into globs of mucus. I, however, am so excited.

I don’t know why, but I’ve been totally entranced with the idea of the mucus plug. It’s a romantic thing with a horrid name—here it is, this lovely barrier between baby and the outside world, there to protect and nestle that baby until she approaches readiness. It can regenerate itself, guard against infection and contamination, and losing it means opening up and hopefully getting the show on the road. How cool is that? It deserves a much better name. Something romantic and befitting it’s heroism.

Mine has come out today in several considerable chunks, two big hunks at the OB’s office and a some smaller bits at home since then, and I am psyched. I know it means natural labor could be anywhere from hours to weeks away (37w2d right now), and I’m still not likely to get a natural labor anyway, but it’s just so rad.

Relatedly, I’ve had some sporadic, mild contractions for a couple of days after a hospital visit the other night (more on that soon), but nothing super consistent or unmanageable. Just plugging along over here.

Alright, here comes the mucus. Scroll at your own peril.


Look at you, you little hero. Thank you for protecting my baby for so long. 💞 We’ll try to take over from here.

Maternity Leave

It’s no surprise that parental leave, like so many  other issues related to women and healthcare, in the U.S. is a disaster. Fewer than half of women who take a maternity leave in this country are paid for it, and even the beauty that is unpaid FMLA is tarnished by the list of requirements one and their employer have to meet in order to qualify. And now that we know that fewer than 40% of American families can afford a $1000 emergency, thinking about income replacement for even a six week leave leaves most families in the dirt.

This is a crime.

The policy in my workplace is very average, especially in the education field—6 weeks unpaid. I’m lucky in the sense that my primary concern was not money, but time. Even if they wouldn’t pay me, I know we can fall back on family for support. This involves a tremendous degree of privilege that I recognize is not normal—it certainly would not be in my life had I not married into a much more financially stable family than my one of origin.

My issue was time. Six weeks assumes everything goes perfectly physically, and it also leaves a tiny baby at five weeks and change before mom goes back to work. I couldn’t imagine doing that. So, I had two options: try to get a better deal, or suck it up.

I tried for a better deal and got it. Here’s my advice for having that conversation.

First: ask. You can’t know what they’ll offer you if you’re afraid to ask for it. My approach was delicate but direct—“I know what the policy is, but I’m hoping we can talk about me taking a little more time.”

Second, plan. I went into this conversation with a calendar in mind—a start date and a return date, where my paid time off would kick in and end, where federal holidays and other days off would kick in, as a way to send the message that even though I was asking for more than standard, it really doesn’t amount to all that much time once you figure in the PTO, which most employers will require you to take first, and other days off. I also came in with a gameplan for who would take over my responsibilities (in my case, a long term sub and friend with a lot of experience and great rapport with kids), a sense of what I would ask her to do while I’m gone, and how I would get her up to speed (a couple days of job shadowing, complete lesson plans for two months, etc.). Part of this, too, is arming yourself with knowing your value to the organization and being willing to speak to it.

Lastly, appreciate. Know that your boss is bound by policy as much as you are. If they go out of their way to advocate and fight for something better for you, let them know that you appreciate that advocacy, even if it doesn’t work. In my case, it did work. My original request for 11 weeks off is now 12 because of medical advice to stop earlier. I’ve made sure, probably to the point of overkill, that my boss knows how incredibly grateful I am that she was willing to make it happen for me.

In short, I can’t think that it hurts to try. The worst case scenario is being slapped down, but one might be able to mitigate that possibility by  approaching the conversation thoughtfully and confidently.

Now that mine has started, I feel super weird. More on that soon.

Preggo Anxiety

Everything has been smooth sailing in my pregnancy until it hasn’t been. I’ve been textbook, really—almost hilariously so. The very week all the books said I might experience this or that, I have. Like clockwork. This has allowed me to really trust my body and trust this process, and as a result, pregnancy has been mostly a beautiful and inspiring time in my life.


However, last week at my 30 week appointment, my OB dropped what felt like a major bombshell: “We’re probably going to want to induce at 38-39 weeks, as long as you keep looking good. If the blood pressure raises, we might be looking at 36-37.” And I just sat there and nodded stupidly, covered in Doppler gel and surprise.

This would be a preventive measure rather than a proactive one. I have “essential hypertension,” which has been well managed with medication for several years. Through pregnancy, readings have been great other than slightly elevated at this last appointment (130/90). That said, this must put me in a risk category the OB wants to tread lightly with.

I went grocery shopping in a haze. I came home in a haze. I told my husband, texted my bestie, and thought I was processing pretty well. But I wasn’t, because slowly, my entire attitude toward pregnancy started to shift. I don’t trust my body, I don’t trust myself to correctly interpret my own experiences, and I have to shift that trust from myself to my doctors, which involves an activity that I do not excel at—relinquishing control.

I’m not an idiot. I know intellectually that I have not had any real control over the process of my pregnancy other than taking decent care of myself, but when things are all good, it’s easy to feel like you do.

I also know that I really put a lot of pressure on myself, and I can’t overachieve my way out of a  pre-existing condition that hasn’t resolved itself despite a healthy weight, diet, and generally active lifestyle. It just is what it is. It all just is what it is.

But I haven’t managed my own emotions on this very well. I’ve had multiple meltdowns and a fairly epic panic attack, and the only way out is through. My husband is exceptionally supportive, and my doula’s response to this has likewise been amazing. My husband has coached me through just breathing, talking it out, and letting myself cry as I need to. I already knew he would be, but this shows me what an amazing partner he’s going to be in the room when it’s go time.

And there are worse things in the world than an induced labor. I’ve gotten some suggestions that I think are on the money, and I need to just go with that. The concrete suggestions are this:

  • My doctor is going by ACOG guidelines, and whether or not the crunchy natural birth community wants to admit it, they are the actual medical experts. Trust the guidelines, and find the happy medium between the natural birth I want and the medical birth I probably need.
  • According to my doula: check and double check the doctor’s plans to make sure that the cervix is checked the day before and a ripening agent used if it isn’t low and soft on its own, that low doses of pitocin are started if necessary after said cervical softening, and that ideal timing in her mind is 38 weeks, 6 days to give my body its best chance to take over on its own.
  • And I need to just rebuild my trust in the process, whatever it turns out to be. This means continuing to engage in a lot of self care, do my reading and education on the topic, keep up with my meditation and other soothing activities, and keep doing my fucking kegels as much as I hate them.



The 3 Hour Glucose ~Experience~

Well, it happened. I flunked the one hour test.

They had me do it at about 28 weeks. The threshold for my doctor’s office was a score of 140, and I scored a 160. I currently report from the waiting room of the medical center.

After my initial devastation/guilt/shame-induced sobbing session after finding out I flunked wore off, I decided to just do my best to watch my diet and stay resolute that all would be well as I waited out the two weeks before they could get me in for the three hour. Usually, this would be scheduled pretty quickly, but the holiday sprung up in there as well. The doctor just advised me to keep an eye on my sugar in the meantime since it is a longer wait than they usually want.

Anyway, the three hour test doubles the amount of glucose you drink from 50 to 100mLs. You go in fasting (14 hours is what my doctor wanted, but YMMV), they do a draw, have you drink the glucola, and then they’ll draw again on the hour for the next three.

I find that the internet really overdramatizes this, and my experience has been fine. Of course, I’d rather not be spending half my day on this, but it isn’t a total nightmare.

Here’s my experience:

Fasting: The worst part, no way around it. Telling a woman at 30 weeks gestation she can’t eat for upwards of 16 hours feels like a special brand of torture. Be sure to put a protein rich snack in your bag for when you’re done—I have a small bag of cashews and a granola bar that I’m waiting to bust into.

To make the draws smoother, I drank about a liter of water before I left the house this morning, and nearly a liter before bed. I’m going to get up to pee 30 billion times regardless. May as well have fresh veins.

The first draw: Totally fine. They only need 5 mL at a time, so it goes very quickly—even for me, as someone who is kicking the world’s worst needle phobia. I was told no eating, no sleeping, and only small sips of water for the rest of the morning.

The drink: I find it pretty gross, and I have a strong sweet tooth. It’s like drinking 50 melted popsicles. But they give you five minutes to choke it down and offered it to me cold or room temperature. Cold seemed like a better bet, even though it’s currently -3 degrees outside.

Hour 1: Physically, this was the toughest hour. Immediate heartburn, a bit of wooziness, and sheer exhaustion. I’m not sure if it was from the drink or coming in tired, but it didn’t feel good. Coping strategies for this hour were reading a little and doing a guided meditation. No energy for more than that. The hunger pangs were so real.

The second draw: They used to same arm as the first time. Little pinch, but not a big deal.

Hour 2: My energy picked up and the second hour was spend playing cards with my husband. Heartburn was still fairly bad, but easing up. Small sips of water did really help.

The third draw: New arm! Not so bad! By this time, I was pretty energized by being so close to being done.

Hour 3: Pretty much the same as hour two. Energy was okay, hunger pangs less pronounced, and spirits pretty high. This really was not that bad.

The fourth draw: This one hurt a little more because the last one puffed up my arm a bit more, but it was fast and easy enough.

After it all: I did immediately eat some cashews and half a granola bar on the way to lunch. This gave me some immediate fatigue that lasted through eating an actual meal, but after that meal I felt relatively normal. Which, for third trimester me, is fatigued but in good spirits.

And now I know that I passed all of them! My numbers are below:

Fasting: 73 (needs to be less than 95)

Hour 1: 135 (needs to be less than 180)

Hour 2: 123 (needs to be less than 155)

Hour 3: 115 (needs to be less than 140)

All in all, I’m super relieved that I don’t have to alter my diet or monitor my sugars or anything, and that the baby won’t be impacted by sugar issues on my part. It wouldn’t have been the end of the world by any means, but it’s one less thing on my back.

Biggest regret: laying off my favorite Christmas treats.


Pregnancy Products

One of the things that really unnerves me about pregnancy is how much crap is marketed toward pregnant people, often with ridiculous markups in price over what the product’s true value probably is.

I mean, I’m sorry, but a pair of leggings with an extra foot of belly fabric is not worth an additional $20 over a regular pair. Come on!

In any case, here are some mini-reviews of things that have actually helped me, and things that have been a complete flop so far.

Awesome Things:

  1. The Snoogle Pillow.

This thing has changed my life. In the first trimester, I liked to have it just for the extra cuddly factor. Now that I’m close to the third trimester and am experiencing being quite large, this pillow is literally the only thing that allows me to get anything resembling a good night’s sleep. Sleeping on my left side with my right leg propped up on the pillow takes the pressure off of my left hip and my belly, which is helping tremendously with my sciatic and hip pain. When my husband is out of town, the pillow feels like its spooning me, which is also great. You can also kind of fold it up to turn it into something resembling a chair that you can sit propped up in, which is very comfortable for reading in bed. Highly recommend.

2. Saucony Omni Grid Walkers 

Are these attractive? Not really. But what they are is unbelievably comfortable. When I realized that my most comfortable shoes were my ridiculous pink running shoes (also Saucony, which I’m a total loyalist to), I knew I needed to get a more reasonable looking pair for work, so off to Saucony I went. These shoes come in a range of sizes, and aren’t as clunky as they look online. I’ve been wearing them daily for a couple of months, and my feet never hurt, have plenty of room to swell, and my posture and pronation issues, which suck more than ever before, are corrected. Highly recommend.

3. Ingrid Isabel Products from Target

As far as maternity clothing goes, this line is the best I’ve found with regard to affordability and quality. I’m not interested in blowing huge money on a wardrobe I’ll wear for a finite period of time, so lines like this are saving my life. My experience is that these are true to size in the sense that I can grab my pre-pregnancy size and be sure it’ll work now and with plenty of room to grow. Quality is fine for the price point–they aren’t family heirlooms, but they are solid, washable, non-transparent, and cute. My go-to most days is one of their sweaters or t shirts with a pair of printed leggings.

PS, in the leggings category, my best luck hasn’t been with maternity lines aside from Ingrid Isabel (almost all of the other ones I’ve bought maternity are too sheer to wear as pants, and I am one of those people sorrynotsorry). Instead, I just stock up on printed leggings from my favorite boutique in town, which are basically LulaRoe rip-offs, in a size significantly bigger than my pre-pregnancy size, and they work awesomely.

4. Aeroflow for your free breast pump through insurance

I did not think this was going to be easy, but it was amazingly so. I ordered mine pretty early just in case, I think at 18 weeks or so, because Trump.

All you do is fill out a form for personal and insurance information, then it’ll toggle to pumps you should qualify for. I then sorted by price to see what the fanciest thing I could get for free was, read some reviews on other sites, and ordered (Bluetooth equipped? Why not!). They were able to confirm my qualification within a day–a miracle! The actually processing and shipping took longer than a typical online order, but I still had it at my door within 10-14 business days. Aeroflow also offers accessories for added cost–I got a tote bag for mine for a little extra because it didn’t come with one.


  1. Preggie Pops Products 

Let’s be real. These are just candy. My nausea was a little worse than normal, and these did nothing but take my mind off of it for a few tasty minutes. One the lozenge is gone, the nausea is back. They do have added vitamin B, but not the medicinal dose that ended up being prescribed to me, and that aspect of these products made no difference for me. Sucking on something did help in the moment, but I would just buy some hard candy in flavors I actually like and save on the mark-up. They are also fairly conspicuous in packaging if you’re early on and are trying to hide a pregnancy.

2. Motherhood Maternity Pants and Leggings

The leggings are see-through. The belly panels are made of such cheap elastic that one run through the gentle cycle of my washing machine tore up a pair of $50 pants. Sizing is very inconsistent–I cannot reliably grab my pre-pregnancy size and go. The saving grace here is the variety in what they offer–work pants, leggings, jeans, etc., but I would tread very, very lightly.