Monday, June 09, 2014

39 weeks, still pregnant

Well, it's been quite a week.  I'm 39 weeks pregnant tomorrow.  Yep, Manuji is still inside.

Update from last Friday's OB appointment.  This appointment was with the unflappable Dr. R, who we saw several times at the beginning of my pregnancy when my regular OB, Dr. C, was unavailable.  I really like Dr. R because she's chill and seems like low intervention.  Anyway, not much to report.  I had another growth scan and Manuji is allegedly measuring about 7lbs 8oz.  But I think these growth scans are really just guesses.  My fluid levels are good.  My cervix remains shut tight.  And that's about it.  I go back this Friday, where unfortunately I have to meet a new doctor.  I'm tired of new doctors.  Still having mostly painless Braxton Hicks contractions.  Every once in awhile I will have a painful one, but that's about it.

In my pregnancy group, more and more of the women have had their babies and the posts are about breastfeeding and what not now.  Three of the women who have given birth were due after me.  Only one was scheduled (due to severe pre-eclampsia).  The other two had their water break and then labor started.  I am starting to have this sinking feeling that I'm going to go well past my due date and ultimately have to be induced, which I really don't want, but what can you do?  I'm more and more uncomfortable and tired and it's starting to feel like this baby is never going to come.

Jeeves and I (well, mostly Jeeves) have made great strides in preparations - Baby's room is basically done (just waiting for some pictures and picture frames), we went to IKEA and finally got lamps and a rug for the room, stroller has been put together, car seat is in the car and we have an appointment to have it checked to see if we did it right.  My hospital bag is packed.  We bought snacks to take to the hospital.  We quiz each other on the steps for infant CPR.  So now we just wait.   

The biggest updates involve Dad.  Whenever my posts are mostly about Dad, I have less readers, but this blog is a good form of therapy for me, so it's fine if you want to check out now. 

I realize that I have complained a lot this year about how little my sister has done with regards to my dad's care.  But I feel like I need to give a little background on that.  When Dad was diagnosed 5 years ago, I lived at home with him so I could save money and pay off debt.  I was dating Jeeves, but we weren't engaged and he was living in Connecticut.  I had a demanding job, but the point is, I had the time and the will and I lived with Dad - all stuff that made it logical for me to be his primary caregiver.  Meanwhile, when Dad was diagnosed, my sister was four and half months pregnant with her third child and her second child had just been diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum.  For many years during Dad's treatment, he was doing very well and tolerated the chemo and needed minimal help from us.  I would go with him to doctor's appointments and keep track of his health history, but he didn't need help at home.

Meanwhile, my sister had a rough couple of years with her kids - coming to terms with the severity of my nephew's autism, dealing with her youngest, who definitely went through the terrible 2s and 3s.  My brother-in-law (whom Dad and I are not a big fan of) hired an au pair from China (my BIL is originally from China and this girl was actually someone that his family knew from back home) who was very young and had limited experience and spoke little English.  She wound up making my sister's life harder - it was like having a 13 year old girl in your house, except she was supposed to be working for you.  After a year, they terminated her contract and she went to work for someone else.  Then, two years ago, on Father's Day, Dad and I went to Sissy's house for a barbecue and we found my sister in a nearly catatonic state.  The next day she was involuntarily admitted to a hospital.  She got better, but after awhile she stopped going to therapy and stopped taking her medication (with my idiot BIL's full knowledge).  A year ago, she wound up back in the hospital, this time voluntarily.  They finally have her on a medication that helps and that she likes, and she's stuck with her therapy.  And they finally seem to have gotten her diagnosis right - Bipolar Disorder II.  She's doing much better now.  

I just give you this background so you can see that Sissy being much help to Dad was just not likely to happen.  In addition, Dad, although he loves and is close with my sister, did not particularly want her help.  He didn't see the point in her helping with his medical care since she knew very little about it.  And because Dad dislikes and distrusts BIL, he is reticent to confide certain things in Sissy.  This is not to say that I was not seriously pissed off when she was no help back in March (at a point in time when her kids are all in some sort of school, and she is healthy).  But part of the problem has been that she has not been able to help for the last few years and I have not asked her to help, nor has Dad.  But she's trying really hard now.  And Dad is accepting her help.

So, the quick update on Dad's situation.  Last week after learning about the fall he took where the paramedics were called, both Sissy and I started talking to Dad about assisted living and I sent Sissy a couple of places that are near his home.  On day one, he was resistant and said he wanted to hire his cleaning lady to run errands for him.  But I got him to agree to let Sissy take him to visit the assisted living places.  Day two, Dad and I started talking money, and he basically said he didn't want to spend any money on any of this stuff because he wants to make sure he's leaving it all to me and Sissy.  I convinced him that this would be the best gift he could give Sissy and me, and that he needed to stop being cheap about spending money on himself and he needed to think of this as spending money on me and Sissy (which he not cheap about at all).  Day four, Sissy and BIL took Dad to see the nicer of the assisted living places and Dad, miraculously, really liked it, although he became very distrustful when my stupid, stupid BIL was so vigorously selling it.

On day five, Saturday, Jeeves and I came out to see Dad.  We spent most of the day talking with him about assisted living and he basically admitted that he was ready to go in right now.  He's terrified of falling again, and is basically trapped in the house.  He's weak and fatigued.  He can't live alone anymore, he needs help.  And he's finally, mentally, gotten there.  Day six, Sissy talked to the people at the facility and they set up the nurse assessment, which was today.  Sissy attended.  It went well, and it looks like they could take him as soon as this Friday.  Sissy has to coordinate a bunch of stuff involving Dad's prescriptions and a tuberculosis test.  I know it's a bit stressful for her, but she's managing.

So this is great news.  Dad will be in a safe environment and he will eat more, and get physical therapy.  I really think this could make what time he has left a lot more pleasant for him.  And it will obviously be a load off for Sissy and me.

It's also been emotionally tough for me.  Never mind dealing with the realization that Dad's time is extremely limited, my terror over being an orphan, how he's not even gone yet and I miss him already.  I've come to realize that so much of my identity has been wrapped up in being Dad's caregiver, and I haven't been able to do that for a couple of months now.  Sissy is taking over that role, and it's really, really hard for me to let her.  On Saturday when I was out there, I noted the things that Sissy did not do over the last few days - she did not check Dad's prescriptions and get them refilled, she did not make sure he had enough Ensure, she did not realize that Dad is not eating dinner anymore because he's too fatigued to do anything other than microwave food for himself (everything she had bought him at the store required cooking), she did not change his sheets, or run and empty the dishwasher, or check to see that his bills are being paid.  I should note that these are all things my dad has done for himself when he is feeling well, but since he is sick right now, these things stop happening.  And at first I was annoyed that she had not done it.... and then I was weirdly pleased.  Don't judge me - no one judges me more harshly than myself on this.  But I was weirdly pleased because it meant I was still a necessary part of the equation.  I hadn't been totally replaced.

For the last five years, I have been the good daughter who takes care of Dad.  And now I'm the swollen, pregnant daughter who can't do anything for her dad other than call him.  I know that this is okay, I do.  I know it's okay for my sister to do this job for the short amount of time it takes to get him into assisted living.  But it's also really hard for me, even though all that should matter is that Dad is being taken care of.

Anyway, that's the story.  I'll wrap this up with what I've been saying to basically everyone lately.  How old are your parents?  Are they currently in decent health?  Start talking to them now.  Ask them what their long term plans are.  Do they live in a house with a lot of stairs or a house where the only full bathroom is up a flight of stairs?  I wish Dad and I had had that conversation earlier.  It honestly did not occur to me that he would get so frail so quickly.  I always assumed that at some point he would have to stop chemo and that he would have to do hospice care, but the actual logistics of this did not occur to me.  Or to him, I think.  So do yourself a favor and talk about it now.  Or buy your parents a copy of Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant? 

9 comments:

  1. That IS quite a week. I don't think anyone can judge you harshly for being worried that you were easily replaceable. It's been such hard work, and if it were easy for her to swoop in and take charge, it might feel like maybe you weren't doing all that much, anyway. I get it. It would be a problem if you called her up to gloat ;)

    But now I feel badly judging your sister for not helping more when she's had her own things to overwhelm her. Shows what I know!

    How late will your doctors let you go before inducing? I know different practices have different cutoffs, so I hope they give you time. I'll be thinking of you! Also, you called Manuji "Baby" and I was like WHOA. ;)

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    1. Adi, you really hit the nail on the head. And I've generally always defended my sister when people asked why she wasn't helping more. But the last few months when it was getting harder for me physically and she was doing so much better, I got resentful and didn't defend her, so I felt like I needed to set the record straight.

      My doctors said I'm allowed to go to 42 weeks so long as my fluid levels are okay. I'm really glad they'll give me time, but hoo boy, I sure hope I don't have to go that long!

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  2. Shew, yeah that's a lot for one week. Okay, so first comment--I was showing NO signs of labor and closed cervix up until my water broke with my second son (induced with my first). So it can really happen fast! Hopefully things will happen naturally when Manuji is ready!

    Secondly, I'm glad your dad is getting the care he needs and that you're getting SOME help from your sister, though it sounds like she needs some guidance on what all needs to be done. Hopefully things are in motion to make it as easy as possible for you in the coming BUSY weeks :)

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    1. Melissa, how was your induction? I feel like I only ever hear horror stories.

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  3. Happy 39 weeks! Hoping that Manuji's timer goes off when he's perfectly done. Glad your dad is going to be in cush surroundings soon. I'm always asking friends and their parents what the plan is and am shocked to find that nearly all have zero plans.

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    1. I keep joking that I wish my belly were like a butter ball turkey with the pop up thermometer and when he's done cooking, they thermometer will pop and I'll go into labor. But for now I keep waiting!

      And yes, so few people know what their parents' plans are. I'm so glad I at least knew what the financial situation was - it made this a lot less stressful than it could have been.

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  4. Yay, 39 weeks! Almost here! (Mailed your package yesterday...so sorry it took so long! Hopefully it gets to you before Manuji does!)

    Yeesh. Your dad - so glad he's getting into a home. I totally judged your sister, so I'm glad you gave a bit of background on her but I still think he's SO lucky to have you (and her) but you gave him so much of yourself over the years, and that's a gift that no one can top! I understand worrying about how easily she's swung into it, but try to keep in mind that running a short race is much easier and much more attainable than running a long one. A lot more people can run a short one.

    I so so so hope Manuji comes swiftly and easily into the world (and healthy!). I'm sorry I haven't been commenting lately...got a lot going on....but I've been thinking about you and awaiting (anxiously) news of Manuji's arrival! :-)

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    1. Sorry, a "home" is a terrible way to word it (oops). I'm so happy he's getting into an assisted living facility!

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    2. Hey Rach! So happy to see you on here! I know you have so much going on right now, so it's super nice to see your name in the comments. I love what you said about a short race being easier than a marathon - thanks for that.

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