Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Week 38 Belly Picture

This is me with a cold, no make up, and still in my PJ's at like 5pm. I think getting up to take this picture was the most I moved all weekend, but it seemed to work. I'm feeling much better this week! Thank goodness because I really didn't want to try and deliver with a freaking cold!

Monday, February 14, 2011

38 Weeks and Going Strong

That's right. We are 38 weeks and right smack dab in the middle of could-come-anytime territory. I haven't really been feeling anything I think might be contractions or seen any other signs of an impending labor (I'll save you the TMI details of what those might be), so I don't expect her to be making her appearance any time soon, but you never know. My midwife will be doing an internal exam next week so we'll see if we've made any "progress" but I won't be putting too much stock in any information that comes from it. The truth is you can walk around 2, 3, 4 centimeters dilated for weeks or go from 0 - 10 in a few hours. Which is why I've been declining the internals up until this point. No need to give myself false hope or unnecessary discouragement.

So, what's Ms. Lily doing in there this week?

"Your baby has really plumped up. She weighs about 6.8 pounds and she's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb."

Her movement has stayed pretty consistent this week. I feel her wiggling around in there or trying to stretch out but she doesn't have much room to do anything more than that. We're pretty much able to figure out which way she is laying now. Well, Jay is better at it than me.

This week I was able to get in with one of the counselors who works at my psychiatrist's office. It was soooo nice to talk to a professional. I really needed it! Between going on the medication, some family drama, and the ever present financial stress, I was in some pretty bad shape. But I felt much better after leaving her office. She encouraged me not to think too long term right now. It's "game time" right now and I need to be focused on creating a safe and calm environment for Lily to be born into. Just like an animal will delay it's labor and birth if it doesn't feel that it is in a safe environment, my body won't go into labor easily if it feels it's not safe.

So, I've really started listening to my Hypnobabies CD's more steadily. I've been focusing on the Fear Clearing track the most which helps a lot. It leads you into a deep state of self-hypnosis and then helps you establish and strengthen a concept they call the Bubble of Peace. Yes, it's kind of dorky, but in reality it's a very helpful cognitive tool. Once you've established your Bubble of Peace then you start examining the fears you have for the birthing time. After you've established what the fear is that you are working with in that session, then you release it and watch it float away. It's amazing how acknowledging the fear, looking it straight in the eye and watching it leave your life can really break the hold it has on you. The program suggests doing this track at least once a week, but I've been doing it almost every night. I think it's the most important part of the program for me right now. Jay also took the time to rip all the CD's into the computer for me so that I can load them onto my iPod. He's already such a wonderful Birth Partner. I'm so thankful for his help.

This week was pretty hectic! On Thursday night I learned that my bestest friend was headed to the hospital with what looked like real contractions and real labor! By Friday morning she was holding her beautiful daughter in her arms! I was (and am) so very, very excited for her and her husband. Even though her husband is currently stationed over seas, he was able to be on the phone with them during delivery and flew home just a few days later. They are now soaking up their time as a new family! I couldn't be happier for her and am trying to give her as much space as possible to enjoy her time with her husband while he's able to be here with her and her new baby girl. I can't wait till I can get down there to meet her little one and have her meet Lily.

Saturday was my mom's birthday. It's a big one, although I won't divulge which one. She was pretty anxious about it and kept insisting that she didn't even want to celebrate it. But you know me, that's not an option! We don't run from things in this family, we take the bull by the horns, look it straight in the eye, and say, "Bring it on!" Originally I'd wanted to throw this big surprise party, but knowing I was going to be just a few weeks from my due date I knew that would be hard to pull off. So, I decided to compromise. I insisted that she celebrate, but kept it pretty simple. I told her the week before that I was taking her out to lunch so to not make any plans. No matter how hard she tried to get out of it, I wouldn't let her. What she didn't know was that my Childhood BFF had made arrangements to join us. There are so many birthdays spent with me, my mom and April that it felt only appropriate for us girls to take her out this time. So, I picked up April up on Saturday morning and we got to mom's house a few minutes before I'd planned. She was super surprised and so excited! We loaded up and headed to PF Changs which is one of mom's favorites! It was so much fun to have some girl time!

I'd also called all my brothers and asked them to make time to have dinner together at my house that night. Levi came down from Asheville and we all had a blast. There's something about having our entire family under one roof that just feels so good. Even if we don't all get along all the time, it's still fun.

So, since Saturday had been such a hectic day, Jay insisted asked nicely, that I take all day Sunday to just rest and relax. As much as I wanted to run errands and do chores around the house, I knew he was right and if I was going to make it though the week at work, I'd have to conserve as much energy as possible. He's so good at helping me do what I know I need to do even when I don't want to do it.

So, speaking of Jay, how's he doing?

He's wonderful as always. He's getting really anxious for Lily to come out so that he can hold her and help care for her. He knows it's becoming a strain on me physically and emotionally to carry her around all the time and he's looking forward to sharing that responsibility. He loves to rub my belly and talk to her. He loves to try to play with her by pushing on her to see if she'll move or kick him. I'm not sure if she thinks that's a fun game or if she just gets annoyed with him. I guess we'll see when she comes out.

He has been such a wonderful partner this entire time, but especially during these last few weeks. Pretty much once I come home from work, all I have to do is come home and plop down on the couch. He takes care of making or picking up dinner, cleaning up, and taking care of the puppy. It's so nice to have such a wonderful partner. I know I am so blessed and I so appreciate his help especially since I don't even have to ask him to do it.

Well, I think that's it for now folks! Coming up next week, a sick puppy, a nasty cold, Valentine's Day, and the results of an internal exam! It's a busy, busy week!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Week 37 Belly Picture

She's definitely starting to drop. Only a few more weeks!!!

Denial... It's Not Just a River in Egypt! (Week 37)

That's right folks, we've reach Week 37 which means we are officially considered "full term" and Ms. Lily could come any time between now and 5 weeks from now. You'd think I'd be ecstatic. You'd think I'd be begging her to come out! You'd think I'd be cursing the aches and pains of late stage pregnancy. But you know what I'm doing... I'm thinking I should have thought this whole having a baby thing through a little better before we got pregnant. I told Jay last night that I had changed my mind. He said it didn't work that way! Bastard!

We are also on our final fruit. I can't believe that there's a watermelon inside me right now! But then again, that would explain some of the soreness and aches and pains. 

So, what's Ms. Lily up to in there this week?

"Your baby is now considered "full term," even though your due date is three weeks away. If you go into labor now, his lungs will likely be mature enough to fully adjust to life outside the womb. (Some babies need a bit more time, though. So if you're planning to have a repeat c-section, for example, your practitioner will schedule it for no earlier than 39 weeks unless there's a medical reason to intervene earlier.)

Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don't be surprised if your baby's hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz."

I've been working on this week's blog for almost an entire week. I just can't seem to find the motivation to finish it. I think it's a combination of exhaustion and trepidation. But I'm working on it and I'll talk more about it in next week's post since I've started seeing a new therapist which I think it helping a lot. So, for this week, I'm going to do a survey that makes its way around the baby blogs. Some girls choose to fill it out every week, but some of the answers don't change often enough for me to post it every week. So, I'll just do it this one time.
How far along? 37 weeks 

Total weight gain: 12 pounds (before you freak out, I was over weight to start with and my midwife is not concerned with how much or little Ive gained)

Sleep: Benadryl and Tylenol PM are wonderful inventions!!! Otherwise I'd probably not be getting any sleep at all.

Movement: She moves a lot after I eat and especially after I drink something cold. That really gets her dancing.

Best moment this week: Spending Saturday at our friends' house talking about babies and pregnancy and nurseries and all kinds of things but mostly laughing.

Food cravings: I've had two major food cravings during this pregnancy. 1) Ice water which I've never, ever liked before this and 2) recently, baked potatoes. I think the starch soaks up the acid in my stomach and makes the indigestion better.

Gender: Little baby girl!! Lillian Louise!

Maternity Clothes: Oh yes. I'm down to one pair of jeans that fit and a few shirts, but I just can't bring myself to buy anything new that I'll only be wearing for a couple of weeks. Thank goodness for the Bella Bands that help cover the bottom of my belly since almost all of my shirts are now too short.

Belly Button in or out? It's still in but not by much. 

What I miss: Sleeping on my stomach and not having indigestion all.the.time!

What I am looking forward to: Meeting my baby girl and watching my wonderful husband be the amazing Daddy he's always been meant to be.

Have a wonderful week everyone!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Week 36 Belly Picture

So I think she's beginning to drop. Or at least it feels that way! Can't believe I was wearing short sleeves the end of January but that's how crazy the weather has been around here lately. Snowing one weekend, 60's the next.

Honeydew Me Just One Favor... (Week 36)

So here we are! Only 4 short weeks from our estimated due date! How did this happen?!?!?

This is our last week as a honeydew melon and next week we get our very last fruit. So what's she up to in there this week?

"Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long. She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement.

At the end of this week, your baby will be considered full-term. (Full-term is 37 to 42 weeks; babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely she's in a head-down position. But if she isn't, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an "external cephalic version," which is a fancy way of saying she'll try to coax your baby into a head-down position by manipulating her from the outside of your belly."

Thankfully, Lily is definitely head down, although that means I have a little baby butt in my ribcage most of the day, but it's ok. I know I'll miss the feeling when she's on the outside. Her movement continues to change as she gets bigger. She has very little room in there but I can feel her wiggling around and switching from one side to the other on a daily basis. Jay and I are now able to figure out which way she is laying most of the time. The other night we knew she was laying with her spine to my right side because my bump was totally lopsided. It looked like a skateboard ramp! As freaky-weird as it feels, I'm really getting used to her movement. (I know... just in time for her to come out, right!)

So, how's Mama doing?

I'm pretty good. Starting to get adjusted to being on the Zoloft. I've noticed in the last few days feeling kind of emotionally... flat. I'm neither overly excited about Lily being born, nor am I overly anxious. This isn't horribly uncommon for me though. It's the same way I felt the last few weeks before Jay came home from his deployment and we moved in together. It's the same way I felt in the weeks leading up to the wedding. And it's the same way I felt when we bought our house. I think it's my brain's way of protecting itself (and me) from potentially overwhelmingly emotional situations. Don't get me wrong, it's not that I don't want her or wish I weren't pregnant or anything, it's just that everything could be so overwhelming right now if I let it, so my brain/emotions kind of shut down on me.

This week I had my first appointment back with my first midwife. I'd taken some time to make an appointment with each of the 5 in the practice since any of them could be on call for my delivery. It was nice to meet them all and get a feel for each of them, but I was really happy to be back with my midwife. It really feels like we're on the home stretch now since we are going once a week. I especially like the nurses that work at the Steel Creek office too, and I usually get a lower blood pressure reading at this office than any of the others which I think shows how much more comfortable I am at this office. Tina (my midwife) said everything was looking good. Heart rate was great, weight is fine, Iron's a little low but nothing too bad, and my belly is measuring right on target. Yay!

She did the Group B Strep test which was no big deal but when we talked about internal exams (or cervix checks) I asked if we could do as few of them as possible. She smiled and said that we didn't even have to do one that day either! That was awesome! She said they don't tell us anything anyway, and just give people either false hope or unnecessary disappointment which is why I wanted to keep them to a minimum anyway. If I start having any signs of labor, or if we go to 40+ weeks then I'll ask for one.

Thursday of last week we had our carseat safety class. I was really looking forward to this class since we had decided to go straight into a convertible carseat instead of going for an infant seat and I had some questions about it. We were asked to bring our carseat into the class, and yep, we were the only ones there that didn't have an infant seat. Now here's the thinking behind why we went straight to a convertible seat. First of all, you're going to have to have a convertible seat at some point. The infant seats only go up to 30 lbs and a lot of children grow out of them length wise before they hit the weight limit. New guidelines are also coming out that recommend keeping a child rear facing until at least 40 lbs or 2 years old. So, we'd need a rear facing seat to fill the gap between the infant seat and the forward facing seat. Secondly, I'm not a huge fan of the infant bucket seats. I understand they are more convenient, but I'm a big fan of Attachment Parenting ideas and feel that physical contact with my baby is very important even if it isn't convenient to me. So, I have a bunch of different wraps and slings to help carrier her in and we have a nice stroller in the event that we are out for an extended period of time and our backs just can't take carrying her anymore. Third, the convertible seats are a lot more expensive (at least the ones we were looking at) and since we had already earmarked Jay's holiday bonus to buy the seat, we had the money now and I wasn't sure we'd have it in 6-9 months. We could get a cheep (but still safe) infant seat for somewhere between $50-80 but our convertible was close to $300. I decided I'd rather buy the more expensive one now when we had the money and then have to run out and buy a less expensive one if I decided that was what I wanted, then to get months down the road and no longer have the money to afford the expensive one.

So, we lugged our almost-top of the line convertible into class half expecting to be ridiculed. We weren't! See, there is this pervasive opinion on the internet that the convertibles are not as safe for infants because they are "designed" for older children. Thankfully, I was able to ask not only a supervisor for the carseat safety program through the city/county and a certified carseat inspector, but one of the people who was on the development team for our specific carseat. We met Joyce a few weeks ago when we bought her co-sleeper off of Craigslist. When we picked it up we got talking with her and her husband and found out that she is an executive at Britax which is located here in Charlotte. Crazy right! The premier carseat company is located here in Charlotte and I never knew it. Well, she told us that she would be helping teach our class and we were thrilled.

I know the other lady was awesome and totally knew what she was talking about when it came to making a carseat safe and installing it correctly, but to have someone there who knows our specific carseat inside and out was just awesome. And I felt very reassured when she said that our seat was just as safe for an infant 5lbs and up as any of the infant carseats are. She said the only advantage of the infant seats is the convenience of being able to take the bucket thing in and out and leave the base in the car. Whew!

So, after we strapped our baby dolls into the seats and figured out how they worked and talked about how you never put any after-market things in the seat (like head rests, bundle me blanket things, etc.) we had the opportunity to pull our cars up and have them help us install the carseat. Well, technically, they watched while we did it and told us if it was correct or not. And thank goodness Joyce was there because she showed us tricks and tips for our seat that we'd probably never found! How lucky were we to have someone who helped develop our seat right there to help us install it. It was AWESOME! And Joyce was so nice! I always knew I liked Britax seats from the very beginning of our research, but now I'm a life long customer.

Saturday I had my first major pregnancy brain incident! I had made plans to meet up with a friend for coffee. We'd talked about either Saturday or Sunday and I totally had it in my head that we'd decided on Sunday. So, Saturday when she called to see where I was, I couldn't believe it! I quickly looked back through my emails and there it was, plain as day, SATURDAY! Doh! Oh well. It all worked out. Thankfully the place we were meeting was close to my house so I was able to jump in some clothes and still meet her. We had a wonderful time, and she gave us a wonderful baby book that I'm really looking forward to reading!

After coffee we met my brother Luke for lunch and then I did some shopping for the baby before meeting back up with Luke and Jay at our friend Dan's house where we stayed until far too late. So, needless to say I was t.i.r.e.d come Sunday morning. Jay and I were getting ready to head to Cracker Barrel for some breakfast just the two of us. Before we went though, Jay took the puppy outside to go potty. When I walked out on the back deck I started having serious pain in my lower bump, hips, and legs. In fact, I was practically doubled over. I'm still not sure if it was from over doing it Saturday or if I twisted or turned wrong trying to get my socks and shoes on, but Jay decided that breakfast out was a no-go. So, he called in our order to Cracker Barrel, picked it up for us, and we spent the rest of the day sitting on the couch catching up on Netflix. I'm so thankful to have a husband who is looking out for me and will loving nudge me into taking it easy even when I'd rather not.

Speaking of Jay, how's the Daddy to be doing?

He's great! He's getting more and more excited about Lily getting here. He loves to talk to her and rub my belly. He especially loves knowing which way she's positioned in there. He's always talking about how much he loves his girls. :-) He's also really good at taking care of things around the house. He always comes out to bring in the groceries and generally takes care of making our dinner so I can put my feet up since they've started swelling by the end of the day. I am so very thankful for his help!

Well, I think that's about it for this week's update. I can't believe I'm almost a week behind again, but it's ok. This late in the pregnancy I'm giving myself a break. As long as each week's post gets done so that I can archive it and look back at it later, then I'm ok. Hope everyone is having a great week!