Tuesday, February 18, 2014

36 Weeks! Just one left until full term!

36 Weeks! In just a few days, my baby will technically be considered full term! That's not too exciting really, since 37 weeks is the medical determination of full term, and I doubt the babies got the memo. They seem to like to stick around a little longer.

We're nearly ready for her arrival. I don't think she'll stay in until her St. Patricks Day due date, but I am not expecting her to make an appearance before March 12 or so.

I'm so lucky to be surrounded by caring and generous people. Two friends of mine helped me paint Abby's room a few weeks back. The walls are a light grey, the ceiling is white, and i'm working on a few pieces of pink to go in the room. I'll post before/after shots when its all done.

Beyond my friends, husband and family, I have to share the absolutely amazing work environment I have. I am surrounded by awesome co-workers, who are supportive and fun to be around. I haven't even worked there a year, but I will miss each and every one of my team mates during maternity leave, without doubt. I love going into the office, and I love the ability to work from home. I love the good senses of humor i'm surrounded by, the get-it-done attitudes, the lack of ego and drama, and just the team chemistry.

Our prep for the home birth is nearly complete. Last week, my midwives visited our home to pick the best locations for labor and delivery. Because I am hoping for a water birth, we debated the use of a birth tub, or the giant tub in our bathroom. Because our bathroom tub is larger than the birth tubs my midwives stock, and because a plumbed in tub is easier to clean and keep full, we've decided on using ours. The downside of our tub vs. the birth pool is that my midwives can only access it from one side, rather than their preferred three. The upside is the bath ledge, which gives them somewhere to lean and sit while helping me.

Our birth kit arrived today, which includes all the disposable supplies that we'll need on the big day and immediately postpartum. All the chucks, rubber gloves, foot print kits, etc. It's comforting to have it all here and ready to go.

I also took hypnobirthing training from my lovely aunt, and have great faith that it will help me relax and focus during the contractions. It was a very relaxing experience, and I was surprised at the effectiveness in our training session.

The hubs has been hard at work building me a co-sleeper (pictures to come), so that Abby can sleep with me, but safely. JT slept in our bed for the first 6 months or so, and it was fantastic. He was also a very insistent belly sleeper, and I imagine Abby will be too. Their dad certainly is. The part that makes me nervous (rational or not) is that between kids, we upgraded to a tempurpedic bed, which was one of our best decisions ever. I LOVE OUR BED. But, I am uncomfortable with the idea of a baby sleeping on her belly on the memory foam. So our custom co sleeper will give her a firmer mattress to sleep on, that is attached to and level with the bed right next to me.

Aside from the prep, I feel large and uncomfortable or fantastic depending on the minute you ask me. Most of my maternity clothes are now too small, my feet are hugely swollen (no pre-eclampsia though, yay!), and I could really use a pedi, because there is no way I can reach my toes.

Here's the latest views of my ever expanding belly:

35 Weeks
36 weeks!


BABY’S SIZE? A honeydew melon (this seems too small to me)



MATERNITY CLOTHES? I'm down to two maternity dresses, blue jeans, and 4 shirts. One pair of leggings still fits. 

STRETCH MARKS? Not that I have noticed!

SLEEP: not so much. I can't stay in one position very long, but am so tired these days I fall back asleep fast when I roll over or have to get up.

BEST MOMENT THIS WEEK: Feeling her startled reaction when the dogs started howling right next to me. 

MOVEMENT: slowing down as she runs out of room, but still one very active baby. She's able to find my most sensitive rib, and the sensitive edges of a dead nerve patch from surgery last year and kick it until I use ice to scare her away.

FOOD CRAVINGS: Oreo ice cream with chocolate sauce or Life cereal.

ANYTHING MAKE YOU QUEASY OR SICK? Nothing new this week, but EVERYTHING gives me reflux.

MISSING ANYTHING? My feet, my ability to concentrate, and my ability to form full sentences that are remotely intelligent. 

LABOR SIGNS? The braxton hicks contractions have changed from down low and from the sides, to top down. Its much more like the actual contractions I remember with JT. They're still not painful, just uncomfortable.

BELLY BUTTON: Popped out like a turkey timer.

WEDDING RINGS ON OR OFF? off. Too much swelling for them or any rings.  

HAPPY OR MOODY MOST OF THE TIME? Mostly happy, but amazingly easy to send into irrational frustration and/or tears.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

32 Weeks!

32 weeks, 3 days! That's where we are now. Everytime I start to feel like she can't get any bigger, she does, and so do I. With just over 7 weeks left till our due date, we're kicking this baby prep stuff into high gear.

This weekend, two wonderful friends are going to come help me paint the nursery grey. When its done, it will be grey and white and pink with elephant decorations.

Craig built some awesome shelving for her closet, so I can happily spend hours putting her adorable wardrobe away. She has the cutest, tiniest little outfits.

I spoiled myself this week and spent an evening at the local beauty school, where I got a mani, pedi, and facial for the bargain price of $26. It was lovely to be pampered and to finally have my toes look decent.

I've also been doing a lot of reading, and there are a couple of books I just have to share. Whether you are pregnant, plan to get pregnant, doing a home birth or signing up for an epidural right away, I highly recommend these books as a way to educate yourself. I wish I had known half of this stuff when I  was pregnant the first time.

Pushed - by Jennifer Block: This book is a fascinating comparison of the maternity and birth system in the US versus that of other industrialized countries. It's got a lot of studies and statistics in it, and is cut and dry.

Guide to Child Birth - Ina May Gaskin: You can't ask for more knowledge on the topic of birth than what Ina May Gaskin has. A well-known midwife, she has helped bring thousands of babies into this world and believes that women are perfectly capable of doing this, without all the complications we see so regularly today. She has a deep appreciation for OB's as escalation resources, but otherwise defends women's bodies natural ways of going about childbirth. The first half of the book is birth stories (some are pretty crunchy), and the second half is a statistical and research based analysis of birth options. Such a great book.

I'm currently reading Childbirth without Fear.

Here's the latest view of my ever expanding belly:

31 Weeks
32 Weeks


BABY’S SIZE? A squash



MATERNITY CLOTHES? I'm out growing many of my maternity outfits now. I have t-shirts and other items that don't cover my belly, and several dresses that have given up trying and now just hang like a curtain. 

STRETCH MARKS? No new ones so far.

SLEEP: not so much. I can't stain one position very long still, and none of the tricks i've tried have helped. Oh well, we're nearly there. 

BEST MOMENT THIS WEEK: Playing games with her while relaxing in my recliner on Monday. She's such an active girl. 

MOVEMENT: Oh yes, all day, every day. lots of knees and feet poking out on my right side, and a cute little butt that always seems to be sticking out. My belly is rarely symmetrical these days.

FOOD CRAVINGS: Oreo ice cream and raisin bran or trix. 

ANYTHING MAKE YOU QUEASY OR SICK? Parmesan cheese still, and now bananas (still love them, but they hurt me).

MISSING ANYTHING? being able to put on socks alone. Not going to lie, i'm becoming a pretty bad driver these days. Between my lack of attention span and my fading depth perception, i'm staying off the roads whenever possible. 

LABOR SIGNS? The braxton hicks contractions occur every night now, and while they are usually not painful, they are developing a pleasing pattern each night that tells me my body is getting ready for the big day.

BELLY BUTTON: I have a small depression where it used to be.

WEDDING RINGS ON OR OFF? off. Too much swelling for them or any rings.  

HAPPY OR MOODY MOST OF THE TIME? Mostly happy, regularly tired, occasionally unreasonable.

WEEKLY SYMPTOMS: I've been having a lot more trouble with my back this past week, sitting for any length of time can be very uncomfortable for me, but the swollen feet i'm sporting don't want to take on my weight either. 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Mommy Review: Forehead vs. Ear Thermometers

Have you heard of Influenster? it's a website where you participate in market research and get to try (and keep) new products. I was actually pretty excited when I received the Braun Forehead Thermometer to test and review, because i'm a mom, and that's just how I roll these days.

I already own the Braun ear thermometer, so i've decided to compare the two for this review:

On the left, the new forehead thermometer, on the right, my trusty ear thermometer which has been part of our household for at least two years.

I tried both of these tonight on myself, my 5 year old, and my hubs.

The most important feature of a thermometer is its ability to be accurate, right? so off my right temple and right ear:

Forehead Thermometer
Ear Thermometer

Both read 97.3 degrees.

I did the left temple and ear too, and got 97.5 with the forehead and 97.7 with the ear. Only a slight difference.

Other things I like about each:

1. The forehead thermometer has a backlight LED display, which is great for sneaking into dark kids rooms to take temperatures without turning on the lights to read it.

2. Speaking of sleeping kids, the forehead is a lot easier to get to when a kiddo is asleep.

3. The forehead thermometer doesn't require a cover to work, where the ear thermometer does. Generally not a problem, until you run out in the middle of the night and the thermometer doesn't work.

4. The forehead thermometer doesn't need a nifty case and ear cover holder like the ear version does, meaning I get more space in my medicine cabinet.

Things I dislike:

1. They both beep to signal they are done, which is cool up until you are trying to measure that sleepy sick kiddo's temp. Perhaps someday Braun will give us a little led system or the option to make the beeps really really quiet?

Overall, I like them both. My gut tells me the ear version is more accurate, but they came in so close, I am okay with the difference. They are both more accurate than going for the underarm method, in my opinion.

I will most likely choose the forehead version going forward. It will work better on my soon-to-arrive daughter, can be used on a sleeping five year old, can be read in the dark, and as my son says, it's just plain nifty.

p.s. I received this product complimentary from Influenster and Braun for purposes of review.

30 Weeks! Let the countdown begin...

Wow oh wow - i'm a slacker. It's been quite a while since I posted. Time has been flying by, with the holidays, and getting huge, and traveling. Thanks to the lovely Katie for keeping me on this!

Baby has been growing well, and i'm feeling large and awkward these days. We spent the Christmas holidays on the East Coast with my parents, and had a blast. I don't believe I traveled in my third trimester the last time around, and I learned why its a bad idea. It was a 5.5 hour flight from DC to Seattle, and while I boarded the plane with normal sized feet, but the time we touched down in Seattle, they had swollen to 4 times their normal size and I  was having shooting pains up my left leg. It was incredible uncomfortable. So when a lovely TSA guard at Seatac took a look at me and said "you must be due any minute!" I may not have been as polite as I should have…

I'm now on an every 2 week schedule with my midwife, and continue to love working with her. I like several things in particular:

1. Her faith and reassurance that pregnancy and childbirth are completely normal and do not need to be treated as a disease, temporary disability, or sickness. This is something my body was made to do. 

2. Her availability to me 24-hours a day, by phone or text if I have concerns, or need reassurance, or just need to spew a little crazy. Combined with our full 1-hour appointments, its awesome. 

3. She had a baby in October, so I have the benefit of all her training, and her recent personal experience. Plus, I get to hold her sweet baby during some of my appointments. 

4. Evidence based care - she doesn't medicate, or insist on certain tests, treatments, and courses of action unless there is a proven reason for it, and always tries to heal with diet, exercise, and natural means first. 

Our student mid-wife left over the holidays to start her next 1-year internship, and instead of a new student, Kristen (our midwife) is hosting a very experienced Certified Nurse Midwife who is immigrating to the US from Iran, and needs to gain home birth experience to get her license in Washington. So I am benefiting greatly from not only Kristen's training, but Selma, who spent 30 years doing hospital births in Iran and the UAE.

We've been working to get our house de-cluttered and organized for our Abigail's arrival, and i'm a little crazy with the nesting instincts. While I know, logically, that her room doesn't NEED to be painted before she is born (she won't even use it for 6 months after!), I can't seem to relax about it. I need to get that done before my brain explodes.

While I was back east for Christmas, my mom and sisters threw me a little baby shower, and it was such fun. We live in three states, on two coasts, so getting all of us in one house is no easy feat. I got some very sweet presents for Abbey, and got to enjoy some of my little sister's wonderful cookies.

The only real problem I have been having has been my back. I lost a lot of muscle and tissue and support with the rib removal last year, and the growing weight of my belly is straining it. I often get muscle spasms when I sit for more than 20 minutes. When I discussed this with our midwife, she suggested a TENS Unit, which provides shallow, electrical nerve stimulation to the area for pain relief, and it makes such a difference! It's nice to have a choice that doesn't include pharmaceuticals.

Abbey is a very active baby, who will often stay awake for 10-12 hours at a time, moving non-stop. She recently discovered that she can kick me in the ribs. I can feel her hiccups now, which is unbelievably cute. I'm curious what her personality will be when she arrives.

Here's the latest view of my ever expanding belly:

30 weeks, not a great shot. 

WEEK 30 INTERVIEW (and changing up the topics!)

BABY’S SIZE? A cucumber



MATERNITY CLOTHES? I'm out growing many of my maternity outfits now. It makes me sad

STRETCH MARKS? No new ones so far.

SLEEP: I wake up to roll over every hour or so, but am getting some good sleep in between. 

BEST MOMENT THIS WEEK: Hitting the 30 week mark! only seven weeks till full term and 10 until she is born. I have a feeling she will come a little early (could this be wishful thinking?)

MOVEMENT: Yep, 10-12 hours straight for days on end this little one moves. You only have to look at my bump to see her little butt shaking back and forth across it. Perhaps I have a dancer on my hands.

FOOD CRAVINGS: Mexican food, smarties, canned pears are all regular loves of mine. I also love anything with cinnamon. 

ANYTHING MAKE YOU QUEASY OR SICK? Parmesan cheese tastes like barf to me right now. 

MISSING ANYTHING? I've noticed there isn't a lot of air near the ground when I bend over to put on shoes or pick something up… I also miss walking up stairs without losing my breath. 

LABOR SIGNS? Oh the braxton hicks - they hit me 4-5 times a day now, and while they don't really hurt, they are very uncomfortable, and tend to piss off the baby, so the contraction is often followed by some really vicious kicks. 

BELLY BUTTON: Pretty much non-existent.

WEDDING RINGS ON OR OFF? off. Too much swelling for that. I've switched to other, larger rings for now.   

HAPPY OR MOODY MOST OF THE TIME? Mostly happy, regularly tired.

WEEKLY SYMPTOMS: Back aches/muscle spasms, crazy nesting instincts, inability to finish thoughts coherently.