Wednesday, March 20, 2019

She’s Here!!

My sweet little Kate arrived a few weeks ago, two weeks ahead of schedule. Her birth story, which I’ll share in due time, is long and more complicated than I could have ever imagined. Nevertheless, we both ended up on the other side of the process happy and healthy with no long-lasting effects. These days I’m just soaking up as much baby time as possible and learning how to be the best mom I can be to this sweet little angel.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Weeks 34, 35, 36.

How far along: 36 weeks

Baby Size: A head of romaine lettuce

Weight gain: 38 pounds at my last appointment (ugh)

Maternity clothes:  Yeah, for the ones that fit.  At this point even some of my maternity items are just a tad snug. The maternity pants I've been wearing throughout this pregnancy are starting to get a little tight in the hips, as I think my hips are starting to widen to get ready for the big day.  So I've had to stick with a few staples in my closet and just hope that they'll get me through until girlfriend makes her grand appearance.  
Sleep: Can't complain about this one (yet), aside from the potty breaks and the strange midnight acid reflux episodes that seem to be happening every night without fail. 

Gender: All bows. 

Movement: Some days she's more active than others, but I've had to sit through a few meetings at work where my stomach was moving and bouncing like crazy. Will has been able to place his hands on my stomach and feel movement from her various body parts (primarily the knees and feet) when I draw his attention to it. Meanwhile she seems to be moving from one side of my stomach to the other.  In the morning she'll be safely hovered on my left side, but by lunch I'll be able to feel her head all the way to the right.  Hoping all this movement back and forth is just preparing her for her final voyage downwards!

Best moment this week: I've had several people express surprise at how far along I am when they ask. Mostly women who assure me they were much bigger than I am this far along, and that I seem to be carrying really well. Hey, at this point, I'll take any compliment I can get. I do have to keep reminding myself that a lot of people have much worse pregnancies than I'm having, and that these small very typical pregnancy aches and pains I'm feeling are small potatoes considering what others have to go through. 

Looking forward to: Feeling that first contraction.  Every single tingle and pain I feel makes me hold my breath until I'm convinced that it's not something more than it is. At this point we're so ready for the labor portion, and I don't think there's anything else I could do to better prepare myself for it!

Food cravings: My grandfather used to have a glass bowl of Hershey's chocolate almond nuggets at his house, and I used to eat them all slowly one by one, letting the chocolate melt away in my mouth until I reached the almond in the middle.  I came across a bag of these at the grocery store last week, which I of course had to buy.  At night when we're watching tv I eat these candies one by one, the way I used to, and it triggers memories of my grandparents' house as a child. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: Just the acid reflux that rears its ugly head around midnight most nights. 

Labor Signs: So far I've had two episodes of Braxton Hicks, but they were just one quick contraction each time.  I've been drinking my red raspberry leaf tea and eating dates religiously, so I'm hoping to feel some more of these "getting ready" contractions in the coming days and weeks. 

What I miss: Being able to get out of bed or out of a chair without a) someone's assistance or b) careful planning and a great deal of gravity on my side.

Symptoms: Acid reflux, round ligament pains, horrible pain in my right knee that has been there for weeks, trouble breathing deeply (girlfriend is crushing my lungs), a severe case of baby brain, gray hairs, arthritis in my hands when I wake up in the mornings, swelling in my hands, feet, legs, and face, etc.  Just all the normal stuff that goes along with this "season" of life. 

Nursery: It's completed, but it's a mess.  I have so much laundry and other items strewn across the rocker and crib while I try to put together all the items we'll need at the hospital. There will be time for tidying up later. 

Belly Button in or out? Neither.  I just don't have one anymore. 

Wedding rings on or off? Off. Even the fake larger ones I bought are too small at this point. 

Mood: Excitement with a mixture of anxiety.  I'm just so ready to meet this baby and to get past the labor stage.  A month or two ago I would have said that I was terrified of the process of giving birth, but I've done so much research and reading and taking classes and just overall fretting over the whole thing that I think I've worked my way past the fear entirely.  I accept that it's going to hurt, and there's going to be very little I can do to control the situation.  However, I understand that going through labor is necessary and that we'll be rewarded with the greatest gift of our lives at the end of it. 

Workouts: Ha. I can barely walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. Exercise is so out of the question at this point.  
Hubby: He's just as anxious and ready as I am to meet our sweet girl.  He's been so sweet about helping me out around the house and trying to make things easier on me. I think it pains him to see me feeling as useless and aggravated as I am at this point, and he's ready to have his wife back. We're both just counting down the days at this point..

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Weeks 30, 31, 32, 33

How far along: 33 weeks

Baby Size: A butternut squash

Weight gain: 30 pounds at my last appointment (ugh)

Maternity clothes:  Oh yeah.  And some of them don't even fit anymore.  This bump is all out front, which makes the clothing portion a little difficult.  My shoes officially no longer fit, because my feet have ballooned up a few sizes. I went out and bought two new pairs of flats in a size bigger than my usual size just to make it through the end of this pregnancy. 
Sleep: Fine, for the most part.  Still getting up multiple times a night for bathroom breaks.  I've been having some awfully strange dreams lately.  Must be all those pregnancy hormones..

Gender: Everything pink. 

Movement: Oh yeah.  She's apparently taking salsa lessons late at night.  There have been points where she's kicked me between the ribcage and I can feel the outline of a little foot! She's definitely head-down at this point, so I can sort of tell the distinct movements (hands versus feet) based on where they are.  The other night we were in bed watching tv and I had my phone just resting on my stomach.  Out of nowhere, the phone went flying across the room.  Girlfriend has some serious power in there -- that's not the first time she's swatted something away from my stomach. 

Best moment this week: I think I've finally reached the point where I know the end is near, and I'm satisfied with the progress we've made up to this point.  If she were to arrive tomorrow, we're basically all set with the things we truly need.  So, that's essentially the biggest burden off my shoulders.  I'm also so happy we've finished up with our childbirth classes at the hospital -- it turns out that most of their standard policies align with the things I really wanted to ask for in the first place, such as delayed cord clamping and immediate skin-to-skin contact. I'm feeling equal parts terrified and over the moon excited about this labor portion of our journey, but mostly I just want to go ahead and get through it.  At this point the waiting is really just killing me. 

Looking forward to: Meeting that sweet girl! I'm ready to get this show on the road!

Food cravings: None to speak of. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: I've been experiencing waves of nausea out of nowhere this week.  My chiropractor said it was most likely due to a subluxation in my spine (which he adjusted), so I'm waiting to see if it reappears.  Eating too much at night has been my downfall, because that food just seems to sit on my stomach and takes forever to be digested. I'm trying my best to take my time eating dinner so I can better gauge when I'm full. 

Labor Signs: Not yet. 

What I miss: This is going to sound like I'm not thankful for being blessed with this pregnancy (which isn't the case at all), but I really am looking forward to a time in the future when I can go back out into public and not be stared and gawked at like a circus animal. I know it more than often comes from a good place, but the staring really gets old. 

Symptoms: Back pain, per usual. Apparently the baby's head is resting against my left pubic bone, which makes walking a little uncomfortable. I'm just achy all over, and so tired all the time. Walking up the stairs is a huge workout, and it leaves me completely out of breath. I'm still finding gray (read: white) hairs popping up along my hairline.  They honestly just show up overnight, and I'm hoping they'll go away once I give birth. 

Nursery: Almost completely done! I'll be sure to post pictures here once everything has been put in its rightful place. We bought a new area rug that I absolutely love that ties everything together so well in there!

Belly Button in or out? Eh, at this point it's basically flush with my stomach.  Which my husband loves to make fun of, because it looks like I don't even have a belly button at all at this point. 

Wedding rings on or off? Off. I bought fake wedding rings a half size bigger than usual to tide me over through the end of the pregnancy, but my hands are too swollen to even accommodate those anymore.  So, I guess I'm going without rings from here on out. My husband loves to joke that I'm just a single mother, getting judgmental looks from the strangers who pass me by.  He's not entirely wrong about the looks -- I can definitely tell when people look at my stomach and automatically scan my left hand for a wedding ring. 

Mood: I think I've reached the end of pregnancy "snippiness" I've heard about.  Everything stresses me out, and I'm just exasperated most of the time. 

Workouts: Not really.  Still doing squats and lifting 5-pound dumbbells every night before bed, but I don't have the lung capacity for anything remotely aerobic. 
Hubby: Once again, is being such a good sport about putting up with me at this point.  He's relocated himself to the guest bedroom at night because my obnoxious snoring and hogging the bed is too much for anyone to deal with. 

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Weeks 26, 27, 28, 29

How far along: 29 weeks

Baby Size: A cabbage

Weight gain: 24 pounds

Maternity clothes:  Sure am, and I'm still collecting them.  I can't seem to have too many pairs of black maternity pants, and lately I've been loving the flow sweater tunic tops (non-maternity) in a size larger than I typically wear. What's interesting is that I'm still at the stage where I can just barely manage to disguise my bump so that it doesn't attract attention -- twice in the past week I've alluded to my pregnancy while talking to strangers, and they both looked down and were surprised by my stomach.  I think it has something to do with darker colors and layers of sweaters or scarves -- that's one good thing about being pregnant during the winter!

Sleep: Has gone way downhill in the past couple of weeks. I'm not sure if it's just due to pregnancy hormones, or anxiety about "the big day" or my frequent trips to the bathroom, but I can't seem to get any quality sleep. I did talk to my doctor, and got approval to take Unisom on nights where I really need to get some shut-eye.  Unfortunately, for me, Unisom leaves me groggy the next morning, so it's sort of a catch-22 as to whether I'd be groggy from the pills or just exhausted from lack of sleep.  Hoping to improve somewhat in this area, even though I know sleep will shortly become somewhat of a luxury once Miss Priss arrives. 

Gender: Girl!

Movement: Girlfriend is in there taking salsa lessons, I swear.  She's either fast asleep (during the day, when I'm up and moving around) or dancing up a storm (usually after meals or in the evening when I'm just starting to wind down).  At my 3D ultrasound a couple weeks ago I had a latte and a banana to wake her up before I got to the doctor's office, and then the ultrasound tech gave me some chilled apple juice to drink just before they started the show.  Due to all the caffeine and sugar, this baby was dancing like it was her job! She's definitely inherited her father's inability to stay still when she's awake.  We ended up capturing the funniest little video of her feet doing a tap dance inside the womb!

Best moment this week: Passing my glucose test a few weeks ago was a huge moment of relief! As far as the bigger picture is concerned, each passing week leaves me with a little more anxiety surrounding labor, but a little more peace of mind knowing that Baby Girl is one week closer to being fully capable of surviving outside of my body, should it become necessary. I feel like there just aren't enough parenting or labor books in the world to get me ready for this, but I'm trying to come to terms with the fact that this is something I'm just not going to be able to control. 

Looking forward to: Going back for a follow-up 3D ultrasound on Friday (the tech couldn't get a good picture of her face, due to the umbilical cord being in the way) and hoping to see that Girlfriend has gone ahead and flipped head-down since we saw her on the ultrasound last. 

Food cravings: Still nothing I'd necessarily call a craving, but I do happen to still be going through an ice cream phase at the moment. 

Anything making you queasy or sick: Still with the cheeseburgers. I just want nothing to do with them. 

Labor Signs: I have had short bouts of Braxton Hicks contractions here and there, but nothing too bad. I expect that may change here in the coming weeks, as I'm going to resume drinking Red Raspberry Leaf Tea to help tone and prepare my body for labor. 

What I miss: Sushi, as always. I had a couple sips of red wine on Christmas Eve, and I have to say, I really don't miss it at all.  Which is strange, considering how much I loved my wine before getting pregnant. 

Symptoms: With the arrival of the third trimester, I've noticed a lot of my first trimester symptoms returning -- a little nausea (typically only in the morning, and for short bursts), a whole lot of fatigue, lots of aches and pains (primarily in my shoulder, from sleeping on my side, and in my abdomen for obvious reasons), and just an overall feeling of being uncomfortable. Also toss in the insomnia and the insanely frequent bathroom breaks (sometimes they come at 10 minute intervals) and I have to say this isn't my favorite trimester so far.  But, I'm trying my best to keep my eye on the prize and to remember that this too is just a "season of life". 

Nursery: Making so much progress! All the furniture is in place, and at this point I'm just tackling some of the smaller details.  I just ordered my floating bookshelves this afternoon, and for Christmas my mom gave me a painting I've had my eye on to hang over the crib. Everything is slowly coming together, and I just love sitting in my rocker and gazing around the room before bedtime every night.  We've managed to create such a serene, beautiful feeling in that room, and I can't wait for this little nugget to be able to take up residence in there!

Belly Button in or out? Still in, but definitely not as deep as it used to be. 

Wedding rings on or off? Depends on the day. Technically, they're still on, but they're nearly impossible to get off at this point.  Now that Christmas is over, I'm hoping I can get back to a lower-carb way of eating and can cut down on some of this swelling. 

Mood: Anxious. Excited. All the usual feels. 

Workouts: No. It's been so hectic around here over the holidays, but I really do need to get into a walking routine. 

Hubby: Can no longer sleep next to me due to my incessant snoring, so he's been sleeping in his office at night. I think he's just as ready as I am to meet her, and we're both just sort of biding our time until the next phase arrives!  He got me a baby gate for the top of the stairs for Christmas (even though we'd agreed not to exchange gifts), and that means more to me than he knows.  I love watching this Dad side of his personality slowly come to the surface! I can't wait to see him in action.