32 Weeks Prego

This week's babycenter email, and my reactions:

By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (I'm pretty sure my baby weighs more than that--have you seen my belly?) (pick up a large jicama--I should know what this is, but I don't) and is about 16.7 inches long (that explains the simultaneous sharp pains at the bottom of my pelvis with the poking in my ribs), taking up a lot of space in your uterus (thank you, captain obvious!). You're gaining about a pound a week (is this supposed to be new information? Doesn't the writer know I've been forced to step on a scale once a month (and now twice a month) for the last seven months?) and roughly half of that goes right to your baby (Um, where did it go before?). In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb (again, I'm pretty sure these weight and size estimates are way off--this child has been eating like a horse since day one. There's no way he/she is less than four pounds seven months later and not already cute and pudgy). She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable (respectable?!) peach fuzz) (I've heard lots of hair equals lots of heartburn. That wasn't true with my first baby, but this baby certainly has me addicted to Tums. Maybe he/she has a ton of hair too?). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth (That's nice, but again I wonder, what was it like before this week).

The more I think about this email, the more disturbing it sounds. Seriously, I used to think that these updates were cute and fascinating, but I'm beginning to wonder what it is they're leaving out. Notice they all focus on the cute stuff that is just now happening, but they tend to leave out the strange, unfamiliar details about what happened before. And, for the record, I have NO faith in these emails' estimates nor any doctor's estimates on baby size. I've seen baby sizes wrongly predicted over and over and over. I believe all babies are different and all grow differently. No one knows anything for sure until that baby pops out and is in our arms.

Which leads me to my thoughts for this week. My 34-week ultrasound is coming up. My midwife insists we measure the baby to determine if he/she's bigger than normal. While I appreciate the idea of delivering a baby that's less than 8 pounds (first baby weighed in at a shocking 8 lbs 13 oz--I had been told two days before that she looked like a 6-7 pound baby), I'm not really convinced that measuring the baby at 34 weeks is going to be helpful at all. First of all, I don't trust the measurements or "norms" that doctors tout. There are always exceptions. Number two, I'm planning on going drug free, which includes induction drugs. I trust that my body and God will know when this baby needs to come out. That's really all the assurance I need that I'll be able to deliver a healthy baby.

So, while I'm excited to see the baby again via ultrasound, and I'm especially excited to see a baby this advanced (the latest ultrasound we took for my first was at 20 weeks), I'm really not putting much weight in the measurements (no pun intended). I believe strongly in the power of words. Last time I said throughout the pregnancy that I would go into labor on a certain day, and even though I had a checkup that morning and was only half of a centimeter, I still went into labor that night. Granted, I learned a lot from that first delivery--for example, I had said when I would go into labor, but I never specified when I'd actually deliver the baby. Forty-five hours later . . . (that's not a typo), I learned my lesson. This time I'm specifying both when I'll go into labor, and when I'll have the baby--hint, they'll both be on the same day ;-)

So, back to the ultrasound, I'll go for the ultrasound, enjoy seeing my cutie pie's developing body, take with a grain of salt what my midwife says about ideal delivery dates, and pick a day that factors my midwife's recommendations in with my calendar of to-do items. I really expect to go full-term 40 weeks, but maybe I'll change my tune when this baby picks up even more pounds than he/she already has. Time will tell. I'll keep you posted.

On a side note, thanks so much for sharing your epidural stories. I've decided epidurals leading to c-sections are not necessarily regional. It seems to be the same story no matter where you live in the States. I am curious if it changes if you deliver in other countries, but who knows?

I signed up for my just-in-case epidural this week, and reading all the warnings and disclaimers (including the part that says, "this pamphlet does not list all of the warnings and risks associated with epidurals), I'm again fueled in my attempts to go drug free. It just gives me the heebie jeebies to sign off on something that has so many unknowns attached to it when I can physically handle the delivery without it. My hubby and I have also decided to go doula-less. Since my doula's not available for this pregnancy and the other doulas I know charge double her price, we've decided we can do this on our own. My hubby really is stellar--he should've been a nurse; his bedside manner is incredible. I'm feeling really confident about our decision. In the meantime, we're going to study up on pain-management techniques, and I'm going to read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth to pump me up and prepare me for the delivery. I'm so excited to be able to share a stellar birth story with you in less than two months!


31 Weeks--We're in Single Digits, People!

Nine measly weeks until Baby Ninja is here. NINE! AHHHHHHH!

This week's email says my baby's about to experience a growth spurt. I'm trying to figure out exactly how that's going to work because I already feel like I'm going to burst. I can tell that I'm carrying this baby differently than the first because I don't remember this much pressure on my lower abs before. Plus, there are times when I feel like the baby is just going to fall out--other women told me that was going to happen, but I never believed them--I'm a believer now! My midwife pointed out that since my muscles are stretched out from baby #1, I'd feel a lot more this time around, so that explains a lot of it. But I also think this baby is lower, and I think my belly is more pointed (more important things to note in case this one turns out to be a boy).

I've finally allowed myself to separate my biases and preconceived notions and just let my gut instinct talk to me. So when I quiet all the voices in my head, one thought prevails: this baby is a girl. One of my hubby's co-workers was surprised to hear I hadn't dreamt about the baby and figured out the gender. She said long before she found out the gender (she's only a couple of weeks behind me), she had dreams that it would be a boy. Well, I haven't had dreams, but I'm finally allowing myself to listen to my intuition. Before now, my two major hangups with trying to figure out the gender were #1: I know I want it to be a boy, so I couldn't separate wanting it to be a boy from thinking it is a boy. #2. I have a girl, so I only know girls. I really can't imagine anything but a girl right now. Confusing. I know! So that's why I wouldn't let myself try to guess the gender.

But the other day I was day dreaming about life with two kids, and I pictured myself with two girls. It just popped in my head. And I was really excited. I can foresee us being close, enjoying girly moments, and just "getting" each other. It felt right. My girls and I. Has a nice ring. I'll still be thrilled to have a boy, but I might start calling Baby Ninja a "she" from now on and actually acting on my instinct. We'll see.

On another pregnancy note: braxton hicks contractions have begun. Yeeouch! I didn't have these with my first pregnancy, but the first time I felt one this time around, I immediately flashed back to walking the halls of the hospital trying to weather the pain and get my cervix to dilate with my first baby. I know it's common to feel contractions this early, but anyone besides me have ones that were pretty painful? For those of you who haven't experienced them, the best way I can describe them is a creeping pain (like menstrual cramps) that continues to escalate until all of the muscles around your uterus are rock hard. They're not always that painful, but the muscles around my uterus are certainly getting a workout from tightening so often.

Survey time! How common is it around you to have an epidural and avoid a c-section? I know c-sections in general are on the rise, but a friend of mine pointed out that I was one of two friends she knew of who had an epidural and didn't end up in a c-section. I found that fascinating because here in OK (at least among my friends), it's really common for people to have an epidural and not end up in a c-section; but in MI, it's the opposite. Help me out with a mini-survey here. In the comments, let me know where you're from, if you had an epidural, and if you ended up in a c-section. Feel free to add what your friends have experienced, too, so I can get a better sense of your area. Thanks so much, dear readers. I really appreciate all the feedback and advice you've given me along the way.

And finally, confession time. I'm putting potty training on hold. As I burrow into the ground (should be in China by next week), I have to admit, this isn't going well. She's just not interested. So, I'm going to take the advice I've been resisting for so long--I'm going to take a break. I'm not sure if it will be a week, two weeks, or more; but I'm going to start using diapers again. After a week of absolutely no progress (in fact, now she smiles when she tells me she peed her pants and proudly points out the puddle she left behind), I've decided this is counterproductive. Sigh. I will not have one of those inspiring stories to tell the new moms in the near future. Instead, I will be one of those humans (as opposed to super-moms) who admits all sorts of failures along the long journey to potty training. I realize I'm being extremely dramatic, but giving up is so little a part of my life that this is really hard to admit--especially with it being so public since I'm posting it online. Ah well, life goes on. =)


30 Weeks . . . and still trucking!

I'm convinced my little head of cabbage is going to be proficient in somersaulting before he/she can hold up its head or crawl. This booger loves to move!

Other than the fact that I'm slower getting up and down from a seated position, and I need a lower-back rub every fifteen minutes, I'm feeling pretty good. The nursery is painted, and I'm starting to believe this child is actually going to fit in our house. My two year old is hugging and kissing my belly more and more; and she loves to point to my protruding bellybutton and ask, "Is this the baby?"

This has been a rough week for potty training. A has decided that she just doesn't want to tell us anymore if she has to go or not. We were doing so well, and then we fell flat on our faces. I finally started using the timer method--just set the timer and have her try when it beeps. My mom commented that it was like training Pavlov's dog, which it is . . . but, she usually won't fight the timer like she will if I ask her to to go. The timer will go off, and she'll say, "That my beep? Time to go potty!"

I asked the pediatrician about how long it's taking, and he said since we started early, don't fight her. Let her do it as she's ready. So, I was getting stressed and frustrated, but I've let it go again, and I just try to celebrate the heck out of the victories. I've given in to the fact that we'll be buying a few more packages of pull-ups (I wanted to be one of those moms that didn't even finish the first package before her daughter was potty trained. Fail.)

As far as being a work-at-home mom, I'm really looking forward to my maternity leave. I've found myself wondering what it's like to have my child take a nap, and I could take one too. (I admit, I've snuck a few more in lately but not without a creeping guilt thinking about what I should be getting done.) I fully intend to relax, not let the house and other daily chores stress me out, and really use my maternity leave as a time to rest, recover, start getting my body back in shape, create a schedule, and enjoy my family of four. I do have one primary goal that's work related for my maternity leave: set up a website for my business. I fully intend to hire someone to design and run the website; I just need to take the time to hire someone. Expect this blog to be linked to much more in January!

I'd encourage any WAHM to not shy away from taking a decent amount of time off for maternity leave. I'll be honest, I was worried about losing the momentum my business is experiencing now, but I've found that the more I commit to making my family a priority, the more projects role in. I've already turned down quite a few jobs that I just can't take because I'm booked through my delivery date. AND I've already got quite a few jobs lined up for January 1st, so I can jump right back in with plenty of work. I love being able to sow good seeds and recommend my friends to jobs I can't take. And I truly believe in the blessing of following the principle of the sabbath. I'd highly recommend taking some time to listen to this message (click on "Closed on Sunday" from July 14) which explains it. Download it on your iTunes. You won't regret it.


Nesting 101 (29 Weeks)

Photo courtesy of Alan Vernon

Ahhhhh, this is the life! I love, love, love nesting! It's almost as satisfying as moving into a new space and finding the perfect place for each and every thing. That feeling of organization. That feeling of clean. Ahhh, the good life. Wouldn't it be great if your body started nesting whenever you had to pack up your house and move? I really think the whole process would be so much more enjoyable if you were nesting . . . perhaps you could time your move with nesting . . . perhaps not.

As I mentioned before, I never nested with my first pregnancy, so this is a new stage for me. It started with the hall closets, the tiny tiny hall closets that have been overflowing since the second week we've lived in this house. It's amazing how much junk I managed to cram in those little shelves. But four garbage bags later, order has resumed and now I don't cringe if a guest comes over and happens to peek inside.

I've also carried bags and bags of junk out of the future nursery. While it may not look much cleaner, there ARE empty shelves where before there were none, and the closet can be opened without a pile of miscellaneous-don't-know-where-to-put-them items come cascading down on you. In the middle of the room is a huge pile of pillows--mainly throw pillows. I rotate my throw pillows, so I can't put them all out at once. But they're SO space-consuming! I've decided to purchase some magical vacuum-seal bags and somehow turn my mountain of pillows and miscellaneous bedding into an anthill of items that only take a small corner of my attic to store.

Today the laundry room/bathrooms were my next victims. Again, three trash bags later, order has resumed. I can't believe the stuff I was keeping. Gross! There's actually an empty drawer and half of an empty shelf leftover. I get so excited when I find ways to properly store more stuff, and I still have room leftover for the baby. Okay, a drawer and half of a shelf may not be quite enough for adding one more human, but it sure seems a lot more manageable now.

I'll probably tackle more of the nursery next--need to pick a paint color and get the room painted! Then I can start craigslisting some used furniture. I also need to start stocking up on baskets. I feel so much more organized when everything is compartmentalized in baskets on shelves.

Potty Training Update:

I'm not even sure which week we're on now. We're definitely having some great successes. I still wouldn't consider her "potty trained," and I certainly don't leave home without a pull-up on (but now we're putting it over her undies so she still feels the consequences); but we're definitely heading in a good direction. I'm excited to start moving the cloth diapers into the nursery. Oh, and did you see? BumGenius (our fav cloth diapers) came out with version 4.0! Oh baby, can't wait to try them. Gotta go update my registry now.

Random Charley Horse Factoid:

If you feel a charley horse coming on, don't point your toes! Pull your toes forward toward your knees. It sounds ridiculous, but it's really helped me. In fact, I haven't had a charley horse since I started doing it.


Nursery Update

Bonus post: I'm just so excited about my nursery plans, I had to share!

Nesting has morphed into motivation to work on my nursery. I've been shopping, organizing, and for the first time in my life, trying paint samples (instead of just holding the little cards up to the wall).

Okay, so here's the run down so far.

This is the print we bought to base the colors/theme off of:

This is the nursery that I'm using as inspiration. Simple. Fun. Not too babyish. I'm going to paint some of my frames the red/orange in my giraffe print to match this nursery. I'm still on the prowl for an appropriate wooden or stuffed giraffe. Any suggestions?

And I just entered this giveaway for bedding that would just make me giddy, but I wouldn't justify spending this much (at least for this baby). If you want to enter on my behalf and send your winnings my way, I'd greatly appreciate it ;-) And isn't that rug fabulous?!

Paint colors: We're either going to do a really really light version of the green (on the sample it almost looks white) or a darker beige that matches the browner spots on the print.

I bought baskets galore at Hobby Lobby's 50 percent off sale, and I'm filling my built-in bookshelf with those for more storage--it's a tiny room, so I have to utilize all the space I can.

Next decisions:

1. The closet lost some space because of the built-in bookshelves, so I'm debating a shelving system inside again for more space, or just a bar and top shelf so I can stack rubbermaid boxes along the floor.

2. Furniture: I only need a dresser and crib. White or a light colored wood? Here's my dilemma: Currently the room has a cherry wood floor & ceiling fan, maple book shelves, and black wooden desk. The trim and built-in shelves are white. And as I mentioned earlier, I'm going to paint my frames red. I think we'll either go with white or a lighter wood stain. What do you think? I'm looking to buy used, so it might just be decided by what I can find.

Tonight we prep the room for painting. Can't wait!


Glucose Screening Take 2 (28 Weeks)

I spent the weekend mentally and spiritually preparing myself for the three-hour glucose test. Hubby decided to take the day off to be with me, and I secured a sitter for my little girl. We arrived bright and early, and the blood drawing commenced. I freaked out and had to pull away before the tech even put the needle in my arm--so lame! Finally got my head together, and I made it through the first draw without passing out. Success!

By that point it was almost 9:00 AM, and I had not eaten for twelve hours. Needless to say, that orange drink was looking pretty tasty at that point. I gulped it down, and was pleasantly surprised to hear I only had to wait 30 minutes until my next needle. I had come fully prepared to fight boredom--laptop to work on, crochet project to complete, and novel to read. The waiting time passed quickly, and we were back in the lab again. Success number two--no passing out!

This time we had an hour to wait, so we headed out to Kohls to make an exchange and killed most of the time with that short errand. Good strategy because it made the time go quickly; therefore, I didn't have time to think about the next needle (or how hungry I was getting) and psych myself out. Just before we went back in, I got a call from my mom who was watching my daughter that my daughter had just thrown up and was running a fever. She's never thrown up for me before, so this was new territory--plus, I felt helpless being in the middle of my testing.

Trying to be strong for my daughter and trying to be strong for myself turned out to be pretty difficult. I got a hold of our pediatrician, relayed the recommendations to my mom, took a deep breath and faced the next needle. Still conscious! On our way out of the lab, I ran into my midwife. She apologized for putting me through this whole ordeal, but she had to cover her bases--plus my first baby was almost 9 pounds, so she wanted to be extra cautious. She did admit that while I didn't pass the first glucose test, my number was only a little high--more hope! You know, I ate up to the minute before my first test fasting period began. I bet if I had held off eating more than two hours, my system would've been clear--lesson for next time.

Last hour in the waiting room passed quickly. I crocheted this project (my first crochet project ever), and I tried to keep to a minimum my dirty looks directed toward the couple sitting across from me happily munching on Brahms burgers and fries while I went through my fifteenth hour of fasting.

Last needle down, no fainting. Overall, a big success. The whole process was actually easier than I thought it would be--it's the recovery that was more difficult. I was drained for the rest of the day--on top of taking care of my feverish daughter. She didn't throw up again, and within twelve hours, she was back to her happy self, and her fever was minimal. The NEXT day I was even more tired. I wonder if I caught a bit of her virus, and it just drained me for the next day. Who knows?

My midwife promised results the next day and said she'd call when she got them. Tuesday came and went. No call. Wednesday. No call. Thursday I had my two-week checkup (AH! I'm already at 2-week intreval checkups! This is going really fast!), so I just waited til my appointment to ask. The nurse smiled and said, "You knew you would, but you passed. You're good to go." Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh, relief!

This was a big wake-up call. Since then I've been more conscious of what I'm eating. I'm also trying to eat fruit before my meal--recently was reminded that fruit digests faster than other foods, so if it's eaten with the rest of your meal, it'll sit on top of the slower foods and ferment. Not good! I've also tried to keep the sugar intake down. I just don't feel good when I do eat sugary foods, so I might as well avoid them when possible =)

I'd love to hear from those of you who tested positive for gestational diabetes. What happens next if you don't pass your second test? How did your life change? Did you notice feeling any different once you implemented better eating habits and monitoring your blood sugar?

**Did you know if you test positive for gestational diabetes, you get to prick your finger three times a day to check your blood sugar--on top of all the diet and exercise changes? Joy of joys! I'm learning a lot this time around.

***Photo courtesy of KevinDooley***


27 Weeks

Is it possible that we're down to less than three months? The more I think about my desire to deliver early, the more I start to question my sani
ty. I really really enjoy this exclusive time with my 2 year old. I'm also booked up with work until the baby's due. Truth be told, there's a better chance of me wrapping everything up properly if this baby waits until his/her due date. Yes, that means one birthday on top of the other (my hubby is the 24th), but in the long run, it may be better to have a little more time on this end rather than on the other. Alas, the child will come when the child wants, and I'm perfectly okay with that.

Sad news. I just found out my doula is taking some time off. My hubby and I have been back and forth trying to decide if we wanted to use a doula this time. Last time, she was a LIFESAVER! Let's just say she went above and beyond (by about 12 extra hours) her call of duty. We would NOT have made it drug free for as long as we did without her. She made all the difference in the world. So why the doubt this time? Well, I'm believing this birth is going to go A LOT faster than the first (the first I clocked a solid 45 hours of awake and active labor--not to mention I'd been awake the 15 hours before the contractions began). I'd love to have a, well, 30 minute push time and pop--here's your baby! I know the reality is slim, but I will hope!

Secondly, my hubby proved to be stellar during the labor. My doula commented that she wished she could take him to all her births--his ability to stay in the moment with me and be attentive to my needs was a cut above. (I'm so proud!) Anyway, since I have an incredible hubby and will have a shorter birth, we questioned if investing the money in a doula is a priority. But, when it all comes down to it, we decided that no matter how quick the birth goes, she'll be worth every penny. Not to mention, I believe that her presence at the birth made my hubby a better person. We probably would've been lost without her.

All that to say, she (for very commendable reasons) is taking time off. Sigh. I'm not sure where we'll go from here. To be honest, I'm telling you, dear readers, before I have even had time to mention it to my hubby. I'll keep you posted on his reaction.

I had my last second-trimester checkup this week, and you all know what that means (well, if you've been prego) GLUCOSE SCREENING! Mmmm, mmm, tasty orange liquid tingling on its way down my throat. An hour of anticipating yet another NEEDLE! And then having my blood drawn. I psyched myself up for more drama than it proved to actually be, but still. Not my favorite checkup.

And then this zinger--I didn't pass! Horror of horrors. I feel like any advice I've given on this blog immediately lost all credibility. How could I boast a healthier-than-average lifestyle and then turn around and fail the glucose test? I passed last time, so this was really out of left field for me. Since then, I've learned a few interesting things:

1. If you don't pass the first time, they make you take another test to double check the results. This next test is over three hours long and requires you have your blood drawn four separate times in those three hours. Oh, and did I mention you can't eat before or during this whole process? I'm a woos when it comes to needles, but if my hubby is with me, I can make it through without passing out. But I can't justify making him take half a day off of work just to hold my hand while they stick me over and over with needles. I'll take the test sometime in the next few days . . . and I'm going to try and brave it alone. I'll keep you posted on how it all goes.

2. If you don't pass the second time, hello diet! There are all sorts of food restrictions that I would normally be excited about--forced healthy eating is a good thing, right? But since I'm prego, a lot of my food choices have been determined more by hormones and less by healthy choices. Doing a 180 in the midst of my pregnancy is not really something I'm looking forward to.

3. From the little I've read online, I don't really fall into any of the categories of people who get gestational diabetes. The only things I can relate to on the lists of symptoms or people who get it are 1. I've been more hungry this pregnancy--but not insatiable, and really not that much more than my first. 2. I'm over 30 this time. 3. I haven't been exercising regularly--but I figure chasing a two year old around and maintaining a business and semi-clean home somehow cancelled out that exercising category. I don't sit around and watch TV. I'm constantly active (except when I'm writing/editing). That's gotta count for something.

4. As I mentioned in an early post--your imagination goes wild during pregnancy, and overall it's best to stay away from books like What to Expect When You're Expecting because they primarily fill you with fear. Talk about a mental battle when you read the possible side effects of gestational diabetes. Hello! These are the moments when I'm glad I keep my faith built up even when I'm in a trial. I can't imagine dealing with this and having been slacking on building my faith.

For the record, I plan to come back to you next week and tell of a successful series of pricks that didn't cause me to pass out, and a report that the first test was wrong--I'm free and clear. Until then.

p.s. For those of you interested in a potty training update, it's still going. I now have no doubt that this process would have gone a lot faster if I had waited until my daughter was older. BUT, we've made so much progress now, I don't see the point of throwing in the towel. On the victories end, we're doing really well when we're out and about. Yesterday we went to the pool, and she told me twice she had to go! On the other hand, we're having a lot of trouble making going to the potty a priority when we're home. I've changed more poopy pants than I'd care to admit.

So . . . I know she understands the concept. I know she can alert me before she has to go. I know she can hold it until we get to a bathroom. I just don't understand why she chooses not to tell me sometimes. That's where the age factor comes into play. I think if she was a bit older, that would tie up the last missing link and we'd have this mastered by now. Until then, I just have to wait until she decides to tell me every time. I also think it'll help a lot when she sees her friends potty training. Since we started early, we're all alone when it comes to hanging out with friends that also have to use the big-girl potty. I really believe it'll help her to see other kids doing the same as she. Time will tell.

**Thought I'd include some real pictures of me and my family this time =)**