Thursday, September 8, 2011

Brooke's birth

I know this is so late, but it's been a busy week.  Last Thursday September 1, I was induced.  They started the pitocin at 12:45pm and Brooke made her appearance at 9:54pm weighing 6 lbs 5 oz and 19 3/8" long.  Thankfully the labor wasn't too long and only the last hour of it was the worst because I decided to do a natural birth without pain meds, but it was all worth it!  She is absolutely precious and we are loving the time with her so much!  Today she is already a week old and has gained back a lot of the weight she lost after birth, so that is really good. She resembles her daddy mostly, but we think we see a little of me in her :)

She has Paul's face and head shape, eyes, and cheeks.  She has my fingers and toes and possibly my body type, but it's hard to tell at this point.  She might have my nose, but that's also hard to tell until she gets older.  We're unsure about her mouth and chin; although, she doesn't have the chin dimple ("butt chin") that I have.  I love being a mom so much already and I'm really looking forward to the next 11 weeks I have with her.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Great appointment!!

This morning I had my weekly midwife appt and it went really well!!!  I actually progressed since last week, thank goodness!  I was really pessimistic that I hadn't progressed at all, so I was so happily surprised to hear that I have.  I am now 3 cm dilated and 80% effaced and she said my cervix is really soft and ready to go :)  She also said it's anterior, which means it's moved from the back to the front in preparation for delivery.  And Brooke is still at -1 station, so she is engaged and ready to go too.

At first she thought Brooke was looking to the side, which is typical at this point, but then she felt her head a little more and thinks she might be turned a little facing up, which is not a good position because that would mean the back of her skull, which is the bigger and harder part of her head of course, is faced to the back.  When that happens, it's harder for them to get out because their skull is pushing against the spine, and that would also cause me a lot of back pain, which I heard is horrible.  So she told me to crawl around on the floor today to help force Brooke's head to start facing down instead of up, so that the back of her skull is up. She said that crawling around will help the back of her head, which is the heavier part, to want to fall down towards the ground because of gravity.  Very interesting, so I need to crawl around some more :)

Because of my progress, I don't have to go into the hospital on Wednesday night to get my cervix ripened!  YAY!!  She was also able to sweep my membranes to see if that will help me go into labor on my own, so say a little prayer for us that she decides to come out on her own before Thursday.  My blood pressure was a little high today at my appointment, but I think that was mainly because I was a little anxious about it.  So far, my bp has been pretty stable when I take it at home, so that's good.  Since my bp has remained stable, I wonder if I really need to be induced early, but my bp could spike quickly at any time, so I'd rather be safe and get induced than go further and risk having it spike.  Plus, I'm so ready for her to be out, so I'm fine with having her come a little early :)

I'm really hoping that if she doesn't decide to come on her own before Thursday, my body will respond really quickly to a low dose of pitocin so that I don't have to get a whole bunch of it.  I'm hoping that since I've experienced so many episodes of "false labor" contractions, my body will understand what to do very quickly after getting the initial dose of pitocin.  But we'll see!

I had my last non-stress test after my appt, and that went well too.  Brooke was very active, so they were able to track her heart rate fluctuations very easily and she did very well.  They also measured my amniotic fluid with an ultrasound machine.  It was lower than last week, so I might be leaking fluid some, but it wasn't so low that it was at the point of concern, so that's good.  Since I'm being induced in 2 days, there shouldn't be a problem if I lose a little more.  I haven't noticed any fluid, so it must be a really slow leak.

I'm in much better spirits today after getting a good night sleep (well, as good as I can get right now :)) and having such a great appointment.  I'm feeling much less anxious about everything today, which is really nice.  I'm much more positive and confident today than I was yesterday.  I have a feeling yesterday's emotions were a result of physical exhaustion.  I'm going to try to crawl and walk around a good amount today to try to get labor going, but otherwise I'll take it easy.  And tomorrow I'll do the same.

2 more days to go!!!  I can't wait!

Monday, August 29, 2011

3 days to go

Wow, 3 more days until we get to meet Brooke.  It's very exciting but also very scary at the same time.  I feel prepared but totally unprepared at the same time.  It's such a weird mix of emotions.  I know we will be able to handle the labor and birth and becoming parents because I know how strong we are together and I feel like we can handle anything.  But at the same time, the anticipation of all of it brings on a lot of anxiety.  I'm also really exhausted and sore today, so I have a feeling that's causing some of these emotions to take over.  I'm trying my best to just chill out and remain calm, but sometimes they get the best of me.

This weekend was really great.  On Saturday I was really uncomfortable and tired the first half of the day, but after taking a nap, Paul and I played some games and watched some tv, and then he went out and picked up food and we watched a couple of movies.  I knew I was just too uncomfortable to try to go out to eat and go to a movie, so this was perfect.  We had a great day together just the 2 of us.  On Sunday we did some chores around the house and some errands and then we had friends over to hang out in the pool.  The weekend was a perfect mix of alone time and socializing time, so it was a perfect last weekend of freedom for us :)

The next few days are going to be tough.  Today is just a waiting game, and with how tired I am, it's going to be an emotional day as well, so that will make it difficult to get through.  Hopefully I can take a nap and take it a little easy.  I'm still working, so that sometimes helps to take my mind off of things, but it also makes it difficult to muster up the energy to be productive.  I'm really interested to see how my progression has been at tomorrow morning's appointment.  They will check me to see if I've effaced and dilated any more.  If not, I'll have to go into the hospital on Wednesday night for ripening before the induction Thursday morning.  If I have made some progress, hopefully I won't need any ripening and hopefully they'll be able to sweep my membranes to try to get labor going naturally.  So I feel like tomorrow's appointment is a big one because it will really help me have a better understanding for how the labor process will go.  I'll keep you all posted.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

38 weeks

Today I am 38 weeks!  Wow!  I can't believe I'm finally at this point.  This is the week at which I wanted to get before Brooke came out, so now she is really welcome to come :)  I know I'm scheduled for an induction next Thursday but I really want her to come out on her own.  Of course, it's not up to me, so we will just have to wait and see.

Last night I had even more trouble sleeping.  I woke up every 1-1.5 hours like I have the past couple of days, but I also had trouble getting back to sleep a couple of times.  I was also feeling more congested today, so I decided to go to the doctor and get antibiotics since this cold doesn't seem to be going away and might be getting worse.  So I started the z-pak today and I'm hoping I start to feel a lot better in a couple of days.  I really want to be in top shape when Brooke is born because I know it will be hard enough without being sick on top of it.

The past couple of days Brooke has been SUPER active!  She is moving around her arms and legs like crazy and with a lot of force.  Sometimes it's really uncomfortable.  She also moves her head around in my pelvis sometimes, which is a really strange feeling and is usually quite painful!  A lot of times she hits some nerves pretty hard and a sharp pain shoots into my hip flexor and upper leg.  That is super painful and hard to get away from.

I've been thinking more and more about what a big life changing event this is going to be.  It's just been Paul and me for so long that it's going to be such a change to our lives.  But at the same time, we are so ready for such a big change, and I know that we will just slip right into it and totally fall in love with her as soon as she enters this world.  We already love her, but I know that will increase exponentially once she is out.  I really cannot wait for the birth experience.  After watching A Baby Story several times, I can see how amazing this process is going to be.  I'm a little nervous about the pain and how long labor will all take and the possibility of things not going well and having to get a c-section, but that stuff doesn't really cross my mind too much.  I feel pretty confident that I will be able to handle the pain and Paul will be able to provide me with the support I need, and I know the midwives and doctors will be able to handle any situation that occurs.

At this point it's just a waiting game for the next week.  And I'm hoping it goes by quickly!!

Most recent bump picture:

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Holy crap, it's getting surreal!

Ok, so now that we have about a week left until I give birth, it's been starting to sink in that we are about to have a baby!  This is going to be the biggest change we have ever gone through!  It's kind of crazy to know the date instead of wondering when I will go into labor.  I'm still a little focused on how uncomfortable I am, especially when trying to sleep at night, which has gotten much more difficult the past few days since I am waking up more often and am more uncomfortable.  But now I'm also thinking about bringing Brooke home and actually having a baby!  It's just such a crazy concept to me.  Of course I am still so super excited, but when I really think about giving birth and bringing her home, it just hits me how big this is going to be.  Wow!  Life sure is amazing.  Ok, that's all I have for now. :)  1 more week!!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Midwife Appointment

Today I had my weekly midwife appointment.  I asked her to check my progress since I had contractions on and off from Thursday - Sunday last week, so she relented and checked me and NO PROGRESS!!!  I just knew it.  So all of that annoying discomfort and pain for nothing.  And she even said that the 90% effaced number that the previous midwife told me was generous and she thought I was really just 75%.  Oh well, at least I now know not to get my hopes up that Brooke will decide to come early.  I'm just going to stick with the expectation that she won't be here until I'm induced.  That will help me manage my emotional and mental state better because those contractions were really messing with my head!  This process is not only physically taxing, it's also mentally and emotionally exhausting!

I had another non-stress test after my midwife appointment.  Brooke's heart rate and amniotic fluid are both good, so that's great news.  And my blood pressure has been doing pretty well.  Sometimes it's a little high, but once I rest lying down, it goes down.  It's now pretty regularly in the 130s/80s.  Hopefully it continues to stay low so I won't need additional medication during labor.

On Friday I will have another non-stress test.  Next Tuesday I will have my last midwife appointment and non-stress test.  At the midwife appointment they will check my progress again.  If I'm still only 1 cm dilated, I will have to go into the hospital Wednesday night to get something to help my cervix ripen before they give me Pitocin on Thursday, which is what they use for induction.  I'm not sure if I will have to spend the night Wednesday night.  I hope not, but I have a feeling I might have to so that they can keep an eye on my progress.  I will ask the midwife at Tuesday's appointment to find out for sure.

So, unless you hear from me, just assume that things are going well and Brooke isn't coming until next Thursday :)  Wish me luck that this next week will go by quickly!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Contractions galore! And I'm officially sick :(

On Thursday afternoon, I started feeling contractions that were stronger than the typical Braxton Hicks contractions.  They started in my back and migrated to my front, which indicates real labor pains.  However, they were coming very sporadically, so I knew they weren't real labor.  They were just like the contractions I've had twice already.  They were a little uncomfortable, but not too bad.  On Thursday night they began coming more frequently and a little more painfully, but they still weren't regular.  At one point, I was sitting in bed and Brooke did something with her head to send super strong shooting pains into my pelvis.  It was so startling and painful that I jumped and had to clench my fists on the pillow and breathe through it!  I've had sharp pains down there earlier in the pregnancy, but this was REALLY painful!  It's so weird to feel her moving around all the way down there.  It's just such a strange feeling.  Sometimes I feel like she is trying to ram her head up against my cervix to get out :)  She ended up doing that 3-4 times, but thankfully she stopped.  And thankfully the contractions calmed down enough that I was able to sleep.

Yesterday, the contractions started up again in the morning and got harder and more frequent as the day went on.  At some points, it was pretty uncomfortable and a little painful.  Even when I was floating in the pool they were uncomfortable and painful.  It was exciting to get the contractions because the past 2 times I had contractions like this, my cervix made progress, but it was also getting to be a little much and I was hoping for a reprieve.  Luckily, the contractions calmed down again last night and I was able to sleep.  At this point, I think I'm getting up 3-5 times per night to pee :)  So "sleeping all night" means I'm able to get back to sleep pretty easily after getting up to pee.

Last night I also started to feel more sinus pressure and my throat started hurting.  I was also more congested throughout the night and woke up with an even more sore throat and congestion.  So it looks like I'm officially sick :(  It's definitely a blessing that we got sick before Brooke was born, but I'm not happy about it being so close to when I give birth.  So I'm praying that we both get over it very quickly so that we aren't sick when I go into labor.  I'm interested to see how much the contractions progressed me.  I'm going to ask the midwife to check me at my appointment on Tuesday and I'm really hoping that these 2 days of contractions made some kind of significant progress, because if they didn't, that will worry me that once labor starts, it will be a long process.  We shall see...

I really hope I don't get contractions today, at least not the ones I had yesterday that were so uncomfortable and painful, because I really would like to get some rest.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

37 weeks! Full term!

Today I am full term!  YAY!  I'm very excited we have reached this very important milestone.  Brooke is now welcome to come out to join the outside world at any time :)

This morning my BP was even a little higher than yesterday (~143/86), so I'm a tad bit concerned, but not overly so.  I will keep an eye on it though and possibly talk to the midwife at next Tuesday's appointment about trying to stimulate labor maybe a little earlier.  We'll see how things go over the next few days.  I have been having Braxton Hicks contractions really often lately.  It seems like I get them constantly sometimes.  I really hope they are making me progress!

Yesterday I had a couple of emotional breakdowns early in the day, but the day ended really well, so that was wonderful!  I'm really trying to enjoy and focus on each day, but sometimes my emotions get the best of me.  I guess it's not surprising since my hormones are probably raging and I'm not getting as much sleep lately.  This morning I woke up at 5am and couldn't get back to sleep.  Not nearly as bad as Tuesday night, but it's still going to take a bit of a toll on me.  Unfortunately, Paul seems to be getting a sinus infection, so he really needs to rest and try to fight it off.  That would suck if he were sick when I go into labor!  Not to mention if he ends up getting me sick.  So let's hope he starts feeling better over the next few days.

So, we have at most 2 weeks left to go.  Not too bad, but I will be happier when it's only 1 week away :)  These days sure do go by slowly.  Unless Brooke comes earlier than my induction date, it will be a long wait. Believe me, it's not going to fly by.

Latest bump picture:

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Doctor Appointment and Update on BP

Yesterday I had my weekly midwife appointment, plus I had a non-stress test to make sure Brooke is doing well.  They hooked me up to a heart rate monitor to check her heart rate for 20 minutes.  They were checking to make sure her heart rate doesn't dip down and also that it spikes a few times within the 20 minutes.  Brooke's heart rate was looking really good, which I wasn't surprised about.  Then they did an ultrasound to measure the amount of amniotic fluid around her.  The ultrasound machine they used wasn't the super good one, so it was hard to make out different body parts.  For some reason, I wasn't as excited to see her on the ultrasound this time, and I think it's because I see her so much from the outside that I feel like I get to see her every day, so the ultrasound didn't really provide me with a new experience.  The amniotic fluid measurement also came back normal.  So Brooke is all good!!  I wasn't worried though.  For some reason, I really don't think she's going to have any issues.  I think she's going to be just fine.

My blood pressure at my appointment was a little high (143/83), so they took it again after my appointment after I rested for a couple of minutes, and then it was a little better (126/90), but the systolic and diastolic pressures kind of swapped.  This has happened at home before, but I have no idea why.  My body is weird.  But they didn't seem too concerned as long as the non-stress test came back fine.  I think as long as my BP stays below 150/100, they won't get too concerned, so let's pray that it doesn't.

I have another non-stress test on Friday morning where they will just do the heart rate monitoring.  I then have 2 more next Tuesday and Friday to repeat the tests, as well as my usual weekly appointment on Tuesday.  I will have one last appointment on the Tuesday before I am induced and at that point they will see if there is something they can do to try to get labor started before my induction, since I would prefer not to get pitocin (or any kinds of drugs for that matter), which is what they use for inductions.  The midwife said that if I'm dilated enough, they will be able to sweep the membranes to try to get labor started.  I don't know all the details of what that entails, but it's supposed to get the cervix more ready for labor and hopefully get my body to start labor on its own.  Let's hope it works if we get that far!

I'm really hoping to go into labor by myself sometime next week, but I have no control over that, so we'll see :)  Of course, I really only want to go into labor if Brooke is big enough and doing well, so I'm okay with waiting if she's not ready.  Unfortunately, there's no way to tell!  15 days left at most.  It's not much time but it still seems like a while to me.  It's like counting down to a long-awaited vacation.  It never seems close enough even when it's just a day away.  So I'll just try my best to focus on one day at a time instead of the end date.  Hopefully that works!

I have noticed lately that my rings have been a little harder to get on and off, and I just had to take off my watch because it was digging into my wrist.  And this morning when I was putting lotion on my legs, I thought that the top of my right foot might look a tiny bit swollen, but it was hard to tell.  I know that swelling is a normal sign of late pregnancy, so I don't think that has a correlation with the blood pressure, but I will keep an eye on it just in case.  If it gets bad, it could indicate a problem.  My BP has been in the 130s/80s at home for the past 2 days, which is high for being at home, so it's possible that it could continue to go up.  We'll see.  I really hope it doesn't.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Bump pic and blood pressure

Here is my most recent bump picture (yes, I dyed my hair :)).  I think it looks like she is lower this week, but not by much.


Today my blood pressure was really high when I took it at home throughout the day.  It started off in the 130s this morning and then ended up at 153/93 by 2:00, so the midwife on call had me come in to get checked out.  I met with a nurse first to get my bp taken and a urine analysis done.  My bp was in the 140s, so not horrible, and my urine analysis was negative for protein, so that was good.  But the midwife wanted me to go up to labor and delivery to get monitored for a few hours just in case since it's Friday.

In labor and delivery, they monitored my bp, Brooke's heartbeat, and did some blood work.  My bp eventually stabilized in the 130s, which is a little high but not too bad.  Brooke's heart rate was good, and my blood work ended up coming back negative, so they let me go home.  However, the midwife did say that they want to keep a closer eye on me and Brooke now, so I have to go in twice a week to get ante-natal testing done, which involves monitoring Brooke's heart rate and measuring the fluid around her and possibly measuring her size to make sure the high bp isn't negatively affecting her.  The midwife told me to bring my hospital bag every time I come in just in case Brooke isn't doing well and they have to induce.  So I will be starting that next week.

She also said that they don't want me to go too far in my pregnancy just in case preeclampsia occurs, so they scheduled me for an induction on 9/1!  So now I have only 3 weeks at the most until Brooke is born!  It's really exciting to have a definite end date and it's great that it's a week ahead of my due date!  Our hope is that she decides to come sooner than my induction date on her own so that I don't have to be induced.  The midwife also checked my cervix since I was having contractions on Tuesday and she said I am still 1 cm dilated but I am 90% effaced!  That means my cervix has almost completely thinned out, which needs to happen before it can really dilate.  She also said that Brooke's head is right up against the cervix at -1 station (0 - +2 station is when you start pushing), so she is right there and ready!  That means that once real labor starts, it should be relatively easy.

She told me that I can now wait to contact them until I have real labor contractions, so I don't have to worry about these semi-strong sporadic contractions anymore, which is really nice.  Now that I know when I'm supposed to come into the hospital, I am excited to have more of those semi-strong contractions because I know that they are helping me get closer to going into labor.  As long as I make it to 37 weeks, which is next Thursday, I am super happy.  So hopefully I'll continue progressing slowly and then Brooke will come on her own before 39 weeks.  That would be the ideal situation.  And hopefully my bp doesn't continue to increase.

We are now starting to get excited and nervous about Brooke's arrival.  It's now beginning to feel more real, so it's really starting to hit home that we are about to have a baby!  Crazy, but exciting!  I can't wait!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

36 weeks!

Today has been a MUCH better day.  Last night I went to Babies R Us and got the remaining critical items we need, so the only thing left to do is install the car seat properly.  I have an appointment with the police department to get them to help me tomorrow.  And today I felt much better about everything.  I swam in the morning, which was really nice, and I was fairly productive with work, which made me feel good.

The past couple of days I have been experiencing a little more lower back pain.  Even when I was swimming this morning it hurt a little bit if I twisted at all during a stroke.  So I need to be really careful.  I was going to try doing yoga last night, but I ended up focusing on getting other stuff done, so I'm going to do my prenatal yoga video tonight to see if that might help my back.  I'm going to be really careful though.

I haven't had anymore strong contractions since Tuesday night thankfully, but the Braxton Hicks contractions seem to be occurring more often now.  I feel like my uterus gets tight really often.  Thankfully, Brooke is still very active, so that keeps me confident that she is still doing well.  I'm very excited to reach 36 weeks.  I really feel like we are in the home stretch now.  If Brooke is born now, she is still considered pre-term, but she shouldn't have any issues.  I will feel even more excited next Thursday when I am 37 weeks because then I will be full term and at that point she really could come at any time!  So we are getting close!

I'll post my baby bump picture once Paul takes it for me.  I really feel like it looks like Brooke has dropped some, but we'll see once I compare pics.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Frustrated

Yesterday my contractions continued throughout the day and evening, but they were sporadic and didn't establish a pattern, which is good but annoying.  Last night I talked to the midwife on call because the contractions seemed to be picking up a little and I was having some cramping too, so I was getting a little edgy.  She reassured me that everything is fine and I might just contract like this for a while.  She said I should come in this week to get my cervix checked, so I called the nurse line this morning and they said I don't need to come in to get checked because my contractions stopped.  This is so frustrating.  I feel like I keep getting conflicting directions.  I wanted to go in to see if the contractions made any progress but I guess that won't be happening.  I have a regular appointment next Tuesday, but I have a feeling I won't get checked then either unless I start contracting again.

I just wish there was a clear sign regarding what's happening.  I don't know why but both times this has happened, it really messes with me emotionally.  So I'm praying that this doesn't happen again, at least not for a couple of weeks.  Once I'm full term, I think I'll be able to handle this false labor better because then I will know that I really just need to wait until I'm in labor to worry.  One midwife said that pre-term labor doesn't always act like real labor, so it can be misleading, which is probably why she wanted me to get checked.  Yet the nurses tell me what to look for regarding real labor, which I know what to look for!  Since I'm still pre-term, this false labor makes me a little worried because I don't know what it's doing.  Ugh, it really sucks not understanding what my body is doing.  I can't wait until next Thursday when I am 37 weeks and considered full term.  Until then, I'm praying this doesn't happen again.  I just can't handle it :(

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

More Contractions

Ugh, I was woken up at 2:20 this morning with contractions again.  I had about 12 in the first hour and about 10 in the second hour.  I paged the midwife on call and she told me to try taking a bath, but that didn't really help.  However, eventually they started to subside and I was able to briefly fall asleep around 7:00, only to be woken up by another one at 7:30!  Why do they insist on coming in the middle of the night?!?!  They are strong enough and often enough that I can't sleep through them, yet I know they are not labor.

I have decided not to go into the hospital or to see a midwife since they are subsiding and the only thing they can really do is check my cervix to see if I have dilated more.  But even if I have dilated more, it doesn't mean I'm in labor, so it really doesn't provide any benefit and I really don't feel like going in.  So I'll just chill and hope that they go away completely like they did last time.  I'm sure they will.

I really wish this was an indicator that I will go into labor before my due date, but unfortunately it isn't.  I can have all kinds of false labor and still go into labor late!  It's so frustrating.  Oh well, at least she hasn't come too early yet.  The wait continues...

Saturday, August 6, 2011

35 weeks

On Thursday I was 35 weeks along, so I'm slowly getting closer to my due date.  I say slowly because this isn't flying by for me, but it probably is for all of you, and for Paul as well :)  I asked Paul if he felt like these last 5 weeks are going to fly by for him and he said yes, so I guess I'm all by myself in feeling like they are going to drag by.  That's not really a surprise since I'm the one who has to carry her around and be uncomfortable.  Oh well, hopefully it will go by more quickly than I expect.

This week was really productive.  Sunday and Monday nights we spent organizing and cleaning up the house.  It was so nice to get all our stuff unpacked and set up for Brooke's arrival.  We still have some stuff left to get, but we have most of the big stuff, which is really nice.  Thanks to all my friends and family for helping us out so much!  Today we plan on finishing up the nursery - we only have a few more things to organize - and setting up the video monitor.  Then we are going to make a cheat sheet for our labor techniques from the Bradley method, just so we have them handy when the time comes :)  There's no way we are going to remember everything.

On Tuesday I had my regular OB check-up.  I met with a midwife to see if I wanted to transfer to the midwifery practice, which is a practice associated with UNC.  There are 6 midwives and they practice and perform deliveries at UNC in the same place that the doctors practice, so if something goes wrong during labor, the doctors are right there to take over.  I really liked the midwife I met with and felt that their theories and practices for the labor and delivery process match exactly what Paul and I want.  They are very focused on making the birth experience what we want and helping us figure out methods for dealing with pain and other situations without medicine.  But at the same time, they don't hesitate to give medicine if I want it or if the situation requires it.  They will also try to stay with me throughout the entire delivery unless they have other patients at the same time, but that's much better than being delivered by a doctor who doesn't show up until you are pushing.

At my appointment she just measured my belly, which measured perfectly, and listened for Brooke's heartbeat.  I thought she might check my cervix since I am already dilated 1 cm, but she said there is no reason to check my cervix unless I am having contractions because it shouldn't be making any progress without contractions.  She also said that checking the cervix can stimulate it some, so they don't want to do it unnecessarily.  So the next time she will check it is at 39 weeks unless I have contractions again.  She also said they don't need to see me more often, so my next appointment is 2 weeks from Tuesday.  I was hoping to go again this upcoming week, but I guess there is no need.  After next Tuesday's appointment I will begin seeing them on a weekly basis because at that point I will be 36.5 weeks along.

On Wednesday night, there was a "Meet the Midwives" session at UNC where we could meet 3 of the 6 midwives.  Paul and I went so that he could hear their practices since he wasn't able to go to my appointment on Tuesday and so that we could meet 3 of the midwives since I probably don't have enough appointments left before I give birth to meet all 6 of them.  Paul felt very good about what they had to say and we both were happy with their personalities, so we are very happy to transfer my care to them.  From now on, I will see a different midwife at each appointment until I give birth to try to meet as many of them as possible, since we won't know which one will perform the delivery.

The past couple of weeks I have started waking up more often, sometimes as often as 4-5 times per night, so I'm not getting as much sleep anymore.  I typically need to go to the bathroom when I wake up and I always have to roll over to my other side, so it's a bit of a process.  I have been trying to drink more water lately because I feel more dehydrated lately and dehydration can cause contractions, so I want to avoid that.  This past week, each night I have woken up at some point with a numb right hand, which is really weird.  I called the nurse on Thursday to find out what could be causing it and she said it sounds like I have carpel tunnel!  Apparently that is common in pregnancy and can happen during the day or at night or both.  She said I can wear wrist braces if it gets annoying, but that seems like more of an annoyance so I'm going to hold off on doing anything unless it gets really bad.  Early this morning I woke up and both hands were numb but it went away quickly and didn't come back.  What fun :)

My coworker suggested that I take belly pics of my belly without a shirt over it so I can really get a feel for what it looks like, so that's how I'm going to take my belly pics from now on.  Even though I still seem to be carrying Brooke kind of high, I feel like I can kind of tell that she has dropped some from the outside, and I can definitely tell she has dropped some from the inside.  It's much harder now to sit or bend forward, especially with my legs together :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

A crazy week!

Last weekend was my first baby shower and it was super fun.  I got to see a bunch of family and friends that I don't typically get to see, so that was really nice.  They all got me so many wonderful things for Brooke, which I am so appreciative about!  They really took care to get me so many things that we will need to take care of Brooke.  We had a lot of fun hanging out and playing a few games.  One of my friends had asked Paul about a dozen baby questions and I had to guess what his answers were.  I did not do well - I only got 3 right!  LOL!  I guess we need to have some discussions ;)

Unfortunately, Paul's grandfather passed away on Sunday, so we drove up to Pennsylvania on Tuesday to attend the funeral Wednesday morning and then drove back.  It was nice to see the family and we were so glad we were able to attend the funeral, but it definitely took a toll on me.  I ended up sleeping most of Thursday instead of working because my body needed to rest.

On Thursday I was 34 weeks along.  I thought I would be more excited about that milestone, but it turns out I really just want to get to 36 or even 37 weeks.  On Friday morning at 3:45 am, I was awoken by a contraction.  I continued to have irregular contractions for the next 2 hours, which Paul timed for me.  On average, they were about 3-5 minutes apart and lasted around 1 minute each, but it was hard to really determine when they started and ended - it's not as easy as the books make it sound!  We were definitely concerned because they were so close together, even though they weren't painful, because I know some women have really easy contractions that still cause them to dilate.

I called the doctors office, but I had to leave a message because I didn't have the after hours number.  Finally we stopped timing them and tried to sleep - I wasn't able to because they were strong enough to keep me awake.  Around 8:00, a nurse returned my call and asked me to time them for the next hour.  I had 4 within 30 minutes, so I called back and they asked me to come in to the Labor and Delivery floor.

When I got to Labor and Delivery, they monitored my contractions, Brooke's heartbeat, and my blood pressure for a while.  My bp was a little high when I got there, which I expected, but it went down while they were monitoring me, so that was really good.  I was still having irregular contractions, so the doctor checked my cervix and found that it was slightly dilated (< 1 cm) and slightly effaced.  He also checked Brooke's position and found that she had dropped into my pelvis some, which I had thought might be the case on Thursday because she just felt lower for some reason.  They decided to keep me for a few more hours so they could check me again to see if I had progressed.  After a few hours, the doctor checked my cervix again and at that point I was dilated 1 cm.  Because I had progressed a little, they decided to keep me overnight to make sure I didn't go into labor.

After a few more hours of waiting in the small triage room (the same room I was in when my bp was being monitored when I was induced with Brady), the doctor checked my cervix again and it was still 1 cm, which was good.  They decided to put me in a room on another floor instead of in the Labor and Delivery section since I wasn't progressing.  In the meantime, Paul had to pack our hospital bag at home since we hadn't gotten a chance to do that yet.  It was on the to do list for this weekend, go figure :)

Paul got to the hospital soon after I was moved to my new room, and he brought yummy food, so I didn't have to eat hospital food.  It was awesome.  The room was really big, so that was nice.  Luckily they only had to monitor my contractions and Brooke's heartbeat sporadically, so I wasn't too uncomfortable, and I was actually able to get a good amount of sleep.  The contractions had slowed down, so I wasn't feeling them very often, which was also good.  This morning they rechecked my cervix and it was still at 1 cm, so they let me go home.  Thank goodness!!

It was a little bitter sweet leaving the hospital without Brooke.  I was SO happy that she hadn't been born this early because she probably would have had trouble breathing and possibly other complications, which would have been hard.  I definitely want her to make to at least 37 weeks, at which point she would be considered full term.  However, I am so ready to meet her and have her at home, so it was disappointing that it wasn't time for that yet.  Also, the drive home was more difficult than I expected.  I started crying while I was driving because it brought back memories of when I was discharged from the hospital after having Brady and again I was coming home with no baby.  However, this time Brooke reminded me on the way home that I was coming home with a baby, she just isn't out yet, which is a good thing :)  So even though it was hard remembering how I felt after Brady, it was definitely wonderful that she didn't make her appearance quite yet. And more good news is that my body is definitely more ready now for when she does decide she is ready to be born, so hopefully that means labor and delivery will go smoothly.

On Tuesday I am seeing a midwife, so hopefully that goes well.  I'm hoping they check my cervix at my regular appts from now on since I'm already dilated some, but we'll see.  I'm also hoping I will now go to the appts weekly instead of every 2 weeks, so that they can keep an eye on my cervix.  This whole dilation process is definitely not cut and dry!  I just pray that Brooke decides to continue marinating until we hit 37 weeks to reduce the risk of possible issues.

Tomorrow is my second baby shower and I'm super excited for this one too!  I am really looking forward to celebrating Brooke's upcoming birth with all my neighborhood friends!

Latest bump picture - the bump is huge!!!

Friday, July 22, 2011

33 weeks

Yesterday I was 33 weeks along, so I have 7 weeks to go.  I'm still feeling pretty uncomfortable and sometimes Brooke actually hurts me when she kicks or pushes on me really hard.  It's definitely nice that she is so active because it reassures me of her health, but it can also be jarring and sometimes a bit annoying.  I hate to say that she's annoying me, and I feel really bad about it, but sometimes her movements are just a little much when I'm feeling so uncomfortable or in pain already.  But I am very thankful that she is healthy and active.  It's so weird to bounce back and forth between these emotions.  At this point I'm just feeling like I want my normal body back so I can move around and bend easily like I used to.  I will be so happy if Brooke decides to come early, but of course I don't want her to come too early and not be ready for life in the outside world.  So, I will be happy whenever she comes because it will be when she is ready, but I'll be even happier if she is ready before my due date or at least not past it :)  But we'll see...

Here's the most recent bump picture.  I think I've almost grown out of this shirt :)

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Yesterday's ultrasound and doctor appt

Yesterday we got to see Brooke again!  It was very exciting and comforting to see that she is doing well.  Based on their measurements, she is 4.5 lbs and is in the 37th percentile, which they were happy about.  She was moving around a lot (at one point her foot was up against her face!) and she had her face in the placenta again, so we didn't really get any good pictures of her face unfortunately.  She is not very cooperative with those ultrasounds!  But that's ok, I'm just glad she is healthy and growing well.  Not that I really had much doubt since she kicks me and moves around in me plenty, but it's still nice to have that reassurance.

Not a great shot of her face because the placenta is in front of it, but it's the best we could get:

Her girly parts :)

Profile pic:

Another profile:


After the ultrasound, I had my usual OB appt.  My blood pressure was a little high, but not too bad (132/80).  Because my bp hasn't gone up over time and because Brooke is looking so healthy, my doctor doesn't feel the need to do any more ultrasounds and is feeling good about my and Brooke's health, which is great!!  She also feels comfortable with me going to see the midwives next time.  My next appt is in 2 weeks with one of the midwives.  Once we meet with her, we will figure out if we want to completely transfer the remainder of my care with them or just request that they deliver Brooke and stay with my current OB for the remainder of my care.  I have a feeling that if I like what she has to say and I want the midwives to deliver Brooke, then I will want to transfer the remainder of my care to them, but we'll see.

Last night Paul and I finished decorating the nursery with the stuff that we already have.  Once I get the remainder of the nursery decorations, we will finish it off and post pictures.  It is already looking so great!!  I'm so excited!

In the middle of the night last night, I had my first leg cramp.  It was awful!  But I was able to stretch my legs to get rid of it and I was able to fall back asleep quickly.  Thank goodness!  I hope that doesn't become a regular occurrence now.  I can handle once in a while, but every night would be rough to deal with.  I've been trying to remember to stretch my legs every morning so that I keep myself flexible, so now I will make sure I do that in case it will help keep the leg cramps away.

I had another dream about Brooke last night.  She was so beautiful!  But I kept forgetting about taking care of her and we didn't have the monitor so I couldn't hear her crying way up in the nursery when I was in other parts of the house!  It was awful!  After waking up and falling back asleep, the dream continued and I got better at remembering to take care of her and I was able to breastfeed her really easily.  Such a strange dream.  I guess it's telling me that I'm a little anxious subconsciously about taking care of her when she is born, but I know that Paul and I will do a great job and there's no way we will ever forget about her!  :)

I think maybe the reason I had that dream last night is because my appt yesterday made me feel like I am so ready for her to come and don't want to have to wait any longer, so I'm thinking about her birth a lot more these days.  Part of me wants her to come early, but only if she is really ready and developed.  I definitely don't want her to come earlier than she needs to because I don't want her to have any health issues.  So I guess I can wait 7 more weeks.  I think August might go more slowly than I want it to, but I guess we'll see.

I can't wait for my first baby shower this weekend!  I am so appreciative of my friends and family helping us get ready for Brooke to come!  Getting all this stuff and preparing for Brooke's arrival is so fun and makes it feel like her birth is almost here!  I can't wait!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

32 weeks along!

Today I am 32 weeks and am very excited about it!  The past few days have definitely been more difficult than prior weeks.  I feel like Brooke had a growth spurt again on Sunday but that it caused me to pass a threshold of comfort again.  I'm really hoping my organs figure out how to move around the uterus again so that I can feel a little more comfortable.  It seems like that has happened in the past when I have past a threshold of comfort, so I'm hoping it happens again.  Otherwise, it's going to be a long 8 weeks.

I am really having trouble eating sometimes, especially breakfast.  I am definitely hungry in the morning and I know I need to eat a good breakfast, so I've been forcing myself to eat, but I really haven't been in the mood for food and I definitely don't have as much room in my stomach as I used to, so I can't eat as much.  I'm also getting an upset stomach sometimes when I eat, so that makes it even harder to eat.

I am also super hot!  The thermostat is set at 73 degrees and I have the ceiling fan on full blast all day, but I still feel hot in my chest and belly, yet my feet are cold so I have to wear slippers sometimes.  I'm sitting here with an ice pack on my chest and that feels good :)  I've also had more trouble sleeping this week, probably because of the discomfort, so hopefully that will get better.

Brooke continues to move like crazy!  She doesn't do a lot of kicking, she just rolls around a lot and pushes out on my belly.  She also pushes out with her legs into my ribs sometimes and with her hands into the low part of my abdomen, which feels really strange!  I can't wait to see her on Monday at the ultrasound!  Maybe she will be active and I will actually be able to see what I feel.  That would be great!

Friday, July 8, 2011

31 weeks along and I have an alien baby :)

Yesterday I was 31 weeks along!  It is so great to be counting down the weeks now as single digit weeks.  Only 9 more to go!  And yes, you read the title right, Brooke is an alien :)  She has been doing some crazy stuff the past couple of days and I think I finally felt a couple of hiccups this morning, along with some vicious punches that actually made me yell out "OW!"  Her favorite thing seems to be to lean against the right side of my belly, which you can kind of see in this picture (notice how the right side is definitely sticking out more than the left side, which I believe is her back side pushed up against me):

It's so cool to see her movements and to be able to see what I'm actually feeling inside; although, the feeling inside is so much stronger than the movements you see on the outside.  She is so incredibly active, which I'm so thankful about.  Each week she becomes so much stronger and what feels like even more active.  Yesterday morning around 4:45am I rolled from one side to the other and I think I did it too fast because all of a sudden my belly started shaking vigorously!  I think it was her flailing.  I am reading a book about how babies develop and it says that they could have developed their Moro reflex at this point, so you can actually invoke it and feel it in the womb (Moro reflex is the flailing babies do when they feel like they are falling).  So I think that's what I did!  Once she was awake, there was no turning back.  She was really active for a while and kept me awake, but I was okay with that.  I'm so thankful that she is healthy and growing, I don't care if she keeps me awake letting me know she is okay :)  Paul gets to feel and see her quite often, which is so nice.  He really likes to be involved with her and is really excited when he gets to see and feel her.

So far my discomfort hasn't really increased this week much, but I was definitely uncomfortable last weekend in Chicago (my cousin got married last weekend).  It was such an exhausting weekend, so I took Tuesday off to try to rest, but I've really been playing catch-up all week.  Thank goodness that was our last trip out of town for the remainder of the pregnancy.  It is so hard to recover from going out of town at this point.  And I am happy to stay home and just relax and enjoy our pool and our Raleigh friends :)

On Wednesday night I took a breastfeeding class (Paul was supposed to come but he had to work late).  I actually learned some really good things and it helped me feel better prepared for it and more motivated to make breastfeeding work.  I have a lot of friends that weren't able to breastfeed for very long, and I'm determined to try to make it work for me for as long as possible.  Thankfully, our pediatrician has a lactation consultant, and there is a local La Leche League chapter that meets regularly, so I am definitely going to take advantage of experienced moms who have been through breastfeeding experiences and can help with any obstacles I encounter.  Hopefully it will be relatively easy and Brooke and I will figure it out quickly, but you never know so it's great to have support from other moms.

This week I started freaking out a little more.  I am definitely getting a little nervous about Brooke coming.  Don't get me wrong, I'm still extremely excited and wish she were coming sooner, but I'm also starting to get nervous about making sure we have everything we need once she comes (we still need so much more stuff!) and how those first few weeks are going to be.  I know I have so much support from family and friends, so when I think about it rationally, I know Paul and I will be fine and will figure it all out, but when the emotional side takes over, I get a little freaked out :)  But I know that's normal for soon-to-be-parents to feel that way, so I'm not worried, and the freak-outs don't last long and are infrequent, so that's definitely nice.  My Mom helped calm me down yesterday, which was so nice (Love you Mom!!).  It will be so nice to have her calming presence here with us when Brooke is born (and helping us figure things out before she is born!).

This week I had a regular OB appt and I actually saw a different doctor this time because my regular doctor was on vacation.  My blood pressure was high again, but I brought my bp monitor with me this time to make sure it's still accurate and it was registering high too, so I guess I just get anxious when I go there.  It's so bizarre!  The doctor I saw this week was super nice and answered the billions of questions I had.  She also suggested that I might want to transfer to their midwifery practice since I am so interested in a natural birth and using the Bradley method because that practice deals more with low risk births and so they have many more natural births and are more familiar with the Bradley method.  So I am going to meet with a midwife at my appt that is in 4 weeks.  In 1.5 weeks I will see my regular doctor because we are having another ultrasound, so I would like our doctor to verify that everything is looking good before we transfer to the midwives.  I'm really excited about seeing the midwives though because I feel more comfortable that I will get the labor experience I want with them since they are so much more accustomed to natural births.  I can't wait to see Brooke at our next ultrasound!  It will be so exciting to see her so much more developed!!

So far I am still so amazed by this process.  It still floors me sometimes that I have a baby growing inside me! And sometimes her movements are so bizarre that it freaks me out!  The whole pregnancy and birth process is just such an amazing miracle.  I just feel so incredibly blessed to be able to experience it and to have a healthy baby this time.  Yesterday I was reading a discussion board on babycenter.com for birth announcements of babies who were due in September.  Since they were already born, of course that meant they were early, and in many cases, too early to survive.  It was so sad reading through them, but it reminded me of what we went through with Brady and of how truly blessed we are to have Brooke and to feel very confident that she is going to go full term and not have any problems.  God has been good to us and we are so thankful!

So far I'm still gaining weight and belly size nice and steady.  And so far no swelling!  YAY!

Friday, July 1, 2011

30 weeks along

Yesterday I hit 30 weeks!!  Very exciting because that means I only have 1/4 of the time left, only 10 weeks, about 2 months.  That seems pretty doable!  On Tuesday I have my next OB appointment and I have LOTS of questions for the doctor that I got from reading my Bradley method book.  I'm really hoping that I will be happy with her answers.  I am getting even more comfortable with the idea of natural childbirth and have decided that I definitely want an non-medicated birth, so no epidural!  And hopefully they won't try to intervene with any other drugs, unless of course they are needed for safety reasons.

My weight gain has been nice and steady still.  I've gained about 21 lbs (which is about 25 lbs above my ideal weight, since I didn't reach that after Brady was born and before I got pregnant again), so if I continue to gain about 1 lb or less per week for the remaining 10 weeks, I will be right on track at the average amount of weight they suggest to gain, so that's great!  Last night I was sitting down and Paul and I were looking at my belly and couldn't believe how much it sticks out from my rib cage!  It's not as obvious with clothes on because my boobs are so big, but when I take off my shirt and lift up my boobs, it's really crazy how far it sticks out! :)  Here's my latest bump picture:

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Contractions and tons of movement!!

On Sunday, I was exhausted and had to relax all day.  As I was lying on my float in the pool, I noticed that my uterus kept getting hard and feeling tight, which means I was having contractions!  Contractions actually occur throughout pregnancy because the uterus is just a big muscle that is constantly being stretched out, so it tends to try to contract back to its original size.  However, when the uterus is smaller earlier in the pregnancy, the contractions typically aren't felt.

I have felt my uterus get hard previously, but on Sunday it was really obvious that it was getting tight and hard multiple times in a row.  The contractions didn't last very long, but they seemed pretty close together (I wasn't timing them).  Later, I felt like Brooke was stretching me out to make more room for herself, like she has done in weeks past, so I'm wondering if that's why my uterus was contracting so much.  It was nuts!!!  And a little exciting and freaky :)

Brooke was also VERY active on Sunday and has been ever since.  She is definitely getting stronger because her movements are much more pronounced and obvious.  When she pushes on me, you can really see it easily, and sometimes it's uncomfortable or a little painful for me because she's pressing so hard.  And sometimes she moves across my belly, so it shifts.  There are times when it seems like she is flailing or playing the drums :) because both sides of my belly raise up in an alternating manner, like she's alternating her kicks all the way across my belly!  It is really funny.

I really love to feel her like this.  It makes me feel more connected to her and reminds me that all of the crappy stuff about pregnancy is so worth it because I am creating a baby!  When I think about that, I am just in awe of this entire process.  It's just so amazing, and sometimes a little overwhelming.

Since Sunday, I have noticed that I am even more uncomfortable and tired than before.  Yesterday Brooke began kicking the top of my uterus, and I could kind of feel it in my stomach!  So she is now really pressing into my stomach, which I notice the effects of when I eat because I can't eat as fast or as much as before.  It took me an hour to eat a burger and salad last night for dinner and I couldn't even finish the burger!  And it's even harder to breathe and sit/stand up now.  And because I'm so tired, including my muscles, it's harder to push myself up with my arms, which makes it REALLY hard to sit and stand up!  It's comical but also frustrating.

I'm also having more trouble sleeping.  I wake up at least 4 times a night - I usually have to go to the bathroom each time I wake up and I always have to turn over on my other side because my shoulder hurts.  I'm really having trouble finding a comfortable sleep position at this point.  The natural childbirth book I'm reading explains a position to use for labor, but I've tried it and it's not comfortable!  Since it doesn't work for sleeping or resting, it definitely won't work for labor.  Maybe I'm doing it wrong, so I'm going to have Paul check it, but I'm guessing I'm going to have to figure out a different way to lie during labor.

On Thursday I will be 30 weeks along.  We have 6 more weeks until we need to be completely ready in case Brooke decides to come early (around 36 weeks along is when you get close to the point where the baby could come at any time and be developed well enough to not have complications).  I feel like we still have so much more to do, but I know everything doesn't have to be perfect before Brooke comes, I just want it to be perfect :)  Last week I finished painting the dressers and bookcase for the nursery, which was really exciting!  That was one of the biggest tasks for getting the nursery ready, so I'm really happy that it's done.  This week our painter should be coming to paint the nursery, so it will be even closer to being done!  I will post pictures once we have everything up and ready.

The month of June ended up going by really fast, so I expect July and August to go by even faster.  Next week we have our first baby preparation class - Breastfeeding (which Paul is super excited about ;) - ok, not at all, but I am!).  I'm really excited to start the classes because that will make it feel even closer!  YAY!!!

On another note, on Saturday we went to visit Brady and read to him.  I still cherish these visits so much and I just don't know if I will be ready to give them up when Brooke is born; although, I know that it's very possible we just won't have time to visit him every month at that point.  However, I told Paul that we absolutely have to visit Brady on his birthday unless I am giving birth that day.  That will be really important for us not to miss. We are planning on bringing him presents, so he has new flowers, toys, and a football of course :)  That will be really special and I'm really looking forward to it.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

29 weeks along

Today I am 29 weeks along.  Wow, I can't wait to get to 30 weeks.  Then I will have only 10 weeks left!  I'm starting to get a little stressed about how much we have to do before Brooke comes.  In reality, we really don't have that much to do, but it feels like we have a lot, and because I don't have much energy it just seems so overwhelming.  I have been waking up 3-4 times per night now and I get tired really easily throughout the day.  It seems like I'm more tired than I was in the first trimester, which is really hard to deal with.  But when I have my bursts of energy, I try to take advantage of them.

Right now we are in the process of painting the old dressers and bookcase for Brooke's room so that it matches her crib.  I will be really happy once we are done with that.  My painter is supposed to come next week to paint her room, and once that is finished, I think I will feel a lot better.  I'm trying to just relax and not worry so much, but sometimes it's hard to do.

I got my Bradley method of natural childbirth book on Friday, so I've been reading that.  The techniques really seem to make sense and they actually are similar to the techniques I use during meditation, so that's good.  I have begun practicing them on my own, and then Paul and I will have to practice them together.  I really feel confident that I can do the natural childbirth as long as I prepare myself, so I'm really excited about it.

On Monday I had another OB appointment.  My blood pressure was high again (139/80), but it was super low at home that morning, so we're not really concerned.  But I get to have another ultrasound in 3.5 weeks, which I'm really excited about!  I can't wait to see Brooke again and see how she is progressing.  It will be so exciting!

I am slowly getting a little bigger.  I feel a little more uncomfortable this week than last week, but nothing drastic.  My weight gain has continued to be nice and steady, so that's good.  Here is my latest bump picture:

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cool movements!

Last night, Paul and I were sitting at our patio table and Brooke decided that she wanted to kick the same place over and over again on the left side of my belly.  So that part of my belly kept raising up and going down repeatedly.  This happens fairly often, so it wasn't as bizarre for me, but it was really cool for Paul to get to see since he doesn't always get to see her move.  But what was really cool for me was that I pushed down where she was kicking and it was super hard right there.  When I pushed in the same area on the right side of my belly, it was much less hard!  So one of Brooke's body parts must have been just resting right against my belly.  It was so cool!

Then, she started making movements all over my belly really fast, so my belly looked like it was vibrating in various places, first on the left side and then on the right side.  I have no idea what she's doing when that happens, but it's so nuts!  It's such a weird feeling, and it looks really bizarre too.  Paul got to see and feel that too, which was great!  Brooke is just such a mover.  I really wonder if that will be indicative of her personality or not.  We shall see in a few months!

It's also so weird that my belly is sometimes rock hard and sometimes much mushier.  The books say that the uterus has contractions throughout pregnancy, so I think when it's rock hard, it's having a contraction.  It makes sense, but it's still really weird how it changes so much.

One of my books says that Brooke is now around 2.5 lbs and 15.75 inches long!  Wow, that's just amazing to me.  Since most babies average around 21 inches at birth (according to this book), then she doesn't have much more to grow in length.  But she has about 4.5-5 lbs to gain in weight.  According to another one of my books, I'm supposed to only gain 3/4 lb each week at this point and then later in the third trimester (can't remember which week), it tapers down to 1/2 lb each week, which is about how much Brooke will be gaining each week.  So I guess it's saying that all of the things that contribute to the weight gain (uterus size, amniotic fluid, etc.) have almost gotten to their max amounts, so I should mostly only be gaining Brooke's weight gain at this point or somewhat soon.  I hope that's the case!

My sweet tooth has become stronger lately, so that's not helping, and I'm not riding the bike or lifting weights anymore (since it's so hard to sleep now, I think lifting is just going to make me more uncomfortable).  But I have been swimming every day and this morning I took Macho for a 30 minute walk.  I'm trying to increase my endurance for labor, but unfortunately I find myself just getting lazier, which isn't helping the cause.  Oh well, I'll do my best but I won't force myself.  Hopefully it goes well.

I bought a book on the Bradley method of natural childbirth, so I'm really excited to start reading that and practicing the techniques.  I've read so many good things about it, so I'm really hoping I can motivate myself and Paul to really practice it so that we can use it during labor.  I decided against taking the classes because it's so much time investment and we just don't have that kind of time.  We are both good self-studiers, so I'm hoping the book will be enough.  We shall see.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

28 weeks and Happy 10th Anniversary to me and Paul!

Today I am 28 weeks along and Paul and I have been married for 10 years!!  It's amazing how it feels like time has flown but also that it's been longer than 10 years because of how close Paul and I are and how wonderful a marriage we have.  I am so glad Paul and I had our time together in our 20s to grow up and have fun together.  We are so much more prepared to have a child together now :)

Brooke has been moving around and kicking a lot this week, so I have definitely been reassured of her health.  Some of her movements are so bizarre and I still can't figure out if any of them are hiccups.  Sometimes it feels like she is shaking or kicking really fast.  Other times it feels like she is grabbing onto things in there because I feel like something is tensing up inside of me.  It's so weird.

So far I have not become more uncomfortable this week and I think I'm learning how to deal with the discomfort, so that's a great step forward!  I have been meditating in the morning to start retraining myself on relaxing, since I've read that is one of the most beneficial things you can do when in labor, and I'm taking a break to swim during the day to relieve my butt of the pain I feel from sitting all day!  I used to love to sit, and now it causes me pain, even on the the most cushiony and soft chairs!  It's so bizarre.

I have started waking up more often during the night.  I think I'm now averaging around 3-4 times per night.  I usually get up to pee when I wake up, and I always have to roll over to my other side because the shoulder I'm lying on is hurting.  I'm not sure why that happens when it has never happened in the past (I have always slept on my side), but that's all just part of the changes my body is going through.

It's exciting to be at 28 weeks now.  I feel like it's a big milestone.  I only have 12 weeks to go!  Already I feel like this month has been going by more quickly, which is really exciting.  I think it's an indication of how quickly the summer is going to go by.  YAY!

Today's baby bump:

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A better start to the week

Yesterday was a great day; although, it started out rough.  Sunday night I felt kind of down and tired and started worrying that I hadn't felt Brooke very much this weekend and wondering if she was okay.  Throughout the night, I kept waking up wondering if she was okay.  A couple of times I felt some quick movements that felt more like muscle twitches than kicks, and at times I wondered if she had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck and was choking!  It's terrible the tricks your mind can play on you.  So when I woke up yesterday morning, I was really freaking out.  I called my OB office and left a message for the nurse.  Then I decided to eat something to see if I could get Brooke to move.

I felt like I was going to throw up while I was making breakfast because I kept thinking that she was under duress and I would have to be induced this early again, and I just knew I couldn't go through that again.  Luckily, after I ate and sat still for a little bit, Brooke began moving, so I started feeling better about her safety.  I began working and she began moving around even more, so once the nurse called back and reassured me that any kind of movement is good and as long as she moves 10 times in 2 hours, she is good.  I had counted 10 movements in less than an hour after I ate, so I knew she was okay.  Throughout the day, she moved a lot more, so I was definitely convinced that she was okay.

I should have known she was okay because the past several weekends, she didn't move as much because I was busier and moving around, so I either didn't feel her movements or I was rocking her to sleep, so she wasn't moving as much.  And every Monday she starts moving more again.  But for some reason I got freaked out this time, and boy did that suck!  The physical discomfort definitely sucks, but the emotional anxiety of wondering if she is okay is so much worse!  Thankfully Brooke moves around a lot usually, so I don't typically wonder whether or not she is okay, but when I am unsure, it's really upsetting.

Thankfully, I seem to be getting more used to the discomfort that I began feeling last week, so I was much happier yesterday.  Of course, I remember last Tuesday thinking the same thing and then Wednesday I got even more uncomfortable, so we'll see what happens the rest of the week :)  For now, I'll just take one day at a time and be thankful when I have a good day.

Yesterday turned out to be a great day.  I wasn't very uncomfortable and after Brooke started moving, my emotional state was really good most of the day.  After work, Paul and I went to an orientation at a local pediatrician's office to meet the doctors and decide if we liked the practice.  We really liked them, so we will be taking Brooke there, which is very exciting that we have that decision made!  After dinner, I folded up all the blankets I have received from friends and put them away in a dresser in the nursery.  I'm really starting to get the nursery organized, which feels really good!  I then had enough energy to vacuum the upstairs, which really needed it!  It was a very productive night and it felt really good to get all of that done.

I had gotten some stuff done this past weekend because we actually stayed in town because Paul needed to rest and study, but I had felt like I didn't get as much done as I had wanted to, so it was super nice to be so productive last night.  After vacuuming, I searched for some baby books on Amazon regarding baby sign language and how to take care of the baby, etc.  I'm really excited to start reading those books.  It will be a lot of fun to learn about what to expect and how to interact with Brooke through each of her stages, since I have no clue at this point!

This morning I went swimming before work, which was a great start to the day.  This week's weather is much nicer than last week, so I'm trying to get out and enjoy it.  Tonight I'm going to try to get more done around the house but only if I'm feeling up to it.  I never know how much or how little energy I'm going to have, so I'm trying to just go with the flow and do what I feel like doing.  I just hate being tired and lazy, so it felt really good last night to have energy and get things done.  I know I'm supposed to be enjoying this time of getting sleep and resting, but I'm just not the type that likes to lay around a lot, so I'm taking advantage of the energy when it comes, because when I'm tired, I definitely have to lie down and rest.  There's no fighting the fatigue when it comes.

On Thursday I will be 28 weeks along, which feels like a big milestone.  Next Monday I have my next OB appointment, and then I start going every 2 weeks!  YAY!!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

A rough 2 days

The past 2 days have been a little rough.  On Wednesday I really began feeling a lot more uncomfortable and I have not been dealing with that well.  I feel like I deal with pain better than discomfort.  But I hate that I allow myself to get in these horrible moods because of the discomfort.  I have 3 months left and I cannot keep allowing myself to get in bad moods, so I'm trying my hardest to find ways to make myself more comfortable. 

Paul is the sweetest husband.  Yesterday he built me a shelf for my laptop so I can work in the family room on a more comfortable chair and have my laptop in front of me without it being on my lap (which made me really hot and was not very comfortable).  He's the best!!!  I have also begun swimming in the morning in our pool, and that is such an awesome way to start the day.  It's so nice to be able to spend time outside before it gets blazing hot, and it's so relaxing to just hang out in the pool.  I'm so happy we got the pool and transformed our backyard into a relaxing atmosphere!!!

This discomfort is so bizarre.  I knew it was coming, but I was expecting and hoping it wouldn't be until much later in the third trimester.  It's so weird to have the feeling that your entire insides are completely full and smashed together.  When I bend over, my uterus literally pushes into my diaphram (making it harder to breathe) and my stomach.  I now start breathing heavily after just walking around, instead of just when I walk up and down the stairs.  But I do love seeing these changes.  Brooke has been just as active in the past week, and I think I have finally figured out when she is hiccuping versus kicking, but it's still hard for me to tell.  I really can't wait until she's big enough for me to see body parts :)

I took another picture today.  This one is much better :)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

27 weeks along

Tomorrow I will be at 27 weeks.  This is a bittersweet time for me.  At this exact point last time, I was being induced and Brady was born the following morning.  I'm so grateful to have come this far again with Brooke but knowing that she is going to make it and be born a healthy baby.  However, I am still saddened when I think about the loss of Brady.  I really do still miss him and get sad when I think about the fact that we lost him.  And I'm really sad that we never got to truly know him before he left us.  But I'm still so glad that he was in our lives for the short time that he was, and I'm grateful for what he taught me.

So I look toward the future and think about Brooke and how wonderful a gift she already has been and will be once she is born.  Both Paul and I are so ready for this new phase of our lives.  I can't even begin to really express the emotions I have been going through today.  I'm sad about Brady, but I'm excited about Brooke (especially when she kicks me :)).  I've also reached a new level of discomfort today.  I have officially moved from my office to my family room because my office chair just isn't comfortable anymore.  I feel like my uterus got so much bigger overnight because bending over is so much more uncomfortable and difficult today.  Riding the stationary bike was really uncomfortable this morning because every time I pedaled, I felt it in my uterus.  And when I bent over to put lotion on my legs, it felt like my uterus was pushing up on my stomach.  I've also had trouble breathing today.  Even walking around makes me breathe harder; whereas before I used to only have trouble when going up and down the stairs.

So it feels like my uterus has reached its limit on both the top and the bottom, and I feel like the only place it has left to grow is out.  When I look in the mirror, I feel like my belly really fills up my entire mid section now, but I don't feel like it has pushed out much more lately.  So I'm guessing that's the way it's going to have to go from now on.  I just can't believe I've already reached this point of discomfort, right at the beginning of the third trimester.  For some reason, I really thought it would come later on.  Or maybe I just hoped it would :)  I just can't imagine getting so much bigger and even more uncomfortable, but I know it's going to happen!  Scary thought.  And with this discomfort comes my emotional unease.  I started crying this morning when I was uncomfortable in my desk chair.  How ridiculous!

Despite the discomfort, I am so happy to see these changes because they continue to reassure me that Brooke is healthy and growing.  I am SO much bigger and more uncomfortable now than I was with Brady when I was at this point with him, and that is a great comfort to me.  What a roller coaster ride this year has been.  It's amazing what we have been through.  I'm grateful for the experiences, but I'm really looking forward to a normal labor and birth and a healthy baby.  I know it will be really hard bringing a baby home and figuring her out, but it will also be so fulfilling and wonderful, and I know Paul and I will be so incredibly happy.  13 more weeks to go...

Today's baby bump:

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

New pictures of Brooke!

Today I am almost 26 weeks pregnant (Thursday is the actual day), so I am now at the start of the third trimester!  I think it's going to start going faster now.  The past week I have been more exhausted than previously, and I finally figured out that it's probably a result of the allergy medicine I began taking a week ago.  I decreased the amount to a half pill per day and I have been feeling more energetic.  Thank goodness!  Also, my tongue swelling has finally gone down and my sores have healed on my tongue, so I am feeling so much better!

I gained almost 3 pounds in the past week!  I really hope I don't continue gaining like that or else I will definitely go over the recommended amount of weight gain!  I think I will be okay, but that was definitely a surprise.  I definitely feel like my belly has gotten a little bigger, so hopefully it's Brooke growing :)

Today's bump picture:


Today we got to see Brooke again and we got some great pictures!  They wanted to measure her to make sure she is on track since I had high blood pressure at my last appointment.  She is measuring 25 weeks and 4 days, so she is right on track!  She is in the 50th percentile, perfectly average, which is great because I don't want to try to push out a big baby.

We got some great pictures of her.  We got a couple of great profile shots, and when we tried to get a shot of her face directly, she decided she didn't want to cooperate.  We got one face shot with her yawning, but she was pressed into the placenta a little bit, so it's not very clear.  We also got a shot of her covering her face with her hand.  So cute!

Confirmation that she is definitely a girl (the lines between her legs are her labia) :)


Some great profile shots (isn't she cute!?!?):




Face shot of her yawning (she is right up against the placenta, which is why the right side of her face is blurry):


Hand covering her face (she turned away from us and is facing away from the placenta):


Before the ultrasound, I had to get my blood drawn for the glucose test.  That was pretty easy.  I had to drink a small bottle of sugary liquid and get my blood drawn an hour later.  The liquid tasted like watered down orange Triaminic (sp?) that I used to take when I was young for colds, so it wasn't too bad (I used to love that stuff :))

After the ultrasound, I got my blood pressure taken.  The first time it was 132/75, but she let me rest some and then we took it again and it was 124/72 or something like that, so that was great!  When I took it at home this morning, it was much lower, but my Dr has to make her decisions on my blood pressure at their office, so I was glad it was okay.

Then I met with my Dr and she said everything is looking really great!  So we don't need to worry about anything right now.  Hopefully my bp will stay normal and I will be able to have a normal pregnancy and delivery.  I will continue to monitor my bp at home, but I have a feeling it will be fine.  I go back to the Dr in 3 weeks and then I start going every 2 weeks after that.  Very exciting that it's starting to get to the end!  I can't wait for Brooke to get here!

Last night we went to visit Brady.  Paul read the last 2 chapters from the book, so we are going to start the third book in the trilogy next time we visit him.  It was so nice to visit him.  We usually visit him in the middle of the month, but we had been so busy this month that we were late.  I really missed visiting him.  I know we're not going to be able to go every month eventually, and I think I'm really going to miss it once we start going less frequently.

After Paul finished the book, I talked to Brady for a little bit and got a little sad and upset.  That was the first time I had cried at his grave in a while.  But it felt good to let it out.  We've been through a lot over the past year and next week I will be 27 weeks along, which was how far along I was when Brady was born.  I've also been thinking a lot about Brooke's birth, which is going to be right around the time Brady was born, so I've been thinking about Brady and what we went through a lot.

I have a feeling that Brooke's birth is going to be very emotional for me.  I know I will be so extremely happy to meet Brooke, but I will also be sad thinking about Brady.  I'm a little nervous that Brooke will end up being late and will be born on Brady's birthday.  I thought about asking my Dr to induce me before that to ensure that didn't happen, but Paul and I decided that we will leave that decision up to God, so we will see what happens.  I miss Brady :( but I know his life went the way it did for many reasons and I am thankful for what we went through and for now having Brooke.  It's just a little hard to deal with sometimes.  But overall, I am extremely happy and feel so blessed.  I love my life and I wouldn't change a thing.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

25 weeks

Today I am 25 weeks along, so I only have 1 more week until I begin the third trimester.  So far, this process has still not sped up.  I count the weeks down, and even count half weeks, until Brooke is born.  I am getting more emotional (I just had trouble signing into my blogger account and I'm about to cry out of frustration) and I really hate it.  My discomfort is about the same as it's been the past couple of weeks, so it's not horrible yet, but I am getting bigger, so I'm sure it will get worse soon.  Brooke should begin growing quickly soon - about 1/2 pound per week starting in the third trimester according to my books, so that should really make me begin to pop.  I'm excited for the change and definitely excited for her to get bigger, but I know it will also be hard to deal with the discomfort, especially sitting in a desk chair all day.

This week I've been especially emotional because my tongue is swollen for some reason, so it's rubbing against my teeth and I've got sores on the side of it as a result.  I swear I can deal with any pain except for mouth pain.  I haven't been eating as much or as well as a result, so I really hope it clears up soon.  It feels a little better today, but I'm going to go to the doctor just to see what she thinks.  I was using a canker sore medicine to try to help it, but I just looked it up yesterday and it's a Category C drug, which means I shouldn't be using it :(  Ugh!!!!  So frustrating.

Today I weighed and measured myself.  I've gained another pound and a half inch, so I'm growing nice and steadily, which is great.  Hopefully that will help prevent stretch marks, but who knows.  My blood pressure was high today for the first time in over a week (132/75), so that's not great.  But because of my mouth issues this week, I haven't been following the diet as much, so I'm going to be more diligent about that and hopefully tomorrow it will be low again.  I have noticed that it's been a little higher in the past week, but I figured that it is just rising back up to my normal level of ~120/80 because my doctor said it would go down in the second trimester and then go back up to normal level in the third trimester, so we'll see.  I'm not freaking out about it, and I'm trying not to :) 

On Tuesday we get to see Brooke again because my OB wants me to have another ultrasound since my BP was high at my last appointment.  I'm so excited to see her again!  It's so much fun to look at her.  I have been feeling her so much, but I love to see her.  I try to focus on all the good parts about being pregnant, like getting to feel her, but honestly I really don't enjoy being pregnant at all.  It's very lonely because I get tired so easily and can't han out and do things as much as I used to.  My emotions are all over the place and I get uncomfortable easily.  I am able to eat more fun things than I did when I was watching my weight, and thankfully I haven't been craving a bunch of bad food, but I do have to watch what I eat somewhat to try to keep my BP low. 

But despite all the negatives, I am SO extremely grateful to have a healthy baby growing inside of me and the opportunity to look forward to her birth, instead of dreading it like I did with Brady.  I feel extremely blessed that I was able to get pregnant so quickly after Brady passed and I realize that Brooke would not be in this world if things hadn't gone exactly like they did with Brady.  So I know this is all part of God's plan, and the reason this process can be difficult is to prepare me for the difficulties of life with a baby.  I need to get over myself and just enjoy it all because life goes by so quickly and I really need to remember to enjoy every day.

So I will try to focus on the positives.  Yesterday was a difficult day, but it ended really great.  I lounged in the pool for a while in the early evening and then watched a great American Idol finale.  So I choose to focus on those memories rather than the emotional craziness I felt yesterday during the day.  I really love that pool.  I have already realized some of the benefits from it, and it will get even better once the landscaping and patio furniture is in, which should be soon!!!

Here is my most recent bump picture.  I feel like I'm getting rounder and I seem to be carrying Brooke high.