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 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: