Wednesday, July 29, 2009

They're calling me "full term" now...

I just got back from my weekly appointment with the midwife where I learned that "the good news is that [I am] full term," which means, "we'll take this baby anytime she's ready to come!" Fingers crossed that she is not quite ready because I am most definitely not ready!! I'm getting closer though. On Monday my childbirth instructor asked if we'd packed our bags yet....nooooo...she followed that question up with a few more "have you done this..." and a couple "have you done that" questions. Our answer never changed. We were reprimanded and told that the baby could come at any time whether we were ready or not. So I took the next day off work and managed to coerce my mom into playing hooky with me. We went to Babies R Us and used the 10% coupon they give you to finish your registry. I didn't buy everything, but I bought the stuff I thought we needed and also some of the stuff I really wanted that wasn't too expensive (had to leave the Baby Einstein DVDs and a couple books behind--boo). Then we went to Target and used my 10% off coupon there doing the same thing and also stocking up on basics like kitty litter and mouthwash to prevent shopping trips post delivery. After that we went farther north to a little health food store where I grabbed some dried lavendar and german chamomile and liquid aloe vera. The lavendar is for the soothing rice sock I'm going to make to use as a heating pad during labor. The aloe and chamomile are for the frozen herbal ice pads I'm going to make to soothe my netherlands post delivery. I'm pretty excited for my upcoming crafty moments! Hopefully I have the time to make this stuff before it all goes down...

After the nature food store we went even farther north to the auto body shop that fixed my car but did not do the best job of fixing my trunk. They tinkered with it and got it closing correctly. Time to turn around and head south! At REI I grabbed two electrolyte beverages like Gatorade but without the funky high fructose corn syrup, two superfood bars, a pack of energy jelly beans, and the Merrill mary jane shoes I've been wanting for a couple years now. The food is for labor, the shoes are forever. I had a fun surprise too: not only were the shoes on sale from $75 to $49, but I had $35 in dividends. Wahooo! So that ended up being a cheap trip.

Shopping finished, I raced downtown for my 3:30 appointment with KISS (stands for kids in safety seats I think). They checked out Eric's car seat installation, offered suggestions for improvement, told me what things to look for, then made me undo it and install it myself. So now there's a car seat in my car!! Crazy!!!

Well, I came downstairs 20 minutes ago after telling Eric (who was sprawled out in the crawl space doing electric work on the bathroom light) that I was going to start dinner. He came down a few minutes ago, looked at me typing away, looked at the stove (which is devoid of any food), and laughingly asked how dinner was coming. He's downstairs now putting together an IKEA desk we bought this weekend. I'm getting hungry and I'm guessing he is too so I will leave you with these final tidbits: my abdomen is now 40 inches from my pubic bone to the top of the baby (where my belly meets my boobs), I weigh 169 pounds (that's 29 pregnancy pounds), and Hannah is "stretched out" in there (the midwife said" "this baby sure is stretched out").

Eventually I will have some pictures of the baby shower to post...hopefully before I have pictures of the baby...hint, hint Laura!! :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Artscape (35 1/2 weeks preggo)

Here's me feasting on some delicious festival food at Artscape. Mmmmm...turkey legs and funnel cakes! This was preceded by a falafel wrap and followed up with some vegan sweet potato pie ice cream. I just love festival food!

The whole walking around thing got real old real fast though. By about hour 2 my feet were aching and throbbing. About a half hour later my lower back spoke up (a cry against my very old flip-flops and my insistance on walking around on them all day). We sat down for a while, but then when I stood up again, I discovered that my hips had followed behind my legs and feet. I hobbled around like an old lady...or an invalid. I hate feeling so incapable! I was so desperate to lay on my couch that I started calling friends with the intent of begging them to pick me up and take me home. Nobody answered. Fortunately, Eric and his mom were okay with leaving; I felt bad dragging them away though.

The big kicker though was walking from the lightrail up all those hills back to our house....Amy called back just then and saved the day by picking us up. I've never been so grateful for a ride!! You would not believe how much I was hobbling...insane.
I did, however, discover another use for the belly: as a cupholder.
P.S. The next post will cover the baby shower and how fun and awesome it was!! I just need to get the photos from Laura first....

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

And so it begins...

I was tested again today for Group B Strep (see MUCH earlier blog post, like sometime in December). I don't have the results yet, but I'm not too hopeful. The midwife said that the first time I tested positive in my urine rather than during a pap smear which means it's likely that this bacteria really is a natural part of my flora and not just something that comes and goes like it does in many women. So it's looking like I'm going to have to get the antibiotic :( I was pretty bummed and almost cried for a minute (dang hormones!), but I pulled it together. Eric came with me today and having him there helped out. Now that he's living here and just working on the house (as opposed to working at his job, working on the house in VA Beach, working on this house, and commuting 5 hours up here every weekend), I've asked him to take a bigger role in my prenatal care and helping me prepare for the birth. Hopefully he'll be able to come to my appointments from here on out and will get to meet each of the three midwives at least once prior to the birth.

Who knows how many more appointments we'll have though...after testing for GBS, the midwife performed an exam and discovered that I am currently dilated 2 centimeters. I freaked out and asked if that meant Hannah was going to come early. She said "no, it could still be 3 or 4 weeks. You're just getting an early start." Ummmmm.....3 weeks still seems early. I was thinking I had 5 or more. After all, most first babies are late, right? So I was thinking end of August...not beginning of August. Not a fan of this lack of control I have over mother nature and my unborn child.

The midwife also said that the baby has dropped into the -2 station. Here's an explanation of what that means from a random website:

It "involves the actual exit of the baby through the mother's pelvis...This reference, called "station," is used to document on the record how far down the head of the baby has descended toward delivery...The station is based on how far down the head has dropped in relation to two bony prominences (called the ischial spines) that mark the midpelvis (halfway out). When an exam is done, the position of the "presenting part," i.e., that part of the baby (hopefully, the top of the head) that will be the first to deliver is felt as compared to the ischial spines. If the very top of the head is at the ischial spines, it's called a zero station. And for every centimeter distance from the spines, either above or below, the presenting part can be said to be anywhere between -3 and +3. "-3" is 3 cm. above the ischial spines. +3 is 3 cm below the ischial spines, and, well, you better call the doctor, because that baby's about to be delivered! True, a +3 station shows the baby's scalp on the perineum (at the opening of the vagina)."

I uploaded a picture I downloaded from a different website. (Am I allowed to do that? Copyright laws....??? You can access the link to the website I borrowed this from by clicking the word "picture" above so I should be okay since I referenced my source, right? You should probably just click the link anyway because it's way easier to see than this tiny illustration.) FYI, the baby in the illustration is at the -2 station, but that baby is 41 weeks...Hannah is 35 weeks.

The midwife also "guessed" at the baby's weight. No science involved here, she just felt around and based on the size, she thinks Hannah weighs 6 pounds. According to the book, she should be about 6 pounds this time next week. No biggie, but we might have a baby a little earlier than we anticipated...Fingers crossed that she doesn't come before the 10th. I need at least that first week in August to wash all the baby clothes and get the nursery set up. For now I need to clean and motivate to the grocery store. So much to do, so little time to do it.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

34 weeks

I'm nearing the final stretch with 6 weeks left until the magic number...Now in addition to hearing "how are you feeling" I'm getting a lot of "Are you ready?" To which I reply, "no." Don't get my wrong, there is a part of me that would prefer to be awoken every 2 hours in the middle of the night by Hannah crying than being awoken to my bladder crying and my hip (whichever I'm sleeping on) achy and sore. In that sense, I'm ready. But the house is not at all ready...Not that I have any room to complain. My neighbors had a baby girl about 2 months ago now and their house is way more of a construction zone than ours. They've even been living without running water on the first floor for a few months; I've never been that inconvenienced. But still the idea of throwing a baby into the current mess is daunting and stressful. We've made a lot of great progress though, and I'm hopeful that we'll get it "livable" this month, even if everything doesn't get done.
At 34 weeks, she should weigh about 5 pounds, and her crown to rump length is now longer than a ruler.
I'm starving, and Eric is out of the shower so au revoir!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Finished Nursery!

The nursery was pretty low on the priority list for home renovations, but we somehow managed to finish it right along with the basement (which was started back in March). I figure since she sleeps in our room for the first couple months anyway, there's no rush to finish her room. However, the method to our madness of renovation pushed that up a bit. We needed to get carpet down in the basement prior to the moving truck that shows up tomorrow. Since I also wanted to re-carpet that back bedroom (aka the nursery), we decided to have both areas carpeted in the same trip to save money. Once that was decided, we realized we better get some drywall on that closet that Eric had already framed out (the previous closet didn't leave room for hangers so we had to build a new one--I should probably stop saying "we"....). And of course it also made sense to paint the walls prior to the carpeters, so voila! A finished room!

The color I chose is called Wickerware. I was going for something with more of an earth tone and not too pastel or babyish, but I also didn't want something too grown-up-ish. I think I struck a good balance thanks to input from both my mom and Shannon (both picked that color first out of the many swatches I picked out). Since we've been sleeping in there since the carpet guys packed up and left (moved everything out of our room and into the nursery Thursday night), I can say from experience that is a really nice, really peaceful room. I'm liking waking up there so I think Hannah will too!

I'll take more pics once we actually get it set up like a nursery, in the meantime, it's our temporary bedroom.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009


I have nothing interesting to note (as is evident by my last post) so I figured I'd post a blog on Hypnobirthing that I started drafting back in March in response to a lot of the verbal inquiries I was getting from friends who'd learned I'd read the book (thanks again to my all-things-birthing-related guru, Libby).

In spite of reading the book, I'm not sure how hypnosis fits into hypnobirthing; except that it seems they encourage you to relax so much that you are in essence, hypnotizing yourself. I call that "conscious relaxation." Regardless of what it's called, the jist of the concept is that women have been having babies for years and our bodies know what to do and therefore it's perfectly normal and possible to have a pain free, natural childbirth. The author used animals as an example saying that they don't scream and need drugs during labor so why would it be any different with humans? The author also points to less privileged countries where pregnant women often "labor" in the field all day and halt just long enough to have the baby before getting back to work. We are a spoiled, drama-obsessed culture that feeds on the shocking and painful displays of labor that we see on movies and TV. When those images become our "experiences," we become ridden with fear. When we're afraid, we tense up, and when we tense the muscles that are working to get the baby out, those muscles have a harder time doing their job which creates pain. So the theory is that if you go into birth honestly not expecting to be in any pain, you won't be.

When interviewing the homebirthing midwife, I told her that I'd read the hypnobirthing book and was interested in taking some classes. She said that she doesn't recommend hypnobirthing for first time moms because they study the concept and then expect there to be no pain and are taken aback when it's not totally comfortable and end up forgetting all the relaxation techniques they learned because they feel lied to. She said since first time moms have never been "opened up" (yeah, I know, gross), they should expect a bit more discomfort than those who have (been opened up). This makes sense, and I was taking the whole no pain thing with a grain of salt anyway. I'm not naive enough to think that birth will be anywhere near as pleasant as sitting on my couch eating ice cream, but I just can't imagine it being as bad as it is made out to be (given there are no abnormal complications). I like the analogies of it being a marathon or some other sporting/aerobic event. It makes sense that just like when I'm having a good workout, I'll get tired and my muscles will get sore, and there will be points where I think I can't finish. And that's why I have my "coach". That's what the Bradley classes call the dad (or other birth partner). There's a lot of focus in this class on how he can be a good coach and keep me motivated and positive throughout.

What I like about the hypnobirthing theory is that it's POSITIVE, it focuses on birth being natural, and it provides loads of relaxation techniques (most of which are focused around controlled breathing which, due to my 10+ years of practicing yoga, I feel pretty confident about--although my asthma often inhibits this). At the urging of this book, I have stopped listening to everybody else's birth horror stories (if you have one and you feel the urge to post it as a comment, please refrain). This is a hard thing to do because people LOVE to tell you how terrible it was for them or someone they know, especially when you tell them you're doing it without drugs. I know they think I'm naive, but I don't care how naive I may sound to the expert birther, I'm convinced that something as natural and normal as giving birth cannot be THAT bad. Like I keep telling Eric, "I got this." And for all you naysayers, check out this link to over 230 positive birth stories.

The Pregnancy Journal (a day-to-day guide to pregnancy and one of two that I use when updating you on the baby's weight, hair growth, hearing capacity, and what have you) has these sections called "Childbirth Then and Now" where they share a little story about how hardcore people used to be. The one I've typed in below strikes me as being very in line with the hypnobirthing philosophy. It's an excerpt from Labor Among Primitive Peoples by Engelmann written in 1882.

"Two or three years ago (1879-1880), an Indian party of Flat Heads and Kootenais men, women, and children, set out for a hunting trip. On a severely cold winter's day, one of the women, allowing the party to proceed, dismounted from her hourse. spread an old buffalo robe upon the snow and gave birth to a child which was immediately followed by the placenta. Having attended to everything as well as the circumstances permitted, she wrapped up the young one in a blanket, mounted her hourse, and overtook the party before they had noticed her absence."

If you haven't had enough of my hypnobirthing babbling, check out the Hypnobabies blog.