Wednesday, February 23, 2011

28 Weeks Pregnant: 3rd Trimester!

Welcome to the THIRD TRIMESTER!!!

I am nesting like crazy. Last night we went to Aldi after our midwife appointment, got home around 6:00, ate dinner, and then I CLEANED. I was still scrubbing the bathtub to death at 10:30 PM.

I have so much to catch you up on that I feel like it’s been a month since last week’s blog.

Norah should be about 15 inches long from head to toe and weigh about 2 ½ pounds. She can partially open and blink her eyes, and she experiences REM sleep. I’m feeling increasingly more connected to her every time she moves. It’s still hard for me to figure out what position she is in, though. I can tell if something is a kick or a punch, but I don’t know which, and I can tell when something feels like an elbow or knee, but I can’t tell the difference between those, either. Sometimes I can tell where her head is, but not often.

I had a midwife appointment yesterday, which is why I waited to do the blog. I’m measuring right at 28 weeks, so it seems as though Norah had a growth spurt (I was measuring a week behind at the last appointment)! I also weighed more than I thought: 131.5 pounds. As you know, a week ago I weighed 128.5, according to the Wii Fit. The heartbeat was very loud this time! Amy first felt around to figure out what position the baby was in. She couldn’t tell for sure, but it seemed to her like Norah’s head was down and her back was along my left side. Knowing that, she was able to optimally position the Doppler. It sounded like little submarine blips instead of swishes. The heart rate was around 150, with some variability since she was moving around, which is a good thing.

I mentioned to Amy our plans to travel to Pennsylvania this June, which I am now realizing I had not yet mentioned to you! I have either interned or taught at a music camp up there almost every summer since I was old enough – so probably nine or ten years. I was going to forego it this time, but it starts about a week later than I thought, so after some consideration I decided to go for it. We could really use the money. Besides, they are in the process of hiring Travis to do some art/writing classes as well, so it will really be worth making the trip. We plan to drive up and stay at my mom’s house, and she is happy to baby-sit while we are gone from 7:30 to 12:30 each day for the three week duration of the program.

Anyway, we brought this up to Amy, and she seemed a little bit concerned. The camp begins on June 13th, and there is a possibility that Norah could make her appearance as late as May 29th or thereabouts. She suggested that at 36 weeks I begin taking a hormone balancing supplement called 5-W (or W-5? I’m trying to Google it and I’m getting nothing…). The way she explained it is that it will not induce labor, but it brings your hormones to optimal levels for the labor process to begin on its own when your body is ready. Travis and I haven’t really discussed it yet, but I think I’m on board with that plan. Amy said they usually give it to mothers who have a history of going late, and they’ve had good outcomes with it.

My next appointment will be at 32 weeks, and after that I will go in every two weeks! I think after 36 weeks I will be going every week. I can’t believe we’re already that close. I can’t wait to meet our daughter!

The Bradley class is going really well, and I’m enjoying it a lot. This week we talked a lot about comfort measures, both for the rest of pregnancy and for labor. She gave us some really helpful advice for all kinds of pregnancy ailments, including lower back pain, which is becoming my biggest complaint. I think it’s a common one. I’m excited to try some of her suggestions. They mostly involve Travis using a sheet or a long piece of fabric to pull on my feet or pull up on my belly, etc. It’s kind of hard to explain – I guess you had to be there. J Travis drew little pictures of everything so we would remember what to do.

Mary said that next week’s class will be mostly geared toward the husbands to teach them how to be good labor coaches. I’m looking forward to that!!!

Aargh! I need to hurry this up or I won’t be able to finish before my lessons!

Valentine’s Day: we made cheese fondue! It was amazing. We went to The Fresh Market (we NEVER EVER shop there), which was a fun trip…Travis likes their free coffee samples. J Anyway, that’s one of the few places you can find Emmenthaler and Gruiere (I probably spelled both of those wrong) cheeses. And they’re expensive, but fondue is pretty much a once-a-year treat for us, so we splurged. Yum!

Then I made a surprise dessert for Travis:

Heart-shaped brownies with raspberry puree. Oh. Heaven. Travis found this amazing brownie recipe maybe a year ago, and it’s all we’ve used since. They’re very rich and dark and dense. If you want the recipe, Google Alton Brown Brownie Recipe. The puree was just raspberries and a little bit of sugar (it said super fine, so I just used confectioner’s) blended until smooth. You can strain out the seeds if you want. Oh, by the way, I always bake the brownies in a larger pan than the recipe calls for. Otherwise I think they’re too thick.

Ok, here we go:

Making Room for Norah

This week I tackled the coat closet;

(Before) (After)

And our bedroom closet.

(Before) (After)

It's not amazing, but you can walk into it now!!!

I also got a lot done on Norah’s closet, which I’m so excited about! It’s coming together really fast! I’m not showing you till I’m done, though!

Last, but certainly not least, we had two baby showers this past weekend! They were both amazing, and we so appreciate everyone taking time out of their weekend to have fun with us and shower us with gifts for baby Norah! Here are some pictures from Saturday’s shower, which was at my sister Laurie’s house.

My mom knitted these! There is a matching hoodie, too!

Travis had to guess the flavor of baby food!

The other shower was on Sunday with another expectant couple from our church. It was themed “The Baby G Shower” because both babies have “G” last names! It was super fun, and we had lots of yummy food! Sadly, I don’t have any pictures from that one…maybe someone will email me a few? J

I wanted to tell you about some of the stuff we got, but the list would be way too long! We got literally everything we registered for except for maybe two or three things, which we can buy with gift cards, and we got some super cute outfits, and a few handmade things which we love…the list goes on! We are so grateful! We even got a couple of great cloth diapers, as well as gift cards towards the ones we plan to order. Oh, I can’t wait to do that! I’m ordering a batch as soon as GoGreen Pocket Diapers restocks their diapers in a week or two.

Ok, I could just keep rambling on and on, but I have to go!!! I hope you are having a great week!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

27 Weeks Pregnant

Welcome to the end of my second trimester – already! I am officially 6 months pregnant. I guess the division between second and third trimester is sometime between 27 and 28 weeks, so…tomorrow-ish? It’s going so fast!

My end-of-trimester stats:

Weight: 128.5 lbs.

Belly measurement (all the way around – not vertically like the midwife does): 36 1/8”

My pre-pregnancy weight was 112, and waist measurement was 26”, but I’m not sure if I was measuring it in the same spot back then. At 13 weeks (end of the first trimester) I was 113 lbs, and the biggest part of my belly was 31.5”.

Norah is still approximately eggplant-sized. Her lungs and immune system are maturing, and her eyes can sense light. They should start to open this week or next. I’m getting more and more anxious to meet her!

I forgot to say last week that my dad finally got to feel a few little kicks! Usually she isn’t very active when we’re over there visiting, so he had been waiting a long time! He felt her again the other day, and Travis’s sister Rachel felt a few kicks yesterday. J Travis and I are still the only ones who have felt the really strong kicks, though. Sometimes I feel her on opposite sides at the same time – I think she’s kicking with both feet and her head moves up simultaneously. It’s weird.

Travis has been sick for nearly two weeks now! Last week he had some mild thing that was mostly just making him tired and headachy. Then, just as he was starting to feel better, he picked up something worse. He refuses to miss work since it throws off his class schedule, so he’s been toughing it out and taking lots of Theraflu. L He also still hasn’t found out about Teacher of the Year yet! He thought they were going to announce it almost a week ago.

I was really tired all the time last week, probably from fighting off whatever Travis has. Luckily I haven’t gotten it so far. I’ve been taking zinc supplements every day (zinc stops viruses from growing, so if you start taking it when you think you might get sick, it’s really effective). Anyway, I didn’t do as well as I had hoped with my pregnancy exercises, but I did more than I usually do, so it’s fine as long as I keep increasing everything gradually.

We talked a lot more about nutrition at yesterday’s class. I did really well with my protein goals. I was supposed to try for at least 70 grams per day, and there were only two days when I was a little below that. Most days I was around 100, and my highest was 107.8. A study done by a Dr. Tom Brewer years and years ago showed that pre-eclampsia (toxemia) in pregnant women was ELIMINATED when women ate at least 70 grams of protein a day, plus as much salt as they wanted. A lack of salt can cause low blood volume, which in turn causes other negative effects, including a higher risk of hemorrhage after birth.

We learned about avoiding certain toxins that are commonly found in foods, such as some artificial colors, lead, nitrates, aluminum, saccharin, and many more. We also spent a lot of time learning about different nutrients and their importance in pregnancy. For example, vitamin C strengthens the amniotic sac, lowering the risk of PROM (premature rupture of membranes), after which premature birth cannot be prevented. Anyway, it’s interesting stuff.

At the end of class, we all got on the floor with pillows and blankets and practiced relaxing. J Mary, the instructor, led us in a guided meditation. We are supposed to practice this every day. No complaints here! I was so sleepy afterward.

We haven’t really celebrated Valentine’s Day yet. We exchanged gifts yesterday, but are waiting to have our cheese fondue dinner until Travis is feeling better. I didn’t get anything big for Travis. The main thing was a set of dinosaur cookie cutters, which sounds silly, but if you know Travis it makes sense. (We recently ordered a cheap-o umbrella stroller from Amazon with cute dinosaur print, not so much for Norah as for her daddy.)

Travis got Norah and me each a half a dozen roses: pink for her, white for me. (I don’t mind that they’re not red. Travis thought white and pink looked better together than red and pink, and I tend to agree.) He also got Norah a cute little rubber ducky with a temperature sensor on the bottom, and one of those pillows that velcros together to look like a dog when you’re not using it. He said I can use it until she’s big enough for it, so that’s the one I brought to class last night. J He also got me a big canister of trail mix (mostly nuts, to help with my protein intake) and a bar of dark chocolate (my favorite thing in the world).

Lastly, my progress on the house this week. I think from now on I’ll call this section…

Making Room for Norah

The fun thing I did was use the Paint program to depict Norah’s closet and changing table and map out where I plan to put things, as shown below:

Currently, the closet looks like this:

It really won’t be too much work. I just have to empty it out and put a shelf above the lower rod. I’m hoping to stop by Home Depot later today or tomorrow to get them to cut one for me (and pay using one of those gift cards we found!).

The other thing Travis and I did was go through all of our clothes. Yesterday I spent hours rearranging things in our closet (which I can’t show you yet, because I’m still not done) and bagging up an unbelievable amount of clothes, which I then took to Goodwill. When I say “unbelievable,” I mean Travis got rid of 46 shirts and 10 pairs of pants (many of which had been sitting in the attic for a couple of years), and I got rid of 29 tops, 7 pairs of pants, and 2 dresses. Truly unbelievable, especially considering we had just done this around the time we got married and cleared out a similar amount then. Here are a couple of pictures:

Hopefully I’ll keep making progress this week! I think I will – I’m feeling pretty motivated (read: nesty).

I’ll see you in trimester three!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

26 Weeks Pregnant

I don’t even know where to start with this one! I guess I’ll just jump right in…

Did you notice my new short hair? I had gotten it cut a few weeks ago when Travis did, but I decided I wanted more layers, so Travis and I made a team effort of it:




I think we did a pretty good job!

What’s new with Norah:

· Her eyes are fully formed! Next week she may be able to open them.

· Her lungs are still forming, but she would probably be able to breathe if she were to be born at this point.

· Brain waves for the auditory and visual systems are detectable. Last night Travis made up a bedtime story for her, complete with guitar sound effects. Too cute!

· She is probably around 13.5 inches long, and 1 ½ to 1 ¾ pounds.

What’s new with me:

· I’m experiencing occasional Braxton-Hicks contractions.

· I’m so tired! By 9:45 last night I decided I couldn’t stay up any longer. It’s not like I got up super early, either!

· I’ve started getting leg cramps sometimes in the morning. I’ve heard some pregnant women get them really bad…so far they’re not terrible. I guess it’s caused by some sort of deficiency? Maybe I need more bananas…

My mom came over last week and helped me rearrange and clean the kitchen. I love it!! We even made room for the baby stuff! Travis and I did even more after she left, and I LOVE knowing what we have and where to find it.



Some of the stuff we got rid of:

Oh, and here’s a story with a happy ending: When Travis and I came home from our honeymoon a year and a half ago, we went to use some of our gift cards and realized that we couldn’t find them. We knew exactly what box they were in (a little green satin gift card box), and we looked everywhere we could think of. Finally we gave up. Over $400 worth of gift cards wasted. Well, guess what turned up when we cleaned out the cupboard above the refrigerator??!! The little green box was sitting pretty much all by itself in a plastic basket, with a few pieces of old mail. All the cards were there, and none of them expire! It was a huge relief to find them, and it couldn’t have been better timing. We’ve been making a list of things we need that we can now buy with gift cards! Woohoo!

I can’t wait to get to the rest of the house, but unfortunately the kitchen is the only room we’ve been able to complete so far. I’ve been picking at other areas, but haven’t made any serious progress. I guess one room a day wasn’t quite realistic! But I’m sure that was one of the hardest rooms to go through. The other tough one will be the art/computer room. I’m going to take before and after pictures of everything.

And now I get to tell you all about our Bradley class! Yesterday was our first class. We were sort of afraid there might be some weirdos in the mix, but everyone seems ok so far. :-P There were I think five other couples. We really liked the couple we sat next to, and we got to talk to a few other people during a group ice-breaker activity. We really liked the instructor, too.

She gave us an interesting history on childbirth and how the Bradley Method came to be, along with some statistics, such as maternal and neonatal death rates in America as compared to other countries. I would have been surprised if I hadn’t seen them before: 44 other countries are doing better than we are. South Carolina doesn’t fare well either – I think we are something like 34th in the nation. There is also a direct correlation between the rate of c-sections and the rate of maternal deaths. (I don’t mean to be morbid. I should point out that the rate of maternal deaths in the US is still only 12 in 100,000, according to our instructor. The problem is that most of these are preventable.)

On to more upbeat topics… We did an activity where the wives checked off ways they have dealt with pain (physical or emotional), and then the husbands circled the ones that they could help with. I thought that was a very helpful exercise. Here’s ours:

Then we did some physical exercises: tailor sitting, squats, pelvic rocks, etc., and we all got back rubs from the hubbies. J I think Travis was the most willing and supportive and involved guy there, and I hope he knows how much I appreciate that.

Every day, I’m supposed to do:

· 5 minutes of walking (seems too easy…)

· As many squats as I can (some fast, some extended)

· Tailor sitting (like a meditation pose on the floor, or on an exercise ball) as much as possible

· 3 butterflies (Travis has to provide resistance)

· 60 pelvic rocks

· 50 kegels

Each week I have to work up to more and more of each exercise. The squatting is funny: neither Travis nor I can do a squat the right way (with knees staying behind or over toes) without falling over backwards, so we have to hold on to each other’s forearms and do it together. J

We also talked about nutrition. The instructor said to try to get 70-90 grams of protein per day. I have to keep track of everything I eat this week. So far I think I’m doing fine! It’s 4:00 and I’m up to 61 grams. I’m a big milk drinker, though…if it wasn’t for that, I’d only be at 27! I hope that’s ok…

Oh, also, we recalculated our due dates. The average first time mother is pregnant for 41 weeks and 1 day, rather than 40 weeks. She advised all of us to plan for that to avoid disappointment if we have to wait longer than we originally thought. My adjusted due date is May 23rd.

That’s about it for the Bradley class this week…I’ll keep updating you on it!

Travis just informed me that he’s on the short list (along with only two other teachers) for teacher of the year! J Wish him luck!

See you next week!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

25 Weeks Pregnant

Belly shot explanation: Travis bought me some really cool temporary tattoos. J

I have a lot to talk about this week! I’ll start with the usual stuff.

I can’t believe how big I’m getting! I need more maternity clothes! I think I’m starting to see a faint “linea negra” (the dark line that runs vertically on the front of pregnant bellies). Norah is now about the size of an eggplant. I’m not going to speculate beyond that – this seems to be the point where babies start to vary in size. No speculating necessary about her strength, though -- she is kicking surprisingly hard sometimes! All through church the other day I kept nearly jumping out of my seat because I was so startled by her acrobatics. I was sitting there staring at my belly because I could clearly see every move she made, and sometimes it was on opposite sides at the same time! It’s insane. What is it going to be like three months from now?!

She might be moving around so much because, according to The Bump, she is starting to tell the difference between right side up and upside down. Speaking of which, I asked the midwife what we would do if Norah was in a breech position. She said she would have me do some exercises/positions that would encourage her to turn, and if that doesn’t work we can do an external version. This involves going to some sort of specialist (I guess just an OB), who would give me muscle relaxers, and then, with the aid of an ultrasound, attempt to flip the baby around as shown here:

She said that in over 500 births she has attended, only two babies were breech and could not be turned. So I guess that’s one less thing to worry about! J

My appointment last week went very well. Everything is perfect, and I still feel great – I’ve even been getting fewer headaches than I normally do. My weight is up to 124.5 lbs, which she said is right on track, and my belly was measuring just one week behind schedule, which is completely fine. She said even if I was three centimeters (three weeks) in either direction, she wouldn’t worry much about it.

I told her that the ultrasound tech said Norah was a bit smaller than average, and she made note of that so that if I go a couple weeks beyond my due date (please, no), they will give me a little more time before they recommend induction, which is something I want to avoid if at all possible. Inductions are riskier than most people realize. If your body just isn’t ready, it won’t work, and the medicine (pitocin) creates unnaturally strong contractions which few women can stand without an epidural, which I also don’t want. If the induction fails, they will do a c-section, which I REALLY don’t want. Anyway, I’m glad I’ll be given some leniency if Norah wants to arrive late.

I really wanted to be able to tell you all about our Bradley childbirth class, which should have started yesterday, but it was cancelled because the instructor had the flu. We are so excited about this class – the midwife has nothing but great things to say about it. Since it will now start a week later and it’s a 12 week course, we will only have TWO WEEKS until the due date by the time it’s over! That is crazy.

This past weekend we went to Hobby Lobby to pick out fabric for the changing pad cover! I had been ridiculously excited about this shopping trip, because I’m just so excited to get everything ready for Norah. And since the changing table was the only thing I was going to get to decorate (not having an actual room for the nursery and all), I was just really looking forward to it. People have been asking me what colors we are using in “the nursery,” so I took a picture of the fabric in case you all were curious. Actually, Travis took the picture. Can you tell? J

We could have gone with a more subdued palette, but in the end we just really loved this fabric. It's very "us."

Now, here’s the REALLY exciting part: the more I thought about it, the more I found myself really wishing we were doing a whole nursery. The moment I said that to Travis, he was completely on board and ready to rearrange the house. So…I guess that’s our new plan! It’s been all I can think about since we got that fabric! I have everything completely planned out in my mind.

Step one is to pare down to what we need. Sunday we started in the attic. We went through most of the stuff up there, took a lot to Goodwill, consolidated stuff, etc. (I also found a huge stash of fabric up there – woohoo!) As soon as we have another free afternoon, we’ll be finishing that part of the project, and then we’ll go through the whole house the same way. Stuff that we want but don’t need out will go up to the attic for now. And I actually went through those two closets I was talking about last week. We took a lot of that stuff to Goodwill as well. I’m so excited to have less clutter around and to have more space to put things that we actually use. I also think it will appeal more to potential buyers. We probably should have done this long ago.

Ok, sorry this was another long blog! We’ve had a lot going on, and I have a lot on my mind. See you next week!