Friday, February 22, 2013

Weeks 37 and 38

Feb 8-14 & 15-21

Weeks 37 and 38 have been tough on me.  In the home stretch, I'm starting to feel just a little uncomfortable although for the most part I continue to be amazed at how easy pregnancy can be.  However, after recovering from my stint with bronchitis in weeks 35 & 36, I developed severe inflammation in my ribs from extensive coughing.  It's been a tough recovery for me and for Big Brother Whit who suddenly cannot climb on or be picked up by Mommy.  Whit's been a trooper, I've been a little bit of a baby, but trying to see this ordeal as good practice for managing potential pain during labor.  I even took my first "pregnancy sick day" last week to stay home and allow those muscles to relax and heal as much as possible.  It was tough to sit for 5 hours and not do anything but I came through it ok. Otherwise, it's just becoming a little difficult to teach all day and then go home and be a wife and mommy.  And after being out of commission for nearly a week (and still wincing with the occasional sneeze), there's a lot to catch up on at home.  Thankfully, it's only a few more weeks to go until we can settle into our new (and improved) schedule.

I've spent quite a bit of time visiting with the medical professionals the past two weeks.  Per the norm, I'm heading out once a week for checkups.  Appointments at weeks 37 and 38 were good and now it's just a waiting game until Baby Girl gets here.

During week 37 I had my last appointment with the midwife until after the baby is born and my first with the obstetrician.  I've been transferred to the obstetrician as the midwives have not yet been granted attending privileges at the hospital.  I regret that they cannot be with me during the birth, but I've enjoyed the holistic prenatal care I've gotten and I love that they will do a home visit following the birth and a 3 week postpartum visit in addition to the standard 6 week postpartum check.  Those first 6 weeks after the baby is born are, to me, the most significant time when a new mother needs to have medical care and support.  And, I've been pleasantly surprised with the openness and forward thinking obstetricians who seem to be the rare of their breed.  One even said to me this week that women have been having babies for thousands of years without modern medical care, so surely the majority of women can do so now without intervention or treatment from professionals.


Week 37 marked the first official week of baseball practice so Daddy has been up early and home late the last two weeks.  We miss him, of course, and with my bedtime getting closer to Whit's as I get more tired this last month, we don't get much time together.  At least once Baby Girl shows up I can nap more during the day and perhaps spend a little time with her father when he gets in from games.  Otherwise, it will be only Sundays and small glimpses through the fence until May.

Baby Girl

Baby Girl continues her job of getting chubbier and cuter. Although Mommy shouldn't gain much more weight between now and delivery, Baby will continue to gain about 1 oz a day or 1/2 lb per week.  I didn't quite make my weight goal but perhaps I need to accept that I simply gain a lot of weight with pregnancy.  I didn't have much trouble losing it with Whit, but I hear the second time around is slightly more difficult.

We know Baby is head down in position for birth, all curled up and alternating from head toward my back and lying on her side, so there is no need for any more ultrasounds.  We will just have to wait and see what size she will be.  I can tell that she is smaller than Big Brother as I'm only occasionally feeling feet in my ribs rather than a constant pressure in the lungs and heart.  I must say that I'm rather looking forward to delivering a child who isn't coming out the size of the average 4 month old.

(Check out what Big Brother Whit was up to during weeks 37 and 38)
37 weeks with Baby Girl!

35-36 weeks with Whit

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Under the Big Top - A preview

The days of our family of three are dwindling quickly.  Although we are all (ok, maybe not Whit yet) very excited to embark on the next leg of our life journey, it is a little bittersweet that Whit will no longer be my only baby.  To celebrate this ending, and new beginning, Kirk and I have decided to take Whit to "The Greatest Show on Earth."

Over the last few weeks Whit has taken to watching "the bug movie" (also known as Disney/Pixar's A Bug's Life). For those of you who haven't seen the movie, Flick, the main character, inadvertently hires circus bugs to save his ant colony.  So now for some connections.  Whit likes the bug movie, it has circus bugs, we will take him to the circus!  But the circus can be somewhat crazy and Kirk and I tend to be overly cautious with Whit.  So we will show him youtube videos of the circus to get him prepared and excited.  What's Whit's favorite part of the circus?  Elephants!  What other circus elephants do you know?  That's right, Dumbo!

Fast forward to weekend before last, I went out and purchased Dumbo, so proud of myself and thinking how much Whit would enjoy the movie.  Let's set the stage.  It's Saturday night, I'm preparing dinner.

Kirk and I: Whit, do you want to watch the movie we bought for you?
Whit:  Yes! Bug movie!
Me: No, we are going to watch the elephant movie instead.
Whit: No! I no want it! Bug movie! Bug movie! 
(cue tears) 
Kirk: Whit, just watch it, you will like it! It has elephants! (convincingly)

(continue tears)  ....Mommy departs to the kitchen to continue making dinner and allows Daddy to console Whit.... 

From the kitchen I hear the tears subside as the movie begins.  10 minutes later I come in to check on my boys and find Whit reclined with Kirk watching the baby animals being delivered by the storks.  Victory! Whit thinks it's great! Back to the kitchen.

..... Mommy comes in from the kitchen with dinner prepared and ready to serve in front of the TV for this amazing experience....

Me: Whit! I have spaghetti!
(cue tears)

Whit: Mommy! I need mommy! Elephant's mommy! Where's elephant's mommy? 

Ok, I get it.... I'm terrible.  I know Dumbo is sad. But I suppose I forgot what an emotional roller coaster you traverse in the 60 minute movie.  I was worried that Whit would be scared during the Pink Elephant montage... I didn't consider how he would feel about the elephant's mother being locked away, especially considering he spends so much time away from me and we've both always struggled with that.  But it's ok.... we cuddled through the rest of the movie and Whit recovered somewhat, at least until Dumbo visited his mother and then had to leave her yet again. (Time for more cuddles.)

As the final credits rolled and the last of the tears dried up Whit looked at me from under his long eyelashes and said "Do it again, Mommy?" 

And so begins the Dumbo movie marathon... great idea Mommy!

Monday, February 11, 2013

37 Weeks - Full term?

Each week I read what is happening to the baby (and to me) this week and sometimes I watch a video as well.  This is my 37th week of pregnancy.  The video starts with "Congratulations, Mom, your baby is now full term!"  The website starts with "At the end of this week, your baby will be considered term, way to go!"

Wait a minute.... are you sure?  I thought pregnancy was supposed to be an average of 40 weeks... with a 2 week window on either side. Now, I'm not a math teacher, but that means 38-42 weeks with outliers above and below (yes, I threw out some stats terms!)

So why are we calling 37 week pregnancies "term" and 41 week pregnancies "post term?"  I did a little googling and found some research that asks the same thing.

Listen up Mommy-to-be!  

As with so many other issues surrounding pregnancy, childbirth and infant care and nutrition, we, as a nation, are confused!  What does it mean when only 25% of women in a recent survey chose the "39-40 week" option as the optimal one for delivery? (The other respondents chose times earlier than 39 weeks.)  I guess it means that we are overly eager to get these babies out and not at all ready to continue to "sacrifice" ourselves for the health of our children. And that our medical professionals are less likely to stick to their guns and more likely to give in to the poor patients who have finally made it to 40 weeks and are just done being pregnant.  (Try being pregnant for nearly 42 or 43 weeks and see how you feel).  One website I read quoted a doctor who said "No mother enjoys the last 4 weeks of her pregnancy."  Now, really, has he spoken to every woman?  Maybe some of us like being pregnant and know we will miss it when it's over.  You can read a blog post, with several other interesting links here.

I have my own theory about why the last 4 weeks of pregnancy are tough.  If you are like me and you rather enjoy being pregnant, you would probably choose to stay that way forever rather than go through that hard work called labor and push a 9lb baby out.  God is smart.  Make women uncomfortable for the last few weeks and they will start to think "Ok, I will do anything to get this kid out.  That's right, anything!"

So, bottom line, "term" pregnancy is actually one that lasts between 39 and 41 weeks.  Yep, you read that correctly.  It is perfectly healthy to carry that baby to 41 weeks.  There is no need to induce at 40 weeks and 1 day.  You aren't "late" or "overdue" at all. And babies don't stop growing or maturing when they hit that magic 37, 38, 39 or 40 week mark.  In fact, the longer you carry your baby, the better start they get in life.  Their brains, lungs, digestive and immune systems all continue to mature en utero.

Still think I'm crazy for scheduling my last day of work for 8 days after my "due date?"  I know something that apparently other women in our modern world full of information have yet to figure out, accept, or hear about.  Babies come when they come.  Babies in my family tend to come after 40 weeks. Yes, I'm getting close to the end.  I know this and I feel great, aside from a small backache, heartburn and trouble sleeping.  (Oh yeah, and that adorable little head that is forever pressing on my bladder.)  If I am one of the "lucky ones" who gets to have her baby prior to 40 weeks, I'll use those sick days that I stored up and I will be just fine.  But, if I carry this baby to 41 weeks, I'm covered.  I can keep working and not go stir crazy at home with my active 2 year old who wants to run and tackle all day. 

Although experienced moms know it is far from the last, this is my first chance to "sacrifice" for my child.  I won't really be "term" for 2 more weeks and I won't be "overdue" for another 2 weeks after that. I want this baby, need this baby, to stay put for a little longer to give her the best chance of survival in the tough world she's getting ready to enter.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Weeks 35 and 36

I cannot believe that weeks 35 and 36 are already over!

When I started working on the Month 8 post, I was still in week 34.  Today is officially the last day of week 36.  I'm having trouble keeping up.

Baby is up to the same... just getting bigger.  She continues to be a peaceful little lady and really only gets worked up when it gets close to mealtime or when Big Brother presses in too closely.   We met with the midwife this week and got a good report. The heartbeat is strong and baby still is head down, just waiting for the big day.  Baby is around 6 pounds and creeping up on 19 inches.  I can tell she's grown a little longer since I'm again feeling some knees or feet up near my ribs after a few wonderful weeks of her being lower down.

After nursing a sick family back to health over the last few weeks, Mommy finally succumbed.  It's been a difficult week but I'm nearly over a nasty bout of bronchitis.  All that coughing has been tough on me, on Whit as he tries to cuddle close to go to sleep and, of course, on baby.  I'm not sure how much she has enjoyed being bounced up and down and all around as I coughed and wheezed through the last week, but I know she's been calm and quiet today -  the first break from the bounce house in a week. I was also able to get my first good night's sleep last night and felt very grateful for it today. 
Surprisingly (or perhaps not) my recent lack of sleep hasn't affected my mood too much.  I say that, but Daddy might have other opinions! I think I remember the same phenomenon when I was in my last month with Whit; it is almost that my body is preparing for less sleep and interrupted sleep.  

This month my nesting instinct has also kicked up a notch.  Beginning a little earlier than it did with Whit, I've been nesting at school by getting detailed lesson plans prepared to make my substitute's life much easier and at home getting baby things organized and stocking the fridge, freezer and pantry.  I noticed a slight rise in our grocery bill over the last few weeks but didn't realize the cause until I unpacked the bags this past weekend and realized that I'm officially out of room in the deep freezer and coming close to having the inside freezer full.  We could probably survive in this house for a month without grocery shopping for anything except fresh fruits and bread (come to think of it... I have bread in the freezer, so we don't need that either!)  I know all of the prep work will come in handy when this little lady makes her appearance.

We haven't seen much of Daddy around this last week.  A big change after several long weekends.   He had his big administrator's exam on Saturday and baseball has been in high gear for the last two weeks. The few minutes we are getting have been very enjoyable and I'm looking forward to getting some more time this weekend (after the workday at the baseball field on Saturday).

Big Brother
See what Whit was up to and how Mommy was feeling during Week 35 and Week 36
Whit's in an interesting period of development.  I don't know if the impending addition to our family is affecting in any way (I'm not a child psychiatrist after all) but I do know something is up.  I'm planning to discuss our little CEO in his own post very soon, so check back for that.

Month 8

I'm so behind on this post... sorry!

If you read Snow Days and Sick Days you'll understand the delay.  We've now been back in school for 5 weeks and it seems like the blink of an eye.  The next 2-6 weeks until this baby arrives I'm sure will go by just as quickly. 

Month 8th of your pregnancy is usually considered Weeks 31-34, which means I've been in the 9th month of pregnancy for over a week even though I could potentially be pregnant for another 6 weeks (in my mind that makes pregnancy more like 10 or even 11 months - more on this crazy calculation later)

In developmental matters, Baby has developed a good sense of hearing (and I'm guessing learned to tune out her brother already) and continues brain and lung development.  She is also practicing breathing, sucking and swallowing; the combination of which often leads to the hiccups.  The main task of the 8th month, and really for the rest of the pregnancy is to grow, grow, grow.  Beginning now, Baby Girl will gain about 1/2 pound per week.

I can tell that Little Girl has accumulated some fat as those knobby little knees that caused me so much pain (literally) during the 2nd trimester have become much softer as they traverse the span of my abdomen. And although she is riding low in my pelvis preparing (impatiently, I assume) for her birthday, I can feel her rise a little higher each week as she continues to gain in length as well as weight.

See what big brother was up to during the 8th month

Mommy is apparently getting BIG.  Some days I feel just that but others days I begin to feel comfortable with the size of my belly.  Occasionally I even think... hey, I was so much bigger with Whit about this time that I feel downright skinny! My thyroid levels have remained stable the last 6 weeks so my weight gain has really kept with "textbook" rates rather than scaring the pants off me week to week and even day to day.  I am officially unable to wear my pre-pregnancy shirts (even the ones that were a little bigger) since I'm not one to allow the bottom half of my belly hang out.  Normal thyroid function also makes for a more energetic, happier, saner, and overall better Mommy. The majority of my time these days is spent nesting - some at home and some in my plan book at school, preparing for the now imminent arrival of the Little One.

Daddy is deep into baseball and I think doing a great job not stressing over the timing of Baby Girl's arrival.  He seems calm about letting this birth happen when and how it will happen and it has really relieved some of my doubt and anxiety surrounding the birth knowing that he will be just as good (if not better) at coaching me through labor this time around.

I'm comfortable knowing that there is a 100% chance of Baby showing up by March 28th, but for those of you who are curious (or impatient) I've created a timeline with probabilities below.  Because, yes, I am a bit of a nerd! (for those of you who also have nerdy tendencies, the percentages below add up to 90.  The remainder is 5% pre-term and 5% post-term birth).

before 37 weeks               5%
37-38 weeks 2/14-2/20    5%
38-39 weeks 2/21-2/27    10% (first scrimmage is this week)
39-40 weeks 2/28-3/6      20%
40-41 weeks 3/7-3/13      35% (First Ballgame! And last week of work if baby hasn't shown up)
41-42 weeks 3/14-3/20    20% (Whit showed up at the beginning of this cycle)
after 42 weeks                  5%

Of course, only time will tell!  More to come soon!