37 Weeks

Well, we have arrived. Full-term. Now, more than ever before, we are READY for this child to make his debut.

Today I’m not quite feeling as excited or happy to meet Gelato. Today I am feeling defeated, run-down, ganged-up-on, and I want to sigh all the time. Instead I got to go to the OB’s office, wait an hour and twenty minutes to even see the doctor, engage my toddler to keep her happy and on her best behavior (she did very well- this is not a complaint of mine), stop for gas on the way home, pray every time we started the car that the A/C would work (for some reason it was pooping out on us yesterday-today it worked 100% perfectly), deal with immense ginormosity, and put my absolutely melted-down-screaming-her-head-off-for-forty-five-minutes-straight-beyond-logical-reasoning-worked-so-hard-to-be-good-all-week-and-just-can’t-handle-it-anymore-toddler down for her nap.

Sigh.

My extended family is going through a lot of changes and really tough things right now, too.

Sigh.

I learned that I tested positive for GBS this time around, so I will have to have IV antibiotics every 4 hours once labor starts. And Gelato has a very slight chance of major complications that could keep him in the hospital for weeks, and cause permanent damage. I know there’s nothing that I could have done differently to prevent any of this… but it just seems unfair. Just another thing to worry about.

Sigh.

Hula Girl is stressed out. She has been absolutely perfect for us for the past four days, running here and there and sitting for interminable periods of time in waiting rooms and offices, keeping herself busy with books and ponies. But today she reached her breaking point and when we went upstairs for her nap, she began to cry and cry. She cried for over forty-five minutes, all the way through four prayers, two books, five songs, three water sips, two pajama changes, and a phone call. Eventually I had to just go in, use a very firm voice, and tell her, “Stop crying. It is not time to cry. It is time to sleep. Lie down, close your eyes, be quiet, and go to sleep. I will not be back until nap time is over.” I felt like the world’s most unreasonable, unconcerned Mommy. She still cried for me for the next ten minutes. But me being in there was not helping her sleep, and I had lost all my patience. I’ve never told her not to cry before. We always tell her it’s okay to cry. Why is today different?

Sigh.

Sigh.

Sigh.

I could really use a dose of peace in my life right now.

Pre-admission Appointment and Who’s my Pediatrician!?

Well, it’s official. I can’t hold the hospital responsible if someone steals my jewelry while we’re there.

Seriously, I had to sign a document releasing the hospital from responsibility for my valuables while we’re there to deliver Gelato. I think that’s just silly.

I also think it’s silly that we even had to GO to the hospital in the first place- after all, I could have just signed everything in a packet and dropped it off, or e-signed it on the hospital’s website, or something! But no, we had to go in person do get it all done.

Okay, so now that you know I was grumpy to begin with, let me elaborate on the redeeming aspects of the visit this morning.

First, the nurses were all very nice. I mean, they kind of have to be- I’m ginormously pregnant and it’s their job to make me want to feel comfortable so that THEIR jobs are easier (who wants to deal with an irrationally upset woman in labor?!).

Secondly, there were literally like only 12 people in the whole entire birth place. Including three babies in the nursery (gotta love the little spread-eagled kiddo with sweet shades basking in the jaundice lights). Now, I understand that things could get crazy and busy in there, but today it was very calm and quiet. We like that.

Third, they did just remodel the whole unit. That equals nice-ish rooms, albeit still not as nice as the one where Hula Girl was delivered. The rooms are also equipped with new technology, including waterproof wireless monitors. No more being confined to the bed for fetal monitoring! I am actually VERY excited about this since I was stuck in bed on my LEFT SIDE ONLY for 17 hours before Hula Girl came out. Being able to move around freely will be grrrrreat!

Another thing that I learned is that hospital policy allows for a heparin lock, which releases me to move freely as well. No being tied to a bag o’ fluids 24/7. Score.

Some of the things that aren’t like a huge deal to me, but might make natural labor better are jacuzzi tubs, showers, birthing balls, squatting bars, and brand new beds that can accommodate many different positions in each room. I was also pleased to learn (prior to this visit, in conversation with someone…can’t remember who) that many of the nurses at this particular hospital are very supportive of natural birth techniques and will be very open to hearing my opinion about things. So that’s nice.

So, all in all things went well. Then we had this conversation with Kim, our admission nurse:

Kim: Who is your pediatrician?

Us: We use [certain pediatric group].

Kim: Oh, they don’t have privileges at this hospital.

Us: Oh. Um, so what does that mean?

Kim: Well, when he’s born, he’ll be seen by [Dr. So-and-so], who is the hospital pediatrician. Then when you leave, we’ll transfer his records to [certain pediatric group] so they can do all the follow-ups as necessary.

Us: Okay. Does [Dr. So-and-so] do the circumcision, then?

Kim: No, he doesn’t handle circumcisions. Who’s your OB? Oh, [Dr. Dipsy], she doesn’t do circumcisions, either. Most pediatrician’s offices handle circumcisions nowadays.

Us: We want to have it done before we leave the hospital.

Kim: Well, [Dr. Someone Else], who’s part of your OB’s group, does circumcisions. You’ll need to contact your OB and ask about setting that up while you’re still here.

Us: Okay.

So after that very long and confusing conversation happened, I felt really frustrated. I had specifically called and asked my pediatrician’s office about delivering at this particular hospital and made sure that they DO have privileges there. They said they do have two doctors with privileges at the hospital, so I don’t need to worry. By the way, I am still not loving our pediatrician’s office… we are probably going to switch… I am researching that right after I finish this post.

I decided to give the pediatrician’s office yet another call after we left the hospital. Here’s what that conversation was like:

Receptionist Girl: Thank you for calling [pediatrician group]. 

Me: Hi, I just left my preadmission appointment at [hospital] and I am somewhat confused. The nurse mentioned that [pediatrician group] has no doctors with privileges at [hospital]. Is that true?

Receptionist Girl: No, [Dr. T] and [Dr. G] work there all the time. Let me double-check. Yep, they both have privileges at [hospital]. 

Me: Oh, okay. So how do I make sure you guys get called when my son is born? The nurse said they’d just call the in-house pediatrician there. 

Receptionist Girl: I think they’ll just call us. 

Me: The nurse said they wouldn’t. 

Receptionist Girl: Well, I think they will when they realize they can. 

Me: Um, okay. So then do [Dr. T] and [Dr. G] do circumcisions?

Receptionist Girl: No, neither of them do. 

Me: So how does that work, then? I want my son circumcised before we leave the hospital.

Receptionist Girl: Well, another doctor, [Dr. E], does the circumcisions. 

Me: But [Dr. E] doesn’t have privileges in the hospital? 

Receptionist Girl: I’m not sure. 

Me: Okay. Thanks for the information. Bye.

So yeah, I’m going to be finding a new pediatrician. Like, now.

Update- I now have an appointment to meet with a new pediatrician Monday at 4:45. 🙂

36 Week (dis)Appointment

This week’s visit was full of… extraordinary events. I don’t mean extraordinary as in, “Wow! This is amazing! I’ve never experienced anything so wonderful in my entire life!” I just mean extraordinary in the proper sense of the word: out of the ordinary (and I’d like to add that it was slightly unpleasant, too).

Of course, we did have the ordinary 20-minutes late appointment. I always arrive 10-15 minutes early because that’s the way I was raised. It’s good etiquette to be slightly early for appointments. So today we arrived at 9:45 for a 10:00 appointment. Today “we” included Jonathan, Hula Girl, and me. Hula Girl and Jonathan dug right in to the toys in the waiting area and Hula Girl started getting lessons on using her “inside voice”… again. Oh well, at least the other patients in the waiting room thought she was cute. Anyway, we sat there and kept a busy 2-year-old entertained for 35 minutes before we were seen. This is NOT an extraordinary event in this particular office. I hate that- I mean, really, I understand if an office is running behind every now and then… but every single time I visit (which just so happens to be a LOT during pregnancy)??

However, things turned extraordinary quickly after we were called back. First, I hopped on the scale… and thought to myself, “Hm, that can’t be right.” So I said to the nurse, “Did I lose weight since last time?” She said she didn’t have that exact info in her hands but that it’s common for women to lose a couple pounds toward the end of the pregnancy. Okay, cool.

Next she took my blood pressure. I said, “What is it this time?” (You’ll remember it’s slowly creeping up… it started at 100/56, then went to 100/58, then 100/60.) She said it was 100/70. I was like, “Wow, it jumped a bit in two weeks! I’m surprised.” So she took a glance at her sheet, and decided to check it again. Yup, it was really 100/60. So, I’m still alienesque, Jenn.

Then we waited another 15 minutes to see the OB. 15 minutes in a small exam room with a 2-year-old isn’t super fun, especially since that toddler doesn’t want to sit and read like we had planned. Daddy came up with several ways of entertaining her, such as putting her on her tummy on the stool and spinning her around. I suggested they wash her hands, which was well-received. Fortunately when the doctor came in, my slightly stern lecture about sitting quietly with Daddy and listening to the doctor was effective.

The first thing the doctor did, of course, was have me lay back so she could measure my stomach and listen to Gelato’s heartbeat. Both went well. My stomach (meaning, Gelato) is growing well. His heartbeat was right where it should be. Hula Girl thought it was cool to listen to his heartbeat.

Next, the doctor checked to make sure his head is down since I have been having so many contractions. All clear there, too. He’s riding upside-down now and his head is somewhat engaged in my pelvis.

After a couple of other tests and procedures (ahem, the group B strep test-if you don’t know what it is and how it’s done, good for you!), I sat up and we talked about her wishes as far as when to contact her, and when to head in to the hospital. This was a frustrating conversation for me. She said that she’d like us to just go in to the hospital without even calling her first if the contractions get to be 3-5 minutes apart for more than an hour straight. I told her that I had been having several episodes like this but that I was pretty sure it wasn’t the right time (obviously I was right-I’m still ginormous). She then just changed her explanation and said that I should just head in to the hospital when I thought it was the right time. She told me to trust my instincts… after all, I’ve done this before. I agreed with the trusting my instincts part, but I felt irritated that she’d tell me to just go when I thought it was right. I mean, actually, NO, I HAVEN’T done this before. I never felt contractions with Hula Girl. They induced me and then pressured me to get an epidural so that I didn’t feel anything. So no, I’ve never gone into labor before. At least not that I could feel. She just kind of laughed that off again and said, “Well, you’ll know.” Um, okay.

Anyway, when that conversation was over, I decided to ask her about my weight loss. She didn’t mention numbers, but by that time I had remembered how much I weighed last time. And I have lost 4-5 pounds in two weeks. And that’s not exactly what we’re shooting for. She gave me a very stern look and told me I need to be eating small meals all throughout the day. I told her that I do, but that my diet has changed drastically recently. She then asked for an explanation, and I told her that I’m doing the elimination diet, cutting out all 8 major allergens. “Why?” I pointed to Hula Girl and told her that she had reflux, eczema, and constipation as an infant and that the only thing that worked was the elimination diet, so we’re getting a head-start on this one, just in case. She seemed to accept that as a reasonable answer, and then reminded me (again,very sternly and in a school-marmish fashion) to eat protein. I asked her if she raised range-fed turkeys in her backyard because that’s pretty much the only place I can get protein outside quinoa and beans. She told me to drive an hour away to Whole Foods. Oh, okay, sure. Will do. NOT.*

The last thing to make our appointment extraordinary (and slightly unpleasant) was our check-out with the scheduler. She informed us that not only would my OB be out that day, but that the only other available OB had only one available opening, at 3:40. Just FYI- that’s right at the end of Hula Girl’s nap time, which would mean that I would have to wake her about halfway through her nap in order to get us there on time. I sighed, said, “Well, okay…” and then she miraculously produced an opening at 9:10 instead. So we’ll do that. Next Thursday, 9:10, 37-week appointment, all by myself with an OB I don’t know and a 2-year-old I do know. Sounds like an adventure, right?

*I should note that I am going to try really really hard to keep my weight up. I just went and bought a bunch of beans this afternoon (protein). I will also be cooking several things in advance so it’s not like a huge major kitchen effort every time I feel hungry (which, by the way, is really often). And one last really big thing is that Jonathan’s going to bake some allergen-free oatmeal cookies just for me. What a sacrifice I’ll be making when I have to choke THOSE down, eh? Let’s just hope this all works and that Gelato miraculously doesn’t have reflux.

Contractions

Can’t. Won’t. Haven’t. Ain’t.

No, wait, not those. (Insert “You’re a big dork” comment from my close friends and family, followed by a cheesy, “You said another one- you’re!” by me.)

When I had Hula Girl, I had no idea what a contraction felt like until I was actually hooked up to the monitor and I actually saw the lines going up and down. Then I was like, “Oh, is that one?” Yes, they were pain-free (sorry all other moms in the world) to the point where I couldn’t even tell. I seriously just thought Hula Girl was moving around a lot.

However, this time has been different. (Yet again. I don’t know why differences in this pregnancy continue to surprise/amaze me.) Let’s see. I started having Braxton-Hicks contractions a while back, around 25 weeks. But they pretty much went away by 28ish weeks. I mean, I’d have them almost daily, but not frequently throughout the day.

I was 35 weeks and 2 days on Saturday, when I started feeling contraction after contraction. My BFF Jo was down visiting us and we were out and about, when I started noticing my stomach squeeze and tighten pretty frequently. I thought nothing of it really- after all, we’re close enough that I expected to start seeing some signs of labor. But they just didn’t stop. All day, all night that night. They weren’t super close together, and definitely weren’t anything beyond noticeable on the intensity scale.

Sunday was quiet. Hardly any contractions, and nothing earth-shattering.

Monday- BAM. I got hit by the contraction train right after dinner. I camped out on the couch while Jonathan and Hula Girl played and had several contractions within 20 minutes or so. Then I came upstairs to draw Hula Girl’s bath and get her room ready for the night. Then I sat in the rocking chair and downloaded a contraction timer app, and recorded five contractions in 30 minutes. They were 30-40 seconds long and 3-6 minutes apart. Whoa.

I continued to have contractions throughout the evening. They actually decreased in frequency… but increased in intensity. I even got to the point where I had an aching back and the contractions were slightly painful. Then… they stopped for the evening. Around 10:30, I felt my last one and we went to sleep. I fully expected to feel more in the night, but nope. (Do keep in mind that I am a very heavy sleeper. So maybe I had a few?)

Today I have had more aches and pains in my lower back and upper thighs. My stomach cringes when I have to bend over (frequent occasion when your job is taking care of a two-year-old). I have had several contractions each hour, but only a few painful ones. I have not called the doctor because I am waiting to have more regularity- in duration, frequency, and intensity.

We have our 36-week appointment Thursday morning at 10. I am positive she’ll be checking me to see if we’ve made any progress since it is kind of early to be experiencing contractions, and it’s so different from last time for me. I should also mention that Gelato has “dropped.” This phenomenon, for those of you who don’t know, is also referred to as “lightening” and it means that the baby has moved lower down into my pelvis, in preparation for getting all the way out. It’s nice because my heartburn has gone away (well, it pretty much went away when I started the elimination diet anyway) and I can now breathe quite easily. However, it means I have been dying to use the restroom very often and my hips are just about done. Anyway, I am curious to see if Gelato is properly upside-down and at which station he is (meaning, is he close, not close, or closeish to coming on out).

Anyway, there ya go. Can’t wait to get this little guy out and meet him!

Elimination Diet Day 1

I started the dreaded elimination diet today. Blech.

For those of you who are unaware, Hula Girl had very bad reflux, plus constipation (yes, an exclusively breastfed baby can get constipated) and eczema, when she was an infant. We finally saw a GI doctor when she was 4 months old. He was not super concerned about her reflux (she was gaining weight VERY well, even though there was blood in her vomit), but her constipation and eczema issues suggested to him that Hula Girl might have a food allergy or intolerance. Being the extremely patient person that I am I just plain ol’ jumped straight into a total elimination diet. And I kept it up for 4 months straight. And guess what- all her issues cleared up nicely. We still have yet to find more than one food she’s actually allergic to… so who knows what was up with that. But it worked for us for that time, and it made our little daughter much more comfortable.

Now, being the very calm and rational person that I am, I am terrified that Gelato will have some of the same issues. There is no guarantee that one child will have reflux just because his sibling had it. But there is also no guarantee that he won’t. I decided to be proactive and clear my system of the usual allergens for about a month prior to his birth. So here we are.

My food options have just become severely limited. I will say I am not going as hard-core as some diets like Dr. Sears’ Elimination Diet. Even though I am going to stick to the rice only for grains rule and the range-fed organic turkey only for meat rule, I am going to have a wider variety of fruits and veggies, and I’m going to eat beans. Dr. Sears’ ED is really only meant to be followed for about 2 weeks, after which time the mom starts adding extra foods back in, in order of their allergen-prone-ness. For example, one of the first things a mom would add back in is peaches since hardly anyone on the planet is allergic to peaches. Avocado as well. (Although I know several people, Jonathan included, who claim an allergy to avocado simply because they do not like it.)

Anyway, today I have eaten a bowl of Rice Chex with rice milk, a nectarine, a sweet potato, and rice. For dinner I expect to have some zucchini (cooked with a little salt and pepper- whoa! I’m going crazy!) and some more rice. The whole point of an elimination diet is not to starve oneself; rather, one is encouraged to eat lots and lots… of a very limited variety of foods.

My wider variety includes grapes, peaches, nectarines, avocados, spinach, carrots, and some other random non-citrus, non-gas producing fruits and veggies. I am thankful it’s summer.

I will continue to keep the top 8 allergens (dairy, soy, wheat/gluten, eggs, fish, shellfish, nuts, and tree nuts) and citrus out of my system until after Gelato arrives. Once we’re all settled in, probably around 3/4 months old, if we are not experiencing any major issues like reflux, constipation, or eczema, I will slowly start to add some of these delicious foods back in. It’s always a slow process, but I expect that I’ll be on a fully-incorporated diet again by the time he’s about 8 months old. Fortunately, he’ll be able to try some of the foods himself at 6 months (yogurt, for example). I figure it’ll be easier to link a reaction to foods if he’s the one eating them!

Last time I did this diet, when Hula Girl was 4-8 months old, I lost a lot of weight really quickly. I am rather concerned about this since a nursing mom MUST keep up her caloric intake in order to produce ample milk. One of the bes ways to boost a milk supply is by eating a bowl full of oatmeal daily. Sure, sure, oatmeal has no gluten… but it is processed in plants that also process wheat, so the threat of cross-contamination exists. So no oatmeal for me. Sad. Oatmeal cookies are the BEST when nursing.

Because of the limited foods, I will also have a longer road ahead of me before I can exercise again. This is not good, people. As previously mentioned, I am ginormous enough that people think I’m having twins (and I still have a month and some change to go)! But I am very excited to go ahead and start at least walking again. I told Jonathan that I’d really like to just take it slow for a while and then start training for a marathon again. I did that a few years back and it was great! I really enjoyed running. And I got in really good shape, too! So, that’s my long-term goal.

Wish me luck and send me lots of encouragement as I watch my family scarf down delicious burritos! 🙂

34 Weeks… a day early

So I included some things about this pregnancy in yesterday’s post, but I decided to go ahead and expand the topic a bit more so I can remember in the future! 🙂

Babycenter tells me that Gelato is 4.75 pounds (about as heavy as a cantaloupe) and about 18 inches long. It also describes how the fat layer is thickening (to achieve that squishy baby goodness!!!) and the skin is smoothing out. I can also stop worrying about preterm labor as much, since babies born in this time frame are generally healthy and have very few (mostly short-term) complications.

That means I can kick him out and enjoy the rest of summer, right!? Right!?

Um… no… I suppose not. But this summer really has shaped up to be one of the hottest, driest on record in this fair state in which I reside. That plus me being ginormous has equaled me pretty much boycotting the great outdoors, with the exception of visiting our backyard when Hula Girl gets the squirmies. At least I can find some shade out there, and I can plop in a chair while she runs around barefoot. So even when it’s 104°, I don’t feel TOO terrible. I DO feel terrible when we decide to go to the playground and Hula Girl wants to swing forever. I have to stand in the hot sun and push her… and that’s just not good.

See, another issue I’m having is that I can’t stand still. I have felt this way since about 5 months along. I don’t know if it has something to do with the way I stand, like maybe my spine pinches a blood vessel or something, but every time I stand still for more than like 30 seconds, I feel awful. I feel as if I have just run 3 or 4 six-minute miles… as in, out of breath with lactic acid coursing through my arm and leg muscles. I also feel like I’m going to have a nosebleed. (I can actually make this comparison because a few years ago I was training for a marathon. I can’t WAIT to feel that way again… because I actually ran it, not because I stood and pushed my kiddo on the swing.) Anyway, standing still is hard for me. I either have to sit, lie down, or walk. All of which are not without drawbacks. But I won’t elaborate on that right here, right now.

It is getting difficult for me to fall asleep again. Nighttimes are just rough in general! I’m always exhausted from the day, but trying to get comfortable while dealing with RLS (restless leg syndrome) is really hard! Fortunately, a big part of doing Dr. Bradley’s method of natural childbirth (more on this in upcoming paragraphs) is being able to relax and shut down your body’s impulses… and I have to say that I’m getting pretty good at it! Last night it only took me about 10 minutes to fall asleep!

I am at the point in pregnancy where my stomach is just so squished that I’m pretty much never hungry except for right when I get up in the morning. And then a small something satisfies me easily. So although I’m still gaining weight (Gelato has to grow, you know?), I really don’t feel like I’m eating a lot. Just small snacks throughout the day-mostly because I know I need them, not because I want them. And Popsicles. 🙂

I am gargantuan again. I took Hula Girl to the playground today and a lady arrived with a young boy. She was pregnant, so of course we talked. Her first words, “When are you due?” (By the way, pregnant women are apparently only good for one topic of conversation- their due date and how much further they have to go and how much they’re suffering in the meantime.) I answered, “August 2. When are you due?” She replied, with no sense of decency, “I’m due today. But you’re not due until August 2?????!?!?!?! Are you having TWO?!?!?!?!” Gee, thanks… as if I don’t already feel huge… now I have another extremely pregnant woman confirming the fact that I look like a flipping blimp. At least she was honest! So yes, my friends, verification that I am correct in not posting pictures of my hugeness on Facebook this time around.

But now to the fun things. I am getting super excited to meet this little life-changer. When we first envisioned having a second child, we couldn’t have conceived how much Hula Girl would have changed and grown in those short nine months. Now I sit and watch her and think about how her life will change (all day, every day, it’s like I don’t have TV to keep me entertained or something…). She’s going to be a big sister. Can you imagine?! Jonathan and I now have the responsibility of not only keeping her alive and helping her do her best in life, but we have to help her get along with someone else so that they can have a real relationship for the rest of their lives! Whoa. I’ll touch on that again later.

Planning for this delivery has been far different from planning for Hula Girl’s delivery. (I promise the next few paragraphs will not get gross or graphic, so men- Ahem, Aaron- don’t feel like you need to skip this part.) With hers, I had no idea what to expect. I vaguely had an idea that I’d like to have a “natural childbirth” but I really had no idea what that meant. Sure, we attended a childbirth class at the hospital, but we spent most of the time hyperventilating from trying not to laugh at the instructor and her very explicit portrayal of the birth process. The other couples were really engaged in the class, and I fear we broke their concentration not just once when we were all supposed to be practicing breathing and labor positions. (Sorry other couples! Won’t happen again!) We just couldn’t handle the humorous aspect of sitting on the floor in the dark whispering “hee-hee-hoo-hoo” together. I challenge any of you to get your spouse, turn out the lights, look each other in the eye (by light of the moon, of course, because all hospital rooms are dark all the time… yeah, right!), and stay in rhythm while breathing some ridiculous chant (try “ho-hee-ho-hee”) together without laughing your fool heads off. If you succeed, bully. But we were hopelessly lost.

Anyway, the short of the long of it is that we were basically undecided as far as medication, interventions, etc., go. We kinda just figured the nurses and the doctors do this all the time- let’s just listen to them!

And you know what? It worked out just fine. Really. We have a happy, healthy, smart, wonderful 2-year-old to prove it.

But this time we decided to go ahead and research a bit. I mean, it’s not like we’ve never done this before, but perhaps we’d like to try something new? So we looked into the Bradley Method. Pretty much anyone I’ve ever asked about it (who has used it, anyway) has raved about it. Cool. So I read the book, passed it on to Jonathan, and here we stand. I am still not 100 percent against using pain remedies if things go nuts. Heck, we might even end up with a C-section this time. One never knows. But I do feel more confident in my own understanding of all aspects of labor and delivery and I will feel better being able to weigh my options more carefully. So, wahoo.

And the cute little tiny things!!! It’s funny how quickly I forgot how itty bitty newborn stuff is… and how fun it is to open packages and get things ready for the baby!

We have an abundance of clothing for Gelato thanks to my mom and to Jonathan’s coworker. I am actually asking people NOT to get clothes for him at all, because he is fully outfitted from newborn to about 18 months right now. I just can’t afford to give up any more closet space! I need to get those things all washed, sorted by size, and put away. Yikes.

Jonathan has gotten our crib halfway set up. We can’t do it while Hula Girl is sleeping (Gelato’s room is right next to hers), and our family time at home has been severely lacking in the past few weeks. But that will get done eventually. I’m still waiting on the mattress wrapper to arrive in the mail- once that gets here, we’ll officially have his bed ready.

We got all new cloth diapers this time around! We’re using Thirsties Duo Wraps with prefolds during the day and diaper covers over Fab Fitteds at night. That means nothing to childless couples. But for those of you who care, I am excited about this combo. I am even more excited because I emailed a couple of internet mom friends who use this combo (or similar set ups) and they L.O.V.E. them… that is really encouraging considering all the issues I had with our previous diapers. Now I just have to figure out how to fold the prefold so that we don’t end up with major breastfed-baby-liquid-poop blowouts! (I hear there’s a special technique…)

My BFF Jo also arranged a “virtual baby shower” for me since most of my friends and family are spread out across the country (or live at least 2.5 hours from me, if they’re in-state). We don’t have a whole lot on our list that we need, but we listed a few bigger items, like our monitor, swaddle blankets, and diapers. I am super grateful for this “event” because it means we can still be excited to share with our family and friends without having the stress of “but-she-lives-too-far-away!” It’s also tough for me to get a day away from home since Hula Girl is pretty much alive 24/7, and I’d like to keep her that way. Jonathan does a great job with her, but I don’t like to just pass her off on the weekends and say, “See you when I’m done enjoying myself… I know you work all week but now you can work at home, too!” (Let’s be honest… that does happen occasionally, but I try not to spend more than a couple hours away here and there.) Anyway, thanks, Jo, for your support and for your willingness to arrange something that doesn’t involve party games. 🙂

We also bought a new freezer for our garage a couple weekends ago. Yahoo! We’ve started stockpiling things like organic chicken (on sale for $1.99/lb!!! We bought 10 pounds!). We’ve also started building up our freezer meals so that when Gelato arrives, I can just pull out something for Jonathan and Hula Girl to eat. My mom contributed three items this past weekend, and we’ve already cooked a couple ourselves. So they won’t starve. They might get really sick’o’lasagna (that’s pretty much what we’ve got so far, plus some mashed potatoes), but at least they’ll be fed.

Okay, that was the longest update ever. Basically, things are slowly coming together and I am sick of being pregnant. Short and sweet….maybe I should have said that at the beginning?

 

 

29 Weeks and Natural Childbirth

Well, here we are at 29 weeks gestation, and I am ready to deliver this baby.

Yeah, yeah, he’s not ready to come out yet, and we have absolutely nothing for him yet, not even a crib. But eight more weeks, and he’s technically full-term, and by then I will be most definitely beyond ready. I feel so huge this time. I do weigh more at this point in pregnancy than I did last time, but I also started out weighing more pre-pregnancy. Boo. I think I’ve gained about the same amount of weight overall, but just that starting number… it’s really throwing me off my game.

Oh well, whiner!

Gelato, according to my Babycenter update, is about 2.5 pounds and about 15 inches long, head to heel. He’s getting big! His head is getting huge and his bones are solidifying. So I basically have to eat a lot of good-for-you-things. Check.

Something that’s been on my mind a lot during this pregnancy has been the idea of doing a natural childbirth. This was not feasible last time due to other circumstances. (I maintain that I was slightly hoodwinked by my doctor and her nursing staff… after doing a lot of research on that lately, I feel like we could have let the pregnancy progress longer and had a natural delivery.) However, I am somewhat glad that things went the way they did last time because I have a lot more motivation to really do the research and prepare better than I would have otherwise.

I have been asking a lot of mom friends that I trust about their experiences, and every single one of them who has had a natural childbirth experience says it was wonderful and that she’d gladly do it again. Many of them also rave about the Bradley Method, so I decided to check it out.

I found the book by Dr. Bradley, Husband-Coached Childbirth, at our library on Tuesday and I was finished with it by Wednesday night. I was pretty impressed with it and it motivated me to try this. At first when I was reading through some of the chapters, I was freaking out, because the experience he describes is so completely different from what I had last time. I am feeling uneasy about using an OB simply because I know that some OBs are very quick to suggest labor augmentation and/or pain medications. I am still not sure how my OB will handle it- she says she’s on board for natural delivery, but I think I will have to question her more closely now that I know what I’m looking for. (Watch out, a little info in my hands goes a loooong way and I am S.T.U.B.B.O.R.N… but if you’re reading this you already knew that about me, most likely!)

Anyway, it’s also been really helpful to look over a few birth plans written by friends and strangers. I used to think birth plans were stupid because you never know what is going to happen… whether your delivery situation will be “ideal” or not. That’s why I was so willing to just do what the doctors and nurses said I should do last time. I didn’t really give any of it a second thought. Oh, hindsight, you torture me… But this time I am ready to make a birth plan and I have a lot of very specific things I want to include. Jonathan has agreed to sit down and read the book, so that he and I can make the birth plan together. We will be doing this in the next two weeks, so that when we go back to my OB in June, we can bring the plan with us to have it approved and signed. I also plan to call the hospital in the meantime, just so that I can learn what is required by law/policy/whatnot, and what is negotiable. For example, some hospitals require 24/7 fetal heart monitoring (a really wide, really itchy band is strapped to the mom’s belly). This severely limits the ability of the mother to move around during labor. Other hospitals will allow 15-minute check-ins and the like. Each hospital is different… so yeah. Since I’m not delivering in the same hospital as last time (shucks!-for real, it was so nice being in a brand new facility!), I have no clue about the hospital’s policies and procedures.

I will keep you posted on our birth plan and how things are going. I can say that exercising yesterday was simple and easy to do every day, so I can see myself actually doing the things I’m supposed to do to prepare. (Bradley’s method includes several “exercises” that are basically as simple as folding laundry, or easier… one of them is called, “Sleep Position.”) Here we go!

 

Doctor Visits and an Update-28.5 Weeks

Hula Girl and I had to go to my parents’ house over the weekend so we could do a final follow-up visit with her ophthalmologist (yes, I realize I spelled that word incorrectly in several different ways in several previous posts… but this is correct, my friends). The visit went smoothly, and we’re good to go now. No more leaky eye! Hooray!

I had to drag Hula Girl along to my OB appointment yesterday. Yes, I have officially entered the 3rd trimester… last Thursday. So, this was technically my 28-week appointment. Here’s the gist- he’s growing right on track, all signs point to healthy (both me and him), and all is good.

Details-

  • My blood glucose test (did it 3 weeks ago) came back with perfect results. Duh. As if anyone was concerned about me getting GD. Ha.
  • I gained 3 pounds since the last visit. I don’t really want to keep gaining a pound a week during this trimester (even though that’s what they say typically happens), but at least Starbucks isn’t doing half-off Frapps anymore. 😉
  • My blood pressure is (still) really low- 98/68. The lowest it’s been during my 2 pregnancies so far was 90/58 one time when I was about 30 weeks along with Hula Girl. The highest it’s been was 110/80. I think that was earlier on in the pregnancy with her, like around 24 weeks or so. (Aren’t you glad you know this now?)
  • Gelato’s heart rate was in the 140’s… holding strong there, I guess. Good for him!
  • Annnnnnd… I’m still measuring EXACTLY at 28 weeks. So, an early delivery is not looking hopeful… even though I feel like I could give birth tomorrow. I am SO much bigger this time around. Sigh.

I have been doing kick counts each night. I downloaded an app on my phone that stores all my kick count info. I start the app, which keeps track of time and I tap the screen each time I feel movement. I do this until I’ve felt him 10 times, and then I save the time. They’re generally looking for about 10 kicks within 10 minutes. My most recent kick count has 10 movements in… 40 seconds. Gelato’s a mover. All.the.time. Haha, yesterday I was sitting on the couch and I was watching my entire stomach shifting side-to-side. I think he thought he was swinging or something.

 

Words, Nighttime Potty Escapades, Zoo, and a Tearful Moment

Words: Hula Girl’s vocabulary is growing and her pronunciation is getting better… and funnier. For example, she lengthens out short /a/ sounds to more of a /ee-yah/. Bread and bed both come out sounding like “bee-yab.” When she’s saying hi to the man in the car next to us, she says, “Hi, Mee-yam!” (Yes, it sounds like she’s calling him “Ma’am.” That’s another thing- words ending in /n/ come out ending in /m/ when she says them. “One” becomes “wum.”

Here’s how she counts to ten: “Wum, two, ee, oh-ee, wive, ix, wevem, eet, nine, nuhnnnnnn!”

Another catchphrase of hers is something she gleaned from my own vocabulary, “Oh my goodness.” Except when she says it, it comes out like, “Ohhh myyyy nee-neeessss!”

She calls books “boops” and the tube slide the “boob.”

When she wants another one, she’ll say, “Nodda wum, meese.”

She has updated her pronunciation of her blankets. No longer are they “Neen wah nee-nees,” but rather they are called, “Wipe neen wesh ninkee an puh-poh neen wesh ninkee.” (White clean fresh blankie and purple clean fresh blankie.) She is quite specific.

She’s very specific about everything. This morning I sneezed in the car, and heard, “Beh boh, Mommy. Mommy nee inee no inee cah inee Mommy cah-eet out-ide diveen at yoo.” (Bless you, Mommy. Mommy sneezed in the nose in the car in Mommy’s carseat outside driving at zoo.) She always tells me that yawns happen in mouths, etc. She always tells me the exact location of everything. It reminds me of Harry Potter’s first letters from Hogwarts, addressed to Harry Potter, under the stairs, in the smallest room, etc.Yeah, I’m a geek.

Another of my favorites these days is the way she enjoys her food. Every meal is accompanied by a loud chorus of, “Yum, yummy, nummy, num, num, yummy, num, nummy, yummy, yum, yum, yum!”

Nighttime Potty Escapades: Sunday night was killer. Jonathan and I were woken at 3 a.m. (technically Monday morning) by Hula Girl crying for Daddy and Mommy. We went in, and she told us she’d had a bad dream. We comforted, prayed, and left. Five minutes later, she cried again, saying she wanted to go “poopoo an peepee inee big boppy inee Mommy Daddy yoom.” (Poopoo and peepee in the big potty in Mommy and Daddy’s room.) We thought it through and Jonathan carried her to our bathroom and set her on the potty. She went peepee, but refused to go poopoo. So we took her back to her room, put a dry diaper on her, and put her back to bed. Five minutes later, she was crying to go poopoo. So I went and got her, put her on the potty, she poopooed, and back to bed she went. She fell asleep until the morning. So weird. I am hoping this is not going to be something that happens often.

Zoo: We went to the zoo for the second time today. But before I get into that, let me back up a couple weeks to our first visit. That trip was pretty much a disaster as far as outings go.

First, Hula Girl threw up in the car just as we were pulling into the zoo parking lot. Of course, I had a fleece hoodie and lined pants as extra clothes in the car (um, hello, no one reminded me to switch the backup clothes when the seasons changed). There was no way she was going to be able to wear those hot hot clothes all the way through the zoo in 80 degree weather. So, I did what any sensible mom would do. I stood her up in her stroller in the middle of the parking lot, stripped her NAKED (not even undies on that little bum!), washed her down the best I could with water from my water bottle (of course I had no wipes- who do you think I am, Ms. Ready-For-Anything?!), and then dressed her again in her (slightly vomited-on-and-still-wet) undies, fleece pullover, and heavy lined winter pants.

Then, I went to the ticket window, purchased my ticket (Hula Girl is free until she’s three), and asked where the gift shop was.

Next, the gift shop didn’t carry anything smaller than a youth size 6-8. So, we bought a bright yellow T-shirt featuring a zebra and the words, “Go Wild at the Zoo!” I also had to buy a hat for her because her normal hat had been sitting dangerously close to her carseat, and it got vomited on. Nice. So there we were, tourists of all tourists, with my kid in a ducky hat and a zebra t-shirt… and that’s when I realized…

We left her shoes in the car. Now, call me selfish, call me lazy, call me anything you like. But I’ll tell you what I am. Pregnant. You think a giant pregnant lady with a toddler swimming in a Lemonhead-colored t-shirt needs to walk all the way out to the car just to get the kid’s shoes, when a perfectly good stroller is available?! Heck, no.

So I pushed her all through the zoo in the stroller. Not really fun for her, but at least it kept her contained and we could go at a decent pace.

Fast forward to today. Here’s what we did:

North American River Otters- Hula Girl’s favorite animals!

That’s right, my monkey girl pretty much made out with all the animals she could through the glass. She kissed otters, monkeys, lizards, and takins. She also yelped at peacocks, honked at geese, oinked at pigs, baa-ed at sheep and goats, and laughed while one camel tried to bite off the other camel’s leg. (No joke- does anyone know if this is a normal camel mating ritual or something?)

She ran and ran and ran. I wondered when she’d get tired of running. I have always heard of this phenomenon where kids’ legs get “tired” after walking for a while. (I vaguely remember feeling this way myself when I was a wee one.) Suddenly, Hula Girl was unable to take a step without stumbling. I asked her, “Would you like to ride in the stroller and take a little rest?” She came tripping over and climbed into the stroller, saying, “[Hula Girl] take eedee yest.” I’m pretty sure if I had kept her in the stroller and walked for another 20 minutes, she’d have taken her nap right there in the zoo. Ha, but my pregnant self was tired of walking, so we came home instead. All in all, the second visit was much better than the first.

Tearful Moment: Today I cried sobbed, wailed, and poured out my heart to God. This beautiful baby has gone to Heaven, far sooner than even she had expected. When I saw the news, my heart broke. All these questions for God- Why now? Why her? How could you? What will her parents do now? And then a moment of peace and thanksgiving- Thank you, Lord, for letting her go quickly.

What a story. If you have the time, please go to that blog and read through the posts written throughout Avery’s short sweet life. Her parents are an inspiration to all who are going through a really really hard situation. Her message is clear and strong. Be prepared to sob your eyes out. Because it’s so unfair. Again, here’s the link: averycan.blogspot.com

 

Pregnancy #2- 24 Weeks

Things are going well! Gelato is a little over a foot long and a little over a pound in weight. He’s gaining a few ounces per week, and he’ll soon start “filling out.” His skin is becoming less see-through (which is good, if you ask me), and his taste buds are very sensitive. Good thing I like to eat a variety of foods (no, Mom, I don’t live on sugar).

I have been feeling pretty good in the past couple of weeks. I got through all the morning sickness a while back (around 15 weeks is when it was gone for good) and then I started feeling a lot of lower back/hip pain. This is a symptom that I had during the last pregnancy, and it’s brutal. I don’t know if it has to do with the way I stand or walk or sleep or whatnot, but when the pain sets in, it’s difficult for me to move. Fortunately that has really subsided, and unless I really overdo it, I only have minor aches and pains that are easy to ignore.

I have also been quite sleepy lately. I have made it a point to get in a nap every day this week, and since Hula Girl has graced me with such awesome long naps, I have been averaging an hour and  a half per nap! I also fall asleep very early in the evenings, around 8:30 or 9:00 (if left to my own devices- sometimes I stay up later to, oh, do our taxes, or something similar…). Then I don’t wake up until at least 7:00 in the morning, so I’m averaging somewhere around 11.5 hours of sleep per day. YES. I keep saying how glad I am to be a stay-at-home-mom during this pregnancy since it really has wiped me out so much more than the last one did. I think it’s because I’m chasing a toddler, and not just corraling wild monkeys (aka 5th graders). When I was teaching, the kids pretty much knew the routine and I didn’t have to carry them up and down stairs to time out all day long. I didn’t have to pick them up to place them on the big potty. I didn’t have to keep up with them while they ran down hills to save their noses from getting scarred for life in case of a fall. I didn’t have to climb up all the jungle gym equipment at the park to ensure they were safe from jumping off a cliff-sized platform. I didn’t have to push them in strollers or pull them in wagons. No, teaching was pretty cushy, even when pregnant. I got to sit in my chair and swivel and scoot around the front of the room, getting up occasionally to belly-bump my way through the rows and columns to ensure good behavior and excellent work habits.  Yes, I still required those two things from thirty kids at once. But to teach those things to a toddler while pregnant- whole new ball game. Whew. No wonder I sleep a lot.

Everyone says you crave savory/salty things with a boy and sweet things with a girl. Um, nope. Load up my dessert plate, and get ready for round two. Seriously, this boy is a chocolate fiend. I blame him for MAKING me eat chocolate every day. He punches me if I don’t. “What can I do? My belly alien is forcing me!” I do try to eat really well, and I’ve been very cognizant of the foods going into my outside-of-me-family lately. We’ve almost cut out all packaged foods. Our next step is to locate and purchase as much organic produce as we can afford. I am STOKED to have our garden this summer so I can feel free to gorge myself on delicious organic tomatoes, strawberries, melons, squashes, and sweet peas. Yahoo!

I’ve already decided that since Hula Girl did so much better when I was on an elimination diet, I am going to just start an elimination diet a couple weeks before Gelato’s due date, and keep it up until he’s a bit older. I will add food groups into my diet slowly, just to make sure I catch any kind of reaction he has. I am positive that the elimination diet was the most beneficial thing I did while nursing Hula Girl- her reflux was almost nonexistent once I started. It was a lot of work and cravings (and denying those cravings), but it was totally worth it to me. I am terrified that Gelato will have crazy reflux like his big sister had, so I’m going to just be proactive. So, if you DO decide to send/bring/make food for our family, know that Jonathan and Hula Girl are the only ones who’ll eat it (at least at first); don’t be offended when I eschew your delicious lasagna for… turkey and sweet potatoes… again. 🙂

I’ve decided on a theme for Gelato’s nursery- woodland gnomes and creatures! Hedgehogs, foxes, toadstools, owls, and gnomes! Can I just say that I LOVE gnomes and I always always always have? In fact, one of my requirements for doing our garden again this summer was that we will have a garden gnome or two peeping out from among the veggies. Anyway, back to the nursery- I’m going to get a white crib, rocker, and changing table (I’ll paint a gnome on the changing table), a plush green rug from IKEA (to look like grass/moss on the forest floor), white “tree” silhouettes on navy curtains (I’ll probably cut these out of felt), and a giant toadstool ottoman/storage container (my dad is building this for me out of an old tree stump).  I found some perfect (albeit a bit expensive) fabric online, which I will use to cover the rocker cushions and which my mom has suggested using for the crib skirt. I will be making a “mobile” of sorts to hang over the changing table- I’ll get a nice thick branch and spray paint it white and hang plush forest creatures from it. EEEEEEEE! I am soooo excited to see how it all turns out! The only thing left to decide is what to do with the walls- paint them, keep them white, add texture somehow? Not sure. We don’t want to do anything too permanent since this is a rental house, after all.

We received a TON of baby boy clothes for Gelato over Easter weekend. Literally, this boy will not need new clothes until he’s at least a year old. Sigh of relief! That makes things a lot easier (and cheaper) for us! Thank you, kind contributers! We were so fortunate to receive so much stuff, because we went through the clothes and we were able to choose things we liked rather than just keeping things because they were free. We also scored a ton of stain-free stuff that way (hard to find when looking at used baby clothes)! Jonathan was over the moon to be picking out clothes for his son. Hula Girl just wanted to try everything on. I was sitting there thinking (and saying , frequently), “Will he really be this little?!??!!”

So, the preparations have begun, and things are looking good. Yay!

 

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