Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Certified (or Certifiable?)

Last night we received the "official" certificate of completion for our five week childbirth course. Unfortunately, just showing up to the class doesn't mean my labor will go smoothly, but we can rest assured they've prepared us for a lot of the obstacles and emergencies that can happen during child birth. 

Our final class included a tour of the hospital's birth center which was interesting to see. Michael made note of the closest snack bar and unlimited flavored coffee and soda supply they offer to "support people" (while I suck on ice chips). 

Several other couples from our class have due dates around ours so maybe we'll bump into them when our time comes to deliver. It's kinda crazy to think that the next time we're in the birth center we'll be coming home with one more family member. 

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Showered With Love

The weekend may have started out a bit rough due to sleep deprivation and a runny nose, but it definitely ended on a high note. This was all thanks to my wonderful girlfriends Courtney, Michelle & Gina who threw me a baby shower this afternoon. 

I didn't realize until I got home that I neglected to take a single picture with my own camera, so hopefully they can pass along some pics of the fun games and adorable handmade polka-dot cake. Their husbands also pitched in creating a well-engineered, three-tiered diaper cake that is so cute I don't want to tear it apart. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when the guys were putting it together. Let's just say, I wasn't too surprised to hear that the process included a few beers and putting a newborn diaper on Rob & Courtney's dog Chaco (a Catahoula who isn't exactly newborn size).

After returning home, my mom and I were putting things away in the nursery and I realized we have pretty much everything we need for when the baby comes. There are still a couple of small things we need that can be purchased with our gift cards, but it's an amazing feeling to know how thoughtful and generous our friends and family are in supporting us. 

They say it takes a village to raise a child and I am confident our son and ourselves as parents will have no shortage of love and support throughout this journey. 

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Pass the Kleenex

For the last few days, all I've wanted to do is cuddle up on the couch and sleep for about 48 hours straight. I've been fighting off a cold this last week and it's finally catching up with me. 

Unfortunately, most cold medicine is not safe for pregnant women so I've basically taken a few random Tylenol to curb the sore throat pain and that's it. Luckily my sore throat is waning, but it has been replaced with some serious nasal drainage. All of this has been somewhat bearable until last night. I couldn't really sleep because I couldn't really breathe and the nasal drainage led to coughing (and let me just say that's not any fun when you have extra poundage pressing down on your pelvis and bladder). 

I need to get this pity party out of my system because I have some very fun things to do this weekend. So my plan is to pour a bowl of cereal and recuperate over a Food Network marathon for an hour or two. Who needs Benadryl when you have the Barefoot Contessa?  

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Baby Book Developments

I have an interesting update for you on the baby book front. Mike was visiting over at our our neighbor's house last night and came home with three (yes, three) baby books. They are all written for fathers-to-be on topics ranging from being a good birth partner to general parenting tips. 

Knowing our neighbors, I immediately assumed Jack had offered the books to Mike and he accepted them out of politeness, but apparently my husband actually asked if he could borrow them. Who knew a non-reader would gather such a parenting book library? He's up to four! 

Maybe our book tally should count the books collected instead of read just to give Mike some hope. Who knows, maybe he will find his inner bookworm after all. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Doctor's Appointment Update

I'm now going to the doctor every two weeks and my latest appointment was this afternoon. We went through the usual routine and measured the baby's heartrate at 141 which is right on track. They also measure the size of my baby bump while lying down and I'm measuring slightly larger than 33 weeks.

I've been worried that the baby isn't turning head down like he should be, but the nurse reassured me that he has turned because the heartbeat is registering below my bellybutton. We've been able to feel some of his body parts very close to the surface lately, but what I thought was his head up underneath my belly button and lungs turns out is more likely his butt.

In any case, I'm relieved to hear he's not breach which is one less complication resulting in a C section.

We also discussed the possibility of scheduling an induction. Up until now, I hadn't really formed an opinion about whether or not I'd want to induce so it's something we need to discuss and consider prior to my next visit. There would be several physical milestones that would have to happen in order for my doctor to proceed with an induction, but one positive would be the fact that we could schedule the delivery for a day when my OBGYN is on call and could deliver our baby (an idea that very much appeals to me).

If we decide to go that route, it would probably happen sometime between Sept. 3-8. Since several sets of our parents have to travel from other states it would be convenient to schedule an induction, assuming the baby follows our plan as well. There are so many things to think about now that we're getting down to the wire.

On a different note, several of you have emailed me wanting an updated belly bump picture. Despite the 100+ heat and comments from co-workers that I look "a bit tired and run down" (as one woman so kindly put it), here you go:

Sadly, Roxy is actually in the red chair behind me sticking her head over the arm but you can't see her because of my belly.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Week 33

Here are a few fun facts about the baby's development this week:

-- He weighs in at over 4 pounds and measures roughly 18-19 inches in length or more!

-- The baby is steadily gaining weight during pregnancy at 33 weeks. For the remainder of the pregnancy he will continue to put on weight. 

-- The amniotic fluid surrounding the baby will reach its highest level during pregnancy week 33, then decline somewhat as he continues to grow larger.

-- During pregnancy week 33 and beyond a baby's brain is working hard at maturing. This week the baby's head will increase in size by as much as 2/8 of an inch due to rapid brain growth and maturity.

--His skin will also start transforming into a more pink color as he starts to add fat to his body.

On the mommy front, it's very common to have difficulty sleeping, begin waddling at this stage and also bump into things, so sounds like I'm right on track as well. 

Thursday, July 17, 2008


Lately the baby has been having lots of hiccups. The first time it happened it felt like he was repeatedly kicking or hitting me in the same spot. After this went on for several minutes we realized he was either using me as a punching bag for an extended workout, or having a bout of hiccups.

They seem to come on more at night when I'm in bed reading. Just like other hiccups children and adults have, doctors can't really explain why babies get them while in the womb. It makes me wonder what it feels like to him whenever I have hiccups.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Sometimes You Just Need Your Mom

Thanks to my mom I can now step foot in the nursery without having a mental breakdown. Since we returned home from Houston and unloaded our shower gifts, I haven't been able to walk past the nursery room door without having pangs of anxiety.

Here's a brief snippet of the gazillion thoughts that ran through my head: What if the baby comes early? Our crib mattress still has plastic wrap on it! But if I wash the sheets and set up the bed now and he comes on time, everything will be dusty come September. Should I go ahead and set it up, then rewash everything if I need to.....and on and on and on.

Yes, I realize I've lost it. But luckily my mom came over Sunday and helped me regain a little bit of sanity. We unpacked all the gift bags and sorted everything, washed loads of adorable miniature clothes, and began organizing the room.

There are still plenty of finishing touches to be done, but at least the room could function as an acceptable nursery should the baby come early. What is it about moms that make them know just what you need right when you need it?

Friday, July 11, 2008

A Dose of Humility

I've learned two very valuable pregnancy lessons this week. The first relates to proximity and how I am a terrible judge of it these days.

There have been numerous occasions of opening doors or cabinets thinking I had plenty of room, only to swipe by own belly. For a normal person this would result in thinking twice before you open something next time, but I have yet to learn my lesson and continue to graze all kinds of things past my baby bump.

The most embarrassing incident occurred when I had to step out of a meeting recently to go tell another colleague something. Seems innocent enough, right? Well the conference room door was cracked open with what I thought was plenty of room for me to squeeze through. Not so much. I totally didn't fit and there is NO playing that off in front of my coworkers. When I returned to the room they all stopped the conversation and got a big laugh over how badly I misjudged the space and nearly got stuck in the door.

The second lesson I've learned is that I'm completely losing any intelligence I once possessed. Last night we were enjoying a lovely game of Guesstures (think charades) with our dear friends Rob & Courtney. The girls were enjoying yet another victory over the boys (insert evil laugh here) but in the middle of my turn instead of acting out the word "cobra" I started acting out the animal "cougar" -- two very different things. Where has my mind gone? How did I confuse a cobra and a cougar?

As humbling as both of these lessons have been, I'm hoping it doesn't get worse before it gets better. At least I'm providing some mild comic relief to my coworkers and friends. All I can do is laugh along with them since it's just so darn silly.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

BreastFest 2008

So tonight we embarked on a whole new world... 

A world filled with strange bras, nipple shields, lactation consultants and an hour's worth of slides showing a baby properly and unproperly  latching on to a breast. Yes, you guessed it. We attended our first of two breast feeding classes. 

I was surprised to see so many men in attendance but I'm sure they were there out of support or, like Michael, were interested in seeing the inner-workings of something so near and dear to their hearts. Too bad the fun was immediately stripped away by having to refer to everything by it's proper medical term. 

On a related note, Michael has recently become increasingly interested in the thought of milk squirting out of my breast in some sort of projectile fashion. I keep trying to tell him there isn't any milk in there yet (which was reinforced by our class tonight), but there is colostrum which the baby will eat in small doses for the first 3-5 days until the milk comes in.

Either way, he's expecting some sort of pressurized water show that I'm likely not going to live up to. Maybe these classes will help get the thought out of his system. Here's to hoping...

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

One Baby-filled Tuesday

Today seemed like it was all about baby. I started the day with my 8 month check up. The baby's heart rate was 137 and my doctor said his growth is right on track. I now start having regular check ups every two weeks and then around mid-August will go every week.

The more frequent appointments really make the time go by quickly which reaffirms that the baby's arrival is near. Today the doctor gave me a packet of info about labor and delivery. I asked if I need to write a "birth plan" (which is the latest trend for moms-to-be where you write out how you want the delivery to go...drugs/natural, different positions for comfort, use of IVs, catheter, etc.). The problem is I think the entire idea of a "birth plan" is a farce (hence why I only write it with quotation marks).

I mean no disrespect to those who feel relieved by having one, it's just that labor and delivery are probably the least likely thing in the world you can predict, especially your first time around. So I asked my OBGYN if I needed a "birth plan" and told her I thought they were a crock. She laughed and said she was glad I felt that way because everything I "planned" would likely fly out the window the moment the contractions start since the baby is running the show (for the most part).

We talked through things I can control like having drugs, playing music or a DVD in the room to help relax, learning different positions that might provide comfort during contractions and reduce the risk of a c-section, and so on. It helped knowing that my doctor and I are on the same page (plus we have a similar sense of humor that I'm sure will come in handy).

Then at work I decided it was time to start writing up my transition plan for when I'm on maternity leave. There are lots of regular deadlines which others will have to cover that weren't actually written anywhere on paper. Getting all of this info out of my head and into a document is helping me feel more prepared.

The baby-filled day ended with our second childbirth class. We reviewed the stages of labor and related terminology, then watched another wonderful birthing video. This time we followed Deborah's story which emphasized how long labor and delivery actually are for most women. Deborah began the stages of early labor around 8:15 a.m. and had her baby around 1:15 a.m. the next morning. And if this healthy dose of reality wasn't enough, she also had a natural birth so she was able to feel every second of pain throughout the day and night. So what if her baby girl was adorable in the end, that's really not what I took away from the story. 

Next week we're going to learn all about epidurals and other birth-related medications. I think it will be my favorite class yet. 

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Last Hurrah

We just returned home from a weekend in Houston which marked my last road trip until the baby comes. I'm now supposed to venture no further than 2 hours from the hospital. 

The long drive took its toll, but was well worth it to see Michael's family one last time while it's just the three of us (Roxy came too, of course). Two of his aunts threw us a wonderful baby shower which was co-ed no less and very entertaining. We played games, munched on an amazing spread of fresh fruit and breakfast sweets, and came home with a car-full of adorable baby gear. 

It is hard to believe that the next time we make that trip it will be with a baby boy in the back seat. It's all quickly becoming a reality and man, do I have a lot to do before we're ready! I'm sure most women feel that way, but if the baby were to come early I would not be prepared at home or at work. I'm sure things would work themselves out, but I might have a mental breakdown in the process.

To further emphasize how much the birth of our son is looming, when we were unloading the car tonight Michael asked if we should just keep the car seat in the car. It was one of the gifts we received and had eagerly strapped in to the back seat to check out the size and ease of use. It was no big deal when I thought we were just testing the equipment, but for some reason when he asked if we needed it permanently in the car "just in case" I must admit I silently panicked for a split second. 

Don't get me wrong, my pregnant body is growing more uncomfortable by the day but I still have so much to learn about what happens when the baby actually comes. I'm not entirely sure that feeling will ever completely go away which is also a bit nerve-racking. 

Enough of that for now. As the 60-day mark creeps up on us, I'm sure there will be more posts of a panicked mom-to-be. Maybe I'll feel a little better after Tuesday. I have another monthly check up as well as a childbirth class that night. Bring on the relaxation exercises!

Oh, before I sign off I should also mention that while in Houston Michael also acquired his old pellet gun from childhood. It's complete with a practice target that has little animal cutouts tied to strings so you can shoot them down and then pull them back up all from a safe distance. So now we have two pellet guns, handmade and store-bought targets yet no moles or mice have yet to be scared off. Apparently instead of tallying books Michael read, I should have been counting random firearm updates... 

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Childbirth Class: Round One

So tonight we attended our first of five childbirth classes. They are being taught by a labor & delivery nurse in the education center at our hospital.

We were sitting in the class all of 25 seconds when Michael asked, "Is it okay to be the class clown?" Luckily we were seated next to what would become the other ornery couple in the class so it was good company.

The room was full of about 26 people which consisted of first-time parents/couples like us, one knocked up teenager with her mom and another married couple that also brought along the maternal grandmother-to-be.

We kicked things off in style by watching a video depicting the stages of labor. For some reason this video featured labor and delivery of women who were completely naked. Our instructor was quick to point out that our hospital's policy includes gowns, but the damage was done.

Michael's take-away from the video was the surprising cottage cheese-like substance that the baby is coated in at birth. After the video we went through several other exercises which seemed cheesy in nature (luckily not the cottage cheese type). Suffice it to say, we quickly learned which participants were the avid pregnancy researchers and question askers. (Note to self: I doubt they would appreciate our video commentary so choose seats accordingly in future sessions)

The class concluded with some breathing and relaxation techniques. The instructor turned down the lights, played a soft CD of nature sounds and talked us through random visuals to help us relax. The couple next to us was having an extremely difficult time suppressing their laughter which was a bit contagious, but we held it together. Part of the teacher's script actually included one of my favorite lines from the movie Office Space..."deeper and deeper, way down..." when the shrink is trying to hypnotize the main character. But I digress...

We survived week one without getting kicked out or scolded so I consider that a success. I was also able to size up (pardon the pun) the other pregnant women who are due within days of me and I have to say it was a psychological boost to see their swelling and weight gain compared to mine. Fingers crossed this continues at next week's session.

Michael on the way to class with a writing utensil in his pocket and at the ready for note taking.

Walking into the education center with our two pillows like good students.