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Archive for April, 2012

35 Weeks

Oh man, I am behind. The last time I did a weekly update was at 30 weeks. Time is flying!

Forgive the camera-phone-in-the-bathroom shot. We haven’t had the time to take “real” photos lately.

Total weight gain: I haven’t weighed myself since my last appointment on April 11. I was in the middle of getting over some sort of flu/bronchitis nastiness so I hadn’t gained anything from what I could tell on the scale. May have even lost weight actually. Most of it water weight, as my foot bones and ankles were visible again from all the lounging around. That was the ONLY upside to being so sick for 2 weeks.

How big is baby?: Close to 5 1/2 pounds and about 18 inches long. Or the size of a butternut squash. Baby won’t grow much more in length now, and most of his bodily developments are complete. His main job these next few weeks is just to fatten up. Though hopefully not TOO much since he’s still gotta squeeze through my birth canal.

Maternity clothes:  Yes. And sadly, some items I bought earlier on no longer fit. Fortunately, my maternity jeans still fit, as do my dresses. I have a feeling I’ll be wearing the same five outfits every week from here on out. I really don’t want to spend any more money on maternity clothes at this point. I need to start saving for some nursing-friendly outfits and bras.

Stretch marks?: Not yet. Shockingly. I think I see a little pinkness happening on my lower belly, but I’ll keep using my stretch oil and hope for the best these next few weeks. I highly doubt I’ll get through this pregnancy without some pretty visible stretch marks, but I just hope they’re minimal and will eventually go away with the help of some creams and lotions.

Sleep: It varies. I get up about 3 times on average to pee each night – sometimes more, sometimes less, but at least twice for sure. And lately, my hips have really started hurting in the middle of the night. I don’t know if it’s hormone-related and they’re spreading, or if it’s from the added weight and pressure I put on them when I sleep on my side at night. It’s really a struggle to roll over from side to side several times a night, and sometimes my back will pop when I roll over which scares the bejeezus out of me and makes me feel like I’m breaking my back. It doesn’t hurt really, it just feels weird.

Best moment this week: Our newborn care class on Saturday was pretty educational and got me super excited to meet our little man. I can’t wait to feed him, bathe him, play with him, rock him to sleep and just get to know him.

I also placed an order for a Cardinals music box that plays “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” It was the first song I ever learned, taught to me by my grandpa as we used to sing it all the time on the way home from daycare. With my grandpa being so sick and possibly (I hate to think about it) not being around before the year is out, I wanted to make sure to carry on the tradition some how.

Oh, and while this is probably more gross to most people than exciting, my boobs have started, um, leaking. Not much, but just a drop here or there. I’m both amazed and happy that my body is responding to growing this baby the way that it has. Even though I’ve read that this is no indication of how breastfeeding will go, it makes me hopeful that I’ll at least have a decent supply.

Movement: Oh yes. Some days more than others. At my last appointment, the OB confirmed that he’s in “launching” position, with his head down, butt up and feet over on my right side. I feel most of his movements either way down low near my bladder (I assume where his arms/head is) and up high on the right (feet). I don’t now if it’s Braxton Hicks or if he’s just stretching, but lately when I feel it, I’ve been able to look down and see what I believe to be the outline of his bum or hip poking out from my stomach.

Food cravings: Nothing crazy but over the last week, I’ve found myself really craving nachos, a chocolate donut, ice cream, and a bologna sandwich. Not at the same time of course.

Food aversions: None really, but now that my stomach is running out of room, my heartburn is back with a vengeance. If I don’t eat, the acids in my stomach give me heartburn and when I do eat, depending on what it is I’ll get heartburn too. For example, a bagel might give me heartburn whereas nachos with jalapenos will not. It’s really odd.

Labor signs: Just some sporadic Braxton Hicks contractions, and sometimes a soreness deep within my girly regions, which may be a labor-prep sign or it could just be the fact that I sit for so long each day and there’s too much weight/pressure on my pelvic area.

Belly button in or out: Definitely in but getting more and more shallow and flat.

What I miss: Fashionable shoes and not walking so slow.

What I’m looking forward to: Finishing the nursery. We’re about 75% done. I’ll be sure to post pics.

Milestone: 35 weeks means I have just 5 weeks left. FIVE. WEEKS. Or less. It’s crunch time, folks. Next week I’ll officially be 9 months and the week after that I’ll be full term and ready to roll at any time.

Other random thoughts: Even though we’re so close, we still have SO much to do. Such as…

  • Pick a pediatrician
  • Pre-register at the hospital
  • Finish the nursery
  • Pack a hospital bag
  • Install the car seat
  • Finish buying some of the necessities from our registry
  • Set up the pack ‘n play (so we can use the bassinet part of it for those first few weeks)
  • Pick a new doctor – since mine is moving at the end of May
  • And then the 35 things I still need to transition or wrap-up at work…

Anyone wanna swap to-do lists?

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Newborn Care Class

After much researching and consideration, we decided a couple of months ago to skip the childbirth classes offered at our hospital and instead opted to spend our money toward a 7 hour newborn care class. My reasoning for this was because for one, I know I’ll want an epidural for delivery, and I’m planning to deliver at a hospital, the standard way with doctors and nurses and hopefully have a pretty standard birthing process. My birth plan is just to have this baby with as little pain for me and the baby as possible and a quick recovery. I don’t want to go natural, I don’t want a doula, I don’t want to do a water birth or home birth or anything else that might require additional planning. I just want a healthy baby to take home. So it wasn’t important to me to sit through an 8 hour class or multiple week sessions on what will hopefully be just one day of my life. I can pretty much read about anything I need to know, and in a lot less than 8 hours. I know it’s going to be painful, I know the signs of labor, and I know where to go when I get to the hospital. After that, I’m relying on doctors and nurses to help deliver this baby and keep me healthy. I’d rather spend my time and money on a class that’s going to help me once the baby is actually HERE and through the next 6 months, when we’re on our own.

The class was from 8am (so early!) until 3pm today. I wasn’t quite sure what to expect and hoped it wouldn’t be a huge waste of time. Turns out, it was even more helpful than I expected!

Let me just start by saying that I read a TON on pregnancy and parenting. Hell, I spend a good chunk of my professional day working with mom bloggers. I feel like I know more than the average first-timer about this whole pregnancy and parenting thing. But after this class? It would seem I’ve been mistaken.

DISCLAIMER: I’ve outlined a bunch of things I learned below. I know there’s some controversy around some of these things but I’m just repeating what the nurse and the pediatrician advised in the class. Everyone is entitled to their own opinions and parenting styles, but I happen to trust doctors and nurses more than blogs, friends, even my own mother. So I’m sharing these guidelines and don’t mind saying that these are the guidelines I’ll be following personally.

So with that said, here are some things I learned which may or may not be helpful to you:

Medical:

  • Doctors recommend that for accurate temperature taking, rectal thermometers are best for infants. Pacifier thermometers, ear thermometers and the like are fine for babies after 6 mos, but not good for infants.
  • If temp is above 100.4, call the doc.
  • Don’t ever give baby aspirin to a baby. Obviously the name is misleading, but it can cause seizures.
  • If doc okays it, use Tylenol via a medicine dropper and apply in sides of mouth where they can lick/swallow it, not directly down baby’s throat because of their strong gag reflex.
  • Babies will get about 8 colds their first year. And the only things you can really do to help are use a humidifier, one of those suction bulb things, and some saline rinse.
  • Vaccinate on schedule. The number of people that don’t vaccinate their children is on the rise – presumably because they feel some of the vaccinations are unnecessary and some feel it’s linked to autism. Both the nurse and pediatrician said this is false and because there are all these pockets of people that don’t vaccinate, outbreaks of measles is on the rise, especially in California, and the UK recently had a polio outbreak. Also, the doctor that claimed vaccines were linked to autism (Dr. Wakefield) was eventually disproven by a number of other studies and in 2010 had his license revoked when it was found that he was paid to do his initial study by a law firm looking to sue makers of the MMR vaccine. So basically, people aren’t vaccinating and diseases we thought to be old and long dead are now on the rise again. Like I said, some of these are pretty controversial topics, but this is what was taught to us in class and personally, I feel the benefits of vaccinating far outweigh the risks, so that’s what we’ll be doing.

Feeding

We spent quite a bit of time on this and I’ve already done a lot of reading/researching on breast-feeding, but a few things I didn’t know:

  • If the baby is getting under 30 oz of milk, you’ll need to add vitamin D.
  • You can get good deals on breast pumps from Cotton Babies or Kangaroo Kids.
  • Bottles and pacifiers shouldn’t be introduced until 3-4 weeks after milk/breastfeeding has been established, otherwise it can interfere with success rate.
  • Babies need to practice latch/feeding around 1 hour after being born for best success rate.
  • If formula feeding, use brand names like Similac or Enfamil. Powder is cheapest, but must be used within 1 month of opening.
  • Bottles don’t need to be heated. Babies should be able to take breastmilk/formula from a bottle straight from the refrigerator. If for any reason they don’t like it or won’t take it at that temp, bottles can be warmed by running warm water over it and doing some shaking to even it out temp wise. (So basically, no need for a bottle warmer! Yay!)
  • Best position for burping is sitting up on your lap, hand supporting neck from the front, other hand rubbing or gently patting baby’s back. When put over the shoulder, sometimes baby’s belly is pressed against you, making it harder to release the gas.
  • Sippy cups should be introduced around 6 mos but DO NOT put juice or water in them. Water should not be given to babies before they’re 1 yr old, and juice is never needed and makes kids overweight b/c of all of the sugar. Only breastmilk or formula in sippy cups.
  • If baby is crying and you know he’s both hungry AND needs to be changed, change him first, THEN feed him. Babies don’t like to be changed, so it’s better to get the part they don’t like over with first before feeding them. Hopefully after feeding, they fall back asleep. Whereas if you fed first, then changed, you’d risk waking baby up and making him/her fussy again.

Diapering:

  • Until umbilical cord falls off, fold front of diaper over and inward, toward the baby, instead of folding the flap over outward, to avoid pee that’s being absorbed from coming up over the top and getting baby’s clothes all wet.
  • Baby wipes can cause irritation, even the natural care ones. Paper towels and warm water are better. Nurse even gave us a formula to use for how to make your own wipes at home. Take a roll of good quality paper towels, cut roll in half, then mix a solution of 2 cups very warm water, 2 tablespoons olive oil or baby oil, and 2 tablespoons of a mild soap/baby soap and pour over paper towels then seal in plastic bag or container. Be sure to use within a few days though to avoid mold growth.

Sleeping

  • We went over swaddling. We’re not very good at it and will likely buy those sleep sacks instead.
  • Newborns should sleep in the same room with you for the first couple of months but never in the same bed. Co-sleeping strongly not advised. (In January alone, one of the hospitals had 7 co-sleeping related deaths with infants.) Same goes with breastfeeding in the bed while lying down. The danger is that mom and baby can both fall asleep, the nipple softens, and the result is suffocation of baby.
  • Once baby is sleeping in the crib, no loose blankets (swaddle blanket is ok) or stuffed animals or crib bumpers – even the breathable kind – should be in crib with baby. And baby should always be put to sleep on its back. Pacifiers, once breastfeeding is established, are also good to use when putting baby down to sleep and may help reduce SIDS. Though you don’t need to run in and put pacifier back in baby’s mouth if he spits it out. It’s really only beneficial during those falling-to-sleep stages. Something to do with the baby’s sucking reflex when falling asleep. I don’t remember the why.
  • Swings aren’t recommended for babies younger than 4 mos. Nurse also wasn’t a fan of the nap nanny and said a lot of them had been recalled in the past.
  • Babies can overheat. Recommended room temp for sleeping baby is 68-72 degrees. A fan in the room can help.

Bathing/General Care

  • Use an emory board on baby’s nails instead of clippers, if you’re concerned about nipping baby’s finger.
  • Sponge bath the first couple of weeks (due to umbilical cord).
  • Don’t clean umbilical cord. Falls off faster when left alone and kept dry.
  • Set your water heater to 120. (I probably won’t be doing this. I like really hot showers.)

Childcare

  • Do background checks on caregivers and don’t limit your checks to just your state, but run a federal check too.
  • For big name daycares, you can call the municipality and inquire about their health inspection records to see if they’ve been cited recently for anything.
  • Car seat needs to be rear-facing for first 2 years now.

We covered so much more in the class, most of it common knowledge, but these were the things I either didn’t know, hadn’t thought about, or just thought was particularly worth pointing out. I would definitely recommend a newborn care class to every new parent.

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Is it May yet?

Wow, I can’t believe it’s been 3 weeks since my last post. Lots to update, only some of it good.

The weekend of March 25 was my second baby shower, hosted by my in-laws back in Ohio where my husband grew up. My OB warned me that the drive might be a little rough, and she was right. Only a couple hours into the drive and my ankles were already the size of softballs. I tried to drink plenty of fluids but we have bad eating habits when we’re on the road so I’m sure my sodium intake was off the charts. I didn’t get much rest while I was there (horrible mattress and I didn’t bring my body pillow) but the shower was great! Even better than I expected, considering I didn’t know probably half of the people in attendance. I’ll try to post pics soon.

We got home Sunday night and then it was work, work, work until Thursday when we hopped a plane to Ft. Lauderdale. Friday and Saturday I had to staff a work-related conference but then Sun-Tues was babymoon time. Our last vacation before baby, and definitely our last beach vacation for awhile. Sadly, when one is 8 mos pregnant, the beach isn’t exactly the destination of fun it typically is. I didn’t bring a bathing suit, and kind of regretted it once I saw how clean and calm the water was. Still, we enjoyed a few hours of beach time, tried to find cool places to eat, and rode around on the water taxi as much as possible, gawking at the multi-million dollar mansions and yachts as we cruised the intercoastal. Although I probably wouldn’t recommend Ft. Lauderdale as an exciting vacation destination, it’s where we got engaged nearly 7 years ago. So a few of our dining choices were made in part because we wanted to reminisce about our engagement and first trip together. Really fun, but kind of difficult trying to remember what we did on that trip. Those were the days before I started blogging – actually I think I started my first blog within a month or so after that trip – so nothing more to go by than memory.

Something I do recall very vividly from that trip was the day we returned home – June 3 – and receiving a panicked voicemail from my aunt telling me that my grandpa had suffered a major heart attack and was in the hospital, unlikely to recover. Fortunately, she was wrong and he’s been with us ever since, but I remember walking in to the hospital, and wishing I was sharing our engagement news under better circumstances.

Fast forward 7 years to our return flight home on Tuesday, April 3, and about an hour after we got home, my mom calls to tell me that my grandpa has liver cancer and a tumor in his stomach. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little superstitious about taking trips to Ft. Lauderdale now. Especially when return flights land on the 3rd day of the month.

The rest of the week was a blur of trying to catch up with work and worrying about my grandpa’s health. Then Friday morning I was hit with what has now proven to be the worst virus I think I’ve had since I was about 6 yrs old and nearly died of pneumonia. It started out harmless enough with just a sore throat. Allergies, I assumed. Before noon, I had the worst back-ache I’d ever experienced. Pregnancy-related perhaps? I had a few more meetings and calls to get through but once those were over, I left work, popped some Tylenol, and became BFFs with my heating pad. Fortunately, that seemed to do the trick, but by nightfall, I had the worst case of heartburn – in my upper back (which happens from time to time) and my head started to feel congested. We were supposed to go to a concert Friday night, but those plans were immediately ditched. Saturday I was supposed to go visit my grandma on my dad’s side that lives about 2.5 hours away in IL. I’d already had to miss her 90th birthday because I was in Austin for SXSW, and I had promised her we’d come visit for Easter instead. But I couldn’t risk getting her sick too, so promise = broken. I felt terrible about it, but she understood. The really crappy part is that I don’t know when or if we’ll be able to visit before the baby. I can’t go this weekend b/c of work (and this sickness) and next weekend we have baby classes. After that, I’m really not supposed to travel. Frustrating.

Anyway, back to Easter. With my grandpa’s declining health, my mom came to town to help my other grandma take care of him. My grandma (mom’s side) isn’t in the best health either and has a hard enough time taking care of herself, let alone caring for my grandpa and trying to care for the house. So my mom came to town, but only for a few days because she has a couple of weeks left of college courses that she’s taking back in in Kentucky. I had only gotten progressively worse by Sunday – severe congestion to the point where I couldn’t breathe at night, fever, aches, and then a pretty wretched cough on top of it all. So I had to miss spending time with my family because once again, I couldn’t risk getting my grandparents sick.

Yesterday and today have been much the same with zero improvement. I finally got in to see the doctor on Monday afternoon and walked out with a diagnosis of possible flu, probable bronchitis, or possibly both. I’m on antibiotics now, but so far they’ve only managed to make me nauseous and force me to uh, use the bathroom, more than I’d like.

Of course, all this sickness has me and the hubs a wee bit concerned about the baby, but I’ve been feeling him move pretty regularly so I’m pretty sure all is well. I’m glad we have an OB appt scheduled for tomorrow anyway to check on things, so praying that my severe illness hasn’t affected anything with the little one.

So I think that catches you up on the last 3 weeks. It’s been a little nuts around here but I’m trying to relax and focus on getting better. Five days (and probably 6 or 7 since I haven’t noticed any improvement yet…) is a really long time to be knocked on your ass, but it is what it is and I’m trying not to let myself get overwhelmed by all I still have to do – both at home and at work – but it’s hard, yo. Really, really hard.

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