Wednesday, October 28, 2009

31w update

Wow - 31w... only 2 months to go. It seems like time is flying, but also moving very slow.

A lot of great things are going on, and I have every reason to be ecstatic, but I have to admit, the dark side has been creeping up on me a bit. I'm scared that all of a sudden, there will be no heartbeat. I'm scared that something terrible will happen during the birth. Everything just seems too good to be true right now. I'm happy and positive 99% of the time, but sometimes that chilling worry sets in. I try to ignore it and rationalize that there's such a tiny chance of a problem at this stage, but I can't deny that the dark side still exists.

But now some good stuff!

We are making great progress on the nursery. DH (aka my night owl!)finished the painting at about 5am the morning the furniture was delivered. He still has to put up the chair rail, but he gave me the go ahead to decorate to my heart's content, and it will be easy for him to move things here and there to attach the chair rail, hopefully this weekend.

The furniture looks great, and I'm glad I did not overdo it. At first I was going to get the convertible crib, dresser/changing table with a hutch, and an armoire. Well, the armoire and the hutch pieces were discontinued, so I went with just the crib, dresser/changing, and I bought a smaller bookcase to replace the armoire, and a large mirror to go over the dresser, instead of the hutch attachment. Much better - I think the room would have looked too crowded with those other pieces, especially since the color is espresso, I think all that dark wood might have been overpowering.

But of course, nothing is simple.... first, the delivery guys put together the crib, and there was a bolt missing. Luckily DH was able to go to home depot and get a replacement. But worse, the changing table part of the dresser/changing table was also missing. There is a rectangular rail that attaches on top of the dresser where you put your changing pad, diaper supplies, etc. And once you outgrow diapers, you can take that off and have a regular, full sized dresser. I'm pretty sure what happened is that the delivery company took the dresser out of the box, loaded it to the truck, then threw out the box containing the rails. So now I have to work with BRU to get a replacement, and not surprisingly, it is becoming a big hassle, since this isn't an extra piece, it all comes together.

But, assuming I get that resolved in the next week or so, I'm really happy with how the nursery is coming along. The decorating is so much fun and it's looking really sharp so far. Once we get the closet organizers in, I'll be able to wash and put away all the clothes, and lots of other stuff from the shower. That will free up room in the playroom, which turned into the storage room the day after the shower! I love getting myself organized and putting everything in its place.

I've also written my birth plan, my hospital call list, and have finally taken the first step to officially change my last name to my DH's. With my position at work, and the recognition I have in my industry, I probably would have just kept my maiden name. However, my legal name now is not my maiden name, sadly, it's my ex-husband's name. I was married very briefly when I was 20, divorced at 21, and never went through the steps to change my name back. For no good reason except first, for embarrassment - starting a new job out of college and explaining why your last name was changing due to a divorce at such an early age; and, eventually, for laziness - it's a hassle to change everything!!

DH has been very patient - we've been married 2.5 years and while socially I've taken his name, legally and professionally, I'm still using my ex-husband's. I've had every intention of changing it, but life gets in the way, and things move down the priority list. Well, I went to the SS office yesterday, and will have my new card in 2 weeks. Then I can change my license and everything else after that. It might take a while to get every last thing changed (I have so much more "stuff" now than when I was 20), but at least I can sign the birth certificate with my husband's name, not my ex's! Needless to say, DH is very happy that I've finally done this...

That's about it for now. I'm looking forward to my OB appointment next week, and hopefully will get more information about c-section vs vaginal birth, and what the plan will be for me.

And hopefully, I can keep the dark side down!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breastfeeding class

DH and I went to our breastfeeding class this week, and found it somewhat interesting...

First, the class was call "Breast, Bottle or Both", and was billed as providing information on all forms of feeding. Not quite. It was definitely a breastfeeding propaganda class. How beneficial it is, and basically how crazy you'd be not to use this method.

Now, I have already decided that I would like to breastfeed, but I also realize that I may have difficulties, and it simply may not work for me. I don't want to be made to feel guilty if that's the case. I am very educated and I try to inform myself on all sides of issues, so I get annoyed when something that is advertised as balanced ends up being completely biased, even if it supports my beliefs. I'm smarter than that, I want all the facts and then I want to make my own informed choice.

I wanted more information about the different types of bottles and nipples available. Whether you really need to sterilize or is the dishwasher fine? Do you really need to warm the bottles? And this, for me, is about bottles of BREAST MILK (hopefully). I think they don't want to go into bottles at all because they think women will take that as a sign that bottles are "OK". Which, in my opinion, they ARE, if that works best for that mother. How long can you freeze, refrigerate breast milk, what are the differences between formulas, powder vs liquid, when should you start pumping to get ready to go back to work... all of these questions were left unanswered, unfortunately.

She also trotted out all these stats about "exclusive" breastfeeding being the most effective, almost to the point of detriment if there was any supplementing with formula. I asked her point blank if one or two bottles of formula negates the benefits of breastmilk, and then she backtracked a bit and did say that any breast milk is better than none. There just seemed to be a lot of misleading implications like this that I kept having to clarify with her. Probably making me look like I was opposed to breastfeeding, which is not the case at all.

All that being said, I did learn more about breastfeeding techniques and tips, which I thought was helpful. I have started reading a few books on the subject, but the video clips they showed were definitely more helpful than words on a page, so I appreciated that. I guess if the class was called Breastfeeding (period), I would have known what to expect and would have been more satisfied overall.

And here's the best thing I learned, that I'm happy to share with all of you....

It's OK to drink (in moderation) while breastfeeding!

And this is coming from a breastfeeding fanatic, so I'm inclined to believe it. Someone asked about coffee, and she said you can absolutely have a cup or two of coffee, that it would take around 6 cups of coffee to affect the baby. So I piped in to ask about a glass of wine, and she said that's also OK. That the amount of alcohol from one glass of wine that goes into your bloodstream is very small, and it stays in your breastmilk from about 30 mins after you drink it to 60 mins after you drink it, then it leaves your breastmilk. So a well timed glass of wine in the evening (or afternoon depending on the day!), wouldn't even pass a minuscule drop of alcohol to the baby.

After almost a year of completely abstaining from alcohol (between IVF treatments and pregnancy), it's nice to know I'll be able to indulge a little!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Almost 30w - OB appt

I had an interesting OB apppointment today. Those contractions I thought were pretty cool that I've been having? Not so cool.

I go to an OB practice, which means I see different docs all the time. The one this morning was new to me, and I liked her a lot. She asked if I was feeling contractions, and I told her about what I think are Braxton Hicks contractions, and I mentioned that I get them a lot. She questioned me quite a bit about it, and wants me to start tracking them.

If it's pre-term labor, it's bad, if it's BH, it's OK. What's the difference? Hard to tell. But pre-term labor would be rhythmic, and stronger, longer over time, where BH are more random, no pattern. She said that if I were to go into pre-term labor now, that would not be good, the lungs are not developed enough. In another 2-4 weeks, pre-term labor would be "OK" - meaning very likely the baby would survive in the NICU, but now - not so clear cut.

The problem is that I know I feel these contractions all the time, but they don't hurt, so sometimes I don't even realize it. I've been trying to keep track, but I'm sure I'm missing some. Regardless, they do not seem rhythmic or in a pattern at all, which is good.

She told me that when I feel them, drink TONS of water, as the same chemical you release when you start to feel dehydrated is also what brings on labor. Seems strange! And she also said to take it easy on the treadmill, as that could cause dehydration. Now - I work up a small sweat, but nothing like what I used to do. It seems very counter-intuitive to reduce my exercising, as I've read so many great benefits of keeping in shape and how much it helps the labor process. I'm going to monitor myself real closely, drink lots of water, and see if I'm getting contractions when I'm working out before I turn into a couch potato.

She also looked up my last u/s report, and the fibroid has definitely not grown, and she doesn't think it will get in the way of a vaginal delivery. But, it might stall the labor, and then I'd need a C. My worst nightmare - hours of labor, then a C. I'm not sure we really worked out how to avoid this, but she did tell me something a little scary....

My fundal height (pubic bone to top of uterus) measured 31 cm today. I turn 30w on Wed. You want to be within 3cm of the number of weeks. So I'm right in the zone. My fibroid is 6cm. She said that based on how it's positioned, my body might think I have an extra 6cm in my uterus size, and it could cause preterm labor. So that's another reason she wants me to really monitor these contractions.

I'm a little nervous about all this. For some reason, I never contemplated that I would go more than a week or two early, or the complications that could arise. Not to mention - we're not ready! I still have a million things on my to-do list!!! This weekend was only mildly productive for me and DH, and mostly focused on regular, non-baby-related household things that needed to get done.

Surely the baby will wait until s/he has a nicely painted, furnished and decorated nursery to sleep in, right???

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

29w and lots to tell!

It's been a while since I've posted, and a lot has been going on, so be prepared for some serious rambling here!!! Let's see....


Yes, I've been having Braxton Hicks contractions!! And I've been having them for a while, at least several weeks but didn't realize it until I described it to my OB. Basically, my entire uterus gets really, really tight and stays that way for a few minutes. It doesn't hurt at all, just feels a little funny (and heightens the constant having to pee sensation). When it happens, my tummy is rock hard, and has no give whatsoever. Like a basketball. I think it's kind of neat that I'm having contractions!


We finished painting, furnishing, and decorating the playroom! (Well, ALMOST finished!) And it looks great, if I say so myself!! DH has been so awesome about getting things done. He's a night owl and will work on house projects until 3 or 4 in the morning - he gets on a roll!

Anyway - the back wall is mostly covered with cubby holes - some with colorful baskets to hold toys and clothes, some open to hold books, stuffed animals, etc. Above them are 6 large inspirational posters with words (Share, Explore, Dream, Respect, Care, etc.) and children doing those things. I've also hung my two take-home-from-hospital outfits on the wall (the boy and the girl outfit). DH says it looks like a children's boutique! The opposite wall has a couch with a pull out bed, two end tables, and some different inspirational pictures above it with animals.

The side wall has a painted on chalk board outlined in contrasting molding, and the opposite wall has the same sized painted on white dry-erase board. The blackboard wall is decorated with the accessories from the second bedding set (picture frames, clock, diaper stacker, valence) and will also have a pack-n-play for naps and diaper changing. The floor is carpeted, but I've ordered those colorful interlocking foam tiles, color coordinated with the cubby hole baskets to make a large "area rug", and DH still needs to install the track/pendant lighting.

When it's 100% done, I'll post some pictures!

(And to brag just a little, I put together the end tables and a lot of the cubby holes. For some reason, I like assembling furniture. Just like I enjoy hooking up TVs and stereo equipment. Strange!)

Mommy Car

Yup, I went out and leased a mommy car. Or a mommy SUV, to be accurate. I drive a Volvo convertible now, perhaps not a good idea for an infant???? I'll keep it for fun - alone or couples driving - but for bringing baby here and there, s/he will be in the back of a Toyota RAV-4. Cute little truck!

Maternity Photos

I'm doing it! That's right, I'm going for the "Demi Moore" naked-but-tasteful maternity photos!!!

If I back up a bit... as my wedding present for my DH, I had a professional photographer come in and shoot "boudoir" photos - in my wedding night lingerie, posed in corsets and other outfits, plus some nude shots where everything is covered. And then some fun shots in DH's shirts, boxing gloves and dumbbells, cowboy hats, guitars, etc. It was a blast, and DH loved it. I got the high-resolution images on CD, and made him a photo album, 3 framed photos we have in the bedroom, and a "pin-up" calendar!! My girlfriend was with me the whole time and I felt very very comfortable, and really liked the photographer.

So I just booked the same guy to come back to the house and shoot maternity pictures. Everyone says I'm glowing, and to tell you the truth, I love the way I look and feel now. I've gained 12 pounds so far, and it's mostly out in front. So what the heck - I'm going to have fun with it!!! I've been looking at pictures online, and some will include DH, some will be alone. I'm really looking forward to it - it will be in another month when I'm right around 8 months along. They say that's a good time to have them done.

Push Prize

Some people think the whole idea is tacky, but I've picked out my push prize (push out a baby, get a prize!). Ok, maybe it is a bit tacky, but with all we went through to get here, I think we both deserve a prize! Which is why, unknown to my DH, I'm also getting him a "push-partner" prize. Shhhhhh!

For me - I had never seen this before, but you can get lots of different types of "custom" mother's jewelry with your children's birthstones in it. Pendants, charms, rings, etc. I've decided to modify this slightly and go with a drop pendant that has all 3 of our birthstones - me, DH and our little one. "Family" jewelry, if you will. And the cool thing is that I'm ruby (July), and DH is blue topaz (Dec). If little one is born in December as expected, there is a new "modern" birthstone for Dec that was established within the past 10-20 years - Tanzanite, which is purple. So red and blue make purple! I like that symbolism...

For DH - he's very musically inclined. He has a lot of instruments - guitars, bongos, keyboards, etc., and we recently setup a really nice "man cave" for him in the basement. He loves to play drums, and has the Rock Band (xbox) drum/guitar/microphone setup, but would really love real drum set. Well, a real one would be very loud, so I'm going with an electronic drum set, which I know he will also love, and can be used with headphones! In fact, in my preliminary research, I found a real nice one that can replace the Rock Band flimsy one, and then can also be a "real" electronic drum set, by buying a separate attachment. I think he's going to love it!

Fibroid Situation

Still no update here. No call from the doc about the ultrasound report. And in a rare mood of non-control-freak, I haven't called to demand answers. I have another OB appointment on Monday, so I'll just wait and see what they say then. How unlike me!

Baby Shower

All I can say is WOW. My shower was this past Sat, and it was so amazing. My mom, MIL, SIL, and two aunts all threw it for me, and I'm still overwhelmed by how beautiful it was. They had it in a private room of a very nice restaurant with gorgeous fireplaces, high ceilings, table settings, a sit-down lunch, etc.

My SIL, who is just awesome, MADE all the decorations (which looked professional), plus homemade chocolate covered pretzels, and candies, plus the centerpieces. She also made a baby blanket and hanging growth chart (all quilted), she made / stained a wooden toy box and filled it with all kinds of toys and clothes, and she made a quilt for me made up of marathon and other race t-shirts I've accumulated over the years. Plus she bought an adorable diaper cake. I can't believe all she did!

And everyone else was so generous, too. The amount of gifts was overwhelming. In fact, during the last week before the shower, I had to throw so many additional things onto the registry, because hardly anything was left! And I thought I registered for a ridiculous amount of things to start with...

One of the best parts was that my mom, who was a librarian before she retired, had everyone bring their favorite children's book to start our little one's library. I've seen this before, but she also asked everyone to inscribe the book and tell why they liked it, or what it meant to them. Reading the inscriptions was so touching, and made it so personal. Then, she gave me my favorite childhood book - Jane's Blanket. Not a copy, but the ACTUAL book. It had belonged originally to my older cousin, and was passed along to me. The spine is completely worn out, and a few pages were ripped and written on. I had forgotten all about this book, and when I saw it, I burst into tears. It was so special that my mom saved this for me and that now I can give it to our child.

I really had a wonderful time at the shower, it was quite a special day for me, to say the least.

Monday, October 5, 2009

And I thought I'd be bored....

I had my ultrasound this morning to check on the fibroid.

Now, after having the 3d/4d ultrasound last week, I didn't really think this one would be all that interesting. Don't get me wrong, every time I get to see the baby, I'm amazed and think it's so cute, but seeing 2d after having seen 3d - well, I just thought it would be a little... flat.

Not so!

I had the same tech who was did my 20w u/s, and she was also teaching another resident. So I got to hear everything she said while she did her measuring with the screen turned away. It sounded like she was taking all kinds of measurements, using terminology I had never heard of. I like that. I like when they are doing more than what I know about - makes me feel reassured that the docs are on top of things, rather than me having to think of and question everything (a little of what I felt like going through IVF...). But the best part was that after she told the resident what she was measuring for or looking at, she always added, "so you see, this looks normal / fine / within range". Always good to hear!

And then all of a sudden, she turned the screen to me and said "ooo - look at this!" as she was giggling. It was the bottom of the baby's foot pressed firmly against my belly. You could see the 5 toes, and all the bones in the foot, and nothing else. She zoomed in and snapped a picture. I have my baby's first footprint! Then she went to the face, and snapped a nice profile (seemed like a smile), and a straight on picture (looked a little scary, I have to admit - kind of like a skeleton. The profiles are better). But then, the baby pressed his/her face against my belly, and she got a shot of the nose, lips, chin and the balls of the cheeks pressed up against the belly/camera. No eyes or rest of the face. It's so funny. It was fun getting these body part shots, instead of just the standard u/s profiles. I might try to scan these and post them tonight.

We told her right in the beginning we didn't want to know the sex (like I always do with an u/s), so she said she would refer to it as "the baby". She also looked through my file and said they had removed the gender indication so it's not even in there. But then... at one point when she was explaining what she was measuring to the resident, she said, "so you see, she looks fine".


Now, I find myself using he and she a lot in conversation, because it gets a little tedious always saying "the baby" or "he or she". So maybe it was just a meaningless pronoun. But.... maybe she saw the gender as she was doing all the other measurements, and this was a slip? Neither DH nor I said anything, and she didn't seem to stop or hesitate, or even look over at us, which makes me think it was just meaningless. Or... maybe she realized she slipped and was trying to play it cool? I'm not going to try to over-think it because I'm enjoying not knowing, but I can't help but wonder...

Meanwhile, as far as the fibroid goes (the whole point of this u/s), I don't have a definite answer yet about whether I'll need a c-section. The good news is that it doesn't seen to have grown since the last u/s, and it appears that the head is closer to the cervix than the fibroid. On the other hand, it is protruding into the uterus, and the tech couldn't tell me what the implications would be. And the doc never came in to look himself (I guess the tech's pics were good enough). I saw the OB next for a regular appointment, and she said that they will get the doc's report and then call me to discuss. So I'm still in limbo.

If I'm really, really honest... I've kind of come to like the idea of having a c-section. I like that I can plan it (or at least, the "no later than" date - baby can always decide to come out earlier...). I like that I can stay in the hospital longer. And I REALLY like that I'll get an extra two weeks of disability to stay home with the baby, since our maternity benefits are non-existent. So I guess I was kind of hoping for a conclusion that it would be necessary after today's visit.

We'll see what they doc says when she calls.