Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanksgiving, baby care class and OB appt.

Hope everyone had a great holiday!

Ours was nice, but a little bittersweet. My younger brother's wife passed away in March of this year during a routine hospital procedure, leaving my 30 year old brother and their 4 year old son. Her birthday was this past Saturday, so my brother planted a tree in the local park with a bench and a lovely plaque, right by the river, and held a dedication ceremony with close friends and family. He also had worked with her mom and other close friends to publish a beautiful memorial book with pictures of her throughout her life and letters, stories and memories contributed by friends and family. Including some incredibly heartbreaking and touching journal entries by their son. It was all very lovely, but incredibly sad. Made me and DH very thankful for what we have.

Afterwards, a bunch of their friends came over to my mom's and I think I met my match! This woman has a 16-month son, and she said she had all kinds of excel spreadsheets to help her prepare (um, not that there's any way they compare to mine, but still... :)), she had done a lot of research on c-sections and decided on an elective-c, and she continues to research, research, research. My mom listened to us talk back and forth in amazement - she thought I was the only one so neurotic!

Sunday was our caring for baby class, including a lot of safety information, which was great. The most surprising (depressing) tidbit I learned -- they do NOT recommend you put the "tot-finder" sticker from the fire department on the window of your child. Why? Because then pedophiles know which windows to break into. How horrible is that???? One of the expectant fathers in the class was a firefighter, and he said they now have stickers you can put on the inside hallway door to your child's room so that the firefighters know where to go once they are in the house.

The best part about the class is that my mom and MIL came, too! Since they will by watching our little one for 3 days a week between the two of them, they wanted a "refresher". I thought that was great that they wanted to spend the day learning the new techniques and were not at all stuck on how it was when they were moms.

And even though I had to pay to get them registered, it was money well spent as it got me completely out of a sticky situation. I love the in-laws, the whole family is great, but the one thing I can't stand is that they all smoke (except BIL and his wife). A lot. In their house, too. They completely respect not smoking in our house, but they frequently go outside for a smoke, and then come in reeking of it on their clothes. They also smoke in their cars, and sometimes when they enter our house for the first time, the smell almost knocks me out. I've read about studies about this "third-hand smoke" - smoke residue that is left on hair, skin, clothes, furniture, carpets, etc., and how bad it is for little babies, as their lungs are so much smaller than ours. The percentage of dangerous chemicals they will inhale when being held close by someone wearing a smoke filled shirt is very large compared to how it affects adults.

So, I've been concerned about this and have talked to DH about how to handle it. He agrees that we won't be going to their house to visit until the baby is much older, but he was not in agreement that they needed to change their shirts whenever they came to our house and whenever they went outside for a smoke. I think he might have understood in theory, but did not feel comfortable telling them this. I told him I would blame it on the pediatrician's instructions, but he was still not comfortable. I was letting it ride for a while, but getting to the point where I was going to talk to them myself and deal with any fallout from DH later.

Well, the instructor of the class addressed this directly and had the exact same advice - need to change your shirt after smoking (in addition to washing your hands, which everyone should be doing). MIL didn't know this and was glad to be told, even made the comment that she will need to bring a supply of shirts to our house. I said yeah - and FIL/SIL, too, and she absolutely agreed. Whew - sticky situation averted!

And that brings me to this morning's OB appointment. All continues to be good - measurements are right on track, and she even did a real quickie u/s and found that the baby's head is back down again. I think the baby is really flipping around a lot, because I am feeling the craziest movements. Last night, the head was definitely sticking out of the side - the bulge was crazy, my stomach was so lopsided it was bizarre. I think we will have an active baby! I still haven't decided on a c-section or regular birth, but I have to say I am leaning towards a C. I know it sounds crazy, but it's where I'm leaning now. I might end up scheduling a C at 39w, which would be Dec 23rd, but then if I go into labor before, trying for a regular birth. I have more research to do...

I have also been cleared, once I hit 37w (9 more days to go) to get back onto the treadmill! Yay! They had me stop since I'm having so many contractions, but I hate not exercising. And since I will stop working right around then, it will be good to get this back in my schedule.

All in all, things are going great. Still no swelling, wedding rings fit, still wearing heels to work, still able to put my shoes on, still wearing the same maternity clothes (mostly), still have a flat belly button, up 20 pounds even with Thanksgiving eating, and just feeling real good in general. On the down side, it is difficult to get comfy while sleeping, I pee all the time, and the heartburn is bad, even with the Zantac. Oh yeah, and the constipation... But these are all minor in comparison.

And it was really cool to login today and find that I am on the last month of my ticker. That made me smile!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Birthing class and other weekend fun

We had our birthing class this weekend, and we both really enjoyed it. It was a combo - what to expect during the birth process, what could go wrong, Lamaze, hospital info, hospital tour, birthing video class. Really a catch-all of valuable information. Most of which I had read about, but it was good to hear about this hospital's policies.

I was really impressed with the labor and deliver rooms and the recovery rooms. Both are private, with your own bathrooms, and very nicely decorated to look as little like a hospital room as possible (but with all the potential emergency equipment hidden behind doors and integrated in the design). Very well done.

The other thing that surprised me was the birthing video. I've heard that watching the birth video at these classes can be a little scary, but I have to say - it didn't freak me out at all. Sure, that's a big head coming out of a small hole, but I don't know... it really didn't seem too bad. Maybe that's because I know I'll be getting the epidural as the first order of business after checking in! Or maybe because of all that we've been through with procedures, wands, tests, etc., so "that area" has been exposed to a lot of "stuff" already. But it wasn't difficult to watch at all, in fact, I felt a tear coming to my eye just thinking about our little one being born.

We still don't know if the fibroid or the breech position of the baby will make a c-section necessary. I guess we'll find out at our next appointment. Maybe. I'm trying not to worry about it too much. After seeing the recovery rooms (and the menu we order our meals from - nicer than a lot of hotel room service!), I'm fine with being in the hospital for a few days longer!

After the class, we decided to go to Best Buy and splurge on electronics as early xmas gifts for each other. Last year we hooked up the family room with all the latest video and sound equipment, so this year we upgraded the bedroom. Plasma, HD Tivo, Blu Ray... and then, of course, I was way too impatient when we got home and convinced DH to mount the TV on the wall, while I did all the electronic hookups. We were done in 3 hours, not bad for a couple of amateurs! I justify this by saying that if I end up with a C, I might want to stay upstairs in bed as I recover, so I "need" this stuff, right? :)

We also got the SLR camera and the camcorder - kind of a staple for the first time parents, right? Now we just need to learn how the heck to use them!!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fun stuff!

So, the past week or so has been filled with a lot of fun stuff for us!

They threw a surprise shower at work for me yesterday. That was so sweet, especially since I've only been there for a little over 2 years. I had some really interesting conversations with some of the women who have kids - the joys of pumping in the office, bringing breast milk through airport security, that kind of thing! most of the women in my office have already had their kids, so I have a lot of good resources to draw upon!
I've also been getting so many guesses and predictions about the baby, that I setup an online baby pool. You guess the gender, birth date and time, length, weight, and then once the real stats are entered, it calculates a score based on how far away your guesses are. We're going to give little prizes to the top winners. Our friends and family are having so much fun with it, and we're having a blast when we check it and see new entries and the comments people make!
And then probably the most fun was last weekend, when we had our maternity photo shoot! The photographer came to the house and setup a studio - backgrounds, lighting, it was really nice. Then he spent about 3 hours taking all kinds of shots. Unfortunately, I don't think he had a lot of experience with maternity shots, as the poses he suggested did not come out that good. But I had printed a bunch of images I liked from the internet, so we still ended up with a lot of good poses. Here are two of them...

This weekend should be fun, too. My mom and stepfather are coming over for breakfast tomorrow to see the nursery and playroom. And then the balance of Saturday I will FORCE myself to finally get the car seats installed and my hospital bag packed. All the decorating must go on hold until we get the basics done! And then on Sunday, we have an all day birthing class, including a tour of the maternity area. I'm really looking forward to that, although all day might be a lot!
I'm really happy that I've been able to push aside my nervousness about this pregnancy and really enjoy it. DH and I were talking the other night about the contrast between me and my other good friend who is 2 weeks ahead of me. Unlike me, she was able to get pregnant very easily, but had two early miscarriages before this pg, where she's now at 36 weeks. She just hasn't been able to shake her negative feelings, and is really not enjoying her pregnancy at all. I almost feel bad talking to her about the fun things I'm doing, or to let my excitement for both of us show, because she is just not feeling the same at all.
She's always been very similar to me in her need to do research and understand everything, and she's doing that when it comes to things like baby gear and work benefits/disability, etc. But she's completely ignoring anything to do with the medical side of things, like the birth process, pain meds, even things happening in her pregnancy. It's almost like if she ignores it and doesn't question anything, then any potential issues will go away. It's very strange and very unlike her. I'm really hoping that her birth goes smoothly and the happier friend I know will be back in a few weeks!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Playroom

And here are some pictures of the playroom, which is about 90% done...

The playroom is really the formal living room, so this is the view from the entrance off the center hall. The back wall has a large cubby hole unit with half of the cubby's having colorful baskets, and the other half open for books, toys, etc. On the floor, we have the interlocking foam tiles for a play area that will be a little more sanitary than the carpet (let's hope!). And above the cubby's are inspirational posters that say things like Play, Explore, Share, etc.

This is the left side of the cubby's, I've hung the two "take-home" outfits that we'll bring to the hospital, and this is the girl option (obviously!). I have a nice wooden wall shelf with pegs that needs to be painted, and hung to replace the little stick on tab it's hanging on now! And then on the adjacent wall is a painted on chalkboard.

Here's a shot of the full wall with the chalkboard. We have a pack-n-play that we'll keep in here for naps and a changing table, along with all the diaper "stuff". I've also used the decorations (pic frames, clock, valence, bins, etc.) from the bedding set that I ended up not using in the nursery. And on the bottom left is the car seat, which clicks right into a swing frame, so you can bring the baby right from the car into a vibrating swing (there's also a stroller frame it clicks right into that's much lighter than the "travel systems").

And then this is the opposite corner of the back wall, with the boy take-home outfit on display, and a painted on dry-erase whiteboard. For both the chalk board and the whiteboard, we're going to cover the top half in cork board, so we can hang artwork and mementos (since the top part of both these boards are WAY too high for any child to reach!). And on the bottom right is the toybox that my SIL made for the shower:

And here's a shot of the full wall with the whiteboard. The french doors lead to the family room, but we're actually going to take them out and move them to the gym. I want the playroom open to the family room, and with the toys and the couch, the doors can't really open all the way. Not to mention that without the doors, I'll be able to see directly into the family room and the plasma TV that's hung above the fireplace... not that I won't have my full attention on our little one, mind you!! :)

We also have a growth chart that my SIL made, and that will be hung to the right of the doors:

And then finally here's the last wall with the couch. It's a nice looking pull-out couch, but we put a slipcover over it because I figure there might be a lot of spit up and what not occurring on the couch! Hopefully this will provide some protection... Draped over it is a blanket my SIL made, that matches the growth chart. And the pictures are also inspirational sayings with cute little animals.

And if you look real closely, you can see an orange bar with a light all the way to the right. That's our temporary, construction lighting as this room has no lights whatsoever. Just a light switch that controls an outlet. DH is going to install track lighting some time soon, so we can actually see in there!
I'm looking forward to spending time in here with our little one!!

The nursery

So, we are finally "done" with the nursery. Just some small things to finish up, but I've crossed it off my list. And I'm really happy with it! Although looking at it now, while I tried to go with a neutral decor, I'm thinking it looks a little more masculine than I had hoped. Anyway.... some pictures!

This is the view as you enter the nursery, taken from the doorway:

Turning to your left, this is the wall with the crib. I have a humidifier on a small stool to the right of the crib, and a cute little monkey nightlight to the left. Because of the thick top rails on the crib, the mobile won't attach as it's supposed to. DH says he can craft something to make it work. The shelf near the ceiling was already there, so I loaded it with pictures of friends and family. "We" (DH) installed the chair rail, and he came up with the idea of using the corner posts with the chair rail, which I had never seen before - it looks really good! Above the crib, we will put wooden letters of the baby's name. (Of course, I already have all the letters purchased for both names!). We'll probably paint them pink or blue, to give a little "gender-specificness" to the room!

Turning to your left again is the wall with the doorway and the closet. In the area next to the door, we went with a small bookcase instead of the armoire piece, which let me put up some decorations. The thing above the bookcase is a "toy bag" - it has 4 slots where you can put little toys. Useful? Not too sure. Cute? Definitely! We also took out the closet doors and installed closet organizers, as the sliding doors would block access to the shelves and the bin in the center of the closet. Aren't the tiny baby clothes adorable!!! I love just looking at the closet sometimes...

And then turning to your left again, the wall that's on the right when you first walk in, is the changing table / dresser combo. I had originally wanted the hutch piece that went above the dresser, but now I'm glad it was discontinued. I like the idea of having a mirror above the dresser (especially if we have a girl!). And you can't really see the 4 pictures too clearly, but they are colorful pics of little baby animals:

So that's our kind-of-gender-neutral nursery. Stay tuned for pictures of the playroom!

Oh... also had another OB appt yesterday. All went well, nothing much to report, except that this doc said they won't check for breech position again untl 36w. Every doc seems to have a different story. Oh well! But they do want me in every week just to keep an eye on things. Fine with me!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Welcome to Labor and Delivery

Yesterday did not go as planned... I thought I'd be dropping off my "sample" (pad from the night before), they'd test the discharge, find it negative for amniotic fluid, and I'd be on my way to work.

Not quite.

The doc tested and found another faint positive, so we moved on to the speculum and two swab tests, both negative. Then she took another sample and headed out to look under the microscope. After about 15 mins, she comes back in and says that it also looked slightly positive, so she convened a quick meeting with two other docs in the practice who were there at the time. They were all stumped as to why some tests are positive and some are negative, so they decided to send me over to Labor and Delivery to get completely checked out.

The nice thing about this OB practice is that it's not only right next to the perinatal group (for detailed ultrasounds, genetic counseling, etc.), but it's also connected to the hospital through tunnels that run over the streets. So no need to go back to the car and drive somewhere, find parking, etc. On my walk over to the hospital, I called my assistant and had her reschedule my calendar for the rest of the day, and then I arrived at L&D.

I haven't had the hospital tour yet, my birthing class isn't until the end of the month, so this was all new to me. The nurse at L&D was really, really nice. Very calm and reassuring, and continually checking to make sure I was comfy. It's basically a triage area with about 5 beds separated by curtains, with a chair, TV and some monitors in each. This is where you go when you first arrive to the hospital, and they check you out and confirm you're really in labor before they admit you and you get your real labor/delivery room.

So she hooked me up to the fetal monitor, and I could hear the heartbeat and all the kicking. They did an anti-stress test where they monitor you from the nurses station and look for the right changes in heartbeats, contractions, etc. Apparently I was having contractions every 2 minutes!! But I only felt one or two of them, they were definitely fake labor. Plus, the baby's heartbeat was perfect, she said. But they hooked me up to and IV to keep me hydrated, and that was probably the worse part of the whole experience. It's hard enough to move around in the 3rd trimester, but with an IV in your hand, it made it even harder to use the bathroom or my blackberry (very cool thing - they are fine with the cell phone and bberry, so I was able to keep in touch with people throughout).

Then after an hour or so, a doc came in and did the same tests for amniotic fluid (speculum #3 in 2 days!), and checked my cervix. No fluid, strong cervix. They did another ultrasound just in case - plenty of fluid. One very interesting thing they found - they baby has flipped! S/he's now heads up, when just yesterday, s/he was head down. So they want me to come back next week to check on the position. I think 34 weeks is the magic number where they want to have the baby head down. If not, they might do version (manually push around your belly to get the baby to turn), or you might end up with a c-section. I need to do more research on this whole topic - breech, version, etc.

So all was good and they released me. Probably about 3 hours altogether. And to tell you the truth, I wasn't really worried at all. It would have been very bad if I was leaking fluid, they probably would have delivered the baby, but I just didn't think that was the case. DH was miserable that he wasn't there - he has come to every single OB appointment, but since this one was last minute, and I thought it was just a drop off, he didn't come. And he has the kind of job where he has to plan his absences, otherwise, it's a big deal to get coverage. Obviously he'll have to get last minute coverage when it's the real thing, but I don't want him to use up a lot of "good will" for false alarms.

So that was my little adventure yesterday, and now I'm back to work, business as usual!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

31w6d OB visit

I had quite an eventful OB visit this morning....

Let's see... it started pretty normal. Fundal height measured 33cm, heartbeat mid-140's, all good.

She confirmed that the fibroid does not seem to be blocking the birth canal, so vaginal birth is back on. I'm happy, but also a little bummed as I was already counting on that extra 2 weeks of disability for the C, and the control I would have over the timing... but believe it or not, I'm warming up to the idea of letting whatever will happen just happen, and not trying to control it (who is this woman???).

We discussed the H1N1 vaccine. Their office still does not have it, and doesn't know when it will come in. I found out that I can get it through my county next week, so I signed up me and DH, but it contains thimerisal. I've done a lot of research on that in general, specifically for vaccinations. I'm not convinced that mercury / thimerisal causes autism, and I will do all the vaccinations for our baby, some of which do contain mercury. But if I can avoid it, I'd like to - why not, right? But my doc advises to get the vaccination next week, even with thimerisal, as she said a lot of people are getting the H1N1 flu, and that risk is higher, she'd prefer to see me vaccinated ASAP. So I think I will go, I'm just frustrated that there's a shortage in the vaccination, and that with pg women being at the top of the list, why they didn't produce the thimerisal free versions first???

Then we discussed my birth plan. I got all of my questions answered, so I will finalize it and submit it to them to have on file (since it's a group practice and I won't necessarily get my regular doc for delivery).

Now here's where the visit got a little scary. I told the doc about the continuing contractions I'm having, and she said she would do an internal to check the cervix to be sure the contractions weren't doing anything . It was hard and long she said - all good. She also told me that the baby's head is low, right by the cervix. She said that's fine.

I had also told her that (and I hope this isn't TMI...) my discharge had gone from mostly white to mostly watery over the past few weeks. So she did a swab to test if it was amniotic fluid. The swab changes colors right there, and she said it looked like a slight positive for amni fluid. If that is the case, and I'm leaking fluid, that would not be good - it could mean increase chance for infection, and other complications.

So she brought me right over to the ultrasound area, and had them scan me immediately to check my fluid level. The doc there said it was fine, in fact it was at the max it should be, which is normal for where I am right now in the pregnancy. So if I am leaking fluid, I'm replacing it as well. So the baby is fine right now, but if there is a leak, that would still be a problem. So the OB wants me to wear a pad tonight, then bring it in first thing tomorrow morning so they can further analyze it.

I'm definitely a little nervous, but I also feel somewhat confident that all is OK. I don't know why, but I just feel so good, and the pregnancy has been so strong all along, it just seems like this will be nothing. I hope I'm right!

Oh - and the u/s doc said the baby is measuring 8 DAYS ahead! I asked if this might indicate that I'll deliver early, and he said no, it indicates I'll likely have a big baby. Yikes! I'm not loving that idea, especially when they tell me a vaginal birth is back on the table. Ouch!