Sunday, January 31, 2010

A tour through the baby wing and 9 more weeks to go!

I decided to do my usual Monday night update tonight since I'm feeling lazy and computer-ish at the moment :). Yesterday was our last birthing class, so we got to tour the labor and delivery wing and the mother baby wing of the hospital. It seems like it's going to be a very accommodating and nice place to make it all happen. I appreciated how they took the time to show the coaches where everything was in the room so that while we were checking in they could be getting things ready for labor. The room we will be staying in after the baby is born seems nice too. During the tour I found out that two other women had come to labor and delivery with muscle pains to check for pre-term labor just like I had, and for some reason that made me feel a whole lot better. Even though I know I can't fully prepare myself for the whole ordeal, I really do feel like the class has at least helped me overcome my fear of it all. Of course a lot of this comfort stems from the fact that I know Travis is going to be an amazing coach and will know how to get me through it, so now I'm just praying that the baby decides to come at a time when he's not hours away!

This is a big week for little baby Kershaw. From this point on, the baby will gain about 1/2 pound each week. She can now process information from all five senses, and her lungs are the only system that has not fully matured. She can turn her head from side to side and her head, arms, and legs are starting to accumulate fat. She is a little over 16 inches long now and weighs about 3 1/2 pounds ( about the weight of 4 navel oranges).

It's hard to believe we only have 8 weekends left until the due date weekend! What's even better -- only 38 more days of work! :)

Monday, January 25, 2010

30 week check up

This afternoon we had our 30 week check up. Everything looked great! The nurse said judging by the heartbeat's location and the different sounds in different areas (it amazes me how smart people are) it appears as though the baby was laying on my left side facing my back and the placenta was on my right. That's not to say she hasn't moved even since then, but it was kind of cool to hear that she is now big enough to be able to tell these sort of things. Her heartbeat sounds very different than it did even two weeks ago -- much deeper and more like a regular heartbeat, although it was still beating strong at its usual 160 bpm.

I haven't gained any weight since the last appointment, which really surprised me given that I was on that "gorge myself" diet for the glucose test for three days. I've gained about 10.5 pounds, and the doctor seemed very pleased by both my weight and the fundal height. He even off-handedly said "nine or ten weeks away" when talking about the baby. I liked hearing the nine part. :) This week I have developed some skin irritation on my belly (on TOP of the nasty stretch marks), but unfortunately Dr. Maurus said aside from continuing to lotion it there wasn't much I could do to make it more comfortable. Just another joy of the experience, I suppose.

This week in baby development, she hasn't grown much in height or weight because she has spent all of her energy growing brain cells. Her brain is starting to wrinkle and fold, which takes lots of energy! She doesn't seem too tired though, as she continues to squirm and wiggle all day, which never fails to make me smile. Her fingernails and toenails are also now completely finished forming, and she is starting to shed that lanugo hair (or fur, as I've fondly referred to it as). She doesn't need it as much now that's she's porkin' up! Lastly, her eyes are fully opened now, although I can't imagine there are too many stimulating things in there for her to spend her time gazing at. She is certainly growing fast!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

30 weeks and more birthing class

This is the two of us at 30 weeks! (I'm sparing you the bare belly shots from here on out... they're just a bit too intense for my otherwise G-rated blog haha). I can tell she's starting to get really big, as the last few days she has had some really intense but cool wiggling spurts. At her most active times of day, you can see her move through my shirt with minimal effort (much to my students' utter horror). But daddy is definitely enjoying getting his chance to feel (and see!) her move so often these days.

My classroom has been ridiculously hot this past week -- kind of like the dorms at NIU -- you have no way of controlling it or turning it off. As a result, I've been sweating like a pig and drinking lots of water. This, of course, makes getting to the bathroom and back in the 3 minutes between classes a little bit of a challenge, but I don't think the students mind that we start class a couple of minutes late on occassion. Luckily, Molly hooked me up with a nice amount of warm weather maternity clothing in addition to the winter wear, so I just dress for May weather.

We had our 3rd birthing class yesterday. Last week's class was a bit intense, as it covered medical interventions (such as C-sections) and medical pain management and I was the only woman there that had decided not to go with an all natural birth. I think my planned epidural put a bit of a bad taste in our instructor's mouth. She asked me to share my reasoning behind it before we watched a movie about it, and then once the movie was over and I had learned all of the facts about epidurals, she asked me my opinion again - perhaps assuming somehow my opinion had changed. It's not that I'm trying to be selfish or that I haven't thought about my baby at all, but I think the benefits of a more relaxed and calm labor outweigh the slim possibilities that there will be minor and temporary side effects on our baby (and those possibilities go down even more when the epidural is used early enough). I am also aware that complications might arise and an epidural may not be an option that day, but that best we can do is go in with a plan.

Yesterday's class, however, was much brighter. We learned the natural ways to cope with the pain of labor, including different helpful positions to help the baby move where she needs to move, breathing techiniques, massage techniques, etc. I thought it was going to be a bit dopey, but it wasn't at all. We experimented with a variety of environmental changes (music, lighting, etc.) and compared our breathing rate and relaxation in different circumstances. I was really surprised how much of a difference music in particular had on my ability to breath more slowly. Travis, however, made the biggest difference in the success of each fake contraction. They showed the coaches different areas that will be helpful to massage during contractions and how to use different ones with different laboring positions. In the very end they took our coaches away and made us try a breathing cycle without them, and I was amazed by how lost I was without Travis there with me. Now we just have to convince our little one to start coming at a time when he is not in the boonies somewhere on a live shot so I don't have to see what the real ones are like by myself. :)

We weren't totally serious the whole time, of course, as Travis got some good inappropriate jokes in during our "quiet whispering" time during one contraction, which lead to childish giggling. She also opened class by asking the coaches to think of one thing that would be beneficial to say to us when we were in labor, which is kind of an awkward and weird question to be put on the spot with. After a series of responses that got an "actually that's not going to be very beneficial or appreciated on that day" answer from the instructor, we took to coming up with the most ridiculous answers we could come up with in our little corner of the room, including "my feet hurt, I feel like I've been standing forever" and "hey when we get home can you make some spaghetti? I'm really in the mood for spaghetti." I was also warned that I need to tone up my thighs a bit, since one birthing position that I am guaranteed to have to use (apparently) made my legs ache. She suggested some light activities, like the Wii fit. This gave me a chance to go on my diatribe about why I have boycotted the Wii Fit for the duration of my pregnancy due to its inability to recognize "pregnant" as an option for gaining 2 pounds in one week, which got a good chuckle from the class. So no worries all, our immaturity has remained intact throughout the course of this class.

Tomorrow we meet with Dr Maurus for our first seventh month check-up!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

the results are in...

... and my tests came back normal! I am so, so relieved that everything is fine. My bruised and aching elbows are totally worth it knowing we have a clean bill of health. And I don't have to give up Dr. Pepper. :)

Monday, January 18, 2010

sugar with a side of sugar

This week the baby has the ability to cough and has perfected the art of sucking. She is still about 15 inches long, but now weighs about 3 pounds (Grandma Adams, that's about the weight of a nice butternut squash haha).

We got the results back from the glucose test Thursday and found out that we did not pass the initial test, which meant I had to be on a special diet for three days and then go in for the longer, 3 hour test on the fourth day. The diet was a little bit of a challenge for me at some points, as it asked for a lot more sweets throughout the day than I was used to and a lot bigger breakfast than my usual orange juice and oatmeal. But, everything worked out okay in the end :).

Then this morning we went back in for the longer test. Travis was a trooper and came with me to keep me company, even though I was terrible company grading papers so he slept through most of it. I was glad to find out that I didn't have to drink twice as much of the sugary stuff like I had thought, it was instead just twice as sugary as it was before. So, that made it pretty thick to get down, but I just held my breath and gulped it as fast as I could. I felt pretty sick for the first hour, but as time went on I felt more and more like normal. They took blood 4 times, so each of my arms were poked twice. Luckily though, I have some pretty good veins so they didn't have to try multiple times to get a good stick. Around 12:15 they took my last sample and we were out of there as fast as possible to get some lunch! We decided to grab some chicken from the grocery store for a quick lunch before Travis had to work, and as we were waiting for a new batch to finish I suddenly felt very, very dizzy. Then I started to sweat and shake -- all within 10 seconds or so -- and I knew I had to immediately sit down or there was going to be an embarassing scene. So Travis helped me get to a table and I found a granola bar in my purse. I had never felt anything quite like that before, but as soon as I had a few bites of granola things were back to normal. I learned a very important lesson -- always, always have a granola bar in your purse and never skip breakfast and eat a late lunch!

We should know the results of today's test tomorrow, so as soon as I hear from the doctor I will let everyone know!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Getting ready for baby

After two months of headache, we finally got the crib put together! Woooo! Now it just needs a mattress and the bedding and it'll be one good lookin' room :)

This is week 28, the week of blinking. That's right, the baby now spends her days practicing blinking, along with her many other newly acquired talents. Her eyes now have color as well, so that's pretty exciting. I have green eyes like my dad, and both my mom and my brother have blue eyes. Travis's family has brown and blue eyes, so really the options are pretty much all over the place as to whose eyes she will get. I'm secretly hoping she has Travis's brown eyes, but we'll see :). She weighs around 2.5 to 3 pounds now (unbelievable, right?) and is about the length of a loaf of bread.
Tonight was our appointment to check for gestational diabetes and to talk to Barb about signs of pre-term labor. I did not enjoy the experience of the sugared down Orange Crush they have you drink for the test. I was fine up until about 45 minutes in, and then I really had to concentrate on not throwing up. We should find out within the next two days what the test results were.

I also found out I have gained about 10 pounds so far, which I think is fairly average at this point. I'm told I will gain about a pound a week from here on out, so that will sure be interesting. This week my stretching muscles have started to ache around my belly button, so I've been sitting in my tall ugly chair at school as much as I can instead of standing up when I'm teaching. That seems to help relieve some of the tension.

A friend with a two month old baby came over tonight and delivered me a couple hundred newborn diapers that she had leftover from diaper cakes and the hospital and whatnot, so it was fun to unpack them and start filling the drawers and baskets we have for diapering supplies. I, of course, have no idea how many newborn diapers we will need for sure, but I think I'm definitely going to hold back on buying some until this supply runs out! She also brought a big bag full of newborn clothes. Some of which will most likely be out of season (though in Illinois, who knows!) but we now have lots of newborn onesies to get us started as well. It's all starting to come together!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

First birthing class and more baby room furniture

Yesterday was our first birthing class at the hospital. I am glad we signed up for them because we are learning a lot of helpful information over the course of the four sessions, but there were definitely some points at yesterday's session that were giggle worthy. I will share.

First of all, she did a pretty good job of making us all comfortable with each other right off the bat by having each of us introduce ourselves, talk about what we do for a living and what-not and she asked each person a few questions about their job or something else. So, it was kind of nice to get to know everyone. But then the real fun began.

She's really big on hugging and claims she tries to give 11 hugs a day. That's a lot of hugs. We hugged each other 5 times in the span of 2 1/2 hours. Thankfully she only asked us to hug each other and not the stranger sitting next to us.

Knowing she had an affinity for hugging, I shouldn't have been surprised when she described Braxton-Hicks contractions as "little hugs for your baby" when she was going through all the reasons why you should celebrate them if you get them. Then she gave is some useful and helpful information about what is happening internally when you go into labor, which was nice.

Then it was time for the video. It began with a nice voice over talking about the mixed bag of emotions you feel on delivery day. I lost it the first time when he (that's right, the voice over was a male voice. Typical.) explained that it would be a joyous and wonderful day while the video rolling could only be described as pure torturous looks on 3 women's faces. Then as they followed these women through their contractions and delivery, it kept giving us more reasons to laugh. One woman decided to take a walk outside when her contractions started. Reasonable enough until you see that she chose to walk around the neighborhood in hot pink silk pajamas at high noon. Another woman was in perhaps the shortest dress I have ever seen on a pregnant woman, and she chose to lay awkwardly on the couch to wait out her contractions at home. When we followed the women to the hospital, more adventures followed.The scenes describing the second stage of labor could very easily be placed in a low budget, um, very specific film genre, as they showed each of these women on all fours in their underwear moaning and their coaches massaging their backs and whispering things in their ears. Not something I want to watch with people I just met a half hour ago. Lastly, we saw the birth of just one of these babies, and let's just say she did not deliver said baby in a traditional birthing position. I could tell by the whispers and throat clearings around us that we were not the only ones disturbed by it. I'd like to state for the record that I realize my labor experience might be very similar to these women's experiences. I may, in fact, find myself delivering my baby in the exact same awkward position. But there was something about watching complete strangers do it with their bare breasts hanging out that really made me furrow my eyebrows.

Anyway, next week we learn more specific things about getting through contractions. We are supposed to bring with us pillows, blankets, relaxing music, and some sort of focal point that will help me get through the pain (we still haven't quite decided on this yet, but Travis might be charge of finding a series of ridiculous things that will make me smile. He might enlist in the aid of Tom to get it done.) The third class is about different things that might come up unexpectantly, information about C-sections, and information about the different pain medication options. Finally the fourth class is a tour through the labor and delivery wing and a few other things.

Because we paid for this class, we have the option of taking any of the other baby classes the hospital offers for free. They have a breastfeeding class and an infant care class that we are thinking about taking, though the infant care class seems like it covers some pretty basic things. We will see :)

After we got home, we put together the corner shelf we ordered for the baby's room. Okay, Travis put the shelf together while I sat on a stool and watched him. But we are really happy with how it looks! The room is really starting to come together! As soon as we get those bolts in the mail for the crib, the furniture will be totally ready!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Belly pics -- 27 weeks, 5 days

Yup, those stretch marks I was hoping to not have to deal with have definitely made their appearance - and man do they itch and burn! I've been lotioning them at least once a day with cocoa butter, so hopefully they won't be here to stay!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Goodbye 2nd trimester!

This week the baby is about the length of my arm from my fingertips to my elbow and weighs just over two pounds. Her eyes are no longer sealed shut, and she opens and closes her eyes and sleeps at regular intervals now (so I'm thinking all the 1 a.m. kicking is probably not the best sign haha). Her lungs are also now capable of breathing air, although it'll be quite a few weeks before they could do so without medical assistance.

Today marks the first day of the third trimester AND the first day of the second semester of school. I'm a little overwhelmed by the idea of both, to be honest. The next 13 (or less!) weeks are going to fly by and I keep thinking about the magnitude of what is going to be happening in our lives during the year ahead of us. Indeed, 2010 will a year to remember.

We start our child birthing classes this week on Saturday mornings. While I'm not at all excited about the idea of giving up my one sleep-in day for the next month, I am excited to go and hopefully feel at least somewhat prepared for the, how shall I say it.... task ahead.

Hopefully the needed screws to put together the crib (complication #34 in getting that dang thing put together) will come in tomorrow and I will be able to post some pics of the completed baby's room this week!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

a moment to remember

This week we had another nice, monumental step: our first semi-paranoid trip to the hospital. I had been getting some really nagging aches and pains, so I called the doctor about them Wednesday afternoon. I assumed they were normal, muscle-stretching types of pains, but they had been going on for two days straight and were starting to become quite bothersome so I decided to call and just let them know. Good ol' Barb (I knew we'd be friends by the end of this thing) talked to me and was a bit concerned that the pains I was describing might be, or lead to, pre-term labor pains. I told her I was pretty doubtful that that was what they were. She offered to schedule an appointment first thing in the morning, but I told her I would rest and see what would happen.

As the day grew into night the aching got a little more intense and I started to worry that I had made the wrong choice. I was pretty sure it wasn't a pre-term labor thing -- they weren't coming and going and they weren't as intolerable as I imagine contractions to be. So, I sat down to read some of my pregnancy literature to be sure I wasn't being ignorant. The first book emphasized how important it was to just go in and check if you had any abdominal pain at all after 25 weeks -- better safe than sorry. The second book listed the pain I had been feeling in the exact words I had been using for the last two days as a possible sign of pre-term labor, even going as far as saying that many women ignore them for too long because they assume they should be more painful. The third talked about how important it is to get in right away, for the baby's sake, so the labor can be appropriately stopped. The combination of these facts got me a bit more worried.

By now, it was 8 p.m. and the doctor's office had long since closed. I started getting increasingly stressed over the possibility of being wrong. I called Travis and it was obvious to him that I was getting myself far too worked up over the matter, and he convinced me to call the doctor's office's answering service and talk to a doctor again. I called and explained to the doctor that I had called earlier in the day and was pretty confident that nothing was wrong, but was getting a little worried about the possibility of overlooking things and asked if she could give me any other things to look for.

She said, "Sara, just come on it. It will be no big deal at all -- it doesn't take us long at all to check everything and then you'll be able to relax knowing one way or the other."

She told me where to go once I got to the hospital and such and I told her I was going to wait for Travis to get home from work before I went in because the roads were so terrible.

When Travis got home we went in. I was torn between two emotions: the "un-pregnant" side of me was embarrassed to be going in to the hospital so late at night for something I would otherwise ignore without a second thought, being used to similar feelings during my period. The other part was nervous and second-guessing everything I know -- knowing ultimately I wouldn't be able to live with myself if my pride outweighed my desire to do what's best for my baby. So, I let them wheel me down to the baby wing of the hospital.

It turned out to be a slightly bigger deal than the doctor made it seem over the phone -- they performed three different tests to check and make sure the baby was okay (one of which was one of the most painful things I have ever experienced) and hooked us up to the monitors to watch us while we waited for the tests to come back. We watched The Fugivitive almost in its entirety before they had finally concluded that there weren't any signs of pre-term labor.

So, while a part of me remained embarrassed to make such a big ordeal over what amounted to just be regular pains of pregnancy, another part of me knew we did the right thing by going in and checking. If nothing else, it was soothing to listen to the baby's heart beating for the entire duration of our stay -- accompanied by regular hard and steady kicks at the monitor that made both Travis and I and the nurse laugh.

I'm sure the whole ordeal is just the beginning of many moments where we had no idea what to do as parents. I guess the best thing we can do is err on the side of caution until that whole instinctual thing kicks in :).