Monday, April 27, 2015

Ultrasound Again

We had our 32 week ultrasound today. I feel like we don't need any more ultrasounds, but that's just me and I know nothing. (The OB wants monthly ultrasounds.)

We went at a different time than usual, and our normal guy wasn't there. Instead we had a student, and her supervisor spent a little time in there but wasn't there the whole time. One thing I liked about the student was that she told us everything she was doing (though I could tell what she was doing just by the picture), but I didn't like that she couldn't get great shots like the other guy. But like I said, ultrasounds are now more of a formality. I never thought I'd ever say that!

We got a half-dozen profile shots. Ivy's foot was up by her head again, the weirdo. And once it was time for the 3D, she was totally uncooperative and had her hand in front of her face the whole time, so we didn't get any good 3D shots. Oh well.

Tonight was our second childbirth class. We started getting more into details about the labor itself. I asked afterwards if the instructor had a list of all of the things that the hospital provides, and she basically told me that if I didn't want to take anything to the hospital at all, I'd still be set. I think she'll give us a list in a couple of weeks, which will help in my hospital-bag-packing endeavor. And, like last week, at least once during the class I sat back and thought "I'm at a childbirth class. I can't believe I'm at a childbirth class!" I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to experience this - I will never forget where I was less than a year ago. A part of me will always be there, and I'll forever be sitting back periodically and saying "I can't believe this is happening."

Phew, it's past my bedtime. Off I go.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

OB Visit - 31 Weeks

See, told you the appointments were coming in fast.

Today was a 31-week checkup. The first order of business was also the worst order of business: the weigh-in. I'm not really worried about what the number is, but I don't want to gain a bunch of weight suddenly and alarm anyone. But I'd gained something like five pounds in two weeks, which made me cringe. I talked to the midwife about it and she said "you've been kind of going up and down the past several weeks, so you're probably just making up for it now with the weight gain you should have seen before." That made me feel a little better. She also said to stay away from fruit juice and white bread and pasta, which seemed to be more like "it's not that big of a deal but if you need to try to do something about it, try this" advice rather than real advice. I also asked about whether I'd be eligible for a water birth, and she never really answered me definitively. She said she had to look at a few things, and pulled up my chart on the computer, but must have gotten distracted 'cause we moved on after that. It's not that big of a deal, I don't have my heart set on it, but I'm just starting to wonder what my options are. The hypertension might rule me out, but it's controlled just fine with medication so it's not necessarily a no.

Then she took my fundal height (right on target) and Dopplered me (I love that she's big enough now that you barely have to touch my belly with a wand and the heartbeat is loud and clear) and sent me on my way.

Then I spent about ten minutes with the receptionist, scheduling the first four of my fetal monitoring appointments. Starting in three weeks, I have to go in twice a week for a little over an hour so they can listen to Ivy. I'm trying to remember why it's so often - might be because of my age, or because of the hypertension. At any rate, I'll have to find some good books to read! Cory is coming to the first one but I doubt he'll go to any others, especially if they're just routine. I always have a little niggling worry at the back of my mind when I have to do a new test, but as long as I don't Google too much I should be fine. :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Childbirth Class

Baby-related appointments are starting to get more and more frequent around here - a checkup tomorrow, a visit with the "maternity connections consultant" (where we'll go over our birth plan with a nurse and talk about social security cards and pre-signing-up for the hospital visit) next week, another ultrasound next week as well... and today was our first childbirth class!

It was held at the hospital where we'll be delivering, which is nice because the teacher has attended a lot of births there and can give details about the philosophy of the staff. In fact, I came away from the class realizing I can cut my birth plan at least in half, if not more, because the staff all sound like they're on the same page as me. (They encourage active labor and delivery as well as immediate skin-to-skin after birth, you can eat whenever you want, they don't do episiotomies, and their c-section rates are much lower than the national average.) So sometime before next week Cory and I will go over the birth plan so that we can cull what needs to be culled and then share it with the consultant.

This first class was all about childbirth-related fear. She had us write down things that we were worried/afraid about, and then read them out loud and refuted them. There wasn't much new information for me, which I found kind of comforting in that I must be relatively well prepared. I'm actually not worried very much about labor and delivery; I'm sure I'll get nervous/excited when it starts but so far I'm not stressing about it.

The teacher also talked a little bit about things to avoid during the last trimester (things like sitting too long or reclining will encourage the baby to turn posterior, which can hurt your back) and tests that we still have to do (like Strep B, and what happens it we have it). Then we spent a few minutes doing some simple exercises on the floor, stretching our backs and finding positions that open the pelvis; and we finished with 10 minutes of relaxation. It would have been more relaxing had the floor not been so hard, but that's OK. :)

Oh, and bonus - the teacher is a doula who is also a dog trainer. She chatted with one couple during the break about their dog, and it sounds like Cory plans to ask what to expect with Linus when Ivy comes home with us. All in all, it sounds like this is going to be a good use of our last several weeks as we prepare for Ivy's arrival.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

70 Degrees

It was so nice out today, and we left our schedules clear, since Cory especially has been so busy preparing for the conference that concluded a couple of weeks ago. So today was a mostly lazy day.

While Cory did his own thing, I spent the mid-morning cleaning out the car - vacuuming, spot-cleaning upholstery (which didn't work very well - someday I may get it professionally done), washing windows and wiping coffee out of the cup holders. Then I installed the car seat base. Cory had to come out and help me a little, since I couldn't get it tight enough, but now it barely budges, and according to the official installation YouTube video we should be good to go. I've marked down on my calendar when the next fire station inspection happens, though, just in case we feel like we should get a second opinion (which we probably will).

Around lunchtime we took Linus on a walk to the new(ish) little bakery/coffee shop to try them out. I was expecting more baked goods, but it was a quiet Saturday and they were closing in 15 minutes so they were a little sparse. I got an iced chai and took a couple of bites of Cory's scone.

Back at home, I tackled the trailer - it was time to get the futon in there! I wrestled the thing through the upstairs hallway, down the stairs, past the baby gate (which we use to keep our older kitty from going upstairs to pee on the floor), through the downstairs, out the back door, and into the trailer (which currently lives on the back patio). That sucker was heavy! But it fits perfectly and I'm so happy with it. I made the bed, and then grabbed a book and went out and laid in it for awhile, feeling the breeze and enjoying the temperature.

Linus joined me too.

Then we both fell asleep for almost an hour. It was a good test of whether the bed was more comfortable than our previous camping solution (an air mattress in a tent). In short, I am very happy with our purchase and can't wait to take it out on the road. :)

Around dinner time, I decided I felt like running out to the store and grabbing some frames for the posters Cory's designing for the nursery, so I went out to the car - and realized that I'd left the driver's door cracked open for about seven hours. The lights were still on, but when I tried to start the car it turned over about once before it gave up. That prompted a call to AAA for a jump, and then I had to drive around for awhile before I could turn it off. The moment of truth made me nervous, but it started right up again so we're good. I guess that counts as baby brain, though I don't feel like I've been super forgetful lately.

I also spent quite a lot of the day just feeling what's going on in my body. During the week I kind of ignore it because I'm working, but today was so lazy that I felt a lot of kicking/punching/general movement (and three hiccup sessions), and my walking pace is starting to slow down. Sometimes while I'm out about about she feels extra heavy, which makes me slow down more. Nothing painful is happening, and my back is still fine, but I can sure tell that she's growing quickly 'cause I'm starting to get uncomfortable. I'm also sleeping a lot more - 10 hours is about perfect for me right now, and even then I apparently need a nap here and there.

And speaking of sleep, it's time to go do some of that. Goodnight!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Baby Shower!

My aunt hosted an adorable camping-themed baby shower for Ivy at her house yesterday!

Cory and I feel so blessed to have all of our biggest-ticket needs (carseat, stroller, swing, pack & play, etc) taken care of! The party was darling, the food was great, and the company was pretty nice too. My car was full to the brim and Mom still has to bring the bookshelf over today. I'm not sure how we're going to fit everything in our little house! But it's sure going to be fun to try. :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Hi, Baby!

I did a good job scheduling my three appointments this week in order of awesome: dentist on Monday, OB on Tuesday and ultrasound today. Top priority for me today (besides getting to see Ivy!) was to see the status of that 6cm fibroid that was close to my cervix.

We ended up with the same sonographer as before, which was lucky - I really liked him. His overhead monitor wasn't working so I had to crane my neck to see his screen. He started with a full bladder, counting and measuring my six fibroids, and when he was finished and I was able to pee, he moved on to Ivy.

She's head-down, and look at that foot! I know she can still change positions, but I thought for sure she was breech since I feel most of the kicks down low. But maybe she just reaches up like this to kick me. :D

This one is one of my favorites - she was yawning but she looks like a screaming ghost or something. You can see the bottom of her foot next to her chin.

After he measured things like femur length and head & abdomen circumference, he switched to 3D, which was much more successful than before:

Her left arm was up in front of the left side of her face the whole time, but you can see her nose and mouth and right cheek pretty well. She yawned at this point too, but he didn't catch it. After a couple of photos she started getting wiggly and covering her face with all her limbs so we gave up.

Before we left, I asked the monographer about the 6cm fibroid, because what he was measuring didn't seem super close to the birth canal, and he said "it looks like it moved up and out of the way when your uterus grew!" Yay!

It was hard to look at the photos without tearing up as we got in the car - I know I'm starting to be affected by hormones again, but seeing her look like a real baby instead of a little doll, and being able to see how cute she is in 3D (which I know isn't exactly what she'll look like when she's born but still) - it was so exciting! Only a little over 10 weeks before she's due!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015


Today was a routine check-up. Kinda strange since I went less than two weeks ago, but that's OK - any excuse to hear Ivy is OK with me!

I've had some issues the past three days with my lower left back - it felt like maybe I just sat on the couch in a bad position for too long on Saturday, but usually it goes away after a night's sleep. Instead, I wake up every time I turn over, which is partly from the back hurting and partly from just being large and having trouble turning over without conscious attention. I asked the doc about it and she mentioned acupuncture or physical therapy, but I don't think it's as bad as all that and I'm just going to put heat and cold on it and do some stretching and walking to see if it'll get better.

She measured my fundal height and felt my belly, and I asked "can you feel what position she's in yet, just by touching my belly?" She felt close to my bladder and said "I don't feel a head there..." and then felt close to my ribs and said "I don't feel a head there either, so she's probably in the cradle position." I said "oh no! Ivy has no head!" and she tried reassuring me that she does indeed have a head, even though I was joking.

Next was the Doppler. She started looking on the right side of my belly, and was getting tons of movement - so much that she couldn't hear the heartbeat at all. So she tried the left side and the heartbeat was much easier to hear there, along with hiccups! I could only feel them when she pressed on my belly with the Doppler wand, but she was kicking a ton as well, which was fun. I love that the farther along she is, the more stuff she does. It makes it easier to bond with her.

I start going to the OB every two weeks now. I can't believe I'm at this point already. And tomorrow is my 28-week ultrasound. I get those monthly from now on, partly because of my advanced maternal age and partly because of what's happening in my pregnancy. I'm a little nervous about it, just because I'm crossing my fingers that the fibroid hasn't grown. (I just read that it can sometimes impede a fetus from turning head-down, which I hope doesn't happen!) I'm hoping for a couple of good shots to share - we shall see!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Oh, Hello.

I feel like I've been in a fog for a few months which has finally broken: last week was Conference.

We left for Grapevine (near Dallas) last Saturday, where we lived in a hotel without leaving (or even going outside) for the week. I did go out the first evening to a BBQ place but the hotel is more than walking distance away from most everything so I tried to stand outside for a few minutes here and there but it was always hot and muggy so it didn't happen very often. We set up the registration area and then worked it all week, tore it down and packed everything, and came home last night. There were mechanical issues on the last leg of our flight (a cute little prop plane from Seattle) so we had to de-plane and get on a new one, which delayed us almost two hours, and by the time we were finally driving home from work (where the shuttle dropped us), I had a good cry. It felt so nice to be back in my own bed.

It's always weird to be away for a whole week in the spring. I mowed the grass shortly before we left and it's all overgrown. The cherry tree and one of the pears started flowering and the other pear leafed out. There are blooms on our new apple tree, which hopefully means we'll get apples. It feels like things woke up while we were gone, like I walked into the movie theater ten minutes after the movie started.

The weekend before we left (two weekends ago now), one of my best friends came down to visit and we took Linus to the overgrown military base (WWII-era) which is now a wildlife refuge-slash-hunting area-slash-park, and walked around for a couple of hours. On Monday I noticed a couple of itchy bumps on my arm, which I didn't think anything of, and then the next Monday (over a week since I'd been at the camp) another area of my arm suddenly erupted in huge weepy blisters. Poison oak! The accountant was able to use the car to do a bank deposit so I begged him to stop at Walgreen's and pick something up for me - I wasn't itchy (thank goodness) but it stung a bit, and the bright red, oozing blisters on my dominant forearm were really gross-looking and I felt bad for the people I was helping at the registration desk. He brought me back Ivarest, which is the color of Calamine lotion (i.e. "skin-colored" but really not) and helped sooth the burning and dry out the blisters (not totally; I still had to walk around with a tissue in my pocket to dab at my arm several times a day). Today I'm doing more more homeopathic remedies (mixing water and baking soda, soaking a gauze pad in it and covering my arm with that for ten minutes at a time) and trying to get the four days' layers of Ivarest off. My poor arm is still bright red and the blisters are huge, but I can tell it's starting to get a little better (or at least not getting worse).

Now that Conference is over, it's time to switch gears to the next big thing: Ivy's arrival. Cory is still recovering from the week by spending most of the day in bed (it's his birthday too), but maybe tomorrow we will sit down and write out our list of to-do's. It's not just Ivy-related stuff, we've spent the last few months doing the bare minimum so we need to do things like clean the car and get the oil changed. I also need to clean the house - next weekend is my first baby shower and the next day my mom and aunt are going to come play in the nursery with me. I also bought stuff to make padsicles but the witch hazel I bought has alcohol in it and apparently that's bad so I have to go get another brand. I really ought to separate this list into "must do" and "want to do" list 'cause I bet I won't get it all done.

Monday I'm getting my teeth cleaned, Tuesday I have an OB appointment, and Wednesday we have another ultrasound. Ivy has been getting more active in the last several days, which is awesome, and even when I'm experiencing hormonal sadness it just takes a little poke from her and I feel better. I'm starting to get nervous and excited about her arrival.

And now to work on laundry. How can we fill our hamper once a week when we're home, but three times the week of Conference? Good grief.