Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Nursery

We are almost completely finished with the nursery so I thought I'd give you a little tour.

A sorta-pano of the room - it's pretty small so it's hard to photograph the whole thing! The wall to the left (behind the door, so you can't see it) is the closet. We've since moved the mobile down a little bit, which you'll see in one of the photos below.

The crib, like the dresser and bookshelf, is from Ikea. My friend Nicoal made the blanket hanging on the front rail (the reverse is minky) and my grandma cross-stitched the blanket on the side. Extra sheets and mattress pads are in the drawers underneath, and the diaper pail is on the right with a basket on top that I've been using as a laundry basket but will be out of there once we start using the nursery.

The crib and bookshelf. So many cute little stuffed animals and art, some made by family members or friends. And you can see we moved the mobile down. It'll stay there until she can move around in her crib and then we'll remove it so she's not tempted to grab it.

The sunny day was blowing out my photo of the dresser/changing table, so I waited until dusk to take one. Based on several forum posts I read, I removed the straps from the changing pad, put a non-skid rug mat underneath it, and put a king-sized pillowcase on top. It's not contoured like the pad itself but it was much cheaper and works just fine. I have two, so that I can switch them out when needed. Dexter (our cat) had been sleeping on it (I don't blame him, a nice high vantage point right by the window) so lately usually either the pillowcase is off or I have things sitting on top of it so that he doesn't leave his hair all over the place.

And my favorite part of the whole room! The trees are vinyl clings that my mom found at Joss & Main. They were actually a huge pain because the wall is just textured enough that the vinyl really doesn't want to stick very well. It took several hours to put the trunks up, and in the morning one of them had fallen. I went in there and used a roller on them every day for a week, just to be sure they'd stick. The branches were much easier (though we thought they'd fall because they were so much thinner than the trunks, so less sticky surface area), and the little animals were part of the decor at one of my showers. The branch on the top left is begging for a little vinyl bird, which I will someday find on Etsy. And the stars are from one of my showers as well - when the ceiling fan is on they flutter a little, which will be interesting for Ivy to look at from her crib or the glider once she can see that far away.

The glider was a gift from a friend. It has really nice back support. The blanket was made by my cousin. The bunny light is mostly so that I don't trip over anything at night; it'll have to be moved once Ivy is old enough to play with the cord/outlets. The picture is actually a gorgeous paper cut - The woman in the middle is telling stories to her kids and the stories are in the vines around her - Bremen Town Musicians, Alice in Wonderland, etc.

The little book cart is really nice - it has tons of space for the plentiful books Ivy has, some cubbies for toys, shallow drawers, a little ledge in the back for pens (so she can pin paper up on the back and draw on it), and cloth pockets on each end. Right now the pockets on the chair side hold nursing pads and lanolin, and will probably hold a few other breastfeeding-related items the more time I spend in there.

On the back of the door, which I didn't take a picture of, are three baby carriers - one for when she's super tiny and two for when she's 15+ pounds. The front of the door has a huge blue and green styrofoam "I" that we brought back from Texas - it was part of the giant "REGISTRATION" sign that was on the back wall at Conference. It's probably three feet tall.

We have a few diapers left to get (they're on their way), and then we're pretty much done buying stuff! Of course, that doesn't mean it's not super tempting to wander around in Target, looking at everything, but I was proud that I managed to come away from there yesterday with only a package of muslin swaddlers (since it'll be so warm when she needs to be swaddled). It feels good to be pretty much done - now pretty much all that's left for us to do is wait.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Friday FMT

Even though I've only had a few weeks of fetal monitoring, it's already weird when I go in at a different time of day - mostly because it means Ivy's going to behave differently. This week, because of Memorial Day, I went in on a different day and at a different time than usual, and I could tell.

Today was at 1:30pm (my usual time is 8:30am). The same nurse checked me in as usual; she has been pretty quiet and not that interested in chatting or smiling until this week - I must have seen her enough that she's used to me now. Ivy moved around a decent amount, and I again had the weird jagged line from the sensor that measures contractions - I know that some of my movements are picked up and some of Ivy's as well, but I don't remember that lower line being so jagged before last Tuesday's appointment.

The OB that I was assigned to today was called in for an emergency c-section, so I was in the chair for longer than usual, and they ended up just grabbing a different OB for me instead. She commented on my blood pressure (124/82 today) and I told her that at home my tests have been on average 111/70 - it's nice to be able to tell them that because it makes me feel like they can't be that worried about inducing. (I didn't tell her that I have a log, complete with graphs and trend lines, readily available for them to peruse on my iPad. They haven't been worried enough to ask to even see my hand-written log, so I'll save my geekiness until they want it.)

I spent most of my time in the chair knitting a soaker and yawning - I'm much more tired during the afternoon - but I did start reflecting on where we are now. I read an article a month or two ago, written for soon-to-be mothers who were in this late-pregnancy limbo, having finished all their prep and all their reading and were just waiting. At the time, I'd thought "that's totally not going to happen to me. I've got all kinds of books to read to prepare, and the nursery isn't anywhere near ready, and I'm sure I'll just be busy right up until she's born!" Now I know better. I really do feel like I'm in limbo, and I'm feeling my old tendencies to obsess over details coming back. Is she dropping? Was that a Braxton-Hicks contraction? What was that twinge? I even asked the doctor when they'd start checking my cervix, just because it would be interesting to know what's going on, and she said because of the risk of infection they don't tend to check until they feel like it's really needed. It's probably just as well, because I'd just obsess over the number and want to know if there were changes every time I went in.

OH, and my Group B Strep test was negative. Yay!

It's supposed to be a nice weekend and I think Cory actually has a teensy bit of time off, so we may go find some nature to walk in, and maybe take some maternity photos. We shall see what happens. And then on Monday we will have arrived at Ivy's birthday month! Eek!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Last Ultrasound

Today was what I hope is our last monthly ultrasound. (It'd be odd to have one at 40 weeks so I'm assuming we're done.) We had our favorite sonographer, who recognized us too. ("I'm going to look at your fibroids this time; last time they didn't ask me to and I don't know why!" he said as he led us to his room.)

Everything looked good, which we expected. He said she's about 6 pounds 5 ounces right now, and smack in the middle of all the growth charts as usual. She was super active - she had the hiccups when he started, and she was grinding her head all over my bladder and moving her legs and opening her mouth and playing with her hands.

We didn't get great pictures of her this time, which I also expected, since she's getting so big. In the 2D photo she's sucking on her fist (which was really cute to see live), and the 3D was especially difficult because (as you can see in the first photo) her face was right up against the placenta. He even had me move around to try to get her away from it, but wasn't able to. At first glance of the 3D photo it looks like you can see right up a giant nostril, but I think that's either a shadow or her nose was smooshed against the placenta. It's hard to imagine what she's going to look like even with these 3D photos; last time I thought she looked more like me than Cory and now I don't see a resemblance to anyone (though if I'm looking at it right, she has my bottom lip). But you can very easily tell where all her features are this time, and her eyes are open! I can't wait to see what she REALLY looks like.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015


I have to grunt and groan every time I stand up or sit down, now. Fun times. It's so strange to feel so tired and stiff and sore, and not have done much of anything - you'd think that I'd remember from the first trimester but this tiredness is different - in the first trimester I was still a normal size and could sleep on my back.

I've been sleeping pretty good for the most part, though last night I was up quite often because my hips hurt. I also kept having dreams that I was showing up for doctor appointments at the wrong clinic (like the fertility clinic instead of the OB's office) and then not being able to make it to the right clinic in time for my appointment. I took naps during 2/3 of the three-day weekend, wherein I slept like the dead and didn't move. But did drool and snore. Pregnancy is sexy.

I also feel like I'm getting period cramps. But they don't feel like I can tell when they come and go, I just kind of notice them and then don't notice them. Could be Braxton-Hicks but I'm not sure - they're pretty dull and not very strong, and low-down towards my pelvic bone. Could also just be general discomfort, that's how weak they are. (Actually, I just read somewhere that it could be that I'm not drinking enough water. I know I haven't been drinking enough water, so I'm going to try to step it up a little and see if they go away, or if they're actual B-Hs.)

Today's monitoring appointment went pretty well. I was 140/86 when the nurse first measured, so she came back later and I was 124/74, which was much better. That's still higher than my at-home average of 111/70 though. I sat in a different room than usual, and I don't know if it was the fact that my appointment was at a different time than usual or that I was hooked up to a different machine, but today's graph was really different than usual. Part of it was that Ivy was having a dance party. But I noticed that sometimes she would move but her heart rate wouldn't go up to match it. I asked the midwife and she said that it looked great, though, so I'm not that worried about it.

They also did a Group B Strep swab, measured my fundal height (36), did a quick ultrasound to look at my amniotic fluid (looked great), and gave me a TDAP shot. (I've since been randomly waving my arm around, hoping that using it will help it not be so sore next time I attempt to wash my hair.)

Tomorrow is our 36-week ultrasound. Hopefully this will be the last one, and hopefully we'll get one more good look at her face (though I'm not counting on it since she's getting so cramped in there.)

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Our Bags are Packed!

Yesterday marked 36 weeks, and though I really hope Ivy waits a few more weeks before she makes her debut, we are ready to go in case she wants to be a little early.

My clothes and snacks (from top left):
The bag (it's a carry-on-sized roller bag, and there's room to spare in there)
Ratty old slippers (17 years old!) and flip flops (the kind made from yoga mats) for walking the halls
See's candy to bribe thank the nurses for being so good to us during our stay
Luna bars for me and for Cory
Honey sticks
Two pairs of pajama pants to wear in the hospital, either while I'm laboring or after Ivy is born (we have been told we'll probably stay for two nights, and maybe three if we have to have a c-section)
Two nursing camisoles
Two light wrap sweaters
Two nursing bras
Light robe
Thick socks
Going-home stuff (I'll probably wear a camisole and sweater, and if I don't feel like wearing pajama pants home I'll wear this - it's a maternity skirt)

Not pictured:
Water bottle with a straw (Camelbak)
Coconut water
String cheese (if I don't eat it all before we go!)
Phone/iPad and charger (in my purse already)
Nightgown for laboring, so that I don't have to wear the hospital gown (but it's a pullover so if I end up having to have an IV or something I may have to switch to the hospital gown)

My toiletries (from left):
Pillbox with prenatals and blood pressure meds (4 of each)
Mouthwash (recommended by the birth class instructor - in case I puke)
Cetaphil body wash
Hair tie/clip
Shampoo & conditioner

Not pictured:
Coverup (I don't wear makeup, besides a tiny bit of coverup if needed, and may not even use coverup while I'm in the hospital. We shall see.
Lip balm (it's in my purse already)

Ivy's stuff:
Diaper bag (Skip Hop)
Pajamas in various sizes (newborn and 0-3 months)
Blanket for the car seat
Baby book
Burp rags (though I don't think we'll need them)
Nursing pillow
Nail clippers/file in case she has gnarly fingernails (so she won't scratch herself)
Mittens (again for the scratching)
Nursing pads/lanolin

Not pictured:
Car seat

Cory's stuff:
Pajama pants
Cory's bag (Columbia messenger bag, though his stuff may have fit into my roller bag)
A few shirts (he's hoping to not have to go home at all, even during the recovery time)

Not pictured:
Toiletries (deodorant, toothbrush)
Phone charger

The hospital provides a lot of stuff, and so some of what we're bringing might be overkill, but we want to be prepared. We also live less than ten minutes away from the hospital so it's not a big deal for Cory to run home if he needs to, or to send a family member out to run an errand for us.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


Today's monitoring went great!

On Monday afternoon, I started using a wrist cuff to check my blood pressure twice a day, and it was giving me such low numbers (an average of 109/66 in the mornings, compared to Monday's appointment blood pressure which was 140/90) that I was worried the cuff was wrong. Either that or I had white coat hypertension. So this morning when I tested myself after the alarm went off and it was 119/76, and then 124/77 ten minutes later, I started thinking it was the latter. At the appointment, the nurse measured 136/86, and then I measured myself afterwards - and of course I didn't write it down. I remember the bottom number was the same and the top number was something like 4mm less. So that's pretty good! (Also, I tested a few minutes later while reclining and it was way down - like my normal morning measurements - so I'm thinking the relief I was feeling brought it down.)

We caught Ivy's nap today during monitoring - she had a few movements right at the beginning and then nothing until the very end when the midwife had already come in to talk to me. She looked closely at two decels, but said they didn't meet the criteria of being 15 seconds long before going back up to baseline so she wasn't worried. Then she geeked out over how much amniotic fluid she could see on the ultrasound. I showed her my BP chart and told her about the test I did with the nurse, and she told me that her husband had such bad white coat hypertension that they've been to the emergency room twice. She said that it made sense to her that my blood pressure would go up when they started talking about induction. So that made me feel much better.

After the monitoring appointment, Cory joined me and we got pre-checked-in at the hospital and then had an appointment with the Maternity Care Coordinator. She's a nurse at the hospital who goes through things like what to expect at the hospital, gives paperwork for the birth certificate, recommends classes and stuff - pretty much what the class we took did, smooshed down into an hour but with a little extra paperwork. She also started a birth plan - I brought ours so that we could go over that, but she wasn't super interested in that one; she had a form that she used instead that had spaces for who would be my support people and what kind of pain meds I wanted and whether I wanted the nurses to offer Ivy a pacifier, that kind of thing. She confirmed that the hospital's policies are pretty much what my birth plan is, which is awesome and made me feel OK about not getting to go through my birth plan with her.

She kinda rushed us through a very quick 45 minute meeting, and then we walked down to the emergency entrance to see where we'd have to check in if I go into labor after 5pm or on a weekend. The receptionist there said "don't come here! Just wait until the daytime and go to the normal hospital!" which Cory and I laughed about because the nurse had just told us that the emergency staff were afraid of laboring moms.

In work news, I think people are finally starting to get a little concerned about my impending departure. I had started training someone to do my daily paperwork but nobody was lined up yet for all the other stuff I do, until yesterday when Cory helped light a fire under some people. It's still not 100% figured out, but I'm starting to feel a little better about it now. I was telling my coworker yesterday that I have my hospital bag almost all packed and my snacks for labor purchased and ready to go, but I don't have someone to cover for me at work while I'm gone and that's no good. It's one of the last prepping-for-birth things that is stressing me out.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Monitoring and Nesting

I'm pretty sure the nesting urge has started! On Friday, our carpets were cleaned, courtesy of my very generous boss. It was really hard not to run up there as soon as I got home from work on Friday evening so that I could put everything back the way it was, but the carpet took awhile to dry (of course we hit a cool and damp few days rather than warm sunny ones) so I wasn't able to do it until Sunday.

So Sunday morning was straightening-up time. I also made some closet dividers so that I didn't have to keep checking the tags of all of Ivy's hanging clothes.

I had been thinking about running to the store and buying some $20 organization kit but I changed my mind and used a box from one of our many recent Amazon purchases, a Sharpie, and some tags that were on a gift we received at one of the baby showers. I think they turned out pretty good for being kind of thrown together, but that was part of the point - I wanted them to look rustic and extra-DIY.

I also worked on my hospital bag. I'm starting to get worried that I'll be induced before my due date, so I decided it'd be a good idea to get ready. I have almost everything packed (or at least set aside to throw into the bag when it's time) and I'll post a photo of everything once I've finished. I'm not going to load the car because we don't have a trunk (well, we do, but we have a Forester so you can see into it from outside) and I don't want anyone to be tempted. Instead, I'm hoping that if I end up going to a monitoring appointment and having to be admitted, that I can ask for an hour and pick Cory up (since he's not coming to these appointments) and run home to grab everything. Eep, it's feeling more and more real every day.

I also spent some of Sunday doing some research on chronic hypertension during late pregnancy. I wrote out a few questions for the doctor, and am going to borrow a blood pressure cuff from a coworker so that I can start logging.

This weekend also saw me take two naps. One of which ended at 8pm on Sunday night, an hour before I normally go to bed. I was worried that I'd have trouble going back to sleep but nope.

This morning was monitoring. My blood pressure was pretty high again, and after they retested once I'd been sitting for awhile it was 140/90. Which is right on the threshold of uh-oh-bad. The doctor came in and told me that she wasn't going to up my blood pressure meds, and I don't have the weight gain or swelling that they usually see pretty quickly if it's preeclampsia, but she sent me across the street for a blood and urine test just to rule that stuff out. She asked how much I'd had to drink so far that morning and I said "a cup or two of tea..." thinking she was asking about whether I'd need more water in order to provide a urine sample, but she said "ack - drink more water. That could be the reason why your blood pressure is elevated." So for the next while, I'll be taking it easy (not that I was doing any hard-core exercising to begin with) and drinking lots more water (I may go buy some watermelon and coconut water and stuff too, so that I can find other good ways to stay hydrated), and hoping that I don't get sent to L&D after the next appointment.

EDITED TO ADD: I got the cuff from my coworker and tested just for fun - and got 115/79. So either I have white coat hypertension or this cuff is calibrated wrong. In any case, I'll be testing twice a day until Thursday morning and will take the cuff with me so I can test at the same time as the nurse and see what happens.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Potential Bad News?

Today was my second fetal monitoring session. My blood pressure was a little high, so the nurse hooked me up and then came back after several minutes to try again. It was lower the second time, but I feel like I'm on alert now.

The test itself was fine, Ivy did what she was supposed to do. I laughed at the contraction monitor line on the screen after I sneezed though - whoa.

When it was over, the doctor chatted with me about the possibility of inducing by my due date. She's worried about my blood pressure. I asked if they could do it gently/slowly enough so that I could still have a natural birth, and she basically said "inductions hurt, and you'll probably have a long labor anyway, and so you'll want the epidural." I was pretty bummed out about that, but as I'm processing it I'm feeling better about it. I don't know how many moms she sees who are pretty dead-set against interventions - I'd imagine most moms are happy to have epidurals.

I'm trying to reconcile the feelings I'm having about this news while I'm at work, which isn't really the best way to do it, but oh well. I think what it comes down to is that I'm kind of scared to have any interventions. I want this to be an easy process (and by easy I mean in the long run - I know it's hard to have a natural birth but recovery time is much easier) and I want Ivy to come into the world in the best way possible.

I hear so often "in the end, all that matters is that you have a healthy baby" - but I happen to believe that it's not as healthy to subject them to epidurals and harsh birth circumstances. I don't begrudge anyone else's beliefs when it comes to how they want to birth their babies, of course, but that's what I believe.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Tiny Post!

Today we got the car seat inspected. I thought it would take five minutes, where they'd wiggle the base and say "good job" and send us on our way. But it took 45 minutes! The inspector did wiggle the base and say "good job" (in fact, she said "I don't think I've seen one this good in a year!" which made us sad that so many people have troubles - we couldn't figure out how that could be) but then she uninstalled it and showed us an alternate way to do it (we had used LATCH and she showed us the seatbelt way, which didn't seem nearly as secure) and then re-did the LATCH and had me tighten it. The only problem that we had was that the seat, even though it was in the "green zone" of being at the right angle, wasn't actually quite reclining enough. Now that it reclines enough, though, I don't have much leg room up front. Oh well, it'll only be for a few months.

Busy Day!

Yesterday was a busy day.

First, we had a lunchtime baby shower at work! This is our last one. We got some really nice gifts from the gang, and got to cross some more stuff off of our registry. (In fact, we only have a few more things - mostly first aid and diapers - that we need to get ourselves! That's so awesome!)

I feel like I'm starting to get that late-pregnancy ballooning - not long now!

Then I went to my first monitoring appointment. Cory couldn't come, which was fine 'cause it's just sitting in a recliner with belts on for awhile. I went in expecting for it to take over an hour, but apparently Ivy was accommodating 'cause she moved around a lot while I was sitting there, so I only had to be in the chair for about 20 minutes.

I took a couple of photos and a video for Cory. The doctor came in and did a super quick ultrasound to measure the amniotic fluid, and explained a little more about the monitoring, and assured me that even though the machine beeped a few times and her heart rate fluctuated between 118 and 160, she was doing exactly what she was supposed to. (I also got to see a fleeting glance of her face, which is starting to look chubby and super cute.)

Then I ran home for a quick bite, picked up Cory and we went to birth class. We got to tour a birth room! It wasn't optimal 'cause all of their delivery rooms were full, so we had to tour a back-up room which didn't have all of the things that the other rooms had. But it was still nice to walk around and see where we were going to spend some time in a little over a month. The instructor showed us how to use the squat bar and told us over and over not to allow many visitors for very long while we were in there, to facilitate bonding and rest.

After the tour, we got to go back and sit down, thank goodness - my back was unhappy about standing around for an hour - and we watched a video of several women during early and active labor and pushing. I stole a couple of glances around the room, and found that I'm the only one who cried. I can't not cry when I watch birth videos, they get me every time.

And now I'm off to the fire station to have them check on the car seat - it's their inspection open house this morning. I think we installed it correctly but let's see if I'm right.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Another Baby Shower!

Yesterday was our baby shower thrown by Cory's sister and cousin! It was held up in the Seattle area, so we got up real real early (3am) and left real real early (4am) so that we could play downtown for a little while first.

We got to Pike Place Market a little after 8am, which was great 'cause while there were a lot of people there it was nothing like it would have been if we'd been there in the late morning. We didn't feel like we were in anyone's way when we wandered through. Cory got a cup of coffee at Starbucks ('cause you have to, it being the first location and all) and we eyed the piroshky shop but ended up getting some bagels for breakfast. There were a ton of flower stalls out on the street, which I didn't think anything of until I saw the photos on the news this morning about the flower stalls all being there for Mother's Day. We were there too early for several of the stalls and shops to be open, but we weren't in the market for anything anyway, really, so we wandered through and then moved on.

Next we drove over to the Seattle Center, where the Space Needle lives. We thought about going up, but at $36 per person it's a little steep (and we've been up before) so we walked around the Center and enjoyed the sunshine.

We still had a little time to kill before we were due at Cory's aunt's house, so next we ran over to Ballard and walked around. It reminded me a lot of NW Portland. Cory bought a hat at the Kavu shop (and I was tempted to buy a waxed canvas bag but I restrained myself) and we looked at a fun indie shop that was full of local art and fun clothes. Then we stumbled on a pub so we spent some time there, me with decaf coffee (I'd ordered beignets with it but the waiter forgot, which wasn't that big of a deal) and Cory with a flight of bourbon. (Yay: he found another favorite! Boo: we can't find it at our local pub.)

Next we enjoyed lunch on Cory's aunt's deck. Most of the family was already there, which was great. And then we partied!

Well, I took all of TWO photos yesterday. Oops. But here they are.

Everyone surprised us with a book (or five) that they loved when they were a kid or that their kids loved. It was fantastic - Ivy will have a ton of books to read now, and if she's anything like we were at that age she's going to need a library that size. Everyone went around the room and shared with us why they contributed the book(s) that they did. We even had some books from Cory's grandparents and uncle, who are in poor health and couldn't make it - that was really special.

All we could talk about on the drive out of Seattle was how blessed we are to have such wonderful families. People came to this shower that I barely knew, and some of the gifts were made by friends of various family members who we've never met but were still happy to go out of their way for us. (Hand-painted booties! Handmade wall hangings!) It was an amazing energy to be able to sit and be enveloped by.

We got home around 10:15pm and both crashed out hard. And today is my favorite part - I get to go through the bags and boxes again and get things organized!

Thank you so much to Heather and Lisa, who organized yesterday's festivities - Ivy's very privileged to be born into this family. :)

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Little Things

OB appointment today. Everything looked fine but it took the midwife a long time to find the heartbeat.

My next two appointments are a week and a half apart so that they can catch me at 36 weeks. I also have to do another growth ultrasound at 36 weeks - I almost asked if we could skip it because it didn't seem like it was helping anything (and she's in the 48th percentile), but then the midwife said that it's because of me being on the blood pressure meds that they want to keep checking on her. So I let it be.

I found my first stretch mark on Saturday, and another one appeared today.

Pretty sure I'm getting sick. It started last night during birth class, when my nose started running, and it felt like allergies but I woke up a lot at night with a stuffy nose and a sore throat, and now I feel like I'm slowly getting achier. I don't want to waste my PTO on being sick.

Our 13 year old kitty is very sick and Cory made The Appointment tomorrow at 3. When he told me, as I was in the middle of the last paragraph, I couldn't keep it together so I came home after all. It's going to be really hard to say goodbye.