Saturday, March 31, 2007

34w5d Countdown, More Tips

Only 9 days to go till I'm 36 weeks and can deliver at the local hospital. I don't know why I'm holding my breath so. I've really had no more pre-labor symptoms since the 30 week scare and there's nothing to indicate I'll deliver that early. Still.... I'll feel better when I actually hit that milestone.

Only 30 days to go till I'm 39 weeks (when I delivered my daughter).

The other day I was making out a grocery list and started thinking about how the shopping will get done when I'm not able to do it myself. Mostly I was thinking in terms of how to get it paid for. If J is doing the shopping it's no problem. But my best friend will be here for several days and I'm sure she'll do a lot of shopping for me (she has promised to make a bunch of stuff for me and freeze it!). Plus there might be times when people drop by and offer to pick up things. I'm not a cash person and I rarely have more than $20 on me. It occurred to me to buy a gift card to the local grocery store that I could just hand over to whoever is doing the shopping. My last trip I bought one and I plan to buy more each time I go (I'm buying them in increments to spread out the cost a bit). This way I don't have to worry about paying anyone back and the added advantage is that I can just use up whatever's left over when I start doing the shopping again.

Another tip I just read over at Parent Hacks and will definitely try. They suggest freezing hair gel in ziploc bags for ice packs. The advantage of the gel over water is that the gel will supposedly not freeze as hard as water. I can attest to the need for ice packs after a vaginal delivery. I didn't try them till about a week after I came home but oh what a huge difference they made. I ended up using the ice packs from my Avent pump and go set because they didn't freeze rock solid. I would freeze them and then put them in a ziploc to use. The problem was that I only had two. So definitely on my shopping list is a thing of hair gel and the snack size ziploc bags. I think that will make the perfect size for down there. I plan to freeze a few test runs and test them out and I'll let you know how well they work.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

34w1d Is it just me or is it hot in here?

It's currently 77 degrees here in central Ohio. Someone must have gotten the message that this is spring break week, at least in my town.

I remember the last two months of my pregnancy with Gracie was in January and February, typically the coldest months of the year. I would sleep with just a T-shirt and sheet while John shivered on the other side of the bed under a mountain of blankets because I had turned the heat off. So it's with a little trepidation that I view this warmer weather.

Night before last I slept horribly and, upon reflection the next day, I realized that the flannel sheets might have had something to do with it. So yesterday I kept the windows open all day and replaced the flannel with nice cool cotton. Then just before bed I drug out the fan (the one that I paid a bunch for because it is super quiet) and directed it right at my side of the bed. Last night I slept pretty well. Except for the shivering on the other side of the bed.

Today I actually got out one of my short sleeve maternity shirts. It was a huge shock to see myself in something other than one of the 4 long sleeve maternity shirts I posses. But oh how heavenly to actually feel somewhat cool.

Looks like tomorrow we may go back to more March-like temps. I'm still not putting the flannel sheets back on.

Monday, March 26, 2007

34 Weeks

Wow! Only 2 weeks to go until I hit that 36 week milestone. I keep feeling like it will be all down-hill from there for some reason.

J and I are actually planning one last outing next weekend. He is based out of Detroit and sometimes has long overnight layovers there. So I will fly up there to meet him and we'll stay in the swank Westin hotel that is right in the airport. He gets a decent pilot rate on it although eating meals in the airport always kills the pocketbook!

Not much new to report on the pregnancy front. My swollen feet and varicose veins continue to plague me. Only 6 weeks to go!

Saturday, March 24, 2007


I've decided I really like Three. The age, that is.

The first year of G's life was hard for me. There are so many adjustments to be made and when you throw in post-partum depression, it made for a rough time for everyone involved.

Between the ages of 1 and 2 was a good time. We had worked out the sleep issues and were both getting plenty of it. I had managed to work through my depression. G started walking and the world was a new and exciting place every second of the day.

Between 2 and 3 got tougher again. G began to figure out that she was an independent person and she took every opportunity to assert and test that independence. But there were so many things she wanted to do and just wasn't capable of yet. Lots of frustration.

Now G is 3. Things have gotten progressively better over the last few months. She still tests her limits but overall she is turning out to be a pretty well-behaved little girl. She still naps in the afternoon which gives me a break. The world is still an exciting place with new discoveries every day. But my favorite part is watching her play. Po.lly Po.ckets have recently invaded our home and G absolutely loves them. One day she spent three straight hours in her own little imaginary world, acting out all sorts of things with the dolls. I'm fascinated to watch her concoct all sorts of stories and it makes me really aware that she is always watching me and not a whole lot gets past her.

So I am liking 3 so far. Weird how the good years and bad seem to alternate. Makes me rather afraid that the same pattern will occur with the new baby because then someone will always be in a bad year. Sometimes I let myself look down the road and think that I have 3 years at least to get this new baby to a point where I feel like I really enjoy being a mother. And by then G will be 6! I'm sure it was just yesterday that the midwife handed her to me and I marveled that they were actually going to send this tiny baby home with me - no instructions or degree required. Wow.

Friday, March 23, 2007

33w4d Motivation

I have never really liked exercising for the sake of exercising. Previous to all the complications of this pregnancy (namely the varicose veins) I could motivate myself to go to the gym daily because for one thing it would give me a break from G and also because I could read a book and listen to my Ipod and forget that I was actually working. Since the treadmill is no longer an option, I just can't seem to get motivated to go and swim. The last few times I've ended up in the warm water pool just hanging out. While it feels great to have a little relief from the aches and pains, the only exercise I get is in actually packing my bag and changing my clothes. I can practically feel my muscles melting away.

This morning we had to leave the house at 6am to get John to the airport for work. It was raining cats and dogs all the way there and back. Definitely a good day for a nap. Makes it even harder to get motivated to go to the gym.

Maybe we'll go out for McD's for lunch. That would count as some exercise, wouldn't it?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

33w3d Midwife Appt

Everything went swimmingly at the appointment today. Blood pressure was perfect, heartbeat was around 150 which is perfect, there appears to be plenty of amniotic fluid, and I'm measuring almost 34 weeks which is perfect. The midwife thinks the baby is going to be on the smaller side. She estimates weight at around 4.5 to 5 pounds right now. That's fine by me!! My weight was up 33 pounds overall. If I gain the standard pound a week from here on out I should be about what I gained with G. She would have done the Group B Strep culture this appointment but there is no need since I already know I have it.

She didn't ask for it, but I plan to bring my birth plan to my next appt in 2 weeks. After that appointment, I'll start going weekly. Wow!

Monday, March 19, 2007

33 Weeks

Only about 7 weeks to go! Lately the worst of my symptoms seem to have gone away, knock on wood. My varicose veins don't really bother me and the restless legs have quieted down. My worst problem the last few days is the inability to breathe. Sometimes I feel like I just can't catch my breath. I guess that's what happens when you've got a butt in your lungs.

Thus far I have held off on putting together a "hospital" bag. Like if the baby thinks I'm ready, she'll come too early. How silly is that?! But yesterday I started at least compiling a list. I was wondering the timing of things during my labor so I went back and looked at the time stamps on pictures from that day. At 1:45pm I was sitting in a hospital bed getting monitored (they did it for 15 minutes every hour) eating a dish of chocolate pudding with a big smile on my face. At that point my water had been broken for about 12 hours but I was obviously not in serious labor! The next picture I have was taken about 4:30pm and I was just starting to work through some serious contractions. If I remember correctly, a check previous to that had me at about 4cm dilated. About half an hour later things started really heating up and I went into the shower (I wanted to labor in water but the room with the only jacuzzi at that hospital wasn't available). G was born at about 7:40pm. Looking at that timeline, I realize that I only had about 3 hours of true labor. Wow! Sure seemed like more than that. The coolest thing is that G was nursing a mere 10 minutes after she was born!

It was neat to look back at the pictures and I would highly recommend that you have hubby or someone take some during your labor. Even if you never show them to anyone (notice I'm not posting any of mine here!), the timeline they can give you is invaluable to compare with what you remember of the day.

The next batch of pictures I have is from the next day. In most of them, I am in the hospital gown nursing G. Of course, they don't make hospital gowns to nurse in, so in all these pictures I'm pretty exposed. Which brings me to my list. This time around I'm taking my own nursing pajamas! There is also a picture of me nursing her just before we left the hospital and I'm wearing a maternity shirt hiked up so you can see my squishy belly. Also definitely on the list is a nursing shirt and bra. Live and learn! The other thing that's currently on my list? A bottle of wine! Apparently this hospital has a nice supper for the new parents and I intend to top that off with a nice glass of wine!

Sunday, March 18, 2007


Seems like no matter how I try to forget it or bury it, the anniversary of my first m/c will always remain with me. Two years ago today I went in for a D&C. I was 10.5 weeks and the baby measured about 9.5 weeks. About this time last year I was having another m/c. I confess these events greatly factored into my anxiety over the cramping I experienced a few weeks ago. March is just not a good month for me and babies.

I hit yet another milestone today: I had to take my wedding band off today. I have never had it off my finger since J put it there over 10 years ago. The last week or so my fingers swell up and that fingers gets itchy. Today it actually started to hurt. It took a while but with the help of some hand lotion I was able to get it off. I know J will never let me live it down but I reckoned it was better than losing my finger!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Do You Have A Doula?

Hey Christina over at a Mommy Story - drop me an email (see right bar for my address). My doula sent me a list of recommendations for you.

Friday, March 16, 2007

32w4d Baby Necessities

After my dentist's appt today I went shopping, first to Target then to the mall to spend some Christmas gift cards. At Target I decided to go ahead and buy a package of both newborn and size 1 diapers. Oh my gosh - I had forgotten how small the packages are! I think I bought one package of each size before G was born and I still have some of those left (I used mainly cloth).

Earlier this week we had our first "prenatal" with the doula. I wasn't quite sure what to expect but from some comments she made, I got the impression that it would be a 2-hour childbirth education class. Now, we took a four week class before G was born and we decided not to take any this time around. Rather, I've been re-reading lots of books and even got a couple for J to read. So I met the doula at the door with our birth plan from G and as I expected that rather headed off a lot of the basic material. We spent most of the time going over the birth plan and noting minor changes to accommodate what the hospital here does. Our next prenatal will be in a few weeks and she'll spend the time going over and demonstrating various comfort measures. That will be more to my liking!! She will also bring her "doula bag of tricks" and show us things she has like aromatherapy and knee pads for J if he has to be kneeling to help me out. When I get the tweaks done I'll post my birth plan here.

Back in January when I was cleaning up the nursery, I made a list of a few things that I thought would have been nice to know the first time around. Some true "necessities" that you don't usually find on other lists:

  • A variety of diaper rash creams and ointments – Sooner or later your baby *will* get a diaper rash. And the miracle cream that worked for your friend down the street may do nothing but irritate your baby’s bottom. The best thing is to have a variety of stuff ahead of time and then experiment to see what works. Over the course of time I ended up buying about one of everything in the diaper rash section. I wish that I had known and could have stocked up well ahead of time when things were on sale or I could price shop. The stuff isn’t cheap and especially not when you have to buy it at the local pharmacy because you need something *now*. By all means, ask around and get recommendations, but be prepared to experiment. And don’t discount simple talcum powder. In the end I found that to be the best at preventing rashes in the first place.
  • Hand sanitizer – I keep a bottle of this wherever I have diapers. As soon as I get the wet or dirty diaper off and in the trash, I clean my hands and then put on the clean diaper. You can’t always get away to wash you hands properly but this at least lets you get some of the germs off. This also comes in handy as the kid enters toddler-hood to try and keep away some of the cold germs.
  • You’ll see a lot of the hard, travel cases for baby wipes. Skip those. The best container for baby wipes is a Ziploc bag which keeps the moisture in so the wipes won’t dry out. This is especially important for wipes you have stashed here and there that don’t get used often. As my child got older I even kept my main stash of wipes in a Ziploc rather than the dispenser box to keep them from drying out.
  • I used and really liked something called the “Ultimate Crib Sheet”. It’s basically a waterproof mattress pad and bottom sheet all in one. It attaches to the side of the crib in such a way that you don’t have to take off the bumper pad or anything in order to change it. I had three of them and would put them all on the crib at once. Then, when one got dirty, all I had to do was take the top one off and the crib would be ready again. Easy! I got mine at Target.

By no means a comprehensive list but just a few tips to get you thinking! Sometimes it's the little things (like being able to quickly change the crib sheet at 3am) that will keep you sane!

It's strange: the last few days have seen a return of my fear of the baby having Down's or something similar. I don't know why all of a sudden I'm afraid - I guess because the weeks are counting down and we'll know for sure soon.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


I actually got out of bed at 7:30 this morning and went grocery shopping! I am totally not a morning person but I've been trying to get this trip in with no luck all week and this was my last chance before J goes back to work. I'm now satisfied that I have enough pantry stock to get us through the birth and a little beyond. I'll still make weekly trips but just for perishables.

Last week at our MOPS group we had a nutritionist come and talk about meal planning. I've had a system in place for a while now that works pretty well and will work especially well when the baby comes, I think, provided that I have stocked up enough! What I do is I write down a list of about 20-30 meals that I will make over the course of about a month. I have a 3 column document made up so that I can write the recipe name in one column, non-perishable ingredients in another, and perishables in the third. When I've listed all the meals I go through my pantry and check off the non-perishables that I already have. Then I make a (usually) huge grocery list from the non-perishables that I still need. Then about once a week or so I sit down with my calendar and write down things I plan to make. From that I make up a shopping list of perishables to get. For me, this is more flexible than trying to plan out each day what we're going to eat for weeks in advance. Plus I always have some meals that I can make completely from pantry items in case I can't get to the grocery store for perishables. Anyway, that's my system and maybe it will give someone out there some ideas.

One thing the pregnancy books will tell you happens in late pregnancy is that your pelvic bones will begin to move open in anticipation of a baby passing through them. I don't remember having any pain with G from this. I am definitely having it this time around! Seems like it would hurt more the first time but maybe it didn't really happen until I was in labor. Even though it hurts like heck to walk, it's an exciting development since it means my body is getting ready for things. I'm sure I looked pretty funny waddling around the grocery store this morning though!

Monday, March 12, 2007

32 Weeks

I'm 32 weeks today. In just 4 short weeks I'll be able to deliver at the hospital of my choice and the baby won't be considered too early. 28 days. I'm counting. In 28 days you can bet I'll start visualizing an opening cervix in all my spare moments. I am so very tired of being pregnant.

Two weeks ago I dealt with a fever and GBS infection. This past Saturday afternoon I came down with a fever again and it continued all day Sunday, hovering around 100 degrees. Not enough to be truly concerning but enough to make me feel achy all over and just generally miserable. Fortunately I didn't have any cramping this time but, as I finished up my antibiotics Saturday, I did begin to worry that they might not have wiped out the GBS. I finally talked to the midwife Sunday evening and she asked me lots of questions and eventually decided that I just have a viral infection causing the fever and aches. She sounded pretty certain that, with some Tylenol and lots of rest, I will feel better within a few days. I do feel somewhat better today so am keeping my fingers crossed that she's right.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

A Whopper of a Bill

Got my insurance statement today for my little visit to L&D last week. Wow! I was there for about an hour and a half. I got monitored and had several labs done (urine and cultures plus the FFn). Also got the shot of terbutaline. All that came to a grand total billed of almost $1700! Wow!

Our company got on a new insurance this year - Un.ited Healt.hcare. From everything I've heard it's the bottom rung of insurance plans. Doesn't pay a whole lot so no one wants to take it. Our dentist is no longer covered. Fortunately the hospital and midwife both take it. I have to say, though, that I'm pleased with the coverage thus far. For one thing, it looks like they cover 100% of labwork when it's done in conjunction with a hospital stay. So all my labs were free. I'm still working on the deductible this year so I have to pay a grand total of $150 which could be worse. What got me, though, is that the hospital billed $1681. The insurance company allowed $478. No wonder no one wants to accept this insurance! I almost feel like I should leave a tip for the midwife or something. Her office is always way behind on billing (I just recently paid the copay for my first visit in October) so I don't know what they'll allow from her bill. Hopefully it's a goodly amount!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

31w3d Midwife Appointment

My every-other-week appointment went pretty well today. The most reassuring thing is that my midwife isn't worried about my going into pre-term labor. She's satisfied that it was the GBS infection causing the uterine irritability and as long as that's being treated, she doesn't think I'm at any higher risk of delivering early. But of course she cautioned me to be a little more vigilant for any signs of pre-term labor.

The only thing I got a little lectured about today was my weight. I don't routinely weigh myself at home anymore but I suspect that over the course of last week I lost somewhere around 5 pounds, maybe more. Today I was down 2 pounds from my last visit two weeks ago. I have a newfound respect for women who cope with Hyperemesis Gravidarium which is the really, really bad form of morning sickness. I went about 3 days without having much of an appetite and lost 5 pounds. I can only imagine the issues with weight gain when one is constantly sick while pregnant. I still don't really have much of an appetite but yesterday and today I have at least gotten hungry at the appropriate times. I'll be done with my antibiotics on Saturday and hopefully that will boost my appetite.

After my appointment today I went and got my hair cut. My last cut back in November was an impromptu stop at one of those drop-in chain places. I'm sure there's lots of good hair stylists that work at those places and I wouldn't want to offend, but the particular lady I got that day really butchered my hair. One side looked great but the other side was all different lengths. So I got a referral from a friend and plunked down $40 for a wash, cut, and style. Totally worth it! She made it look cute with very little effort. I might even drag out my blow dryer and attempt some styling of my own!

G is at the sitter's today. J called and asked how I was enjoying my "day off". Well, let's see, between the midwife and hair appointment, and doing all the shopping on my list, the day is pretty much gone. And I still have to go do the grocery shopping which I positively dread. We go through about half a gallon of milk A DAY here (!!) plus about a gallon of water a day (yes, I've become on of those water-snobs who thinks tap water tastes yucky and only drinks bottled). So if I buy two weeks worth of milk and water my basket is full before I've even begun. I really must look in to a bottled water delivery service and possibly tethering a cow in the back yard!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

After Baby Comes Home

I came across this article at one of my favorite sites today: "Chore board" helps postpartum visitors help you. I think it sounds like a stellar idea. I remember all too well when I first came home with G and people would stop by. Of course I wanted to sit and chat with them but in retrospect I did way too much "entertaining" and not enough taking advantage of people who were more than willing to help. So I'm seriously considering doing this. I'll probably add things to it like "Watch the kids while I take a shower" or "Take G somewhere for a few hours while baby and I take a nap". I'm sure some people will find it tacky but I suspect I'll be too tired with a toddler and newborn to really, truly care too much!

Monday, March 05, 2007

31 Weeks

My first pregnancy was a breeze. I remember thinking many times "I like being pregnant". Let me just say that I do not like it quite as much this time around. I feel like a walking ailment list. My latest is pain in my heel. I've had to take to wearing my most comfortable shoes all the time, complete with a heel pad, to keep the pain at bay. Just getting up in the middle of the night and walking across the carpet will cause it to hurt. If nothing else, it has made me but sure to keep my feet propped up a lot which is also really helping with the swelling.

I think the antibiotics are helping my infection. Yesterday I had just a few occasions of very, very mild cramping that lasted for just 10-15 minutes each. The pills are a pain in the butt to take, though. I have to take them every 6 hours on an empty stomach (1 hour before a meal or 2 hours after). Getting them on an empty stomach is quite challenging, but I decided not to worry too awfully much about it and just do the best I can. Hopefully I'll be done with them this Sunday.

The whole pre-term labor thing still scares me. I know that she would have a very good chance of surviving at this point but I can't even contemplate having to spend weeks in the NICU and trying not to let my other child be too impacted.

I told G last night about the baby. Of course she got very excited but I think it is still a shadowy concept for her. She keeps wanting to "look at the baby" and then she fixates on my belly button. I'd give anything to know what's going on in her head! Of course, she wants to know when the baby is going to come out. I told her that baby has to grow some more but she'll come out when she's ready. So last night she kept asking me over and over if the baby was ready yet. I think it's going to be a long 8 or 9 weeks!

My next midwife appointment is this Thursday. This time I'm anxious to talk to her about how likely she thinks it will be for me to go into early labor and also whether she'll do early internals or repeat the FFN test. She's a very laid back practitioner and I think if she takes a wait and see approach it will do a lot to alleviate my fears of an early labor.

Thursday is also a sitter day for G. YIPPPPPEEEE! We haven't been since January and I was beginning to think she was going to blow me off. Of course, about the only thing I plan to get done is the midwife and grocery shopping. Oh, and I have an appointment for a hair cut.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Me And Group B Strep

Sounds like a title of a bad country song, doesn't it? So let me tell you about my relationship with Group B Strep.

When I was pregnant with G, I tested positive for GBS. This bacteria usually doesn't cause any symptoms, but if the baby is exposed to it, it can make the baby very sick. So, once you are in labor you get regular doses of IV antibiotics so that the baby has some protection when they are delivered. Normally it's not a huge deal until your water breaks. Then you need to deliver within 24 hours or there's a much higher chance of the baby contracting the infection. My case was that my water broke and it was almost 12 hours before my labor really started. Which put a timeline on things and made labor a bit stressful. Fortunately, in the end, they didn't have to augment my labor with Pitocin but the threat was always there.

When I got pregnant the second time and started spotting, my midwife ran some routine tests and one of the cultures came back positive for a GBS infection. She diagnosed my spotting as due to this and put me on some antibiotics but I still had a miscarriage - most likely due to the septum.

Fast forward to this week and my cramping. Guess what's apparently causing it? Yup: GBS. So I am on antibiotics right now and will be on them when I go in for delivery. I can only hope that my water won't break so early this time and will give me some time to labor without feeling like there's a stopwatch about to go off.

I did a lot of research before and I did some more today on GBS. About 10-30% of pregnant women have the bacteria present but it is apparently quite rare to actually have symptoms from it. Symptoms or not, it can cause pre-term labor and premature rupture of membranes. An infection of the baby is the leading bacterial cause of infant death. Scary stuff! So, even though we have an apparent answer for the cramping, there is still probably some concern of a pre-term birth. As with so much else in life, we'll just have to wait and see.