Wednesday, December 23, 2009

40 weeks + 1 day: The Countdown Continues

I can't believe that we are finally here.  The destination.  The moment of truth.  The final countdown.  Yesterday was my "estimated" due date and there is a good reason they put the word "estimated" on the beginning of it.  It is a huge guess as to when things actually will happen.  You can watch your estimated due date come and go, as I have, and only have a few minor contractions and absolutely no other inclination of a baby coming.  Frustrating?  Yes, it certainly can be.  Typical?  Abso-freaking-lutely. 

My Mom made it town last Wednesday - 3 days earlier than her originally scheduled flight - because she kept having a strong feeling that I would be having a baby on the 16th.  Upon her arrival that day, I did start having contractions that were not very comfortable but would go away when I would lie down - the VERY sign that it was false labor.  And the news stayed that way - and still is that way.  No pressure or anything (other than the pressure in my lower regions).  Actually, I sometimes do feel like I am not performing as I should.  That my body just isn't doing what it is supposed to in the right time. 

And then my Dad and SMom came in on Friday.  Still no news, no developments, no nothing.  But a great Mexican meal was consumed and it was great to have my family in town.  Monday, Mom went with us to my doctor's appointment.  We started with a non-stress test which is basically me sitting in a recliner with a couple of gooey pads strapped to my belly.  The monitor shows baby's heartrate on the left hand side and the pressure in my uterus on the right hand side.  You could actually see me having contractions.  Sounds promising, right?  Well, no. 

Next on the appointment agenda was the internal exam.  Since Hutch is on vacation, Jodi, the nurse practitioner, did my internal.  This is where the name Nurse Digger came to be...I swear she could pop my eyeballs out from the inside as far up as she was in my business!!  Unbelieveable.  And oh so uncomfortable!!  After digging around for a bit, she finally determined that I hadn't dilated at all.  Completely sealed up tight! 

Next was the sonogram to make sure there was still ample fluid in the uterus.  Everything looked great and I was happy that Mom got to experience a sonogram of her grandbaby.  That was fun.  I really couldn't make out everything because the monitor was aimed more at Mom and T but they got to see baby blow bubbles and move around.  And, of course, the strong heart pumping away.

I guess I left that appointment a little deflated.  I was hoping for more progress and I got nothing.  But I did get some great reports of a healthy baby and that everything was still looking good.

Today I had another appointment with Nurse Digger.  This time I took my Dad and SMom so that they could experience the excitement of a sonogram.  ND did the internal exam first so that I could then dress again before my Dad came into the room.  Good thinking!  But WOW.  I must say that I really do NOT enjoy internal exams.  They are highly uncomfortable and on the verge of painful.  You know it's bad when they tell you not to worry if you bleed a little after.  YOU THINK??  Holy cow!!

Still no real progress.  She asked me to remind her what she told me at the last visit and I told her it was still next to nothing as far as dilation - maybe a fingertip.  She said I was maybe a 1 this time but still not a lot of progress.  I asked her if she thought that I was going to stay like this until the induction.  She kinda thought so.  So I decided to ask a bunch of questions about the induction.  She said she is going to have us check in on Sunday at 8 PM to start me on some drink that I drink every 2 hours throughout the night.  This is supposed to help my cervix relax and open up.  Then they will prick an IV in me at 5 AM Monday and start the Pitocin.  She estimates baby's arrival for around 3 PM or so Monday afternoon.  But she reminded me that anything can happen before then and reminded me of the symptoms to watch for. 

I put my pants back on and she got me set up in the recliner for the non-stress test.  Then she had Dad, SMom and T come back to hang with me and listen to the heartbeat.  Everything sounded great but baby wasn't moving.  She gave me a juice box and the sugar rush kicked in!  It started moving and I did have one pretty large contraction so I passed the test.

Next we took a look at the sonogram and Dad and SMom got to see the baby blow bubbles and move around like crazy in there.  We didn't get a good profile shot today.  But that's good.  Baby was head down and turned toward my back which is how you want it for delivery.  Side note, ND sure did scare me when she first put the wand on my belly.  She asked if I had felt any big movements.  I said why?  She said she thought the baby wasn't head down anymore.  My heart skipped.  But, after she further investigated, there it was, in diving position.  Please don't scare me with that anymore.  Look first and then ask.

After all that, I actually felt better about the induction.  Almost better than going on my own.  This way, we can have a normal Christmas (and so can Tay) and then we go in Sunday evening when things settle down.  Not to mention that my doctor will be back from vacation with a fresh, cleared head!  I think that I am starting to prefer the Sunday/Monday concept.  I will keep my fingers crossed that it happens before then but won't be disappointed if it doesn't.

Well, I wish I could share more but now we are just in a holding pattern.  But here is the ol' 40 week belly shot (notice my sweet boy down in the corner of the screen):


How your baby's growing:

It's hard to say for sure how big your baby will be, but the average newborn weighs about 7 1/2 pounds (a small pumpkin) and is about 20 inches long. His skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap a bit if it's a snug fit through the birth canal during labor. This so-called "molding" is the reason your baby's noggin may look a little conehead-ish after birth. Rest assured — it's normal and temporary.

After months of anticipation, your due date rolls around, and... you're still pregnant. It's a frustrating, but common, situation in which to find yourself. You may not be as late as you think, especially if you're relying solely on a due date calculated from the day of your last period because sometimes women ovulate later than expected. Even with reliable dating, some women have prolonged pregnancies for no apparent reason.

You still have a couple of weeks before you'll be considered "post-term." But to be sure your baby is still thriving, your practitioner will schedule you for testing to keep an eye on her if your pregnancy continues.

You may have a biophysical profile (BPP), which consists of an ultrasound to look at your baby's overall movements, breathing movements (movement of her chest muscles and diaphragm), and muscle tone (whether she opens and closes her hand or extends and then flexes her limbs), as well as the amount of amniotic fluid that surrounds her (important because it's a reflection of how well the placenta is supporting your baby).

Fetal heart rate monitoring (called a nonstress test or NST) will generally be done as well — by itself or as part of the BPP. Or, you may have what's known as a modified BPP, which consists of an NST and an ultrasound to assess the amount of amniotic fluid.

If the fetal testing isn't reassuring — the amniotic fluid level is too low, for example — you'll be induced. If there's a serious, urgent problem, you may have an immediate c-section.

Your practitioner will also check your cervix to see if it's "ripening." Its position, how soft it is, how effaced (thinned out) it is, and how dilated (open) it is can all affect when and how your labor is induced. If you don't go into labor on your own, you'll be induced, usually sometime between 41 and 42 weeks.

So next on the list:
Tomorrow: Christmas Eve!  Dinner with the family here at home!
Friday: Merry Christmas to all of you who have been here for me through all these months.  I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas!!
Saturday: No plans and that sounds GREAT!
Sunday: If nothing has happened before, 8 PM check into hospital.  I WILL be bringing my laptop!!
Monday: 5 AM Pitocin begins and baby will follow at some point that day.


Dear Cashew,

It is hard to believe that we have been attached at the cord for nine whole months!  Can you believe it?  I feel so close to you it is crazy.  I know what makes you kick the most, squirm the most and I can predict your hiccups!  I feel like we have really gotten to know each other over the months.  I am looking forward to meeting you and letting you stretch your legs a bit.  It is getting so tight in there, I can tell.  You look completely cramped on the sonograms.

It has been so cool having your Louisville grandparents here.  They are SOOO excited to meet you!  They now have been able to hear your strong heartbeat and see you blow bubbles on the ultrasound screen.  I think that has built the excitement even more!  They all want you to come as early as possible so that they can spend more time with you but you will be in all of our arms come Monday.  So it is up to you when you think would be a good day for your birthday and if you need a little help getting out. 

I think I might look through my old posts tonight to see how far along we have come.  There have been some tough days, some good days and just some overwhelming days.  But I have never doubted for a minute how much I love you and how much you are wanted.  Daddy is so excited too and just can't wait to find out who you are and what you look like.  You are so wanted, Cashew.  You are so loved.

Your room is all ready including pictures on the wall.  The best part is the painting that Grandpa did for you!  We found the perfect frame and it is hanging above your crib.  I know you will absolutely love it. 

Goodnight for now (although I can feel that you are awake right now).  Give me a sign if you want to come out on your own.  Otherwise, I will be the one waiting for you with open arms on Monday.  Daddy will be the one right next to me with the huge smile on his face.  You won't be able to miss us!

We love you so much!  See you VERY soon!

Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Girl Who Cried Labor...

So Sunday night I started experiencing "period-like cramps" and a super hardening of my stomach.  Contractions?  I thought so.  Monday...about the same but not as much and only happening in the evening when I finally get off my feet and watch TV. new news.  Last night?  Severe period cramps followed by or accompanied with a tightening in my stomach that took my breath away.  Contractions?  Who the heck knows.  They weren't consistent, they didn't increase in pain and, although they were occasionally 5 minutes apart, they were also up to 15 minutes apart. 

What the heck is going on?  I guess it is false labor or Braxton Hicks.  But they felt so real.  I had T really jumping around here trying to pack a bag for himself and I had Mom up way past her bedtime with the excitement of a potential hour drive to the hospital.  But, as soon as I laid down, nothing.  Well, twinges but nothing like it was when I was sitting up.

I am not too bummed about it personally because I am still only 39 weeks and haven't reached my estimated due date of Dec 22 (Tuesday).  Plus, my Dad isn't here yet and I really want both parents here before the big day.  But I do feel kinda silly for even mentioning these pains last night and getting everyone all excited.  I feel like there is pressure for me to "perform" even though I know that's not the case.  But, when I woke up this morning with just some persisitent, dull, period-like cramping but no tightening, I felt like I was a disappointment to my loving fans. 

Oh well.  It is a waiting game and, luckily, I am not in a huge hurry other than the fact that I would rather not be lying in a hospital bed on Christmas.  But whatever happens is fine and I do know that, on December 28 or 29, there WILL be a Cashew born and both of my parents will be here to experience it!  So at least there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  In the meantime, as usual, I have plenty to do to keep me busy and to keep my mind off of the random aches and pains.  Keep your fingers crossed that Cashew will make a grand exit before we have to go in and smoke him/her out! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

39 weeks, 1 day

The countdown continues...

The night before last, I began feeling some interesting cramping that resembled those of my old "friend" Aunt Flo.  They were somewhat mild and was accompanied with my abdomen tightening into a knot and a very heavy feeling.  T and I started keeping track of the regularity and length but they were very inconsistent (ranging from 5 minutes between each one to 20 or 25 minutes).  They lasted most of the evening and into the night but they didn't get more intense or keep me from sleeping.  The next day, other than a few here and there, they were pretty much gone.

However, because of this new development, T was in a whirlwind to get things done around here that was on his list.  He even packed the car for the hospital - just in case.  He was predicting that we would be spending our weekend there.  I, too, thought something was definitely happening and that we should really get ourselves prepared in a big way.

Yesterday we had a doctor's appointment - the usual weekly visit.  The office was busier than I have ever seen it with big bellies everywhere.  I was called back, weighed, blood pressured and told to pee on the all familiar stick.  Everything looked great and we moved on back to the room.  I undressed from the waist down and waited.  I was a little disappointed at this point because I was told that the nurse practitioner, Jodi, would be seeing me instead of Hutch.  If you recall, she was the one who said "it's a girl, right?" at our last visit.  And also the one that dug half way to China checking me last week.  Don't get me wrong.  She is very nice.  But, to be honest, I was really hoping I would get to see my doctor since I had a lot of questions, wanted to schedule an induction (just in case) and since I may not see Hutch again until my induction or after baby - whichever comes first.  Hutch is leaving for Christmas vacation beginning this Friday through the day after Christmas.  Right smack over my due date.  More disappointing news.

Jodi came in and made small talk.  She explained that Hutch had two deliveries that day as well as a load of other patients so she would be seeing us.  I talked to her about the "contractions" I was having the night before so she got right to examining me to see if I had progressed internally any more than my last visit.  She started with the heart doppler to check on Cashew.  Cashew was definitely excited to be there - moving all over the place - and its heartrate ranged from 148 to 160.  I was concerned at, what seemed to me, a huge flux in heartrate.  But Jodi said that it was very normal and sounded great!  She said that baby is just excited and is moving around a lot which increases the heartrate.  I guess it is good that its heart can get back to a resting beat in such good time.

Then, with a snap of the glove, we moved on to the internal exam.  Everything was going ok until she just couldn't feel what she was looking for so she moved ALONG SIDE OF ME to get a better angle and more depth.  YIKES!  I am not exaggerating when I say that I think I felt something up by my daggone belly button!  Easy lady!  She asked me if I was dilated at the last visit - I said only a fingertip.  She said that it was still the same.  But it is very soft and "mushy" in there (sorry if you are eating while reading this) so that is a good sign.  She said that it doesn't mean anything that I am not dilated and that things still could progress to labor this week or it could still be weeks off.  That's when we started talking about scheduling the induction in case I don't go into labor before Christmas.  I really want the baby here while my family is in town.  She said that wouldn't be a problem and that I could schedule it right then.

Something interesting happened while we were talking about scheduling the induction.  She looked at T and said, you are leaving on Thursday, right?  T and I looked at each other confused.  No, we said.  She was like, oh, I thought you were leaving out of town on Thursday.  T and I later talked about this and realized that she DOES have us confused with someone else so that could explain her comments last week about it being a girl.  She said it just as matter of fact as she did that comment.  No worries.  I have my head around a girl and just want a healthy baby (see how I always come back to that - it is the right thing to say).  But it did give us hope that she didn't spoil our surprise. 

On our way out of the office, we scheduled our induction.  We were hoping for the Monday after Christmas but Jodi wasn't sure what Hutch's schedule looked like that day - she already had two births scheduled, but that she would check.  In the meantime, she wanted me to schedule an appointment next week for the usual digging expedition as well as a non-stress test for Cashew.  This is a very simple procedure where I sit in a recliner with a "belt" on that monitors Cashew's heartrate to make sure its not in distress.  So we scheduled that for Tuesday.  They told us they would call us before the end of the day to let us know when our induction would be scheduled.

When we left the appointment, I talked to my Mom who is sure that I will be delivering well before any induction would take place.  She is so concerned about when I might go into labor - and whether or not she will be here for it - she has decided to come into town earlier than her scheduled arrival on the 19th.  So she is coming today!  I am so excited to see her and to start the holiday fun with my family in town!  Just a couple more days and then my Dad will be here!  I am so lucky that I will have my family here for such an important time in my life.  The only thing I worry about is that I can't control what happens when so everyone may get here and have to wait a while before anything happens. 

But something WILL happen no later than the 28th or 29th.  They were able to schedule my induction for Dec 28 - the Monday after Christmas.  I am so glad!!  And, if I do get induced, the other good news is that I will know Hutch will be there.  But there was more on the voice mail that Jodi left me.  She wants me to come in, not just once next week, but twice.  Two non-stress tests.  I am not sure why and plan on finding out more information today when I call them to set up the appointments.  I am assuming there isn't anything "wrong" at this point since she was so happy with the way Cashew's heart sounded.  But I do want to know why I have to do two of these tests.  I will post a follow up when I know more.

Last night I had a couple more of those "contractions" but slept better than I have slept in months!  And I even slept in the bed with T this time instead of the couch.  We both got up this morning before the sun (around 6 AM).  I think we are both anxious to get things done and to keep on moving until we just can't.  He is trying to get his work done and to a good place since he will be taking a vacation after this week is up.  I am just trying to get more done in order to make myself feel better about where we are when Cashew arrives.  Mom will be getting here around 2:15 or 2:30 so I will be picking her up around then and, if she is up for it, heading to Sunflower Market to pick up veggies and fruits.  I am planning on making huge things of salsa - some I will freeze and some I will refrigerate - to hold us over for the next couple of weeks.  Other than that, we have no plans.  Friday my Dad and SMom come into town and we will be taking them to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant.  Saturday we are hoping to make it to Winterhaven which is a neighborhood here in town that is known for their Christmas lights.  They even have wagons that are drawn by Kleidsdale horses.  It is such a neat thing to walk through. 

My patience for this coming to an end is pretty good right now.  In a lot of ways, I am content with being pregnant since I have been for this long!  Of course I want Cashew to come but I have plenty to keep me busy until that time.  And the unknown of caring for a baby is enough to keep me ok with being pregnant a little longer.  The only thing that is huge on the priority list for me is to have my parents here when Cashew is born.  That is VERY important to me and, now that we have an induction scheduled, my mind is at ease.  I do feel a little pressure to "perform" before that time since everyone is coming into town for the big day.  But there is absolutely nothing I can do to force 'Shew out.  It will happen when it happens or we will Pitocin his tiny butt out on the 28th!

I have to remember...and so does everyone else...I am only 39 weeks as of yesterday...

Your baby's waiting to greet the world! He continues to build a layer of fat to help control his body temperature after birth, but it's likely he already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds, a mini watermelon. (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.) The outer layers of his skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.

At each of your now-weekly visits, your caregiver will do an abdominal exam to check your baby's growth and position. She might also do an internal exam to see whether your cervix has started ripening: softening, effacing (thinning out), and dilating (opening). But even armed with this information, there's still no way for your caregiver to predict exactly when your baby is coming. If you go past your due date, your caregiver will schedule you for fetal testing (usually a sonogram) after 40 weeks to ensure that it's safe to continue the pregnancy. If you don't go into labor on your own, most practitioners will induce labor when you're between one and two weeks overdue — or sooner if there's an indication that the risk of waiting is greater than the risks of delivering your baby without further delay.

While you're waiting, it's important to continue to pay attention to your baby's movements and let your caregiver know right away if they seem to decrease. Your baby should remain active right up to delivery, and a noticeable slowdown in activity could be a sign of a problem. Also call if you think your water may have broken. Membranes rupture before the beginning of labor in about 8 percent of term pregnancies. Sometimes there's a big gush of fluid, but sometimes there's only a small gush or a slow leak. (Don't try to make the diagnosis yourself. Call even if you only suspect you have a leak.) If you rupture your membranes and don't start contractions on your own, you'll be induced

Coming up next:
Today: Mom comes into town!!
Friday: Dad and SMom come into town!!
Saturday: Winterhaven
Monday: Appt for internal and non-stress test
Tuesday: Official estimated due date
Wednesday: Appt for non-stress test
Thursday: Christmas Eve

Saturday, December 12, 2009

It's Good To Know People!

Update on the drama of the talking nurse practitioner...

My Step-Mother-In-Law is an OB nurse and has been the best resource of information during most of my pregnancy (and before).  We saw her and my Father-In-Law last night at a Christmas concert and I told her about my encounter with the mouthy nurse practitioner and how we felt she may have ruined our surprise (and, at first, our spirits) by being so matter of fact about it being a girl.

The first thing out of Linda's mouth was "she wouldn't have known that.  It isn't in your records."  A-ha!  That was exactly what I was wondering.  Would it be in my record.  Nope.  She said that, unless I had an amniocentesis (which I didn't), the sex of the baby would not be in my records.

I was relieved.  I mean, I have finally gotten my head around the possibility of a girl but now I feel like we will still be surprised after all.  So the predictions continue.  Everyone that we ran into last night said that I have all the signs (and the looks) of it being a boy.  But, of course no one knows other than Cashew themselves.  I am looking forward to finding out...and it won't be much longer now.

T and I have decided that, at our next appointment with Hutch, we are going to go ahead and schedule an induction in case things don't progress after my due date.  I want my parents to be here when it happens so desperately that I want to be sure it comes out no later than the day or two after Christmas if it doesn't come sooner on its own.  This might stir controversy but to each their own.  It is an ultimate priority of mine to have my family here so I will do what I need to in order to make that happen.  And Hutch has already offered to do the procedure if we desired.  So we might as well get it on the books!  But, who knows, Cashew may decide to come sooner and on their own.

That's all for now.  We are continuing to work on the house and our projects to make sure everything is sweet at  moment's notice.  We have been very productive today and now we are settling in and relaxing for the rest of the night.

For now...goodnight!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Oh and...

My Group B Strep results are in (I know you've been dying to hear). 

Drum roll....



To be or not to be...

There are days when I feel that I am not ready for the new life ahead of me and would rather stay pregnant forever to avoid the alternative.  Mostly because of the unknown.  But then there are days when I can NOT wait to be free of the grips of pregnancy so that I can have some semblance of my life back!  That day, my friends, is today!

Last night I had dinner with one of my best friends, Amy.  She works out every morning and has been really kicking butt with it.  She has a work out partner that helps motivate her to get to the gym at the VERY early hour of 5:30 AM.  Well, her partner bailed on her for this morning and told her this last night while Amy and I were together.  Amy really wanted to go to the gym anyway but didn't know if she would be so up for it once the magical hour rolled around if there was no one to meet.

I didn't think too much about it and just said, I will meet you!  Hell, I am up already since I don't sleep well and I haven't been to the gym in some embarrassing amount of time.  It would do me good to get my butt up and out the door, into some crisp morning air and onto a treadmill.

So, after a night of literally NO sleep, I still felt the urge at 5 AM to throw on some sweatpants and head to the gym.  The old familiar route was comforting, even in the cold December air.  When I got there, Amy and I hit the treadmills.  She busted it into high gear while I did the old lady walk next to her.  Mostly holding my belly so that nothing would fall out (which is sometimes feels like will happen).  As we talked, I looked around at the other people in the gym and found myself growing envious of the flat stomachs, the muscular calves and the ability to run without passing out.  I watched Amy work up a sweat and longed for the next time I get to work up a sweat while running like the wind.  I found myself walking faster than the setting of my treadmill because my body is so eager to be in gear again.  But, everytime I would, my big stomach would hit the handle bar and remind me that I am still a pod with no flexibility and no energy.

But that didn't keep me from fantasizing about the day that I am back!  Amy and I talked about meeting once a week in the mornings, once I am cleared for take off by the doctor, to do a hardcore work out.  We talked about meeting to play racquetball.  I talked about taking Spinning classes to really shed some sweat (and pounds).  My heart skipped a beat thinking about how awesome it will be to push myself so hard that I nearly puke and I drifted off thinking about sweat dripping off my forehead and soaking through my clothes.  I am SO ready to be back.  I am SO ready to wear jeans that button and zip.  I am SO ready to crunch my ab muscles so hard that I feel the soreness for days.  I am SO ready to run - uphill, downhill, flat, sprint.  I don't care.  As Forrest Gump said, I want to RUN!!

I didn't have a hard pregnancy and it still isn't that difficult other than the not being able to bend over, walk up steps without being out of breath, get dressed without a drama and the sometimes creepy distortions of my stomach.  But I am ready to get it out, figure out how to take care of it, establish a routine and then - my plan is six weeks or whenever Hutch gives me the ok - to get back to working out.  T supports me 100% and, hopefully by then, I will be pumping a supply so that he can take care of Cashew while I get some much needed air! 

Not to mention my goal of pumping a supply so that I can have beers on Super Bowl.  Even though the Steelers won't be there.  But I do miss my beer as much as I miss my gym.  I sure don't know if I am ready to be a mom but I do know that I am ready to be ME.  So, today is a day that I am good with this pregnancy being over.  I know that means a lot of pain, a lot of responsibility and a lot of change.  But it also means feeling more like me again, hitting the gym and FINALLY having my cold, frosty beer!!  The light!!  I can see it!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

38 Weeks: The Reveal?

Note to self: This entry will not be shown to the children.  This entry is for journal purposes only.

Note to readers: I use this blog as a place to jot down my thoughts, feelings and emotions first and foremost.  The fact that I may print all entries out at a later time to show Cashew is second in the priority list and was not what this blog was primarily intended for. 

Overall disclaimer: Yes, all I want is a healthy baby.

Ok, with all that being said, there is a reason I am two days late with my 38 week update.  It all started with my doctor's appointment on Tuesday. 

I am starting to get so anxious everytime I have an appointment because something happens that is completely unexpected.  Not always in a bad way but just in a "catch me off guard" way that has me leaving in some sort of emotionally drained capacity.  This appointment was no exception.

The good news at this appointment is that my weight is DOWN by 4 lbs!  I heard that you start to lose weight towards the end but 4 lbs was more than I was expecting!  Not to fear, the nurse wasn't concerned at all and I am still in a healthy weight range. 

My blood pressure was perfect which is quite amazing since I am feeling the pressure of getting so much done in so little time (with some unknown deadline of not knowing when I will be delivering).  After all that, I was shown to the room and asked to undress from the waist down for my weekly internal exam.  T and I waited for about 30 or so minutes before Hutch's nurse practitioner lady came in.  She said that Hutch had a delivery she had to take care of so she would be examing me today.  No problem, I thought.  Although she seems a bit flighty, she is really nice and I was just ready to get done with the appointment - especially since I had to pee.

We all made small talk, talked about Tay and how excited she is, talked about me and how nervous I am, etc.  She grabbed the handheld heart monitor and squirted some goop on my belly.  As she was placing the wand on the lower left of my gut, she said...very matter of factly..."you're having a girl, right?"  I was taken aback.  She said it so confidently.  Like I already knew or something.  I said, " well, we don't know."  As much as I have replayed this moment in my mind, I can't recall the look on her face but she immediately came back with "oh, I thought you guys were having another girl."  Which she meant in addition to Tay.  I said, "well, we are hoping for a boy but..."  And she said, "well, you are hoping for healthy, right?"  I mean, what the hell do I say to that?  Of course I want it to be healthy.  Come on now. 

It was all sort of awkward.  I think I even said something like "that must be a sign that she said that."  I don't remember how she replied to that.  But she did say things like..."the heart rate is 150 so it could be either a boy or a girl.  I have seen boys with high heart rates and girls with low heart rates.  That is not a good indicator."  She kept talking and saying things like, "Hutch can predict the sex of the baby by heart tone a lot of times but I haven't developed the ear for that yet."  And on and on we went.

I held it all in and didn't really think much about her onset of comments for the rest of the appointment which included a GBS test (Group B Strep).  Some women have Group B Strep which is found down there.  It doesn't do anything to the woman (and she doesn't even know she has it) but it could do some minor damage to the baby if/when it makes its way through it.  They just do some swabbing (and that's enough details, trust me) and then send it out to be tested.  If it is positive, they simply add antibiotics in the IV at the hospital.  No drama.

After swabbing the deck, she did an internal to see if any progress has happened at this point.  Hutch did this last week and it was quick and painless.  This time, holy cow!  I thought her gloved hand was going to grab my esophagus before she was done!  Not to mention that I had to pee and that SURE wasn't helping!!  But the results finally came...she could only get a fingertip through my cervix (which makes me less than one centimeter dilated) but my cervix was very soft (which sounds like it is a good thing).  She said the head was at -2 station which is great because it is descending.  Here is a chart with the stations so you know what I am talking about:


After that, we wrapped up and I dressed, peed and then scheduled my next appointment for Tuesday of next week.  We headed out and I told T, "I think she slipped and now we know it is a girl."  He didn't deny it and thought the same thing.  All of a sudden, this huge gray cloud attached to my head and I was completely bummed about the entire appointment.  I guess I didn't realize how badly I wanted a boy.  I mean, I'm not much of a girl person anyway so I knew that I really wanted a boy.  I don't want all the frilly pink clothes and the bows and ribbons.  I want blues, browns, baseball caps and boy boots.  But that's not what it is all about and I know  But then?  I will admit completely and totally that I was very disappointed and completely bummed out.

Side note - she may not know anything at all and may have been guessing based on heart rate.  Or, as T has mentioned, maybe she had us confused with another couple because she said "I thought you were having another girl."  We don't see her enough for her to know those kind of things.  I don't know if the sex of the baby is in my files but I would be surprised if there wasn't red ink all around it letting everyone know that we don't want to know the sex.  So who knows if she is even right???

But it was probably good that she went on the way she did.  I didn't realize how far from having my head around it being a girl I was...or how convinced I was that is a boy.  But I guess that was the case.  T and I went to lunch after the appointment.  We relived every moment of the appointment and compared notes with each other - what each of our observations were.  Things were going fine until we headed for a potty break before leaving the restaurant.  I found myself sitting on the toilet sobbing. Literally crying with the deep breaths in between.  It was both intense and ridiculous at the same time.  I felt like I was mourning the loss of something I really never knew I had. 

I wiped off the mascara under my eyes and headed back out to meet T.  I kept my chin up as much as possible but T knew I was upset.  And, although he is much more open minded about either sex, he admitted that he thought for sure it was a little man and said that, sure, he was excited about certain aspects of having a boy.  But he tried and tried to make me feel better about it being a girl.  Unfortunately, it looked as if it was going to take a little bit of time for me to get familiar with the idea after eight months of being damn sure it was a boy.

We got home and I dove into projects and chores to keep my mind off of the day.  I wrapped the rest of the Christmas presents (we still have a bit more to get but not much), straightened up Mom's guest room and did some laundry.  At some point, and now I can't remember what happened, I completely broke down and had a good hard cry on the landing at the top of the steps.  T was there and sat with me for a while so I could get it all out.  I couldn't pinpoint exactly what I was crying about...the fact that the lady potentially slipped and spoiled our surprise, the possibility of it being a girl, the fact that I am completely overwhelmed trying to get things done in a very small and undefined timeframe, the fact that this house will never be quiet again in the next two weeks or so...I don't know what finally broke the tear ducts but it was a mess!

Once I settled down, I was completely mentally and emotionally drained.  I finished wrapping presents and then planted my butt in front of the TV to try and relax a bit.  I was out before I knew it.  What a day.

Yesterday I had some new found energy and was able to finish two Christmas projects and cleaned/organized the office (which I can't begin to tell you how much that was needed!).  I started a pros and cons list in my head of boy versus girl so that I could try to get my head around the idea.  I teared up only a couple of times but, towards the end of the day, I succumbed to the fact that I NEVER had any control of the situation and it will be what it will be.  And, of course I want a healthy baby.  And I know I will love whatever it is.  T made a good point that, as we have done in the past, if we just let things happen as nature will have it happen, it is always for the better for us.  So, if for some reason I am meant to have a girl, there must be a reason for it.  And I can only hope that she will be as close to T and I as I am with my Mom and Dad. 

We went to our infant care class last night and it was pretty interesting.  I had a hard time really getting into the spirit because I still had small bits of that gray cloud lingering that I hadn't shaken entirely.  After class, T and I had a good time talking about the future and how things may go, etc.  I started slowly shifting my thoughts from being sad about the sex of the baby to being completely FREAKED OUT about the fact that I will have to take care of a baby!!!  I looked down at my belly and thought, hmmm...I am ok with it staying in there a bit longer!  I don't know if I am ready!!  But, then again, I am ready for a cold beer and, unless it stayed in my belly til it was 21, I wouldn't be able to have one until it was out!

So here I am, sitting in the office catching up on the ol' blog while watching the sky lighten slightly by the rising sun.  I have been up since 5:30 staring at the ceiling watching all the thoughts skip through my head.  I am feeling more at peace with whatever this baby is and now just wonder what my timeframe looks like for the upcoming weeks.

My 38 week pic:

How your baby's growing:

Your baby has really plumped up. She weighs about 6.8 pounds and she's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb.

Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

On a holiday note, T made the COOLEST stocking stand EVER!!  Since we don't really have any place to hang our stockings other than on the wall (which doesn't work out very well when the stcokings get heavy), he actually came up with this concept and then built it!!  It took some time and some materials but WOW did it turn out SWEET!  I couldn't be happier with our Christmas corner...especially the awesome stocking lamp post stand!  It even has a flickering light in the lantern!




Hanging the stockings on the lamp post with care!

The house lit up and ready for Christmas - we want to do even more next year in the way of outdoor decorating.  Or should I say, I want to do more.  T could probably skip this part.  It is a lot of hard work for him.

Next on our schedule:
Tonight: I am having dinner with one of my best friends.  I am looking forward to the girl time!
Tomorrow: We are going to watch my Father-In-Law and his wife play in their church orchestra performance
Weekend: Catch up/finish shopping!  We don't have Tay this weekend so we will be getting the Santa stuff done.
Sunday: 4th Ave Street Fair...Tucson doesn't have that many art fairs...or many festivals at all!  But this one is twice a year and we always enjoy going. 
Tuesday: My next appointment.  What will happen at that one??
Friday, Dec 18: My Dad and SMom arrive!!
Saturday, Dec 19: My Mom arrives!!

Getting down to the wire folks....

Friday, December 4, 2009

So I thought it was nesting...

...but I think it is just my straight up OBSESSION of having a clean and organized house!  I kept thinking that I was experiencing that "symptom" of pregnancy known as nesting where the pregnant woman acts like some sort of bird preparing the nest for the new arrival.  Nah.  It is just my usual obsessiveness with being clean...especially around the holidays and, even more so when my parents are coming in town to be with us.

Maybe the extra energy that is coming out from who knows where to do everything that I need to get done is some sort of "nesting" instinct.  Because, I know this for sure, my body - while fighting this frustrating head cold and trying to stand upright with so much weight out front - would love to sit, lay or otherwise just be comatose for the next three weeks.  But my brain is on fire and ready to get everything done - including Christmas projects and preparing the house for both Cashew and my family - which has been a true life saver.  I am even finishing the book for my book club that is meeting on Sunday.  Some days I feel overwhelmed to tears and yet other days I feel amazingly "on top" of everything.

So, nope, I don't think I have my beak hacking away at strands of hay to make the perfect nest for Cashew.  I just think that I want our "nest" to always look spic and span no matter what (I have the philosophy that I don't ever want to be embarrassed if someone were to "pop in")...and, I mean, isn't that my job after all??

My progress report...I can't go into detail about some of my projects because there are some who are reading this that may be getting something for Christmas from my project list.  But I can say that I am 90% there on my larger projects and should be able to get them all 100% completed by the end of this weekend.  T is going to work on the outdoor lights and organizing the garage this weekend.  I completely cleaned the refrigerator today and will be making our frozen dinners early next week.  I am 85 - 90% done with Christmas shopping.  We will probably do some of that next week around T's work schedule.  Cashew's room only needs a few things hung on the walls and the window treatment completed (which I am putting kinda low on the priority list at the moment).  Final BIG grocery trip with everything we will need for snacks and such while company is here will be completed the week after next.  And, between projects (and during projects), I am maintaining the house doing my usual chores and keeping up with laundry.  Just gotta keep on movin.  As a matter of fact, I am roping Tay into doing some projects with me tomorrow to keep her busy while I finish a few things.  Should be fun!!

I must say that I am totally fine with my due date, if not later.  The inevitable exit of this large mass is starting to become real and the "not knowing" when is really hard on my planner mentality.  I need deadlines for getting things done but, not knowing what might happen tomorrow or five weeks from now is very hard on me.  But I am doing the best I can.  The most I can hope for is that I get everything done in time to have a good week or so of not worrying about anything other than visiting with my family!!  I guess that's my goal, if it is at all possible to have one.

Well, this just took exactly 13 minutes out of my day's progress so I need to get back to it.  Especially since we will be leaving soon to pick up Tay and run a couple of errands.  I can't wait to share pics with you of T's new creation he is building.  I absolutely LOVE it!!  What a handy man he is!!!  He is so creative and crafty.  I will share as soon as it is done which should be later today or later this weekend (depending when I am able to get back on here to post).

Back to the madness otherwise known as me!!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

37 weeks - Diving Into Position

December 1 was a very significant day.  It was when the big, red panic button that is center of my forehead was pushed with full force.  OMG, we are in December.  I will be having Christmas, my family and a baby all within this one month.  These four weeks.  And now THREE weeks.  It is unreal to me.  Is it common to still not have your head completely wrapped around the concept of a baby this far along in pregnancy??  No, those movements are not indigestion...they are caused by another human that is living among your internal organs!!  It has ears, feet, hands, fingers, eyes, maybe hair, maybe boy parts...and it is all inside of YOU!  For some reason, as much as I DO know that there is a real baby in there, the majority of my brain is just tuned out of the reality that we are about to bring another human being into this world.  And WE have to take care of it.  See??  Even writing that doesn't jar me into the reality of the situation.

As most of you know, I have been pretty stressed out since my 32 week ultrasound.  Stupid, bad ultrasound tech telling me my baby was breech and talking to me about the benefits of a C Section (including a prettier baby).  So, for the last 5 weeks, I have been obsessing about the position of this baby.  Poor thing has been poked and prodded by both Mommy and Daddy to see if we could tell what part was what and where the head/butt was that a foot?  Or could it be an elbow??  Hiccups are low.  Could that be a good sign?  Or is that a bad sign??  Everyday.  Non-stop.  Whenever baby moved a muscle, I was ON IT to see if I could tell what it was.  I never could.

Black Friday we did nine hours of shopping and that took a toll on me and Cashew.  There were times that I felt like he/she was just going to come right out from between my legs on the mall floor between Dillards and Eddie Bauer.  There were pings, pains and electric zolts going on in areas I won't specify and my pee breaks were more frequent and more urgent.  But I refused to stop shopping - and T was willing to stop whenever I needed to - we were just getting so much done!  We even finished up our shopping for Cashew!  But I did wonder, with all the pressure down low and the mysterious pains down yonder, if baby's head was bouncing off my cervix with every step.  I tried not to get my hopes up and kept trying to just wrap my head around a C Section.  I also kept a firm grip on the bottom of my belly so that I could hold in the bowling ball that felt like it was on its way out the chute!

Fast forward to my doc appointment yesterday.  T couldn't go with me because he had to go out of town for work so my mother-in-law, Stephanie, went with me.  We took a new route to the office (which is next door to the hospital) that was A LOT faster than the route T and I have been taking.  This will be, what I now term, my labor route!  We ended up getting to the doc office 30 minutes early for my 2:45 appointment.  That's good and bad.  Always good to be early but I was hoping that we wouldn't waste our time sitting in the lobby until my appointment.

But, sure enough, they took my back within 10 or so minutes of being there.  Steph came along.  Of course, the scale came first and, since I am getting close to the end and since Thanksgiving just took place, I will just casually skip over that specific.  I did the pee test...yep, a little bit landed on my hand but most of it was in the cup.  I am getting better at the blind pee catching (that should be an Olympic sport!).  All good there.  Then we headed to the sonogram room.  The nurse took my BP, looked GREAT.  Asked if the baby was moving.  A LOT I said.  Great.  As she was walking out, she instructed me to undress from the waist down.  Gulp.  Ummm, ok.  Pretty awkward since my MIL was in there with me and we both thought we were just doing a sono.  But Steph stepped out and I did as I was told.  After covering myself with the piece of paper they give you for privacy, I waited for Steph and the doc to come back in. 

Now, the back of my mind I was wondering if I would be having an internal exam this trip.  I was thinking that it was the last month that the internal exams began at each appointment.  Guess I was right.  I was glad that I shaved my legs in anticipation of that possibility.  Yes, I know.  The docs don't really care.  But I do!  I sure wouldn't want their jobs and would like to make their jobs as easy (and clean) as possible. 

Anyway, back to the visit.  Hutch came in shortly after and went right to the sonogram after I voiced my 5 week concern about the position of the baby.  She squirted the goop on my belly and put the wand down low.  "There's the head!!"  She said.  I don't know how heavy the weight was on my shoulders but it must have been more than I have ever lifted because, after she exclaimed the exciting news, I felt like I was floating above the table!  I was so happy and relieved.  I did ask if it could turn back - like a million times.  She assured me that the odds were ridiculously low that it will turn back to breech at this point in the game.  I felt tears welling up in my eyes and was just so incredibly happy that Baby Spencer, little Cashew, was being such a great team player!!

She waved the magic wand all over my belly checking other things about Cashew.  Head size is perfect.  Abdominal cavity is perfect.  We saw it breathing.  We saw an ear (that looks like T's ear!).  We saw a perfectly shaped foot, some hands and the right amount of amniotic fluid.  Only one time did Steph and I have to look away while she glided over the part that would be the spoiler of our great surprise.  Not that either of us would have know what we were looking at!!  She had to point everything out to us because, when they get this big, it is just too hard to tell what's what.  She did give me a whole roll of pictures but I think it would be too hard to decipher if I put them on here. 

Right now, Cashew is weighing in at 6.5 lbs (which is right where it should be) and is right on schedule as far as development.  After my sono, Hutch did a quick internal which didn't hurt at all!  She was just checking my cervix for dilation.  NONE!  This is good news!  I wasn't planning on having a baby for another three or so weeks!!  I have too much to get done before then!  Haha!  So, at 37 weeks, no dilation and no effacement as of yet.  Take your time, Baby Cashew.

I floated out of the office feeling light as a feather and emotionally exhausted.  I didn't realize how much the "breech" thing was getting to me.  I even felt better about being able to get everything done in time - and, I also felt better that, if I didn't get it done, it was ok.  Well, kinda ok.  I am still a perfectionist!!  Anyway, I am just glad to know that Cashew is trying so hard.  It was one of my first very proud Mommy moments.  I am so proud of my little Cashew.  Way to dive!

Because of my mental exhaustion, a grocery trip and a Christmas project I was working on last night, I am a day late with my 37 week pic.  But here it is:

So, other than minor morning sickness (or all day sickness) of first tri and a small bout of food poisoning at 5 weeks, I have been very healthy during this entire pregnancy.  Until today.  Seems I am fighting a head cold.  I started feeling some of the symptoms last night and then, this morning, it was a snot fest!  But I am not going to let it get me down.  I have WAY too much to do to worry about a head cold.  So, I took a hot shower and will be moving right into Project Christmas immediately following this blog entry.  Wish me luck!

Here is Christmas corner at our house with our new "fake" tree that we love.  No more needles to vacuum.  No more dead trees posing a fire hazard.  Just an easy to assemble, prelit, 7.5 foot tree with most of our ornaments finding a home.  T is hoping to make a very cool stocking stand that will look like a lamp post.  We have about 12 stockings to hang so that will be very cool!  It will be to the left of the tree where the back of the couch is.  I am kinda excited about it!!


I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving and that you are enjoying the official holiday season.  This one will be a bit crazy for us but we are looking forward to visiting with my family and doing all the fun, traditional Christmas festivities in Tucson. 

Next on the list:
Doc appt: 12/8 at 2 PM
Infant Care Class: 12/9 7PM - 9 PM

PS...Just to let everyone know.  I know that there is ALWAYS a chance that a C Section would have to happen for emergency reasons.  I am not anti-C Section but I am glad that, as of now, things can go on a bit more natural.  If a C Section has to happen to protect me, Cashew or both, I am, obviously, prepared for that.  This is just one less worry for now...

Dear Cashew,

I just want to let you know that you look so cute and snuggly in there.  It was good to see you yesterday.  And I think you were trying to wave since there was a ton of movement and your hands were in front of your face.  Hutch thinks you look perfect and that you are growing right on target.  Even better?  You are head down!!  I am so proud of you!  Good job, my little diver! 

Everyone is anxious for you to get here.  I am anxious in a lot of ways.  I am just hoping that I will do ok and be a good Mommy.  I am hoping that somehow I can remain stress free in these last weeks so that I don't stress you out.  But I certainly can't guarantee that!  This is a crazy time of year.

But, Cashew, it is the most WONDERFUL time of the year as well.  And your birthday is going to fall right among the excitement of the season.  Some may think this is bad but I think we will have a great time and that you will enjoy your birthday and Christmas!  People have their lights up on their houses and trees in their living rooms.  No one will forget how special your birthday is and, I promise, you will not get jipped out of gifts - both birthday AND Christmas.  Santa will take good care of you.  And maybe we have a fun summer celebration for you to break up the year.  Maybe a pool party or a party in the park.  Whatever the case may be, always know that you will make this Christmas season THE BEST that Daady and I have ever had.  And we will always look forward to celebrating your life every minute, every hour, everyday, and every year. 

We love you so much already,
Mommy and Daddy

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends!  Let me just say, maternity pants/skirts ROCK when it comes to Thanksgiving meals!  I think I will keep some for post baby in case I have one too many helpings or one too many beers. 

As promised, a pic with a head (Cashew is poking out of my sweater jacket...haha!):

I made Londyn cry twice today.  Kids have never liked me and the feeling used to be mutual - boy, how I have changed!  But, I'm not too bothered by it.  I know that Cashew is stuck with me no matter what.  Cry away, my friend.  It is true!

No big news other than I am full (even though I couldn't eat as much as I used to...not enough room) and I am ready to be a lounge potato.  T and I are doing our traditional Black Friday madness dash tomorrow bright and early.  It is so much fun - more just hanging out together watching the madness than anything else.  Saturday we will be picking up Tay and decorating the house for Christmas.  I am pretty excited about that (so is T other than putting the lights up on the outside of the house, he isn't thrilled about that part).  Sunday we are meeting our friends and their kids at the park for a picnic.  Then relaxing before T heads out of town on Monday.  I am planning some major project accomplishments this next week while T is gone.  All after my doc appt on Dec 1 (Monday) when we will determine what position this baby is in.  Everybody keep your fingers crossed for head down please!!

To close, let me just say...I am so thankful for all of friends, my family, my wonderful husband, my sweet stepdaughter, the opportunity to carry, meet and enjoy Cashew, the opportunities and support that T has given me, and just the time life has given me.  I couldn't be happier, more in love or more full of life.  I am so very thankful...on this Thanksgiving Day and everyday!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

36 weeks - HOLY S&*^ where did the time go?

Somebody call the cops...immediately!!  I have been robbed!  Someone has robbed me of my time, of the hours in my day, my days of the week, the weeks in a month!  YIKES!  Who would do such a thing?  Especially to a pregnant woman around the holidays?!?  If you catch them, I need every bit of precious time they have stowed in their getaway bag!  I need it ALL back!  Or, at least another week or so...

FOUR MORE WEEKS (give or take)!!!  I honestly can't believe it and really can't seem to wrap my swollen head around it!  How did it go from creeping along to moving faster than a freight train?!?  Most days I am just oblivious to the obvious conclusion staring me in my face...I could pop out a baby at any time.  Although I am hoping for being late - or, let's put it this way, either well before Christmas so I am not in the hospital Christmas day or after Christmas - there is a chance I could go early...or late...or, since I filled you in on what I am truly hoping for...I am sure it will be Christmas Day that I have to make my way to the hospital.  If the baby is still breech (which we will find out on Monday), then, chances are, we will be able to schedule the C Section so that I won't be in the hospital on Christmas.  I really have no idea what I just typed in this paragraph.  Just a long, frantic ramble about what is about to come my way!

Nesting has kicked in pretty it nesting or just a strong urge to get the house in tip top shape before my family comes out for the holidays?  Probably a mixture of both.  I took a blow torch to Cashew's room and got all the shower gifts put away (well, mostly), built the storage shelf for the closet and got the crib ready to go.  The sheet is on and, yes, there are a few stuffed animals lingering around.  Don't worry, I know the drill.  No soft things in the crib because of SIDS and whatnot.  Other than hanging some stuff on the walls and getting the final things that we need, it is about ready for Cashew's arrival.  The door has to remain shut now so that I don't get cat hairs on the sheet!  Kizzy is quite upset that he no longer has his crib.  But he is making due on the other beds in the house!

Progress made on the room:
I built the mobile, it is soooo cute.  And Snoopy is peaking in.  I LOVE Snoopy.  This is Cashew's first Christmas present from Mommy and Daddy!  We will be taking it to the hospital with us.

I built the shelf in the closet.  I LOVE it!  Lots of storage and super cute!!

Everything is really coming together.  I need to finish sewing the curtains which I plan to do while T is on his last trip out of town next week.  I have some other sewing projects I want to work on for Christmas.  I know I am trying to do way too much for Christmas as far as homemade projects but it sure is keeping me busy (or at least keeping my mind busy thinking about it).  Whatever doesn't get done, doesn't get done.  I am trying to not let it stress me too much.  But I am running out of time...have I mentioned that I am running out of time??

Well, there is definitely a belly now and movement, which used to be a lot of acrobats, have settled down to more of rolls and shifts.  A few kicks here and there but there doesn't seem to be a lot of space for Cashew to stretch out.  I can vouch for that!  I have no more room to give.

Peeing has become one of my least favorite past times...and most frequent.  My skin is dry and, as I was told by a friend of mine at lunch the other day, I seem to be walking a tad differently...ok, yes...I guess I waddle from time to time.  But it's hard not to when you feel like a bowling ball is between your legs.  I have a bit of heartburn from time to time but nothing that Tums doesn't conquer.  My appetite is kinda so-so.  Not real hungry and nothing really sounds that good.  My biggest stress right now is the position of Cashew.  I poke and prod my stomach constantly but I can't distinguish parts.  I thought I felt a foot the other day close to my ribs and I am feeling hiccups low in my pelvis but I don't know if any of that makes a difference, really.  It will all depend on what we find out at the appt Monday.  T won't be able to make this appt since he has to go out of town.  I'm bummed that he won't be there but I am glad that this will be his last out of town trip before baby.  I'd rather him go, miss the appt and get it over with then to be gone when baby poop hits the fan!

Well, as I have mentioned during most of this post, I have ran out of time.  I need to get off of here, get downstairs, have a bowl of cereal for dinner and work on some Christmas projects.  I cleaned the entire house today and I am still working on laundry.  I am sore and tired so I must retire to the couch for a bit.  Here is a pic of my 36 week belly.  I did cut off my head since I was in cleaning mode and didn't apply makeup or worry about the style of my hair.  We will take another tomorrow for Cashew's first T Day (although in utero) and I will include my face...


Here is some information as to what is going on at this point:
How your baby's growing:

Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long. She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement.

At the end of this week, your baby will be considered full-term. (Full-term is 37 to 42 weeks; babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely she's in a head-down position. But if she isn't, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an "external cephalic version," which is a fancy way of saying she'll try to coax your baby into a head-down position by manipulating her from the outside of your belly.

I will post a new pic tomorrow.  But I am heading downstairs for now.  HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO EVERYONE!!!  I am so thankful for my awesome family and my friends!!  And for Todd...I can't imagine life without him.  And for a healthy pregnancy and for the chance to know what it is like to share nature's miracle with my soulmate.
Gobble, gobble!

Monday, November 16, 2009

35'ish week update...

I am cheating a little bit here.  I am technically not 35 weeks until tomorrow but, since my doc appointment was today (which gave me reason to put real people clothes on as well as makeup), I decided to go ahead and post an update today.  Which means there may not be an update tomorrow on the actual 35 week mark.  Let me rephrase...there won't be an update tomorrow.  As time rushes by and due date, Christmas, family in town draws nearer, my days are filling up more and more.  And I thought I was going to need projects to keep me busy and my mind off of things!  PSHT!!  Not so much!

Saturday I had my last and final baby shower.  It was very nice to see everyone and my sister-in-law and mother-in-law really did a nice job.  They made me a Steelers diaper cake that was amazing - I LOVE it!  I also loved the very tasty chicken salad sandwiches (I had left overs for dinner!) and the special cupcake with chocolate icing and reese cup bits sprinkled on top. 

Thanks to all of you who made it out to my shower.  It was so good to see friends - old and new!  I felt very lucky looking around the room.  As always at these type of gatherings, I don't feel like I was able to visit with everyone as much as I would have liked and I felt like the day went really fast.  But, just seeing my friends and family around me was so incredible!  I am a very lucky person!

Todd and I are very appreciative of the great gifts we received.  I am planning on taking some time this week to look through our registries as well as a checklist that was supplied in one of our child care books to see what we have left to buy.  Most of our larger items are covered so it should only be some smaller items to finish the initial supply.

Today was another doctor appointment with Hutch.  They are becoming more and more simple and routine as we go.  It starts with the pee in a cup routine which I did today as soon as I arrived.  All looks good there and I was so excited that I didn't get one ounce of pee on my hand!  However, and I am embarrassed to admit - I did drop the cup on the floor (it WAS empty but there were a few droplets in the bottom of the cup) instead of in the trash.  I am sure a drop made its way to the side of my shoe.  But it was closed toe!

Next comes the dreaded scale.  Much to my surprise, I have only gained .5 lbs over the last two weeks!  This is GREAT news and made me feel much better about the whole weight thing.  Especially since we had lunch on the way to the appointment (which included a burger, fries and a cookie!).  T had a good point.  The last weight gain may have been a growth spurt by baby.  Whatever the case, I am super excited that my weight is slowing down.  Much better scale experience this visit.

We usually wait for a good 30 minutes or so - which gives T time to make funny comments about the posters around the room - and then Hutch comes in.  Today she asked us how things are going, we made small talk and, other than some financial questions, we were good to go.  She asked me if I thought baby was head down and I told her I had no idea.  I feel movement EVERYWHERE so I can't tell what side is up or down.  She took a measurement of my uterus - right on target.  She listened to the heart beat - sounds great (actually higher this time at 147 after 130's last time...but this could have been due to the caffeine of the tea I had at lunch and the sugar cookie I had before the appointment!).  Then she felt around on top of my stomach to see if she could determine parts and pieces.  Up above my belly button she said it was either a butt or a head - she thinks it is a butt.  And then, down by my pelvis was either a butt or head - which she thinks is a head.  I am thinking that she might be right.  When baby gets hiccups, I feel them more towards my pelvis and not towards the top of my belly.  I would think that would be the case if the head was down.  But who knows.

Because it is hard to tell, our next appointment will include a sonogram to see where that head and butt is located.  That is two more weeks of wondering but I have decided not to stress about it.  It will be what it will be and it will all work out fine.  I am excited to get another sonogram!!  And this time it will take place with Hutch which is so nice.  I am so comfortable with her.  And it is good to know that she does C-Sections too, if it comes to that.  So that is comforting!  Anyway, our next appointment is Dec 1 at 2:45.  After that appointment, we go on the weekly plan.  An appointment every week.

How about some updates?


How your baby's growing:
Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight. (D's note: good times...more weight!)

How your life's changing:
Your uterus — which was entirely tucked away inside your pelvis when you conceived — now reaches up under your rib cage. If you could peek inside your womb, you'd see that there's more baby than amniotic fluid in there now. Your ballooning uterus is crowding your other internal organs, too, which is why you probably have to urinate more often (sure do) and may be dealing with heartburn (yep) and other gastrointestinal distress (sorta). If you're not grappling with these annoyances, you're one of the lucky few.

From here on out, you'll start seeing your practitioner every week (this will start for us after our next appointment). Sometime between now and 37 weeks, she'll do a vaginal and rectal culture (YIKES) to check for bacteria called Group B streptococci (GBS). (Don't worry — the swab is the size of a regular cotton swab, and it won't hurt at all.) GBS is usually harmless in adults, but if you have it and pass it on to your baby during birth, it can cause serious complications, such as pneumonia, meningitis, or a blood infection. Because 10 to 30 percent of pregnant women have the bacteria and don't know it, it's vital to be screened. (The bacteria come and go on their own — that's why you weren't screened earlier in pregnancy.) If you're a GBS carrier, you'll get IV antibiotics during labor, which will greatly reduce your baby's risk of infection.

This is also a good time to create a birth plan (we aren't doing a formal birth plan - just simple communication with Hutch). Using our form will help you focus on specifics — like who'll be present, what pain management techniques you want to try, and where you want your baby to stay after you deliver. It will give you a starting point to discuss your preferences with your medical team. Childbirth is unpredictable, and chances are you won't follow your plan to the letter, but thinking about your choices ahead of time — and sharing your preferences with your caregiver — should take some of the anxiety out of the process.

35 weeks (tomorrow) - oh my, more growth.  And still 5 more weeks (give or take) to go!!

Am I tired?  Yes I am.  And some days more than others.  My energy level is taking a beating but I try to keep on going.

Heartburn?  Sometimes...not always and not too bad anymore.

Sleeping?  Wait, what's that?  Actually, there are good nights and there are bad nights.  I am trying to work on projects and stay up late (without falling asleep on the couch) so that I am tired when I get to bed.  Other than the 3 pee breaks a night, I feel like I am sleeping a bit better.

Uncomfortable?  Sometimes but not always.  Depends on what I am wearing, how I am sitting and what all I did that day.  But, overall I feel good - a bit front heavy but good.

Exercise?  We try to walk every night.  It feels great, especially with the weather the way it has been.  But, if we walk too fast (which isn't fast at all for most people), I feel like the baby is going to fall right out of my nethers onto the ground.  And I get crampy a bit too.

Any new symptoms?  Nope, not really.  Cravings are the same, eating pattern the same, everything pretty much the same.  Lots of baby movement and hiccups almost daily.

Next items on the calendar:
Nov 18 - Breastfeeding class (I will be going to this one alone - T is conveniently out of town haha!)
Nov 21 - Infant CPR class (T will be joining me in this one)
Nov 23 - 27 - T on vacay...we plan to finish up baby shopping and baby room prepping!
Dec 1 - Doc appt with sonogram (more pics!)

Dear Cashew,
Is that your butt we are feeling??  Doc thinks you may be head down which would be fantastic!  We will see for sure first of December.  Please be looking at my feet!  That would be so reassuring!

You have been very active lately and I think you are finally getting a little tired of the close quarters in there.  It has to be pretty tight.  I know my skin stretching around my stomach sure is!  I can't imagine how cramped it must be for you. 

A lot of our friends and family sure have hooked you up with some nice things!  You are getting spoiled already and you haven't even hatched!  And, a small admission.  Daddy and I have been just as guilty of the spoiling.  We bought you your first Christmas gift the other day.  I won't tell you what it is but it will be in the hospital with us - whenever you decide to make your appearance!  And who knows what Santa will bring you in your stocking! 

Big sis Tay is really excited to meet you too!  She has already shown Daddy and I how to change diapers by demonstrating on her dolls.  She is so eager to help us take care of you.  You will not be neglected - this is for sure.  As a matter of fact, you may be trying to find that hole you came out of so that you can go back to some peace and quiet.

Oh, speaking of peace and quiet...I am sorry for being so loud during the Steelers' game Sunday.  It was a tough game to watch and Mommy gets a little excited/irritated during her football.  But, don't worry, I will teach you all about it when you get here.  And then we can both scream at the TV together!

That's all for now, Cashew.  Everyday brings us a little closer to meeting face to face.  You are certainly keeping your identity a secret - not following any old wives tales to the T.  But that makes it so fun for Daddy and me.  We love you no matter what you are - as long as you are healthy!  And I mean that!

Love you so much already!
Mommy and Daddy

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

34 week update

I really can't believe I am at 34 weeks.  I know I say this for each update but here I go seems like I have been pregnant forever but then it feels like time is just slipping away from me now!  I am going through the typical emotions of being anxious to meet Cashew, anxious to find out if Cashew has turned yet, anxious to get everything done for both Cashew's arrival AND Christmas, anxious to see my family and for them to see our house at Christmas, anxious to have my body back to normal, anxious not to pee all day and all night long (and occasionally during a big sneeze), anxious for a cold, frosty beer, anxious to get my Christmas gifts made, anxious to finish all shopping for Cashew and to get their room completely organized and ready for the new tenant, and anxious to get delivery and recovery over with.  Whew.  I didn't even say any of that out loud yet I am still out of breath and sweating as if I ran a marathon! 

As this BIG bundle of "joy" continues to grow in front of me, things about my body have certainly changed.  I haven't gotten a stretch mark...YET...but I am finding that, lugging around all of this extra weight, is really hard on my body.  Me, the one who could run 5 miles everyday at the gym at high speeds and on inclines now gets winded, and I mean completely out of breath, and dizzy every time I walk up the steps.  And that, my friends, is a lot!  Now add a heavy laundry basket to the equation and you can see what my latest work out routine is at this point! 

The dizziness is more frequent in the mornings after breakfast.  After my extensive google searching (and according to my doctor), I now know that this is due to sugar levels spiking as well as the circulatory system pumping overtime to accomodate for both Cashew and I.  So I really need to stay on top of my vitamins, move a lot slower (especially standing up after sitting for a while) and just sit down when I need to in order to stop the tilt-a-whirl in my brain.

I must admit that it is scary at times.  Sunday I felt so off kilter that I actually laid down on the bed and ended up taking a power nap while T and Tay read books.  Yesterday I got very light headed in the shower and tried to call out to T but he couldn't hear me all the way downstairs.  I really thought I might go down right there in the tub.  But I turned the water temperature down a bit and sat down on the edge of the tub to try and gain my senses.  It worked and I was able to get cleaned up and dried off but I still had to lay down on the bed to regain my strength.  Is age the culprit?  I seriously doubt it.  I think the biggest culprit is my forgetting to take my vitamins.  I took one last night after dinner and today has been much better.  So I am planning on keeping up the vitamins and then see if I have any other issues before my next doc appt.  If so, I will talk to Hutch about it more.  If not, then we know it was the lack of vitamins and nutrients.

Here's the deal - sidenote...I read in many places that prenatal vitamins are essential for a developing baby in the first trimester.  That's why "they" say to take them if you are trying to conceive and then, of course, while you are pregnant.  But, once you are out of first tri, the vitamins are more for the mom than the fetus.  The fetus WILL get what they need from anything and everything you eat and drink.  It will suck every bit of vitamins and nutrients from your body whether or not you may need them (they do say your life is no longer yours when you become a mom...this is where it starts).  So Cashew is probably taking every bit of iron and protein out of my system which isn't being replinished by vitamins (and I have found that I like eating meat even LESS than before I was pregnant so I am sure my iron levels are low).  So I will keep pumping my body full of vitamins and see if that helps keep my head straight.

I am also clumsy.  Running my stomach into doors, walls, counters, you name it.  It has gradually been growing there for quite some time but now, all of a sudden, it has become a magnet to everything around me.  And, as my luck would have it, everything that hits me hits me in the belly button.  Which is the one area that has always been strictly off limits from touching because it really sets a nerve loose inside of me.  I hate the feeling of being touched there.  But now my belly button is as flat as a pancake with no loose folds of skin to protect it.  And now it is being violated.  If not by the corner of the kitchen island, then by the ultrasound wand or fetal heart monitor wand.  It has a target around it and everything seems to be drawn to it! 

Heartburn has increased slightly and happens at the most random times.  Sometimes even when I haven't had a bite to eat!  Sometimes I won't have it all day and, when I decide I am going to lay down and try to sleep, it comes on like a volcano.  It hasn't been as bad as I have heard others talk about but it is very annoying when it is there.

Cashew is a constant mover.  There are times...and sometimes days...when the activity slows down or halts all together but most days it is pure disco fever in there.  Hiccups occur almost daily and sometimes more than once a day.  You can now see it on the outside of my stomach and you can tell it really irritates him/her.  They get pretty restless in there when they get the hiccups.

You can now feel "parts and pieces" bulging out here and there.  T makes me laugh so hard when he takes his hand and tries to determine what part he is feeling when, all of a sudden, Cashew will lash out at him or move that part all together.  T's face is priceless!  He says he really couldn't feel or experience these things with Tay because Tay's Mom was overweight while pregnant.  So he is really getting a kick (pun intended) out of this mystery part game.

I honestly don't think Cashew is head down yet.  I am trying not to worry since it may still take several weeks. I say this because I think I can feel where the head is and it is more on the side of my stomach than at the bottom.  But we will see what progress has been made at our next appt which will be Nov 16.

While the growing continues, T and I have been making some great progress on our Christmas shopping as well as getting the house (especially the bar and the refreshment fridge) stocked for my family!  I would guess that we have about half of our shopping done and, everything we have bought is wrapped!  I am a bit behind in making gifts but I still feel like I can accomplish my goal.  Or at least I am hoping to.  After my last shower this weekend, it will be nice to get all of the last minute items that we need for Cashew shopped for and done with...I am ready to just have everything done in that room so that it can be the last thing I need to stress about.

So, six more weeks (give or take) until B Day.  We bought Cashew their first Christmas present from Mommy and Daddy - a snoopy stuffed animal like the one I had when I was a baby.  The hormones flared during that purchase and I almost cried.  I was so touched for some reason.  I think we will be taking Snoopy to the hospital with us.

OH...and, just so you know, the boy's name has now become undecided again.  It is a toss up between two - both of which are included on the poll.  But T had a change of heart on the one we were set on so we will see what happens.  He said that Tay's Mom and him had the boy's name completely picked out when she was pregnant with Tay but that the girl's name was much harder to come he thinks it could be a sign we are having a boy.  Haha!  Hmmm, so who will be the winner of the name game?  Vote if you haven't already!

Now to the details:
34 weeks - I look pretty casual makeup, hair back, grubs on.  It was a house cleaning day and I just got out of the shower.  I only included my face because my Mom is not fond of the headless pod.  I look like I am being taken over or that I am trying to steal a beach ball from Walmart.

How your baby's growing:

Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.

Next on the timeline of baby making:
Nov 12 - Final childbirth class
Nov 14 - Shower
Nov 16 - Appt with Hutch at 2:30
Dear Cashew,
I don't have a lot of time to write.  Daddy and I are about to take a walk and I have a project to work on before I start dinner tonight.  But we talk to you a lot so hopefully that helps.  We feel parts and pieces in there and hope we aren't bugging you when we feel around.  It is just really fascinating. 
You are growing so big already and so fast!  But, if you haven't already, I really need you to focus on getting that butt in the air!!  Get into dive position!  It is almost time.  Not much longer now.  We are all looking forward to meeting you and hope that we can make the process as easy as possible.  If there is such a thing.
Talk to you in a little bit while we push on your parts!  Remember this, Cashew, we will be pushing your buttons for many years to come!!!  And I am sure you will do the same to us!
We love you very much!
Mommy and Daddy

Friday, November 6, 2009

Is it a sign??

T and I went to our fourth childbirth class last night after "cutting" last week's.  I am sure glad that we did.  But I hope the subject of class isn't a sign of things to come.  The subject: C-Sections.

Class started with the on staff neonatalogist who talked a little about what he does, why we will see him and signs/symptoms of what to look for in baby post-delivery.  He also talked about circumcisions which, if our hopes are confirmed, we will need to know about as well.  It was pretty informative.

The rest of the class was about C-Sections.  Obviously I hope I don't have to have one but, after the wonderful ultrasound tech brought it up a couple of weeks ago and since there is NO WAY of knowing whether or not we would need one down the line, I was relieved that we were going to be talking about it. 

To be honest, it was pretty emotional listening to the details of the procedure, the fact that the baby is taken to the nursery during the first 30 - 45 minutes of your recovery and the amount of recovery time (and pain) it takes after the surgery.  But, even with small tears puddling in my eyes, I did realize that the surgery itself isn't THAT big of a deal.  It is a very small incision.  They move your stomach muscles instead of cutting through them (T was afraid that, if they cut through the muscle like we thought they did, I would have a harder time tightening up my abs at the gym - and he knew that would be upsetting for me).  And, as long as it isn't an emergency C-Section (which breech babies are not), you are awake the whole time and can see baby after it is born.  But you can't hold it.  That's kinda a bummer.  Daddy holds baby because your arms are strapped down...which kinda bothers my clausterphobic mind but I am sure we would make it through fine.

The only other thing that kinda sucks is that you have to stay at the hospital for 3 -4 days post surgery.  At least you can shower after about 8 - 10 hours post-surgery.  But I don't want to be stuck in the hospital that long when my family is in town.  Boo.  But, whatever must be done, must be done.  We shall see.

I walked out of class with a sense of calmness.  No book or Baby Story on TLC has made me feel this comfortable about a procedure.  Our instructor, Lolita, really knows how to reassure the women in class and make you feel that you can push through any of these procedures with flying colors.  It is good to have someone like that teaching unnerved pregnant women the ropes.

Anyway, I am so glad that we went and I am back to being so glad that we made the investment in these classes.  While some information is redundant, and some information I would learn upon arrival to the hospital, a lot of the information is very helpful!  I like knowing the details of the procedures so that I know what to expect.  I am a planner, don't you know?

I started thinking on the way home last night...maybe it would be better if I just stay pregnant.  Haha!  I thought about how safe and comfortable 'Shew is in there and being pregnant (at least the later part of 2nd and most of 3rd tri) hasn't been so bad, maybe they should just stay there!  But then there is the frosty cold beer that I miss and the fact that I can't work out like I used to...ok, birth it is.  But I am finding that being pregnant isn't so bad.  It sure takes forever and a day and you sure have to give up a lot but it is also a very interesting and exciting condition to be in.  I do hope that 'Shew decides to stay in for a while...even a little past my due date is ok...I have a lot to do before their arrival and before Christmas gets here!

Cashew has been pretty lazy since last night.  Not a whole lot of crazy movement.  I am not too worried (you are supposed to do "kick counts" if you don't feel them moving a lot but I think everything is fine).  I think Cashew is just tired like me.  Our clocks' have been off since we have had very little sleep so I think that's what is causing the quiet time.  Don't worry.  I still feel the occasional bump or roll.  As a matter of fact, I just did.  'Shew will probably be back in party mode tonight while we have movie night with Tay.  Whenever she lays close to me or puts her arm around my stomach, 'Shew goes pretty crazy.  He/she is either already jealous or they love their big sister already.  I like to think the latter.

I am trying hard to put on my StepMom hat today.  Tay has a half day of school today so we will be picking her up at 11 or so.  I am struggling to find the amount of energy I need to make it through an entire weekend of Tay.  Don't get me wrong.  She is a GREAT kid and I love seeing her.  It just takes a lot of energy and constant attention.  And I am running on fumes.  It is always fine once I am in the process but it is hard to look through right now.  And, yes my friends, I DO know that I will have to do this 24/7 in a few weeks.  I am fully aware.  Just having one of those days...

Guess that's the update for now.  Gonna go feed the 'Shew and I some Special K and a banana.  OH, by the way, I had NO chocolate or candies yesterday.  I am so proud of myself!  Willpower!!!!