Week 37: Full Term!

It is realllllly crazy to me that we are technically at full term and that baby could come any time now! Although I’ve been having some more Braxton Hicks contractions and the baby is sitting a little lower it doesn’t really feel like that much has changed since my last update though.

Last week my co-workers surprised me with a lunchtime baby shower, which was so adorable! I wish I had taken some photos, but I was so surprised I totally forgot about it. They had decorated our little conference room with balloons, confetti and cake, and gave me some wonderful gifts. It is going to be so weird not to see them everyday for three months while I’m on maternity leave.

We also had a baby shower for Geoff’s side of the family last weekend, and it was so much fun to see everyone. There was so much delicious food and the decorations were really cute (it was a blue theme for our little boy). We got some more much needed baby items, and I’m definitely feeling prepared for baby now.

One of the gifts we received was a Safety 1st convertible car seat, which reminded me to schedule our car seat safety checks at the hospital. Luckily there was one spot still open between now and our due date, so I booked it right away. We now have one week to attempt to install our two car seats before we head over to have them tell us if we did it right or not. Apparently 90% of car seats are installed incorrectly, so it is really nice to have someone be able to double check them for us!

We had a doctor appointment yesterday and I had another blood draw done to see how my platelet levels are doing. The range for a normal platelet count is 140-450, and mine was originally 133, which is what prompted them to start monitoring me. I did another blood draw a month later, and my levels went up to 137. Higher, but still not in the normal range. Four weeks after that I was at 141, barely squeaking into the low end of the range.

As for my latest, my stupid platelets dropped all the way to 131, the lowest yet. I still think I’m in the clear for an epidural (if I decide I want one) since my levels are still higher than 100, but it still makes me a little worried. I guess I’ll just have to keep doing blood draws and hoping my levels get higher as we get closer to my due date. Cross your fingers for me!

This week according to What to Expect:

Your doctor may check for labor signs, while your baby prepares for birth by sucking, turning, and breathing in the womb.

Your Baby in Week 37 of Pregnancy

Congratulations! You’ve got what is officially considered a full-term baby, even with three weeks to go. That doesn’t mean he’s finished growing — in fact, he’s still packing on about a half pound a week (at this age, the average fetus weighs about 6.5 pounds). That makes it a little crowded in your uterus, so he’s probably not kicking as much, though he’s probably stretching, rolling a bit, and wiggling (all of which you’ll be able to feel!). Right now, your little superstar is busy rehearsing for his big debut, inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid (to get the lungs ready for that first breath), sucking his thumb (to prepare for that first suckle of milk), blinking, and turning from side to side.

Your Body in Week 37 of Pregnancy

Your body is going through its own preparations for childbirth as your practitioner starts looking for signs of labor. On the checklist: the baby’s position in relation to your pelvis (engagement) and whether effacement (thinning of the cervix) and dilation (opening of the cervix) have begun. Your practitioner may also determine whether your cervix has begun to soften, another indication that labor is getting closer. Keep in mind that these processes can occur gradually (over a period of weeks or even a month or more in some women) or overnight. So while they’re clues that you’re indeed progressing, they’re far from sure bets when it comes to pinpointing the actual start of labor.

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Week 36: Happy Halloween!

It’s official – I can no longer put on socks by myself or take my own pants off without significant time and effort. Geoff has been a huge help, picking up anything I happen to drop on the floor so I don’t have to bend over, grabbing me a water bottle on his way past the fridge so I don’t have to get up to get it myself, etc.

He was also very sweet to do a couples costume with me for a Halloween party last weekend. We dressed up as Juno and Bleeker, which was pretty much the easiest/most comfy outfit ever for someone who is as preggo pants as me. It was sort of hard for me to sit back and take it easy this year costume-wise. Usually I like to go all out and handmake something (same with most of our friends). Here are a few examples of costumes from year’s past, along with a photo from this year (though I must say my Effie costume was my favorite).

We had a doctor appointment this morning (and we’ll have one every week from now on). I have been having a couple Braxton Hicks contractions, so my doctor decided to check to see if they were “doing” anything. Turns out I’m already a centimeter dilated! I know that doesn’t really mean anything and I could walk around that way for weeks without anything happening, but hey! That’s one more centimeter I don’t have to suffer through in the hospital when I’m in labor! Yay!

I guess I better start packing a hospital bag so I’m prepared when the time does come. I found a few different lists of items to bring with you, so I’ll probably follow those pretty closely. What was in your hospital bag and what do you wish you had brought with you?

Baby at 36 weeks (from the Hello Baby! iPhone app)

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby’s bones may be ready to rock and roll, but yours may be aching something awful right now.

Your Baby in Week 36 of Pregnancy

Forget your aching back (and everything else!) by trying to focus on your baby, who is now about six pounds and 20 inches long, with soft bones and cartilage to allow a safer journey through the exit door. Most of her systems (from circulatory to musculoskeletal) are ready for prime time, though her digestion system — which has done only practice runs so far — will kick into gear as she takes her first suckle at the breast or bottle.

Your Body in Week 36 of Pregnancy

It’s a good thing your baby’s almost done cooking, since your body may feel pretty “done” by now as well. For one thing, you’re doing the full-term pregnancy waddle, the result of the hormone-triggered loosening and softening of your connective tissue. This is your body’s way of getting ready to squeeze a big baby out of a small space. Unfortunately, those loose joints can lead to some pretty serious hip and pelvic pain — but hang in there!

Week 34: Platelet levels, baby showers and pregnancy insomnia

Whoops – I’m a day behind on this one! I have been so busy I haven’t had time to sit down and write this week’s post until just now.

I have great news – my platelet levels have gone up! I’m officially at 141 (the “normal” range is from 140-450). I just squeaked into that range, but hopefully everything will stay there until baby comes so I don’t have to worry anymore. I think I’ll still have to do monthly blood draws to monitor my levels, but better to be safe than sorry.

I’m also really excited because my sister is throwing me a baby shower this weekend with all my girlfriends in Milwaukee! It should be really fun. Plus my mom and Geoff’s mom will be there, and they will get to meet everyone. I’ll try to take lots of photos to share in my next weekly update.

In other (not so great) news, the baby has been keeping me up all night. Well, not all night – just for 15-30 minutes every 2-3 hours. And once I’m awake it is impossible to fall back asleep! I’m sure baby is preparing me for nightly feedings, but can’t I just deal with being sleep deprived after he is born? I didn’t think I’d lose all that sleep until I actually had the baby. UGH.

I have also been getting really uncomfortable lately, due to little man growing so much. Our couch is usually a super comfy place to relax, but lately I can’t seem to find a comfortable position and it is not fun. Last night I figured out that I could use the head pillow part of my Boppy body pillow and stuff it behind my back and it helps A LOT.

I’m also hoping I can get in for a prenatal massage this weekend, but I still have to call and schedule the appointment for that. Have any of you had a prenatal massage? Did it help with back pain during pregnancy?

This week according to What to Expect:

Your Baby in Week 34 of Pregnancy

What’s new this week? Your baby is clocking in at five pounds and could be as tall as 20 inches by now, and the vernix (the white coating protecting your baby’s skin) is getting thicker. This week, a boy’s testicles start making their way down from his abdomen to their final destination: his scrotum (look out below!). While about three to four percent of boys are born with undescended testicles, it’s nothing to worry about — they usually head downtown before junior turns a year old. In other baby-related developments, those tiny fingernails have probably reached the tips of his fingers by now — and getting ready for that first postpartum manicure.

Your Body in Week 34 of Pregnancy

You’re not seeing things — at least not as well as usual. That’s because your eyes are yet another part of your body that falls prey to those pesky pregnancy hormones. Not only can your vision seem less sharp these days, but also a decrease in tear production can leave your eyes dry and irritated, especially if you wear contact lenses. Plus, an increase in fluid behind your eyes’ lenses can temporarily change their shape, making some women more nearsighted or farsighted than usual. Happily, these vision changes during pregnancy are all temporary. Things should clear up as your eyes return to normal after delivery (so there’s no need to change your prescription just yet).

Week 30: Ten weeks to go, and what the heck is gestational thrombocytopenia?

Omigosh only ten weeks left!! This pregnancy has flown by, and I can’t believe I’m in the home stretch. I haven’t started to get nervous yet, but I’m sure that will happen soon!

This week has been a blur, and I don’t think our little man as stopped kicking the entire time. Some of Geoff’s family members are visiting from England, so we had them over on Sunday for a (rainy) BBQ, and while we were eating baby was kicking so hard that they could see him moving from across the table! You can’t tell which of his body parts is moving across my belly yet, but you can definitely see the path of where he moves.

We also started our bi-weekly doctor appointments on Monday, and beforehand I got a call asking me to come in for another blood draw. Since I just recently did a complete blood workup when I had my gestational diabetes screening, I was surprised. Turns out I had a low platelet count, and my doctor wanted to make sure my levels weren’t dropping.

When I went into my appointment, I asked the doctor what exactly low platelets means for me and baby, as I had been concerned that my prenatals didn’t have any iron in them a few weeks ago and I wasn’t sure if that was related. She said my iron levels (and everything else) were in the normal range, it is just my platelet count that is low (normal range starts at 140, mine was at 133).  If you care and can pronounce it, it’s called gestational thrombocytopenia when you have low platelet levels. Apparently it is not that uncommon for pregnant women, does not effect baby and it will go away once I deliver, but if my platelet levels get too low (under 100) it means I cannot have an epidural during labor, and I would need general anesthesia in the case of a c-section.

Since I did another blood draw at the appointment, I was able to get my results yesterday, and *hooray!* they went up a little bit! I was at 133 and am now at 137. Still low, but at least it didn’t drop lower! I still have to do another blood draw in four weeks to double check, but for now it looks like I’m in the clear.

Even though it seems like it’s not something I have to worry about yet, I think I’m really going to consider natural childbirth. That way if something does happen I won’t be caught off guard, especially because I only have 10 weeks to go! My original plan was go only get the epidural if I really needed it, but I was sort of counting on having it there, like a safety net. Maybe I’ll check out Lamaze… any other suggestions? The whole “focus on a calming picture” thing they mentioned at our labor and delivery class really isn’t going to cut it for me.

Any suggestions would be great!

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby’s brain is getting smarter by the minute, but for Mom, the only thing that smarts right now may be heartburn pain.

Your Baby in Week 30 of Pregnancy

Your belly’s increasing size is a definite clue that your baby is getting bigger every day, weighing in at over three pounds now (he’ll be packing on the weight at a rate of half a pound per week for the next seven weeks). Also growing daily is his brain, which is actually starting to look like the real thing with those characteristic grooves and wrinkles. And now that your little genius can regulate his own body temperature and turn up the heat, he’ll start shedding lanugo, the downy body hair that’s been keeping him warm up until now.

Your Body in Week 30 of Pregnancy

These days you may feel as if you’ve got a flamethrower in your chest. Heartburn is one of the most common (and annoying) pregnancy ailments and here’s why: The same pregnancy hormones that cause your body’s pelvic muscles to relax so you can deliver your baby also relax the ring of muscle that separates the esophagus from the stomach. The upshot? Food and digestive juices can head upstream from your tummy into your chest and throat — hence, the infernal inferno. Your expanding uterus, now exerting pressure on your stomach, only fuels the fire.

Week 29: Permanent Barbie Toe

Well, I can definitely tell that little man is growing in there, since his kicks and punches are getting much stronger. No alienesque movements yet, though. We had a doctor appointment yesterday (well, a nurse’s appointment) so that I could get my rhoGAM shot. For those of you who don’t know, I’m rh-negative, which means my blood can attack the baby without this shot. So I have to get one after every miscarriage or delivery, and at 28 weeks of every pregnancy. You can read more about it in my post here.

Since I was already getting one shot, I asked if I could get any upcoming vaccines/blood draws done at the same appointment. There was only one more coming up, which was the TDAP vaccine (though both Geoff and I will have to get a flu shot in a few weeks when they start giving them). Lucky me, I got one shot in each cheek and I was sent on my merry way. They didn’t even hurt like they do when you get one in your arm (at least until today).

Imagine if your feet were stuck like this. Forever.

I’ve been doing pretty good as far as the not-so-fun parts of pregnancy go, but last night and today I started experiencing all of those little joys I had hoped to avoid. Last night I woke up around 4:00 a.m. yelling bloody murder because of a leg cramp (I scared the heck out of Geoff). Seriously, I thought I was having leg cramps before, but this one was on an entirely different level that made me want to rip my own leg off. Think permanent Barbie toe. Ouch.

Another lovely symptom of pregnancy I had yet to experience is heartburn. I’ve never had heartburn in my life, so when I started getting it yesterday I didn’t realize what it was right away – I just thought my torso was about to implode. Once I realized what it was it made me very appreciative that I didn’t get it earlier on in the pregnancy! Especially because today I got it everytime I ate anything.

I also have a horrible headache, so add that to some residual leg cramp pain from last night (told you it was a bad one!), heartburn and what feels like a back/butt bruise from my TDAP shot yesterday and you have one unhappy pregnant lady. And guess what? Instead of going home to put my feet up and relax after staying an hour late at work to get some last minute projects done, I get to go grocery shopping because otherwise I won’t have time to go until the weekend and we absolutely no food in the house. Joy.

My solution to this: drink a bunch of water, pop some Tylenol and suck it up. It will all be worth it in the end when we finally get to meet our little man!

This week according to What to Expect:

Your Baby in Week 29 of Pregnancy

How big is your baby this week? She weighs nearly three pounds now and measures about 17 inches. Though she’s getting pretty close to her birth length, she still has to chub out a bit. In fact, over the next 11 weeks, she’ll more than double — or even come close to tripling — her weight. And as she grows and the room in your womb gets tighter, you’ll be less likely to feel those big kicks and more likely to get poked by an elbow or jabbed by a knee.

Your Body in Week 29 of Pregnancy

Unsightly yet harmless, varicose veins are simply swollen blood vessels that often surface on your body for the first time during pregnancy, especially if your mom or grandma had them. You may have a mild case (minor achiness and swelling) or you may be unlucky enough to experience real pain and bulging blue veins, usually from the ankle to the upper thigh. There are things you can do to alleviate this veiny situation, including watching your weight, keeping your blood flowing, and avoiding heavy lifting.