Week 32: A thousand miles later…

Yay! A little squash just in time for fall 🙂

Geoff and I drove a LOT this past weekend. And by a lot I mean 1000 miles in three days. It was worth it though, since we got to see my family, Geoff’s high school friends at his buddy’s wedding, and some of my high school friends at my very first baby shower.

We started the weekend by driving to my parent’s house in Minnesota. We didn’t get in until late, but we were able to chat a little over a yummy breakfast the following morning. The we headed out for our two hour drive to our friends’ wedding.

The wedding was beautiful. It was at a rustic/elegant B&B type place (I think it is actually a conference center), that had stables, rolling hills, colorful fall trees and a big white tent setup with lots of twinkle lights and tulle. We had such a fun time catching up with everyone and dancing the night away. I wish I had more photos, but since we were staying at the same place where the wedding was I was able to leave my purse in our room for the night. I did manage to get one from Geoff’s phone though.

Sunday we got up early and drove back to my parent’s house, quickly changed, and then mom and I headed off to my baby shower, which was being held a restaurant down the road called Acqua. It is actually located on the lake, so it was such a fun location. There were only a few people who could make it, but had a great time! We had a delicious brunch, chatted away and opened some gifts, then everyone went on their way.

For those of you who I missed at the shower, hopefully we can get together after the baby comes, as I don’t think I’ll be heading to Minnesota anytime before that. But I’d love to see you – it has been way too long, and babies are a good reason to reconnect!

We snuck in some family photos at my parents’ before Geoff and I had to leave, and then we completed our weekend trip by driving back to Milwaukee, where we collapsed on the couch with Eva.

Below are a few pictures from the weekend – I loved every minute of it, but now I need a break!

In other news, we had another doctor appointment this week, and it was the same old boring thing. Nothing new. I did get a flu shot (those suckers hurt!), but that was about it. I have to wait until my next appointment to get my blood drawn to check my platelet count. Hopefully my levels will go up and I can stop worrying about it!

Baby is kicking away as usual and is becoming more and more alien-like in his movements. I am just waiting for the day when I can see which body part is pushing on me – like a little foot moving across my belly. It hasn’t happened yet, though. Stay tuned.

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby is practicing survival skills like sucking and breathing, while your uterus is practicing some Braxton Hicks contractions.

Your Baby in Week 32 of Pregnancy

What’s up with your baby? She’s starting to get ready for her big debut, tipping the scales at almost four pounds and topping out at just about 19 inches. In these past few weeks, it’s all about practice, practice, practice as she hones the skills she’ll need to thrive outside the womb — from swallowing and breathing to kicking and sucking. And speaking of sucking, your little one has been able to suck her thumb for a while now. Something else to note: As more and more fat accumulates under your baby’s skin, she’s becoming less transparent and more opaque.

Your Body in Week 32 of Pregnancy

This week, your body may start prepping for delivery day by flexing its muscles — literally. If you feel your uterus bunching or hardening periodically, those are practice contractions, otherwise known as Braxton Hicks. These rehearsals (typically experienced earlier and with more intensity in women who’ve been pregnant before) feel like a tightening sensation that begins at the top of your uterus and then spreads downward, lasting from 15 to 30 seconds (though they can sometimes last two minutes or more). How do you know these contractions aren’t the real thing? They’ll stop if you change position (try getting up if you’re lying down or walking if you’ve been sitting).

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 25: Baby classes and birth videos

Little man is kicking away as I write this. He is most active during the day while I’m at work, then settles down a bit in the evenings, kicks me all night, and is very quiet in the mornings when I wake up. I love feeling his movements, and they are becoming stronger, but I’d really like other people to be able to feel them, too. I almost feel guilty when I tell someone he is kicking and they sit with their hand on my stomach for five minutes feeling nothing at all.

Luckily my family got to feel him while they were in town, even if they were just light little kicks, like tapping. Geoff has been lucky enough to feel the really big kicks that move my whole stomach (I love those ones).

In other news we had our first baby class on Monday night: Labor, Birth & Delivery. I’m not really sure what to say about it. I was excited/nervous before we left, and then I found the class to be a little boring. Don’t get me wrong, there were some interesting parts (touring the rooms, nursery and NICU, for example), but the rest was pretty standard.

They did show us two birth videos, which weren’t as scary as I thought they would be. Just kind of gross. We also watched a couple videos explaining the different stages of labor, which was interesting, but then we read through a Powerpoint of the exact same information we just watched in the video as a review. Overall, I think it was worthwhile, but I hope the second part of the class (next Monday) gets a little better.

This week according to What to Expect:

Your Baby in Week 25 of Pregnancy

Your baby is growing by leaps and bounds, reaching nine inches in length and passing the pound and a half mark. Under his skin, capillaries are forming and filling with blood and by week’s end, air sacs (also lined with capillaries) will develop in his lungs, getting them ready for that first breath. Mind you, those lungs aren’t ready for prime time just yet — but they are developing surfactant, a substance that will help them expand after birth. And speaking of breathing, your baby’s tiny nostrils, which have been plugged up until now, are starting to open, and his vocal chords are getting ready to roar.

Week 19: Mini Summer Vacation

I’m on vacation this week! Geoff and I headed up to Minnesota to visit my family at the lake, and I gotta tell you, it doesn’t get more relaxing than this. Reading on the porch, “putt-putt” tours of the lake on the boat, catching a few fish off the dock, riding along while everyone surfs behind the boat (so fun, but preggies have to opt-out).

I’m not ready to go back to reality yet, but I figured I should at least post my weekly update since we’re now at 19 weeks! Basically, I feel like I’m not pregnant except the baby is moving around a lot more (at least once a day), I have had a few really awful leg cramps, and people are definitely noticing the bump.

I really can’t believe that I’m only one week away to being at the halfway point in my pregnancy, and we only have two weeks left until we can find out the gender! Have you voted in the sidebar poll yet? Since my last post the “boy” votes have taken the lead… I guess we’ll see!

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby’s skin now has a protective coating, while you might be hoping for something to protect you from painful leg cramps.

Your Baby in Week 19 of Pregnancy

Have you ever seen a mango dipped in cheese? Well, that’s what your baby looks like this week due to a little growth spurt (she’s about a half pound in weight and six inches long) and a substance called vernix caseosa. This greasy white stuff covers your baby’s skin, protecting it from the surrounding amniotic fluid. (Without it, she’d look totally wrinkled as she entered the world.) The vernix sheds as delivery approaches, though some babies still sport a bit of the coating at birth.

Your Body in Week 19 of Pregnancy

One minute you’re lying peacefully in bed and the next your calf muscle feels like it’s about to explode. Leg cramps during pregnancy are pretty common (no one knows exactly what causes them, but muscle fatigue or compressed blood vessels are the likeliest culprits) and tend to strike at night. You might also be wondering about tingling and numbness in your fingers and toes about now. It’s a weird sensation but totally normal, probably a result of your body’s swelling tissues pressing on nerves.

WIAW Weekly Recipe: Overnight Slow Cooker Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal

Courtesy of Monica at The Yummy Life

This is a yummy overnight oatmeal that you can make in your crockpot. My mom made it for us while we were visiting, so I’m including her variations here. I like my oatmeal a little sweeter, so I added a tiny bit of maple syrup to it and it was delicious!

Ingredients
2 apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (2-1/2 to 3 cups chopped)
1-1/2 cups fat-free milk (or substitute non-diary alternative like almond milk)
1-1/2 cups water
1 cup uncooked steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons brown sugar (or substitute maple syrup or other desired sweetener)
1-1/2 tablespoons butter, cut into 5-6 pieces (optional)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground flax seed (we used chia seeds)
1/4 teaspoon salt
Optional garnishes: chopped nuts, raisins, maple syrup, additional milk or butter

Instructions
Coat inside of 3-1/2 quart (or larger) slow cooker with cooking spray. Add all ingredients (except optional toppings) to slow cooker. Stir, cover, and cook on low for approx. 7 hours (slow cooker times can vary). Spoon oatmeal into bowls; add optional toppings, if desired. Store leftovers in refrigerator. Freezes well.

To reheat single servings: Put 1-cup cooked oatmeal in microwave proof bowl. Add 1/3 cup fat-free milk. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir. Continue cooking for another minute, or until hot.

Nutritional Info (per 3/4 cup serving): 149 calories, 3.6g fat, 27.3g carbs, 3.9g fiber, 4.9g protein; Weight Watchers Points+: 4 

Week 17: Feeling Baby Move, Baby Bachelor and Gourmet Grilled Cheese

To celebrate hitting the 17-week mark, I signed Geoff and I up for some classes at the hospital where we are planning to have the baby. We signed up for “Labor, Birth and Beyond,” “Bringing Baby Home,” “Breastfeeding Your Baby – The Basics” and “Breastfeeding Your Baby – Beyond the Basics.” The only one I wanted to take but couldn’t get into was the Infant CPR and Safety class (it was full). Hopefully they will add more dates soon. The classes are spread out in August, September and October, so I’ll post about each one as we go.

I forgot to mention in my last post that when we listened to the heartbeat at the doctor’s office it was in the upper 150s, which (if you believe in these things) means that the baby might be a girl! Four weeks until we can find out for sure, so don’t forget to let us know which one you think it will be using the poll in the sidebar!

I am also very excited to announce that I definitely felt the baby move (and yes, that was it moving around last time)! We went to a choir concert and I was so tired out that I basically sank into the chair and let my entire body relax to the music… and all of a sudden I realized I could feel the baby. It moved around quite a bit for the first half of the concert, but after I got up and walked around during intermission I didn’t feel it again. I think the key for me to feel him/her is to be completely and totally relaxed. It is also very light/faint right now, but I’m assuming that will get stronger as the baby grows.

For those of you who know me well, you’ll know that one of my guilty pleasures is watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette. Every week my sister and I will make dinner and watch the show together and we have so much fun together. I’m calling it right now – Brooks is totally going be the last man standing.

Apparently this has been around for awhile, but I had to share it since it is so adorable and awesome: Baby Bachelor. You can’t help but smile watching it! What do you think – will Wesley choose Jessi or Gabrielle?

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby is practicing sucking and swallowing as she gets ready for the real thing: a breast or bottle! As for Mom, you may be warding off some unwanted belly touching.

Your Baby in Week 17 of Pregnancy

My how your baby has grown! She’s about the size of your palm, weighs about five ounces, and is developing some body fat (join the club, baby!). Her heart is now regulated by her brain (no more random beats) to beat 140 to 150 times per minute — about twice as fast as yours! What else is up? She’s practicing the survival skills she’ll need at birth — like sucking and swallowing.

Your Body in Week 17 of Pregnancy

Now that you’re starting to show, chances are that friends, coworkers, and even strangers may feel the urge to reach out and touch your belly. If you don’t mind, that’s fine. But if you do, speak up kindly but firmly. More new developments with your body: a greater sensitivity to allergens these days and the appetite of a truck driver now that the queasy feeling is (probably) gone.

WIAW Weekly Recipe: Grilled Ham and Havarti Sandwiches

Courtesy of Weight Watchers Online

This is a super easy grilled cheese sandwich that tastes gourmet! So delicious, but we have made a few variations since the first time we made these: I don’t care for mustard, so I leave that off, but Geoff loves it on his. We also swap the rye bread for whatever looks the best at the bakery (usually some sort of french or focaccia bread). The onion really adds to the overall flavor of the sandwich, but if you do one or two thin slices it helps to not overpower it.

Ingredients
4 tsp stone ground mustard
2 tsp Dijon mustard
8 slices reduced-calorie rye bread
8 oz cooked lean ham, sliced
2 oz Havarti cheese (4 slices)
4 slices fresh tomatoes, 1/2 inch thick
4 thick slices uncooked red onion
Cooking spray

Instructions
Step 1: Combine stone-ground and Dijon mustards. Spread mustard mixture evenly onto each of 4 bread slices. Top each evenly with ham, cheese, tomato and red onion. Cover with remaining 4 bread slices.
Step 2: Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add 2 sandwiches to pan; cook 4 minutes on each side or until lightly browned. Repeat procedure with remaining 2 sandwiches. Serve immediately.

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 sandwich).