Week 39: BabyWatch 2013 Begins…

Seven days until D-Day and I’m still pregnant. I’ve reached the point where if I call someone the first thing out of their mouth is, “Is this baby coming?!” The good part about this is that people answer my calls no matter when/where they are, but are quickly disappointed when I am just calling to say hello or to have them send me a recipe or something.

At least I’m not alone. This week’s email from Pregnant Chicken says, “It’s right around this time that there’s a slooow shift from you being perceived as a glowing woman that is creating life, into a fat husk that’s hoarding that adorable baby they all want to see.” (By the way, if you’re pregnant, definitely subscribe to the weekly emails she sends out – they are awesome and hilarious.)

Remember when I had ankles?

Remember when I had ankles?

Not much is new this week. I’m still uncomfortable and not sleeping very well. My feet look like sausages half the time and my fingers are so swollen I can’t wear my wedding rings. Geoff put a pillow under our mattress so my feet are elevated while I sleep, and that has really been helping a lot.

We had our weekly doctor appointment on Monday, and we did another blood draw to check on my low platelet count. I’m at 135 now, so they have gone up slightly since last time, but the important thing is that they are staying steady in the 130s and not dropping near the 100 mark (which is when you have to see a hematologist to determine whether or not you can get an epidural). I think that was my last blood draw until baby comes, so yay for no more needles!

According to the doctor, I’m now 2 centimeters dilated and still 50% effaced, which is not really a change from last week’s appointment. I’m weirdly disappointed that I’m not further along, since I started dilating three weeks ago. I have two more Monday appointments scheduled, so cross your fingers that I’ll either have the baby before I have to go to both of them or that I’ll be further along at the next one so I don’t feel like I’m just waiting for something to happen.

People have started asking me if I’m nervous for labor, and the truthful answer is that I’m really not. Maybe it is because I know I’m in good hands, or because I’m very prepared as to what to expect, or because I can always get an epidural if I can’t handle the pain, or maybe I’m just excited to get this show on the road, but I’m not afraid. I keep expecting a wave of panic to set in, but it never comes. I mean, there’s no point in being afraid anyway, since I can’t really get out of it now!

We’ve had lots of guesses for the date of baby’s arrival. If you’d like to join in you can comment below or send me a message and I’ll add you to the calendar I’ve started.

This week according to What to Expect:

Your baby’s weight and height have probably increased only a little from last week (and your overstretched skin at 39 weeks pregnant is probably grateful for that). But his or her brain is still developing rapidly (a pace that continues during the first three years of life), with changes you’ll be able to recognize firsthand as your baby’s skill-packed bag of tricks expands almost daily. 

Heard that babies cry a lot?  There’s definitely truth to that rumor — as you’ll find out soon enough (and usually during the middle of the night).  But what you may not have heard is that tiny babies don’t produce tiny tears when they cry, since their tear ducts aren’t open for business yet.  While you’ll be consoling your crying baby right from the get-go, it won’t be until sometime after the first month that you’ll be wiping tears off those chubby cheeks.

Your baby’s skin has now finally changed from pink to white (no matter how dark-skinned he or she will be eventually; pigmentation will occur soon following birth). That’s because a thicker fat layer has been deposited over the blood vessels (making your baby’s cheeks —  both kinds — pinchably and kissably round).

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Week 38: Baby brain, Pinterest projects and decorating the nursery

We missed Halloween by a few weeks, but our little man is now the size of a pumpkin!

We had our weekly doctor appointment on Monday and found out that I’m 50% effaced and almost 2 cm dilated, so at least some sort of progress is happening even if it is minor. I like the idea that the Braxton Hicks contractions are actually taking care of part of the labor for me. Too bad the entire labor and delivery can’t be this easy!

My doc also said that although my platelet levels are low again that she is not concerned at this point. She is having me do one more blood draw on Monday just to monitor the levels, but she said that since my count has been consistently above 100 I should be fine to get an epidural if I want one.

I’ve been super uncomfortable lately since the baby has dropped (doc says he is head down, so that’s good). I haven’t been able to sleep much at night, and the baby brain has kicked in at full force. I think I actually said, “Wow, look at those pretty trees on that tree,” to Geoff the other day. Words are hard when you are sleep deprived, uncomfortable and 38 weeks pregnant, okay you guys?

We are going to the hospital tonight to do our car seat safety inspection, which will be extremely helpful. I have had the car seat sitting sideways in my car for a few weeks now, which is obviously not the best way to install it. It will be really good to have the professionals show us how it is done and give us the peace of mind that the car seat is installed correctly.

We’ve also been adding some final touches to the nursery, including some of the cute decorations from my shower as well as my first Pinterest project! I bought a bunch of cheap black frames and some cute fabric swatches and just taped the fabric into the frames. The entire project cost less than $100 and I think it turned out pretty good – what do you think?

Eva (our cat) is obsessed with the bird mobile. She thinks it is a toy. She was fixated on the thing for about three hours when we first put it up, then started climbing the crib to try and get it! We had to lock her out of the room but that just caused her to sit outside the door crying and scratching at the door. To get her to stop we had to put some balloons in front of the nursery door to scare her away (because balloons are really scary!). I just hope that the baby loves the mobile as much as the cat! 

That’s about all for now… There are two weeks until my due date, so I’m taking bets on what day our little guy will arrive – let me know what you think in the comments!

This week according to What to Expect:

Your Baby in Week 38 of Pregnancy

Hey, your little one isn’t so little anymore, weighing close to seven pounds and measuring 20 inches long. Fetal development is nearly complete as your baby tends to a few last-minute details like shedding the skin-protecting vernix and lanugo. He’s also producing more surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs in his lungs from sticking to one another once he starts to breathe. Most of the changes this week are small but important: He’s continuing to add fat (so he can take advantage of all those photo ops by sporting a round, cute baby look!) and fine-tuning his brain and nervous system (so he can deal with all the stimulation that awaits him once he makes his entrance into the world).

Week 38 Pregnancy Tip: Stocking Your Freezer

Have visions of yourself, newly delivered domestic goddess, whipping up gourmet meals in those postpartum weeks? Dream on. Cooking will be the last thing on your mind or your to-do list during those first few weeks (make that months) after delivery. Trust me, fitting in a three-minute shower will trump it for sure, as will using the bathroom when the urge strikes. To avoid serving Cheerios for dinner on a nightly basis (realistically, there will be nights when you will), plan ahead. Do some cooking and stock your freezer now with individually packaged, simple heat-and-serve options that you (or he!) can get on the table in a flash. Label carefully, so you won’t be left with UFOs (unidentified frozen objects). Good candidates for the freezer include hearty soups, stews, and casseroles, as well as mini–meat loaves. Have the baking itch? Satisfy it, and stash away several trays of bran muffins (don’t ask, you’ll need them). Another plan-ahead tip? If you don’t already have your favorite takeouts on speed dial, now’s a good time to enter them.

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.

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.