Week 39: The Arrival

As I write this, I’m sitting next to my napping son. Yep, that means he’s finally here. And this is how labor and delivery went (head’s up, content is a bit more graphic than usual):

At my doctor’s appointment last week, he said I was 1.5 cm dilated. I was feeling frustrated, especially since the swelling in my feet was getting worse. He suggested that I continue to mix elevating my feet and taking walks. Since I had a week and a day left, I scheduled my facial and later walked on a treadmill at the gym with my husband after he got home from work.

I didn’t make it to my facial appointment the next day. That walk worked a little too well. I had the speed pretty slow but periodically I’d feel a strong contraction. I was still able to walk for 30 minutes but felt exhausted afterward. Around 3 am, I woke up thinking I had to use the bathroom but literally as my feet touched the ground, I felt a pop and a rush of fluid. I ran to the bathroom and the fluid kept coming.

My water broke. I yelled for my husband and asked him to call the on-call doctor. She said since strong contractions hadn’t started yet she wanted me to wait until 6 am to go in. My husband then called my parents and let them know to be on standby. They live across the state and I didn’t want them driving all the way here if I’d just be sent home. However, when my husband ended that call, my contractions started. They were coming fast, about 5 minutes apart, and within an hour I soaked through 5 huge maxi pads. We went to the hospital and I sat on towels in the car to soak up my water since I kept leaking. After going through triage at the hospital it turned out that I was dilated 3 cm. I was admitted (the contractions were almost unbearable at this point) and my husband called my parents to tell them to head down, and called his parents to let them know that active labor started.

The wait in labor and delivery was agonizing. I munched on ice chips to stay hydrated and watched random stuff on TV while waiting to further dilate. The nurses came in about once every 30 minutes to check my vitals and to have me lay on my side with a peanut ball between my knees. A peanut ball looks like an exercise ball squished in the middle and it was supposed to help open my hips in preparation for delivery. Eventually my contractions got worse and you could see them on the monitor right before they happened. I got an epidural and could push the button to supply the medication once every 20 minutes (!). I fell asleep a few times and my parents made it before the real fun started. After almost 14 hours of laboring, it was finally time. The doctor arrived and told me to take a deep breath, hold it, then push. I always thought labor was like on TV or in the movies, when you’re doing the Lamaze-type breathing but pushing my son out was like taking the biggest poop of my life. A nurse wheeled over a mirror so I could see my son’s head while I pushed. It was weird, especially since I haven’t seen my own vagina in about 6 months.

Anyway, it felt like it took forever for his head to come out but once it did the rest of him popped out within 30 minutes. Giving birth was an out of body experience and even now there are some parts that were a blur. My son’s umbilical cord was wrapped around his neck (this actually common) so the doctor had to cut the cord immediately instead of waiting until the cord stopped pulsing. While our son was getting checked at the warming table, the doctor stitched me up since I tore in 3 places and bled a lot. I didn’t feel the tears but definitely felt the stitches being put in. It took long enough to get sewn up that the baby did skin to skin with my husband first. Once everyone was cleaned up, my parents and later mother-in-law visited, then the baby and I were wheeled up to the maternity ward where we spent the next 2 days. I slept as much as I could but it was tough because the nurses came in about once every 3-4 hours to take vitals for my son and I or to go over some kind of paperwork. What’s nice about the hospital is that they had the office of vital statistics located within it so we got his birth certificate issued right then. The food was great too.

Using the bathroom was a hassle and a half because of the stitches. There was a whole routine I had to go through to help minimize pain while keeping everything clean, including using a numbing spray and a squirt bottle instead of toilet paper. They also provided this urine-catching pitcher to the toilet I guess to see how much I was urinating postpartum. One of the nurses fussed at me for peeing almost 2 cups of urine but I told her that I was so wiped that I honestly had a hard time telling when I had to go. My parents visited again the day after I gave birth and when I asked my dad and my husband to pose while holding my son, he started crying, which got me crying too. I’m not a cryer and neither is my dad, but he said he was overcome by seeing my son look up at my husband. It was definitely an unforgettable moment.

My biggest challenge so far was trying to breastfeed. My son wouldn’t latch properly, which made it painful. I know that breast is best but it felt like the nurses at the hospital weren’t understanding how much it hurt to breastfeed, no matter what I tried. They said to stimulate my nipples, which helped me produce 2-4 drops of colostrum (kind of like pre-milk, since milk doesn’t come in for 3-7 days after giving birth), then showed me how to shove my nipple into my son’s mouth when he was rooting (trying to latch). He’d just bite instead of suck so he’d receive formula to make sure he ate. Another nurse had me use a breast pump to stimulate my nipples a different way, but even on the lowest setting it hurt. The next morning, a lactation consultant came in and it still felt like I wasn’t being heard. Most of the nurses and the consultant were nice but I don’t know what part of “my nipples hurt so much that even a bra is uncomfortable” is unclear. I tried to pump using the pump I have at home and it still hurt a lot. I’ll give it a few days but my son’s pediatrician was unconcerned. She also was a lot more empathetic about the latch problems.

We saw the pediatrician the day after I discharged from the hospital and we were a few minutes late because the night before was a disaster. We all had difficulty adjusting to the baby being home so he cried. A lot. And wouldn’t go to sleep. We were trying to go by his schedule but quickly learned that we needed to set the schedule. It was also hard to gauge when he had soiled diapers until he was already screaming and he hates getting his diaper changed. All told, my husband and I got maybe 2 hours of sleep the first night. My mom called the next morning and when I told her what happened, she came back down to help out. She bought groceries and other random things we didn’t think to get (like cold-weather onesies since he hates being swaddled) then also helped with feeding and cleaning up. She and my dad will be back later this week to give my husband and I a break. I also told her that putting our son on a schedule was probably the best decision we made besides giving him a pacifier during changing times. We’re all sleeping better and are more attentive to his hunger and soiled diaper cues. Feeding him has been interesting because his appetite has shot up since birth. Before, he’d be content with 10-15 milliliters of formula but as of today we’re at 50-60 per feeding.

Overall, we’re doing well and continuing to adjust to our new family of 3.

 

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Week 38: Waiting Game

I usually write about what’s been going on during the week prior, but I could go to the hospital pretty much at any time now. I’m debating whether to continue this blog after the baby arrives but in the mean time I’ll write as often as I can.

My last day at work before leave was last Thursday. Being away from (some of) my coworkers will suck but it’s a relief to know that I’m at the end with this job. My plan is still to return in 3 months then put in my notice. I don’t anticipate being out of work for more than a month after quitting since I don’t do well with staying home for long periods. Plus I want our son to start daycare sooner than later so he can be around peers (and I can catch a bit of a break). My parents will help us as needed financially with the transition and my mom said she’d come down and watch the baby for a week then my husband’s aunt would watch him the week after. My husband’s parents could potentially help too, if they’re not off traveling somewhere. Friday was hard because after my husband left for work I had to figure out what I could do to stay busy without overdoing it. It didn’t quite work. I got a lot done around the house but got so tired that I took a 2 hour nap. I only woke up because my brother called to let me know that one of our aunts died unexpectedly. She and I weren’t super close, but she was looking forward to meeting my son and had been part of the family for almost 50 years. She and my mom were close, especially after my grandparents died. The crazy part is that my aunt’s death didn’t register with me and I have no idea why. I saw her frequently, especially when I was younger, but I basically felt nothing while my brother was upset and my mom was devastated. Maybe it’s due to being firmly in baby prep mode, but who knows. Even now it hasn’t sunk in. I feel bad for my parents though. The funeral is this weekend but I may give birth before then. I’ve been in touch with my family though almost daily and they’re getting through it.

My next doctor’s appointment is tomorrow. Depending on how dilated I am, I’m going to schedule a man-pedi and a facial. My mom (did I mention how generous she is?) said she’d pay for it. I thought about getting a prenatal massage too but knowing my luck my water would break in the middle of it. If I’m 3 cm dilated tomorrow then I’ll have to postpone the spa day. Apparently I’ve been having contractions on and off all weekend and didn’t realize it. I thought it was just back pain until I read that contractions can present as lower back pain. My mom asked me how spread out my contractions were but I had no answer, given I was just taking a Tylenol or using my maternity belt when my back hurt. My feet have been swelling pretty bad though and I’m really glad I’m not at work since I walked so much. At home I’ve been trying to keep my feet elevated for about 15 minutes once an hour. I may get Epsom salt and soak my feet to see if that would help.

My mobility has started becoming more limited too. Because of the size of my belly I can’t lift my legs too high and my husband’s been having to help me with showering since we have a garden tub and I can’t reach past my knees. He mostly helps with getting me in and out of the shower and washing my back and legs, in addition to applying lotion. My skin has become incredibly dry so I’m wondering if pregnancy has been triggering my eczema. I don’t usually have an issue until well into winter. Anyway, it made me think about about needing that kind of assistance in old age, which is good motivation to stay fit and healthy as much as I can. My hands have started swelling too but I’m still able to take off my stand-in wedding ring with some ease. I think my milk ducts are starting to form because my nipples are very sore. I froze a pair of nipple covers (which stop milk leakage) and those have been helpful. Soon I’ll need to make pad-cicles, which are maxi pads with aloe and witch hazel that are frozen, which help relieve pain if I deliver vaginally.

Although I have about a week left, people have started coming out of the woodwork offering unsolicited advice. This drives me nuts primarily because if I wanted advice I’d ask for it and it assumes I don’t know things. I bring this up because an acquaintance messaged me out of the blue today offering advice about how to reduce anxiety around labor and delivery and things I should buy for myself. I let her know that I have no anxiety since this kid will come when he comes, and beyond the basic requests of keeping his umbilical cord attached until it stops throbbing and giving me an epidural as soon as it’s possible, the birth process is out of my hands. I’ll rely both on my instinct and the medical staff. Then she encouraged my husband and I to work together/ tag team taking care of the baby and I had to shut that shit down real quick. I let her know that my husband and I have been a team since we started dating seriously years ago plus we both have our families, minus my parents and siblings, living less than 2 hours away from us. The messages stopped after that. I’m not worried about coming off as curt but I’ve observed that the same people offering unsolicited parenting advice are often the same ones posting photos on social media of their babies every time they blink. Just saying.

 

Week 37: Countdown is On

You guys, the baby has officially moved down! I went to the doctor on Monday but after waiting an hour (!) I still wasn’t seen. So I rescheduled for the next day and go figure I was in and out in less than 45 minutes. The baby’s head is “very low,” which helps explain why I have to pee about every 10-15 minutes now and why the discomfort from sitting is almost to the point that I may buy a donut pillow to sit on. My weight, labs, and vitals are still fine. The doctor measured my cervix (which was incredibly painful given how swollen I am) and she said that I’m dilated 1 centimeter. I don’t know how effaced I am because once she said I was dilated I didn’t hear anything else. I think that once I’m 4-5 centimeters it’s time to go to the hospital. At this point, no telling how soon our son will be here. I told my dad that the doctor said the baby would be here soon and he flipped the hell out. He’s very excitable, even though this isn’t his first (or even fourth) grandchild. He wants to visit this weekend and wants to take me to the hospital instead of my husband when labor starts. Between that and his daily text messages now (we’d talk around once a week before) he’s driving me nuts. My mom is also very excited but more sensible. I told her to give my dad some sort of project (he’s retired) so he’ll quit texting so much and it’ll give him something else to do. Speaking of my mom, she talked about driving down this weekend for some girl time and to help me clean, but she said if her work schedule is packed then she’ll pay to get our place cleaned.

Last weekend, I got my last pre-baby haircut then we stopped by my in-laws since their house is down the street from my hairdresser. I was just going to drop off a thank you note but that turned into a 2 hour visit that included breakfast. My father-in-law is an amazing cook and the weather was perfect for sitting out on their porch. It was also nice to spend some time chatting with my father-in-law on the porch while my husband and his mom were inside. During our visit, my mother-in-law was making an appetizer for a friend’s son’s wedding. We got to try some and it was really good, so my mother-in-law gave us the recipe, along with all the extra ingredients. It was generous of them to send us home with food instead of random-ass boxes of my husband’s stuff from childhood or the latest thing she found at a discount store. We were going to make other stops but I was exhausted so we just stopped at the grocery store to get stuff for a dinner party we were hosting later that night. We also stopped by a Christmas-themed store to get an ornament for our son. We had a great time hosting our friends and they volunteered to babysit once our son has all of his initial shots. Our friends are so sweet that they asked us about which vaccines to get before visiting our son.

Given how close my due date is now, my husband and I went ahead and decorated for Christmas. I was so pissed about my doctor’s appointment from Monday that I channeled that energy into decorating. It was very effective. I blasted Christmas music while hanging things and unpacking other Christmas decorations. My husband is Catholic so we have an Advent calendar but it’s full of Christmas puns instead of candy. I added a stocking with our son’s name and my husband came home from work right before I started handing ornaments. Can’t wait for our son to help us decorate!

Week 36: Full Circle

The day I turned 36 weeks, I began having terrible back pain. I tried toughing it out but soon after I felt nauseous and immediately vomited. I felt better and figured it must have been something up with the burrito I had for dinner. I ate again later and was fine. The next day, I was at work and my back pain was so bad I asked the nurse for a heat pack. It was very helpful but once again, a short time later I was nauseous and had to run to the bathroom to vomit. I called my doctor’s office upon the advice of one of my friends who is also a new mom because she thought I could be going into pre-term labor. I talked to a nurse at my doctor’s office and she didn’t seem terribly concerned, although confused, when I told her that once I vomited I felt fine and the back pain went away. She said that since my son is so big my stomach has way less room, so eating too much is triggering my back pain and subsequent nausea. I told the nurse at work and she hadn’t heard of that before but was glad I didn’t have to go to the doctor. The nurse advised that I eat smaller meals more frequently and to stay hydrated. I had a few snacks at work and didn’t have my actual lunch, but stopped at a nearby sandwich place on the way home. I ate the sandwich, even though it was pretty big, and had my side just over an hour later.

I was right that it was too big. I got sick again so I need to figure out how to better gauge my appetite. It feels like I just had gastric bypass surgery and like being back in my first trimester, when I had bad morning sickness for a few weeks.

I was most worried about getting sick at my cousin’s wedding, which was the next day. I snacked/ate small meals throughout the day, including at the wedding, which worked out fine. DH and I had a nice time at the wedding and it was great to be around my family. As expected, they fussed over my baby bump. My brother got to feel my son move, which was a cool moment for both of us. Dancing was totally out of the question beyond moving my arms around because the baby is just too heavy now. My ankles were fairly swollen by the end but sleeping with my feet elevated was effective. After saying goodbye to family the next day, DH and I went back into town but stopped at my friend’s house, the one who had her daughter in June, on the way back. It’s crazy how fast babies grow. I held their daughter for a bit and she got frustrated that she couldn’t lay down on my stomach since my bump is huge. She tapped my abdomen and my son moved around. I hope they get along well once they’re able to play together. As a side note, watching babies poop is HILARIOUS. Her dad, with whom I work, was holding her while I talked to my friend and out of nowhere you heard a loud grunt. It threw me off and I cracked up, which caused their daughter to smile. Then she turned red and grunted loudly again. Turns out she had a blow out, which was unfortunate for her parents. What was meant to be a quick stop turned into an hour long visit. It was great to see all of them though.

Prior to the wedding, DH and I toured more daycares and interviewed our son’s pediatrician. Daycare #3 (the first one we toured that day) was pretty grungy and I didn’t like that the director seemed surprised that we were there, even though we scheduled the tour 2 weeks prior. The tour was brief and the infant room was hot. Plus the classroom doors faced the outdoors, which concerned me given the climate we live in. Any kind of bugs or other critters could run inside the room and I wondered how often the staff would take care of the bugs before the babies tried to play or even eat them. Given that my husband and I are both curious people, we could see our son playing with bugs. Daycare #4 is our winner. It’s in a great neighborhood, affordable, and has a structured curriculum, even for babies. They have openings starting early next year so we’ll go ahead and put down a deposit to hold a spot for our son.

My last doctor’s visit was fine. The doctor checked the baby’s heart beat and measured him and all is well. He looked at the growth scan results again and said the baby is actually on the lower end of normal, which is still great news. He may be closer to 7 pounds instead of 8. Either way, we just want a healthy kid.

As for my overall health, I’ve been slowing down more. When were on the way back home from our friend’s house, I immediately fell asleep in the car (about a 30 minute car ride) then napped for another 3 hours at home. My feet and ankles are still swelling on and off but the worst issue is the aforementioned back pain. I overnighted a maternity belt and that sucker is a lifesaver. It helps support my bump, so it eased the pressure on my lower back. Since wearing it, I haven’t had to take any acetaminophen. I typically wear it for the bulk of the day and take it off at night.

Mentally/emotionally, I’m a lot less tolerant of things. Exhibit A: At the hotel we were staying at for the wedding, it was my parents, my husband, and my brother’s fiance in the elevator. My brother couldn’t decide whether he wanted to take the stairs or the elevator so I yelled “I HAVE TO PEE, LET’S GO!” Unbeknownst to me, there was a stranger right outside the elevator who heard me. Mom laughed but appeared a little embarrassed. I didn’t give a shit. I really had to go and being 9 months pregnant I have less patience for my brother’s shenanigans. Exhibit B: I’ve noticed I’ve been less patient as well at work but when you’re in a lot of discomfort I feel like I should get a pass. Especially since I have less than 2 weeks left before I go on leave.

How am I 9 months pregnant already?!

 

Week 35: Shopping Spree

Sooooo we may have bought a shit ton of stuff for the baby. To be fair, we wanted to get the completion discounts/gifts from our registries and I called my mom to get reassurance about what we should buy/didn’t need. Most of the items were hygiene related, such as a baby toothbrush so we can keep his gums clean and a first aid kit for the diaper bag. I also bought stuff for me, including more nursing bras and nursing tops. The diaper bag and my hospital bag are now finished!

Prior to buying stuff for myself, Dear Husband and I wanted to go on one last adventure before our son arrives. We woke up early to take advantage of the cooler weather. The gardens we were going to were just over an hour outside of town but when we were about 45 minutes into our trip, we hit some fog. I started getting anxious but we could still see okay.

It got worse. To the point we couldn’t see a thing, not even the sun.

I’ve been sitting in the backseat of the car for the last 2 months because it’s safer, but I damn near hyperventilated when my husband was driving through the fog. I was so anxious that Braxton Hicks contractions started up so I asked him to pull over. I was able to do some breathing exercises, which calmed me down and stopped the contractions. Around 20 minutes later, we got back on the road because I was ready to get out of the car. The fog had somewhat lifted and ironically we drove about 50 more yards before it was clear again. We hit a bit more fog but finally made it to our destination. It ended up taking 2 hours to get there.

The gardens were nice though. I packed water and snacks in case I got hot/hungry and they definitely came in handy. I made sure to take breaks and fortunately there were bathrooms were scattered around the park. We saw most of the gardens before I got exhausted and my husband did a good job checking in with me. I’m glad we had a good time despite the rough start and we can’t wait to take the baby back there.

I had my last doctor’s visit a few days ago. Blood pressure is still perfect (nurse’s words, not mine) and I’ve gained about 30 pounds. When the doctor measured my abdomen, she said the baby was measuring a week ahead. She wasn’t worried, but wanted to make sure I didn’t have too much fluid so she suggested I get a growth scan done. The doctor told me to get it done at my next visit in a week (the weekly visits have started) but I asked if I could get it done that same day. Luckily I was able to be seen and it was wild to see how big my son has gotten, considering the last ultrasound was when I was 20 or 22 weeks. He’s normal height-wise but may be a bit chubby like his dad and his aunt when they were born. My younger brother and I were on the smaller side. Anyway, the tech did a 3D ultrasound, which I did not expect. It’s amazing how much my son looked like me. He has my nose and profile and his father’s forehead. He also has a lot of hair like his mother did. Although he was sleeping during the ultrasound, the baby is still super active. We sent the ultrasound photo to family and close friends, and I texted my dad to let him know that DH and I will rarely post photos of our son on social media. I made sure to make that crystal clear because I sent the photo to my sister a few hours after my parents and she said our dad had already shared it. She joked around about getting ready for our dad to post photos of my son all over social media like he does with her kids and my older brother’s kid, but that will not happen on our watch. I have friends who basically post photos of their children every time the kids flinch, which is their perogrative. However, DH and I take the perspective that we want to protect our son’s privacy, especially since he can’t consent to his photos being posted. We still want to share photos of our son with family and close friends so we may use the app Tiny Beans. Anyone else use it?

In other news, work has been interesting. The director of operations asked via email to speak to me and after avoiding her like the plague I finally met with with her. My original plan was to return to work after my leave ended on an as-needed basis, but she offered for me to come back part time. I asked her twice if she was aware that I planned to put in my notice when I returned and she said yes. She added that training my replacement would take a while, so it was fine. I find it suspicious that she isn’t looking for my replacement now given that she knows I’m leaving. I almost wonder if she thinks that offering me the part time position will be an incentive for me to stay. That’s an insult to my intelligence and I still plan to leave. As far as what I’ll do after I quit, that’s up in the air. I’ve got some time to sort it out.

Week 34: Swoll

It feels like the countdown is really on now. My hospital bag and our son’s diaper bag are almost done and the last big thing I need to do is pre-register at the hospital. Absolutely wild that I’m giving birth next month.

Anyway, last weekend we attended the wedding of 2 friends. Getting dressed was a battle because my bras are really not fitting now, even with the extenders. My cup size remains unchanged for now but I’ve gone up 2 band sizes. I bought 2 bras in the bigger size over the summer and they didn’t quite fit until last week. Apparently my uterus is now stretching up into my rib cage.

Prior to the wedding, I wanted to find a dress to wear. We spent about 2 hours shopping but I got pretty exhausted quickly. After all of that, I wound up wearing my originally planned dress. The wedding was outdoors so I brought a bottle of water to stay hydrated, but of course I left it in the car. Which was about 4 blocks from the ceremony site. Luckily there was a water fountain at the venue and the ceremony was short. I rehydrated at a nearby bar when DH and other friends and I wanted to kill some time before the reception started. I could manage just one dance at the reception and when we got home later that night, my ankles were huge. Almost the size of oranges. When I woke up the next morning, my feet ached and I asked DH if we could get groceries delivered. Normally we go together to get groceries because I absolutely hate grocery shopping and my husband doesn’t always get the right things (unless I make a very specific list). We made the grocery list together and I got to rest up. My husband has always been attentive but it’s been amazing how much he has stepped up since I’ve become pregnant.

My birthday was this week and I honestly forgot about it until the night before. It was very low-key this year and my first dry birthday since I could legally drink. It was a little weird. My husband and I went out to dinner and he surprised me with flowers. I didn’t want anything fussy anyway since I’m hoping to enjoy our last weeks as a duo. This weekend we’re planning on a day trip out of town to a huge garden so I can get some outdoor time. It’ll probably be our last “big” outing before baby gets here. Next weekend is a family wedding and after that I want to stay in town since I’ll be full term.

The baby is doing well and is moving around A LOT. He’s definitely getting more routine, like if it’s close to meal time he’ll let me know. He’s starting to let me sleep through the night, which I’m taking full advantage of since that won’t happen once he’s here. He should be around 5 pounds now and 18 inches, but regardless he’s gotten so big I can’t yawn unless he’s shifted down. My acid reflux is bad again and I have to eat smaller meals to help manage that and because he’s squishing my stomach.

I’m honestly looking forward to getting my body back nearly as much as to our son arriving.

Week 33: The Last Shower

I had my last baby shower last weekend. It was my side of the family’s turn and it was great seeing my parents and other relatives. My brother couldn’t make it but I didn’t think he would since he returned recently from an overseas trip. We got more gifts, like a humidifier, and more clothes for the kiddo. I won’t be surprised if I counted all his clothing and he and I had the same amount. It was hard leaving my mom though since I know she’d be over weekly helping out with things. I hope my parents end up retiring near us.

Anyway, my cousin who gave birth last month was at the shower with her son. She said she had an uneventful labor. She said she didn’t even feel contractions, just a lot of pressure in her lower abdomen. My aunt, her mom, said my cousin’s son came out with one big push. It’s her second child, which I wonder made a difference, but it was reassuring that things went well. She gave me other tips, like feeding the baby every 2 hours lest he wakes up screaming. I asked her if she had bad heartburn since her son has a head full of hair and she said she did. That’s one of the few pregnancy-symptom related old wives tales that’s more true than not. If it’s true for me, I’m giving birth to Chewbacca.

Following the shower, we caved and bought a bassinet. We thought about just using the Pack and Play but I like that the bassinet we bought can swing out, so I can get out of bed when necessary without disturbing the baby too much and without having to crawl across the bed. There’s just enough room between the wall and my side of the bed to place the bassinet. We also bought fabric storage cubes to help organize the baby’s closet. It made a world of difference since it’s not longer a pile of sheets, blankets, and other random baby items on the shelves.

Something that fell off my radar was buying items for me. I was talking to a coworker earlier this week who is due 2 weeks after me and she mentioned buying nursing tops and nursing bras. I have I think 3 wireless nursing bras and no tops, so I have to go shopping again this weekend. I’m starting to feel though that we’re as prepared as we can get because I don’t want to wind up being overprepared. We have all the basics at this point and I want to wait until the baby arrives to see what he likes/doesn’t like in terms of toys, being swaddled, etc.

I had a doctor’s visit a few days ago and everything is still looking good. In weeks I’ll have my last 2-week visit and then I’ll start weekly visits. My hospital bag is about half packed so very soon it’ll just be a waiting game.

In other news, I started my FMLA and short term disability paperwork yesterday. Weirdly enough, the director I can’t stand asked to chat with me (during my lunch, of course). Essentially she wanted to know right then if I was going to stay or quit after maternity leave and after getting backed into a corner I told her that I planned to leave. I hate how confrontational she is and everything is on her own terms. I won’t be surprised if people came to work with pitchforks one day and marched to her office. I’m second-guessing taking a full month off after I quit my current job because I have a hard time staying home. My husband agreed with me so it may be more like 2-3 weeks then return to work while our son goes to daycare. We have another daycare tour in 2 weeks so fingers crossed it’ll be a good fit. As much as we loved the first place we toured last week, it was in an expensive area far from a lot of things we enjoy. I’m hoping we can find something comparable that’s closer.

Week 32: On the Move

This boy has been all over the place. Since I haven’t had a recent ultrasound, my app estimates that he’s around 17 inches and close to 4 pounds. It’s clear he’s running out of room since his external movements are now visible. It’s been entertaining for my coworkers and DH. He’s more active around when I eat. I still can’t believe how soon he’ll be here.

Swelling in my ankles remain an issue but I try to stay hydrated and put my feet up whenever I can. It’s still hot as hell weather-wise so I’m also trying to limit my time outside. Last weekend was tough though. DH and I went to a symphony and to prevent having to pee every 5 minutes I didn’t drink anything an hour prior to the show starting. Boy I got dehydrated fast. During the 2 intermissions I got some water from a fountain but it barely helped. Lesson learned. On the flipside though, by being so visibly pregnant (and rubbing my belly) I got to skip to the front of the bathroom line, which was about 15 women deep during the second, longer intermission. Pregnancy does have its perks sometimes.

The next morning, I went with DH to his 5k race. I brought water with me to stay hydrated and did pretty well. The race was near his parents’ house so they let us get cleaned up before we all went to breakfast. The restaurant they chose was a quarter mile from their house and they wanted to walk. In the damn heat.

I knew better but just went with it. The heat was out of control but breakfast was good. I somewhat rehydrated during breakfast and shortly after we returned to my in-laws’ house I told DH we needed to leave. Heat makes me tired even before getting pregnant but I was wiped and my ankles were the size of softballs. On our way out of town we stopped to see a friend who’s a bartender at one of our favorite breweries then headed home. The drive from the brewery to our place was around 30 minutes and I was knocked out less than 10 minutes after getting in the car. Once we got home I slept for close to 4 hours. My ankles were down to a more reasonable size and generally I felt better.

Weirdly enough I haven’t had any swelling in my hands outside of what I experienced Friday and Saturday. I still bought a ring to substitute my wedding band and engagement ring in case I suddenly swell up. Much easier to replace a $20 ring than jewelry that cost significantly more. I found a claddagh ring on Etsy that has my son’s birthstone on it. This kind of comes full circle because one of the first pieces of jewelry DH bought for me was a claddagh ring with my birthstone.

In other news, besides the swelling ankles, I’ve been tired but otherwise well. Weight gain has been holding steady at around 27 pounds and from what I read I shouldn’t get much bigger. People at work are now taking guesses as to the baby’s due date, weight, and height. I’m curious to see if anyone will be right.

Week 31: Time to Fight

That’s how I felt toward the end of last week. I received a voicemail from my manager telling me to write my resignation letter so they could post my job. I immediately called him back (approximately a minute later from when he called, according to my phone’s call log) and I asked when we could meet to talk about this first. He said he had to run to a training and would be out most of next week, and didn’t offer a better time. I was livid. I went to the bathroom to compose myself since I was reeling from that call. We had talked weeks ago about me quitting after I finished my leave but I started reconsidering after I spoke with a friend who said her company would make people pay back their short term disability if they quit before returning to work. I admittedly stewed for a good part of the day but I was able to reset and get on with my day. It’s really disappointing that I have worked at my company for almost 4 years, which sadly makes me 1 of 5 employees who have been there for more than 2 years. Given everything I’ve done at the company it’s disappointing to feel so dispensable.

Anyway, what flipped my mood was going to our childbirth education class the next day as well as our next baby shower. The class was informational but different than expected. I guess I was thinking it would be more old-school and show videos of actual births and practice breathing techniques. Instead, it was more about what the labor and delivery process may be like and things to keep an eye out for. All labor and delivery nurses are certified lactation consultants and if I have issues with breastfeeding after I deliver, a nurse can come out for free to help. I also have the choice of how long to keep the baby’s umbilical cord attached, which made me question whether we should get a doula after all. I’m pretty assertive and even though my county offers free doulas through a grant, we may pass. We’ll make a final decision within the next week.

The baby shower was fun and it’s so heartwarming to see how many people already care about our son. We got some of the remaining big items, like a baby carrier so we can do baby wearing, diapers, toys, and other helpful items. I talked to my mom later that night and my side of the family will still get together for a shower but I’ll probably just get checks. I told her that at this point it may be easier for us to use that money for last-minute items since his nursery is complete.

I had my last doctor visit a few days ago and was disappointed that they didn’t do an ultrasound, until my doctor said they are done this late in pregnancy if there’s a problem. So I’m actually fine without it. We’re close enough to meeting the baby anyway. I got my pertussis and flu vaccines and my labs came back fine except my iron was low. My prenatal vitamin provides 30 mg of vitamin but the nurse said I need 65 mg. I’m glad everything else was fine though, since I’d been eating garbage the 2 days prior.

Week 30: Heart’s On Fire

I have never experienced such awful heartburn in my life. Last week we had pizza for dinner and about an hour later I felt it coming back up. I figured it would pass buy boy was I wrong. A few hours after going to sleep, I woke up and it felt like my throat was on fire. I vomited and hoped that I would finally get some relief, but the burn continued. I took Zantac (after referencing a list of safe antacids from my doctor) and waited about an hour before I tried laying down again. I felt some relief then went back to sleep, but was up again 30 minutes later. Burn was still there, but not quite as severe. I gathered up a bunch of pillows and essentially had to sleep sitting up. It was miserable and since then I’ve started taking Zantac twice a day. It’s helped a lot so fingers crossed that with some dietary adjustments I won’t have to deal with such severe reflux again.

The baby is moving around a lot and he’s definitely starting to run out of room. I’ve been feeling him more externally so we’re waiting for him to do the Alien thing when we can see him visually pushing out. On a related note, Braxton-Hicks contractions have started up and I think I accidentally triggered them myself. One of our friends was over to watch football and after getting very excited about a game’s outcome I started feeling cramps. They went away a short time later but I read that a burst of activity (like me jumping around) can trigger them. I had more yesterday and when I talked to my mom she suggested I let the doctor know that I’ve been having contractions. She seemed more worried than I was but after tracking the duration and frequency of the contractions I’m 90% sure it’s not preterm labor. They’ve been lasting for less than a minute and are irregular. For peace of mind (and so I don’t get fussed at again) I’ll leave a message for a nurse at my doctor’s office. I can’t believe how close I’m getting to delivery.