Friday, June 12, 2009

35 Week Update

I wrote a lot this week, sorry! I has been 5 weeks since the last full update, and I ended up having lots of tidbits to share!

Hello dear friends and family! My due date is five weeks away, and I cannot believe I am in the home stretch! He will be considered technically full term in one week, although they really want you to cross the 37 week mark (two weeks from now) before delivering. I am now going to the doctor every week, and had my 35 week checkup today. Things are looking great. The last two weeks, he has measured dead on. I am 35 centimeters from the base of my uterus to the top. Everything looks very healthy. The doctor did my strep B test today which was kind of unpleasant, but necessary. This detects a kind of bacteria that can be bad for the baby, but is perfectly safe for a grown woman. If I have it, they would put me on antibiotics when I deliver. Odds are that I won’t have it, so I am not worrying too much about it. She felt on my tummy to check his position (still head down…yes!) and she thought he felt a little low. (Gory detail warning – skip to next paragraph if you don’t want to know) She did a quick internal exam and said that she could feel the top of his head. I am not dilating yet, but my cervix is defiantly softening. I am also a -3, which is a measurement of how low he is sitting in my pelvis. So bizarre to have a measurement on that! For those who don’t know, they have a system of measuring the position of the baby in your pelvis. A “+2” would be that he is fully down in there and ready to come out. Being a “-3” means he still has a ways to go, but has started moving down. Crazy!!

Before our doctor’s appointment, we pre-registered at the hospital finally. That was an interesting experience. We have learned so much in our classes, and again, it really paid off. First thing they did was put release forms under our noses and asked us to sign them. Rather than just pick up the pen and start signing away, we read the whole thing, crossed out and initialed parts we weren’t comfortable with and asked questions. For example, there was one line in there about how medical students and residents have the right to treat me rather than my doctor. Crossed that out! (No offense to the med students out there!) I think it caught the nurse off guard a bit. It was interesting talking through our preference for natural childbirth with the nurse. She was surprised that we don’t want them to ask me about pain or offer me drugs and such. I promised that if I felt I needed it I would ask for it. We had a birth plan typed up and ready to go, and I was a little surprised that they really didn’t care to read it. She stuck it in our file at least. We also applied for his birth certificate. That gave me goosebumps! It was so crazy to actually write his full name out. I also, of course, listed both Chris’s and my information on there, and then it asked for our relationship to the baby and to actually write “mother” and “father” was bizarre! We are somebody’s parents!

I am a little nervous over what lies ahead of me with labor and delivery, but I seriously can’t think of anything more I could possibly do to prepare for it. Chris and I will finish our 12 week long Bradley Method classes next week. At this point, we have learned just about everything they have to teach, and they are reviewing it with us like crazy to make sure we remember everything. Chris has earned his official Bradley Coach’s Card, so ask him to show it to you next time you see him! It was an absolutely fabulous class, and helped me to face a lot of fears about delivery. It is good to feel as educated as possible about what is going on with the baby and with my body. It was worth every penny, every mound of homework they assigned, and every silly stretch or exercise regimen (not to mention the diet) they put me on. They have kept me healthy and low risk, and have taught me A LOT about how I can go through this the least painful and dramatic way.

Also, looking ahead to the labor/delivery side of this, we have decided to hire a doula to help us. You may remember from earlier posts that I had some reservations about the hospital where I will be delivering. Some of their policies were not very natural childbirth friendly and it made me wonder just how big of jerks we would have to be, pushing for what we want at a critical moment. Well, our Bradley instructor suggested we consider hiring a doula. For those who are unfamiliar, a doula is a labor assistant that we pay for that is independent from the doctor/hospital/insurance. They are ladies that have been around the block so to speak, helping other women (especially those choosing natural labor) through the whole process. They are very familiar with the hospitals in the area, and the loopholes in the system so that you get what you want. They are trained in all the different childbirth techniques, know about massage, relaxation, and the whole process involved with having a baby. She will come to our house during early labor and help take care of me (especially let us know when we need to go to the hospital), help us make decisions when the hospital staff recommends things, and help us remember everything we have learned in our Bradley classes (which can be easy to forget when things get dramatic!). When we met the doula we hired, we asked her about all the things that concerned us about delivering at the hospital. Instead of saying what everyone else has said so far (“tough…you will just have to deal with it”) she had a ton of great suggestions on how to work around their policies! I think it will make for a much easier, less stressful process for both Chris and I, and help us get the natural birth we want and have trained so hard for!

I know some of you have asked me about my PUPPPs and how things are going there. Well, I have felt great the last few weeks! My doctor wanted to try to step down my dosage on the Prednisone (the steroid I am taking to control it). We started off by decreasing the dosage by 10mg every few days. That was really hard. I would be itchy for a couple of days until I got used to the new dosage. I finally called my doctor when we had gotten it down to 20mg (I had started this whole thing at 40mg) and begged her not to decrease my dosage again. She suggested we try to decrease by 5mg increments instead. That was worked WAY better! I don’t even notice the difference. I am now down to 10mg a day and am feeling great! I have to be completely off of them by the time he comes, and I feel hopeful that I can do it. We have also had a really cool summer so far in Colorado which has been helpful too. When it is cool, I am significantly less itchy. Thanks for all of the good wishes and prayers on this!!

Another funny pregnancy thing I have noticed lately is that I have been MANIC about getting things done. Every minute of my spare time is plagued by a never ending to-do list. Like, I woke up one day and was just panicked by what we will eat after he comes! So, a few weeks of obsessive cooking began. I have now filled two freezers with food. I have also been doing mad amounts of laundry. I looked around his room one day and realized that there were tags on everything, and tons of other stuff was still in boxes, not unpacked and put together. I don’t want to be figuring all this out after he comes, so I have been making my way through all of that. Last weekend at a party, a friend asked me if I was “nesting” yet, and it hit me…YES!! That is what I am doing!! I will have an emotional meltdown if my current obsessive thought isn’t followed through right then and there! I seriously will drive myself completely ragged and crazy with all of my lists, which at this point, I need to be relaxing and taking it easy. Now that I know that that is what this is, I have been trying to relax and realize that most people just figure this stuff out as they go, and that that is just fine!

Last pregnant thing I will talk about is how tiring late 3rd trimester has gotten! I will own up to it and say that I have now put on 60 pounds since I got pregnant. According to the diet I am on for my Bradley class, that is just fine. If you follow what they tell you to eat, you can gain as much as you want, because they are quality calories that you consume and they will come off, especially if you breast feed (which I plan on doing). But man! Carrying around that much extra weight is hard! My feet are killing me, and walking has gotten to be some serious exercise! For my exercise regimen that I am on (again, Bradley) I have to walk for two intervals of 30 minutes a day. By the end of the 30 minutes, I am grumpy and tired! It used to not be so hard. Yoga has finally gotten hard too. My instructor will put us into some twisted up pose, and I am thinking to myself “seriously?! You want me to do what?!” It is kind of funny and interesting to be this pregnant and see what it does. He will be here soon enough, and I can get back on track towards my old self again, and I will miss this. It has been fun overall, being pregnant. Feeling him kick and move around and just watching him grow has been amazing. So much happens in such a short period of time. I am so glad that I didn’t miss out on this part of life. I know it will just get better and better as soon enough I will actually get to see him, not just feel him.

Since I can kind of go at any time here, I will try to keep posting, but I just don’t know. I will certainly do a big post after he comes, and then chronicle his life from there. I just don’t know if I will have another "pregnant" one. We will see! Think good thoughts for Chris and I! We will do our best to keep in touch!