39 Week Update – Dear Baby

oohh artsy

oohh artsy

Dear Mini Melbs,

I can’t wait to meet you. This is the week that we’ve both become quite uncomfortable with our current arrangement, and you know it too. Any time you’re feeling brave enough to join us out here, you are more than welcome. I promise you’ll love it.

In case you need more convincing, let’s recap some of our more uncomfortable symptoms this week, shall we?

  • You’re just too darn big. Even though your head is nestled nice and low into my pelvis, you have long, outstretched legs that you are enjoying healthy work-outs with inside of mama’s ribcage. Every time I sit down or heaven forbid lay down, you get antsy and start pushing against me. I love how strong you’re getting, but let’s save that leg pumping until you’re born, okay?
  • Mama’s retaining water, or has finally gained enough weight to take off her wedding ring. It only comes off now with soap and water, which is scary. I’m leaving it off from now on just to be safe.
  • Our sleep habits are changing, aren’t they? You’re awake more during the wee morning hours, and as such… so am I! We’ve been reading a lot of books around 4am and then falling asleep again which is nice, but I guess I should get used to this one, huh?
  • Mama is getting grouchy. Just ask your dad. Each day during a sports game, I threaten to go into labor just to ruin his day. (You’re welcome to come during any sports game you wish, by the way!)
  • That periodic heartburn is back. Again, this is a direct result of you being too big for my belly. If you could just curl up your legs some more, mama could probably eat a slice of pizza, or have a glass or orange juice in peace.
  • The potty breaks we are taking this week are bordering on ridiculous, I’m afraid. After pulling up my pants sometimes I literally stop and wonder if I need to pee again before leaving the bathroom. It’s a full-time job, kiddo.

What worries me, is that many experienced mamas out there have told me that you simply won’t come until I’m less comfortable. “You’re still not struggling enough” they say. Can you believe that? I don’t want to struggle, MM. Let’s just work out a deal where you come on or before your due date, and I plan to be the best mother you’ll ever know. Sound good?

GREAT! See you real soon,

Your Mama

38 Week Update

our new "labor ball"

our new “labor ball”

Blogging live from 11pm— WHAT?! Yes, I am up past my bedtime thanks to a late dinner with friends and now I’m too full to sleep. Per my last post, indulging in a fancy-pants dinner while pregnant is worth the splurge! That said, we went to a restaurant which requires reservations a month in advance and there is no way I could have predicted the size of my gullet back in August. I felt just fine during the meal but am paying for it now, wow!

What better time than now to give my weekly update! Slightly new questions, borrowed from other bloggers in later term.

38 weeks. THIRTY EIGHT WEEKS!

What’s new with MM?
According to my apps, he is the size of a pumpkin… how seasonally appropriate. And according to my OB, who gave him a nice pat down this afternoon, he is probably eight pounds!

Number of OB appointments left: 2 (one per week). I had my weekly check up this afternoon where all the vitals were checked and normal, pelvic exam given, and I was vaccinated once again for the flu and tdap— apparently the shots I got in February are already outdated. As for the oh-so-comfy pelvic exam: slow and steady progress. Still about 60% effaced but no dilation yet, despite my efforts! I’ve been walking a ton and I just got a workout ball to help ease baby’s head into place but nothing new and noteworthy to report since last week.

Nesting or resting? Yesterday I did some pyscho nesting. I got up with Melbs, made him breakfast and lunch and as soon as he left I got busy! I broke down all the boxes from our new baby furniture and gadgets, re-organized the entire basement/laundry room, did six loads of laundry including all the weird/random things on the basement floor! I eventually pooped out around 4, collapsing in back pain. So today I rested. I got a nice massage, enjoyed a leisurely dinner with friends, and rested in between. I am praying for a rainy day tomorrow to solidify my “do nothing” plans.

Ravenous or Nauseous? I eat every couple of hours, but small meals or snacks. Definitely not ravenous but a healthy appetite— feels almost back to normal, really. Thank god this baby has dropped!

Shopping or saving? Back to saving. I have spent too much on baby things. TOO, TOO MUCH!

Calm or cranky? Calm for the most part. Just anxious.

Baby names: Can’t believe I haven’t written about this one! For those wondering, we don’t have a set-name picked out for Mini Melbs. We have about 3 names that we both really like and a clear front-runner. But we really want to wait and meet our little guy before naming him. Depending on his energy, appearance, or heck— what he tells us we may flex from our top choice to whatever best suits him. What we do know is that the middle name will be familial.

Workouts:
Walking most days until I feel contractions (1-2 miles), arm workouts at home with dumbbells, and yoga 1x this week. I plan to go again tomorrow if I’m up for it.

Stretch marks?
Same as before. None on my belly, but a new matching set on my hips.

Symptoms: Contractions while walking, sporadic pelvic pressure that feels like menstrual cramps, lots of bladder pressure.

Sleep: Sleeping well for the most part — depending on my level of activity! If I was really active I tend to sleep through the witching hours of 3-4am. But a few nights this week I’ve just laid there irritated by not being able to fall back asleep after getting up to pee.

So there ya have it. We have “Two weeks left” ? My OB says to pretend like my due date is a week later than it actually is so that when it happens it will be a nice surprise, vs a tedious waiting game. UGH! I would so rather she say something like: “it could be any moment now! take a long walk, a hot bath, and have a glass of wine! it’s time!” ;)

What’s Worth the Splurge? My Maternity MUSTS

Tick. Tok. Tick. Tok. Baby waiting game continues and it’s surreal to think that soon I won’t be pregnant anymore. But that doesn’t mean I won’t be pregnant again. Starting on this journey earlier this year, my mind was flooded with questions. What do I need to do? What should I buy? What should I expect while expecting? And now I know— at least a few things, that I’ll do again next time. Here is a short list of my pregnancy MUSTS:

  • $$ Snoogle: hook-shaped body pillow. I bought this before I really needed it (around 15 weeks) but quickly became enamored by its comfort. You can use it to wrap your body in so many ways which is great because your needs will change as your body, err, expands?
  • $$ Maternity Jeans (over the belly)I put off buying these, thinking I could get away with a belly band to hold my unbuttoned pants up forever. Ha. But when I finally caved and bought a pair of over-the-belly type jeans from Target, I went back the next week and bought more. A lot of people don’t like the over-thebump style, but for me it was great because it smoothed out my waist (kinda like Spanx). Who wants to worry about muffin-tops bulging out the side of your already huge torso? Not me.
  • Gin Gins – ginger chews: During my first trimester I didn’t experience any vomiting, but I was nauseous a lot. A low-grade hangover that wouldn’t go away. Gin Gins were my saviour. I bought a bag to keep in my car, one for my desk, and one in my purse.
  • $$ Maternity yoga pants: Similar to the over the belly jeans, I bought multiple pair of these stretchy, belly hugging fitness pants from For Two Fitness. I lived (and am still living) in them! There is nothing more demoralizing than not fitting into your stretch pants any more. Having comfy leggings that don’t cut into your sides are a must. I wore them with regular tops and ballet flats too. Shh!

    Screen Shot 2014-09-23 at 9.22.04 AM

  • $$ Wrap dresses: No particular brand or style. But wrap dresses are the most universally flattering dress a woman can wear, no matter what her shape. I picked up a ton of (non maternity) Calvin Klein, stretchy dresses with a nice v-neck, 3/4 sleeve, and cinched waist from Marshalls and Ross. I felt pulled together, polished, and like nothing was hanging out for many months without breaking the bank. Next time, I’ll opt for more basic patterns as solids. Once you’re down to just 5-6 outfits in rotation, bold prints are a challenge!
  • $$$ Prenatal Massages: Not a cheap habit, but a definite must. I got massages all throughout my pregnancy and they were/are worth every penny. What no one tells you about getting pregnant is that the aches and pains you feel often have nothing to do with having a big belly. Early in your pregnancy, your hips and other joints are shifting and moving around causing you all sorts of discomfort and slow but sure fatigued muscle groups. Massage therapists trained for prenatal care know just where to focus their attention to get you relaxed and realigned.
  • $$$$ Dining Out: For a long time, all I wanted to eat was PB&J and a lot of it. But now that my pregnancy is winding down, I have a list of nice restaurants that I want to enjoy sans-baby. Sure, it’s not exactly a need, but I figure it’s cheaper to go now than when we have to also pay for a sitter! How is that for justification? ;) Once a week out with husband or friends to a place that you’d never see snot-nosed kids at is sure to be a splurge I’ll appreciate even more in 6 months.

What am I forgetting? What are/were your maternity must-haves? 

My Mother: The Labor Goddess

Yesterday, in a quest to learn as much as I could about what I should expect when I go into labor, I met up with my mom to ask her about her three births. Inspired by the book I plowed through this week, Labor Day, I knew the details I wanted from her. 
 
- How close to your due dates were you when you went into labor?
Exactly on my due dates, maybe a day before? (I was born at 12:33am the day I was due)

- Did labor come naturally or were you induced?
Naturally. Water broke at home after Mexican food and a hot bath (with pregnancy #1, me)
Naturally. I started getting contractions at home which quickly progressed to less than 4 mins a part. I rushed to the hospital with your grandparents and they broke my water which really sped up the contractions (with pregnancy #2, my brother)
Induced. They convinced me to schedule your sister’s birth around the Thanksgiving holiday which sounded like a great idea. To this day, I feel like it was a mistake to be induced— that she just wasn’t ready yet (with pregnancy #3, my sister)
- How long was each phase of labor?
Early labor: 1-2 hours, Active labor: 1-2 hours, Pushing: 10 minutes! (worth noting that with each of my mom’s births, she progressed SO QUICKLY that none of the nursing staff nor doctor were present at the time she needed to start pushing. She basically went from 0-10 cm in 4-6 hours shocking everyone in the hospital (this is how it was for all 3 births, with exception of my sister’s induction which included an unsuccessful 12 hours of Pitocin drip— but then once it finally took, progressed quickly)
- Did you use any pain medication?
No. I don’t even think it crossed my mind. (Here I asked if anyone even asked if she wanted an epidural— I mean, she had kids in the late 80s and early 90s!) I remember suffering through the pain of contractions silently which is probably why no one asked if I needed help, and also why they were surprised I was progressing as quickly as I was.
- What do you remember about the pain?
That it was bad but tolerable. A nurse told me to focus on one thing and to imagine my cervix opening with each contraction. Once I had the mental image, things got much easier. The worst part was when I was crowning— it felt like I was on fire. (My mom had no idea that this was actually referred to now as “the ring of fire!” — and she never tore. Sorry if TMI, Mom!)
All in all, my mom is apparently a birthing wonder who should have had like 20 kids. Come to think of it, this is probably why her mother, my grandma did have literally a dozen children. These women practically popped out children during their lunch breaks.

I’ve read that much of your labor experience can be hereditary which makes a great deal of sense when it comes to specific complications (size of pelvis, threshold for pain, etc) which is why I wanted to know in the first place. But while listening to my mother’s miraculous stories,  with my eyeballs wide and jaw slacked, I knew I should temper my excitement. I am built nothing like my mother and grandmother (and aunts, who apparently had the same ease).   I take after the sturdy Serbian women on my dad’s side of the family more than the petite, Irish kin on my mother’s side. While that may sound like an even better position to be in, I can’t imagine a more perfect labor story than what these tiny Irish ladies are pedaling.

At any rate, hearing these stories has been enlightening. I can’t believe I knew so little about my mother’s birth stories. I’d never asked about the details of how I came into the world myself, aside from the bit about her having Mexican food first, which I’ve proudly recited over the years. It was incredible to hear her recount the details of possibly the most important days of her life, and as she talked I got the sense that no one else had ever asked for these stories either. It’s true that my generation is one of information overload. With the stories and books and blogs available to me and my pregnant cohort these days, it only seems fitting to find out about my own family’s stories.

I’m also taking away a lot of gratitude for becoming a new mother in 2014.  I so grateful to live in a time where births and child-rearing are “going back to basics” and have a focus on biology and nature. When I was born, hospital protocol was not to toss the baby onto the mother’s bare chest for “skin to skin” contact. It was to perform a battery of tests on a cold, sterile table first. There was no waiting to cut the umbilical cord until it stopped pulsing. Unless you had a home birth or went to a birthing center, people didn’t have much say in their labors nor births. A birth plan? What is that?

My mother claims that for her, labor and delivery was pure instinct. That she had never talked to anyone about what labor would be like, hadn’t read many books about what to expect, and really had no idea how easy she ended up having it. For her, ignorance was bliss. I hope that despite all of my knowledge (which yes, can be a burden!), I’m still able to enjoy even half the easy experience my mother and her mother did with child birth.

Time will tell… and don’t worry, so will I! Good, bad, ugly!

Current status: blogging from the couch with coffee in my new kaftan while Melbs snores and Nala sniffs the new baby things

Current status: blogging from the couch with coffee in my new kaftan while Melbs snores and Nala sniffs the new baby things

Not Labor Day

Labor Day: 30 True Labor Stories from Today's Best Female Writers

Labor Day: 30 True Labor Stories from Today’s Best Female Writers

Today is a pretty mellow day. I did some shopping this morning, am still reading this crack-book of labor stories, and finally, visited the OB. Dr. Duffy scheduled a vacation this week (bless her!) banking on this being the only week she wouldn’t have a patient going into labor. So, today I had a substitute, who was a little older, equally as awesome and cut right the the chase.

After the oh-so-uncomfortable pelvic exam (which is now just a regular part of the appointment), she let me know if I’d made any “progress” since last week. “Well,” she said, “You’re not going to have a baby this week.”

Not that I was expecting to have a baby this week! But her coming right out and saying it was upsetting! I liked to hope or maybe the possibility rather of having a baby this week! Couldn’t it still be possible? I mourned a moment and then quickly realized that I didn’t actually want to give birth this week anyway! I just don’t like people telling me I can’t do things!

I will start posting my progress here, though. Since I only have a couple weeks left and it’s all I’ve got! I am not yet dialed at all, but my cervix has moved forward, which is good. I am 60% effaced, and the baby’s head position is -2, confirming what I suspected earlier this week— that MM had dropped— lowering out of my ribcage and onto my pelvis. This is all very good and normal.

station-2

So, while it doesn’t look like we’ll have a Labor Day any time this week… I’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, so many other stories to savor!

37 Week Update – Full Term

photo 2 (18)

We made it. Into our 37th week together, Mini Melbs is not just a viable baby but one that I am convinced is ready to join the outside world. Two of the women I’ve enjoyed sharing a pregnant Summer with have their babies on the outside now… and we are inevitably next. We’re ready.

Throughout this pregnancy, when people asked if I was excited to be a mother I always replied honestly: “I am equally excited and terrified” and assumed that I would continue feeling that way until the birth of my son had been completed. But I don’t. I just feel excitement now. And a little impatience. Yes, I want him to come in his own time and not until he is a fat little rolly-pollie but I selfishly want to see him/meet him right now.

Now that I’m full-term my doctor has given me the go-ahead on the many “pre labor” preparations I’ve been reading about. Drinking raspberry leaf tea, eating copious amounts of pineapple, and taking evening primrose oil capsules (orally and vaginally) — all with the goal of “ripening” my cervix and easing my labor once it does come, naturally. And I am on. it. Labor is all I think about. Need to bend down to grab a pencil? Allow me. I’ll use this as an opportunity to deep-squat, heels to buttock, just like they teach us in yoga to “open our hips” and shake the baby into place. A walk? Sure, I’ll go on another walk! Also helps to nudge that baby down!

Today I bought a book I’d been eyeing all week: Labor Day— True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers. It’s phenomenal. My thirst for knowledge and variations on child birth cannot be quenched. Good, bad, ugly, I want your story! I am fascinated to know how long each stage took, which interventions were used, what the mother was doing before going into labor, and how she felt postpartum. No detail is too small and this book is my crack.

But don’t worry… I exaggerate my reality when I’m writing sometimes. I may only be half as crazy as I sound. In addition to obsessing over labor and delivery, I am still enjoying a highly productive and restful week. I’ve been massaged, dined with girl friends, indulged in some retail therapy, laundered heap-loads of baby clothes and husband clothes… I’ve prepared a freezer-full of crock-pot meals to enjoy once the baby comes, scripted our birth announcements, and am starting on my index-card sized “birth plan” for the hospital.

I’ve also practiced yoga a handful of times since I last updated, which has been wonderful for both mind and body. I can’t recommend prenatal yoga + massage more highly.

But onto the update, shall we?

What’s going on with MM this week?
He is the size of a watermelon and getting his first poop ready!
photo 1 (18)

What’s going on with Mama?
More of the same. Nesting, feeling really happy and in-love. I’ve been waking up early with Melbs to make him breakfast before work and really savoring each moment we have together. Energy is still up and as you can tell, I’ve been keeping busy.

Body Stuff
Nothing new to report.

Symptoms
Hot often! I sleep warm and usually wake up without blankets on me at all. I also take forever to cool down after walking or yoga. Life as a “big girl” I tell ya! ;) No major swelling, can still take my wedding ring on and off which is delightful. My sleep is actually better this week— only woke up in the middle of the night once this week, otherwise I’m down by 10 and up by 7.

Eating
Eating out a lot this week (by design!) but pretty healthily and within moderation. Still don’t have a huge appetite but I definitely don’t want to miss out on my last 3 weeks of eating for two either!

Exercise
I’ve done a lot this week. In an effort to coax the baby into “dropping” I’ve been walking a ton— at least 2 miles a day, at yoga every other day this week, and have even managed a couple of my YouTube video work-outs (which I’d missed!). Today, at the gym a personal trainer congratulated me on my pregnancy and upon learning I was expecting a boy, laughed and told me not to worry about ever having to go to the gym again— that keeping up with a boy was going to run me ragged daily (in the best possible way). I was elated to hear this.

Baby Purchases
On a friend’s suggestion, I bought a handful of Newborn sized onesies. Apparently “size 0-3 months” is often too big for most newborns. I hadn’t even considered this. Thankfully, I had $100 giftcard to a fancy kids store and was able to splurge on some super-soft and adorable outfits to bring MM home in.

Looking Forward To
Meeting my son. I don’t want my optimism to jinx his arrival but I really feel like I’ll be meeting him soon! Lord help me if he’s not here by his due date!