38 Week Pregnancy Update

img_5608

This was my first week out of work and waiting for baby. It’s incredibly surreal to be expecting this big, life-changing event, but to have no idea when it’s actually going to happen! I mean, I know they won’t let me go past 42 weeks gestation, so she’ll be here in a month or less, but still. It could literally be ANY moment between now and then. I could go into labor first thing in the morning or the middle of the night or while I’m at yoga class. Or I might go all the way to 42 weeks and have to be induced. It’s so wild!

At this point, I’m more than ready for her to make her appearance. In the last week, I’ve gotten a lot more uncomfortable. I’m still not having any Braxton-Hicks contractions, but I just feel off. Eating often makes me feel nauseated or overly full (or both!), but I’m hungry all damn day. I actually woke up at 3 am one day this week, had a bowl of cereal, and went back to bed! I have also had some brief twinges of pain down low in my belly, which is indicative that she’s moving down into my pelvis to prepare for labor and delivery. While the wrist brace is helping me with carpal tunnel symptoms, the belly is a lot bigger and more unwieldy, so it’s hard to move around and find a comfortable position to sleep in.

We met our new pediatrician on Monday, which was great. We picked the pediatric office that Ben used to go to when he was little, and Dr. Monahan is one of the most popular docs in the practice. After our meeting, I can see why people like her so much. She was incredibly friendly and easy to talk to. She immediately felt like someone I would feel comfortable asking anything and everything related to my child’s health, which is invaluable for nervous first-time parents like us. And she was wearing Wonder Woman earrings, which just made me like her more!

Since I’m not at work, I have been nesting like a mo-fo. I’ve been making huge, detailed to-do lists each day and actually doing a fairly decent job of getting stuff done. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t spend 8 hours a day at the office! So far I’ve done some curtain shopping, hung said curtains, gone for lots of walks, made lots of phone calls, had some friend time, and done lots of fiddly little projects I’ve been putting off for ages. I know that my time for productivity will be coming to an end very soon, so I’m trying to make the most of what I’ve got. Of course, I’m also 38+ weeks pregnant, so there’s been plenty of time on the couch with my feet up too! Skyrim has been back in my life lately, and I’m pretty happy about it 🙂

We went to a concert on Thursday night, which was a huge accomplishment for me. I stayed out way past my bedtime, and it was totally worth it. We saw Sturgill Simpson as part of the Ben and Jerry’s Concerts on the Green series at Shelburne Museum. Ben LOVES Sturgill, so I got the tickets as an early birthday present way back in the early spring. Ever since I bought them, I’ve been praying that Baby Girl would stay in long enough for us to get to the show, and she happily obliged! Ben confessed to me after the concert that he was sort of hoping that I would go into labor while we were there, which had also been on my mind! But no, Baby Girl seems to be quite happy in utero for the time being.

img_56302

Sadly, my Group B Strep test came back positive, meaning I will need IV antibiotics during labor and delivery. While this is certainly not ideal, I know that there’s nothing I could have done to prevent it, so I’ve decided to just accept it and move on. It shouldn’t impact my mobility, and it will also mean that I’m just that much more ready if there are additional concerns or complications as labor progresses. The only real bummer is that if my water breaks before labor truly begins, I HAVE to go to the hospital to begin IV antibiotics; I won’t be able to labor at home at all.

Mamas and preggos, how did/do you deal with the waiting game?

Advertisements

Friday Free-For-All – 06/15/18

Friday Free-For-All

Babywatch 2018. Friends and family (and of course Ben and I!) are all anxiously awaiting Baby Girl’s arrival. So far, I don’t feel like anything has really changed to indicate imminent labor. She’s still pretty high in my belly and I’m not having any contractions or anything.

Not going to work every day is strange. But good. I think I’ve been sleeping a lot better knowing that I don’t have to get up and head into work, which is a huge blessing, considering that I’ve been sleeping crappily for MONTHS now. It’s nice to feel like an actual human being every day. And as everyone and their mother feels compelled to remind me, I’d better get as much sleep as I can BEFORE baby comes.

We FINALLY chlorine treated our well this week. It’s something we’ve been putting off for months because it’s kind of a pain (have to let chlorinated water sit in your well/pipes for 24 hours and then flush it all out, so no showers, laundry etc), but it’s done! Now we have to wait 2-3 weeks to actually test it again, but I’m feeling pretty confident that the process worked and we will have potable tap water very soon. Next step is a whole-house filtration system, because we have a very silty well. We end up with a lot of very fine dirt particles in the water, which is less than ideal. Also, if we happen to get way down to the bottom of the well (lots of laundry, showers, water use etc), our water gets a TON of red-orange minerals in it that stain our laundry. No fun.

Have you ever dealt with well issues, or are you on city/town water?

Things I’m Looking Forward to After the Baby Comes (That Have NOTHING to Do With the Baby)

Now before you get all uppity with me over the title, please recognize that OBVIOUSLY there’s a ton of stuff about having a baby that I’m looking forward to. If that weren’t the case, why the hell would I be bothering to have one? I think it goes without saying that I’m looking forward to all things baby after she’s born. But this post isn’t about those things. It’s about things that have NOTHING to do with having a baby, and EVERYTHING to do with no longer being pregnant.

pregnancy-meme-sick

Enjoying A Nice, Frosty, Adult Beverage
The hot, summery weather we’ve been having lately has got me jonesing hard for a nice hoppy beer, or a tall gin and tonic. While I have had occasional sips of beer or wine throughout the third trimester (you can keep your judgement to yourself on this, thankyouverymuch), I haven’t had an alcoholic beverage since mid-October. I am by no means a heavy drinker, but I miss unwinding with a beer after a long day. I am very much looking forward to sitting in our yard this summer with my husband and baby, and enjoying a well-deserved cocktail.

Being Able to Feel My Fingertips
Ever since about week 32, I have been experiencing pregnancy-induced carpal tunnel syndrome, which seriously just blows. I can’t feel the fingertips of 8 out of 10 fingers, and haven’t been able to for weeks. My hands are weak and sometimes painful, so simple things like opening a bottle of seltzer or holding a frying pan are difficult. And my hands can go completely numb at the drop of a hat, particularly during the night while I’m sleeping. Fine motor skills are not my forte right now. It will be nice to deliver the baby and (theoretically, hopefully) have my circulation go back to normal.

Wearing My Rings
Around the time the carpal tunnel kicked in, mild hand swelling also kicked in. By itself, it probably wouldn’t have been enough for me to stop wearing my rings, but combined with the carpal tunnel, having anything on my fingers was just plain uncomfortable. Not having my wedding rings is bad enough, but my other two rings, from my mom and grandmother, also have extreme sentimental value, and it feels strange and wrong not to have them on.

Getting Up Without Making Animal Noises
In late pregnancy, the belly has become rather unwieldy. My center of gravity is off, and I’m heavier than I usually am, so getting up from sitting or lying down has become a lot more difficult, and involves a lot more grunting than I’m comfortable with. I definitely have to roll onto my side when getting up off the couch, and getting out of bed is kind of an ordeal. It will be nice to have my body as my own again.

961c68bf769b60ed69cec29dcde3efaa--pregnancy-memes-baby-pregnancy

Oysters
I know a lot of pregnant women are very distressed by the lack of sushi in their lives, but sushi isn’t something we eat all that often. What we do love, however, are oysters. While we aren’t the type of people who just go out and drop boatloads of money on oysters regularly, they are one of our favorite “special” foods. They are a prized appetizer if we go out for a nice meal, and there are several eateries near us that offer special happy hour $1 oysters that we love to take advantage of. But noooo, no raw fish for preggo. Ben and various family members have had oysters several times throughout my pregnancy (our anniversary dinner, for example), and I’ve just had to grin and bear it. But soon I will be able to consume all of the still-living molluscs I desire. And I can’t wait.

Exercise
As I’ve already said in my pregnancy body image post, I’m not looking to immediately jump right back into a high-intensity exercise routine. Getting my body “back” isn’t a super high priority for me. But spending time outside and moving my body IS. I know that getting some exercise again will only benefit me mentally and physically. Right now, even walking too much or too fast can be very uncomfortable, but I’m confident that once this baby is out and I’m cleared to work out again, it will feel so good to get back to “normal” activities like walking, hiking, and short runs.

k6n8l

“Risky” Activities
For the duration of pregnancy, women are advised to avoid any activity that might cause harm to the developing fetus. I’m not exactly a thrill-seeker, but there are definitely things Ben and I like to do that have been back-burnered by the whole pregnancy thing. A few activities that immediately spring to mind are riding a bike (I probably could still do it safely, but the thought of falling or crashing makes me hesitant), slack-lining, and cross-country or downhill skiing. Obviously, we’re not gonna be skiing during the summer, but I missed out on a lot of gorgeous powder days this past winter, and I will be happy not to have to miss out this coming year.

I could list a million more TMI things like sex and bodily functions, but I think I’ll leave it there. Suffice to say, in addition to being excited to have a new baby, I’m really excited NOT to be pregnant anymore.

Mamas (and Daddies!), what were you most excited for related to no longer being pregnant?

37 Week Pregnancy Update

img_5598

37 weeks pregnant. We have arrived at that magical point in time where, if I went into labor right now, there would be no attempt to slow or stop it; they would just let baby come. This is all kinds of exciting! Not that I’m wishing time away (it’s going quickly enough on it’s own!), but I’m just so damn excited to meet this kid I can’t help but want her to come sooner. And as I’ve said, I’m feeling very little anxiety or fear over labor and delivery, so whenever it happens is good with me!

We are also now at the point where I have weekly prenatal appointments. This week’s was a bit of a doozy, as it involved an internal exam (never fun) and a swab for Group B Strep. This is a bacteria that many adult women carry in their systems which is mostly harmless for them, but which can infect the baby as it passes through the birth canal and potentially cause problems. Moms who test positive for Group B Strep have to have a constant antibiotic IV drip during labor and delivery, so I’m hoping and praying that I DON’T have the bacteria cause I really don’t want to be continuously hooked up to an IV. Send some good vibes my way for this one!

This was my final week at work, which was of course bittersweet. This job was the second-longest I’ve stayed anywhere in my working career, and I will miss my colleagues and the office culture something fierce. I’ve never worked at a company that valued its employees so highly, and really took the work hard/play hard mentality to heart. I also feel really bad for leaving because I don’t really feel like my replacement is up to snuff, and it sort of seems like I’m leaving my team in the lurch. I know that’s not my fault and not my problem, but it’s still hard.

Preparations are mostly complete at this point. The only nagging thing is getting the car seat installed, but we should be able to get that done this week. Otherwise, hospital bags are packed and waiting by the front door. Her room is mostly a room and less of a storage space. Laundry is done and put away. Diapers and wipes stand at the ready. Of course, there are still a few other little things I’d like to get done (still don’t have curtains or a bookshelf), but they aren’t necessary things. For the first several months she’ll be sleeping in a bassinet in our room anyway, so having a complete and “perfect” nursery just isn’t a top priority for me.

I’m really hoping that I end up having some time to myself before Baby Girl decides to come. I know the general wisdom is that first-time moms go late, but you just never know. She’s still riding really high in my belly and my cervix was still closed up tight at this week’s appointment so I think I’ve got a wait ahead of me, but I don’t want to make any assumptions. My plan for these next two weeks (or however long I get!) is to fill the time with fun stuff I may not get to do for a while. I have a list of friends I want to spend time with, I’d love to get a pedicure, go to yoga as much as possible, and have a date night or two with Ben. I also plan to focus on alone time, as I know it’s one thing that’s about to become pretty scarce. Maybe a solo trip to the movies?

In other news, I finally broke down and bought an ambidextrous wrist brace. The carpal tunnel symptoms were getting so bad, particularly at night, that I pretty much wasn’t sleeping. I was reluctant to spend $30 on a piece of foam and fabric this late in the game, but one of the girls in my yoga class told me it had helped her immensely, and with the ambidextrous brace, I can alternate which wrist I wear it on and get maximum benefit with minimum cost. I am happy to report that since I started wearing the brace at night, I’ve been sleeping SO MUCH BETTER. I’m just pissed that I didn’t get one sooner and save myself a lot of sleepless nights. Oh well. Live and learn.

Mamas, did you take any time for yourself before baby came? What did you do?

7 Tips to Make You the BEST Baby Gift Giver Ever

I am by no means a parenting expert, but having recently been the recipient of not one, but TWO baby showers, having been to loads of them over the years, and having many friends who’ve recently had kids, I have plenty to say on the subject of gift giving for expecting parents. Here are my top 7 tips to make sure that your gift is the most-appreciated one at the party.

Stick to the Registry
Seriously, if I were limiting this blog post to a single piece of advice, this would be it. STICK TO THE REGISTRY. New parents spend a LOT of time and energy putting together their registries. Whether they’re working within a specific theme, trying to stay in line with a particular parenting style, or simply have a small house, expecting parents are usually only putting the most necessary items on their registries. These are the items they NEED or WANT most. For example, Ben and I have a very small house, so our registry really focused on multi-use items and the absolute bare necessities. Our registry even explicitly stated that our house was small and we didn’t want a lot of extraneous stuff. But we still got it. Of course a gift is ALWAYS appreciated, but it’s appreciated even more when it’s something useful and wanted. I know it can feel icky or impersonal to just pick something off a list, but trust me, this is the best way to give expecting parents a gift they will treasure.

Always Include a Gift Receipt
No matter how confident you are that the gift you’ve purchased is perfect in every way, do your pregnant friend a favor and include a gift receipt. You simply can’t account for things like receiving multiples of the same item, or a baby growing so fast he or she never gets to use the item. Including a gift receipt means that new parents will be able to exchange the unused item for something they really might need later.

MjAxMy1mNWI4NWYzNjNhNDczY2Jh

Put Down the Baby Blankets
For real. Unless blankets are something that the new parents have specifically registered for, or they are handmade items that have a lot of sentimental value, just save everybody a headache and DON’T BUY BABY BLANKETS. Ben and I registered for five muslin swaddle blankets, as we’d gotten lots of cotton and muslin blankets as hand-me-downs from my coworker already. Between the two showers that were thrown for us, we ended up with no less than a dozen blankets in addition to the ones we’d registered for and the ones we already had. This is simply too many. They don’t fit in our linen closet and are currently stacked in the baby’s crib for lack of anywhere to put them (and without gift receipts, we were unable to return them!). Keep in mind, most hospitals will send new parents home with a stack too. Baby blankets are an unnecessary purchase that will just end up taking up space and being donated.

StyleNovice Blog How Many Baby Blankets is Too Many Baby Blankets

Not my blankets, but I have at least this many…

Provide a Service Rather Than a “Thing”
This is a big one that I wish more people would consider. It’s downright easy to just run out to a baby store or buy something from Amazon. But providing a service for new parents is so, so valuable. Team up with a few friends to buy a newborn or maternity photo shoot. Engage a cleaning service to come out and clean up the family’s house before or after baby comes home (or offer to do it yourself!). Give a “gift certificate” for free babysitting or dog walking or offer to drop off nutritious meals. Ben’s aunt is a professional photographer, and her gift to us was a newborn portrait session. She lives in upstate NY and even said she would come to us. Now THAT is a thoughtful gift that isn’t taking up extra space in our house.

Remember the Parents
Yeah, sure, a baby shower is generally about welcoming the new baby and making sure that the parents have everything that they might need to care for baby after baby is born. But new parents are still people, and moms especially can feel like they lose a bit of themselves in the wake of a new baby joining the family. Give mom a spa day, or offer to babysit so the parents can spend some one-on-one time together after baby is born. Give a gift certificate to their favorite restaurant or a couple of bottles of their favorite wine. My gift from my mother in law was a spa day and free babysitting, which meant the world to me. Remembering that parents are going through an incredibly emotional time and need some love too will be appreciated.

Avoid Buying Newborn-Sized Everything
While it seems like common sense to buy newborn clothes for a new baby, it’s important to remember that just like adults, new babies come in all shapes and sizes. Some babies are born way too big to ever fit newborn clothes, and preemies are swimming in them. It’s a really great idea to gift a variety of sizes so that the new parents have a depth and breadth of clothes before baby comes. Babies also grow incredibly fast, so having 10-12 newborn outfits and nothing else might mean that within a week or two, parents have to run out and buy new clothes because nothing fits. Also, consider the season along with the size. If a baby is born in the summer, they’re most likely not going to need a newborn-sized snowsuit.

Cash (or an Amazon Gift Card) is King
I know it seems crass to give cash, but honestly you couldn’t possibly give a better gift. Every baby and every family is different, and sometimes parents discover a few weeks or months in that the baby hates the bottles they registered for, or that the Rock ‘n’ Play everyone said was so magical isn’t working for them. Or, they just didn’t end up getting everything they registered for. Having some extra cash around can really help out for those unexpected expenses. It can also be used for things like ordering takeout when they just can’t face cooking, or paying a babysitter so they can have a date night. We received a cash gift from one set of friends and used it to buy a bunch of baby first aid and health care items that we hadn’t even thought to register for, like Baby Tylenol and a baby toothbrush. And we received a TON of Amazon gift cards, which we can use for things like diapers or more clothes as needed.

cash

BONUS TIP:
This one isn’t really about the gift itself, but how one delivers the gift: include your mailing address in the card. I know that 9 times out of 10 at showers these days, the host or hostess will have you write out a self-addressed envelope, but it doesn’t always work out that way. At my shower, my mom and sister forgot to put the envelopes out, so I didn’t have those handy self-addressed envelopes. Thankfully, our Amazon registry got most of the addresses. But for anyone who didn’t buy a gift off the registry, I had to track down a mailing address for them, which made the already annoying task of doing thank-you notes even more annoying. By including your address with your gift, you’re potentially saving parents a hassle.

So there you have it. My tips that are guaranteed to make you the most popular baby-gift-giver around.***

***I can’t actually guarantee this. But I’m pretty confident that the tips above will help you make your expecting friends very happy.

What do you think? Do you agree or disagree with any of my tips? Anything to add?

 

36 Week Pregnancy Update

img_5561

Well, this week was MUCH more humane on the work front. Thanks to Memorial Day and some full and partial vacation days, I basically only worked two full days this week. It was a much-needed break, wherein I continued to get shit done. I did LOTS of laundry (cloth diapers need to be washed multiple times before first use in order to achieve maximum absorbency), made more chicken stock to go in the freezer for future use, shopped for curtains for baby’s room, and generally continued “nesting.”

img_5579

It’s funny, nesting is startlingly similar to “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie.” For instance, on Tuesday I went to start a batch of chicken stock, but noticed that the stove top was dirty. I figured I could just give it a quick wipe down, but realized that in order to really get it clean, I needed to take up the burner elements and drip pans. And then I realized that the drip pans were filthy, so I put them in the sink to soak in vinegar and water so I could scrub them. And then I realized that the areas underneath the drip pans were also dirty, so I pulled up the entire stove top to clean underneath. An hour later I had a sparkling clean stove but hadn’t even started my chicken stock yet. *facepalm*

We had our final childbirth education class on Monday, which included a hospital tour. I am SO GLAD to have gotten this done, as it was the final piece in the “What the heck do we do when I go into labor” puzzle. Knowing where to park, where to check in, and what the L&D and recovery rooms look like is such a relief for this Type-A lady. There are so many unknowns going into childbirth that every scrap of information I get makes me feel more confident and less anxious.

Even though I am now pretty much full term and Baby Girl could conceivably come any time, I feel very little anxiety or fear. If anything, each passing week just makes me more and more excited to meet this little person. We’ve prepared ourselves as well as we can and now we just want to start being parents. Plus, this whole pregnancy thing is getting old. Especially with the epic acid reflux I developed at the end of this week. I’m definitely not thinking “Dear god, get this baby outta me,” but it would be nice to be able to feel my fingertips again, or to get up from sitting without grunting.

Mamas/fellow pregnant ladies–did you have bad acid reflux? What did you do for it?

Friday Free-For-All – 06/01/18

Friday Free-For-All

My coworkers threw me a Star Wars-themed baby shower! Once again, I’m simply blown away by their thoughtfulness, generosity, and creativity. Seriously. We received so many lovely gifts, and several Amazon giftcards that are sure to come in handy down the line as we figure out exactly what we need to keep our little one happy. While I’m obviously very excited to start my new role as stay at home mom, I will desperately miss my colleagues.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We ordered a new pet fountain. You may remember several months ago, our kitty Rocket had a big health scare and spent four days in the kitty hospital. One of the number one recommendations was to get a pet fountain to encourage him to drink more water. At the time, one of my coworkers offered to let us borrow hers since her cat had recently passed away. Now that I’m about to leave work, though, my coworker has asked that we return the fountain. I went on Amazon and was thoroughly shocked by a) how many different options there are, and b) how EXPENSIVE they are. The version we had borrowed from my coworker retails for $85! Obviously, I wasn’t spending that. I got a slightly smaller ceramic version by the same company (for about half the price!), and I’m optimistic that it will suit our needs just fine. And the fact that it’s smaller will probably encourage me to clean it more often anyway.

I haven’t been to yoga in two weeks and I’m feeling it. I didn’t go last week because work was so crazy I had to stay late. Then this week, I had a vacation day on Tuesday and didn’t feel like driving into town just for class. But now I kind of regret not going, as my hip is complaining and my carpal tunnel has been really bad this week. My unlimited summer pass starts today, so I’m hoping to get to class more than once a week for the remainder of my pregnancy. Fingers crossed I actually get some time to myself after leaving work and before baby comes!

I got my hair cut last night. Unfortunately, she took quite a bit more off than I would have liked (we’re talking 3-4 inches total versus the 1-2 I was imagining), but thankfully it looks great, and does feel a lot healthier than it did before. It’s also funny that even though to me it looks DRASTICALLY different, not one single person at work has noticed so far.

We’re traveling this weekend. Ben’s great uncle Jipper passed away this winter, and his memorial service is tomorrow afternoon in Albany. We’re road-tripping down with my in-laws and splitting a hotel room, so the cost isn’t too crazy. And Albany is only about 2.5-3 hours from home just in case there is any early movement on the baby front. I’m a little bit nervous about traveling so close to my due date, but based on a conversation with my midwife, I really don’t think there’s anything to worry about at this point. This will likely be our last trip for the next little while, so I’m trying to focus on the positive of seeing extended family before the baby comes. We likely won’t make it to the family reunion because it’s scheduled for early July (aka right in the middle of potential baby time), so it will be good to get some family time in.

Are you hyper-sensitive about haircuts like me?