Postpartum

The final episode in my bump series!!

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Bump is gone.

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And a little lump is in its place in the big wide world!

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These photos were taken when Maze was 4 days old. I’ve been shocked at how fast my body has gone back to normal.

Within minutes of giving birth, my stomach was a complete mush of skin, but it was mostly flat.

Within an hour the numb spot under my ribs had feeling again. I could roll over in bed.

Within a few days I felt like my old self again.

Within a week I could button my pre-pregnancy jeans. [Although – disclaimer – they looked terrible!!]

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My pregnancy weight gain is a bit fuzzy because I wasn’t weighing myself before and there is a huge discrepancy between an October weight on one scale and the doctor’s office in January, but from my 8 week appointment to 40 weeks, I gained 21 pounds on the official medical record. I’d say total I gained about 23-25 pounds total. On delivery day I was only up 18 (thanks to loss of amniotic fluid). As of this week, I was 2-5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I’d definitely like to lose a little beyond that and get my body back to a shape that I feel great in, but I’m not even going to think about doing anything specific other than healthy eating and lots of walking for at least a few months. My body is being pushed to the limits already with sleeping and nursing, so I don’t want to add anything that would make it harder to enjoy being a mom. 

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How else am I feeling physically?

Well healing down there has been slow, but it gets better everyday. I haven’t been brave enough to look with a mirror, but I can feel my stitches and at 10 days postpartum the swelling is almost done. LOVED the numbing spray they gave me in the hospital as well as the Tucks pads. Must haves for new moms! Also thought it was funny when Matt asked me about a week out: “Why is there a plastic bottle on the toilet?” Ha. My bleeding has slowed a lot, but it’s not totally gone yet. Very manageable though. And now that I feel well enough to go out on walks, I’m feeling very much like my old self. After a week of hobbling around, I can walk normally again. No running until at least 6 weeks, but I’m already SO curious to remember how running without a baby inside of me feels!

Breastfeeding hurt way worse than I ever thought it would. I think my nipples just had to totally toughen up. And even though Mazen is so tiny, I’ve been amazed (heh) that he has learned new things already – like opening his mouth wider like a baby bird! That has helped our latch a lot, and it’s something he evidently learned on his own. I was wearing the Soothies pads in my bras 24/7 and a friend told me they actually prevent healing because they are moist. I can’t walk around topless because that hurts too much, but I have found that SLEEPING topless is a great way to air dry for a bit. I think doing that for the first time was a turning point in our breastfeeding success. Although I was surprised to wake up leaking in the bed : ) I have a set of cotton washable breast pads, but I’ll leak through those in minutes, so I have been wearing the disposable ones full time. The leaking and let down is an annoying part of breastfeeding that I wasn’t all the way prepared for. I also desperately need some good bras. I’m SO GLAD I bought a few nursing bras before he was born or I would be in panic mode right now. A lot of you told me to wait, but I even wish I had bought 1-2 real bras and took a chance on sizing because these sleep bras are just not cutting it with the support. On a mission this week to find some.

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I barely remember what it felt like to be pregnant. I remember how hard it was to roll over and my rib pain and the feeling of little knees poking out of my side. But I’m shocked at how quickly my memory of how it felt overall has faded. I do miss it and feel sad when I think the journey is over, but at the same time, I’m glad to feel normal again. I am still in awe that the baby I am holding right now is the same one that grew inside of me all that time.

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I’m glad he’s here : )

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40 Weeks: Over The Hill

Lordy, lordy, the baby’s 40!

[Writing this on Labor Day!]

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I am totally surprised and totally not surprised at all to be here. We all know first time moms often go over. It’s just weird that it’s September and I’m still just chugging along!! I feel like my due date was a big event that has now passed. I survived 40 weeks of pregnancy. Only thing is: I’m still pregnant and we don’t have a baby yet! Of the four women in my yoga class who were the same week as me, I’m the only one who didn’t go early. The others went at 37.5, 39 and 39.5 weeks. Guess I have to pull up the average! The only real reason going over has been a bummer is because our families were all planning to visit this week and since he’s not here yet, everyone is just on standby.

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Overall, I’m feeling pretty patient. In fact, I think I’m less on edge than I was before 40 weeks. As a planner, coming early would have been a big surprise. But it’s not a surprise if he comes now – we are 100% ready. Matt was hoping he’d come on his due date because he had the whole weekend off from work. But maybe the baby wanted us to spend one last weekend together before he bursts into the world?

[Edited to add: Tuesday I was not feeling as patient! But then I cheered up : ) ]

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Over the past week, I’ve noticed a huge increase in the following:

-Popping pelvis and back when I roll over at night. The first time this happened it freaked me out – I really thought I had cracked something in the baby because the pop was SO LOUD yet it didn’t hurt me at all. I waited with my breath held until he moved again. If I’m not gentle with my nightime rollovers, I can pop 3-4 things in a row. Again, not painful, just scary-weird. Everyone has told me it’s just my pelvis expanding, for which I am thankful. Make room!

-Braxton Hicks contractions. If you told me I was in early labor, I would believe you. That’s how much the ache down below accompanied by a firm-all-over stomach contractions have increased. And if you told me “giiiiirl just you wait until you have your first real contraction – this is nothing!” I’d believe you equally! I’ve read that real contractions come from the back to the front, wrap around you and are somewhat uncomfortable. These are not really painful up top, but they can be down low in the neck of the pear (if my uterus is still an upside-down pear). I’m feeling tons more pressure down there and ache, crampiness and some lower back aches too. Enough that I feel real labor is looming!

-Headbutting. Or at least that’s what I think it is. Sometime at 40 weeks, 2 days I think he dropped a bit more – perhaps on our long walk. All night I was having pains way down in my pelvis. They occur with baby movement, so I don’t think they are period cramps or early labor – I think he is just stuck down there and trying to wiggle is head (or something!) loose! It’s been quite painful at times. Enough to take my breath away.

-SIDE PAIN. My gosh, every night this hurts so badly – from my IT band all the way up my hips to my lower back. It’s worse than some headaches I’ve had in my life – a throbbing ache. And after rolling over, it takes a while for the throbbing to stop. I really wish I could sleep on a magic carpet suspended in the air!

-I’ve started waddling when I get up from being seated. Not because I have to but because it feels good.

-My whole face is breaking out! Hoping this means hormonal surge…

Symptoms that have decreased:

    • Insomnia, sort of
    • Rib pain – much much better
    • Hunger is on and off, but mostly just back to normal
    • Swelling is better
    • Fatigue is mostly gone – I feel pretty normal again, although life is calmed down too

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Every day is different than the last – new symptoms appear and others disappear. I really feel like I’m getting close though! Luckily, other than sleeping, I’m not all that uncomfortable. I’m very excited to meet him, but at the same time, I feel like I’m more focused on the present than the future now. I still can’t believe we’re going to have a baby any day! It’s hard to imagine labor because I just don’t know how mine will be. I tend to think of it as this really gradual onset – regular contractions for hours, then painful regular contractions for days, then a baby days after that. I forget that there is also a chance it could go very quickly! In fact, it’s very likely that it will all happen from start to finish in less than a day. I said to Matt when we woke up on Monday: “Isn’t it weird that we could be sleeping in the hospital tonight?”

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At the doctor’s yesterday, was still 1cm, a little more effaced (50%) and he had moved to a –1 station – progress! He also passed his non-stress test with flying colors. Friday we’ll go in for an ultrasound to look at the placenta and fluid levels and do another non-stress test. If those look good, I’ll probably go back Monday or Tuesday for a membrane sweep and if that doesn’t work – induction likely next Wednesday.

Here’s to hoping I don’t write a 41 week post!

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PREVIOUS 40 week Posts

40 Weeks: Cupcakes Live

A Flat Tire Story For Labor Day

Pekanz

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4 weeks

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40 Weeks: Third Trimester Recap

Third-Trimester

Most Exciting Moment…

It’s a 3-day tie between my two baby showers, Showered With Friendship and Elephants + Elegance, and our 3D ultrasound : )

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Most Challenging Moments…

That scary nerve pain event while I was in Seattle. 6 nights in a row of insomnia…awake at 3,4,5 am for 2-3 hour stretches. I am VERY VERY lucky I haven’t had insomnia my whole pregnancy like many do. But that doesn’t mean that week wasn’t really rough. Also finding out I was GBS+. Getting antibiotics isn’t a big deal, but getting an IV drip the second I get to the hospital will be for me mentally (because of residual childhood fear of needles and IV drips). But after a few days of worrying about it I came to terms with its importance, and I have decided I will not let a simple IV have a negative emotional impact on my birth experience. That is a dumb thing to get all upset over in the grand scheme of things.

One Thing I’m Proud Of…

Can I say being active again? :mrgreen: Maybe I’ll say patience instead. My personality likes to take control and worry about things, and I think I have done a good job reminding myself that I am not in control of this experience. The baby will come when he comes and there’s nothing I can do about it! So instead of worrying, I’ve been practicing being mindful, enjoying time to myself and with Matt, and letting the excitement build but not the anxiousness. I am not a laid back person, so to be laid back while pregnant is something I’m proud of.

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One Thing I Wish Were Different…

I wish my air conditioning bill were lower : ) It was a hot summer. I also wish I had gone swimming more!

Favorite Foods…

CHEESE! Always and forever. Plus I have moved on from popsicles to ice cream. Kohr Bros! And Breyers Vanilla Bean Mug Mash milkshakes with fresh peach. Fruit is still high on the list. Eggs are still a favorite. I’ve been loving sandwiches, spaghetti, fish of all kinds, blue corn chips! Cravings for buttercream frosting…

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Least Favorite Food…

I still have no desire at all to eat most soups. Haven’t since December! Smoothies are also not very appealing – no idea why because I like all of their components individually! I think it’s a texture thing?

My Physical State Included…

Lots and lots of rib pain. A numb spot near my ribs. A MUCH better back!!! A weird and unpredictable appetite. Uncomfortable sleeping. And towards the end: swelling, bloating, increased hunger, sweaty hands, wrist pain. Some fatigue. Frequent urination. Lots of dreams. Some Braxton Hicks contractions. Colostrum evidence!

Symptoms I [Thankfully] Didn’t Have…

Heartburn (SO puzzled why I haven’t had any of this!). Trouble breathing. Spider veins, varicose veins and hemorrhoids. Constipation. Leaking bladder (so glad I escaped that one!)

One Thing That Surprised Me…

That I would feel so good so close to the end. As soon as my back got better I just started to feel really good. I always thought the last few months of pregnancy would be horrible, but they were actually the best part of pregnancy! I can’t imagine anything being worse than the first trimester…. I was lucky not to experience too many bad symptoms in the third trimester and very lucky to get enough sleep. Until the very end, each week was better than the last. I found by the last two months I really loved being pregnant and all the excitement that comes with it.

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Looking Forward To…

The first time I breastfeed. Introducing him to his nursery. Using some of our new baby gear and clothes! Pumpkin beer!!!! Getting to watch our family meet and hold him for the first time. Sharing his name!

See the First Trimester Recap here.

See the Second Trimester Recap here.

Second Trimester

 

previous WEEKS

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39 weeks

39 Weeks: Pre Mom Syndrome

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During the second half of 38 weeks and now into 39, I feel like I’m experiencing PMS. Pre Mom Syndrome!

Hormonal surges, tiredness, acne, bloating, crampiness, insomnia, sweatiness/hotness, increased hunger.

Takes me right back to the first 2 weeks of being pregnant! Generally I’ve felt very neutral throughout these 9 months – nothing that reminded me of being a menstruating woman – but suddenly that has all changed. I kind of felt like once I got to 37 weeks things would plateau (no idea why I thought that!?), so it’s a bit of a surprise that I’m experiencing new symptoms and such drastic changes each week. One day I heard my intestines gurgle – near my heart!!! I guess they really are all the way up there. Pregnancy is not over yet! For the first time, walking isn’t really appealing. I feel much heavier and my legs are feeling the weight I’m carrying. They feel more swollen after I’ve been on them for a while. No longer do I want to do long morning walks and run around town on foot.

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I have felt pretty good about my appearance throughout my whole pregnancy – until now. The water weight and last few pounds have not been very flattering in recent photographs. I know it’s nothing to stress over – it is what it is at 39 weeks! But just being honest : )

39 weeks (2)

I’m trying to focus as much as possible on just resting. First because I want my brain to be calm and relaxed, letting the baby know I am ready when he is. And second because I want to be as rested as possible when I do go into labor.

[Pushin’ it all out!]

39 weeks (4)

6 days of insomnia left me exhausted and so resting felt like the natural thing to do anyways. I’ve taken quite a few 20 minute power naps in the afternoons that have given me the energy to get through the rest of the day. Thankfully sleeping has been going a little better – at least as I type this! I tried all of my insomnia tricks those 6 nights (more snacks, bathroom breaks, more AC) and I think it must have just been caused by hormones because I didn’t change a thing but was able to sleep again.

39 weeks (7)

I’ve been having on and off crampiness for a week or so now. And some on-and-off backaches. My period cramps were never sharp or painful in the past. I would describe them as a dull ache or tightening – almost like a magnet. They are unpleasant, but they aren’t painful. I have had a few moments this week of “was that a painful cramp!?” but it’s very hard for me to tell if it’s a cramp, a ligament stretching or if the baby is just shifting around in there. There isn’t much space and his little bones can hurt when he shifts sometimes! I can tell I’m having some Braxton Hicks contractions but only because I notice that the firmness of my uterus changes throughout the day with my hands – not because I can really feel them. And it’s hard to distinguish between a Braxton Hicks and the baby moving around and pushing out to make a firm spot. I am hoping this all means that I have minimal pain receptors in my uterus and will have a pain-free birth :mrgreen:

39 weeks (9)

I’ve been sitting in cobbler’s pose a lot, doing some giant pelvic loops on my exercise ball, getting some walking in, drinking raspberry tea, taking the primrose, and letting my mind relax. Mom is ready – wonder what baby is thinking!?

Overall, despite being more tired, I’m still feeling pretty good. I’m VERY excited about the weeks ahead and it’s been fun to joke around on the blog about him “coming any minute now!”, but I am still feeling very patient. In some ways I think I am in denial this is all going to happen for REAL soon. The comment “You won’t be pregnant forever” comes to mind though. Whether it’s tomorrow or a week and a half from now, I will be going into labor soon.

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Previous 39 week posts

Snapshots: Nursery Through 9 Months

Grown Up Nesting

Thought Dump

previous WEEKS

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5 weeks

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38 Weeks: Out With The Old, In With The New

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Wheeee!! Getting so close. I’m 38 weeks, 5 days 6 days (edited!) today hard to believe 39 is almost here and 40 around the corner.

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I’m still under the impression that pregnancy gets better and better every day. While I’m definitely thinking about going into labor much of the time, I’m also very happy right where I am and am still content being pregnant. Although if you told me I have a month left (which is technically possible…well 3.5 weeks…if they did let me go to 42 weeks…which I’m not sure of 100% that they would….) I am not sure how happy I’d be or how much more I’d grow! My weight gain seems to have plateaued a bit (at +21 lbs at the doctor, +23-24ish from the start), but I’m sure the baby would get a little more plump in there and that would show from the outside.

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Symptoms that are GONE

Rib pain – Well, not entirely. This came back on Sunday night a bit – I think the baby crawled back up and put his leg back under my ribs! BUT for the rest of the week, it’s been IMMENSELY better.

Back pain – My back feels SOLID again! Amazing!

Symptoms that are NEW

Swelling – just a tiny bit – in my hands and feet. Still wearing my wedding rings, but they are tighter at times. And my toes look rather pudgy, although I doubt the average person would think they looked any different.

Sweaty palms – I read in one of my pregnancy apps that sweat is a sign of hormones/adrenaline. But this is so bad at times I can’t use my phone or tablet!! My fingers just slide around damp on the screen. SO weird!!

Achy jaw + thumb/forefinger palm – Now this is an interesting one. My lower jaw has been feeling really tired/achy. It could be stress/nerves/adrenaline, as I’ve experienced this in the past with stress, HOWEVER, I’ve read that the jaw is linked to the cervix and that the spot between your thumb and forefinger is an acupressure point linked to the uterus, so that makes me wonder if maybe these spots are tense because my cervix is changing and my uterus is contracting just a bit to prepare for labor?! I had my massage therapist work on my jaw two weeks ago and it felt a MILLION times better for a whole week after, and I have had Matt massage my thumbs a little too.

Carpel Tunnel – I’m not sure if I officially have carpel tunnel, but I’ve had trouble with my right wrist in general from computer mouse overuse and the pain is back with a vengeance. Makes me wonder if it’s related to the hand swelling and/or the thumb/palm ache. Probably so. It’s hard to do push ups flat on my hands (like I am doing so many pushups right now Winking smile ) or down dog in yoga.

Insomnia – It’s baaaaaaack. And so annoying. I woke up at 3-4am 3 (and counting) times this week and was up for 2-3 hours each time. Luckily I do eventually fall back asleep to catch a few more winks before I get up for the day. Night #2 a mug of cereal seemed to do the trick to put me back to sleep but it did not work on night #3. I was totally wired and excited thinking about going into labor! Too bad wishful thinking didn’t work : )

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No real signs of labor, although every single twinge I think “could this be it starting!?” I’ve been having a good amount of lower belly ache/cramping. Kind of like the mild period cramps that I used to experience. And a few Braxton Hicks, although mostly at night. I really am not sure how often I’m having these because I feel like my uterus gets soft and firm on and off all day long, but I can’t really tell if it’s just the baby pressing out or a real Braxton Hicks. I’ve only had a handful of REALLY hard contractions that I know are BH – but they don’t hurt at all – just weird – so I know it’s not labor.

At the doctor’s this week I was still 1 cm, –2 station, but now am ~20% effaced (quote “just a little”). Still, that’s progress! I’m still well aware that these stats don’t really mean anything – although I sure wish he would engage! I’m going to work on doing more exercise ball hip loops this week, as my yoga teacher/doula says they are a great exercise to encourage good positioning for engagement in the pelvis.

Lastly, I probably shouldn’t be wearing black shirts in these photos because I hardly look pregnant from the front! Not much to see : ) Also, I am so tired of my 4 pairs of maternity shorts!

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PREVIOUS 38 week posts

Snapshots

A Father’s Reflections On Pregnancy

Props For Mom

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37 Weeks: Full Term, And Full Of Baby!

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“Welcome to Term!” is what I heard in yoga last night! Even though normal gestation is 40 weeks (or longer), babies born after 37 weeks are not considered premature. Very thankful we have made it this far!

37 weeks (4)

I’ve definitely been feeling things happening down there. Things that if I were 40 weeks I would be like ‘This is it’ no ‘THIS is it’ all day long. But although I know there is a chance he could come any day now, these twinges, cramps and what I can only describe as “cervical awareness” are likely just my body getting ready. For example, when I woke up on Saturday feeling kind of off I did wonder if perhaps it was the “sick before the storm,” but alas, I think I was just tired! I’ve never needed naps like this before. My mom recently said “We’re getting a kick out of this because you’ve never been tired in your life!” Sometimes in the afternoons I don’t even feel that sleepy – I just can’t keep my eyes open if I go horizontal! The difference in 36 and 37 weeks has been pretty drastic energy wise.

37 weeks (5)

I’ve been sitting on the exercise ball a ton, avoiding our cushy couches (not ideal for engagement), and doing squats and walking. They aren’t quite sure what starts labor, but my personal [totally uneducated, aside from reading on birth] opinion is that BOTH mom and baby have to be ready. In that sense, I think if a mom has fears about childbirth or just needs a few more days to mentally prepare, it might delay labor a bit. Just my personal opinion, but our childbirth class nurse said there is some truth to this and if you look at animals who go into hiding when they feel ready, it’s likely not all that different for humans. The Queen of Midwives also swears by the mind-body connection. So I’m trying to get my brain calm and mentally prepared. The nesting is pretty much done, so I’m focusing on the mental part now. It certainly can’t do any harm!

37 weeks (6)

I am sure that he is dropped some because this week my bladder is finally seeing the effects much more pressure. When we went hiking on Sunday, I was in such discomfort when we were on mile 4 and over an hour into our hike – I don’t think I can go more than 45 minutes without a visit to the bathroom these days! And not to be too specific, but when it feels like I have a gallon in there, it’s not much at all. Talk about compression! I’m getting up almost every night once to go to the bathroom, which is usual for me. When I’m not pregnant, I never get up in the night to go, and I haven’t really all that much during pregnancy until now either.

37 weeks (10)

Sleeping has actually gotten easier than it’s been in a while, and I have no idea why. Somehow I’m able to get more comfortable? Maybe I’m just more experienced with the pillows now : ) I have a standard head pillow on one side and a little pillow I wedge into my back on the other. I’ve also been able to reduce my glute fatigue by nearly sleeping on my stomach – I put the pressure slightly forward on my hip bone instead of stacking my hips totally on my side. It doesn’t work every night, but it’s better than it was. Ribs are on and off depending on babe’s position. If he’s up there with his legs, worse. When he’s super dropped after a walk, better. I have a numb spot on my stomach from all the nerve trauma his little body has caused! Lastly, I’ve noticed my hands and toes are a little swollen for the first time. More after a walk, so I need to increase the hydration, which is hard with all the peeing! Doctor says 99.9% of women experience swelling in the end and since my blood pressure is still very low, it’s not a concern.

37 weeks (2)
At my appointment this week, I was 1 cm dilated!! Also “softening.” No effacement yet though.

I also found out I’m group B strep positive, which is just a common bacteria that some women have in their bodies. The bad news is that it means antibiotics by IV during delivery, which is not something I wanted to have to deal with at ALL. But it’s a serious health risk in the worst case scenario of passing it on to the baby, so also not something I’d refuse. I’m just pretending it’s standard part of the routine of birth and that the little guy requested it for his protection.

I still can’t wait to see what real contractions are like. I think I have Braxton Hicks regularly, but it’s so hard to tell! I notice them most in the night when I roll over and things. I am still feeling very patient – not in a hurry to get him out. I would like him to stay in until 39 weeks, 6 days : ) But I’m also getting really excited, and it’s a really fun change to feel things and not worry that he is coming too soon. I never thought I’d welcome cramps so much!

PREVIOUS 37 WEEK POSTS

Snapshots

The Hospital Bag

Belly Dancer

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36 weeks

36 Weeks: Nesting–> Resting

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Exciting times ahead! This is the first week – less than a month to go – where I feel like having a baby is no longer just an idea in the distant future but something real that is actually happening. Moreover, although I know the stats and research that say first-time moms generally go beyond the estimated due date, I can’t help but have a little bit of wonder if my water is going to break at ANY SECOND. Surprisingly, I have heard about 6 stories of 36-week births this week – even before I share my number of weeks with the person. I was talking to a mom in Motherhood Maternity about cleaning and nesting and she said she had a cleaning fest one day and her water broke – 36 weeks, 1 day – the next morning. So it CAN happen early (and sometimes happens even earlier) but I’m not counting on it quite yet.

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Am I looking more low / round to you? Because I certainly feel like he has dropped!

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The biggest reason I think so isn’t really the photo above, but the fact that I’ve been having tons of pressure down there. There have been times when I’m sitting on my exercise ball and I stand up and feel a HUGE amount of pressure. Other times I’ll be on a walk or doing housework and I’ll feel like his head is literally sitting and pressuring right on my cervix. Maybe he hasn’t officially dropped into a 0 station or anything because I don’t feel bowling-ball-between-the-legs, but I think something has happened. I wasn’t really having trouble breathing before, but my rib muscle pain has most definitely improved – so that’s another sign. I still have a spot there where the skin is kind of numb!

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I haven’t really noticed it, but Matt says when we are out and about that people stare at me all.the.time. I guess a pregnant belly is fun to look at :mrgreen: He says he can’t believe how many people he catches looking – protective father <3

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The baby’s movements have definitely slowed down. Not so much in frequency (they tell you that can be a bad sign) but just in his ability to move in there. I almost always can catch a few when I lie down and he loves to poke out his knees (or something!) when I go on a walk – usually in the first 10 minutes. I also feel big round bumps move around all the time. I’m guessing this is his bum and not his head, but I can’t be sure.

I’ve had a couple of contractions – Braxon-Hicks I’m guessing – that have actually been a little painful. Sitting has gotten a little harder and more uncomfortable (sitting cross-legged is my best position on the couch) and sometimes when I stand up from being seated everything seems to cramp up. I had to carry my bump up the stairs the other day until it relaxed!

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I am slowing down – or rather I need to slow down – this last month. I’m still trying to do a lot in my days and I can just sense that it might be time to focus on resting as much as nesting. This will be easy to do since the house is in great shape, the nursery is complete, the hospital bags are packed, and we have all the gear we need for a newborn ready to go.

May it be tomorrow or 5 weeks from now – there is excitement in the air!

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35 Weeks: No Sides Left

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IT’S AUGUST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 5-ish weeks to go!

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I’ve been waiting….a long time….to be able to write that. This may not even be the month in which my baby is born, BUT the final 31-day countdown has begun!

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I think the baby actually flipped horizontally this week – hopefully not vertically! Friends have told me that if he did a full head to toe turn I probably would have felt it at this point, and my doctor said that’s very unlikely. Plus I didn’t really feel anything that felt like a head up top. Maybe he went transverse for a day? But what I think happened was that he flipped over to mirror his usual position – because all of a sudden I felt feet on the left! It was really weird and different. A day later, he seems to be back in his old spot. So curious what he’s doing in there!

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I know babies can drop at any time between 30 and 41 weeks – sometimes not until during delivery. But our childbirth class said it’s common around 36 weeks, which I am rapidly approaching… My rib pain is slightly better, and I have been feeling what I would call and ache down there at times. Perhaps he’s just getting really big and heavy! Or maybe making a slow decent into the pelvis.

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How about visually? Any different? Doesn’t look like it to me…

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I still have moments when I forget that I am pregnant. When the baby is still and I’m not looking down, I feel pretty normal! But then there are other moments when I think that I am so ready to get over these aches and pains.

Sleeping is my biggest complaint. Generally I’m pretty good during the day – so long as my rib muscle pain is not flaring up! But at night is when it all sets in.

A normal person has a minimum of four sides to sleep on: right, left, stomach, back.

I am down to…zero. I’ve been trying to sleep at angles to create a new side!

Obviously sleeping on my stomach is out of the question. Lying on my back makes me feel woozy (due to the vena cava compression I think – also not good for baby). My right side brings too much gravity pressure on my rib muscles, and my left side now has a sore hip/glute from not enough variation! I spend most of the night testing out both the right and left sides to see which one hurts the worst.

Luckily though, this is mostly a problem in the early morning – I generally am still sleeping through the night, and for that I am very thankful. I did have one night when I had been on my feet all evening and my rib pain was getting to be just too much – I couldn’t get any relief and couldn’t sleep. But luckily that seemed to get better when the baby did his flip flop and has been OK since.

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We were showered with love and gifts this past weekend and are so thankful for those who were there to celebrate! I am putting the finishing touches on my to-do list this week – and it feel so good!!

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34 Weeks: Drop Or Not?

34 weeks (10)

34 weeks feels like another huge milestone. According to some of my doctor friends, the chances of the baby needing lots of respiratory care if he were to come are now slim. Also, my hospital, Martha Jefferson, allows mothers from 34 weeks on to labor there (otherwise I would have had to go to UVA, which has a top-of-the-line NICU), so that’s a relief as well. Of course nothing is guaranteed, but I’m very thankful to have made it this far along.

34 weeks (1)

I definitely grew out a bit in the past week! In fact, I thought that the baby might be dropping a bit because I’ve felt quite a few bangs down there that kind of took my breath away. I’ve read online that babies can drop a little bit at a time starting pretty early, especially for first time moms, so this wouldn’t have surprised me, but my doctor said his head didn’t feel like it had descended – rather I probably had some pelvic floor spasms! There’s definitely more pressure down there in general though, and my stomach feels heavier.

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Another reason I thought he might have dropped some is because my burning rib pain (which doctor says is common – muscle spasms that feel like tingles and/or burning under the ribs) nearly went away for a few days! However, they were back with a vengeance the other night, I think I just did something to let them rest. And being on my feet too much Saturday night brought them back! The only way I can get relief from this terrible burning (which unpredictably comes and goes) is to lie on my left side. At least I know of a way to find relief.

Burning rib pain location

34 weeks (7)

I’ve started sitting on my exercise ball (which I bought just for pregnancy) while I work. I think this is helping with my low back pain. I went back to the dining room chair for a day and the pain came back strong, so ball must be helping. Not to be indelicate, but I sit on it with my legs spread open – also to encourage good pelvis position! And my doula says it’s best for the back + pelvis to sit with the knees lower than the hips, which happens on the ball. My doctor felt the baby’s head right in the middle of my pelvis and said it was in a great spot, so I’m encouraged that things are aligned.

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Oh how lovely – a peek inside a maternity skirt!

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I’ve also had to change the way I do some movements this week. Things like pulling up my pants and standing up from sitting on the floor or squatting – if I don’t do them slowly and with good form I really hurt my lower back. I used to think that the tough part of being pregnant was just having a basketball on your front, but I’ve realized how much the structures of the body change as a result of the basketball. Rolling over at night isn’t hard because of my stomach but because of my hips, back, rib muscles and abs always hurt. Standing up isn’t hard because of the weight or balance redistribution but because of my hips, back and ab pain. Everything is just loose and shifting around in there and there’s a pain somewhere all the time. I look at the other women in Body Pump and wonder how I ever had the stability to do planks and lift heavy bars! I sure hope I can get that back.

34 weeks (6)

[How was this ever my stomach!?]

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The baby is really hard in there – meaning I feel his body so firm against my skin all the time! My favorite moments are still those when his knee or foot or leg pokes out – always on my upper right side. He loves to poke them out when I walk! Or when I lie on my left side. We still do lots of playin’ together : ) You’ll find me with my right hand on my stomach all the time.

34 weeks (8)

Ribs and back aside, I’m feeling really good. Still sleeping well, but a bit more tired in general, which I hear is normal around this time. I have little desire to do much more than walk, yoga and lift weights, although I have gotten a few cravings to burst out into a run! Not sure how that would go – lol. I’m finally starting to feel “huge,” like a turtle shell is strapped to my front. I can still see my toes and shave my legs no problem though, so we’ll see how big I get!

34 weeks (9)

 

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33 Weeks: The Little Turtle

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As I’m now halfway through my 34th week (33 weeks down, working on 34), I can’t believe I only have about 6.5 weeks to go! I’m wondering if I should pack a hospital bag yet? It seems like a lot of time for a bag to sit, but then again the whole point in packing a bag ahead of time is to expect the unexpected. I do think it’s time to do the rest of the things on my to-do list – including biting the bullet and buying our stroller and carseat. I’ve had a lot of time to save for these two big purchases!

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I have a little turtle in there now : ) He loves to poke out a limb, a knee, a foot, his butt just like a little turtle head would poke out. He moves it around for a little and then the second I say to a friend “Hey feel this!!” the turtle goes back inside his shell. Sometimes I don’t even feel it from the inside but I’ll put my hand on my stomach and will feel a little knob poking out!

Just after my doctor said “It is very unlikely that he will turn this late in the game” I actually felt like he did turn for a day. Not necessarily a complete 180*, but I felt the turtle pokes on my left side and things were totally different. But within 24 hours, he seemed to settle back into his usual position with most of the movements on the upper right.

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Speaking of the upper right, my rib connection is KILLING me! My uterus sits right-side heavy and jabs up into my ribs all day long. This has been really irritating to the muscles (or whatever!) in that area. If I sit for too long it hurts, but if I stand for too long it pulls and hurts too. Really the only way for me to get relief is to lie on my left side and let everything sink to the left and away from the right. I’ve been trying to sleep on my left more, but sleeping is just so uncomfortable in general that it’s hard to do that.

I used to be able to sleep on 4 sides. Now I’m down to 1!! Last night I just could NOT get comfortable. But luckily I am still sleeping for most of the night and not having to get up to pee a ton.

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My lower back has bothered me a little bit this week too. In general I did really well on my car trip – it didn’t hurt too much during. I sat on a towel to keep my hips higher than my knees and keep my pelvis tilted down. But I’m wondering if today’s back pain might be a delayed response to 6 hours in 24 hours.

Another ailment (gosh I’m full of complaints this week!) is that I feel like his head – or just his weight – is pushing on my bladder (and possibly my cervix?) more and more. It’s mostly noticeable when I start out on a walk – like I get a few big jabs downward of pressure before things kind of settle out. It’s not all that painful, but it’s not comfortable either.

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But to end on a positive note, I’ve found that I love pregnancy more and more as time goes on. I just love being able to feel him and interact with him and have him feel big and strong inside of me. It’s sooo much better than those early weeks when I was sick and nervous and so far away from meeting him. Although I do have a list of physical complaints, all in all I’m still feeling good and don’t really have that “Get this baby out of me!” feeling yet. Perhaps that is around the corner, but I’m enjoying where I am right now.

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[Did you notice my photography assistant today?!]

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