Sunday, January 25, 2015

Week 39 and 40: The Final Weeks (Late Posts Capturing Final Thoughts Before Delivery)


NOTE: Yes, this post is late, but I wanted to share my thoughts from weeks 39 and 40.

Week 39 (December 26, 2014 – January 2, 2015): Is it REALLY a GIRL!?


 
I hope everyone enjoyed the holidays! I know we did! I have to say that after visiting family this week, I’m sort of second guessing the sex of my baby. While the ultrasounds clearly show a girl (or the non-existence of necessary male part), my body shows otherwise.
This week several people have pointed out that my body looks as if it’s carrying a boy. Instead of high, and all around, I’m carrying low and out. From the back I barely look pregnant. While I find it flattering, the constant comments are causing anxiety to set in. What if it IS a boy!? What if the ultrasound technicians “missed” something? What do I do with all this girly stuff (since no one sells gender neutral products nowadays)? Could multiple ultrasounds really be wrong!? Then I think about all the symptoms I’ve had throughout this pregnancy, specifically those that point to “girl”, and I know I must be having a girl.
For starters, right before I found I was pregnant, I suffered from serious back acne; a symptom I contribute to the change in hormones. I also became extremely emotional and I still am today. I cry so easily unlike before and my emotions can be all over the place at times. I highly doubt testosterone would make me this sappy. But the most obvious symptom that screams high estrogen production aka girl baby is the lack of hair on my legs and armpits. In the beginning, my belly grew so much dark, thick hair, I looked like I had a very manly beer gut. Now, the hair on my belly is barely visible and the hair on my legs and armpits grow thinly at a very, very slow rate. I have gone weeks without shaving because my legs still feel and look smooth. Only the increased hormones from a baby girl can do that, right!?
Either way, I’m still holding off on washing clothes and opening products until after baby is born. You would think my natural instincts would tell me boy or girl, but I was so sure I was having a boy until the ultrasounds showed a girl. That moment killed all my confidence. I could no longer trust my own instincts which is why I’m here now confused as crap. Ahhh!
Oh well. On another note, this week’s appointment was sort of disappointing. I went in hoping for good news that the baby was head down and engaged but instead we discovered a baby who was still floating freely…so freely that she seemed to have flipped back to breech! While I was a bit disappointed, my midwife and birthing team reminded me that having enough room for baby to move was a good thing. They also reminded me that I flipped her once I can flip her again, so home I went to study more on spinningbabies.com. Inversions and daily belly mapping will be on my daily to-do list until I either go into labor or until my next appointment. Here’s to hoping I can flip baby back to the head down position, get this little booger engaged and labor started before 41 weeks!
The rest of my appointment went well. We did draw my blood to test my iron levels. Fingers crossed that my levels have significantly improved. (THEY DID!! Thank you liver and Floradix!)
My Stats:
  • Urine: Good!
  • Blood Pressure: 110/68
  • Weight: 155lbs
  • Measuring: 37cm – this is most likely due to the change in her position
  • Baby’s Position: Breeched Posterior?? Boo!
  • Baby’s HR: Strong!
For the remainder of the week, I spent my time nesting and food prepping for labor day. Yes, I said food prepping! It’s important to nourish your body and stay hydrated during labor and after delivery. A couple of popular recipes to have on hand include labor aid, a yummy sweet drink that helps restore electrolytes and provide an important nutrient, calcium magnesium, that helps the muscles function – muscles that will be used during labor and delivery! Another awesome recipe to have on hand: groaning muffins. These delicious muffins are sweet, fragrant, and nutrient and calorie dense. They are perfect for pregnancy, labor, postpartum and while nursing. I’m slowly making multiple batches to freeze for during and after labor. So good!
Other foods to have pre-prepped and on hand include ice chips made with coconut water or red raspberry leaf tea, a hearty meal to heat up and enjoy right after delivery and most importantly, food for your birthing team! They gotta eat too ya know J
Groaning Muffins for the Win!
 
Now that everything’s prepped all I have left to do is wait; and well continue hypnobirthing, massaging my perineum and keeping the house cleaned!

Week 40….or is it 39? (January 2 – January 11, 2015): The FINAL Week!



Well, my due date has passed and still no baby yet. I was so sure she would be born on her due date considering my first daughter was born on hers. I guess she will come on her own time. She has shown to have a mind of her own. Lord help me. Ha!
This week’s appointment was very similar to my last. We checked my blood pressure, urine, weight and of course the baby’s position. To our surprise baby girl had engaged! However, WHAT was engaged was still to be decided. Every time my midwife and assistant tried to check her position, baby girl would wiggle and move all over. My midwife guessed it was her head that was engaged and not her buttocks considering most breeched babies do not engage until labor begins, but with this baby, nothing was impossible. Again, she has a mind of her own.
My midwife finally received my records and after noticing that I had an ultrasound at 7 weeks has decided to go with the OB’s due date of January 13th. This gives me 10 extra days til I’m truly considered full term.  This also means we still have a due date that can be met. Maybe she’ll be born on the 13th! Wouldn’t that be crazy! I guess we’ll have to wait and see!
My Stats:
  • Urine: Good! Still producing antibodies which I have come to find out is associated with my consumption of gluten which can be found in my groaning muffins. Who knew!
  • Blood Pressure: 105/66
  • Weight: 156lbs
  • Measuring: 39 cm
  • Baby’s HR: 140’s
  • Position: ROP and engaged

I left my appointment happy and excited. Being engaged only meant baby was coming soon! My nerves began to set in as I realized I could go into labor at any moment. Am I physically and mentally prepared for this? Yes and no. But at this point there’s NO turning back. It’s now or never. I didn’t come all this way to back out now. I have a good reason to be anxious and nervous considering I’ve never been in real labor, but that’s why this experience is going to be worth it. I finally get to experience the true strength, will power and endurance God has given me as a woman. Plus, I have a few people to prove wrong….haha!! ;)
Well, here’s to hoping baby girl arrives before the 13th. While being pregnant has been such a fun, amazing and dare I say quite comfortable ride, I’m totally ready to see this baby!!! Bring on the labor!
As for my diet, exercise and symptoms:

Diet

I'm obsessed with cuties aka clementines. So juicy, sweet, slightly tart and refreshing. Plus they're super easy to grab when in a rush. I've also been craving smoothies again. My fave combo right now includes 2 frozen bananas, 1 cup frozen mango, almond milk, 3 Tbsp of hemp seeds and a handful of greens! Nom nommy! For lunch and dinner, it's always a warm meal. Mushrooms and peas with quinoa, cooked greens, pan seared tempeh are just a few of my faves.
 

Exercise

Still walking my pup! He's gotten so big!!
 

Symptoms

Besides Braxton Hicks contractions, my main issue has been back pain. My lower back is always sore and achy. My midwife and doula recommend a chiro for an adjustment. I think they're right. :)
*Beth*

Monday, December 29, 2014

Weeks 36-38: And now we wait….

It’s hard to believe that we’ve made it to full term! Although the journey was quite crazy, I am so excited to finally bring this miracle baby into the world. As we patiently wait for nature to take its course, my husband and I have been working hard preparing for both birth and baby. We’re both excited and nervous for this whole new experience, but we’re also confident that it’ll be an amazing one. Can’t wait!

WEEK 36

 
The past few weeks have been quite busy when it comes to prepping for baby. During week 36 we attended an AMAZING natural birth class by doula and childbirth educator, Elizabeth Schwartz. The class was both informative and entertaining; so much so that my husband could not stop saying on the way home how awesome the class was and how excited he was for our birth. Yes, the class was THAT good! We learned so much about prenatal care, the stages of labor, comfort measures to help deal with the discomfort as well as a few breastfeeding tips. Best of all, my hubby learned how HE could help! We both walked out excited, with a better understanding on what to expect when labor day comes and feeling more prepared and ready to go. Best class ever!? I think so!
Week 36 also marked the start of my weekly prenatal visits. My wonderful birth team decided to visit me at home for this week, allowing my husband and I time to get to know them all and how they work together. All I have to say is, I have a wonderful team by my side. Add in my husband and I have a feeling I am going to be well taken care of….and also thoroughly entertained.

During my appointment we did the normal check-up routine PLUS an iron test. What we discovered from the results of my iron test completely shocked me. My iron was low. REALLY LOW. As you may have recalled at the beginning of my pregnancy, my iron levels were great; something I contributed to my beautiful, plant-based diet. However, I guess the lack of interest in green smoothies and juices throughout this pregnancy led to a serious iron deficiency. It made sense too. The low iron explained why I was so tired all the time and why I exhausted so easily. Naturally, this concerned us all and so we discussed my plan of action: take desiccated grass-fed beef liver along with Vitamin C and Floradix Iron and Herbs. Then, in a week or two, we would draw my blood and check my levels again.
It worried me that my levels were so low, so I was determined to bring them up. I started consuming daily 3 tablets or 2,000mg of desiccated liver along with Vitamin C, 20ml of Floradix and my multi-vitamin. The results? I felt better. WAY better! I had energy again. Too much actually! It was crazy how quickly I began to feel more lively and energetic and my midwife even stated my overall look improved. I have to admit, I was in denial that I could be deficient in iron – especially on a plant based diet – but when your blood volume doubles and you have to provide iron for you AND another human being, it’s silly NOT to think that a deficiency is possible. Lesson learned for sure.

As for my other results:
  • Urine: Okay. Some proteins, but overall good.
  • Weight: 150 lbs
  • Baby’s Position: ROA or Rt Occiput Position (YEAH!!! An improved position for sure!)
  • Measuring: 36 cm (Perfect since I was 36 wks, 4 days)

We also discussed the multiple procedures that are performed on babies in the hospital and the options I had for each. My midwife provided us with a binder filled with information on each procedure, including the risks and benefits for each option, and encouraged us to read it prior to making our decisions. While I already knew which option I would choose, I still read each and every article. I was surprised by how much I DIDN’T know about each procedure. While my decisions ultimately remained the same, I feel way more informed, able to back up my decision should anyone question it.

The procedures in question included:
  1. Vitamin K shot
  2. Eye Ointment
  3. Hepatitis B Vaccine

While I opted to NOT have all three done, it’s important that all expecting parents become informed of the benefits and risks of having and not having the procedure done. An informed decision is a confident decision.

Last but not least we received and went over our birthing supply list. While we had most of the items already lying around the house, it was important that we had them all prepped and ready to be used. We purchased any items we didn’t have lying around the house (such as depends, haha!) and put together our birthing supply basket. Now, when the day arrives, everything will be available and easily accessible.

Before my team left, they dropped off one last item, the one thing I would need most for birth day: the birthing pool! The moment my hubby and I saw it, we realized this was it! Baby could be coming any day now! All of sudden, we both were in preparation mode. The nesting stage had finally hit.

 

WEEK 37


During week 37, my husband and I did some major baby shopping and continued prepping for birth day and baby’s arrival. That week my birthing kit had also arrived, full of everything my midwife would need to help me through labor, delivery and post-partum. Since it was the week before Christmas and the week before my last day in the office at work, I didn’t focus too much on baby; which was fine because it made the week fly by pretty fast!
My 37 week appointment was pretty routine and simple. Baby was still in the right position and my vitals were looking good. My midwife was pleased to see that instead of looking ghostly and tired I was looking lively and rosy cheeked; a sign that my iron levels must have significantly improved. Overall things were looking great and we were all excited that I had finally reached 37 weeks because it meant my midwife was legally allowed to deliver my baby at home. Any earlier and I would have had to go to a hospital. Whew.

During this appointment we tested for GBS aka Group B Strep, a  bacterial colonization that can be found in a pregnant woman’s vagina and rectum. Women who test positive for GBS may possibly pass the infection on to their baby, which can cause a variety of complications if not quickly treated. Most physicians recommend antibiotics during delivery to prevent baby from contracting an infection however, there are alternatives to getting rid of GBS prior to delivery. The Wellness Mama wrote a great article on GBS and the protocol she used to get rid of it and to prevent it in future pregnancies. Thankfully, a few days after my appointment, my midwife delivered the good news that my results came back negative. Thank you kombucha, raw garlic and coconut oil!

As for my vitals:
  • Urine: Still detecting trace proteins
  • Weight: 151 lbs
  • Blood Pressure: 119/75
  • Heart Rate: 62
  • Measured: 37cm
  • Baby’s HR: Strong
  • Baby’s Position: Head down :D

 

WEEK 38


During week 38 the need to nest hit me with full force. I spent the entire weekend cleaning the house from top to bottom and getting baby’s room ready. I cleaned every single baby item that I could and put them all away. My husband and I prepared the birthing room aka the upstairs foyer with seating, blankets, my birthing ball, birthing kit, supplies, pool, etc as well as our room with baskets filled with baby essentials waiting to be used once baby arrives.  I had such a need to get things done that my husband struggled to get me to sit down and watch a movie. I finally obliged to watching one movie with my family, but as soon as it was done I was back to cleaning and organizing. By the time the weekend was over, I had everything in its perfect place. Now all I had left to do was wait; and play with my new 100% covered by insurance, Medela breast pump. Wohoo! Finally, my insurance is good for something!

My week 38 appointment was again, routine. Nothing new to discuss or report.
  • Urine: Trace proteins....still. I give up.
  • Weight: 155lbs (Wowzers! Four pounds in one week!)
  • Blood Pressure: 109/74
  • Measured: 37cm (I gain 4lbs but still measure 37cm!? Weird)
  • Baby’s HR: Strong
  • Baby’s Position: ROA

Week 38 also marked the beginning of my pre-maternity leave leave. Thanks to my fabulous boss and co-workers, I started working from home full-time, giving me more time to relax, rest and prepare. In my opinion, the weeks leading up to birthing day are just as important as the 6 weeks post-partum. During those final weeks mom-to-be should find every way possible to disconnect with work and the obligations of everyday life and begin to rest, relax and connect with baby and body as she preps for labor and delivery. I know it’s not always possible for everyone to work from home or to avoid every duty required by mom-to-be especially if she has other children, but if she can find any way to make her day just a little bit less stressful than I have no doubts birthing day will go a lot smoother.

With the birthing room prepped, baby room organized, and everything in its place, all I can do now is rest, relax and wait for baby and body to begin their labor dance. I have a feeling someone is going to be like her sister and wait til her exact due dated to arrive. We shall see…

As for the other parts of my pregnancy:

DIET

My diet has been all over the place the past few weeks. Some days I have no appetite; others I can’t get enough to eat. I’ve been enjoying lots of fruits, specifically berries, bananas and oranges for breakfast along with coconut yogurt and oatmeal. For lunch, quinoa salads are still a staple. As for dinner, cooked greens, curried veggies with quinoa, and other cooked veggies are always a go to. For snacks, hummus, Mary’s Gone Crackers Pretzels, veggie sticks, fruit, dates and almond butter just to name a few. To drink, lots of water, NORA tea, kombucha and Natural Calm for magnesium. Nom nom!

Cravings: Chocolate, greens, lemon, and seafood.

 

EXERCISE

Walking lot a boss! I walk once or twice a day for at least 30 minutes with my pup. I also chase him around a bit every morning. In the evening, I try and stretch as much as I can to ease some of the pelvic pain and leg cramps.


SYMPTOMS

In the past few weeks, my belly has grown quite a lot. The extra weight has caused a lot of pressure on my back, hips and legs leading to more aches and pains. The worst part is, the aches and pain come mostly at night when I’m lying down resulting in a night of tossing, turning and no sleep. Some nights are better than others. It seems to all depend on how active I am during the day. The more active I am, the more nighttime aches and pains. I’ve tried stretching, pillow support, supplements, nothing works. Relief just comes as it pleases. Ugh. The joys of pregnancy! Other symptoms have included constant hunger, stronger Braxton hicks contractions and of course, the urge to nest which usually comes with a nice energy boost. Can’t complain about that! J

38 weeks down 2 more to go! At least I hope I only have 2 weeks left! But hey, can’t rush perfection right ;)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Weeks 30 and Beyond: The Home Stretch!

We’re down to the last few weeks and I’m feeling the pressure to get things done before this baby arrives. (Hence the reason why I’ve been silent for the past several weeks).  Top that off with the holidays, birthdays and the end-of-year chaos at work and all of a sudden, the excited, motivated, pregnant momma that I once was has been replaced with a stressed out, bug eyed, pregnant momma who wants to do nothing more but cower into a dark corner and hide until the New Year arrives. Not healthy I know. So in order to tackle the stress, I decided to name December “All About Me” month.

Yes, you read that right! During the most giving month of the year I have become self-centered and selfish. It sounds completely Grinch-like, but I promise it’s not as bad as it sounds. I don’t think….
See, the past 36 weeks I have spent my days being supermom, leaving very little time to take care of myself. This, of course, is a personal issue since I have a hard time saying no and an even harder time asking for help – even from my husband. As a result though, I have become extremely stressed, tired and behind on my duties to prepare for the birth and arrival of my baby. With only 4 weeks before my due date, I decided to take back control of my life and focus on me. This meant saying no to parties, no to volunteering, no to gift buying and yes to help, sleep and preparing for my birth. Again, I know it sounds very Grinchy, but if you had to live with the Grinch that I have become, you wouldn’t argue one second with my decision. Wouldn’t you rather have a lazy, happy, healthy, slacker for a momma then an angry, grouchy, always yelling, super busy, gift-giving momma!?  Exactly my point. And I have to say, so far, so good. More sleep, more help, and more time to myself has resulted in a WAYYYY happier, less stressed me. In my opinion, it’s the best gift I could give to my family, my friends and most importantly, my baby this holiday season.
Besides all that, the past several weeks have been quite eventful and quite busy as we continue to prepare for our new journey to begin. The nesting stage has finally kicked in. I have been feeling very motivated to thoroughly clean every inch of my home and the nursery is as prepared as it’s going to get. All newborn clothes that have been generously given or donated to us have been washed, folded and organized. I have been prepping my body and mind for delivery by drinking my NORA tea, massaging my perineum, practicing my hypnobirthing and watching videos of home births in and out of the water. While I’ve gotten a lot done I still have a lot to do. However, as part of my “Me” month, I’m just focusing on one thing at a time. I figured things will get done when they need to be done. :)
So to catch you up, here are a few highlights from the past several weeks:

Week “30”



 
This week I attended a henna tattoo event with my midwife and neighbor (who is also my birthing assistant) at Ten Moons Midwifery in Front Royal. It was my first “girl’s night out” in years and something I totally needed to unwind and relax. Not only did I get to hang out and chat with several acknowledgeable midwives and birthing assistants, but I also got the wonderful opportunity to have my baby bump henna’d; something I’ve been wanting to do for months!! The results were BEAUTIFUL. The talented artist and midwife, Desiree, did a fabulous job on making one of my “pregnancy dreams” come true. It made me feel more confident, more at peace and my belly felt beautiful for once. If you’re pregnant and ever get the opportunity to have your belly henna’d I highly recommend you do it (as long as the paste that is being used is safe!). The only warning I do want to give is that the dry paste does stick to your belly hairs and hurts like hell coming off. Haha!




Week 31

 
 
Nothing much happened this week. I did attend my cousins 21st birthday party which involved lots of eating and dancing. All I have to say is, it’s quite hilarious to try and dance, especially the Cha Cha Slide, when you’re THIS pregnant. Let’s just say, getting down low was not an option!!
 

Week 32/33

 
 
This week I had my second appointment with my midwife! During this appointment I had a chance to meet my second birthing assistant, a midwife in training and also the maker of the delicious NORA tea that I am now drinking. As part of my daily routine to mentally and physically prep my body for delivery, I’ve been drinking several cups of NORA tea as recommended by my midwife.  This delicious tea is a wonderful combo of nettles, oat straw, raspberry leaf, and alfalfa. It is loaded with nutrients, such as iron, that supports the body pre-pregnanyc, during pregnancy, during birth as well as post-partum. It is highly recommended and loved by midwives and natural birth enthusiasts everywhere! Just wish I knew about this sooner! There are many ways to prepare it but right now, HOT is the best!

 
As for my appointment, as you might have recalled from my last appointment, I had a mission to turn my baby from the breeched, OP position to the head down, AP position. During the weeks in between my appointments I had been doing inversions in order to get baby girl to flip head down. Well, it worked! When my midwife checked baby’s position, she was head down, but still in the OP position. One down, one to go. My next mission: get her OUT of the OP position. That means no leaning back and tons of forward leaning!
Other Stats (33 weeks, 4 days):
  • Blood Pressure: 127/75 <-- Need to work on that!!
  • Heartbeat: 100/min (??)
  • Weight: 147lbs (Not too bad!)
  • Urine: Good minus the trace of proteins. Goal: Increase protein intake!
Overall, the appointment went very well. We have a lot to think about the next few weeks, but I’m confident that things are going to go well.
To Do List:
  • Lean Forward and move baby OUT of OP position
  • Drink NORA Tea
  • Massage Perineum
  • Practice hypnobirthing
  • Research and make sound decision on several newborn “procedures”
  • And as always RELAX!!!
 
 

Weeks 34 and 35

 
I totally lost track of weeks 34 and 35. Work became so overbearingly busy that all I could do every night was sleep. Stress was taking over every part of my body and all I wanted to do was shut down. It’s super sad but it is what it is. Thankfully it only lasted a couple of weeks. Whew.

PREGNANCY SYMPTOMS

Mostly back and pelvic pain, some swelling in my ankles and Braxton hicks contractions.

DIET

My diet the past several weeks has been all over the place. Breakfast is usually fruit with yogurt or oats, nuts and seeds. Lunch is either a salad or a quinoa salad which I have totally fallen in love with these past few weeks. I find a favorite combo and stick with it for multiple days in a row. Some yummy combos include quinoa, cukes, tomatoes, olives, and green onions with a delicious lemony vinaigrette. Another combo I adore is quinoa with bell peppers, green onions, cilantro, corn, tomatoes and a little lime. It’s a great way to boost protein intake and it’s super filling too. As for dinner, I’m still chowing down on muh greens. I seriously cannot get enough.
Snacks: kombucha, hummus, veggies, fruit, nut butter, dates and dried edamame beans
Cravings: Chocolate, seafood

EXERCISE


I’m still walking with my big pup. It’s only 20 minutes or so but it’s super refreshing to get outside and stretch my legs…even if it is only 30 degrees out.

As I said, things are pretty chaotic, but I’ll try my best to send weekly updates until BIRTH DAY arrives! It’s down to the last few weeks!! Exciting!!

Beth

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Week 28 and 29: We have a Midwife!!! Home birth bound.

P.S. I know this is a month late…better late than never!

The past two weeks have been extremely exciting! For starters, my husband and I made a final decision to go with a home/water birth and chose a midwife who we both absolutely adore!

For the past several months - actually, ever since I started this pregnancy journey - the desire for a home/water birth sat on the sidelines as I attempted to manage the diagnosed, “high-risk” situation I was in. As I inched closer and closer to my delivery date, my anxiety increased as I debated on how exactly I would talk to my OB about my desires for a natural birth. Our discussion about alternate glucose testing didn’t go well, so I could only imagine what sort of response I would receive when I handed him my birth plan to look over. My requirements were extensive and completely “out-of-the-norm”. I just knew that very few would truly be met. However, no matter how anxious I got, I stuck with the OB because I felt that being in a “high-risk” situation, it was the right thing to do for the safety of my baby.

Then I met a wonderful friend who enlightened me more about home births and recommended a few midwives to contact and consider. After contacting our chosen midwife, I discovered that my condition, unless severe, is not really a high-risk situation at all. While we do not know the actual length of the septum that forms my bicornuate uterus, we’re positive it’s not long enough to cause any damage to me or my baby’s development. Yep, all this time, I could have had a less stressful, WAY less expensive pregnancy. I mean, I’m grateful that the doctors were being cautious and I no doubt, enjoyed seeing my baby girl every couple of weeks, but the amount of anxiety I had to endure and the amount of money that I had to put out was not worth it at all. Lesson learned. This alone validated my decision to switch to a midwife; even if I did have to put more money out. At least I knew I would finally be in the care of women who truly CARE about me, my body and my baby and follow the same traditional methods that I so strongly believe in.

After making this decision, finding our wonderful midwife and finally making the switch, I have to say that I am BEYOND relieved. The birth plan is basically out the window (for the most part); our midwife has been paid in full so I have no more financial worries (except for getting reimbursed from insurance – that’s a story for another day); and last, I can actually enjoy preparing for my birth! I couldn’t be happier!

Besides choosing a midwife, I not only had my first appt with my midwife but I also had my babyshower! I told you it was an exciting two weeks. J

 

Week 28

As I mentioned above, the first thing we did this week was choose our midwife, Kim Haines, midwife and owner of Barefoot Journey Midwifery and Co-Op. After meeting with Kim at our free consultation, my husband and I both agreed that she was the perfect candidate for the new ‘provider’ position. Her personality was catchy, she was easy to talk to as well as to understand, and we both loved her attention to details. Oh, and her price? Incomparable. Just looking at her website you get an idea of all the services you get for one set price. When you consider how much you fork up for prenatal care and for a hospital birth, THIS is nothing! AND if you can work it right, you may actually get partially reimbursed by your insurance company. So basically, at the end of the day, I’m paying very little for the best care that I actually WANT! How can you say “No” to that? You don’t. J
 
 
 

Week 29


The following weekend after meeting and choosing my midwife, I had my babyshower! When my mom first mentioned a babyshower a month or so back, I was a bit hesitant since this was my second child and I didn’t want to look greedy. After having it though, I’m so glad we went ahead with it! It was just a small get together with family and friends that turned out to be a huge success thanks to my mom’s efforts and fabulous party planning skills. That day I couldn’t have been more blessed…and more tired! HAHA.
 

 
Oh, and the overwhelming amount of gifts! It made me realize that I still  have a lot to do to prep for this baby. Aaaah!

The next day I had my first appointment with my wonderful midwife! We went over all the details of our contract and discussed sort of how things would go from now until the day I deliver. She taught me how to test my urine for certain things such as proteins and we tested my glucose via a finger prick which turned out to be perfect. She then had me lie down flat on my back in order to feel where the baby was positioned.  Come to find out the little booger is not only diagonally breeched, but she’s also in the OP, or Occiput Posterior, position. In other words, her bum is down towards my pelvis and she’s facing outward towards my belly button as opposed to inward towards my spine. What does this mean!? Well, not much now, but if she remains like this and doesn’t move into the right position, then momma is going to be doing some serious body work to get her to adjust. It also means I made the perfect decision to go with a midwife. At least I know she’ll deliver a breeched baby if necessary. The OB would send my butt straight to the ER for a C-Section. THAT was NOT gonna happen!  

While lying down we also listened to the baby’s heart beat using a fetoscope, which was unique and different. Instead of hearing the loud, rhythmic heartbeat that you get with a doppler, I heard a faint, muffled heartbeat straight from the womb. That made the fact that I’m carrying a tiny human being so much more real! It was amazing! Thankfully, I was able to hold back my happy tears as to not scare my midwife, but honestly to hear my baby girl’s heartbeat in that way pulled the deepest strings of my heart. I fell so much more in love with her that day and my excitement to soon see her, grew dramatically.  Can’t wait!

Other notes from my appointment include:
  • Weight – 144 Lbs
  • Blood Pressure – 116/70
  • Due Date – January 2nd (Yes, we’re currently going with my LMP)
By the end of my appointment I had a list of fun things to do:
  • Visit Spinningbabies.com and practice moves to get the baby to move into the optimal position
  • Schedule an all-day natural birthing class
  • Massage my perineum to prevent tearing
I also added:
  • Continue practicing hypnobirthing techniques
  • Complete billing paperwork for insurance reimbursement
  • Figure out which oils to purchase for labor and delivery
  • Rest and relax!
That last one is still a toughy, but I’m learning.
 
 
 
 
As for the rest....

My Diet


Breakfast: Kombucha, yogurt parfaits, overnight oats and an occasional smoothie
Lunch: Salads galore!
Dinner: Cooked greens, potatoes, squash and veggies usually with rice
Snacks: Apples and nut butter, bananas, dried fruit, raw trail mix, popcorn
Cravings: Anything salty, fresh, baked bread, cheese and chocolate. Horrible!

My Exercise Routine


Nothing is better than a ½ mile walk with my pup. I’m also doing some stretching when I can.
 
 
 

Pregnancy Symptoms 


The baby moves frequently which I love to feel. The pressure of the weight, however, has caused a lot of hip and pelvic pain. Stretching seems to give some relief but honestly, I think it’s just all part of the fun.  Gotta love it!

Short and sweet. Nothing to complain about. Nothing to brag about either. Just cruising along on the pregnancy boat. Our final destination is not too far away!

Wohoo!


Beth

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Weeks 24 – 27: Living Happily Uncomfortable + Birthing Options: Home vs Hospital

 

In the past month my belly has grown at a rapid rate. I think my belly has finally reached the maximum amount it can “normally” stretch before the real skin stretching begins. Every day my belly feels like it is being pushed out to abnormal lengths. It’s tight, heavy and uuuuuuuuuncomfortable! And when she moves…ouch! BUT I’m not complaining because I’m happy! All this stretching means that my baby girl is growing which is super important. The only downside? My clothing options are decreasing by the day.  My only pair of work pants are becoming extremely uncomfortable to wear; my jeans, while fit with a rubber band, tend to fall consistently; and my belly is beginning to outgrow my favorite dresses. Is it time for a trip to the consignment shop for maternity clothes? Yes, yes I think so.

In other news, I’ve been doing some serious thinking on whether or not I want to give birth to my baby in a hospital as I had originally planned. While it may be a better option financially, personally I fear that my requests as listed on my birth plan would not be met or completely ignored. I want a natural, stress free, medical intervention free birth. Will I get that at a hospital? Not likely. So I have decided to weigh my options and see what it takes to have a midwife instead of an OB and a home birth instead of a hospital birth. I just feel a home birth will be so much more personal and relaxing. I’ll be able to choose the way I labor, the way I deliver and what to do with my baby after she is born. I’ll have freedom! My body, my baby, my choice.
Have you had any experience with a midwife or home birth? If so, how was it?

DIET

Breakfast: I have been adding some variety to my breakfast lately. (Shocker, I know!). I still love me a delicious parfait loaded with banana and pomegranate seeds topped with nuts, hemp seeds, chia seeds and flax. Superfood heaven right there! I’ve also been testing out a few fruit smoothies as well as a few hearty, creamy smoothies like pumpkin pie. Yumm! My most recent obsession is apples, nut butter and banana! We went apple picking 2 weekends ago and my house WAS loaded with apples, so I decided why not indulge in as many as I can! I’ve almost hit that “I’m sick of ‘em” point. Almost.
Lunch: Nothing new here. Still salads, salads and MORE salads with my fave dressing: lemon garlic tahini! Nom nom nooooom!
Dinner: Still eating what’s in season. I have a serious obsession now with greens. I literally CRAVE cooked greens with garlic and lemon (Can you see a pattern here!?). Soooooo good!  Sometimes I’ll throw in some olives or tomatoes or even chickpeas. Seriously, ridiculously, obsessively good.
Snacks: Sprouted Trail Mix and Hummus top the list! Oh and cookies. Exclusively Angela’s (From Oh She Glows) Vegan, Gluten Free ChocolateChip Cookies. I can, and sometimes do, eat them all….day….long! Call me pregnant cookie monster. It’s that serious. Cookie, cookie, cookie, coooooookie!
 
Cravings: Greens, soups, and cookies

 

EXERCISE

I still take my dog, Rex, on a daily walk around the neighborhood. It takes us anywhere between 15-30 minutes and is approximately ¼ - ½ a mile. Not too far but a nice, brisk walk none the less. Now that it’s getting a lot colder outside, I’m all for quick and easy.

I’ve also been trying to incorporate a prenatal yoga class or two during the week. It’s sad to see how weak I am ever since I lost all of my  weight and gained it all back. My muscles lack the tone and strength that they used to have. Hopefully the yoga plus the walking will help me gain some of that back. It’s been really nice to relax, breath and stretch! I can really feel it in my back and hips. They love me J
 

PREGNANCY

Weeks 24 and 25

Honestly, at this point, I don’t recall much about weeks 24 and 25 except for the fact that I was growing by the day.  Time is flying by so fast and with the fall/holiday season in full swing, we’ve been busy baking goodies, picking apples, attending festivals and enjoying the cooler weather. My pregnancy has become such a part of my life that I literally have to write down things about my pregnancy in order for me to remember. Sad.
24 Weeks!


25 Weeks!

Week 26
In week 26 I started dealing with some nausea, especially after I ate. I was afraid that I was going to have to deal with the third trimester morning sickness, but thankfully it went away after a few days. My daughter was recovering from a pretty bad cold so I wonder if maybe I caught a small bit of it.

As for the rest of the week, well, it was quite busy. First, my husband came home with a new, slightly used, Nissan Pathfinder after realizing that in a few months we would be traveling with not only a child and a baby, but also with a grown pup. With our family quickly expanding, it was only smart to purchase a vehicle that would comfortably fit us all. So far, the family, including Rex, is totally loving it!
That weekend, we drove our new vehicle up to Graves Mountain to attend their annual Apple Fest. While it was wet and a bit chilly, the time spent with family and our pup was still enjoyable. What surprised me the most was that even after all that standing and walking, I was not sore! How is that!? I get home, stand for 4 hours and I feel like my body was hit by a truck. Weird.



Lastly, I forced my husband to drive me into “town” to seek out maternity clothes at a consignment shop that I had heard so much about. While the selection of my size, my style clothing was very small, I still walked out with three dresses and a pair of hideous, yet comfortable dress pants for only $40. A deal!? I think so. I’m in love with dresses and wish to wear them all the time. I have a feeling consignment shopping will be my new favorite hobby for the next couple of months. After all, I’m not getting smaller. Just ask my husband…
On Sunday morning, while lying in bed waiting for my husband to wake up.

Husband: “I’m hungry!”
Me: “Well, I don’t know what you’re going to eat. I need to go grocery shopping. Eat your pork rinds from yesterday.”

Husband: “I’m hungry! I’m hungry!”

Me: (Lifting shirt to watch belly move)
Husband: “Well, we can tell SOMEONE’s being well fed!”

We both busted out laughing! Yes, my husband called me fat but at the same time I couldn’t be mad because he honestly had a point. Have you seen this thing!?
26 Weeks!
 
Week 27
In week 27 I started dealing with a new pregnancy symptom: feet swelling.  Every evening my feet, especially my left foot, would swell to the point that it was visibly puffy and red. It wasn’t painful or uncomfortable, but I could definitely feel it. Knowing that swelling, while normal, can also be a sign of a serious condition such as preeclampsia, I took precautions and rested a soon as it became visible. Elevating my feet seemed to help and the swelling would be gone by morning. The odd thing is, the swelling occurred all week long, until Friday. From Friday into the weekend, I dealt with very little if any swelling. So weird.

I’ve also been dealing with boosting my self confidence. The lack of clothing options, plus my hatred for the maternity dress pants that I find absolutely unfitting, has left me a bit down in the dumps. I desire to be beautiful and somewhat sexy yet all I see is frumpy. My hair is dragging, my beautiful long nails, all broken and my feet and legs slightly swollen. I hope I can get out of this rut soon because I know I’m beautiful. I just have to see it for myself. It doesn’t help that I’m a bottle full of raging hormones. I used to never cry and now I cry 2-3 times a day! The joys of pregnancy!
Week 27!

On Friday, I had my one month checkup at the OB. Everything is looking great. The baby is growing, again, on point! Her head, belly and femur all measure perfectly. Her heartbeat was rapid; between the 140’s – 150’s. She weighed in at around 2lbs and 5oz and was smiling for us while watching her on the 3D cam. Every time I see her I fall more and more in love with her. She’s already perfect.
 

 
As for momma, I gained 10lbs in one month!! Yes, I’m 137lbs right now! I finally reached my pre-pregnancy weight, plus some, which was good news for everyone. My BP was 120/74; normal for me. And the swelling, according to my doc, is completely normal. Checking in perfect!
That day, reality finally hit. This baby is coming SOON! My doctor notified me that after my next appointment I would be visiting every 2 weeks to make sure I’m progressing well. Every two weeks!? Am I seriously that close!? All I could do was panic. I have so much to do!

 

Checklist

And then there’s this…. I don’t even know where to start

  1. Decide on type of birth and contact a midwife ASAP
  2. Find a hypnobirthing class
  3. Stock up on needed oils for delivery and post partum
  4. Continue yoga routine
  5. Finish baby registry for babyshower
  6. Stress less and ENJOY pregnancy

That last one is a doozy…
Any advice!?

Until next time, enjoy the cooler weather and have a Happy Halloween!

Beth

Friday, September 26, 2014

Weeks 22 and 23: Baby Bump Alert!


The past couple of weeks have been quite hectic with the new puppy settling in and going from newborn to toddler in just two weeks. I’m chasing him around, getting him out of trouble, and constantly correcting him when he does something inappropriate, like climbing right out of his playpen. He’s a mess but we love him none the less and he’s definitely giving me some serious training for when the baby comes. Not only will I have managed to learn to once again multi-task while trying to watch an attention needing baby, but I’m also getting used to waking up in the middle of the night, spending all my free-time cleaning and doing chores, and most importantly, walking around and doing tasks as quietly as possible so I don’t wake up the sleeping pup. It’s actually quite hilarious HOW similar having a puppy is to having a very young child and HOW similar my responsibilities and actions are. To all pet ONLY owners whom for years I disregarded as being “parents”, I apologize. You ARE a parent. It’s hard work!
See his face!? Full of food!
Aside from puppy duty, I have been trying my best to take it easy in order to prevent the aching pelvic and back pains I encounter at the end of every day. Unfortunately, the  moment I get home I tend to get into this must-get-things-done-now mode and completely forget to take a break every 30 minutes or so until it’s too late and my body is screaming for rest. By 8:30pm everything from my waist down hurts; my tummy is contracting; my feet are swollen; and I’m straight up exhausted to the point I usually crash around 9:00pm. I’ve realized resting is a must, along with drinking more water. Haven’t been too good at that either… Oh the woes of a pregnant mother!
Other than that the pregnancy has been going well! Wohoo!

Ready for an update!?

DIET

Breakfast: For the past two weeks I have had a serious crush on yogurt parfaits. Fresh fruit, creamy plain coconut yogurt and nutty, crunchy nuts and seeds make the perfect hearty breakfast for the morning time. My favorite combinations include peaches and cream and strawberry banana. What I am a bit disappointed about though is the lack of protein in coconut yogurt. It contains a ton of fiber and some really good for you carbs (sans the sugar), but it lacks the protein you may find in regular greek yogurt. So now I’m on a search for high protein vegan yogurt that doesn’t contain soy. Any brands you know of?
I’m also starting to crave creamy, delicious green smoothies again so I’m sure I’ll be posting about those next week!

Lunch: I’m surprisingly doing very well on having one salad a day. This delicious recipe for Avocado Hummus by The Veggie Indian definitely helps! Mixed greens, cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, green onions and a huge dollop of hummus makes the perfect salad.  Yummy!
On my days home, I sometimes make a warm, cooked meal for lunch as opposed to a salad. My go to has been a spinach/greens and chickpea curry! Onions, garlic, spinach, chickpeas, tomatoes, bell peppers, and LOTS of curry powder with a splash of milk makes me smile every single time. The warming spices are just perfect for this time year as fall is slowly settling in to place. Mmm mmm!

Dinner: Speaking of fall, for the first time in my life, I am soooooo happy it is here! About a month prior to fall hitting, I was craving for everything fall like: pumpkin spice, apples, winter squash, cooler weather, etc and now that it’s here, I honestly couldn’t be more happy! With fall produce slowly hitting the shelves of the farmer’s market, I have been getting my fill whenever I possibly can! Apples are a daily snack and dinner is either a sweet potato or winter squash. Hearty, filling and oh so yummy!!! I’m sure I’ll eventually be sick of fall produce but until then, eat on I say!
Snacks and Cravings: Still enjoying my weekly growler fill of local kombucha. It’s my go to every single morning! Apples are a snacking staple, especially when combined with some sort of nut butter, which I consume a jar of per week. Yes, you read that right; one jar per week. I also love snacking on trail mixes. My favorite is Living Intention’s Sprouted Mixed BerryTrail Mix which I buy by the bulk at WholeFoods. That stuff is nature’s candy and trust me, I consume it like candy! It’s addicting. Thank goodness it’s loaded with healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.

As for cravings, every time I smell popcorn I want popcorn. However, I have been trying my best to NOT cave in to that craving since corn is a common food allergy. It’s been hard! I also want all things chocolate - no surprise there - and fresh bread! The worse craving I have had is for cheese. Yes, cheese and NO, vegan cheese does not do…except when it’s on pizza. I’ll admit I take a nibble here and there of my daughter raw, local cheddar cheese but I haven’t caved in and eaten an entire bowl of mac n cheese or anything of that sort. Will power is key, but man is the struggle real!

EXERCISE

I can’t even…. The puppy gives me enough exercise. I do go on walks with my pup and chase him around continuously. I probably need to restart my yoga considering I’m in more pain now than I was before. I just need to find the motivation…


MY PREGNANCY

23 Weeks and 4 Days!
I had my very last 2 week appointment on Friday (*sniff*) and everything looked well. The baby’s head, while still measuring small in comparison to the rest of her body, is proving to be growing at a normal rate. It hasn’t caught up to her body but it hasn’t gotten smaller either so the concern of hindered growth is now behind us…at least for now. She’s gotten big that is for sure and so has momma!

22 Weeks: Thinking I may need to retire that dress soon.

If you recall from my very first post, I had lost a significant amount of weight, almost 15 pounds to be exact, due to severe nausea and vomiting. Eating was impossible and so my body suffered. After the 15th week I began feeling better and started consuming whole foods and meals again. At first I didn’t gain any weight but I didn’t lose any either. Then slowly I gained my weight back. Last month I had gained 4 pounds and weighed in at 119. This past Friday I weighed in at a whopping 127! Yes, I am back at my pre-pregnancy weight, and trust me you can tell! My belly has gone from adorably small to this huge soccer ball sized belly that is always tight and uncomfortable to carry around. The weight gain definitely explains why I’ve been having so much back and pelvic pain. It also explains why I’ve had to start putting away some of my clothes for post-pregnancy use. Waaaaahhhh! BUT I’m still happy because I know I’m healthy and my body is just growing like it’s supposed to. Now, instead of looking questionably pregnant, I look officially pregnant! Wohoo!

23 Weeks!
As for symptoms, I haven’t dealt with much except for the evening pelvic, back, and leg pains and well, gas. I actually have really HORRIBLE gas. I know that may be too much information for some of you but seriously I haven’t dealt with chronic gas this funky since I was eating gluten and beans. I mean it’s bad and every day! I can’t escape it! No matter what I eat, I get it. Must be a pregnancy thing. I feel so bad though because it’s so unpleasant that my puppy runs away from me when he smells it. HAHA! Anyways, other than those two things, no other weird or funky symptoms, thank goodness. I’m actually feeling normal sans the giant belly I’m carrying around nowadays. Can’t complain.

GOALS

Seeing as I’m past the half-way point I feel like now is a better time than never to really start prepping for this baby and to prep my body for labor and delivery. In order for that to happen, Mrs. Procrastinator needs a goal list. So here we go.
  1. Workout at least 5 days a week for at least 10 minutes – walking, yoga, etc
  2. Drink more than 3 bottles of water
  3. Begin drinking pregnancy tea
  4. Research and start practicing hypnobirthing techniques
  5. Start Registry
Let’s see how well I do this week before I add any more than 5.

Until then I'm  going to enjoy this beautiful FALL weather and honestly, so should you!

Beth