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!


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.



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



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:


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.



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.


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.


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


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


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!!