Friday, February 27, 2009

Thirty-Four Weeks

Today Nick is 34 weeks old. Only 42 days to go! Nick continues to move a lot, and now his movements sometimes cause me some discomfort - but it's ok, it's still a miracle to me every time I feel him move! Only a few more weeks until I'm officially full term - but we hope Nick decides to stay in there until his due date :)

According to The Cradle, if Nick was born now, he would not only be able to make an efficient transition from the womb to the outside, but he would also be able to resist disease. This day marks the end of eight months of pregnancy. I'm heading for the home stretch.

According to Pregnancy Weekly, Nick is tipping the scales at nearly 5 pounds and is 18 inches from head to heel. He is running out of room in there and I may now be able to tell whether it is a hand or an elbow pushing against my belly. The protective vernix coating on Nick's skin is becoming thicker, but the lanugo hair is almost gone. Nick may begin to get into position for delivery (hopefully head down). If Nick is in the breech position, my midwife will continue to monitor his position in the hopes that he will turn. If not, I may be asked to undergo external cephalic version, or ECV. (Nick is still head down, thank goodness - ECV sounds scary!)

According to Baby Center, Nick now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like an average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. His fat layers — which will help regulate his body temperature once he's born — are filling him out, making him rounder. His skin is also smoother than ever. His central nervous system is maturing and his lungs are continuing to mature as well. If I've been nervous about preterm labor, I should be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.

This week in our Bradley class we talked about complications and C-Sections. Ugh. That's all I have to say about that.

This week we also toured the Alternative Birthing Center at Providence in Southfield. We have a very difficult decision ahead of us - I love my midwives, who will only deliver at Henry Ford West Bloomfield, but the ABC sounds so fantastic. Tomorrow there's an open house at HFWB, so hopefully my midwives can answer some of my questions and reassure me that HFWB is going to be able to give us the experience we'd like.

We had our first baby shower last weekend, hosted by my Aunt Cindi and my Aunt Tami, and it was so much fun! Each guest decorated a onesie for Nick - my family and friends were very creative, and it will be so much fun to think of each person when I dress Nick in her onesie. Here is a picture of the one I decorated at home after the shower :) And below is a picture of us at the shower. Nick received a lot of very nice gifts and it feels so much more real now that we actually have some baby stuff in the house :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Bump Picture

33 weeks, 2 days.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Thirty-Three Weeks

Today Nick is 33 weeks old. Only 49 days to go! I still feel him moving a lot but I know over the next seven weeks I'll feel him less and less, or at least not as strongly, because he'll start running out of room. I am still pretty comfortable physically and still sleeping through the night. I am very impressed with my bladder :)

According to The Cradle, at the close of this week of pregnancy, the circumference, or distance around, Nick's head has increased by another 3/8 inch (9.5 mm) due to his rapid brain growth.

According to Pregnancy Weekly, Nick is now 17 inches from head to heel and weighs about 4.25 pounds, and we are probably both very aware that it is getting more and more cramped in there. Nick's adrenal glands have developed and are producing hormones that stimulate lactation. I may start thinking about food more in this home stretch. Seafood can boost the development of Nick's brain, which will develop most during the ninth month. However, the FDA recommends I consume no more than one serving per month of shark and swordfish due to potentially higher levels of methyl mercury found in these fish.

According to Baby Center, this week Nick weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple) and has passed the 17-inch mark. He's rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and his skeleton is hardening. The bones in his skull aren't fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don't entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as his brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood.

According to The Bump, Nick’s senses are continuing to improve -- when light peeks in through my (extremely) stretched belly, those tiny eyelids and irises blink and dilate. And, Nick can now recognize and react to simple songs… time to start practicing my lullabies! Growth (at least inside my womb) is starting to slow, and I may notice Nick descend into my pelvis at the end of this month.

This week in our Bradley class we talked about birth plans and what our "ideal" birth would be like. I know how I am, so I'm not trying to think about my "ideal" birth. I just want to focus on avoiding interventions and trying to enjoy the process of labor and delivery as much as I can.

We are still settling into the house. We've received a few baby gifts already, and it is very fun to see some of Nick's things around the house! This weekend is going to be super fun - tonight my sister is arriving from Raleigh - I am so excited to see her!!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Bump Picture

32 weeks, 2 days.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thirty-Two Weeks

Today Nick is 32 weeks old. Only 56 days to go! My midwife appointment yesterday was great - I have gained 24 pounds so far, so I'm on track for a 25-35 pound gain altogether. My BP was 99/61. Nick's heart rate was 148 (it has always been in the 140s). And he is still vertex, so I canceled my moxibustion appointment. He moves a lot so my midwife said I don't need to do kick counts. I am still quite comfortable and still sleeping through the night. We are getting so anxious for his arrival!!

Our second 3D/4D ultrasound was as amazing as the first one. Jeff and I agree Nick looked the same, with chubbier cheeks :) He was already quite cramped in there, so I'm glad we didn't wait any longer to schedule it. I wish we were rich so we could have one every weekend!!

According to The Cradle, because of the rapid brain growth of the last few weeks, the circumference of Nick's head has increased by about 3/8 inch (9.5 mm). The developing brain pushes outward on the skull, but it also folds in upon itself to create more of the convolutions mentioned earlier. Mild edema, or swelling, of my hands, feet, ankles, and face is still considered to be common, as excess fluid continues to collect in my tissues.

According to Pregnancy Weekly, Nick is just under 17 inches long from head to heel and weighs almost 4 pounds. He will gain weight more quickly now and will probably double in weight between now and his birth. Just like a newborn, Nick sleeps most of the time. He even experiences rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the period of sleep when we dream! This week marks the peak of Nick's movements; from now until delivery he will have very little room to move around and I will probably notice a marked decrease in kicks, punches, and rolls.

According to Baby Center, by now, Nick weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in my uterus. I'm gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to Nick. In fact, he'll gain a third to half of his birth weight during the next 7 weeks as he fattens up for survival outside the womb. He now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). His skin is becoming soft and smooth as he plumps up in preparation for birth.

We officially moved into the new house on Monday. We are slowly unpacking and getting settled in. Since we moved so far, I switched La Leche League meetings - now I will go to an evening meeting in Ann Arbor. We went to our first one tonight (it happened to be a couples meeting) - it seems like a great group of women and I'm excited to get to know them better. One of the ladies changed her daughter's diaper while we were there and she uses the same cloth diapers we've decided to use! I asked her how she likes them and she said she loves them :)

We had our sixth Bradley class this week and the topic was second stage. We played a version of the newlyweds game. Jeff and I tied for first and won a Bradley water bottle :) We watched a home birth that demonstrated the squatting position during second stage - I am really going to buckle down and start doing my squat exercises each night, because that position looked great!

I don't think anything exciting happens for the rest of the pregnancy - Nick should get a few inches longer, he'll keep gaining weight and his brain and lungs will continue to develop. Eventually I won't feel him move as much or as strongly because he'll be so cramped. We are so busy over the next eight weeks - I'm sure they are going to fly by!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Bump Picture

31 weeks, 2 days.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

3D/4D Ultrasound

We had our second 3D/4D ultrasound today and I am happy to report - NICK IS NOT BREECH! His head is down by my right hip and his butt is up (so it's his butt that's been digging into my right ribs, not his head :) ). His cheeks are getting chubbier and he yawned a few times. I think we interrupted a nap - he kept his hands around his head again a lot, as if we were bothering him :) I can't believe he'll be here in just two months! It's so exciting!!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Thirty-One Weeks

Today Nick is 31 weeks old. Only 63 days to go! So far Nick is still breech. We have an ultrasound tomorrow, and I have a midwife appointment Thursday. If Nick hasn't turned by then, I've made an appointment for an acupuncture/moxibustion treatment on Valentine's Day. Several medical studies have shown that moxibustion is effective in getting breech babies to turn. I'm not sure *exactly* what it is - if I have to have it done, I'll blog about it :) All I know is, it doesn't hurt!

According to The Cradle, calcium needs are greatest during the last twelve weeks of pregnancy, when rapid ossification of the baby’s skeleton is taking place and calcium is required for bone development. The calcium in milk or milk products is very readily absorbed and utilized, while the calcium in pill form is not. A total of 222 bones is needed to adequately support the soft parts of the baby’s body, especially during sitting and standing.

According to Pregnancy Weekly, Nick now weighs approximately 3.5 pounds, measures just over 16 inches from head to heel, and is getting used to the world of light and dark by opening and closing his eyes. His facial muscles continue to strengthen, and Nick can make different expressions. His lungs are nearly mature; however, these last few weeks are crucial to healthy and complete lung development.

According to Baby Center, this week, Nick measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds (try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so I may have trouble sleeping because Nick's kicks and somersaults keep me up. Take comfort: all this moving is a sign that Nick is active and healthy.

We had our fifth Bradley class this week and the topic was first stage labor. We had to do a contraction simulation exercise where we held an ice cube in our bare hand for sixty seconds, then took sixty seconds off, then held it again for sixty seconds with our instructor doing guided imagery to help us through, then took sixty seconds off, then held it again for sixty seconds while we tried to distract ourselves. I know a lot of women want silence during contractions, but the guided imagery made the "contraction" go by so much faster, Jeff and I are going to work on learning some guided imagery to use during my real contractions to see if it helps. We also watched a video that showed unmedicated and medicated moms with their babies, some who were left with their moms for an hour after birth and some who were taken away within twenty minutes. The unmedicated moms with babies who were left with them for at least an hour had the easiest time nursing - some of the babies did a crude crawl up to nurse! It was amazing to watch and further reinforced my determination to avoid medication and to make sure the nurses leave Nick with me for at least the first hour.

We are closing on the new house today at 1:00 pm. We are beyond excited. We will have a good two months to get settled in before Nick arrives (hopefully!) and we are so relieved to have found a house we can grow into as a family, in a great neighborhood in a nice town with good schools.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Bump Picture

30 weeks, 2 days.