Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bump Picture

38 weeks, 2 days.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Thirty-Eight Weeks

Today Nick is 38 weeks old. Only 14 days to go! I really hope Nick drops soon - his (probably adorable) butt keeps digging into my left lower ribs. Quite uncomfortable! His movements are still frequent and strong, but it's mostly his butt and his feet and hands.

At my midwife appointment on Wednesday, Nick's heartrate was 154 - he was wiggling again. My midwife guessed Nick's weight to be about 6 lbs 12 oz - I am hoping she's a little off! I'd like him to be under 7 lbs when I have him :) My weight gain is still good, and my blood pressure was 118/73.

According to The Cradle, at this point in development, the average baby weighs about 6 1/3 pounds (2,900 g) and measures almost 13 1/2 inches crown to rump (340 mm). I should use relaxation exercises such as deep breathing to help ease the pain of the contractions. (I'm not having contractions yet). Childbirth in Other Cultures: A number of tribes lubricate a laboring woman’s birth canal with saps or oils to make the delivery easier.

According to Pregnancy Weekly, Nick weighs about 6.5 to 7 pounds and is approximately 19.5 inches in length. I have been full term for a week now, so I might want to start addressing those birth announcement envelopes while I still have my hands free! My long wait will be over any time now. Since I am carrying a boy, I should be deciding whether or not we will have him circumcised. There is growing debate among parents and health care providers over circumcision but ultimately it is a personal decision for each parent.

According to Baby Center, Nick has really plumped up. He weighs about 6.8 pounds and he's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). He has a firm grasp, which I'll soon be able to test when I hold his hand for the first time! His organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. Wondering what color Nick's eyes will be? We may not be able to tell right away. If he's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If he's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time he's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after he's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

We had our hospital tour last Sunday. It really seems like a great hospital! As of that day, they'd had 22 births, 8 of which were C-sections, but 7 of those were scheduled - so out of 15 births, one was an "emergency" C-section. I like those odds :) We saw the menu for this week - oh my goodness, I can't wait to eat that hospital food! I plan on ordering a buffet as soon as Nick is delivered :)

We still have to have our car seat bases checked, and Jeff is going to put up the co-sleeper. Other than that - we're ready! I don't think I've felt the nesting instinct - our house is actually a little cluttered right now - but as long as the baby's things are ready, I'm ok with that :)

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bump Picture

37 weeks, 2 days.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Thirty-Seven Weeks

Today Nick is 37 weeks old. Only 21 days to go! Officially he is full-term, but according to my Bradley class, the average pregnancy actually lasts 41 weeks 1 day - which would put Nick being born on April 18. I am fine with him arriving anytime between April 2 and April 24 :) His movements are still strong and frequent, which is a good sign. I have to sleep sitting up now because my side gets really sore (I'm guessing from the extra weight) and I am starting to have edema (swelling) in my calves and feet. Not terribly uncomfortable but not great-feeling either :)

According to The Cradle, as I approach delivery, the amniotic sac (bag of waters) may break. Generally, it’s more of a trickle than a gush. I should contact my practitioner if I think I'm leaking amniotic fluid.

According to Pregnancy Weekly, Nick is considered full term, even though the 40-week mark is still three weeks away! He is almost 6.5 pounds and measures just over 19 inches in length, and has developed enough coordination so that he can grasp an object with his fingers, called the palmar grasp reflex. This is a good time to consider how extensively I want Nick screened for diseases and conditions. The number of conditions a baby is tested for varies by state; however, every state screens for at least two disorders. Expanded newborn screening is available through private companies and screens for up to 40 disorders.

According to Baby Center, my baby is full term! This means that if Nick arrives now, his lungs should be fully mature and ready to adjust to life outside the womb, even though my due date is still three weeks away. Nick weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But I shouldn't be surprised if Nick's hair isn't the same color as mine. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz.

According to The Bump, at week 37, my pregnancy is considered full term, meaning baby is likely to thrive after birth. Baby spends these last weeks in preparation for the outside world… meaning careful refinement of the blink, suck, inhale and exhale. Meconium, which I’ll probably find in the first diaper, is accumulating in the intestines. If (okay, as) I worry about giving birth, I should consider what it’s like for the little one. During the journey out of my womb, Nick will produce more stress hormones than any other time in life.

This week was baby-filled. Monday we met a pediatrician, Tuesday was our last Bradley class, Wednesday was my last four week midwife appointment, and Thursday we had an infant care class. My midwife appointment went great - my BP was a little higher but still in the normal range. Nick's heartrate was 152 and I measured 37 weeks. Ten babies had been born at Henry Ford West Bloomfield as of Tuesday night at 10 pm - and it just opened on Sunday! We scheduled a tour for this Sunday - I saw the hospital during the Open House, but Jeff hasn't seen it yet.

We are feeling more and more ready every day. Nick's clothes are all clean and folded and put away, we installed the car seat base in my car (we have to have it checked still though), my hospital bag is mostly packed and all of Nick's stuff is packed, and I bought the rest of the stuff we "need," except a pump (which I will be buying in the next few days - I've decided on the Ameda Purely Yours pump). This weekend I plan on shopping for and doing most of my freezer cooking - the goal is to have 30 dinners in our chest freezer before Nick arrives. It's so strange to think he could arrive any day between today and five weeks from now! We just can't wait to hold him and see him and rock him and watch him sleep - and especially to watch him grow up and do new things everyday and help guide him. I am excited about carrying him in my Moby and Jeff is excited to "share" him - I've had him all to myself for 37 weeks now! :) I have to practice saying "my son" and "our son." I'm sure it will feel strange to say it at first but hopefully soon it'll feel natural. I remember saying "my husband" on our honeymoon - it still makes me smile to think that Jeff is *actually* my husband! So I can only imagine how excited we'll be to say Nick is our son :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bump Picture

36 weeks, 2 days.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Thirty-Six Weeks

Today Nick is 36 weeks old. Only 28 days to go! Nick's movements are still strong and still frequent. I can see them almost every time on the outside now. I'm still lucky enough to be sleeping through the night. I am starting to walk funny, though - I think mostly it's a balance issue. My baby bump is pretty big by now! It's hard to believe how quickly this pregnancy has gone by - Nick could theoretically be born anytime between next Friday (March 20) and April 24! I honestly haven't even contemplated him being early, but one of my sorority sisters just had her baby 9 days early, so this weekend Jeff and I are going to finish "getting ready," just in case Nick can't wait until April 10 to meet us. :)

Our exciting news for this week is we hired a doula! Her name is Alicia and her company is called Cradle of Birth. We just really felt like we clicked with her at our initial consultation. She has a very soothing, stable manner, which I think will help me (and Jeff!) during labor and delivery. She's also younger than some of the other doulas we've heard about/planned to meet - for some reason, I'd much rather have a woman around my own age as a doula than someone my grandma's age. We will try to fit in three prenatal meetings with her - our first one is tomorrow morning, and we will discuss our birth plan.

According to The Cradle, it took eight weeks for Nick's body fat percentage to increase from 2–3 percent to 8 percent. By the end of prenatal development, his body fat percentage will stabilize at about 15 percent. This protective padding of fat will help keep him warm after birth.

According to Pregnancy Weekly, Nick has added another one-half pound and now weighs nearly 6 pounds, measures almost 19 inches in length, and is almost ready to check out of "Hotel Mom." Nick has moved downward into my pelvic cavity; hopefully headfirst. However, at this stage it is very common for babies to be feet first, or breech. If Nick is still in this position next week, my midwife may try to turn him using external cephalic version, or ECV. (Actually, I don't know how "common" it is. When Nick was still breech, I read that only about one in ten babies were still breech at that point, and only about 4% are breech at birth).

According to Baby Center, Nick is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. He now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long. He's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered his body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected his skin during his nine-month amniotic bath. Nick swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, which will form the contents of his first bowel movement. At the end of this week, Nick will be considered full-term. (Full-term is 37 to 42 weeks; babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely he's in a head-down position. But if he isn't, my midwife may suggest scheduling an "external cephalic version," which is a fancy way of saying she'll try to coax Nick into a head-down position by manipulating him from the outside. (Luckily Nick is still head-down as far as we know! We'll check again at our midwife appointment on March 18).

This week in Bradley class we had a first stage (dilation) review. We also watched a beautiful video of some water births in Guatemala and Oregon. We learned a relaxation technique called the rainbow technique, where your coach asks you to picture an object in each color of the rainbow, one at a time. I think these guided imagery-type relaxation techniques will be very helpful for me - they will distract me a little and they make the time go by faster. We took a picture of all of us with our baby bumps - here it is :) Next week is our very last week! We're having a pizza party and second stage (pushing) review.

Tomorrow I'm going with a friend to my first mom-to-mom sale, and also to The Little Seedling in Ann Arbor to buy the rest of the stuff we need from there. Our diaper pail and starter kit arrived from Dirty Deeds Diaper Service today - although we don't need to start delivery until Nick goes to daycare, we wanted to set up our account and get the diaper pail. Things are coming together but I feel like we still have a lot to do. It's all very very exciting - our little boy will be here before we know it!!

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bump Picture

35 weeks, 2 days.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thirty-Five Weeks

Today Nick is 35 weeks old. Only 35 days to go! Nick's movements are still frequent and strong, and sometimes it feels like he's pushing on a nerve or something - not painful, just a little uncomfortable. I'm still sleeping through the night :) but my pregnancy congestion is still going strong! My next midwife appointment is March 18, when I'll almost be 37 weeks, so I'm not sure if I'll have to go every week after that or if she'll let me wait until 39 weeks.

According to The Cradle, Nick’s arms and legs are looking fuller and more rounded as more fat is deposited under the surface of his skin. Fat deposits increase from about 2 percent at midpregnancy to 12–15 percent at term. In a week or so, the subcutaneous fat will make up about 8 percent of Nick's body weight.

According to Pregnancy Weekly, Nick weighs nearly 5.5 pounds and will continue to gain about half a pound per week until I deliver. He stretches out to 18.5 inches and stem cells in the bone marrow continue to produce red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets to maintain a healthy immune system, but there is not really any development remaining for arms, legs, brain or organs. Nick will simply continue to add that adorable baby fat as he readies for his big debut.

According to Baby Center, Nick doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in my womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.

This week we had the week off from our Bradley class. We only have two weeks left of class - and they're review of stage 1 and stage 2 labor, so those lessons are fresh in our minds when we go into labor. :) We also signed up for an infant care class and plan to sign up for an infant CPR class.

We are almost in the home stretch. Neither one of us can believe how fast this pregnancy has gone by! Everyone told us it'll go slow, especially the last trimester, but this last trimester is going by as fast as the first two! We are so anxious to meet Nick for the first time, but we hope he stays in there as long as he needs to. At the same time, we're very concerned about having to be induced, going through stress/non-stress tests, etc. - so we hope Nick decides to make his world debut right around his due date :)

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Bump Picture

34 weeks, 2 days.

Henry Ford West Bloomfield

As some of you may know, we originally planned to deliver at the Alternative Birthing Center (ABC) at Providence Southfield. Those plans changed, however, when my midwife became a Henry Ford midwife in January, and told me she will now only be delivering at the new hospital, Henry Ford West Bloomfield (HFWB), on Maple Road (15 Mile) between Drake and Halsted, which is scheduled to open to the public March 15. At the time, we thought no big deal, we'll switch too. Our Bradley instructor suggested we tour the ABC anyway, just to check it out, so we did last week. We were very very impressed with our tour, and felt like the ABC was the hospital experience that we want, and suddenly the decision to switch to HFWB was not so cut and dried. The one thing holding us back at the time was I'd have to switch back to my midwife's old practice - I couldn't have my midwife with me at the ABC. We decided to ask some more questions about HFWB and to switch back to the ABC if we didn't like the answers. Yesterday, HFWB held a community open house. I was anxious about going to the open house. I felt very torn after touring the ABC - and basically I felt like my decision was practitioner v. place. After touring HFWB and talking to my midwives about the differences, I have decided to deliver with them at HFWB and feel very confident in my decision! Here are some pictures of the OB wing at HFWB.

OB Triage - where you check in when you arrive at the hospital and they make sure you're in active labor.

The hospital bed in each Labor Deliver Recovery Postpartum (LDRP) room. It reconfigures like a Transformer into a birthing stool but I forgot to take a picture of it! A mini-fridge will go in each room next to the bed in the cabinets.

The glider/rocker/recliner in each LDRP room. The arms are contoured to make nursing more comfortable (but I heard one mom who sat in it say it didn't provide enough lumbar support for her).

The couch in each LDRP room. The back cushions fold out and linens are added to turn it into a kind of futon for the dads to sleep on.

The in-room special baby equipment - only used when necessary.

The in-room sink and cabinets - this is where baby's first bath is given. HFWB suggests a bath at 4 hours old, but it can be delayed or even declined.

Each LDRP except the handicap-accessible one has a jacuzzi tub in the bathroom. My midwife calls jacuzzis the midwife's epidural - it is supposed to help tremendously during labor, although they don't recommend getting in until you're about 5 cm, otherwise you might get so relaxed your labor might slow down. HFWB will not allow water deliveries, however - just water labor.

An operating room in case I need a C-Section. The ORs are on the same floor in the same wing - about a three minute gurney trip from any of the LDRPs. The lights are tinted green for a reason but I forgot the reasons the OB told me - because hopefully this was the only time I will ever be in this room!!

Half of a nursery suite. HFWB does not have a giant nursery with rows and rows of cribs. Babies will mostly stay in the LDRPs with their moms. However, in the event baby needs special care, or for some reason mom wants a break, each baby is brought to a nursery like this - very individual. There are two halves like this connected and the two halves are attended by the same nurse (so two babies to a nurse maximum). There is a recliner and a bench for the parents, so they can be with their baby in the nursery.

I am very excited to finally have made my decision. I feel comfortable with my midwives and confident they will help me have an experience as close to the ABC as I possibly can at HFWB. I am so anxious to go into labor now - I want to put all of my knowledge to use and see how Jeff and I do! Hopefully less than 6 weeks to go!!