6 Pounds

It doesn't sound like much.  6 lb.  That is what I want to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight, although that doesn't tell the whole story.  I haven't done a body fat test yet; I thought I'd give myself at least 3 months before doing that.  But I am positive that my BF% is up from before (duh).  Not to mention that breastfeeding has my proportions and hormones all mixed up.  I read that breastfeeding women store more body fat around their midsection due to decreased estrogen and the fact their bodies want those fat stores while producing milk.  I don't know if it's true or not, but I'm going to use that as the reason for my muffin top.

As I say every year, I don't do New Year Resolutions.  When I want to make a change, I do it.  So while my goal is to lose weight and get back into racing shape, it had nothing to do with January 1, and everything to do with November 8.

One major downside to the additional weight and decreased activity is that my right knee is acting up again.  I'm going to keep my runs short until it feels better, and I also started lifting weights again.  While at the gym, I use the elliptical.  I'll eventually get back on my bike, I just haven't yet.  I think the half marathon I'm signed up for in March is a good goal.  I'm going to help a friend go sub-2 hours and I think that is a healthy goal for me.  Maybe in the fall I'll find a half marathon to try to PR but it's way too soon to think about that.

My goal is to do complete body measurements on January 1 and start keeping track from there.  I'm not real worried about it.  The way I see it, it took me 9 months to put that weight on, so I have at least 9 months to take it off.  Slow and steady wins the race and no new mom needs the additional pressure of losing weight while learning how to take care of a family.  It certainly helps to have a supportive husband and group of friends to get back into shape!


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!
May you find everything you wish for under the tree!
I wish you many happy miles in 2013,
A Girl Named Sam


One Month

I can't believe it's been one month already!  It will be two more weeks before I'm cleared for physical activity but the little man is keeping me busy.  He's pretty consistent with his morning schedule so I am going to start getting up after his morning feeding to walk and eventually run.
Yoga is a little hard when it's just the two of us at home.  If I get one full vinyasa done before he needs something, it's pretty good. But interrupted yoga is better than nothing.  I tried doing push ups the other day and I could only do 5.  I tried holding plank pose and couldn't do much more than 10 seconds.  So that's where I'm starting.  But it's a start nonetheless.


Updates from Babyland

I can't believe it's almost been 4 weeks since Winston was born.  I keep meaning to post updates but I find myself one-handed most of the time I'm sitting down which makes blogging a little difficult.
The short version is we're doing well.  We went in to Children's Mercy to follow up on the fluid-on-the-kidneys issue they saw when I was at 38 weeks.  Unfortunately, it has not resolved itself yet.  We were told that in 70% of the cases, it resolves itself within the first 2 years.  There are a few different options and we will discuss it more with his pediatrician at his 1 month check-up next week.  But for now we were basically told not to worry.  Based on his diapers, the plumbing is working just fine, he just needs to clear out the excess fluid. 
My little helper
I am feeling much more human and have gotten up to 3 miles walking.  I have also started doing some easy yoga.  Some time between 1 and 2 weeks after he was born, I got up the courage to step on the scale.  I was pleasantly surprised I have less than 10lb to lose to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and that includes the excess weight due to breastfeeding.

My pre-pregnancy pants are a little tight and I can't quite fit into my skinny jeans, but I can wear some of my normal pants.  Unless you've been pregnant, you have no idea how great it is to put on pants without an elastic waist.  Once I can start running and really working out again, I figure the pants will take care of themselves.

I was also worried about abdominal diastasis, which is a separating of the abdominal muscles due to pregnancy.  Less than a two-finger gap is what is considered normal after pregnancy.  Until the ab muscles go back together, you shouldn't do ab exercises like crunches because they can make it worse.  Last week, the gap between my abs was one finger, this week the gap has completely closed.  I started to some easy ab exercises to start getting them back into shape.  Still no crunches, but plank pose and other easy yoga-based ab exercises.  Not to mention all of the picking up the baby, who is close to 9 lb now.

My biggest concern right now is due to breastfeeding.  I have to wear a sports bra just to walk.  I think I'm going to have to get a few new sports bras once I start running again.  I'm also a little worried about the 70.3 in June.  I'll still be breastfeeding then and I think I might have to pump at T2 before running.  It probably doesn't matter since I'm not really trying to PR, but there's some logistics most people don't have to deal with.  I guess I'll worry about it more when June is getting closer.  Good thing the pump I have comes with a battery pack.

I'm working up to 5 miles walking before trying to run.  I'll probably give it the full 6 weeks my doctor recommended.  Besides, I can put Winston in our kid carrier and he sleeps, which is a nice time for us.  Once I start running, he'll have to stay home with Dad.


Winston the Impatient

Week 39
I worked almost a full week.  On Thursday, I worked until 3:00 and then left for my appt with my OB.  I had been having contractions all day but nothing consistent or serious.  My doc said maybe I was in labor, maybe not.  She was on call that day and said maybe she'd see me later.  I went home and took a nap.
At 7, John and I tried timing contractions but still nothing consistent.  I called my doula just to give her a heads up and a little before 8 I decided to take a shower and then go to bed since I thought it might be a long night.
Once I got in the shower, WHAM!  It was like a switch flipped.  I was most certainly in labor.  I called Catherine at 8:08 and told her I was definitely in labor and we were ready for her to come down.  She lives north of KC, so it would take her at least 30 min to get to the house. 
In all the classes, books, online, etc, they tell you not to go to the hospital until you've had contractions that are 1 min long, 5 min apart, for at least an hour.  My contractions were 2 min apart, but only 30-45 seconds and that didn't start until 8, so we weren't close to the 1 hour mark.
Catherine got to the house about 8:45, heard me caterwauling on the floor and decide we needed to leave for the hospital, NOW.  John and I were relieved to have someone else to direct us.  John called the after-hours number for my OB, loaded up the car and we left about 8:50pm.
At 9pm, my OB called back and we were still in the car.  She heard me in the background and said she was getting her clothes on and would meet us there.
At 9:10pm, we arrived at the hospital with Catherine.  They brought out a wheelchair and took me straight back to a delivery room.  It was chaos - clearly things were moving much faster than what they're used to.  My OB wasn't there yet, so the hospital OB was paged and he was standing in the hall outside of my room just waiting.
At 9:20pm, my OB showed up.  I was pretty oblivious the whole time.  I had my eyes glued shut and was just surviving each contraction.  No pain meds.  Just ice chips.
At 9:45pm, Winston was born.  35 min at the hospital.  After he was born, I signed the "Consent to Treat" form.  There was no time at our arrival.  Thankfully, everything worked out.  I had a torn blood vessel, which would have been scary if we hadn't made it to the hospital in time.  Thank god for Catherine.  I can't tell you how much John and I both appreciated her there.  I would recommend to all expecting parents to hire a doula they like.

Baby Boy Kevern's first sponge bath.  We didn't have a name picked out yet.
Remember that I had been measuring small for several months?  Well, that was all baloney.  He was 7lb, 15.4 ounces at birth.  I prefer to round up and call him an even 8lb.  I think that's the least I deserve.

Getting weighed.
After all that, it was nothing but magic mommy sparkles.

About 10 hours old

So stinking cute

Heading home from the hospital
We're back at home and getting used to life.  He's going 3-4 hours between feedings, which is pretty good.  I am adjusting to my post-baby body.  I feel good, all things considered, but I think I have highly underestimated how long the recovery time will be.  But that's OK.  I'm enjoying all of the mommy-Winston cuddle time on the couch.


I would like to introduce...

Winston Thomas Kevern
Born 11/8/12 at 9:45pm
7 lb 15.5 oz, 20 in long
Mama and baby are doing just fine, more pics and details to follow.


Kid Toys = Cat Toys

Week 39
Still no baby.  But hopefully soon.  Mama's tired of carrying around a bowling ball.  Other than being tired, sore, and crabby, there's not a whole lot going on.  So here's some random pictures.
A few weeks ago, my friends threw me a surprise baby shower, which was completely unnecessary.  But awesome.  I don't have any pictures from the party but here's a picture of a monkey riding a diaper motorbike.  The monkey has been a big hit with the cats.

We finally got the crib set up and the baby's room situated.  So far, all of the kid furniture have been a bighit with the cats.  Portland has climbed in the bouncy chair multiple times and even plays with the dangly toys.  Both cats have been playing in the crib.  It's like an oversized laundry basket to play in.  Recognize the monkey?  Nera was dragging it around by a leg.
If it's new, it must be a cat toy.
Here's a picture of the new rocker.  It fits well with the baby room.  I really like hanging out in the munchkin's room.

And last, Portland even had to try out the changing table.  I was at work when this picture was taken, but I was told that he climbed up and under the strap himself. 

I dare you to try to diaper this one.
So we're still playing the waiting game.  Hopefully the next time I post, I have pictures of the newest member of the K family!



Week 38

Oh man oh man, are we getting close now!  OP is still as active as ever.  We've started calling him Lumpy.  He has lots of names - OP, Lumpy, Offspring, the Spawn, everything except a real name.

One thing John and I have noticed is the tendency of men to over share private information related to their wives giving birth.  One former professor shared in intimate detail of how far dilated and effaced his wife was.  He even charted it and had a trendline showing her labor progression.  The poor woman didn't even know he was sharing this information with grad students.

Then there was John's former classmate and his wife who recently had their third child.  He had no problem sharing with John how far dilated and effaced his wife was in the weeks leading up to delivery.

Just last week, one of John's co-workers was recounting when his wife gave birth (some 20+ years ago) and how "... it always took her forever to get to 3 cm, but once we got to 3 cm, it was whoosh!"  And the whoosh was accompanied by hand motions.

I forbade, FORBADE John from sharing with anyone any information regarding my cervix.  I don't think this is unreasonable.  I'd prefer if everyone thought a stork dropped the little guy off and we just had to go to the hospital to pick him up.  There is no privacy or dignity in giving birth but I'd prefer to keep the public display of body parts, functions, etc, to the medical professionals who are actually helping deliver my son.

The only excuse I can think of, is that all of these men are engineers and engineers typically digest numerical information better than other types of information.  Maybe charting labor progression and talking about dilation is the only way they can cope with the strange (and gross) miracle of birth.  Either way guys, seriously, STOP OVERSHARING.  Your wives would no be happy to know you are talking about their cervix with co-workers, friends, and acquaintances.

In other Babyland news, my friend J & B, who were due on Nov 14, had their daughter this last weekend!  It was good motivation for John to finally break down the spare bed and get the crib set up in the baby's room.  We're ready, or at least as ready as we can be!


Good News in Babyland

Week 37
Today I was back in at the specialist's office for ultrasound #6.  The good news is that while the fluid was still there, the levels were lower than last week, which means the fluid back-up is dynamic.  I guess that's a good thing?  The specialist didn't see anything else that was concerning.  She was going to send her report to my OB and our pediatrician.  The pediatrician will do an ultrasound at OP's 2 week check up after he's here in the  outside world.  That was what I was hoping to hear.
The specialist and sonographer were both impressed with his acrobatics and thought Optimus Prime was a very fitting name.  I told them his movements during the appointment were nothing compared to what he does at night.  We were able to get some good pictures this week. 
37 weeks
 Tell me that's not the cutest nose you've ever seen!

Trying to shove his hand in his mouth

 Here's a bonus belly shot from this weekend.  A friend took this shot while screwing around with a new camera lens.  Yeah, he's pretty good.


Not Again

Week 36, 4 days

I was in for my weekly OB appointment yesterday and I also had another ultrasound.  My fundal measurement has been low for the few appointments, so my OB just wanted to make sure growth and fluid levels were OK.  It was also a good time to double check that he is head down and pointed in the right direction.

He is head down.  He is also completely normal sized, I just have a small sized belly.  They estimated him at 6 lb (but the tolerance is +/- 2 lb, so don't think that is accurate at all).  Everything looked good, except...


Abnormal results. 

Let me double check these numbers are correct.

Seriously?  I have to go through this crap again?  Apparently, OP has fluid on his kidneys and the standard procedure is to be referred to the high risk specialist.  Again.  Another wait, yet another ultrasound (this will be #6).  At least I know where their office is.

The good news (really?) is that this is more common in boys and it could resolve itself on its own.  Also, I'm almost 37 weeks, so very close to delivery and almost considered full-term.  That's good since there is nothing they can do for fluid on the kidneys while baby is in utero. 

There are a few causes: 1) Since baby is so cramped, if his urethra is "kinked" he may not be able to easily empty his bladder which results in a back up of fluid and usually resolves itself.  2) He could have a faulty or deficient valve, which usually resolves itself after birth.  3) The Big Scary Unknown.

There are a few options for treatment: 1) If fluid levels decrease by my appt on Monday, they could say it's fine and no need for further monitoring.  2) If fluid levels are the same or increased, the pediatrician will do an ultrasound of his kidneys after birth and again at his first few appointments to make sure it's dissipating on it's own.  If not, see #3 in the above paragraph.  3) They find something else on the next ultrasound (see #3 above) and we're referred on to a pediatric nephrologist.  That sounds like tons of fun.

So I guess I'll post more on Monday after my second visit to the specialist.  I'm assuming it's nothing.  Just like I assumed (correctly) that even though I was measuring small, he was totally normal.

But someone really should tell medical professionals that you cannot credibly use the phrases "high risk specialist" and "don't worry" in the same sentence.  I may be a first-time mom, but I'm not stupid.


The Home Stretch

Week 36
Ah, week 36.  Officially less than a month to go and OP will officially considered full-term next week.  We're getting close to the end and I think I've finally convinced John we should take care of the spare bed and order the crib.
Other to do's in the next few weeks:  meet with the Maternity Care coordinator at the hospital, fill out pre-registration paperwork, pack my bag for the hospital, have final meeting with Catherine the Doula, pick a pediatrician, get organized at work to transfer project to non-pregnant co-workers and eventually install the car seat.  We already picked a pediatrician and I sent in my pre-registration paperwork (although I never received a confirmation).  We have meetings next week at the hospital and with Catherine.  I'm in the process of transition all of my active projects at work and making a map of my desk for when I'm gone.
Besides that, we finally got our chest freezer up and running and I'm planning on cooking and freezing food this weekend.  I have a hair cut and wax scheduled for next week.  (Side note: personal grooming becomes much more challenging with a basketball-sized belly.  Toe nails are the least of my worries)  
35 or 36 weeks, I can't remember
I have definitely reached the "this isn't really fun anymore" stage although, I don't know when I thought this was particularly fun to be with.  Interesting yes, entertaining at times certainly, but if there wasn't a kiddo on the other end, I wouldn't be signing up for this crap.

I've tried to limit my complaining since most women have it much worse.  But seriously, the indignities just keep piling on.  I thought I might make it through without stretch marks.  Nope.  I can barely bend over.  If it's after 2 pm, you can assume I'm exhausted and thinking about how long before I can go to bed.  And the heartburn, the HEARTBURN!  Christ almighty, if I bend at the waist, I get heartburn.  Oatmeal has given me heartburn.  It is never ending.  I just keep telling myself, soon, very soon, OP will be on the outside and unable to make me vomit by kicking my internal organs.  I'll gladly take feedings and changings if I'm not dry heaving from the constant heartburn.

Poor Portland played guinea pig again.  This time, he tried on the Packer onesies I bought for OP.  Portland is clearly NOT a newborn.  And just so you don't think that I favor one cat over the other, I used Nera to practice swaddling.  I figured if you can swaddle a cat you can swaddle a newborn.  I didn't get a picture but I need to practice so I may try again.  I got 3 out of 4 paws and her tail, so I thought that was pretty good.

Portland is a fan, but not really tiny.
Hopefully we'll get more stuff knocked off our list this weekend.  Next week, I'll get my bag packed and post what all we're taking with.  4 more weeks!


Out of Reach

Week 35

I really need to trim my toenails but they seem SO FAR AWAY.


Getting Closer

Week 34-35
I finished the baby penguin quilt!  It took me a few tries to get the binding on but it's done and it even survived the washer and dryer.  I'm pretty happy with how it turned out.  

Now for the serious stuff.  Since I'm now 35 weeks, it's time to start to deal with the fact that in a few weeks I will actually have to deliver a baby.  Crap.  I've been putting off this reality for oh, the last 8 months.

John and I took a childbirth class and we've hired a doula, so I feel as prepared as I can be.  And being an engineer, I have done (probably more than) my fair share of research.  So I finally put together my birth plan. 

You'll notice that I'm intending on having a natural childbirth experience.  Although, I reserve the right to change my mind at any point int time.  When I started this little adventure, I definitely was going by the Peggy Hill philosophy: stick me full of drugs and wake me up when it's over!  Then I actually started to do some research and did a complete 180.  Really, the natural approach is more in line with my personal beliefs and lifestyle anyway. 

At our class, they recommended having a "safe word" in case it gets to the point you really want drugs.  That way, everyone involved knows you've thought about it and are at the point where you really need pain relief.  John said my safe word is "I want to be an architect" because if those words ever come out of my mouth, he knows things are really bad.  That made me laugh.  Hopefully, those words never do come out of my mouth. :)

I looked at several examples of birth plans online and that my doula gave me.  Here's my plan, with all personal info removed.  I'll take it in to my next OB appointment for her to review and sign.  Then one copy goes to the hospital when I pre-register and another copy stays with me.  That way, if my OB is not the delivering doctor, the hospital already has a signed copy so they know my OB has approved my choices. I know this is one thing I have no control over, but I feel better having my preferences recorded on paper and acknowledged by my OB and hospital staff.

It seems like a lot, but I saw birth plans that dictated the lighting, the playlist, and other completely ridiculous requests (aromatherapy, level and type of conversation in the room, and the list goes on).  Another trend I noticed was labor and delivery photography.  Not just the new dad with a camera, I mean like hiring a wedding photographer to be there and photo/video the wonderful, disgusting miracle of birth.  Seriously?  Who pays over $1000 for pictures that I hope to God will never be framed or publicly displayed?  I told John if I saw a camera in the delivery room that I would kick that person in the face.  And I'm not even joking.  Some things should remain private and intimate.


We are excited about our baby’s birth and we have chosen to have a natural delivery.  We understand that giving birth is unpredictable and we are willing to compromise in the case of an emergency.  The health and safety of mother and baby are our first priority, which is why we are choosing a natural birth.  We thank you in advance for taking the time to review our birth plan.

Labor & Birth
I prefer:
·         A room with a birthing tub
·         A saline lock instead of routine IV fluids
·         A nurse who is committed to natural birth
·         Intermittent monitoring to allow for as much mobility as possible
·         A minimal number of vaginal exams
·         To be allowed to push and deliver in whatever position feels best
·         Not to be offered any pain medication.  If I need pain relief, I will ask for it. 
·         Except in the case of an emergency, I want the opportunity to accept or refuse any procedure or medication
·         Mother directed pushing.  Please do not ask me to hold my breath. 
·         Not to have an episiotomy unless absolutely necessary.  I would prefer to tear naturally unless there is reason for intervention.
·         To delay Pitocin after delivery to see if breastfeeding will get my uterus to contract
·         If a C-section becomes necessary:
o   Please use double-layer sutures when repairing my uterus.
o   As health permits, I would like to skin-to-skin contact with baby, to stay together during repair and recovery, and to breastfeed during the initial recovery period.
o   If John has to leave the operating room with the baby, I would like Catherine to take his place in the operating room.

We prefer:
·         To wait at least a minute to cut the cord
·         To delay all procedures until after initial skin-to-skin contact and breastfeeding
·         For John to help bathe and weigh him
·         Our baby boy will be circumcised
·         To breastfeed.  Please do not offer formula, pacifiers or artificial nipples.

Generally, we would prefer to recover at home and we would like to be released as soon as mother and baby are cleared to leave.


Baby prep

Week 33

We're now about 6 weeks from Optimus Prime's due date, and even though we don't have a crib or the baby's room 100% ready, we have been doing some baby preparations.
A few weeks ago, John was out of town all week.  Our neighbors gave us a very nice Ergo baby carrier as a gift.  Since John was gone and I was bored, I decided to try the carrier out.  Since I don't have a baby yet, I decided that Portland would make a good substitution.  It worked OK, but clearly the carrier was meant for a baby without a tail.

He was a pretty good sport.
And then he got squirmy.
 John and I also took a 5-week childbirth prep course through our hospital.  It was good but the highlight was the empathy belly the partners got to try out.  I told John that until that empathy belly could give you heartburn and constipation at the same time, it's not even close.

I don't think John would make a very good pregnant lady.
Last, we spent a few weeks looking at rocking chairs.  There aren't a whole lot of Mid-century or even just modern rocking chairs.  I finally found one we both liked from Thrive, and we ordered it Labor Day weekend.  It showed up this week.  You know you're getting old when you're anxiously awaiting the arrival of your new rocking chair.
Looks good in the living room and Nera approves.
Nera hasn't moved much from the chair all day.  Apparently, it has her seal of approval.  At least the cats seem to like the new baby furniture.  We'll see how much they like having an actual baby.


Good things to come!

 Week 33

According to ancient K-family folklore, a random sighting of the Wienermobile is an omen of good things to come.  Not necessarily on that day, but in the very near future.  This morning, on my way to work, guess what I saw in the McDonald's parking lot?

Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener...

And not surprisingly, it came all the way from WI.  (Oscar Mayer and Kraft are based in WI for those of you not from the Land of Beer, Cheese, and apparently, Wieners.)

Just for reference, the last time I saw the Wienermobile was at the KC downtown airport in 2008 while riding my bike.  In the next month, we closed on our house, John had a job offer for his current position at UMKC, and he graduated from ISU with his doctorate.  The last time John saw the Wienermobile was while driving through Iowa on his way to start grad school.  So these sightings are fairly rare but always indicate something good is in store!

I hope you all have a Wiener-rific day!



Week 32 Continued

They say pregnant women "nest" before the baby arrives.  Hormones maybe?  Sure, every other weird behavior is blamed on hormones.  I don't know that I've really been nesting in the traditional sense (says the woman who shampooed carpets and cleaned blinds last week), like planning and decorating the nursery, but I suppose I have been.  I'm making good progress on the baby quilt but I'm still not quite done.  Here's a little preview.

Penguins!  Top is assembled and pinned.
I'm in the process of hand tying it right now, but it's taking me a little longer than I thought.  Part of the problem are my "helpers".
String is fun!
But the funny thing is, I'm not the only one that is nesting.  John and I were looking at bassinets and couldn't find one that we liked that wasn't $1000.  So John made a bassinet that comes apart and stores flat.  Best part?  No ruffles or lace anywhere.  It's pretty simple in design and Mid-Century inspired.

Bassinet complete!
 See the quilt?  That was made by a former professor.  It's hard to see the details, but there are dinosaurs all over it.  It's amazing, and best of all, it's not pastel baby blue.  The orange and green go perfect in the baby's room.  The stuffed dino was also a gift from a relative.  I did dream we were having a baby dinosaur and all.

Portland approves of the bassinet but he seems to think it is a perfect sized cat bed.  We'll see what happens when there is a tiny human occupying Portland's space.

John also wants to replaced the kitchen sink, faucet, and back splash in October, before OP arrives.  Not that I'm complaining, I just thought it was funny.  We've always hated that sink and faucet, and the back splash leaves a lot to be desired.  But I thought I was supposed to be the one nesting!  I don't know that it's actually a hormone-driven behavior or if soon-to-be parents are just smart enough to realize once the little lump arrives, there won't be time for home projects or spring cleaning.  We'll keep on "nesting" as long as I have energy and John can think of projects!


Pregnancy has finally caught up to me

Week 32

I just made it home from a long day at work and a quick stop at the grocery store.  John is out of town so I have to fend for myself this week.  Here's what I bought:
  • Spicy guacamole
  • Salt and Vinegar Chips
  • Apple Jacks
  • Cream Soda
  • Milk
Yup.  I'm that pregnant lady.

In the last week or so, I've really noticed that I'm slowing down and everyday tasks are getting harder.  I suppose it was only a matter of time but it's hard nonetheless.  This weekend was the biggest blow.

My doctor cleared me to run as long as I'm not having contractions.  This weekend I went out for an easy 60 min jog and at mile 2.25, I started having a Braxton-Hicks contraction.  I stopped until it passed then I walked for half a mile.  I assumed it was just a fluke, so after my heart rate lowered, I decided to try running again.  I made it less than a quarter mile before another contraction.

Damn it.  I stopped and started walking toward home.  I've had Braxton-Hicks before, but not two in a row and not while running.  I was a little nervous.  Then I had a third.  I finished my water bottle and leaned against a tree.  This isn't good and I'm still a mile from home.  I couldn't remember if it was 4 contractions in an hour or 6 in an hour and you're supposed to call a doctor.  Luckily, I made it home without another one. 

Braxton-Hicks contractions don't hurt but they're annoying.  It's hard to bend at the waist and running was almost impossible to run since it pulled all the ligaments tight.  I've had them before and I always feel exhausted on days I get them.

I was tired and crabby all day.  Most importantly, it isn't good to have contractions close together at 31 weeks.  But even after they passed and I was feeling better, I was still upset.  I may try another slow run this weekend but if I have even one more contraction, I have to stop running.  It's not worth putting OP in any danger. 

But if I have to stop running, I'm going to have to find something to do for exercise and stress relief.  I know it's a small sacrifice in the grand scheme of things, but it was one of the few things I was holding on to.  It feels like it's all elastic waisted pants, heartburn and forgetfulness from now until OP arrives.  I know, I know, it's all worth it in the end.  But it seems like the end is still a long way off.


Belly Shot!!

Week 31
Baby Belly @ 31 weeks!

It seemed about time to post a belly shot and after getting my official weight gain to date (24 lb) I figured now is as good a time as any.  31 weeks 2 day, only 2 months or 62 days until Optimus Prime is due to arrive!  Holy crap!

In case you're thinking "Well she's not that big for someone who's 7 months pregnant" here's a picture of where I started.  I may not look that big compared to other people, but I feel like a beach ball most days.  We had a weeding this last weekend so I made John play the "Is there any physical way this dress will zip up?" game.   The answer was "Sorry Sweetie" on all of them.  Good thing I still have a few stretchy dresses from Athleta that I can fit into.  Normally I wouldn't wear a casual athletic dress to a wedding, but it was better than yoga pants!
"Belly" @ 5 weeks
Pretty crazy, huh?  And look at those abs!  Damn, I was in good shape!  After OP arrives, I'll post the full on belly transformation and hopefully post-baby belly shrinkage, too.  What a wild ride, and we're not even finished yet!

As for Optimus Prime, he has successfully found my rib cage.  I also can't stand to eat raw vegetables anymore.  It's like trying to eat newspaper and I usually LOVE raw veggies for lunch.  I just can't do it.  Now ice cream, on the other hand, goes down just fine.


Tiny Feet

Week 30

As I wrote about last week, Optimus Prime is 3 lb of kicking fury.  Most of the time it's entertaining, sometimes it's annoying, and every once in a while it is downright unpleasant.  Like the puking.  Luckily, the unpleasant kicks are few and far between.

At night, John and I usually read before we go to sleep and one of our favorite evening pastimes is watching OP rock and roll.  It is crazy how much he moves and how much my belly moves.  It's unreal.

The other night we were in bed and I was enjoying OP's nightly acrobatics display.  I happened to have my hand on the side of my belly while he was moving.  All of a sudden, I felt a foot.  Not just a kick, but an honest to God little tiny baby foot squarely kicked my palm.  I  mean, I felt the imprint of his little foot, maybe an inch and a half long, heel up to his toes, a complete little foot.  Maybe it doesn't sound like a big deal, but it was so freaking cool. 

I can feel him kick and move every day.  I hear his heartbeat at every doctor's appointment, but he's still a little abstract.  Yes there is a baby in there but it's still another two months before I get to actually see his face.  So feeling his foot was something tangible and real.  Man, I am so excited to meet my little boy.


Optimus Prime's Revenge

Week 29 Day 6

I'm skipping week 28.  Why?  Because it's 12:30 am and I am awake because of John's spawn in my belly. 

I went to sleep several hours ago.  I usually don't make it past 10pm these days and I was tired.  I woke up twice with major heartburn, which isn't unusual.  I've found if I lay on my right side, I get heartburn when OP kicks.  If I lay on my left, I get this weird indigestion and gas and since I can't burp, it's worse than the heartburn.

I thought I had solved the problem by adding another pillow, so I was on my right side but slightly propped up, which really helped to reduce the heartburn (after the 3 antacids I took).  I fell back asleep.

A few minutes ago, I violently woke to me puking in my mouth.  Gross.  I ran to the bathroom coughing and thankfully being upright prevented any more vomiting. As I was kneeling in front of the toilet, eyes watering and throat burning, all I could think was "Not cool, little man.  Not cool."

I might be sleeping upright tonight.


An Ode to BCBSKC

Week 27

I finally received an insurance statement and bill for the specialist.  I was starting to wonder when it would show up since my first appointment was at week 12 and my last blood draw was at week 15.

I was a little nervous when I opened the bill, prepared for $1,000 or more of total charges.  My jaw hit the floor when I saw the actual total:


Holy crap.  $71.  That's it.  Apparently, the powers-that-be must have determined the screening was medically necessary and not routine and therefore, almost all of the charges were completely covered.  $684 for ultrasound - covered.  $110 for ultrasound technician - covered.  $148 for genetic counselor - covered.  $268 for labs and blood work - covered.  The only thing that wasn't covered was the charge for the maternal fetal specialist, but since I had hit my deductible for the year, I'm now in the 80/20 co-pay and $71 was what was left.

People love to complain when they have a bad experience and I don't blame them.  Sometimes you feel like complaining to social media is the only recourse you have.  Fair enough.  But rarely do people go online when they have a good experience and are happy.  And insurance companies get a bad rap, so I thought I would give Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas City credit where it's due.

First, BCBSKC seriously has the BEST customer service reps I have ever had to deal with.  They were always polite and knowledgeable and very helpful.  There was one time when the rep I was speaking to needed more information to clarify something, so she took my number to call me back.  I actually heard back from her within 15 min with the answer.  I've never had to wait more than 1-2 minutes to speak with a rep, either. 

I had another rep on a different occasion who helped me straighten out an incorrect code on my very first ultrasound.  She actually called the diagnostic imaging center on my behalf to get all of the information required and then called me back after everything had been corrected.  That saved me at least 2 more phone calls.  It may not sound like a big deal, but when you've been calling multiple doctors' offices and keep getting re-routed to someone else, it was a relief to have her make the calls and get the information directly.

We have an insurance agent through work who is supposed to help us with coverage questions and claims but he's a little "old school" (read: sexist with what I suspect is a drinking problem).  I would much rather call customer service and deal with them.

While our coverage isn't the best, it is pretty good.  And kudos to BCBSKC for the customer service reps they hire and their training.  I can't say enough how helpful they were when I was going through a stressful time.


It's A ....

20 Weeks
Now the fun stuff!  Week 20 rolled around and John and I headed to my OB's office for the ultrasound.  We had asked family and friends what they thought it was, boy or girl.  My mom thought it was a girl so my aunt and mom started calling Peanut "Baby Ella".  Most of our friends and neighbors thought it was a girl, but no real reason.  Our neighbor Mark thought it was a boy since he had a vision of John and a little boy throwing rocks onto his garage roof.  According to the Chinese Gender calendar, we were having a boy.  John's mom thought it was a girl.  John had a dream we had a girl (a very cut girl, he said).  I dreamt it was a dinosaur.
The ultrasound tech asked if we had a guess.  We said not really, other than John's dream. 
Are you ready?
She turned on the US and this was the first image:
Hey Mom, look at me!
 Can you tell what you're looking at?  I'll give you a hint, you're looking at the business end.  She says, "Well, you're wrong!" to which I replied "Is that his butt?"

"That is most definitely a boy.! There are his legs, and that's his "stuff"."

Of course, the first distinguishable photo of my son is him mooning the US.  I like saying that: My son.

He still has a German drinking nose.

Flexible little dude.
Obviously, we're thrilled.  Neither one of us really had a preference either way.  Although to be perfectly honest, I was a little disappointed it wasn't a girl.  But if it had been a girl, I would have been a little disappointed it wasn't a boy.  I know you can't have both without twins, but either way I would have been happy and disappointed, if that makes any sense.  But one clear benefit of a boy, we now have a namesake for John's family since John and his brother are the last two males.  At least with a boy, the pressure is off for a second.  To quote John's grandpa (age 89) "Oh good, the K's are saved from extinction for another generation!"

Week 22-26

It is smooth sailing now.  Other than heartburn and the occasional GI issues (and the abnormal test results), I have had a very smooth pregnancy.  I'm still running a couple times a week with an easy 6 miler on Saturdays.  I really enjoy slow runs, even though I pretty much need to stay on a route where there are bathrooms every 2 miles. 

I've gotten a lot of questions on my running, mostly how long I can keep running before I should stop.  At one of my appointments, I asked my OB.  She knows I'm active and I do follow the rules of
  1. Don't overheat
  2. Stay hydrated
  3. Listen to your body
She told me that I can keep exercising and running as long as I'm not having any contractions.  She's had patients run up to the day they deliver and she thinks it's great.  In her experience, women who exercise consistently have shorter and easier deliveries.  That's what I wanted to hear.

I also ride my road bike occasionally; my tri bike was hung up on the wall months ago.  I also started doing ashtanga yoga, which I love.  I tried to keep swimming, and there are a lot of pregnant women who love it, but I don't.  With the cantaloupe in my belly, I can't comfortably flip turn, and swimming in general feels like too much strain on my abs.  Not to mention I'm falling out of my suit and I don't want to but a maternity suit.

And Optimus Prime is entertaining as hell.  I first felt him kick at week 18, John felt him kick at week 19, and then one night John was listening to my belly and got kicked square in the ear.  By this point, he kicks the crap out of me daily, which is a little freaky to see my belly move on it's own.  One night he kicked me so hard in the stomach, I woke up in the middle of the night with heartburn and the taste of vomit in my mouth.  Thanks little man, I'll remember that one. 

He has also kicked our cat in the head while the cat was on my lap.  That was pretty funny. The cat turned and looked at me like "What the hell?"  After the second kick, he turned so his head wasn't on my belly. 

I wish I could say I have a cute pregnancy belly.  I don't.  It looks more like a beer belly.  But we've been taking pictures every week and I'll post a few pictures soon.