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.