Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Very Last Pregnancy Update: 39 Weeks

How do I know this will be my very last pregnancy update ever? Well, I'm having a c-section tomorrow morning at 8 a.m. Since this will be my last baby, this too will be my last pregnancy photo. My husband took it on Sunday at my sister's wedding.

Yes, I was a bridesmaid while in my 9th month of pregnancy. I only have one sibling, and I wasn't going to miss standing up in her wedding even I had to waddle down the aisle. I also have our last picture as a family of four. Nick and Henry were "ring security," so that's why they are in the fancy tuxedos.

Here's what I looked like just before Henry was born. I believe I weigh a little more this time, and this baby is much higher up than either of my boys was, but I guess my body has the same tendencies in pregnancy. My mom said she was the same way. Here's one of her from 1978. Yes, it's an old picture--hey, at least it's not in black and white!

I'm always jealous of women who stay skinny everywhere but their bellies--I'm definitely in the "childbearing hips" category of pregnant ladies. So here it is, my last pregnancy update ever.

Weeks: 39 weeks exactly today. I will deliver at 39 weeks, 1 day. Since this was an IVF pregnancy, we know the age down to the hour.

Weight: +46 pounds. Oh, well. At least this baby is a little bigger, so I know some of the weight is baby. I can remember being devastated after having Nick and going home to find out I had lost a grand total of 8 pounds (he weighed almost 6). I'm under no illusions that I'll walk out of the hospital in my pre-pregnancy clothing. (Ha!)

Does she look a little squished? This is not the face of a svelte baby.

Me, from 1978. 9 pounds, 14 ounces. 

Do you notice any resemblance? The ultrasound is from almost 38 weeks. The picture below is me when I was first born. I was NOT a dainty baby--I practically broke my mother. I'm hoping this baby is not quite so big, though since I'm having a c-section I'll survive even if she is huge. Their estimate as of a few weeks ago would be that she'd be 9 pounds, 5 ounces if I went to 40 weeks. Tomorrow we'll know for sure!

Movement: At night, plenty! She's rocking and rolling in there. I think a part of me will miss feeling her wiggling and bumping inside me, though I'm very eager to meet her. I'm a tiny bit sad to think I'll never feel a baby moving inside me again.

Exercise: Well, I've hit 10,000 steps about half the time in the last couple of weeks, and my FitBit says I'm averaging over 8,000. I guess that's not too bad when you consider each step is more of a waddle.

Cravings: Burgers, Mexican food, shrimp, chocolate, iced tea, and cheese of all sorts. I'm very anemic, so I bet all the protein cravings are from that. There's no excuse for the chocolate cravings.

Sleep: I miss sleeping. I get between 4 and 6 hours, though I go to bed at ten and wake up around 6. My blood sugar has been dropping in the middle of the night, and between that and trips to the bathroom, my sleep is very interrupted. Waking up constantly is getting a little old, and I know this isn't going to get better once she's born.

Medical: I spoke too soon in my last post about not needing iron. The day after I posted that, the blood test results showed me as needing an iron infusion immediately. I had my third weekly infusion today--the doctor wanted me to get as much iron as possible before my c-section, since you can lose a lot of blood during surgery.

I've been having some significant swelling, especially since this late-September heat wave started. My blood pressure has been elevated, too, but that problem should resolve once the tiny human inside of me comes out.

Did you know that instead of tying your tubes nowadays, they actually completely remove them? I guess it really reduces your chances of ovarian cancer. That's fine with me, since I won't be needing my Fallopian tubes anyway. When I woke up this morning, it hit me that this will be my very last day of being pregnant, ever. I documented the occasion at the hemotology office, which has a mirror that is much cleaner than the ones at our house.

I had Open RNY Surgery back in '03, thus the giant belly scars.

Mood: Lots of extreme emotions this week. My sister got married, so I was emotional (for happy reasons) because of that, and my third grader has been not turning in homework, which sparked a very different kind of emotion in me (rage, perhaps, would describe it). While I'm very, very done with being pregnant, I'm also very conscious of the fact that this will be my last baby, so that brings about feelings of sadness. I adore infants--in fact, during my years of working in day care centers, the infant room was always my absolute favorite. This will be the last baby I get to snuggle who is mine. I know from experience how quickly they grow. It seems like just yesterday that Nick was snuggled up in my arms wearing preemie clothes, and now he's going to be nine years old and his snuggling days are over. Henry, who is six, will still snuggle with me, thank goodness, but I know those days are numbered. He's been getting out of the habit lately because I no longer have a lap, per se.

Every time I look at her pink nursery or touch a tiny, lacy sock, I'm filled with the kind of elation that only comes about when a mother of only boys finally gets a daughter. I would imagine the emotion would be similar had I first had two daughters and then a son.

The rest of my evening will be spent packing. I have female OB surgeons doing the operation this time, and I'm generally pleased with the lack of arrogance that seems to surround most of the male obstetricians I've seen. I have to say they were way more thorough in their description of risks and the time they took to explain things, though. I'm a little bit scared after hearing all of the information.

I've been told to expect to come home sometime on Sunday. See you on the other side!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Pregnancy Update: 36 Weeks

Almost there! I had my 36 week doctor's appointment and growth ultrasound this week. There are 21 days, or exactly 3 weeks, until my scheduled c-section.

36 weeks pregnant with a girl, September 2017.

I did a 36-week update when I was pregnant with Henry, and I think I looked about the same size. The only difference is that she seems to be sitting much higher than either of my boys did. Here's a flashback to 2011, when my six-year-old was on the way.

36 weeks pregnant with Henry, May 2011. See Nick in the window?

The doctor said everything looks good, and she weighs 6 pounds, 5 ounces already. That's the 63rd percentile. The ultrasound technician took some pictures of her, and she does look rather squished. No wonder she's been kicking so much!

I've had at least four people tell me she looks like Henry. I guess I'll have to wait 21 more days to find out if this is true. I showed Henry the ultrasound pictures of him and he was slightly confused. He said maybe he was sad because he couldn't breathe in the water. Recently, Henry's expressed some interest in having a sister. Yesterday he asked if he could feed her a bottle. That's a good sign, I think.

Weight: (from starting weight) +36 pounds. I've averaged about 40 pounds per pregnancy, so I guess I can't complain too much. I'm at the stage in my job where I do a lot of paperwork and desk work, and that's been very hard since sitting is quite painful. The extra pounds make me clumsy, but I suppose that's normal.

 Movement: She's an active girl, and especially in the evenings she does what feels like gymnastics inside of me. It makes it very difficult to sleep. I have to keep moving whatever body part is wedged under my ribs down, and then as soon as I move my hands it creeps back up there, making it difficult to breathe.

Exercise: I'm not doing too bad, actually, My FitBit tells me I'm averaging 8,900 steps per day. Not quite at my goal, but considering the back pain I've been having, I think it's pretty good.

Cravings: Chocolate. Burgers and fries. Corn tortillas cooked in a little olive oil and then slathered with black beans, cheese, shrimp, and sour cream. It's weirdly specific, but I end up having a tortilla like that almost every day.

Sleep: It depends on the day, but I'm only averaging 4-6 hours per night. A friend of mine loaned me a pillow called a snoogle, and without it I don't know that I'd even be sleeping that much. It's the only way I can get even a little comfortable. I like how my FitBit shows my sleeping and waking patterns, but sometimes I'd rather not know I was up four times during the night.

Medical: I haven't needed IV iron yet with this pregnancy, knock on wood. I am still waiting on the latest blood test results, though. I've been borderline anemic, but not enough to need the heavy duty stuff. My blood pressure is good, my non-stress tests have gone well, and the doctor says I am not showing any signs of labor, dilation, or effacement. My blood sugar is going down more frequently, so I'm countering that by eating meals in several parts to keep it steady. Oh, and I've been having major back pain and even spasms on and off for the last few weeks.

I got a warning from the doctor's office that if I start having contractions or if my water breaks, I should not eat anything. Since they'll be doing a general anesthetic, I guess they would have to wait hours if I decided to snack on the way to the hospital.

This week, for some reason, my right ankle and foot is swollen and my left ankle looks almost normal. The nurse told me it has to do with where the baby is--all up on my right side. In a few weeks I'll be standing up in my sister's wedding, so I guess it's a good thing my dress is very long. I can cover up both my normal ankle and my swollen one.

Mood: I'm trying to stay upbeat, even though I'm not comfortable. I alternate between irritability and joy. I want to remember what it was like to be pregnant, since this will for sure be my last pregnancy.  Frankly, whatever I have to deal with this month is okay if I end up with a healthy baby girl at the end of it. I've spent the last few years of my life desperately wanting to be pregnant, and now I get to fold pink baby onesies and little pink bows. Greg put together the stroller and installed the car seat yesterday, so we really are ready to become a family of five.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Nick and Henry's Peanut Butter Challenge

This year I've been packing lunches for both Nick and Henry, and it's been a challenge. Neither boy really likes sandwiches with meat in them, and I cannot stand getting their lunch bags back at the end of the day with only one bite eaten. Throwing out food infuriates me, for some reason. So I've been experimenting. Nick is easier to please--he loves cold spaghetti o's, and he'll eat fruit, cheese and crackers, and the fake PBJs made with soy butter. Henry has been more of a challenge. He rejects nearly everything I try, and though he loves PBJs, he won't touch Wow Butter. Tomorrow I'm actually trying cold macaroni and cheese with bacon. (I know, it sounds gross, but he said that's what he wants.)

Henry and Nick love to watch YouTube, and they keep asking me to do a "challenge" like their favorite kids. So we did one with all three kinds of sandwich butters. Neither of my kids has any kind of allergies (that we know about, anyway), but my kids are messy with peanut butter and I don't want to be responsible for another child's allergic reaction. I have friends who have kids with peanut allergies, and it's really scary. Anyhow, my goal was to see if Henry, especially, would like one of the non-peanut butters. Here is the video.

Yay! Henry said his favorite was the Sun Butter. He still doesn't like the WowButter, but that's okay. I can't have soy, either. I was surprised that Nick correctly guessed all three butters. He's the least picky kid I know and will eat all of them, but I suppose he has a refined palate and can easily tell the difference.