Labor May be Looming

Remember how at our childbirth classes, our doula told us to have regular sex? Well, it seems to be true what they say, that sex can really jumpstart labor. Not long after completing our “assignment” yesterday evening, I started to get an ache in my lower back. Soon enough I started having contractions, and they didn’t ease up when I walked around, laid down, anything… they definitely felt different from the BH contractions I’ve been having.

I figured it was nothing for a while, but they were getting pretty consistent and close together. When they didn’t seem to be going away, I texted our midwife Judy around 10:45p.m. and let her know what had been happening. Luke and I started timing them and they were lasting just under a minute, about 4 minutes apart. Judy gave me some suggestions that might help slow down the contractions, so I had a glass of wine, relaxed and chatted with my parents while Luke ran around packing stuff and installed the baby seat in the car just in case.

On a tangent, I called my mom on FaceTime (she has an iPhone now too – yay!) and the first thing she asked me was, “Are you in labor?” I gave her the rundown of what was happening and how I wanted to put it off for a few more days so I could have my home birth. She told me a bit about her births… My oldest sister, her first child, was due on June 8th but born on May 13 – that’s about where I am now. The baby is due January 11 but the baby seems to want to come and it’s only December 18th!

I was born about a week and a half early, and my mom’s labor was only four hours from start to finish. Then when my mom was pregnant with my brother, she started having so many contractions so early on that the doctor gave her Terbutaline pills to take when she started going into labor. She stopped taking them at 37 weeks, and then my brother did not arrive until 2 days before his due date, her latest baby! And he was 9.5 lbs, so she was thinking she should have let him come early!

Back to my adventure so far…

After a while the intensity eased up a bit, and I took Valerian Root and went to sleep. Before I got out of bed this morning, I had a couple contractions, but they felt much more like the BH contractions I had before. They got stronger and more frequent when I got up to get ready for work though, so after some thought decided to stay home & relax (though I have been doing some work from here- I have a lot of loose ends at the office!!!)

I am still having regular contractions, so Judy recommended I move up my appointment for GBS and have them check to see if I am dialating at all. I got an appointment 3:45 this afternoon so Luke is going to take off work and take me… I guess we’ll bring our bags just in case! I am 36 weeks 4 days now, so hopefully this slows/stops, or at least the baby agrees to hold off until Friday when we can do it at home! Otherwise we might be potentially heading to Morristown Hospital. As long as I am relaxing, the contractions don’t seem to be getting any worse, but they are still consistent and regular.

The baby is awake now and moving around between contractions, so I’m glad to know Shim is doing well in there!

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34 Weeks and… Sex Dreams?

34 Weeks Pregnant!

34 Weeks Pregnant!

I took this picture on Saturday, when I was officially 34 weeks pregnant! I am thankful that this pregnancy has been smooth, healthy and uneventful, but I am still looking forward to finishing with the whole pregnancy thing! My tailbone kills me every day at work, I am tired most of the time, and I am full of random aches and pains… enough with the complaining though!

I know the baby is getting cramped in there, but Shim sure doesn’t act like it… He/she moves around constantly! I’ll be interested to see how much that slows down in the next few weeks- Maybe no slower, but smaller movements since there won’t be as much room? The baby regularly has its butt jammed into the front of my belly- I think it may just like getting butt and back massages. Just like mommy!

WARNING: TMI!

I’ve also had a lot of dreams recently. Most I don’t remember too well, but what seems odd to me is that I’ve been having a lot of sex dreams…? Maybe it’s just the knowledge that once the baby is born, there will be a long period of recovery period and sex won’t be an option. That, and I’ve started perineal stretching/massage to hopefully prevent or minimize tearing during birth, so I am a lot more, ahem, in touch with my lady bits than before.

I also had a dream a few days ago that I remember pretty well… I was in labor, but it was not painful at all and only lasted a short while. I didn’t have my midwife or doula with me, but I suddenly realized that it really was time, and gave birth easily and peacefully alone. I think I know where this dream stemmed from:

When I first started the perineal massages, I started to get more worried than before… how could the tissue possibly stretch out enough to let a whole baby through?! I feel good and confident about most aspects of childbirth and my body’s ability to do them just fine, but I guess my biggest fear is tearing. I know it wouldn’t be the worst thing ever- it happens to women all the time, but it just makes me nervous… I think the dream was trying to let me know that I should just relax, everything will be okay and I can do it!

Random Thoughts & Glucose

Sleeping has been tough for the last few nights. It’s tough to get comfortable with only two options for sleeping positions (left and right side) and needing to extort myself around my completely necessary pregnancy pillow in order to switch positions. I normally toss and turn, but at least I used to have the option of sleeping on my belly or back so I could turn in circles throughout the night without completely waking up. Attempting to sleep has been practically an athletic event- I can never relax completely and wake up tired and sore.

Speaking of sore, I went to the chiropractor on Monday after work and told him about the random pain I was having in my lower back/glute that might have been the sciatic nerve. He did a series of adjustments, and it hasn’t hurt since I left his office! Even if my tailbone never recovers completely during this pregnancy, it will be worth keeping up with my chiropractic appointments so he can take care of any nerve issues like that!

Maybe it’s being so aware of this impending glucose test, but I have suddenly lost my craving for sugar. Eating even a little of it in processed form makes me feel sick. That’s probably a good thing, because now the baby’s brain is really starting to develop so I should be eating plenty of good fats and proteins!

Speaking of the glucose test, I had an appointment at my transfer clinic today to discuss and hopefully get out of the test. As I mentioned before, I have no risk factors for gestational diabetes, so I believe that it is ridiculous that I should subject my body to that kind of nutritional torture. The clinic is a woman-centered practice that is definitely a step up from the hospital, but it is still not what I would consider natural or alternative. Laws require women to jump through some hoops in order to have a home birth, though, and one of those hoops is that the OB-GYN has to sign off and say that I am “low-risk” before they will allow me to give birth in my home.

After some waiting around, I got in the exam room where a nurse checked my weight (first time I’ve been weighed in a few months! Up to 155…) and blood pressure (100/60 – low, but my blood pressure is normally quite low). A little while later the doctor, who has been my midwife’s backup for 14 years, came in. After introducing himself, he checked the baby’s heartbeat and asked me how things were going. I told him everything was good, except that I was having some trouble sleeping. He asked me, “Do you have a mental disorder?”

Um, what?? “No…”

“Well, some people have trouble sleeping because they are manic-depressive and get anxious at night.”

“Uh, ok… I am mostly just physically uncomfortable, and if my brain was excited last night it was because that was an awfully stimulating debate!”

That was a little weird. When we got to talking about the glucose test, he pretty much wouldn’t let me get a word in, talking about how it was important that every pregnant woman is screened. He had never heard of the Paleo diet, and didn’t react at all when I mentioned that I feel sick and experience reactive hypoglycemia when I have too much sugar. He kept on saying, “Hey! I’m not the enemy here…” Not that I was accusing him of being the enemy in any way! I replied, “I understand, I am just trying to find out if there is an alternative.”

We finally made a deal… I am not going to drink the sugar water, but have to eat 50g of carbohydrates an hour before the test. We agreed on jelly beans because they are measurable… I didn’t realize how many jelly beans that was until I got back and looked it up. Considering I never drink sweetened drinks (I even find juice to be repulsive) and don’t make a habit of eating much sugar, 50g is a ton and eating 50 jelly bellies would definitely give me a tummy ache. If anyone asks, I ate the jelly beans…

I looked up the carb content of some fruit and found that if I have an apple and a banana, it will total about 50g of carbs. It is still more fruit than I would ever eat in one sitting, but at least I will get the nutrients and none of the artificial crap.

At the end of the appointment the doctor started talking about how it was safer to give birth in a hospital… I almost started to debate but managed to reign myself in as that would not be helpful to my cause! There are just so many people, doctors especially, that subscribe to the “just in case” philosophy. My philosophy, on the other hand, is “Everything will be fine. If it’s not, we’ll deal with it.”

I texted with my midwife after the appointment and told her about the things he said. I told her, “I like going to your office so much better!!”

She said, “Lol sometimes it actually helps people who are nervous to feel better about their choice… We call him if we need him… He is a great doctor just a fast talker making sure he covers his bases. 14 years backing me and he still asks people why do you want a home birth?” Oh, and she said she has no worries about my mental health, haha!

I am just crossing my fingers that everything will go smoothly so there is no need to transfer. If all goes as planned, I will only have to go to the clinic once more at 36 weeks to be signed off for home birth, and then I am in the clear! After that time, there are only a few reasons women need to be transferred. If the baby is breech, they are required by law to give birth in a hospital (usually by Caesarean section). Also if there are any complications during labor that need medical management, or if the labor doesn’t progress, and gets to be so long and drawn out that the mother needs medical support or a C-section.

Bad Wife Hormones

There are some pregnancy symptoms that you always hear about like morning sickness, and some that you never hear about like constantly bruised-feeling tailbones and random new cowlicks (I swear, I never had a cowlick there before!!!) I’d say that the hormone swings are somewhere in the middle. Most pregnant women put on a happy face when they are out and about, and answer the constant, “How are you feeling?” question with, “I’m fine!” So unless you’re her husband or closest confidante, you may not know the depths of emotions she’s going through.

I have just been consistently irritable for the past while- I just try not to focus on it so that my hormones don’t totally take over my behavior. Every once in a while I let go, though… Yesterday after Luke and I went shopping and registered for the baby, we got home and I still had a list of things to do. I snapped at Luke for getting comfy with his video game controller (I normally do nothing more than silently express my disapproval haha… I am mean…) and made him stop and come work on a letter we needed to write together.

When I finally sat down to relax a bit later, I said wistfully how I’d love a glass of wine… We started up an episode of Grimm (awesome show!) and Luke reheated some White Castle burgers (I didn’t care about that, but yuck) and cracked open a beer. I kind of bitched him out about how I’d driven the past couple nights because it would be nice for him to be able to have drinks out at dinner with friends and family, but now that we were at home where I am not supposed to be tempted he was drinking my favorite kind of beer in front of me… He asked me if I wanted him to dump it out and I said yes. Honestly it made me feel good to see him pour it down the drain.

I know, woe is me… it just sucks that women pretty much have to put their lives on hold while they are pregnant, whereas their husbands can keep up any behavior they like. I can’t play club sports, pick-up sports or crossfit, but Luke is off a couple nights a week still doing the stuff we used to enjoy doing together. I can’t drink alcohol, but he can have his martinis and LITs whenever he wants. I am uncomfortable and exhausted much of the time, and he is the same as ever. On top of that, I am an introvert and normally would feel more relaxed in social situations with some energy and a glass of wine, but now I am just tired with no social lubricant so it’s a lot more difficult for me to be fully present and participate in group conversations.

I know it’s all for the sake of this wonderful, healthy baby my body is nurturing, but the stress of this massive lifestyle change, combined with missing my family and having raging hormones has made me much more irritable than usual. I hate that I am snapping at my husband, but it feels justified when I am doing it. I don’t want to be mean, especially when he’s such a great husband and father-to-be… it’s just those moments when things build up.

What do you do in these situations? Do you just go with it, and let your emotions fly (he’ll understand…) or do you suck it up and try to be the best little wifey you can?

Almost 26 weeks!

Baby Bump - 25 Weeks 5 Days

Baby Bump – 25 Weeks 5 Days

Here’s a little update… I am 25 weeks 6 days now, almost in the third trimester!

My biggest focus is making my body comfortable… at the recommendation of my midwife, I have started seeing her chiropractor. The plan is 2x per week for six weeks, then once a week for the remainder of my pregnancy. The initial six weeks is supposed to get me in line, and hopefully help with all this tailbone pain. I think it’s getting better, but I’m not sure if it’s because of the chiropractic care or because I am finding more ways to avoid sitting on it at work! After that, it’s supposed to just help the joints and ligaments move and expand properly so that everything will be in optimal position for childbirth. I’ve never gone to a chiropractor before and I know some people love it, some people think it’s all B.S… I’m just trying to give it a shot and see what happens!

The baby has been moving strongly and regularly, and Luke gets to feel it often. I love that because I feel so connected to this baby… I am getting to know its rhythms and I am constantly aware of it living and growing inside of me… it’s so great when Luke can feel connected to the baby too! He has started talking to the baby on occasion, and giving it little massages through my belly (a natural pregnancy book we were reading said the baby can feel and enjoy a firm touch!)

This might be wishful thinking, but my nails might actually be getting stronger… Here’s hoping I will have gorgeous hands for the rest of the pregnancy! 🙂 Maybe having pretty hands will make me feel better about my face… the “pregnancy glow” may be great for someone with a naturally dull complexion, but my face is normally pretty pink. Now with all these hormones and extra blood, it is super flushed all the time! And not in a cute way!!!

I still can’t tell if I am carrying high or low… when does that become obvious? I just seem to be right in the middle, peaking at my belly button (which is just about popped out, by the way!).

23 Weeks & a Pain in My Butt!

I am over 23 weeks pregnant now and expanding rapidly! I have energy during the day, but I tend to get worn out pretty easily. I am trying to go to the gym a couple times per week and stretch out regularly… I need to get my strength up to carry this baby around as it gets bigger and bigger! I also want to have some strength and endurance for when the day comes where I go into labor.

On the negative side, I’ve actually been in some pain. I work at a desk and although I get up regularly to use the restrooms, re-fill my cups, and even shoot photos around the office, in the last few weeks my tailbone has been giving me more and more trouble. Having a couple road trips on the weekends obviously didn’t help either… I make sure I’m almost never on my butt once I get home since there’s no way around it at the office. I even bought a donut pillow, but it doesn’t seem to make a difference. I had an appointment with my midwife last week and she saw my discomfort, reminding me that if it’s this bad now, imagine how it will be when I am much further along in this pregnancy.

She referred me to a spa that does prenatal massage and the only chiropractor she trusts with her own neck. I managed to get a massage appointment on Thursday after work, and it was absolutely glorious. For the prenatal massage, they have all these pillows and wedges to make laying on your side comfortable while being massaged. Although I loved the massage, I either need to get a doctor prescription or find a therapist that deals with insurance companies because I can’t justify paying $100 a pop for regular massages at a spa, especially when I have an insurance company that covers them.

I want to make as many appointments as possible outside of regular working hours or late enough that I will only have to leave a little early, so I had to wait until this Friday for my first appointment with the chiropractor. This will be covered by insurance, and I have high hopes that the doctor will help my body adjust to all these changes, and hopefully help the tailbone issue! He has worked with many pregnant women before, and although Luke is generally against chiropractic care, he approved saying I might as well give it a shot. I’ve never been to a chiropractor before, so we’ll see how this goes!

20 Weeks!

We are halfway there! I have a real baby bump growing, our one ultrasound planned for tomorrow, and a mini “babymoon” to Cape Cod in the works for this coming weekend!

My pregnancy continues to be pretty good. I sleep soundly with my giant worm pillow as long as the bedroom is cool- not even a lot of dreams. Maybe my body is resting up in preparation for sleepless nights in its future?

The baby has been moving on a regular basis- I can feel it mostly after lunch or when I am laying on the couch propped up on pillows on my left side.

One bad thing- the heartburn has started. If I eat too much at dinner, I will regret it. I guess my giant uterus is pressing my stomach up so the acids don’t stay confined so well… not cool. Time to buy Tums!

Boob update: I have grown 2 full cup sizes! Just bought (and fill out) a 36C. Makes me want to wear low-cut tops and show them off a bit while I’ve got them!

Symptom: Bad Driving…

I think this pregnancy brain is getting worse. It’s not even that I am thinking about the baby all the time or anything, but I just have a very difficult time focusing. I am normally a very aware, defensive driver, which is totally necessary when you’re on the road with the insane drivers in New Jersey. Unfortunately, I seem to be losing awareness of what’s going on around me. After a close call this morning, I need to really remind myself to focus on driving.

You’d think that pregnancy would make you sharper to better protect yourself and your baby, but alas, that doesn’t seem to be the case.

Random Thoughts at 16 Weeks

I think it might be time to buy more bras… bigger, softer, and without underwire. I wish I didn’t have to wear a bra at all, and I don’t around the house! It just feels so much better to hang free…

I spent a few hours cooking the other day, and even standing on an anti-fatigue mat, my feet and my back were absolutely killing me. It probably doesn’t help that I normally sit at a desk all day and my body isn’t used to standing a lot, but it was a little extreme.

I’ve been feeling some “flutterings” – not like the bumps I felt the first couple times, but I think I am now able to feel more slight movements from the babe!

Stomach sleeping is no longer an option… My stomach is sticking out far enough that if I lay on it, I can feel my insides squish all up to my spine. I Can’t imagine that’s good… I am washing up a bunch of throw pillows and my body pillow because I think they may be key for keeping me comfortable and on my side at night.

Baby brain is real. It can be hard to focus on things when I am so aware of my body – the discomforts and the magic. Not only that, but I’m thinking about what kinds of stuff we’ll need, and what life will be like once “Shim” arrives.

Tight shirt = belly grabs…

Shrinking Stomach

I always thought that it wasn’t until later in the pregnancy when the baby starts to get really big that the mother’s insides get all squished, but that’s not true.

I am almost 16 weeks pregnant and everything is already all mushed up in there. My bladder is smaller- I have to pee regularly, but not very much comes out. Same with my stomach- I get hungry often, but can only eat much smaller amounts than usual at a time. I can’t finish my lunch, so I am saving it and will finish when I have room again!