Monday, March 28, 2011

26 weeks

Now that I've consulted Dr. Google a bit more, I think the abdominal tightness from last week is not actually Braxton-Hicks, but is instead just some plain, old... abdominal tightness. Apparently that can be common when exercising, etc., and several people recommended using a girdle to support the belly, which is actually what the midwives recommended to me too. I imagine adding yet another layer of material over my belly once it gets warmer is not going to be that comfortable, so I'd rather figure out a way to deal with this that doesn't involve a girdle/prenatal cradle/whatever you'd like to call it. Turns out deep breathing and not arching my back works like a charm :)

This was the last week of my current prenatal yoga class, and while I really enjoyed the classes I was taking, since that instructor is taking the next session off and the other prenatal instructor's classes seem to involve more talking than actual yoga, I'm going to try out another studio in the area next week. This other one has a more flexible schedule too, since I would be purchasing 10 classes at a time vs. signing up for a 12-week session... which was a concern since the last class of the session would've been a day before my due date - getting close! :)

Anyway, so every class ends with relaxation pose (savasana), which is basically when I lay in the most comfortable position ever on a stack of blankets and the instructor leads us through meditation/relaxation. This is the part I used to sleep through for every class, but managed so far to stay awake for prenatal yoga classes since I thought it was important to try to glean some techniques for relaxing, which I've been able to carry over for some of the relaxation stuff we do for childbirth classes too. This week I very nearly fell asleep in class, though, so that I ended up in that strange hazy, dream-state right before falling asleep. The baby decided to pick that moment to work on its kickboxing, so I had a rather trippy experience of being nearly asleep with my stomach moving from side to side since the baby was mainly kicking to the right like normal, and also having a rather realistic dream about running through a field of broccoli the height of corn.

25-26 week comparison

Monday, March 21, 2011

25 weeks

I went out with Ryan for his evening walk every day this week, which wasn't exactly "easing into" the walking like I was planning. But I figured out how to carry myself better so that my back didn't hurt each time, although instead I was having some abdominal tightness. I figured that was because I was trying to talk as we were walking (I apparently can't walk, talk, and breathe, so breathing was the first thing to go), but after our childbirth instructor was describing Braxton-Hicks contractions (abdominal tightness without accompanying pain), I am now wondering if that's what's going on instead. Braxton-Hicks are apparently perfectly normal, although I'm supposed to take it easy when they happen and drink more water, as they may turn into real contractions otherwise. I'm going to try to cut down on my talking during our walks to see if that helps, and will check with the midwives too at my next visit to see if this is anything to be concerned about.

In other news, I still can't sleep. I'm getting closer to accepting that I may never sleep well again, which was partially so that I wouldn't get frustrated when I wake up in the middle of the night and then have troubles getting back to sleep... and now that I'm slightly less stressed about it, I am having more troubles falling back to sleep. That is not the way it's supposed to work. I took another nap this weekend, so hopefully I can start making that a habit and catch up on some sleep that way - I seem to be able to sleep really well for a solid two hours before I wake up, which is good and hopefully gets in some of the deep sleep I'm probably not getting too much of otherwise.

Also starting up this week was some general achiness... I did some work out in the garden for the first time this year, which was probably a large part of it, but on Sunday (which is generally my yoga/housework/laundry day) I was so tired and achy that I found myself consolidating trips up and down the stairs much more than normal since my legs were hurting and burning so much. In other fun news, I've also had a few bouts of acid reflux, which is not at all pleasant. I'm not sure if that's triggered by food, but if it is, I will definitely need to figure out what's causing it so I can avoid eating whatever it is again... at least for another few months :)

The baby has also been moving much more this week. I think I can feel movement just about every hour now, still usually more in the mornings and then later at night. Ryan got to see the baby kicking from the outside this week too, and finally felt it move again - he had only felt it move once before, since I think the baby senses when Ryan's trying to feel it kick since it usually doesn't cooperate then :)

24-25 week comparison

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

24w4d Ultrasound

Yesterday was my monthly ultrasound with the high-risk doctor, and this morning I met with the midwives. Everything looked great - the baby gained a pound since last month, and is now up to 1 lb 14 oz. The baby is still measuring about a week ahead, and is in the 76th percentile for weight, which is "borderline large" according to the high-risk doctor. He was pleased, since they're monitoring me to make sure the baby's growth isn't being restricted, which apparently it is not :) The heartbeat was 132 bpm, and we saw the baby moving around a bit (although it felt more substantial than what it looked like on the screen!). With every ultrasound, I think the baby looks more "baby-like", which continued to hold true with this ultrasound. Its face seems more defined and looks more like a squishable baby face :) The baby was all curled up again, with the knee towards the top left of the picture below:

Monday, March 14, 2011

24 weeks

This week was another big milestone: viability. Twenty-four weeks is usually considered the point of viability, so if the baby were born now, it would have a chance for survival and doctors would attempt to save its life. Obviously we're hoping for the baby to stay put for about another 16 weeks, but this was another important milestone that I was looking forward to - next up is third trimester starting in just under 3 weeks!

As probably no big surprise, my main symptom this week continues to be a complete inability to get a good night's sleep. Unfortunately, my mood tends to deteriorate as the week goes on and I have to operate on less and less sleep, so by mid-week, I found work and just about everything else quite irritating. Then I actually got in a 2-hour nap this weekend and felt well-rested and content for about an hour...before realizing I was still tired :( For the first time, I had problems falling asleep too (normally, I fall asleep very quickly and just start waking up every half hour or so after the first couple of hours), although that was mainly because the baby decided that bedtime was a good time for calisthenics :)

Ryan and I both had mini-breakthroughs this week. Childbirth class was about the coach's role, and I think we both realized a little better what Ryan's role will be during labor, at home and at the hospital, which helped us buckle down more on the prep work, so we've been doing the workbook exercises and finally started practicing the relaxation exercises at home. My breakthrough was more about my fitness (or lack thereof). Although yoga is definitely good with getting me to stretch and relax, I'm also supposed to be doing other exercises for childbirth class and doing a bit more physical activity. So I've started doing the exercises, and now that it's still light out after work because of the time change, I'm starting to go with Ryan on his evening walks. That hasn't gone too well so far - apparently I haven't figured out how to carry the extra weight for any length of time while being active, so my back was killing me after the walk yesterday. Tonight I realized that it was probably because I wasn't holding in my stomach (to firm my core and support my back, as I was taught in physical therapy years ago), so it really shouldn't be that surprising that my back was hurting since I've got more weight in my belly now and I wasn't supporting my back at all. That was a good lesson to learn, so now I'm trying to straighten out my back and hold in my belly again (which is so hard right now!), and the walk tonight went much better.

I feel like I look noticeably thicker this week - possibly because of being closer to the camera for this week's picture, or maybe due to the two pounds I gained this week (after only gaining two pounds total over the previous six weeks). I would like to blame that on all the food I ate at a work dinner on Friday and some poor eating decisions this weekend (a delicious caramel apple shake and a not so delicious dinner of fried everything), but unfortunately, the weekly weigh-in was before the weekend eating extravaganza began. Ah well. This week was also what we dubbed the "Weight Eclipse Date", which is when Ryan's and my weight intersected (as he attempts to lose as much weight as I gain). We picked an eclipse date about a month ago, and Ryan guessed 3/9 and I guessed 3/23 - and since it ended up being 3/9, Ryan won fair and square on this one :)
23-24 week comparison

We also continued with home renovations this week with an impromptu dishwasher replacement. The old dishwasher leaked earlier in the week, which seemed to give us the motivation needed to finally replace it (I had been frustrated with it since we moved in almost 3 years ago since it didn't exactly clean the dishes). So instead of just replacing the hose, we ended up getting a new (to us) dishwasher and having someone pick up the old dishwasher off our front step, all thanks to craigslist :) Ryan also replaced the faux drawers under the sink with something slightly more functional, and spent a bunch of time getting the wonky drawers and cabinets doors straightened out.

Monday, March 7, 2011

23 weeks

Every so often at work, I'll stare at my belly like I'm expecting something to happen - this week it finally paid off :) I was able to tell what side the baby was on (based on how lopsided my belly looked), and I was able to see the baby move for the first time! In between me staring at my belly and working, my coworkers also managed to ask me multiple times a day how I'm feeling. The interest is nice, but I almost feel like I'm disappointing them by not having any horror stories. Besides feeling tired, slightly more hungry than usual, and like my belly has been taken over by a kangaroo, I feel pretty much normal, and have felt that way for a couple of months now. We'll see how my story changes in another month or two, though, once I'm in the third (!) trimester.

Ryan and I also finally made a decision that we had been tossing around for months now, and we hired a doula. We had actually decided against doing this a couple of months ago, and then started talking about it again a couple of weeks ago, and now that we've met our doula and signed the contract, I think it was the right decision and I feel so much more comfortable about labor and delivery. Our main concerns were if we would labor at home for as long as we intend to or if we'd get nervous and go into the hospital too soon, and if we'd be able to stick with our plans once we're at the hospital (barring any medical emergency). So we'll be having a couple of prenatal appointments to talk about what kind of birth we're hoping for, and she's also available for questions and to let me borrow something from her lending library (which is good, since I only have a couple more books I want to read and I can't seem to get them from the regular library). She'll then meet us at our house once I start having regular contractions, and will provide support for me at home and then at the hospital, both during and after delivery for a couple of hours. With the Bradley method (which are the childbirth classes we're taking), Ryan is considered my coach and the doula will be my assistant coach, so basically I should have my own personal two-person support team at all times - pretty cool, and hopefully this will help us have the birth we're hoping and preparing for. And even if I end up needing a c-section, the doula would still be able to stay with me while Ryan goes with the baby, which is a comfort to me to have someone with years of experience sticking with me throughout all the parts that I'm assuming will make me the most anxious.

I've also gotten a question about the midwives' role, which is a good question and one that I didn't mean to gloss over. Simplistically speaking (and hopefully this is all accurate), midwives can work with OBs in a single practice so that the patient can see an OB or midwife at their appointments, or they can have their own practice (hospital-based or homebirth-based). The certified nurse-midwives I go to are hospital-based midwives who have their own practice with an OB on backup, so all of my routine appointments are with one of the five midwives and they replace the role of an OB for my care. If I end up needing a c-section, then the OB backup will do the surgery itself, but otherwise, I do not expect to see a regular OB again and I wouldn't be seeing any doctors at all if I weren't also going to the high-risk doctor. Once I'm in labor, the midwife on call will meet me at the hospital and will stay with me through delivery. One of the concerns we had with getting a doula is that it seemed a little redundant since the midwife will be with me for most of labor as well, but the way I understand it now, the midwives will be supporting me at the hospital but will be focusing on the medical aspects of labor (and may not be with me the entire time at the hospital if they have more than one patient in labor), while the doula's sole focus will be to support me and help with my comfort at home and at the hospital.

All of that said, here's the comparison picture for this week :) Slightly bigger than last week, but it's a little hard to tell since I'm so much closer to the camera for the 22-week picture and my belly appears to be a different shape because of the way I was sucking it in and attempting to stand up straight.
22-23 week comparison