This post is a little early because I want to finally write about my second (and most likely last) pregnancy before it’s over!
I guess it’s gone by fast… I’ve mostly been focused on taking care of Ari but in the past few months, with my belly getting in the way more often, I’ve been paying more attention to the pregnancy experience and thinking more about the baby who will be in our arms soon!
I think getting through my work shifts has been harder than it was with Ari. I’ve been out of breath all the time and feeling pressure on my bladder all the time for what seems like months now. It’s just so much worse when I’m standing up and moving around, which is obviously how I spend my 13-hr shifts at work. According to my phone, on those days I’ve been doing five to six miles between work and taking the bus to and from work, plus there’s a lot of standing without walking. But Monday was my last shift! I’m so glad I got these two weeks of vacation before my due date, although today is only my fourth day off and I’m feeling pretty guilty about all the free time, and hoping the baby comes soon.
I think this baby does more moving around and large position-shifting movements than Ari did. He doesn’t seem to hiccup as much, but I hear cracks and pops that might be his little joints, so we’ll see if he pops his joints after he’s born. 🙂 With the anterior placenta placement, I anticipated feeling movements a little later than with Ari, but I think the timing was actually pretty similar. There were some early flutters, then February 6th, at 22 1/2 weeks, was when I first felt strong kicks and A. and I both felt them from the outside of my belly. By 24 weeks, I was feeling strong movement consistently.
My health and energy levels have been worse than with Ari, probably because I have a toddler at home this time! I went through so many bouts of illnesses in December, January, and February, and took Tylenol once for a fever and one course of antibiotics for strep throat, whereas with Ari I never even took Tylenol. I’ve had iron deficiency anemia and gestational diabetes with both pregnancies, with almost exactly the same lab numbers, but there has been more concern about my blood sugar numbers this time. I’m not sure whether that’s because I’m with the OB-GYNs rather than the midwives this time, or because my numbers really are worse. I think it was at 33 weeks that I was told I might have to take insulin and possibly induce delivery a week or two early because I had three fasting sugars in the prior week that were right around 100, when they’re supposed to be below 90, and a few post-prandial sugar levels that were above 140 (although I think they were still mostly below 150). I was surprised by how seriously they took those slightly high numbers, and promised to keep a “perfect” diet for the next couple of weeks. I struggled a bit when I went out of town to visit my grandma, but mostly I tried to eat less sugar and carbs and more protein, and to sleep more, and it seemed to do the trick and my numbers have been better since then. They did an ultrasound at just about 37 weeks to check on the baby’s size and the amniotic fluid levels, and said they were estimating his weight at 8 lbs 4 oz! And that at 4500 grams, which is just under 10 lbs, they would be recommending a c-section! I got all freaked out about that, and started reading up on big babies and whether the evidence really supports early induction or c-section, and then started worrying that I’d end up having to refuse some interventions when I’d much rather just be agreeable. (At least this time, the Group B Strep test was negative, so I don’t have to worry about refusing antibiotics!) But the next doctor I saw said I could probably go all the way to my due date with more monitoring, and encouraged me to do some things to try to get labor going. The following week, at 38 weeks (just this past Tuesday), I was told by the male midwife who works with the group that he didn’t think the baby felt that big (he said the ultrasound-based weight estimates are frequently off by as much as two pounds), and I was already almost 3 cm dilated and that if I had to be induced (which they would probably only do if I go past the due date – and he said that 4500 gram limit is outdated and they go to 5000 grams now), that it should go pretty smoothly because my body is ready. He also told me that being active won’t get labor started and that I should “rest up” instead! He also “stripped the membranes” to try to help things along.
So, here I am, three days later, and I’ve mostly been resting but also doing some cleaning and some visiting with people. I took a “Dancing for Birth” 3-hr “intensive” class last Saturday, I’ve been doing a prenatal Kundalini yoga video almost every day since they told me he’s head down but face up again, like Ari was, so I should be doing “cat-cow” yoga moves to try to get his back out toward my belly button, and I had an energy medicine–based massage on Wednesday evening, with a focus on hitting points to help labor get started! The woman told me to eat spicy and salty foods, too, so I’ve tried to do that a little bit but I been craving fruit (especially apples, with sharp cheddar cheese!!) and sweet things.
I noticed Braxton-Hicks contractions earlier in this pregnancy, I think, and it seemed like I was having them frequently for a while, but then they seemed to stop happening. Only in the past week or so have I noticed them again. Yesterday (Thursday) I noticed a lot of them because I was walking around town with my aunt, and I got excited thinking that labor might be starting, but they stopped as soon as I was resting at home. It’s so hard to sit around and be patient! I have to remind myself I’m still a week and a half from the due date.
My preparations have been simpler this time. We already have most of what we think we’ll need. I got some things ready to go for myself for the early days: pads, nursing bras and tank tops and easy-access shirts, cloth milk leakage protectors, and loose, comfortable clothes. The baby clothes and blankets are washed and folded and put away in the dresser. We have some disposable newborn diapers, and some cloth ones that are washed and ready to use. The pacifiers and loveys and simple baby toys are cleaned and set out for use. We have a few gifts for Ari to give him when he visits in the hospital, and in the early days at home, and for his birthday, which is coming up soon! I wiped down the infant car seat and it’s sitting in our living room, and the bassinet is set up by our bed. We also bought this woven wrap for babywearing, after reading about different wrap styles and decided a linen-blend woven wrap would be a nice, breathable material for summer and more versatile, durable, and longer-lasting than a stretchy wrap (like a Moby). With two little ones, I think we’ll have to do more hands-free babywearing this time!
It’s possible that the preparations have been a little upsetting for Ari, because he’s been wanting to cuddle more and having a harder time saying goodbye to me when I take him to school. Bedtimes have been harder, too. I’m trying to stay calm and confident that we will all do fine with the changes that are coming! This time, A. is going to get more time off work and I’m trying to ensure that the first two weeks will be a quiet time, at home, for just our little family to be together and get to know each other. I don’t want to be out and about as much as we were with Ari when he was brand new, even though we enjoyed the family visits and other things we did with him.
Here are some pictures of the all-in-one style newborn cloth diapers we purchased:
They have these middle sections that are sewn in on one side and have snaps on the other side, so you can undo one side for washing and drying.
We ordered them from this place, which also does cloth diaper rentals! Ours are used diapers from the rental program, so the prices were half what they would have been new, and the diapers are still in great shape.
I rearranged the top dresser drawer to fit the new diapers:
We’re also keeping disposable newborn diapers handy in a basket on top of the dresser, along with bigger cloth diapers to be used as burp cloths:
We had a good friend visit for a weekend and went to the zoo:
And to our old college campus, where we used the adult-sized swings and Andrew got to run around too:
Here Ari is doing prenatal yoga with me:
36 weeks and outgrowing my maternity clothes!
Ready for a bike ride in the rain, with a stegosaurus:
Another belly shot:
A nice, healthy meal of roasted vegetables on quinoa with fresh tomatoes and mint – yum!
38 weeks! Off work and ready to have a baby!
My natural moisturizers, deodorants, and cosmetics – trying to minimize toxic chemical exposures for pregnancy and skin-to-skin newborn time! The Schmidt’s deodorant is first natural brand I’ve found that actually works pretty well. The ingredients are similar to what I’ve seen for handmade recipes that are supposed to work well. In the shower we’ve got things pretty simplified, too, using a locally-made bar shampoo and Kiss My Face olive oil bar soap. We also have some organic foaming soap for Ari and super “pure” liquid soap for the baby. I’ve been doing a lot of research of products and ingredients on the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep database, plus trying to avoid palm oil, which is in a lot of the natural products, for environmental and animal welfare reasons (which I first read about at the zoo, in the apes exhibit).
I just recently swapped out our toothpaste when I learned that our Colgate Total had triclosan in it! Ugh, I can’t believe how long I’ve been putting that stuff in my mouth! I won’t even use antibacterial hand soap, except at work.
A.’s parents are visiting and took Ari to the zoo for a LONG TIME on Wednesday, where they let him see ALL the animals! They sent me this photo:
Well, that’s it for now. It’s not quite the end of May but I’m hoping to be having a baby soon so I want to get this post up!