Friday, April 29, 2011

35 Weeks

Well, 35 weeks is almost in the books! I had forgotten to have David take the weekly belly picture until I was already in my pajamas, so now you'll all know what I sleep in! I just couldn't bring myself to change out of the comfy pj's and into nice clothes again. (And please forgive the quality of some of the pictures in this post...we got a new camera and we're still learning how to use it.)

35 weeks, 4 days

This week, we've really focused on getting some projects done in anticipation of Sprout's arrival. We've finished up our Empowered Birth classes, so we were home almost every night this week. It's a good thing, because we've got a lot to catch up on!

On Tuesday afternoon, after work, the bank where David works had a shower for us. It was so nice...and it was the first shower that David had ever been to in his life! He opened all of the gifts, since I've opened tons of gifts from all the other showers. He cracked us all up as he tried to figure out what each item was! We got lots of nice things, and got quite a few diapers. We should be in good shape for a little while on those!

For the past several months, I've been working on a cross-stitch pattern to hang in Sprout's room. I finished it this week! Well...almost. I still have to add Sprout's name and birthdate...but that will have to wait for awhile. What do you think?
This week, we've been trying to get organized. I've been making lists like a crazy woman. I have a list of things to pack in our hospital bag, a list of things I need to buy in order to have our hospital bag complete, a list of things I need to buy for aftercare/recovery, a list of people to call as soon as we leave for the hospital, and a list of people to call at a reasonable hour once Sprout arrives. Whew! I really need to get to work organizing the nursery, because this is what it looks like right now:
Yikes! We just don't have a lot of storage space. We have one tiny corner closet, which David has been working on:
He and his dad built the shelves in the closet, and he put in the curtain rod tonight. He's also bought some decorative trim for the front of the shelves to make them look a little more finished. We also bought a storage bench to put under the window, and I put that together tonight while David was working on the closet. Of all the stuff we've put together lately, that storage shelf had the easiest directions to follow, by far. Right now, there's a load of tiny little laundry in the dryer. Itsy bitsy socks. Teeny tiny onesies. Super cute rompers and gowns. Precious little hats. Receiving blankets. Hooded towels and washcloths. I've never had so much fun doing laundry in all my life. (Ask me in a few months if I'm still excited about baby laundry!)

This weekend, we're going to visit Benson & Kristin, and Kristin is going to do some maternity pictures for us. I'm excited to get to spend some time with them, and of course, excited about the maternity pictures. Kristin does awesome work, so I can't wait to see what she's got planned for us. And that reminds me...I need to make another list of things to take with us for pictures (tiny shoes, little blankets, the sock monkey, storybooks...).

Over the last week or so, I've started to notice that Sprout really responds to music and singing! Every time I'm in the car with the radio on (and singing) Sprout starts to really move around. The same thing happens in church when we're singing. I absolutely love it! I'll be excited to see how he/she responds to music once he/she's outside my belly!

Even though I wrote this post last night, Blogger decided to hold my post hostage, so I'm early this morning to post...while I watch Prince William and Kate's wedding. About 30 years ago, my Mom was pregnant with me, watching Prince Charles and Diana's wedding, so I thought it would be fitting that Sprout and I watch the royal wedding, too. Who another 30 years, Sprout may be watching William and Kate's kiddos get married!

Friday, April 22, 2011

34 Weeks

Another week has come and gone, and it was another exhausting and busy one. (I feel like I say that every single week). This has got to be the worst belly picture I've taken so far. It was taken last night at about 10:30...after we'd gotten home from a hospital class (more on that later) and before I had to bake a cake for David to take to work. I was very tired and more than a little cranky, but it is what it is. :) Here we are (feeling cranky) at 34 weeks, 4 days:
On Monday night, we had our very last Empowered Birth class. I'm sad that it's over, but I am a little glad to not have to go downtown every Monday night. It was a really good class...probably the second-best one, behind the medical interventions class. Last week, our homework was to put together our comfort measures bag to bring to Monday's class. During class on Monday night, we had a labor simulation, which was pretty interesting! Angela had some kind of "music" on her iPod that mimicked contractions. Apparently, it had been playing the entire time we were in class, but it was only after about 30 minutes into class that one of the other students heard it the first time (because it was playing really low). That's when Angela told us what the "music" was (several of us thought it was someone's cellphone going off). She explained that the "music" had been playing, and several "contractions" had been played before we noticed them. She said that's how labor starts...often times women will feel something, but it's not bothersome or painful, and it doesn't keep you from going about your regular day. But then, there comes a point when you think, "Okay, I must be in labor!" and the contractions progress. They'll be a little uncomfortable, but still not enough so to keep you from doing whatever you were doing. Then, they'll become more pronounced and you'll really have to pay attention and work through them. The "musical contractions" gradually got stronger, longer, and closer together (just like real contractions will). At this point, Angela gave each Mom an ice cube that we were supposed to grip tightly during each contraction (to simulate the discomfort of a contraction) and the Dads were supposed to use our comfort measures bag to help us get through each one. It was a great simulation. I know that holding an ice cube isn't really going to compare to those contractions (especially the ones during transition, from what I hear), but it was certainly enough to get us thinking about what we can do (relaxation, rhythm, etc.) to work through them. That Angela is an awesome teacher. I would recommend her classes without hesitation to anyone who is interested in prepared childbirth classes. At the end of the class, we all got together to take a group picture. Here we are (minus one Mom, who had a homebirth that morning!):

A good looking group, huh? Another couple's due date was last night, but we haven't heard anything from them, so we're assuming baby is still hanging out in the womb. :) And the couple in the back on the far left has the same due date as us! I'm looking forward to the emails with all of the birth stories.

We got to spend a couple of nights at home this week, which has become a rarity. I honestly can't tell you what we did on Tuesday or Wednesday, except that on Wednesday afternoon after work, I came home and slept on the couch for an hour and a half because I was so stinkin' tired. Then, I got up, fixed supper, piddled around the house a little, then went back to bed! For a couple of days, I had a really bad backache (right between my shoulders) that just wouldn't go away. I couldn't get comfortable at night, so I didn't sleep well at all, and I guess it just caught up to me. Finally it's gone away, and I've slept pretty well the last couple of nights.

Last night (Thursday), we went to another of our hospital classes. This one was called Anesthesia for Labor and Birth. I do want to attempt an unmedicated birth, but I thought it would be good information to have. Well, it turns out that the class was a complete waste.of.time from beginning to end...including our tour of L&D. The nurse who taught the class was not a L&D nurse, so she couldn't answer the majority of the questions folks had. Then, about halfway through the class, they brought in an anesthesiologist to talk about spinal blocks and general anesthesia...and it was quite obvious that the poor man had never seen the PowerPoint slides before in his life, and seemed to have just found out a few minutes prior that he would be talking to us! It was just a mess. The only thing I got out of the class was this: 98% of women who deliver at Baptist Hospital East get an epidural. Holy cow! It makes me a little nervous about attempting an unmedicated labor there. Will they try to pressure me into getting an epidural? Will they be patient with me as I labor? Will they think I'm crazy if I make a lot of noise (which is a particular hangup I do have about the whole thing)? Will they be able to offer support and encouragement as the labor progresses?

We were also able to go on a tour of L&D after that class, which was pretty pitiful, too. Our group was so large that we wouldn't all fit on one elevator, and the elevator with the other group got stuck, so that was quite entertaining. We saw a postpartum room, walked by the nursery, and that was it. We didn't get to see L&D at all because they were "too busy." I guess that means the rooms were all full, but they didn't really say. Of that tour, the best information we learned was what doors to go to when we go to the hospital. So even if David isn't sure when to take me, at least he knows where to go!

Today is the Good Friday holiday, so I'm off work. I'm thinking of heading to Louisville to see about finding "coming home" outfits for Sprout. I need to find a little girl and little boy outfit, just in case. I may head to Costco, too. It's been awhile since we went, and I'd really like to have flank steak for supper one night. YUM! Then this evening is our community-wide Good Friday service. We haven't had one in awhile, so I'm excited to attend.

Tomorrow afternoon, David's side of the family (the Klingenfuses) are giving me a shower, which promises to be a fun time. They are a wonderful group of people who have accepted me as their own family, which I appreciate so much. They're very excited for Sprout's arrival, which I love!

Sunday is Easter! We'll head to church that morning (and Jeff, our pastor, promises that "Easter will kick our kiester" this year), then spend the afternoon with the Klingenfuses at Easter dinner (hosted by Mama). There's always so much food (good food)! And I plan to allow myself to have a little dessert. Surely that will be's Easter after all!

Sunday also marks 35 weeks...which doesn't seem possible. If I think about it too long, I really realize how soon Sprout could be here, then I hyperventilate a little. We're still not ready. There's so much to do! But we'll get it done, and even if we don't, it'll all be okay. As long as Sprout gets here healthy and safe, that's all I'm worried about!

Friday, April 15, 2011

33 Weeks

Whew! What a busy week! The 33rd week of my pregnancy is very nearly over, and I almost didn't get around to this week's blog post. Tonight is the first night this week that I was home before 8:30 or 9:00pm, and it's just about worn this girl out! I think the third trimester exhaustion has definitely kicked in! Before I get much further, here's the weekly belly pic, taken at 33weeks 4 days: I'm still not noticing lots of growth from picture to picture at this point. Once Sprout gets here, I'm planning on printing all of my pregnancy pictures and laying them out in order...I'm sure that when I do that, I'll be able to tell a huge difference! Let's see...what were we up to this week? Monday night we had our next-to-last Empowered Birth class, and it was another good one. This was was about the first few days postpartum, caring for our bodies, and breastfeeding. I've had several friends tell me that they've thought it's a real shame that there's so much time spent focusing on pregnancy, nurseries, showers, etc., but not much time spent talking about what happens after delivery and how to take care of baby. I was so glad to get the information Angela (our instructor) gave us during class Monday night...everything she tells us is just so practical. She gave us some good ideas about what we should have at home after the delivery, and reminded us to ask for extras of some items at the hospital. I've got to write this stuff down so that I don't forget. Our homework for this weekend (besides our reading) is to put together our "comfort measures" bag of items that we plan to use during delivery (lotions, oils, massage tools, etc.). I think it's a good idea...especially for us, because it will force us to do it. Otherwise, David and I would sit around talking about it but not doing it...and then the next thing you know we'd be on our way to the hospital with nothing! I also really need to get to work on writing our birth plan, because I'd like for Angela to look over it to give us her opinion. I know that she's been a doula at several births at Baptist East and with one of the doctors in the practice I go to, so I think she'll be able to tell me whether we're being reasonable or crazy. On Tuesday night, David and I had a date night! We went to a Louisville Bats baseball game, which was pretty fun. Neither of us are baseball fans, but we lucked into free tickets that also happened to be on dollar hotdog/Pepsi night. We had a nutritious dinner of hotdogs and bottomless popcorn! The game was a doubleheader, because the previous night's game had been rained out, but we only stayed for one game. It ended at about 7:45, so we knew it would be after 8:30 when we got home...we turn into pumpkins if we stay out too late! It was nice to just spend some time with David doing something a little different. I had another doctor's appointment on Wednesday, this time with Dr. Brown. He is one efficient doctor! David usually meets me at my appointments about 20 minutes after the scheduled time so that he doesn't have to wait in the waiting room. He didn't even make it there before Dr. Brown was finished! Dr. Brown said that Sprout's heartbeat sounds great, and my belly is measuring exactly where it should be. I also didn't have any weight gain at this appointment! And...this time there was no sugar in my urine, so cutting the sugar out must be doing the trick. Dr. Brown reminded me again that carbs and sugar are the things that will put (extra) weight on the baby quickly, which will result in a large baby...which increases my chances of a c-section. We all know I don't want that! What I like about Dr. Brown and Dr. Basham is that they both seem to want to avoid c-sections, too. I'm okay with a c-section if it's absolutely necessary to keep Sprout safe, but I'll do all I can to avoid it! Wednesday night we also went to a breastfeeding class at the hospital, and it was very informative. A lot of the information we get at our hospital classes is a repeat of what we get at our Empowered Birth classes, but I like going to the hospital classes because I feel like I'm getting an idea of the hospital's philosophies. I was very glad that the nurse/lactation consultant that taught the class talked about how much they believe in "kangaroo care" and the "golden hour" after birth. I really want to have that skin-to-skin contact with Sprout after birth, and I want to be able to delay as many of those newborn procedures as possible for an hour after birth. The lactation consultant told us that they'll do everything they can to help new moms nurse within that hour, and to do everything they can to help moms be successful after they leave the hospital. We also learned that they have a free (!) breastfeeding clinic that will available to us anytime. I'm excited about that. Most of my friends have breastfed their kiddos, and some have had trouble, others haven't. I really want to exclusively breastfeed Sprout for at least 6 months, which I know will be tough when I go back to work. I'm just glad that there are so many resources available to us. Between the classes, my books, and friend/family support, I'm feeling pretty good about it. Thursday night I had to teach for our undergraduate program. It was our next-t0-last meeting, and I'll be glad when it's done. I enjoy the students and hearing about their practicum experiences, but it just seems like this is the semester that just won't end. I think I have a combination of Spring Fever and upcoming maternity leave-itis. I can't wait to have those three months off with Sprout, and I can't believe that in 9 weeks (at the very most) he or she will be here! There's still so much to do! This weekend, I really need to work on organizing Sprout's room. It's pretty much a wreck since my shower two weekends ago, and I have another shower on Sunday. We've got to make room! Sprout has had another very active week, and I absolutely love the movement. I know that I'm going to miss my belly once Sprout gets here. I feel like I've gotten so used to feeling him/her move around in there that I sometimes have to think about whether or not I've felt him/her move. Of course, as soon as I think, "Hmmm...has Sprout moved around within the last hour?" I get a kick, swipe, or wiggle. It's seriously near constant movement lots of times! I read today that an active baby is a healthy this must be one of the healthiest babies around!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

32 Weeks (and what an eventful one it was!)

Hang on folks, this is going to be a long one! I'm at the 32 week mark, which is just so hard to believe. (Actually, I'm more than halfway through the 32nd week, but the craziness of the week has kept me from blogging sooner.) This week has been packed with activities and milestones, but just so my Mom doesn't get antsy, here's the weekly belly picture!
32 weeks, 4 days

This week, our kiddo has been super active. All of the pregnancy books and websites say that by now, I should be able to tell the difference between distinct periods of Sprout's wakefulness and sleep. Well, if Tuesday is any indication, this child doesn't sleep much at all. He (or she) was in constant motion on Tuesday. From the time I woke up until the time I went to bed, there was constant kicking, punching, rolling, and squirming going on. I don't know what Sprout was trying to accomplish, but in honor of the little stinker's behavior that day, I had to put on this shirt: This is David's kickball league shirt from a couple of years ago. I thought it was very appropriate for the occasion...except there's only ONE superkicker in there!

Last Saturday afternoon was my first baby shower, given by my Aunt Paula and my sister, Allison. It was so much fun, and they did a beautiful job with the decorations (even though Paula had a minor meltdown about the cake, which had some pink icing on it). Lots of friends and family came to the shower, and it was so good to see everyone. We got so many nice things for Sprout, and I'm just overwhelmed with the generosity and love that everyone has shown us already. Here are a few pictures:

Me with the cake and the [gasp!] pink icing! I think it's adorable, and still gender-neutral.

One of our cousins, Gin, made this adorable sweater and bonnet set for Sprout. The buttons on the sweater are tiny bunnies! I thought I would die from the cuteness right there on the spot!

You might remember back a few months ago when I mentioned that I was thinking about doing a presentation at the Kentucky Mental Health Counselor's Association conference on how to support women through the experience of miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. I just felt like after my loss people didn't know what to say or how to act around me. Many people said (and did) some very hurtful things, but I know that they didn't mean to be hurtful...they just didn't realize that what they were saying/doing would hurt so much. I knew that people would appreciate information on how best to support women through these life-changing events, but it's not really that easy to find the information.

Well...I did it! Sunday afternoon I traveled to Somerset because Monday morning I was scheduled to give my presentation. Surprisingly, I wasn't nervous about giving the presentation...I was more worried about hooking my laptop up to the projector so that the PowerPoint would work. (And after some technical difficulties, it finally did!). I had about 25 attendees, many of them familiar faces (either former instructors or coworkers). I was afraid that I might get choked up during the presentation, but I didn't. And you know what? I felt so at ease the whole time I was giving the presentation. I have to teach quite a bit for my job, but it seems like no matter how well I know the lecture material, I'm never quite comfortable enough to teach without notes. But on Monday, I didn't have anything. No notes, just the PowerPoint that hit the highlights of the presentation...and I felt really good about the information I gave. I gave them practical information about how to support women through the experience, some more detailed ideas about what therapists can do in sessions, and tons of online resources (since the people attending the conference were from all over the state). I'm by no means an authority on the subject, but I feel like from my experience, talking with other women, and some research, I gave worthwhile information to that group of people.

My presentation's description in the big program guide.

In fact, one gentleman came up to me after the presentation and said, "You know, I'm a hospital chaplain (at a small-town hospital), and nobody tells us how to deal with these situations. We don't know what to say or do, and we don't know what kinds of resources are available. This will help us so much." When he said that, I could have cried. I just think about the number of women whose experience might be changed because this man now has some information and resources. After my loss, I can remember telling David that I had to find a way to make something good come from something so horrible. Through this presentation, I think I've made a little bit of headway toward that goal. Now I'm just hoping that God will show me other ways I can make a difference.

Monday night (after the whirlwind trip to Somerset), we had our fifth Empowered Birth class, and this one was the best, by far. Monday's topic was medical interventions, and I would have gladly paid the $150 just for that class alone...that's how informative it was. When I got pregnant (both times), I entertained the idea of an unmedicated birth, but just wasn't sure if I have the fortitude to do it. That's probably the biggest reason why I wanted to take these classes...I wanted to know everything in order to make an informed decision. And now (especially after Monday night), I'm going to go for it. Please understand that I don't fault any woman who gets an epidural or any other type of pain medication. I just don't think that's what I want to do, after what I know now. I was so glad to get an email from my cousin Lindsey, who recently had an unmedicated birth with her daughter, Hazel. She gave me lots of encouragement and support about this decision, and I'm feeling really good about it. I know that there will probably be a point at which I feel like I can't do it, but this is something I really want to do. (And this is where I think my stubbornness will be an asset!) If any of you readers had an unmedicated birth and want to give encouragement, please leave me a comment. (And, not to be hateful, but if you had a bad birth experience, please don't leave me your horror story.)

On Tuesday, David and I went to an open house at a pediatrician's office in LaGrange. A good friend recommended this group to us, and I'm so glad we visited. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I was impressed. They've got 8 doctors in the practice, and three are in the office on any given day. On Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, they're open from 8am - 9pm. They have Saturday hours. They're 10 minutes from our house. I really liked the doctor, and all of the staff seemed very nice. I think we've found our pediatrician! (And what a relief that is, to have one more thing to mark off the list.)

And to end the world's longest blog post, the thing that I've been waiting over a year for! Last Spring, David and I bought a weeping cherry tree to plant in front of our house as a sort of memorial to our first baby. We didn't have the opportunity to get an ultrasound image of him/her, and I never felt him/her move, so there's just been this void...there was no tangible evidence that that child existed. I couldn't stand that, so we decided on this tree. When we got it, the blooms had already fallen off, and all that was left were the leaves. Then, we had such a drought that I was terrified that the tree wouldn't survive. But all of my fears were pushed aside this week, because it bloomed! And it's absolutely beautiful. I love seeing that tree outside my kitchen window, because it's a symbol of that little life that so quickly changed ours.

Isn't it beautiful? The necklace was given to me last Mother's Day by my sweet husband. The front has a heart on it that says "love," and it says "sweet little one" on the back. It's seriously one of my most prized possessions.

So...another busy week is in the books! Next week is shaping up to be a busy one, too. Two classes, a date night, and a night of teaching. Whew!

Friday, April 1, 2011

31 Weeks

It's time for another weekly update, and just for Mom, here's the weekly belly picture! This is 31 weeks, 3 days: Well, it's been another eventful week. We went back to the doctor on Monday morning for another checkup. Somehow I'd only gained a little over a pound in a month. I'm not sure how that happened, since I've pretty much been eating like a horse for the last month. I did get some crummy news, though. Nothing bad about Sprout...just an inconvenience for me, really. About a month ago, I took the 3-hour glucose tolerance test and passed. But on Monday, Dr. Basham told me that at my last two appointments, there was sugar in my urine, so she said that it's obvious that my body isn't processing sugar like it should. So...she said that even though I'm "not technically a gestational diabetic" I need to put the kibosh on the sugar for the duration of the pregnancy. It's been tough to adjust to, because I really have a sweet tooth. Before I got pregnant, I used Splenda a lot to keep my calorie count down. Once we started trying to get pregnant again, I quit using artificial sweeteners completely. That means I was using sugar, and probably more than I should. (I know that some artificial sweeteners are supposed to be okay during pregnancy, but I'm just really cautious about it.) So now, I've pretty much cut sweets out of the diet completely. That even means that I don't have my morning cup of decaf coffee anymore...because I just can't drink it black. Oh's no big deal. If it'll keep Sprout healthy (and prevent him/her from getting too big!) I'll lay off the sugar for 9 more weeks. It'll be good for me.

Empowered Birth was great on Monday night. We talked about delivering the baby and the placenta, and it was such good information. Angela, our instructor, used to be an elementary school teacher, and I bet she was awesome at it. She does a wonderful job of using a wide variety of teaching methods to get her point across. Who would have thought that a balloon and some contact paper would perfectly illustrate how a woman's body expels the placenta?! We practiced various pushing positions, which I think will be super-helpful...if David and I can remember any of them when the time comes. I'll have to remember to put our binder in the hospital bag! I'm really looking forward to next week's class, because we'll be talking about medical interventions and how to be an advocate for yourself. She's already given us some good tips for communicating with medical professionals so that they'll see you as a rational person instead of an overprotective parent. I think we'll also be talking about writing a birth plan, which is something I've been giving a lot of thought to. I know that births don't usually go according to a plan, but I certainly plan to give the medical staff some guidelines for what we'd prefer in terms of our baby's birth.

We also had a hospital class this week...this one was led by a pediatrician and talked about newborn procedures, etc. It was really informative, too. We're going to an open house next Tuesday to meet with a group of pediatricians in LaGrange to see if that's where we'll be taking Sprout. This practice comes highly recommended, and it's really conveniently located, so I'm hoping that David and I both like them.

I've put the second coat of paint on
Sprout's quote, and it's looking really good (especially if you're not too close to it). I'm debating on whether or not I can get by without putting a third coat on. Hopefully so.

Tomorrow is my first shower, and I'm super-excited. My aunt and sister are giving this shower, which will be friends and my side of the family. I have no idea how many people will be there, but it will be nice to see everyone. I've honestly been overwhelmed by the amount of love that people have already shown to little Sprout! It feels so good to know that so many people love our baby already. The poor kid will be so stinkin' spoiled that David and I won't be able to do anything with him or her! :)

In other news, I think we've FINALLY decided on names! Whew. What a relief. That's been stressing me out...but part of me thinks that there still might be a change if he/she doesn't "look" like the name we've picked. We'll just have to see!
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