Ready

As many of you know, since you get here from Facebook, I am being induced tomorrow morning. Bright and early. At 4:30 am. Not exactly the ideal time, but it isn’t the ideal circumstances, either. After last week’s appointment, I had pretty much mentally prepared myself for this outcome, so when she told me at my appointment on Wednesday she had scheduled me I was ready for it. And I understand it’s the right thing to do, for both me and Amelia at this point. Hopefully everything goes back to normal with my blood pressure after she’s born, and hopefully this isn’t an issue in subsequent pregnancies.

My maternity leave started today, which I am super thankful for. I was able to go to the grocery store so we don’t starve in the days after coming home from the hospital and get all our laundry done. And John and his mom just finished scouring the condo so we have a clean place to bring baby home to. Also, we installed the car seat (yeeeaah, we procrastinated a little on that one, I’ll admit). AND last night we got a dresser! So the nursery is pretty much complete! The only thing left is John’s least favorite chore: Hanging curtains. She’ll probably be three before he gets around to it (love you, honey!). Most importantly though, I was able to rest and take a long bath and generally enjoy my last day sans baby.

And yes, I am a little nervous about the actual process of having the baby, but at this point, I’m mostly just excited. I’m ready to see the little person who I’ve gotten to know so well the past nine months. I’m ready to see her face, see who she looks like. I’m ready to see if she’s as spirited out in the world as she’s been inside of me (I’m thinking she will be). I’m ready to meet my daughter.

As John has been saying, “we’re ready to get this show on the road.”

The next time you’ll hear from me at Hot Shot Mama we’ll be reporting with baby! If you are so inclined, you can keep up with the whole shebang on Twitter.

My pregnancy survival kit

We’re very close to the end of our pregnancy journey. I’m almost a little sad about it. On one hand I am ready to meet my daughter, but on the other pregnancy has been the main focus of my life for most of this past year, so it’s going to be strange adjusting to not being pregnant, especially when I’ve spent so much time and energy figuring out how to make being pregnant comfortable.

Pregnancy is long and difficult. There are many trying moments; there are many AMAZING moments that definitely make the trying moments worth it. Here’s what I’ve found have made being pregnant these last nine months easier and more comfortable.

Preggie Pops

These things are uh-maz-ing at keeping nausea at bay, and I basically lived off of them for the entire first trimester. Even if you aren’t plagued by morning sickness the way I was, I recommend getting a pack because for whatever reason, maybe the sugar, they give you a little jolt of energy at the same time. I always kept some in my purse during my nauseated, sluggish first trimester. Apparently they’re great for labor and dry mouth too. The flavors, while a little strange, are actually really good. Preggie Drops are made by the same people and are the same thing except no stick, which is half as much fun but they do the same job.

Be Band

Or the Bella Band, or Belly Band, what have you. This is basically a wide piece of stretchy cloth meant to wear over your too small pre-pregnancy pants or too big maternity pants. Target sells the Be Band (about $17) but they’re all the same. I recommend getting a couple of these in different colors.

Really comfy maternity yoga pants

Even if you never do a stitch of prenatal yoga, invest in a couple pairs of maternity yoga pants. I got the Liz Lang Maternity yoga pants for about $20 each (you may be able to find them cheaper elsewhere, let me know if you do), and they were worth every penny. They’re stretchy, comfy, thin (so you can still wear them out of the house in the Saharan heat of summer), and still offer a little shape so you don’t feel as sloppy as you would in sweat pants. Get a couple colors, and buy them in the size that will fit you LATER in pregnancy. You can use the Be Band to keep them up around your belly until you grow into them, so it saves you from buying multiple pairs as you grow.

Popsicles

Whether you are pregnant in the summer or not, something cold and icy in the freezer is a must for any pregnant gal. This is especially true if you are hot natured, like me. They’re also great when you aren’t feeling well, have some light heartburn, etc. I craved popsicles almost my entire pregnancy, but even if you don’t, keep a box handy because they’re a great snack. Get the real fruit kind, which serves a double purpose: Tasty snack, nutritious treat.

Heating pad

Like I’ve said, pregnancy hurts. A lot. And usually not where you’ll be expecting, and in a different spot every few days. Just when you get the pain managed in one area, BAM, it moves to another. Heating pads work WONDERS for some immediate relief. You can make one by putting a bag of white rice into an old tube sock and tying a knot in the end. Throw it in the microwave for a couple minutes until it’s nice and hot, wrap it in a towel, and apply to aching area. Be forewarned, it does smell like rice once heated, not necessarily a bad smell, but people will notice it if you use it in front of them. If that’s not your bag, buy one from your drugstore of choice.

Really, really, REALLY comfortable underwear

Some people tout the use of the maternity underpants, but I never saw the need for them. What’s important is you find underwear that is really comfortable, and breathable, as all sorts of crazy things go on down under while you’re pregnant. For me, I found cotton hip-huggers to be most comfy. Pink for VS makes some with wide lace bands that are super duper comfy because they can ride under your belly easily. But what’s important here is finding undies that are comfy for YOU. So if that’s a thong, then rock it out girlfriend.

A well-stocked medicine cabinet

If your OB is anything like mine they give you a crap ton of handouts at your first visit (I got a whole folder full). One of them should be a medicine 411 letting you know what to take when you get a particular ailment. Stock up on these, because the last thing you feel like doing when you feel like crap and are really pregnant is go to the store. The two basics I recommend: Tylenol and Tums. Tylenol is your go-to pain reliever, so make sure you have it on hand. Tums are your go-to for heartburn and indigestion. I kept several bottles on hand at all times: One in the bathroom for middle of the night heartburn attacks, one in the kitchen for chomping on right before dinner, and one in my purse for on-the-go relief at work, restaurants, what have you. Also? Great source of calcium. Also good to keep around is Tucks (witchhazel), I won’t delve into that one too deeply, but buy some for, ahem, issues in that area. And Vaseline. Look, I’m going to be honest with you here, thanks to the increase of hormones, you will be all gross down there, which sadly contributes to chafing, especially if you’re out and about walking around a lot. Vaseline helps.

A sense of humor

Let’s face it, while pregnancy is a beautiful thing, it’s also weird and kind of gross. Your body is going to do things you never thought possible, some of which is extremely embarrassing (getting a nose bleed while in the car with clients, anyone? Yes, that happened to me).  It’s important to remember these embarrassing things are completely normal and are a consequence of a very amazing action: Building a baby. So take it all in stride and laugh about it.

A good attitude

Look, I don’t know what it is about pregnancy, but there is something that makes everyone thinks they can say whatever the hell they want to. For whatever reason, the public at large becomes very invasive. Yeah, I know, it’s not always fun, but take everything they say with a grain of salt. And if you have to become a little snarky to deal with it, then so be it (this would be why a certain gentleman in the grocery store when after he asked if I was having twins got hit with a “no, are you?).

SUPPORT

Pregnancy is hard. And you need a good support system to survive it. For me, this has been John, but if you don’t have a partner in this, FIND ONE. Whether it’s your mom, a sibling, a friend, cousin, WHOEVER, find the person whom you can spill every hope, dream, worry and embarrassing thing that happens to you to, and find them quickly. Ideally, you have multiple people in your arsenal for this. I’ve been extremely blessed to have an amazing, husband, mom, MIL, SIL, friends, etc. Enlist whomever you can because you will need the love and support they give you to get you through it all.

There are many more things I’m sure I could include on this list, but this is definitely my top ten. What were the things you can’t/couldn’t live without during pregnancy?

Big news

So, pretty much everyone assumed Baby A would make her big appearance sometime in early October (including myself), but it looks like the joke’s on us.

I went to the doctor for my 38 week check up today. I was pretty much expecting everything to be the same from last week’s visit. Baby hasn’t dropped yet (although the nurse did tell me since I am kind of on the short side she likely won’t drop much at all since there isn’t really a place for her to go), and I haven’t had an increase in contractions (that I’m aware of). Was I ever wrong.

First things first, I’M FINALLY DILATING. Thank the good Lord, because I was worried it wasn’t going to happen. It’s only a centimeter but still. Even better, I’m 90% effaced, which doctor said was even better than the dilating. She said effacement is a better sign of being ready for labor. Which is a good thing, because it could be happening a lot sooner than we expected.

My blood pressure, which has been a constant issue since week 24, if you remember, was high. Since that first scare it seems every other visit it’s high. She ordered another HELLP panel (I have had more blood work done during this pregnancy than I have my entire life), but even if it comes back negative, doctor thinks we will be looking at induction. Possibly as early as next Friday. We’ll reevaluate at next week’s appointment, but even if I don’t get induced on the 21st, it’s likely to be the week after at some point. Basically, she said she doesn’t like to mess around with high blood pressure this late in pregnancy, and at this point it’s safer for me and baby to just have her out in the world.

Many moons ago, we had a long talk about induction. Basically, I wanted to avoid it, but even so, my first reaction when she told me we were probably looking at it anyway, was relief and excitement. Yes, I am disappointed I won’t be able to have a totally natural labor and delivery (still hoping to go natural, sans pain medication), but I know it’s the best course of action, health wise. And now I probably won’t have to worry about going into labor at work, which is a plus.

It’s crazy to think this pregnancy could be over in a week. And then we’ll have an even crazier journey ahead of us: Parenthood (yikes). I get the feeling our little Amelia is going to give us quite a wild ride.

36 week update

Well, we weathered the storm.

Actually, we never even lost power, so we did really well. Others, unfortunately, were not so lucky. My parents had a tree fall on their cabana (first world problems, I know), proving they literally cannot go through a hurricane without some kind of tree falling on some part of their property. More importantly, there are many people across Louisiana and Mississippi who have lost everything to Isaac, so let’s all keep them in our thoughts and prayers and just generally send good, happy vibes their way.

In the midst of all this, I am now 36 weeks pregnant, so so very close to being full term. I was supposed to go to the doctor yesterday, but thanks to Isaac the practice was closed. The doctor called me first thing this morning to see if I could come in today (how’s that for service). Apparently they aren’t joking when they say they want to see you EVERY WEEK from a certain point. She checked me “down there” for the first time, and naturally, there is absolutely nothing going on. As of right now I am still closed for business, if you catch my drift.

However, there are two things she never hazards a guess on: When baby will come and how much baby will weigh. As The Good Doctor said, “The only person who knows when that baby is coming is the baby herself and God. And unfortunately neither are going to give you much of a heads up.” Also, she said (and I knew this, but again, always nice to hear from a doctor), whether or not you dilate early has little to do with it; you can walk around for weeks dilated or be completely shut up there and go into labor the next day. You just never know.

I’m not super ready for her to leave the wet nest quite yet (still have a few things to get, plus our natural childbirth class isn’t until next weekend), so I’m okay if she hangs out till the end of the month. Even if I feel like I’m about to burst at the seams (the Braxton-Hicks contractions are definitely getting more frequent and stronger, which I am not enjoying). But, just in case we do have an early arrival, I am going to get everything we need for the hospital together this weekend as well as install the car seat. Better safe than sorry, you know?

Signed, sealed, ready to be delivered

I was at the hospital today for the obligatory “baby is coming” tour, which wasn’t entirely necessary since my SIL just had a baby last week so I’ve pretty much seen everything. I was actually there by myself, as I mixed up the dates and John had a flight (can we say awkward? I was literally the only daddy-less mommy in the group). I would have just skipped it, but I felt bad taking up a spot and then not showing.

It ended up being pretty useful because I was reminded of the “OB Express” system Woman’s has, where if you are within 45 days of your due date you can do all your paperwork ahead of time so it’s ready for you when you need it. Since I am a “plan and be prepared” type of person, I figured now is as good a time as any to get it done. And I’m within 40 days (that’s just a little over a month, if you’re keeping track) so why not?

The whole process took only a few minutes and was definitely worth it to not have to worry about signing papers while in the throws of labor. And being back at the hospital made me SO EXCITED for Baby A’s arrival, I cannot even tell you. I’m beyond ready to meet my little girl, see her precious face, and give her so much love.

(And also, if I’m being entirely honest here, I’m just really ready to not be pregnant anymore.)

34 week update

So I spent yesterday home from work on pelvic rest.

When I woke up yesterday, I just felt horrible. Not that I feel great most mornings, but yesterday was especially brutal. I was having intermittent cramps across my abdomen and back. They were quite a bit more intense than any I have had prior, but I decided to go to work anyway to see if it would fade away. I was only there about an hour before I called in to the doctor, who basically told me to go home, lay down, avoid activity, and drink a crap ton of water; if I started to feel worse I was to call back, but since Baby A was still moving really good and there was no bleeding she said I should be fine to wait till my appointment today.

I did as I was told, and towards the end of the day I did start to feel better. We talked about it extensively today at my appointment, and we decided it’s time for me to really start taking it easy, not only at home but also at work, and I also need to be more careful with how much time I spend outside in the heat (simply put, it’s really, really, REALLY hot down here right now). She wrote me a note basically saying I am to partake in “minimal physical activity and minimal time spent outside”.

My boss at work is super great and understanding, and I know he’s willing to do whatever is needed, so the excuse is mostly for me. I am a proactive people pleaser by nature, so if I see help is needed somewhere, I’m going to get up and do what needs to be done. Now, everyone can be on the same page about what I can and can’t do at eight months pregnant and beyond. The goal here is to work as long as possible and avoid bed rest, so this is a good step towards that.

In other news, we’re measuring 34 inches across my belly (right on target), and I weigh the same I did at the last appointment, making my total weight gain from pre-pregnancy weight still 17 pounds. Today was also my last biweekly appointment. From here on out, we’ll be seeing the good doctor weekly, and she’ll be checking to see “if there’s any action going on down there” (her words, not mine).

If I was looking for an indication that this is almost over, I think that’s it. I keep focusing on the 40 weeks of pregnancy and forget I’ll be full term in just three weeks. Three weeks is a lot closer than six, you know? It’s time to get things in order, just in case we have an early arrival. I’m going to start getting together our hospital bags this weekend, and I’m almost done with all of Baby A’s laundry. Six more weeks (or less)!

(BTW, baby clothes: Super cute until you have to wash them for the first time. Everything has multiple pieces, and they’re all connected by plastic and tape. And don’t get me started on trying to keep all the pieces parts together after they’ve been washed.)

32 week update

Normally I do my updates every five weeks, but that would mean I’d only have, at the most, two updates left. And this blog is supposed to be about pregnancy, so I figure why not, we’ll do ’em every two weeks from here on out.

So anyway, 32 weeks! We had our very last appointment at the old Woman’s Hospital today (for those of you reading outside of Baton Rouge, Woman’s Hospital–the hospital to give birth in in the area–has been building a new hospital for what seems like forever, and it’s finally opening in a couple days). I was my doctor’s last patient in her old office.

It was the world’s fastest OB appointment. I was in and out before my scheduled appointment time. Believe me, I’m not complaining. I wish ALL my visits could be that efficient. Anyway, I have gained a total of 16.5 pounds from my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m gaining about .5-1 pound a week. At that rate, I should finish up right around 25 pounds total. Seeing that the good doctor said 25-30 pounds was a good range for me, I’m extremely proud of myself.

**Side note: If someone had told me years ago I would actually struggle at times to gain weight while pregnant and that I would not have to work excessively hard to not gain a TON of weight, I would have laughed at them. Gaining weight has NEVER been an issue for me.**

My blood pressure also looked “great!”, always a relief to hear. Baby’s heart rate was 147, and my stomach is measuring 33 inches. Doctor said she is still probably a little bit above average in size, and I’m thinking at this point it’s likely to stay that way. I’m really curious how much her final weight will be. I’m taking bets, by the way, if you want to join the pool.

She listened to me whine for a bit about how much everything hurts and how I’m nauseous all the time again. Where most people say, “it will all be worth it soon!” the doctor commiserates and says, “yep, it really sucks and everything is hard, I understand” (she doesn’t actually say it sucks, I’m paraphrasing), which is another reason why I love her. Sometimes you just need someone who’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear, and not necessarily what they think you need to hear.

Things are trucking along. John and I got the travel system put together, as well as the kickass Rock n’ Play sleeper (where she’ll be snuggled up in our room for the first few months) and bouncy seat and even the high chair. We are slowly but surely getting everything ready for this baby. Although we need a lot of stuff. Namely, a crib mattress. And a dresser. Still.

Finally, I leave you with a picture of Harleaux in her new favorite hiding place. Her love of all of Baby A’s stuff is cute yet annoying.

It’s like she puts herself in prison