Tuesday, March 25, 2014

31 Weeks

I am officially 31 weeks and 2 days pregnant, and our little one is currently the size of a pineapple!

I had a regular OB check-in today, and Shep and I were both a bit curious as to how I'd measure.  Last time I was measuring a tad on the large side, and I feel like I've only grown a lot more since then.  The fundal height measurement came in at 29 cm, which the doctor felt was perfectly normal.  According to this chart on Wikipedia, 29 cm falls within the normal range for 31 weeks gestational age, and is just slightly larger than the average of 28 cm.  Phew!  To date, I've gained a little over 21 pounds, and 7 inches around my belly.

In terms of symptoms, it's mostly been more of the same.  In odd news, my belly button for some reason decided to turn into an "innie" again late last week, but it's currently back to being an "outtie".  ;)  I'm pretty sure I'm going to throw in the towel on acupuncture, because of the 4 sessions I've tried, only 1 session really provided relief from the nausea and even that was short-lived.  The only new issues I've been dealing with are the 2 gigantic zits that have recently taken up residence on my face, and a bit of ankle/foot swelling that occurred 1 or 2 days last week.  The dr. did comment with surprise today during my check-up that I'm still wearing my wedding and engagement rings, so I guess I should be glad my hands aren't {yet?} swelling!  Back pains are coming and going with a little more frequency; and I've been having a harder time sleeping lately due to not being able to find a comfortable position, waking up 2-3 times a night to pee, and waking up realizing that I'm laying on my back which I'm not supposed to do.  I'm having a bit more trouble walking around and climbing the 4 flights of stairs I tackle exiting the train station on my way to work every morning, but I think that's to be expected.  I want to keep walking around and getting that little bit of stair-climbing cardio in as long as possible, so we'll see how much longer I can hang in there!  If it gets too hard, I can always adjust my morning commute.

My due date is May 25th, exactly 2 months from today -- yikes!  And, my maternity leave begins in just 1 month.  I only have 23 more business days of work left before leave -- woohoo!!!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Pediatrician? Check!

Well, we can cross one more thing off our to-do list!

We were both a little surprised when we started seeing "interview a pediatrician" in various pregnancy books and online checklists.  Do people really interview doctors before signing up?  This was news to us, and at first seemed a bit odd.  But after checking around we realized it was common practice, so we decided to hop on the bandwagon.  Apparently even the doctors' offices {at least in our area} expect and sometimes even require to meet and chat with soon-to-be parents before the baby is born.

There is no one "right" way to meet with a potential pediatrician.  Different people with differing personalities have different approaches on this, I'm sure.

- Some people may not care much about getting specific questions answered as much as just meeting the doctor face-to-face and seeing if his/her personality matches your preferences (e.g., talkative, straightforward, etc).

- Depending on your individual preference, you may want a doctor that will advise you on issues that fall outside strict medical visits (e.g., breastfeeding, sleep training, etc.) or you may want a doctor that doesn't have strong views on these topics, so you don't feel pressured to follow their advice and instead feel comfortable making your own choices in those matters.

- The most important thing to you may be choosing a doctor's office that has extended/weekend/evening office hours and/or multiple locations, which makes last-minute sick visits easier to schedule.  Similarly, it may be important for you to choose an office that encourages email contact and/or electronic scheduling.  Or, these things might not be among your list of priorities!

- You may want to dive deep into specific questions, to ensure that the doctor's advice and opinions align closely with yours.

The good news is that these "interview" sessions allow you to see whether your opinions, preferences or priorities, whatever they may be, align with those of the doctor.

Well, today we met with and decided on a pediatrician for our baby.  The practice has been recommended to me by several people at my company who live in our city, and the specific doctor we chose was recommended by friends who live nearby and have been taking their 8 month old daughter to this doctor since birth.  We'd also read positive reviews online of the practice, so were pretty hopeful that this would be a good fit.

In our case, we definitely wanted to meet the pediatrician to ensure questions were not only tolerated but encouraged, as we expect to have MANY questions as we enter this new challenge of parenthood and don't want to feel like we're being rushed out of the office when we visit.  But, the doctor's views on certain items were also really important to us, so we prepared a list of questions to review with her.  We ended up creating our list of questions based partially on questions we'd read in books or on the web, partially on advice from other new parents, and of course our own curiosities.  :)

Lucky for us, the pediatrician we met with was very warm, very patient in answering all of our questions, and we feel comfortable choosing her to be our baby's pediatrician!  So that's one more thing we've crossed off our to-do list!

P.S. - For anyone out there looking for a pediatrician, and wondering what to think or ask about when you meet with him/her, I'd recommend searching the internet for sample interview questions and asking friends for advice on what they wish they'd known prior to selecting a pediatrician.

Click here for a sample list of interview questions from BabyCenter.
Click here for a list of sample questions from The Bump.

Happy interviewing!

Monday, March 17, 2014

30 Weeks!

Hello, Week 30!  Wow, something about being in the 30s is shocking!  It sounds so close to 40!  Our baby is now the length of a cucumber and could weigh as much as 3.5 pounds!

Source: The Bump
I haven't been feeling those super-hard kicks as much, but I have felt baby doing a lot of stretching out in there!

Symptom Snapshot:

My belly button has officially popped OUT!

So far I've woken up with leg cramps 3 times, all since the third trimester began.  The pain last night was a real doosie!  It was a bit different from the first 2 occasions, which felt like charlie horses in my calf.  Last night it was the front of my left ankle that hurt so bad -- so odd!  Luckily, getting up and walking around helped calm it down.  I'm not sure if it was related to the exercises I did yesterday or the massage I had, or neither one.  I'm just glad it went away!

Shortness of breath, general discomfort, continued nosebleeds and trouble sleeping???  Check, check, check, and check!!!!  I'm also still dealing with nausea on a relatively regular basis, which seems to have gotten a tad worse over the past couple weeks, and that darn Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction pain in the top inner thigh on my left leg seems to be making a reappearance as well after a few weeks of leaving me alone.  I also suffer from what I am calling "big belly waddle-itis", where I really want to walk like a normal human, but just can't.  ;)  Frequent urges to pee, fatigue and increased discharge in the undies area are some of the other lovely pregnancy symptoms I've been dealing with.  I think now that the third trimester is underway, it's going to be like a big party for all the pregnancy symptoms out there to gang up on me!  The only thing I haven't really had to deal with -- and I'm so thankful, so *hope* I don't jinx myself -- is constipation.  I don't know whether it's thanks to my diet or water intake or what, but I've been pretty regular.  At least there's one symptom in the book I don't seem to have!

I think I might have experienced a couple Braxton Hicks contractions, but to be honest it's a bit hard to tell -- it could just be the baby pushing against my outer abdomen, which this little one seems to like doing.  On several occasions I've felt with my hand what I'm pretty sure is a head!

There's hasn't really been any change to my weight or waist measurement since last week, but my pants are definitely feeling a bit on the snug side.  I guess we'll see just how stretchy the elastic-waisted maternity jeans I have really are!  ;)

The Never-Ending To-Do List

We started making progress on nursery planning:
-- the furniture has been ordered and is ready for delivery
-- we started clearing out the room a bit this weekend, and got most of the big things out of the way
-- and though we haven't chosen an exact paint color yet, we have narrowed down the field to a few different options

Later this week we have an appointment with a potential pediatrician, which has been on our list for quite some time, so we're excited to hopefully get to check this one off.  We'll also be attending a workshop called "Doulas 101" and starting our "Prepared Childbirth" classes at our delivery hospital!  Talk about a jam-packed week of education!

Bump Watch Alert!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Crib? Check!

Yikes... we officially purchased a crib and dresser!!!  We'd been looking around for a few weeks, and it was about time we finally made a decision since the clock is definitely ticking, but there was something about actually placing the order that was scary!  I know many of my pregnant peers already have their entire nurseries ready by this point in time, or sooner, and I am very impressed by their organization and drive.  The truth is though that I am a bit of a procrastinator in life -- due equally to my incurable indecisiveness and my aversion to change!!  I know this baby is coming, and there is nothing I would ever want to do to change that fact, but I've been having a really hard time actually picturing what life is going to be like once our little one arrives.  Submitting the order for such an important purchase was like giving in to the change about to come into our lives, and admitting that WE'RE GOING TO BE PARENTS IN ONLY A COUPLE MONTHS!!!!  We're going to be solely responsible -- 24/7 for at least the next 18 years -- for the physical and emotional care, safety, health, entertainment, development and love of a tiny little person that's completely dependent on us.  Talk about scary...

Well, before I freak myself out any further, let me show you our future baby's nursery furniture!

It's nothing fancy, but we like it.  The room we're using for a nursery is very small {I'm talking 6' x 8' small}, so we can't fit much in there but we're hoping {knock on wood} that these 2 pieces don't look totally cramped in the little area.  We also ordered a changing station that attaches to the top of the dresser, but it's anybody's guess as to whether we actually end up using that piece.  ;)

As I mentioned in a prior post {link here}, we're focused on safety above all else, and so have been looking into various non-toxic options for the nursery.  After a response comment from UL Environment on my prior blog post {thanks for reading, UL!}; I did a bit more research on Greenguard certification and we decided that for our situation the Greenguard-certified products are worth the additional cost to us.  Our future nursery is an internal room, which means there isn't a window in there, and so we're hyper-sensitive to the potential for any chemicals to be given off by the furniture.  For that reason, we decided that this option was best for us.

And since we are spending a bit more for the super-non-toxic-certified crib, we figured it would be a good idea to get an equally non-toxic mattress, so we're going with the Naturepedic organic cotton waterproof crib mattress:

No, this isn't an infomercial, but I realize that it's starting to sound that way.  Sorry about that!  I'm just so relieved that we finally made these decisions, so I wanted to share!

We placed the furniture order before we left for our babymoon, because (1) we figured setting a deadline was the only way it would get done and (2) the pieces were supposed to take anywhere from 6-8 weeks to be delivered.  BUT, we already got a call this week from the store letting us know that they're in and ready for delivery!  Double yikes!!  But because we weren't expecting them to arrive so soon, now the store has to hold them for us until we get our butts in gear and decide on paint colors for the room...  Ah, the "to-do list" never ends!!!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fetal Echo Follow-Up

Yesterday was our fetal echo follow-up appointment.  Even though everything looked good at our first appointment, we were advised in January to return for a second look around this time in the pregnancy, just to ensure everything was growing and forming normally.

Just like last time, a technician took a bunch of measurements over the course of about 15 minutes and then left the room to show them to the doctor.  I didn't have a view of the monitor this time around and Shep didn't want to look at the monitor because he didn't want to mistakenly see any "below the waist" body parts that might ruin our big surprise, so I stared at the ceiling hoping everything was okay while he played Words With Friends on his phone.

Unlike last time, before the technician left the room she asked me to continue laying on the table with the ultrasound goop on my belly in case the doctor needed to take a closer look.  The paranoid part of me started to get a teensy bit worried at that request -- did that mean something was wrong??  When Dr. Phoon came in a few minutes later he explained that 2 of the measurements the technician had taken were not consistent with one another, and that although both numbers fell within the normal range, they were each on opposite sides of that range.  Hmmm...  So, he wanted to take a look himself just to ensure everything measured up as it should.

Now for the GREAT news...

According to Dr. Phoon, the aortic arch on our baby looks "perfect" and there is no evidence to indicate any obstruction.  Apparently all of the valves are formed early, and then they grow throughout the pregnancy.  Per the doctor, all of the structures of our baby's heart are formed "perfectly" such that even if the baby was born today, the heart would work fine for a newborn.  Phew, talk about a relief!!!

Approximately 1-2% of the population has a bicuspid aortic valve.  However, NYU does over 5,000 pediatric echocardiograms a year and they have not seen bicuspid aortic valves in 1-2% of those children, nor does the occurrence rate in children generally match that of the general population, which leads many researchers and doctors across the world to believe that the condition can develop over the course of one's lifetime.  This certainly seems to make sense, since many people are not diagnosed with this condition until adulthood.  For this reason, the doctor recommended we consider getting our child's heart checked out sometime before school begins, perhaps around 3-4 years old, and to have a low threshold for getting the heart checked out before that time if at any point a pediatrician discovers a murmur in our baby's heart.  But, as long as everything appears fine when the baby is born, and the baby seems generally healthy, there's no reason to be concerned or to consult a pediatric cardiologist upon birth!

The doctor did mention that altough occurrence rates are 10-15% higher if a parent has a bicuspid aortic valve, that still eaves an 85% chance for a normal, healthy heart, so there's plenty of reason to be optimistic that this will be our last visit to the Pediatric & Fetal Echocardiography Lab.  :)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Hello, Third Trimester!!!

I made it!  I'm in my final trimester of pregnancy, and oh-so-excited about getting this far!!!  Technically, if our baby needed to be delivered at this point, there would be a good chance of survival, which gives my high-alert nerves a little bit of relief.  Of course I want "Little Flippy" to stay put and continue to grow until May, but if s/he had to make an early appearance for some reason we would at least have a fighting chance.  For that reason, I celebrate reaching the third trimester!  Cue the streamers...

Since I missed last week's update due to our babymoon getaway, and because this mama-to-be is tired and behind in all of my life to-do lists, I'm going for efficiency and doing a combination entry tonight.  ;)

Source: The Bump
Source: The Bump
According to these guides from The Bump, our baby has grown several inches over the past 2 weeks, which explains the crazy-strong movements I've been feeling in there the past few days!  The maybe-not-so-little one has also likely gained at least a pound of weight, so I'm guessing we're in the 3.5 pound range, if not more, based on the slightly large measurement we saw in Week 27!  Yikes!!!  Grow, baby, grow!!!  {But please not too big that you have trouble making your grand entrance, if you know what I mean...}

My waist has grown a total of 7 inches and I've gained almost 22 pounds to date.  How's that for "not so little"?!  ;)

My nausea, which finally seemed to be on the mend for a few weeks, unfortunately seems to be coming back a bit stronger over the past several days.  Although I didn't get the full "second trimester break" where I felt great, energetic, glowing and all that other good stuff that lucky moms-to-be experience; I did get a little respite during the latter part of my second trimester from the constant nausea and puke burps that defined my first and most of my second trimesters, so that's something!  As long as the queasies don't come back as strong as they were during the first several months of my pregnancy, I think I can hang in there.

In terms of other symptoms:  I've been peeing like crazy, am feeling pretty physically tired a lot of the time, and have definitely been experiencing "placenta brain".  My normally quick-strided NY walk has slowed into a bit of a waddle and I can officially no longer see my feet if I look straight down!  I've had the occasional back twinge or sciatica pain, but I'm thankful {and surprised, considering I'm basically carrying a 20 pound bowling ball strapped to my tummy} that it hasn't been too bad thus far!  I also noticed this weekend that the skin above my belly button is starting to bulge out a bit -- I guess an "outtie" is in my near future!  My actual belly button is so funny-looking.... it's almost totally flat and looks like it was sewn shut!

In terms of exercise, I've been relying on my walk to/from work, but I really, really, really, really want to make time to use the stretching and prenatal exercise DVD my thoughtful hubby bought me back in November for my birthday.  That's my goal for this Sunday!  Walking up the 4 flights of stairs from my train to street level in the mornings on the way to work has gotten considerably harder over the past few weeks, but {knock on wood} I can still do it!

We currently have 14 overdue items on our pregnancy to-do list {which seems to be a permanent issue -- by the time we finally work to check one off, several more have appeared!}, but we will keep plugging away to make progress and eventually, things will either get done... or they won't!  ;)  Regardless of whether we have a doula, pediatrician, night nurse, newborn photographer, birth plan, or a name lined up -- this baby's going to make an appearance when he or she is ready!

Luckily for us, one thing we don't have to do before baby arrives is "throw some values together at the last minute".  {Click the link for a sarcastic/comedic read, courtesy of my hubby and The Onion.}  We thankfully already have some of those.  ;)

Third Trimester, I'm so glad you're here!!!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Home Sweet Home

We are back from our babymoon, and we had a GREAT time!  The weather was wonderful, the resort was gorgeous, the food delicious and the relaxation plentiful.  Yet oddly, I'm happy to be home -- despite the laundry piles in our hallway and 1,000 emails no doubt waiting for me at work tomorrow.  I'm not usually one to relish returning home, especially after a heavenly escape from the frigid temperatures and never-ending snow that's been beating NYC for the past several months.  I've been known to try to extend our vacations on more than one occasion -- okay, every occasion.  I even once threatened to hide in the hotel closet when we were in Mexico several years ago and not come out until we missed our flight.  And I'll admit, when we found out that our flight home today was delayed by an hour, a small part of me wondered if it would be cancelled altogether and we'd get to stay another day!

But the truth is, I'm relieved to be home.  Now that I'm in my third trimester -- and certainly feeling like it -- I'm glad to be back home to my own bed, close to my doctors and a world class hospital.  Hopefully nothing will go wrong from here on out, and our little baby will stay snug inside me until s/he is "fully cooked", but just in case the unexpected happens, it's a good feeling to know that I'm home and just a few miles away from the excellent medical care I would need.
Temperatures and lack of pool-side virgin cocktails aside, there's really no place like home.  ;)  Upon seeing the Empire State Building during our taxi ride home from the airport, I involuntarily breathed a little sigh of relief.  Plus, we have real NY pizza being delivered for dinner any minute, so that's a pretty good perk of being home too!

Of course I plan to write a post all about our trip, from favorite meals to funny quotes {there were some doosies!}, but just don't have the energy to do that tonight!

I hope you all had a lovely week, and I look forward to catching up with you!
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