Thursday, February 26, 2009

Pregnancy Week 32: 8th Doctor's appointment

Mike and I attend our 32 week OB appointment today. Once again, the doctor is reassuring, telling us everything is progressing absolutely perfectly. My weight is great, the size of my uterus is exactly on target, and the size of the baby feels right. The heartbeat is good, as well, and here we test out a little theory Mike and I have.

When the doctor uses the fetal doppler on my belly, the baby tends to kick or punch exactly where the "wand" is on my belly. The doctor says the baby cannot hear the doppler, except for what we hear as it plays in the room. I have always sensed the baby is responding to something more than the outer-womb noise, since his kick is concentrated directly at the wand itself.

So for this visit, Mike has been planning to ask him to test out our theory. He wants to try the following actions in order to isolate the cause of what makes the baby react.

1) Put the wand on the belly without turning the equipment on. If the baby kicks here, it would show he is responding to the physical pressure of the wand itself.

2) Turn the machine on, so the baby hears the sound of the machine, but keep the doppler wand away from the belly. This would show if the baby is responding to the mechanical sound of the instrument.

3) Turn the machine on and put the wand on the belly but without the speaker sound in the room. This would show if it is the internal sound from the waves that the doppler is emitting, as Mike and I suspect.

I mention that Mike wants to test out this theory to our cousin before the appointment and she says, "The doctor's probably going to look at you like--what?" And it would be a valid response since it is an odd request. I know several doctors I've had before who would not take the time to humor us or at least seem annoyed by our asking.

However, our doctor is so pleasant, that when Mike says, "Hey, we wanted to try something this time with the doppler," he simply responds, "Sure, what do you want me to do?" As Mike explains, our OB does as my husband instructs and even plays along asking, "Do you feel him moving?" to me at different phases. I love that he is open to this, remains very good natured, and takes his time with us.

The results? The baby doesn't move in situation #1 or #2. He does not immediately move with #3, but then the doctor says, "Well, we can get him to move if we stir him up a little," and he swishes the wand around a bit. Of course, this sort of defeats the purpose of our "scientific study," but yes, the baby does punch at me. However, he does not kick directly at the wand, as he has done in the past.

So our study is slightly polluted, and we don't get the expected results anyway.

But it still makes me smile!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

A fun celebration with friends!

Today, Mike and I experience a wonderful celebration for our little womb baby with local friends. People come from NYC, CT, Westchester, Putman and Rockland County (we are grateful that our apartment does have a pretty central location for the tri-state area). Rachel, Xell and Laurie organize this party and do a fantastic job--thank you!!

The fete is complete with raw vegan chocolates, collards wraps, lactose free cupcakes, a 4 foot steak sandwich, a strawberry shortcake baby cake and much more!

Rachel (also pregnant--just five weeks after me!) creates an awesome board game with trivia questions taken from this very blog, as well as many more activities to share. She also displays a fun baby food guessing game (who knew banana baby food smelled so gross??). And here I must add that my prize winning of the day is being the closest guess to how many jelly beans are in a baby bottle. My guess--130. The actual number--132. The previous day I also had won a "guess the cheerios in a jar" game at our friends' son's first birthday party. Mike is very proud of my guesstimating skills. He's trying to find a way we can capitalize on this clearly coveted talent and make money...

It is nice to share the experience of our approaching baby with friends and to have one final party at our apartment before the baby arrives (and I don't even have to do any of the work! They set up while Mike and I were gone!).

Many thanks to the generosity and support of our friends! We are very lucky and blessed to have such a great support network in our area!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pregnancy Week 31: The Nesting Begins

Since leaving my job, I cannot say I have the free time I expected. I had envisioned days of taking yoga, writing at the library, decorating the nursery, reading baby-preparation books...But so far, my "free time" has been quickly filled up with activities, leaving my days feeling as full as ever. Of course, some "life items" arise that require immediate attention: life insurance (as well as other types of insurance), doctor's appointments, taxes, lesson plans, a dying computer hard drive, etc. But for most of my days, I have had the pleasure to visit with friends. I am blessed to have a great support network where I live, and many of my friends do not have 9-5 day jobs, thus leaving me plenty of opportunities to socialize during weekdays. This has been a great encouragement for me, and since I know it will not be as easy to do this once the baby is born, I feel it is also an important use of my free days. Mike and I have filled our weekends with various social activities as well, so we barely have a free day off between now and April. This was not a consciously intentional effort to pack in as much entertaining as possible before the baby, but perhaps on some level, it was in the back of our minds.

Besides socializing, Mike and I have begun the famous transitional period of "nesting." While I don't always feel some warm, gooey, foreign sensation when thinking about creating a home for three, I do occasionally feel a tinge of anxiety and an overwhelming sensation in thinking about all the work I want to have done before we bring home our baby! And I suppose that counts for "nesting" these days!

So! Here are some nesting steps we've taken so far (many fueled by very helpful time constraints, like people visiting, a party at our apartment, etc):

Nesting Step 1: Sell our guest bed.
While Mike finds this bed more comfortable than our own king size plush pillow top mattress, we know it is time to let go. He is sad. This means, if I am having restless nights of tossing and turning, or if one of us is sick, there is no second bed to sneak off to in order to give the other person a chance to sleep in peace. We'll now just have to take the coughing and the flopping and deal with it like most married couples (and thankfully, for the past few months, I have been sleeping somewhat better, so this hasn't been an issue).

Nesting Step 2: Clear out the guest room/soon-to-be "baby room."
Once the bed is gone, we now see what is left of the room. I indicate to Mike where to move the remaining furniture and Mike moves the other misc items to a pile on our table for me to sort through, which I do.

Nesting Step 3: Paint the baby room.
Now that the guest room is open, when I am at a friend's daughter's birthday party, Mike paints the guest room--er, baby room. It is his first experience painting, and armed with the Home Depot book and a few helpful comments from family members, he does a great job! When I come home, I cannot help but return to the newly painted room several times throughout the night (and the following days), "just to look at it." It is like the first time Mike buys me Tiffany's jewelry. I don't know how else to say it. You just want to keep looking at it.

Nesting Step 4: Organize baby items.
We are so incredibly thankful to have received some baby items already--both new and used. People have been very generous and helpful as to what are great things to have. However, in our tiny apartment, we now must find places to store these items (strollers, carseats, swings, clothes etc) until we have a proper place for them, or until the baby is old enough to use them. So...
-Part 1: Mike and I walk down to the outdoor storage shed we share with our landlords and look at the disaster before us. On this sunny Saturday, we then work together to throw out our old items, and rearrange the remaining items in an orderly fashion. Once this is done, we see there is a good deal of space we can use to store baby gear.
-Part 2: I wrap and tape all of the big items in garbage bags and label them. I then sort all of the baby clothes by age, put them in storage bins, and label them (I don't want to wash them until we have a dresser to put them in). Mike takes everything to the shed to store.

Nesting Step 5: Plan what steps are next!
Now that we have a fairly empty baby room, I want to start filling it up with baby furniture! The crib I had wanted has been discontinued, so I now need to start over in searching for a good crib and matching dresser/changing table. Hopefully, we can find these in the next few weeks, then work toward accessories like book shelves, a storage shelf/rack, rug, and curtains. I will also be cleaning out our closets so we can hopefully find more places inside to store items we should have handy. We also need to interview doulas, create our birthing preferences, read some baby care books, take our birthing/breast feeding/infant care classes, while Mike works and I start to teach, and still attempt to nurture our creative pursuits, our marriage, our family relationships, our friendships and our health.

I have decided to give up saying, "Next week will free up and I will have time" and now will say, "Next week is busy, but I will make the time to..." And while there is a lot to think about and to do, it's very exciting--because, I do sometimes get that warm, gooey, foreign sensation when thinking about creating a home for three...and I like it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Week 30 of Pregnancy

Wait--what? Week 30?

My friend calls me this morning and says, "Your countdown on your blog says 68 days left! I can't believe how fast it's gone by!"

Wait--what? 68 days?

Isn't that just over 2 months?

Wait--what? 2 months left?

Before--what? Having a baby?

Having a--wait--what? I'm having a baby?

In 2 months? 68 days?

So wait--why didn't I notice, I mean, really notice, I was in my--wait--my third trimester?

Oh, yeah. I was in Antigua.

Having my babymoon.

My baaaa-by...moon...

Before my baaaaa-by comes...

In 68 moons...


(pictured above: My friend and I at lunch this week. She is also 30 weeks pregnant. See how our babies are "holding hands" in the second picture?)

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A video from our "babymoon" to Antigua

So the handy flip camcorder helped make a random video for me from our trip to the West Indies. Here it is set to Mike's awesome song, "Spinning Daydream."

I tried to make a few more videos with other clips, but unfortunately, the software did not let me. :(

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Pregnancy Week 29: 7th Prenatal Doctor's Appointment

Today, I have my monthly OB appointment, and while I have tried not to think about it, I am slightly worried about what my doctor might say regarding my weight gain. My scale at home has given me so many different readings, but I know it is typically lower than the doctor's scale. At my last appointment, my doctor said I looked healthy and good, but he did notice I had gained a pound more than average over 5 weeks. While everyone has been encouraging about this minor remark, and while I myself know there is nothing wrong with this, and I do actually feel confident in the way I look (I think), I still cannot help feel anxious about his reaction if I have gained, say 6-8 pounds in 4 weeks.

On the car ride over to the appointment, I tell Mike these worries then promise him I will stop talking about it once I get weighed. Mike believes I've blown the whole comment out of proportion in my mind (I probably have on some level), and says there is nothing to worry about.

"Well, if the doctor starts judging my weight gain, then you should say something to him if you think I look healthy."

He tells me he will, and I actually feel better already.

However, as fate would have it, none of these concerns even come into play as it appears I have only gained 2.5 pounds in 4 weeks after all! I smile and feel a huge sense of relief! Of course, I would also be fine with weighing a few pounds more, as well, but I am just happy I don't need to explain any "higher than average" weight gain.

In fact, the doctor doesn't even bring up my weight this time, yet Mike, ready to defend me, asks him, "So is Tara's weight okay?"

My OB looks at his chart, "Yes, I'd say it's just about perfect for where it should be at this point," he turns to me. "With you, my concern would be if you weren't gaining enough weight, but it seems you're gaining enough, but not too much, just right where you should be."

It relieves me further to hear him say this--that his worry would be my not gaining enough, not that I would gain too much. I now think it is possible he mentioned my weight gain last time in order to assure me it was completely healthy for me, in case he had been worried I would overreact to that gain myself.

In any case, I am done with thinking about my weight now! It is what it is. I eat pretty much the same as I have all my pregnancy and even pre-pregnancy, just heeding what my body tells me. And that is the end of that saga.


The rest of our meeting goes equally as well. He tells me my next appointment will be 2-3 weeks from now, then the next few will be 2 weeks apart, and finally, I'll be seeing him every week in my last month. He encourages me to come with any questions I have about labor or delivery. It seems that "suddenly," we are moving into the home stretch (how did that happen?)!

Otherwise...I have passed my glucose test, so I do not have gestational diabetes. The baby's heartbeat is right at the cusp of a "boy's heartbeat" (old wives' tale) around 140. The doctor measures my uterus, saying that the number of centimeters it is should correspond with the number of weeks I am pregnant. It seems like another old wives' tale, but it is true, as I measure between 28 and 29 centimeters (and I am just a day or two into 29 weeks).

We also finally hear the results of our 20-week anatomy screening (almost 10 weeks later!). The sonographer had said a general "all is fine" at the appointment, but it is nice to be assured of the specifics--that the baby has no genetic issues, all the organs are functioning as they should be, and our baby is pretty much right in the middle of all the percentiles. Everything is developing perfectly, he says.

As Mike and I celebrate our appointment at our local Indian restaurant (it has become a tradition that we go out to eat after our late OB appointments), we talk about how lucky we have been this pregnancy. We have not had any scares, any medical issues, the baby is active and strong, I have felt really good, and I seem to be progressing on target. I appreciate all the prayers from our families, from the people at my parents' church, from our friends, from my husband. I do believe we and our baby boy are truly blessed, and as we progress into this last trimester, that confidence is the most reassuring of all.

(Photo Note: No, don't worry that I have suddenly given up my pregnancy exhibitionist belly pictures! I just didn't have my normal attire with me when taking these photos. Rest assured, they shall come back. But I'll give you a break after all the Antigua onslaught of bathing suit shots! :)

Monday, February 2, 2009

Wonderful Ladies' Luncheon

Mike and I make our last pre-baby visit to upstate NY to see my family and visit his college roommates who have assembled for the Superbowl. Of course, our weekend starts out with a snowstorm resulting in a zero-visibility patch of road on Route 17, but luckily, the visibility clears up and we are left with an on-and-off-again snowy, but manageable drive.

Saturday, my lovely sisters-in-law, Marnie and Kate, put together a great Ladies' Luncheon (intimate shower) for me. We play some fun games (they know me well!), have a wonderful lunch and eat a yummy "The Giving Tree" cake Marnie has made (she mailed me the book when our womb baby was only a month old--his first book!). It is special to share this time with them, especially because we live six hours away from each other, and I am blessed to be surrounded by loving, caring and supportive people in my life. Thank you!

That night, my parents, my brothers and their families, and Mike and I all assemble for one last dinner and a night of Cranium--just the 10 of us. My grandmother points out to me that this is a phrase we will often say now: "This will be the last time we ______ without the baby!" With only 2+ months left, she is right!

Sunday evening, we attend the Superbowl Party at Mike's friend's house, and the hosting couple is also expecting a baby boy a day from our due date. I think she has it much harder than I do, as she has two other children to care for, while working as a full-time nurse--but she looks great! The guys play video games--x-box tradition; the toddlers pad their way around the play area--they are such cute kids; and once the Superbowl starts, we all eat, hang out and relax. Our last Superbowl "without the baby..."

It is a good weekend and we arrive back in Harrison late Monday night. Our last long drive, yes, "without the baby..." Thanks again to our friends and family who have been a wonderful support during this pregnancy, and always!

Pictured above:
1-My niece's beautiful handmade wrapping paper for her gift to Baby Bouteneff.
2-My niece and I stiffing "dirty"/candy diapers.