Pregnancy Advice

Everybody love unsolicited advice, right? Uh, no. Not really. But if you’re like me, you appreciate hearing about what worked/didn’t work or what should be done differently.

I have a few pregnant friends and I’ve been thinking about what I remember learning during my pregnancy.  I present to you my advice for first-time pregnant women.

  1. Keep moving. Seriously. There will be so many days where you are just too tired/too refluxy/too whatever to get in your workout. Go anyhow. You don’t have to push yourself hard, but move, even if it is just a walk. You will feel better then and the exercise will help you in countless ways in the future.
  2. Tums. Not just Tums, but Tums “Smoothies” which are not a drink made with Tums but rather a variety of tums that dissolves more easily and is less chalky. These were key for me and I had bottles at my desk, at my bed, in the kitchen and in the car. Oh, and I had a stash in my gym bag. Along the same lines, if Tums are necessary don’t be afraid to try Zantac or Prevacid, which are pregnancy safe and can be very helpful.
  3. Don’t listen to people who tell you do X, Y or Z more now because you won’t be able to do it later. Yes, it would be nice to sleep more, go out more, or whatever more now because you won’t have the ability later, but unless you are eating more to store up fat for winter, it isn’t going to help you much. Cherish these days but you can’t bank sleep. If anything, I think that you’ll get spoiled by so much sleep or fun now and miss it more in the future.
  4. Buy things that will make your life easier. If you can afford it, there are little things you can get that will make your life better. I am a bargain hunter and well, I’m a little cheap sometimes. I didn’t want to buy a Belle Band that I was only going to use for a short time. A friend loaned me one and I was amazed at how helpful it was. This applies to pregnancy stuff and baby stuff (which I plan to cover in a future post).
  5. Save money where you can. I’m a big believer in consignment sales. I know some people have an issue with used clothes. Baby clothes can go through the washing machine. I don’t think of it as all that different from sleeping on hotel sheets or using hotel towels. I am operating under the assumption that washing machines actually clean things. If you know otherwise please don’t tell me.
  6. Eat what sounds good. While I think it is important to keep in mind that pregnancy is not a license to eat whatever the heck you want you should listen to your body. Heck, pregnancy is hard. If eating a chocolate donut will make you a little happier, do it. Don’t go nuts, but indulge yourself a little. You’re making a little human. That’s hard stuff!
  7. Laugh at yourself. You’re going through some big time changes. You might be a little wacky. You might be a tad hormonal. Learn to laugh about it. This skill will come in handy when the little one has a serious diaper explosion at the least opportune time (not that there’s an opportune time for diaper explosions).
  8. Write things down. I never did a pregnancy journal but I did blog. I can tell you that in the process of writing this post I went back and read by previous blog entries and really enjoyed reading how I felt when I was pregnant.
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The Rest of the Story

Ummm, hi. Remember me. Are you wondering about the end of my birth story? Sorry to leave you hanging. I’ve just been – uh – busy. There’s an understatement.

For now, I’ll just wrap up my birth story and try to gain some momentum going forward.

Where were we? Oh, right.

I’m sitting at work. Leaking. And I’m pretty sure that it is not, in fact, just my mucus plug as the nurse at my OB’s office concluded.

So….yeah, I stayed at work. The Knight came into the city and picked me up a little early (after I insisted that I was fine and would take the metro; glad he ignored me). We grabbed a quick dinner (you know, because, we had a Groupon to use and it was about to expire!). Yes, in hindsight that was a bit of a strange decision.

Progress

Finally, around midnight I started to feel what felt like menstrual cramps. They were coming around 30 minutes apart so I would log them on my iPad and then go back to sleep. I managed to get a few hours of sleep before they started coming more quickly.

When the OB’s office opened Tuesday morning I called. I explained that although my contractions were only 10-15 minutes apart (they tell you to wait until they are five minutes apart to call or come in) I was continuing to leak.

The head nurse, with whom I had spoken the day before, frantically said, “Your water broke! Why didn’t you come in?”

Uh. Yeah…. I called, lady! You told me not to worry about it.

It’s Go Time

Okay, so fast forward. I go their office and my midwife, Karen, walks in and asks me why I waited 26 hours after my water broke to come in. BECAUSE THE NURSE TOLD ME TO. Ugh. Anyhow, she confirmed that I was in fact in labor and my water had broken. Oops.

To the hospital we went. They started me on major antibiotics (apparently it isn’t good if you wait 26 hours after your water breaks to go to the hospital) and Pitocin to accelerate labor (again, the length of time since my water broke was an issue).

All day long my contractions were getting stronger and closer together. They encourage you to wait as long as you can for the epidural because it can slow down labor. Finally at around 3:30 it was time for the drugs.

However, the baby did not appear to be in a rush to go anywhere. He was staying put right where he was and was not moving down the birth canal as he should.

Meanwhile, the epidural is making life a lot more pleasant but they’re having me twist myself into a bunch of uncomfortable positions to try to get the little guy to move.

At midnight Karen examined me again and told us that he still hadn’t moved and that my high pelvic arch was probably impeding his arrival. She was wonderful. She said she would stay with us as long as we wanted but at this point she did not foresee him making any progress. The Knight and I agreed to have a C-section. We really trusted Karen’s opinion, and knew that as a midwife she would not encourage us to have the surgery if it wasn’t necessary.

The Delivery

I didn’t want a C-section. Most women don’t. But I got one.

I will spare you the details. It was not fun. I did nt react well to the medication. It was a very scary and unpleasant experience. Yet…

At 12:52 am, my amazing bundle of joy, Maxwell Thomas, was born. He weighed exactly 8 pounds and was 20 inches long. (It was only the next day that we realized that he was 8 lbs even on 8/8.)

He was blue and not breathing when he was born. He was quickly revived by the fabulous medical team including my dear friend Alisa, a NICU nurse who luckily was working that night. She is my angel.

It was not the birth that I planned or hoped for, but I am okay with it. The doctor reported that Max was in fact stuck. Karen later told me that she almost never suggests this, but that if there is a second baby I should just plan for a C-section.

We will cross that bridge when (and if) we come to it.

Here’s a picture of us right after Max was born (with me forcing a smile):post1 

Here is how I really felt:

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The Beginning

I really should be sleeping. It was a rough day today and the little guy finally went down. Instead, I will get started on Max’s birth story…

It was the morning of August 6 (i was due 8/9) and the Knight was driving me to the metro. Something felt, ummm, different. I felt…wet. Not soaked, just like I had started the heaviest period ever. When I got out of the car I noticed that my dress was damp. Ewww. So I did what any rational pregnant woman would do: I went to the bathroom to put in a pantiliner. Good thinking, right?

Since I got that all squared away I then went and got on a train and went to the office. I did call the knight to give him a heads up that something was amiss. I then called my midwife’s office and spoke to the head nurse. I described exactly what was going on…a steady but small flow of clear liquid. She told me not to worry and that it was my mucus plug (I won’t go into this, but it is a normal thing that happens before you give birth).

That didn’t sound right to me, but she insisted that it was normal and that it just meant that labor was imminent. Well, yeah…my due date was just 3 days away. Okay.

I suspected it was more than that, but hey, I was new to this. So I trusted her. I hung out at the office all day, changing pads every 20-30 minutes or so. I had no other symptoms other than this so I figured I might as well finish out the work day. Brilliant, huh?

To be continued…

Amazing

Yikes! It has been a long time since I posted. I definitely miss blogging, but uh, something – or someone- has kept me pretty busy. I was very amused when a friend recently pointed out to me that when you go to my blog the first title you see is “Still with Child.” Oh heaven help us, thankfully that is not the case.

I think that most of you who read this blog are personal friends and therefore know that on August 8, we welcomed Baby Maxwell into the world. The past two months (+) have been nothing short of amazing. Amazing joy from being new parents, amazing love for our child, amazing support and friendship from the wonderful people in our lives. My heart is going to bust it is so full.

I am hoping this short post will help me gain a little momentum to resume writing. We love visitors so if you haven’t met Max yet, or even if you had, come on over. For now, I leave you with a some of my favorite pictures of our bundle of joy.

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“Still with child”

As my boss put it when he saw me this morning, I am “still with child.” Yes, yes I am. Haha!

We are just nine days away from the due date. Single digits!

I am not disappointed that Lucky didn’t make his appearance yesterday. I’m happy to let him and the Knight have their own special days. Plus, the Knight and I had a nice time celebrating his birthday yesterday – just the two of us.

I now see what the Knight had been seeing. I’ve most definitely “dropped.” I see that my belly is lower than it was last week.

Predictably, I’m becoming steadily more uncomfortable – bladder pressure, belly tightness, pressure from baby body parts protruding out of my belly. As I told the Knight, this feels like it is only mile 18 of the marathon. I haven’t hit the wall and I can handle the aches and pains. I’m not feeling desperate to get to the finish line. I’m still taking in the sights and savoring the experience.

I’m still enjoying the anticipation of the little guy getting here and the final baby-less days. It feels like the days before vacation but WAY better. I like talking to the random strangers who ask me when I’m due. I am amused by the Knight’s observations about how huge my belly is.

These days I am all about all things cool (and sweet). I am loving ice cream and frozen yogurt. (Gelato, sorbet, and italian ice work, too.) Fruit, however, is probably the biggest part of my diet. When the Knight returned from the commissary with just one whole watermelon, I thought he’d lost his mind. We went through three, yes three whole watermelons, a bag of grapes, a bag of cherries, some apples and a few bananas the previous week. Never fear – we remedied the situation.

There are still a few spots open in the baby arrival date pool. Anyone want to dive in? There’s no charge (but you’re welcome to send me money if you want).

7/30 Oli
7/31
8/1 John L.
8/2
8/3 Bibiana
8/4 Michele T.
8/5 Es
8/6 Jess
8/7 Alisa
8/8 Rakelle
8/9 Priscilla
8/10 Karen
8/11
8/12 Emily S.
8/13
8/14
8/15 Jill K.
8/16 Zina

36 weeks – Oh yeah!

Hello my wonderful readers! Can you believe that it is already 36 weeks? As in 36 ÷4 =9. Nine months pregnant! Wow!

This week has been good. I’ve had a few comments along the lines of “You don’t look 36 weeks pregnant” and also “Wow, you’re 36 weeks? You could go any minute.” I know many people who have given birth prior to 37 weeks and I am excited to be nearing the full-term mark.

According to Babycenter, Lucky Thumper is now the size of a crenshaw melon (huh?) and weighs around 6 lbs. He is gaining around an ounce per day.

Okay, a crenshaw melon. I never heard of this before.

I am feeling pretty decent, and mellow, but every now and then I realize that I really could have this baby any time. That’s CRAZY!

I am savoring every day. We are very aware that soon things will change – BIG time. The Knight and I have been having a great time seeing friends and doing fun stuff. And I have been enjoying sleeping in on the weekends.

How’s it going on the metro?

You know, I previously said that people were pretending not to see me on metro – which is a sentiment I have heard from other women. Well, I am happy to say that that has not been an issue for the past two weeks.

I’ve only had to ask for a seat once. The rest of the time people practically leap out of their seats for the big pregnant lady. It is really nice and I am always sure to give a very sincere thank you.

How are the pregnancy symptoms?

Overall, I am still doing pretty well. Sleep is pretty good. The biggest problem right now is my hands. Apparently it is not uncommon to develop carpal tunnel from the swelling of pregnancy. For a while I have been experiencing numbness in my hands during the night. However, it has progressed to numbness all of the time and serious pain at night.

I have an appointment with my midwife today. I have read that the two usual recommendations are wrist braces (which are of questionable effectiveness – and frankly, sound very uncomfortable) and cortisone shots. I am going to beg for  – okay, nicely request – the shots. I need some relief. I am not one to ordinarily jump to the medication solution, but I want relief. NOW.

Have we picked a name yet?

No. During our most recent discussion about names, the Knight said he wants to keep both names as possibilities and decide when he is born. I’m good with that.

How about the weight gain?

Actually, I haven’t really gained any weight since my last post 2 weeks ago. The number of the scale does fluctuate a little depending on how swollen I am, but I’m pretty much holding steady at around 27-28 pounds over pre-pregnancy weight. We’ll see what happens from here.

Anything else?

Unlike my very positive experience taking a childbirth class with Valerie Varley back in June, the free Breastfeeding Basics class I took at theBreastfeedingCenter(onK Street, downtown DC) left me, ummm, wanting. My personal opinion is that while they did pass along some useful information, the class was designed to convince you that you need to take more classes (the paid ones) and hire their lactation consultants. I get that they’re a business, but I found the whole thing overwhelming. I’m hoping that some of my mom friends can help me figure out the answers to the many questions (and fears) the class left me with.

What’s next?

Our final sonogram is on Monday morning. I’m excited! It is supposed to be pretty cool. A lot has happened with Lucky since his 20 week sonogram. I can’t wait to see him! I might post pictures on Monday, so stay tuned.

34 Weeks and Counting (Down)

It’s week 34! Wow! This all still seems so surreal to me. Every now and then I am caught off guard as I see my reflection in the mirror and realize – holy smokes, I’m pregnant! Pretty cool stuff.

The little guy has stopped doing flip turns and is back to a regular regimen of Tae Bo, yoga, and hiccupping. He is approximately the size of a pineapple. What is most amazing to me is that at a around 4.75 pounds, he is bigger than I was when I was born. Wow!

Babies are considered full term at 37 weeks so we’ve got another 3 weeks to go. The due date is at 40 weeks, which is only 6 weeks away. I’m excited! I can’t wait to see him move those limbs and bounce around in person.

I will now proceed to interview myself. 🙂

So, what’s new?

Well, nothing much. My 34-week OB visit was uneventful. It is such a blessing. After everything I went through, I am especially appreciative of how smoothly the pregnancy is going.

My weight has not really increased over the past couple of weeks. (I’m still about 27 pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight.) I’m not sure why, but I have some theories. It may be because I was a bit more bloated before and some of that has gone away recently. Also, I have been feeling better (thank you Priolsec!) so I’ve been eating a lot more fruit/veggies and fewer starchy carbs.

How’s the heartburn?

So much better! My system still isn’t normal, but I realized yesterday that it had been a couple of days since I popped Tums as a matter of routine. That is great! I have a lot of reflux but I can handle it for 6 more weeks.

Am I sleeping?

Actually, yes. It might be thanks to the Benadryl, but I am getting pretty decent sleep. Knock on wood.

How about names?

We’ve got it narrowed down to two names. We would both be happy with either name. I don’t know if we will pick one or just wait until he is born.

Are we ready?

Well, no. But I’m not really stressing about it. The nursery is painted. It is so pretty. A nice turquoise blue with white trim. My sister is going to decorate it. She said something about monkeys…

We need to install the car seat. Apparently that is something that most people screw up and so it is recommended that you have it done or checked by a professional. It used to be that this was performed at fire stations but now you are supposed to schedule an appointment at certain local police departments. (You can find a location here.) We’ll get to that soon.

I know it is early, but I want to get my hospital bag packed and ready to go. Once it is done, I won’t have to worry about it. Right?

Final thoughts?

I am starting to realize that I need to get ready to transition all of my work stuff. I decided that at the end of my maternity leave I am going to return to my old job with chief counsel. So that means I pretty much need to pack up my entire office before I leave for maternity leave – whenever that is. Oh, and transitioning all of my duties to others is much easier said than done.

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