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Week 35! Last week before the last month!

Well, it’s been over a month since I’ve updated everyone on what’s been going on, and I figured my worsening memory isn’t going to get much better, SO, I’d better update you now!

Here’s a brief synopsis of what’s happened in the past month or so…

Week 30:  

I was feeling sick and sleeping a lot…  And, I passed my glucose tolerance test!  

Week 31: 

Noah turned 7!  He’s getting to be such a big boy!  

Someone commented that I was “tiny,” which I love to reminisce about.  Most people are calling me “huge!” lately.

We were trying to find an SUV to buy!  

Had my work baby shower on the 18th!  3 lovely ladies threw it for me.  We had guys and girls attend.  My husband even came!

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And, I made out like a champ in the presents department!!!

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Also, had lots of nausea, and noted my blood pressure got up to 138/85.  

Week 32:

Vacation week!  I worked Monday, and took the rest of the week off.  We drove up to Michigan to get our new car!

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This was also the week of the beginning of swelling in my feet and legs…  

I also did a belly map!  This baby is glued to my right side, let me tell you what.  My doctor even likes to make fun of how lopsided I am.  My belly button is about an inch and a half off center.  Can’t wait to see what that’s going to look like!!!

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Week 33: 

Hello SWELLING and 8 pounds of water weight!  My blood pressure was also pretty high all week, averaging around 140/90.  

I went to Labor and Delivery on Thursday night of this week, to get some information for my doctor about what might be going on with my body with the high BP and swelling, and to my total SHOCK, my blood pressure was 171/103!  They had me lie on my left side and wait until it reached 140/90 before letting me go home.  I had “normal” protein in my urine (which I assume means trace amounts) and the baby’s vitals were all fine.  

The swelling at the beginning of this week was BAD.  I’d be pretty swollen, even when I’d wake up, and then it would just progressively worsen throughout the day.  Here is my left cankle.  :)  This, and my high blood pressure is why I went to L&D.  

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 Also I gained an inch in both thighs from water, and 2 inches in my hips and belly.  Blah…

Week 34:

I started taking magnesium supplements at the end of this week, and I slept A LOT.  My swelling pretty much all went away after a night of gorging myself on movie theater popcorn early in the week!  

The big development this week is better blood pressure (130/80 at my doctor’s appointment!), and CRAMPING.  I’m not sure if I’m getting Braxton Hicks contractions, or if it’s just cramping from my cervix changing/dying a slow and painful death.  By the end of the day usually just standing brings on the tight belly feeling with cramps that feel like menstrual cramps.  

Baby’s kicks are beginning to get quite painful.  But, as long as he’s moving, I can cope with a little discomfort!  He’s also moving mostly at night now, when I lie down.  

I got my first taste of some sciatic nerve pain this week too.  Oh joy!  

Also, pretty much everyone is calling me “huge” now.  So, that’s nice.  

That brings me to this week!  Here is my bump!

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More to come on magnesium supplements!   

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Prepping for the Birthing Pool!

Ok, well, I’ve been in a super bad mood lately (probably hormones coupled with my feeling helpless because of my abs hurting – more on that later…), and so I decided I’d take some time today to get the birthing pool stuff ordered.  

Here’s my equipment list:

1. Birth Pool and Liner

2. Accessories to make life easier:

     a. Pond pump

     b. Lead free garden hose

     c. Universal rubber clamp type faucet-hose adapter

     d. AC air pump for pool

I’ll go over why I chose each, and where I got them.

1. Birth Pool and Liner

I decided to go ahead and purchase a pool, instead of renting, because the cost to rent was minimum $250 + shipping, and there is a ton of hassle involved in getting back to the supplier one I’m done with it.  

After doing some research on pools, I discovered my options were pretty limited.  I started on a fellow blogger’s site: http://waitingforbirthdays.blogspot.com/2010/08/choosing-birth-pool.html.  She lists the pros and cons of each, as well as prices.  This hasn’t been updated since 2010, but – the options are still much the same.  

There are basically three categories of birthing pools:

1. Inflatable – specifically for birth

2. Inflatable – for kids

3. Hard sided – specifically for birth

I chose the inflatable type, specifically designed for birthing for a few reasons.  First, and probably most important, is the depth of water that each holds.  I have read that the deeper the water, the better the relaxation, and the faster everything moves along.  I’ve also felt the difference between a bath and a Jacuzzi, and like the Jacuzzi better!  

The tallest inflatable kids pool I found was 24″ high (75″ x 70″ x 24″ Swim Center Ocean Reef Pool by Intex).  Which only lets you safely fill it to about 20″.  

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This doesn’t seem very high to me…  

Also, I’ve read that labor goes smoother and faster if the mom feels safe and secluded because she’ll make more oxytocin (the feel good hormone that triggers contractions).  Oxytocin is produced when you laugh, feel love, and also when you have sex and orgasm (sorry to be graphic, but it’s true!), and your body is naturally better able to do that when the “mood is set.”  So, knowing this, I’m thinking a kiddy pool would actually stop the Oxytocin flow, rather than start it!  

Since we’re going to the hospital, and not doing a home birth, it’s going to be a little tough to get a hard-sided birth pool into the delivery room.  Here’s a picture of unpacking the AquaDoula tub!

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 Yeah, no thanks!  Plus, the AquaDoulas are super expensive…  They start at $1200.  Again, no thanks!

I also decided I’d like to have a seat in my pool, for chillin’, ya know, between contractions.  So, I chose the Mini Birth Pool in a Box.  Eco just started including the seats in the mini-pools, so I got lucky there!  I don’t need a large pool, because since I’m only laboring in it, it only needs to be large enough for me.  The Mini BPIAB also has handles all around the outside, and a cup holder!  So, it’s the one.  

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There she is…  You can check out all the specs on it here:

http://birthpoolinabox.com/The-Eco-Mini-Pool/Birth-pool-in-a-Box-Design-and-Spec

And, I purchased it (including a liner) for $180 + $35 shipping (-$18 for using the MIDWIFE coupon code) at WaterBirth Solutions.  Total it was $196 and change!  Yay!   

I also purchased some accessories to go with it, from Amazon.  

2. Accessories to make life easier!

We have a big soft-sided pool that we set up each summer, so I know my way around water pumps and hoses.  And, I’m surprised that these sorts of things aren’t included in the “kits” that WaterBirth Solutions sells, but hey, everyone has various levels of savvy when it comes to this kind of stuff, so I can understand.  However, being an electrical engineer helps me know what I need and want, and how to get it!

So…  I knew I wanted to have the ability to adjust the temperature of my birth pool throughout labor, so I’d need a way to drain and fill pretty easily.  Enter accessories!

I chose to get a universal fitting with rubber and a clamp to connect to the faucet to the hose because if you note in my previous post about Union Hospital (http://wp.me/p3orQ0-3y), the faucet doesn’t unscrew like the one in your kitchen, and I’d have to get the maintenance guy to come take it apart.  If we have limited time, I’d like to eliminate this step by just getting a different adapter.  We’ll have to go try it out, to make sure it fits beforehand.  But here is the one I found:

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$8 on Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000DZKTYO/ref=ox_sc_act_title_3?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1IUETM3VYU2YE)

Now…  to fill and drain, we’re going to need a hose, of course.  So, I picked the cheapest 50′ lead-free hose I could find (on Amazon).  I want lead-free because it’s safer, and I assume the production process will be a little cleaner for this type of hose.  The lead-free ones are primarily advertised as “drinking water” hoses.  

My plan is to cut in half and use one side to fill, and the other side to drain.  

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(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00480BUZW/ref=ox_sc_act_title_1?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=ATVPDKIKX0DER)  $22 from Amazon.

I am also getting a pond pump so it will be easy to drain, and change the temperature.  All I have to do is plug in the pump, drain out the cooled water, and turn on the faucet to give me more hot water!  I think my husband will be able to handle that.  :)  

I chose a cheap one that had good ratings and a filter.  Pond pumps are nice because they’re submersible, and usually come with different fittings.  This one:

(http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0018WVNXC/ref=ox_sc_act_title_2?ie=UTF8&psc=1&smid=A1TQQ4ZHI2444B)

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comes with 3/4″, 1/2″, and 3/8″ fittings.  We’ll use the 1/2″ or 3/8″ one for the hose I got.  This was $17 on Amazon.  

And, last but not least, I scored a $4 AC air pump from Aldi a couple weeks ago to pump up the pool.  

So, the total for accessories was about $75 after it was all said and done.  And, most of this stuff, I’ll be able to use for our pool next summer!

Now to pack my hospital bag!

 

 

 

 

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Tail End of Week 28 Update

Well, this has been a hard week.  

Symptoms:

+ STRETCH MARKS (only 3 so far, on my lower belly)
+ Little breakouts/acne
+ Abdominal aches and pains
+ Back pain
+ Hot flashes
+ Bad mood
+ Sore muscles and fatigue
+ Feet swelling
+ Braxton Hicks (maybe)
+ Nails are weaker

Ok, so that’s the laundry list of my misery this week.  I think a lot of it has to do with little sleep and lots of stress at work.  I got only about 6-7 hours of sleep Monday through Wednesday this week, and it took a toll on my hormones and body.  Not only was I tired at work (and therefore, not as productive as I would like, and therefore stressed), but I was getting hot flashes, my body felt run down, headaches ensued, my neck and back hurt REALLY bad, and I was in a bad mood.  AND, to top it all off, I found stretch marks!!!  

So, most of my symptoms this week seem to have stemmed from that lack of sleep early on.  I am happy to say I got 8-9 hours last night and the night before, and am feeling tons better today.  

I’m hoping to order my “Prenatal Cradle” today so I can reduce some of the strain on my lower belly skin and muscles as this last trimester progresses.  I am going to try to put Desitin on my lower belly every night before I sleep, and remember to take my Zinc, too, to prevent further marks.  

I usually get about 45g of Zinc 3 days a week on average.  I’m taking “Pure Encapsulations” brand 15mg Zinc, and I really like it.  No nausea or barfing at 45g /dose.  The first Zinc supplement I took was a 50 mg Zinc from Walmart, and I threw that up within 15 minutes of taking it!

Educate yourself about the benefits of Zinc: http://www.westonaprice.org/metabolic-disorders/copper-zinc-imbalance  and http://www.westonaprice.org/mentalemotional-health/metals-and-the-mind.  You may think this is “quackery” (as my mother does), but the mainstream medical community is beginning to find links between Zinc and health, and a simple Google search will find many studies support what’s written about in these articles, and few dispute them.  

Also, I think I MAY have gotten a Braxton Hicks contraction Sunday night.  It was a weird tightening feeling that went all across my uterus and into my sides and back.  I’m not sure what it was, but I’m calling it a BH.  

One more thing – I’m thinking this may also be related to sleep (since hormones are regulated most during sleeping hours), but my nails are kind of reverting to their pre-pregnancy state.  :(  Sad for me.  They are naturally not very strong, but since I’ve been pregnant, they have been long, strong, and generally awesome!  However, this week, not so much.  

I’ve been monitoring my BP, too, for signs of pre-eclampsia.  Up until the middle of my second trimester (when I put on about 10 pounds) my BP was a good 107/65, but after that, has remained pretty steady around 120/75.  No need for concern…  I’m just taking precautions!

I’m weighing in at 17-20 lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight, which is horrifying to me…  But, I have resorted to tracking my measurements and how I feel instead.  My measurements are as follows:

Bust: +1″
“Waist:” +11-12″
Hips: +1″
Left Bicep: Same
Right Bicep: Same
Left Thigh: Same
Right Thigh: Same

It makes me feel better that it seems the weight is related to baby Nolan, and not just me getting fatter!  I’m hoping my uterus is done growing and accumulating fluid, and that the baby will just grow…  but we’ll see!

That’s about it on the pregnancy front.  I’m definitely ready for a day off on Monday!!!

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Week 27: Crampy, Achy, Sleepy

Well…  

At the end of my 27 week, I’m feeling pretty good overall.  

After changing my diet, upping my protein and not limiting my salty foods, my energy is up.  I haven’t gotten any “mini-deaths” in a few weeks, so I’m thinking this is what my body needed.  

That being said, as my energy is up, so is my weight!  This dang baby keeps on growing, and making me heavier and heavier!  How horrible for me!  :)  No, I’m happy that my little boy is healthy and growing.  I just am hating the scale right now.  I really really really need to take some measurements, to make sure I’m not retaining water in the next couple months, and to track where that weight is going.  I have meant to do this for some time, but I can’t find my measuring tape.  :(  

I have been “nesting” lately, as well.  Purchasing items for me and for baby.  Just yesterday I got a shower chair, a blood pressure monitor, and an electric air pump for the birth pool.  The day before that, I got some new clothes for mama.  And today I got a baby sling and a nursing pillow!  They were “free,” I just had to pay shipping.  

My not so pleasant symptoms, lately, have been constipation (though it’s getting better, thank you, bananas), sleepiness, swelling, and abdominal pain and cramping.  

My friend “Consti” and I go WAY back…  I could usually keep her at bay with some fruit and Kefir, and abstaining from all other dairy, but since dairy is the easiest way to integrate LOTS of protein into my diet, I’ve been eating lots of it.  Consti loves to visit when I eat cheese, and milk, and cream cheese.  Anyway, Consti stayed for a WHOLE week last week, and I was miserable.  So I took day to lay on my left side and eat nothing but fruit and Kefir.   She finally left after that, luckily.  

I’ve also been pretty sleepy.  Not fatigued, just generally sleepy.  I’m not sure if it’s because I’m not getting enough sleep, but it probably is.  I usually get around 7, though I do try to get more.  I have not had to make late-night runs to the bathroom, yet, (knock on wood), so that’s a plus!  But my performance at work is not so good, as of late, because I just can’t concentrate!  

Another strange, but totally normal pregnancy thing that happened to me Monday night, was: My left foot got swollen!  I must have been sitting in a bad position, because all of the sudden, HELLO HUGE-FOOT.  I moved to the bed and laid on my left side the rest of the night because it freaked me out…  It hasn’t happened since.

Ok, last but not least: cramping and aching in my belly-bell.

I don’t know what Braxton Hicks feel like, as I’ve never been pregnant before, but I’m thinking this isn’t it.  

I’m thinking my uterus just hurts from being all stretched out, and whatnot.  I may be getting some more round ligament pains, as well.  My uterus is pretty tender as well.  It feels like a sore muscle when I press into the perimeter of where I assume it is.  

uterus growth during pregnancy 

Here’s a picture that shows the round ligament.  In my first trimester, I felt RL pain at my pubic bone.  It was like, a deep, intense, painful throbbing.  Kind of like what I would recognize as a period cramp.  But now, it’s a sharper, more superficial pain.  It’s higher up, now too.  And I will get cramping across the top side of my uterus as well.  (And, no, I don’t think the top cramping is gas…  Since Consti and I have such a great relationship, I am very good at identifying gas pain. :))  

Anyway, I’ll post a bump picture on MONDAY, as I’m not planning on washing any of my clothes until this weekend, and I look a bit of a hot-mess. 

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Where are all the teaching doctors?

I have a bone to pick with you people.  

No, not you, lovely readers.  No, not you, dear friends.  Not you, man, standing there, arbitrarily pushing buttons.  (<- If you get this reference, we are surely kindred spirits.)

Unless you happen to be a nurse or medical practitioner, I do not have a bone to pick with you.  

I’m only concerned with those who’ve done me wrong.  

I have been complaining to my docs and nurses this entire pregnancy about being fatigued.  Like, not my normal exhausted-ness.  But often feel like I’m going into shock, or have severe dehydration or heat exhaustion symptoms.  Am I dehydrated?  No.  Am I over-heated?  No…  “Well, what’s going on with me, Doc?”  

“Oh, it’s normal…  you’re pregnant…  you have all these hormones floating around in your body, which can make you feel tired.”  “Are you eating regularly?”

“Well, I guess so.  I’m usually not that hungry.”

“Well, if you’re not eating, you could be having low blood sugar episodes.”  

“I know what a low blood sugar episode feels like, and this is different.  I do feel better for a while after eating salty foods, though.”  

“Are you taking supplements?”

“Yes.”

“Well, you look pretty healthy.  Just try to eat 6 small meals a day.  Eat plenty of protein to keep your blood sugar stable.  You’ll make it through, mama.”

And that’s the end of the visit.

Thanks…  thanks, a lot.

Number one:  I don’t “look healthy.”  I was a good 40 pounds overweight before I got pregnant.    I have extremely pale skin.  I repeat, I don’t look healthy.

Number two:  I know my body.  I know when something is not right.  I know what low blood sugar feels like, I know what a hormone spike or lag feels like, and if I tell you I don’t that’s what it is…  You should listen to me.  

Number three:  You can’t just give me generic information that I can read on any pregnancy-centered website and expect me to trust your expertise as a doctor.  That doesn’t cut it with me.  

Soooo…  after doing my own research, I find the ACTUAL reason to eat lots of protein and to eat small meals, etc.  I’ll try to explain how I understood what was said.  This, in no way, is medical advice to you.  I’m just ‘splaining how I understand what’s going on.    

The Brewer Pregnancy Diet website discusses Dr. Brewer’s investigations and findings into the causes of toxemia (or eclampsia) during pregnancy.  (This is what they check for when you pee in that cup every visit.)  Until Brewer, many many ill-advised physicians prescribed treatments that actually harmed patients, instead of helping them.  

Dr. Brewer found that because it’s vital to the fetus that a pregnant woman is carries a larger blood volume (50% more than “normal”), her body will go to great lengths to maintain that blood volume, if it senses a decrease.  

The body regulates your blood volume by maintaining an optimal osmotic pressure in your blood vessels (so the fluid in your blood stays in your blood, and doesn’t go to other places, like urine, or your tissues, for example).  The liver is in charge of producing albumin from the proteins you eat.  The albumin is what controls the osmotic pressure.  Salt also helps regulate osmotic pressure.  

If you’re not getting enough protein from your diet (Dr. Brewer suggests 150g/day), your liver will produce less albumin.  Less albumin means reduced osmotic pressure, which means blood volume will decrease (because your fluid will not be able to stay in your blood).  

The body (not sure which part) senses the decrease in blood volume, and goes into fetus-protection mode.  It will start stockpiling fluids in your extremities (face, hands, feet, ankles), it will slow your metabolism, and start sourcing fluids from other parts of your body (like your brain, fatty tissues, and muscles) to your bloodstream.

I think this is the point where you start feeling symptoms of heat exhaustion.  You’ll get muscle cramps in your arms and legs, brain fog, and extreme fatigue.  (You have seen me refer to this in myself as “mini-death,” as it’s quite horrible.)  

If you don’t correct your blood volume issue quickly by way of eating salty foods or protein (and probably water), this will eventually lead to extreme swelling, rapid weight gain, seizures, and coma.  A mother’s body is totally okay with destroying itself to keep your baby alive.

Anyway…  THIS is why protein and eating an adequate amount of calories and nutrients is SO vitally important for YOU in the second and third trimesters.  Also, Dr. Brewer said that pregnant women can eat as much salt as they want.  So, that’s a plus, too.  :)     

So, that leads me back to my title question.  Where is a doc who will tell me what’s really going on?  Where’s one who will teach me what she knows, to help me help myself?  Seriously, people.

Here’s where you can learn more about Pre-eclampsia and the affect of low protein levels in your diet.  http://www.drbrewerpregnancydiet.com/id36.html