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Saturday, March 26, 2011

36 Weeks - nearly Full Term

With one month until our scheduled due date, baby is getting herself ready just as we are getting ready to meet her.  We had our last ultrasound on Thursday, and confirmed several key things; that she is head down and in good position for labor/delivery, that the placenta previa is now completely resolved and no longer even considered low lying, and her growth is on track and does not appear to be excessive due to the Gestational Diabetes! It was a positive u/s indeed.  Her weight was estimated to be 6lbs 1oz which is in the 39th percentile for her gestational age, and they estimate that she gains about an oz a day now, or about 1/2 a lb each week.  That would have her on track to be approximately 8 lbs at delivery if she came at her due date, but of course it's all an estimate and those can be off by up to 2 lbs anyway at this point...but usually not in the direction of her being much larger than they anticipate. So, yay! I also had my Group B strep test this week, and just checked to see that it is negative, so no pre-delivery antibiotics needed during labor for me (at least not for that reason)!  Here we are this week:



I feel like with all of the minor complications and stresses that have made the second half of this pregnancy feel more "eventful" than I anticipated, things are finally settling into place for the real home stretch.  I feel peaceful about what my body is doing to prepare for her arrival, and I feel confident that from this point things will hopefully progress in a typical, uncomplicated fashion.  Of course, I'm aware and open to the fact that none of this is really predictable and anything can happen still, but I'm at least at peace that my body has carried her this far, I'm mostly healthy and she looks stellar.  I trust that my body will continue to do what it needs to in order to bring her all the way into this world just as healthy and vivacious as I already feel she is.    

We had one of two sessions of our Childbirth Education series today, and I'm really glad we chose this class.  It's through the Center for the Childbearing Year in Ann Arbor, and I felt that the instructor really made a comfortable environment in which to discuss the natural process and the beginning essentials to developing a variety of coping strategies for labor.   I think that prep classes can feel like a chore, especially for the partner, but I think Matt and I both got a lot out of the class today, and there was just enough information to make him feel more comfortable with the process but not so much as to overwhelm him.  We practiced a few distraction and relaxation techniques, and I feel really confident that as a couple we will be able to do this "naturally" as we hope for.  I trust Matt to be there and provide what I need in terms of physical and emotional support, and I know that he trusts me and my body to do what it needs to do.  Together I hope we can support one another - it is my feeling that the husband needs to feel that he is part of the process of bringing this life into the world, too, and they need our support for that as well.

This leads me to my thoughts on our "Birth Plan".  Hang on...I feel like this might get lengthy! I've sort of always been one to think that a birth plan that is too rigid in any direction can be detrimental to labor, because it's not always a linear, predictable process and there are many circumstances that may be out of my control, so trying to write out exactly how I want things to go down may be counterproductive.  That being said, there are some things that I do want to try to encourage, and want our support team to be aware of.  I think the UM Midwives will all be supportive and probably very much in line with the kinds of things we would ask for, but I do think it will be helpful to discuss our thoughts with Holly beforehand.  In an ideal world, my labor will be under 12 hours and will start and progress on its own without Pitocin, I will have no problem coping with the intensity of it and therefore won't need medical interventions for pain control, baby will have a steady, strong heartbeat and will never be in distress and we won't need continuous fetal monitoring, I won't have any need for antibiotics or other IVs, and I will deliver her vaginally (possibly in the tub) without an episiotomy or tearing.  Haha! I know, right?  Of course, there are so many times when it just may not go like that, and I understand that.  I chose to have a hospital birth, because I know all too well that sometimes medical intervention is not only available but is the safest, smartest and most appropriate thing to do for baby and mom alike.  And if our care providers tell us something needs to happen, now, or one of us will be unsafe, then I will absolutely 100% accept that is what we'll do.  I also feel that being unpredictable, labor may not be what I anticipate, and I may decide at some point that the solutions and strategies for coping that we have up our sleeve are no longer effective enough, and I may invite certain medical interventions then, too.

I think the things that are most important to me as far as a "Plan" are the following:
- I want to be supported in my desire to attempt a "natural" delivery for as long as I feel that is a realistic goal
- Matt is my primary support person and the person in this world (and especially in the pregnancy) who knows me most intimately, and if I have trouble verbalizing my own needs or desires to other members of the care team at a given time, that they can listen to him for guidance about what we want
- I want the environment to be as calm and supportive as it can be under whatever circumstances arise
- I want interventions which may become necessary to be explained to me and offered to me in such a way that both Matt and I understand what is happening, and why it has become a necessity

Then of course, are all of the potential procedures/interventions/post-partum decisions and such that I will also outline my preferences about, but I feel that those are much more going to be decided during the moment anyway, and not always things anyone plans to have and writes into their Birth Plan (why yes, I'd like to plan for an episiotomy, thank you.  I'd also like to plan for a forceps or vacuum delivery, etc).  I mean, of course I'd like to avoid all of those things! But understanding that they exist because of medical necessity at times, and if our labor/delivery requires them, they are available.

All in all, I'm planning for a peaceful, natural, normal delivery and understanding that together Matt and I can make that happen as much as anyone can control that. If things go off track, we will accept them together and move ahead with whatever needs to happen.  We are getting so excited to meet our daughter, and I feel confident that we can bring her into this world together! Ok, that's enough on that, if you've even made it this far :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

Maternity Photos

We had our professional maternity photos taken on St. Patrick's Day, and Matt went along for the ride to make me happy! I'm quite pleased with how they turned out, and think we have a few really nice shots to choose from.  If you'd like to take a look, here's the link to the gallery:

http://lmd-photography.smugmug.com/  - our gallery is, appropriately, Tanya and Matt, no password.

I'll work on getting my 36 week post up for you all this weekend, but probably not until Sunday.  We have our first of two classes tomorrow for the all-important Childbirth Prep information, so theoretically little lady can wait until after next weekend when we have the second class to make her debut, and then at the very least the info will be fresh! After that, all systems are go in my book ;) We put the Pack & Play together tonight, and will set up the swing/bouncer soon as well.  We're ready for you, when you and your brain/lungs are ready for the world little girl - wait at least 2 more weeks and then it's go time!

More to come this weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

35 Weeks - Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Today is St. Paddy's Day, and along with the Luck o' the Irish came 65 degrees and sunshine! It's such a beautiful day outside, and it just feels like a breath of fresh air was so needed for everyone.  People are out in droves with kids and dogs, (and of course celebrators are out to drink green beer too) and you can just tell the region was in need of something to break the cabin fever.

We did our maternity photos today, and it was great! I'm so excited to see them, and I think Linda did a really great job. We went with Linda Michele-Dobel Photography, and she's in Brighton.  We walked around downtown and found cool little niches and benches and brick walls to shoot against.  Then we went back to her studio and did some there as well.  Can't wait to see how they turned out, and we'll be sure to share when we get them!

Today I'm 35 weeks - 35 days to go until the due date! Crazy to think anywhere in the span of the next month we could meet our daughter! She's pretty much developed at this point, and except for getting a little extra oomph to her lungs, her main job is to gain weight - about a half a pound a week now! I don't know where she's going to find room for that, but I guess we'll find out :) It seems she still hasn't "dropped" and there are no other signs yet of any imminent changes that she'll be arriving quite soon, but hopefully she'll decide to show up at least by her due date :)


I'm feeling much better today and none of the weird symptoms from yesterday are lingering.  Baby and I seem to be doing fine all in all, and so we'll just keep waiting for the next thing! Today's project (if we get to it) is to cut out the pattern and fabric pieces for the crib skirt, and then I can work on sewing that this weekend.  Also, hanging the frames on the wall.  No other nursery project updates today, but I'll get pics as soon as we have progress!

Happy St. Patrick's Day - hope you are all enjoying the day however you choose to :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Triage Visit #1

Well we spent a little time in triage this afternoon...I was feeling dizzy and short of breath this morning and it didn't go away as the work day went on.  I decided to head home and rest, and my friend Sarah convinced me to just go over to triage while I was still at the hospital and get checked out to make sure everything was OK.  They do not mess around - they had me undress and gown up, pee in a cup, and got me all hooked up to the fetal monitor and pulse-ox and blood pressure cuff.  They just watched everything for a little over an hour, and both my vitals and hers seemed just fine.  My blood sugar was Ok too, and they decided that there wasn't any reason to keep us and admit me (which of course I didn't anticipate anyway, but was good to be sent home).  I was never really worried that there was something majorly wrong but Sarah was right - I would have hated to drive all the way back to Pinckney, have something get worse, and have to drive back.  It was better to get checked out and given the all-clear than to be home and wonder if something was wrong.  I'm happy it's nothing like pre-eclampsia or anything, and we got to listen to little girl's heartbeat nice and loud for an hour so that was worth the whole thing.  I came home and crashed and slept all afternoon, which apparently was much needed. Hoping tomorrow is better all around!

Tomorrow we have our maternity photo session, and it's supposed to be around 60 degrees and mostly sunshine tomorrow! Looking forward to relaxing and documenting this part of the experience, and I'm really hoping we can get some shots outdoors because I really like those so much more than just studio shots.  I'll be sure to post as soon as I have something to show!

That's it for tonight - 35 week post to come hopefully tomorrow too :)

Sunday, March 13, 2011

34 Weeks (and 3 days...yes I'm counting)


Wwell, we're getting down to the final month of this business...hopefully! This week will mark 35 and 35 - 35 weeks down and 35 days to go.  I think I've reached the point that whenever the end comes it will be welcomed.  Of course I want to make sure she's developed enough and don't want her to have any complications with growth or lung development...but if I could deliver in 3 weeks I'd be most pleased to be honest with you!  I know my body can and will accommodate more growth, but geez it feels like I'm close to max capacity now! And, discouragingly, I noticed two small purple-y stretch marks forming on the underside of the belly today...which means I'm sure there are more to come :( I was hoping to make it through without any, but doesn't look like that is going to happen. I know 50% of pregnant women get at least some, and it's a badge of motherhood and all that, but I could have done without them nonetheless. At least our professional maternity photos are this Thursday at 35 weeks on the dot, and hopefully I won't get any more before then, so the belly will still look good in pics! (Oh vanity, how I love thee).   Here she is covered up for the week: 

34 weeks + 3 days

I think we are more or less getting down to the last vital things we need to have and do before she arrives.  The nursery is coming together, and I'll give it its very own post for the big reveal once all the components are in place soon.  Our chair should be scheduled to arrive in the next 2 weeks or so, and the wall projects are just about complete.  The crib skirt is the last big sewing project, and I just didn't have the gusto to do it by myself this weekend.  I did work on these, though:







The collage of frames will go on the wall above the crib.  So springy and bright, and yet sophisticated, charming and still clean lines! 



I also finished the DIY altered lampshade project using the Cricut: 




I made the ruffle trim using 1 1/4" grosgrain ribbon and pleating it by hand, fixing each pleat with hot glue in between.  Then just hot glued it around the top and bottom of the shade, overlapping the seam at the back.   For the inside, I used the Cricut cartridges "A Child's Year" and "Give a Hoot" and cut out silhouettes of children at play and a whimsical butterfly border.  Then, using spray adhesive on one side of each cut-out, I fixed them to the inside of the shade! You see them mostly when the lamp is on, and when it's off you just pretty much see the ribbon ruffle :) So cute, if I do say so myself! 

And, apparently the animals approve of this space...as long as it is all for them! It is just for them, right?
Winnie has since been banished from claiming the co-sleeper, because that's really a habit I do not want to encourage.  In fact, it kind of freaks me out and I'm not sure what to do to keep her out of the baby's sleeping spaces.  Cat owners, any suggestions?  Right now I just have it loaded with some bags of hand-me-downs, but that's obviously a temporary solution.  The co-sleeper will be moved into our room beside the bed, but the bedroom needs major cleaning and reorganizing first...see below. 

I think the "Nesting" is kicking up a notch from just nursery prep and taking up 100% brain space occupied to thinking/list making about what needs to get purchased/done to actual housekeeping tasks that have been put off too long.  This is not news, but I'm a pretty terrible housekeeper.  I love clean, fresh spaces, but honestly I just prefer if someone else does it for me, and if not, then I don't mind living in various states of squalor that much (evidently). Gross. Well, those little things that I usually put off for months (the grody dust built up on the cold air return vent over our bed? yeah...all I had to do was wipe that with a damp cloth. 6 months ago) are finally irritating me enough to get themselves done.  Today I scrubbed the shower and tub (like even got the orange rust stains off), cleaned the grout around the base of the toilet, and washed the shower curtain liner.  Tasks which a normal person might do once a week, or perhaps twice a month, sure...but these are typically Mt. Everest proportion tasks that I feel quite accomplished about today, especially seeing as how they had me work up a sweat and become short of breath! (Let's be honest, getting out of a chair does about the same, but we'll just skim over that part).  Anyway, hopefully this house will still be spring clean by the time little girl arrives - particularly if she listens to the first paragraph and comes in 3 weeks - the shower might still be clean in 3 weeks, right?

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Smith Family Baby Shower

Today was a beautiful day - not because of the weather, which was in fact pretty much the telltale "Lion" of March with rain/freezing rain to start the day, and snow snow snow to end it - but because our little lady was once again showered with love and warmth from the Smith side of the family.  I couldn't feel more honored to have such a loved and welcome space in this family - they have opened their arms, hearts and homes to me and my own family from the very beginning, and feeling the love they already share for our little girl is just amazing.  Tryn and Matt's Aunt Sal hosted just such a wonderful day - amazing food, homemade cake (yeah, gonna go ahead and just buck the glucometer today...), happy company, and so many lovely gifts.  My heart is already bursting and I can't imagine how I will feel when my little baby girl is actually here, and the love from this family will be tangible.

I didn't get pictures of the glorious spread of food on my camera, although I know it was indeed documented by someone.  I will share some of the shots from the day that I did get on my own camera though. I had to crack up at the little trio of paparazzi in front of me while opening gifts - there are at least 4 cameras worth of shots from today! All of the gifts were so thoughtful, and I don't have shots of each of them on here, but know that they are all loved and will be cherished and used!!
So fun to have all the little ones here today! Trenton, Gabrielle, Jaime, Cal, and Autumn (supervised by Terrah and Marsha) 

Who's SO big? Cal!! 

Me and Tryn 

Papa, paparazzi! 









It was all very exciting for a while, but then she realized the party wasn't really for her...

Sarah and Calvin

My two beautiful co-hostesses 

Thank you , thank you, thank you to everyone who was here today, and of course to those of you who couldn't make it in person.  I love being a part of this family, and I can't wait to add another one to the clan!! We are in love with every single thing, and I am so excited for the little lady to arrive to put everything to use :) Everything will all be much cuter with her using it than it is with me modeling them! 

33 Weeks - Can we call it the Home Stretch yet? At least the 7th Inning Stretch?

33 weeks, 7 to go until the little lady is scheduled to arrive.  Holy crap that's less than two full months! We are slowly but surely getting things checked off our to-do lists, both major and minor.  I typed out a tentative birth plan last night, and once Matt and I have the chance to go over it together, I'll discuss my feelings on the matter in more detail here.  We have started talking about a pediatrician, but we haven't yet made a decision on that.  Our childbirth prep class is scheduled, and hopefully little one does not decide to come early or we won't have the chance to attend as I'll be 36 and 37 weeks for those classes!  The nursery is starting to take shape, as we now have the crib mattress in place, one curtain panel done and curtain rod hung, furniture mostly painted, and plans for wall decor and a few other touches taking place in my already crowded little head as I type.  Our chair hasn't been delivered, but it should arrive by the end of this month.  I have some projects to work on this weekend with my mom's help - at least finish the other curtain, and possibly start/finish(?) the crib skirt.  Here are some sneak peek pics of the current state of things:


 Closet in stages of organization

 Dresser/Changer and one curtain panel (cupboard door is actually on as of today)

Close of up curtain

We are also checking things off the "must-haves" list of baby prep items.  Getting the cloth diaper stash ready and pre-washed soon, and filling in the back up supply of disposables a little at a time.  I am definitely starting to feel like things will all be ready by the time she's here and ready to come home, and that's a big relief! I mean, basically, she needs a few onesies, blankets, diapers and mah boobs for the first little while, and those are all things we can safely say we have covered! My sweet friend from work is bringing over a load of baby gear this weekend including the co-sleeper for our room, and back ups of many items to have at Mark's for when she has Grandpa time over there.  I think we'll be in pretty good shape with gear very soon! The wonderful Smith family hosted another BEAUTIFUL shower today (pics to come in another post), and my lovely Peds and Transplant Social Work friends are both throwing work showers next week! Needless to say we are overwhelmed with love and support for this little one, and I seriously mean it when I say we could not be as prepared as we are without all of you.   SO much love, it melts my heart!  

We had our 33 week appt with the midwife on Thursday, and everything seems to be going well from her point of view right now, too.  The fundal height is right on track, which means more or less baby is growing on track (which we knew from the u/s last week).  Her heartbeat is steady and strong, and her movements have been out of this world in the past week! You can now see my entire belly moving when she readjusts her little legs and feet!

My weight gain is stable - I haven't gained any in the past 3 weeks and so far I'm up approximately 14 lbs.   In the past week, I've gotten probably the best compliment any pregnant lady wants to hear, not once or twice, but three times - "You can't even tell you're pregnant from the back!"  :) As unwieldy and off-kilter as I feel sometimes at this point, it is nice to know that others don't seem to experience my profile the same way I do! We have scheduled a maternity photo session and I will be 35 weeks at that point - so some real ripe belly pics are coming your way soon! Here's our at home shot for this week:


33 wks 2 days

Overall, I'm feeling that even though there is still a lot to complete, we have good plans and will make a little progress every week, and before we know it she will be here! I'm hoping every day for continued stability with the GD and no insulin, but overall just for a healthy and safe delivery whenever she decides to arrive.  I'm also hoping to find some time for Matt and I to spend as just a couple in these last few weeks, before our lives are changed forever. We have a few movies we'd like to see at the Michigan Theater, and hopefully the weather cooperates and we can go on some walks outside together too.  It's very exciting from here out...I'm sure the next few weeks are going to be a blur!