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Monday
Dec172012

Week 36

Well, I'm only four days late with this update. The days are flying by now, it's hard to keep up. I kind of wish the last month of my pregnancy didn't coincide with the insanity of this time of year. But alas, I'm just thrilled that I made it to my last month of pregnancy! But it's been a busy few days, and so get ready for lots of words and pictures.

And don't forgot the baby pool if you're interested!

Here I am at 36 weeks:

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WEEK 36: Size of a Crenshaw Melon Mini Watermelon

Do you like our new Santa Claus on the mantel? We got him as a gift over the weekend. Do you also like my awesome tye-dye sweatpants? Me too.

This week was supposed to be a crenshaw melon, but first, what is a crenshaw melon? And second, we're lucky to find fresh apples in Michigan this time of year, let alone obscure melons. We improvised with a mini watermelon, even though an actual watermelon is coming up in the next few weeks.

Anyway, there are several reasons we didn't get around to taking this photo until Sunday (as opposed to the appropriate day, Thursday). Here are several of them:

Breastfeeding Class
Thursday evening we went straight from work to a breastfeeding class. It was somewhat helpful. The overall message was "you should definitely breastfeed" and "if you do it right, it'll be easy." I don't really like that attitude because even though I fully intend to breastfeed, and I know breast milk is like the nectar of the gods or something, I don't like the guilt that surrounds the whole issue. I know many women who desperately wanted to breastfeed their children and they drove themselves crazy trying to make it happen, and something just wasn't working. I don't like the idea that the message they're getting is, if it's not working, you're doing something wrong. It's your fault your baby isn't getting what it needs. Remember the nurse who told me at my 10 week appointment that "there is no trying to breastfeed," implying that you do it no matter what? Yeah.

Despite all that, I do want to breastfeed and figured my best bet was to learn as much as possible. The class taught us some techniques, how to identify a proper latch, how to hold the baby, how to identity feeding cues, things like that. We'll see how it all goes in practice.

The best part was the 10 minute video we watched about the first hour after birth, and the importance of skin to skin contact during that time. It was pretty amazing to watch how newborns are immediately alert and even interactive as they bond with their parents right away. I can only pray that I'll have a healthy birth experience and will get to have that moment.

Anniversary
Just before the breastfeeding class, Mike and I celebrated four years of knowing each other. Our first date was on December 11, 2008, and every year around that time we go back to the same restaurant. That was literally the first time we met each other face to face. We "met" on Match and all our interactions up till then were via email or online chat. 

Poorly lit photo of us at dinner.

This year, during dinner, Mike asked if I had ever been to this restaurant before our first date. I'm not sure how that never came up before, but yes I had. Had he? Only once...on a date...with the only other girl he went out with from Match...and it was her suggestion. WHAT? He went out with another girl he met, she suggested San Chez for dinner. He loved the food, but didn't hit it off with the girl. Along comes Shannon, and she asks him to suggest a restaurant for their first date. He suggests San Chez! And I didn't know any of this until last week, four years later. Clearly he just wanted an excuse to eat again at a place he enjoyed. He was definitely not thinking this woman would end up his wife, and this restaurant their spot. What a punk.

Chiropractor
Friday, we had several things going on. The first of which was a chiropractor appointment. My pelvis and back and ribs are hurting badly enough that I needed some intervention. After my assessment, she told me my tailbone and several vertebrae are out of alignment, causing my sciatic nerve issues. My pubic bone is also out of whack. And I found out what's been causing the extreme mid-back pain on my right side for months now is actually a misaligned rib. Which makes sense because the pain kind of wraps around from my back to the front...like a rib does. And it's pretty clear it's caused by this baby's butt being all up in my ribs since about October! Just glad it's a butt and not a head. I'll be going for adjustments 1-2 times a week until the baby's born. Hopefully it'll offer some pain relief.

Random picture of Mike putting my boots on for me as I can no longer reach my feet.

Doctor Appointment
After the chiropractor, I met Mike at the doctor's office for my 36 week appointment. I'm officially doing weekly visits now. At 36 weeks they swab you for group B strep - a test I'm really hoping to pass so I don't need constant antibiotics during the birth. She also did an internal check. I'm not dilated or effaced at all, but the baby's head is "right there" so I guess Baby Z-M is starting to get ready!

My blood pressure was spot on, which is always good news. And the baby's heartbeat was 150bpm, a little slower than usual, but still perfectly healthy. It actually took just a moment to find the heartbeat, which hasn't happened for months. I couldn't help but have a tiny panic attack in that two seconds, but the doctor just had to figure out how the baby was positioned to get a better read. 

Unfortunately I'm gaining weight quite a bit more rapidly than I was. Which is actually fine since my total weight gain as of Friday was still under 20 pounds. But for months I was gaining about a pound or two a month, and this time I had gained five pounds in two weeks! I realize a lot of that is the baby and all its support systems, but the number on the scale still shocked me a little. Even when I was rather fat in college I didn't weigh this much. I'm sure it won't help that we have approximately 253 holiday parties in the next couple weeks, each of which is filled with disgustingly delicious food. 

35w4d

35w5d

36w1d

Doula
We had our last official meeting with our doula before the birth. We'll be in touch with her a lot over the next few weeks and will see her again if we need to, but this was our last scheduled appointment. My mom joined us since she'll be the other person with us during most of labor and definitely delivery. We went over all kinds of things so that Jen, the doula, has a really good sense of where we're coming from and can help us make good decisions when the time comes.

At this point, I feel almost as prepared as I can get. Which is to say, I still have no fucking idea what is going to happen or how I'll react, but I don't think I can do much more to prepare for that inevitability. At this point, it's like I've trained hard for a marathon or studied hard for a big exam, and now I'm ready for race day. Or test day. Not that I'm rushing to the end - as I've said before, I'm really trying to hold on to these last few weeks of pregnancy before this short stage of my life is gone - but I can't train or study any more. I'm as ready as I'm going to be!

I realize nobody really cares about my cat, but he's seriously obsessed with me lately. Look at him curling up with the belly, like he's protecting it or something. It kills me.

Holiday Parties
Both Mike's parents and mine are divorced, plus all of my grandparents are alive (a blessing I appreciate every day), so we have a lot of holiday parties that happen this time of year. This weekend we had three, although one was actually a birthday party for my nephew. When we think about finishing up some last minute baby prep, we honestly have to search hard for time to do simple things like pick up supplies. Because between work and holiday celebrations, we're pretty booked! On Saturday, we used a spare hour we had to start gathering items for the hospital bag. Nothing actually got packed, we just started a pile of stuff and took note of what was missing. At least it's progress.

Yet to come before New Year's are six more parties, including two work gatherings and four family parties (two of which we're hosting!). It's practically January already - December is such a whirlwind. Which is why, despite the potential for a tax break in 2012, I'd really like this baby to sit tight until 2013.

Me, Baby Z-M, and my two precious grandmas. I love these ladies dearly, and I'm so honored that they will know my child.

Yeah, Em and I sort of meant to match. Gotta indulge in the cheesiness while you can, I guess.

At the party on Sunday, we were at my dad's, and I spent a large portion of the day kicked back in a recliner. I was so tired and my feet hurt, and it was the most comfortable spot in the house. Unfortunately it reminded everyone of what my sister looked like the night she went into labor. We were again at my dad's for a Christmas gathering, and she spent most of the time in the recliner, unable or uninterested in doing much else. That night her water broke and the next day my nephew was born. My reenactment in the reclinder had everyone thinking I might go into labor last night! But I'm here to report the baby stayed put and I've had no signs of labor.

My belly isn't really horizontal enough to hold objects for me, but when I'm reclining slightly, it makes a decent shelf.

In case you're following along, I'll be 37 weeks on Thursday. My due date is 24 days away. I'm excited, but I'm also starting to get pretty nervous. After everything, it's hard to comprehend that this is where I am right now.

Reader Comments (4)

First of all, I care about the cat. That was my favorite picture! So cute. You should take one with the baby and the cat when the baby is out and frame them together.

Where did you even find a mini watermelon this time of year? I'm impressed.

I think the chiropractor will help a lot. I know mine does. If I could afford it, I'd be there three times a week these days.

December 19, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterkim

OK, so I have to share my thoughts/opinions on breastfeeding.

I can totally understand someone who says "there is no TRYING to breastfeed." Maybe she didn't mean it as a "No. You have to. No excuses." but more as a "If you tell yourself you can quit, you probably will" type of message. That I can relate to and support. I had an extreeeemely difficult time with breastfeeding both my daughters. It was EXCRUCIATING. I cried literally every single time in the beginning. If anyone had offered up formula and told me it was okay to quit, I probably would have. But instead, everyone around me gave pointers, advice, resources and encouragement and because of that, because I felt I had "no way out," I kept at it. It was so, so, so hard, Shannon. There's no way to emphasize that enough. For some, it's easy and natural and beautiful. For me, it was painful. I resented my babies for the labor/c-section, my new body, my lack of sleep, my hormones, and because after it all, my body STILL wasn't mine again yet. I was at their mercy and feared their cries. .... But do you know what? I am SO PROUD and SO THANKFUL that I stuck with it. .... I tell all my soon-to-be-mom friends who hope/plan to nurse, TRY so super hard for those first 6 weeks. Make your goal to breastfeed for 2 weeks, and then when you reach it, celebrate and make a new goal of 1 month, and so on. By 6 weeks their mouths are bigger, they're more stable, your body has adjusted, etc and it magically becomes MUCH easier. It's tough to make it to that point -- believe me, I knoooow -- but if you can, you'll feel so wonderful about it.

If/when you need that support and encouragement and someone to not give you an "out," please reach out. I don't think there's anything wrong with formula, but ... It's like with the epidural. Most moms aren't against it, but don't want it for them and, if they're set on going all natural, they don't want to have anyone around them suggest an alternative.

December 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay A

Thanks Lindsay. I know where you're coming from. And the people I'm thinking of didn't actually give up, they worked their asses off, like you, to make it happen. But they were receiving messages that if something isn't working right, it's because you're doing it wrong. I don't think they got the same encouragement and support you received. So I think that's my bigger problem. I think there should be more awareness of what problems can exist, and that it's ok, there is still hope.

December 19, 2012 | Registered CommenterShannon

OK, well, if there is just something wrong, then there's just something wrong. And obviously at that point, you have to find an alternative. Not because you've failed. And not because mama or baby is not following nature's obvious, natural course. It just is what it is, then, and you do what is then the best option in your mind for your baby.

I didn't realize we were talking about THAT kind of situation. I misunderstood. I just feel SO strongly about providing the message to pregnant women that it's not always easy or natural or obvious. Sometimes it's none of those things, and that's ok. Trust your body and your instincts. If baby isn't losing weight, your supply IS enough. If it hurts, it doesn't mean baby is doing it wrong. If you want to breastfeed, and medically it's working (ie you're making milk, baby is gaining/maintaining weight), then you may need to persevere through a lot in the beginning but -- and this is the thing I wish women knew -- it WILL get better!

December 21, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLindsay A

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