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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

29 Weeks

It's been 4 weeks since I last saw my midwife and from now on, I'll be seeing her every two weeks. At this weeks appointment we reviewed wether or not I wanted to have the gestational diabetes test. She went through the problems that may occur if it goes undetected and also made a note of mentioning that I didn't fall into any of the categories that put me at risk except for being over 25 years old. I also found out that Hamilton doesn't even recognize it as a proper screening test and doesn't test pregnant women. I told her I would think about it and she gave me a sheet to read so I could make the right decision for myself. After reading the info and thinking about it over the weekend, I think I'm going to have it done. Being aware of having gestational diabetes would prevent a lot of problems that could arise if it went untreated.

The visit continued with the usual blood pressure check, fundal height, external palpation and fetal heartbeat. My blood pressure is still nice & low. This along with lack of swelling and a good BMI keeps me in the clear for preeclampsia. My fundal height is measuring one week ahead, as before. Not a big deal as long as the measurement stays consistent. When the midwife checked the position of my lil' bean she had good news to share with us. He is now head down, but of course this could change in the next 11 weeks. She pointed out the head, spine, hands and feet. I of course had my suspisions that he had been in this position for a while now. It seems that all the movement I feel has been concentrated to one side of my belly. And now that she has confirmed the fact that he is head down, I can confidently say that he loves this spot. He hasn't really moved from this position and that's OK with me. The last thing I want is a breech baby.

Oh...I almost forgot. Paul & I also got an excellent surprise the same morning I had to see the midwife. It was about 9am when I heard Kane walking around, and it sounded like he had stuck his nose in the bathroom garbage, which he's not supposed to do. That's what really made me pay attention to him. He then walked into the office and didn't walk out. He likes to hide under my desk when he's scared so my first guess was that he had pulled some garbage out of the bathroom and was chewing on it in the office. I waited a few minutes to see if he would come out, but he didn't. I then got up and sure enough, he was hiding in the office. That's when I smelled it. A little confused and still half asleep I first thought he had farted, and I headed for the bathroom to see what he had done in there. Half way down the hallway I stopped dead in my tracks. It wasn't a fart I smelled. Right in front of the bathroom door was this puddle of mud, only it wasn't mud. I walked a little further and noticed another "mud puddle" in front of the toilet and on the wall tiles. My jaw dropped. As I peered around the corner and into the kitchen I couldn't believe what I was seeing. There was "mud puddles" everywhere. Kane had been lying in his bed and for some reason felt the need to have explosive diarrhea in the living room, kitchen, bathroom and hallway. It was all over the floor, rug, tablecloth, toilet & walls. I almost cried. I was about to start cleaning it up but I knew I couldn't do it by myself. I had to wake up Paul. He wasn't a happy camper. We started with paper towel and picked up as much of it as we could. I took the rug and tablecloth and put it in the washer. Then I got out the mop and washed the floors while Paul cleaned the doors, walls & toilette. I let the dogs out after that and opened all the windows. Our clothes went into the hamper and then we both needed a good shower. It took the two of us about an hour to clean up that mess. And as much as I wanted to go back to bed, it was off to the midwife's for our appointment. The house still stunk when we got back but at least Kane hadn't had another episode. I never want to experience that again.

And now that you've had a good laugh, at my expense, I can continue with other, more enjoyable happenings. Over the weekend Paul & I picked up the rest of the stuff for the closet. It's coming along nicely and I can hardly wait to see it done. I'll finally have all the storage space I need and hopefully things will be a little more organized in the house. Here's a few pics of the progress.

So all the framing, drywall and mudding is done. The doors have been hung and the trim added. Next weekends adgenda...the inside. I know we'll be busy with Easter, but Paul will surely squeeze in some time for it.

And on to my lil' bean. This week he weighs 2 1/2 pounds, about the same as a butternut squash, and is 15 inches long. His bones are fully developed but will stay malleable in order to get through the birth canal. His lungs are maturing along with his muscles and of course he is still gaining fat. His head is also getting bigger to accommodate his brain. Only 11 more weeks to grow!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

28 Weeks

So this week started off with some news that surprised me a little. I was speaking to Jane from HR and we were discussing my maternity leave and the two weeks of vacation time I've got left. Officially, my last day of work will be June 4. I'll use my vacation first then start my maternity leave. There's only one caveat...there's a two week "waiting period". So to put it simply, I'm entitled to 52 weeks of mat leave but only 50 of those weeks are paid. And to top it off, I've still got to pay into my benefits if I want to continue being covered. Not exactly the ideal situation but I suppose Paul & I will find a way to work around it.

On the up side of things, I now have a doula. Paul & I interviewed a few of them and found it really hard to make a decision. They all seemed like amazing women who have so much knowledge and are so giving of themselves. But in the end, we chose Jody from Timeless Birth. She made us feel very comfortable and her philosophy on birth was the most like our own. And of course our dogs loved her! We've got our first meeting in a couple weeks and I'm really looking forward to reviewing my birth plan with her.

Oh yeah, I'd almost forgotten...I'm in the home stretch! My third trimester started this week and time seems to be flying. Paul is still working on the closet and the bathroom still needs to be done. Not to mention the baby room is still an office. I'm really going to have to get organized if I want to get things done before my lil' bean arrives. If only I wasn't a procrastinator.

As for being in the third trimester, I'm really starting to feel the extra weight. It's not too bad yet but tying my shoes and getting out of bed or off the couch isn't as easy as it was before. I also find myself catching my breath more often. I can't talk as long as I used to and yawning also takes my breath away. My lil' bean is taking over! The other thing I think is happening is hiccups. I'm not completely sure but I've started to feel rhythmic movements that only last a few moments. From what I can tell this most likely is hiccups.

Over the last few months Paul & I have debated on trying cloth diapers. Statistics tell us that a child usually goes through $1500 worth of disposable diapers in the first two years. Cloth diapering will only cost between $150 - 500 depending on which diapers you decide on. After weeks of research I found Babywear Boutique. This store is owned & operated by Steph, a mom of three, about 15 minutes from my house. Since no one I know is cloth diapering, I decided to make an appointment with Steph to ask the questions I had and to find out what each kind of diaper was like. Paul & I spent an hour with her and we really enjoyed learning all about cloth diapers. What surprised me the most was not how easy it all seems but how much Paul was into it. He has always said that he would support my decision to cloth diaper but it wasn't until we were surrounded by them that I actually believed he would do this and not think it was a big mistake.

Well, at 28 weeks my lil' bean is a little bigger than 14.5 inches and weighs about the same as a chinese cabbage. He is still adding fat to his little body, about 2 - 3% body fat and his muscle tone is increasing. He can also blink his eyes now, which have lashes on the lids. His eyesight is still developing though but he can probably see light that filters into the womb. His bone marrow is building red blood cells and the adrenal glands are producing the hormones androgen and estrogen. These hormones will send a signal to stimulate my hormones in order to trigger milk production.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

27 Weeks

What a week! Much different from last weeks inactivity. I started with a 3 day food log for my midwife. It was something they like to do with moms in order to get a good idea of what they're eating. I agreed to do it but I really don't think 3 days is accurate enough for me. My usual routine is making one to three meals during the work week and rotating them through lunch and dinner. The weekends is when I take extra time for things like roasts and homemade soups. I've decided to add another 3 days to my log and I guess we'll see what the midwife has to say about it next week.

One horrible thing that did happen was the death of my family's dog. Well... technically he belonged to my sister but he stayed with my mom a lot. His name was Maxx and he was a Jack Russell Terrier. We'd had him since I was 15 and he was my first dog. Maxx was such an energetic dog in his younger years and although he still found joy in chasing birds, squirrels and fetching tennis balls later in life, it physically wasn't good for him. He suffered from arthritis in the hips and even when he rushed out the back door to scare the squirrels, he always sauntered back. Sometimes slower than normal. For me it was unexpected and it took me a few hours before it really set in.
My mom had some inkling as to what was going on but it was one of those things where you thought it, but didn't believe it. Maxx had been sick on and off for a week or so, which was not too out of the norm considering his old age. He was having a hard time breathing and walking but the next day he was feeling better. To be sure, my sister had taken him to the vet to see if anything was going on but the only real concern the vet had was that his anal glands were so full they may have burst. She had palpated his ribs and hips and she did hit a sore spot but it didn't seem to worry her. So, to end the visit she expressed the anal glands and they were on their way. A few days later Maxx was having problems walking and didn't want to be touched. Again he got better and things were back to normal.
On the day he died, Maxx was completely not himself. My mom left for work as usual but when she got home Maxx had had an accident in the house. And of course he hadn't done that since he was a pup. She really had to coax him to go outside and it took him a long time to walk to the door. He was asking to be let in about a minute later and again he took his time getting to his bed. My mom went over to rub his belly and he didn't roll over like he usually did. After awhile she went upstairs to get ready to go out and when she came back down, Maxx was whimpering. She noticed he had gotten sick in his bed so once again she went over to comfort him. As she was petting him he just stopped whimpering and stopped breathing. It took my mom by surprise and for a short while she wasn't sure what had happened.
After saying her goodbye's she called my sister & I. Like I said before, it had been a shock to me since I hadn't know Maxx was sick the week before. I wanted to go over and see him for the last time but I couldn't because I was at work. My sister had come right over and together they took Maxx to the pet hospital. He was cremated and will be placed in a pet cemetary with other pets that passed away around the same time.

To continue on a lighter replacement has arrived! Her name is Alex and she started on Wednesday. So far so good! She seems to enjoy the work and is catching on quickly. I think my boss was a little worried that whoever he found was going to end up quitting after the first few days but that doesn't seem likely. We're getting along great so that'll help keep me going these next few months.

I've also interviewed a few doula's this week and that's going well. It's hard to belive that I started off this journey not even knowing labour had "stages", and now I'm in the process of hiring a doula. My entire outlook on pregnancy, birth and having a child has really evolved in the last year or so.

I've been told to expect a lot of clothing for 0-3 months for my baby shower but I just couldn't help myself. As I did the grocery shopping this past weekend I bought my lil' bean two diaper shirts - in blue of course. They are so cute and I keep them hanging in his future closet. Paul likes to go in there a few times a week to look at them. Up next...the coming home from the hospital outfit!

Well, this week my lil' bean is now 14 1/2 inches long and weighs about as much as a head of cauliflower. His brain development will increase and will remain developing quickly through the rest of my pregnancy. All his organ systems are functioning and his eyelids have started to unseal as the retina develops. He is also sleeping and waking in regular intervals, and don't I know it! All that moving around must make him tired.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

26 Weeks

Another week, and another post, mostly uneventful. I'm still feeling good and there hasn't been any problems to report. Braxton hicks can appear around 26 weeks but I haven't felt them yet. My lil' bean is still moving around a lot and he's getting stronger. With all that growth though, comes the disappearing belly button! My innie will soon become an outtie. It's not the best look for me but probably unavoidable.

I've been reviewing doula's and have a couple to interview this week. I'm looking foreword to meeting all of them and hope it's what I expected. I know it's going to be hard choosing only one because they all seem like extraordinary women. I should be hiring one within the month.

Speaking of which, I'm coming to the end of my second trimester. In a few weeks I'll officially be in the third trimester which means I'll only have 3 more months to go. It may sound like a long time now but it isn't really. I've been keeping watch for symptoms of preterm labor and haven't noticed any. I try not to stress about it but it helps to know that if I were to deliver at 26 weeks, my baby would have a 80 - 90% chance of survival.

This past week my lil' bean has grown to be the length of an English Hothouse Cucumber. His hearing is also more developed now that the network of nerves in the ear have grown. He's still putting on fat and practising his breathing by swallowing amniotic fluid. This way, when he's done baking, he'll know exactly how to draw air into his little lungs.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

25 Weeks

I can't believe it's March already! I think I might actually have to get off my butt and start getting things ready for my lil' bean. Which I guess I sort of have started. I've emailed a whole bunch of doula's to see if any are available for my due date, which I may add has been upped by 2 days. I've gotten a whole bunch of reply's and now I have to weed through them to find ones I'd like to interview.

The change in due date was noted at my last appointment with my midwife. After seeing Iwona for the last 4 visits, I decided to finally meet the other midwives in my pod. I was supposed to meet with Basak but for some reason I had been booked with Christine instead. She's a level III midwifery student and she was great. She didn't have the nonchalant attitude that I suppose comes with years of catching babies and dealing with the anxiety of first time moms. I learned things from her that I'm sure Iwona wouldn't have explained in as much detail. I know it sounds like Iwona wasn't the best midwife but I think her years of experience has taught her to be clear and to the point. After all, I'm sure a lot of women can't be bothered about specifics and only want to hear "everything looks good and the test results are where they're supposed to be".

I, on the other hand, thrive on details. Even though I may not remember what it all means, a thorough explanation puts me at ease better than the general "everything's fine." With Christine, she was more that happy to go through all the ultrasound results with Paul & I. The important parts being that my placenta was a good distance from my cervix. This means that there's no concern for placenta previa. And also that my blood iron levels and iron stores are excellent, so there shouldn't be a concern for anemia. I also learned that my bood type is AB+ which means that I don't need a RHOGAM shot. And finally, my lil' bean is still a boy. Paul & I had started wondering if the receptionist had misheard the sonographer, but it didn't happen. The paperwork says he's a boy!

After Christine answered the few questions I had, the usual checks were done. Once it was time to check on my lil' bean, she did something new. She checked the fundal height using a measuring tape. This allows the midwife to check the baby's growth, as the value in centimetres should match the gestational age +/- 2. This measurement will be accurate until about 36 weeks. And of course we heard the baby's heartbeat with the doppler. She also reviewed the signs of preterm labour and what to do if I feel any of the symptoms. I've been paying attention without getting to paranoid and haven't experienced anything. I've got one more appointment in 4 weeks and then I'll be seeing the midwife every two weeks. Things are really starting to pick up now and I know I'll be holding my lil' bean in no time.
This week my lil' bean is about 13 1/2 inches in length and weighs about as much as a rutabaga - 1 1/2 pounds. The structure of the spine is forming which includes 33 rings, 150 joints and 1000 ligaments. His testicles have descended and are now in place. His hands are also complete, which means he's got his own set of fingerprints. As for his nose, the nostrils are now open and he may be turning to a head down position. But if he doesn't it's not a problem. He's got some time before I need to be concerned about a breech baby. He's gaining more fat and his skin will slowly start to unwrinkle. And let's not forget the hair that's sill growing!