Monday, February 25, 2013

36 Weeks: This is getting real!

We finally realized that these last few weeks are going to pass quickly, and the baby could literally come almost any time now. Two women we knew, due on ly a week before us, both gave birth this week! So we realized that we might need to get our bags packed, have a place set up for the baby to sleep, buy some newborn diapers, finish washing all her blankets and clothing, and get the car seat base installed in the car. We got most of this list done or partially done. 


One last thing the be figured out- her NAME! 
We still haven’t decided.

The Bump and Baby Center say this about Week 36:

“Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long. She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement.
Crenshaw melon (source).

At the end of this week, your baby will be considered full-term. (Full-term is 37 to 42 weeks; babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely she's in a head-down position. But if she isn't, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an "external cephalic version," which is a fancy way of saying she'll try to coax your baby into a head-down position by manipulating her from the outside of your belly.

Your due date is just four weeks away. Your once-poppy seed would probably be able to breathe on his own if he was born right now. Most of his systems are in working order at 36 weeks. Since baby really could decide to make his arrival any day now, try to put in a little prep work. Go over your plan for getting to the hospital, and all the what-ifs. Week 36 is also a good time to enjoy a date with your partner. We’re guessing you won’t be up for dancing, but a nice dinner might be just what you two could use.”

Pregnancy Tracking Questions

How far along: 36 weeks.
36 weeks. Compare me in the same shirt at 20 weeks here.
Size of Baby: Honeydew or Crenshaw melon.
Sleep: Has improved a little with more strategic use of pillows.
Maternity clothes: Still going strong.
Stretch marks: None.
Wedding Ring: Switched. My fingers are fairly swollen, as are my feet. They have periods where they aren’t so bad.
Things bought/given: One of the mama’s that gave birth this week gave me baby book where you write memories and put pictures in for the child to look and flip through as they’re growing up.
Best moments this week: Our 36 week scan with my OB- baby is looking good, but has not really engaged into my pelvis yet. Got some final questions answered because we won’t see her again (unless there’s complications) and will only work with our midwife until the birth!
Hubby’s birthday was this week- we had a fun day. We went to the Constantia Craft Beer Festival (yes I went, and no, I didn’t drink) and then to the V and A Water front for sushi and over priced Häagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche ice cream (so worth it though!). We watched street performers and strolled around. Nice time!
Worst moment this week: Having the grocery cashier tell me “You look tired, how much longer?” I didn’t mind her comment, but it made me realize just how tired I really was! My eyes suddenly felt like they had weights on them.
Movement: She still moves strongly at different times throughout the day. She usually moves after I eat (when she is eating).
Miss anything: Full mobility.
Cravings: The nectarines we bought this week were delicious.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.
Annoyances: All the grease spots developing on all the bellies of my shirts. Not how I like to present myself to the world. I’ve started putting napkins on top of my belly while eating.
Belly button in or out: In for now! Is it silly to be happy that it hasn’t popped?
New Aches and Pains: Just getting harder to get out of bed each time I wake up.
Braxton Hicks: None yet. I think….
Looking forward to: Meeting our little girl!

Song of the Post: Wouldn’t it be Nice by the Beach Boys. When we were dating so long ago, I used to think of this song…and I realized today that we are living it! Those were bittersweet times.

Monday, February 18, 2013

35 Weeks: Baby Showers.

Baby showers. I’ve had four (small ones), all fun, if a little non-traditional. When I got pregnant, I didn’t even know if I’d have one! Most gifts were small and portable- I couldn’t really bring home big gifts from America such as cribs, car seats, bouncers, etc. So, we have lots of clothes and blankets, but still have a lot of bigger items left to get on our own. Which is totally fine because I knew that moving to South Africa would mean less “support” (socially and gifts) just because of the distance. It’s tough, but I am so grateful for the outpouring of love and support we have received so far, because I know that some mommies never get a baby shower. 

The first one we had was thrown by hubby’s work. There are two female employees and hubby all having babies within two months of each other. So, his work threw a joint one for all of us. I knew no one there, so it was kind of awkward. We played a few games and we got some clothing and lots of bath care products. It was held at noon and lasted at the most 1.5 hours. We flew to the USA that same day.

Cute baby cake (picture by cousin)
The second one was held for me in abstentia in Colorado. My family there has been so excited for us, so they got family and a few family friends together and threw one before Christmas. There was a cute cake and I talked on speakerphone for a few minutes (couldn’t get skype to work). My mother and auntie brought me the presents, which were mostly clothes and blankets, when they visited during Christmas.

The third one was thrown for me a few days after Christmas by my family and friends. I got to have a little input in it, but was very low maintenance. My sister in law worked hard to organize it, and another friend held it at her house. About 10 people come, and it was exactly the people I would have wanted to be there. It lasted about 3 hours with food, games, present opening, and watching the 3D/4D video I’d had done earlier that day. I really loved it. Some of the gifts I got were clothing, a baby grooming/health kit, a toy, and gift card.

The last one was this Wednesday and was a total surprise. My belly dance friends from the gym and private lessons set one up for me after our class on Wednesday, lasting about an hour. Eight ladies came, and brought cheese and crackers and cakes and berries and crème fraiche. Gifts from them also included clothing and bath care items. It was really sweet, and my dance teacher told me “you know, we’re like your family here,” which totally made me almost cry. It’s still so easy to feel alone here, and disconnected from every one, so hearing that made me feel special.

The Bump and Baby Center say this about Week 35:

“Growing, growing, growing. Yup, baby and you. You’ve reached 35 weeks, and your uterus has grown about 1,000 times its original size, a number that might sound exaggerated to everyone else -- but to you it probably feels more like a million. You can expect to gain about a half-pound a week before birth, and baby’s beefing up, too.”

Honeydew melon.

 “Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, she isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times she kicks should remain about the same. Her kidneys are fully developed now, and her liver can process some waste products. Most of her basic physical development is now complete — she'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.”

Pregnancy Tracking Questions

How far along: 35 weeks.
Size of Baby: Weight of a coconut or honeydew; about 42.-5.8 pounds.
Sleep: Was pretty bad at the beginning of the week, and started to settle down as I incorporated more pillows into my routine. I’ve been having a few vivid dreams this week as well.
Maternity clothes: Still going strong.
Stretch marks: Not yet. (Don’t think I don’t have any- my tummy’s already “pre-stretched” as I like to say.
Wedding Ring: Switched. My fingers are fairly swollen, as are my feet. They have periods where they aren’t so bad.
Things bought/given: Some more clothing and baby care items from the most recent baby shower.
Best moments this week: The surprise baby shower.
Worst moment this week: Arguing with hubby- if he could communicate his thoughts more clearly sometimes, we’d do much better during stressful situations.
Movement: She loves sticking out her butt, right up against my left ribs.
Miss anything: Fitting into my shoes! I got some sandals while in the USA, and now my feet are too wide!
Cravings: Again, there is nothing that I MUST have, but urges for sushi and sweets were common this week.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.
Annoyances: Getting out of bed is definitely a hassle now. I’m saying much more “honey, can you…” so that I can stay right where I am, and get the hubby to get me what I need (usually more ice water).
Belly button in or out: In for now! If I lean really far forward, it is pushing outward, but goes back inside when I sit normally.
New Aches and Pains: On my left side, several places like the middle of my abdominals and lower down in the crease of my leg were hurting. It was consistent, so it wasn’t Braxton Hicks.
Braxton Hicks: None yet. I think….
Looking forward to: Our 36 week Scan on Tuesday!

Song of the Post: That’s what Friends Are For as performed by Stevie Wonder, Dionne Warwick, Whitney Houston, and Luther Vandross. Kinda sappy, but I thought it appropriate.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

34 Weeks: 6 Weeks to full term!

The Bump and Baby Center say this about Week 34:

“Watch what you say! Your curious baby is listening in to your conversations at 34 weeks -- and might enjoy a lullaby or two -- so go ahead and sing to her. Some say that baby will recognize songs mom sings while she’s in the womb, and may even be more easily soothed by them if she’s used to them once she’s on the “outside.” At week 34, you might breathe a little easier, since baby may descend lower into your pelvis and give your lungs some space. (Ahh!) Of course, some babies don’t do this until the day they’re born, so we’re not making any guarantees. The pitfall of this descent, of course, is even more pressure on your bladder, so be prepared to make even more trips to the ladies room over the coming weeks.”

 “Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.”

Baby weighs as much as a cantaloupe.

Pregnancy Tracking Questions

How far along: 34 weeks.
Size of Baby: A cantaloupe or butternut squash.
Sleep: More disrupted because my hips are starting to hurt- almost a burning sensation, when I stay too long on one side.
Maternity clothes: Still rockin’.
Stretch marks: Not yet. (Don’t think I don’t have any- my tummy’s already “pre-stretched” as I like to say.
Wedding Ring: Switched.
Things bought/given: Cloth diapers/nappies. We were on the fence, but knowing how sensitive my husband’s skin is, how cost effective it will be, and the environmental benefits are all reasons we’ve decided to try it out. You can learn more about cloth diapering here, here, and here.
Best moments this week: Supporting my hubby.
Worst moment this week: I’ll save that for another post.
Movement: She’s starting to be a little forceful- not so fun while I’m driving (it’s distracting)!
Miss anything: Good American style ice cream.
Cravings: No cravings per-se, but grapes have really brought me enjoyment this week.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.
Annoyances: The flies have come out in full force this week. It’s almost unbearable.

Belly button in or out: In for now! If I lean really far forward, it is pushing outward, but goes back inside when I sit normally.
New Aches and Pains: When I get up from bed, my joints tend to pop. And the hip pain/burning when I sleep (not new, but more frequent).
Braxton Hicks: None yet. I think….
Looking forward to: Knowing what she looks like. I tried a face morphing website using out two pictures, but it came out disastrous….pictures NOT to follow.

Song of the Week: Girl from Impanema as performed by Astrud Gilberto and Stan Getz. Its such a ‘stiff’ performance- I hope she improved with time!