Wednesday, July 26, 2006

32 Weeks

Yikes! Getting close. The average non-induced pregnancy is 41-1/7 weeks long (though in this country often induced at 38 weeks, when baby may or may not be ripe, just like a green peach ready for shipping! This at least partly explains the exceptionally low birth rate of American babies.)

(BTW, someone else's child up there.)

At any rate, the exit date is getting close. I really don't feel like I will have a baby, I feel like I have a baby now. S/he's just not outside yet. The baby already does social-interactive things like waking up around 9pm in time for "stories" (as Dad and I read to each other at bedtime), and jumping around every day when Dad gets home after work and starts talking. I can feel the little wiggly body moving around in its packing fluid when I squish my belly.

I think I would feel deeply insulted and misunderstood (on top of grief-stricken, of course) if I were one of those women who lose their babies to stillbirth at this point, and have insensitive people say things to the effect that it's not really that great a loss since the baby hadn't been born yet.

We attended our final Bradley class last night. I can't believe it's been three months already! That first trimester dragged on for about nine months, but these last three months flew by like just a few weeks. I am so glad we did that class. I can't imagine giving birth without being prepared like this. It'd be like being tossed into the ocean without knowing how to swim.

Last night we saw some amazing clips from a video showing results of a study of unmedicated babies (that is, the mother was not medicated during the birth so the baby is also unimpaired) who were not separated from the mother after birth. These babies were compared to babies from medicated births, and those who were separated from the mother after birth for the routine procedures (weighing, measuring, washing, and what-have-you.) Your basic 4-cell, 2-condition study.

Of course you can guess that the unmedicated, unseparated babies did a lot better than the others. In fact, the video shows the typical result in that condition, which was the little nekkid critter crawling up Mum's abdomen of its own accord, seeking and finding the breast, and latching on to it properly. Looked very much like a newborn kitten or puppy. (The cover of the video shows some stills, if you enlarge it.) It was pretty impressive!

I keep feeling incredulous at how huuuge I've become. The other day we were examining how the area that used to be my belly-button is now about 4" in diameter (you can tell the edge from the circular pattern of little hairs.) I wonder how it will look after? I have neither a personal trainer nor a plastic surgeon, so I'm guessing it won't be like Br1tney. (The joke in Bradley class: "I wonder if she's already scheduled her next C-section yet?") I probably weigh about 160lbs at this point, though I don't have a scale at home. Also, my nails recently grew to about half an inch (not exaggerating!) before I finally broke down and cut them.

I can no longer see what's happening when I have to pee into the little cup at my prenatal appointments. I mainly have to go by the sounds, and guesswork. Shaving my legs or clipping my toenails is also exceedingly awkward, though I still do it. (For now!)

I've finally had decent energy the past few weeks, thank goodness. Most days I don't have to nap, and I wake up at 6 or 6:30 on my own. How long this will last, I don't know, but I'm trying to take advantage of it while I can to get my data done.

The only really unpleasant thing at this point is the back/hips thing (my sacroiliac thing). I really can't sit anywhere comfortably, and if I do sit anyway, it becomes excruciating after ten minutes or so. (That pinchy, sharp, shooting kind of pain that starts in my back and extends down my legs.) This means that driving or sitting in the car is pretty awful, as is sitting at the computer (I've had to write this in several goes, and I'm constantly wriggling and standing up and kneeling and trying to find a tolerable position as I write), or on the couch, or even on the floor.

The only comfortable position I can find these days is lying down, and since there's that big ball in front, I basically have to lie on my side. (Lying on my back is bad, as The Ball closes off a necessary artery if one does that.) It always hurts to some extent, no matter what I'm doing. It's just that some things make it hurt worse, or a lot worse, depending.

However, I know it's temporary. Hope I can hack it for a few months!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

You Look Great

I have to say, I have never experienced so many people commenting on my appearance in my life before this. It's kind of odd. The conversation generally goes like this (even with complete strangers):

Query about stage of pregnancy

Query about state of health

Comment re appearance: invariably, "[transition word], you look great!"

I have been trying to figure out what this means. The way the statement is presented, it always sounds like this "looking-great" is somehow unexpected.

Do I look so much better than I did when not pregnant? (Did I really look that bad then?) Do I look better than they expect pregnant women in general to look? And in what aspect? Does it mean I look hot? Happy? Healthy perhaps? Are they trying to reassure me, because in fact I don't look so "great" to them, or because they think that since I'm pregnant, I must be neurotically concerned about looking huge?

Really, I haven't been that concerned about my appearance. When I remark that I've become "huge," it's more that I'm amazed at what's going on, and am still surprised that this big wiggly bump is on me. It's not that I am afraid I'm "fat" or think I'm suddenly "ugly" or whatever.

Although last night when I was sitting on the couch I did notice some new weight gain in my thighs. And that was a strange feeling. Also, my behind now measures 3" more than previously (it's keeping pace with my belly). But I think that's where the nursing weight normally goes; hips and thighs.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

29 Weeks

29 Weeks
Originally uploaded by doctorlizardo.
I can't believe it's only a couple of months away now!

They say Bradley babies are larger than your run-of-the-mill babies. Also, the midwife told me their practice runs to larger babies as well.

Crossing fingers that his/her back is at my front before delivery...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

The Daily Hiccup

Now the hiccups are daily; sometimes more than once. This morning at about 5 I could actually feel the hicking from the outside. The midwife said that since I'm feeling all the hicking down by my cervix, it's likely the baby has already turned upside-down.

I had my glucose challenge last prenatal visit. Apparently I over-researched it, since I thought I was supposed to not eat for six hours beforehand (as everything online seems to state). However, it turns out they don't do that at this place, so I made myself crabby and tired all day for no good reason. I thought she didn't instruct me to starve myself beforehand...

It turns out the midwife doesn't know the sex of the baby after all. She was simply calling it "she" as something to call it, since her own youngest is a girl. She even showed me the report from the ultrasound, which has a blank space next to "genitalia." So nobody really knows except the ultrasound technician! Of course, now I know what to look for on the ultrasound ("three lines" vs. "turtle"), and can't help racking my memory to imagine which it looked like more. The strategic modest placement of the umbilicus/fig leaf, however, throws me off.

I am now 152 pounds, only 2.5 (approximately) of which is baby. I'm not sure where it all is! I really don't feel massive (well, other than the belly area), although this is exactly 40 pounds more than what I used to weigh back when I wanted so much to gain a few pounds.

My hips hurt every night now--not horribly, but achily, so that I wake up frequently and want to lie on my back or front, but can't. And I have these Toni-Braxton contractions--er, Braxton-Hicks contractions--most evenings and at other random times, like getting up from my desk or when peeing. Also if I'm wearing something that presses on my lower belly too much, or even sometimes when the baby is bumping my cervix a lot.

Sometimes I know there's going to be a contraction before it happens, because they're usually accompanied by an odd tummy sensation like free-fall (or like dread, depending on the context). I think I have an inkling now what kind of feeling labor contractions will be, though certainly the degree is quite different.

I am looking forward to going shopping for our stock of Fuzzi Bunz (that link is to a store that is actually nearby: I want to play with them before buying!) Especially after viewing cost comparisons between cloth and disposable diapers (not even to mention the 2,000 pounds of diapers not going into landfills). They even have high resale value on eBay! I did consider getting them on eBay initially, but decided I wanted at least a base inventory of new ones. The new ones only cost a couple of dollars more, anyway.

If the baby was born right now, it'd have a 90% chance of survival. (!!)