Baby Starks: Week 35

Hello, friends! Care to join me in a happy dance? We’re in week 35!!!

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35 weeks is a magic number in the NICU world, because babies born around this time are often perfectly fine and don’t require a NICU stay at all. So this mama is breathing a big sigh of relief to see this number on the calendar!

How big is the baby?

Baby boy is likely almost at his birth length, around 18 inches, and likely weighs over 5 pounds! And it seems very true, since I feel like he’s had a major growth spurt just in the last 2 weeks.

What’s new?

Remember how in my last post I said I only had 2 more weeks of work left? Well, the very next day, after a long day of work and being on my feet a lot that day, I wound up in labor and delivery with tons of pelvic pressure, backaches, and cramping that were all very new to me. I honestly wondered if I was in early labor. After a couple of hours of monitoring and some more labs because my blood pressure was high, they determined that I was, indeed, having contractions, but I wasn’t dilated at all and my labs were ok, so they sent me home with orders to take it easy.

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At my regular 34-week appointment the following Monday, my blood pressure was still higher than normal, so they ran more labs and did more monitoring, and found that I was still having intermittent contractions despite having a lazy weekend. My doctor decided that 12-hour work days with an hour commute weren’t a good idea anymore, so my maternity leave officially started then. Even though it would not necessarily be bad to deliver the little guy now, it wouldn’t be ideal – our goal is to keep him in until at least 37 weeks so he has the most time to fully develop. At that point, if my blood pressure continues to climb or if any part of his monitoring strip isn’t reassuring, we may induce and just have him then. It’s crazy to think I might be meeting my little boy in just 2 weeks! But between now and then I get to go into the doctor twice a week for more monitoring. Which sounds pretty lame, but I don’t really mind getting to listen to his heartbeat more often. ๐Ÿ™‚

How am I feeling?

Well, honestly, I feel pretty miserable a lot of the time. Little Jack has definitely moved down into my pelvis in preparation for his arrival, and it’s putting all kinds of uncomfortable pressure in places like my bladder and hips. I definitely waddle around like a pregnant lady right now, especially just after standing up, as the ligaments in my hips are becoming looser and less strong. After going away for a glorious few weeks, heartburn has come back with a vengeance, too.

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My hands continue to be the most frustrating thing for me, though. The weakness and numbness are at an all-time high, and my left hand in particular now has lots of muscle spasms and cramps whenever I try to do any kind of squeezing motion with it, like turning a doorknob or trying to pick something up. We painted pumpkins this year instead of carving them, because my hands just weren’t up to the task. Pumpkin carving is usually one of my favorite things to do, so it was a little disheartening that I wasn’t able to this year. I really, really hope this goes away after Jack is born, because I have major sympathy for people who deal with carpal tunnel all the time.

The whole gestational diabetes thing is getting really frustrating, too. I’m particularly burnt out on breakfast, and actually had a full-on meltdown the other day because I just did not want to eat another damn egg. Hell, I’d be happy if I could just roll out of bed and eat anything at all without going through the effort of having to cook it. Waaaah.

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It also doesn’t help my mood that I am royally bored a lot of the time. That didn’t take long, right? I’m trying to be grateful for the opportunity to rest, but I have never been one who likes to just sit around for long. I spent my first couple of days accomplishing a few last-minute projects and doing some needed housework, but a few too many trips up the stairs one day reminded me that I do actually need to take it easy. So I’ve been spending lots of time in my new rocking chair, binging on Netflix or reading or taking too many naps. And while a nap or two a day does feel pretty luxurious, it also keeps me from sleeping well at night. I suppose it’s just preparing me for all the broken sleep I’m about to experience in the newborn phase. I just wish my hands would cooperate so I could color with all this new free time. But I did order some puzzles from AmazonPrime that should be here tomorrow, so hopefully those will keep me occupied for a while.

Boy, I feel like I’ve done nothing but complain this post. But the third trimester is no joke! I’m feeling really glad that the end is in sight.

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Feel free to send book or TV recommendations! Otherwise I’ll see you guys in another 2 weeks! Peace!

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Baby Starks: Week 33

Hello, friends! It’s week 33, and we are in the home stretch!

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How big is the baby?

Baby Jack is now roughly 17 inches long, and about the size of a honeydew melon! He could weigh over 4 pounds by now, and boy does that feel right. Definitely feeling enormous over here.

How am I feeling?

Honestly? Pretty tired and grumpy most of the time. Everything is a challenge these days. Transitioning from standing to sitting or getting back up again has become very hard, especially since our little guy seems to have positioned himself lower in my belly now and is putting lots of pressure on my pelvis. I can hardly bend over to put my socks on anymore, and if I drop something on the floor it is likely to stay there. My back is tight most days from trying to reach around my giant belly to do things as simple as wash the dishes.

And swelling is real, y’all. The other night, we went to the movies and I enjoyed some buttery, salty popcorn, and by the time we went home my flip flops were cutting into my feet and my hands were too swollen to make a fist. At work, I have a habit of kicking my Danskos off when I have time sit… well, the other day I couldn’t get them back on when I went to stand back up. And that swelling that’s been causing my fingers to go numb for the last few months has turned into full blown carpal tunnel. I have very little hand strength for doing things like squeezing my shampoo bottle or unscrewing the top off of the milk. I now sleep with a wrist brace, and simply deal with the fact that I won’t feel my right hand for most of the day.

Being tired and uncomfortable all of the time has also made me very grumpy. I do apologize to everyone for being so short-tempered lately… I’m just at the end of my patience with it all. Thankfully, a perk of living in socialized California means that I only have 3 more weeks left of work, and, especially since I have worked two jobs during the entirety of this pregnancy, I am so very ready for that date to be here.

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Of note, though, we did have a little scare last week. I had my normal 32-week doctor’s appointment last Monday, and mentioned to my OB that I had been having some cramping over that weekend. To be safe, she ran a fetal fibronectin test, which can indicate that preterm labor may be happening, and it came back positive. So I got to spend a couple of hours in the labor and delivery department at the hospital, hooked up to a monitor to make sure that baby’s heart rate was fine and that I wasn’t having contractions. Thankfully, everything was fine on that front, and I got a nice long opportunity to hear his heartbeat. It turns out, though, that I did have an infection… that was the likely cause of the cramps, and the cramps the likely cause of the positive fFN. They started me on some antibiotics, and thankfully I have not had any more cramping since.

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They say that every normal pregnancy has at least one scare, and hopefully that was mine. But I do have a sneaking suspicion that he’s going to make an early appearance… something tells me 37 weeks is as far as we’ll get. I’m hoping he’ll stay put long enough for me to have a good couple of weeks off from work first, though, to rest and prepare before he comes. But in case he doesn’t, I’m busy busy in full-blown nesting mode. I’ve washed and put away most of his clothes and linens, and our hospital bags are mostly packed. I’ve bought diapers and wipes and shampoo. I even have nursing tops and postpartum supplies for me. We’re definitely almost ready!

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Speaking of nursing tops, one little project I’m currently working on is altering some camis for myself. They make lovely nursing tanks that you can buy that have a loop to clip into your nursing bra, so the top of the tank easily comes down for feeding. However, the ones I’ve found run over $20 a piece, and that just seemed ridiculous to me, especially when I’m going to need several since I will probably wear one just about every day. So I just bought some cheap camis from Old Navy, cut the straps, and sewed a loop on each side myself. I have only done a few so far, as it’s taking me a little while to sew them with the current condition of my hands, but I feel pretty good about all the money I saved. Pinterest for the win!

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Things seem to be going well with the gestational diabetes, too. I’m kind of in a sweet spot, where I know what I can and cannot eat and how to pair things so I can get away with eating higher glycemic foods. For instance, my pancreas really seems to like red meat. I get my best numbers when I eat beef or pork, so I know that’s the best time to eat potatoes or to have a couple of bites of dessert. Which is good, considering that I have actually been craving steak for the first time in my life. I’ve also been randomly craving mushrooms for the first time ever… just ask my mother, I have never in my life even liked mushrooms, despite her best efforts throughout my childhood. Pregnancy is weird, y’all.

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And that’s about it for this week! I’ll be sure to keep you all updated if any more crazy changes pop up. ๐Ÿ™‚ Later!

Baby Starks: Week 31

Happy week 31, friends! I know I say this every week, but 31 weeks feels like such a big number! Something about being in the 30’s really makes it hit home for me that my due date is coming soon. I feel like there’s still so much to do, and we’re running out of time!

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How big is baby?

Weighing in at an estimated 3.5 pounds and 16 inches in length, baby boy is now roughly the size of a winter squash!

Even though my mom couldn’t stop talking about how big I am the entire time she was here for my baby shower, I don’t feel like I’ve actually gotten much bigger. In fact, I’ve actually lost a little bit of weight since going on the low-carb diet for gestational diabetes. My dietician is actually a little concerned that I may not be eating enough, but man, a girl can only eat so much meat and eggs and nuts. It could be much worse though… there’s a lady at my diabetes clinic who isn’t as far along as I am but is already on two types of insulin to control her sugars. I’m grateful that mine are ok as long as I eat like I should.

How am I feeling?

Well, right now I feel pretty terrible. I have yet another cold, and this one is kicking my butt. I don’t doubt that pregnant women are immunocompromised, because I seem to catch everything this year. I had to come home sick from work on Sunday and took another sick day yesterday, and I still feel pretty deathly today. Aside from sneezing all the time and coughing up gross amounts of phlegm, I feel like I could simply sleep for days.

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Otherwise, my biggest complaints are about my hands. They continue to be numb a lot of the time, and I’m now finding it difficult to hold a pen or pencil for very long, even to do things like write down report at work or color a picture at home. They also now hurt a lot of the time. My knuckles are very sore, and it’s painful to do anything that requires squeezing or pressure from my hands. Mild swelling does not seem to be helping, either, and I’ve given up on wearing my rings.

But enough about complaints… let’s talk about the baby shower!ย 

We had so. much. fun! My sister-in-law, Chrystal, graciously threw it for us at her house, and she did such an amazing job. From the decorations…

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…to the food…

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…like these adorable baby rattle cake pops that she made herself! I was a good girl all week before the shower, so I ate whatever I wanted that day. I can attest, the cake pops were delicious!

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I wish I’d thought to get a picture of the epic stuffed mushrooms she made. I was too busy stuffing them into my face, because they were so delicious.

We played some hilarious games, like “Pin the Sperm on the Egg”…

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My friend, Lydia, got her little swimmer right on the egg! She’s pregnant, too, due about a month after me, and it seemed fitting for her to have won. ๐Ÿ™‚

There was also this hilarious orange drop game….

…players had to put a balloon under their shirts to give them a pregnant belly, then they had to squeeze an orange between their knees (as if they were trying not to pee), and then shuffle a few feet over to a jar that they tried to drop the orange into.

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I don’t think I have laughed so hard in a very long time. Even the guys were great sports.

There was also this awesome photo prop that Chrystal made…

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…it was a big hit, for obvious reasons. ๐Ÿ™‚

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And there were so many amazing gifts! The generosity of people never ceases to amaze me. My LPCH coworkers pooled together to get us some big ticket items, like a gliding rocking chair (which I still need to have the boys assemble for me), and the stroller-car seat combo that I never imagined anyone would actually buy for us. I assembled the stroller all by myself the other day, and felt like I deserved a medal after all the swearing from the terrible directions and my belly constantly getting in the way.

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There were also some really amazing handmade gifts, too. Like this adorable Christmas hat that Lydia made…

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…and this picture that Chrystal painted herself, which will go above Baby Jack’s crib.

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The shower was so much fun, and I am so grateful to Chrystal for all her hard work to make it happen! And thank you to everyone who was able to come… you guys know how to make a girl feel loved.

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It was also just a really awesome weekend, having my family in town. It’s hard being so far away from them, especially at times like these, so I really cherishย any time I get with them.

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Aside from the shower, we mostly took it easy and spent as much time beside the ocean as we could. I think my mom would move to Capitola Village if she had the chance.

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It was so hard to say goodbye to them.

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I can’t believe the next time I see them I will have a newborn baby!

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I think I’ll leave it there for this week. ๐Ÿ™‚ Until next time…