Tag Archives: spinning babies

34 & 35 weeks! And our maternity leave plans

34 week bump

Nearly 35 weeks! Officially 5 to go, so I guess we are looking at a 3-7 week time frame, which seems VERY SOON. It is hitting me that I will miss being pregnant. I will miss my bump, miss the ‘pregnancy look’, miss how much I love Oreos 🙂 OK, OK, I will also totally miss Wes running around after me too. I am still feeling great, but I do tire out more, which frustrates me. I am just back from a conference in San Antonio, and the sessions were 7am – 7.30 pm. Plus, some social/work dinners in the evening. I HAD to crash out most afternoons, and spend 3-6 in the hotel room, having a nap and then resting. Which annoyed me, but I guess is par for the course this late on. I also realized that I work super hard all week, fading a bit by Friday, and then crash at the weekend with at least one duvet day. The conference was Thurs-Mon, so I didn’t get a weekend, and I think that was part of the problem. In the grand scheme of things, it is not really a problem though: I got a lot out of the conference and had a great time.

5 weeks to go!

So… 5 (3-7) weeks to go, eh? I am mostly done with my crazy / crusty birth prep plans. I am just focusing on (1) some good positioning: finishing up my chiropractic treatment, brief daily inversions (20 seconds), pelvic tilts and trying to sleep in a good position (I failed to do this in the hotel); (2) My squats are going to start in earnest now – I am challenging myself to 300 a day (!); (3) getting good sleep in each night (it is frustrating that I can’t work and write grants late into the night at the moment, but it is so); and, finally, (4) eating 6 dates a day.

6 dates a day I hear you say? WTF? Yeah, really! check it out:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21280989

Can’t do any harm, and is probably nutritionally better than the Oreo / cake / ice cream sugar fixes I seem to have become dependent on.

We have been keeping up with our weekly ultrasounds. It’s good and bad. The good: Firework is doing awesomely, and passes his biophysical profile way quicker than expected. He also seems to maintain a good position: head down, starting to get into the pelvis, and facing towards my back. The not so good news is that the fluid is increasing, when it is supposed to be decreasing at this stage. So, when the OB’s view that I was ‘on the charts, just not a very good position on the charts’, has been refined to ‘off the charts’. The great chart of acceptability (my term) decided that women’s amniotic fluid should be under 20, but goes up to 25. I was hovering at around 23, so the high-risk OB said ‘eh… it’s not great, some people would let it fly, we’ll just watch you.’ This week it was up to 27…

What does this mean? No idea. Risk of premature labor, but at this stage, I am not too worried about it. Baby could go into distress… but he really does seem a happy little chappy. The most worrying thing is that the force of all the water, when it breaks, gushing out of me could cause a cord prolapse (DON’T GOOGLE IT UNLESS YOU HAVE TO, it’s not good. Seriously not good). So, when I see my OB in 1.5 weeks, I will talk to her about whether I should come straight into hospital when labor starts, rather than labor at home, as is my desire. At least then I would be in a good place to uh… ‘mop up’ and damage caused by gushing water. Yeah, terrible pun.

So, we don’t know what it means, other than that my bump is fairly ginormous, and I am carrying around an extra 2 lbs of water, which is theoretically harder on my body. But as my weight gain is still 20-21 lbs, I can’t really complain, eh?

Big Mamma 🙂

But still so many blessings to count. With my very wonky, and very small pelvis and my excess fluid I was extremely likely to have a weirdly placed baby. Not so: as I said, he is head down and facing back. I truly do attribute this to spinning babies and the chiropractic. And feeling great still: lots of energy, no backache, and I can even sleep on my front or back should my body so desire (weird image, I know).

34 week bump

So, with not much to report, I will discuss our maternity leave plans. In the grand old scheme of things, there is no maternity leave in Texas. I come from a culture where all my friends were home for 8 months with their baby, and it was just unheard of to put a baby in daycare until 6 months at least (actually, I was at a childminders before then, but I don’t know of anyone since). We can’t afford an in-home nanny, all our family are far away, and the thought of putting our wee one in group daycare when he was very wee, was just not something I could sit with. I pass no judgement on how anyone else chooses to raise their child. I personally think MY baby needs a full-time at-home experience for 6 (or maybe I need that – who knows?), preferably with a parent (at least until he gets some object permanence). But, I think of myself as a ‘true’ feminist: that is, I am for promoting equality (even if you have to give allowances to one sex to help them achieve that equality), not just women’s rights: so I had no reason to think one parent would be any better than another. So my husband and I put our heads together and figured Wes would stay home with Firework. My plan is to work from home for a good 6 weeks, going in as I am able and when I am needed: then back to full time. Wes will have the little un.

In fact, given Firework’s timing with my job change, we knew we had about 5 months in Texas before his arrival. 5 months in which (assuming a dip in productivity when FW arrives) I had to work like a proverbial to make up for any lost productivity. Wes would presumably take a few weeks to find a job… a week to start. 3 months of him working just didn’t seem worth it. So he stayed at home from the get-go, preparing to take on the job of raising Firework on a day to day basis.

So… I know a lot of people wonder: how has that worked out? How has it been? Obviously there was an adjustment period (for both of us) and that was a little tough – we moved tired and hormonal. I had a new job to adjust to, and a whole host of new responsibilities. Wes had a new life to adjust to. There was the odd fight 🙂 But… we did adjust. I dealt with some of my jealousy that Wes’ weekends are truly his weekends: I often have little ‘tasks’ to do (boring shopping, tidying my study etc) that I wish didn’t encroach upon my free time. Wes dealt with the fact that being at home could be boring, and that it does involve tasks you really don’t want to do – like all jobs. He says that on balance, he prefers it (being at home). I say on, on balance, no question: I prefer it.

Overall, it has been awesome for us, and in ways I didn’t expect. While driving to San Antonio, I had to think: was this choice worth the $2,000 Wes might bring in per month, plus the $400 we had to find for medical coverage? When it comes to raising your child in the manner you choose: of course, no question. But now, before the child? It has still been eye-openingly wonderful to me. I love feeling so cared for: Wes cooks dinner (and is getting really good at it!), and does most of the chores, so he helps me so much: he always knows where X item of clothing is and what foods I really like eating (like, he notices the foods I claim to like, but shove around my plate: hello most vegetables 😉 ). He knows a day-to-day side of me that he was just too tired or busy to see before. Also, Wes ‘maxes out’ easily: after a day from work he might watch a show or two with me, but mostly he wanted to zone out, play video games and surf the net. I ‘max out’ too: but when I max out, I want to talk and be near him. Now, when I come home exhausted and stressed, Wes is ready to spend time with me. We have just sat and talked and shared trashy TV and lazed on the sofa together way more in the last 4 months in Texas, than the last 2 years in Alabama. We’re closer. We ‘get’ each other more (although we still sit firmly on opposite sides of the political divide). It’s nice. In fact, it is wonderful. It is a glimpse of a life that yes, I think is worth upwards of $2,500 a month – although we are not exactly rich, and I baulk even as I type it. And, I recognize that I am lucky enough to have a job where I can afford to type that – you know?

I guess, I feel very grateful that I really now am living the life I wanted to lead when I threw away my 13-year long law school dream. I said I wanted to do something different: I wanted to (1) do something that made a good difference to people’s lives and (2) have a family life. A real, someone-at-home, close knit, advert family-life. But life gets in the way of that: academia is not so conducive to not only being home, but giving your all when at home. I feel very blessed to have the opportunity to try the lifestyle I dreamed of growing up and to find that it worked for me.

Oh, Wes thinks my belly has ‘dropped’ – do you? Is he coming soon?

Image credits

http://www.fitnessandfuel-la.com/2011/07/baking-with-dates-to-reduce-calories-sugar-and-fat/

31 weeks…

31 weeks!

9 more weeks to go! Although, as the old British song goes, it is not ‘9 more weeks of sorrow’, as generally, I am loving being pregnant. Weight gain is minimal (18 lbs exactly), and I have almost no discomfort. My nails are thick and strong for the first time in my life, and for almost the first time, I don’t look at my belly and scowl, but grin 🙂 Sure, I have days where I feel like a whale, but they pass. Pregnancy suits me, I think.

30 weeks and a cheesy grin

Medical update: So, a biophysical profile revealed that I still have a lot of amniotic fluid. 93rd percentile. So, as my high-risk OB put it “It’s not OFF the charts… it’s just not in a great position ON the charts’. What does this mean? Who knows? It can mean a birth defect, but they cannot for the life of them find one, although I did feel my OB’s bedside manner left something to be desired when he said ‘sometimes there is a birth defect that you don’t see until the baby comes out’. Ouch. It can mean that I have gestational diabetes, but my pancreas passed the test with flying colours (my sugar should return to 130 within an hour, and mine was 107), plus I have no other symptoms. It can just be ‘idiopathic’ which I hope is the case. But… it requires monitoring. Because a sudden increase in fluid (to off the charts level) could be very bad, and it can affect fetal growth negatively. So, they want to ultrasound me weekly.

Yeah… not so happy about that. Not so happy about the effects of WEEKLY ultrasounds on Firework, and honestly? Not so happy about missing – effectively – 1/2 day of work a week on top of my regular appointments. Sigh. And not happy, because I do honestly believe that this is a US medical system fail. Extra amniotic fluid = increased risk of breech, which = increased risk of C-section, which = increased risk to mother and baby. It also can = increased risk of chord prolapse (as the chord gets pushed out by the force of all the fluid) which = increased risk to baby and an emergency, panicked C-section. Now, ultrasounds do not prevent this, AT ALL. They give no indication, of whether these will happen. What they do allow (IMHO) is high risk OBs to make a heck of a lot of money if something does go wrong, the OB to say ‘well we did everything we could beforehand’. Sigh. At least Wes comes with me, and at least I get to have cute pics of Firework (except this time I didn’t because he kept turning his butt towards the ultrasound, and when when they did finally get his face, he put his hands up in front of it).

Ultrasound

I also found out Firework is still breech! My OB will NOT do breech for a first-time Mum, and with my teeny-tiny pelvic arch i.e. vaginal canal (which I not only wish OBs would stop commenting on, but especially wish they would stop commenting on to my HUSBAND, and asking for verification. HOW PERSONAL). I am told not to worry until 36 weeks, but as it is rather late by then, I have put into place, a plan-of-action a lot based around ‘spinning babies‘:

Breech tilt. FYI – ACOG recommends you only do this 12″ off the ground. This is for illustrative purposes only. I actually use a much lower surface.

-A week of daily breech tilt inversions (20 mins twice a day).

-A week of almost daily rebozo sifting

-Sitting on a balance ball at work

-Occasional knee-to-chest positions

-As much cross-legged sitting as I can be bothered with.

I don’t have a great chance, to be honest. Risk factors for breech include: small pelvic arch, septum in uterus, excess amniotic fluid and an anterior placenta. I have all four! My OB doesn’t do ECV, but if I decide to go for it, my high risk OB (based at Baylor) does. He says there is an ~80% success rate, which can drop to ~50% in my case. Worth a shot I say! Before that: if it doesn’t work by Tuesday, I am actually going to try daily moxibustion for a week. YES. Actually. And frozen peas on my fundus. Fingers crossed for me guys.

Wes preparing for Moxibustion. He is ridiculous.

NB: We have checked everything with my OB for safety. Even the rebozo sifting. He thinks it is all quite bizarre, but quite safe 🙂
The only other upshot of all the fluid, according to my OB is that my body is working extra hard to create / replace it (which normally is stopping by about now) and extra hard to carry it around. Which equals tiredness. Really, I feel OK, but this has hit at a time when work is crazy, with me aiming to write four grants in a month (some are small, and some have some cross-over). I think that, more than anything, is wearing me out. especially as my work hours are generally 8.30-8 at the moment. Suffice to say, I come home tired. Actually, generally, too tired to even wash my hair (it was a WEEK until Wes rescued me and did it tonight – yuck) and can rarely do much more than eat a few bites of dinner and collapse on the sofa. Which is not terrible, but not great or general productivity. Hence why I owe many friends many emails. It’s also odd for me: I am not a morning person EVER, but I have always been able to pull out emergency stretches of night owl behavior for grant time: working 10am-2/3 am for a few weeks was not a problem. Now, it is just not an option.

Sharing one of my duvet-evenings, Walter says he is very tired by pregnancy and grants too.

But, a reduced work schedule, without compromising results, and makeup-free / yesterday’s clothing days and unwashed hair is just something I am going to have to get used to in Mummyhood right? It’s all good practice.

More fun update: My Ma sent us a crib! She has already sent us the stroller of our dreams. But then found out that we were planning on getting a pack n play for sleeping as we are trying to save money. So, Mum found an awesome crib and shipped it to us 🙂 Now we get to go bedding shopping – that’s when I will upload a picture. Then, I think we have everything we NEED…. which basically only amounts to: crib, changing table, stroller, infant bouncer, blankets, babygros and hats and socks. We think. 🙂

Wes’ Mum didn’t want me to have ZERO baby shower (new place… no long term friends etc) so she also sent us a very cool and stylish baby bouncer. It has got a solid wooden base, and we got the brown and light green one which works really well with our decor. I read wonderful reports about kids absolutely loving it as soon as they are able to support their head, but in the meantime:

Bobby says it is amazing 🙂

Dinah also says the infant bouncer is great.