Friday, November 26, 2010

34 Week Checkup

We had our thirty-four week check up a few days ago. This was the first visit where the doctor talked to us about labor symptoms. He reminded us that thirty-seven weeks is considered full term. That's only three weeks away! Ack!

Charlotte is doing quite well. She is as active as ever and has been getting the hiccups at least twice a day. The doctor checked her heartbeat and it was strong and regular.

We're feeling pretty prepared for her arrival and are getting anxious to meet her! The cloth diapers are washed and ready to go, the car seat is installed and the stroller is in the trunk. Last week I hit Babies R Us to pick up items that we still needed (breast feeding supplies, receiving blankets, etc.). We've even taken a birthing class and gotten some professional pregnancy portraits done. Now we just need the baby!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Perhaps we should invest in a baby swing . . .

. . . and a banjo.

A Few of My Favorite Things:

1. Etsy heating pad:
I originally bought this heating pad to use for my feet in the winter. It kept my tootsies nice and toasty all last winter and this year has gotten even more use in providing relief to my back and rib. I just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and it provides long lasting heat with no cords attached! You can find it here:

2. Bubble baths!
I take at least one long soak every day. I've acquired an assortment of yummy bubble bath products that make the soak that much more luxurious. Luckily, we live in an old house that has a nice deep tub. I know I'm supposed to be careful with taking hot baths while pregnant, but I assure you I am being safe about it. :)

3. This banana bread recipe:
I got this recipe from a woman I sing with after she brought some in to share one morning. I was so impressed with how incredibly moist it was and asked for the recipe. I was shocked to find out how healthy it is! I just made a batch and substituted ground flax seed for the wheat germ and it is super yummy. I also threw in some chia seeds to make it extra healthy. I will never again bake dry banana bread!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
3-4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped pecans (2 oz)

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add applesauce and egg, and beat on medium speed for 1 minute until smooth. Add bananas and beat 1-2 minutes more until well blended (batter will be a little lumpy). Stir in pecans. Pour into greased bread pan and Bake at 350 degrees 60 minutes (40 minutes if making mini-loaves). Cool before slicing.

4. Pillars of the Earth Miniseries
I am trying to make sure I get plenty of rest while I'm healing from my cough and rib injury. It is hard for me to just sit and rest but this miniseries makes it much easier! I am a sucker for historical fiction novels and I absolutely loved this book. The miniseries is does a great job of representing the characters and story. It is a bit depressing at times, but overall a great way to waste an hour. The best part is that it is available to "watch instantly" through Netflix!

5. A good husband:
I know these can be hard to find, but I highly recommend one if you don't have one already. Jason has taken such good care of me throughout my pregnancy and even better care of me while I've been sick. He even took a day off work to take me to the doctor and generally dote on me.
It is also fun to see him get so excited about being a dad. He was just saying this morning how neat it will be to be referred to as "Charlotte's dad." I love that he thinks about these little things. Charlotte is so lucky to have him!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bed Rest

As it turns out, I somehow injured my rib from all the coughing I've been doing over the past few weeks. I went to see the doctor yesterday and he said he didn't want to take any X-rays, but he said it is quite possible I cracked or broke a rib. Thankfully I'm still able to breath without much trouble, but coughing, hiccuping, singing and even walking are quite painful.

I have spent the last day-and-a-half resting and will continue to rest as much as I can for the next week or two. To make matters worse, however, sleeping upright (which helps with the coughing and rib pain) has caused my sciatic nerve to become more of a problem. There are times when I have gotten stuck in one spot because I can't put any weight on my right leg without severe, shooting pain!

Unfortunately there are rehearsals I just can't miss and voice lessons that I also can't skip out on. The doctor prescribed me some strong pain killers (that are apparently okayed for pregnancy) but I would prefer not to use them. Also, since I can't drive while taking them, they wouldn't do me much good anyway unless I get a chauffeur!

I keep trying to remember that many women have it WAY worse during pregnancy. I am extremely grateful that these problems really only affect me and not Charlotte. She is as healthy and active as ever! I am also grateful to have such a great husband to take care of me. He even stayed home from work yesterday to take me to the doctor and generally dote on me. I only wish he could stay home for the rest of the week! Who's going to run my bath and bring me food in bed today?!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Alcohol During Pregnancy

The idea of drinking while pregnant sounds pretty risky; however the majority of mothers I've spoken to indulged at least a few times while in the third trimester. I did a little bit of research and have found a lot of strong opinions about this online. "Would you put wine in your baby's bottle?!" is one line that struck me as a bit over the top. Still, it shows how passionate people can be about this issue. I found the following points quite helpful in making my decision as to whether or not I would have an occasional glass of wine:

  • Lipp and Whitten, whose "To Your Health" was published in 1995, are among an increasing number of doctors and researchers who feel that pregnant women have no reason to fear drinking a glass of wine every day. As revealed by contributing editor Thomas Matthews in the August 31, 1994 issue of the "Wine Spectator" magazine which was devoted largely to this controversy, "there is even new research that shows that moderate drinking during pregnancy may actually help the development of the child after birth.
  • The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently conducted a large study including 400,000 American women, all of whom had consumed alcohol during pregnancy. Not a single case of fetal alcohol syndrome occurred and no adverse effects on children were found when consumption was under 8.5 drinks per week.
  • A recent review of research studies found that fetal alcohol syndrome only occurs among alcoholics. The evidence is clear that there is no apparent risk to a child when the pregnant woman consumes no more than one drink per day.
It sounds to me like a glass of wine here or there is completely safe. Also, I've known so many women who drank moderately (one glass of wine a couple of times a week) during the third trimester and have perfectly healthy children.

Now, I can't write this post without mentioning Jason's aunt (who has two super genius adult children) who told me about drinking during pregnancy, "we used to get blasted!". Obviously I won't be getting blasted, but I have been enjoying an occasional glass of red wine in the evening. Jason even opened up one of our nice bottles we'd been saving for a special occasion for me to enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

32 Week Checkup!

Jason and I went in for our 32 week checkup this morning. We had an ultrasound done and I got my Rogham shot. I would post our ultrasound picture, but we left it in the office! Bummer! It wasn't great anyway as she had her hands in front of her face and it was pretty blurry. The good news is that she is head down and will likely stay that way for good! Her heart rate was good and she is right on track in terms of her size. We got a good look at her heart which is nice and strong and got to see her diaphragm moving as well as she "breathes" the amniotic fluid. She's going to be a good little singer! I can already tell!

I also checked out well. No big exam, but he measured the belly and I got my blood pressure and weight taken. Blood pressure was normal and the doctor said my weight is normal as well. I didn't expect I would gain quite this much weight, but I'm not going to worry about it too much. I am not carrying much extra weight anywhere (other than my belly!) and everyone tells me I look just the same as I always did but with a big belly and bigger tatas! I'm starting to see my face fill out just a tiny bit, but again, I'm not too concerned. Breastfeeding will help me slim down post birth as well as lots of long walks around the neighborhood with the stroller. I can't wait! (When I nannied for a three month old I looked forward to my long walks everyday as there isn't much else you can do with a baby that small!)

Speaking of weight gain, here is a look at where all my weight has gone:

I'm still within that 25-35 range, but just barely! I've just got to hold tight for the next eight weeks!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Asthma Attack

I called my OB's office on Friday and they insisted I see my GP. After taking my temperature (normal) checking my ears and throat (both normal) and assessing my other symptoms (coughing up light yellow mucus) the doctor listened to my lungs and told me that I've been having an asthma attack for the last week. I was diagnosed with a mild case of exercise-induced asthma when I was in high school, but have never had a problem with asthma otherwise. Nothing in my environment has changed that would have brought this on, so it seems pretty random to me.

My GP prescribed me an inhaler, a cough syrup with codeine and also prescribed me amoxicillin to try if it turned out not to be asthma, but some sort of bronchial infection. (Don't worry, I also cleared all the prescriptions with my OB before taking any of them.) The inhaler doesn't seem to do much good. The cough syrup helps me get through the night with only two or three bad cough attacks, but I'm guessing that is mostly because it knocks me out. I decided to start the amoxicillin on Friday and am taking it regularly three times a day but haven't seen an improvement from that either.

My ribs and stomach muscles ache from all of the coughing and my throat is pretty sore as well. It is at times like these that I feel a bit less fortunate about my line of work. If I can't sing, I can't work! I had to take off one of my church gigs yesterday morning and was sent home from the one I showed up to after having a huge cough attack that required me to leave the altar in the middle of the homily. Amazingly though, I was able to make it through the Durufle Requiem last night without too much hacking. Still, it is probably dumb for me to sing when my throat is so fragile from all the coughing. Luckily, I have today off and only have a low key rehearsal tomorrow.

I called my GP again this morning and he is going to put me on steriods since nothing else seems to be working. He also okayed me to take the prescription cough syrup during the day as long as I don't drive anywhere. I told him I started the antibiotics and haven't gotten any relief from them (I was pretty convinced he was wrong about the asthma thing and that it was really a bronchial infection) but he didn't seem surprised that they weren't working. He seems confident that this is asthma. Ugh. I just hope this goes away after Charlotte is born!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm Sick

Ugh. I've had a chest cold since Saturday. It slowly got worse and is now pretty consistently yucky. Good news is that my coughs are becoming more and more productive; I hope that means I'll be on the mend soon! Until then it is pretty impossible for me to sing or even rehearse my music. I have a rehearsal for the Durufle Requiem tonight and have warned the director that I don't have much of a voice. I just hope it comes back in time for the performance on Sunday!

In the meantime, I'm trying to drink lots of water and get lots of rest. I've had a few cups of tea with ginger powder and honey in it and that feels nice on my throat, but doesn't do much for the constant tickle in my lungs. I may try taking a steamy shower or perhaps boiling water and inhaling the steam for a while to try to break up all the gunk in my lungs before tonight's rehearsal. I've also made up a batch of homemade, pregnancy safe, cough syrup that I found online. Who knows if it actually does any good, but it is worth a try:

Make a paste of 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1 table spoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 table spoon of honey, and 2 tablespoon of normal water. Mix them well and take 1 teaspoon of this mixture whenever you have cough problem.

It doesn't taste all that bad. Just a bit spicy. I'm also sucking on Ricola cough drops. Unfortunately, most everything else is not allowed for pregos. Sigh. I wouldn't mind the chest cold as much if it didn't mean I couldn't work! I've got things to do and songs to sing!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

9 Weeks to Go!

Oh my goodness. I can't believe I only have 9 short weeks until we meet Baby Charlotte!! The pregnancy continues to go pretty smoothly. I am experiencing a lot more discomfort but it is pretty manageable overall. It is mostly back pain. I'm not taking any Tylenol (the only pain killer allowed for pregos) but my daily bath always helps loosen things up. An occasional massage from Jason also does wonders!

We've also started to prepare for Charlotte's arrival including signing up for birthing classes and packing our hospital bag:

I've checked out numerous lists of what to bring and what not to bring to the hospital and have gathered together everything I think I might need. I am bringing the basics: toiletries, slippers, change of clothes, etc. and have also packed a few luxury items such as a down pillow with a soft, pretty case and a fluffy towel (so I don't have to use the tiny thin ones at the hospital). It may be early to have my bags packed, but it will be nice to know that if I go into labor early, I won't have to worry about what to bring as we head to the hospital!

I've also started to do more reading about what to expect during labor and delivery. I just finished reading the labor and delivery chapter in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and am starting to try to prepare mentally for the big day. I want to do things as naturally as possible and am trying to prepare myself for what the pain might be like. I really have nothing to compare it to. I'm hoping that knowing we are so close to meeting our sweet baby will help me get through!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Breast Feeding

I had a conversation with one of my sisters-in-law shortly after I found out we were expecting. She asked if I was interested in breast feeding to which I replied yes. She then asked what insurance I have. As it turns out, we both have the same insurance: Blue Cross Blue Shield. She asked because this particular insurance company will purchase your breast pump for you if you choose to breast feed. I was completely skeptical, but decided to try it anyway. I called the insurance company and they told me to contact a medical supplies company that would handle the transaction.

I went to their website and, not knowing anything about breast pumps, just picked out the most expensive model at $350. I then spoke to a rep for the medical supplies company who told me they would let me know if the insurance company would approve my purchase. I fully expected that they would cover part of the purchase, or that they would deny the purchase and recommend a cheaper model. Much to my surprise, they quickly approved the purchase and this lovely breast pump is now on its way to my house! FOR FREE!

The reviews I read on (where it is listed for a good $100 less!) were pretty good. There were a few negative ones, but you find that with just about any product. I love that it is electric and it is nice that it comes with some bottles as well.

Since I hope to breast feed for a good full year or two (that's what the recommend these days!) I am sure I'll get a lot of good use out of this. I just hope it doesn't leave me feeling like a cow in a dairy farm. Oh man. What an image. No wonder so many women choose to go with formula instead!