Sunday, December 28, 2008

35 + 1 Weeks

Well, it's official. I'm gigantic.

I wonder if I'd lay on my stomach and rock back and forth, if I would look like a see-saw.

Went home to PA again for a few... hours... and saw both of our families. We got a crib handed down to us from my cousin after plans for another one fell through. But Spud put it together yesterday while I was at work and the room looks almost all done! He has big plans for making a changing table too, that turns into a desk later on. He is going to model it after one I had on my Wal-Mart registry.

We also got a lot of baby swag too! Yay for bottles and baby slings! Thank you everybody!

As of today, there's just 34 more days to go. This little tot has thoroughly lodged herself underneath my ribcage and has given me a few contractions too, but I love her already and can't wait to meet her! And those contractions (other than the ones I spoke of in the last post) were mostly happening while we were driving 10 hours home in the rain late into the middle of the night after 2 and a half days of constant Christmas cheer. I tried to keep hydrated, but you can only relax so much in a completely packed car!

She'll stay in there as long as she can - I hope! Now, we need to decide on a middle name. Any suggestions? Something short, doesn't rhyme with Emma, doesn't have too many K, R, M, or A sounds.

This week's complaint: Ridiculous swollen ankles. Hideous...

This week's development: Her liver and kidneys are fully developed now!

Baby's size: Size of a throw pillow or the weight of a honeydew melon.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

33+4 Weeks

Well, this little tater tot is getting grounded as soon as she's born.

Thursday night I didn't sleep very well - waking up every hour or two, having weird pains, and (of course) peeing all the time. It wasn't that I was overly exhausted, or anything, but when I went into work that morning, it wasn't the funnest experience ever. While getting ready that Friday morning, I thought I was getting some weird cramps and just tried to keep an eye on it. The day before I had just been to the doctor and told him about some weird sensations south of the border and he just said it was all normal, without actually telling me how to help or prevent them.

Around 11:00am - I can't take it anymore. I've already had 3 five minute breaks in the break room, laying on my side on the dirty carpet, and rubbing my aching lower back and tummy. I told my manager that I felt something was going on, something didn't feel right and that I needed to call my doctor. When I did, all the operator would let me do was leave a message for my doctor's nurse and, being half-frustrated and half in pain, I called Spud while crying and sitting on a shelf in the stock room. This, of course, scares the crap out of him and he starts making plans to get a ride to pick me up (I had our only car with me) and then drive me home. All I needed to do was give him the go ahead.

Manager lets me go home and starts getting excited that the tater tot may be coming soon (she's never been pregnant before and doesn't realize how scary it is to be this early). Skip ahead to the afternoon, laying in bed, feet propped up, and feeling contractions coming more and more and the dreaded "low, dull, back ache" on the list of pre-term labor signs. After a nap and dinner, it's still going on so I take a bath and we head out to the Labor & Delivery Department of the hospital. It's not that they hurt immensely or anything, but one of the things that they stress to us in Childbirthing Class is that if your water breaks or if you have more than 4 contractions in an hour, then you should call your doctor or go into Labor & Delivery.

They put me on the monitor and turns out I'm having contractions every two minutes. Ha! Who knew? While they were mild (the highest was a 26 out of 100), it was enough of a pattern to scare the nurses. The one who examined me went out to the nurses station and happily exclaimed, "She's thick and closed!" meaning that we weren't having this baby 7 weeks early tonight!

So Spud and I watch Will and Grace, relax and check out the room we may be in soon, while the nurses force me to drink a lot of water to rehydrate my contracting muscles. They flip and turn me from side to side trying to get a good read on the tot's heartbeat and to make me slow down these crazy contractions!

Everything ended up fine and I didn't think that I was really going to give birth just yet, but I just wanted to be checked to see if what I was feeling was actually what was going on. So now I had a "test-run" and will feel a little better prepared when it's "show-time!" I took the next day off of work ("You just lost [X amount] dollars!" Spud exclaimed) and rested in bed for the day. I still felt a couple very mild contractions, but I've been trying to drink a ton of water to help prevent them.

This week's complaint: Slightly swollen fingers and toes.

This week's development: Braxton-Hicks!

Baby's size: Size of a medicine ball or the weight of a pineapple.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

32 + 5 Weeks

Childbirth Class

Really, I am quite glad that I signed up for a series of child birthing classes at my hospital. The class is a bunch of Power-point presentations and videos of sad, mid-1990's, disheveled women giving birth filled with about 10 moms and dad (more than half of them under 20) and a poor teacher who can't entice them to participate. I could have learned a lot of this from pregnancy websites (and have) but it's a refresher and it's good to be able to find out the hospital's policies and ways of doing things.

When we lived in Cleveland and first got pregnant, I really wanted to give birth in a birthing pool, in a birthing center, with a midwife and doing things they way I wanted. The more I thought about some random doctor strapping me to a bed and forcing me to push and tear and then ripping my tater tot away from my arms - the more nervous I got about giving birth. As we learn more about my hospital, I am filled with mixed emotions because some services they offer are progressive and mother-friendly, and some are not.

Baby allowed to lay skin to skin for first hour
Squatting bar available
May bring your own birthing ball
Rocking chairs available for labor positioning
Showers and bathtubs available for labor
Hep-lock option, instead of IV

Only 2 people in room during delivery
No food or drink - just ice chips
No pictures or video during delivery
Nurse directed pushing
No birthing tub available for delivery
No NICU available

Taken from

A mother-friendly hospital, birth center, or home birth service:

  1. Offers all birthing mothers:
    • Unrestricted access to the birth companions of her choice, including fathers, partners, children, family members, and friends;
    • Unrestricted access to continuous emotional and physical support from a skilled woman—for example, a doula,* or labor-support professional;
    • Access to professional midwifery care.
  2. Provides accurate descriptive and statistical information to the public about its practices and procedures for birth care, including measures of interventions and outcomes.
  3. Provides culturally competent care—that is, care that is sensitive and responsive to the specific beliefs, values, and customs of the mother’s ethnicity and religion.
  4. Provides the birthing woman with the freedom to walk, move about, and assume the positions of her choice during labor and birth (unless restriction is specifically required to correct a complication), and discourages the use of the lithotomy (flat on back with legs elevated) position.
  5. Has clearly defined policies and procedures for:
    • collaborating and consulting throughout the perinatal period with other maternity services, including communicating with the original caregiver when transfer from one birth site to another is necessary;
    • linking the mother and baby to appropriate community resources, including prenatal and post-discharge follow-up and breastfeeding support.
  6. Does not routinely employ practices and procedures that are unsupported by scientific evidence, including but not limited to the following:
    • shaving;
    • enemas;
    • IVs (intravenous drip);
    • withholding nourishment or water;
    • early rupture of membranes*;
    • electronic fetal monitoring;
    other interventions are limited as follows:
    • Has an induction* rate of 10% or less;†
    • Has an episiotomy* rate of 20% or less, with a goal of 5% or less;
    • Has a total cesarean rate of 10% or less in community hospitals, and 15% or less in tertiary care (high-risk) hospitals;
    • Has a VBAC (vaginal birth after cesarean) rate of 60% or more with a goal of 75% or more.
  7. Educates staff in non-drug methods of pain relief, and does not promote the use of analgesic or anesthetic drugs not specifically required to correct a complication.
  8. Encourages all mothers and families, including those with sick or premature newborns or infants with congenital problems, to touch, hold, breastfeed, and care for their babies to the extent compatible with their conditions.
  9. Discourages non-religious circumcision of the newborn.
  10. Strives to achieve the WHO-UNICEF “Ten Steps of the Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative” to promote successful breastfeeding:
    1. Have a written breastfeeding policy that is routinely communicated to all health care staff;
    2. Train all health care staff in skills necessary to implement this policy;
    3. Inform all pregnant women about the benefits and management of breastfeeding;
    4. Help mothers initiate breastfeeding within a half-hour of birth;
    5. Show mothers how to breastfeed and how to maintain lactation even if they should be separated from their infants;
    6. Give newborn infants no food or drink other than breast milk unless medically indicated;
    7. Practice rooming in: allow mothers and infants to remain together 24 hours a day;
    8. Encourage breastfeeding on demand;
    9. Give no artificial teat or pacifiers (also called dummies or soothers) to breastfeeding infants;
    10. Foster the establishment of breastfeeding support groups and refer mothers to them on discharge from hospitals or clinics

* Items in red are concerns that I have about my hospital's policies.

.... On a side note, Spud says that he'll slip me some crackers while I'm in labor because even HE knows how bad I get when I don't eat for long periods of time!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

32 Weeks

I found out today that certain departments at work have adopted members of a needy family for Christmas and we can donate items to give these children presents. Men's and shoes got the young boy, Women's got the young girl, and Accessories/Home/Kids got the baby due Dec. 21st. I work for the manager who runs all three departments and I float between all of them (on occasion) so I was extra excited to help out this needy family. They are having a baby girl only a month before me and the only words under her column were just "Baby Items - all."

As far behind as I may think I am with getting baby items for my own baby, these people really don't have much of anything and this baby is coming... soon! Yes, a baby can sleep in a laundry basket for the first couple weeks if neccessary (apparently my grandparents were so poor that my Aunt Pam slept in a dresser drawer for the first few weeks of her life). But she will still need diapers, bottles, wipes, and something warm to cover her little body.

My baby might not "need" the gym and the bouncer and all those silly little things, but I was able to either afford them or have friends and family generous enough to buy the items for her. I just feel so bad that this family may not be able to afford anything "special" for their baby. So, I am going to donate a few items as soon as my next paycheck comes in and, hopefully, this family can breathe just a little easier once their Christmas miracle arrives.

Enjoy the season, my friends, and remember what it is all about - giving to others, and not receiving.

This week's complaint: Getting out of bed is becoming more and more... amusing....

This week's development: If born now, she has a great chance of survival at 32 weeks.

Baby's size: Size of a sack of POTATOES! or the weight of a large jicama.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

31+3 Weeks

Day in the Life

Wake up to pee for the first time in the night. Go back to bed and try to get comfortable.

3:34am Wake up laying on back and worry that baby is not getting enough oxygen. Flip to left side.

4:45am Flip sides. Make menacing gesture to snoring Spud.

4:46am Pee.

7:00am Spud's alarm goes off. Reset until 7:45am. Why didn't you just set if for that time in the first place??

7:44am Finally start to fall into a sound sleep.

7:45am Alarm goes off for the second time.

7:46am Make menacing gesture that is most unlady-like. Pee.

8:00am-9:00am Baby Story on TLC. Get mad at elective c-sections.

9:05am Pee

9:07am Start filling bathtub with water because water pressure is so low.

9:08am Contemplate peeing again, because of the sound of running water.

9:10am-9:45am Check email, Facebook, and Myspace. Eat cereal and daily banana (prevents leg cramps). Bathe. (sidenote: all actions take place IN the bathtub, simultaneously)

10:00am Laundry sorting. 4 loads today plus working on mountains of hand me down baby clothes.

10:22am Pee

10:30-11:30am Try to upload pictures from baby shower for the 18th time. Get frustrated.

11:33am Cry.

11:34am Spud fixes problem with one button.

11:35am Continue with pictures as normal.

12:02pm Lunch!

12:15pm Start writing thank you notes from baby shower due to reminder from mother-in-law.

12:30pm Realize that.... oh wait.. gotta pee.

12:31pm Realize that packet of thank you cards only contains six cards.

12:46pm Fix makeup from crying spell earlier and head out to dollar store for more cards.

1:20pm Pee at Dollar General.

1:29pm Check out. As receipt is printed, realize there's Tinkerbell wrapping paper.

1:35pm Check out again with $3 worth of things on debit card plus Tinkerbell wrapping paper.

1:36pm Walk out door and see Tinkerbell window clings. Leave store disgusted.

1:50pm Arrive home and put dollar store treasures away.

1:53pm Switch laundry ("Didn't you hear it stop, Spud??")

1:59pm Settle down to write thank you cards.

2:00pm Pee

2:01pm Settle back down to write thank you cards.

2:20pm Finish checking Facebook.

2:30pm Decide to write blog about day. Shove unwritten thank you cards out of the way.

This week's complaint: Christmas rush at work means longer hours on feet.

This week's development: Tater tot doing full body rolls. That hurt.

Baby's size: Size of a soccer ball or the weight of four navel oranges.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

30+5 Weeks

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just back from a two week stay with my mother in Pennsylvania. Had a baby shower and took home a mountain of stuff, two garbage bags full of hand-me-downs, another full of household items my mother was giving away, a box of my grandmother's china and a box of Christmas decorations.

All in my little Saturn Ion.

Meanwhile, the tater tot is getting very big and very active as she runs out of room in there! My tummy grew a LOT in the two weeks I was gone and it surprised Spud when I returned!

This week's complaint: Stabbing muscle pain in my tummy!

This week's development: The belly is growing! People are saying to me, "Hi, how are you, when are you due?" instead of just guessing if I was pregnant.

Baby's size: Size of a thick, folded sweater or weight of a head of cabbage.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

27+4 Weeks

Yesterday was election day. My unborn daughter went along with me to vote, even though she didn't know it yet. I feel so lucky that she will be born at or around the time that a new president will be inaugurated into the White House. So lucky that she can grow up with a president the same color as her aunt and cousin and able to realize how diverse this country is.

When my sister was growing up with me, our school was 99% white and there was hardly any way for her to be able to see any local African-American or biracial role models. And now, in 2008, my niece and my child can look to the leader of our country to help provide this role (other than their mommies and daddies, of course!).

Special props to my grandmother who went to the polls in N.C. yesterday. The oldest of the Ware family (83) down to the youngest of the Ware family (unborn) were out casting their vote for Obama!

Another note; my birthday is January 20th (inauguration day). I had a dream when I was about 12 weeks along, that my baby was born on my birthday. It also depicted her as a girl (which came true) and that she had strawberry blond hair (which is a great possibility!). How amazing would that be if she was born at the same time we were getting a new president in this country? And also to be born on her mothers birthday... that would be pretty great too!

Now... a 9 hour drive to visit my family in Pennsylvania for two weeks. Wish me luck!

This week's complaint: Backaches! Auuugghh!

This week's development: Very visible kicks that make my stomach actually jump!

Baby's size: Weight of a head of cauliflower, or the length of a small sock monkey.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

27+1 Weeks

I babysat a young girl a couple weeks ago who was curious about my growing belly. She kept asking if the baby was kicking, how big she was, etc. until one day when we got into a conversation about what the baby will look like once she's born. The first question was simple enough, "Will she be blond?"

"Probably," I answered, "Spud and I are both blond, so she has a good chance of being blond."

"What if she comes out Canadian?" she asked, completely serious.

I laughed, "Canadian?! Well, what's the difference between Americans and Canadians? I.. I don't even know what that means!!"

She laughed too and said in that great "kid-voice", "I don't know! Ok, well what if she comes out black?"

That one really got me going and I couldn't even speak, so she filled in the rest of the story for herself.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

26+4 weeks

Around a year ago, I was laying in a recovery room, slowly waking up out of the anesthesia. The first thing I heard the nurses say to each other was the word "oophorectomy." An oophorectomy is the removal of one or both of the ovaries.

The nurses weren't aware that I was awake yet and, in my groggy state with a dry, cracking voice, I muttered, "Oophorectomy?! Oh no! Do I have all of my bits and pieces??"

Turns out, the fibroid tumor that was giving me pain for all of those months, had grown to the size of an apple and was completely surrounding my right ovary. It encased it like a hard stone and, as a result, the whole ovary and tube had to be removed on the right side. The left side was completely clear and was left in-tact.

I spent several days in the hospital and left with a 6 inch vertical scar below my belly button. Before the surgery, I was convinced that I would not be able to have kids on my own. We were seriously thinking about adoption somewhere down the road. Now, almost exactly a year later, I'm 6 months pregnant with our first child.

And, as far as that missing ovary is concerned, I'm convinced that the baby just has a tiny bit more room to move around in there! I was conceived with one ovary, and now, so is my baby!

This week's complaint: Throwing up in my mouth because there's not enough room for food and kicks!

This week's development: More regular kicks - finally!

Baby's size: Length of an English Hothouse Cucumber, or a 1-Liter Soda Bottle

Monday, October 20, 2008

25 + 2 Weeks

So so so very tired. We baby sat a 9 year old and a 7 year old for a week and a half, I worked at the store during the weekend while they were gone, then I had a day off (which wasn't really a day off!) and then back to working all weekend long again. Exhaustion. Times two. I hadn't really had a chance to get to bed early or sleep in past 8:00 - which I know is a luxury now - but I need to be able to relax a little and feel better for my little bambino.

I am looking forward to maybe going home and visiting my mom for two weeks. I want to see my sister and my niece, as well, and I know my best friend is anxious to throw me a shower. So that's exciting as well. I miss everyone from home and wish that I didn't have to go home under the circumstances, but I have been wanting to go home for a visit for a long time.

On another note, we went to a bar for the first time in about two months. Of course, I was the only pregnant lady there (and of course I only had a Sprite!) but it was fun to be able to get out of the house for a little bit. Although, I was introduced by someone as, "And that's [MamaSpud] - she's not fat, she's pregnant."

Thanks. Jerk. Let me tell them. Please.

This week's complaint: Leg cramps!

This week's development: Weird skin .... things.

Baby's size: Weight of a rutabega.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

24 Weeks

My standard black work pants have finally given out. That's it. They were wide leg, side zip pants that went with everything and even after I cut a notch into the opposite side and put my ever-so-wonderful Bella Band around the unzipped waist - that was it. I just can't fit into them any more. And it makes me sad because I thought that I was just gaining weight in my belly - not my ass.

Great. Preggo butt.

But then I got some hot, black, comfy, work pants with a good waist that I can expand later on (in the next three months). And now... mama's feeling so much better! Ahhhh!

Also going on.... I think she's practicing her high kicks. It feels like an electric shock above my belly button, under my ribs.

This Week's Complaint: Aching feet!

This Week's Development: Belly button has ballooned to the size of a cherry.

Baby's Size: Length of an ear of corn

Friday, October 3, 2008

22+6 Weeks

Was given a 20 minute lecture by a woman who looked like Sharon Gless (Cagney & Lacey, Nip/Tuck) about proper nutrition and weight gain during pregnancy. She came into work and talked my ear off once she noticed me adjusting my pantyhose around "The Bump."

I kind of wanted to kill either her or myself. But the fact that
she looked like the crazy lady from Nip/Tuck really scared me. I was afraid she'd stuff me with cotton and stick buttons in my eyes if I didn't listen to her and play nice.

Thursday was my OB checkup. Tater tot is growing nicely and was standing on her head watching her toes. And (thank goodness) she doesn't have a thick neck. Jeff thought I was making a fat joke. Actually, I was making sure she didn't have Down's Syndrome. Her belly, howev
er, is going to be HUGE because of us....

Monday, September 29, 2008

22+2 Weeks

My tummy is finally starting to show to other people - not just to me and Spud. I got a comment the other day from a tiny little lady who spoke like Miss Swan, pointed to my belly, and said, "Yu hava da bebe?"

Cute. And kudos for me - those maternity clothes and the bella band are finally working! Whoo hoo!

The downside is... well... the scale. I know it's good for the baby and she's growing but... could she grow a little slower, please?? I'm not ready to be a whale just yet!

My next OB visit is on Thursday with an ultrasound too, so I'll be able to see just how much my little tot has grown since last month. And, also, so we can make sure she really is a "she" for sure!

This week's complaint: Only one dry hand. The other one is fine.

This week's development: Major mood swings and hunger!

Baby size: Length of a spaghetti squash.