Tuesday, July 31, 2007

38.1

38.1 - That is the number on my chart today for how far along this pregnancy is. 38 weeks and 1 day. I have one maybe two more appointments with the ObGyn before I will meet her (or him depending on who is on call) at the hospital to help welcome Baby Sabin into the great big world. Today I met with Dr. Gatto and I must admit he was my least favorite of all the doctors in the practice. I can't say there was anything specifically wrong with him, but we just didn't click. If he was the doctor to show up for delivery, I wouldn't mind, but I wouldn't choose him. I think I was primarily turned off by his approach to pain management during L&D. He mostly talked about epidurals and how he likes to see women enjoying themselves during labor. He said recently that one woman actually asked him recently, "am I having a contraction now?" She didn't know because she couldn't feel anything! Somehow he thought this was a good thing. I don't want to know I am having a contraction because I see some lines on a monitor move up and down. I want to know I am having a contraction because I can feel my muscles doing what God intended them to do.

I know that must sound harsh to someone who chose an epidural. As I've said before, that is a personal decision and I don't expect that every woman will agree with my personal views on labor. I also know that many women have a lower pain threshold and a higher level of fear of labor. It is the fear of labor that I believe causes the most pain during L&D. When we are scared, our body goes into fight or flight mode. During either of these modes, blood and oxygen are carried to the essential muscles and organs of the body. The uterus and cervix are not included in the body's definition of "essential," so they get left out of the blood and oxygen cycle beyond what is minimally needed to keep them functioning. That doesn't leave much room for relaxing those muscles and allowing a baby to pass through the cervix.

I can also add that I feel confident trying to limit medical interventions during L&D because I have a solid rock of support in the form of Bruce. He is very patient and long-suffering and understands that what I will go through cannot compare to anything he will personally experience. I don't envision him trying to leave the room for a four-course meal while I am sucking on ice chips. He won't starve, but he will be very aware of my needs during this time. Bruce has demonstrated that during the last few weeks as my comfort level has decreased.

There was one minor bit of joy last night on the comfort front - I only woke up one time to empty my bladder instead of the now-typical three times! Yeah! I was able to get nearly 4 continuous hours of sleep. Which was definitely a blessing because we went by Bruce's new classroom today and I needed the sleep to deal with the stress of the condition of his classroom. It's no wonder Haines City High School has a hard time academically... there seems to be little pride in what happens to the facilities or supplies. I might post more about his classroom later, but probably not. He definitely has his work cut out for him in preparing for this coming school year (which is less than 3 weeks away!).

Today we also met with Suzanne at the Regency to make sure our car seat was properly installed. She was very gracious with her time and expertise and I feel as secure as our seat now is. :-) I must admit though that part of the experience was so horrible it was funny. It started to rain just as our appointment began so Suzanne had us pull up under the canopy at the front door (the place reserved for ambulances). We knew that if we saw the sirens, or a pregnant lady in labor, we would have to move out of the way, and quickly. Well, a taxi service pulled in behind us to pick up a random person and because we didn't move for him to pull through (Suzanne, a hospital employee told us to not move), he started yelling at us. Suzanne motioned for him to simply back up (it shouldn't have been a big deal) and go around, but he refused. He probably sat there for 4-5 minutes trying to wait us out. We ignored him and kept working on the car seat installation. Finally, he did back up and when he pulled up next to us told us how next time, he would just "push" our car out of the way! Suzanne took down the name of the cab company then went inside to notify security and a hospital administrator. The Regency won't be calling this cab company anymore! In the end though, watching him get angry was fairly humerus because his response was so wildly out of proportion to the situation.

I leave you with the Babycenter.com blurb about what Baby Sabin might be experiencing in the womb these days:
Your baby has really plumped up. She weighs between 6 and 7 1/2 pounds (boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls), and she's nearly 20 inches long. She has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb.Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she's born, but they won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Packed for the Hospital

A woman giving birth to a child has pain because
her time has come; but when her baby is born she
forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born
into the world. John 16.21
I love this verse. I am claiming it as I prepare for my labor and delivery experience. I know it won't be free of discomfort and pain, yet I also know it is all part of the blessing I will experience once I am able to look into the eyes of our child.

I finally got myself packed for the hospital. There are still a couple of things that I need to put in the bag (I ordered them online and they haven't arrived yet), but it is all by the door now. Below is a list of items I packed (or will pack once I have). Let me know if you think I've forgotten anything that would be useful.
  • Copy of my birth plan/preferences
  • Sign with the above verse to hang in the delivery room
  • Clothes for Baby Sabin to wear home (inc. socks and cap)
  • Receiving blanket
  • "Baby On Board" sign for the car
  • Labor aids (lotion, massage tools)
  • Toiletries for Bruce and I
  • Hair bands for me
  • Robe, slippers, maternity bra, fresh clothes for me
  • Boppy nursing pillow
  • Change of clothes for Bruce
  • Snacks
  • Change for vending machine and phone
  • Pre-paid phone card
We'll have to add the cell phones, camera, iPod, and reading material before we leave. I used a list I found on-line but if you can think of anything else that might be useful, leave a comment or send me an e-mail so I can add it before it is too late.

I have a little more than 2 weeks until my official due date, but am not stuck on that since I know many first-time moms deliver a week or more later than their official estimated date of delivery (EDD). I know Baby Sabin will come when he or she is good and ready, but I don't think I would mind if Baby Sabin was a week early or a week late. Either way, I would be able to be at school during the teacher planning days and that would be very helpful as far as our budget is concerned for September and October. I am praying that God will nudge Baby Sabin along at exactly the right time, whatever that may be... though I do have my own opinion about that. ;-)

Here is a photo Bruce took of me while I was trying to sort through what baby stuff I needed to pack for the hospital. He thought it was funny how I looked so overwhelmed with all of the things we've received and purchased (though mostly received)!

Example

Speaking of received... I still have some thank you notes to write! I will finish those this weekend! I don't want anyone to think I am ungrateful. We are not. We have actually been blown away by the generosity of so many people. It has been a real lesson to me in learning how to accept gifts. Everything about being pregnant has been very humbling... how am I even worthy of this blessing?! Through God's grace for sure!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Doctor's Appointment Today

I had my 37-week appointment today with Dr. Gabriel. He is one of the doctor's in the Bond Clinic practice and I am making my rounds through them since I don't know who might be on call when I go into labor. I really liked him and his sense of humor. It's not that he told jokes or anything like that, but he seemed to be quick with a smile and encouragement. That's a good thing because I found out today that my body is colonized with group b strep (GBS).

Now, before your go and get all alarmed like I did, let me tell you a little about GBS. Anywhere from 30-40% of all adults carry this bacteria. For the average adult, this means nothing. Everyone has all sorts of bacteria crawling around their bodies. This is why skin to skin contact with a baby is so beneficial, it helps to colonate the baby's body with the mother's bacteria and develop resistance for the baby early on. However when GBS is found in the birth canal some medical precautions are needed.

Modern medicine has reduced the incidence of GBS transfer from mother to newborn to almost nothing (something like 1-2 in 1000 births). This is done by delivering antibiotics to the mother once labor begins or once the water breaks. Typically, the antibiotic is delivered via IV every 4 hours once labor begins until the baby is born. This ensures the antibiotic (usually penicillin) crosses the placenta and is in the baby's system prior to passing through the birth canal and coming into contact with the bacteria.

From my own research, no one knows how GBS is transferred from one person to another. It just hops around like any other bacteria and really only presents a problem for newborns and the elderly. The
CDC has as much information as any other website and it is easy to understand if you want to know more than my very brief, amateur summary.

In other news, we did buy a car yesterday. I thought I'd kill two birds with one stone by posting pictures of the car. Here you can see just how cute the car is and just how big my belly has become! It is a 2007 Ford Focus for which we negotiated an excellent deal.


Kiwi Green Ford Focus




My belly is huge when shown in profile!



Dr. Gabriel estimated that Baby Sabin is about 7 pounds now. He thinks we can reasonably expect to have an 8 lb baby. I'm not sure what I think about that except that lots of women have delivered 8 lb babies and I won't be the first! Belly Monster has been playing a lot of sports recently (mostly volleyball and basketball) so I am hopeful this is the start of a healthy life for him or her.

Finally, I got my hair cut today. I wasn't able to grow it out for Locks of Love just yet, but I am still working towards that goal. I took some pictures to post my new cut, but upon review they were just too unflattering to share. I need to put some make-up on and tone down the frizz before I share my new do with you. The woman who cut my hair did not put enough anti-frizz goop in my hair for the FL humidity. Someone should really design a frizz serum specifically for Florida's near 100% humidity summers!

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Less Than a Month Left

I had a very relaxing week in Ft. Lauderdale. I was able to wake up and at my leisure make my way down to the pool at the Lago Mar Resort. There, I read a novel, Daughters of Silk(click here for a pdf sample of the story), and enjoyed the cool pool and the warm sun. By lunch time I would head back up to our suite, have a small meal, then get to work on some continuing education. It was all very soothing and productive. I am actually all caught up on my Reading Competency II course and should be working on it some more right now, but thought I'd catch you up on Baby Sabin's progress.

Come Monday I will be in my 37th week of pregnancy which means there are 3-4 weeks left until we all get to meet Baby Sabin in person and find out if "it" is a he or a she. Here is what BabyCenter.com says about the 37th week:

Congratulations — your baby is full term! This means that if your baby arrives now, his lungs should be fully mature and ready to adjust to life outside the womb, even though your due date is still three weeks away.Your baby weighs a little over 6 pounds and measures between 19 and 20 inches, head to heel. Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don't be surprised if your baby's hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz.

I am sure lots of you out there are thinking about the peach fuzz look... that is sort of what we are expecting given the condition of Baby Sabin's Daddy's current hair-do. :-) For those of you who aren't sure what that is, check out our Dome website for a great picture of his "hair-do."

I am still feeling well and haven't been overwhelmed with uncomfortableness. I am very grateful for this as it is about 100 degrees outside on a daily basis now, with near 100% humidity. Ahh.... gotta love FL!

On other news, my car is ready to retire. It let me know this in no uncertain terms when it starting smoking yesterday as I turned onto my street coming back from my relaxing week. The fine crack in my radiator is no longer fine and can only be repaired by replacing the entire radiator. We aren't sure yet if there is any engine damage, but have gone ahead and started looking for my Altima's replacement. The 2 cars in the lead as of right now are the Nissan Versa and the Ford Focus. I never thought I would seriously consider buying a Ford, but the Focus is the only Ford model that Consumer Reports recommends. Since it is a very inexpensive car, the Focus has made it on my list. I really like the Versa though, and in no small part because it is a Nissan.

We did test drive a Toyota Yaris and I knew it wasn't the right car by the time I pulled out of the dealer's parking lot. The proportions are all off. In order to have comfortable reach to the pedals with my legs, my arms had to be almost straight out. That is not conducive to long trips. Even Bruce had this issue, so I know it isn't just me being out of alignment or proportion. Right now, we are waiting to see which Ford dealership comes back with the best price for the Focus. If anyone has an opinion about either the Focus or the Versa, feel free to let us know. We plan to make a decision within the next few days.

Oh, one more thing you can pray about... Bruce is taking the Biology 6-12 test this morning! It is necessary for him to pass in order for him to keep his current IB Biology teaching position. He has done such a good job studying, far better than I could have done. I am praying that God will honor his time commitment and this new teaching position choice. We won't know the answer until at least August 21, the week school starts.

See what happens when I wait 6 days to post... you have a novella to read! I hope you don't mind. I won't promise to be better though. My life is going to get a lot busier real soon. Thanks for making it this far to the end of my rambling. ;-)

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Prepared Childbirth

Yesterday was a long day. Bruce and I went to the prepared childbirth class at the Regency. The class was from 9 am - 5 pm with a 1-hour lunch break. I thought it might be information overload to try and absorb everything in one day instead of going to the 5-week session (1 night a week for 5 weeks), but it really wasn't. Suzzane was the instructor this time and she did a great job of keeping the class moving forward and covering information quickly enough that we didn't get bored.

For those of you who don't know, I have decided to try and experience childbirth without any medical intervention. This means that, barring a medical emergency, I do not want anyone doing anything to my body other than providing comfort measures (like massage). I have read about the many different interventions that are possible (breaking the water, medication to induce or speed up labor, medication to reduce pain, constant fetal monitoring, c-sections, etc...) and it seems to me that once you decide to accept one intervention, there are others that almost always follow behind it. Kind of like a slippery slide, and not the fun kind. As we watched a few different birthing stories on DVD, I observed that the women who had epidurals did not really seem to be any more comfortable than those who chose no interventions. And it was easy to see that one intervention led to another.

I've really come to the conclusion that I should have chosen a mid-wife for delivery instead of a traditional ObGyn in a hospital setting. However, with only 4-5 weeks left, it is a little too late to change my mind so I'll be completing my birthing plan as thoroughly as possible so there is no doubt with the nurses and my ObGyn as to what I want to experience. I am fully aware however, that medical emergencies do occur and my "plan" for birth will be completely thrown out the window. Bruce and I have discussed what I want in that situation, or in the situation that I am unable to contribute to any decision making.

I'm off to spend a few days in Ft. Lauderdale with my mom and her co-workers. I'll mostly be hanging out by the pool in the morning and working on some continuing education for school. Bruce will be alone at home studying for his Biology certification exam. If you think about it, send him an e-mail to remind him to eat his veggies. :-)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Belly Monster

We have a new name for Baby Sabin - Belly Monster. I'm not sure where it came from, but it is Bruce's new fun name for the one who makes my belly move in weird ways without notice. Many people thought they'd be sneaky this past weekend and try to trick me into revealing the top real names for Baby Sabin, but I didn't just roll off the turnip truck. I knew what they were up to. I remain steadfast... you will all get to meet Baby Sabin properly at the right time. I promise.

I was very blessed to have a third baby shower this past weekend. It was hosted at Beverly Tiller's house along with my mom, Debbie Suit, and Michelle Roun. Several old and new friends were present and I had a lot of fun hanging out with all of them. So many people were generous beyond belief in their gifts for Baby Sabin and Bruce and I are very appreciative. I am not sure there is much left for us to buy!

There are several pictures to share this week. I hope you enjoy them all!

Bruce and I are fans of the Simpsons TV show. When we found out recently that a 7-11 in Lake Buena Vista was being temporarily converted into a KwikE Mart as a promotional stunt we just had to make a visit. We were not the only ones who brought our cameras to 7-11 that day. People were taking pictures in the store and outside the store. This was cultural history in the making. Here is a photo of me hanging out with Homer.
Jennifer and Homer Simpson at the KwikE Mart
This is the same dress I wore to my brother's wedding. I love this dress and was glad to have one more opportunity to wear it. I did not realize until I was looking at the pictures though how um, much I had grown since the wedding. And I don't just mean my belly. Lots of things changed, so this dress will be retired until my next pregnancy.


Jennifer at the baby shower

One of the biggest blessings was a gift from my mom and dad of a Crib4Life system. It was delivered yesterday and by the end of the day I had washed all of the bedding so I could properly show it off. I am very excited about this piece of furniture and am looking forward to getting several years of use out of it.

Infinity Crib for Life with Tiddliwinks Jungle bedding

Below is the dresser that matches the crib. It has a built in changing table area and the changing pad comes with snaps to keep it securely on the dresser. I still have some rearranging and packing to do before the room is set up the way I like, but we are several steps closer to being ready for Baby Sabin's arrival in about 5 weeks.
Matching dresser
I apologize that I haven't been posting as much recently. I took a one-day-a-week job at Curves for the summer to pay for my membership and it has turned into a little more than that. The owner hurt her back in some way and I have been working about 3 days a week for a couple of weeks now. By the time I get home I am pretty tired and haven't had much energy to do more than sit around and recover. Plus, the head cold I had last week is back again. I have been busier since school let out than I was while teaching. I plan on playing catch-up with a lot of things next week, including getting ready for my maternity leave.
On a final note... here is what is happening with the Belly Monster (remember BabyCenter.com alternates gender each week, there are no hidden clues contained here):
Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 pounds plus. Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Co-sleeping

One of the great gifts I received at my baby shower last week was an Arms Reach Mini Co-sleeper. It was something that I very much wanted but hadn't even been able to find to put on either of my registries. My mom found it at Babies 'R Us and knowing how much I wanted one, purchased it as a shower gift. I am so excited about it. Last night, Bruce and I set it up and wheeled it into the bedroom to see what sort of configuration might work best for us. As I laid in bed to figure out what sort of layout was best, I put my hand into the co-sleeper and for a moment pretended that Baby Sabin was right there, soundly sleeping. Such a nice feeling washed over me as I thought about being close to my baby in the middle of the night. While I may not be looking forward to waking up several times a night, I am looking forward to this new chapter of responsibility in our lives.

I know that co-sleeping, or the family bed, is a hotly debated idea in the US. However, it just makes sense to me to keep my baby as close as possible. For those who know me well, there is of course, the desire to not have to go walking across the bedroom, or the house even, several times a night to nurse of check on Baby Sabin. Then, there is also the reason of bonding. I can't say exactly why, but I feel in my gut that this is one of the best ways to bond with my baby. Many people have given me advice on how to parent, but the advice I receive most often is to trust my instinct as a mother. God gave me this instinct so I would know how to care for the unique individual He has created. I surely plan to use it. If you want to know more about co-sleeping, you can check out Dr. Sears' site or Kidshealth.org. I don't feel safe having Baby Sabin in the same bed, but I think I can achieve similar results with the co-sleeper since it attaches to the bed and has the baby right next to me.

Monday, July 02, 2007

I Love Being Pregnant

There, I said it - I love being pregnant! I love feeling my baby kick around inside of me. I love watching my belly move around like a martian is crawling under my skin. I love having my husband come up from behind me and put his hands on my belly. I love listening to him talk to Baby Sabin. I love having a ready excuse for a nap anytime I want one. I love knowing that God is growing a miracle inside of me and that I get to be a part of that experience.

I know I will miss being pregnant. But that is okay... everything I love about being pregnant will be replaced with something I love about having a baby to take care of. I know that my occasional worries about the baby's movement will be replaced by worries about whether or not the baby is breathing at night. I know that my love of watching Bruce take care of me will be replaced with my love of watching him take care of Baby Sabin. I know that my love of seeing my belly move around like an ocean will be replaced by my love of watching Baby Sabin discover his or her toes for the first time!

I think being a parent will be a lot of fun. I suppose some of you are already writing your reply in your head to tell me that it isn't all roses and bubbles and I know it will also be a lot of work, but I'd prefer to focus on the fun part today. I'll have plenty of time to get realistic about the hard work of parenting. And when I blog about it in the months to come you can smugly say to yourself, "I could have told her so."

I haven't posted a photo of me in a couple of weeks, but I am getting to the point where it kind of looks like I am hiding a basketball under my clothes. I'll try to get a good picture to share with you some time this week. I did buy some new clothes today. No, I don't really need them, but they were on sale at Wal-Mart. I got 7 items (6 tops and 1 pair of cropped pants) for only $25. Can't really beat that deal! 3 of them weren't even maternity tops, just the baby doll style that has been popular recently.

Today was my 34 week doctor's appointment. Bruce was glad to know that I only gained 2 pounds in the last 3 weeks, especially considering the amount of ice cream I ate while we were in St. Pete Beach last week. We made a bet that if I had gained more than 3 lbs I wouldn't eat anymore ice cream until after Baby Sabin arrived. I won! Unfortunately, I have to back to the doctor's next week for my 35-week blood work and pelvic exam. I may love being pregnant, but I don't love those visits. They come once a week now until Baby Sabin makes his or her grand entrance.

And if you've made it this far, here is what is going on with Baby Sabin at week 34:
Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. (Courtesy of BabyCenter.com)

Don't forget to check out the progress of the SabinDome!