Cleared for the Weekend, take II (35w6d)

Wow. Possibly our last kid-free weekend. EVER. This is kinda hitting me all right now.

Today’s monitoring was pretty routine. The office was INSANE busy, but they were kind enough to squeeze me in early as Paul’s cousin Mike came in for a surprise visit this morning. (My 2:30 appointment wouldn’t have worked so well today.) My fluid was up to 7.4 – which is still crappy, but better than it has been in over a week; so maybe forcing fluids is helping the teeniest bit? Baby showed off his breathing skills and happily kicked at the monitor, so he didn’t have to get buzzed today. (He was doing some serious headspins on my bladder while I was on the monitor though – I actually thought I was gonna wet my pants at one point!!) My BP was not so hot though, 147/97 and 165/103. They took more blood to run my PIH levels, but since I’m scheduled for the amniocentesis on Monday they didn’t feel the need to get uppity about the BP.

So we’re in the clear for Monday morning. No change to the usual routine for this weekend – stay off my feet as much as I can (ha!) and force fluids. The better my fluid is on Monday, the easier it is for Dr. Schwartz to do the amnio. He says he likes a challenge, but I’d prefer that my son not get poked if possible. :)

This weekend…. I dunno. Paul and I still need to pack our hospital bags (I just *hate* packing for anything…) but other than that we’re pretty good. Oh, I need to prep/boil the premie-sized prefolds that Kelly sent us. I’ll boil the hell outta them and then throw them in the wash with the other infant-sized prefolds to make a full load. (At least the half-dozen premie PFs will easily fit into my regular stock pot!) I’m hoping Paul and I can spend some “quality” time together – not that we haven’t been enjoying our time together anyway. But maybe just spend some time together where we’re not running any errands or putting something together – no agenda. Gonna be a long time before we have the opportunity again, methinks.

Paul’s cousin Mike is out for a visit, so Sunday (Father’s Day) will be spent at Paul’s parent’s place. I’m writing this from their patio on Friday evening actually. Paul is on his laptop, Jeanne’s on her iPad and Mike is doing his insane-O workout routine for our comedy enjoyment. The dogs are happily racing around our feet and the breeze is blowing. Ya know, adding a baby to this mix isn’t gonna be a problem at all. :)

Possible change in plans… (35w2d)

Today’s appointment for monitoring was pretty darned good. I walked in feeling better than I have in a while. Excellent blood pressure again (147/90) and after some not-so-gentle prodding, good numbers from the kid on the monitoring strip. (He did not appreciate me chugging half a bottle of ice water to get him to move and getting my whole belly woggled by the nurse.) Trace amounts of protein in the urine (up from zero) but not OMG either.

The bad part comes during the ultrasound where they’re measuring the amniotic fluid around the boy. The levels should be around 14 on average, with 5-25 being the extreme low and high ends of the scale. Anything at or below 5 is cause for major concern. I’ve been sliding down that scale and was at a 6 on Wednesday and Friday last week. I forced fluids this weekend, making sure I was taking in well over 100 ounces a day in the hopes of bumping up that number.

Today all the head nurse could get was 4.8 – and that was after 20 minutes of looking and looking all over. So the oligohydramnios is very much in affect. What exactly this means, we’re not sure. We know it ain’t good, but the fact that this is happening towards the end of the pregnancy as opposed to towards the beginning is good. If it were at the beginning, it would be because of some abnormality with the baby. Now it’s just a culmination of my pre-existing medical conditions: hypothyroidism, hypertension & diabetes.

Dr. Schwartz is in his other office across town today and tomorrow, so they called him while we were at the office to see what he wanted to do. We were sure he was gonna send me over to the hospital. But he asked to see me in his other office tomorrow instead. So we’re taking that as a sign that there’s no need to totally freak out just yet. Mostly what oligohydramnios means at this point is that delivery is gonna be a bit more complicated and the chances of a cesarean are probably higher. There isn’t anything they can really do to reverse it – like putting me on a saline IV to pump me full of fluids or something. (There are some therapies that involve pumping fluid directly into the placenta, but those are mostly for use *during* labor.) There isn’t enough amniotic fluid around the baby to *do* an amniocentesis – so we don’t know how much that will blow out next week’s plans. With such decreased levels of fluid/cushioning around the baby right now, the chances of him laying on his umbilical cord and squashing his blood/oxygen/nutrient flow increase. This is where I am SO GLAD that I completely trust Dr. Schwartz and his knowledge/experience in treating high risk women like me. Whatever he says tomorrow is OK with us. If he still wants me to try for a regular birth, I’m all for it – but if this situation necessitates a cesarean from the get-go, we’re OK with that too. Whatever gets our little man out safely.

So this afternoon and this evening are final prep, just in case. All bags are being packed (we were doing laundry this morning already) and final arrangements are being made. I’m gonna try to go get my nails done. Gonna get the Ragu Bolognese made and in the freezer, along with the Creamy Italian Chicken. (There’s a lot of simmering involved there – I’m not gonna be slaving over a stove.) We’re hoping that Murphy’s Law will kick in if we get all this stuff done tonight. Paul is pretty anxious, but I’m doing pretty OK. I am keenly aware that I need to stay calm, and having tasks to focus on helps me greatly with that.

We’ll update tomorrow after the appointment here and on Facebook. (Facebook will probably get updated faster because it’s easier to do from our phones.) We’re halfway expecting to be told to go to the hospital from our 9:00am appointment. I’m all the more glad that we have a 7:45am appointment to meet the pediatrician tomorrow. Gonna be a busy day. Prayers would be appreciated.

Weekend Update (34w1d)

I’m feeling pretty good this weekend. A bit of a headache, which is either BP related or just standard pregnancy. Dunno. Baby is kicking like a total freak all weekend. Not sure what that is about. I’ve stayed on the couch most of the weekend, mostly because that’s what I’m apparently supposed to do; but also there’s a fair amount of pain and pressure when I’m up and about for too long. And sometimes 10 minutes is too long. I’m having more Braxton-Hicks contractions that I’ve ever had too. So that’s something I’ll be mentioning at my next appointment. I’ve got appointments on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for monitoring and I’ll see Dr. Schwartz on Wednesday.

Nesting (or at least my form of it) has set in, I think. I’m more motivated to get things organized. I’m not cleaning cupboards or scrubbing things – let’s not get crazy here. But Saturday evening Paul and I organized all the baby’s clothes and gear that we have so far. I’ve washed all the hand-me-downs and all the new clothes that aren’t on hangers, sorted them all and put them into the dressers by size. Paul brought in some storage cubes and put them on the floor in the baby’s closet, so there’s a place to store all the random toys and gear and whatnot that shouldn’t just be laying around. He set up the froggy humidifier and the turtle nightlight and got the diaper changing pad installed while I futzed with clothing. Next up, we’ll wash and re-hang the stuff on hangers, organizing the closet as we go by size.

(I’m amazed at the HUGE difference in sizing between brands. I’m fairly certain that the Gerber brand size 0-3 onesies would fit the baby *right now* as opposed to the Circo brand size 0-3 onesies that look like they would fit our 14 pound cat fairly well. And then there’s the Carter’s stuff that within the same dang size is all over the place! Ah well, variety and spices and whatnot, right?)

We also figured out the complexities of car seats and their installation today. Turns out that the LATCH system in both our newer cars is the best thing ever. Since it’s eleventy billion degrees outside this week, we’re not gonna bother to install the car seat yet – but at least we know how now. (Also, for the time being we’re going to use the carrier-based car seat in my car, since it’s not like I’m going anywhere with the baby without Paul for a while. The carrier-based car seat is better suited to a smaller baby as opposed to the larger convertible seat we have for my car.)

So this week we’ll get my hospital bag mostly packed. I’ve got nearly everything I need – and I’ll be picking up two nursing bras (that will be too small I’m sure, but they’ll work for now) tomorrow. I’ve got a big list of stuff for my hospital bag, so we’ll pack as much as we can that isn’t day-to-day stuff. The rest of the stuff can get tossed in before we head to the hospital. I’ll deal with proper-fitting nursing bras once sizing sorts itself out. I found a couple good tutorials about turning regular bras into nursing bras, so I’m gonna go that route since they don’t make nursing bras in my size.

So I’m home now, not going back into the office for some time, barring something fairly extraordinary. I knocked myself out on Thursday and Friday to get my stuff wrapped up so I could move my base of work operations home. The plan is that I’m still going to work full time until the baby comes – and I’ve got enough projects and tasks to do that for 2 weeks at least. I want to burn as little paid time as possible before the baby actually gets here. After the baby arrives, I’ll still do some work from home while I’m on maternity leave: payroll, accounts payable and a monthly report or two. Not a huge amount of work, but stuff that I already do, would be difficult to train someone on in less than two months, and allows me to not burn time (and actually earn some back.) I’m so grateful that my supervisor and I have been able to work out an accommodation that works for the agency and for me. This is kind of uncharted territory for my agency, so it’s kind of try-it-and-see. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a laptop, RDC, e-fax and a printer at home.

So lots going on this week, combined with me trying to stay as calm and relaxed as possible with my feet up at nearly all times. Should be interesting. I have no idea when this kid is gonna come – I figure there’s at least a chance we could be sent to the hospital after every appointment this week. So that should be fun.

Fetal Monitoring (32w4d)

Today was my first experience with fetal monitoring. They did an ultrasound to see what position the baby was in and then took me to another room with a reclining chair for me to hang out in to be monitored. It took the nurse a minute or two to find his heart with the monitor, but once she got that thing strapped on, it was clear as a bell! (Actually, the baby started kicking the monitor which was funny to feel and hear!)

My blood sugar took a nosedive while we were there though. I’d had a super busy morning and a board meeting right before my appointment, so I just hadn’t eaten enough. I took my blood sugar and it was at 48, so I asked for and chugged some juice.

My blood pressure though… not good. It’s been 138/83 or lower this whole time. Today’s lowest was 155/96, and that was after I was done with the monitoring, so I’d been chilling out for a while. So they took some blood and another urine sample, and I’ve got the 24 hour urine collection to do tomorrow. (I did one when I was about 20 weeks or so as a baseline.) We’ll see. Dr. Schwartz says he’s not worrying about me yet so I’m not to worry either.

I feel the same though. Swelling hasn’t gotten any worse. No pain in my upper abdomen. I’ve had a twinge of a headache a time or two in the last week, but nothing severe or lasting at all. No weight gain since last week. (Shocking since I’ve been so dang hungry!) I’m trying to think positive and assume it was the busy/stressful day at work directly before the appointment or because my blood sugar was so low. We’ll see. If pre-eclampsia has started, we’ll figure out a way forward from there.

Unless something changes though, I’ve got an appointment for monitoring in a week, and then I go to twice weekly after that. FWIW, the baby monitored excellently today – Dr. Schwartz said he couldn’t be more pleased.

Tonight we went to our Baby Basics class, and were fairly disappointed. I didn’t learn anything at all. Paul at least got to change a diaper on a baby doll and we both burrito’d the doll and put a shirt on it. Some of the information presented directly contradicted what we’ve already learned in our Prepared Childbirth classes, and what we’ve read in books and online. So meh. Good to have the experience under our belts, but we’re both looking forward to the Breastfeeding class in two weeks much more. I figure between the couple of baby care books we have, my experience, and just fumbling along – we’ll be just fine.

Nursery Painted! (28w3d)

The nursery is painted. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.

We worked on clearing out the office on Friday night and finished on Saturday morning. We taped the room in record time and managed to get the lighter of the two colors painted on Saturday. Then today we finished with the darker green paint. Paul did the upper trim, while I did the lower trim. We make a great team – working together. We got the room painted in record time! (Thumbs up for that new Behr Primer & Paint stuff. It’s crazy thick, so it was a little work to get it into the nooks and crannies of our slightly textured walls – but one coat coverage that covered mars and blemishes on deep colors was GREAT! Oh, and NO smell! Thanks for the recommendation, Mikey!)

That said, MAN, it was hard work. The carpel tunnel syndrome I’ve been dealing with is in overdrive. I’m hoping that trying to take it easy on my wrists will ease some of the swelling – my right wrist and forearm are noticeably swollen. I pushed myself to the limit today after the painting, while we were applying a frosted window film. I had to go lay down for what I thought was just a minute, and woke up 45 minutes later.

But it’s totally worth it. I feel fine this evening, if a little tired. Our little guy’s room is painted, with alternate colors on the switch plates. Paul re-wired the light switch to work with a dimmer. We’ll be getting some sort of floor lamp for the room. The curtains have been bought by my girlfriend in Arizona and will be mailed this week. (Every IKEA in California is sold out, but hers had two sets left!) We’ll install the curtain rod and curtains on Sunday after the carpet get installed. We have a fantastic piece of art that was given to us as a wedding gift by Paul’s aunt and uncle – and it has a perfect place in the room. I’ve ordered some other art prints that compliment our bedding and ABC-123 theme perfectly. I need to find some skinny black frames for the 10 5×7″ prints, which hopefully will be here before the shower.

I can’t wait for friends and family to see the completed room. Tom, Jeanne, Nonny & Cassie came over this evening to see the paint job – but I want to get the full room put together soon.

So next weekend is carpet. That’s gonna be a heckuva lot of work to get the house ready, but I’m looking forward to it. It feels great to be taking these concrete steps in preparation for our baby.

(Yes, pictures have been taken – before and during. After pictures will follow when there’s better light, and after the carpet is installed.)

Oh, and as a total aside – the baby has been kicking like mad while I’ve been writing this post with my netbook on my lap. He’s knocked the laptop askew three times so far. It has become routine to feel him kick, but it’s still incredibly reassuring every time he does. I’m not gonna say that pregnancy has been fun, but I’m still fascinated by the experience and so grateful to be going through it. I feel so much more connected to my son now that I can feel him kick.