Thursday, November 29, 2012

35 Weeks - How I'm Feeling

How Far Along? 35 weeks. Exciting! I didn't take a belly pic again.  How come I keep forgetting during the most important month!

Any Pregnancy News? I always get contractions when I work out, but on Saturday they never went away. I contracted about every 8 minutes from Saturday afternoon, all night long as I worked 3rd shift at my part time job, until I got a nap sunday morning.  I still had them Sunday, but more spaced out.  I had a few more Monday and Tuesday, and finally Wednesday was my OB appt.  I've been seeing Dr. J the last two weeks as I rotated through the practice so that whoever is on call when I go into labor will be familiar with me, but this week I was happy to be back with Dr. G, my doctor.  She suggested a cervix check and I agreed.  Natural birthers my disagree with the decision, but I really enjoy working out and 35 weeks is just too early to be going into labor unexpectedly.  I wanted to make sure I can continue to work out without endangering the baby.  Cervix was still long and closed. YAY!  Dr. G observed the baby is head down, but very high and theorized that my contractions are my body's attempts to get the baby's head to engage in the pelvis.  She was not concerned, but expects me to have many more contractions as the pregnancy progresses.  You'd think I'd be upset, but my last labor was so terribly long I'm really encouraged that my uterus will have lots of practice before the real thing. 
Kind of a terrible pic,
but here's the baby's little corner of our bedroom

I was able to ask her thoughts on my 31 week growth scan which showed the baby's head measuring at 35 weeks.  She discounted the whole thing! She said those measurements are designed to be taken with the baby in a vertex (head down) position.  Since he was transverse the whole scan, she doesn't trust the accuracy of the head measurement. Woohoo! I asked if she'd be ordering another scan, and she said only if the baby doesn't move down at all within the next few weeks.  He's quite high and though it's common for 2nd baby's not to move all the way down until after labor begins, my baby's head doesn't appear to be in the pelvis at all.  This is one thing I'm actually not worried about.  Supposedly the best way to get the baby to engage is to walk a lot and sit on an exercise ball.  I already walk a little less than 20 miles a week and can commit myself to at least an hour a day on the ball as well.  I have plenty of time to get him to engage!

Other news? I did see the chiropractor after the appointment and things went as well as usual.  Having both appts on the same day made my morning busy, but it was also nice not to give up two days to appointments in the same week.  I decided to try to have them on the same day for the rest of the pregnancy.  That also simplifies the debate on how often I'll see the chiropractor.  He suggests every week, but I'm not sure I can afford that.  I'll just move to weekly whenever my OB appointments become weekly.  I'll see them both again on Dec 12th. 

After being in the car all morning, DH let me know his car broke down an hour away at his job. I picked up DS from preschool, fed him a sandwich, drove us to DH (DS napped on the way) and from there we called a tow truck for the car.  Thank goodness it will be an easy repair and, though expensive, it wasn't the transmission like we first thought. We then ran errands for DH, took DS to a toystore, and arrived home at 5pm.  I'd been in the car all day!  I was so happy to get to the gym to walk and stretch out. 

Also, this weekend I wrote a post on How I Tried to Flip my Breech/Transverse baby. It includes everything I tried to get baby to flip.  While baby did flip, I'm hesitant to say my efforts worked because there's no proof they did. He might have flipped on his own anyway, but I still felt the need to share in case other women of action were in the same situation.

Position of the baby? This morning at the OB appointment he was basically head down, but slightly diagonal.  His feet are kicking under my right ribs, and head is on my left hip. While very encouraged and now eager to get him engaged, I realize he can still roll around into whatever position he pleases.  I feel certain the weekend before thanksgiving he was briefly breech and then transverse.  I'm happy he's only like that for short periods of time and always flips back, but I'd be a lot less stressful for me if he'd get engaged and stay head down!

Sleep? I'm definitely more tired.  I need more sleep, and for the most part I'm getting it, but working third shift on the weekends is becoming borderline impossible.  Of course I'd love to quit, but I have a lot of wants for this baby and the job pays for them.  We want a lighter car seat, a fancy new baby monitor, and to continue to afford the chiropractor.  Those things may not always be worth 2 days with little to no sleep, but they are right now.

Movement? This kid has the hiccups so often, I love letting others feel them.  While his movements are very powerful, they're not as often as DS's movements and even when he's awake it's hard for others to feel him.  At least they get the hiccups!

Weight gain?  I wasn't able to weigh in last week due to being at grandma's, but two weeks ago I weighed 166.  I weighed in at the Dr's yesterday at 172, but this morning I'm 169 on my own scale.  I think I'll stick with my own numbers since they're better. lol.  That's a 4lb weight gain in 2 weeks.  Not bad.  I think I'm not gaining as fast as the beginning because the baby is taking more from me now.

Gender? It's a boy!

What I miss? I always miss my second child. I've been thinking of him a lot this last week.  Everyone is so looking forward to a new years baby, but I have never liked that holiday.  Over the past five years, each new years has been worse than the last.  Last new years eve I suspected something was wrong, and on New Years day I was sobbing by myself in a hospital room.  It's easy for me to believe this New Year's will be better, because it's hard to imagine anything worse than that, but I don't want this baby born on New Years.  I won't say that holiday is ruined forever, I'm sure I'll often enjoy the day, but I will always remember it as the day I found out my baby died.  I want to remember it that way.  I don't want to ever forget him.  However, I would feel bad if this baby arrived on New Year's day and every year on his birthday I first remembered his sibling.  I know the signs point to early arrival, but I think and hope this baby will go past his Jan 3rd due date just like DS. 

Labor signs? Helloooooo, contractions.  This weekend I described them as mild and painless.  Now they're definitely stronger, but I'd still say they were painless although sometimes they're so tight they make me feel claustrophobic or like I can't breath.  I can still walk through them, though.

Food cravings? Kind of getting into salads/veggies again.  Starting to get an aversion to soda which is certainly a good thing.

Fabric and quilt design all picked out.
Now I just need to start!
What I'm looking forward too? So far I've either had no free time in the evenings, or had an obligation, but I'm really looking forward to putting together quilt patches for the double bed in our lavender guest room.  I've drawn out the design, bought the fabric, and need to cut out the patches and then dust off my sewing machine.  Once the quilt is pieced, it will be sent off to my grandmother's for quilting.  I certainly don't have the time to hand quilt it, and my grandmother is no longer able to piece quilts due to her Alzheimer's.  She still loves to quilt and so my aunts and relatives are trying to make sure there's always something for her to do in the quilting frames.  It's really the only thing she can still do.  Of course I look forward to the baby every day, but it's also nice to look forward to something not-baby related.  I don't think I'm the only preggo who gets babied-out sometimes ;)

Monday, November 26, 2012

How I Tried to Flip my Breech or Transverse Baby. Success at 33 weeks!

I really struggled with a title for this post because I don't have any proof that what I did actually turned my breech baby.  I can't call it 'How to Turn a Breech Baby' because the common belief is that they'll flip on their own, and I can't say that's not what happened.  All I can say is that after I realized US doctors aren't trained to perform breech births, I tried several ways, positions, and exercises to turn a breech baby, and he turned!  All of this happened between about 28 and 32 weeks pregnant.  Often, I was able to determine my baby's position at home on my own and most of the time he flipped between transverse and breech, but he was vertex a few times.  At my 20 week and 30 week ultrasounds he was transverse, so I never was able to have a doctor confirm breech, just transverse (he was usually transverse in the mornings and that's when all my appts are).

Any woman hoping to avoid a c-section starts to get nervous when they hear their baby isn't vertex, and there's nothing more annoying than hearing 'don't worry, he'll turn on his own' over and over again.  I've dealt with infertility several times in my life, and hearing 'don't worry, he'll turn' is very similar to knowing you have a diagnosed fertility problem and hearing 'just relax and it will happen.'  If doing nothing has produced a baby in a breech or transverse position, it doesn't make sense to keep on doing nothing and expect a different outcome.  I chose to act, and feel like my actions made a big difference.  I started with the popular spinning babies program and went from there. Here's what I did and sources for further research.  Obviously, none of these exercises should be attempted without consulting your doctor or if they don't feel right and comfortable.

  • Belly Button Always Pointing Down
    • Imagine a line coming straight out of your belly button.  If you lean forward, it points to the floor because you're belly button is now aimed down.  If you lean back, it points to the ceiling.  One of the principles of the the spinning babies program is that gravity is your strongest ally when trying to turn the baby.  Babies are top heavy, and their heaviest part will naturally go down if nothing is preventing it.  Always sitting upright with your belly button aimed down, and never reclining or sitting in a slouching position will allow gravity to constantly be at work to try to turn the baby. 
  • Sleep Positioning
    • When sleeping, the same principles apply, lay on your side or even slightly on your stomach so that your belly button is pointing down. After following the program for a week and able to mentally monitor the babies position, I noticed I had much better results when I slept on my left side, but I don't know if this is true for everyone or just due to my oddly positioned transverse baby. I had my biggest setbacks when I accidentally rolled on to my back in my sleep. Whatever his position, he'd always be so much higher up in the morning and never made any progress while if I'd slept on my back.
  • Don't suck it in!
    • Being an active woman, I've always been interested in strengthening my core and have been taught to keep my stomach muscles tight at all times.  When working towards a flat belly, this helps you use those muscles more often for every day activities and increases core strength.  I'd especially be sure to keep those muscles tight when running.  It wasn't until I started spinning babies that I focused on giving baby as much room to move as possible, and realized I was still trying to 'suck it in' despite my giant belly.  I had to re-train myself to keep my stomach muscles loose at all times.  It's still hard.  I use the baby's movements as a reminder, and check to make sure my stomach muscles are relaxed every time he moves.  I've observed myself in front of the mirror, and it's amazing how much space those tight muscles take away from baby.
  • Inversions
    • A forward leaning inversion is another exercise to stretch out those belly muscles and ligaments so the baby has more room to move.  I try to remember to do these daily, but probably only actually do them three times a week.  The idea is to have knees resting on a chair or sofa, and elbows on the floor.  This puts you in a nearly upside down position so the weight of the belly can relax the muscles and ligaments normally in use, and stretch out the others. I have no idea if I'm doing it right!  It seems like there's a lot of room for error, but I do think they help.  Here's a video demonstration of this technique reccommended by spinning babies. When I am consistent about doing inversions, I end up with less round ligament pain, and it seems the baby has an easier time moving into optimal position.
  • Breech Tilt
    • I have never tried a breech tilt myself, but I couldn't write a post on how to turn a breech baby without mentioning it.  The breech tilt should not be performed before 30 weeks, and for this reason, I decided to wait until after my 30 week appt to confirm the baby was still transverse.  He was, but by that time he was often in the vertex position.  I felt like if I continued practicing the other methods, he would spend less and less time in the transverse position and breech tilts would be unnecessary.  Specific instructions on breech tilt can be found here, but it involves laying on an incline for twenty minutes or more at a time to give the baby more time and room to turn.  It's not as intense as an inversion, so it can be done for longer amounts of time, but it requires more preparation.  You need to be laying flat, but on an incline.  I did have an old door I was going to use for this, but was already having success with the other methods by the time I was far enough along to try it.  My baby still goes transverse from time to time, and occasionally even breech so there may come a time closer to 40 weeks when I attempt these.
  • See a Chiropractor
    • This is certainly the most expensive method, but potentially one of the most effective.  As much as you can stretch and manipulate muscles and ligaments, there's nothing like being about to adjust the bones to which those ligaments attach.  I decided to see a chiropractor, and was reasonably happy with my experience.  I went to this website to find a chiro certified in the webster technique for pregnant women.  I didn't necessarily want the technique done, but I hoped someone certified in that technique would be used to working with pregnant women.  I found a doctor in my area, and he does specialize in working with children and pregnant women.  Most of the adjustments he performed were more to loosen ligaments rather than popping bones.  He said I was already very well aligned, so not a lot had to be done.  I'm not sure seeing him made a difference at all, but it will emotionally make me feel better about whatever birth I have because I'll be able to say that I tried everything.  With my last birth, I had such a long labor and regretted not seeing a chiro beforehand.
  • Walk
    • I was able to run 3 or 4 days a week this pregnancy until my belly became to large and heavy at about 27weeks, and since then I have been quite the walker.  I generally walk 20miles a week, and most of that is on the treadmill at an incline.  Exercise is so important for an easier birth experience, but is it as beneficial for optimal fetal positioning?  I'm not convinced.  I walked 5 miles a day the 3 weeks before my son was born and although he was vertex, he was not optimally positioned and I labored 49hrs with him.  After my walks now, my belly feels very tight and I worry that it reduces the amount of room he has to move.  I DO feel like it helps engage his head in the pelvis and move him down when he's positioned correctly, but then it seems reasonable that walking would move him down and make it more difficult for him to move if he was breech.  Walking is supposed to help flip a breech baby, but I think it's more that staying active results in a healthier pregnancy and healthy pregnancies result in well positioned babies.  In my very limited experience, I can't say walking has helped my baby flip and it may have even hindered the process.  Of course, I feel the benefits of exercise far outweigh the negative.  The tight belly doesn't last very long, and when possible I try to do an inversion after a work out to counteract the effects.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

34 Weeks - How I'm Feeling

How Far Along? 34 weeks. Only 6 weeks 'til my due date! A month and a half to go by weeks, but if you're looking at the calender it seems like even less.

Shame I did the pumpkin for halloween,
I could have been a beach ball!
Any Pregnancy News? I think this will be a short thanksgiving week update.  I'm at my grandparents with barely any signal, and even less time.  DS has been stressed with all the people (I have a very large family) and it's translated into extremely clingy behavior.  I can't leave the room to go to the bathroom and sometimes I can't even go 5ft away without him getting upset!  So, I've let him watch a lot of TV, sit next to me with his portable DVD player, and eat whatever he wants.  Eek! I'm sure my family has raised eyebrows, but it's just a week.  We'll be home on Friday.  The only real issue has been my grandmother keeps this house SO HOT!  I'm sweating all the time, but trying to keep up with lots of water.  Today is the first day I have a headache from it and at one point got lightheaded.  It's only a high of 50 so I can go out and get cool, but it's about 80 degrees in the house.

Position of the Baby? ARGH!! I was writing a blog post on how I got the baby to flip using spinning babies techniques this weekend, and felt like quite a hypocrite as the baby flipped back to breech (BP should come out this weekend).  I woke up Monday with him breech and had to endure the 4hr car trip here with his head in my ribs and kicking my internal organs. OUCH! Then I tried to flip him back Monday night by sleeping on my left side, but someone had recently flipped the mattress so laying on my left side made me feel like I was about to roll off the bed completely.  Tuesday I was unsure of the position, so he was probably transverse.  I usually know when he's breech because the kicking is so painful.  Tuesday night I finally figured out if I put a pillow under my bump I could lay on my left side comfortably despite the mattress.  Wednesday morning I still couldn't determine the position, but I really felt like he was back to vertex.  By last night I was even more sure he was back to vertex.  When I get home I'm going to transition to exercises designed to get the baby to engage in the pelvis in the hopes that he'll stay vertex.  It's painful for him to be breech and also stressful to know my natural birth hopes are in jeopardy.

Sleep? pretty bad. I'm sleeping with DS and without DH in a strange bed. DH has been home working this week, but will join us today for my family's thanksgiving meal.  Then we'll all leave tomorrow.  We probably won't sleep well tonight though, as DS will be on the floor in a sleep chair.  This is the baby who refused to sleep in his crib mattress anymore at 10 months, instead opting for a twin mattress on the floor.  I really don't see him sleeping in one of those sleep chairs, but it's just one night so we'll make it through.  Then one good nights sleep at home before my regular weekend 3rd shift at my part time job.

Movement? So thankful for the movement and hiccups for letting me know how the baby is positioned and prompting me to discover and use the spinning babies techniques.  Though those kicks are terribly uncomfortable, they're his way of telling me I need to act!

Weight gain? Don't know! No reliable scale here.  But I'd hate to weigh myself when I'm so swollen from the heat anyway. Last week I was up 35lbs and I doubt I've lost any.

Gender? It's a boy!

What I miss? I always miss my second child. I'd also like to return to the days when my skin wasn't so dry.  It's not just been this week, but for around two weeks.  My legs looks so scaly and it's hard to remember to lotion them every night when I used to only have to use lotion after shaving.

DS on his first day home!
He had a touch of jaundice so a bit yellow.
Labor signs? Despite the uncomfortable heat, I haven't had a single contraction this week.  I think because I haven't been working out.  I only got them when working out before, so I guess that just goes to show how important that time in the gym is to my pregnancy health.

Food cravings? An excellent time to grave mashed potatoes and turkey! I think because of all the commercials and anticipation.

What I'm looking forward too? I want to get home and get this baby engaged!  Also, my grandmother is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and my aunts believe her favorite hobby of hand quilting will help delay progression of the disease.  She can no longer piece together the quilt tops, mark them, or put them in the quilting frames so I'm excited to piece together a quilt for her to hand quilt.  How special to have a quilt for DS or the baby that was hand quilted by my grandmother!  I can't wait to go home and shop for material.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

33 Weeks - How I'm Feeling Update

How Far Along? 33 weeks - Yay! Although I'll admit even numbered weeks are more fun.  They just make you sound further along!

DS is helping!
I look like I'm smuggling a basketball!
Any Pregnancy News? Earlier this week I wrote about how difficult it's been trying to achieve a natural unmedicated childbirth with no support.  Writing that post helped me feel better about my situation, and then I had a great OB appointment yesterday with Dr. J, the OB I used to not like, who said without me prompting her that there would be other things we could try before pitocin if my labor ends up being as long as last time.  That's all I've been wanting to hear!  It was great that I finally heard it from an OB, but honestly I'd been fine hearing it from DH, or the chiropractor, or any in-real-life friend.  I just wanted someone to have faith in me and say there was a slim chance I could avoid pitocin again.  Dr. J is now my #1 choice for delivery, but there are so many Dr's in that practice there's no telling who I'll get.

Position of the baby? Further good news, at the OB appt, Dr. J was able to determine that the baby is sort of head down-ish! Lol. Excuse my excitement for such a mediocre guarantee, but it was great that at least he wasn't transverse.  He was head down and facing my right side, but she said his head wasn't in my pelvis at all.  It was floating so high she had no doubt his head could go from side to side whenever he liked.  We had a rough night last night w a sick DS, and I'm pretty sure he's no longer head down.  While I'm less worried about breech/transverse delivery scenarios, I'm now focused on getting him to really engage in the pelvis.  Since everything I've read says that doesn't happen until 36 weeks or even later for 2nd time moms, I'm in no rush.  It's just going to be on my mind for a while.  We're out of town to my Grandmothers farm for thanksgiving, and then I'll start weekly chiropractor visits on our return. I'll also be spending lots of time bouncing on the exercise ball!

Sleep? Lately I think the way I sleep has a lot to do with the baby's positioning.  If I have a restful night's sleep on my left side, the baby seems to be perfectly head down the next day.  If I'm on my back part of the night he seems to be transverse, and if I sleep on my right side (which I prefer) he just stays in whatever position he's in or moves at random.  I tried to be on my left side last night, but DS was in bed with us and I ended up on my back for much of the night.  Not sure how baby is positioned this morning, but I don't think it's head down.  Good thing he's still so active!

Movement?  Lot's of movement!  Lot's of movement all the time.  Lot's of hiccups.  I love it!

Weight Gain? 166lbs. After no weight gain for 3 weeks, I gained 5lbs this week!  LOL.  I'd excuse it with just water weight or something, but that's what I weighed at the OB office as well.  Perhaps baby had a growth spurt?  I'm not unhappy about it because I know from DS I just gain a lot of weight while pregnant.  This brings my total weight gain up to 35lbs.  I have at least 6 weeks left, so it's going to be close to see if I can stay under my 45lb goal.  But it will be ok if I don't.  I gained about 55lbs with my son and lost it all.  I know I'll lose whatever I gain.

All DS's old baby clothes!
There's def some gaps, but nothing too terrible.
Gender? It's a boy!

What I miss? I always miss my second child. But I do love being hugely pregnant.  I love the way my bump looks.  I think it's cuter than most!  And although the comments on my largeness get to me when I'm not in the mood, I'd prefer the comments on how big I am rather than people saying I hardly look pregnant.  I love the way I look now!

Labor signs?  It's not been uncommon to have BH contractions while working out, but lately they start within the first ten minutes and continue the entire time.  It actually makes me even happier I'm able to still work out.  I'm even working out my uterus!  I hope this means my next labor is quicker!

Food Cravings? Still loving lemonade, pizza, and other junk food, but trying to fill up on salad beforehand so I at least don't eat as much.

What I'm looking forward too? Now that I've finally started very slowly getting ready for the baby, I'm looking forward even more to his arrival!  I can't wait to have a baby to put in all these cute baby clothes!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Achieving Natural Unmedicated Childbirth without Support

When I was pregnant with my son and planning a NUCB (natural unmedicated child birth) I was determined and confident.  I read between 50 and 100 birth stories a week, and had done so much research.  My husband was uneducated about birth, but supportive of my wishes.  I was ok with giving birth in a hospital setting without a doula because I was so informed about my options and confident I wouldn't agree to anything I didn't want unless myself or the baby were actually in danger.  I was no more supported or unsupported than I am now.  I had several online support groups, and my OB and I never really discussed my birth plan until right before we headed to the hospital.

Swelling, a side effect of pitocin

My son's birth was not a NUCB because I agreed to pitocin, but I did make it through without an epidural.  I was proud and happy I did it without pain meds, but the terrible side effects of pitocin I experienced were tough physically and even tougher emotionally.  It wasn't a terrible birth experience, but I resolved that things would be different next time.  I would have a doula, see a chiropractor, possibly deliver in a birth center, seek out needed support, and under no circumstances would I agree to an induction.

After my miscarriage, I really wanted to stick with my OB, especially during the first trimester.  I still really liked her, and I didn't feel like she had 'pushed' pitocin on me.  I still blame myself for not even asking what my other options were, or suggesting/insisting that my water be broken before we moved on to pitocin.  This meant another hospital birth, and that seemed reasonable since I didn't blame the hospital for anything.

I really wanted to have a doula for this birth, but my husband was terribly against it.  I rarely disagree with him, but on this I argued passionately.  Some might say that they wouldn't have caved on it, and I'm still very upset I won't have anyone in the birthing room experienced in natural birth, but this is not something I can make DH agree to.  He really doesn't want a doula.  He doesn't see anything wrong with my last birth and while he supports my NUCB goals, he wants as few people involved as possible.  His feelings are valid, it's not just my birth experience, and I'm not willing to lose his support in the birthing room over having a doula there.

Last time I faced no induction pressure.  Though my office generally induces at 41 weeks, my OB was willing to let me go several days past that.  After 49hrs of labor, I delivered at exactly 41 weeks so no induction was necessary.  This time, my chart has been unfairly labeled with undiagnosed gestational diabetes, my belly and baby are measuring large, and the baby has yet to be in a head down position.  While no one has yet mentioned induction, they have discussed all of these factors extensively.  With the exception of position, nothing about this pregnancy is different than the first (also measured large, also passed 1hr GD test) this one has just triggered some of their automated red flags mostly due to procedural differences rather than actual medical issues.  I see discussions about induction in my future.

My healthy baby, for whom I'll be forever grateful

I feel like I need help.  I need someone to talk to.  I need real support.  And I need it more than I did last time.  I don't have as much faith in my body as I did last time, and I'm facing more negativity towards NUCB than last time.  Sadly, I've reached out and hit brick walls.  Uninformed birth people think I don't have a problem.  They don't think c-sections are that bad, and though horrified at the length of my last birth, they thing I probably just should have agreed to pitocin sooner and saved myself the trouble.  You'd think the NUCB community would be there for me.  But with a hospital birth, a big baby, no doula, and an 'unsupportive' husband, the NUCB community doesn't seem to have any faith in me either.  I want to hear them say that worse obstacles have been overcome, that my body can do this, and that I will know when to stick up for myself and be able to do so.  But they just tell me how important it is to get a doula, that I can still change care providers or birth locations, etc. 

Seeing my chiropractor last week was kind of the last straw.  Although I'd still say I had a good experience, I went there to find more confidence.  I was hoping that with the adjustments I'd have more faith that the baby would get in a better position, and I'd possibly even have a smoother labor/delivery.  While I'm happy with the adjustments, it was pretty clear that although he had faith in my body, he didn't think I'd be able to overcome my obstacles and have a NUCB.  He stressed the importance of a doula, and recommended a local natural birth group.  I was sad yet another person didn't have faith I would achieve my goals, and pursued joining the group he recommended.  I was unable to attend their monthly meetings because of the time it was being held, and when I asked to join their private facebook group I was denied because they prefer all members to attend the meetings.  I understand this because they share very private information, but why is it so hard for me to get support!  Being rejected by the group made me hopeless, jealous of others, and bitter about my circumstances.  I was left wishing I didn't know any better so that I could be happy and clueless about my situation.

I'm not totally sure what to do next, but I've moved on from that low last week to at least looking for solutions.  I need to have confidence in myself, and while support would help, it's not a magic wand.  I'm a strong woman.  I did a 49hr labor with no epidural, and if my labor repeats itself I'm capable of acting differently.  I did it by myself last time, and though the circumstances are different, I need to have faith I can go it alone again.  I know now when they ask me any question or make any suggestion I should ask for time to think it over, and that's something DH will help me with.  I know to ask about my options.  I know more about myself and how I labor.  I have more information about me than I did last time, and I hope it makes the difference!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

32 Weeks - How I'm Feeling

How Far Along? 32 weeks! I'm due 1/3 so we're at well under 2 months to go by the calender.  I really need to, you know, start getting baby things ready!

Any Pregnancy News? This weekend I did a detailed post containing the results of my fetal growth ultrasound, Big Baby, Bad Position. The title pretty much says it all, however, there's still more than enough room for hope.  The baby's body measured exactly average, but the head measured just about 4 weeks ahead.  Disproportionate head size is only a health issue when the head is measuring too small, so the good thing is that he's healthy.  The bad is his weight is already estimated at 4lbs.  The carefree OB assured me it's far to early to worry about needing an early induction, but considering my terrible reaction to pitocin during the birth of my son, I started to worry.  At the very least, I need to get this baby into a good position (yes, yes, I know he has plenty of time to move). So, I finally took extreme measures.

31weeks w DS in Blue - 29w3d this preg in white.  Seems bigger this time!
I promise to take some current belly pics for next week!
I went to see a chiropractor!  I started by conducting a search of chiropractors certified in the webster technique in my area.  I wasn't necessarily looking to have that technique done, but figured someone certified in it would have experience with pregnant women. I found two within reasonable driving distance.  I picked the closest one and was satisfied he was what I was looking for from his website, but I also started asking around about him.  It turns out he's fairly well known in the area and I got lots of good reviews.  My first appointment with him was yesterday morning, and I was happy that he shared my views on birth.  I kind of feel like I have no IRL cheerleaders or birth supporters, and it was nice to have one person say they thought I could do it.  After the initial exam I was kind of disappointed to hear I had no major issues and am actually aligned pretty well.  I was hoping he'd say there was some sort of fixable problem and the baby would pop right into position now that it was fixed. HA!  He made some minor adjustments that I barely felt, and claimed to loosen my round ligament muscles.  I left feeling exactly the same as when I'd gone in.  Later, during my afternoon workout on the gym treadmill I started to really feel those round ligament muscles stretching.  The baby has been more active, so now I'm pleased with the results.  He suggested I return in a week, but due to financial restrictions and travel plans, I'll be back in 3 weeks.

Position of the baby? I can never tell!  Sometimes I can, but after a while he moves again.  He moves all the time which is both annoying and reassuring.  I hate not knowing how he's positioned, but the fact that he's moving so much leaves me optimistic that he will eventually settle into a birth friendly position.

Sleep? Generally ok if I stay on my side through the night, but sometimes I roll onto my back in my sleep.  If that happens I end up moaning my way out of bed, and am so achy the next day.

Movement? Lots of movement!  For months I've been thinking this baby doesn't move as much as my son did, but sometimes I wonder if I only remember how much my son moved at the end of pregnancy.  This kid's movement is really picking up!

Weight gain? 161.6 this morning.  Still no weight gain! So weird! It's been 3 weeks with no weight gain.  Of course, it makes me worry, but the baby is still moving lots and I just had an ultrasound so it's hard to worry too much.  It's just so odd, though.  I promise I'm eating a ton!
Before and after pic's of our former junk room and new guestroom. 
It's been a long time coming!

Gender? It's a boy!

What I miss? I always miss my second child. And lately I miss my regular hormones.  I've been lonely the last two days, and mostly because I don't go anywhere or talk to anyone.  It's frustrating because I know if I got more social interaction I'd feel better, but I only feel like sitting at home feeling sorry for myself. ugh!  I know it's just hormones, and I have at least been productive while sitting at home, but next week I really need to get out more.

Labor signs? I had some real strong Braxton Hicks contractions this week!  I know it's early to be celebrating, but I'm hoping my uterus performs a bit better (QUICKER) this birth.  I always take BH contractions as a sign that it's in training for the big task ahead.

Food Cravings? McDonalds new holiday mint mcflurry.  I've only had one, but I think about it every day. lol.

What I'm looking forward too?  I love these magical years where I'm birthing and raising babies and small children, but I can't help but look forward to my 40s.  Teenage boys, school activities, endless caffeine if I want, endless alcohol if I want, able to work out as hard as I want, and sleep!  My body will be my own, and I'm looking forward to that though I don't want these years to go by too fast either.

That's all for this week! Sorry I didn't get around to any belly pics, but check out my Halloween Belly pics from last week.  I had a pumpkin painted on my belly.  It was too cute!  Belly pic's next week, for sure!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fetal Growth Scan Details - Big head, Bad position

Well, my biggest fears were that the baby would measure too big and be out of position, and that's just what happened.  However, I think there's still quite a lot to be happy and hopeful about, and I'd like to remain hopeful until the end. To recap the events thus far, I was having a fairly normal pregnancy until I nearly failed my 1hr gestational diabetes test by 4pts.  I refused to take the 3hr test, but agreed to test my blood sugar twice a day as a back up method of determining if I had GD.  At the same 28 week appointment, my belly measured 4 weeks ahead or like that of a 32 weeks pregnant woman.  This was especially concerning to the Dr's because of the GD possibility, and a growth scan ultrasound was ordered.  I wasn't concerned about either issue, since I was fairly sure I didn't have GD, and my son had also been a big belly (though not a big baby). 

I really stressed myself out the week leading up to the growth scan.  I was pretty sure the baby would measure at least a week large because my son did, but I remembered in actuality he was only 7lbs 4oz at 41 weeks.  I was worried the oversized measurement in combination with the questionable GD diagnosis would lead to an induction.  An induction would probably lead to pitocin which I had a horrible reaction to during my son's incredibly long labor

But none of that would matter if the baby was breach, and I had a feeling that his positioning wasn't right. The night before the growth scan he was moving so much, and moved himself out of the position he'd been in for two weeks.  I was bummed about this because I'd never get confirmation that he'd been head down, and if I was right and he WAS head down, he wasn't anymore.  Growth scan day came.  The first of many, many questions I asked the tech was about the position, and she said transverse.  Not breach, but not head down either.

Hand blocking the way, but look at the nose/mouth!
He looks so much like DH to me!
Then we moved on to the measuring.  I pestered the poor tech with questions every step of the way.  She quickly double checked he was a boy (can you ever confirm the gender enough?) and verified normal fluid levels.  She then measured the size of the leg bone and it came out exactly at 31w+1d every time she measured it.  I was feeling confident.  Next, she measured the circumference of the abdomen, and it came out to 31 weeks exactly.  I was feeling even more confident!  All that was left was the head circumference measurement and we were home free.  It came out to 35w+4d.  Though I was reading it on the screen, I kept asking the tech if it was true.  "Does that say 35 weeks? Is that 4 weeks ahead? Do you have a good angle? Do you think this measurement is accurate?"  She answered yes to each question all the while trying to do her job.  She continued measuring and ended up throwing out the +4days measurements so the final head circumference was 35weeks exactly.  The head alone would surely be in the 90th or 99th percentile, but her machine only does an average of everything.  All together she came up with a baby measuring in the 76th percentile and estimated to  weigh 4lbs 4oz.  Obviously I take issue with that weight since only the head is measuring large, but let's move on to my consultation with Dr. J

The good news this week is that after looking over my blood sugar log, Dr. J sort of agreed that I don't have GD.  I'd never met this doc before, and she agreed with everything I said so readily I can't trust her.  I feel like she's just agreeing with me because nothing matters right now, and will change her tune if she happens to be on call during my birth.  However, I don't have to test my blood sugar anymore for the time being, and am happy about that.  Dr. J agreed my numbers were good and home testing wasn't necessary...for now. ("for now? What do you mean, for now?" I said in my head, but decided not open that can of worms.)

She also pointed out that babies don't come out transverse, and it becomes a very uncomfortable position as they get bigger.  She believes the baby will turn one way or the other before 34 weeks, and this sounds reasonable to me.  Plus, The little guy has already moved back to however he was before the scan.  Hopefully, that is head down and so this has already been resolved.  Dr. J said she didn't think the big head was a problem at all. (This is where I started to lose all trust in her. lol)  DH and DS were with me, and she observed that we were not a small headed family. HA! I couldn't argue with that, though ;)  She said even though it would certainly not be a problem for the birth, we should do another growth scan in 4 weeks or so, just to get a final estimation of the weight.  At that statement, red flags were jumping out everywhere.  If it's definitely not a problem, then why do we need another estimate?

My immediate feeling after the appointment was still relief.  The baby was healthy, and although my fears of a poorly positioned big baby had come true, at least now I knew.  I'm confident I can birth a big baby.  It's true I had a long and difficult labor with my 7lb baby, but I feel like he stretched me out and now I can do something bigger.  I've decided to go against my husbands wishes and try to see a chiropractor specializing in pregnant women. We'll be having that discussion tomorrow. UGH. I hope I can get an appointment!  If so, I feel like that will help out a lot.

Another thing I felt was peace.  I don't absolutely have to have a natural unmedicated birth.  I think a lot of the problems with my first birth resulted from me being inflexible.  I want to be more flexible with this birth.  I need to start being open to induction now so that if it comes to that I don't stall the birth process with fear and anxiety.  It's possible to be induced without the use of pitocin, and that's something to hope for.  I think it's likely the team of doctors at that practice will allow me to go past my due date without induction.  My due date is still 9 weeks away, and we've only had one challenging measurement.  Everything else with this pregnancy looks good, and I'm still feeling very positive about a natural birth.  As we get closer to the birth I want to remain open minded and flexible about my birth options, and thankful!  It looks like no matter how the birth goes, we're getting a healthy baby!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

31 week update

How Far Along? 31 weeks! How did I get this far! Seems like so little time is left! Not nervous, just excited ;)

Any Pregnancy news? Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Why? My super duper important growth scan is tomorrow! That's what it's all hanging on at this point.  To recap, I was diagnosed with undiagnosed GD through an unusual (or maybe not that unusual) set of circumstances.  I don't think that's accurate.  I've been testing my blood sugar twice a week for 2 weeks and never gotten a result that indicates GD.  That, combined with a normal growth scan, should prove I don't have GD and set me up for the natural birth I'm hoping for.  It will still be possible to have a natural birth with GD, but more difficult.  At last belly measurement I measured 4 weeks ahead, however, I also measured that large with my son and he was only 7lbs 4oz when he was born at 41 weeks.  His growth scan was done earlier, but inaccurately showed he was 1 week ahead.  So, even if the scan does show this baby is a bit larger, I'm not sure I'll believe it.  Oh, I could go back and forth all day! What if it shows he's 4 weeks ahead just like my belly? I'd be more likely to believe that, and what would that mean for me avoiding induction?  This is how my whole week has been!  Just rolling around among the possibilities.

The stretch marks are scarier than the pumpkin! ;)

Position of the baby? This scan will also verify the baby has turned head down.  Yet another thing that could effect the birth.  eek!  I'm even more confident then I was last week that the baby is head down.  I've googled some different belly mapping techniques, and though I'm not a very visual learner I got it down in about an hour.  Now every time the baby moves I can visualize his position.  I'm not sure I'm doing so accurately, but we'll find out tomorrow.  I've been doing well staying in gravity friendly positions, but I've been terribly lazy about inversions.  I'm not sure I've done more than 3 this week.  If any one's getting nervous about a possible breach baby, I highly recommend the spinning babies program. So many great tips!

Maternity Clothes? Why are all my maternity shirts so short! That's all I have to say about maternity clothes at the moment ;)

Weight Gain? What the heck? I didn't gain any weight again this week. What is up with that? Good thing the baby is moving so much otherwise I'd be freaking out.  So, still at 30lbs gained.  I ended up walking 22miles last week which kept it down, but this week the hurricane closed the gym on monday.  Yesterday we were occupied with multiple Halloween activities so I wasn't able to go again.  Maybe next week I'll start increasing again? I guess I'll mention it to the doc tomorrow if I remember.

Gender? It's a boy!

What I miss? I always miss my second childAside from that, I've actually had a great week!  I've really been appreciative of this time as a stay at home mom with my son.  The weather has been great (up until the massive frankenstorm) and we've just hung out all day playing and staying busy.  Halloween was exhausting, but so much fun!  I wish I had my second child with us to enjoy it, and I can't wait for this baby to arrive.  I love being a mom and I'm so ready for another child.

This was last week, a blurry 30 weeks!
Labor signs? I haven't had hardly any contractions this week, but sometimes I get the feeling that I'm having mild ones and just not feeling them.  Sometimes my belly gets really tight and my back hurts, but I never feel the actual contraction.  I rarely had BH contractions my first pregnancy and then had a super long birth.  I'm hoping in a few weeks I'm having them a lot more to maybe help shorten labor.  We'll see!

Movement? Even stronger than last week.  This entire pregnancy I've been thinking this baby doesn't move as much as my son did, but now I'm thinking maybe I just remember what movement felt like the last months and have been unfairly comparing the too.  This baby might not move as often, but his movements seem stronger!

Sleep? It's this week that I've come to realize I was more tired during the 2nd trimester than I cared to admit.  I didn't have the daily exhaustion of the 1st trimester, so I thought I was better.  But now I realize I couldn't get up in the middle of the night if my son woke up, and I often couldn't get up in the morning and DH had to do everything.  Especially these last two weeks my sleep has gotten a lot better.  It's not so hard for me to get up at night or stay up if necessary, and though I'm tired in the mornings it's not the overwhelming sleepiness I had for so long.

Food cravings? I could not get enough ground beef yesterday.  I had a ground beef containing casserole for lunch and then needed hamburger helper for dinner.  Then I still felt like I hadn't eaten anything all day!  McDonalds is advertising some sort of holiday mint ice cream concoction which sounds delicious.  Oddly, after having a large salad almost every day for the whole pregnancy, I haven't really desired them at all this week.  I think I might be done with them.  I hope I get back into it because they're healthy!

What I'm looking forward too?  It's finally late enough that I feel comfortable getting out DS's old baby clothes and beginning at least the list making part of getting ready for a new baby.  It's still a bit early though, but luckily I'm still finishing up some painting in our guest room which is occupying my free time.  It won't be long before I feel like I'm behind in preparations, but I won't be.  Realistically, I probably have between 8-10 weeks left to prepare.  That's a long time when I'm so eager!

Hope Everyone had a Happy Halloween!