Tuesday, August 10, 2010

35 Weeks: Classes are Done!

Week 35: Baby is the size of a honeydew melon.

Baby D’s senses are continuing to improve -- when light peeks in through my stretched belly, her tiny eyelids and irises blink and dilate. And, baby can now recognize and react to simple songs… time to start practicing our lullabies! Growth (at least inside my womb) is starting to slow, and I will likely notice baby descending (dropping) into my pelvis at the end of this month allowing me to get a fuller breath for the first time in several months!

Pregnancy is still not comfortable, but I'm not yet at that stage where I'm ready to be done and can't handle it anymore. I take things day-by-day and definitely some days are easier than others. Funny how things like picking up a dropped pen seem like no big deal in my mind, but I hear an audible groan when I bend over. Yep, sometimes I forget that I'm pregnant.

Bill was fortunate enough to join me last week attending a class on breastfeeding at the hospital. As much as we got several laughs throughout in response to text messaging with his buddy, watching live videos of appropriate "latch-ons" and instructions to blow up pink ballons and draw on an areola and nipple with a Sharpie - it really was an informational and valuable class. We were a little shocked at the maturity of some of the other participants, but like Bill said - at least they came to class! It isn't like it is required.

All joking aside, I am very nervous about this process. Throughout my pregnancy, I can honestly tell you I wouldn't do ANYTHING to risk the health and safety of this baby. The benefits of breastfeeding can't be denied and I really want to give it my best shot. The instructor was very open about the difficulties and it did make me pretty nervous. However, I know that being nervous about it isn't going to make it any easier. It was good having Bill there to see it doesn't always come "naturally" and there are a lot of steps to work toward making it successful.

Last Saturday, we had all-day childbirth class. After seeing how nervous the breastfeeding class made me, I wasn't exactly looking forward to this one! However, Bill and I really enjoyed the class and we again got really valuable information. Here are some of the things we learned that we found particularly interesting:

EPIDURAL: Gone are the days of having to wait until you are dilated to a certain amount to get an epidural. At least at our hospital, upon check-in you can notify the nurse that you are ready and she can start preparing the supplies and contact the 24-hour anesthesiology to get your epidural started right away. Also a thing of the past, is reaching a point where you've progressed too far for an epidural. Our nurse explained it is a slightly different process, but you can still get an epidural at 10 centimeters dilation. HOORAY! Do you even know what this means to me? What excellent news!

EARLY LABOR: How interesting to learn that a warm bath early in labor can stop contractions! The nurse explained hospitals often do this when they are very busy and need to stall labor a bit for a progressing mother. Therefore, at home if contractions are 20 minutes apart, I am not to take a bath. However, a warm bath when I am farther along can speed things up. If contractions progress to ten minutes apart, I can take a bath before I come to the hospital. I like this news too! I can get in a bath at home before going to the hospital (if labor progresses in this fashion, anyway).

COMING TO THE HOSPITAL: Obviously, if my water breaks, we will go straight to the hospital, but likely we will have early labor at home. For me, I'm not instructed to go to the hospital until I am dilated to five centimeters. However, the nurse explained that if we are feeling extremely uncomfortable or nervous, we don't necessarily have to wait either. Good news!

EPISIOTOMIES: The frequency of episiotomies have decreased by about sixty percent in the last decade. Physicians now find that controlling a small tear is a better option than automatically doing an episiotomy and recovery is actually quicker for the mother. Sounds good to me, but also so interesting. I was still under the impression they almost always did this!

BRAXTON HICKS: The nurse asked us if we were having Braxton Hicks contractions. I didn't raise my hand. She explained what they felt like and said most of us were likely having them and just didn't know it. When she explained what they felt like, sure enough, I have been experiencing that feeling. I just thought it would feel more deliberate. She explained that the constriction and tightening can be felt across the belly or just in one spot. It can often feel like the baby's foot or hand pressing out, when it is really the uterus tightening. How interesting!

Overall, similar to my gestational diabetes diagnosis, I always feel better once I have information. This class dispelled many rumors for me and gave me up-to-date information about labor and delivery in 2010.

I am so fortunate to go through this process with Bill. He is already so supportive and it meant a lot to me seeing how interactive and interested he was in the classes, wanting to make this process go as smoothly as possible - for all of us. We were each asked to share the highlights of the pregnancy. The highlight for me was sharing the news with our friends and family. I had been so sick and it was difficult not being open about it and to get to share our wonderful news knowing our pregnancy was viable, was just amazing. Bill's highlight was finding out Baby D is a girl and putting the nursery together. He also said that walking into that nursery after a not-so-good day has been really encouraging for both of us.

I love my husband and am getting pretty excited to meet this baby. But, I still have a lot of work to do. The car seat hasn't arrived yet and there are little loads of laundry to wash. And we really need to pack our bags. So, Baby D, just hang tight for now, OK?

And... we had an appointment this afternoon. Dr. Sorenson guessed that the baby weighs about 6.5 pounds right now and her prediction for delivery is that she will be over eight. Yikes! She is keeping watch on my swelling. My Mom had eclampsia with me, convulsing during childbirth and almost died. It can be genetic, so they are watching for signs and symptoms with me, but so far, no problems. How about the GREAT news? I found out one good thing about gestational diabetes. We get another ultrasound! They want to monitor her growth due to my diabetes. Be expecting a new picture of Baby D on Thursday! I can't believe I get one last peek at her before delivery day.

Have a great week!

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