Still Waiting

The top of my left leg hurts a lot especially when I’m sitting or lying down in the same position for awhile. 

My stomach is so heavy at times.   I had thought I stopped gaining weight, but I’ve actually gained a few pounds.  I’m now at 168 pounds.  We’re not going out as much. 

I’m still doing the natural induction methods like nipple stimulation (once for 45 minutes a day), eating pineapple and bouncing on the exercise ball.

I saw my midwife Kat for a prenatal visit on Sept. 16, 2014.  She said the baby sounded good and he was in the LOA position.  She tried to strip my membranes, but she said my cervix is closed shut.  I was not dilated, the baby is at –3 station and I’m only 10% effaced.  If you have no clue about dilation, station and effacement, check out this website.  The teacher in our Lamaze class mentioned dilation and station, but dilation, station and effacement were all fully explained in the Laugh and Learn About Childbirth DVD we watched. 

Baby George is further down than last week.  Let’s hope he moves down even more soon.  Kat will try to strip  my membranes on our Thursday prenatal visit.  She recommended seeing an acupuncturist or a chiropractor to further induce labor.  She also thought castor oil would be good to take to hopefully bring on labor.  I did some research online to find about castor oil.  The castor oil acts as a stimulant to the bowels, which irritates the uterus and causes contractions.  It does have side effects of diarrhea, vomiting and contractions that may or may not be related to labor.  If it’s done too early, it may be a long, painful labor.

I do feel frustrated and anxious.  I really want the baby to come out soon.  I know he’s not ready and he will come once it’s time.

Ivan and I took our nightly walk on Sept. 17, 2014.  I felt more Braxton Hick contractions with pain during walking.  It wasn’t anything that lasted long (only a few seconds) and it didn’t have a regular pattern to it.

I couldn’t sleep when I tried to sleep that night.  I only ended up sleeping 5 1/2  hours.

On Sept. 18, 2014, I saw my midwife Kat.  She said the baby is moving a lot and sounds great.  I asked to try to strip the membranes again.  She did a pelvis exam and I wasn’t dilated again.  I’m now 50% effaced and the baby is lower at –2 station.  She said things are happening slowly.  She wasn’t able to strip the membranes. 

Kat says the baby likes to do the sausage dance which  means he rolls from side to side.  He reacted to Ivan’s piano playing.  Maybe he’s trying to dance! 

Kat recommended seeing Dr. Wilkes for an ultrasound and a biophysical profile of the baby.  She said they had to grade the placenta to see if it’s fine for me to stay pregnant or to induce me to give birth.  I was going to let my placenta know it should start studying now.

Later that day, I made an appointment for the ultrasound and monitoring for tomorrow morning.

That night, Ivan and I made eggplant parmesan.  My friend said her friend swore that eggplant parmesan helped put her into labor.  Ivan found the Eggplant Parmesan recipe that helps induce labor.  They call the ladies who went into labor from eating the eggplant parmesan Eggplant Babies.  It’s worth a try!  I love pasta, so I was all for it.

Eggplant Babies Eggplant Parmesan

The eggplant parmesan was tasty!

I went to Desert Perinatal Associates on September 19, 2014.  I was taken to a room for the ultrasound.  I had to give a sample of my urine. 

The sonographer looked at the baby.  Baby George was being stubborn and moving around like he usually does.  She asked if I was leaking water and I told her no.  She said my amniotic fluid was low.  Maybe I had leaked water and didn’t know it.  She showed us his feet, but I had no idea what I was looking at.  It just look like a big blob on the screen.

I was taken to the monitoring room once a room was free.  The nurse was trying to find the heartbeat.  She asked if I remember where the sonographer found the heartbeat during the ultrasound.  I couldn’t remember though.  I was strapped to the same machine from the last monitoring.  Baby George does NOT like the noise and he was trying to kick the straps off my body again.  She said I would be monitored for 20 minutes.

I was sitting there for 10 minutes and Dr. Roberts and an intern doctor entered.  Dr. Roberts said that my amniotic fluid was very low and the placenta was 3.1.  He said that I needed to give birth today or as soon as possible.  He asked for my midwife’s number.  He said he would call her and let her know.  He said that if by Monday I didn’t give birth, which he didn’t recommend, I would have to come in for an ultrasound and monitoring. 

I didn’t know what Kat would do to try to induce me.  I would call her after I got out of the appointment. 

We saw Dr. Roberts on our way out and he said the number I gave him didn’t work.  Ivan said it was right, but maybe you dialed it wrong.  He got a hold of her and told her that I needed to give birth today or as soon as possible. 

I called Kat and she said I should start taking castor oil.  She had some natural castor oil that she would bring me.  We set up to meet in 20 minutes at a coffee shop near our house. 

Ivan and I met up with Kat.  She gave me the castor oil.  She said to take 1/4 cup of castor oil in orange juice.  She said to blend it and then drink it.  I read the same thing and to plug your noise since the smell is very strong.  She said to take a bath after and drink water.  She said after 3 hours I should give her a call.  She said if the contractions got too uncomfortable, she would send over the birthing tub.

We drove back and Ivan made the orange juice-mango castor oil blend for me.  It’s best to drink the mixture right away since castor oil doesn’t really mix that well.  All I could taste was the mango which was good.

I drew a bath and relaxed in the water while I drank water.  It’s good to drink a lot of water when taking castor oil since it can dehydrate you.

An hour and 5 minutes later, I started going to the toilet and had diarrhea. 

I bounced and did exercises on the ball while Ivan and I watched a show on the tv.

I called Kat at 4 pm and told her that I was getting diarrhea and Braxton Hicks more often.  She told me to take more castor oil and call her in 3 hours.

Shannondoah arrived after 4 pm for my hypnomassage.  She was also going to do acupressure (pressure points) to help induce labor.

Ivan, Shannondoah and I went for a short walk.  Then, I had my hypnomassage which relaxed me and I fell asleep.  I had diarrhea again after I woke up.

Shannondoah listened to the heartbeat, placenta and cord.  She said he had a healthy heartbeat.

At 7 pm, he had moved down 2 inches.  We went on another walk around the neighborhood.  I was having feeling more uncomfortable with Braxton Hicks, some were with no pain.

I called Kat and she said I didn’t have to take any more castor oil for the night.  She said to bounce on my exercise ball and keep hydrated with coconut water, water and water with Emergen-C in it. 

I bounced more on the ball and later took a short nap.  We went on another short walk. 

Shannondoah left and she said she would be over tomorrow.  Kat will be coming by as well to see how my progress was.  We’re still waiting for me to go into labor. 

Jen at 41.4 weeks

I’m now 41.5 weeks pregnant.  I just wish I would give birth already!  I hate waiting.  I’m worried about the baby’s health.

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Monitoring Plan

On August 9, 2014, Hypnobirthing class was cancelled since our teacher Mandie was sick with a bad sore throat.  We will be doing the make-up class on August 23, 2014.

Ivan recently started hypnotizing me before we go to bed while we listen to Enya or some other relaxing music.  He does fear releasing and gives me positive suggestions about the upcoming labor and birth.  Ivan asked how scared I was about the labor and I said 6, he said he would work with me to bring that number down.  It only lasts a few minutes, but I think it helps me sleep better during the night.

I still go to the toilet two or three times a night.  I’ve read in forums that some women go to the toilet 6 or 7 times a night.  I’m glad I’m not like that!

I asked my friends and family on Facebook for labor and birth playlist suggestions.  Some were good while others weren’t.  We got many recommendations like  AC/DC, Enya, Bob Marley and classical music.  I’ve been listening to different types of music and remembering music I grew up to.  I’ve created a big list and keep adding to it.  I’ve put the songs in categories with Slow, Fast, Time to Push and Baby’s Here music.  I like a variety of music with songs from Cocteau Twins, Pink Floyd, Wilson Phillips, Blur and Moby.  I will show you my playlist once it’s done which should be soon.

On August 11, 2014, Ivan and I went to Desert Perinatal Associates.  I thought we should see the baby on the ultrasound for the last time.  I didn’t think we needed the monitoring every week. 

Ivan and I went to a room way in the back of the doctor’s office.  I didn’t even know the office was that big.  The room was extremely cold.  The nurse told me to sit down on a brown recliner chair.  I lifted my shirt.  She strapped two round things onto my stomach and tied it on.  The round things were connected to a machine that was monitoring the baby’s fetal movement. 

Jen sitting while getting fetal monitoring

I look like I’m strapped to the recliner and ready for take off.  Baby George did NOT like the noise that the round things made.  He kept kicking really hard trying to push it off.  I sat there for awhile which seemed like ages, but I think it was only like 25 minutes. 

Fetal Monitoring reading

The nurse came back and she looked at the paper which almost reached the floor and said everything looks good.  She told us that we would be taken to another room for the ultrasound once a room opened up.  I don’t like waiting, but sometimes it’s unavoidable.  I’m glad that I brought my Ina May’s Guide to Breastfeeding book and my phone to keep me occupied.

A few minutes later, we were moved to another room.  The sonographer came in and put the transducer on my stomach to check out my amniotic fluid.  The baby looked weird since there’s not much room in my belly.  We did get to see that the baby has a lot of hair. 

Baby's hair on ultrasound

I’m glad the sonographer captured a picture of his hair since last time we only saw it for a second. 

The office wanted me to come back this week since the monitoring was for twice a week and not once a week.  I thought that was a bit excessive.  I decided not to go back for more monitoring and ultrasounds.  I know it’s not good to expose the baby to too much radiation unless absolutely necessary.  George will be happy that he doesn’t have to hear that loud noise during the monitoring.  I know that George is doing good and he will come out when he’s all good and ready.

I worked on my Hospital and Home Birth Plans since I would be seeing Kat.  I used the Hypnobirthing Birth Preference worksheet and the bump’s Birth Plan to create my Hospital Birth Preference.  I used the Hypnobirthing Home Birth plan to write my Birth Plan for the Home Birth.  It’s good to have the Hospital Birth Preference in case I am transported if there’s any problems.

On August 11, 2014, I saw my doula Shannondoah for my hypnomassage.  Shannondoah is very chatty and friendly.  I told her that I was listening to my Hypnobirthing birth affirmations daily.  She said I should write 5 birthing affirmations and read them before going to bed.  She said I could Google birthing affirmations for ideas.  I let her know that Ivan was doing hypnosis with me before bed.  I said he was doing fear releasing and she asked what he did.  I just told him he was sending me positive thoughts.    She did fear releasing, but I was so tired that I fell asleep.  She said she was sure that subconsciously I heard the information.  I needed that massage since it really worked out my sore back since I haven’t been going to the chiropractor.  I’ve been too lazy to go to a new chiropractor.

I saw my  midwife Kat on August 12, 2014 for my big 36 week prenatal visit.  Everybody that we wanted at the birth was supposed to be at this visit.  I asked my mum, but she said she didn’t want to hear me scream.  She insisted my dad be there since she’s not too keen on the home birth and my dad has delivered lots of babies.  He’s a retired doctor now.  I asked my dad if he wanted to be there and he said no.  I didn’t want anybody else there since I think it’s a pretty intimate thing.

Kat brought a box filled with DoTerra essential oils for me to smell to see what I liked and didn’t like for the labor and birth.  I liked most of them, but thought a few were weird, three were a maybe and three were a definite no.

Our doula Shannondoah said she would come to the labor whenever I wanted.  I would call both Kat and Shannondoah when my water broke.  I asked Kat when she would come to the house.  She would come when my surges (contractions) were 8 minutes apart.  Of course, she would come at any time before that if I REALLY wanted to see her.  Shannondoah has worked with Kat before, so she will keep in touch with what’s going on during the early stages of labor.  Also, it’s good to know that Margo, her assistant midwife, will probably be at the labor and she’s only 5 minutes away from our house. 

If I still hadn’t given birth at 41 weeks, I would be told my options of induction.  She recommended a camping sleeping pad or a Tempur-pedic pillow for underneath the tub which would be for my benefit for more padding under my pelvis.  I have a yoga mat, so I think that would suffice.  She said she would bring a Kaya birth stool which could go in the water tub.  She said I should look it up on the internet.

Kat and I went through my Birth Plan for the Home Birth.  She told me she would use the doppler since it can be used in water and the fetoscope can’t. 

Kat gave Ivan a to-do list for the labor:

1) Bleach or use a cleaning product on the toilets, tub and shower. 

2) Make sure that I use the toilet every hour or hour and a half, even if I’m asleep. 

3) If I have the urge to push, bring out the purple paper called When Baby Arrives Before the Midwife, call Kat and she will go over the steps listed on the paper.  Let’s hope that I won’t be delivering this baby on my own!!

4) Have me get in a comfortable position like on my left side with my leg up.  Don’t cut the cord and put the baby on my uterus.

I asked her about what tests are performed at the birth.  She told me to research the Vitamin K shot which can be done up to 72 hours after the birth and also the eye drops.  She doesn’t think the baby needed the eye drops since I didn’t have any diseases to worry about.  Hepatitis B can be done with our pediatrician.  Kat will do the PKU testing at the birth and 2 weeks after.  She does the Apgar testing.  She doesn’t do the hearing test which will be done at the pediatrician’s office.  Kat said she does 2 week after care.

The baby’s position was LOA which is the optimal position for labor.  I told Kat I forgot to ask the sonographer the weight of the baby.  She said it’s not always accurate.  She felt the baby and thought he was 5 1/2 to 6 pounds. 

It’s great talking to Kat since she’s filled with lots of stories about births and positive things and advice.

Ivan saw in one of our pregnancy magazines that you can get a free breast pump through your insurance.  It listed the company Lucina Care.  You can sign up one a month prior to your due date.  Ivan signed up online, but we got denied.  The e-mail said we should contact our insurance company.  Ivan called our insurance company Sierra Health and we are to go to Total Home Care.  Ivan called Total Home Care and he was informed that all I needed was my insurance card and I could pick a breast pump.

I’ve been having more Braxton Hicks surges.  I usually notice that I’m having one when I take a walk.

I have had two vivid dreams about Baby George.  The first one was that I saw George’s foot go up really high (too high to be real) in my stomach.  I grabbed onto his foot and yelled for Ivan, so I could show him.  The other dream was me sitting on our red couch.  I felt the baby’s foot and then the baby slid out and I noticed water everywhere.  How very weird!  I’m not sure what my fascination is with George’s feet is.  I guess I really want to see him put his foot up in my stomach, so we can capture it on camera.  I’m sure my labor won’t be that fast or that easy.

Ivan and I woke up early for our fourth Hypnobirthing class on August 16, 2014.  I made sure to bring my yoga mat since Mandie wrote us an e-mail that we would need one for the exercise techniques she was going to show us.

We watched two Hypnobirthing videos.  Luckily, these births weren’t that graphic compared to other videos we’ve seen.

The class were shown different exercise techniques like Pelvic Rock, Modified Cat Cow, Counter Pressure, Hip Squeeze, Butterfly up and Butterfly Down and Squats.  Mandie showed us squats really low.  I do squats as low as I can go.  I have bad ankles and have had leg cramps during the pregnancy, so it’s painful to go really low and stay there.  She also told us about Kegels which she recommended doing 100 a day, 10 at a time where you tighten to the count of 10.

She talked about how to do a perineal massage.  Use olive oil or unscented KY on your fingers.  Put two fingers in the vagina up the to knuckle with little pressure and go up and around in a U shape.  You can do this for 5 minutes.  The massage is good to increase elasticity and blood flow.

Mandie talked about things to help natural induction like drinking one quart a day of Red Raspberry Leaf tea during the 3rd trimester and taking Dr. Christopher’s Birth Prep which is taken 6 weeks prior to your due date.  She went over postpartum care.  She recommended frozen chamomile pads and healing/comfort salve.  She said pat your perineum down and then put organic raw honey and water in a bottle and splash it on the perineum.  Then, put  comfort salve on the perineum.

She went over problems that may occur like the water breaking and the fluid being green, yellow or having black particles.  You should definitely call your midwife or doctor and go to the hospital since something could be wrong.

On August 19, 2014, I saw my midwife Kat since now my prenatal visits are weekly.  She said everything looked good.  I had lots of amniotic fluid.  She said George was low in my pelvis and in the ROA position.  She thinks he’s so cute and can’t wait to meet him.  We feel the same way.  We can’t wait to hold him, cuddle him, kiss him and smell his new baby smell. 

She asked if I had a diffuser and I forgot to order one.  I ordered one later in the day on Amazon.  Gotta love Amazon Prime!  She asked if I had a lactation consultant in mind.  I told her I think my friend Carrie could recommend one.  If she didn’t, Kat said she could suggest a good one.  She said that I should call my insurance company and see if they have lactation consultants they refer mums to and if they did, she could tell me the good ones.  She said lactation consultants are covered by insurance companies usually up to 12 visits.  She said usually only one is needed.

She asked if I picked a pediatrician.  I told her that one of our best friends Noelle is a pediatrician.  She took down her information. 

I am now 37.3 weeks pregnant.  I have been feeling good, but I do get more tired now. 

Jen at 37.3 weeks in the nursery

Every now and then I will take a nap.  It’s not good to take a really long nap late in the afternoon because then it takes awhile to go to sleep at night.  If I know we’re going to do something late at night, I will make sure to take a nap.  I’ve so very excited to meet Baby George.  I think he will be born in September.  The due date is now 2 1/2 weeks left.

Hypno Ultrasound

I am getting a lot bigger.  My stomach feels really heavy sometimes.  Sometimes my pelvis area hurts.  I walk (well, really waddle) a lot slower now.

I still find it amazing that Ivan and I created a baby. I know we’re both so excited to meet the baby.  It feels great to be pregnant and feel his kicks, movement and hits.

My carpal tunnel syndrome has been worse.  I still get the pins and needles feeling in my fingers.  It can be painful, too.  My fingers haven’t swelled up more, so that’s good.  But, my fingers can get very numb.  I do exercises like holding my wrists and going in circles in both directions.  I really hope that the numbness goes away after I give birth.

Ivan and I didn’t return to the BabyCare parenting classes.  It was a lot of good information, but boring.  I’m currently reading Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby’s First Year: From Doctors Who Are Parents, Too!

I have been feeling weak sometimes between meals.  I’ve been trying to eat more snacks between meals.  I have been getting fuller quicker than I used to.  Don’t think there’s as much room for food in my belly now.

I saw my midwife Kat and she asked if I was doing the squats.  I had stopped because of the leg cramps.  She thought I should start doing it every day.

We received the birth kit and I’ve been buying things off our needs list.  I’m really excited, but still getting scared about the birth.  I do believe the fear releasing helps that Shannondoah does when I’m having my hypnomassage.

When we saw Kat on July 15, 2014, the baby’s position was Left Occiput Anterior (LOA) which is the fetal position at the start of birth.  His back is forward, facing my belly.  Looks like he’s practicing for labor!

My ankles and feet have swelled up.  I finally bought new slip-on sneakers since I felt like I was going to bust out of my old ones.

On July 19, 2014, Ivan and I attended our first Hypnobirthing class at Well Rounded Mama.  The class starts at 9 am which is way too early for me.  I was hoping I didn’t fall asleep during the class.

Our instructor is Mandie Medford.  She showed us a video with the creator of Hypnobirthing Marie Mongan.  Her voice was very monotone and I think she was trying to put me into a trance.  No wonder she’s so good at hypnotizing!

Mandie is really nice, but she tends to waffle on and on.  I kept zoning out when she was talking.  I’m not sure if it’s because she just talks a lot or because I was really tired.  She talked about the History of Birthing, how fear affects birth and how the uterus works.  It’s interesting and crazy to hear about how in the 1950’s chloroform was administered to women when they gave birth.  They were passed out when their babies were born.  When they awoken, they were bruised since they were pulled out by forceps.

She showed us a breathing exercise where you inhale for 4 count and then exhale in for 8 count.  I didn’t think exhaling in made sense at all.  She said it was like when you hum.  She made a sound when she exhaled in.  Ivan agreed about the exhaling in not making sense since when you exhale the air goes out your mouth or your nose.  Exhaling in sounds like inhaling to me.

We watched two Hypnobirthing births where both women seemed very calm.  The classroom was so cold.  I’m definitely bringing a blanket next week.

At the end of the class, we were given the Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method book by Marie F. Mongan and the Rainbow Relaxation CD.  I don’t know why this isn’t available in MP3 format. We were to listen to the Rainbow Relaxation twice a day and listen to and recite the Birthing Affirmation once a day.  Mandie said she covered up to page 79 in the book.  I will definitely be reading the book to refresh my memory.   I found the Rainbow Relaxtion MP3 tracks online and put it on my iPhone.

Ivan and I went to Desert Perinatal Associates on July 21, 2014 for an ultrasound.  An older lady named Dianna was our sonographer.  She moved the transducer around to see different parts of his body.

Baby Boy Ultrasound at 33.1 weeks

The baby has hair!  Ivan thought it looked like he had a mohawk.  We also saw both his eyes at the same time and he blinked twice.  At one point, I think he gave us the thumbs up sign.  Maybe he’s telling us that everything is going well.

Baby's Face

She said that it’s getting crowded in my stomach now.  Dianna gave us 3 pictures and a CD with a few pictures of the baby.

Dr. Wilkes came in a few minutes later.  He told us that the baby looked good and he was of average size this time.  He told me to pay attention to his movement.  If he isn’t moving as much, he might be unhappy or something may be wrong.  He said I had a good amount of amniotic fluid.  He said I will come in once a week starting at 36 weeks, so he can monitor my amniotic fluid and the baby’s heart.

I started reading the Hypnobirthing: The Mongan Method book and listening to the CD.  The book is good.  I like how positive the book and the Birthing Affirmations are.  I do my squats during the Birthing Affirmations to stay awake because Marie Mongan’s voice is so monotone that it makes me want to fall asleep.  The Rainbow Relaxtion track is an induction to put you into hypnosis.

I am now 33 weeks and 3 days.  My thighs and calves have gotten bigger.  My back hurts.  It’s been getting harder getting out of chairs and getting in high chairs.

Jen at 33 weeks 3 days

I can still bend at the waist to get things on the floor, but I need to hold on to something to get up.  I feel good, but I get tired and usually take a nap if I get the chance.

Fetal Classes

I finally called Ann Pomeroy about taking Lamaze classes.  The current 4 week session had already started.  I set up a make-up class and moved the Hypnobirthing classes to a later date since they’re both on Mondays.

Ivan and I went to the Lamaze class at Ann’s house on June 7, 2014.  We learned Relaxation Technique, Paced Breathing, symptoms preceding labor, what happens 2 weeks before and what happens 24-48 hours before.  Also, we got a sheet with light exercises to do which has stick figure illustrations of how to perform them.

Light exercises

The relaxation technique is where you isolate certain body parts and make them relax.  I’m not sure why I was having problems with it.  I think because I’m used to hypnosis and getting an induction and gradually relaxing my body.  I’m sure with practice I will get this technique down.

We went to our second Lamaze class on June 9, 2014.  There were two other couples and one of the couple’s doula.  In class, we learned Modified Paced Breathing and things to help with back pain during labor.

Modified Paced Breathing is where you smile and make a short He sound while nothing from the breast up moves.

One of the back pain relievers is Slow Dancing with Paced Breathing.  Ivan found it silly that Ann played music while the couples slow danced.

On June 10, 2014, Ivan and I went to Dr. Wilkes’ office for my fetal echocardiogram.

Erica was our sonographer again.  It’s always great to see the baby on the ultrasound.  He was moving around a lot since he’s stubborn.  She took some pictures of things.

Baby at 27 weeks

A few minutes later, the Italian pediatric cardiologist came in.  Erica moved the probe to get a good view of the heart for the fetal echo.  Dr. Acherman kept saying Good, good.  Ivan thought he was evaluating a pizza, not our baby.  The doctor said everything looked good.

We saw Dr. Wilkes a few minutes later.  He said that the baby was a week behind in size.  He said it wasn’t anything to worry about though.  He told us that the baby’s heart looked good.  He asked if the baby kicked a lot and I said yes.  He said it’s good that if he kicks a lot since it means he’s happy, if his movements decrease it could mean that something is wrong.  He said we would do another ultrasound in 6 weeks.

That night, Ivan and I went to our first BabyCare class.  Our teacher was a lady named Jane.  Half of the 2 hour class was filling out paperwork which wasn’t very exciting.  The class is free as part of the Parenting Project run by the Clark County Department of Family Services .

The last part of the class was getting handouts and Jane talking about the subject.  We received handouts on Jaundice, Colic and Shaken Baby Syndrome.  The class is pretty boring, but has lots of good information.  We will be going to next week’s class since Swaddling and Diapering will be covered.  But, I’m not sure we will continue going since it’s pretty painful sitting in the class the whole time.

I’ve been getting headaches at the top of my head and the back of my head.  I’m not sure if it’s related to my eyes since I have dry eye and eye allergy.  It could be the pregnancy or both.

I saw my midwife Kat on June 17, 2014.  I told her about the leg cramps I had before.  She checked out my Calcium Magnesium pill and thought I wasn’t getting enough of the magnesium from the pill.  She recommended a more natural pill to take.

We went through the list of things I need for the birth and the birth kit I need to buy.

Kat pricked my finger to get drops of my blood.  She tested my iron.  My iron is low, so she recommended taking spirulina powder everyday.

My fingers have been getting more numb and sometimes it hurts.  I’ve been wearing the wrist brace for the carpal tunnel syndrome.  I’ve been massaging doTERRA’s Deep Blue Rub on my fingers since Shannondoah gave me some.  It smells similar to Vicks and makes my fingers tingly.

I put the spirulina powder in a cup of water and it’s green and made me think of the swamp monster from Scooby Doo.  Ivan tasted it and said it just tastes like green vegetables.  I thought it had a gross aftertaste.  I tried to drink it while plugging my nose, but I still got the nasty aftertaste.  Ivan put it in a smoothie and at the end the smoothie was slimy.  It’s best to use cocoa powder or anything with a strong flavor to cover the strong taste of the spirulina.

I haven’t been feeling as good since more things have been bugging me.  It can be hard to stay positive especially when you’re hormonal and you cry so easily.  I am getting scared again about giving birth and from hearing about people’s experiences.

Ivan and I attended our last Lamaze class.  We learned a lot of breathing exercises.  We will have to practice and hope that we can remember it when I’m in labor.

I saw my doula Shannondoah on June 25, 2014 for my hypnomassage.  I told her about my fears and during my hypnomassage, she had me light a fire and put my fears into the fire.

The baby kicks and hits a lot more now.  His kicks are getting harder.  He seems to hit or kick when he’s hungry and right before I’m about to go to bed.

Today, I saw Kat for my prenatal visit.  Everything is good.  She recommended other iron rich things like yellow dock and blackstrap molasses.

Jen at 30 weeks and 2 days

I’m now 30 weeks and 2 days.  I’m getting really big and it feels like I’m smuggling a bowling ball under my shirt.

Moving Anatomy

In the morning of April 29, 2014, we went to Desert Perinatal Associates to see Dr. Wilkes which is the doctor who works with my midwife Kathya

We were called in to see the genetic counselor Tracy first.  She talked about the amniocentesis.  I asked if there was a blood test instead since my friend Carrie told me about it.  She told us about two tests.  One is called the Panorama test which is a blood test that I take.  The other test (which I can’t remember the name) takes both parent’s blood.  Ivan doesn’t like getting his blood drawn, so he thought I should do the Panorama test.  I don’t mind getting my blood drawn at all.

Ivan and I went back to the waiting room.  I used the toilet while waiting to be called.

My name was called and we went to a room.  The lady asked if I needed to use the restroom.  I said I already went.  Conveniently, there was a restroom that connected to the room we were in. 

The lady was getting everything ready for the ultrasound.  I asked if there were going to do a transvaginal ultrasound.  She said the regular and a transvaginal one were being done today.  I asked Is the transvaginal necessary? and she said it was to measure my cervix.  She gave me a sheet and said to undress from the waist down.  She said the doctor would be along in a few minutes.

Jen waiting to do her anatomy ultrasound

Dr. Wilkes’ nurse came in.  She is a tall, pretty blonde.  She was young probably in her mid 20’s.  She did the ultrasound to check the baby’s anatomy.  She said the baby was stubborn because he kept moving around.  My family is quite stubborn, so that makes sense.

Baby's Nose and Lips

We saw his spine and his nose and mouth.  She kept pointing out things and we just had to nod since we weren’t really sure what we were looking at, while she was a trained professional.  She asked if we knew if it was a boy or girl.  Ivan said Yes, it’s a boy and she confirmed that she did indeed see a third leg.

Ultrasound for a baby boy

She asked about the due date.  I told her that I got another ultrasound and they said I was 9 days earlier.  They were still basing my original due date of Sept. 7th.  She said that the baby was 13 oz which was right on track.  His heartbeat was 161 bpm. 

She printed a picture of the baby with it’s arms up and put pictures of the ultrasound onto a CD for us to take home.

Next, she did the transvaginal ultrasound.  I read an article that a lady sued the doctor because she felt like was being raped when she got the transvaginal ultrasound.  It’s not anything to be scared about.  A probe which is covered in a condom and with gel on top is placed inside the vagina.  She checked my cervix.  The ultrasound only lasted a few minutes and it doesn’t hurt at all.  She told me that Dr. Wilkes would be in to talk to us soon.

Dr. Wilkes came in and sat down.  He had the brightest sneakers on that you could probably see from 2 miles away.  He was the happiest doctor I’ve ever met.  He was excited that we were having a baby.  Ivan thought the doctor was so happy that it was actually him having the baby. 

He told me that my cervix was long, so I didn’t have to do another transvaginal ultrasound.  He said everything looked fine.  He said I should come back in 6 weeks to do a interval growth ultrasound and a fetal echocardiogram.

Next, I went to have my blood drawn for the Panorama test.  It was three vials of blood.  It hurts a little when the needle goes in, but after that it’s fine.  It doesn’t make me feel faint.  The test results will come back in 7-10 days.

Ivan has been on a salad kick lately.  My favorite salad is definitely the watermelon feta salad that he made on May 1, 2014.

Watermelon Feta salad

It’s so refreshing and tasty.  It’s a great summer salad.  He got the idea to make it since the restaurant Forte has a Watermelon Feta salad on special.

Later that afternoon, I went to get a facial.  I was lying down with my eyes closed.  I felt bubbles, but harder than usual.  I put my hand on my stomach and felt the baby kick or hit my stomach.  I think he was saying Is anybody out there? like in the Pink Floyd song.  It was really cool to feel the baby moving. 

I felt even more movement later on.  It’s such a great feeling to know he’s moving and kicking inside.  We were going to see a comedy show.  The baby kicked me hard which made me jump a little.

The doctor’s office called on May 2, 2014 and said that the results of the alpha-fetoprotein test came back negative.  The test checks for spina bifida and anencephaly.  The baby has a 1 in 4,300 chance of getting spina bifida.  It was good news and the results came back really fast.

I took the quiz Are You Having a Boy or a Girl? that I saw online to see if it would accurately guess I’m having a boy.  It did guess that I was having a boy. 

I still wake up once or twice a night to go to the toilet.  It’s annoying, but even more so if I wake up Ivan which has happened once.  I do try to be as quiet as possible when I head to the bathroom and get back into bed.  I usually go right back to sleep.

I’ve been getting tired during the day and I usually take a nap.  I took a nap once for 2 hours and it didn’t effect me that night.

I went to see my chiropractor Dr. Simoncelli on May 5, 2014.  He said I was crooked, so he adjusted me and hopefully I’m back to normal.

Ivan and I have been wondering what the baby is up to.  We imagine he’s taking a bath with his rubber ducky when I’m showering.  He could be reading a book or just taking a nap.  I talk to the baby even more now since he’s been moving.  The baby books say that after 20 weeks the baby can hear you.  I’m sure he’s been listening our voices, to the music we play, Ivan’s piano playing and my singing. 

My fingers have been really numb when I wake up and sometimes it hurts slightly.  I told my doula Shannondoah this when I saw her for my hypnomassage on May 7, 2014.  She thinks that I have a pinched nerve caused by the way I sleep.  She showed me how to lie differently on the pillow.  I did switch to my old pillow since a few weeks ago we bought pillows that claim to “never go flat”.  I have noticed recently that my right ear lobe is tender to the touch.

The body pillow arrived in the mail, but it doesn’t have a pillowcase.  The pillow is almost as tall as me!  I have used it twice at night, but it’s hard keeping the covers on me and the pillow.  It gets cold and the nipple pain will return which wakes me up.  So, I have been thinking of wearing a tank top under my shirt which may help with the cold.

The doctor’s office called again about test results.  I called and the nurse said that everything was low risk.  I said that they already called me with results.  It was the second part of the test that tests for Down syndrome, Edwards syndrome, Patau syndrome, Turner syndrome, Triploidy, Vanishing twin and sex chromosome abnormalities.  It also confirmed that I was having a boy.  It’s a relief to know that everything is good with my baby. 

Last week, we got the nursery painted Sleepy Blue on two of the walls – the last wall will have wallpaper on it.  The last 3 days, Ivan and I (well, mostly Ivan) have been putting Ikea furniture together.  I hand him the screws and parts while he puts it together.  The nursery now has flooring that was put in today.

Jen at almost 22 weeks

I’m now almost 22 weeks and I’m feeling great.  My mid and lower back have been hurting me.  The chiropractic adjustments and the massages help it out.  I pee a lot more frequently now.  I guess the most annoying thing about pregnancy for me has been getting cold and my nipples getting hard and it’s painful.  Even just drinking a smoothie or cold water can do it.  It’s weird that I wear a jacket sometimes in the house, but it definitely helps when I start getting cold or to help warm me up. 

Gender Announcement

Sorry for the lack of updates.  Ivan and I took a trip to New York City and I kept putting off blogging.

We left on March 29, 2014 and spent 8 days in New York City.  Stayed in an apartment in Astoria, Queens which is filled with Greek seafood restaurants.

Ivan was busy with business, so I got to explore New York City on my own a bit.  I went to the MoMA which had some cool and interesting art.  I also got a chance to walk around the HUGE Central Park.  I made sure to visit the Imagine Circle and the Alice in Wonderland statue.

Alice in Wonderland statue

I wanted to visit the Shakespeare’s Garden, but I didn’t get a chance to.

We had a good time in New York City.  Wish the weather was better since it mostly rainy and was really cold.  My nipples still got hard (and hurt badly) even with a t-shirt and a heavy winter jacket on.. that’s how cold it was!  I make sure to carry a jacket with me if I think a place is going to be cold.

Sometimes, I put off making appointments.  I did this when making my appointment for my ultrasound.  It turned out that my doctor that is connected with my midwife didn’t have an appointment for a few weeks on April 22nd really early in the morning.  I’ve never been a morning person, so I decided to make an appointment with another doctor at the same place a day earlier.  Ivan and I really want to find out the sex of the baby.

I talked to my midwife and she didn’t like any other doctors at Desert Perinatal Associates.  So, I called back the next day to change it and Dr. Wilkes didn’t have an opening until April 29.  He doesn’t work afternoons and he doesn’t work every day.  I was bummed, but I will try to see if any appointments open up sooner.  We will probably do an ultrasound at one of the ultrasound places through one of the deal websites.

I did so much walking at the art museum that my feet hurt and I was actually limping a little on my right leg.  It went away the next day, but it didn’t feel very good.

I’ve still been going to the chiropractor weekly.  Dr. Simoncelli joked that when he presses down on my sinus points it’s my favorite and I said Not really.  It hurts!  He pressed down so hard once it almost made me tear up.

I have been getting sick of drinking water since I have to drink a gallon a day.  I usually don’t drink that water normally.  I have been drinking sparkling water since we have a Sodastream machine.  I’m going to buy Crystal Light soon to add flavor to my water.  I also read that you can flavor water with frozen or fresh fruit.

My hands still go numb and my wedding ring will eventually not fit on my finger.  My feet are expanding, too.  I’m now in search of slip-on shoes since I know I won’t be able to tie my shoes soon.

Ivan found a good deal on Living Social for a gender check ultrasound.  We were happy to find out that they had an opening the next day on April 15.

On April 15, 2014, we went to Baby’s First Image for the ultrasound.  I presented the Living Social voucher.  On the form that Ivan filled out for me, it asks if I’ve had an ultrasound before.  Ivan marked no and the lady at the desk asked us and he said no.  She told us that we had to do a thing to determine the due date and tells us how the baby is lying for $25.  Ivan said then I’ll change it to yes.  The lady was too strict and stuck to the rules.  She said I’ll still tell the doctor that you’ve never had one.  How dumb!  I don’t know if it says it on the website (like the lady said), but it doesn’t say anything like this on their Living Social deal page.  We ended up paying the $25.  Ivan thought it would be handy to know the due date since the doctor we saw at the beginning to confirm the birth just based it on the start date of my last period.

The lady at the desk took us to the room.  There was a high bed with a stepstool on the side.  I laid down and she asked me to raise my shirt and she put a paper towel at the top of my pants.  She said the lady doing the ultrasound would be in the room shortly.

Maria came in and she’s very nice.  We told Maria that we wanted her to write the sex of the baby in an envelope since we were doing a gender reveal cake.  She said that was fine.  She had heard of it before.  Ivan saw a video that showed the gender reveal cake and a little boy being disappointed that he was going to have another sister.

She put the wand (no idea what the proper name is) on my belly which had a cold gel on it.  There was a big projector screen on the wall where we got to see the baby.  It was cool to finally see the baby.

Baby Ultrasound at 18 weeks

Maria measured the baby’s head.  She said that the baby was actually due later than we thought.  It was due on September 16 which is my sister’s birthday.

We got to see the baby in 4D which makes the baby look like an alien.

bby3d

It looks like it has the flat Filipino nose.  I would rather it had Ivan’s nose.  She told us that the baby is really skinny and is mostly skeleton.  We also got to hear the baby’s heartbeat.  She said the baby’s heartbeat was 160 bpm.  She said the baby looked healthy.  I think she forgot to tell us how the baby was lying.

Maria told us to close our eyes while she took a picture of the baby that revealed the sex.

It was really great seeing the baby for the first time!  It does make you feel even more excited for the little one to come.

We left Baby’s First Image and looked up bakeries.  Ivan found one that was close to our house called Drago Sisters Bakery that makes the gender reveal cake.

At the bakery, Ivan asked if we could get a gender reveal cake.  Unfortunately, it takes awhile to make a cake so we wouldn’t get it today.  The lady asked the baker and she said we could pick it up tomorrow at 5 pm.  The baker looked at the paper inside the envelope.  She then asked us what we wanted.  Ivan said we didn’t want to say since the look on her face might reveal the sex of the baby.  She placed the envelope in another envelope – probably to make sure we don’t peek!  We bought a 16” cake with a vanilla cake with strawberry filling.  The baker said she would put blue and pink on it with baby feet.

I was so tempted to peek at the envelope, but I resisted since I wanted it to be a surprise.  I still thought it was a boy since people have been saying it’s a boy since I’m carrying low and I don’t look worn down (which is the old wive’s tales that you look worn down when you’re having a girl since she’s stealing your beauty).

On April 16, 2014, I went to see the chiropractor.  I had a big knot in the middle of my lower back.

Ivan picked up the cake later on.  We wouldn’t be cutting the cake until later since Ivan wanted to do the gender reveal cake with his parent’s over Facetime.  His parents live in Southend-on-Sea, England.

We posted a picture of me asking our friends a few days ago if they thought it was a girl and a boy.  20 people guessed a girl and 12 people guessed a boy.

At 11:30 pm, which is 7:30 am England time, we called up Ivan’s mum and dad on Facetime.  Ivan placed the cake on the table.  I set up the camera, so I could videotape it.

Ivan handed me the knife and I cut it to make a slice, but the icing was so thick that you couldn’t really see the cake inside.  I said Oh, it’s a boy, but I was actually seeing the baby feet on top of the cake.  We finally got to see the cake and it was blue.  It was a boy!

Gender Reveal Baby Cake

Ivan’s dad already thought it was a boy since he would always talk about his grandson.  It’s so good to finally know the sex.  We decided to announce it on Facebook the next day.  I started working on a graphic for the baby announcement.

In the morning of April 17, 2014, I finished the baby announcement and posted it on Facebook.  It turned out great!

iJen Baby Announcement

iJen is our nickname that Ivan’s brother Neal came up with. which combines our names Ivan and Jen.

Here’s a picture of our baby boy showing that he’s a boy.

Baby Boy Ultrasound

Now, we can decorate the nursery.  We already have wallpaper with animals on it that we’re doing on one wall.  We’re thinking of a really light blue for the other walls.  I love browsing the different nurseries on Project Nursery.  I’ve collected a few ideas from a couple nurseries that I might use for the nursery.

I saw my doula Shannondoah on April 18, 2014.  She did a hypnomassage on me which I really needed.  She worked out the knot that was bugging me in the middle of my lower back.  I saw my birth again in the sky while I was lying on the water.  I like the beach that I visit during my hypnomassages.  I love beaches and floating in the water.

Jen at 18 weeks and 4 days

I’m now almost 19 weeks and I’m doing good.  The only thing that annoys me is the nipple pain which comes more often now.