This is my site where I will be sharing my thoughts, feelings and happenings. In the words of Austin Powers, "It's my happening, baby, and it freaks me out...yeah!" Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Childbirth Education Class - Part 2

We've completed the class and I have about 5 weeks to review the excellent handouts and my notes in order to digest the info and practice relaxation techniques and breathing patterns before it's show time.

During the 3rd class, the teacher talked about the 2nd and 3rd stages of labor. The 2nd stage is pushing, so she showed us many good pushing positions and explained how it all works and how you are supposed to breathe then. She informed us that the groaning/grunting sounds a woman may make during the pushing actually helps by relaxing her bottom area, which makes it easier for the baby to move down and then out. I found that very interesting. The 3rd stage is delivery of the placenta. We watched a birth on video and it actually showed the 3rd stage too and I was shocked at how large the placenta was. I recently learned that the doctor puts it in a bucket thing and examines it to make sure it's all there...oh my, what a job!

During the 4th class, we went on a tour of the Women's Pavilion. It's a facility separate from--but attached to--the hospital where all the labor/delivery/recovery takes place (even with c-sections). It is a fairly new place so everything is so nice there. My teacher's boss is in the class with his wife and she wanted to get him back for all the teasing he dishes out to her at work. She brought her digital camera and had one of the guys secretly take pictures of her boss throughout the tour. She wanted to get him in as many different positions as possible (standing alone, standing close to his wife, his profile, him picking his nose or yawning, etc). Only the few of us that made it to class a few minutes early were in on the joke so it added a great element to the tour. When she was showing us a labor/delivery room she called him forward to help her demonstrate the good birthing positions. She even had him put a hospital gown on. Now this guy is a big and tall guy and watching him lie in the birthing bed or squat while leaning against the bed was hilarious (especially because we knew she was doing all that to get back at him).

I was pleased to hear and see that there is a jacuzzi tub in each labor/delivery room so I can labor in the water. I hear that it helps a lot. I was also pleased to hear that they encourage rooming in of the baby after she's born so they don't have a baby nursery. The security there is really good and the baby never has to leave our sight once she's born if that's what we want. If they need to check on her at the nurse's station or somewhere other than our room, Craig can go with her. Each room has a mirror that can be set up so the women can see their baby being born if they'd like. Sometimes it helps for a woman to see her baby's head via the mirror move closer to the exit when she's pushing (like if she's had an epidural and can't feel what's going on and has trouble knowing how to push). The rooms have wireless internet and a TV with DVD player--sweet!

During the 5th and final class, the teacher talked about unexpected outcomes, postpartum care, and feeding the baby, etc. After class started, the couple with the earliest due date arrived with their newborn. She was induced the day after the hospital tour (a week after her due date) and after much laboring ended up having a c-section. We were shocked to see her out and about running errands 5 days after having a c-section...she was doing so well. Seeing her newborn and hearing that 2 other couples had their babies that week (both 3 weeks early!) was a reality check for the rest of us. Craig really felt scared upon seeing such a tiny baby and knowing that soon we will have one.

A class reunion will be planned for this summer so we can all reconnect and see each other's babies.

It was nice taking a class that was offered through the doctors' office because the teacher has worked with and knows the doctors well. She answered many questions I had for my doctor so I didn't have to wait until my next appointment to ask him. The class met in the lobby of the doctors' office--which is attached to the other side of the hospital that the Women's Pavilion is on--so it's handy having everything right there.


Sunday, February 18, 2007

Another Pregnancy Update

I'm in week 34 of my pregnancy and baby Alisa is about 4.75 lbs and 18 inches long. My belly is quite large but I'm not uncomfortable yet. It just takes me longer to get up from a sitting or lying position. Alisa's movements are very interesting now. Many of them glide across my belly and can be seen by anyone sitting near me. She moves at least every few hours and always right after I eat. Sometimes she won't be moving, but I can feel what I think is her head pressing against my belly creating a hard spot. It is all so fascinating. At first her stronger movements were a bit disturbing because she would keep kicking the same spot over and over again and I just wanted her to stop or at least pick another spot for a change. Her movements haven't disturbed my sleep yet, which Craig found amazing one night as he felt her pounding away in there while I was sleeping with his hand on my belly. I read about babies having the hiccups in the womb and I finally felt the rythmic bumping that indicated that Alisa had them. I've noticed that she's had them 4 times now--one time was really noticeable and lasted like 10 minutes.

The thing I've noticed about my pregnancy is that just about every day is different. If I have a problem one day I shouldn't worry too much because it will probably be gone by the next day. Then something new will pop up. Some days I'm highly emotional, some days I'm not. Some days my back hurt, some days it doesn't. Some nights I don't sleep well, some nights I sleep great. Some nights that uncomfortable feeling in my thighs returns, some nights I don't have it at all. Some days I'm hungry all the time, some days I'm not so hungry and skip snacks between meals. Some days I have heartburn, some days I do not (even when eating the foods that tend to cause it). Some days I'm really tired, some days I'm not.

I had read that you don't shed much hair while you are pregnant but the normal shedding will return afterwards. Well, I didn't notice a change until maybe the 3rd trimester. I realized I suddenly no longer had hair falling out in the shower or when I brushed my hair. Glorious! A new development that has stuck around for awhile is that I sound congested like I have a cold and my voice keeps cracking. I feel fine though and don't have a stuffy nose or anything. I still don't ever have to go to the bathroom when I wake up in the night. Some nights I wake up many times to roll over but at least I fall back asleep quickly now. I blow my nose daily (like I did before I was pregnant because of allergies) and there is usually a bit of blood, which is common. I'm starting to see the hint of stretchmarks on my belly below my belly button--yikes! Course I can only see them if I hold a mirror there since my belly is so big that I can't even see my feet when standing and looking down. My left ankle and both hands were swollen for weeks but finally my ankle is no longer swollen. My hands are still swollen and they fall asleep every night now even when I'm not lying on them at all. I've felt a few Braxton Hicks contractions in the past month (not belly just feels tight for around 30 seconds to a minute).

The day after I returned home from Christmas in Tulsa (week 28) I had the diabetes blood test. They had me drink a glucose drink that tasted like fruit punch and they drew my blood an hour later. The results were normal--wahoo! I felt fine during the test and had no trouble drinking the drink within the allotted 5 mintues (it wasn't super sweet like I thought it would be). I had a fasting glucose test years ago to check for insulin resistance and I didn't feel so great during that test. The drink was orange and much sweeter than this fruit punch one. I didn't have to drink as much but I had to drink it faster. I felt a bit sick during the hour wait with only that glucose coursing through my veins.

A new development has been back pain near my right shoulder blade and on the right side of my spine in the middle of my back. This started around the beginning of February and was very sporatic and mild. Then, a week ago on Friday night it was very intense. I felt a bit sick and was writhing in agony and crying. I've tried heat pads, ice packs and an electric Shiatsu massager. None of them really help, though they felt nice on the rest of my back. Craig's massages help for a bit but then the pain returns. Standing and walking around helps but if I do that too long, my lower back begins to hurt from the weight of my belly (I may get one of those belly support bands to deal with that).

I went to the chiropractor last week and he told me what was going on with my back. Craig has been going to this guy for months now since he's had back pain for years. I really like the guy and he really seems knowledgeable. He did some simple tests to determine where my problem areas are (I went to a chiropractor for several months after a car accident over 10 years ago and I don't remember him doing anything like that). He had me turn my head as far as I could to the left and then as far as I could to the right (it didn't go as far to the right as it did to the left, which surprised me). He glided some kind of heat sensor over my back to spot problems areas too. During all of this, he kept rattling off a bunch of big words (names for muscles and parts of the spine, etc) into his little recorder so he could make notes in my file later. It was all pretty cool. The best part was when I got to lie face down on the "table" (with the center section adjusted to make room for my belly) and he put warm pads, etc on my trouble spots and turned on the power and I got a nice heated massage. He also adjusted my back a bit with a precise tool and with his hands. I will be going to him twice a week for awhile until things are straightened out. I can't wait for this pain to be gone! It has been coming back more frequently since that one brutal time. It creeps back after I've been sitting for a bit so it makes it hard to work on the computer all day, to drive places, to watch a movie and to sit in church, etc.

Being pregnant costs money. Obviously the doctor visits and hospital stay cost money, but something you don't think about beforehand is the extra money you'll spend on food, toilet paper and your water bill. We go through a gallon of milk before a week has gone by (one used to last us more than a week) and I eat more (and more fresh fruit) so I have to go to the grocery store more often. I urinate a lot more often than normal so that uses more toilet paper and water (flushing). And because I eat so much (lots of cereal too) I use lots of dishes and we have to run the dishwasher like every other day, which makes our water bill go up.

I rarely get sick and I don't like going to the doctor. I don't go at the sign of a cold like some people do...I only go if I'm really sick and not doing well (if something lasts more than a few days). In fact, even though I've had the flu (or something else that caused me to throw up) a couple of times in the past few years I don't remember the last time I've gone to the doctor for an illness. I've gone to my gynecologist many times each year, but not a regular doctor. I hate waiting 30 minutes in the lobby with other sick people and then waiting another 20 minutes in the examing room for the doctor to come by. Well, I actually like going to the obstetrician, which is a good thing because you go monthly, then bi-weekly, then weekly during your pregnancy. It's fun to see all the other pregnant women in the waiting room (and it's nice to be in a waiting room where nobody is sick). The appointments are nice because they are quick, painless and reassure me that everything with the baby is fine. It's just so exciting to talk about the baby!


Tuesday, February 13, 2007

St George Island

The 3rd day after we moved to Florida, we decided to check out a nearby beach. We drove about an hour and a half with my parents to St George Island. Here are some pics from that trip on August 1st:

It was a nice empty beach!

We meant to go back again soon after, but it didn't happen (because of my pregnancy sickness) until this past Sunday. It was too cold to swim, but we went just to walk the beach and introduce Minga to the sand and waves. She absolutely loved it. Our friends Keith & Karen came with us and brought their dog Devin. They just got her a few weeks ago so they are still working on some commands with her. They kept her on the leash (as you are supposed to there) because when she runs off it's hard to get her to come back. We let Minga off her leash so she could fetch sticks in the ocean. She obeyed us pretty well and only got the 4 of us wet and sandy (she didn't jump on the strangers passing by which is impressive).

My big belly's first beach appearance:

Keith and Devin:

Craig looks at Keith before throwing the stick for Minga to fetch:

Minga bringing the stick back to shore:

I love the pattern of the waterdrops coming from Minga's swooshing tail:

Minga rinsing off the sand and salt before heading home:

We watched this powered paraglider zoom around for a bit over our heads:

I was impressed with how clean the bathroom's the building on the left in the background:


Saturday, February 03, 2007

Childbirth Education Class

We've been to 2 of 5 childbirth education classes so far. The teacher is really friendly and spunky. There are 11 couples total in the class and I think my due date is the furthest away by a week. During the first class we broke into groups in order to get to know another couple better. Then after about 10 minutes of socializing, each couple introduced the other couple to the whole group. Our group actually had 3 couples in it since there was an odd number.

Next, the teacher talked about myths and fears, the fear-tension-pain cycle and creating a birth plan. She also showed us anatomy diagrams to show how displaced a pregnant woman's organs are due to the growing baby inside her. Crazy stuff. We discussed pregnancy discomforts and how to relieve them and she showed us some good stretches to do and breathing patterns for relaxation.

During the second class we talked more about relaxation and breathing patterns, as well as coping methods to use during contractions. She told us the signs of impending labor and how to properly time contractions. We discussed the first stage of labor (which has 3 parts--early, active and transition) and medication advantages and disadvantages.

I found it all very interesting and helpful. She said only about 30% of women will have their water break spontaneously before going into labor. And she mentioned that some women get a true nesting instinct 12-24 hours before they go into labor. This is a sudden burst of energy where they want to clean and organize everything. This usually happens after a night when they can't sleep. Now many women will spend their time cleaning and getting ready for the baby weeks and months before their due date and this is also called nesting. But, the TRUE nesting instinct (that you may or may not notice) is one sign of impending labor. Animals, such as dogs, have the same instinct 12-24 hours before they give birth. They have a burst of energy and root around gathering things like blankets and stuffed animals (if they live indoors) to make a nice bed for their pups.

Here is my belly at 32 weeks (I never tire of looking at it):

I've been watching "A Baby Story" on TLC every day lately. Every birth is so different and it helps me to see all the variety (good and bad). I am already mentally preparing myself to push this baby out! Ever since we started attending the childbirth class and I started watching "A Baby Story" I have been dreaming about baby Alisa and her birth more and more. It is starting to become more real and I am getting very excited. I can't wait to finally hold our baby girl!


Master Bedroom Furniture Pics

I've been promising pictures of our new bedroom set for many months now. They are finally here!

We ordered the set from a raw wood store down the street from our house so it is quality stuff and we will have it forever. We had them put the finishing on and deliver everything. The finish smelled so good and made our whole room smell like vanilla for at least a week. Yum! The set includes the bed (with headboard and footboard), 2 matching nightstands, a man's dresser and a woman's dresser with mirror.

We picked this bed because of the many drawers underneath it. The bed is really tall because of these drawers though and I may need a step stool soon to safely get into bed with my big pregnant belly (so far it's been fine). At least Minga can't jump up on the bed because it's so stinkin' tall. Oh, another reason it's so tall is because our pillow top mattress is really really deep. It has a pillow top on both sides so you can flip it to either side and still enjoy the pillow top (it's super comfy!). So, the new bed replaced the box spring and frame of our old bed setup. We put them upstairs underneath our super thick air mattress so it would seem more like a bed for guests.

There are 6 drawers on my side of the bed...

...and 3 really deep drawers on Craig's side.

Craig has his own dresser and I have my own dresser. It's a nice change from sharing a small dresser and only having 2 drawers each. My dresser is so large I have a drawer for each type of clothing...a small drawer for socks, a small drawer for underwear, a small drawer for bras, a large drawer for jeans, a large drawer for workout pants, etc. It's so great!

Minga sleeps by the dressers on either of her beds. The small one is her first bed that we bought when we got her at 6 weeks old. We bought her a bigger bed months ago since she outgrew her small bed. However, she still sleeps on the small one most of the time. She just curls up in a little ball to make it work. It's cute. She also plays with that little bed on occasion. It has held up very well.


Friday, February 02, 2007

Recent Happenings

Craig shaved his head on January 15th (it's an annual thing, though usually occurs in the summer so it was long overdue). He also ended up shaving his gotee completely off (something he hasn't done since 2000)! It took me several days to get used to seeing his chin again. He really does look different (and much younger) without the facial hair. He did it so he can look more professional when he visits a school this semester for his research and also in anticipation of baby Alisa (she would grab and tug hard on his gotee if he kept it). This picture makes him look like a crazy guy who is pulling his hair out in chunks:

Last Saturday we took Minga to the dog park and met our friends Keith & Karen there. They just got a dog (named her Devin) so we wanted to let the two dogs have some fun together and with others. Minga spent much of the time at the dog park racing around like a chicken with its head cut off. Usually she spends more time sniffing and roaming with other dogs, rather than just running by herself. She has a great time no matter what she does there. After leaving the dog park, we took the girls to the nearby pond and Minga went swimming (fetching sticks in the pond) for quite awhile. Devin didn't want to get in the water so she watched from dry land. Then we took them home and went out for dinner at a little Italian place by our house. Keith & Karen came over after a bit and brought Devin so she could play with Minga. Minga is younger and more aggressive than Devin, but eventually Devin wasn't so timid and the two were soon playing tug-o-war with a braided rope. They had a blast and we enjoyed watching them. Minga was very sad when Devin went home.

The next day she was still sad and also very sore. She wouldn't sit down all day and her tail just hung down limply. We first noticed the problem when we asked her to sit and she started to but then stood back up. She tried several times but just wouldn't sit all the way down so we realized something was wrong. We figured all the swimming (she uses her tail a lot for that) and romping with Devin really worked her muscles. Her tail was a bit better by the next day as it would perk up occasionally for an excited wagging. By Monday, she was back to normal.

Here is Minga with her limp tail:

I realized I can now easily rest bowls of food on the top of my belly when eating in the living room. Pretty cool!

We saw this trash-filled car at Borders last Saturday and just could not believe it. The whole back seat was piled high with trash (wrappers, magazines, newspapers, cups, etc) and the front passenger seat was piled up to the window with the same. There was even some on the driver's seat and floor. The whole car was greatly weighted down by all that trash...the exhaust pipe was so close to hitting the ground. It was all so disgusting and we can't imagine why someone would do that to their car?! They obviously don't ever have any passengers.

The city workers came this week and replaced the old run-down manhole covers in our yard:

Labels: , ,