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!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

More Pregnancy Stuff

"Up to 1 percent of pregnant women develop a condition characterized by itchy, red bumps and larger patches of a hive-like rash on their bellies. This is called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) or polymorphic eruption of pregnancy. PUPPP usually begins in the third trimester and is more common among women carrying twins and those having their first baby. The eruptions usually show up first on the abdomen around or in stretch marks (if you have any) and may spread to your thighs, buttocks, and arms. PUPPP is harmless for you and your baby, but it can itch like crazy!" Well, lucky me is in that tiny 1% as I now have the rash (started week 35). It has stayed just on my lower belly (where I can't even see it without a mirror) for now though, thank God, and it doesn't itch all the time (but when it does itch, it ITCHES!). My feet started itching a lot (especially on the sides of my heels) during week 37 but I don't see any red bumps or anything.

During week 35 they did a vaginal and anal swab test to check for Strep B. Someone (either at the doctor's office or the lab) lost the sample so they had to repeat it the next week. It was really no big deal (no discomfort during the quick sample collecting) and the test results turned out to be normal. I mentioned that I had been having a little watery discharge with an odor each morning like clockwork for a few days and the doctor took a sample to make sure it wasn't amniotic fluid. He said it wasn't, but was some kind of bacterial infection. I had to take a pill twice a day for 7 days and then it was gone. No big deal. He also gave me a prescription for Tylenol with Codeine because of my persistent back pain. Those pills didn't help and they made me vomit both days I took them so that was awful.

As I mentioned before, I've been going to the chiropractor since week 34 to get some relief from my persistent back pain. The pain comes at some point every day (usually in the evenings) and thankfully it's only been REALLY intense a handful of times. Still, it hurts a lot and makes it so hard to sit and relax in the evenings like I'm supposed to (because it's worse when I sit). I have seen improvements over time as I have actually gone on a few 10 minute drives recently with NO PAIN! I pray that it goes away completely right after the birth because if it doesn't then breastfeeding will be harder.

Baby Alisa dropped down at the beginning of week 36. I noticed because I could breathe much easier. Sweet relief! I still get winded easily, but I at least I can take deeper breaths now. I've had a stinging pain in one spot on the top of my belly just to the right of the center since about week 35. When I first mentioned it to the doctor he asked some questions and then said since it was a surface-level pain it must just be related to my growing belly. But at my next weekly appointment when I mentioned that I still had the pain and showed him that I also had the PUPPP rash he said sometimes the two together can indicate a problem with the gallbladder. So, he ordered a blood test and ultrasound on my gallbladder and pancreas. The blood test was normal and the ultrasound confirmed that nothing was wrong with my organs. Actually, my spleen, which is on the left side, is a little enlarged. He said it will probably return to it's normal size after the baby is born but I will have an ultrasound about 6 weeks later to be sure. Anyway, the doctor said once again the pain must be on the muscular level and caused by my heavy and growing belly. It's good to hear that nothing's wrong with my organs but I just pray that the pain leaves when my belly is emptied out during the birth.

My hands have been swollen for months but I kept my wedding ring on because, hey, it's my wedding ring. Well, I eventually took it off one day while I could when my hands were surprisingly less swollen. I haven't been able to put it back on since because my fingers are just too fat right now. They are stiff and hurt and fall asleep every night and morning even though I don't ever lay on them. It's pretty annoying and makes it harder for me to push myself up to a sitting position with my hand. I noticed that my watch has been tight for quite awhile, which means even my wrists are fatter now (they've always been so skinny and they still look skinny but they are definitely bigger than before). My ankle swelling varies each day depending on how much I walked or stood. Mostly just my left ankle is swollen by the evening and I find it odd that it's just that one.

I've been sleeping pretty well most nights, just waking up briefly to roll over several times. I only have to go to the bathroom once during the night--if that--and from what I hear from others I'm pretty lucky (and this just started recently, always between 3:30am and 5:00am). My voice has been cracking a lot for more than a month (can't remember when it started). It's really crazy sounding at times and I often have to clear my throat just to be able to speak. Craig thinks it's cute but I think it's annoying because it makes it hard to talk to people. Many people ask me if I'm okay because I sound sick. No strangers have touched my belly, but they sure have opinions on it. Lately the people I've come into contact with have been saying they think I'm having a boy because I'm carrying the baby way out in front. Some say I'm tiny, but most say I look like I won't make it to my due date.

Baby Alisa is due in 12 days so this just might be my last pregnancy update! I will be glad to no longer be pregnant. It's been hard, though the end reward makes it worth it, I'm sure. Alisa moves around a lot every time I eat (which is still every few hours) and when I lie down at night. Sometimes I can feel her whole back pressing out against my belly all at once. She has the hiccups a lot, which I've read is common. It's strange to feel her movements from hiccuping deep down inside my belly, verses when I feel them at the surface (depending on her position). Her head has been down since at least week 35, so she's getting ready for the birth. You can believe I will post many pictures of her after she's born!!

Here's a picture taken on 11-19-06 of one of the first maternity tops I bought:

Here's my favorite "nice" maternity outfit:

This t-shirt has been one of my favorite shirts for many years because it's so comfy and loose (it's not a maternity shirt and I'm surprised I can wear it now because I certainly can't wear any of my other regular t-shirts). Also, I had just gotten my hair cut before this picture was taken (the picture doesn't do it justice):

Here are today's belly pics (38 weeks and 4 days pregnant):

And my lovely rash and stretchmarks (I love how round my belly is):


Friday, March 16, 2007


Trees are budding and flowers are blooming! So pretty! These pictures were taken around our neighborhood...

King Sago (we bought 2 small ones awhile back but have been waiting to plant them until we have our lawn seeded with grass):

Nice Pindo Palm trees--man these are worth a lot of money!:

This wonderful flower is outside our chiropractor's office:

On a different note, we were driving home after running some errands this afternoon when we heard on the radio about a bank robbery on the other side of town. They said to be on the lookout for a young man and money covered with red dye (the dye pack exploded as he left the building). As soon as we got to the entrance of our neighborhood about 10 minutes later we began to wonder what was going on because we saw a car, a cop car and a UPS truck do a u-turn to leave the neighborhood. We drove on and several SUVs passed us going the opposite direction. There is not usually much traffic in our neighborhood so we were puzzled.

Then, as we approached our street, we had to stop because several SUVs and 2 cop cars with flashing lights turned onto our street. We turned after them to head home. They had zoomed off to where we couldn't see them so we followed cautiously. As we curved around the corner by our driveway we saw all the cars parked in the cul-de-sac at the end of our street (about 10 houses away). Cops were rushing off into the woods (there is one empty lot down there as well as 3 occupied ones). We backed into our driveway so we would be out of the way yet be able to kinda watch what was going on. It was raining and we saw several neighbors walking down the street under umbrellas. We couldn't see much else so we went down the driveway to our house after a few minutes. We didn't want to walk down the street and risk getting caught in the crossfire or something.

We found out later that the bank robber (a 25-year old) was found hiding on the roof of one of the houses in that cul-de-sac. Don't know why he drove across town and into our dead-end neighborhood when he could have gotten on the highway which is right outside our neighborhood. Anyway, it was a little bit of cops and robber excitement in these parts.

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Sunday, March 11, 2007

Breastfeeding Class

We took a 2-hour breastfeeding class that met in the lobby of the doctor's office (like the childbirth class) but it was taught by another lady. She's been a lactation consultant for like 19 years and knows all the up-to-date info on breastfeeding because she studies, attends conferences and works with mothers. She gave us many handouts and a book about breastfeeding. There were only 2 other couples in the class (unusually small). We learned a lot of interesting things, such as....

After your baby is born, on day 1 her stomach is only the size of a small marble. By day 10 it is the size of a ping pong ball. On days 1-3, a mother's milk is called "colostrum" (which is yellow or clear and rich in proteins) and then it becomes transitional milk. About day 10 is when the mature milk arrives. The first milk that a baby gets during a feeding is called "foremilk." It is thin, may look a little blue and is low in fat and calories. As the baby nurses, foremilk slowly turns to "hindmilk," which is creamy and higher in fat (like dessert!). Because of this, you need to nurse your baby on one side long enough for her to get the hindmilk. Human milk is over 80% water so your baby does not need to supplement breastfeeding with drinking water or any other substance.

Milk is created in the breasts on a supply and demand basis--the more your baby eats, the more milk you make. If you don't nurse a lot in the beginning to get a good milk supply established, you could have problems later on. Your milk is flavored by what you eat so the baby gets a wide variety of tastes. You don't have to stick to a strict diet (some people say to avoid garlic, broccoli and onions, for example) just need variety and moderation. However, sometimes the baby may have an aversion to something you eat so you need to pay attention to figure out if you need to stop eating that item for a time.

There is no need to toughen your nipples before the birth as many people suggest. The body is preparing the nipples with a keratin layer so if you rub a washcloth on your nipples to toughen them up, you will be removing that good layer. Cracked and bleeding nipples are not normal (they are a sign that the baby is not latching on correctly) but slight tenderness is normal at first. You can rub a few drops of your colostrum onto your nipples after the baby feeds to help with the initial tenderness. You can also use nipple creams when you need something extra if your nipples are really dry.

Breastfeeding burns 500+ calories a day and you generally lose about 10 lbs just by breastfeeding. You should keep breastfeeding even when you are sick because your baby has already been exposed to whatever you have by the time your symptoms show up. Your body will produce antibodies to fight the infection and those antibodies will also pass to the baby via your breastmilk so she will be protected. Also, if the baby picks up an illness, it is harbored in her mouth and she will pass it to you while breastfeeding and your body will produce antibodies to fight the infection and those antibodies will also pass to the baby via your breastmilk so she can fight the infection. So, your baby really needs to keep breastfeeding if she wants to recover soon! I had never heard of that before and found it sooooo fascinating.

We also discussed how to console a baby by using the 5 S's (swaddling, sidelying, shushing, swinging and sucking), how to hold a baby while breastfeeding so she can latch on properly and your arms won't get tired of holding her, what to do if your baby is not interested in feeding at first, how often you should feed inititally, how many wet diapers and bowel movements the baby should have in the first few weeks, how to pace feed if bottle feeding to prevent overfeeding, and so on.

Here are some advantages of breastfeeding versus bottle feeding:
*It's the perfect food for babies, with just the right ingredients in just the right amounts (it changes to meet a baby's growing needs).
*It's free and always ready to use (no measuring, heating, sterilizing).
*It increases a child's IQ (live cells found only in breastmilk help the rapidly growing brain grow to full capacity).
*Helps mom and baby bond with skin-to-skin nurturing.
*Babies are up to 15 times less likely to be sick in their first year.
*Reduces baby's chances of colic, ear infections, pneumonia, diarrhea, allergies, asthma, and obesity as an adult.
*Helps mom get back in shape faster by burning calories and shrinking the uterus back into shape.
*Reduces mom's risk of ovarian and breast cancer.
*Saves our natural resources (an estimated 87,230 tons of tin and paper ended up in landfills due to formula consumption in 2002).
*Babies have better jaw development (bottle fed babies don't have to work as hard to get the milk).

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Remember that snakeskin I posted about in November? Well, we finally found the owner, after having seen more snake skins under our house and in the electric meter closet. We are having a new room added onto the bottom floor of our house and the snake was discovered living in the floor among the insulation (under the kitchen). The construction guys spotted him and couldn't pull him out as he was scared and wrapped around something. Craig found it later as the bathroom walls were being busted out and took him outside. He held him for awhile and tried to convince me to let him put the snake back under our house or somewhere nearby. I said no so he eventually released it in the woods on the other side of the creek. I held the snake too and it felt pretty nice, but I still didn't want it living right by our house.

Ha, look at the snake checking out Craig's butt!:

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Palm Trees

We have done it! We have finally bought some palm trees of our very own for our yard. We first looked at them in the fall and almost bought some then but didn't because Tom (the palm tree guy) said he couldn't make it down our steep hill carrying the heavy palm tree with his tractor without tipping over. So, we had to wait until our friend Brian (one of our construction guys) could help us out (he got a new truck and has a trailer).

We found that the best place to buy palm trees around here is Tom's Palms, which is maybe 20 minutes south of town. Tom has a large selection of quality trees, really knows what he is doing and charges a lot less for his trees ($250 for a tree--includes the planting--that the local nurseries would charge $650 for). Construction people call Tom when they are needing to have a palm tree removed (they would just cut it down or rip it out and let it die if he didn't come get it) so he rescues the trees and keeps them or sells them. He has several trees in his own collection (not for sale) that are half black because they were near a fire. He loves his trees and has many many palms planted around his own house, which is near his business. I was amazed to see how easily palm trees can be uprooted and moved to a new place. They are not like other trees with a widespread root system...and yet they withstand hurricanes quite well.

The tree trunk on the right is half black from being scorched by a fire:

Here are some of the Sabal (also known as Cabbage) Palm trees to choose from (there were about 80 trees total):

Craig and Brian viewing the selection (each tree is unique--some are curved, some are tall, some are fat, some have many boots, etc):

This tree has "boots" (the old leaf stem bases which make a criss-cross pattern) all the way up because they were not cut off:

Another type of palm tree is the Pindo Palm. Baby Pindo Palm trees look a lot like pineapples at first:

Here's a guy digging up the Pindo Palm we choose (Pindos are more expensive than Sabals--they are priced at $150 per foot of trunk):

Here is Craig chillin' with his new transition lense glasses:

Loading the 14-ft tall Sabal Palm tree that we chose onto the trailer. Craig wanted a really fat one and we got it:

Unhooking the Sabal Palm (you can see the top where the new leaves will sprout from):

Loading the 3-ft tall (counting trunk only) Pindo Palm tree onto the trailer:

Loaded trailer is ready to go to our house:

The root ball of the Sabal Palm:

Drilling holes for the palm trees:

Checking the depth of the hole:

Transferring the Sabal Palm to be planted:

Planting the Sabal Palm tree:

Spraying and fertilizing the Sabal Palm tree:

Wiggling the Sabal Palm tree so it will settle in the moist soil and all the air bubbles will come out:

Preparing the drip hose that will keep the palm trees well watered for the first month:

Placing the drip hose at the top of the Sabal Palm tree:

Spraying the tree trunk (I found it a bit unusual that you water the whole trunk in addition to the top of the tree and the bottom of the tree):

Transferring the Pindo Palm to be planted:

Planting the Pindo Palm tree:

Roots and trunk of the Pindo Palm tree:

Fertilizing the Pindo Palm tree:

Watering the Pindo Palm tree:

The planted trees are in view of our house. The leaves on the Sabal Palm will grow back in over the next year...then it will be really beautiful.

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