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34 weeks

34 weeks!  I feel really good about this.  Every week, I feel excited and happy to have reached another milestone.  Then my mood kind of sours as the week drags on forever.

At my last appointment, I had a high BP reading for the first time ever in my life.  “High” in pregnancy means in excess of 140/90.  If you are either over 140 OR over 90, you are diagnosed with gestational hypertension.  Now, to get a good BP reading, you are supposed to first sit for five minutes.  I had not been sitting for five minutes, so the doctor re-took it, and it dropped from 130/90 (gestational hypertension) to normal.  Thank God.  If I am diagnosed with GH, the doctor told me she will induce at 37 weeks.  High BP in pregnancy is not something to mess around with as it can be fatal in the worst case or have some nasty effects on both mom and baby.  So if I did in fact develop high BP, I would go along with whatever the doctor recommended.  However, I would strongly like to not be induced at 37 weeks.  I’m worried about the baby’s readiness for birth that early – even a day or two in the NICU would be really hard, and you just never know.  And I also worry that labor would be harder if my body wasn’t ready.  (I was dilated to something like 4 cm at 36 weeks with my last baby, so probably my body would be ready, but still.)

The doctor asked me to cut sodium and start taking BP twice a day at home.  If you’re keeping track, I’m now cutting carbs, sugar and salt, and taking blood sugar four times a day and BP twice a day.  Working from home, it’s not that big of a deal, but yeah.  I’ll be glad to return to regular life without all this for sure.  (Ponder your diet for a minute and ask yourself what you could actually still eat if you cut carbs and salt.   So many things have one or the other.  Obviously, diabetes doesn’t mean cutting all carbs, but you have to be very vigilant.  For example, the large honeycrisp apple I eat for lunch maxes or nearly maxes my carb allocation for that meal.  When you add in the complication of pregnancy-induced heartburn, it gets even harder.  I feel like an old person.)

The good news is that my sugar levels are excellent, and my BP has been very low at home.  After the doctor’s visit, I was very concerned about BP, since it is so common in pregnancy, even more so if you have GD, and because it is very dangerous if it starts to climb.  But I’ve concluded it was a false alarm caused by the stress of the doctor’s visit.

We gave away or sold a lot of our baby stuff after B.  We didn’t know if we wanted another, and we knew we didn’t want one soon.  We also have somewhat limited storage space in our house – if I could change one thing, I’d have a 3-car garage.  My Dad raised me to always keep your cars in the garage, so I can’t bring myself to use half our 2-car garage for storage.  Baby stuff takes up a lot of space!  In any case, Amazon gives you a two-time 15% discount on purchases off your registry.  I finally made the first of my two discounted purchases, buying a stroller, car seat, swing, some more nursing pads, and some other items.  I’m sure you won’t be surprised to hear there was much agonizing over the stroller selection.  I ended up buying an Uppababy Cruz, which was a bit of a splurge, but I’m kind of excited about it.  It’s going to be like Christmas around here over the next couple of days.

In other news, the designer of the last quilt I made (with the hearts) asked if she could put my quilt in her newsletter.  That kind of made my day!

32 + 6

I had another ultrasound to check placenta position, and according to the doctor I waited 70 minutes to see for 70 seconds (not my normal doctor), I am clear by 1 mm.  My normal doctor requires less clearance, so by her standards, I’m clear by 6 mm.  Either way, it’s good enough for me.  I do have to have a follow-up ultrasound in 3 weeks, so provided the placenta doesn’t reverse directions of travel, I’m in good shape.  Hurray for that!  I really did not want to have a C-section.

From last week, I now have once-weekly biophysical profiles, non-stress tests and appointments.  Thank God it’s only once a week and not twice as was originally stated by the nurse and is common with gestational diabetes!  Baby scored 8/8 on the BPP , of which the NST is a part.  Baby did well on the NST with plenty of movement, though interestingly, I couldn’t really feel her moving.  (She moves like crazy in the evenings to the point of discomfort on my part, so I’m not sure if it’s the way I was lying or what.)  They were all telling me this as if *I* had done a good job, though clearly it’s completely out of my control.  I had been dreading the NST, and it was nice that (a) they made me very comfortable and (b) the nurse was on the ball and did not leave me lying there longer than necessary.

Then my doctor got called to a birth and I had the 70 minute wait for a doctor to breeze through and not really talk to me.  THAT was irritating and par for the course.  So, as predicted, the whole rigamarole took half a day.  I’m doing my best to be zen about it and mostly succeeding.  The nurses / assistants acknowledged and apologized for how long I had to wait, which actually makes me feel a lot better.  That absolutely does not always or even usually happen.

From a personal comfort perspective, it was a pretty good week.  I never know how I’m going to feel when I wake up in the morning, and lately, I’ve been doing better.  Maybe it’s the gestational diabetes diet – who knows.  It could also be the Zantac, regarding which I have thrown caution to the wind and am continuing to take.  It could just be random.

I went for a walk around my neighborhood following my normal 3 mile running route one day, in lieu of swimming.  It was interesting – my belly felt very uncomfortable and fatigue from carrying my belly definitely hit me by a mile in.  But from a cardiovascular standpoint, I wasn’t really tired at all.  I wore my watch, and my average heart rate was under 100, which is pretty good considering how hilly my neighborhood is.  Afterwards, I felt sore for a couple hours and was sore again the next morning around my belly and pelvis.  Basically, it’s clear that I can’t really get in a good workout on land.  Swimming continues to make me crazy, but I do think it’s doing a good job of keeping me reasonably fit, which I think is tremendously important for my overall health (and by extension, the baby’s).

I’m about to embark on what will likely be the last five weeks of pregnancy that I’ll ever experience in my life.  My SIL was telling me she misses being pregnant so much.  I can’t relate, but I suppose there will be a sense of finality when it’s all over.  I will give birth about a month before I turn 40, just in time for a mid-life crisis.  Education complete, babies given birth to, what now?

 

track and field and qatar

It’s been a great week for track and field, and for American track and field in particular, with both the World championships going on, and the Berlin marathon (one of the top 5 marathons in the world.)

A few of the great things that have happened:

1.) Kenenisa Bekele missed setting a new world record by a mere 2 s.  I’ve been a fan for a long time, and I knew he had it in him!  So yay.   He’s been plagued by injuries but finally had an amazing race.

2.) Sarah Hall, who I’ve been cheering for for nearly 20 years, set a huge PR and ran 2:22 at Berlin.  Basically, as a marathoner, she moved from the pack to being one of the top three or so in the US, and top 10 US marathoners all time.  Awesome!

3.) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Price won the women’s 100 m with a very fast time a year after giving birth by C-section.

4.) Allyson Felix won a relay gold medal 10 months after giving birth.

5.) Roberta Groner, basically an unknown American, placed 6th in the marathon.

However, holding the WCs in Doha, Qatar has been an utter disaster.  Consider the following:

1.) It is way too hot in Qatar.  The marathon was run in 90 degree heat with a “feels like” temperature of over 100 due to humidity.  40% of the competitors dropped out.  This is RIDICULOUS.

2.) There are no fans.  750,000 people turned out for the last world champs, when they were held in the UK.  During the women’s 100 m, there were apparently 1000 people in the stadium, despite the government giving away 10s of thousands of tickets for free.  Absurd.

3.) Qatar is a ridiculously sexist country.  I can’t help but wonder if the *women’s* 100m specifically had no spectators for this reason, though viewership has been lower in general.  The 100m is a marquis event.

4.) Homosexuality is illegal in Qatar.  The penal code stipulates years of prison time for sodomy, and there are multiple cases of people in fact being imprisoned for this.

All in all, I think it’s completely ridiculous.

retail therapy

I engaged in a little retail therapy a couple weeks ago and bought this cashmere cardigan in gray from Madewell.  It is probably the most I’ve spent on a sweater, but I have not taken it off since it arrived.  I’ve worn it every single day.  It’s so comfortable!  And looks kind of OK / cute on my round, pregnant shape.

I finally broke down and bought a third pair of maternity pants, in addition to a blue pair of maternity chinos and black maternity leggings.  With my previous pregnancies, I was working in the office and needed to look semi-professional, so I never hesitated to spend on maternity-wear.  This time, I’ve been working from home, so I’ve been dressing like a ragamuffin in all manner of workout clothes, my husband’s clothes, etc.  But my belly is breaking the system down.  You can only wear maternity leggings so many days in a row.  I even invested in a second bra that actually fits.

labor dread

We met with a doula today.  Talking about labor is really hard for me.  I am just dreading it.  I want to have the option of pain relief, and if I don’t get induced, I almost certainly will not have the chance to get an epidural.  And remembering the pain of the last half hour of my last birth just scares me.  It was just so painful and there wasn’t a damn thing anyone could do about it.  Mostly, I’ve been coping by trying not to think about it, but obviously it’s the kind of topic you have to discuss with a doula.

I am also frightened of the trip to the hospital.  If my parents are here, it should be easy enough.  I will probably be asking them to come at 37 weeks.  In that case, Jonathan and I can just go.  The idea of trying to get the kids to a caregiver or take them with us just makes me anxious.  So, let’s assume my parents are here and H and I can just go.  Most likely, I’ll be in a lot of pain by the time we get there.  I don’t want to go through transition in the car.  I especially don’t want to give birth in the car.  That’s unlikely.  But very painful labor in the car?  Pretty likely.  At least we have a nice car.  I’d much rather labor in our new Suby than our 17 year old Ford Focus.

All of this makes me more inclined to induce, but I’d have to do it around 37 weeks, and that’s not ideal for baby.  If my baby ended up in the NICU because I was afraid of labor pain, I’d have a hard time forgiving myself.  But an unattended birth out of the hospital isn’t safe either, and that’s definitely a possibility if we don’t induce.

Of course, with my current placenta position, I’ll be having a C-section in 6 weeks.  My ultrasound next week should give me a pretty good idea of whether that will happen or not.

Ug.  I wish I was a mentally tougher person.

Princess of Hearts Quilt

I had another go at making a quilt for the new baby, and I do like this one better than my previous attempt.  It’s another Carolyn Friedlander design, and I like to call it the Princess of Hearts for my daughter on her way.  It’s such a simple pattern, but I quite enjoyed making it.

Fabric

The background is P&B Textiles Color Weave 4 Light in Teal.  The border at the top is Gleaned Parakeet in Spa Blue by Carolyn Friedlander.  The hearts are primarily various Friedlander fabrics, though there are a few others thrown in here and there.  For the back, I used a couple of Friedlander fabrics, as well as a beautiful white fabric with birds on it that I can’t identify.

Batting

I’ve gotten a bit burned out on the wool batting, so I used Quilter’s Dream Orient batting.  I quite like this batting.  It’s lightweight like cotton but just has a bit nicer drape, perhaps a touch more weight.  I don’t know – I’m a fan in any event.

Thread

Excepting the needle turn applique, I used my usual favorite Aurifil Mako 50 in white.  However, for the applique, I used Aurifil Mako in 80 weight in either white or dark gray depending on the color of the heart.  Honestly, it was a game changer.  It was so much easier to make the stitches invisible.  I’m a convert – for all future applique, I’m using 80 weight thread.

Quilting

I used a very limited amount of straight-line quilting between the hearts.  I adjusted the pattern a little to increase the horizontal distance between the hearts to I’d have room to quilt there.  I used 12 weight Aurifil thread in variegated blue.

Binding

The binding was done in Gleaned Parakeet in Spa Blue, like the top border.  I used 3 inch strips in hopes of making it a bit more prominent, but it didn’t really make much of a difference.  If I want a thicker binding in future, I’ll try 3.5 inches.

I have been feeling a bit better.  A couple weeks ago, the baby shifted and settled in on my bladder, and for a while, I felt like I needed to go, like urgently, pretty much 100% of the time.  It was miserable.  I can’t really figure out why / how this happened, but thankfully, it passed, and that made a huge difference to my comfort and happiness.  I’d also been having a lot of trouble with acid reflux, even waking up at night with my mouth feeling like it was full of acid.  It was pretty rough.  I finally broke down and started taking Zantac (carcinogens or no) and now after taking it every day for a week, I’m really not having any acid reflux whatsoever.  This has also had a huge impact on my general comfort and happiness.

My sister shared her wedding photos, and there are so many good ones.  There will definitely be some going on my wall.  Her photographer did an exceptional job.  I love the tone of the pictures as well.

In other news, I have been really worrying about childbirth, and I don’t know how to just take a chill pill about it.  I’ve done it twice.  Women all over the world have done it once or twice or several times, often without any kind of pain meds.  It’s also not happening for an absolute minimum of five or six more weeks unless something goes wrong, most likely for seven or eight weeks.  I’m just not sure what to do to manage my anxiety about it.