pregnancy, Third Trimester, Weeklies

Thirty-six Weeks Pregnant

This week’s update is a bit late because, even though most of the week was pretty good, the weekend was a bit rough. I spent the week continuing to get ready for the baby. Technically, the baby could come as early as this Saturday and not be considered premature anymore. So we have most things ready.

Now that I’m officially four weeks from my due date, I’ve been thinking a little more about immediate preparations for childbirth. I mean, I finished my Hypnobabies course a couple weeks ago and have been keeping up with my daily maintenance practice, and I talked last week about packing my hospital bag. But I’ve also decided to start eating lots of dates. I’ll talk about it more later in the week, but supposedly eating dates in the month before childbirth can make things easily. So I’ve been experimenting with some new recipes.

We also had a prenatal meeting with our doula this weekend, which was nice. We went over our birth preferences (pretty minimal, to be honest) and then she went over some materials about birth and postpartum care. It was good to connect and discuss things with her. I had noticed my anxiety about childbirth creeping up again, but it helped to discuss things with the doula.

How I’m Feeling:

Well, as I hinted at, I mostly felt pretty good. The weather meant I was a little less active than I could have been, but I got some stuff done around the house, which was nice. I did take an extra work-from-home day on Wednesday because I had a headache, but it was probably related to the weather and the snow we got on Thursday.

But then, Saturday happened. I’d been having some indigestion and heartburn for a while, and I thought the weather was aggravating my asthma because I’d had a nagging cough.

It turns out, a nagging dry cough can also be a symptom of acid reflux.

Well, Dan and I went for a walk Saturday afternoon and got a late lunch at our favorite fish place. I think the fries and spicy mayo pushed me over the edge and I spent most of the evening in agony, until I finally decided to send Dan to the store for Zantac. Tums just weren’t cutting it.

Well, not only did the Zantac take the edge off my heartburn almost immediately, but my cough cleared up! So now I’m feeling better, but it took most of the weekend to get there.

Current Cravings: chocolate cake, eggs and avocados

Exercise: 2.5 average miles/day walking, yoga once

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Papaya

Other posts this week:

On Packing My Hospital Bag

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pregnancy

On Packing My Hospital Bag

This week, I’ve started actively packing my hospital bag (as opposed to just planning what I think I want to pack). At this point, I have most non-food items packed, although I’m quickly realizing that I probably need a separate bag to include some baby stuff. It’s been interesting because I tend to be pretty minimalist when I pack to travel, but it seems like a hospital stay for labor and maternity requires different things. For one thing, I needed to get a portable speaker to connect to my phone to play Hypnobabies tracks (I don’t usually think about “playing music” because I don’t listen to music much outside of the car), and I need stuff for after the baby comes out. But I probably don’t need much in the way of clothing.

It’s mostly difficult because it’s really easy to find lists of “things you’ll need in your hospital bag” as well as lists of “all the things I thought I needed but didn’t.” But it seems like the upshot of the latter type of list can be really personal. Like, one person insists you don’t need to bring clothes, where another insists you do because hospital gowns are uncomfortable. Now, I haven’t tried the gowns at my specific hospital, but I’ve never had a problem with hospital gowns in general, and because I generally have the modesty of, well, a community theater actor who has to change costumes in spaces without private dressing areas, I figure I’ll be fine in a gown most of the time.

So I figured I’d make a note of what I’m packing, and then maybe when I get home (and have time), I’ll make a note of what I used or what I particularly appreciated. In particular, anyone who reads my main blog or follows me on Instagram knows that I usually have a pretty involved skin care routine, so I’ve been putting a lot of thought into how to bring enough that I don’t feel like I’m neglecting myself, while being realistic about just how much energy I’ll have to do skin care while in the hospital.

So here’s what I’m bringing, so far:

Skin/hair/body care: I’ve divided my toiletries into face products, hair products, and other products and put them in separate, labeled bags (I used pink pouches from Glossier because I have so many of them because their cleanser is the only one my skin likes). For face care, I’m bringing micellar water and cotton, some pre-soaked hydrating toner pads, and a tube of Cerave Baby cream (this will also double as a hand/body cream). I’m also bringing a tube of sunscreen, for when I go home. For hair care, I’m bringing a sample of shampoo and conditioner I got from a Sephora order, along with a seamless comb, some scrunchies, a couple hair elastics, and a couple wide, soft headbands. My plan is to keep my hair braided as much as possible to avoid tangles. For body/other, I’m bringing deodorant, a toothbrush, toothpaste, lanolin (this doubles as a lip balm), and disposable nursing pads.

Clothing: I’m planning on mostly wearing hospital gowns, but I am bringing a couple draped-front cardigans and a robe in case I want an extra layer, plus a nursing bra in case for some reason I feel like I need to wear a bra. I’m also bringing a bunch of fuzzy, non-slip socks. Not really clothes, but I’m also bringing a fleece blanket and a camping towel, just in case because they roll up small. The only “outfit” I’m bringing is something to wear to go home in case my check-in clothes get ruined by, um, fluids. Going-home outfit is a pair of fleece leggings, undies, socks, a nursing tank top, and one of my favorite tunic sweatshirts that I mentioned in my last maternity wear post. I’m also bringing a babywearing wrap.

Baby stuff: From what I’ve heard, most of the things you’ll need are provided, other than stuff for the baby to wear home. So I’m mostly just bringing a couple sizes and styles of clothing from the box of hand-me-downs I got from friends so I can pick out an appropriate going-home outfit for the baby. I think I have some onesies, some footed PJs, and some pants, plus I’ll probably bring a hat and socks. Since I plan on breastfeeding, my husband is putting my nursing pillow in his car, but I’m also bringing a sample-sized can of formula and some bottles, just in case things aren’t working out. And of course I’ll bring the pediatrician’s contact info, just in case.

Comfort stuff: I’m bringing a few little things to remind me of the space I used to train with my hypnosis tracks, like a salt candle holder and some flameless LED candles, plus I’m bringing the aforementioned speaker. I got a Tribit bluetooth speaker from Amazon for about $30 and I have to say, I’m pretty impressed with it. And it has like 20 hours of battery life. I’m also bringing an extra-long iPhone charging cable, and a 32-oz. water bottle. As far as snacks go, I’m bringing lots of Larabars, some boxed miso soup, some juiceboxes, and tea. I’ve decided to bring Pique tea crystals instead of tea bags because they’re easier to deal with if my husband is making me tea. Plus, they’re slim enough that I can bring 4-5 packets of crystals in the same amount of space as one of my favorite tea bags, so I can have a better variety. I’m also bringing my own mug so that I don’t always have to drink out of paper cups.

Other: In addition to stuff to keep me happy, I’m also bringing some potentially necessary documents, such as the information for my work’s short-term disability insurance, and copies of my birth plan. I’m also including an “inventory list” of what’s in the bag so that my husband can get stuff for me without bugging me about it. I’m sure I’ll think of some other things to throw in, so I’ll mention that if it happens when I give my post-birth update.

So far, most of this fits in the small duffel bag that I used to use as a gym bag, though I’ll probably pack a separate small bag for baby-specific stuff and snacks. Husband will have his own bag (he needs more in the way of clothing, since he doesn’t get a gown). But at this point, I feel mostly-ready for going to the hospital, which is good because theoretically it could happen in a week or it could be another month or so!

pregnancy, Third Trimester, Weeklies

Thirty-five Weeks Pregnant

Pineapple 5

I’m continuing to gear up for my due date. This past week, I worked on getting together all the things I’ll need for my hospital go bag. I also started stocking up on snacks, especially Larabars because next week I’m going to start pushing dates in preparation for giving birth.

Tuesday, I voted! I opted to go before work, even though I know it’s busier then, because I knew that if there happened to be a wait in the evening, I would be feeling rougher. As it was, I waited in line for about 20 minutes, but it wasn’t a problem because I was fresh. The volunteers at the polling place even offered me a chair twice and I turned them down because I honestly had no problem standing!

Thursday, I had my 34-week check in with the doctor. My fundal height is right on track and baby was moving around a lot while the doctor used the Doppler. And the doctor verified that I’d gotten a lot of housekeeping done — preregistering with the hospital, taking a birth class, etc. And I got to make a trip to Trader Joe’s near my doctor’s office for some treats afterwards!

I also ordered my breast pump through insurance. It was a surprisingly simple process, probably made quicker by the fact that my insurance gives me the choice between manual or electric in one brand. Well, I went with electric. It took three minutes to order over the phone and I was told it would come within 14 days. It came two days later. So I feel pretty set on that front.

We got most of our cleaning done in the bedroom and set it up for the baby to share our room with us. We’re not doing a separate nursery, but our nursery corner is pretty much set up, and I’ve cleaned up enough on my side of the bed to put the bassinet next to me.

All in all, it’s been a pretty productive week!

How I Feel:

Well, for most of the week, I’ve had good energy and really felt good. Unfortunately, that took a bit of a turn Friday night, when I started having some tummy troubles, and continued into Saturday with on and off indigestion making me feel slightly ill.

I’ve officially stopped going to barre class, and I did celebrate a little by taking it easy for a few days, but I’ve tried to maintain my yoga practice a little better this week. I did manage to get in two sessions this week, and next week I’ll try to do a little more. I will say that actually doing my yoga has really helped my general aches and cricks feel better. That said, not going to the gym in the morning has made many of my mornings much more relaxed!

Babywise, I can tell baby is running out of room. Movements are much stretchier and I can feel baby moving at opposite ends of my body at the same time. Dan is thrilled with how much baby moves around, though I could do with a little less punching to the ribs and bladder.

Current Cravings: Nothing specific

Exercise: 2.9 average miles/day walking, yoga twice

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Pineapple

Posts This Week:

Hypnobabies Self-Study Course: Week Six Recap

Autumn Maternity Wear Update

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Maternity Wear, pregnancy

Autumn Maternity Wear Update

I’ve written before about how I’m handling maternity wear as my pregnant progresses, and I thought I’d share some of my thoughts about transitioning from summer to autumn weather with my maternity wardrobe. Because I’m going to go from autumn maternity wear into winter postpartum wear, I’ve chosen to create somewhat of a capsule wardrobe of clothing that will work for my largely-casual winter postpartum wardrobe, and transition my autumn professional maternity wear as easily as I can, using layers.

For casual wear, my wardrobe is transitioning from largely based around maxi skirts and dresses to being based around the standard formula of leggings paired with an oversized sweater. I love the H&M Mama leggings. The regular leggings are a bit thin, and occasionally get a tiny bit sheer, but not badly (and I think I’m the only one who notices). But they’re soft and stretchy. And for a thicker pair of leggings, I like H&M’s fleece maternity leggings. I also have a pair of cozy leggings from the Target brand A New Day that are stretchy enough to fit over my bump, but will transition seamlessly to postpartum as my bump goes away. My favorite oversized sweaters are these tunics from Amazon. They’re long enough to cover my butt and not make me feel like I’m not wearing trousers, and large enough to go over my belly without being sloppy. And because they’re not specifically maternity sweaters, they’ll also work postpartum. I have them in four different colors and wear them almost every day I don’t go into the office.

For the office, I mostly dress the way I have through most of my pregnancy, with the exception of keeping my cardigan on when it’s chilly outside, and adding tights. I love the H&M Mama tights, particularly the 200 denier ones. They’re nice and stretchy and a nice texture that doesn’t feel binding as the day goes on. And they go over the bump, which is my preferred maternity style. But on very chilly days, my other go-to outfit is a sweater dress and tights (it’s basically the office-appropriate version of an oversized sweater and leggings). I’ve found that the Uniqlo sweater dresses, which were already in my wardrobe from a couple years ago, are forgiving enough to fit over my 34-week bump, and are very cozy and comfy.

The one thing I haven’t sprung for is a maternity-specific coat or jacket. I’ve mostly been using shawls as a forgivingly-sized warm layer, over a sweater, but I have determined that my winter coat from last year will fit over my belly, at least mostly. It was a little unpleasant to have to walk to work in the rain two days this week without a rain jacket that closed, but it wasn’t horrible. I’m waiting until after I have the baby to get a new coat so I can look at coats that pair well with baby carriers.

So that’s how I’ve made a few adjustments to my wardrobe as I roll into the home stretch of my pregnancy during cooler weather, without needing to buy too many more maternity-specific pieces. At some point, I’ll go through and figure out exactly how much actual maternity clothing I bought and go over what was necessary vs. extraneous for me.

Photo courtesy of Patti Barker 

Hypnobabies, pregnancy

Hypnobabies Self-Study Course: Week Six Recap

I’ve officially finished the main self-study course and I’m now in maintenance mode! Week six’s reading assignments are about learning about newborn care and how to navigate some of the choices you have to make as new parents. I was particularly impressed with the chapter on setting boundaries with guests. It was nice because I sometimes feel like I’m being overly strict with the boundaries we’ve decided on for our families and visitors, but the course actually went further in some cases, such as letting visitors who are coming to “help” know that the one thing they don’t get to “help” with is taking care of the baby. No, you’re not “helping” by offering to hold the baby while I take a shower, unless I specifically ask you to. Anyway, our baby will have two involved parents and my husband can always hold his child while I take a shower, and vice versa.

The course reading also went into some specifics about breastfeeding technique, which I appreciated. I probably should look more into classes on breastfeeding, as I know it doesn’t always come naturally, but I have a wealth of available resources, including lactation consultants at both the hospital and our pediatrician’s office, as well as doulas who will be making a postpartum visit and are lactation consultants, plus several friends who have breastfed successfully and can share their tips (such as making sure to always have massive quantities of water on hand to drink).

There were two new hypnosis tracks, plus a new practice track, but rather than doing a new track every other day, this week’s tracks switched to the maintenance schedule, which is a different track every day, sampled among the various tracks that were used throughout the course. It’s nice because this is the schedule I will now follow for the rest of the course. We’re also supposed to keep doing the mini-script exercise. Technically, you’re supposed to have your birth partner read the script every other day, but we only managed it once this week. That said, given that we’ve had early success getting through the scripts, I think we’re doing fine. The two new hypnosis tracks are “Fear-Clearing” and “Visualize your Birth,” plus the “Maintenance Techniques Practice.”

Fear-Clearing Track:

This track helps you put a voice to any specific fears you’re feeling and then visualize releasing them. It’s very relaxing and I like the way it prompts you to deal with just one thing that is worrying you. You can do the track as often as you want and choose a different fear each time. Honestly, this would have been a great track to have from the beginning of pregnancy because it’s not specific to fears just about childbirth.

Visualize your Birth:

This track walks you through your birthing time, kind of like a mental dry run of birthing your baby. Given how much media there is about the frantic and stressful nature of childbirth, it’s nice to have a calm walkthrough to help me feel prepared without feeling keyed up.

Maintenance Techniques Practice:

This is a master practice track that walks you through all the specific hypnosis tools learned throughout the course, including the finger-drop technique, turning your mental switch off, turning your switch to “center,” eyes-open hypnosis, pushing visualization, and the two hypnotic cue words “Relax” and “Release.” It’s a great way to keep these techniques in your mind so you remember to use them. I’m definitely finding it easier to internalize the cues and I’ve even been practicing using some of the cues and techniques when I feel certain kinds of discomfort in pregnancy.

Now that I’m officially done with the main course, I probably won’t be recapping every week, but I will check back in every so often to let you know how my maintenance is going. I’m still finding that it’s a bit of work to fit in all the hypnosis tracks I need to listen to every day, but as I progressed through the class, I realized how much good it was doing me, and I find myself wanting to make time for them, rather than stressing over how I’m going to fit them in.

Previous Hypnobabies Self-Study Posts:

Week Five Recap

Week Four Recap

Week Three Recap

Week Two Recap

Week One Recap

Starting the Program

pregnancy, Third Trimester, Weeklies

Thirty-four Weeks Pregnant

2009/365/111 Fresh Stuff

More milestones this week! This week, we actually made our first purchase for the baby. We bought our travel system (car seat and stroller) and an extra car seat base. Technically, since we have a bassinet and a lot of clothes from friends, this was the only thing that it was absolutely crucial for us to buy before the baby came (they don’t let you take the baby home without a proper car seat). We also made a trip to Ikea to get a little furniture for the baby. We’re not doing a full nursery right away because the baby will be sleeping in our room for the first several months, at least, but we do need something to serve as both storage and a changing surface, and I wanted to get a chair to use for nursing upstairs.

We opted for a nice padded wing chair with an ottoman in a rather loud floral design because it felt nicer to sit on than the sleeker, less expensive chair we initially had thought we’d buy. Luckily, the wing chair is not much larger than the sleeker chair, and it already fits nicely into the corner of our room. Interestingly enough, Ikea even had a staged bedroom with a crib next to a queen-sized bed, so that was a nice way to see how our room might look later on. Even more fortunately, we were able to find a friend to help us move the boxes in from the car, as I realized I couldn’t help Dan get things inside and upstairs.

Thirty-four weeks is making things start to seem a lot more real. I’m finishing up my Hypnobabies self-study course this week and entering “maintenance mode.” We have basically everything we need for the first few weeks of baby. Over the next week, I’m going to order what I want to get for my hospital bag and pack that next weekend. I don’t feel frantic or like “we’re not ready,” at least logistically. But it’s a little intimidating to think about how much our life is going to change in not too long. Technically, the baby could come in three weeks and not be considered that early.

How I Feel:

I’m mostly just getting bigger and dealing with all the repercussions of that. I’m having a little more back pain, and noticing that I need to support myself more consistently when I sleep. I’m definitely sleeping worse again, and part of that is just because it’s getting harder to get and stay comfortable while I sleep. My belly definitively gets in the way now when I’m trying to put on leggings, tights, or shoes. And I’m finding it harder and harder to bend over to reach things on the floor. Even the cat has learned that she needs to come up on the stairs or on a table if she wants pets from me.

This week was also my last week of barre classes. I’m actually still enjoying the classes themselves, but getting out of the house that early to make it to a 7am class has gotten harder. Things just take me longer. And sleeping poorly means that 5:30am feels a bit more difficult every time I need to get up. So I decided to cancel my gym membership for November instead of trying to go through November. But I still want to keep up my fitness as much as I can, so I’ve looked up some prenatal Pilates and barre workouts on YouTube to see if I can do a little something on the days I would normally go to barre. And, of course, I want to get back into the habit of doing my yoga.

Finally, I’ve managed to do something awful to my left shoulder. After suffering from a migraine with aura earlier this week (the doctor was unconcerned and it faded in about 24 hours), I was on high alert for potentially worrying symptoms, so at least I managed to injure my left shoulder, rather than the right, which could be mistaken for a serious issue. I believe it was a delayed soreness from carrying my gym back on Wednesday, so hopefully that will not be a problem again. After one sleepless night unable to get comfortable with my aching shoulder, I hope it’s as on the mend as it seems to be.

Current Cravings: Korean food, chocolate pudding

Exercise: 3.1 average miles/day walking, barre twice, yoga once

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Butternut squash

 

This Week’s Posts:

Hypnobabies Self-Study Course: Week Five Recap

Pregnancy Cravings: Tea and Cake

 

[Image source]

Recipes

Pregnancy Cravings: Tea and Cake

This weekend I had my in-laws and my mother over for tea after a lunch to make up for the fact that they couldn’t come to my baby shower. I wanted to do something a little special, and I’ve been craving an autumn-spiced cake, so I thought I’d make a cake. No sooner had I had this thought, than I received an email from the Nourished Kitchen with this beautiful recipe for a maple-sweetened harvest cake with a maple frosting. Unfortunately, I don’t have an electric mixer, so making a Swiss meringue buttercream was out of the question. I discussed it a bit with Jenny on social media and decided that the best course would be to make a whipped maple cream cheese frosting.

Because my mother-in-law and my mother are both careful about caffeine intake, and my mother-in-law loves the spices from masala chai, I thought I’d make a home-blended spice tea to go with the cake. The afternoon was lovely and everyone enjoyed the cake. In fact, as soon as my in-laws left, my mother-in-law text me asking for the recipes for both the tea and the cake. While I gave her a general idea of how I made both, I thought I’d post the official recipes, with my substitutions and alterations for the Nourished Kitchen recipe, for posterity.

Harvest Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting

(based on this recipe from the Nourished Kitchen)

For the cake:

1-1/4 cup of einkorn all-purpose flour

1 Tbsp. ground Ceylon cinnamon

2 tsp. ground ginger

1/2 tsp. grated nutmeg

1/2 tsp. allspice

1 tsp. baking powder

1/2 tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. salt

2 eggs

2 Tbsp. melted butter or ghee

3/4 cup maple sugar (or 1/2 cup maple sugar and 1/4 cup brown sugar, if you run out of maple sugar like I did)

6 oz. container of plain yogurt

4 oz. grated butternut squash

2 oz. grated apple

2 oz. grated pear

For the frosting:

8 oz. cream cheese, softened

4 oz. unsalted butter, softened

1/4 cup of dark maple syrup

Instructions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8″ square pan and line it with parchment.
  2. Whisk together the flour, spices, baking soda and powder, and salt.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and maple sugar until light and fluffy, then stream in the melted butter slowly, whisking constantly to emulsify.
  4. Add the flour mixture in thirds and the yogurt in halves, alternating and stirring after each addition. Fold in the grated fruit and veggie.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes, or until a cake test comes out clean.
  6. Cool completely, and then frost.
  7. To prepare the frosting, beat together the butter and cream cheese until fluffy, then add the maple syrup a little at a time, beating until combined and fluffy. If you aren’t using it right away, store in a covered container in the fridge, and let stand at room temperature for half an hour and beat again until fluffy before using.

Masala Spice Tea:

2 Ceylon cinnamon sticks

6-8 cardamom pods, crushed

8-12 allspice berries, crushed

1.5″ piece of fresh ginger, sliced

3-4 pieces of fresh orange peel

Instructions:

  1. Crush the cardamom and allspice, just until cracked and the pods inside the cardamom are exposed. Break up the cinnamon.
  2. Add spices and peel to a saucepan and add 4 cups of water.
  3. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, then cover and steep for 5-10 minutes.
  4. Strain into a teapot and serve with honey.