pregnancy, Third Trimester, Weeklies

Thirty-seven Weeks Pregnant

You guys, I’m officially considered at term. Technically, if I had this baby now, it wouldn’t be considered premature. That means I could have the baby today… or a month from now. So that’s fun. This last few-weeks-to-a-month is very “hurry up and wait.” I mean, I felt like we should probably have most things ready, just in case, but statistically, I probably have at least another few weeks to wait (probably closer to four). And my OB is in no hurry to induce me before Christmas since my pregnancy has been normal and boring so far.

This week, I had my final ultrasound, where we found out the baby has grown to be just under 7 lbs. (about 75% of the cat, for those who like that tracking measure), according to the ultrasound estimate. Baby still has a huge head, and was being too shy to get a picture of the face with the 3D ultrasound. It was a little disappointing that Dan wasn’t able to see the face live on the monitor, since he missed my 30-week ultrasound, but we got such great pictures from the 30-week scan that I didn’t feel the need to poke and prod to get more this week. Plus, I mostly just cared about the growth. I also got swabbed for Group B Strep, and had a conversation about my birth preferences with the doctor. She was completely on board with all of my preferences and said that most of them were standard practice at our hospital anyway, which was nice. It was my first time meeting that particular OB in person, though we’d talked on the phone.

This week was also Thanksgiving in the US, but we couldn’t really travel. We decided to get some Chinese takeout with my mother, who lives closer to our hospital than we do, but I had my “Thanksgiving dinner” last month when Dan’s college friends hosted a friendsgiving party around Canadian Thanksgiving. Honestly, Chinese food for Thanksgiving really hit the spot, and my mom made a dairy-free apple pie because Dan has been eliminating dairy this month.

I’ve also started building a stash of freezer meals. Our doula had a fantastic suggestion: rather than specifically setting aside time to make a bunch of freezer meals, just make a double-portion when you’re making dinner and freeze half. That way you’re taking advantage of time you would already be spending cooking, and you can slowly build up a stash, rather than stressing over doing it all at once. So I made some beef curry in the Instant Pot this week and froze half of it, and I’ll probably try to make an effort to do that at least once a week from now on. I’m also going to freeze some chocolate chip cookie dough balls.

Since I had a day off on Friday to rest, Dan suggested that we try going out on a date night on Friday, so we got a reservation at a new-ish restaurant near us that we hadn’t made it to yet: Momo Yakitori. It was fantastic. I actually can’t wait to go back when I’m not pregnant because they have some interesting alcohol offerings, too. We got a nice assortment of skewers and appetizers and just generally had a blast chatting with our server (who might have also been the owner?). Since it’s likely that I won’t feel much like going out in the next few weeks, and then our lives will get decidedly busier, it was a bit of a last hurrah.

How I’m Feeling:

As I mentioned last week, my indigestion has turned into acid reflux. Since I started taking Zantac twice a day, that has been much better, although I’ll still get a little bit of a flare, particularly right before I’m due to take another dose. Thankfully, I’ve started with the lower dose of Zantac, so if I feel like it stops working, I can try the stronger version. I will say that I’ve been sleeping much better since starting the Zantac.

Other than that, I alternate between feeling pretty good one day and pretty blah the next day. My Braxton-Hicks have started coming more often, and I just generally feel heavier every day. It’s difficult to stand up from sitting, and I’m noticing my hips getting achy more easily. Our doula lent us a Spinning Babies Daily Essentials DVD that has some good prenatal exercises on it, so I’ve been doing those once in a while and it really helps (especially since my motivation to do yoga has tanked, and the colder weather has sapped my motivation to walk when I don’t need to to get to work).

Current Cravings: date-nut bread (recipe coming later this week!) with cream cheese

Exercise: 2.1 average miles per day walking, Spinning Babies Daily Routine twice

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Romaine (which is hilarious)

Other Posts This Week:

Pregnancy Cravings: Cranberry-Date Oatmeal

Review: Two Kinds of Incontinence Undies (because pregnancy is beautiful)

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pregnancy

Review: Two Kinds of Incontinence Undies (because pregnancy is beautiful)

NB: TMI alert this week. Talk of bodily fluids. If you are squeamish, how about a nice cup of tea?

Alright, so here’s the thing about pregnancy: your body changes in all sorts of beautiful and unexpected ways. One of those ways is that it can become somewhat more difficult to hold it when you have to pee. I’ve heard this doesn’t always get better after you give birth (or gets worse). So, tired of dealing with the “sneeze-and-swear” (where you sneeze, pee a little, and swear because you need to run to change your undies before it soaks through), and unexcited with the prospect of living in incontinence pads, I gave in and decided to try the thing that I’ve been getting constant ads for: Icon Undies.

For those of you familiar with Thinx period panties, these are made by the same company, but are specifically designed for urine leakage instead of menstrual blood. They’re also similarly priced (i.e., expensive). So, in the interest of not getting hooked on $35 panties, I figured I’d also try some lower-priced leakproof underwear from Amazon. I did contact Icon to see if they’d provide a pair for review, but they stopped responding to my emails, so I figured the answer was no. I did buy everything reviewed here with my own money, but I used some (publicly-available) discounts to get my Icon undies at a lower price. I’ll discuss the details of this later. First, I’ll describe my experiences with both products.

Innersy Leakproof Protective Cotton Hipster Panties:

First of all, I want to point out that the listing for these underwear does specify that they’re considered back-up protection and not full-on absorbent panties. It’s a little confusing because parts of the listing suggest them for period/incontinence use, but others specify that they’re not absorbent. I think the company is probably just hedging their bets. But for the $18 I paid for a 3-pack, I figured I’d risk it. They’re cotton on the outside and inside, with a inner layer of leakproof material. These were fantastic at keeping me from having to wear a pantiliner, and I didn’t have to worry as much when it was hot/humid out and I couldn’t quite tell if I’d dribbled or if I was just sweating. They kept me from soaking through. That said, the protection is light enough that I didn’t feel totally protected during those times when I sneezed or coughed and dribbled a bit more than usual. They definitely didn’t feel absorbent. I’m fortunate enough that that doesn’t happen every day, but I don’t know that I’d want to base my entire under-wardrobe on these, given that the issue is worsening as I get bigger.

The biggest problem I had with these was that after a few weeks of use, I found that they started to develop a really awful smell. Now, they’re machine washable and dryable, but I think washing them with my normal clothes wasn’t a strong enough wash for them. So I started soaking them in hot water with a little vinegar before throwing them in the wash and that seems to have gotten rid of that issue. They’re not bad, but I’m not sure I’d buy more.

Icon Undies Moderate Absorbency Bikini:

So, I really wanted to like the cheap Amazon undies as much as I liked these. Honestly, I could see how these could be that much better. Plus, I actually had a pretty bad experience with Thinx, so I wasn’t optimistic. But I actually really liked these underwear. I got one pair of the bikinis in the moderate absorbency. I was able to find a referral link on another blog that gave me $15 off my first purchase (if you’re interested in getting a similar discount, check the end of this post), and I signed up for an account, which gave me free shipping with no minimum on my first order. You can actually combine these two offers, so I was able to get my first pair of Icon for $20 with free shipping. If you go for a lower-priced pair, it would be even less money, but the bikini seemed like the perfect compromise between the fuller coverage styles that I prefer, and something that will sit comfortably below my belly right now.

The material is a synthetic technical material that dries really fast. The absorbent section is obviously thicker than the Innersy panties, but not obtrusive. I didn’t have as much issue with them smelling (but I’d also started pre-rinsing them). And they actually do absorb leaks that happen when I sneeze or cough without leaving me feeling worried. I feel totally confident that I can make it through an entire day without embarrassment in these. The only drawback is that they are supposed to be line-dried, but that’s not as much of an issue since they dry pretty quickly, and I already split my laundry up into machine-dryables and hang-dryables, so they just need to end up in the right laundry basket.

I’m really annoyed, but I definitely like the Icon undies better. I haven’t gotten around to it yet, but I am considering eventually switching over to have all my undies be Icon. I might wait and see what my bladder does postpartum, though.

In the meantime, if you want to try out Icon and are interested in using my referral link to get a $15 discount, you can access it by purchasing through this link. This will also give me a store credit if you decide to buy something. And if you sign up for an account, you’ll get free shipping. Oh, and I can’t tell who accessed the link, so don’t worry about giving yourself away!

pregnancy, Recipes

Pregnancy Cravings: Cranberry-Date Oatmeal

As I mentioned earlier this week, there is some evidence that eating dates just before childbirth can make things go more easily. This comes from studies that followed women who were either encouraged to eat a certain amount of dates in the last four weeks of pregnancy, versus those who were asked not to eat any dates. This post is a good overview of the research, but the upshot is that eating 60-80g of dates per day could be helpful.

I’ve decided to try to eat around 75g of dates per day. But, unlike my husband, I’ve never actually eaten plain dates. I find them a bit sweet, plus they look a little bit like a cockroach and an olive had a baby. So I’m consuming my date in recipes. Of course, a Larabar will give me about 20-25g of dates, but I can only eat so many Larabars before I get utterly sick of them and start to worry about the cost. I did get a few cases of them from Vitacost, though, during their recent promo, to keep on hand for snacks.

But I thought I’d share some recipes I’ve been enjoying that use dates. The first is an easy breakfast that is an absolutely delicious way to enjoy some autumn flavors, especially since fresh cranberries are readily available in the grocery store right now! I haven’t tried it with any other kind of cranberries, but it might also work with frozen.

Cranberry-Date Oatmeal

Ingredients:

1/3 cup fresh cranberries
25g pitted dates, chopped fine
1 cups water
1/2 cup rolled oats
pinch of salt, cardamom, and ginger
1 Tbsp. pumpkin seeds

  1. Combine the water, cranberries, dates, salt, and spices in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer for five minutes, until the cranberries start to burst.
  2. Add the oats to the simmering water and stir. Cook, stirring constantly, until the porridge is thickened.
  3. Serve topped with pumpkin seeds.

Makes one serving

Note: Can also be made in the microwave by combining everything except the pumpkin seeds in a microwave-safe dish, microwaving until cooked, and topping with pumpkin seeds.

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

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

[Image source]

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