pregnancy, Third Trimester, Weeklies

Thirty-nine Weeks Pregnant

I’m closing in on my due date now! This week, I decided to start trying to keep a daily journal, since I’ll want to try to document as much as I can when the baby comes. I’ve struggled at keeping a journal in the past, so we’ll see how this goes. So far, I’ve managed to journal each night before going to bed, so that’s a good start.

One thing I realized this week was just how variable my physical ability level is from day to day. On Sunday, I found myself absolutely physically wiped out after our normal weekly walk to and from the local coffee shop and ended up spending a large portion of the day in bed. Later that night, I woke up to turn over in bed, and had a thought about how, for most of my adult life, I’ve kind of treated my physical status as a kind of n=1 experiment, where I can largely figure out what is or isn’t making me feel a certain way. But in pregnancy, sometimes I just feel crappy and it’s not anything I’ve done or didn’t do. I can eat healthfully and exercise moderately and stretch myself out, but ultimately sometimes I just feel awful and the only reason is, well, I’m pregnant.

I’ve also been thinking a lot about the transition to being “a mother.” After re-reading Like a Mother, which I reviewed on Tuesday, I realized that birth is an ordeal that acts like a rite of passage and, while I will bring my past self with me, I will be forever changed by it. So I’ve started to think about becoming A Mother. To that end, I’ve decided to branch off from my main blogging and social media accounts and actually created an Instagram and a Facebook page specific to this blog. I’ll update my “About” page to reflect that contact information. But definitely check out my Instagram. The Facebook page currently just contains reposts of my Instagram posts, so if you’re not on Instagram, you can follow the Facebook page to see more updates on Facebook.

At my Thursday morning prenatal appointment, I found out that I’ve officially gained 40 lbs. this pregnancy, so I’m definitely over the recommended weight gain. It’s interesting because I don’t look like I’m gaining weight excessively, and I’m not swelling or retaining fluid much, so I don’t really know where the weight is going. Honestly, I’m surprised I’m mostly as unconcerned as I am, but the doctor hasn’t commented on it, my blood pressure looks good, and I feel generally healthy. So I’ll definitely be talking about my weight gain and how that carries on into the postpartum period later on.

Speaking of the postpartum period, I picked up a new book called The First Forty Days about self-care (and care from other people) during the postpartum period. It’s really interesting because it stresses the importance of proper nutrition and rest in the postpartum period, which includes resting from feeling obligated to host visitors in your house. Basically, it instructs new mothers not to feel pressured to have visitors that are only there to have baby time and not to support the new parents. That said, even a book on postpartum self-care assumes the partner will be going back to work within two weeks after the birth, so I’m hoping I have an easier time with Dan off for a bit longer.

How I’m Feeling:

As always, I’m just noticing the gradual ramping up of the nagging complaints of pregnancy. My hips are still sore, my back occasionally hurts, my belly tightened with Braxton Hicks contractions sometimes. I’m tired a lot. But since it’s been ramping up gradually, I don’t usually have days that are bad enough to just have to stay home. Sunday was a surprise because usually once I get going, I’m okay for the day. I’m still working, and even though I increasingly don’t want to get out of bed or face my walk from the metro to work, once I’m on my walk, it’s not so bad. Like I said earlier, sometimes I feel crappier than others, but that’s just pregnancy. I’m kind of at the point where there’s not a whole lot I can do besides generally take care of myself.

On Wednesday in the early morning, I had a bout of really uncomfortable Braxton Hicks that kept me up for a couple hours. Honestly, even after I got some more sleep, I woke up still feeling crampy. I was still pretty sure it wasn’t the real thing, but I ended up working from home, just in case. But they eventually settled down (showering helped). Also, I had another prenatal checkup on Thursday that confirmed that they weren’t doing anything; I’m still not showing any signs that the baby is coming soon.

Of course, then on Thursday night/Friday morning, I was up for hours with even more contractions. These were more intense and rhythmic than I’d had before, and were accompanied by some additional symptoms that made me wonder if I was going to be one of those “I wasn’t dilated at all at my checkup and went into labor the next day” people. But they eventually tapered off and just left me feeling crappy for the rest of the day. I’m starting to worry that I’m going to have to deal with every-other-night contractions for the next two weeks.

Current Cravings: beet kraut from Sweet Farm, cereal with milk

Exercise: 2.1 average miles/day walking

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Pumpkin

Other Posts This Week:

Book Review: Like a Mother

Exercise and Pregnancy: The Final Months

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Exercise, pregnancy, Third Trimester

Exercise and Pregnancy: The Final Months

I’ve spoken earlier in my pregnancy about my exercise routine and how I’m incorporating that into my pregnancy. I managed to continue going to barre class about twice a week until the end of October, when I was about 34 weeks pregnant. Since then, I’ve continued to walk most days, and have tried to make time to do some yoga every week. I will admit, I did find it a bit more difficult to motivate myself to exercise since I stopped having the accountability and scheduling of the barre class. I mentioned in my weekly update that my doula has lent us a copy of the Spinning Babies Daily Essentials DVD to use for the last few weeks of my pregnancy and it’s definitely helped re-invigorate my workout routine.

So the first few weeks of November, when I officially cancelled my gym membership, I gave myself permission to be a little lazy. I mean, I still had to walk a fair amount, since I walk about 50 minutes, round trip, to get to and from work four days a week. And I tried to make sure I got in at least one more day per week of walking, usually our weekly trip to Vigilante Coffee. So I was still averaging over two miles per day of walking, though it was more like 3.5 miles five days a week, rather than a couple miles every day.

But after I got the Spinning Babies DVD, I made more of an effort to work on stretching and strengthening exercises from that DVD. The difference between that and my workouts before is that now I definitely see my goals as explicitly preparing for childbirth, rather than for general fitness. My doctor has even reminded me to walk for a half an hour every day, so I’m trying to make sure to fit in some walking time every day, even when I don’t walk to work. It helps that we have some lovely walking trails nearby.

And then, I do yoga and Spinning Babies exercises. I can do the full 35-minute Daily Exercises routine or the 28-minute yoga flow from the DVD when I have the time and energy, but I try to do a little every day, even if it’s just my favorite 3-4 exercises. And my Hypnobabies course actually recommends doing a small set of exercises everyday. So I do my pelvic tilts, squats, and butterfly stretch every day to keep my body supple and ready for childbirth, while windmills help release the lower back pain that has crept up as I’ve gotten bigger. Unfortunately, I had to stop doing forward-leaning inversions when my acid reflux got bad. But I notice that my body feels better when I do these exercises more consistently. Plus, I can still do my weekly lunchtime yoga class at work, since the instructor is a coworkers of mine and the class is small enough that she can tailor it to our needs.

In this way, I’m helping keep my body flexible and supple, and my mind quiet and prepared for the rigors of childbirth. I’m not going to be running any marathons soon, but I am preparing for the next endurance event on my schedule.

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)

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, 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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Second Trimester, Weeklies

Twenty-five Weeks Pregnant

20180828-FNS-PJK-0148_TONED

The second trimester keeps on passing. It simultaneously feels like I’ve been pregnant forever and like I have forever left to go still. Oddly enough, towards the end of the week, I started feeling smaller (although I didn’t look any different), but I think that has to do with the fact that the baby grows in fits and spurts and when they’re not growing, I don’t feel stretched out and can get used to my new size for a bit.

Other than that, life has been pretty quiet and consistent on the baby front. I’ve settled into the differences in how I feel from how I “normally” feel and I’ve stopped noticing a lot of it. I’m looking forward to the beginning of fall, though, as the one thing that still galls me a bit is the fact that it does take more physical effort to simply move around than it used to, and the heat and humidity don’t help.

How I’m Feeling:

Like I said, I feel pretty consistent, if not normal. I feel movement pretty consistently, which is weird, but becoming more familiar. I had some issues with nausea this week, but I found that being a big better about my magnesium supplementation helped that. Thankfully, my increased nausea was not coincidentally accompanied by the headaches that I’ve been getting on and off throughout my pregnancy because it seems that if I had renewed nausea AND a headache, my doctor might have called me in for some tests.

But, especially in the latter half of the week, I feel pretty good. I had a minor meltdown yesterday because I do miss having real milk in my latte on the weekends, but I eventually got over it, got a macadamia nut milk latte, and enjoyed it.

My appetite is definitely a bit more variable this week. My husband commented that I haven’t really been having “pregnancy cravings” (this from the the man who pretty much has to go and get me something specific every weekend, like a McDonald’s cheeseburger (not a cheeseburger, a McDonald’s cheeseburger) or a pulled pork sandwich), but even more so than usual this week, I found that nothing really sounded good, even though I knew intellectually that I was hungry. This is compounded by the fact that I actually have a little less of a sweet tooth than I usually have, so simply trying to tempt myself with something sweet to stimulate my appetite isn’t working. But I’m eating plenty, and once I have something in front of me, it generally tastes good.

I was a little slack on my exercise this week, mostly because I took two work-from-home days instead of just one, and it was too oppressive-feeling outside for me to willingly go for a walk outside of what I needed to do to get to and from work. I’ve also decided that I’m probably going to cut back to two barre classes a week, since I’m paranoid about over-working my ab muscles. Also, since I have to go on Sunday instead of Saturday now, I’ve found that two days in a row of barre is a bit much, and I’ve felt kind of draggy the last two Mondays.

Finally, I’ve continued eating a banana every morning to help with my leg cramps and (knock wood) so far it seems to be helping. I’ve gone more than a week without one, and I haven’t been disliking the bananas too much. Plus, I’m pretty sure my favorite breakfast accompaniment, avocado, has also been helping.

Other than that, I’m keeping on keeping on. I’m curious how that’ll change in the weeks to come, as I move out of the second trimester and into the third…

Current Cravings: Fried pickles, eggs and avocado, fried chicken sub

Exercise: 2.1 average miles/day walking, barre three times, yoga twice

Fruit/Vegetable Comparison: Cauliflower (I’ve decided to switch over to The Bump’s size comparison because my app gave me a second week in a row of a “large” vegetable)

[Image source]

Food and Drink, Recipes

My Herbal Pregnancy Tea Blend

NB: I am not a medical professional or a licensed herbalist. Please do your own research and consult your doctor about any herbal supplements you take, especially during pregnancy. What follows are what I have chosen to use during pregnancy, not recommendations for anyone else.

Herbal teas can be tricky to navigate while pregnant. There are all sorts of restrictions and recommendations, and even conflicting information about what’s safe and what’s not. Then, there’s the fact that some of the teas that are specifically supposed to be beneficial for pregnant women are, well, not terribly tasty. Now, most wisdom is that herbal tisanes (i.e., not tea, which comes from the camellia sinensis plant) that are drunk for flavor contain such a small amount of active constituents that they’re unlikely to cause harm. But there are still proscriptions. Pregnant women are advised to avoid licorice root and certain hormonally-active herbs.

Then there are the total surprises. When I was in Barcelona, I learned that the standard mint blend that is served in cafes isn’t just peppermint or a blend of peppermint and spearmint, but also commonly contains the herb called “poleo” in Spanish. Since it smelled a little licorice-y when I was steeping up a cup of Mentha-Poleo tea one afternoon, I did look it up and found out that “poleo” is the Spanish word for pennyroyal, an herb I certainly didn’t want to consume while pregnant (it’s used in large amounts as an abortifacient).

So once I got home I decided I was going to make my own herbal blend, partly to have a more enjoyable way to drink some more red raspberry leaf (now that I’m solidly out of the first trimester, the warnings against it are less dire), and partly to have a caffeine-free hot drink to enjoy in the afternoons, especially after yoga sessions that I finish rather late in the say. So I started doing my research, as well as looking at some commercial “pregnancy teas” at the store and online. Obviously, a very common pregnancy tea ingredient is red raspberry leaf, for its supposedly uterus-toning abilities, but commercial pregnancy teas also commonly contain nettle. Personally, I don’t care for the taste of nettle tea (if I’m being totally honest, I think it tastes like overcooked spinach that has been boiled in urine), so I thought I’d make my own blend.

A side note: I will say that I’m rather enjoying Yogi Tea’s Mother-to-be tea, despite the inclusion of nettle. Although that’s probably because they tend to be rather heavy-handed with the flavoring herbs, and I find it tastes more of mint and cardamom than anything else.

While researching herbs to include in my personal blend, I decided that flavoring-levels of lemon verbena, rose petals, and citrus peels were probably safe. I stayed away from mint, although I might add it to a future batch, mostly because I find that the peppermint from Mountain Rose Herbs is often so potent that it overpowers any other flavor, and I wanted something a bit delicate and floral. And then I made the base of the tea red raspberry leaf. Interestingly enough, I get a strong hit of rose aroma and floral flavor from the rose petals, which blends rather nicely with the herbal citrus notes of the lemon verbena and peels, plus the slight tannic bite of red raspberry leaf.

Loose-Leaf Pregnancy Herbal Tea:

(A note about amounts: I used parts by weight, so the citrus peel will be a much smaller volume than the fluffier herbs. Using 1/2 oz. as a part, I got enough bulk tea to fill one quart-sized jar and one 8-oz. jar)

4 parts dried red raspberry leaf
1 part dried lemon verbena
1 part dried rose petals
1 part dried and cut orange peel
1 part dried and cut lemon peel

Mix all herbs well in a bowl and then store in an airtight jar in a dry place. To prepare, brew about 1 tablespoon of dried herb blend in 8-12 oz. of boiling water for 5-10 minutes. It’s particularly nice with a slice of lemon and a drizzle of honey.