Friday, January 30, 2009

Our Snuggle Bug

The first picture is swaddled up in her hospital blanket, and the second is after getting dressed to go home from the hospital. It seems odd that for a girl who was almost 8 lbs at birth, the newborn size clothes are SO huge!

Breastfeeding is definitely a challenge. For me, the pain in the nipple area is pretty excruciating, even though I believe that her latch is correct (entire areola). And today my milk is coming in, so I feel like a literally have cantalopes strapped to my chest. Also, she gets frantic if she doesn't like the way the nipple feels or works on the first latch, so I try to get them primed for her before starting. I know we will work this out. If not, I'll definitely be talking to a lactation consultant sometime next week, because I can't take this pain! I can't end on that kind of negative note, though! Overall, though, I absolutely *adore* my and the entire experience of being a parent. We love her SO SO much!
I still need to write up that birth story...

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Annalise is Here!

I am thrilled to announce that our daughter,
Annalise Lily B____ arrived Monday, January 26th, at 7:03 pm
40 weeks, 6 days (induced)
7 lbs, 15 oz
21 1/4 inches

We are all doing great and we came home from the hospital early Wednesday afternoon.
I will post pics and then later, hopefully today but no guarantee. ;)
I also need to post her birth story, of course!
Thank you all for your good wishes!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

40w5d: Owwwwww! (my ankle!)

40w5d here...

As I mentioned yesterday, we are going to go in to the hospital tonight (as planned), but ask to speak to the on-call attending physician (a different OB/GYN named Dr. D) before we really commit to the induction. I have never met her, but Dr. D is supposed to be really good, so I hope that she lives up to her reputation. Since this is an academic medical center, she should be there the entire time overnight to supervise the interns and residents. Basically, S & I are hoping for a repeat exam and a second opinion. If Dr. D seems confident that induction is the way to go, we'll go ahead with it. If she is ambivalent or against it, we may wait 2-3 more days, hopefully with another NST in the meantime.

Yesterday afternoon, things seemed a bit hopeful. I noticed some clear blobs of what I assume were parts of my mucus plug. It wasn't a huge volume, and these blobs were clear with absolutely no tinge of blood or yellow, so who knows. Also, I noticed that I could at least touch my cervix again (barely), but it was more accessible than a few days ago. My, the things I learned from "Taking Charge of Your Fertility"!

I ate left over HOT Thai food for lunch, and then S and I took a nice walk in our neighborhood. Later, we got dinner (BBQ) and went to see "The Wrestler" (depressing). For some reason (probably the loud music/noise in this movie), BabyGirl was super awake during the entire thing and was squirming up a storm and setting off pretty frequent B-H contractions. Also, I was getting some sharp stabbing pains in my cervix, which has not happened much before. I really felt like maybe something was starting.

When we got home at about 9:30 PM, S and I decided to take another short walk -- really only a few blocks, but it was a nice evening, so why not? I wore the same black clogs that I had worn to the movie. When we were almost back to our house, I somehow managed to step off the side of my shoe and fall to the ground. DH and I were holding hands, so saw me falling and he held onto my hand really tightly. I fell hard onto my left calf and really twisted my poor right ankle. I got up, tried to dust myself off, laughed at my clumsiness, and walked home, but about 1/2 hour later my ankle/foot started really killing me. It's so weird because there is no bruising and no swelling, but it really really hurts! OWWWW!

Needless to say that our plans to go to a local park and museums (Balboa Park for the SoCal people) this afternoon are shot. In fact, I can't think of anything much that I can do... not even chores! Ice is helping a bit, and I am using hiking poles around the house to try to take some weight off of it. My mom is going to bring over some old crutches this afternoon. If I weren't going to the hospital tonight, and if I had to work tomorrow, I would seriously have to consider going to the ER.

Assuming that I go ahead with this induction tonight, I'm going to try to have the baby (late tomorrow?) and then if it's still bad, I will ask for some sort of quick ortho or PT eval before I go home (presumably Tuesday?). Maybe they can give me one of those walking boots or something. I can't see how I can really take care of a baby when I can barely walk. And so much for my plans to try a lot of the squatting/standing positions during my contractions...

Saturday, January 24, 2009

40w4d: And Waiting...

No, no, I'm still here and still pregnant...

Here are some updates:

From Tuesday, 1/20/09 (40w0d):

I actually went to work today (my due date) because, well, I couldn't see any real reason not to do so. (Tuesday is one of my days working at the VA, and I only have ~3-4 weeks of paid leave (accumulated sick leave and vacation time), so I decided that I might as well go there, work a little, and not use up my precious sick leave/vacation time. I am feeling more ambivalent about going to my other work site tomorrow. It is more stressful. Still, there is the issue of taking leave now versus later, and the other issue of not being paid for my entire maternity leave anyway. We'll see!

I truly have nothing new to report. Occasional B-H contractions, none involving my back. Really no extra "pressure" to speak of, no mucus plug, nothing. I just feel bigger and bigger but nothing is happening. I sometimes wonder if this baby is even in my pelvis at all. I woke up 3 times overnight to use the bathroom, but during the day it seems like I am waiting for hours with no problem (even less of a problem than a few weeks ago). Argh! My biggest fear at this point is getting induced sometime next week, failing to progress, and then getting a C-section that I don't really need. I'm trying to take it day by day and trying to distract myself.

From Thursday, 1/22/09 (40w2d):

I just got back from my OB/GYN appt. I'm currently 40w2d, with essentially zero progress over the past 2 weeks (1 cm, 50-60% effaced, soft, -3 station). So disappointing!

From what I've read, induction of labor is not very successful in women with numbers like these (especially primigravidas, or first time preggos, like myself). Lots of info out there on the so called "Bishop Score." I specifically asked my OB/GYN about that, and she seemed to think that induction would be successful (but I'm not sure why). She said that my score would be pretty good. By my own calculation, my score is 3, which is actually in the group most likely to end up getting a C-section.

The plan is to induce me on Sunday night (40w5d) with hopes of me having the baby on ~Monday at 40w6d. I asked about the method of induction (Cervidil, prostaglandins, Pitocin, or whatever) and my OB/GYN said that they would use a Foley catheter inserted into my cervix to start dilation. She said that oftentimes they do this, labor starts, and they don't even need Pitocin.

I had never heard of this induction method before and wonder if anyone has first-hand experience. So far, my friend tells me that one of her friends had this done and it was very uncomfortable. I *HATE* having a Foley in my bladder, so I cannot really imagine how it is going to feel having that thing in my cervix. Online (google), people who had it done seemed to say that it was not too uncomfortable. I did some searching on google and pubmed, and it sounds like this is a low-tech way to start labor, is used worldwide, but for some reason is just starting to catch on here in the US.

I have to admit that I started crying a little bit after we discussed the induction. I want this to happen on its own SO badly. But at the same time, I don't want to wait past 41 weeks and beyond.

After my appointment, I had an NST and everything looks great with the baby. The placenta has some minor signs of being "older" but nothing unexpected. My amniotic fluid index is 13 point-something, so better than last time (9).

I'm going to do everything possible between now and then in hopes of something happening on its own.

From today, Saturday, 1/24/08 (40w4d):

Yesterday (Friday, 1/23/08) was my birthday (34!), so my thought that maybe the BabyGirl and I would share a bday did not come true. However, I finally took a day off from work and officially started maternity leave.

I ran a bunch of errands. I checked out two Ina May Gaskin/midwifery books from the library. Even though I am not going that route, I think it is interesting and hopefully I'll enjoy reading positive birth stories during my labor.

I spontaneously made a last-minute acupuncture appointment to see if that could add anything. I have done acupuncture exactly once before, on the day before my embryo transfer for IVF. This same woman says that she has experience in inducing labor, too. Anyway, I thought I would be there 30-45 minutes, but the session ended up lasting a little over 2 hours (!).

The acupuncturist first put needles in the webs between my thumb and index finger, in my supraclavicular fossa area (between neck and shoulder), and in several spots on my inner leg (above ankle, inner calf, and lower/inner thigh). She lit a charcoal/herb stick and moved it around in front of my belly and also my legs. It was warm, and it felt good.

She then put an electrode-type thing on several of the needles and turned it up to the point where it made my muscles twitch just a tiny bit. and said that the baby would probably start being really active. She left me there for probably ~40 minutes in near-darkness, with nice relaxing music. I was mostly just lying quietly and relaxing, but I dozed a bit and was awake at certain times, too. BabyGirl, instead of getting super active, seemed to snooze almost the entire time.

The acupuncturist then returned to the room and had me role on my side. She put some needles on my lower back and again placed the electrodes again. BabyGirl woke up a bit more and was moving some, but nothing extreme. Around this time, I realized that a buzzing sound that I had been hearing intermittantly was not "some weird machine in the next room," but either my pager or cell phone going off. This did kill the mood a bit, but I tried to just ignore it.

Finally, the acupuncturist returned again and placed some glass cups on my back (moxibustion/cupping). Again, only minor movements from the BabyGirl. Personally, I think that the fact that I hadn't eaten lunch before my 1:30 appointment had a lot to do with her relatively quiet state. Like I mentioned earlier, I had no idea that I would be there for over 2 hours!

For dinner, I went with my mom, dad, sister and S to my favorite Thai restaurant. I asked them to make the spiciest dish even spicier. I also asked the owner (my mom kinda knows her as we've been going to this restaurant for ~15 years) if there were any specific Thai foods rumored to induce labor. She didn't know of any, unfortunately.

Later, S and I came home and got busy... (It had been TOO long...both of our faults, I suppose)... Well, that felt great actually, but it didn't really seem to set off any major contractions, either. Waaah. This AM, I woke up feeling a little achy in my pelvis, kinda like when I have my period. However, there is no contraction-y aspect to this feeling.

This morning, I saw that someone replied to my post about Foley catheter inductions on the Ovusoft Labor/Delivery/Post-Partum forum. This poster is a Bradley method instructor, so knowledgeable about birth, but obviously on the lower intervention side of things. Anyway, she suggested that I will be at higher risk of cord prolapse during an induction because of BabyGirl's -3 station. Ugh! How terrifying!! I hadn't even thought of that.

She also said that she would assume that they are planning to break my water if the Foley catheter alone doesn't work to start labor. (She guessed that on her own, but yes, my OB/GYN did mention that possibility.) Finally, she also suggests that I am putting myself at a high risk of C-section, which was also my previous concern. Argh!

I talked about all of this with S. Right now, I think I am going ahead with planning for induction Sunday night. (Of course, I am really REALLY hoping that I might make progress before then.) Maybe BabyGirl can at least move down a little bit more? My Bishop score would improve a lot (and risk of C-section would decrease) if she would at least move down to -2 or -1 station. Anyway, I'll plan to go in to the hospital Sunday night, as planned, but before absolutely commiting to the induction, I'll ask the attending MD there to check me out and tell me my current dilation, effacement, and station. Then, I am going to try to get their honest opinion about the risks involved with waiting for this to happen naturally versus induction. I will make it very clear that we are not pushing for either decision. We just want to do the best thing for BabyGirl, and if that is truly a toss-up, also for me.

Monday, January 19, 2009

39w6d: Still Waiting!

It seems that I cannot manage both being in a pregnancy buddy group (I joined one on Ovusoft) and updating here. However, this is a more "permanent" record (and I want to update anyone who is still reading!), so I'm going to cut and paste some of my posts from there to fill in some gaps here.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From Thursday, 1/8/09 (38w2d):

I had my 38w2d OB appointment today. BP still fine at 90/58. Weight stable from last week, but I'm up about 33 lbs now. And then it was time for my first cervical exam. I asked her about whether there is any concern about doing an internal exam on someone who is Group B Strep (GBS) positive, and she said that it is not a problem. However, take her answer with a grain of salt (and read the paragraph below). Anyway, she did the exam, and she had to really push hard up inside to find my cervix, and she eventually pronounced that it is "1 cm dilated and 50% effaced" and that she can feel the baby's head. No comment about whether is high, medium, or low, although it certainly felt like she was going in really far (ie high).

The next part was kinda upsetting. Right after telling me that I was 1 cm and 50% effaced, she continued to poke around and she said, "and now I'm sweeping your membranes." Right away I said, "Um, wait, I'm not quite ready for that." I mean, that is supposed to help induce labor, and she never even asked me if I wanted her to do it. The answer would have been no, because I am still hoping to tie up a few loose ends over the weekend and early next week! And now I've been reading about this procedure, and I see that there is some controversy about the safety of sweeping/stripping membranes in someone who is a Group B Strep carrier...which I am, and which we had JUST discussed. Argh. I am rather annoyed now. I do think that everything will be OK, but I also feel that she should have discussed it with me before doing it. I'm not sure how much she did. Once I told her to stop, she did, but then she still told me that I would probably experience spotting and increasing contractions tonight.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From Saturday, 1/10/09 (38w4d):

As for me...(may be TMI, so watch out!!) After the membrane stripping incident on Thursday (done without telling me first), I was kinda relieved when nothing much happened that evening. However, on Friday AM I woke up with a bunch of bloody discharge/spotting in my underwear (several teaspoonfuls in volume, I'd guess). It looked like the beginning of my period, but when I wiped, nothing more was there or inside. Nothing much happened during the day yesterday: no significant discharge, no contractions.

In the evening we saw the movie "Milk" (excellent!) and during the movie I felt at least 7-8 Braxton-Hicks type of non-painful contractions. I woke up at about 5 this AM to use the bathroom. At night, I do this without turning on any lights or flushing the toilet. Afterwards, I was surprised to feel that my underwear felt pretty wet, so I turned on the light to see what was up. There was a ~4 inch wet spot, and it appeared to be kinda a light brownish color (maybe discharge mixed with blood.) I decided that it was not amniotic fluid and went back to bed. When I got up to pee again at about 8AM, I noticed that there was a bit of mucousy discharge. I think it might be part of my mucous plug! Of course, I still don't think that it means much. I haven't had any further contractions (not even B-H), and I figure that Dr K might have dislodged it with her exam/membrane sweeping. I'm assuming that they have to dislodge it if they are putting their finger thru the cervix, right?Anyhow, baby shower #2 (a small group of work colleagues) is this afternoon.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From Monday, 1/12/09 (38w6d):

I had a lovely baby shower #2 on Saturday. About 14 women from work ended up coming, more than I had expected, and it was held in a local restaurant during their mid-afternoon lull. They let us take over a large section of the restaurant, so we had it to ourselves other than for a lonely-appearing man who decided to take the table right next to our group and watch (and yes, there were lots of other seats elsewhere in the restaurant). Now I have many, many thank you notes to write, including a few that I haven't done from baby shower #1.

I had been having B-H contractions on Friday night, and they've all but stopped now. No further symptoms at all, really. I then went with my mom & little sister to Babies R Us on Saturday night to get the rest of the must-haves from the registry. This included a baby book, which I cannot wait to get started on. (Thank you notes first, though!) Sunday night, we had our final childbirth class. I don't think any of the couples in the class have had their babies yet. We actually have the first due date, and the other late January/early February couples were all still there. Most of the people in the class were due in late February, March, and even April. The instructor overall was nice but a bit (unintentionally) preachy at times and made me feel like a little kid with her tone. "REMEMBER...your birth may be DIFFERENT!" So, I'm glad to be finished with it. My favorite parts of the class were definitely the relaxation techniques...and the movies.

I made it through my last Monday at work. Mondays are my busiest day, clinic-wise, and next week is MLK Day, so I'm off no matter what. Today something really embarrassing happened, though. I was in a room seeing a patient (age 27 - and yes, she has breast cancer!), her best friend, her mother, brother (age ~12) and daughter (3). I was sitting on one of those round stools with no back, and wheels. Well, I kinda perched on the edge of the thing and before I knew it, the entire stool rolled out from under me. I landed flat on my butt!! It was one of the most embarrassing things that I've ever had happen in front of a patient. Luckily, I wasn't injured, so I was able to laugh it off and kinda say, "Well, at least my water didn't break in front of you guys!" The family was very kind, actually.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From Tuesday, 1/13/09 (39w0d):

A couple of people told me that I am "still carrying high." not say this to a woman at 39 weeks! The only interesting development is that since this afternoon, when I stand up the tendons in my inner thighs feel kinda like they feel after I ride a horse or bike. Kinda stretched out, I guess. Maybe I finally have some relaxin hormone in my system and maybe she can finally start to work her way down?? Right? Right? Has anyone else noticed this kind of symptom?

I tried to do my kick count a while ago. I had 5 kicks in 2 minutes, and none since then (45 minutes ago.) This is why I HATE kick counts!! Now I'm going to get stressed out!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From Thursday, 1/15/09 (39w2d):

Nothing much to report here. I'm still at work. TMI ALERT: maybe a somewhat-looser-than-typical BM today, but it's not like my entire colon is cleaned out or anything. I don't even seem to get B-H contractions at this point. I have an OB/GYN appointment at 4:30 this afternoon. I'm very very curious about whether there has been any "progress." I think that part of my wish to get started is related to the following. I have committed to be back to work on a certain date. If she is born before by due date, I would get to spend 12.5 weeks with her, but if she is born later, it would only be something like 11 weeks. I want as much time as possible with her. I know legally I could get the full 12 weeks off (assuming that I work next week), but I just feel guilty as my colleagues will need to be covering for me the entire time.

Later that day...

I had my OB/GYN appointment this afternoon. My BP and the baby's heartbeat were fine. I have now gained about 33 lbs. Recall that last week, I was "1 cm dilated, 50% effaced." Well, today Dr. K told me that my cervix is "a loose 1 cm dilated and maybe 65% effaced and very soft." Hmmmmmmm. It sounds like maybe she is trying to make me feel better, but that I am basically the same as last week.

I asked her about the sweeping the membranes from last week and whether it was safe given that I am GBS+, and she basically said that in her opinion it is safe, but that she wouldn't do it if I didn't want her to. Well, I was sort of tempted, but in the end she didn't do it.If I come to next week's appointment (40w2d) we will likely schedule an induction for sometime around 41 weeks, but still give the baby a few more days to appear on her own. That sounds like a good compromise to me.

There is something that I don't quite like about "choosing a birthday", but at the same time I think I would go insane if this went into February. I really really hope that it happens on its own, though. Our conception (via IVF/ICSI) was pretty much devoid of any romance or naturality, so I'd at least like to have a spontaneous labor/birth story to balance that out.

After work I went to Target and spent over 1.5 hours there. I did buy 2 new nursing bras (which I desperately need NOW, even if I need to buy another size in the next week or two), overnight type pads for me (for lochia), PJs on clearance (I figure I'll be lounging in comfy clothes 75% of the time for the next couple of months), baby wipes in a small hard plastic case for the diaper bag, more thank you cards, etc.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

From Sunday, 1/18/09 (39w5d):

Nothing much is going on here. I walked maybe 2-3 miles with my parents in Rose Cany.on yesterday. I also ate an entire can of pineapple (yum) but then I read that it has to be fresh pineapple to have a labor-inducing effect. Well, I'm honestly not much of a believer in some of these measures, but I figure that they can't hurt. I'm getting maybe one B-H per hour, sometimes less.

S and I will go out walking again today, too. I think I want to repeat the amniotic fluid check (biophysical profile/BPP) and non-stress test (NST) sometime this week if nothing happens. I did have one earlier this month and I found it very reassuring to have that info. Also, the baby's fluid was on the low end of normal, so I'd like to see that again before next weekend. Hopefully my OB will agree.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

38w1d: Physical Symptoms of Pregnancy (or lack thereof)

OK, this is one of those posts in which you're going to decide to either love me or hate me. Mainly, because I think I've been SO fortunate in terms of physical symptoms related to this pregnancy. When I think about the average pregnant woman out there, I kinda figure, "well, I went through so much more than they did to get pregnant (IVF, $$$$, and then the whole OHSS fiasco) and I deserve this nice and easy pregnancy!" However, I know that a lot of you go through infertility and then still have to deal with a lot of unpleasant pregnancy symptoms. So please, read no further if this is going to make you irritable. I just want to write this all down so that I can remember it in the future.

I hope it doesn't mean that childbirth is going to be a wild ride.

Nausea / morning sickness:
No, never had it. Maybe twice, I felt the sensation of "oooh, I'm hungry, and I can imagine that I could get nauseated if I don't eat something soon." I ate something, and the feeling went away completely.

Breasts: Never hurt. Grew a bit, but my bras seemed to have plenty of room to accomodate them (Pre-pregnancy, I guess I tended to buy a larger size than I really needed). I finally bought one new bra about a week ago. I started noticing a bit of colostrum (with squeezing) on 12/24...very exciting!

Back pain:
A couple of times, especially on the day after exercising. I think I took Tylenol two or three times. Really, no big deal at all.

Two or three times, I think. And at least 2 times, it lasted for more than 24 hours. They were mild migraines, but annoying. I usually get them once or twice a month, so two or three times in 9 months was actually pretty good.

Yes, exactly once, and I think this was maybe around 20 weeks. It was pretty bad in that it hurt when I took a deep breath and felt like a gripping feeling in my throat. Once I figured out what it was, I went to Target and bought a bunch of Pepcid and TUMS. I took a total of one Pepcid. I'm still taking the TUMS, mainly because I think they are yummy like candy, and they also work as a calcium supplement. The heartburn has never come back.

Swelling: None so far. Well, my rings actually fit a bit better than normal in that they are not falling off, but they are not at all tight. Alos, my belly has weird indentations from my pants. But my feet/ankles haven't been swollen so far.

Stretch marks: None so far. (fingers crossed!!)

Hemorrhoids: OK, I do have these. I can feel them protruding and I imagine that they are pretty ugly to look at. However, they have bled or thrombosed, and they are not painful. So far, my grossest observation is the fact that the hemorrhoid cream that I bought (again from Target) smells like FISH! Then I looked at the ingredients and one of them is "shark liver oil." How disgusting! Why would I want to mix the smell of fish with any other smells from that part of my anatomy? UGH!!

Constipation: Um, yes, but not much worse than what I normally get when not pregnant.

Urination: Yes, I guess I get up to pee maybe 2-4 times per night instead of 1 time which is more typical for me. But it hasn't really bothered me. 99% of the time, I go back to sleep instantly.

Sleeping issues: None whatsoever other than having to get up and pee. Otherwise I am sleeping really well.

Moodiness: Nope. I have been pretty happy the entire time. I have been anxious at times, especially early on, but not moody / bitchy or anything like that. As far as I know, at least. :)

I think all of my gloating is giving me a bit of a headache, actually! No, really. I think I will go pop a Tylenol and go to bed now. Yawn!!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

38w0d: Waiting!

One of my problems is that I am physically incapable of writing a short blog entry. I want to update EVERYTHING, everytime I sit down to blog. And therefore I just don't do it, and my pregnancy is passing me by without proper documentation!

A few days ago I joined a "Pregnancy Buddy Group" on the Ovusoft website. I was watching this group from the beginning (May) but I was too scared to join at that point. One other IVF person was in the group, and then she miscarried her baby. I just didn't feel ready to chat with people who had gotten pregnant the traditional way, and afraid for what the future might bring. On the other hand, my own April/May IVF buddy group had pretty disappointing outcomes and it fell apart. I could have joined a post-IVF buddy group for another month, but I felt like an outsider (and too far ahead or behind, AND one of the only people with a singleton rather than twins) so I never did.

By the time I felt "ready" to join, the women started talking about closing the group to new members, so I never did ask to join. The reason that groups do this is because otherwise they can get so large that it is hard to remember who is who and reply to everyone on a regular basis. However, the other day I decided to ask if I could them if/when they formed a parenting group. Basically they welcomed me to start posting now, so I did. I love this blog and this community, too, but I do appreciate some of the solidarity of swapping symptoms with women whose due dates are within a week or two of my own.

See what I mean by longwindedness! Jeesh! The whole point of all of that was to say that I'm going to cut, paste, and edit a few of my recent Ovusoft posts to document what has been going on with me in recent days.
at 37w2d (1/1/09):
This week, I have definitely had some scattered Braxton-Hicks, but nothing consistent. Still, it's progress, right? Then again, I had a lot of B-H's back in the mid-20 week range, but for some reason they had stopped completely in recent weeks. I have another OB appointment tomorrow (again, with an NP due to holiday scheduling). Also, today two friends told me that I have dropped. Personally, I can't tell any difference (by appearance or feel), but I'm glad to hear that they think so.

I am Group B Strep positive. The doctor hasn't talked to me about it yet. I work in the same healthcare system, so I check my own labs sometimes. I won't have any internal exams til 38 weeks (ie next week) at this practice. I tried to do my own internal exam yesterday. I was pretty good at feeling my cervix while TTC, so I sorta feel like I know what I'm doing. Strangely, my cervix felt super super soft to the point where I wasn't even 100% sure that it was the cervix rather than the vaginal wall or something.

I need to start packing my hospital bag. Any opinions re: duffel-bag versus little suitcase? I was originally thinking duffle, but maybe I need extra space of a small suitcase.

at 37w4d (1/3/09):

I had a regular OB appointment yesterday. Due to the holiday schedule, I was seen by a midwife rather than my usual OB. As usual, I was scolded a bit for not doing my kick counts every single day. I told her that the baby's kicks are still regular, but definitely diminished in strength compared to a few weeks ago. I also told her that doing "formal" kick counts makes me anxious, that I'm monitoring for movement very very frequently anyway, etc etc. She then alluded to a recent "tragic event" with another patient. Ugh! I'm sure that I had a horrified look on my face.

Based on all of this, and probably also the fact that she doesn't know me, she then offered to order a non-stress test. I jumped at the chance (I haven't had any formal testing since 19 weeks, so I welcomed any opportunity to check on the baby). At first the receptionist told me that the first available in that office was 1/22/09 (ie, after the due date)! I was therefore given the phone number for another location (ie, at the hospital). However, the woman in scheduling over there said that she would get back to me ASAP as she was sure that my office could squeeze me in somehow. (Incidentally, I work just across the parking lot from my OB/GYN office, whereas the hospital is ~10 miles away).

A few minutes later, the hospital scheduler called me back with an appointment at 2:30 yesterday in my OB/GYN office. I love how schedules can change when someone pushes some buttons. I hadn't even tried the whole "I'm a doctor and I work here; accomodate me" type thing (makes me feel too obnoxious), but the hospital scheduler got that info out of me (by noticing that I was calling from an inside line, finding out that I work here, etc etc) and apparently used it! My doctor and the medical assistants know, but I don't think that the front desk staff is aware.

The biophysical profile/NST went well. BabyGirl got 8/8 points for practice breathing, fluid (9 point-something AFI), movement, tone, and something else. She started out sluggish on the NST (heart rate flat in the 130s without any movement for the first 5 minutes), but then she apparently woke up, started moving a bit, and had some accelerations into the 150s. Yay! 10/10 score overall. The nurse who administered the test told me that this is an indication of fetal well being for the next 5 days or so. I doubt I will have any more NSTs, but it was nice just to make sure that things look good.

OH, by the way, the midwife also said that I have dropped (lower fundal height than another midwife had measured last week) but I am feeling NO kinda of pressure or increased need to urinate (it was worse a month or so ago). I am getting more Braxton Hicks this week, though. Last night I had a few within an hour... then nothing! Next week will be my first internal exam.
At 37w6d (1/5/09):

Today at work, I saw patients all day and by the end of the day I was feeling some contraction type sensations. It was similar to what I've been calling Braxton Hicks, but more uncomfortable. Almost like menstrual cramps, I guess. At one point I decided to time them and I felt 3 in a row, 10 minutes apart. I got a little bit excited, but after that, they completely stopped. Still, this did seem like a subtle change. In reality, though, I guess I am hoping to go to the middle of next week to tie up a few loose ends at work. Also, I have baby shower #2 -- thrown by my work friends -- on this upcoming Saturday.

We do still have a few last minute things to buy. Specifically, we need a changing table pad and cover (a friend gave us the changing table recently), and we also need some sort of sheet for the pack-n-play. We are going to use the pack-n-play's bassinette function for the first few months. I just don't think that we can bear for her to be in another room (the nursery) so far from mommy and daddy! We do want her to get used to her crib, though, so our current thought is naps in the crib and bassinette at night. I wonder how many of our plans will fly out the window once she is born.
38w0d (1/6/09 = Today!):

After those 3 or more "contractions" yesterday, I didn't feel anything unusual today. Hmph! I will have an OB appointment on Thursday 1/8 and will be having my first internal exam at that time.

I am up 32+ lbs at this point. Egads! I was hoping to stay under 30, 35 lbs max. I hope I squeak by. I definitely have my work cut out for me in the months ahead!

Speaking of which, some random guy in the VA today (a patient, I believe, but could have been an employee...) asked me if I was expecting twins! Ummmmm, NO, bud. I honestly think he was just trying to be friendly and make a little joke, but jeesh! I kinda smiled and shook my head and said something like, "Hey, you better watch it, or you're going to get yourself in big trouble... No it is NOT twins, but this baby is due any day now." Well, not quite, but the time is definitely counting down.