Monday, December 19, 2011

Pregnancy Update: 35+ Weeks

I've been TERRIBLE about updating the blog throughout this pregnancy. Life is crazy, as always, but wonderful at the same time.

Here are my stats for 35+ weeks:

  • Fetal Heart Rate: 125-149 BPM (Baby was very active and the heart rate kept going up and down when I was trying to get a reading.)
  • Blood Pressure: 107/58 (It's been nice and low throughout the pregnancy)
  • Pulse: 89 BPM
  • Fundus: 35 cm (Right on)
  • Weight Gain: 34 lbs. (Roughly 1 lb. per week, consistently)
I've had 3 visits with the midwives through the pregnancy so far, as well as one ultrasound around 20 weeks. I haven't had any lab work done, and I haven't had any need to see a doctor. I've consulted my midwives by phone many times, as needed.

When I got to about 28 weeks my midwife was concerned about my low blood pressure and thought perhaps my iron levels were low. I have a history of low iron during pregnancy, and this was the first pregnancy that I hadn't been taking an iron supplement throughout. Sure enough, when we checked my hemoglobin level, it was lower than we wanted it to be. It was about 10, and my midwife wanted to see it above 13 if possible, and to maintain that until the birth. I started taking a multi-vitamin called Hema-Plex twice a day, which has 80 mg of elemental iron per capsule, and I made sure to take a cranberry supplement with it, because the vitamin C would help my body absorb the iron more efficiently. Within 3 weeks my hemoglobin was up over 13, and I've continued taking the iron supplements to help it stay up for the rest of the pregnancy.

I've always had horrible hip and low back pain during pregnancy, but this time it's been a lot better because of some specific things I've done. I've been taking cod liver oil, about 4,000 mg per day, for the omegas and vitamin D, and found that it helped lessen my pain and improved my mood. I also started taking extra calcium and magnesium and a glucosamine complex with chondritin and MSM. All of these supplements combined have improved my muscle and joint function and I've had minimal pain. The magnesium has also helped ease the round ligament pain and Braxton Hicks I was having. It's really amazing to me how a few simple adjustments can make a huge difference. I've also been taking baths with epsom salts regularly, and making sure I drink plenty of water each day. Physically this has been my healthiest pregnancy so far.

At 35 weeks my pain and discomfort is growing, but that's to be expected. I feel better at this point than I remember feeling with any of my previous pregnancies, and I feel better than I did in the first trimester, which amazes me. Sleeping is difficult, but that's normal for this stage, and I've never liked the saying "get the sleep now while you can before the baby comes!" because sleep during the third trimester is an utter joke. You get it whenever you can, whether it's night time or 1 pm. I slip naps in whenever possible, just to keep functioning, much like I do when I have a newborn. I did notice, however, that my energy levels improved drastically when my iron levels came back up. Still, fatigue is just a normal part of pregnancy at this point, and I understand that. 

My body is on its own schedule. No matter what time I go to bed, I wake up at 6 am, before anyone else is awake. I can't seem to get back to sleep, so I've learned to enjoy the quiet time by making and eating a warm breakfast by myself. It's the only meal of the day that I get to eat without kids around me, climbing on me, wanting to eat my food, or asking me to do or get things for them. It's MY time.

My "due date" is January 20, and I'm telling myself the baby will come in early February. I don't want to mentally set myself up for disappointment like I did when I expected my last baby to come before the due date. I want to enjoy the time being pregnant and let my baby come when he is good and ready.

I'm in full nesting mode. I feel the urge to clean the house, despite lacking the energy to do it, and I'm making plans to cook and freeze meals for the immediate postpartum period. I've talked with various people about attending the birth and helping me by taking photos, watching the kids, and helping me after the baby is born. I'm very excited and extremely at peace about planning another home birth. I can't wait!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Pleasurable Birth

There's an explicit content warning on this video. Personally, I find the depictions of typical hospital births disturbing in contrast to the peaceful depictions of pleasurable birth.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Labor Progression

This offers a great explanation and visual of labor progress, dilation, and effacement.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Feeding Baby With a Cup

Even a newborn can feed from a cup, and it doesn't cause nipple confusion like bottles do.