Friday, January 23, 2015

Now for something completely different

Here are some random baby and non-baby related projects we've done lately. 

New furniture! This is still a work in progress, but we saw this pretty furniture on a Facebook yard sale site a couple weeks back. It was a good price, particularly since we were having trouble swallowing the Pottery Barn Kids full bedroom set cost (yes, it's beautiful, but ugh...). The seller was a couple around our age. The woman had used this furniture growing up and still liked it, but wasn't interested in refinishing it, so here we are, with a set of furniture that needs to be refinished, which is something we have never done before. This should be fun. We bought the necessary tools and stripping chemicals this weekend. Now, to apply them when the weather doesn't suck.

Nick made ginger ale! Inspired by an episode of Good Eats (there's one "season" on Netflix. Go watch.), we checked out this recipe. He made it in a clean V8 bottle and it was delicious! It looks like unfiltered apple juice but it was great. It's a little scary to ferment stuff in your own home, but this was incredibly easy and the end result was great. 

New fireplace. Before- brassy ugliness:
After- black and sleek:

Other assorted things that I don't have pictures of: 
- Getting the exit of our walkout basement fixed up. This was always a nasty mess when it rained. We had a concrete pad outside the door that had slowly become covered by mud. Nick would uncover it occasionally but it would return to its natural state of ickiness. Kiwi loved it, because it was filled with buggy water, but we do not let our puppy's preferences dictate our lives. We had a landscaping company come in and change our whole drainage scheme in the back and really spiff it up. We now have a pretty stone patio that, best of all, drains away from the house. Kiwi misses her lake.

- Getting our garage fixed. It has structural issues where the roof wasn't quite installed correctly (minor detail..). As such, it leaked like a sieve. We found a great contractor who finished the work pretty quickly despite awful weather. We've had rain since then, and there haven't been any leaks. 

Hooray for being adults and spending lots of money on boring things!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

6 weeks to go

Aside from the intense feeling of "dear god, 6 weeks is not a lot of time" here's what else is new in my just-entered 34th week of pregnancy:

- Sleep is no longer a thing. 

I have been so, so lucky to get this far with only minimal pregnancy symptoms. I've felt mostly great and, often, very much like my pre-pregnancy self. Until this weekend. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights were some of the worst "sleep" I can ever remember (not) getting. My restless legs will not quit. The baby is at his (pronoun of choice) most active just after I lay down. It's precious and all that good stuff, but it is intense. I'm sorry, baby, that you don't like me lying on my right or left side but I ONLY HAVE 2 SIDES. YOU CANNOT HATE BOTH OF THEM. The heartburn (see below) is most intense when I lay down, so that flares up too. All this makes for a very unpleasant sleep experience.

- Belly now gets in the way of things.

I am carrying low and in front and I have luckily been spared the pregnancy waddle, so far. But my ability to pick things up off the floor of the car has been severely restricted. In any other situation, I can move the rest of my body to reach stuff, but that is not the case when it's directly in front of me. I miss being able to pick up my purse.

- Heartburn. Couldn't get worse? Did.

As mentioned under "sleep (lack thereof)," the heartburn is just out of control. It's been my main gripe since the very beginning of pregnancy, but if it had stayed at the dull roar it had been, I really could have dealt with it for 6 more weeks. Now, I am getting huge waves of stomach acid that take me by surprise and sometimes take my breath away. It's really unpleasant. I've also had to add another pillow to elevate my head at night. Even then, my reflux defies gravity and creeps its way up. I'll be talking to my midwives about some other remedies I can try because I don't want to keep pounding Tums and I cannot imagine 40 more days of this.

- Little bugger spends the majority of his time transverse.

This is just a bother right now, because it's kind of uncomfortable and causing hip pain, but it becomes a pretty big deal as the pregnancy progresses. At this point, the baby should be vertex (head down) and getting all set up for D-day. Instead, he's laying across my pelvis. I don't know how an almost 5 lb., 19 inch long baby is sandwiched sideways in me, but he is. There are some strategies to get the baby to flip, and I'll be discussing those with the midwife. If he stays transverse, my homebirth dreams are impossible and I'd most likely be transferred to an OB and have a C-section. That would really, really suck (healthy mom and baby are the ultimate goal, of course, but I don't want a C-section.)

- We installed the car seat.

We bought the Chicco NextFit Convertible seat ages ago when it was on sale, and finally bit the bullet and installed it this weekend. The LATCH system is pretty amazing. It takes <5 minutes to get it in the car. The main reason for installing it this early was to ensure it fits in my tiny car. It does! As you can see in this high quality picture, it sandwiches nicely behind the passenger seat after only minor seat adjustment. My car can't do LATCH in the middle (seats are split), so it'll have to be on that side. It fit in Nick's car with zero problems. Now, actually buckling the baby in... that'll be interesting.

-We bought furniture! 

I had been lusting after a picture-perfect Pottery Barn nursery but the cost of that furniture was really ridiculous. I was browsing a local yard sale site and saw a 3-piece set of older furniture for a reasonable price. We went and looked at it, and it definitely needs to be refinished (it's 30-some years old) and have new hardware put on, but it is structurally in amazing shape.

We'll still need to buy a new crib, for safety reasons. Still, it feels good to have a big item checked off the list, since our "nursery" is currently in disarray due to the complete lack of any real baby stuff in it.

We also got our beautiful new rocker delivered. It's comfortable and pretty and I cannot wait to rock in it all the time. The door it's in front of goes to the air handling unit, so we won't ever really have to open it.
I think the tags really add some pizzaz to it.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Pregnancy body image- 8 months along

When I wrote my first post about my body image during pregnancy, I looked like this (23ish weeks):

Oh your boobs are huge and you look like you've had a big lunch? Please complain more, past me. Future me hates you.

And now, it's more like this (32 weeks): 
I cut off my head because I have a cold and look like Rudolph.

I wish that me 2 months ago who thought that I was "OMG SO HUGE" could relish in being tiny. My butt had not yet expanded thoroughly. My thighs probably weren't constantly fighting with each other. The back fat/bra battle was not being valiantly fought each day. Those were the good ol' days.

So... I'm having some issues. My weight gain is still totally reasonable but I think the water retention has really taken off in the last week or so. I'm suddenly feeling awful and heavy and thick. At least this time, I KNOW I will get significantly bigger in the coming weeks instead of thinking I already had a big old belly and was so super pregnant. With 7 weeks to go, I'm gaining ~1 lb a week and the baby is gaining 0.5 lb a week! Getting chubby and adorable (the baby, not me). 

I'm still trying to stay active as much as possible because that makes me feel better and seems to keep the puffiness in my legs to a minimum. However, exercise is hard lately. My shins are getting sore. I probably definitely need new shoes but I'm not sure if my foot size is going to stay consistent after pregnancy (they've grown about a half size. Fun.). I also get out of breath from doing silly things, like walking up a flight of stairs or rolling over in bed. That feeling of slowness permeates all activities.

The baby keeps me on track. Knowing that exercise and good nutrition are essential for his/her development keeps me from straying too far on days when I am tempted to undereat. I am aware it sounds ridiculous, selfish, disordered that the thought would even cross my mind, but it does. Pregnancy does not magically make the negativity go away, for me at least. Trying on maternity clothes, which I am convinced aren't actually made for anyone >7 months pregnant, made me feel horrible. 

I'll keep doing what I'm doing and gaining weight like a champ, but will I also buy pregnancy Spanx for my upcoming company party and hang from my upside down all day so my cankles become a reasonable size (mostly kidding). I will do everything in my power to feel good about myself during this challenging time. Luckily, I get kicked all the time so I have a constant reminder of the little life I'm responsible for nurturing. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

Resolution Run 5K recap

Subtitle: Pregnant or not, running is hard, yo.

This race was held on January 1. It has a blissfully late 9am start, so I actually got to sleep in! A++ would run again.

I had my normal eggs and a banana breakfast before leaving the house, plus half a cup of coffee while we waited for the start. My stomach was being ridiculous (I blame the enormous plate of lo mein I had for dinner the night before). It was also super cold- the start was in the low-20's. That is unusual for this area. I stressed about layers and ended up wearing the race shirt over my long-sleeve tech shirt. Major faux pas, but whatever, it kept my core warmish.

The race is on the small side, but not as small as some I've done recently. There were about 130 participants. The races is all along one very hilly access road. The hills! I have not run on anything remotely resembling hills in a year. That's not an exaggeration, it has been a year. Oof. They crushed my spirit and I slowed down far more than I normally would have. I got passed by a ton of people but just kept on trucking at a comfortable pace. No need to go crazy pushing myself with the little one rattling around in there.

I somehow finished in a relatively even, slight positive split, 27:02. 8:43/mile. Not too shabby, and similar to my other 5K's this pregnancy. I was surprised and delighted that my time somehow got me second in my age group! Nick got 3rd in his group and he was the 15th finisher overall! There are so many more fast guys around here.

This race was hard. It was hard because the last 2 races I've done have been with my dad, who is a great motivator and someone to keep me focused. It was hard because I'm carrying an ever-increasing amount of extra weight (40+ lbs more than my low/scary weight!). It was hard from the cold and the hills. I'm proud of myself for doing it and I would be lying if I said I wasn't tickled by the praise I got from strangers for running when I'm "so far along." It feels good to be an example of what pregnant women are capable of. The rest of the day I felt tired and a bit run down but I was SUPER HIGH on endorphins. The next day my legs were sore, but nothing too crazy.

This was my last "race" of this pregnancy. Our local club doesn't put on any real races the rest of January and February (although they have some trail races that would be appealing if the risk of falling wasn't so high...), so this was my last hurrah. I would really like to keep mixing running into my routine until I deliver, if possible, to help my muscles remember how they should be moving when I can get back to exercise post-partum. I'm just so glad to have made it this far and still be feeling great.

Glowing with pride, endorphins, and backlight. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 accomplishments

1. Got knocked up

It didn't come easily, but we did it! A sub-accomplishment of this is "gestated fetus for 7+ months." Baby C is due in a mere 53 days (!!??!?!??!)

2. Discovered honey in Greek yogurt is delicious.

I know I'm so far behind the times on this, but I can't get over how awesome it is to adjust the amount of sweetness in your yogurt instead of being slave to the disgusting fruit on the bottom masters. Down with weirdly flavored, weirdly colored yogurt!

3. Embraced walking as exercise.

Walking is awesome. If it's cold enough outside or in the basement (where the treadmill is), I don't always sweat enough to warrant a shower. Plus, I don't have to worry nearly a much about running-related issues, like chafing or stomach upset. Walking does take for-ev-er, but that just means I'm getting to watch more trashy TV. And I get to tell myself that what I'm really doing is heart-rate zone training to build a nice cardiovascular base for when I eventually return to running. Yeah... that's what I'm doing.

4. Didn't run a marathon

For the first time in 4 years, I did not run a marathon. Or a half marathon. I took almost half the year off running in order to get pregnant and have been keeping my distances short in the months since the fetus took up residence in me. I have kept up some modicum of running fitness during pregnancy but I'm currently barely in 5K shape (and I'm running a 5K tomorrow... yikes). I obviously want this to change in a few months, but for right now, I'm just where I need to be.

5. Did grown-up things.

We got our back yard landscaped (thanks, parents, for that birthday present!). We had the majority of the house painted. Carpets cleaned. Fixed lots of little things around the house. Since I've been a renter all my life, it's been a hard adjustment to actual caring for a house. Nick's much better at it, and he's rubbing off on me. It's good.

6. Did crazy amazing hikes....

...while pregnant! Our long weekend in Rocky Mountain National Park and our incredible trip to Italy had me doing hikes that were far outside my comfort zone. Doing those hikes allowed us to see some incredibly gorgeous parts of the world. We're so fortunate to have had those opportunities, and also fortunate that my pregnancy has been drama-free enough to allow us to do those trips at 8 and 16 weeks along.

7. Got a dog.

If I hadn't gotten pregnant this year, Kiwi would be at the top of the list. She's just the best dog ever.
Nonchalant dog does not care about how awesome she is.
Best ears ever.
Little tiny puppy face and tiny puppy paws. I die.

This year gets an A+. Mostly for the honey in yogurt discovery. Obviously. 

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bradley Method classes- My Review

My midwifery practice requires that couples attend childbirth classes. I had read a bunch about the natural childbirth techniques out there and decided that Bradley Method sounded like it aligned with my preferences.

Background: The Bradley Method of Natural Childbirth, also referred "Husband-Coached Childbirth" was developed in the 1960's by an obstetrician, Dr. Robert A. Bradley. He wasn't a fan of how women were treated during childbirth, since he began practicing at a time when women were given all sorts of drugs during childbirth. He developed some ideas by doing trials with patients and wrote a book. It expanded from there, with classes and a certification process for instructors. The "husband-coached" part is because Bradley felt uncomfortable being the person who was thanked for delivering a child and supporting a woman during birth- he wanted husbands to be actively involved.

His book, "Husband-Coached Childbirth," is ridiculous. I read the original (1960's) version and really, although the summary of all his writing is that women are powerful and capable of giving birth, the book itself is so outdated. He still seems to view women as silly gooses who need to be overseen by their husbands. I don't know if the more recent editions of the book have updated that language, but I have to hope they have!

Classes: Our classes spanned 10 weeks. There's technically 12 weeks of content in the course, but our instructor condensed it a little, but I never felt rushed. Our instructor was a mother of 3, with 2 of her children being homebirths. Awesome! There were 2 other couples in the class. One was planning a homebirth and the other was planning a hospital birth. Unfortunately, this meant that some of the Bradley stuff that was very anti-intervention felt like it was pointed at the one couple who was going for the hospital birth. I felt bad for them.

Class subjects include pregnancy exercises, nutrition, stages of labor, relaxation techniques, breastfeeding, and a lot more. I learned so, so much. I went in feeling like unmedicated homebirth was something I'd like to do, and I left feeling like it was something I absolutely CAN do. The class was incredibly informative and empowering. Nick also learned a lot and thought the class was very valuable. We really didn't know much about labor and what's actually happening to the uterus during labor, so just learning the mechanics of the whole thing, and watching a lot of birth videos, was so helpful.

The class also talks a lot about how to avoid interventions during hospital births. While this doesn't apply to our situation, it is applicable to all medial interventions. Asking "why" and looking into other options is not something I do well. I trust medical professionals to be doing what's best for me, and this class made me think that I need to be my own advocate and not just blindly do what I'm told. Example: my hematologist told me not long ago that I'd just be anemic the rest of the life. I sort of accepted that. Maybe I shouldn't have.

In summary, the Bradley Method classes made me excited for birth! I am not fearful, I am looking forward to bringing our little one into our lives by letting my body do what it is designed to do. I can't wait! (~65 days and then we're PARENTS. o.m.g.) I'll definitely update after the birth with how I think Bradley Method helped me get through birth. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Running and Braxton Hicks

First, some images from our recent 5K. My dad ran with me again which was awesome. This one was far harder than the last one we did at the beginning of November. I'm carrying another 5ish lbs. in the middle of my body, so no wonder running is getting hard. I finished ahead of my last time though, in a smoking 26:35. Many thanks to my dad for keeping me going when I really, really wanted a walk break. 

If it looks like my dad is dragging me to finish, it's because he is.
If I flap my arms enough, maybe I'll fly. Also, so much slouching.

Something I didn't mention last week in my pregnant running post was contractions. At that point, I hadn't felt any, or at least I didn't think I had. I probably had been feeling them for a while but I hadn't given them much thought. Now that my belly is getting huger, I've started noticing painless tightening, known as Braxton Hicks contractions. Per the ever wise Wikipedia, BH are tightening of uterine muscles and are thought to aid the body in preparing for labor. I've been having these off and on, and I've noticed they seem to be associated with running. Mine aren't painful or even uncomfortable. A full bladder and a lot of activity are two things commonly associated with BH, and that is definitely true for me. From a totally scientific poll of the internet, running seems to exacerbate them for others as well.

The consensus is that BH are a normal part of pregnancy (hence why they have a name). Mine go away immediately after I stop running, although if I slow to a speedy walk, it takes a lot longer. I'm staying very well hydrated. I'll bring this up to my midwives again at my next appointment. I mentioned I was having BH last time and they were not worried. I was bragging about them YAY MY UTERUS TOTALLY WORKS AND IT'S GONNA GET THIS BABY OUT SOMEDAY and they were not impressed. Oh well. Until then, I'll keep listening to my body, slowing down and enjoying the days when running is enjoyable.