Friday, February 16, 2018

Currently: February

Woo hoo, February is over half over. I'm so ready for this month to be over as that means the pregnancy will be over! I haven't scheduled my induction yet but it will be in late Feb/early March, so not far off at all! 

Reading: The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. This was my January Book of the Month Club selection. It's a novel about a quirky music shop owner that will only sell vinyl records even though CDs have come on the market and are becoming more popular. He meets a mysterious girl who wants him to teach her about music. I'm about half way through it and enjoying it so far.

Loving:  the warmer weather we are having right now. It was 40F yesterday which felt terrific after a long stretch of single digit/low double digit temps with windchills below zero. I hope this mild weather sticks around! 

Feeling: excited for the birth of our baby. I'm a bit anxious about how the induction will go because I know induced labors can be longer and harder than going into labor on your own. But I know it will all be worth it when we are holding our sweet baby in our arms!

Wondering: about how Oscar is going to adjust to being a big sister. She's pretty terrified of kids but hopefully she won't be terrified of our baby since she'll meet him or her when they aren't intimidating/threatening. In the mean time, she is getting lots of cuddles from Phil and me.


Sitting on me at the end of my work day, waiting for daddy to come home.

Phil is still BY FAR her favorite. She never stretches out on me like this!

Cuddling on my tummy

Frustrated: that I have had a flare for over 2 weeks now. I've increased my steroid dose, per my doctor's recommenation, twice now but the dose I"m taking now is as high as I can take while pregnant. Fingers crossed it takes care of this flare for good. It would be really nice to be flare-free when I go into labor. I've been told that the pain of labor will distract me from any other pain I am having but it would still be nice to not have any joint pain. Especially when the baby arrives and we are caring for a newborn! My flares tend to impact my hand/finger joints, making it tough/painful to do much with my hands so it would make caring for a baby a bit extra hard.

Anticipating: my maternity leave. My company has a generous 16 week policy but I am tacking on 4 extra weeks (using PTO) so I can have 20 weeks at home with our little one. I had to get an exception to extend it but my boss has been great about it. Plus the old policy was 20 weeks long - 2 weeks before your due date and 18 weeks after the baby was born (but only 12 weeks were paid). So I am taking the same amount of time as I would have received under the old policy. We would have been happy to have a baby any month of the year but it worked out well that I'll be on maternity leave from early March until mid-July! I can't wait to go for lots of stroller walks and eventually runs with baby S!

Watching: Call the Midwife when Phil isn't around (I don't think many men would enjoy that show!). It's probably not a good time to watch a show about child birth, some of which are traumatic, but the show has totally sucked me in! We also watched a documentary series called "Dirty Money" on Netflix which we both loved. It's a series of shows about people who have done questionable things in pursuit of making money. Some/many of them will leave you enraged, especially the one about a pay-day loan company with super unethical practices.

Grateful:  to work for a compnay/boss who have been incredibly accommodating through this pregnancy. I'm so lucky that I am able to work from home for the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy as it would be really taxing to go into the office every day as I get tired very easily and still have pain if I sit up for too long or am out and about for too long. 

Working: on getting our house a bit more organized before the baby arrives. Since I have had so much pain in my hands, I haven't been able to do the deep clean I was hoping to do before the baby arrives so I am trying to accept that tidying up will be sufficient. 

Listening: to very few podcasts these days. Now that I'm not commuting or doing much cooking and cleaning, I don't get a chance to listen to as many podcasts as I used to! 

Wishing: for an early spring!  Our winter hasn't been as bad as past winters have been, but it's been plenty cold. So I am hoping that warmer, spring-like temperatures arrive in March. March can be a cold and snowy month, though, so I don't expect to have this wish granted.

What are you loving, anticipating and grateful for?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Pregnancy Update: Week 36

Woo hoo, I am getting to the end of my pregnancy updates! I didn’t do a 34 week one since I was so miserable, so I am doing a 36 week one and then I will do a 39 week one and then I will be induced and DONE with what’s been a pretty tough (ok, really tough) pregnancy. Yea!!

Baby size: The baby is the size of a head of romaine lettuce this week and the typical baby weighs  almost 6 pounds. Our baby was about 6 pounds at the ultrasound last week, though, so is measuring a bit ahead.

31 weeks

32 weeks - the baby must have had a growth spurt as my bump grew quite a bit this week
33 weeks
... and that is the end of the bump shots. I live in yoga pants and long-sleeve running t-shirts since I'm working from home/always on the couch. Even though the baby is measuring a bit big, my bump is measuring small. I don't have any stretch marks (woo hoo!) and my belly button has not popped out so I kind of doubt it will but we'll see! Because my bump is on the small side, I'm not as uncomfortable as other friends have been in the final month of pregnancy. But I've got other issues to contend with instead.  ;)

Feeling: ready to be done with this pregnancy. But the end date is in sight now that I will be induced around 39 weeks. I'm feeling thankful that my boss is letting me work from home, though, as I am still in pain from the blood clot and it would be a pain to give myself the blood thinner injections at work. Right now I give them at 8 am and 8 pm, so I'd only have to do one at work, but it would still be a pain as I'd have to do it in the bathroom since I work in a cubicle with no privacy.

One "person" that's enjoying having me home is Oscar. In this photo, she is laying on the side of my hip.



Excuse me, is there room for me up there?
She lets me know when she thinks my work day should be done or when I should take a break.



GD/RA management: I'm doing ok with managing my gestational diabetes (GD). I occasionally have a high blood sugar but the endocrinologist told me not to worry about the occasional high so I am trying not let the occasional high bother me. This is easier said than done as a perfectionist. But all in all, I'm doing the best job I can. And once the baby is born, the GD should go away - especially after I taper off of prednisone (which I will do once I start RA medication injections after the baby is born). So this, too, shall pass.

My RA remains active. I had a nice 3 week break from flares around Christmas/NYE but now I'm getting them about once a week. For awhile there they were only lasting for a few days, but I got one last week that kept spreading to different joints and I'm still having pain/inflammation. Really, really can't wait to be able to take some good RA drugs. My doctor put in the order yesterday, though, so hopefully I will have them in my fridge by the time the baby is born so I can take them right away when I get home from the hospital!!

Blood clot management: My blood clot is getting smaller so my pain is subsiding. This definitely has made my pregnancy more complicated to manage, especially since the blood clot came on so close to when I will be full term. My OB is working with a perinatalogist, though, so I am in good hands and I now have a weekly ultrasound/biophysical profile and a non-stress test.

Having a blood clot just makes delivery more complicated as they want me to stay on my current blood thinner injection, because it's more effective than the blood thinner they typically move women with a history of blood clots to weeks before they deliver (they can't move me to this other blood thinner since I still have an acute blood clot). So if everything goes as planned, I will be admitted to labor and delivery around 39 weeks and will be put on an IV of a different blood thinner that they can reverse if need be, and then I will be induced. If I happen to go into labor early and have taken my blood thinner injection within 24 hours of delivery, I can't get an epidural and I'd have to go under general anesthesia if I needed a C-section (I wasn't planning to get an epidural, but I'd like to have the option if I feel I need it). But the chances of me going into labor early are so small and I'm being closely monitored at my weekly OB appointments so if it looks like I'm getting close to going into labor, I'll immediately stop my current blood thinner injections. It's all just way more tricky than a typical pregnancy. I'm just thankful I live in a major city with excellent specialist. The perinatologist that is managing my case has consulted with all of her partners so I've got a team of really smart people making decisions on my behalf!

This is the blood thinner injection that I give to myself in my stomach twice a day.
I will also see a hematologist later this month. He will do some testing to see if there is a genetic explanation for why I got this huge clot. Being pregnant puts you at a higher risk of having a blood clot, but it's still very rare (~1/1000). The hematologist will also determine how long I need to stay on blood thinner injections after the baby is born. The perinatalogist thinks I will need to continue with injections for 3 to 6 months.  Le sigh.

I'm really covering all my bases with specialists between the perinatalogist, rheumatologist, endocrinologist, hematologist, and pediatric urologist. Plus my OB, of course. We definitely met our out of pocket maximum in January. But I'm thankful for good insurance and access to all these specialists!!

Sleep: has been kind of meh. Between the pain from the blood clot and my flares and going to the bathroom 4-6 times a night, my sleep isn't great. I take naps when I can fit them in, though, which helps.

Cravings and favorite foods: My favorite treat is Fairlife Chocolate milk. I usually have a glass as part of my evening snack. Since it's filtered many times, the protein and calcium content is high. The protein is actually equivalent to the carbs so it's a great snack for someone with GD.

Recent baby prep/decisions/purchases: We had my family/friend shower and my coworkers hosted a shower (on what ended up being my last day in the office), so we have LOTS of baby stuff. I feel much more prepared for the baby's arrival. There are very few things left on our baby registry so we feel very grateful that we have such generous family, friends, and coworkers! Luckily I washed all the baby stuff before the blood clot set in so everything we've received so far is washed and put away!

Classes: Our childbirth class wrapped up in late January but we had to miss the last class as I was hospitalized that night. We had already told the instructor we weren't coming as I knew I couldn't sit up for 3 hours due to the pain in my groin. But the last class focused on breastfeeding and infant care so I feel ok about missing it since we took a 3-hour breastfeeding class earlier this month. Phil probably would have benefited from the infant care aspect as he's never held a baby (!!!) but I did so much babysitting when I was young and have so many nieces and nephews that I feel like I'll be able to figure out how to care for our own infant. And I'm confident Phil will, too!

I also signed up for a new mama class that meets once a week for 6 weeks starting on 3/19. All of my local friends who have had kids in the last couple of years have taken this new mama class and they rave about it. It's led by a RN/lactation consultant and there are different topics that are discussed each week. They also encourage the group to meet on their own one other time each week. I think it will be great to meet up with people who are in the same situation as me!

Mood: Knowing that there is an end date of this pregnancy has been helpful. Before the blood clot, I was very, very opposed to being induced, but now that my situation is so complicated, I feel differently and know that induction is the right decision.

If you made it through this novella-style post, congratulations!!

Monday, February 5, 2018

Podcasts and Books of January

Woo hoo, January is over! I was not at all sad to see this month come to a close and I won't be sad when February is over either. Bring on March and the arrival of our baby/end of this pregnancy! I have no looks to share this month. I wore a lot of the same things over and over again!

Podcasts:

Slow Burn: As I mentioned in my currently post, this is a podcast that I started listening to in January that I really enjoyed. It's about the Watergate scandal during the Nixon presidency. Man Nixon was a horrible person.

Books:

I was sick at the beginning of the month and then the pain of my blood clot set in around mid-month so I got a lot of reading done since I was couch-bound for much of this month. I read so many books (10 books) that I had to split them into 2 different photos!



The Big Book of Birth by Erica Lyon - 5 stars - This was an excellent book to read in preparation for labor. It was written in an easy-to-understand non-judgmental manner as the author covers all sorts of births from natural to epidural to c-sections.

The Science of Mom by Alice Callahan - 4 stars - This was a great book about many of the decisions you will make in the first year of your child's life. It covers things like the vitamin K injection at birth to vaccinations to when to introduce food and what to introduce. She presents the science behind each decision but does so in a really entertaining and engaging way.

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney - 3 stars - This was a book of the month club selection from earlier this year. It started off slow but I am glad I stuck with it as I ended up enjoying it. It's about a woman in her 90s who takes a walk on New Years Eve and reminisces about her life.

The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks - 4 stars - This was a good page turner/suspense novel. I don't want to say much about the book as I think it's best to go in without knowing much about the plot line!

The Windfall by Diksha Basu - 2 stars - This is another book of the month club selection. This one fell flat for me, though. It's about a poor couple in India that comes into a large sum of money when the husband sells a website he developed. They go from rags to riches and the husband really lets the wealth go to his head and change who he is. I think this was supposed to be cute/funny but it didn't work for me.


Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann - 4 stars - This was Amazon's pick for non-fiction book of the year in 2017 and I can see why. It's a narrative non-fiction book about a series of murders that happened to the Osage tribe in Oklahoma. It's crazy that this is a true story because it reads like a fiction. I can't believe how many murders happened (in pursuit of the money left behind by those being killed - this tribe Indians lived on an oil field.)

A Certain Age by Beatriz Williams - 3 stars - I bought this on my kindle over a year ago and finally got around to reading it. It was an entertaining read, but infidelity is a prominent part of the story line and I always struggle to really love novels that feature that.

The Ninth Hour by Alice McDermott - 3 stars - This was a really well-written literary fiction novel about a family living in Brooklyn. I can't remember the era - maybe it was the 1950s? At the start of the story, the husband commits suicide while his pregnant wife is out getting groceries and the story unfolds from there.

Bonfire by Kristen Ritter - 2 stars - This novel is about an environmental attorney that returns to her hometown to determine whether a plastics company has been dumping chemicals in the local reservoir that the local residents use as their water source. I liked it initially but then the story line became way too far-fetched and dramatic I kept reading because I wanted to know how it ended but it elicited a lot of eye rolls from me, hence the 2-star rating.

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen - 3 stars - I read this book as a palette cleanser after a series of heavier books. It's a light read that follows various people in a community in North Carolina over the course of a summer. The point of view changes so you get to see what is happening in their different, interconnected lives.

How was your January? Were you glad to see it go like I was??

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Three Things Thursday

San posted this fun survey post (via Jana) earlier this week so I thought I would play along! I always love reading posts like these as you learn random things about other people!
Three foods I hate and refuse to eat.
Picked herring, sardines, and anchovies.
Three foods I love and eat more of than I should.
Pickles (although I really don't think they are all that bad for me - they have a lot of sodium but I have low BP so I think it's fine that I eat as many as I do), French Fries (when not eating a gestational diabetes diet), and tortilla chips (again, when not on a GD diet).
Three things/chores I avoid until absolutely necessary.
Cleaning the bathroom (I hate cleaning the tub), cleaning the microwave, and scrubbing our kitchen floor.
Three chores I always do.
Laundry, grocery shopping, and meal planning (but I do none of these things right now since I'm not mobile thanks to the stupid blood clot).
Three wardrobe staples.
Jeans, flats, striped shirts.
Three things I don’t spend money on.
Gym memberships (at least not right now),  cable (we only get channels that come in with an antennae) and magazines (I don't subscribe to any and don't buy them in stores).
Three things I do spend money on.
Locally-raised meat, clothes from Banana Republic, and fresh produce.
Three TV shows I frequently watch in reruns.
Sex and the City is the only show I can think of that I watch reruns of.
Three movies I love (that might surprise you).
When Harry Met Sally, You've Got Mail, and We Were Soldiers (this is the one I added that might surprise people).
Three genres I generally don’t read.
Romance, fantasy, horror – same as San.
Three things I’m looking forward to this year.
Having the baby/being done being pregnant, watching Phil become a dad, 20 weeks of maternity leave with our sweet baby. 

Pick a couple of questions and answer them in your comment!