Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Locum, The Lowdown & The Latest

I had my 37 week appointment this morning, and I am grateful to report that all is well. But it was a bit of a stressful appointment anyway. I saw a locum doctor today, instead of Dr. R. This locum will be my doctor for next week's appointment as well and while she was nice, she was very young and I just don't feel like I trust her as much as I'd like to.

First off, she took FOR-FREAKIN-EVER to find baby girl's heartbeat on the doppler. Meanwhile I died a thousand deaths on the exam table. Even though I had just been feeling Maya kick and squirm not 5 minutes earlier, I gotta say there is nothing more terrifying than having a doctor struggle to locate your baby's heartbeat. FINALLY, she found it, and I unclenched.

Next, this doctor pointed out that Maya is posterior - meaning that she's facing outward - arms and legs towards my belly and her spine on my spine. This of course worried me because back labour is known for being extra painful. But on the bus ride home, Maya shifted and her bum was definitely pointing out, I'm quite sure, so if she was indeed posterior at the appointment, she wasn't that way for long. Whatever.

Lastly, the doctor offered to "strip my membranes". This is a procedure whereby the doctor manually separates the bag of waters (amniotic sac) from the cervix in an effort to get labour going. I declined this offer because A) I am only 37 weeks along - a bit too early to start induction methods IMHO, B) if Maya is indeed posterior, do we really want to start encouraging labour before giving her a chance to turn? and C) it's a painful procedure that only works 15% of the time anyway. I just thought it was weird of her to offer this at this stage in pregnancy. As much as I'm getting anxious for labour, I think I'd rather just let my body and my baby do what comes naturally, rather than force labour to start... especially at only 37 weeks along.

I am looking forward to Dr. R's return in two weeks, that's for sure.

Also of note - my cervix is unchanged from last week's appointment and remains "fingertip dilated". Maya has moved down a little lower and is about halfway engaged in my pelvis. But really, no major change from last week. I really don't think baby girl will be making her grand entrance anytime in the immediate future.

That's fine. I can be patient.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

37 Weeks Today

We're full term! We're full term!!
We're FULL TERM!!!

I am sooooo excited, happy, grateful, thankful and ecstatic to have made it this far. Technically speaking, baby girl could be born at any time now! However, I'm not holding my breath for labour to start in the immediate future. I haven't even lost my mucous plug yet. (That's a sentence I never thought I'd be saying.)

Yeah, I have the feeling it's going to be awhile yet. Although baby girl does seem to be getting lower and lower all the time. And I definitely have been experiencing an increased amount of pelvic/rectal pressure. That's got to count for something. I went for a long-ish walk (read: waddle) with D yesterday and at times it was quite painful, like a bowling ball was in my pelvis. D kept asking me if I wanted to sit down and rest but I persevered in the hopes that walking around might very well be helping to move things along.

I am now big and pregnant enough that everywhere I go, someone will comment or ask me about the baby. And those who don't say anything send a wide-eyed, surprised glance toward my belly. I remember when L was just a few weeks from giving birth, she was complaining that "everyone was staring at her". At the time, I thought she was just being paranoid but now I think I get it. Truthfully, though, I must look interesting to say the least, carrying around this enormous belly on my smallish frame.

Baby girl seems to be doing well, still active as ever. She never did adopt any semblance of a pattern. Some days she is busier than others, but generally, I feel her every hour, sometimes more, if I'm paying attention. Her kicks have turned into pushing, poking and rolling over the last few weeks and it's amazing how strong she is getting. Sometimes it actually hurts, but I love it and wouldn't have it any other way.

I must admit, I am getting really excited and anxious to finally be a mum.  While the pain of labour does scare me at times, I'm really not all that nervous.  I am so ready to meet my daughter.  I am so excited to see what she looks like, smell what she smells like, feel what it feels like to hold her.  I am looking at labour as this threshold to be crossed in order to get to the other side - motherhood.  Parenthood. The fact that it could happen at any time now is nothing short of amazing. WOW.

Now for some belly pics. Look how we've grown!

12 Weeks Pregnant

26 Weeks Pregnant

31 Weeks Pregnant

...and 37 Weeks Pregnant (photo taken this morning)

Friday, July 25, 2008


With all the excitement that came from the discovery of slow progress at my last doctor's appointment, I find myself now carefully monitoring every single possible little bodily sign that labour might be approaching. So far, I've got nothing. In fact, I haven't even had a Braxton Hicks contraction in the recent past. I have a feeling baby girl will not be coming for a while yet.

So, I have decided to do my best to "encourage" labour - starting after Sunday - when she'll be full term. I think I'll try the red raspberry leaf tea, some acupuncture, some exercises, maybe some spicy food. Sex is out of the question, I'm just too big right now. I'll do what I can, I mean, it can't hurt right? Does anyone have any suggestions I haven't thought of? Advice and ideas are totally welcome!

(As an aside, my dear friend N who threw me the baby shower, just had her baby a few days ago at 37w1d. She was 6 days ahead of me in her pregnancy. I spoke with her the morning before she went into labour and she was heading to work, had barely done any baby preparations, hadn't even packed her hospital bag. When I told her she had better get crackin' she said, "Oh I know, I'm going to get everything done on the weekend [referring to THIS weekend]". She went into labour that evening and had her baby boy the next morning. So maybe that's the way to go into labour? Perhaps if I go back to work, unpack my carefully organized hospital bags and maybe return some of the baby items we've collected??)

It's so funny. For the better part of my pregnancy, I have been terrified of pre-term birth and having a low birth weight baby. Now, I'm more terrified that she'll be really late and really huge. Everyone keeps telling me that Maya will come when she's good and ready. I suspect this is true no matter what kind of labour "encouraging" actions I take.

So here I am, in the pre-waiting phase. As of Sunday, I'll be officially waiting.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Beginnings Of The Beginning

Had my 36 week doctor's appointment today. All went well, except that my sugars were quite high again. Dr. R said not to worry about it because they haven't been consistently high; still, I would have liked them to be a bit lower.

There were some exciting developments that came out of today's appointment: My cervix is 1cm dilated (or "fingertip dilated" as they call it) and is beginning to soften, but does still remain posterior (meaning it hasn't swung forward yet as it should do as I get closer to delivery). Also notable is that Maya is starting to engage into my pelvis, another good sign. I kinda thought as much as I have been having some pelvic and rectal pressure over the last couple of days. And my belly doesn't look or feel quite as big as it did last week.

"What does this all mean?" I asked Dr. R. She informed me that all this, while good signs, mean absolutely positively nothing. She said some women walk around like this for weeks. So, while we are showing some signs of progress, I am still thinking that baby girl is gonna hang out in me for a while longer yet.

The cervical examination made me bleed a little. While I was prepared that this might happen, I am surprised at the deep-seated subconscious panic that seeing blood - even old brown blood - on the toilet paper still ensues in me. At 36 weeks along, you'd think I'd be more phlegmatic about it.

Also, I had my Group B Strep swab taken today; results should be in by next appointment in a week.

So that's the latest! More info to come as it develops. Cheers!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

36 Weeks Today

Holy guacamole I'm 36 weeks pregnant! That's NINE months!! I must admit there were many times during this pregnancy where I questioned whether or not we'd actually get this far. But we're here now, and WOW, baby girl will be here so soon!

Physically, I feel fine. Just huge and uncomfortable. And tired and slow. I get those "electric shocks" in my vag every so often, but I suspect that is normal for this stage of pregnancy. And last night, after a few weeks of not having any real Braxton Hicks contractions, I got hit with loads of them - maybe 20 just last night. I kept looking at D as if to say, "is this it?" but alas, they never did get regular so I just chalked them up to practice. Normally, having all those BH contractions would have worried me but I was actually excited to have them. It means that my body is gearing up! And although I'd definitely like my daughter to stay put for at least another week, I know that if she were born 10 minutes from now, she'd likely be just fine. Besides, I'm fairly certain she hasn't dropped yet so I think we've still got a fair bit of time.

Emotionally, I have been a bit of a wreck. Nothing too extreme, but I have been having some really crazy hormonally induced mood swings. I go from being super happy to sobbing in less than 5 minutes these days. I started to cry on the way home from the market yesterday for no apparent reason. They were happy tears, I was trying to explain to D. But D, well, he was just flat out confused. And oh my poor husband - I am all over the map with him. I go from being adoring, loving and affectionate to being totally disgusted and annoyed with him and then all the way back around again. This happens maybe 50 times during the day. He is being so patient and understanding with me. I think on some level, he expected this. I keep telling him if he thinks this is bad, just wait until my milk comes in. I've heard that the surge of hormonal craziness peaks when your milk comes in. Should be interesting.

We are almost totally ready for baby girl. Our hospital bags are packed and her room and closet are set up (minus the crib and changing table that are on back order - no worries though, she'll sleep in a bassinet in our room for the first few months anyway). I do have to do one more big shop at BRU for some little things - which I will do in about 2 weeks - but other than that, we're ready to go! I went from being too superstitious to buy any baby things to being totally obsessed with having everything bought and ready for Maya's arrival. I think this about face happened somewhere around 32 weeks.

D and I are so beyond excited to meet our daughter. She's all we think and talk about. She is squirming around as I type this. I love you so much little one!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Big (Make That HUGE) Sigh Of Relief

Had my second scan today to measure my amniotic fluid levels. I am so happy to report that it could not have gone better. My amniotic fluid levels are now in the 86th percentile. Hooray! What a relief to officially rule out polyhydramnios. Yay!!!

Other details from the scan:
-Maya is measuring perfectly and normally
-She still has a round buddha belly
-She is low, but has not "dropped" yet
-She has lots and lots of hair
-She has a cute button nose (just like her daddy) and big pouty lips (just like me)
-The ultrasound technician and the sonographer kept saying how cute she looks
-Baby girl was active, squirming around, making it hard for the sonographer to get her pictures (cheeky little girl)
-She is a big baby: At 35w2d, she is estimated to weigh 6lbs 3oz!

I got some amazing pictures of her face from today's scan. Unfortunately, I can't post them because I don't have access to a scanner. It's really too bad because for the first time, I actually got to see what she looks like - so rare in a regular 2D ultrasound.

Baby girl I love you!!!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

35 Weeks Today

35 weeks now and in my head, the countdown has really started. Amazing to think baby girl is full-term in 2 weeks and due in only 5! Wow!

After my shower, I feel so much more prepared in terms of buying baby things; my friends and family have been so generous - especially my mum and dad. I did a quick bit of research and I think in order to get the rest of the stuff we'll need, it will be about $1000. Which is really not bad, considering we've received so many wonderful gifts which helped bring down the baby costs by so much. I told D about my spending plan and at first he was shocked by the amount, but when I explained to him that it is a one-time cost to get everything we need for this kid to be off to a great start, he was a bit more agreeable. Babies are expensive - there is just no getting around it.

We have our last childbirthing class tonight. I will be relieved to have them under our belt and I think D will be relieved to have them over with. He does not do hippie. And unfortunately, this is the style of our instructor. She is very knowledgeable but she is all about the ooey-gooey-touchy-feely stuff. Not our style at all, although I am more tolerant of it than D is. Truthfully, though, the classes have indeed helped me feel more prepared.

So the belly is still growing by leaps and bounds. In fact, just last night we had some friends over for dinner and at one point, I stood up from the table, went into the kitchen and came back. One of my friends exclaimed, "I can't believe this! You've grown even more since leaving the table 5 minutes ago!"

Here's a 35 week belly pic for ya:

I'm still nervous for my scan on Tuesday. I am really hoping and praying that my amniotic fluid levels have decreased a bit, putting me square in the normal range. At the very least, I just hope the levels haven't increased at all. It makes me anxious just thinking about Tuesday. Good thoughts are needed and appreciated!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Baby Shower

My friends threw me a lovely baby shower last night. It was a small group of girls - nine I think - and it was truly lovely. Miss Maya got spoiled rotten with so many beautiful and thoughtful gifts. I felt really, really special and loved and if it's possible, I am even more excited about being a mum than I was before.

Here is a photo of me and my dear friend N, who was responsible for throwing me this lovely shower. Note that she is also preggers and only 6 days ahead of me in her pregnancy!

It was a fantastic evening and I am so happy that my darling baby girl is being born into so much love.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Possible Mild Polyhydramnios

I had my regular OB/GYN appointment today, and I made sure to bring up the fact that on my last growth scan, my amniotic fluid levels were in the 95th percentile - in other words, I've got a generous amount of amniotic fluid. You'd think this was a great thing to have, better than not having enough fluid, and indeed that is true. But with everything else in pregnancy, there can be too much of a good thing.

Dr. R went over the results of the scan and as it turns out, my fluid levels are actually in the 97th percentile. And anything over the 95th percentile yields a diagnosis of polyhydramnios. What I seem to have is a very mild case of it, and thank goodness for that, because acute cases come with a whole holy host of possible problems. I'm trying very hard not to worry, but it's difficult to keep my anxieties at bay.

I was really hoping that Dr. R would say, "Oh it's nothing, don't worry, forget about it." But that's not exactly what happened. She did say that I shouldn't worry, but quickly added that she'd like to send me for another scan to monitor the fluid levels. I certainly appreciate her covering all our bases, but I really was hoping that she'd just say my fluid levels were normal. So, I have another scan booked to check how my amniotic fluid levels are faring next Tuesday. And if you've been following my blog for any length of time, you know that I'll be laden with anxiety and worry until then. If you can send a good thought my way for good results, I'd really appreciate it.

Other than that, my appointment went well and was quite standard. Baby girl's heart rate was 147 and blood pressure normal. Oh yeah - and this is funny - at my growth scan they recorded Maya's fetal measurements (head circumference, abdominal circumference, femur length, etc.). Dr. R pointed out that Maya's already got a bit of a buddha belly. All measurements were totally within normal limits, but her tummy measured a bit on the big side. Dr. R said that it looks like she'll be a "round" baby. I do love my little chubster so very much!

Monday, July 7, 2008


We had our first childbirthing class last night (class one of two). It went well, I quite like our teacher, despite the fact that she is a bit touchy-feely-hippy-dippy. I think the best part of the class was learning stuff I hadn't considered prior. For example, D now knows how to support me during labour and I now know how to communicate with him to let him know what I need and want. We also learned some pain coping techniques using ice as a pain source. All in all, I think I got more out of the class than D did, but he was a good sport and tried his best.

In fact, I was feeling so fine and confident that what happened at the end of the class really threw me for a loop. During the last 30 minutes of the class, our instructor showed us some labour videos. One of them followed 5 real couples through all the stages of labour from the beginning until birth. It was graphic to say the least. And not just a little unnerving. Let's just say I woke up at 3am this morning with those labour vids replaying in my mind and I couldn't get back to sleep. I went into the class feeling excited and confident, and now I am scared shitless. I can't get those images and the sounds of the screaming out of my head. Yup, I'm a little freaked out.

I mean, of course I always knew it would hurt, but I guess my experience last night was a nice little reality check.

Our teacher also gave us some homework: Some reading, some exercises, some things to buy, etc. And oh yeah, to have sex twice a week. CONFESSION: D and I have not had sex since we've been pregnant. Not. Once. In NINE months. At first I was just too scared to do it. And now we've waited so long I don't know how to even go about doing it. I'm huge and I can't imagine what positions we could possibly do. And I'm afraid it'll hurt and I'll bleed (which will totally freak me out) because it's been so long. Not to mention I feel about as sexy as a hippopotamus right now. My husband is a saint. That's all I can say. (And he doesn't even have a bit of stuff on the side!)

However, having said that, I'm determined to do my homework, and I do mean ALL of it. Tonight might just be the night.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

34 Weeks Today

3 weeks to go before we're full-term and 6 weeks to go before our due date. Time is really starting to fly!

We have our first childbirthing class tonight, which I am looking forward to. Unfortunately it's from 4:30 to 9pm, and since I have the attention span of a gnat right now, we'll see how much information I actually retain.

Today I'm going to spend some time in Maya's room organizing her little doodads. Her closet is pretty much done now, I just need to work on some of the smaller details. I also need to work on our hospital bags.

D and I had a "date night" last night - dinner and a movie - we went to see Wall-E. It was really cute and we had a fun night. I couldn't help but thinking that this might just be one of the last "date nights" we have for a while. With any luck, our date nights will be replaced with "family nights" in the very near future. It may have well been a family night last night; all D and I ever do is talk about Maya and all our hopes and dreams for her. D says the thing he is most excited about is showing our daughter all the great and amazing things in the world. He can't wait to teach her all he knows. We are both incredibly excited for this kid. If she only knew how completely loved she already is.

6 more weeks and we're hanging in there. We can do this. WE CAN DO THIS. WE CAN DO THIS!!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

All Doctored Up

Here in Canada, we don't really go to specialty doctors (i.e. pediatricians, dermatologists, psychiatrists, for example) unless there is a problem that is so severe or complicated that it can't be treated by a general practitioner. In other words, every man, woman and child goes to a general practitioner (known as a "family doctor") for every reason you can think of; and, if the illness or problem is more than what is encompassed in the family doctor's scope of expertise, they then refer you to a specialty doctor. It doesn't matter if you've sprained your ankle, contracted a rash or developed a tumor, your first stop is your family doctor. (Of course in an emergency situation you would just head straight for the hospital.)

The problem is that more than half the population doesn't have a regular family doctor. Canada is rife with walk-in clinics, and for most people, treatment at such clinics generally suffices. These clinics usually have a rotating staff of 10-20 doctors (sometimes more) and the patient just shows up, takes a number, and gets seen by whoever is working at that moment. Bear in mind that all treatment - everything from the flu, to delivering a baby, to brain surgery - is totally free for Canadian citizens. It's socialism in action and I am totally grateful to live in a country where I don't have to worry about how to pay a hospital bill.

However, in Canada, maintaining good health is the responsibility of the individual - not the system - and like most of the people here, I don't have a family doctor. Until today!

At my last OB/GYN appointment, I asked Dr. R what the heck I am supposed to do with my newborn daughter after she's born. Who's going to be in charge of her medical care? Dr. R replied that I could just take her to my family doctor. Yikes! But I don't have one, I told her. And it's really important to me that she is taken care of by someone who knows what they're doing (i.e. someone that has experience with babies and children).

So Dr. R referred me to Dr. M (Dr. R takes her own children to see this doctor, so off to a good start right away). I met with Dr. M today and I freakin' LOVED her. Her practice is largely babies and children, she also does some obstetrics, she's got two kids of her own (ages 2 and 4) and she is just all around awesome. When I met with her, I expected the usual 5 minute appointment - in and out - as per the usual custom of family doctors. But no, she took nearly 30 minutes to go over my medical history, my family medical history, and the baby's information.

Dr. M seems very knowledgeable and friendly and I was instantly comfortable in her presence. She's just so easy to trust.

So now that Maya and I are "officially" her patients, I feel a huge sense of relief. Not only has she agreed to see Maya right after she's born no matter what kind of crazy schedule she's got, she even told me to call her office when I'm headed to hospital to deliver and she will come by and meet us there after baby girl arrives. What a great feeling to be looked after. Such a rarity here in Canada!

So we've got our doctor. Check that off my to-do list!