May 21, 2017

32 Weeks

32 Weeks!

I feel like we are in the final countdown now. Full term is considered to be anything past 37 weeks, which could mean that this tyke could be here in five weeks! That is mind blowing. As much as I'd like to put the third trimester aches and pains behind me, I'm hoping she continues to stay nestled in her cocoon at least until 39 or 40. I was born about three days late and Brandon was right on time. If you know him, this makes an awful lot of sense.

How far along: 32 weeks

Baby is the size of a(n): jicama, pomelo, or butternut squash. She's between 16-18 inches long and weighs anywhere from 2.8 - 4.0 pounds. If I had to guess, she's definitely closer to the 4 pound range...or just a really strong kicker.

Due Date: 7.16.17

Gender: girl

Weight gain: 19 pounds and quickly rising, which probably has something to do with my new raging appetite.

Speaking of weight gain, I am totally happy with where I'm at as are my doctors. It's the comments from others that are starting to get to me. I'm short you guys. Real short with an even shorter torso. So as she grows, my stomach just protrudes more and more. It's inevitable. But last week, I got the most inappropriate comments on my body:

You have a bump in the front AND in the back!
You are so much bigger than [coworker who is also pregnant, but 6 weeks behind me]!

I wish I could say that I was able to brush those comments aside, but they really irritated me. Maybe it's the hormones, but I was just so angry that people think it's okay to comment on your body when you are pregnant. I'd never go up and rub someone else's stomach, let alone say that they've gained weight (even if it's meant and should be taken as a compliment). Why is it that all bets are off when there's pregnancy involved? Ugh, pet peeve of mine.

Exercise: Working on getting my steps in as much as I can, but honestly, it hasn't been the easiest. I went for my regular two mile walk the other night and I was cramping the entire time. One long continuous cramp. It didn't feel good at all. Yesterday we had a ton of errands to do and we stopped by a local outdoor art festival, so I got in 10k steps and called it a really good day! How's that for changing perspective on exercise?

Stretch Marks: Nope! But, I haven't ruled them out yet, we still have two months go!

Sleep: The exhaustion of the first trimester is coming back with a vengeance.  I find myself dozing off on the sofa at 9pm and going to bed around 10pm, sleeping very soundly with one bathroom wakeup. I am waking up for the day around 6 or 7. My bed is the only place left that I can get comfortable in. Our sofa is plush and cushy, but it hurts my back. Sitting at my desk at work is torturous these days, and walking gives me cramps, so thank you Essentia mattress for giving me relief!

Food cravings/aversions: I still LOVE crushed pebble ice from Chick Fil A. I order the giant cup filled to the brim with ice and a little water on top. It's seriously the best thing in the world. I really been enjoying pre-cut jicama sticks from Trader Joe's, raw carrots and cucumbers and most recently, cherries! I love cherry season each year! I also found myself munching on raw cabbage, which is weird, but it was delicious. As for the not so healthy stuff, anything Italian (pizza, breadsticks, pasta) has been amazing, as well chips and cookies n cream ice cream. I polished off a whole carton in about a week. Oops. As always, a giant Coke/Diet Coke over crushed ice in a glass sounds incredible. One of these days I'll treat myself. Starbucks makes a caffeine-free passionfruit ice tea that I splurge on once or twice a week these days. So refreshing. My boss also will just show up at the office with one for me, which is incredibly sweet. She's the best.

Symptoms: Oh boy. This is a doozy. Another disclaimer that I'm not complaining here and am so so thankful for a healthy pregnancy and baby, just writing these out for my own record.
  • Hot. All the time. It doesn't get really hot here in northern California, but we have had a few days of 80 and 90 degree weather. Also, my office keeps the inside around 76, which just about smothers me day in and day out. Brandon and I rarely use the A/C in our house (we just bear the heat because we are cheap), but I've been turning it on lately. I cannot help myself. It's like the scene from Father of the Bride Part II where George is wearing a coat and scarf and Nina and Annie are miserable in the heat. Brandon is George, though he's a great sport and doesn't whine about it. Because of the heat, I've retired my maternity jeans. Ain't no way, people. No way. I absolutely adore my cheap Target maternity dresses (clearance rack for $6!) and live in those these days. 
  • Carpal Tunnel. Blegh. I'm wearing a brace, but the swelling and pain continues to get worse with the heat. I showed my hands to my mom on Skype last weekend and she gasped. Yup. 
  • Swelling. Hands and feet mostly. I really want to go swimming and relieve some of the pressure, but not sure where I can go. Most gyms around here have indoor pools, but are super pricey. I have considered getting a baby pool for our backyard. They had some at Costco for only $30!
  • Lower back pain. Thanks to my office chair and our sofa. Luckily, it goes away when I lay on our heavenly bed. 
  • Braxton Hicks/Cramps. As I mentioned, I get super crampy when I go for walks. I don't know if these are Braxton Hicks or what, but something's brewing. 
  • Oily Skin / Hair. Call me vain, but I think this has been my least favorite symptom yet. I absolutely hate feeling like my hair or face are dirty. How they look is secondary to how they feel. I'll wash my hair, blow dry and find that it still has a greasy film on it. I've tried all the shampoos and nothing helps. My face is just as bad. I'll wash it and not more than an hour later, it's shiny again. This is totally opposite of what my hair and skin are usually like (dry), so I know it's a pregnancy thing that will hopefully go away. Until then, I'm just trying to deal. I have found that using cold water and this amazing face cloth/makeup remover cloth my mom got me for Christmas has been helping a lot. I might even start taking it to work with me to wipe off my forehead and nose a few times a day. 
Movement: Much to Brandon's delight, Astrid loves dancing to the White Stripes and Led Zeppelin's instrumental lullabies. You can find anything on You Tube these days. She's not quite as fond of the country music I play for her, but that's usually in the car, so I think she's asleep then. Kicks, rolls, and punches are still prominent most days. Some days she's quieter than others which scares me, so I do count kicks then. 

What I miss: Sleeping on my stomach. Ability to take long walks. Ability to power through a heat wave. 

What I'm loving: Movement, always.  Buying baby clothes. Washing baby clothes. Folding baby clothes. Target trips to stare at the same baby stuff they had last week. Taking cat naps in our new nursery glider. Air conditioning. 

Next Appointment: Tomorrow! We also have a breastfeeding class this week with my coworker and her husband, so that should be fun...or slightly awkward.

Baby Purchases: I cannot keep up, but I do have a running list of things we have left to buy. I still have one more shower at work and then we'll go on a massive Target run to pick up last minute things. Luckily, we've been saving gift cards for months now and they should take care of almost everything left. I did swing by Target today and got some great Cartwheel deals. We now have diapers and wipes! Honest diapers were 25% off and $10 gift card if you buy two and Water Wipes were 15% off. That's 12 cents a diaper! A diaper with rainbows even.

Baby Clothes

Baby clothes are my true weakness though. I absolutely love H&M baby clothes. The colors and prints are cute, but subtle. Also, their organic stuff is really soft. Those popsicle PJS are quite possibly one of my favorite things I've bought for her. They were on sale from Tea Collection.


(The tall lamp as since been removed.)

Nursery progression is going well. We have the crib mattress and glider now. We ordered some super cute white curtains on clearance from Restoration Hardware Baby and just need to get a curtain rod to hang those. Brandon and I were both searching Etsy for crib mobiles and out of all of the mobiles on Etsy, we both picked the very same one (in the same colors). If only it were that easy with names.

Wolf Print

Brandon also ordered her an adorable wolf print from Society 6 (see above - we plan to hang over the crib, bolted to the wall, because earthquakes) and we just got some picture shelves from Ikea to display some of of her books, more art and succulents. So basically we need a changing pad, small side table for the glider, a clock, and to hang all of the art. More plants wouldn't hurt either. It's a lot of work putting a room together, but it'll be fun to finally see a completed room in our house. We could care less about the others :)

The most exciting thing is that we got our carseat yesterday and will probably install soon. Stroller is expected to come mid June. I am going with the Henry Vista which is this pretty grayish blue color, but a part of me is wondering if we should just get black to avoid stains even though it's not as pretty. Overthinking it? Probably.

In fact, I overthink every single we buy. Tell me this is normal. We purchased the Halo bassinet, but then I realized I needed a Pack n Play for some upcoming trips we are planning this fall, so I returned the Halo and started researching playards. Holy cow. So many options. After tons of research, I think we are going to get the Chicco Lullaby 3 Stage. I saw it at Target today and it looks really nice and I love how much bigger (and easier to remove) the changer is than the Graco models. She'll be using this as a bassinet in our room for at least six months and we'll need a changer in there too, so it'll serve so many purposes for us! For the record, our nursery is really far away from our master. She's not sleeping in there until she's at least 5. I still haven't bought a swing or bouncy seat, but may wait and see if we think she needs them down the road. 

Maternity Leave plans: My last day of work is June 30th and my boss mentioned I could start working from home before then if I want. So thankful for a flexible job with fantastic maternity leave benefits. I get four months of leave at 100% pay, but my manager told me I should probably just take until January since November begins the holiday season anyways. Umm, I love you?

Post Maternity Leave plans: We toured a highly recommended daycare this week and I cried all the way back to my office. Brandon made me feel better, saying he felt the same way (though without tears). We may look at in home daycares or some other daycares to see if we get a better vibe. Or we'll go the nanny route.

As for staying at home with her, that's another post for another time. I have no idea how maternity leave will go for me. Will I love it and never want her to leave my sight? Will we frolic with in the park all day and make story time at the library? Will I feel lonely and crave adult interaction? Will I feel fulfilled? I have no clue. Totally not something I can plan on right now, so having a few daycares and potential nannies lined up puts me at ease, even though they make me cry. Ha. I am truly blessed though that I have all of these options. 

Names: Oh my gosh, if we don't decide soon, I'm going to have an aneurysm.

Babymoon: I didn't know this was a thing until I read about it on blogs, but hey, any excuse for a vacation is good by me. We are taking Memorial Day Weekend next week to head just north of San Francisco and stay at a resort in Marin County. I have a prenatal massage planned and nothing else besides room service breakfast. Perfect.

That's all for today. I am about to attempt yet another new bottle of clarifying shampoo and then most likely pass out watching The Great British Baking Show. Pretty much my idea of a good time these days. 

May 7, 2017

April Showers

My very generous brothers and sister-in-law threw us baby shower back in April. Brandon and I flew home for the event and it was so fun seeing all of our friends and family together (which hasn't happened since our wedding!). They made the shower very casual: co-ed, lots of great BBQ food, and held it in my Great Uncle's basement. It turned out to be a beautiful day!

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Both of my brothers are big foodies. They like to cook almost as much as they like to eat and when they volunteered to cater all of the food for the shower, the job was taken very seriously. They even made their own labels and logos for the event: "Two Uncles BBQ - est. July 2017". Just how adorable is that?

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The menu was amazing: BBQ pulled pork shoulder (sous vide, of course), two homemade BBQ sauces, mac and cheese, green beans, sweet potato casserole, cole slaw, homemade ranch dip with veggies, and a fruit platter. The works.

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Our wedding cake baker made a mini version of our actual wedding cake, which everyone raved about and was incredibly special to me and Brandon.

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It was so delicious; a white cake with raspberry compote, white chocolate ganache and buttercream. Brandon and I didn't get to eat much of our wedding cake, so this more than made up for it.

Emma did a fantastic job on the decorations; baby's breath centerpieces, pink wrapped utensils, balloons, and she even made a banner that spelled out "Baby Falls"!

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The theme of the shower was basically to build our baby library. We got a TON of books and I love every single one of them. Some of our guests wrote little notes to Astrid (her newest nickname) that were just incredibly sweet.

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We got way more books than this, but how cute is this little book crate Emma set up?

We were also blessed with a lot of clothes, adorable stuffed animals, and a ton of small baby paraphernalia. Everyone was more than generous.

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Brandon was a trooper.

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My mom found the newborn outfit I went home in (as well as my little mary jane shoes) and wrapped them up for me! So cute. I'll have to do a side by side photo once she's here!

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The gifts were so special and but really, all we needed was a day to spend with the people we get to see far too little of these days.

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My blogger friend turned "real" friend, Maria, even made the drive down from Maryland with her adorable tots in tow!

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We aren't doing maternity photos, so Emma grabbed the camera and got a great few shots of me and Brandon afterwards. We aren't the best photo subjects, but she worked some of her magic ;)

Cannot thank Emma, Jayme, and Carlos for the lovely day and all of the time and effort. Astrid is already super spoiled by these guys and I feel like this is only the beginning...

Apr 27, 2017

My Experience with the 2-Hour Glucose Tolerance Test

Two posts in one week? I totally got this blog thing down.

I thought I'd pop in and talk a bit about my experience with the glucose tolerance test. If you haven't been pregnant before, this is a test that almost all pregnant women get somewhere between 24-29 weeks, with the goal of diagnosing gestational diabetes. Based on my (unreliable) research, gestational diabetes can happen to any pregnant woman, healthy or not. There are certain risk factors of course, but sometimes it's just how your body adapts to pregnancy and as with most things in involving pregnancy, child birth, children, only have so much control. I say that because I read so many blogs and forum posts of women beating themselves up for being diagnosed and apparently there's a lot of mom guilt attached to it when there shouldn't be (easier said that done?). Obviously, I'm no doctor, so you can take these thoughts with a grain of salt.

But anyway. I want to share my story because my experience was a bit scary to me and I spent most of my time in the lab waiting room searching on my phone to find others who had the same side effects that I did. I am happy to contribute to those other stories out there that helped reassure me.

At my 24 weeks doctor's appointment, I was given a one page instruction sheet on the when/how/where of the test. It was very helpful as it answered all my of my questions.  I checked my calendar and due to our recent travel, I decided to wait until this week. I had my 28 week check up yesterday, so I called and asked if I could combine the two and they said sure and go to the lab at 8am (which is just down the hall from my doctor's office). Convenient! Also, I read (and I don't know if this true...) that it can sometimes take GD a while to show up (usually at 28 weeks), so taking the test later in the window means more accurate results. Couldn't hurt to wait, right?

The instructions said to eat and exercise normally, but to keep your carb intake to less than 150 grams per day for the three days before the test. I didn't find that to be too hard. In fact, I made room for lemon chiffon cake, pizza, pretzels, and a good amount of fruit. I was to fast 10 hours before the test. My last meal was two large slices of homemade frittata (eggs, sausage, spinach, shredded potatoes, and cheese) with a side salad around 8:30pm the night before.

I wanted to add that I feel like so many other offices do the 1-hour glucose screening first. My practice has chosen to do the 2-hour glucose tolerance test instead of the 1-hour. According to my fact sheet, the 2-hour test is more reliable than the 1-hour, which produces more false positives and more women having to go in for the 3-hour test only to end up passing it.

So the plan was:

  • 8am - Fasting blood draw + drink 75 grams of glucola (the 1-hour is 50 grams and the 3-hour is a whopping 100 grams!)
  • 9am - 1st blood draw
  • 9:15am - Doctor's appointment
  • 10am - 2nd blood draw
That didn't happen. I got there at 8am, as instructed, but they were already backed up, so I wasn't able to get the first blood draw until 8:45am. Ever the Type-A person, it stressed me out a bit and I didn't want to be late for my appointment or my next blood draws. Grrr. 

It turned out to be okay though. I went back for my fasting blood draw at 8:45 and was handed the the glucola. I had a lemon-lime flavor that reminded me of a non-carbonated 7-Up. The first few sips actually where pretty good, but it was so so sweet that I got full quickly and when my 5 minutes were almost up, the lab tech had to urge me to chug, "Pretend you are back in college!". 

I headed to my doctor's appointment and by the time I sat down in the waiting room, my heart was beating out of my chest. I started to feel the effects of the sugar immediately. I was full of energy and had a hard time focusing. I told the nurse that I was feeling pretty strange. I was also a bit nervous due to these side effects and that was reflected in my blood pressure, which was higher than normal at 122/78. She said not to worry, I was still in a healthy range and I'd feel better soon. I saw one of my OBs and he checked out the babe, who was looking great, measuring right on track, and kicking up a storm. Gosh I love when they break out the doppler! He talked to me about pre-registering for the hospital (umm, already?!) and how to start counting kicks. I was in and out pretty quickly. 

I returned to the lab and that's when things started to get hairy. I had cold chills. Then I was hot. My hands couldn't stop shaking. I started to feel faint and light-headed. I was nauseous. Then I (TMI) had a horrible stomachache. These symptoms came and went and I Google'd up a storm trying to figure out if this was a normal reaction. 

I went back for the next blood draw at 9:45 and as she prepared the needle, I started to see black and my hearing became muffled. I told her I was about to faint and needed to lay down. She immediately reclined my chair back and let me rest there with my feet above my head for a while. That seemed to help. She did the blood draw and instructed me to go sit near the front of the waiting room so she could keep an eye on me. She offered to get me a room to lay down in, but I didn't want to be fussed over, so I declined. I'm stubborn. During the next hour, she kept checking in and I was doing my best not to faint, assuring her I was fine. Liar. I continued to shake, get chills, get hot flashes, and have stomach issues. I was big old mess. I sipped some ice water I had with me, took deep breaths and stared at the clock. She said as the sugar wore off, I'd feel better and the second hour is easier than the first. But it was still terrible and I was so scared of passing out and what that might do to the baby. 

Finally, I got my last blood draw and could leave. I should have packed a snack to eat immediately (DEFINITELY DO THAT), but I had forgotten, so I headed to my office and grabbed a Kind bar as soon as I got in. Thankfully, I was feeling better by that time and spent a few minutes at my desk drinking water and eating. When I got home later, I napped for a bit on the sofa, completely exhausted. 

But anyway, I thought FOR SURE that this was not good and I would "fail" the test (terrible way of putting it). Honestly, the thought of having to do the 3-hour test was sounding downright terrifying, though I'd happily do it if it meant getting a correct diagnosis and thus right treatment for me and the baby. 

Luckily, my results came back fine and all my levels were normal. 

I do not have gestational diabetes. 

Drama queen syndrome? Perhaps, but at least no diabetes for me. This isn't to say that if you had the reaction I did that you won't have GD either (I have no way of knowing that), but it was true for me and some other stories I read. There are probably 100 different scenarios with no clear patterns. Our bodies all handle that large amount of sugar differently and the only way to know for sure is to get your results. That being said, don't freak out if this happens to you, apparently it's normal and I wished I had known that going into it. It made for a very long morning. 

If we are blessed with another pregnancy in the future, I'd do the following differently:
  • Not take the test on the same day as an appointment. It was too stressful.
  • Bring Brandon with me. I would have felt better having him there to keep an eye on me and drive me in case I needed it. 
  • BRING FOOD! I wish I could have scarfed something down immediately afterwards.
  • Go as soon as the lab opens at 7:30am to shorten the fasting time as much as possible.
  • Okay, not essential, but bring a cell phone charger. My phone almost died with all that searching :)
My final thoughts on the matter is that my biggest priority and concerns are obviously about the baby. Sure, this test was NO FUN for me, but I'd do it 1000 more times if needed so she can receive the best care for her. If anything, this showed me how I need to remember to eat at regular intervals, watch my sugar intake since obviously my body is NOT a fan, and continue to exercise and be as healthy as I can. With wiggle room of course. 


As far as everything else goes, I received acupuncture today to alleviate some of the carpal tunnel pain (it has been increasing dramatically). It could be in my head, but I think it's already working. The true test will be tomorrow morning when I wake up. 

We can add my acupuncturist as someone else who likes my name pick over Brandon's. Poor guy. Everyone loves his name, but prefers mine over his. Though the debate continues on. 

Got my first middle-of-the-night leg cramp, which my apps have been warning me about. I screamed. I am now eating a banana every day. 

Otherwise, life is good. If this test was the worst thing to come out of this pregnancy, than I should be nothing but grateful. 11 weeks to go! 

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