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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

You've come to my Archived Blog, The Little Blueberry, from 2009- 2013 with a few popular posts remaining up for reading purposes only. This site is no longer being actively promoted or included in searches and is not maintained.


I can't Turn Over. Week 34.

I now officially weigh in at 146. I know most women hate discussing their weight, but to really understand how pregnancy changes you mentally and physically, you've got to comprehend such quick weight gain. In 8 months I have gone from 105 to 146. That's 41 pounds extra on my 5'2" frame. And I'm still a little over a month to go, which means more weight to gain!

But this isn't something I haven't ever experienced before. For the first few weeks on the Appalachian Trail (back in '06), I carried a pack that weighed a little over 40 pounds. While the calorie intake probably isn't too different than my AT hiker hunger, the difference between then and now is that: the baby is in the front of my body and my belly doesn't have movable straps that allow for adjustability when I'm uncomfortable.

Sometimes he pushes on some nerve near my back and pain shoots down my right leg... sometimes it even makes me lose my balance and appear tipsy, which is fine if I need to blend into a bar setting (of course, then my belly is a huge giveaway to the fact that I'm not drunk). Other times it's as though I've got something round and hard like a rock (or a baby's head) internally bouncing on my bladder. Each step is like my poor abused bladder is being forced downward. In fact, I keep waiting for it to launch out of my body and land on the sidewalk. I'd probably look down and shrug, since I knew the fall was inevitable. Then I'd discretely pick it up and shove it into my purse to reposition later. At least that way, I'd get a brief reprieve from making the bathroom the most popular room in our house.

In any case, the most difficult thing about the physicality of being pregnant? Not the sickness, the fatigue, the swollen hands and feet, peeing every hour or two, or the weight gain, but the fact that I am stuck on my back, limbs flailing in the air, shell shifting side to side in an attempt to roll over.

So, I've been trying out all sorts of techniques for getting out of bed. No matter which I've used, each is equally embarassing and will definitely take away part of the independance that you have felt prior to being pregnant while leaving you feeling a little less dignified about being feminine and feeling more like a cliched beached whale.

1- The Pull-Up: In this situation, I use the bed's headboard to pull myself to a semi-seated position and then use my arms and legs to get me sitting up.

2- The Grip and Go: By stretching my arms across the bed to the lip of the mattress, I get just enough mattress to roll myself the remainder of the way over.

3- The Roll: If I rock back and forth enough, I eventually get over.

4- The Assist: This is when someone else gives you a hand and helps you out of bed. It's also my personal favorite.

So after trying these and various other versions of these techniques, what kind of solution could really help? Carrie from writes, "In the third trimester, turning over in bed is a nightmare. The solution? Big satin pajamas and even satin sheets — the slipperiness of satin helps tremendously!"

I like the idea, especially since it involves wearing soft and comfy PJs. It'd also be fun to run and slide across the bed. So, I'm going to head online and do a search for some Soft Silky Satin Sheets and a Satin Pajamas Set and try to get a good nights rest. I'll let you know how it goes.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Right on Time...?

Right On Time

So todays OB Appointment went great. We met a cool Physician's Assistant and she gave us a Non-Stress Test to check up on the baby's health. This test happens when you have gone past your due date but the docs aren't ready to induce you yet and besides after one week late, there's still a damn good chance you can give birth without the need of the induction.

So I lay back and am hooked up to a machine with two round blue monitors and wires leading back to be read. One of the monitors checks the baby's heart rate, the other checks for contractions. I am also given a little hand buzzer (like in a gameshow) to press each time that the baby moves. They are looking to see that just like a heartrate goes up when a person exercises, the baby's should go up when he moves.

The information that is displayed similar to an EKG with waves and peaks. After the test is completed, she explains that the baby is doing great. But she also asks if I feel "that."

I am unsure what she means so I respond, "what the baby?... yeah I feel him moving."

"No, looks like you're having some contractions," she says.

"I don't feel anything," I answer. But now, I am more excited than ever. Contractions! I am having contractions... and so far, they are painless! What luck!

Then as she checks some other information including that we are doing very well and that the will monitor the baby again next week since he is still "late." I mention that last week we realized that our due date had changed a few times. I ask if that means the baby is still considered "late." She looks through the computer and checks into it.

Apparently, the OB that I was going to prior to changing doctors sent over all my records, but neglected to send any of my previous ultrasounds...and these ultrasounds showed a different due date. After getting a fax from the office, we found that the discrepancy actually made us right on time!

According to our original due date, we're still 39 weeks and 6 days. The baby is actually due tomorrow!

Our excitement is overwhelming. And on top of it, now I think I feel some cramps!

Friday, June 25, 2010

3 cm dilated and 80% effaced...

After a pretty long wait in the doctor's office we heard some good news and got to see our midwife!
She appeared with a very kind 3rd year medical student who observed and assisted in our examination today. The student completed a simple measurement with a hand-held measuring tape and a quick sonogram- to which the baby decided to give the med student a little kick. The student responds like a giddy girl on the playground, commenting to us all, "did you see that? she 'kicked' me!" (I let the "she" part slide in her excitement)

Then, our kickass midwife, gave me an examination.
To be completely blunt: Up goes the hand.

After undressing from the waist down and a friendly little white sheet is placed over my lower body, the midwife asks if I mind if the student watches. With my legs spread eagle for everyone in the room to see, I say that I can't be shy now. Then, in a scissor-like fashion, she's up and feeling around in there.
While she's exploring me like a caver, I think I might have even heard a slight echo in her voice as she comments that my cervix is "far up there."  And then, her hand goes in even farther. Now, while I didn't watch, it felt like she was up to her elbow. And until this moment, other than hearing about some pretty gross pornographic films where these things occurred to women who've been poked, prodded, and stretched numerous times, I have never realized that an entire hand could fit in me...let alone to have it disappear into what feels like my stomach. Then, just as though it couldn't be any weirder, there's a horrible pinch and her hand slips back out. She says, "You're 3 centimeters dilated, 80% effaced, and at Zero Station. This baby may come out before Monday!"

So here's some anatomy:

The cervix, which from the front looks like a pigs snout with only one nostril (check out the picture above) is thick and long and includes a "plug" to keep the cervix closed. During the "first stage of labor," (there may or may not be contractions at this time) the cervix begins to shorten and thin out. The medical world measures it by percentages and the higher the number, the closer the cervix is to becoming a part of the uterine wall and the baby is to being in place for moving down the birth canal. At the end of the cervix is the "mucus plug" which seals the cervix from any outside aggravations or grossness inside the vagina. In my humble opinion, the "mucus plug" is one of the grossest terms to ever have to refer to in any setting...ever. 

Anyway, as the cervix thins and shortens (called effacement, or effacing- an in: the baby is starting to show his face to the birth canal), the mucus plug is released out comes a "small" amount of blood, which is usually pinkish. Sometimes they call this escaping blood, "bloody show," cause it shows you that you should pack your bag if you haven't done do already. Like me... I've been packing like a madwoman ever since it began.

Image source from: 
So, maybe around the same time, usually after effacement, the cervix begins to dilate. So once it shortens and thins out and the plug is released, the baby's head has to fit through so it can come down the birth canal. Since I am at 3 cm, I still haven't entered into "active labor," which is when the contractions usually start. You don't start pushing the baby out until you've hit 10 cm, so I've got a while to go. But as the baby wiggles into a comfortable place and exits the cervix, that's where the term "station(s)" comes from.

Stations refer to how high/low the baby's head is in the pelvis (if (s)he is coming out in the ordinary position, otherwise this will refer to the baby's feet). At "Zero Station" the baby is ready to come out. Anything with a negative number is higher or more inside the pelvis, anything with a plus means the baby is on his/her way out.

So while he's definitely on his way, it was all shocking news to us considering we are "due" until July 1st. But before we go all crazy, this is only the beginning of labor and I'm still bumming around at home waiting for it to continue to progress and for contractions to start.

I'll keep everyone posted!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Poking and Prodding your Newborn

Believe it or not, the baby just doesn't pop out, get cleaned up, and then happily chill out with some fresh breastmilk immediately after the birth. After talking with my midwife and reading up on birth, it appears that the baby gets a series of shots and other drugs immediately upon being born.

There is the Vitamin K shot, the Hepatitis B shot, the hearing test, a metabolic screening, a full checkup, an Apgar evaluation, and the eye drops.

Vitamin K is needed to help blood clot. So this shot prevents dangerous bleeding in newborns. Of course there is pain in the area of the shot, so you can ask that the doctor give the shot after you have spent some time with the newborn.

Hep B according to "It has now been suggested by most hospitals that newborns get a vaccine to protect against the hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV can cause a lifelong infection, serious liver damage and even death. The hepatitis B vaccine is a series of three different shots. The American Academy of Pediatrics and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all newborns get the first shot soon after birth or before leaving the hospital. If the mother does not have hepatitis B, the first shot can wait for 2 months. The second and last shot should be given before 18 months of age."

Hearing test: Newborn hearing tests can spot hearing problems early. Doctors use tiny headphones to see how the baby reacts to sounds.

The metabolic screening according to is one where, "Doctors or nurses prick your baby's heel to take a tiny sample of blood and then use this blood to test for many diseases. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, all 50 states require testing for at least two disorders: phenylketonuria and congenital hypothyroidism. But many states test for up to 30 differen
t diseases."

For the regular check-up doctors or nurses also:

•Measure the newborn's weight, length, and head.
•Take the baby's temperature.
•Measure his breathing and heart rates
•Give the baby a bath and clean the umbilical cord stump

The Apgar tests:

•heart rate
•activity and muscle tone
•skin color

The eye drops:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) "recommend that all newborns receive eye drops or ointment to prevent infections they can get during delivery. Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) including gonorrhea and chlamydia are a main cause of newborn eye infections. These infections can cause blindness when left untreated. Silver nitrate, erythromycin, and tetracycline are the three medicines used in newborns' eyes." These medicines can sting and/or blur the baby's vision, which some think prevent full parental connection between mother and infant at the time of birth therefore some parents might question whether this treatment is really needed. Besides, many women at low risk for STDs do not want (or need) their newborns to receive eye medicine.

Like it's been said, "Knowledge is Power." So, it's good to know that as a parent, you can make decisions on whether or not your child should receive some of these tests.