Preparing for baby: Part One

There are many details that need to be ironed out during your pregnancy, especially during the third trimester: Setting up the nursery, having your baby shower, packing your hospital bag, taking a childbirth & baby care class, baby’s healthcare, adjusting your budget, figuring out maternity leave & childcare if you are returning to work, etc. There are so many things that are important. I will go over a few of these items today and the rest in a different post.

Setting up the nursery: Some mothers like to have the nursery set up by week 20, while others are waiting for their showers to be complete first. I think it is best to have it done around the beginning to middle of your third trimester (week 31-33). There are a number of reasons for this, but most importantly the larger you get the more you do not want to be doing this sort of work. If you are painting the nursery be sure to have your significant other do this as it isn’t recommended for pregnant women. Make sure the room is properly ventilated so when you return to the house, you are not breathing in the fumes. If any of the furniture needs assembled be sure to do this next. You want to make sure that you have all of the pieces and that everything is functioning properly before the baby arrives. After you have the rest of the items (clothes, diapers, wipes, socks, onesies, blankets, etc) be sure you have a convenient place for each of the items. Do you need more storage baskets? An additional shelf? Next, decorate the space with any pictures, art, chairs, accessories that you want. Wash your babies clothes, towels, blankets in a dye-free, allergen-free detergent like Dreft or ALL Free & Clear. As far as the bedding, I wait until the very end of my pregnancy to make the bed. I don’t want it collecting dust for weeks.

After your baby shower: Did you get duplicates? Did you receive clothing items that are just plain ugly or it is a 6 month swimsuit and your baby will be 6 months old in December? I spent the first few days after my shower sorting through my items and determining what needed returned. Most guests include the gift receipt, but if they do not you can always return items to places without a receipt. You will likely receive merchandise credit, but it is better than keeping an item that you will never use. Also, keep in mind that certain items with popular brands like Fisher Price, Pampers, etc can usually be returned anywhere that item is sold. I received 3 large boxes of Pampers newborn diapers that I knew I would never be able to use. I was able to return them to Target for store credit and buy a few items that I still needed like a few storage baskets for the nursery.

Taking a childbirth/baby care class: Many couples decide to take these classes and I think it is great. I opted not to due to my years in nursing school. I had been in a delivery room more times than I could remember and had also worked with teenage mothers where I taught parenting classes. However, I made sure to help educate my husband on childbirth a little bit so he wasn’t shocked when the experience happened. As far as childcare, it was also easiest to show him things as they happened. If neither of you has experience with newborns or childbirth I think these classes are great tools. There are so many things that many women do not know about their bodies during labor and the day of delivery is not the day to find out. Plus, this weekly class can be such a bonding time for you and your partner. Check with your doctor or your hospital that you plan to deliver at for their class times and schedules. Many of them offer the classes for free or at a low rate. (Also- Many insurance companies will reimburse any charges you pay).

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When you measure too small or too large

Around 20 weeks your doctor or midwife will likely begin to measure your fundal height. Your fundal height is the measurement in centimeters from the top of your pubic bone to the top of uterus. The measurement will give your provider a good idea of fetal growth. Between 20-36 weeks your measurement should be within 2cm either way. Therefore, at 30 weeks your measurement should be 28-32cm. As you can imagine, there are so many reasons why this measurement could be off.

Some reasons for small fundal measurement:

  • Tall/slim frame of the mother
  • Position of the bladder
  • Placement of the baby
  • Strong abdominal muscles
  • Intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
  • Too little amniotic fluid
  • Baby descending into pelvis prematurely

Some reasons for large fundal measurement:

  • Short/Stocky frame of the mother
  • Full bladder
  • Weak abdominal muscles (especially after multiple pregnancies)
  • Macrosomia-excessive fetal growth (many factors could contribute to this)
  • Placement of baby
  • Too much amniotic fluid

Some other reasons for measurements to be off could be that each provider you see could be measuring differently. Many studies have shown that in order to be more accurate the measurement needs to be done by the same provider at each visit and the woman’s height, weight gain and body fat should be taken into account.

Why am I writing about this? Because with my first pregnancy I consistently measured 2cm small and then at week 36 I measured 3cm too small. They scheduled an ultrasound for my 37 week appointment. This meant that I had to wait an entire week to find out why I was measuring small. Being a nervous Nelly and a first time mom I was so nervous and of course was worried about all of the crazy possibilities that could be causing her to be small. When I had the ultrasound they told me that she was small and would not be more than 6lbs at birth, but she was within normal range. I felt better and was shocked to learn that I would be having a small baby. My great grandmother, grandmother and mother all had babies who were 8lbs-11lbs. Well, my daughter was born 5 days early at 7lbs 11oz. Under 6lbs?? Surely, these measurements are not the end all be all. Fast forward to my current pregnancy (I got pregnant with baby #2 the month my daughter turned 1) and I am measuring small earlier. I measured 26cm at 28 weeks and then 27cm at 30 weeks. Naturally, they decided to do an ultrasound to measure his growth and they are measuring him as small and in the 38th percentile of normal range. I do not blame my providers at all for sending me for these tests. I completely understand that they would rather rule out issues, but I kind of have a feeling that he will be similar in size to my daughter. I think my size and frame are really causes these measurements. I also think that because I have tilted uterus he is hidden back farther. We shall see in about 10 weeks!

Reasons for large fundal measurement:

 

Parenting a toddler while pregnant

I cannot begin to tell you how many times people say “Wow your kids will be 21 months apart. You must be crazy!” Umm.. really? It is just shy of 2 years. I don’t think it is that close. There are positives and negatives to any age difference and I don’t think anyone should really give their opinion. A family has to decide what is best for them and that may be different than another family’s views. I have a 19 month old daughter who is the light of my life. She is such a bright little girl and I am amazed at the things she learns on a daily basis. She has A LOT of energy and loves to play. Although lately we play with a toy for 30 seconds or less before moving onto the next. Every night while I am cooking dinner she wants me to hold her because she wants to “help.” I love that she is interested in helping, but carrying around a 26lb toddler while I am 7 months pregnant trying to cook dinner is exhausting. I have decided to pull up one of our stools with the back to have her sit up to the counter and give her “jobs” to do. Last night we were making homemade stromboli and she wanted to help stretch the dough. I let her (with clean hands) push the dough around a little and she was just so tickled. Then I let her help sprinkle cheese and the other ingredients. It was a much better solution than holding her or having her scream at my legs. And guess what? My little suddenly picky eater decided to eat 2 slices of stromboli last night! I really suggest that other moms of toddlers find a way to have them help.

We also got rid of our “nummy” aka pacifier this past Friday. I have really been avoiding it but I knew I had to do it before the new baby came. I officially have 2 months and I wanted to give her enough time to transition. She only used it for naps and nighttime and spit it out within moments of falling asleep, but I didn’t want to continue the dependency. Friday afternoon we gathered up all of our nummies and packed them into a little box. (I had stashed away some of her Christmas toys that she had opened to bring out at a later date and decided to use them to my advantage.) I told her we were going to give all of our nummies to Santa and that since we were a BIG girl we were going to get a present back from him. I asked her who she wanted Santa to give them to and she said “babies.” Ok.. So I reiterated several times that all of our nummies were going to Santa to give to babies which  meant we no longer needed a nummy. She said “no nummies mommie–babies.” We put the box on the porch and I handed her one of her Christmas toys that I had stashed away. She kept repeating “no nummies mommie.” I thought to myself.. mmmhmm.. We’ll see if this works tonight. She normally asks for her binky when she is ready to go to sleep and demands it. I did the normal bedtime routine and put her in her crib and she went to sleep with just a few little whimpers. WAIT… WHAT?! I thought this was going to be the most tragic event in her life? Did she really understand giving away her pacifiers to other babies? I guess I will never know, but it has been 4 days and she has only the word once. YES, I feel like super mom and gave myself a huge pat on the back. 

Pregnancy Update- Week 30

I am officially 30 weeks + 2 days which means that my countdown has reached the single digits! 9 weeks and 5 days to go. Yes, I am really that anxious to be done. My morning sickness which went away around week 20-21 has now returned around week 27. (Hence the lack of blogging). It came back so badly that I thought I had the stomach flu. After it did not stop for 3 days I realized that it was morning sickness again. AHHHHH… Here are some updates for everyone.

How far along? 30 weeks, 2 days
Total weight gain: Sadly, 11-12lbs. At my 28 week appointment I was scolded for not gaining enough and for having a small fundal measurement. I am eating as much as I can, but it is really hard when you throw up a lot.
Maternity clothes? Maternity pants are still really baggy and make me look dumpy. I have moved to maternity shirts for the most part, but for pants I have been just wearing regular with my BellaBand.
Stretch marks? Not yet… I didn’t get them during my first pregnancy so I am hoping that I am in the clear with this pregnancy. I am using BioOil daily as well.
Best moment this week:  Getting to eat whatever I want because I need to put more weight on. 🙂
Food cravings: My cravings have been changing lately. The first 2 trimesters of my pregnancy I wanted egg sandwiches every morning and hated cereal and now I want is cereal. I have also been on a huge sugar-free popsicle kick.. I eat 3 of them a day.. and oranges.. yum
Anything making you queasy or sick:  Pretty much everything in the morning until I force myself to eat something and take my zofran
Have you started to show yet? Yes. I have a monthly meeting at work and people finally asked me if I was pregnant. Haha ummm yes Im due in 2 months!
Gender:  Boy!!
Labor Signs: A little bit of Braxton Hicks. I had them starting at 6 months with my first pregnancy and I started to get them just recently in this pregnancy.
Symptoms:  I pee a lot, nauseated every morning, vomit every morning, frequent headaches, sinuses inflamed a lot (happened in my last pregnancy too), boobs are sore and lumpy feeling, round ligament pain is pretty painful at time especially after I pee, very swollen genitals (weird.. I know. Happened in my first pregnancy too). And I am hairy as hell.. Damn pregnancy hormones
Belly Button in or out? It is poking out and it is visible through my shirt. lol
Wedding rings on or off?  Still on and fitting well.
Happy or Moody most of the time:  Pretty moody and pissy most of the time. I am not a happy camper lately. People annoy me 24/7
Looking forward to:  I have an appointment tomorrow and I am looking forward to hopefully better news and measuring more on target. Wish me luck!

Midwife or Doctor?

This is not meant to bring about debating or arguing. I am just writing this to state the facts so people can make an informed decision. Also, I think a lot of people have misconceptions about what a midwife does. I personally use a midwife, but I have no problem seeing a doctor. I will be referring to certified nurse midwives not direct entry midwives.

Training/Education

OB/GYN doctors attend medical school and also have specialized training in obstetrics and gynecology.

Certified Nurse Midwives are registered nurses with Master’s degree in nurse midwifery.

Where they deliver babies

OB’s deliver only in hospital settings with a medical approach.

Midwives also deliver in hospitals but can deliver in birthing centers or in your home. (However, a majority of midwives deliver in hospitals. Everyone has a misconception that midwives come to your house to deliver babies, but in reality 75% of them only deliver in hospitals).

Prenatal Testing

Both doctors and midwives will order any blood tests, genetic tests, ultrasounds etc during your pregnancy.

High Risk Pregnancy

If you are considered having a high risk pregnancy (pre-existing medical conditions like heart disease, diabetes, etc) you will likely only have the option of an OB. Midwives typically only handle low-risk pregnancies.

Epidurals/Pain Medication/Induction

Both doctors and midwives can order any pain medication during birth. There is a misconception that midwives will not allow epidurals and this is simply not true. Midwives are big on making sure that the mother is making the decision she is comfortable with. Also, both of them can order pitocin to induce or speed up labor.

C-Sections/Episiotomies/Forceps

Midwives do not perform c-sections. If a c-section is necessary they will have to call in a doctor. Midwives have a much lower rate of their patients needing a c-section, episiotomies or forceps. I think this is because they typically have less patients. They are with you throughout the entire birthing process and seem to have a bit more patience for mothers in labor.

In short, there is not a whole lot of difference between an OB or a midwife. A doctor will have a more medical approach and will look at pregnancy and delivery as a medical procedure which is great if you have complications or just want a straight forward approach. Midwives tend to look at the whole process woman and baby. They spend a bit more time making sure that you are ok physically and emotionally throughout pregnancy and labor and delivery. It is a bit more a personalized approach. You usually only see one midwife your whole pregnancy and you get to know him/her VERY well. With an OB you will likely rotate between all of the doctors in the practice. Both are great options and the most important thing to remember is that you should choose what is best for you!