Thursday, March 22, 2018

Pregnancy Week 37

Greetings faithful blog readers,

When we last left off with the pregnancy updates, it was the middle of spring break, we were starting to place orders from our Amazon registry and trying to figure out a plan for our Babies R' Us gift cards, and we felt "ready" (but with the knowledge that we could never actually be "ready").

Week 37
Baby Size: A (6 to 6.5 pound) bunch of Swiss Chard (makes me miss our farmer's market!)

According to the internet, our baby is between 6-6.5 pounds and 19 inches long. We celebrate the start of week 37 with a visit from my parents. The primary reason for their visit is for my dad to help Brendan install the grass in the side yard, but we have plenty of baby tasks that we can use their assistance with too. Up first, my dad and Brendan assemble both the SwaddleMe By Your Bed Sleeper (a gift from my cousins, Stephen & Casey) and the bassinet Dagan and Steph handed down to us. Our plan is to have a sleeping space for her in both our room and the living room and to see which she prefers because with babies you never know! Of course, Lola thinks the new beds are hers, so we're keeping them closed off in the baby's room for the time being. While they did that, my mom started doing our laundry, which was awesome. My stomach is in the way, so it's hard for me to bend down to get the clothes from the bottom of the washer; thus, having some help in this department was majorly appreciated. The news about the short lived value of Babies R' Us gift cards had definitely started to worry me. We were holding on to a lot of them, so after surveying my mom friends, we went to the store that night with gift cards, coupons, rewards, and store credit. That first night, we scored incredible deals on everything, and we're now the proud owners of a mamaroo. I've heard it can be hit or miss, so let's hope it's a hit with baby Egan. We also purchased a good deal of clothing in size 9-18 months, silicone bibs, pack and play sheets, wipes, and a bathtub insert.

We still had gift card money leftover, so my mom and I made another run the next day. This time, we picked up diapers (we have a good deal of newborn, size 1, and size 2), a baby book (Brendan is under strict orders to make sure we get the footprints in the baby book at the hospital), and some more clothes (18 months-2T). The gift cards are gone, but I feel good about how we spent them. My mom helped me pack my hospital bag, and we met with our friend James (the lawyer) to sign our medical directives (I need to get a copy to the hospital). We enjoyed visiting with my parents too and playing boardgames as our nightly entertainment.

The next day, dad and Brendan installed the car seat bases, assembled the stroller, set up the mamaroo, and took a bunch of cardboard to the recycling. My mom and I got manis and pedis, made a target run (she wanted me to have tennis balls in a tube sock to help with labor pains), and packed my diaper bag; plus, she did more laundry.

Sunday, my parents left, and it was also the last day of spring break. I wasn't too down about heading back because I knew my schedule was going to be easier with the eight week classes completed. Still, it was our first real adjustment to daylight savings.

This week, I start experiencing what feel like period cramps. There is no consistency to the cramps, and they only last for 15-20 seconds. My nurse said it's uterine irritability or contractions (but not actual labor). Also this week? The joy of getting up multiple times per night to pee begins (I'm just glad that symptom held out until week 37!) I'm not sure, but I think I'm getting up 3-4 times a night. I always fall right back asleep, so at least there's that. My left ear also hurts, but we have the doctor look at it on Tuesday, and he says it looks fine and that tube irritation is common during pregnancy.

On Tuesday, we have our 38 week appointment a couple of days early. My blood pressure is good, baby girl's heartbeat is 158 bpm, and I'm up 20 pounds for the pregnancy. I opt in to a cervical check, and the news is basically no progress in these two weeks. I'm now 60% effaced and 1 centimeter dilated (as opposed to 50%, 1 centimeter two weeks ago). We have an induction scheduled for April 9th (4 days after the due date), but my doctor says there is roughly a 75% chance I'll deliver before then. We also discover that in addition to his Easter travel March 29-April 1, he'll also be out of town April 5-6 (and not on call the weekend of the 7-8). Thus, we realize the only time he'll be available near our due date is April 2-4. He offers to induce on one of those days but again says that labor is going to be easier on me if it can start naturally. We leave feeling a bit bummed: we know the doctor plays a small role on delivery day, but our doctor has been through a LOT with us (to give you an idea, we've had 27 appointments with him since Oct. 2016). Then, I remember the nurse talking about membrane stripping and go home and read up on it in Expecting Better (plus talk to friends who have had it done). Apparently, having your doctor strip your membranes increases the chance of going into labor within 48 hours by 25%. We schedule an appointment for that on the morning of April 2nd figuring it will give us the best chance to get labor started on its own at a time my doctor is available. If it works, great. If it doesn't, that's okay too. The only downside is some pain, which, as I told Brendan "I'm not going to get her here without enduring some pain no matter what we do." We end the day with an awesome lecture by Barak Goodman at school, and it takes our minds off the baby, which is nice.

I end the week by giving a reading at school, and it goes really well. It's tiring being on my feet and finding the oxygen to read a 30 minute story, but I'm so glad I got to share some new work before baby girl comes, and my colleagues and students are wonderfully supportive. After 7 hours at work, my back is killing me despite the brace. I come home, lie down on the couch, take a long nap, and don't move until Brendan gets home from his night class!

I know that the great challenge of these last couple of weeks will be staying present in the moment. I want to appreciate the sleep I get, the classes I teach, the sweet moments feeling baby girl kick, and all these last days of our lives as a twosome. However, at the same time, I'm battling impatience and the feeling like I've been waiting to hold and love this baby for nearly two years. Brendan feels impatient too, though not to the same extent.

As we enter week 38 (still "early term"), I still have a lot to get done at work. Wish me luck as I chip away at essay/discussion/journal grading, recommendation letter writing, and paperwork completing. I will be back next Thursday with a week 38 update (there is a 1 in 4 chance the baby will arrive before then, but we are not holding our breaths!)


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