When we last left off in the pregnancy updates, Brendan and I had completed all our childbirth and baby care classes, baby girl was in position and measuring right along with her due date, work was crazy busy, and I was remedying the starts of lower back pain with the help of a maternity support band and new shoes (TOMS). I also had another milestone: my last week without a doctor's appointment.
Baby Size: A honeydew melon
According to the internet, baby girl should be about 5 and 1/4 pounds and over 18 inches(!) long. March has really come quickly, and we have a crazy busy day at work with the induction ceremony for the honor's society we co-advise; however, we also make time that morning for the daycare/preschool tour at our on-campus children's facility. We couldn't be more excited about this place! The school has a 4 to 1 infant/caregiver ratio, the kiddos are happy, the teachers have been there a long time, and I will be able to stop by during the day to breastfeed. After 25 months on the waiting list (!), we've made it to slot #2, so we're feeling hopeful it will all work out. We also meet with a lawyer (our friend, James) to start drafting our will and medical directives (I'd like the hospital to have a copy of my medical directives on paper beforehand). Of course, it's not fun to think about those "what-ifs," but James makes the process less stressful (thanks James!). Friday, our honor society students present us with the sweetest baby gifts, and it makes me cry! We work in a trip to the movies, and it may be my last one before baby because seats are getting pretty uncomfortable (can't lean back or recline without feeling dizzy). I spend the rest of the weekend grading, walking, and getting organized for the week. Heartburn is still bad. I take one or two pills a day for it, which usually prevents it from keeping me up at night. I ordered this nursing/sleep bra, and I love it for night and hanging around the house (thanks for the recommendation, Shannon). I find this diaper bag on craigslist in Round Rock new with tags for $80, and my sweet mom picks it up for me on her way home from work Monday. My friend Sydney loves hers, so fingers crossed, I'll love mine too. Also on Monday, we have our 36 week appointment a few days early. Baby girl's heartbeat is 143bpm, my blood pressure is good, and I'm up 19 pounds for the pregnancy. I have my first cervical check (ouch); no dilation, but I'm about 50% effaced, which my doctor says is typical and what he expected for this point. I also get my Group B Strep test done (a few days later, it comes back negative, which is one less thing to deal with on delivery day) and have more blood work done (everything comes back normal). We will return to the doctor in a week. At work, it's another busy week: we're staying later than usual, and we're sharing my car while Brendan's car has some (under warranty, thankfully) repairs done. Every class has papers due before spring break, so I meet with a lot of students, and I teach a new workshop for the first time. Wearing the maternity support band to work is key for keeping lower back pain at bay. I also have my substitute come to my class. My students want to know how long I'll be out, but I tell them there's no way to know exactly since it all depends on when the baby comes. I've saved up enough paid time off so that I don't plan to return until the end of the last week of classes (my plan is to be back in time to grade final papers/exams). Luckily, we have family willing to help us the few days we need coverage between finals and summer, and that is something for which I give immense thanks! I also give thanks for my co-worker Andrew and his wife Allie who have so generously stocked our freezer with food for after baby girl comes. We are beyond grateful.
Baby Size: A head of romaine lettuce
Baby is a "6 pound head of romaine lettuce" this week (can you picture Brendan's eye roll?) and 18 and 1/2 inches long according to the internet. Tonight is the big PANK reading at the AWP conference in Tampa, FL, but I'm too pregnant to fly, so we're kicking off spring break on campus instead. I love that the college brings in a snow cone mobile; how fun is that? Now that I'm a month from my due date (whoa!), I can officially order my breast pump from the insurance company. Knowing nothing, I select the one my friend Lauren has and hope for the best. I'm tired by the end of the week, but it's finally spring break. I spend all day Saturday grading and get my grades submitted for my two 8-week classes. With those behind me, I feel quite relieved. I don't do much on Sunday, but we do place an Amazon order for some of the final things from that registry, and I stock up on some essentials for postpartum recovery. Our gift cards come in handy, and we've finally earned the $100 diapers & wipes credit. I do have a bit of a moment of panic when I realize Babies R Us may be closing their stores (and we still have lots of gift cards there). Not sure what our game plan is going to be, but we're bummed because we have one in town that's so convenient, and we were looking forward to being able to shop as needed (they are closing--so we'll have to figure this out). I organize the pantry on Sunday, and we take a neighborhood walk both weekend days. It's my goal to walk everyday of spring break (since I won't be walking around campus at all), but oh my gosh is it exhausting! It's humbling to feel so wiped out from a simple neighborhood walk. We still want to see baby girl before we bestow a name on her, but we try practicing names aloud this week. On Tuesday, I have my 37 week appointment a couple of days early. Baby girl's heart is beating 154bpm, my blood pressure is good, and I'm up 20 pounds for the pregnancy. No cervical check this time. My doctor doesn't like pregnancies to go past 41 weeks, so we schedule an induction for April 9th (4 days after the due date) just in case. Hopefully, we won't need to induce, as natural labor progresses faster, but it's nice to know we have a contingency plan. On Tuesday, I realize that I've pulled a muscle in my upper back, and it really is quite painful! I ice it down, but I'm afraid my days of bending over (to move laundry, feed the cats, or pick things up off the floor) need to come to an end until the pain subsides. My breast pump arrives, but I haven't unboxed it yet; consider that added to the to-do list that seems to grow daily. I spend the last day of week 36 in Odessa with my friend Casey, her almost 3 year old, and her 2 month old baby. It seems impossible that I'll have a baby in just a few short weeks. Do we feel "ready?" Um, no. We're excited, but I don't think anyone can be "ready" for such a major life change. I wasn't ready to teach my first college class...I just did it, and before long, I had been doing it for a few weeks. I imagine this experience will be similar (except with more pain and sleep deprivation). I'm thankful to all my friends that have reached out to me and offered support and told me about the nitty-gritty truths and their own wide range of motherhood experiences. I do feel like I have a realistic idea of what to expect, but more importantly, I have an idea that there is a wide range of normal, and I have people (mom friends and non-mom friends alike) that I can call. So, as I approach "early term," I know we'll all be okay.
And on that note, I'll end this update. Now that doctor's appointments are just a week apart, I'll start doing weekly updates on the blog. In the meantime, I hope everyone has a fantastic week.