Monday, April 25, 2011

34 Weeks

We have now entered the Land of 34 Weeks. This is definitely the real thing!

Signs are pointing to Imminent Baby. Not in a pre-term sense, but definitely in a 6 weeks away sense. We had a good appointment today and the baby is doing some A+ growing. I also think she's subliminally demanding I eat fruit all the time!

I also learned today through some hearty dancing on her part on the way home from work that she really likes Saves the Day. (Yay for the music of the old college rowing days!)

Though I'm not anywhere near incapacitated with child, I've had a few brushes with yes, you are pregnant that haven't been the most enjoyable. But nothing I can't handle if labeled "short term."

The Big Three: 
1. Backache
Excuse me?! Where did YOU come from? Here I go my whole life with nary a twinge and suddenly the watermelon I'm transporting is pulling my muscle fibers in directions they didn't know existed. The chair I sit in at work has only seemed to exacerbate it.

And through this I've learned something about myself at work: I'm really good at taking mental breaks but I'm really bad at taking physical breaks where I actually get up and walk around. So I'm trying to take more of those. And for some reason, sitting on a backless stool is more comfortable than a basic chair. Someone please explain this.

At home, a heating pad (rice sock) seems to help a lot. And to this I say "Extra-Strength Tylenol, why do you not do your job like the rice sock?"

2. Sciatica
Well, there goes my plan to keep sleeping on my left side every night like a good pregnant person. After months of doing so, it suddenly KILLS and I'm waking up at 3am trying to kick a kink out of my hip that's unkickable. And it's an actual pain thing, not a patience thing. I can handle having to go to the bathroom 20 times in one day (you think I'm kidding) because it's a basically a patience thing. But anything involving a nerve is a different story.

Luckily, getting as far away from the left side as possible (the right side) seems to be solving the issue. And I'm going to leave it at that until the right side doesn't work anymore. Then I'll just have to sleep in a sandbox--on my stomach--with a spot dug out for my stomach.

3. Toe Cramps
Well, this was a foe, but I think I've conquered it. High-potassium coconut water before bed. About 10oz. has more potassium than two bananas! Coconut water isn't the world's cheapest substance, but if someone appeared in the middle of the night (when I'm pacing the room trying to work a cramp out of my metatarsal with no success), I'm pretty sure I'd pay this person $2 each time to make it go away.

I guess this goes to show you how much pregnancy can alter your electrolyte balance, even when you're not dehydrated!

Beyond mention of these few minor inconveniences, I'm just glad I don't have heartburn or massive cankles. And frankly, the unseasonably cool weather has been kind of a blessing in disguise!

Baby Shower
My sisters threw me a really great baby shower last weekend. Everything was so well planned-out and had a beautiful touch to it--food, decor, everything.

It's now official: we've been Onesied. Can you really have too many?

Baby Room
One key item received at the shower was the crib bedding. (Thanks, Mom!) So on the crib it has gone! For now the bumper is kind of for show. The bumper issue is debatable--some sources say no way for early on, and then put it on later when the baby is older. I'm not sure yet, but for now it looks pretty.

Running and The Other Sports
By some miracle, I'm still able to run without much discomfort. Not super fast or super far, but enough to keep me from feeling crazy. It's actually pretty amazing how much even just a short run can balance things out in the mind. My plan is to keep up the runs until I *know* it's time to stop. Could be this week, could be weeks from now. We'll see! 

The indoor biking is also going well and I do it a couple times a week. Now that it's getting nicer out I occasionally find myself thinking how nice it would be to bike outside again, but I'm not about to do any form of exercise on any sort of simple machinery that ultimately requires a dismount...and isn't secured to the floor.

Swimming is going well, too. But I think my lane mates are starting to wonder if I'm going to go into labor during practice. Well really, people. It's not like I'm at that point yet. I've been really good about backing off from the hard stuff at practice and changing it up to keep my heart rate down when the sets get intense. It just feels good to swim.

So yes, the exercise is still happening! I'm also doing a fair amount of walking, much to Gus's delight. I kind of thought I'd be doing more Yoga-like stuff at this point, but honestly it just doesn't do it for me like it used to. 

Gus Gus
Monkey Boy is doing great. He thinks he's figured out what the Boppy pillow is ("a pug pillow!") and very much enjoys sleeping in it. I'm sure he'll be a little confused at first once there's a baby in the house, but he's pretty adaptable.

True to form, we had another Hallmark year of egg decorating. We figure there is enough Nelson art talent here to collectively get accepted into MCAD on one application.

Well, pretty soon the expiration date on the orange juice is going to be further out than this baby's due date! Think about THAT!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Slow Start to Spring

It may be cold yet, but I still love this time of year.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

32 Weeks

Wow, really putting up some big numbers now! 32 weeks . 8, maybe 10 (max) to go!

I had a checkup yesterday and Baby continues to grow! Not that this picture will convince you of anything to the contrary. 

For as far along as I am, I'm still feeling great. Certainly there are reminders that this is definitely the third trimester, but I haven't reached a point of discomfort. I'm still able to get around just fine and have been able to keep going with my nice little weekly routine of swimming/biking/running/walking. 

But I'm noticing that my stomach is starting to graze various surfaces in narrow walkways that I would otherwise pass through easily. If anything, amusing. 

The baby is very active, but again, not crazy get-me-out-of-here active. She's still vertex and isn't kicking me in the ribs or anything. My midwife assured me I have "a good five inches" of room in my torso keeping that--and heartburn--from becoming issues. Awesome. 

So this week, here is a little alphabet medley of sorts the depicts my current world: 

A- Apples, and lots of them

I am doing my best to eat tons of healthy food right now. I've eaten more apples and oranges than I can count. The thought of a baby crafted out of nothing but fat and high fructose corn syrup is...frightening. Oh I still have my treats. Oh, do I. But I try to make it only after the healthy food.

B- Braxton Hicks?

During week 31 I do think I experienced a few minor BH contractions. It basically felt like I'd eaten a huge meal or swallowed a beach ball...for about an hour. Not really a coming and going of a tight stomach, which is what they pay more attention to. But now several days later, no more of this.

C- Cosby Show

What was I missing in the 80s?! Thanks to Netflix streaming, I've really gotten to know this show. In 2011 it's a curious mix of "that joke used to be funny" and then truly awesome Bill Cosby sarcastic gold.  All we know is that if we ever get another pug, we're naming him Lamont after Ruby's goldfish.

D- Diaper bag

I have found the best non-diaper bag of all time: the black patent LeSportSac drawstring cinch backpack. The inside is huge and lined with all kinds of kooky pockets, and then there are MORE pockets on the outside for bottles! They do design an actual diaper bag, but I've been assured by many friends with babies that backpack is the way to go.

E- Every day, all the time kicks

I used to be keyed in to certain times of day where Baby would most certainly kick; now it's more like all-the-time-random. I love it. It actually takes quite a bit of stress off when you don't feel the need to perform actual kick counts. My favorite of her maneuvers: The Searchlight. This would be a knee about the size of a ping pong ball, moving around in circles.

F- Foot cramps

Not so fun, but I've gotten the occasional foot/toe cramp at night that wakes me up and requires immediate attention. Especially not so fun when it's in your metatarsal and there's no good way to stretch it and make it go away. It's a little strange since I'm not dehydrated, but apparently it's pretty common. I'm supposed to up my magnesium intake to help ease this, or have some Gatorade with my calcium supplements to balance things out a bit more.

G- Getting warmer

So for the first time in...ever, I now understand the feeling of being uncomfortably warm in public spaces. I guess the fact that I just don't run warm in general paired with the third trimester and non-snow weather is all adding up. Even the pool feels hot now! I shall be buying more short-sleeved shirts.

H- Hiccups!

Not me, the baby! Every day! Pretty cute if you ask me. But it's also supposed to indicate neurological well-being and the baby's start of practicing breathing but taking in small amounts of amniotic fluid.

I- Iron and getting enough

Along with calcium, iron is one of my main nutritional priorities for the third trimester. As the baby starts packing on the pounds, needing more nutrients, and getting first dibs on everything I consume, I've read it's super important to consume enough iron so some of it actually passes onto you. Lack thereof seems to be one of the many reasons for third trimester fatigue in the mother.

(Similarly, as the baby's bones harden and require tons of calcium, this diverts it away from the mother and can cause among other things, stress fractures, particularly in runners. So I'm taking two tropical Tums a day.)

J- Jogging in style

Have you seen my Tarantula Web From Heck? (The maternity support belt.) White and bright and ALL OVER. Luckily it's usually hidden under a running jacket. It does get the job done, so I can't complain, and I certainly couldn't have run the 5K without it. It ended up being $40 well spent!

K- Knowing I have no clue yet

As we get closer to 40 weeks, I'm increasingly reminded of the fact that I really have no clue what I'm getting into. But acknowledging it alone a big step, right? It'll be crazy to go from the mass amounts of sleep I'm currently getting to being up all hours of the night, and everything in between. But I'm excited for it, too.

L- Liz Lange maternity tank top

Target, $9.99. I now own four in black. One Small, Two Mediums, One Large. The Small was plenty big when I started out, now the Mediums don't even cover my whole stomach. We'll see how long the Large lasts! But seriously, these are the best tank tops and totally got me through the winter.

M- Moomin mobile

I have found the baby mobile of my dreams. What's a Moomin? Essentially a Finnish Smurf that looks like a hippo. And a crew of other highly amusing characters with names like Too-Ticky and The Groke conceived by author Tove Jansson several decades ago. It's cute overload. If Ikea brings Moomins into popular conscience, I admit I'll be kind of sad.

N- Not sure what to think about Group B Strep test

Around 37 weeks I'm supposed to have a Group B Strep test. If you test positive, you need to take antibiotics during labor to avoid passing it on to the baby. I guess up to 30% of people test positive, but one can test positive in one pregnancy and negative in the second. It's asymptomatic and apparently runs through communities in waves. I was concerned that if I tested positive, I wouldn't be able to do a waterbirth because the antibiotics need to be administered through an IV (yay!). But I was assured today that you can in fact have a waterbirth even with an IV. So we'll just have to see what happens.

O- Online shopping!

Love it. The third trimester seems to have brought back some of the "tire easily" phenomenon I enjoyed in the first trimester. So instead of shopping for things like the diaper bag in Macy's while having a slow "I'm hungry" internal meltdown (while experiencing Macy's perhaps worst bout of customer service on record), I go online and can find the exact same diaper bag for the same price on Amazon AND be eating something at the same time! Wonderful!

P- Pug on lap

I won't say "he knows!" but Gus is definitely all about the lap and staying by my side right now for whatever reason. If there's a human heater within striking range, he's ON it. So we've been spending a lot of time together.

Q- Quiet Time

It's definitely an art you have to refine, but at this point in the pregnancy I've been pretty good about bringing it down a notch and getting a lot of rest. I still feel like I'm doing a lot every day, but incorporating more rest has been pretty important and doing this has helped me keep going consistently day to day.

R- Repainted dresser

Micah has ever so handily repainted the vintage dresser I picked up in St. Paul for $50 and it looks awesome. Kind of a major component of the baby's room and now it's in place! We'll use the top as a changing table. Unfortunately most changing pads are twice the size of the top. Ikea to the rescue again with the only non-huge changing pad available--for like six bucks! Slowly but surely the room is coming together.

S- Salmon aversion

For whatever reason, salmon and most fish in general are not on my list of appealing foods night now! I usually love these things and now I can hardly bear to consider them. Ponder that.

T- Tempting toys

Projected dog/baby habituation challenge #1: getting Gus to differentiate between his toys and Baby's toys. So far he's been staring wide-eyed at a plush cow from Aunt Kathryn gazing back at him from under a clear-topped storage box. He keeps trying to stick his nose in the box and weasel it out. So far, anything "stuffed" has been his--how is he going to figure out "mine/hers"?

U- Um, just because I'm pregnant doesn't mean you have to smile at me earnestly in the hallway at work like I'm some fertile vessel from The Red Tent. Everyone is doing this and it's a little weird!

V- Voila - diapers at your doorstep

We've been going back and forth on what to do about diapers. Cloth, disposable, where to buy them? Then a friend told me about and free shipping on industrial-size quantities of the things and not having to haul those from a store to car to house. Sounds good to me! I think we may have a new partnership.

W- White noise machine

A wonderful gift we received from a family member last week! It plays all kinds of different white noise and you can even hook up your MP3 to it! And is about the size of a grapefruit. Word on the street is that babies really like all these soothing sounds. Apparently her current environment is a pretty noisy place and all the noise can make the transition to land a bit easier.

X- X number of weeks left

It's so strange not knowing how much time is left. Part of me just really wants to meet her already, but the other part of me knows that every day closer to her due date is another day for her to get bigger and stronger, so I'm totally fine if she doesn't come any early. My midwife doesn't think I'll be overdue because of my level of physical activity, but really, anything can happen. So we'll just have to see!

Y- Yes, it's harder to get socks on. It's like leaning over a beach ball!

Z- Zeroes, or rather, no zeroes

A while back I said I was attempting to have "no zeroes" in terms of pregnant days without exercise. Well so far, so good! Even on the days I've been tired, I've found that doing something active has helped me feel better. Keeping active has made a huge difference so far in the pregnancy. Not just physically, but in maintaining feelings of mental balance and confidence in a constantly changing physique.

In many ways I've just been lucky to have avoided pregnancy complications that would keep me from moving around so much, but it's also been definitely a daily choice and a commitment to keep it up. But I do think it's worth it in terms of growing a healthy baby and postpartum recovery. I can't wait till we can take her out in a jogging stroller!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Baby, Be Forewarned

Just want to let you know what you're getting yourself into. These are your people.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

There Always Has to Be One

One random "who are you?" dude who just has to go there and indulge the lame-o pregnancy joke to protect his own ego. 

So I'm at the pool for Master's this morning and am swimming with one girl and three guys. The girl leads the lane and I'm #3 with fins on. Guy #2 in front of me is the "Are we havin' contractions or somethin'?" guy from a few weeks ago. 

I'm planning on taking it as easy as necessary because I think the first of the Braxton Hicks contractions are actually upon me as of Monday...and thus feel a profound need to enjoy every workout that remains and really, really not overdo it. 

The workout is rather hard (5x100 desc, 4x100, 3x100, 2x100, 1x100 with 200 dps in between each, for all you technical folk) but I'm actually feeling GREAT. Great, and am on the toes of Guy #2 the whole time. 

Through the first half of the workout I probably lap him three times. Or rather he gets tired and has to let me pass him three times. With him out of my way I'm able to hold the #2 spot for the second, much harder half of the workout and make all the posted times with room to spare--and with open water between the guy and me. Who knew? Good workouts tend to follow not-so-great ones. Here, that would be the run the previous night that resulted in more walking than planned. You just never know how you'll feel. 

Anyway. At the end of practice, the good-natured coach is giving the guy I passed a hard time about maybe not having the best swim of his life. And then as I'm pushing off the wall again for another 200, I of course hear--cue the emasculated male--"I don't know, man. She just keeps getting bigger...and those hormones...and...." And I don't catch any more of it because--guess what--I'm swimming and not standing there pretending to fix "leaky goggles" in order to get extra rest. 

So whatever, right? Then as I'm leaving the pool area (after exiting at the ladder because my stomach now hits the side of the pool if I try to hoist myself out), he's like, "Oh, and uh, sorry about the pregnancy joke there." 

Joke? There was a joke? Because I'm pretty sure the part I heard you say wasn't quite joke-like. So there was MORE? Something to imply that pregnancy turns one into the likes of a hormonal power oven that people should probably "stay away from" and probably isn't quite "cool"?  

"Oh, that's fine. I'm pretty sure I didn't hear the joke." But thanks for telling me about it!

Off to the locker room, in defense mode, I'm of course wondering what the joke was. But then it occurs to me that any male also wearing fins who gets his butt kicked by someone 8 months pregnant is liable to say just about anything to soften the blow. 

Which, as I start washing my hair, prompts me to remind myself how above it I am and that it doesn't even matter what he said. Which then prompts a hearty post-workout kick from Baby, basically saying "That's right, we don't care!"

We Just Don't Care.

Monday, April 4, 2011

We Did a 5K

We being she and I! The Running Opener 5K and 10K took place at Lake Phalen on Saturday, and I decided to sign up for the 5K earlier in the week. At 31 weeks, I'm still able to run without discomfort, so I figured I might as well go for it!

It turned out to be super fun and not more than I could handle. I'd been curious about doing a race during pregnancy because no one is going to tell a pregnant woman she could be doing more, but deep down I think each woman knows for herself whether she has it in her. Obviously, if anything wasn't feeling right I wouldn't have done it. But when you're feeling fine, it's kind of fun just to find out what's possible.

My strategy was pretty basic: no racing. Just treat it like the workout you were planning to do on your own anyway. And no timing. I know myself well enough in race mode to know that if I know where I'm at time-wise, it's extremely hard to just go off feel.

Out of habit I did end up hitting START on my watch, but then changed it back from timer to clock for the race. I started in the middle back of the pack (which wasn't huge) and took it slow the first half mile. But pretty quickly I was finding that the people around me were going pretty slow and/or breathing way too hard, so I passed a lot of people without effort. 

The course was mostly flat and one easy loop around Lake Phalen. My main concerns were that I'd have the unrelenting need to make a pitstop (number, oh, 12 of the day by 9am) or get a little "I started too fast" sideache, but neither was an issue. So I continued to just jog my pace and continued to pass people.   

There was one super steep but super short hill on the east side of the lake, and that's probably where I started to get a little warmer, but the very long, gradual downhill that followed it was wonderful!

I looked at my watch a few times at the different mile markers without too much focus and guessed I was running about 10-11 mile per minute pace. So you can imagine my surprise when I crossed the line to discover I was running a lot faster than that! I fought every urge in me to kick it in AT ALL in the last half mile, because it really wasn't about that. The fact that I was running at all was the cool part. I was a little warm at that point and had pulled my hat off, and was most focused on keeping my breathing slow and controlled.

I crossed the line and wasn't out of breath at all, which affirmed to me that I hadn't taken it too far. In the end, I ran the race in 28:53 (9:18 mile pace)! 22nd out of 129 women.

To put this in perspective, my 5K personal best from a few years ago was about 30:00. Last spring I ran a 5K on a similar course for my all-time 5K personal best of 22:59. Considering I weigh significantly more at the moment and duh, am pregnant, I'd say it was a good day!

Now we have a nice little race number #409 that I'm thinking about framing and putting up somewhere in the baby's room. I think she'd think that was cool.