Leading Up to Labor

Just a heads up, this blog post has a touch of TMI thrown in for good measure, so if that’s not your thing feel free to come back another day for regular posting. There’s also a lot of random medical details but I wanted to write this out while it’s fresh in my memory so I can go back and refer to it later on as part of the story of how he came into the world. :)

The Backstory
When I went in for my 36 week OB check, my doctor felt like baby was in a weird position so she had me pop across the hall for a quick ultrasound to check things out. Unfortunately, what we discovered was that Fletcher was breech — more specifically, he was transverse (laying sideways across my abdomen instead of being head down with his feet up by my ribs). I was so discouraged to hear this — as having a c-section was something that I hadn’t really even thought about until this moment. I just figured that if I wound up needing a c-section it would be as a last-resort emergency situation during labor — never a planned one.

My OB discussed my options with me — she could schedule an ECV the following week to try to manually spin him around or we could schedule a c-section for 39 weeks. I didn’t want to do an ECV because the success rate was only 50% and if my water accidentally broke or if Fletcher freaked out during it, I would have to have an emergency c-section right away (which I would have only been 37 weeks). My doctor said to talk it over with Andy and then let her know our decision. She also said she wanted to see me in a few days to check on him again just in case he still had room to spin around on his own even though the chances of this were slim due to being so far along in my pregnancy.

Andy and I went out to dinner that night and I was feeling so discouraged by the news; however, Andy is definitely a glass half-full kind of guy and remained optimistic that Fletcher would flip to the correct position in the next four weeks. Determined to have a vaginal birth, I committed to getting him to flip. I did inversions, walked daily, sat / bounced on an exercise ball, went to the chiropractor daily, got a prenatal massage, played music and turned a flashlight on towards the bottom of my abdomen, talking to him, used ice packs and peppermint oil to try to steer him away from the top of my stomach, etc. I’m not going to lie, it was kind of exhausting because this felt like a part-time job on top of working full time, being 9 months pregnant, and going on with just day to day tasks.

I went in for another ultrasound at 37 weeks and he was still sideways, so my doctor and I scheduled a c-section for noon on Friday, January 4th. I was so discouraged by this but ultimately surrendered to it because in the end, the only thing that really mattered was that Fletcher was safe and a year from now, how he got here wouldn’t even matter.

On Christmas Day, you might remember that we headed into the birthing center in the middle of the night due to me experiencing pain in my upper abdomen. Part of their process of checking me out involved monitoring his little heartbeat, checking for contractions, and doing an ultrasound. Well, imagine our surprise when they pulled up the ultrasound screen to find that he was head down! Merry Christmas to us! We left the hospital feeling SO relieved!

I saw another OB towards the end of that week for my 38 week appointment since my doctor was out of town for Christmas and I was literally holding my breath as she pulled up the ultrasound screen. I immediately let out a sigh of relief when I saw that he was still head-down. This sounds ridiculous, but I was SO paranoid about him flipping back to the incorrect position even after he was head-down. We didn’t tell many people that he ended up flipping due to it still feeling really stressful at the thought that he could flip back to transverse. I felt like I had to keep “checking” him each day by feeling my baby bump to make sure I didn’t feel a head on either side. I always felt so relieved whenever he would kick me in the ribs because it meant he was still in the correct position for a vaginal delivery.

I saw my OB the following week for my 39 week check and since he was still head-down, she canceled my c-section and we talked about signs of labor and when to check into the hospital.

However, 40 weeks came and went and there was still no signs of labor. I had an OB check at 40 weeks, 2 days and hadn’t really made much progress as I was only dilated to a 1, 50% effaced, and he was in the -3 pelvic position when my doctor checked me. I was feeling a little discouraged by this (however, not really surprised since I honestly didn’t feel any different other than growing more uncomfortable by the day) because it meant that we would most likely be choosing an induction date rather than letting him come on his own.

I’m not sure why, but choosing a date on a calendar to be his birthday didn’t sit well with us — Andy and I really wanted him to come in his own time, even if that meant going past 41 weeks. She scheduled me for an induction on the evening of January 15th, meaning he would most likely be born on January 16th since it takes awhile for things to progress once the meds are administered. I really didn’t feel comfortable being induced at 41 weeks so I let things play out through the weekend and planned to call the day before the induction to cancel it and tell them I wanted to schedule it for 42 weeks instead. Well, I ended up never needing to make that call since he came on his own on January 13th!

The Day Before Labor Started
After my 40w2d appointment that Friday, I headed to a coffee shop to do some prep work in my 2019 planner. My boss recommended this little cafe to me since her friend owns it and it instantly became a new favorite — it was so cute inside and my cherry-almond latte was so delicious!

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I sat and planned out some of my priorities for the year and looking back, I feel like this was the perfect activity to complete before Fletcher’s arrival. I have a blog post that outlines the prep work for the year (what worked in 2018, what didn’t work, what I hope to accomplish this year, etc.) started so I’ll be sure to publish that one sometime soon. Side note, the day before was such a rough day — I’m not sure if that had anything to do with labor being on the horizon or what but there were so many tears, nerves about labor, and overall just feeling really exhausted. Therefore, taking time for myself on this particular day really did wonders for me as I headed into the weekend on an optimistic note.

The next morning (Saturday, January 12th), I woke up around 2amwhich was pretty typical for me towards the end of pregnancy. I usually woke up around this time each morning due to needing to use the bathroom (baby was sitting right on my bladder towards the end!) or just being plain uncomfortable. I used the bathroom and as I was walking back to bed, I felt kind of weird so I went back to the bathroom to see what the deal was. What it looked like was the early stages of my mucous plug dislodging — this is the little plug that “seals” things down there and keeps baby safe and sound.

Upon discovering this, I was super excited because I thought it meant that things were progressing! However, once I got back in bed and started googling it, I lost a little hope as some articles said you can lose it weeks before labor starts and that it might just come loose after a cervix check (which I had the day before) and can regenerate if labor is not on the horizon. Humbug.

I never ended up falling back asleep but by the time I got out of bed later that morning, there was more and more of the mucous discharge. I texted a few friends and some said what it said online (that it could be weeks away), while others said they went into labor that night after losing theirs. I tried not to get my hopes up and just went along with my day. I napped throughout the morning due to being awake half the night and then I walked on our treadmill for over an hour while reading a book in hopes that that would help things to keep moving along.

All throughout the day, I continued to have the discharge and overall just felt crampy and just “off”. I had a hunch that he was coming the next day and even delayed our grocery delivery that I had originally planned for Sunday morning at 9am just in case we had to rush to the hospital in the night. Turns out my intuition was correct! :)

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Andy also hung up Fletcher’s bookshelves in the nursery and I couldn’t help but lay out a cute little outfit on his changing table as I was waiting — I just love looking through his dresser drawers at his little tiny outfits. Later that evening, I took a shower, got ready, took a baby bump picture, and then Andy and I headed out for a date night!

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Our first stop was Caribou to purchase a few items from the winter drinkware collection I that designed. I have one more mini collection launching for Valentine’s Day and then that’s the end of it as I’m at a new job now.

Afterwards, we headed out to grab some pizza and I planned to order the spicy one just because some say that spicy foods can kick you into labor. I figured that anything was worth a shot at this point; some of the other things that I did in the week or so leading up to labor were:

  • Eating fresh pineapple

  • Walking for at least 35 min each day

  • Adding crushed red pepper to a lot of my foods

  • Sitting / bouncing on an exercise ball

  • Focusing on staying relaxed (meditation app, taking a bath each night, etc.)

There was a long wait at the restaurant (okay, so maybe 50 minutes isn’t that long but when you’re overly pregnant, starving, and tired, it feels like forever, haha). While we were waiting, Andy and I were chatting and I was also texting a friend of mine who is pregnant (and due just a month or so from now!) and she suggested sipping raspberry leaf tea to help induce labor. I told Andy about it and we decided to stop to grab some after dinner.

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We enjoyed our pizza and what ended up being our last date night before baby! Andy’s pizza had a bunch of meat on it and I went with the Jamaican Jerk chicken pizza with pineapple salsa and a sweet chili glaze. It was SO good!

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On the way home, we were able to find the tea right away and I started drinking a cup of it while relaxing in the bathtub before bed. It definitely doesn’t taste like raspberries, that’s for sure — it reminds me more of a green tea if anything. I’ve also continued to drink it postpartum as it helps with a lot of birth-related things such as reducing bleeding, balancing hormones, and increasing milk supply. I’ve found that I prefer it iced, with a squeeze of fresh lemon and a splash of cranberry juice.

The next morning is when labor started, which I’ll cover in Fletcher’s birth story — stay tuned!

If you’ve had babies, what was the first sign of labor for you?
Favorite kind of pizza?

Fletcher James is Here!

This week, our lives changed in the best way possible as we welcomed our son into the world!

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We couldn’t be more in love with our little guy! Birth story + more details to come!

Pregnancy Weeks 34 - 37

This is my second to last pregnancy update! The next one will cover weeks 38 up until when he is born which is hopefully very soon!

How far along: 
37 weeks! (This was pre-written, I’m currently 38 weeks!)


Size of Baby: 

A stalk of Swiss chard! (19 inches)

Gender: 
Boy! I had another ultrasound at 36 weeks and this was confirmed again ;) The more I think about welcoming a little boy into our family, the more excited that I am. It’s going to be such a fun experience to be a boy mom and everything that comes with it!


Movement: 

Ever since I’ve been going to the chiro, this little baby has been moving like crazy! I can also tell that he is gaining weight because if I lean forward, it literally feels like there’s a weight in the bottom of my abdomen, if that makes sense. Like...when I walk around, it feels heavy in the front which is so weird! He kicks and moves his arms a ton and whenever I touch whichever limb is moving, he touches back — it’s so cute to experience!


Sleep:
I’ve fallen into a horrible bout of insomnia. I typically fall asleep really quickly because I’m so exhausted from the day, but wake up starving around 2am, eat a bowl of cereal, then am awake until 4 or 5am. Naps are happening almost daily because of this botchy sleep schedule. I’ve heard this is pretty common towards the end of pregnancy as your body starts to adjust to your baby’s feeding schedule. He’s also super active around 3am so that makes sense!


Symptoms:

I’ve reached the point (starting at 36 weeks) where I’ve gotten really uncomfortable. My lower back aches, I’m exhausted, sitting for long periods of time isn’t fun, and I’m super hungry all the time. It’s all worth it though because we are so close to meeting our little guy!

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Bump / Body:

I can definitely tell that I’m carrying him lower than before because the top of my abdomen isn’t as round as it was before. I was also looking back at some photos around the start of my third trimester where I felt like the bump felt SO huge — it’s quite comical now since he is so much bigger these days.


Maternity Clothes: 

These are starting to get uncomfortable mainly due to my swollen legs. I usually just wear shorts around the house and then have like two pairs of pants that kind of work for when I need to go out. I’m really looking forward to wearing real clothes again!


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Cravings:

Cereal, citrus (grapefruits and oranges), peanut butter, and smoothies
. Andy picked up a bag of grapefruit from Costco the other week and I swear it was the best thing ever — I ate three of them in one day!

Supplements:

Still on my prenatal, folic acid, prenatal fish oil, and vitamin D. I’ve also added in this magnesium supplement to help with calf cramping and a probiotic that my aunt recommended to me a few years ago when I had C. Dif because we are not taking any chances of getting that again! ;)

Fitness:

I am still running and walking at 9 months pregnant! I’m proud of myself for keeping up with this because it doesn’t sound enticing most of the time but I feel so much better afterwards.


Missing Most:

Feeling like myself, ha ha. It is so hard for me to slow down so this last month or so has honestly been a good reminder of how important it is to let go and not feel like you have to do EVERYTHING.


Nursery:

We made so much progress this month! Everything except hanging his bookshelves is pretty much done! 


Favorite Products:

That pregnancy pillow is saving my life right now — it is literally like sleeping on a cloud.

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Favorite Moments:
Checking my pregnancy app each week — the countdown to his due date is officially less than two weeks now!


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Can't Wait For:

Finally having him home with us! I’m also super excited to see who he looks like — Andy, me, or a mix of both of us. I’ve been working on packing our hospital bag so that we are ready to go at a moment’s notice but it’s kind of like packing for an early morning flight — you can’t really pack the items that you still need to use to get ready!

Any guesses on what we will name him?
When do you think he will be born?

Pregnancy Weeks 26-29

We’re officially in the home stretch until we meet our baby boy!

How far along:
29 weeks (this was written a couple weeks ago, I’m currently 32 weeks!)

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Size of Baby:
Butternut Squash (15 inches). Some days I look at my bump and am like “how is there a 15 inch baby in here?!” and other days I feel like there’s two kids in there, haha. I’m such a volume eater (lots of veggies), so I can definitely tell a difference in the size of the bump in the morning vs after a full day of meals when my stomach is jammed up closer to my chest.

Also, as I was writing this post I realized the time on the screenshot from my pregnancy app above — some nights that pregnancy insomnia strikes hard!

Gender:



Boy!

Movement: 



I can definitely tell that he is getting stronger / bigger because his little karate moves can be seen from the outside! This is so funny to watch and definitely makes it feel more “real.” I’m also feeling more of his whole body move vs just an arm or a leg now that he’s starting to run out of room in his little swimming pool.

Sleep:
This has been a little botchy due to my allergic reaction — I’m up every two hours itching like crazy. I feel like if it weren’t for this, I think I’d be sleeping okay! I’m SO tired by the time I go to bed, so I generally fall asleep fairly quickly.

Symptoms:

Just the usual! I’ve had some swelling in my legs so I’ve been wearing compression socks, which are about as sexy as they sound. However, my doctor wrote a prescription for medical-grade ones and the lady at the medical supply store helped me order some that look more like black tights vs granny socks. I just wear them under my jeans and no one is the wiser! I skipped out on wearing them for two weeks when my rash was really bad and definitely realized how much the socks were helping — I’m back to wearing them now and have noticed a significant decrease in the amount of swelling in my calves.

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Other than that, no new symptoms! I feel like I’ve been hungrier than usual but have fallen into a rut where nothing sounds good except fruit, cereal, and peanut butter. I’m trying to push through and eat other things but man, a bowl of Captain Crunch sure hits the spot! ;)

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Bump / Body:

Bump is bigger and is receiving more attention from those around me and random strangers. The whole “comments from strangers” still weirds me out a bit, but oh well! I also had my gestational diabetes test and failed the first one! I had to do the intensive 3.5 hour test and passed that one with flying colors so they said the first one must have been a fluke! SWEET RELIEF. Apparently failing the test has more to do with the hormone balance with your placenta vs your overall health / diet.

Maternity Clothes: 



Haven’t purchased anything new except this jacket because my North Face was getting too challenging to zip! I’ve never had a full-length jacket before and I’m loving the extra coverage on my windy walks into work!

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Cravings:



As mentioned above, fruit (specifically oranges), cereal, and peanut butter. I’ve also been eating a lot of yogurt lately — not sure if this is a craving or if I’m just getting lazy with making meals and have resorted to yogurt + berries + almonds or granola. I was on a cooking kick for the past few months but lately I’m just too tired to stand in the kitchen and make complicated meals, ha ha.

Supplements:



Still on my prenatal, folic acid, prenatal fish oil, and vitamin D. I’ll continue on these after baby as wel!

Fitness:


Just walking a couple miles each day for now! Haven’t been running due to it being winter outside but that will change once our new treadmill arrives!

Missing Most:

Someone had a huge box of kombucha in their cart at Costco the other day and that sounded really good to me. I’ve been making blended protein shakes for Andy lately and I’m craving one so badly! I know that some say you can drink kombucha and protein shakes while pregnant, but my doctor recommending skipping the shakes since there hasn’t been a ton of research on protein powders while pregnant.

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Nursery:



Ha! Literally hardly any progress here other than putting his new dresser in there. We’re hoping to paint his dresser this weekend — still hunting for a recliner and a few other things. We have had SO much going on this fall so I feel like we just haven’t devoted time to this project.

Favorite Products:


Hand sanitizer all day, every day since sickness seems to be spreading like crazy at work and all around us. Andy was sick all last week and I’m still surprised I never caught it!

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Favorite Moments:



Feeling him move more (this is definitely what I will miss most about pregnancy) and just seeing how he always responds to outside noises. He will move when I or Andy talk to him, when we play music, or if he gets startled (he doesn’t seem to like the hair dryer or when I use the ice dispenser on the front of the fridge).

We also had two showers last month — I’m 28 weeks in the photo above!

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It’s also been fun to stroll through the baby departments of stores whenever we’re out shopping — it still just seems so surreal that we will have a baby in our house in less than two months!

Can't Wait For:



Kissing his little face! I had a dream the other night that he came early and when he was born, he popped out in little printed pajamas, haha! I also can’t wait to see who he looks like and what color eyes he will end up having since mine are blue and Andy’s are brown. My guess is that he will have a lot of hair since Andy and I both have tons!

Second Trimester Favorites

The second trimester flew by so much faster than the first — I’m currently 30 weeks pregnant and it’s hard to believe that our little guy will be here in a little over 9 weeks!

My second trimester felt SO different from the first trimester — I was less tired, but still way more exhausted than my usual energetic pre-pregnancy self. However, instead of sleeping constantly, I was able to scoot by with a nap a few nights per week. Sleeping became more challenging until I ordered this little gem which has helped a ton! I’ve been back to my regular diet and it feels SO good to be eating lots of veggies, proteins, and fats instead of simple carbs. Although, those frozen waffles during the first 13 weeks did taste realllllly good.

Below are some of my favorite items that helped me through weeks 14-27! If you missed my first trimester favorites, you may check them out here!

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Snoogle Pillow
Hands down, one of my favorite pregnancy items! This pillow makes it so much more comfortable to sleep on my sides since it supports my back, knees, hips, and neck. The best part is the little curl at the end that goes between your knees — pregnant or not, I have this weird thing where I can’t stand having my knee bones touch when I’m trying to sleep.

Maternity Jeans
I’ll say this forever — it has been worth every penny to invest in quality maternity jeans. I love this pair and recently scooped up this pair when Nordstrom restocked them in my size! Having denim in some of my favorite brands has really helped me to feel like myself while choosing outfits for the day. Early on in my pregnancy, I tried on an off-brand and they just did not feel good to me — so saggy and didn’t fit right at all. These fit like a glove and let’s be honest, I’ll probably wear them post-pregnancy until my body goes back to its “new normal”.

Epsom Salts
We’ve been purchasing these at Costco and storing them in a glass jar on the edge of our soaker tub — they’ve definitely helped with sore feet / muscles at the end of the day.

Ice Cold Water
I’ve been SO thirsty this whole pregnancy but I’m actually really thankful for this because it forces me to make sure I’m drinking enough water all day. It’s usually the first thing I reach for in the morning.

Running
This has helped me feel more like myself, too! Fitness is so important to me and it’s been so encouraging to still be able to comfortably run a few miles with baby on board!

Grapes
I was on a kick with these for so many weeks in a row — they just hit the spot and Andy always purchased the crispiest ones from Costco for me. The grapes phase is over now and I’ve reached a point where I can’t get enough oranges — some days I eat three of them, ha ha. I’m wondering if this is just my body’s way of protecting me against the cold / flu germs!

Smoothies
Fruit smoothies have been my go-to lately, too! I usually toss a cup of frozen organic berries, half of a banana, some spinach, and almond milk into the blender for a snack!

If you’ve been pregnant, what were some of your 2nd trimester favorites?
Favorite fruit?
I think I love citrus best but berries and apples are a close second!