Friday, January 29, 2016

Heidi's Birth Story

My baby has arrived! Here are the dirty details.  

On Monday, January 4th, I woke up at 1 AM to go pee.  I quickly realized that my mucus plug started coming out.  At first I wasn't sure if it was my mucus plug or my water breaking, since they are both liquidy, but this was sticky and gross.  It was a good thing I had an appointment with the OB at 9:50! After I woke up I started to feel contractions.  I wasn't sure if that's what they were since it was a dull cramping that didn't have a definite start and stop time.  Then they got worse and I realized these are definitely contractions.  I mostly felt them in my back and they were AWFUL... and there was nothing I could do to ease them.  While I was getting ready my OB called me.  He said that he heard from the specialist doctor about possibly getting me induced and we could schedule a day to do so.  I responded by telling him that my mucus plug was coming out and I felt like death.  I also reminded him that I was coming in for an appointment in about 30 minutes.  He said that we will see how I'm progressing when I came in.  I brought my hospital bags just in case.  (The OB had previously told me a few weeks before that women can go into labor when the weather changes because of the barometric pressure and it was raining that morning.) We got there on time and soon my named was called.  He measured me and said that I was fully effaced and 3 1/2 - 4 centimeters dilated and to go to labor and delivery and he will see me soon.  What?! I packed my bags just in case, but I really didn't think I would be going in so soon.  I guess I called it! The OB left the room for a minute and came back and told us that the hospital has been notified and they were waiting for us.  We made the short drive from one parking lot to the next.  Once we were parked my husband called the specialist doctor to cancel my appointment for 11:30.  We checked in at the hospital around 11 AM and we had to wait a few minutes while they got my room ready.

The cup is from the first floor of the hospital.  The front desk had pineapple water and since I didn't eat after my appointment I had to try some of this! It was good!
I'm allergic to latex.
My hands never got swollen to the point of not wearing my ring which was awesome!

(Side note: I made a very simple birth plan and they were very good about following it.  The only things I had on it, since it was my first birth and had no idea what to expect, was immediate skin to skin, baby stays with me, no episiotomy, no C-section or induction unless absolutely necessary, ask my husband if he wants to cut the chord (he might get sick), let the chord stop pulsating before cutting it, and breastfeeding only.  My OB had signed it a few weeks prior to make it "official" and the nurses had to follow it also.)

Once we made it to our room, I changed into a hospital gown.  Is this really happening?! I'm having a baby! After getting dressed, I had an IV and blood pressure cuff put on.  The cuff turned on every 15 minutes or so.  It was awful when it turned on during a contraction! Soon after getting me all set up, my husband left to get lunch at Zaba's.  He knew I couldn't eat at that point so he ate there and was back within 30 minutes.  The IV made me freeze.  I was constantly shivering the rest of the night.  The contractions gradually became worse and almost unbearable.  Every time one started I would close my eyes and breathe slow and deep and think to myself, "I can do this.  I can do this," over and over.  I'm never going to complain about period cramps again.  Soon I had a catheter put in and then I got the epidural when I was around 5-6 cm dilated.   Getting the epidural wasn't as bad as everyone said.  I took a few deep breaths while the nurse held onto me and it was done.  The epidural quickly worked its magic as a warm sensation trickled through my legs and butt as it numbed me.  It was the weirdest feeling! My bottom half was super warm, almost like the feeling of heated seats in a car, and the top half of my body was still shivering.  At least some part of me was warm! By around 4 PM the nurse checked me and I was at 7 cm.  Even though I had an epidural, I could feel that the contractions were getting stronger.  Soon I was at 8 cm and I was feeling pain again so they gave me an epidural booster.  A little while later I was dilated to 9 cm and while she was checking me my water broke.  It felt amazing! Even though my legs were warm and numb from the epidural I could still feel this and it was the best.  I could not wait to take a hot shower!  A few minutes later I was still feeling pain at 9 1/2 cm so I got another booster.  I'm pretty sure there was a third booster in there somewhere but I can't remember.  I made it to 10 cm around 6-7 PM.  You'd think that once you make it to 10 you would start pushing, right? Nope.  The baby wasn't low enough to start really pushing so I had to wait.  Soon I was able to push a little (my husband helped by holding me up) just to try to get her further down.  We progressed a little but the baby would slide back in the second I stopped.  The OB wouldn't come in until she was crowning and the baby didn't want to go past the bone.  Stubborn child! After a few more attempts at pushing to get her to almost crowning, I had to stop pushing all together.  The OB had to do a C-section in another room so I got about an hour to rest.  I told my parents, who were at my house watching our puppy, that they could come see me but the baby wasn't out yet.  (This was about 8-9 PM.) My husband ate at Subway while my parents drove here and we all hung out for a bit.  Soon the OB came in to check on me and discussed using the vacuum to get her out.  I told them whatever it takes to get her out without a C-section I'm okay with it! My parents were still in the room when the OB mentioned the vacuum and my mom said she was worried about the vacuum getting on her soft spot.  I reminded her that the doctors know what they are doing and the OB also explained where the vacuum touches their head and that it is totally safe.  My parents asked the doctor if he thought she would be out today and he said yes, so my parents decided to go back to the waiting room instead of going home.  They were pretty excited.

My dad entertaining Sophie while they were waiting
Once my parents left, the nurse asked if I wanted Pitocin to speed things up.  My contractions were slowing down and it would take way too long for her to come out.  They told me that if I pushed for too long it'll distress the baby and I would need a C-section, so I agreed and they put a small amount of Pitocin in my IV.  Soon there were 5 nurses plus the OB in the room preparing for the baby's arrival.  The nurses rolled tables into the room with all kinds of tools and scary devices.  (My husband later told me it looked like a murder scene!)  It suddenly became very real! They turned off the lights and I started pushing.  After pushing for a bit, the OB used the vacuum to get her head to come out.  When her head was visible, the nurses laughed and said that the baby has my husband's hair.  What does that mean? She's bald? Her ultrasounds, even at 38 weeks, showed that she had hair.  Plus, my husband isn't really bald, he just has super short light brown hair and everyone just considers him bald.  Since we were told she had hair from her ultrasounds, we expected her to have black hair (me and all my siblings had tons of black hair as newborns) because black hair is dominate.  After looking at her we realized she inherited his light brown hair color instead of mine.  Crazy! Anyway, when her head was completely out the OB noticed that the umbilical chord was wrapped around her twice.  He unwrapped it and I pushed a little more and my baby came out at 11:38 PM! Since I closed my eyes during contractions and while pushing, they had to tell me that she was out.  "Amber, open your eyes!" and they plopped a baby on my chest.  I had a baby!

Heidi Raine Frost

My husband and I had previously discussed having him cut the chord and he said he wasn't sure if he was able to do it.  He gets sick when he sees people he cares about in pain.  But when the time came, he was able to cut the chord.  He told me later that the only time he almost got sick was when they were giving me the epidural.

Heidi measured 6.6 lbs and 19 inches long! A cute, tiny baby! Of course at 35 weeks pregnant they told me she was 6.9 lbs but they are usually wrong, obviously.  I tore a little bit and I could see the doctor stitching me up.  I still couldn't feel anything, thank goodness, and it was strange to watch it.  I overheard the doctor and nurses saying that it was only a first degree tear.  They also said that there wasn't really any swelling and that I should heal nicely.  Good! While I was being stitched up the nurses taught my husband how to swaddle her.  I didn't learn until after we got home.

After her bath, it was time to breastfeed for the first time.  She wasn't latching so the nurses offered a nipple shield to get her to latch and she ate! Plus my parents were in the waiting room so I wanted to hurry.

While the nurses were telling my parents they could come in, my husband ran out real quick to get me Subway.  Thank goodness for 24 hour Subways! It was probably 1:30 AM at this point so I was starving.  My husband was holding Heidi when my parents came in and I told them her name.  Heidi is named after my mom's sister who passed away when she was 8 years old.  I've always wanted to use her name as a middle name someday, but it seemed to fit her as a first name.  We didn't officially decide on Heidi until after she was born but I still didn't tell my parents that it was on my very short list of names.  My husband had wanted the name Autumn for the longest time but with her middle name being Raine, after my husband's name, Autumn would be weird.  Autumn Raine Frost... no.  My parents got emotional after hearing her name of course, not expecting it, and they both got a chance to hold her while I lay on the bed still numb.

Hospital Stay
After my parents left, we went to the postpartum room around 3 AM and then my husband went home to sleep.  The nurse showed me how to go pee with the water bottle, pain relieving spray, and witch hazel pads.  They helped a ton! The mesh panties and giant pads were awesome too! The nurse also gave me an ice pack to stick down there for the first few hours and it felt amazing.  I took home some of the giant pads and weird underwear in case I continued to bleed like I was dying.  Every few hours a different nurse came in to ask how I delivered and when I told her it was vaginally she pushed on my stomach to "help the bleeding" or whatever.  I think 4 people came in to punch my stomach within the first 24 hours.  They just wanted to put me in more pain.  It was annoying.  At some point I asked one of the nurses if I could get a stool softener.  The muscles used to push a baby out are the same as pooping and I didn't want to rip my stitches.  I planned on bringing some to the hospital but we forgot to buy them.  I had been terrified of that first poop after birth so I'm glad I asked about it!  I'm so grateful those exist!   It all worked out.  (I even took some when I got home because I was so scared!) My arms, back, neck, and crotch were very sore.  I could barely move anything.  The only part of my body that wasn't sore were my legs, but they were still numb for a few hours.  So I literally couldn't move without hurting.  The nurses had to help me get in and out of bed for at least the next 10 hours or so.  Because I was so sore, I couldn't get up to get to my hospital bag.  All those "must haves" that I brought were useless.  When my husband came to visit I had him get out the treats that I brought and that was it.  I didn't even shower because that sounded like a nightmare since I couldn't lift my arms.  I put pajamas on that I brought and even doing that hurt.  I also had a hard time with Heidi.  When I had to feed her most of the time I had to have someone else bring her to me because getting off the bed was torture.  When she fussed I could talk to her and she went right back to sleep.  That mother-child bond is amazing!

Those wafer rolls were amazing! I'm so glad I brought those!
The bathroom was close but so far!

Since I had to stay at the hospital at least 24 hours after Heidi was born, they took my order for meals.  The morning after she was born they just brought me one of their breakfast options since I had her so late in the night and couldn't make an order.  The rest of the meals they took my order which was kind of fun.  At this hospital they give the mom and one other person a "celebratory" meal for either lunch or dinner.  Since my husband had just arrived (about 9:30 AM on Tuesday) we decided to do it for lunch.  It was delicious! The other meals weren't bad either.  It was nice not having to cook or to have my husband run out and get me food.

I wish I could eat this every day!
Because of the diabetes that I had while pregnant, various nurses came in to check Heidi's blood sugar before she ate for 3 feedings.  If the numbers were low enough (to compensate for my tendency to have higher numbers), she would have to stay at the hospital longer.  The first time they checked it was on the lower side but the next two times were within range.  Thank goodness! I did not want to stay longer than I needed to.  I also had to feed her more frequently than the recommended 2-4 hours because they wanted her blood sugar to be stable.  I was told to not go past 2 1/2 hours and it was hard.  She slept longer than I anticipated and she did not want to wake up most of the time.  I was eventually able to get her to wake up and eat.  

When a nurse came in to check on me she asked if I wanted the lactation consultant to come in.  Yes, please! In a few minutes the lactation consultant and her intern came in to help me with breastfeeding.  They taught me the football hold and I know it was the best position for someone who was lying down and could hardly move, but it was still difficult to get her in the right spot.  I'm pretty sure I did it wrong as soon as they left but she ate! I don't use that hold anymore.  Also, I no longer needed to use the nipple shield after they came in to help.  Using the shield is hard! I had to use it by myself for two feedings and it was so hard to balance that thing on me and get the baby there to eat - I was still getting used to holding a tiny newborn! Anyway, I'm so glad she learned to latch without it! She's an amazing eater now!

My husband was changing Heidi's diaper and as he reached for another diaper, she peed ALL OVER the bed!
The OB with Heidi!
When Heidi was 24 hours old, they had to do an all-over checkup on her.  So of course it was around midnight.  Not that I was sleeping with how often they came in to check on us for other things.  They had to take her out of the room to do it and I think they asked if I wanted to come (I can't remember) but I was so exhausted I just stayed in my room.  She dropped to 6.2 lbs, which is normal to drop weight so I didn't worry.  She almost qualified for having jaundice and I'm so glad she didn't.  If she did, along with low blood sugars, she would've had to go to the NICU.  A few hours later she had a hearing check.  Different nurses were coming in every few hours to check my blood pressure and temperature.  They also came in to check the baby's temperature and other things.  My husband came over during the day to hang out with us.  He got to spend some alone time with her while I went to a mandatory discharge class that basically tells you to make sure you change their diaper and feed them.  At the end of the class we were all given diapers and wipes so that was nice.  (We also got whatever diapers and wipes that were left in my postpartum room! And 4 booger sucker things!)  The pediatrician came in at some point to meet Heidi and I.  On some of the paperwork we had to fill out I wrote the pediatrician's name down (I had previously checked to see if our insurance covered him) and since he works at that medical center, he came in to say hi.  He said she looked a tiny bit jaundiced but that's normal and then he told us to schedule an appointment with him as soon as we got home.  Wednesday morning we I had my breakfast and then a nurse came in to tell me that we will be discharged soon.  I called my husband to let him know and he was already on his way to the hospital.  We had to wait for a few hours to be discharged because the nurse had to go check on a few more moms and it took forever.  Heidi was all dressed and ready to go, my stuff was packed, and we were hungry.  I didn't give the cafeteria people a lunch order because I didn't think we would be there for lunch.  Then my husband told me Heidi was hungry and that was it.  I had my first break down from sleep deprivation.  I was going on 2 1/2 hours of sleep from the last 48 hours.  I've been sleep deprived before but not like this.  I put my head on the counter and just cried.  I wanted to go home.  Of course I fed her even though I was still getting used to it.  Then of course a doctor comes in to ask how we are doing.  I gave him straight forward answers so he would leave.  After he left the nurse finally came back and we could leave.  I had to be in a wheelchair to get to my car (they do that for everyone even though I was better at walking by then).  We were discharged on Wednesday around 11 AM - 48 total hours at the hospital.  Now on to real life! 

Going home!

Our matching wristbands
Pink egg roll!
Sophie loves her already!
Two and a half weeks later at her newborn photo session!

Friday, January 22, 2016

I really hope this comes out my butt and not my mouth.

Yay I'm pregnant! Here is my experience.

First Trimester
The title of this post was my thought process up until about 17 weeks. Eating was scary because you have no idea how it was going to come out. 

I found out I was pregnant on May 3rd... the same day that a friend of mine dropped off a huge box of maternity clothes since she knew we were trying!

The symptoms were similar to my first pregnancy that ended in miscarriage: tight abs without working out, feeling bloated, and I just had a feeling that something was off.  I took the pregnancy test maybe an hour after I received the clothes.  I was shocked.  It had only been 3 months since the miscarriage so I didn't expect it at all.  I really wanted to wait until Mother's Day to tell my parents, but I couldn't hold it in like the first pregnancy.

I called my parents to tell them and of course they were excited that it happened so fast. I FaceTimed my sisters, one at a time, to show them the picture of the pee stick.  (They live in different states.) When I told my older sister, since she hadn't had a tour of my house yet, I started the conversation by showing her the downstairs.  Then I went to the bathroom, where I took the pregnancy test, and said, "... and this is our downstairs bathroom.  Wanna see what I did in here?" She's like "Uhh..." and then I showed her the stick.  So funny! She was very surprised and it was hilarious.

I really didn't get sick that many times, thank goodness, but when I did it was awful. For me, the term "morning sickness" was true because it was in the morning 99% of the time. 

At 7 and a half weeks pregnant we went camping with my extended family on my mom's side.  We've gone camping with them twice a year since before I was born.  It was VERY cold that first night and I'm pretty sure I didn't sleep at all.  After waking up I felt horrible.  We ended up going home after lunch instead of leaving the next day like we had planned on.  I did tell my cousin and my aunt that I was pregnant so they knew how to help medication wise (my parents weren't able to make it this time).  When we got home we showered and went to bed.  I woke up at 5AM and threw up everything I had eaten since I was 13.  I still can't eat chicken salad or croissants.

7 weeks
7 weeks

At 11 weeks pregnant we had dinner at my brother-in-law's house and 5 minutes later I barfed it all up.  That was nice... especially since his bathroom is about 10 feet from the dining room so everyone heard me.

Another incident at 14-15 weeks: I was brushing my teeth before going to work and I barely made it to the toilet.  My aim was quite terrible and it actually didn't make it to the toilet very much.  The entire toilet area was decorated with my nastiness.  I cleaned up as much as I could but my husband had to finish it. Poor guy! I don't think he ate cheerios for awhile. I didn't care. I ate them the next day.

The last time surprised me since I was at 17 weeks.  My husband was leaving for a military training for 3 weeks and the morning he had to leave it was his turn to throw up.  (He barfs when he's nervous.) Since I had to listen to it, it made me go too, but I had to go in the kitchen sink since he was hogging the toilet.  Good bonding right there!

The only food I wanted to eat was fruit, milk, and cereal so that's what I ate.  I had a craving for horchata and since I didn't like leaving the house, I just drank tons of milk with vanilla and cinnamon in it.  Not the same at all but still good!

Second Trimester
After about 16-17 weeks, I finally started feeling really good! I was looking pregnant instead of fat and continued to eat my fruit and cereal. Oh, and of course this was in the middle of summer so I was a sweaty mess ALL the time! Cold showers felt amazing! 

15 weeks

Insomnia started around this time.  Sometimes I wouldn't fall asleep for a few hours, or I would fall asleep fast and then wake up at 2-3 AM and not fall back asleep til after 5.  

Stretch marks happened around this time, too.  Not too many though.  I really don't care if I get any... I'm having a baby!

I fulfilled my craving for horchata! I still craved it after that though but never had another chance :( a big thanks to my friend Amy for going out to Mexican food with me so I could drink horchata!

At 12 weeks I had an ultrasound.  The big one that says that we are safely able to tell people we were pregnant.  While the baby was moving around, the doctor said, "Oh, I think I see something! It could be a boy!" I've always wanted a boy first so I was excited! My husband just said to me, "That thing needs to fall off soon because I want a girl." For the next month I was looking up boy names and was so excited to raise a little boy! Plus, my sister has two boys so that would be way fun to have a bunch of boys together!

A few weeks later we had the official gender reveal.  We went in for an appointment and I was under the impression that we would find out the gender since I was at 17 weeks.  Plus, my husband was about to leave for military training for 3 weeks and my next appointment would be while he was away.  When we got to the appointment and the doctor didn't have an ultrasound machine out, I asked and then he got it and we checked.  He (the OB) couldn't quite read it so he had the ultrasound technician come in and she said, "Definitely a girl!" I was shocked! A girl?! What do I do with a girl? I can't even do my own hair! After the shock wore off I was definitely excited! My husband was very proud of himself for producing a girl like he wanted.

To announce it to my sisters, I texted them a picture of two different pairs of baby girl shoes and said, "Which ones should I buy?"  Only one of my sisters could see the picture and she said, "I knew it!" and my other sister, who couldn't see it, said, "Knew what?! I can't see anything!!" I sent it again and she got it.  I called my mom to tell her and I said, "You know how they thought it was a boy? Well... it's a girl!" And then she cried.  She has 3 girls so she was pretty excited for me, plus this baby will be their first granddaughter! Since my dad was at work, I called his cell phone and left a message.  I said, "So we found out the gender today and it's a," and hung up.  That was fun.  He called me back after a few hours and I told him of course.

We got our puppy the day we found out the gender! In this picture she was 9 and a half weeks old.  She learned how to sit that night!

19 weeks.  It's still a girl!
19 weeks

Heartburn! Holy heartburn! My first experience with it was eating croutons.  Yes, I ate them straight out of the bag.  Not because I was pregnant and had a weird craving, but because that's how they should be eaten.  And besides Tums, the only thing that got rid of heartburn is spicy food.  I know it's weird, but I guess this girl likes it as much as I do!

This baby kicks a LOT! I am so grateful she is constantly moving... it reminds me that she is still in there and alive!

The beginning of the second trimester is when I started to use coconut oil on my stomach, hips, boobs, lower back, and anywhere that itched from the growing.  I put it on every night.  It helped a lot!   The one night I didn't put it on was awful.  The next day it felt like my body was ripping in half.  Never forget the oil.

20 weeks
27 weeks
Third Trimester 
This is when people started to tell me how big I was.  Not that I needed a reminder.  When people heard how far along I was they would respond with, "Oh, that's it?" Yes, that's it.  Shut up and finish your McDonald's.  At least I have a reason to be fat.

"Are you sure you're not having twins?/Are you sure there's only one in there?" Nope! I have never been to a doctor appointment so I have no idea what's going on.

"You're SO big!" Thanks! You too!

"You still haven't had that baby?" Oh I didn't tell you? I had her yesterday.  I'm just really fat.

30 weeks

Soon came the dreaded glucose test.  My sister warned me about a nasty sugary drink to test how your pregnant body processes sugar.  I asked her if I could not have sugar for a week to help and she explained that it has nothing to do with your choices.  It's just how your body processes it.  She failed the first test but was fine for the second, so I figured mine might be the same.  Nope.  I failed both and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  The good news was that my blood sugar number was just barely high enough to be diagnosed and it dropped fast.  When I saw the specialist for the first time, he explained to me that the placenta produces hormones and sometimes those hormones raise your blood sugar more than other pregnant women and it can cause complications with the baby.  (It is something that cannot be prevented, except maybe to be at a healthy weight pre-pregnancy, which I was.)  So to accommodate this, I had to adjust my diet.  Anything that turns into sugar quickly (carbs, starches, milk, yogurt, beans, fruit, some veggies, and sugary treats of course) needed to be limited at each meal and snack and had to be eaten with tons of protein to keep the number low (under 120). An occasional blood sugar spike was fine but the problem came when the number stayed high for long period of time.  I had to check my blood sugar 4 times a day: after waking up and an hour after each meal. That hour of waiting was awful because my meals had to be small so I've basically been hungry since I was diagnosed in October.  Oh, and stress can alter the number.  And if it's raining.  And if the house is dirty.  I've even eaten the same food for lunch and dinner and the numbers were drastically different.  The unpredictability was horrible and gave me so much anxiety. I ended up not eating any carbs during my meals because even one piece of wheat bread with protein (I'm technically allowed to have two pieces to be under 50 grams of carbs for lunch/dinner) will spike my number.  And of course I was diagnosed right before the holidays.  I totally "cheated" and ate rolls and pie and all the good food, but my dietitian knew that would happen.  I just drank tons of water and my number was fine by morning.  It has been a very difficult journey not eating what I want.  One of the few perks of being pregnant is eating whatever you want and as much as you want and being diagnosed with this completely shattered that for me.  If I went out to eat, it had to be a chicken salad or my number became too high.  Not that I don't like chicken salads, I'm just excited for macaroni and cheese with a side of bread, brownies, a huge burrito with rice and beans, and chocolate milk.  The only time I really ate carbs (a small amount with protein of course) were during my snacks.  I ate a LOT of bananas/apples with peanut butter.  Peanut butter was a daily thing since it required no cooking.  String cheese and Greek yogurt were also daily snacks.

Because of this diet for gestational diabetes, I lost weight.  It was only 2 pounds, but being pregnant, it was more like 4 pounds since I "should've" been gaining weight.  I gained the weight back and then lost it again, gained it again and after that it didn't move.  So even though my stomach grew bigger, I did not gain weight.  Don't worry, the baby has grown properly and did not grow too big (which is one of the fears of gestational diabetes). And I'll lose weight faster after she's out! 

They gave me food to help her wake up and move
The monitoring machine

Tips for gestational diabetes: 
- Drinking lots of water and peeing it out helps the number go down! That's also probably why I didn't have any contractions until the day I delivered.
- Cinnamon also helps it go down.
- It will not last forever! Just until the placenta comes out.  It's very rare that someone will continue to have diabetes after the baby is born.
- Spaghetti squash is a good substitute for rice and pasta.
- You'll get very creative with chicken and vegetables! Pinterest has been a life saver!
- A food processor will help if you want to use cauliflower in place of carbs.  Sadly, I didn't have a food processor until Christmas and by then it was kind of late.  But now I can grate potatoes and making hash browns will be SO much faster! As soon as the baby's out of course.
- Go on Pinterest and search "low carb meals" and you'll get a ton of ideas.  My dietitian didn't say a word about cooking.  She only said to look at labels of how many carbs everything has and to look at the "meal plan" she wrote out for me.  Sorry, I am not eating the same thing every day.  As long as the carbs are low, that's what matters!

33 weeks
Baby Shower
My shower was held on November 7th at my house.  It was awesome! My parents made the delicious food and two friends from my ward did the decorations and ran the whole show.  The games weren't those sit-down-and-participate type thank goodness.  We had a diaper raffle that my sister-in-law won and the other game was a "The Price is Right" kind of thing with baby items.  Ironically, my childless brother-in-law won that one! I am SO glad we did a diaper raffle because now I have tons of diapers! Highly recommended for every baby shower.  There was also an activity set up called "Wishes For The Little One" that people got to write advice and hopes for the baby.  Reading the answers after the shower ended was so fun! Oh, and near the front door I had a station for everyone to write down their address on an envelope to mail out thank-you notes.  So glad I did that! Tons of people came and we got so many things we needed and I am very grateful.  

Around 35 weeks is when the pain came.  I was sore from my stomach to the middle of my thighs.  The best way I can describe the soreness is like having constant period cramps over a larger area of the body.  Every time I stood up it's like she was jumping on my crotch (not just my bladder but the whole area) and expanding in every way possible.  Sometimes it felt like she was sticking her hand out.  Holding a pillow between my legs at night did NOT help at all.  We have a tempurpedic mattress so my hips were able to sink into the bed, but it still didn't help the pain go away.  The baby had started dropping and there isn't much you can do to help the pain.  I had charlie horses during the first and second trimesters but at this point the pain was mainly in my baby area.  Being 27 years old, I have had tons of friends have babies and not one warned me about the soreness at the end.  Of course they complained about being huge and not being able to move because of it, but no one said anything about pain.  Rude.  Oh, and icky dry patches started showing up around this time.  I know the winter weather could be part of it but I've never had this before. They don't itch or anything, thank goodness, they're just weird and hopefully they will go away after the baby is out.

During the last month of pregnancy I had to see the specialist (for gestational diabetes) and the OB once a week.  The OB measured me every week and the specialist did ultrasounds and monitoring (the non-stress test).  At about 36 weeks the specialist noticed I had extra fluid during my ultrasound.  So I had to go to the specialist twice a week until the end of my pregnancy to be monitored even more.  At the second appointment that week I asked how my fluids were doing and they went down so we were able to cancel the second appointments of every week.  That only lasted for one week.  They found that the chord was wrapped around her neck multiple times and I was back to going there twice a week.  (That's going to appointments 3 times a week!) I was finally able to see the specialist doctor instead of just the technicians and he suggested having a scheduled C-section because of the chord, but it unwrapped by the second appointment that week.  The following Monday I saw my OB and told him the chord has unwrapped and he asked me to ask the specialist doctor what to do whether it be a c-section or induction but when I got to the specialist for my ultrasound and monitoring, the doctor wasn't at that location.  Both doctors feel safer to not have me go to the full 40 weeks because of the diabetes.  At 39 weeks exactly (New Years Eve), the specialist technicians found the chord wrapped again and my fluids were slightly high again. 

38 weeks

At 37.5 weeks I was 50% effaced, but not dilated yet.  Poo.  Christmas Eve (38 weeks exactly) I started eating spicy food and I started taking longer walks with Sophie.  At 38 weeks and 4 days I was half a centimeter dilated and 60% effaced.   At 39 weeks and 4 days was my last doctor appointment because my OB measured me at 3 1/2 - 4 cm dilated and told me to go straight to labor and delivery!  That was easy!

36 weeks 5 days
36 weeks 5 days
Helpful things I have learned
- Water fixes everything! Nauseous? Drink water. Contractions too early? (earlier than 30 something weeks) Drink water. Tired? Drink water. And don't stop. Ever. It will solve 99% of your pregnancy woes.
- Walking helped with the insomnia and kept my energy up!
- Maternity clothes are your friend.  They look 10x better than your husband's t-shirts and you'll feel better knowing that even though you've gained weight, you look good in clothes that fit properly.  I almost feel better wearing maternity clothes than not being pregnant in regular clothes.  I found them cheap at Ross and sometimes they are on clearance at Target.  Those are the two places I got mine, but I only bought 3 shirts and one pair of pants.  I know it's not much but it was enough for me.  One-size-fits-all skirts and shirts have been my best friend!
- Take Vitamin C! Along with the prenatal and iron vitamins I needed to take, I made sure it was okay with my doctor that I also take Vitamin C.  I worked with kids so of course there were going to be a few kids sick at all times.  I was sick in the middle of the third trimester, but I know I probably would've been sick a lot more often if I hadn't been taking Vitamin C.

To end this post, here's a video of her smiling! I love technology!