36 weeks + 4 days

The third trimester {I almost wrote turd-trimester, hahaha} is definitely newborn-preparation time. I think I'm probably 75% on my way to zombie-mama status and baby girl isn't even here yet. Exhausted doesn't cover it.

Last night was a shocker. 7pm rolled around and I was over everything. Nothing sounded good. I didn't feel like food, I didn't want to watch television or a movie, I wasn't paying enough attention to read my Kindle, and I was snappy and grumpy. I decided I'd have an early night, to spare poor Jase the misery of my company. 
Here's how it looked, in a nutshell:
Brush teeth, go to the loo, inspect for bodily fluids on toilet paper. {I KNOW.}
Stand up, Braxton Hicks contraction, waddle back to bed.
Lie down, back hurts. Roll over, bladder hurts. 
Hour later - back to bathroom. 
Go to the loo, inspect for bodily fluids on toilet paper. 
Stand up, Braxton Hicks contraction, waddle back to bed. 
Lie down, back hurts again. Nod off to sleep, bladder wakes me up. 
Go to the loo, inspect for bodily...... yeah, you get the idea. 
Stand up, Braxton Hicks contraction, waddle back to bed.
Rinse and repeat for the rest of the night. {yawn} 
I finally fell asleep properly at about 6am - only to be woken up by hubby's alarm going off at 7.30am. All morning, I've had some pretty full on tightenings, but I'm wondering how much of those are from plain old tiredness? Now that the sun is up, I'm up too, and I can't seem to doze back to sleep. 
Speaking of bodily fluids.... {here is your TMI warning, again} - I had another clump of mucous yesterday morning, this time it was more brown than yellow and had a tinge of blood in it. I spoke to my doctor, who said it was likely just bits of my plug coming away - but unless it was combined with anything else, it wasn't any indication of things starting, although it was a good sign my cervix might be waking up a bit! :) Since then, I've just had little strands of the clear/yellow looking stuff, so nothing exciting to report.
Honestly, I'd just be so happy if things started happening in the next few weeks on their own. I'm starting to pay more attention to every cramp/twinge/belly shift, and wondering whether it meant anything... this is all completely foreign to me. I can't believe we're in the home month now, and I can't wait to meet this baby!

36 weeks + 2 days

Oh, what a crazy few days we've had here recently.

After my brother's wedding, I had hoped things would quieten down. Instead, my Nanna took a turn for the worse. Since having her second breast cancer surgery, her health has been rapidly declining, and she has gotten steadily weaker. Her birthday was on Sunday, and by Monday, she was looking terrible. Tuesday morning, she collapsed in the bathroom & was unresponsive and taken to the emergency room.

Since then, she's been admitted into the palliative care unit, which is scary, but also the best place for her until she gets some strength back. She could be there a few days, a few weeks, or for good - but the doctors think that with rest and fluids, they might be able to get her back home. I've been sneaking out of my rest most days to visit for a few hours, because I know she appreciates the company... and getting to have a good belly rub!

It's heartbreaking seeing her so tired and so sick - I hate cancer. :( She is the sweetest lady, would do anything for anybody, and I hope to grow up just like her one day. All she keeps telling the doctors and nurses is that she wants to meet her great-grand-daughter, and I really, really hope she gets that chance. It'll break my heart for my daughter to miss out on knowing her amazing Great-Nanna, even though if things don't go as planned, I know she'll stay with her. In the meantime, this was taken on her birthday twelve months ago: is she not the cutest granny ever?

All is fairly quiet on the baby front {other than my belly continuing to grow to the size of a small house} - I don't have an OB visit this week, because of the Easter holidays.

Over the last few days, I've started getting strands of snotty-looking bits down-below, mostly clear but once tinged with brown. I'm watching with curiosity, but have no idea whether it's the start of my plug coming away, or just an increase in gross, pregnancy discharge. Who knew I'd be watching the loo paper like crazy towards the end?

Nearly everyone who sees me thinks I'll have this baby before the 22nd, which kind of frightens me: not that I'll have her early {please, yes!} but that I'll be getting my hopes up for that, and then end up still pregnant at 41 weeks or something. I'm just going to trust that she'll know when she's baked enough... and keep fingers crossed.

The Weekly Run-Down: 36

How Far Along: 36 weeks & into the final month of pregnancy - we hope.

Size of baby: Baby is the size of a honeydew melon, although she feels a LOT heavier than that at this point. 

Random & Interesting Developmental Stuff:  Here's this week's run-down:

Your baby is working hard to accumulate all the fat she can at this point, and that layer of fat has now rounded out her face. This build-up of fat -- about 15 percent of her total weight--will help her maintain her body temperature and give her a store of energy. Her sucking muscles, which are quite powerful, have also finished developing now, and are ready for their first real feeding -- your baby's going to be hungry soon after she arrives.

Total Weight Gain: I'm so done with scales. Like totally, totally done.

Sleep: I am beginning to forget what sleep is. I remember really enjoying it at one point? ;)

Symptoms: I'm just getting worn out, I think. The baby is heavy, the pressure and pain in my pelvis is really unnerving, my back is burning with soreness. The weeping hasn't stopped, though. I cry ALL THE TIME now.

Cravings: You know, nothing really jumps out at me this week.

Gender: Still a girl. :)

Movement: Baby girl is still booting away at the bottom of my ribs. At my little brother's wedding a few days ago, she shoved me so hard that I literally flew back in my seat. Good, strong movement: I love it!

Maternity Clothes: Anything with a zipper is officially off limits. I like stretchy fabrics.

Milestones: We're in month 9! That's got to be a good milestone. Every week that passes now brings us into that home stretch... I cannot wait to see this little girl's face for the first time.
What I'm looking forward to: Relaxing this week & staying close to home. It'll be great to have hubby home over the Easter break too. Other than that, I just need to have one last look at items we don't have for baby yet - but to be honest, I think we have most things covered now. Let's get this show on the road!

The belly: This one was taken two days shy of 36 weeks, since I had an excuse to get made up and out of the house for the wedding!! So many people commented on the bump this week - and lots guessed girl without even knowing the answer. Apparently I 'carry like a girl'... which essentially just means I'm SUPER round. And huge.

You can catch up on my weekly pregnancy updates {in reverse order} by clicking here. For bump shots - go here!

It's the 22nd!

Which meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeans....

My due date is exactly ONE month away.

{Not that we wouldn't mind baby arriving before her due date, but let's just focus on the coolness that is one month for a little while, shall we?}

I could be having a baby in a month! Amazeballs.

A quick update on the OB front: baby girl is doing great! My blood pressure & proteins are back to average, she's measuring at 40 weeks (I'm almost 36) so no massive growth. Dr. P couldn't feel much of her head, and is sticking to the 2/5 engaged-3/5 palpable pelvic measurement. She's head down and bum up and I'm as happy as a clam.



35 weeks + 3 days

This week has been all about resting for mama & slow-motion belly wriggles and rolls for the little one.

Most of the big things are done now, so we're really just ... waiting. I can't wait for it to be April, so that when people ask when we're due, I'll be {hopefully} be able to tell them that it's this month.

At the beginning of this week, I started taking raspberry leaf tablets - they are supposed to assist some women in the form of shortening labour/making contractions more efficient. My midwife & OB recommended them; I'm in the camp of 'why not?' - at the very least, apparently they help with milk production too, so it can't hurt. I'm also due to start researching perineal massage, though I'm not sure how successful I'll be there; I can't remember what anything below the belly button looks or feels like at this point!

On the baby front, she's been pretty calm the last few days. Her head is still down low, so hiccups feel weirdly funny and vibrate off my crotch/butt. Her back/belly movements are felt on my lower left hand side, and the majority of her stretches and kicks are felt on my upper right hand side. Some days I still can't believe that I'm feeling/touching my actual baby - it just shows how big she's grown over the months.

I have an OB visit tomorrow morning, and then we're having our convertible seats professionally installed in both of our cars in the afternoon. I think driving around with a baby seat in the car is going to make things feel that little bit more real. And after that, it's my brother's wedding on Saturday - a very busy weekend coming up.

I've been feeling like these last few weeks are going to go by SO slowly. Since our due date is the 22nd of April, towards the end, I think I'll be one of the last mums to give birth in all of my groups - so I'm anxiously watching for everyone else's babies & hoping that our little one might surprise us a teeny bit before her due date.

What do you think: will we go early/on time/or late? :)

The Weekly Run-Down: 35

How Far Along: 35 weeks now. 

Size of baby: I've got a lovely bunch of coconuts.. diddly-dee. Actually, I've got just one. I feel like her head alone is the size of a coconut right now, especially since it feels like it's threatening to fall out with every step I take! 

Random & Interesting Developmental Stuff:  Here's this week's run-down:

At this point, your unborn baby should be positioned with her head facing down toward the cervix and vagina. About 97 percent of babies have adopted this position by this point; the rest remain in what's known as breech position -- when the butt or feet are in place to come out first. If your baby's among this minority, it does increase your odds of needing a c-section, but there's a good chance your healthcare provider can correct the problem by turning her around manually with pressure applied on your belly. Called an external version, this process has about a 65 percent success rate.

Total Weight Gain: About the same this week.

Sleep: It still sucks. I'm tired of being tired, if that makes sense? At this point I'm looking forward to baby girl being here, so I'll be so sleep deprived & exhausted that I HAVE to crash out, even in small doses. The back pain and rib kicks are pretty uncomfortable, and my bladder is quickly becoming my arch nemesis.

Symptoms: Tired; sore; cranky; irritable. Lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, peeing like a fiend & being visited again by my old friend, constipation. Ah, joy. Also irrationally weepy at anything baby-related.

Cravings: Still with the apple and blackcurrant juice.

Gender: Girl, Girl, Girl. Confirmed once more at last week's ultrasound; we actually saw more developed girly-bits.

Movement: Pressure down below, butts and bellies bulging out on my left, and lots of kicks to my right.

Maternity Clothes: I'm worried about fitting into a lot of my dresses for much longer. Everything feels snug/tight.

Milestones: I got to see {bits of} our little girl again at the growth ultrasound, and hearing that she's doing well with all of her organs looking good.. well, that was a huge relief for me! Jase got to be there too, which was great.
What I'm looking forward to: Seeing the midwife this Friday and hoping all signs stay average. I joke about being tired and done, but I would love for baby girl to stick around until after Week 37. {Though let's face it - chances are I'll go over and be gigantic by the end.} My little brother's wedding is also coming up this Saturday, and while I'm NOT looking forward to squeezing into a dress while being the size of a house, I'm very excited for him.

The belly: Happily growing away. Not a lot of growth in the past week, but I'm hoping she'll keep on dropping.

You can catch up on my weekly pregnancy updates {in reverse order} by clicking here. For bump shots - go here!

34 weeks + 5 days

I've been taking it easy this past week {on doctor P's orders} and was advised to go and visit the midwife on Friday {yesterday} to check up on how I was doing. The OB was away, so I had hoped it would be a shorter wait than usual - but as it happens, the poor midwife was on her own & dealing with a batch of crisis pre-delivery pregnant women, so I ended up waiting around for a while anyway.

First of all, she went over my ultrasound results from the previous day - baby measuring on par and her approximate weight of 2.56kg puts her on the 60th percentile, just slightly above average. When I asked if this meant she would be a gigantic baby, the midwife basically implied that I wasn't exactly small myself, so chances are, she'd be average-slightly over. Righty-o then. The cord and placenta are still functioning well.

Interestingly, she said my 24-hour pee/bloods were slightly over average on results too, but only just - not enough to diagnose anything, but worth keeping an eye on. My blood pressure yesterday crept back up to 134/84 (still lower than the previous week) and my morning pee sample showed slight traces of protein + ketones. All that combined means that we just need to keep resting, try and slow down, and monitor over the coming weeks. I already have an appointment booked as soon as the OB is back, which is next Friday morning.

This week, my fundal height measured at 39 weeks (one week of growth in, well, one week, so that's fair enough) and I had several Braxton Hicks contractions while she was examining my belly. Baby is 2/5 engaged, with 3/5 palpable - so she's on her way down!! She's also NOT posterior, which I was concerned about with all of my back pain, so if she stays in this position, we'll hopefully be pretty good to go in a few weeks time.

34 weeks + 3 days

We had a growth ultrasound this morning to see how baby girl was measuring - this after my fundal height measured four weeks ahead (!) at the last OB appointment. I was really looking forward to seeing the baby again - though was a bit worried about the sizing, and whether we'd get the details we wanted... this little one has a mind of her own & has a history of not behaving during scans and tests.

On the bright side, baby girl is doing perfectly! All of her measurements {legs, arms, belly, head, etc} put her estimated gestational age at 34 weeks + 3 days - yes, EXACT to the day! Couldn't ask for better than that. My amniotic fluid levels are nice and average, and placenta and cord seem to be doing a-ok too. Best of all, she is head down and in the cephalic position - so we're in a good place for birth. In fact, she is SO far down and engaged that the sonographer could hardly push down low enough to take her head circumference!
The sad part about her being so low in my pelvis is that we couldn't get any clear pictures of her face - she kept burying it into the wall of my uterus and turning away from us. We caught a few yawns and finger sucks on the monitor, but not on film. This was the only image we could get, and she doesn't really look like either hubby OR me in it. She does seem to be growing some chubby cheeks, though - and the sonographer kept commenting on how much hair she saw. At 34+3, baby's approximate weight is 2.5kg, so hopefully she stays nice and average. :)
I was a little disappointed not to get the typical, gorgeous 3D screen cap of our baby, but I guess she's just keeping us guessing until her birthday - what she'll look like {or who!} is anyone's guess. :)

The Weekly Run-Down: 34

How Far Along: 34 weeks pregnant - still want to guess baby's birth details? http://bebepool.com/alyandjason

Size of baby: This week, baby girl is measuring the size of a butternut pumpkin - a pretty large one, I'd say!

Random & Interesting Developmental Stuff:  Here's this week's run-down:

Your baby's preparing for her arrival in just a few short weeks! This week, the protective vernix caseosa (that cheese-like, white, waxy coating that's keeping her skin safe) begins to thicken, ensuring that her birthday suit stays smooth and well-moisturised during D-day. Your baby will likely arrive covered in the stuff, especially in the folds under her arms, behind her ears, and in the groin area. But it'll all be washed off very shortly after birth -- during her first-ever bath.

Total Weight Gain: I've gained about 1kg this week - and I'm feeling it!

Sleep: Pretty average, actually. My bladder starts to physically hurt if I don't pee immediately - so lots of late night toilet runs. My back has been feeling better lately, but the recent hospital stay didn't help there. :(

Symptoms: I'm pretty sure I'm feeling the same as most third-trimester almost-mamas right now: huge. Puffy, swollen, achy & tired all the time. I seem to be crying a lot too, extra hormones?

Cravings: Apple and blackcurrant juice.

Gender: Girl, Girl, Girl! 

Movement: She slowed down a LOT this week {which worried me & had doctor concerned} but as soon as we got the trace monitoring on, she decided to go back to normal. Since we've been home from the hospital, she's been very jabby up in the rib area. I'm loving the more regular movements again.

Maternity Clothes: More dresses, and stretchy, daggy yoga pants. Very comfy!

Milestones: Well, I suppose I got a sneak peek into the maternity ward at our hospital, so that was an eye opener. {I'm glad we chose the hospital we did - it seems lovely.} We're at 34 weeks now, so just under six weeks to go - I'm counting down every week now, because I simply cannot wait to meet our little one.
What I'm looking forward to: I have a growth ultrasound on Thursday to check on baby girl, and a midwife check on Friday morning to make sure my blood pressure has calmed down. :)

The belly: If you believe in fundal measurements, I'm huge. At 33+4, I measured at 38 weeks. In other words - it's getting pretty darned big. I have the stretch marks {that just keep stretching!} to prove it.
You can catch up on my weekly pregnancy updates {in reverse order} by clicking here. For bump shots - go here!

33 weeks + 5 days

Well, I certainly wasn't expecting my usual Friday OB appointment to end up in a hospital stay, but hey: surprise!

While waiting at the OB's office, I overheard his receptionist telling another pregnant lady that Dr. P likely wouldn't be available that morning, as he was delivering a baby. That meant that his midwife was seeing his patients instead. I wasn't particularly impressed, as she hasn't been the most helpful recently - and because I was hoping to talk about getting a growth scan on baby, since she was measuring larger based on fundal heights.

Luckily, things worked out. The midwife had a huge backlog of patients - and as I watched my name move closer and closer to the front of the patient files, Dr. P arrived! Baby delivered & back to business. After he did some paperwork in his office, he came out to start seeing patients too - and guess who was the very first file he pulled? Me! Totally meant to be. :) He asked how I was feeling, which was fine, except I'd had a few less movements from the baby in the last day or two. He had a listen and a feel, and her heartbeat sounded nice and normal - but he was concerned when he checked my blood pressure and got a reading of 150/90.

This is high, even for my usual borderline results - so he told me that he'd like to have me be admitted for monitoring up in the birth suite, and to complete a few traces of baby's heartbeat & a 24-hour urine collection sample. It came as quite a surprise, so upstairs I went to be admitted. First stop: delivery rooms! It felt mighty weird being up there & not actually labouring, let me tell you. They took my blood pressure again (still high at 145/95) and did a CTG scan of baby for a little while. There is nothing sweeter than hearing that heartbeat pounding away.

Afterwards, I was admitted into the maternity ward - where over the last 24 hours I managed to pee in a GIANT container, have my blood pressure monitored every few hours, and checks on baby's heartbeat and movement. Good news? Baby is doing just fine, stubborn as always. And blood pressure dropped steadily as I was in the hospital - the final one this morning was 110/70 - the absolute lowest I've EVER had!

Not a huge fan of the hospital beds {my poor tailbone and back are killing me} but the staff seemed lovely, and it was a nice trial run of what to expect during our post-delivery stay. Had visits from hubby & parents too, which passed the time nicely. I woke up super early this morning to baby dancing to Justin Timberlake on the TV.

After one final CTG screen & the very last urine sample was collected, I asked the nurses to contact the doctor - I was feeling fine, but going stir crazy being stuck in the hospital! {I also felt really guilty about keeping the bed occupied, you know?} We were pleasantly surprised that the OB himself came in to check on me, and was pleased with both me & baby - he sent us home, under instructions to keep resting and take things easy. That I can do! :) I'm to go back and check blood pressure next week, and a regular OB appt the week after.

On a side note, fundal measurements put baby girl at 38 weeks (!!!) so I have to book in a growth ultrasound sometime next week - I'm hoping she's not too huge, but I'm happy to get to see her again!

33 weeks + 3 days

It doesn't feel like all that long ago that we were counting down the days until our first ultrasound, our first OB appointment, our first peek into baby's measurements {& up her skirt, so to speak} - and now, here we are; a month away from being considered 'full term' and under seven weeks away from our due date.

How can the days go by so quickly and so slowly at the same time?

I have so many reasons why I want this pregnancy to go by quickly - I'm in the home stretch now, I'm tired, I'm starting to really feel the burn of the third trimester... and I just want my baby girl in my arms already. Also, a friend who was due closest to me just had her baby this week, and I am incredibly jealous! :)

As the exciting arrival time gets closer though, I have found myself thinking back to those early days; the ones involving the scary scans and probability ratios. If you weren't around then, we received a 'high risk' rating for abnormalities (1:169 general, 1:100 d/s) at the NT ultrasound, but opted not to undergo any invasive testing. We did this for several reasons - the risk of hurting the baby as a side effect from the amnio, and because whatever the result, we wouldn't have ended this pregnancy. It's a very personal decision to make, but we stand by it to this day.

With that said, not knowing has its difficulties too. I've watched other pregnant women go through the nerve-wracking wait for test results, but come out the other side with their reassuring 'all clear' results. I've looked on {a little jealously} as people get the simple blood test to rule out abnormalities - the one that's not commonly available here in Australia & costs thousands of dollars. Since we didn't have this option available to us, and weren't interested in the other forms of testing, our answer will become apparent at the birth.

Being given the thumbs up at the 19 week scan was a huge relief, since it meant that there were no obvious medical concerns or soft markers that flagged up. But as we all know, a healthy scan doesn't always necessarily mean a healthy baby - and it certainly wasn't able to tell us if our little girl might be born with Downs Syndrome or another chromosomal diagnosis. All we could really do was enjoy the pregnancy, and wait and see what happened at the end. And now that end is looming, I'm starting to prepare myself.

There is a 99% chance we will be blessed with a healthy baby girl. But there is a 1% chance that we'll be meeting our daughter & learning that she has special needs that we will cater to for the rest of our lives. I'm not one for betting or odds, but I do like being prepared - so I suppose it's natural that I've been thinking over all of the possibilities and doing lots of online research about living with children with special needs. I have no doubt in my mind that we'll do our absolute best as parents, regardless of what that percentage outcome says, but the unknown is still scary. My goal is to enjoy these last few weeks of the pregnancy, continue enjoying every movement that belts me from the inside out, and try to keep calm about the end result.

Whatever will be, will be. And I'm sure she'll be the most beautiful thing we've ever seen, no matter what.

The Weekly Run-Down: 33

How Far Along: 33 weeks along. Less than 50 days to go! Care to take a bet on baby's details? Go on.. guess!

Size of baby: I think the baby is the size of a durian fruit - is that what it is? Man.. ouch, again. Are these guys trying to mentally prepare us for the pain of labour by comparing it to pushing out a spiky fruit?
Random & Interesting Developmental Stuff:  Here's this week's run-down:

Your baby doesn't have much elbow room these days -- and, happily, that's probably going to mean fewer elbow jabs to the ribs for you. Because space in your uterus is running out, your baby becomes less active at this point in the pregnancy. You may also notice that her movements are affected by your daily routine -- how much and when you eat, what position you are in and sounds from the world outside can all affect your baby's activity level.

Total Weight Gain: Holding steady from last week for the most part - but I feel insanely huge.

Sleep: I'm trying a new strategy: stay up as late as I possibly can, so that I sleep from pure exhaustion. It seemed to work the last few nights, so I'll keep trying. Can't hurt, right?

Symptoms: I have the most ridiculously sore belly. I can't really describe it - it's like a full, stretched out pain. It's so heavy. I had a belly before pregnancy, and the added weight of the baby is really pulling things down. I've quite literally erupted in red stretch marks on the underside of my belly {it's not pretty, thankfully I'm not vain in that sense} because of the pulling. I'm still getting BH contractions every time I stand up or bend down, and the bruised lady-part feeling is still hanging around. Oh, and I managed to pull a muscle in my groin/pelvis the other day, so everything is a little more 'waddley' right now.

Cravings: Warm milk with ovaltine - looks like I'm back to my first trimester cravings for dairy products.

Gender: Girl, Girl, Girl! 

Movement: Lots more slow-motion movements this week. :)

Maternity Clothes: I finally fit into the huge, full-panel maternity waist jeans I ordered online from Old Navy way back in the first trimester. They've been too big for me in the panel section since then, but I was very glad for them yesterday. I think they'll be useful in the coming weeks - when the weather hopefully cools.

Milestones: I squeezed into a dress {this maternity one from a few weeks ago} for my almost-SIL's bridal shower, yay! Met a lovely internet friend who's also due in April, which was lovely. We also finally saw our hospital & I've started preparing our hospital bag. And did I mention that the nursery is pretty much done?
What I'm looking forward to: Cooler weather! It's dropped a little in the last few days and it's been just amazing. I have an OB visit this Friday, and hopefully baby will continue doing well. I'm crossing my fingers and toes that he might want to do a growth scan, because I really, really want to see baby girl again soon.

The belly: Oy, the soreness. I think she's had another growth spurt this week - it is so, so stretched out.
You can catch up on my weekly pregnancy updates {in reverse order} by clicking here. For bump shots - go here!

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