38 Weeks

It’s 4am, which is now my “usual” wake up time–I’m awake between 4-6am most days, and some days I wake up the puppy & feed him bfast so Mr. MLACS can sleep in. Other days I fall back asleep for an hour or two. I just go with the flow.

I figured I’d do a sort of pregnancy questionnaire.

How far along? 38 weeks today!

Weight gain/loss? Gained +19 lbs as of last OB appointment (holding steady)

Maternity clothes? Not so much. I wear VS “boyfriend” sweatpants and a mix of maternity/non-maternity shirts. I do find that I have to keep tugging on my non-maternity shirts because they tend to ride up & show my underbelly.

Stretch marks? No. But I don’t lather myself in creams or oils. I was a fat kid, so I have a little extra skin + I didn’t gain much weight + genetics. It’s mostly just luck IMO.

Movement? Very much so! Her movements are very pronounced, even with my anterior placenta. She likes to par-tay sometimes, but overall she’s pretty mellow πŸ™‚

Sleep? I can’t sleep more than a few hours at a time. I compensate with 1-2 naps per day. Lately I have *crazy* dreams & Mr. MLACS says I mutter and flail. I know I snore. And I wake up to pee fairly often. I sleep with 6 pillows *and* a snoogle (which props up my legs).

Belly button in or out? In, but very shallow & I can pop it out when I press on the skin around it, which Mr. MLACS and I think is neat (we are dorks).

Rings on or off? Off–that was difficult for me. I started having a bit of swelling at 34 weeks so I relinquished them to Mr. MLACS to be safe. He then bought me a white gold “placeholder band” so I don’t feel naked ❀

Labor signs? Random braxton hicks. She obviously dropped yesterday (like my belly button is 2 inches lower than before) and I now have a pressure/crampy-ness in my pelvis. TONS of mucus–SO much mucus–draining from my head & my va-jay, but no mucus plug yet. Boobs are expanding & a bit sore.

Best moment this week? I was afraid this baby was huge because she was measuring ahead a few weeks ago, but our US 3 days ago pegged her at 6lbs 13ozs, which is perfectly average!

Other stuff:

● Still going to bi-weekly NST tests at the L&D. These are tedious *but* this lessens our chance of stillbirth to 1% *and* I’ve gotten to meet most of the L&D nurses and see how things work.

● Tried red raspberry leaf tea yesterday after 2 ladies in my prenatal yoga group suggested it. It’s supposed to “tone” your uterus and make labor/delivery shorter and easier–it can also encourage labor as your EDD draws near. I tried the traditional medicinals brand, think it’s pretty potent and caused my baby to drop/crampy-ness after *one strong cup*. Not sure if I want to jump start labor just yet, so I think I’ll postpone drinking it until next week.

● To update on Mr. MLACS, he’s doing great! He lost 60lbs of fluid in the hospital and he’s lost an additional 40lbs at home by eating healthy, logging his food, and doing moderate activity daily. That’s 100lbs he has lost! Mind you he is 6’6″ so 100lbs on him looks like 50lbs on an average-sized person (he’s not wasting away). I’m SO proud of him!!! We’re gonna have to buy him new pants soon πŸ™‚

There’s still stuff on my “to do” list (things to buy, stuff to wash/put away, cleaning, etc.) but we’re ready and I won’t freak out if she comes early.

If you follow astrology…at this point it’s inevitable that she will be a Pisces. I’m a Sagittarius and Mr. MLACS is a Taurus, so this will be interesting. Chinese New Year was just celebrated and it’s the year of the sheep–both Mr. MLACS and I were born in the year of the sheep. We are both strong personalities–I’m curious to see if she will be intense (like her parents) or more subdued. I wonder if I will have a child that is shy and introverted (the opposite of me). I’m more curious to find out *who she is* than I am to see what she looks like.

Soon now…

XOXO,

MLACS

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37 Weeks (What is Love?)

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Surely the baby plans to come early, because there is *no more room* for her in this belly! Seriously, my internal organs feel as displaced as they can possibly get.

Also we got a few inches of snow and here’s a cute picture of our puppy playing in it πŸ™‚ He’s a big handsome boy now! They grow up so fast… *sniffle*tear*

I hope you ladies had a nice V-Day. Mr. MLACS and I Β don’t take it very seriously. But we did get a couple boxes of chocolate covered strawberries, and Mr. MLACS let me have more than my fair share ❀ *that is love*

What is life like now? Well it’s GREAT since I have Mr. MLACS here taking care of me…

I sleep A LOT. But at odd hours. Depending on the day, I either take a long mid-morning nap or a lengthy late afternoon nap–from 2 to 2.5 hours. Mr. MLACS notices when I’m fading and he will pull me up off the couch and usher me to bed, where he will then move the cat out of my spot (the cat and I wrestle for prime real estate), adjust my pillow fort, lay me down, prop up my legs, plug in my cell phone, bring me water, and turn the channel to HGTV (my go-to). He’s like my own personal nanny πŸ™‚ *that is love*.

We go to bed at the same time at night (he repeats the same process *plus* he makes sure I take my meds). But he always falls asleep before me. I usually play with my phone, get up to pee at least twice, chew a couple tums and toss ‘n turn a bit before I fall asleep. Then we take turns waking up throughout the night to pee–if we wake up at the same time then Mr. MLACS is a gentleman and will pull me up off the bed so I can pee first. He also wakes up earlier than me most days and cares for the puppy while I sleep in a bit *that is love*.

Speaking of getting up…I much prefer him pulling me up as opposed to trying to get up myself. Whenever I have to go from sitting/laying to standing or if I have to bed over/bend down, I grunt/moan because *it’s hard*. Only 2 pairs of shoes are comfy now–slippers and tennis shoes. The tennis shoes have to be tied *but loosely because my feet swell*. I feel like I’m going to barf when I bed over to tie my shoes, so Mr. MLACS does that for me too *that is love*.

Mr. MLACS drives us everywhere–goes with me to all my (tedious, time consuming) appointments. He always offers door-to-door service when he drops me off/picks me up, whether it’s a doctor appointment or a grocery store trip *that is love*.

What’s more is that Mr. MLACS encourages me to spend time with my girlfriends. Last Friday he helped me clean the house so I could host the ladies from my prenatal yoga group. Then he graciously retired to the master bedroom with the puppy for a couple hours while the ladies (and a couple of infants) chatted over chili and cornbread–he waited to eat until after the ladies had their fill and went home *that is love*.

Mr. MLACS is affectionate without being overtly sexual, since he knows I feel guilty that we’re not having any sort of sex at the moment. I feel that I should be offering to please him (certainly he would offer if roles were reversed) but I’m tired/lazy and he has not given me any grief about it *that is love*.

I could go on and on about how great Mr. MLACS treats me, but I think you get the point. No amount of flowers or chocolates or other finery can hold a candle to the TLC and respect that my husband shows me. I try to do the same for him, although right now I think I’m pretty *spoiled* by him.

I tell him “You’re my favorite person”, and I really truly *mean it*. And he says “Only until our baby is born”. But I beg to differ. There is no comparison between a mother’s love for her husband and her love for her children. I told him “But YOU are my best friend! She can’t be my best friend, because she needs me to be her mother.” And don’t get me wrong, I want to share a strong bond with our daughter, but I want her to be able to look up to me–not treat me as her equal or worse, feel that she has to take care of me the way a partner should.

And I’m so very lucky to have Mr. MLACS as my partner. Even on our worst days, we are better together than we are apart.

I can’t wait to see him fall in love with our baby. She’ll surely be a “Daddy’s girl”. And while I may feel a little left out at times, I wouldn’t have it any other way ❀

XOXO,

MLACS

36 Weeks *Update Part 2*

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As promised: baby shower pics ❀

But before I tell you about the shower, best to follow up from 36 Weeks *Update Part 1* I had the US and baby girl looked textbook-perfect and we *finally* were discharged after 6.5 mind-numbing hours spent in L&D. And it goes without saying that I feel very fortunate to be 36 weeks gestation with a healthy baby. A *BIG* healthy baby…no measurements were taken during today’s US but it was quite clear that she is already big enough to be full-term, and the US tech agreed she’s a big girl and laughed and said “Maybe it’s better not to know exactly”…which is true…but…#*%*@.

Mr. MLACS Update:

And then to follow-up on the update on Mr. MLACS…he’s calmed down and has processed and accepted both the good and bad news he got today.

On the bright side, he can be here with me and continue to help me and support me. Like, I can hardly tie my shoes or remember to take my medications. I certainly can’t exercise our puppy. And I’m so tired and my heartburn/reflux is so intense at night that I often wouldn’t eat if he didn’t feed me–he’ll go get me a milk shake when nothing else will do. In fact he’ll do (and does) anything and everything to make me comfortable and secure. He builds my “pillow fort” at night. Props my feet up. Brings me water with a bend-y straw. The other night he made me a bubble bath & wrapped me in a warm fluffy towel when I was finished. He actually purchased the rest of our registry items *without me even asking* because all I managed to do last week was sleep, eat, and drag myself to our myriad appointments. He’s my *HERO*. So yeah, he has the satisfaction of knowing that he is VERY MUCH *needed and wanted* at home.

Also, this basically guarantees that he will be present for our baby’s birth. I’m not due until March 9th, but he was going to leave Feb. 11th and not return until the 27th–at which time I would be 38w4d. I was *dreading* him being gone and paranoid about potentially being alone when I went into labor…so we actually hired a doula this weekend because I was beginning to panic at the thought of him leaving for work (I’ll elaborate on our doula–she’s great). Also worth mentioning: I am a “Hypnobabies” drop-out (will likewise elaborate on this). Thus I’m *THRILLED* that Mr. MLACS isn’t traveling to rural Canada for 2 weeks (potentially missing his daughter’s birth).

Another bonus of him not being “cleared” to return to work is that it undoubtedly would have taken a toll on him and slowed his healing process. While home he is able to sleep, relax, watch what he eats, and he is free from the stress of his job. Over the last few weeks we’ve built a routine. When he goes back to work he will have to play ‘catch-up’ and also create a new routine trying to balance his health with work, with no support from me, and that will test him–if he were to go back right now it would probably cause him to take two steps back in his recovery. So it’s good that his cardiologist is being cautious with him…*He is precious to me*. He also has easy access to his doctors and the hospital, whereas his work site is remote and medical care is a flight (or two) away.

So yeah, it sucks that Mr. MLACS is still “sidelined” from work, but *everything happens for a reason* (often beyond our comprehension) and besides the obvious, I trust that this is all part of God’s plan for our family. Trial and tribulation strengthen the fabric of our lives. And luckily Mr. MLACS has good insurance so he’s still getting paid 60% of his normal wages, which is enough because we live well within our means. It just may mean that we decide to postpone the planned purchase of a family vehicle (to replace my compact car–which is like sardine can for Mr. MLACS). No big deal.

Hypnobabies drop-out:

I was all psyched to attend Hypnobabies class and committed to having a natural birth. But sh*t happens. The class was starting at the end of January, just a couple weeks after Mr. MLACS’s hospitalization/diagnosis and a few days before I was expecting a visit from my MIL and a house full of people for our baby shower. And Hypnobabies requires that you practice (meditate) for about an hour a day… All of a sudden I found myself overwhelmed and I knew I couldn’t put in the time and attention required to be successful (i.e. to justify paying $450 for this 6 week class and materials). So I emailed the instructor my apologies, forfeited my $50 deposit, and told Dr. Angel we wouldn’t be attending after all (he was not disappointed). But then…I found myself 30+ weeks gestation with *no birth plan*. So I started thinking about hiring a doula–which I had previously considered. My counselor/prenatal yoga instructor/certified doula trainer *knows me* and since she instructs classes of eager new doulas she is also privileged to know pretty much every doula within 100 miles. So when I told her I had a budget of about $400 (what I would’ve spent on Hypnobabies minus the $50 deposit) and asked her who she thought I’d “jive” with, she gave me a couple names and a bit of background. One stuck out to me, so I finally contacted her and then me and Mr. MLACS met with her this weekend…

Our Doula:

We met her at a cafe and she was actually not what I expected. My counselor described her as an older, experienced, mother to grown children. She has apprenticed under a well-known (re: $1500 per birth) doula who was actually a friend of mine back in the day, and that definitely gave her credibility with me. I guess we’ll call her Justice or “J” for short, because she actually has a career in the legal profession. So anyways, my big pregnant belly and my big burly husband walked in the cafe and I saw this gorgeous redhead wave and smile from across the room (I guess we’re easy to pick out of a line-up). She was dressed casually but very classy with a silk scarf and just the right amount of jewelry. She is “older” at age 55, but certainly not what I had expected. She didn’t look particularly “earth mama/hippy-ish”, the way most doulas I know do. So we sat down and talked. She was organized and methodical with her questions, while also exuding a lot of warmth. She seemed very genuine. Self-assured but very eager to learn and adapt to our needs–we would be her third client/birth. I asked her why she wanted to be a doula. She replied that she had always wanted to be a Midwife, but that she became a single mother with 3 kids and found herself supporting them via a career as a clerk in a law office, where she has worked her way up. She’s planning to retire in the next 5 years and wants to *pursue her dream* by becoming a doula and then possibly continuing her education to become a Midwife.

I loved her answer.

I identify with her. I’ve “shelved” my dream of becoming an RN and postponed my education and training to have a family. I’d like to think that my depth and breadth of life experience will benefit me and help me to better serve my future patients. I worry that I’ll give up on my dream. And meeting “J” and hearing her honest answer to my question endeared her to me and also inspired me. I knew then that she was “the one”. And then she told me her fee was exactly $400, and I asked her where do I sign and did she require cash or a check? And Mr. MLACS promptly went to the bank next to the cafe and surprised her with a wad of $20 bills, paid-in-full, and we all left the cafe feeling relieved and excited for the journey ahead. Amen.

The Baby Shower:

We had our shower Sat. Jan. 31st, at our house. I deign to fully acknowledge it as a *home* because we don’t own it and will likely be moving within a few months-ish. But if “home is where the heart is” then we can call it home. Certainly the neighbors are nice and our pets love it here, and most of all we will bring our baby *home* to the little nest we’ve fashioned.

But up until 3 days before the baby shower there were still unpacked boxes and nothing on the walls and it was in dire need of a thorough cleaning. I had my work cut out for me and I was *under the gun*. Luckily Mr. MLACS jumped to my rescue and helped me check off my “to do” list with nary a complaint. Then I hired a girl my sister knows to come clean the house from top to bottom, cuz Lord knows I am not cut out for that even when I’m not 8 months pregnant.

After it was all said and done, I stood back to admire how handsome our house looked when it was restored to it’s former glory and accessorized.

The day of the baby shower we had professional photos taken beforehand in the nursery, then we were sent away while my girlfriends decorated, and we returned to a festive scene–the girls did a fantastic job! The theme was “baby it’s cold outside” with accents of pink and silver and sparkle and snowflakes. And I can’t believe how generous everyone was with their (limited) time and resources…there were 2 varieties of homemade *gluten-free* soups, a cascade of tea-sized sandwiches, a fancy salad, a hot cocoa bar with toppings and liquors to add, a mimosa bar, and the crown jewel: a display of fabulously decorated *gluten-free* cupcakes! 3 of the 4 friends responsible for this spread couldn’t even attend the shower, and I was touched that they still took the time and trouble to contribute.

Mr. MLACS attended and that made it even more fun–we played the obligatory games and opened presents together. The very first gift made me *ugly cry*, as it was an eyelet dress from my sister–and our dear departed Mother had intended it for my sister’s “hope chest” for her babies, but my sister decided it was meant for her niece. I was speechless and bawling in front of a room full of people. But we hugged and moved on to the rest of this *massive* pile of gifts–most of it was from my MIL, who happens to LOVE shopping and lives dangerously close to the outlet malls. So I have like 100lbs of baby clothes and blankets to wash, and I probly won’t need to purchase clothes…well, *ever*. On the other hand, I won’t hesitate to donate or sell the excess either, as I am not obligated to be the dumping ground for my MIL’s shopping habit, however well-intentioned it may be. We got some lovely keepsakes and luckily a fair amount of necessary items from our registry. All-in-all, it was one of the very best days of my life ❀

In Conclusion:

I feel like I’m forgetting things I wanted to share with you…maybe a few random bullet-points??

● I woke up from a nap with braxton-hicks contractions the other day, but I was disoriented (from waking) and surprised by the pain…I walked into the living room and Mr. MLACS saw the pained/confused look on my face and asked me if I was ok, and I responded “I…don’t know…” and my lip quivered and I began to cry out of distress. Luckily he soothed/calmed me and then drew me a bath and kept an eye on me–I couldn’t ask for a better partner. But this begs the question: am I going to *freak out* and fall apart at the onset of labor??? I hope not…

● I’m really sick of the “vaccination wars”, pitting the vaxxers against the anti-vaxxers. There is no *winning* side here, both sides are valid. But FYI, I am choosing to vaccinate and YES I’ve done my research and the topic is not up for debate. Trust me, e’rybody has been sending me articles to read. But when I want to know about a medical issue, I read the actual *research studies*, not articles written by people interpreting the research to support their own agendas. Just sayin’.

● I’ve got gluten-free & low-sodium recipes to post, if anyone cares?

● I’m up 19lbs from pre-pregnancy, nearly half of which has accumulated in the last 3-4 weeks. I haven’t talked much about weight because everyone is different and I don’t want you to think I’m vain or worried about it. I don’t want to make women feel bad if they gained 50lbs because some women are meant to gain 50lbs–I’ve seen a lot of “fat shaming” on babycenter and that sh*t is not cool. But I am pleasantly surprised that my weight gain has been minimal, I mean, since I’ve always tended to be curvy (and sometimes chunky).

● Sex…we last tried at 33 weeks and it was painful for both of us. And although I feel attractive and certainly Mr. MLACS finds me attractive (and I find him very appealing), I can’t say that I miss sex at the moment. Well, maybe a little. C’est la vie.

● I have previously had lactose intolerance for the better part of my life and have had to pick-and-choose which dairy products I ate–cheese was usually fine but ice cream would make me gassy and bloated…until *now*. Now I can consume dairy without consequences! Unfortunately, Dr. Angel says that will likely revert back to an intolerance after birth. Phooey.

● I saw a lactation consultant last week. And guess what–she’s a fellow infertile, now 22 weeks with fraternal twins! She was an L&D Nurse for years prior to becoming a lactation consultant. After our appointment Mr. MLACS commented “I can’t imagine how hard it would be to do her job while going through infertility. That would be torture.” And I have never been more proud of him than I was when he said those words.

Love,

MLAC

36 Weeks *Update Part 1: Monday Can SUCK IT*

Hey, so I’m stuck in a room (one I don’t like) in L&D waiting for an US…it’s been *4 hours* since I arrived here for a perfunctory NST (non-stress test). The test went great *I thought* as she was doing cartwheels–Mr. MLACS and I giggled as we watched my belly jump and wiggle while listening to the “Thunk!” sound of her kicking the monitors–it was delightful! I was patting myself on the back for the small (rare) cup of coffee I had with breakfast. But then they said they needed her to slow down. So we waited…and waited…and her heart rate fell about 10 BPM, and the nurses said they just needed to see a couple 15 second increases (to define her baseline). And after 2+ hours (and several pee breaks) I was *DONE*. Then they tell me that since baby failed to meet their very specific criteria, that Dr. Angel ordered an US…now here we are, 4.5 hours after arrival, waiting on “transport” to come pick me up and take me for the US. (P.S. did I mention I hate the room we are in? The feng shui must be off because it feels awful).

Oh but it gets better…

Right after I found out about the US, Mr. MLACS’s cardiologist’s nurse called to inform us that his ECG (ultrasound of his heart) showed only *marginal improvement* so the doctor *did NOT* clear him to return to work this week… And we were both caught off-guard because he’s been giving 110% to his health and wellness and he looks and feels exponentially better…so WTF? It’s bewildering and inspires panic because we were so sure he’d “bounce” back from his health crises and we are ready to move on from it…but just like so many things (Infertility) we realize we can only do our best, but ultimately we have *no control*.

And I just feel like throwing a huge temper tantrum…

But I’ll tell you what I told him. I whipped out my coaching mantra from my bodybuilding/personal training days:

“Here is where the winners are born. When you’ve given it your 110% *everything you’ve got* and you don’t get the results you want when you want them–that’s when average people quit. Like those “New Years resolution” people that crowd the gym in January. When they don’t get instant results/gratification, they quit. But the people who WIN are the people who don’t give up, even when they’ve been dieting like a champ and only lost 5lbs in a month. It’s frustrating. But anything worth having is worth fighting for, and you don’t give up until you get there.”

And dammit, we are GOING to get there.

XOXO,

MLACS

35 Weeks

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Today marks 35 weeks! I can hardly believe it!

Today also marks the day 2 years ago when I got the biggest shock of my life….2 unmistakable pink lines that confirmed my first pregnancy. It was the day after super bowl. Actually it was Feb. 4th and today is Feb. 1st but I’ll always remember it as “the day after the super bowl”.

There’s so much I could say. I remember every minute of our roller coaster ride to parenthood over these past 2 years. I’m forever changed. On one hand, I’m scarred from my journey. But on the other hand I’m better for it–this pain is a “growing pain”. I’m wiser both intellectually and emotionally. My marriage is stronger. I will be a better mother, having fought for my child long before she was even conceived. I’ve gained so much perspective.

I’m glad I haven’t forgotten where I came from. I’m glad it still hurts to remember my first and second pregnancies. I don’t want to forget.

But I’m also excited to be 35 weeks gestation with my baby girl. I’m happy that we got to celebrate her pending arrival with friends and family this past weekend. I’m grateful for every kick, punch, roll and hiccup.

I usually throw my own parties. So of course I ended up taking on way too much responsibility for this baby shower. It was stressful. But it came together beautifully. I don’t have many pics yet but I had a professional photographer so I’ll have some nice pics to share in a week or so.

I have a lot of “thank you” cards to write and teeny tiny clothes to wash and put away. I keep holding the clothes up to my tummy and marveling that I am actually building a human to wear them. It’s surreal to me.

I got my breast pump in the mail last week and I have an appointment with a lactation consultant this week. I had my first NST test last Thursday (baby did great) and I have another one today, then I see Dr. Angel Β (my OBGYN) tomorrow. After that Mr. MLACS has an ECG and will follow-up with his cardiologist to see how he is healing/progressing. I believe he’s healing well and will be cleared to go back to work up north next week. I don’t want him to leave! He doesn’t either. He’s seriously looking for family-friendly jobs.

I’m thinking of you all ❀

XOXO,

MLACS