So many cute clothes with puppy designs!

Little Pud is packing on the pounds now, and his growth is supposedly slowing down (I can’t believe this since it seems like my belly size doubles every other day).  His systems are fully mature now- except his digestive system.  Makes sense, considering all his nutrition has come from the umbilical cord up to now.  He will spend the first 1-2 years continuing to develop his digestive system to maturity after his birth.

My body is in a lot more pain now, as all the joints get even more loosened up and ready to move  a baby through the birth canal.  Most of the discomfort I feel tends to center around my hips, knees, and lower back, and usually at the end of the day.  I’m so grateful B learned the very useful skill of applying direct pressure to my lower back to counter the pressure of Pud pressing against my back pelvic bones.  Papas-to-be, here me say this: there is NO WAY you can hurt Mama-to-be by pressing with all your might against that lower back in just the right spot.  It seems like it should make her hurt more, but it really feels SO incredible and provides an enormous amount of relief.  Another interesting quirk that’s been making itself known in the past week and a half is a sense of numbness in my fingers.  It kind of feels like I’ve been petting a dog for 24 hours and worn the pads on my fingertips, or like strumming a guitar for a really long time.  Basically, my hands are so swollen, my nervous system is retaliating.  It is one of the quirks of being so big with child that I will not miss when I’m no longer big with child.  My manual dexterity is definitely compromised and requires more careful thought to work around when doing various tasks.

Oooh! Look at the puppy feet! How cute.

I began weekly visits this week by seeing yet a different doctor at the OB’s office.  At 35 weeks going on 36, I got to enjoy the routine Strep B swab test- Q-Tip swabbed quickly around the inside of my vagina.  Not painful. Would rather have that than a PAP smear anyday.  The “pelvic exam” aka “checking for dilation”, however, was a bit painful and I left with cramps.  Thank goodness Dr. S is so much more gentle  and has smaller hands than the doc I saw this week… and that I get to go back to her (at last) starting Monday.  I could have told him the verdict, and saved myself the pain though: Dilated 0 cm.  I actually cheered, because I am definitely not ready for little Pud to arrive yet, with so much unfinished business up in the air.  After enduring 2 of the hottest, most humid days we’ve had this year, I thought, “Did I actually cheer?!?”  Thankfully, it’s cooled down some and I’m again content to let the little one keep growing inside until he’s ready to come out.

Unfinished business was addressed all week.  Mortgage for the new house: We officially switched from the previous bank and that horrible experience to our local credit union, which hopefully will be a much better experience.  That required re-doing quite a bit of paperwork after getting an addendum signed to extend our contract on the new house to September 10.  At least most of the information that the credit union would like to see was already copied and ready to hand over from when I had to fax it all to the old bank.  That cuts processing time considerably.  Hopefully, this will be resolved VERY soon.

Health insurance and family medical leave act (FMLA) paperwork was completed and will be ready for B to turn in on Tuesday (after we get the doctor’s office to complete their part of the FMLA papers).

Another piece of unfinished business: legal matters.  I’ve been really bad to put off some of this stuff as long as I have, being a lawyer’s daughter and knowing their importance, but better late than never, I guess.  B and I have just been busy and haven’t addressed some of these important documents before now, but I know some people consider them to be incredibly morbid and hold some superstitious beliefs about some crucial legal documents.

  • Power of Attorney.  This is not strictly necessary for every couple to consider, but for us, there are some factors that come to mind: the fact that we have a mortgage in process at the same time as my due date and the fact that I can’t stand to have to hand over my body to medical professionals without a legal advocate for my wishes.  There are several different types of POA choices out there that would be beneficial for couples to consider, as long as they can truly trust their partners- one, for example, is strictly medical, so if there comes a point in labor, delivery, or postpartum care that I cannot, for whatever reason, make decisions or sign legal medical paperwork for myself, this type of POA would allow B to be my healthcare proxy and have the right to do so for me.   
  • Living Will.  Face it, childbirth has its risks, even as advanced as medical care has gotten, and how little we expect to have any problems.  I want to know that I have some say in what happens to me if the worst happens.
  • Wills.  With a child comes the great responsibility of making sure he’s provided for and that we have some say in what happens to him if something happens to us.  This is our opportunity to designate a guardian or guardians for Pud, instead of the State making this decision through the courts, should something happen to us.

    "Now they'll let us take him home from the hospital! Thanks!"

I went back to the sleep doctor this week to get my results.  I felt so incredibly VALIDATED!  I’m not sleeping well and feeling rested when I wake up in the AM because my brain wakes up at least 19 times a night, I experience over 440 episodes of limb movements (kicks, jerks, etc), and stop breathing for periods of about 30 seconds at time for about 1/4 of the night. Oh, and experience over 3440 episodes of snoring.  Official language: sleep apnea and restless legs syndrome, as well as periodic limb movement disorder.  Take that, stupid PA who reluctantly referred me after I insisted the sleep problems were NOT just from being pregnant!  Pud should be getting a lot more oxygen at night now, thanks to the Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine that was sent home with me, with a mask that fits properly.  I don’t necessarily love sleeping with the mask covering my face, but I really DO love sleeping more restfully and waking up feeling like I can make it through the day.  It basically uses air to make sure that my soft tissues in the back of my throat don’t relax enough from sleeping to collapse and close off my airway, cutting off or drastically diminishing my oxygen supply.  Because of Pud (with whom I share my oxygen), the follow-up sleep study (to check the settings of the machine and be sure it’s providing enough pressure) is scheduled to occur in the next week.  The RLS/PLMD is not being treated at this time, except for what I’ve been doing all along, since this is something I’ve lived with most of my life: avoid caffeine as much as possible and definitely after noon, avoid using Sudafed and other medications with which I know I’ve experienced increased RLS, be sure to get enough iron-rich protein (since I learned this can be a reason that RLS shows/flares up in pregnancy), and a couple of other things to prevent and minimize its occurrence. 

Tuesday night, I went to my last class at Baby Moon- a breastfeeding basics class.  It was extremely informative.  I think the most valuable insight that I gained from going to the class is WHY the way the baby latches on matters.  I kept hearing that a lot of breastfeeding problems and pain were due to poor or incorrect latch, but didn’t really understand, from all the (uncaptioned) Internet videos what constitutes a correct latch.  Basically, when they say that the baby needs to take in a large part of the areola as well as the nipple, they mean the bottom part of the breast tissues around the nipple more than the top.  The reason, which also explains why bottle feeding is easier for babies, is because the baby’s tongue has to stroke the underside of the breast back towards his throat as he sucks, in order to get the milk to move from the milk ducts and glands to the nipple and into his mouth.  This is similar to the sliding motion you see when people milk cows and goats- they don’t just squeeze, they gently pull their hands down from the top of the animals’ teats as they squeeze. With a bottle, the baby basically has to bite down a bit on the nipple to increase flow of milk from the bottle while he sucks- and to be real, he doesn’t even always have to do anything but suck/drink, depending on the nipple, because gravity alone allows the milk to move through the hole in the nipple. 

The baby has to work to pull the milk from the glands & ducts through the nipple and into his mouth.

 Breastfeeding is a lot harder work for babies than learning to drink from a bottle, and it is for this reason that we will follow recommendations and keep pacifiers and bottles out of Pud’s mouth for the first month, to give him a chance to learn to do his part in being fed.  I wish more resources out there did a better job of explaining the work babies have to do to nurse- I think that we’d have a lot better understanding of what we and our babies are supposed to be doing, BEFORE we get so mixed up and into so much pain that we don’t want to do it anymore.  I also wish that fewer lactation consultants were so militant so that the average non-militant mom wouldn’t be so afraid or loathe to approach them for much-needed help. I learned this week that not everyone has heard of birth plans, and have been secretly wondering if I was making up the whole concept.   Here’s the PDF that describes our birth plan (very rough draft).  We go back to the OB on Monday, and will get to talk with her and tweak it, so that when we head to the hospital later in the day to do the pre-registration paperwork, we can have a copy put in our file with them, too.  Ours is pretty basic, because if we put every preference or piece of important information we want, it’d easily be 4 pages.  Nobody is going to read and remember 4 pages of details.  We’ll take the 4 pages of preferences (like when we want the cord clamped, that we want him put on my chest immediately after birth, that B wants to cut the cord and witness the circumcision… etc.), along with this draft, to our appointment with Dr. S on Monday and see what she recommends that we change or add. 

Bandit and Piper curled up for rest after hard day's work & play

Communicating with someone who is deaf is such a big unknown for many people, so we are planning to also have a cheat sheet with information for the hospital staff to let them in on the etiquette.  I’m okay with ignorance that can be educated, but I absolutely have no patience for people who choose to remain uneducated (stupidity), so this tool will give the ignorant and the fools a chance to distinguish themselves.  Then, if someone gets kicked out for annoying me, you can be sure it’s because of stupidity.  It’s hard to be kind and patient when one’s whole life is changing in a matter of minutes and hours.Things are rolling so quickly around here that it’s hard to keep up sometimes.  The closer the due date comes, the faster time seems to go, even in those 110 heat index days that seem to go on forever.  I secretly am… well not so secretly now, I guess, but I am so glad that my last day of work is on Thursday.  I need the rest and time to get this house ready not only for Pud, but also to put on the market.  Believe you me, I will be leaning on the promise that if I give these burdens over to God, then He will take care of them.  B and I don’t have to carry the weight of the world’s stresses all by ourselves!