37+6: ONE MORE SLEEP

Wow, I have no idea how we got here. How is our induction tomorrow?!

Tonight, I spent the very last of my nesting energy cleaning out the nursery (aka dumping ground) all while sitting (impressive, no?) and had a little visit with Danny’s mom and step-father, who have traveled here to be with us over the next week. Tomorrow morning is the beginning of the end of this pregnancy. I am hoping that there has been some cervical progression so that getting ready for labour isn’t quite so long as with our previous two inductions. I’ve had some inklings that things are trying to progress, so I guess we’ll see whether or not that has just been wishful thinking.

Today was our last biophysical profile and non-stress test. Ever! It was a little bittersweet to be honest. Pregnancy and conception and ultrasounds, etc. has been our life for the last 6-ish years and it will be odd not having that be a thing I am thinking about anymore. I think I am warming to the idea that a new chapter might be a relief. I was hellbent on having another after this babe, but with my body in such rough shape and other practicalities, perhaps it’s time to hang up my birthing gowns.

Babe was doing well at his scan/monitoring as usual, but he has gotten so big and there is so little space remaining that measurements took a verrry long time and the technician had to do some crafty manoeuvring to get the angles she needed. She did eventually, and the numbers showed both head and belly measurements in the >99%ile. His head was “out of range” (i.e. off the charts) and his belly measured at 40+2 weeks. The growth chart she showed us had the low, average, and high curves…our boy was a yellow x wayyy above all of those! The weight estimate was 9lb, 10oz, but the nurse tech was like, “I don’t think so. Maybe 8lb, 5oz.” Either way, he is chunky and still bigger than our first two babes! All we got to see today other than a mess of limbs and trunk, was his squished cheeks; his head was buried so deeply into my pelvis that we couldn’t see much else! I can’t wait to see his little face in person.

Now to try and sleep. If you’re the praying type, send up a few for my anxiety and physical well-being, for a quick and uncomplicated birth, and a healthy babe. If positive thoughts are more your cup of tea, I will gladly accept those too!

37 Weeks: The Last Box of Honey Nut Cheerios

I have almost single-handedly eaten around 7 or 8 boxes of Honey Nut Cheerios during middle of the night snack sessions this pregnancy. Danny took advantage of an Air Miles deal a while back since it is my middle of the night snack of choice and tonight, I opened the last box! Coincidence? I think not. 😉

Canada Day was a busy one, but we got to spend the afternoon and evening with our dear friend, Peter. We’ve been lucky to see most of our near and dear in the last couple of weeks, knowing that visiting gets to be really difficult with a newborn.

My energy levels are very low now, but I’ve managed to do a few sitting chores while Danny buzzes around cleaning and carrying things. The house needed some serious TLC with regard to organization and deep cleaning, but we seem to have accomplished most of our goals. A few things won’t get done, but now that we’re down to 1.5 more sleeps, I feel peace and acceptance about what we have and haven’t accomplished. It is what it is and it will be okay.

It’s only now sinking in that we are welcoming a baby this week. A baby who will come home with us and be a part of our family. I have probably too-successfully focused on other things to avoid anxiety, but it seems to have caught up with me. I feel hyper aware of his movements, nervous that they might not be “normal.” Flashes of worst case scenarios enter my mind and are immediately banished. Thankfully, I’ve been able to mostly avoid ruminating on the negative possible outcomes, but when your experience tells you that babies die, it’s hard to turn that off completely. When your first experience of late term pregnancy ended after abnormal movement, on some level, you begin to fear all movement. But little one seems content in there, digging his little bum and feet into my sides and twisting from time to time as he burrows further into my pelvis (ouch).

I’ve had a few signs of impending labour, including some cramping I’ve not experienced at this stage before, losing bits of plug, and having some great colostrum come in. I hope this means that induction will be gentler this time around. I am honestly really worried about what damage might be done to my pelvis during induction and delivery. It’s been such a rough go and I know it would be a hard pill to swallow if my body worsened or even just didn’t improve and I couldn’t take care of my new babe in the way I want to.

I have planned to take a very low key approach to recovery this time. Other than family and my best friend (who IS family as far as I am concerned), I don’t intend to see anyone for a few weeks. I plan to sleep and establish nursing without interference. I felt so obligated to be available to people last time around, but honestly that is just silly. These first few weeks are so important in setting the tone for the first few months; if you launch into the infant stage on the wrong foot, it can take a long time to recover (as I found out the hard way). So visitors can wait.

I’ve been trying to make a point to snuggle Nahum and give him extra love these past few days, even in the chaos. It’s easy to forget that his life is about to be turned upside down too. I know he will do so well, but I can feel his babyness slipping away and I figure bringing home an actual infant will just solidify that. I am excited to see big brother in action though!

Our last scan is in a few hours. I’m a little sad, since it is our last ever. I will never again hear a heartbeat and see a tiny life on an ultrasound screen. Leaving this part of our lives behind is bittersweet; trying to get pregnant or being pregnant has been our normal for six years now. I’m not sure where my mind will settle now with our family as complete as we can make it. I am relieved too.

37 Weeks: 3.5 Sleeps

I fully wake up a few times a night now. Sometimes it’s pain, sometimes it’s my bladder, sometimes it’s just my brain running on overdrive.

Our house is finally coming into order and that helps ease the GO-GO-GO in my brain. It’s been just over three years since we moved into this house and since Nahum was born and so many things just never got sorted out or set up properly. Add two full time working adults and disorder and dirt just built up. The house is mostly clean now other than a few low traffic areas kept for last. We aren’t newbies this time around and knew we wanted the house to be running at its best when babe arrived to avoid the additional stress of disarray. I feel pretty good about where things are at. Some of my more optional projects didn’t see completion but I’m not too worried about it; there is time next year once babe is more manageable and hopefully sleeping (SLEEPING, DO YOU HEAR, BABY?!)

All that said, I am mentally and physically exhausted from this pregnancy. I hit a wall on Thursday and thought I couldn’t take another day. Thankfully, my doctor was so reassuring and encouraging that I left that day’s appointment feeling like I had what it took to get through another few days. I’m an expert at putting on a brave face and laughing and smiling through hellish circumstances, but I’ve been struggling to do that as things have worsened pain-wise.

My doctor once again expressed that she wasn’t convinced that what I am dealing with is just SPD. Though that condition is bad enough, she said mine is only the second case she’s ever seen that has been this severe. In the other case, post-birth imaging revealed an underlying condition that caused the lack of mobility and high levels of pain. Depending on how I seem to be recovering, we may pursue some testing to see what is going on. In any case, she urged me to use the pain medication she had prescribed (I’d been avoiding it since it makes me groggy, but she suggested taking it at night to at least help me rest; I didn’t tonight, naughty naughty).

I’ve been concerned about becoming further injured during the induction process, specifically once I am given an epidural, since I will not be able to feel if I am being hurt or not. My doctor said she is concerned about my pain levels prior to epidural as well, since there is a bit of man-handling involved even with cervix checks, etc., so she plans to call the case room before I go in for induction and request pain management right off the hop. Lying flat on my back is very painful, so much so that we haven’t even been taking fundal height measurements at my appointments (my weekly BPPs cover growth observation anyway). I may push to be admitted right away to avoid more travel, manipulation, and movement; I’d rather save my stamina for labour if possible.

I am so relieved to have a doctor who has really gone to bat for me. Especially since she wasn’t my regular doctor and took me on referral! It turns out that she will even be on call the evening of my induction day, so she might even get to deliver me!

Last night, I had some pretty intense, irregular contractions. Thankfully, they eased. Even though my Braxton Hicks have been painful this time around, I’d forgotten how extra painful “real” contractions are. Now fingers crossed that babe will not be facing up so I can avoid back labour this time!

Now that we get closer to the big day, I’ve been trying to take some downtime. Well, I’m not sure I’ve even had a choice at times, since my body has demanded it. Today, I spent some deck time with my friend Nancy, then soaked my feet and polished my toes. It was lovely to spend some time just relaxing together without distraction. We have another friend coming over for Canada Day, so that will be another nice, low key day with a person I like to spend time with.

Three and a half more sleeps. I think I can, I think I can…

36 Weeks: 8.5 Sleeps Left

Or as Nahum would say, “sweeps yeft.”

On the topic of sleep, that is something I am not doing at present. The last few days has seen a jump (again) in the severity of my pelvic issues, so there isn’t a comfortable position to be found. The pain radiates down my legs, with hot spots in my knees and ankles. Lower back pain is now a thing too, and that makes standing upright without assistance extremely difficult. When I walk, it feels like I am doing so with a watermelon attempting an escape through the bottom hatch (which, really, is pretty accurate).

Things have slowed down a lot this week. I’m focusing on packing my hospital bag, picking at the laundry (with Danny’s help), and tidying what I can with limited mobility and energy. By the weekend, I want to be able to say “enough” and focus on quiet quality time spent with my nearest and dearest before the big day. My brain hasn’t had a chance to catch up with the reality of this baby coming, focusing instead on what needs to be done, so I want to be sure to make that happen. Those first weeks and months are so hard and I want to have as many tools in my tool belt as possible, especially mental rest.

We had our second last biophysical profile and non-stress test yesterday and I noticed it felt bittersweet. We’ve had so many ultrasounds in the last six years, some of them joyful, some of them devastating, but the ones in that unit have always made me feel so wrapped in love and understanding. The chances of us having another child are slim, especially after the toll this pregnancy has taken on me, so yesterday was also my second last baby ultrasound ever. I still remember walking into that unit for the first time when we were expecting Nahum, so afraid to hope, but glad for the additional monitoring. Now we will visit one last time next week.

Babe’s face was so squishy and sweet. He mostly napped for this scan, but his size made me realize why even his smallest movements hurt so badly. He was taking up nearly all available space, with the fluid pockets looking a lot smaller than before. I could see a difference even from a week ago. I can’t wait to see that smooshy face cradled in my arms.

It’s hard to believe another little person will be coming home with us next week. Nahum is like a piece of me, so it’s difficult to imagine having that same intense bond with another babe! My mini me has been such a loving big brother already to the baby in my belly; I know it’s going to undo me to see that love lavished on babe once he’s home.

Three is kicking our butts (seriously the hardest parenting months so far), but I find myself wanting to scoop Nahum up and soothe away those big, overwhelming feelings (when I’m not feeling helpless and overwhelmed myself). He flip flops between these moments of unbearable sweetness and empathy to intense moments of screaming, hitting, and saying hurtful things. We’re really struggling with it, but I am sure his feelings are much more difficult to cope with since he’s just learning how to navigate complex emotions. I took him to a birthday party on Saturday even though I was beyond exhausted, knowing that, in the very near future, so little will be about him. It was at a farm with a petting barn and he was thrilled, having never seen farm animals in person before. He even went on a wagon ride without me and without a fuss or panic; I was so proud! I love to see him exploring the world around him, taking brave steps toward independence.

I’m feeling all the feelings. 8.5 sleeps left. Too many and not enough.

36 Weeks: The Final Countdown

The countdown begins! We have been given our induction date: July 3. I’m writing this at bedtime, so that means there are 11 full days left until the doctors get the baby-exit party started. With this being my third delivery, I’d guess that, barring any difficulty getting this kiddo out, he should be born July 3 or 4.

I really can’t wrap my mind around the passage of time. It feels like yesterday I had to go off work for medical reasons and I remember thinking then that it would feel like an eternity. Of course, now I am feeling the pressure to get all the final things done. I can’t do most of them myself, or at least not completely by myself, but I feel the urgency. Most importantly, my hospital bag needs to be packed! The house needs to be cleaned and organized, the guest room prepared, the nursery dusted and swept, the clothes all put away. There are items from my registry that need to be purchased (my registry was verrry practical, so I’m talking pacifiers, Tucks pads, haha!)

My mobility has declined yet again with an increase in pelvic pain (there were apparently more ways in which my pelvis could hurt!), and I am often dragging my right leg now (I kind of swing it forward using momentum from my other leg and cane rather than simply moving it using the proper muscles). I have to pick up and move my legs with my hands if I am getting into the car or climbing onto the couch or an exam table. I was prescribed morphine but have only used it a handful of times since it makes me so groggy and I have a toddler to care for. Danny is a very supportive hubby and I know between the two of us, we’ll be able to have things ready for this babe.

I am finding myself even more fatigued than usual with all of the medical appointments. I had four this week! My weekly biophysical profile/NST, my regular doctor appointment, an appointment with the group who will be delivering during my induction window, and an induction referral appointment. At the latter three, I was weighed, my blood pressure taken, and so.much.talking. Between those and trying to pick at the house and take care of Nahum, I’m beat out.

Babes has been preparing himself to come out, so that means he’s burrowing his giant noggin down into my cervix. Every movement and my Braxton Hicks contractions are all very painful now. Even Nahum has become familiar with my hissing intake of breath when there is a particularly bad kick or contraction. “Mama, your bewwy hurting?”

At this week’s biophysical, baby was still measuring big, though not as alarmingly big as previous measurement weeks. I try to take weight measurements with a grain of salt, since I find every tech has slightly different methods and get slightly different results. Buuut babe did look visibly chunky and had quite a few rolls. I am leaning toward believing he is on the hefty side. We spotted hair again, so I am crossing my fingers for a fuzzball! His head still measured huge and has consistently. It was greater than the 99th percentile! That, I believe. It runs in both sides of his family. Anyway, look at this face (I’ve turned it sideways so babe is looking straight out):

We have one crazy weekend left, with Danny’s diaper party and a birthday party for one of Nahum’s friends, but after that, things will begin to wind down. I was sure to schedule in some down time with my best friend, Nancy, next weekend before babe arrives, and I would like to have some special time with Nahum and Danny too. I know the house will get cleaned and organized and the hospital bag will get packed and it’ll all just come together. I know we’ll be trading this exhaustion for a new one so soon, and I’m feeling mentally alllmost ready.

Eleven days.

35 Weeks: Showers and Photos and Appointments, Oh My!

Time is speeding up, I am sure of it. In the past week, we had our maternity photos taken, my baby shower and Father’s Day happened, and now we are headed into a week stuffed with various prenatal appointments (four, I kid you not), two kid events, and Danny’s diaper party. This coming weekend and the next one are already “booked,” as are a few other days. I’m pooped already, yet there is so much to get done and so little time in which to do it all. I’m trying to remember to take little slivers of time for mental rest; my mind has been racing for weeks.

My body is feeling so worn and weary. Babe’s movements are so strong and even violent at times. When he kicks or burrows his head and hands down into my cervix area, I often jump or cry out or just hold my belly and wait for the pain to pass. The Braxton Hicks contractions are often painful too, and I feel like they’ve been a bit more intense lately. I know I’m not quite 36 weeks, but I find myself wishing and hoping that babe will come early (so long as it is safe to do so). I just want to feel normal again and to hold my baby on the outside.

My anxiety has been heightened these past couple of weeks. End of pregnancy brings out all of the triggers and fears in me. I poke at my belly to stimulate movement even though baby has been moving fine and passed every test with flying colours. I am able to say “when” rather than “if” this time around, but the fear is still there under the surface. Celebrating scares me. Prepping the nursery, unpacking the new car seat, all of that stuff makes my heart palpitate. We’re so close. I pray our wee son has a safe and peaceful transition to this world when the time comes.

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We are not the type of family that gets professional photo shoots for every occasion, but I have always made maternity photo shoots a priority. Haven’s maternity photos became so precious to us in the aftermath of her death because we had (and still have) so little to remind us of her. I was not convinced Nahum would ever come home alive, so I wanted to make sure to document his pregnancy too. Even though I feel much calmer and more confident this time around, I still wanted to go ahead with photos. This has been a difficult pregnancy, but it’s also very likely our last time and I don’t want this little one to feel left out or less celebrated.

Our photographer friend, Laura, took our photos and did a marvellous job. Even though I don’t like to be in front of a camera, I have to admit that I totally adore these photos! Here is a little sample (note that I don’t really like sharing photos of Nahum’s face on my blog, but there were some gorgeous family photos too!):

I always said that pregnancy is when I felt most beautiful, but I haven’t really felt that way this time around. Between disability, pain, the size of the baby (and thus my body), and the general exhaustion, I have felt so unlike myself. These photos made me feel wonderful, however!

The baby shower was perfection. My best friend, Nancy, has planned every wedding and baby event in my life and been there for 2/3 births so far. She made this last shower so extra special. When I walked into the room, I burst into tears at how beautiful and thoughtfully laid out and decorated it was. It was a woodland theme, and she used live flowers as centrepieces and real plants as prizes for the couple of games we played (I’m a tree hugger, so very appropriate). I was able to chill out by the snack tables, talking to the guests as they came by for food, so visiting wasn’t so exhausting. I ate my weight in scones and other various tea buns and biscuits! I am so fortunate to have a friend like her, who puts so much of herself into making others happy. I hope I’m half that kind of friend in return!

I felt so much walking into that room… This was probably the last baby shower I’ll ever have. I thought of Haven’s shower, more than five years ago (how can it have been so long?) and all that followed so soon after. My family will be as complete as it can be once this little man arrives and we’ll be moving on to another chapter. I can’t say I’m entirely ready for that or that there won’t be residual feelings of incompleteness or longing, but I feel the first waves of acceptance washing over me and I think I’m going to be okay. I think we’re going to be okay.

Onward into this crazy week…

35 Weeks: Baby Brain

I somehow missed posting last week! During last week’s scan, we discovered that baby might be on the big side (belly in the 96th percentile and weight an estimated 6lb…head 98th percentile, which is not a shock for our family). Baby had visible rolls, and I was VERY excited! Could this be my first chubby newborn?

I brought my best friend, Nancy, along for the 33 week scan because we realized that in three pregnancies she had never been to one of our ultrasounds, despite being present for births, planning showers, etc.

They only do measurements every other week at the unit, so this week’s scan didn’t tell us anything new about potential weight, etc., but baby was still looking pretty chunky! His belly took up the whole screen and his cheeks were so big and squishy! I can’t wait to see what he looks like on the outside. Look at the big kissy lips! (The bottom bump is his chin):

It is going to sound terribly daft, but even though I have been aware of the passage of time and which week of gestation I am in, it somehow didn’t click for me how few weeks actually remain. Three. Three weeks! I’ll have the exact induction date soon, but THREE WEEKS! I feel a little panicked in a way, but only because I have been nesting hardcore for the past month and feel like there is still so much to do. I’ve been washing and organizing baby clothing and linens, putting things away, organizing my post partum clothing, putting together activities for Nahum for once babe comes (I’m nothing if not prepared), and assigning tasks to my tired hubby that I can’t physically do. Granted, I only get like one thing done per day because my body refuses to do more, but I am as busy as I can be! There are three weekends remaining and all are planned out already. The weekdays will be a blur too, as the number of scans and appointments will be ramping up. This is not a drill!

Despite the craziness in my brain, I’ve been taking every opportunity to savour these last weeks alone with Nahum too. If there is sun, all plans for that morning go out the window and we just chill on the back deck. I drink tea, write in my journal, or fold laundry while he plays with water or sticks clothespins to all available surfaces. It’s been really lovely.

My belly has been growing at an alarming rate, though knowing that I might be carrying a super chunk, it all makes more sense now (along with the discomfort). Surprisingly, I haven’t gotten any new stretch marks yet, but I’m sure they’ll arrive right toward the end like they did with Nahum. My belly button is just holding on for dear life too. Nahum thinks it “wooks funny” and cracks up at it.

Nahum is such a good big brother already. He always has a hug or kiss for baby. During our maternity photos today, all he wanted to do was hold my belly and lavish his love upon it. I was worried about jealousy, but I have a feeling that trying to pry him off of the baby will be the real challenge!

That’s it for now. Back to the nesting. My lists have lists, but the items are falling off one at a time…