Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sick day :(

First of all, thank you for your prayers and positive thoughts for Ponyo! They mean so much to us!

Today I am home either with a sinus infection or just a bad cold + being overly tired. I woke up with The Bee this morning to pack his lunch then went back to bed until 9. I am feeling a little bit better already so I am leaning towards the bad cold + being overly tired. My ultrasound is today at 2:40, and while we are excited to see Ponyo again, we wish it weren't under stressful circumstances.

So far today I:
1. woke up and packed The Bee's lunch
2. slept until 9
3. ate breakfast
4. checked my school e-mail and found out that our school pool did not win the Powerball drawing last night...bummer
5. popped onto facebook and found out that 2 of our very good friends who have been dating for 5 years are no longer together. I am very sad about this.
6. finally finished grading my middle schoolers for trimester 1

Now I am off to shower and do some cleaning around home before I leave to pick up The Bee and head to our appointment. I am going to take it pretty easy today because I plan to be back in the art room tomorrow and I don't want to take any more sick days!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving and a prayer request

I am up baking gluten free pumpkin bread and The Bee is still snoozing in bed. We'll be heading to my Grandma's in a few hours and I am looking forward to a day filled with family and food! I hope you all have a wonderful holiday ahead of you as well!

Yesterday I had an appointment. I have only gained 1 pound in the last 2 weeks (they expected me to gain at least 2). Ponyo's heart rate was good again, which was a relief because we got some possibly bad news. I am measuring small on the fundal height measurement.

Fundal height is "a measure of the size of the uterus used to assess fetal growth and development during pregnancy

It is measured from the top of the mother's uterus to the top of the mother's pubic bone in centimeters. It should match the fetus' gestational age in weeks within 1 to 3 cm, e.g., a pregnant woman's uterus at 26 weeks should measure 23 to 29 cm. This is valid from 24 weeks.

Most caregivers will record their patient's fundal height on every prenatal visit. Measuring the fundal height can be an indicator of proper fetal growth and amniotic fluid development." source
Dr. D didn't tell me what my measurement was, just that it was "a tad small." She said it could have something to do with Ponyo's position. The funny little girl is currently transverse (stretched from left to right in my uterus instead of being head up or head down). This has caused my belly to be wide like a watermelon for the past week or so. The Bee and I knew she was in this position starting last Saturday because when she moves, we can see and feel body parts on my right side high by my ribs and on my left side lower, kind of near my hip bone. Needless to say, at almost 33 weeks, we hope that she will change position to head down soon. The longer she remains transverse, the more likely a c-section becomes. So, friends on the internet, if you could pray for Ponyo, we would appreciate it so much! We are praying that the growth scan we have scheduled for next Thursday shows:

1. a healthy, growing baby girl
2. enough amniotic fluid 
3. that she is making her way into a head down position

Of course, the most important thing is #1. If amniotic fluid is low, though, it could mean I need to be induced early. If she remains transverse, it could mean an impending c-section instead of the natural childbirth I was imagining. If both 2 and 3 are a problem...then I am going to lose it. That would mean a c-section before she is full term (which I know they will try to avoid at all costs). 

In the meantime, I will be trying to get her to spin on her own. I am sure you wonder how, right? Well, I'll be spending some time on my hands and knees after work (great time to scrub the floors and tubs!), trying to do some yoga positions that may help (downward dog and child's pose) and I may try these moves from the site Spinning Babies:

This video shows an inversion you can do off the edge of your couch. Looks fun, don't you think?

And here is a picture of the breech tilt:

So, that is where we are Thanksgiving morning, 2012. So thankful for each other and our baby, but worried that she is not growing and wondering if she'll move to the position we need her to in order to avoid a c-section. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Baby class, facebook, and being whiny

Yesterday The Bee and I attended our first baby class. It was through the parenting center affiliated with the hospital we will be delivering Ponyo at. We were there from 9am-3:30pm for the "All-in-one express" that briefly goes over:

  • The birth process
  • Coping strategies for labor, including pain medication
  • Cesarean birth
  • Postpartum healing
  • Starting out at breastfeeding, and how to recognize signs of success
  • Introducing a bottle
  • Newborn care procedures in the hospital
  • Signs of illness, and when to call the doctor
  • Giving a bath
  • Newborn care: diapering, swaddling and soothing, taking a temperature, and buckling the baby into the car seat
In a few weeks we'll be taking a labor skills class, too, that goes more in depth than the class we took yesterday. In some ways, the class made me feel more confident. I had previously read a lot of the information we went over. It also made me nervous, though. We watched a video of a natural childbirth (which is how I hope things go for us) and seeing the pain and tension in the woman's body made me cry. I think I can get through it, but I am afraid that it will be harder than I am imagining. I am hoping to avoid all pain medications if possible because many times interfering with your body's natural progression can cause a chain reaction of other interventions. If labor and dilation are progressing well on their own, for example, an epidural can actually slow or halt the process which prompts doctors to give drugs to speed up labor again, which may or may not work well and could lead to more interventions, including a c-section.  

When we got home from the class I checked facebook for the details for a friend's birthday party we were going to attend later that night. I saw a post from my cousin that boiled my blood. He is 22 and his wife is 21. They celebrated their first wedding anniversary in September and are expecting their first child on December 24th. The baby was a total surprise and I remember how finding out just about broke me last spring. Well, yesterday he posted a status that said, "Were the youngest people in our birthing class. Awkward" Things like this and the massive time sink that facebook can be are precisely why I have been limiting the time I spend on the social networking site. Even though I am expecting a baby now, I am still sensitive to stupid things people say and do when it comes to pregnancy, babies, etc. The spelling and punctuation was all his, btw. I wanted to respond with something like, "I bet you were also the only ones in your birthing class working part time jobs and living rent free with your grandmother." I can be such a snot sometimes, no? I resisted, though. No reason to start a family feud, especially right before I'll be seeing them at my Grandma's on Thursday for Thanksgiving. 

Anyhow, things (besides my attitude) are going pretty well. We are extremely overbooked (who isn't this time of year, though?!) for the next few weekends and I am feeling pretty rough from lack of sleep. For example, last weekend I had my art educators conference AND my henna artists convention. I was an art teacher by day and henna artist by night and then it was back to the grindstone Monday morning. This weekend we had our baby class, a roller girls bout (a friend from high school recently became a roller girl [how cool is that?!]), and a karaoke birthday party for another friend's 30th birthday. This morning we have our newest niece's baptism. Thank goodness I only have 2 days of school this week! But then it is on to: 

Wednesday: Thanksgiving food prep, trimester 1 report cards for school, prep for my bff's baby shower, 32 week doctor appointment
Thursday: Thanksgiving at my Grandma's followed by Thanksgiving at The Bee's aunt and uncle's
Friday: Food prep for my bff's shower, other baby shower prep, finish grading
Saturday: My best friend's baby shower (thankfully being co-hosted with her sister and another friend of ours)
Sunday: My baby shower (co-hosted by my sister and 2 friends)

I am glad I complained about this on my blog (although I apologize to all of you for my whiny-ness!) because seeing it in writing doesn't look as bad as the mental checklist I've had haunting me for the last several weeks. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The power of food

I had an appointment today. Ponyo's heart rate was 142 beats per minute. My weight gain and belly size are spot on for 30 weeks, 4 days. And my iron (hemoglobin level) was up to 11.3! When it was measured last month, it was borderline low (like 10.8 or something). I guess they like to see it above 11 and I got it there by changing my diet for the last month. Nothing major, just lots more spinach (I eat a spinach salad or green smoothie almost everyday), lots of broccoli with dinners, tons of nuts and seeds (especially almonds and sunflower nuts, yum!), and a healthy amount of legumes (mainly garbanzo beans...Ponyo has a dance party every time I eat anything with chickpeas!).

I also cut back on dairy a little, especially when I am eating iron rich foods. Did you know that calcium inhibits the body's ability to absorb iron? I learned that from the little cheat sheet they gave me at the clinic.  So, no more cheese on chili, burritos, or my baked potatoes with broccoli on top. Instead I've been sprinkling nutritional yeast on my food. Growing up, we used to sprinkle nutritional yeast on our chili all the time. Thankfully my Mom gave me a jar a few months ago, so I had it on hand, and now I am using it instead of just having it take up space in the fridge. It has a cheesy flavor but is much more awesome than cheese when it comes to vitamins:

Eating a heaping tablespoon of nutritional yeast is like taking a high-potency B-vitamin complex. A serving will generally stock you up with a couple of days’ worth of thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, and B12, and a substantial amount of folic acid. Nutritional yeast also packs a decent amount of fiber and protein into a pretty small, low-calorie package.  All in all, as cheesy-flavored toppings for popcorn and pizza go, it’s pretty impressive. (source)

It is win, win, win! I get to absorb my iron more efficiently, I get the satisfying taste of cheese (which I LOVE), and I get all those vitamins plus extra protein! Woo hoo! And nutritional yeast has no calcium in it whatsoever. Oh, and it is gluten free.

For anyone else struggling with low iron, eating foods rich in vitamin C helps your body absorb iron. So, I try to make sure that if I have a green smoothie, I include vitamin C rich fruits like mangoes or oranges in it. When I eat chili or a dish with garbanzo beans, I make sure there are tomatoes involved in the meal.

It seems that my body is very sensitive to what I put in it. Food and nutrition are such powerful things!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Long term sub position posted!

The position for my long term substitute was posted today! To say this makes me nervous is an understatement! I am sure what everyone tells me is true: once Ponyo arrives I won't stress about my job until it is time to go back next August! Right now I am worried that we won't find someone awesome and at the same time I am worried that whoever is hired for the last 5 months of the school year will be better at MY JOB than I am. I can't help it. I want to be wanted. I want to be missed. This job has been a huge (arguably a too huge) part of my life and identity for over 4 years now. I will still have a presence at school as I will continue to serve on the teacher leadership council while on leave. I am taking January off completely and starting in February it will be a commitment that requires me to attend 1 meeting a month and to lead the specialist meeting once a month. Not too bad. I figure it will get me out of the apartment (which will be no small feat in Minnesota in winter with a baby. Ugh to cold and snow) and provide good contact with my coworkers and long term sub without being over the top. I've already had multiple teachers offer to watch Ponyo for that 1 hour a month that I have to be in the meeting with the other teacher leaders and my principal. My team is excited to see her once a month at our meetings :) I hope that attending and leading the meetings will make the transition back to work easier next summer/fall since it will allow me to stay in the loop.

I am glad to be feeling as well as I do for 30 weeks. My sleep is starting to get a little bit funny. I am beat by 8pm or so and usually fall asleep on the couch by 9pm. Then I wake up between 11 and midnight and am wide awake for a couple of hours. Then I go to bed and wake up around 3 or 4 and lay in bed as long as I can stand (I try to stay in bed until my alarm goes off at 5:30 but I start to get stir crazy). The positive to the early wake time is that I have been getting to work before 7am, which gives me about an hour and a half of prep time before my first class starts. Since I am not exhausted from teaching in the morning, I get A LOT done and can leave school a bit earlier in the afternoon. I've been getting home between 4:30 and 5pm, which is so nice!

I am looking forward to this coming weekend. Friday and Saturday is my Art Educators Conference. There will be over 300 art teachers gathered to learn and network. It is always so much fun and refreshes my enthusiasm for my job as the year starts to take a toll on me. Also this weekend (Friday-Sunday) is my henna group's convention! So, by day I will be an art teacher and by night I will be a henna artist! So much fun! I have already had 2 henna artists ask to henna my belly, which will be neat.

Thinking of all of you (and trying to check in and comment on the weekends and weekdays if possible). Hope everyone has a great election day tomorrow!