Kira’s Birth Story

Well, it’s been over a month and the hormones are erasing my memory of labor, but I wanted to write down what I remember of Kira’s birth! I had a couple of weeks of pre-labor starting from about week 35, and I honestly thought labor would start a lot faster because I was 1 cm dilated at week 36 and my doctor told me that it was likely I would deliver before my due date. So the next couple of weeks were pretty frustrating since I would wake up with strong (not painful) contractions, only to have them disappear around 9 AM. I finally decided not to think about them and just assume that I would go past my due date, as most first time moms do (I even scheduled doctor’s appointments up to week 42!).

On the morning of February 11th, my contractions felt a little different – they were slightly stronger and seemed to be occurring at slightly regular intervals (maybe about 5 an hour)? I decided to telework and began sending emails to my boss and team to finish out a couple of things in case labor was really starting. Around 2 PM, the contractions were definitely getting stronger and occurring every 10 minutes or so apart, so I began keeping track of the intervals and emailed Mike to let him know that we might be going to the hospital that evening. He hurried home, but I told him I wasn’t in any hurry since I wasn’t in pain. We ordered Halal Guys and watched some TV, but the contractions were definitely getting stronger. I began getting up for each contraction so I could push against the wall and started breathing exercises to work through the discomfort. I think around 8 PM, I got into the bath, by which time contractions were about 4-5 minutes apart. After some time in the bath, Mike told me that we needed to get to the hospital because I was clearly in pain. I reluctantly agreed, got dressed and we drove to the hospital.

We went to the Labor and Delivery unit, and the doctor checked me in triage, and said I was around 4 cm and would be delivering a baby soon! Around 11 or midnight, we were brought to our room and I changed into the hospital gown. I was checked by another doctor a few hours later, who let us know that I was still only around 5-6 cm, and I realized I still had a while to go. My initial birth plan was for a natural delivery without drugs, but I seriously began to reconsider because the contractions were so close together and I was in some pain. But we decided to call our doula around 5 AM, and her arrival was a gamechanger.

As soon as Kim arrived, she first observed how I was working through the contractions, encouraged me by telling me I was doing a great job, and asked if I wanted to try different positions to help the labor along. We made it through a couple of hours with my legs rotated off the bed, on all fours, and finally I went into the shower, which felt AWESOME. She helped me manage my pain by encouraging me to stick with my breathing patterns, using techniques like rubbing a scarf on my body, and helped the time pass by varying the positions I labored in. The doctor came in one more time and asked I wanted to be checked, and I said no because I thought I would find it too discouraging if I hadn’t dilated more. Before I knew it, the morning had come and the doctor wanted to check how I was doing. To my surprise, she announced that I was fully dilated and could start pushing!

I immediately felt the urge to push, and even before they had all the equipment in place to monitor me and the baby, I asked my doula to tilt the bed up so I could lean on the back and push. With the first push, I felt my water break. The doctor was a little concerned that there might be meconium in the water, but a pediatrician was consulted and they decided that wasn’t the case. I was excited at the thought that I might meet my baby soon, but what followed was the longest 5+ hours of my life. One nurse stood by my side the whole time; Nurse Patty counted me down from 10 for the next 5 hours and encouraged me to PUSH with all my strength. It took me a few hours to figure out exactly how hard to push, and I kept asking the doctor whether I was making any progress. She said I was, but the baby’s station (how low she was) wasn’t changing that much. My mom also arrived around the time I started to push, and she held my hand and prayed throughout the rest of the ordeal.

After about 3 hours, I could tell there was a nervous atmosphere in the room, and my doula told me afterwards that she was surprised the doctor didn’t encourage me to get a C-section at that point. But the doctor told me that because mine and the baby’s vitals were fine and I was continuing to make an effort, she wanted to honor my birth plan to have a vaginal delivery. Around hour 4 (I think?) the doctor asked if I would be open to trying the vacuum to help maneuver the baby’s head out, and I emphatically agreed (anything to speed things along at that point). I continued to push for another hour or so, and the doctor wiggled her head with each push to improve her position. In the last 30 minutes, I knew we were close because a bunch of people entered the room (the baby’s team) and shouted encouragement at me, letting me know I was so close. I mustered up all my strength to push, and we started pushing 4 times during each set of contractions instead of 3. Finally, they told me she was crowning and I reached down and felt her head. That was all the encouragement I needed, and with the next two pushes, she was out!

I remembered that I wanted delayed cord clamping and asked if that was an option, but the doctor firmly said no (they were concerned about how long she had been stuck in the birth canal), which I was fine with. They took her over to the warming station and began cleaning her up, and we heard her cry for the first time. After she was cleaned up, they put her on my chest right away, and I saw my baby for the first time.

The rest of the day is a blur – I think she started rooting for food right away, so I fed her while we waited to go to the postnatal room. I remember feeling so tired, but excited because she was finally here! The anesthesiologist also stopped by to see if I needed his services, but he realized I had already had the baby, congratulated me and left. Despite having gone for over 18 hours with no food, I didn’t really feel hungry until that evening. My mom went home to start cooking, and I told Mike to go home and get some rest since the foldout bed in the room was very small.

I didn’t get much sleep at the hospital that night because she was in the room with me most of the time and I kept getting up to check on her. Even when she went to the nursery for a few hours, I couldn’t sleep because my body was still keyed up. She nursed well, and the nurses encouraged me to stay one more day to get a little more rest. I didn’t sleep well that second night either, but it was a good decision to stay because the nurses showed us how to change her diaper, give her a bath, and the lactation consultant made sure she was eating well. We also got her hearing checked, got newborn pictures taken, and I got a massage :) I loved everything about the hospital stay except the lack of food available at night – starting the second day, I was starving all the time. Thankfully, some friends visited the second day and brought a lot of snacks <3

Mike spent the second night at home as well, but rushed back to spend time with our baby. It gave me all the feels to see him bonding with his daughter.

We were finally discharged the afternoon of February 14th (valentine’s day – I just realized that!). I guess that’s why there are hearts hanging up, lol.

Welcome to the world, baby Kira! It was a long and difficult labor, but I would do it all over again and endure even more, knowing that at the end of it, I get to meet you.

Month 1: Baby Kira

I can’t believe our little chickpea is already 1 month old!

She weighs over 9 pounds now (gained a little over 2 pounds since birth) and is wearing 3 month size clothing – soon to move to the next size. I’ve already put away her newborn size clothes and started to buy clothes in 3-6 month sizes. She’s growing a lot faster than I thought – I hope all the cute short sleeve outfits I bought for her will still fit her this summer!

We found out that her thyroid is fine and she won’t need any more tests, thank God. I’m so grateful that she doesn’t need to be on medication or get bloodwork done regularly. It really broke my heart to see her strapped down in the lab while the technicians poked her arm repeatedly, trying to find her tiny vein.

Mike’s family came into town just shortly after my sister and her boyfriend left, and we took her to church! Everyone who’s met her has commented on what a good baby she is – she’s almost always sleeping when she meets new people, and she eats well at home and in public. I’ve successfully breastfed her in church, the car, and in restaurants.

I could spend all day just looking at her and holding her – it feels like our lives must have been so boring before she came along. I can’t wait to see her grow and learn new things, but at the same time, I feel like time is going too quickly and wish that I could hold onto these newborn days forever.

Schedule

We’re still sticking to the PDF method by BabyWise! We’re down to about 8 feedings a day:

  • 6 AM – wake up, feed/ diaper/ nap. I usually take a nap after this feeding.
  • 9 AM – feed/ diaper/ nap. I’ve started doing a short workout
    (yoga or barre) after breakfast before taking a shower. Twice Many times a week, I also run the laundry.
  • 12 PM – feed/ diaper/ nap. I eat lunch, then tidy the house a little or do some chores.
  • 3 PM – feed/ diaper/ nap. I’ll do more chores or take a walk with Kira outside!
  • 5:30 PM – bottle/ diaper/ nap. She’s usually wide awake after this feeding, so this is the hardest period to get her to take a nap.
  • 8 PM – feed/ diaper, then bathtime! She’s grown to like her baths thankfully, but it’s still followed by a fussy period in the nursery till the next feeding. Mike will stay with her during this time to try to get her to calm down while I sleep.
  • 11 PM and 2-3 AM – feed/ diaper/ nap in the nursery. I sleep between all the night feeds.

I think we’ve successfully eliminated one night feeding (used to occur around 4-5 AM), and she’s starting to sleep longer between the 11 PM and 2 AM feedings. I’m hopeful that in a week or two, she’ll be sleeping at least a 5 hour stretch at night!

Eat

Kira’s still falling asleep during her daytime feeds, so the challenge is to keep her awake so she eats for 15-20 minutes so she can sleep better at night. I’m hoping that as she gets older, she’ll have an easier time staying awake. Can any mamas of sleepy newborns let me know if this is the case??

We’re still doing a bottle a day, and while she does better with the slower flow nipple on the Philips Avent bottle, she’s still really uncomfortable at the end of the feeding, which she shows by arching her head back and crying. We thought it might be either gas or acid reflux, so I’ve started giving her gripe water before and during the bottle feeding and some of the evening feeds. It seems to help – she’s a lot less fussy after she has it and manages to eat a little more.

Sleep

Kira’s still a great sleeper, and for the most part goes down for naps/ at bedtime with no problem (she’s usually sleeping when she finishes eating). If she cries, I’ll let her cry it out for 5-7 minutes, and if she doesn’t fall asleep during that time, we’ll check her diaper or try to burp her some more. Now that we know she has acid reflux, we try to hold her upright after eating, which seems to help with the occasional fussiness she has when we put her down.

How I’m Doing

My physical recovery seems to be close to complete – the amount of bleeding is really light now, the stitches feel like they’re all healed, and my carpal tunnel has gotten a lot better after regularly wearing a brace at night. I think I have only 7-8 more pounds to lose to get to my pre-pregnancy weight. I’ve started to work out again, which feels hard but great.

I definitely feel better rested now than I did a few weeks ago; I’m getting about 7-8 hours of sleep between 9 PM-8 AM. I also started drinking a cup of coffee while she feeds at 9 – I’m so glad that the caffeine doesn’t appear to disrupt her naps or cause her irritability.

Kira’s Likes and Dislikes

Likes:

  • Bathtime! After hating the first couple of baths, she’s grown to love the water. It seems like she could stay in there for hours if we let her – just like her mom :)
  • Ceiling fans
  • Staring at faces
  • Being held or carried, especially in the Moby Wrap

Dislikes:

  • Having her nose cleaned (which Mike loves doing for some reason)
  • Being buckled into the car seat – she’s usually fine once the car starts moving

 

Parenthood: The Early Days

I know this blog has been baby-centric the last couple of weeks, but there’s so much I want to remember and the time is going by quickly! These are just some of my thoughts about how the last couple of weeks have gone.

Kira’s been a really easy baby, for the most part. She eats well, sleeps well, and has only had a couple of fussy days (in week 2 – growth spurt?) The schedule has been really helpful in letting us figure out when we can get stuff done or try to go out around her feedings. We managed to make it out of the house yesterday and get a quick bite to eat at a local pizza restaurant, followed by green tea ice cream for dessert! Of course, she just slept the whole time :)

How I’m Doing

Physically, I feel nearly recovered from the birth (I had second degree tears). My mom was here for two weeks and recommended that I not leave the house and limit stairs to once or twice a day, which made me a little stir crazy but really paid off. I did a daily sitz bath in the morning with some epsom salt, lavender and tea tree essential oil, and used the usual padsicles, peri bottle, and dermoplast spray throughout the day. After about 10 days, I was able to stop using the peri bottle and wipe normally down there (sorry if that’s TMI, but I thought other first-time moms might want to know).

One of the strangest postpartum symptoms I experienced was numbness in my right fingertips, which my doctor informed me was due to carpal tunnel – very common in late pregnancy and after giving birth due to the excess fluids compressing the nerves! I’m currently wearing a wrist brace, which seems to help, but it should disappear over the next couple of weeks/ months as my body returns to normal.

Breastfeeding is continuing to go well, and the initial nipple soreness I experienced is gone – probably a result of both improved latching and my body getting used to it. Motherlove nipple cream was CLUTCH in the first week and I applied it after every feeding, along with ice packs. To my surprise, I actually love breastfeeding Kira – it’s a special way to bond with her and feels very intimate. At the same time, I’m so thankful that she’s taking the bottle (we do one a day in the afternoon) since it gives my body a little break ;)

I’m glad that I knew beforehand by reading other blogs that it takes a few weeks for the belly to go down after birth! My belly has definitely reduced in size, but still feels soft and squishy. I think the uterus will continue to shrink over the next couple of weeks and then hopefully I’ll be able to start working out again to take care of the rest. My weight has actually come down a lot faster than I thought; I’ve lost about 17 pounds so far and have another 10 to go to my pre-pregnancy weight. I’m not actively trying to lose weight right now since I don’t want to impact my milk supply, but it seems like I’m losing a pound or two a week right now, which is fine by me.

Sleep was really tough at first. I think I was coming down from an adrenaline high after the birth and didn’t sleep more than 2-3 hours a day for the first couple of days. I was actually worried that my thyroid symptoms were coming back and had my levels tested; they came back completely normal, praise God. After the second night at home, I finally started to sleep – I think I was finally tired and getting used to the new routine. I’m getting about 5-6 hours a night between feedings and taking a nap or two during the day. I’m still definitely tired, but getting enough sleep to function most days. My sleep MVP has continued to be the snoogle! I thought I would go back to a regular pillow after giving birth, but the snoogle still feels so supportive and comfortable, especially after I ordered a jersey cover.

Baby Thoughts

I’ve spent a lot of time thanking God for our new baby – there were several things that could have become problems (the thyroid medication I was taking was linked to birth defects; she spent a lot of time stuck in the birth canal during delivery; she could have had her own thyroid issues) that didn’t. And I’m also thankful that she’s been such an easy baby so far!

I never thought that I would be a natural at motherhood, but the truth is that I love, love being Kira’s mom. I’ve found that even when I’m really tired and she’s been cranky or crying, I somehow have a deep reserve of patience and love that doesn’t run out. I love bonding with her, feeding her, and holding her. I know we’ve had her for less than a month, but I can’t imagine life without her anymore.

It’s also been really special to see Mike in his new role as a father. He loves spending time with her – he does a lot of tummy time, feeds her the bottle in the evening, changes most of her diapers, holds her during her “power hour” (30-45 minutes of crying that occurs between 8 and 10 every evening), and cleans her nose every day.

We love you Kira!

Week 2: Baby Kira

I promise at some point the updates will become less frequent, but there’s so much I want to remember about these early days with our new baby!

Schedule

We’re still sticking to the PDF method by BabyWise! In week 2, I dropped one feeding and went to 9 feedings. Here’s what our day looks like:

  • 6:30 AM – wake up, feed/ diaper/ nap. I take a shower, pump (I’m trying to build up a supply before going to work), and eat breakfast. Twice a week, I also run the laundry.
  • 9 AM – feed/ diaper/ nap. I’ve also taken to napping on the couch for an hour or so after this feed.
  • 12 PM – feed/ diaper/ nap. I eat lunch, then tidy the house a little or nap some more.
  • 2:30/ 5/ 7 PM – feed/ diaper/ nap. We started also replacing one of the feeds with a bottle filled with pumped milk to get her used to taking the bottle for when I return to work. I pump while she’s feeding to make sure I maintain a sufficient volume. We typically eat dinner after the 5 or 7 PM feeding, and every other day, we give her a bath around 8:30 PM.
  • 9 PM – feed/ diaper/ nap in the nursery with the lights off (we’re trying to help her distinguish between day and night using quiet and darkness for the nighttime feedings). I go to bed right after this feed and get some sleep before 11. Kira’s typically fussy between 9 and 11, so Mike stays up with her, wakes me up at 11 and then goes to sleep.
  • 11 PM/ 3 AM – feed/ diaper/ nap in the nursery. I sleep between all the night feeds.

We’ve been able to stick to the schedule pretty well aside from Day 11, where she fed a little more frequently and ate smaller meals – I think she was cluster feeding due to a growth spurt.

Eat

The key to sticking to our schedule has been to make sure she gets a full feeding, around 15-20 minutes (it used to be closer to 30 but she’s gotten faster at eating!). The hardest part of feeding her is trying to keep her awake to eat! I stroke her back, poke her cheek, and keep her undressed to keep her awake. We’ll also change her diaper before I switch her to the other side to nurse.

In terms of the bottle feed, we first tried the Tommy Tippee, which she did NOT like at all. I thought it would just take time to get used to it, but the second try wasn’t that successful either. I had some Philips Avent Natural bottles too, so we gave that a shot – and she took to it much more quickly! She’s been taking down about 3 ounces each time, and she could probably eat more #piglet

Sleep

Kira still sleeps a lot all the time, but she’s starting to spend short stretches awake during the day – maybe about 10 minutes or so at a time. We’re hoping that the more time she spends awake during the day, the witching hour between 10 and 11 PM will get shorter and shorter.

Sometimes she’ll fuss a little between mealtimes, and if I don’t think she’s really hungry and her diaper is clean, I’ll try to soothe her by picking her up (works 95% of the time). She also falls asleep to the sound of the dishwasher, vacuum, and our singing.

Play

Same likes as last week, and we’ve added Sophie the giraffe! She seems to like the squeaky sound and the high contrast spots on the toy.

Events From the Week

A big low for the week was having to take her to get bloodwork done AGAIN (3rd time since she was born). They didn’t get enough blood to check her thyroid levels last time, so we brought her back in. I think it’s pretty uncommon for babies to get bloodwork done; the technicians spent a long time trying to find a good vein before just sticking her foot and squeezing it to collect her blood in a tube. So hard to watch, but she calmed down immediately afterwards when we picked her up and hugged her. Unfortunately, I think they’ll be checking her on a regular basis so we’ll all have to get used to it.

The high notes for the week were Kira’s first snow (which she slept through, of course), and several visits from friends, including our church pastor, a friend from our old condo building, and a couple of Mike’s coworkers! I totally forgot to take pictures while people were here, but here’s a picture from her first snow (she was outside for all of 30 seconds and slept the whole time).

 

Week 1: Baby Kira

I know things have been silent on the blog for a few weeks; that’s because baby Piglet (actual name Kira) was born last week!

I’ll share her birth story later, but I wanted to post about how the first week with the new addition to our family went. I’ll likely be sharing these week by week for a while so that I can remember these special early days.

Schedule

After the first erratic days in the hospital and at home where Kira was eating around the clock and I was getting less than 3 hours of sleep a day, I looked up baby schedules in desperation and decided to try Parent Directed Feeding (PDF) per the BabyWise method. The results were MAGICAL – by the first day, she was on a regular, predictable schedule with eating and sleeping and I started to catch up on sleep during her scheduled naptimes and at night.

For the first week, we did 10 feeds around 7 AM, 9 AM, 11 AM, 1 PM, 3 PM, 5 PM, 7 PM, 9 PM, 11 PM, and 3 AM. If she got hungry before the scheduled time, we tried to distract her for a bit, and then I fed her when the distractions stopped working. We were flexible around her needs and just got back on schedule by the next feeding. The Hatch Baby app has been awesome for keeping track of her feeds, diapers, and weight (using the Hatch Baby scale).

Eat

To our utter surprise, Kira is actually a really good eater. We expected the opposite because both Mike and I were very fussy babies and poor eaters, so I’ll take it as long as it lasts! I’m currently breastfeeding exclusively, and she latches really well and eats for 20-30 minutes during each feed. I love the Brest Friend pillow, which allows me to be practically hands free while she eats (I still put one arm around her to make sure she doesn’t fall off). I also started pumping every morning once my milk came in to build up a supply for work (the Spectra pump is awesome). The 10 feeds a day results in a LOT of diapers though – we probably went through 15 diapers a day this week.

Sleep

So far, things have been good on the sleep front too! She’s a very sleepy baby and will even fall asleep while eating. I wake her up to keep to the schedule to eat, and if she wakes up early we try to soothe her for a bit to get her eating as close to the scheduled time as possible. I’m also flexible and sometimes feed her early if I know that she didn’t eat that much at the last feeding.

In terms of where she sleeps, I initially tried sleeping downstairs with her (me on the futon, her in the pack and play) but I couldn’t sleep at all because every noise she made woke me up. So from day 4, she slept in the nursery in her crib at night, and in the pack and play or next to us on the boppy lounger during the day. At night, we swaddle her in a Halo swaddler for warmth and comfort.

The only time of day that she really cries is between 9 and 11 PM for about an hour; I think it’s part of her day/ night confusion and will get shorter/ go away over time. We’re trying to help by making sure daytime is marked by lots of light and normal noise levels, and night by darkness and quiet.

Play

Given how sleepy Kira is, there’s a limited amount of playtime during the day, but we’re making the most of the time she’s awake! She loves:

  • being carried (especially in the Moby wrap)
  • skin to skin time with mommy and daddy
  • tummy time – Mike or I will rest her on our chest and talk to her to get her to lift her head up
  • high contrast flash cards

Other Events From the Week

A few days after coming home from the hospital, we had a visit with a lactation nurse, who checked all of Kira’s vital signs and metrics and pronounced her very healthy. Unfortunately, she needed to get bloodwork done because there’s a chance that my hyperthyroidism affected her thyroid levels. Let me tell you, there’s nothing more heartbreaking than seeing your baby strapped to a table and prodded with a needle again and again because her veins are too tiny! I would do anything to spare her the smallest amount of pain.

In happier news, we also gave her the first sponge bath at home! This face says it all, lol. She cried during the bath, but fell asleep happily on Mike’s chest afterwards.



Baby Piglet: Weeks 37-38

I’m not gonna lie – the last couple of weeks have been a lot harder than I expected, mostly from a mental standpoint. It is HARD to wait when your due date is right around the corner! But I have a lot to be thankful for: I’m still able to workout every day, I can work up until my pregnancy with flexibility to telework, and most important, Piglet appears to be healthy and hopefully getting ready to move out :)

The Belly

Here’s the belly at the end of week 37 – I think it looks lower/ bigger than even two weeks ago. I’m up about 23-24 pounds from pre-pregnancy at this point and according to Ovia, Piglet’s the size of a spaghetti squash and may be about 7 pounds! She certainly feels at least that big when she kicks/ rolls…

Symptoms

Pretty much the same as before – contractions just about every day, especially at night. They don’t hurt and aren’t regular/ timeable, so I know I’m not in active labor. Pelvic pressure is really strong, and walking is difficult on some days – I feel like I’m 80 years old!

Workouts

Same as before – I’m back up to 4-5 workouts a week, and I’m alternating online barre and Peloton classes. I stick to the 30 minute low impact Peloton classes, which gives me a great workout without the risk of standing up/ pushing too hard and I monitor my heart rate to make sure it doesn’t exceed 180 (it stays in the 150 range most of the workout).

I’ve been doing B3 barre classes with the 15 day online trial period, and did the Bar Method trial period before that. They’ve both had prenatal classes, which is nice since there are a lot of “normal” ab moves that are difficult/ impossible at this point, lol. Surprisingly, I can still hold a plank!

Eats/ Sleep

Same as the last update – my appetite varies a lot. I’m definitely hungriest around 10-12 and around 2-4 and less hungry around normal mealtimes for some reason. I try to stick to small meals/ hearty snacks throughout the day

Same as before – I’m sleeping 6-8 “broken” hours most nights since I have a hard time falling asleep after waking up to use the restroom (~2x a night now). I started using an herbal sleep aid that I bought earlier in the pregnancy (Hyland’s Calms Forte below) and it seems to help me fall asleep a little faster after those mid-night wake-ups.

Pregnancy-Related Purchases

I bought a maternity/ nursing nightgown from Gap last week, and raspberry herbal tea, which is anecdotally linked to labor onset/ faster labor. There isn’t much scientific evidence to back this up, but it makes me feel like I’m doing something, at least :)

Thoughts/ Stories

Week 37: Made a little progress this week – still 1 cm dilated, but 70% effaced (increase from 50%). We attended a breastfeeding class on Saturday, which gave us a lot of good information on how much the baby should be eating, how to get a good latch, and common issues/ solutions.

Week 38: No progress from the week before, which I why I went out and bought the raspberry tea, lol. The doctor also gave us three labor-stimulating techniques that are actually scientifically backed: sex (yup, because that’s easy at this point in the pregnancy), nipple stimulation (“like you’re milking a cow”), and a pressure point above the ankle. She also offered to strip my membranes, but I’m going to hold off on that till later, since I’ve heard the procedure is really painful and I don’t want to do it more than once. I also started going to the chiro again, which helps reduce how uncomfortable my body feels at this point.

It isn’t easy waiting when I’m less than 2 weeks from my due date at this point, but I’m focusing on how every day improves Piglet’s development, enjoying small dates with Mike (e.g. matcha cafe below!), and doing lots of self-care with massages, baths, workouts, reading, etc.

Baby Piglet: Weeks 35-36

We are definitely in the home stretch! I’m definitely uncomfortable at this point and ready to meet Piglet. At the same time, I think I’m going to miss pregnancy – it has felt really special to experience a life inside of me, and my growing belly has never ceased to amaze me. Speaking of the belly…

The Belly

Here’s the belly at the end of week 36 – I’m up about 22 pounds from pre-pregnancy at this point, and it’s definitely getting harder to get around. According to Ovia, Piglet’s the size of a papaya and may be about 6 pounds (I’ve never seen a 6 pound papaya? lol).

Symptoms

I’m definitely experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions and some real ones at this point! More on this below with my doc visit updates. My belly feels unbearably heavy at times, and the pressure on my pelvis is increasing. Secretions have increased as well (sorry if that’s TMI), but I don’t think I’ve lost my mucus plug yet? I’ve experienced a lot of early labor symptoms, including dizziness, nausea, and cramps, but only the last one has been frequent. Oh, and my belly button is solidly an outtie, but it doesn’t freak me out as much as I thought it would :)

Workouts

For some reason, I started working out again a lot during week 36 – I’m back up to 4-5 workouts a week, and I’m alternating online barre and Peloton classes at this point. Working out feels really great and gives me a lot of energy for the rest of the day, so I’m going to keep it up as long as I can.

Eats/ Sleep

Same as the last update – even though Piglet has dropped and I can eat a little more, my appetite varies a lot. Sometimes I’m really hungry, and other times I just want to eat a piece of fruit for dinner (and then I wake up at 3 AM starving lol). I’ve been going through a couple of cans of La Croix a day because it helps my stomach when I’m feeling some indigestion or nausea.

I’m sleeping a good 6-8 hours most nights, but I’m pretty tired most mornings because I’m awake from 2-5 almost every night. I usually wake up to use the restroom, and have a hard time falling asleep due to cramps/ contractions. Some days, I’ll take a nap in the afternoon (on weekends and telework days) so I think I’m doing okay on sleep overall.

Pregnancy-Related Purchases

Ha, we’re definitely getting ready for birth around here! I bought waterproof mattress pads for our bed and futon (for labor/ water breaking), a birth ball, and a lavender neck heating pad, which has been really helpful for cramps/ my sore neck.

Thoughts/ Stories

Week 35: This week started my weekly doctor’s visits! And the first of many cervical exams :( The doctor determined that I was 50% effaced and thought that I might deliver before my due date. We also attended an all day birth education class on Saturday held by the company that I hired my doula through. It was really helpful to learn what to expect, and I felt much more prepared to go into labor. We also finished packing our hospital bag, so we’re ready to go at any time!

Week 36: Another doctor’s visit – I was still 50% effaced, but 1 cm dilated. Making progress! We also met our doula Kim, who seems very competent and supportive. She documented our birth plan so that she can advocate for what we want once we’re at the hospital.