38 weeks

We're now at 38 weeks and Jade is supposedly the size of a watermelon now. I took a few pictures yesterday in front of the mirror. They're not great but good enough to remember the size and shape of the belly in this final stage of development.

My legs, calves, ankles, feet and toes are still swollen. VERY swollen. My energy level is moderate and my quality of sleep has been better. What doesn't help is the temperature has been surprisingly higher than normal for this time of the year in the last 2 weeks.

So far, I've had 2 bad episodes of indigestion that kept me up all night. I'm guessing this is not too bad...

My weight gain until now is at 32 lbs but changes are seen up and down on a daily basis.

Jade has not yet started descending in my belly. The fact that I spend so much time on my back with legs up probably does not help.

We are scheduled for a visit at the hospital this Thursday evening and I can't wait! :)  My goal is that the renovations in the basement will also be done and over by that time and that the hospital bag will be completed and sitting in the car in case Jade should arrive unexpectedly.

37 weeks update

This week's medical update has got to be the most boring one so far. I could have just copied and pasted the results from the 36th week mark and be done with it.

Here we go!

Weight gain: no change since last week, still 24 lbs increase since pre-pregnancy weight
Blood pressure: normal
Glucose: normal
Baby's pulse: normal
Baby's position: head down, floating, normal
Cervix dilation: same as last week, 1 cm
Ankles: same as last week, they look like two balloons
Belly button: as usual, "inny"

The weight stabilizing itself is actually very good news because the rate at which I was gaining these last 3-4 weeks was pretty alarming. Apparently, at this point in pregnancy, the mother's body will start to lose some of the pregnancy hormones so as to allow for the birth process to start. This would explain how the baby can keep growing and building fat without the mother necessary gaining weight.

I will try to take a belly picture tomorrow.

Off Work!

Ok, this is old news... But I have good reasons!

Thursday May 13th (just about a week ago) was supposed to be my last day of work before a 4 weeks vacations, immediately followed by maternity leave for about 10 months.

I'm saying "was supposed to" because on that very day, I heard news that was going to change the way I'm now looking at those 11 months ahead of me: I won't have a job to come back to after my maternity leave is over. With the current economy, it was only a matter of time before the public sector would have to start making layoffs and the time has now come.

Because there's always a negative and a positive side to everything here are my thoughts on this:
-  I'm among the unlucky to be laid off and the financial insecurity stresses me out with the baby coming.
+ I'm lucky that I was told ahead of time, and have many months of maternity leave to figure out what I'll be doing next.

Before heading back on the job market, I might try a career change and give it a shot with a web business instead. Wouldn't it be great to NOT go back to work after my leave and be able to work directly from home, enjoying the first few years with my child? Not an easy task, but... possible!

Ranting about the Perineal Massage

Warning: this post may contain TMI (too much information) for some of you... Continue reading at your own risks.

We all heard stories about this pregnant woman who gave birth and had a partial or complete tear of her perineum in the process. As a first time mom, I was naive enough to convince myself it only happens to others and must be quite the minority who experience a tear during labor.

Boy was I wrong!

A study conducted in 1999 showed that only 63 out of 417 women who were giving birth vaginally for the first time maintained an intact perineum throughout labor. That's only 15,1% !!!

I'm officially freaking out about these stats. Fortunately, the subject of the study was to demonstrate the efficiency (or lack thereof) of practicing the perineal massage for 10 minutes on a daily basis from the 35th week of pregnancy until birth. A group of 411 women were asked to do that routine and from that group, 100 women kept an intact perineum post-partum. That's 24.3% - still low, in my honest opinion, but an appreciable 9% improvement rate compared with women who did not use the massage!

So... Wanting make use of all the tools I can, I decided I would try to improve the odds by submitting myself to the very same routine. The technique was shown to the dads-to-be at our last prenatal class and we got started on what seemed like a very promising activity...

I won't lie, it's unconfortable and it burns. But I'll take "unconfortable and it burns" a little bit everyday, if it spares me the major tear and bleed and complications that follow birth. Overall, it's a very small inconvenience for what it's worth.

My only problem now is: DF is away for the week so I need to adapt and do it on my own. I've tried but couldn't find a position that made it possible yet. I'm not so flexible anymore and the positions and angles that I can use to get access there are very limited. Not to mention I don't see what I'm doing.

If you are a business driven entrepreneur looking for a good idea to develop, I think you should look into making some kind of a self massager for the perineum. I'm sure I'm not the only one finding it challenging if not impossible to perform the massage on my own with the big belly in the way and I was very surprised to find out nobody has yet come up with a device that would help single pregnant women do just that!

It could be as simple as a soft balloon that could be pumped bigger gradually once in place, to help stretch that sensitive skin progressively. A meter could indicate the level of pumping used each time so that the mother would see her progress from one day to the next.

Food for thought?

35 weeks belly update

Busy week

I thought this week would be relaxing since DF was back from Ottawa and not yet gone to Japan.

I was so wrong.

Monday = swimming
Tuesday = RESP presentation
Wednesday = swimming
Thursday = prenatal class
Friday = whatever will need to be done before DF's flight for Japan

On the other hand, I'm so excited that there's only 1 week left at work before taking my vacation! The weather is starting to be nice and it'll rock being able to sleep more and rest my feet in the air whenever I feel the need to.

I can't wait.

34 weeks follow-up

Last Thursday was my 34 weeks medical visit and second time in my new doctor's office.

In short:
  • Weight gain since pre-pregnancy weight -> 21 lbs  (YIKES! It was 16 lbs just 2 weeks ago)
  • Blood pressure -> slightly higher, but still normal
  • Position of the baby -> head down, heart beating to my right side now (I've only heard her heart beat on the other side so far so she has shifted position)
  • Cervix -> completely closed and firm - no sign of early labor yet
  • New symptoms -> swollen ankles and hands... Which could explain the increased weight gain.
The doctor said I was having a Braxton Hicks contraction as she was looking for the baby's head... I didn't feel it. Really. I'm sure the real contractions will be easier to notice though! lol. Probably a good thing since I'm going to have to time them.

All in all, I'm doing great and so is Baby.

The clinic has received my medical file from the CLSC but apprently, the most important sonogram (30 weeks - confirming my placenta is no longer previa) was not in it. I have to follow-up on that.

My next appointment is scheduled for next Tuesday, 3h45 pm. I'm hoping I can bring the swelling down by then.