Tuesday, December 23, 2008



our sweet baby boy...
I've kind of been putting off posting again because 1)Any spare time has been taken up with either sleeping, housework, or quality time with Shawn, and 2)I really have no idea where to start! Obviously our lives have changed drastically in the last month, and everyday seems to present its own ups and downs. If you talk to me one day, you'll probably get the sense that I'm chronically exhausted, frustrated, and at my wits end. Talk to me the next day, and I'll brag about how I got four straight hours of sleep, have been able to keep up with the house, and how great I feel.
But let me get to what I know is far more interesting to all of you (and me!). And that would be Jude, of course. :) Shawn and I have absolutely loved discovering his personality and figuring out how to be good parents to him. He's adorable, sweet, fiesty, and very, very alert. He seems to be pretty advanced for his age - rolling over already, focusing on objects well, grasping for hanging toys (and sometimes reaching them!), pushing himself up on his arms when he's on his tummy, holding his head up for 10 seconds at a time, and putting some of his weight on his straightened out legs. Of course, we think this is the most amazing thing in the world, but my rational self knows that all babies develop at their own rate and ours...while amazing...will most likely not be walking in the next week. ;)
We had some difficulties with getting Jude to sleep for several weeks - it seemed like he always, always, always had to fuss himself to sleep. He'd be exhausted (as would we!), and we would have tried absolutely everything to calm him down. However, he'd sleep only when he cried himself to the point of sheer exhaustion. We started letting him cry it out a little (which was a tough decision for me, especially at such a young age), and within a few days he could sleep in his crib with relative ease. He still has his rough days and nights, but overall it is getting easier. I'm learning that he's pretty sensitive to both sound and lights and will become more agitated if he's sleepy and is around a lot of noise (ie...the TV, a lot of people talking loudly, etc.). I'm not a big fan of shutting down the world just because your child is sleeping, so I tried to get him used to napping with noise, but have realized that he just sleeps better with the blinds drawn and relative quiet around him.
I'm also not a fan of sheltering your child from germs and thought I'd be even a bit aggressive about exposing Jude to germs...especially since he won't be in daycare. My thoughts were that I wanted to expose him to germs early so that he didn't encounter a ton of germs in pre-school and have to miss often. And once more, I have to eat my words about the kind of mother I thought I'd be! It turns out that Jude was born right at the beginning of cold/flu season, and it also turns out that if a newborn gets the cold or flu, it can be highly dangerous.
So, it's true...I've turned into that obnoxious mother who asks people to squirt Purell before handling their baby. I've learned that there is a time to expose your child to germs, and next year I will not be nearly as paranoid...but his immune system is not ready to handle this winter's germs and I'm realizing that I need to protect him as much as possible for now. I'm not ready to see Jude in the hospital with RSV or pneumonia...so hand santizer is our best friend!
Jude's been doing great with nursing. He's officially been a breastfed baby for a month now, which is exciting. It's not always been easy, but I've been told that if you can make it to 6 weeks then it becomes like second nature, so that is my goal (well, my ultimate goal is 9 months, or whenever he moves to solely solid food)! I love his little fat rolls that he has under his neck and on his arms. I love what Shawn calls his 'thunder thighs,' and I love that he recently put on a third chin. I love seeing him grow and knowing that God made my body capable of nourishing him -both in and out of my womb. He was gaining weight like a champ at his 2 week appointment, and I'm eager to see how his weight gain is looking at this 2 month appointment.
As you can see, I could write about this kid for hours, but it's getting close to Jude's time to eat. I'll do my best to post a little more often, but I have to be honest - if I have a choice between catching a nap or posting...I'm taking that nap!! :)


the sweetest sound...
Jude laughed the other day! I've been watching him constantly for signs of a smile that wouldn't be attributed to gas, so imagine my surprise when I not just saw a smile, but heard the sweetest "uh-UH!" that accompanied that smile. While short, I am nonetheless claiming that adorable little sound as an official laugh. What made our sweet little boy laugh, you may wonder? Well, Jude loves his changing table. Shawn and I have no idea what is so magical about it, but he's rarely fussy and loves to lay there and kick his arms and legs, surveying the world around him. Hanging right above the changing table is a brown sign with white words that read, "Peace, Love, Baby," by which Jude is fascinated. I've read that infants are drawn to starkly contrasting colors, so I assume that would be why he could stare at that picture all day long. Or perhaps he's contemplating the deeper meaning of those words...I guess we'll never know. At any rate, Jude's laugh was most decidedly directed toward his old friend, the Peace Love Baby sign. I'm trying to not be too jealous of the sign, and I tell myself that soon enough his laughter will be directed towards a funny face I make or an impression that Daddy does. For now, though, that changing table and esoteric sign are hilarious to my five week old.
Speaking of which, is it crazy to anyone else that Jude is already five weeks old? I tried to weigh him this morning (I weighed myself, then weighed myself holding him and subtracted the difference...not the most scientific method, but I have a hard time seeing his growth since I'm with him 24/7 and just needed some reassurance). According to our home scale, the kid weighs 9 pounds! He's getting good at rolling from his stomach to his back, but hasn't attempted the back to stomach feat yet. He's also holding his head up on his own for several minutes at a time. To my sheer pleasure, he's only waking up once (around 2:00 or 3:00am) to eat at night! This might mistakenly lead you to think that I'm getting lots of sleep, but don't be fooled. He takes until about 11:00pm to eat, and then feels the need to wail until about midnight. Still, just one night feeding is impressive for his age.
Now that Jude's outgrown the disposable newborn diapers we had, we're transitioning him to cloth diapers, which is going great! I still keep him in disposables at night and if we're going out, but he wears mostly cloth during the day. His little butt is at least two times bigger as compared to when he wears disposables, and he looks absolutely adorable! He had a pretty bad diaper rash that I couldn't get rid of - no matter how much cream I lathered on, that went away within two or three days of him wearing the cloth diapers. Right now, the extra laundry isn't too much of a pain in the butt, but I might be singing a different tune once I go back to work.
I think he's waking up from his nap, so mommyhood calls.


We were recently told about an acquaintance who wanted to broaden her photographic skills and needed some experience with an infant. Since we just so happened to have an infant on hand, we offered him up! She got some great shots of him, and Jude so kindly gave her the full infant experience (he peed on her blanket, needed to eat about halfway through, and cried for about forty-five minutes!). The photographer didn't charge us at all, and even uploaded the pictures to an online gallery and will be giving us a CD of all the pictures she took. Rather than trying to get the pictures uploaded on an album here, I thought I'd just post a link. You have the permission of the photographer to download/print/replicate the pictures as you wish!


postpartum update...
So today is a big day! Jude is officially six weeks old, and I am officially six weeks postpartum...cheers all around! I have an appointment today, at which I'm hoping to be told that I am in the clear to exercise and once again -live a normal life! I have to confess, however, that I have gone running twice. I took it easy and only ran for three sets of five minutes, and my goodness, how great it felt! I seriously almost cried the first time I ran. I've been feeling a little bit down lately, and it was so wonderful and energizing to be out in the cool air, staring at the sky, and feeling the wind. It felt great to move my body again and not have to worry about my heart rate. I'm really, really looking forward to running on a consistent basis once again and am already looking to see when I could run a 5K again.
We had a rough several days with Jude, but he seems to be coming out of that. I think he was going through a growth spurt and he was eating every two hours...even throughout the night...and fussing a lot more than normal. I can't tell you how many times it got to 3:00am in the morning, and I seriously contemplated just giving up breastfeeding and doing formula. Thankfully, I didn't give in and he seems to be through his growth spurt and back to his 3 hour feeding schedule during the day and 4-5 hour schedule at night. In desperation, I actually called the lactation consultant from the hospital and was able to get some answers to a few questions I had. First of all, I found out that the 45 minutes to an hour it was taking me to nurse him didn't need to be that long. The LC said he could get everything he needed in 20-30 minutes. It's SO nice to not have to take an hour to nurse him everytime! 30 minutes seems like a breeze in comparison! I also found out that I have quite a bit of milk, judging by the color of Jude's poop (this disclaimer might be a little late, but if discussion about poop color and breastfeeding gross you out -skip down to the next paragraph). Basically, he wasn't getting enough hindmilk. So I now know that he only needs to feed on one side per feeding. This was a huge relief because I think every nursing mother worries that she doesn't have enough milk and her infant is starving. I was also being super paranoid about making sure I pumped every time he had a bottle so that my body would keep my milk supply adequate. While that's still a good idea if possible, it turns out that my plethora of milk would allow me to skip that occasionally (because I'm sound asleep, hopefully!) and not mess with my milk supply. Hooray! And finally, I learned that the hospital has a nursing mother's support group every other Thursday. I found a local La Leche League group, but they only meet one Wednesday a month, and I just haven't been able to attend. I'm seriously thinking about attending the Nursing Mother's group. I like that it's twice a month and since I'll be working from home on Thursdays, I'll be able to attend the group long-term. Even with the recent chaos of a growth spurt, nursing is going really well and definitely HAS gotten easier!
Jude is smiling a little bit more often and is able to play for longer periods of time by himself (15-20 minutes instead of 5-10). He actually smiled at me quite a bit this morning, which was the best thing in the world!
Shawn and I are really looking forward to our first Christmas with Jude! Thanks to friends and family who love him so much, underneath our tree is filled with presents for the kid! We've shown him snow on TV, and have told him that he probably won't ever see it in North Carolina, but that we promise that he'll get to see it when we travel for Thanksgiving. :) In the past couple of weeks, we've begun a bedtime routine of either giving him a bath or a baby massage, and then reading a book to him, swaddling him, praying with/for him, and then laying him down in his crib. Shawn's been reading Jude from Luke 2 about Jesus' birth. Perhaps it's just happenstance, but he seems to listen attentively. We like to think he identifies with Jesus' infanthood and inexperienced parents. :) My current favorite lullabye to sing to Jude is "Silent Night," simply because the irony makes me laugh in the wee hours of the night. It's fun to identify a little bit with what Mary and Joseph were going through in Jesus' early weeks. Granted, we have no idea what it's like to give birth to the Son of God, we have a nice cozy house to stay in as opposed to a stable, and poor Mary probably couldn't even fathom the joys of an epidural - but it's mind blowing to realize that Jesus was a helpless infant. He was gassy, he had a first smile, and he probably was excited when he learned to grab his feet or reach out and touch something. What an amazing thing that our Lord humbled himself to being an infant.
If He was anything like every other infant in the world, Mary and Joseph's nights were anything but silent and He was hardly "tender and mild." :)
So we don't really have any big Christmas traditions that we plan on implementing this year, but we're open for suggestions! Feel free to let us know any treasured Christmas traditions you may have from childhood or that you may have started with your children.
Growing up, my family always spent Christmas Eve at my Grandpa's with my Dad's side of the family in Cincinnati. I have so many memories of running around his house, playing in his basement, and waiting on Aunt Mary and Uncle Mike to arrive so we could open the presents. The kids would take turns first, opening one present at a time. The stockings were always my favorite. I'm sure mine was filled with Bonne Belle chapstick and glittery nail polish (from my Grandpa, but he left the gift buying to my much more tween saavy Aunt Mary), and those little things made me so happy. :) Actually, I haven't changed too much...Shawn usually just fills my stocking with chocolate instead of glittery nail polish...but I remain just as happy. We'd spend the night at my Grandpa's, and wake up early to drive back home for Christmas. One of my parents would take the four of us to the only place open on Christmas morning...the Shell's gas station...and we'd each get to pick out donuts for the morning. The other parent would be dropped off at the house, and when we came back from getting the donuts - Santa would have arrived! As we got older, we'd sometimes be able to help Santa get the gifts while my younger siblings still picked out donuts for the family. Silly though it may seem, this little Christmas morning ritual of donuts at home is one of my favorite childhood Christmas traditions.
We pray that Jude has likewise fond memories of his childhood Christmases. Hopefully not memories of piles of presents or expensive toys - but memories of being with his family, enjoying the magic of the season, and understanding the enormity of what Jesus' birth meant to the world.
I hope you have an amazing Christmas and thank you for what you mean to our family!



39 Weeks!...
Okay, seriously? Am I really 39 weeks along? It's astounding to think about how much fear and worry went into us having a premature baby and how far away "full-term" seemed. Despite a night or two of wondering, "is this it?" and plenty more contractions, we are still preganant! Here is what babygaga has to say about our 39th week:
"Whether you give birth tomorrow or next week, it's pretty much all the same for your baby, who is now truly R-E-A-D-Y to face the big bright world outside of your womb. Speaking of wombs, your body is priming up for the big moment and hopefully, you're as prepared mentally as you can be. Your baby is well stocked up on fat, all their organs have put on the finishing touches. Here's hoping your child is already in the birthing position and basically just "hanging out" waiting for that elusive moment when all sysytems synchronize in your body to trigger the labor process."


still waiting...
I'll suppress the urge to talk about my thoughts on last night's election and just make note that Shawn and I were both watching the results with great interest. This is only my third time voting...my first time being when I was only 18. I'm not sure if I just didn't notice it in previous elections or if this year really was different, but there definitely seemed to be an incredible amount of buzz around the election. I wouldn't be surprised if the television ratings set some kind of record. Shawn and I made a night of it - watching "You're Not Elected Charlie Brown," and eating homemade apple pie and ice cream! We stayed up way too late waiting to see how Indiana and North Carolina voted (and at least according to CNN, the results still aren't in this morning?! Slowpokes!), and went to bed when I literally couldn't keep my eyes open any longer.
We actually thought we might have an Election Day baby last night! The contractions that have become so familiar had lessened considerably during the past few days, so I took note when I found myself contracting throughout the day yesterday. After dinner, they picked up, but I didn't want to even start timing them yet. I told Shawn that I'm so tired of the drama of timing and wondering and waiting...and just wanted to wait and see how strong they got. After a couple of hours they did start to get significantly strong, so Shawn started timing them for me. For about an hour and a half (give or take, I was trying to not pay attention and just tell Shawn when they started and stopped) they were every 2-3 minutes and were getting stronger. As seems to be the pattern, though, they eventually started to slow down and lessen in intensity. I didn't contract at all (that I know of, anyway) in my sleep last night and there's nothing going on this morning either. Because of all the false starts we've had, it's surreal to think that one of these days, the contractions aren't going to stop - they're only going to get stronger. I pretty much just assume that they'll slow down in time because that's the pattern that's been set.
I have to confess that my prayers have changed recently. Up until today, I've been praying that God would bring this little boy out in His perfect timing and that He'd give me patience to wait until that time. While it's a selfish prayer, I've now begun praying, "God, please! Bring him out today!"
Along those same lines, though, I've been thinking lately about how much God loves my little family and how much better He knows than we. Now that we've made it through the stress and fears of premature labor, I'm finding that a lot of good came of that experience - especially being on bed rest. What good, you may wonder? Well, let me explain.
1. The Effect of Bedrest On Our Marriage
When we first realized that I'd be restricted until at least 36 weeks, I thought for sure it would put a strain on Shawn and I. In fact, I kept waiting for Shawn to get frustrated with me for not being able to cook, clean, or take care of things. I kept waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And he never did. I honestly didn't know that it was humanly possible to as selfless as Shawn is. Not only did he take care of everything that needed tended to, he didn't even hint at complaining or making me feel guilty. In fact, the only fights we had were because Shawn wanted to take more care of me than I was allowing him. It was a great lesson for me in surrendering and trusting.
2. The Effect of Bedrest On Our Checkbook
Dave Ramsey says that every relationship has a "nerd" who loves numbers, spreadsheets, and budgets, and a "free spirit," who loves to not think about numbers, spreadsheets, or budgets. In our relationship, I tend to be the nerd and Shawn the free spirit. Even though we've always worked together on doing budgets, it just wasn't a priority to either one of us. Because I didn't have much else to do, I found myself checking our account online a lot and I started to track our expenses. Once I realized how much we were going to have to pay in hospital bills because of pre-term contractions, I started messing with the numbers to see how and when we would get those paid. Eventually, I was able to make a very detailed budget accounting for extra baby expenses, further hospital bills, and the cost of the baby's health insurance. I think the recent economic issues coupled with looming hospital bills made us both take a much keener interest than usual in making sure we kept to a budget. It took me a LOT of time to look through and track all of our spending, and then make a budget to reflect that. For the first couple of months, I had to track our spending every single day to make sure we were staying in the budget and had to be meticulous about when each bill was paid. I know that I wouldn't have had the time or the energy to do this if I hadn't been on bedrest. I also had the time to research our bank, only to discover that we were getting ripped off in fees and our APY rate was ridiculously low. So I had the time to switch our banking insitution - a feat in itself since most of our bill pay is automatic! I know that very soon time will be a scarce commodity, so I'm grateful to have had the chance to set up a system that works really well for us.
3. The Effect of Bedrest on my Time With God
I'm ashamed to admit it, but when I get busy, the very first thing to go is the time that I spend with God. After a few days of being "too busy," it's easy to then skip that time because "I just don't feel like it." Pre Term labor caused me to hit my knees in fear and bedrest helped me to stay consistent. Suddenly, I had more time on my hands than I knew what to do with, so some days I'd pick up my Bible because there just wasn't much else to do. Even after the fear of pre-term labor and boredom of bedrest wore off, I find myself craving that daily time with God like I used to crave coffee. My day just isn't the same if I don't talk to Him, and I feel empty if I go a few days without slowing down to spend time in His presence.
Really, the list could go on and on - bedrest helped me see that my home doesn't have to be perfectly clean, that God can protect this child when I'm incapable of doing so, that I have amazingly understanding co-workers, and that this little child is loved more than he could possibly ever know.
So in light of all the stress and drama we endured, I think it's safe to say that I'm grateful for it and am even more aware that the gifts of God are good and perfect - even if it doesn't seems so.


appointment update...
I have to admit that I was not in a good mood this morning. I was tired and achy, my throat hurt, I was swollen, and the very last thing I wanted to do was head to our appointment only to be told, I was sure, that I'd made no progress since last week. As we waited for the Doctor, my head was full of whining, if I'm being completely honest. Even though we hear it every week now, something in my heart just melted when Dr. Ponder put the doppler on my belly and we heard his heartbeat. I was struck with the reminder that I'm carrying a life. I have the amazing privilege of nurturing an entire human being inside of my body. It's worth it. So worth it.
And then, during the cervical exam, the Doctor told us that I am now 3cm dialated and 75% effaced! I almost cried, I was so excited! We've had a couple of tough nights of contractions that have eventually gone away, and it's been discouraging to think they might not be making a difference. So to know that the pain is doing something was just what I needed to hear! I asked him if it would possible for him to sweep my membranes, and he said, "sure." I had expected that procedure to be painful, but to be honest...it was less painful than some of the cervical checks I've had. I think it depends on the Doctor, but it didn't really hurt at all.
Our next appointment is Wednesday, when I'll be 41 weeks. He said if I haven't gone into labor before that - then our Wednesday appointment will include an ultrasound, fetal monitoring, and the possibility of induction. I guess at 41 weeks they leave it up to the parents. My immediate thought is, "heck yeah! Induce me!" but we'll see if I change my mind by Wednesday. I always thought I'd be more than happy to go over my due date and wouldn't want to be induced unless it was absolutely necessary..but at this point, I'm so ready! He did also say he thought that odds were that I wouldn't make it to our next appointment, but we'll see. Since the appointment, I've been having some contractions, but I typically do for about a half a day after I am checked.
After we finished up at the OB, Shawn took me to Starbucks where I got a yummy Gingerbread Latte (decaf, don't worry) to soothe my throat. Between hearing the heartbeat, the good news on progress, and the coffee...I'm out of my funky mood. Thank goodness!


40 Weeks...
So today, November 9th, is my official due date. We've gotten plenty of, "you haven't had him yet?!", advice on how to induce labor, and a variety of labor stories. I wish I had some news that things were moving along, but things are pretty much the same. Still having contractions, but they never get strong enough for us to head into the hospital. Here's what babygaga has to say about this week:
"This is it. If you haven’t already gone into delivery, we’ve officially arrived at that time where all you’re doing is trying to patiently play the oh-so-maddening waiting game. Your long-awaited miracle is undoubtedly just as impatient as you to get things moving along. You can generally expect a head-first delivery unless your healthcare provider is unable to coax them out of breech position, in which case their feet come first. After nine months of waiting and even after your wonder-baby is finally out, your doctor or midwife will probably make you wait another five minutes while they give your child an Apgar score (see below); suction any fluids or mucous that may be blocking their newly exposed airways; and clean the remaining vernix and blood from their little body. After all the waiting, you’ll finally get to hold your exhausted little love-bug. Just a heads up: it’s fairly common for newborns to have a bit of chapping or even red rashes on their skin. Gerber babies don’t just pop out sparkly clean and smooth from the womb.
It’ll come whether you’re ready or not, so grab your bag, call the doc, get a hold of the grandfolks-to-be and get ready to execute your much-rehearsed plan of action. PLEASE DO NOT put the pedal to the metal. Labor typically last 13 hours (8 hours for mothers who have delivered once already), and getting to the birth center 10 minutes earlier isn’t likely to make a big difference. Try to keep a level head and drive safely: there’s a lot at stake."


jude is here!...
I only have moment and want to post our birth story later, but just wanted to announce that Jude Christian was born on November 11th at 5:58am. He was 7lbs 13oz and 20 inches long....and pretty much perfect. :)
"Jude" means praise or thanks and we haven't stopped doing just that!


jude? like the beatles song?...
This seems to be the most typicaly response people give us when we tell them we named our son Jude. I suppose it's natural - Shawn and I both love the Beatles and most people know how important music is to Shawn's life. So let me explain to you why we named him Jude lest you think we named our son after a Beatles song. :)
We actually were eating ice cream with friends when "Hey Jude" played. Shawn looked at me and asked what I thought of the name "Jude." Keep in mind that throughout the pregnancy, Shawn would ask what I thought of random baby names several times a day. Most of the time he was asking me ridiculous names and most of the time I would claim my veto power. When he asked about Jude, I paused, and said, "hmmm...maybe." We tossed the name around for a few minutes, seeing how it sounded with "Maurer," and debating whether we liked "Jude," or "Judah," and if Christian would work as a middle name. I'm a big fan of names being meaningful and we've thrown away several names because we didn't like their meanings. So the name was almost completely solidified when we looked the name up and found out it means, "Praise" or "Thanks."
Yep, that's exactly how we felt about this boy. The entire pregnancy has been one big ball of thanks to God so the name is entirely perfect. So we chose the name Jude because the meaning fits our son and we like the way it sounds. The fact that there's a great Beatles song that we can sing to him is just gravy. :) You all also have our full permission to sing the Beatles song to him at any point. Here is a link for more information about the name "Jude"
And just for fun...you should definitely check this out. It would explain why we sometimes sing, "remember...to rerever into your hawt..."


jude's birth story...
Here are some of the details about Jude's birth:
On Monday, November 10th, I thought my water might have broken, so after a day of work, I called the OB and they asked me to come in and be tested.

They tested and found out that my water hadn’t broken, and I was dialated to “a 3, maybe a 4.” The nurse told us she thought we’d probably be in labor soon, but to keep timing contractions and counting kicks. As she was describing the movement I should’ve been feeling, I told her that I hadn’t felt him moving that much in awhile. So a non-stress test was ordered. We took the non-stress test for about half an hour, and Jude was just fine. I could actually see him kicking so hard that he was moving the monitor up and down, but I could barely feel it, which would probably account for the fewer movements I was feeling. He was moving just fine, but his movements were just more subtle and less detectable by feel.

So Shawn and I went home, a little discouraged by the lack of labor. We picked up a couple of last minute baby things from Target and ordered a Mario’s Pizza to eat at home. Once home, we ate the pizza and my contractions continued about every six minutes apart. We started getting excited again and I bounced on an exercise ball for awhile, but around 9:00 they just completely stopped. We went to bed around 11:00pm, and I distinctly remember dreaming about really painful contractions. They eventually got so painful that they woke me up, so I decided to empty my bladder to see if that helped. When I sat up, I started to leak heavily, and once I made it to the toilet, it was a gush. I did my best to clean up. I thought that it was probably my water breaking, but wanted to wait a little bit just to be sure. So I went out into the living room and started timing my contractions. They were coming about every 5 or 6 minutes apart and began to get very painful. After about 25 minutes of timing them, I realized this was probably labor, but I wanted to give Shawn as long as possible to sleep. In between contractions, I started gathering my things and getting ready and they increased in strength and consistency. At about 1:40, I realized that we probably needed to get to the hospital rather quickly, so I woke Shawn up. He was adorable, sleepy, and excited. J We both got dressed and ready and left the house around 1:55.

I remember the ride to the hospital being awful. The contractions were picking up very quickly and would usually make me nauseated at the end of each. We almost had to pull over to allow me to vomit several times and sitting down in the car was excruciating. We finally got to the hospital around 1:15am. The only time I snapped at Shawn during the entire birth was at this point. He was trying to figure out if he needed to drop me off, if he should park in the parking garage and walk with me, and if I needed a wheelchair. I kept saying things like, “I don’t care, just get me there,” and trying to tell him that I’d rather not be in a wheelchair, and he kept trying to figure out what to do. Finally, I snapped, “Just drop me off at the door now! I’ll walk!” So he dropped me off, parked the car, grabbed our birthing stuff (which was quite the handful, including an exercise ball!) and we walked together to check-in. I did actually vomit on my way to the check-in counter, which was embarrassing. Once we checked in, we were taken to the triage where it seemed to take forever for a nurse to come in and check me. I think I vomited again while waiting. Thankfully, Rhonda got there around that time, and I think she hurried a nurse in to check me. Shawn was amazing, helping me count through contractions and letting me lean on him when I needed to. Once checked, I was told that I’d dialated to 5cm and was wheeled to a labor and delivery room. Once we got there, the contractions picked up intensely. I was doing my best to count through them with Shawn, but I actually found myself having to scream through some of the more intense contractions. I was still getting nauseated at the end of a few and ended up vomiting a couple more times. I asked Rhonda about how much longer she thought labor might be, and she said that for first time moms, you can typically count on being in labor an hour for every centimeter. Since I was a five, I reasoned that I would probably be looking at another five hours. Eventually, I started asking for an epidural as the contractions got stronger and stronger. I ended up begging for the epidural. Most of this period is pretty blurry, but I do remember crying a couple of times. I also remember flipping from my back to being on all fours, trying to find any position that would be less painful. I was in that position when the aneseiologist came in to give me the epidural. I was checked again and had gone from 5cm to 8 in 45 minutes! He explained that I’d need to stay extremely still while he was injecting the needle, even if I was contracting. During the injection, I was sitting on the edge of the bed with my chin to my chest while Shawn talked me through the contractions I was having. Dr. Lipscomb also came in at this point and helped me through them, telling me how great of a job I was doing. It seems like it took forever for the epidural to kick in, but it was probably only a few minutes as I only remember having two more contractions. Once the drugs started, I was in heaven! It felt so different and I could relax my body and mind. Shawn, Rhonda, and I joked around for awhile and chatted. I could still feel pressure with each contraction and could sometimes feel my belly tightening, but I couldn’t feel any pain. I think it was about an hour later that the nurse checked me again, and I had dialated completely. They wanted to let me wait a little bit longer to see if I would have the urge to push, but I never did. After a bit, the nurse came in and told me that I could start pushing if I wanted to. So, I began. I honestly couldn’t feel anything, but she told me when to push and they seemed to be satisfied with the job I was doing…even without being able to feel. Apparently Jude’s heartrate was dropping when I would push, so they had me put on an oxygen mask. Thankfully, his heart rate never got to dangerous levels and the mask seemed to be giving us both enough oxygen to be fine. I asked if I could use the bar that goes across the bed to help with the pushing. It attached on either side of the bed, they hung a towel from the middle, and I grasped the towel with each push. It helped me to curl a little bit and have a little extra oomph with each push. It felt like I pushed for several hours, but according to Shawn, it was about 30 or 45 minutes. They called Dr. Lipscomb back in, and I pushed for awhile longer until Jude was born! He was born at 5:58am on November 11th. He was born with a bit of a cone head, but that’s normal and has rounded out by today (4 days old). His apgars were 8 and 9 right after birth. Shawn cut the cord (twice, actually), and I did have a second degree tear.

As soon as he was born, he was put on my chest while the Dr. dealt with the afterbirth. I held him for a few minutes and then they cleaned him off, gave him eye drops, tested him, etc. Once that was done, I was able to hold him again and nurse him for the first time. Jude hasn’t had any issues with being jaundice or anything else. He’s pretty much perfect.



everything looks good!...
As you can probably tell from the title of this post, our doctor's appointment went pretty well today. My blood pressure is nice and low and Baby Maurer's heartbeat is strong! I am apparently one centimeter dialated and 50% effaced. This was the first time we were given actual numbers...I'm not quite sure why we weren't told this before. She told me that I've been one centimeter dialated for awhile (probably since our second visit to the hospital), and that the chart notes said that I was 25% effaced at our visit a week ago. I could let myself get concerned about that, but to be honest, I'm just not. I'm only two and a half days away from being 35 weeks - so beyond my water breaking before that time, I'm not letting myself get too rattled right now.
We were also told that at our next appointment (Wednesday morning), I'll most likely be taken off of bed rest...hooray! Shawn and I have already talked about self-imposing modified bed rest until we're 36 weeks along, but I'm still really excited to have some leeway!
Also, I added some pictures of the nursing cover I made to the "Nursery Progress" album, in case you're curious. :)


Week 35!...
Yay! Our little guy has made it to Week 35!!!!!!!! I don't think exclamation points do my excitement a bit of justice here. We were told by our Doctor that if I started to go into labor at 35 weeks, they would not stop it, but go ahead and let me deliver. Let me tell you - that's scary and hugely exciting at the same time. Mostly exciting. :)
So let's see, what else is going on with us...Oh! Shawn's sister (Heather) will be coming down on Friday to stay with us for a few days! She very thoughtfully wanted to come help us out while I'm on bed rest, and it'll be really nice to have some company. We're both really excited to have her and Noah here, we don't see nearly enough of them!
My good friend Jill is throwing us a shower at Pinedale on Saturday! I'm really looking forward to it and am so grateful for Jill's thoughtfulness. I'll have to make sure to bring my camera and put up lots of pictures!
I'm starting to relax a little about the possibility of going into labor - both because each day means less NICU time, and because we've been able to get so much prepared. If I were to go into labor today, we'd have to make a quick trip to get newborn diapers, wipes, and a couple of other small things - but other than that, we're pretty much set. It's a far cry from where we were when I started with contractions at 29 weeks!
I forgot to mention that we went to our childbirth class this past Thursday where we learned all about the epidural, narcotics, and C-Sections. Let me tell you, that epidural video scared the crap out of me! I was fine through all of the childbirth parts, the obvious pain the women were in, the groaning and pushing...but something about seeing where that needle is supposed to go freaked me out! The thought of having to stay curled up and still like that for 15 minutes while they insert the needle - and then having to stay on the bed the rest of my labor - just scared me. That's not to say I won't have an epidural...I was just surprised by how much the video shocked me! I'm still planning on going into labor with a very open mind. I'd love to have a natural childbirth and will do my best to do so. However, if I end up getting an epidural or a C-section, that's just fine.
Also, I swiped some pictures from my cousin's Facebook page (thanks, Jake!) of the Baby Shower that my Mom and sister threw me in Indiana. They're in the "Baby Shower" picture album.
Here is how Baby Maurer is growing at 35 Weeks:
Congratulations! You’re now carrying nearly 6 lbs of baby not counting their amniotic fluid, the umbilical cord, or the placenta itself. We’re impressed because that’s a LOT of work non-stop. Are you feeling proud of yourself yet? Well, get to it—you’ve done an amazing job! At this point, your little grower is almost busting out of the womb size-wise, which make their restricted attempts to move much challenging. Of course, your stubborn little sucker is still trying to move around as if they weren’t in a cramped space. And the accumulationg baby fat deposits are starting to level off so your little butter ball will be padded and warm when they head out of their super snug little home.
And how's mom doing? We’re sure you’ve noted that the contractions are picking up and despite the obvious appeal of getting the pregnancy over with at this point, try not to jump the gun too soon by declaring actual labor. Of course, if it’s getting to the point where you’re having contractions continuously— you’re in labor and yes, it’s time for the "grab your bags we’re gonna have a baby" rush. For the rest of you not yet in labor, your watermelon-betwixt-my-legs waddle is as charming as ever, not to mention the glorious ongoing back pain and fatigue. Hang in there! Once you’ve got your miracle baby on the outside, this will all be a dim memory. So, catch the cat naps whenever possible and keep yourself hydrated with water and try to imagine how all of this will (hopefully) be much funnier in hindsight.
Your doctor or midwife should soon start monitoring cervical effacement (thinning of the cervix) and dilation in order to predict labor. If your cervix is already dilated labor is probably not far away—although there are some moms who walk around with a dilated cervix for a couple of days prior to labor.
Let’s talk about pain. Reports on the intensity of pain experienced during labor and childbirth are widely varied from woman to woman. The pain experienced depends on several things including your own natural pain threshold, medication, birthing position, fetal position, previous births, your general health and the actual birthing environment. Of course, there are natural births, cesarean deliveries, spinals, IV’s and other pain medications, all of which also play into how you experience pain during child birth.
Ideally, you should attempt to be as relaxed as possible and willing to accept the pain as part of the birthing process. In reality, your experience of the birthing process is unique to your body and how you choose to respond to it. Pain is a two part process: the first part is the physical experience of the pain and the second is your emotional reaction to your experience—and that is the part you have the most control over. Choosing to accept and endure the pain of child-birth (with or without medication) can be an empowering experience for any woman, as well as making the birthing process notably easier for those assisting you."


2 more days!...
Just two more days until I am 36 weeks and, as my Doctor put it, "You can contract until your little heart's content." I had thought at our last appointment on Wednesday that I would be taken off of bed rest, but they would apparently like me to wait until I'm 36 weeks along. Which...if you hadn't noticed...is only 2 days away!! Our appointment showed that the baby's heartbeat is great, and he's measuring exactly as he should be. I've not dialated or effaced any further since last week (even though I was having some wicked contractions Tuesday night that I thought for sure were doing something), and my blood pressure is normal. Hooray! I also had the Group B Strep (GBS) test done. Basically, if it's positive, it just means I'll need have antibiotics through and IV before giving birth so that I don't pass it along to the baby. From what I understand, many people carry it around. They're not sure how we get it, but in most adults it is not dangerous and often doesn't even present symptoms. Still, I'd rather not have an IV, so I'm hoping for a negative. Our next appointment is Thursday morning.
I have had an unexpectedly eventful past couple of days! I haven't been able to attend our Wednesday night Small Group because of bed rest, and have been missing our 9th grade girls something terrible. Thankfully, Jill and Sherri (my co-leaders) have been awesome about teaching and taking care of things. Occasionally, we have an "Activity Night," which just means there is no lesson, take your kids and do something fun. Jill mentioned last week that since I haven't seen the girls in so long, she could bring the girls over to our house on Wednesday for Activity Night. I was thrilled!
I had thought we'd just hang out, talk, play board games...just chat and catch up. Little did I know that those amazingly sweet 9th grade girls had planned a surprise baby shower! My heart just melts at their awesomeness! They brought food and drinks (many of them my favorites!), and some awesome presents for Baby Maurer. The girls made him pictures and even decorated our front door with (washable ) paint that says "It's A Boy." It was one of the sweetest, most thoughtful things in the entire world.
Before last night's Worth the Wait practice, one of the girls had asked me several times if I was going to be at practice that night. I thought she had something serious she needed to talk to me about, so I got there a little early to make myself available to chat. Well, about 15 minutes before practice got started, several of my WTW girls plus Beth and Taylor (good friends of ours - Shawn stayed with their family when he was an intern and Taylor was our program passer-outer for our wedding) walked in with two ginormous baskets filled with all kinds of baby goodies! I was shocked! Here, I was ready for some heart to heart about how maybe this girl was struggling and needing some accountability...or something equally as serious...and I get presents instead!! The baskets were filled with many baby things that we need, and it was so much fun to look through all of it! Let me just tell you - this kid will not have to repeat an outfit until he's at least 6 months old! :)
I feel so blessed and love to think about how much this little guy is loved before he's even been born.
As exciting as the past two days have been, we have even more excitement coming up this weekend if you can believe it! Heather and Noah will be flying in this afternoon and staying with us for a few days. I know I've said this before, but Shawn and I are really looking forward to having them here. I'm being thrown a baby shower on Saturday at Pinedale, which I'm really looking forward to, as well! It's always fun when the people you love the most are gathered in one place for you to hang out with. :) This coming Tuesday and Thursday evenings are the Worth the Wait Dress Rehearsals. I'm excited because while I know I may go into labor before then (and Dawn is fully capable of taking over in my absence), I had originally thought for sure that we'd have a baby by this point. After Dress Rehearsals, I no longer have to worry about doing Worth the Wait in the evenings...yay! So lots of stuff happening in the next week!
A few days ago, I added some more recent pictures in the "Baby Bump" album, so feel free to check out how...ahem...large I've gotten!


Week 36 is finally here!...

Here is how Baby Maurer is developing this week:
"The countdown continues… and in fetal developments: most of the bones (soft skull aside) in their little body are now completely hardened, providing a solid structure from which they can now make their grand debut into the world. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, we are structurally ready for a secure launch. In physical fitness news: their muscle tone has also improved over these past few weeks, and you’ll definitely be impressed by their steel-like Ulnar grasp (a newborn reflex that occurs if you lay your finger in their palm). Finally, in the fluids/excretion department: the amniotic fluid-to-baby ratio has fallen over these past weeks, although they’re still swallowing fluid (building up even more meconium for that historic first poop), and some vernix caseosa. They will be more than ready to swallow and digest milk after birth. Just in case you didn’t get it quite yet: you’ve got yourself an adorable and hungry 6.5 lbs 20 inch baby—are you ready?
If you haven’t done so already, you’re going to need to take the time to do some baby-proofing. We know you don’t have loads of energy right now, but waiting until your little crawler is getting into the Drain-o or sticking their finger in a light socket just isn’t the safest strategy. There are plenty of articles and check lists to assist you in making sure your home is a safe place for your new explorer (check out sites like: amazon.com’s safety products, and BabyCenter's buying guides (follow link to safety section). Go ahead and fix those broken cupboard latches and window screens. Hide or toss out harmful chemicals, detergents and aerosols as newborns are typically very sensitive to air-born agents and toxic cleaning supplies and if exposed, babies can easily breakout with rashes, have belabored breathing and watery eyes, along with others signs of irritation. Simply thinking about removing all these products can be overwhelming, so start small if necessary. Use vinegar to dust instead of Lysol, and if you’re planning on painting the nursery, try to stay away from the industry-standard synthetic mixes. Also, think about purchasing organic or dermatologist approved cotton comforters and pillows for the crib. It’s a nuisance to think about right now—but trust us: once your child is on the outside, you’re going to have a lot less time to be dealing with baby-proofing."


baby mine, don't you cry...
I just cannot get over the fact that I am 36 Weeks and 5 Days along. In just two days, I'll be 37 weeks, which is...(drumroll)...full term!!! To the surprise of all of our Doctors and the utter shock of Shawn and I...it appears that we have proven not one, but two fetal fibronectin tests wrong! I can't tell you how thankful I am for your prayers and how in awe of God I am. He's given us peace and calm when we were so scared, He's strengthened our marriage through the fears and worries, and He's taken care of our precious son when his health was out of our control.
So, being 36 weeks along means that I am officially off bedrest! It's such a great feeling to know that while they hurt, contractions aren't a bad thing anymore. They're actually a great thing, as they're moving my body towards eventual labor. At our appointment yesterday, we found out that I'm 1-2 cm dialated, still 50% effaced, and his head is starting to move downwards (he didn't use the word "engaged," but I think that's what it's called). I've been having a lot of contractions in the past week, so I kind of thought I'd be further along. We saw our favorite doctor again (Dr. Ponder), and it was kind of fun to see his excitement that I'd made it to 36.5 weeks. He said that Baby Maurer was definitely downward, which is the ideal position for birth. In fact, he put his two fingers around the baby's head, and said, "I can actually feel his head right here," to which Baby Maurer responded by kicking. We've learned that we've got a fiesty kiddo in there, who makes it quite clear when he doesn't like something that's going on! Our next appointment is this Thursday afternoon.
Now as to the title of this blog...about the time Shawn and I got engaged, we started talking about number of children, baby names, etc. One night, we were on the phone, and I told Shawn that I had always loved this song from the movie "Beaches," called Baby of Mine, and that I had always wanted to sing that lullabye to my child. After Shawn asked me what the lyrics were, he told me that the song is actually from "Dumbo," and that HE had always loved that song and wanted to sing the lullabye to his child. What's ironic is that I had never seen Dumbo, and Shawn had never seen Beaches (actually, I still haven't seen Dumbo, and Shawn still hasn't seen Beaches)! I often put the headphones on my stomach and play the song for our baby. I love to sing it to him already, and since we'd begun pre-term labor, couldn't help but tearing up as I sang, "from your head down to your toes, you're not much goodness knows. but you're so precious to me, sweet as can be...baby of mine." I don't know if Shawn and I both hearing and loving that song was mere coincidence, or God fusing our lives together before we ever met, but that particular song has been very special to both of us.
We had our Baby Shower at Pinedale this past Saturday, which was so much fun! We got all kinds of great items - a Bumbo seat that converts into a booster seat, some bathtime fun stuff, adorable clothes and blankets, car shades, wipes and diapers, a sleep positioner, and tons of other great stuff! Jill and Laura did such a great job planning, and I had a blast.
Shawn's sister, Heather, and nephew, Noah were here from Friday to Wednesday this past weekend, and what a blessing they were! We hadn't seen Noah since Thanksgiving, so we both really enjoyed getting to know him again. I have to tell you that he is just about the cutest, happiest child I have ever met. Even with a cold and teething, he spent most of his time smiling. Once Noah got used to Cole's "kisses" and Cole got used to not being able to play with Noah's toys, the two of them got along just great! I'm pretty sure Cole was actually depressed when he checked every room for them on Wednesday afternoon and realized they were gone. It was also nice to have some company while I was working from home, and Heather helped us get some of our household cleaning done I've had to put off, and got us all caught up on laundry! We don't see nearly enough of either one of our families, so it was really nice to have some of "home" here.
Shawn and I were able to get a few things we felt like we really needed before the baby gets here (mostly breastfeeding stuff, cotton swabs...stuff like that), so we are now officially prepared (go ahead and laugh, I know how ironic that statment sounds to you who are already parents). Our nursery is set up and ready to go, things with work are in line for me to take maternity leave at any moment, and we're just pretty much ready to meet this kiddo!
I have to admit that I've been struggling with complaining the past couple of days. In the past week, I gained 10 pounds due to swelling (ridiculous! who gains 10 lbs from swelling?!), and am just finding it increasingly difficult to move, sleep, get up, sit down, breathe...pretty much anything! I'm finding that I can be a little cranky, and unfortunately, I've been taking that out on Shawn for the past day or two. I was just thinking this morning that I need to knock it off, though. I was thinking about my Mom, who worked at a grocery store up until right before she delivered both my older brother and I. I can't imagine how swollen her feet got in those last months - and to think that when she was pregnant with me, she had to go home and then take care of a baby. I was also thinking about a friend of mine who told me that she started swelling like I am now at 5 months....and here I am complaining about a week of this. Not to mention...hello!!...this is exactly what I prayed for and wanted...to still be pregnant at this point! So seriously, if you see me being cranky or hear me complaining too much about pregnancy woes - I give you full permission to tell me to knock it off and think about how much worse it could be!
I'm sorry to have written so much, I just haven't been able to update in awhile, and so much has been going on! As always, thank you so much for your prayers for this little one, and thank you for caring enough about our little family to continue reading our updates.


to make you smile... read this the other day and it made me laugh out loud. I thought you all might enjoy it too:
"If you’ve paid attention to any pregnancy books, you’ll read that most babies are born between 36 and 41 weeks. You’ve heard that, haven’t you?
I swear, it seems to me that every woman, especially first time moms, think that their baby is going to come at 36 weeks. Here’s a hint: Most likely, it won’t.
I know, I know. I’m a mean person. How could I tell you that your baby isn’t going to come today? You know you’re thinking that.
Wait- what was that twinge- is that labor? Ooh, maybe it was labor? Could it be labor?
I know it’s hard to hear that, but the sooner that you learn to accept the cold hard truth that early labors happen to “other people,” the sooner you can get on with the rest of your pregnancy. Worrying about whether or not today will be the day isn’t going to make the baby come any faster. Trust me, I’ve tried.
You’ve been looking in the mirror and you’ve wondered how you could possibly get any bigger. There’s no room for the baby in there! You just KNOW you have to go into labor early.
Unfortunately, your body has other plans. It plans on keeping that baby in there forever!
Think of it this way: Would you rather have the baby stay “longer” now, when it is a fetus in your belly, or move back in after college? At least now, if the baby is in your belly, people will feel sorry for you and bring ice cream and cake. When the kid moves in after college? They’ll just gossip behind your back and call you a bad parent.
Staying pregnant for a few more weeks is totally worth it."


37 Weeks!...
I know, it's hard for me to believe, too! I've been contracting like crazy for the past day or so, and it's so nice to not have to immediately go to bedrest and freak out mode! Just as the contractions start to get strong and regular, they kind of fizzle out, so while it doesn't look like I'm in true prelabor, it may not be too far away. Here's what is going on with Baby Maurer in his 37th week in the womb:
"It’s the calm before the storm. Changes in your baby's weight have leveled off with only a few ounces of fat added this week. At this point your baby should weigh in at around 7 lbs and 20 inches (with boys somewhat heavier and longer than girls). Happily, as far as internal organs go, they are now developed enough to function in the outside world although the oh-so-important immune system is still developing and will continue to do so after birth. With a large boost of antibodies provided by breast milk when nursing begins. Fighting infection and staying healthy should be well within their physical capacity when your little fighter is born.
Your health care provider will assess the likelihood of where you are relative to your upcoming birthing process—seeing as you’ve now arrived at that waiting phase that could turn into labor at any time. Various charming indicators such as loose stools, expelling your mucus plus, a dilated cervix and increased Braxton-Hicks contractions are all signs that labor is only a few days away. The infamous water breaking may or may not be your first true indicator that labor has commenced. However, water breaks for only 15% of mothers and despite what Hollywood would have us believe, is more frequently just a slow leak rather than a large gush.
Be patient: if labor doesn’t start this week, or even next, keep in mind that only 4-5% of women actual deliver on their predicted due date. What’s more if this is your first pregnancy, you can expect to be anywhere from two days to two weeks late. You can distract yourself by keeping track of fetal movements, mostly to reassure yourself that all is well with your little miracle. In the off chance that movements do start to decrease substantially, try not to freak out and instead, call your doctor of midwife and discuss it with them."


i should get an award...
...for having the most contractions in a pregnancy without actually producing a baby.
We had our annual big to-do Salem Pregnancy Care Center banquet last night...quite possibly SPCC's biggest event of the year. The staff spent the morning setting up and decorating the banquet hall, during which I was on my feet most of the time. When I got home, I took a quick nap and Shawn and I got ready and headed downtown for the banquet. After we ate our dinner, I noticed that the light, inconsistent contractions I'd been having all day were getting stronger and a little bit more consistent. I started timing them and writing down the times (I'm sure everyone at our table thought I was strange since I was checking the time on my cell phone every few minutes). The contractions were coming at about every 2-5 minutes, lasting for about 50-60 seconds, and were getting stronger as time drew on. I knew we were supposed to time them for an hour, and I really wanted to stay until the end of the banquet, so we just stayed put and I kept timing.
At the end of the banquet, Shawn and I decided that we probably needed to not stay and help clean up like we would have normally done, but that we should head home...just in case. On our way to find my boss to let her know what was going on, I had to face several people with whom I needed to make small-talk...NOT an easy task when you're having contractions and wondering if you might actually be in labor! So we headed home, changed clothes, got comfy on the couch, and I grabbed some chocolate (I was thinking, "If I do go into labor tonight, what would I really want to eat before I have to go to the hospital and not be able to eat until I deliver?" Chocolate. The answer is always chocolate.)
I was still having regular contractions, and Shawn started timing them using this cool website www.contractionmaster.com. I was having them about 3-6 minutes apart, and they were lasting anywhere from 16 seconds to 1 minute 50 seconds. I was ready to head to the hospital, but Shawn reminded me that I really wanted to do as much laboring as possible while we were at home. So, home we stayed. At around 10:30 (after about three hours of regular contractions), they slowed down to about every 10 minutes. I went to bed around 11:30...I woke up a couple of times with some strong contractions, but was able to go back to sleep fairly quickly. I had a couple of contractions this morning, but nothing more than usual.
So there you have it - lotsa contractions and no baby. So for you mammas who are reading this - does this mean anything? Am I close to labor, or are some women just more "contract-y" than others?
I hope this post doesn't sound like I'm complaining, by the way. I actually get excited when I do start having regular contractions because I really am hoping that labor is just around the corner. I'm totally fine with having the contractions, it's the "is this it? should we go to the hospital? should we stay? what do we need to grab if we do go to the hospital? should i try to sleep? are they getting stronger? was that one long contraction or two short ones?" kind of stuff that I'm growing weary of. If I don't go into labor beforehand, our next appointment is tomorrow (Thursday) at 4:20.
I installed our carseat last night (much easier than I thought it'd be, by the way), and the mirror-thing that lets you see the baby through the rearview mirror. I'm pretty sure I did that wrong...I don't think the mirror is supposed to tilt...so I'll have Shawn fix that, but other than that, we're good to go! At 29 weeks, I made a list of baby things that I wanted to get done/have bought when I was in the "oh my gosh, he could come any day!" mode. The very last thing on that list was installing the carseat. It is SUCH a great feeling to just be ready. So we're ready whenever he is!


no baby yet...
So our Doctor's appointment yesterday was fairly undramatic (about time, huh?). No real changes going on, except that all of the contractions I've been having are softening my cervix. The Dr. said that I'm still 1-2 cm dialated, and that he could actually feel the baby's head. Shawn asked him when they start talking about induction, and he said probably not until I'm 40 weeks along, at least. Because the standard of heading to the hospital when contractions are five minutes apart and lasting for 45 seconds just doesn't seem to apply to us, I asked the Dr. how we know when it's time for the hospital. He told us that we should base it on intensity, rather than frequency. So, I guess when the contractions have me doubling over is when we'll head in again. Until then, it looks like I just get to have these fun pains in the comfort of my own home.
The Dr. did seem a little concerned about my swelling, and said that if my blood pressure went back up, we might have to discuss induction. However, I tend to think that my blood pressure started climbing because of all the stress I was feeling at that period. It's completely stabalized since, so I don't think it'll be an issue. He also suggested putting books or blankets at the bottom of the bed in order to keep my feet elevated throughout the night. I had never heard of that - but we tried it last night - and it worked!! My ankles looked somewhat ankle-like this morning!!
So, it looks like things are progressing very normally for me right now, which is such a relief. I think I've been able to drop my guard a little bit and finally admit that it could very well be another two weeks before we have this baby. It's almost like I've been afraid to seriously suggest that we could actually go to our due date...but it's looking more and more like it's a possibility. Don't get me wrong, I'm totally ready to hold this baby in my arms, but I don't feel like I'm on high alert for any day now.


week 38...eek!...
Okay, I know I say this every week, but seriously...can you believe it?! We've made it to 38 weeks!! I am just thrilled beyond belief. Along those same lines...remember me saying how much it freaked me out to hear on CNN that there are such-and-such days left in the election, because Baby Maurer is due just five days after that? As I'm typing this, I'm watching CNN and seeing that there are 9 days left of this election. 9 days? 9 days! Crazy.
So I've been feeling pretty good...both physically and emotionally. Probably my biggest complaint right now is that I gave up hopes of getting a full night's sleep a few months ago. What with the peeing, the contractions, the pelvic pain, and the vivid dreams, it's been quite the feat to get sleep at night. For those of you who have been pregnant, I realize this is nothing new and is a very common problem late in pregnancy. Thankfully, I'm able to sleep in a little bit later occasionally and take a nap every once in awhile to compensate...and seem to be functioning just fine! Beyond that, I'm feeling pretty good. The swelling has leveled off (seriously, putting books underneath the end of our bed helped a ton!), work has decreased in stress, and I'm just thrilled to be 38 weeks and in the clear.
We're still slowly working on baby stuff (washing stuff, shopping for deals, etc.), but we finally don't have any last minute pressing things to do before he gets here. While I'm getting more and more nervous about the labor, I'm also getting more and more excited to see this baby - to see who he looks like, what his personality is like, and how God has knit him together in my womb.
In case you're wondering what is going on with our little one (who is hopefully nice and chubby now!), here is the update from babgaga.com:
"As you know, you've arrived at the final leg of your pregnancy journey, and if you're still carrying your little love around, they've just about reached their birth weight (somewhere between 6 to 8 pounds is average depending on whether they're a boy or girl). There really isn't a lot to report on baby this week, so lets do a quick recount of where we're at: all internal organ systems are pretty much ready for the outside world, they've got their meconium stockpile building up (their first black baby poo), lots of healthy baby fat, a rapidly developing brain (that'll keep growing with them for years to come), and they've more or less reached official baby status-- all they need to do is "head out" and say hello to the rest of the world and especially their ready-to-pop momma.
And how's mom doing? Hang in there momma, it's only a matter of time before the obnoxious and painful fake contractions you felt in your back, lower belly, and pelvic region will be replaced by real contractions... which are even more obnoxious and painful. You'll know when the real ones kick in because they're more intensely painful (woo!) and they spread over the entire uterus, through the lower back and into your pelvis.
If you're having trouble sleeping (which about 100% of women in this phase of pregnancy are), try to take little catnaps during the day, get one of those neato full-body pregnancy pillows, or at least lots of pillows that you can shove between your legs and under your belly to support your awkward shape more comfortably."


flower power, my friend. Flower power...
Our appointment this morning was finally an encouraging one! First of all, we saw Rhonda who is the nurse that we saw early in our pregnancy when we had so many spotting scares. She was actually at our SPCC banquet this past Tuesday and it looks like she wants to get involved in Worth the Wait! But I digress. My weight, blood pressure, and urine results were all good. AND...without going into some of the gross details, she said that it looks like we could go into labor within the next week. She said that we'd need to schedule our weekly appointment, but that she honestly didn't think we'd make it until then. Of course, this was music to my ears - but I'm trying to not take those words as gospel truth. No need to set myself up for frustration in a week's time!
And yet... I can't help but be REALLY excited!
Really, really REALLY excited!
Baby Maurer is still dancing away in there. Shawn got to see him rolling around the other night, actually. He's seen him moving before, but the baby rolled back and forth for several good minutes! I suppose I'm used to it because it does it a few times throughout the day, so it was funny to see Shawn's amazed and slightly weirded out reaction. :) I can't blame him - it does make you wonder if maybe the baby will really come out as an alien or something. I'm still contracting away, but I don't even bother looking at the clock unless they're strong enough to make me sit down.
Sleeping is still frustratingly difficult for me. I'm getting about three or four hours of non-consecutive sleep a night. I know...it's great practice...but I think I'd rather be using this time to bank sleep and be well-rested for the chaos of labor. Oh well, there's not much I can do about it, so I'm just trying to be productive when I'm up in the wee hours of the night.
As somewhat of an aside, but still completely relative, I feel like I should warn you that I'm turning into a hippie...at least according to Shawn. Personally, I like to think I'm learning how to save money and be a wise steward of our finances...but it makes me laugh when Shawn calls me a hippie, nonetheless. :) It all started with cloth diapering, my friends, and the slippery slope hasn't stopped. We decided to cloth diaper primarily because of the financial savings, but also for the impact on the environment and the health of our baby (apparently babies are much less prone to diaper rash in cloth diapers). Then...I read that the best way to get a stain out of a cloth diaper is to put a little lemon juice on it and let it dry in the sun.
So of course, we needed a clothesline. Then I started thinking about how nice it would be to dry ALL of our clothes on the clothesline and to not have to run the dryer! I've only started doing this in the past two weeks, so I'm not sure how this is affecting our electricity bill, but hey...every penny counts! Not to mention again - great for the environment. For some reason, Shawn was really hung up (pun intended) on the thought of us having a clothesline in our backyard, so I was able to compromise and find one that retracts. Shawn installed it into the side of our house, and you just pull out this line and hook it into a hook that he drilled into a tree. Viola...instant clothesline! When you're finished, the line just reels back into the holder thing and nobody is the wiser.
So then, I started doing some research on the best kind of laundry detergent to use on cloth diapers since most scented detergents aren't good for babies. Guess what I found - a recipe to make your own laundry detergent. Completely toxin free, completely safe for babies, completely great for the environment (you don't have to buy and then throw out those plastic containers), and best of all - it's like 12 cents per load or something crazy cheap like that. I haven't actually done this yet - we just bought a huge thing of detergent that I want to use up first. But I will. Maybe I'll even wear a floor length skirt and a flower in my hair while I'm mixing it up.
So then I thought, "Woah. If you can make your own detergent that works as well as regular detergent, but is free of toxins...what other household products can you make?" I'll bet you were wondering the same thing, huh? Well, let me tell you...lots! It turns out that vinegar works just as well as any other kind of cleaning substance (even bleach, I've found) at cleaning pretty much any surface (i.e. dusting, toilet bowl, shower, etc.). It actually disinfects at the same time as cleaning. If you add baking soda to vinegar, it fizzes...much like scrubbing bubbles, and works WAY better than the bottle of Scrubbing Bubbles I usually use. While I haven't used it for this purpose, I've also read that vinegar can be used as a fabric softener, too. Oh yeah, and my Mom told me that it works better than bleach at whitening white laundry...from experience, that's true.
So there you have it - my confessions. During early pregnancy, I did a lot of research into what cleaning chemicals I wasn't supposed to be around, and it turned out that it was dangerous for me to inhale pretty much all of the cleaning agents we used. That fact, combined with doing research about caring for cloth diapers, led me to realize that there are a LOT of ways to clean and disinfect without toxins...especially important when having an infant around. The major bonus is that it really helps with our monthly budget, too!
I should also add that I still love me some Purell and we recently bought three large containers of Clorox disinfectant wipes to keep our diaper bag stocked. I'm absolutely not all about using ONLY "organic" cleaners. I just like learning new ways to do things just as well, but more cheaply. I promise, I wasn't like this growing up...or even in our early marriage. I seriously get excited...REALLY excited....when I discover something (like homemade laundry detergent) new to try. I like to think God's working in my heart and mind to transition me from being focused on convenience to being focused on frugality and health...
or I could just be a hippie.



Doctor, Doctor, Gimmie the News...Shawn and I had another eventful night on Saturday night. I'm not even sure where it started, it's a little bit of a blur right now. During the day on Saturday, I did my best to "take it easy," as I've been told. I did some laundry, did the dishes, and just slowly worked on getting some things done around the house. I felt a couple of small contractions early in the day, so I cancelled the coffee date I had and put my feet up until I couldn't feel anymore. Around 9:00 or so, I started to feel more contractions, so I parked myself on the couch for the evening and started timing them. I think they were coming about every 20 minutes or so, but I was really having a difficult time knowing what would be considered a contraction. I was starting to be concerned, but didn't want to stress myself into having even MORE contractions, so we did our best to stay calm.We decided we'd make it an early night and went to bed around 10:45, hoping that some sleep and further rest might stop them. I woke up to contractions a few times during the night, but again, tried not to worry. Around...I guess 2:00 or 2:30, I could tell they were coming more frequently. I fell back asleep, and around 2:45, I woke up again and started timing them. From my best (and very sleepy) guess, they were coming at about every 10 minutes...or 6 per hour...the threshold for when our Doctor told us to head into the hospital. I wanted to stall as long as possible and give Shawn a chance to rest (and maybe give the contractions a chance to miraculously stop), so I tried everything I could think of to stop or slow them - deep breathing, emptying my bladder, drinking some water, etc. I realized around 3:15 or 3:30 that they were only getting stronger, so I woke Shawn up and told him that I thought we probably needed to head in. Rather than being grumpy or upset (like I probably would've been!) Shawn kind of paused for a moment, sleepily said, "okay," and gave me a reassuring sleepy smile. So off we went. We got to the hospital around 3:45-ish. When we checked in, we saw Rhonda Smith, who is the mother of one of our high school boys (who is very dear to Shawn's heart) who was also on Worth the Wait for two years. I can't tell you how comforting it was to see a familiar face. She checked us in, and told the nurse to take good care of us. :) Throughout the night, she popped in to make sure we were okay, got Shawn coffee, asked me if I wanted ice chips, and just gave us a chance to get our minds off of what was going on. I was hooked up to the monitors and had my blood pressure, temperature, etc. taken (all normal). Baby Maurer is NOT a fan of the monitors, by the way! The nurse would no sooner get his heartbeat when he'd move to the other side, and she'd have to pick it up again. Then he'd move back, and she'd have to move the monitor again. They played this game several times before he finally accepted his fate and stayed somewhat still. :) Once they strapped the contractions monitor on, he proceeded to directly kick at it a few times every hour...just to make sure we remembered that he didn't like it, I guess. :) The monitor was showing that my contractions were about 2-3 minutes apart. They checked my cervix, took a urine sample, and gave me a shot of Tributelene. The shot once again made me shaky, but it lessened the contractions. While they continued to monitor, Shawn read a magazine (we were smart this time and brought things for us both to read), and I dozed on and off. Awhile later, the contractions came back. They weren't showing up as very strong on the monitor, but they were more painful than they'd been. The nurse moved the monitor a couple of times to see if they could get a better read, but as strongly as I felt them, they never did show up quite as strong on the monitor. Regardless, it meant that the contractions were coming back. So...I got another shot of Tributelene and an IV (I guess in case the latest contractions were because of being dehydrated). We then waited awhile longer while they monitored us and waited for the Doctor to see me. This time, the shot made me super shaky, but it seemed to be working. Then we had to wait for the doctor...and wait...and wait...and wait...or at least that's what it seemed like to us. Hence the blog title, because all that waiting made me sing out of sheer boredom. :) She did eventually come, checked my cervix (thinning slightly, but not enough to concern her), and discharged us. So we waited awhile longer for a nurse to come around and take the IV out/take off the monitors. I think we left the hospital around 10:00am-ish. Apparently having contractions makes me super hungry, so we again grabbed some breakfast (Bojangles, in case you're wondering) and headed home. Poor Shawn had to grab a shower and head to church, but I was able to head straight to bed and sleep until the afternoon.So a quick word about my husband. He is the most amazing man ever. He's taken AMAZE-ing care of me and has been nothing short of selfless and giving. I felt awful, really terrible, about dragging us to the hospital on a Saturday night (he gets up super early on Sundays and works from 6am to late), and he's never made me feel guilty or badly. He has been so calm and reassuring for me, even though I'm sure he's worried inside, and he's been a safe place for me to cry and vent my fears. Since we've been home, Shawn's been taking care of everything so that I can be on semi-bed rest. He's seriously done everything...from the dishes, to taking the dog out, to getting stuff ready for the baby, to fixing the carpet threshold (which is what he's working on right now). He makes sure I have enough water, have enough rest, have enough food, am comfortable, and am safe. He prays over me and our baby when I start to feel contractions and is constantly reminding me that God knows things we don't and has everything under control. Even beyond that, when it's the middle of the night and I'm on a hospital bed, looking rough and scared, he tells me that he thinks I'm beautiful and am doing an amazing job of taking care of our baby. And even though I know he doesn't understand why that makes me cry like crazy, he holds me while I do so. I know that's a little more personal than I usually write in these blogs, but I just wanted those of you who are Shawn's family to know that you've raised an amazing man...one whom I pray that our son looks and acts like. And to my family, I want you guys to know that I'm very well taken care of. So...that's what we've been through lately. I had a handful of contractions on Sunday night, but they slowed with rest and eventually stopped with sleep. I'm trying to use the holiday weekend to force myself to keep my feet up as much as possible. Our next appointment is Thursday at 11:30. I'm eager to be seen again, to make sure that everything is okay, and that nothing is dialated or effaced. I'm also a little worried that I'll officially be put on bedrest, as I'm not sure what that would mean for my job.We also have an appointment tomorrow (Tuesday) at noon at Forsyth Pediatrics to interview a potential pediatrician, which should be fun. :) Please continue praying for us as you think of us. Please pray specifically that Baby Maurer would be in there as long as his healthy for him and will be born in God's perfect timing. Pray that God would be growing and developing him so that he'll have as little time as possible (or maybe no time at all!) in the NICU. Thank you so much for loving and supporting our family.


Finally Some Good News...Since Monday morning, I haven't had any further contractions!! For the past couple of weeks, I've had contractions pretty much every night. They range from once an hour to once every half hour to well...often enough to send us to the hospital. It's been so comforting to not have had ANY for the past two nights in a row. While I can't say for sure why the contractions have stopped, I have a feeling it's because I'm making a conscious effort to be on my butt as much as possible. I'm so excited to finally have a little bit of relief from constant worry and timing those dang things! :) While we're praying that our little guy stays in there for awhile longer, we're also trying to use our time wisely since realistically...we have no idea when he'll decide to make an appearance. We've been busy trying to make sure we have as much in order as possible. Shawn actually just finished staining our crib this past weekend and will soon be putting it together. I'm so excited to have a place for him to sleep! Shawn and I had our pediatric office interview yesterday, which went well. Our child will officially be a patient at Forsyth Pediatrics, and we were thoroughly impressed with the office (thanks Mike and Jill for recommending them!). My favorite part is that they have on staff lactation educators with whom I can have an appointment for free. Hiring a lactation consultant can be pretty expensive, so I was really excited to hear that if I'm having any troubles with nursing that I could be seen at our pediatrician's office.Our next appointment is tomorrow (Thursday) at 11:30. I'm sure this will be more following up about our last adventure to the hospital. Please pray that I continue to not be contracting and that nothing is dialated or effaced or in any other way, out of the ordinary. Baby Maurer (who still doesn't have a name, by the way) is still just a-movin'! His favorite place seems to be right under my ribs on my right hand side. I'm not sure what exactly he's nestling up there, but it's hard as a rock! So far it's not been uncomfortable, he just sometimes feels like he's going to burst right through my skin. Sometimes I wonder how on earth my 5"3 body is going to fit Shawn's long-legged son. :) Occasionally we'll lay down to watch TV and hook one of our iPods up to headphones, put them on my tummy, and let the iPod shuffle through our songs. It's fun to feel him kicking and moving more with certain songs...it's obvious that he already loves music! He (the baby) was listening to Shawn's iPod on shuffle when he started going nutso in there! He was squirming and kicking and just going crazy. We checked to see what song was making him want to dance so much, and the song that had come up on shuffle was a Detour song (Detour is a band Shawn was in during high school/college)! He kept up his little dance party until the song was over, and it was hilarious! I told Shawn that he hears his Daddy singing at least every Sunday morning, so there's a very good chance that he recognized Shawn's voice. How cool is that?!


Our Update...We had an appointment yesterday and found out that my cervix is still not showing signs of labor (it's thinning slightly, but not enough to even assign a number of dialation to it), which is GREAT news! Our Doctor seemed encouraged that I haven't had any bleeding or anything else that is scary. She was the first doctor to actually say the words, "bedrest." She told me that I would continue being on "modified bedrest," until the contractions subsided. When Shawn asked her to clarify what modified bedrest meant, she said, "Well, you know, you shouldn't be walking around Wal-Mart or taking a trip to the mall, stuff like that. If you have something that you HAVE to do, then that's okay, just take it easy." So there you have it. I had pretty much stopped having contractions until last night, when I started getting them again. I put my feet up and let Shawn get me water, food, etc., and only got up to use the restroom. Within a couple of hours, they'd lessened in intensity and frequency, and by the time we went to bed, they'd pretty much stopped completely. YAY! I guess that just means that I did too much yesterday and need to take it a little bit easier. It's such a relief to feel that the contractions are slowing down, but it's a little daunting to realize how LITTLE I have be doing right now in order to keep them slowed down. It's been an adjustment to realize that if I work a day in the office, then I'm just done for the rest of the day. I can't take a quick trip to the store, can't get a load of laundry done, can't straighten stuff up or do the dishes. I know that many women dream of this and I AM trying to enjoy it as much as possible...but it's difficult to see my house not clean, or to have this list of baby stuff I want to get done and know that I have to get it done in very VERY small bits. It's been very easy for me to go overboard and not realize how much I'm doing until I'm in pain. I'm grateful, though, that the bed rest is only modified and not complete. I'm grateful that I'm able to do baby stuff in small chunks, I could not be able to do it at all. I'm grateful that Shawn is watching out for me and is great about helping me do things I can't do on my own right now. I'm grateful for so much love and support from friends and family. I'm grateful that I've not gone into labor yet and that he's continued to grow for another week. I'm grateful that there is something I can do to stop the contractions. Things could be SO much worse, it's easy to overlook that fact.


31 Weeks!...
According to babygaga.com, here is how little Maurer is developing::"Your not-so-little-one is just a bit closer to their birth weight and height at around 4 pounds and 17 inches. With each added layer of baby fat, your baby's skin starts to look more and more like it will when they finally get to see the light of day. The heavy news: you can expect your miracle-gro muffin to gain about a half a pound of weight per week from now until about two weeks before birth. Great. That's just what you needed. Even more weight to carry around!Your baby's still-developing immune system has gained substantial strength over the past few weeks getting them in full gear to face our disease-ridden world o’ wonders. Obviously, a large majority of your child’s immune strength will be derived from exposure to breast milk as well as the outside elements. Their cute little noggin’ (which could already be covered with luscious locks or just purty peach fuzz), is still soft because the skull bones have not yet fused together. As much as that sounds a little too vulnerable, their “skull softness” allows for a much smoother passage through the birth canal during labor—something both you and your little swimmer will appreciate when it’s finally time to “go!” Also, some babies will have that “soft spot” on their head for up to one year after birth. "


One Thing At A Time...is my new motto. I'm working hard at breaking down the things that I need to get done in smaller bits and tackling them little by little throughout my day - or over the course of several days, if need be. The past couple of days I've been working on getting my hospital bag ready. I made a list of things I'll need and we went to Wal-Mart on Sunday to get them. Yesterday, I organized and packed everything, including a list of "Last Minute" things that can't be packed yet - cell phone charger, camera, etc. It's SUCH a huge relief to have that done and taken care of! This past weekend I was also able to wash the car seat cover, the Boppy covers, and our bedding set. Shawn and our good friend Mike put together our crib this weekend, too! I took my last "Baby Bump" pictures next to the crib if you want to check them out. We don't have the mattress in yet, so we put the bedding in there just to see how the colors would look. It still looks like bedrest has helped to slow down the contractions significantly, which is awesome! I still find that if I do a lot in one day that they pick up again, so it doesn't look like we'll be able to taper off of the bedrest anytime soon. Our next appointment is Thursday morning (7:50am), when we're actually just meeting with a nurse. I assume they'll check my cervix and am hoping that everything is still as it should be. My goal right now is always to just through the week in front of me without having had this kiddo, so I really look forward to Sundays when I "move up" a week. I'm really looking forward to being at 32 weeks, just because the test they gave us in the hospital indicated that we had a 50% chance of going into labor before I was 32 weeks. I'm stubborn and just want to prove that stupid test wrong. :) Shawn and I will begin our five weeks of "Birth and Beginnings" Childbirth classes at the hospital on Monday, so it would also be nice to not go into labor until we finish those up! I try not to get too far ahead of myself, though, because that leads to me getting overwhelmed and freaking out. So...one thing at a time...


still no baby!...That's right, I'm quickly approaching Week 32 and Little Maurer is still safely tucked away and growing...Yay! While we've not had an ultrasound to confirm it, I have however, become aware that I am harboring a ninja in my uterus. This alleged ninja seems to rest throughout the day and practice his super secret ninja skills in the evening and at night. It would appear that he practices bicycle kicks especially diligently when I lay down to sleep for the night. We're unsure of what this will mean for his birth, we're just hoping he comes out in one of those black outfits with just his eyes showing - maybe with numchucks in his hand. Regardless of whether he's a ninja or not, we're just grateful to feel him moving and so active!Our appointment this morning was a good one. My cervix isn't showing any signs of labor, and the baby's heartbeat is nice and strong. Blood pressure was good, fundal height was good, and all the tests were good. As a complete aside, I have to admit that I never - in a million years - thought that I would be blogging about my cervix. Just wanted to throw it out there that it's a little weird to be updating you all on the condition of my cervix every week. Don't worry, this won't remain a habit. :) I hadn't had any contractions on Tuesday and most of Wednesday. I worked at the office on Wednesday and went to church Wednesday night, and by the time we came home, I was starting to have them every forty-five minutes or so. They were kind of strong, so I was a little scared, but I only felt a couple during the night and one before our appointment this morning. I've been resting since I got home and they've significantly slowed. Our nurse said that they might have to consider putting me on complete bed rest. If she meant to threaten me to rest more -- it worked! It's frustrating, but I'd much rather slow down a bit more than be on complete bed rest. I asked if, because of all the contractions I was having, I would be more likely to deliver before my due date, to which she basically answered, "not necessarily." She said some women have early contractions and end up going two weeks past their due date, and some women have early contractions and end up going into pre-term labor...there doesn't seem to be much of a rhyme or reason that science knows at this point. It was comforting to hear that at this point, I'm probably just as likely to go over my due date as I am to deliver pre-term. She also mentioned that the doctors will often take their patient off of bed rest around 35 or 36 weeks if the cervix is still closed. The nurse also reassured us that even if he were born today, he would be just fine. I knew that, but it's always nice to hear!They still want us to come in weekly at this point, so we'll be seeing Dr. Oliver on Thursday at 2:20. Beyond all of that stuff, I'm still feeling pretty good. I'm huge, or at least I feel that way! I actually don't think that I feel huge because of the size of my belly, I think I feel huge because of how much work it is for me to get up, to get out of bed, or to move with any kind of relative speed. I was reading out loud yesterday (the book of Isaiah, they were kind of boring chapters, so I was reading out loud to keep myself focused) and I'm not kidding...I had to stop and take a few breaths about halfway through every chapter. I got winded reading out loud!! Oh, I also forgot to add that I'm getting hot flashes like I'm going through menopause. If I lay down for a nap, I usually wake up half an hour later because I'm sweating so much - gross, I know! None of those things are particularly annoying or frustrating, though...just typical pregnancy stuff that is SO worth it! I have to say thank you to you all for your prayers and support. You have no idea how much it means to us and helps us feel as though we're not alone in this. We appreciate it so much more than you know!


happy friday...Although I don't really have much to update, I know that many of you check this blog often to make sure we haven't had the baby yet - so I wanted to make sure you knew that I am still pregnant! I wish I had some exciting (non baby-might-come-early related!) news to share, but I'll be honest...my life is pretty boring at this point. I've been watching a lot of political coverage, and it always freaks me out when they say, "only fifty-blah blah days left until Election Day!" because Baby Maurer is due just five days after Election Day, and that means it's only fifty-blah blah days until he's here. Shawn's joked around (or at least I think he's joking) about naming our son after whoever wins the election. So...Barack or John...or even more fun...Obama Maurer or McCain Maurer. Ha Ha - so your vote might impact more than you realize! :) Because Shawn knows that the best way to keep me still is to put a good novel in my hands, we went to the library a week ago to find just that. I decided that bed rest was probably a great time to tackle some classics I've been wanting to read, so I just finished "The Sound and the Fury," and "The Old Man and the Sea." Beyond keeping up with work and baby stuff, that's about the extent of my days right now! I read this today and it made me laugh, so I thought I would leave you with this story:There’s a byproduct at the end of pregnancy that many women do not know about: sciatic nerve pain.Your sciatic nerve is one really big nerve that goes from your butt down to your ankle. If you’re pregnant and feel a little nerve pain anywhere from your bottom all the way down your leg, congrats, that is your sciatic nerve going off.For some reason I’ll never exactly understand, I decided to go to the mega-store IKEA while nearing the end of my second pregnancy. I was heavily pregnant, carrying a monster baby in my belly and decided to browse futons and twin beds along with the rest of my city.By the time I left IKEA, I could not walk. To make a long story short, I would not walk “normally” again until three weeks after my baby was born. Basically, my child was laying in an odd position and was pressing on my nerve.I tried everything: ice, heat, rubbing, stretching, laying on the opposite side. Nothing worked. It got to the point where I could not walk to the bathroom without wanting to collapse in tears.The highlight of this experience would be heading to the local Target store to buy a few needed items. Normally, I’d stay in the car with my nerve pain, but I was bored and wanted out.I made it about halfway through the store before it happened: I couldn’t take one more step. I was already huge, which drew enough attention as it was. Add in the fact that I had a major limp and sort of drug my leg behind me, and I was a walking circus act.Women would come up to me and offer their condolences. “How much longer?” they’d ask. They’d always have a look of sadness when I told them the number of weeks left.“You poor thing,” they’d mutter before walking off.My husband finally came to my rescue and made me climb aboard the shopping cart, my big belly facing outwards, performing its own version of Titanic’s “I’m the king of the world!”I’m pretty sure everyone steered clear of our cart, with my belly pointing out as one heck of a hood ornament on the end.


Week 32...One more week down! I also now officially consider myself in my 8th month of pregnancy. Here's what's going on with Baby Maurer this week (be warned, some of the information is a tad gross):"In the latest womb reports, your amazing baby has now developed sensitivity to temperature! This means you’ll probably get a swift kick if you put a hot pad on your ginormous belly. For the Elton John lovers out there-- yes, baby’s got blue eyes. At this point, all babies do, although depending on their chromosomal disposition, this could easily change after birth (or even between now and labor), but for the time being, blue it is. Thanks to their recently matured lungs and a remarkably strong immune system, over 90% of babies born in their 32nd week, survive premature births. So it’s pretty much a done deal. Even if your little monkey’s planning on heading out early, their survival odds are in everyone’s favor. Time to celebrate (no, no, wait until after the birth to crack open the champagne!) We’re talking baby-showers and alcohol-free punch! And how's mom doing? If your family or significant other is around and involved, it’s probably time to start discussing what’s going to happen when you really go into labor. Of course, the delivery itself can be quite overwhelming for first-time viewers, so make sure and openly discuss the fact there will be blood, sweat, mucous, and possibly even a bit of poop (if you didn’t know already, it’s likely that while in labor and pushing, you also push out a bit of the ol’ number 2—it’s totally normal if not a little disgusting). Even the weak-stomached birthing buddies can still help to make the labor-process more bearable with breathing assistance, massages, and constant reassurance and cheering: "Yay! That was a great contraction honey!" (Now run! Before she breaks your wrist!). For the more blood-bold and not so faint of heart, the positions of cameraman, baby-catcher, and/or umbilical cord-cutter are always available—just talk to your doctor or mid-wife beforehand so they can be prepared to deal with an extra person during the birthing process.Surprise! Your third trimester symptoms aren’t going away yet. If you just got back from peeing, you already know that your bladder is nearing non-existent-land. These joys will persist till you’re on the birthing bench. Also, be careful of lightheadedness during these last weeks. Your blood tends to pool in the lower limbs, resulting in low cranial blood pressure. So, watch out for the head rushes and get up nice-n-slow after sitting for long periods."


i have a fat roll around my ankles...It's true. Within the span of about four or five days, my body decided that it wanted to swell, and boy has it! For a few weeks now, I've been wearing my wedding rings on a necklace, but that was less because of actual swelling, and more because I was petrified of having to get my rings cut off. I would swell a little bit more if I were out in the heat for awhile, but beyond that, I had thankfully avoided this symptom!Until now. All of a sudden, my fingers got huge. Almost sausage-like (lovely, huh?). My feet look like a baby doll's, and yes...I have a fat roll around each of my ankles when the swelling is at its worst. Unfortunately, the doctor doesn't seem to think this is run of the mill, normal swelling. Two nights ago, I was up most of the night with a migraine. I got up at 5:00 am to take two Tylenol, which took the edge off enough that I got about two hours of sleep and went to work the next morning. Around 10:00am, my head was killing me again, so I again took two Tylenol. This time it didn't work, and I was hurting. I'm not prone to migraines, I think I've had maybe two my entire life, so maybe I'm kind of a wimp...but it hurts! Since the Tylenol wasn't working, I called my OB to see if I could take Extra Strength Tylenol, or anything stronger. The nurse asked me a lot of questions about the headache, and then said, "have you had an increase of swelling in the past few days?" I looked down at my sausage link fingers and answered that yes, I had in fact, had an increase in swelling lately. She asked if I'd been nauseated at all. I had, but assumed it was just the headache making me feel ill. Then she informed me that they would like to see me as soon as possible because those symptoms combined could indicate preeclampsia.I scheduled an appointment for 3:00 that afternoon and went home to hopefully get rid of the still pounding headache. It was Shawn's day off, so he took great care of me - letting me watch Gilmore Girls, making me soup and grilled cheese, and even letting me press my forehead into his arm when it was really hurting. At the OB, they took my blood pressure (which was higher than it'd been, but not dangerously high), my weight (I'd gained 8 lbs in four days, and I think it's safe to say it's all because of the swelling) checked my urine for protein (negative), checked out my swelling (concerning), and gave me a prescription for the headache. Basically the visit was inconclusive, so they have asked me to provide a 24-hour urine specimen. This might gross you out, so skip the rest of this paragraph if you're squeamish. They hand me this big orange, plastic container that is just about half the size and similar in shape to a gasoline can, and tell me to fill it up with urine, put it in a biohazard bag, and bring it back Wednesday morning. I have to admit that I audibly laughed when the nurse pulled it out. Guess where the gasoline can/urine holder gets stored in the meantime? That's right. In our refrigerator. Weird. And Ew. Apparently they'll be checking it for protein in the morning, and then we'll have a regular appointment in the afternoon to find out what's going on. While we were there, the nurse listened to the heartbeat and measured the fundal height. I asked her if she could tell where the baby was, and she pointed out where his head was (towards my cervix), and where his back and butt were. It turns out that the thing that is always up in my right rib is his hiney! I LOVE knowing where he is, what body part he's moving, and patting his tush...and knowing that it's his tush. So amazing! Shawn and I also started our first Childbirth Class last night, which we'll have for the next five Mondays from 7:00-9:00. The class was fun, actually. We went through some breathing exercises, which Shawn of course, made fun of. The lady DID talk about breathing in purple and breathing out green, so I guess it wasn't too difficult. He found some other like-minded weirded out Dads, though. We watched one of those horrifying birth videos. It was pretty disturbing, but I'm glad that I saw it - I think it will help to know that some pretty scary things are actually normal in childbirth.We were both pretty tired after our appointment and class, and my ankle fat roll was getting bigger, so we headed home where I propped my feet up and we wound down for the night. We're actually interviewing a potential doula this afternoon, so I'm looking forward to that appointment! Today, I'm taking it easy, I'm drinking lots of water, and I'm peein' in a gas can. This whole pregnancy thing has proven to be quite the adventure, huh? :)


oh happy day!...No preeclampsia! Hooray! Before I get into how the appointment went, I feel like I need to continue my peeing in a gas can saga. If you'll allow me a quick diversion (and again, you might want to skip the next paragraph if you're squeamish)...By Tuesday evening, I saw that I was quickly filling up the entire container that I was given for the urine sample, with a good twelve hours of the test left to go. I rationed my water, but it was to no avail. I was going to out-pee this gas can. I started to prepare a zip-lock bag to put the rest of the urine in, but when Shawn came into the kitchen and realized what I was doing, he was thoroughly grossed out, telling me that it was going to bust open in the car and get everywhere. We took another zip-lock bag, filled it up with water, and tipped it upside down to see if it would spill. It held the water in tightly. I still say the bag would've held up just fine, but I guess it probably is better to be safe than sorry. I called the after hours nurse to ask if I could stop collecting urine, since the container was full, or if they needed the entire 24 hours. She said they would need the full 24 hours. So, at around 10:00pm, Shawn and I went to Sheetz to find a suitable container for urine holding. I went on the promise of getting something chocolate. :) Shawn found a miniature gas can, very similar looking to the original pee-filled container that was sitting in our refrigerator. We took it home, and I'm not kidding, by the time the test was over, it was 2/3 full. This would be why I get slightly frustrated when nurses patronizingly ask...over and over and over...if I'm getting enough water. I know they think that it could be causing the contractions or the swelling, but I'm well aware that I drink puh-lenty of water. I should've taken pictures so that next time I'm asked, I can say, "Look. This is how much I pee in 24 hours. I don't think it's possible for me to drink much MORE water!" Or, I can just smile and say, "Yes Ma'im, I get plenty of water," which is my usual course of action. :) The two gas cans barely fit into the biohazard bag, but we finally got them both in (after several reminders from Shawn about how gross this all was). I was told to just drop them by that morning, so I got to the office a few minutes before I needed to be at work. The bag was fairly heavy, and I know I looked like an idiot, lugging in gas cans in a biohazard bag. There were several women in the office, and they all looked me up and down with that judgmental look women are so good at. You know what I mean? You can just tell they're thinking, "What is SHE doing?!" I wanted to get rid of that bag and get on to work as quickly as possible. I had to wait in line (awkwardly adjusting my pee gas cans because one arm would get worn out, so I'd switch the weight to another arm), and then was told to sign my name on a clipboard and wait. I tried to act nonchalant as I walked to my seat and gracefully placed my biohazard bag at my feet...praying that it wouldn't spill.Twenty minutes later, my name was called and I was escorted back to the lab. I gave the urine sample to the nurse (who was very impressed with the gas can, by the way), and then was told that I needed to have blood drawn. She took my blood, all the while telling me about her abusive relationship with her former boyfriend who is the father of her four year old daughter. And then I was released to go ahead and go to work. All in all, an interesting visit.My follow-up appointment was at 1:30 that afternoon, and the entire thing seriously lasted maybe fifteen minutes. The nurse weighed me (down one pound from before, which means the rapid weight gain is due to swelling), took my blood pressure (which was the same as it was at our last appointment, a little high for me, but not alarmingly so), asked about my headache (gone and none since then), and checked out the swelling (still a lot). When I met with the doctor, she told me that the urine test came back just fine! Apparently the blood they took was in case I did have preeclampsia, to check on my liver and something else. She said those were fine, too. Yay! I just about fell off the table, I was so excited!She listened to his heartbeat and measured my uterus, and told me that everything looked great. Perhaps my favorite part of the appointment was when she told me that she felt like we could wait two weeks before coming in again! I double checked with her, reminding her about the contractions - but she answered that as long as bed rest is working, she didn't feel that I needed to be seen every week for now. With our weekly appointments, plus the hospital trips, plus the extra trips for testing, it feels like we spend at least two days out of the week going to the OB or the hospital. I have to be very selective right now about how much I can do in a day, and especially about how much I can be out. As silly as it sounds, the appointments actually take a bit out of me, and on days when we have to go in, I have to pretty much resign myself to doing nothing else the rest of the day. So to not have to go in next week is AWESOME! Not to mention that it looks like things have calmed down enough for the doctor to feel comfortable not needing to see us in a week. I mentioned on Tuesday that I had an interview with a potential doula that afternoon. In case you're wondering what the heck a doula is, allow Wikipedia to explain it to you:"Labor/birth support doulas are labor support persons who attend to the emotional and physical comfort needs of laboring women to smooth the labor process. They do not perform clinical tasks such as heart rate checks, or vaginal exams but rather use massage, aromatherapy, reflexology, positioning suggestions, etc., to help labor progress as well as possible. A labor/birth support doula joins a laboring woman either at her home or in hospital or birth center and remains with her until a few hours after the birth. Some doulas also offer several prenatal visits, phone support, and one postpartum meeting to ensure the mother is well informed and supported. The terms of a labor/birth doula's responsibilities are decided between the doula and the family. In addition to emotional, physical and informational support, doulas work as advocates of their client’s wishes and may assist in communicating with medical staff to obtain information for the client to make informed decisions regarding medical procedures. The doula is an ally and occasional mentor for the father or partner. Their respective roles are similar, but the differences are crucial. The father or partner typically has little actual experience in dealing with the often-subtle forces of the labor process, and may receive enormous benefit from the birth-familiar presence of a doula in the vicinity. Even more important, many fathers experience the birth as an emotional journey of their own and find it hard to be objective in such a situation, and a doula facilitates the family process. Studies have shown that fathers usually participate more actively during labor with the presence of a doula than without one.[citation needed] A responsible doula supports and encourages the father in his support style rather than replaces him."Basically, I realized that I could do all the research in the world about childbirth, and I would still be scared out of my mind. I also realized that Shawn has obviously never been a part of a childbirth, so he would probably also be likewise scared. I started thinking that it might be kind of nice to have someone available to help us through the process who would be impartial, supportive, and knowledgable about the process. Enter Rhonda. Rhonda is actually the same lady who worked at the hospital the second time we went in for contractions (she got coffee for Shawn and told the nurses to make sure they took good care of me). She has two sons (Luke and Caleb) in our Student Ministry, is a nurse, and is working through her doula training. I wasn't quite sure what to expect in the interview process, but I came away from it VERY excited about her! She has a very sweet demeanor that isn't overbearing in the least. She was completely supportive of my thoughts on pain managment (I want to try to give birth naturally but am not opposed to an epidural) and my strong desire to breastfeed. I was impressed with her knowledge of labor positions and breathing techniques, too! Perhaps most helpful is that she is currently a nurse at the hospital and has seen TONS of births at our particular hospital. She knows the doctors, and she is very, very well acquainted with the procedures. She was able to walk me through what typically happens right after the baby is born (the testing, delivering of the placenta, how long I can hold him, when he's taken to the nursery, etc.), and what might happen if he's born prematurely. I told Rhonda that I was basically looking for someone who knew what was going on and could help me through it. I know I'll be scared, and it'll be nice to have someone there to ask, "Is this normal?" and to be assured that the answer is an educated one. I was also looking for someone to help Shawn know what to do. I have a feeling he'll have a difficult time seeing me in pain and won't quite know what to do. Helping him figure out how to support me will be Rhonda's job. I was just very encouraged by my meeting with her and feel very confident and reassured that she'll be attending our birth. So Yay for Rhonda!!


33 Weeks!...I seriously celebrate each week longer that Little Maurer gets to develop, so hats off to one more week down! "For all the weight and bulk you’re lugging around these days, you’d think your little champ should weigh much more than a mere 5 lbs and measly 17 inches in height, but nope, that’s about the average size for a baby in its thirty-third week. In terms of appearances, they’re getting cuter and pudgier every minute as they pile on the baby fat for those adorable little wrist rolls and chubby toes. And as we’re sure you’ve already noticed they’re getting stronger with every passing day. Nowadays, it’s possible to observe a well-placed kick just by watching your belly—but you already knew that didn’t you? Although they’re getting stronger, your bigger-by-the-day baby is losing space to move around, so the actual rate of movement will drop off in the last few weeks, despite that powerful drop-kick they’ve been working on. Hey, did you know you’ll continue feeling their movements even during labor?And how's mom doing? Here’s a good way to deal with your mounting impatience: map out your plan of action for the big day. It’s an important and necessary step that’s also pretty soothing and fun. So, get out a piece of paper and pen. If you think about it, planning all the details now can be a real saving grace once And how's mom doing? Here’s a good way to deal with your mounting impatience: map out your plan of action for the big day. It’s an important and necessary step that’s also pretty soothing and fun. So, get out a piece of paper and pen. If you think about it, planning all the details now can be a real saving grace once Massaging the perineum (the area around the vagina) can reduce your chance of it tearing during delivery the chaos and pain of labor starts up. This would include having a packed bag with a change of comfortable clothes, reading material, maybe an i-pod and your camera or camcorder (whichever you decide, if any at all). Know your driving route to the health center. Be on your toes (not literally, just mentally) as it's now totally conceivable you might have to spring into action any day! Then again, it might still be another seven weeks."


at least it wasn't the hospital this time...Yes, unfortunately, we've had some more drama. I went to Sunday School and church on Sunday morning and was feeling pretty good. I had some light contractions during worship, so I sat down for the rest of the service and wasn't too concerned about it. During lunch, the contractions started getting much stronger and more painful, though I wasn't able to time them. I was a little worried, but went straight home afterwards and took a short nap. By the time I woke up, much to my relief, they had stopped completely! I knew I still needed to be careful, so I stayed on the couch and just did computer work/watched TV for awhile. By the time Shawn got home from Sunday night church, I'd started having them again...I think they were about every 15 minutes and progressed to every 10 minutes by the time we went to bed. I think Shawn and I both had a hard time falling asleep because we were afraid we'd just have to head into the hospital in a couple of hours. I, on the other hand, was hoping that getting to sleep would cause them to stop - which has happened before. Thankfully, I didn't wake up a lot during the night, and I can't really say for sure if I was having contractions or not. I did wake up a few minutes before our alarm went off with one that hurt really badly, so I laid in bed for about forty-five minutes to time them. They were coming about ever 7 to 10 minutes. I wanted to let Shawn sleep as much as possible (Mondays are his only days off and his only day to get caught up on sleep), so I got a shower, got dressed, called our OB, called into work, took the dog out, etc., and then woke him up and told him that we had an appointment for 9:00 to go in and get checked out. I'm so grateful that we were able to hold off and not have to go to the hospital in the middle of the night again. It was cheaper and quicker to go into the OB, and I so appreciate that it wasn't in the middle of the night! So into the OB we went. They listened to the heartbeat, which was nice and strong. They did the fetal fibronectin test again, and checked my cervix. After a few more minutes, they told us that we would get a call about the test after lunch, to get rest, and to keep monitoring the contractions. By the time we got home, the contractions had slowed significantly, which is great. They did call us to tell us that the fetal fibronectin test was positive. The nurse said that it didn't really tell them much, just that there's a chance that I'll be going into labor in the next couple of weeks. I feel like we keep hearing, "we would've liked to have seen a negative..." which is frustrating. I'D like to have seen a negative, too, but that's obviously not what we're seeing. We've gotten two positives on this test since I started having contractions, and I'd really love to get some answers on what the heck that means. So, like anyone who wants to find out the solid, reliable, scientific information about something....I checked Wikipedia. :) Here is what I read (and after checking a few other sites, it is accurate):"Fetal fibronectinFrom Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaFetal fibronectin (fFN) is a protein produced by fetal cells and a type of fibronectin. fFN is found at the interface of the chorion and the decidua (between the fetal sack and the uterine lining).It can be thought of as an adhesive or "biological glue" that binds the fetal sack to the uterine lining.Diagnosic testFetal fibronectin "leaks" into the vagina if a preterm delivery is likely to occur and can be measured in a diagnostic test.[1]It is an excellent biological marker of premature (preterm) delivery; a delivery before 37 weeks of gestation.When the fFN test is considered positive, delivery is likely to occur soon. When the fFN test is negative, it means that there is little if any danger of preterm labour for 7-10 days. The test is easily performed. A specimen is collected from the patient using a vaginal swab. The swab is placed in a transport tube and sent to the lab for testing. The lab can easily produce a test result in less than one hour.A systematic review of the medical literature found that fetal fibronectin is a good predictor of spontaneous preterm birth before cervical dilation.[2] The test may be run on patients between 22 and 35 weeks gestation.A negative fetal fibronectin test gives a more than 95% likelihood of remaining undelivered for the next 2 weeks. On the other hand, a positive fetal fibronectin test indicates a higher risk of preterm delivery (61% of delivery before 34 weeks)[3]."So there you have it. Because I know the test has a lot of false positives, and because I know that even with a true positive, it's only a 61% chance of early labor, I probably wouldn't be worrying too much about the results of this test if this weren't the second time we got a positive. We're praying that he'll stay in there until God's perfect timing - whether that's tomorrow or 42 weeks. I keep reminding myself that last time we got a positive on this test, I was 29 weeks along, and he's managed to stay in there for another four weeks after that. This certainly isn't a mandate that we'll have a pre-term baby, it just helps us know how to prepare, I suppose. We scheduled a follow-up appointment for Thursday afternoon. I'm interested to hear what the next steps will be...if our doctors will tell us just to wait and see what happens, give me steroids so Baby Maurer's lungs can develop, or put me on medicine to try and stop contractions...Because of all the craziness we went through at 29 weeks, we have a good portion of "baby stuff" done and ready, which is a huge blessing. We still have some small things we want to do in the nursery, we still need to install the car seat, there are a couple of things I wanted to make, and we'd have to grab some diapers and wipes, but I think all in all...we're much more prepared to have an early delivery than we would've been. I think having so much of those things taken care of helps me to feel more calm about the possibilities of him being a preemie. I also have to admit that I'm drawn to pictures and stories of premature babies. It's amazing to me to see babies born so early who do so well, even babies born at 29 or 30 weeks. So while I'm overwhelmed and a little bit scared, I do feel much more prepared and hopeful that everything would turn out okay.


a week and a half...
I just got back from our appointment this afternoon, and everything went well. We had our favorite doctor (Dr. Ponder) who has a kind of relaxed nature about him that seems to calm both Shawn and I. Dr. Ponder asked about how I was doing, and said that because of the positive fetal fibronectin test they would be keeping a close eye on me. He mentioned a couple of times that I needed to be resting most of the time and needed to have a low threshold for coming into the office if something seems strange. He checked my cervix - still very high, though dialating slightly. I don't think it was enough to even assign a number to, though. The baby's heartbeat was strong as can be and my fundal height is measuring right on target.
Dr. Ponder also said that he was encouraged that Baby Maurer has stayed in so far. He told us that we are very close to the time of safety, basically. If I were to go into labor at 35 weeks or later, they probably wouldn't stop the contractions, and would treat the delivery as if it were full-term. Hooray for that! I'm only a week and three days away from being 35 weeks, which is SO exciting to me!
We set our next appointment for Thursday and will be seen every week from here on out. I guess that window of getting to go in every two weeks was short-lived, huh? :)


week 34...
We've made it to Week 34...YAY! The last time we were in the hospital, we heard over and over, "We just want to keep him in there until he's 34 weeks. There's a big difference between a 32 week-er and a 34 week-er." Occasionally when I'm feeling particularly scared or worried about the possibility of having a preemie, I google pictures of premature babies, look through those and read those stories. You might think that would make me even MORE scared, but it actually serves the opposite purpose. It's so encouraging to me to see that babies born prematurely have such great chances of survival and almost always turn out to be healthy, happy toddlers. From looking through those pictures, though, I can tell you that it's crazy how big of a difference there is between a 32 week baby and a 34 week baby. It seems like the typical NICU/hospital stay for a 32 week baby is around 45 days, where the typical stay for a 34 week baby is around 14 days. Every day in the womb really does make such a huge difference.
So anyway, getting to 34 weeks is a very big deal to me! I'm still shooting for 36 or maybe even 37 weeks, but getting to 34 weeks is a HUGE relief!
I'm still doing my best to stay off my feet, and I now have a new gauge for when I've been active for too long...my ankles and feet and the lower part of my calves about triple in size. It seriously blows my mind how fat my feet get! It's obviously worse if I eat something high in sodium (the ankle fat roll made a comeback shortly after I had some Raman soup), even though I do my best to chug water. At this point, it's more funny than bothersome to me. It probably does make me slightly more uncomfortable and feel a little more whale-ish, but it's hard to not laugh at my puffer feet.
The weather here in NC has cooled off considerably in the past week, which has been a welcome relief for me! When I hit the last trimester, my body seemed to warm up ten degrees or so, and the summer heat took its toll on me. In contrast, the cool and rainy weather we've been having here lately has been wonderful!
Oh, and I made the nursing cover last night! There are a couple of spots that I would like the stitching to be a little more straight, but overall, I'm really pleased with how it turned out. It looks like the actual product, so it works for me! I even sewed a pocket at the bottom to put a burp cloth, snacks, or whatever else I might need.
Baby Maurer is still moving and shaking that rump of his. Sometimes I forget that it's a real baby in there....it's easy to look past that fact until they're born, I think. But then I put my hand on his butt or his back when he's moving, and I'm astonished that I can actually feel how big he is, I can picture how he's moving, and I can see how he's positioned in my womb. I love it and am really looking forward to meeting him and being able to hold and cuddle him!
So, since I'm at 34 weeks, here's what's going on with him this week:
"Your amazing baby is on the move! They’ve been riding fairly high in your stretched-out womb till now (while kindly compressing your poor internal organs), but now they’re planning on making the big move to your pelvis this week. If you haven’t noticed it already, you’ll be feeling the weight shift that signals that your baby is most likely out of breech position, with their head now resting on your pubic bone. In liver news: although not quite fully formed, your little miracle’s liver is now capable of processing a certain amount of waste. In general, most of your child’s prenatal physical development is pretty much up to snuff and ready for the outside world. Naturally, further weight gain is expected—so you’re still not at maximum capacity despite probably feeling like you definitely are maxed out.
And how's mom doing? Obviously the big change for you is the notable weight shift (known as “lightening” or “engagement”). Now that your baby is resting deeper in your pelvis, you may find yourself walking as if you're carrying a watermelon between your legs. Yes dear, you’re officially “waddling” these days. Try to comfort yourself with this thought: it’s nearly over. Soon, you’ll just have to carry your adorable little watermelon in your arms. And in a rare spate of good news: this weight shift means you can breathe easier now that your lungs aren’t compressed. The not-so-good news, it’s a trade off: (we’ll wait till you’re back from the restroom) this new position has your poor bladder even more squished than before. We’d recommend writing your bladder little love poems to convince it not to leave you altogether, but unfortunately bladders don’t speak English (only Italian love poems will do).
At your next check up you can expect your physician to conduct a Group B Streptococci test (GBS), a common bacteria screening. As long as you have a strong immune system, you’re in the clear (one more reason to eat right and exercise!), but your little one is more susceptible to serious health complications (including meningitis, pneumonia and blood infection) if not diagnosed and treated properly—so the tests are good for some peace of mind. Hang in there momma, you’re already a super-star for making it this far!"