Wednesday, January 30, 2008

38 week check-up

Well, no change since last week. 2 cm dilated. 70% effaced. Baby is pretty low.

The doctor said everything seemed fine and some people just reach a certain point and stay there until they go into labor. Could happen today...could be a couple weeks.

He did try to estimate the baby's size. He said around 7.5 pounds. And he said he's usually pretty good at figuring the size. We'll see.

Based on it being a "normal" size, there's no reason to induce early. I've got another appointment next Wednesday and, just in case, I've got an appointment scheduled for February 11 (the day after my due date). He said if I make that appointment then we'll discuss how long I want to wait before inducing. I don't really want to be induced, but I do want to have this baby, so I won't rule it out. Being somewhat dilated and effaced makes me "inducable." So it would probably be fine.

That's all the news for now. Just waiting and waiting and waiting.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Waiting, waiting, waiting

OK...I know I'm not officially due for 2 more weeks...but I'm ready. Completely ready. Everything that can be done has been done. Well, except those "freezer meals" I keep reading about. I think we're just not a freezer meals sort of family. I do have 1 tupperware of chili in the freezer - enough to feed 2, but that's more because I happened to make a big pot of chili a couple months ago. Beyond that I'd have to decrease the amount of popsicles, ice cream, and Lean Pockets if I wanted to fit more real food into my freezer that is about a third occupied by an ice maker anyway. As far as what we'll eat after the baby is born, pretty much the same things we eat now - Italian delivery, pizza delivery, Chinese delivery, Middle Eastern delivery, diner delivery, pub delivery, Japanese delivery (I can finally have some sushi!)...

Without providing too much information, I'm getting more signs that labor is near, including an increase in Braxton Hicks contractions. But as I've just read, these signs could indicate that labor is days or weeks away, so I can't get my hopes up too much. I was hoping to go for some long walks this weekend to help the baby continue to drop, but frankly it is really freaking cold outside! So that didn't quite happen. But this baby feels really low to me much lower could she actually get before labor starts?! I've given in and adopted the waddle style of walking.

We went to see Juno yesterday (yesterday being it's 3 a.m. it is officially Monday). Very cute movie. Highly recommend it to everyone. Sweet, witty, feel-good without being too sappy. I'm sure not everyone will cry at it (twice) like I did. But come on, how can a woman who is 8+ months pregnant not get sentimental and weepy when she sees a baby being born or a new mother bonding with a newborn? At least I expected it and was prepared with tissues. And in a dark theater, it's less embarassing than when I'm reading a book or hearing a touching song on my iPod on the subway. I don't really care for this soft, sentimental side that my hormones seems to be bringing out these I said...bit embarassing. I guess I'll have to wait and see if it goes back into hiding post-baby-birth when my hormones adjust themselves back to normal. And by the way, the movie did make me laugh more times than it made me cry, so at least I haven't lost my dry sense of humor.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

37 week check-up

Doctor's appointment went fine today. We met Dr. Nath. She was very nice - spent some time discussing a few things with us and answering our questions. I'm now about 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced. Definitely good news - progress since last week.

And she said being dilated is good - means that early labor is likely to be pretty quick and I'm likely to be at 4 cm or so by the time I go to the hospital - which is enough to be admitted.

She didn't really say much about the size of the baby - said it seems normal - not too big, not too small. So that would means she's 6 pounds something.

I asked about some pains I've been having - all normal. I mentioned that the baby has been getting hiccups a lot - 3 times yesterday. She said that's fine - and it means that she'll probably be a hiccupy baby after birth too.

And no predictions from the doc as to when I'll go into labor. Said it could be days or could still be weeks away. And she said that because I'm already dilated, if my water breaks, I will definitely know it. I guess that's a good thing - as it's dangerous not to know - but I certainly hope I don't have a big gush while sitting on the couch or something.

Anyway, definitely continuing to feel more and more uncomfortable - walking is tougher, getting up is tougher, sleeping is still not going so well. So today was my last day in the office. I packed up what I need at home, and some personal items that I wouldn't want getting lost in the move. The office is moving across town around the end of February. I'll still be working up until I go into labor - but no more commuting.

Meanwhile, my coworker Alison, who is due this Sunday, went into labor today. Last I heard she was in the hospital this afternoon with the epidural in. Hopefully I'll get to talk to her in a few days and hear how it went and if she has any advice.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

The baby's room is ready!

We love it! Now all it needs is a baby!

Almost ready!

After last week's doctor's appointment I said we need to finish getting everything ready this weekend. And I'm pretty sure we'll accomplish that goal.

I finished the thank-you notes from the shower and other gifts. I packed my hospital bag. And I packed the diaper bag - although I still need to add a change of clothes for the baby - but I'll wait and see how big she is before I do that.

We hung the shelf that matches the bedding set. Bit of a comedy of errors there, but it covers the extra pair of holes that we drilled just a tad too far apart. And we hung the mesh cubbies from a hook we put in the ceiling. Another trying we lost the first one in the ceiling and had to go buy a 2nd hook - which luckily we were able to put into the same hole we had already drilled. We never claimed to be handy - but we got the job done.

We picked up the Bugaboo yesterday. It's awesome! We do need to go through the various peices that came with it and make sure we know how to use them when needed - including the adapter for attaching the car seat.

Remaining items for today - I'm printing the addresses on the envelopes that the birth announcements will go in - and I'm decorating the wall above the changing table. I have everything I need - just gotta' dive in now.

And then - come on baby - any time you're ready - we're ready to meet you.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

36 week check-up

We saw Dr. Markoff today for my 36 week check-up. He did a swab for the strep b test - we should get the results at next week's appointment. And he checked for position and all of that. Baby is still head down. I'm 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced - both good signs that things are progressing normally. And the baby is already low in the pelvis at +1 station.

So based on those 3 indicators and the fact that I have a wide pelvis, the doctor said he thinks there's a good likelihood that I'll go into labor early. That would be nice. More than that, he said that my body was built for birthing babies. Always knew these wide hips would come in handy. He said that he's not always right in his predictions, but he predicts that I'll progress quickly in labor and so I should call when my contractions are about 6 minutes apart. And he thinks I should have a relatively easy labor/delivery, once again because of my lovely birthing hips.

He did mention that Shafi has quite a large head and asked whether his mother had complications with him. We told him no - and she's a lot more petite than I. So he said that even if the baby does have Shafi's big head, my big pelvis ought to be enough to make it not an issue.

We also asked about things like episiotomies and epidurals. He said they try not to do episiotomies, but if they think there's going to be tearing then they do a small episiotomy to try to control the direction of the tear - rather than risking multiple tears or tears that go in a dangerous direction - I'll leave it at that rather than getting too graphic here. He also said that at least 95% of his patients have epidurals. He sees very few negatives to having one. He just recommends that people wait until they are at least 3 cm dilated. Then he thinks they are actually beneficial because usually people can get a little sleep and relax a bit and they're not exhausted when it's time to push.

He continued that his prediction would be that I would progress quickly, so if I get the epidural when I'm 3 or so cm dilated, then I could probably take a nap and wake up when it's time to push. Maybe it'll take 30 minutes to an hour of pushing - and I'll have a baby. Doesn't sound too bad to me. Let's hope he's right on all his predictions.

Now we just have to finish up the few things we still have to do to get ready. I sterilized all the breast pump parts, bottles, pacifiers, etc. last night. And I washed other things from the baby care kit we ordered - scissors, nail clippers, comb, brush, medicine dropper, etc. I've got the diaper bag half ready - just lacking diapers really. We did buy diapers, but I figured I don't need to open the packages yet.

So this weekend I plan to finish up decorating the room - I have almost everything I've ordered for that - just waiting to get the decorative shelf that matches the bedding - should arrive Friday. And then it's just a matter of putting everything up.

And I need to pack my hospital bag. I've started that process a couple of times now, but for some reason I always find it a bit daunting and end up deciding to do it later. But this weekend is it...definitely time.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Baby Shower was very nice

My friends threw me a baby shower yesterday. It was a brunch - quiche, bagels, salad, fruit, coffee cake, and muffins - along with coffee, juice, and mimosas (for the non-pregnant chicks). It was very nice. There were 12 women plus me. And some of the men (including Shafi) stopped by to say hi at the end.

I got some great stuff from my registry - crib bedding set, baby bathtub, infant activity gym, BabyBjorn, and more. And also some very cute and some practical items from elsewhere - a pacifier that says "whine connoisseur", some childcare books, a fabulous diaper bag with accessories, a stuffed animal in a Penn shirt, some cute baby books, and more.

Here are the pics:

I then spent the remainder of yesterday laundering, decorating, and putting away the gifts. I've now made a list of the remaining items I need - mattress, diaper genie, hamper, changing pad, diapers, etc. And also a list of remaining items I want - baskets for the nursery, more receiving blankets, a mobile that will fit on the crib, a decorative shelf that matches the bedding, etc. Shafi will be joining me for a shopping trip to Babies R Us today to take care of both lists.

Other than that, I'm feeling pretty ready to have a baby. We've gotten most of the major items - the car seat arrived a few days ago and I've learned how to use it, the dresser drawers are full of baby clothes. The decorative items I ordered for the baby's room have all arrived now - although I haven't quite finished decorating. Not sure if that will happen today, but I'll work on it this week - or next weekend.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Exactly 1 month from today!

That's my due date anyway. Although I have to say I will be quite happy to go about 2 weeks early. Seems that's the point at which she's considered full term - not likely to have any issues - and potentially a pound or so lighter than she will be at 40 weeks.

I'm not hoping for this only because I'm so excited and anxious to meet my daughter. But really I think 35 weeks was a turning point for me. Up until a few days ago I was feeling pretty good. I've had an easy pregnancy overall and even with the extra heft I'm lugging around, I hadn't really slowed down much. I had my aches and pains and swollen feet and some problems sleeping and getting up from the couch. There were some other unpleasant side effects along the way, but they had all faded into distant memories. But suddenly I feel differently. Lots of aches and pains. I'm sore under my belly. The baby has knobby knees and elbows or something that jab me with somewhat sharp pains. I'm constantly out of breath and overheated and it really is getting hard to walk, not to mention climbing subway stairs and such.

So now I know what they mean when they said the end is the toughest. And I'm ready to have a baby!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pediatrician selected

I wasn't particularly concerned about how the visit with the pediatrician would go this morning, as the practice has come highly recommended by people whose opinions I respect. But I'm still happy to report that it went well.

There were several of us scheduled at once - another mom-to-be, one couple expecting twins, and a dad-to-be. The office itself is on the first floor of a large brownstone. Not fancy or anything, but seemed nice enough, and it's about 6 blocks from home, so not bad. Dr. O'Connor met with us, as she's the one currently taking newborns - but there are 2 others in the practice - Thelander and Pytlak. All 3 are women. One has been there for 12 years, one for 8, and one for 3.

O'Connor will be our primary doctor, but if she's out then the others will cover. They don't have an answering service but actually answer after hours calls themselves on an on call schedule. If you call during the day they usually return morning calls by afternoon and afternoon calls by evening. If you need to come in, they have sick visits at the end of the morning and the end of the afternoon, so they do see you the day you call. They don't really have a nursing staff but instead do the shots and whatnot themselves. They do have a nurse practitioner on Mondays to help with sick visits and whatever else and they have a lactation consultant / nicu nurse 1-2 days per week.

Newborn appointments take between 30 minutes and an hour, depending on what is going on. And they want you to come in a couple days after leaving the hospital and definitely again at 1 month - but usually at least 1 more time in between and sometimes weekly or twice a week for the firt month - depending on any concerns they have. After that it's 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 9 months, 12 months, 15 months, 18 months, 2 years. And they see patients up to age 20 or so. They follow the America Pediatrics Association guidelines on immunizations, but they'll discuss anything parents are concerned about.

She said she recommends avoiding crowds for the first couple months - but that getting out and about is good. She also recommends no major travel (airplanes and such) until after the first immunizations (2 months).

I think all my major questions were covered - can't think of anything else yet anyway. And I was definitely pleased with all the answers. They're not gung-ho on organics and all of that, but they certainly encourage parents to make educated choices on those things for themselves. Overall she seemed very nice and flexible.

So we'll call the day after the baby is born and make an appointment for about day 5 or so.

Breastfeeding class was a disappointment

We had the breastfeeding class last night from 6-9 p.m. It was a definite disappointment. Not to say that many are not worthwhile, but this one wasn't. There were about 15 women - 4 of whom brought our husbands. The instructor is a labor/delivery nurse and a lactation consultant. I thought it was going to be a bit positive that she was dressed professionally and didn't look like a hippie like our childbirth class instructors did...but no...still pretty militant about her baby care and breastfeeding beliefs.

The real problem was that she spent 1 hour of the class talking about all the benefits of breastfeeding and why it's bad to supplement with formula and why we should keep trying even if it's hard...on and on. As Shafi said, know your audience, woman. The 15 of us who signed up for this class are planning to breastfeed and want to learn more about how so that it is smoother if possible. We already know why - and we've decided to do it.

When we finally got around to discussing the details of how and what accessories we might need (breast pumps, nursing pillows, lanolin cream, etc.) it was after the break and almost 8 p.m. In addition to it being warm in the room and the chairs being thoroughly uncomfortable, I was getting a bit tired at that point. She did teach some useful things, but she didn't even start taking questions from the class until after 9 p.m. We followed the lead of another couple and walked out at about 9:20 - but without getting a chance to ask questions.

I think we could have learned more about positions, nipple care, possible problems - practical information. And I think it would have been useful to hear other people's questions, as many of them seemed relevant. But obviously this instructor was more intersted in preaching than teaching.

Hopefully breastfeeding will go smoothly for us and it won't have mattered that this class was mostly a waste of 3+ hours. Maybe I'll look to see how to provide feedback to NYU - and others might possibly be spared the time wasted by this particular instructor.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

NYU Medical Center Mother-Baby Wards Tour

Last night we toured the 8th floor (labor & delivery) and 13th floor (post natal rooms and nursery) at NYU Medical Center. The tour took just over an hour - and that included lots of time standing around asking questions and such.

We learned that we should go straight to the A elevators to the 8th floor triage room. Don't stop at admitting - because triage has to call your doctor, who has to give the okay before you get admitted.

If you do get admitted then they move you to a labor & delivery room. We got to spend some time in one that was empty. They're pretty good size actually. The bed can be lowered pretty far to make it easy to get in and out of - and can then be raised to make it easier for the doctor during delivery. There are several chairs - including one that folds out to a bed for the father, in case you're there a long time. There's a fridge and TV with VCR and stereo that plays CDs.

There's an infant warmer next to the bed. And there's a bathroom with a shower in it. So basically from the time you get admitted until an hour or so after you have the baby, you stay in that room. You can get up and walk the hall when you're not on the monitor, but everything that is needed for labor and delivery is already in the room.

Then we saw the side where the do the c-sections. There are 2 ORs and a few recovery rooms there. It's basically down the hall from the labor & delivery rooms - so if they do have to rush you in for a c-section, it's not very far. And they said you stay in the room there for about 2 hours after the c-section.

There was actually a woman being moved from there up to the post-natal floor. She didn't look bad for having had a c-section 2 hours before. And she was holding her baby - the dad following behind the gurney they were moving her on. Kind of comforting to see that.

We then went up to 13 and saw both a private and a shared room. The private room wasn't bad - although not huge. I don't think we'll be requesting one - $350/night seems awfully steep. But the shared room - 2 beds with curtains that can be pulled around them and a chair at the foot of each and a cradle next to each - were incredibly small. I was a bit surprised by just how small they were. Also, the private rooms have bathrooms in them, while the shared rooms use the shared bathrooms in the hall. So I can defintely see the allure of a private room. But unless I suddenly feel differently after having the baby, I think we'll stick with the shared room that is covered by insurance - and just cross our fingers that I get a quiet roommate without a lot of visitors - or maybe it'll be a quiet couple of days and I won't get a roommate. I'll also be crossing my fingers that I get the window side of the room. The other side seems even smaller and of course has no view.

When we got up to 13, they were taking the baby who was just born via c-section in to the nursery. So we got to watch through the window as they re-measured him and changed his diaper and bathed him and such. He was absolutely adorable - and although the room is soundproof, we could see that he was screaming his head off as they checked him out. I'm sure that's totally normal, gotta' be a bit of a shock to the baby's system. But it definitely made all us moms-to-be a bit teary eyed to see this 2 hour old baby go from contentedly laying under the warmer to being so unhappy.

I don't think I'll want to watch my daughter getting cleaned up in the nursery. They only take the baby from you for 30 minutes to an hour to be checked and bathed and such - so I'll probably wait in my room for her to be brought back.

I definitely found it helpful to see all the facilities. The hospital gowns weren't too bad - they tie in such a way that there's really no skin exposed. I did realize that I want to add some flip-flops to my hopsital bag for wearing to the shower and such. And the labor room is big enough that I will bring my pilates ball to use as a birthing ball.

They also recommended that things like the car seat and going-home outfit for the baby can be brought by the husband the last day - no need to drag it along when you first go to the hopsital. Seemed like good advice.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Books arrived, wills in process, new rug for the living room

Been an eventful few days I guess. The many books I ordered from and from have arrived. I've filled 2 and a half shelves with them. I'm sure we'll get more books - so I won't have any trouble filling the 2nd half of the third shelf. They look cute - mostly small board books, but a couple larger hardcover books too.

We got the drafts of our estate planning documents on Thursday and spent some time reviewing them this weekend. Everything seems in order, so we'll be meeting with the attorney to sign them on Thursday.

Some of the decorations I got to put on the wall above the changing table in the baby's room arrived a couple days ago, too. But I'm still missing a couple things, so I'm waiting for those before I actually finish decorating the room.

Today I went to ABC Carpet to look for a rug to replace the one in the living room. Our old rug was a beige color and thus showed a lot of wear and dirt. I've been looking for a replacement for awhile, but I hadn't come across anything I had particularly liked. So I decided it was time to raid the sale section at ABC and see what I could find. I wanted something to warm up the room a bit - crimson and gold and brown - to go with our current brown leather furniture and crimson and gold accent pillows. I found a really nice 8x10 rug in a perfect shade of dark red with some stripes in tan, olive, navy, and cream. The stripes are fairly thin and somewhat spread out so that the rug is primarily dark red. It looks great in the room - has exactly the effect I was looking for. Definitely a successful shopping trip. It was a little bit more than I had hoped to spend, but it's a really nice quality wool rug from India, so I think it was definitely worth the extra money. And I'm sure the baby will love crawling on a new soft rug - that won't show the dirt so much when she treads or spills on it.

I guess that's about it. We've got a busy week coming up. Hospital tour is tomorrow night. Breastfeeding class Tuesday night. Meeting a pediatrician Wednesday morning. And signing our wills and such Thursday afternoon. Lots of little things to take care of - 5 weeks to go until my due date. I'm pretty much ready. We've still got some things to take care of and buy. But the baby feels pretty big at this point - and kicks me painfully quite often. So I'll be happy to have her to hug and hold - and to start getting my body back.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

34 week check-up

Uneventful doctor's appointment today. I saw Dr. Schweizer. He seemed very nice. Came in and introduced himself, measured my belly (growing well), asked about the baby's movement (she's been moving plenty), checked the heartbeat (sounded good), asked if I had any questions (I didn't), and that was it. He took me on time. Normally I'd be quite happy about that, but Shafi was running late. So I was actually done by the time Shafi arrived. Definitely not fun for Shafi to come all the way up to 32nd street on the east side from Tribeca only to turn back around and head back down to his office having not even met the doctor. I felt a little bad for him...but he probably should have left the office earlier.

Next appointment is in 2 weeks. That's when they'll do the Strep B test, which is no big deal. If it happens to be positive it just means they'll administer antibiotics during labor to avoid passing it on to the baby.

And from then on it's weekly appointments. I've scheduled for weeks 36, 37, 38, 39, and 40. Weeks 37 and 39 are with the other 2 doctors in the practice. Week 40 is actually scheduled for the day after my due date, just in case. They told me to go ahead and schedule all the remaining appointments and if I deliver before any of them, they'll automatically cancel the rest.

Daycare Tour & Childbirth Preparation Class #4

We toured a daycare center near us in Brooklyn Heights yesterday - Imagine Early Learning Center. They take babies from 3 months up to 5 years old. The facility itself was decent - they rent space on the first floor of an old church. They've been there for 10 years or so. Overall I have to say I was impressed with the setup, the care, the teachers, etc. Obviously our top interest was the infant class. They take 8 babies for 3 instructors. The babies usually stay in the infant class until the new school year - moving up to the 1 year old class in September - so they're often more like 16 months or something by then. It continues on from there with 2 instructors for 10 1 year olds. Then 2 instructors each for 2 classes of 10 2 year olds. Then I think it was 3 instructors for the preschool, which is ages 3 to 5 - and I think they said they have 23 kids in there.

Almost all meals, snacks, and supplies are brought by the parents, including crib decorations and sheets. I guess that allows the parents to have the most say in what their children get, so that seemed like a pretty good idea. Each kid gets a take home sheet every day with pertinent information on meals, diapers, and anything else relevant.

There is of course a waiting list - and the likelihood of getting in there before September is quite slim - and it's even possible that we wouldn't get in starting in September. But they are in the process of opening a new center in DUMBO. So if that happens this summer, then we'd be pretty likely to get a spot in one or the other by September. We're certainly not completely decided on daycare versus nanny, but we wanted to get on the wait list to keep our options open. And it was nice to see that this was definitely an option we'd consider.

Last night's childbirth prep class was mostly on infant care, although we did review some other topics from past classes. Each couple got a doll to undress, bathe, diaper, dress, and swaddle. We definitely learned some helpful things about bathing a newborn and some supplies we should get - like cotton balls and rubbing alcohol swabs. There was also a bit of instruction about breastfeeding positions and other do's and don'ts. That was helpful, but I'm glad we're signed up for the breastfeeding class next week, as I feel like there's lots more to learn and everyone tells me how difficult it can be for the first few weeks.

We've got one class left, which is really just a tour of the hospital. I'm definitely glad we took the class - I think it was well worth the money.

Off to the doctor for my 34 week appointment - I'll post any news from that later or tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

New Years Eve 2008

We celebrated the upcoming year of Baby Imran's birth in style with a fabulous 5 course meal at Del Posto last night. And we were happy to have our friends Larry, Brian, Jamie, and Baby Weinstein with us. Jamie's not showing much yet - but she can still show her daughter our New Years Eve 2008 pictures some day and tell her she was there.

Here are some pics.

Furniture arrived yesterday!

The baby furniture arrived yesterday. It looks great - matches our other furniture almost perfectly. It does fit the room as expected. It's a bit crowded by the crib, but that's the price we'll have to pay to make the room a hybrid guestroom and nursery.

We moved some of the art work in the room that will stay - the Kandinsky and the Hopper. The rest will come down when we get the other decorations I've ordered for the room. I thought those 2 were good colors for the baby to look at, but I definitely want to put something above the changing table that the baby can't knock down (not a big framed print) or that wouldn't hurt if she does. I've ordered some plush letters (letter shaped pillows about 2 inches thick) to spell out her name and some other cute plush items to decorate around the letters. I'm also planning to put the shelf that matches the bedding set up above the toy box by the window.

I'm sure it'll all come together once we get the crib mattress and bedding and the decorative items.

I also went through the various clothes and booties and whatnot that we've bought or been given and washed them, folded them, and put them in the dresser. The current location of everything is not necessarily where it will stay as I get more stuff - but it works for now.

Here's what the room looks like now...definitely starting to take shape.