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Monday, December 6, 2010

Pregnancy update - 34 weeks

I've now hit the point that my midwives want to see me every two weeks instead of just once a month.  So this morning I was back in their office.  This time, Brian came along, which was really nice.  He can't always make the appointments because he's busy at work, but I sure am glad when he can.  Not only is he helpful in watching Mira while I'm talking to the midwife or getting examined, but also it's just nice to not be the only pregnant lady in the waiting room with a toddler instead of a husband sitting next to her.  Something about the demographic of women who have chosen this birth center, they all seem to have husbands who are very involved, which is pretty cool.  Probably has something to do with the fact that Bradley courses (husband-coached childbirth classes) are so strongly recommended by the midwives...

Anyway, so speaking of our Bradley course... We just have two weeks left in the course and now that we've been through a majority of it, we know a lot more about what we're going to need in our birth room, having done so much relaxation practice and labor rehearsal.  So we wanted to revisit the birth rooms to remind ourselves what we would have available versus what we would need to bring (the main reason Brian came along for this appointment).  As we were checking out the rooms again, I was reminded of one of the reasons I chose this birth center over a hospital.  The rooms are so homey and relaxing compared to a hospital setting.  There is no nursery, so the baby never leaves the room where you are.  Everything that the midwives will need is right in the room.  They assume that the laboring woman will be unmedicated and therefore provide certain tools (such as a birth ball and squatting stool) that are not provided by most hospitals, where a majority of women are immobilized by an epidural.  Anyway, it's a really positive, supportive, relaxing environment and I'm happy to be delivering there.  

So then after that it was the usual prenatal appointment: weight, blood pressure, urine, belly measurements, fetal heartbeat, etc.  My blood pressure is staying good and low, right around 115/70.  Baby's heartbeat was about 140 bpm, which is great.  I actually lost weight again: in the two weeks since my last appointment, I lost one pound.  (Making total weight gain this pregnancy 4 pounds, so far.)  This actually makes sense to me, since I'm eating a lot less because it just won't fit in my tummy anymore.  I feel full after just a few bites.  Also, my reflux keeps me from eating normal sized portions; now that my stomach is so compressed, I start getting reflux not just after meals, but during.  Which is not appetizing.  And despite the fact that I'm eating so much less, I'm still just as physically active, since there's not much of a choice when there's a toddler involved.  Plus also, we've been working on getting the nursery ready, and that's a lot of moving around.  But the midwife seemed unconcerned that I'd lost more weight.  She said she was happy with my weight and the way I was looking, especially since my belly grew 4 centimeters in the last 2 weeks (!!!).  So that means the baby is growing and getting bigger, despite my weight loss.

By palpating my belly, she was able to tell me that the baby's head is down, as it was last time.  She also said that the baby would almost certainly stay head down for the rest of the pregnancy.  Especially since her head seemed to be jammed down into my pelvis.  The midwife said that there wasn't much give down there because Ellowyn's head was so firmly settled into my pelvis.  She said that happens sometimes with second pregnancies because everything is already loosened up for the baby's passage, especially when the pregnancies are close together as mine have been.  Well, that totally explains all the pain I've been experiencing over the last week or more.  My stomach and pelvis have been in almost constant pain, with certain activities making it worse.  My stomach muscles have been really sore and I'll get sharp muscle pain; I think somewhat because of this cough that I've had for about 2 weeks as I'm getting over a cold.  But also, my pelvis has been achy, like all the joints down there are painful and loose.  I never hurt this much in my first pregnancy, so what the midwife said makes sense to me that it's because Ellowyn's head is so wedged in there.  

Ellowyn is still just as active as ever, but the quality of her movements is changing as her space diminishes.  It's much less like "banging around" and much more stretching and pushing.  It's also getting much more uncomfortable when she moves, as something of mine is always stretched or squished.

I did end up talking to an eye doctor about my ocular migraines, as one midwife had recommended.  She said exactly what I thought she would, that the ocular migraines I was having were due to hormones and stress and that I would likely continue to have them throughout the pregnancy but that they would likely stop after the baby was born.  One thing she did say that I found kind of interesting: in addition to avoiding stress, I could help control them by drinking a little caffeine.  She said that caffeine stimulates the "blood vessel wall" (whatever that means), and will help prevent or lessen the severity of the ocular migraines.  She said to take in about 65mg per day of caffeine (about the amount in one soda or one small coffee), and to really maximize the effect, to nurse one caffeinated beverage over a long span of time.  Like caffeine on continuous drip.  I hadn't been drinking any caffeine really at all, so drinking one a day is kind of hard for me.  But I have found that since I've started doing this I haven't had another ocular migraine (I've been at it for maybe a week).  So maybe it's helping, which would be good news. 

So there.  Despite all the complaining, I managed to end the blog post on a positive note at least.  Can you tell that I'm done with being pregnant?  ;-P


Anjea said...

Caffeine is a vasodilator, so it would make the blood vessels relax, allowing for smoother bloodflow and in turn, reducing the migraines.

I remember you mentioning one time that you loved being pregnant and had given thought to being a surrgoate - changing your mind? ;-)

I feel your pain on the heartburn. No fun there! Hang in there - you don't have much longer to go!

Laura said...

Re: loving being pregnant: Yeah, my pregnancy with Mira was such a dream. I did love being pregnant when it was my first pregnancy. This one... not so much. :-/

It's not heartburn; it's reflux. I actually have stomach contents wash back up my esophagus and into my mouth. Not the most appetizing thing while eating. And I'm sure you wanted to hear all about it. >.<

Marcy said...

Aren't heartburn and reflux basically the same thing? (stomach acid backing up into the esophagus) Did your midwives have any recommendations for helping treat it? Chewing gum can sometimes help, I've also heard of pregnant women who take heartburn meds like Zantac or Maalox to help relieve symptoms.

I got a sample of this stuff from my midwives, and amazingly it's helped quite a bit when I've had bad heartburn (I don't understand how it works, but somehow it does):

Laura said...

The main difference is that reflux is a disease state and heartburn is a *possible* symptom of the disease. Basically, reflux is the chronic problem of having stomach contents wash back up the esophagus and heartburn is the chest pain that may or may not result from reflux.

I have reflux, but not heartburn. Meaning that I have stomach contents that wash back up into my mouth, but I don't have any chest pain associated with it.

The summary at the end of this article pretty well explains it:

My reflux is luckily well treated by Gaviscon, a chewable over the counter antacid tablet. So I chew a couple of those after most meals. And while that helps after I'm done eating, it doesn't save my appetite when the reflux happens mid meal. So as a result, I'm eating less.