When life gives you lemons…

Eliana’s Birth Story: Part II Life in the NICU

My friend April would probably ask for a knife, cut the lemon in half and start licking or sucking it. Especially if it was a Meyer’s lemon because those are her favorite. However, as the saying goes

“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade”

I don’t think anyone gets pregnant and then anticipates there to be complications after delivering. Especially when you happened to be blessed with the easiest pregnancy ever. So when the nurse decided to tell us that Eliana was having difficulties breathing and that she wasn’t getting enough oxygen into her lungs we weren’t really prepared to have them wheel her away to the NICU. Most definitely not after barely meeting her and spending all of 3 hours with her.

But oddly enough as much as I was scared and worried about how bad her breathing “difficulties” really were I had peace. They took her at about 10:30pm to run tests and x-ray her chest. We were able to see her around midnight. I think this is where it finally hit me. We walked into the NICU and saw dozens of babies all preemies and all roughly under 2 lbs. Then we turn the corner and see our daughter weighing in at 9 lbs 2 oz. If I thought she looked big before she officially looked ginormous. Just across from her were a set of twins whose combined weight was under 3 lbs. All I could think was MY DAUGHTER doesn’t belong here. She is a full term, hefty and healthy baby. But then we see her in the little NICU bed surrounded by an air tent and hooked up to monitors and an iv and with a heating lamp over her and we both sort of lost it.

As a new mother I wanted to keep my cool and not lose it in front of dozens of other parents whose children were literally fighting for their lives. However Hector, as a first time Dad who felt it was his right to protect his daughter and make sure she was safe and secure, just started weeping. Then my heart broke. We couldn’t touch her or hold her or do anything to let her know we were there and that she was safe and that all would be okay. I tried to be the super positive one telling Hector that this was a minor hiccup and that everything would be fine (not really knowing whether or not it would be). At this point I just had to trust in God. I mean He was the one who brought her into this world and if I was going to get peace and understanding from anyone it would be Him.

It was at this point that I realized how hard it must be to lose a child. Eliana was no where near dying, but obviously when you don’t know what’s going on you think the worst and then it just seems to eat away at your brain. I literally couldn’t fathom what I would do if I lost her. I mean we only knew her for a few hours, but seriously all the time and effort it takes to create a child is no simple task. I couldn’t help but feel that the last 10 months would all be in vain if they couldn’t make her better.

At midnight that night they started her on antibiotics just “in case” she had an infection. The x-ray showed cloudy fluid filled lungs and they had anticipated pneumonia. But no one really knew so besides the antibiotics all we could do is wait. We left her in the NICU and headed back to my room to get some sleep. Or shall I say try and get some sleep.

The next morning was better and worse. We obviously didn’t call our family at midnight to tell them she had been admitted, so we had to let everyone know they couldn’t come and visit. The NICU rule was one visitor at a time with one parent at all times. This doesn’t really make for an easy visit when you have dozens of family and friends who want to see her. Especially when your not allowed to hold her or touch her. And of course your family hears NICU and they automatically freak out and want to be there immediately. It was not how I anticipated her first few days. She spent the remainder of Sunday in the air tent and was hooked up to an iv. I was pumping in order to be able to breastfeed her once she was off the air tent. At 10pm that night we went back to the NICU and her tent was gone. The Dr. felt she was improving greatly and even invited me back at 11pm to feed her. It was a huge blessing to be able to hold her and touch her and especially feed her. And boy was she hungry : )

The following day we had a minor setback when they wanted to put in a PIC line through her umbilical cord. If she was going to be on antibiotics for the week they thought it was best to put in a central line instead of a local iv because those close easily in infants and have to continuously be re-done which means tons of poking. When they did this they apparently went to far and tickled her heart twice which made her heart skyrocket to 250bpm. One of these episodes happened when Hector was there visiting her and he was asked to leave as a slew of doctors try to lower her heart rate. Not Cool. He came back to the room freaking out because now they thought she had a heart problem. Even though later they determined it was just because of the central line. Grrrr. I know Dr.’s aren’t perfect and everyone makes mistakes, but if there is one complaint I have about the UCSD NICU its the inconsistency of medical reporting/opinions from Dr’s on different shifts. SOOOO FRUSTRATING.

Another example of this frustration was them giving us false hope. The nurse decided to tell us on Tuesday that she was doing so well and had such a comeback that they thought we might be able to take her home on Wednesday afternoon. We both almost peed our pants. Home before Thanksgiving!!! Even though they told us on Sunday that under NO circumstances would she be leaving before the following Sunday. She continued to do well throughout Tuesday and when we came back Wednesday morning to listen to the Dr’s reports they decided to deny her discharge. We were pissed.

Not to mention they were so certain of her early discharge that they removed her central line and started going through discharge paperwork with us. When they told us no we asked why and they said she had 2 episodes of desat’s Tuesday night. A desat is where her oxygen saturation falls below a certain level. (sorry if my medical terms or spelling are totally incorrect). So they now were going to keep her until Sunday afternoon NO MATTER WHAT. I just rolled my eyes and gave the Dr. a mean look. We were both upset. She was completely healthy and doing just fine. She had no reason to be there and we felt that if they weren’t 100% sure about discharging her early then they shouldn’t have told us and on top of that they shouldn’t have removed her central line because Hector had to hold her for 45 minutes why they poked her over a half dozen times trying to get another port in for her meds. Which SHOULDN’T have been needed if they would’ve kept her central line in, but they DIDN’T because they felt that strongly about her going home. UGHHHH!!!!!!

Anyhow we eventually got over it and decided to just deal with the situation. However each day that went by we got more and more pissed that she was still in the NICU. She continued to have desats the remainder of her stay, but apparently they were just incorrect readings from the monitor. Which makes us think that those 2 random ones on Tuesday night were also just incorrect readings from the monitor because she never actually had a legitimate desat ever again. GRRRRRR

Well on Friday we started to get anxious and antsy and just plain pissed that we were being told different things from different Dr.’s and after we started analyzing everything that they were telling us we realized that they had miscalculated the doses of her meds. From day 1 they said she needed 7 days of med treatment. She got her first round on midnight Saturday night which meant that her last round would be administered Friday at midnight NOT Saturday at midnight. When we discussed this with the Dr.’s Friday they just look dumbfounded and she counted 7 nights of treatment in front of me ending Saturday at midnight. I then proceeded to count on my fingers in front of her Saturday Midnight 1, Sunday Midnight 2, Monday Midnight 3, Tuesday Midnight 4, Wednesday Midnight 5, Thursday Midnight 6 and Friday Midnight 7. She proceeded to say they would double check that with her charts. UGHHHH Hector and I were both at our wits end and we just wanted her home.

Needless to say she came home Saturday at 10am! Haha we won. It may seem that we fought and bickered over 1 day which doesn’t seem like a lot, but that was one day less we had to travel back and forth 5x in a day to see her and feed her. And one day less that a healthy baby had to pay $$ to be in a NICU where she didn’t belong.

Anyhow that was a super long story and sadly it reflects poorly on our experience with the NICU. However I must say that we LOVED every single nurse who took care of Eliana during her time in the NICU. They were utterly fantastic and the 4th floor NICU was like a Ritz Carlton. We had our own private little room and I know she received the best care ever. My only complaint is that the Dr’s would get their acts together and discuss things in a clear and concise matter. Because regardless of their individual opinions they all need to implement the same plan of care and not give the parents the run around.

So even though her first week was spent in the hospital she came home a healthy and happy baby. Hector and I don’t believe she ever needed to be in the NICU, but the situation is what it is. We now know as parents that we need to speak up and make a stink about things if we don’t like whats going on or we are even the slightest bit confused about the situation. You live and you learn 🙂

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A baby story

So here we are 14 days into being parents. And now I finally understand why everyone kept telling me to get more sleep… you live and you learn 🙂

Anyhow let me get to the point of this post – Eliana’s Birth Story 🙂
For those of you who dislike the details of birth stories you probably won’t want to read this. I promise to spare any gruesome details, however I want to share as much of my experience as possible. Not to mention if I don’t write it down now chances are in a few more days I will forget how it all happened! So we start this long journey of how our dear Eliana came into the world on the morning of November 19th, 2010.

It was approximately 5am when I got up out of bed and started having my first contractions. The funny thing was that somehow I knew it was coming. The night before I was super emotional and had a heightened sensitivity toward everything around me. I canceled my initial plans to go out with a group of girls from my church because I felt like at any moment I might burst into tears. So instead I got ready for bed and called it a night. Which I am glad I did because I had no idea what the following 33 hours would have in store for me.

When I woke up at 5am, I didn’t tell Hector. I wanted to make sure that I was truly going into Labor so I went to the living room and started counting my contractions. **For all of my “still-pregnant” friends, there is this awesome contractions calculator on thebump.com. It seriously helps with keeping track of your contractions when your incoherent. So after an hour of consistent contractions I decided to go poke Hector and tell him that he might not be going into work. My contractions from the very beginning were 2-3 minutes apart and lasting anywhere from 30-50 seconds. I had an appointment scheduled for that morning with my midwife to have my membranes stripped so I decided to go in as planned and have her check me and make sure all was okay.

In my opinion these pictures are evidence that I married one of the most amazing men on the planet

and waited 4.5 years to have kids with him

and could rest assured knowing that he would be by my side the entire 33 hours

 of the most exhaustive Labor ever. 
Our love has grown even more and it has opened the door of understanding 
as to how much God truly loves us.

I went in at 8:30am to see Rita and I was pretty bummed to find out that I was only 1 cm dilated and 75% effaced. I thought considering my contractions were relatively close that I was lucky enough to be progressing quickly. That morning when she asked me what my pain level was I told her a 7 on a scale of 10. Little did I know that I would retract that number and change it to a 3 after experiencing transition 27 hours later.

Hector and I went home from the appointment and I decided to chill on the couch while he went into work for a few hours to tie up some loose ends. I was feeling pretty good considering I was still very much in early labor. I called my parents to give them the heads up and even though I told them to take their time, the eager grandparents arrived at our house around 1:30pm. My sister showed up around 3:30pm and at this point our house was full. I was sitting on a yoga ball laboring in the living room while everyone else watched tv and to be honest the distraction of all the activity was rather nice. I was texting the entire time as well so that’s a major sign of me not being in hard labor.

He seriously never let go of my hand and never stopped encouraging me. 
 Hector cuts Eliana’s cord 🙂

Eliana meeting Dad for the first time. 

And then she poops on him for the first time as well!

Our little chunker getting weighed as…

Mommy gets put back together again. 

 My sister was there with me for the last 6 hours of Labor as well. She was incredible and although wanted to laugh at my reaction to contractions was an awesome support. Especially when I was getting stitched up.

My contractions continued to increase in strength, but were still about 2-3 minutes apart and a little less then a minute in length. At around 5:30pm (10 hours into laboring) we decided to head to the birthing center. My mom was getting nervous that I was progressing quickly and a part of me was anxious to see if I had progressed at all. The car ride wasn’t fun by any means, but it wasn’t unbearable. Once we arrived I was escorted into the triage room to be checked by the midwife and assessed to see if I could be admitted. Unfortunately I was only 2 cm dilated and 40% effaced (apparently I backtracked on that part). I was sooooo bummed. The midwife proceeded to strip my membranes in order to make my labor progress quicker. She then told me to walk the hallways for 2 hours and come back around 8pm to get checked again.

So lots and lots of pacing the hallways and enduring contractions that were progressively getting worse and finally the clock struck 8pm. I was checked again and it was good, but not great news. I was at 3cm and 80% effaced. Since I had progressed in that 2 hour time frame they decided to admit me and give me a room. A part of me was grateful and another part of me was thinking “How long is this going to take?! I am only at 3cm, I still have 7 more to go”. Needless to say it had been a long day and the night would be even longer.

Once we got settled in I basically was jumping around from rocking chair to yoga ball to regular chair and then back to rocking chair in an attempt to manage my contractions. They checked me again at midnight (4 hours later) and I was still 3cm and 90% effaced. At this point it took everything in me to not want to cry, but somehow I managed. Hector was extremely supportive and encouraging. He continuously reminded me that I was doing great and that I would get through this. About 3 hours later they checked me again and I had progressed to 4cm and 90% effaced still. I was somewhat happier, but I was honestly crossing my fingers for 7cm. Apparently that was wishful thinking.

Our first and last few moments with her before she was rolled away to the NICU

 This should be an encouragement to all women going natural – if I can look this happy just mere hours after delivering her it obviously isn’t that bad 🙂

The nurse and midwife could tell that I was getting exhausted. I couldn’t relax enough to sleep and I had been up for almost 24 hours. They offered me “therapeutic rest” via injection. Basically its like drinking a 6 pack of beer. Its an anti-nausea medicine that helped me relax enough to sleep. I don’t remember much about getting it except that I felt super tired. They said it might allow me to get about 3-4 hours of sleep so Hector and I laid down in my room and slept.  Unfortunately 1 hour later I was up again and sitting back in the rocking chair. I let Hector sleep since I knew he had to be pretty exhausted.

I didn’t get checked again until about 7am and I had progressed to 5cm. It was a battle of my mind to keep myself thinking positive thoughts. I really had to focus on the fact that at least I was still progressing and not stopping or regressing because that can happen as well. The time was really a blur and between walking the hallways and rocking in the chair it somehow managed to go by. It was at this point they decided to bind my belly with an elastic belly band. They felt that Eliana was balled up at the front of my belly instead of moving down into my birth canal. The band felt awesome. The pressure it put on my stomach relieved some of the tension from the contractions. And apparently they knew what they were doing. When they checked me at 10am I was 7cm!!!! Yahoo was all I could think. It wasn’t 10cm, but I had gone 2 cm in 3 hours instead of 1 cm in 10 hours. So things were finally starting to move along.

At this point they decided on 2 things 1.) they broke my water and 2.) they started filling up the tub so I could labor in there during transition. When they broke my water they did find a little of meconium in my fluid, but thankfully it wasn’t enough to have me moved down to Labor and Delivery. An hour later I was in the tub and experiencing what I now know to be “transition”. If I though the first 30 hours of labor was difficult, it was nothing compared to the last 3. From 11am to 1:45pm I labored in the tub and was checked every hour. I progressed from 7 to 8 to 9 to almost 10cm each hour. These 3 hours were the hardest thing I have ever experienced in life.  At this point my contractions were actually 3-4 minutes apart and lasting for about 1min 30 seconds. And all I can say is that I am so grateful for those 3-4 minute breaks. They were my saving grace.

A little bit before 2pm they had me get out of the tub to change positions and see if gravity would get me to the final full 10cm. Before I knew it I was lying on the bed and pushing. And boy did that feel good. Instead of trying to survive my contractions I was able to use them and work with them to get her out. I pushed for 27 minutes and she came into the world at exactly 2:22pm. Finally RELIEF!! My sister and my husband were there for the entire thing. They witnessed what they felt was the most amazing experience ever. When she came out she was put directly on my chest and I was just in a state of shock and awe. My sister and Hector were staring at me like they had seen a ghost. Apparently watching the actual birth is a whole lot different then being the one delivering.

At this point I felt like a million bucks. It was so nice to have her out. I was starving so my sister was feeding me cheez-its while Hector cut the cord and the midwife tried to finish things up “downstairs”. However she had to call in reinforcements because I tore pretty bad. The midwives can only do repairs on 2nd degree tears, but I had a 4th so the surgeons from downstairs had to come finish the job. After the midwife had spent an hour already trying to suture me up the Urogynecologists from Labor and Delivery were sent up and spent 2 more hours putting me back together. The worst part was that I had to leave Eliana. Hector stayed in the room with her and then I was taken to triage. I was super bummed. Not even an hour into this world I was already having to say goodbye. Not cool.

Thankfully my sister came with me. If I hadn’t just experienced 33 hours of labor I probably would’ve been terrified knowing that they were going to be suturing up my most sensitive parts for over 2 hours. But they did a great job numbing me with lidocaine so I didn’t feel too much going on down there. My nurse eventually came in to tell me that Eliana was a whopping 9lbs 2oz and 20 inches (later to be corrected at 22 inches). There was a definite sigh from all the other nurses and the 2 surgeons in the room and it was followed with “So that’s how you tore….”. I was shocked. My midwife estimated Eliana at 7 to 7 1/2 lbs, but apparently ultrasounds and even guessing fetal size with your hands is only correct 50% of the time. So really its totally unreliable.

Finally the 2 hours were over and I was sent back to my room where my wonderful husband and gorgeous baby girl were waiting for me. I was really just bummed that I missed them weigh and measure her, but I am glad I got fixed. Once I was back to the room I was feeling great and honestly just wanted to see my family and Hector’s family and share my feelings of excitement and joy. And my awesome sister in law had brought us In N Out for dinner and I was so ready to chow down.

Even though I felt like adopting during my last 3 hours of labor

I can see in these photos that she was worth every

 hour of pain, discomfort and exhaustion.

We had wonderful visits from family and friends for the next few hours and I can’t explain how happy and joyful I was. It was like I never even went through the previous 33 hours of labor. It was beautiful. And then God throws another curve ball into the mix and the joyous feeling is paused. At 10:00pm Eliana wasn’t breathing properly and the perinatologist from the NICU wheeled her downstairs for testing. So here I was for the 2nd time in her first day a part of this world, saying goodbye to my daughter. Hector and I didn’t even know how to respond. We just sort of sat and stared…

Eliana’s Birth Story Part II: Being in the NICU – To be continued

After 33 hours of Labor…

Born: 11/20/2010
Weighing: 9lbs 2 oz!! 
Length: 22 inches

Why we chose what we chose….

In case you haven’t realized people are really passionate about names. They either love a name or hate a name and they will go to great lengths to explain their likes or dislikes. Its for this very reason that Hector and I kept our mouths shut (for the most part) about our daughters name until she was born. We also wanted to meet her before making any concrete decisions in case we changed our minds. So because of this I wanted to name her something that came from us as parents and wasn’t influenced by our family and friends dislikes or likes. It’s really hard to keep a name when an Aunt, Grandmother or really close friend explains how much they HATE a name you have chosen as a possibility. However, most people will keep their mouths shut (at least to your face) if the child has already been born and the name announced. So please take note that if you don’t like this name I DON’T CARE and I DON’T want your negative opinion about it. Eliana is not your child and thus not your responsibility to name so deal with it. Also it’s not like I named her Egypt, Apple or Bon Qui Qui… I mean really it could be worse.

So this is how it all began…

We first fell in love with Eliana because of how it sounded and the fact that it is a Spanish name. I have no idea when or how we found it but we stumbled upon it and it was always the #1 name in the back of our heads. Other contenders were Liliana, Isla, Alexis and Eva, but none of them really captured us like Eliana did. After doing some research on what the name meant I was pretty much sold for several reasons.

First – In Hebrew Eliana means “God has answered me” or “God has answered my prayer”. I thought that was awesome. We definitely prayed that getting pregnant wouldn’t be hard and that we could have children abundantly, but you forget that God answers those prayers and its not just “luck”. Secondly – In Latin it is derived from the family name Aelianus meaning of the sun. This is a random association, but for those of you who don’t know, my sorority pledge name is Sunstone and my nickname has become Sunny. Thirdly – In Greek it is associated with meaning “daughter of the sun” and Lastly – in Arabic it means “the Bright”. Overall I loved every single meaning I could muster up on the internet. So I was happy I wasn’t naming her something that meant “a grassy knoll” or “black tar”.

Then we moved onto middle names. The middle name was the hardest to find, but the easiest to eventually decide on. I love unisex names and I also like names that aren’t necessarily on the top 100 list. So I had names like Riley, Quinn, Blake, Parker and Berlin on our “middle names” list. After throwing around Reese for a few days I found that I had really wanted a middle name with 1 syllable since her first and last have many.  This creates a name that is easy to say in comparison to one that is a “mouthful” and seems wordy. Her full name is 4 syllables, 1 syllable and 3 syllables. So it flows well. I know it may seem crazy to have so much thought put into a name, but seriously its not like she is a dog that I can name anything and it doesn’t really matter. Then lastly, I fell in love with the meaning of Reese as well. In English it means “Fiery/Ardent” and in Welsh it means “Enthusiastic”. I thought both would be fitting for her 🙂

So in the end we know that she probably won’t always be called “Eliana”, but we are more then open to all forms of nicknames including but not limited too – Elle, Ellie, Liana, Elia, or even calling her by her middle name Reese because I love it that much. I am sure my family will find several nicknames to call her that don’t even pertain to her real name. Example: My entire family (on my Dad’s side) calls me “Stubby”. I am not even sure if I have ever heard them call me Melissa. My Uncle even made up a song that incorporates my nickname into it. Personally, I love it 🙂 It shows they love me and makes me feel special. To me nicknames are meant to be a form of endearment and some of her “Auntie” and “Uncles” from the sorority and fraternity have already dubbed her “Cholula”. And truth be told if Uncle Cho wants to call her Cholula I am 100% in support of it.

So that is the story of how we came to name our first born daughter. I hope you enjoyed it 🙂

300…

So apparently one of the many side effects of pregnancy is crazy dreams. And I have to admit I have woken up several times with the most random people in my dreams. People I haven’t spoken to since Jr. High and other people whom I have never met and I always asked myself how they got in my head. Well a few nights ago was no exception. I think since I was near my due date and I had that fear factor of birthing and everything I began having dreams to boost my confidence. Well this is the craziness that I dreamed….

If you have never watched the movie 300 then you probably won’t get this, but I encourage you to watch this trailer of the movie (fyi the movie is rated R and is definitely racy, but its great if you can get past that). The trailer will give you an idea of the music that was playing inside my head during my dream and one of the exact scenes I dreamed of was in that trailer. It wasn’t an overly long dream, but basically there is one scene where King Leonidas’s wife is responding to a messenger that was sent on behalf of King Xerxes. The messenger wanted to know why Greek woman had influence/control over Greek men. (At this point in the movie King Leonidas was asking his wife what he should/shouldn’t do in response to the message sent from Xerxes). And Leonidas’s wife responded to the messenger with a simple “Only Spartan women give birth to Spartan men”. In essence saying that Greek men wouldn’t exist without Greek woman to birth them so they see each other as equals where in most other cultures women were held below men and were not used for counsel in any matter.

So basically in my head I was chanting “Spartan Woman give birth to Spartan Men” over and over again in my dream. And then following that I dreamed about the scene (its in the trailer) where King Leonidas looks at his wife (during the conversation with the messenger) and she gives him a nod. He then proceeds to kick the messenger in slow motion to this really awesome rock song and he goes flying in the air and falls into this tunnel to his death. This was King Leonidas telling King Xerxes you can go fly a kite because they won’t submit to slavery. (**killing a messenger was like an abomination since he was just delivering the ‘message’ so that was a big no no).

Anyhow, after that I woke up and I had the theme music in my head and I couldn’t stop replaying the words “Spartan Woman give birth to Spartan Men” over and over. I found it hilarious. I told Hector about my dream and his response… “Do you think your having a boy?” I about died. I said no our daughter is going to be a GIRL, however I apparently think role playing as a Greek Queen during Labor and chanting the words “Spartan Woman give birth to Spartan Men” will make labor easier for me. (maybe I will even dye my hair black and wear a Grecian robe and have a banner above my hospital bed that says “Prepare for Glory” – see picture above)

At the very least this will give me something amusing to think about when our daughter does decide to get this Labor going. And who knows maybe saying those words will help me. Although I am pretty sure I am a “White Woman giving birth to a Half White/Half Latin baby girl”, but for some reason that doesn’t have the same powerful ring to it.

Oh well 🙂

**p.s. the real quote is actually “Only spartan women give birth to real men”, but in my head I said Spartan Men so I went with what I actually dreamed. And just so I don’t get a bunch of comments from people correcting me… Yes, I am aware that isn’t the real quote, but just go with it k.

Stick a fork in it…

Because we are done!

The day that felt like it would take years to come is finally here. November 15th, 2010 – your expected due date. To be honest it might as well be November 15th, 2009 because I don’t feel like I am about to become a Mom and even though I have been pregnant for the past 10 months I still can’t wrap my head around the reality that I truly am pregnant. I think its one of those things that doesn’t become a reality until you’ve been a parent for awhile. It’s rather weird. But anyhow we are pretty darn excited to meet you and since your taking up a large amount of my physical real estate it would be awesome if you came sooner rather then later, but I will be patient.

So for all of my non-facebook friends (ahem Kim Murray). I thought I would share my most recent belly shots and some of the maternity photos that my sister took of us. Enjoy!

My sister got together with us in Ocean Beach for a maternity photo-shoot. She has a great eye and since she is my sister I get the family discount of Free Photos 🙂 I loved the way they turned out. I hope you like them as well. 

p.s. here is a sneak peek at one of the outtakes for our Christmas Card Photo

Any day now…

So basically they tell you that after 37 weeks of being pregnant you could go “any day” and it wouldn’t be considered bad. The baby is apparently fully developed and the only thing that happens in the last few weeks is they chunk up. So right now I am sitting on 38 weeks and 2 days. I really wanted to give another update before things go haywire, even though I am assuming it will be at least another week until any action occurs. So here is how things have been since week 29 (the last time I did this).

Today’s Date: November, 3rd 2010
Weeks Pregnant: 38 weeks and 2 days
Current Weight:  167 – eeeek!
Weight at the Start of Pregnancy: 126
Total pounds gained so far: 41 big ones baby
Height: 5’6”
Am I getting Braxton Hicks Contractions: All the time!! Especially at night. Sleeping sucks.
Do I have stretch marks: Some on my hips and one above my belly button where I got it pierced.
Do I eat weird foods: No, but I am always eating now. I had a foot long all by myself a few nights ago. I have NEVER eaten that much food before in one meal. I think it scares Hector 🙂
Do I exercise: I am still walking (did 4 miles the other day!!) at this point and I went swimming the other day, but the braxton hicks make doing too much physical activity super uncomfortable
Have I enjoyed being pregnant: YES! I didn’t get uncomfortable until about 2 nights ago. Sleeping is a lot harder now with the contractions and constantly having to pee. Luckily it took me until 38+ weeks to legitimately feel uncomfortable. Up until Monday I was happy as pie. I am still happy just bummed about the lack of sleep.
Am I reading Babywise: You bet I am. It’s a little overwhelming to swallow all the concepts, but it makes a lot of sense. And who wouldn’t want a baby that sleeps through the night at 7-9 weeks.
Am I using a doula: If one is available when I arrive I think I will gladly accept the extra help. Otherwise its just me and Hec  🙂
Did I do all recommended screenings: Yes. Any test that the hospital offered I took (as long as it wasn’t invasive or a health risk to myself or my baby). 
Did I get the flu shot: No
Did I get the H1N1 shot: No
Did I get the whooping cough vaccine: I will once she is born. Hector and I both will be given the shot immediately following her delivery.
Do we have a name: Yes, we have her full name picked out. We have decided to not announce it until she is born. Even though we love her name we do have a minor feeling that we might change it once we meet her, but hopefully not since we don’t really have a ton of back up names.
Measurements: We had some minor setbacks about being in the birthing center due to an ultrasound that showed her having an overly large Abdominal Cavity. We have since then had another u/s done and thankfully all of her measurements are average or on the small side. Which in reality means nothing because an u/s is never 100% accurate.
Anemia: Besides the measurements the only other thing that was a setback was me being Anemic. Apparently anything over an 11.5 means you are not anemic. My first blood tests showed me around 12.8 which is good. Around 20 weeks I dropped to 10.3 and if I got below 10 I wouldn’t be allowed in the birthing center. I was put on iron pills (which sucked!!) and my number went up to 11.1. I then switched to liquid iron around 28 weeks and at my last appoint it was up to 11.8 which was even better. And the liquid iron was much easier to handle. So right now I am still taking it daily, but all in all my hemoglobin is looking good 🙂
Other Vaccines: Hector and I haven’t given much thought to what we will or won’t do in regards to vaccines. I think we definitely will space them out more (they give waaaay to many at once). And we will probably say No to some of them, but I haven’t done a ton of research so its still up in the air. Any recommendations would be greatly appreciated!!
Brain Cyst: We also wanted to let everyone know that her cyst has since disappeared. At her 19w u/s they saw a cyst on her brain, but it went away and everything was cleared at her 36w u/s as predicted by my midwife.

Lastly, here is the most recent comparison from my first picture (week 13) to my current picture (week 38).

I can’t wait to tell the entire world what your name is and to announce your weight, length and time of birth because it means you are finally here!!!