Monday, April 23, 2012

What I'm Looking Forward To

By Natalie
Here I am at 40 weeks, which was 5 days ago!

I gave Jack his eviction notice a few days ago, and he is not listening! I can already see he is going to be one stubborn little boy. He gets it from his dad, I of course am completely agreeable.

Here's what I'm looking forward to when I have an outside of the body baby:

10. Drinking adult beverages. I can't wait to have something alcoholic. I have some champagne chilling in the fridge once Jack comes on the scene.

9. Sleeping in whatever position my little heart desires. If I lay on my right side, this greatly upsets Jack and he starts kicking and punching. When I lay on my left side, my arm goes numb. Oh, sleeping any which way sounds like heaven even if it is only in 2 hour batches.

8. Not having insomnia. At this point I'm looking forward to sleep deprivation so at least I won't be up for stupid reasons browsing the internet. I feel like I've conquered the internet.

7. Running. I can't wait to start getting back into shape. I know I have a few more weeks until I'm cleared, but at least it's on the horizon.

6.  Significantly less doctor appointments. I rarely get sick (knock on wood). During this pregnancy I had to get way out of my comfort zone and make 1,000 appointments.  I hate calling strangers. I really don't like talking on the phone at all. I think I have a phobia.

5.  Using the bathroom less. I'm just blowing through the toilet paper around here. I need to go back to work, so I can use the school's toilet paper.

4. Using the bathroom only. I'm looking forward to not analyzing my urine and searching for mucous plugs or spotting.

3. I'm ready to stop talking about all the nasty things associated with pregnancy. I've heard enough about Preparation H, stool softener, Depends, and TUCs pads, thank you very much.

2. No more maternity clothes. I hate elastic waists. I want to wear my own clothes and not constantly pulling them up.

1. Meeting Jack. I can't wait to hold him and love him. Jack-we are beyond ready for you. Please make an appearance soon. I'm begging you.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Lymphedema Update

By Natalie

I have lymphedema in my left leg. Mine is congenital and had a late onset in my 20's, which is very rare. Most people get lymphedema because they've experienced some sort of trauma. It is most common with breast cancer patients, because there is a huge lymphatic drain under your arm pit. When patients undergo a mastectomy they remove some of the lymph nodes and this causes swelling.  I knew that it was going to be a problem during pregnancy, and in reality my case is minor. If you Google lymphedema you can see some very severe cases.

I went to physical therapy 5 times total. At the sessions the occupational and physical therapists perform a lymphatic massage. It's a very light massage, and I do usually notice a change. I've been doing this to myself once or twice a day. I think it helps.

One day the therapist decided to wrap me and then I went to work. My foot ached the entire day. I think part of the problem is that I don't have any big enough shoes that will fit with the thick bandaging. When I got home and took the bandaging off, this is what I found:

 Does that look normal to you? I was pretty upset. I think that throughout the day the bandaging started loosening and there was some room for the fluid to collect in the ankle. I've decided to wrap it at night and then wear compression stocking during the day. This plan has been working pretty well.

I'm just hoping and praying that after the pregnancy things go back to being much more manageable. Currently I'm able to wear 2 pairs of closed toed shoes. I need to wear jeans or pants at all times because I'm wearing old lady stockings. I love shoes, and would hate to be stuck to tennis shoes for the rest of my life. With summer coming, I'll suffocate in jeans. This is one of the reasons that I was very concerned about having a c-section. There is another lymphatic drain at the hip, and surgery could affect the fluid from draining permanently.

There is no cure for lymphedema just on going treatment. Staying a healthy weight, being active, and maintaining a healthy diet are all ways to manage.

Monday, April 9, 2012

My Coach

By Natalie

 After the version on Tuesday, I'm feeling much more confident in Micah and I as a team. Micah did a great job in helping me remain calm. I imagine it was really hard on him to watch me in so much pain. He reminded me that I'm strong and that I can do it.

When I was feeling very sad about Jack being breeched, and the possibility of a c-section looming, he was there for me. He bought me flowers to make me feel better.

He's done an awesome job at sitting through our hippy Bradley Birthing classes. He's seen more diagrams of vaginas and heard some pretty gnarly stuff these past few weeks. Things that make your toes curl. He's handled most of it except the presentation of encapsulating your placenta. But, who wants to hear about that anyways?

He's wrapped my legs, which is getting harder and harder for me to bend that way every day. He helped me work on relaxation and stretching poses.

When I thought that managing the house and being in my 3rd trimester would be too hard; he's stepped up. I'm pleasantly surprised!

I love you, and thank you for taking care of me. It's wonderful to be on the same page about the birth we want, and I know that we'll work together to achieve it. I can't wait to see you as Dad.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Turn Baby Turn

By Natalie
On Tuesday, I went to the hospital and had a external cephalic version (ECV). It was successful! The above picture is Jack in the head down position. This picture tells me little except that it's a picture of his head, I can't tell where it's positioned. Maybe you are a better sonographer than me!

What is it?
Externally turning the baby into the head down position. The doctor or midwife finds the baby's bottom and head. The doctor starts pushing the bottom first and then moves the head. My doctor ended up using his fists to get the bottom out of my pelvis. Baby's heart beat, your blood pressure, and contractions are continuously monitored. The doctor takes frequent sonograms.

When should I have it done?
I think most versions are successful between 37 and 38 weeks.

How successful is it?
According to Fit Pregnancy magazine it's about 58% effective. The Webster technique had a better success rate. I visited a chiropractor 9 times for the Webster technique and he wouldn't turn. When I was 37 weeks, we decided to start finding a doctor to turn him. We had a consultation appointment on Monday at 4:00 and did the procedure on Tuesday at 7:30 AM.

How long does it take?
Some of the videos on you tube take anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes. Mine took about 30 minutes, and Micah estimates that it took 6-7 tries before he would turn.

When we headed out for the procedure, our bags were packed and the car seat was installed. They tell you to plan for going into labor or having an emergency C-section. Neither of those happened to us luckily! Worst case scenario is emergency c-section because the placenta detaches. Other side effects are bruising.

How painful is it?
VERY. Some women elect to have an epidural during the procedure. Dr. Downey informed us of a study that says that the version can be more successful with an epidural, this could be in part that the doctor is willing to try more times and be a little rougher since the woman isn't in agony. Despite this information, I elected not to have an epidural. I was hooked up to an IV just in case of an emergency and was given a shot to relax the uterus. I do not like IVs! I concentrated on breathing deeply and not passing out. Micah held my hand or my foot. The nurse was very helpful in keeping me calm. I don't know how in the world I didn't end up with any bruising, since I bruise so easily. I was very sore the next few days, and was ready to block the belly from anyone touching me. I returned to work the next day. 

Thank you Dr. Downey for turning Jack!