Monday, August 20, 2012

Pregnancy: 31 Weeks

Despite being in the mid nineties this week, I can tell that fall is coming. The leaves are ever so slowly starting to litter the streets and the smell of summer is fading just a bit. To me, this only means one thing: Baby is well on her way. Not to mention Trader Joe's spiced cider and french onion soup—two of my most favorite autumn treats. It's the final countdown (cue music)!

We've made a family decision that our calendar is officially closed for business until the baby arrives, which will likely extend through the first of the year since we'll be getting settled into our new routine and the holidays will be just around the corner from that. I've mentioned before how busy of a life we lead, and I'm finding that I really can't handle that pace right now, emotionally or physically. It's hard to say no to a friendly dinner invitation, especially when you actually do what to hang out, but I would imagine as we grow our family we're going to have to practice this more and more.

I am starting to feel so pregnant it's hard for me to believe that LB and I have both still got a lot of growing to do. Our little lady is only around 3.5 pounds right now, which means she's got another 5ish to go (give or take). I've noticed that it's during this last stretch of weeks that most mamas grow to look really pregnant. I've really enjoyed pregnancy, but imagine things could start getting pretty uncomfortable soon. For the record, I've outgrown two pair of maternity jeans. They fit great standing, but sitting down are incredibly uncomfortable at the seam where the stretchy band is sewn to the jeans. Luckily I have a couple bigger sized Gap maternity jeans that I acquired during my garage sale escapade at the beginning of the summer.

Morning bed head :)

In the last week alone I've notice a huge difference in the strength of her kicks and movements. Sometimes they're so strong I find myself letting out a small yelp. It's quite the strange sensation. Last night I was laying awake in bed from her crazy dancing with my hand resting on the side of my belly and could feel a foot scooting up and down the length of my side. It was so weird I had to take my hand away a few times. I've read that her movements might start to slow down as she gets more packed in there, but I've only noticed more wiggles and kicks lately.

Centering and birth class

We had both birth class and Centering this week. Birth class runs three more weeks and Centering is now every other week. At birth class we talked about pain medications and what to expect postpartum. Most of what we're hearing is nothing terribly new, but it was helpful for me to learn more about the difference between medications (i.e. epidural vs. spinal vs. narcotics). Centering, on the other hand, was great. It was our week to bring snacks, so we put together a cheese board with some of our favorite Trader Joe's fromages. This was a total hit! Arthur's beloved Caramelized Onion English Cheddar was the talk of the town per usual.

Fra Na was our midwife again this week, which was nice since she was the one we saw during our emergency hospital trip earlier in the week. We both feel like we're getting to know her and would be really excited if she was on call when I go into labor. Although we would honestly be happy with any of the midwives. So far we've seen all but one.

After going through our usual motions of charting vitals, weighing ourselves (up 21 pounds), meeting one-on-one with the midwife, and having our usual Q&A session, we departed for a tour of the birthing center. Even though we took the general tour early in pregnancy, this felt much more exciting to be there learning about how the bed works, our lighting options, and see the squatting bar in action. I feel so thankful that we have such an amazing hospital available to us. The rooms are so cozy and spacious and don't feel like they are part of a sterile hospital at all.

I was most surprised to see how many lighting combinations we have to choose from. There are multiple dimmers and even beautiful hand-blown looking glass drop pendants—so moody! Fra Na told us that she's had people fill the room with battery-lit tea light candles before. This sounds right up my alley, and our doula even said she has some that she brings to births with her. I can't imagine most OB's going along with a candle-lit room. Just another reason I love me some midwives ;)

Here is what we discussed at this week's visit:
  • Dad's should brush their teeth before labor and bring mints or gum along. No bad breath! 
  • I asked if vaginal exams were routine or if we can dictate when they happen. She said that we will get checked when we arrive and when we want to push. Otherwise it's up to me to ask for one if I want to know. 
  • If my water breaks without contractions, I will not be checked to avoid infection. 
  • There is no triage. We will be admitted directly into our room to be checked by the midwife and either sent home or told to get settled in depending on how far along I am. 
  • We can walk around wherever we want (throughout the hospital, outside, wherever) while I'm laboring as long as I'm unmedicated. 
  • We are not required to get a hep-lock. I am hoping to be able to stay hydrated on my own, and am want to avoid getting an IV, so I won't be getting a hep-lock. 
  • I will have to have a hep-lock if I test GBS+ (Group B Strep positive) since I will need regular antibiotics. 
  • In my breastfeeding book they encourage mama and baby to stay together in bed at all times. I asked if I can sleep with the baby with me and was told that the baby will need to be in the bassinet next to me if I'm sleeping, otherwise she can be with me all I want. 
  • I asked if the hospital carries banked human colostrum, just in case. They don't right now, but there is a breastmilk study happening soon at one of the Swedish campus', which might change this. 
  • We have to sign for the placenta to release it from the hospital. After we sign the paperwork, it's up to us who actually takes it. (YES! We are going to be taking our placenta with us, or rather, our doula is. Stay tuned!) 
  • They will not release the placenta if there is any infection.
  • 90% of women don't experience their water breaking until they are in active labor. 
  • Once my water breaks, the hospital policy is that induction will start to get discussed after 18 hours of laboring. She reminded us that there is a difference between slow progress and no progress labor. 
  • We can cover the clock in the birthing room. I'm not sure if I want to do this or not. 
  • Visitors are not required to have immunizations.
  • The first well-baby check up happens 3–5 days after birth by our pediatrician, not the midwives. Another reason to get this figured out asap! 
  • There is a 1-1 nurse to mama ratio. 
  • The nurses work 12 hour shifts from 7am to 7pm, while the midwives work 24 hour shifts from 8am to 8am. 
After a busy week of work and baby classes, we decided a low-key weekend sounded best. We accomplished some organizing around the house, including getting our first adult filing cabinet and organizing our old filing system into the new expanded one. This project has been looming over us, and we are so excited to have that finished.

We also went to our last wedding of the year at a trendy loft space in Capitol Hill called The Sole Repair Shop. They had a popcorn bar, live music, and the groom even sang a sweet song to his bride, my friend and co-worker, Nicole. I've been talking about this wedding with her for a full year now, and it was so exciting to see it all come together. Congrats D & N!

My small glass of champagne and truffled popcorn

Date nights have been getting pushed to the side for awhile, so we took a stand and got ourselves out for Ethiopian food Sunday evening. I can't rave enough about Altaye on Rainier Avenue. I was introduced to this restaurant by a friend from college and have been craving a trip for the past few months. The food is amazing, but the hospitality is even better. If you haven't tried Ethiopian food, find a friend that has and drag them with you. You won't be disappointed. You even get to eat with your hands.

Overall a productive week. There are lots of babies due soon, which feels quite exciting and strange. It's been such a fun pregnancy journey, and while I know I have a bit longer left, I can't help but be a little sad that this season is coming to a close. Luckily the next season will be just as exciting, and I'm glad to have a few friends and non-friend bloggers that are a bit ahead of me to pave the way.

Need to catch up?

Pregnancy Posts:

Weekly Updates:


  1. You look great! You are so lucky that you have such a well rounded hospital, When I lived in Oregon the hospital there was great but now that I'm in Maui the hospital is lacking greatly, but it'll be an adventure to be sure. I hope everything continues to go well for you and your BG. I must say its been nice to see what you've gone through a little ahead of me so I kind of know what to expect.

    1. Thank you! I am really thankful for our great hospital. That sounds really fun to be in Maui, although I can imagine that innovative hospitals might be hard to find. Thank you for the well wishes. I hope all is going well with your pregnancy also!


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