Hump Day Bump Day: Week 35

week 35


stats: Blood pressure: 112/80, baby heart rate: 146, weight gain ~25lbs.

How far along? 35 Weeks, 3 Days
Outfit? “regular” dress and tank
Stretch marks/Belly Button? Now that the stretch marks have finally appeared this question isn’t as fun to answer!  Oh but I do still have a shallow innie.
Sleep: Been fairly decent lately but waking up a lot with the numb hands and the urge to pee.
Best moment this week:  Seeing Miss M on our ultrasound on Monday!  Also Friday we got news that my enlarged lymph nodes have mostly disappeared so we are just repeating the ultrasound in Nov/Dec rather than looking at doing a biopsy right now. Also on Friday, my Grandpa was finally released from the hospital and is doing well! That was a stellar day!
Miss Anything? Probably just coffee, sleep and yummy alcoholic frozen drinks
Movement: Still kicking and hiccupping in there
Food cravings: Watermelon and Panera’s Strawberry Poppyseed Chicken Salad – delish!
Anything annoying?: Numb hands, reflux, puffy feet, backache… pregnancy symptoms in general
Labor Signs? Braxton hicks and….. we learned at the doctor’s appointment I’m 2cm dilated and 60% effaced with baby in the head down position!  Really things could happen any day now although hoping for at least 4 more weeks for baby’s sake.  But the Dr said we basically are just waiting for labor to start!
Mood? Tired, cranky, stressed, excited, happy
Looking forward to:  Our next doctors appointment on Monday!
Worries & Fears:  That baby will decide to show up before the house is done.. which by the way it’s done pretty much except for the carpet install.  We have their first available appointment… July 15th.
Weekly Thoughts/Questions: So to go with the fun 2cm dilated and 60% effaced labor anytime news… Currently Miss Madeline is estimated to weigh 6lbs 10oz – which puts her development more like 36wks and in the 89% percentile! My tummy is measuring about 37 weeks. So the doctor says his best guess is we will go a few days to a whole week early and that he thinks she will be 8lbs 8oz at that time. Big but not gigantic thank goodness!  Of course she will come on her own time when she’s ready but our 5 week window is looking more like it might be just 4 weeks. Oh another fun tidbit? The ultrasound tech says Miss M has a head full of hair… I just saw a halo of white around her head but if the tech says its hair, I believe it!  And if all that exciting baby could come at any time news didn’t do it for ya, here is a pic of Miss M’s sweet face (with hand under chin) to make you smile.baby face


Cord Blood: To Bank or Not to Bank?

Since the day I walked out of my OB office with my “Congratulations, you’re going to be a mom!” goodie bag, I’ve been bombarded by pamphlets, emails and contests related to cord blood banking.  Just making my first purchase at a maternity store or registering for baby related items resulted in more pamphlets and emails. (Although they also resulted in free bottles, formula samples, diaper and wipes samples…)  I had no idea what the heck cord blood banking even was – I guess just one of many things that is foreign to a first time parent?

So what is CBB anyway?  Well, cord blood is the blood that is in the umbilical cord and placenta following birth.  It is rich in stem cells which are used in a variety of potentially life saving procedures such as stem cell transplants for leukemia patients.  Sounds like awesome stuff right?  Who wouldn’t want to bank their child’s stem cells as a sort of insurance plan for the future?  Let’s explore that a bit shall we?

First up and the usual reason parents give for not banking is: cost.  The yearly costs vary from private bank to private bank but average somewhere between $100-150 per year.  That is per year until you use it or forever if you don’t.  That doesn’t sound too bad really if it can help your child later in life right? Oh, but you also have the initial costs which include collection, shipping, processing… and those average around $2,000-2,500 at the time of delivery.  You may also incur a fee from your facility and/or OB for their part in the collection process.  At a time when you have poured every extra dime into purchasing things like cribs and changing tables, the thought of another two grand in expenses seems like too much.  Besides, new parents are not generally thinking about the potential health problems that lie ahead for their precious, perfect little baby.

So let’s say you have no problems coming up with the extra money.  Probably still thinking that banking sounds like a really great thing to do for your baby?  Let’s take a look at what the medical field has to say of private cord banking.

The American Academy of Pediatrics have a policy that says there is currently no strong evidence to recommend banking.  Although, they do say it should be considered in cases where a sibling has a condition that could be cured by a stem cell transplant because the chance of a sibling match is greater than one from an unrelated donor.

The American Medical Association tends to agree with the AAP.  They advise that this decision needs to be made well ahead of delivery with consents signed before labor begins so that an informed decision is made.  They encourage the donation of cord blood to public banks but in the case of a family predisposition to specific medical conditions a private bank can be considered.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology doesn’t encourage public over private banking but provides a few good points to think about when considering either option. First thing that stands out is that a child may not even benefit from their own stored cells. If a child is born with a genetic disorder, the child's cord blood cells will also have that disorder programmed in.  This is also true in cases of leukemia which is not generally thought of as a genetic disorder but one’s genes provide the same mutation that caused the disease in the first place.  The other thing that stands out to me is that there is no current data on how long cord blood can be successfully stored and used.

In addition to these statements, there was a study in 2009 published in Pediatrics that points out private banks are rarely used in cases of stem cell transplants for various reasons and few physicians who perform transplants would recommend it.

So if you decide private banking isn’t for you and your family, you still have choices.  You can choose to donate your child’s cord blood to a public bank to possibly help someone else facing a life threatening disease. (public banks are where most stem cell transplants originate from) Or you can choose to do things the old fashioned way and not worry about banking at all – also known as birth, clamp cord, cut cord, done. Or you can choose to delay cord clamping and cutting just a bit.

Why would you choose to delay the clamping/cutting of your baby’s cord? There is some evidence that a delay in clamping helps prevent neonatal anemia and an extra dose of those stem cells stored in the blood going directly into baby.  ACOG has a good article that discusses delayed clamping in both term and pre-term babies. Basically they say more research is needed on this subject but give a couple things to think about.  Currently in term babies, there is insufficient evidence to support more than a 60 second delay in clamping, but within 60 seconds of delay a child can receive extra iron stores to ward off anemia and jaundice.  In pre-term babies, they say the evidence supports delaying clamping because of the anemia prevention and also because it can reduce cases of infant intraventricular (brain) hemorrhage.

Lots of things to consider!  And if you are a first time mom-to-be like me, your head is already swimming with all these new decisions to be made.  I don’t know what we plan to do just yet but doing some research has at least armed me with information to make this decision just a bit easier.

So what did you or are you choosing to do?


Hump Day Bump Day: Week 34

week 34

Ok so let me just say the drawing just didn’t work this week!  That is supposed to be a 5lb bag of sugar… if you look REAL close you can make it out… kind of… ;o)

How far along? 34 Weeks, 3 Days
Outfit? Maternity Dress
Stretch marks/Belly Button? Still an innie… but I am very sad to report that stretch marks have finally reared their ugly streaks. I was so hoping I would be able to get through the whole pregnancy without a mark but apparently my 34yr old skin had different plans. So far its just a few and they are at the very bottom of the bump – hoping that is the full extent.  Although with 6 more weeks of growing and stretching ahead I’m not too optimistic!
Sleep: Still a distant memory and I’m in a constant state of tiredness now.  I also wake up with hands that are very painful and/or numb and can’t even grasp and pull my sheet or pillow at times.  They joys of a thing called pregnancy carpal tunnel.
Best moment this week:  Giving the hubs his father-to-be Father’s Day present!  I made him a Daddy Emergency Kit – complete with everything from diapers and Butt Paste to a mini digital HD video camera.  I know I will probably regret giving him the video camera at some point…
Miss Anything? Mostly just sleep.  Also missing my family this week.
Movement: Lots of rolls, lots of rib jabs and lots of hiccups going on.
Food cravings: Still going on watermelon & cantaloupe.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Stupid reflux when I eat after 8pm… sometimes even if I don’t eat after 8pm – UGH!
Labor Signs? Braxton hicks contractions.
Mood? I’ve been an emotional roller coaster this past week.
Looking forward to:  Still looking forward to setting up our nursery.  The paint really looks great (thanks to the in-laws!) and we just need the carpet and we can move everything into place.
Worries & Fears:  Still need to get that hospital bag packed!  But part of me thinks that once I do my mind will be open to actually having this baby and I’m just not ready for her to come early.  On the other hand, packing this bag is NOT something I want to leave up to the hubs to do while I’m in labor! I would end up with a bag of something like my pre-prego jeans, my kindle, and maybe a pair of flip flops… not exactly the contents I have in mind for myself! Must do… pack a bag or at least print a list of must haves for emergency packing.
Weekly Thoughts/Questions: Last week I mentioned cord blood banking was my question and I have a full post devoted to that topic coming on Friday.  Lately, I’ve been thinking about epidurals.  Our hospital requires a consult with their anesthesia group no matter if you plan on an epidural or not – mine is next week.  I’ve been in the no epidural camp pretty much from the start.  And I don’t like the mandatory anesthesia consult because it feels like it makes it too easy to change your mind while in the midst of things.  Last week in our childbirth class we had a whole section devoted to epidurals and it reinforced my thoughts about not wanting one.  I’ve talked to moms who have done things with and without one and know that I can’t imagine what the pains of labor will be like until I’m right there.  For me personally, it seems the risks and possible side effects outweigh the benefits of pain reduction and I would rather prepare myself with natural pain management options like breathing and relaxation exercises.  And just as a side note, I hold no judgment for mommas from the other side of the camp – you are all heroes and you did what you felt was right for you and your baby.



I had an entirely different post in the works for today but I have some urgent prayer requests instead.DSCN2681If you follow me on Facebook, you have probably seen my posts over the last couple weeks regarding my grandpa.  Shortly after our trip to Michigan for Memorial Day, Grandpa fell and broke his femur.  He’s needed a hip replacement on that side for some time now but he’s 89 years old and stubborn so it was something he was going to do only in his own time.  So he ended up in the hospital for a few days and got the hip replacement and an internal fixation device in his femur to boot.  He went to a rehab and then home and was doing really well with his recovery.

Then one day last week his physical therapist came to the house and noticed something didn’t look quite right with his wound. His orthopedist’s office directed him to the hospital and they did emergency surgery to clean out his wound which was obviously infected.  They also found that had an infection in his blood, otherwise known as sepsis.  They pinpointed the bacteria as MRSA and have been loading him up with appropriate antibiotics. He was getting better.  Then his arm started to swell… he had a blood clot in the arm they were using to administer the antibiotics through the PICC line.  They had to redo the PICC line and in the meantime decided that his wound needed to be cleaned out again.  He continued on antibiotics and a wound vac and started getting better again although his spirits were going down with every setback and delay in getting back home.  This morning we found out the results of the last wound cleaning.  He now also has a gram negative bacteria growing and his antibiotics need to be changed again.  They will also be taking him back to surgery today to clean out the wound more.  We are praying that the infections have not reached his hip prosthesis at this point.

My Grandpa has been there for me my entire life.  Supporting me, encouraging me, advising me.  He has shown us all through his quiet strength and wisdom what a man and more importantly a father and grandfather should be.  He has demonstrated unconditional love and an unfailing faith in God.  As a WWII veteran he’s seen and been through more than we could ever imagine.  He is the glue that holds our extended family together and we aren’t ready to give up on him yet.

I am asking for prayers for him.  Prayers for wisdom for the doctors treating him. Prayers of healing of his body.  And prayers for uplifting of his spirit because sometimes that can make a world of difference.LewisChristina-0386
{photo credit}


Hump Day Bump Day: Week 33

Recently TheBump.com posted their “How Big is Baby: Dad-to-Be Edition.”  (You know, because the dads-to-be out there couldn’t possibly know what size a pineapple or acorn squash or durian fruit is?  Ok I admit, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a durian fruit except on the Travel Channel.)  With Father’s day coming up this weekend and inspired by the Bump article, I decided to go by the daddy size example for the board!  So here you have it… {for the dad’s out there} baby is the size of…  week 33

Notice the tiny little note in the heart that tells you that drawing is the actual estimated length of the baby?! How the hector is that fitting in there??
Health Stats: blood pressure: 118/62, baby heartbeat: 148, weight gain ~23lbs. Bump is measuring 2-3 weeks ahead so next appointment includes an ultrasound to see if Miss M is unusually large.  Her daddy was ~11lbs at birth…

How far along? 33 Weeks, 3 Days
Outfit? Maternity jeans, regular cardi & tank
Stretch marks/Belly Button? VERY shallow innie & no stretch marks yet!
Sleep: Oh sleep is a distant memory… last night was particularly horrible with reflux and Braxton Hicks allowing me a mere 2 solid hours before I got up for work. 
Best moment this week: Friday we found out our insurance company and the local hospital group came to an agreement and we can deliver at the closer hospital where all our preparations were taking place! Also a fabulous day because I had my OB appointment and heard Maddie’s heartbeat!
Miss Anything? Sleep. Being able to get up and down without help or a lot of prep. A full breath. My normal size fingers and toes.
Movement: She’s rolling around a lot in there!  I’m trying to get video of the “waterbed effect” but so far Miss M is camera shy.
Food cravings: Watermelon & cantaloupe.
Anything making you queasy or sick: Stupid reflux when I eat after 8pm…
Labor Signs? Ok I’ve most definitely had false labor or Braxton Hicks contractions 3 times now.  Of course I have downloaded a contraction timer/counter app on my phone in the event of the real deal happening at any conceivable moment from here on out.
Mood? If it’s an emotion or mood… I’ve felt it in the last week.
Looking forward to:  Setting up the nursery!  So far I’ve only been able to visualize it as we finish up painting so we can get the carpet installed. Hopefully just 2 more weeks (?) and we can move the pile of baby stuff from our townhouse to the real house!
Worries & Fears:  Well every pregnancy related email/newsletter/website I’ve read lately says I should have my hospital bag packed.  I don’t yet. Last night’s nightmare had this very fact at its center. I just decided on possible clothing options for baby’s coming home (which now need to be washed) but haven’t worked out the other deets quite yet.  That might become this weeks project…
Weekly Thoughts/Questions: To bank or not to bank is the question of the week… talking about cord blood here.  I know the costs are astronomical so if that’s prohibitive then you have to decide if you want to donate or forgo the process altogether.  I just don’t know.  More research is needed on my end before I can decide!


Hump Day Bump Day: Week 32

32 weeks

How far along? 32 Weeks, 3 Days
Outfit? Maternity jeans and tank, regular cardi
Stretch marks/Belly Button? Still no stretch marks!  And the button is still in!
Sleep: What is sleep? I wake up a lot and most of the time I feel like I’m not getting restful sleep.  The hubs also claims I’m making odd snoring/honking type noises… I say its all lies
Best moment this week: Going to our first childbirth class!
Miss Anything? My wedding ring.  It has been officially retired for the duration of the pregnancy
Movement: Kicking my ribs seems to be Miss Maddie’s favorite pastime
Food cravings: Strawberries and watermelon!
Anything making you queasy or sick: Other than reflux – nope!
Labor Signs? Pretty sure this is still a no.. although I did wake up with some cramping the other night that could have been Braxton Hicks.
Mood? Exhausted. Overwhelmed. Excited. Happy.
Looking forward to: My next OB appointment on Friday!
Worries & Fears: That we won’t finish the house in time.  We have been working as hard as we can and have had lots of help from the in-laws but it seems like the work is never ending.  But to focus on the positive, we won’t be homeless even if baby arrives before the house is finished so I’m trying to just remember to go with the flow!
Weekly Thoughts/Questions: The insurance/hospital battle is still raging on so I’m wondering if I should book a maternity ward tour at the alternative hospital.  We have heard rumors of a *possible* extension of the contract until mid July but baby girl isn’t due until the very end so we would still be in limbo.  Even if they extend it from June 30 to July 31 it would still cause worry/stress because if Madeline arrives later than expected we will still need hospital choice #2.  For now we are forging ahead with anesthesia consults and childbirth classes and tours at hospital #1 and hoping everyone comes to their senses and does right by the patients. Side note: most of the 11 couples in our childbirth class are in the same boat.  Its nice to have some company in this stress!



ring!Once upon a time my fingers were long, thin and graceful…
Once upon a time they were described as “piano hands” by others…  
Once upon a time my engagement ring and wedding ring fit on those fingers…

And now?  We have officially entered… the puffy stump zone. 

So much so that my fingers feel stiff when I try to bend them, and my engagement ring and wedding ring have been temporarily removed as they only fit to just about my first knuckle. 

So what’s a pregnant for another 2 months girl to do?

puffy ringBeg her hubby for a {bigger} replacement ring – or two - of course! 

Don’t worry, I went easy on him and the {two} replacements were under $20 total and totally worth it!  Now I can wear a ring in comfort and not feel like something is missing from my finger.  They are 2 sizes bigger than my original rings and are a bit big but at least I don’t feel like they are cutting off my circulation.  I have the 3 stone one pictured to the right and another yellow “diamond” antiqued looking one.  SO cute!

And? They will be super cute costume jewelry for my other fingers once my hands have been restored to their pre-pregnancy size. Bonus!