Wednesday, July 31, 2013

35 Weeks Along

I had my doctor's appointment on Monday and I was 34 weeks and 6 days.  I am now, 35 weeks and 1 day pregnant and it seems the time is just flying by.  I have roughly 5 weeks left, or little less than one month. However, after 36 weeks, according to my doctor, I can go at any time.  With this baby and the braxton hicks contractions, I fear I may go into labor before I hit 40 weeks.

My pressure is normal, which is a relief since in the beginning I had very low blood pressure.  The baby is also head down and in position and his heat rate is good and strong (he was being a little stubborn though as the position he was in made it hard for the doctor to find his heart beat at first).  I have gained over 6 pounds in just one month, which is such a shock.  I know I eat a lot as I am always hungry and gaining that much weight in pregnancy is not that abnormal for me but it is a lot.  I feel like a beached whale and each day the reality hits that I am not just getting bigger but I fear baby is too (I do not want a big baby).

So that was the good news.  The bad news:  I have an infection in my urine so I am now taking antibiotics for 7 days.  I also have VERY low iron and blood count so I not only have to take stronger iron prenatal pills, I have to go into the clinic every day for 5 days for an iron shot (in the butt).  Yesterday was my first shot and let me just say, it HURTS.  Not the actual shot itself but the after-effects.  I was up with pain in the rectum and bum area at 3:30 this morning.  I expect that with the second shot I got today, the same thing will happen.  The doctor said that is normal, as the iron shot does give off an uncomfortable reaction but with all the pain I already have to deal with, this is just something else I was not expecting.

I guess things could be worse: at least baby A is doing well and thriving.  I am fairly healthy and having a normal, uncomplicated pregnancy.  My belly is measuring 34 weeks, which is good.  And even though I complained about my cankles, doctor said I was not experiencing an abnormal amount of swelling in the feet: as a matter of fact, she said my feet looked fine.  All in all, I look forward to the rest of my pregnancy and hope baby stays in the womb until I am ready (LOL).

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Baby Shower

The baby shower was a HUGE success.  OMG.  My mother in law really went above and beyond and outdid herself as did her friend, who helped her host it.  They did everything...cooked the food, invited people for the most part, served and hosted our guests, etc.  It was amazing and everyone had fun.  We had great food: there was rice with chicken, picadillo with tortillas, salad, sweet snacks, coffee, tea, and cheesecake!

We didn't play any games, just ate, socialized and had a good time.  We did have a prayer session to kick things off (mainly a prayer for the health of the baby and the continued success of our family).  I loved that.  I got a chance to catch up with some friends and family I hadn't seen in a while, some since I got pregnant. There were about 30 adults and more than 11 kids, so over 40 people total.  I was not expecting anything that big.  And even though I was nervous about the shower and being center of attention, everything went perfectly.  I loved all my gifts.  I could not have asked for a better shower and the love and support I felt was truly a blessing.  Just amazing even that some of the guests were my mother in law's friends that didn't really know me that well and still came out to celebrate my pregnancy with me.  I felt so loved.

I wanted to do a video to document all the gifts I got... similar to the You Tube videos I've been watching. So enjoy.  I will have to post actual pictures of the event another time.

Pre-Nursery Tour

I've been watching tons of baby related videos on You Tube lately and one of the videos I love to watch are the nursery tour videos.  So I thought "what a cool idea, I can do that".  And so I did.  I made a video of what the nursery for Baby A looks like at the present moment.  The video is not the best quality for some reason and there was a lot of background noise with the dog barking and my kids being, well, kids.  But I wanted to share it anyway.  I will do an updated nursery tour once the nursery is complete, which I am hoping will be before baby gets here.  Anyway, enjoy.

Oh and disclaimer:  sorry for the way I sound.  My voice sounds so different on video than it does in real life to my own ear.  And my breathlessness is due to being so pregnant.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Rethinking Things

Hubby and I decided pretty quickly that we didn't want a crib for the baby and at the point I was thinking this, I was still in a state where I could have cared less about this pregnancy or not.  I wasn't sure where the baby would 'go', so a crib didn't make much sense if baby A had to share a room with JC.

I also thought that maybe a crib would be a waste of money, as pretty soon we would have to get rid of it and get a bed once the baby got bigger.  Now, I am not so sure we made the right decision as I'm still on the fence about getting a crib or not.  We also already got a really nice pack and play that is set up and ready to go in baby's nursery.  But I got to the thinking last night about the pros and cons of both.

Right now, Universal is having a sale on a crib and matching change table dresser.  They are about the same price we paid for the pack and play high chair, which got me thinking.  The crib comes with 2 drawers underneath, something I desperately need: storage space.  The change table also has 2 functions: changing table and dresser with 4 drawers (even more space).  Thinking about it, kids can feasibly use their crib until they are around 3 or 4 years old, which would give us a good amount of usage time and save us from having to buy a toddler bed.  At 4, most kids (my kids anyway) can transition to a twin bed.

Don't get me wrong, I love our pack and play.  But because it's in the baby's room, we would need a smaller type bassinet for baby to sleep in our room for the first few weeks.  The pack and play serves 3 purposes as well:  bassinet, changing station and play pen.  Kids can use the pack and play until they are around 2 years old:  the bassinet portion is meant only for infants until they are able to sit unassisted.  The play pen is meant for babies 5 or 6 months until the toddler years.  But then after Baby A turns 2, we would have to buy a toddler bed, which means we get less usage time out of the play pen and we would have to spend extra money to buy a twin bed once baby A is older then 4 years old.  Is it really worth it then?  Are we really saving money with the pack and play?  Seeing as there is not much storage space either, we have to get a dresser as well.

My mind is so confused right now.  I don't want to spend more money we don't have but at the same time I want us to get as much bang for our buck as we can.  If we did go ahead and get the crib and dresser, then the pack and play would go in our room.  But we don't have much time as the sale ends the end of this month and then it won't be worth it or cost effective anymore to buy the crib as the price will increase drastically.

I guess I wonder, what would YOU do?  Are we insane for not wanting a crib for baby?  Or are we being smart and saving money by utilizing a product that serves more than just one use?  I know hubby is still dead set against getting a baby jail...I mean, crib so there is no convincing him otherwise.  It's up to me to come to terms with our decision and figure out what I really want and be to content with that.

The Joys Of Being Pregnant For The Fourth Time....NOT

Yeah, being pregnant this time around is no picnic.  A lot of pregnancy symptoms I never experienced with my other 3 kids, I am experiencing this time with number 4.  I have had heartburn and indigestion, which is nothing nice.  It makes sleeping difficult sometimes.  I even had hemorrhoids at the beginning (well, what i think was hemorrhoids anyhow).

I am also experiencing for first time swollen feet and fingers.  Let me just say how odd this is for me.  I have never had this happen to me before.  I have heard of women complain about it. I have seen relatives with swollen that looked like sausages, but it wasn't something I could relate to, until now.  I barely recognize my feet anymore; they are so FAT! I actually have CANKLES!!!  My ankles have pretty much disappeared and my toes look like Vienna sausages, ready to be packed up and canned.  Forget about wearing heels, it's strictly flip flops and  flats from here on out (I live in flip flops anyway so that's not an issue but when going out, I prefer to wear heels... so yeah, that ain't happening until after baby A arrives).  

I also have to note that I cannot walk for long periods of time.  I love to walk but walking is so painful for me right now and contributes to my swollen feet.  I feel so much pain and pressure in my pelvic area, sometimes for no reason at all but just standing but walking makes the problem even worse.  I've also complained about the pain in the sciatic area and my lower back.  There are days I don't feel the pain as much and I actually feel slightly normal.  But then there are days where the pain gets to be so unbearable, it's all I can do not to cry .  I feel like an 80 year old woman; limping, barely able to walk and having so much pain just to get up from a sitting position.

My wedding rings, which I only wear when I go out, are getting pretty snug.  They still fit but I can see how so many pregnant women have to stop wearing their rings due to pregnancy.

My body is tired.  It's difficult to sleep most nights and so I am usually exhausted during the day.  I think if I had actually planned this pregnancy, I would be regretting my decision at this point.  But seeing as this is our surprise (a nice packaged up belated wedding present... our honeymoon baby), I am trying to enjoy this last pregnancy as much as I can despite all the pain.  I have to say at least, my morning sickness is a thing of the past.

One last thing that bothers me about being pregnant this time is how much my body has drastically changed.  I am HUGE!  I am nervous that this baby might be much bigger than my other kids just because of the way I am carrying.  I feel heavy and my belly looks as if I just swallowed a basketball.  It doesn't help that my body has pretty much morphed into what looks like the body of a whale (or elephant).  But again, I am trying not to let that bother me.  I figure I lost the weight once so I can do it again, although this time I know it might take some more time.

I look forward to having a baby though... I think maybe deep in the recesses of my mind, I was wanting another baby to fill the space that my last child has since abandoned now that he's getting older.  I was meant to be the mother of 4, maybe this is my destiny.  I now look at this as a blessing and not a curse, babies are hard work but they also bring so much joy.  My body is exhausted and I now know for a fact that I cannot handle another pregnancy.  But I am thankful for the opportunity to be pregnant this final time and to be able to bring another life into this world.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Giving Birth In The USA VS Costa Rica

I was watching a YouTube video the other day where a soon to be mom was comparing the differences of giving birth in the US as opposed to Germany, where she had lived for 3 plus years.  As she had never actually given birth in America, she really only could go by other people's experiences and what she had read about or heard.  I, on the other hand, have experience with giving birth in 2 different countries and thought it would make a good blog post to compare the 2.

Lets start off with the good old US of A, where my first son was born.  I have to say my experience with labor and delivery with my son was amazing and I could not have asked for a better one.  I know not every American has a great or even good experience giving birth in a hospital, but for me, I had a wonderful time of it.  To start, my hospital was amazing.  My whole prenatal care was amazing.  My midwife and nurse was amazing.

When I went in to actually give birth to my son, my experience from start to finish was great.  I was treated very well.  I had only 2 nurses in the delivery room with me, along with hubby which was awesome.  It felt private and the room was so warm and cozy and dimly lit, it made me feel comfortable.  The fact that hubby was there with me the entire time was also a big bonus as he helped me a lot.

After the delivery of my son, I moved to a private room to recuperate.  One thing American hospitals seem to have that CR hospitals don't is a baby nursery.  The nurses offer to take the baby off your hands for a few hours until baby is ready for a feeding.  This way, while baby is in the nursery being watched over by capable nurses, mommy and sometimes daddy can get in a little nap and rest up for what's ahead.

The hospital, well my hospital, was very much like a home.  The room was spacious and comfy and the hospital in general was not all so sterile.  It was clean yes, but it was also very welcoming.  And my aftercare nurse was amazing... she did such a wonderful job taking care of me, explaining things to me and never once in a condescending or demeaning manner.  She was a joy truly and I loved having her.

Another thing to note is I was never pressured to do anything I didn't want to do.  I labored at my own pace. And even when pushing was taking longer than it should (3 hours), they never got impatient with me.  They only helped me along.  I was able to use a bar to stoop, utilizing gravity to help me push, which actually worked.  I was never pressured to take any medications or threatened with a C-section. And after baby was born, I was able to bond with him right away.

Now, labor in a Costa Rican hospital is really different.  I have to say though, I have two very different experiences with two different births at the same hospital.  My experience with my daughter was far better then the one with my son and I'll tell you why.  Also, I can only write about my experience at the public hospital I went to.  I have no idea what labor and delivery is like at the private hospitals (I can only imagine) and I have heard of people having even different experiences than I had at different public hospitals as well.

The hospital where I labored and delivered my son and daughter is the Calderon Guardia Hospital in San Jose.  The experience with my daughter was truly a good one and I think it has to do with the fact that I labored mostly at home.  I arrived at the hospital check in just in time to have my baby girl, so the delivery was quick.  I was also treated very kindly and I appreciated that.  After the delivery, I had to wait in the hallway with a bunch of other moms who had just given birth until a space in a room freed up (no large private room this time, but that was fine).  I did get a nice window spot in the very far corner of the room which was nice.  I have to say overall, I liked my experience.  The nurses were nice and the staff was friendly.  The only drawback:  I was an American who spoke very little Spanish left to my own devices without hubby there for support.  Husbands/partners/boyfriends are NOT allowed to spend the night with their significant others.  They are there for visiting hours only and then like everyone else, have to leave.  I was very lonely that night.  By the next day however, I was happy to be discharged.  Another difference of hospitals here: you only get a one night stay.  I stayed for two nights in New England Medical Center in Boston, which was very nice as a first time mom.  I have to say, though, I would not have wanted to stay two nights at Calderon.

Another thing to take note of: pain medication is all but unheard of at Costa Rican hospitals UNLESS you pay for it.  You don't get offered IV drip; Don't even think they will even mention an epidural.  Almost everyone who labors naturally has to labor without drugs, there is no pain relief.  You are given an all natural labor whether you want it or not.  I am sure if you have to have a C-section, that is a different story.  But no medication of any kind is given if you are low risk and having an uncomplicated delivery.  You are left intervention free, which for most women is a good thing.

Lets also talk about appearances.  It's a shame to say but the public hospitals and clinics here leave much to be desired when it comes to facade.  They are all pretty much run down and in dire need of repair.  I went to the ER at Calderon recently and was ashamed to be in the waiting room.  It needed a paint job badly, along with a few cosmetic touches just to bring it up to par.  It's like they don't give a shit about you if you are poor or need public medical care, even though you do pay for it.  Appearances come last and in some cases, so does bed side manner.  I am not a superficial person, or at least I don't think I am.  But I go to a private clinic for prenatal care.  I cannot stand the public clinic one bit and it's not all because of the way it looks (or that it looks like they don't care about upkeep).  I hate the way the staff sometimes treat their patients.  And I for one will not keep my mouth shut when I feel like I am being disrespected.  So I pay to be seen at a private clinic... I can deal with public hospitals as I have no choice really but I will pay a little extra to go to private clinics to get the care I want in a space I can be proud to be seen in.

As for my experience with my son, like I said, it was different from the one I had with my daughter mainly because I spent the majority of my time laboring at the hospital.  I was in a room with a bunch of other girls, some of whom you could tell was their first time giving birth and it was noisy. I must have been the only quiet one there.  I was also alone as hubby was not allowed in with me (although I learned later if I had asked for him to be by my side they would have gotten him for me...REALLY!!!!  Could they just not have allowed him to be with his pregnant wife as I was in a large amount of pain????)

Anyway, by the time I was ready to go to the actual delivery room and they went to fetch hubby, my son had decided he was ready and came out right there on the gurney as I was being wheeled off.  Hubby missed the birth and I was pretty much done with the whole thing by the time I got to the OR.  The only thing I did in that room was get a few stitches.  Afterwards was not much better.  I did not get a nice corner space in a room, I was in a large room with no privacy at all and was not even allowed to film my son (I was told video cameras were not allowed... I guess for privacy reasons as there were other people there in that large space with me.)  Also, I did spend a lot of time in the hall on the bed and seeing as I not allowed to get up to even pee for at least the first 6 hours, I was pretty much stuck.  Also, while I was elated to be done with the whole labor and delivery process, I was anxious to go home and was not allowed to leave until it was the right time to be discharged.  I didn't want to spend the night in the hospital.  I wanted to go home. I felt fine.  But alas, I had to spend another lonely night without hubby by my side.  I know for a fact that at the private hospitals you do get your own private room (you better as you're paying for it) and your significant other does get to spend the night.  I know this because I actually looked into giving birth at one of the private hospitals here when I was pregnant with my daughter.  Oh how I wish we could go private for the birth but it is what it is.

I am prepping myself for a better experience this time around and plan to labor mostly at home again. The less time I have in the hospital, the better.  I also really hope things have changed in the past 5 years.  Will hubby be with me overnight, I doubt it, but I hope he's there for the entirety of the birthing process, something he missed out on with my daughter and son.

Normal Worries and Some Not So Normal Fears

Can I just admit how nervous I actually am to have a newborn baby in the house.  It feels like forever ago since that was the case for us. I kind of feel like I have no clue what to do with the baby once he gets here. I worry about the normal things of course, like what if he's an unusually fussy baby and cries all the time (like my 1st son did).  But I also worry about some not so normal things as well.

This morning reminded me just how full my plate already is and to bring a newborn baby into the mix is going to take a lot of work.  I already have three kids (THREE), two of whom are still very dependent on their mommy.  Yes, I am very blessed to have independent kids for the most part but at 6 and almost 5 years old, there is only so much they can do by themselves, which means I have to step in and lend a large helping hand.

For instance, the whole getting ready for school in the mornings is a hands on task for my daughter.  Getting her breakfast, getting her ready, making her snack, etc. And then making sure that my younger son is up and ready for the day.  Next year all 3 will be in school and I'll be busy getting 2 kids ready instead of one.

Well my day started very early today and I am still feeling the effects of lack of sleep, something I know I'll have to get used to sooner rather than later.  I went to bed around 10 pm and was up to pee at 1:30.  It was a restless night as baby A was not happy with me sleeping on either my left or right side... he would kick me hard enough for me to change position to one to his liking. Knowing I am not supposed to sleep on my back for fear of the baby not getting enough oxygen, ironically enough that is one of the only positions where I feel comfortable and baby A seems to like. After my pee session, I was up again at 3:45 to make hubby breakfast and lunch before he headed off to work t 4:15.  I had an hour or so left before the kids had to get up and start getting ready for school so I went back to bed to try and relax.  Well just before 5 am, Princess came into my room complaining of ear pain, which got progressively worse as the day worn on.  I gave her some ear drop medicine and had her in bed with me for most of the morning.  I felt so bad for her but there was not much I could to to alleviate her pain no matter how much she begged me to help her.  I just had to wait for the ear medicine to kick in and do its job.  Finally, she started feeling better right before lunchtime and I was able to try and take a nap.  However, the lack of sleep for so many hours left me disoriented.

How am I to take care of a crying newborn and sick kids?  This I worry about.  Kids get sick and lately my Princess has been getting sick a lot.  Over school break, she got a stomach bug and a fever and a nasty cold.  How am I to tend to a sick child and give them my all while also trying to give my all to an infant as well?  This really scares me. Although I have to say, it can't be as bad as when I had JC.  I mean Princess was still a baby when I had him and yet, it all worked out. The first 2 years were hard but it was also fun.  I managed to care for a toddler and a baby and things turned out fine.  But I still worry.

I have to also admit that poop scares me.  I have been dealing with it for years.  I have dealt with explosive diapers where the poop has crept up the back of the baby, soiling all their clothes (what the hell is a diaper for anyway?)  I have dealt with runny poop and weird looking poop and just poop of all kind.  I want to be done with poop.  Also, what if this baby is not a self soother and uses my boob not only to feed but to soothe.  I would hate to have a baby attached to my breasts constantly.  Also, what if this baby hates sleep?  Some babies seem to fight even the thought of sleep and I hope this baby is not like that.  As much as we all know that having a newborn comes with sleepless nights, there are some babies that take to a sleep routine much faster than others.  Will I be able to train this baby to do just become a good sleeper, great nurser, cry little to never at all and not have explosive diapers?  We shall see.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Braxton Hicks

I'm talking about the contractions.  I have read about them, mainly when I was pregnant with P (my 1st). The thought of false contractions seemed so foreign to me as I had never experienced them before.  I don't remember ever having Braxton Hicks contractions with either of my first 3 pregnancies.

But as they say, every pregnancy is different and true to form, so is this one.  Not only am I in more pain with this pregnancy from daily aches and pains but I have experienced my feet swelling up (something that never happened to me before).  And since it seems to have been forever ago since I was last pregnant, my mind is just not fresh with all the baby basics that seemed like second nature to me when I was pregnant with number 2 and 3.

Back to the BH contractions.  I never had them and so when I started getting them, I freaked out like a first time mom would.  Since I wasn't sure if they were indeed contractions, I went to Google for some answers. What I initially thought was just weird positioning of the baby turned out to be Braxton Hicks.  I think in the back of my head I knew because like I said, I had read about them.

I was really relieved to know they were just BH and so settled my mind a bit.  But then, they kept coming and coming and kept getting more and more uncomfortable to the point of feeling painful (just a bit).  I started having them around the 20 plus week mark (I want to say after the 5 month mark) and they kept up for 2 or so weeks straight.  When they started getting stronger, I decided it was time to get checked out to make sure I wasn't actually contracting and dilating.

A quick visit to the hospital and everything checked out fine.  My cervix was closed (so I was NOT dilating, which was amazing news as it was just too early) AND baby A was doing just fine.

Let me tell you, no matter how many kids you've had prior, each new pregnancy is like a new chapter with new learning curves.  As a 4th time around mom, I should be an expert but I am finding myself nervous about the same things a first time around mom would be nervous about.  I am also finding that I need to brush up on some of the skills I have since forgotten about baby caring and such... like, how do you swaddle a baby again?  Yeah, I am clueless.

I know the essentials. I have done it 3 times before so I know I'll be fine but I find myself wondering about feedings and diaper changes and such.  I wonder how I remembered which boob I fed one with my other 3 kids and how I reminded myself which boob to feed on next.  I had no clue what to pack for the hospital (I got a list off the internet). And of course, I worry about the sleepless nights, the crying for no reason and the nasty blowouts (poop related).  I even worry about certain movements the baby makes and if he;s Ok in there.

I feel the best way to stop my mind from going insane is to prep as much as I can.  Or at least brush up on the info I need before I hit the home stretch.  At least now when my belly gets hard and I feel that slight crampy feeling and pressure down there, I know it's BH and that it's normal and not labor.  One less thing to freak out about.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Shower Update

We finally set a date for the baby shower and invitations are made and ready to be sent (handed) out.  I made the invitations per mother in laws request.  I wasn't really wanting to do it but I figured since she was so gracious enough to offer to host a shower for me, the least I could do is print up a few invites for her.  It is MY shower after all.

So the shower is in about 2 weeks or so (give or take a couple of days).  I asked mother in law not to invite too many people and luckily she isn't one for large events, so it will be a small baby shower, which is what I wanted.  I am excited about the shower and am looking forward to it, as I know it will be a day filled with joy.  I know it is my 4th baby BUT people WANT to celebrate the impending birth with me so why not let them.

The invitations came out too cute and I'll have to post a picture once I take one.  As for the rest of the deets: mother in law and sister in law will be handling those.  I might help with decor and favors but my participation is limited to being there and opening gifts.  Thankfully.

The Little Things

Talking about baby buys once a gain, It's funny all the small things that get me excited about this baby.  Yes, I get equally as excited about purchasing the BIG things but it's the small items that make me go "awwwww" inside.

I love to shop and I don't need an excuse to do so.  But I think having  a baby is the perfect excuse to go on a couple of shopping sprees (big and small).  Also, the more I accumulate, the more I get to see what the nursery will look like, which is so exciting.

We finally set up the baby's bed (the pack and play he will be sleeping in for the first year or so of life.)  My mother in law made us a mattress and sheet for the bed to make it more comfy and now it sits in it's space in the nursery, awaiting baby's arrival.

That was a really exciting day but I had just as much fun at Walmart picking up a few odds and ends as well.

Here are just a few of the small things I got for baby A:
Bottle Brush
Plastic wipe-able bib
Breast pads
Sleep positioner (always wanted one of these with my kids)

Here are a few other items I had purchased beforehand:
Baby on board sign
photo frames (one is hanging in the nursery already with a sonogram pic of baby A)
Ceramic vase
Diaper bag

Stuff I got for free/gifts:
Playtex bottles and liners
Medela breast pump and milk storage bottles (so excited about this)
Nipple cream
Pack of 3 newborn diapers