Monday, September 28, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 32 / 33 Week Update

32 Weeks
32 Weeks!  Actually, I'm closer to 33 weeks at this point (tomorrow!!)!  Five or six weeks ago I was very worried we weren't going to make it this far. I was afraid we were potentially looking at a micro-premie with a long hospital stay.  I was worried about her health, how it would affect the boys, and (selfishly) having to go back to work before the holidays. One of the reasons I have always wanted to make it to October 9th is because, if I'm calculating correctly, I'll be off of work for the remainder of the year. There are a couple of other reasons too, obviously, (one of which I'll share with you after her birth) but being home over the holidays has been a big motivator.

Since my update at 31 weeks there really hasn't been much change - I've been holding steady at just 2 cm dilated.  Today my doctor said, "you're going to make it to 34 weeks! That's awesome!"

Although that's not to say I've been feeling awesome all this time. I mean, I have good days; today I feel great! But if you saw me on Saturday evening you would have expected a birth announcement within hours.  I was having contractions that night that were, at some points, only 5 minutes apart.  I could hardly walk and I was so, so uncomfortable. Yesterday I went grocery shopping and was cringing and breathing through contractions as I unloaded my cart onto the belt; I could tell that other patrons were keeping their distance.  I think this is largely due to how low she is; when he checks me he can feel her head  and because I love you guys so much I asked for some photographic evidence to show you:

Unfortunately I'm not working with a real high tech photo editing software here so I'll have to kind of walk you through this.....right below the label "cervix" is what's left of my cervix - which is basically nothing, I don't even think it is measurable at this point.  I wish I would have gotten a picture of it weeks ago to show you are comparison but at one point this was nice and long. That white semi-circle thing is her skull. Here's a stock picture that I think is from Baby Center that shows you what a cervix can look like:

See how long it is in this picture?  The shortening, or thinning, of the cervix is effacement, which he has told me is the hardest part of labor.  It is all making sense now why my labors are so quick, because I'm already completely effaced all my cervix has to do is dilate (or open) once my water breaks or labor contractions start.

Since I know you love looking at pictures of my cervix here's another one!

You're looking at basically the exact same thing as the first photo but do you notice how the white semi-circle of her skull has little spikes on it? THAT'S HAIR! Is that not cool???

Okay, we're done with cervix pictures....

It's nearly impossible to get a good look at her face these days because she is just so low; and by so low I mean that little ultrasound wand has to be in my private region in order to catch a glimpse of these cheeks:

OMG, can you even stand that??  Look at those cheeks!  I sent Ember a message this afternoon that said, "I'm not worried about her head, how am I going to push out those cheeks?"  I went back and looked at some newborn pictures of the boys and I don't think any of them had this chubby of cheeks.  I can't wait to see who she looks like because right now I have no clue.

Some other random updates:

  • The boys are now so used to mom's contractions and need for space/quiet/no touching during them that they now preface each request with, "Mom, are you contracting?" before asking their question.
  • They refer to my water breaking as my "bubble popping": "Mom, when your bubble pops...." or "Oh my gosh, Mom, I thought your bubble just popped."
  • My bag is packed!  Packed, packed, packed!  The car seat is also all cleaned up and just needs the cover put back on.  I still don't know where the bassinet is at....or my breast pump...I guess I still have some work do to.
  • Things I'm dreaming about: A full body massage, a pedicure, a glass of wine, a second glass of wine, sushi, turning over in bed without having to rearrange 8 million pillows, no longer needing to prop myself up to sleep to avoid acid reflux, another glass of wine, FINE! A BOTTLE OF WINE!
  • To close this lovely post here is a fun 32-week comparison picture of me with all four kids:

Thank you for all of your continued thoughts and prayers, we know - without a doubt - that's why she has stayed put this long.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 30 & 31 week update

30 weeks
As of today I am officially 31 weeks along.  This update could basically be summed up in three words:

I. Am. Exhausted.

I keep hoping that it is due to this new Back to School schedule or the cold I came down with last week, but then a friend (Hi Amanda!) reminded me that, ummm, this is pretty textbook for my pregnancies in the days/weeks leading up to labor and delivery.

I remember this with Keaton. Although he was due to arrive January 25th we opted out of traveling for Christmas that year and I spent the entire weekend camped out in our big soft comfy chair. He was born 5 days later. 

In the last few posts with Hutt I mentioned taking a nap instead of blogging and, as Amanda reminded me (and I had totally forgotten) following a Baby Shower for Nolan I complained about being utterly wiped out, exhausted. Within a week I was admitted to the hospital in pre-term labor. They were able to stop that and I held out another two weeks, but still, exhaustion seems to be a recurring theme.

While I am still hoping to hold out a couple more weeks (I have some work stuff that I have to get done) it really just dawned on me the other day how close we are getting, as the past two weeks I have shown further progression.

As of 30 weeks I was 80% effaced and 1.5 cm dilated. This is after being dilated to 1 cm since week 27.

As of yesterday (basically 31 weeks) I am now 100% effaced (and funneling) and 2 cm dilated. Contractions are starting to get fairly strong at times but have not really been timeable yet.  When I do start timing them, they seem to stop.

Other random updates:
 - The acid reflux has been pretty bad again. Two weekends ago I was jolted out of bed during a nap to run to the bathroom and throw up.  Oddly enough, something similar happened 10 or 11 days before Hutton was born.

- Baby Stella is looking really good. Although it's pretty impossible to get a good look at her face in the ultrasounds these days because she is sitting so low, she took lots and lots of respirations for us yesterday. She's moving around a lot and her heart/organs look good. 

- Oh! She's still a girl!  It had been several weeks since I asked him to check again but last week he did for me and we got a great shot that confirmed again that she is a she.

- And she has big chubby cheeks.

- I will admit I'm dreading actual labor, it hurts so baaaad! But I am looking forward to seeing those cheeks.

- After I took this 30 week picture I remembered that I had taken a belly shot in this same outfit earlier, so for fun here is a 24 vs 30 week comparison shot.  I feel like we should play name 10 things that are different in these pictures, ha!

24 vs 30 weeks

I'm thinking it's probably about time to get a little Baby Stat guessing game going, what do ya think? I'll try to get that between naps. :)

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 28 Weeks

28 weeks! We are officially in the third trimester and it is officially hitting me just how soon this little girl is likely going to make her arrival.  Even if we make it to my own personal goal date of October 9th that's still only six weeks away.  Six weeks!

I just had to go back and read where we were at the last time I updated here so here's a brief recap:

24 weeks - cervical length was 1.9 cm; cervix closed
25 weeks - cervical length was 1.7 cm; cervix closed
26 weeks - cervical length was 1.4 cm; cervix closed

Because at this point I was under 1.5 cm I got the first of a two-set injection of steroids to help develop her lungs. These injections are awful, awful, awful! The nurses all apologized before sending me to a room to wait for the pharmacy to send the meds up.  I forgot just how bad these were and the burn, OMG the buuuuuurn. 

I didn't post an update here last week, but if you are on Facebook then you probably already saw that at my 27 week appointment I got some not so great news.  My cervical length was down to 1.2 cm, which is about what I expected, but we also discovered that I was now dilated to 1 cm.

I know it is only 1 cm and I know women walk around for weeks at 1 cm but I still spent the last week pretty worried about what it all means.  I'm still under no restrictions and there is no plan in place but when I mentioned being worried about having a baby in the car my doctor did say that if I were to get to 2-3 cm dilated (I assume he means this early) then I would likely be admitted to the hospital.  So it hasn't even been so much worried about actually having her as much as worried about having be be away from home for an extended period of time before I have her.  I just know that would be so hard on the boys.  

The good news, no Great News!, is that this week, at 28-weeks, I am still only dilated to 1 cm and my cervical length has actually stabilized a bit.  This week it was 1.6 cm, longer than it has been the last two weeks!! 

This is the best news we could have gotten this week and I am so grateful.  

In other updates, the acid reflux has been terrible again lately and I've also been battling some pregnancy insomnia again.  The weekly progesterone injections are starting to bother me, my hips are just shot from being poked so much and have started bruising and bleeding and itching and knotting. But! while contractions are starting to get a bit stronger they are still not regular and generally I'm feeling pretty good. Little Stella is moving around a ton lately and its fun to watch my belly move. The other day Nolan got real up real close and said "Hi, I'm No-win. I yuv you." and she kicked him in the cheek.  

She's still being pretty stubborn for the doctor but we have been getting glimpses of her taking respirations and practicing swallowing. This week she cooperated much better than normal, but was not at all photogenic, so unfortunately I don't have an ultrasound pic to share.  She is currently estimated at 2 1/2 lbs. 

Oh, the only other thing is my fluid levels have been high the past several weeks.  I learned this week that it could be due to her urinating a lot or it could be due to her intestines narrowing, although they aren't high enough to be really concerned of the latter, he did say it will be something she will be checked for after birth.  

Oh! Oh! and I passed my 1-hr glucose test.  I failed this with the first two boys and had to take the 3-hour test and oh my gosh, not. fun. So I was so happy to hear I passed!

I think that's about it. One day, one week at at time, that's my motto right now and I'm so hopeful I still have several weeks to go. #stayputstella

Monday, August 24, 2015

the things I will miss

This was last year's August nature table, but it looks pretty much exactly the same right now and every time I sit down on the couch and look at it I think, should I just go ahead and switch it to fall? I mean, it's coming so soon.  But I don't, because the truth is, I'm just not ready yet

I'm a lover of all things fall, but I'm not ready for summer to be over, not quite yet. To be honest with you, I'm having a love/hate relationship with the calendar at the moment.  A week from tomorrow is September 1st.  A week from tomorrow the boys head back to school.  I'm not ready for that.  And yet, I will be thankful when the month flips to September because it will mean I made it into a new month with this pregnancy.  My goal is still October, as far fetched as that feels some days, but I'm not in any hurry for October to actually get here.

We planted a raised bed garden this year (we had hoped to plant at least two, but only one got done) and in it are tomatoes, green peppers, eggplant, and green beans.  The plants are actually doing quite well and giving off lots of produce, which is pretty amazing considering I'm not the world's best water-er.  I have nursed my hanging baskets back to life more times than I can count this summer, only to let them shrivel in the sun once more.  One of these days I will get a green of these days.  So the fact that this little garden has kept chugging on, even though some of the plants themselves are looking a bit rough, has made me pretty happy.

This little tomato and green pepper were our very first harvest. I also bought a basil plant this year that is sitting in my kitchen window and I begged Collin for the rights to this first tomato - caprese salad has been my snack of choice this summer - he let me have it, though I was afraid for a minute I was going to have to fight him for it.  The tomatoes are rolling in now, a whole window sill full at the moment, so we no longer have to battle for tomato rights. 

We've also been gifted cucumbers by the refrigerator full, which is fine because everyone in this house also loves cucumbers (well, everyone but Nolan, who hands his off every night. Me no like these, he says.)

The simplicity of summer dinners is something I will miss dearly when fall makes her arrival.  It's been weeks since I've done a full grocery shopping run. With all the fresh produce we can usually whip something together pretty quickly....and it tastes so good.

The other thing I am really going to miss as the weather turns chillier is my clothes line.  After months (years!) of envying my neighbors clothes line we finally got our own and oh my gosh, you guys, I think it was the highlight of my summer!  I still can  not help but steal a glance if I walk past a window and know there are clothes hanging out there.  And Collin is just as smitten as I am.  It's made my laundry life immeasurably easier and I have loved stepping outside for just a few minutes during the day to feel the heat of the sun.  One of the real downfalls of working from home is that I am terrible at getting outside on a daily basis.

I still plan on using this well into the fall, if possible, but with the change of seasons I know my clothes line days will be numbered.

I know so many of us love fall, but what will you miss most of all with the passing of summer?

Friday, August 14, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 26 Weeks

In lieu of posting a formal 26-week update here, I'm over at The Sunlit Path today talking about this pregnancy thus far, including an update from my most recent appointment.  I hope you'll join me there.

I mentioned in this post that Baby Stella is stubborn.  As soon as my doctor walked in this week he asked, "Did you have a talk with your baby about cooperating this week?" While she is moving around fine when I'm at home she refuses to wake up for our matter what time of day it is.

Proof that she can not be bothered by any of this:

26 weeks

Oh you guys, we're in trouble aren't we?

It took awhile but we did finally see her take some respirations, which was good.

Eight more weeks (at least!) we can do this!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

10 years

Ten years ago today Collin and I stood before God and in front of our family and friends and committed our lives to each other.

It was easy for me to fall in love with Collin....quickly fall in love with most of you know we got engaged just six weeks after we met.  What I loved most about him is that he let me be myself, which at times can be a little loud and obnoxious. But, I also have a very serious and analytical side to me while he is naturally much more laid back then I am; we seem to balance each other out and yet, at the same time, have a tremendous amount fun together. In those early days I really believed finding a partner that you had fun with was the key to a successful relationship.  I still do believe that is important, but ten years has taught me a lot about love and our relationship in particular. 

I know we all say it but truly our wedding day was one of the best days of our lives.  At 25 what we desired most was a huge party.  Not just for the drinking (although there was a lot of that too) but for the celebration.  If I were getting married today I would probably desire a little different ambiance but at that time all we cared about were people having fun.  And I think it is safe to say we had fun.

Maybe a little too much! Ha!

Of course, not everything went perfectly right.  We forgot to cut our cake, we never got around to all the tables like we had hoped, and there are some pictures I wish we would have captured, but overall the day was exactly what I had imagined.

Oh, we were so blissfully unaware at the trials life would throw at us.

These past ten years have been an amazing journey; one in which we have been blessed over and over with children, houses, jobs, new friends, and travel.  Ten years later there is still no one in the world I would rather experience these joys with than Collin.

But life isn't only full of wonderful, beautiful things.  With those things come trials, tragedies, and numerous struggles.  A few weeks ago I spontaneously broke out into tears in the car while listening to a love song; I turned to Collin and blurted out: did you have any idea it was going to be this hard? I'll be honest, I didn't.  On our wedding day I had no idea the things our marriage would be forced to endure. 

Ten years later I realize that while yes, finding someone you can have fun with and enjoy the company of is important, finding someone who you can make it through life's struggles with is even more crucial, because with life, and marriage, comes suffering. I know that our life is bound to throw us more trials, of that I am certain, but I am not worried. Some of the most beautiful lessons have come from our struggles and because of them I have faith that together, no matter what comes our way, we've got this. 

10 years is really just the beginning....

Friday, July 31, 2015

Baby Kono IV: 24 Weeks

24 weeks
The other night Collin and I had a rare moment of just the two of us, no kids, watching television.

Okay, fine, it was the Bachelorette finale, if you must know. Hey, don't look at me with those judgey eyes and while we're on the topic, let's just talk about that finale real quick.  Am I just being completely naive to think Kaitlyn and Shawn might actually make it?   It's been several years since I've been into watching the Bachelor/Bachelorette but in the last few months I've (we've, he probably doesn't want me admitting it on here, but usually Collin is watching with me) watched TWO seasons. Trashy tv, welcome back to our home! Anyway, what do you think?  Do they have a shot??

While we were enjoying our viewing Collin felt the baby kick for the very first time.  I was trying to explain to him just what it feels like to have a child inside of you and the best I could come up with is that it feels like some sort of alien life form that is trying to take over your body. I mean, a beautiful alien life form but let's be honest, it also feels a bit weird.  The kicks alone are awesome and cute and wonderful but the body rolls?  Those are just bizarre feeling. And wonderful, but bizarre. Anyway, on with our update....
  • I can tell she is getting bigger because I've been feeling a lot more movement in the past two weeks.  
  • Like Nolan, most of the time she is sitting low, low, low.  See where my hand is in that picture up there?  That's where I feel her the majority of the time.  In fact, in order to really feel her from the outside I have to pull an Al Bundy. You're welcome for that little tid bit!
  • I've been feeling generally pretty good these last couple of weeks, with the exception of a couple of acid reflux flare-ups, a few days of bad dreams, and two days this week when it hurt to sit and walk (more on that later.)
  • I had one fairly strong contraction last Saturday. While I've been having Braxton Hicks for several weeks this was the first one that I had to stop and concentrate on/breathe through. It was more in my mid region though, rather than moving from the top down so my doctor wasn't too concerned. I haven't had any more of those since then. 
And that brings me to this week's doctor appointment.... Last week (23 week apt) I got really good news at my ultrasound; my cervical length hadn't changed at all from the prior week. Just as a refresher, at 22 and 23 weeks I was measuring at 3.0 cm and 2.5-2.6 cm when applying pressure. He had said then that he didn't want it any shorter than 2.5 cm.  So when he measured me and said I was now at 1.9 cm (with pressure, her head was right. there.) it took me a second to even process what he was saying.

"Wait." I told him, "That's not good."

The nurse graciously gave me her hand to squeeze as he did a cervical check.  She knew I was scared.

The good news is, my cervix is still closed; it has not started to dilate.  But it is still a bit concerning.  

Both he and my regular OB told me again that a short cervix doesn't mean labor is imminent, it just means I'm at higher risk for a pre-term delivery (which we already knew.) I have not been put on bed rest, although my OB was ready to write the script if I wanted it, and just need to continue to stay well hydrated and rest as much as I can.  The short-term plan is that if my cervix gets down to 1.5 cm or lower then they will give me the steroid shot to develop her lungs quicker.

The perinatologist said we need to make it another month.  My regular OB said, we know you are going to go early, but lets get you to 34 weeks.

As I mentioned earlier, these past few days I have been so sore/stiff.  I thought it was just from sitting in a chair all day but after seeing her on the ultrasound and realizing how low she was sitting I think it was actually from her positioning and the pressure she was putting on my cervix.  Last night sitting on the couch was too uncomfortable so I headed to bed and within a few minutes felt her turn and start to kick me in the sides.  This morning I woke up feeling like a new person.  I'm hopeful that without all that pressure my cervix might actually be longer than it was measuring yesterday.  I'm also constantly reminding myself that I may be perfectly on track to follow the boys births, we'll just never know because they weren't checking me this far into the pregnancy last time.

So, that's where we are at. She still looks great. Fluid levels are good. Placenta looks fine. We're still just  taking it week-by-week and hoping my cervix will slow its roll.  

Let's finish this update with some fun news, shall we???  We have officially decided on a name!!!!

While I have never announced a name publicly before a birth in the past, it feels right this time. Besides, most of you will not be surprised anyway. Let me formally introduce you to:

- middle name to be announced after birth -

24 weeks
Est. weight 1 lb 7 oz

I know, anticlimactic, right?? As most of you know, Stella has been our girls name, well, forever. Each one of the boys would have been Stella had they been a girl.  BUT the one thing Collin and I both knew immediately when we found out we were expecting again is what we would use for a middle name if it was a girl (and a boy too, middle names were easy).....and it wasn't the middle name we had originally chosen for Stella. So then we started wavering on her first name and started seriously considering a different name. But a few weeks ago I was reading the prayer Ave Maris Stella and started crying; I just knew in that moment, without a doubt, her name was Stella. We've been referring to her by name ever since. 

So, listen up Baby Stella, while we are so, so excited to meet you, stay put for awhile longer, okay?

Haha, I feel like I should hashtag that, #stayputstella

More updates to come....