Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Three weeks till full-term!

So if you read the last post, you are up to speed with the official name, Austin James! AJ for short. I'm thrilled with the positive reactions we've received to this name from friends and family alike. Originally, we weren't going to finalize our choice until we met the baby, but we both fell in love with this name much earlier than expected. It just felt right to share it right then and there.

We first announced the name on vacation with Jim's family at Sunset Beach, where we were lucky enough to have Jim's cousin take some great photos of us by the water. Thanks to Jen Stem for these great shots!

It's really hard to believe that these shots were taken only four weeks ago when I was 30 weeks along. I keep saying that since we've been back from vacation, these weeks haven't felt like they are going by as quickly as before. I have no doubt that's because the weight of the belly and my overall pain has become so much more prevalent.
If you look at my belly you can usually see how the baby is camping out only on my right side. This was the same side that was arched higher when I had scoliosis, so I'm not sure if there's more room over there or if that has nothing to do with it at all. I'll be in a meeting at work, or home watching TV with Jim, and you can literally see a bump slowly rise on that side. Can't tell if it's his head or bottom, but it's definitely more than a limb! With that, I have pain low on my right side, and occasionally half-way down my back on the right (what I imagine to be kidney area).

The left is a different story. I rarely feel kicks or movement over there, but what my left side lacks in belly action it makes up in knife-like sciatica pain and foot swelling! So it's an odd mix of right and left sensations. And the pain is really starting to ramp up in intensity. Just this week at work, I was in a co-worker's office and literally had to brace myself in the doorframe when the sciatica pain hit. Much like a bright bolt of lightning illuminating the sky when you're driving home in the rain at night, this shooting pain strikes unexpectedly and usually startles you. There's nothing you can do about it or the swelling for that matter. Our President walked in to see me two days ago and I said, "Please excuse my unprofessional flip flops, but I have two different sized feet this week!" He laughed.

The most exciting news to report is that we completed our child birth and labor classes at Aultman Hospital! I know I mentioned last week how informative these have been, but seriously, I feel so much more at ease about the entire process now. While no one ever fully knows what to expect going into labor, I have all the options now, and that makes me feel more empowered to cope with whatever happens. The third class focused on epidurals and c-section details, as well as miscellaneous tools the doctor might need to use to turn the baby or help yank (yes, YANK) him out. I didn't like that class too much. But the final session talked about post-partum events, baby care and ended with a tour of the birthing center. Biggest surprise of all - I had NO idea what kind of theatrical quality lights were used in the delivery room!!! Other than that, the rooms were really nice and I left the hospital with a great calmness that I know will help me get through the next few—but important—weeks.

Speaking of weeks, I finally realized that "full-term" is only three weeks away! Yes, 37 weeks is 9/13 and 40 weeks is the 10/4 due date. Some other interesting week/date trivia:

--Jim was born at 34 weeks
--10/4 was my mom's due date with me, but I was born 9/19
--The baby typically runs out of room at 34 weeks (and on average weighs about 5 pounds!)
--Next ultrasound will be 36 or 37 weeks, where doctors will make sure the baby is not breech

We visit the doctor Wednesday 8/31, and then start weekly visits until the baby is born. I still have a few other classes about breastfeeding, baby care and CPR, but other than that, we don't have too many appointments left before we start visiting a pediatrician. Still can't believe it!

To end this week, I want to share a two photos I was lucky enough to take with fellow pregnant women. We had to take these shots because our bellies are just so different and seeing them next to each other is, well, entertaining! First, Jim's cousin Kristin and I took the left pic on Memorial Day when I was 5 months and she was just 5 days from a scheduled c-section where she delivered Joel Matthew at 9 lbs., 2 oz! The right image was taken just last week with my former boss, Nickie, who's six months pregnant with her baby boy (and as you know I am eight plus). My belly is higher compared to both, even though I'm farther along in the Nickie photo. Couldn't resist the side-by-side comparison.

And finally, I want so send a huge thank you to Megan, Laura and Laura for surprising me with the amazing Mama Mia massage at Oglebay Resort over the weekend... I am so blessed to have great friends who are not only supportive, but sympathetic LOL!

Next week I'll share some of the best one-liners I've heard in recent days (is it possible that I've grown that much bigger over the weekend to warrant these entertaining lines?!).

Until then, adios from "Austintown" ;)

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