Pregnancy – Week 38

I know I said previously that last week’s post would be my last pregnancy related blog post. But this morning I thought: “You know what? Today marks the day that I DID make it to 38 weeks and it deserves to be said. Even though it will be cut short in less than 24 hours. Hah!”

I’m extremely relieved to say that they scheduled me to check in at the hospital this evening instead of tomorrow morning. Hopefully he’ll be born some time tomorrow and not any day later because my anxiety is running high at the moment. Gert’s mom didn’t understand how I could deal with the fact that I know the exact moment labor will be started and how it scares her to death and that she’d rather not know and let nature take its course. I was like “Um, okay?” Try losing a perfect full term baby first and then see how you feel about it then. If we let nature take its course, I could end up 42 weeks pregnant and still have no baby … That’s another whole month!!! It would practically be August. He’s been full term for a week now and he already weighs more than 3 kilos, which is the average birth weight. Add another month to that and we’d have a giant. I would have lost my sanity by then for sure and there’s no telling whether this pregnancy would have ended well at that point. I can’t be thankful enough for the fact that this pregnancy – and any other future pregnancy – will be induced at the 38 week mark. I had a clear countdown to focus on and that helped me a ton.

Baby has grown so much in such little time. I have to say, it’s an additional reason for me to be relieved that labor will be induced now. The lack of space this baby has and the way he painfully tries to move around reminds me so much of Sam’s behavior during his last 2 weeks. Poor thing was clearly getting frustrated at the lack of space, and so is this one. I’m so worried now each time he tries to stretch to the limit or moves a bit harshly, as I fear this would damage the placenta he’s in; just like with Sam when that stupid little vein ruptured silently.

Sam has been so much on my mind lately. I kept thinking yesterday evening about those last few days he was alive and kept replaying every detail in my head over and over again. And how there was no clear warning sign, and how yet I feel like I failed him and how sorry I am that I wasn’t able to get him out in time. I must have cried a thousand times “sorry” while standing in front of his grave. The guilt and the sadness are bound to show their ugly faces again once I step into that delivery room, which will look exactly the same as it did 2 years ago. It’s going to be a very strange mix of emotions and I expect it’s not going to be easy to process. I don’t think anyone will really think about it that way when they hear that this baby arrived safely. They’ll just be happy and not think too much of how intricate and sad it still is for Gert and I. *sigh*

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So that’s it as far as this pregnancy is concerned. Adios you shitty 9 months! I’m glad it’s over. And I can’t wait to meet our little guy. Fingers crossed that everything goes well!

Pregnancy – Week 37

Last weekly pregnancy update! Yay! I can feel the anxiety going up a notch though as D-day approaches. I even had a nightmare that Baby’s heart suddenly flatlined while hooked up to the monitor. I woke up with cold sweat and major anxiety. It took me a while to calm down. Thank God this hyperactive little firecracker moves ALL.THE.TIME. Not sure I’ll be thankful for it once he’s born, but as long as I’m pregnant, that’s exactly what keeps me calm.

We went to my very last prenatal appointment yesterday. I’m glad we are finally done with appointments! It was weird as hell though. The doctor we saw was a major creep. Gert and I kept it together during the appointment itself, but as soon as we walked out, we kind of paused and looked at each other and then burst out laughing! That guy was soooo weird! He also changed all our plans somewhat. We initially thought about going in for one last monitoring session on Sunday morning (just like last week) and then getting induced on Tuesday, June 28th. But now he was like: “Maybe we should check if there’s any sign that labor is already on the way. We’ll do that during your next monitoring session. If there’s nothing, then let’s schedule the induction for Monday instead of Tuesday, since we’ll have to start from zero. So maybe we should also bump up the monitor from Sunday to Saturday.” This totally messed with the clear plan I had prepared myself for. I wasn’t really thrilled but thought “Okay? Maybe it’s not such a bad thing if we can start it one day earlier as I had initially hoped.” But when we walked out and gave it some more thought; Gert and I both decided we’re not comfortable with that. It’s going to be a full physical checkup, and I thought they were only going to do that on my induction day, not any time sooner. The reason why I’m not too keen on this is because my very last prenatal appointment with Sam included a full physical checkup, and the doctor actually hurt me to the point where I briefly screamed and she apologized. There’s always been a doubt in my mind whether this could have been a factor in what happened to Sam the next day. Of course they swear high and low that it’s impossible. But still. I don’t want a full physical and then be sent back home for several days. I don’t see the point anyway. They can just check everything when I arrive to get induced and then take it from there. I don’t care if it takes an extra day for him to be born. It’s not like I have a preset date of birth in my mind or anything. I just want him to be born alive and well. And I basically don’t want anyone to touch me unless I’m there to stay.

So, I will request that we stick to our initial plan, as had been decided by the two professors who take care of me. I don’t like how this one doctor suddenly decided to butt in and make changes out of the blue.

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Anyway, Baby keeps growing at a fast pace, I can tell. Poor thing is running out of room and he’s kind of stuck in the same position now. He’s still moving well, so my little pregnancy agenda remains full of blue crosses that I mark after each kick. Although I guess at this point I can’t really call them kicks anymore, due to the lack of space. It feels more like little baby feet rolling around.

As for me: I’m tired, my hips hurt, my belly feels heavy. Blah! I can’t wait for this to be over. I know I’ve whined a ton about how I hate being pregnant. And I realize it makes me sound shallow and unappreciative. That’s not the case though. It’s just that it’s been such a long and frustrating road. This has already consumed 2.5 years of my life, with more grief and pain than some people could handle. It’s also taking its toll on my body, I can tell. And it all feels so unfair. I doubt I will ever enjoy being pregnant again. There’s just no way it could ever be “fun” and “exciting” again. I’m only focused on bringing this baby home alive and getting back into shape. The whole pregnancy phase can go screw itself.

Four more days if we stick to our initial plan. If it does get bumped up to Monday instead, then we’ve only got Friday, Saturday and Sunday left to go. Fingers crossed that all goes well!

Pregnancy – Week 36

Let’s get straight to the point: I feel like absolute shit right now. My hips have suddenly become soooo painful these past few days. All my joints and ligaments are loosening up in preparation for birth. Some women have this more than others … I guess I’m on the more extreme side of the spectrum. I can hardly walk anymore. I’m not even just wobbling around a little bit, I’m seriously limping and the pain shoots right through my right leg. It’s basically exactly the same as I had with Sam. Exact same timing and everything. Obviously, that makes me nervous. I don’t want the exact same scenario to repeat itself, so any similar symptoms right now tend to worry me.

I’m not planning to do anything anymore during the next two weeks. I’m lounging around the house, taking it easy. I can’t really physically do anything right now anyway. The belly is also getting huge and uncomfortable. Ehhhh. Almost there, Lisa. Almost there!

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We went to the hospital yesterday. I saw the lady professor who takes care of me now. Thank God I haven’t seen her male colleague in a while. Despite his good will and efforts, he always managed to annoy me and stress me out with his comments like “let’s not overanalyze things, everything’s fine.” Well, screw you. We will overanalyze as much as I feel like it. If things go wrong, he won’t be the one who has to bury his SECOND child. I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t even lose any sleep over it. So anyway, I’m glad that his female colleague is much more proactive and doesn’t mess around with sappy speeches. No bullshit from her. She lays out the facts, offers a couple of options in terms of extra appointments, we make a decision together, and boom, done. No time wasted and no sugarcoating.

Yesterday’s appointment was insanely detailed. I definitely wasn’t expecting this. I’m so glad they are taking these last couple of weeks seriously now. We got hooked up to the baby monitor for half an hour, and then had a detailed ultrasound again. All those extras are going to cost us a fortune … we’re waiting for the bills to arrive. Oh well! She measured everything and also evaluated baby’s size and weight. It turns out that our little bitty average baby went through a growth spurt all of a sudden. I kind of had that impression since last weekend. I suddenly gained weight out of the blue, and I could just feel him taking up much more space all of a sudden. If the estimation is correct, he now already weighs 3 kilos. He’s gone up to the 57th percentile. Still two weeks to go, so I’m pretty sure he will at least equal Sam’s weight. I’m curious to see if he will end up even bigger than him.

I had already packed some super adorable newborn sized outfits for him since he was looking perfectly average at first. But after yesterday’s appointment, I decided not to take any chances and added a few bigger ones in my hospital bag, just in case.

They scheduled an extra monitoring in between this week’s appointment and next week’s. So we’ll be going in on Sunday morning to monitor baby’s heart and activity for an hour. I’m not exactly enjoying these frequent hospital trips. But you gotta do what you gotta do, right? I’m not sure if there will be one more monitoring session next week; basically a few days before I get induced. We’ll see.

I’m counting down the days like a maniac. We made one last trip to the baby store on Monday and bought that movement & breathing monitor I absolutely wanted to get before we bring our baby home. The last thing we need now is a case of sudden infant death syndrome in this house! We’ve had our fair share of tragedies these past few years, so I want to be as cautious as I can be. Now watch me become one of those crazy helicopter moms … Oy.

luvion baby movement and breathing monitor alarm safety sids sudden infant death syndrome

^^ I ended up not getting the cute Angelcare one that looked like a white winged angel. As adorable as it looked, the seller told us the Luvion brand is more sensitive and more accurate. It was the exact same price, so, we got the Luvion. It’s not as cute, but oh well!

We also finally got him his very own little blankie and another colorful soft toy. Both happen to be giraffes; which is a pure coincidence. He obviously won’t care about any of that in the beginning, but it will be nice to introduce them to him right away. There’s something sentimental about it I suppose. I honestly couldn’t bring myself to buying him any kind of cute toys or anything that wasn’t strictly “practical” up until now. Like I was going to bring us bad luck or something. It’s so stupid. I’m not even superstitious like that. I guess it was more an emotional matter than anything else.

giraffe label label stuffed soft plush toy infant baby colorful bright yellow gender neutral

giraffe print pattern baby blankie soft plush toy animal gender neutral

My hospital bag is finally ready. And I cooked a whole bunch of fresh meals these past few weeks and have stuffed our freezer with them, so that I won’t have to worry about cooking for a while now. I’m physically unable to go grocery shopping right now (that’s seriously how bad my hips are at the moment), so I’ve signed us up on our local grocery store’s website and will put an order in for next week. All Gert has to do is go pick it up. I’m worried that if I hand him a grocery list and have him look for it all through the entire store, he won’t find half of it. lol Plus, he’s got enough on his plate too right now. So this way it’s easier for us both. He’s also single handedly taking care of the daily dog walks now. Haha! Wolf wasn’t quite sure what to think of it at first, but it’s going alright :-)

Okay, a little more than 11 days left until I get to check in at the delivery ward. I’ve decided that as soon as I walk in there, I will leave all my worries at the door. They will keep an eye on the baby through a monitor during the entire time. So I know that if there’s any sign of distress, things will be handled accordingly and they won’t take any risk. So, my biggest concern right now is getting to June 28th safely and then I can let go and breathe. I’m not too concerned about labor itself. I’ve done it once, I can do it again. As long as he makes it out alive and well!

Pregnancy – Week 35

Week 35! We’re almost there! I felt like adding a few additional pictures from different angles this time around, since this is one of my last pregnancy blog posts. I can’t say I’m sad to be nearing the end. The first thing I’m looking forward to right after birth – besides meeting my baby, obviously – is drinking a nice cup of caffeinated tea. I’ve been sticking to water only for the past 9 months, and I will also be happy to be able to eat sushi and soft boiled eggs, as well as drink a martini, a glass of white wine, and a piƱa colada every once in a while! If this birth goes well, I’ll be enjoying a beautiful Summer at home like no other.

We had to get up early this morning to go to the hospital. I’m scheduled for a weekly follow up from now on, and they’re checking things more and more in depth (unlike the impression I got several weeks ago). I was hooked up to the baby monitor for about an hour. His heart went up and down a lot, like it should. And he was kicking those belly straps like he did last time.

Once the monitoring was done, they made us wait outside the room because the doctor wanted to see me. We waited and waited … I should specify that every baby monitoring happens at the delivery ward. So we were sitting there in the hallway facing about 10 closed doors, behind which women were in the middle of labor. Lovely … I’m guessing they had an unexpected peak this morning, because doctors were running back and forth between rooms. Within the one hour span we waited there, we heard 2 babies being born. One of which I’m assuming was premature, because the poor little one was wheeled away in an oxygenated cot within minutes after birth. The brand new dad followed anxiously. I looked at the big time and date display on the wall, and realized that in exactly 20 days from now, I’ll be in one of those rooms meeting my baby for the first time. It sure puts things into perspective; in case it still felt somewhat abstract in my head, it no longer does! I also saw one of the midwives who took care of me when Sam was born. She was the one who carried him away after we’d held him for several hours and felt it was time to say goodbye. I think she recognized me. But in this morning’s chaos, no word was said. Then one nurse came and stuck a note on the door right in front of us, which requested to call the lab and a professor to analyze the placenta from the moment the patient has given birth. I noticed every doctor who walked in there was very quiet, and didn’t say any enthusiastic “hello” like they did in the other rooms. I wondered if this was a case of stillbirth right in front of us. It was room #2 and I actually think that’s the very same room they put me in to deliver Sam. I have no idea if there was a note on my door with special instructions. But I do know that a professor and some specific staff members came in at some key moments and that everything was sent to the lab right away. Of course I could be wrong about what was going on behind that door this morning, but it caught my attention and struck me as odd. And if that wasn’t weird enough, a lady then walked by us with a 2 year old in her arms carrying the exact same brown bunny blankie we had bought for Sam, and which is still preciously kept inside his glass display here at home. I’d been looking everywhere to buy a second one, but it was completely sold out right after he was born. I never did manage to get anything similar for his future sibling. Oh well. I don’t know if those were all signs of some sort. I started wondering if I should take the bunny blankie out of Sam’s glass display, and pack it in my hospital bag for his little brother. I’m not sure how Gert would feel about it though. I looked down at my belly and realized I was wearing that silly old tshirt I had randomly grabbed this morning, and which shows angel wings right on my belly. *sigh*

Anyway, after things calmed down in the delivery ward, I finally met the one professor who supervises all my appointments. I had never met her face to face. I think she’ll be the one taking care of this delivery. As soon as we shook hands, she decided to do an ultrasound and measure everything in detail again like they did last week. I was surprised. I thought for sure they’d be like “oh, no big deal, everything looks fine but if you want to calm your nerves, we’ll quickly do an ultrasound and rush through everything just so we can tell you again that everything looks great.” Instead, she did take her time to look and measure everything meticulously. The blood flow through everything, the amniotic fluid, the placenta, baby’s brain, and his overall size … which is now apparently under the 50th percentile. This caught me off guard. She said it was fine. But what a difference with Sam. He was a big baby. I was expecting the same, or at least something similar with this one. And while I was happy to hear about him being around the 51st percentile recently, I’m now worried about him having gone below 50. They didn’t seem concerned and said those measurements can be inaccurate this late in pregnancy, and that we’ll just have to wait and see how tall and heavy he is when he’s born. But the fact alone that they have now measured this 3 times in a row makes me wonder. Was Sam too big? Is this one too small? So many questions that only hit me later on when we got home.

He’s still extremely active though and reacts to absolutely everything, so he is a very alert little boy already. I like the fact that she didn’t sugarcoat the situation and basically told me that while they can’t possibly see me every single day of the week, we will continue with weekly checkups and she wants to add an extra monitoring during next week’s appointment. She told me I’m basically the one who has to stay focused and keep an eye on everything in between appointments, and if I have any doubts or notice anything suspicious, to get in the car and come right away. I kind of appreciated to hear someone finally validating the approach I’ve been having about it all for a while now. I don’t want people to tell me that everything’s great and will be fine. Unless they have a crystal ball, there’s no way anyone could ever promise me that. So I’m glad she didn’t and is now taking these next few weeks very seriously.

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Other than that, besides the fact that I am now tired all the time and have no energy to do much anymore at this point, I am feeling quite alright. No swollen feet or hands, no stomach acid, no shortness of breath, no real pain or discomfort. My hips still bother me around 5AM in the morning and basically force me out of bed earlier than I would normally get up. But once I’m up on my feet, the pain is gone. And although I waddle around like a duck, I really can’t say that it hurts. Eighteen days left until I get induced! I’m so excited!

Pregnancy – Week 34

Hello month of June! You better bring me a nice surprise before you’re over or I will hate you forever!

We went to yet another prenatal appointment yesterday. Pretty sure this was our very last ultrasound. They checked everything in detail and everything looks great. I know this should reassure me, but everything looked great with Sam too barely 3 days before he died … so yeah. Nothing more we can do though. I feel like we’re so close now. Less than 4 weeks! I can’t wait for all this to be over. I will be so relieved, you have no idea.

We didn’t get any pictures from the ultrasound. I didn’t ask either; you could hardly see his face because he’s so big and squished in there now. I was mostly concerned about his well being and wether all the measurements would turn out fine. We did get a glimpse of his profile at one point though and he was practicing feeding with his mouth (lol so cute). He’s also had the tendency of putting his hands in front of his face ever since the second trimester. We could see him touching his face all the time. We also caught him practicing breathing, with his rib cage going up and down at a regular pace. Everything looked perfect. We wondered about his size. With Sam, I knew for sure he’d be BIG. With this one, I keep going back and forth about it and I’m really not sure. From what they could measure, he’s the exact statistical average. They measure it in percentile, so between 0% and 100%, he’s 51%. Not too big, not too small. Just perfect. The clothing sizes should match nicely then!

We have finally set a date for my induction. I was hoping for Monday, June 27th, but that would technically make me 37 weeks and 6 days along. And the doctor didn’t seem keen at all on inducing before we actually hit the 38 week mark. I don’t know why though. It’s only 24 hours. Pretty sure that wouldn’t make any difference whatsoever. But alright. I agreed and told them that if I ever have any doubts or fears, I WILL show up there earlier anyway and they’ll just have to deal with it. The doctor laughed and said that’s fine. I wasn’t exactly joking … So anyway, I’m scheduled to go in on Tuesday, June 28th, at 7:30AM. I can only assume he’ll be born the next day, but who knows. If things suddenly take a scary turn, they’ll do an emergency c-section right away. If things go slower than planned, then he’ll show up on the 30th instead. So, his actual birthday still remains a surprise :-)

On a completely unrelated note: I received the floral wrap dress I bought last weekend, which I mentioned in my previous post. It’s what I plan on wearing during the day at the hospital, after the baby’s born, so I will hopefully look somewhat presentable when people come to visit. I’m not expecting the whole of Belgium to come; only a few very close family members. But still. Anyway, besides the fact that it’s labeled “made in India” and smells like curry, it’s absolutely perfect! The dress itself is so stretchy and flowy that it won’t matter too much what size I am right after birth; it will fit. And breastfeeding should work easily with it too. I’ll definitely throw it in the washing machine today though. I don’t want to smell like I bathed in chicken tikka masala. What would you expect for 19euros though, heh? It is very pretty though! So I’m very happy about that :-) And I didn’t want to spend too much on a dress that I’ll probably only wear for this one particular occasion anyway, and which has a high probability of getting stained somehow. Cheap, pretty, and easy … it ticks all the boxes.

DHL also just delivered the Fisher-Price baby sleeper that I ordered on Saturday. sure is fast! I mean, this came all the way from America in barely 4 business days. And I also got the electric baby nail buffer from France, which I still need to open up and test.

Other than that, I have to say, I’m feeling quite alright overall. Obviously the belly is getting big and uncomfortable at times. But I don’t have all the other annoying aches I had to deal with when I was expecting Sam. No swollen hands or feet, no stomach acid, no extreme fatigue. I hope it stays this way for the remainder of this month. *knock on wood*

lilypie pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 34 thirty four weeks baby evolution fetus pregnancy ticker fetal growth development size 3rd third last trimester week 34 thirty four weeks baby evolution fetus

Baby is still moving just as much as usual, which is a big reassurance. The doctor asked me yesterday “do you feel your baby move well?”. I always find this such a vague question. It’s almost pointless. I said “yes”, and she proceeded with: “at least 10 times a day?”. I cringed. How are doctors still not better aware of how to track fetal movement? It’s not 10 times a day you’re supposed to count, it’s 10 kicks within a one hour span. Most pregnant women don’t count movements all day long from the moment they get up until the moment they go to sleep – I’m the only freak who does that. But what you’re supposed to do is dedicate one to two hours a day to sitting down and focusing on your baby’s movements. If you don’t get at least 10 movements within 2 hours max, then baby is basically failing the test and it’s best to have it checked out. Of course I didn’t know all that before I lost Sam, because no doctor or midwife ever mentioned it; nor do they seem to be aware of this in the first place. It’s sad, really. It took losing Sam for me to find out about And even just tracking once a day doesn’t feel like enough to me. I find that tracking it all day long is the way to go. I have a much clearer picture of his habits and patterns. I wouldn’t have that if I only monitored him for one or two hours only. It still doesn’t guarantee that nothing will go wrong and that we’d be able to act in time. I’m perfectly aware of that. But for now, at least, it does help me to stay somewhat serene.

Anyway, the weather has been utter crap here lately. And they’re predicting the same bad weather for another week. Pffft. Here’s the depressing view from my couch:

So yeah, we’ve entered the final month! I’m hoping for some sun soon, so that I can post sunnier updates towards the end. I had to update my countdown clock and change the deadline from June 27th to June 28th, and thus my accurate and final countdown to induction is exactly 25 days as of today! I can’t wait!