Wednesday, October 17, 2012

26 Weeks ~ {Prenatal Appointment}

Baby's now the size of an eggplant!
Baby's soaking up your antibodies, getting her immune system ready for life outside the womb. Eyes are forming, and she'll soon be practicing the blink...perfect for batting those freshly grown lashes.

Don't panic if your uterus suddenly starts tightening and relaxing -- Braxton Hicks contractions often begin around this time. They're simply your body's way of practicing and preparing for labor. (If the contractions are regular or particularly painful, call your doc just to be sure it's not the real thing.)

How your baby's growing:

The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. He may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. He's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of his lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when he's born and takes that first gulp of air. And he's continuing to put on baby fat. He now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel. If you're having a boy, his testicles are beginning to descend into his scrotum — a trip that will take about two to three days.

How your life's changing:

Are you rushing around trying to get to childbirth classes and prepare your baby's room while still taking care of all your other daily tasks? Make sure that you also continue to eat well and get plenty of rest. Around this time, your blood pressure may be increasing slightly, although it's probably still lower than it was before you got pregnant. (Typically, blood pressure falls toward the end of the first trimester, and it tends to reach a low at about 22 to 24 weeks.)
Preeclampsia — a serious disorder characterized by high blood pressure and protein in your urine — most often shows up after 37 weeks, but it can happen earlier so it's important to be aware of the warning signs of this condition. Call your caregiver if you have swelling in your face or puffiness around your eyes, more than slight swelling of your hands, excessive or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, or rapid weight gain (more than 4 pounds in a week). With more severe preeclampsia, you may experience other symptoms. Let your caregiver know immediately if you have a severe or persistent headache, vision changes (including double or blurred vision, seeing spots or flashing lights, sensitivity to light, or temporary loss of vision), intense pain or tenderness in your upper abdomen, or vomiting.
If your lower back seems a little achy lately, you can thank both your growing uterus — which shifts your center of gravity, stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, and may be pressing on a nerve — as well as hormonal changes that loosen your joints and ligaments. Plus, the extra weight you're carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why you may feel worse at the end of the day. Walking, standing, or sitting for long periods, as well as bending and lifting can all put a strain on your back. A warm bath or hot compress might bring relief. (Some women, though, find cool compresses more comforting.) Try to maintain good posture during the day, avoid activities that require bending and twisting at the same time, take frequent breaks when sitting or standing, and sleep on your side with one or both knees bent with a pillow between your legs, using another pillow (or wedge) to support your abdomen.

This week was my appointment with Toni (my midwife).  It was one of those appointments that left me feeling more discouraged and a little concerned, although reassured that all would be fine. 
One thing after another seemed to go wrong.  At 25 weeks 5 days, i measured only 21 cm (or weeks).  I always run small, usually 2-3 cm (weeks) behind, but this was more than usual.  Toni let me know that if i was wanting an ultrasound, this would be a good reason to do it, just to check the baby out.  At this point, we will wait until the next appointment to see what happens.  I also tend to carry my babies low so this can contribute too.  Even though I measure small, my babies have all been over 7 pounds at birth.  Hopefully this baby will follow the pattern!

Next, the apprentice helping Toni had a hard time finding the heartbeat at first, then we heard a very slow beat that got rapid, then it stopped or was lost; then she couldn't find it.   I was then turned on my side, which I've never had to do before and it still took what felt like 5 minutes to find a heartbeat.  Finally they counted the heartbeat and it was 164.  Whew!  This baby has had a fast heart beat all along.  In other pregnancies, my girls have had the faster heartbeats???

My weight gain is 21 pounds so far which also may signal a girl for me.  I tend to gain about 30 lbs total with my boys and closer to 40 lbs with the girls.  My girls also weigh more at birth being in the 8-9 lb range with the boys all weighing between 7.3-7.7lbs.  Unfortunately, it's also harder for me to lose those extra 10 pounds with the girls afterwards : (   

Then we did bloodwork.  I had a CBC, antibody screen, thyroid test, and glucose test run.  They also used some blood to do a quick glucose test.  My count was 96 which is just below the low end of the average range.  This can result if it's been too long since you last ate or many other variables.  The actual bloodtest will show more.  This brought up a disscution about eating more protein.  Since I have tried very hard not to comsume large amounts of dairy this pregnancy (due to my babies not tolerating dairy proteins in my milk) I have not been good about replacing those sources of protein later in pregnancy.  So, to my normal diet I will add Luna protein bars (12 gr/bar), quinoa (1/2 cup has 12 gr), 1-2 hard boiled eggs/day and more nuts like almonds, pistachios, and peanut butter.

When all of the blood work came back, my numbers were on the low end for all of them, but not too low.  My iron dropped down to 11 which it had been up at 12 in earlier pregnancy.  This is probably why I've all of a sudden felt so tired and needed naps again during the day.  I had upped my alfalfa to 8 tabs instead of 6 but what i forgot was that i had quit taking my Super Mom vitamins because at around 20 weeks they started making me feel nauseated every time i took them.  I switched to some sour gummy vits i found at the store, which are on the bare minimum side of what I need.  So, i will try to add these back in, as well as eat more protein rich foods.  The thyroid and glucose numbers were a little off too, but not alarming.  The only good news we got was that my antibody screen, which has come back positive 2 times now, was negative.  I have had some weird blood issue with my last 3 pregnancies which give us readings of warm and cold antibodies that shouldn't be there.  I am not RH-, but this falls into a similar category, however, we really don't know much about it.  Looking back, it is probably what caused severe anemia at the end of my last pregnancy??

I also brought up the fact that I kept feeling dehydrated when I just barely didn't drink my minimum water of 55 oz per day.  I then remembered that that 55 ozs are for non-pregnancy.  I weigh 20 more lbs now so of course I should have upped my water intake.  This may also have something to do with why my measurements were smaller.  I may not have as much amniotic fluid as I should.  So now I fill a 1 gallon (128 ozs) pitcher every morning with water.  I fill my glass from this all day and try as best i can to get all or almost all of it down.  I have never really liked water or craved it, so this is a stretch for me, but one i know is crucial for my baby's health and mine.

Although i left discouraged and a little concerned, i knew that it was all in the Lord's hands and I would just have to trust Him.  Most likely, none of this will be an issue.  My next appointment is only 3 weeks away this time.  This is so I can get back on track by 30 weeks when i go to every 2 weeks.  I'm looking to forward to a better appointment next time!!!

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