But, I figured in honor of my very first day of Maternity Leave - wahoo!- I would do a post. I am hoping that I'll be able to get Joern to take a bump picture today, and when he does, I swear, I'll update!
How far along? 34 weeks. Yup, you read that right, only 6 weeks to go before my due date!
Total weight gain?: Our little guy isn't so little anymore, I'm up about 20 lbs. now.
How big is baby?
Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. Her fat layers — which will help regulate her body temperature once she's born — are filling her out, making her rounder. Her skin is also smoother than ever. Her central nervous system is maturing and her lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous aboutpreterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies.
Maternity clothes?: Besides the trouble with keeping my maternity pants up now, the rest is okay. I don't have maternity pj's, so I have to wear tanks under my pajama shirts now.
Sleep? Can't complain. My crazy nightmares are continuing, now on a nightly basis, and I have to get up 2- 3 times a night to go to the bathroom, but I can fall back asleep okay. And now that I'm on leave, I can sleep past 6:00 am, and if I need to, I can always take a nap.
Best moment this week? Sheesh, its been a few weeks. I had a good doctor's appointment two weeks ago. She said that my cervix is shortening, but normally, which is all a part of my body preparing for delivery. Little Erbse's heartbeat was seriously like a galloping horse on the NST as well last Monday- it was so strong, they had to turn down the volume on the monitor. I had two incredible baby showers last week as well, one at work, and one held by my friend, Mandy. I'll write a separate post about the showers, but suffice to say, Erbse has a LOT of stuff now!
Movement? Erbse has been really busy lately. I think he's taking swimming lessons, because his movements are really fluid now, like a swimmer, and the bump is moving in very visible waves. I can always find a spot on my stomach now where I can distinctly feel a part of Erbse- which to me seems to indicate that he's running out of room. I still can't tell the parts, but you can easily now say "butt or head," or "hand, foot, knee, or elbow." I'm interested to see how this plays out in the next few weeks.
Food cravings? Back to salads. Hooray!
Labor signs?: I'm having contractions, but think they are Braxton Hicks contractions. I don't feel them, but they showed up on my last two NSTs. The doctor said that they aren't causing any dilation, so there is no reason for concern. I am also having some low back pain and cramping. The doctor said that the pain and cramping could either be muscular discomfort, or signs that Erbse would soon like to make his arrival. She did explain that because he is big, and I am not, he is definitely putting quite a bit of strain on my muscles.
What I miss? These past few weeks, I can't say there is anything that I'm truly missing. Maybe tuna, but not so badly.
What I'm looking forward to? Erbse's furniture should be arriving within the next few weeks, and I can't wait to get working on his nursery. Of course with 6 weeks left, the most exciting prospect though is meeting our little man!
More Erbse related news: A few weeks ago, we met with one of the teachers at school who agreed to do a maternity photo shoot. It was so fun, and the photos turned out beautifully. Now that I have a little time, and internet access, I can do a post about these too!
I have started childbirth classes, although I am having a cesarian. The classes are held weekly, on Tuesday mornings, and there are a total of seven, and even though there is quite a bit that has to do with natural birth, the teacher does a lot with pain management and strengthening after the birth, which will be important for me anyway. I also am happy to go because the classes are taught by my Hebamme, or midwife. She will be coming to the house often after Erbse is born, and I would prefer to know her a little bit before she comes into our home. The nice thing about my midwife is that she is the mom of one of Joern's friends, so she knows him well. I like this because their knowing each other has kind-of removed some of the formality that is very present here, and I don't really feel comfortable with.
Joern and I also had our first hospital tour last Thursday night. It was in Reutlingen, a town not too far from here. One of our friends had her c-section there, and said that she was pleased with the care. I have to say, the tour left us a bit disconcerted. When we arrived, the woman at the information desk led us on a wild-goose chase through the hospital, and we ended arriving in the meeting room 20 minutes late because we walked all over the place. I also thought it was poor that there were no signs for the information night either. To make matters worse, the nurses were very disorganized, and although very nice, they didn't leave us feeling too confident in the hospital. Plus, the hospital is in bad need of renovation. It isn't uncommon to have very old hospitals here, but this one is probably one of the more needy for an update. Joern commented that the birthing rooms looked like medieval torture chambers! We have a meeting tomorrow with the Women's Clinic in Stuttgart, which many people have recommended. We'll see how that goes!