Friday, July 31, 2009

Disappoinment and Frustration- latest medical issue

I am not really sure how to preface this post. Let me just start by saying that this has been a relatively easy pregnancy, text book to some extent; no worries about fetal issues, no placental problems, no worries about medical problems with the baby. I have had my share of bumps in the road with finding out about the septate growth and wondering whether or not the baby will turn, but in terms of Bella, she has been fine the whole time, it has been my body that is presenting/causing any and all of the problems. Once again, my body has become a problem. This is going to seem scarier than it is at this point, and realize, please, I am not at all worried about my health or the baby's health. I debated even going into the situation and decided that I have told every other detail, might as well share this one.

I went to Labor and Delivery on Wednesday, despite feeling like a hypochondriac and possibly overreacting about certain symptoms, it turns out that it was a blessing that I went in. The drew blood at the hospital and at my regular, weekly doctors appointment the next day, Thursday, the doctor came in a little worried about the results. I could tell right away from his demeanor that something was not copacetic. It turns out that I have developed "gestational thrombocytopenia" or low blood platelet count; I have developed a possible clotting disorder. Quick Biology lesson of the day: Platelets (thrombocytes) are colorless blood cells that play an important role in blood clotting. They stop blood loss by clumping together and forming plugs in blood vessel holes. Platelets are small, sticky, components of the blood formed in the bone marrow (the soft, porous tissue found in the long bones of the body). Their job is to maintain the integrity of the blood vessels and seal small cuts and wounds by forming a blood clot. If the blood doesn’t have enough platelets it is unable to clot as rapidly as needed. One would never want to administer an epidural or any other form of regional anesthesia to a woman with a clotting disorder. The risk of hemorrhage at the site or into the cerebral spinal fluid could be disastrous. If your platelet count is below 100,000 epidural anesthesia will not be permitted. No one knows why pregnant women develop this, and there is nothing you can do to bring the count up, aside from having the baby. Doctors are not sure if the body stops making them or if the body starts destroying their own for some reason. Gestational thrombocytopenia is still somewhat of a mystery.

The average person has a platelet count of 160,000 to 400,000, and it is common with pregnancy for that number to fall a little. At the 28 week of the pregnancy, I had blood drawn to do the Gestational Diabetes test, and my platelet count came back at 151,000. A little low, but nothing alarming, the OB didn't even tell me about the results since it wasn't problematic. Well, the results came back from my CBC blood draw on Wednesday, and the number has dropped significantly to 104,000. This is considered mild thrombocytopenia, but if it continues to fall, and falls below 100,000 (only 4,000 to lose) then it becomes a moderate case. They drew more blood yesterday and I am hoping to get the results back today at some point. They are hoping it was a fluke, and that the numbers aren't really that low, but we will have to wait and see. So what does this mean for me and baby?

At this point, after months of not wanting a c-section due to BellaReese being breech, and then a few weeks of celebrating her achievement of turning into the proper birthing position and finally being excited to be have the birth I wanted, my birthing dreams/plans/goals have been shattered once again, and this point, it doesn't get much worse. I was told by the OB that I most likely will not be allowed to get an epidural. This might seem insignificant overall, but I am just tired of having my damn body interfere with the happiness of the pregnancy. One thing after another is making this pregnancy such a burden. I have always been the first person to raise their hand when asked if they wanted an epidural; my best friend Erin and I have always joked about the fact that as soon as we walk into the hospital on our delivery day, we will ask for the anesthesiologist. I have dreamt of a near pain-free delivery since finding out about Isabella, and now, I have that carpet ripped out from underneath my feet because my stupid body can't hold onto its platelets! This might seem superficial and stupid, and I should be looking at the positives of having a healthy baby, but now I am dreading labor and scared to death to have this baby. I realize that the prize at the end is "worth" all the pain, and that women for centuries have been giving birth naturally, but it doesn't make the situation any better, really. Hell, even in movies about where dentists have to yank a tooth back in the day before novacaine, they get the guy all drunk and buzzed up before pulling….I don't even get to get drunk! I am so scared of pushing out this baby now; I am starting to not look forward to having her! I feel guilty for feeling angry about having to give birth!

It turns out, this only occurs in about 5% of pregnancies. One concern is over whether or not my blood will be able to clot during delivery and that I will not continue to hemorrhage afterwards. At the level it is at right now, I should be ok, the doctors aren't too concerned with that, if they were, I might be getting induced asap, since the more platelets I lose, the higher the risk of clotting problems. He didn't seem too concerned about this though, and truth be told, neither am I, not in the least! Like I said, I am still considered mild, on the border of moderate risk, and plenty of women have this and have no problem clotting. At this point, the doctor was concerned about how I would handle this news: "No epidural"; most anesthesiologists will not give an epidural to a woman who is at 100,000 for fear of blood getting into the spinal column upon the needles removal, which could result in nerve damage and worse, paralysis. A c-section at this point is more dangerous as well, since there is more possibility of blood loss, so it is imperative that BellaReese stay head down.

There is mixed findings on what the lowest number of platelets could be to still administer an epidural, some doctor’s say anyone over 80,000 can still have one, but our doctor and hospital stick to the 100,000 level. My OB said that it could be a “day of” decision, that certain anesthesiologists will do one at the point I am at, and some will not, but Brian and I discussed this, and while he, of course, leaves the decision up to me since it is my body, we have decided that it is not worth the risk and that we will go at this naturally. I am just so frustrated with things not going how I envisioned them.

There are other ways to recieve pain meds while pregnant, but they all have a negative effect on the baby, making them drowsy and sluggish after birth, and I really don't want that for my baby. I want her to be 100% her when she enters the world.

Can I do this? Yes, of course. Will I do this? Yes, of course, the baby has to be born! I am just so frustrated. At this point, I would rather have her now so I don't have to focus on the fact that I will be practically splitting in 2 in the near future, I just want to get it over with. I hope my feelings of stress and anger aren't being passed on to the baby.

In other news, I am not yet dialated, the baby has not dropped and I have only slightly started to efface. It was a rather depressing day at the doctors.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A trip to Labor and Delivery...and no, it was not to have the baby

Since Sunday, I have been feeling a little off…headaches, nausea, dizziness, and shortness of breath, as well as decreased fetal movements. I called my doctor to see what they recommended yesterday at 830 am and they told me to head to Labor and Delivery Triage and get checked out. I left work at 9, and what should have been a 5 minute car drive, turned into a 20 minute one since I got stuck behind the only train in Madison, that happened to be the slowest moving one on the face of the Earth, that even in my preggo-waddling state, I could have outran it and of course it was incredibly long. So, here I am, in my car, feeling like crap and yelling at an inanimate object…I was less than happy. I get to the hospital, and they are doing construction on the parking garage, and spots are at a minimum and I have to drive around 8 floors of circle parking, making me dizzier, trying to find a damned spot. Anyway, I get the hospital in one piece.

Since most of my symptoms were signs of preeclampsia, they were glad I came in when I did. Luckily, after numerous tests, they concluded I do not have pre-e. They hooked me up to some monitors to make sure the baby was OK, and she was doing just fine. They put me on an IV and administered fluids for an hour or two, which made me have to pee like a racehorse, and drew some blood to do some tests, and what they concluded was that I have "benign positional vertigo"…pretty much I have fluid that has been building up around my cochlea, part of the inner ear, that has been making my equilibrium all fuzzy, leading to all the symptoms from above. That, combined with my low blood pressure and hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), made for a very frustrating day. They took me off the monitors for a while, and I told them that even though the heart rate was showing she is OK from before, that I still haven't felt her all day (being like 6-7 hours), so they hooked me back up and noticed her heart rate had dropped from the 140s/150s to 109 or so…no too a bad number necessarily, but they decided to monitor me for a bit longer, and decided that the medicine they gave me was making her really sleepy and as soon as that wore off, she was back kicking like a champ. The only thing I can take for this is Dramamine, which makes me want to pass out, so I can't take it during the day at work, and I am not sure I want to take it since it made her so sleepy as well. The vertigo is not pregnancy related, but they think the pregnancy might have brought it on. It is something I could suffer from the rest of my life, or it could be a once in a life time thing…either way, it has been very annoying. I need to have this baby already…

On another topic entirely…why does pregnancy make you clumsy?!?!? Before leaving for work today, I managed to drop my uncovered Tupperware of pineapple, splattering it all over the floor and the recently groomed Big City and his food and water bowl. Upon cleaning it up, and putting the dirty pieces back into the Tupperware and wiping off his sticky head, I dropped it again and splattered it for a second time all over the kitchen rug and my foot. Big City enjoyed licking my foot for 10 minutes afterwards, ignoring all my kicks to get him to leave my foot alone. Jump ahead 20 minutes, and I am getting a breakfast bar from the gas station and I knock over a whole row of chips and drop the water bottle in my hand… Why, oh why, is pregnancy such a destructing force???

3.5 weeks, 3.5 weeks, 3.5 weeks!!!!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009


One month!! One month to go until we meet our girl!!! Maybe less, maybe more! I can not wait!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Next week we hit the "full term" mark, and she is more than welcome to come at anytime! You hear me, baby? MORE THAN WELCOME TO COME AT ANYTIME!!! She is so big, I can't even sit down anymore because she pushes into my ribs and it is so uncomfortable! ANYTIME, BELLAREESE!!!

I have started to have some weird dreams...I have dreamt she has no eyes, (just sockets), and in one dream she is deaf and I have to learn sign language. The "no eyes" dream made me a little sad, but the deaf dream made me feel suprisingly it was a hurdle we could easily clear. I love learning languages, and sign language would be something that as a whole family we would have to learn together. I hope she is "normal", but all these weird dreams make me feel like we will do whatever is in our power to make our girl happy and healthy and that is very satisfying! At the beginning of the pregnancy, the thought of anything being wrong with our baby scared me stiff and made me wonder if I could be a good enough parent to a baby/kid with special needs or if I would love her enough, but I am slowly starting to realize that no matter what happens, she will be loved completely, without hesitation and that Brian and I will be the best parents for her no matter what. It is a very reassuring feeling, knowing I can be what she needs me to be!

Here is what is happening with our girl:

How your baby's growing:
Congratulations — Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like a stalk of Swiss chard) or like a diaper bag. Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don't be surprised if your baby's hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz. (Remember, at the 28 week ultrasound, Bella already had a substantial amount of hopefully she didn't lose it all in the womb, I love babies with full heads of hair!)

Baby's growth slows down dramatically this week, which is great news for your birth canal. His bones are still soft and pliable and will solidify after he's born. More great news for your birth canal. At this point babies vary in size, but the average length is between 19 and 20 inches and most babies weigh approximately 6 pounds. About the size of an average largemouth bass caught in Minnesota by your cousin Earl.

Your baby is almost ready, a pair of kidneys and the liver has begun processing some waste products, the only organ still to mature is the lungs. This week your baby may drop into the birth canal, this is called 'lightening' or 'dropping'. Your care provider may refer to it by saying that your baby is now 'engaged'. The majority of babies are now in the birth position, either head down (vertex) or butt down (breech), most will maintain this position until birth. Any movements that they make are more likely to be rolls from side to side.You may notice when this happens because it will suddenly become much easier for you to breathe. While breathing becomes easier, walking may be the exact opposite. If your baby has dropped you may find yourself visiting the bathroom much more often as baby is resting right on top of your bladder again.

How your life's changing:
Braxton Hicks contractions may be coming more frequently now and may last longer and be more uncomfortable. (They are becoming quite bothersome, to the point where I wake up from them and have to constantly readjust to make them go away. Sometimes they go away fast, and sometimes they last a while...damn braxton hicks...). It may be harder than ever to get comfortable enough to sleep well at night. If you can, take it easy through the day — this may be your last chance to do so for quite a while. Keep monitoring your baby's movements, too, and let your caregiver know immediately if you notice a decrease. Though her quarters are getting cozy, she should still be as active as before.While you're sleeping, you're likely to have some intense dreams. Anxiety both about labor and about becoming a parent can fuel a lot of strange flights of unconscious fancy.

Friday, July 24, 2009

In remembrance of Titty

I bought a little 5"x5" remembrance stone to put in Mike and Leslie's garden. In the little red heart, it reads:
"Titty Tat
Loved forever
July 13, 2009"

photo.jpg by you.

I found a couple of pictures of my beloved kitty, so I thought I would share:
IMG_5704_0210_210 by you.

IMG_5702_0212_212 by you.
One of the reasons I chose titty from the humane society was because she looked like Puss in Boots from the Shrek 2 movie. See the resemblance?
PIB by you.

HPIM0262 by you.
Before we got the dog, Titty would always sleep with me curled up as close as possible. Thanks Brian, for getting this picture! I had no idea he took it until I got it developed!

P1010001 by you.
Here is another of our favorite spots, sitting on the couch together watching tv. We got that yellow blanket just for her, since she shed so much, and always sat on the top of the couch, so we would lay it under her favorite spots and viola! instant cat hair hider!

35 week belly shots!

As requested, here are some pics of my belly taken last night. I still have 4.5 weeks left...not sure where the baby is going to go, cuz I am pretty sure she is out of room already!!

Here is my big belly in all its glory:

35 weeks pregnant! by you.

35 weeks pregnant! by you.

35 weeks pregnant! by you.

35 weeks pregnant! by you.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I am SOOOO proud of my little girl! She is such a good baby!!

Brian and I have started our weekly OB appointments, which will continue until Bella arrives. Great, amazing news!! Isabella has turned so her head is now down, in the correct birthing position, which means, as long as she doesn't flip back up, I will get to have the vaginal birth I want! Brian and I are very relieved and happy, and extremely proud of our little girl for being so cooperative, albeit slightly late and without some unnecessary drama. The doc brought in an ultrasound machine and turned it on, goes "there's the head" and then flipped it off...kind of anticlimactic compared to my other ultrasounds, but it got the job done...her head looked mighty big and round! Good lord I hope that it was magnified, for my birth canals sake!! Of course there is still a chance for a c-section somewhere down the road, but as of now, the OB and I are preparing for a vaginal birth.

Other news from the appointment:I have been having some more swelling in my feet for months now but recently in the last week, my hands and wrists and fingers have decided to join in on the swelling fun. My blood pressure was high for me (I am usually on the lowest side of "normal"), which are symptoms of "pre-eclampsia" or pregnancy induced hypertension, which can be dangerous for the baby as well as me, so that combined with the new swelling is a minor sign of alarm, so the doc's are going to keep monitoring me to make sure my blood pressure doesn't keep rising. I can only ever remember the first number from the BP readings, which before pregnancy were in the high 90s, and it has fluctuated between 100-108 since being preggers. Last week it was at 104 over something, and this week it is 128 over something, so a notable increase in just a week. I am sure nothing will come of it and the doctors aren't too concerned yet, but I am glad they are aware of it and will be keeping an eye out.

The doctor told me that I have hit the point where if I go into labor, they WILL NOT try to stop it. He said that the most they would be able to stave it off for is probably two days and the medicines to stop it will be more harmful than helpful for the baby, so at this point, if labor happens, Isabella will be born! She is still considered "premature" and will be until I hit the 37th week mark, which comes on August 2, so we have about 11 days to hit the full term mark, and then she is considered a term baby!

People have started taking bets at work on when she will arrive. No one thinks I will make it to the 23rd, since my belly is so big already, so we will have to see! I am guessing around grandma Marcie's birthday, August 16th, is when she will make an appearance. Brian thinks closer to the 20th. The closer to August 12, when I start maternity leave, the better! (although, seeing her stubbornness already with the whole "will I turn? Won't I?", part of me thinks she will make me wait and wait and wait to meet her…please don't, Bella! Mama wants you in her arms so bad!!!

Everything seems to be going well (knock on wood) and the house is almost ready for the arrival of the little one. Grandma Kelly and Grandpa Jim came up and redid the garage to make it into a guest bedroom so when people come to visit, they have a place to stay. The baby's room is set and ready to go. Her swing is set up, the bassinet is set up, all her clothes and blankets are washed…all we still need to do is organize a shelf for her in the linen closet and set up a drawer for her in the bathroom for all her bath accessories and then sterilize the few bottles we have. I want to hardcore clean the place before she comes, but I will wait another week or 2 to do that or I will probably just have to do it over again. Her bag is packed for the hospital, I still have to pack one for me. The count down is on! Tomorrow marks the calendar month mark until her due date!! I can not wait!!! She will be one loved chickadee!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Oh lord, am I ready to have this baby!! I feel pretty good, overall, but I am just ready to be done. I want to sleep on my back without worrying if I am cutting off oxygen to the baby, I want to be able to cross my legs when I sit, and bend over without feeling like I might not be able to sit back up! I want to stop having ankles the size of Mars and I am sick of feeling useless! 5 more weeks, 5 more weeks, that is all I keep telling myself….but at the same time, 5 weeks seems like such a long flippin time!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

We have an OB appointment today at 3:40. I am hoping that the doctor will remember I am supposed to get a quickie ultrasound to make sure Bella has flipped, which at this point I would bet $ that she has, and I will also be getting the Group B Strep Test, because you can't deliver vaginally if you test positive. While they are doing the strep test, they will check and see if I started to dilate yet! 2 more weeks until the baby is considered full term, and she can come at any point! I can't wait!!!!!!!!

Here is what is going on this week:

How your baby's growing:
Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long. She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement.

Your Baby:
Your baby continues to put on weight at about ½ pound each week. This layer of fat will help your baby regulate her body temperature after leaving your climate-controlled womb. In fact, your baby will be 15 percent fat at birth (and you ... well that's another story). Even in the womb, your baby can listen, feel, touch and see. The only thing separating him from living in the outside world is a little thing called the birth canal. Other highlights this week:Her gums are firm with ridges that look somewhat like teeth, though her actual pearly whites won't start breaking through until she's between three months and a year old.Your baby has definite patterns of sleep and wakefulness—opening her eyes while awake and closing them while sleeping. Your baby will become alert and turn her head toward light and sound just as a newborn would—except when you put on that Celine Dion CD. Then the baby puts her hands up, turns away and gurgles, "Oh no you didn't!" Your baby is now around 18½ inches long and nearly 6 pounds—just about as big as a breadbox!
Your Life:
You may feel silly driving around these last couple of weeks with a baby car seat and no baby, but in case she decides to show up early, you'll be glad you have it, since your hospital won't let you leave without one.

Week Thirty Five: Reflexes are coordinated

Baby is about 47cm crown to heel and weighs almost 2.7 Kg.
The body is growing round due to developing fat layers.
Your baby's reflexes are coordinated.
Lungs are almost fully developed.
About 90% of babies born this week survive.
Most babies gain about half pound per week in the last month of pregnancy. Fat stores accumulate in the legs and arms. These layers of fat will help them regulate their body temperature. Baby still doesn't have enough fat deposits beneath its skin to keep warm outside your womb. If born now the baby would probably be put in an incubator, about 90% of babies born this week survive.Lungs are almost fully developed. Your baby's reflexes are coordinated, they turn their head, grasp firmly, and respond to sounds, light and touch. You should still feel movement every day. He or she is about 5 and a half pounds and growing fast, it is getting short of space in the womb.Your uterus has become more cramped, your baby's kicks and other movements less forceful. You may want to check on your baby's movements from time to time and do a kick count.Baby may push up against your ribs and make you a little breathless. Soon your baby's position changes to prepare itself for labor and delivery. The baby drops down in your pelvis and you will be able to breathe easily again.

BellaReese has not dropped yet, and I would truly appreciate it if she did!! She is constantly getting tucked under my ribs and sitting down is getting harder and harder because she gets stuck where she shouldn't be. Doesn't she realize life will be easier on her too, if she just drops already?!?!?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Brian and I had a pretty rough night, yesterday. Our 11 year old kitty, Titty Tat, had to be put down. We had a feeling it would come soon, but it was a little sooner than we had anticipated, and her loss has been much harder to bear than I ever could have imagined. Brian called me on my way home from work to let me know it was time to call the vet; she had started convulsing and falling and not being able to get up, and eventually collapsed in the corner, where she stayed until we took her in. She hates our dog, and usually would have run away from him, but she wouldn’t even flinch when he would come over and harass her, so we knew this was it. It was probably the hardest thing I have ever done, to watch my little girl take her last breathes, but appreciative at the same time that we got to be in the room with her, petting her and telling her we loved her until she was gone. Afterwards, despite it being illegal, we took her back to Brian's parent’s house, where we buried her next to his childhood kitty, Thumbs, in the backyard.

She was a very, very vocal cat, and her noisiness recently had become quite a problem for me (Brian says it is due to the pregnancy and the fact that I have very little patience right now, which is true, and that I would have gone back to normal once the baby was here, which is what I am making myself believe), and on top of the sadness I feel from losing her, I feel even more guilt about how cold I had treated her at the end, when she was probably just in so much pain and unable to communicate it any other way, and I just ignored her and yelled at her to “shut up”. (This was the same cat that caused me all that grief a few weeks ago when she got out into the yard and wouldn’t come back inside.)

It was a very, very hard day and we miss the poor thing so much already. Despite our recent problems, she had been a very good, loving kitty; always cranky, but always wanting to be held and petted and was completely loveable. There is quote that says something along the lines of “In ancient Egypt, cats were revered as gods…they have never forgotten this”, and that quote has always made me smile and think of her and her general disposition and attitude towards life.

I adopted her from the humane society after moving into my first apartment with Erin; we would have celebrated four years together this September. She used to sit on my lap when I would be watching TV and let me hold her like a baby and would pet my face with her paw as I would rub her belly, or she would cuddle in bed with me like a teddy bear and paw at my heart necklace. She was the first pet I owned that was just mine, and I will always remember her and how much joy she brought to my life. Rest in peace, little one, you will always be missed and loved.

Titty Tat
April, 1998 to July 13, 2009

Monday, July 13, 2009


We have 6 weeks left! How exciting?!?!?!? I had an OB appointment on Friday, and everything is looking great, the baby's heartrate is good and my belly is measuring to be just the right size for how far along I am. Also, the BEST NEWS OF ALL:
The doc thinks she flipped!! To his surprise, he thinks she is head down, and ready to come out! I tried feeling where he did to find the head, but I couldn't find it, so I will take his word on the head being down. We won't know for sure until next Tuesday, when we do an ultrasound to see! I was so happy when I heard that. Hopefully this means no c-section, wohoo!!!!!

Not too much new stuff has been going on...I have been doing as much as possible in terms of getting all the stuff done I want to before baby comes, and that has been going only ok...I am constantly tired and my ankles hurt if I stand too long, so whatever doesn't get done at this point doesn't get done, and I really don't care! Here is what is going on with my perfect little girl this week:

How your baby's growing:
Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that she's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (pick up a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, she isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times she kicks should remain about the same. Her kidneys are fully developed now, and her liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — she'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight.
As Patrick Swayze put it, "Nobody puts baby in a corner!" Doubly true for your little tenant. Your baby has pretty much taken over your entire torso by now. Over the past few months, she's squished and mushed all of your organs out of the way. Any day now, she'll make a final move and shove your heart up and to the left to make more room for himself. (See, she's got your heart in his hands already.) Before all this pregnancy stuff, your uterus was a small ball the size of your fist and was tucked neatly away behind your pelvis. Today your uterus is the size of a small watermelon and reaches all the way up to your ribs.At this point in your pregnancy all the blood has gone to your belly ... literally. Nearly 1/6 of your body's total blood volume is chugging around in the vessels in your uterus. So that's why you feel so lightheaded all the time!

Your Baby:
This week the final touches are being added to your mini-masterpiece and most of her development is going to packing on the pounds. While baby's movements may be becoming less jerky, she may do his final somersault in the womb soon—to put herself into the head-down position for birth. Other fascinating facts: Your little Karate Kid can't quite pack the punch she used to due to the limited space inside the womb these days. You're likely to feel more wiggles, stretches and rolls than kicks and jabs. The extra layer of fat your baby is adding will create those cute dimples on your baby's elbows and knees. Her liver has begun processing her waste products, so you know which organ to thank when he has his first blowout up the back of his onesie. Baby's nails are growing so long they may curl over the tips of her tiny fingers and toes before he sees a pair of clippers. She'll be in serious need of a mani-pedi once she's born (as will you). Your baby is now about 5-5½ pounds and over 18 inches long—about the size of one of those CostCo sheet cakes.
Your baby may have already turned to a head down position in preparation for birth. The skull bones are still pretty flexible and not completely joined to help to ease exit out of the narrow birth canal. Fat accumulations plumps up the arms and legs this week. The baby's skin is also becoming less wrinkled. Braxton Hicks contractions may be getting more numerous and stronger. Thanks to antibodies crossing the placenta the baby is developing immunities to mild infections.

So, 34 weeks into it, and I am MORE THAN READY to meet our girl!! 6 weeks left!! I can not wait!!!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Because it is too cute not to share!!

Thanks to Grandma and Papa Shepard, last night Brian and I were able to buy the travel system carseat/stroller that we wanted. We were on the fence between two of them, I liked a different pattern/brand than Brian did, but finally we went with his since the one I liked didn't have extra bases that could be bought at BabiesRUs, nor could I find them online, and the whole point of these travel systems is that they can easily switch from car to car if you buy the extra bases. Anyway, we get the system and are setting up the stroller, adding the wheels and stuff, and our Dachshund puppy, Big City, decides that he wants to be involved, so here is what happened:

We look up and that is what we see! In between us trying attach the rear axle and the back wheels, Bigs decided he wanted to go for a ride! Too cute!! He fits all too well!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Week 33 belly pics, I haven't done them in forever!!!

For some reason, I feel like the camera/picture is taking away from the hugeness of my belly, like it should capture much rounder and larger! Oh well, here they are! They are taken in the "mothers room" at work, where I will get to pump once I go back to work!

the first pic is week 9, the one next to that in the reddish shirt is week 15, the one in the white sweater is week 25, and the bottom lefthand corner is week 33! I feel much bigger than the camera is giving me credit for!!! The funny thing is that each time I took one of the earlier pictures, even the 9 week one, I felt like I was huge. Now I look at them, and think, "will I ever be that small again?!?!"

Isabella Moving around

Here are 3 videos of Isabella moving around, hopefully they play!! (the red mark on my upper belly is a scab, I scratched a bug bite too hard a few days ago...) They might not display in the emails, you might have to check out the blog at or watch them on youtube at:


7 weeks left til Bella is officially her own person! She has a closet full of clean clothes (thanks to her aunties in Cali), an amazing baby room (thanks to her grandparents!), a huge and wonderful family all ready to go (spanning coast to coast).... now we just need her to arrive!

I feel like every other day is some new concern!! I pull a tummy muscle on Monday, fine for the next few, the baby stops moving for a stretch of time on Thursday...etc.... So I was only due for this, ha ha. Yesterday I started to feel sick at work, and wound up getting sick three times. I made it to the end of my shift and sped home and spent the rest of the night lying down. I took my temperature and the first reading came out 93.8 degrees!!! I got freaked out and waited 5 minutes and took it again and it was 95.6. I called Brian, who was at his aunt's house for their annual 4th of July celebration and talked to his mom, who is a nurse, who suggested I call the doctor, just in case. Bella was moving just fine, so I really wasn't worried, but the low temp freaked me out, I didn't want her shivering in there or anything, ha. The nurse had me take it again and it was at 96.1 that time, and stayed that way for the rest of the night. The nurse said to call back if anything changes or if I get sick again. Brian and Leslie left the party; she came over and took my blood pressure, which was high for me (I tend to be on the far low side of "normal"), but it was still in a safe zone and read my heart beat, which was in the 70s, took my temp with a different thermometer and it came back 96.1 again, so she made sure Brian stayed with me the rest of the night and I slept and ate crackers for the whole evening. Not how I anticipated spending the 4th of July, poor Brian missed all the good food that was just about to be served at the party (beer brats and cookies galore!) and he missed out on the family's annual horse shoe and badminton tourneys. And his cousin, who just had a baby was there, and was about to hold him when his phone rang! Sorry, babe! I feel much better today, a little sluggish and my back hurts for sleeping on my sides for so long, but overall, much better!!

Anywho...enough about me and my melodramas, here is what is going on with BellaReese this week:

How your baby's growing:

Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds, like the weight of a cantaloupe or a medium pumpkin! 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 about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between now 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.

Your baby kind of looks like she's coated in a layer of cream cheese these days. The thick, white substance that protects her skin from pruning in the amniotic fluid is called vernix. When she's born you'll probably see some vernix lingering in her "hard-to-reach" places like under her arms, behind her ears and around her va-jay-jay, if she's a she. Other news from the womb this week: The soft fur, lanugo, that covered your baby's body for much of her stay in the womb is now almost completely gone. Your baby begins to develop her own immune system, instead of relying solely on antibodies received through the placenta. This will come in handy when some grubby relative manhandles the baby without washing his hands first.This week, your baby measures about 17¾ inches, as almost as long as an American Girl Doll (!) and weighs almost 5 pounds, as heavy as a bag of sugar, minus the cup you put in your decaf this morning.

Your baby drinks about a pint of amniotic fluid a day.
You may gain a pound a week (500g) for the rest of your pregnancy.
Half of your weight gain will go directly to your baby.

The nails of your baby are now long enough to reach to the tip of the fingers or beyond and may need trimming as soon as they are born. They may scratch their face even before birth.

How your life's changing:

By this week, fatigue has probably set in again (yup!! I can sleep all day again if you let me!), though maybe not with the same coma-like intensity of your first trimester. Your tiredness is perfectly understandable, given the physical strain you're under and the restless nights of frequent pee breaks and tossing and turning, while trying to get comfortable. Nows the time to slow down and save up your energy for labor day (and beyond). If you've been sitting or lying down for a long time, don't jump up too quickly. Blood can pool in your feet and legs, causing a temporary drop in your blood pressure when you get up that can make you feel dizzy.

You are exhausted from hauling your bod around all day, so why can't you sleep at night? Is it because your bladder keeps crying out to be emptied every 30 minutes? Is it because you haven't been able to find a comfortable sleeping position since week 27? Is it because your mind can't stop making lists of things to do or replaying that shocking video you saw in your birthing classes? Yes, yes, and yes. It might comfort you to know you're not alone. Seventy-five percent of women in their third trimester have trouble sleeping (I actually don't have much trouble yet...sometimes if I get up to pee, it takes me a while to fall back asleep, and I can never truly get comfy or into a deep deep sleep, but I think I am pretty lucky still). Certain sleep positions will help you to be more comfortable and sleep better when you're pregnant. If lying on your back is making you dizzy or lightheaded try sleeping on your side. If you feel like bugs are crawling all over your legs in the middle of the night, get your partner to change the sheets. Just kidding. You might have restless leg syndrome, which commonly affects pregnant women (worst feelings ever!!! I just have to keep moving my legs and shaking them and scratching them, it is awful!). But it's still a good idea to have your mate do some laundry.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Birthday Celebrations

Bri and I spent the night of the 2nd at Grandma and Papa Shepards and had breakfast with them on my birthday morning and then headed back up to Madison to see the nursery. Aside from spending half the day just staring at the gorgeous nursery, I had a birthday barbeque dinner with my awesome hubby, the Krauss grandparents, the Martin Grandparents and my best friend, Erin. Afterwards, Grandpa Jim was anxious to get on the road to head back to Naperville so they didn't go out with us, but everyone else and I went bowling. They had a special orange pin that would rotate through the pins and eventually, if it made its way to the headpin and you got a strike on that turn, you won a free game. Everyone had at least one orange headpin through out our 2 games, but I was the only one to actually get a strike on it and win a free game! Pretty awesome! Here are a couple cute pictures of me and Erin.

I am not a believer in all the old wives tales when it comes to pregnancy, since most of them proved to be not true.; wives tales such as a lower heart rate means boy, if you crave cheese and meat it is a boy....both proved to be false for me. The only one, however that seems to have some validity this pregnancy is the way that we are carrying our babies. Erin is having a boy, and is only carrying out in front, and lower, not showing at all from behind. I, who am having a girl, is carrying high and wide, and is pretty obviously preggo from every angle. We are about 5 days apart from each other, due date wise, but her baby already out weighs mine by quite a bit. We don't think she will make it to August. For her sake, we hope she does, cuz her hubby is in Iraq right now and has a 2 week leave over her expected due date, so we are all praying the baby stays in until he comes home so he can be there for the birth!

I can't even believe pictures of me at this point! My belly is just huge! It is so unreal!

Happy 4th everyone!

The Nursery is done!!! and it is AMAZING!!!!

For my birthday, Grandma and Grandpa Krauss came up and did Isabella's nursery! We were "kicked out" of our house for 2 days while they did everything, so it was a complete surprise! We got the big reveal on my b-day, and it is probably the most amazing b-day gift ever!!! The only restriction on the room was there couldn't be a lot of pink! I had emailed G-ma Kelly a bunch of pictures of bedding styles that I liked, and she designed the room off a bedding set she found that encapsulated the designs I liked, with the ideas she had. We couldn't be happier.
We were talking about what I had wanted for the room after they had already started, and the only thing I wish we could have had "was bead board around the lower half, but I know that it is expensive and a lot of work, so really anything goes". Their response was "bead board is a little much, but I am sure you will like what we do anyways!" To my surprise, they had already put up bead board and went way beyond. Color-wise, I said I liked purple, and they said, we will have to see, so I really had no idea what they were going to do. It turns out, they had already painted purple on the walls. All in all, they combined bead board and the most gorgeous soft purple color to make the room amazing!

I hadn't originally wanted purple either, I felt it was maybe to "girly", but on a walk with Big City a month and a half or so ago, we walked past a lilac tree, and the smell reminded me of when Grandma Marcie would make my sisters and me get out of the car if we drove past a lilac tree and were stopped at a red light and pick her a bunch from a branch and then run back as fast as our little legs would carry us and hop back in before the light changed and the whole car would fill with that lilac scent. So, after seeing the tree in front of some strangers house, I picked a bunch and continued to walk and sniff it the whole way home, and it just made me smile and so happy, and to be honest, that emotions I felt at the memory surprised me! I hated getting out of the car to pick them as a kid, we always thought, how embarrassing!??!?!?, but the memory my mom doing that with me as kid as I am about to have a daughter of my own to embarrass is just so powerful....the thought of both of Bella's maternal Grandma's personalities and essences emanating from the room is just heartwarming!! I don't even think Grandma Kelly knew about the lilac story, but it all just fits so amazingly in my head! Here are the pictures, taken on my iPhone, so the quality isn't amazing and you can't really appreciate the detail and the color of the walls, but I think you can still get a good enough idea of how amazing the room is:

The view when you open the nursery door and look in. The espresso colored crib is on an angle in the corner. There are 2 green toy baskets on each side, and the blanket, bumpers and crib skirt are a green toille (spelling?). The blanket has a super soft and fuzzy cream trim around the toille with little green bows in the corner. It is so amazing! Another gift for us is the crib! They bought it for us, which was so incredible of them! Grandpa put up all the bead board and molding and then painted them cream. The ladder shelf was from our bedroom at our last apartment, I was so glad it could be used again. On the bottom shelf is the blanket that great grandma Lorraine made her and then the shelf up is a toy or two and a little photo album, above that is a piggy bank and the top shelf is a wooden bear, and a giraffe and pretty pink and purple card Grandma Leslie gave us for the shower.

In this picture, you can see more of the rug that is on the carpet, you can see more of the amazing picture grandpa Jim painted for her, the shelf above has some of my favorite teddy bears, including one of the ones I made her and then the picture above the shelf is a black and white one with birds/leaves and sticks on it.
A better shot of the crib and teddy bear shelf
another angle of the shelf and painting
That's right!!! I finally have a painting of my father's!!!! Granted, it is really Bella's painting, but I will take what I can get!! It is so pretty!!! So it says Bella in the middle, and then etched above the "Bella" in very small black writing it says "ISA", ha. There is a little bit of the green bedding motif in the lower right hand corner, and then glitter over her name. The painting is called "Sweet Dreams Bella" and it is just fantastic! I am almost crying just thinking about it! I am so happy that this is something she can have for always, a one of a kind piece that is just for her. I am one proud mama!
This is a view from the ladder shelf. The door to the room is on the right. They brought the furniture piece up with them. Originally, it was painted black, but they repainted it cream and added the changing table pad and basket for wipes/lotions and baby creams. Since the room is on the small side, we couldn't fit a changing table and a dresser, so we combined it into one, and have tons of storage in the cabinets underneath the changing pad. Above that is a mirror and then above that is a second shelf with all my old favorite teddy bears, including my all time favorite and security teddy that I have had since I was 6, Scruffy, which I am happily passing on to her! There is a diaper holder attached to the wall that matches the bedding. It is so perfect!! These pictures don't do any justice to just how cute the room really is!!
Another view of the changing area. In the corner, on the window ledge, is a teddy bear and a picture of Brian and I from our wedding, and then the space next to window will eventually have a picture hanging, probably one of the ones of Brian and me that Randi took when I was 25 weeks pregnant. They thought of everything!!! There is room on the other side of the window as well, where we will probably put a cutie picture of her once she is born
A closer view of the crib and bedding, with of course, a teddy bear in the crib!
The decorative pillows that are in the left hand corner of the crib
The curtains
This little placard is right next to the door as you are leaving her room.
The one major hit of pink in the room, which is just the perfect amount!
The view of the closet from the corner by the changing area. There is now a little 3 shelf unit that my dad painted from white to cream and added molding to, that sits in front of the outlet...I forgot to get a picture of it after we put it in. The floral picture above the bead board is of a red flower, that matches the shapes of the flowers in the rug pictured above.
A picture of the teddy bear shelf
A picture of the sign hanging above the closet
And one last look of the amazing job that they did!!!
I can't believe the room is ready and the baby is almost here!!! I feel so much better knowing she has such a cozy place to come home to! Thanks again, guys, you did such a spectacular job, Brian and I love it more than we could ever explain!!!!