25 Weeks

How far along: 25 weeks, completed 6/26/2012. Only 15 to go!

Weight gain: I saw the midwives at Swedish Covenant on Monday, and I’ve gained 7 pounds since my last visit (about 5 weeks ago). That puts me at 144, for a total weight gain of 11 lbs. My midwife was . . . well, shocked. “Your overall gain is fine,” she said, “but I’m kind of surprised at the big jump in this past month. I’m not worried . . . but you can’t keep gaining at this rate.” I don’t ever remember being warned about my weight being a potential problem, so this was a new experience for me. And certainly an uncomfortable experience to boot!

I’m not sure what happened in this past month–a legitimate growth spurt from Alice? too many fries?–but I’m choosing not to worry. I don’t think I’m piling the pounds on anywhere except for the Alice-area, so I hereby push off the guilt that’s nipping at my heels! The end.

Also, I’m getting another ultrasound in a few weeks because they never got a clear shot of her spine during that first ultrasound. This isn’t a surprise–the ultrasonographer told us at the appointment this would probably be the case, since Alice wasn’t moving about very much and stubbornly stayed in profile. And I’m really looking forward to seeing her again! The not-so-thrilling part is the $498 bill from that first ultrasound that just arrived in the mail. After being told by BlueCrossBlueShield that all my prenatal care was covered excepting a co-pay on my first visit, they are now saying that ultrasounds are apparently not part of that–whaaaa??? So this lovely bill will now be repeated with ultrasound #2. Ouch. (And I’m thanking God that there is an out-of-pocket limit over which we will not have to go! If not I’d be slightly terrified.)

Clothes: I’ve been cycling through the same set of summer dresses for about 10 days now, and wondering if it’s time to expand (Salvation Army, anyone?). It’s too hot for pants! And little dresses are hands-down the most comfortable thing to wear these days. No pressure on the belly; no worrying about a shirt popping up a little too far; no worrying about pants popping down a little too far. The little summer dress is pregnancywear perfection as far as I’m concerned. Case in point: this little number from Rummage!

Purchases: I got another registry gift in the mail (some adorable and girly onesies) from my blogging friend Kim. What a sweetheart! Thanks, Kim. And my friend Megan from Delaware gave me some great advice on what to pull off or put into my registry, so I’m taking that second look at some of my decisions, especially in the area of the Boppy, the baby food cooker thingy, and a few other items. By the way, Megan has started a great series on baby carriers on her blog, which I’m avidly following.

And as for the Boppy, should I just nix it and go with the “Brestfriend” thingamaging instead that I’ve been hearing about? Any extra advice from out there, from Boppy lovers or Boppy haters?

Body: It’s getting even harder to go from prone to upright. I mentioned before that it was getting challenging to use my abs to lift my upper body–now it’s starting to feel actually impossible. When I have to get up to pee in the middle of the night, I’ve started executing a quite un-elegant roll under the body pillow and off the side of the bed.

Up until recently, as you know, I’d been feeling too small, and eager for my belly to really pop out. Well, I got my wish and now I have the belly. And I’m not looking back! Yippee!But now that I’ve heard that my rate of weight gain was so rapidly rapid, I have to share this little incident: at the grocery store on Saturday, a (very nice) lady that frequently checks us out exclaimed “Oh wow–you’re pregnant! I didn’t realize–wow, that happened fast! How far along are you?”

“About 5 1/2 months,” I said.

“Wow!” she exclaimed, her eyes growing wide, “that’s a biiiig baby you’ve got in there!”

I’d been warned that people, including strangers, would start feeling free to comment on my body and its appearance during pregnancy. But I’m still in disbelief about it. I definitely walked away from that encounter feeling self-conscious about my girth. I’m not offended–just kind of like, ‘umm . . . what just happened?’

Sleep: Great! Still rocking that body pillow.

Best moment(s) of the week: I really enjoyed our 2nd Bradley class this week. A nutritionist spoke for the first half, and though I’m not implementing everything she said or recommended (yeah, $80/month for vitamins is a little . . . stretch), I’m definitely going to follow her suggestion to cut out any cow milk products during the last month of pregnancy. Apparently babies are born with their digestive systems still developing, and breast milk helps finish that process up within the first 3 weeks or so. However, babies’ stomachs when they are first born can’t handle cow milk, so if the mama is consuming cow milk products (which take a number of weeks to leave the system), it can really upset the baby and cause colic. Sold! ‘Cause I want to stay away from colic at all costs. I’m on board, Mme. Nutritioniste.

The second half of the class really solidified my commitment to this whole natural birth thing. We watched part of a PBS documentary highlighting the difference between the medical model and the women-centered model of birthing. One thing that really stuck with me is a quote from a doctor who said something like, “I’ve delivered thousands of babies, but I’ve never actually seen the labor process from start to finish.” I find that . . . surprising. Shocking, really. That a doctor in charge of helping women with their labor would never have witnessed a full labor? Doesn’t that seem like a huge gaping hole in his education and training? Anyway, as I watched women birthing in more traditional hospital settings, I was struck by how much the doctors, nurses, families, and even the women themselves, appeared to be simply watching blips on a screen. I was struck by how often time was talked about (you’re not progressing fast enough . . . you’re dilating too slowly . . . it’s been 2 hours . . . it’s been another 2 hours . . .), as if the women had a problem because their internal delivery clockwork wasn’t matching the ‘industry average.’ And on the flip-side, I was struck by how much more personal and warm the environment seemed in the birthing centers and midwife-assisted labors, where the focus was on the actual woman giving birth, and not the machines and monitors and tubes, or the ticking clock.

I mean, if I feel pressured to hurry things up, I just know that will stress me out. Which will cause me to tense up, and that tension will slow down my delivery. That sounds like a downward spiral–know what I’m saying? Denyse, our Bradley class instructor, equipped us with two all-important questions to keep in mind when medical providers are giving us options during labor that we’re not certain about wanting: “Am I okay?” and “Is the baby okay?” That cuts to the heart of what’s really important. I feel empowered just knowing that if the answer to both those questions is ‘yes,’ I can–in good faith–turn down any suggested drugs or interventions (such as pitocin). If the answer is ‘no,’ then I would of course jump at agreeing to whatever was necessary.

I am so grateful to be giving birth in a facility that doesn’t hook me up to an IV just because I’ve been admitted, encourages me to walk around and move about (which helps labor progress much more efficiently–lying back on a bed with your legs up apparently stymies progress), allows me to wear whatever I want (no hospital gown pour moi, thank you!), will allow my body to take its time, and has a tub, birthing stool and squat bar in every room so that I have different options for more comfortable laboring.

And just in case I’m inflaming any emotions here, I just want to state very clearly that I’m not against hospitals, or doctors. Who knows–I may need an emergency intervention, and I’m grateful that can happen quickly if needed, and be done by experts. And I may end up choosing an epidural, because I simply don’t know how I’m going to handle and manage the pain. So theh’s mah disclaimah. In fact, please re-read the entire disclaimah in a thick Southaaahn accent.

Movement: We have seen the craziest thing this week–little limbs pushing out on my belly! I can hardly believe how insane and awesome this is. When Alice starts doing this, I just lie there and watch my belly until she’s settled back down–it’s too fascinating to look away!

Food cravings/aversions: Nothing!

Symptoms: Peeing a lot . . . overheating during hot days . . . that’s the bulk of it.

Emotions: I’ve been feeling really emotional about . . . well, the aloneness of this all. It may sound strange, but it’s just hitting me that the ones having this baby are my husband and me. Just us. Not my parents or his parents or our extended family or close friends–we have to be the ones to walk through all this. I will be the one giving birth–no one else. We will be the ones taking her home.

I guess I had this subconscious idea of the whole ‘having a baby’ thing as being a big family event: people fluttering around me–large groups of women I love all present during all the important moments (yes, all of them)–everyone feeling the baby kick constantly–everyone gathered around to admire how cute her first little dress looks–you get the idea. But with a sister in Alaska who’s due a few weeks before me, a sister moving to Arizona in August, my closest friend in Chicago about to move away, other close girlfriends scattered in Delaware, Texas, Virginia, etc.–there will not be a scenario in which every single one of these women will be right next to me, oohing and aahing over the exciting stuff and holding my hand during the hard stuff. It’s just not going to happen that way.

I know they will all be there for me as much as possible via phone or email if I need it–but until someone invents that thingy in Star Trek that transports you instantly, they simply can’t all physically be there at every moment.

(anyone out there working on the Star Trek thingy, while we’re on the topic? Anyone?)

The irony of my tears over this is that I don’t even know if I want a lot of people around me! In fact, I’m pretty certain that I don’t. I want only my husband around during delivery, so that I can really focus on laboring without distraction. I want at least a week alone with him and Alice right after she’s born. In fact, if my emotional vision of multitudes of females hovering around me and Alice were to come true, I’d probably feel stressed out, overcrowded and claustrophobic.

But my emotions are going crazy no matter what instructions my logical mind sends heart-wards.

It feels like a sobering let-down to realize that this is just us.

We have to go through this, to a certain extent, alone.

Thank God for, well, God.

Hopes and dreams: After seeing babies pop out of women during our birthing class DVD viewings, I have started getting really excited about that first glimpse of Alice. That first moment of holding her slimy, wriggly little body in my arms. Every time I see the initial baby/mama contact in the videos, I start crying–it’s completely precious. And it’s going to happen to me!

What I miss: My jeans! I really liked a lot of them, dontcha know.

What I’m looking forward to: So much! Our next Bradley class, in which we’re jumping into labor prep–relaxation techniques, how our coaches should be helping us through our pain, and all that good meaty stuff. And the baby shower my friends are throwing!! July 14th is right around the corner, and the theme (which I LOVE) is “Sugar and Spice.”

Husband update: He’s really liking the Bradley class, for which I’m so grateful. It gives me the reassurance that, even though it was my idea, this really is something we’re doing together, not something I’m dragging him to. I want him to come out of this class empowered to be in charge during labor–in charge of helping me, protecting me, anticipating my needs–and confident in his knowledge of what to do.

I’d love to hear from any of you who are mothers about how your husbands/partners/birth coaches helped you during labor. What did you need from them the most during delivery?


28 thoughts on “25 Weeks

  1. Sarah K. @ The Pajama Chef

    no baby of my own=no personal advice…. but i have heard that it’s great to just have your husband there for delivery, no one else. while family can have good intentions, i’ve heard too many people around can be too overwhelming. and for me personally? why would you want a bunch of people in the room for that! ha 🙂 and you look soooo cute too!

  2. Jenny @ Words On Wendhurst

    I can understand the feeling alone thing. I didn’t feel that way leading up to Javi’s birth, but definitely felt it after he was born and Lover went back to work. I think a lot of it stems from the shift in your thinking that you will now be solely responsible for sustaining life – all by your onesie! 🙂
    As for labor, what helped me most was holding onto his hand. Just feeling his touch made the pain so much more manageable. The nurses told me not to tense with each contraction (super hard to do, by the way) but to relax and let my body do the work. Holding Luke’s hand both helped me to relax and was a good way for him to tell if I was tensing. Studies show that a spouse’s pain decreases significantly if they are touching their spouse, and I definitely found that to be true.
    Oh! And the random comments? they’ll just keep on coming. It totally baffled my mind that people felt free to comment, but for the most part I just found it funny. 🙂

    1. Jenna Post author

      It’s great to know that your husband’s touch can do so much magic. I think I’ll just cling to Adam’s hand and arm nonstop.
      I do see the humor in the random comments, and I hope I can keep that perspective instead of letting myself feel the little sting that can come with them.

  3. Sarah

    I whole heatedly agree about choosing to not feel guilt about weight gain! Just in case you waver on that decision, here’s some encouragment. At 25 weeks I’d gained 11 lbs too and they haven’t said one word about it being too much or too fast, so there’s that. I had a month where I gained 6 and a month since then where I gained only 3, so it can fluctuate. Also, God has designed your body to be able to perfectly accommodate little Alice’s needs. That might mean gaining extra fat reserves in places other than your belly so that when you start nursing you have reserves with which to support both you and Alice. Where you are is absolutely perfect for you and for Alice. Sorry if this came off as preachy. I just wanted to give you some things to fall back on if people make comments again. I really don’t think you should feel ANY guilt about weight gain or how big your belly is or isn’t. 🙂

    1. Jenna Post author

      That IS encouraging–thanks Sarah. And you never come across as preachy, BTW. I’m surprised that it took me that amount of effort to shake off the guilt–I thought I was made of stronger stuff. But apparently I’m more sensitive than I imagined!

  4. TheKitchenWitch

    I was totally on Team Epidural with both girls, but alas, I had complications with both deliveries and couldn’t get one either time! At the time I was bitter about it, but now I’m kind of proud that I did it drug-free.

    Most doctors don’t see the whole labor process because they’re only called when the woman is dilated to a certain degree. As you know, it can take hours to get there, and they don’t want to hang around for that.

    As for the comments about the “big” baby–get used to it! You’re so slender everywhere else that the belly really makes an impact. I looked like a swallowed a watermelon.

    And that’s assholery that your insurance doesn’t cover ultrasounds! Grrrr. But it will be good to see Alice again!

    1. Jenna Post author

      That was the story with someone else I’ve talked to–Team Epidural plans didn’t go as planned and she ended up giving birth naturally. I guess you just never know what’s going to happen–and at this point, I can’t wait to find out! (I may feel less enthusiastic when the contractions actually start =)

  5. Rebekah

    With my first, I gained ten pounds in a few weeks too. But it all evened out in the end. Plus, I feel like the “normal” range of weight gain is stupid. With the range of women and their bodies, having only a ten pound range of variance is kind of ridiculous.

    Also, I think that lady is cuh-razy. With your second, you will likely long for the days when, at 5 1/2 months, you looked so relatively tiny. 🙂 At least, that’s been my experience. Plus, I never cease to be amazed that so many people feel ok with commenting on how big I look. Just because you’re pregnant doesn’t mean weight is an appropriate topic all of a sudden. In fact, it should be MORE taboo…ever heard of hormones, people? The first time I’ve cried about how I look since junior high was this pregnancy.

  6. Kimby

    Jenna, I’m no help here… my wee ones were “scheduled C-sections” from being breech and transverse. (They refused to leave the womb!) I experienced 5 minutes of contractions and then it was “lights out” (back then) and no hubbies allowed in the O.R!

    “Listen to your body and your baby” is sensible advice. Glad you got the onesies, too! 🙂

    1. Jenna Post author

      Aw, they must have really liked it inside your belly! =)
      And not only did I get the onesies the other day, but today I got the adorable little headband. Thanks Kim!! I’ll be sure to post a picture of Alice wearing that very headband this fall!

  7. Sarah

    Hey! Just wanted to let you know that I too had a month where my weight made a big jump on the scale (10 pounds!!). It didn’t happen again and I have been slow and steady since then. At the time, I was freaked and was wondering what I did wrong, but I know it was just what my body and baby decided to do. I think you definitely have the right attitude…just thought I’d share that it happened to me as well 🙂

    1. Jenna Post author

      Good to know!! It’s so nice to have you and a few other of my friends go before me so that you can give me a better idea of what’s normal. =)

  8. Megan

    Thanks for the shout out!

    Just wanted to let you know I had a spike in weight gain too around that same time (4-5 months) and the midwives were not concerned, babies have growth spurts even in utero. And yeah people are sooo mean, even after you give birth. A million people kept telling me I was having twins as early as 4 months with Kyle, and some people that I never expected criticized me for not losing weight that fast afterwards. I cried several times because of nasty comments, but it’s all so silly really. For some reason people feel more comfortable talking about your weight if you’re usually thin.

    One of the things that was helpful to me in the birth classes was they recommended having birth helpers, but making sure that the birth helpers are people who don’t cause you stress in any way. At first I thought I didn’t want anybody there, but then I changed my mind and decided to have my Mom and sister. It was helpful to have them because Andrew was exhausted too by the end of the labor, and I had unforeseen complications right after the delivery, so it was helpful to have them there. It was also nice because the 3 of them were all talking about random things during my labor and laughing about stuff, so that was a good distraction. Plus they laughed AT me several times when I said crazy stuff, so that helped to lighten things up a bit.

    And free mobility during labor is really great. I labored for awhile at home and then went to the birth center. I was in the tub for a little while, but mostly just on hands and knees, that was most comfortable for me. The drive to the birth center was horrible because I had many contractions in the car and couldn’t lean forward enough, so I can imagine how awful it would be to be stuck in a bed on my back.

    The great thing about midwives is they are VERY knowledgable about normal healthy births, and therefore they know when something is not normal or healthy, sometimes better than doctors do. But it seems like some doctors have almost a God-complex and they need to make you think they know everything. Midwives don’t seem to have that problem and feel comfortable, in my experience, letting you know when they don’t know something and need to refer you to someone with greater expertise. I appreciated that the midwife was very supportive and gave me plenty of “space” during labor, but when I started having trouble afterwards, she was very quick to get me the necessary meds and IV, and didn’t hesitate to call the doctor to handle something that she said she knew the doctor could do better. It seems like being able to see a midwife in this country is kind of rare and I feel very blessed to have had that experience.

  9. Suzie

    I would definintely not worry about the weight gain either. You are still very small to me! And yes, people do have their comments, I’ve never understood why they seem to lose their common sense around pregnant women…lol! To me giving birth was easy, I had no problems. I didn’t use anything for pain either and was at the hospital where they were really nice, I actually liked my nurses the best in the room…ha! 😉 And I was definitely up and walking around and it helped.

    1. Jenna Post author

      Wow–you are a blessed woman to have had an easy birth experience. I’m hoping I’m in that category too, but only time will tell!

  10. Kari

    I’m not really sure where I found your blog, but I have been popping in to read it every now and then. I am so glad you are planning a natural birth with the Bradley method. I just gave birth 3 months ago to my second boy and I experienced a perfect birth for me. Both births were natural and went well, I think because I did my research and asked lots of questions to my doctor about what I could expect in the hospital. I basically wanted a home birth in a hospital setting and that is exactly what I got; it was perfect. I think if my doctor had been resistent to any of my natural labor methods, I would have found a new doctor. It wasn’t financially a good idea for us to give birth at home, otherwise I would have. I think what helped me the most was the Bradley book (no classes in my area) and actually practicing the relaxation techniques. I used these a lot. I think if you set yourself up with knowledge about natural birth, you will have a successful birth no matter the outcome. My first birth required an episiotomy and vacuum extractor, but I still did it natural and can accept what it was. My second birth was PERFECT! I have shared my birth story if you are intersted at “Superior Birthing Resources” on Facebook. My husband wasn’t into having a doula, he wanted that role and did a great job. Just having him present was helpful and pressing on my back with the contractions helped. Pretty simple. Oh, and he held my leg while I pushed. I chose to find a professional photographer and arranged for her to come to the birth. I ended up with 130 of the most beautiful, tasteful birth photos I could ever ask for. I have shared a few of these at her website/blog. http://www.danielecarolphotography.com.

    Hope my comments are helpful. Best of luck on the rest of your pregnancy and delivery! Thanks, Kari 🙂

    1. Jenna Post author

      Hi Kari, thanks for stopping by, and especially for taking the time to comment and share a bit of your story! I love the idea of birth photos–I’ll have to check out your link. Thanks!!

  11. Amy

    Don’t let anyone freak you out about the weight gain. My 1st pregnancy I watched what I ate and exercised up until the 39th week (no joke)…2nd one, I ate ice cream every single day and stopped exercising at week 27. Both pregnancies ended up at 142 lbs (that’s a lot of me, originally at 114!) I lost all the weight fairly fast. 9 months on, 9 months to take it off if you’re diligent. Point is though, I honestly believe your body is predisposed to doing what it’s meant to do.

    1. Jenna Post author

      That’s really funny, that you experienced the same weight gain with both even though one was laden with ice cream and one was not. =) Helps me keep things in perspective–my body is going to do what it will do, and I shouldn’t get caught up in worrying about it. =) Thanks for the encouraging comment Amy!

  12. Amy

    p.s. I had an epidural for #1 (spinal/C-section for #2 because he was breech, the little stinker) and had absolutely no complications. Don’t knock the drugs…going al natural doesn’t make you a better mother 😉

    1. Jenna Post author

      Agreed!! I definitely think every woman should do what she wants, and that a natural birth does not a better mother make. To each her own! And I may end up doing drugs, who knows! It’s just so interesting to think all these things through for myself, and really examine what I would like to experience (though of course so much of it will be out of my control).

      1. Amy

        Oh, Jenna…absolutely! I didn’t mean to sound preachy. I should have prefaced that with saying I am not anti natural child birth at all. I have many friends who went that route and have no regrets. Just didn’t want you to knock the drugs either. We all have to do what’s right for us. You’re going to be so sick of everyone’s stories by the time Alice arrives!

  13. Eleanor Erwin

    You will find out that everyone who wants you to do something their way will pull out the colic card. No one really knows why some children get colic and others do not, ask them where e evidence based medicine if it sounds strange. If cows milk really caused colic then there would have been a huge decrease in colic with everyone diagnosed with lactose intolerance over the last 20 years. (rates have not changed) Most of the time it is conjecture.

    1. Jenna Post author

      Thanks for your call last night Eleanor! =) You’re awesome, and I always appreciate your advice and insight.

  14. Veronica

    My high school best friend had a lot of people at the birth of her first child, including me, and she still is perterbed about it to this day. She invited us, but like you said it added stress, and she wished it had only been her and the hubby. So while you may be sad that you are alone, it will probably be a more precious time with just the two of you.

    You are looking so beautiful (love your rummage dress!) and your weight is obviously not a problem since you’re still trim as ever. I’m so glad you’re so grounded and aren’t letting people’s comments get to you! For the record, my baby sister was at least twice your size at six months–every woman is different but in her case…she did gain a bit too much!

  15. joanne

    I have a feeling that that 7 pound growth spurt was because you’d gained so little in all of the months before! The baby was just catching up. I bet a lot of women have gained more total poundage by then, just maybe not in one month. You’re on the right track, if you ask me!

    Reading about the Bradley Method here and at other blogs has gotten me convinced that that’s what I want to do when I have a baby in the (far, far) future!

  16. Kate

    You are doing sooooo great! Perfect and natural weight gain. I know they’re telling you to keep your protein up – that will help you avoid pre-eclampsia, etc. My husband wasn’t a ra-ra Bradley guy, though we went to class together. But he timed and wrote down my contractions and held my hand and got me cloths for my forehead and just let me SEE him when I needed to (all the time). Just remember to OPEN your body and maybe he could say “Open” becuause, for me, I wanted to curl up in fetal position and this wasn’t good. As soon as I truly opened, the babies flew out. I had a doula and she was great but my husband was the most important.


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