State of the Incubator: 33 weeks, the third time around

I FEEL WHALEY BIG
Actually 32 weeks here, but approximately the same.

Considering the number of times this pregnancy that I have checked prior incubator reports to see how things are the same/different, I perhaps should have started tracking this third pregnancy sometimes before 33 weeks, but you get what you pay for. So! Here I am, 33 weeks into my third pregnancy.

To sum up the experience to this point: this pregnancy is the best one so far by most measures. I decided to continue taking my medication, which has been a total game changer in obvious ways (I AM AWAKE, and have generally been awake at appropriate intervals the ENTIRE TIME!). Other differences could be due to that, or some other reason – no way to know – but I didn’t have horrible headaches for weeks on end, and I’ve been much less anxious, and considerably less prone to fainting before breakfast. While one OB at my practice remains wary of my choice, and suggested that my baby might go through withdrawal when it is born (…. nope), my main doctor is totally unconcerned, as am I based on available literature and my specific dosing, etc. and hooray.

Baby’s Size: I have no idea. I had a quick low res ultrasound last week, and I recall that the head, belly, and femur all measured somewhere in the 31-33 week range, but I didn’t see percentages and in fact can’t remember any from earlier ultrasounds either. Jess knows, probably. According to various baby apps, the baby is likely over 4 lbs in weight and 17 inches in length, and focusing on plumping up. According to my abdomen, the baby is getting really cramped and poky.

Sleep: Not so bad! Hallelujah! I’ve been taking 0.5 – 1.0 unisom per night, depending on whether I have a cold or not, and sleeping reasonably well most nights (again, mostly depending on whether I have a cold or not). I have had a few nights recently where I slept poorly for no immediately obvious reason, but I am not yet convinced that I’m screwed for the remainder of pregnancy vs. just a bad night. So, a typical night for me these days is going to sleep around 11 and waking up around 7, give or take, like a NORMAL HUMAN BEING! It is amazing. Continuing to take my medicine seems to mean that when I do sleep, it is more effective - I seem to sleep more deeply, wake less frequently, and fall back asleep more readily. I have skipped a day or two here and there for various reasons, and on those days, immediately reverted to the 12-16 hours in bed, with soul sucking fatigue familiar to me from past pregnancies.

All that said, I have taken approximately zero (0) naps this entire pregnancy, and while I am THRILLED not to *require* them, I do sometimes wish I could take a nap just because it sounds pleasant and cozy.

Food: The last week or so, I have wanted to just check the box – eat some protein, veggies, and move on with my life. Broadly, this pregnancy has been supported by microwaved hot dogs, blue box mac and cheese, near daily sausage biscuits from McDonald’s, and a revolving assortment of fruit/veg.

Movement: Yup, it seems there is an actual human in my abdomen. I am very acutely aware that the strange sensations from baby movement are an actual BABY, this time – I remember with Eliza, it was so hard for me to conceptualize that. With Hazel, presumably it was much easier for me to relate the feeling to the fact of the baby, but this time it’s like… I can just SEE a baby. I can visualize a little person, getting bigger and stronger, and that is called to mind every time the child moves, even though I still can’t tell a thing about the orientation. Placenta is at least partially anterior, if I recall correctly (…. possible); that would explain the somewhat less jarring movement this time around vs. what I remember from my pregnancy with Hazel, whose placenta was fully posterior. This kiddo seems to have less frequent – or at least less violent – hiccups, which I hope is not an observation borne of the placental location, and instead an indicator of superior gastric sphincter function (no reflux no reflux no reflux).

Exercise: Ha nope. So, I had a subchorionic hematoma for a long stretch from about 10 weeks to… 20? ish? and was not allowed to exercise at all. To be fair, I wasn’t doing a whole lot before that either, but I had intentions! I had gone running a few times! Anyway, once I was given the all clear for light exercise, I was already feeling pretty unwieldy, so haven’t done much since. I “ran” a couple times (jog-walked <2 miles, but I tried!). In the last few weeks, I activated my online Barre3 subscription and have done a few workouts, which has been nice. I also participated in a Bollywood Zumba class at work last week, in pursuit of a year-long practical joke, which was… well, perhaps it was a Pyrrhic victory, but I am nonetheless proud of my commitment to winning.

I will say that this pregnancy has seemed somewhat more … unwieldy? than my last, though I’m notoriously bad at remembering things accurately. My external brain, Jess, assures me that the extreme pelvic floor pressure I felt for many weeks in the second trimester was in fact not novel for me, and she was right that it eventually shifted off. Kevin assures me that I frequently complained of feeling like a beached whale last go round, even with my considerably better overall fitness. I remain somewhat unconvinced, and hope that for any possible subsequent pregnancies, I manage to exercise regularly. I am fairly concerned that my recovery post-partum will be much more challenging due to inactivity, but it’s quite likely that my speedy recovery post-Hazel was actually due to her blessedly tiny head. We shall see, and I shall continue to remind myself that I can’t actually make scientific comparisons between my pregnancies due to small sample size and far too many variables.

Naming the kid: Yeah ok we have some work to do on this front.

Eliza named the baby Scoobaloo many moons ago, which we eventually learned was a mispronunciation of a minor MLP character. This name is still used frequently, and as I understand it, this would be Eliza’s choice if the baby is a girl. If it’s a boy, which she is quite certain it is, the ideal name would be Zachary. On the heels of many of her other suggestions (Pikachu, for instance), we were a bit taken aback by this suggestion as it is an actual NAME, and one that meets our not-yet-locked-in Z theme, no less. I am not sure we love it or would have come up with it ourselves, but it is entirely possible that Zachary could be the child’s name, if only out of our own procrastination in coming up with any alternatives.

Other miscellaneous stuff:  So, since my last rodeo, we obviously moved and I have a new job and blah blah, and one big outcome of that is actual parental leave, whoa. My job provides 10 weeks fully paid, and I could take additional partially paid (because California) and unpaid if I were so inclined. Kevin’s job provides 8 weeks paid, and it all just feels like SO MUCH, relative to our previous experience. I have finally settled into the idea of taking the full 10 weeks, which I was quite resistant to at first – my preferred scenario would have been about 6 weeks off in full, followed by a transition from part time (40%) up to full over the course of another 6-8 weeks or however long. Alas, the leave is quite inflexible in how it can be taken – only unpaid leave can be used to enable reduced schedules, and managerial string pulling can’t change that. I am left feeling very grateful for the leave that I have access to, as well as incredibly irritated that I can’t structure it differently, despite support from my managers and the preferred structure being beneficial to my projects/business overall. SIGH. But, ok, fine – 10 weeks. It is what it is, so I will revel in it as much as possible.

In terms of preparing for this baby, the only thing I’ve really done is buy a nice, comfortable recliner. I’m sure that all but guarantees that the kid won’t nurse, or at least won’t nurse like Hazel did – but there is no way I’m sitting in an uncomfortable piece of crap chair for another… 976+ hours of my life (thank you, babyconnect, for that piece of information). The recliner arrived a week ago or so and we had to rearrange our weirdly laid out bedroom to fit it in and it’s kind of huge and unattractive but OMG COMFORTABLE. Other than that, we don’t have an actual plan for where the kid will sleep, exactly, or much of anything else, but … that’s a problem for future us, and doesn’t feel that urgent in any case. We plan to get a minivan, but again, the when is still some mysterious future time, eh, whatever, it’ll be fine. We can technically fit three carseats in our current car, and even if that doesn’t end up working well, the hospital is within walking distance of our house so shrug whatever.

The kids are excited, and it’s predictably adorable. Most mornings when I leave for work, and most nights when we are doing bedtime, I get a hug and a kiss and so does the baby in my tummy. Eliza talks a lot about little babies, and how they mostly sleep and eat and cry at first and then we slowly teach them things and eventually they can play!, so I think she *sort of* gets what’s coming. (She of course has no actual memory of tiny baby Hazel, as she was not yet two, even.) Hazel pays much more attention to the baby on a day to day basis, talking to my tummy and patting it and calling it her little buddy, and she is the only child that has managed to sit still long enough to feel the baby kick, but of course she has only a very tenuous grasp on what’s about to go down. I think she will be pretty pissed once reality sets in, as she remains very, very attached to me – and will in fact violently exclude other children who attempt to sit on/near me…, but I know she will roll with it in the long run and it will all be fine. I am slightly heartened that when she recently met Jenny’s wee Everett, who at the time was perhaps just shy of three months old?, she was fascinated and gentle and didn’t get mad at me when I was holding him, albeit briefly. I’ll take it.

So – that’s this pregnancy in a nutshell, at 33 weeks (and a day).

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3 Responses to State of the Incubator: 33 weeks, the third time around

  1. Holly Ritger says:

    It’s so good to see Snoozical is back! I have missed your photos and musings on your blog. 33 weeks… you are almost there!!
    Think about when it would be best for you to have us visit and meet Scoobalu. Zach has possibilities and there is always the “z” thing to consider… It’s so cool that the girls talk to the baby and pat it.

  2. Jenny says:

    Congratulations!!!

  3. Jess says:

    Look at you, doing your own record-keeping! Soon I’m going to be made redundant!

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