Yes, We're Still Waiting!

Just got back from another non-stress test. Annie's going about her business as usual. The nurse, Julie (who is awesome) looked over at one point and was like, "whoa, she's going nuts in there!" I said, "yeah, tell me about it." She's so low I feel it all in my pelvic bones now, and it is not very pleasant, let me tell you! Oh well, I'm glad she's still doing great anyway! She just really, really likes it in there. I thought I saw some movement on the contraction monitor today so I asked Julie about it. She gave me a look of great pity and said, "do I think they mean anything? No, they probably don't. They need to happen steadily and they need to really hurt before they mean anything. But, that said, you could have absolutely no activity at all on the contraction monitor right now and then go into labor and have her by 5pm tonight, that's how much stock we put into that!" So we'll just keep crossing our fingers that she'll come this weekend!

I felt myself getting a little cranky this afternoon when I was making my way through the hospital and seeing all of the families waiting for their babies, and the women who just had their babies walking around near the nursery. Okay, it's partly my fault for walking past the nursery to get a peek at the babies while I was waiting, but I couldn't help myself. They're so little and cute! I just can't wait until it's us in there. So I'm comforting myself by telling myself that it can't be more than a week from now. Only 7 days! I can do that, no problem.


Another Update (someday it will be an announcement!)

Today I took the day off from work since I had several baby-related appointments scheduled. First up was my regular appointment with Jo. Before I left the house I did the rest of our packing (bathrobe, slippers, pillows, blanket for Paul) and put the bag in the car. I told Paul it was just in case Jo told me I was 10 cm dilated and we needed to get our asses to the hospital before this baby popped right out! Wouldn't that have been nice? ;0) Sadly, it was not to be. I'm still at 2cm. She thinks I'm a little more effaced now, about 80%. She said she definitely could tell it's softer and thinner. The baby's head is fully engaged, which is encouraging! It also explains those unpleasant pains when she's twisting her head around in my pelvis. That's okay though, it means she knows the way out and is working on getting there! She tried stripping my membranes again but said I'm positioned too far back. We were most disappointed by that, we were counting on having another try to move things along a bit. But who knows, she still might decide to come tonight!
I had my non-stress test after lunch. They hooked me up to a fetal monitor and a contraction monitor. (ha!) Of course the contraction monitor showed absolutely nothing. Darn it. I was secretly hoping I was just one of those women who don't feel anything and all of a sudden a baby's popping out. I guess that wouldn't be a good thing if I were home or driving or something, but as long as I was in the hospital that would have been an ideal situation, don't you think? Anyhoo, she's doing just fine in there. They wanted her to move twice during a 20-minute period. Her heart rate was supposed to jump each time she moved, which tells them that the placenta is still giving her enough oxygen. She moved about 7 times, her heart rate went up each time. She's just having a swell time in there, happy as a clam!
After that test we had an ultrasound to check the amniotic fluid level. Everything looks good, she's got plenty in there for now. HOWEVER, they're estimating her at over 8 and a half pounds now! Yikes! She really needs to come out soon. 9 pounds is my limit I've decided.
So we asked for a DVD but they were out of blank ones. They ordered them last week and they never came in. We were so disappointed! Especially since at our first ultrasound we didn't know we could have asked for a DVD of it until afterwards, and they told us it was too late then. Arg. It took me a long time to get over the disappointment from that. So she dug up a regular CD and saved some pictures to it for us. Unfortunately, the pictures on the CD are not as good as the ones she printed out for us. The print outs are clear and her face looks a lot less squished and fuzzy, and she's even smiling in two of the pictures! My sister Kathryn said she's mocking us. ;0) But you can still get a good idea of what she'll look like in the picture below--she definitely has the Peppers family chubby cheeks! We think we can see some hair in some of the print outs too. The fuzzy blob at the bottom of her face is the placenta. I know, kind of gross, right? Annie, come out so you don't have placenta all up in your face anymore!

That's the news for now. I'm still hoping I have a really good reason not to go to work tomorrow!


The Bright Side

Reasons to be grateful that we are overdue:

(Many of these are from my Mom, who has been calling me with pep talks. (Thanks Mom, I definitely needed them!) She's very experienced in waiting for babies, as she was late with all 5 of us. Thank goodness they only let you go over 2 weeks now! She was due for me on May 25th and didn't have me until June 10th, and due with my sister September 1st, didn't have her until September 24th. No thank you!)

1. She is full term. Every pregnant woman's biggest fear is either miscarrying or giving birth way too early. I need to keep remembering how nervous I was up until week 37, when you're officially considered full term. And how lucky we are that our baby stayed in there until she was supposed to! At the wedding we saw a friend of ours whose niece was a pound and a half when she was born this past November. She was released from the hospital in February and is now up to 7 pounds, 14 ounces, the size of an average newborn. I'm so happy for them that she is doing well, but how incredibly scary for them! I'm so grateful we didn't have to go through that.

2. My Mom told me that all of us girls made her wait the longest, but we were also the calmer babies. We fussed less and slept more. She's thinking it's because the longer the baby stays in there, the older and more developed they are. Makes sense to me! So if this wait means Annie will be more calm and less fussy, heck, she can stay in there a few more days!

3. We've been able to get even more done around the house. Part of the waiting game is prioritizing. What do we absolutely need to do before we have this baby, so we don't have to come home to a mess? Every night we make sure all of the dishes are done, the floors are swept, and everything is in general order, because we know we sure as heck won't want to come home to a mess! The extra things, like repairing all of the kitchen & back door screens, mowing the lawn, rearranging the living room, cleaning the bedroom were a bit lower on the list. But Paul had time to fix all of the screens yesterday, he just finished mowing the lawn, and we're tackling the living room soon. We might even have time to get to the bedroom! It's tough waiting for her, but it will be so nice to have that all out of the way before we bring her home.

4. Enjoying "just the two of us" time. We've been so incredibly busy getting ready for this baby over the past 9 months (in between all of our regular plans) that it's been hard to take time to relax at home, just the two of us. It's been just the two of us for the last 7 and a half years, so it's crazy to think that it's not going to be just us until all of our kids move out of the house. Lately our plans are dying down and we have just those few things to take care of, so we've been able to take some time to relax a bit. Eat lunch together out in our yard, snuggle on the couch to watch Indiana Jones, go out to Abbott's for ice cream, talk about how crazy it is that we're going to be parents any day now. We're really enjoying this time together.

Okay, that's all I can think of now. It made me feel a little better. Better than repeating "she'll come when she's ready" over and over again to myself anyway!


Okay Annie, we're ready anytime now...

40 Weeks (and 3 days)

Still no baby! I think I've mentioned before how impatient I am and how I'm trying to work on it. I've definitely determined that waiting for baby is the worst wait ever. It's so hard not having any idea when labor is going to start. You try to get as much rest as you can, and then you panic when you're not sleeping well or you're out too late or you walked around a store for 2 hours and now you're sore and exhausted. Because what if labor starts that night and you have no energy left? It's scary. Plus you're just so incredibly excited to meet her and snuggle her and see what she looks like and everything. It's so weird to think that while waiting for baby seems like it's dragging on and on, it really can only last a few weeks past your due date, and that wait will seem like so long ago when you blink and your baby is 6 months old, cutting teeth and sitting up on their own for the first time. It goes way too fast!

The good news is, we made it to our friend Tony's wedding. As much as I was wishing for Annie to come in the last week or so, I really would have been very sad to miss his big day. We love Tony--he's been one of Paul's best friends for years and years, and I've known him now for about 7 years. He's a great guy and has been a wonderful friend to us. He was really happy to have us there and we were happy to be there with him. It was great to see our friends and Tony's family too--they were all very excited for us. I'm glad everyone got to see me very pregnant, they all seemed to enjoy seeing the huge belly!

Friday I took the day off to rest up for the big event. My Mom took me grocery shopping, since I realized we had absolutely no food in the house and grocery shopping on the way home from the hospital did not sound at all appealing. I was worried about my water breaking and then having to drive home by myself, so I was really happy she was home to take me. I stocked up on frozen dinners and our usuals. So now we're all set--that is unless she doesn't come until sometime next week when we're out of food again!

That night was the rehearsal. We were at the church for an hour or so and then went to Tara's parents house for dinner. We had a great time visiting with everyone. I played bocce ball with the guys after dinner, hoping that the walking would get things moving along a bit. My strategy didn't work, but I kicked ass so it was worth it. ;o) We went home early, around 10, to try to get a good night's sleep before the big day. Unfortunately, I had the worst night of sleep I've had in a while. My back was really sore and stabby and I had a lot of cramping. I think I woke up a few times with contractions, but I couldn't really tell if it was just steady cramping or if it was contractions. I was worried for a minute when I thought they were contractions though. I was imagining us not making it to the wedding and hoping for the first time that she was going to hold off for another day or so!

I felt good on Saturday though--we slept in and got out to Geneva a bit late but it was worth having the extra sleep. It was a long day, but I felt great and had a really good time with everyone. We watched Tony get married (which I still can't believe!!) and afterwards we went on a boat trip to the reception. It was a gorgeous day for it, sunny and warm, just a bit breezy. Plus my water didn't break, which was our biggest concern for the day. Tony asked me throughout the day, "what aren't you going to do on the boat Kristin?" to which I would reply "have a baby." It worked!

Cocktail hour was outside on the lawn. Then we headed into the ballroom for dinner and dancing. Typical wedding stuff! We all had a lot of fun. It was really great to see Paul having such a good time with all of his high school buddies again, and Tony's friends from college have become our friends over the years too. One of my best friends that I grew up with married one of Paul's best friends from high school (they are also the parents of our 6-month old godson!), so I got to eat dinner with them and catch up, since I haven't seen her in a while. Everyone is so scattered now and so busy, it really is nice when we can all meet up again. I thought I was going to want to go home early to get some rest, but we ended up staying until the end of the reception because we were having so much fun and I was feeling so good. We got home around 2 or so. I felt a little bit of that "oh no, I'm not getting enough sleep" panic, but I just need to remember that we're never going to be fully prepared for this baby to come! We'll just do our best when it's time.

So that's the news for now. We are very relieved the wedding is over and we were able to make it. Now we can look forward to having her come without having to worry about missing anything! No signs today that anything is going to happen anytime soon, except feeling like she's a bit lower than usual (and very twisty which doesn't feel so good on the pelvic bones). But I guess you never know, really. Our next appointment is scheduled for Wednesday. I'll go for my regular appointment and then head to the hospital for a non-stress test and an ultrasound to see how things are going and whether there is any need to induce. But I'm still hoping I won't make it to that appointment, that she'll come either tonight or tomorrow so we can take advantage of Memorial Day weekend for Paul's time off. Fingers crossed!


Getting Closer

Tomorrow is our due date! No matter how many times I tell myself that, I still can't believe it. I remember so clearly being 10 weeks pregnant and feeling so excited that in just two weeks we'd start telling people. Now here we are, about to meet our baby. I really can't believe we're going to be parents. Crazy!

More good news from our appointment with Jo today: Annie and I are making progress! Her head is even lower now and she's still not budging. I am 2 centimeters dilated, and my cervix is 75% effaced. That's a lot, since I was only thinning a tiny bit at Thursday's appointment. I told her about my contractions on Saturday. She was so excited! Then when she checked me she told me those contractions did a ton of work to thin out and shorten my cervix, so now I'm not so discouraged about them. At least they weren't for nothing! She tried to strip my membranes, but she's not sure how much she was able to do. She said that 15% of people go into labor within 24 hours of having their membranes stripped, so we'll see what happens! If anything, she seemed pretty sure that I'd be starting labor over the next few days. She did say that I need to work on kicking the cold that I got from my Dad last week. She's concerned that my body will pay more attention to fighting that off rather than starting labor. So I will be relaxing and drinking as much water as I can for the next few days. She's on call on Thursday and said she's hoping to see us then. But she also said it's still possible it might be longer than a few days. I think I'd be okay with that. As long as I know we're making progress and that it's highly unlikely I'll need to be induced, which would happen only if I were two weeks overdue, putting us at June 4th to start labor. No thanks! We're still hoping for a May baby here.

So I'm feeling very encouraged, I'm really going to be a Mom any day now!


The Waiting Game

We had another great appointment with Jo on Thursday. First she showed Paul how to feel around for where all of Annie's parts are. He loved that. Then she checked to see if I was dilated at all. She told me that I'm a centimeter and a half dilated, my cervix is softening, and the baby's head is halfway into my pelvis and is "very committed" to keep heading in that direction. Meaning she poked at her head and she wasn't budging. I know that the news doesn't necessarily mean that anything will happen anytime soon, but it was encouraging news nonetheless. At least it means I'll have a centimeter and a half less to go when I do go into labor! She also said that she expected me to start having contractions sometime in the next few days. I'm not sure what made her think that, but it sure was exciting to hear!

Friday night was date night, we went to watch a Red Wings game. It was strange not knowing if that would be our last night out as nonparents! We had a good time though, ate our dinner, watched the game & talked about how excited we were that we were about to meet our baby, then stayed for the fireworks afterwards.

Yesterday I made sure to get plenty of rest. I slept in and then spent most of the day relaxing on the couch, watching some Sex and the City DVDs. When Paul got home from work we headed out to the mall to get a wedding present for next weekend. (Oh yeah, we have a wedding to go to next weekend. Paul's best friend Tony is getting married 3 days after our due date. Oops! Paul is in the wedding too. We're just going to play it by ear. Hopefully we'll make it, but they'll understand if we don't!) I was hoping walking around a lot would get things moving. Sure enough, after having dinner we started walking and I started having contractions! They were coming pretty steadily for about 2 hours. Then they stopped. So discouraging. They weren't horribly painful, but they were darn uncomfortable, and then to have them come to nothing was so disappointing. Every time I had a one we would try not to get too excited, telling ourselves it could be false labor. But we were both definitely hoping we would be having a baby last night or sometime today. Darn it. We have to go out again today, hopefully that will get things moving along again, and maybe they'll stick this time if they start. Tonight we're going to a concert at the Lilac Festival with my sister Kathryn. I'm half hoping we'll make it, because the woman is one of my new favorites (Ingrid Michaelson), but of course I'm half hoping we'll have a wonderful reason to miss it! I am trying to prepare myself though, there is still a good chance we could be waiting around for another 2 weeks or so. I really hope not, the anticipation is killing me!

The good news is she's still really active and we're having a lot of fun watching her move around in there. Last night after we got home we were sitting on the couch and Paul was waiting to see if he could feel her feet. She had been poking them out all night. She finally did when he had his hand there and he was SO excited. I don't think I've seen him that happy about feeling her move as he did right then. I don't know if it's the anticipation that she could come any day now or what, but it sure was sweet to see how much it touched him. I really can't wait to see him with her!


Feeling Ready

This past week or so has been super busy. We've had things to do pretty much every night and it's really busy for me at work right now since I'm trying to wrap up as much as I can before I go. Every night I'm exhausted and then I get all nervous that I'm going to end up going into labor when I'm so tired to begin with. Paul's been too busy too, tons of stuff to do around the house & lots of work to do for other people. Plus this past weekend was his friend's bachelor party. So this week's goal is to take it easy, catch up on our sleep, and review our childbirth book so we remember all of those labor exercises we learned about. And most important: spend some relaxing time together, because it's probably the last chance we'll get for that!

I already feel a million times more ready for her to come. I'm getting a lot done at work, and I set up a back up plan so people can take over anytime if I go out unexpectedly. At home our week is a lot less crammed with plans, we packed our hospital bag, we finished her room, and we finally got the car seat installed (by the sheriff's department, so we know for sure that it's in there safely!) So now all we have left to do is look forward to meeting our baby!

On that end, we had the best appointment this past Friday. We met with our favorite midwife, Jo. She's so enthusiastic and we always learn the most from her. She had reviewed our birth plan and said that everything looked great, everything we mentioned goes along with their philosophies. She reassured me that they have an extremely low rate of episiotomies or tears (1 in 70 births) and told me all of the ways they use to try to avoid one. That made me feel a million times better, it was one of the things I was most worried about. Then when it was time to examine me she took my hands and showed me how to feel for her neck, back, butt, thighs, and arms. It was so cool! We can't feel her head anymore because she's so low in my pelvis now, a good sign that Annie's getting ready to find her way out! Her heart rate was up to 160, up from 140 last time. She said that it's a really good sign that it's a varying rate--that means she's healthy and active. So now we're having fun feeling my belly and actually knowing what we're touching. Paul really loved our appointment, he said he got a bit teary-eyed when she was showing us how to feel around for her. We decided over lunch that we're both going to be an emotional mess when she's born!

The only slightly nerve-wracking part: Jo thinks she's up to about 7 pounds now, which would make for a slightly big baby if we go to our due date, since she's gaining about a pound a week now. I'm hoping she's off a little bit on that guess. We'll see what happens! In the meantime, Annie and I are going to lay off on the ice cream habit a bit. ;0) I can't believe we're in single digits now--only 9 days until her due date! It seems like so long ago that we found out we were pregnant and now it's almost here. So exciting!

Without further ado, our finished baby room!


Almost There!

We're almost done with the nursery, finally! I'm very excited. We just need to do a bit more organizing and hang some pictures and it will be all ready for her. I had a major nesting surge last night and put away all of her clothes & blankets and rearranged the furniture a bit more. We now have a nice little breastfeeding corner, it's very cozy. Gus can't resist it, he was up on the chair again last night! It sure is fun going through all of her things and opening and organizing them. I'm going to miss it when we're really done!
Confession: I was supposed to back the hospital bag last night but procrastinated and organized the nursery instead. Paul is getting really nervous that we don't have a bag packed yet, but for some reason I keep putting it off! It's almost like I think once I get that done she'll come, and I'm not really ready for her to come yet. I guess I'm still hoping we'll get these last 2 weeks in before the due date. It hit me the other day that these are the last few weeks we have where it's just the two of us. I'm not too sad or scared or anything, it just hit me that this is really going to be completely different from here on out. We're super excited to meet her though, and to start our new adventure!