I can’t even believe that I have a bag under the desk in my bedroom that I’m taking to the hospital when I go into labor. It seems a little surreal that the time is actually almost here, and that before we know it we will be on our way to the hospital to meet our baby! I am now 37 weeks and a couple days, and after this week I feel like it truly could be any day, so I am preparing myself by trying to keep the house clean and keeping a bag for Kyle and I packed so that we are ready to go.
I wanted to share not only a 37 week bumpdate, but also share about some of the things that we are doing to prepare for our girl to be here including the items I’ve packed in my hospital bag.
Is it weird if I say that week 36 and 37 have oddly been some of my favorite weeks of pregnancy so far?! I know that just saying this out loud will probably mean that by tomorrow I’ll be willing to do whatever it takes to not be pregnant anymore, but right now I am just loving these last few weeks of pregnancy. This may have something to do with the fact that the weather is finally cooperating for me and I am no longer feeling so oppressed by the Texas heat (haha!), however I also am just enjoying the last few weeks that it is just baby and me. I know we already have such a unique bond, as I feel like I already know so much about her. I know her most active times of day and when she likes to kick and roll and I also know that she doesn’t like me to have anything on my belly. If I’m working with my laptop on my belly or rest my phone or a bowl on my belly, she will quickly start kicking and squirming. In fact the first time I ever felt her kick was when I had my laptop on my belly at 18 weeks. Also, I think she might just be a little shy because she can be having a whole tap dance show in my belly, but as soon as anyone else tries to feel she immediately stops moving. I am cherishing the last few weeks that it is just me and her before I have to share her with the rest of the world. I feel unbelievably blessed that I get the opportunity to know her so intimately beforehand and for the special bond that we will continue to have.
Another one of the reasons that these weeks have been so sweet is because of the way that I’ve really had to lean into the Lord. At my 35 week appointment I was told that our baby had an irregular heart rate. This came at a shock to me because my pregnancy has been very uneventful, my appointments are short, my blood pressure and weight gain has been stable and aside from not being able to work out due to back and pelvic pain, I can’t say that there has been anything else concerning going on. However this news floored me. Even though my midwife explained to me that day that she wasn’t concerned about the heart rate at this point, she would still be sending me to have an ultrasound with maternal fetal medicine, where high risk patients are seen (even though she reassured me that I wasn’t high risk!). Apparently our baby was having one of the most common arrhythmias called premature atrial contractions, which we were able to hear on the doppler in the office and then on the ultrasound. Thankfully in our ultrasound we saw no reasons to be concerned about the anatomy of her heart (praise Jesus), but the PACs were still there and did cause some concern because it can cause a different arrhythmia that can be dangerous in babies or adults for that matter. After our high risk sono, we also were sent to the children’s hospital for a fetal echo (to again take a closer look at the structures and outflow of the heart) that would be reviewed by a pediatric cardiologist. To be honest, all of this scared me a lot, and I felt so out of control. I was asked multiple times if I drank caffeine (yes), ate chocolate (yes), took cold medication (yes, but only what was on my list of safe medications), used cocoa butter lotion (yes), and all of these things put our baby at risk for PACs. (By the way I am NOT saying for you to not to do any of these things, but I think for us it was just the perfect combination of all of it, please don’t hear me say not to do or take any of these things especially if you’ve been approved by your provider). I felt like it was ALL my fault that this was occurring, and even though I was not consuming any of these things in excess or at unhealthy levels, the mom guilt was so real. I had an appointment with one of our midwives, Summer, the week of our echo and I couldn’t help it the tears just flowed out of the feeling that I had done something to cause our baby distress or harm. Even though she assured me that there was no blame that I could put on myself, the best thing she could do was to pray with me and over my body and my sweet baby and she kept reminding me to trust in the Lord and release all my control to Him. Y’all I am so lucky to have the women at Acclaim Nurse Midwives who I’ve been able to form relationships with, who don’t treat you like just another patient to get in and out the door, but who create space for you to ask questions, cry and most importantly are praying with and for me and my girl. Pregnancy can feel overwhelming because it really is ALL out of your hands, the process to get pregnant felt out of control, now not knowing when she will make her appearance feels out of control, labor and delivery is out of our control. I felt like the Lord was right there just gently waiting for me to give him that trust and to loosen my grips on my pregnancy and on trying my hardest to protect my baby. He is her protector. All that we can do is pray and trust in Him and He will provide the peace that surpasses all understanding. I know He is just developing spiritual disciplines in me that I’m confident I will need as a mama in the future. He is so worthy of being trusted. He really has shown up in the last several weeks and kept my heart and mind at ease and given me such peace and rest. The great news now is that those PACs, well they’re gone, what a huge answer to prayer and aside from a potential follow up after she is born we have a healthy little girl in there who is growing and kicking and will hopefully be here so soon!
For those of you who might be wondering after my last ultrasound baby was measuring at 6 lbs 1 oz, however I know that those measurements can always be a little off, it does make me wonder if she will be a big baby when I deliver. Kyle was 6 lbs 11 oz and had to be induced several weeks early, while I was 6 lbs 12 oz and came naturally one week prior to my due date. I am just so curious to see if she will be early, right on time or a little stubborn and late. If you haven’t already you should check out the giveaway on our Instagram where we are inviting you all to guess her actual birthday along with birth weight and time.
Conley’s room is ALMOST done! Last week we worked really hard to hang up all the shelves in her room, curtains a mirror and we mounted her bookshelf. Most of the drawers in her dresser are now organized. We are now just waiting for a sign to come from Etsy that will hang above her crib as well as for me to makeup my mind on how I’d like to organize her closet as well as all of her adorable headbands.
As far as symptoms go, I can’t really say that much right now. My feet continue to swell by the end of the day especially the left one. I can’t fit into most of my shoes and so I stick to my birkenstocks, tennis shoes and thankfully now I have an excuse to wear my uggs now that the weather has cooled off. I still have not experienced any crazy cravings, and honestly I feel like my appetite isn’t nearly as crazy as before. I don’t feel nearly as hungry as I used to, but I think it’s because baby girl still hasn’t dropped yet and everything still feels a little crowded up near my stomach. I know that her head is down, but I am waiting for her to drop down lower so that I can breathe a little bit better. I am still doing my best to walk for at least 30 minutes or 2 miles each day and I also try to add in some light weight exercises and body weight exercises as well. I am thankfully still sleeping pretty well, besides waking up several times in the night to go to the bathroom, I am usually able to fall back asleep quickly and without any issues. I think the fact that I am still sleeping is the biggest blessing and my prayer is that I continue to sleep as much as possible before she comes and turns our little world upside down.
Now I wanted to also share some of the items that I have packed in my hospital bag! I am definitely still open to suggestions. I’ve been given lots of advice already on this topic and one of the main things that I have heard is not to overpack. However I am a chronic overpacker and I hate feeling unprepared so either way I’m sure I’ll pack things that I don’t need.
Comfy pajamas - I have about 2 pairs that I plan on bringing with me. They are very loose and the tops have buttons which will allow for easy access for nursing. I am also packing two nursing bras, a sleep bra as well as some nursing tank tops!
Flip flops- I work as a nurse in the hospital and if one thing grosses me out more than ever it is when patients and families walk around their rooms barefoot-- especially in the bathroom. The flip flops I got are from Old Navy and were literally $1.00. I can wear them in the hospital and in the shower and not feel bad about throwing them out afterwards
Slippers/Gripper Socks- I was told that if I didn’t want the luxury of wearing the hospital gripper socks I’d want to bring my own, and also hospitals are always cold so I wanted something soft and cozy to be able to put on my feet
My own pillow and blanket- I am pretty partial to my pillow and once again because I know the way that hospital pillows and blankets feel I wanted to be able to create some bit of comfort for myself while spending a couple nights in an unfamiliar bed.
Going home outfit for me- I initially bought a pair of Baobei postpartum support leggings that you are able to put on as soon after delivery as you’d like which help provide you with support so that you don’t feel like your organs are swimming around, but I also am bringing my caftan from Dwell and Slumber in case I’d rather have something flowy and not so tight. I was told by a friend that I may not want anything that is super tight right away especially to wear over the lovely hospital mesh underwear. (speaking of mesh underwear sorry if any guys are reading along, but I’ve decided that I would just wear what the hospital provides for now. I’ve heard mixed reviews about the always discreet and the depends, and so for now I’m going to wear the hospital ones and I’ll let you know what I think afterwards). I did however pack some Kindred Bravely postpartum underwear.
Toiletries- this might be a given, but I’ll be bringing my own toothbrush, toothpaste, brush, hair dryer (yes I refuse to use any hair dryer but my own) and probably a small stand up mirror in case I want to put on makeup while in bed.
Peri spray- I bought some Earth Mama perineal spray to use to aid in pain down below after delivery. I’ve heard great things about the Earth Mama product, especially this one in particular!
My Brest Friend pillow- A friend of mine was a postpartum nurse who mentioned that some lactation consultants would rather you not bring a nursing pillow to the hospital so that you are able to learn without one. I definitely receive this advice, but also want to learn how to use my pillow as well so I figured I’ll bring it and learn both ways. I decided on the Breast Friend after so many people mentioned to me how much they loved this one over their Boppy. I’ll keep you posted, but for now I think it’s great!
Outfits and swaddles for the baby- I’ve probably brought too many outfits for her already. I know that until she maintains her temperatures she will have to be in the hospital sleepsack and blankets, but of course I still wanted to bring some cute things to dress her up in while were in the hospital. I’ve packed my milkmaid goods bow and swaddle that matches a delivery robe that I will be wearing as well as her going home outfit, another swaddle and a couple sweet bows too!
What else should I toss in there?! I was told I should bring a long cell phone charger cord, but I haven’t gotten one of those quite yet! I don’t want to bring anything “too extra,” but if there is anything else you think that is a must please send your recommendations my way!