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Friday Update: Week 24

PhotobucketContinuing with last week’s baby’s-size-is-a-shoe theme, this week baby is about as big as a shoe box at almost 12 inches long! Here’s a picture of a Rocket Dog shoe box because I love my Rocket Dog flats!

This week I have noticed some nesting starting. Very light nesting, and it is mostly interior decorating thoughts than cleaning and organizing.I can feel myself starting to obsess – I know it’s bad when I have dreams about the supplies I’ve bought and the things I want to do with them. Fabric has been dancing in my head – it’s taking over!

Next week I’m off work for Spring Break, which is probably a catalyst because I want to get so many projects done in that time. Here are some of the things I’m hoping to accomplish:

  • Frame two new posters: I bought two new Degas prints because I didn’t think any of the art I already had fit the color scheme we’ve chosen for the nursery. Also, my currently held prints and general vision for the space isn’t very girly, so I figured some whimsical Degas dancers would feminize everything a bit. I’m excited to post pictures of those when I’m done!
  • Start the giant mobile that I’ve been talking about: I have a bunch of paper lanterns being delivered today and I already bought fabric for the poofs so it’s time to get started. I have two lanterns that I dion’t have to do anything to, two lanterns that I’m covering in a specific color with tissue paper, two lanterns to make poofs of and two that I’m going to cover in paper flowers.
  • Make a crib skirt (I foudn yet another awesome online tutorial): After weeks of obsessing and searching, I finally found what I think is the perfect fabric for the crib skirt, pillows and who knows what else. I ordered it from Mountain of the Dragon on Etsy. Monica was awesome and helpful, plus it looks like the shipping will be really fast. I was going to buy a crib skirt already completed from this fabric, but I wound up getting twice the fabric AND a used sewing machine on Craig’s List for even less than I would have paid for the crib skirt.
  • Since I want to make a crib skirt I’m going to have to buy a crib: I kind of wanted to put this one off, mostly because it’s going to take up space and looking at an empty crib for three months could be kind of weird. However, we need a place to put the stuff we’ve started to accumulate so I guess an empty crib isn’t so bad.
  • Get started on a crochet project.

I think that should keep me busy, but if it doesn’t I do have a few things to finish from my second trimester to-do list, including writing our living and final wills with Mr. Handsome. Plus doing a bunch of fun stuff with Kiddo1! Visiting the zoo is a given, probably the science center, taking the dog to the park, building legos, reading, bike riding, getting exhausted just thinking about it all, you name it!

Anyway, here are some things that actually happened this week (as opposed to things I’ve just thought of):

  • Total weight gain: 18 pounds (maybe 19, but I’m probably low-balling again this week). At least a full pound of that is all baby though, depending on which pregnancy app you trust the most. Baby will gain a quarter pound a week (!) for the next six weeks or so. Good luck to me in keeping my pound-a-week goal.
  • Cravings: Junk food, any and all matter of junk food. And not just the chocolate stuff but fried foods, cheesy/creamy foods (Mmmm, Panera Mac ‘N Cheese…), processed foods, all the good stuff. I’m forcing myself to eat a big salad for dinner tonight.
  • Coolest symptom: I feel like baby kicks have dominated this bullet for the last few weeks. This week they’re still pretty darn cool and I have noticed that they’re getting a bit higher in my abdomen. Other cool things also include the thicker nails and softer hair that I noticed a couple weeks ago. Mr. Handsome would probably put the huge boobs in this bullet too.
  • Lamest symptom: The linea negra is totally here, as I had speculated two weeks ago. This isn’t really lame, but it is the lamest thing I could think of. I had a very dark linea negra with Baby1 so I was expecting this! Also, the last two nights I have been woken at 2 am with what I can only imagine are Braxton Hicks contractions. I need to look into this further…
  • Exercise this week (the goal is 210 minutes): 215 minutes! This week I got a much healthier balance of cardio, yoga and weights, too, with 105 minutes of cardio (all elliptical except for 20 minutes of vigorous vacuuming), 90 minutes of yoga and 20 minutes of arms.

Finally, Baby2’s happenings, courtesy babycenter.com:

Your baby’s growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him or her at just over a pound. Since your baby is almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he or she cuts a pretty lean figure at this point. But your baby’s body is filling out proportionally and it will soon start to plump up. His or her brain is growing quickly now, and taste buds are continuing to develop. Your baby’s lungs are developing “branches” of the respiratory “tree” as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help air sacs in the lungs inflate once your baby hits the outside world. His or her skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.

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A Strange Dream… and Breast Pumps

Pregnant women are no strangers to odd dreams. This is a well-known fact. I don’t know why pregnancy messes with dreams but it does.

I’ve had a vivid dream pretty much every night of this pregnancy so far. I can’t always recall them in the morning, but I know I had one. I’m quite a dreamer normally too, but I don’t always get to dream nightly.

Last night’s was just so lifelike and strange that I wanted to write it down as soon as I could. Granted, this is a good 13 hours since I woke this morning, but better late than never.

The first part I remember, I was in labor. It seemed to be a fairly good labor, not too out-of-control painful like I remember with my first. I don’t know if I was at home or at the hospital, but I was walking freely. I was trying to push and it wasn’t too productive so I decided to take a bathroom break. On my way there I had a huge urge to push, squatted down and pop! Out came the baby who I half caught and half landed on the floor. The baby was small, but not too small. Newborn sized, I guess. We didn’t know what we were having (which is odd because I HAVE to know) and I searched and searched for “the goods” and finally found tiny boy parts (you know, newborn sized).

Next thing we were at home. Mr. Handsome must have been at work because all the scenes are now just me and Kiddo1. I seemed to scatter-brained, like I had lost all concept of time. I would go a solid day without feeding my baby, then frantically fed him. I would forget to pick up Kiddo1 from school and he walked in the door at 4:40, a good two hours after school gets out, saying I forgot him and he had to walk by himself (which is only five blocks but apparently he waited for me for awhile). At one point I frantically decided I needed to pump some breast milk and did so with lightening speed with a very awesome Avent double electric breast pump that I’ve had my eye on in real life. This pump pulled a good 4-6 oz (whatever the size of those small Avent bottles is, we used those with Baby1) out of me in maybe two seconds.

I woke up and all I could think about was breast pumps. All day long. How do I find one that literally sucked the milk out of me in in an instant like it did in my dream?

As a soon-to-be breastfeeding mother who will be returning to a full-time job over a dozen miles from home, the breast pump is very important to me. With Baby1 I got, get this, a hand-powered single pump. It probably took 20 minutes of pumping to get a few ounces. On one boob. (snicker) It was active, manual labor. I couldn’t do anything but pump as it required both hands (one to pump, one to support). I will NOT do that again! Especially since this time I won’t have a conference room all to myself to pump in luxury and I will have very limited free time (I used to work in a corporate office with only a couple employees and lots of free rooms. It was a small company with a lot of branch offices. Very cushy job. Why did I go back to school and leave it?).

Given my current work environment is “cube land” with already over-booked conference rooms that don’t lock and have big ol’ interior windows, my options for pumping space are either the “quiet room” that is on the other side of the building (someone figured out that it is a quarter mile round trip) or a bathroom stall. Glamorous.

I also now have a position that is much more demanding on my time, with days filled with meetings and project plans. Luckily I have mandatory breaks (that I don’t currently use but will have to start!). Still, I need a pump that works fast.

While it is still early to purchase a pump, it is never too early to research. Might as well start now while it’s on my mind!

Quick run-down of my pump requirements:

  • It must be fast, a double-pump is required.
  • It must be electric and preferably has a battery-operated option (I can only plug-in if I walk all the way over to the “quiet room”).
  • It must be relatively compact so that I can lug it back and forth to work each day.
  • It must be comfortable.
  • It should be quiet. Everyone (well, all the ladies in the bathroom) will know that I’m pumping and I’m cool with that, but I would still like to keep the noise to a minimum.

Here are the brands I’m reviewing:

PhotobucketAvent Isis Double Electric ($200, $170 on Amazon)

Pros:

  • Quick – reviewers consistently state they’ve been able to pump 5-6 oz in 10 minutes from one breast.
  • Powerful (one reviewer favorably compared it to a hospital-grade pump)
  • Customizable pace with memory and speed controls right on the neck of the pump
  • Quiet
  • Pump right into the same bottles you can use for feeding (although I’m interested in trying glass bottles this time)

Cons:

  • Lots of parts to put together (although another reviewer said there were only four parts and it was easy to clean, so I guess this one is all about perspective)
  • Not battery operated!

PhotobucketMedela Pump In Style ($300, $280 on Amazon)

Pros:

  • Battery pack
  • Fits in (and comes with) a backpack (or tote, depending on which one you get)
  • “Let down” and “expression” cycles mimic baby’s rhythm. Also customizable.
  • Easy to purchase spare parts

Cons:

  • Not as quick as Avent – one reviewed quotes 6-8oz in 20 minutes, both breasts (Avent could do that in half the time).
  • Jury is out on the noise factor
  • Reviewed that the battery pack doesn’t last too long (out before 30 minutes were up on one review). Takes EIGHT AA batteries.
  • Expensive
  • Bottles/bags seem cheap and are not convenient (nipples not included, bags are twist-tie, etc)

PhotobucketLansinoh Affinity ($150, $130 on Amazon)

Pros:

  • Battery operated (only six AA batteries)
  • Seems small enough (looks pretty compact from the picture anyway)
  • No complaints about the comfort level
  • Customizable speeds – 8 suction and 6 cycle settings
  • East to Clean – No need to clean tubing because closed system does not allow milk to back flow.
  • Perhaps even one-handed operation because the two pumps sit on one base
  • Conversion kit for Avent bottles

Cons:

  • More than a couple reviews said that the suction quality reduces over time.
  • Loud (more reviewers said it was loud than those who said, basically, “it seems quiet but I have nothing to compare it to.”)
  • Need to purchase a carrying case and cooler separately (I don’t really see this as much of a con because I already have a few bags that can work)

Whew! I know that’s only three and there are lots of other pumps out there, but my research will have to be suspended for today. It is now 15 hours since I woke up and I’m sleepy! I think this is a good preliminary start though. At least it is helping me craft my qualifications, as it seems that multiple suction/cycle settings are helpful and the ability to locate spare parts is necessary. It also must be quick and easy to clean because that will cut into my time too.

More to come, and probably some more weird dream stories too!

Friday Update: Week 16

PhotobucketBaby is as big as an iphone this week! Four and a half inches long – holy cow!

This week my head has been in some strange places. I’m not really emotional, per se, at least I’m not having any spontaneous crying or crazy fits (whew!). But I am having other odd moods.

First off, “pregnancy brain” seems to have hit pretty hard. At work I’m usually the first to come up with a few ideas, but this week the boss asked to brainstorm project ideas for this year and I came up with nothing. Flat out, nothing. This never happens! Our company is in constant flux and growth so there’s always something to think of to be improved. And I come up with nothing. Nice. At least he understands; his wife just gave birth last month.

Also, I’ve had crazy anxiety about the sex of our baby! Ugh! Why am I stressing out over something that I have absolutely no control over?! Mr. Handsome and I would really like a girl this time, mostly to even out the sexes in our household. However, a boy wouldn’t be so bad either, as we have prior experience and Kiddo1 really would like a younger brother. No matter what the outcome, I know we’ll be excited and thrilled to welcome another member to the family! I just need to quit stressing out about it!

So I’m working on getting my head back under control. Mind over matter!

The weekly summary:

  • Total weight gain: 8 pounds. The pound a week trend is keeping up. I’m trying to be okay with this (I know it isn’t a bad thing though!).
  • Cravings: dark chocolate. I can’t get enough. Chocolate makes happy babies, though. Google it.
  • Coolest symptom: Mr. Handsome and I heard an amazing and strong heartbeat of 160 BPM at our appointment on Tuesday! The midwife also said that my uterus is measuring 3.5cm below my belly button which is right on track.
  • Lamest symptom: I’ve had this weird stabbing pain in my upper abdomen the past few afternoons. It comes around about 4:00 and leaves in about an hour. I mentioned this to the midwife and she didn’t seem too concerned. I will monitor this and call if it sticks around much longer. Also, the headaches are getting bad again. I’m considering acupuncture and just found out that my insurance covers some of it too!
  • Exercise this week: I added this bullet to motivate my exercising. If this information is out there for all to see then I’ll force myself to fill this spot with awesomeness. This week wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either. I did 45 minutes of walking and 90 minutes of yoga (three sessions of 15, 30 and 45 minutes each). I still didn’t make it on the elliptical, but only because I really fell in love with the yoga! It is so relaxing but surprisingly effective! My core finally feels like it’s getting some attention again. I have a feeling I’m going to need those muscles in a few months. (I have taken several yoga classes before so no worries about not knowing what I’m doing and screwing up my body and what not.)

Science time:

Get ready for a growth spurt. In the next few weeks, your baby will double his or her weight and add inches in length. Right now, he or she is about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. Your baby’s legs are much more developed, his or her head is more erect than it has been, and his or her eyes have moved closer to the front of the head. Your baby’s ears are close to their final position, too. The patterning of his or her scalp has begun, though hair isn’t recognizable yet. Your baby has even started growing toenails. And there’s a lot happening inside as well. For example, your baby’s heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, and this amount will continue to rise.