Pregnancy: Week 35

>> Thursday, May 26, 2016

I feel like I'm just coming up for air this week -- and it's Thursday! So, we have a lot of stuff going on. It started with Ada's dance recital last weekend, which was quite time consuming (and adorable), but we've been dealing with some other medical stuff. Without going into the gory details -- Ada has a rash. We have now been to four doctors and no one can tell us what it is. I've been in and out of appointments and tests for the last two weeks.

She's doing fine otherwise -- but it's unnerving not knowing what is going on. We've also missed all but one day of school this week, meaning I've had zero work time and my house is an utter disaster.

Excuses out of the way -- here's my week 35 pregnancy post.

And bump shot:

I had an ultrasound yesterday! Those of you who followed during Ada's pregnancy know that I had something like 8 ultrasounds with her due to all my contractions. My midwife this time around didn't do that. At (many) times, it frustrated me immensely. I hadn't seen Baby E since week 18, so nearly 18 weeks with no view into the uterus.

I had no idea we'd get a 3D picture:

They estimate her weight at around 5.5 pounds. I know the projections are notoriously wrong, but if babies gain 1/2 a pound per week, that puts her on track to weigh as much as Ada. Her head is measuring right on, along with most of her body. Her waist is a week or so behind. Ada's was that way, too, so I'm not terribly worried. Baby is head-down for the time being but does seem to be a bit on the posterior side (which I could have told you without seeing her). All the systems look healthy and like they're functioning, along with my placenta, and etc. Very reassuring.

Thank goodness for central air. At one of Ada's appointments this morning, they stuck us in this tiny room and the air wasn't working. It was 80 degrees, stagnant, and I seriously almost passed out. I had to go to the lobby and ask for water (I did so rather dramatically, which was totally unintentional). Outside wasn't any better for the rest of our errands, so we've retreated indoors and set the thermostat much lower than we usually keep it (70 degrees versus 73, oh my!).

This weekend is supposed to be wicked hot, too. I'm trying to lay low, do my walking and exercise indoors, and I'm drinking over 100 ounces of water.

I toured the hospital with the NICU last weekend. After my post about pregnancy anxiety + GBS, I have had some progress in my own fears. The thing is, I know what will be will be. I just want to make sure we're doing everything we can. That we have a plan in place. That I don't feel completely blindsided no matter if everything is completely fine or turns out horribly. I talked at length with my midwife, and we do have plans for different scenarios in place, so all is good (or at least as good as it can be).

I ordered Ada's big sister gift. I decided to get her a couple friends to help her through her transition from single to sibling. Have you guys seen these Lottie Dolls? They're adorable. I got her the Muddy Puddles and Pandora's Box. Ada is getting Baby E a Fisher Price Seahorse. Since she has pink, she got her sister a blue one.

Her sister. I am pinching myself. Is this real?

Sitting in chairs -- dining room, office, car, etc. -- is what really kicks up my Braxton Hicks contractions. I need to either be standing, on all fours, or laying down. I'm really frustrated because the car is especially bad and my 15-year high school reunion is this weekend, but I decided to skip it.

I think one of my biggest frustrations during my pregnancy was not being classed as high risk. There were advantages and disadvantages. I don't really understand why I wasn't high risk, but between all the miscarriages, constant contractions, the history of a child with a congenital brain condition, and GBS UTIs, I felt like I've needed closer monitoring.

It's pretty late now, but I am mostly frustrated with myself for not exploring and finding out why I didn't have as much monitoring. Everything has been OK, thankfully, but I feel like a lot of my worries and anxieties could have been alleviated with some extra checkups and scans that several of my friends with similar circumstances were given. 

Other stuff:

  • Weight gain: 20 pounds total
  • Days till due date: 31 -- a month!
  • Days till gestation when I had Ada: 19
  • Cravings: Just very hungry in general. Rice Crispy treats. Nectarines and strawberries. Runny eggs (but I'm waiting on those).
  • Other weird symptoms: My hands are starting to get swollen which may be from the heat. I also have a bad case of pregnancy brain. Out of breath. Just generally slower and not feeling at all like my old self. I don't remember feeling this way with Ada. Five years makes a big difference, I guess.
  • Biggest complaint: I cannot keep my house clean and it's really bugging me. Nesting is in full force, and all I want is to be able to eat off the floor. This weekend is going to be a lot of deep cleaning. #allthevinegar
  • My prediction on baby's birthday: June 12, mid-afternoon
  • Recent purchase: A diaper bag of sorts. The Kavu Railslide in Campground. I love it. I also bought one of those Shredded Memory Foam pillows and it's amazing.

Other updates:
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Green in 15: Dishwasher Tabs

>> Tuesday, May 17, 2016

It's been a while since I did a Green in 15 post. If you're new to this series, so far I've covered how to revamp your cleaning with natural supplies and all the details about our no more paper towels system.

I've been making our own dishwasher detergent for quite a while now. We keep it in powder form in a small jar near the dishwasher. We fill the rinse dispenser with vinegar and occasionally add essential oils for extra punch. The thing is, even with my airtight container, the mixture gets clumpier than I'd like. Plus, I eventually decided we needed to change our formula to help with water stains from our hard water.

So, I searched around on Pinterest and found basically 10,000 slight variations on this recipe. The epsom salt helps with hard water while the addition of vinegar and essential oils help bind everything together and get dishes smelling great.


What you'll need . . .

  • 2 cups washing soda (or baking soda)
  • 2 cups borax
  • 1/2 cup epsom salts (or kosher salt)
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar 
  • 20 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 ice cube trays
  • Airtight container for storage

Method . . . 

  1. Simply mix together all the dry ingredients and then add the wet. It will start clumping on its own -- just make sure it's well incorporated.
  2. Then press mixture into your ice cube trays and packed as it will go.
  3. Let dry 24 hours (I found that overnight was long enough for me) before popping out of the molds.
  4. Store in airtight container.

To use:

Put one tab in your machine's slot. Pour 1/4 to 1/2 vinegar in the bottom of the machine to act as an extra rise aid (again -- we have really hard water, I just do this anyway). And run the machine as usual. These tabs work well even on my machine's eco-setting that doesn't use super hot water or drying.


Green in 15: No More Paper Towels
Green in 15: Revamping Your Cleaning
DIY Natural Lotion Cubes
Powerful DIY Laundry Detergent
Cleaning with Vinegar
5 Green Cleaners That Work
5-Minute Homemade Deodorant
8 Ways We've Eliminated Plastics
Cleaning Produce The Natural Way
Chemical-Free Clean With Castile Soap

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to the feed of these posts or follow us on Twitter or Facebook to be the first to know what the (never home)makers are up to. And we’ll love you forever!


Pregnancy Anxiety and GBS

>> Monday, May 16, 2016

If you've been reading a few years, you sort of "know" me and my tendencies to be, well, wound. I'd say over the last several years, my levels of anxiety have certainly been heightened, especially related to medical stuff.

I mean, I had a terribly irritable uterus in my first pregnancy and always feared I was going into labor from week 17 onward. Then Ada was diagnosed with a brain issue and had a craniotomy with all sorts of risks. After that, we had a short reprieve before the miscarriages started. Oh, and Ada ended up getting the second stage of Lyme disease last summer and I'm not adding in some medical stuff other immediate family has dealt with.

During pregnancy, I've had worry that's both generalized and specific. Of course, I worried early on that I'd miscarry again. But I also received news at an early appointment that I was "highly colonized" with group B strep (GBS) in my urine. This is totally different from the swab at the end of pregnancy. Having this bug in your urine means active infection that needs treatment with antibiotics at the time of diagnosis and then again at delivery. It also increases your chances of passing on GBS to your baby four-fold over regular carriage.

I found out in my second trimester and then again last week that the bacteria was back (so, three times now -- same "infection" levels). I didn't have symptoms this last time at all really, but I asked to be tested out of curiosity. GBS in the urine, which is only found in like 5 percent of women, can put you at risk for preterm labor, premature rupture of membranes, low birth weight, and a host of other bad things, even possible passage of the bacteria to the baby before birth, though rare.

Compared to a woman who simply tests positive with a GBS culture between 35-37 weeks, there's like a 1 in 25 versus a 1 in 200 chance the baby will get the bacteria at birth, too. This figure is if the woman does not receive a dose of antibiotics during labor at least four hours before delivery (doctors prefer to give two doses over 8 hours). And my labor with Ada was like 5-1/2 hours. I am also allergic to the "most effective" drug of choice, penicillin.  

(Other high risk factors include if you gave birth to a child previously infected with GBS, if you deliver before 37 weeks, if you have a fever during labor, or if your water is ruptured more than 18 hours before delivery. I don't mean to overwhelm. I do medical writing over at Healthline these days, so I suppose I'm in the habit of being thorough.)

So, as you can imagine I've been more than slightly freaked out about this situation. The storm clouds are seriously looming over my head. My midwife assures me everything is fine. GBS is no biggie. That complications are rare. That I seem to have "antepartum anxiety" that is leading me to make a bigger deal of this than needs to be. The thing is, though, I'm not entirely sure this "anxiety" is unfounded. Ada's brain condition is one that affects less than 1 percent of people, mostly males. Having three miscarriages back-to-back only happens to roughly 1 percent of women.

We're like the family of rare stuff over here. I try my best not to feel doomed . . . but I also have a history of being blindsided. I want to be prepared and educated about something that could potentially be serious.

So, now I'm deciding what to do. I have an appointment on Friday and I truly feel like all my words are lost. Like I am not being taken seriously with my concerns. I am planning to deliver at the hospital in the area that doesn't have a NICU, but part of me wants to consider changing that plan in the event that something "rare" again happens to us, to our baby.

I understand that there's a good chance everything will be fine. But if something went wrong, I feel like I wouldn't be able to forgive myself for not trying my hardest to set us up for the best-case scenario. Like I said, I just don't feel confident I'll get the IV meds before delivery if it's as fast or faster than when I had Ada. Even if I do, I'm that high risk group and allergic to the best med -- how effective will it be?


I'm also frustrated that doctors seem to treat this condition in different ways. Mine only wants to give meds if things are causing symptoms. We haven't done follow-up tests after the meds to make sure it has cleared, which is why I've ended up asking for additional tests. Others the the whole "test of cure" after meds are over. And they continue medications -- sometimes low-dose suppression therapy throughout pregnancy -- if the bacteria persists.

The thing is: This stuff isn't making my cry. I'm not having panic attacks. I'm even sleeping quite well at night. (Though, I should probably stop reading websites like The Jesse Cause.) At what point is genuine, founded concern something that morphs into irrational anxiety? I suppose this is a question I should explore with a therapist or something. I don't really know. Writing is helping me sort out the discussion I plan to have at my next appointment. In my head, I feel I'm being incredibly rational and level-headed.

Thanks for listening. And I know I'm generally in the whole crunchy way of doing things, but I really don't believe in all the methods I've been reading across the internet to trick the GBS swab test. I mean, who is that going to benefit? Of course having medication when it may not be necessary is a concern, and gut flora is important, and yadda yadda. But, please, don't go and try to trick a medical test for something that could have consequences if not properly diagnosed. That's just my plea from all the forum posts and blog posts I've come across (written by people like me who have no business giving medical advice!).

At the same time, some of this information can be useful. I am attempting to help lower my colony counts by drinking unsweetened cranberry juice, eating garlic, taking two Femdophilus probiotics per day, eating lots of yogurt, and dramatically lowering my sugar intake. I figure these measures can't hurt -- but so far, I've still got the bug. I am surely getting the IV meds (or at least really hope I'll be able to in time).

BTW: I know this post was no fun! I'll be back tomorrow with a Green in 15: Dishwasher tablets recipe.

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