Monday, August 31, 2009

Aaron and I discussed it and...

We're going to change the baby's name. I know I committed to Sophia and I believe it's a beautiful name, but as I go about trying to think of the baby as Sophia, it just doesn't seem to fit. We're working on a new one and I think we've got it, but given my tendency to be "wishy washy" when it comes to naming children, we'll keep it under wraps until she's born. It's lovely though and Biblical and most importantly, it just seems to fit! :)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

35 Weeks!

Well, the 35-week mark is here. This week is a major milestone for me. If I make it through the next week with no complications, it more than likely means no hospital stay PRIOR to delivery. I feel great (only slightly like a walking time bomb). I had an appointment yesterday and all was good. The baby was moving so much, the nurse had to turn the sound on the machine down because it was disturbing people in the hallway. :) The next appointment is Tuesday and I am feeling really good about things.

In other news, I have to admit that I'm re-thinking the baby's name. I know we have a great story for the name, but all of the sudden, it seems like everyone I run into has a little Sophia. Being one of about 4 Melissa's in every class I was in in school, I'm getting cold feet. It happened with both Grace and Noah and we ended up naming them what we'd planned, so it doesn't necessarily mean we'll change it, but it is weighing on my mind.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

When she grows up...

Grace wants to be a medicine-giver-outer (aka pharmacist).

I thought I'd document that for her, so she'll know what her first career aspiration was.

Why the interest in being a pharmacist when most kids her age want to be a fireman or ballerina you ask? Well, thanks to the gestational diabetes we've made quite a few trips to the pharmacy lately for lancets, test strips, insulin, and syringes. Miss Grace has been quite fascinated by the medicine-giver-outers and REALLY wants one of those cool white coats someday. :) Ah, to be driven by the simple things.

For the record, when Tyler was Grace's age, he wanted to be a calculator. I love these kiddos!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

34 weeks +3 days - Status Report

I had my first NST for this pregnancy this morning, followed by an appointment with the doctor. I'll be going in every Tuesday and Friday now for NSTs with doctor's appointments following every Tuesday.

Today's visit was good....apparently I am "the picture of health...for someone with chronic hypertension and gestational diabetes." So basically I'm "in good shape for the shape I'm in." :) Sophie looked great in the NST. She moved like crazy and when she did, her heart accelerated just like it's supposed to. My blood pressure was good (for me), no protein in my urine, measuring right on target.

I'm extremely pleased with the way the appointment went, but can't help but think about the fact that the 35-week mark is RIGHT around the corner (as a reminder, I ended up in the hospital at 35 weeks with both Grace and Noah for the remainder of the pregnancy). Strangely, in both cases, it was like a flip was switched at that point because all had been well prior to that time. So, if NEXT Tuesday's appointment is as positive, I will really have something to celebrate. I know if I have to be admitted prior to 36 weeks, I'm looking at a hospital stay prior to delivery, while after 36 weeks they'll probably just go ahead and deliver. I remember how hard it was for me to be away from my family for a week and a half prior to Noah's birth when I was confined to the hospital and really hope to not have to do that again.

Regardless of what happens in the next week, we have AT MOST 5 weeks til we meet Miss Sophia. I can't believe how it's flown by!

Sunday, August 23, 2009


*Warning: this is probably an irrational pregnant woman rant!*

WHY, oh WHY did the makers of a very popular children's show (Thomas and Friends) give one of the main characters the name "Percy?" Didn't they know they the "r" sound is one of the last ones kids master? Noah is a Thomas JUNKIE...and Percy is one of his favorites, but he cannot get that "er" sound in the middle right and it comes out sounding like a VERY unpleasant word. And he says it 100 times a day...and sings songs even.

We try to laugh it off, but it's a little disconcerting for Aaron and me (and you should SEE the looks we get when strangers hear him say it). Guess we'll be working on the "er" sound in the very near future. Sure would have been nice if they'd named him Nick though!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Just a quick update...

We had an u/s today and...

-Baby Sophie is doing well.
-She weighs around 5 lbs (79th's worth pointing out that Noah was off the charts at this stage).
-She is no longer breech (which could explain why I'm feeling a little more comfortable lately).
-Amniotic fluid is within normal range, but on the high side.
-My blood pressure is starting to creep up, but not concerning at this point.

The doctor I saw today (who is normally the most optimistic of the bunch) did not seem to think it likely that we'll make it to the 9-30 c-section, but is happy with where things are at the moment.

We head to the beach Saturday! Woohoo!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Finding the Positive in Gestational Diabetes...

As I've mentioned in previous posts, I have officially been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes. It's VERY likely that I also had it in my last two pregnancies, but that it went undiagnosed because of later onset. Given this, when I failed my 1-hour glucose tolerance test (by just 4 points) this time, I chose to forgo 3 hour testing and just proceed with diet/blood sugar monitoring. Sure enough, my sugars were beautifully controlled for about the first 7 days (which means I probably would have passed that 3 hour test anyway), but at that point, my fasting blood sugars started getting out of whack (which according to my doc means that I definitely have GD...if I didn't, my sugars would ALWAYS be in range REGARDLESS of what I ate). Fasting sugars should be 95 or lower and even ON THE DIET, I was getting readings of around 107-112. So, I started taking 3 units of insulin at bedtime. Since then, the insulin has been increased every few days. I'm now getting fasting numbers between 97 and 102 so we're getting close (though I'm now up to 25 units nightly).

Everyone seems to think a gestational diabetes diagnosis is terrible, but I'm happy to report that it's not all that bad. In the grand scheme of pregnancy complications, it's one of the few that I can actually do something about. So, here's the positive spin...

1) The injections REALLY AREN'T THAT BAD. This is coming from a total needle-phobe. I hate shots and anything related, so if I can give myself a shot every evening, it CAN'T be that bad. Now, the blood sugar checking lancets are a tiny bit bad, but I keep reminding myself...this is a short term thing!

2) The diet isn't THAT restricting and is "forcing me" to give Miss Sophia a good start. Are there things I miss? You betcha! I've told Aaron that once this baby girl is delivered, I expect him to be at Krispy Kreme as soon as the "Hot 'n Now" sign is turned on to pick me up a soft, warm, piece 'o Heaven. It's a funny thing because despite living in Krispy Kreme's hometown, I probably eat the doughnuts maybe twice a year tops, but knowing they are on the bad list has made them incredibly attractive. And yeah, there are other high carb/low nutrient foods that I'm avoiding, but there are still plenty of yummy things that I CAN eat and I am definitely not starving! Most fruits and vegetables are safe foods and I'm eating them more than I normally would.

3) The pregnancy weight gain (or lack thereof) ROCKS! For background, I gained 45 lbs with Tyler, 58 lbs with Grace, and somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 lbs with Noah (I honestly stopped looking at the scale!) This pregnancy, I was +14 lbs at 26 weeks (which was about 20 lbs less than previous pregnancies at that point) and since starting the GD diet, I've lost 2 lbs and held there for 6 weeks. So, I'm +12 at 32 weeks. Ultrasound tomorrow will confirm this, but I KNOW the baby is growing just fine (she was already 3 lbs at 28 weeks), so this is a good thing. My doctors told me early on that gaining less weight could help delay (though not prevent) pre-eclampsia and could lessen the side effects (i.e. pulmonary edema) after delivery if I DO develop Pre-E again. So, I've been a lot more careful with my diet throughout this pregnancy and the GD diagnosis has just made me MORE careful. In previous pregnancies, my ankles and feet have rivaled Fred Flinstone by the half-way point. This time, despite being in the middle of a hot, humid NC summer, I'm experiencing almost no swelling!

4) It's the third trimester and I feel incredibly not bad! For fun, I was looking back at blogs from my pregnancy with Noah and realized that I'm not nearly as miserable this late in the game this time around. Now, admittedly earlier in the pregnancy, I felt pretty bad. I had daily headaches for the first two-thirds of pregnancy and was so exhausted in the second trimester I could barely function. However, since I started "the diet" I've felt much more like a human being.

So, there you have it. Why, to me, Gestational Diabetes really isn't THAT bad. Sure, it's inconvenient and takes some getting used to, but there are some definite benefits of getting diagnosed and getting it under control! I'm really thankful that my doctors allowed me to take control of this situation (and didn't insist that I go through "standard procedure") and grateful for the overall positive impact the diagnosis has had on me.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Waiting (and Anticipating)...

First of all, I am happy to report that right now I feel GREAT (well other than feeling like my pubic bone is splitting right down the middle). Given the way I felt back in the second trimester, I think my body's totally confused. You're SUPPOSED to feel great in the second trimester and I was a walking zombie. My guess is that getting my iron to more normal levels and controlling my blood sugar level are the big factors in my renewed energy/spirit. I'm not sure, but whatever it is, I'll take it!

Given the issues I've had in previous pregnancies, I have kind of set "mini milestones" for myself as we go through the final 2 months. Today, I hit the first one...the 32 week mark. Of course, I don't want to have the baby right now...I want her to keep "baking" as long as possible, but 32 weeks is a stage where baby is generally expected to do well if delivery becomes urgent. To me, it's a point where if my health takes a sudden turn for the scary, I would be less guilt-ridden about agreeing to delivery. (Just to catch anyone up who DOESN'T know my prior history, things have taken a sudden turn for me at 37 weeks with Tyler and at about 35 weeks for both Grace and Noah, when I developed pre-eclampsia with each. Tyler was induced/delivered immediately, and with both Grace and Noah, I was hospitalized for 7-10 days before they were delivered by c-section at around 36 weeks).

Given that we are nearing the homestretch, I can't help but start to play out the potential scenarios in my head, so thought I'd post them in my blog.

Scenario #1: "In it til the end"
This is the one that I always operate under the assumption of (though so far, it's never come to fruition). I have a c-section scheduled for September 30 at 8:30 am. At that point, I will be 39 weeks and 4 days pregnant. While this is the one we ALL hope for (because it's the one with less risk for everyone involved), it's also very hard for me to fathom. I've had three kids and have NEVER "done" the last month of pregnancy. Given the misery I've been in during the part I DID make it through, I can't imagine it. Apparently my doctors seem to think it's a possibility, so I'm holding out what I call "tempered hope." I don't mean to sound cynical, but until I sail past the 35 week mark, September 30 is merely a date chosen to satisfy legal requirements to not schedule a c-section prior to 39 weeks.

Scenario #2: We'll call this one "Sophie's Choice"
This is also a favorable option. In this one, we have no complications and I go into labor on my own when little Sophia is ready (past 37 weeks and prior to the scheduled c-section), get to the hospital and have that c-section right away. I have to say, deep down, I kind of hold out hope for this one. This is definitely my last child and so far, I've never experienced the whole "going into labor on my own" thing. Granted, it does sort of scare the heck out of me. I can't help but think that if I make it to this point, I'll be the one who ruins someone's furniture or carpet when my water breaks at an inopportune moment. I vaguely remember contractions from Tyler's induced birth almost 14 years ago and well, I can't say they were pleasant (but on a positive note, they were MUCH more pleasant than a kidney stone!) I also have some slight worries about uterine rupture and that kind of thing, since I've now had 2 c-sections, but honestly that doesn't keep me up at night.

Scenario #3: The "Bail Out"
Though not as favorable as option #1 and option #2, this is the only one I've ever known. My doctors have made it pretty clear to me in the last two pregnancies that once I hit the 36 week mark, if ANYTHING starts to go wrong, we'll bail out and deliver. They consider this a very safe point to deliver (and that has been true with both Grace and Noah) and it's the point where if my blood pressure starts to rise or any other complications surface, the risks of a slightly early delivery well outweigh the risks of NOT delivering. While I do work under the "In it til the end" assumption, I have to admit that I have looked at a calendar to see where 36 weeks falls. With both Grace and Noah, the doctors have allowed me to pick the birthday within that week. So, IF the bail out scenario happens again and I get to pick the day, I probably won't be able to resist 9-9-09 (which falls at 36 weeks, 4 days). Especially given that this is my first baby that wasn't DUE on the 9th of the might be kind of cool for her to be the only one actually BORN on the 9th. And, both Grace and Noah were born fairly close to 9am, so I have even entertained a 9:09 am delivery and a 9lb, 9 ounce baby (hey, sounds far fetched but it COULD happen).

Scenario #4: The Scenario That Cannot be Named
Frankly, this is one I don't think about. This would be an emergency situation that required immediate delivery. It would, of course, be the least favorable of all. However, I count my blessings with each week that passes and as I mentioned in the beginning of this blog, we are now to a point where the potential outcome is very good (and it just gets better from here!)

So, there you have it... regardless of which scenario plays out, we have AT MOST 7 weeks and 4 days til baby Sophie's arrival. This pregnancy has absolutely flown by. I'm thankful for my family and my work for keeping me too busy to worry, thankful for a team of doctors in whom I have complete trust, and thankful for your prayers. We have an u/s this coming Wednesday and barring any drastic changes at that point, my doctors have agreed to let me take a much-needed beach vacation during my 33rd week. After that, we'll go for twice-weekly NSTs. When we get to that point, I'll try to update weekly since it's typically when the "fun" begins! Stay tuned!

Saturday, August 01, 2009

We got our sign...(and I DO mean that literally!)

As I've alluded to in previous posts, naming this baby girl has not been an easy task. With our first two children, I've said to Aaron "I think we should name the baby (fill in the blank)!" and he's said "Okay." Easy, peasy, DONE! Well, this time was different. As soon as we found out we were having a girl I said to Aaron "I think we should name the baby Claire Margaret!" He didn't really object for a few weeks, but at some point he decided he didn't like it. That really put a wrench in things for me because my mind was made up. Back to the drawing board? That was unchartered territory!

For a while, Aaron pushed for Olivia Rose. Don't get me wrong, I think Olivia is a beautiful name, but I already know several little Olivia's and it just didn't feel like "the one." Then somehow we came up with Sophia. Though I know it's also very popular, we don't personally know any little girls named Sophia. While we both had other favorites, this was one that we both liked quite a bit. Still, I couldn't quite seem to let go of Claire and we just didn't know how to come up with the "final answer."

Tonight we had dinner with some friends (while the kids stayed with mom and dad). On the way to dinner, I asked Aaron how we were ever going to make a final decision and he didn't really have any ideas. We talked names with our friends all during dinner, but still couldn't commit.

When dinner was over, it was 8:30 so we had a little time to kill. That is when I came up with "the plan." I explained to Aaron that a while back I just happened to find a sign with Grace's name on it at HomeGoods (which happens to be one of my very favorite stores!) If you aren't familiar with HomeGoods...they have a little of this, a little of that...usually not in large quantities (which I've found can be a real pain when you're looking for matching placemats or napkins). Occasionally, they'll have these personalized painted signs with children's names on them. It's totally hit or miss and on one of my many trips, I happened upon a "Grace" sign (which now hangs in her room). There are never more than a couple and they just have random names. So, I suggested we go to HomeGoods and check out the little girl's section. IF any of the names we were considering happened to be there, we could take it as our sign that that was the right name. I'm not sure he agreed with me, but he DID drive me there and actually went in with me (maybe his second time EVER in the store).

As we approached the section, I scanned quickly and saw NO name signs. "Oh well" I thought..."at least I got to come in one of my favorite stores...and on date night even!: But there was a round display that had several wall hangings in it and I decided just for kicks and giggles to search through it.

And there it was...hidden behind three other pictures. When uncovered, it shone like a beacon under a sparkly yellow crown....

I have to admit, I actually gasped when I saw it. Though it was a fun idea...I didn't REALLY expect to get our answer right there in the aisles of HG! But deep down, I've been leaning more towards this name in recent weeks and think I just needed "permission" from my conscience to let go of Claire. And so there it was.

Of course, we couldn't leave without the sign. This little girl will have a fun story about how she FINALLY got her name. She needs to be able to SEE the sign. Not to mention that I really needed a picture of it for my blog too! :)

We also decided on a middle name tonight, so the final answer is:
Sophia Maren Richardson
Sophia means "wisdom" and Maren, which happens to be the diminuitive form of Margaret (my mom's name) means "pearl." Coincedentally, Maren is also a pretty good mix of "Melissa" and "Aaron."

So, there you have it...with exactly 9 weeks til the due date (which we know likely means 5-6 weeks til her arrival), she has a name!