Pregnancy: Week 29

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This photo is from our babymoon in snowy Leavenworth last weekend, since we take my weekly photo at the beginning of each week of pregnancy. It’s actually been really warm at home — in the 50s! It seems like the coldest of our winter weather is long gone, and I’m super excited about it. The more it starts to feel like spring, the sooner it seems our baby will arrive.

I forgot to mention my workouts last week, and I’ll only bring them up now because I took a fun picture to capture the size of my belly at 28 weeks, thus completing this side-by-side comparison of the beginning of each trimester:

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From left to right: 5 weeks, 14 weeks, 28 weeks. I remember being so excited to finally start showing a bit at 14 weeks. Little did I know what was ahead!

I went to the gym twice during week 28 and started using the adaptive motion trainer instead of walking on the treadmill. I first tried it out of necessity, as both treadmills were occupied, but I found I enjoyed it quite a bit. It’s sort of like an elliptical, but you can adjust the type of movement you do simply by adjusting your stride. You can do everything from the motion of walking up stairs to deep, lunging strides. My most comfortable stride is somewhere in between. I find this machine gets my heart rate going better, makes me sweat more, and is much lower impact than even walking. I may look ridiculous on it with my basketball belly, but I’m a big fan!

This past week, I hit the gym four times (maybe a pregnant record??) to do 40-50 minutes on the adaptive motion trainer and lift weights. I’m in a great every-other-day routine at the moment and feeling fit and strong!

OK, let’s rewind to last Monday, the day after we returned from Leavenworth. I could have written about this in my last post, but I didn’t want to ruin that nice babymoon recap with a very negative experience.

I started really paying attention to the baby’s movements once I hit 28 weeks, as my doctor advised. She had mentioned during our last visit (way back in early January) that I should start counting kicks at the beginning of the third trimester, which meant that I should monitor her movements during an active time each day to ensure I was feeling at least 10 movements over a two-hour period. Once I started counting kicks, I found I had no problem counting 10 big kicks in less than 10 minutes during the baby’s most active periods! I was feeling so reassured that our baby was doing really well.

Over the weekend in Leavenworth, I wasn’t paying as close of attention to her movements because we were out of our normal environment and routine, but I got the sense that she was a bit less active than usual. She usually goes nuts midway between breakfast and lunch, and then again shortly after dinner. I was still feeling her move, but they were more subtle movements, not the big kicks I was used to. I started to worry that what I perceived as a decrease in activity meant something could be wrong.

On Monday morning, her usually active post-breakfast period brought more of the same: subtle movements, but no big, reassuring kicks. I called the hospital to ask whether I should be concerned, and they said it sounded like the baby was doing fine, but I could come in that afternoon for fetal monitoring if I wanted the reassurance. Deep down I knew everything was probably completely normal, but I really wanted to be sure.

Aaron and I left work a bit early to go to the hospital, and we went right back to a room where a nurse strapped a monitor around my belly that amplified and recorded the baby’s heart rate and movements. The baby’s heart rate was audibly strong, and the nurse kept pointing out the thumping sounds of kicks that were clearly happening, but that I couldn’t feel. She had me press a button every time I felt a movement, and I definitely wasn’t pressing as many times as she was actually moving because I just couldn’t feel the most subtle movements.

The nurse explained that every single movement I feel (other than hiccups) counts toward the 10 movements I should count within two hours, which is where I went wrong. I had gotten used to feeling big kicks, so I had been counting only big kicks. If I had been counting every movement — gentle flutters, rolls, flips, etc. — I would have easily gotten to 10 earlier that day.

Sounds great, right? The baby was clearly doing fine, and there was nothing to worry about. We could have walked out of the hospital then and felt completely calm and reassured. 

But something about this nurse’s personality was incredibly antagonizing. First, she made me feel like an idiot for not being able to feel every single movement, and not knowing that all the movements counted. She chided me for not paying attention to the baby’s movements, when in fact I was there because I had been paying attention and I was worried! It was all due to a misconception on my part, but that didn’t mean I hadn’t been paying attention. 

Then, when I said I felt reassured by the monitor, she said something horrible: “Just because this baby is OK today doesn’t meant it’s going to be OK tomorrow. You need to be worried every day.”

I was already on the emotional edge due to my anxiety going into this whole experience and my raging pregnancy hormones, so this made me start to cry. LISTEN, LADY. I am worried every day. You don’t need to tell me to be worried every day. I need someone to tell me to do what I can, which is be aware of the baby’s movements to make sure she is doing well, and then carry on with my life!

Then I said something about the baby clearly being very active, and that was reassuring, and she said something even more horrible. It was something about how she once had a patient whose baby was extremely active due to something being terribly wrong, and the excessive movement was actually an indication that the baby was dying. WHY WOULD ANYONE SAY THIS TO A PREGNANT WOMAN?? This turned my tears into hysterical crying.

I was trying so desperately to get the reassurance that I had come to the hospital for and could have so easily gotten, and she was making me feel like crap and planting new worries in my head about feeling too much movement. 

Aaron later said he was ready to give this nurse a piece of his mind at this point, but I was way ahead of him. I despise confrontation and will rarely call someone out for being a jerk, but I felt like I needed to stand up for myself and this lady deserved it. Between my frantic sobs, all I could muster was, “YOU… ARE… NOT… HELPING!” and a few other things, but I wish I could go back to that moment and really give it to her. I honestly don’t understand how she makes her living working with the most sensitive, hormonal women with that shitty, tactless attitude.

She tried to defend herself for just telling it like it is, and then thankfully excused herself after she realized I wasn’t calming down in the slightest. Aaron spent the next few minutes soothing me, and then a different nurse came in and said all the most reassuring and sane things I needed to hear all along. When I told her the previous nurse said I should be worried every day, her eyes got all wide and she was like, “Oh nooooo, you can’t live like that.” NO KIDDING!

Anyway, it was all so needlessly traumatic and stupid. I was on-edge emotionally for the whole rest of the day and about half of the next, even though I knew our baby was fine. Luckily I got over it, and I’ve been feeling plenty of reassuring movements every day since then. I’m still paying attention, of course, but purposefully NOT worrying about it anymore as an act of defiance against that awful nurse. Pardon me, but that lady can suck it.

So, that was Monday. On Friday, we had our regular monthly checkup with our doctor. I’m officially up 23 pounds and my belly is measuring a few weeks ahead! Our doctor wasn’t particularly surprised or worried by this, as our baby measured in the 90th percentile at our 20-week ultrasound, but she recommended we have another ultrasound in a few weeks to take new measurements and see just how big she’s gotten.

We are thrilled to be having another ultrasound since we thought the 20-week ultrasound would be our last. Last time, the ultrasound tech switched to 3D for a minute so we could try to see her face, but she had her hands blocking most of it and what we could see just looked kind of creepy (due to the technology, not her). I wonder if we’ll get to see her little face this time. Eeee!

I asked our doctor if there’s anything I should be doing differently in the meantime, and she said I could stand to watch my carb intake. I mentioned my daily bagel habit, and she was like, “Yeah, maybe take a break from the bagels.” I figured it was time. It was a delicious journey, though.

Aaron is extremely proud of the prospect of our baby being big, and I’m… not worried, but not exactly excited by the idea of birthing a whopper. Aaron and I were both on the big side — he was 9 lb. 10 oz. and born several days early, and I was 8 lb. 10 oz. on my due date — so it may just be inevitable! No matter how big or small she is, all that matters is that she’s healthy and comes whenever she’s ready.

This post is getting crazy-long, so I’ll quickly wrap up by saying I got a prenatal massage on Presidents Day and it was ahhh-mazing! I was supposed to have a massage in our hotel room during our babymoon, but the lady cancelled an hour before the appointment. I think it all worked out for the better, though, because the one person who was available at our local massage place on Monday was a guy, and he did an awesome job. Back when I was marathon training, I got massages from a small-framed woman at that same massage place, and I always felt bad asking her to use more pressure. This guy’s default pressure was plenty strong, and the whole hour was exactly what I needed.

I was also able to lie face-down on an Earthlite pregnancy cushion, which was heavenly in itself. There is a sheet covering it below, but if you look closely you can see the indentation where my belly could hang while still being lightly supported by the sheet.

The best part is that I discovered our insurance covers massages with only a $7 co-pay (and of course I tipped on the full price of the massage), so I booked a massage for every other week until I’m 37 weeks along because WHY NOT?!? I’ll never have this much free time again, and I may never need massages as much as I will over the rest of my pregnancy.

That’s all for now! I’m so looking forward to my baby shower this weekend and sharing all about it next week!

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