The 35 week update…

“Do, or do not. There is no try.” ~ Yoda, Star Wars

Today marks 35 weeks into this pregnancy, and in just under 3 weeks we’ll finally get to meet our little one. Just this past weekend Hope proclaimed to us how many days we have left (yes, she knows exactly how many days we have left!) and Jason and I looked at each other and said…Really!?!? Not that I haven’t been counting down this whole time, but I think hearing it from someone other than myself made me realize just how close we are to the big day. One week ago I began to feel overwhelmed and made another crazy mind map, this time…my “to do list” of things I hope to try to do before the baby is born. Really it was more of a way for me to gather my thoughts and help me prepare for these last few weeks….which I admit the long list is a bit overwhelming to look at. Yes, like Yoda says…there’s “no try” I just have to get things done and stop thinking about it how many things we have left to do. Here’s a picture of that crazy to do list (click on it to see a larger version).

The To Do list before the baby arrives

In the last week we’ve met with the pediatric neurosurgeon and my doctor again. The neurosurgeon reviewed the results of the last ultrasound with us basically reassuring us that though there have been increases in the ventricle measurements in the head, they aren’t so significant to cause concern. On their scale (which I’m not quite sure of what type of measurement they use) a value of 1 is equivalent to “normal” development. Back in December we were excited to hear the baby’s measurements had finally went into the “normal” range but January’s ultrasound showed that a ventricle on one side of the head had increased to 1.4. Not too large of a change but it’s now back in the “high normal” range. Typically they don’t begin to be concerned until that range exceeds 2. Obviously changes in the 3-4 or higher range would cause them to be more concerned and really it’s all a gauge for them to monitor more after birth because of how common hydrocephalus (fluid around the brain) is in babies with Spina Bifida (more so after the back closure surgery). So we’ll watch and wait and hopefully there are no significant changes after next week’s ultrasound.

The neurosurgeon did give us reassurance that we’re still in a very optimistic scenario from what they’ve seen thus far. It’s still tough to tell if the opening in the baby’s back is completely covered with skin or not. We’re all keeping our fingers crossed that it is because that would prolong the baby’s surgery until it’s 3 months old when it is stronger and has built up it’s immunity a bit more. We won’t know for sure until the baby is born but if it’s born with the opening exposed it will definitely undergo the back closure surgery within the first 24 hours after birth which will help prevent infection and decrease the chances for something like meningitis from occurring. So we’re understandably hopeful, yet remain nervous, given the uncertainty that still remains.

The appointment with my obstetrician¬† yesterday was quite uneventful. Aside from checking the baby’s heartbeat and conversing over typical third trimester questions our appointments have certainly felt more “social” than “medical”. As much as I fear the baby trying to arrive earlier thus far we have no reason to believe that’ll happen but I’ll be going in weekly until the baby is born now to watch the pregnancy even closer. The biggest news yesterday was that finally this last month I’ve made up for some of the pregnancy weight I should have gained in the first 30+ weeks of this pregnancy…officially up 9lbs. I recall going in to be weighed by the nurse yesterday telling her I certainly felt huge the last few weeks and the weigh in was certainly confirmation of it. We both cheered. It was not a surprise at all given how much the baby has me eating these days.:)

Just last week the kids and I took a few candid photos, so in case you’re not connect to me in flickr or facebook I thought I’d share one with this post.

Me & the kids

And yes, just a few more silly updates and thoughts…I suppose more as a note to myself of all these final moments of this pregnancy that soon will be a distant memory:

  • The kids are growing more and more excited. (if you can’t tell in the picture above) Hope still begs to find out what the baby is. She is anxious to hold and feed the baby and is eager to see it for the first time in the hospital. She’s filled with 101 questions about when she’ll get to see the baby and thoughts of how she’ll be such a great big sister and help with the baby. Jaylen is also extremely adorable these days. Several times a day he’ll come over to see me and say “kiss baby” and then of course kisses my belly all on his own. Yes, the moment that would make any mother say “awe…” – he’s gotten to feel the baby kick recently. Somedays now he will come over to me and put his hand on my belly and just wait in hopes of feeling the baby. Sometimes he does so and excitedly claims the baby kicked him…even though it didn’t. The kids also still argue (in a nice way) over whether the baby is a boy or girl. One night recently Hope did have Jaylen convinced and rooting that the baby was a girl. Something tells me when we finally find out it really won’t matter what they were rooting for…they’ll fall in love with their brother or sister regardless.
  • I’ve been increasingly more tired these days. Okay, fatigued, or perhaps exhausted is a better word for it. Most days I feel quite well during the day but the evenings and night certainly have worn me down. Most nights I seem to be up every hour or two, sometimes more often. It’s not uncommon to arise 5-10 times a night to rehydrate, use the bathroom, or merely out of being uncomfortable sleeping.
  • The nesting phase has officially begun. I suppose that’s probably one of the best phases for our family to experience though because it does help our family get more in order. I won’t even begin to detail how much cleaning, reorganizing and preparing we’ve done in the last week or two.
  • I’ve collaborated with some local photographers over the last few months and as of this week we’ve met and discussed having them assist in photographing what they are permitted to in the moments at the hospital on the baby’s birth day. The hospital is very restrictive on how much they will allow, however, I’m totally touched to have such amazing people willing to be there for my family to capture as much as they are permitted to. In case you’re not already a fan you all should take a moment to check out Paris Carter and Gian Carlo Brand’s web site and blog. They also have facebook fan pages for you all to join if you happen to have facebook. I’m sure photos will be shared hesitantly but I imagine they will be sharing some of the first and best photos of the baby. They’ve been too awesome to our family and we’re also planning maternity photos in the very near future so it’s totally worth checking out their sites. Here’s links:Gian Carlo Brand: web site | facebook page
    Paris Carter: web site | facebook page
  • I’ve continued to plan the baby’s newborn photography, which should come as no surprise to you all. I have to admit that’s one of the things that has left me excited. Though I’m equally nervous knowing that a prolonged NICU stay might interrupt my ideas. But I have lots planned, and can’t wait to see just how many ideas I can pull off in the first few weeks after the baby is born. I guarantee to attempt quite a few ideas that I think you all will find unique and a few others that certainly have some sentimental connections to our family and all we’ve been through.
  • And yes, we have decided on names! But please, stop asking what they are! We’re all locked down in secrecy, even the kids, and you’ll just have to wait until the baby is born. I promise the names you’ll either love (or hate) and that they’ll have a very sentimental and meaningful connection to our family…that’s the most I can say.

Okay, that’s the latest update…I can sense many more of you are growing just as anxious as we are so hopefully this helps fill you all in with how we’re doing as we continue to count down the days.

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February 1, 2011 - 1:53 pm

Paris Carter - I’m breaking into the room, I don’t care,….:)

February 1, 2011 - 1:55 pm

Amanda Kern - ahahaha…I adore you Paris. Yes, I don’t know if they realize that I’ll be armed with the paparazzi at the hospital on the 22nd. :)

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