Welcome Baby Addison

29 Jul

On Saturday, July 26th at 11:22 am, we welcomed our little girl, Addison, into this world, and what an incredible past three days it’s been.  I will write a full post (or two) about the birth story, but for now, here are a few details:

-I had my 40 week appointment on Thursday, July 24th (technically 40 weeks and 1 day) and was discouraged to hear that I was still only partially effaced and barely over a centimeter dilated…not much of a change from the week before.  We discussed the possibility of inducing and set up a time do do so the following Thursday if I did not go into labor beforehand.

-The next morning the contractions I was feeling felt different than the Braxton Hicks contractions I had been having…they were more uncomfortable and felt lower in my pelvis.  Nothing that I couldn’t focus through, but I was definitely aware of them every time I had one.  I started to suspect this might be early labor but didn’t want to get my hopes up.  I still went to work and was actually glad to be working, as it kept my mind off of what was happening and focused on other things.

-The contractions increased in intensity that evening, and I was having to put a heat pack on my back every time I had a contraction.  By 10 pm, I was pretty sure this was labor.  We finally grabbed our bags and left for the hospital once the contractions for the prior two hours were every 3-4 minutes, ~1 minute long.

-After being seen in triage, I was admitted a little after midnight, and a little over 11 hours later, I had our healthy baby girl in my arms.

-Aspects of the labor were very hard…I had pretty bad back labor, but overall, I had a really positive, smooth labor experience, and I was fortunate to only have to push for about ten minutes (through three contractions).

-Addison ended up being a lot bigger than everyone was expecting!  I always measured small in regards to my fundal height at my appointments, which made my OB nervous, but Addison ended up weighing almost 8 lbs at 7 lbs, 13 oz and was 21 inches long!  Healthy with Apgars of 9 and 9!

-Lifechanging, overjoyed, heart full of unconditional love…just a few of the words that come to mind about my experience over the past few days.  I now know what it feels like when you hear a mother say she would risk her life for her child.  I love this girl so much I would do anything for her.  It’s suddenly like all the things I’ve gotten stressed about and considered important in the past are suddenly totally insignificant.   Family, life, moments together with loved ones…that’s what is important.  Dean and I couldn’t be happier and feel so fortunate that God blessed us with this little girl.  We also have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love from our family and friends.  We and baby Addison are truly blessed.  Thank you all : )

A few pictures:

Our girl has arrived!

Our girl has arrived!

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My father meeting his granddaughter.

My father meeting his granddaughter.

My mom and Addison

My mom and Addison

Dean's parents with Addison.

Dean’s parents with Addison.

Leaving the hospital on Monday.

Leaving the hospital on Monday.

39 weeks: FULL TERM!

19 Jul

This baby is FULL TERM!  Can’t believe I’ve reached this point.  39 weeks and 3 days today.

This past week has been one big blur.  I’m not going to lie..it’s been really rough.  Probably one of the rougher weeks I’ve had in awhile.  Starting fellowship for me has been kind of like what I imagine starting a new job is like (the only “real” jobs I’ve had have been internship and residency).  You’re learning new roles and responsibilities, you’re confidence is low compared to what it was as a senior resident, you’re worried about making mistakes, you’re worried about the first impressions you’re creating for people, you fear looking stupid, and you’re inefficient as you try to learn and adjust to the new flow of things, your role, and how things work in the department…it’s been stressful.  I say “you” generically when I write, but of course I can only speak of my own experiences.  Maybe others have an easier time, or maybe my pregnancy hormones make everything seem more stressful than it really is.  Don’t get me wrong, I like what I am doing–I really do–but I’d be lying if I said it’s been a breeze so far.

I think things will seem a lot easier once I get used to things and become more efficient.  Of course, that’s going to be a little bit of a dilemma for me, because I will shortly be adjusting to another new role of being a mom, only to return back to fellowship 6 weeks later and probably feel like I’m starting from scratch again while everyone else has probably got things down.  On the other side of the equation are my fears of being a good Mom.   Six weeks with the baby  is going to go by fast.  I’ve been working really long hours this week (which I’m sure will get better as I get used to things), and it’s hard to imagine trying to fit in quality time with the baby when I return to work and am gone for such a large percentage of the day.

I know it will all work out–there are plenty of other amazing physicians who have had kids in residency and fellowship…I think the biggest thing for me will be to let go of some of the expectations I have of myself….to recognize that I’m not going to be the perfect Mom, and I’m not going to be the perfect fellow/physician, but you just gotta do the best you can and be ok with that.  And although things may seem stressful and hectic for awhile, to be starting a family with the man I love, to bring another life into this world and watch her grow…it’s worth any challenge : )

39 week bump:

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Baby:  super active.  I think she’s getting restless and wants to get out!  Any time Baby O.!!  We’re ready to meet you!!

How I feel:  Aside from being tired from working so many hours this week and not getting enough sleep, I feel great!  Even still managing to pull off heels at work ; )

Working out:  I had absolutely no time to work out this past week, so I didn’t fit in another run until this morning (Saturday morning).  I somehow convinced Dean to run with me (he way prefers biking over running) this morning, and it ended up being a really enjoyable run.  Had to slow down a bit, as it is getting harder to run through the contractions (Braxton-Hicks), but we still managed to do some 7.5 miles.  I must say, I am shocked and so grateful that I’m still able to run at 9 months pregnant.  I honestly had no idea how running would be while being pregnant and didn’t even know if I’d be able to keep it up into the third trimester.   Grateful my body has allowed me to do so : )

From this morning's run.  I actually purposefully wore my back Nike shorts rather than my favorite pink ones in case my water broke...less of a scene when wearing black ; )

From this morning’s run. I actually purposefully wore my back Nike shorts rather than my favorite pink ones in case my water broke…less of a scene when wearing black ; )

Some other misc pics:

I was famished the other day at work and trying to scarf down every last drop of pita chips I had, and then disaster almost struck...I dropped a chip!  When I'm super hungry, every single crumb is important, so to see one drop to the floor and be wasted would have been awful.  Thankfully, my belly rescued that poor little chip from falling to the ground...the advantages of a big belly ; )

I was famished the other day at work and trying to scarf down every last drop of pita chips I had, and then disaster almost struck…I dropped a chip! When I’m super hungry, every single crumb is important, so to see one drop to the floor and be wasted would have been just tragic. Thankfully, my belly came to the rescue and kept it from falling to the ground and escaping…the advantages of a big belly ; )

After our run this morning, we went to Publican for brunch.  BEST.  BACON.  EVER.  omg.

After our run this morning, we went to Publican for brunch. BEST. BACON. EVER. omg.

I know you're probably sick of these Nespresso pics...like how many pics can I take of a shot of espresso??  haha, but seriously, how pretty is that?  I put a drop of soy creamer in it and it layered out into these different color shades.  Super cool IMO.  Yes, I get excited over little things : )

I know you’re probably sick of these Nespresso pics…like how many pics can I take of a shot of espresso?? haha, but seriously, how pretty is that? I put a drop of soy creamer in it and it layered out into these different color shades. Super cool IMO. Yes, I get excited over little things : )

New white coat!  After 4 years of the same gross white coat from residency (now yellowish in appearance), I got a new white coat with my new title on it that no longer says "resident".  Moving up in this world.

New white coat! After 4 years of the same gross white coat from residency (now yellowish in appearance), I got a new white coat with my new title on it that no longer says “resident”. Moving up in this world.

 

38 weeks

13 Jul

38 weeks 4 days today.

*Bump comparing 35 weeks vs. 38 weeks:

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And then, I swear I grew overnight, or maybe it’s just that wearing regular clothes makes me look bigger?  Who knows, but this pic was taken just two days later when I was at work:

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Is it me or do I really look a lot bigger in just two days?!  haha.  I think the outfit accentuates it, but I do think there’s been some growth going on over the last week.  At various phases of this pregnancy, they’ll be a week where I feel like the skin on my stomach is going to burst, which I assume happens during a growth spurt.  Then it relaxes and goes back to feeling “normal”.  This week it’s been feeling uncomfortably stretched.

*Call me crazy but the last half of third trimester has been my favorite part of the pregnancy.  Yes, being on night float a few weeks ago was hard, and the sinus stuff really wiped me out for awhile, and as I said my stomach feels like it’s going to burst…haha…but for the most part, I feel great.  And it’s kind of fun walking around with a big bump.  I can’t really find the right words to explain it, but I’m sort of proud of it and amazed at what our bodies are capable of.  Plus the attention from and genuine excitement 0f other people for me as I had mentioned in my last post is fun and sweet : ) .  In a strange way, as much as I will be glad to get my old body back (or maybe I should just say a “non-pregnant” body back, as I know pregnancy changes your body for good), I think I will kind of miss the bump and feeling and seeing our baby move around in there.  Also, it’s kind of nice being able to go out to eat and just let your stomach hangout unshamefully after a big meal ; )

*Physical symptoms:  Stretched stomach and heartburn are the main things.  Earlier this week I had another Charlie Horse in my calf that woke me up in the middle of the night and left my calf sore the next day.   I haven’t had much insomnia at all, just on a rare occasion once in awhile.

*Braxton-Hicks contractions are getting stronger and more frequent…like they almost take my breath away, which I think is just because the uterus gets rock hard against my diaphragm and I feel like I can’t take a deep breath in.  I will obviously know when I go into “active labor” (that’s when the contractions become painful), but I’m not sure if I’ll recognize the initial stages of labor because of all the Braxton-Hicks contraction I already have on a regular basis.

*What’s really difficult right now:  putting on and taking off my shoes and walking up stairs.  I can still run and workout, but my goodness, I feel like I’m going to have a heart attack walking up just two flights of stairs.

Dean helping me get my shoes off at the end of the day.

Dean helping me get my shoes off at the end of the day.

*Running/working out:  still at it : )  However, I did take this past week off from running, because my calves/achilles were starting to bother me (any sorta achilles discomfort is something I will NOT push through).  I think it was a combination of really worn down shoes, switching orthotics, carrying around extra weight, and a different center of gravity.  I’m not sure exactly how many miles I’ve put in these shoes, but given that I got them last August, I’d guess maybe at least 800 miles?  You’re supposed to get new shoes, I believe, after around 350 miles.   Oops.  This past week I just focused on the elliptical, strength training, stretching, and walking (in my NEW gym shoes, pictured above).

This morning my legs felt good to go, so I did a nice relaxed 7 mile run along the lakefront.  Grateful I can still run!  Two comments about this morning’s run:

1.  I saw at least 3 other obviously pregnant women running along the path and several more walking.  Good to see!

2.  Let’s just say caffeine and running are the most potent laxatives ever.   Holy shi$ (no pun intended).  Thank goodness the bathrooms are open along the lakefront, because this run could’ve ended really badly.  And no wonder my stomach felt like it was going to pop last night…

From my run this morning, taken with my iphone, edited and Aviary, and posted on Instagram.

From my run this morning, taken with my iphone 4s, edited on Aviary, and posted on Instagram.

*Fellowship:  went better this week than last!  haha.  Each day, though, there’s usually lots to follow up with the next day, like following up on pathology results from biopsies and calling back and discussing the results with patients and their main doctors….I’m trying to be as organized as possible with meticulous checklists, so that if I go into labor, I can easily pass on my work to someone else without anything falling through the cracks.  In some ways it would be nice to start maternity leave now so that I could more easily get everything squared away, but I’m working up until I go into labor because number one:  I want to get as much fellowship experience under my belt as possible before taking maternity leave so that I’m not completely lost when I come back and number two:  I want to maximize my six weeks of maternity leave for AFTER the baby arrives.  If I took off now and then didn’t deliver until 41 weeks, well then I’ve just wasted two whole weeks when I could’ve been and am fully capable of working.

*It’s funny:  as much as I like having my week all planned out in advance and hate surprises and last minute changes when it comes to my schedule, I kind of like not knowing when I’m going to go into labor.  I kind of like the anticipation and excitement of not knowing when it’s going to happen and waking up each day and wondering if this could be the day.  I was asked if I wanted to participate in a trial where I could have potentially been induced at 39 weeks (which would have been this Wednesday), but I declined.  Yeah, in a way it would be nice to be able to be like, “hey, we’re having this baby Wednesday.  Mom and Dad, you can go ahead and make your flight arrangements”  and Dean and I would be able to get everything squared away at our jobs, but I just don’t want to know.  Plus, unless medically necessary, I don’t like the idea of being induced.

*Getting a little more nervous about labor and delivery.  Actually, let me specify:  I’m less worried about the discomfort of labor and more worried about any sort of bad outcome happening to the baby.   I just want a healthy baby, and I don’t care what it takes for that to happen.

*So here’s where I may get a little sappy, so sorry in advance:  looking back over the past months and year, I feel like my relationship with Dean has gotten even stronger.  Not sure if it has to do with the pregnancy or just having shared our first year of married life together, but it’s funny how a year ago when we got married, I thought I was marrying someone I couldn’t have loved any more, and now at a year later, I’m so much more in love : )  (go ahead and roll your eyes, but it’s true!).  I’m excited to enter this new stage of life with him shortly and experience all the adventures and joys (and let’s be honest…challenges) of parenthood together.

~

Questions:

Would you prefer knowing when you’re going to give birth or not knowing?

For those who went past their due date, how far after your due date did you go?  How long was your doctor going to let you go before inducing?

If you got induced, how was your experience?

~

Misc pictures from the week:

Dean and I are in LOVE with our Nespresso machine.  What's really cool about it is that Bloomingdales has a whole Nespresso section.  Look at all the espresso options!!  A whole wall filled with colorful boxes of espresso.  I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

Dean and I are in LOVE with our Nespresso machine. What’s really cool about it is that Bloomingdales has a whole Nespresso section. Look at all the espresso options!! A whole wall filled with colorful boxes of espresso. I felt like a kid in a candy shop.

Our bag filled with 12 new boxes of espresso.

Our bag filled with 12 new boxes of espresso.

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Espresso with dark chocolate...best combo ever (the Dark chocolate is with sea salt and almonds, from Trader Joes)

Espresso with dark chocolate…best combo ever (the Dark chocolate is with sea salt and almonds, from Trader Joe’s.  Highly recommend)

Who played Mario 3 on Super Nintendo growing up??  We purchased it for our Wii for $5.  Loved this game, although boy am I bad at it now!

Who played Mario 3 on Super Nintendo growing up?? We purchased it for our Wii for $5. Loved this game, although boy am I bad at it now!

I couldn't help myself.  Dean and I went to Target for other things, and I couldn't help picking out another little outfit.  They're just so cute!

I couldn’t help myself. Dean and I went to Target for other things, and I couldn’t help picking out another little outfit. They’re just so cute!

The latest gift from the box of gifts my mom sent me to open each week:  a calendar where you can document the baby's milestones.  Dean's mom also gave us a cute book for the same purpose as well (and dropped off the book she kept of Dean's firsts.....so fun to look through!).

The latest gift from the box of gifts my mom sent me to open each week: a calendar where you can document the baby’s milestones over the first year. Dean’s mom also gave us a cute book for the same purpose as well (and dropped off the book she kept of Dean’s firsts…..so fun to look through!).

Outdoor brunch with Dean this morning.  Like I said, we doing as much together now as we can!

Outdoor brunch with Dean this morning. Like I said, we’re doing as much together now as we can!

The brunch place we went to was called The Winchester.  So good!  I got a hemp (milk) cappuccino, toast with avocado (LOVE avocados), and bowl of coconut yogurt topped with homemade granola and fresh fruit.  Delish!

The brunch place we went to was called The Winchester. So good! I got a hemp (milk) cappuccino, toast with avocado (LOVE avocados), and bowl of coconut yogurt topped with homemade granola and fresh fruit. Delish!

 

 

 

 

37 weeks

6 Jul

Technically, I’m ~37.5 weeks now (37 weeks and 5 days to be exact).  I really oughta start titling these posts as 36.5 or 37.5 weeks, as I never get a chance to write the post until the weekend.

Baby O. is TERM!!  Technically, “early” term, because “true” term is at 39 weeks.  We could be meeting her at any point over the next month!!

Life update:  Started fellowship this week and my final year of medical training!  There’s 5 of us breast imaging fellows this year.  I think it will be a good year, but this first week got off to a little bit of a rocky start for me.

Tuesday was officially my first day, and I was assigned to biopsies all day.  Here’s a scary truth about us who work in the medical field:  needle sticks are relatively common.  I had never stuck myself with a needle before (although I got stuck by someone else once my intern year)….until Tuesday.   Yup, the first time I ever stick myself with a contaminated needle happens on my very first day of fellowship.   While I’m pregnant.  Go figure.

So what happens after a needle stick is that they draw blood from the patient to run tests on (HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C).  While this is happening, I have to fill out an incident report and document everything and then go to occupational health and get my blood drawn.  I honestly wasn’t that worried in this particular situation (I’ve seen some SCARY needles sticks where the person was knowingly HIV and hepatitis C positive, which was not my situation) and was more just embarrassed, but it’s still never something you want to go through, especially when it’s not just your health you’re concerned about (i.e. baby’s health too).  Thankfully, everything came back negative, which was what I was expecting.  So anyway, that was Tuesday.

Wednesday I had to leave work early for my OB appointment, which was right during the busiest time of the day for me.  Nothing I could do about that, and I had submitted my appointment schedule to my fellowship coordinator way in advance, so it was no surprise, but I still felt bad leaving.

Thursday:  we had our fellowship orientation breakfast and lectures that morning and then CPR/ACLS (advanced cardiovascular life support) all afternoon.  During breakfast that morning, the crown over my molar tooth fell out.  Seriously?   Could anything else go wrong this week??   It was my third day of fellowship, and during this 3 day week I had already stuck myself with a needle, left work for an OB appointment and an occupational health appointment, and now I was going to have to go to an “emergent” dentist appointment?!  They all must think I am the worst fellow ever!  It all worked out fine, cause we had nothing scheduled during lunch and my dentist whom I absolutely love came in just for me at that time.  But then for the next 4 hours the right side of my face was completely numb, and so because of that and my CPR/ACLS training session, I never got to eat lunch, which left me a very miserable person to be around (I don’t do well with long periods of no food…especially when I’m trying to feed not just me but a baby, too).  What’s the term….”hangry” when you’re so hungry you become angry at everything?…yeah that was me….more like hitchy : )

So, yeah….that was my week.  Let’s hope my string of bad luck is done and over with!!!

Pregnancy update:

Bump pic 37 weeks:

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*Had a great appointment with one of the OBs at the practice I go to on Wednesday who said baby and I were doing absolutely wonderfully.  Despite my “bump” still looking relatively high, Baby’s head is really low in my pelvis, which I can definitely feel on my bladder and cervix (which is NOT comfortable at times), and I’m about 50% effaced, although that doesn’t really mean much, cause you can walk around for weeks partially effaced and dilated before going into labor.

*Things I’ve been enjoying:  1) It’s really fun being at this point in the pregnancy when you’re obviously pregnant.  So many random people at stores or on the street will come up to me and congratulate me.  Total strangers are genuinely happy and excited for me…it’s really sweet.  The other day I was waiting for the bus (one of the rare times I take the bus…only took it because I was running late to my appointment), and an older lady who actually needed a walker to get around tried to give up her seat for me at the bus stop, which I obviously refused.  I have been so impressed over the past few weeks over the random, genuine kindness of people : )  2) feeling and seeing the baby move, and seeing Dean see and feel the baby move.  I told you this would always be something I enjoy.  Admittedly, though, some of her movements can be somewhat uncomfortable now.  3)  going through all the cute baby clothes and stuff, although it’s a little overwhelming figuring out where to put all this stuff and how to organize it in our city apartment! 4) Using the “our life is going to change” excuse to take advantage of doing as many things with Dean right now as I can as the two of us, like going for walks and runs together or going out to eat.

Enjoying a lazy lunch outside together last Sunday afternoon at Bad Apple.   If you live in the Chicago area, this place has got a great beer and food selection and great service.

Enjoying a lazy lunch outside together last Sunday afternoon at Bad Apple. If you live in the Chicago area, this place has got a great beer and food selection and great service.

*Things I’m fearing:  1) Something going wrong with the labor and delivery that compromises our baby’s well-being (or mine…I’ve seen some postpartum hemorrhages following delivery)  2)  needing a C-section (obviously if it’s needed, it’s needed, but I hope to not need one)  3)  If I don’t have a C-section, tearing really badly  3) water breaking in public.  Now, I know it’s actually not that common for one’s water to break first before going into labor and that if it does, it’s not always a huge gush of fluid, but I have this fear of it happening when I’m in a room with a patient or something or in front of a lot of people.   4)  General new mother fear:  I worry that I will be so busy and exhausted with a new child (and then returning to work/fellowship) that I will lose touch with my friends.  It’s hard enough now with all that’s going on, and I know it’s not going to get easier.

*Running update:  fitness-wise, I’m feeling great.  Have been running ~3 times a week and fitting in short elliptical workouts in between when I have the time.   I’ve now ran between ~625-630 miles during this pregnancy (at least that’s what I’ve documented….not the best about remembering to document my runs).  If you count the number of miles I’ve walked, that number would be way higher, as I usually walk at least one if not both ways to and from work every day (one way to work is 1.5-2 miles), and if I have errands to run in the city, I usually walk as well.  It’s nice to have the time to myself and to listen some music or catch up on podcasts.

I think I’ve mentioned this before, but what a HUGE difference wearing a pelvic binder/support belt has made in regards to my pelvic pain.  I wear it when running and have very minimal pelvic pain now.

Was pretty pumped about this run.  Haven't seen averages in the 8 minute range in awhile!  I kept looking down at my watch and thinking it was wrong, cause I didn't feel like I was running that hard.  Maybe it's easier to breathe now that the baby is lower?  Or maybe my body is just getting stronger from all the training with extra weight on my body.

Was pretty pumped about this run/10k. Haven’t seen averages in the 8 minute range in awhile! I kept looking down at my watch and thinking it was wrong, cause I didn’t feel like I was running that hard. Maybe it’s easier to breathe now that the baby is lower? Or maybe my body is just getting stronger from all the training with extra weight on my body.

*Cravings:  I’ve been eating a lot of sandwiches and cashews lately, and I’m also back on the ice craze again.  My water bottle must be filled with ICE water.

*Pet Peeves:  this has nothing to do with pregnancy but I’m going to use being pregnant as an excuse to complain:

1)  Can someone please tell me what is up with everyone saying ‘merica or ‘murica when they’re talking about our country??  It’s America!  How hard is it to add the A?  It’s on extra letter, and if you’re already taking the time to type an apostrophe before murica (‘murica), please just type the A instead.  It’s the same number of characters.  I don’t get it.

2)  The gluten-free craze:  a)  If you do not have Celiac disease or gluten insensitivity…or if you don’t even know what the heck gluten is, why are you avoiding it?  And I think it’s stupid that you can now find products in stores being marketed as “gluten-free” when they never had gluten in them in the first place…like dairy products that can be found being labeled as “gluten-free”.  Well duh, if you know anything about what gluten is, you should already know it’s not in yogurt or whatever.   Does that kind of marketing really work?

~

Questions:

Moms, how many weeks were you when you delivered your first child?   Was there any clue as to when you were going to deliver, like based on physical exam or whatever?

~

Misc pictures from the past week:

An evening run-walk with Dean last week.

An evening run-walk with Dean last week.

On our way back, we heard a move being played in Millennium Park, so we decided to check it out.  They were playing TopGun.  So much fun sitting there with hundreds of other people while watching the movie.   We may have been singing along and clapping with everyone else during certain parts of the movie.

On our way back, we heard a move being played in Millennium Park, so we decided to check it out. They were playing TopGun. So much fun sitting there with hundreds of other people while watching the movie. We may have been singing along and clapping with everyone else during certain parts of the movie.

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Watching Top Gun.

From my run.  THIS is a big reason why I love running...being outside and enjoying the scenery and fresh air.

From my run. THIS is a big reason why I love running…being outside and enjoying the scenery and fresh air.

Was on call this weekend, which means I had to carry my pager with me wherever I went.  Dean bought me this training wallet recently, which worked out perfectly.  It's waterproof, has pockets for money and a debit card or ID, a clip for your keys, and a spot for your phone (next pic).  Was easy to stuff my pager in there as well.

Was on call this weekend, which means I had to carry my pager with me wherever I went. Dean bought me this training wallet recently, which worked out perfectly. It’s waterproof, has pockets for money and a debit card or ID, a clip for your keys, and a spot for your phone (next pic). Was easy to stuff my pager in there as well.

Can still use the touch screen on my phone through the plastic.  Although Dean bought this for ME, or so he says, I think he really bought it because HE wanted to use it.  When I go running and he goes for his (bike) rides in the morning, we've been fighting over who gets to use it.  I always win  ; )

Can still use the touch screen on my phone through the plastic. Although Dean bought this for ME, or so he says, I think he really bought it because HE wanted to use it. When I go running and he goes for his (bike) rides in the morning, we’ve been fighting over who gets to use it. I always win ; )

Please, please, please remember to wear sunscreen when you're outside for any reasonable amount of time during the day (I use after 9 am).  Melanoma is NO joke. I read a study this year from a person who had a tiny melanoma removed when he/she was a teenager (stage 1a), and came back in her 30s with melanoma EVERYWHERE.  Some cancers have preferences to certain organs when they metastasize (like bones or liver)...melanoma spares NOTHING.  Seriously, protect yourself.

Please, please, please remember to wear sunscreen when you’re outside for any reasonable amount of time during the day (I use it after 9 am).  Melanoma is NO joke.  I read a study this year from a person who had a tiny melanoma removed when he/she was a teenager (stage 1a), and came back in her 30s with melanoma EVERYWHERE. Some cancers have preferences to certain organs when they metastasize (like bones or liver)…melanoma spares NOTHING. Seriously, protect yourself.

Views from my run on the Fourth.

Views from my run on the Fourth.

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How cute is this little bunny towel??....

How cute is this little bunny towel??….

or this little baby robe?!

… or this little baby robe?!

View on my walk into work.  Why would I stuff myself like a sardine into a crowded bus when I can walk to work, enjoy the fresh air, and enjoy this view??

View on my walk into work. Why would I stuff myself like a sardine into a crowded bus when I can walk to work, enjoy the fresh air, and enjoy this view??  I’ll see people waiting for the bus when they have less than a mile to go (I know because that’s as far as the bus has left to go)…I just don’t get it.  Save yourself a few bucks, get some exercise, and WALK!  Especially when it’s so nice out!

My unplanned dentist appointment on Thursday.  At least the view is good!

My unplanned dentist appointment on Thursday. At least the view was good!

36 week update

28 Jun

36 weeks happened on Wednesday.  Less than a week until I’m considered “early term”.

I’m not going to lie.  This week has been rough.   If stress and lack of sleep could cause someone to go into labor, it would’ve happened this week.

The first half of this week was busy but in a good way.  Friday night was our residency graduation dinner.  Ten years following college graduation and I am finally completing residency training, but I’m not quite done yet.  Still have a year of fellowship training.  The real celebration and sense of achievement will happen when I finish that and am then completely done with all of my medical training.  That will be 15 years post high school training and 11 years post college training in order to finally arrive at the job/career I have sought after all these years.  Sheesh that is a long time!  Can’t believe I’m finally nearing the end!

Our class with our program directory (who is moving to Colorado...hence the ski).  Can you find me??  It's like where's Waldo.  haha, I was squished in in the back when Dean snapped this picture.

Our class with our program directory (who is moving to Colorado…hence the ski). Can you find me?? It’s like where’s Waldo. haha, I was squished in in the back when Dean snapped this picture.  Residency training has it’s ups and downs like any job, but I’ve been fortunate to have gone through it with such a great group of people.

So that was Friday night, as I said.  Saturday afternoon was my second baby shower at my friend’s place.   My friend did a wonderful job setting everything up and decorating (thanks Stephanie!).  I never had a wedding shower, and I can tell you that opening up gifts with everyone staring at you is sorta awkward!  haha. I guess I’m not used to being the center of attention in that way!  Love all the gifts Baby O got : )

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I took a quick nap after the shower and then that evening I had to go in to start my 12 hour night shift at 8 pm, and I’ve been on nights since.

And this is will my blog post will start to get whiny.  It’s been a rough.  Switching over and working nights in the hospital is one thing.  Working nights in mid summer when the ER is super busy is another thing.  Working busy nights in the busy summer when you’re in your 36th and 37th weeks of pregnancy is a whole other ballgame.  I didn’t even have a 2 minute break the other night to run to the bathroom until half the night was over.  And let me remind you, my bladder is not that big right now.   I was beyond frustrated Thursday night after being on the phone for nearly 2 hours straight dealing with inpatient scans and questions while our list of ER scans to read kept growing longer, and longer, and longer, and the ER residents and patients I’m sure kept getting more and more impatient for the reads on their scans. But, there’s only so much I can do in a given time period.  Technology these days can produce images and scans way faster than I can read them.  I was playing catch up the entire night.

While it was really busy, I think what made night float this time around seem especially bad and hard for me is that my patience level and emotional quotient is not what it normally is, and so in my mind, I think I made things more stressful than they needed to be and probably overreacted to things that normally wouldn’t bother me as much….I’m sure I lashed out in frustration at some people over the past week when things got really hectic, and I’m pretty sure one of the surgery interns is now scared of me.

An added discomfort of work and the pregnancy is the back pain, which only happens when sitting for for long periods of time.  I’d actually rather be up on my feet moving around for 12-13 hours than sitting all tensed up in an uncomfortable chair for that period of time.  I bought a heating pad for my back on my way home from work the other day which I now use at work.  Seems to help a little, I guess.

I slept for about 4 hours total this afternoon (Friday) and have one more shift tonight and end tomorrow morning (Saturday). I’m praying it’s a little calmer.

Sorry to all people who’s texts, phone calls, emails, and messages I haven’t responded to this week.  I will catch up on things this weekend before I start fellowship on Monday.

So now that I’ve gotten all that complaining, whining, and self-pity off of my chest, how about a quick pregnancy update, since that is why I’m writing this.

*baby “kicks”:  she’s gotten a lot ….squirmier.  It’s funny how the fetal movements have changed throughout the pregnancy.  At first they felt like little flutters, sorta like gas bubbles or like a butterfly flying around in my belly.  Then it progressed to periodic kicks and jabs.  And now it feels like she’s trying to crawl and squirm around in there (or out of there!).  She’s waaaay active at night, which I already knew but has become more evident since I am now up all night.  This is probably not a good sign when it comes to sleeping through the night when she arrives.  haha…not that I was expecting to anyway.

*due date???  Due date is July 23rd.  At my 36 week appointment, my OB predicted I would either go early or on time, but probably not late like a lot of first time mothers.  I am happy with this, although who knows how accurate that will be.

*Braxton Hicks contractions are getting more uncomfortable (although not painful), sometimes feeling like menstrual cramps and sometimes going into my back.  Not at any regular intervals though.

*Heartburn has been pretty horrendous this week.  I keep Tums with me at my work station at the hospital.

*Baby is head down!  I already knew this, but still good to hear.

*birthplan:  I have written a 2 page detailed birth plan that I will hand to every nurse and doctor at the time of my labor…haha…KIDDING.  Omg, how annoying would that be.  My plan:  no detailed, rigid plan, play it by ear, get baby safely out of me.  That being said, I DO have some general beliefs/hopes/wishes on how things will pan out during labor and delivery.  As always with any major event or decision that I’m involved with, I have done a reading and put in a lot of thought on the topic.  I have read through summaries of some of the data/literature regarding labor and delivery, have read birthing stories, and have read a book on non-hospital births (I hate the term “natural” births and refuse to use that term myself, but that is what the book was about).  Yes, I definitely have opinions and preferences and a hoped for plan in my head, but I cannot predict how the birthing process will go and will make informed decisions to the best of my ability as the process unfolds.

*Weird obsession:  Glade “febreeze” cotton linen scented spray.  I love the smell of laundry detergent and have been spraying it on EVERYTHING, so if I smell like I walked out of a washing machine, that is why : )

*Baby bump pic quickly snapped in the hospital bathroom:

36 weeks!

36 weeks!

Celebrated my birthday while on night float.  Came home in the morning to this set up from Dean : )

Celebrated my birthday while on night float. Came home in the morning to this set up from Dean : )

He got me a nespresso machine!  They had one of these in our honeymoon sweet, and I fell in love with it.  I love espresso (especially with chocolate!).

He got me a nespresso machine! They had one of these in our honeymoon suite, and I fell in love with it. I love espresso (especially with chocolate!).

My breast pump came...yup, that ginormous box contains my breast pump.  I'm scared of what these things look like!  I mean, that box is huge, and well, I'm not THAT big!  haha.  Expectant mothers, check with your insurance. My breast pump was completely covered.

My breast pump came…yup, that ginormous box contains my breast pump. I’m scared of what these things look like! I mean, that box is huge, and well, I’m not THAT big! haha. Expectant mothers, check with your insurance. My breast pump was completely covered.

Baby laundry took over our bed!  In fact, baby stuff has pretty much taken over our entire apartment.

Baby laundry took over our bed! In fact, baby stuff has pretty much taken over our entire apartment.

My first post-call morning Dean picked me up and we walked around Lincoln Park zoo for a little bit and then headed over to a cute little French cafe for breakfast.  I then went home and crashed.

My first post-call morning Dean picked me up and we walked around Lincoln Park zoo for a little bit and then headed over to a cute little French cafe for breakfast. I then went home and crashed.  Cool story, I know ; )

Baby shower pics

Baby shower pics

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35 week update

19 Jun

I am now officially in my 9th month of pregnancy.  Holy shi$.  For the record, I am now calculating my month in pregnancy differently than I did before.  Before, I just divided the number of weeks by 4, but that is not accurate.  Four weeks is 28 days.  Only one month a year is 28 days, and the rest are 30-31, so using that method will overestimate how far along you are in regards to the number of months.  So, what I do now is multiply the number of weeks by 7, add on any additional days, and then divide by 30.5 (average number of days per month).  I’m sure you were dying to know all those arithmetic details : )

Highlights of this past week:

*Have felt really great working out.  A good workout can be so uplifting and empowering.  There were a couple of months where work was busy, and it was just a struggle to get myself to workout at the end of the day, but the last few weeks, especially the last few workouts, have just been really enjoyable.   I have felt really strong, which is kind of ironic given that I feel stronger now, in my 9th month, than I did over the last two months.

Tuesday I did a 5 mile progression run, where every mile was faster than the last.  That wasn’t really my intent starting out, but as I got into a rhythm, I just felt stronger with each mile.  Overall average was 9:15/mile, with my last mile completed in 8:27.

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Quick snapshot from my run with my iphone.  How could seeing this view NOT put you in a good mood?  It never gets old to me.

Quick snapshot from my run with my iphone. How could seeing this view NOT put you in a good mood? It never gets old to me.

Because running two days in a row does not work well with my pregnancy-hormone affected pelvis right now, I usually avoid running two days in a row, so yesterday I did 45 minutes on the elliptical, and then I followed each cardio workout with strength training…unless I’m really rushed with time, I always do at least one or two strength training exercises with each workout, which I know I’ve mentioned several times before.  I just feel off if I only do cardio…kind of like lifting weights or stretching one leg but not the other.

When I do my elliptical workouts, I set the resistance and incline at intervals, so that I work different leg muscles, and then I also do upper body intervals, holding 5 pound weights for one minute and then putting them down for the next minute (but without holding onto the railing).  I do this for two reasons:

a)  I think holding onto the railings is not natural and promotes bad form.

b)  You’re already working your legs out, so you might as well be useful with your time and workout your upper body at the same time!  Anyone who tells me they can’t get a good workout in on the elliptical, try doing it with hand weights and exaggerating your arm movements.  I guarantee you’ll get a good workout!!

*I got two boxes in the mail from my mom yesterday filled with baby gifts and a few birthday gifts (my birthday is in 4 days).  It was so cute…she wrapped several gifts and then instructed me to open ~2/week over the next few weeks, so that I had something to look forward to each week.  I decided to lay them all out under the crib…kind of like presents under the tree at Christmas.  Thanks Mom : )

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Gifts under the crib!

*I washed and blow dried my hair the other day.  This is actually a really big accomplishment for me, as I’ve gotten really lazy with my hair and wear it up  hidden behind a headband 90% of the time.  In fact, I was so proud of myself that I had to send a picture do Dean to prove to him that my hair can actually look nice on occasion; )

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Lowlights from the past week:

*Allergies and sinuses.  Ugh.  I have forgotten how incredibly draining allergy attacks and sinusitis can be.  How did I deal with this 365 days of the year before my surgery?!  I could’ve fallen asleep before 7 this past weekend I was so tired.  Since the surgery, I have been instructed to use a sinus rinse, but I was so congested I couldn’t even get it into my sinuses and it instead went into my ears, which was NOT comfortable.  After having this brew for the past several weeks, I finally went in to see my ENT doctor, who did some plumbing.  Unfortunately, though, the only thing that truly helps the type of sinus flair ups I get is prednisone, which I’m obviously avoiding because of the baby.  Hopefully things will improve a little once the baby is born (pregnancy hormones can cause mucosal swelling, which contributes to or worsens the allergy/sinus symptoms).

Misc. Pregnancy updates:

*35 week bump picture:

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35 weeks!

*Total weight gain thus far:  Some people post their weight gain every week, but I have avoided this, because a) I only weight  myself every other week or so and b)  it can be sensitive topic for some, and I don’t want to promote people comparing themselves to others or focusing on numbers, because I think that is unhealthy.  I wrote about this in another post, but of the 25-35 pounds of recommended weight gain during pregnancy, only 5-7 pounds of that is actually body fat.  That means, the majority of the weight gain goes into producing the baby and amping up and growing the organs and physiologic processes involved in producing another human (uterus, placenta, amniotic fluid, circulating blood volume, the baby itself).   With this in mind, again, my philosophy throughout this pregnancy has been to

1.  eat healthy foods that provide the necessary building blocks for the baby and all the changing physiologic processes

2.  eat when you’re hungry.  Trust your body.  Don’t deprive it, but don’t feed it empty calories  (at least not the the majority of the time) given how much important growing is going on!

3.  don’t focus on numbers, which is why I don’t weigh myself that often.  Instead, focus on nutrition and what your body is telling you (although, obviously, if it’s telling you to eat fries and ice cream every single day, you may have to avoid giving in every single time ; )

I think if you do this, there’s a wide range of healthy weight gain for each person, since each body and person and their needs are different.  I know of people who delivered healthy babies after having only gained 14-18 pounds and others who gained 40 pounds.  Who cares.  The weight will eventually come off.  All that matters is doing the best you can to have a healthy baby.

Anyway, to answer the question, since I was recently asked, and it is something people tend to be curious about, I am up about 20 pounds right now at 35 weeks.

*Weird symptom:  My uterus is compressing the iliac vessels going to my right leg.  I’ve actually noticed this for the past 1.5-2 months.  Whenever I get up and start walking after sitting for awhile or whenever I start a workout, my right leg burns like it would after doing a set of heavy weights (i.e. lactic acid burning type feeling).  I notice it now when I work out:  I guess whenever I get a Braxton Hicks contraction, my uterus must slightly move or contract against the vessels?  Whatever the reason, when I’m working out (and thus when my leg muscles are in higher demand of increased blood supply/oxygen), I periodically (or frequently) will feel my right leg start to burn.  Sure enough, every time that happens, I feel my stomach, and I’m having a contraction.  The burning can actually be almost intense enough for me to have to tone down my intensity level for a few seconds until it subsides.  Weird, huh?

*I started packing my hospital bag!  I know of a few people who delivered at 36 weeks, so I figured I oughta be prepared just in case!  So far I’ve packed it with a nursing nightgown and bra, a robe, slippers, flip flops for the shower, a comfortable, breathable sports bra for labor, essential travel size toiletries, tums (because I’m not about to let the hospital get away with charging me or my insurance company $20/tum or whatever ridiculous amount they charge) and snacks and gum for the husband, amongst some other things.  Other things will be added later, like my camera, makeup, going home outfit, etc.  I’m washing the baby clothes we’ve gotten today and will start on the baby bag shortly.

~

QUESTIONS:

1.  When did you pack your hospital bag?  What items did you find essential?

2.  Did you have a lot of congestion during your pregnancy?

3.  Any weird pregnancy symptoms?

3.  If you ran or remained active during your pregnancy, how far did you get in your pregnancy before you had to stop or tone it down?

For me with the running, the pelvic pain has definitely been the limiting factor.  I cannot go over 5 miles without seriously regretting it later.  So funny how this all came out of nowhere at 29-30 weeks.  I bought a pelvic binder from my physical therapist, which really helps with the pelvic pain, but I still definitely need to keep my runs in the 3-5 mile range if I want to be able to move around later in the day without looking like an 85 year old.  Peeing, ironically, has not been as big of an issue, maybe because my runs are shorter?

Some misc running pics from the past week: 

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A short run through the city with Dean before my shift on Saturday.

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From Sunday’s run. Yes, I broke my rule and ran two days in a row. I paid for it later that day in terms of the pelvic pain, but it was still worth it to me, because it was sooooo beautiful out, and the thought of working out inside in our dreary basement apartment gym was just too depressing.

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Took a different route with Dean through the city for some urban scenery, as opposed to my normal lakefront run. This place looked kinda cool, so I took a picture to remind myself that we needed to return to eat here sometime!

Baby on the run!  haha, this and the pink shirt I do most of my "bump" pictures in are the only two workout shirts I wear anymore.  This one is from Gap, and the pink one (which I have a couple of ) is from Costco.

Baby on the run! haha, this and the pink shirt I do most of my “bump” pictures in are the only two workout shirts I wear anymore. This one is from Gap, and the pink one (which I have a couple of ) is from Costco.

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Some reflections

16 Jun

Happy Monday morning!  Haven’t done a non-pregnancy post in awhile, but I don’t work til noon, don’t feel like working out, and am quite content remaining curled up in my pajamas in my chair in our apartment, soaking in the morning sunlight:

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Usually my mornings are rushed:  quickly gulp down my coffee and a light a snack, head out for a workout, and then scramble to take a shower, get ready, pack lunch/snacks/dinner, and head out the door to make work on time or where ever else I have to be.  I’m normally totally ok with this, because to me it’s worth fitting the workout in, and I find it energizing (although I’m sure Dean doesn’t like the mess I leave as I scramble to get ready for work), but sometimes, a nice, slow morning, in which I can wake up to sunlight shining in the room, slowly sip my coffee, and reflect upon things  : )  So in terms of reflecting on things….

* Radiology is hard from a mental stamina standpoint!  Now, I’m by no means saying other specialties or jobs aren’t, but am simply commenting on my own experiences.  The thing about radiology, at least when you’re working a busy shift in the ER, is that there are NO mental breaks.  It’s 8-12 hours of 100% mental focus.  My only breaks are for the 2-3 minutes when I periodically get up to run to the bathroom.

Studies, some with thousands of images of each, keep rolling in.   It can be hard to keep up, because a CT, for example, can have up to several hundred to over a thousand images in ONE scan.  The time it takes to complete a scan, though, can be a few seconds to a few short minutes.   To add to that, the ER will sometimes start utilizing a second CT scanner at the same time, meaning that now you have double the amount of studies being thrown at you at the same time.  And with each study, if the person being scanned has prior studies, you have to review those as well.  On top of that, we get constant phone calls disrupting our train of thought and often have to deal with questions and studies regarding inpatients, all while we’re in the middle of trying to review and complete scans on emergency room patients.  It takes a lot of focus, and if you mentally let your guard down for just a few seconds, because you’re tired, you’re trying to eat, or whatever the reason, you could miss something important.   Alternatively, you can’t deliberate over every single detail, because you’ll never be able to keep up with scans that are being done, and then there could be a delay in getting to a study where there’s a time-urgent, emergency issue.  It’s scary, and I was reminded of this Friday night.

Usually, I consider myself fairly good at concentrating for long periods of times, but by last Friday night, my mind was numb and starting to shut down, and yet I was still trying to get through the studies quickly to keep them from piling up.  When a brain CT popped up, I quickly reviewed the prior imaging and then called one of the findings on the new study new.   Turns out, the finding was not new, which my attending who was still there had caught….I had just been careless in trying to review the prior set of images too quickly and failed to realize that, although subtle, it had been there before.   It really wasn’t a big deal….all it would’ve done was potentially have lead to some additional imaging and a slightly longer visit in the hospital, but I still found myself beating myself up for it….what if my carelessness had lead me to miss something that was important?

*In radiology, we are often removed from the “human connection” side of medicine, as we sit in the dark reading room, review thousands of images, and then give a diagnosis that another physician, who has seen the patient, then relays to the patient (this is NOT the case in breast imaging, where we see many of our patients and are the ones who tell them whether or not they have cancer after we biopsy them…more on that in a few paragraphs).

Despite most of the time being separated from the patient, I still find myself thinking about certain patients and scenarios I come across.  A few months ago, a young man walked into the ED with fairly benign complaints (at least at first).  A few hours later, he was dead.   This past week, a somewhat similar situation happened:  a young person walked into the ER with fairly benign complaints…something that I’d bet most of us have all had…a few hours later, she was unresponsive and barely hanging on to life.  I don’t even know if she’s still alive.  It’s sad, shocking, and scary.  I can’t help but wonder how her family must be handling all this.  Life is so fricken short.  And unfair.

A friend recently asked how I keep from carrying certain emotions and situations home from work with me…..And the truth is, while you do have to maintain a certain level of “disconnect” in order to remain objective at work and not let your home life be affected….you can’t, or at least I can’t, completely remove myself from a situation and shut down all thoughts and emotions.  I still think about certain patients and their families for a long time after reading one of their studies, even if I have never met them.  I don’t think I could ever completely shut myself off from the human side of medicine, nor do I ever want to, and that’s in part why I decided to go into medicine in general and specifically breast imaging, where we closely interact with patients and tell them of their diagnosis (i.e. whether or not they have cancer).  In breast imaging, these interactions can be intense, rewarding, difficult, sad, emotional, etc, but regardless, you learn something meaningful about other people, life, or yourself in every situation.

 

 

 

 

 

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