Sunday, April 25, 2010

30 Week Update

I haven't written much about my pregnancy for a while, and 30 weeks seems like a good landmark at which to post some of my impressions and thoughts. Today also happens to be the official seven-month mark!

I'll start with how I've been feeling. I've definitely grown a lot in the past few months, and I really look and feel pregnant. My tremendous weight gain started at 14 weeks and didn't really slow down until about 26 weeks or so, and then it held steady for a few weeks. I was worried, but it looks like the upward trend has begun again this week. As of this morning, I've put on almost 9 kilograms total (just shy of 20 pounds), and I am starting to feel it. I am walking slower (although I don't think I'm waddling yet) and getting tired more easily. Fortunately, though, swimming still feels wonderful. I plan to continue doing that as long as I can still squeeze myself into my maternity swimsuit (not always easy when you are wet and being stared at by a sizable contingent of Korean ladies). Even when I am not walking or swimming, I am sometimes a little short of breath and occasionally have little dizzy spells, but nothing serious or scary. It is much harder to get comfortable on the couch while watching TV (lots of pillows help), but I am happy to report that I've been sleeping like a rock. I'm not as hungry as I was through most of the first and second trimesters, and I tend to fill up fast, especially at dinner time.

The baby is very well-developed at this point and is mostly putting on finishing touches. Her lungs have developed to the point that she might be able to breathe on her own if she was born now, although we don't want to put that to the test. The big work she is doing now is gaining body fat to keep her warm and developing her brain to prepare her to absorb all the new sensory experiences she'll be having in a few months. At our last appointment, Dr. Lee told us that she weighs about 1.5 kilograms (3.3 pounds), which is right on target. She continues to move around a lot, and I am continually surprised at how far up my abdomen I can feel her now. In fact, just this morning I felt her pushing gently (thank goodness) almost right below my ribs on my right side. I haven't noticed any real patterns in the times that she's awake and moving around, although I think I am slightly more likely to feel her in the late afternoon and evening. It seems like she'll spend a few days really kicking and pushing strongly and then a few days where she's more mellow. I wonder if she's turning around to face inside on those days that I can't feel her as well. I've also felt what I think are hiccups, sometimes more than once a day. That's good because it could mean that she's exercising her diaphragm in preparation for breathing.

Mentally, Keegan and I have been focusing a lot on the birth. I am reading everything I can get my hands on about the birthing process, and I'm planning to put together a list of things for Keegan to read too so that he'll know what to expect. We'll be touring the birthing center and asking Dr. Lee a lot of questions at our next appointment next week. I think that talking to him will really help me to be less anxious about the birth because I'll hopefully know more what to expect from the hospital and what their standard procedures are. Now I feel very positive and excited about the birth - I can't wait to meet my baby, and I am excited about facing the physical challenges of labor. My major anxiety is over communicating with the Korean staff at the hospital and about any requests that we have that might be out of the Korean norms (like keeping the baby with us rather than have her go to an incubator for hours and hours after the birth). Like I said, I hope the talk with Dr. Lee next week will help me feel less anxious about those things. It also helps to know that Keegan will be there to back me up.

I think the nursery is pretty well prepared at this point. One of my friends just offered us a high chair, so now there's really nothing left on our baby supply list except for diapers! The nursery is packed full of baby things, and this week I managed to clean out the linen closet and make a tiny bit more space to hang any pretty dresses our little girl acquires. I'll take some more photos and post them once we neaten up a few last odds and ends and get the rest of the pictures we have up on the walls.

That's pretty much the long and short of it. Stay tuned for more adventures and ultrasound pictures!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Highlights from the Trip Home

Well, we are back from our annual vacation in the U.S. As you can see, I took a little vacation from blogging, too. But, it's back to "work" for me, so I'll try to get back on the once a week schedule again. And first, I'll post a little summary of our trip.

Week 1: I left for the U.S. on March 10. Unfortunately a rogue snow storm caused the cancellation of my morning flight from Busan, so I had to stay overnight and try again the next morning. I am now very familiar with the Busan airport's routines from 5:30 - 7:00 a.m.

Snow on Geoje! As seen from our apartment window. Keegan took this, as I was in the midst of airline hell in Busan.

One of the first things I did when I arrived home was to visit Chrissy (my cousin) and her husband Ryan in Asheville, NC. I have heard such great things about Asheville, and I was curious to see it for myself. It's great! We had a good time eating at all kinds of wonderful restaurants (Mexican! Pizza! Vegetarian!) and taking a trolley tour of the town. Chrissy and I hit a consignment shop, and I picked up all kinds of maternity clothes for summer, as well as an adorable baby bathing suit. Chrissy and Ryan were very understanding of my jet lag and my inability to stay awake if we stayed still for too long in the evenings.

Seeing my parents and Dude and Laura and Jamie and Emily, and meeting Emily's youngest son Jonah, were more highlights of my first week at home.

Week 2: The highlight of my second week at home was my Blessingway in Lynchburg. A Blessingway is a celebration of motherhood that is a little like a baby shower, but more focused on loving support than on gifts. Emily made me a cake shaped like a pregnant torso (complete with strawberry nipples), and I got to wear a flower crown and soak my feet.

Blessingway food, including Emily's pregnant lady cake.

Each of the guests brought two beads for me to make into a necklace that I can wear during my labor, and everyone also brought a favorite childhood book for Baby's library.

Wearing my bead necklace.

I felt so special and so happy to share my pregnancy with all of these important people in my life.

Week 3: During the third week at home, I met Keegan in Costa Rica to visit our friend Solson, who lives in Heredia close to San Jose. We had a wonderful time catching up with Solson and relaxing at his house. His sweet dog Bonita was definitely a highlight for me - she happily accepted hours of petting and frequently rested her chin endearingly on my knee, which was adorable. Solson was a wonderful tour guide and took us all over the place, but I definitely loved our afternoon at the beach the best. The water was so warm!

At Esterillos Beach in Costa Rica!

On the same day that we went to the beach, we also visited a jungly national park where we saw howler monkeys! I had been dying to see monkeys, so I was thrilled. They were huge, and there was no missing them swinging through the vines and branches high above us, just like in a nature documentary. It was impossible to get good pictures, but the memory is enough for me.

Week 4: Back in Charlottesville, we celebrated Sue's birthday with a big dinner at the Boar's Head Inn. A lot of the family was there, and it was wonderful to have everyone together. The next day was my baby shower, which was beautiful. Grandma, Sue, Holly, and Mandy really put together some great food and stunning decorations, and we couldn't have asked for a prettier spring day. It was nice to see a lot of the people I had met at my wedding shower and engagement party, and we received an enormous bounty of baby gear and adorable clothes.

At the baby shower, with a beautiful blanket knitted by Nana (aka Sue).

It's been a lot of fun to unpack everything in the nursery.

Week 5 brought a chance for a brief visit with my parents and one last chance to see everyone at Jamie's wedding on the weekend. Catching up with friends at the rehearsal dinner and seeing how beautiful and happy Jamie looked on her wedding day were real highlights.

Jamie and Colin are married!

After the wedding we had more time to chat with Chrissy and Ryan over pizza, and on Sunday we took a wonderful walk on the bike path with Emily and Tony. On Sunday afternoon we had a few precious hours to spend with my parents and Dude the black beast, and afterward we had dessert with Sue and Steve back in Charlottesville. The trip definitely ended too soon, as always, and I know Keegan especially would have liked more time, but overall it was a wonderful visit, and we feel refreshed and much more prepared for Baby, at least in terms of Stuff. Whether we're prepared for Parenthood remains to be seen.