Embracing The Nesting Phase of Pregnancy

Embracing The Nesting Phase of Pregnancy

I’m officially in the “nesting phase” of pregnancy.

The American Pregnancy Organization describes nesting as when pregnant women feel the “overwhelming desire to get your home ready for your new baby.”

That is exactly me in a nutshell right about now.

Bird making a nest

I am “nesting” just like this mama bird trying to get her home organized for her babies

I had my 30 week appointment a few days ago. Our little man is measuring at 32 weeks and is already weighing in at a hefty 4lbs 7oz. That’s already more then our daughter Zoe weighed at birth and she was 7 weeks early! So it already looks like I’m going to have a big baby boy.

Aside from feeling like a blimp I would say everything is pretty great. I am still able to work without restrictions (I do however have to wear compression stockings to get through 12 hour ER shifts).

So now I’m embracing my new nesting phase.

Just in the past week I have really gotten down to business:

My house has never been so clean and organized.

Our house never really gets super messy, but I have been feeling the urge to clean and organize much more then usual. For example, before 7:30am this morning I had already vacuumed the house, finished a load of laundry and organized the kitchen cupboards.

Don’t get me wrong, I like a clean house. But I am way more into cleaning and organizing this week then I have been in a really long time.

I organized all my to-do lists on Trello

I am 99% paperless and hate having lists floating around my house. If it isn’t able to be easily accessed on my phone then I might as well not even have it. Especially now that I am a mom. Paper lists just aren’t practical anymore.

Recently I discovered an amazing app called Trello and it has revolutionized my organization and planning skills. Trello basically allows me to organize and prioritizes my to-do lists and projects using boards, lists and cards. It’s all on my phone and easy to access.

I easily organized my personal boards by: grocery lists, random to-do lists, house projects, new baby to do-lists, and blog to do list. Each list can be broken down into separate cards and you can make notes on each one.

For example, my blog board is separated into 3 separate topics: mom, nurse and website to-do. I can further organize my mom board into additional topics : baby/kid, mom, pregnancy, health, environmental. Then each of those is broken down with individual “cards” that I can add specific tasks to.

It sounds confusing but it is seriously the best for people who like to be organized and efficient. It has really helped enhance my “nesting” abilities.

I am purging anything I dont’ use or need.

I am really trying to minimize the stuff in our house. If it is not serving a purpose of bringing me joy in some way, it is leaving the Jividen household.

This week’s priority was my closet. If I haven’t worn it in a year, it got tossed. In fact, I have never owned so few clothes in my life. And it actually feels really good. Everything I have now I actually wear (or will wear as soon as I’m not a pregnant mama anymore).

Next stop: the garage! That will be a much bigger task.

I organized my kid’s closet.

Our kids are going to share a room for the foreseeable future (wish me luck on this one). Fortunately, the room has a nice sized walk-in closet with plenty of room for both kid’s wardrobes and storage.

Each child now has there own very organized side of the closet, split right down the middle. I even organized all their clothing by size and season. Nesting win.

In preparation for baby #2 I boxed up all of our daughter’s outgrown baby clothes into large bins, and they are ready for delivery to my other soon-to-be mama friends. They surely must also be in nesting mode and organizing like crazy like I am.

I had a 2nd crib delivered tonight.

Thank god for Amazon Prime. What in the world did mom’s do before it existed?

I am only 2.5 weeks away for the time I gave birth to Zoe at 33 weeks and 7 weeks prematurely. So I really don’t see this as jumping the gun at all because babies really can show up at any time.

Zoe may be a little confused as to why she has 2 cribs in her room now, but that’s OK. It will give her time to get used to it before another small human comes in.

We are buying a new car this weekend.

A Subaru Outback to be exact. After about a year of research into what the safest automobile is for small children, the Subaru Outback keeps coming back as the clear winner. I had one once before when I lived in Denver and they really are dependable and safe cars.

We will be donating my husbands car this weekend too.

My Christmas decorations are ready to be put up.

Little Zoe smiling

My nesting list includes decorating for Christmas as soon as it is socially acceptable. How can I resist when this little face is so excited about decorations?

This one has been HUGE for me this week. In my nesting frenzy, I am so excited to get ready for the holidays. Especially now that our 2 year old daughter is so ecstatic about special events and decorations. It just makes it so much more fun for me.

Seriously, if it wasn’t considered inappropriate I would have starting putting up our tree tonight (3 weeks before Thanksgiving). I just ordered a new, much larger tree since we have the space for it now and it was just delivered this afternoon.

On my Trello app I have already listed which new tree decorations I will be purchasing this week. I am so excited to get them and decorate that I can barely wait.

I’m not sure where this burst of extra energy is coming from.

But I’m going with it until the baby tells me I’m tired again. It’s not like I have any extra time or anything. I’m still working almost 40 hours a week as an emergency room nurse and I have a very energetic toddler at home.

I have read that there is an evolutionary component to the nesting phase that women have during there pregnancies. Apparently there have been several studies done on this maternal phenomenon. I experienced the same thing during my first pregnancy with my daughter. Only I had way more time to do it!

Whatever it is that is giving my ever-growing body an extra kick, Ill take it. I’m sure it won’t be long until I’m too big to even want to do a lot of these things. Until then, I will continue nesting away!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

Fetal Kick Counts:  How To Do Them And Why They Are Critical

Fetal Kick Counts: How To Do Them And Why They Are Critical

Feeling your baby move can be one of the most exciting parts of a pregnancy. Its nice to have some confirmation that there is actually a tiny human in there!

But did you know that counting your baby’s kicks can help make sure they are healthy and possibly even prevent a tragedy?

There is strong evidence that counting fetal movements can reduce perinatal mortality in pregnancy.

Doing kick counts actually saved our baby girl’s life. If I hadn’t done them I wouldn’t have suspected that there was something terribly wrong and I wouldn’t have gone into the hospital.

When do moms start feeling fetal movements?

According to the American Pregnancy Organization you should start to feel some fetal movement between 18-25 weeks into pregnancy. For first-time moms, it may occur closer to 25 weeks, and for second or third-time moms, it may occur closer to 18 weeks or even a little earlier.

Why are fetal kick counts important?

Sarah and little Zoe

Our daughter was not moving as much while doing fetal kick counts during my first pregnancy. Intervention at that time was life saving.

Doctors only see moms every two to four weeks. According to Dr. Diep Nguyen, a Los Angeles OB/GYN “fetal movement is the best indicator of pregnancy health and is the best yardstick in between those times. If the baby is not growing well, it probably will slow down its activity way before it will stop moving all together.”

My own OB/GYN has expressed the same information to me. Especially ever since my placental abruption during my first pregnancy at 33 weeks.

Now that I am due in January with our baby boy, there is a part of me that is afraid that some sort of catastrophe could happen again. But I am doing daily kick counts and I am reassured that our baby boy is kicking quite frequently. If for some reason he slows down or stops I know to go right to the hospital to have things checked out.

When will I feel the most movement?

Moms generally find that the baby is most active between the hours of 9pm and 1am due to declining blood sugar levels. You my also feel more fetal movement after meals or eating sugary foods.

I have always felt that it is easier to feel the baby move when I lay down and pay closer attention. It is also a nice time for baby bonding and just getting some well-deserved mommy rest. When I am busy and moving around a lot it is harder to pay attention to what is going on inside my uterus.

How should kick counts been done?

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that you time how long it takes you to feel 10 kicks, flutters, swishes, or rolls. Ideally, you want to feel at least 10 movements within 2 hours. You will likely feel 10 movements in less time than that.

How to do kick counts:

1. Lay on your left side.

2. Count how many minutes it takes for you to feel 10 fetal movements (once you get to ten you can stop counting).

3. Do this once a day around the same time. I do it right before bedtime when my daughter is already asleep so I am not interrupted.

Charting fetal kick counts

Fetal kick count app

There are dozens of kick count apps to choose from, but this is the one I use.

You can use a calendar chart to document how many minutes it takes for you to feel 10 fetal movements. If your baby does not move at least 10 times in 2 hours or there is a sudden decrease in movement, you should contact your doctor right away.

There are dozens of fetal kick count apps available to make this even easier.

Having an app makes it so much easier. You can just set the time that you want to start doing kick counts and then tap on the phone each time you feel a kick. When you get to 10 kicks, the app tells you that you are done and records the total amount of time it took. The app also records the history of all your kick counting sessions so it is easy to review and see if there have been any decreases in activity.

Kick counting is an easy way to monitor baby’s well being in the womb.

Timely intervention after a mother complained of decreased fetal movements and the baby was found to be compromised on further evaluation has helped save many babies. I know from first hand experience that doing fetal kick counts can help divert a catastrophic event. It is always better to be safe then sorry!

Happy (and safe) pregnancy and thank you for reading!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love

I Had A Placental Abruption At 33 Weeks: Our NICU Experience

I Had A Placental Abruption At 33 Weeks: Our NICU Experience

I had a spontaneous placental abruption when I was 33 weeks pregnant with my daughter.

A placental abruption occurs when the placenta (the lifeline delivering blood, oxygen and nutrients to our baby) peels away from the uterus. It deprives the fetus of oxygen and causes the mother to hemorrhage internally.

Luckily for us, I was able to have an early emergency c-section and we had a very happy outcome. After spending some time in the NICU our 33 week preemie daughter came home with us as a healthy 4 lb, 3 oz baby.

Sarah pregnant with Zoe

At my baby shower, one week before I had our daughter via emergency c-section at 33 weeks.

But it almost didn’t end up that way. Unfortunately, most mothers who have a placental abruption are not so lucky, according to our neonatologist. The reason, he said, is that babies end up being deprived of oxygen, sometimes within seconds. Mothers also end up losing a lot of blood, although they usually do better then the babies.

We still don’t know why it happened because I had no risk factors. Thankfully, I was able to have an emergency C-section in time and it was life-saving for the both of us.

I got the flu about 5 days before the placental abruption occurred.

As a nurse I already knew that just being sick doesn’t hurt the baby and may even give her a few extra antibodies. I decided the best thing to do was rest and drink lots of fluids.

But to my surprise, two days later I was feeling so much worse.

I called the OB floor at our hospital and was directed to an advice nurse.

After a 30 minute phone interview I was told NOT to come to the hospital as there was nothing they could do for me. I just had the flu, they said. I was told to stay home, rest and drink lots of fluids.

Two days after that I felt even worse! So again, I called the OB unit at the hospital to see what I should do.

I spoke with both the on-call OBGYN on the unit and another advise nurse. Both told me again NOT to come in. I explained that I was extremely weak and short of breath when walking more then 20 feet. I had no fever but I had never felt more sick in my life. They told me I just had the flu and needed to “ride it out.”

I laid in my bed and cried for 30 minutes because every inch of my body was hurting so much that I could barely stand it anymore. I had a hard time catching my breath.

(Later we found out that the reason I felt so horrible was that my hemoglobin was extraordinarily low due to the placental abruption already having started. My hemoglobin (the oxygen carrying component of a blood cell) at that time was 6 grams per deciliter. The normal level is 12.0 to 15.5 grams.)

I laid down for an hour and started doing “kick counts.”

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that you time how long it takes you to feel 10 kicks, flutters, swishes, or rolls. Ideally, you want to feel at least 10 movements within 2 hours. Usually a mom can feel 10 movements in less time than that.

But I only felt 4 or 5 movements in that hour period. My body was so sick and achy though that I wasn’t sure exactly what I was feeling, so I drank two large glasses of orange juice and ate a small bag of gummy Lifesavers. I was determined to sugar-shock my baby into giving me more fetal movements.

I began counting kicks for a second hour. But after about 40 minutes I still only counted about 3-4 pretty weak kicks. At that point I decided I wanted to see a doctor, even if they thought I was overreacting.

I called my husband and asked him to come home and drive me to the hospital.

When we arrived at the labor and delivery unit I was immediately given a mask and asked why I came to the hospital after I was specifically told not to. I was reminded that I was bringing my flu into the hospital.

I tried to explain again that I just didn’t feel right and that I thought the baby should be kicking more. They put me in a room and we waited for the on-call OBGYN.

When she arrived she did an ultrasound and was immediately concerned. She explained that:

A) I had almost no amniotic fluid.

B) The little amount of amniotic fluid that was there was the wrong color and she couldn’t explain why.

C) Our baby’s fetal heart rate was “not reassuring” which is another way of saying that our baby is alive but in distress.

D) It was likely I would have an emergency C-section imminently.

She didn’t know at that time I was actually having a placental abruption. Apparently it is very hard to diagnose on ultrasound.

(We later found out that the amniotic fluid was showing as the wrong color because it was actually blood, not amniotic fluid. I had already been bleeding into my uterus and our daughter was swallowing blood the whole time. After the C-section they pumped 15 cc’s of blood out of our daughter’s stomach and she pooped blood for the next few days.)

A team of preemie doctors came in to prepare us.

Preemie Baby Zoe

After finding out that a c-section was imminent, a team of preemie doctors came in to prepare us for what to expect after Zoe was born.

The preemie MDs explained in detail what would most likely happen to our daughter since she was coming out 7 weeks early. They said it was likely that our daughter would not be able to breathe on her own and that she would need to be intubated (using a machine that breathes for her). It the case that my baby didn’t cry after delivery, they wanted to make sure I was prepared for that possibility.

We were also told to prepare for 30 days in the NICU, which was the average length of stay for a “33 weeker.”

Within a few hours things got much worse.

Soon, I started hemorrhaging and was having what felt like one long contraction that wouldn’t stop.

Our OB determined that I was not actually in labor as my cervix was completely closed. She thought it was best to take the baby out right then because something was very wrong, but she didn’t know exactly what yet. I was wheeled across the hall for the emergency C-section.

Our daughter, Zoe Grace, was born.

Zoe came out at 4 pounds, 3 ounces. After being suctioned, she let out a tiny little cry that I will never forget. It was the best and most beautiful sound I had ever heard in my life.

The doctor was able to confirm during the c-section that I had a placental abruption. My placenta was 30% detached from my uterus.

The next day our neonatologist told us that Zoe had no signs of brain damage and we had a “very healthy baby considering the circumstances.”

He then let me know bluntly, and in no censored way that “babies born after a placental abruption usually don’t survive and the mothers don’t do that well either, although they do better then the babies.”

It was hard to have our baby in the NICU, but we were so grateful for the excellent care she received.

Preemie Baby Zoe

It was hard to have my baby in the NICU but we were so grateful for the excellent care she received.

The first time we saw her we were shocked. She was in an incubator hooked up to so many IV’s and tubes, and so tiny.

I wasn’t allowed to hold her yet. That part was so hard! But I could put my hands in the incubator and place one hand on the top of her head and one her feet. I remember telling her how proud we were of her. She was a tough baby right from the start.

Zoe had an oral-gastric feeding tube for nutrition since she was unable to eat for the first 7 days on her own. I would pump breast milk and give it to the nurses so they could feed her through the OG tube.

She was also receiving TPN (IV nutrition) and lipids (fats) through 2 IV lines. That was probably the most difficult part to watch- preemies veins are so tiny that it would often take an hour of poking to get the IV in. And they didn’t last very long so she was constantly being stuck with needles.

She was on oxygen and a cpap machine for the first week to help her continue breathing on her own. Since she also was very jaundiced, she had to be under a bilirubin light for 5 days.

Zoe got a little stronger every day.

Mom and Zoe in the NICU

As a preemie Zoe earned the nickname “tiny but mighty” from her doctors.  This was taken during week two in the NICU.

Zoe started doing more on her own, like eating through a preemie nipple and no longer needing the IV nutrition.

We were shocked on our 9th day in the NICU when we were informed that Zoe would be discharged the next day. I knew she was doing well but we were told that due to her stage of prematurity that she would stay for at least a month. She was so tiny I couldn’t believe they were letting us take her home.

My experience taught me a few things…

A) Mothers need to trust their instincts. We know much more then we give ourselves credit for.
B) At 28 weeks gestation it is important to start doing fetal kick counts.
C) It is so important to be grateful for the miracle of having a child.

I can’t imagine what my life would be like now if I hadn’t gone into the hospital that evening, especially after being instructed not to. It is so important to trust your instincts!

I am so blessed that I get to be a mom. Not everyone gets to have healthy baby, or a baby at all for that matter. Whenever I find myself getting frustrated with the difficulties that come with parenthood, I think about how close we were to not getting to have Zoe at all. That puts it all into perspective for me.

Zoe photo shoot

Zoe, 2 years old.  Spunky, hammy and giggling as usual.

Our daughter turned two today. And we are so grateful everyday for her presence in our lives.

Thank you for reading!

Sarah, Mother Nurse Love