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Thursday, August 23, 2018

The Final Trimester

I am 31 weeks along this week, which puts me in my 7th month of pregnancy. The second trimester was a bit of a blur - first trimester symptoms lingered well into it, and third trimester physical discomforts showed up sooner than usual. But the most important thing is that Lulu (current nickname for the baby) is happy and healthy, so at the end of the day, that's the bottom line.

Jessica has continued to be a sweet and caring IM. We have discussed the birth plan and I'm happy that she does plan on accepting most best-practice recommendations, including delayed cord clamping. It is unclear if she will get her own room with Lulu at this point. Although it is standard for UCSD to put the IP and baby in a separate room, Jessica has been unable to confirm that her insurance will approve that. I think it's mostly a language barrier (and insurance issues are complicated even when language isn't a factor); she called and her insurance company told her they would not approve a room for her since she isn't a patient in this situation and that the baby could go to the nursery. I told her that the room wasn't for her; it was for the baby, who is the patient, and UCSD doesn't have a nursery (even the NICU at Jacob's are private rooms). So I'm hoping and assuming it all gets billed appropriately and works out.

Regarding breast milk, Jessica is willing to accept anything I'm able to pump in the hospital. I was hoping she would be fine with me just nursing the baby (that would be much easier for me than pumping) but she doesn't feel comfortable with that for whatever reason so I've finally gotten the clue and let it go. She was giving these nonsensical concerns (ie Lulu will get used to the breast in the hospital and refuse the bottle after discharge) which in my open/honest and research based nature was replying to each one as they came up before I realized there was probably something else going on. Part of it (as with many things I am discovering) is likely cultural. China has one of the lowest breastfeeding rates in the world, and has been on the decline even further in recent years, so formula is very much the standard there, and breast milk is the "alternative". So fingers crossed for an ample supply of colostrum in the hospital!

She also declined for me to get the Dtap vaccine (which protects baby against Whooping Cough). I was initially confused over this as Chinese are very conscientious about germs and protecting against sickness (when Jessica last visited she wore a mask the whole time since she was getting over a cold), until good old google told me that last month there was a huge scandal in China over the quality of vaccines produced, and the maker is now under criminal investigation.

She has decided to go with one of the post birth centers up in Irvine after discharge, and will stay there for about a month until Lulu is old enough to travel and Jessica has her legal documents secured. I'm glad that she will have some support system to help her in that difficult first month!

I won't be able to post any pictures of Lulu though, since Jessica definitely is a more private person. I asked if I could post a picture of the two of us and she provided me with an edited version of it that had her face blocked out. I'm assuming she will feel similarly about Lulu. I do want Ryan to take pictures and my mom to take video (I've oked this with Jessica) and hopefully Ryan can get a decent number of pictures that capture the experience but don't show Jessica or baby's faces so that I can post those!

And speaking of baby, Jessica asked for our thoughts on some names she is considering for Lulu's "American" name; Alice, Charlotte, Alana and Mika. She wanted something with meaning and that would be easy for her parents to pronounce. The girls immediately liked Mika, and I love it too! We will see what Jessica and her parents settle on.

At the "big" ultrasound, they found that the cord is inserted not in the center of the placenta but on the side (called marginal cord insertion). This is usually not a problem, but does require more monitoring to make sure everything is ok. I had a second ultrasound to check on growth at 28 weeks and everything looked good. I go in for another one at 36 weeks and will also have weekly NST's at that point too. I'm REALLY hoping Lulu doesn't make me suffer too long after full term at 37 weeks. Jessica is coming out around Oct 14th (10 days before the due date) and is hoping that Lulu doesn't come earlier than that so she doesn't miss the birth.

I have gained more than I did with the girls. I am currently about 5 lbs heavier (180 lbs) than I was when I delivered the girls (175 lbs), and I still have about 2 months to go! Every day I alternate between trying to be very good about food and consumption & not gain any more weight and just saying screw it, the food I CAN eat is my only physical enjoyment in life right now, so just go for it! I'm so huge and uncomfortable (typical) and my heartburn is per the usual terrible too. I can't eat anything substantial after 4pm, otherwise I have to sleep upright on the couch and even then if it's a really big meal or very late I'll still wake up choking on my own vomit. So my evenings are all about avoiding food until bed. My pregnancies really put a damper on my social calendar between first trimester [all day] morning sickness and final trimester heartburn. Ha!