Friday, August 31, 2012

Weeks 31-33 Traveling while Pregnant

Before we got pregnant, Jon and I had been planning a second anniversary trip this summer.  I wanted to hike Mt. Fuji, and Jon wanted to hike around Yakushima-island of 6,000 year old trees.  (We both would have gone to either one though, they both sound awesome.)  At the beginning of my pregnancy, I thought we could still do it.  I'm an active person and I've tried to stay that way throughout the pregnancy.  About a month ago, I conceded defeat and we planned a much more relaxing and reasonable anniversary trip to Osaka.  

Here are some vacation photos.    We took the Hankyu ferry there and back, so here's a photo of me and baby as the sun sets. 

This is a shirt Jon made for me, that will become even more appropriate as Halloween approaches.  It's very accurate, as T-Rex loves digging both feet into my ribs exactly as the shirt demonstrates. 
Here we are at a beautiful waterfall just outside of Osaka.  It was a pretty long walk, for a pregnant lady, but I got to soak my feet in the cold mountain water before we started back down, so I thought I was doing fine.  When I got home and took my clothes off, I noticed that I had gotten a terrible rash all over my ankles, calves, and stomach from the heat and exercise.  Also, my ankles no longer looked like ankles, but sausages instead.  I rested that night with my feet up and cranked the air conditioner and the next morning I was back to normal.  This cycle repeated itself for the rest of the trip.  Wake up feeling fine, rash free, and with defined ankles, and go to bed exhausted, rashy and ankle-free.   
I wasn't about to stay inside the hostel and miss out on any of our fun plans, like the zoo or Osaka castle though!  So, we just walked slowly and went inside air conditioned gift shops more often than we normally would. 

Finally, here we are on our way home from our trip, back on the ferry.  We bought each other Japanese style outfits as presents, and I think we look pretty sharp.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Baby’s getting big!! Pregnant in Japan weeks 26-30

 We've gone in for a few checkups now.  We go in every two weeks, so it feels like everything is moving faster and faster.  The day before our 26 week checkup, I mentioned to Jon that it felt like overnight T-Rex had gotten really heavy.  And lo and behold, during our 26 week checkup the ultrasound technician looked at T-Rex and said with big eyes, “Big Head!” Then, “Big body!”  Apparently T-Rex is pretty big for his/her age.  Four weeks big, according to the Japanese scale.  In fact, the ultrasound machine computed a new estimated due date of Sept. 26th, rather than Oct. 25th.

At 26 weeks, T-Rex weighed 1,100 grams.  This is a little strange because I haven’t gained all that much weight.  I’ve only gone from 71 Kilos to 74 kilos (a gain of about 6 ½ pounds).  I would have thought for the fetus to get big, I’d have to get big first.  I feel like I have been eating a lot more, but I guess T-Rex has been using all the calories herself/himself!  Once we got home from the hospital, I did some research online and found that American babies are generally a little bigger than Japanese babies.  Although T-Rex is still measuring large, by American standards, he/she is only two weeks big.   According to American measurements, T-Rex should be around 800 grams.   

We went in again at 28 weeks and I passed my glucose test and a different technician measured T-Rex again and found that he/she is only two weeks big.  I guess it’s all an estimate anyways. 

I’m starting to really feel this pregnancy now.  My belly is too big to ignore and everyone that sees me knows I’m pregnant.  I’ve started spilling food on my belly when we’re out picnicking or shutting the door on my belly when I’m trying to squeeze through a tight spot. I’m blazing hot at all times and I still feel a little nauseous from time to time, I think it’s made worse by the heat.  My back has started to hurt and it’s hard to get comfortable when I’m trying to sleep.  I have even started waking up around 6 every morning and taking a cool shower and going back to sleep.  I’ve started letting Jon carry everything for me and we walk a lot slower now.  Jon even asked me to stop riding my bike, though I feel perfectly balanced and fine. (I said I would.) I’m a lot more content to relax at home with the fan blowing on me as I watch the Olympics than I normally would be.  

We did go camping a few nights ago. (We wanted to be out of the city to watch the Perseid meteor shower.) Here's a picture of Jon and I and friends as we're headed to the beach.  It was great swimming in the ocean and relaxing on the beach--not so great that night, sunburned, itchy jelly fish stings and mosquito bites, sand in the tent, blazing heat even at midnight, hard ground.  I think I can safely say it was our last camping trip till next summer when T-Rex can come with us..outside of the womb. 

At the 30 week checkup, T-Rex measured 1,960 grams, about 4 pounds.  Still about two weeks big.  Something that’s odd about that is that the baby has gained about 800 grams in the past month and I’ve gained about 700.  I feel like I’m eating a lot more than when I wasn’t pregnant, and I’m definitely getting less exercise, but I guess that T-Rex really is using all those calories getting big.  I’m sure if I lived in the US, I would have gained a lot more, but the food I crave as a pregnant lady I can’t get here.  (Chef Boyardee raviolis and spaghetti-Os and burritos and Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food, and Arby’s Roast Beef, and ……..)  That’s all beside the fact that my husband is always encouraging me to eat healthy food for the baby instead of an ice cream cone and pickles for lunch.    Anyhow, the doctor says my weight gain is fine and T-Rex is obviously growing just fine, so I’m not too worried about it. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

T-Rex's Nursery

Japanese homes are known for being tiny.  In fact, our first apartment in Japan had one room with a “kitchen” (hot plate, sink, and a mini fridge) on one side, a short skinny bed on the other side, a veranda and a bathroom.  We fancied it up with a chair and hanging rack for our clothes and still had enough room to do whatever we wanted, as long as what we wanted to do was stand up straight or leave.  Our current place is much more livable, we have a kitchen (no quotation marks needed), a bathroom, a balcony, a small living room and a bedroom.  We love our little apartment, it’s got a great location, it’s a great price, and the neighborhood is quiet—so we don’t plan to move.  But then we started thinking about where the baby will sleep.  Hmmmmm… 

We decided to get a little baby basket to put by the bed--nursery completed!  But—what about all of baby’s stuff?  What about when baby gets too big for the basket?  We still need a nursery.   We decided to take a third of the closet and make it into baby’s room.  There’s a shelf at about waist height and we’ll put the changing table and clothes storage on top of that.  Once baby outgrows the basket, baby will sleep on his/her own baby sleeping pad under the shelf.  When I first suggested this idea to Jon, he was horrified, “What?  We can’t have baby sleep in the closet!”  But, there really isn’t anywhere else, unless we’re willing to have baby sleep in the bathtub or on the balcony.  The nice thing is that the closet has a sliding door that we can use while T-Rex is sleeping, it will block any light that we use as we get ready for bed (presumably at a later time than the baby), but it’s small enough that we will be able to hear T-Rex crying or fussing through it.  

<--  Before

I spent a lot of time surfing the internet to find ideas for decorating our little closet nursery and Jon and I talked a lot about what we wanted it to look like.  In the end we were able to decorate almost the entire closet corner with things we had around the house or that we bought at the hyakuyen shop (100 Yen shop, just like our dollar stores) for less than $US40.  It was a little tricky, because we want the room to be bright and colorful, but there aren’t any outlets for lights near it and we can’t paint the walls. 

We chose an outdoor, tree theme for the nursery.  We started with blue fabric to pin on the walls for the sky and bought brown, green, and yellow felt for creating a tree.   I started by cutting out the shape of the tree and branches and about a million leaves.

Then I ironed the blue fabric and glued the branches and leaves to it.

While I was doing this, Jon was cutting up a sleeping pad we had lying around the house.  In Japan, people sleep on the floor, and we used to sleep on a foam pad before I got pregnant and we decided to upgrade to a nice mattress.  (Best choice we every made.)   We tried to give it away, but everyone has these thin sleeping pads lying around their house, so it was just taking up space in the closet.  Jon cut two squares out of it, which would lay on top of one another.  He cut the center out of the top one, making a square donut shape—this will make a raised rim around where the baby lays when we change the diaper.  Then he covered the whole thing in a waterproof picnic print tablecloth.
Here I am sewing on the trunk and leaves using embroidery thread.  It took a really long time.

Finally, we put it all together in the baby closet.  We don’t have many baby clothes or anything yet, but what we have, we put in the shelves.  We have an Easter outfit, some baby kimonos, and a T-Shirt with a T-Rex on it. 
You can see from this angle that it leads into Jon’s side of closet.

Finally, I found a really colorful and cute bed that we’ll put right next to our bed.  I like it because it’s so bright.  Once baby grows out of it, he/she will get her own baby sleeping mat underneath the changing corner.  We’ll wait till baby is a few months old before we even start worrying about getting that ready.