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I’ve officially  hit the pregnancy wall this week.

35 weeks was a wonderfully long time to enjoy being pregnant, and I’ve truly loved every minute of it.

But now, as my diaphragm is constricted little by little every day,

as my beautiful posterior baby digs its {cute} little claws into my stomach,

as the weight of my belly gets heavier and heavier,

as the thought of maintaining a comfortable body temperature becomes a luxury of the past,

and as it becomes uncomfortable to walk, sit, lay down, bend over, and reach pretty much anywhere,

I’m just about ready to be done.

Now please, beautiful baby of mine, please stay in my tummy for at least 5 more weeks, so that I can enjoy every moment of having you all to myself. I know I will miss this the moment you’re born, just because you’ve been so wonderful to share a body with these last nine months. See you soon, sweetheart.

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Even though I’m still {5 weeks and counting} away from giving birth, I’m all sorts of anxious and excited and I’m trying to do everything I can to get ready for baby’s arrival. Breastfeeding is a top priority of mine, so making my own nursing pads was high up on my list of sewing priorities, as well!

Lots of reusable nursing pad goodness. I may have gone overboard.

Lots of reusable nursing pad goodness.
I may have gone overboard.

Why use reusable nursing pads?

Making your own reusable nursing pads has so many benefits, both personal and economical. Not only are they cheaper (the entire project set me back less than 1/2 yard of cotton fabric and an old prefold diper–can you say CHEAP?!), but they’re also so much more comfortable to wear. The disposable pads I’ve gotten in freebie bags look just like diapers–why would I stick that under my shirt?! I’ll have enough to deal with those first few weeks of breastfeeding, thanks. Plus, washing and reusing pads is much more environmentally-conscious. As we’re cloth diapering, too, it seemed only natural to also use cloth nursing pads and cloth postpartum pads.

How to do it

Materials Needed:

1/2 yard cotton fabric

1-2 prefold diapers (depending on how many breast pads you’d like to make. I was able to get about 8 pads/4 sets out of 1 diaper)

Disposable breast pad to use as a pattern

Pen for tracing, pins, scissors, thread, sewing machine, yadda yadda

Step 1:

I started with an old prefold cloth diaper that my MIL had sent. I believe it came from a diaper service, so it was nice and fluffy. I decided to use a prefold after reading a recommendation from another blog online (I swear I’d link it if I had any idea at all where I found it!); plus, I figure if it’s absorbent enough to use as a diaper, it can certainly function well enough for a nursing pad! If you don’t have any prefolds lying around (or don’t plan on ordering any), I bet you could use the Gerber prefolds they sell in the store. They won’t be as absorbant, but they’ll certainly do the trick.

Then, I took a breast pad that I had on hand and, using it as my pattern, traced circles onto the prefold. I was able to get about 8 pads (4 sets) onto 1 prefold, I believe.

Step 1: Trace a disposable breast pad onto a prefold diaper.

Step 1: Trace a disposable breast pad onto a prefold diaper.

Step 2:

After I had traced my patterns, I pinned cotton fabric onto the back side of my prefold, WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. Essentially, I had the pretty side of the cotton fabric facing out on one side, and then the prefold with the pen markings visible on the other side. Does that make sense?

Step 3:

While the fabrics were pinned together, I did a zig zag stitch around all of my patterns. I really didn’t feel like cutting out dozens of little circles and trying to stitch right on the edges–no thank you. Save yourself a headache and sew BEFORE you cut!

Step 4:

Once you have all of the pads sewn, cut them out.

If you want flat nursing pads, you’re done! Congrats!

If you want contoured nursing pads, continue to step 5:

Step 5:

Take a pad and fold a little overlap right down the middle. Pin it at the top and bottom.

Step 5

Step 5

I think I had maybe 1/4 inch of overlap. You just want enough to make the pad contoured to the shape of your breast. I am not particularly well-endowed, so I had just a little overlap. Try it on once you have it pinned in place and see how it works for you.

Step 5

Step 5

Step 6:

With your sewing machine, sew the folded edge (right above where my thumb is). I used a simple straight stitch for this one, starting right before the fold and going until just after it. Repeat on both the top and the bottom.

Step 7:

When you’re done, you’ll have a nice breast pad that will contour to the shape of your breast!

Step 7--all done!

Step 7–all done!

I played around with the prefold layers when I made mine–some pads use the outer edges, some use the thicker middle panel. Once I actually make the leap into the land of breastfeeding, I’ll let you know what works best! I also have plans to make some thinner flannel ones for use after my leaking tapers off. I plan on using the same tutorial, just with 2-3 layers of flannel instead of the cotton/prefold combo!

We went to our first class at Baby Love Birth Services last night! It’s hard to believe that we’re already 34 weeks pregnant {as of tomorrow} and into the countdown to the end.

We went to the class not really knowing what to expect. The class had been recommended by our midwife, was one of the few that fit into our busy grad student schedule {who knew that the ONE night ALL of the area birth classes met was the ONE night I had night class??}, and we loved how the class description seemed to focus on natural birth and alternatives to pain medication and hospitalization. As we’re having a natural birth at a local birth center, learning how to manage labor pain is a huge priority!

Although we didn’t really know what to expect, what we absolutely did NOT expect was to be the only couple in the class! That’s right, we showed up and were then informed that we were one of two couples who signed up for this session–and the other couple dropped because of a last minute scheduling conflict. Personal class, I guess??

Now, if you know us you know that we typically aren’t in our comfort zone in these types of situations! Put Peder & Hannah in the spotlight and make them discuss childbirth with strangers?? No thanks. In spite of this, however, I actually loved the entire experience last night! I’ve done a ton of research and reading into pregnancy, labor, delivery, newborn care, etc, so I didn’t feel overwhelmed at all with the information she gave us. In addition, I felt like I had enough background knowledge so that I could ask good questions instead of having to start at the beginning, sort of “I have to do WHAT?!” style.

This week’s class focused on the signs of pre-labor, which I really appreciated. Now that we’re only two weeks away from being full term and three weeks away from being able to delivery successfully at the birth center, I’m incredibly focused on recognizing what real labor is and how to either stop it (if it’s too soon) or encourage it (if it’s after Peder’s Ph.D. exam).

We talked a lot about contractions, timing them the correct way, and the stages of labor. While we already knew about dilation and effacement, we didn’t know about the baby’s “station,” or how engaged they are in the pelvis. If the baby is still too high, a mother can push for 5 hours and have little progress, simply because the baby isn’t ready to come out yet! I’m even more determined to wait until I feel the urge to push and not go by dilation and effacement alone, and I’m grateful that our birth center’s practices are inline with this wish!

This diagram shows the baby's station--essentially, being engaged in the pelvis. The higher the number, the more engaged the baby is. A +3 or +4 would be crowning, just for reference!

This diagram shows the baby’s station–essentially, being engaged in the pelvis. The higher the number, the more engaged the baby is. A +3 or +4 would be crowning, just for reference!

We also learned about what will happen when my water breaks and how long we have til they start to worry about infection issues. Our midwife is remarkably and thankfully relaxed about this, letting women go 24 to even 30 hours after their water breaks before being concerned about adequate progress. That’s one of my biggest fears–what if we need interventions {even for the right reasons} and cannot deliver at the birth center? I was so grateful to learn that the baby and I have more than enough time to get on the same page before we’ll have to face the possibility of transferring to a hospital.

PLEASE, baby, if you simply must break my water before we get to the birth center, let us be at home. Preferably in the kitchen or bathroom, where we have tiles floors. kthankx love Mom.

PLEASE, baby, if you simply must break my water before we get to the birth center, let us be at home. Preferably in the kitchen or bathroom, where we have tiles floors. kthankx love Mom.

I’m looking forward to learning all that we can about labor and delivery over the next six weeks as we get ready to have the baby! Should be lots of fun!

2012 was pretty good to us.

I don’t think we’ve met a bad year yet {we’re so fortunately blessed in that department}, but 2012 brought us a lot of amazing life changes!

We opened our memory jar on New Year’s Eve, and relived so many wonderful memories from the year.

Look at all those memories! That this is {mostly} just the first half of the year, when we were really good about writing stuff down.

Look at all those memories! That this is {mostly} just the first half of the year, when we were really good about writing stuff down.

We started the year off right–with me accidentally missing my first class {oops}. It’s funny now, but at the time–when I came home from work only to realize that my class had begun two hours previously, not in 30 minutes as I had originally thought–it certainly started the semester off right.

My bad.

My bad.

Peder passed not one, but TWO quals in 2012. I’m ridiculously proud of this feat, because I’m one of the few that knows exactly how hard he worked for those scores! I’m 1000% positive he’ll do this again with his comp this January, that’s how awesome I know he is!

We also found and moved into a new apartment in 2012! Honestly, we had completely forgotten about this until we opened the jar and saw the notes. It just feels like we’ve been here forever! But we did move into a new house this year, and that’s pretty big, right??

Photo Dec 31, 10 15 30 PM

Then, our world turned upside down on June 15th–right to where it should be! We woke up early before work on a Friday morning and out of the blue, I decided to take a pregnancy test. When I saw that faint little line pop up, the first thing I did was….brush my teeth. I knew this was big, so I had to brush my teeth so we could talk about it! Then of course I yelled for Peder to come downstairs. He later told me that he thought something was wrong by the way my voice sounded–nothing was wrong, of course, but it was carrying some pretty big news!

Best day of the year :)

Best day of the year 🙂

We also celebrated our 2nd wedding anniversary in October with a quiet weekend in Lincoln, eating good food and seeing Chicago at the theatre downtown.

Photo Dec 31, 10 15 48 PM

There were lots of memories in the jar that I’m not detailing here and even more that we didn’t even stop to write down as the year went by, but as we stopped to think about all of the good things this year has brought us, we remembered them all. Nothing will compare, though, to the moments we’ll be remembering this time next year. Meeting our son or daughter will make 2013 the best year ever, bar none.

Turns out, I’m a sucker for anything baby-related with numbers on it.

I haven’t bought the baby any books, a onsie with a literary reference…nothing.

But, if it has numbers on it, I apparently must buy it for Peder the baby.

For Christmas this year, I gave Peder an adorable onsie that pretty much sums up how excited I am that Peder gets to be my baby’s father:

I HAD to.

I HAD to.

And, of course, some wooden magnetic numbers complete with mathematical symbols. Even though the baby’s not here yet, and even though it will likely be months/years til the baby can really play and learn from them….we immediately set them up and proceeded to play with them for a good 15 minutes.

Photo Dec 13, 7 08 56 PM

Yes, we’re children.

After a long {and busy} fall semester, I don’t think anyone was more excited for Christmas break than us!

Even though our three weeks off of school included lots of studying {Peder, for his comps. I’m officially a math widow until late January}, two weeks of traveling, five family get togethers, and two midwife appointments, it was still one of our best Christmases yet.

We started off the break with our 30 week appointment at the midwife. My mom was even able to drive down and go the appointment with me, which was great as she had never been to a birth center before. Unfortunately our midwife was gone that day, catching a baby (we haven’t seen her since 21 weeks! They’re really busy), but the NP who handled the appointment was really great in her place. Everything with the baby was fine–measured right at 29 1/2 weeks–but the biggest shock of the appointment was when they said that they’d see me back in two weeks! Since when are we on the every-two-week schedule?! Time is flying by WAY too fast.

30 weeks and road trip-bound

30 weeks and road trip-bound

Then, the next day (Saturday) we speed-cleaned the apartment and drove up to my mom’s house in time for a weekend with her and my sister. It was nice to put in a little “pre-holiday” time, as we wouldn’t be back until Christmas Eve and would therefore miss all of the baking, shopping, and other fun stuff.

By Monday, though, we were gone again, driving up to Peder’s parent’s house. We spent a full week there, visiting with them, my FIL’s family, and my MIL’s family–three Christmases in all. It was busy, to be sure, but also really nice. Peder even convinced me to go cross country skiing–an activity I more than likely will not repeat until I am no longer 31 weeks pregnant. Turns out, the stomach muscles I need to ski are in short supply these days! I was impressed that I was able to fit into my pre-pregnancy outdoor coat, though, so that was a plus!

Pretty, sunny day!

Pretty, sunny day!

Cross country skiing at 31 weeks pregnant--I feel like this was a bigger accomplishment than anyone realized :P

Cross country skiing at 31 weeks pregnant–I feel like this was a bigger accomplishment than anyone realized 😛

On Christmas Eve, we traveled back to my mom’s house for our traditional Christmas celebration–Christmas Eve church service, halibut dinner, present opening, the works! We even got some snow that week, although not *on* Christmas. Still, it was a beautiful winter wonderland, complete with 7″ of snow and two bouts of shoveling {thanks, Peder!}, by the end of the week.

31 weeks

31 weeks on Christmas Eve

Eeeeeverybody loves a belly!

Eeeeeverybody loves a belly!

By the end of Christmas week, we had another midwife appointment–32 weeks–so we left my mom’s house to drive directly to the birth center. After another appointment with the NP (will we ever see the busy midwife again?!), we finally got to go HOME to our two attention-starved kitties. I’m still not sure if Ginny believes we’re staying here now or not–she’s been sleeping on my pillow next to my head ever since we got home!

I’d say this was our best Christmas ever, but I’m pretty sure Christmas 2013 will blow this one out of the water. Hard to believe that this time next year we’ll have a 10 month old–aahh!

Norah-roo

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Our family

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Norah’s words & signs

Words:
Mama (7 months)
Dada (12 months)
Kitty (11 months)
Bear
Bath
Book (12 months)
Bird (12 months)
Baby
More (13 months)
All done
Cheese (12 months)
Fish (12 months)
Norah (14 months)

Signs:
Kitty (10 months)
More (10 months)
All Done (10 months)
Bird (12 months)
Dada (11 months)
Mama (13 months)
Train (14 months)
Please (14 months)
Carrot (13 months)
Banana (13 months)
Fish (12 months)
Horse (14 months)
Goat (14 months)
Thank you (10 months)
Milk/Noms (12 months)
I love you (15 months)