35 Weeks

35 weeksHow far along: 35 weeks & 2 days
Baby updates: On my appointment this past Friday, Baby Harper was estimated to be just over 6 lbs! He’s constantly moving around and seems to be doing great.  So thankful.
Mamma updates: It’s weird but I honestly think that this is the best I’ve felt through the entire pregnancy. A few weeks back I felt like I was going through all of the aches, pains and stressors, but somehow it’s all faded out and now I’m just feeling great.
Things I miss: A glass of wine and raw cookie dough (not that you’re ever really supposed to have it…)
Cravings: Twizzlers, cookies, gummy worms, and all kinds of healthy foods.
Weight: +21
Best moments of the week: I enjoyed lots of time with friends over the past week, but truly the highlight was spending time with Michael. We went on a date Thursday night and had a really fun weekend together, and although I’m super excited to meet our little guy, I’m absolutely cherishing these final weeks as a family of 2. I know that our life is about to change in a really big way, but I feel like as long as we’re doing it together, it’s going to be awesome. So thankful to have such a kick-ass husband.  🙂

34 Weeks

34 Weeks 2How far along: 34 weeks & 1 day
Baby updates: On my appointment this past Friday, Baby Harper was estimated to be around 5.5lbs!  I love that he’s big and healthy but when I think about delivering him, I sort of hope that he slows down a little…
Mamma updates: Although I’m supposed to be experiencing all kinds of fun late-term pregnancy symptoms (weakening eye-sight, back aches, swollen ankles, heart burn, poor balance, forgetfulness, the list goes on), I’ve actually been feeling great over the past week – the best I’ve felt in a long time! I’ve been sleeping well and am really enjoying this stage of pregnancy — excited to meet our little guy soon but still very happy to have a few more weeks of peace with Michael.  🙂
Things I miss: Nada.
Cravings: Ice cream! I’m having it every night these days.
Weight: +20! Major milestone!!
Best moments of the week: Although there was nothing major going on last week, it was still full of fun moments. Wednesday was o Dia dos Namorados (Valentine’s Day) so Michael brought me some beautiful flowers, chocolates, and took me out for great dinner.IMG_2203IMG_2200Over the weekend, Michael and Joe went to Rio with some other friends of ours to watch Italy vs. Mexico in the Confederations Cup (a sort of pre-World Cup tournament which uses the World Cup stadiums) and they had an absolute blast. IMG_2219Since my traveling days have kind of passed at this point, I stayed home and hung out with friendsScreen Shot 2013-06-17 at 9.33.18 PM and enjoyed lots of cuddle-time with little Mailey Jane Hudson. Speaking of MJ, here is a cute picture of her with Michael on her birthday!  He’s such a natural.DSC_0413PS – It’s super loud outside our apartment right now with all of the protests going on!  Crazy!

Pregnant Paulistana

Many people have asked me about what it’s like to be pregnant in Brazil, how the medical care is and about our decision to have the baby here versus returning home for the birth. So, lemme tell ya’bout it.

I’d like to start by saying that being pregnant here is awesome. People are SO nice to pregnant women in Brazil. I can basically go to the front of any line anywhere — whether it’s checking in or going through customs at the airport, buying groceries, waiting at the bank or getting into a bar that has a line. It’s just their policy to give “priority status” to pregnant women and this policy infiltrates people’s mindsets so that everyone is generally just very thoughtful and kind towards pregnant women. So that’s great!

Also, health care here is fabulous. In Brazil, there is public health-care that is free and available to all which is not very good, and then there is private health-care which is pricey but luxurious. We are blessed to have an amazing insurance plan that has thus far covered 100% of all of our medical expenses, so we love that. We would definitely be paying more in the US and receiving a much lower level of attention.

That being said, there are certain things relating to health-care that are pretty different in Brazil, and labor and delivery practices are at the top of that list.

First of all, your OB is the person who delivers your baby. Although you give birth in a hospital, you call your doctor and he or she comes and meets you there and brings his or her own team (of nurses, assistants, anesthesiologists, etc.) to perform the delivery. I think this is a huge bonus as it allows you to deliver with a doctor who already knows you and your whole situation from the very beginning. When you deliver at a hospital in the US, you never know who will be delivering the baby, and you typically have a stream of nurses – whoever is working that shift – in and out throughout your labor and then you periodically see whichever doctor is there at that time.

Secondly, and the biggest difference here, is that Brazil has a very high rate of elected, scheduled c-sections. Culturally here, c-sections are viewed as the high-class, educated thing to do. For example, other than my maid (who delivered all 3 of her babies at her home because she lived too far from a hospital), I have yet to meet a Brazilian woman who has had a “normal” delivery. I’m not sure what the actual numbers are, but I asked my doctor what the ratio for her is and she said that on average, she will do about 95 births/year and maybe only 4 of those will not be c-sections. Michael and I saw more proof of this on our hospital visit where the labor & delivery rooms are simply called operating rooms! This in turn feeds into a whole host of other differences…

For example, because birth is typically a scheduled, planned event, it becomes just that – a big, planned event! Parents know that they will be staying at the hospital for a few days (due to recovery-time from the surgery) so they all bring elaborate decorations to decorate their “apartment” (the room where you stay after giving birth) door and “lembracinhas” (or party-favor type gifts) for visitors and nurses. I’m sorry but I feel like the BABY that I just produced will just have to be lembracinha enough for everyone! It’s also customary for new parents to receive LOTS of visitors to the hospital including family, friends and coworkers. Not quite sure how I will feel about that one yet…

Anyway, I could go on and on but suffice it to say that there are lots of cultural differences with regards to pregnancy and birth here. Luckily, I was fortunate enough to find a great OBGYN who speaks pretty good English and is located just a couple of blocks from our apartment. Although she doesn’t normally perform “regular” deliveries, she has said from the beginning that if it’s what I want and everything seems safe, she is totally supportive, and until last week, I hadn’t had any issues. THEN I showed her my birth-plan. I don’t think she had ever even heard of a birth-plan before and wasn’t really used to the idea of a patient making so many requests or having so many preferences. Since most people have c-sections, it’s just not really a thing. Anyway…there were a few points where we disagreed and she literally told me she “doesn’t do deliveries” the way that I was hoping to do mine. I think we both took each other off-guard by the whole thing and I ended up leaving her office feeling totally defeated and confused. I wanted to have a doctor who would be totally supportive of my wishes (down to the details!) but I do really like her and the thought of trying to find a new doctor who is covered by our insurance, speaks English, is accessible for me to get to and will be supportive of my whole plan seemed really overwhelming and potentially impossible at this point. Plus, labor and delivery is so unpredictable that it’s likely I could go through all that trouble to find a new doctor and in the end still have to throw my birth-plan out the window anyway. The points of disagreement were actually just a few details, but it still took me off-guard and knocked the wind out of my sails. It was one of those times where I felt like I was really far from home…

After the appointment, I went home and started doing more and more research on the points of disagreement to try to determine if they were actually a big deal or not, but the internet is only so helpful so thankfully I was able to grab some Facetime with my mama-bestie, Bess, and it was truly the best medicine. She had such a great perspective on what those little details were like in the context of actually giving birth versus when you are sitting at home on the couch, typing up your birth-plan. She was full of other wisdom and encouragement and by the end of our conversation I felt 100 times better. Thank you Bess!!!

Then, over the weekend our dear friends Trent and Paige had their baby girl! We got to visit with them at the hospital (same as where we will be having our little guy) and hear all about their experience. Although Paige has a different doctor and was much more ambitious than I think I’ll be (the girl gave birth without ANY pain meds!!), it was still encouraging to hear their story and even more, seeing their beautiful baby girl was a huge reminder that the real priority is healthy baby, healthy mama. The rest are just details.

Just to be sure we were making the right decision though, Michael suggested that we call one of our OBGYN friends in the US and get his opinion on it as well. So, we did something I never thought we would do, and scheduled a call with Vinay. Now, Vinay is totally amazing and at the top of his field. I just know him more as…the guy getting kicked off the microphone at weddings as he tries to lead the party in “Shout.” However, Vinay really was a life-saver and it was so comforting to get his expert opinion and some reassurance.

All that being said, I am now truly feeling better and more confident than ever about having this baby and having him here, with my doctor. Now let’s just hope it stays that way.  🙂

33 Weeks

33 weeksHow far along: 33 weeks & 1 day
Baby updates: Although it’s hard to be exact at this stage, we think Baby Harper is somewhere around 4.5-5 lbs these days.
Mamma updates: Last week was kind of a stressful, emotional roller-coaster for me (full post on that later this week) but I’m currently feeling better than ever.
Things I miss: Nothing really.
Cravings: Ice cream & cookies.
Weight: +19 
Best moments of the week: There was a very clear winner for this week’s best moment — getting to welcome sweet Mailey Jane Hudson into the world and celebrate our dear friends Trent and Paige becoming parents! Still praising God for a healthy baby, healthy mom and a great delivery! I don’t want to tell their story before they have the chance to, but I will say that in a verrrrry Hudson-like way, Trent and Paige had us over on Saturday, convinced us to stay for dinner and then literally dropped us off at our apartment on their way to the hospital that night where Paige proceded to give birth without ANY pain meds! Ridiculous!! Anyway, Mailey is just beautiful and perfect, and Michael and I truly could not be happier for the new family of 3. Now we can’t wait for Baby Harper to come so that we can all play together.  🙂

M&M in Camburi – the end

To close out their trip to Brazil with a bang, Mike, Moira, Michael and I took off early Saturday morning to spend two quick but magical days on the beautiful beach of Camburi, about a 3 hour drive outside São Paulo.

Day 1:oIwOR2SO1jN1tYxSwNu6vMF8T6iawaxpjdyGJOl-Z7csK7q9oShndba2GSa2WUMfNjJt295DcmkosYxjkNoOPQNh5fKBB_gewCS764Q5EtqvQYuD8rB4UwDsmqcf0UY5QIagQYNf6VcBM7K1JJWO2O55nDqrj0uZU2TCrH1TEVY0Y4UAWJKgcWlNCOctT3URJ1hYFluXWWFNCUTk92IIIGk

Unforgettable dinner under the moon & stars at Acqua


Day 2:

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Now, to get a really good, fun look at their visit via the sweetest video with the best soundtrack, click here (I recommend sound up & full screen!) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXPLau7SXKE&feature=youtu.be — Compliments of Mike and Moira!

Now come back already!  We miss you guys!

32 Weeks

32 weeksHow far along: 32 weeks & 2 days — less than 8 weeks to go!
Baby updates: According to our ultrasound on Friday, Baby Harper is over 4.5 lbs already!  Yikes!
Mamma updates: Right now I’m trying to get over a cold but otherwise I’m feeling OK. I’ve definitely moved into the more uncomfortable stage of pregnancy, so something is always feeling a little off, but nothing major. At this point I am thankful that we have about 8 weeks left. I am glad that we still have some time to do a little more preparing, but I’m also happy we’re getting close!
Things I miss: Nothing really this week.
Cravings: Fruity teas.
Weight: +18-19 still, but I should be gaining about a pound/week from here on out, and supposedly around half of that goes straight to the babe. I’m not sure I’ll get to my goal of 35 lbs but hopefully I’ll gain around 30. Trying to eat a lot!
Best moments of the week: This was a short week for us (Corpus Cristi holiday on Thursday) so we were able to do a lot of relaxing, spend good time with friends, and make some major progress on the nursery!  There is still some more work to do, but I’ll share it as soon as we’re ready.
Another highlight was our ultrasound on Friday where we got to see our little guy and hear that he’s continuing to grow big and strong.  We are so thankful to God for the blessing of a healthy baby and healthy pregnancy. Then, on Saturday we did our hospital tour and got to see where we will be bringing Baby Harper into the world (Albert Einstein)!
We’re also on high-alert baby-watch for our dear friends, Trent and Paige (due today!!), so we’ve been enjoying some final moments with them before their baby girl comes by doing post-church pregnancy photo-shoots.  🙂img_1799 Finally, we were thrilled to find out that Michael’s oldest sister, Christy, and her husband, TJ, are going to be having a sweet baby BOY (due Oct. 28).  It will be so much fun having boy cousins so close in age!  832_10200568827357158_634596603_n251004_10200571096813893_1940824083_n

M&M in São Paulo – the middle…

After a fabulous stay in Rio, Mike & Moira joined us in São Paulo to check out our city and our neighborhood.  Although São Paulo may not be as beautiful as Rio, it was so much fun getting to show them where we live, work & play. Here is a quick look at some of their week in the city:

Lunch at our neighborhood spot, Sallvattore

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Dinner at NagayamadqzgKNOowrD1HZgRvY9g16a9caDC3fHY9cH2aWPFYk8-Tyx5iQLd6t2Lx3jSWvsQriEL95j7ezvhBi0Wps6Atk

Checking out the Havaianas store on Oscar Freire (which Mike dubbed as the Apple-store of Havaianas stores)ReeRrA3PI8K7okOm1y9r38L6sF_8saMEfzEWDf4RQns

Drinks at Vaca VéiabeUQMX7SrOstPki1GDGvHyxQcRkfTE7Q5BfbcqSKB4o

Dinner at Espirito Santophoto

Seeing the expanse of the city from the top of Terraço ItaliaORc_mb0DZvXOpb1ziLQrOEMlRwUliVHtNqE33adwuuA

Fun at Bar Samba in Vila Madalenaphoto copyR6_RYMXf5MsPaNW8PPbnXVrqZkgqkukGRKiYf8Gh2AUUp next: M&M in Camburi!