Thirty Four Weeks

Sigh. Yaaaaawn.

Man, I’m tired. Someday, I might sleep again, but I have no idea when. H and I have been discussing potential schedules (there’s a book I’ve been perusing- Juggling Twins– that espouses a shared-sleep schedule for parents of twins and I wonder whether it will work for us or not), and the only thing that has become clear is that we just don’t know what will work for us until the boys are here. I don’t think I’d be as concerned about sleep issues had I not spent the last nine months with near-constant insomnia. I’m to the stage now where even if my brain would let me sleep, I’m too uncomfortable to actually stay asleep for more than an hour or two.

So yeah. Someday, in the vague mists of The Future, I will sleep again. Until then, I reserve the right to whine about it repeatedly.

I’m 34 weeks pregnant today, and luckily (and for the first time), my photography assistant (aka H) happened to be at home with me when I thought about the need to take my weekly progress shot. So, for the first time, here’s one that wasn’t taken while balancing the camera on my boob, shooting into the mirror:
Thirty Four Weeks

Hey! Would’ja look at that? I have a head! And a face! (And my nose is swollen and my cheeks are puffy and I cannot be bothered to straighten my hair anymore!)

I look at this picture and I think, “Whoa. I am LARGE and IN CHARGE.” I know it’s not all that much bigger than last week, but it sure feels that way.

Here’s another:
Thirty Four Weeks
In this one, you can actually see the swollen lump of tendons coming through the carpal tunnel on the back of my wrist and the bulging veins in my hands. And that’s at a good point in the day, around noon, when my hands are sufficiently warmed up for the day, but not yet over-tired, when, for about 30 minutes, I can make a fist without my knuckles seizing up, and can actually use all the fingers on my hand. That’s the Golden Hour…

And as I was setting up the shot, checking the light meter/focal length, etc., I asked H to stand in and to pretend as though he were as pregnant as I am:
Heiko's Expecting, Too
Close, but no cigar, sweetheart.

Yes, the belly looms large right now. I’ve made it to 34 weeks, which is great. I have a large number of twin mom friends who seem to have gone into labor sometime during their 34th week. Of course, I know plenty of twin moms who have gone either before or after this time, but 34 seems to be a popular week to have the babies. I’m hoping to get a few more weeks, but at this point, my body would be delighted to be un-pregnant, so I can’t say that there wouldn’t be a small part of me that was happy were it to be my fate-deemed time to give life to these babies.

I suppose this means I might consider actually packing a hospital bag soon, huh?

In keeping with that plan, I was looking for some sort of inexpensive yet soft pajama-ish item to wear at the hospital, were I to feel like wearing something like that instead of the hospital gown (which from experience is notoriously small and scratchy and annoying at this hospital…). And I thought about how I wished there were an outlet mall around here (there’s one between here and Charlotte, but it’s kinda far to drive and from what I’ve heard, only part of it is actual “outlet” stores…). And then, because I am clever though sometimes slow, it dawned on me that there are at least two Hanes outlets in the city where I live, because (duh) Hanes products were born-and-bred right here in this city. Duh. (Like I said, clever though slow…) You’d think the 25 different Hanes-named streets/parks/malls, etc. would have reminded me of this fact long ago, but alas, no. Slow, slow, slow…

Anyhow, I went to one of these stores and looked around today and ended up not finding exactly what I’m looking for (nightgown-ish, knit, super-soft, with reasonable boob access, but something I absolutely don’t mind ruining and thus priced accordingly). Instead, I found a nursing bra, and I was wondering what people’s experiences were with various types/styles/sizes. I read that I should find one bra that fits normally right now in the band width, but that is one size larger in the cup size, with the idea that eventually, I’ll know more about what size the boobs settle at and can thus choose a second bra later on in the appropriate size. I’ve also heard that I should avoid underwire (something about plugged ducts), but I’m just an underwire kinda girl. I just feel all floppy and disorganized (and saggy, to be honest) without the support of an underwire. I have one very sturdy non-underwire sports bra that might work were it to have a nursing version, but otherwise, I don’t know that I’m comfortable without underwire.

So. Underwire or no? Sizing advice? Should I buy one now and wait till later to buy more if needed (or should I not buy one at all right now)? Do I even need a nursing bra if I (1) don’t even know whether nursing will work for us or (2) how often I’ll actually be leaving the house and needing to feed the boys while in some place where a bra is customary? The lactation nurse at the breast feeding class suggested buying a sports bra and cutting holes in it to use as a hands-free pumping bra– has anyone tried this?

So that is that. I am off to take a short nap, to try to stave off this headache and to make up a little for the lack of sleep from last night. Thirty four weeks. Wow.

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15 Responses to Thirty Four Weeks

  1. Christina says:

    I brought some sports bras in one size larger than normal to the hospital. At the actual hospital I didn't wear a bra at all because of the every 2 hour feeding schedule there. At home I wore the sports bras. I was waiting to buy a nursing bra until I figured out if nursing was right for us, since it wasn't I'm glad I didn't waste the money.

  2. Marie says:

    I bought one nursing bra and I bought it early and it is a little bigger than I would have liked. I am now to busy to actually remember to buy another so I just use my old bras and pull them up no biggie but I think I stretched them a little :(. I had to wear a bra all the time for the first couple of weeks due to leaking and it just made me uncomfortable but when I stopped leaking I rarely wear one at home now.

  3. Melis.sa says:

    you look great!i used sports bras too until my ladies settled down and got used to nursing. i was one cup up, same band size, while i was nursing. the first few days after birth they ballooned up but then they settle down. :)i would recommend nursing pads too. 🙂

  4. PJ says:

    LOVE the pictures! You look great! I took a belly shot yesterday (yes, with the damn camera in front of my face) and I'm always amazed at how much bigger I still look just from week to week.Good question about the bras! I like a good underwire too. I ordered one nursing bra from Motherhood Maternity for $20. I didn't want to invest that much but I wanted to have something to wear that first week or so. Hopefully it fits then. I think it's an H cup, no lie! I'm scared to think of them getting much bigger. I have a couple of "nursing" night short/T-shirt sets from Motherhood also. Both sortof have this elastic stuff at the top. One of the shirts has the little inner shirt with the slits in it, and I tried it for one night and ended up ripping the undershirt thing out with a seamripper because it was so uncomfortable. They were a little pricey but I figure I'll be wearing them all summer. Hey, you know I was just kind of kidding with ya on the C-section/cesearian thing, right? 🙂

  5. Rachel says:

    You look fabulous!Now, to a subject I write of often: bras. I would highly recommend buying a nursing bra now, even just the basic medela XL (no support at all) one if for no other reason than you'll need something to put pads in to keep yourself from dripping everywhere. I bought 2 bras pre-baby which really have no support but were good in the hospital and to keep me from dripping everywhere. If nursing doesn't work out, you will certainly need a loose, comfortable bra while your body adjusts.It took me months to find a bra that fit, and while I've been a life-long believer in the underwire I have actually been going underwire-free for the past 12 months. I did my fitting over the phone with a place called "Breastchester" outside NYC. The woman is really good (she has you read off your favorite pre-baby bras and fits you that way with your current measurements, she also understands that you're busy and tends to send tons of bras which you can return in a few weeks). You won't know your real size for a couple of weeks but I'd recommend getting a few simple, loose ones for the first few days.Final thought is that my lactation consultant was a huge fan of the nursing bras where the whole breast-part comes off when you nurse, rather than just a little flap opening up. It won't matter when the squash duo have figured the whole thing out, but for the first few weeks it's nice to give them access to the whole breast.

  6. jenn says:

    I think you look fantastic! Yes- the belly is impressive, but gorgeous!I lived in a sleep nursing bra- like a sports bra with snaps at the top of the straps. Once i was home it was all yoga pants & nursing tank tops for the first few weeks. Target has good ones for fairly cheap & after a few weeks you can get an appropriately sized good bra. You really don't feel like leaving the house at first anyway & the tank tops and a button down or zip up are perfect!

  7. It's amazing to see you, you're absolutely gorgeous! Seems like just yesterday you posted about your BFP 🙂

  8. Samantha says:

    I got a nursing sleep bra for the hospital, which offered easy access, but wasn't sized too carefully, and didn't buy more fitted bras until after getting home. The sleep-style bras let you pop out the whole boob too, which is good. You could also try nursing tank tops that let you pop out the whole boob.I absolutely love the basic Medela no underwire nursing bra. If you feel you really want an underwire bra, you can get one, then cut a slit to remove the wire while you're nursing, then slide it back in when the boys are weaned, so you can continue to use the bra afterward. Having had both plugged ducts and mastitis, they are no fun, so I wouldn't use the underwire while nursing.Love the pics!

  9. woohoo!! You look amazing! I found el-cheapo nighties at walmart that button up the front- really light cotton and very soft- Maybe check there! As for nursing bras- I really can't add much… I go with what I can get in my size. There's a really limited selection for girls with ginormous tatas!And on that note- I really must say you look amazing!! That bump is impressive but you really are glowing and look fabulous!!

  10. Tara says:

    You look great! H too. Another advocate for the Target nursing bras/tank. I went up a bandsize early in pregnancy and stayed there, never went up a cup size but you know of my bfing troubles. Try to go no underwire, really it's best. I have 2 nursing nightgowns (slits for easy access) that I'm more than willing to give you. Drop me an email if interested, otherwise off to Goodwill they'll go.

  11. Sue says:

    I also vote for the Medela no underwire nursing bra and the nursing tanks, but I didn't buy any until after I started nursing. The nursing bras I purchased before my milk came in quickly became too small/instruments of torture.

  12. strongblonde says:

    1. i had the kids in the 34th week….and that was 8 months ago today! the time goes fast!!2. girl!!! pack yo' bag!! time to get ready!3. you look GREAT! 4. i read that book and can't remember anything about sleeping schedules, etc. you really have to see what works for you. just make sure you talk about it before the babies come. 🙂 just to get on the same page, you know?5. don't buy a bra yet. seriously. i bought a few soon after getting home and i'm a totally different size now. you know what i've worn the most of? the nursing tanks from target. they're only like $15 and you can layer them or wear them to bed, etc, etc. BUT, for the record, all of my bras are underwire and i've yet to have a plugged duct.

  13. Star says:

    I like underwire, too; my compromise was that I didn't wear it during the first months of breastfeeding when the chance of plugged ducts is the highest, and then started to wear them around the 6 month mark. I have honestly never found a nursing bra that I LOVE, in the sense of it being both supportive and comfortable. But I think I might be able to if I was willing to spend more. I agree that in order to thread the needle in the early days, Target has some good deals. I have really wanted to try some of the Bravado ones, they have very good word of mouth, but they are pricey. I found the ones from Motherhood beyond useless in terms of support. In terms of breastfeeding working out, I found the most helpful thing was to go in confident and committed but realistic about possibly needing to access help — having LLL numbers and a name and number of a lactation consultant to call. If you are worried about PCOS affecting your supply, there are things you can do if that does seem to be an issue (domperidone, for example) … but 75% of PCOS women do not have low supply, and 25% have oversupply, so the odds are in your favor. Good luck — you look great btw!

  14. Photogrl says:

    I'm almost a week late chiming in but…Don't worry about the underwire. I am a HUGE fan of the underwire and all of my nursing bras had an underwire when I nursed my daughter 6 years ago. I think I got some at Se.ars and Moth.erhood. Do only buy one or two now, and then get some a couple of weeks after your milk comes in.You look incredible! Really. Love the belly!

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