Wednesday, August 29, 2012

6 weeks old!

My smiley girl!
    Happy six week birthday, Abby Kate!  I can't believe you are six weeks old already!  It's been a rough six weeks, but you are so worth it!  After we got used to feeding you formula and got your weight loss under control, you started screaming all day long. After the third day, I couldn't take it anymore and called the doctor. They asked me a bunch of questions about you, and finally suggested I bring you in for an exam. They checked your eyes to see if maybe you had scratched them, they checked for urinary tract infections, they poked and prodded and finally figured out that you are sensitive to the milk proteins in your formula. We switched to a special kind of formula, and within a few days you were back to your happy self.  Hopefully we can just enjoy getting to know each other now, and the worst is behind us.
Our Peanut is growing up fast!
   Today we went for your "two month" checkup, which is a little early, but they wanted to keep an eye on your weight, so we scheduled a little sooner. You weighed ten pounds today, which is at the 50th percentile!  You were about 22.5 inches long, around the 65th percentile, and your head was 15 inches, also at the 50th percentile.  What a nice average sized baby you are!  You seem so much bigger than the tiny baby we brought home just six weeks ago.  You had to get three shots today, which made you very unhappy. I managed to wait until the nurse left before I cried a little too.  It was just heartbreaking to see you so sad!
   You're eating between 3 and 4 ounces of formula at a time, about every three hours during the day and every four hours at night, which mommy and daddy appreciate.  You have outgrown most of your newborn sized clothes because your body is so long, and because your cloth diapers add a little "fluff" to your bum.  You're mostly wearing 0-3 month sized clothes now.  You are getting much better at holding your head up and looking around for a few seconds when we hold you upright, and you are starting to gurgle and coo at us when we talk to you.  The most fun thing has been that you are starting to recognize our voices and faces, and smile when we talk to you.  Nothing beats your happy little face! 
   We've started a bedtime routine in hopes that you will begin to learn that nighttime is for sleeping, not playing, and that you will slowly learn how to go to bed.  I'm not rushing that part though. I like having you right beside me at night!  We give you bath and put on clean diaper and PJs, you eat one last time, and we read a page or two out of a children's bible that was mine when I was little. Then we sing whatever hymn pops into my head and "Jesus Loves Me", rock a little, then I put you in your bassinet in your room. You don't love to sleep in your crib yet. I think you like the cradled position that your bassinet keeps you in. Usually you sleep there for three or four hours, then we bring you into our room when you wake up to eat and keep you with us until morning. 
   I know that I still have lots to learn about how to be your mommy, but we seem to be surviving so far, and I know that you have lots to teach me!  We love you so much, Abby-girl! 

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Not so crunchy afterall...

First day home!
   A big thank you to those of you who stuck with me through yesterday's novel of a post.  I try to keep things more condensed than that around here, but I wanted to make sure I got my memories of Abby's birth documented somewhere, and hey, it's my blog and I do what I want.  :)  It was somewhat cathartic to have to sit down and really think about those days and process the emotions and the choices we made.  Because so many things didn't go as I had planned, it was something that I've really had to make peace with.  Of course, healthy mom and healthy baby and all that jazz...and of course it was worth it to get my squishy little cuddle bug here.  I mean, look at those cheeks.  Gotta love it. And yes, the blog is likely to consist almost entirely of baby photos from here on out.  Again, it's my blog.  :)
Bath time baby!
    As I've said before, we were planning on a med-free natural birth using relaxation techniques we learned in our Hypnobabies class.  I enjoyed the classes, and really truly learned how to completely relax muscles that I never even realized were carrying tension. I had done my homework, and I believe that a med-free birth is the best-case optimal scenario for the health of both mom and baby for lots of reasons (if you'd like to discuss, feel free to ask me!), and I knew it would be lots of work and likely somewhat unpleasant for me. I didn't go into delivery unprepared for what I would face. We had planned to let our baby choose her birthday. I wasn't uncomfortable, even in the last days of my pregnancy, and I didn't mind going "late" if my baby needed a few more days to bake. Well, all of that went out the window.  Induction, IV, epidural, lots of cervical checks, not wearing my own clothes...everything I didn't want, short of a C-section.  It's a pretty helpless feeling. 

Sweet moments
    Things didn't really stop there.  Because of her rough arrival into the world, Abby had a decent amount of bruising which caused some jaundice problems after birth. Not enough that they had to keep her under the lights, but enough that we had to make frequent trips to the doctor after we left the hospital to monitor her levels. During these office visits, we began to notice that she wasn't gaining weight. Of course, it's normal for newborns to lose a little from their birth weight, but it's expected that they should return to birth weight by two weeks of age. Not only did our girl not reach her birth weight, she continued to lose weight. At her lowest, she was only 7 lb 9 oz, quite a drop from her 8 lb 12 oz birth weight. I breastfed, and she was nursing like a champ after a few bumps in the road, but continued to lose weight. They ran blood and urine tests, checked both of us out, and found nothing. I had to begin supplementing with formula--yet another blow to my crunchy plans.
   After weeks of nursing AND pumping every two hours, diet changes, lots of rest, fenugreek, and whatever else anyone suggested, my supply was still not established. I could barely pump anything, and Abby would cry to eat less than an hour after her last meal. She wasn't sleeping well (which meant WE weren't sleeping well), and was starting to look skinny.  Apparently babies are supposed to gain nearly an ounce a day, and she had only gained an ounce over the course of a week.  Last week I continued nursing, but increased the amount of formula supplemented. She began eating almost twice as much formula as we had been giving her.  No wonder she was unhappy--she was starving!  Finally yesterday at her weight check, she had gained a significant amount of weight, and we made the incredibly difficult decision to primarily formula feed.
   I pretty much cried all day. I felt like my body had betrayed me. I couldn't birth on my own, I couldn't feed my child...the blows just kept coming. I strongly feel like breastfeeding is best, but in our case, it just wasn't possible. We still nurse a few times a day, most before and after bedtime, because I can't seem to quit cold turkey, but she's a bottle-fed baby now. 
   The past four weeks have been pretty profound for me. Of course there's the learning how to care for a baby and such, but I've faced some deep stuff too. Some spiritual, some social. I mentioned on Facebook a while back that I've learned that God's will is sovereign over my best-laid plans. Even when I really truly believe that I had my baby's best at heart. I don't know why He thought it necessary that she be born how she was, or that she be fed how she is, but I hope that some day my experience will be able to help someone. I've also learned not to judge others' decisions because you never know what circumstance led them to that point.  Prior to having Abby, I turned up my nose at people who chose to be induced or have a c-section for non-medical reasons. Or reasons that I felt weren't "good enough." I looked down at people who didn't breastfeed. Why wouldn't you do what's best for your baby? You're a parent now, your wants aren't the most important! I never would have been anything less than gracious to someone in person, but that's what my heart was saying. (Maybe that's worse. Maybe I should have been judgy to people's faces.)  Now I know that sometimes those things aren't possible, even in non-emergency situations. And sometimes it's just too painful to talk about, so you'll never know the reasons.
Love that little face!
   I promise that my blog has not turned into my angsty adolescent diary.  I love being a mom, and I love my sweet Abby more than anything. There were just a few things I needed to get off my chest and think through.  Maybe I felt like I needed to justify some things, I don't know.  Anyone else need some therapy time?  Have a difficult birth?  Learn a life lesson lately?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Birth Story! (This is a long one, folks...)

At the hospital, waiting for our girl!
   It seems so weird to have a birth story.  Honestly, it's a little like my wedding--I know it happened, but all of my memories are a little out-of-body feeling, like it was a dream.  I figure I should write out what I remember before it slips away!
   As I mentioned, having been diagnosed with gestational diabetes and needing medication to control it, I was encouraged to deliver by my due date because of the increased risk of stillbirth with going post dates.  As I also mentioned, this was NOT my plan.  I worried and prayed and worried and prayed, and on Sunday, July 8, I was very convicted while sitting in church. I had been asking God to do what only He could do--start my labor--but I hadn't done anything on my end to prepare for it.  As if I didn't expect Him to do it.  Some faith, huh?  So as soon as I got home from church, I went into "we're having a baby" mode. Cleaning, last minute projects, all those little things that I wanted to do before having a baby, but I hadn't done. If God decided not to answer my prayer the way I wanted to, it wasn't going to be due to lack of expectation on my part! 
   I was scheduled for an induction on the day after my due date.  I didn't really think much about it because my midwife and I were pretty certain I would be going into labor on my own any time. I had been dilated to 3 cm and 75% effaced for over a week.  My mom and sis arrived about a week before my due date, and we had big plans to walk all over creation until things got moving.  So we did.  I cannot tell you how many hours and miles we walked.  Outside in the heat, inside the mall, fast, slow, name it, we walked it. And waited.  My dad arrived that Sunday, the 15th. Everyone was certain it would happen any time.  So we waited. Nothing.  Not even a twitch.
   Chris and I dutifully went to the hospital on July 17 to start the induction process.  Since I was already so far dilated, we all expected things to move quickly with minimal pharmaceutical "encouragement". Pitocin was started at 7 am, and a few hours later our families began to arrive for the big event.  Since I was still feeling good, I told them they could hang out in the room to keep me company until things got more intense and I needed to focus.  I explained that we had taken Hypnobabies classes, and I would need to be able to concentrate in order to manage my contractions. We chit-chatted and killed time, waiting for the pitocin to do its thing. 
   Flash forward to 5 pm. The monitor was picking up contractions, but they weren't anything I even noticed all the time, much less needed to concentrate for. I had walked the halls, stood, swayed, squatted, anything I could think of. No more dilation than I came in with, no more contractions than the Braxton-Hicks I'd felt before.  I had maxed out the available dosage of pitocin.  The midwife on call came in, and we talked about our options. We all decided to try a Cook's catheter, which is a little balloon that manually dilates the cervix from the inside and the outside simultaneously.  This would be left overnight, and we'd start the process over again in the morning.  Around 7 pm. the midwife and a nurse arrived to place the catheter.  Holy cow.  I have now given birth, and I can honestly say that was so much worse than childbirth.  I have truly never felt pain like that in my life, and I hope I never do again.  The pain lasted for hours after it was placed. I couldn't sit, couldn't lie flat, couldn't stand or move without horrible pain. I managed to find a position lying on my side that wasn't awful, and finally dozed off for the first time since 4:30 that morning. I felt a little more in control after my nap, and the pain began to subside around 10:00.
   The next morning, I got up ridiculously early and took a shower. The catheter was removed around 6:00 am, and pitocin started again shortly after. This time things were more promising, as the catheter had gotten me to almost 7 cm.  Again, our families trickled in to resume their faithful waiting positions. Again, nothing.  A few little contractions, gradually I began to notice them, but I've had menstrual cramps that were worse.  Around 3:00, I was at only 7.5 cm.  The midwife came in again to discuss our options. We decided to break my water and see if that sped things up. Boy, did it!!!
   Almost immediately, my contractions were MUCH more intense.  Chris and I resumed walking the halls, and this time I had to stop and sway through the contractions.  Things continued to increase in intensity, frequency, and duration with the pitocin drip still being turned up as we went.  We came to the point where the only way I could handle the contractions was to stand and sway with my eyes closed. I kept relaxing best I could, breathing as I had been taught, but nothing had prepared me for the sudden onset of transition-type labor.  It felt like there was no break between the contractions, only changes in intensity. After nearly two days of labor, I was getting mentally and physically fatigued.
   After a quick check, I was told I was 9 cm. We decided to try getting in the tub to see if that would provide some relief.  I think it did for a few minutes, but I felt out of control. I couldn't stand or sway, the water made me overwhelmingly hot, the pressure of sitting was getting unbearable.  I felt myself slipping in and out of lucidity, and getting rapidly panicky.  I wasn't in control of my body or my mind, and I was feeling a little hysterical.  At that point I told Chris I wanted to get an epidural.  Just like we'd discussed, he suggested I change positions, wait through another contraction, was I sure?  As disappointed as I was, I was sure.  He let the nurse and the midwife know, and they called anesthesia.
   The next few hours are a but of a blur to me.  I recall being helped out of the tub, and I recall flashes of the team placing the epidural.  I remember that the most excruciating thing was being forced to sit still during the placement, and I truly think I was on the verge of losing consciousness.  It seemed like there were lots of people and bright lights and busyness in the room that was previously calm and peaceful.  I remember telling a nurse that I was going to be sick.  Thankfully, that passed and I didn't have to throw up.  Then all of a sudden, it stopped. 
   The medicine blessedly did its job swiftly and effectively.  I could open my eyes.  I could breathe.  I could rest.  I fell asleep almost immediately, and the staff was gracious enough to let me sleep.  After an hour or two, they checked me, and I was fully dilated!  We started the pushing process around 7:00 that evening.  I didn't push my button for any extra medication in my epidural because I didn't want it to interfere with my ability to push, and I'm fairly certain that it was wearing off because while I didn't have much pain in my abdomen, I believe I could feel every inch of my pelvic floor!
   I honestly thought that the pushing would be the easiest part of my delivery.  Not that it isn't hard work, but have you seen these hips?  This would not be a problem.  But like everything else thus far, that was not the case.  I pushed and pushed and pushed with minimal progress. The nurse asked at one point if I wanted to use the vacuum, and I said yes, if it will get her out!  Luckily, the midwife arrived about then and tactfully ignored my request, assuring me that we were getting close.  The fatigue was catching up with me again, and I was having trouble sustaining my pushes for the 10 counts that the nurse was shouting, having trouble keeping my legs in the right position, having trouble thinking!  Just. So. Tired.  They don't call it labor for nothing!
   At long last, I found some hidden store of energy or adrenaline or whatever, and our precious Abby was born at 10:01 pm!  The midwife exclaimed, "No wonder that was so hard!  She was face up and had her head tilted to the side!" Of course MY child would be stubborn.  They placed her on my chest, and she looked around with big round eyes, taking in the world she'd just entered.  We snuggled for a few minutes until her cord stopped pulsing, then it was clamped and cut. While I worked on delivering the placenta (that was an odd sensation), she was weighed and measured and tested.  Our big girl weighed 8 lbs 12 oz and was 21.5 inches long.  I finally heard a few cries from her after that, and before long Chris came back to my side with our daughter wrapped up in a blanket. The nurses and midwife slipped out, and we had a few minutes to marvel at this miracle that had just happened before our families joined us to celebrate.
Brand new miracle!
First nap together!
   I'm so thankful that Chris was there with me through it all.  I had no idea how emotionally taxing birth would be.  I think I experienced every emotion I can think of, and it seemed like I felt them all to the extreme.  He encouraged me, calmed me, thought clearly when I could not, asked questions I didn't know I had, protected the peace in our room, and physically supported me when I needed. I certainly could not have done it by myself.  I also wholeheartedly believe that things would not have gone as well as they did without the fervent prayers of many many people. If you were one of my prayer warriors over those two days, thank you!!!  Every last one of you!!!

My sweet Abby
      Life as a family of three has been an adventure. Not everything has gone according to plan, but that's another post for another day. I'm enjoying every day snuggling this precious little pink bundle, and it's amazing to see how much she changes every single day!

Sunday, June 17, 2012

One month to go!

35 week bump!

   This photo is from last week, we haven't taken the 36 week pic yet.  As you can see, I'm getting rounder!  (And my hair is getting longer.)  We've reached the point now where people no longer tapdance around the obvious, they just cut to the chase and ask when I'm due or if we're having a boy or a girl.  No denying it now! 
   I have definitely not kept up the blog like I thought I was going to, and I'm a little disappointed about that.  It's been a rough 10 or so weeks.  Shortly after my last post, I failed my glucose tolerance test and was diagnosed with gestational diabetes.  I wasn't happy about that, but honestly, it didn't surprise me.  We have a strong family history of diabetes (including the gestational kind), and I was overweight to start with, so I knew there was a pretty good chance I'd end up with it, but it's never news you really want to hear.  I went to a class put on by the hospital and was told how many carbs to eat throughout the day, and was given a glucose meter and told to check my sugar 4 times a day.  "Alright. Not the easiest thing in the world, but I can handle this.  My baby is worth it," I thought. 
   A week later, I went back for a checkup to see how I was doing, and was immediately put on an oral medication because my fasting sugars weren't responding well.  That was hard news.  I felt so betrayed by my own body.  I was doing everything I was told to do, and now this.  I cried a little in the office, and I cried a little when I got home, but I managed to take things in stride.  The next week, I went back again, and they increased my dosage of medication because things still weren't where they wanted them.  This time I argued.  There were a few times I forgot to take my pill, there were a few times I didn't get my walk in like I had planned, several things that I knew I could do a better job at (and besides, I was still new at carb-counting).  I asked for one more week to give my best effort and then recheck.  Absolutely not, they said.  I cried again.  (I'm sure at this point they thought I was a crazy person.)
   That visit was also rough because the midwife I saw was very blunt and glass-half-empty about all of the things that could potentially happen now that I was an "unstable diabetic." (I'm not sure if she was referring to my sugar or to my mental health at that point.) She said if I had to go on insulin, I would have to transfer to OB care. I would likely need to be induced up to a month early. I would have a huge baby and could be a diabetic for the rest of my life, I would need to go to the hospital for weekly non-stress tests....and on and on.  This might have contributed to the meltdown I had.  In her defense, I was squeezed in at the end of a very busy day for her, and I'm sure she was just trying to get me all the info and move on.  Perhaps she could have done a better job of delivering that info. 
   I went home and cried again.  I thought about everything she said.  And I got really mad.  There was no way someone was taking my baby before she was ready for no good reason, which we would know because I'm going to be tested every freaking week.  They keep a close eye on my blood pressure and weight, as well as her size.  She had explained that the medication used to control my blood sugar can cause premature aging of the placenta in some people, which increases the risk of stillbirth in some women, therefore they don't want me to go past my due date.  I did some research of my own, and went in the next visit ready to throw down (or change providers) if I didn't get better answers to my questions.  Luckily, the next midwife I saw was much more compassionate and less rushed.  She explained that as long as everything looks good, they have no problem with me going to my due date.  Yes, she admitted, their official recommendation is that I not go beyond my due date even if we both look healthy because of the stillbirth risk, but ultimately it's my body and my baby, and no one can force me to be induced.  I calmed down after hearing that.  And didn't find a new doctor. 
   So that is a big part of the reason I haven't done a great job keeping you all informed.  I think initially, it was a combination of being so overwhelmed with all of this, and maybe thinking if I didn't say it out loud (or at least to the interwebz), maybe I didn't really happen.  I've been counting my carbs, walking like a fool, poking my finger, taking my pills, and doing a lot of praying for me and my Peanut.  (Feel free to join me in any of those activities!) I'll post again soon, I promise, with the positive updates that have happened in the past weeks.  I just needed to get this less-fun part of my story documented for myself more than anything.  It's therapeutic to have to articulate some of those feelings that I've tried to ignore for a while.  Thanks for your patience!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

26 weeks

Hey y'all.  Nothing really new going on in babyland, just thought I'd give a general update.  I've been tweaking my Target registry here and there as I find new/better/cooler stuff I like, or when I change my mind about something.  Showers are coming up in a few weeks, so I want to get the registry as good as its going to get in the next week or so. For your viewing pleasure, here's my latest belly photo:

In my Easter finery!

I've been trying to figure out what to wear to my showers, and I'm having a tough time.  I want to look nice, of course, and there will be tons of photos, knowing my family and me.  :)  I've found a few dresses online that I like, but I'm hesitant to buy them without being able to try them on.  I've pretty much decided against ordering anything from Old Navy because they won't let you return maternity clothes in store, you have to mail them back.  Which is a giant pain.  Target, however, will let you return things in store. Much better option. 

Tomorrow morning I have my next checkup, which will also include a 3 hour glucose tolerance test.  Ick.  Going to have to pack my big purse so I can entertain myself since they said I have to stay in the office the whole time.  I can't say that I'm expecting to have an issue with gestational diabetes, but it also wouldn't surprise me.  My mom had it during her pregnancy with my sis, I was overweight to start with, and I've had some symptoms (extreme fatigue, thirst, etc) that could be symptoms of GD, or could just be pregnancy symptoms.  Either way, I figure we'll be fine.  I'll do what it takes to keep it under control if it's a problem, and if it's not, so much the better. 

Next week I'm going to start physical therapy as a patient.  For about two weeks now, I've had incredible pain around my pubic symphysis (the part in the front where your pelvic bones meet).  It's not too bad when I'm sitting, or when I'm standing with my weight carefully balanced on both feet, but walking is sore, and getting in/out of bed and the car are miserable, as are stairs.  It's common in pregnancy, since hormones are loosening everything up in preparation for the big day.  I've treated a few patients for it during pregnancy with pretty good results, but there are some things that you just can't do for yourself!  I'm hoping I can get a referral for PT tomorrow at my appointment. 

Peanut still does not have an official name.  We're fairly settled on a first name, but can't seem to agree on a middle name.  This naming a real person stuff is harder than I expected.  You don't want to pick something dumb, in case she wants to be president, but you don't want something too "big" for a child.  Have to think about what mean jokes kids could make out of it, potential nicknames, what will initials spell...stressful!  Anyone have any name advice, or good stories from when you were naming kids?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

What the heck IS that? (A registry post)

I have had so many generous offers to throw us baby showers that it makes my head spin.  I guess I shouldn't really be surprised because A: my family and friends are awesome, and B: people were equally as generous when we got married.  I guess I thought that since we're so far from home now, maybe folks wouldn't feel as obligated to throw us a party.  I was wrong! 

Because of the distance issue, I can't really make a zillion trips home like I want to.  And I can't travel too close to my due date because I don't want to deliver this kid on a 747 somewhere over the midwest.  It makes flight attendants cranky.  And we don't want cranky.  My sis is graduating with her Master's degree in early May, and of course I want to be there.  That's also getting close to the mark that I've been advised not to be so far from home.  So I planned a trip and we are going to have a week of solid partying, both for Peanut and I and for my newly graduated sis.  I think I have three showers planned over the course of a few days that week.  Whew!

Then it hit me.  That's only a month away.  I guess I should register for some stuff, huh?  Most, if not all, of my showers back home are going to be gift-card showers, since I'll have to fly back with my loot.  I know some people will be bummed about that because they think gift cards are lame, and some will be overjoyed that they don't have to hunt through the baby aisles for some musical toy.  I happen to think it's great!  I always thought that gift cards were a lazy girl's gift, until I got married.  Not having to return stuff (or getting stuck with things without receipts), knowing I can assess and then purchase what I actually need, not having to store things for later down the's priceless.  Especially the storage thing.  I don't have space in this apartment for hang on to things that Peanut will need as a toddler.  Gift cards will let us buy what we need as we figure out we need it.  So excited!

I was advised by the family matriarchs that I should still create a registry, since some out-of-town folks won't make it to a shower, and some folks might like to buy a gift and have it shipped, or what have you.  And I am having one local shower with friends from church.  So....I did.  Well, I started anyway.  I figured I'd start with Target since it's handy to me, nation-wide, and most people have to pop in there once in a while anyway.  I did it online so I'd have more time to study on things, and since most items will have to be purchased online if they are gifted I wasn't terribly worried about in-store availability.  I clicked through every single item in the Baby Stuff.  I almost had a nervous breakdown.  So much primary colored plastic musical light-up crap!  So overwhelming!  I tried to think practically, economically, and rationally.  It helps that I didn't know what 3/4 of the stuff was anyway. I think I got all the major basics.  I didn't register for any clothes or toys because I figure she'll get that stuff as gifts anyway.  We're cloth diapering, so we don't need too much in that direction.  I plan to breastfeed, so we don't need 800 bottles. And overall, WE HAVE A SMALL LIVING SPACE AND HOW MUCH CRAP DOES A BABY REALLY NEED???  Holy moly, they'll sell you anything if it has the word "baby" on it, and charge you triple for it.  Ridiculous. 

Whew. Stepping down from soapbox now.  Moral of the story, if you know us, and know how to find us on the registry site, there is now a registry created at Target.  Feel free to check it out and let me know what I forgot, or what I was mistakenly lead to believe I need.  Thanks.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Nursery Revealed!

As I mentioned in my last post, our families spent their Spring Break with us. However, don't be fooled. This was not a sightseeing, relaxing, refreshing vacation for them. They all very graciously volunteered to be my slave labor for a week to help us with nursery projects.  They arrived Saturday afternoon, Saturday evening was our Gender Reveal Party, and Saturday night began the work.  No rest for the weary.  All day Sunday and Monday were work days, Tuesday we took a short break to visit downtown, but Tuesday night and Wednesday night they were right back at the grind.  They were ironing, sewing, fixing, building, and primping things practically until they got back on the plane on Thursday afternoon.  I couldn't believe how much we (they) got done in such a short time, but I am forever grateful to this faithful bunch.  Our sweet Peanut has an equally sweet nursery to come home to that turned out even better than I could have imagined!  See for yourself!

Sweet little crib! When we decide on a name, there will be some sort of wall hanging over the crib. In the crib are the peanut doll from my mom and a little music box lamb that was mine.

Close-up of the recovered chaise, which is now my "Mommy Chair!"

Watering can decoration that my sister made!

Close-up of the yo-yo flowers on the walls
Window wall!  We plan to put our changing pad on the left side of the countertop.

Close-up of the lamp, which we found for a good price and "jazzed up" with yo-yos and trim.

Bulletin board on the back of the closet door.

Close-up of storage baskets under window.

 So there you have it, folks!  I love our little garden-themed nursery so much!  The colors are bright enough to make it feel happy, but soft enough that I don't feel overwhelmed in there!  As you can see, I could never thank our tireless helpers enough.  This totally would have never happened if it was up to me!

I know this post is getting long, but here's a quick list of resources that we used for our nursery:
-Fabric: The floral and stripe are part of the "Oh Baby" collection at Joann Fabrics. The yellow fabric has tiny white polka dots on it (that don't show up on camera), and is part of the nursery prints carried at Joann as well. My mom is amazing and did most of the crib bedding and curtain without a pattern. 
-The only furniture we purchased new was the crib, which I already posted on, and it came from Target.
-The lamp came from Home Goods, and then was accessorized by me.  :)
-I bought the storage baskets from Michael's. They were originally brown with a blue gingham liner.  My mom made new liners and my grandma spray painted them yellow.
-I've had the bulletin board since college. It too got painted yellow, then recovered and yo-yo'd.
-I should have taken more pictures "in the process" but I'll post a tutorial for the big yo-yo flowers on the walls soon.  

Gender: Revealed!

I'm sure everyone has heard our news by now, but I wanted to share a few photos from our Gender Reveal Party we had last weekend.  I wasn't sure I'd be able to do a party, since our families are so far away, but when they decided to come visit over Spring Break, which was only about two and a half weeks after we found out, we decided to keep our secret for a while and throw a party! 

Framed invitation
The spread! 
Grandpa via Skype
Both of our parents were able to come, as well as my sister and my grandma.  Grandpa use his tech-savvy to join us via Skype.  So thankful for technology!  We asked our guests to wear pink or blue based on their gender guess.  Team Pink was a little outnumbered, as you can see!  Chris and I decided to wear different colors so we didn't give away anything!  
Team Blue! (Dad, Woody, Nita, Grandma, me, and Jenn)

Team Pink!  (Mom, Chris, and Violet)
To reveal our surprise, I wrapped up balloons in the correct color in a big box, and when it was time, Chris and I opened the box, and out floated all the pink balloons!  It was so fun!  Everyone was so surprised--they all thought we'd be having a boy.  I was sure it was a girl in the beginning, but I figured since I was so certain, I'd be wrong, so I had about convinced myself it was a boy.  Chris thought girl all along, and he and my mom were right!  (I'm not sure if the grandpas-to-be really thought it was a boy, or if they just didn't want to wear pink...)

Pink balloons!  It's a girl!
The hardest part of this whole process was watching what I said for three weeks!  I really wanted it to be a surprise, but I wanted to share our news so badly!  Everyone said that we didn't let any hints slip though, so hopefully we did alright.  Needless to say, we would have been equally as glad if we'd filled that box with blue balloons, but we're thrilled to be expecting our daughter!  Now she just needs a name...

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


I have been chastised for not keeping you fine folks informed of how my belly is growing.  That is largely due to the face that up until recently, I just looked like I've been putting on weight, not growing a tiny person.  Not really thrilled to show off the "look how fat I'm getting" photos.  However, in recent weeks, my belly is rounding out in such a way that I am beginning to get questions about due dates and genders, leading me to believe that I am looking more maternal and less "hefty", shall we say. 

Christopher and I intended to take a photo of my belly every week from about 7 weeks onward, but that didn't exactly happen.  We do have lots of photos, but no one for every week.  Here are a few for your belly-gazing enjoyment:

8 week bloat. Not sure it counts as a bump yet.

14 week semi-bump.
Starting to be more baby-shaped at 19 weeks.

20 weeks!  Definitely bump-like now!

Not only can you watch my belly grow, you can also observe my hair transformations over the past few months.  I'm working on growing it out, and it keeps getting lighter. Maybe I'm anticipating spring.  I do wish that I had lost more weight before I got pregnant because I know that would have made it much easier to tell when my bump was actually expanding versus when my chub was expanding. Although, at my last doctor's appointment, I was still losing weight because I keep not having any appetite and continue to be queasy frequently.  At last check, I was down around 7-8 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.  Don't you worry, I'm sure I'll be making up for lost time soon.  :)

So what do you think?  Do we have a baby bump, or are we just looking pudgy these days?  I know in about 10 or 12 weeks I'll be wishing for less tummy, but for now I'd like to have something to show for my efforts!

Monday, February 27, 2012

It's a...?

Today was the big 20 week ultrasound!  It took the technician over an hour to take all the pictures and measurements that she needed, so we enjoyed spending the time watching our little one.  Luckily, Peanut was cooperative and gave us a good gender shot, so now the fun planning can begin!  Sorry folks, I can't spill the beans just yet about the gender. Our families are coming to visit in two and a half short weeks to help out with some projects for the baby, and we're planning to have a Gender Reveal party then, so no public announcements that could spoil their surprises! 

Based on the measurements, Peanut seems to be growing right on track, and they estimate that our little wiggler weighs about 13 oz right now!  We definitely have one active kiddo on our hands. The tech kept having problems getting the pictures she needed because Peanut kept moving and squirming around. Thankfully they let me go to the bathroom in the middle of the scan because between the kid poking from the inside and the tech poking from the outside, I was definitely ready!  I was so glad that Christopher got to be there today.  He didn't get to come to the last one, and while pictures are great, there's nothing like seeing that teeny baby stretching and kicking and watching its little heart beating.  We both got teary watching that screen!

Just like last time, they gave me a CD with still photos from the scan, but since they were looking for detailed things today, everything is so zoomed in and pretty much unrecognizable, at least it was to me.  Here is one of the less obscure pics that will not reveal a gender.  Take your best guess!

Another sweet profile of my Peanut!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

New Look!

How do you like my new header?  Chris made it for me last night after I was complaining that I didn't think my blog was very cute!  We brainstormed for a few minutes, then he just whipped it up in about an hour.  Handy to have a graphic artist around the house I guess.  We've also been talking about way I could increase my readership around here, since I'm fairly certain there's about three people who read my blog, and two of them live in my house.  Chris suggested I go into a little more detail about some of our choices and decisions for the nursery, my pregnancy, and anything interesting that comes up along the way.  To avoid starting with an internet overshare on my philosophy of pregnancy, I think I'll start with the nursery.  That seems safe, don't you think?

Let's start from the beginning. Our goals for the nursery were few and (sorta) simple: First, it had to be easily undo-able, since we're renters.  We don't know how long we'll live here, and I don't want to invest time or money in things that we can't take with us, or that we'll have to undo when we leave, like a crazy awesome paint job.  Second, it had to be frugal.  We know that nurseries don't stay that way forever, and since we're hardly rolling in dough, we wanted to invest our money as wisely as possible.  ($800 crib?  No thanks.)  Third, we'd like it to be as eco-friendly as possible while still fitting within our other goals.  I'll probably come across on the blog as a tree-hugging hippie earth-mother, but that's only partly true.  I'll sacrifice a tree now and then for frugality and convenience.  Sorry.  With these things in mind, here's a few of our nursery choices thus far:

The Crib:  
We chose the Delta 3-in-1 Winter Park Convertible Crib from Target.  Originally we had our eye on a very similar looking crib from Burlington Coat Factory (yes, they have baby stuff--who knew??) for a fairly similar price.  We needed something that would be gender neutral (no canopy beds or racecar beds yet), and something that came in a medium warm finish to match the existing furniture in the room, that being the armoire and the cubbie shelves.  There we go being frugal again.  No sense buying a whole room full of furniture when we only need a crib.  The Winter Park crib seemed to be generic in style and correct in finish.  It was one of the less expensive cribs we found that wasn't also ugly like a butt.  Then Target went and put it on sale for $100 a month or so ago, and I couldn't help myself.  It was a done deal. 

The Paint:
This was an area where we opted for the "green" choice, not the frugal choice.  We decided on the Olympic Premium paint in Stonington. We wanted a no VOC paint, which means no weird chemicals off-gassed by the paint, and no paint-induced fume highs, and the Olympic paint was our best (if not only) choice.  It wasn't the cheapest paint we could find, but overall, it didn't break the bank.  (Here's where I have to make a little confession.  The paint wasn't entirely a nursery-based decision.  We had previously painted most of the apartment in the same paint and color, and had some left over so that's what went in the nursery.  The VOC reasoning still stands, but there's nothing magically "baby" about Stonington.  It was the best taupe for the rest of the place, so it went in the nursery too. )  Back to the paint.  As far as quality goes, it seemed to go on easily and cover fairly well.  We did have to do two coats, but I'm not going to blame the paint on that because we are certainly novice painters.  My artistically inclined husband decided a flat finish would look best, so I rolled with it.  In other parts of the house, a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser seems to take off any smudges just fine.  And it was a nice neutral color that was pre-approved by the landlords. Yay paint.

I think that's a good stopping point for today, don't you?  I don't want to spill all my secrets at once, and besides, that's about all the decisions we've made for the nursery.  Wouldn't want to get too carried away with progress, would we?  More decisions will be made in the near future, since we find out Monday what the gender of our little Peanut is!  Counting down the minutes!  Until then, are any of you planning a nursery?  Painting walls?  Trying to live cheap and green?  Let me know!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nursery Progress!

This has been a way busy week and a half for us. Our second bedroom previously functioned as Chris's office and my crafting room, as well as a catch-all for everything else we own. Well, that is now Peanut's room, so we've having to do a lot of shuffling around. Last weekend Chris's dad Woody came and helped us put a fresh coat of paint on the walls. Since we're renting, we went with the same generic taupe that's in the rest of the apartment, but it's clean and fresh and better than the dirty smudgy white that was in there. Here's some photos of the empty room, with its brand new paint and freshly cleaned carpets:

The room seemed so big when it was completely empty! I just knew I would have way more space than we needed for a tiny baby. I mean, how much stuff could they need, right? :) We started putting the furniture back in once the paint and carpets were all dry. I can actually start to picture it now!
This chair has been in my family since I was a kid. It's moved to a few different states with me, and now I can't wait to cuddle my Peanut in it!

We're planning to use these cubbies for storage, and we're also going to put a changing pad on top instead of buying a separate changer. What do you do with those after you're out of diapers anyway?View of the "front door." This little armoire will be full of tiny little clothes before I know it!Obviously the crib isn't assembled yet. I haven't even bought a mattress for it. But it's going to be on that wall where it's leaning when all is said and done.Mom, Peanut, and Violet relaxing and taking in the view of the "new" nursery!

Saturday, February 11, 2012


My sister kindly reminded me yesterday that I have not blogged in quite a while. Apologies. Although I am nearly 18 weeks along, well into my 2nd trimester, I am still completely exhausted most of the time. Combine this with working full time in a semi-physical job and trying to be somewhat of a wife, there hasn't been a lot of spare time when my eyes are open. I'll try to do better.

I am still getting queasy at least once a day, although I'm getting better willpower or less severe nausea or both, because I haven't thrown up quite as often the past few weeks. My belly is getting bigger, and more bump-like! (Yay for finally moving out of the "too many doughnuts" phase!) I can still wear a few of my pre-pregnant tops, depending on how they're made. My pants haven't had a prayer in a few months though. I find I look more pregnant and less tubby if I wear fitted tops, and I especially like the maternity tops with the rouching on the sides. Here's a recent photo, taken last Sunday before church:

The biggest problem I'm dealing with at this point is sleeping. I pretty much haven't slept well since the beginning, waking up a few times an hour for no good reason. Now add to that the fact that I have to pee at least once a night, and I'm trying to train myself to sleep in a different position, tired is just part of life. My mom says that will get better in about twenty years.

Speaking of sleep positions, this caused a slightly more alarming problem recently. I woke up one day last week with a tightness/slight pain in the right side of my chest that I brushed off to sleeping funny. As the day went on, the pain got sharper and it became difficult for me to breathe. My shoulder started to feel stiff and heavy, and I began to worry. I called my doc's office to let them know what was going on, and they recommended going to urgent care or the ER immediately. Great! So I went to the closest urgent care to my work, where they cleared me of everything except a possible blood clot, which normally they would xray for, so they sent me on to the local ER for more tests. Double great! After several hours of poking and testing, it was determined that I had costochondritis, and inflammation of the cartilage between the ribs and the sternum, likely because of my new side-sleeping position. Hot compresses, tylenol, and patience, they said. Still very painful, but so much easier to deal with knowing that I'm not dying!

I feel like this has been a very negative post, and for that I apologize. I really don't feel like I have a bad attitude, the past four weeks have just brought on some "different" experiences for me. I'm still very excited about the baby and the pregnancy, and in the scheme of things, I think I've had it pretty easy. We're in the process of cleaning out the office, which will become the nursery. Progress!! And our big ultrasound is scheduled for the 27th! Just about two more weeks now until I can start really planning things!!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Sneak Peek

My last appointment was a week ago, I was about 12.5 weeks along. They sent me for an ultrasound that day because of persistent bleeding issues, which was obviously not the best circumstance. Normally I wouldn't have had another ultrasound until the "big" one at around 20 weeks. Fortunately/unfortunately we got a little sneak peek at out little Peanut. Check it out!

Sucking that little thumb!
What a profile!

Chris wasn't able to be at the ultrasound because of work, but they set me home with a CD with six still shots from the test. It was so cool to watch as she did the US. I had to drink some juice before the test to help the baby be more active (AKA sugar rush). Boy, do we have a wiggler! He/She was waving and flipping and rolling all over the place in there. I had an ultrasound at about 8 weeks, but it was just a grey smudge in a black smudge then. This time it really looks like a baby! I really can't even describe the feeling of seeing my child basically for the first time. To know that everything is okay, to see this little life that is inside me wave at me...tears. There were tears. It makes me want to do everything just right during this pregnancy. It makes me want to be a better mom already.

What do you think? Any gender guesses? Who does the baby look more like? :)

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Official introductions

I suppose I should start from the beginning. I found out on Friday morning, Nov. 4, that I was pregnant. Of course, I was thrilled, but cautious. I didn't know if I believed the test for sure, so early that morning before work (but after Christopher was gone) I ran to the grocery store around the corner and bought a different kind of test. That one was even more positive! Needless to say, I was an excited mess by that point. Somehow I made it through the work day, and then rushed home to tell Christopher in person.

This part of the story needs some clarification. I've been keeping a journal for quite some time, written to by future child. I didn't know when this child would come along, but it's just a record of thoughts, prayers, and hopes for the kid's future, etc. I addressed all of the letters to "Peanut." When I came home that evening, Chris met me at the door looking excited. I thought he must have found the test or something, and I was a little disappointed. He pointed to a single Reese's peanut butter cup on the kitchen counter and asked, "Does this mean something? It's a PEANUT butter cup!" Relieved, I assured him that it was just a coincidence, and didn't mean anything. He was obviously disappointed, but accepting.

We decided to order Chinese for dinner that night, and as he was looking over the menu, I sneakily put this sign on the kitchen table for him to find:

He looked at it for a long time, then looked at me with a terribly confused expression. "Really? Really? REALLY?" I think he asked me about eighty two times. I nodded and then got the biggest hug I think I've every gotten in my life. We're both so excited about this little one!

Fast forward, I am now beginning my 13th week. We're due July 16, 2012, on my grandpa's birthday! We have several other July birthdays in the family, so if I'm early or late, I may very well hit one of them. We're looking forward to all the adventures that are ahead of us, but unfortunately we are currently living quite far from both of our families and close friends. Hopefully this blog will help keep everyone in the know, and help all of our loved ones feel like the special part of this journey that they are. Love you all!