Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Felicity Marian: A Birth Story Part I

Oh goodness, where to even start! I will warn you right now that this could get very, very long because there are so many details and emotions! As you know from my last letter to our baby, I went in at 38 weeks, last Wednesday, to be induced due to developing gestational hypertension, with lab values indicating the onset of pre-eclampsia if we waited longer. Steven's boss gave him Wednesday the 19th through Tuesday the 25th off without having to use vacation time, so we decided to begin the Week of Baby with a quiet day together, knowing it might be our last for a while. Wednesday morning we woke up, cuddled on the couch, and watched Netflix. We eventually got ready for the day and headed to the Cathedral (where we got married) for noon Mass. I can't explain how much I loved attending Mass on the day of our induction. It really helped to ground and center me, and gave us both a chance to ask for a safe delivery, to ask for intercession for the intentions we wanted to focus on in labor and delivery, and to thank and praise God for our pregnancy and baby. The priest's homily was about finding balance in life, and I remember thinking how ironic and fitting it was to hear about balance as we go into a time of our life that will undoubtedly be very unbalanced until we get our heads on straight and find a new normal. We walked out of church and headed home to clean and tidy the house. I get very anxious when the house is messy, and knew that coming home to a clean house would be comforting to me post baby. It also gave us a chance to burn off some energy. I know people say to rest, but I liked staying a little busy. We were SO, so calm all day long. You would not believe the amount of people praying us through the day. We had people posting all over facebook asking for their friends, complete strangers to us, to pray for a safe delivery and baby. We had entire facebook groups praying for us, and of course our 'real life' family and friends. Knowing that so many people were praying for us was powerful beyond words and I'm sure is the reason that neither one of us freaked out.

Around 4:30pm, we left to run a few errands. We went to Target for some last minute items, including a headband in case the baby was a girl (I kept saying, "if it's a girl, she won't look like it in the gender neutral clothes!"), the bank, and dinner at Subway. We headed to the hospital after that, still freakishly calm! It got real a few times throughout the day and then again as we walked into the hospital and knew we weren't coming back out without a baby! We were so excited and ready to get things going. It was absolutely surreal that this was IT. We had to register at 7pm, when apparently registration was mostly closed, so they called a lady over to help us. She was friendly, but I could have done without her story of her labor that was 40 hours and ended in a csection, and her friend's late term loss. Yeah. Thanks, lady! She told us to go up to labor and delivery, room 2. We rang the doorbell to L&D (secured unit) and walked in to a shift change and quiet floor. A nurse welcomed us and walked us into our room which was the same room we had toured at 27 weeks when I went there for my rogham shot. We were immediately overwhelmed as she gave us instructions, a cup to pee in, my gown, non slip socks, etc. I needed a moment to breathe! The room was 75 degrees and I got into the bed sweating profusely in the hospital gown and on the awful chucks pads due to nerves and the temperature. Steven knocked it down to somewhere in the 60's and it felt like it took FOREVER to cool down. I even apologized to the doctor when he came in because, let's face it, there isn't a lot worse than being incredibly sweaty when your obgyn needs to examine you. It was my first and probably only really tense part of the day, but I calmed down once the room cooled off. The night nurse, Lauren , came in with my birth plan, which impressed me. I knew my doctor had sent it over to the hospital weeks before, but we had brought multiple of our own copies to give the nurses. She asked what in particular was important to us on there and I told her basically everything but that we knew we needed to be flexible since I am not low risk. She clarified that we did not want pain medications offered and we told her we would request them if I changed my mind. She offered various shots which I declined, and she did not blink at that nor my declining shots for the baby, and gave me the forms to sign declining them. I was so pleasantly surprised at how they handled all my non-mainstream wishes! She said she has worked in a local hospital known for having more naturally/crunchy minded patients so I know that helped. I signed waivers and consents, and then heard my doctors voice outside the room.... another "it's real!!!" moment! I guess I expected he wouldn't be by until later so, hearing his voice, I knew it was time!

Let me break right here to say how much we love our doctor. This month marks 2 years of working with him. We found him because he does Napro/Creighton and we have spent SO much time in his office, so we have gotten to know him really well. He's the only OB in his office, and he just has one nurse, a lab lady, an ultrasound tech, and 2 front office staff. They all know us really well, cheered for us when we found out we were pregnant, and congratulated us the Friday before the induction knowing they wouldn't see me again til after the baby was here. I just love him and the office so much!!! We drive 45 minutes there, but it is worth every second for the personal relationship we get with them. I've never had a 'non typical' relationship with a care provider and, after this, I don't think I could go anywhere else!

He came in, we talked excitedly for a few minutes about it being BABY TIME!, and he talked to us a bit about pain relief options for future reference since he knew I didn't want it offered in labor. Lauren asked him if I could have a saline lock (per my birth plan, though one of the things I was willing to give on) instead of an IV. He agreed that I could wait until morning to start fluids and just have the lock. She was funny; she said he usually uses a LOT of fluids, and that she wouldn't give me that much. I gladly pretended to not hear her say that! I did not want a ton of fluids, especially since I'm a water drinker by nature, and was drinking and peeing all night like normal, and because I was puffy enough from the final weeks of pregnancy.

Seeing how accommodating they were being about my wishes put me at so much ease that night! Steven got settled in the chair/bed beside me and the doctor checked me. I was 1.5 cm and 60% effaced at my Friday appointment, and this day (Wednesday), he said I was 3 cm and 50% effaced. I immediately balked at the percentage which gave them all a laugh. But I was thrilled with 3cm and he was, too! I officially swear by 6 dates per day for 4 weeks before birth, though I only got to do 3 weeks since I was induced a week earlier than expected, but I really do think it helped to prepare my cervix for induction. He placed the dose of cytotec and told me the nurse would check me again at midnight and place a second dose. He let her know that my preference was that I would go into labor with the cytotec alone if possible. The nurse placed the external monitor on me, which the doctor reviewed and announced that I was contracting on my own. Imagine my surprise! In my opinion, I was having the same Braxton Hicks I'd been having for days but apparently I was, in fact, contracting on my own. I was SO excited that I came in at 3cm and contracting... I was ready to self talk myself through the whole thing with lines like "You can do this", "Your body is made for this", "You CAN deliver this baby vaginally!", and that information really gave me the boost I needed.

After that, Steven and I just hung out. We called our parents and our doula to give updates; our doula said she would come around noon the next day but sooner if we needed her. From about 8pm until around 11 we watched the Olympics and played a card game, "Argh!", together. Watching the Olympics was really comforting because we'd been doing that together for multiple nights before the induction, so it helped us (along with bringing our own pillows!) to feel more like 'home' and give us some semblance of normalcy. We chatted the night away and, again, were surprisingly calm! We finally decided to try and get some sleep. Steven said a little later that he was glad I could sleep (after I woke up from about a 30 minute snooze) but that he wasn't going to get any sleep that night. Funny, since an hour or so later he was out for almost the entire night and I was up about every 20 minutes ;). The nurse and I poked fun at him when she would come in and he was oblivious. I had a lot of trouble getting to sleep and staying to sleep, so I prayed a rosary for my prayer list of people dealing with infertility and subfertility, and a special intention requested by a friend. I really had wanted to pray the rosary during labor and offer up that time, but that didn't happen, so I'm glad I was able to do it the night before. The nurse kept coming in to check my blood pressure, help me get to the bathroom (I'd have to disconnect/reconnect to the monitor each time), and readjust the monitor each time I rolled over or the baby moved... which happened a LOT! I said something about probably having the baby after midnight/early am on Friday. She kind of laughed and said my doctor had it down to a science, and that I would have the baby probably by the time she came back on shift (7pm Thursday). I thought she was crazy... no way was my baby coming that fast! I just tuned it out because I didn't want to be frustrating that it didn't happen that quickly.

 She said she'd wake me up about 6am for a shower and breakfast if I wasn't in labor by then. I was relieved to know I got those creature comforts because, from what I've heard, that is not normal in an induction. When she came in at midnight, she checked me before placing the second cytotec. I was the same, but that cytotec did make me feel a bit crampy so I was hoping and praying for progress.

She came in to wake me at 6am and I got my shower and enjoyed about 90 minutes out of bed and off the monitor. Steven went to the cafeteria and brought his breakfast back up; they served mine a little after 7. After the 7am shift change, we met our day nurse, Kelly, as I got situated back in bed, who ALSO had worked at that local hospital where birth plans are popular and also was beyond supportive of ours. She said she would do whatever she could to help us reach our birth goals. I was so bowled over by these amazing nurses! The doctor came in somewhere around 8 and checked me... I was 4cm. It appeared that the cytotec didn't do much for me; they said it wouldn't make me dilate but would thin my cervix. Well, I had dilated 1 cm but was not any more thinned out. However, the doctor was visibly excited that I was at 4cm, so I got really excited too! I was cheering my body for getting the memo that baby needed to come out. He said he could do another dose of cytotec but that it was unlikely to do anything since it hadn't yet, and that pitocin couldn't be started for 4 hours after a dose of cytotec. He said that he would let me make the call (knowing from something really brief I said in the office about how exciting it would be if I went into labor without needing pitocin... LOVE HIM!). He said my cervix was 'favorable' and induction was likely to be successful. I was so relieved because we had specifically been praying for a vaginal delivery for weeks. Steven and I decided... ok wait, I decided and later was like "sorry for not asking your input!".... to skip the 3rd dose of cytotec and go straight for the pitocin. This was probably the point where I got a little nervous, because you hear such horrible things about pitocin induced labor, but I was also excited to get stuff rolling. He wrote the order for pitocin to get started and that's when things really got real.

Stay tuned for part II! Here's a teaser for those of you who aren't facebook friends with me, because I'm not cruel enough to make you wait :).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

38 Week Update and Last Letter to Our Baby!

Make sure you read the letter below for a very important update :). As always, click on the "Dear Baby series" tag to read the last 9 months worth of letters!

Dear Baby, 2/15/2014

Oh baby, let me tell you about yesterday. WHAT A DAY! I was supposed to have my doctor appointment at 10:30 on Thursday. My last day of work was Friday. But with the weather and road conditions, it was moved to 10:30 Friday and then to 3:30 Friday. So the plan was to go to work and, once I left around 2ish, that would be IT! It was so crazy busy in the morning. I hadn’t been in the office in days because of the ice on the roads and had SO much to finish. One of my coworkers helped, which was so sweet. Daddy had dropped me off, and then came back a little after 2 to get me and help me carry my things down. All I had felt up until about 1:30 was excitement. But then I started to get sad! I was checking my keys, phone, and computer back in and it hit me that this was it. I walked into Jennifer’s office to hug her and Susan, and almost cried. I really didn’t want to and was surprised I could stop myself! We left pretty quickly after that because we needed to get to the doctor, and I think a fast exit helped! We planned for lunch next week before I left, which helped too.

Daddy and I got to the doctor and did our non stress test. The doctor walked in and said we would be induced next Wednesday! I was immediately on edge because he has been saying 39 weeks unless there is an issue beforehand all along. So I asked why 38 weeks vs 39. Well the nurse hadn’t told me, but mommy’s blood pressure spiked. All along we knew that, if it spiked, it was going to mean immediate or very soon delivery for both of our health. (They took it again about an hour and a half later to confirm and, yep, it was still the same.) I have officially crossed over into gestational hypertension. We had a good talk with the doctor about the benefits to both of us of you being out at this point rather than you being in. There are some increased risks, but the increased benefit outweighs those. He walked out of the room and Daddy and I just kind of stared at a each other for a second. I don’t remember who spoke first or who said what; it was kind of a blur! I know at some point we both said something along the lines of “we’re going to have a baby in our arms next week!”. The doctor came back in after a few minutes to check the non stress test (and I am so, so thankful he gave Daddy and I those few minutes to absorb and gather our thoughts!). We made fun of him for his ‘official induction paperwork’... a papertowel that he handed Daddy that said “Wed 7pm”. Haha! That is definitely going in your baby book. He said to eat at 5pm and then meet him at the hospital. He checked me and I was 1.5 cm dilated and 60% effaced- progress so I’ll take it! I asked him to sweep my membranes, just in case that might help, which he did. He also did some labwork which came back showing that my levels are rising, heading towards pre-eclampsia. He said we will stick with Wednesday unless I have any pre-e symptoms before then.

We had our ultrasound and couldn’t see much of your face but your hair has grown!!! It almost looks like curls in the picture, but I guess we will have to wait and see. After our appointment last night, Daddy had planned a Valentine dinner at Alexander’s Mediterranean. We wanted to celebrate finishing shots, finishing work, and our last date night out! It was much fancier than anywhere we’d normally go and really fun to splurge. Daddy got veal parmesan and Mommy got stuffed chicken. SO YUMMY! We ended with a milkshake at Cookout :). We really enjoyed our last big night out, even if we were both still a bit shell shocked! We cannot wait to meet you and it is so, so real now. It is Saturday as Mommy writes this and we are hoping to have you in our arms by next Friday! Ahhhh!!!! I cannot even explain the emotion if I tried. Mommy has so much to get done these next few days, and since sleep is no longer realistic (I’m trying!!! but last night I finally fell asleep at 11:30, was up from 2-4, and then up again shortly after 6… at least I’m in a good mood!), I should have plenty of time to run all our errands. I will have to cancel girls’ night with some friends and mani pedis with Mandi, and move the work lunch a day or so sooner, but I’m not complaining too much :).

See you in less than a week, little one! Can’t wait to meet you!


I got busy and missed my 37 week update, not knowing that my 38 week update would be my LAST ONE!

How far along are you?
38 weeks today!

Total weight gain:
I really ballooned between 36 and 37 weeks. I went from gaining nothing to only a 1/4 lb multiple weeks in a row, to gaining 2.5 lbs in a week! It shows, too! As of 37 weeks, I was up to 27.5 lbs. Hopefully that means baby had a growth spurt and is all ready to come out.

36 on the left, 37 on the right! 

How big is baby?
I'll let you know in a few days :).

Maternity clothes:
Hubby's tshirts plus my normal maternity clothes.

Stretch marks?
Just the 2 really tiny ones and 1 almost non-visible one. Seriously the biggest shock of my pregnancy. I expected to be covered! 

What is sleep? I'm sure I'll be asking that question for the next few months... or years! Still in a good mood during the day though, so I can't complain too much.

Best moment this week?
Getting the house tidied and organized. It seriously takes so much stress off of me to know we're leaving for the hospital with the house in good shape. Attaching the cosleeper to the bed was fun too, because I kept laying in bed imagining our baby being in there in a short time... even if the cat has claimed it as her own. Hmmm... also last days of just hubby and me cuddles! We've been enjoying cuddling on the couch watching the Olympics and some Netflix shows, just enjoying the simplicity of US. Good week and it's about to get better :). Oh and I can't forget the HUGE number of people praying for us; it has touched us beyond words!

Penny might be slowing down the slightest bit, but still a lot of movement and still passing kick count tests. 

Food cravings:
Chocolate and beef, but not together. And milkshakes. I'm trying to reign it in!

Food aversions:
Nothing really!

Labor signs:
The only ones I'll share here is even more braxton hicks and definitely some discomfort as baby moves down!

Belly button in or out?
It will survive, people!!!! Flush/in!

What I miss:
Getting out of bed easily, not getting up to pee a million times a night, being able to roll over without effort!

What I'm looking forward to:
Seeing that sweet face, family cuddles, and finding out baby's sex/being able to use the real name. So excited about everything!!!!!!!

What I'm not looking forward to:
Um... labor? I don't know... I'm not dreading it but I know it won't be fun.

We'll all know any day now!!! 

Today! 38 weeks!

And last, a huge thank you to all of you who have prayed us through this pregnancy! If I can be so bold as to ask that you pray us through the induction and labor over the next day or two, I would be so appreciative. We'll be offering up the trials of labor for those on our prayer list struggling with infertility/subfertility and anyone unnamed dealing with the same issues. Can't wait for my next post because it will mean baby is here and PICTURES! 

Friday, February 14, 2014

Dear Penny: Letters to Our Child #25 and 26

Here is a two-fer so I am officially caught up just in time, haha! Check out the "Dear Baby Series" tag for the rest! 

Dear Penny, 1/17/14

We just had our last prenatal appointment with our doula and I am SO, SO excited to have you! I have read some really scary things about inductions and the medications we’ll be using and basically just EVERYthing. I have always felt like I honestly don’t fear labor and birth, until I knew I needed to be induced, and then it all got scary. But talking with her, I feel a huge weight lifted. She is going to be an incredible asset to our birth team and to getting you here! She has a whole bag of tricks that will help ease my labor, and it certainly has helped to ease my fears. Daddy is super glad that I won’t be depending totally on him since inductions can be slooooooooooow. We picked so good because her personality resonates with us perfectly. She is resourceful, calm, comforting, and is sooo excited about you! Penny, I just feel so good and I am going to STOP reading the internet, read my baby books, and continue getting ready for you.

7 weeks!



Dear Penny,                                                                               2/13/14

Oh baby, what a week it has been! This is mommy's last week of work and it has been crazy! We got more snow yesterday than I've probably ever seen, so I was home all day. We are getting more today, so I am home today. And your normal Thursday check up was moved to tomorrow afternoon, so somehow I have to cram everything left to do into a few hours tomorrow morning before the appointment, because tomorrow is my LAST DAY! Let's go back to yesterday, though. Daddy had to be to work at 6:30, and I made him pack a bag just in case. Good thing, because it was clear by 1:45 pm that he was NOT going to be able to make it home. His work put him in a hotel last night and I could only think two things... 1) please, Penny, do NOT come tonight and 2) power, stay on!!! Luckily, both cooperated. Remind me to thank you for that later :). I was imagining giving birth in the back of an ambulance without daddy, and it was not a comforting thought! So ironic that we've never had weather like this, but it would happen when I'm 37 weeks pregnant and Daddy is stuck 30 minutes away! But I counted our blessings, because I know there are people in bad situations, stuck in cars for hours, people who can't get their medicines, and I'm sure many other situations, and really, ours was not that bad (well, since you didn't come!). Stay put another night, ok? The roads will refreeze tonight so hang in there! And tomorrow Daddy and I are going to go on a nice date to celebrate being done with shots (62nd and final one was Tuesday!!!), being done with work, and Saint Valentine's Day, our last nice date pre-baby!!!, so if you want to let us enjoy that, we won't complain either. 

I cannot believe we will meet you in two short weeks or less! I have a bunch of things on my to do list for next week but I am ready for you if you want to come. I can't wait for you to see your room, your house, your family, your kitty. I can't wait to see your little lips and nose, and smell your little head. Love you so much and can't wait to meet the little person who has been kicking and wiggling hands and fingers all these months!!!!


Thursday, February 13, 2014

Celebrating Without Food

Is that the most depressing blog title, or what? I had a revelation the other day. We celebrate with food ALL THE TIME. Seriously. Every little thing we celebrate, we celebrate with food. And in a family with a lot of celebrations (I am a bit sentimental, I guess) that turns out to be a bad thing. The latest example was..... finishing my last progesterone shot for this pregnancy!!!!!!!!

Side note.
Steven asked at one point if I was excited to have only a few shots left.
Me: Yes!!!
Steven: Well at least for 10 weeks.
Me: .... *wracking brain*... 10 weeks?
Steven: Well, 6 weeks after the baby is here you could be pregnant again.
Me: *scrambling to find email address of our NFP instructor*

Bahahaha, I love him, and I love that he is super open to whatever our family size will be but I not so calmly informed him that you do NOT talk about getting pregnant again right away to your super pregnant wife who can barely move without getting winded. And who took shots in the butt the entire pregnancy. And who will need to heal. Love him.

Back to the original message. So I reached out to my beloved Cathsorority girls for some non-food related ways to celebrate. Because, like I said, we celebrate a lot- things like little anniversaries (first time we talked, met, etc), last days of work, making it through a rough time, you name the excuse and I've got the celebration planned! I also needed affordable options because we are frugal AND even more so now that we're going to be down to one income. Without further ado, here are some of the ideas I got from them and a few I came up with.... many of which we already do but I wasn't giving credit to them to use as 'celebrations' even though they totally fit!

Cathsorority Hive Mind Food-Free Celebration Ideas
  • A movie (for us, at the 2nd run theater)
  • Renting a movie from Redbox for a date night in
  • Going for a walk on a nice day... Steven might not appreciate this one too much, though ;)
  • Going out for coffee
  • Play a board game
  • Go to a local high school sporting event
  • Go to a cheap, local music performance
  • Check out a park we haven't been to before
  • Try a new recipe (food related BUT if it's not a dessert it's way easier for me to make it healthy so it's not a bad thing)
Add to the list in the comments! 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Preparing to Have Fun on One Income

First I was going to call this "Having Fun on One Income", but that's kind of a misnomer because, with our one income, we won't really have money from our paycheck for much fun. So what the post is actually about it how we planned ahead to build fun into our post baby budget life. We both knew that if we went from eating out once a week (what we did in our pre-baby budget) to... never... well, we would be miserable and it's just not doable. Or, we didn't want it to be anyway! It's not just about eating out, though. It could be going to a cheap movie (our second run theater shows movies for $2.25) or something like that. We will be home a lot more, and we'll be enjoying free fun as much as possible, but we will still need some treats here and there. So here's what we've done to prepare ourselves for at least the near future of having mini splurges every now and again:

Skim a little leftover money to save for future use. In our pre-baby budget, we each had a small category of fun money and we had a 'fun' category which was usually used for eating out. When we would have a couple dollars left in a category, we cashed out and stuck it in an envelope. When my expense check covered more than my mileage, we would skim a little off the top and put it in that same envelope. Now we have a little cash stash to use for whatever we want post baby.
Hoard gift cards. Over about the last six months, we've been gifted some gift cards and I've earned some on survey sites. Instead of using them, we stuck those in that same envelope. Over the past month or so, I've saved any coupons that have come for those same restaurants so that we get more bang for our gift card buck. So far we have gift cards to Chickfila, Wendy's, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and Friday's, each of which will probably get us one dinner out. We keep eyeing up the gift cards but we are enforcing delayed gratification and not using them til after baby is here! A perk of Steven's job? Since he has some week days off, we'll use the nicer ones at lunch time just in case we have a fussy baby... sounds way less stressful for mama! And lunch is cheaper anyway!
Groupon and Living Social. Granted if you have zero wiggle room, this may not be an option. But sometimes there are really cheap meals or events! There are plenty of not-so-great deals, so I have to exercise self control.
Sign up for town/city newsletters. Our town does a monthly newsletter of events, some of which cost and some which are free. I get that by email each month and we go to anything free that fits in our schedule and seems like fun. Sometimes they have coupons for plays at the performing arts center, making something previously too pricey suddenly doable. We'll miss it this year because we'll have a days old baby, but our town puts on an AMAZING talent show each year for FREE! That will be a date night for us every single year!

Search for deals in weird places. My niece and nephew were selling Chickfila calendars last year, so we bought 2 for a total year investment of $16. Now each month, we each get a free treat at Chickfila. We treat it as a mini date out (or a real date out on the months where you get a whole meal- the best!), and had a lot of fun with it in January. The freebie was a bowl of soup, so we both got a drink and a cone with it. This month is a large fry, which we decided we'll stop and get on a day full of errands, to have a quiet few minutes to just be together and enjoy a little snack. In the past, I probably wouldn't have considered that a date, but now it's exciting to see each month what we're getting that is already 'paid for'!

Build friendships with other parents for future trading of babysitting (and just because it's nice to have friends, of course!). I've had a couple people offer us this for the future. When our baby is old enough/I'm comfortable enough with it, we will totally trade babysitting so we can get out just the two of us. I would imagine we'll do things like go out for a cheap meal, a second run movie, or even just go walk in a park together! 

Other ideas!? Add them below! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Baby Love at Work

I officially have a week left of work. People keep asking me how I feel about that and my answer is the same every time, even if I feel a bit bad about saying it: "Excited!". I'm not excited to leave my coworkers and I'm not excited to leave the people I've served for the last 4.5 years. But I am so beyond excited that this means it is BABY TIME!!! I'm excited to relax a little until the baby comes, since getting ready for work requires multiple rest breaks (this morning girl is the most exhausted in the morning, ironically!). I'm excited to prop myself on the couch when something starts hurting instead of just having to keep doing whatever I'm doing in the office. I'm excited to have the energy to nest instead of working all day and coming home stressed about what I want to get done but don't have the energy for or hurt too much to do (not that it has stopped me... it has just made me MORE exhausted!). I'm excited to spend my days with most of my focus on taking care of my family after we get all settled and used to life. And I'm excited, so incredibly excited, to have 2 days together with my husband every week (he works weekends currently) for the first time in our marriage. So my excitement is less about not working and more about self care while I finish out pregnancy, and what's coming very soon! I don't think it will probably hit me that I'm not going back to work until well after the baby is born when life just feels "normal" and I'm like "oh hmmm.... but I don't go into the office anymore". Except, I will take lots of field trips there to show off the baby :).

I have big plans for my short time between work ending (the 14th) and my probable induction (not officially set, but on or around 2/26). I have a yet to be set coffee date with a friend, a girls' night out dinner on the 20th, and a mani pedi with a friend on the 21st. And while I am excited about all those things and definitely want to do them, I would not complain if Penny comes that week because it would mean no induction :). If Penny doesn't come until the next week, I'm glad to have some plans to get me out of the house a few times because I have no clue how I will feel emotionally and Steven works minimum 10 hour days! 

My coworkers threw me 2 sweet showers this week, 2 days in a row. I had been sleeping so poorly for many nights but the last 2 I got good sleep, finally!, and I'm sure it was due to exhaustion of having a blast :). We had a unit meeting Thursday, which we have 4 times a year and is composed of people in our unit who work in a certain area of the state. We see each other maybe 5-6 times a year between our unit meetings and the statewide meetings, so I was incredibly touched when they put together a whole shower complete with presents, food, and cake for me. I know I've said this before, but I have seen so much goodness in people during this pregnancy and it has really inspired me to up my game. People are so good and kind! 

Then this morning my office had our staff meeting. Which was funny because I had an email confirmation that it was 2/14 and someone mentioned yesterday that it was today. Good thing because I could have missed or been late to my own shower! I walked in to tables decorated with presents, paper goods and favors, and presents. They invited 3 of my coworkers from our parent chapter, and I was touched that they came (again, people I don't work with or see nearly as often as my office coworkers). We sat around gabbing, advice was given, and presents were opened. It was so much fun! 

One of my favorite parts? I got to come home and order leftover stuff off my Target registries with the 10% discount card and gift cards since showers are officially done! 

Sunday, February 9, 2014

The Nursery

For all of you who are friends with me on facebook, you've seen this already so you can feel free to scroll along :). But I wanted to share the nursery with the rest of my readers, and just because I love it so much and want to talk about it. I think my favorite thing about the nursery is how naturally it came together. I didn't slave over pinterest, wrack my brains for ideas, or stress about colors. We picked the wall color when we bought the house as we just loved it for a future nursery color (it is softer and less olivey than it looks in the picture). Then I won the rug on Camp Patton and it was perfect in there (tried it in the living room first). When we got matching dresser hand me downs, we put my old dresser (which is also my Grandma Miller's dresser) in the nursery. It was yellow at the time. Once we found out we were pregnant, my parents offered me my Grandma Miller's rocking chair, which was technically white but was actually sort of yellow. And then my mom gave me her little chair that she had as a child, that we all used as children, which was red. So we started painting, which was really the only non-enjoyable part of the whole nursery. We didn't have a lot of room to spread out, couldn't paint many surfaces at a time so there wouldn't be drips, and had to use a LOT of coats. Once that was done, it was fun again! We bought the crib and tall white shelving system from Ikea. I love the simpleness of the crib! I originally was looking at one of those more rounded, ornate style cribs from Target, but this one just felt so much more right! I love that there aren't bars on the ends. We also got the spice racks from Ikea which we painted (note to readers: SPRAY PAINT THEM... take it from me, do not use regular paint) and hung under the window for easy book access for baby. We bought 5 and only hung those 2, but I think we might use one as an actual spice rack in the kitchen, and at least one for books in our room since I'm sure we'll do a lot of reading in there, too. Then after our first shower, we quickly realized we were running out of places to put things (haha!) and bought the cube system from Target. I love it because we have books in 3 cubes (with room to grow!) and I use the baskets for storage of sheets, waterproof pads, etc in the other cubes.

You can't see the wall hangings easily but I got a print of a bear sitting on a stack of books for over the cube, and two bears sitting with the words "Dream Big" for over the crib, both on Etsy. I got a child's cross with prayer at the Catholic store for over the crib as well. There is a beautiful (also Etsy) print of Joseph and Mary looking at the newborn Jesus over the rocking chair, and I have one frame left with 4 4x6 spots that I'm going to put an ultrasound, 2 maternity photos, and a newborn photo in eventually for over the Ikea shelving unit. 

 I love that our room is simple, soft, and has a mix of new and old. I especially love the history and love in the dresser, rocker, and baby chair! I know our baby won't sleep in there for quite some time, but I can't wait to sit in there and play or go in to get the baby dressed or pick out a book to read. I go in there now and just sit in the rocker, and Penny gets active EVERY time! Buttercup spends about 8 hours a day in the rocker, so she's a big fan, too. We have really loved getting the nursery decorated and organized in preparation for Baby Cash! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

36 Week Update

You know it's been a busy week when I missed my 36 week (9 month!!!) update! 

How far along are you? 
36 weeks

Total weight gain: 
25 lbs. Gaining slowly here at the end, which I didn't expect, but also not complaining about.

How big is baby?:  
 Still no weight guestimate again from the ultrasound but the books/emails say between 6 and 6 1/4 lbs.

Maternity clothes: 
Nothing much has changed since last week with those. I grew out of one or two more shirts.

Stretch marks?:  
I might be up to a total of 3 really tiny/short ones. One of them might not be a stretch mark but it's a part of my belly that is hard to see on my own lol!

Horrible, awful sleep until Thursday night and then really good sleep (comparatively) Thursday and Friday night, so I feel like a new person!

Best moment this week?:
I had 2 work showers that were so sweet and a ton of fun. We also officially finished the nursery (I was just waiting on the changing pad) and got the car seat installed. SO REAL!

Cute hubby showing off his hard work. Getting it checked this weekend!

Still very active and passing the kick count test in 5-10 minutes easily. Still kicking mommy in the ribs and wiggling hands down low. 

Food cravings?:
Protein! I ate soooo much beef dip at one of the work showers this week. Nom.

Food aversions?:
Didn't notice anything this week.

Labor signs?: 
Same Braxton Hicks as last week. 10% effaced.

Belly button in or out?: 
Basically flush at this point.

What I miss: 
Getting ready in the morning without having to take breaks lol.

What I'm looking forward to: 
Finishing out my last week of work and being able to knock out some things on my to do list!

What I'm not looking forward to: 
It's starting to hurt when I walk and I'm sure that will only intensify. But hey, if baby is moving down I'm ok with that!


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Preparing to Say Goodbye to the Bump

Call it pregnancy hormones, but I am getting really sad about the impending end of pregnancy! I am so beyond thrilled to meet this baby and to have him or her in my arms, but I think I might be one of those women who is sad to not be pregnant anymore. It has gone SO fast that I feel like I haven't absorbed it enough yet for it to be over. And I guess this is great training for parenthood, but despite all the worries, health concerns, crazy frequent appointments, and physical discomforts.... I want more. I am loving being pregnant! I am still awed by the movements of this baby inside of me, even when there are feet in my ribs (so you know, basically all the time!). I love Steven's face when the baby gives a gigantic kick and I love him reading to my belly each night. I love seeing our little baby's face on ultrasounds and getting just enough of a picture to make out a few features without really knowing who and what our baby will look like. I love waking up in the middle of the night because someone is having a dance party.

I know many women feel like they can't wait to get their body back, and maybe I will quickly reach that point over these next few weeks if I become more uncomfortable (I thought it would be way worse by now!), but right now I am absolutely loving sharing my body. The concept itself blows me away... I am sharing my body to sustain another human being! I'll still be doing that in other ways after the baby is born, but I think I will miss having this baby grow and develop right under my heart. I love seeing my belly grow and have really enjoyed maternity clothes. I hear mixed things; a lot of women hate maternity clothes. I think they are so cute and soooo comfy! I love when strangers recognize my growing belly in public, especially because very, very few people have touched it (I was so worried about that!). I enjoy knowing looks from other moms and excited smiles from little old ladies. And I even enjoy the rare oblivious man who sees me weekly and then I witness the moment that he suddenly realizes I'm pregnant. Hilarious!

I have to remind myself that, at the end of this, I get to give up heartburn, the lower back aches that come when I stand (but not when I sit or walk, thankfully!), food aversions, skin tags, patches of darkening skin, linea nigra and other things I never knew were pregnancy related until google assured me that they are super common lol! I didn't list exhaustion and waking up in the middle of the night; I know that's here to stay for a while ;).

But I'm also giving up the kicks of a baby, the growth of my baby bump, my awesome pregnant skin which has been dry and not crazy oily for the first time EVER, my more abundant hair, and the sweet moments that Steven and I both share with the baby in utero. Then again, I know I have lots of kisses, cuddles, cute outfits, doting of family members, and hours of gazing at my baby right around the corner (we'll leave out crying, spit up, feeding frustrations and that other good stuff for now!). When I told Steven last night that I'm sad about not being pregnant soon, he reminded me that, God willing, we'll be doing it all again someday. So I guess that makes us that crazy couple who talks about baby #2 before baby #1 has left the oven, but I'm ok with that. Life is so beautiful!

Disclaimer: check back in a few weeks and I'm sure my posts will be more relate-able like "WHEN DOES THE BABY STOP CRYING????" and "POOP. POOP EVERYWHERE.". 

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Dear Penny: Letters to our Child #24

Trying to catch up for real this time since we are only 3.5 weeks from birth! As always, check out the "Dear Baby Series" label if you want to see previous letters! 

Dear Penny, 1/9/2014

You know what no one ever really tells you about baby movements in pregnancy? That they are SO AWESOME. Bizarrely awesome. I think I have talked about it a lot in these letters, but I can’t get over the fact that now I can tell what body parts are thumping around inside of me. As I type this, you are putting your bottom up against my ribs and wiggling your hand down low. It’s so cool to feel you both at the top and the bottom now instead of just one or the other. Yesterday I could feel you on both sides of my stomach and I actually couldn’t tell what you were doing because the movements were perfectly in sync with each other! Hiccups are another cool thing. I always kind of wondered if I would know the difference, but it’s pretty obvious. You get them at least once a day most days. It’s this little rhythmic thump down low (which always reassures me that you’re still head down!) that can’t be felt from the outside, usually. It’s so surreal to be sitting there at work and realize my little baby has the hiccups. Of course I know you’re a person, but sometimes it just strikes me so much. A little person growing in there! Wiggling around! I see pictures of this sweet baby son of a blogger who was born around 27 weeks and, now at 32 weeks, I think “oh my gosh, you LOOK LIKE A BABY!”. Of course you do, since you ARE, but it just gets me choked up every time! Then I start wondering whose features you have and what you look like. Keep wiggling, baby. Mommy feels so super close to you when you do it. Call me crazy and hormonal, but I’m already a little sad about you being on the outside… as excited as I am about it! I’ll never have you as close to me as you are now!