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31 March, 2014

Bump Watch: 37 Weeks

How far along? 37 weeks according to my NFP chart, but midwife is counting about 38 according to baby's growth chart.  

How big is baby? Yay! Baby has reached full term. He likely measures around 18.9 to 20.9 inches and weighs about 6.2 to 9.2 pounds. He's gaining about 1/2 ounce each day.

That "average fetus" size is scaring me NINE POINT TWO POUNDS at 37 weeks. Oh my!

Total weight gain? 32-35 pounds

Maternity clothes? Nothing new.  My pile of too small maternity clothes is quickly getting bigger than the pile of clothes that fit.  For tops & dresses: all I have left are my two longer dresses, my two Jessica Simpson shirts, and my two Gap Body Maternity shirts.  My JS skinny jeans are too tight.  My two pairs of shorts and jean skirt fit perfectly and the weather is warm enough to wear them now. THANK GOD!  

I treated myself to two new pairs of yoga pants and then got a discount on two nursing tops.  I probably got suckered into them, but at least I have two cute outfits for the hospital.  And you know what? Worth every penny. 

Stretch marks?  I don't have any entirely new stretch marks, but 3-4 on my belly have angry red tails on them the size of a pencil eraser. I don't know if they stretched more or what.

Belly button?  Almost perfectly flat.

Exercise:  Still taking the stairs, doing chores, and trying to walk 1-2 days a week inside like around Target, Sam's, or the mall.  Any more than that and I'm exhausted.

Sleep: Really thankful to have another two good weeks of sleep. I only wake up to roll over and reposition.  Or to pee. Some nights it's just once and some nights is as many as five times.  Fortunately, I've been back to sleep quickly.

Movement:  A week ago she rolled from being OP to the left side, but she has since dropped TWICE and I can't figure out what's what anymore.  She'll have a quiet day followed by a day of gymnastics competitions.  I can feel distinct limbs and it really truly feels like a person in there now, not a creepy alien feeling.

Food cravings:  Mango Tango smoothies from Whole Foods.  And Pizza.  And REALLY good chocolate.

Food aversions: Woof. Smoked pork. I just cannot do it.

What I miss: So many putting on my shoes, getting up off the floor, rolling over in bed....aahh the good old days.

What I am looking forward to:  Starting labor.  I'm crazy for looking forward to spontaneous labor, right? I was induced last time, so this is the "new" "fun" part of this pregnancy!

Milestones: We've made it to full term!  Baby and I qualify for water birth should we go that route. Which reminds me...I need to go pack my water birth certificate for the hospital.

Say What?
This weekend I went on a Silent Retreat.  It was an incredible experience.  The two priests that gave the retreat are friends of mine.  They're young and we have lots of social time, so this wasn't weird. Rather really funny.

Remember my Monday night wine nights? This story is about that priest.

So he's giving the big Saturday Night Talk of the retreat.  I had heard the story before, so I knew there was another 15-20 minutes to go.  My back was K-I-L-L-I-N-G me.  I decided to wait for the next joke and sneak down the aisle to stand/stretch in the back of the room.

The laughter subsides and the priest looks up at me in the back and grasps his chest in fear, "ARE YOU OKAY?!?!"  I nod yes and give two thumbs up, as it's a silent retreat.  He replies, "Okay good." And then laughing, "Didn't know if I need to run to get the salad tongs"  And proceeds to make a Jaws of Life motion in front of the whole room.

Sooo good. Love him!

Sweet moments:  Evie woke up from her nap the other day while my mom was over helping around the house.  My mom went in to get Evie and her eyes got big.  "Nana! Let's go to the hospital!  Let's go get [insert baby's name here]!"  So Evie spilled the baby's name to my mom.  Oooops!  But! It was such a sweet moment for them.  Honest, I'm surprised Evie's made it 16 weeks without spilling it! PS: Don't pester my mom about the name. She's really good as secrets. Like, really good.

Make room for baby:  I think we're just about done!  Car seat is in the car.  Cradle is put together and in our room.  Her coming home outfit and blanket are in the washer right now.  Hospital bag is half packed.  Disposable diapers dropped off at Nana's and at preschool.  Everything else is just details :)

Oh, and THIS:  I had a pregnancy massage today. It helped release my sacrum quite a bit. So much relief.

There is a PINK full moon with lunar eclipse on April 15th.  Dear God, I hope I go into labor before then....If the old wives tales are true, the labor and delivery wing is going to be NUTTY!!

You're welcome to join in the Baby Bookie pool to guess the baby's due date and stats. The more the merrier!  No money and super easy sign up / to use.  

Compared to Evie:

  • about 10 lbs difference in weight gain
  • waaaaay less carpel tunnel
  • less bed rest - but still high blood pressure
  • same cravings - pizza & chocolate!
  • still not carrying as low
  • not writing this post on the way to the hospital to be induced like I did Evie's 37-38 week post!

Not-so-secretly hoping this is our last Bump Watch post :) 

28 March, 2014

Suuuuper Quick Update & Maternity Photos!

After last week's questionable visits - I had a follow up lab appointment on Monday.  They did another blood pressure check and it was AMAZING! She lab tech couldn't believe it.  In fact when I went in on Thursday all three midwives were talking about it!  She also told me that all my labs came back normal, so no signs of pre-eclampsia yet!

Thursday (yesterday) was my regular weekly appointment with my primary midwife.  She said I have "officially dropped" and she couldn't believe how far down the baby was already.  She also noted that the baby has flipped over to my left side, which is ideal.  Her movement and heartbeat continue to be perfect.  My blood pressure was up from Monday but not as bad as it was before the medicine.  The midwife did elect to up the dosage a little bit to ward off the 37-38 week spike (this was when/why I was induced with Evie).  She predicts that if I am following the same time line, that this baby girl will be here by next weekend.  Her guess is April 5th -- partially because that's what she thinks and partially because it's Murphy's Law, it's my midwife's first day of a 10 day vacation! My next appointment I am scheduled to see the third midwife that I haven't seen since my miscarriage. It will be nice to be reacquainted with her just in case she's the one who delivers!  GETTING EXCITED!!!

Okay, on to FUN THINGS!!!

Amy, from The Charming Blog, was gracious to do another portrait session for us. She did maternity photos with Evie, our Christmas cards last year and this year, and then this maternity session.  We're hoping she'll be available for some new baby ones too :)
I can't even remember when my bump was that tiny!

Thank you, Amy, for another incredible session.  We're so glad Evie cooperated this time!

So I had this brilliant idea to start a photo series (which means we'll need to have at least one more baby) of us adding to our family.
So there is just me and Eric against the brick wall.

And here we are with Evie on the outside and baby sister on the inside. 

I love that these two are similar (Eric's even wearing the same jeans & shoes, just a different year model!), but enough different that they don't have to be perfectly matchy-matchy going forward.  
Also, how cool is it to see how the Roswell Mill Park has been updated in the last two years?

21 March, 2014

A Quick Update on Today's Happenings at the Midwife's Office

Yesterday I had my weekly check up (still can't believe we've reached that milestone already!) and my weight had significantly jumped and blood pressure was out of control.  Since I wasn't having any of the other telltale signs of pre-eclampsia (headache, side pain, burred vision) they ordered some labs for Friday (today) and sent me home.

One of the labs I had to do was the 24 hour urine test.  They gave me a collection container and instructions on how to do it.  When I woke up at 6:30am I filled the last bit of room in the container.  I knew I needed to call the office right away to see if that meant I was done or if I needed another container.  Sure enough I needed another container.

The other lab ordered was just blood work, which I did on my first visit to the office today.

So when I called about the container I let the nurse know that I was now experiencing the accompanying headache, the swelling was still just as bad and my blood pressure, despite a day of rest, was still just as high (thanks to the little house hold monitor my dad loaned me back in the first trimester)

When I went in around 10am to pick up my second collection container they took my blood pressure and it was even higher than it was yesterday.  Oy!  So a few things happened...

They decided to keep me for monitoring.  They hooked me up to a machine that checks the baby's movement and heart rate.  After about 30 minutes the nurse practitioner came to check on me.  She said the baby was doing BEAUTIFULLY.  And drew a smiley face on her chart. YAY!

The midwife came in next and checked my blood pressure a few more times. It had dropped a little and stabilized at what it had been yesterday.

Both of these things meant I could go home!  YAY!  The midwife gave me a prescription for some blood pressure medicine and strict orders to keep resting and eating super super healthy.

So here we are!

My mom kept Evie for the day so I could finish out my urine test and take it back over to the office, as well as just rest without having to worry about a two year old.  It's been so lonely and quiet.  I am not allowed to do anything so I feel so helpless.

We canceled our weekend plans.  Time to stay home and stay focused on growing this baby another week or two.

A few close friends have asked how I'm doing--- like not my body, but ME ---  I am so thankful for their kind thoughts.

To be honest, I had a breakdown last night. I feel like a failure.  I did everything I was supposed to to prevent this, and here we are.  I'm trying to stay positive.  Honestly, this pregnancy went SO smoothly that I really don't mind 1-4 weeks of monitoring and modified bed rest.  But on the other hand, I'm a little nervous about the complications, the added recovery time for me, and the potential for a preemie and any complications that might come with that.

Thank you all for your kind emails, comments, texts and tweets.  Being covered in prayer and good thoughts has certainly made this bearable.

Hopefully, good news to follow on Monday at my next check in with the midwife :)

20 March, 2014

Well, here we go again - pregnancy update

Yesterday I was feeling kind of worn out. Like I'd hit "The Wall" when it comes to being pregnant.  I've been doing my best to really offer it up and just to be thankful, but sometimes it's really hard.

This morning I woke up and my usual morning puffiness was lingering.  I was glad that I'd scheduled my midwife appointment for after my eye exam so I could maybe de-puff a bit before my weekly check up.

No such luck.  My 35 week (or 36 week according to how I'm measuring) appointment didn't start off to well.

The weigh in was a little high, as I had mentioned on Monday it might be.  And then my blood pressure was up past the danger zone.  So she took it again.  Still high.  And then again with a different machine.  Even higher. Hmmm.

I went in to my appointment. She did the fundus measurements, checked the baby positioning, and we did that super fun GBS test.  Everything is measuring and looking great.

She took my blood pressure again. And it was still as high as it was when I first walked in.

So here we go again.

This is how my preeclampsia started out with Evie.  Right at 36 weeks I puffed up and my BP sky rocketed.

Good news, since I've been through this before I know what to expect.  And more good news, if you have preeclampsia a second time it's usually not as bad.  Bad news, it still comes with so many risks and complications.

But no official diagnosis yet.

I am in the process of doing the 24 hour urine test.  And tomorrow when I go turn it in they will draw a full set of labs.  Monday I have to go back in to have my BP taken.  And then Thursday I have my regular check up.

In the meantime, I have to take it easy.  She said strict bed rest isn't necessarily proven to be better than just resting and staying low key. But she did say I have to take it seriously. I also can't have any processed food because of the sodium.

As of right now, we're just taking it a day at a time.  With Evie my previous midwife waited an extra week to do these tests, was on bed rest when the results came in, so right around 37 weeks. And then she induced at 38 weeks.

This midwife / this go around, she's hoping we can make it to 39 weeks or whenever natural labor starts.

So...we'll see!  Thank you Twitter friends who have already sent their thoughts and prayers, I really appreciate it!

I'll keep y'all posted :)

17 March, 2014

Bump Watch: 35 Weeks

Definitely dropped and getting a bit pointy!

How far along? 35 weeks today!

How big is baby?  According to The Bump,

He's about 17.2 to 18.7 inches. From here on out, he won't get much longer, but he's plumping up. He's now about 4.2 to 5.8 pounds, and he'll put on a pound or more of baby fat before birth.
Total weight gain? I made a HUGE jump to 34 pounds gained, that's six pounds in the last week alone. I am really hoping it's just water retention and this number is temporary. 

Maternity clothes? Nothing new! In fact, my wardrobe is particularly limited now. Most of my winter clothes are too short now.  But it's not quite warm enough to wear my larger summer clothes.  Just layering as best as I can.

Stretch marks? Nothing new!

Belly button? Still half in - half out

Exercise:  Getting tricky.  I'm still able to make it up the stairs pretty easily.  I'm only good for about a mile or two of walking, if I even feel up for that.  Trying to stretch and do a little upper body workout (like 1 set of bicep curls. ha! i'm a wimp right now!)

Sleep:  It's been a bit of a struggle the last two weeks...waking up around 5am most mornings. Some days I fall back to sleep, somedays I don't.  Even if I sleep through the night I don't wake up feeling rested.  A lot of people are telling me I look tired.  I am.

Movement: Getting to be full body movement where I can see limbs.  She's mostly just kicking these days, she hasn't rolled over in at least 2-3 weeks.

Food cravings: Really good hot fudge on a sundae, the occasional fountain Coke, and high quality donuts (I'm looking at you Sara's Donuts).  My sweet tooth is back full force. It's going to be a hard habit to kick after the baby is born.

Food aversions: Honestly, I am so tired of eating. It just makes me feel gross all the time. Even home made fresh food. 

What I miss: Rolling over in bed. Getting up off the floor. 

What I am looking forward to: My goodness, meeting this baby girl!

Milestones: Weekly midwife appointments start this week.  Had my Rho-Gam shot at my last visit. Getting the Group Beta Strep test done this week (I was positive with Evie, does that mean I will likely be again? I have no idea.)  Lots of women telling me I've dropped.

Say What? Oh man, y' many good ones this week.

I was at market research study. All the women were in their third trimester. There was lunch offered from a reputable local deli across the street and I watched the delivery guy walk in with the platter.  I helped myself to a turkey sandwich.  One of the ladies screeches at another woman and I who are already eating, "Oh my gosh, that has lunch meat on it. We can't eat this!"

I'll spare you all my thoughts on this.

A co-worker found out I was not returning to work after the baby and she gave me an entire lecture on how I am throwing away my career (Oh because the Catholic Church is lightening fast and my skill set will be antiquated in 5 years...gotcha).  And at the very least I should discuss pension options for my departure (Exactly when was the last time anyone received pension for "retirement" at 31 due to having a second child, especially from the Catholic Church?).  I just don't understand where these comments come from. Seriously! (Now aren't you glad I spared you my thoughts on turkey and listeria?)

We were at our parish St. Patrick's Dance (read: drunk old people). Comments ranged from:

  • Are you having that baby tonight?
  • Are you SURE you have 5 weeks? Wait, and it's NOT twins? [Enter: Stink face of horror]
  • You know what I use my belly for?  Holding my beer. But YOU CAN'T DO THAT
And the most awesome one came from my spiritual director, (said in a Joey voice) "Could you BE anymore pregnant?"

Sweet moments:  We took maternity photos with Amy from The Charming last week.  Evie was in such a good mood and so cooperative! 

I'll share a whole post of my favorites soon, but here are a few in the meantime:

I showed Evie the pictures of her in the hospital and we talked about how we're going to do the same thing to get baby sister out of mommy's belly.  She looked at me, looked at my belly, looked at the pictures and said, "Where's the hospital?"  I replied, "Down the street" and she said, "Let's go! Let's take Mommy's car, now!"

Make room for baby: I've slowed down quite a bit.  My mom is coming to help in a week or so, so I'm starting a list for her.

I did order/buy some Size 1 diapers for baby girl and a case for Evie.  I decided we'll have enough going on the first two weeks or so to deal with washing cloth diapers right away.  The money is worth my time.

I just ordered a coming home outfit and new blanket for baby girl.

Evie's Easter basket is almost done, just incase.

Oh, and THIS:
At my last check up the baby was head down (whew!) but laying on her right side which is higher risk for a sunny side up delivery (ouch!).  The midwife recommended some stretching and exercises to get her to roll over.  Today I saw my regular chiropractor and afterwords I talked to him about seeing the other doctor in the practice about having him roll the baby on to her left side. The second chiropractor was working with an internal medicine doctor who has done work in obstetrics (how convenient and coincidental). The three of them examined the baby's positioning and discussed ways to get the baby to roll. They decided to check my hips and they were still really locked, as was my sacrum. The three of them worked on me for a few minutes.  I left in so, so much pain, but for the first time in weeks my hips are perfectly aligned. I think the pain is from all the muscles getting used to the new alignment as now, a few hours later, they feel much better and loose!  Hopefully this opens my pelvis a bit more for the baby to roll over. I see my midwife on Thursday so I'll talk to her about the next course of action.  In the meantime I am planning to see the baby-flipping chiropractor for my next few visits.

Compared to Evie:

  • Weight gain is quickly catching up
  • Occasional carpel tunnel is setting in at night

Talk to me:

  • Thoughts on double strollers? Recommendations? (FYI - some of my major walking is done along a 6 lane highway, or on hilly crushed shell paths)
  • Recommendations on video monitors? We'd like something with two+ cameras that can be rotated from the handset, and a talk back feature.  Also, we don't have iPhones.
  • What, if anything, did you give you kid(s) when you were in the hospital?  Why or why not? Was it from you or the baby? Would you do it again? 

03 March, 2014

Bump Watch: Week 33

So I feel like I exploded this week? Yes?

How far along? 33 Weeks

How big is baby?   According to The Bump, 
He weighs about 4.2 to 5.8 pounds and measures about 17.2 to 18.7 inches. And he may grow up to a full inch this week -- amazing.
We've reached American Girl Doll size, which seems all-too-real and awesome!

Total weight gain? I finally ordered batteries for our scale. Yes, I know I could pick up 9 volts anywhere, but that requires pants. Hooray Amazon Prime!  Anyway, I think I am up about 26 pounds.

Maternity clothes? Yes. So several of my smaller "large" shirts are either too short or too tight in my arms, so I am digging out my XL stuff from when I was pregnant with Evie. Some of it is still too big, but I'd rather that than look more like a sausage than I already do.

Also, I bought a SUPER cute dress at Target (yes, something *actually* fit me and seems to be decent quality).  And I bought another dress off the clearance rack at Motherhood along with the tshirt I've been eying forever.  So I got 3 new spring things as a treat to get me through the last few weeks. 

Stretch marks? Nothing new!

Belly button? Half in - half out

Exercise:  I've been really good about taking some kind of walk on nice days, even if it's just a lap around the block with Evie.

Sleep: Oh man, when it's good, it's good!  When it's bad, it's bad!  Thanks to Crystal for the relaxation tracks to help me fall asleep on those nights when I feel like I'm counting sheep. I've also started moving to the couch and watching old episodes of Downtown Abbey if I wake up at night and can't fall back to sleep. I'm usually asleep again in 20 minutes this way.

Movement: Little girl is using my organs for kickboxing purposes. 

Food cravings: Chocolate covered strawberries. Just read that if you're craving chocolate it's a sign of magnesium deficiency. Sure enough I haven't been taking mine.  Started back up two nights ago and it's gone. How crazy is that?!?!

Food aversions: Anything smoked

What I miss:  Comfortably bending over / reaching / getting dressed / shaving.

Also, not being congested. Ever since I had the flu over Christmas, I've had some sort of congestion / cough / runny nose.  Vicks BabyRub on my feet at night and a saline spray before bed seem to be the only things that help when it gets bad.  I do notice that dairy and sweets make it worse, but YUM!

What I am looking forward to: Meeting our sweet girl.  NEW BORN FOOTIE PAJAMAS!

Milestones: Passed the point where some of my girlfriends have recently delivered healthy premies. So I'm really starting to relax as far as the "what if I delivered now..." worries go.

Say What? 

"How much longer until you're due?"
Seven weeks
(dumbfounded look) "My daughter-in-law is due on Thursday and you're way bigger than her"

From Facebook, "Horizontal stripes on a pregnant woman? You are bold! "

Sweet moments: 

"Mommy, we got Holly (the cabbage patch doll) at the hospital"
Yes Evie.  And you know what?  In a few weeks Mommy and Daddy will go to the hospital to have baby sister. And you'll get to come visit her and we'll all take her home to our house.
"Mommy, let's go to the hospital and get sister now."

Make room for baby:  This weekend we did a TON of work!  Nesting instinct is in full force around here for both of us!

  • stripped all the toddler diapers so they're fresh for Evie for a few more months
  • washed all the newborn and 0-3 month clothes we already owned (not taking tags off new stuff until we make sure it's a girl)
  • cleaned out Evie's too small winter clothes 
  • finished shopping sales & picked up a hand-me-down box for both girls for spring and summer
  • washed and organized all of Evie's spring and summer clothes; put spring clothes in dresser
  • organized all of sister's spring and summer clothes by size
  • washed the dust ruffle for the crib (need to iron and put it on the crib)
  • picked up newborn cloth diapers, swing/bouncer, and Medela bottles from Eric's sister
  • updated our buybuybaby registry and sent links to family

Oh, and THIS: I've hinted, but here's the official announcement: I am not going back to work after the baby is born. I will be a full time SAHM.  Long post on this coming :)

Compared to Evie:
  • not as swollen or retaining water
  • feeling like things are going slower without all the fun showers and new baby stuff to shop for and organize!
  • Read 33 & 34 week update here

02 March, 2014

On my pregnant and gentle Lent...

Sorry I missed a day, yesterday, y'all. It was filled with friends from out of town, a bridal shower, naps, loads of laundry and an impromptu pizza & pajama party with friends.  Don't worry, bonus post coming on Monday...

So Lent.

I take Lent very seriously.  When it comes to Lenten sacrifices I'm all in: prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

I don't mean this to brag or to pretend I'm some-kind-of-holy because HA! I am not!

For real though, I love Lent!

One reason I love Lent is because it's a great time for a spiritual reset. For us to look at our day-to-day and change it up a bit.  Where are we struggling, where are we hurting, where could we grow more... and with the help of the Lord, a predetermined amount of time, and a community encountering the same growth, it's just a little bit easier to work through these rough spots in our lives to become a little more refined and a little holier.

Another reason is because I think there is tremendous growth in suffering. It's one of the beautiful things about the Catholic Church.  Not the holier than though kind. Or the I'm such a martyr kind. Nor the whoa is me kind. But the kind that unites us with Jesus'  passion, death and resurrection.  The kind that reminds us of the sacrifice of Mother Mary to lose her Son.  The kind that purifies us and makes us grow.

In the past I've taken the responsibility to choose something challenging for Lent very seriously.  I've always thought if I am going to be leading a group of teens in choosing their Lenten sacrifice then I need to be a good example. (I am so humbled by this responsibility and more so in the things the teens choose as their sacrifice)

So for the last few years I've prayerful considered where I am most struggling and looked for ways to grow in those areas:
  • The year I struggled with joy I read One Thousand Gifts and kept a daily log of things I was thankful for
  • The year I over indulged in social drinking and convenience foods I gave up all drinks expect water and put all that money toward buying & preparing food for the homeless
  • The year I struggled with materialism I read a The Joy of Less, A Minimalist Living Guide and systematically cleaned and purged every room in our apartment.
But when I started praying about this Lent, and reflecting on this past year I got a bit overwhelmed.  It's been a long, rough year.
  • I admitted to emotional binge eating and worked through lots of body image & relationship issues.
  • We got pregnant and lost a baby.
  • Eric lost two uncles.
  • I had a particularly difficult and challenging work year, that took a toll on my emotions, spirit, and several relationships.
  • I discovered some battles my husband had been fighting and it forced me to reopen some deep wounds from my past in order to heal alongside Eric.
  • I discerned that after nine years of joyfully working for the Church my vocational focus is taking a huge shift.
Just writing this list has me in tears all over again.

I am exhausted. Plain and simple. My heart hurts and I am in need of spiritual renewal more than ever.

Being due with this baby the day after Easter, I am entering the last 45 days of my pregnancy as we begin Lent.  The thought of giving up anything food related, physically demanding, or requires a lot of time/energy just isn't realistic.

At first I felt super guilty. That I was using the pregnancy as a cop-out, but the more I prayed the more I feel confident in what I have discerned I need to do this year.

I read Elizabeth Esther's post on A Gentle Lent, Dwija's post on Lent for Pregnant People, and this week's chapter in my copy of A Catholic Mother's Companion to Pregnancy on humility and asking for help...

I've decided that what I need is to just BE.  To intentionally engage in the things I already do and to do them more joyfully.

So this year for Lent:


  • To stop hiding behind my two year old and to reengage in the Sunday Liturgy: intentionally bless myself, to consciously genuflect, to prepare the readings before Mass, and to receive our Eucharistic Lord with thanksgiving
  • To take five quiet minutes a day to just enter into prayer/meditation, and just BE with our Lord

Fasting: To limit my complaining about All Pregnant Things but to find joy in the life within me

Almsgiving: To help Eric fundraise for his summer trip to Mustard Seed Nicaragua

What are you doing for Lent this year?  Are you going big? Are you taking it easy?  Are going trying something new? Are you sticking with an old standby?