February 28, 2015

Enjoying the End

Sitting in the nursery.


I still can't believe how lucky I am, I have had a wonderful, easy pregnancy. I read enough online threads to know that many people are quite miserable and really suffer through most of their pregnancy, and I take my hat off to those mommas. They make me really thankful to not be one of them!

Pregnancy has certainly been the strangest thing I've ever done in my life. I've always wondered what it was like to be pregnant, and now that I'm at the end of my pregnancy I'm still not sure how to wrap my head around it. It still doesn't seem possible that there is a little human inside of me, even though I have felt her moving around in there for the last five months or so. It's such a natural process, yet still seems so foreign. It is amazing to watch your body morph out of your control. I don't feel like I have done done anything special but put up with the changes and observe my body doing it's thing all on its own.

It has gone by really quickly, and yet it's hard for me to remember what is was like to have a flat stomach that didn't restrict my movements. Nine months is a long time. But it's just the beginning of a lifetime of parenthood. It's a relief to get to the end, but really it is the ultimate beginning of the biggest commitment I'll ever make. I'm going to be a mom. Any day now.

I have been feeling many opposites all at once. I am so ready to meet her, but I've been also cherishing these last days of alone time with Tyler. The peace, the quiet, the calm. But I'm ready for the roller-coaster too! I am so excited for the wild ride to come.

I know I already love this little lady who's in my belly, but she's still a stranger. Even though my body has been building her, I need a formal introduction. And I'm ready for it whenever it will be. I've been feeling very calm and positive and even looking forward to labor. She will come when she's ready, and although I am hoping she comes sooner rather than later, I am trusting my body because it has done a top notch job so far.

I'm sitting here rocking in the nursery watching the snow fall outside the window. We have classical music playing in the background, there's a final little load of baby things washing, and Tyler is busy packing his hospital bag.

My world is about to change in incredible ways, but right now? Life feels so good.


February 24, 2015

Weekly update: Week 38

How far along? 38 weeks

How much weight have you gained? 31 pounds

Any cravings?  Strawberries have sounded wonderful! I also randomly wanted boneless chicken wings one night even though I am not a chicken wing person. 

What are you wearing? Let me just say that I can't wait until my normal clothes fit again!

How are you feeling? Symptoms? It feels like someone has been punching me in the crotch. No signs of labor yet, but (this may be over-sharing for some of you) the doctor said I am 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced.

Stretch marks? Natta...

Belly button in or out? Out. 

Sleep? I'm waking up a few times a night generally, especially because my groin pain makes it hard to roll over, but this week I was pretty tired from my cold and still slept pretty hard.

Best moment this week: Relaxing, and just trying to appreciate having some down time before baby gets here. I tried sleeping in as much as possible and just enjoying the calm and quiet.

Worst moment this week: Reconfirming that I'm not super happy with our doctors... but whatever, I'm not letting it get me down. 

Miss anything?  My old clothes and my old walk. Though, I do think I'm able to rock the pregnancy waddle pretty well.

Movement? She's still moving around her normal amount.

Excited for anything? Labor! I'm feeling really optimistic about it! With every little twinge I wonder if it might be starting, but nothing so far. I'm staying positive though and I'm hoping that I go into labor on my own, no induction necessary... and then hoping for the great ending of a healthy baby girl!

How’s dad-to-be? Tyler is feeling energized after his cold, and he has put his new energy to good use by doing some cleaning around the house.  He's been very patient when it takes me a long time to stand up and get my hips functioning properly and when we then have to walk at a snail's pace to get anywhere.


P.S. We also attempted to take our own maternity photos this week... and they did not go so well. They were awkward. Very awkward. But I still plan to share some highlights soon!


February 19, 2015

The Nursery

Let's start from the beginning, shall we? Once upon a time there was an empty room...

{  Tan ceiling, tan walls  }
This room was the first one to get it's floors refinished. Then it became our bedroom for many months while the bees were removed from the master and while we took our time fixing the hole, repainting, and decorating. After we moved into the master, this room became the guest room, but eventually it was settled that this room would be the nursery. This is where we will bring our new baby and watch her grow and play and sleep and dream!

But first there were many preparations and a lot of decorating to do! I know that she won't give a hoot what her room looks like for many years to come, but I was stoked to create a haven for her. My decorating all started with the urge to paint the walls navy blue. No hot pink nursery for us. Nothing too theme-y either. I wanted something that was colorful and fun, but could also grow with her as she becomes her own little person. 

{  White ceiling, and Tyler beginning to paint the walls!  }
After the wall color came the curtains... Tyler's worst memory of this pregnancy process will probably be picking out the damn curtain fabric! But eventually it came together! I wanted to find the curtain fabric first so I could build the rest of the color scheme around them. It was not the crowd's favorite, but I chose fabric #2 and eventually found enough material for the curtains. 

{  All fabrics are from JoAnn's: Main, Green, Orange, Yellow, Blue  }
I also got some coordinating fabrics thinking I was going to put some stripes in them... but that didn't happen. I kept putting off the sewing project, but finally on Superbowl Sunday I took the plunge and actually sewed them. To make it simple I only used the main fabric for the curtains, and used two of the corresponding ones to make a cutesy pillow instead. 

There were so many fun colors in the fabric, the rest of the decorations were pretty easy to match. We have a lot of white to keep the room bright and lots of pretty colors all over!

As I mentioned before, the changing table/dresser was a Craigslist find that started as a natural wood color that we refinished white.

Piece by  piece we built the nursery. A crib, a light fixture, a rug, a chair, shelves, decorations, LOVE!

{  Rocker, Pendant Light  }
 The glider is so comfy and has a great view of the backyard. And the rug is super soft and Tyler even put padding down beneath it to make it extra cushy.

{  Crib  }
{  Rug from Garden Ridge  }
{  Shark from Ikea }
I decided it would be fun to make her mobile, and after tossing around a few ideas, this was the finished product. I cut a branch from a dead tree in our yard and brought it in to start. Tyler thought I was crazy.

Norbert was really jealous that I got to bring a giant stick in the house, since he is never allowed to bring his sticks inside.

I wrapped styrofoam balls in yarn and hung them with twine, attached a few sheet metal hearts, a couple birds and a couple bees and viola! Tyler was making fun of me the whole time saying. "You are literally nesting (in the literal sense). This is what birds do... gather sticks and twine and make a nest..." But he really likes the finished product.

{  This will be her view  }

Norbert could also be a little jealous of the new digs that this little lady is getting.

We have a few very minor things to still finish, like putting artwork in the top frame and finding a little lamp to add. I'd still like to eventually add some crazy handles to the dresser, and I'm sure I will rearrange these shelves a hundred times... But this nursery is now fully functional and cute! (If I do say so...)

There is more on the walls of the nursery than there is in the rest of our house combined. No joke. It is definitely the most put together room in the house, now. 

It's hard to get a good photo of this side of the room. The butterfly artwork came from a calendar that my friend Jordan gave me, and I've been waiting for the right room to finally frame and hang it since 2010. They are perfect for this room. 

{  "No Sniveling" sign from JJ's Cantina  }
We love the "No Sniveling" sign. It's ironically fitting for a nursery don't you think? It's a saying that we each loved on our own. He got the sign from JJ's Cantina in Rocky Point, Mexico, a place filled with memories. And I have it on a hat from Kemosabe, a store in Vail, reminding me of fun Copper Spur memories. 

The bookshelves were made by Becky and given to us for our baby shower, and the Illinois/Arizona artwork was made by Tyler's sister, Cara, this year for Christmas. 

For those of you who like to see inside closets/organization:

{  Tiny baby clothes hanging!  }
{  This side is not as tidy  }
 The elephant mobile will eventually hang above her changing table, I think. The Ranger Rick stickers/tattoos were inherited with the house and there is no way to get them off of the door, but I don't hate them.

I love the way it all came together and I cannot wait to spend a lot of time in here. We already tend to wander in here all the time. We stand or sit and just look at everything that is patiently waiting for her arrival. We're trying to be patient too, but now that we are starting to feel ever more ready, it's going to be harder to do.

We're ready to welcome you home, little girl!


February 17, 2015

Weekly Update: Week 37

How far along? 37 weeks!

How much weight have you gained? 30 pounds

Any cravings? Not really.

What are you wearing? My belly is outgrowing some of my maternity shirts... Today at work was a struggle to keep everything covered. Ooops!

How are you feeling? Symptoms? I'm having some pelvic pain as baby is dropping, so sometimes walking can be painful and slow. I've also been having some painless contractions, but no signs of actual labor yet.

Stretch marks? Still avoiding them so far!

Belly button in or out? Out.

Sleep? I wake up a lot at night now, sometimes for an hour or so before going back to bed. 

Best moment this week: There was a lot of good this week! It was Valentine's day weekend, of course, and though we didn't do anything fancy, we did make some delicious banana and caramelized walnut pancakes in the shape of hearts blobs Saturday morning. Mom, Erin, and I went out to get pedicures together so I can have pretty toes if this little lady decides to make her appearance soon. Then we all (including Dad and Tyler) put together a bunch of crockpot meals to freeze for those first weeks when we aren't going to be sleeping much and won't feel like cooking. Sunday, Tyler and I made a lot of progress on the nursery hanging up shelves and getting some of the decorations together. But the best thing that happened is that we got the snow I'd been hoping for and I got a snow day on Monday! Tyler already had the day off and I crashed it (same thing happened last year), and guess what... I hardly dare say it, but I think we FINISHED the nursery! We also took pictures of deer in the backyard at 3AM, went sledding, pre-registered at the hospital, went to a doctor's appointment, and ate Qdoba (I guess that was kind of a craving this week). It was a good day. We are feeling ready! 

Worst moment this week: Last night when my throat started hurting!! Tyler got sick this week and he is just now getting back to normal and I was hoping that I was going to avoid catching it, but I don't think I got so lucky. I have been really proud to make it this far through the pregnancy without getting sick once, despite some nasty things going around, but I think my streak has ended. I'm just hoping to get it over with quickly and before I go into labor because I DO NOT want to not be able to breathe through my nose when I go into labor... ugh!

Miss anything? I miss being able to think about things other than this baby. I think it's pretty normal in late pregnancy but she has consumed my mind as well as taken over my body. 

Movement? She's been poking me in the sides and the ribs quite a bit.

Excited for anything? If nothing else, I'm always excited for my next meal. I need to figure out what's for dinner. 

How’s dad-to-be? I think he is also misses me being able to think of things other than this baby... He's incredibly excited for her to get here and has enjoyed preparing for her arrival, but he is not quite as obsessed as I am because she doesn't currently reside within him and he hasn't  formed quite the same connection or have the crazy hormones pumping through him. He loves her already but he is really looking forward to actually meeting her and building their bond from that point.

February 11, 2015

Weekly Update: Week 36

Dang! This is the second week in a row that I am posting a day late. I'm becoming a slacker in my late pregnancy... But to be fair, this past week has been a doozy.

How far along? 36 weeks.

How much weight have you gained? 30 pounds

Any cravings? Not really.

What are you wearing? Clothes, unfortunately. They have become such an bothersome thing to put up with... 

How are you feeling? Symptoms? Weird skin tingles in my back left shoulder blade area. Not sure what that's all about or if it is at all pregnancy related. Other than that I'm mostly feeling BIG. 

Stretch marks? Nope.

Belly button in or out? It's like an outie donut. 

Sleep? Ugh! It's getting rough to stay comfortable. Last night I kept waking up panicking about things I haven't done yet!

Best moment this week: Spoiler alert!: We found out we have a healthy fetus!!!

Worst moment this week: Oh, where to start... After the ultrasound showed a rotated heart last Monday we got scheduled for a level II ultrasound/echo with a high-risk OB at one of the St. Louis hospitals. We attended that appointment and they took a good long look at her heart and determined it was functioning properly, but definitely rotated. That made them look at outside factors that could be rotating the heart. They thought there was a mass above the heart that was the culprit. They told us it could be a large thymus, or another mass of some kind like a tumor or extra lung tissue, but with the ultrasound they could not tell what it was. He did say that he had never seen a situation quite like ours, so it was not something normal. So after spending a long time with them that day they referred us to Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center to the St. Louis Fetal Care Institute for a fetal MRI. 

Eek! It was worrisome to say the least. We have really sailed through this pregnancy and I thought we were going to make it through complication free, but this threw us for a loop. We tried not to worry too much, but sometimes your mind just gets carried away with all the what-ifs and it can be hard to control.

Everyone I worked with setting up the appointment was amazing. They were super friendly, compassionate, and took the time to make sure we had all the information we needed and understood the process, which I will add was lengthy... We were scheduled that day for a fetal MRI, an ultrasound and possible second echo, as well as meetings with a genetics counselor, a social worker, and a coordinator. When we arrived Monday morning we were checked in to our own private waiting room before I was whisked off for the MRI. It lasted about 30-40 minutes and my lower back was killing me by the end from laying as still as I could. Little lady on the other hand was having a heyday in my belly in the beginning. I thought for sure we were going to have a longer session because of her crazy movements, but she settled eventually, and afterwards the tech said he didn't have any troubles. After the MRI they gave us a voucher  and a break for breakfast since I had to be fasting for the scan. 

The whole time everyone was sooo nice. It almost made it scarier! We had the appointment with the genetics counselor next and she hinted that she thought the doctors were thinking everything was looking pretty normal. When we went in for the ultrasound, the tech told us she thought her heart looked pretty, and then finally we met the doctor who said everything looks good. Yes, her heart is rotated, but by his measurements on a particular snapshot it was 60 degrees opposed to the normal 45 degree angle. And he said that yes, she has a big thymus (which will shrink over time), but both "abnormalities" are still within normal variation. She is doing her practice breathing, and practice swallowing fine, and we shouldn't anticipate any complications arising from either thing! It was the best news we could hope for!

He said we can continue care with our original OB's (who actually pale in comparison to the level of care we received this past week) and basically go back to normal. It was like last week was an unpleasant commercial break, and at the end the doctor just said "and now back to your regular scheduled programming pregnancy." Honestly, we stayed pretty positive the whole week and other than a few low moments kept most of the worrying away until we knew for sure whether we had any real issues to worry about. I'm pretty proud of how upbeat I was most of the time and it really wasn't even just pretending, I really felt pretty positive and strong about the whole situation.

Luckily for us we were part o the 25% of parents that got to walk away from our appointment with great news. The doctor said 75% of the time when patients get to see him, there are real complications. As we were leaving, we commented on how pleasant they made such a tough experience and how they are the nicest people we hope to never see again. 

And now we have some wicked cool MRI photos of our baby inside of me. 

Miss anything? I'm starting to miss being able to relax and be comfortable. It's really tough finding a good positions even when I have lots of pillows. 

Movement? Still plenty of movement. I had about two glorious days this week where she wasn't sticking her feet into my rib cage! Those days were short lived though. 

Excited for anything? Spring! Even though I still really want some good snow this winter, the beautiful weather on Saturday and Sunday made me so excited for spring and to have a little babe in my arms as the season awakens! Can't wait!

How’s dad-to-be? Relieved! Neither of us an complain after getting such good news after a stressful week.


February 4, 2015

Weekly Update: Week 35

How far along? 35 weeks (I am a day late posting though. But since I'm a day late, I got to take a snowy picture!)

How much weight have you gained? 29 pounds

Any cravings? Mainly ice still. Or anything that people make offhanded comments about... Someone will mention something and it will sit with me for a little while, and eventually that will be what I want to eat, even when it didn't sound appealing at first. I finally tried the "Elvis sandwich" with peanut butter, bananas, and marshmallow creme (fried), but sadly it didn't quite live up to my expectations. One was enough. 

What are you wearing? Same clothes, but they are getting tighter and tighter!

How are you feeling? Symptoms? I've started to waddle a lot more. Especially if I have a full bladder... My kidneys are not in the best of shape apparently (the ultrasound tech accidentally got a glimpse of them), and I have a lot of discomfort in my right rib cage. I have always thought it was baby smooshing something up there (because I've been getting this off and on for a long time now), but now I'm wondering if my kidney is to blame... BUT as always, overall I'm not too shabby!

Stretch marks? Still none.

Belly button in or out? I think I can say it's out now. 

Sleep? I am trying to stay on my sides now much more strictly than before (I was still waking up on my back pretty frequently) and it makes it harder to stay comfortable. I feel like I have good sleep/bad sleep every other night.

Best moment this week: I sewed the curtains FINALLY!!! Pictures to come! I also made a pillowcase while I was at it. We also interviewed a couple doulas, one of which is actually our neighbor, which is so cool and small-worldish.

Worst moment this week: We had what was supposed to be our final scheduled ultrasound on Monday and we were very excited for it. I think after the progress we've made in our preparations we were feeling really good and confident, and we were just really excited to see her and the progress that she has made in the months since we'd last gotten to peek at her. She's looking really great for the most part, but there was a little concern about her heart so we are scheduled to get another ultrasound with a neonatalogist in St. Louis just to be on the safe side and ensure that nothing is wrong. Everything looked like it was functioning really well, her heart just looked angled a little differently than normal. So we are praying that all is alright! Our doctor didn't seem very worried but just wanted to take the extra precaution. We are staying positive and trying not to worry unless we have to, but it definitely took the wind out of our sails a bit.

Other than that, she looked really healthy and pretty big already! They estimate she weighs about 6.75 lbs at this point and they think her head is in the 97th percentile. I'm so excited to deliver that! Not. Except really I am, because I'm excited for this baby to be here!

Miss anything? Being able to twist and move like a normal person. I was trying to remember the last time I actually jogged across a crosswalk or something, and I can't. I can't remember the last time I moved faster than a walk. 

Movement? Still moving around in her cramped quarters. She rotated her feet to the left side of my body for a few days this week, but now she's back to kicking my right side again. 

Excited for anything? Our works are throwing us baby showers in week 36 (technically one was today and it was awesome), which is so sweet! It's been really fun to see how excited all of our co-workers are for our family. And I'm really looking forward to swimming this weekend!!

How’s dad-to-be? He is getting very excited and for baby girl's arrival. He checked off another project of his list by putting quarter round down long the baseboards of the nursery and also installing padding under the area rug so it's extra squishy. He's feeling pretty confident and ready!