Monday, February 27, 2012

And The Baby Is...

A boy!

We welcomed our son, Bates Walker, into the world on Sunday morning (the 26th) at 7:30am.  He was 7 pounds, 15 ounces, and 21 inches long.  He's perfect and adorable and we're abundantly in love with him already.  I had a wonderful (and fast) natural childbirth that I'll blog about when I have a second.

In the meantime - look at that sweet little face!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Belly Pic - As Promised

39 Weeks

From the front:

And from the side:

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fetal Friday: 39 Weeks

Aaaaaaand - we don't have a baby yet. 

The doctor's due date (which they calculate at your first ultrasound based on baby's size) is Monday.  My own calculations (since I was charting my cycles before I got pregnant) make my due date Sunday.  Either way - hopefully baby will be interested in arriving sooner than later.  I think I said last week that we went ahead and scheduled an induction for March 6th - but that seems years away.  Literally every time I wake up to pee in the middle of the night (which has been ~5 times of late) I wonder if my water is going to break.  I don't really wonder at other times of day, but it just seems like a labor starting at midnight or 1am would be really hard (since you're essentially losing the night of sleep).

But whatev - here I am, days away from my due date - 39 weeks.

How Big Is Baby?
I asked the doctor I saw this week what she thought about this.  Although, when I was recounting it to Jonathan, I realized I didn't remember the conversation as well as I'd like.  She said she thought 8 pounds.  BUT - I can't remember if I asked her: "how big do you think the baby is now" OR "how big do you think baby will be when born."  Sort of an important differentiation, especially if we have to be induced in eleven days.

Starting to get uncomfortable...  My stomach tightens up a lot (Braxton Hicks) but will stay tight for awhile, so it's sort of hard to sit up.  My back is starting to hurt more.  I pee at least 5 times a night - and I swear, it's so bizarre because I'm consuming the same amount of water at the same times of day - but I think my body holds onto the water (in my calves, ha) and doesn't let it out until nighttime.  Also, I now need to sleep with 6 pillows to get comfy.  Yes, 6.

Weight Gain
My weight's been all over the place - some days it's up, some days it's down (I think due to this water retention situation).  As of yesterday, compared to last week, I'm up 3 pounds.  Total gain: 29 pounds.

Two (slow) walks outside with Hank and Jonathan.  But you better believe if I still have a baby in me at the end of this weekend, I'm going to hit the treadmill pretty hard next week.

Pancake dinner at church on Tuesday night - mmm!  We also went to El Mezcal last weekend (because the last time we ate there [circa 3 years ago] it was really, really spicy) and we've heard spicy food helps move labor along.  But unfortunately, they've toned it way down - so while delicious - it wasn't as spicy as I was hoping.

Doctor's Appointment
It went fine with the different doctor.  While I probably wouldn't want her as my normal one, I'd feel 100% comfortable if she walked in on delivery day.  As of Wednesday, I'm 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced.

What I'm Looking Forward To
Having the baby.  Doy.

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
Jonathan did some building this week.  He put together the electric swing and the bouncy seat.  We also did some testing with the fancy-schmancy baby monitors; they have a sensor pad that can tell if the baby hasn't moved in a certain amount of time (maybe 60 seconds?) and if that happens an alarm goes off.  But we had to get the pad and how to turn the alarm off figured out.

General Mentality
All emotions, really.  Excited, nervous, scared, joyful, hopeful, terrified, unknowing, etc.  I'm a little nervous about the actual labor - wondering how painful it will be, if we've prepared enough, what will happen if something goes wrong, etc.  But mostly I'm excited (and a little scared!) about having a baby outside of my body.

Eeeck!  I forgot to take one before I was all comfy in my pajamas on the couch last night.  But since this week is sort of a big one, I'll take one and post it later.  Promise.

Have a great weekend!  Send us some baby-come-out vibes!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Let's Talk Mascara...

I consider mascara one of the "must haves" in my makeup bag.  If I needed to grab just a couple items to use, it would be one of them (in addition to concealer, some sort of foundation, and blush).

But the weird thing is: I don't have one specific mascara I love.

For all the other stuff, I know which product I would buy from the department store and which one I'd buy from the drugstore (depending on my finances) and either would be great and get the job done.  (Well, that is, except for blush.  NARS "Orgasm" is the only blush in my life.  Buy it, try it, you'll love it.) 

Anyway, with mascara, it seems like I've tried at least 10 different kinds (both expensive and inexpensive) and have never thought more than, "eh, it was decent."  I rarely buy the same brand/kind more than twice because after using a second bottle, I always tell myself there must be something better out there.

Here are some things I want from my mascara:
-smooth application - ie, no clumps (does this exist??)
-long-lasting stay - ie, by the end of the day it hasn't migrated down to my under eye (I think this happens because I use so much lotion on my dry skin/dry eye area)
-tolerance by my eyes - this is the weird one.  I have really sensitive eyes that aren't compatible with some mascaras
-overall good look - a nice darkening of the lashes

Brands/types I've tried:
-Trish McEvoy waterproof (I liked this a decent amount but it got discontinued)
-Lancome Definicils
-Clinique Lash Doubling Mascara
-Almay One Coat Triple Effect Mascara
-L'Oreal something or other - but this caused a bad allergic reaction in my eye, so I've avoided the brand since then
-CoverGirl something or other - and same deal with the allergies and thus avoidance of the brand
-Maybelline Great Lash Lots of Lashes Washable (this is what I most recently bought [last weekend] and am using now)

And more over the course of my mascara-wearing life - but these are all somewhat recent (in the last couple of years).

While some of them have had their positives, none of them have just wowed me.  I mean, seriously, I can't stand when mascara goes on clumpy - and it seems like they all do to some extent.  (And yes, I have an eyelash brush to run through after application - but I don't like the way that makes some of my lashes stick together.)  In theory, as well, I'd probably rather have a drugstore brand than an expensive one (since given my history, I don't really see enough difference to justify the cost).

So friends - do you have any suggestions?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

What I'll Miss About Being Pregnant

It sounds funny to say - but man, the World loves a pregnant woman!  I'm serious.  The amount of positive attention you get from people (both ones you know and ones you don't) is crazy.  I've found this especially true in the last month when anyone who asks about the pregnancy basically ends their comment by saying, "well, you look great!"  Ha - I'll take that compliment any day (even if they say it to everyone)!

But it's not just the positive attention from people.  There are lots of things, actually, that are great about being pregnant.  In no particular order...

1) Feeling the baby move around.  It's a wild feeling, especially in the early-mid 3rd trimester when (s)he is doing acrobatics.

2) Eating a liiiiiittle unhealthier than normal and not worrying about weight gain.  I've consumed a decent amount of frozen yogurt, chocolate, french fries, bagels, etc., things I would normally keep to a more strict moderation level.

3) Eating dairy.  If you recall from my pre-pregnancy days, I'm pretty sure I have an intolerance to dairy (which is expressed through phlegmy congestion).  I'll probably go back to eating little to no dairy after baby is born.  Oh delicious cheese, yogurt, frozen yogurt, and milk, how I love thee.

4) My pregnant body.  In the beginning, I felt like I looked fat.  But now I like the way I look.  I think it's because my belly is so big - so even though my hips/thighs and chest grew a bit, because the belly is so big, it makes them look small. :)

5) People doing stuff for me.  This applies to strangers and people I know - and sort of goes back to what I said in the beginning - but everyone wants to help and do stuff for you.  Some of it's legit (since really, a pregnant woman shouldn't lift super heavy things), but some of it is flat-out crazy!  In church the other day, I dropped my program on the floor and the probably-80 year old woman sitting next to me (who hadn't even been standing in the parts of the service when you're supposed to stand) leaned in to get it for me!  (I stopped her, of course or did I??)

6) Generally caring less what people think of me.  I don't know if this is something all women experience.  But it feels like I have this good excuse now for certain things.  My house isn't as clean as it usually is when I have guests?  I'm pregnant.  I cooked a less interesting meal while hosting people at my house?  I'm pregnant.  My car hasn't been washed since summer?  I'm pregnant.  I had a scatterbrain moment and forgot to do something?  I'm pregnant.  (Maybe this one can extend into "I have a newborn.")

7) Having a big event to look forward to.  It's sort of the same with a wedding.  You plan for a year and constantly have this large event looming in the future.  You always have "stuff" you need to do to prepare.  Then it comes and it's done.  With a baby, the event comes and then a whole new ordeal is starting - but the aspect of the "big event" to look forward to is gone.  Instead you're then just in your new reality.  (This could be a positive or a negative the more I think about it...  Hmm.)

8) My maternity clothes!  I've heard from so many women that by the end they were ready to burn theirs, but I actually really like mine.  They're cute and comfy (come on - pants without zippers or buttons!) and they still feel new-ish (vs. some of the stuff in my closet I've had for years).

9) My luscious locks.  Well, that's not entirely true, but when you're pregnant your hair doesn't really fall out at the same rate it normally does.  So while my individual strands of hair are still baby fine, I have more of them on my head, giving the illusion of thickness.

I'm sure there are more things I'll miss, but maybe I won't realize I miss them until after they're gone.

(I could also make a list of stuff I won't miss about being pregnant, but I'm being positive... 

Or maybe just a short list:

-the stuffy nose
-the constant worry that something's wrong with baby
-the physical discomfort of the last couple weeks
-only wearing flats (because heels hurt my back) and no boots (because my calves are swollen)
-wearing the same winter coat every. single. day.
-the erratic nature of my normally-clear, even skin

See, just a short list.  Pregnancy has been pretty good to me.)

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Lovely Day Off!

I thoroughly enjoyed having a 3-day weekend!  Mondays off are the best!

1) The weather was lovely - not a cloud in the sky and around 60 degrees.

2) I had phone chats with both Sarah and my mom.

3) I had a wonderful experience at Comcast (our cable provider).  Yes, you read that right.  I've never had a good experience with them - ever.  I've: waited in lines at their office for more than an hour; waited in lines at their office for more than an hour and then been turned away because I didn't have some portion of what they needed to complete my transaction; waited hours for a late technician to show up at my house; sat on hold on their customer service line for half an hour and then been told they couldn't help me.  Basically, it's never been easy or enjoyable.

But yesterday, I had this almost serendipitous experience.  I walked in and there were probably 5 people in front of me in line.  Then, not 5-10 minutes later, 25-30 people walked in and got in line behind me.  Then when I went up to see the customer service agent, she was friendly - I'd even say "nice" - and helpful and my issue was resolved in about 5 minutes.  It was glorious!

4) I read on my Kindle while in line at Comcast!

5) I went to Target to make a return and while perusing the maternity section, found the exact nursing tank tops I was interested in online.  They are listed as "online only" on the website so I've been hesitant to order them since I hate to pay for shipping and hate not knowing what size to get.  Score - I bought 2! Then the red flats I've had my eye on were on sale for $15!  Score again!

6) I watched an incredibly helpful breastfeeding video I rented from the hospital's library.  I started to watch the 2nd one I rented, but had to turn it off because it was so dated and boring.  But one of two isn't bad.

7) We had a delicious dinner at Jonathan's parents' house.  Mmm.

Overall a great day!  All weekends should be three days.

Monday, February 20, 2012

What We Were Up To This Weekend...

Not a ton!  I'll say this, though: on Friday, I was convinced I was having the baby that night.  All week I had been having period-like cramps, but they really amped up Friday afternoon.  All along I had planned to get a pedicure on my Monday off work, but I decided to go after work Friday because I was so convinced I'd have a baby by today.  I was also having some nausea and didn't have much of an appetite.  Jonathan and I ran a couple errands that night and picked him up something for dinner (I had a bagel and frozen yogurt - all I could really stomach).  We put on a DVRed Downton Abbey so I could take my mind off the cramping.

If you recall, I had a haircut on Saturday morning - so I really didn't want to have the baby before that (because come on, who knows when I'll be able to go once baby is here).  I woke up at one point in the night and was convinced I was in labor.  I was trying to rationalize in my head how I could delay the labor until after the haircut (<------ sign of a crazy person in the middle of the night).

Lo and behold, I woke up Saturday morning and was not in labor.  The cramping was gone, too.  I made it to my haircut as planned - PHEW - ha.

The rest of the weekend was less eventful:

-We spent Saturday watching basketball, reading, running some errands, lounging on the couch, etc.  It was quite nice, actually.

-That night we went for Mexican food followed by more frozen yogurt whatev don't judge and then came home to watch the Grizzlies game on tv.

-Sunday was a big cleaning day - we figured we needed to deep clean (scrub the shower, majorly clean the kitchen, clean the bathrooms, etc.) instead of just our weekly clean ups before baby gets here.

-We also went for a nice (slow) walk with Hank to enjoy the sunshine.

It was a good weekend.  (Although, technically, today is still my weekend.  Ahhhh - loving stock market holidays.)

Friday, February 17, 2012

Fetal Friday: 38 Weeks

The end is near, people.  In fact, the end could come at any moment, now!  The whole "any moment" thing is the hardest to grasp.  Think about other major life changes (new jobs, moving - cities or houses, graduations, marriages, divorces, etc.) - all of these things have an exact day they'll happen.  Not that there isn't a lot of build up and prep before the event, but at least there's a specific day when you know the thing will happen.

Well, when you don't know when the thing will happen, you're constantly on edge thinking about it.  It consumes your mind in the same way the other events do, but there's an additional level of anxiety/anxiousness on top of the usual, because you have no idea about timing.  (I've also found my social calendar booking up as I try to have lunches/get-togethers with girlfriends before the big day.)

Here we are, 38 weeks...

How Big Is Baby?
I keep forgetting to ask the doctor if she has any idea!  I think at this point we'll assume 6-9 pounds and 19-22 inches long.

Still feeling really good for the most part.  It's just hard to get around (and do stuff like bend over) with this huge, hard belly.  And my stuffy nose is driving me crazy!  I've also started to have a lot of period-like cramping (non-painful) and a few contractions (where my stomach has tightened up [also not painful]), which the doctor says is good.

Weight Gain
Down one pound this week.  Total gain: 26 pounds.  (And she says some weight loss at the end is fine and most likely due to fluctuating water weight.)

I only walked once this week, but I think I may hang back a little on the walking for the time being so as to not bring on any contractions.

I tried to get a lot of protein and eat healthful stuff (to balance out all the chocolates and the cupcake I had for Valentine's Day).

Dr's Appointment
It went well - all is still looking a-ok.  I'm dilated about 1+ (not quite 2), effaced about 70%, and the baby's sitting at about -2 station - all good things!  This was actually my last appointment with MY doctor (since there were some scheduling issues - and when I went to resolve them, my doctor didn't have any more appointments).  So the next two weeks (if I make it that far) will be with two other doctors in the practice.  Since it was our last time meeting together, we sat down and really hashed out my staying-at-home/when-to-go-to-the-hospital plan so Jonathan can stop having nightmares about delivering the baby in the car.  We also set up an induction for March 6th, which will hopefully not happen.

What I'm Looking Forward To
-Getting my hur did this weekend.  (And maybe getting a pedicure??)
-Hopefully reading at least one non-baby book (on my Kindle!) before the babe is born.
-Enjoying our last days as a family of two three (Hank).

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
We're pretty darn prepared, I think.  Not that one is ever really, really prepared - but in terms of getting stuff ready and having the gear we need at the moment, it seems like we're there(ish).  Mental preparation is another story...

General Mentality
I've had a bit of anxiety this week.  It's the waiting/not knowing.  I also had one emotional breakdown thinking about how life will never again be like it is right now.  (And I know, I know, it will be for the better - but it's still scary to trust that since I've only ever known this.)  I'm excited to have a little baby, though.  (I'm just also scared OUT OF MY MIND!  Ha.)

Oh this big, old belly.  Imagine trying to roll over in bed - not easy.

From the front:

And from the side:

Have a glorious weekend!  Anyone else get Monday off?  Just me?  What's that - you hate me?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Natural Childbirth....Say Whaaaa?

I'm somewhat hesitant to do a post on this because I know lots of people have their own strong opinions.  And I definitely don't want to somehow seem judgmental or critical of other people's decisions.  Also, there are a number of readers who have actually given birth - and I have not, so I don't want it to come across like I'm the big expert since I read some books/watched some movies/went to some classes.

So disclaimers aside, I'm going to take a lengthy blog post second to discuss my "birth plans" and my thought process on the whole thing...

On this blog, in the past, when I've referenced "natural" childbirth, what I mean is a birthing experience without any pain medication.  And I'm hoping to have one of these said experiences.  That is, no numbing agents, pain relievers, relaxation drugs, etc., while I try to extract a 7+ pound human from my body.

Say whaaaaaat?

When Did I First Think About Doing This?
It's been awhile, actually, that a natural childbirth has been on my mind.  Probably since before I got married, to be completely honest.  It became a serious thought around the time (a few years ago) when I generally became more incredulous about the medical/pharmaceutical industry and/or felt like pharmaceuticals in our country were pushed a little harder than they might need to be.

While I absolutely adored my old OBGYN, I eventually switched doctors because I felt like he was a "medicine pusher."  I'd talk to him at my appointments about little aches and pains ("sometimes I have trouble sleeping," "sometimes I have headaches in the mornings" - whatever it was) and I'd leave the office with 5 prescriptions "just in case" I needed them.  That didn't feel right.  I would've much preferred "try not eating or drinking a couple hours before bed" or "take a shower or bath right before you get in bed" instead of "here's Ambien."  (And, I mean, if more natural remedies didn't work, then we could put Ambien on the table as an option, but I didn't think [and still don't] that a drug should be the first fix for a somewhat innocuous ailment.)

So this made me wonder about childbirth.  It seemed that in a healthy woman, certain "standard" procedures that happen in a hospital birth just aren't necessary.  I decided to switch doctors because I felt like whenever I was ready to have a child, my old OB would try to push the epidural or c-section in the way he pushed the Ambien.

What Confirmed My Decision on Childbirth?
As you all can probably tell, I like to research the crap out of things I'm interested in doing.  And I've got to say, once you start doing research about drugs during the birth process, if you're at all interested in trying to birth without them, you'll be highly intrigued.  Or you'll at least be convinced enough by the research to try to do it natural.  I don't really want to get into some of the research studies on the blog (because if you've given birth with drugs - I think that's great and was your own well-thought, personal decision).  But I'll also say, if you're at all interested in trying to go natural, read some books and watch some movies and see if they don't spark a little desire.

So Really, Why Do I Want To Do This?
I like to compare my desire to do this to running a marathon (or doing more crazy things like Ironmans and ultra marathons).  Some people decide they want to push their body to the ultimate max by training and completing these races.  Why?  For a variety of reasons: to prove that they can; to cross it off a bucket list; to experience something that many people on our planet will never experience; because they like the rewarding feeling at the end of the torture; because they like the feeling of getting into a mental "zone" and using mental stamina in addition to physical strength to get through the race.

Well, those are all reasons I'm interested in having an unmedicated birth (that is, aside from the "experience something many people on our planet won't" - because lots of women around the world everyday are doing this because they have no other option).  Do I think it will be easy?  Of course not - I'm not naive.  But do I think it's attainable?  Yes.  I think God created a woman's body to do this; and I want to experience what my body was created to do (even if it freaking hurts!).  And of course, the "reward" at the end of the "race" will be one of the biggest blessings in my life.

I'm not necessarily saying drugs are bad or that babies born in medicated births are at a disadvantage compared to their unmedicated peers.  It's just my own personal choice to try to make everything as close to nature as possible.

So Do I Really Think I Can Do It?
Ha.  This question is pretty loaded...  Do I think I can do it?  Yes.  But am I scared?  Yes.

I think there's a certain level of assertion that needs to go along with preparing for this experience.  "I can deliver this child without drugs."  But on the flip side, there's a chance that I won't be able to handle the pain.  If I'm in labor for a loooong time or I have to be induced with Pitocin or if I'm exhausted or beaten down or suffering or any other unknown problem, I want to get an epidural/do whatever needs to be done to have a healthy baby (even if that means c-section).  A lot of the books on natural labor emphasize the difference between pain and suffering.  Pain is going to come with the experience, suffering should not.  And each woman's definition of the two is uniquely her own.

I want to mentally prepare myself to do this.  But at the same time, I don't want to put myself in a position to feel bad or angry at myself at the end if I get an epidural or have a c-section.  That's a tough line to walk!

What Does Jonathan (Birth Partner) Think?
I asked him the other day, "do you wish I was like most other women and just wanted to get an epidural?"  Ha.  Because the desire to do this naturally has meant a lot of additional birth classes and reading materials and graphic movies than the standard labor prep.  He's definitely supportive, though.

But I think (I hope!) he's excited, too.  Once drugs are taken out of the equation, the birth partner becomes a vital part of the labor experience.  In fact, I think at the end of the whole thing, he's probably going to be worn out (not as much as me, mind you, but still worn out) by the physicality he'll also experience - ie, providing counter-pressure on my back, holding me up in different positions, being on his feet for a lot of hours.  Something about that seems a little more rewarding than just sitting next to me on the bed while we watch tv and see my contractions on the monitor.

Concluding Thoughts
I haven't yet mentioned that my mom had a natural birth with me and loved the experience - she still talks about it 30 years later!  Also, I've had a fair amount of friends labor this way, so I've been able to talk to people about their birth experience, which has been encouraging.

Of course my number one priority is to have a healthy baby - so I'll do whatever it takes to make that happen.  I really hope and pray, though, that everything will go "normally" and we won't have any scary complications.  And I also hope and pray that I'll be able to handle the pain and experience the birth without any pain meds.

Everyone says the only thing you can really plan for in labor is for your plan to not go exactly as you're expecting.  We'll see...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

OMG, Cupid!

I woke up on Valentine's day to find a big red heart of chocolates sitting next to me.  (This was sort of a joke because of that commercial [which, of course, has been aired 1000x during any and all sporting events on tv] where the guy says, "I mean, it just isn't Valentine's Day without the red heart.")

Then at work, I received a gorgeous bouquet of flowers.  Bright, Spring-like pink, magenta, orange, yellow, and green gerber daisies and roses.  So pretty!

Then, when I got home from my massage, there was a box sitting on the coffee table.

OMG, Cupid...
A Kindle Touch!!

I was 100% floored to see it when I opened the box!  I had mentioned I would ask for it for my birthday (at the end of March), so you can imagine my surprise to get such a nice present for such a small holiday!  I can't wait to download something!

Thanks Jonathan, errr, Cupid!  Awesome surprise!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be Mine

Oh Valentine's Day, I don't really have much to say about you...

-Jonathan and I aren't really "celebrating."  I'll probably pick up some cupcakes or something so we can have a special dessert.

-I'm having a lovely afternoon, though, with a prenatal massage after work. :)

-I'm usually obsessed with those conversation hearts for V-day (so yummy!).  At the end of this pregnancy, though, I've been loving the chocolate.  I might need to hit up the local Walgreens in a couple days to get some sale items.

-Jonathan sang a lovely tributary rendition of I Will Always Love You the other night when we were cooking dinner.  (But can I just say, I think Whitney is getting more news coverage than necessary I would've expected.  Right??  Anyone else??)

-We used to get lots of Valentine's candy from our parents when we were kids.  It was awesome!  One of those enormous Hershey's Kisses almost always made an appearance.

-Am I going out on a limb to say that every Valentine's-specific piece of jewelry those heavily-advertised jewelery stores (Kay's, Jared, etc.) is selling this year is ugly?  I've seen an atrocious charm bracelet.  And a few diamond/heart pendant necklace deals that are just not attractive.

Anyway - whatev!  Are you guys doing anything to celebrate with your significant other?

Monday, February 13, 2012

The Weekend

I was pretty much a homebody this weekend and it was nice.  (Especially since the weather finally caught up to us and it's cold here now...brrrr!  [Note, of course trees and shrubs are starting to bloom, though, so those will all be dead in a few days.]))

Anyway - here are some highlights:

1) Lunch with Patti at Stone Soup on Saturday.  Yum & fun.

2) Freaking FINALLY watching the first episode of the new season of Downton Abbey!  Can't wait to watch more!

3) Total vegetation on Saturday night.  Jonathan went to the Tigers game with a friend, so I lounged on the couch and watched "girl tv" - that is, stuff like TLC, Food Network, HGTV, Cooking Channel, OWN, etc.  (And to keep what street cred I have left after admitting that, I'll mention that I also watched some basketball.)

4) Youth Sunday at church (where the high school seniors preach).  This was surprisingly nice and we're especially glad we went since we might or might not usually skip when the kiddos lead the service.

5) Sitting on the phone with Babies R Us for 45 minutes trying to work out our 10% discount "completion code" for our registry.  Note I also spent 45 minutes on the phone with Amazon a few weeks ago trying to get that completion discount worked out.  Come on places with baby registries - pregnant women don't need the aggravation!  But - for the record - all stuff is ordered from BRU and after it arrives, I think we're good to go!

6) Going to "Kidstown" on Friday after work.  It's a twice-a-year baby gear consignment sale at the Agricenter.  It was awesome!  They have any/everything you could possibly need and it's all super cheap.  I spent less than $30 and got: some clothes, about 20 baby books, an unused child safety kit (for $3 - it costs $30 at BRU), and a What To Expect The 1st Year book.  It will be really nice to go to the next one once we actually have the baby.

In addition to that, we also got more baby stuff done around the house:
1) Jonathan installed multiple smoke/carbon monoxide detectors.

2) Jonathan put together the Pack N Play, which the baby will sleep in next to our bed for a few weeks when we first bring s(he) home.

3) We filled out some more stuff in our baby book.

4) We got some shelves in the nursery organized.

5) I went to Target and bought what I hope will be the last of the stuff we need from there for now.

6) We washed more itty-bitty clothes.

7) We got the labor playlist of music together.

I'm in this kind of weird place right now where I really want to keep the house tidy most of the time since we don't know when labor will start (and don't want to come home from the hospital to a dirty/messy house).  So we did some general cleaning/straightening of the house as well.

It was a good weekend.  I hope you guys enjoyed yours as well!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Fetal Friday: 37 Weeks

How in the world did we get to 37 weeks?  It's considered "full term" for those who don't know, which is both incredibly comforting (knowing babe will be ok whenever he/she decides to come) but also crazy (because babe can come any time now).

And also?  I just need to say it: I still feel great.  Aside from the month of tailbone pain I had back in November, this whole pregnancy has worked really well with my body.

Ok - 37 weeks - full term...

How Big Is Baby?
I think this question is now just baby-specific for every person.  What to Expect says it's the size of a watermelon: 19-22 inches, 6.5 lbs.  I forgot to ask my doctor if she had an estimate.

-Peeing all the time (including twice a night)
-super stuffy (sometimes bloody) nose
-skin stuff - an almost rosacea-like rash on my cheek
-swollen ankles and calves by the end of the day

Weight Gain
1 pound this week, total gain: 27 pounds

I walked 3 days.  Not awesome, but we had a lot of stuff going on.

We ate a ton of crap last weekend.  I need not do that on the weekends.  But I've still been pounding the protein, otherwise.

Dr's Appointments
I'm still not dilated, but am about 70-80% effaced.  The doctor said it's a good place to be right now.  I also got some lame news: I tested positive for Strep B.  (It's a test they run on pregnant women - 1 in 3 women test positive.)  When you have it, you have to get IV antibiotics when you first get to the hospital.  The reason I think this is lame is because: 1) I don't love taking antibiotics, 2) I was hoping to have nothing go into my IV at the hospital, and 3) even though the antibiotics will handle it fine, I hate that little babe is at risk of an infection.

What I'm Looking Forward To
February 22.  That's my self-imposed date where I think I can have the baby and feel set with everything going on in life right now (ie, a big meeting at work next week, Valentine's Day, a haircut on the 18th, and our church's Fat Tuesday pancake dinner - because I love pancakes and want to eat them!).  But it's not really up to me - so if baby decides to come earlier, I'll just deal with the other stuff.

Preparations and Decisions Being Made
We took our 2 natural childbirth classes, which were great.  I rented a DVD and a book on breastfeeding from the hospital's library.  I have about 20 pages left in the last natural childbirth book I'm going to read.

General Mentality
Pretty good.  I mean, you can reference my blog post from Wednesday on where my mind is right now.  But really, I feel good - not anxious in a bad way - just anxious and consumed by baby thoughts.

Here we are.  This belly is really big now.  Also, I swear I own more shirts than this one...I just didn't feel like changing when I got home.

From the front:

And from the side:

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

2 Interesting Things...

I had two sort of "interesting" things happen lately.  ("Interesting" because I'm not really sure they're that...maybe "neat"  or "cool?")  But whatev...

1) Two weeks ago on Sunday, I was at Whole Foods for our weekly grocery shopping.  In addition to our normal stuff, we were having Jonathan's parents to dinner that night for his dad's birthday, so I was getting all that stuff, too.  On our dinner menu was flank steak.  Please note, I don't eat steak and haven't for awhile.  And back when I did eat steak, I wasn't cooking for myself, so when it comes to different cuts or types of beef, I'm somewhat clueless aside from the obvious (filet mignon, t-bone, ha).

I talked to the super sweet, always helpful butcher about how much I needed for four servings.  After some chatting about marinade and cooking options, he cut the meat to the amount we determined, wrapped it, and handed it over.  When I was checking out, I noticed the steak cost $54!  Wow!  I thought that seemed high, but at the same time, I knew we were having a special dinner for Charlie's birthday, so I figured Jonathan just wanted to go all out.  His parents are constantly cooking for us, helping us with stuff, taking us out to eat, etc., so in the grand scheme of things, I could see why Jonathan asked for an expensive cut.

Well, then I got home and said something along the lines of, "no pressure on you to cook the meat well or anything, given it was $54."  And he was like, "um, whaaaat?"  When we pulled out the package, they had charged us for beef tenderloin, not flank steak - a difference of like $25/pound.  We called the store and they said to bring the receipt next week and they'd reimburse us.

So this past Sunday, I was back with the old receipt in hand, the ring-up from the meat counter, and a picture on my phone of the flank steak.  The woman at customer service was super apologetic, didn't spend all that much time looking through the stuff I brought, and just said, "we'll refund you since it was our mistake - sorry about that!"  So she refunded the $54 and didn't charge us at all for the flank steak.

It might sound dumb, but I was really impressed with the customer service.  I can't help wondering if the same thing had happened at the local Kroger if the return would have been met with, a) such ease, but b) such kindness.  There was no arguing or hasseling, she just accepted the mistake and resolved to have a happy customer at the end.  Good job, Whole Foods!

And 2) Since I've been pregnant, I've been wearing a winter coat from a couple years ago.  It's not maternity, but it's cut in an a-line, so it's worked for me this whole time.  (Note: maternity clothes score!  Those maternity winter coats are expensive.)

The coat is winter white, so it's gotten ridiculously dirty this winter.  But since I don't have another coat that fits, I can't take it to the drycleaner or else I won't have a coat!  Luckily, the weather took this crazy turn for the warm, so I dropped it at the cleaners last week.

When I got home and put it on, promptly, a button snapped off.  But it's not the whole button - basically these buttons have a base, and then on top of the base is the decorative button - so the decorative part popped off.  I just popped it back on and went through all the other ones and tried to push them down to secure them more.

Well, the next day I left work in the morning to go to an appointment and when I got in the car, I saw that another one had popped off.  But this time it was problematic because I didn't know where it went.  I was somewhat bummed (especially because, as I said, I have no other coat that fits, so decorative button or not, I'll be wearing this one for the rest of the winter).

When I got back to the parking lot at work, I was walking into the building and happened to glance down and see a small white circle.  When I picked it up - it was the button!  In my huge work parking lot, I found a tiny, little button topper!  What luck!

So yeah - two sort of random things - but both really made my day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

NOT in Labor

I'm definitely not in labor right now...  But what I am in is baby obsession.

Seriously.  And I think it's sort of lame.  I didn't want to be one of those women who got pregnant and completely forgot who she was beforehand - ie, ignoring old hobbies, thinking about nothing else but pregnancy and the baby, reading nothing but pregnancy/child rearing books and/or news articles, etc.

But lo and behold, here I am.  And I'm obsessed.  There isn't a ten minute period of time that goes by when I don't think something related to the pregnancy or the baby.  And the thoughts run a complete spectrum of randomness:

-I need to call Babies R Us to get the 10% completion code worked out.
-Has the baby moved recently?
-Should I try to read one more book on natural childbirth before the big day?  (Answer: no.)
-How much protein have I eaten today?
-Will I know if/when my water breaks if it's just a trickle?
-Did it break just now?
-Is this menstrual-crampy feeling real labor?  Or just Braxton Hicks?
-I need to read some articles on _________.  (Examples: baby sleep, breast feeding, the first month with a newborn, baby safety, breast milk pumping, etc.)
-I need a nursing top or two.
-Holy crap my life is going to change in a couple weeks.
-How am I going to survive on such a small amount of sleep?
-I need to schedule my second prenatal massage.
-Has the baby moved out of a head-down position?
-Should we switch me over to Verizon so we can have a new iPhone (with the nice video recorder) for baby's first moments?
-I might want a pedicure before baby comes.

Literally.  My mind is just flooded with thoughts relating to this baby.  So that's why blogging has been difficult - because I don't want every single post to be about the baby.

I know a lot of this is related to hormones.  And a lot is related to my desire to be in control of things.  I don't need to hear again that "no matter how much you prepare, you won't ever really be prepared" because I know.  I get it. 

But I can't let this stuff go!  It's not in my nature to just kick back and "wing it" when I could be getting even more prepared.

So friends, just a head's up, these next few weeks of blogging might be nothing but baby stuff.

(AHHHHHHHHHHHHH  <-------- me freaking out)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Super Bowl Weekend

It's not like the whole weekend is devoted to the Super Bowl, but I still enjoy it every year.  It goes along with my whole theory about having an event on Sunday (that is, I like it because then we're forced to get all our stuff done before Sunday night).  Also, our friends host a Super Bowl party every year that's always pretty fun; they have one of those huge projection tvs that rolls down from the ceiling and everyone brings some food to share.

Otherwise, our weekend was nice, but not super busy...

1) We had our first natural childbirth class on Friday night.  It was great!  First we learned about the labor process and different breathing methods to get through the different phases of labor.  Then we went around to 10 different stations that had a demonstration card for a different labor position to try (stuff like sitting on a birth ball, being on all fours, doing a "slow dance" lean into your partner, lying on your side, etc. - and then showed what kind of massage or counter pressure the birth partner could be doing in each one).  A sort of funny thing was that as we moved station to station, she was increasing our time there to the length of contractions as they progressed and we'd have to breath through them.  To simulate pain, we started with a clothespin on one pinky, then had one on each pinky.  Then we moved one clothespin to the earlobe, then one on each earlobe.  Then a clothespin on each earlobe while holding a piece of ice.  Eventually we had clothespins on each earlobe and ice in each hand as we squeezed our hands into a fist.  Old school torture techniques...

2) After the class we ran out to Babies R Us to pick up a snap n go stroller and then had dinner at J. Alexanders (love their veggie burger).

3) Saturday it rained/poured for most of the day.  We went down to Jonathan's dad's old office (he was a pediatric dentist) to pick up some children's prints he had hanging on the wall.  We can potentially use them in our nursery or in a kid's room some day, so we thought it was good to bring them to our house.

4) We packed our hospital bags that afternoon and did some general cleaning-type things around the house.

5) That night we had dinner at Pho Hoa Binh, which was awesome - but was waaaaay too much sodium for me.  The next day my rings barely fit and I felt swollen all over.  I made Jonathan take me to CVS after church on Sunday so I could take my blood pressure to be sure I didn't have pre-eclampsia, ha.  Moving forward, I'll be laying off the super salty Vietnamese food until baby comes.

6) Sunday I got up and got on the treadmill.  Then we went to church, did errands, cleaned up around the house, etc., before the Super Bowl.

7) The party was great!  We got to see our dear friends who just got engaged last night and got to enjoy some delicious (probably also full of sodium) football food.  What's the general consensus on Madonna? I thought it was crazy the way the whole thing was produced - like, while watching it, it felt like we were watching footage from Madonna's world tour on HBO or something - it definitely didn't have that live, at-a-football-game feeling.  I thought all the technology (I'm assuming it was a bunch of video screens on the field?) was pretty awesome.  And Madonna - whatev.  She doesn't need to be singing any new songs - but I thought she was fine.

Anyway - I hope you guys enjoyed your weekend and Super Bowl, too.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Fetal Friday: 36 Weeks

36 weeks and counting down!  We're definitely in the home stretch!

How Big is Baby?
What to Expect says baby is as big as a watermelon!  19-22 inches and 6.5 pounds.  A watermelon seems a little big for what my stomach looks like...but whatev.  The doctor estimates the babe is about 5.5 pounds - but that's just from her feeling and looking at my belly - no ultrasound or anything.

Hmm - not many you wouldn't expect: peeing all the time, some menstrual-type cramping now & then (Braxton Hicks contractions??), some back pain after standing for a long time, slightly swollen calves and ankles at the end of the day...  Also, my pregnancy stuffy/bloody nose has gotten worse the past few weeks - I'm sooooo ready to be able to breath again!  But, this week I rediscovered the beauty of "Breath-Right Strips," which we had in our medicine cabinet.  They're definitely making my nighttime stuffiness better.  Also - shout out to my friend Wendy at work who saw I was complaining about teenage-like acne, so she bought me some fancy/natural acne-fighting soap!  Awes!

Weight Gain
2 pounds this week.  Total gain: 26 pounds.

I walked, at least a little bit, everyday except Wednesday, which I feel good about.  Starting today I'm going to make an effort everyday to do: a couple deep squats, kegel exercises, and some "tailor sitting."  All of these things prepare your body for labor by stretching stuff out and tightening stuff up.

I need to eat more protein, I think - so I'm working on that.  Also, I bought some fish oil tabs from the drug store.  I've been having them my whole pregnancy, but when my last bottle ran out, I never bought more.  Oops.

Dr's Appointments
It was my first cervical check, which signals the beginning of weekly visits.  The cervix isn't dilated at all, but she says it's about 50% effaced and softening, which she (and therefore me, too) felt good about. She also 100% confirmed (through checking the cerv) that the baby is head down - woo hoo!

What I'm Looking Forward To
We have our two natural childbirth classes this week - one tonight and one Tuesday.

Preparations Decisions Being Made
I'm trying to figure out what to do with the items remaining on our registries...  We have giftcards at both places (since we had that giftcard-only shower), so it's not a money issue.  It's more like, "should I go ahead and cash in our 10% completion discount now, or wait until after baby is born?"  I know stuff will be really hectic after baby is born, so that makes me want to do it now.  But at the same time, what if there's something I NEEEEED after baby's born that I'm not thinking about now.  (Well, I guess in that case, we'd just buy it without the 10% discount - but come on - I love any kind of coupon code!)

General Mentality
This sounds totally silly, but I'm constantly thinking about my water breaking.  Fun fact: only 10% of labors begin with the water breaking.  (Hello Hollywood dramatics, giving us a false impression of labor.)  But still, I keep wondering if I'll be that 10% and will have my waters break before I have any other kind of symptom.  I guess my doctor's visit helped calm that fear a little (even though someone can go from no dilation to full-on labor in hours, but whatev).

Forgot to put one up last week.  Whoops!  Here we are from the front (this is after a long walk with Hank on a 70-degree February day):

And the side:

Have a lovely weekend!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Lay or Lie?

Be prepared to have your mind blown.

That's actually a little on the dramatic side...  But what I'm about to tell you is a grammar rule that I'm convinced at least half of the American population doesn't know. 

(As a background note - I took honors/AP English classes through all of my schooling and then majored in English in college.  I didn't learn this rule until maybe a year ago [from my mother in law] and didn't try to start employing it until the past couple months or so because a] my mother in law started correcting us when we'd say it wrong, which led to b] Jonathan correcting me now when I say it wrong which isn't annoying at all ahem.)

Lay vs. Lie

How many times have you said something like this?
          I'm going to lay down and rest.
          Why don't you go lay down?

Or maybe something like this?
          I laid on the couch for awhile and my headache went away.
          The dog laid on his fluffy pillow for most of the night.

If you've used "lay" or "laid" in these ways, my friends, you've used the incorrect word.

When humans (or any living/breathing thing) get into a reclining position in the present tense, it is not a "lay" they are doing but a "lie."  "I'm going to lie down and rest."

The only time "lay" is used in the present tense is if there's an object to go with it. So while you lie down on the sofa, you lay a book down.

And here's where it gets really tricky...

The past-tense of "lie" (so, what you're doing on that sofa) is "lay."  Ahhh!  That right.  "I lay on the couch for awhile and my headache went away."  "The dog lay on his fluffy pillow for most of the night."

Lie moves through the tenses (present, past, past participle, present progressive) like this:
lie ---> lay ---> lain ---> lying

Lay moves through the tenses like this:
lay ---> laid ---> laid ---> laying

Elements of style says it like this:
The hen lays an egg; the llama lies down.  The playwright went home and lay down.

Has your mind been blown?  Once you start noticing this, you'll see that seriously, most people don't know the correct usage.  I still find it pretty difficult to employ - or I don't catch myself until after I've said it, so I sound like an even bigger idiot, "I was exhausted last night, so I laid down on the couch, ERR, no, um, I lay down."

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Songs for Labor

Since our baby is due at the end of this month, we're trying to do some planning things like: packing a hospital bag; getting our parents & their roles sorted out; figuring out who will take Hank at what time, etc.

One of these tasks for me is to come up with a playlist of music for labor.  Having never been through labor, I have no idea what I'll be in the mood for.  Will I want fast/upbeat?  Slow?  Instrumental?  Enya?  (Doesn't Enya seem like the quintessential birthing music?)  Mellow?  Rock?  I have no clue.

I think I might make three lists...

I definitely want one to be sort of mellow-ish.  Not too mellow - like, I don't think I want a bunch of slow songs - but more just kind of chill/soft rock-type music.  I'm thinking of back in the day when I used to run; contrary to most people, I never liked to start out with fast-tempo music (ie, no dirty rap) because it messed up my pacing.  Instead I would listen to sort of soft rock/chill music (not too chill), and not turn on the dirty rap until I needed a boost or was coming in for the home stretch.

I think it will be the easiest to come up with (probably because this is the music I most like to listen to).  I see a little Norah Jones, some Decemberists newest album (the bluegrassy one), Feist, Grizzly Bear, Nickel Creek, Lucinda Williams, The Avett Brothers, KT Tunstall, etc.  Stuff that still has a beat, but is chill.

Then I think I need another one of sort of rockin songs that aren't really "in da club" music.  Maybe some White Stripes, Decemberists 2nd most new album (the electric, non-poppy one), Moby... I need to think harder about this category and really dig through the music on our iTunes.

And then I think I might need yet another one of "I have three miles left in my marathon, I've hit a wall and feel like I'm going to die" pump-it-up music.  This will be the most embarrassing of the lists, I'd say.  Songs like "Dynamite," "Run This Town," "Low" (by Flo Rida), "Empire State of Mind," maybe some Girl Talk, Nelly, Kanye, Beyonce - stuff to really get the heart rate up, ha.

So my friends - I'm asking you - any awesome suggestions?  I like the idea of familiar-ish music (to sort of ground me to a familiar place, mentally), but any suggestion would be nice.  Also - friends who have given birth - did you listen to music?  If so, what kind did you want to hear?