Thursday, April 21, 2011

Maternity Photos, Part Deux

As you may remember, I was sort of undecided on the whole maternity photo thing.

But, not anymore!


My dear friend Lisa called me a few weeks ago. She had an idea. She and her hubby wanted their baby gift to us to be a Maternity Session with their friend Amanda Hedgepeth!

Free photos? The hubs could not argue with that!

So we thankfully and graciously accepted the offer and did our shoot just yesterday. Already the sneak peeks are available! We will be sure to share more as they come to us.

In the meantime, enjoy the preview - thanks to Amanda who is just the.sweetest.little.thing. Fun fact: Amanda is 10 weeks pregnant with her first baby! I assured her that the nausea did go away...eventually.










30 weeks along

...and I can't believe that I am 30 weeks pregnant! Yikes Spikes! Baby G is definitely on the way! Excite.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"Broken Babies"

I was going to share this story in my "Weird Stuff" Section of my 29 week post, but it was too good. It totally deserves its own special moment in the sun.

Broken Babies
a one act play

Scene
(Home Depot parking lot. COURTNEY [a visibly pregnant woman] is walking back to her car [parked in front of the main entrance] from the Garden Center. She is walking parallel to the store along the main street that runs in front of the store, carrying two 6 lb bags of grass seed/fertilizer on one hip and a small Gerbera Daisy plant in the other, clearly enjoying the sunshine and short walk. STRANGE WOMAN pulls up along side of COURTNEY in a white minivan.)


STRANGE WOMAN
(rolls down her window and drives slowly alongside COURTNEY. Begins yelling.)
You shouldn't be carrying all that jazz! You need to be worried about your baby!

COURTNEY
(laughing awkwardly)
Oh, don't worry! It's not that heavy! Thanks for the concern though!

STRANGE WOMAN
I am serious! You need to be worried about having that baby! Not all that gardening mess! You need to go home and have that baby! You can garden afterward. You should not be carrying all that stuff! Don't you know how many broken babies there are in this world? Just go home and have that baby!

NARRATOR
COURTNEY thinks "what is she talking about? "broken babies"?? What does that even mean? Well, she has good intentions, so be nice..."

COURTNEY
No really, it's ok...my car is just right over there.

STRANGE WOMAN
(still driving slowly alongside COURTNEY, still yelling)
Listen to me! You do NOT need to be worrying about all that gardening mess, you just need to go home and have that baby! That is all you should be worrying about! Just go home and have that baby!

COURTNEY
(still walking, looks around quickly to see if anyone else is catching this. They aren't.)
It's ok, I promise, my husband is doing all the work, I am just picking these things up! And it's really not that heavy.

NARRATOR
COURTNEY is thinking all the while, "Women used to give birth after plowing fields and doing hard labor lady, I promise that I will be ok walking this 20 feet to my car. I carry grocery bags heavier than this!"

STRANGE WOMAN
(still driving slowly alongside COURTNEY)
If your husband is doing all that work, he should be the one here getting all of this! You just GO HOME AND HAVE THAT BABY! DO YOU HEAR ME? Just go have that BABY!

COURTNEY
Well, thank you for your concern. Have a nice day!

(COURTNEY walks away from the STRANGE WOMAN, who is still slowly driving parallel to the store, so that she can cut in between cars to get back to her own safely, with no further interaction with STRANGE WOMAN)

END SCENE.


29 weeks, 6 days along

...and I wish this were an exaggeration of what actually happened. It's not.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

29 weeks


Yet another non-maternity dress. 
Found it in the back of my closet the other day. Yay.


Skin
Feeling better this week, definitely not as tight...keeping the lotion and oil rocking.

Weight/Clothes
Two pounds down. Weird, but true. and Awesome.



I am feeling pretty good about clothes this week too. Spring weather has brought out all of my lovely dresses and I feel...fashionable again.

Cravings/Aversions
Meh. Missing things like turkey sandwiches lately. No idea why, I didn't love them that much before. But, I sort of have a sad when I see them on the menu.

Cramps/Pain
Doing ok for the most part. Feet in the ribs suck a big one. Other than that, doing alright.

Sleeping
Gah. What sleep? I either sleep like a rock from pure exhaustion, or I wake up like every hour on the hour. The night time reflux, bile in my throat, OMG I feel like I am gonna throw up stuff is super fun too. Nothing will wake you up like the taste of orange Tums coming back up your throat.

Mental State
Not gonna lie, so.much.more.chill after being cleared from my GD test. It has been a wake up though and I have been trying to be more grown up about food selections in general. Soon I am going to have to model good diet and set a good example and all that jazz.


Plus, I have had some fun this week. All of the fabric for the nursery has been bought, and is starting to come together thanks to my little sewing station. Wee!

Heartburn
So bad. See above. Wake in the middle of the night kind of bad. I am doing everything I can, eating far enough in advance (when possible...I have a busy schedule and all) before bed, getting rid of the caffeine, acid-y type stuff. But yeah. Will not be sad when this goes away.

Nasal Issues
I have had a handful of rough moments, but so far the allergies actually haven't been all that bad. Pollen season isn't fully upon us, so let's all cross our fingers and hope and pray and wish real hard that I do not die this Spring from ooc allergies and lack of Zyrtec.

The Girls
Fine. Wondering when all the magic is gonna start. 

Fetal Movement
So fun. The other day I went and sat out on the back patio with a book. It was so sunny and nice, so I pulled my shirt up for my belly to just get a little sun (those who know me know that I don't tan, so don't worry, I wasn't slathering on baby oil or anything...just a little Vitamin D). 

The second I pulled up my shirt, Baby was moving all over the place. I saw what I am pretty sure is an elbow move across my midsection, all that stuff. I pulled my shirt down and everything stopped. Pulled shirt back up and Baby was moving again.

It must have been bright in there. LOVE IT.

Swelling
Doing well still! Wee! BP is super low and swelling at a minimum. 

Weird Stuff
Got my first person I don't know belly touch this week.

This woman who works at the NEX, came around the corner while we were searching for A's new video game, almost bumped into me, looked down at the belly, reached out and rubbed me and said "Oooooooh!" and then, "I'm sorry, I had to." and walked away.

That was it. To be honest I didn't really know how I would feel about public touches until just then. I had a sad, and felt a little shocked...and accosted. Like, how is it appropriate to reach out and RUB A STRANGER? Gross lady. And you didn't have to. I do consider myself lucky I Have made it this far without the public touching though. Mayhap this will be my only incident.



This week was really hard to get our act together and get a daylight photo. 
So, yeah. Dark outside. Bad lighting. Lame.


29 weeks, 5 days along

...and I figured I should get around to posting this now that I am 2 days from being 30 weeks. Yikes!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Stroller Saga: Decision Made

Well, the decision has finally been reached. After much teetering and tottering...see Parts 1 and 2...we, and by we I mean I, had a breakthrough.

I will admit that I was momentarily sidetracked by this little thing.


It has most of the features of the UppaBaby Vista that I love so much; second seat, etc. AND you can fold it with two seats attached, which in my mind is WAY better than the UBV. The really distracting feature though was the special that Babies 'R Us was running online for it - still is if you are interested! - "Online Only! FREE GIFT when you buy a Britax B-Ready Stroller! Choose from car seat, bassinet, or 2nd seat kit."

Um, free gift? The choices being an uber cute bassinet, awesome infant car seat or 2nd seat kit? Yes please.

But, ultimately my better sense prevailed.

That is because I had a revelation while walking the dog through our neighborhood last week. Our neighborhood is old y'all. It is full.of.charm. and we love it, but our house is almost 100 years old and there are older ones around to be sure. In any historic neighborhood you may notice that the sidewalks are less than even (and that is being generous).

As I envision our lifestyle and most of the places we will be taking baby (including around our neighborhood, which I walk quite frequently) I suddenly had a vision. A vision of me trying to push foam filled tires over the rises and falls between the concrete slabs making up the sidewalk, which can be up to three or four inches in some spots, thanks to tree roots. A vision of me swearing as I jostled a just went to sleep baby over a huge bump, or swearing as I ruined the expensive tires on a stroller (the reviews for both strollers had at least one person who complained about trying to get over a lip on a driveway or something).

Suddenly, it was clear. I needed air filled tires.

Insert this lovely thing.


A few solid reviews from friends, parent reviews online, and this technology


I was sold.

So, there it is. We are finally registered for a stroller. Whew.

This was made a little easier by the fact that we are borrowing a Chicco Key Fit infant seat from a friend who has one not in use at the moment, so that way we can just also register for our Britax car seat. It gives us a nice variety of options.

This is not to say that with the needs of a growing family we won't be getting one of those other strollers some day, which I still absolutely love, plus there is a rumor on the interwebs that some of these strollers may start offering air-filled tires as a swap out accessory option. That would be sweet.

Anywho, whew. Sigh of relief. Another decision made as the clock counts down.


29 weeks, 4 days along

...and I have no idea where we will actually put all this baby stuff. Ha.

Friday, April 15, 2011

3 Hour Tour

Not on the SS Minnow...


Hey Skipper. Even with your notorious record of stranding peeps, 
I think I may have had more fun with you.

...but of my practice's waiting room. That's right, it was time for my 3 hour glucose test and I could not get the Gilligan's Island theme song out of my head.

I showed up, after fasting for 12 hours, starving and thirsty. No water either. Booo. I checked in and they weighed me - 187, down two pounds from a week ago - wth, not that I am complaining, but wth. (I am hoping with my whole heart and soul that I do not break 200 pounds. That would just be a little ego crushing for me.)

Here is the deal. They bring you in for a fasting finger prick level (or blood draw if you are at one of those kind of practices...thankfully this was just a finger prick with a little machine for like a 45 second result) then they make you drink the orange drink (or fruit punch or lemon lime or cola ::shudder::) and then they give you a timer. You come back every hour to have your finger pricked again.

You have to match these levels for either 75g of glucose or 100g of glucose. My practice, of course, gave me the 100g.



IntervalAbnormal reading
Fasting95 mg/dl or higher
One hour180 mg/dl or higher
Two hours155 mg/dl or higher
Three hours140 mg/dl or higher


Courtesy of babycenter.com, but this is the exact measurement my practice used. 
I asked a lot of questions since I didn't get Nancy Negative Nurse this time.

So, the deal is that you have to pass at least 3/4 of the levels to pass the test. I went in for the fasting one and measured 81 mg/dl. Yay! First test passed. Then they gave me the Orange Drink, which they thankfully had chilled in the fridge. Now, I liked orange last time, because it just sort of tasted like flat orange soda. For the 1 hour test, they give you 50g of glucose. This was the same amount of liquid, but 100g of glucose. Sick.


You know that coated throat feeling that you used to get when you were a kid and the team mom who didn't get it would bring these instead of Capri Suns to Little League? 




It was like that, except worse, because you couldn't even drink any water afterward. I felt a little like a cat with a hairball throughout the time until I could drink some water. The nurse cheered on my chugging skills (hey, I was a sorority president after all...I kid, I kid) and sent me to wait in the waiting room. They did check Baby G's heartbeat first though - 166 bpm. Whoa! The nurse was like, we just gave your baby a 5 lb bag of sugar - totally normal.

The first hour wasn't so bad. I had my book and it passed rather quickly as I was SO.NERVOUS I would dismally fail the first check. Went back with 1 minute left on my timer, they let me sit there and as it went off they measured - 170 mg/dl. Yay! Another passing score!

I headed BACK out to the waiting room...and finished my book with about 5 minutes to spare in the second hour. Those 5 minutes weren't so bad, but I kept thinking, what am I going to do for a whole 'nother hour?!

I headed back for finger prick #3 - 142 mg/dl. Yayyyy! Another passing one! I asked the nurse if I really had to stick around for the 4th one since technically I already passed. But, she said yes. Dang.

So, I proceeded to read every.single.issue of American Baby, Tidewater Parenting, and Sports Illustrated available in the waiting room. Most of the stories went like this "Blah, blah, blah, whatever the problem you think you are having is, it's probably totally normal, being a mom is hard, always check with your pediatrician."

Hard-hitting journalism for sure.

Anyway, as I wasted away that hour with amusing little breaks like going to the bathroom, woo! exciting. I was pretty raring to get out of there and have some water already.

My timer went off and I went in for my last check. 78 mg/dl. Woooo! That was lower than my fasting rate! The nurse said "Good Girl!" and signed my check out form. I was so elated I ran out of there without checking out and made it to the elevator before I realized I still had the paper in my hand.

What all of this means is that I can still give birth in the midwifery, baring any other complications! WOOO!

As I was thinking later on in the day though, I thought back on the experience and all of the affirmations from the nurses. There was another girl there who was about 2-3 minutes ahead of me on the time who was doing the 3 hour test too. The lab area is sort of central so you can overhear the nurses working with other patients. Thankfully, she passed all 4 of her levels too, but how awful would that have been if one of us had been failing and heard those affirmations from the nurses to the other person? As if our choices actually had anything to do with it!

I, of course, researched the heck out of gestational diabetes over the last week, and found that no one really knows what causes it. (Here is my super unofficial, non-cited crash course tiny summary in what I learned...) There are some factors that put you at higher risk that may in fact be the mother's choice (keeping a balanced diet, getting enough protein and exercise to keep blood sugar levels consistent, etc), but ultimately none of them are linked to causing GD itself. 

The leading thought is that the pregnancy hormones somehow block insulin from doing its job well in the mother's body. Then the blood sugar gets high, which can pass through the placenta to the baby. Problem is, the mother's insulin cannot pass through the placenta, so the baby's pancreas has to produce extra insulin to deal with it. The baby does not need that much glucose/energy, so can't process all of it and ends up storing it as fat. Which then leads to bigger babies, more risk of cesarean and slightly higher risks for both baby and mom to have diabetes later in life (fyi - you can significantly reduce this risk for both you and baby by breastfeeding after birth - another reason it is wonderful). Most GD can be regulated by diet and exercise and only a very little handful have to go the insulin injection route. 

(end non-cited, super unofficial tiny summary)

Anyway, in my mind, since it is totally.not.the.mom's fault. and can happen in even super healthy moms, like some of my friends, why are medical professionals affirming us when the test levels are right?! That just seems so inappropriate and other-ing to me. Hearing another mom get compliments like "Good job!" "Good Girl!" "You're doing great!" seem nice in the moment even though again our actions had little to do with how we were faring, but how would another mom, who might be failing those levels feel? Totally guilt-ridden and awful. 

A few lessons in appropriateness perchance?

::end rant::

All in all it was a good day for me, thank goodness, and hopefully I will be able to avoid GD in all future pregnancies as well. At this point I am just feeling grateful and relieved. 



29 weeks, 1 day along

...and after I passed I floated out to the car and celebrated with a Iced Venti Decaf  Skinny Vanilla Latte from Starbucks (after a healthy lunch, naturally [for those not into the lingo "skinny" means sugar free and non-fat]). And it was delicious and even better...it was also guilt-free.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Birthing Class

Last night was our first birthing class.

My sister Ashley came with me, since hubby was a no-go, and naturally we were running late. We arrived right.on.time. but only one couple came in after the fact. Luckily, my preggo friend Cheryl and her husband were there and were at a table by themselves (right up front and center - thanks guys!) so we were able to quickly plop down with them.

The birthing classes we are taking are one of the three choices given by the Midwifery Birthing Center to qualify you to give birth there. These classes are the most highly recommended by the people I chatted with. Our instructor's name is Claudia and she is one cooky lady, but I love her already.

One of baby daddy's said quietly to us that she reminded him of Barbara Streisand's character in Meet the Fockers. 



Which is actually sort of dead on.

Anywho, I found her to be completely upbeat, scatterbrained in a very Type A kind of way (Are we getting everything done??), and able to talk about anything under the sun without causing anyone in the room to blush. She has been doing this every Tuesday night for 42 years, so she has had some practice. Ever since her daughter was born.

Last night, as sort of an intro, we learned about concentrated relaxation techniques (and how to have your partner help you practice relaxing just as they will during birth), she went over good nutrition for preggos (and how her kids never had a cold growing up - magic woman?), we also went over some of the mechanics of birthing - perineal massage, false vs. true labor, etc., and then a little bit about prepping for breast feeding. Most of these topics we will come back to later in the course and go a little more in depth, but all in all it was a great class.

Looking forward to next week when the hubby can be there and even more looking forward to my sister teaching him everything we learned tonight and making him practice with me! He's gonna love it, I'm sure.


28 weeks, 6 days along

...and my three hour test is tomorrow. I am bringing a book and a log of everything I have eaten over the last few days so I can prove to them that I am a healthy person. Really, I swear! Let's hope it goes well!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Last night...

I pulled myself out of bed with a groan, rolling over the pregnancy pillow, unwrapping myself from tangled sheets, and gently moving the dog out of the way. I continued to pad down the hallway, trying to see by the dim light of my sister's computer monitor coming from her open door, though I left my glasses on the nightstand (I also have no idea what ungodly hour it was, because of the no glasses thing).

And I headed to the bathroom.

First middle of the night pee for this preggo.

Third trimester is surely here.



28 weeks, 5 days along

...and tonight is my first birthing class! Yippee!

Monday, April 11, 2011

28 weeks


Hooray for Ann Taylor and another pre-pregnancy dress. Funnily enough, I only wore this a handful of times before getting knocked up, because I thought it made me look preggo.




SkinI feel like a tomato about to burst, actually. I think over the last few days baby has grown considerably, leading to one uncomfy momma. I keep lotioning away though, so we will see how it goes.

Weight/Clothes
Doing just fine, right on par - measuring perfectly, etc. Textbook pregnancy other than that whole failing the one hour glucose test thing. BAH.


Took a 45 minute walk outside today at lunch and will walk the dog again tonight, so I feel pretty ok being up and moving around.

Cravings/Aversions
Craving anything sweet since I have self-imposed an embargo on them. The most I allowed myself was a fruit smoothie from TS the other day (with no sweeteners whatsoever and protein added). I have also kicked caffeine to the curb (though I was only ever having at MOST one cup of coffee per day...which makes me sleepy come about 2 pm in the office. 

Cramps/Pain
Oy. Lower left side abdominal pain like c-razy. I was pushing on my stomach earlier today while wailing "What is going onnnnn?" and I am pretty sure that I can feel a baby head laying right there. Awesome. While that was totally weird and cool (to feel my baby's head! Ack!) I super wish baby would move so I can stop hobbling like an old lady and scaring the men in my office (who think I am going into pre-term labor anytime I grimace even slightly. Teehee).

Sleeping
Like crapola over the last few days. Hot, uncomfortable, twisted in sheets and pregnancy pillow, etc. It has been a mess. We shall see if I go back on the upswing. (Please God).
Mental State
Doing so well by checking some things off! The crib is built, mattress bought, and it is all set up with a mattress pad and everything. Eeek! Exciting.


Doing not so well worrying about this three hour test. I am a pretty optimistic person, except when it comes to me. So, I see those percentages about women who fail the first time and then pass the three hour with fling colors and I am all, look at me, I will be the tiny percentage who doesn't. Woo! But I am hoping and hoping that I don't fail it.


The more research that I have done about GD lately though, the better I do feel about the guilt. So that's good.

Heartburn
So bad. Boo. Zantac is my friend. 

Nasal Issues
Pollen is ooc today and my eyes and nose are starting to itch. Go away!

The Girls
Doing alright. Friends are starting to notice their size increase more and more. I can't even imagine what it will be like when my milk comes in. Praying that they don't go right back to b-cup filling with the room for DD-cup filling after all is said and done. 

Fetal Movement
Dancing on my intestines daily.

Swelling
Doing well. I actually have had no incidents of swelling this week. Booyah.

Weird Stuff
This may be TMI, but here we go. I finally got to the point where it was a necessity to sit down on the tub edge while in the shower to shave my legs a bit more easily. Sitting there I experienced my first feeling of skin to skin contact between my boobs and belly and my belly and my legs. First time I have ever felt those areas connecting. In my whole life. It was weird. 






Side shot!


28 weeks, 4 days along

...and this post has been going around the interwebs like wildfire. Just doing my part. Happy Monday!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Well, this sucks.

Booo. I just got done with my one hour glucose test and I failed.

Sad faces.

On top of everything else I got the nurse who is so brusque today (she is the sort where she asks you questions and no matter how you answer you feel like you are giving the wrong one...even when she asked, "So, have you felt the baby moving?" I was like "Yup! All the time!" and she gave me this look and I suddenly felt the need to add "well, not right now, but...a lot"). Anywho, she pricked my finger and then she was all like "Welp, you failed. Sit here to wait to see the midwife."

Dang it! I am so disappointed. I know, I know, plenty of people who fail the first test go on to pass the second. But still. I hate feeling like a failure. Boo.

The midwife Beth was really nice about it, and comforting, which helped. She said everything else looks great, I haven't had any problems with anything and that I shouldn't be nervous about the 3 hour test. She kept asking me if I had more questions and I was so Eeyore-like that I just kept saying "No" and sighing.

Of course now there are tons of questions rolling around in my head.

"How does this happen?"
"What should I do between this week and next?"

The part that kills me is that I seriously thought I would fly through this test. All the little check boxes and crap for me were all "No". Family history of diabetes? Nope. Sugar in my urine before now? Nope. High blood pressure? Nope (122/60 today). Old? Nope. Overweight? Nope. Exhaustion? Nope. Frequent Urination? Nope.

Dang it, dang it, dang it.

So anyway, after the test, I went home and had a good cry (because I am an emotional pregnant lady and I can). Bings licked my face and I felt better. And now here I am at work. I feel like kids with ADHD must feel, and have felt that way since I drank that stupid drink. I can't really focus on anything (so, sorry if this is jump-y). I totally should have done this earlier in the week so as to not ruin my weekend. Boo.

They gave me this sheet of directions about my diet for the next test. I have to eat lots of carbs. No idea why. I have to fast before the test so they can get a fasting level and then they prick me every hour for three hours and measure. Gah.

Here is the thing: I am diabetes dumb. I seriously have no knowledge beyond my years reading Stacy's story in The Baby-sitters Club...and that ain't much.


Well, I am not going to count chickens, and now that this is all out I can hopefully move on with my day.


28 weeks, 1 day along

...and I am going to go Google the heck out of all this stuff.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Two down...

...and one to go!

Trimesters, that is. How crazy is that?

Today I am 28 weeks which marks the beginning of the third trimester.

HOLY CRAP! We are having a baby in +/- 12 weeks! Oh Lawd.

Seriously though, we are so excited! I am still feeling pretty good - we have been out enjoying the nice weather and walking the last few days, trying to eat a little healthier, you know, the uze.

A insists that this is my procrastinator behavior "cramming" for my glucose test tomorrow morning and keeps telling me that this is one test I cannot cram for. Ha! What do you know husband?

But, I promise, I am not trying to cram. I just am feeling good lately, and there is nothing wrong with that. Spring and Summer weather always brings on my desire to eat better and be outside and active, so why would it be any different now? I will go into more details on the 28 week recap tomorrow.

The biggest and best "Happy Third Trimester" news is that - dun dun dun, someone offered to take A's watch days! Yay! Now he can come to birthing classes with me! He will still miss 2/6, but that is way better than only COMING to 2/6! I am writing a very nice thank you note to the man who offered to swap with him and contemplating baking him some cookies. Yay!

Anyway, we still have a lot to do to prepare, but I am getting pretty excited for this little one to get here so that I can meet the person beating my innards to a pulp.

I finally snuck some time on the scanner at work today (shh!) and have some ultrasound photos to share!

Sorry for the quality - scanner at work is no bueno. 
(Is that right? I took French.)


These are the 20 week ones, which if you remember, they weren't too happy with , which is why we only got two printouts (besides the video). 

The first is of baby's spine and the best sort of profile that they could get. 
The second is looking at baby's heart in a cross section. Heart rate to the right.



And a mere 4 weeks later:



24 weeks!


According to all my weekly calendars, Baby G has doubled in weight since this last photo, which would seem crazy other than the fact that I know Baby has to be bigger from all the rib kicking I have been getting.

Exciting times!


28 weeks along

...and I felt my first Baby hiccups last night.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Birth Photography

First, thank you so much to all of the kind comments, emails and messages about birth classes - they really made me feel like I was not just a crazy pregnant lady going all hormonal on this situation. And the offers to come with! Thanks friends.

Hopefully we will be looking at a smaller percentage of missed classes from A, as he sent out a plea for help on the ship to see if he could trade watch days with someone. That would mean he would only miss two of the classes, which is much, much better.

So, to combat all of that craziness, today's post is about something that I am super pumped to experience...

Birth Photography.

I may have wavered about maternity photos, but I never wavered about birth photography. Now, before you get all shudder-y and grossed out (as I once was too, I promise you), Let me make my case.

I am not talking about all of the close up crowning "Miracle of Life" type photos you may have seen in health class in 7th grade. Birth photography can be that too, for those who are interested, but it can also be a very visual way to tell a story. That story being the day your child is born.

Some of my favorite images from around the interwebs as proof:

I love the blog this momma writes...and her birth story is beautiful.




The photos tell the most beautiful story of the day.
All those photos taken by the lovely Marla from this duo.



This one just gets to me. Mayhap it's the uniform.
from here



So sweet!
from here

This video is a slideshow of beautiful photos from the birth story told here:

The Homebirth of Lucia Mae from Sara Janssen on Vimeo.

The photos of the grandma and big sister around the 5 minute mark slay me.


If you ever happened to follow Weddingbee the way I did, Mrs. Avacado aka, That Wife has a great slideshow here too.


Now, how could those images be anything other than cherished? I am sure the families have some more "private" shots that they wouldn't want for the world to see on the internet, but the point is - they have them. Trust that I am not trying to have all these photos on Facebook, or even on this blog for the world to see. A selected few? Sure. The point of this is that I want these photos for myself. 

Different hospitals vary vastly on being able to photograph or even videotape births, mainly due to malpractice suits, though I can totally see how the care of the mom and baby is the.most.important.thing, so they don't want extra bodies in the way that don't need to be there. 

There is an interesting article you can check out here on the differing trends in policies. Probably goes to show why most birth photos on the web are from home births rather than hospital ones. 

Our hospital policy actually states that we can't have third-party photographers in the room, or any video of any kind. Since I will be preoccupied, you know, having a baby, and A is not the best photog in the world...we are having a family member take some photos.

Remember how I said my sister-in-law was trained as a photographer? Well, she is not technically a professional photographer (aka third party), so we have asked her if she would be comfortable doing it. And she said yes! 

Yay loop holes! (Trust that we will verify that it isn't a problem for an additional family member in the room to have her camera out, and if it is, well then, A is going to get really.good at photos between now and then.)

I don't really know how I would feel about a photographer that I had hired and didn't really know being all up in the business anyway, so this works out quite well for us. Plus, I trust that my sister-in-law will work diligently to have flattering angles of me, bonus!, and that she will be able to be quiet or engage in conversation and just be supportive in general of the birthing process and how I am feeling. She's pretty great like that. 

A and I talked about it, and we both thought it was great that we had photos and video of moments that we had forgotten about our wedding day - little things, mind you - so why would the birth of our child(ren) be any different? 



27 weeks, 6 days along

...and this is the last day of the second trimester.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On a lighter note...

One of my favorite stores of all.time. is Francesca's Collections.

I fell in love with it while I traveled as a professional sorority girl a few years back. My real title was Traveling Leadership Consultant, and yes, it is a real job, that was super fun and challenging in a thousand ways.

Anywho...
a. I did NOT know that you could get Francesca's online until like a week ago
b. They just opened one in Virginia Beach! Yay!

As I was perusing the site, I came across this nifty little feature of theirs... 



How fun is this? They feature their baby bump friendly outfits all in one place! Love.

So, since I indulge in retail therapy, I ordered this little number.



I am thinking it will look fab in San Antonio (or anywhere), can be worn as a skirt or a dress (in case it is too short over a bump), and best of all, can be worn post pregnancy. Nothing says easy access for breast feeding like a strapless dress - ha.


27 weeks, 5 days pregnant

...and I LOVE non-maternity clothes that can be worn while pregnant. 


The Military Wife Conundrum

Remember yesterday when I was all happy and excited about birthing classes getting started so that A could feel involved? Well, then I heard from him regarding the ship schedule.

Thanks to 4 section duty and the schedule of underways, it turns out that A will only be able to make 2 of the 6 of our birthing classes, which are about to start on Tuesday nights.

A Short Glossary of Military Terms 
[as I see them]

Four section duty: every 4 nights he stays on the ship overnight and works the full next day. So, if he has duty on a Sunday, he heads to the ship at 5 am on Sunday morning and I don’t see him again until he comes home on Monday evening. And then again on Thursday – don’t see him till Friday evening, and it goes on and on and on.

**Originally this ship was on 6 section duty, but since some.people (read: not my husband) make bad life decisions, the ship is now on 4 section duty. Except the people making the decisions about duty sections...they are on 12 section duty. (Bitter? Party of 1? I know that they have 'earned it', blah blah, but I am a huge proponent of leading by example, and if they aren't feeling the hit too, nothing is going to change anytime soon. End rant.)**

Underway: “Short” jaunts out onto the big blue sea. His last underway was 5 days, sometimes they are two weeks. And sometimes they are scheduled for 5 days, and then they don’t come home for two weeks. Or more, or less.

Now, this situation sucks. One of the biggest aspects of natural childbirth is involvement and support from your partner. But, there is a reason the midwifery requires birthing classes. So that someone who is certified can teach you what you need to know, as both the one birthing the child and the partner. If he isn’t there – who is supposed to teach him? Me? I can certainly try, but the other day I forgot how old I am. Plus, I want to share in this with him, and I know that he is just as upset as I am, as he wants to be involved, but this is the first of many of these situations.

Here lies the conundrum.

co·nun·drum/kəˈnəndrəm/Noun:  A confusing and difficult problem or question.
Facts:
  • I am a wife. I have a partner who loves me, and whom I love. 
  • He has a career that is actually a lifestyle – for both of us. It’s called the military. I don't think anyone questions that being in the military is not just "a job" - but if you do, come talk to me about it.
  • I could not be more proud that he loves his country and his vocation. I could not be more proud to be a military wife. 
  • I know that the military provides great benefits in exchange for the sacrifice; I grew up a Navy brat. And truly, I am grateful for those benefits.
  • Yes, I did make the choice to marry someone in the military with the knowledge that this was what he wanted for his life and for our life.
Problem: From time to time, I hate this choice with my whole heart and soul.


You see, it’s not that I blame him. I know that he feels bad when things like this happen. And so I try not to react too negatively toward him.

But, yesterday when I found this out, I wanted to yell and scream and punch things. And then I thought about going to these classes alone, and I wanted to cry. But there is no one to do that to. It just makes him feel worse if I direct those feelings toward him, and though sometimes I do that, even though I know better, I try really hard not to.

(Though, if somewhere, we could have a phone number for all military spouses everywhere to be able to call in and record complaints – even if they were never heard by a real person, how cathartic would that be?)

The worst part of situations like these, is that you can’t even be mad at someone, because your husband or partner did.not.make.this.decision.  So, you have to have your little moment, pick yourself up by the bootstraps and move on.

I know that these things happen. It certainly happened with our wedding. (To read emotional posts from me about that whole ordeal, see here, here and here.) We came through that with flying colors. True, we still haven’t had a honeymoon, but we got to have the wedding that we wanted, with all of our loved ones there, on our schedule. It worked out.

It’s just that things like this now hit me so much harder.

Maybe it’s because I am already thinking about how this is going to affect our children in the future. 
Maybe it’s because it is about someone other than me, but let’s be honest, about me at the same time.

It’s just so hard to face the fact that I am going to have to single mom it from time to time, though I am a partner in a loving and committed marriage.  And that it is starting with birthing classes, just the icing on the cake.  I know it is whiny, but I don’t want to be the single gal at these things. I checked the boxes, I have the rings, and I don’t want to go it alone.

Somehow it’s harder when he is here and can’t be at things. These duty nights are just bad luck of the draw.  The underways? He is usually no more than a drivable distance off the coast. If he was on deployment, at least I wouldn't have been planning on being at birth classes together, you know? It’s the constant scheduling changes, the “wait a sec, can we do that that night, let me count it out…”, the crazy back and forth that really gets to me.

Add to that his ridiculous working hours right now, and he feels like he is missing everything.  Currently, he leaves the house at 5:30am and does not get home until 7pm…on the days he comes home. And when you get up at 5:30, guess what time you are exhausted and ready for bed? About 9:30.

Quick math, 2.5 hours seeing each other, 5 days a week (because the other two he is on duty and doesn’t come home) equals 12.5 hours that we see each other in a given week.

Less than one day. Per week.

(Granted that is the minimum estimate, because every now and again you get a weekend where he isn’t on duty on a weekend day, so you get a glorious 48 hours together. Bonus! Unless you are my husband, of course, who also right now works on Saturday mornings. )

Is it any wonder that so many military spouses don’t work? On the off chance that your spouse can come home early, wouldn’t you rather be there to see them than at work yourself? I know I would. It’s also seemingly no wonder that it is hard for us to make progress on things like the nursery, when this is our schedule. And when he already feels bad about missing so much, who am I to constantly remind him when he is home. I don’t think anyone can be that cruel.

I am also trying to selfishly savor the last few remaining days and weeks that we have between just the two of us. When baby gets here, life will get even crazier.

I know that I am lucky in the fact that he will be here for the birth of our child, and that he is transitioning to shore duty (shore duty = assigned to a command on land rather than to a ship) after the birth of that same child – so he will be around. And for that I am truly, truly thankful. We are blessed in many ways, and I do try to remember that above all else.

But that doesn’t make it any less disappointing for the things he is missing out on right now.



27 weeks, 5 days along

…and I love my husband, and (sometimes) I love the Navy.

...and thanks for letting me get this out today.

Monday, April 4, 2011

27 Weeks



This shirt is non-maternity from Ann Taylor Loft. I don't think they would really be as cruel as to put ruffles down a preggo belly, but I love it.

Skin
Doing fairly well. I think that there are the beginnings of some tiny stretch marks starting to appear on my right hip. BOO. They are sort of to the back and I just caught a glimpse in the mirror this morning but can't look close enough to tell for sure.



Also, my linea nigra started showing up this week. It isn't dark (yet?) its just sort of a pinkish line that is sometimes more obvious than others. I feel pretty ok about it.

Weight/Clothes
In the 60s, 70s and 80s this whole week. Happy girl rockin' maternity dresses.



Glucose test on Friday. Eeek.

Cravings/Aversions
I craved a corn dog today, and then remembered i probably shouldn't eat one. Boo.



Satiated craving with a smoothie instead.

Cramps/Pain
Sciatica. Comes and goes. Also, rib pain. Ouch.



I literally googled "27 weeks pregnant rib pain" the other day and it popped up "Your baby is probably stretching against your rib cage." Ouch baby! Which makes me think of "Ouch Charlie". Which everyone has seen so I won't link it, but man are British kids cute.


What did preggos do before Google?
Sleeping
I have slept like a ROCK this week. Awesomeness. Usually that is when A is gone (read: A was out to sea all week) so I feel sorta guilty about that, but whatevs. I HAVE GOTTEN SLEEP.

Mental State
Last week of second trimester! Ack!



We picked up the crib this week, put our new dressers together, took a load of furniture to the inlaws, and today I ordered my crib skirt fabric! Wee! Checking things off the list feels good.  Photos to come of A actually putting crib together, and though our nursery is now a jumbled mess of furniture I am feeling pretty stoked about the fact that it is no longer "the man room". On our way!


Also, we start birthing classes next week. Eeek! I am excited. I think that birthing classes will really help hubby to feel involved in the process. He has felt slightly out of things lately - not that he can really be "in" things at this point since the baby is still.inside.of.me - but you know. He wants to be involved, which is super cute, so this will be great.

Heartburn
Woke up in the middle of the night the other night with so much reflux action I thought I was going to puke. I didn't and since then it has been ok. So, who knows. Also helps when hubby is gone because then i steal his pillows to create a bigger ramp at night for me to sleep on. Sorry babe.

Nasal Issues
Knocking.on.wood. 

The Girls
Still wondering when the whole "my boobs are leaking" moment is going to happen. It hasn't yet, which I am totally ok with, but then the little pregnancy neurotic thing happens where I jump to major conclusions like "WHAT IF I NEVER PRODUCE BREAST MILK AND CAN'T FEED MY BABY?!?!?"

And then a few moments later I have backed off the ledge and am fine.

Fetal Movement
Days of nothing but movement and days of sleep. Wondering if Baby G is on a 2 day cycle, rather than morning and night. Like Monday is daytime for him or her and then Tuesday is sleepy time. Weirdness.

Swelling
Comes and goes. Saturday was the worst yet for no apparent reason. And by worst yet, I mean that my rings left an indentation on my finger. I could still get them on and off and was all together fine. Seriously hoping that this is what I continue experiencing.

Weird Stuff
Sometimes I forget I am pregnant. Is that weird? Like every now and again I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror and go "Oh yeah." Or think, "I really want to lay on my stomach now" in the middle of the night and go "Oh yeah."







Full on side shot. Wowza.


27 weeks, 4 days along

...and I waited until btoh me and my memory card were in the same place to post this.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Showers

I was really tempted to write an April Fool's day post today and reveal a gender to everyone or say we were having TWINS, but I swear, it would have only been April Fools.

We really don't know the gender, and despite the fact that another person I don't know said "It looks like you have two in there!" (hardee har har) the other day, all of our ultrasounds have shown ONE baby.

***

Besides the normal April Showers plaguing the east coast, there has been a torrential downpour trend in our household as well. In the form of TEARS. (good transition, right? I am so damn clever. APRIL FOOLS.)

Moving on.

I want to talk about how TV has been destroying me emotionally lately. We have already visited the fact that I am not a big crier - normally. It just doesn't exist in me.

But, thanks to preggo hormones, and an influx of pregnancy/child related story lines on all my favorite shows that are BREAKING.MY.HEART I have been crying nightly in front of the tube.

Let's visit a few of my faves.

Grey' Anatomy
Now regardless of how you felt about the musical episode last night (I felt kind of meh about it, but it wasn't as corny as I thought it would be), the plot centered around the fact that Callie was in a car accident. For those not in the know, Callie is the orthopedic surgeon, lesbian lover of Arizona (who is a pediatric surgeon), who is currently knocked up at about 24 weeks with Mark's (the plastic surgeon) baby due to sleeping with her best friend because she just got left syndrome.

Confused? Let's just roll with it. Now, at the end of last weeks episode Arizona and Callie were heading to a weekend getaway and the scenes were shot in the car. As any TV watcher knows, when two main characters are being shown inside of a car - it usually spells car accident. Duh. Well then Callie had her seatbelt off to try and get her phone from the back seat, but got distracted when Arizona proposed.

(Please note this whole time I was YELLING at the television "Put your seat belt back on Callie!!!")

Then Arizona also got distracted (because YOU DON'T PROPOSE WHILE DRIVING) and the episode ended with their faces looking slightly shocked and you knew it was coming. This week's episode started with Arizona lifting her head from the airbag, and Callie lying on the front of the car, because she went through the windshield. The episode was full of the staff singing, and out of body experiences, and Callie almost dying 12 times.

Then, the baby had to be delivered via emergency c-section. At just.over.one.pound. And Arizona saves little baby's life. But, GAH, I was bawling at this point. Come on baby! Just have a heartbeat! Fight through! And then, there it is! a heartbeat! for a barely viable baby. And Callie lives too.

Moments that made me cry: 

  • When they couldn't find a fetal heartbeat.
  • Arizona and Mark fighting about what Callie would want, her life saved, baby's life saved, etc. Clearly something every pregnant woman considers in her darkest moments. Buckets of tears.
  • Little baby fighting for life. 
  • Meredith crying in the elevator about the randomness of the universe/her hostile uterus, etc. 
  • Previews for next week, which shows a VERY SAD looking Arizona sinking to the ground outside of an OR. That baby had best not die. GAH.
I love this show. But there are so many moments of tearing up when you are about to become a parent yourself! This week's episode was especially tear-jerky for a few main characters.

Julia and Joel. Julia is one of my faves. She is the breadwinner who hyphenated her name, and is an ultra successful lawyer who struggles because she still wants to be an awesome mom/baker/partyplanner, while her husband is a stay at home dad, who was a general contractor, but THANKS ECONOMY, he now solely stays at home and raises their precocious child Sydney. And picks up Chinese food, and occasionally builds beautiful pieces of furniture, because he is talented y'all.


Anywho, they have been trying for Baby #2 for a while now (like 5ish months?) which was fraught with tension because Julia wanted the baby, but Joel was hesitant as it would affect his daily life (being the primary care taker) more than Julia. Now they are both on the same page and sort of worried it has taken so long. Julia, apparently has just been to the gyno, and everything seems fine with her. So, Joel heads to get his "fish" tested, which of course is littered with many opportunities for laughs. Then he gets the call - all is well.

So, here I am thinking this is going to be a lesson for Julia on being more patient (tone down the Type-A behavior Courtney JULIA) and then the last scene - Julia has gotten a call from her doctor. Turns out some tests came back and she has intrauterine scarring tot he extent that getting pregnant will be almost impossible. She is of course, heart-broken as she tells Joel and he cries too. SAD.

Moments that made me cry:

  • Julia and her obvious immediate guilt at this being "her fault"
  • When Julia apologizes to Joel about not being able to get pregnant and he says "You cannot apologize to me for this." GAH. Joel, I love you.
  • Joel's tears rolling down his face as he comforts his wife. Men crying. Too much for me.
  • Other moments in the show, that involve other characters I haven't introduced here. Christina, son with Asperger's, trying to be a good mom. Amber, receiving rejection letters from all of her colleges, esp Berkley. HUGS.
Now, this show was one of my faves, but has gotten slightly corny over the last few seasons. They must have realized this, because this season has been nothing but serious and heartbreak. Basic premise - follows 5 army families, 4 wives are dependents, one  is in the army and her hubby is the dependent.

Last week, we were teased by the saddest.ending.evah. when the super dressed army guys rolled up in the black SUV with tinted windows. TO A BRIDAL SHOWER. Gah. That is the most heart thumping sight for anyone who has ever had a loved one serving in the armed forces. You immediately know that someone has died, but they were all there TOGETHER, so who was it?!?

This week we found out. It was Denise's son Jeremy, who had already survived one tour of duty in Iraq, and whose dad is also deployed. Oh yeah, and it was his fiance's bridal shower.

Moments that made me cry (besides saying the ENTIRE episode):
  • The army guys telling Denise. 
  • Same army guys refusing to answer his fiance's questions because she "isn't family"
  • Us seeing Jeremy die, flashback style
  • The look of slight, but undeniable relief on everyone else's faces
  • A seasoned war vet, whose son has just died breaking down in tears
  • Same seasoned vet accompanying his son's flag draped coffin home
  • Same vet meeting his daughter for the first time at.a.funeral.home.where.his.dead.son.lies.inside.
  • Denise and Frank (the dad) sorting through childhood photos of Jeremy to show at the funeral
  • The entire funeral, especially - handing over the flag, parents telling fiance "we are so glad our son knew love in his life", 21 gun salute. gets.me.every.time.


And, this post is getting ridiculously long. Is it just me or are there really more traumatic pregnancy story lines than normal on tv shows?


27 weeks, 1 day along

...and BTW, there is no need to remind me that all of this is FICTION. I know.

But the hormones don't.