Wednesday, April 30, 2014

36 Weeks

Helllloooooooooo Honeydew!  {Picture that in Oprah's signature voice.}

Symptom tracking:
  • Trouble sleeping: Sunday and Monday nights were particularly bad.  I simply could not get comfortable, no matter how many pillows I used, how I proppsed myself up, or how many times I tossed and turned.  Sunday morning I got up out of bed at 6:30 am after I realized laying there was not going to induce more sleep.  Yesterday morning I willed myself to go back to sleep from 5 am - 6:30 am, and finally did for an hour or so at about 8 am.  Thankfully, last night brought a bit more sleep and I was able to sleep some more this morning after Shep left for work, so I'm feeling semi-normal again today.  I guess on the bright side maybe this practice with lack of sleep will make the frequent feedings less hard since I'm already used to being a zombie? Maybe? I'm hoping. ;)
  • Swelling in right foot/ankle:  I've been lucky in that I haven't had to deal with much swelling so far during this pregnancy.  But, over the past week or so I've definitely noticed some puffyness, especially in my right foot, on almost a daily basis.  I've been gulping down extra water and propping my foot up when I notice it to help ease the swelling.  Yesterday the swelling was pretty bad; I'd say the worst it has been to date.  But, today it's better.  I'm just thankful I haven't had to deal with this throughout more of the pregnancy.... I feel for women pregnant in the hot summer!
  • Frequent peeing:  Like, 6 times per night!!!  It's insanity.  But it's expected and normal, so I'm trying to be cool with the many potty trips that are definitely not helping me sleep any better.  :)
In other news, baby has dropped!  WOOHOO!!!!  Shep and I have been a bit concerned about that since I've still felt a lot of moving around and what I thought was kicking way down low as recent as this past weekend.  But, according to my OB, the baby's head is in the down position {let's hope it stays that way!} and is in my pelvic area where s/he belongs, which was a big relief for us to hear!  When I asked the doctor if this meant baby might be coming soon, her response was:  "Nope, it just means you have a nicely-shaped pelvis".  Um, thanks I think??  Due to this new development, it's a bit easier to breathe {yay!}, but those many potty trips are becoming even more frequent {if that's even possible!}.  According to the Pampers website, my uterus is now 1,000 times its original volume!  Wowzers!  From here on out, I will have weekly doctor visits until baby arrives!

This week I got my Group B streptococcus (GBS) test, and the results will be ready by my next appointment.  If I test positive, they'll administer antibiotics to me through an IV for at least 4 hours before baby is delivered, to prevent the bacteria from passing to baby during delivery.  According to the American Pregnancy Association, approximately 25% of healthy adult women carry this infection.  Though the bacterial infection is not harmful to adults, if passed to baby it can cause severe breathing and other complications, which is why physicians include GBS testing as a routine part of prenatal care during the late third trimester.

To-Dos on the agenda:
  • Write and send out baby shower thank-you notes
  • Purchase remaining items for and pack my hospital bag
  • Wash and put new waterproof mattress pad on our bed
  • Pre-register with the hospital {turns out my OB office did this for us; score!}
  • Install baby's car seat
  • Review childbirth class materials & practice breathing/relaxation techniques
  • Fill out birth preferences sheet
  • Prepare short list of baby names
  • Wash baby's crib skirt, sheets and changing pad covers
  • Start washing baby's clothing!
My first week of maternity leave is going pretty well.... I haven't really gotten much done at home yet this week, but I have been able to catch up on some television, keep my foot propped up, do a little bit of laundry, and start writing out my baby shower thank-you notes.  I still have lots more to do, but I'm taking things one task at a time.  Either it will all get done, or it won't!  Baby doesn't care whether the to-do list is complete or not... s/he will make an appearance when ready!  :)

Bump Watch Alert:
Whoa, belly!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Last Day at Work

Friday was my last day of office work for a while.... the next few weeks will be spent prepping and waiting for baby to make an appearance, and then the real work will begin..... motherhood!

In honor of the occasion, my incredibly sweet hubby made me a sash to wear!

my "last day" sash
Yes, it's made from toilet paper and a sharpie marker.  But let me tell you -- I was pretty impressed with his creativity and craftiness seeing as he made that gorgeous sash in the 2 minutes before we walked out the door on Friday morning!  ;)  I did wear it for a little bit toward the end of the day {though unfortunately don't have a photo to share} but otherwise proudly displayed it on my monitor.  :)

This may sound odd, but I'm going to miss my co-workers!  Don't get me wrong -- I'm so grateful that my company provides me with pre-baby maternity leave... I think it is a very generous policy and I certainly need the time at home to decompress from the corporate world, write out thank-you notes for all the wonderful gifts we received at my baby shower, practice my breathing and relaxation techniques for labor, and try to get our apartment in order before our newest family member arrives.  And I'm definitely looking forward to attempting to relax a bit over the next couple weeks instead of dealing with contract redlines or deadlines on a daily basis.  But, the truth is that I consider the teammates I work with my friends, and I'm going to miss them on a personal level!

A couple weeks ago, the entire group of my NY colleagues {and some from CA as well!} hosted a surprise baby shower for me at work.  The fact that all of these incredibly busy people took an hour out of their super-jam-packed schedules to come eat pie with me and send me off with the very best well wishes meant so much.  They also contributed money and presented Shep and me with a VERY generous gift card!  I was so surprised, humbled and grateful, all at once.  I'm telling you... I could not ask for a nicer group of people to work with.

I received so much support outside of my NY working group as well!  One of my former teammates from CA who now works in another group sent me a super cute cookie monster onesie, and another of my CA colleagues sent me an adorable yellow "bear" hoodie, complete with ears!

Then there were these beautiful flowers that arrived on my desk out of the blue on Tuesday afternoon...

And on Friday morning this little package of muslin swaddle blankets appeared!

How could I not miss working with such thoughtful people like this?!  And, no, it's not just because they bought me presents.  ;)  They are super smart, but fun and caring people.  The good news is that my office is only a train ride away.  Once baby arrives, I can take him or her to meet the team over lunch, and I've let them know that our door is open for visits as well!

I'll admit -- I've been counting down to this "no more work" day for so long now, but it was a bit surreal waking up today and realizing that I could in fact stay in bed as long as I wanted!  It was odd to just lay around while Shep got dressed and left for work.  But, I think it's something I can get used to.  That is until the little one arrives and then there will be no more sleeping in!  :)

Happy Maternity Leave To Me!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Baby Class

Nicole may have mentioned that we have been taking a birthing class at our hospital for the past few weeks. We learned what to expect during the stages of labor (early, active, and transition and pushing), breathing exercises and relaxation techniques. We (meaning me) learned how to diaper and change a baby. We didn't have any live models, but the dolls they provided were life-like enough. Nicole said I did a great job changing and diapering the baby, even though I got the tape stuck to the diaper a few times. I held the baby like the instructor said to, and supported the neck (which was better than another expecting father in the class who held his "baby" like a sack of concrete). Nicole even tried to bump up the difficulty level for me by jiggling the baby doll while I changed it so as to simulate a more life-like changing experience. At one point, I said to her: "come on, unless this baby is getting changed in an earthquake, I think you're going overboard on the jiggling". Right??

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

35 Weeks

Source: The Bump
We made it to 35 weeks, and our baby is currently the size of a COCONUT?!?!  Wow, that's huge!!!  No wonder why it's increasingly hard for me to get out of bed from a laying position -- I basically have a small bowling bowl inside my mid-section weighing me down!

By now, baby's hearing should be fully developed, and according to The Bump s/he apparently responds best to high-pitched noises.  I guess that's good since I've been trying to shriek sing to baby more often.  ;)  In all seriousness, I have been reading aloud to baby more frequently, so I hope my voice is getting through!

I've been reading a Dr. Seuss book that my best friend sent me as a gift when she first learned I was pregnant.  It's a compilation of various Dr. Seuss stories, adapted for the baby-to-be, and is quite adorable!

My favorite part is the end; I get a little teary each time I read it.  Here's a little excerpt so you can see how sweet it is:

It's a scrumptulous world
and it's ready to greet you.
And as for myself . . .
well . . .
I can't wait to meet you!

In terms of symptoms, I am SUPER tired -- mainly because I've been waking up as many as SIX times per night to pee.  Yes, SIX!!!!!!  It's quite ridiculous really.  I've also noticed over the past week or so that my ankles and feet {my right side in particular} has started swelling more frequently; a couple times per week.  When I notice it happening, I elevate my feet and try to drink additional water.... but some times it feels like I'm going to float away if I drink any more!  I have felt some pressure on my abdomen wall, but I don't think I've had any Braxton Hicks contractions yet -- it feels more like the baby stretching out or pushing against me.  I'm definitely waddling and wiggling when I walk, even despite my best efforts not to.  Interestingly, the four flights of stairs I climb ever morning from the train when going to work have gotten harder on my legs {because I'm lugging more weight}, but I don't find myself as out of breath as I once did!  Other than that, I've had a couple twinges of back/hip pain when I stand too quickly from the sitting position; but luckily nothing too bad so far.  I'm sure that will get more interesting over the next few weeks though as my belly continues to grow!  The only other weird new thing I've been noticing is that when I lay down at night to go to bed, I get a weird head rush / head pressure sensation, along with more noticeable heart beats, almost like palpitations.  It only lasts for a minute or two, and I assume it's related to my increased blood and fluid volume, but I'm going to ask my doctor about it at next week's appointment just to be sure.

This is my last week at my job before my maternity leave starts -- I can't believe I only have 2 more days!!  I think it will be bittersweet for me -- I consider all of my teammates friends and will miss seeing and talking to them on a regular basis.  But, I'm also looking forward to having some time to myself before baby arrives to get our home in order {i.e., try to cure the "reverse robbery" situation we currently have on our hands}, brainstorm some baby names, relax and sleep in more while I still can, wash the baby's linens and clothes, and generally prepare as much as possible for our little one's arrival.  We'll see once I stop "working" whether I:  (a) get bored staying at home alone, (b) turn into a total couch potato who refuses to get dressed, or (c) actually get anything from our to-do list accomplished.  I'll be honest -- it might be a combo.  ;)

And on that note, here's my 35 week bump watch photo!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Will We Ever Sleep Again?

As soon-to-be first time parents, we are trying our best to mentally prepare for the many changes about to come to our lives.  And while we don't know exactly how our lives will change until baby actually arrives, the one theme that keeps coming up over and over again is sleep, or the lack thereof....

You all know the song by Lorde called "Royals", right?  Well here's a funny parody Nicole stumbled upon by Josh Stearns and Erica Carlson that had us cracking up and shaking with fear at the same time:

My favorite part is:

And every minute’s like diapers, Thomas, splashin’ in the bathtub
Juice stains, snack traps, screamin’ in the minivan
They don’t care, we can’t remember the last time we dreamed
But everybody’s like swaddles, white noise, sleeping with your baby
Warm milk, rocking, let them cry it out now
We don’t care, we haven’t slept in a couple years.

I guess we better stock up on as much sleep as we possible can until the baby arrives!  Wish us luck!!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

TDAP for All!

I mentioned in previous posts that Shep and I have both gotten our TDAP vaccines in preparation for this little kicker to arrive.  But, it's also important that caretakers, relatives, friends and any other people wishing to spend time with infants before they are old enough to receive immunity from their own vaccinations get vaccinated.  This concept is know as "herd immunity" and helps create a buffer of immunity around yet-to-be-vaccinated babies.  To ensure our families were familiar with the serious risks of whooping cough and the CDC recommendations around the TDAP vaccine, I wrote up and sent anyone who I thought might visit baby kicker as a newborn the below email.  Feel free to replicate/edit and use for your own purposes if you want!


Hello! We are in Week 30 of our pregnancy and so far everything is looking good with baby's development! Shep and I both recently got our TDAP vaccines in preparation for meeting our little bundle of joy in a couple months! The pertussis portion of this vaccine is especially important. Pertussis (whooping cough) is a highly contagious bacterial disease that can be spread by coughing. There have been a number of whooping cough outbreaks in our area lately and it can be extremely dangerous for newborns to contract this disease. When a baby catches whooping cough, the baby can suffer from breathing trouble, pneumonia, and in some cases, even brain damage or death.

Since the baby cannot get his/her own TDAP vaccine for a couple months after birth, we want to make you aware of the TDAP vaccine. If you plan on visiting us to spend time with the baby after birth but before s/he can get vaccinated, we would ask that you also get the TDAP vaccination sometime between now and May, if you haven't already received it. We know it's still a couple months out, but this way, if you have a physical or a checkup at some point between now and then, you can ask for the TDAP vaccine while you're there. Local pharmacies like CVS and Walgreen's also offer TDAP vaccines. You should plan to get the shot at least 2 weeks before being around the baby.

According to the CDC:
Adults 19 years of age and older who didn't get Tdap as a preteen or teen should get one dose of Tdap. Adults get Tdap in place of one of their regular tetanus boosters - the Td shot that is recommended for adults every 10 years. However, the dose of Tdap can be given no matter when the last Td shot was received. It's a good idea for adults to talk to a health care provider about what's best for their specific situation.

Here is a link to a CDC article about pertussis if you still have questions or want to know more about it:

Thanks for helping to keep our baby safe and healthy!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Onesies Galore!

I've been shockingly conservative for most of the pregnancy in terms of buying stuff for our baby.  At first, I was too superstitious.  Then, I was simply too nauseous to have spare energy for anything productive.  Add to that our limited space {we live in a condo} and the fact that we don't yet know our baby's sex, and you can probably see why I hadn't gone out on any shopping sprees.

But still, that was highly unusual behavior for me.  I am someone who has always gotten absolutely GIDDY each and every time I've seen a precious baby outfit -- I can't help it, I just go crazy for tiny things, and always have, even pre-pregnancy!  Seeing as we're currently expecting a wee one of our own very soon, and so I now finally have a legitimate reason to drool over these pint-sized outfits I always seek out in stores, Shep has noted his surprise on numerous occasions over the past several months that I haven't been hoarding up buying little baby outfits like it's my full-time job.  To be honest it's because we don't know whether we're expecting a boy or a girl, and I really haven't seen a ton of SUPER-CUTE-MUST-BUY-THAT-NOW gender-neutral options out there!  Well, all that changed when I stumbled upon the gender neutral baby clothing category on  Basically, the cap popped off the fire hydrant and I went berserk.  But I just couldn't help myself -- check out these onesies!
First Moments® New Baby Bodysuit {Source}
First Moments® ''Born in 2014'' Bodysuit {Source}
First Moments® Balloon Bodysuit {Source}
First Moments® ''Newly Hatched'' Bodysuit {Source}
Jumping Beans® "Rolls" Bodysuit {Source}

Simply irresistible!  They are adorable, unique AND gender neutral!  Plus, they were on sale and I had a coupon code for an additional 30% off!  Quintuple score!!!!!  I cannot wait until they arrive, and I cannot wait to see our baby in them!  Finally starting to buy some supplies for baby's arrival has made it seem more real that in just about a month we are going to be PARENTS!!!!  Yikes!!  I'm still a little bit nervous about the whole birthing process, but more and more I'm feeling really excited for him/her to get here!

Monday, April 14, 2014

34 Weeks

Hello butternut squash baby!

Source: The Bump
Sounds like our little one is chunking up, which is great!  It's amazing how quickly these little guys and gals grow in the last trimester -- it seems like just yesterday we were looking at photos of apple seeds and blueberries and now we've graduated to a butternut squash!  Wow!

I had my 34 week OB appointment today, and everything looks good!  My blood pressure is healthy, and my fundal height is apparently right on target.  According to the doctor's records I've gained 1 pound in 3 weeks {which she said was fine}, though my own tracker shows a 3 pound increase in 3 weeks.  {It's funny how the time of day and clothing can really mess with your weight measurements!}  The little one's heart beat was a strong 158 -- music to my ears!

Speaking of music, according to The Bump I better start singing some lullabies to my belly!  I'll admit something -- I LOVE to sing!  I always say that if I could have any skill in the world, it would be a singing voice -- some combination of Faith Hill, Martina McBride and Celine Dion would be my ideal!  Alas, I do not, so I keep my performances to the shower and the car.  ;)  This mostly means that Shep is the only one lucky enough to enjoy suffer through my mini concerts, but it looks like Baby will be joining his or her daddy {unwillingly} in the front row of my own personal sing-a-long.  ;)  I'll know I'm really off key if I start getting kicked as a result....  I think that's the baby equivalent of throwing rotten tomatoes.  ;)

Not much new in terms of symptoms -- I've been doing okay on the nausea front, though have had a couple days here and there of queasiness.  Overall though, it's still a marked improvement over what was going on from weeks 6.5 through 32, so I can definitely live with it!  :)  I've had a little bit of foot and ankle swelling, but nothing that bad, so far {knock on wood!}; though I did have to leave my engagement ring at home one day last week for the first time because my fingers were a bit puffy in the morning.  Luckily by the afternoon they were back to size.

This weekend Shep and I went on a baby-buying binge.  We went out to purchase a crib mattress and then spent over 6 hours shopping and buying.  By the time we got home (a) my ankles were totally swollen and (b) I was surprised I didn't get a fraud alert on my credit card!  In all seriousness, our living room currently looks like we are the victims of a reverse robbery.  For those of you not familiar, this would be when a burglar goes to Buy Buy Baby, TJ Maxx, Bed Bath & Beyond and Babies 'R Us, obtains several very large bags of baby supplies, breaks into our apartment, dumps the goods and then takes off.  ;)  Until I finally semi-organized the stuff last night, we couldn't even get to the couch without leaping over clothes, crib sheets, and other random newborn paraphernalia!  It's funny how a baby so small could already own so much stuff!!!  Hopefully it will all come in handy though -- I know the diapers and burp cloths will, that's for sure!  ;)

Thursday, April 10, 2014

33 Weeks

33.5 weeks down, nobody-knows-how-many to go!!!  This week, baby graduated to the size of a durian {whatever that is}.  I've realized lately as we graduate through the fruit bowl comparisons that my fruit knowledge is seriously lacking...  maybe once the little one arrives, I can read to him or her about all these unique kinds of fruits.  :)

Source: The Bump
According to The Bump baby tracker, our baby could weigh as much as 5.5 pounds and be over 18 inches long?!  WOWZERS!!!  That length is incredible to imagine, especially since Shep was about that same length when he was born!  Baby definitely feels heavy in there, but 5.8 pounds is a LOT to think about carrying around in my belly every day!  No wonder I have a little slow waddle going on.  ;)

The kicking has slowed down a bit as compared to what it was earlier on in the pregnancy, but I definitely still feel a lot of movement -- mostly what feels like baby stretching out, or turning around, or doing some kind of country line dance in there.  Now that we're almost at the 34 week mark, we're starting to hope that baby gets itself in the head-down position like s/he is supposed to, in time for birth!  Right now it feels like the baby's body is entirely in the lower half of my beach ball bump, but I can't really tell which position s/he is laying in, and s/he still seems to be rotating around a bunch.  Apparently that's still normal for this stage in pregnancy, and hopefully there is still plenty of time for the little one to get in the right position.

We've completed 3 birthing classes already, and only have 2 more to go.  This past weekend our moms hosted a baby shower for me, and today my co-workers surprised me with a shower at work!  The nursery furniture is coming on Saturday, we have our maternity photo shoot on Sunday, and we met with 3 different doulas this week.  We may still be 15 items behind in our baby to-do list, but we're getting there -- slowly but steadily!

In terms of symptoms, not much new.  I've noticed a little bit of swelling around my ankles on and off on various days, and yesterday was the first time my fingers were a bit swollen -- I went to work sans engagement ring just to be safe in case the swelling got worse, but luckily it got better as the day progressed.  It's harder to walk quickly, but I'm still making it up those 4 flights of stairs from the train platform every morning!  My "baby brain" is getting worse -- I keep forgetting things!  My back doesn't really hurt that much, and my nosebleeds have slowed down for the time being = both good things.  I haven't been sleeping great though, and I notice that when I sleep on my left side, my left ear hurts so badly when I wake up.  Weird, huh?!  I hate to say it, but my nausea may be coming back.  I've felt particularly pukey yesterday and today, though don't think I've been eating or drinking anything different to cause it.  Let's hope it's just a couple bad days due to lack of sleep and too much stress at work, and that I get more than a 1-week reprieve from this darn nausea throughout this pregnancy!

Thank you all so much for the supportive words and prayers for my grandma!  Thankfully she was released from the hospital last Friday, and has been in good spirits since then.  Her short-term memory is still really bad, and getting worse, but I guess that's to be expected when you're 92.  :)  At least she can laugh about it with us, and she still knows who we are!  I'm just thankful that she's feeling better and is back in her home, although I was super bummed that she didn't make it up north for my shower.

Friday, April 4, 2014

32 Weeks

Hello, baby squash!

I can't believe I'm carrying a 4 pound baby inside of me!  Well, truth be told it feels pretty darn crowded in there, so I guess I can.  ;)  I can only imagine how crowded baby feels in there!

I still feel a fair bit of movement on a regular basis, so I guess it's not too crowded in baby's living quarters!  Though the interesting thing is that the kicks or jabs, or whatever they are, are mostly down low.  Does that mean baby hasn't turned upside down yet?  I'm trying not to stress because I know there's still time, but I hope when the time comes that this little kicker is in the correct head-down position!

Not much new in terms of symptoms, EXCEPT..... {drum roll please} ..... I HAVEN'T REALLY FELT NAUSEOUS ALL WEEK!!!  Can you believe it?!  I've been afraid to say it out loud or even write it down -- quick, everyone knock on a piece of wood! -- but maybe week #32 is my lucky break!  It's already Friday, and it's been smooth tummy sailing since Sunday, which marked the start of my 32nd week!  I have had some reflux, but I can totally deal with that.  Shortness of breath?  Cake walk!  Not even the seasonal allergies that paraded into town this week, or the zits which refuse to be evicted from my face can get me down - nope!  If my nausea stays away for the next 8 weeks or so I will be OH SO HAPPY!!!  Even though I'm still super fatigued {thanks to waking up to pee 2-3 times per night and not really being able to find a comfortable sleeping position} I've felt like more of a functioning human over the past 5 days than I have been in the past 6 months!  Man, that nausea really dragged down my productivity!

Despite feeling pretty OK in the tummy acid department, things have been pretty stressful this week between trying to prep for baby at home, trying to finish the insurmountable mountain of work I face at my job, and being scared for my grandma who is 92 years old and was hospitalized Sunday night due to fluid build-up resulting from the congestive heart failure she's dealt with for the past couple decades.  Baby prep and work were already bringing me to the edge of my sanity; hearing my grandma so out of it on Sunday when I spoke to her on the phone was enough to push me over the edge.  Luckily, she's been on IV in the hospital and has been feeling a bit better over the course of the week, but it's still frightening.  My grandma {or Babci as we lovingly call her} and I are two peas in a pod -- Shep always jokes that I am "Babci Jr.".  Needless to say it's been a hard week.  I am hoping to God that she gets better and gets released soon.  She lives in VA near my uncle, so I don't get to see her too often and I was really looking forward to her visit up here this weekend for my baby shower.  Alas, that's not going to work out and I'll be honest, I'm really disappointed.  At this point in my pregnancy, I can't even really travel down there to see her.  But I just keep praying that she gets better and will be able to come up to visit once this little baby squash is born!  My brother had a dream earlier this week, and in the dream our grandma was holding my baby.  Of course the first thing my mom and I both asked was "was it a boy or a girl"?!  Bro didn't know that detail {men!}, but I really hope his dream comes true.  All prayers and positive thoughts you ladies can muster would be much appreciated!

P.S. -- Sorry to get your hopes up with my April Fool's prank!  Shep didn't think anyone would fall for it, but I guess I'm more convincing than he thought!  I'm not really known for my pranking skills, but the idea came to me spontaneously and I just ran with it -- sorry for tricking all of you!  xo

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Gender Reveal

We're at 32 weeks gestation, we still have a TON to do in order to prep for baby's arrival, and to be honest not knowing the sex of the baby has made things a bit more challenging than we predicted in terms of planning.  The clock is ticking down, and Shep and I simply couldn't handle the suspense any longer, so we decided to find out the sex of our baby after all!

It's a . . .


Did I get you?!  Even for a second???

We still don't know what we're having, but according to the very scientific {not at all} Baby Hunch poll we're running, the slight majority of people think we're having a boy.  We'll see how accurate our poll participants' intuition is in about 8 weeks, give or take!  ;)  Feel free to throw your guess in there if you'd like too!
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