10 Weeks of Love- What I Learned While On Maternity Leave

Almost 2 months later and I’m back!  Thursday was my first day back to work from maternity leave.  For the last 10 weeks, I took advantage of spending every moment with our lil’ munchkin.  So, sorry, (not sorry), I’ve been away for awhile, enjoying snuggles, giggles and that new, fresh, baby smell.

The last 10 weeks have had so many ups and a few downs but I have taken it all in stride with my new life as a mama.  I learned a lot since May 2nd about myself, about my marriage, parenthood and having a newborn that I didn’t realize before.  So I thought I’d take a minute to share some things I found out during these last 74 days.  Let this be advice to mommy-to-be’s and hilarious for the veterans who I’m sure could throw out a quick “I told you so”.

You won’t accomplish your “To-Do List” while on maternity leave.

Silly me.  I had these grandiose plans of all the things I was going to get done as soon as I was on maternity leave.  My house was going to be so cleaned and organized, I was going to make dinner every night and even bake (HA!).  I was going to take the dogs on daily walks and even a brief fleeting vision of a garage sale.

Little did I know while making these plans, Miss Stubborn, (who is still as strong willed out of my womb as she was in), would stay breech and require me to have a C-section and to add to it, she would be arriving 3 weeks early with the last 5 days of pregnancy resulting in bed rest.  Oh and don’t forget that part about HAVING A NEWBORN.  No one tells you, you will literally not have a single ounce of energy to do anything but feed that baby (which that is a whole other issue to be discussed later), shower (if you’re lucky), sleep when the baby sleeps (that’s another joke), and eat (if you remember).

fa71fbc91c783a7901f5eb186c7e8fa4--pregnancy-tips-doulaNeedless to say none of the above tasks listed, happened.  I was extremely blessed that I healed really well and quickly from my C-section so at least I was more mobile than originally planned.  However, I was lucky if we were out of bed by 11am which seemed like a feat after Nora’s schedule of eating and waking up every 2-3 hours.  Then more feeds every 2 hours then before you knew it, it was time to have dinner (we were so grateful to have friends provide us with meals) and then we would start our bedtime routine and start all over the next day!

Looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing.  All those things I wanted to do will get done, just not right now.  I learned spending time and bonding with my baby was far more important than making sure the laundry was put away.

Breastfeeding is hard…like, really hard.

I had heard many people talk about breastfeeding being hard.  Nothing prepared me for this kind of hard.  I had always envisioned the moment she was born, we would do the ever so glorious skin-to-skin time and breastfeed right away.  I quickly learned, just like my pregnancy, things weren’t going to be that easy.

We tried to get her to latch and she just wouldn’t do it.  After multiple attempts, the nurse got a shield and that seemed to do the trick. However, we later learned the shield was the wrong size and I was in SO much pain each time I would attempt to feed her.  During our stay at the hospital, Nora was losing too much weight and exceeded the preferred <10% weight loss.  Our last day at the hospital, her pediatrician recommended I start pumping when we got home and supplement after each feeding.  That did the trick and she gained back all the weight lost and then some within a week!

However, now Nora realized that a bottle was WAY easier than breastfeeding.  When we would feed she would get frustrated and not stay latched, knock the shield off, fall asleep, etc.  It would take us at least an hour for her to finally be full and when she wants to eat every 2-3 hours, by the time I would get done pumping after her eating, I literally was getting 15 minutes of sleep.  It was awful.  There were definitely times I would cry along with her out of frustration and sleep deprivation.

So where are we at now?  Well, mostly pumping and giving her a bottle.  I went to support groups and worked with Lactation Consultants to see if they could help.  Turns out her latch was all sorts of wrong which was causing the pain and her frustration.  We also recently found out she is tongue-tied.  She was checked for a tongue tie in the front but never checked for one towards the back.  After all of our troubles, 3 doctors, 2 lactation consultants and people who thought I was crazy, my motherly intuition told me to ask one more doctor to check just one more time and sure enough she diagnosed it immediately.  This explains her inability to transfer milk in a normal amount of time and also could be the cause of acid reflux, which she also has.  We have an appointment with an ENT next month and hopefully we can take care of it and make it better for her!

Fed-is-best-meme-Fb-chatMy supply dropped significantly during all of this and I have become a “just enougher” where I usually pump just enough for her next feeding.  I wasn’t able to build up a “stash” for when I return to work so we resulted in having to supplement with a special formula for about a week. This allowed me freeze the other half of milk for when I’d return to work.  On top of everything else, we believe she may have a cow protein intolerance (which I found out is completely different than being lactose intolerant) and I am now having to cut out dairy from my diet because it’s effecting her reflux issues. This child better know how much I love her to give up cheese…

In the end, I’ve learned– FED IS BEST.  In two short months, I have already breastfed, pumped and fed my baby a special hypoallergenic formula when I found out my milk was making her sick and guess what? She’s still living, happy and thriving.  To me that’s all that matters.

‘Mom Shaming’ really happens and it sucks. 

Luckily, I haven’t experienced this firsthand but I’m sure I will at some point, which is sad.  I’m a part of a few “mom’s groups” on social media to gather tips and resources for raising my kiddo.  Some of the things I see women saying to each other completely baffles me!  In a group where we are supposed to be building each other up, the opposite is happening.

I had a friend whose daughter also has a cow protein allergy but there is also something specific about her milk that makes her daughter sick.  No matter her diet, her daughter cannot have her milk. She was telling me how she had to go pick up her hypoallergenic formula at a local store and while standing in front of the never-ending wall of formula choices, a lady approached her and said “You know, breast is best! You really shouldn’t be feeding your baby that crap.”

c18ace23dd345ef470dc81b75a8b1f7fUh, excuse me?  My poor friend felt so defeated already knowing her milk was literally making her daughter sick but this woman had no idea that yes, she wanted to breastfeed but couldn’t. My friend who is commonly the shy and reserved type didn’t say anything. She left the store in tears all because this woman felt the need to give her unsolicited opinion.  If I would’ve been there, I promise in all my sleep deprived glory, I would have become a verbal ninja on her behind and set her straight.

With that said, the lesson I learned here is–YOUR BABY, YOUR RULES. Something I’ve always said is just because you wouldn’t do it, doesn’t make it wrong.  There could also be outlying circumstances for the way things are, you don’t know. I also learned we as moms have that intuition or mama bear characteristic when it comes to our kids.  What I think is best for my child, you may not agree with but that is okay because she’s not your child.  There’s a fine line between advice and non-beneficial opinions and ain’t nobody got time for that!

Ask for help.

This has never been my strong suit.  I seriously hate asking for help but I finally broke down and had to do it during these last 10 weeks. Having a C-section meant not being able to do normal things like drive, grocery shop, vacuum, etc. for awhile. For someone who would rather be the person helping someone else and not be the person in need, was hard!

I’m so grateful my mother, step-mother, mother-in-law and sister-in-law came over the first week Hubby went back to work. The following weeks other friends and family would come to help or just give us a break and it was amazing. At first, I wasn’t sure why it was necessary but having them there physically and emotionally meant the world to me!

I learned even with Hubby if I need help, just ask.  Anyone who has taken care of a newborn knows emotions can run high.  I had numerous frustrating and defeating moments these last 2 months and would have completely crumbled if he hadn’t rescued me.  Baby blues are a real thing.  When I’m ready to throw in the towel, I realize unless I ask for help, nothing will change and it will just get worse.

 Clichés are true.

Finally, I’ve learned what they say is true- you’ll never experience a love as strong as the one when you have baby.  But I’ve also learned, it may take awhile to fully feel that love.  I joked that when Eleanor was born for the first week or so, I kept waiting for her  parents to come pick her up.  It was so surreal she was actually ours! Don’t get me wrong, the joy I felt the moment she was placed in my arms was overwhelming.  That joy quickly turned into the love that everyone speaks of and it only continues to grow.  Every time she gives me her goofy gummy grin, my heart swells.   The first time she pouted out her bottom lip in protest, I knew I was doomed.  Every little new thing she does, I’m so enamored with her.  She has changed our lives for the better.

—-

 

Baby Update!!

With all that said, things are going great and are only getting better! Miss Eleanor Charlotte is over 11lbs now and close to 23 inches long.  She’s right smack in the middle of all of her percentiles, so exactly where she needs to be!

Aside from her having horrible reflux early on, we believe we are headed in the right direction to getting it fixed.  We have an appointment with an ENT in August to discuss getting her tongue tie fixed which could potentially minimize the reflux. Her medicines have also seemed to start to curb it some as well.

She had ultrasounds done on her hips since she was breech for so long and that came back all normal.  She also had an ultrasound done on the birth mark she has that is on her tail bone to ensure it wasn’t interfering with any vascular areas and her spine.  So far so good on that front and we will continue to monitor it with a dermatologist as she grows!

Our little girl is full of smiles and funny faces and has started becoming more interested in the world around her.  We think our doggies are funny, diaper changes are awful, Dad’s beard is the best and tummy time is torture!  She gets to spend four days a week with her Grandma now while I’m at work. She has a great time and I get cute pictures throughout the day so it’s a win-win!  We couldn’t ask for anything better!!

I had to postpone my return to work by a few days because in the midst of everything my Gallbladder had to be removed.  I had numerous Gallbladder attacks while pregnant with Nora and found out I had gallstones.  It only got worse after she arrived.  The attacks became more frequent and painful and we decided it was time for my gallbladder to be evicted! I’m doing much better now!

My hopes will be to update and document Nora as she grows through my blog but I’m not sure what that will look like yet.  So stay tuned and prepare to be inundated with baby pictures!!!

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Until next time,

J

Our Birth Story

our birth story

Yesterday, May 19th, was the day our sweet baby was due. (I had meant to have this posted yesterday but things happen now with a baby in our lives, like poopy diapers and no sleep so you take what downtime you can get!) No “guess date” here given we know the exact time (to the minute) I became pregnant.  However, due to being diagnosed with Cholestasis, our 40 week timeline quickly got cut down to 37 weeks to avoid more complications.  We were told our little girl would be born the first week of May and because she decided she would be in breech position from week 28 on, we were told May 2nd would be her official birthday after a scheduled c-section, unless she flipped.  For almost a month, I tried everything in the book to get her to flip such as lying upside down on the side of the couch to doing headstands in a pool.  Despite every attempt, she didn’t budge so May 2nd it was!

The Week Before

The week before May 2nd, we went in for our routine ultrasound and NST and found that my amniotic fluid had dropped significantly and was teetering on the edge of no longer being safe for Nora.  Her NST and everything else checked out okay so they asked me to come back in three days for another ultrasound and NST to monitor any other drops in levels.  When we returned later that week, my fluid levels had dropped again.  We were only five days away from her debut so I was ordered on bed rest and asked to return for an NST two days before our scheduled c-section to make sure she wasn’t in distress.  When we went in that Sunday, we were told she was a “textbook perfect baby” on the monitors and that we were okay to wait until Tuesday, May 2nd.   Looking back at it now, had I not had Cholestasis, I probably would have delivered early due to low fluid levels anyway.

The Night Before

The night before, we had dinner with a few of our closest friends at one of our favorite restaurants.  It was nice to have a worry-free non-diabetes-friendly meal before I was told not to eat or drink anything after that evening.  (Which by the way, how come you are never hungry or thirsty until you are told you can’t eat or drink anything after a certain time??)

At dinner, one of my best friends who helped throw my shower, gave me an album full of pictures from the shower and words of advice and cute fill-in-the-blank sheets from all of the guests.  When Hubby and I got home that night, we decided it was only fitting to read through the album as we prepare for our daughter to come into our lives.  I was already an emotional mess but we began to laugh at the fact I could not stop crying.  The overwhelming thought that I would no longer be pregnant anymore and our daughter would be in our arms in less than 12 hours took over.  All of the complications and the less desirable things I experienced while pregnant and here I was, sad about not being pregnant anymore.  Then add to it all of the thoughtful words everyone had for us in our album,  I still tear up just thinking about that night.

The Big Day

The morning of May 2nd, I didn’t get any sleep.  Knowing it was my “last full night” of sleep, having people tell me to rest was a complete joke.  I went to bed around midnight, woke up at 2:30am and laid in bed.  My mind racing with all the last minute things I could be doing.  This lasted until 4:30am and then I fell back asleep until 5:15am.  I woke back up and realized there would be no falling back asleep this time.  I took a shower knowing it would be awhile before I was allowed to take one again.  I did a few things around the house and packed a few last minute items in our bags before I woke up Hubby so he could start getting ready.  We had to check in at the hospital at 8am for our 10am surgery.

Before I knew it, it was already 7:30am and we were running behind.  Even though the hospital was only 10 minutes away, Hubby wanted to stop at his favorite local coffee shop to get his caffeine fix for the day.  We quickly loaded up the car and were on our way.  On our way to the coffee shop, we turned on the radio to our friend’s morning radio show just in time to hear him give us a shout out and wish us luck!   Hubby stopped and got his coffee and we were on our way to the hospital.  I teared up again knowing this is the last time I would head to the hospital pregnant.

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About to walk in to the hospital to have our baby!

We found a parking spot with 5 minutes to spare and took in the bags we knew we would need right away. We headed in (after I made Hubby take an obligatory “walking into the hospital picture”) and took the elevator to the Maternity Center.  We checked in and were met by a nurse who would show us to our room.  Weeks before, I was told by a close friend who had given birth at the same hospital to ask for a specific nurse because she was absolutely amazing during the birth of their daughter.  When the nurse came around the corner and introduced herself it happened to be the same one!  I instantly felt relieved and knew we were in good hands.

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Last bump pic!

They walked us down to the room where we would be staying and we were able to drop off our bags settle in.  They had me change into a gown after wiping down with antibacterial wipes to sterilize before surgery.   Once I was sporting my fashionable gown, our nurse along with another one came in and started prepping me for surgery.  This including starting my IV, (which honestly was the worst needle stick of the whole day), drawing blood for labs and doing another NST to check on baby.  They began multiple bags of IV fluids to prevent my blood pressure from tanking when I received the spinal block.  We also had paperwork and authorizations we had to go over.

About 8:45am or so, one of the anesthesiologists came in to explain how they would perform the spinal block.  I was relieved to find out a spinal block was a one time injection that would numb my lower half instead of a catheter with the epidural.  He answered all of my questions and made me feel more at ease as this was a huge portion of my anxiety about the procedure.

Around 9:15am, they gave me the worst tasting cocktail to neutralize my stomach acids.  It tasted like a horrible sour patch kid times one-hundred.  Afterward, my doctor came in to check on me and see if I had any questions.  She had just finished a C-section and said they were cleaning and sanitizing the room and as soon as they were finished we would be ready to go.  She also explained with breech babies, it was common to not hear them cry for a few minutes after they are born via c-section.  They are typically disoriented and it takes them a little while to realize “they have been born”.  She told me to not freak out and they would let us know if there was a problem but we would eventually hear her cry.

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My lucky socks made it to delivery day!

Our nurse started to put the hospital-issued non-skid socks on when I interrupted her and asked if I could wear my “lucky socks”.  From day one of our second cycle of IVF, I wore these socks to every appointment, procedure, ultrasound, OB appointment and I wasn’t about to stop now.  I told with Hubby back in August that I would deliver our baby wearing these socks and I did!

I had struggled with the thought of not being able to experience a vaginal birth for a few weeks when we found out we would possibly be having a c-section.  The lack of control I was feeling had me feeling defeated.  I was almost ecstatic when I asked our doctor that morning if it was possible to do delayed-cord clamping, where they allow the cord blood to return to baby after she is born before cutting the cord and she said yes if everything with the baby was okay.  We were prepared to donate the cord blood to a cord blood bank if it wasn’t possible or if there was any blood remaining.

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Hubby in his “dad suit”!  He even put his cap over his Royals hat!

Around 9:45am, they told me they were ready to take me to the OR to start my spinal block and told Hubby to put on his fancy “dad suit” and we would reunite when I was all numbed up and ready to have a baby! I asked our nurse how long a typical C-Section takes because I had no idea.  Expecting an answer of 1-2 hours, I was shocked when she replied “With your doctor?  45 minutes on a bad day!” In less than an hour, we could have a baby in our arms!! I gave Hubby a kiss and the nurse and I walked to the OR.  She stated they could wheel me down but if she knew she was going to be bed ridden the rest of the day, she would enjoy the walk and thought I would too.  She was right.  We passed the nurses station and many of them wished me luck as we walked through the double doors of the OR area.

I could feel my nerves kick in as I started to shake some from the adrenaline and the feel of the cold sterile air hit my exposed skin.  I was introduced to the nurse who would be looking after our baby girl when she was born and we walked into the operating room together.  The room was smaller than I thought and then I realized I guess it doesn’t need to be that big for what they were doing.  I saw the table where I would be and they pulled over a step stool and they told me to climb up and have a seat. I saw the anesthesiologist we spoke with earlier and was introduced to another anesthesiologist who would also be monitoring me.

When I took a seat on the edge of the table I looked to the corner of the room and saw the warming table and immediately thought “that’s where my baby will be in a few minutes.” Emotions began to overtake my body and I almost thought about saying “I’m not ready yet!” My amazing nurse told me she would be in the room with me for the entire surgery and was going to help me through the spinal block.  It was so comforting to have her there and she was so encouraging! She gave me a warm blanket and placed it on the front of me while they exposed my back to prepare for the block.  The anesthesiologist began to explain the start of the spinal block and how he would prep my back.  It was the strangest feeling having the warmth on the front side mixed with the freezing cold feeling of the solution on my back they used to sterilize.

It was time to do the local anesthetic to numb the injection area for the spinal block itself. The anesthesiologist asked how I did with needles and I told him given this baby was conceived with IVF, my issues with needles had to go a long time ago!  They had me bend forward to spread my vertebrae and I leaned into the nurse’s chest.  The needle stick for the local wasn’t terrible but man, did it burn.  They counted to ten and then it was over and we were ready for the actual spinal.  The needle for the spinal block is so tiny they explained if they blew on it while holding it, it would sway like a blade of grass as opposed to a long, giant epidural needle.  This helped my anxiety a bit and honestly, by this point, the worst part was over, in my mind.

He explained he was going to insert the needle and we would instantly know if it worked if my feet became warm right away.  Sure enough, in the midst of feeling freezing cold on my back side, my feet felt as thought they were placed in a hot bath and and it started to work up to my ankles almost immediately.  They had me lay back quickly so it would continue to work up over my body.  My nurse explained she was going to start my catheter and I joked I welcomed the idea of not having to use the bathroom 17 times a day and was looking forward to that the most!

While everyone prepped the room around me, I could start to sense the “pins and needles” feeling over my legs and I remember touching my hips and feeling the sensation from my hand but not being able to feel it from my hip.  I wiggled my toes and slightly panicked and told the anesthesiologist and he explained it could take up to 5 to 10 minutes for the spinal to take full effect and not to worry they would “test” to make sure I couldn’t feel anything before they started surgery.

Hubby joined us around 9:55am and came to my right side next to my head as they were putting up the infamous blue curtain.   I remember telling him how weird it felt to be numb from the chest down but I was worried I could still wiggle my toes.

Our doctor came in and next thing I heard was “incision has been made”.  My eyes shot open as wide as they could and I looked at Hubby and then I shot a look to the anesthesiologist almost in disbelief because I was still waiting for the “test”!   He quickly replied, “Oh yeah, they already tested.  They took forceps and pinched your belly really hard and twisted.  You didn’t respond, so it worked!”  Well, okay then!

I looked up at Hubby and squeezed his hand to say “this is really happening”.  I looked up at the ceiling and noticed the operating room light and quickly realized I could see a reflection of what was going on, on the other side of the curtain.  I said outloud, “NOPE!” and as quickly as I looked up, I looked away.  Hubby on the other hand is fascinated with that sort of thing and I caught him watching the entire birth!

The anesthesiologists were great at checking in with me and making sure I felt comfortable and at ease and explained (in less detail than what Hubby was getting to see, thankfully) what was taking place.  I heard my doctor say to the doctor that was assisting not only was Nora breech she was also in Posterior (facing forward) position, the two most difficult positions for a baby to be born in.  Her head was also lodged deep in my ribs and I kept hearing the doctor say “She just doesn’t want to come out! This girl is difficult!”  I wanted to reply she wasn’t telling us anything we didn’t already know!

The tugging and pulling sensations were unreal and there isn’t a way to explain being able to feel someone pull on your insides.  The anesthesiologist said it was going to feel like an elephant was sitting on my chest and then I would feel like I could breathe the best breath I had taken in months, and he was right. I heard lots of suctioning and then it felt as if my doctor was on top of me with her foot on my chest for leverage trying to pull this baby out.

Then, at 10:04am, our little girl came into this world WAILING.  There wasn’t “waiting a few minutes to hear her cry”.  She didn’t make it to the warming table before she was announcing to the world she was here.  Tears filled my eyes and happiness filled my soul.  She was finally here. 

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The first picture I saw of her!

They told Hubby he could go over and meet her and take pictures to show me while they looked her over.  I heard them announce her weight and length, that she had a few birthmarks all while she continued to cry (I would too, if I was warm and comfy and not planning to come out for 3 more weeks). One of the anesthesiologists told me she had a head full of hair, (and he wasn’t joking).   I continued to cry and Hubby came over to show me pictures he had taken.  I couldn’t stop thinking about how beautiful she was!

Eleanor Charlotte weighed 6lbs 13oz and was 18.25 inches long.

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They told Hubby they could bring her over to me.  He brought her over, placed her on my chest and they helped me hold her for the first time.   I was so overwhelmed with joy.

Before I knew it, they were done closing me up and ready to put me back in my hospital bed.  They placed her in my arms as they wheeled us down the hall back to our room. Along the way, her eyes opened so wide and I just stared at her. The same nurses who wished me luck going in were congratulating us as we made the trip back to our room.

18641268_10100686128021370_1228505031_o.jpgTwo years of heartache, mental strain, physical stress and the overall unknown had come down to this moment.  Our baby girl, our daughter was finally in our arms and she was perfect!  I hope she understands someday how much she was wanted and how much she is truly loved.

We announced her birth with a video of our entire journey, if you want to check it out CLICK HERE!


As for now, two and a half weeks later, things are going great.  She’s still pretty awesome even when she wakes up every 2-3 hours and has some pretty gnarly blowouts.  I’m healing incredibly well and have only had to take Ibuprofen since the second day after surgery to manage pain.  We are taking it day by day and are constantly in awe of our miracle. We want to express our sincerest thanks for everyone’s support and prayers we have received throughout this journey! We are so blessed to be surrounded by so much love!

I had the chance to take some newborn pictures of her last week.  It was fun for me to finally get to take pictures of my own child!  Check out the sneak peek below!

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34 & 35 Weeks

34 35 weeks

How far along?: I am 35 weeks and 4 days today!

Size of the Baby: At 34 weeks, Nora was the size of a butternut squash.  At 35 weeks, she is the size of a pineapple, a honeydew melon, a bunch of carrots, or a mini lop rabbit!  She should be approximately 18 inches and over 5lbs!

Baby Bump: 

We’ve had another growth spurt, I believe.  Last week, when the OB measured my belly I was right on target with the measurement.  Yesterday, I measured a week ahead at 36 weeks.

  • Belly Button Status: It’s STILL an innie!  I don’t think my “turkey timer” will ever pop!
  • Feet: My poor feet.  Even with compression socks, my feet are starting to swell more frequently.  Only time I can see them is when I have them elevated.  Also, invested in some slip on shoes so I don’t have to tie them anymore or I just wear flip flops!

Movement: At 33 weeks and 6 days, I had noticed when I got to work that I hadn’t really felt her kick since the evening before.  I checked my blood sugar and it came back normal even a little lower than usual, so I decided to eat some fruit in hopes a sugary snack would perk her up.  A couple hours went by and I still felt nothing which was very unlike her after I would eat.  My nurse had actually called me shortly after my snack to schedule an appointment so I mentioned to her what was going on that morning.  She said to drink ice cold water and to do a kick count for an hour. If I didn’t feel her move at least 10 times in an hour, I needed to call her back.  In that hour I felt 2 faint kicks but that was it, so I called back.  She sent me to Labor and Delivery for a NST to see how she was doing.  Hubby met me there and I was starting to get really nervous.  Sure enough, we arrive and the moment the monitors were strapped on, her heart was ticking away and then she started moving like crazy!! Hubby gave me the “I told you there was nothing to worry about” look.  Everything checked out fine.  They said she could’ve just been kicking the placenta and since it is in the front I didn’t feel it.  We’ve had ultrasounds where I’ve seen her moving and wiggling but feel nothing because the placenta muffles everything.  Since then, I notice more rolling and pressure rather than kicks since space is getting cramped.  I also have noticed she responds to my touch.  If I rest my hand in certain places she’ll kick or press against it. Makes me giggle everytime!

Sleep: My pelvis is starting to get really sore so anytime I roll over I wake up which then leads to a bathroom visit.  My need for naps in the afternoon is increasing.

Maternity Clothes:  Realized the majority of my casual maternity wear are long sleeves so I’m having to layer tank tops with t-shirts to make sure my belly is covered while trying to stay cool.

Symptoms: 17972236_10100661842629490_7592433611369862721_oThe emotional side of things has really kicked in and I find myself getting super choked up at certain times, some serious, some completely ridiculous. It’s really starting to hit me this pregnancy is almost over.  Although, it definitely hasn’t been easy, it is bittersweet it is coming to an end.  I feel like I was just getting used to it, (well more starting to think this was the permanent state my body was going to be in from now on).  My indigestion has ramped back up but being controlled by anti-acids.  I also officially can’t lay flat anymore because she pushes my lungs into non-existence and I can’t breathe.

Recent Labs/Results: I started weekly Biophysical Profile Ultrasounds (BPP’s) along with my weekly NSTs and OB appts.   At these ultrasounds, they are measuring baby’s heart rate, muscle tone, movement, breathing, and the amount of amniotic fluid around the baby.  At our 34 week BPP, she did great and we saw a LOT of hair! I didn’t realize babies start “practice breathing” around 33 weeks.  They “breathe” in the amniotic fluid which helps produce surfactant to prep their lungs for when they start breathing after birth.  During the BPP they watch her diaphragm for movement.  This part took a little longer at 34 weeks but the tech said it’s probably because she had just started practicing.  She is supposed to do at least 10 seconds worth in a 30 minute period.  However, she would do a few and then stop.  We waited about 20 minutes and then she finally did it for a full 10 seconds!  At our 35 week BPP, she was breathing the entire time.  The tech said she wished all her babies would breathe as well as she did!

Cravings: Sweets, sweets, sweets.  I found ice cream bars at Aldi that work well with my blood sugars and help me get my “fix”.  I have mentioned before, I never was a big chocolate person before pregnancy but last week I wanted Hershey Kisses SO bad!  MMMmmm now I want some.

Aversions:  Eggs. The number one thing any momma with Gestational Diabetes will tell you is eating eggs everyday gets old fast.  This is the one universal food most with GD can have and it helps with your numbers.  I had to find an alternative for breakfast because I needed a break from quiches and eggs.

Missing Most: 

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Our last Royals game before Nora arrives!

I can’t think of anything new I’m currently missing most but I can tell you what I’m going to miss the most.  Alone time with Hubby.  Don’t get me wrong I know we will have our fair share of date nights.  However, now I realize we won’t just get to pick up and go do things we’re used to doing and it’s not just going to be the 2 of us (or 3 of us when K is with us).  I’ve already started to experience this since Hubby started his new job and has been busy with that. Then add to it all of the last minute things we’re trying to get done in these next two weeks before she gets here.  This past weekend was nice because we got to go to a John Mayer concert and a Royals game, just the two of us.  I hope to have a night a few days before she arrives where we can enjoy one more date.

 

Nursery: 
Only thing left is her name project Hubby is working on and that should be hung this week over her crib.  We got our mobile made by our friend’s 14 year old daughter and we were completely blown away!! You should check out her Etsy shop HERE!

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Our handmade artwork wall including a piece from her big sister and a hedgie painted by my momma (Nora’s Yaya)

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We love our Origami Mobile made by Maia Witte at Origami Mobile Studio on Etsty! Foxes, bunnies and birds!

 

Best Part of the Week: Earlier this month, we had our maternity pictures done by our friend and the same photographer who did our engagement and wedding photos,Valerie Tirado.  We received them recently and I’m so grateful she did them.  I’ll add them to the end of this post! Can’t wait to share them with Nora someday when we remind her she was once in my tummy!

Can’t Wait For: We received our scheduled induction and scheduled c-section dates.  So here’s the deal.  Baby Stubborn is breech and has been for almost 10 weeks now.  Meanwhile, we’ve been trying EVERYTHING to get her to move but if you have been following this blog for any length of time you’ll know that we are on “Nora Time” and what she says, goes.   At our appointment yesterday, the OB told us that she is not just breech, she is “breech breech”.  Her exact words were “Girlfriend, that little girl ain’t going no where.”  So needless to say I’m optimistic (ha. ha.) So, come next Monday we will have an ultrasound to confirm her position.  If she has flipped to head down, we will start our induction the evening of April 30th.  If she is still breech as of Monday the 24th, we will be cancelling our induction date and going with a scheduled C-Section on Tuesday, May 2nd. The countdown is officially on!! She will be here in less than 2 weeks!!!   You know it’s real when you go to buy milk at the grocery store and the expiration is for after your baby will be here! EEEEEEK!  Until then, I’ll be attempting every possible method of getting her to turn.  We’ve talked about doing an ECV (manual version) but not sure I’m the best candidate with an anterior placenta and my fluid levels.  We’ll see what the final verdict is next week!

Until then,

J

 

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31, 32 & 33 Weeks

31 32 33 weeks


How far along?: 
I am 33 weeks and 4 days today!

Size of the Baby: At 31 weeks, Eleanor was the size of asparagus.  At 32 weeks, she was the size of a squash.  Now, at 33 weeks, Nora is the size of a stalk of celery, an entire head of cauliflower, a honey dew melon, a pineapple, a junior tennis racket, or a ferret.  At about 16-17 inches long she’ll now start packing on the pounds about 1/2 a pound a week.  At our ultrasound yesterday we found out she’s weighing approximately 4lbs 11oz and is in the 34th percentile! She is already bigger than I was when I was born. I weighed 4lbs 10oz!


Baby Bump: 

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Taken today!

This thing is out of control! My big ol’ belly has started growing more outward and it’s taking some getting used to.  Trying to remember I can’t fit in certain spaces and that bending over to get things off the floor just isn’t happening anymore.

  • Belly Button Status: STILL an innie! I don’t understand it!  This pregnancy has been anything but “normal” and I’m starting to think this will be another thing that happens for most but won’t for me!
  • Feet: Feet are long gone and can’t be seen while standing without having to strain to look.  They have also grown wider and the swelling has started to increase quicker throughout the day.  I have to wear compression socks or my ankles will look  completely deformed by the end of the day.

Movement: We found out at our 3D ultrasound, our little girl decided to flip and go breech after being in the perfect position for 28 weeks.  So with that I get kicks directly to my bladder which has began this new game of “Did I Just Pee?” Her head is positioned top and center so when she gets hiccups I feel it in my sternum.  Aside from a few kicks here and there, I more feel the rolling and stretching movement. Hubby FINALLY felt her kick and hiccup a couple weeks ago and he has been able to watch the crazy alien-like movement from the outside!

Sleep: Still about the same.  I wake up 1-3 times a night for bathroom breaks and an occasional planning session of what I’m going to do the next day or week. I just can’t turn my brain off! Hips are still pretty sore and with my belly bigger it makes rolling from side to side a whole production!

Maternity Clothes:  Maternity shirts are getting stretched to the max as she pushes outward and I’ve ventured on to my husbands side of the closet for comfy clothes, (although I’m not sure he knows that yet.)  When I wear my t-shirts, they just don’t cover the bottom of my belly anymore.  I also bought some new thin, baggy PJ pants and comfy tanks for the hospital!

Symptoms: I feel I’ve caught a second-wind (maybe third at this point) and mix that in with a little nesting I’m getting the house in order for when she comes!  However, with that I’m still realizing I’m slowing down a lot more and can’t do all I want to do in the normal amount of time I’m used to.  I’ve started recently having hot flashes and headaches which I’ve heard has to do with hormones.  Frequent trips to the bathroom are a part of my daily life now.

Recent Labs/Results: In my last post, I mentioned I was diagnosed with Intraheptic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, also known as ICP.  Since taking the medications, my itchiness has continued to subside so doctor’s feel that although my blood work came back normal, it may be a false positive, so they will be treating me as if I have it anyways.  Because of this, last week I started having weekly Non-Stress Tests (NSTs) at the Maternity Center to monitor Little Miss and make sure she isn’t in distress.  A NST is where they hook up monitors to my belly and it measures her heart rate, my heart rate, my blood pressure and any contractions I may be having.  They look for accelerations in her heart rate when she moves.  So far she has passed with flying colors.  Yesterday,  she was so active and crazy she kept kicking the monitors off my belly and the nurse told her to calm down!  I also had an ultrasound yesterday at our OB appointment to check fluid levels and measure her growth since it had been almost 10 weeks since our last measurement.  Also, with me having Gestational Diabetes, babies tend to be larger than normal. Hubby and I made our guesses of how much we thought she would weigh. He guessed under 4lbs.  I said 4lbs 7oz.  She came in at 4lbs 11oz and in the 34th percentile. 17690371_10100649376197320_1310626360_n It showed she was measuring at 33 weeks and 4 days so she was just a day ahead! We were able to get a picture of her but she wouldn’t stop looking at the wand, so it’s of her face which gives that Predator the alien look.  At one point she turned just enough we saw her chubby cheeks! So cute!!

Cravings: I’m still craving sweets (especially donuts) which continues to be a bummer since I have to be very careful with my blood sugars.  I’ve been learning what I can and can’t eat and what I can substitute to get my “sweet fix”.  My go-to’s have been apples with peanut butter and Halo Top Ice Cream.

Aversions:  Mexican food at restaurants!  I’m okay if I make tacos or nachos at home, but anytime we have eaten out at a Mexican restaurant I get sick not long after.

Missing Most: The ability to bend over and to walk across a room without having to take a breather! Doing some chores around the house has taken twice as long because just lifting something above my head wears me out!  Oh man, and putting together babg items and equipment we got at her shower would have been easy for most but stubborn me didn’t want to wait for Hubby to get home so I attempted to complete it all myself. Needless tl say I was ready to take a nap after!

Nursery: I think after this week her nursery will be complete! It’s hard to believe that but we just have a few things left! Hubby is working on a gorgeous wooden sign that will have her name on it to go over the crib. I recently finished her “reading corner” and her diaper changing area.  The rest of the artwork is complete and we are just waiting on a friend’s daughter who makes origami mobiles to complete our custom mobile!  I’m so excited to see everything together!

Best Part of the Week: My baby shower was last week!! It was absolutely gorgeous and more perfect than I could have ever dreamed.  Attending family and friends’ baby showers, especially after our miscarriage, I always wondered if I would get to have my own.  I even had a secret Pinterest page called “Hope” of what I would want at my shower if I did ever get lucky enough to have one.  It was no surprise the week we found out our second round of IVF worked, I returned to Pinterest and started “pinning” everything I could find. Shortly thereafter, I asked my one of my closest friend’s if she would be willing to host it for me.  In reality, I asked her a few years ago.  She accepted and I’m glad she did.  Between her, my mom and my sister-in-law they planned for hours and put in so much hard work and I was blown away.  We had brunch, my favorite, (my blood sugar even stayed normal) and the most delicious cake make by another friend who I had appointed “official baby shower cake maker” years ago for when the time arose.  The centerpieces were beautiful along with the rest of tge decorations. My bonus daughter made the cutest diaper cake! There was SO MUCH PINK I could have squealed ( I think I did, actually.)  Best part was being surrounded by so many people who came to take part in our joy and help us spoil our little girl! I was taken back by everyone’s gifts and generosity and the love shown towards us.  I’ll post pictures below.  It was definitely one of the most memorable days of my life!

Can’t Wait For: The end of this month! My last day at work will be April 29th because they are still talking about inducing me at 37 weeks due to the cholestasis.  We are hoping to make it to May 1st! That is just over 3 weeks! AH!!! It’s all becoming so real and it’s coming fast!!!

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Until next time,

J

28, 29 & 30 Weeks-Hello Third Trimester!

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How far along?: Today, I’m 30 weeks + 1 day!  We are 3 weeks into our third trimester!!

Size of the Baby: At 28 weeks, Nora was the size of an eggplant.  At 29 weeks, she was the size of an acorn squash.  This week, she is the size of a zucchini, a large cabbage, a butternut squash, a platypus, a cantaloupe, or a motorcycle helmet! She is roughly 16 inches long and weighs just over 3 pounds!


Baby Bump: 
The bump has definitely grown in the last 3 weeks, especially in the last two.  Although, I feel I’m carrying wide, like a watermelon, I’ve noticed my belly is growing more upward and outward!

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Bump at 28 weeks!

  • Belly Button Status: Well here we are, 3 weeks later and it’s still an innie but just barely! I’ll be really surprised if it stays in for much longer.
  • Feet: I have officially lost sight of my feet when I look down from a normal standing position.  I have to lean forward and stretch my neck a little if I want to look at them.
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    Bump getting bigger at 29 weeks!

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Movement: Getting stronger every day, especially within the last week!  I feel all sorts of kicks, punches and rolling, ooooh the whole body rolling.  The amount of time I feel kicks is also more frequent and prolonged than they have been previously.  I can almost always see the movement now, too.  My stomach jumps around and it is funny to watch!  Hubby still has YET to see or feel her movement as he remains the calming presence that immediately causes her to pause when he is near.  Hoping that same calming presence helps at 3:00am after she’s born! Ha ha!

Sleep: I sporadically have a few nights where I sleep uninterrupted and then other nights I’ll wake up 3 or 4 times.  I’m getting used to it at this point.  My hips are tired of me having to sleep on my sides and I was just talking about how much I miss sleeping on my stomach.

Maternity Clothes:  T-shirts are getting tighter so I may have to look into getting more for spring since the majority of my maternity wear has been long sleeves.  Leggings are still my best friend at home but when I wear them I have to wear a belly band now because shes getting heavier and I need the support.

Symptoms: The fatigue has returned and I find myself wanting to lay down for a quick nap and then waking up 2 or 3 hours later, even after a good night’s sleep.  My sciatic nerve is getting more and more aggravated with the pressure she’s causing.  It’s often hard for me to change from a seated to standing position and vice versa without having to pause and make sure my legs will actually move and not give out first.  My doctor suggested a pregnancy belt, which is different than just the band and luckily a close friend has one I can borrow and will be getting it this weekend! I’ve also been going to our local indoor pool and relaxing and stretching which helps my back a ton!  Shortness of breath has continued to be an issue and I notice it at weird times like when I try to drink out of a straw or just getting comfortable in bed.  Swelling is also happening more frequently, especially in my feet.  So I’ve been trying to stay hydrated and wearing compression socks to help relieve the swelling.

Recent Labs/Results: During the start of week 29, I noticed I was feeling really itchy.  We’ve had some crazy weather these last few weeks so I initially thought it had something to do with allergies.  However, as it began to get worse with no signs of hives or a rash and antihistamines weren’t providing any relief I decided to call the OB on call last Saturday.  She expressed concern about something called Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, otherwise known as ICP.  (A great website to learn about this disease is ICPcare.org)  Essentially, ICP is where the pregnant mother’s liver does not function properly and creates a surplus of bile acids that dump into the mother’s blood stream.  This poses a life threatening scenario for the developing baby.  If left untreated it can lead to high rates of stillbirth and other devastating circumstances for mom.

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Our NST last Saturday.  She’s too big to run from the doppler now!

Itching of the hands and feet are often the first symptoms seen with ICP because of the bile deposits left in the blood stream and skin. With the seriousness of the possibility of ICP, the OB had me go straight to Labor and Delivery for a Non-Stress Test (NST) since ICP can cause distress in babies and to have blood tests done to see if I indeed had ICP.  Nora passed her NST with flying colors and I had my blood drawn but wouldn’t receive results for 5-7 days.  They went ahead and prescribed me Ursodiol (Urso) which  is used to help lower bile acids in the blood stream.  While Urso helps prevent distress in babies, the only cure for ICP is delivery.  We learned at our OB appointment that following Monday, if I was diagnosed with ICP I would do weekly NSTs and ultrasounds to keep an eye on Nora and would be delivering at 36 or 37 weeks because the longer the pregnancy goes, the higher risk your baby is for stillbirth.  Tuesday, my results came back.  To be diagnosed with ICP my bile acid levels had to be greater than 10 and they were 7.7, which was good news.  However, once they put me on Urso the itchiness subsided, I was advised to keep taking it because it could be the early signs of developing the disease.  I go back at 32 weeks and will possibly be tested again to see if my bile acid levels are rising and we will decide if extra monitoring and an early delivery will be necessary.  If I’ve learned anything this pregnancy it is to expect the unexpected.  If you can get something during pregnancy, I’ll get it.

 

Cravings: Carbs and sweets.  Since being diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, I have had to make some drastic changes to my diet and that means limiting or just not having some of the things I’ve craved this entire pregnancy.

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My new (unwanted) best friend.  I have to test my blood sugar at least 4 times a day. Who knew you could hate a 3-digit number so much!?

Aversions:  Fast food still is just not doing it for me.  Before our 3D ultrasound I was told to drink caffeine (for the first time in almost a year) and eat a small meal. I knew if that was the case, I wanted a Coke from McDonald’s and had a small meal.  I regretted that decision later and it didn’t even taste that great!

Missing Most: I would say right now it would be the freedom to eat whatever I wanted.  With Gestation Diabetes, I’m having to pay attention a lot more to how many carbs I’m consuming.  Grocery shopping has gotten a lot more time consuming as I’m having to check for nutritional information and search out healthier alternatives to what I’m used to.

Nursery: Making progress! Since the last post, everything was removed from the room and I deep cleaned the floors and walls.  Now, everything in there belongs to Nora!  We painted the changing table/dresser and end table to match her bedding and crib.

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Finished end table!  

We have a few finishing touches to put on them and then those will be complete.  We’re hoping to get crib set up this week.  I also completely my latest “Nora’s Nursery Project” last night.  I made a bow and headband holder that I found on Pinterest.  It’s fun to see things starting to come together.  The other day I sat in her room, rubbing my belly while looking around realizing this room was actually turning into a nursery!

 

Best Part of the Week: This past Monday was our day filled with doctor’s appointments for Miss Nora.  We first met one of the new OBs at the new practice and really liked him!  We’ll meet my actual OB on the 20th.  We then met with a potential pediatrician and received a tour of the office.  The Pediatrician we met was great and we seemed to have the same ideals and thoughts on care for our kiddo.  They have themed rooms from around the KC community so rightfully so, when we got to choose a room to hang out in, we chose the Royals room!  That afternoon, we had our 3D/4D ultrasound!  I hadn’t set my hopes high knowing our Doppler Dodging Daughter and her previous stubbornness at ultrasounds.   Well, it was not surprising when the first picture on the screen we saw Eleanor with both hands on the side of her face and one foot blocking the front.  I knew then, this appointment would not be any different.  Barely budging, even with caffeine in my system, this little girl was quite happy to be where she was and there was nothing changing that.  We got a few of half of her face but not a complete clear picture.  I guess she wants to save the surprise for her birthday!  We also found out she has decided to flip to being head up so here’s hoping she flips back in the next couple of weeks!

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Part of our peanut’s face

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Covering her face with her hand (long fingers!) She was not impressed!

Can’t Wait For: This Friday, K is coming for Spring Break!  We haven’t seen her since New Year’s so this is long overdue! We redid her room as a surprise and I can’t wait for her to see it!  My baby shower is also coming up and she will be here for that as well!

Until next time,

J

 

26 & 27 weeks

26-27-weeks

How far along?: I am 27 weeks and 4 days today!  We are officially under 100 days until her due date (87 days to be exact)! Next week we will be in the 3rd trimester!

Size of the Baby: At 26 weeks she was as long as a scallion.  This week she is the size of a bunch of bananas, the head of cauliflower, a camping lantern, a Fennec fox, or a cucumber.  Measuring between 14-15 inches and just over 2 pounds, this baby girl is growing!

16664968_10100617041346620_8792936068165654890_oBaby Bump: I feel we had another growth spurt and my back feels it!  This past week I noticed I can actually see her kicks.  It’s the craziest thing to watch my belly jump. We can also tell when she’s favoring one side or the other because it jets out a little more or looks lumpy! I gained a few extra “tiger stripes” this past week too.

  • Belly Button Status: I’m really surprised it hasn’t officially popped out yet.  I give it a maximum of 3 more weeks before it’s out.
  • Feet: Two weeks ago I could see half of my feet when looking straight down, now I can only see my toes.  My ankles have officially disappeared from swelling. See you in a few months, ankles!

Movement: Before last weekend, her kicks were very sporadic.  I would feel her be super active one day and then it was like she wore herself out and would rest for 1-2 days with intermittent kicks, only to return with vengeance.  Starting this last week it’s been all day kicks and punches (and I’ve even noticed a few rounds of hiccups today).  I think she has finally gotten big enough to kick around the placenta and I’m able to notice it more.   I have been anxiously awaiting to have Hubby feel her kick and once we could start physically seeing my tummy jump I would grab his hand and sure enough, that little stinker would stop moving!  Hubby says they’ve worked out a deal and he’s going to be the one to calm her down.  I’m starting to see the truth behind that because not once has he been able to feel her kick even if she’s been flopping around for 10 minutes.  The moment his hand goes on my belly, she immediately stops!

Sleep: Luckily, I’m getting over my cough so that hasn’t been the cause of my random wake-ups in the middle of the night.  Between being hot and some hip and back pain and the occasional trip to the restroom, I’m still waking up 1-3 times a night, if not more.  Luckily, I think I’m just getting used to it.  If I don’t now, I know I will be forced to when she gets here!  The need for naps is also quickly returning.  I’m starting to experience some of that third trimester fatigue they talk about a little early.

Maternity Clothes:  I recently received my dress for my baby shower (and possibly for maternity photos) and a nursing robe I can wear at the hospital and during nightly feedings.  Shameless plug but I absolutely LOVE PinkBlush!

Symptoms: Ooooo goodness where do I start?  Back pain is a routine thing as well as my trips to the bathroom.  The acne has decided to kick back into gear after a few days where I was thinking it was going to subside.  Swelling has become more of a frequent issue regardless of my water intake and compression socks.  The fatigue has returned and my hips and pelvis are sore if I sit/lay in one position for any short period of time.  Other than that, I think things are going well! Haha!

Cravings: Loving sweets still, which will talk about here in a little bit.  My intense craving for milk has gone away and isn’t as frequent.  But man, do I want some Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Ice Cream all the time now!

Aversions: Still avoiding greasy fast food.

Missing Most: Being able to breathe, in general.  In my last blog post, I talked about having trouble breathing while sick and it causing anxiety.  Well, the sickness left but the anxiety didn’t.  As our Little Miss grows more and more and begins to push upward towards my ribs and lungs, the shortness of breath I get has caused an almost full-fledged panic attack on more than one occasion.  I’ve always been slightly claustrophobic and had a fear of not being able to breathe but nothing to bring on an actual anxiety attack.  I notice it more when I’m laying down and she has the opportunity to spread out or if I’m in a stuffy or crowded room.  I feel like my chest is tightening and my airway is closing.  Luckily, through most of them, Hubby is with me and can help talk me down.  The worst is when someone tells me to “just breathe” because the more I think about breathing the more I don’t feel like I can and I’ve learned it’s better to just get my mind off of it.  What is concerning is these “attacks” are becoming more and more frequent where I have moments multiple times a day where I have to slow down and tell myself I’m not dying and I’m going to be okay.  I am terrified of what is going to happen as she continues to grow.  I plan on talking with our new OB at our next appointment about it and see if they would recommend a referral to a therapist or another form of treatment.

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The inspiration from Pinterest for our changing table/dresser!

Nursery: We are almost ready to start setting it up! I sold a few pieces of furniture out of the room to make space.  We also cleaned out K’s room because we want to surprise her with a new arrangement and new furniture for when she comes for Spring Break.  We have a few more things to move into K’s room from what will now be the nursery and a few final things to go to the basement and it will be ready to set up everything!  I finished making the initial for her room with sticks and I’m thinking about adding a border with gold ribbon or something to add some color.  Hubby’s next project will be to paint a dresser we are getting from his parents this week that will be our changing table.  For my next project, I am going to make a bow and headband holder I found on Pinterest.

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The weather has been nice so we enjoyed one afternoon on the deck with a good book!

Best Part of the Week: These past 2 weeks have been really rough, to be honest.  Between hormones raging, being emotional, tests and labs results (more information at the end) and financial stress, I’m ready for this week to be over.  So, I think I’d have to say my favorite part of this week aside from seeing baby girl kick a lot would be that the weekend is on its way here!

Can’t Wait For: March 6th!  This has been declared our next baby day!  With Hubby’s job as Brew Master getting underway and the brewery opening, I tried to make it easy and make all of our next appointments on one day so he doesn’t have to miss much work.  That morning we will go to our new OB’s office since our current office is dissolving.  I’ve heard great things about the doctors and look forward to meeting them!  After that, we have a meeting with a possible Pediatrician.  Then later that afternoon, we are having our 3D/4D ultrasound! Can’t wait to see her little face!!

Labs/Results: A few weeks ago I had an ultrasound done on my gallbladder because I had a really bad bout of pain in the weeks prior.  It was so bad I was doubled over in a parking lot.  The results came back from that and showed gallstones.  As of right now, we are just going to wait since I’m not experiencing constant pain and haven’t had any attacks since then.

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Because at this point if I don’t laugh, I’ll cry.

Now for the big results.  I had my glucose test February 6th and found out later that week I had failed it and not just by a little either.  They scheduled a 3-hour fasting glucose test for last Monday.  Unfortunately, I found out this past week, I failed that as well.   So to add to the list of diagnoses during this pregnancy, I have Gestational Diabetes.  As my family would say, I apparently like to “go all out” for everything I do.  The day we found out was particularly hard and emotional.  Food has always been my thing which is both good and bad but specifically it’s been the best part of pregnancy for me.  I’ve eaten things I don’t normally eat, tried new things and when you have a craving the best part is eating whatever that may be! Now, that was being taken away.  I was mad and frustrated and honestly just needed a day to be pissed about it.  When I woke up the next day, I had a whole new attitude that I was going to do my best to be the healthiest for me and the baby. We are currently awaiting a phone call to be set up with an educator to go over a new diet and how to monitor my blood sugar and all of the requirements and things to avoid.  Until then, I’ve been a Pinterest maniac looking at recipes and have joined an amazing support group on Facebook. Just like I unexpectedly became a voice for infertility and IVF I now will hopefully spread the word about this.  Please pray for us as we begin to go through changes these next few weeks. I am grateful to have a supporting husband who will be motivating me to keep up with a strict diet and helping out! We also ask for prayers for Nora’s and my health for the remaining 12 weeks!

 

Until next time,

J

23, 24, & 25 Weeks

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How far along?: I am 25 weeks +1 day today!  Time is flying by and mix that in with a horrible case of bronchitis and just being overly busy, I’m trying to catch up!

Size of the Baby: At 23 weeks, Nora was the size of a chinchilla.  At 24 weeks she was the size of an ear of corn.  This week, she is the size of a rutabaga, a prairie dog, a Napa cabbage, a baseball glove, or a head of cauliflower! Measuring over a foot long and close to two pounds, she’s growing quickly!

16507540_10100609711525640_1046788032_nBaby Bump: Getting bigger by the day! We noticed last night how round my bump is getting towards the top!  Getting a few more stretch marks but its not too bad. Adding two sub-categories here for measurement:

  • Belly Button Status: Still an innie but I can see the end nearing…which is saying a lot because I had a cavernous belly button beforehand.
  • Feet: I can still see them! Just about half of them but they are still visible!

Movement: We have definitely graduated to full blown kicks!  I’m pretty sure after each meal she does Zumba and then has a few dance parties in between.  I have noticed she responds more and more to music whether it’s her daddy playing drums or music played loudly on speakers she startles and then kicks until it stops.  I came down with a case of Acute Bronchitis last week and I noticed while I felt my worst, she didn’t move much for about 3 days.  I called my OB’s office and they asked me to go to Labor and Delivery for a Non-Stress test where they monitor her heartbeat for awhile to make sure me being sick wasn’t effecting her in any way.  Of course, within 5 minutes of getting there, she well made up for not moving for 3 days.  We were sent home after 20 minutes. Otherwise, she is still pretty low and the kicks (or punches) seem to be just below or right around my belly button.

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Non-Stress Test at the hospital while I was sick.

Sleep: It’s been rough while I’ve been sick the last week.  Between coughing and congestion, I’m lucky if I can sleep a few hours at a time.  For the last 3 or 4 weeks, I have routinely gotten up at 4:30am for no reason and been wide awake.  Sometimes it can take an hour or so to fall back asleep, just for my alarm to go off right after.  I swear I think she’s already sleep training me for when she gets here!  I had to ditch the pregnancy pillow and use just a regular pillow because I was getting too hot and it was hard to roll over from side to side and switch it.  However, I have to have something between my knees or my pelvis and my back will hurt so badly when I wake up.

Maternity Clothes:  My mom and I had a girls day a couple weeks ago and I got some very cute new maternity shirts and a couple pairs of comfy jeans and leggings.  I have found if I don’t have support for my stomach, such as a belly band, I am almost guaranteed to be sore that evening.

Symptoms: The back pain has settled in and I figured I might as well get used to it for the remainder of my pregnancy.  Thankfully, one of my close friends is a licensed massage therapist and it helps! Heartburn continues to be an issue but easily avoidable with medication.  Since she is so low, (and already in head down, feet up position) I have a lot of pressure in my pelvis and am sore a lot.  She’s putting pressure on my sciatic nerve and if I sit too long or lay on my back for any length of time (which I’m only doing for appointments) it’s hard to stand and walk normal for a while.  I have to admit I also had my first  hormonal, without warning, emotional pregnancy meltdown a week or so ago.  Out of pure frustration I lashed out at Hubby, started sobbing and completely lost it.  I’m kind of surprised it took me 24 weeks to get there but man, I felt bad afterwards.  His response? “Hey, we made it over halfway there before it happened! Not bad!”

Cravings: Still about the same in this area.  Loving the sweet stuff! Hubby and I were talking the other night about how I haven’t had the weird combo cravings a lot of people get (ice cream and pickles, potato chips and ketchup, etc.)  My “weird” cravings have been anything chocolate because I hardly ate anything chocolate before and Chinese food.  Hubby is enjoying my love for Chinese food right now because he would always suggest it for dinner and my pre-pregnant self would turn it down.

Aversions: Nothing new here just overly greasy fast food still sounds awful!  Gave in one night a couple weeks ago and had McDonalds and regretted it, not to mention we think Hubby may have gotten food poisoning from it.

Missing Most: Being able to breathe through my nose!  I get major anxiety when I feel like I can’t breathe and having been so congested and not being able to fully breathe, really gets to me.  I never realized how much it bothered me until I realized I couldn’t take the usual meds I would use to get over something like this.  I was lucky enough to get an inhaler that helps with my cough.  Otherwise, me and my Neti Pot just became best friends!

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The start of the next piece of artwork for her room!

Nursery: Hubby helped me move a lot of stuff out of the nursery and we are making progress!  Realizing there is just over 14 weeks left causes me to panic sometime but we’re kicking our butts into gear! I know we’ve got time but I like to help as much as possible and as time goes on, I’ll only be able to help so much.  I also started another piece of artwork for her room using branches from our own backyard.  However, finding straight branches that fit together is a lot hard than I realized and it quickly turned into a 2-day project.

Best Part of the Week: We had our follow up at maternal fetal medicine to try and get pictures of a few things she decided to hide at her anatomy ultrasound.  One of those being her face!  She was still in the same position but we were able to get a few good ones!   When I saw her face I had the “Holy crap. That’s my kid” realization.  It’s kind of funny after all this time, that’s what it took for it to hit me!  We aren’t just talking about any baby here…that is OUR baby in MY belly!

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She’s got her daddy’s nose!

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She had her legs and feet crossed!

Can’t Wait For:  Monday, is my next OB appointment and also my Glucose test.  I’m more ready to get that out of the way!  Also, I am excited that at the end of this month I’ll be in my third trimester! It’s so crazy it is just a few weeks away!  We also scheduled our 3D/4D ultrasound for the first week in March! I’ve already started the pep talks with Miss Nora about cooperating but we all know how that goes!

Have a great weekend and week!

Until next time,

J

21 & 22 Weeks

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How far along?: Today I am 22 weeks + 1 day!  We’ve been busy and the last week flew by so I’m squeezing my 21 week and 22 week post together!!

Size of the Baby: According to my apps, she is almost 12″ long and right about 1 pound!  She is the size of a coconut, corn on the cob, Nalgene water bottle, guinea pig, or a spaghetti squash!

Baby Bump: I am currently losing my fight against stretch marks but oh well, it comes with the territory, right?   Even though I’ve used body butter at least twice a day, it’s just not stopping the inevitable.  Oddly enough, the last week I’ve noticed, primarily in the morning, my bump seems a lot smaller.  I’m sure it has something to do with bloating.  However, by the end of the day it’s back to its bigger, normal self.

Gender: Still our onery little girl!

Movement: This is definitely picking up with more and more distinct bumps and thuds.  I’ve noticed the more water I drink, the more active she seems to be.    Everything I read says about this time, she’s sleeping for 12-14 hours and so I wasn’t surprised when I didn’t feel her much.  The other night, I woke up at 4am and was wide awake to what felt like her dancing around and it made me giggle!  It is absolutely the craziest feeling and I love every minute of it!

Sleep: A few nights ago, my poor husband has kindly pointed out my snoring has gotten way worse. Between our crappy mattress, trying to do everything to control the snoring and support my growing tummy, I decided to try sleeping on the couch.  I think I got a 2 hour nap before I was wide awake again and couldn’t get comfortable. Luckily, by then, he was sound asleep so I knew my snoring wouldn’t bother him and I hopped back in bed.  Seems like the last couple of nights I’ve had some really good sleep (with the help of Benedryl).

Maternity Clothes:  My favorite maternity pants are getting a little tighter which makes me sad but I have some clothes to grow into!  I’m also having a girls day with my momma this coming Monday and am going to look at some new clothes while we are out!

Symptoms: Heartburn is still pretty gnarly but very thankful for a friend who suggested Nexium! I only have to take one a day and it does the trick.  I missed a dose and found out that was a bad idea when I woke up in the middle of the night feeling like I may vomit. Makes me wonder if this sweet baby girl will have some hair!  Speaking of the night I tried sleeping on the couch, shortly after, I began having the cramping and low back pain  I had previously.  Between that and not getting any sleep, I decided to take off work and I’m glad I did.  The pain was getting pretty intense and figured I had a kidney stone moving.  I chugged water all day and kept my feet up and by night time I felt significantly better.  I bought a new 32oz cup to measure how much water I’m drinking and trying to do at least 128oz a day.  Thursday was the first day I did it and it was a complete game changer on how I felt. I think Little Nora liked it too because it felt like she was doing the backstroke in there! I’m holding out hope my face will return to normal after she makes her arrival.  The acne I’m having is getting old and I’ve tried numerous treatments and it doesn’t help.  Yay horomones!  At my last OB appointment, I mentioned the issues I’ve had with swelling in my hands and feet (basically if I stand for more than 30 minutes at a time I look like a puffer fish).  I told her the compression socks are saving my feet and have become a necessity. After doing the tests, I just received a call Friday that all tests came back normal and although I’m still considered high-risk for developing it, I don’t have signs of Pre-Eclampsia as of right now!  I’m so glad because I don’t want to do those tests again!

Cravings: Still digging the sweets!  Donuts, cake, fruit, juice,  and SYRUP!  I could eat pancakes or french toast with syrup everyday right now!  I need to get this under control soon though.  My glucose test will be at my next OB appointment on February 6th!  Eeek!

Aversions: I gave in and had Taco Bell with the hubby a week or two ago.  I instantly regretted it and realized there is probably a reason I haven’t wanted it this entire pregnancy.  We also had our favorite mexican restaurant and it caused horrible heartburn and acid reflux so I will probably have to avoid that as well.

Missing Most: I’m still missing being able to clean/do more than one task at a time without feeling like I’ve climbed Mount Everest.

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Hubby made this using part of the color palate and theme for her nursery!

Nursery: 
Because of said reason above, I’m slowly getting Nora’s nursery cleared out to fully turn it into a nursery and not an extra room/office/dog area.  Hubby and I decided while looking at art work that it would be a lot more sentimental if we made the art for her room ourselves.  We each created a piece to start the collection this week.  I’m so excited to start making all of the different things we have in mind!  If we get the ice storm they say we are, I might have nothing but time to get her room cleaned out and maybe even put together a crib!

 

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I made this using each cap from each vial we used during out IVF injection!

Best Part of the Week: Feeling her kick more and more.  I’ve anxiously awaited for the day when I would feel an undeniable kick.  Now that I have, I love it!  I can’t wait for Hubby to be able to feel her move.  Right now, we can tell where she’s at by how hard it is in certain areas.  I also never knew how much my heart would melt when Hubby does something as simple as placing his hand on my tummy.  I can only imagine how I’m going to be a puddle of emotions when I see him actually holding her.

Can’t Wait For:  This coming Tuesday, we have our follow up ultrasound appointment with Maternal Fetal Medicine. Little Miss Stubborn will hopefully show us her face this time around so we can get some much needed pictures!

Have a great weekend and week! Stay warm!

Until next time,

J

20 Weeks-A Letter to Our Baby Girl

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Today, I’m currently 20 weeks and 5 days!  We are officially halfway there!  My baby bump continues to grow and her kicks are getting more and more pronounced and frequent.  It’s amazing and makes it so real. This is really happening!

With being halfway, I thought I would take a break from the usual updates and do something a little different.  Here is a quick update for those who are wondering, though:

Our 20 week OB appointment went well yesterday. Nora’s heart rate was in the 140’s and I’m measuring just at 22 weeks but Doc thinks it has something to do with my fluid retention. I’ll be doing some tests this week to get a baseline in case I continue to have swelling like I have been lately. (Compression socks are my best friend!)  They want to watch me very closely for any signs of Pre-eclampsia. I also learned of some changes involving the OB practice I go to which is either going to require me to change doctors or where I prefer to deliver.  I’ll explain another time when I know more.  My next OB appointment will be February 6th and I’ll be doing my glucose test then as well.   I’m most looking forward to January 17th when we have our follow-up ultrasound to get the remainder of the pictures we need!

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A little while ago, I wrote a letter to our little one when we found out she was going to be a girl.  I’ve been hanging on to it and decided I would include it with my post at 20 weeks.  I plan on making a book with all of my posts to give to her when she is older and wanted to include this:

Hello sweet girl!  We are halfway to meeting you and I can’t even begin to explain how excited that makes me.  We’ve already been planning for your arrival and I can’t believe in just four and a half short months we will be able to hold you in our arms.  There’s still so much to do!

You see, little one, I’ve dreamed of you for as long as I can remember.  I always knew I wanted to be a mom. Your mom. I prayed daily for the chance to be your mom.  Someday when you are older, your dad and I will tell you the story of the journey we’ve been on just to have you in our lives.  Even though it was far from simple, it was all a part of God’s plan and that makes it perfect.  After all, if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to meet some incredible people along the way and learned just how strong I really could be.   Your story, from the very beginning, has been and will always be unique.  Don’t ever forget that. 

This journey has been a wild one since we’ve been together, you and I.  We’ve had a few scares from the beginning and a lot of ups and downs.  We found out you are really good at hide and seek! I always joked you knew how much I liked seeing you and you just wanted to give me the opportunity to get a few more sneak peeks.  I’m convinced you’re a jokester just like your daddy.   Even though things haven’t always been ideal this pregnancy, I’m not taking this experience for granted.  Your little kicks are gentle reminders of the amazing miracle you are and the growing you are doing.  It makes all those days of sickness and exhaustion completely worth it!

Speaking of your dad, just wait until you meet him! He is pretty amazing.  When we met, I instantly knew there was something special about him and I know you will too.  He is so caring and loving and I know he will take care of us girls, the best way possible.  We couldn’t ask for a better leader for our family and he will be your knight-in-shining armor when you need him the most.   You’ll soon find out he can be silly and fun and he’ll only want the absolute best for you.  Oh, and a word of advice, as much as we hate to admit it, he’s usually right. So, keep that in mind when you think you know more than he does.  😉

There are so many things I can’t wait to do with you.  I can’t wait to read you some of my favorite books and tell you stories from our past like how your dad and I met and about relatives you won’t be able to meet in this lifetime.  I can’t wait to have a relationship with you like I have with your yia-yia. (You’ll quickly learn to love our Monday lunch dates!) Although we may not always get along, I hope we learn life lessons together.  There will be tears and arguments and times we don’t see eye to eye but at the end of the day, I pray you’ll know my love for you overcomes it all.   Just remember I’m your mom first and your friend second. I may be crazy at times but your well-being will always be my priority.  I hope you treat people with respect and show them Christ-like compassion. I hope you learn your smile will be contagious and can instantly make someone’s day better just by showing them you care. Above all things, I hope you learn to be a kind.

I promise to hold you accountable and push you to be your best.  I promise to be there for you when you need me and let you fly when you don’t, although that won’t always be easy for me.  I promise to help build you up and be a strong woman of God. I promise to remind you, you are beautiful inside and out.  I promise I’ll be there for your first broken heart and for every bad day I’ll be your shoulder to cry on.   Most of all, I promise to tell you and show you “I love you” every day. 

While there are so many of us out here that are so eager to meet you, we can wait.  Take your time and “bake” a little longer.  But when you do arrive, baby girl, please know it will be the best moment of my life! 

Love,

Your momma

19 weeks

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How far along?: 19 weeks + 4 days today! A little behind given the holiday and I wanted to wait for the results of our Anatomy Ultrasound which we FINALLY got scheduled for today! *Spoiler Alert: New pictures of Baby Nora at the end of this post!*

Size of the Baby: Today we found out that she is right about 10 ounces which is bigger than my apps suggest but she’s measuring to the day she should be.  Given she’s our IVF baby I told the ultrasound tech I could tell her the exact time-to the minute-of when she was put in there so I know the exact due date and she measured perfectly!  My app says shes about the size of a hedgehog (my favorite!), a Gameboy, a zucchini, a tomato, and a mango!15676547_615449471973598_4470550793686524017_o

Baby Bump: I can tell it’s getting bigger and rounding out. I had been using Palmer’s Stretch Mark Body Butter but we noticed I was starting to develop a rash so I have been using some organic body butter with natural oils and it seems to be doing the trick!  Hubby helped me capture my first (public) bump pic on Christmas.  It was nice to reflect on and I’m excited to repeat the picture next year but with a baby in my arms instead!

Gender:  I’m SO happy because we got visual confirmation today that she is indeed a SHE! As Hubby said “DNA doesn’t lie!” but I needed to see for myself that our NIPT was correct and I asked the tech today if she could “check for a lack of man parts”.  She even gave me a picture!

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She didn’t make it easy but we got proof she’s a girl!!!

 

Movement: I’ve been noticing little popcorn-popping-like movement usually after I eat and at night.  Contrary to what was said at a recent ER visit ultrasound (details below), today’s ultrasound showed my placenta is indeed anterior (in the front) which explains why I’m not feeling full blown kicks yet since it is acting like a cushion right now.  I know I need to be careful what I wish for, but I’m so excited to feel her move more and more.

Sleep: I’m starting to go back downhill on the whole sleep thing again.  I just can’t seem to get comfortable and I’ve reached the point where my belly has to be supported or it hurts. Thank goodness for pregnancy pillows! My sciatic nerve is having flare ups again and I knew it was only a matter of time so trying to sleep in comfortable positions for that reason, too.  Other than that, I find myself waking up around 3am or 4am and I’ll be wide awake for an hour.  My body must be preparing myself for the future! Haha!

Maternity Clothes:  I was handed down a few more things from my sister-in-law and she had some of the most comfortable shirts!  They are my go-to’s right now.  There were some nicer shirts I can use for church I’m excited to try out!  I have found out I must wear pants with a full-panel belly band or I’ll pay for it later.  I’m hoping to do some shopping when my mom and I have a girls day in a couple weeks and get a few more things.

Symptoms: Last week, I wrote about a trip to the ER where they were sure I had a kidney stone or two. If I’ve learned anything with this  entire journey, just when I think we have things figured out, we are blindsided again.  The morning of the 18th, I had woken up to get ready for church and noticed the cramping and soreness I had had since the previous ER trip that week had intensified.  I heard the front door shut as Hubby had just walked out of the house to go get coffee before he had to be at worship team rehearsal as I went to the restroom.  As I finished, I saw bright red blood and I knew it wasn’t caused by a kidney stone (different area). I immediately began to panic.  I grabbed my phone and frantically called Hubby, hoping he hadn’t made it too far.  He answered and I blurted out “I need you back here, I’m bleeding, I need you. Please, come back!”  Every fear, negative thought and all the anxiety settled in my chest as I began sobbing.  I just kept thinking, I can’t believe this is happening again.  God, please don’t let this happen to us again.  Luckily, Hubby hadn’t even pulled out of the driveway yet so he quickly came back inside and found me shaking in the bathroom.  He told me to get dressed, he would take me to the ER and told me to do my best to not panic because that will only make things worse for me and for her.  Too late, already panicking. We rush to the hospital and along the way I feel lots of cramps and pain which didn’t help my anxiety at all.  We arrive and surprisingly, at 8am on a Sunday morning, there was no one else in the waiting room and they got me right back to a room.  We were greeted by the nurse practitioner who said the doctor was going to grab the ER ultrasound machine and just check on the baby first.  This thing was the crappiest machine I have ever seen but we made it work and we saw her in there moving as well as her heart beating.  They had trouble measuring the heartbeat so he explained the nurse would grab the doppler and try to get a heart rate measured. As usual, the keyword here is try because we all know I have the world’s best hide and seek champion in my belly but after 20 minutes of her literally kicking away from the doppler wand we caught a heartbeat to be measured.  After some other tests, they couldn’t really come up with a reason for the bleeding but was reassured baby was okay and since I hadn’t had any more bleeding they sent me home to rest.  I went home and slept for about four hours.  I woke up and decided to try to eat something and in the 10 minutes I was up moving, the cramping and pain returned.  I went to the restroom again and found blood again.  I decided to call our OB on call first to see what they wanted me to do before we made the choice to go back.  While speaking with her, she asked if they checked my cervix or anything to ensure I wasn’t in pre-term labor. I told her no and she didn’t seem very happy and told me to go back and she would send orders to check.  On our way back to the ER, I spoke with one of my best friends who used to be a nurse at the same hospital and knows the doctor I talked to and her response was “Yeah, I bet she’s not happy and I’m sure they know you are coming now!”  They sure did!  When I walked in the triage nurse said she had just gotten off the phone with the OB and someone from radiology would be up to get me.  They took me back and did a cervical length check via ultrasound and measured her heart rate again and we later found out everything looked good and normal.  However, before receiving the results, the ER doctor came in and told us it sounded like I was in preterm labor and at 18 weeks there wasn’t anything they could do to stop it.  I thought Hubby was going to knock him out. Luckily, everything checked out fine and again they sent us home for a follow up with my OB’s office (I already had an appointment scheduled for that Tuesday) and to take it easy.  At my follow up appointment, I met with a nurse practitioner at the office and after hearing about our 3 ER visits and assortment of tests she felt my pain could be caused by a bladder infection and the stones.  Her thought about the bleeding is it could be caused by a fast growing uterus and broken capillaries in my cervix and said since it hadn’t continued she wasn’t too worried about it and sometimes it just happens in pregnancies.  I was prescribed a week of antibiotics and after all was said and done, I feel a lot better now.  Our anatomy ultrasound today showed my cervix is still long and normal and no outlying issues elsewhere. By far, the scariest experience I have experienced in a long time and I’ve learned to not take this pregnancy for granted.

Cravings: This week, it’s been chocolate cake! 15590936_10100578053333910_4298353258412339972_oOne evening, before bed I was really craving it and luckily, we had a box of cake mix in our pantry so I made a cake at 10pm!   It was so delicious!

Aversions: I can’t really think of any new ones.  Overly greasy food is still on my bad list. I had Sonic for dinner last week because I was in a pinch and I felt awful afterwards.   

Missing Most: I miss being able to do regular household things/chores in a timely manner.  I noticed while cleaning the house for the holidays, I had to take numerous breaks for my back and it took me almost three times as long.  I got really frustrated last night because I was working on cleaning out Nora’s future nursery and while pre-pregnant me would already be done, pregnant me only got about halfway done before I called it quits.

Nursery: I did start clearing it out and I’ll be working on it little by little the rest of this week. Hubby and I had the realization that time is flying by and I want to be able to help as much as possible, while I still can!

Best Part of the Week: Finally receiving the call last week to schedule our anatomy ultrasound for today!   It was nice having a scheduled ultrasound with a lot less stress and being able to see her wiggle around.  We have to go back in three weeks to get pictures of things we weren’t able to see today.  Little Miss kept putting her hands in front of her face and had her head down low so we were unable to get a good picture of her profile. They also want to check for a cleft palate but they couldn’t see her lips this time around.

Can’t Wait For:  K is coming for the weekend! She was supposed to come yesterday for a week but was sick so we had to postpone her visit.  We have a regular OB appointment next Tuesday and to follow up from last week’s craziness.

Here are the pictures we were able to get of Miss Nora today!  She is quite perfect but I might be a little biased! 🙂

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Her arm and hand waving hello!

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At one point, she stretched out her legs really far! 

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Until next time,

J