Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Introducing Austen Olivia Lowman!

Well, she’s here! In addition to being completely in love, I am also dealing with a whole range of emotions (to be expected). The strangest of them being how I miss being pregnant. Given how ready I was to get over with that phase and into this one, there is this weird sense of grieving for my pregnant self that is baffling me a bit. I think it’s the same for most big events in your life…like getting married. You wait for months and months with anticipation, going through preparations, and then the day comes and goes and you’re left feeling a little nostalgic.

Aside from that, we’re doing great. I’m feeling better than expected and I have to brag a little, already back to my pre-pregnancy weight! The whole labor and delivery process wasn’t too terrible either. I was calm, cool and collected when told at my normal appointment on Halloween they were going to induce me because my amniotic fluid was a little low. I just casually headed over to the hospital (already had the bag in the car!) and Jarrett soon followed.

We got into a room around 1 p.m. and they didn’t place the cervadil (something to help further “ripen” my cervix) until 5 p.m. so we were a bit restless for a while just chilling in the room. They were going to start the pitocin at 5 a.m. but it never happened. I went into active labor before then. The hour or so before I got the epidural was NOT pleasant but then everything was all good. I love drugs. I only pushed for about 30-45 minutes and then Austen was in the world! The timing of everything is a bit of a blur but she arrived at 8:21 a.m. on Thursday, November 1. That’s the important part.

We’re adjusting to life at home pretty well. So far, she’s an angel. She sleeps like a champ and isn’t fussy. I’m aware this could change at any time! The only real challenge is breastfeeding. She had to get introduced to a bottle nipple in the hospital because she was jaundiced and needed a supplement to help clear it. Well, that allowed her to learn that a bottle nipple is less work and now she refuses to nurse. She’s getting pumped milk, which is good, but I want her to nurse so I’m not giving up. We’re seeing a lactation consultant next week and hoping that will help.

Looking back, from the moment the stick was positive until I saw our baby girl for the first time was amazing. I can’t wait to see what our future holds!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Waiting is the hardest part

Cue Tom Petty! I have turned a corner and the mental anguish now outweighs the physical discomforts. I can’t think about anything except “when?!” and it’s driving me batty (there, that's my Halloween Week pun). There have been no signs to indicate we’re getting close. I had a few pretty intense contractions over the weekend, but they were sporadic and obviously didn’t progress or this would be a whole different post.

Last week I was 2cm and 70% effaced, so we’re at least moving in the right direction. If there hasn’t been much improvement come my appointment on Wednesday, I’ll be disappointed, even though I know it doesn’t predict anything. But again, for me, it’s all mental at this point.

I’d prefer to be one of those 10% whose water breaks so I have very clear marching orders to call the doctor and head to the hospital. Most women claim you know when you’re in actual labor, but there are also stories of women whose contractions weren’t the doubled-over-in-pain type and it was more about the consistency. I’d rather not worry about deciphering or timing contractions and just have something concrete clue me in (i.e., gush o’ fluid). We can deal with contractions once we get to the hospital and I’m all settled in. Yeah, that sounds good; let’s do that.

I’m starting to think about inducement. If needed, I have a scheduled appointment the day after my due date and I’m hoping we put something on the books for later in the week. I simply can’t imagine drawing this out any longer but I know they can wait as far as a full 1-2 weeks past your due date to induce. Lord, help me (and J, and anyone else who has to listen to me!) if that’s the case.

Tonight is a full moon and I know of one grandma-in-waiting who is betting on it. Regardless of whether it puts me into labor, I’m feeling funky if nothing else. I have experienced cramps/contractions/baby movements nearly non-stop and walking suddenly became more difficult than normal today. However, the famed eggplant parmesan at Scalini’s was a bust so I’m not feeling very superstitious.

Bottom line: everyone keeps reminding me Rosebud will come when she’s ready. Does my being ready count for anything anymore? I’m beginning to think not…and that it’s called parenthood. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Poor, Poor, Pitiful Me

Each day I show up to work I can count on at least one person musing, “You’re still here?” I try to fake a polite smile. Some are referring to the fact I haven’t delivered yet and others to the fact that I’m too close to D-Day to still be in coming into the office. Believe me, if I had the available time off, I wouldn’t be. I’m completely useless and satisfy scant more than providing a warm butt in a chair. Thankfully, very little is being asked of me these days; just menial tasks that don’t necessitate much thought or effort. I think that is the best solution for everyone involved at this point!

I’ll admit to feeling sorry for myself this week. I think the emotional strain of J being gone for so many days in a row (9 of the last 10) is taking its toll. At home, no task comes with ease  – going up and down the stairs to let the dog out multiple times a day, bending over to fill her food/water bowls and schlepping to the kitchen to fix a meal. I’m at the most uncomfortable phase in my pregnancy and no one has been around to take care of me. Poor, poor, pitiful me, I know; but I can’t help how I feel. That, combined with my overall state of being OVER IT has caused a handful crying jags over the past few days. However, this is the last time I can be selfish and insist on some intense TLC before becoming a mom so I also feel slightly justified in my pouting. My parents may be required to increase their length of stay once the baby is born whether they or J have agreed to it or not!

Tomorrow is yet another doctor’s appointment. Last week I was 1cm dilated and my cervix was beginning to thin (TMI? Sorry, this is a pregnancy blog, folks). We’ll see if there has been any change. My doctor did tell me that since this little girl isn’t so little, she would possibly do an ultrasound at this or the next appointment to get a better feel for her size. I would get a kick from seeing just how Rosebud’s crammed into this belly. I attempted to negotiate with her last night: if she would kindly oblige and let us meet her ASAP, she’d have a lot more room to move and stretch as well as be showered with lots of love, adoration and cuddles. That’s a pretty good deal, right?

J will be back tomorrow evening for the long haul so there will be no more reasons to stall. I’m just trying to take things day by day, but the thought of going all the way to my due date or beyond causes me great distress. Between the mounting anticipation and physical discomfort, I don’t know how I will survive with any sanity intact.

Friday, October 19, 2012

You Big Baby!

Well, my hopes a while back for a smaller (yet healthy) baby have officially been dashed. The doctor is guesstimating this child is in the mid-7lb range and will deliver in the mid-high 8s. I know this is just an estimate and she could easily be wrong, but I'm pretty certain she won't be so off that I have a 6.5lb baby so I'm prepping myself.

Hearing those numbers scares me a little, but since I already know I am having an epidural (hooray for drugs!), I am assuming I won't feel much of a difference no matter her size. The thing that makes me nervous is perhaps a greater possibility of a bad tear or even a c-section. Either way, I still just want her to be healthy. I will survive.

The best news of my appointment today was that I hadn't gained any more weight, which can be normal at this point. Those last couple of weigh-ins were a doozie; not just because the actual amount I gained in a short time seemed high, but the numbers on the scale went into digits I never, ever want to see again. I truly can't complain about my weight gain during this pregnancy - I have been lucky and can only hope that means it is a tad bit easier to lose.

I was also assured that feeling like I have been hit by a Mac truck is completely normal at this point. You know, can't sleep, every move is at least a little painful and requires great effort, that sort of thing. As I have said before, even more frustrating than the constant discomfort is the haunting uncertainty of what is to come and when.

J is back from Vancouver (yay!) but off to Orlando on Sunday. As of next Thursday he's home until at least after Thanksgiving so let's all plan on a Friday, Oct. 26 birth. Sound good?! Good. It's a date.

p.s. I had a dream last night that Rosebud actually came out a boy. I was freaking out because J and I couldn't agree on a name before we left the hospital! Did any of you mamas out there have a opposite sex name back up just in case?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Today was a good day

So, hooray: I’m feeling pretty good today! Well, mentally – not necessarily physically. However, I’m pushing through the daily pains and discomforts best I can. I know the end is in sight!

Anyway, back to the positive news: we now have all the essentials for surviving at least our first few weeks with our baby girl (or so we think)! We assembled the pack n’ play she’ll use to sleep in our room in the beginning. It’s actually a bit of a tight squeeze if I place it next to my side of the bed. Not sure that’s where it will stay. It would easily go at the end of the bed but that is directly under the fan, which we keep on religiously. Is that a bad idea even though we have really high ceilings? My gut says yes. Anyone else care to weigh in?

We also got the car seat. We’ll install it in my car this weekend and Jarrett will get the extra base in his so we can just pop her in and out. Speaking of cars, I managed to scrape up the side of the Murano against a concrete post in my work parking garage the other day. It’s not horrible, but it most likely won’t be a cheap fix. I’m so mad at myself, but J was pretty chill when I told him and I really appreciated that because I had already burst into tears when it happened.

Since we are well-prepared stuff-wise, I’m definitely ready for Rosebud to make her big debut. On Monday I’ll be 37 weeks and she’ll be full-term so I say bring it on. I did not have an exam at my last appointment to check for dilation. I learned that my doctor does that starting at 38 weeks. However, it won’t predict much of anything regardless of when she does one. You can be 3cm dilated (anxiously convinced you’re going to go at any time) for weeks or go from zero to go time in a matter of hours. I can accept that, but it doesn’t give me any ammunition to get J to stay home from either of his trips, especially next week's Monday-Thursday jaunt to Vancouver.

J being that far away is a worry I can't calm and unless I can fix that ASAP, I may jinx myself into labor while he’s gone just from fretting about it. I’m going to address his schedule at my doctor's appointment tomorrow but I know she can't predict if anything will happen next week; so unless I’m already in labor prior to his flight, he’s going to be on it. As much as I tell him just the possibility is enough reason to stay, I know he really wants to fulfill his work responsibilities while he can.

I, on the other hand, can't say the same. Well, just about the strategic planning meeting I have to attend next week. It will be three long days of presentations/discussion in a local hotel conference room followed by group dinners each night. I’m going to be uncomfortable and exhausted. I’m totally dreading it and if I could get a note from my doctor saying I shouldn't attend, I would do it in a heartbeat. Alas, unless I forge it, I'm stuck. Hmm...forging.... ;)

Monday, October 1, 2012

If it walks like a duck...

We’re at 35 (completed, wading into the 36th) weeks today, folks, and that means two things of interest: weekly doctor visits and they would not try to stop labor if it were to occur, according to my last appointment. I’m spending most of my days trying to quiet the (very loud) voice inside of me that is vying for this little one to come early (like, NOW) and let her continue to develop a little longer in the womb. I know that’s best in the long run and a full-term arrival wins in spite of me feeling completely over being pregnant and dealing with the plain ole’ anxiety of waiting for something I know is imminent.

Since my last post I think I am a bit better at recognizing my contractions, which range from a tightening sensation to menstrual-like cramping. I generally have 2-3 every couple of hours and sometimes more if they are indeed what I think they are. They aren’t painful per say, but certainly cause some discomfort. Some things I read say to call your doctor if you have 4 or more in an hour but since I’m not always positive that’s what they are, I haven’t yet. Again, I’m walking that thin line between logic and paranoia. If I experience any other symptoms along with those maybe contractions, I will definitely call.

Rosebud’s movements feel like she’s trying to find her way out, even if that means punching through my stomach! J and I like to watch my belly jump with her powerful kicks and jabs but it’s still surreal to think it’s a tiny human who is doing all that. No doubt it will all become very REAL soon.

Aside from being zapped of all energy no matter how much I rest, my biggest obstacle now is walking (read: waddling). It feels like the baby may fall out and there is constant pain/pressure in my pelvic region when I’m standing. I know this is all normal, but it doesn’t make it any more pleasant.

I find myself having an influx of pregnancy/labor/delivery dreams lately. They are all quite vivid and just a little left of reality. For example, being in the hospital and freaking out because we didn’t have a car seat to bring her home in so I send J out to buy one and have the baby while he’s shopping…and oh yeah they deliver the baby one body part at a time and just assemble her afterward but it’s totally normal. Or, trying to disguise my pregnancy from others at my own baby shower because it was an accident or something and I’m embarrassed (a nod to being unable to wear my wedding rings on my swollen fingers?).

I imagine these types of dreams will continue because, you know, I’ve kind of got that stuff on my mind. It may very well be the ONLY thing on my mind though, because remembering things, like…oh yes, words...can be difficult. I stumble around a lot when I speak and often feel like I’m not making sense. My attempts to appear intelligent the days I’m in the office are pretty much in vain. However, at this point I finally feel unequivocally validated in blaming everything on being pregnant and am not afraid to play that card.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

I think I'm paranoid

I admit it; full-on crazy lady mode has set in. I’m chalking it up to this being my first pregnancy and not knowing what to expect at this stage. It’s not about actually giving birth; it’s about knowing whether I’m experiencing preterm labor. I’m finding it difficult to walk the line between worrying about everything I’m feeling and passing it all off as normal; the whole thing is messing with my mind a bit...okay, a lot. Some of this is just my nature so it was unavoidable to a point, but that little trip to the hospital a couple of weeks ago has only heightened it.

I have read and heard conflicting stories of those who say you’ll have no doubt when you’re having real contractions and those who had no idea at first. That makes me nervous because I was a bit surprised to find out how many contractions I was having when I was being monitored at the hospital. I can honestly say I can’t distinguish them between all the other intense sensations I am having in my belly lately, and it does feel like there is some kind of activity almost constantly. I figure that can’t always be the baby.

The baby’s movements are no longer little bumps and jabs and have become much more uncomfortable in general. I have strong pelvic pressure/pain and my lower back is starting to hurt. However, I know for sure that some of the other signs of labor (water breaking, bloody show – ew – who came up with that name?!, etc.) haven’t occurred so I’m airing on the side of normal for now. I’m actually looking forward to the weekly doctor appointments that start next Thursday to give me peace of mind on a more regular basis.

Speaking of peace of mind, just like I thought Rosebud was a girl from day one, I have also felt in my gut that she will come early. Therefore, I feel no peace at the fact that J has an unfortunate travel schedule coming up. He will be in Vancouver (dude, that’s in a whole other country!) on Oct. 15-18 and Orlando on Oct. 21-25. I suggested he tell his supervisor he can’t travel that close to my due date but he insists he has to go and can’t cancel just on the off-chance I may give birth. Depending on what the doctor says at my appointment the week before, this could become less of a suggestion and more of a request.

I’m also hoping the doctor can start to give me an estimate of how big she is next week. Up until now I have relied strictly on various sites and books, none of which seem to agree. I’d just like to have an idea if she’s leaning more toward being on the small or large scheme of things. Given that I’m not planning on a c-section, I’m personally rooting for no more than 8 pounds – closer to 7 would be even better!

p.s. Please tell me I'm not the only pregnant woman who has felt this way.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

7 weeks to go

I had a regularly-scheduled biweekly doctor's appointment this morning - one of those real quick ones. Turns out I lost the 4 pounds I gained at the last appointment. I was a little concerned but the doctor assured me that Rosebud is still measuring well and has a strong heartbeat so there is no reason to worry.

He also added that losing weight can be common among those of us who started out a bit heavier. As long as my little girl is OK, I certainly have no issues with having only gained 3 pounds this entire pregnancy so far. I was given the green light to up  my calorie intake but I still don't have a huge appetite. No nausea or aversions, just not all that hungry!

Given my trip to the hospital on Friday, he also talked a bunch about preterm labor signs. There is still a 10% chance I could give birth in the next two weeks despite that swab test being negative. However, I think this is the kind of stuff they discuss with every woman at this stage and not because I'm at a higher risk. Until I have 8 noticeable contractions in an hour, I'm good to go. And honestly, I don't think I'm even aware of every contraction I have right now. The ones I do feel are just a bit uncomfortable, not painful or anything I have to breathe through, which is all normal and fine.

We're working on putting the finishing touches on the nursery this week and plan on getting any outstanding items that are necessary (i.e., breast pump, car seat, etc.) soon. I hope to have everything in place by October so that if anything WERE to happen, we'd be all set. Preterm or not, we're getting closer!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Freaky Friday

So, yesterday was a bit of an adventure. I woke up feeling fine, just really tired...one of those days where it's hard to put one foot in front of the other. However, sitting at my desk at work around 9 a.m., I realized I was feeling very short of breath, a bit dizzy, experiencing some blurred vision and all the lights seemed incredibly bright.

I sat with those symptoms for a good 30 minutes before they concerned me enough to put a message into my doctor. I had dealt with some of them in the past, but never all together and not that intensely. I assumed the doc would tell me everything was fine and not to worry, so I was surprised when I was asked to come in and be evaluated.

J was about to hop on a plane home from California. The last he knew was that I wasn't feeling great and going to see the doctor. I was fortunate that my cousin, Johnny, was able to pick me up from work and take me to the doctor.

After a quick chat, my doctor didn't seem overly concerned, but said I didn't look great and wanted to run some tests that she couldn't do in the office so she was sending me over to Labor and Delivery at the hospital. That's when I began to get a little nervous.

Johnny took me to the hospital and I told him to go home. By now it was 12:45 and J would be landing in a few hours. I figured I was fine on my own. It took another hour before I even got into a room and then almost another hour before the nurse had finished asking all the standard questions.

Funniest part of the day was since J was concerned, he got wifi on the plane and sent a message to a friend to call me and find out what was going on. Thanks to the miracle of smart phones, J and I connected so I could keep him updated. I felt horrible that he was hearing all this while on a cross-country flight!

They finally took some blood but mostly I just waited. I was hooked up to a fetal monitor so I could hear Rosebud's heartbeat, which was strong and soothing to me. I was feeling a little better by this time but still having some symptoms.

J made it to the hospital by 4:10 while we waited for the results of the blood work. Everything checked out fine, but my doctor noticed I was having some contractions so she decided to perform a swab test that can detect if you will go into labor within 2 weeks. I also got a cervical exam, which was by far the most uncomfortable part of the whole day. The wait for this part was hard because I was not ready for the news that I could be giving birth before 35 weeks.

Luckily, everything came back negative. Despite the fact that I had felt badly, there was nothing to show that anything bad was happening or that we should be concerned. While we were definitely relieved, it also felt like a bit of a waste. However, better be safe than sorry, right?

We got home around 7 p.m. and I was exhausted. J needed a drink. It was an unexpected and stressful day. I am feeling much better today and just taking it easy for a few days. I have to say, I'm ready to speed through these next few weeks and get to 37 weeks where I would feel better if anything happened!

Monday, September 10, 2012

The return of Hop Along and Hank

You may remember that last October when we were camping, our 4-legged baby, Savannah, tore her ACL. This resulted in a pricey surgery and several months of recovery. The vet had warned us that she now had a 70% chance of tearing the other ACL and while we didn’t protect her to the point of ridiculousness, we have been careful to not put her in an abundance of situations that could lead to that happening.

Well, on Friday night we were headed out to dinner and were going to bring her in the car with us. Riding in the car is her most favorite thing in the world so she got real excited and ran down the stairs ahead of us. Suddenly, we heard the most pitiful “YELP!” and both instantly knew what happened. There were definitely some f-bombs floating around the Lowman household that evening. While there is never good timing for an accident like this to occur, when one of you is 8 weeks from giving birth and can’t help getting an invalid pup up and down your millions of stairs, it’s a particularly bad time.

J is about to start some marathon business travel before the baby comes, leaving me to care for an injured Savannah. I obviously can’t pick her up like J can and move her from level to level so until we can have the surgery in a few weeks, she’s either going to have to hop around (hence the maybe-not-very-sensitive nickname Hop Along) or be content down on the bottom floor by herself, which is highly unlikely. When she doesn’t feel good she actually wants attention from her mama! Poor puppy; and poor us – literally – we feel like we’re already hemorrhaging money to prepare for the baby.

However, some good news: my supervisor was awesomely generous and agreed to let me begin a regular work from home schedule (2.5 days a week) to help accommodate some of the discomfort of being in the office all day, every day between now and giving birth. I am so thankful because this will be a huge help to my mental and physical well-being. Even better, this is set to continue after I am back from maternity leave, allowing me more time to spend with Rosebud and prolong the period until we put her in full-time daycare. The relief I feel is almost immeasurable.

Also, I feel like I should admit that Hank, my sweet tooth (as in…I have a hankering for some chocolate), whom had been dormant for a good chunk of this pregnancy, is back with a vengeance. This may or may not have contributed to my slightly over-zealous weight gain at the last appointment. I write this as I pop a mini-Hershey’s bar into my mouth sooo next week’s weight calculation may not be looking good either.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Sugar Baby

Totally got this for our little turkey
The results are in and…I passed my glucose test, meaning no gestational diabetes for this girl! This is, of course, after failing the initial screening so I did have to endure the 3-hour test, but that was boring more than anything else; the waiting room of a doctor’s office just isn’t comfortable, no matter what. Anyway, I’m relieved because it’s one less thing to worry about as this pregnancy comes ever close to an end. I still remain relatively calm about the impending birth. I’m wondering when/if that’s going to change.

The only concern my doctors have right now is that I developed anemia – severe anemia to be exact. This would help explain my recent bouts with shortness of breath and intense fatigue. Well, simply being 31 weeks pregnant can explain both of those, too, but the anemia isn’t helping the cause. I was put on a daily iron supplement and have to try to get iron through my diet as well. It’s a good thing I like red meat – bring on a steak!

You’ll notice I’m not expounding much on the size of my belly or my weight. There’s a reason for that. I was none-too-pleased with the scale at my appointment this morning and most days I feel huge, though I don't think I'm overly big for how far along I am. I can’t even imagine what’s to come the next few weeks as far as that goes! My total weight gain is still on track, but the number of pounds put on during the last two weeks can’t become a habit, for my body or my sanity. Yikes.

Other than that, Rosebud and I are doing fine. She’s measuring just as she should and her little heartbeat is nice and strong. As long as I can make it through the next nine weeks, I think we’ll both be good to go come time for her arrival!

I had my first baby shower a couple of weeks ago and it was lovely. It is nice to start getting some of the essentials, however less glamorous, we need (read: burp cloths). I like checking them off the list, feeling more prepared. My mom and I also thoroughly enjoyed a trip to Carter’s for some cute outfits. Rosebud now has a decent little wardrobe going for her first few weeks.

The other news is that we got a new car. We were only going to look to get an idea of what was out there and truly had no intention of buying anything yet. Whoops! The plan had been to eventually trade in my 2006 VW Jetta and get a smaller SUV for me, with J staying in his Nissan Murano. However, as we test drove a few, it started to make more sense for me to take over the Murano and to get J a new sedan. There were no good deals on any of the models we liked, and really, no need for us to have two SUVs. Plus, J missed having an actual car as his daily driver. We ended up getting a sweet deal on a fully-loaded Passat (J getting a VW was also totally unexpected) and I’m now learning to maneuver the Murano, which is so much bigger than my little Jetta! If you’re on the road in East Cobb, look out! And if you're a cop, please let J off with a warning as he remembers how not to drive a car with some real power too fast.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Falling For You

Do you have any regrets? The one that stands out for me is not going into education and becoming a teacher, specifically, a reading specialist. That regret looms large in my mind twice a year; when school ends and summer break is upon all my teacher friends and then again when school starts. When I wistfully remembered the joy of shopping for all new school supplies (and clothes) the other day, J called me a dork. Harumph! I proudly embrace that dorkdom because man did I love that time of year. What, you may ask, does any of this have to do with the impending birth of our daughter? Nothing, really, except that back-to-school reminds me that fall is upon us and I’m excited.
I’m excited because this year, fall = baby and well, I think that’s reason enough. I hit 28 weeks today, officially 12 more weeks to go! Last week, right on cue, several third trimester symptoms snuck up on me, mainly leg cramps and constant heartburn. Thank heavens for Pepcid! Another gem? Leaky breasts. So, so weird. I’m sure it’s just a sign of more things to come in these last few months.
I guess another tie in to the back-to-school theme could be the new stuff we’re buying for the baby. We decided to splurge on a crazy space stroller. OK, it’s not from space, but the Origami sure is fancy. It arrived the other day and is already J’s favorite baby gadget. Savannah, on the other hand, was kind of freaked out by it! That’s really the only baby item we have purchased lately. We already have to prepay some of the hospital bill (ugh!) so we’re waiting until after the showers to see what’s left on the registry to get. I haven’t even picked up any outfits since those initial three after learning we were having a girl … so unlike me!
In other news, I’m still in heavy nesting mode, wanting everything cleaned out, pared down and organized. I wish I were always this motivated to keep away the clutter! I want everything just so, even though I know it won’t last once the baby comes and life with a child begins. I think maybe we’re programmed to want to get everything that way just so we feel a moment of contentment and readiness when we bring the baby home.
I’ll report back soon on whether I fail my glucose tolerance test on Friday for gestational diabetes. I have a feeling I might given my past insulin resistance, but hopefully not!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Thursdays are hard. I find myself dragging both physically and mentally. By Friday’s eve the week has caught up to me: the strain on my brain, the discomfort of sitting for the better part of the past three days, and the exhaustion from consecutive nights of non-restful sleep. Any energy boost I enjoyed from the weekend has worn off and I’m just plain whipped. Fridays are a little better only because the allure of the impending weekend (read: naps!) keeps me going.

Being pregnant and working is tiresome but this leads to (one of) my biggest fears of impending parenthood: becoming a working mom. I know so many women do it, but I often hear or read how exhausting can be. A few have even remarked they feel like a bad mother and a bad employee because they are never truly focused on the task at hand. If they’re at work, they’re thinking about their child and vice versa. I also hear it gets a bit easier when the child gets older and goes to school, but for the first few years when he or she is still so very dependent on you for everything, it’s a difficult challenge.

It’s no secret that I have always wanted to be a stay-at-home-mom. I was lucky to have a mother who was home with me and when I was older, worked in the school system so we had the same hours. I was never in full-time daycare or schlepped away to summer camp because there was no one to care for me. I have since affirmed I would give my child the same benefits of having a parent present. However, reality is a bitch. Leaving my job would cause a drastic blow to our income, and it just doesn’t make financial sense to go that route though I have run every possible scenario in my mind on how to make it work.

I’m a prime candidate to become a freelance writer but I still have yet to get my first paying gig. I work better on my own rather than being chained to a desk and made to think between the prescribed hours of 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. I think that is why I have never, and probably will never be truly satisfied with a traditional office job. This realization is hitting home even stronger as I contemplate my future as a working mom. Soon I will have one more – in truth, the most important – reason to want to drive my own schedule.

Thankfully, being a full-time freelancer isn’t just a pipe dream. It could happen one day, but it’s highly unlikely to occur between now and the birth of our daughter. That means I will be back at work a mere six weeks after her birth, missing out on what I believe to be one of the most crucial periods to be with and nurture her. I continue to have a hard time swallowing this fate, but I know I’m not alone; there are so many other parents with the same dilemma. I just have to keep looking for ways to eventually achieve my ideal situation of contributing to our livelihood, keeping my talents fresh and being a present mother. Tall order, but I'm not giving up on that dream any time soon.

Monday, July 23, 2012

A Home for Rosebud

We have a nursery … kind of! The furniture we ordered came in way early (was supposed to arrive in September) so J recruited my cousin Johnny and they picked it up at the warehouse this weekend. By Saturday night the crib was assembled and everything was in place, or the place we think we want everything for now. There are no decorative touches or anything on the walls, but it feels good to have the big stuff done. We even moved the guest room downstairs and set that up. Note to guests: It’s not perfect, but it’s functional.

I know we still have plenty of time to do this kind of stuff but I like having it done now, especially as I get less and less helpful with anything physical! Our townhouse has a LOT of stairs and going up and down them multiple times in a day definitely makes my hips throb. Lately, we’ve had some really productive weekends getting everything in order and my body feels the effects so doing these things while I’m still feeling relatively good is in everyone’s best interest.

Since I have to bank the majority of my vacation this year to supplement maternity leave, we’re not taking any real vacations. However, we are managing to sneak in a couple of weekend trips. I am headed to my parents’ house at the lake this weekend. I have no plans other than to NOT be in Atlanta and relax by the water. Then, for our anniversary in August, we’re headed to Blacksburg. This is a trip we usually take each year, often to see a game, but this was the only time it was feasible this year (we’ll miss you, Mudds!). I’m not really sure what you do in Blacksburg other than drink cheap, but we will get to see a scrimmage and more importantly, shop for Hokie gear for Rosebud. Regardless, it’s a lovely town and I like being back in Virginia for any reason so I’m looking forward to it.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Good Night and Good Luck

Ah, a good night’s rest: an elusive feat. I am far enough along, and my belly is big enough that sleeping comfortably through the night is mostly just a memory. I toss and turn trying to find a good position, clumsily manipulating an array of pillows meant to support everything from my neck to my hips. Then I throw the covers off in a sweaty heat flash and do my best to ignore that ever-constant urge to pee. J is starting to wonder if he should sleep in the guest room so HE can get some rest.

Add to that the annoying little discomforts such as a stabbing pain in my lower right abdomen whenever I change positions, which is apparently known as round ligament pain, and a constant dull, throbbing ache due to stretching lady parts. The best way to describe it is as if I’ve been karate-kicked in the crotch. Ouch! Though not unbearable, each of these contributes to my recent inability to sleep through the night. I assume it is nature’s way of somewhat preparing you for the upcoming exhaustion of having a newborn.

Speaking of newborns, I found myself watching a few episodes of A Baby Story on TLC the other day. I hadn’t seen it in years and even though they were reruns, I understandably had a newfound interest in them. I thought I might freak out seeing various labor and delivery scenes, but I was actually more excited than anything. Don’t get me wrong, I am nervous about the pain potential, but I have also accepted it as a short-term obstacle to meeting our baby girl. I am much more concerned about having a safe delivery and a healthy baby. The pain will fade.

This week being the beginning of my 6th month, I’m trying to balance the feeling that there still seems like so far to go (110 more days!) with the reality that it will probably go by pretty quick. I like to feel prepared so we’ve already picked out a pediatrician, pre-registered at the hospital and scheduled a tour. We’ve decided to forgo any childbirth class. My theory is that I can read and ask other mothers any questions I have and there will be plenty of qualified personnel present for the delivery to instruct me on anything. Plus, J and I can practice any relaxation techniques at home; we both find it uncomfortable to do that kind of stuff with a group of strangers. I originally felt like you have to do a class for your first baby, but I am now totally comfortable with the decision not to attend.

Right now I’m just trying to enjoy myself since I feel good more days than not. Any of the discomforts mentioned above are just that; nothing more, and they’re certainly not stopping me from delighting in some of the perks of pregnancy, like feeling Rosebud move around. Every little thump makes me smile and J even felt something for the first time the other night. Hooray!

Monday, July 9, 2012

No Binging, Just Purging

Things not to do while pregnant: get your first bikini wax. ‘Nuff said.

I think I have officially hit the nesting phase. I am feeling an intense need to rid the house of clutter. J and I were able to tackle the guest room/nursery closet and clean it out this weekend. It had basically become a catch-all since we moved in last year and no longer warranted the title of a walk-in. We couldn’t completely empty it, nor will Rosebud need all that space, but we did get rid of a lot of old clothes, boxes and simply reorganize. Ahhh … much better. This desire to purge has me eyeing my own closet and drawers next.

See, I LOVE the idea of organization. I want everything to have its perfect place and stay there. In my reality, it just never happens. If I had unlimited funds, I would buy out The Container Store, and compartmentalize the crap out of everything we own. That being a pipe dream and all, I find that my make-do solutions only last until I get lazy. And well, that doesn’t take long. That's not to say I would be any better with all my little organizers, but again, I like the thought that I would. I am hoping that when Rosebud comes I’ll be a little more vigilant, because it will be the beginning of there being infinitely more stuff in our lives.

Speaking of that stuff, we also started our registry. Wow. It was both fun and overwhelming. I think J assumed my experience as a nanny and/or proclivity toward internet research would better prepare me for deciding what we did and didn’t need. Wrong. I got a little flustered at times because there are so many choices and I didn't know which was best! We found that it's also really hard to find cute, girlish things that aren’t some shade of pink. In the world's most unsurprising news, J is not really a fan, and while I have no desire to drown in pink, I was definitely drawn to it more than most the other choices, but I tried to oblige where I could. Sigh. So, yeah, pink and yellow – there was a lot of that on the registry.

Baby girl is continuing to stay active in the womb and I may have felt some Braxton Hicks contractions last night. I was startled awake by some new sensations in my belly a few times, like there was a belt around my abdomen that was being tightened in intervals by some mean little fairy. Why a fairy, you ask? I don't know. True Blood was on last night; must have fairies on the brain. I digress. Anyway, they seem to subside when I changed positions, but it certainly wasn’t something I had experienced before. I’m sure it’s just a sign of all the strange sensations to come as I get ever closer to my third trimester!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Summer in the Suburbs

Whenever people ask about my due date and hear that it’s not until November, most make a comment about having to be pregnant during the summer. Up until a couple of days ago, I didn’t really get the big deal. Personally, I prefer being hot rather than cold and like the options of lightweight dresses as opposed to layers of clothing.

Obviously, it’s sweltering across the country and Hotlanta definitely earned its name by experiencing triple-digit heat over the weekend. My parents were here so my mom and I ran a few errands on Saturday and Sunday. The only time we spent outside was walking to and from the car, but it was enough to completely wear me down. I got tired more easily and found that I was generally more irritable. I simply didn’t have the energy or patience to make decisions. I had a one-track mind: I wanted to be neck-deep in a pool, but we don’t have access to a pool, so I was a tad bitter.

I don’t think either of those are completely attributable to being pregnant – the heat will do those things to someone in any condition, however, I think there is a good chance they are exacerbated in pregnancy. I have several friends who are also pregnant right now and I bet they would agree!

The best part of last week? My cousin, Johnny, and his wife Nina had their second little boy. We went to visit them at the hospital and I held baby Jackson. Swoon. I haven’t been around a newborn since their first son, John Harold, was born just over two years ago. It’s easy to forget how tiny and precious they are. Of course, I couldn’t help but think about holding our own little bundle in a matter of months, but I’m looking forward to spending more time with both boys before then.

Rosebud has begun doing full-on gymnastics lately, especially when I’m trying to fall sleep. I swear I felt it on the outside of my belly a few times, but J has yet to do so; soon, I hope! Also, thanks to my crafty mom, she is already starting to compile a collection of goodies. From blankets and burp cloths to adorable socks and soft bunnies, her amount of stuff continues to grow. We may have to move the guest room downstairs sooner than we thought!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


OK, so the secret is basically out: we’re having a girl! The technician was able to get a fairly dead-on view, so we’re pretty certain she will remain a she come delivery time.

More importantly, the ultrasound showed that everything was perfect thus far. She is growing just as she should. She has 10 little fingers and 10 little toes, two arms, two legs and an up-turned nose. Hey, that rhymes — maybe she’ll be a poet like her mama.

These days I am definitely feeling her flip-flopping around in there, and maybe even a bout of hiccups. All very cool. Something else that is cool? I’m still feeling good. The only exception would be some shooting pains that start at my hip and travel down my left cheek and thigh. Perhaps it’s a pinched nerve? It’s not all the time though, so I’ll survive.

In more fun news, my parents are coming to Atlanta this weekend to help celebrate my birthday — 33. Wow/Ugh. How did that happen?

The original plan was to surprise them with the baby’s sex upon their arrival on Friday but by last night I had grown tired of keeping the secret and gave them the choice of when to find out. It turns out they are as impatient as I am! I’m sure we’ll also do some things concerning the nursery, now that we know whether to lean toward pink or blue (mentally, not literally).

Speaking of the nursery, J had proclaimed all along that he would not be painting, but I was determined it would be painted and planned on hiring someone to do it if I had to. However, he unexpectedly had a change of heart and as of Saturday morning, the room is now a soothing light gray (as opposed to yellowy-beige)! He did all the work. I just kept him company and handed him things as needed. He gets many thanks and much love for this project. Ideally the bathroom would be painted, too, but I better not push my luck!

As for the title of this post, I’m calling the little one Rosebud for now. You can thank my dad for that catchy moniker, as he found a way to include a family name AND something that represented Virginia Tech all in one package. I see a future nickname coming!

We may be close to deciding on her actual name. I know J wants to keep that private; more to avoid unsolicited opinions than to be a surprise, but you know me; I’ll likely spill that at some point. If anything, you can count on me and my big mouth. Plus, I don’t really care what anyone else thinks — it’s not like we’re naming her Starlight Passion … or are we? :)

Monday, June 11, 2012

Whooooa, We're Halfway There

Photographer, I am not.
Well, next Monday will mark the official halfway point of the pregnancy. That’s pretty exciting stuff. I feel like I have been pregnant for an awful long time so it still seems a bit daunting that I have that much longer to go, but I’m sure it will pass quickly. We’re finally getting into the fun stage of things: We have picked out bedding, furniture and some artwork for the nursery. It’s cool to see that all start coming together.

You may be asking, do we know the baby’s sex yet? Maybe! We’re keeping mum on that whole subject for a bit so I’ll leave you hanging :) But is still safe to say that we aren’t any closer to settling on a name.

The belly continues to grow, but I’m not putting on much weight. Certainly no nausea or anything like that but I tend not to eat very much at meals. I get full quickly. I’m not complaining – no need to put on any more weight than the baby needs me to!

I THINK I have felt the baby move but can’t be certain because it’s not an actual kick yet – more like little tummy tickles. That’s what I am chalking those sensations up to anyway. Looking forward to when I know it for sure and when J can feel it, too. The poor thing might have to kick pretty hard in order for us to feel it through all my extra layers of belly fat. Sigh.

Speaking of J, he is gone this whole week to a convention in Las Vegas. Rough life, right? So, it’s just me and the Banana at home. I’m so lucky she is as lazy as I am and content to just lie around. I don’t know what I would do if she were more high maintenance. Simply walking around the mall this weekend had me in desperate need of a nap. Achy back and hips are in full effect these days, yo.

Next time I post, I’ll likely spill the beans on boy vs. girl. I’m sure all three of you will be waiting with bated breath!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Bump It

The bump continues to make itself known and as I’m sure most first-timers would agree, it’s a bit surreal. Whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I stop and look because it’s just so weird! It’s also kind of cool. Showing outward signs of all the internal chaos is definitely a perk. Not so sure I’ll agree with that a few more months down the road, but for now I’m enjoying it.

To me, my belly bulge seems quite pronounced, maybe even more than it should be at this point. Of course, I had some padding there to start off with and Lord knows there weren’t any abdominal muscles there to hold it all in. But I do wonder how I look to others; is it obvious that I am expecting or are there some silent concerns floating around about my McDonald’s intake? I’m still at the point where most socially-adept people wouldn’t dare comment if they don’t already know the truth. While that is probably best, I was still strangely disappointed when no one at my workshop earlier this week even asked.

Well, then came Wednesday. I work for a healthcare company and we have Medical Directors on staff. One of these was at the workshop and finally asked me how far along I was. Before I could answer, he guessed. He surmised I was around 25 weeks. I’m just shy of 16 weeks. Ouch. I wanted to write it off to the fact that maybe he had another specialty and wasn’t that familiar with pregnancy, but turns out he was in family medicine/OB. Double ouch. So, maybe my belly is out as much as it feels. Y’all take heed of my prediction that I’m headed toward Jessica Simpson proportions. After all, J was a 9 pound something baby. If that’s the case here, pray for me.

I’m not sweating it too much for now. I’m not ravenous and stuffing my face all the time (except with pizza. I am OBSESSED with pizza) so I’m not all that worried what the scale will read at my appointment next week. In fact, it will be a good thing if I have finally gained some weight.

I AM, however, worried that J and I will never agree on what to name the poor child. Thankfully, we have plenty of time to work that out, but now some of the ones I thought we had jointly put on the early list have been revoked. And we’re both stubborn … in case you didn’t already know that. Could be a long trip to November for more than one reason!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Crossing to the Sunny Side of the Street

Confession time: I had written a post last week bemoaning more of my pregnancy pains (literally and figuratively), but an unrelated email exchange I had with someone whose perspective I appreciate made me delete it. While I think there is no harm in being honest about not loving being pregnant so far, I absolutely need to look at it in a more positive light – I’m making a human being for goodness sake; who expects that to be easy?

So, with that change in attitude as well as the fact that I truly am feeling better, I aim to look on the bright side from here on out. I know that doesn’t mean everything will be peachy keen but it also doesn’t mean I have to whine about every little discomfort (and we all know I’m a whiner).

Here are the coolest things happening right now:
  • My belly is starting to poke out and maternity wear is becoming more necessary.
  • Only 6 more weeks until we know if it’s a boy or a girl - start placing your bets.
  • J and I decided on nursery furniture this weekend. 
  • I’m finding myself less overwhelmed and more excited when looking at gear.  
  • Pizza.
Also, an update on our 4-legged baby. Something is up with Savannah. We’re not sure if she’s still in a little discomfort from her knee surgeries or if she senses things are changing but she’s been sad lately. When she’s sad, we’re sad. Hopefully a weekend at the lake and swimming in a few weeks will cheer her up. Poor puppy.

p.s. - This photo was taken on April 28. Belly has since popped out further.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

First is the Worst, Second is the Best?

Twelve weeks and 3 days people, meaning just a week and a half until I enter my second trimester, this mysterious, yet seemingly wonderful land where people promise I’ll start to feel more like myself again. Let me state for the record that if I am one of those gals who doesn’t fit into the category of “most women” and the nausea doesn’t subside soon, I may lose my mind.
The last week has been rough; my appetite was completely non-existent and the little food I could eat didn't always remain with me. This was evident in our 12 week appointment yesterday when I stepped on the scale and saw I’d lost 5 pounds in 3 weeks, equaling a total of 7 for the pregnancy so far. Unfortunately, J was standing right there when the nurse called out my weight. That is a truth I have tried to shield him from for a while. Sigh. It led to an awesome conversation while waiting for the doctor about how much I should aim on losing after the baby.
J was also present for his first breast exam. J: “Why was she massaging your boobs?” Me: “Um…she wasn't massaging exactly, she was feeling for lumps.” J: “Oh. Looked like massaging to me.” After just a couple of brief experiences in the OB/GYN world, I know J can concretely say he is happy to be a man.
We also had the ultrasound screening for Down Syndrome. This was cool because we got another look at our little guy/girl, who had a little hand raised up! So strange to see a tiny human forming and know it was inside me. We also got to hear the heartbeat J. The technician did some measurements, which all looked good but we have to wait to get the results back from this week and 16-week bloodwork to have a more accurate picture of whether the baby is at risk. Keep those prayers coming!
I am still convinced our tiny human is a girl, so you may find me referring to it as her or she. Of course, I won’t care either way but it’s just a feeling I have. We will find out toward the end of June, which seems like far away even though it’s only about 8 weeks. I already feel like I have been pregnant forever and am excited to start showing a little bit and start taking advantage of cute maternity wear.
My request this week is for you to please, please send good vibes my way that I truly start feeling better soon. I want to begin enjoying this pregnancy!

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


The day I took the pregnancy test, I was strangely calm. I had not experienced any early signs of pregnancy other than being just a couple of days late, which was not an anomaly for me. In the past, I had taken tests three or four days prior to getting my period, having convinced myself that the fatigue or slight nausea I felt were sure indicators. But not this time. In fact, I very patiently waited for my husband to come home from his business trip at 10 p.m. that night to take the test. I didn’t waste too much time once he stepped foot in the door, but that was mainly because I really had to pee.
I fully expected the little window to read “NOT PREGNANT”, like the times before so when I only saw one of those words (the important one), it took my breath away for just a moment … but only a moment before I rushed into the bedroom with an OMG, showing J the test. His reaction was a little anticlimactic, a very casual, “That’s good,” as he went along unpacking his bag. I even had to ask him to stop and give me a hug! Hey, we all handle stuff in our own way. My way was being unable to sleep that night.
Since that surprise, there have surely been a few more. Most of them have been centered on how crummy I have felt. A lazy person by nature, my energy level has dipped deep into negative territory. I’m exhausted all day and then sleep poorly at night, a trend that has led me to taking naps in my car during lunch on more than one occasion. Weekends are mostly spent in bed, and not in that fun, sexy way. They consist of me snoring the day away, trying to catch up from the week while J does the laundry so it doesn't pile up to the height of Mt. Everest.  God love him.
The biggie is the nausea and overall poor relationship with food. I haven’t spent the entire trimester over the toilet, but certainly feeling the need to have a trash can near me just in case. And while I definitely get hungry, the moment the food is in front of me (no matter what it is), I find it difficult to take more than a few bites. At our 9-week appointment, I had lost a couple of pounds. Our 12-week visit is next week and I won’t be surprised if I have lost a couple more. My inherent sweet tooth has taken a leave of absence and salty foods (as well as anything icy, like frozen lemonade or an Icee) are easiest for me to stomach.
Another surprise: Being overwhelmed rather than thrilled by all the baby stuff we’ll need. I have looked through catalogs and walked through aisles at Babies R Us and rather than a sense of excitement, like I thought I would feel, I have quickly deemed it too early or too exhausting to seriously think about. I’m really hoping that will change as I start to feel a bit better.
I know we’re in for a lot more surprises, during the pregnancy and certainly as parents, but right now, the furthest thought I can deal with is how long I have to wait until I can crawl back into bed.