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Friday, December 30, 2011

Another Update

I know, there have been approximately 2983239847 updates this week.  You have all been so thoughtful and kind with your calls, texts, messages, thoughts and prayers and we are so grateful!  I can't wait for this baby to meet you all and know how loved she is.

We went back to the doctor today after my being on bed rest for several days to check in, and the appointment went really well - thank the Lord!  I have been so worried about it, and I didn't sleep much last night as a result.  When we arrived, I turned in my 6 lbs of pee (true story, I weighed it this morning - I spent the night worrying about what to do if I filled it up, but it [just barely] didn't turn out to be an issue after all) for them to analyze and then I had my blood drawn.  I peed in the cup as usual (protein free!) and weighed in.  Would you believe that I am down -5 lbs from Tuesday's appointment?  So that puts me at a total weight gain of +25.  It is crazy how much fluid I was/am retaining.  I wish I would have taken a picture of my hands and feet last week vs. this week for comparison purposes, but it was seriously gross.  Also, my blood pressure was back to normal - 122/76, which means my bed rest is doing the trick!  They hooked me up to the FHM and baby girl is still doing well.  She got the hiccups while I was hooked up, which was hilarious to hear.  Also, no contractions while I was hooked up today, which they were also pleased about.

The doctor came to check in, said baby looked great, and then sent us off to our ultrasound and told us that he'd see us after.  We haven't had an ultrasound since our gender determination at 16 weeks, and it is incredible to see all of the changes.  She still looks like an alien, but we could definitely see defined body parts.  It's hard to believe that the last time we saw her, her whole body fit on the screen.  Today, we had to examine her piece by piece.  My fluid levels are fine - above average, actually, which they said is good.   They confirmed that Geronimina is, in fact, a girl - no surprises there!  We got to see her little face - we can tell that she has Mommy's fat cheeks, and we also saw that she is definitely going to have hair!  We're not sure how much, but it's definitely there - we could see it moving back and forth (swaying almost) in the amniotic fluid.  She has fat little legs and feet, too.  Bad news for Mom's lady parts, though: I am 33 weeks 4 days today and she is measuring like I'm 35 weeks, weighing in at 5 lbs already.  They are supposed to gain about 1/2 lb per week until the end, so if I go full term we are looking at an 8+ pound baby.  On top of it, she took after her Daddy's side of the family and her head is in the 96th percentile in terms of huge-ness.  Makes me hurt to think about it.  Here are the two pictures they gave us - again, she still looks like an alien, and she was too big for a full body shot, but we're happy to have them nonetheless (sorry they're crooked, Dan is not as meticulous with his scanning as I am):

This is a pic of her labia, LOL.  Definitely a girl!

This is a straight-on shot of her face.  If you look closely, you can see how her nose is pressed up against my uterus.  AND you can see her chunky little cheeks!
After the ultrasound, we went to meet with the doctor.  He said that he's very pleased with my progress since Tuesday, and that I was a tough case to figure out.  I have all of the signs of preeclampsia - high blood pressure, lots of swelling, low platelets, etc. - but he said that I've also been like that for the entire pregnancy.  My blood pressure, for example, has always been on the "high" side of normal - not as high as it was this past week, but high.  My platelets have always been on the low side.  So, he took me off of full bed rest, but decided to keep me on modified bed rest.  He wrote a note saying that he prefers me to work from home - I'm allowed to go into the office if I need to, but not for long periods of time and I need to keep my feet up.  He said that I'm no longer chained to the bed - I can do things here and there around the house as needed for short periods of time - but I still need to be resting with my feet up the majority of the time.  The gym is a no go, unfortunately.  I am allowed to make quick trips to the store, but he said he didn't want me "taking 45 minute trips to Target (his words, not mine)."  All in all, this is good news.  I am lucky that I have a pretty flexible job, so I'm hoping my boss will be ok with all of this.  The doctor also cleared me to go to Charlotte for my baby showers as long as Dan drives and I promise to stay rested, so I'm excited about that as well.  In a normal pregnancy, I would be going to the doctor once every two weeks at this point in time.  With my symptoms, he said that normally he'd want to see me twice/week from here on out, but he was so pleased with my progress that we are going to go once/week and see how it goes.

So, there you have it - today's progress report was a good one, and Dan and I are very pleased and relieved.  My next appointment is next Friday, so let's hope the news remains good.  No word yet as to whether they'll let me go full-term due to large-ness of  baby buddha in there.  :-)

Thanks again for all of your love, support, thoughts and prayers!  We are more appreciative than we can ever tell you.


Thursday, December 29, 2011

Family Photos

Howdy, friends!  Hope everyone had a great Thursday.  I've spent mine on the couch, yet again, while my man servant has done all sorts of things, which include (but were not limited to): cleaning, laundry, finish painting the nursery, grocery shopping, bank run, preparing my meals (and cleaning up), and dog duty, among other things.  Best husband ever, right?  He even let me ride with him to the the back seat with my feet propped up, of course.  He told me this morning that if they put me on permanent bed rest, he'll come home for lunch every day to keep me company.  Total keeper, right?  I'm still bored to death, but I have to admit that I can tell a big swelling is almost completely gone.  While I am secretly hoping that this means they'll give me the all clear to go back to business as usual, I'm afraid what they're actually going to say is, "cool, bed rest is working, keep doing it."  I'm still having quite a few contractions, but they don't appear to be too consistent.  I have been collecting my pee all day as instructed, and it is totally grossing me (and Dan) out, so I'll be glad to get rid of that mess.  I'm anxious about tomorrow's appointment, but am hopeful that all will go well.

It dawned on me today that I forgot to tell you all about (and show you) our family Christmas photos.  Dan and I decided against maternity photos.  While I have seen some beautiful ones and like the idea of it, we just decided that it wasn't for us.  Firstly, if you have them done with your first child, do you have to have them done for all future children?  Because what if by the next pregnancy I hate the way I look, and then eventually my kids tease me about Geronimina being the favorite because she was the only one I took photos for?  Additionally, they are an added expense that we didn't feel like we could justify - in the end, I'd rather have beautiful newborn photos.  With that said, we haven't had pictures taken since we got married, and Mom wanted some of the family as well.  SO, we contacted Mark Potter about a joint session.

I previously blogged a little about our session here, but didn't get to show you any photos, so I thought I'd do so now!  Mark is the husband of a girlfriend of mine, Allison, who is also a sorority sister.  These two are cuter than words can say, and they do a great job.  If you're looking for wonderful, professional, reasonably priced photos, I highly suggest that you contact these two.  They were great to work with, and our pictures turned out beautifully! 

Here are a few of my favorites from our family session (Looking back, I do not love my outfit, but whatevs):

The girls.

Really how cute are they?  Still sweet as can be after all these years.

Daddy and his girls - Baby B was kicking his arm the whole time!

The whole family: Josh & Katy, Dad, Sydney, Mom, Sarah (& Geronimina) and Dan
Mom used the last one on her Christmas card, and it turned out beautifully!  As Mark and Allison surely could tell, it's hard to get all of us to cooperate - especially the boys - so they did a great job!  Here are some of my favorites of Dan and I and our first-born, Layla:

Sweet girl - she was a photographer's dream!  Very cooperative.  :-)


Also typical.  Why did we need a child when I already have one?  ;-)
I hope you enjoyed looking at these as much as we enjoyed taking them.  We had a wonderful time and hope to team up with Mark and Allison again in the near future!  In the meantime, I'm going to attempt to sleep...I am such a nervous wreck about tomorrow's doctor appointment that I'm not sure whether or not I actually will.  I'll keep you all posted!


Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bed rest is for the birds.

It is only day one, and I officially hate bed rest.  Don't worry, I'm cooperating and following doctor's orders, but I am bored to death.  You know how you always think of how nice it would be to be waited on hand and foot?  Well it turns out that when it actually happens, it is not as fun as you dreamt it would be.  All I can think about is the million things I'd planned to do this week, and the two million more things that need to be done before I'm ready for Geronimina to make her debut. 

Layla, on the other hand, seems to be quite comfortable with the current situation:
Phase 1: Resting.

Phase 2: Snoozing.
Phase 3: Full on napping.  And dreaming.  And snoring...loudly.
So, it would seem that at least one of us is enjoying my couch time.  Thanks to all of you who have offered words of encouragement, support, and prayers.  They are much appreciated, and much needed!  My friend Kristen reminded me today that there are far worse things that could happen than being on bed rest, and she is so right!  I have been blessed with a wonderful and (mostly) really easy pregnancy so far, and as long as Baby B is okay in there, I'll be fine, too.

We had a wonderful Christmas, which I will probably blog about later, but in the mean time I wanted to share with you a little something that Geronimina got for her Daddy.  I have been SO excited about this gift, and couldn't wait for him to open it. 

Before I show you, let me back up.  Last month while shopping with Mom and Niecey on our annual Black Friday outing, we were looking for a Christmas party dress for me and stumbled upon these onesies.  Some of them are absolutely hysterical, and I knew I wanted to get one or two for Dan for Christmas from the baby.  The problem is, they range from $20-$30!  I kept waiting for them to go on sale, but they never did, and I really could not fathom spending that amount on a onesie, especially since it will likely get peed/pooped/thrown up on, no matter how cute they were.  I then remembered that my good friend Heather makes them.  She came to my rescue (the week before Christmas no less!), and as a result, Dan got to open the following on Christmas morning:

SO.  Cute!!!  Here are close ups of each one:
this shirt is daddy proof

It was the dog.  This one is particularly hilarious since Dan blames EVERYTHING on Layla - even when she's not in the room.

LMDO - laughing my diaper off.  Y'all KNOW I love some abbreviations.

Team Dan.  Eat your heart out, Bella.  I LOVE Twilight, and Dan has read the series (and suffered through the movies with me) as well, so he got a kick out of this one.
I saved the best for last: Daddy says I can't wear pink.  Duh, this shirt is clearly Berry.  HILARIOUS, right?  And very fitting, given that he is opposed to this child sharing my love of pink.
Heather did a fantastic job on these.  I placed my order last-minute, and the turnaround time was really quick.  She charges $15-$18/onesie (plus shipping), depending on how complicated the design is, and she'll do anything you'd like.  She also has some ideas of her own that are pretty hysterical - she came up with the bottom three pictured above.  She does bibs, too! 

If you'd like to place an order of your own, you can find her on Facebook here.  You can also e-mail her at  Ladies, she is a woman of MANY talents...she owns her own hair and makeup company, The Look which is how we originally met - she beautified me for my e-session, bridal portraits, and the wedding, and we became besties in the process!  She is also co-owner of an event planning company, Carolina Wedding Design, and they do a fantastic job as well.  So holler at my girl and get some awesome onesies!  I can't wait for Baby B to rock the ones I got her.  :-)

Hope everyone is having a great week so far!  Back to channel surfing I go...sigh.


Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Updates: 33 Weeks and Doctor

Hi friends!  I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and that Santa brought you everything you asked for!  I hit the 33 week mark yesterday and we had our follow-up doctor appointment today, so brace yourselves...this will be a long one.  First, the 33 week stats:

Size of Gerominima:  A pineapple!

She's 4 lbs and has surpassed the 17-inch mark.  Her skeleton is hardening and she's losing her wrinkled, alien-like look.  The bones in her skull aren't fused together - they move slightly and overlap a little, which will make it easier for her to fit through the birth canal when the time comes (yes please - every little bit helps!).  She's also started to open her eyes when she's awake.

Weight Gain So Far:  +24 lbs from Thursday, and another +4 today.  Not even kidding you. 4 lbs in 4 days.  +28 total.  SIGH.  Doctor and nurse said it is due to the fact that I am retaining so much fluid - I am so swollen that my feet and hands ache.  More on that later.

Cravings:  Salt and sweets, mainly because I've been trying to cut them out of my diet to reduce swelling and since I can't work out.  Le sigh.

Aversions:  Does high blood pressure count?  LOL.  Really nothing food-wise. 

Symptoms:  Swelling, swelling and more swelling - and achy body parts as a result.  Exhaustion - pretty sure I have taken 3 naps a day since my vacation started.  Still hip pain, which is terrible at times.  Charlie horses - and yes I've been eating bananas for potassium, but one still woke me up in the middle of the night the other night to the point where I cried out.  Dan was not amused at the false alarm.  Also, Braxton Hicks contractions have started for the first time this week.  Totally normal, per all of my readings and the doctor.

Movement:  Tons.  When they hooked me up to the fetal heart monitor again today, I was afraid she wouldn't cooperate because she'd been moving some in the car.  Boy, was I wrong.  She decided to show off - both the doctor and nurse were surprised and impressed.  Also she still gets the hiccups 2-3 times/day.

What I Miss:  Never thought I'd say it, but working out.  Most of the time I don't want to go to the gym because I'm tired, but I always feel so much better after I work out.

Things I am Thankful For:  My wonderful husband and our wonderful families.  And Baby Jesus being born.  Also for my doctors, all of whom are incredible.  AND I am VERY thankful that my bestie had a smooth birth and produced the sweetest baby ever (that's you, Hadley Jo!).

What I'm Looking Forward To:  All of my baby showers coming up, assuming we don't have to cancel any (Again, more on that in a minute, I promise). 

Signs of a Bump:  Yep, still there and still growing by the day it feels like:

I think my shirt is getting a little tight, and also my pants are doing something weird in the back.  Whatevs.

Next Doctor Appointment:  Friday, December 30 at 10:00 a.m.  This seems like a good place to update you on what happened today.  If you're still reading by the end of this one, I'll be is a long story!

I arrived at the doctor and did the usual: peed, weighed, and had blood pressure (from here on out, referred to as "bp") checked.  My mother-in-law has a blood pressure machine at her house, so we took it this morning to see what it was and it was still high - 141/76 I think?  I can't remember what the bottom number was (too many numbers since then), but I know the top one is at least close.  As mentioned above, I was up another 4 lbs, but the nurse didn't seem worried - said I am retaining a TON of fluids.  Um, yes, I'd say.  I told the nurse we'd taken my bp this morning, and that it was still high.  We were both sad.  She took it and it was even higher - 148/86.  SIGH.  She hooked me immediately up to the Fetal Heart Monitor ("FHM") so that we could check in on baby girl.  As mentioned above, the nurse asked if I thought she'd cooperate and I wasn't sure because she'd been active on the car ride home.  She gave me some juice and just said that if she didn't cooperate, no biggie they'd just take me off.  She moved more in that 30 minutes than I think she has moved all day - she was definitely showing off, and they were pleased (normally, if I want her to move, she won't).  However, the doctor came in at one point and said, in a very surprised tone, "Oh wow, you're contracting quite a bit and pretty consistently.  Can you feel that?"  I told her yes, but they weren't painful, just uncomfortable.  It made me a little uneasy that she seemed surprised that they were consistent-ish - but she didn't say how consistent.

She left us for a few more minutes to finish up with the FHM, and then came back in to check me out and chat.  She asked if I'd truly stayed off my feet over the weekend, which honestly I really did, but I guess not enough.  She said that my labs came back normal, and that my platelets were actually up from the last time they checked in November, which was good news.  She also looked at the FHM printout and said that baby is absolutely wonderful, that it's me they're worried about.  I am okay with that, as long as she's ok I will do what I need to and be fine.  She put me on bed rest and told me that I need to come back in on Friday.  She asked when our last ultrasound was, and we told her 16 weeks, so she said that on Friday we'll get another one (Score!  We high fived after she left the room at that, no judgment zone.  We were both hoping we'd get to see her again, although she's so big at this point that who knows what we'll actually be able to see.), they'll hook me up to the FHM again, take my blood pressure, etc. and see what happens.  I also have to do a 24-hour urine sample, which basically means that starting when I wake up on Thursday morning, I have to pee in this little hat thing in the toilet (like what they use at the hospital) and collect it in this jug for 24 hours and refrigerate it and then bring it back in with me.  Dan was SO grossed out at the refrigeration part - literally mortified.  It was hilarious.  The last bomb she dropped was, "go ahead and start wrapping your mind around the fact that you may not be going back to work."  Great.  When Dan asked if we were allowed to travel (we had plans to spend the weekend in Charlotte with my family and visiting our friends for NYE), without a second's hesitation she said, "Absolutely not."  She said I'm not even allowed to walk the dog.  Sigh.  As she was walking out of the room, she told me, "I'm sure this will be hard on you, but I'd like for her to marinate in there a little longer.  I'm not quite ready for her to come out yet."  Um, me neither, sister.  Talk about a panic attack at the thought.

So, that's that.  I am a little bummed because I was hoping that last week's high bp was just a result of all of the excitement around Christmas and Hadley's birth.  I'm  also a little worried (not shocking, I know).  I'm also bummed that we can't go to Charlotte and that we won't get to see our friends for NYE.  Not to worry, I will still don the sequin skirt I bought for the occasion on the couch.  :-)  I am still holding out hope that if I can rest up this week and take it really easy, Friday will go really well and all will be fine.  Fingers crossed, and all prayers are welcome!

The good news out of all of this is, baby is fine.  I have all of the Harry Potter movies, and I got a Kindle for Christmas, so hopefully I can find plenty to do and won't be bored to death.  I'm sad for Dan that he'll have to do basically everything around here, but hopefully it will only be for the next few days.  I'm also thankful that he is so incredible and sweet.  He has been doing tons of research, and for anyone who is interested, he sent me this article on preeclampsia today, which is the most concise and informative that I've seen thus far.  I guess more good news is, I'll have plenty of time to blog?  ;-)

If you're still hanging in there, thanks for reading.  I'll keep you all posted!


Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Wanted to write a quick post to wish you all the merriest of Christmases! Blog posts may be sporadic this week since we'll be out of our normal routine, but I'll post when I can! Hope Santa was good to all of you. I'll leave you with this wonderful image - yes, he wore this to church on Christmas eve. And yes, he was serious.

Blessings to you and yours for happy holidays and a wonderful new year!


Friday, December 23, 2011

32 Week Doctor Appointment Update

Happy Christmas Eve Eve!  I cannot believe that Christmas is only 2 days really snuck up on me this year.  And WHY is it 70 degrees outside?! 

So as I mentioned in yesterday's post, my 32-week doctor's appointment did not quite go as planned.  My appointment was at 1:40 - Dan was meeting me there, and we were anticipating being done by 2:00.  Typically these appointments are really quick - we were meeting a new doctor and I had a lot of questions, but normally it is the same drill: pee in a cup, weigh in (ugh), have blood pressure taken, let the doctor listen to baby's heart and measure your belly, ask any questions we have, and we're done.  I arrived probably 5 minutes early, which I will admit is highly unusual for me, and of course because we were slightly early they were running slightly behind.  I had just texted Stephanie to tell her that I was going to hate it for whoever I had to cuss out because yesterday was NOT the day for them to make me late, I had a baby to meet!

So, I went back and peed in the cup and weighed in (+24 lbs...I don't want to talk about it), and then went to have my blood pressure taken.  I figured they'd probably have to take it twice, because I was so excited and anxious about Steph being in labor.  She took it twice, and then asked me to take off my sweater so that she could hear it better.  I felt a little uneasy, because they've never taken it more than twice and it's always been normal, but then she took me on to the exam room.  The doctor's office was right next to my exam room, and I heard the nurse talking to the doctor.  I couldn't hear everything that was being said, but I heard my name and then "32 weeks," and then I heard the doctor say, "Okay, well let's just let her know what we're doing so she won't worry."  Has she met me?  So the doctor pokes her head in and says, don't be alarmed, your blood pressure is higher than we'd like for it to be, so we're going to let you relax for a few minutes and then the nurse is going to take it again.  They told me to lie on my left side and try to calm down, and she'd be back soon.  I need to preface the next 1.5 hours with: thank the Lord for my husband.  I am so glad that he has been so involved in this pregnancy and has wanted to come to every single appointment that he could (he's only missed 2 and it was because he was out of town), because right about now was the time I started freaking out.  I laid on my left side for probably around 10 minutes, and Dan read me jokes out of the Highlights magazine and acted his normal foolish self, which I was grateful for because it kept me calmer than I otherwise would have been.  The nurse came back in and took my blood pressure, which was still high. She said not to worry, she was sure it was fine, and the doctor would be in shortly.  Begin panic mode now.

Side note: you know how when you are at the doctor, you immediately can tell that something may be wrong because they're working so hard to act like it's totally normal?  That's exactly how I felt.  I know there is something wrong, you have never taken my blood pressure more than once or twice and it's always been normal, so tell me.  Also, several people have asked me what my blood pressure actually was - I really honestly can't remember.  I think they told us at one point, but I was not very clear-headed and I can't remember.  I just know that the bottom number was normal, and the top one was consistently too high.

Enter the doctor.  She comes in, measures me (measuring perfectly), listens to the baby (heartbeat sounds great, strong and steady), and then says she'd like to try taking my blood pressure herself, just in case.  Takes it, makes a frowny face.  I panic.  She asks if I've had any swelling (tons lately), any headaches or blurry vision (none), examines my hands, and asks to see my feet which up until this point have been hidden in my gorgeous birthday boots so I didn't realize I had cankles.  Again.  Sigh (Another side note: this made me realize how desperately I need a pedicure.  That is now on the list for next week for sure, as I was slightly mortified at the sight of my feet, which I typically cannot see these days.).  She then says, "I hope you weren't planning to travel anywhere for the weekend," which of course we were, and then tells me that we're going to have to reconsider, and that I have to go on modified bed rest.  She said, and this is a direct quote, "No errands, no housework, no strenuous activity.  You are not confined to the bed but you're basically confined to the couch.  Take it easy, relax, let you husband help you if you have things that you have to do."  Dan then looks at me and says, "That means no gym." 
    Doctor (Gives me the "Mom" look): That absolutely means no gym whatsoever.
    Me: But my weight gain!
    Doctor: Your weight gain is fine so far, and you'll just have to eat really healthy.
    Me (In agony): BUT ALL I WANT IS CAKE! 
Probably the cause of the +24 lbs which we are not talking about.  Sigh.  The doctor then tells me that the reason they're so concerned about my blood pressure is because not only is it bad for baby and I (high blood pressure may cause the placenta not to be able to deliver oxygen and nutrition to Geronimina), but they are looking for signs of preeclampsia.

Through the massive amount of googling I did as soon as I could, I discovered that preeclampsia can result in various outcomes, such as: baby being born weighing less than normal, baby being born with health problems or baby needing to be delivered early via c section.  For me, it could mean my kidneys have more trouble functioning, anemia, decreased platelets which could lead to increased (and uncontrollable) bleeding during delivery (or on its own), and seizures.  5-8% of pregnancies are affected by preeclampsia, and anyone can get it, but first pregnancies are at an increased risk.  Oy. 

So, doctor gives me the cliffs notes version of what's going on and says she doesn't like my blood pressure.  She is going to have blood drawn and sent off for testing, and then she's going to hook me up to the fetal heart monitor to make sure baby is ok.  I later admitted to Dan that when she said "monitor the baby" I was secretly hoping it would be via ultrasound so that we could see her again, but no such luck.  They took about  a million vials of blood - I didn't quite catch what they were testing for, but she said it would take 24 hours before they'd know anything. 

They then took me into another room and hooked me up to the fetal heart monitor.  It is basically this belt that you wear, and it monitors the baby's heart rate (hence the name).  They gave me a button to push when the baby moves - the doctor told us that what they want to see is her heart rate increasing when she moves - and they were hoping for 3-4 movements.  Anyway, it spits out this little report so they can read the results.  Here's what the machine looks like, minus the sweet 80s hair:

And then the printout looks something like this:

They definitely got their money's worth movement-wise - baby girl was very cooperative and moved the entire time.  Dan was watching the machine and told me that her heart was doing what it was supposed to, which made me feel relieved.  I was monitored for probably around 30 minutes, and then the nurse took the printout to the doctor.

When the doctor came back in she told us that the baby "did a great job and is absolutely beautiful" and that we have nothing to worry about.  She approved our travel to my in-laws this weekend, but said that she still wanted me on modified bed rest and that I needed to come back in on Tuesday (the first day the office is open after Christmas) so that they can check on my blood pressure again.

I know this was a long post, but it was a long appointment!  I cannot say enough how amazing Dan is and how glad I am that he was there with me - I know that it would have gone a lot differently had he not been there, due to my tendency to freak out (which I still did, just to a much lesser extent).  It is hard not to worry about what's going on - my sister-in-law had preeclampsia and had to deliver my nephew really early (although I will say that he is 5 now and perfect as can be!).  She has been telling me to make sure I listen to the doctor, and Dan has been lecturing me and forcing me to follow orders.  Our Christmas plans had to be cut a little short due to the appointment on Tuesday afternoon, but I'd rather them be cautious than not catch something. 

So, today I am camped out on the couch.  I've done a little work this morning but am signing off shortly.  I do have just a few errands that I need to run, but Dan's going to go with me to supervise, and we won't be out long.  He is currently changing the oil in his car and is planning to paint the nursery after, so that is extra exciting.

Hope you're all having a happy Friday!  T minus two days until present opening...yay!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Birthday, Hadley Jo!

It has been quite an eventful day for me.  I am exhausted and will therefore update you all on my doctor's appointment at another time, but just wanted to tell you that MY BESTIE HAD HER BABY TODAY!

Steph had a doctor's appointment this morning and was anticipating him giving her the OK to go home for Christmas.  She normally texts me to let me know what's going on, so when my phone rang around 11:20 I KNEW she was calling to tell me she was in labor.  I was almost right...her doctor didn't like the looks of her fluid level, so he was going to induce her and she was going to have a baby TODAY!  I was so excited, I'm still not sure how I got any work done.  In fact, at one point, Dan texted to tell me he was sure I was more anxious than even Steph was (true), and that when it was my turn he was going to have to slip me some valium (also probably true). 

I had to go to the doctor at 1:30, so I decided to camp out at work and try to finish up a few things until the appointment and then go to the hospital  after.  My appointments (sans ultrasound) have never taken more than 20 minutes, so I thought we'd be at the hospital by 2:15 at the latest.  Wrong-o.  We were at the doctor for two hours.  Two.  But that's for another post.

You can hop on over to Stephs blog to check for updates on how everything went, but in a nutshell, her labor progressed VERY quickly.  Hadley Jo Aldridge was born at 6:24 p.m., weighing in at 7 lbs (I won the weight pool, woot!) and measuring 18 inches long:

Isn't she gorgeous?!  In all of the excitement, I somehow managed to forget to take my camera or phone into the room to take pictures.  Sigh.  Maybe tomorrow.  Anyway,  baby girl is beyond perfect.  She's got Steph's nose, Jon's mouth, long fingers and toes and the prettiest blue eyes you've ever seen.  Both Mommy and Baby are doing wonderfully!

Hadley Jo, I'm so glad Aunt Sarah and Uncle Dan were able to be there to celebrate your arrival.  You are so beautiful, and we love you so much already!  We can't wait to watch you grow, and we certainly can't wait to come back to the hospital to love on you some more tomorrow.  Steph and Jon, we love you both and are indescribably excited for you!


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Merry Christmas from the Baums!

I guess to be politically correct, I should have said "Happy Holidays."  I LOVE Christmas, and was so excited to decorate for our first Christmas in our new home.  I have tons and I mean TONS of Christmas decorations...or so I thought.  What I found was, while my house looked very festive last year, because the new house is so much bigger, it doesn't look like I have nearly as much.  Don't get me wrong, we have a ton of decorations and I absolutely do not need another thing...but as a result of more space, there are things I'd like to add next year when I'm not pregnant and have some energy.  Dan already hates Pinterest (a girlfriend said correctly today that it is "basically a man's worst nightmare"), but I'm sure it will be worse next year after I've implemented several projects I've had my eye on.  Ha!  Anyway, I thought it would be fun to show you some of our decorations.  Disclaimer: please excuse the terrible photos - I'm learning how to use my new camera.  :-)

The front of our house.  If Dan had it his way, there would be 1 million lights, Clark Griswold style.  Every single year I have to tell him that he is not to redneck it up on the outside.  The above photo is the result of this year's compromise. 
Close-up of the front door.  Aren't those little reindeer the cutest?!

The wreath I made!  I was going to post a tutorial of how to do this but forgot to take photos along the way.  Let me know if you're super interested and I'll come up with something.  And yes, I made the bow, too!

View from the front door - dining room is to the left.

Our Appalachian Tree!  All black and gold.  And also a lot of footballs because I found some super cute glittery ones on sale at Hobby Lobby.  Thanks to Dad for adding to this after his trip to Boone last week!

The dining room table.  I never have it set, but I wanted to display our cute Christmas dishes.  For next year, I think I'd like some kind of festive runner, and maybe a cool centerpiece.  I've been scouring Pinterest for just the perfect one.  Sorry Dan.

Lord, this picture is crooked. This is our entryway table, with my Willow Tree nativity on top.  As you can see, I'm still missing a few pieces...I'll keep collecting!  The main thing I REALLY want is the manger itself.  Also, I think for next year I can probably find something to put on the other side of the table, too.

Christmas Card holder.  I literally bought this from Pottery Barn like two weeks ago but can no longer find it on the website - weird.  Anyway, it is bolted into the wall pretty good, so it will be staying permanently and will display lots of fun photos when it is no longer time for Christmas cards to be displayed.

Another nativity set that I got at my Christmas bridal shower.  Love these guys!

Living room shot

Close up of the mantel.  We've never had a mantel to hang stockings on before, I was so excited!  I think I'd like to do something fun with greenery up there next year, just have to decide what.  Also, I've had my eye on these stocking holders - we just got plain hooks (shown) until they go on sale after the Holidays.   And, know what I just thought about?! How exciting to think that next year there will be another stocking hanging there!

Close up of the tree.  Biggest one yet!

Hope you enjoyed your tour of our home.  I feel sure that due to my regular "shopping on the day after Christmas" problem, there will be some additions next year.  I'm off to finish the rest of my wrapping because it is hanging over my head and making me anxious - only four more to go!  In the meantime, we wish you the happiest of Holidays!


Dan, Sarah, Layla and Baby Baum

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Birthing Class: Part Deux

We had the second (and final) installment of our birthing class at Rex on Sunday afternoon.  I learned my lesson from last time and wrote down some notes when I got home so that I would remember what I wanted to blog about.  To those of you who are dying to know, it went pretty much the same as the last class in terms of Dan's foolishness - the instructor actually got to the point where she would giggle every time he raised his hand, before he'd even asked his question.  My husband the class clown.

I found this class a lot more informative and helpful than our previous class.  I think this was partly attributable to the content we covered - there was still some breathing, but less of it.  We also watched a few more awesome 80's-style birth stories and talked a lot about drug options and medical interventions (i.e. induction, cesarean sections, vacuum extractor, forceps, episiotomy).  She also discussed in great length the possible medical reasoning behind the typical medical interventions, which was really helpful.  The class ended with a short section on caring for your newborn, where she covered topics such as changing a diaper, how to use an aspirator, taking the baby's temperature (both under the arm and rectally [thought Dan was going to pass out at the mention of "rectal"], swaddling, etc.).

Dan's funny story of the day came, yet again, during the breathing portion of the class.  The instructor was showing us different positions which may help to make us more comfortable during the process, for example lying on our side or squatting on a birth ball.  She was also talking about breathing and massage techniques and asked the women to get on all fours.  Dan, without thinking, blurts out, "You mean like doggy style?"  Really, Dan?  I was mortified.  I think he was, too, because his face turned bright red and the whole class died laughing.  I even heard one person say, "that's how we got here in the first place."  All Dan said was, "That's now how I meant it."  Not sure how else you could mean it, but whatevs.  The instructor broke down in a fit of giggles, but composed herself in a remarkable amount of time and went on about her massage technique business.

I knew the basics for drug options and medical interventions just from reading I'd done before the class, but the class was helpful nonetheless.  She had examples of the instruments that are used for everything we covered, so it was nice to have someone walk us through step by step what would happen should any of the interventions be necessary during labor.  I think I am most scared of cesarean sections and episiotomes, if I am being honest.  Actually, I told Dan that while the class was really informative and I'm really glad we took it, parts of it also made me more nervous about the birthing process.  I know that women have been doing this for centuries, and that being nervous and worrying about it is not going to accomplish anything, but really people you should know by now that it's my nature.

One interesting thing about my class that I'm not sure if I've already mentioned is that out of all of the couples there, when asked what they most wanted to learn from the class, probably 90% said they were most interested in learning about the drugs.  The instructor was quick to say that the point of drugs is not to completely numb the pain - the idea behind an epidural is for it to make you more comfortable while laboring, but when administered correctly, it should back off substantially for the actual birthing process, because if you can't feel yourself pushing it's not good for you or baby.  She also told us that Rex's cesarean section rate fluctuates between 25% - 27%.  I was glad she gave this statistic, and glad to hear that it is below the national average, which is about 33% according to a study done in 2007 (source: I confirmed this one-in-three statistic in multiple places, one of which was Med Page Today).  I've been reading a lot recently on the United States being under fire for an astounding number of unnecessary c-sections, but alas, that is probably for another post.

All in all, I'm really glad we took this birthing class.  My overall goal was to learn more about the birthing process, what to expect in each stage of labor, etc. and the class certainly accomplished that.  I learned a lot and feel a little more prepared than I did before (again, I know I will never be fully prepared, but it is helpful for me nonetheless).  Would we have been totally lost and felt like we were flying blind without this class?  No.  Luckily, we have plenty of good friends who have shared their experiences with us, and between that and the research we've done in addition to the wonderful doctors we've seen, we would have been fine.  But we're still glad we went.  We've signed up for one more class which is coming up the first week in January, and it is a breast feeding class.  We have actually had several people, including a couple from our birthing class, say that this class was by far the most helpful thing they'd signed up for and is very informative, so I'm looking forward to it.

Two more days in this work week and then I'm done until January 3rd!  Thursday evening can't come soon enough.  :-)


Monday, December 19, 2011

32 Week Update

Another week has come and gone...does anyone else find it hard to believe that Christmas is on Sunday?!  At least the weather has cooled down a little and it finally feels like Christmas.  I'm going to attempt to keep it short and sweet (I know I always say that, but I mean it this time) this week - Meagan and I went to Moe's for dinner and something did not sit well, yuck.  So without further ado, here are my 32 week stats:

Size of Geronimina: Baby girl is the size of a large jicama this week:
She is weighing in at about 19 of my 20 gained 3.75 pounds and is measuring around 16.7 inches long.  Mom is supposed to be gaining a pound per week (ugh), half of which goes straight to baby - she will gain 1/3 to 1/2 of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks because she's fattening up to prepare for survival once she leaves the womb.

Weight Gain So Far: Toss up.  My home scale, post first-breakfast at 5:30 a.m. and workout, said 20.5 lbs.  I hope that's true but seriously doubt it based on my consumption of junk over the past two weeks.  I'll report back after my weigh in at the doctor on Thursday.

Cravings: Nada.

Aversions: Still nothing, except for Moe's after tonight.  Yuck.

Symptoms: Lots of repeats here - exhaustion is still number one, along with frequent bathroom trips and stiff joints.  I am also sad to report that the swelling has begun - not only did I develop the worst case of cankles in the history of the world over the weekend, but as of last week my rings no longer fit.  Luckily the ring I normally wear on my right hand still fits on my left, so that's where I've been wearing it, but it feels strange not to be able to wear my own rings.  Mom's are a little bigger than mine, so I borrowed one of her bands and her engagement ring over the weekend when we were going to be in public so as not to get judged.  She found it hilarious.  :-)

Movement:  Loads.  I have been reading that it may be more pronounced and sometimes painful as she runs out of room, but so far I haven't had any of that.  Also, since I reported her hiccups last week, she's had them every day.  I need to look into whether there is something I am inadvertently doing that causes it, or whether she's just growing, or what!

What I Miss: Energy.  I know that feeling the lack of it is only going to get worse, but I sure do wish I could make it through a day without my eyes burning from being so tired.  I know it will be worth it, though!

Things I am Thankful For: The best family and friends a girl could ask for - you all made me feel so special on Saturday and this may have been the best birthday yet!  Also Mom and Dad for all of their help over the weekend.  My firm, for giving us an extra day off after New Years.

What I’m looking Forward To:  Christmas!  I am officially all done shopping except for Layla, but she won't take long.  Spending time with family and nice break from work where I can sleep a lot over the next week.  Baby Hadley's birthday (come on out, little one!).  My upcoming baby showers - can't believe they're so close!

Signs of a Bump: I am scared of how much bigger this thing is going to get.  Plus, I realized today that it is now getting really cold and I only have two sweaters.  We're going to have to do something about that - sorry, Dan.

Next Doctor Appointment: Thursday!  Scared of the weigh-in, but other than that everything should be pretty routine.  I'm seeing the last doctor in the practice that I haven't yet seen, but I've heard wonderful things about her so I'm excited to meet her.  Plus, I've been saving up a lot of questions that I've thought of since my last visit and the birthing classes.

Not really sure I succeeded in making this shorter than normal, but while I was writing this blog Dan and I agreed on two paint colors to get samples of and try out in the nursery, which is a serious accomplishment.  One step closer to getting this thing finished - so exciting!  Hope the start to your week was fab.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Weekend Roundup: Birthday Edition

Howdy, followers!  I hope you all had as fantastic of a weekend as I did...although I'm not sure that's possible.  :-)  My 28th (EEK!) birthday was on Saturday, and my family (minus Katy and Josh) came to spend the weekend with Dan and I.  It was such a wonderful way to spend my birthday, and I didn't want it to end even though I'm exhausted!

The weekend started on Friday, when we had our 2nd annual Tacky Christmas Sweater Party at work.  We had a formal Holiday party two weeks ago at Raleigh Country Club, which was super nice and a lot of fun, but I have been excited about the tacky sweater party for weeks - particularly the white elephant gift exchange.  Also, my bestie gave me my birthday present: a prenatal massage that I am SO excited about.  Since I took Friday off, I decided to set up a day of pampering for myself - Dan's parents sent me a gift certificate for just such an occasion, so I'm thinking a manicure and pedicure in addition to the prenatal massage will do the trick!  :-)  My parents arrived Friday evening, and we had a pretty low-key evening.  We went out to dinner and to the grocery store since I hadn't made it before they got here to stock up for the weekend (whoops!).  When we got home, Dan was so excited about his present to me that he talked me into opening it.  You have to understand two things about this:
  1. I normally do not want to open presents early so that I can spread them out on my birthday.  :-)
  2. I literally had NO idea what I was getting, from anyone.  All I really asked for this year was a pair of boots I've been lusting after, and both Mom and Dan had hinted enough for me to know that I wasn't getting them, so I was clueless about what to expect.
I love surprises, and am so glad I didn't know what he got me, because I probably would have fussed at him for spending too much.  Behold, my new Nikon D3100 camera:
Dan and I have been talking about getting a nice camera - after all, in a mere 8 weeks (!!!) or less (!!!!) we will have a really cute subject to take tons of photos of - but we really hadn't done a lot of research (or so I thought) or talked about it at great length, so I just assumed that (a) we wouldn't get one because they are so expensive and we've already spent a lot preparing for Baby Geronimina or (b) he'd changed his mind.  So, to say I was shocked is the understatement of the century.  I am so excited about this gift and can't WAIT to learn how to use it and take the best pictures ever.  It came with a DVD for the basics of how to use it, but I'd love to sign up for a photography class at some point.  Also, when I turned the camera on to play around with it, I discovered the following:
He'd already taken it out and charged it and taken the above picture.  How cute is he?!  He really is great at surprises, and I can't wait to use my new camera - thanks babe!  After all of the excitement of the evening, we all went to bed pretty early because we knew we had a busy day on Saturday.

On Saturday morning, we were all up pretty early because we'd gone to bed so early, plus there was much to be done around the Baum household.  Mom and I started wrapping my Christmas presents, which up until now I have been too exhausted to even think about.  I am so thankful for her - we got every single one wrapped.  Actually, if I'm being honest, she wrapped and I made bows and gift tags. I honestly don't know how I would have gotten it done without her - I kept putting it off and wasn't looking forward to it.  But look how great they look under the tree:
So pretty!  We got them all wrapped with the exception of the three that I'm still waiting on, and it is such a relief.  Also, Mom made my favorite for breakfast: french toast and bacon.  Yum!  While we were doing all of that, Dad and Dan were at Lowe's trying to decide on chair rail for the nursery.  Dan and I went on Thursday night to try to pick out both paint and chair rail but couldn't make any decisions (shocking, right?0.  I'm sure you are all just as shocked as I am that I left such an important decision to Dan without my harassment input, but since we'd been on the same page when we were browsing, I trusted him to make it.  Glad I did because we wouldn't have gotten all of the wrapping done if I'd gone with them!  They came home and got to work, and Mom and Sydney and I got busy doing some last minute cleaning of the house and cooking.  My grandparents and aunts all came over for lunch and birthday cake before we all went to Fuquay to see my cousin Ethan in the play "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" at the Stars Theater.  It was SO cute and Ethan did such a great job - we were all very proud!  Dan and Dad stayed at the house to work, and by the time we got home they were done installing the chair rail.  I'm so excited about it that I decided to give you a sneak peak:
It looks awesome, right?!  I really am so pleased with the way it turned out.  Dan was unsure about chair rail before I nagged him convinced him that we needed it, and even he told me after the fact that he loves the way it looks.  They didn't get to the painting part this weekend - mainly because Dan and I couldn't make a decision on paint color before they came - but not to worry, Dan is off of work for the second half of this week and he's roped in our neighbor, Bo, to help him.  Can't wait!

The rest of the evening was pretty low-key.  I opened more presents:
Earrings from Spain from Aunt Hopey and Aunt Jo (and families)

Dress I've been wanting to wear to a shower from my family

ALDO boots I've been lusting after from my family - surprise #2! :-)
It's true, Mom surprised me with the boots!  My feet were SO swollen yesterday (serious cankles - I would have taken a picture but I was too embarrassed at the disgusting-ness) that I couldn't immediately wear them like I wanted to, but trust I wore them today once the swelling was down some.  I meant to take a picture, but forgot before I changed into comfy PJs, sorry bout it!  I also got money from my grandparents and Aunt Jennifer and family, which I was really excited about as well - I am probably going to put it towards a dress for another shower, or possibly one of the chandeliers I've been lusting after for baby girl's room.  :-)  Also, Pat sent us a sweet frame that I'm excited to put in the baby's room as well.  AND, Meagan brought me a cupcake from the Cupcake Shoppe.  We ended the day with the same meal that Mom has made for me every year for as long as I can remember - her famous lasagna, garlic bread and salad, and homemade chocolate pound cake with chocolate icing for dessert.  I have seriously been dominating that cake - I am scared of the scale again this week at the doctor.  After dinner, we played quite a few rounds of Buzzword (hilarious) before retiring for the evening. 

This morning, we woke up early and lounged for a while.  Dan made breakfast and then we took my family to church.  After church, they hit the road to head back home and Dan and I grabbed a quick lunch before part 2 of our birthing class.  Stay tuned for a post on that later in the week.

We had such a great weekend - the last birthday without baby, I realized yesterday - so crazy.  I am so blessed and so loved, it overwhelms me to think about it.  Hope all of you had a great weekend as well...stay tuned this week!  And behave, since Santa is coming in t-minus 6 days. :-)


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