She's here!!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Margaret Elisabeth was born August 20 at 12:28. She has the most beautiful dark grey eyes you've ever seen, and a mass of dark brown hair. She is perfect in every way. :) She was a champ throughout labor and delivery, and weighed in at a healthy 8 pounds. She has her daddy's long eyelashes and her mama's long, skinny feet. We went home Thursday afternoon and are enjoying time as a family of three... by that I mean that we sit around and stare at this gorgeous little creature. Now I'm off to go stare at my sleeping baby some more.

What I hope for my daughter

Friday, August 16, 2013

Sweet baby girl-

For the last nine months, I've literally been able to shield you with my body. Nestled in your little cocoon, I have been able to control almost everything that goes in me, and I have done everything in my power to make sure you are safe, nourished, and loved while you grow into a little baby. I thank God every day for you. I have much to learn, but you have taught me so much already. I saw you today, on a surprise ultrasound... oh little girl, you took my breath away. From the 7 week ultrasound where you got your nickname "Jellybean" to the little fetus we saw at 20 weeks to the tight, cramped quarters you were in today at 39 weeks, I can barely believe it. You've changed and grown so much each time! I'm totally going to be a sappy mother who cries as you get older, so you better get used to that. I can't believe how much I have changed as well.

While I worry about my parenting skills (zero) and what I will be able to share with you (hopefully very good things), this is what I hope you will learn from me as you grow.

May you learn quickly that experiences are far more valuable than things.

May you know that family (those given to you biologically and those gifted in other ways) is truly important. They will teach you your most important lessons, catch you in your perceived failures, and lift you up with your greatest successes.

May you know when to hold your tongue, when to speak softly, and the time to raise your voice.

May you know that it's okay to rumble with God. To be angry with Him, to furrow your brow, to argue - these are all acceptable. But always remember that you are loved by Him. Know that to trust Him, lean on Him, and love Him back are generally the most fruitful.

May you see that others need to rumble with God for a while too.

May you realize that strength and compassion are lost without each other.

May you see a world of opportunities before you, and have the courage to take them.

May you learn how to laugh until your belly aches and may you never forget once you've learned. I hope you also learn to laugh even while you're crying- it's a good skill to have.

May you learn how to forgive and how to extend grace.

May you always, always, always show love to those you meet.

May you never think you are better than another human being.

May you know every day the love that surrounds you in this world and the love that brought you into this world.

I can't wait to meet you, my darling girl.

love, love, most infinite love,

The woman God somehow deemed worthy to be your mother

39 Weeks- Waiting for the Inevitable

Thursday, August 15, 2013

39 Weeks. Everyone likes to remind me that I look like I'm 6 months. I know.

So, funny story about this picture... this was taken last night, as we thought we were going to Mt. Pleasant to eventually go to the hospital... Yeah. That didn't happen. Long story short, my contractions were 5-7 minutes apart, and when I got to my parents' place (across the street from the hospital), they slowed to every 10 minutes. When I got to the midwife's office at 8:30, my uterus got camera shy and they all but stopped. So I'm back at home a few towns over, with a baby still in my belly. But the little girl is still healthy and moving like crazy, and we are ready and waiting for the real thing, whenever it decides to happen. (The post below was written a few days ago.)

How far along? 39 weeks- just sitting around, twiddling my thumbs. She's, you know, like the size of a newborn- possibly 19 to 21 inches long and 6 to 9 pounds (or more than 10, if she's like my sisters)! She's constantly flexing her limbs (which are almost always protruding from my side) and her brain is developing more and more every day.
Gender? Can't believe that I'll have a little girl in my arms any day now!
Movement? All the time! I have to be super careful about counting movements now, to make sure she's still moving and flexing and wiggling as much as she always has. If anything changes there, it could be troublesome. Thankfully, she's doing great and we surpass the required amount of movements before the time is up every time.
Food cravings? Barbeque, unfrosted strawberry Pop-Tarts, bananas, baby carrots, fajitas (made them tonight with steak instead of chicken and they were fantastic), milk, ice cream. I still haven't tried the Chinese food craving I mentioned last week.
Have you started to show? This is a ridiculous question. Why do I keep it here, week after week?
Symptoms? Giant stomach and lots of false labor (which is nothing but disappointing). I get Braxton Hicks every day, all throughout the day, but especially at night. And when they never amount to anything after a few hours or when I wake up in the morning, it's a little disappointing. On the plus side, after all of that discomfort, it's a blessing to have a good night's sleep- or as good as it gets at this point in the pregnancy!
Belly Button in or out? Out. It looks like those old Jello molds you see at thrift shops and yard sales. It's not cute at all. Just weird looking.
Midwife? I saw her Monday. Remarkably, her head is even further down. Not at all sure how that's possible and still have her inside of me, but hopefully that means labor will progress well! I'm 2.5 centimeters dilated, so no major change there (update: as of this morning, I am 3 cm). I really do just sit around and wait for contractions to start. We talked some about inducing me. I really do not want to have a C-Section, but right after that, I really don't want to be induced, because I've heard that a lot of inductions end up as C-sections. So as anxious as I am to get her out of me, I'm not exactly begging for them to do it. I talked it over with Gene and had her explain why they would want to induce me. Basically, in her opinion, not much comes after the 40th/41st week, and there's an increased risk of the placenta no longer preforming as it should- not giving my little girl the nutrients she needs and putting us at an increased risk for a C-section based on the fact that because of that, she might not tolerate labor so well. She did recognize that it's a 2 way street- if the patient isn't closer to labor (not effaced, not dilated, etc), then trying to induce it entirely can be futile- landing them right back in the operating room. But she feels with my almost full effacement, placement of baby girl, and already dilating that if I did make it to that point, the odds are great that we'd make it though the vaginal birth I want. All fair points. (She's very honest with me and I really appreciate that.) So I have a regular midwife appointment on the books for next Monday, and if I still haven't given birth then I will probably be induced that Thursday (so about a week and a half from now). It's a hypothetical, because Gene is still thinking she won't be wanting to stay in me that much longer! But there you go. One super long explanation. :)
Total weight gain? 27 pounds, no change.
This week? More eating, more waiting. The only appointments that show up on my calendar are for the midwife every week. The only other things are the onslaught of birthdays that happen in my family in August. So far we've missed having her on Hannah's, Moby's, and Namie's birthdays, but Madison and Dad are still contenders. Mostly we've been filling our time with dog park visits, a 4-day weekend for Thomas, and finishing up small things- rearranging our room to fit a Pack n Play, messing with the white noise machine we got, charging the baby monitor, giving away all of the boxes that all of this baby stuff came in... That's a perk of living on a military base. If you're looking to give away boxes, there's always someone moving who will take them off your hands.
Looking forward to? Real labor!
Note to the Jellybean: Coming in a few days...
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38 Weeks- are we finished already?

Monday, August 12, 2013

Sorry this is late, as I'm technically 39 weeks already and I'm sorry that I forgot to get a picture of myself at 38 weeks. I don't even have any good pictures of my dogs, husband, or anything else in my life that happened that week. This is why I refuse to buy myself a super fancy camera. I cannot be trusted to document my own life.

How far along? 38 weeks- getting closer every day. She's possibly 19 to 21 inches long and 6 to 9 pounds! Her head is about the same circumference as her little belly. She's shedding the vernix that has been keeping her warm and may have an inch or more of hair on that cute little head! She's about the size of a pumpkin. And you can't find those around here in August.
Gender? A baby girl.
Movement? Frequent, but different. I can feel body parts as she shifts and tries to get comfortable in a cramped space. Little hands, feet, and baby butts are easy to feel for. She kicked Thomas in the face as he was talking to her last night- not the first time that's happened. She's still very fond of putting her feet behind or under my ribs on my right side. If you see me place my hand there and take a really deep breath, that's why.
Food cravings? Chicken, Mexican food... and shocker of all shockers- I kind of think I might be hankering for Chinese again. Not sure if it's a mental craving or if I'll get sick the minute I smell it again, but the Kung Pao shrimp at P.F. Chang's is calling my name and I want to answer! I haven't had the guts to try it out yet. We'll see how brave I am and how long she makes us wait.
Have you started to show? I'm carrying around a pumpkin/basketball/full term baby. You can definitely tell. We took an infant CPR class this week and even though I was the one in the class closest to my due date, I was the smallest (except for the lady due in November- we were about the same size). I may look pregnant, I just don't look 9 months pregnant.
Symptoms? Braxton Hicks galore, haven't slept through the night in months, easily tired, frequently hungry, and leaky breasts (hopefully that's a good sign).
Belly Button in or out? Out. Ready to have my "innie" back again. Thomas just loves pushing my button (his little pun, not mine- I don't find the scenario quite as amusing).
Midwife? Every week she can't believe how far down the Jellybean's head is. I think the child is just going to burrow her way out without the assistance of contractions. That's what it felt like last night, as she was headbutting me and then kicking against the top of the uterus. Needless to say, it was a little painful. A little over 2 cm dilated, so not much of a change there. She said her best guess was that it would happen within a week (saw her Wednesday), no later than 2. We shall see...
Total weight gain? 27 pounds.
This week? Thomas and I are both about to jump out of our skin with all of this waiting. It feels like it's been happening forever, so it's mind-boggling to think that she could come any moment now. The last few weeks are just torture! At the same time, it feels like it will never ever end, and I'll be perpetually pregnant. Logically, I know that can't happen, but it really does feel that way. Thomas gave me a great day yesterday to get my mind off of it with some Chick-fil-a, a showing of Despicable Me 2 (so funny!), wandering around bookstores, and some time with the pups at the dog park. I only had to leave the movie for the bathroom once!
Note to the Jellybean: Coming in a few days...
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A room of her own

Sunday, August 4, 2013

It's finally done! Well, as done as it's going to get for a while. It's fantastic, though- my favorite room in the house for sure. I spend a lot of time in the glider, just enjoying the soft (impossibly hard to photograph) blue and how relaxing the room is. I'm going to do my best to link to where I got everything- or where you can find something similar. There's no theme here, just fun things that Thomas and I liked. We wanted things to grow with her or easily move on to another kid one day, and it turned out to be just what we envisioned. And except for the paint color, we can move it all when the Navy moves us again. We waited to start the nursery when we found out the gender, but it turned out so gender neutral! Just remove the tiny bits of pink, and you'd have a great boys room too. Go figure.

 Crib - Glider, Craigslist (she had never taken it out of the box!), can buy here 
Lamp, Target clearance, similar style here - Owl, Pier 1 - Pillow, gift from my mom

Window seat, hand me down from Aunt Madison's room, originally from Pottery Barn
Ottoman, Target -Pillow, gift - Thermal curtains, Lowe's (fairly certain these are it!)

Nightstand from Madison's room, update: from Lowe's. Actually a plant stand! -
 "M is for" printable found here

Wall cubes, hand me down, similar here - Owl nightlight, Target -  Ceramic Rabbit, Pier One
Elephant, gift - Mom's One Line a Day Journal, gift - "M" handmade here

Bird mobile, handmade

Bird Paint-by-Numbers, Target (no longer sold)

Washi tape garland, handmade - Dog tail hooks, Ikea - Mirror, Ikea

"Sometimes the smallest things..." free printable - Cards, gift (Crane for J. Crew, I think) - 
Alphabet printable - Bird postcard from Scotland - "I love everything..." free printable
"On the day you were born..." free printable - Bird print, World Market - 
frames from Target, Ikea, Michaels, and Marshalls

Dresser, Ikea - Wipe Dispenser, OXO - Diaper Organizer, Munchkin
There will also be a changing pad on the dresser- we just haven't attached it yet. 

I challenged myself to come up with as many free decor ideas as possible. The whole
gallery wall was $30 in frames and the World Market bird print was $3 on clearance.
Everything else was a gift, previously owned, or printed for free (and some colored by me)!

Why yes, I did scrub all of the pictures that have the "M is for..." artwork
in them so you can't see what we picked yet! That's as much of a hint as you get.
The paint color in the reflection of this mirror is about as true to life as I can get.
It's "Still Tidewater" by Olympic for Lowe's.

I was a previous owner of this tiny sweater.

Elephant bin, Marshalls - Crib Sheet, Target

As for the future of this room (in this house or another), we want to add shelves for books, lots of comfy pillows and cushions on the window seat, and very soon, a little girl!
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A beautiful dream... that happens to be real life

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I can't believe it's almost over. It boggles my mind to think that she could be here tonight... or in three weeks. Either way, it's very soon! Then we begin something entirely new.

Strangely, I'm pretty relaxed. I have accepted that she will come when she's ready, and other than being a little anxious about the labor and delivery process, I'm good. Almost all of the big things are done. Her nursery is all but finished, her tiny little clothes are all washed, we have someone to take care of the dogs, and we are stocked up on toilet paper. Our room is cleaned and we cleared off our small bookshelf so it now holds diapers, wipes, nursing pads, and other baby-related things. We will set up the pack n play (where she'll be sleeping) as soon as it gets here. The car seat is installed in the Outback (it took Thomas all of 4 minutes to do it, on that merit alone, I can recommend the one we got) and I ride around with my hospital bag in the trunk (I hope no one thinks that's anything important- the most they'd get away with is a few changes of clothes for Thomas and some pjs for me). One chair in the living room has the camera, a toiletry bag, and a backpack with snacks and other small items to grab the day-of as we head out the door.

Each day I wake up and vow to get just a few more things done that will make life a little easier once we come home. At this point, it's more of a bonus than a necessity, but every little bit helps. Yesterday I bought more toilet paper, a few boxes of prenatal vitamins, new Nylabones for the dogs, batteries for the brigade of bouncy seats and swings, and groceries to last a few more weeks. Of course, more bananas to satisfy my craving. Tonight I ordered our baby monitor and a few other things to hopefully make breastfeeding a little easier.

I still can't believe how lucky and blessed I have been. Getting off my meds was no picnic, but I have had zero complaints since finishing that last pill. I feel totally and completely healthy. It has been completely worth the 6 month trial of leaving my meds. I cannot sing the praises of my dream team (doctor, therapist, and midwife) enough. From their excitement the moment I first asked them about trying to become pregnant to the last appointment with each, I have felt nothing but their unfailing support. I am beyond blessed to have the best husband in the world. I don't care if you think that sentence is total mush and gushing. He is. When the hormones take over, he's right there. When I just wanted to scream as I was going off my meds, there he was. If I start gushing even more over the support of my family and friends and you awesome readers, well, I'd just start bawling, so let's stop here. It's been great. Hard, but great. On top of that, having a relatively easy pregnancy that came quickly post-meds... it's been a dream.

I know it's going to be hard and crazy and I'll probably cry a lot. But I hope I always remember this feeling of being completely and utterly grateful to my God, my medical team, my husband, my family, my friends, and you. I hope I get to share some excellent news very soon!

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37 Weeks

Thursday, August 1, 2013

 37 Weeks in my parents' gorgeous back yard.

How far along? 37 weeks! THE JELLYBEAN IS FULL-TERM!! Let's all do a happy dance. She's possibly 19 inches long and 6-9 pounds! She gains half an ounce each day. She's practicing inhaling, exhaling, gripping, sucking, and blinking. Her lungs are strong. In less cute news, she's getting ready for the nasty tar-like poop called meconium. That will be fun.
Gender? You'll find out her name very soon!
Movement? Very frequent, but not quite as intense- she's running out of room in there. As I mentioned last week, lots of burrowing on one side of me. It's kind of cute to see a little baby shape there. Movement is definitely going to be the thing that I miss once she's here.
Food cravings? Milk, strawberries, bananas, mac and cheese
Have you started to show? I am rotund.
Symptoms? I think I'm just getting used to the joint pain by now. Occasionally it feels rough, but most of the time I don't think about it. Yes, I waddle now. I'm nesting like crazy, which is great, but despite the uptick in energy, I'm still considerably slower than those without a basketball under their shirts. Baby girl is headbutting my bladder, so y'all know how that symptom ends. Lots of trouble sleeping between bathroom breaks, a burrowing baby who makes it hard to lay on my side, and general discomfort. But I'll take what I can get- I'm still sleeping more now than I will be.

 Thomas got me laughing about who-knows-what.

Belly Button in or out? All the way out!
Midwife? If you're not comfortable with female body stuff, you might want to skip this. I saw her yesterday- I'm completely effaced and dilated to 2 centimeters. 1-4 is considered "inactive" - so it could be tonight, it could be another week. Lost my mucus plug last week- another hurry-up-and-wait thing. Lots of Braxton Hicks contractions, but they go away when I get up and walk around for a bit- though they are very uncomfortable, and only getting more so.
Total weight gain? 26 pounds. I thought I'd be gaining lots here towards the end, but it's slowing down. Midwife says not to worry about it, so I continue to eat and I try not to worry!
This week? I had a great last baby shower at my church- full of very generous people! I grabbed some more things off my registry with the help of my sister, so my time today has been filled with washing baby clothes, putting diapers and wipes away, and cutting tags off things. A very kind friend bought us a car seat, so that's been riding around with me in the Outback. We are loading up on dog food and treats, making sure they have their shots, cleaning the house, doing laundry, stocking up on supplies like soap and hand sanitizer.


Looking forward to? Checking those last few things off the to-do list and then awaiting her arrival! But as I told Thomas, who had a worried moment the other day, "if she comes tonight, we'll get our stuff together, go to the hospital, and I'll deliver this sweet baby girl. Then we hop on the hospital's provided wi-fi (after a good nap) and go on where we use our free 2 day-shipping to get everything else we need." Ahh, modern conveniences.
Note to the Jellybean: Hello Baby Girl! We are soooooooo excited to meet you. Especially since 3 babies I know were born on your grandmother's birthday (July 30)! Seeing all of those cute little faces just made me even more excited to see yours. Your dad and I take guesses daily as to whose hair type, eye color, skin tone, and hair color you will come out with. Your mom's side of the family is busy taking bets on whose birthday you'll be born on and how big you will be, for we were all huge babies and generally end up coming out on other people's birthdays. It's exciting, reaching August- you will be here this month!
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