39 weeks: almost at the end.

When I last left off writing, I was getting ready to go into battle with a giant mosquito and a serger. Bug lovers….cover your eyes for this part:

The mosquito met an untimely demise. Hey, it was either me or it, and I’m not savvy (or fast) enough to go find a jar and somehow manage to catch it and slide a paper underneath it and release it outside. And anyway: I don’t want any mosquito born illnesses either. So I squished it with a fly swatter and that was that.

The serger made out better. I threaded it in about 10 minutes, and quickly whipped up a knit receiving blanket, followed by a baby hat and finally a pair of pants.

Alright, so I made the blanket that day, the hat a few days later, and the pants about a month and a half after that, but I did it.¬†whalepantshatblanketI am hopeful that the pants will fit well and plan on making more. It was a pretty cool pattern I found from a website called Baste and Gather and the pants are called “Baby Got Back” as they have an extra panel in the rear for babies with larger cloth diapered booties. I have heard that some pants fit poorly with cloth diapers so I’m excited to try these!

(P.S. the whale pattern that is going one way up one leg and the other way down the other is um…intentional. Yes, I meant to do that ūüėČ )

http://www.basteandgather.com/blog/free-sewing-pattern-baby-got-back-leggings-for-cloth-diapered-babies

I then made another set with a head band, knot cap, and a big receiving blanket to match a set I had seen online for about 4x the price. I thought it would be cute for photos in the hospital as I’ll have a somewhat-matching navy blue bathrobe to wear in the hospital. We still aren’t sure if babes is a boy or a girl, but are ready to go with a little bow just in case. I figured a BLUE bow would somewhat be breaking stereotypical gender norms, right?

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So we are at Week 39. Overall, I’ve had an uneventful pregnancy (which is just fine by me since the rest of my life has had enough events for me AND baby). After the shower, I started to get nervous that some symptoms that showed up would be staying for the remainder of the pregnancy (I had some pretty severe pain in my left rib at one point, heartburn, and some back pain while sleeping) but everything ended up being mild and short lasting. I feel like one of the luckiest pregnant women. I am actually really sad that its almost over.

Tomorrow will likely be the last full day with baby inside. They are inducing me tomorrow evening due to the single umbilical artery (the recommendation is to not exceed your due date with this diagnosis and since I’m due on Sunday the latest they wanted to have the delivery is Friday – hence a Thursday evening induction).

I’m feeling a decent amount of pressure. I had a doctor’s appointment this afternoon and they did a membrane sweep along with my standard cervical check. I’m hoping that helps to bring on labor without the drugs: I’ve heard that pitocin inductions are much more painful than regular deliveries.

Doctor said that I’m 80% effaced, a little more than a centimeter dilated, and that baby’s head was pretty low. In fact, both he and the doctor who checked me last week said they could touch the baby’s head during my cervical check. I’m not sure if that’s normal or not, but I can totally feel that pressure when I walk or sit.

This baby has been so chill throughout my pregnancy, though. They move regularly enough for us to feel comfortable that they are safe (though we did have a “scare” or two that was quickly quelled by our doctors and a brief kick count), but I haven’t had anything crazy. I’ve heard of women being woken up in the middle of the night. This baby has done that maybe three times this entire pregnancy. The kicks are usually pretty gentle and always make me smile.

I don’t know if I’ll feel differently after delivery, but I really think that after we complete our family (which we are still discussing how/when we want to) I’d like to be a surrogate for another couple who can’t have their own baby: particularly a gay couple if I can. I think it would be something wonderful that I could do with a body that seems to tolerate pregnancy relatively well, given the hardships we’d encountered to get here.

I had no gestational diabetes, my blood pressure has been excellent, I’ve felt great, I didn’t gain a TON of weight (though I did increase six pounds from last week to today which is odd given my overall weight gain of 40 pounds) and I just think it would be a cool gift for another couple. Again – may feel totally different in a few days after giving birth, but it’s a thought for sure.

In the meantime, I’m thrilled to meet this babe and absolutely terrified of labor. I don’t tend to tolerate pain well, and I’m just so afraid that I’ll chicken out and not be able to go through with the vaginal delivery. Women have told me that you find strength that you didn’t know you had during the labor process: I just hope that is true for me, too.

We finished the peanut’s bedroom. I’m attempting to incorporate some minimalist concepts into our lives, so even though we already have a lot of baby “things” as a result of our shower, we’re really trying to minimize any other nonessentials that we bring in to keep down the clutter and focus on things that really make our lives better. I’m happy with the neatness of the room and am hopeful that we can keep it this way as baby grows. I love to watch YouTube videos featuring minimalist lifestyles – some of it is a bit too advanced for me, but I love incorporating as much as I can. I welcome any suggestions that any of you may have! Would also love any cloth diapering tips if any cloth diapering mamas follow me here.

(please ignore the backpack and items on the floor. I was packing the babe’s hospital bag and really just wanted a quick picture before I finished this blog.)

babysroom

 

I really need to get better with my updates. Wishing you all well and I can’t wait to update this blog with a birth story and vitals on the baby after tomorrow.

xoxo

Baby shower, birthing class, and new crib (oh my).

I’m sitting in the glider in baby’s room side-eyeing the brother 1034D serger that is sitting on the desk across the room like the evil villian in a super hero movie just waiting for me to make my first move.

(Can you tell I’m dramatic? In all seriousness, though, new projects are HARD for me to start. I sew regularly – nothing fancy – and I really want to use this to make a few blankets and cloth diaper inserts that I found patterns for online, but I’m so intimidated by the threading and can’t figure out how to even slip my fabric underneath. I felt like I had maybe hopped up to Level 200 sewing, but feel like an novice all over again with this machine).

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(The offender in all its evil glory)

I’m going to commit to figuring it out and at LEAST sewing a test piece after I finish this entry. Hold me to it, blogging world. Make me show you the next time I post.

Anyway, our families threw us a beautiful baby shower two weeks ago at a local pizzeria. Unlike our bridal shower, it was very casual. Everyone dined on pizza and salad at their leisure along with wine, the best cake ever (from my family’s favorite local bakery) and homemade Italian cookies made by some of the women of my wife’s family.

We got to catch up with many people we hadn’t seen recently and got lots of great advice from both new and experienced mamas.

I have to say: there wasn’t a single moment when I felt like we weren’t every other couple in America who was getting ready to welcome a baby. No one asked how we got pregnant, or who the donor is, or anything that you wouldn’t typically ask a straight couple. Overall, the only people who seemed comfortable enough to ask us those questions throughout this process anyway have been close friends and family – so I’m not entirely sure why I was expecting that.

Despite being wonderful, it was an exhausting and slightly overwhelming day and four hours felt like it passed in 45 minutes. We didn’t really get any photos with any of our guests (or even as a couple with the exception of a few candids as we opened gifts) but my wife snapped this one afterward. The pose was intentional as we took the same one with my sister when she was pregnant with my niece. I want to put them side by side in a frame and get one made for each of us.

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I wish I had a photo to share of the baby’s room after the shower. My wife – a self proclaimed neat freak – was almost hyperventilating when all of the boxes and bags were unloaded after the shower. Fortunately, I’m a master organizer and it only took me 5 days to get everything unboxed, sorted, and put away. We are so fortunate to have such generous friends and family and – aside from clothes – really have everything we need for most of the first year of baby’s life. We also bought quite a few of our big ticket items ourselves (many via a local yardsale site, and others from Babies R’ Us as they wrap up their final days before closing). I actually just ran out last night to get a second convertible car seat (we have one infant car seat and two bases, but only thought to get one convertible car seat initially, which is silly as you can’t take it from vehicle to vehicle easily). It was a $300 Chicco Nextfit IX and ended up being $150 as it was marked down 50% at BRU.¬† Our other carseats and stroller are Britax (which we selected due to the superior safety ratings, but BRU didn’t have anymore Britax models and we read great reviews about this Chicco) and we have a wonderful neighbor who works for emergency services and is trained in carseat installation who offered to help us set everything up.

One of our FAVORITE Babies R’ Us finds was our highchair (which we registered for and promptly removed from our registry when we found it at Babies R’ Us). It is a Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair (in the Walnut color) and it was initially $250 and we found one left at Babies R’ Us for $100 at the beginning of their going out of business sale. I couldn’t believe it, and can’t wait to try it out. It is designed to grow with baby and turn into a stool and even a child to adult chair once the tray and baby set (that we received as a gift from a relative) are removed.

We (mostly me as my wife already does a good job with this) are trying to be minimalist in our approach to baby gear and find items that can be reused and not tossed out, donated, or sold (though we are open to the last two when necessary). I really pushed her past her comfort zone when I insisted on cloth diapers and she is extremely skeptical but excited after seeing all of the cute patterns and different diaper designs. Since I’ll be home for the first three months, I’m going to have to work really hard to keep up with the laundry and prove that we can do this. I’m fortunate that if I sent anything up with enough solid evidence for my wife, she’ll usually support me, but I absolutely have to respect how neat she is and work hard to stay on top of the maintenance of the diapers so she doesn’t get overwhelmed and throw in the towel. Plus they’ll save us a significant amount of money, which we can use in other ways for this baby.

Our childbirth education class was last weekend: we were the first of four couples to arrive and were greeted by our instructor as we stepped off of the elevator to look around for our conference room. My wife was carrying the two bed pillows that we were instructed to bring and the woman asked if we were each expecting. When we said we were not, she asked if we were a couple, to which I responded, “Yes, but it’s just me who is pregnant. She’s just carrying.” Then I realized how awkward that sounded before I added…”the pillows, not the baby.”

Fortunately, the awkardness didn’t continue throughout the day, and the class was actually very pleasant (albeit terrifying at times) and we learned about breathing and relaxation techniques before touring the state-of-the-art hospital including the birthing rooms and postpartum wing of the hospital. It was kind of surreal standing in the room in which we would soon be welcoming our baby (or one just like it, at least).

While we were in class, my brother-in-law sat at our house and waited for our crib to be delivered. We arrived home to the delivery folks putting it together (an unexpected but much welcome surprise!) and we were able to put in the mattress, launder the bedding, and dress it up afterward. The finished product (which is a deep navy blue but is looking very black):

 

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(yes, yes, we know. Pillow and bear come out of the crib before use. Also: don’t mind the messy desk next door. It’s getting cleaned up and moved).¬†

The entire process of getting a crib was quite an ordeal (Long story short: We ordered our first crib from a company called Evolur via Amazon. It was slated to arrive in 5-8 weeks. About 4 weeks in the order was cancelled due to no inventory. Why they took the order in the first place is beyond me. The Amazon rep generously offered me free shipping if I wanted to order another crib on the spot while I was on the phone with her, but I had to explain to her that I did hours of research and couldn’t pick a crib on the spot, plus I already got free shipping as a Prime member). Then I wrote a long letter to Evolur basically explaining how disappointed I was and asking if they could double check their inventory. They didn’t find it necessary to even acknowledge my email. So I wouldn’t recommend furniture orders from either.)

The story has a happy ending though, and we are thrilled with the crib we DID get (not from Amazon or Evolur).

We’re waiting for our changing table and a toy box we’d purchased from that same local Yardsale site, as we hired a woman to paint them for us to match the crib. Once those arrive, we can finally start to put everything back together.

In the meantime, we have an ultrasound on Thursday, and I always hate to say this when people ask, but I really feel great overall. I get a bit of heartburn here and there, had some rib pain earlier in the pregnancy, had some nausea in the first 12 weeks, but nothing serious and nothing lasting. I would say the hardest part of this entire pregnancy (aside from the SUA diagnosis and routine fear about baby’s general wellbeing) was having two colds and not being able to breathe at night.

I do get a tad restless at night sometimes and have to pee pretty much all the time, but other than that I feel great and so incredibly fortunate. I’m sure the tough times are ahead, but I’m trying to enjoy every moment leading up to them (and we DID have our share of heartache throughout our IVF process and with our first pregnancy so I’m feeling extra fortunate for a calm 2nd and 3rd trimester so far).

Okay. Back to battle with that serger (and a VERY large mosquito that I just saw wandering around baby’s room before I lost sight of it and retreated from the room with my laptop before closing the door behind me). I guess I’m up for two wars this morning.

Wish me luck…

28/29 Weeks

I have been so bad at keeping up with this blog. I always wondered why people dropped off writing after they were able to successfully conceive. While I still don’t have the answer, I am going to guess that it’s a combination of fatigue (oh you all: it’s so, so real), investment in planning and preparation (though I must confess that I haven’t made it all the way through a single baby book, yet, and the baby’s room is still a hot mess with no crib – long story – and piles of unwashed clothes and baby gear all over), and just general chaos.
I’m currently starting this entry on my Kindle as I’m parked in a beach chair with my toes in some densely packed, damp sand under a fishing pier at a beach not far from my in-laws home in South Carolina. I figured: no excuses. It’s now or never (or more accurately now or 32 weeks or whenever I set aside the rest of my chores to write again))). This is devotion, though. The keyboard on a kindle is larger than my phone, but smaller than a regular keyboard so typing is awkward and I can’t balance it on my belly because every time I set it down the baby must wind one of its limbs back in an effort to shove the device out of its space. I’m not complaining, though. I waited all morning for one of these kicks and began to grow panicked when the first one arrived later than it did the last two days. I swear: some days it feels like my life revolves around drinking enough water, peeing, and waiting for that next kick (but it NEVER grows old). Every one is still magical and even though this kid has been nestled in close for almost 7 months, I still can’t believe that I’m pregnant and I feel so freaking lucky every morning when I wake up.
This week, the baby has been in five different states. We started out at home on the east coast (drove to a neighboring state to catch a flight to the Midwest where we spent the next four days for work) then we caught another flight to South Carolina (and had a layover in between). I really want to plan to travel often once the babe gets here. I didn’t travel much as a child and I want this babe to experience everything we can expose it to. We actually even planned the nursery around that idea and have an assortment of map prints and a beautiful blue and gold globe with which to decorate the nursery.
We haven’t had any big scares since the SUA diagnosis at 20 weeks, and that feels like a distant dream, now. But every so often (such as this morning) when baby’s movements seem irregular, my wife and I both tend to panic and I lay on my side and grab a cold drink and hold my belly waiting for kicks.
Babe moved pretty regularly this week during my travel (which was a blessing since I tend to worry even more without my wife there to calm me) but when we arrived at her parent’s house (where she was waiting for us after a flight she took earlier in the week) the movements got stronger than the rest of the week and I really do wonder if the baby was happy to hear her voice after 4 days away from her. Whenever she puts her hands on my belly she tends to elicit some kicks, too. What can I say: babe loves its Mommy.
(I sound so horrible calling my baby an “it” but he/she takes longer to type…please know that our little “it” is loved profusely. ‚̧)
My colleagues at my travel office threw me a shower when I was in town this week. They told me I had a short meeting at the end of the day and had a conference room waiting with cake, a guessing game, gifts, and adorable Oreo truffle favors that one of my favorite co-workers made.
They were even kind enough to ship everything back to my office for me as I grew increasingly panicked with each beautiful gift that I opened that I wouldn’t be able to find a home for it in my small carryon bag (I’m a good packer….but not THAT good!)
Our families are throwing us a shower next week. I honestly prefer to be surprised, but they felt like it would be easier to plan if they didnt also have to worry about figuring out how to surprise me with an elaborate story.
If you live in the US, you probably know that Babies R’ Us is going out of business. My wife and I stop in weekly as the sales climb and have already bought a lot of what we need. She is starting to get overwhelmed thinking of the additional piles of STUFF that are going to flood the house post-shower. I suppose we will figure it out.
My wife is incredibly neat, a minimalist, and cant stand when things get messy. After a small disagreement a few weeks ago when we both started to get overwhelmed by how we’d fit everything for baby into our – already crowded – two bedroom condo, we decided to rent a small storage unit. It helped tremendously, but now we have to make sure we dont amass¬†too much more just because we have the unit to fall back on.
Anyway: at 28 weeks (now 29 as I am finalizing this post the next day and officially turned 29 weeks today). Babe is supposedly the size of a butternut squash and weighs 2.5-3.5 lbs. (Which is unfortunate to read since I gained about 20 lbs so far…) It kicks pretty regularly now (except on days like yesterday when we have dry spells and I freak out) and we have learned that it either loves or hates live music (I like to think it loves it) because whenever we hear live music it starts kicking more than usual.
I still feel pretty good for the most part. Every so often I have cramps for a few minutes at a time, and I have this pain in my left rib that comes and goes and based been on what I’ve read I think it may be costochondritis which is inflammation of the cartilage(?) tissue in my ribs. Some days it is unbearable, but stretching seems to help and it isn’t consistent which is nice. Sleeping is getting harder (especially this week since I haven’t slept in my bed for 7 days now), but overall I really cannot complain. As long as this babe is healthy, I’m happy.
Leaving you with an obligatory¬† beach bathroom shot. I forgot to ask my wife to snap a picture in this full outfit with the hat while we were out so I grabbed one before I jumped in the shower. I’ll try to get a few more before we wrap up our trip.
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Xoxo
Jenn