Friday, May 31, 2013

Friday Photo Dump

Snapshots from life lately...

I am just taking one class right now, so I finally feel like I have some spare time to really get ready for my impending due date!  So far, that has meant reading as much as I can get my hands on.  I'm currently reading "Bringing up Girls," "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth," and "What to Expect the First Year," all at the same time.  It has been nice to sit on the front porch and enjoy the beautiful weather while I read. 


Our church had a Night of Worship a couple weeks ago.  I can never get a good picture of Luke behind his drum shield!  But anyway, it was such a great night!  

The day after that was my mom's birthday.  She, my sister, and I spent the day out to celebrate.  We went to a vegan restaurant since my sister has been eating vegan (The Flaming Ice Cube), we shopped, saw a chick flick (Safe Haven...it was so good!), enjoyed some Menchies, and then stopped at a greenhouse on the way home.  It was such a fun day spent with my mom and sister, and I wish we could spend more together like that!

I got the sweetest package in the mail from Callie!  Look at these adorable outfits for Scarlett!  I can't wait to dress her in them.  Callie has been such a good friend and a great person to talk to as I was going through our fertility struggles.  I am so thankful for her encouraging words and prayers!

I made a little canvas to hang above Scarlett's dresser this week.  The nursery is almost finished!  Curtains and a glider are the only things that are missing at this point.  Once I get it all together I'm sure I'll do a whole nursery post.  


...And of course a photo dump post would not be complete without a picture of my cats!
Gabby has been extra cuddly with me lately.  I swear, it's almost like she knows I'm 7.5 months pregnant.  She practically knocks me over when I walk in the door as she rubs against my leg, happy to see me, and if Luke's not home, she follows me everywhere and wants to cuddle as soon as I sit or lay down.  However, as soon as Luke gets home, I'm basically chopped liver to her.  I'm afraid Luke is and will always be her favorite.  Regardless, I enjoy our little naps together during this 3rd trimester fatigue when he's not home!

...When Luke gets home and Gabby forgets about me, at least I have Ellie who basically acts like my shadow.  I caught her mid-yawn the other day.  I think cat yawns are pretty much the cutest things in the world.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Second Thoughts

...about my birth plan, not about Scarlett!

Before I became pregnant, I always thought I would get an epidural, no question.

And then I became pregnant and seriously thought about it.  For various reasons, I decided I wanted to try a natural delivery.  I wrote about it a bit in this post, but here are the main reasons I changed my mind:
  • I've always heard that the more naturally you labor, the faster your recovery period will be.  
  • I want to be able to feel the urge to push, and I want the pain to motivate me.
  • I am hoping that refraining from interventions (including pitocin.  Pitocin is my biggest fear right now after hearing so many horror stories) will help my labor to move forward naturally and somewhat quickly. 
  • It sounds crazy, but I just want to experience it.  I want to know what women have done for centuries before me.  
  • I am no stranger to pain, and I feel like I have learned how to handle it.  I am pretty sure I have some form of IBD, and it just hasn't been diagnosed because I've never seen a specialist.  But for the past four years I've had stomach pain and cramping that I'm pretty sure is nearly as bad as labor pains.  With no cute baby to motivate me at the end.  Those of you who have actually given birth are probably laughing at me, but seriously...  This pain is no joke.  It has gotten point where I am curled up on the floor with chills and shaking and vomiting from the pain.  (If those pains come back after Scarlett is here, going to a specialist is definitely on the "to-do" list).  For now, I feel like it has given me good practice managing extreme pain. 
  • I've heard only a few horror stories about epidurals gone wrong, but they were terrifying enough to scare me away from it a little bit. 
All those reasons were good and well until a few weeks ago when a few ladies on my birth month board on The Bump went into labor and delivered their babies already.  It made it very real that Scarlett's birth is getting so much closer, especially if she decides to come early.  I have made myself push my thoughts and fears about labor and delivery to the back of my mind this whole pregnancy since I am a natural worrier.  However, being within 2 months of delivering her, I feel like I need to prepare myself somewhat. 

I had heard some really great reviews about Ina May Gaskin's book, "Ina May's Guide to Childbirth."

Yesterday I downloaded it on my Kindle.  The first half of the book is all just birth stories of women who had 100% natural births at home or in birthing centers with midwives.  In the second half of the book, Ina May talks about the benefits of natural childbirth, and some tips.  

Late last night and early this morning, I read most of the birth stories.  And while I can't totally relate since I'm giving birth in a hospital with and OB, it was still empowering to read the stories.  Empowering and terrifying all at once.  I just wonder, can my body handle this?  What if I have back labor, or if labor lasts over 24 hours?  These women seem so strong, and I just don't know if I'm that strong.  Not to mention, they were all in situations where epidurals and other drugs were not available.  At my hospital, all I'll have to do is say the word, and an epidural will be delivered at the right time.  

Guys, I'm starting to second guess myself.  Not only that, but I wish I had never told anyone about my plans to try for a natural birth for Scarlett.  Now I'll feel like a failure if I get the epidural, and I'll have to tell everyone that I "failed."

I have a friend who is pregnant with her first baby, and due just a few months after me.  I asked her about her plans, and she said she fully intended to get the epidural.  "I wouldn't get a tooth pulled without Novocaine!"  She told me.  And that is a good point!  Are my reasons for wanting a natural birth good enough?  Or am I just subjecting myself to an unnecessary amount of pain, and being a glutton for punishment?

Will I?  Won't I?  The constant volleying back and forth of my thoughts is enough to drive me crazy.  

So here's my plan:  I'm still going to try it without an epidural, but I'm NOT going to punish myself if I have to ask for one.  My friend says that if I don't go into thinking that the option of an epidural is completely off the table, then I will cave and get one.  And that is probably true.  It is just so easy to ask for one in the middle of all that pain!  

So anyway, best case scenario?  I'll reach my goal of giving birth naturally, and I'll feel like a rockstar.

And worst case scenario?  I'll probably get a lot further into labor than I would have if I had just gone into it planning on getting the epidural.  That way, at least I won't get it too early and slow down labor (I've heard that if you can make it to about 5 centimeters without one, getting the epidural probably won't slow down labor). And you know what?  I waited for over 3 years to meet my sweet first baby from the point that we started praying and trying for her.  I went through 6 weeks of feeling like death constantly, and an additional 6 weeks of feeling like death occasionally (thank you morning sickness).   I carried her with my 6th-grade-girl-sized frame for what will be 9 months...so I'm still going to feel like a rockstar when it's all said and done, even if I can't do this naturally!

...Life is too short to start feeling mom guilt before I'm even technically a mom!  God is in control, and I'm handing this over to Him.  Whatever will be will be.  Worrying is not going to help.  Labor is coming, and there's nothing I can do to stop it!  

No matter what happens, I think Scarlett is enough motivation to get through anything.  As long as she is safe and healthy, nothing else really matters!

Sunday, May 26, 2013

32 Week Bumpdate

 The Bump:
(The lighting is terrible because there was so much sunlight coming in the windows behind me)

I decided to throw a front view in too since I'm big enough that you can really see it from the front now too!

Comparison:
Is it just me or does she look higher than 2 weeks ago?  Strange.  Maybe it's just my outfit?

Milestones:

8 weeks until my due date, and 5 weeks until I'm full term (5! Weeks!  Ahhh!)

I've finally been able to feel Scarlett's hiccups a lot.  It's the cutest thing ever, and makes me laugh every time.  She's been getting them about every day or every other day lately!  They just feel like little spasms in my stomach every few seconds, and they last about 5 minutes.

Symptoms:
  • Slight swelling in my hands and feet.  I finally had to take my rings off last week, which was no easy feat!  Lots of cold water and coconut oil were involved, and it was very painful.  I never take my rings off, and didn't realize how tight they were until it was too late!
  • General achy-ness and round ligament pain.  Especially when I get up after sitting or laying down for awhile.  It literally shocks me every time.  My 3-4 lb baby is a lot for my muscles to handle I guess!
  • Heartburn has strangely subsided a lot.  Every once in awhile it comes back, but not too often. 
  • I've about had it with these hormones making me cry over every little thing.  I feel like a crazy person.  and I know that will just get worse for awhile after she's born, so I'll have to just deal with it I guess.


Cravings:
  • Fruit
  • Last night I was craving hot wings, so Luke and I went to B-dubs and I thought I was in heaven.  I ate 11 boneless wings!  I just could not satisfy my hunger yesterday until that finally hit the spot.
  • Milk...chocolate milk, to be more specific.  which is weird, because I'm lactose intolerant.  But I've been drinking about 8 ounces of chocolate milk a day and that doesn't seem to bother me too much.  I remember my mom saying she craved chocolate milk when she was pregnant with me too.  I guess Scarlett needs calcium!

Fun Stuff:
  • My first shower is next Saturday, thrown by my mother-in-law and sister-in-laws.  I'm really excited!
  • Also, Scarlett has been a little gymnast lately. At my last appointment, the nurse said she could see my stomach moving around while she was checking the baby's heartbeat.  I'm starting to be able to feel actual body parts now, like her little bum and what I think is one of her feet.  It often pushes out far enough that my stomach pokes out a bit, and I can feel something very tiny that feels like a foot when I push back.  I think she's running out of room, and trying to stretch out!  I already posted this video last week, but I thought I'd post it again just to show how much she moves these days!
video

  • Speaking of my appointment last week, it fell on my mom's birthday.  We were meeting my sister to spend a girl's day out together for her birthday, so she came to my appointment with me beforehand and got to hear Scarlett's heartbeat on her birthday!

I can't believe there are single digits of weeks left before my due date!  Everything seems so real, and I know I can't avoid thinking about the whole labor and delivery thing for much longer.  I'm starting to get really nervous about it, but I'm trying to focus more on the end goal...finally meeting Scarlett!


Friday, May 17, 2013

Friday Photo Dump

Here's what I've been up to lately...

video
This is Scarlett movin' and groovin' in the womb, 2.0. A little over a month ago, I shared a video of one tiny kick here.  If you compare it to the video above, you can see how much bigger she's gotten, and how much more pronounced her movements have become.  If I'm sitting still or laying still, movements like this are pretty much constant. ...until someone else tries to see it or feel it!  She must be shy. (The focus in the video is a little off, so it's easier to see if it's not full screen).

A couple of weeks ago, my sister-in-law Diana graduated with her bachelor's in early childhood education!  This is a picture at her graduation party.  When Luke and I started dating, she was in middle school!  Time has flown by, and it has been fun watching her grow up.  We are so proud of her!

I had my first Menchie's trip of the spring with Luke and JC on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.  This was pomegranate raspberry tart yogurt topped with fruit.  It pretty much made my day.


Speaking of frozen, sweet treats, my mom and I had a frozen strawberry lemonade the other day after an intense shopping day out. I had so much fun spending the day with my mom, buying baby things and finishing up my registry!  ...I needed a picture to commemorate the day.

Last weekend, our friend Doug celebrated his 30th birthday.  We had a little surprise bonfire party to celebrate.  It was a great night spent with friends.  I can't believe so many of us will be celebrating our 30th birthdays in the next couple of years!  I still feel about 22.

 The week before Mother's Day, my sisters (in-law) and I went to "Hot Pots," a pottery painting place.  It was fun, and I painted my mom a little flower pot for Mother's Day.  I can't wait until Scarlett is old enough to take!  I think we'll spend lots of mother-daughter dates here in a few years. 

A friend from church gave me a flower for Mother's Day.  I thought it was so sweet!

I guess this is braggy, but I survived what my professor dubbed "the semester from hell" with all As!  Even my clinic supervisor, whom I was sure hated me in the beginning and thought I was hopeless, gave me an A.  I really tried to take her constructive criticism to heart, and she said she thought I improved 100% over the semester.  It feels good to have those 15 weeks behind me!

Speaking of school, I had a week-long literacy seminar this week.  It was a required class, and it was Monday - Thursday, 9:00 - 4:30 every day.  I had been dreading it all year, to be honest, because who wants to sit in the same class for 7.5 hours?  They were long days, but I did learn a lot.  We had 1 big group project to complete for this class, and 4 days to complete it.  Each group was given a case study about a client, and we had to plan therapy goals and activities for 1 month of therapy.  We also had to make all the materials we were going to use in the activities.  Oh, and also?  On top of that, we had to choose one material, and make 40 of them to pass out to the entire class.  Well anyway, my group worked really hard on the materials we made for the whole class.  The picture you see above is our final project after being tweaked and revised at least 50 times.  We call it our "sound scavenger," and it can be used to find letters in books, with matching pictures that start with each letter to promote phonemic awareness.  The pencil tip can also be used as a pointer to teach the one-to-one ratio of spoken word to printed word.  And there are a bunch of other uses, but I'll leave it at that.  We spent hours and hours constructing these, because we had cut out every letter picture and glue all 26 of them on, 40 times (n-z are on the back).  But, we were pretty excited about the final result, and our professor told us there is a commercial version that is being sold, but ours is better!  We totally thought we should try to patent and sell them.  Anyway, that was a long story, that no one but me probably cares about.  But yeah, it was a long week to say the least!  I'm ready to relax a bit this weekend!

Happy Friday!


Tuesday, May 14, 2013

30 Week Bumpdate

The Bump:

I'm not exactly sure how I have 10 more weeks to grow.  I feel huge.


Milestones:

I am officially 3/4 of the way through this pregnancy.  

We are in the home stretch. It's just a matter of Scarlett putting some meat on her bones, and fine-tuning survival behaviors like breathing and swallowing so she's ready for life on the outside.  She probably weighs around 3 lbs.

Girlfriend's got some strong movements going on!  She has actually made me wince a few times.  Especially when she kicks/punches straight down.  Ouch.

Symptoms:
  • Pretty excruciating backaches that come and go, mostly in the evenings after I've been sitting for a long time.
  • Mild swelling in my feet when I'm on them a lot during the day
  • Waking up at least twice in the night, because, to quote Rachel from Friends, "Apparently this baby thinks that my bladder is a squeeze toy."
  • However, I think it is a huge praise that I have not had trouble sleeping at all during this entire pregnancy.  I know insomnia is a common symptom of late pregnancy, and I am still going strong with my sleeping, so hopefully I can keep it up for 10 more weeks!
Cravings: 
  • At least 2-3 times a week I cook some chicken in the oven and cover it in cheese and salsa.  Then I serve it over rice mixed with more salsa, sour cream, black beans, and corn.  I would eat it every day if I could.  I guess it's my own version of a Chipotle burrito bowl.
Fun Stuff:
  • The nursery is really coming along!  I'm finishing up a few projects, my mom is finishing up the crib bedding, and besides that, I'm about done with all I can do until my showers!  Below is a picture of some alphabet cards I found for FREE on Pinterest.  I just printed them on card stock and cut out, clipped them to some twine with small clothespins, and I'm waiting for Luke to hang it on the wall.  I found it HERE.  (There are some great freebies on that website!)
  • Luke and I have decided to take our childbirth classes online through our hospital.  I can't wait to start!  Although the whole thing kind of freaks me out, making the "big day" feel close and very real.
There are up to 10 more weeks until Scarlett gets here (I refuse to believe that it might possibly be MORE than 10 weeks)!  My mind is blown thinking about how our life will change.  A tiny piece of me is a little sad to see all of our freedom go, but we've had 9 years together just the two of us. I'm ready to bring another member into our family!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dear Scarlett,

I can't believe there are only 2.5 months left until we meet you!  It seems like just yesterday I was leaning over the toilet, literally spilling my guts, feeling like the hard part would never end. 

Not that this part isn't hard too...you are currently making my feet swell up like balloons by the end of every day, and you had me in tears while driving home from Akron the other day because your favorite spot seems to be planting yourself on what I think must be a bundle of nerves in the lower left side of my back.  But the truth is, even though I use the "pregnant lady" license to complain every now and again, I would do it all over again a million times to have you in my life!

I've been busy lately getting ready for your arrival.  On Monday, your Grandma and I went out shopping for material to use in your crib bedding, and we finished up your registry.  Every little item we picked out made me more and more anxious to meet you! 
 

We also went shopping for some clothes.  We found your first bathing suit!  You'll have to wait until next summer to wear it, but I have a feeling we'll be spending all of our spare time at Grandma and Grandpa's pool in the summer of '14, so I'm sure we'll get a lot of use out of it.  




You are also now ready for this fall as far is your dad is concerned, because I found this nice Ohio State jacket for you.  I'm afraid you are already an Ohio State fan, and I don't think you have much say in the matter.  You were born into it.

I must say, I think I've gone a little overboard shopping for clothes for you in the past week.  I wonder if you will be as girly as your mama, and if you'll love shopping for girly things as much as I do.

 I have so many questions about you!  Who will you look like?  Will you be tall like your daddy?  Will you have my curly hair?  What will your personality be like? What about your interests?  Will you be a piano player or a drummer?  A dancer or an athlete?  Maybe an artist like your Aunt Julie?  I can't wait to get to know every little part of you as you grow.

I've been busy getting your nursery together.  with every project, I imagine what it will be like to lay you to sleep for your first night in your crib.  I can't wait to hold you in my arms while I rock you, sing to you, smell your sweet baby smell, and watch you fall asleep. I can't wait to read to you and watch you grow.  I am terribly overwhelmed at the thought of being your mother.  But God knows what He's doing, and I know he picked your dad and I to be your parents, just as He picked you to be our daughter.

I can't wait to meet you!  I still have a million things to do before you get here, but I hope time moves quickly!  We have been waiting a very long time to meet you! 

Love,
Mom

Friday, May 3, 2013

Friday Photo Dump

I am in a good mood this morning!  Yesterday was my last day of class for what I've been told is the most difficult semester of grad school in my program.  I have an online final to complete, and one day at my clinical placement left, and then I'll be officially done!  ...for a week.  I still have a week-long literacy seminar, and a month-long fluency (stuttering) class to take this summer before I get a real break.  But it feels good to be on this side of the semester.  My classes this semester included voice, neurogenic disorders, dysphagia (swallowing disorders), and articulation & phonological disorders.  Whoever decided that 4 of the most content-loaded classes should be taken during the same semester apparently had some anger to take out on innocent grad students.  But I survived it, and it wasn't all bad.  

Anyway, I have my last day of clinicals with some adorable preschoolers that I'm really going to miss next Wednesday.  But aside from that, I have no major plans for the next 10 days.  The forecast looks just about perfect for this weekend and next week, and I'm pretty much feeling on top of the world.  I hope to work on some nursery projects and spend the entire week enjoying this pregnancy and focusing on Scarlett and her upcoming arrival!  I feel like I haven't been able to fully do that in the past 15 weeks because I've been so busy.

Hopefully with the extra time I'll have in the next week, I'll be able to blog a little more often.  I thought I'd start with my Friday photo dump since I haven't done one in awhile.
 
 A few weeks ago I tried a Pinterest manicure.  Pinterest picture above on the left, and  mine on the right.  I just used the bottom end of a paintbrush to make the polka dots.  I don't know if I'm too old to pull off polka dots or not, but it turned out better than I thought it would!

My mom bought this stuffed animal for Scarlett just minutes before I told her I was pregnant.  True story.  My mom just had a feeling that's what we were coming over to tell her.  Anyway, here Gabby is stalking it.  We may need to teach the cats about boundaries before July...Scarlett is not even here yet, and doesn't have any siblings, and she's already having to share her toys.  Not fair.

Luke is in a small basketball league at our church and plays on Monday nights.  Here he is getting the rebound!  It was fun to watch him play, but the league was pretty aggressive, and I was terrified he was going to really hurt himself every time he played.  So I'm secretly kind of glad the season ended last week.  Bring on the softball season!

Life of an SLP grad student.  I kind of love it.

Gabby's specialty is finding weird places to hang out.  I'm always amazed at the tight spaces she can fit into.

I had my glucose test last Friday.  I passed!  This is the gross drink I had to chug beforehand.  It wasn't pleasant, but definitely not as bad as I was expecting.

Th cats' new favorite pastime: to lay on the nursery carpet in the sun every morning.  They lay there until about noon when the pools of sunlight have disappeared, and then move to either the couches or the bed.  Ahh, the life of a cat.  I think mine sleep at least 20 hours a day.  One of my professors shares useless trivia with us every class just for fun, and this week we learned that giraffes sleep just 20 minutes each day.  A friend from class posted on Facebook that she would call them "giraffe naps" from now on instead of "cat naps."  I have to agree that that makes much more sense.  I don't know where the term "cat nap" came from, but unless you're planning on napping for at least a 4-hour block of time, that is probably not an accurate name.  

Speaking of cat naps....while Gabby's specialty is to find weird places to take them, Ellie's specialty is finding the most uncomfortable positions for them.  

Last Saturday, my church had a women's retreat for the day.  The theme was joy.  We had a great speaker, and it was great to just refresh and get some encouragement!  We all got notebooks to take notes in during the session, and then we got to decorate them.  

On Tuesday night I took a nice walk with my cousin Sarah as she pushed Hudson and Hadley in her double stroller.  (Whom I accidentally called "Hudley" last night while talking to my mom.  New nickname for the pair of them, Sarah?  ;-))  Anyway, it was a beautiful evening!  I just had to snap a picture.  I can't wait until Scarlett is here and I can walk her around the neighborhood in her stroller!

Another cat picture.  I just can't help it.  They melt my heart with cuteness.  (I am such an annoying cat-mom).  Anyway, if I leave the doors of my wardrobe open for more than 4.2 seconds, Ellie likes to jump in and burrow behind my neat piles of clothes, completely messing them up.  


Yesterday was Luke's 29th birthday!  Everyone keeps saying to him, "Only 1 more year of being young!" Yikes. I asked him what he wanted to do for his birthday, and he said, "nothing."  How boring, right?  I figured I'd just make him some ice cream and cake and keep it low key, and next year we'll do it up big.  We had lots of visitors last night to wish him a happy birthday, even though we hadn't had anything "formal" planned.  I think he had a good day!  

At my wedding shower, my mother-in-law gave me a recipe box full of Luke's favorite recipes.  One of them was for homemade chocolate cake and frosting.  Baking a cake from scratch always seemed so daunting for me, and I've been afraid to try it. But I thought I better practice now, so I'll be able to make one for Scarlett on her birthdays (and future children too).  So I came home yesterday from my last day of class and nervously threw the ingredients together, praying the whole time that I wouldn't mess it up! And somehow it all came together okay.  While I was baking I couldn't help but imagine Scarlett helping me bake a birthday cake for Daddy in a few years, and thought my heart was going to explode from happiness.  

Luke got an ice cream maker for Christmas a year or so ago, so I decided to make some homemade ice cream too.  I wanted to make mint, Oreo ice cream, but overdid it with the mint a bit.  It wasn't terrible, but definitely could have been better.  If I was going to mess something up, I'm glad it was the ice cream, and not the cake!

That about sums up the past few weeks in my world!  Spring has been good this year, regardless of how long it took to get here!  I feel so blessed, and can't wait to see what the next few weeks have in store!