Thursday, December 04, 2008


What everyone has been waiting for! Here are the photos pulled from my camera. Thank you to everyone who picked up the camera and took a few shots! Jon and I set the photos up on a slideshow and watched them during dinner one evening, and it was fun to see what everyone took pics of. These photos start right before we headed to the hospital to check in, and the last photo was taken today at lunch. Hot off the press! There's a ton of them, so hopefully they'll keep you guys busy for awhile!

Today is day 7. Caleb is officially a week and one hour old! Everyone must have been thinking of us, because the phone rang off the hook today! We tried to call everyone back, but if we didn't make it to you, we're doing fine! It's been a week of adjustment for sure, but I'm feeling better, Caleb is doing great, and Jon has been amazing taking care of the two of us!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Morning Reflection

It's 6am and I'm gazing into the eyes of the most beautiful creation I've ever seen. Caleb is 4 1/2 days old. It's been a wild ride in just that short of time. Last night I was so tired of being a new mom, tired of trying to figure out what Caleb wanted, tired of being sore (everywhere!). But oh, what six hours of sleep and a few good feedings can do! We were headed back to bed for another two hours of sleep, but Caleb was content to gaze around with his beautiful eyes, and I just couldn't miss that. So I'm up! I figure I'll sleep later.

I haven't done anything on the computer until this moment (barring a web cam conversation with family), so I haven't seen photos or read stories; I haven't even pulled my own photos off the camera! I could write 10 posts about the things that have happened, but for now, I'll just say that I am so blessed. So blessed to have a perfect little baby boy, to have a wonderful husband beyond description, to have supportive family and friends, and to have quiet moments like these.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

21" 6lb 14oz
It's a boy! Born @ 9:32. Details to follow. Love to all.
Fixing to push!
2 am and all's well! Cervadil caused Caleb's HR to drop, so I'm off that. Contracting strong and regularly w/o Pitocin, but scheduled to g

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving is postponed!

After another night of contractions, Jon and I headed to our 8:30 dr. appointment, this time to see Dr. K again, who is back in town. We were happy to report all my contractions since Monday, and the loss of my mucous plug yesterday afternoon (look it up if you really want to know), which to us were good signs of progress. However, upon examination, there was no progress. Pooh. I thought for sure something would have happened!

Because we're now about 41 weeks along, we had a very quick sonogram to check the amniotic fluid around the baby. Low amniotic fluid indicates that the placenta (which, as it turns out, has a shelf life) is no longer working 100%, and can cause distress to the baby, so they keep a close watch on it for past-term mamas. When the image came up on the screen, Jon and I immediately saw that things were different. The large black areas that had indicated pockets of amniotic fluid were gone! The last time we had a sonogram, the fluid measured at 13, and this time it measured at 3. Since I had not noticed any gushing or leaking, the only other explanation is that the placenta is no longer 100%. to the monitor we went.

The monitor has two discs that are strapped onto my belly: one measures the baby's heart rate and the other measures contractions. We were supposed to be monitored for 20 minutes, but it was busy, and I think they forgot us. By the time someone came back to check on us, we were a little frazzled. Dr. K looked over the monitor readings and said the baby looked perfect. However, she was still concerned about the low amniotic fluid and felt it was best for us to go ahead and induce.


She sent us home with "get your bags together and eat whatever you want for lunch. Come back between 3 and 4." So that's what we're doing! When we go back, I get a medicine called Cervadil to help with effacement, then after a certain period of time (8 hours?) they'll start me on Pitocin. And Caleb should be born tomorrow!

So Thanksgiving is officially postponed until Friday evening. Jon and I (and Caleb) may get to be there for it or not, but at least the family won't be worrying about the casserole in the oven when I'm about to pop out a baby.

I'm nervous because I've never been in the hospital before. And I feel like I'm about to run the gauntlet of motherhood. Nine months of planning and reading, but nothing is like the real thing. And there are so many unknowns! How will I handle the pain? Will I need a C-section? Will things go smoothly or be a rush from one decision to the next? I know God is in control, and I know that you guys will be thinking about us and praying for us!

We'll try to keep you informed, and see you on the other side!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Well, no baby yet. :) We've walked the neighborhood, Target and Michaels. When I stop, my contractions stop. When I go, they're about 6 minutes apart. Now my feet hurt!

My mom fed us yummy yummy gumbo tonight, and Jon's putting together a shelf for Caleb's room. We're just waiting! Everyone have a good night, and hopefully more news tomorrow!

Still here

We're still at home, and the contractions are still coming, though much slower than before. I stayed up until about 12:45 timing them and doing laundry. They were starting to hurt at that point, so laying down didn't feel good at all. I sat on my Pilates ball, and I would recommend! Quite comfy during contractions!

At 12:45 I was finally tired enough to lay down, I guess. Then I just checked my watch every once in awhile, but no more official timing. I was surprised when it was already 2am...and then 4:30...and then 6:15. I don't know if I slept through contractions, or they got really slow, but I do feel I got some rest. I stayed on the couch where I could move around or sit up if the contractions got bad. Jon stayed in bed, but would come out intermittently and get me more water and check on me. Early on, he was dreaming, and I heard him say, "I think I see something!" Then a long "ohh...." groan like he wished he hadn't seen what he just saw, and he needed to sit down. Haha! It made me laugh. He's going to do great in the delivery, I just know it!

He's taken off work today, my mom's on the road and I'm expecting her here pretty soon, and Jon and I are about to go for a walk to see if we can't start these contractions back up for real!

I've set up my phone so I can send updates from it if we head to the hospital...I'll try to keep you informed! Sadly, it's a work phone that won't let me send pictures (even though I can take them), but I can at least send text. Someone else may be the first to post a pic of our little Caleb. If so, I'll let you know where to go find it!

Monday, November 24, 2008


Well, contractions started at about 10:15 tonight! Crazy, huh??

I thought at first it was just Caleb stretching, because it didn't really hurt, but I felt a small dull pain at the very base of the uterus, which I can only assume is the cervix moving into position, which the doctor said only happens with contractions.

So, once I figured, "hey, this might be a contraction," I had Jon start timing. In about thirty minutes, we had contractions every 5 minutes or so, lasting 45 seconds. Wow! The doctor said to come in when they're 5 minutes apart for an hour, but surely she can't mean these contractions! They don't even hurt!

So, next on my list is to drink lots of water to see if that stops them. I did, and I've had two contractions since then...I haven't timed them, though, because I figure I won't really need to until they start to hurt. And now I'm about to go to bed, because I also figure I better get some sleep while I can, if these are really real!

I called my mom, who did not answer the phone, I might just say.... My dad eventually woke up and called me back. He wins the grandparent award for that one! :) Anyway, my mom is already planning on coming tomorrow, so she's doing the same as we are: going back to bed to see if she can get some sleep before things start to happen. After all, this may just be a false alarm (I mean seriously, aren't contractions supposed to hurt??), and then we'll all be nice and rested for whatever tomorrow brings us.

Ooh, now I'm excited! Let's see how much sleep I really get! I'll keep you posted if I can!

Dr. Appointment

Another day, another appointment!

Here are the stats:
Weight: Still gained 0 lbs. Staying steady with a total of 26lbs
Uterus: 37cms
Blood pressure: 118/70
Caleb's heart rate: 130s bpm

And the big news: dilated to one centimeter and effaced 60%! Our first sign of progress!

My blood pressure is back to normal, which may indicate that work stress was truly the cause, or it may just be the result of being a complete bum for several days!

The doctor really doesn't like people to go beyond 41 weeks (which is Thanksgiving day), so she's scheduled an induction for Friday night. I'd go in that night for a medicine that will finish the effacement, and the next morning start on pitocin, which causes contractions. Then, I should have a baby by Saturday night! Induction is certainly not my first preference, and pitocin causes pretty rough contractions, so my hopes of going natural would probably not happen. So, if this baby could get a move on before then, that would be great! :)

And that's the report! My normal doctor is back in the office on Wendnesday, and we're scheduled to see her bright on Wednesday morning to check in and talk over the induction with her. Pray for more progress from now to then!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Forty Weeks!

Well, I've got quite a bit to update this week. First things first: no baby yet!

Let's see...after Monday's appointment and prescription for bed rest, I spent Tuesday frantically getting last-minute things together for work. I packed up my laptop and Jon shipped it off for me that evening. Let me tell you, I smiled as I erased my marker board of "to dos before baby." I put away all my work papers that cluttered my desk, and I could feel my blood pressure lower as I said goodbye to work for the next 6 weeks (at least). Jon asked me if I was sad to say goodbye, and I said, "Nope! I'm so relieved to be done!" And at this point, as far as we know, I'm going back to work after my maternity leave, so it's not like I'm saying goodbye for forever.

On Wednesday...well, let's just say I stink at bed rest! I was on the couch or the computer, I did a little bit of laundry (really, I just switched out one load), and generally realized by the end of the day that I was worrying Jon more than helping by not wanting to appear helpless. It turns out that the everyone but me is a champion bed rester around here.
Well, Jon was taking a much-deserved break from studying, but the cats...champion bed resters!

Thursday, KarenN was gracious enough to drive down to come to the dr. appointment with me, since Jon had to work. I was so glad she came! My blood pressure was still high, but not as high as it had been, and considering my one day of attempted bed rest, I figured that was okay. Then I went in to get my sonogram, and that took quite awhile. The sonographer was trying to determine if Caleb has a cleft lip or cleft palate, or if everything is fine. The problem was that Caleb has his nose pretty firmly smooshed into the placenta, so it looks asymmetrical, but we can't be definitive on whether that's the smoosh or a cleft. There was one shot that she took that seemed pretty good, that nothing was wrong. But then there were 5 more shots that indicated there might be a small cleft palate issue. So, at the end of the sonogram still had nothing definitive. However, if there is a cleft, it's probably minor. And we can't do anything about it until Caleb's born, anyway, so no reason to worry about it! But I will say I'll be checking his mouth before I count his toes!

After the dr. appointment, Karen and I ate lunch, then she made my Amish Friendship Bread for me, since I was supposed to be on bedrest. And flowers were delivered to my door!

It turns out Caleb already has a connection with his Grandma! After Karen left, I really did rest, and took a nice long nap. So I did much better!

Friday morning, Jon and I went to a chiropractor, which was a new experience for both of us. We went because I was concerned that now that I have high blood pressure, there would be more likelihood that the dr. would induce, and since Caleb has shown no signs of progression, the only way out for him is by C-section (induction would be fruitless). I asked a friend to check with her midwife about what to do, and her midwife suggested I check with a chiropractor to see if perhaps I was unaligned, not allowing the baby to drop as he should. Well, it just so happens that Holly has been going to a chiropractor recently, and not only had good success with it, but also had a voucher for half off! So I made an appointment, and off we went on Friday morning. The chiropractor could be a blog in and of itself, but in the end the dr. said my tailbone was pretty unaligned, and he got it back to about 98% correct (my legs had been different lengths by an inch, and after the adjustment they were back to normal!). So, though he didn't guarantee it would help the baby drop, he did say it might make a difference since I'd been so unaligned. I go back on Monday for a second adjustment, and I think it will be our last.

After our appointment, Leanna came to hang out for the day. Hooray! She made cake! With all these people coming over and making things for us, this is pretty great! We watched movies and did our best to stay rested. :) She also tried the acupressure points to start labor. Nothing happened, but we did it anyway.

This morning, I slept 'til 11:00!! I couldn't believe it! But then my stomach was upset and I was nauseated...which I hate, but is a sign that labor could be coming! So we got in gear and I folded laundry and Jon ran to Wal-Mart for some final things. Then he worked on his paper and I worked on photography...and nothing happened. After that bit in the morning, I felt better today than I have in a week, really! Which could also be a sign of impending labor...usually it comes out as energy for nesting, but maybe mine was redirected to photography because it needed to be done. We went for a small walk, just a couple times around the block, because I thought that when I started to walk around the house, I'd feel a little cramping, so maybe a walk would kick things in gear. But we didn't try too hard because really, the baby is coming soon, so no need to rush things! And nothing happened.

All in all, yesterday I felt there was no way this baby was coming until Thanksgiving, but today I feel like it could happen tonight. So maybe the chiropractor and the acupressure is actually working, or maybe it's just time...or maybe he won't be here 'til Thanksgiving! It's exciting however it happens!

BabyCenter estimates Caleb to be 7.5 pounds and 20 inches long...we shall see soon!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Dr. Appointment

Today Jon and I got to meet Dr. P. She's very nice...a little awkward, but still informative and patient. She answered all our questions and took her time, which was good.

The appointment started out with the regular checks, so here they are:
Weight: Gained 0 lbs. Staying steady with a total of 26lbs!
Uterus: 33cms
Blood pressure: 137/93
Caleb's heart rate: 133bpm

Were you paying attention? Have you been learning from my oh-so-informative baby blog? If so, you would have noticed that once again, my blood pressure is high. Once again, I was left to lay on my side for 20 minutes or so, but this time, it didn't have the same effect. My blood pressure did go down, but only to 120/90. 120 is fine, but 90 is not. And since this is the second week in a row, the doctor has officially put me on bedrest.

First, we had another sonogram to make sure Caleb was doing okay. The sonographer had to look for heart rate, breathing, a certain number of body movements, and amniotic fluid. All of those were fine, though Caleb wasn't too cooperative with moving. I promised her he'd had the hiccups and had been rolling around just before the appointment (and is as I write this, as a matter of fact), but she had to witness it. We finally caught his foot twitch a little, his hand move, and we could see his lips moving as if he were sucking on a paci. It was pretty cute, if I do say so myself.

So Caleb passed, and we went back to the room to wait. I'd like to mention here that I was not wearing pants at this point, but the thin blue sheet they give me at the beginning of each appointment. So yes, I was waltzing down the hallway wrapped in a sheet. I think OBGYNs live to humiliate women, but that's just my opinion. :)

Back in the room, Dr. P discussed the sonogram and said it looked good and Caleb seemed to be doing fine. She said the sonographer did have some concern about the formation of Caleb's palate, that it might have a bit of a cleft to it, but from the images, it looked like his nose was just jabberwocky because it was smooshed against the placenta. However, to make sure, we're getting another sonogram next time, and probably in 4D! The dr. was really not concerned, so we won't be either. But good grief, isn't it amazing the random things that come up!

Dr. P talked about the high blood pressure a little more. Basically, the only "cure" for it is to have the baby, but our baby is clearly still not ready to come out (that's right, still no dilation or effacement). Because of that, any medical induction methods we could try would not work. So that's why we have to do our best to keep the blood pressure low to wait for Caleb to get ready to come. If the BP gets a lot higher with still no signs of progression from Caleb, I'll have to have a C-section. However, this doctor, like Dr. K, said that anything could happen, so we'll just wait and see.

I have to go in on Thursday for my blood pressure check and sonogram, and I think I'll be going in twice a week for BP checks until Caleb comes. Dr P felt the same as Dr. K, that we probably wouldn't be seeing this baby until the week of Thanksgiving.

So bed rest for me! I'm going to do enough work tomorrow to pass off the things I've been working on, and then I'm done! As you know, work has been quite stressful lately, so while I'm not happy that it's apparently affected my pregnancy, I will be glad to say goodbye to it a little earlier than expected, and get a chance to be rested and relaxed before Caleb comes.


Today I woke up with my hips hurting. They haven't done that in several months, and I'm pretty sure it's a sign that they're widening. Which means something is actually happening!!

Which, given the weekend I put in, makes a lot of sense! On Saturday, Jon and I roamed around the park with Sophie, our 2 1/2 year-old neighbor who LOVED the slide that required a whole obstacle course to get to, so I was up and down, up and down, helping Sophie up the ramp, through the chain bridge, and up the steps to the slide. Jon would catch her at the bottom and we would do it all over again. We had a blast, but my arms are sore today as if I'd been doing pushups!

After that, I had a maternity photo shoot with Leslie (who took my maternity shots) and her husband Sam, which was tons of fun, and we walked all over the Botanic Gardens. I came home that afternoon and told my mom (who was here for the weekend) that if this baby hadn't dropped yet, he never would! She studied my belly and said, "You know...I think he has dropped!" Hm...maybe wishful thinking, maybe not. I really can't tell!

But just in case, I spent another couple of hours yesterday doing a photo shoot in another park, this time with my favorite nephew, Ian! We had a blast, and Ian had the most fun on the swings! By the time my brother and his family left, I was pooped. I slept until dinner (which Holly brought over--you're the best neighbor ever!!), then worked on editing photos yesterday evening.

All in all, a busy but very fun weekend! And my mom helped me get my hospital bags packed, and we got up most of the family photos on the orange door in the nursery. I guess I need to take pictures of the nursery now, since it's all pretty much done!

And it was crazy to see my mom and my brother and family, and my grandparents this past week and say to all of them as they left, "Next time we see you, it'll be pretty exciting!!" And last night I talked to Leanna and went over how to get to the hospital (yes, I realize I need to send maps and info to family), phone numbers, and other stuff. It's like it's really happening!

Jon asked me if I was ready for the labor/delivery part. I'm really not thinking about it too much. Mostly I'm focusing on the after part, the part where I get to hold Caleb in my arms. :) Hopefully that will get me through the labor/delivery part!

This afternoon we meet Dr. P and find out if there's been any progress! More updates after that!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Thirty-Nine Weeks

Well I knew this day would come. One day it would have to. But I thought it might be more gradual. I didn't expect it to be so sudden.

I'm ready for this baby to be born!

One day I'm bee-bopping around, getting things done, moving a little awkwardly, but still pretty normally. Then the next day...bam! Every movement is slow, it hurts to roll over, it hurts to sit at my computer, I can't make it to the phone in less than three rings, and I'm worn out!

I feel like I dream all night long. I dream about nursing, about labor, about money, about my job. When the alarm goes off I'm grateful for the break! Last night I tried to clear my mind before bed with a bath. I thought it worked until my head hit the pillow, which triggered "Bekah suggested I bring lots of pillows to the hospital...I wonder if two is lots, or do I need four?"* And so it went for the rest of the night.

However, one thing I did NOT think about was the holidays! Thankfully, my mom and the rest of the family are planning those events, and this little newbie family just has to show up! So that's a nice relief. Maybe if I spent a good effort tonight packing my hospital bag, I would quit dreaming about that, too.

*Regarding pillows at the hospital, the hospital pillows are notoriously horrible, so every class we've been to has suggested we bring our own pillows, in colored pillowcases to differentiate them from the white hospital pillows. Because Jon will be sleeping on a pull-out couch not meant for a 6'4" guy, my friend Bekah suggested I bring more pillows to accommodate. However, a guy in our Lamaze class said that there's a chair in the room that's the same height as the couch, so that can be used to extend the length a little.

So these are the thoughts of a 39-week prego. Despite the things I haven't done, yet, I'm still ready. I'm ready to be done with work, I'm ready to focus on one thing for a bit, and I'm ready to meet our son! Do you think he'll be a laid back little boy? Will he be fussy? Do you think he'll come out red and hairy like Esau? Do you think he'll be an animal lover? That Bonnie and Clyde will love our baby? Do you think Caleb will love the stars? Keep his nose in a book? Fight imaginary dragons? Take up photography or the study of military history like his parents? I'm excited to find these things out, and in all of it, I pray that Caleb will love the Lord and follow after Him courageously through his life.

So how is Caleb this week? BabyCenter says he's about 20 inches long and a little over 7 lbs. Based on Monday's sonogram, I'd say that was pretty close. He still wiggles around and stretches his legs. Occasionally he gets the hiccups, but not that often any more. He still seems pretty content to stay where he is, and I suppose for the most part I'm okay with that! I have plenty to keep me busy at work and with photography, and though I've complained about work quite a bit lately, it's certainly been a good distraction for these final weeks!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dr. Appointment

Another week, another appointment!

Today's was more eventful than most, though, so more to report. Woohoo!

First, we had a sonogram to check on Caleb's growth. He's growing just fine, but slower than the average baby. In the past two weeks, and average baby would have grown 1 pound (8 ounces a week), but Caleb has only grown 11 ounces. They're estimating he's 6lbs 14oz right now. His amniotic fluid is very good (they don't want it to get too low), and the placenta is also in very good shape (did you know the placenta actually gets old and starts to break down? that's one reason doctors don't like overdue babies.). So overall, nothing to worry about at all. Again, he's still kicking and rocking, which is a very good indicator.

One funny note is that the sonographer noted that yep, we were still having a boy. She said that last time, but Jon missed seeing it before she moved on to something else. So this time I said, "Wait, make sure Jon gets a chance to see!" I was just joking mostly, but not only did she hold that spot for awhile, she zoomed in and printed a picture! So now we have a nice pic of our little boy. And no, I think I'll keep that one off the blog.

After the sono, it was back to the waiting room for us. A nurse friend of mine had suggested we go visit the nurses in Labor & Delivery. The doctor's office is in the hospital, just down the hall from L/D, so Jon and I decided to use our wait time to do just that. I felt a little funny walking in there, but I'm so glad we went. As we walked up, a nurse immediately asked if she could help us. I realize now that a pregnant lady walking into L/D is usually a sign that they're about to check in a new patient, but at the time I thought it was great service! Anyway, we ended up talking with her for a bit.

We had our birth plan with us (to go over with Dr. K), so she asked to see it and we went over it with her. She seemed very open to most of our requests, with a few flags being a hep lock (where they put in an IV port in case it's needed, but don't actually hook an IV up), food consumption, and nipple stimulation. She said a hep lock can sometimes close up, so she'd recommend the full IV, and food was okay if I'd had a natural delivery before and knew I could do it, but otherwise, in case I got an epidural, she wouldn't allow it. Nipple stimulation is a natural way to speed up labor (and avoid pitocin), and I really wouldn't mention it except for our conversation with Dr. K later (keep reading). The nurse said it was fine, as long as we let the nurses know first. She was also very firm about only two people being there at the delivery. We'll see if we can warm her up on that one with some homemade bread or something. :)

She said the shift changes every twelve hours at 7 o'clock (handy to know so we don't show up right at shift change), and there are lots of different nurses on rotation, so we'll likely see all different people than the ladies we saw there this afternoon. She gave us the phone number to the nurse's station and suggested we give them a call when we're on the way, so they can keep a nurse on that might have gone home because it was a slow day or something. So that was neat. All in all, she seemed very nice and accomodating, and I hope the other nurses are similar.

Back to the waiting room.....

Finally our name is called, and here are the stats:
Weight: Gained 1lb. Total of 26lbs.
Uterus: 35cms
Blood pressure: 131/93
Caleb's heart rate: 133bpm

If you're paying attention, you'll notice that my blood pressure is high! For the first time, I failed! Well, the nurse had me lay on my left side for 10-15 minutes, and she retook it, and it was back to normal: 117/82. So that whole left side thing really works! As for why it was high, I don't really know. I hadn't had much water today, I had caffeine, and we didn't wait in the waiting room so long that I had fallen asleep. Any of those could be factors, I suppose.

Dr. K did the pelvis check, and there's still no development in regards to dilation and effacement. She'll be gone next week, so we're meeting with Dr. P. I asked if Dr. P would make any decisions, such as to go ahead and induce or something. She said, no probably not, though she might set a future date for induction. She checked her calendar quickly and said maybe somewhere around December 1st. But she said that really, we didn't need to have that conversation until we saw her (Dr. K) on the 26th. She understands our desire for a natural delivery and for things happening on their own, so she actually never used the word "induction," but only said, "We'll have to talk about doing something." So maybe that week before would be a good time to get a pedicure and foot massage to trigger those points that supposedly start labor!

We went over our birth plan with Dr. K. Again, I was amazed and thankful that we have such a great doctor. I know I don't have anything to compare to, but I really didn't expect her to go over each piece with us, offer her own advice and explanation, and even give us some tips on how to talk to the nurses, who can tend to be anti-natural. She specifically brought up the hep lock/IV choice, and said there are many nurses who walk into your room right after you've checked in with an IV bag and pole, ready to hook you up. She said that's unecessary, and the best thing to do is to say, "Dr. K requested that we not have an IV until we're ready for pain medication." That way, they get the satisfaction of knowing we'll get it eventually (if I don't make it natural), and it holds them off "for a little while," Dr. K says. The worst thing to do is tell them straight up that you don't want an IV, because it just starts things off on the wrong foot, and you really want your nurse to like you.

She also mentioned the food issue, and basically said not to eat something that you wouldn't mind seeing later, because around 3 of 4 centimeters dilated, lots of women tend to throw up. I told her I figured I'd only eat things I would eat if I had the stomach flu (clear liquids, bland foods), and she said that would probably be fine. Now regarding nipple stimulation (I told you it would come up again), she said that it was fine as long as I'm on the monitor at the time, and to under no circumstances tell the nurses! She said the monitor was important because it could actually cause the baby's heartbeat to change, and if it did, and the nurse comes running in, just say, "I don't know what happened! I was just scratching an itch, and all of the sudden THIS happened!" Ah....labor humor...I love it.

But I thought it was especially interesting how the nurse brought up these three issues--IV, food, and natural labor stimulation--and Dr. K also (without our prodding) brought up the same issues. She said there's one nurse named Joyce who is the most encouraging nurse when it comes to natural labor/delivery, and will do everything she can to help you meet your goal. So if y'all want to pray for Joyce to be on duty, that would be fine with me!

Dr. K said she would be in and out of the room periodically while I'm in labor, assuming she's around when I'm delivering. I was a little surprised, because I just expected her to show up at the end. She said she used to hang around a lot more, but she values her sleep more these days. I guess I can respect that. :)

I asked about an Arbonne cream I'm trying as an experiment to lessen the swelling in my ankles. She gave her usual response, "As long as you don't drink it or inject it, it's fine." So we'll see how it goes. If it works, I'll report!

And that, my friends, was the appointment! Very informative, for sure! Everyone, from the sonographer to the nurse to the doctor, was a fountain of information today. And I've just passed it on to you and you didn't even have to pay a copay. How's that for service!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Thirty-Eight Weeks

Here it is: the 38-week update!

Caleb is approximately 6.8 pounds and over 19.5 inches long! He should have a good grip by now, so BabyCenter says. Another interesting tidbit from BabyCenter is about eye color:
"Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If she's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If she's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time she's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after she's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)"
So there you go! Jon has blue-green eyes, and I have brown-green eyes, so it'll be interesting to see what color Caleb's eyes are.

Caleb is still moving away. His bumps and kicks aren't as spastic as they used to be; they're more like he's rolling around, or doing a slow stretch. Sometimes he still catches me off guard with a quick whack in the bladder or something like that, but usually it's fairly slow. His movements will get smaller as his living quarters get more cramped.

My movements have also gotten slower these days. The other day I mopped, and it wore me out so much I couldn't even put the rugs and things back on the tile when I was done. Bending over was just too hard. So from now on, if you come by and notice my dirty floors, well you just grab the mop and bucket and have fun! :) Today I'm supposed to be finishing the house cleaning...we'll see how that goes. I'm hoping as long as I stay upright (not lots of bending or stretching), I'll be okay. I'm thankful for Jon and his constant willingness to help!

I've also gotten very tired lately. I wear out easily, and wanted to go to bed at about 7 the last two nights. I managed to stay up until 9 last night. (10 the night before, but that's because it was girl-talk with Karen night, and usually we stay up until midnight or 1 for those!) When I do sleep, I dream about labor, about work, about moving...and I wake up and think about these things. Then I pray about them and go back to sleep to dream some more. I don't know if it's the discomfort of pregnancy or my mind racing that wakes me up throughout the night. I do know that I'm thankful there's a God who listens to my midnight prayers!

I found out on Wednesday that our company has been sold to another company (maybe more on that will show up on my LMNovations blog someday). It's a big deal, and I think a good thing. No jobs will be lost, which is very good. However, our whole "look and feel" has to change by January, and that happens to be my department solely...and oh yeah, I'm having a baby in two weeks and won't be back until Jan. 5th.... So, yesterday, for the first time, I thought, "I don't want to be pregnant any more. I don't want to have a baby. This is more than I can handle. This is too much change." I'm not a big change person anyway, so to add the sale of the company on top of everything else has just felt like the last straw.

However, this morning my mindset is better. Of ALL the changes coming our way in the next couple of months, Caleb is the one I'm most excited about. Job changes, role reversals, moves, and marketing will all settle down...and eventually will change again. But Caleb is here to stay!

I've tried to formulate a post in my mind about what it feels like to be pregnant. To be sure, I've conveyed the physical feelings as thoroughly as I could, and some of the mental ones as well, but I haven't been able to explain--even to myself--the impact that being pregnant has had on me. I thought it would change my life: that I would grow in wisdom and spiritual truth as I prepared for parenthood. I thought it would be on my mind at all times of the day--this new joy that I haven't yet met. So I've been surprised and felt a little guilty that I have not become that wise mother-figure, and there are many times in a day when I'm thinking about the laundry or work or church plans or countless other things. I don't sit in Caleb's room and dream, and I don't rub my belly and have conversations with Caleb about how much God loves him and how much Jon and I love him. I don't gravitate towards small children and want to hold them. I expected these things, but it hasn't happened. And since that's what I expected, I feel at a loss to describe what really has happened, because I can't really tell. Have I matured these past 9 months? Am I a different person now? Does that come at Caleb's birth? Or perhaps I'm expecting to become my own mother overnight, when I know it probably took her years to become the woman she is.

At some point, perhaps, I'll be able to look back and see how the last 9 months have affected me. Once Caleb is no longer my constant campanion in my womb, maybe I'll figure out the emotions I had when he kicked and squirmed.

I know that over the last 9 months, I've had time to adjust to new things. Nine months ago, Babies R Us scared me, diapers were an unnecessary conversation, and I could really care less about the correct methods to soothe a baby. All that is now everyday life: diapers, wipes, socks, onesies, the best bottles, the right lighting.... It's all part of my conversation these days. So I'm glad I've had these 9 months. I've needed them! And though I may not be able to explain what has happened to me as a person over this period of my life, I do know I've changed. And I know I'll continue to change as our little baby becomes a little boy and then a young man.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Dr. Appointment

Yesterday we went to another doctor appointment. They're coming around quickly these days!

Here are the stats:
Weight: Gained 1lb. Total of 25lbs.
Uterus: 33-34cms
Blood pressure: 119/82
Caleb's heart rate: 130bpm

You might notice that the uterus measurement is actually smaller than last week's, and that we certainly aren't keeping up with the cm/week average. (It should be measuring at 37-38cms this week.) That could be for two reasons. First, a 4th-year med student did the measuring this week, so maybe she just picked the wrong spot. Or second, maybe Caleb isn't growing like he should be, though everything else seems fine, and he's still kicking and moving around, which is a good sign. To check on things, Dr. K scheduled yet another sonogram for next week! I agree with Leanna that Caleb's going to have quite a photo album going before he's even born! Though last time they didn't give us any pictures. Hmph. Dr. K is not really concerned, and said she would only become so if I stopped feeling Caleb move around. So I'll keep a watch on that this week, but I don't see him slowing down any time soon!

I have had a cold for about a week, and the cold medicine I've been taking (approved Tylenol brand) seems to have caused my heart to do something weird--race, work harder, I don't know exactly how to describe it. So, I stopped taking it. Dr. K said I was correct that it was probably my cold medicine, but that I could still continue taking it if I needed it, that it wouldn't hurt me or Caleb. So that's good. The better news is that I'm feeling much better today, so I probably won't take it anyway. She also said I could use pretty much any cough medicine but Nyquil, which I thought was interesting. And my trusty Vicks was also fine for use.

Something I forgot to mention last week is that I had a test for Group B Strep. If it was present (and it is in 30% of women), then I would have to be on an IV antibiotic during labor/delivery so as not to pass it to Caleb. The test results came back negative this week, so we're good to go!

Dr. K checked again for dilation and effacement, and again, no change! She said he's just waiting for her to get back in town before he comes! However, she did think he'd dropped a little, because this week she could feel him a little, whereas last week she didn't feel him at all. And yeah, a little odd that my doctor can feel a baby inside of me. I know there is one, but still...weird when you think about it!

Because it looks like Caleb's going to take his time, and I'd really like to avoid medical induction, I asked Dr. K about maternity/labor acupressure that naturally induces labor. She said it was fine to try--she didn't know of a whole lot of people who have done it, so she couldn't attest to its effectiveness, but that it certainly wouldn't hurt. She did say someone used hypnosis: it didn't work very well with her first baby, but worked like a charm with her second. So you never know! I figure I should probably get out and start walking to encourage Caleb to drop a little more, and then--at the point when the doctor would recommend medical induction--I'll try the acupressure. The main thing for me is to stop thinking about the convenience of a certain date, or the inconvenience of a baby born on Thanksgiving, or whatever, and realize that Caleb will come when he comes! There's no reason for me to try to plan it.

We set up a few more appointments. Dr. K will be gone on the 17th, so we'll be meeting with Dr. P, which is good, because she might just be the on-call dr. when Caleb comes, so it'll be good to meet her. Then we set up an appointment for when Dr. K gets back--Nov. 26, the day before Thanksgiving--to check in with her if this baby still hasn't come. If he comes sooner, we'll cancel that appointment.

And we'll be parents!!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Clothing update

Let's just say I have surpassed the green pillow....

New belly pics up to week 37 are up in the sidebar!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Thirty-Seven Weeks: "Things are not the same"

KarenD's baby blog has been a source for all things pregnento these past nine months. I check up on my belly progress compared to hers, on my aches and pains, etc. I hadn't read it in a few weeks, but I remembered a post entitled, "Things are not the same," and I thought, "Boy, that sure would describe me lately." And sure enough, that was the title of her 36-week update!

And though everyone's pregnancy is different, mine does seem to be following a similar pattern as Karen's. I've already mentioned that this week my feet have gotten swollen...not bad, but it doesn't go down no matter how much I put my feet up, drink water, or even wait it out overnight. They seem to be happy in their swollen state, and I expect they'll stay that way until Caleb comes. Sunday evening I noticed that my ring wouldn't come off very easily, either. Today that's better, which is good.

On Saturday, I vowed to knock out as much Christmas shopping as I could. After a photo shoot at 9am, I headed home, gathered coupons, and hit the stores. I didn't come back home until 4pm! However, by the time I'd left the second store, I felt VERY tired...almost shaky! I called Jon to meet me for lunch. By the time we got together (one store and three gifts later!), I was walking pretty slowly and sat for as long as I could. I've never been a big shopper, but I couldn't believe how quickly I'd tired out! When I got home, I felt very accomplished and very pooped. I napped while dinner was cooking, and I took a nice long nap Sunday afternoon. I think it's something I'll be incorporating into my daily routine, if I can.

Speaking of napping, maybe the worst pregnancy ailment so far is that I've become a SNORER!! I have NEVER snored, except when sick or really really tired. Jon doesn't snore either, so we enjoy a nice quiet sleep time. Not any more, evidently! The first night Jon suffered through it, and went off to take a mid-term the next morning sleep-deprived. The next night he moved to the couch for a little bit, but the couch was not made for a 6'4" sleeper, so he eventually came back. Tuesday night I slept on the couch, and all was bliss. It may be a standing arrangement for awhile.

But really, how embarrassing. A friend of mine said it was inevitable since pregnant women gain weight so quickly, and we also deal with more sinus stuff. I tried those nose strips. They are pretty neat, and at first I thought it was great, but I woke up the next morning with the inside of my nose feeling chapped, I guess because I'd opened it all up to the cold air. And now I think I've got a cold, and I'm blaming it on the nose strip. I'm taking some cold medicine, so maybe that will help with the snoring, too. In the meantime, it's the couch for me!

Also on my shopping trip I picked out a couple of nursing bras. I hope they'll work okay and I get the hang of the little snaps pretty quickly. It's disappointing how little variety there is in nursing bras, but I was pleased that there was at least some variety. I came away with a beige bra with light pink accents, which was about as "designed" as they come. All the others were solid black, white, or beige.

On Tuesday I took the carseat to the hospital, where they installed it for me. The experience was a little bit of a letdown overall. First, the safest spot in the car for the carseat is the back middle seat. I quickly realized there was no way it would fit back there and still allow Jon to drive or even ride in the car. So, we had to move it to the passenger side back seat. Now Jon can drive, but the front passenger seat is scooted up so far that my knees almost touch the glove compartment. And babies have to be in carseats for how long??

Then the lady installing the seat for me highly recommended I not use the car protector pad I'd gotten, because it had not been safety tested and approved. Okay...that's fine.... She also said no to the head positioner I'd gotten and the baby bunting for cold days. We'll just have to see about those. I'm sure they're fine. But guess what IS safety approved?? Pool noodles! Yep, they used pool noodles stuffed between the carseat and the seat to get everything at the proper angle. Isn't that weird! She showed me how to put the baby in the carseat and that was pretty much that!

Tuesday night I decided to start packing my hospital bag. All I did was add a few toiletries to my toiletry bag. And I went through Caleb's clothes and picked out all the newborn sizes. There are about 8 outfits, so I'll pick a couple from those to take to the hospital with us, and leave the others in an easily-accessible spot for when we all come home.

I can't believe we're already at the point of doing this kind of stuff!

At 37 weeks, Caleb has officially made it to full-term. His lungs and everything else should be fully-functional if he were born today! Baby Center estimates his weight to be about 6 1/3 pounds, and length to be 19 inches.

And that, my friends, is the update!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Dr. Appointment

Yesterday was our 36-week appointment, which included a sonogram! The sono is to estimate how big Caleb is, if he's growing like he should, etc. Well, he's estimated to be 6 pounds and 3 ounces (right on target with Baby Center's estimates, which I give you every week in the weekly updates). That means, if he follows on track, he'll be about 7 and 3/4 pounds at birth, up to 8.5 pounds, which is apparently the average baby size these days. I'm going for the 7 3/4 pounder myself!

Caleb had the hiccups during the sonogram, and the sonographer said he's still moving a lot for being 36 weeks along. She again confirmed he was a boy, just in case we weren't sure. And everything checked out normal!

This appointment was also our first check for dilation and effacement, which are both indicators of how soon the baby will come. We've got no change on both accounts! This baby is here to stay for a bit longer! I told Dr. K that I'd be happy if he just got here by Thanksgiving (a week after my due date), and she said, "If he gets here by Thanksgiving, we'll all be saying Hallelujah!" So she thinks Caleb is content where he is, with no plans of a location change anytime soon.

I'm actually very okay with that. I realize my feelings could change on the matter, but if there had been any dilation, etc., that would have just added to the stress of my to-do list at work. So I'm glad that he's not coming early, and I might even have a little extra time. My family, on the other hand, might have other thoughts about the matter, since they get Thanksgiving off already, making it quite convenient to visit the new baby. They may just get to visit with a very pregnant, possibly grouchy, probably complainy daughter. What a holiday treat!

I asked about my lack of Braxton far as I can tell, I haven't had any, which the doctor said was just fine. She also noted my swelling ankles, but said they look really good; most people at 36 weeks have cankles, she said! I just think it's funny that she used the term "cankles."

Here are the stats:
Weight: Gained 4lbs. Total of 24lbs.
Uterus: 34-35cms
Blood pressure: 116/77
Caleb's heart rate: 132bpm and 145bpm (two different readings: one from sono and one from dopplar)

Dr. K left us with a quick note on things to look for that signify labor or complications, and when to come in. It was the first time she's initiated a conversation about labor/delivery, so that makes things a little more real! Also the fact that we start going in every week from here on out!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Maternity Photo Shoot!

Last Thursday, Jon and I had our maternity photo shoot! It was so much fun! First, Leslie and I tried some indoor photography. It was less than ideal: at 5pm, the lighting was getting low, and the only light source we had (the open front door) was on the other side of Leslie, so she kept having to move to allow more light, and try to get her shot at the same time. Neither one of us has much experience with backdrops and studio posing, so I think it was a learning experience for both of us. Despite all that, the photos turned out GREAT! Here is a link to some of the indoor studio shots.

After that, we all headed to the park. The shirt I'd picked out had shrunk in the wash (of course), so I had to make a quick wardrobe decision and went with a non-maternity top that KarenN and I found on sale one day. I've worn it a few times while pregnant. I hope that doesn't mar the way I look at it in the future, but for now, I felt pretty in it, which is what matters! :) We had a lot of fun at the park. Leslie and I are both much more familiar with outdoor shoots, and I, for one, was more familiar with couple shoots, so I could help out more with ideas. I know I like it when my clients give their ideas, and I hope Leslie didn't mind! :) Here are some of the park shots. I love them all, and I'm so grateful to Leslie for taking them. I can't wait to return the favor closer to the time her twins come!

What fun to have professional photography! Everyone should do it! *wink!*


I've had two bits of advice recently, both to pray for my nurses.

One bit was during a conversation about natural childbirth. I was expressing my concern over having to fight the system in order to have a natural delivery, and my friend suggested I start praying for a nurse who would be understanding, encouraging, and knowledgeable in the ways of natural labor and delivery.

The second bit was a conversation with a nurse, who stated how there are times when, inexplicably, she will go above and beyond for a particular patient, and she wondered if it was because of people praying for her care of that patient.

So I thought that was interesting and I would pass it on. The nurse, after all, spends more time with the mom-to-be than the doctor does, and that relationship can make or break the whole experience. So I will pray for my nurse, that she will be kind and gentle and understanding, that she will be having a good day and will be rested. I'm also praying that my actions and the actions of my family will reflect Christ to that nurse, and that we can bless her in some way.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What to tell work Pt. 2

Well, I've changed my mind about my maternity leave. I was planning on offering to take 6 weeks off, but allow e-mails the last 2 weeks as an effort to be more of a team player, as suggested by my peer reviews. However, the more I've thought about it, I've realized that that's not really what I want. My family comes first, and this is the first six weeks of a brand new member to that family, and that's important. On top of that, in all likelihood, Jon and I could be packing and moving those weeks, in which case, that will not be the time to try to fit in a little work on the side. A friend of mine, whom I respect very much and who is a new mom in the marketing world, pointed out that my peer reviews and my maternity leave are two separate entities. I need to do my best while I'm at work to be that team player, but they cannot make judgments based on my request for 6 weeks leave. So, I've taken that to heart, and presented my request to my boss last week. He was fine with it!

You'd think the plan would consist of "I'll be out 6 weeks. See ya when I get back," but really, that would be too simple! Here is my plan:

  • I will work up until the day of delivery unless medically necessary to leave earlier.
  • My last day to come into the home office will be Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008.
  • I will notify work upon checking into the hospital.
  • I will take a full 6 weeks off of work.
  • At the end of 6 weeks, I will do one of the following (in order of likelihood):
  1. I will start back to work on a full-time basis;
  2. If I deem it necessary, I will return to work 2-3 days a week, using the new year's PTO to make up the difference until I am able to resume a 5-day/week schedule.
  3. If medically necessary, I will take more time unpaid.
  • I will contact work every two weeks of my leave to keep them apprised of my current situation and future plans, per FMLA requirements.
  • I have approximately 20 days PTO, leaving the remainder of the 6 weeks unpaid
My due date is Nov. 21, 2008. If I deliver on that day, here is how my maternity leave would go:

Leave starting Friday, Nov. 21
Return January 5, 2009
Days paid: 20
Days unpaid: 6
Holidays: 5
Total business days: 31

If I do not deliver on Nov. 21, I will notify work with the specifics of my leave within the first week of delivery.

Signed and dated.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Thirty-Six Weeks

I'm officially 9 months pregnant! With only four weeks to go! Eek!

I'm so excited. I'm ready for Caleb to come in every way except for work. My boss and I agreed yesterday that I was now in "finish up" mode, with no more projects added to my plate. We'll see if he sticks to that. Right now, we're adding two new products--both of which require all new marketing pieces, a booklet with lots of little pieces, our quarterly newsletter is due, as well as two ads for magazines that I still have to present a budget to the president for. Yeah, it's going to be a great month. If I drop off the face of the planet for the next few weeks, I hope you understand.

So, how's our little boy doing this week? Caleb is probably about 6 pounds and over 18.5 inches long. He's gaining about an ounce a day. I can tell, because I've been hungry! He still moves a lot. Sometimes his little baby bum pokes up into my rib cage, causing me to jump and get as ramrod straight as I can. I rub on that spot until he settles into a more comfortable position. He occasionally gets his foot (or something...a knee? elbow?) all the way on my side, forming a little knob. If I poke on it, it tingles, like there's a nerve between him and me. So I usually leave that alone, and he moves pretty soon. The dr. said he would pretty much stay in head-down position now, which is how I know the bump poking into my rib cage is his bum. He still moves from side to side; sometimes the right side of my belly is hard, sometimes the left. It's all very fascinating to me, as you can probably tell from the amount of time I've spent describing it!

My ankles are swelling. Woe is me. I'm trying to drink lots of water to make it go down. No luck so far, so I'm just avoiding looking at my ankles. My hands might be starting to swell a little, too, since the larger ring I've been wearing on my left ring finger is starting to get a bit tighter. Not too tight, but it's really been too big, and it's fitting nicely now.

I've had a bit of pampering this week! Yesterday, Jon used some of his "mad money" to get me a massage! What a great husband!! I haven't had a massage in several years, and it was really nice and relaxing. I'd been told by a friend that prenatal massages are on a table with a hole cut out for my belly to fit into. I was kind of excited about that, because I've really missed laying on my stomach, and was looking forward to that. Well, no such luck. We started with me on my back (with pillows under my knees and my back), and I realized there was no hole. Then I thought, maybe a piece of the table comes out to make the hole. But no. It ended up that I turned on my side with a body pillow for support, and she rubbed my back that way--first one side, then I flipped and she did the other. So no stomach goodness, but all in all a very nice massage!

During pregnancy, you're not supposed to rub your ankles, because of pressure points there that could induce labor. I asked about that, and the lady said she'd actually had several women come in specifically for that purpose, and it had worked every time! Crazy, huh? So I guess if I'm way overdue, I could always try that.

And, as one more pampering treat, I'm getting maternity photos today!! As you know, I take maternity photos, so it was inevitable that I would want some of my own. However, I quickly found out that I cannot afford anyone else's rates. Many people charged $200 for the sitting fee alone! I had a few ideas of how to get photos, including offering myself as a model for aspiring photographers (Jon was very against that), and using a mirror and trying to do it myself. Enter Leslie! Leslie is a newbie to the area: just married, just moved, and just pregnant...with twins! She's also a photographer like me! So, we arranged a little switcharoo. She's doing my photos this month, and I'm doing hers next month (as long as Caleb cooperates!). We're going to swap files and call it even (though she's offered to edit my files, which would be awesome). Leslie is my first local photog friend, so I'm really excited to get to know her better, and I can't wait to return the favor of photos next month.

Jon, on the other hand, is not nearly as excited about photos as I am. He knows I can be more of the artsy type, so he fears we're going to be doing nude shots together or something. Well, no fears there. I have no expectations of pulling a Demi Moore pose. I do want to show my belly, so Leslie and I have arranged to do some photos of just me indoors, and then we'll go to the park with Jon. The park will give Jon confidence that we'll be fully clothed the whole time! It's going to be a great day!

Monday, October 20, 2008


Our hospital offers several classes in preparation of our new baby. These classes are not required, but I figured they were the best way to get us to learn. After all, I'd read the books, but I wouldn't have practiced the breathing. Jon...well, he's read one book, and excerpts I've marked for him out of others (which is more than most dads), but I still felt his education wasn't complete. Plus, I prefer asking questions and talking to a real person over reading.

Anyway, yesterday we went to our lactation class.

Yes, lactation. Hence the post title.

It had been awhile since I'd signed up for the class. I knew it started at 2pm, but didn't find out 'til we got there that it was FOUR HOURS long. Jon and I were both in need of naps, and learning about proper lactation for FOUR HOURS did not thrill either of us.

The class started with an introduction of the two instructors: Junior and Senior. Sr. is a "been there, done that, fed my kid for 21 months" kind of lady, while Jr. is a "going on my first year of breastfeeding, and I want to make it to 21 months like my mentor" person. This was Jr.'s first solo presentation, with Sr. resolving not to butt in too many times. Sooooo did not adhere to that resolution.

We filled the WHOLE FIRST HOUR by going around the table and mentioning advantages and disadvantages to breastfeeding. None of this was teaching time, just people who don't know much about it trying to come up with stuff. When we made it around the table, we started at the other end and went around again. All this is well and good, except for the extreme bias of Jr. and Sr. Both are strong breastfeeding advocates, which meant that any "supposed disadvantage" was in fact a myth, or null and void because "that woman did it wrong." Being the devil's advocate that I am, I tried my darnedest to come up with disadvantage Jr. and Sr. couldn't refute. Pain? That's a myth. Loss of privacy and potentially awkward public situations? That's the fault of the mother's personality, not of breastfeeding. Dad can't help with feedings? No self-respecting mom would want to give up any of that bonding time. They did finally admit that nursing bras were a necessary expense. By the end of the hour, we had one or two items under "disadvantage" and a column full of advantages.

I'm all for breastfeeding, and hope to do that with Caleb, but I'm very against a one-sided conversation that allows no room for the moms who tried and cried when they couldn't nurse their babies. I've watched several new moms. All of them struggled in the beginning, and some of them were never able to nurse, despite their efforts. So I wish Jr. had mentioned that, because now everyone in the class is going to get very frustrated when things don't go smoothly right off the bat.

Ranting aside, we did learn quite a bit from the class. I won't go into detail here (you can breathe a sigh of relief!), but it will be helpful. And I did get to ask lots of questions, which I like. (Jon, on the other hand, was giving me the evil eye for prolonging the class any longer than it had to go.)

The funniest part of the class was the demonstration part. Just like I had to laugh when Lamaze Lady shook her hips and mimicked pushing out a baby, it was pretty funny to watch Sr. grab her boob for emphasis. Jr. was more appropriate (relatively speaking) and used a fake boob...which was actually even funnier.

The fake boob was a skin-toned plush toy, basically. It looked like a big peach hershey kiss, about a D cup, I'd say. It had a pull-string through the back, so when Jr. pulled the string, we got to see an approximation of an inverted nipple. Just in case we wanted to know. The first time Jr. put the fake boob up to her own chest--and it didn't take much imagination at all to see this very naked boob as her own--Jon and I looked at each other and then I had to look down at my lap, because I was about to crack up. It was just way too funny.

The other demonstration aid was a life-sized baby doll. Each couple received one. There's something awkward about holding a doll in a baby class. It feels wrong to just leave the doll on the table, because after all, the point of the class is to learn how to be a good parent, and leaving babies on the table does not connote good parenting. Well, already in a somewhat non-compliant mood, I left the baby on the table, but I noticed that the grandmothers-to-be who attended never left their babies on the table. Maybe once I'm a mom with a baby of my own, I'll do the same.

We learned a few ways to hold the babies for nursing, and which ones would be most helpful right after birth, when the babies aren't strong enough to hold their heads up. We had to practice getting the baby's mouth in the right position...and then Sr. went around and checked. That was awkward, considering where the mouth has to go.... I was glad when I passed and didn't have to have Sr. reposition the baby or spend any more time on the issue with me than was necessary.

All in all, it was a worthy class. I would still recommend the class to others, because I think that person-to-person is better than any book or video. It would have been better if it had only taken two hours, and Jon has made me promise to never make him go to a class like that again. The only thing that made it worth the full four hours is that it made for a good blog post.

And really, isn't that what life is all about, anyway?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thirty-Five Weeks and Dr. Appointment

We've made it to 35 weeks! There are many times in a day where I just stare at my calendar, as if looking at it will help me get things accomplished. Only 5 weeks to go! Though I'm keeping in mind that Caleb could in all likelihood come late, so I'm adding a week onto that, but I'm trying to have everything ready a couple weeks early, just in case. So three weeks to finish up!

The good news is that I'm ready for Caleb. He's got everything he needs and plenty of stuff that will be handy. The registry still has stuff on it, but I've got one more shower, and then I'm hoping my family will get some things on it for Caleb for Christmas. So, family, if you're wondering what I need/want, just check out my registries!

I haven't put my hospital bag together, yet. The last time I went somewhere I thought, "Wow, the next time I do this, I'll be heading to the hospital!" Maybe I'll put the bag together this weekend. It's really on my list of things to do before 2 weeks out, so it probably won't get done until then! If something happens before then, you may get a message on your phone like this, "Hey, we're at the hospital...could you bring me a toothbrush?" Nah...I figure in most cases I'll have time at home to gather stuff together if necessary. See? I've totally justified my procrastination, and now I'll never get that bag packed.

So how is Caleb doing this week? Well, he's grown to 5.25 pounds and over 18 inches long! From this point on, he's pretty much just working on gaining weight. And I've been hungry!! Everything everyone suggested yesterday sounded so yummy. I've got the munchies for sure.

My feet have officially swollen. Okay, just a little bit, but my ankles are hard to find. Yesterday, I attributed it to being in the office all day, but the swelling wasn't down by this morning. I know it's not a hydration issue, because this past weekend was officially Operation Hydration, and I've been doing pretty well since then. It could have something to do with all the junk I consumed at the State Fair on Tuesday.... maybe it will go down eventually.

So Operation Hydration brings me to my next topic: the dr. appointment! We had our appointment on Monday. Every time, I have to go pee in a cup right when I check in. I put the cup on a counter, then go back to the waiting room. Last time there were two other cups next to mine, and mine was...well, you could tell I was not properly hydrated. My pee lost the hydration contest. So, not to be outdone, I commenced Operation Hydration the weekend before this past appointment. (You're right, I should try to ALWAYS be properly hydrated, but I need short-term goals.) And while there were no other pee cups to compare to on the counter this week, I know I would have beaten out those other cups from last week. Totally.

Don't you just love the diversity of my blog? Or of my brain, that can make a contest out of pee in a cup?

On to the appointment. One exciting bit is that my mom got to come! She was in town for an Arbonne party the day before, so she stayed over until the 4:00 appointment. I was scheduled to have a sonogram (remember, the dr. thought Caleb's kidneys/bladder looked funny), so how cool would it be to have my mom there to see Caleb! Well, it didn't go exactly as we'd hoped, but it still makes for a good memory. The sonographer was not in a very accomodating mood. She didn't even understand why I was having a sonogram, since she'd looked at the printout the dr. had given her from two weeks before, and had already declared the kidneys to be fine. I said I supposed Dr. K just wanted to be sure, and by the way, my mom has never seen a sonogram....

The sonographer quickly said my mom had missed the 20-week sono, and that was the best time to see anything. By now, Caleb was too big, and she'd just see his kidneys. I told her about the awesome face shot we got two weeks earlier, but she wasn't convinced. She seemed to think that we were wanting a full-body shot, when really, anything related to seeing Caleb is pretty cool! Anyway, she got things ready to look at the kidneys, and found them right off the bat. I was hoping she would have to hunt for awhile, giving us a little more time. Jon pointed things out to my mom as he could, "There's his spine...and his you see that?"

The kidneys were declared healthy, and I asked if we could please see Caleb's heart. The sonographer (who was not ever rude, just busy and ready to be done for the day), accomodated, and we got to see a heart with a nice steady rhythm. She even turned on the dopplar and we got to hear the heartbeat! I was glad, because my mom had really wanted to hear it. We also got a printout of a little Caleb foot.

And that was that. We were done in about 7 minutes, and swept back out to the waiting room to wait for the dr. The sonographer checked and told us the dr. was running behind (WAY behind, it turns out), so my mom went ahead and headed home. I wish it could have been as laid-back as when Dr. K does the sono...she roams around on my belly, showing us all the little cool things, trying to get the best shot she can of his face, etc. But I do realize that this sonogram had a particular purpose, and so I understand why it was done so quickly and matter-of-factly.

Out to the waiting room for an hour...

And back in! The nurse laughed because we write everything down. She said we were the most detailed of all the patients. I think it's the science side of me. I've always liked taking measurements and tracking things. Here are the stats:

Weight: Gained 4lbs. Total of 20lbs.
Uterus: 33-34cms
Blood pressure: 116/74
Caleb's heart rate: 134bpm

Caleb's heart rate was a little slower than normal, but Dr. K said he was probably napping. I'd been napping, too, in the waiting room, so I couldn't blame him.

I didn't have any questions this time. Dr. K said everything is going about as normal as can be. She expects me to gain a total of 25-30 pounds overall. She also wondered if Caleb would be long or not, since Jon's so tall and I'm not. She joked a little about how different the two of us are, so it would be interesting to see what genes win out. Yeah, I'm kind of thinking the same thing!

I already think he's pretty darn cute, just from the sonos. Yep, he's a cutie! No doubt about it! And in 5 weeks the whole world will know it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why We Named You 'Caleb'...

Caleb, your Mom and I have always had big ideas about you - who you will be and what you will do. A lot of those ideas have come from our love of God and what a godly man should be like. That was a big reason why we chose your name to be 'Caleb.'

You see, a long time ago, God was leading a group of people into a new land. The people wanted to know if this new land was going to be a good one, since they had just left a very bad place. So, they sent twelve spies into the land to check it out. What they saw there was very good. There was a lot of good food and nice places to live. But, there were also giants living there who were scary and mean. Some of the spies looked at those giants and lost their confidence, not just in themselves but also in God. However, one of the spies, along with only one friend, still thought that God was bigger than any giant. His name was Caleb, too.

Many years later, that same people were finally allowed to go into that good land to take it over for themselves. Caleb, by that time a very old man, was still trusting in God and was a leader of his family. When the time came to see which family would get the different parts of the good land, Caleb asked that his family be given the part where the giants lived. He still wasn't scared, knowing that God was with him, and God helped him beat the giants.

So, we named you after that man so you might be like him. We want you to love and trust God even when everything is scary and no one else trusts Him. We want you to see that God is bigger than any problem or enemy. We want you to lead other people to follow God and beat giant problems.

Those are our hopes for you and the reasons we named you 'Caleb.'

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Thirty-Four Weeks

Okay, so I know this post is coming just three days after the last "weekly" update, but I'm supposed to be writing them on Thursdays, so I've got to have a short week at some point to catch up!

So, thirty-four weeks:

Caleb weighs 4.75 pounds and is almost 18 inches long! He's now past the "worry zone" and will most likely be born healthy, even if he's born today! He might have a little more lung development needed, but babies born this early generally have no trouble catching up. Jon's baby book says he was born 3-5 weeks premature, at 5 pounds, 11 ounces, and he turned out just fine! As a side note, if Jon were exactly 5 weeks early, his due date was the day before my birthday!

In other news, I busted out my Pilates video this morning. And yes, it's the first time I've done it since the last time I mentioned it on this blog. (I'd find that post and link to it for you, but then I'd know exactly how long it's been, and I don't want to know that.) Anyway, the bends and stretches are not so easy any more! There's something called a belly getting in my way! I'm really missing being able to bend over, or (sigh) roll onto my stomach at night.... Those were the days!

Caleb has gotten all kinds of hiccups over the last couple of days! Yesterday I was in a meeting at work, and he hiccuped for about 15 minutes of the meeting. I thought sure everyone must be noticing my twitching belly, but no one did. They're not as transfixed by my rotund self as I am, I suppose.

And that's about it for the three-day update! I've been out of town the whole time with work, so not much baby-related went on.

More next week!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Thirty-Three Weeks

Week 33 has come and gone! What's happened in this week? Well, it's been just about more of the same. Caleb is still active, and it's fun to try to figure out where he is in my belly. He weighs a little over 4 pounds and is 17 inches long!

As far as how I'm doing physically, things are again, pretty much the same. I think I might bust into a waddle pretty soon, which won't be pretty, but I guess it has to happen eventually! I haven't been sleeping well, which also affects Jon's sleep, and I have lots of weird dreams. I got my first yeast infection. Woohoo. On our first prenatal visit, our nurse had said to go ahead and get some Monistat, because I would be needing it. So it's quite common in pregnancy, but I hope I don't see much more of it. And why, you ask, would I even mention such a thing on a public blog? Well, I figure this is for "posterity"--to document for myself what happened, and to document for those who haven't experienced it, yet. To those women, aren't you excited about what's coming?? :)

Over the weekend, I took back duplicates, etc., that I'd received at showers. I made a list of everything we absolutely needed before Caleb's birth. Thanks to the blessings of family and friends, that list is pretty short! I gathered coupons and Jon and I made three separate purchases at Babies R Us (to maximize the coupons), and we used gift cards, with more to spare for next week's purchases! (BRU coupons are only valid one week, so I have another set of coupons to use next week!)

Before all this, I had been worrying about everything that we still needed, and that we wouldn't have enough money to get it all. But now it looks like we'll have everything we need, without spending much (if any) money out of our own pocket! We are so blessed!

Once the short list I made has been fulfilled, everything else on our registry is open game for Christmas! :)

This past weekend I also organized the nursery again; I found places for the things that hadn't gotten settled, yet. I took all the tags off of toys. I put away diapers and bath stuff. I put all the 0-3 month clothes in the dresser and 3-6 month (and beyond) in a Rubbermaid tub. Thanks, Karen, for all the cute Ian clothes! My dresser is now packed!

Today I'm going to a 3-day business meeting with work, and I realized that after this, my next bag to pack will be my hospital bag! How exciting is that! I have a few things on my mind that I'd like to get before that, as well, but they're all "wish list" stuff, not necessaries. So all in all, I feel prepared for where we are right now.

Some days (or moments in a day) I struggle with the fact that our life will never be the same, and there's nothing we can do about it. It's not like a move or a job that we can back out of. This is permanent. And while most of the time I'm excited about that, some of the time I dread it. Life's gonna change big time. It's kind of like how we all look back on our college days as some of the best times--we had the most freedoms with the least amount of responsibility. I think I'll look back at our "pre-kids" marriage that way as well. These have been good years. Sometimes hard, but very, very good. And then someday I'll look back at the toddler years, or the school-age years, and think the same thing. Hard, but very, very good.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Labor Story

It turns out that I'm a complete flake when it comes to people in labor. Realizing I might also flake out when my own labor comes, I thought I'd make a checklist...and sort of a story of how I'd like to see things go. A birth plan, if you will, but one that includes much more than just the actual birth.

Let's start when contractions start.....
  1. Contractions start.
  2. Drink 40 ounces of water, change activity, walk, etc. to see if the contractions stop. If they do, it's false labor, and that's the end of that. If they don't....
  3. Call Group 1 (Family, Friends)
  4. Get final things together. Make sandwiches for Jon to have once we get to the hospital.
  5. Shower
  6. Eat something! Substantial, but not overfilling.
  7. Walk, get on birthing ball, etc. to alleviate pain.
  8. Keep drinking water.
  9. Give extra food/water to the cats.
  10. Check into hospital when contractions are 4 minutes apart.
  11. Call Group 2 (Church, work....)
  12. Communicate basic birth plan to nurse.
  13. Have family in room if possible (if I'm feeling social): Games, TV, music...
  14. Wait til Labor Down before pushing.
  15. Everyone out of the room except Jon, my mom, and Karen
  16. Hopefully be epidural-free so I can use different birthing positions.
  17. Have the baby!
  18. Everyone out but Jon (and Caleb and I, of course)
  19. Feed the baby
  20. Everyone back in to look at/hold the baby!
  21. Call Group 3 (Church, work....)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Pick a Day, Any Day

Okay, the fun has started! My in-laws have put up a post taking guesses for the date/time that Caleb is coming! Go check out their (new) blog, and submit your guess! The winner gets to hold the baby, and I'll even make sure he's not crying when you do! :) (Can I do that? Can I actually make sure he's not crying? Well I'll try, anyway.)

Good luck, and please, be nicer than the first few guesses, and let me have a good night's sleep!

(Although, as a side note, I always thought a vacation felt more "vacation-y" when it involved getting up before dawn to start driving. I kind of think a good labor story should include some late night/early morning excitement, as well.)

Where's Clyde?

When we first put the crib in the nursery, I expected the cats to find it immediately. Surprisingly, they didn't! However, curiosity gets a hold of every cat, and it wasn't too long before Clyde made his way into the crib. Boy, what fun he had! He ran around it, chased his tail, and was just generally a hyper kitty quite proud of what he'd discovered. It took Bonnie a bit longer to discover the crib. I worried a little that the cats would claim the crib as their own, and then they'd be put out when Caleb came, but they really didn't do much in the nursery unless we were in there as well.

Well, the other day, I walked in to discover this:
First of all, have you ever seen a funnier looking sleeping position?? Clyde sleeps like this all the time. One half facing one way, the other have facing the other way.

He was eyeing the mobile, but didn't make a move for it. I think he figured he'd found a comfy spot and had no intentions of leaving.

Well, that's the only time I've seen him sleeping in the crib. I've seen Bonnie laying in there once now, as well, though just while I was in there. They haven't made a habit of it, and I'm not going to worry about it unless it actually becomes a territory issue, which we won't find out until Caleb comes. I figure a little bundle who waves his arms erratically (probably knocking kitties in the process) will prove to be too much for them, and they'll find a less crowded place to sleep.

As an interesting side note, Bonnie is now 6.5 pounds, and Clyde is 7.5 pounds. So they just might be good examples of how big Caleb is when he's born!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Date Night Outfit

Well, I didn't get a picture of my outfit on the night Jon took me to see MammaMia, but I wore it again at church yesterday, so I had Jon take a picture. It's funny to see Jon's perspective...I look so different from two feet up! :) The shirt is compliments of KarenD, and the skirt was $7 on sale at Motherhood Maternity!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Dr. Appointment

Today's dr. appointment required a lot of wait time. Evidently Dr. K was delivering a baby, so we had to wait awhile. When the time came, it was pretty routine. Here are my stats:

Weight: Gained 2lbs. Total of 16lbs.
Uterus: 31-32cms
Blood pressure: 118/79
Caleb's heart rate: 154bpm

We asked Dr. K about a "walking epidural," which is the pain relief of an epidural while maintaining the ability to walk. It seems like the best of both worlds, but it's still pretty rare, and it turns out it's not offered at my hospital. *sigh* We talked with Dr. K about the possibility of us delivering while she's on vacation (missions in Southwest Asia, as a matter of fact), and she said that the other doctors are a lot like her in the way they operate, so not to worry. She said that I'm likely to be late since it's my first baby, so she might even be back by the time Caleb comes. In which case, she's on call the whole week of Thanksgiving, so we'd have her without a doubt. Unlike what the scheduler said at the last appointment, she didn't mention induction at all, which is good. I'm sure as we get closer we'll know a little more.

We also asked if she could tell if Caleb was head up or down. She poked around a bit, decided that she couldn't really tell, and said, "Well, let's just start up the sonogram machine and find out!" So, once again, our patience (and picking the last appt. slot of the day) paid off, and we got a sonogram!
That's his face in the upper right half, facing the camera. Dr. K said it looked like he's already working on a full head of hair! She also said his bladder looked unusually large, which either meant he just needed to pee, or it could be an indicator of something wrong. She's not the one trained to notice things like that, so she scheduled for us to have a quick sono on our next appt, this time with the sonographer, to see if the trained eye noticed anything wrong. I don't think it's anything to worry about at all, and we get another sonogram!

All in all, it was worth the wait, and a very good appointment!

Belly Pics are up!

Norvell Newbie has heard the cries of its readers (especially Holly...), and the new pics are up! I've added four, weeks 29-32, and sped it up quite a bit. Now it's like a video! :) I'm much bigger than week 28, which you've been seeing for awhile. Still, people still guess I'm only six months along, and always tell me how small I am. Oh, well! I'm just naturally petite. Haha!

Thirty-Two Weeks

This will be short and sweet because I'm hoping to put up a few posts today.

Caleb is approximately 3.75 pounds and 16.7 inches. I should be gaining about a half a pound a week now, as he continues to grow in preparation of his Big Debut!

My blood volume has increased by 40-50%! That factors in to my weight gain, as a matter of fact. Sitting on hard chairs is extremely uncomfortable; I took a blanket to sit on during Sunday School, which worked for about an hour, and then I needed to constantly readjust.

I think I'm getting a few more stretch marks. I know they're inevitable, and I also know I'll be expanding quite a bit more before it's all said and done, so I guess I better get used to it! I've made it this far with no stretch marks on my belly, though the skin is all mottled-looking, like it could become one big stretch mark overnight. I'm still holding out hope, though!

I had a second baby shower, put on by friends at church. It was a great shower, and I got lots of practical things from the girls who are moms now. Many of the gifts were not on my registry, but things they themselves found very helpful/useful, so that was neat. When I got home, I put it all away, and resorted what I already had. I've got a box of things that can be returned, and a small list of items I need to buy before Caleb comes. The returned items plus gift cards I've received should cover that list, and then everything else we'll get for Christmas gifts or just figure out we don't need! I've gone back through my registry and taken off some items to simplify things a little more.

I heard yesterday that Caleb should be turned into "birthin' position" head down by now, and pretty settled. I can't really tell. I feel like his back is along the left hemisphere of the uterus, with his feet kicking my right side. But whether he's head up or down, I don't know. That's one of my questions for the doctor this afternoon.

I feel like things are going pretty well as far as preparations go. Still, I also think I could quit working now and spend the entire time doing baby-related stuff: blogging, laundry, pictures, shopping, finding coupons, researching products...oh, and looking for a job for Jon! With all that on my mind plus preparing for maternity leave at work, I'm pretty scatterbrained, but "this too shall pass!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

A great shower!

I will be having three baby showers for Caleb: one from work, one from church, and one from family and friends. The family and friends shower was the first, hosted by KarenN last Saturday. It was such a great shower!

As I got ready on Saturday, I told Jon, "You know, I'm really looking forward to this shower, because everyone there loves us, and already loves Caleb!"

And it's true. Most showers, there are the random people there--maybe they don't know you that well, or had to ask "girl or boy?" before they ran out and got a gift. There are the friends you haven't seen in awhile, and so you haven't really gotten to catch up with them. But this shower, well I'm pretty sure everyone there is a faithful reader of this blog, and gosh, I think every one of them had already been showering Caleb with gifts throughout the whole pregnancy! So it was a special group.

One of the greatest joys of the day was having my mother-in-law, Mary, make the 7-hour drive for the sole purpose of the shower. She came in Friday night, left Sunday morning, and we kept her busy all day Saturday!

Because Mary was there, Jon and I got to the shower early, so we could visit with her. She brought out a bag full of Jon's things from when he was a baby--including his baby book and some beautiful clothes that were used as part of the shower decorations. Looking through all those things was neat, and I can't wait for Caleb to play with toys his daddy played with.

KarenN's house was beautiful--as always! The shower was a luncheon, and the tables were set with china and roses everywhere! The placemats and napkins were even made from baby-related fabric. The food was delicious: twice-baked potatoes, stuffed bell peppers, chicken lettuce wraps, fruit-kabobs, and yummy chips and salsa (Leanna's contribution, because she knows an event is not complete without chips and salsa!). The cake was a three-layer chocolate cake, baked and decorated by soon-to-be Uncle Dave.

After eating, we played games. The first was guessing the baby food in the jar, which I'm familiar with. The second was guessing the baby names of animals (kangaroo baby is a joey, for example). That was fun because I got to pick the animals from a list Dave and Karen put together, and call them out to everyone else. An owl baby is an cute is that! And Margie knew that one from working with the owls at the zoo. (Below is a pic of me tasting the baby food. As a side note, I was incapable of closing any of the jars correctly. Let's hope I figure that one out eventually.)

After games we opened gifts, and I was overwhelmed with everyone's gift-giving. I love to give hand-made gifts, and I received many hand-made gifts as well! I also received gifts from people who weren't there: moms and aunts of those who attended. And thoughtful gifts from those who knew what I needed, either from their own experience or because they know my taste. And gifts that were obviously items gathered over time.

The final gift was coordinated by Leanna: a book of memories. Each shower guest (and some who couldn't attend) wrote a memory about me, the personality traits that were evident in that memory, and why those traits would make me a good mom. They all included photos, and Mary was passing out the Kleenexes about half-way through! That book will be something I will always cherish. It stung a little to realize that many of these character traits I had let go of during pregnancy; I'm become a mountains-out-of-molehills, my-way-or-the-highway, 7-months-of-PMS kind of girl. I'm thankful for the grace that my family and friends give me, and for KarenD's assurance that things will eventually be back to normal! I know there will be days when I will need that book as a reminder that I can do this, and that I have a family and friends who are there to back me up all the way.

We finished off the shower with cake and chit-chatting. Overall, it was the perfect shower, full of love and support. It couldn't have been better! Thanks, KarenN, for hosting such a beautiful shower, and to everyone who participated in some way.

I'm including two slideshows. One is of the shower in general, with all the decorations and pics of everyone who attended. The other is pics of most of the shower gifts as they're opened. I know some people could care less about seeing those, and some would love to see it all, so that's why there are two separate shows. If you click on the underlined name of the slideshow in the bottom left of each one, you'll be directed to the Picasa albums, where you can see the pics full-size. Enjoy!