Pregnancy Update: Grow, Baby, Grow!

You may remember that I’ve been taking it easy because there has been some restriction in the umbilical cord to the baby. This can lead to growth restriction which could lead to having to take the baby early if she weren’t getting enough blood/oxygen.

We found this out four weeks ago, so William took over even more than he already does at home, I don’t walk any more than I have to, and I either sit down or lie down as soon as I get home from work. It hasn’t been the most natural thing for me to do, but we’re trying to avoid bed rest in the short term and a premature birth in the longer term.

We had a sonogram today, and the baby is looking great! Not only is she not growth restricted, but she’s measuring about a week ahead! She’s practicing breathing, really active, and her kidneys are still in the normal range. Even the restriction in the umbilical cord has improved. On a side note, she’s also got broad shoulders and a big tummy, so it’s good we’re already scheduled for a c-section!

Right now, we’re going to keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll see all the doctors every two weeks (and then every week in the near future). Thanks to everyone who has been keeping us and the baby in their thoughts, prayers, good vibes, etc. Keep it up!

 

 

 

 

Pregnancy Update: Keeping Us On Our Toes

This baby? She’s keeping us on our toes, y’all.

When I was pregnant with N and T, I worried about normal things like birth defects, pre-term labor, whether they’d have two heads, you know the normal stuff. I also worried about the effects of gestational diabetes since I had the condition with both boys. I knew that they could potentially be really big if we didn’t control the condition. I wasn’t diagnosed with it until late pregnancy with N, but we started treating it at 6 weeks pregnant with T. The difference was almost 3 pounds between the two boys at birth. I don’t know, for sure, whether N would just naturally have been bigger, but I suspect I had GD for far longer than I was diagnosed and that’s why he was so big.

Because I was already working on getting healthier before I got pregnant with this baby, I was following the diabetic diet and started seeing my amazing specialist from the beginning. The good news is that I don’t have GD this time; and the great news is that my A1C is better than it’s been in forever, even before I was pregnant. So, unless something bizarre happens between now and when the baby is due, I won’t have to worry too much about how blood sugar is impacting the baby.

About a month ago, I had a regular anatomy scan for the baby (normal for me since I’m high risk) and it showed that one of her kidneys was bigger than the other. The doctor assured us that this was the most common anomaly during pregnancy, and while it almost always righted itself in utero, it was something to watch. It also used to be one of the soft markers for chromosomal changes (like Down’s Syndrome and Trisomy 18 among others). So, just to be on the safe side, we did the fetal DNA test (again!) to check things out. It turns out her chromosomes are perfect and we know for a fact that she’s a girl :) When we had our follow-up scan last week, we saw that her kidneys are both normal now, so that was a relief.

But, during the scan last week, when the sonographer checked the blood flow through the umbilical cord, she noticed an issue. While the amount of blood going to the baby is still in the normal range, it shows some restriction. Not something you want to hear. But normal is good. We’ll rescan in two weeks, and in the meantime I’m supposed to relax (I have told you that William was just laid off, right? Totally relaxing) <snort>.

I do appreciate that there are things I can do to try to help though. I’m to stay off my feet as much as possible, not exercise, reduce stress, generally take it easy and not raise my heart rate. William, who already does the majority of daily chores at home, has now taken over cooking and is in charge of trying to get me into bed every chance he gets (heh). The boys have also been a big help, especially Nicholas. It’s really strange to call people who are down the hall from me at work and ask them to come get something from me though. Hopefully all of this helps and gets more blood/oxygen/nutrients to the baby. The real test will be in 8 days when they scan her again to see how she’s growing (she’s perfect right now, and we hope she stays that way).

I went back and forth about whether to write about this stuff. I know that there are so many bigger issues we could be dealing with as far as things that could be going wrong with the pregnancy and baby. I know that, and I’m grateful that we don’t have additional stuff to worry about. But, I talk with you all about most other stuff, so it felt strange not to tell you about something that is so heavy on my mind.

Any extra thoughts, prayers, good vibes, etc. are welcome. And don’t stress me out.

 

Pregnancy: Halfway There!

I am completely convinced that you hit a time warp the second you find out you are pregnant and your life stays on fast forward forever after that. With that in mind I know I shouldn’t be surprised, but I can’t believe this pregnancy is halfway done!

I’m 23 weeks on Wednesday and everything is trucking along.

How I’m Feeling Physically
The nausea that made me want to throw up all day, every day went away at 19 weeks. I’ve gotten some of my energy back, and am trying to use that energy to organize our apartment. Goodwill has gotten a lot from us in the past couple of weeks. My sciatica is starting to flair up, which is a pain in the butt (heh); but, I haven’t had any weight gain (I’m still about 5 pounds lighter than before I got pregnant). Although I had gestational diabetes with both boys, I’m still only insulin resistant this time so far. The only difference in what that means in a practical sense is that I’m not having to take insulin injections. I am, however taking some oral medication because my fasting numbers aren’t fantastic (it’s always the number I have the most trouble with). So far the medicine has brought the  numbers down a ton and is working like a charm. I’m hoping it will stave off injections for a bit longer.

How Baby Is Doing
We’ve had a small hiccup in the past week, but nothing major. Last week, when I had another anatomy scan of the baby, everything looked good except for one of her kidneys being a big bigger than they should be. This could mean a lot of things, so we’re going to continue to watch them closely (we would have anyway) and we did a blood test to see what it can tell us. While I’m not completely nonchalant about the kidney thing, I’m not as freaked out as I’d be if *any* of the tests we’ve had thus far had shown any abnormalities.

My Favorite Thing Right Now
My favorite part about this time in the pregnancy is starting to really feel the baby kick. I don’t know if she’s really a night-loving baby, or if it’s just the only time I sit still, but that’s when I feel her most. William and Nicholas have both felt the baby kick and thump and I love it. Nicholas felt her for the first time this past weekend and I teared up at the look of amazement and delight on his face. It was pure joy and I’m so happy to have that memory etched in my mind.

Emotional Stuff
There’s a lot going on for us in the next few weeks, and I’m just trying to stay calm and unruffled about it all. This is also the hardest time of year for me, but I’m handling it pretty well so far. It’s also interesting to be pregnant and know, absolutely, that this will be your last baby. I’m trying to soak up every minute and enjoy it (I’m one of the weird ones who likes being pregnant).

So, that’s what’s happening this second half of the pregnancy so far!

 

 

There's a real baby in there!

There’s a real baby in there!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Craftiness: Painted Frames for Photos and Art

Like everyone with young kids (especially if they’re in daycare), we get a lot of artwork home from the boys. And I want to display it, at least for a little while. I’ve been looking around for inexpensive ways to do it (I’ve found a lot of great ways to display, but most of them were more than I was willing to pay).

As I do, I turned to Pinterest for ideas. I wanted it to be simple, and I wanted to make it colorful, so I settled on the empty frame with wire and clothes pins project. I’m happy-ish with how it turned out. I really like the colors, and it does the job well, but I’m really not good at spray painting. So, it’s not as shiny and smooth as I wanted it (even though I *thought* I followed all the directions on the can); but, I still like it.

I have them up at my office so I can have more color there and have bits of the kids’ work around me.

These are just raw wood frames I picked up at Hobby Lobby, picture-hanging wire, spray paint for the frames, and wooden clothes pins painted with acrylic paint. That’s not much of a tutorial, is it? The only real tip I have about this whole process is that I clipped the clothes pins to the top of a cheap plastic cup to paint them. It kept my fingers clean and made the whole process a little faster.

How do you display your art and photos?

Crafty Supplies

Crafty Supplies

Look, Ma, no paint! On my fingers, I mean.

Look, Ma, no paint! On my fingers, I mean.

Optimus Prime! Sorry, we've been watching a lot of Transformers.

Optimus Prime! Sorry, we’ve been watching a lot of Transformers.

The sunniest yellow ever!

The sunniest yellow ever!

They do the job, y'all. Sometimes that's all you can ask of a craft.

They do the job, y’all. Sometimes that’s all you can ask of a craft.

 

Party Fun: Brown and Pink Baby Shower

My sweet niece, Michelle, had a beautiful little girl a few months ago; but, before that I got to do a few things to help make her baby shower pretty! Michelle wanted a shower that had some pink, but didn’t want it to look like a giant pile of cotton candy had exploded in the room. Since she was using pink and brown for the baby’s room at home, we used the same color scheme for the shower.

I was inspired by a pink and burlap shower that was featured on the Pizzazzerie site.  If you haven’t checked out her site you need to get over there stat!

 

Door Wreath

This wreath was my first attempt at making the felt flowers, and I’m really happy with how the whole thing turned out. Which is good, since this was most of my gift for Michelle! You can find tutorials for felt flowers in tons of places, just Google “felt flowers” and you’ll have a ton to choose from. I used foam Thickers to put the baby’s initials on the bunting.

 

Paper Letters

These letters were also part of Michelle’s gift from me. The letters (the baby’s initials), paper and acrylic paint are all from Hobby Lobby. I painted the sides and back with the beige paint, cut out the paper using the letters as the template, and used Mod Podge to adhere the paper to the letter. After everything was dry, I used more Mod Podge to put a coat on the entire thing.

 

Mason Jars & Soda Bottles

Michelle’s Mom and brother used coordinating yarn to wrap glass soda bottles for use as vases and we stuck some flat felt flowers (say that fast three times) to a few of them. We used the bottles either for holding flowers, or just to decorate. Some of the mason jars also got wrapped in the yarn and others got coordinating ribbon wrapped around the mouth for a little color. We used the mason jars for both drinks and holding flowers. Michelle’s Grandpa was happy about the mason jars too since many of them came from his garage and had been Michelle’s Grandma’s. It’s nice to have a little bit of her there.

 

Cupcakes

I baked chocolate, vanilla and strawberry cupcakes. Convenient for those yummy flavors to be the colors of the shower! Fun fact: when you make the chocolate icing too thick, and try to pipe it on, the tip will come out of the piping bag and it will look like a giant poop. So, it’s best to just spread the chocolate icing on top. The vanilla cupcakes and icing were the best I’ve ever made though. I used vanilla bean in both the batter and icing, and because I was running behind, I ended up beating the icing longer than I usually do which made it super fluffy and sooooo good.

 

Paper Straws

I can’t help it, I have a weakness for paper straws. I think they make a really cute detail. We ended up with pink, but I ordered a few different brown patterns that would have been perfect. If our post office hadn’t caught fire before the shower. I got the straws a couple of weeks after the shower, the packaging covered in soot. No lie.

 

Table Runners

I got a couple of yards of muslin, cut them the length of the tables I knew we’d be using, and then used round foam stamps and acrylic paint to make polka dots. I liked the rough edges and Nicholas liked that I let him help stamp the polka dots! It’s possible our kitchen counters had paint on them for a couple of weeks. Maybe.

 

I had so much fun with the details of Michelle’s shower! I would love to hear some of your ideas for throwing a simple and sweet shower!

 

Photos of the Fun!

Wrapped Soda BottlesPretty Paper StrawsPaper LettersMason Jars Pink and BrownBest Cupcakes EverFelt FlowersFelt and Yarn Baby Shower Wreath

Are You Having A Boy or A Girl?

When I wasn’t being a crazy person worrying during the first trimester, I managed to perform several of the old wives’ tales for finding out the baby’s gender. Here are the results:

  • The Ring Test: The ring made a very distinct circle over my belly, indicating a girl (although this one says the opposite gender depending on what site you look at)
  • The Chinese Gender Calendar: Said it is a boy
  • Asking your toddler the gender: Tobin said, with complete certainty that the baby is a boy
  • Peeing on baking soda: If it foams it’s a boy, if it doesn’t it’s a girl. It foamed like a mo’fo’
  • Cravings: Sweets it’s a girl, sour it’s a boy. I’m a candy girl!
  • Morning sickness: If you have it in the first trimester, it’s a girl. Have I said that I want to throw up All. The. Time. Because I do.
  • Baby’s heart rate: If the heart rate is higher than 150, it’s a girl. This baby’s heart rate has never been lower than 157.

Score on old wives’ tales: 4 for girl, 3 for boy

We had an early anatomy ultrasound on Friday! We’ve had a couple of ultrasounds already, so it wasn’t the first time we’ve seen the baby, but it was the longest amount of time and the most detailed scan so far. A few weeks ago, we did the NT scan where they check the baby’s neck thickness for signs of Down’s Syndrome. The baby’s neck was beautiful, so one less worry! The 16-week scan we had on Friday looked for eight markers that show chromosomal changes in the baby. The baby is free of all eight of the markers! If you read my last post, you’ll know that I spent most of the first trimester worrying. It didn’t help that we tried to do the early blood tests for the markers and there was never enough fetal DNA to do the test properly. Logically, I knew that the only risk factors I have for anything being wrong with the baby are my age and my insulin resistance. But there is no room for logic in pregnancy! After this really positive ultrasound, I felt so much better that we have a healthy baby growing.

Oh, and we also found out it’s a girl. In case you were wondering :)

The best part about finding out the gender was telling Nicholas and Tobin. Nicholas has wanted a girl from the start, so he was happy. Tobin, not so much.

Me: Tobin, guess what! We found out today what kind of baby we’re having?

Tobin: What kind of baby is it?

Me: It’s a girl baby! You’re having a sister!

T: <Making a really mean face and clenching his fists> I hate sisters! I said I wanted a boy baby! <much wailing and crying>

The kid cried the entire 20 minute ride home from daycare. Seriously.

William and I are really happy. William has always wanted a daughter and this pregnancy has been so very different from the boys’ that I would have been very shocked if the sonographer had said it was a boy. So, while we’re not super pink people, I am excited to get some sweet little girl things. And to get started on her scrapbook!

So, moms of girls, what advice do you have for us?

 

One Trimester Down, Two To Go!

We weren’t exactly trying to get pregnant, but as my OB/GYN says, if you aren’t preventing, you’re trying.

Why I Checked

While we were in California in June, my skin was really good. Not a pimple in sight. I just wrote it off as the lovely water and relaxing. But, when we were packing up to head home, I got a weird wave of nausea. The boys had been talking about not feeling great the night before, though, so I just sent up a desperate thought that I hoped not to get sick on the 22-hour drive home and popped a Pepto-Bismal.

When we got home, I realized that I was supposed to have started my cycle when we were in California. I had a couple of tests left over from the pregnancy in January, so I figured I might as well use one. You could have knocked me over with a feather when the screen said, “Pregnant.” This was the Tuesday before Father’s Day, and since I knew this would be my last pregnancy, I wanted to tell William in a fun way. You guys, it was so very hard not to say anything to William right away. I went to Half Price Books and found a book on fertility and made a few adjustments to the title and subtitle. I wrapped it up, and told William I had his gift for him. I ended up only being able to wait until Friday to give William the book. His reaction when he read the title? He said, “Oh shit! Are you pregnant?!?” Since that was exactly my reaction when I saw the positive test, I couldn’t get mad for the less-than-romantic reaction.

Telling Daddy

 

First Trimester Worries

I’m a worrier in the best of times. When there is actual stuff that could go wrong? I’m a total nutjob. So, the first trimester of a pregnancy always makes me a little crazy. William thinks he sees it all, but he has no idea how often I vent/ask questions of my friends instead. Or of Google…

Because I’m of Advanced Maternal Age, we decided to do the Panorama test to check for chromosomal changes in the baby. This test is so stinkin’ cool as it is able to separate the fetal DNA from my via a couple of vials of blood. Science FTW! Unfortunately, we did the test twice and there wasn’t enough fetal DNA either time we did the test. It was really disappointing. But, by the time we could have done a third test, it was time for an early anatomy scan (which catches the same issues, just with a slightly smaller degree of certainty than the blood test). So we decided to wait three more weeks for the scan.

I can’t believe how different this pregnancy has been from either Nicholas’ or Tobin’s. I am nauseated all the time. All. The. Time. I popped way sooner with this one, and the round ligament pain kicked in at 8 weeks. It’s like everything with this kid in in fast forward (except for the DNA making…this baby is the laziest DNA maker of all time).

I can sum up the entire first trimester by relating a conversation I had with William…

Me: I don’t worry that much, do I?

William: Nope. Sometimes you sleep.

First Trimester Sherry

Now we’re off to the second trimester! Hopefully one where the Worrier calms down a bit!

 

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!

So, this is happening…Baby T Announcement Aug 2013

Gift Giving: Getting To Know Your Teacher

I don’t know if you’re the same way, but I want to give gifts or make gifts for my childrens’ teachers that they really want. I don’t want to give them their 3,103rd porcelain apple (unless they collect). Last year, I created a simple form for N’s teachers to fill out that gave us some guidance on gift buying and gift making for the school year. We give for Christmas, the teacher’s birthday, and Teacher Appreciation Week, and the list made it so much easier to do.

I keep the list simple, but some of the things you might want to find out include:

  • favorite color
  • hobbies
  • favorite food
  • favorite store
  • favorite restaurant
  • favorite smell
  • favorite candy
  • least favorite food/smell/candy
  • favorite weekend activities
  • favorite music
  • birthday

You can include anything on the list you think is important for easy gift giving that your child’s teacher will love. Just one more step in staying sane this school year!

Here’s the form we are using this year:

Ms Martinez Form copy

I’d love to hear what you would include on your list!

 

Our California Adventures

We’ve been home from our California adventure for a month, and we’re still talking about the fun we had. We drove straight through, both there and back, so we spent a lot of time in the van. The good news is the boys were amazing road trippers, I couldn’t have asked them to behave better. Happily, Lemmon didn’t puke in the car (she has before and we were dreading 24 hours of dog vomit action). The drive was hot and desert-y, but not a huge trial.

When we got to my sister-in-law (Angel) and brother-in-law’s (Randy) home, we got hit with our first hint of how amazing the weather in the San Diego area is as it was chilly and there was no humidity. Basically, weather heaven.

Angel is a fantastic host and we had so much fun staying with our family. The boys thought they were full-on teenagers when they were hanging out with their cousins (we were there to go to the graduation of A’s daughter and A’s son is 17, so there were a ton of teens around). I loved getting to hang out with my old friend, even if I was disturbing her homework time (the woman never stops going to college, it’s kind of a sickness).

Nicholas and Lemmon On the Road

Nicholas and Lemmon On the Road

 

Tobin engrossed in Naruto

Tobin engrossed in Naruto

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Beach

The boys had their first experience of the Pacific ocean when our niece took us to the beach. Having been to California as a kid, I remembered how cold the water was, so we were interested to see how the boys would respond (it’s significantly colder than our beach’s water). Tobin didn’t love the water, but didn’t run screaming. Nicholas, on the other hand, loved it and didn’t think it was cold at all.

 

Sand Fight on the Pacific Ocean!

Sand Fight on the Pacific Ocean!

 

 

Disneyland

Of course we were so close to Disneyland we were all super excited to go (except maybe William, who was excited for the boys to go, but could have done without it himself). Thankfully, I had great advice from the wonderful Whit and Chris, so we easily navigated the park and had a relaxing, magic, wonderful day. We got to the park an hour before they opened, so we stopped in at Denny’s to have some breakfast. All was well until T leaned over to hug my arm and spilled his full cup of chocolate milk in my lap. All over my lap. I was sticky and wet for a couple of hours in the park, but I survived :) . Although I’m pretty sure my rear end is on a Tumblr blog somewhere because William saw a girl take a picture while I was bending over. Heh.

We were at the park a few days before N’s 8th birthday, so we went to City Hall and got a birthday button for him. One of my favorite memories (and pictures) of the day is N listening to the phone message from Goofy singing “Happy Birthday” to him. Later in the day when we saw Goofy, N told him, “I got your message!” Tobin also loved the characters and was yelling and waving every time we saw Mickey, Tigger or Pooh. Because they are buddies, and T just knew they wanted to know he was there.

One of the memories I have from Disneyland when I was a kid was the Dole Whip, so I was excited to share that memory with the boys. I wasn’t disappointed in their reactions, Tobin did a happy dance with each bite.

While the boys had fun on every ride, my favorite to see them on was the Tea Cups. They laughed their fool heads off the entire spinning time. It was the best!

We have some friends who live near the park, so Jennifer and her daughter Emily joined us at the end of the afternoon, just in time for the parade and a couple of rides. It was so nice to get to meet her in real life as she’s lived in my computer for almost 10 years now! We ended the 12-hour day with the fireworks, which Nicholas loved and Tobin slept through.

 

Magic Phone Call With Goofy

Magic Phone Call With Goofy

Winnie Gives The Best Hugs

Winnie Gives The Best Hugs

Meeting The Mouse!

Meeting The Mouse!

Teacup-induced Laughter

Teacup-induced Laughter

Nothing better than a parade with friends

Nothing better than a parade with friends

Dole Whip is Magic In A Cup

Dole Whip is Magic In A Cup

 

San Diego Zoo

William’s parents and Nana were also on the trip and they took the boys to the San Diego Zoo where they had a blast. Nicholas absorbed the facts about the animals like he was drinking them in. Tobin liked the monkeys.

Boys mammoth

Graduation

Our niece’s graduation was at the end of our trip and it was surreal. I’ve known this girl since Angel called to tell me she was pregnant with her and I can’t believe she’s already going to college. K is fluent in sign language and was chosen to sign the national anthem at the beginning of the graduation ceremony. I may have gotten a little teary during the song and then a little later when they announced her scholarship to play lacrosse at Wingate College in North Carolina.

K signing the national anthem

K signing the national anthem

 

Storytelling and Relaxing

As much fun as all of the parks and beaches were, the best part of the week in California was listening to Nana tell stories and just relaxing. William and I read. Tobin fell asleep on my lap while I read my own book and I let his stay there until my legs fell asleep. Nicholas played video games until he passed out on the couch. We slept, we snuggled, we opened windows and didn’t sweat. We talked and laughed and listened to our kids cracking up while they played. It was the perfect vacation.

Pink Lemonade, Vanilla Bean & Whopper cupcakes

Pink Lemonade, Vanilla Bean & Whopper cupcakes

T thought he was one of the big boys

T thought he was one of the big boys

Their big cousins love the boys!

Their big cousins love the boys!