Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Last Pregnancy Update: Weeks 33-39

How Far Along: 39 weeks and ready for this baby boy to make his arrival.

Size of Baby: A pumpkin. Basically it looks like I'm smuggling a basketball under my shirt.

Weight Gain: 23 pounds.

Does Baby Have a Name?: Yes he does and I know our family is very eager to be able to call him something other than "baby boy." We had two names that we love and were kind of debating between but we were pretty sure it would be the one over the other and we've finally committed. I can't wait to introduce him to you!

How I'm Preparing for Labor: I read and re-read Ina May's Guide to Childbirth throughout this pregnancy and honestly feel like it has put me in just the right mindset going in to labor and equipped me with really practical tools to deal with the intensity of the day (or however long it takes). I feel like it has helped remove all my fears and anxieties surrounding labor and delivery and I mostly just feel excited and eager to experience it and see what my body is capable of-what it was made to do. The first half of the book is just positive real birth stories and that is mostly what I have chosen to focus on during my pregnancy. It seems that tv and movies love to make birth look like the most traumatic thing ever and a lot of people love to share their horror stories with expectant mothers but that's not necessarily the norm and it's not the way it has to be. I watched tons of natural birth vlogs on youtube and read countless blog posts of moms sharing their real birth stories and feel like I now have a whole library of knowledge on all the ways birth can go. I'm not so naive to think that it will be easy by any means, but I do have evidence that birth isn't all cussing at nurses and screaming in agony.  Some of my favorite vlogs that I've watched are: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5.

Aside from saturating myself in positive birth stories, I am also preparing for labor physically by walking (waddling) every day. I bounce on my exercise ball and swivel my hips instead of just sitting on the couch while watching tv. And I've started drinking red raspberry leaf tea which may totally be a load of crock but supposedly it helps strengthen the uterus which makes contractions more effective and could mean a shorter labor.

Symptoms: Baby boy thinks my bladder is a squeeze toy so I am hustling to the bathroom all day and night at this point. I am also having braxton hicks contractions which aren't painful just uncomfortable mostly because I usually have to pee immediately after one comes on. Also, "lightning crotch" (who comes up with the names for these things?) which is quick flashes of pain from the baby pressing on nerves and my cervix.

Best Moment this Month: Finding out at my 38 week appointment that I was already 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced! This was super exciting and encouraging since I was making progress without having to deal with any real pain!

Looking forward to:  Uh duh! I am going to have a baby any day now! Like he could come tonight or tomorrow or this weekend and that is just CRAZY exciting!!! Come on baby boy, your mama is ready to meet you!!
T.J. and I went on one last date night last Thursday, just the two of us, before becoming a family of three. I can't wait to see him become a dad but this time of anticipation is so sweet.
I had one last baby shower on Sunday and now there is nothing else on my calendar except have a baby! 

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

we're getting close...

We are just a few weeks away from meeting our baby boy. From seeing his little face, holding his squishy self in my arms, and staring into his eyes for the first time ever. In just a few weeks I won't have to wonder what he looks like. I will know what color eyes he has, what color hair. We will know if he has my nose or his daddy's dimples (please let him have his dimples!!).  In just a few more weeks T.J. and I will become parents and we will be forever mom and dad to the little guy who's been growing in my belly for the past nine months. And I am feeling all the things.

Even though I've seen my belly grow (and grow), and I've felt the glorious kicks and rolls, and heard his strong heartbeat, it still makes me catch my breath that an actual baby, my own baby, will be joining our family. I mean I knew I wasn't going to be pregnant forever but it's just so huge!  Is there anything bigger, or more life changing?

I am so excited. I am so incredibly over the moon excited. That is the overwhelming emotion,  joyful anticipation. I have been so blessed to have had an easy pregnancy. Yes, I was a little queasy and emotional (and terrified something was going to go wrong) during the first trimester but for the most part I have felt really great. I have loved being pregnant, it is more than I hoped it would be, all that I wanted. I know how lucky I am.

And maybe this is my first-time-mom naivete speaking, but I am truly excited to experience labor and to give birth. I can't wait for that day to come, to see what my body is capable of and to surrender it to the Lord's design and bring our son into the world. What a magnificent privilege and what an amazing day that will be.

Now all that is to say, my only real hesitation as my due date gets closer and closer is that everything is going to change. Duh. And while I honestly believe those changes will bring us the most incredible, sweetest parts of life, I am feeling a little sentimental about leaving behind this current season. This season of being newlyweds, just me and T.J. (and Hunley), building a life together, learning how to be married, figuring out how to be partners.

I feel a bit of desperation to do as many things together before the baby arrives. More date nights, more cuddling on the couch, more games of ping pong in the garage, more hand holding, more dreaming about the future together before the future comes screaming into the hospital room.

Yes, lets get tickets to the Mariners game.  Yes, lets get our own inner-tubes and float the river next weekend. Yes, lets book a last minute getaway to the coast.  Yes, lets sleep in 'til 10 and get donuts and watch Netflix all day.

It's not that I don't think all those things will be possible (except maybe the sleeping 'til 10 part), and most likely even more fun with our baby. I just know we'll be a bit distracted in the early days and weeks with a newborn as we try to figure out our new normal and we adjust to this new layer in our identities. But there is no one else I'd rather be starting this lifelong adventure with than him. So I'm storing up and savoring all the moments of being simply T.J. and Shannon, husband and wife, right now, before we become three.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Pregnancy Update: Weeks 29-32

How Far Along: 33 weeks (sorry I'm a bit behind on my bumpdate)

Size of Baby: a head of celery and I can feel every jab and somersault and kick in the ribs.

Weight Gain: 19 pounds total.

Cravings: All the fruit. Summer fruit is my favorite- peaches, nectarines, plums, watermelon-and luckily baby seems to agree. Also, lemonade just sounds so so good right now. Think I might need to drive through Chik-Fil-A today for lunch.

Symptoms: My back is really starting to pay the price for the extra weight I'm hauling around. It's just all achy and sore. I am trying to be more conscious of my posture because I'm either overarching my back or slouching all the time. I'm trying to sit on an exercise ball as often as I can to help with that. I am out of breath pretty easily so I definitely have slowed my pace, much to Hunley's frustration. I keep accidentally bumping my belly into things like doors and countertops. I guess I'm underestimating how larger and in charge I really am. This also means I feel a bit like a turtle on its back or a beached whale when I'm getting out of bed to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night, again...

Best Moment this Month: Turning 29 and it not being a big deal.  Honestly turning 29 used to sound not fun because it was awfully close to being 30. Plus T.J. had to work on my birthday (and most of my birthday week) so I really didn't do anything special to celebrate. Normally this would have bummed me out but this year, my birthday seems so insignificant to everything else we're anticipating.  I had my 32 week appointment on my birthday and got to hear my son's strong heartbeat and know that 29 is probably going to be the best year of my life.

Looking Forward to Next Month: Getting all the baby things. Suddenly it seems like baby is going to be here any minute and I have a million things to do before he arrives. And I just know after my next appointment at 36 weeks it will really feel like game time. I also want to start more seriously getting physically and mentally ready for labor and delivery so that it doesn't feel like I'm cramming for an exam at the end of the semester third trimester. I just can't believe this pregnancy is nearing the end of the line.

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Baby Boy's Nursery Tour

Baby boy's nursery, otherwise known as my favorite room in the house, is complete (mostly). We just a need a couple more things and then it's ready to be the sweetest little room for our son. I have absolutely loved getting this space ready, finding just the right touches, hanging shelves, and fluffing pillows. I cannot wait to fill this room with story times, late night feedings, lullabies, play time, belly laughs, and so many sweet memories.

Go here to see the before pics and my inspiration for the nursery. And here is how the room looks now looking in from the doorway.
This print with lyrics to one of my favorite Needtobreathe songs was actually a gift from my mom in my Easter basket this year (yes I still get an Easter basket). I decided the nursery was the perfect place to hang it and I hope baby boy loves Needtobreathe as much as I do and doesn't think his mom has lame taste in music one day. I also pray that my son will intimately know the God these lyrics are sung about. 
I went back and forth on what sort of lamp to add to the room. I knew I'd want another light source other than the overhead light for bedtime. I finally found this fillable lamp at Target where I also picked up some blue legos and retro Tonka trucks. 
I LOVE how the wall shelves turned out and I love the pop of color all his new books add to the room. I also updated the pillows on the daybed and think it looks totally refreshed and boy friendly. 
We decided to take the doors off the closet so we could put the dresser in there. I was nervous about how it would look and I'm still a little nervous about how I'll keep it clean but I'm hopeful the baskets will help make organization easier. Taking off the doors also really makes the room feel bigger. It's more like a nook than a closet now. 
The baskets on the upper shelves right now are storing swaddles, receiving blankets and burp cloths as well as extra diapers and wipes. On the lower shelves, the basket right next to the changing table will hold diapers and wipes and diaper cream. In the other baskets for now I've stored hats, bibs and his shoes. I'm sure I'll end up moving things around as I learn what I need where and what works best. And all the sweet tiny baby blue clothes hanging there are like the frosting on the cake in this perfect room. 

Sources:

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Pregnancy Journal: Weeks 25-28

How Far Along: 28 weeks! Hello third trimester!!

Size of Baby:
an eggplant

Gender:
Still a baby boy.

Weight Gain:
14 pounds total and I am measuring right on track.

Symptoms:  
Yesterday I had my 28 week appointment with the midwife. I also did my glucose tolerance test, got my DTaP vaccine and a shot of rhogam so it was a big day. She said she'd call if I had to come back for the 3 hour glucose test or if I showed signs of being anemic but so far no call. And honestly I'd be surprised because I feel really great! Yes I have a hard time bending over and I am easily out of breath, but if it weren't for the growing belly I could probably convince myself I wasn't pregnant. Second trimester rocked, but I have a feeling that, even though I might get more uncomfortable in the third trimester, these last few months are going to be the most exciting!

Belly Button:
Nope.

Best Moment this Month: The crib and dresser came! The nursery is basically, almost, done. I love to go in there and just sit in the glider and rest and try to imagine how it will feel to sit in there with my baby boy in my arms. I picture myself laying him down in his crib and pulling the curtains closed so he can nap. I picture T.J. sitting on the floor with him and the two of the playing together. I can't wait. Every time I walk past the door I peak my head in and smile. It's such a sweet and restful space, my favorite room of the house now.

Looking Forward to Next Month:
 Just getting closer and closer to meeting our baby.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Tulips and Time

A couple weeks back my mom and sister came out to visit me for my sister's spring break from school. Of course it didn't really feel much like spring in the Pacific Northwest, still doesn't, but we didn't let that stop us from getting out and getting stuff done.

One of the things I really wanted to do while they were in town was go to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. This has been on my PNW bucket list since before we moved out here. Skagit Valley is a couple hours north of where I live and I knew my mom and sister would probably appreciate a long drive just to look at some flowers more than T.J. would. So we checked the weather and picked the only day with a sun icon on it, and after a quick stop for donuts that morning, we headed up to see a bit of Holland in Washington.
There are two main growers/farms that participate in the tulip festival and they're just down the road from each other. After doing some instagram research to see which place had the most blooming we decided to go to Tulip Town. We parked in the muddy lot, paid our absolutely-worth-it $7 entry fee and were greeted by rows and rows of colorful blooms.
We wandered up and down the paths and tried to pick our our favorite tulip which pretty much changed every time we saw a new color or variety. Once our eyes had taken in as much as we could we hopped back in the car, hoping to beat the rush hour traffic through Seattle, and then stopped for a late lunch by the water in Tacoma. It was the perfect PNW springtime afternoon.

Part of the reason for their visit was to help me check off some items from my "to-do before baby list." We hit up Ikea for nursery closet organization, got the last office bookshelf moved from the nursery to the garage, waited around together while a tech guy got our tv mounted on the wall in the living room, ordered the crib and dresser, set up the new baby swing, and of course it was essential that we picked up some adorable baby clothes to add to his little wardrobe.

But in between running errands with me and reminding me that everything doesn't have to be done by August 1st, or whenever baby boy makes his debut, we just enjoyed this rare week of time together, just us girls (with the occasional appearance of T.J.) for the first time in a long time and probably the last time for a while. It's so wild that the next time they're out here will be to meet the newest and littlest member of our family.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Pregnancy Journal: Weeks 22-24

How Far Along: 25 weeks as of today but I'm only sharing about weeks 22-24 because I didn't have time to change the chalkboard or take a new bump pic yet.

Size of Baby: A head of cauliflower!

Gender: It's a Boy!

Weight Gain: 12 pounds

Symptoms: Um... bending over has officially become work. I have to take a wider stance and brace myself before going to pick something up off the floor. And by the time I get back up I'm out of breath. Still peeing all the time. Also rib soreness. Both of those symptoms I think I can attribute to baby running out of room. In general I also just feel more pregnant. You know what I mean? Like weighty and stretched, like I am really noticing the baby I'm carrying around and it's getting heavy. T.J. totally makes fun of how long it takes me to get out of his truck. I can only imagine how it will feel to be hauling around a 6 pound baby towards the end of the third trimester and I am in awe of how my body is going to continue to stretch and grow to make room.

Belly Button: What belly button? It's basically flattened and is preparing to become an outie any day now so that's cute.... My belly button gets a lot of extra love from my belly balm every evening because I feel like it's mad at me. No stretch marks at this point...and hopefully no stretch marks later pretty please.

Exercise: Did I mention the shortness of breath, and the having to pee all the time, and the cantaloupe I'm carrying around? I still walk the dog every day but, since my last pregnancy journal, I have not really done more than that like I intended to.

Cravings: I've been loving fruit, especially oranges, lately.

What I Miss: Nothing really except you know those commercials where they slowly pour Diet Coke over ice... yeah they make me tear up.

Maternity Clothes: I found maternity jeans that fit!! Petite pregnant woman go to H&M, they are on your side! I bought two pairs (these in the distressed mid denim blue, and these in the light denim blue) and they fit perfectly, like your normal pre-pregnancy jeans, through the leg/thigh/butt area but with no buttons, a stretchier waist, and that wonderful panel. Seriously every other store that I tried on maternity jeans at seemed to think that all pregnant women want or have a saggy butt (I'm looking at you Liz Lange for Target...) I am set for pants for now though I will probably need to find a pair of shorts eventually but that seems like wishful thinking considering the spring we're having.

I was super excited to find an old Loft gift card in my wallet from I don't know what birthday past and it had $40 left on it so I put it towards this cute top. I didn't even know Loft had maternity clothes. I definitely need more tops but I keep hoping the weather will warm up and then I can buy springtime/summer wear rather than more long sleeves and sweaters.

Best Moment this Month: All the baby kicks. It seriously is the best thing ever! I love to just stare at my stomach move. My mom and sister came to visit last week and got to feel him moving around and they came to my 24 week midwife appointment and got to hear his very strong and healthy heartbeat. The midwife said he was showing off. Having them here was great! We got the nursery furniture ordered and took care of some things around the house that I can't do in my current state but really we just had fun hanging out all together and picturing what it will look like the next time they visit when there will be a little baby boy joining us.

Looking Forward to Next Month: Next month I will be entering my third trimester!!! WHAT?!! At my appointment last week they had me fill our pre-admission paperwork (which is earlier than normal but Tricare) and I about fell off my chair. Already?? I can't believe I am nearing the end of this pregnancy and every day getting closer to meeting my son. I have a list a mile long that I keep adding things to do get done before his arrival. Guess it's about time to really step up my game. I'm especially excited for the nursery furniture we ordered to be delivered! I am having so much fun getting that sweet little room all set up. My glider arrived yesterday and it's perfect! I think I'm going to just sit in there for the next 3 and half months and talk to baby.