Friday, October 27, 2017

3 months with Tommy

Tommy is three months old and I have loved every minute with our little guy! I cannot believe three months ago I was just meeting him and didn't know that he would like to suck on his whole entire fist.  I didn't know that at 3 months he would wake up in the mornings with a cheesy gummy smile and it's like seeing him smile for the first over and over again or that he would chatter and coo all day long and it's the best sound in the world.

I always want to write these "pour out my heart" posts about my son but he has a sixth sense about when I get on my laptop and tends to wake up from his nap so here's some stats and highlights from this past month with our sweet baby boy, typed mostly one-handed....
Weight: 14.5lbs
Height: somewhere between 23-24 inches (it's hard to get a accurate measurement because he is the wiggliest squirmiest little guy)
Clothing Size: While I may have to roll up some sleeves or cuff some of the pants I sadly have to admit that he is now pretty solidly in the 3-6 months size though I can, and do, still try to squeeze him in a few 0-3 month pieces. It's seriously amazing how one night he doesn't fit in the 6m sleeper and the very next night his toes are busting out of the 3m sleeper. I'm so happy for a healthy growing boy but it makes my heart all achy and mushy at the same time!
Diaper Size: I have a feeling we'll be moving to size 2 diapers any day now...

Milestones: He is sooo good at tummy time and holding his head up while laying on his belly. A couple times I've put him down on his playmat and he's immediately rolled to his side and I quick grab my camera thinking he's going to go all the way over but we're not quite there yet. Soon though! He has also gotten a lot more capable with his hands which he adorably clasps and he has a super strong grip. He grabs and hold on tight to anything that brushes up against them- your shirt sleeve, my hair, the burp cloth, little toys. He gabs all day long and has so very much to say. I am so looking forward to having the sweetest, funniest little conversations with him one day!
Eating: We spend most of our day eating/feeding. He is a chowhound and during the day he pretty much only goes 2 hours between feedings max and as the day starts winding down sometimes only 1 hour.  He has some reflux but fortunately it doesn't seem to bother him, it just means we usually end up changing both our outfits during the day and doing lots of laundry. Poor Hunley still follows me around from room to room and was in the splash zone the other night when Tommy spit up over my shoulder. Some days I can feel a bit like a milk cow but I don't mind one bit! Especially because at night he only wakes up once or twice to feed. I have a list of movies and shows to watch while I'm posted up on the couch nursing and I make sure to have water, a snack and the remote within arms reach. I also have a squirt bottle next to me to spray Hunley with in case he starts doing something naughty and I can't immediately jump up to stop him.

Sleep: We do pretty well in this department at night. We start our nighttime routine around 7:30. He gets a bath which is his favorite thing and then we put on pjs and swaddle and I nurse him once more before before putting him down. He is still sleeping in the Rock 'n' Play in our room and is usually asleep between 8:30-9pm. He was doing 8-9 hour stretches last week but I think he might be going through a growth spurt because he started waking up to eat once or twice again these past couple days. We don't really have a consistent nap schedule during the day. I can usually count on him to take a decent 2 hour nap in the morning either in the Rock n Play or in the carseat while we're out running errands. Then he might do another hour nap in the afternoon, usually in his swing, sometimes in the crib if conditions are perfect. But lately it's been just 30 minutes here and there on my lap after falling asleep while nursing. If we're not in the carseat or stroller he pretty much has to be nursed to sleep which is tricky because of the reflux I can't just move him to his bed. But I try not to fight it and just let him sleep whenever and wherever and know that he wont always need to me to nurse him to sleep and he wont always sleep like a snuggly little peanut in my lap.
Personality: He is so much fun and I feel like his little personality is showing up more and more everyday. He is really social! He loves people and will pretty much be happy with anyone holding him or making faces at him. He's also a big flirt and will smile and giggle. He has a bit of "FOMO" (fear of missing out) and wants to be up where his people are which means mom or dad usually has to eat dinner one handed while he sits in our lap at the table. But it also means we can take him to restaurants or the brewery down the street and he happily enjoys looking all around and smiling or staring seriously at all the new people and he will usually fall asleep to the ambient noise. He wants to be moving all the time. He wiggles and kicks his legs and moves his arms non stop. Changing his diaper is becoming more and more of a wrestling match as he uses the changing table as his personal calisthenics space. While he's definitely able to entertain himself more and more, which is helpful around dinner time, he still prefers to be held and bounced more than anything. Oh, and he is all boy and finds every burp and fart hilarious.
Favorites: Looking at himself in the mirror, bath time, "standing up" with help from mom and dad and stomping his feet, blowing bubbles, sucking on his fists (if he could just find his thumb) and going for walks outside, which we're enjoying as much as we can before nine months of rain moves in... I think I'll have to become one of those mall walkers this winter. He's becoming more interested in books and will smile and reach for the pages. Our current favorite is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. I am so looking forward to reading to him more and more as he grows up.

To my sweet Tommy- you are becoming more and more fun every day! I love watching you discover the world around you. I love making ridiculous faces in the mirror to try to get you to chuckle. I love your chunky thighs and the dimples on your cheeks and the weight of you in my arms when you finally fall asleep. So beyond thankful and lucky to have your happy little self as my son! 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

First Fall Family Fun

This is Tommy's first Fall y'all! Isn't that amazing? His first one ever. First time seeing the leaves change and feeling the temperatures start to cool and his first sniffly nose...okay that last one isn't fun  but truly it is such a privilege and a sweet time to get to experience and bear witness to all his firsts this year. I mean he has literally only sneezed like 50 times in his entire life and I've seen them all.

We get to create his first memories, and build family traditions together with him. And even though he's only two months old and won't remember this year's Fall, we're starting those sweet memories now. On Monday T.J. had off for Columbus Day so we took advantage of a free weekday and headed to a local family farm to pick up some pumpkins (and pumpkin donuts...).
Tommy got to rock his cute little beanie, always an adorable bonus, and he picked out two good pumpkins to bring home.  Our little punkin' was so excited from all the pumpkin ranching and sunshine (we're enjoying every minute of it while it lasts...) that he passed out in Daddy's arms. 
I have so many fun memories of my sister and I "helping" my dad carve pumpkins on our deck. Our job was usually scooping out the guts and then we'd draw the designs and he would do the actual carving. I imagine my (surgeon) husband will be able to fill that role quite nicely in a few years when Tommy is a bit older. 
I am so excited for all the upcoming holidays with Tommy. Last year we were in Spokane and not in our own home from  October through December so we didn't do much in the way of decorating or really do anything over the top in the way of holiday traditions. But you can bet this year I'm going all out and our trip to the pumpkin patch was just the sweetest start to the season.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Six Weeks With Tommy

Our little guy is six weeks old and I simply cannot believe it! I am every mommy/parenting cliche wondering where the time has gone, wanting it to slow down, but also loving each new day, watching him literally grow before my eyes.  I'm not sure how I want to do these posts or who they'll be interesting to besides us and our family but I just know that I want to remember these early days and all the sweet little early moments so here's just a hodgepodge of highlights from this first month of parenthood.
Our house was full of family and lots of helpers for the first few weeks but we are now on our own, figuring out our new normal as a family of three. I still can't believe this is real life, that I get to spend my days with this tiny person that we made. Getting to know him, learning what he likes and doesn't like, taking care of him is literally my dream come true. All I've ever wanted is to be a mom and now I am, forever and ever amen.
Tommy is over 11lbs now!! We haven't been back to the pediatrician since his two week appointment so this is based on standing on the bathroom scale with and then without Tommy in my arms to calculate his weight. He is definitely starting to chunk up and get some good cheeks and thighs which brings me endless joy. He is such a good eater and boy does he let you know when he's hungry. It's not so much a cry as a yell. Like "AHHHH!! Feed me!" During the day he wants to eat pretty much every 2 hours, sometimes more so we've been posted up on the couch with him binge eating while I binge watch Netflix.
At night he does longer stretches between feeds. We usually head upstairs for bed around 9 or 9:30 and do one more feed (plus a lot of rocking and bouncing and praying) before he goes down for a 3-4 hour stretch (sometimes even 5 hours which gives me lots of hope for future sleep). Then he wakes up for a quick feed sometime between 1am-3am and then he does usually another 2 hour stretch of sleep. It's working for us and I don't really feel sleep deprived which is a blessing. We're still figuring out our mornings and I'd love to have more consistent nap-time and nighttime routines so our days can be a bit more predictable but we'll get there. Right now I'm happy to just feed on demand and let him sleep or not sleep when he wants. Even though some days it feels like I'm a human milk maid, there will come a day when he wont need to nurse to fall asleep and I know I'll never wish I'd spent less time with him in my arms. 
Other than when he's hungry he really is such a content little boy and hardly ever cries. He did have some gassy spells that pissed him off early on but his little digestive system seems to have mostly sorted itself out. He sometimes gets the hiccups and has bit of reflux after he chugs milk (you should hear him gulping it down) but I'm learning that as long as I don't move and let him lay super super still and hold my breath for a few minutes after he eats I can maybe avoid getting spit up in my hair/on our clothes/on the couch.
He loves to be moving and it totally relaxes him. As soon as he's settled in his car seat or in the stroller he basically passes out. We've also had some good luck with our wrap and baby carrier. This has been great because we've been able to go out for dinner a couple times and I can run errands and he just snoozes the whole time we're out. I know that I have a big public melt down somewhere in my future but I'm going to enjoy these peaceful outings while I can. Experienced moms told me to get out of the house while they're so portable and sleepy because it won't always be this way and I'm definitely taking their advice. We keep our outings short, just a couple hours seems to be the max but it's so great to get out of the house and feel like I'm not just confined to the couch with a baby on my boob all day. Confession- I have not had to change a diaper in a public place yet and I'm kind of dreading it.
He has the strongest neck. I swear from week one he was lifting it up and if I wasn't careful head-butting me. He also seems to enjoy tummy time and I have a feeling he is going to be rolling around before we know it which is awesome but also slow down please!
He has a love/hate relationship with getting his diaper changed. Initially he scream/yelled/got super red in the face the whole time but now he seems to have decided that it's not so bad and he doesn't need to be so dramatic. We also had more than a few instances where as soon as I'd take the diaper off he'd pee all over the changing table and the wall but those are also becoming less frequent occurrences with the exception of today.... I think he could tell I was getting a little too cocky. Thanks for keeping me humble, Tommy.
His hair is the best- it's the first thing everyone seems to comment on. He has a bit of a mullet and he and his daddy have matching cowlicks. I can't decide which way it wants to part so he has lots of me licking my hand and trying to smooth it down in his future. Speaking of daddy... watching T.J. become a father has been hands down one of the best parts of these first 6 weeks. I knew he'd be a good dad but watching him love Tommy, make faces at him to try to get him to laugh, sing silly made up songs when he's fussy, change diapers, give him kisses, has made me fall even more deeply in love with him. He takes such good care of both of us and I am just so thankful we're doing this together!

Overall Tommy is turning out to be just the sweetest, happiest little guy. He started actually smiling this month and those smiles are so heart meltingly big. At first it was just these adorable little reflex smiles when he was eating or gassy but now he does these real, open mouth, whole face smiles, sometimes accompanied by a coo and I get a glimpse of his sweet little boy personality.  The next milestone I'm really looking forward to is hearing a big belly laugh! This has been the most fun, most challenging, most wonderful 6 weeks. I love you Tommy. You are my sweet son and being you mommy is my favorite! 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

My New Mom Breastfeeding Essentials

Before I share the tools that have been essential to breastfeeding my son I wanted to share how our breastfeeding journey has been going so far. I was so excited to start breastfeeding my son (can you tell I like saying "my son?"). It was probably the thing I was most looking forward to after his birth. I couldn't wait to know what it felt like, to experience the closeness of it, to know that my body was providing all he needed. My mom told me that both my sister and I had no problems nursing so I had high expectations that everything would be similarly straight forward and simple. Breastfeeding is natural, which to me meant it should be relatively easy.

Tommy latched on not too long after he was born and went to town. It was like he was starving after his journey earth-side. And while it wasn't exactly hard... it didn't exactly feel easy either and my nipples started to really hurt more and more each time we went to feed. This was a sign to me that something wasn't right with his latch and I was worried about doing more damage to myself that would make breastfeeding even harder later.

After that first night of gritting my teeth through each feeding session and maybe a few tears I demanded to see a lactation consultant as soon as possible the next day. She came in and agreed that his latch was a bit shallow and that while his suck was really strong she didn't think he was getting as much as he could be which was probably why it felt like he was gnawing on my boobs. She tried to get him to have a deeper latch but my nipples were already so sore and painful that we agreed it would be best to give them a rest for a little bit. She showed me how to hand express and then helped T.J. and I spoon feed him the colostrum. Then later in the day she brought in a hospital pump to use and we filled tiny syringes with the pumped colostrum to feed him drop by drop. So during our second night there I pumped, then T.J. would slowly feed him the syringes of milk, then we'd all try to sleep and then start over again. It was a lot of work but at least we knew exactly how much he was getting to eat and he was having plenty of wet and dirty diapers which was a good sign. But it was still really overwhelming for me and I got nervous about going home and having to manage all of it on our own. I was discouraged and disappointed that I couldn't just feed him straight from the source.

Luckily after a night of rest and a bit more syringe feeding in the morning, I was feeling less pain and decided to try to breastfeed him again the next day.  And it was...better. Not great but getting there. They discharged me that day with some extra syringes just in case and while I did pump some that first night at home to have on hand we've been successfully breastfeeding ever since! It took a couple more days for it to be pain free but praise the Lord it is such a relief to have it all worked out! Especially because I know so many women who struggle long after they leave the hospital and not everyone's breastfeeding journey has the same happy ending.  But these are a few things that have made breastfeeding easier for me and have become crucial to our routine.

Medela Soft Shells- These are a game changer. The lactation consultant gave me these in the hospital and they go inside your bra to keep your clothes from sticking to your sore nipples. They let them breathe and give them a rest between feedings. They are also great during feeds for catching milk that leaks from the side you're not feeding from. I am always amazed how much comes out and am so glad it's not all over my clothes. They are discreet and I totally wear them out and about with no shame!

Baby Feed Timer app- I love this app!! You can time how long he feeds on each side and then it tracks the time between feeds and lets you know when it's time to feed again and which side to start on. During the day he is really good at letting me know when he's hungry but it's still nice to know when to expect him to feed next. And at night he would definitely sleep longer than the recommended 2-3 hours between feeds. During these early days I've been told to wake him up to feed (hardest thing ever!) since newborns will sleep through hunger cues but this app helps me to know the best time to do so.  I really just like having all the information tracked instead of trying to remember it in my sleepy state.

Nursing Bras- This soft cup bra from Storq is my favorite for during the day. I love that it doesn't scream nursing bra, it's super soft and comfortable and you don't have to deal with clipping and unclipping latches, you just pull aside the cup. At night I sleep in this bra from Kindred Bravely and again it's so comfortable and easy to use.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter- I lather this stuff on in between feeds before popping the soft shells into my shirt and I feel like this combined with the soft shells totally helped heal the bit of damage I did in the first days of learning how to breastfeed.

Breast Pads- Good thing I registered and received two big boxes of these things because holy leaking boobs!

Boppy- I plop myself down on the couch with my water bottle beside me and the boppy on my lap and we are ready to nurse! I got the cutest cover on etsy which makes it so I don't mind having it laying around the house.

All this is to say that while breastfeeding is natural and the perfect source of food for my baby, it definitely did not start as easy breezy as I hoped or thought it would. Now though, our whole day revolves around when he last ate, how long he ate on which side and when is it time for his next feeding. But it's a full time job that I am so privileged and overjoyed to have.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Our Son's Birth Story

Thomas Daley Melton was born Thursday morning at 9:06 AM on July 27, 2017! I can't believe I am his mom, that he is our son, that I get the privilege of raising him and knowing him for the rest of my life. I also cannot believe he has been in our life for over a week now. It has gone by in such a blur of baby snuggles and nursing and nursing and nursing and diaper changes. And it has been wonderful. But his birthday already feels so long ago so I am going to try to record the details of his birth story before we get too far out.

I'm glad I got in one more pregnancy update last Wednesday before I went in to labor that day. Wednesday morning I had my 39 week appointment with my midwife. At my 38 week appointment I was already 2 cm dilated and 75% effaced so I was eager to see what progress I had made that week. She checked me and I was 3cm and so she offered to sweep my membranes which was incredibly more uncomfortable that I was expecting but I was very hopeful that it would kick start my labor. After my appointment I felt crampy and had a dull ache in my back. My sister and I made one more grocery run to stock up on food for the weekend in case I went in to labor. For the rest of the afternoon I kept getting more and more uncomfortable. I'd been having braxton hicks for a few weeks but I didn't notice any real uptick in frequency or intensity in them, which I was watching for, just a painful backache that got worse and worse as the day went on.

We sat down for dinner that night and both T.J. and my sister later told me that they noticed a sort of shift in my attitude around that time - that I became snippy and was clearly uncomfortable and not myself. I went to take a hot shower around 8:30 hoping the hot water would give my back some relief. While in the shower I felt a weird pop and (WARNING TMI UP AHEAD) I lost my mucus plug. I also felt a gush of more fluid which I later learned was my water breaking but at the time I wasn't a hundred percent sure since I was in the shower. I hesitantly called for T.J. and told him that maybe, possibly,  I think this might actually be the real thing.  But I still wasn't super confident since I know you can lose your mucus plug a couple days before actual labor.

However, as soon as I got out of the shower the pain in my back ratcheted up to a whole 'nother level. I was on my hands and knees on the bathroom floor trying to find a position that would provide some relief. I was asking T.J. to push ("HARDER!") on my lower back but nothing really helped and there was no break. It didn't feel like what I expected contractions to feel like. First of all they weren't in the front of my body, it was all in my lower back. Secondly there was no real beginning/middle/end. We tried timing them on the app I had downloaded and there just wasn't a distinguishable rise and fall or a wave pattern to the pain.  It was just consistent pain with peaks of worse pain appearing every couple minutes. Everything I'd read about coping with natural labor told me to rest between contractions, to remember that you get a break between contractions, that you can rest between them, catch your breath and gear up for the next one. This was not like that. There was no break and I began to think I might not be able to do this.

And then I threw up. This was around 10:30PM and I knew that was definitely a sign that this was in fact real active labor, back labor, and things were moving fast.

And thus began a new level of intimacy between my husband and I where he would see things he could never unsee and I cared not one bit.

I hollered for my sister to help T.J. "PACK THE CAR!" and begrudginly put on a loose dress (no underwear or bra- screw that) and then hobbled to the car. Sitting in the car was awful and I was perched on the edge of the seat with a death grip on the hand rail. When we pulled into the Army base gate they didn't even bother to check my ID and just waved us on as I moaned in the front seat.

It took approximately 30 minutes for us to walk the 10 feet from the car, into the hospital lobby and up the elevator to Labor and Delivery as I had to stop every few minutes to drop into a squat or get down on my hands and knees (flashing everyone we passed along the way) to breathe through the peaks. When we finally got to L&D they led me to a triage room to get me and baby boy hooked up to the monitors and to check me. I was mildly hopeful that they were going to say I was already fully dilated but I was just at 6cm. While this was definitely considerable progress in a short period of time I immediately started crying and said I wanted an epidural, I was done.

This was not what I had planned or hoped to do. I wanted an unmedicated labor, my reasons being that I hoped to avoid the cascade of interventions that sometimes follow an epidural like pitocin, forceps, episiotomies and emergency c-sections. But again, at that point I was out of my mind and I did not care one bit! I'm glad I didn't cling to stubbornly to my "plan" because it all ended up happening just how it was supposed to and I have no regrets. Plus, I also think T.J. was relieved that I was going to get some relief.

They moved me to my room and gave me a bag of fluids that I had to have before they could place the epidural. While I waited I leaned over the bed, squatted, moaned, went back and forth to sitting on the toilet, squeezed the heck out of T.J.'s hands and annoyingly answered all the questions and signed the paperwork in a haze of pain.

Finally around 1AM the anesthesiologist came in and where a few days ago I would have hesitated about this decision, that night I was just counting down the seconds until my back would stop feeling like it was being broken in half.

Sweet relief came soon after and once the epidural was placed they checked me again and said I was already at an 8.5cm and fully effaced. They told me to rest while I could because it surely wouldn't be too much longer until we'd be meeting our son.
Hah. Not so much. T.J and I slept restlessley on and off for the next couple hours. It's so surreal just sitting round waiting for your baby to arrive. The nurse said I was most likely complete already but that they would let me wait to start pushing until I felt a strong urge and my body told me it was ready, so that I wouldn't wear myself out too soon. So we tried to rest some more until finally around 7AM I said I thought I was feeling a lot of pressure down there. The nurse came in and got me situated and she and T.J. helped me hold my totally numb legs so I could do a couple practice pushes before the midwife arrived. She immediately said she could see that baby boy had tons of hair which I was so excited and surprised to hear. 7AM was also the shift change so the new midwife came on and happened to be the one I'd seen the day before at my appointment. I really liked her and was excited to have her there for my delivery.

This is getting really long now so basically the rest of this story involved 2 hours of pushing and more pushing and trying to get baby boy's head past whatever he was stuck on, which made me really grateful for the epidural. Luckily he handled all the contractions and stress and pushing like a champ and there was never any concern for his heart rate so they just let me keep on trucking. T.J. put on music, Needtobreathe and Eric Church, and gave me sips of water and held my legs and rubbed my back and was such an awesome support for me. The midwife and nurse were so encouraging and gave great feedback on which pushes were most effective. They rolled out a mirror so I could see the progress I was slowly making and that really helped. And even though I had an epidural and my legs felt like they weighed 100lbs I could still feel when a new contraction was starting, though it just felt like pressure not pain, so I knew when to push and I got to see baby boy moving further down.

And then finally  his head was out and then the rest of his body and all of a sudden there was a whole new person in the room being laid on my chest. And I was crying in relief and joy. He was whole and perfect with a full cone-head of dark hair, and he was mine.
After about an hour of skin to skin they got him cleaned up and measured. He weighed 8lbs 1oz, which was honestly a shock to me (and thank goodness he came early and not late), and was 20.5 inches long. Then we were moved to the Mother Baby wing where we spent the next couple days figuring out breastfeeding and diaper changes and started getting to know our new little guy. 
They finally let us leave on Saturday afternoon and we were so excited to bring our son home and introduce him to our pup and also excited to sleep in our own bed with our little bundle of joy beside us. To say we are obsessed is an understatement. I have about 500 pictures from this past week that I could share but I'll end here because I've got a hungry little boy who's ready for his next mealtime. 
I mean have you ever seen a more perfect little sweet baby boy?? 

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.