Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas even though this year found me exhausted, often crabby, unable to walk well or move at times, begging for the energy to even wrap presents, etc. Even so, I still find myself sitting here in the last hour of Christmas night, listening to the last carols play on the radio in an otherwise silent house, sad to see it go.

I love Christmas - it is my favorite time of year. I love fall so much as its leading to now. I love the snow, the cold, the hustle, wrapping presents, baking, our tree and lights. I love gathering with family and anticipation. I never imagined I’d be so extremely exhausted at the end of pregnancy though and didn’t do very much of that at all this year and I feel a little sad that I missed out on some things. Luckily I have a pretty fantastic husband who helped me clean the house and bake the last of the cookies last night and did quite a bit in regards to cooking dinner tonight and cleaning it all up so I could lay down and shut my eyes.

I assumed that since I didn’t have the energy to get as into the holidays this year as those past I wouldn’t be quite so sad to see them go.. But I was wrong. Even without the energy to do everything I normally love… this Christmas was the best ever. Caden was so into opening his presents and just so filled with excitement and happiness over everything and my second son, the one I wished so deeply for this time last year, rolled and bumped inside of me… cookies and pretty tags and bows just didn’t matter.

Last night we went to my mom’s to celebrate with her, my brothers, and their families. The boy’s were quite spoiled - Grandma really goes all out. Caden was so into opening those presents and just couldn’t wait to get his hands on the next - and it wasn‘t even about what was inside.
When we got home I let Caden open one of his presents - a pair of snowmen jammies (4T btw). He opened the present and exclaimed with all the excitement he had and ever so genuinely, “A BOX!!!!!”. After he opened the box and shouted with just as much enthusiasm “Snowmen!”, Steve helped him put on his new jammies - you’d have thought they were painted on. Poor kid, he looked hilarious! That was a big fail but even so he didn’t mind. Steve put him to bed (in a pair of properly fitting, though less festive, jammies) just in time for Santa to come and fill beneath our tree and Steve and I finished up some last minute prep for guests Christmas night. We took out our camcorder to charge the batteries, the video from last Christmas still inside (I tend to use my camera more than our camcorder even for video - a habit I wish to break) - he has grown so much in one short year. I try to take every bit of this time with him in and lock every detail away in memory but no matter how hard I try, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to comprehend just how quickly he has grown.

Christmas morning came and I loved hearing the excitement in Caden’s voice this morning as he stepped into the living room, looked at the tree and all the presents waiting and exclaimed “presents!!!” He happily sat and waited while Daddy made our traditional Christmas breakfast of cinnamon rolls and then he got to dive in. He was so genuinely excited about every thing he opened - the first being his little brother’s presents (just in case). Parker got a pretty new bouncer and when Caden tore off the paper he turned and looked at me with the happiest face and shouted “A baby!!!!!” He didn’t realize just how correct that statement was.. However Parker is the one deciding on when to make that arrival.

It was just a wonderful morning watching the joy in his little face over every little thing. Steve, I mean Santa, brought him a race track that shoots his disney cars around in loops and the look on his face when his Daddy started it up for the first time was priceless. “OH WOW!” he shouted as he laughed.
Mom and Dad were spoiled as well of course and I love everything I received… but it just doesn’t compare to how happy Caden and Parker have made me this year - and I know Steve would agree.

I am without a doubt the luckiest. I am without a doubt blessed.


Obviously we’re still waiting on the biggest gift of all this year - I think its safe to say he finally dropped over the past few days and my pelvis is sure feeling it. Steve is sure this week coming up, week 39, is the week but then my Dad was sure Parker was making his arrival Christmas eve and my friend was sure Wednesday (2 days ago) was the day. Myself… I have absolutely no idea. Part of me agrees with Steve, part of me thinks he is holding on until the new year. Hopefully soon because I don’t want to fight the section fight.

While we count down the days we have plenty to keep us busy - the focus now can turn to baby and getting the house ready - big stuff is done at least! Since we hosted a small dinner tonight a lot of the cleaning is done but the decorations still need to come down… I think I’ll go ahead and wait until new years day as I normally do - entice Murphy’s law to take effect and make me kick myself for not taking the tree down sooner, of course now that I said that….

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Snow storms and ultrasounds at 36 weeks

Today Steve had the morning off of work and we all woke early for a final ultrasound - part for my peace of mind. I was high risk with Caden (preeclampsia at 22-23 weeks) and find the lack of monitoring this round strange but welcome - really enjoying the whole normal pregnancy thing. Caden was born by emergency c-section and we’re hoping and planning that Parker will be born by VBAC - at one point my placenta was over my scar slightly which worried me but I’m happy to say that while still right out front, its high and far from the scar.

Caden came with us to the appt and did great - he was supposed to go to my mom’s but due to snow the roads were a little messy and traffic filled so we just brought him with us rather than be late. He was happy to play with all the toys and everything went much more smoothly than I anticipated.

Parker looks great - we got a bunch of pics but you can’t see much in any of them due to how scrunched up he is. He spent most of the ultrasound with his hands tucked up by his little face playing with his toes and a peek around displayed what appears to be a good amount of hair on his little head, something I’ve been wondering about due to all the heartburn I’ve been experiencing this time (minimal to none with Caden and he was bald until 2!). Seeing his little hands and feet just made me ache to hold him. I’m still hoping he holds off until after Christmas and I know I’ll miss being pregnant… but I cannot wait to see him, to feel is tiny fingers wrap around mine, to kiss his soft skin and tickle his tiny feet.

We did get an estimate on his size and while I don’t put a lot of faith into ultrasounds and know they can be off, I think this is a pretty good estimate and is exactly what I was thinking it would be. Parker is estimated at 7lbs 1oz and I’m 36 weeks, so already a good sized baby. I was fully expecting him to be over 7lbs at this point even though Caden was born 7lbs 6oz at 39 weeks. I’m already much bigger than I ever was with Caden and when I run my hand along my belly feeling Parker’s back and poking at his tiny knees and feet he just feels big.. long. He isn’t measuring obscenely big or anything and its not a cause for concern - he is just going to be bigger than Caden. I’ll be surprised if he is less than 8lbs. In so many ways I’m expecting Caden again… my little bald adorable baby… its going to be crazy to see this completely different little guy come out.

The rest of my appointment was fine except for one pretty big detail - my freaking blood pressure. I knew it was creeping up from my readings at home and the appt today confirmed that (136/88). Low enough that I avoided bringing home a little brown jug but I left with the promise to continue to monitor at home so that I can come in for labs in the event my BP is regularly above 140/90. Its been up there a lot the past few days which honestly made no sense to me and now I think my machine needs new batteries. The past few readings have been higher but safe, the biggest difference is fiddling with the batteries first. So, next time I’m out I’ll pick up a new pack.

My urine strip was fine - no protein or sugar but even when my 24 hr urine came back above 500 with Caden it didn’t show much. For the entire 2nd half of my pregnancy with Caden I was spilling over 300 but the most I ever showed was a +1 once, so I don’t trust those a whole lot. I’m terrified of that little brown jug because I know if I get sent home with one its going to be above 300, preeclampsia or not. My baseline was already above 200 which is high for a female of my age (I also have tested positive for ANA so its something we need to start watching more closely and I’ll probably start seeing someone 4ish mo after Parker is born at request of my high risk obs). I feel a bit of swelling in my face but I get terrible “pregnancy face” and a big fat nose so its hard to tell the culprit. Hands and feet swell when I do too much or don’t drink enough - nothing to worry about. Weight was fine - I’m up about 24-25lbs this pregnancy. I no longer fit on the scale unless I stand sideways, hehe, so I haven’t paid too much attention to the numbers but I either gained nothing or lost a little from last week - so really things are looking good.

I worry about the high BP taking away even a chance to VBAC. My doctors haven’t even mentioned it so its not being held over my head - after one hissy I already had I think they know better (plus the dr I see most understand my need for control and issues not having any here, so she handles those issues better than others). But I also know that high BP is always one of those vbac no-no foot notes. I brought it up to my mom and she reminded me (in a sincere and helpful way) that a year ago at this very moment I wasn’t even sure I could get pregnant again… and here I am. In the end I will do what is best for my children. But for now I plan to lay off things that seem to trigger swelling, stick to actually taking it easy as I am supposed to, and lots of water. And definitely new batteries in my blood pressure monitor.

I also had my GBS swab and 1st internal - fantastic fun. I still remember just how much internals hurt but the first few are usually not too bad. Parker is -3 station, cervix is open on the outside but closed on the inside and I’m 50% effaced - all to be expected at 36 weeks.

After all was said and done we did the usual ultrasound routine as we’ve always done this pregnancy and headed out to breakfast - Oh was I hungry and I wanted it ALL! Sadly there wasn’t enough room to stuff it all in. My stomach has been squished up and now when I’m hungry… my left boob growls. Caden actually did fantastic at the restaurant, too, which is often hit or miss. When we got home Steve was able to shovel the drive from the inch or two of snow we got this morning before heading into the office and Caden had fun playing while he did. I need to buy him some snow pants.

Tonight the snow is falling yet again and we’re expecting several inches - reports vary. Hoping the worst holds off until Steve heads home and I haven’t got that call yet. Part of me wants to go shovel the drive for him but I know that probably isn’t the best idea. I love the snow and with the exception of my husband having to drive home in it, look forward to snow storms. I remember looking out the window of my L&D room the night of my induction with Caden over a perfect, soft blanket of snow - nothing better than on Christmas and the day you’re winter baby is born.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Big Brother and Final Preparations

Saturday morning we all woke up bright and early (well, earlier than I’d like!) to take Caden to his Big Brother class at the hospital. One of the main reasons I signed him up for the class was that it included a tour of the maternity section and such and I thought it would be nice for Caden to be acquainted with the hospital before seeing his Momma there for the first time. However, h1n1 restrictions have banned my little guy even though he poses no risk so there was no tour, and he won’t be allowed to see us while in the hospital after Parker is born. It is a policy that I find pointless and feel is detrimental to the well being of new mothers and families, especially when L&D is one area of the hospital that could easily screen for sick people rather than just banning anyone under 18, but that is a rant for an entirely different day. Hopefully our stay in the hospital will be short and sweet since Caden really isn’t going to understand being pulled away from his Mom like that. Anyway…

The class was nice - Caden got a big brother t-shirt and coloring book to take home and colored a picture that I’ll save. We looked at a book and had a snack while waiting for class to begin and then the nurses read all the kids a story. They went over how to hold the baby using dolls and went through various baby items and feeding - Caden was happy to exclaim “Paci!!” when it was presented - he hasn’t had one in a long time but the fondness remains. There was a puppet show and a slide show to take place of the maternity tour… who knows, maybe the restrictions will be lifted in time for Parker’s arrival but its doubtful. Finally Caden had a blast at the end running around and playing with the other kids.

I’m not sure how much everything actually prepared him for just how much his world his about to be rocked, but then I also think he does understand more than I give him credit for. The fact that Momma’s big round belly contains a little human being is such an obscure concept to even me that I don’t believe he could grasp it… but maybe I’m wrong. We talk about Parker a lot and Caden exclaims “Parker!!” when he gets a glimpse of my belly. He is happy to give Parker kisses and rubs and to tell us that parker is in the belly…. But sometimes Parker is in his belly, too, and sometimes he likes to check in with the doppler as well. We tell Caden that Parker is a baby and Caden loves babies and Caden will talk to my belly as he would a person “Hello Parker, How are you doing, Parker?” So maybe he understands more than I know. Of course how much he understands that this little being is going to come live with us in a few short weeks and Caden will have to share his Momma from now on is something I think will be a bit more difficult to accept. I don’t except the transition from only to big brother is going to go perfect and I’m sure Caden will act out… but I also think it will go better than expected and I know he is going to be an amazing big brother.

We’re slowly but surely getting things done around the house in preparation for Parker’s arrival. Caden has been in his big boy bed and the crib in the nursery for months now and Caden had not a single issue with that transition nor has he wanted his crib back. The nursery is painted and all the big projects done. With the exception of a gallon ziplock of baby socks that has gone missing, most of the laundry is done and organized. I still need to wash the crib bedding but my plan is to old off as long as possible due to the cats enjoying a snooze here and there in the crib. I still have plenty of small projects to keep me busy and tons to do for Christmas, but as long as the aches and pains and sniffles stay away I think I just might be able to get a lot of it done.

Last night Steve put the bassinet together and we rearranged some of the furniture in the bedroom to accommodate it. I still have some basic cleaning and organizing to take care of but should Parker decide to arrive earlier than anticipated, at least we have the basics ready to go.
Caden was quite interested in the bassinet at first but is now aware that it is for the baby - “it’s the baby’s bed! He goes Ni-night there!”. We still have plenty to do but I feel great knowing progress on the little things is being made.

Plans for this week include a nasty snow storm coming Tomorrow - I’m actually looking forward to it though I hate that Steve has to go out in in and I’m not quite sure how the driveway is going to be cleared - may have to wait for Steve to get home. Tomorrow morning we have our final ultrasound and a routine OB appt and I’m hoping to finally get in for my massage on Thursday. My mom is taking Caden overnight on Satruday and to a Christmas Party on Sunday - Steve and I are using this time to have a date night and to do my belly cast. And my general goals for this week include:

Finish sewing basket liners
Finish mini albums for Christmas
Hang photos in hall
Organize book case in nursery
Finish our bedroom and baby nook

I’m hoping this is the beginning of a renewed relationship with my blog. I made sure to take the photos, record the footnotes, and enjoy this pregnancy to the fullest extent, but I do regret that I didn’t record more of it here. The good news is that I did elsewhere so at least I have something. I’ve always had to much I wanted to say but didn’t give myself the time (or energy as it seems these days) to sit down and say it. I’m hoping that all changes. I have so many details recorded and saved from Caden’s birth and first days and plan to do the same for Parker. In an attempt to catch up I did spend a good chunk of yesterday morning updating our Maternity and belly pics and even included a handy dandy link on the left. Now to just keep up! As the snow blankets outside it feels like the perfect time to recommit myself ;)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Belly Pics

41 weeks

40 weeks

37 weeks

36 weeks

35 weeks

32 weeks

31 weeks

30 weeks

28 weeks

27 weeks

26 weeks

24 weeks

23 weeks

22 weeks

20 weeks

18 weeks

16 weeks

12 weeks

Maternity/Family Photos

On October 17, 2009 we had a maternity/family photography session at a beautiful park in Wheaton, Illinois. These are a few of our favorite images out of over 700+! I was 29 weeks pregnant.



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