Showing posts with label Pregnancy. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Pregnancy. Show all posts

A Commentary On Postpartum Shopping



Postpartum Shopping, how do I loathe thee!  Let me count the ways.

Do you remember on What Not To Wear, how Stacy and Clinton found that mom of x-number of kids who got all frumpy, and during the wardrobe trashing session they found that she was still wearing maternity pants when her child was two or three years old?  For the first time I understand that lady, and I fear I could become her.

Right now I have exactly three pairs of jeans that fit me.  One of pair are really no longer flattering on me and generally not fit to be seen in public.  One pair fits wonderfully (thank goodness) and are a wide-leg bootcut.  One pair are my skinny maternity jeans.

And that's it.

I might be able to get away with the one pair of wide-leg jeans until I can squeeze back into my regular pants again, but the problem is that this doesn't work with a lot of my wardrobe.  I basically learned how to dress in part from What Not To Wear, and I remember all the tips for how to pick flattering clothes that hide the not-so-favorite parts of your body.  Well, after five kids, let's just say my stomach will never be the same, and I'm okay with that.  I do have skinny arms and thinner legs, so what I usually do is wear skinny pants, and long shirts with a flowy or semi-loose fit through the torso.  Then I do a handy little half-tuck into the front of my pants, or a nice knot on the side of the shirt, and wholla!  I camouflage that little post baby-flab around the middle.  

For this look to work though, I need a good pair of skinny jeans.  A lot of my looser-fitting shirts are too voluminous to wear with my one pair of wider-legged jeans.  And you might remember that my only pair of skinny jeans that currently fit are maternity pants, which aside from being maternity pants, are not so good for tucking.

I will not be that lady who wears maternity pants too long.  Stacy and Clinton are echoing in my brain.

So, last Friday I packed up all five kids and headed to the mall.  I needed to make a return anyway, and I thought, why not see if I can find a pair of skinny jeans while I'm there?  It should be easy!  In and out.

I probably should have recorded some Instagram Story videos for you all while I was out, because it's been a while since I shopped like that, and I have thoughts.  Here is what I would have said if I had been shopping with a good friend by my side.

1. First, we stop at the front of JCPenny to return a sweater I decided I didn't want.  We have to wait a while because the line is long and there are only two store clerks.  I spot some velvet ribbon choker necklaces next to the line, which catch my eye.  I pick one up and turn it around and realize there is no necklace clasp in the back.  It is literally just a velvet ribbon tied onto a piece of cardboard for $7. Let's just put aside the fact that I could buy the exact same piece of ribbon at Joann's for a dollar and take note of the fact that this is a very dangerous style.  Yes, let's just tell young girls that it's a good idea to tie something around their neck in such a way that any psychotic adolescent or serial killer could just give a good yank and choke her to death!  Am I the only one who sees a problem with this?  I don't even tie my scarves around my neck in a way that would make it easier for some stranger to choke me.  Safety first.  You never know when you might come across a psychopath. 

2.  We make the return and head to the back of the store, where the brand that looks most like my style resides.  I look around and grab a few pairs of skinny jeans.  Plus, you know, a sweater or two.  We head to the dressing room, and I have the kids sit right outside the door.  Note to self: bring the iPad loaded with a movie next time.  I hand them my phone so they can play a game instead.

3. I forgot how awful postpartum jeans shopping is for my self esteem.  On the plus side, I only have to go one size up from my previous size.

4. I try on about 10 pairs of jeans three different times, while calling out every 60 seconds or so to make sure none of my children have wandered off.  If there is one thing I picked up from Stacy and Clinton, it's to dress the body you have, not the body you want or think you might have someday, but that's kind of hard to do when you know that you're going to get skinnier as things shift back over the next few months.  I'm kicking myself again for getting rid of my size-too-big jeans that I wore after previous babies.  I should have hung onto those last year instead of purging my closet!  Then I wouldn't be here sucking air in to button a pair of pants because I know I should buy the tightest pair I can so I can get the most use out of them while losing the baby weight.

5.  When did low rise jeans go out of style?  Seriously, when?  I haven't had to buy jeans in a while, and it's like a whole new world.  All I can find are mid or high-rise jeans.  They are all hitting me right in the middle of the post-baby flab, which 1) is uncomfortable, and 2) is super unflattering.  Maybe if I wear a smoothing undergarment...

6.  I try on the most promising pair of denim again and sit down for a second.  That's when I remember why I always buy low-rise jeans.  My stomach pooches out where the jeans should be sucking it in, and there is a funny wrinkle in the crotch.  No.  Oh no.  It's the return of the 1980's style mom jean!  Who decided bringing back high-rise jeans was a good idea?  Because these are all basically high-rise jeans to me, even the "mid-rise" jeans.  High-rise is the new mid-rise, and I've never met a pair of high-rise jeans that didn't look funny on me when I sit down.  Is this the best we can do now?  Haven't we grown beyond 80's jeans as a society?  What is happening!

7.  I chuck all the jeans and decide to try another store.  Maybe H&M.  That's where I got my (great) pair of maternity pants after all.  Why can't I just wear my maternity pants again?  Oh yeah, Stacy and Clinton come back to remind me.  I head across the mall with my brood trailing behind me.  Georgie is thankfully sleeping like an angel through all this.

8. H&M has the same problem.  I grab a pair of "shaping" "mid-rise" jeans that look suspiciously like the high-rise denim I just left behind.  Then I find one pair of low-rise pants buried in the racks.  Hooray!  Off to the dressing room.

9. All duds.  Not only do we have the same funny-looking-when-I-sit problem, but I realize H&M's target audience (at least for jeans) may be slightly younger than me now (scary), and the difference between jeans geared toward juniors and jeans geared toward misses are how they make your derriere look.  I don't want to draw undo attention to my derriere, thank you.  So even the low-rise pants are a no.

10.  I realize that the aforementioned "mid-rise" skinny jeans at JCPenney may be my best bet after all.  They were better than the H&M jeans, and they were cheap since JCPenney was having a big 60% off sale.

11.  I buy the JCPenney jeans.  They are only transition jeans after all. 



On the plus side, I found four tops and a skirt (remember, 60% off!) on my quest to find ONE pair of jeans.  Insert sigh.  At least my top half will look good.  Cross your fingers for me that I can actually fit into my collection of low-rise jeans at some point in the future (or tell me where you've bought flattering jeans recently!), because otherwise the future of denim is looking pretty bleak for me.

Georgiana's Birth Story



I don't think you can fully appreciate this birth story unless I back up a little bit and impress upon you just exactly how incredibly uncomfortable I was on October 29th.

I wrote my 38 week pregnancy update before the 29th, and I already described there how many different things were giving me pain between 37 and 38 weeks, including a round of false labor.  But when I woke up on the 29th, my discomfort had reached another level.  

I shifted to get out of bed and took a few steps to the bathroom, in pain the entire time.  I had been feeling uncomfortable first thing in the morning all week, but today the feeling just didn’t go away.  The pain was mostly in my lower back and hips, and my leg/hip joint, and the baby just felt so heavy.  It hurt to walk around the house, it hurt to climb the stairs, it even hurt to lift one leg so I could cross it over the other.  I had to use my hands to physically lift my limbs so I could cross my legs!  I couldn’t recline too far back because I could feel the baby’s head pressing against my tailbone when I reclined, but I couldn’t sit forward very comfortably with my legs together.  I was left with a less-than-ladylike exercise-ball-squat sitting position, which gets uncomfortable in itself after a while.

We decided to go to church anyway, mainly because I didn’t want to sit around the house feeling uncomfortable with nothing to do all day.  Everyone in our Sunday School class asked how I was feeling, and all I could say was that I felt so sore today.  A couple of them suggested that maybe the baby would come early, but I waved it off.  “Oh, I think we’ll end up having a 40 week baby, so I’m just trying to prepare myself!” I said.  And I really believed it.

We had a birthday party scheduled for the afternoon, but Derek encouraged me to tell our friends we couldn’t make it, and after suffering through church and the car ride home, I agreed with him.  I laid down and took a nap for an hour, which was the only relief I had all day.  Derek was so sweet and took care of the kids so I could rest and take it easy all afternoon.  I told him I really didn’t know what I was going to do the next day if I felt this uncomfortable again, because I wouldn’t even be able to take care of the kids with the way I was feeling.  He emailed his work to see if he could work from home so he could help me.

Derek tried out a new curry recipe for dinner while I rested on the couch, and that was when I started to notice some Braxton-Hicks like contractions.  The didn’t feel like real contractions, but they were more noticeable than regular Braxton-Hicks.  I figured it was more false labor, but I timed them anyway.  They came anywhere from 10-30 minutes, not consistently at all.

The kids all (surprisingly) loved the curry dinner, and we all sat at the table together to eat and do Bible time.  Derek often takes over the bedtime routine for me in the evenings during the week so I can have a break, but a little part of me was starting to wonder if I might be having the baby sooner than expected, so I wanted to be part of the whole bedtime ritual than night, just in case.  We brushed teeth, read a story, sang a song, said bedtime prayers.  I kissed all my babies goodnight, and Derek and I sat down to watch an old episode of Monk.  Actually, to be accurate, Derek sat, I laid down on my side, since that was the only comfortable position.

The contractions were still sporadic and not terribly contraction-like through the show, but I was starting to get a general feeling of unease.  I got up at one point to use the restroom, and when I laid back down on the couch, I started shivering.

I asked Derek to cover me with a blanket.  But the shivering didn’t stop.  

I told him I didn’t feel right, and I thought maybe we should call my mom and ask her to spend the night, just in case.

By the time Derek got off the phone with my mom, I was shaking uncontrollably, and it was honestly starting to freak me out a little bit.  The only other time I had experienced shaking like that during pregnancy was when I was in labor, in transition.  I couldn’t be in transition since I wasn’t even having consistent contractions, right?  It was weird enough though that I decided to call my doctor.

I told her about the contractions and the shaking that had just started.  

“Well, hmm,” she said.  “Usually women who are in labor can’t sleep through it - do you think you could sleep through the contractions?”  

“Well, I don’t think I’ll be able to sleep if this shaking doesn’t stop,” I said.  

“Why don’t you just come down to the hospital to be checked out?  You’re scaring me a little bit,” she said.  (My doctors are all very aware that I often progress quickly in labor.)

By the time I got off the phone the shaking was even more pronounced, and I was honestly starting to feel a little panicky.  This was so unlike my usual labor pattern, I really wasn’t sure what was going on.  Was I going into labor or was this just some weird pregnancy symptom?  I didn’t feel right.

I called my mom to tell her to hurry, but she didn’t pick up.  Derek started throwing a few last-minute things into our hospital bag, just in case this was really labor and we ended up staying.  I gingerly walked around the house, grabbing a couple things and getting my boots and jacket on.  Then suddenly the shaking stopped.

Derek finished packing the car and came to sit next to me, and I just burst into tears.  “I feel stupid!” I wailed (yes, wailed).  “The shaking has stopped, and we’re going to go down there, and it’s all going to be nothing!  And then we’ll have to come home and I’m still going to be this uncomfortable!”  I had tears streaming down my face while Derek rubbed my back.

My mom called, and I gave her the same teary update.  “No, you still need to go down there and figure out what this shaking thing is.  That’s not normal,” she told me.

She arrived a couple minutes later, and my mom prayed with Derek and me before we headed off to the hospital, around 9:00 PM.

Once we were in the car I was feeling less panicky, and I was talking to Derek, trying to convince myself it wasn’t a total waste of time to go to the hospital.  Derek assured me that it wasn’t a waste of time, and I needed to at least get checked. 

Within a few minutes of getting into the car I had a contraction again, and this one felt more like I remembered early labor contractions feeling (even though it was short at only 30 seconds).  I started timing again, and had contractions every 5-6 minutes all the way to the hospital.  I was relieved, because these felt like the real thing, and I finally felt like I was recognizably in early labor.  Derek told me that he had told Wyatt that we were going to the hospital to get checked out, and Wyatt had bounced around, excited that we might be having the baby.

We pulled into the hospital parking lot and waited a few minutes until my next contraction had ended before we headed in.  The nurses came down to get us, and joked that they were worried I had a baby on the side of the road again.  

My contractions stalled when we arrived at the hospital, but I was expecting this.  Typically when I’m in early labor and get up to walk around, my contractions stop (it happened the last time I gave birth too).  My nurse introduced herself and asked me to leave a sample.  I noticed a tiny streak of blood in the bathroom, which was reassuring to me that something was happening down there.  She hooked me up to the monitors and asked if I had been having any more contractions (I hadn’t, but I knew they’d start up again soon).  She checked my cervix, and I was only at a 1 cm (same as at my doctor appointment the week before).




After laying in bed for a few minutes my contractions started again and were recognizable on the monitors.  At 10:45 PM, the nurse said they would monitor me for an hour and see if I made any progress.  When she left the room, Derek and I worried about what we would do if they decided not to admit me to the hospital.  At this point we knew I was in early labor, and we certainly didn’t want to go home.  I also didn’t want to have to labor in the car and try to get admitted again.  I focused on breathing slowly and relaxing as much as possible through the contractions so they could do their job.

The nurse came to check on my around 11:45 PM and asked how I was doing.  I said that the contractions were definitely more painful now.  She said she thought they should wait and give me one more hour before they checked me, just to really make sure I had enough time to make some progress.  I was so grateful for that nurse!

Over the next 15 minutes my contractions really started to pick up in intensity.  They started hurting so much worse, with the pain concentrated heavily in my back.  It made sense to me that I would have back labor, because I had suspected that the baby was facing the wrong direction with all the pain I’d been having that day.

In my past labors, I usually have a contraction and then feel very normal until the next contraction comes.  This labor was entirely different from my usual labor experience, because the pain did not go away between contractions.  I’d have a painful contraction in my back, and then the achy, sore feeling would linger in my back and hips until the next contraction.  They say if you have back labor it helps to get on your hands and knees (and I know this is true, because it really helped when I had back labor with my third).  However, remember how much pain I was in earlier in the day when trying to walk?  I did not want to move - it hurt too much to even shift a little in the bed.

At this point, I told Derek two things:

1) I didn’t care if I hadn’t progressed at all at my next check, I was not leaving that hospital.  I was going to insist they admit me.

2)  If I had progressed a decent amount at my next check, I was requesting the epidural.  I have gone through natural labor three times, and I just decided that this time, I didn’t want to.  I knew I could do it, I didn’t have anything left to prove to myself, and I just had no desire to do the back labor thing again.  I wanted my last birth experience to not be a traumatic one, and with the way things were starting to go, I knew that a natural birth would be a little traumatizing should I go that route with this baby.  Derek was sweet and supportive, as he always is.  I am so grateful for him!  I really couldn’t ask for a better birth advocate/coach.

The nurse came to check me at 12:45 AM, and I had progressed to 4 cm!  Yes!  I could tell things could potentially move fast at this point (my labors always move quickly toward the end), and I also knew it could take an hour to get the epidural.  I asked the nurses to call the anesthesiologist right away, and they put the order in.  I also got a dose of antibiotics since I had tested Group B positive.

At this point I had Derek come and start holding my hand or tickling my arm through the contractions, because they were getting more painful as we waited.  The anesthesiologist came at 1:30 AM, and I was so grateful because the intensity of the contractions kept steadily increasing.  I gingerly shifted myself around to sit on the edge of the bed, and I had to breath through a couple contractions before they could place the epidural.  The anesthesiologist told me I was “an excellent breather”, and that it was good because if I could stay relaxed the contractions would hurt less.  I’ve got the breathing thing down after five births!

He had the epidural placed by 1:45 PM, and the contractions gradually got less painful.  My right side never got completely numb (it weirdly didn’t the last time I got an epidural either), but before long I felt so much more comfortable.  

The nurse checked me again shortly after the epidural and I was at 8 cm.  I started feeling pressure almost right away, and she called the doctor.

I remember sitting there at this time, and I felt (and saw) her kick against my belly.  I grinned, and then looked at Derek.  “Ah.  That’s probably the last time I’ll feel her kick from the inside.”  I started tearing up, and Derek came over to hold my hand.

I still had tears streaming down my face as the nurse talked to me and the doctor came in a minute later.

It was 2:00 AM at this point, and I was still at 8 cm.  The doc pulled out this scary-looking stick to break my water.  She left for a minute, but with the next contraction the pressure was even more intense, and she came back in right away.  Derek rubbed my back, and I asked if I could start pushing.  They set me back with my legs in the stirrups (such a dumb pushing position, but my legs were numb, so what can you do?), and with the next contraction, I screeched/pushed.  They say you should only feel pressure, but my epidural had only really been in place for 20 minutes, so it still hurt.

I pushed again through the next contraction, and by the next contraction her head was out.  The nurses and Derek were telling me to look down so I could maybe see her head. I glanced down, but I couldn’t see her, and I didn’t try too hard because I was still trying to push the rest of her out.  At one point I remember saying I couldn’t get her out, but in the next two pushes there she was!





At 2:21 AM I looked down, and there was my sweet baby girl, her face all scrunched up.  They handed her to me, and I just started crying because I was so happy that she was here!

She just laid on my chest with her eyes wide open and her cheeks puffed out as she gave a pouty lip.  The nurses suctioned out her mouth, and she finally let out a tiny little mewing cry!

They let me hold her for a little bit, and then took her over to the warmer to clean her up while the placenta was delivered.  They must have made her mad because she was crying pretty loudly by the time they brought her back, but it made me feel pretty special when they handed her back to me and the crying immediately stopped.  She looked up at me and I just fell in love with her again for the second time in as many minutes.






They told us she was 8 pounds, 8 ounces, and 21 inches long.  No wonder I was in so much pain!  She was about a pound heavier than my heaviest baby!  One pound apparently makes a big difference in my level of pregnancy comfort.

They asked her name, and Derek and I announced it as Georgiana Bea.  We picked Georgiana because we just thought it was a beautiful name.  We picked Bea because it means “she who brings happiness”.  I knew I wanted that in her name, because she has brought us so much happiness ever since we found out she was on the way.  Miss Georgie Bea continues to live up to her name.





---

The next couple days were a bit of a blur, with a flurry of visitors, and pictures, and one annoying nurse.  But my favorite part was having the kids meet their baby sister.  Wyatt kept saying “I just really love her!”  Gwen, who has been dying to hold her for weeks, had the best grin on her face, so proud to be a big sister again!  Clyde announced that he was going to call her Georgie, and the way he says it is so darn cute.  And after some snuggles with me, Clarice plopped down on the couch and smiled so sweetly as I let her “hold” the baby!








We are all home now, and the kids are still doing great with her!  I especially think Clarice is being sweet about trying to help. When we first picked up the kids from my parents house, Clarice worked so hard to bring the car seat over to me so I could get Georgie ready to go.  Every time I come upstairs with the baby, Clarice yanks her “baby” (her favorite bear is “Baby”) out of the swing and frantically points to the swing.  “Baby Georgie here!” she says.  The other kids all are anxious to help, and the latest request is that I let them give her a bottle, so we may try to make that happen this week.  


I am loving being a mom to five kids! I am so blessed to call each of these sweet children mine, and so grateful to have Georgie here!


Wish me luck, because Derek is officially back to work now, and today is the first day on my own! 

Guess Who Surprised Me Again?



You know how I was just saying that this baby is throwing me for a loop?  Well, she did it again, because she's HERE!



We welcomed Georgiana Bea on October 30th at 2:21 AM!

She's 8 pounds 8 ounces, and 21 inches long!



We are so surprised and thrilled that she's here!  More details coming soon!

Uncomfortable - 38 Weeks (Baby #5)



Well, this baby is throwing me for a loop!

Remember how I said in my last update that I was mostly comfortable?  That changed pretty quickly over the last couple weeks.  Permit me a brief list of my aches and pains:

-My hips have been killing me.  There is so much pressure down there when I am on my feet for too long, plus I've had days where I feel like my hip is actually going to pop out of joint.  Ouch!

-The round ligament pain has picked up quite a bit, and a couple times I thought I tore something, it hurt so badly.

-I actually pulled a muscle in my stomach.  I now cannot bend down to pick something up off the floor without a muscle pain on the upper left part of my belly.   I was actually kind of worried that I gave myself a hernia there somehow, but I'm thinking it's probably just a pulled abdominal muscle.  I'm going to ask my doctor this week.

-The Braxton Hicks contractions are getting more uncomfortable the bigger I get.

-I can't recline anymore because it's too uncomfortable.  When I lean back on the couch or in bed in a reclining position, it feels like her head is pushing against my tailbone.  This makes me think she is facing the wrong direction (toward my front instead of facing my back), and I hope she turns around the right way before labor starts!  I've had back labor before, and it's not fun.

-I actually had a day, right after I posted my last update, where I had some false labor - I was cramping at intervals for a couple hours.  I could tell they weren't actual contractions and my body was just practicing, but they still were so uncomfortable.

(Please don't laugh at how many times I wrote "uncomfortable" just now.)



Despite all those aches and pains in my belly and pelvis, Baby Girl is actually not yet engaged.  There have been times when there was so much pressure on my cervix area that I was sure I must have some dilating happening, but at my appointment last week I was barely dilated to 1 cm, and not effaced at all.  I am anticipating at this point that we will definitely make it to 40 weeks, but I also said two weeks ago that I was feeling really comfortable, and now look at me.  We'll see what happens!

Are We Ready?

I have a few little last minute things that I'd like to get accomplished before she arrives...but I've been mostly putting them off.  All the big things are done, and we are mostly ready to go, so my motivation to complete the final details is a little lacking at the moment.  My focus has been mainly on making sure the house is as spotless as possible, especially before we leave the house for the day, just in case she decides to come when I'm not expecting.  



Derek has really been my hero on this front lately too.  He has put up with all my silly requests for help because he knows how uncomfortable I am, but he has also gone above and beyond the call of duty.  Last week he scrubbed the bathroom and kitchen floors with a toothbrush - a toothbrush! - and I didn't even ask him to do it!  I had resigned myself to the fact that the floors were not going to be spotless because I was definitely not going to crawl around on all fours in my current state, but he surprised me by doing it himself, and I have to say, it's so much nicer to walk around barefoot now!  I have a sweet husband.

The kids still ask me occasionally when the baby will come.  The other day Clyde asked "Is the baby coming today?" in his cute little toddler voice.  When I said no, he said "Oh, she's coming tomorrow?"  They are excited, but I think they are also starting to think she's taking forever and I hear the hint of exasperation when they ask "How many more days now?"  Especially when I have to say I don't know!



About Baby

She still moves quite a lot, and I love feeling her tiny legs and feet through my belly!  She seems to be liking to interact with my hand a little bit more, instead of just trying to kick my fingers away. But I can also tell she has slowed down a bit over the last couple weeks - I'm hoping this means she is developing some good sleeping patterns.  The one good thing about going to 40 weeks, if we do, is that I do believe that later babies are better sleepers - at least it's been true in our experience so far.   

At this point I am starting to really look forward to having her here, and seeing what she looks like.  I'm also so curious to see her personality!  I have a feeling all my girls are going to be on the spunky side.  I can't wait to see her little face.

I'm keeping myself busy with a few hobby projects, which I'll probably write about soon, and also trying to sneak in as many days of homeschooling as I can before she arrives so we can take a nice long break.  As slowly as the days seem to drag by sometimes, it's still crazy to think that in a matter of days, most likely down into the teens and soon single digits, we'll have a baby!




Mostly Comfortable - 36 Weeks (Baby #5)



I am happy to report that the hospital bag is packed!

Mostly.  There are a few things, like my hair straightener, that will have to be thrown into the bag whenever I happen to go into labor, but other than that, it's packed.

It was kind of weird packing the hospital bag this time around, because I still am kind of in denial that I have less than a month until this baby gets here.  How did this pregnancy go by so fast?  I still think it's a bit surreal that we are having a fifth baby.  I'm a mom of five babies.  I will have five children trailing after me in the grocery store for the next decade.  It's kind of cool!



How We're Doing

As far as symptoms go, I am feeling pretty good in general.  I did have pretty bad sciatic nerve pain the other night, and I had to lay on the floor and have Derek help me rotate my knees from side to side so I could actually put weight on my left leg.  I really need to get to the chiropractor this week.  

I also have had insane heartburn, and I may have taken more than the recommended amount of Tums a couple days in a row last week.  When I realized what I did and told Derek, he may have threatened to take my Tums away.  Surely "overdosing" on Tums can't cause much damage, right?


She seems to be fine in there anyway - she still moves constantly.  With all my other babies I remember at least once worrying that they were not okay in there because I hadn't felt them move in a while - this baby girl has not given me the opportunity to worry about her at all, at least not yet.  Sometimes I'll just be standing in line or at the kitchen counter, and I won't really feel her kicking, but I'll look down at my belly and I can see her rolling around in there.  This girl is rarely still.

Despite having sciatic nerve pain and the worst heartburn I've ever had, this pregnancy is such a breeze compared to the last one that I am feeling really optimistic right now.  Clarice was breech or transverse most of my pregnancy, and her placenta was anterior, and I'm convinced those things made her pregnancy a lot harder on me.  I just remember being D.O.N.E. at this point last pregnancy, but I am feeling really good this time, like I could go late again and be okay as long as I kept myself busy.



I feel pretty comfortable most of the time, and I actually feel pretty small for 36 weeks, despite my standard answer to "How are you feeling?" being "Big."  Baby has dropped, and the stomach is mostly out front and not pressing on my ribs anymore, so in comparison to other pregnancies I feel pretty cute still, and I can still move around pretty easily.  

Early?  Late?

I am really trying not to think she is coming early, because that is part of what made going late last time so tortuous...but I can't help it, there is still a small part of me that is hoping she'll come a little before her due date.  

To combat this, I have set up a couple "rewards" for myself for the last couple weeks of pregnancy.  If I make it to 38.5 weeks, I'll buy the fall ankle booties I've been eyeing.  And if I make it to a day before my due date, I'm hoping to be able to go see "Murder On The Orient Express" when it comes out on November 10th (if you have not read that book, you have to - it's a classic).  I don't have any rewards for if I go past my due date, but I'll set one up later if I think I'll need it to keep my waiting attitude positive.  I wouldn't say I'm impatient quite yet, but I am getting pretty excited to have her here!



What's Next?

I have a doctor's appointment next week, the first one where they will check my cervix.  I'll probably put an update on Instagram after my appointment, so follow me there!  If I'm only at 1 cm or less, I'm anticipating I'll make it to 40 weeks.  If I'm dilated more than that, there is a possibility she may come a bit sooner.

Derek will be hunting next week though, so let's just all pray that I don't go into labor while he's out traipsing through the woods, shall we?  I do think we'll be okay though.  I don't think she'll come before November.

(Me and the biggest sister!)


Snow And A Shower



Since it's an off-week for my bi-weekly pregnancy updates, I thought this would be a good opportunity to get back to a round of old-fashioned blogging.  Even though this whole memory-keeping series is kind of a throwback to the old-school style of blogging, today is a brain dump sort of day, so here we go.

Snow Day

This week we had our first snow day of the season.  Just last week I was looking at my Facebook memories (Facebook finally gave me my memories after blackballing me from that feature for years), and I saw that we got our first snow at the beginning of October last year…and what do you know, a week later we got our first snow in October again!  Somehow it came to me as a bit of a shock this year, I guess because all the seasonal changes were so sudden this fall.  We went from 80-degree, weather to a cool 40/50-degree weather last week, and then boom, the next week it snows.






It was a decent amount of snow too!  The kids were making snow angels.

My kids (except Clarice) are finally old enough to send outside into the snow by themselves, so that was an exciting realization this year.  I bundled them all up and they traipsed outside by themselves while I started a fire and a batch of pumpkin bread.  It made me really look forward to more snow days this winter, because this will be the first year that a snow day doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll all be stuck inside all day.

A Baby Shower

This week I also had a baby shower with my mom and sister!  I had been toying with the idea of throwing a little pre-baby party with my family and friends, because I think every baby should be celebrated in some way (even a fifth baby) - but I just could not seem to get my act together enough to get it planned.  The month of October started and I just figured it was too late and I was a bit too stressed to try to get something on the calendar at this point.  

Then my sister asked if I was planning anything (because I had mentioned this idea to her before), and I was disappointed when I had to tell her no.  I felt like I was letting this baby girl down somehow, since we had some sort of pre-baby celebration for each of my other kids.

Well, my sister is a thoughtful sort of person, and she conspired with my mom to have a little baby shower for this baby too!  So my mom took the three of us out to dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, and they showered me with presents.  

And when I say showered, I mean showered.  There must have been ten gifts between the two of them!  It was so sweet, and they got me all the remaining things I needed - including swaddles, bottles, and baby bath towels, which I was trying to figure out how to budget in to buy for myself.  That was such a blessing - I don’t think I ever realized it before, but just because someone has multiple other kids doesn’t necessarily mean they have everything for a new baby.  Especially when it’s their third of one gender, because a lot of stuff just wears out after 2+ babies.



(You can't see very well in these pictures, but they even decorated the table with little party favors and everything!)

I am really blessed to have such a great mom and sister, and they really blessed me with the effort they put into my shower!

Mini Golf

Before the snow, we snuck in some fall fun!  The dental office we are going to now does this "fall festival" every year, and this year it was at a mini golf place.  I signed us up because it was free fall fun, and who doesn't like free?  

It ended up being a great family outing!  We had a free barbecue dinner, and then we got a free round of mini golf with the kids.  Mini golf is probably not a family activity we would pay for at this point since the kids are a little young yet, but did I mention free?!  So we introduced the kids to mini golf.  The big three had a bunch of fun hitting their balls toward the holes, and it was kind of a put-ing free-for-all.  




But Clarice, on the other hand, took her golf turns very seriously.  She put the ball on the ground so carefully, and Derek helped her hit the ball, and she would get so upset if the ball went off the green.  By upset, I mean she would burst into tears!  Maybe we have a future golfer on our hands.  It was so cute to see her little careful and competitive personality come out on a put-put golf course - at two years old, no less!

Last Month of Pregnancy Busyness

The next couple weeks are surprisingly busy - I’ve learned after so many pregnancies that a few weeks before you are supposed to have your baby, the schedule tends to fill up, because people want to see you one more time before you are cocooned up with a newborn for a while.  I went out of the house almost every day last week, and this week is shaping up to be the same.  

Then the last two weeks or so of pregnancy, the schedule really frees up because people think you won’t want to schedule too much so close to baby (and they’d be right) - but then you just sit home bored, waiting for something to happen.  So, when I get overwhelmed by my schedule right now, I just remind myself that if I give it another two weeks I’ll probably have nothing to do at all.  I hope my friends and family are up for some last-minute things, because if this baby ends up being late like Clarice was, I'll need to get out of the house!

What has your October looked like so far?  Have you had a chance to do any fall-ish fun yet?





Birth Story Memories

(This photo is from way back, from my maternity photos with Gwen.)

I'm getting to that stage of pregnancy where my mind is going to labor quite often.  First I found myself getting a little nervous when I think ahead to labor...mainly because I plan to go without the epidural again, and I remember the pain well enough to make me a bit nervous.  But as I've been thinking about how everything went with my other kids' births, I'm remembering that I just took it like it came with my other labors, and I can do it again.  I'm about as prepared as I can be for this, and  I'm just praying for peace and fortitude for this baby's labor too, when it comes.

Since I seem to have labor and delivery on the brain these days, I thought I'd take this Saturday morning to reminisce a bit about my previous birth stories by re-sharing them here.  Who doesn't love a good birth story, after all?  And some of you may not have been around since I started having babies, so this is a good chance to catch you all up.  Enjoy!

Wyatt's Birth - Born at 37 weeks, because of pre-eclampsia.  My pre-eclampsia induction story.

Gwendolyn's Birth - Born at 39 weeks, with a fast-moving labor.  My didn't-make-it-to-the-hospital story.

Clyde's Birth (And Part Two) - Born at 39 weeks, after a night of violent vomiting.  My slightly traumatic, back-labor, partial placental abruption labor story.

Clarice's Birth - Born at 40 weeks 3 days, when I was so ready to meet her!  My pretty-dreamy-labor story.




The Belly Has Dropped - 34 Weeks (Baby #5)



We've entered into the phase of pregnancy where I am an emotional mess.

The last couple weeks I have been sensitive and irritable and overwhelmed and crying about stupid things.  I can't decide if it's related to being tired, or hormones, but it's probably some combination of both.  I feel bad for my poor family, and I'm trying really hard to lower my expectations so that I don't get so easily overwhelmed - this would be a good thing now, while my hormones are a mess, and after baby, when my hormones will still be a mess!

I have crossed a couple more things off my baby to-do list, which is satisfying.  I've also added a couple things (like beating out our living room rug before winter).  I was hoping to get my hospital bag packed before my appointment this week, just in case, and I'm about halfway there...I have a bunch of stuff in a pile waiting to be packed.  That counts for something, right?



As far as baby goes, she is still moving like crazy, and she lets me rub her little feet through my skin now without trying to kick my fingers away.  She hiccups all the time, which makes me happy because it means her lungs are maturing.

Also, in major news - BABY GIRL HAS DROPPED!  This is always exciting to me, because it means my ribs hurt a little less, and it means baby is less likely to flip.  You probably can't tell very well in these pictures, but trust me, the belly is definitely lower.



My body seems to be getting ready for labor a little more - I have definitely had more Braxton-Hicks contractions in the last couple of days, and there were a few days last week where my hips hurt so badly from loosening up to get ready for delivery.  Thankfully the hip pain has subsided a bit, and I am generally feeling pretty comfortable.



Tomorrow is my 34 week appointment, and probably the last appointment I will bring my kids since they'll start checking my cervix at the next appointment (37 weeks).  I want to enjoy their little reactions for this last time they'll get to hear the baby's heartbeat.  They always are so interested to hear what she's up to in there, and every one of them seems happy and excited about the baby.  It's making me more excited to have her here, and to have our whole family together on the outside!

(I've been trying to get a picture with each of the kids during these little bi-weekly photo shoots.  This week was Clyde's turn!)




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