Wednesday, November 25, 2015

My favorite baby products of 2015

The Dairy Fairy Rose Handsfree Pumping bra: I love this pumping bra, I really do. Before receiving it, I was pumping one side at a time. I asked my friend at work, who is pumping too, what she did and she said she double pumps but holds them in place. Now that I have this bra, I actually look forward to pumping at work. It's comfortable, well made and comes in all sizes.
Full disclosure: I did not pay for this bra. It was sent to me by The Dairy Fairy. However, I highly recommend it.

Spectra S2 hospital grade double breast pump: I was thrilled when I learned insurance would pay for a double breast pump. I had a hard time deciding between this one and the Medela PISA and I went back in forth for days before finally settling on this one. I'm so glad I did. After reading all the reviews, I decided to break out of the Medela sheep line. Please understand, I have nothing against Medela really. The Medela pump I used with Ryan was pretty crappy and turned me off pumping entirely. But, I know they're the biggest breast pump supplier in the USA and it's the go-to pump for millions of women. But, I wanted to see if there was an alternative. The answer was yes and it actually had much better reviews than the PISA. So, I went for it. It turned out to be an excellent decision.

Sarah Well breast pump bag: It's a great idea with average execution. I love the concept. The Spectra S2 is a very tight fit into the side pocket where the pump goes. But, the Spectra is a bigger pump. I can deal with that. I'm not thrilled with the main compartment which is where you would carry your wallet, keys, etc. There is too much loose fabric. True story: I tossed my credit card into this bag after using it one day. The next day I couldn't find it. Anywhere. I searched the bag, my husband searched the bag. Even the compartments where there was no way it would be, like where the pump is stored. Nothing. We assumed I lost the card and we cancelled it. As we waited for a replacement, I went into the bag to grab something out and there was the card. Not the fault of the manufacturer really. But, the point is, there is way too much loose fabric. The better design would be for that part of the bag to have a false bottom and thus completely separate from the pump storage section. But, I do use it for work everyday as a purse/pumb bag. It's stylish and decent quality.

Dr. Browns bottles: We've already gone through at least four different bottle brands with Hannah and finally settled on Dr. Browns. Bottles are such a personal choice so I won't spend much time on this. These are the best we've used ourselves, so, our bottle search is over.

Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up floor seat: I can say that I love this so much better than a bumbo at this stage of Hannah's infancy. It encircles the baby so they don't slump forward like they do in the bumbo before those back muscles become stronger. Hannah easily sits in both now with no trouble but, I still prefer this chair because she can sit in it much longer with no fatigue.

Fisher Price Rock N Play sleeper: Link is for the specific one I have which has been discontinued. Hannah pretty much slept in this exclusively for the first 12 weeks or so. We tried to put her in the bassinet and she hated it. This is the only thing she'd sleep in. I like it better than something similar we had for Ryan because it's higher up off the floor which means less bending over to pick up baby.

Sorelle Verona Panel 4-in-1 convertible crib: Currently on sale for $100 off. I am so in love with our crib. It's absolutely gorgeous and doesn't look like your typical crib. It looks like a headboard and a footboard with some crib features on the sides to make it a crib. And, there is a reason for that - that's exactly what it is. This converts into a full bed (not twin - full) with the rails conversion kit. It's nice enough and quality enough that Hannah can use it throughout high school and even well beyond. Funny story: This is not the crib we had on our registry. We had another Sorelle crib that was only $199. My in-laws bought the crib on our registry but, BRU delivered the crib in the link. It sat in the bedroom for a few weeks and we didn't notice it was the wrong crib until much later. When we did realize, we decided to just keep that to ourselves. #sorrynotsorry

Angelcare movement and sound monitor: We used this with Ryan, too and bought a new one for Hannah. We love it but, it does take a few nights of adjusting the sensor pad and sensor sensitivity to get it right in order to eliminate false alarms. Once you get the combination right, it's peace of mind.

Summer Infant color video monitor: This is the model we have and we got it for $60 at the Summer website on clearance. As you can see, it's discontinued and the replacement model is much more expensive. With that being said, Summer video monitors are some of the less expensive ones on the market and mine works perfectly. I wasn't sold on buying a video monitor at all but, when I saw it for $60, I couldn't pass it up. Very glad I did because, it's a great gadget.

Infantino baby carrier: The cost of baby carriers can be what I consider, outrageously pricey. A carrier should not costs nearly as much as a low end crib. That's why I love this carrier. It was less than $30 and gets the job done. I find it comfortable & easy to use. Now, some people get very preachy about these things. The design is bad for the baby's growth or bad for their hips, etc. The thing is, I've used it so infrequently and for such a short time that it's unlikely I've damaged her bone structure in any way. Are these people having their kids live in the baby carrier?? I admit I haven't used it in a couple months. It was good during Ryan's t-ball season and I used it at home from time-to-time while on maternity leave. I'm not sure I see myself using it again soon (at all, perhaps) which is exactly why I didn't want an expensive one. And, for the record, we had a super expensive one when Ryan was a baby and James and I both hated it. It was cumbersome and heavy and we felt like we were being dragged forward at the shoulders. It ended up being donated to Salvation Army just so we could make it someone else's problem.

Fisher Price Rainforest deluxe gym: This was a gift and we've used it a few times. Hannah likes it and we plan to start using it much more now that she's so much more aware. I see it's $43 on Amazon and I want to say we saw it for $70 at BRU. I would never pay $70 for any play gym like this. $43 is more reasonable but, we likely wouldn't have bought one at all. However, it was a very nice gift and I think we'll get a lot of use out of it. It's an adorable design, plays music and has lots of attachments for baby to play with.

Bright Starts portable swing: Another gift that has turned out to be extremely useful. We had one of those big fancy swings for Ryan and it was terrific. We still have it in fact. What we don't have is all the space it requires. We had decided to forgo a swing completely but, we received this and, it's great. It's small, folds up compact and is powerful. Hannah uses it daily now and loves it.

Zippyz footed pajamas: These pj's are a great idea and well executed! What makes them unique is the top half is buttoned and the bottom half is zippered. Why does that make a difference? Well picture your baby on the changing table, please. Now picture being able to unzip the pj's from the waist down only. The top half still comfy and warm while you change the diaper. True, the same could be said for snap pj's but, we all know pj's with twenty snaps are the design of very evil people. The last thing you want to be doing at 2AM is trying to line up snaps, especially around the leg area, right? So, that's where this product comes in. They are pricey, though. Would I have paid $30 for one pair? Probably not. I'm surprised Gerber hasn't caught on to this great idea and started making something similar. I will say these are super soft and great quality.

The Paper Shamrock Butterfly Months Stickers:  Instead of getting what everyone else was using from places like BRU or Target, I searched for months stickers that were unique. I ordered these but, this seller has loads of adorable designs and can personalize them with a name. It seems every baby I see on facebook and instagram are using the same generic stickers so, I really like that I have something you won't see on a hundred other baby pictures. In my opinion, the price is reasonable, too. Go check them out.

HowiesHobbies Bumbo covers: Let me tell you what I LOVE about this shop owner; she sent me a link to a website that sells fabric, told me to pick out what I like and she'll make the cover for me. So, you don't just have to choose from what you see in her shop. Delivery is currently about 2-3 weeks she tells me, which, in my opinion, is very reasonable given that it's so close to Christmas. She's been extremely responsive to my inquiries, made some suggestions and I now have something special on the way. I can't reveal here what it is because, I want it to be a surprise to my husband.
While looking into Bumbo covers, she was also the one only one who has them reasonably priced (in my opinion, at least).

I've listed here two Etsy sellers that I've worked with but, I have many more that have done great stuff for me. I'll do a separate post about those another time.

So, there is my list!

Do you have anything you love and want to shout about it (or, hate and still want to shout about it)? Tell me in the comments!

PS: I'd like to ask again that if you see an advertisement on my website that is of interest to you, feel free to click! I don't know how anyone can resist the cute Carter's ad that screams 50% off!

Monday, November 16, 2015

My day with Ryan

I took today off to volunteer in Ryan's kindergarten class and, it was so much fun! If I could go back in time and know what I know now, I'd want to be a kindergarten teacher.

This week Ryan is the "Star Student" which means he gets to talk about himself to the class, be the line leader and bring a special toy on Friday.

Last night we were working on his Start Student poster. This is where he gets to write about his favorite things. Interestingly, for his favorite movie, he chose Star Wars, (which he's very into at the moment) a movie he's never seen.

James tried to convince him to write Wall-E or Cars or The Nightmare Before Christmas. All these are movies we've watched with him a thousand times at his request. But, no, he wanted to write Star Wars.

James told him as long as he's making stuff up, why not say his favorite book is War & Peace and write his name as Ryan, 4th Earl of Hampshire. I like it so, henceforth, Ryan is 4th Earl of Hampshire. I must remember to write the Queen informing her of his new position. I'm sure she'll be all too happy to write a Royal decree.

Our day started in the usual way, which is to say, frantically. Getting two kids up, dressed, fed and out the door. But first, Ryan wanted to play with Hannah.

Next, I walked Ryan to school which is something I absolutely love. Ryan talks quite a lot on these walks. And, he is still okay holding my hand!

In the classroom is where I really got to see Ryan shine. I believe he acted a little different with me being there but, it was super cool to see him in his element doing everyday school activities.

This happens to be the Scholastic Book Fair week so, I went to the library with the kids and helped Ryan pick out books to buy.

After school it was time for the dentist. Not Ryan's favorite thing in the world (is it anyone's favorite thing?).

It went quickly though, and the dentist said he had a "true Hollywood smile". No cavities and his molars have come in. She said that doesn't usually happen until six to seven years old. She also was able to determine which two teeth he'll lose first because they were already a bit loose. 

He's growing so quickly and I'm amazed at my clever and handsome not-so-little-anymore boy.

On another note:
I've been meaning to write a baby gear review post for ages. I owe it to a couple vendors and that will definitely be the topic of my next post.

Until next time...

Friday, November 13, 2015

And that's why he calls her "Wiggles"

Early on after we brought Hannah home from the hospital, James started to call her "Wiggles" because she was so active.

That is showing itself in abundance these days.

She did it! she rolled from her back to her front, on Veterans Day (exactly 15 weeks old). But, I missed it. I was very disappointed at first however, she still put on a show for me so, all is well.

She's loving life in her crib because she's really able to stretch out and move around. She's sleeping on her side mostly. But, what amuses me the most is how she uses her crib space.

For instance; last night I put her to bed with her head right, legs left. I woke up in the night to go to the bathroom and noticed her head was left and legs right. I woke up James to asked if he had moved her after I went to bed. He said nope, he hadn't been in there.

When I woke up this morning, she was in quite another position with her head at the backboard and her legs through the slats at the front of her crib.

Her teachers tell me she is loving tummy time and does a great job with it. They've decided she's strong enough to put her in the bumbo, too. That wasn't a big deal to us as we've had her in the bumbo for ages. Though, we do prefer the Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up seat. Or, at least, I do. I think James prefers to use the bumbo.

I have asked the teachers to move her onto her back in the crib when she rolls over to her tummy. I'm not ready for her to sleep like that yet. She prefers to sleep on her side which I am perfectly okay with.

Ryan started walking at 10 months old and I have a feeling Hannah will be around that time, too.

Speaking of Ryan; he's loving Kindergarten and doing such a great job. He did his first PALS testing and did very well. The goal is to get a score of at least 29 and he scored a 77. Not bad!

The adjustment to Kindergarten life is still something he's settling into. He's extremely grumpy and tired when we pick him up late afternoon. He's irritable and easily set off into tears. For instance, if he's working on a complicated Lego structure (his very favorite thing to do) and a piece won't go into place, he bursts into full on angry tears.

Parents of his friends have reported similar stories so, we know we're not alone in what I call the "Kindergarten meltdown".

He's had a lot of big changes so, it's no wonder it's taking a while to adjust. Starting school (and getting homework), becoming a big brother, changing bedrooms... that's a lot for one so young. His responsibilities at home have increased, too. He's always been in charge of feeding the cats and a few other little chores. But, now we've given him a chore chart with seven daily responsibilities.

Some days he's really into it and other days he drags his feet. Exactly what you'd expect from a five year old.

But then, we're all learning to adjust to being a family of four. Hannah is only three months old and it's new for us all.

We'll get there.

By the way...
You might notice I've decided to monetize my blog (by allowing ads). Believe me, I won't become rich from this as I only get a couple hundred view of each blog update.

But, if you see an ad on the right that is of interest to you, please click on it. Every click gets my family a few cents (you don't have to buy!).

(Right now, for me, it's a Carters ad with a super cute baby wearing a Christmas outfit. So of course clicking on that shows me their new holiday line of adorable clothes. Half of which I've already bought...)

Thank you for your support!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Adventures with the video monitor

When Ryan was a baby, he rolled over, front to back, for the first time, while he slept.

We put him to bed in his crib on his back. When we woke up in the morning, he was sleeping on his stomach in the fetal position.

He had rolled over and we missed it.

We sent the kids to stay with my Aunt this weekend in order to get the "nursery"* ready so both kids could move into their own beds. Ryan has been co-sleeping with us for well over a year and Hannah has been sleeping nearby in her bassinet.

The time was right for everyone to take their places back into their own beds.

James and I installed the video monitor on the wall and the sensor pads under her mattress as well as all the other bells and whistles worried parents buy.

Sunday night, we put her to bed and turned on the video monitor. She was already asleep when we put her into the crib so, there wasn't much to watch.

Last night though... last night was exciting.

Once again she was already sleeping when we put her down but, she woke up. She woke up and pitched a fit when she found herself in the crib.

We gathered around the video monitor to watch. In her anger, she was working hard to roll over onto her stomach. We were cheering for her as we watched; "There she goes! She's doing it!" She was so close - more than halfway in fact - before she lost her balance and went back onto her back.

It didn't happen and she eventually drifted off to sleep. But, it's coming soon.

On another video monitor note, Ryan teared up when he saw Hannah was crying. He told me that Hannah didn't like to be up there alone and she's scared. This made him very sad and, since he had tears in his eyes, I gave James the monitor to hold (so Ryan wouldn't have to see it) while I talked to Ryan about all this.

He was projecting because, it's him who hates to be in rooms alone. Other than the kitchen and living room, he has a paralyzing fear of being in a room alone.

His concern for Hannah was completely legitimate in his mind. And I sympathize so much with him and I'm also proud that he's protective of his little sister.

This isn't the first time I've had to tell him to be a kid and leave Hannah's safety to mommy and daddy.

Hannah's teacher told me Ryan stopped by recently and they turned her around so he could see her through the window (older siblings aren't allowed inside the infant room).

I'm worried we might have a slightly neurotic son on our hands.

Hopefully it's something he'll outgrow but, in the mean time, his love for his sister is just about the most endearing thing I've seen.

One day James and I will leave this world (hopefully and very, very long time from now) and Ryan & Hannah will still have each other.

*I hate calling a kids bedroom a "nursery". This isn't 1920 but, that's the term most moms use so, whatever.
(Yes, I am a anti-bumpers mom)

Monday, November 2, 2015

Hannah at 3 months and some Halloween, too!

A bit about Hannah: Hannah is now three months old and such a happy baby. She smiles all the time, she giggles and babbles and makes us all smile from ear-to-ear. 

She's sitting in her Bumbo perfectly and is so close to sitting on her own. She tries to pull herself up to a sitting position from laying down because, unless she's sleepy, she hates to be laying down. She's such a curious little girl. 

Rolling over is mastered, no problems there and she's determined to get moving. It's going to come early like it did for Ryan I suspect. 

She will hold her own bottle providing it's the 4oz bottle. She doesn't have the strength just yet to hold onto her 8oz bottles. 

We were at Children's Hospital in Washington D.C. a week ago to talk about the hemangioma on her lip. The doctor said laser surgery wouldn't do the trick so we have a topical gel that we apply daily. The hope is that this gel will stop it from growing until it fades away on its own as they usually do. 

If it continues to grow, we'll have to get more aggressive treatment. We will return to the doctor in January and, in the mean time, send her weekly pictures so she can monitor growth (or, hopefully, lack of growth).

As for Halloween...
Hannah managed to make it through the entire trick or treating evening with her big brother. Half was spent in the stroller and the other half in her Uncle Jeff's arms or Aunt Maggie's arms. 

Quite frankly, I'm feeling like a million bucks these days. My kids are happy, healthy and gorgeous. 

Christmas is coming and I can't even begin to describe here how excited I am. I'm very carefully picking out some new house decorations and trying (probably unsuccessfully) to not go overboard. 

It's November 2nd and I can tell you the Christmas spirit is alive and well in me already.

Arts & Crafts & Costumes

The Nightmare Before Christmas inspired costume

I'm so cute it's spooky!

Not a costume, just a fact :)

I managed to fit in a much needed haircut

Monday, October 19, 2015

Luckiest mom ever. Seriously, it's true.

I don't know how, or what, I ever did to deserve this but, ladies & gentlemen, these are my kids.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Two months down, a lifetime to go

Hannah is nearly 11 weeks old and now at day care while I work. 

My darling girl isn't a newborn anymore. She's a big girl with an insatiable hunger who enjoys babbling to us. She smiles at her big brother and really is the sweetest little baby ever. 

She has adorable dimples, gorgeous blue eyes and hair that hints at being strawberry blond. 

And, totally adored by her family, of course. My in-laws flew over for a visit and I'm pretty sure Hannah never left the arms of family for an entire week. Day & night she was cuddled and fed by either her Grandmother, Grandfather or her Auntie.

She's well into wearing 3mos size clothes now so, all her NB clothes are out the door to a friend soon. I feel like it has all gone by so fast. 

Between working and being a mom to a baby and a 5 year old, my life is pretty busy. That makes it hard to come here and write as often as I'd like but, I'll try to get back into the swing of things in the coming months.

I'll definitely be posting pictures around Halloween because Hannah has a great costume that was completely Ryan approved.

See you soon!

Friday, September 18, 2015

A letter to my children

Dear Ryan & Hannah,
You have changed our lives, for the better and, forever.

You are both so beautiful that, at times, I'm shocked you're mine. I have to pinch myself that it's all real. But, you are mine... ours! We get the distinct honor and privilege of being your mom and dad.

Sometime we'll get things wrong. Sometimes a little wrong, sometimes hugely wrong. Your mom and dad are human and we will make mistakes. When we do get it wrong, try to remember that everything we do is out of love and concern for you and also that we do mostly get it right.

We have so many hopes and dreams for your future but, one of the big ones is that you remain close throughout your life. That you will love and protect each other as best you can.

You might have noticed that daddy has a different accent. You'll learn all about his home country, England, as you get older and I want you to be proud of that part of your ancestry. I want you to be proud to be half English. One day soon we'll take you back there and I know you'll fall in love with England.

But, I want you to be a proud American, too.

As you get older, we'll tell you a little more about the brother you never got to meet. You'll likely never feel the bond towards Nathan the way daddy and I do. And that's okay. But, we want you to know he was an important part of our lives and changed mommy and daddy.

You see, we might be a bit more protective of you and it might make you annoyed at times. We lost a child and it changed us.

I will always have to remind myself to not be a helicopter parent. I'll always want to hover in the background waiting just in case you stumble. I promise to do my best to back off but, forgive me if I find that hard to do. I'm already cringing at the idea of handing over car keys and letting you drive off alone for the first time.

(Warning: I might be hiding in the trunk)

Most of all, we promise to love you and offer all the support possible.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Hannah at 6 weeks

Hannah is six weeks old today and she's a wonderful little girl. She eats like a baby twice her age but, the doctor said she's not overweight. She has mostly outgrown her newborn clothes and has moved on to 3mos sizes. 

Weight: 9lbs 9oz (46th%)
Height: 21.25 (39th%)
Head: 14.75 (46th%)

There is one small hiccup; she has a hemangioma (benign tumor) on her lip. We see a specialist soon to decide what's to be done. In most cases, they end up going away on their own. We'll know more about her specific situation after we see the specialist. 

Otherwise, she's wonderful and perfect. She's sleeping longer at night which, for her, means getting up only twice. She sleeps for about four hours straight overnight. 

I return to work in two weeks and it's causing me a little anxiety. I know she'll be safe where she's going as it's been where Ryan has been for two years. 

Still, I can't help but worry about her.

Speaking of Ryan...

He started Kindergarten last week. His teacher is sweet, young and enthusiastic.

Here is a picture of him walking to school on the first day with his friend.

My husband has been blogging our family life for five years and recently moved it to blogspot.
He's very funny so go check it out here!

Until next time, Hannah and I will catch you later.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Time is flying by

I can't believe Hannah is nearly 4 weeks old.

There is so much to tell and it's hard to organize all my thoughts and everything that's been going on but, I'll summarize as best I can.

Hannah is up to 8lbs 7oz and is very close to being too big for newborn diapers and clothes. This is a huge difference to Ryan who wore newborn until he was 3 months old.

As for our "birth story", it's not really all that interesting to be honest. We showed up at the hospital at 7:30 for a 9AM scheduled c-section.

Everything went pretty much the same as with Ryan (and Nathan) to start with. Once they had me numb from the waist down they let James come in. One big difference between this delivery and the other two; I didn't throw up a single time. Hoorah!

I'm not sure how long it took to get Hannah out, it felt like quite a while. Once she was out, this is where things were very different between Ryan and Hannah's delivery.

Difference #1: Right after the doctor pulled her out she held her up over the screen for me to see. She was covered in muck and her face was all screwed up in a scowl. It was scary and hilarious at the same time.

Side note: A few days before she was born I was joking with a friend saying Hannah was going to come out looking like a Mandrake from the Harry Potter movie. Damn if that's not exactly what popped into my head when they showed her to me at that moment!

They took her over to the scale and I heard her crying (I don't think she cried before that moment). I remember James and I looked at each other and a sigh of relief came from us both.

The nurse told James to come over and he took pictures while they checked her out.

Different #2: Once she was wrapped up and handed to James, he was allowed to bring her over to me to be held up to my cheek. When he put her cheek to my cheek, she turned her head to me. She knew I was mommy. We were able to stay like that for a long time. A nurse took our camera and took pictures of the three of us like that and then of just Hannah and I cheek to cheek.

With Ryan, after he was weighed and wrapped up, they scooted him and James out of the OR to the recovery room to wait for me. I was able to get a quick look before they left me but, nothing more than that.

This new way is much, much better.

I was in the hospital for two nights. After that, I was ready to get the hell out of there. I don't like hospital beds. I find them to be as comfortable as sleeping on a pile of bricks.

A few random notes from the hospital stay:

I had quite a few family and friends come visit but, the one that sticks out the most (of course) is Ryan. When he came into the room my Aunt was holding Hannah* and I was laying in the bed.
He waved to her and it was the sweetest reaction ever.

*The day I came home from the hospital Ryan asked me if there was still a baby in my belly. I said "No Ryan, you can see Hannah is here". He said "then why is your belly still big?" Wow, thanks Ryan.
I decided to ignore that and said "The doctor took Hannah out of my belly". He said "No, Aunt Maggie took Hannah out of your belly".
We guess he assumed that because, when he met Hannah for the first time, Aunt Maggie was holding her.
(And, for the record dear son, I lost 6 pounds during my pregnancy AND dropped another 20 -and counting- after she was born)

We've settled into our home life quite comfortably now.
I suppose I was expecting an experience very similar to Ryan's first weeks at home but, it's been quite a big difference.

Ryan was on formula and breast milk to start and slept through the night early on. Hannah is on breast milk exclusively and wakes up 2-3 times a night to be fed.

Having a baby that wakes up a few times throughout the night is hard. James is back at work now so I get up with her overnight on week days. It pretty much means I spend a good portion of my day in a drowsy fog.

Usually her and I take a nap later in the morning or, sometimes, in the afternoon. But, most weekdays I'm only getting about 4 hours of sleep over night (sometimes less) and maybe, if I'm lucky, a two hour nap later in the day.

My in-laws (MIL, FIL & SIL) are flying over from England tomorrow. We're very excited to have them come. I love my husbands family and always look forward to their visits.

On Hannah's due date we attended a baby shower in her honor at James' work. It was such a special thing they did for us and I was overwhelmed by the generosity of his colleagues. It was even more special because Hannah was there for her own shower!

We're having a "Sip & See" this coming weekend, too. The few people who haven't met Hannah yet will be coming for the occasion. I have to say, I prefer baby showers with the baby being there. The one my work had for me before Hannah was born was lovely but, I love being able to show off the honoree. This has all been for her after all!

I return to work on September 23rd and Hannah will go to day care. She'll be at the same place Ryan has been for the last 18 months and I trust them but, I know it will be hard to leave her there at first.

Ryan starts Kindergarten in a week but, he'll be at that day care after school so, it's nice knowing that they'll be there together.

I'm sure there are other things I meant to write about while composing blog updates in my head over the last couple weeks but, it's 3AM and Hannah is sleeping so I think I will, too.

Until next time, I leave you with this:

Big brother & little sister

Monday, August 3, 2015

Introducing Hannah

Hannah Claire was born on 7/29/15 @ 9:51AM weighing 7lbs 13oz and 20" long via scheduled c-section.

She's absolutely perfect.

I'll write more soon about her birth and how things have been since coming home.

For now, here are a couple pictures of our sweet daughter.

Do I even care that I'm being stitched up?

Mommy & Daddy holding Hannah

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Six days to go & Ryan gets a nasty virus

This has been a pretty awful week (so far).

On Monday Ryan's school called saying he was lethargic and complaining he didn't feel well. So, James runs along to pick him up and by the time I get home, he's out of it.

Once he stirred I took his temp and it was 101.7. Gave him so ibuprofen to bring down the fever and that's been what our life has been like ever since.

His fevers spikes, ibuprofen brings it down, wears off & we start over again. This fever comes along with a bad cough and some diarrhea. Awesome.

Last  night we got him to the doctor because his fever peaked at 103. He has Adenovirus - whatever that is.

No medication can be given, it just has to run it's course which is 5-7 days. We're on day 4.

Last night I finally got some decent sleep - 7 hours maybe. I feel like a walking zombie still, though.

This morning when I took his temperature it was 102.6. I really don't even need a thermometer anymore. When I felt his back I knew it was over 102 and, I was right.

Just the poor kids luck, too. He has a friend who is in town for two weeks only from Saudi Arabia and we had a play date planned for Saturday. I'm not at all convinced he'll be okay in time. But, we'll see.

I've had to fib to Ryan this week and tell him that school was closed because he was getting upset about missing the field trips. No, I don't expect I'll be getting a "Mother of the Year" award any time soon.

As for Hannah...
On Friday her estimated weight was already at 7lbs. She was very active during her NST so, no concerns with her.

My own weigh-in had me having lost 2 pounds this pregnancy. My doctor was quite pleased with that and offered a "great job" congrats for it.

My final NST is tomorrow and my final OBGYN appointment is Monday.

I expect next time I update this blog, I'll have pictures of Hannah to share. My energy is waning tremendously and I haven't opened my MacBook at home in at least two months.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Two weeks to go

I intended to write a bit last week about Nathan but, it was a hard day as it is and, adding to it, James & I came down with some kind of stomach virus.

The day came and the day went. Between throwing up and sleeping we both thought a lot about our son and I was able to have a proper cry for him. I love and miss him so much - I can't even describe the piece of me that feels missing even three years later.

It's still incredibly emotional so, I'm going to move on now...

My NST's & BPP's are all going well and Hannah is doing great.

Her mommy... not so much. I have Symphysis Pubic Dysfunction which is causing a great deal of pain. Oh my gosh the pain! It actually reminds me very much of the first several days after a c-section when your pelvis hurts and it's hard to walk. Or stand. Or sit. Or... you get the picture.

I'm also being monitored for Pre-eclampsia. This is a new development just in the last few days. On Friday there was some protein in my urine and my blood pressure was a little higher than usual.

We returned today and there is still protein in my urine and my blood pressure was even a little higher so, blood work was done. I will get those results pretty quickly and then we'll see where we go from there.

The doctor said 37 weeks is full term so, if needed, we'll get her out early.

There is a strong part of me that is ready to deliver her on Wednesday. That part of me is growing with each painful step I take.

But, two weeks is barely more than one week so the other part of me says "suck it up, buttercup".

As it stands, I'm scheduled for the c-section on July 29th @ 9AM at exactly 38 weeks.

I made the switch from Lovenox to Heparin and it has been another miserable experience to add to the list. The Heparin needle is twice as thick, the liquid feels twice as thick and it's twice a day. I seriously hate the Heparin and can't wait to be done with it and back on Lovenox (which isn't until post delivery).

Ryan is still marking off the days on his calendar and is very excited about meeting his little sister. He talks about her all the time and has started asking for two of everything so that "Hannah can have the other one".

I'm tired folks and I'm not sure when I'll write again. I hope to update at least once more before delivery day but, we'll see if I manage it.

Please keep my family in your thoughts.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

This is the month I have my baby!

(Okay, OUR baby. I mean, James did have a hand in it!)

I'm 34 weeks today and, in exactly four weeks, Hannah will make her debut!

Remember my last post when I said I want to remember and enjoy every minute of this pregnancy and not rush it?

Yeah, I take that back.

Since she's moved to head down I feel like my pelvis is supporting the weight of a bowling ball. It's uncomfortable and painful.

Sitting hurts. Standing hurts. Laying down hurts.

I don't get a lot of sleep at night because I just can't get comfortable.

I'm boiling hot all the time and find it difficult to cool down, especially at work.

Speaking of work... my office chair is pretty much torture. I have a back cushion and a butt cushion on it but, they're not helping.

My point?
Let the last four weeks fly by!

Ryan was asking nearly every day when Hannah was coming so we made him a special July calendar where he can cross off the days. I think this visual will work better than us trying to explain weeks/days to him.

It's now hanging on the fridge and today he got to make his first "X" on it.

As for my weekly appointments, all is well with Hannah. She's still passing the NST and BPP with no trouble and, at last check, was measuring pretty big.

We do another size/weight check at 36 weeks and that should give us an idea of what to expect at birth.

Finally last weekend we started to actually prepare for her arrival. I think James and I both felt like we'd put a jinx into motion if we started too early but, the time had come.

James went into the storage area in the basement and started to pull out some stuff we needed to inventory so we'd know what was left to buy.

He put the bassinet together for me (under slight protest). The thing is, this bassinet was bought brand new for Nathan and it was put together well in advance of his arrival.

However, we can't live in Nathan's shadow forever. We have to move forward and know that while it was intended for our second son, our first daughter will be the one to use it. And, that's okay.

Speaking of Nathan...
Monday will be his third birthday. Or, "Angelversary" as many parents in our situation like to call it.

Three years. Wow.

I'll write more on that Monday.

Lastly, I have to say how proud I am of the USA Women's Soccer Team for their outstanding win against Germany last night. It was a nail biter for me and had my heart pounding but, we did it! We're going to the final on Sunday and I'm so excited!

Today I'll be supporting England against Japan in hopes of a USA v. England final. The showdown in my house will be epic but, even James said that England has already well surpassed expectations and, if they do make it to the final, he knows USA will be the better team.

With that being said - GO USA!!!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

32w 6d - So very proud of my girl

Today's BPP & NST went so much better!

AFI went from 8.8 to 16.8. Hannah was plenty active for the BPP ultrasound and was practicing her breathing very nicely.

She even cooperated for the NST which showed to be reactive. Everything is perfect.

And, she's even moved into Vertex position, finally!

I can't even express what a relief all this is. She's beautiful and perfect and in five short weeks, we'll be bringing her home.

As for me, well, I'm hot all the time. It's summer so to be expected but, I just can't cool down enough to feel comfortable, even inside.

At home and work I have a fan blowing on me all the time. In the car I turn the AC up as far as it will go. I'm huge and uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, being hot all the time also means I'm not sleeping very well. I wake up feeling sweaty and gross.

Also, my back is starting to hurt a lot. At home I move from the sofa to the La-Z-Boy and back again several times throughout the evening.

I'm feeling Hannah down quite low now (a result of her position change I suppose) which means I feel dragged forward more than ever. I'm sure this is causing the more severe back pains. I walk as fast as your average 90 year old these days.

However, none of it matters. I'm taking in everything I can the last month of this pregnancy. I want to remember and enjoy it all.

I'm 40 years old and, next month, I'll have two kids. I think that's perfect and I can hang up my TTC cape for good.

So, I don't want to let a moment of this last month to go unnoticed. After Hannah comes, I'll never again know the feeling of being kicked from the inside. Of smiling and rubbing my belly when my baby is hiccuping (which is every day now).

I'm savoring as much of it as I can.

Friday, June 19, 2015

32w 2d - A very long morning

First up this morning was the MFM appointment.

Quick stats:
Fetal Position: Transverse (This time in the opposite direction)
Heartbeat: 151
Fetal Weight: 5lb 2oz (77th%)
Mommy weight: -2 from start & +1 from last week
AFI: 8.8 (slightly low)
BPP: 8/8

After the first ultrasound where they measured her (but, didn't do a BPP) was the NST. The NST was a big giant bag of fail. The monitor couldn't find the heartbeat without the nurse pushing it down and she wasn't moving around anyway so, they decided to send me back to ultrasound to do a BPP.

Hannah was sleeping. Her heart was beating beautifully but, she was clearly sleeping. No moving around and definitely not breathing.

So, we moved position a few times to get her to wake up since a sleeping baby won't pass a BPP.
Finally, after a few position changes and some prodding at her, she woke up long enough to do some breathing and moving.

Then it was the meeting with the MFM. This particular doctor is my least favorite to talk to. He's a great doctor but, not so great bedside manner.

He said normal amniotic fluid is between 10-20 and I only have 8.8. Not panic territory but, we need to keep an eye on it. He asked questions like do I feel leaking (no) and her movement (normal).
He decided that rest & fluid is the course of action to take until Tuesday when he wanted to check the fluid again.

Then it was off to my OB. On my way to the OB, the MFM called him to discuss the visit we just had. The OB walked in and asked how freaked out the MFM made me. I told him pretty freaked out. Enough that I called James, who wasn't planning to go to this OB appointment, and told him to meet me there.

He said AFI between 8-18 is considered normal so I'm low normal but, we're going to keep a close eye on it. He agreed that rest & fluid is the best thing to do between now and Tuesday when we reevaluate.

He also assured us that if the fluid dropped I'd be admitted to the hospital right away and given the steroid shots. Our goal is to keep her in as long as possible but, we all agree out is better than in if she's distressed.

It looks as though twice weekly appointments are now required as we make our way through the next 5 weeks and 5 days.

I want to carry Hannah to 38 weeks. It seems so close yet, as they say, so far away. This is my daughter and I want so much for her to be safe. The thing is, safety is such a very fine line during pregnancy. You're constantly weighing risk/benefit in a high risk pregnancy.

The most important thing is, I feel like I'm being taken care of. I feel like everyone involved is paying close attention and the right decisions will be made to keep her alive.

Today I am 32w 2d and I lost Nathan at 32w 1d. It makes me anxious to be in this place right now.

On another topic...
Yesterday for some reason I decided to look up a c-section video on YouTube. It freaked me out! I don't know why I did this so close to the end but, I really wish I hadn't done that.

I sent James and text saying "yeah no, I can't do that".
Of course he pointed out I've already done it. Twice in fact.

But, the thing is, I didn't know exactly what was involved before. I mean, I knew what went on in general but, now that I've seen it...

Well, I can't unring that bell.

Bring on 9/29/15 @10:30AM!

Monday, June 15, 2015

31w5d - We have a delivery date!

Friday I saw my OB and MFM at back-to-back appointments.

Weight gain is... nothing. I'm down from my last appointment again so, I've gained nada from appointment #1. In fact, I'm down 3 pounds from my first appointment last December.

Let me just say first and foremost I have no idea how that happened. I feel like I ate a truck full of crappy food in the last month and had very little vomiting so I expected to have gained about five pounds, maybe more.

Hannah has moved right back to transverse position but, since I'm having a c-section, no one is at all concerned about how she's positioned.

Heartbeat was strong in the 150's and she passed BPP with an 8/8, again.

So first up was the OB. I knew it was time to start discussing "D" date. I told him the MFM had said at my appointment a few weeks ago that he preferred for my OB to deliver at 39 weeks. My OB got pretty angry and basically said "no, it's my call and we're going in at 38". He asked me to wait while he called over to the hospital.

So then it was off to the hospital for the BPP and the MFM appointment. I had already decided I wasn't going to bring up the delivery date, to just leave that to my OB to fight.

After the BPP I met with the MFM doctor who said something along the lines of "with your history we think it's a good idea for you to deliver at 38 weeks".

I wanted to laugh at her and say "oh, did you?". But, I let it go. I said okay sounds good, I'll get with my OB to schedule that.

Incidentally, my OB said he has a good and valid argument to go in at 37 weeks but, we'll push it to 38. This is something I agree with completely.

So, barring anything unforeseen, Hannah will join us on July 29th, 2015.

I'm on weekly appointment with the OB & MFM now going forward which will be a hassle to work around but, what's six weeks, right?

6 weeks left... EEK!

Edit to add: I also received the Tdap vaccine on Friday from my OB and holy cow did I have a rough reaction to it!
Swollen (and extremely sore) arm, nausea, fever, fatigue & another one or two symptoms I'd rather not blog about.

Monday, June 8, 2015

30w5d - BPP #1

Friday I had what I think was the best appointment so far with the Perinatologist.

It was the first BPP (Biophysical Profile) and first & foremost, Hannah aced it. The best score you can get (assuming no NST is done) is 8/8 and that's exactly what she got.

She was kicking and practicing breathing and being all over a very squirmy little girl. The sonographer was so pleased with the ultrasound and was getting excited showing me interesting things on the screen.

She's now in a breech position that is also kinda sorta transverse. Leave it to any daughter of mine to be completely awkward!

I left that appointment feeling like a million bucks!

Last Wednesday was Ryan's pre-school graduation. I would have gotten emotional about it all seeing him in a cap & gown if it weren't for the fact that Ryan chose to participate in the most minimal way. After a couple weeks of practicing the songs and the Pledge of Allegiance, when it came to show time he just wasn't interested. Myself, Paul & Fiona mostly laughed our way through the entire thing because Ryan was happy to do anything but be a part of what was going on. And, of course, he was in the front row so his non participation was completely noticeable.

He's fortunate perhaps that the other kids and parents like him so much because he got some "ooooh's and aaaah's"& giggles for his antics. I need to teach him that he can't rely on charm and a cute face forever.

Saturday Ryan had his final t-ball game of the Spring season and the trophy ceremony directly after. I'm so proud of how far he came during the three months he played. We asked if he wanted to continue with t-ball in the fall or try soccer again but, he wants to stick with t-ball. So, we're signing him up for the Fall season, too.

Sunday was kind of a bittersweet day because he had a play date with his two best friends, one of which is moving away in two weeks. We were at Chuck E. Cheese for about three hours letting them run each other ragged before it was finally time to say goodbye.

He'll be attending his first official sleep over later this month at another friends house. I have no idea how well that will go down but, we told the other parent we're willing to give it a try if they are. I suspect Ryan will be okay but, I'll have a hard time with it. He'll only be around the corner and it will be a nice break for James and I.

And finally, this morning as I was leaving for work, having already said our goodbyes, he ran up to me for an extra hug... that he said was for Hannah.

Okay, maybe he can rely on his charm and cute face forever, after all.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

29 down, 10 to go

The MFM wasn't so sure that delivering at 38 weeks was necessary so, at this time, we're aiming for 39.

That still depends on how the BPP & NST's go of course. If something seems off, they'll make the decision to go earlier.

I don't mind waiting until 39 as long as everything is looking okay. I know that newer studies have shown there are huge benefits to keep a baby in until 39 weeks because of the development that goes on between 38 and 39 weeks.

All well and good assuming everything is fine. However, if something feels wrong, I'm going to fight and make sure they do the right thing this time. We lost Nathan because of the "wait & see" approach and, well... hell no. Not again.

I've been pouring over the dates when things started to go wrong with Nathan.

My water broke at 30 weeks. I went into labor at 31 weeks and again at 32 weeks which was when he was ultimately born via emergency c-section.

The MFM said it was significant that the water broke before I went into labor. It indicates that pre-term labor was due to the water breaking so, had it not been for the water breaking, pre-term labor likely wouldn't have happened.

Okay, I see what he means. But, what was the cause of the PROM (premature rupture of membranes)? That's something we're still unsure of and will never know with certainty. So, how do I know I won't suffer from PROM again?

The truth is, we don't. However, if that does happen again, I won't be agreeing to any plan that keeps Hannah inside of me this time.

With all that being said, I have high hopes that the next ten weeks or so will go as planned and everything will be fine without any complications or drama.

I'm counting kicks/movement every evening and will start doing that twice a day now. Today it feels like she's sitting very low and pressing on my bladder. Very uncomfortable! I'm running to the bathroom frequently and I'm sure the receptionist is sick of seeing me go flying past her desk so often.

I had lunch with my friend/co-worker today. She delivered her stillborn son at 36 weeks back in January. She was kind enough to bring in a photo album filled with pictures of her precious son and I couldn't help but shed tears looking through them. The love and anguish is so apparent on her and her husbands face and I was struck again at the complete unfairness of it all.

I have to say though, she's a fighter. She's handling her grief so well that she amazes me.

Her kindness and support has been huge for me since we've become close. Today I came into work and there was a gift from her at my desk for Hannah. The fact that she's less than six months removed from her own loss and she thought to buy something for me really speaks volumes about her character.

I look forward to the day I get to repay the gift for her next baby. I hope it's soon. Very, very soon.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Let's try a new position

28w 2d

Yesterday I had another MFM appointment.
They had some computer issues so weren't able to give me my normal blue sheet with all the relevant info so I'm having to recall details from memory.

Fetal position: Breech and facing my spine (although, thinking back, the sonographer showed me how her face was still up against the placenta. And I know my placenta is anterior so how can she be facing my spine? I think that part was recorded incorrectly).
Fetal weight: 2lbs 15oz (67%!)
Heartbeat: High 150's
AFI: 15
Cervix: Long and closed (can't remember exact measurement)

Hannah is growing well and is pretty big for her age. The cord wasn't anywhere near her neck thankfully. The movement from transverse to breech isn't a big deal this early on. Still plenty of time for her to go head down.

She had the hiccups during the ultrasound which was unbelievably cute to watch (I'm pretty sure she has the hiccups as I sit here and write this).

Laying down on my back for even a minute or two is extremely uncomfortable so that makes ultrasounds tougher.

I start weekly BPP testing on June 5th and weekly NST testing on June 12th. I had thought the NST testing would start the same time as BPP testing but, it turns out they don't consider NST testing very reliable before 32 weeks so, that's been put off a bit longer.

The past few days she's been pretty crazy with the kicking and thumping around in there. I don't care how uncomfortable it gets, I love every single second of it. My daughter is growing big and strong and that's the most important thing.

Temporary discomfort and all the trips I have to make to see various doctors over the next ten weeks is nothing at all. I'm just so happy to have her with me every day. We can't wait to meet her.

But, not just yet.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Come drink the water

Friday when I was leaving work I stepped on the elevator with a colleague who works on the same floor I do but, on the other side of the building.

We were making small talk (I think she asked when my due date was) when she said "There are so many pregnant women on your side of the building, I'm not drinking the water over there!".

I laughed, nearly hysterically and said, "In the water? If only! It took me years, thousands of dollars, medical intervention and several disappointments to get to this place!"

Hopefully I didn't come across as a bitter woman, that wasn't my intention at all. I just blurted those words out without thinking.

Of course, in the end, I fell pregnant without any of the extra help. But, I didn't mention that because, I'm pretty sure I had already said too much to a woman who is just a work acquaintance.

So who knows... maybe it is in the water.

And, maybe I just stumbled across a way to make a few extra dollars:

For Sale: *Magic Fertility Water
*Disclaimer: May take anywhere from 6 months to never to become pregnant - results vary.

Or, maybe not.

Friday, May 15, 2015

3 hour glucose tolerance test - Round 2

Another pass!

Fasting: 77
Hour 1: 145
Hour 2: 143
Hour 3: 75

No more GD testing, no more fasting (until c-section day)!

With the worrying I've been doing lately, one less thing to add to the list is fabulous news indeed.

I should stress that I don't have any specific concerns that are worrying me, more of a general worry. I'm getting really close to 31 weeks which is when I went into pre-term the first time with Nathan. Knowing this makes me rather anxious about the chances of pre-term labor again. I'm at a greater risk now that it's happened before.

We love Hannah so much but, we're not ready to meet her yet. We need her to stay warm & cozy right where she is for another 11 weeks.

Also, the position of the cord at my last ultrasound is on my mind a lot. Draped over her shoulders like some diva wearing a scarf is too close for comfort. Fashion & accessories comes later sweet daughter - stay away from the cord!

It's going to be a very long 11 weeks.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

27 weeks - hello 3rd trimester

Today I took the second (and final, I hope) 3 hour glucose test.

I didn't bother testing myself along the way because the numbers were so off last time on my meter. However, it did feel much different this time. At the end I wasn't shaking and didn't feel hypoglycemic at all. It's probably because I ate late last night and haven't thrown up in several days.

Quick stats:
Blood pressure: 124/78
Weight gain: +1 lb since very first appointment
Heartbeat: 150
AFI (Amniotic Fluid Index): 19
Fetal position: still transverse

Hannah gave us all a good panic during my check-up, though. The doctor wasn't able to find the heartbeat with the doppler which is very unusual for 27 weeks.

We had to wait (very nervously) about ten minutes to get to the room with the ultrasound as it was being used by another patient. In the mean time I was asked about movement and I admitted that last night it took nearly 2 hours to get ten kicks which was unusual. I don't get much movement in the morning at all so we can't use that as a barometer for an AM appointment.

Within a second of the transducer being put on my belly the doctor said something along the lines of "there's a little movement there". Okay, relief and now I can look at the screen.

However, she didn't move much at all but, the heartbeat was very visible. The doctor tried to get her to move and Hannah was having none of it.

During the ultrasound, the doctor who delivered Nathan came in to give me a hug. Word has spread in those ten minutes waiting for the ultrasound room to be available. Doctors were nervous. I was nervous.

I was reminded again to be aware of movement and if something seems unusual, to just call. She stressed to me that it's not a problem to call and she'd rather all our minds me put at ease if something seemed "off".

Bottom line though, she looks fine but, they do want to move my next MFM appointment up so that was rescheduled to next week to get a look at the cord.

As soon as I went back to sit down to wait for another blood draw, she started to move around which gave us all peace of mind.

The OB is going to ask the MFM for permission to deliver at 38 weeks. Even for scheduled c-sections, the standard practice now is 39 weeks but, my OB would like to go a little early based on my history. I completely agree and hope the MFM will permit. Given how nervous the MFM doctors are over my obstetric history, I suspect they'll also agree that this is a good plan of action.

Of course, I'm at higher risk for pre-term labor again so we're all just holding our breath hoping to make it to 38 weeks.

So, it looks like my second August baby will, in fact, be another July baby.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It's not everyday you turn 40 (or, 16 as it were)!

I came in to work today to a "Sweet 16" themed decorated cube.

(So, I'm either 40 & pregnant or 16 & pregnant)

I'm sad to say goodbye to my 30's but, not because I fear aging. I'm sad to leave them behind because it was a truly amazing time in my life.

It was the decade I met my husband, got married, became a mom to two gorgeous sons and became pregnant with my own little princess.

Not to mention I met the best friends of my entire life in my 30's. I traveled to about a dozen or so countries and enjoyed the best and warmest camaraderie with my DC United family (I miss you guys terribly, I really do).

But, with so much to look forward to in my 40's, I know it will be another fabulous decade!

Thank you to every single person who impacted my life the last ten years!

Laissez les Bon temps roulez!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Happy Birthday Ryan!

Five years ago today we welcomed our gorgeous and spunky son into this world. It was a perfect day.

He's a spirited & imaginative little boy who can build nearly anything with Legos and absolutely loves Transformers.

We're so proud to be his mommy & daddy!

Birth - 4

Friday, May 1, 2015

MFM appointment #5

Quick stats

Fetal Position: Transverse
Placenta: No Anomalies
Heartbeat: 158 BPM
Amniotic Fluid Index: 13.2 (normal)
Fetal Weight: 1lb 15oz (67th %)
Gestational Age: 25w1d
Gestational Age based on measurements: 25w3d
Cervix: Closed & 4.3cm (excellent)

So she's in a bit of a weird position. No biggie, still plenty of time to move back to vertex position. 

The cord is currently draped over her shoulders a bit like a scarf but, not around the neck.
Even so, I'm to start kick counting now so we can intervene early if there is distress.

I admit, I was hoping the cord would be far away from her neck and it's a little scary with it being so close and her being in this awkward position. 

It's still hard to get any good ultrasound pictures of her profile or face but, we probably got the best ones yet yesterday.

An uncooperative profile
Hand right by the face

She is determined to be a complete surprise upon arrival with no real glimpses beforehand. 
Fine by me really, I know she'll be beautiful!

We see women go back for the ultrasound and they seem to be gone five minutes and come back with only one picture.

We're always back there at least 20 minutes and are sent home with a whole scroll of paper worth of pictures. I guess that's the different between a routine appointment and a true high risk appointment. They leave no stone unturned. 

All is well and so far, so good. 

When we got home I took a bath and, a little later, James left to get Ryan and brought home his school pictures. 

As soon as I even caught a tiny glimpse of them in James' hand, I started to tear up. My son is growing so fast and time is flying by so quickly. 

Because this is his last few months in pre-school, they do graduation pictures along with the normal Spring pictures. When I saw they'd be doing this a few weeks ago, I thought it was kind of silly. Pre-school graduation? Whatever.

However, the adorable pictures totally changed my mind and it's worth the silly tradition for results like this.
"Graduation" picture

Spring picture

Honestly, I feel like I'm floating on air today. Everything is just so perfect and we are a very excited family just waiting for Hannah to join us. 

But, not too soon.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

25 weeks & baby girls name

Apparently the next 3 weeks is when I'll feel the most movement from my daughter and from there, as she runs out of room, movement will decrease some and not be quite so dramatic.

In fun news, our crib arrived this weekend and it's gorgeous!
It's also a much nicer crib than we put on our registry. Turns out my in-laws bought the one we put on our registry but, Babies R Us saw fit to send us a crib that costs 2.5x more than what my in-laws paid for it.

It was obviously a mistake on their part but, we're just going to leave that alone.

We haven't set up the crib yet because we're still rather undecided what the bedroom situation will be.
As it stands now, we're thinking she will take Ryan's room and Ryan will move into the guest bedroom.

I still want to think of the matter more before we move everything around.

As for her name...
We settled on that some time ago but, wanted to keep it private for a while. I don't feel the need to anymore so here we go:

Our sweet girl will be called Hannah.
And, we're totally in love with her.

Friday, April 24, 2015

1,022 days

Or, 2 years, 9 months & 18 days.
146 weeks.

That's how long it has been since Nathan died.

And, I still can't handle baby showers. I tried and I guess overall it was a success. I mean, I stayed until the end (it was a work shower).

But, it was hard. I cried. The mommy-to-be cried as I cried. Thankfully, nearly everyone was gone by then and not many witnessed my blubbering.

She's having a boy and seeing all the decorations was incredibly hard.

Please understand, it's not that I'm not thrilled for her because I am. The whole thing just felt so... familiar.

This is my friend who was pregnant with me before. We had the same due date. She has a lovely son who is nearly 3 (plus a second son due very soon) and I'm here praying every night my daughter makes it to birth. Just let me keep her, please.

I thought finally being pregnant would make it easier but... nope. It was still heartbreaking.

And, well meaning colleagues said things like "it will be your turn next".

It's a very awkward dichotomy to be happily pregnant but, still mourning the loss of my son.

My friend suggested maybe once I give birth to baby girl, I'll feel a sense of closure and it will allow me to handle baby showers (boy baby showers?) better.

Part of me thinks yes but, I'm not sure. I guess only time will tell.

I really did think I'd be okay today.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

24 weeks AKA medical viability

Another milestone to tick off not to mention 60% of the way to the finish line.

Today I woke up early so I could lay in the bath quietly with my eyes closed and feel baby girl moving around.

As a full time working mom, I get very little time alone. So, I like to get up super early sometimes just to spend quiet time with my daughter.

I feel her every day throughout the entire day but, I'm usually too busy to really take it in. The back of my head registers that she's moving around but, I don't get the chance to just relax and really experience it as it's happening. Her movements are so important to me and I want to be able to enjoy every wiggle and every kick.

On another subject...
Yesterday at T-ball practice I got to talking to one of the other moms. She was asking me about this pregnancy and Ryan's and the conversation lead to me saying that no, this was actually my third.

I told her a little about Nathan and she then told me that she just lost a pregnancy this past December at 22 weeks.

The conversation became a lot less awkward then because I felt like at that point, we understood each other and there was no need for any discomfort over the subject.

We exchanged experiences and feelings and all-in-all it was a good conversation (given where we were and the circumstances).

She intends to try for another but, is nervous about it. We talked a bit about how that wonderful blissfulness of being naive is gone forever. Every mom who has suffered a stillbirth will tell you that, too.

With that being said, I told her that every week that passes by I feel more and more confident. I can't say I am where I was with Ryan (or even Nathan) this far along but, I'm feeling good about this baby girl.

That's the best I can say because, probably insanely, I'm still afraid of jinxing it.