Friday, January 22, 2016

Ryan & Hannah

I'm certainly not above tooting my own horn - or Hannah's & Ryan's for that matter - but, I try not to be too obnoxious with the boasting.

With that, I am about to fail miserably.

Toot, toot because here I go!

Hannah
She's been battling RSV this week which is not fun. However, she's been a champ and has never lost her smile (or appetite). She's taking the nebulizer really, really well and she is taking the amoxicillin with no trouble at all thanks to a special medicine pacifier I found (it looks like the worlds tiniest bottle).

I'm warning you now world, our little girl is a feisty one, she will not be stopped.

Her teachers are routinely telling us that she's advanced for her age. They do new things with her and say to each other "look, she can do it!" or "look at what Hannah is doing" when she tries something new on her own.

It's one thing for a parent to suspect her kid is a little above the curve but when the teachers tell you, well then, you know you were right.

One of the mommy's told me she calls Hannah "super baby" because of the stuff Hannah can do.

All this and a beauty, too?

Well, yes as a matter of fact.

Carter's has asked to use at least ten pictures of her already. One they used on Instagram and stayed tuned to your email because Hannah will be appearing in your inbox sometime soon (assuming you get Carter's emails that is)!

I bought her tons of bows and such before she was born thinking I'd have her in a new one everyday but, the truth is, she doesn't need all the adornments. She's so pretty all the fluff just isn't necessary.

I still pull them out for special days and special outfits, of course.


Ryan
We once worried that he would never talk and now we can't get him to not talk for even a moment. His vocabulary has exploded since starting Kindergarten. He read a sign to James in the car yesterday completely on his own.

His favorite activity is building Lego sets. He can now work on sets for ages 8+ with minimal help. He's asked for some more advanced sets that's for 10+ & 14+ but, he's not ready for those yet. Not to mention, we're not ready to pay those prices.

He's a budding artist and I'm seriously impressed with what he can draw. James' dad and sister are quite good artists and that's clearly where Ryan gets the talent from (I draw a square with a triangle on top and call it a house).

He's always been the smallest in his group of peers but, I've noticed that gap is closing. He's still incredibly slim but, James was too as a child. It's a matter of time, I think, until his weight starts to fill out a bit, too.

He's an excellent (and so proud) big brother and he is crazy about his little sister. He's so sweet and wants to play with her all the time. He asks to hold her and asks me to take pictures.

We're so proud of Ryan's tenacity and creativity. He's a great role model for Hannah and I'm confident their bond will last into adulthood.




Until next time, stay safe and warm if you're in the path of the big snow storm coming (as we are)!

Friday, January 15, 2016

About Time

Before I get into this post, I want to say that I am in no way disparaging women who have gotten pregnant via IUI, IVF or any other way that required medical assistance. 

In the end, I don't believe it matters how your baby came (or comes) to you, as long as you get the baby.

I tried 5 IUI's myself and was starting the process of IVF when I fell pregnant with Hannah. 

I'm not speaking on behalf of the infertility community, TTC over 40 community or any other group. Though, I suspect that infertility unicorns will definitely feel where I'm coming from.

So here goes...

I started to write here because I needed a place to document my frustrations with month after month of failed attempts to get pregnant.

I documented all my failed fertility treatments and the sorrow that came with every miscarriage (three in 2014). I wrote about how we were starting to have the conversation with Ryan about the virtues of being an only child.

I was losing hope.

We switched doctors because we wanted to use the best in the area when it came to IVF. Even that doctor told us that we probably didn't have high chances of a successful IVF.
That. Was. Crushing.

I remember crying in the office feeling so full of despair.

The next month I was pregnant. I was pregnant and it happened 100% naturally. On our own, no medical intervention.

Now, looking back, it happened when it was supposed to. Hannah was the one all along. We didn't know it but, she was going to come in her own good time.

A doctor didn't sort through my eggs to find the best ones and then sort through James' sperm to find the best ones and force them together in a dish under a microscope.

Hannah is here because, despite huge odds, I released a good egg and one of James' "boys" were able to break into it at exactly the right time.

This is nothing short of miraculous.

It was supposed to be Hannah and that's why all the other attempts failed.

Of course, had I known, I could have saved us a lot of money, tears and medications that treated my hormones like a roller coaster ride.

But, I had no way of knowing that Hannah was there, waiting for the timing to be right.

I'll never know what made that month the right month. But, I do know that I'm so damn happy that it happened the way it did; naturally and at a time when I was convinced I was a fertility failure.

Hannah didn't need us to create her in a lab - she just needed time and for us to be patient. Because, she was always going be our daughter... we just didn't know it.





Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Likes and dislikes

Hannah is five months old and is becoming more and more independent (!). In some ways it's heartbreaking because it's going by so damn fast.

However, she's smashing through milestones so quickly and we can't help but be amazed.

I threw out the What to Expect the First Year long ago so, I don't really remember when certain milestones are supposed to happen. We pretty much rely on the doctor to tell us if she's on target or, we'll go back and look at when Ryan hit milestones to see if Hannah is on the same trajectory.

Her teachers are a good barometer, too. Recently when I picked her up, they told me how she's the youngest baby but, can do everything the bigger babies can do and even some things they haven't done yet.

Basically, that's her compared to four other babies in her age range but, it's still nice to know that she can hang.

As I said, her independence is really showing. Her teachers have a hard time feeding her because she wants to feed herself (bottle and spoon). Bottle, okay sure. Spoon... well, slow your roll kid. That's just a giant mess that mommy's not ready for. She grabs the spoon out of my hand and what I get back is a sticky spoon with pears and slobber all over it. Not at all delightful.

She took to puree's fantastically. Her very first taste was sweet potatoes and she made a face that said "what's this crap?". The second spoon full was "alright, I admit, it's pretty good" and by the third she was grabbing the spoon like a fiend who couldn't get enough of those wonderful sweet potatoes.

With that being said, it's obvious she prefers pears to sweet potatoes. We're sticking with those two for the time being.

Moving on to what she likes and what she really doesn't like...

Likes:
Sucking on her toes
Sucking on everything that comes remotely close to her mouth
Her new teething lion - she bites into that like it's a battle... only one can come out alive
Laughing
Grabbing mommy's hair (and refusing to let go - seriously, she has a death grip on my hair)
Feeding herself, thank you very much
Music

Dislikes:
Socks
Carseats
Having her face wiped (who can blame her?)
Having her nose suctioned (again, who can blamer her?)
Being alone for more than ten seconds (hey, where did everyone go?!)

I love seeing her personality blossom and her experiences shape her understanding of things around her.

She's got fantastic and loving caregivers at school and it warms my heart (and my mind) so much to see how good they are with her, and all the babies. The women are so sweet and patient and even noticed (before we did) when she was ready to move up a nipple size on her bottles.

I could post an entire book on how wonderful Christmas was for both of my kids. Suffice it to say Santa and family (and friends) were generous to them both and, above all, they were (and are) surrounded by a tremendous amount of love.

We don't have a huge family, but, it's a tight and loving family - on both sides of the Atlantic.

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas, too.

I'm already composing the next post but, I'm waiting on events to unfold before I hit publish.
The truth is, I hope that post comes later than sooner but, it's not in my hands.

For now I'll just say I'm wishing you all a happy and safe New Years!


Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A December day in London that changed my life

A couple days ago, my husband wrote a blog post about the day we met. He did this in his usual British sense of humor using colorful words and phrases that make me cringe.

But, the bottom line message was so sweet and loving that it really touched me.

The thing is, I have been composing a post about my husband in my head for a couple months. Never really putting a solid theme or construction behind it.

In celebration of having met him 8 years ago, today is the day I put thoughts into words and words onto paper (well, blog).

Our first face-to-face meeting was in London in 2007. I was there with a couple friends on vacation because there is nothing more wonderful than London at Christmas time (and, umm... Spice Girls. But, I'll get to that).

However, our story starts about 18 months before that meeting.

We initially "met" online. No, not a hook-up website or dating website. Nothing like that. We had a shared love of soccer. I was one of the few Americans on this forum and I used the word "soccer" so, James put two-and-two together and thought "American". So, it was my Americanism that made him PM me.

We talked as friends for the next 18 months before we met. We were both in the dating game and would talk about dates, friends, soccer... just chitchat you'd have with any friend.

Sometimes we'd go long stretches without talking at all. Sometimes we'd talk well into the early morning and he'd get up and go to work without having slept because he was chatting to me.

He talked me off a few relationship ledges, too. He was there for me when I needed him. I knew he was a good guy but, I never thought of him as anything beyond a long distance friendship.

And then, the Spice Girls announced a reunion tour.

Hell. Yes.

Sure, I could see them in the United States (and did). But, what better way to experience an epic event (I mean, Ginger was back!) than right in London?!

So, I convinced Paul and Jen that we should head to London.

I sent James a message that I'd be in London in December - want to meet up?

Well, he tells that part of the story best (and, err... graphically) so, go check out his link.

After we met in person, I liked him right away. I started to think of him differently. We met up a few more times after that initial date.

Then Paul and I headed off to Belgium for a few days. While I was in Belgium (LOVE Belgium, will definitely take the kids there some day) I was texting James the whole time. I was falling for him.

From Belgium it was back to London but, only long enough to catch a plane back to the US.

When I returned home, I invited him to come visit. And, he did. Five months later we were engaged. We discussed where we'd live. USA or England? It had been my dream for quite some time to live in England and James was happy in England. He lived very close to his parents, owned a house, managed a soccer team and had friends he'd had since he was a toddler.

But, moving so far away scared me more than it scared him. So, he agreed to come here.

The next 18 months was filled with immigration paperwork, invasive interviews, thousands of dollars, a ton of trips to England and, finally, a trip to the United States embassy where James was approved to move to the USA.

He sold his house, nearly all of his belongings, walked away from a job where he was well paid and had a company car, said goodbye to family & friends and boarded a plane to a new country that he had only visited twice before.

He did something huge that I hadn't been brave enough to do and, he did it for me.

I suppose many would wonder if, had he insisted on staying in England, I would have moved there?

Yes, I would have. England feels like home to me and James' parents and sister had given me a wonderful welcome to the family. His friends were funny and also very welcoming so, I would have been fine, even happy, in England.

But, again, I wasn't brave and he was. Which is funny because, between the two of us, I'm definitely the more adventurous, fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants, carpe diem type of person.

Eight years, three kids, four cats, four addresses & some devastating events later... here we are.

James is a loyal husband who loves his kids and his wife. He works hard for his family and is ambitious in a way I've never been. He excels at his job, is well respected and his future is pretty well mapped out at his company.

I can't tell you how proud I am of him.

He moved to the United States on a wing and a prayer with no job lined up and had to work at Target for about two years just so he'd be able to contribute. It mattered to him.

He was a stay at home dad during the day, a Target supervisor at night and he did it all extremely well.

Even now, he still does the family laundry, nearly all the cooking, school drop off's... you name it. He's a hands on dad and I love him for it.

My life took a direction I never even had considered that day 8 years ago.

Now, I can't imagine it being any other way.
And, I'm pretty sure I really do have the best husband ever.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Fabulous at four months

Some quick stats and facts

Weight - 12lbs 13oz - 32%
Height - 24 1/2" - 61%
Head - 16" - 41%

Rolling over is a nothing event these days because, she's been doing it so long. She's practicing sitting up by herself but, can't keep her spine straight enough for that for more than a couple seconds. She absolutely hates to be laying down unless she's ready for a nap. When you lay her down, she tries very, very hard to pull herself up.

She can stand for long stretches of time holding on to our hands (or something else solid). I'm seriously impressed with her stamina.

When on her belly, she tries to scoot forward but, we're quite a while away from actual crawling. Instead, she gets around by rolling to where she wants to be. The teachers at her school like to point out how far she'll go when they put her down on the play mat.

Bottom line, this kid likes to be on the move! We'll be investing in baby gates very soon.

She's a good sleeper over all but, has nights here and there where she'll wake up and cry for a few minutes. Most of the time we wait and listen and she'll fall back to sleep. There have been a few occasions where we get her up for a feeding.

I recently read an article about the 4-5 month sleep regression and how they're now getting more REM sleep at this age but, when they cycle out of REM, their brains aren't quite developed enough to keep them asleep (an adult will easily continue to sleep after REM is over).

The article went on to say the best thing you can do for your baby is to give them time to self soothe back to sleep.

So, that's what we're doing. Thankfully, she really is a good sleeper so, there hasn't been very many totally frustrating nights. I hear horror stories from friends like "my kid didn't sleep through the night until she was 3".

We weren't sure what to expect. Ryan was an exception, in that, he slept through the night at 6 weeks. The kid has always chosen sleep over eat. We knew it was unlikely that Hannah would be the same way.

And, she wasn't. But, she did start sleeping through at about 11 weeks and, that's not bad! I won't go so far as to say she values sleep over food, though.

Not. Even. Close.
This kid loves her food.

We've been given the okay to start rice cereal in her bottle. Not sure about that yet, though. I'm going to do some research and really put thought into this before we make that call.

With Ryan, it was an easy decision. He was a small baby (4th to 5th percentile) and needed to fatten up (he never did). So adding a little extra to his bottle wasn't a big deal for us.

Hannah doesn't have this problem so, I don't think we're in a hurry to add anything.

In other news

We're in full out "deck the halls" mode. The tree went up as did the stockings. Hannah has her first ornament and we have a new family ornament, too.

I'm so excited about this Holiday season. I can't even say how long it's been since I've felt the spirit of Christmas like I do this year.

We're going to see Santa Claus this coming weekend and going to the nearby drive-thru light show a little closer to Christmas.

Ryan is talking about this light show non-stop. He asks me every day how many more days until we can go. He remembers it from last year and, I don't blame his excitement. This park has a truly spectacular set up.

'Tis the season!



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.

Love,
Mommy



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.