The Bump

abigail’s birth story

I can’t believe how long overdue this is. 

Funny, that’s pretty much exactly the same thing I was thinking at 41 weeks pregnant.  Ha!

I started writing this post in March.   Yeah, like 9 months ago.   I finally decided I needed to finish it because I really am forgetting the details (even though when I first wrote this I was begging someone to tell me WHEN I would forget the pains of labor!).

Brace yourself; it’s long.  (that’s what he said….booya!)

Like, really long.  But I figure it’s more for me than anyone so if you’re not into this sort of thing, come back in a few days (let’s be honest…weeks) and we’ll chat about something else! 

So here goes.  Here’s the story of my “easy birth” Erin Cherry!   (This is my girlfriend who just last week says to me, “well dude, you had an easy birth, right?”   I just looked at her and said:  “Erin.  Do not ever tell any woman that her labor was easy.”)  Sheesh.

Anyhoo…

My due date was Friday, January 27th.   A date that came and went without incident.  Not so much as a Braxton Hicks.  My OB was only comfortable with letting me go one week pas my due date, so at my last appointment she scheduled an induction for Monday, February 6.    This irritated me (like everything does when you’re 40 weeks pregnant).  Why you ask?  Because technically a week overdue would be Friday the 3rd.   And if my Dr. was soooooo worried about me going longer than 41 weeks, she should have scheduled my induction for Friday.   But my precious little OB “doesn’t work on Fridays and had a massage scheduled.” 

Priorities, right?

At least I know where she stands.   

So after I secretly rolled my eyes, I reminded myself that this was a good thing.     It gave me a few more days to let things happen on their own without having to be induced. 

Speaking of drugs…I didn’t really have a birth plan per se.   I didn’t feel strongly about how the birth should happen, mostly because I had no idea what to expect.  I just wanted a healthy mom and baby.  However, over the course of my pregnancy I did start to have some preferences.   These preferences were:

  • I’d prefer not to be induced.
  • I’d like to go without an IV.  I typically faint at the sight of needles.
  • I’d like to avoid an epidural.  This is a GIANT needle.
  • I’d like to not have a cesarean.  Knives are worse than needles.

I guess that means I was hoping for an a’la natural birth. 

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5 days past due.  Still rockin’ the heels!  My feet killed me that night. 

Ironically, exactly a week past my due date on Friday, February 3rd,  I woke up at 4 a.m. and said, “uh oh.”

I woke up with what felt like a combination of  menstrual cramps and Braxton Hicks (false labor contractions that I’d had since about week 26).   The Hubs was asleep, so I just figured I’d wait it out and see if this was the real deal.   As I sat in bed, I noticed the contractions were coming regularly and were increasingly more uncomfortable.

Over an hour later, I got out of bed to use the bathroom and nearly buckled over because of a contraction.  This time The Hubs woke up and said “what’s happening?!”  To which I replied…”um…I think I’m in labor!” 

Of course he was annoyed that I had sat there for over an hour and not woken him up.   Whoopsie.  

So immediately The Hubs grabs his phone and says “sweet!  I just downloaded an app yesterday to time your contractions.  Just tell me when one starts and one stops.”   Sounds great, right?  Except that the last (and I mean the last) thing a woman in labor wants to do is announce the coming and going of her contractions.  You’re just trying to make it through alive.  So I wasn’t really very helpful in that regard. 

He could usually tell when one was starting because I’d pause…..bend over…grab my knees and start breathing heavily.   But then dude….there was the Hubs, right beside me like a broken record:   “ok, is it over?   is it over?  are you done?” 

I was not enthused. 

At this point the contractions were uncomfortable, but bearable.  Kind of a “grit your teeth” sort of thing.   Oddly enough, the fancy little app he downloaded was saying my contractions were 3 minutes apart.   Which I thought HAD to be wrong because everything I read said “labor at home for as long as you can.  Put on a movie (really??) or do something to distract yourself.  Only go to the Hospital when your contractions are down to five minutes apart”  I’d only been laboring for an hour and a half at this point so I thought it was impossible that they were coming that fast.  Besides, according to the books I should be at the hospital by now.

So we got up and The Hubs gave me a glass of water and a granola bar and told me to walk up and down the stairs.  (what?)  But what do I know?  So I did it. 

Five minutes later I was in the bathroom puking, and the Hubs was grabbing my hospital bag.  Apparently vomiting was our cue to leave.

Side note:  something no one ever talks about is the ride to the Hospital and how absolutely awful it is!  There is NO comfortable position to sit and each and every bump makes you feel like your baby is about to come out.   This is not cool.  On top of it, February is not an ideal time to be speeding down the road….you know, snow and ice have a tendency to inhibit driving. 

We get to the Hospital and they confirm that I’m actually in labor (duh).   

I’m admitted at 6:00 a.m. 

Once admitted, they give you the standard-issue hospital gown to change into.  I wasn’t thrilled about this…but decided that I’d rather mess up their garments than mine.  

The next thing they do is start asking you a bunch of questions for their records.  Really important things like, “how old are you?” and  “Do you live in a house or an apartment?” 

Seriously. 

I kinda wanted to punch this nurse in the face.    I think the Hubs could sense this because he answered all of the questions while I continued to have contractions.    It’s nearly impossible to talk or think when you’re leading up to, experiencing, or recovering from a contraction.   I just had to “get in my zone” and stay there regardless of what was going on around me. 

It’s kind of weird to be in labor.  You always see TV shows and movies of people just laboring in bed. 

Let me tell you.  It is not like that.

You’re up, walking around.  Buckling over in pain.  Puking in the garbage can.  Running to the bathroom because sitting on the toilet seems like a good idea.   You’re groaning and moaning and making noises you think must be coming from someone else and when you realize they’re coming from you….you don’t give a sh*$.

At least that’s how it was for me. 

The nurse confirmed that my contractions were coming very quickly – now down to only 1 minute of rest in between.   And when she checked my progress I was dilated to 5 cm.   Wow – halfway there already and I had just gotten to the hospital!

I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that an IV wasn’t standard procedure either.  So long as I didn’t request drugs I could remain needle-free. 

Now, speaking of drugs – it got to a point about five hours into it that I wasn’t sure I could do it anymore.  I started to doubt myself, because each contraction seemed worse than the one before.  And they hurt.    I don’t even know how to explain the pain, except that it’s unlike anything else I’ve experienced.     The worst part is that you don’t know how long you’ll have to endure it…it could be 2 more hours or 10.    So at one point I looked at the Hubs and said “I don’t know if I can do this.  I think I want an epidural.” 

And do you know what my kind, loving, supportive Husband said? 

“No.”

No.  As if he’s the one going through this or has any inkling of the intensity of the pain. 

I was quite surprised by this reaction, and if another contraction wasn’t coming I probably would have given him a piece of my mind.   Just cuz that’s how pregnant Janna rolls.

So I labored for another 30 minutes or so, and brought it up again….thisreallyreallyhurtsandithinkineedanepidural!     This time he says,  “No, no.  You aren’t going to do that.  You didn’t want one and you’ll be so much happier afterwards if you don’t do it.   It’s just going to be a motherf#%&@er of a day.” 

Yep. 

He just said that.

To the woman buckled over in pain, delivering his child. 

I was completely speechless.  And if looks could kill I may have just done so that day.

I think I was dilated to 7 cm at this point, and asked to sit in the birthing tub but just my luck, it’s out of order.    So I opted for a shower instead, which felt good on my back for awhile (I was having a lot of back pain).  But really I was probably only in there for 5 minutes when I decided that “nope, this isn’t working.  I need out.  NOW.”  

Once I got back to my room (now soaking wet), the nurse started encouraging me to “push a little bit” to try and get my water to break.  

I was skeeeeered. 

I remembered hearing that contractions are like 10 times worse once your water breaks.     But I wanted to move things along, so I did what she said.   And holy shit.  My water broke in the middle of a contraction as I was standing and leaning on the bed.   I’m pretty sure I was screaming blood murder.  I’m not sure why….it just seemed like a lot of water!

The nurse said my water was slightly green, which means that the baby had pooped into the amniotic fluid.  It’s pretty common among overdue babies, but it can be dangerous if they’ve swallowed any of the water.   So all of a sudden there’s a bunch of commotion in the room as other nurses prepare for that scenario.   I tried not to think about that or any bad outcomes.  I just tried to focus on what I could do – and that was getting this baby out. 

Luckily, by the time my water broke, I was dilated far enough to start pushing.  (And thank you baby Jesus because it’s true.  Contractions are quite different after that soft cushion is gone). 

Pushing is also weird. 

It’s like everyone thinks you should know how to do it.   When really you have no clue what you’re doing.  You just follow your natural instincts I guess, and the nurses are usually pretty good and guiding you along. 

So I’m on the bed.   I’m pushing with each contraction and it dawns on me that the Dr. has yet to show up.  Eric must be thinking the same thing because he says “Will the Dr. be joining us anytime soon??”

Apparently they show up just in time to catch your baby as it comes flying out, which I thought a bit strange.  I assumed she’d be there for more of it. 

(Oh wait, that’s right.  She doesn’t work on Friday’s and had a massage scheduled). 

Anyways….so back to pushing.  Again, weird.  It just feels like you’re taking a giant poo.  Sorry.  But it does.   And it’s exhausting.  And HURTS. 

I remember feeling sorry for any other pregnant women getting admitted to the Labor Wing while I was pushing.  Because I.  was.  screaming.  Like big time.  And I could’ve cared less who heard.   All I wanted was to get the baby out. 

I pushed for about 40 minutes, and at the end I distinctly remember the feeling of her coming down the birth canal, pausing there for a few pushes, and then crazy burning sensation of a head and shoulders coming out followed by the slippery torso and legs.  I tell you, it was amazing. 

And immediately afterwards? 

Peace.

The pain completely gone. 

Just pure joy and excitement to finally see this little one.  And at 10:30 a.m., exactly one week past my due date and 6.5 hours after my first contraction….we got to meet her. 

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I hope you have “one motherf%#)er of a day too someday sweetie! 

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Oh man.  Those cheeks.  I could kiss them all day.

Our hospital is really into coupling practices….so they basically plop your baby on your tummy right after she is born.  They don’t clean them or anything…just let you do skin-to-skin contact for as long as you like.   It really was amazing to hold her like that so soon.  I was very thankful!

I was also thankful for the nurse who was “cleaning me up” and said ….”oh, let me just get this poo off your leg.  I think the baby pooped on you.”  I’m no idiot, nurse.  But thank you for letting me think that it was the baby for .5 seconds. 

And that my friends is the reality of childbirth.  Glorious childbirth.

Anyhoo, we spent a couple of hours in the laboring room just enjoying Abby and spending some snuggle time together.  Around 1:00 we were moved to the post-partum wing (which was brand new and super nice!) where each of our parents were waiting for us.  My sisters were there with their families and several of our friends as well.  It was so nice to introduce little Abby to everyone!  

In the end….yes I am glad that I was able to make it through without drugs.  I give the Hubs a hard time for saying no (I HAVE to after what he said), but  I know he was just doing what he thought was best and what he thought I would want.  He really was very helpful during the labor….rubbing my back….reminding me to stay low and connected to the earth (that’s my interpretation, not what he was saying!  haha). 

Every birth is different.  Every story is different.  There are no easy labors (Erin Cherry).  They are all special and unique in their own way.  And amazingly enough you do start to forget and think hmmm.  Maybe someday I can do that again.

Maybe. 

Maybe someday I’ll be up for another motherf(*#%er of a day again. 

Until then, I’m going to kiss these awesome cheeks some more.

Can you believe she is getting so big?  At 42 weeks, she is officially outside of me longer than she was inside of me.  Kind of crazy. 

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And for those of you wondering….yes.  My Dr. made it to her massage that day.

february it is…

I know I’ve been MIA lately.    And I’ve probably fooled several of you into thinking I’ve gone and had that baby already. 

Because I’m supposed to be done by now. 

But here I sit. 

Still.

If you’re wondering what I’m up to, all you need to do is re-read my last post from seven days ago.   It’s all still true. 

Funny how that title just keeps haunting me, isn’t it?!

It’s also funny how you always think of pregnancy as being such a physical thing:  giant boobs, a giant belly, incessant itching, excess hair, awesome bloating, multiple chins…you know, all that glamorous stuff.  But in reality, the real challenge (at least for me) has been the mental side of things.   The hormones that make me feel like a crazy person; never knowing what feelings are “real” and what have been influenced by estrogen.   Making decisions (about cribs, monitors, car seats, diapers, nursing, pumping, working, daycares) without really knowing what our baby will like (and not like), or how I’m going to feel “afterwards.”  Trying to imagine all of the ways our lives are going to change and how to deal with it.  Wondering and worrying that everything is ok with the baby I’m growing inside of me.  Wondering how this baby will change our marriage and how to work through it.   

And now, this last mental hurdle:  the waiting. 

Honestly, this wasn’t even something on my radar.  I have been completely blindsided by how freaking hard the waiting and anticipation would be at the end.   I’m kind of a rollercoaster of emotions these days:  strong and confident one minute, knowing I can handle whatever comes….then like a scared little puppy the next wondering if everything is ok in there and just praying that she comes soon.   And dude, how much is this going to hurt?  haha.   I mean, I know I’m ready…but it’s still “the unknown” and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t worry about the whole process from time-to-time.   

And yes, I know there is an end in sight.    I know I will meet this little one within the next few days.  But for some reason that doesn’t make it any easier. 

I can handle the uncomfortableness.  I can handle the chins.  I can handle all of the physical aspects of pregnancy that have been thrown my way.   I just can’t handle the wondering and the worrying.  

And I really can’t handle my water breaking at work…so if you could help your momma out and do that at home, that’d be great Baby T.

So yeah.   I guess since I don’t know much of anything at this point (turns out having babies is not condusive to being a planner), all I can do is focus on what I do know. 

This is what I know:

- January 13 (the O’Connell sister curse date of having your first baby two weeks early, at 4 a.m. via cessarean) has come and gone.

- January 22 (my due date based on my menstrual cycle) has come and gone.

- January 27 (my “official” due date based on Baby T’s measurements) has come and gone.

- Sayonara January.  You are no longer Baby T’s birth month.   We’re into February.  So without a doubt, Baby T will an Aquarius.  Which kind of makes me laugh because I always burst into song when I hear that word.  Don’t even pretend, you know what I’m talking about:  “this is the dawning of the age of Aquarious….age of Aquariouuuuuuuss…..Aquar…i….ous…..”    You know this to be true, sisters.

- I had my last Dr.’s appointment this week.   She scheduled an induction for Monday, February 6th. 

- I am expecting all of you to pray to the baby Gods that Baby T decides to come on her own before then.   Not that there’s anything terribly wrong with induction, but it was one of the things I had hoped to avoid.   However, after conversations with my Dr. and the Hubs, we have all agreed that at 41 weeks, 3 days (on Monday), a little help might be in order. 

- None of the theories for naturally inducing labor have worked for me yet (although I refuse to drink castor oil!).  I ate food so spicy last night that I was sweating.   Obviously it didn’t work, but perhaps the leftovers I brought for lunch will.   Cross your fingers!

So there you have it. 

That’s all I know. 

January has come and gone, and we are looking forward to meeting our little Aquarius.  

February it is, folks.  Who woulda thunk it?

And I’ll leave you with this:  a picture at 40 weeks, 4 days (taken yesterday).   I was pretty proud of myself for wearing heels.   Those of you who are my friend on face.book have already had the pleasure of viewing it….but I see no reason to deprive my blogging friends of it as well.   

Sorry about the grainy photo…it was taken with my phone obviously. 

Notice the strategically-placed phone so my chins can’t be counted. 

And yes, my feet hurt at the end of the day.  But it was worth it.

still…

Todays random ramblings are brought to you by the word “still.”

Because as I think about all of the events happening in my life right now, this one word seems to sum them up pretty succinctly.

You’ll understand shortly. 

still pregnant…

Yep.  I’m officially 39 weeks, 5 days preggers today.    It’s weird, these last few weeks of pregnancy.   I find myself so sure that I’m going to have this baby today…only to wake up  *still* pregnant the next day. 

I know, I know…I’m technically not even to  my due date yet!  But you hear things like this from people all the time:

- you look like you’re about ready to pop!  (By the way…why is this an appropriate and acceptable statement to make to anyone…ever??!)

- you are getting so close!

- I bet you have that baby tomorrow!

- you’re going to be early, I just know it!

- wow – you’re really showing now!

And you know what?  You start to believe them!   Yeah, I AM about ready to pop!  And I totally WILL have this baby early!  I just HAVE to!  TODAY is MY DAY! 

And then another day passes and you’re still pregnant…only to face the same comments from a new round of faces.   It’s hard not to feel a little disappointed, but then you remind yourself that you’re not even to 40 weeks yet!   Gah!  Get a grip girl!  You shouldn’t be feeling like this until after you’re at least 40 weeks along.   Right??

Sheesh. 

In all fairness however, my Dr. is being the opposite of helpful right now.  

In the past I’ve watched several near-the-end girls in my aqua fitness class (that’s what the cool kids call it) report weekly on how dilated or ephased they are.   Me?  I get nothing.  My Dr. doesn’t check me at my weekly appointments except to listen for the heartbeat and measure my belly.   So I have no idea if I’m dilated any further past the “1” I was at a month ago (when she surprisingly did check). 

I know, I know.  Most people say those numbers don’t mean much because you can walk around for weeks dilated to 5 centimeters.   But still!  I’m a first time mom here.  It might be nice to know and I kinda wanna know.  

But since I don’t know, I find myself totally buying into the hype that I could pop any time now. 

See the vicious cycle this has become? 

still working…

Ok whose big idea was this anyways? 

To work until “the end?”  

Ok it was mine. 

Because I’m suuuuuuure I thought it would be fine, right?  Just pray that my water doesn’t break at work and I’m good to go! 

Well, it turns out that working up until “the end” is its own type of torture.  Trying to focus on work when your mind is completely focused somewhere else?  Sitting behind a computer for eight hours a day?  Trying to pull yourself out of bed in the morning (when you haven’t been sleeping) earlier than normal because it takes you twice as long to do your normal things (like actually get out of the bed, shower, dress, put on socks, walk the dog).  And the worst, the absolute worst part of it is wrapping everything up at the end of the day so you can seamlessly hand it over to someone else for 12 weeks…and then showing up the next day and needing to start all over.  It’s like a really bad Groundhog’s Day. 

Oh wait, Groundhog’s Day was really bad. 

You get the idea.

Yeah, this working thing is for the birds.  If I could go back in time, I would like to say to myself:  “Self, it’s going to be hard enough at 39 weeks along.  Why don’t you call it quits with work and spend the days watching stories and eating bon bons?”

And then I would answer myself and say “Self, that is a glorious idea!” 

Plus I’ve always wanted to say “quiet down in there, I’m watching my stories!”

still bored…

Maybe I’ll be the first to say it out loud, but I’m sure I can’t be the first to feel it:  being pregnant can be boring!   Especially these last few weeks.   

At least in my experience.

I mean, the list of things I can’t do is a mile longer than the things I can.     For example, I can’t:  walk very far, hike very far, ski, snowshoe, shovel (yes, I actually wanted to shovel snow and the Hubs said no) or snowmobile.   And now that I’m so close to my due date I can’t stray very far from the house, leave town or go anywhere outside of cell service.    

I mean, it kind of feels like I’m on house arrest or something.   I’m basically stuck at home….where normally I would be all over cleaning, organizing, projecting or cooking…but there’s no energy for that anymore.  Nope.  I’ll get halfway through a project and wonder how in the world I’m going to finish it….or how in the heck I can vacuum upstairs when the simple act of carrying the vacuum up the stairs will require a nap. 

Le’ sigh. 

Perhaps it’s because I’m so used to doing things.    It’s hard for me to just sit down and relax, even though I know that’s what is best for me and baby right now. 

And yes, everyone tells me to just “enjoy it” because “it won’t last long.”   

I’m trying, but not succeeding very well. 

still ornery…

Seems as though these dang pregnancy hormones will get the best of me yet!   And my little dog too!

Lately I’ve found myself unable to hide my annoyances with just about everything.  The barista that gets my drink wrong, the strangers that find it necessary to stare at my belly, the fact that nothing ever sounds good for dinner. 

I mean, I’m sure this is just a result of my raging hormones, right?  Normally these things wouldn’t bother me (well, normally I wouldn’t have a pregnant belly for people to stare at either).  Really though, normally I’m extremely patient and nice to people.   Not one to roll my eyes in plain view or give a stranger the side-eye. 

Just trust me when I say that it will be better for everyone when these hormones tone ‘er down a bit.

still loving any and all baked goods…

It’s safe to say that if you are a baked good within my arms reach, that you are not safe. 

I hope this too goes away post baby. 

still thirsty for more…

I know.  I feel guilty for even admitting this.  It shouldn’t be that big of a deal to  abstain from drinking for 9 months.

But I do miss it.   Well…let me clarify:  I miss good beer, like microbrews.  I could probably go another full 9 months without a Bud Light.  haha. 

I miss the social aspect of it.   I miss going to the brewery in the evening and enjoying a few drinks with my friends.   It’s just not the same when everyone else is drinking your favorite Winter Brew and you’re sipping on your 3rd root beer.   I mean really, there’s only so much root beer a girl can drink; no matter how much fun it is to say “sassafras root” each time I have one.

Wanna know something awesome though? 

The Hubs and I brewed a special batch of Homebrew for Baby T.  Well…I guess it’s more for us than for the Baby, obvi.   It’s a Sierra Nevada “Celebration” clone and we just bottled it this week.   Which means in two short weeks we’ll both be able to crack one open and celebrate the new addition to our world.   

Needless to say, I am thirsty stoked.

still got my mooooooves….

That’s right. 

I’m 9 months pregnant and still kicked the Hubs ass at Dance Central. 

Who cares that I could only make it through one song before collapsing on the couch?

Bring it.

still grateful…

As I read back through this post, I realize it probably sounds like I’m complaining a lot. 

I don’t mean to sound so negative. 

I know how lucky I am to be pregnant.  To have a healthy pregnancy.  To feel relatively decent.  To still be going to work and saving my maternity days for after baby arrives.  To have a supportive family.  To have people in my life that are so excited to meet this little baby and think about me daily. 

For that I am so grateful.   Really, truly grateful.

But I think you just reach a point in pregnancy where you’re just ready to be done.   You’ve prepared all you can prepare.  You’ve read all you can read.  You’ve cleaned and organized your house ten thousand times.  You’ve cooked enough freezer meals for a small army.   And you’re just ready to embark on this next part of the journey.

So whatever that point is…I think it’s safe to say that I’ve reached it. 

I’m ready to meet this little girl, to embrace the changes and the challenges that will come with her.  To become a parent.   To watch The Hubs become a parent and form a bond with his daughter. 

So hurry up Baby T. 

Apparently I’m about ready to pop over here! 

Still.

baby t’s nursery

Update:  if you’re looking for a source list, go here!

It’s done!  

Well, as done as it’s going to get…cuz *this* girl is nearly 39 weeks and tired.   And since you’ve all kind of been along-for-the-ride with me since the beginning of this whole thing, I thought I’d share the final result with you. 

I love a good before-and-after, so let’s take a look at what the room used to look like, shall we?   It was the larger of our guest bedrooms that also doubled as my dumping grounds (it housed my sewing machine and supplies, craft stuff, leftover wedding projects and lord knows what else):

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So I cleared all of my stuff out, sold the furniture on Craigslist and started with a clean slate

Meanwhile, I started to gather some inspiration pieces for the new room…

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I originally wanted to add board and batten in the room, but after the Hubs put the k-bosh on just painting the room I decided that the likelihood of getting board and batten approved was slim.  Ha.  In retrospect it’s probably a good thing I didn’t undertake either of those tasks while pregnant.  Perhaps someday I can add it as an upgrade. 

And as long as we’re talking about future projects; can I just say too, that I’d love for the trim to be a beautiful glossy white?   I considered tackling that this time around, but I can’t get past the idea of just painting trim in one room and not addressing the rest of the house.   And I wasn’t quite up to the task of painting all the trim in a two-story, 2300 square foot house.  On my own.  And pregnant.  Chalk another one on the “project” list, or perhaps just the “next house list.”

Anyways, I digress.  Again. 

Despite the lack of new paint, trim or board and batten…I have to say I love the space.  So why don’t I quite talking typing and give ya’ll a tour?

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Some of you may remember me mentioning the game-alternative my sisters came up with for my shower…here’s the framed recipe card I was referring to.   I don’t know why but reading it still brings tears to my eyes!

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In the beginning, we decided to keep the queen-sized bed in the room.  I guess I thought I wouldn’t be able to fill all of the space up in the room if we removed it.  Turns out once we got all of the furniture in (crib, dresser, chair, etc.) I was kind of wishing we weren’t keeping it.   It would be nice to have this whole section of the room as a reading/play area.   I imagine a rug anchoring the space with the chair, a bookshelf, and possibly a toy chest. 

But for now, I decided to stick with the plan.  Besides, I can always remove it later if we don’t use it.   Although I have a sneaking suspicion that during the first few months I’ll find it quite handy to have the bed available in there….seeing as how the nursery is on the second floor and our master bedroom is on the first.   That could definitely translate into a lot of late-night trips up the stairs.  And when I say trips….I quite possibly mean that literally. 

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This is another one of my favorite quotes on a greeting card.  The colors just happened to work perfectly in here so I just popped it in a frame!

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Summit isn’t quite sure what to think of the room yet…she always comes in here and cautiously walks around, sniffing everything. 

You’ll learn soon enough little girl…and let me apologize in advance. 

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Perhaps some of you are wondering where the heck the pink is…I mean, we’re having a little girl after all!

After taking a glimpse in the closet I think you’ll all agree that no one needs to worry about the amount of pink we’ll have.  

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And here’s some more…I’d say we’re all set in the pink department.

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I didn’t get around to turning that chair into a rocker/glider yet, but it seems like an easy-enough project to tackle down the road if we need to.  

You may notice too that the room isn’t super baby-ish, but I tried to do that on purpose because I guess that’s not really my style.  Er…I mean…Baby T is just realllly sophisticated already.  Ha ha.  And I’m quite happy with myself because even though we knew we were having a girl (and I lurve pink), I kept everything fairly gender-neutral.  So when Baby T #2 comes along we’ll be able to re-use most of it.   You can stop hyperventilating Hubs…I just want to get through Baby T #1 first too. 

Oh, and If you’re wondering where anything came from I’ll be working up a source list to post tomorrow.  Several of the items were DIY’ed, so I’ll also link up to the blog post that explains the project. 

So what do you think?  I catch myself hanging out in here for no reason at all sometimes…just looking at all of the darling little baby things and wondering what our little girl will be like.    It was so much fun getting this room ready for her and I’m so glad I was able to DIY so many of the items.  Baby T can rest assured this room was built with lots of love, and that the Hubs and I both can’t wait to meet her.

showered

I may have mentioned it before…but I have the most amazing sisters a girl could ask for.   Despite the supposedly “cursed” odd number of us (you would think with three of us, two would constantly be ganging up on the third) we never seem to argue or bicker. 

I think we all just know how lucky we are to have each other and are thankful for that. 

You can learn a little bit more about each of them in a post a I did about their respective nurseries awhile back.  Here’s my older sisters, and here’s my younger sisters – bonus (!):  you get to see how amazing their nurseries are.   You’ll see that I’ve got some tough competition great inspiration to glean off of.     

And if any of you think I’m crafty, you should meet one of them.   They are just as talented (actually more so in certain areas) than I am.  I probably get all of the glory because I choose to blog about it!  But rest assured I get much inspiration, advice and guidance from both of them. 

So when they offered to throw me a baby shower, I knew it would be amazing…and I thought I’d share. 

The party was back in November….ahhhh….the sweet days before constant backaches and narcolepsy.

With that in mind, let’s get started!

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Note to other pregnant people out there:  decide on your shower outfit before the day of your shower.  It will save you oodles of stress.

Stress that you will likely sooth with the amazing food at your shower. 

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What’s that?  You want a closer look?  You got it.

Baby Shower

From the top left:  mini chocolate surprises (I’m not sure what the surprise was, but these were delectable), mini huckleberry cheesecakes, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies and circus animals (a personal favorite…in fact they were part of our wedding favors).

Oh?  And you’re thirsty too?  Head over to the drink station where you can find wine, tea, coffee….and my favorite thing in the whole world…a COFFEE TRAY!

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Because why oh why have plain coffee when you can have it with chocolate chips, whipped cream and a sugar stick?

Oh how I love details.  Let’s look at some more.

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The pictures were of course baby pictures of The Hubs and me.

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And how cute is that appliqued baby onesie?  Be still my beating heart.  I can already see myself squeezing Baby T into this even after it’s too small.

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They also arranged all of the flower bouquets themselves the night before.  I’m not kidding, these girls have talent!

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And the favors.  My God the favors!  Shortbread cookies from my favorite bakery in town:  The Break Espresso. 

I may have taken two.  Hey, it’s my party, right?

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One of my favorite details of the shower was an activity for all of the guests to partake in.  We didn’t do any shower games, and instead, they came up with this awesome idea for guests to write on recipe cards.  The recipe was supposed to be a “recipe for motherhood” and contain advice, words of wisdom, or just sharing a tradition/memory of something special that they used to do with their own mother. 

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When they were done filling out the cards, the guest hung it on the tree.

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And I walked away with 30 of the most precious memories and pieces of advice from my closest friends and family.

I’m not going to lie, it was a tear-fest as I read through them later that week.  In fact, I decided to dedicate a frame to them in the nursery.  The frame can only hold one card, but I’m hoping that I’ll remember to rotate the cards now-and-then between some of my favorites (makes perfect sense right?  Because I can hardly remember to brush my teeth in the morning these days, so I’m sure I’ll have the clarity to remember this).  Ha Ha!  Well, if not, for now my favorite has been selected and it wouldn’t be the worst thing if it stayed in there forever (thanks Melanie for the amazing advice!  It still brings tears to my eyes to read your note).  

Oh, and side note for those of you waiting….don’t worry, I’m getting suuuuuuper close to finishing and posting a reveal of the whole nursery! 

Of course this was a shower, so there were plenty of presents to open.  I have to admit, I’m in constant awe of how much this little baby is loved already.  It’s a pretty amazing feeling.

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This pic just cracks me up!  Oh to be that small again.  Sigh.   And I thought I was huge.  HA!

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In the end, the shower was just as I expected:  amazing.  It was so apparent there was incredible amounts of thoughtfulness, love and effort put into it.  But that’s my sisters for you.  Thoughtful, kind and giving.  

So thank you!  Thank you so much for making the day so wonderful.  I promise you that Baby T already feels the love from all of you, especially her aunties. 

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Update:  I just wanted to say thank you to everyone that helped with the shower!  I know several people were involved in planning, decorating, preparing goodies and helping these lovely ladies out.  So to all of you who had a hand in it, and to everyone who spent the afternoon with us…thank you!

 

random ramblings

I’m a bit spent these days…so hows about another random rambling whilst I collect my thoughts and try to put together some “real” posts?

So snuggle up, grab yer coffee and settle in.  

I avoided it for ten years…but this Christmas it became inevitable:  Summit would need to stay at a kennel while we went home for Christmas.   I think it broke a small piece of my heart to finally break down and do it. 

You see, there aren’t many places I choose to go where I can’t take her with me.  And if for some reason she can’t tag along, there’s usually a willing friend or in-law that is happy to watch her for me.  But during the Holidays I have a hard time asking people to take on one more thing – even if that “thing” is my super cute and fluffy pooch.  I mean, it’s crazy enough during that time of year, right?  So it just didn’t seem right to ask any of my friends to watch over her when they have their own obligations and schedules to keep.  

Which is how we ended up at the kennel on our way out-of-town December 23rd. 

To be fair, this kennel seemed great.  The owner/manager is a dog owner herself and her full-time job is training and boarding dogs at her house.  She is incredibly nice and noticeably a dog-person, which made me feel better about the situation.    But something about putting Summy in that small kennel that was barely twice the size of her dog bed (yes I brought it AND her favorite squeaker)….just broke my heart. 

In all honestly, she was probably fine.  She had a little doggie door to an outside kennel-run and she was let out in a play area four times a day.  Four times!  That’s quite a bit when you look at the kennel-competition.  I also paid extra for some special off-leash walks/hikes everyday so she could get out like she’s used to.   

So I know she was well taken care of. 

I think hope it was harder on me than it was on her.  Because as we pulled away from the kennel I broke down in tears.  I just felt so guilty for leaving her. 

I’m the first to admit that my dog is probably a wee bit spoiled.  She’s used to sleeping at the foot of our bed and when that gets old she has her own bed in every room of the house to snuggle up on. 

Which is maybe why it’s so hard to imagine her trying to sleep in a concrete cage with 30 other dogs barking and caged up beside her.  And what if she can’t figure out the dog door to get back inside?  What if she’s stuck outside all night long in below-freezing temperatures?  

I would be lying if I said I didn’t think about that every night during Christmas as I tried to go to sleep.   I know she’s just a dog…but she’s my dog and spoiled or not she’s been my companion for ten years!   And in ten  years I’ve never put her through anything like that. 

But what’s so terribly wrong with giving a pet the best possible life? 

Anyways, I’m sure you’re all not surprised that she survived.  And I survived.  Although I have a feeling that the kennel was slightly stressful for her because she slept for a good 1-2 days after bringing her home, she stunk to high-heaven, she had a few new cuts/scrapes that weren’t there before, and she’s shedding hair like I’ve never imagined possible. 

Oh, and a few days later I realized she lost her voice.  Yeah, she sounds like one of those dogs that had their vocal chords cut and it’s pretty much the saddest thing ever.

So the first order of business after picking her up was a trip to the dog wash where she was scrubbed, brushed and probably over-treated on my part.  And she’s also sporting a new pink collar these days which is probably a purchase made out of guilt. 

But the good news is:  we did it.  We survived.  And next time (if there must be one) we will both have a better idea about what to expect.  Maybe Summy will know not to bark so much, and I’ll be assured that while she may not get to sleep on anyone’s bed at night…she does know how to use the dog door.

Um…guys?  I’m 37 weeks this week. 

Can you believe it?!  Aye carumba!

In some ways this pregnancy has gone by so incredibly fast…and in others it feels like forever.  I mean, to think that I’ve been pregnant since last May makes me feel like this has been an eternity.   But overall I can’t believe we’re already 3 weeks away from getting to meet our little girl.   I’m so excited. 

We’re down to weekly appointments now and at my last checkup I was 1 cm dilated.  I know I can walk around for weeks like that, so it doesn’t necessarily mean too much..but it does mean that I’m progressing.  So who knows when this crazy little thing will happen. 

The Dr. also did an ultrasound and confirmed that (at the time) the baby was head-down.  Thank you little one!   She also confirmed the gender again (as much as she can I suppose), which was a bit of a relief.   Because I don’t think I could go through this hormonal rollercoaster again. 

I’m still feeling pretty good…just tired.   So far I’m up 25 lbs, but I think the last five pounds has all gone to my face.  Because that’s a good look.   Nothing like an extra chin or two to make a girl feel good about herself. 

Other than that, and not sleeping very well, I really can’t complain.    This girl seems to move around a lot and she gets the hiccups at least once a day; I have to admit it’s comforting to know how active she is in there.

It’s weird…at this stage in pregnancy I’ve found myself entering a “calm” period where I’m not as scared of the laboring part anymore. 

I’m just ready. 

I’m ready for whatever comes and more than anything ready to meet this little girl.

And just cuz I’m nice…here’s what 36 weeks and 4 days look like.  Go ahead.  Count the chins.

Dear Pioneer Woman,

I made your cinnamon rolls for the second time this past weekend and I promise to never, ever, ever question you again.  The maple frosting I was so concerned about the first time around (and substituted for a cream cheese frosting) was so utterly divine that I may have brought in the New Year by eating my weight in cinnamon rolls.   Please forgive me for questioning your frosting, and see the note above about my excessive chins.   If I’m being honest…they’re probably your fault.

Thank you,   Janna

Speaking of New Years….we kept with tradition this year and headed up to The Hubs’ family cabin at Georgetown Lake. 

It was nice to be around snow (since there is hardly any in Missoula yet) and hang out with some friends.  But I have to admit it was hard for me.  I didn’t get to participate in the skiing, snowmobiling or winter activities like I normally would.   And I tried my darndest to stay up until midnight but ended up falling asleep at 11:30.  So I missed the fireworks and the bonfire. 

It’s times like these that make it hard to be “the pregnant one.” 

And as much as you try to be cool with it and ok with missing out on everything…sometimes it just downright stinks.   Because I like to ski.  I like to snowmobile.  I like to drink around a bonfire.  I want to kiss my husband at the stroke of midnight on New Years Eve.   And part of me feels like maybe I’ll never get to do any of those again.  

Of course I’m being overly dramatic because I’m feeling sorry for myself.   So how about I share a few photos instead? 

Here’s the Hubs and Summy skating on the makeshift rink on Georgetown Lake.  I guess this was the only time I decided to take out my camera….whoops.

Oh, except for New Years Day when I woke up early to this.  Absolutely stunning.

Bad news:  I think it’s safe to say my “nesting” phase is officially over and I’ve moved into the realm of pure fatigue.  

Our house?  A DISASTER.   Normally this would create so much stress for me that I’d contemplate calling in sick to work to take care of it.   But now?  Instead of picking up, vacuuming or organizing anything after work I sit on the couch and can’t imagine doing anything else.   The best/worst part?  The mess doesn’t seem to bother me at all.

Christmas stuff?  STILL UP.   Yes, I’m “that” person.  And I don’t really care.  In fact I’m starting to wonder if I can just put this on my list of projects for people to help with after baby comes.   You know, just what my family wants to do when they come and stay. 

The excessive dog hair I mentioned above?  EVERYWHERE.   Again, normally this drives me utterly insane.  These days I seem to just look past it. 

Blogging posts?  UM…yeah.   About that.  I have no stockpiled blog posts and no material to blog about because I’M NOT DOING ANYTHING EXCITING.  

Nursery?  SO CLOSE to being done.  Seriously!  I’ve been dying to do a full nursery reveal and the ONLY thing holding me up is hanging a few pictures and then taking a few photos.   But do you think I can find the time and energy to DO that?  

Cooking?  YEAH RIGHT.  If I could think of anything that sounded good besides cinnamon rolls I still wouldn’t have the energy to make it.  Sorry Hubs. 

I’m hoping I get one final burst of energy this weekend.   I need to clean up Christmas, clean our messy messy house and above all finish the dang nursery!  If I can do those three things I’ll consider myself productive and then sit on the couch to my heart’s content.   Oh, and yes I’ll try to take some pictures of the nursery for some blogging content.

I don’t think I’ve shared any Christmas photos with you…so here are some of my favorites!  We were in Helena this year celebrating with my side of the family.

We all started a new tradition this year of making Berlinekranser, my dad’s favorite Christmas cookie. 

And of course there were lots of pictures taken of the kiddos.   I just loved the outfit my little niece wore on Christmas Eve!

This is just part of the family…minus my parents and step-brothers.   Remember how I said I’d be better about taking pictures??  Hmm…yeah….that hasn’t happened yet.

Whew.  That might be it for today…if you hung in there, congrats!  I’ll try to be back next week with nursery updates and pictures from the amazing baby shower my sisters put together.  

Anybody else out there struggle with kenneling their pets?  Are you living amongst chaos at home and strangely ok with it?  Most importantly…who wants to come over and help me finish up the nursery while I sit and supervise??!

wait a minute..you want me to do what?

To be honest, I haven’t given the whole “laboring” part of pregnancy much thought.   You know.  The part where I actually get this baby out of me??

In the beginning it was easy to push (har har) the thought aside.  I mean, it felt so far away.  NINE whole months away.   Besides, I was worrying about plenty of other things like buying bigger bras, planning a nursery and cursing my ever-tightening pants. 

Perhaps I thought that ignoring it would delay the inevitable.   Or that maybe I’d be lucky and just wake up one day to a beautiful baby girl in my arms and get to skip that part of pregnancy all together.

It could happen, right?

But now?

Now the end is in sight.  I can’t help but focus on what’s about to happen.  

And to be honest I’m feeling quite ill-prepared for it all.   Like somehow I have no tools in my toolbox for this particular job.  

I didn’t research any birthing techniques like the Bradley method, hypno birthing or hypno babies.  I didn’t read any books.   I didn’t have strong feelings one way or the other about drugs during labor.  I didn’t develop a birthing plan.   I guess I just figured that giving birth is a natural thing and my body would know what to do when the time came.  

But now I’m starting to feel the need to be a bit more informed.  I mean, what are my options?  How will I really feel if I need to have a cesarean?   What if I don’t want an IV?   What are the risks of medical interventions for me and the baby?  And dear lord, do I really have to wear a hospital gown?

And why, praytell, does every person feel the need to tell me their birthing horror story?    Do you realize that I’m pregnant and this is inevitable for me?  Why would you put these thoughts into my head when I’m 7 weeks away from my own birth experience??!   Please, please, please Janna:  remember to NOT to this to other people!  It is not nice and certainly not productive.   I’m currently accepting positive stories only.

Because you know what?  The reality of it is that yes, there is going to be some pain involved.   You can’t squeeze a watermelon out of a lemon without some of that (I would imagine). 

Gah!  The pain!   I don’t want to be scared of it and I don’t think we should be.   (I know!  This thought process coming ME.  The person who is faints at the sight of blood and is terrified of weird things happening to my body.)

BUT…we must also remember that women have been doing this for thousands of years.  Our bodies were meant to give birth for pete’s sake!  Hell yes it’s going to hurt, but why not try to embrace the process?  It really is a beautiful thing.   And no amount of reading, planning or hypothesizing about it will change what actually happens when the time comes.   I have no idea what my birth story will be, so I’m certainly not going to make a bunch of plans around it.  In fact, I feel pretty strongly that I don’t want a birth plan because any deviation from it could feel like a failure.  

The reality is that you aren’t in control of this whole process.   You may be adamantly against medical intervention and need to have a cesarean.   Or you could be committed to a natural birth and for whatever reason choose to have an epidural. 

You just never know what’s going to happen, and you can’t plan for it. 

However.

That being said, I’m starting to feel pretty strongly about some preferences I might have during this whole process.   Which is kind of weird because I am usually not a person that has strong opinions about things.   But the more I learn about labor and birth, the more I would love for it to just happen naturally.  On its own.  Without induction or  “speeding things up”, without medicine, without tubes connected to my arms. 

Which is weird because before I thought:  “Well, I’ll do what I can.  I mean, I’ll try doing things naturally but if I need an epidural, I need an epidural.”

Now I’m not so sure. 

I know that I don’t want to be induced.  I want the baby to come when she is good and ready.   Who am I to pick her birthday anyways?

I’d like to go without an IV.  Unless of course there are other medical interventions required.

I’d like to avoid an epidural.  I’d like to learn more about some of the “tools” that I can use to get me through contractions.   Plus, I’m not sure how I feel about being numb below the waist.  I mean, talk about “weird things happening to my body.”  I just like to be in control of it.   And have you SEEN the size of that needle?  Oy vey.  For a person that nearly passed out during my blood draw a few weeks ago, I have even more reason to try to avoid this one.

I’d like to not have a cesarean.  Mostly because that scares the hell out of me.

But mostly, I guess I just want things to happen naturally…the way nature intended.

If they can.

I realize that I may need to be induced.  I may need an IV.  I may need to have a c-section.   And I’m trying to mentally prepare myself for those scenarios.  Afterall, isn’t the ultimate goal to do what’s best for me and my baby?  I would never decline medical treatment if that’s what we all determine is best.

Or I might just get into it and realize there ain’t no way in hell I’m doing it au la naturale.   

BUT.

It was ignorant of me to ignore it for so long.  Because like it or not, in a few weeks I’ll be going down that road.  And wouldn’t you rather be informed about what the possibilities are and have a general preference going into it?  To prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for each of the options?  Because sometimes I think people do get pushed a certain way (induction,etc.) for the wrong reasons.    As long as I understand what the benefits and risks of each option are, I can make better decisions.  

Am I still scared? 

Hell.  Yes.   You tell me who wouldn’t be a bit scared of this?   Remember….watermelon?  LEM…..ON?!?

At the same time though I’m just trying to remind myself that it’s just a means to an end.  I’m not the first woman to do this and I certainly won’t be the last.  My body was made for this.  And by teaching myself about the process and learning some techniques to cope…I can be an informed patient.  

And maybe with a little bit of luck, I just might have the type of birth experience that I’m envisioning.

Oh!  And no, I do NOT have to wear a hospital gown thankyouverymuch.   (unless there are epidurals or c-sections involved obvi).   So good news:  my bum exposure may be kept to a minimum, which I like to think is a good thing.  

Waaaaaaaait a minute.  On second thought, no…no it will definitely not be kept to a minimum.   No matter what I’m wearing.  Ha ha!   

Aye carumba.