Tuesday, June 29, 2010

29 Weeks!

I want to thank everyone for their supportive comments and e-mails on yesterday's post! It was a really difficult decision to make-- with lots of tears and lots of worry, but I know that it was the right one.

This week, baby boy is the size of a loaf of bread:

And looks like this:
Baking Baby Blakely

"Having a baby prematurely is frightening, no doubt. But here's a reason to relax: Due to the impressive advancements of medical technology, if your baby is born this week, he'd have a 9 out of 10 chance of survival, which is seriously great news.

Other awesome developments:

Baby's brain can now control his breathing and body temperature. He can also cough, and his sucking abilities have been perfected. Look out, boobs! Your Mini's skin is looking less wrinkled as he packs on the pounds. He's starting to look more like a Pampers model and less like a Depends model. He's now beefing up on the energizing and insulating white fat he'll be born with (unfortunately, white fat is not energizing and insulating for adults!).

And speaking of energy, your little Energizer Bunny is on fire these days. You're sure to feel your share of kicks, punches and elbows, especially when you're lying down. You might want to start keeping a kick chart to monitor your baby's movements, and also to later show your 13-year-old child what you endured for him or her. Ask your doctor how to count kicks and how often you should do it.

This week your baby is a little over 15 inches long—about the length of a loaf of bread—and weighs about 3 pounds, as much as a Macbook Air laptop."

29 Week Belly Pic

Some other updates:

Heartburn: Still going strong. We'll see if the old wives' tale is correct-- maybe all of this heartburn will equal a baby with tons of hair!

Swelling: My feet seem to have returned to their regular size for now-- maybe because I'm spending more time at home where it's cool. Fingers crossed that they stay this way for a while. I know that when the swelling gets bad, I'm going to have to really watch my sodium intake... and since salty things (especially soy sauce) have been my number one pregnancy craving, that will be difficult.

Weight: I stepped on the scale this morning and I was 3 lbs under where I was at my 26 week appointment. Ehh, whatever. Doctor says that Liam is growing and thriving. Will I be one of those freaks of nature who walks out of the hospital weighing less than I did before I got pregnant? Doubt it, but only time will tell and we have 11 weeks to grow.

Contractions: I've been having a few Braxton Hicks contractions each day. Nothing painful, I just feel a little breathless when my tummy tightens up.

Feeling pretty good and ready for our first baby shower coming up next week!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The End & The Beginning

I've mentioned my work situation briefly in past posts & mentioned that big changes were coming my way this week-- Well, they are here (and this is a long post!).

Today is my first day as a stay at home wife.

It wasn't how I planned it, but it's how things happened. I wanted to work full-time up until the baby came, take an extended maternity leave, then transition to a part-time position in January. Instead, Friday was my last day and I have no concrete plan as to when I will return.

How do I feel? Relieved. Scared. Rejuvinated.Tired.
So many things.

The last year has been a real struggle for me--the position that I've been in has been challenging to say the least. I've worked for a boss that is a wonderful artist but a difficult manager. Expectations have been unreasonable, the schedule has been exhausting and the pressure has been oppressive. That being said, there have been so many rewarding moments. I've met Broadway writers, composers and directors. I've grown professionally in ways that I didn't expect by running my own department. I don't regret taking the position. But I've known for the past year that this position would not be a long-term option.

I've missed important moments and visits with my family because of my hectic non-stop schedule. I've been exhausted much of the time, and have been a poor host to company who have come to visit. I've stopped shopping and cooking for my husband, because I'm just too tired to do it. Rob has become afraid to ask me how my day was, because there is never a positive response. On paper, the job was a 40 hour a week position. In reality it was more like 50-60 hours a week on a regular basis. It was not uncommon for me to work several 15 hour days a week.

Then, I got pregnant.

I never missed a single day of work because of my pregnancy. On days where I felt so sick I could barely stumble into the shower I made myself do it. On those 15 hour days, I never expected any special treatment. Sometimes, I would have to come home after work and go to bed at 5:30pm just to function the next day, so I did it.

But, I reached a point where I didn't want to do it anymore. I never felt like I was getting enough rest and I worried that the constant stress would effect the baby. I worried that high blood pressure would be dangerous. And my parents were concerned that all of the stress would send me into labor early.

I told my boss about the pregnancy in late February and reminded him that I had no desire to maintain this schedule (or my current position) once the baby got here. We started talking about options for a part time position after the baby got here, but nothing was definite. When asked how long I wanted to work, I said that I wanted to stay until the end of August. Since I wasn't coming back, I knew that my boss would start looking for my replacement-- what I didn't count on, was that he'd start looking so early and find one so quickly. In a meeting approximately 6 weeks ago, he let me know that he had made an offer to a candidate and that my last day would be June 25th. This was two months before I planned on leaving work, but what could I do? I asked that he might consider keeping me on part-time to assist with the transition, but I never got any confirmation.

Wednesday afternoon, two days before my scheduled departure, my successor let me know that my boss had extended an offer to let me stay part-time through September 1st-- there were several problems, though. 1) There was no job description for the position that I was being asked to fill. 2) I was put off that the offer came from someone (as lovely as she is) who has worked for the organization for a week, not from my boss who I've worked with for the last 14 months. 3) The amount that I was offered was $7/hr less than what my current salary is.

I responded by saying that I appreciated the offer but that I needed more details-- what were the job responsibilities? Was my boss willing to meet me in the middle, between his offer and my current salary? My replacement wrote a job description containing tasks that she believes she'll need help with and she let me know that my boss had offered to come up $1/hr from his original offer. I told her I needed to think about it.

Thursday night was difficult. I really stressed over making the right decision. On one hand, I knew that accepting the job, meant that I would be able to continue contributing to our income over the next two months. On the other hand, I knew that the things that have made me unhappy, would probably continue to make me unhappy... even though I would only be working 16 hours a week. I thought, I can do this. It's only two months. I should do this. Then I thought-- I have been so tired, so stressed. Don't I deserve some peace and relaxation before my son gets here and turns my world upside down? (Which, I am looking forward to, more than anything!) Don't I want some time to nest and prepare my marriage, my home and myself for this baby?

After a long discussion with my parents and Rob, and with all of their support, I made the decision that Friday would be my last day. I, most likely, will not work outside of our home again until the beginning of next year. Will money be tight? Of course. Will giving myself the gift of this time at home be worth it? Definitely.

I enjoy having some time to myself, but I tend to get very antsy when I'm not on a schedule and I have nothing to do. There have only been a few months since I graduated college where I have been between jobs for one reason or another, and I remember enjoying two weeks of freedom. After that, I just felt kind of lost...it bothered my that no one was relying on me. That no one knew or cared if I ever made it out of bed that day. So, I'm making a list of things that need to get done, so that when I start feeling that way, there will be something that needs my attention.

The list has simple tasks around our house like: Plan & prepare dinner & Catch up on laundry. It has things that need to be done for Liam, like: Sew crib bedding and Wash blankets and clothes. It has things that I never had time to do before, like: Go to the bank & Take my car to the dealership. It has things for others, like: Take a friend (with a new baby) lunch & Help my parents unpack when they move here in August. It has things for me, like: Read a book & Go to swim class. I'm hopeful that I'll have a nice balance between a lack of a schedule and things to check off my list.

It's a big leap that I'm taking-- that we're taking. But I think that it's for the best. It's the ending of one phase of my life, and the beginning of another.

Monday, June 21, 2010

28 Weeks!

We just hit 28 weeks and celebrated Rob's first Father's Day! He got the obligatory tie (one he had picked out), some shorts (also his choice) and his very own diaper bag! I haven't picked out a diaper bag for myself yet, but I'm pretty sure that whatever I get will not be something that Rob would be thrilled to carry. I did some reading on diaper bags for dads, and the Skip Hop Via Messenger seemed like a great choice. Looks cute on him, don't you think?

On to the update!

This week, baby is the size of an amusement park cinnamon-sugar-coated churro:

And looks like this:

Baking Baby Blakely

"As the Big Day nears, your baby is getting ready to go towards the light at the end of the tunnel (the tunnel being the birth canal, the light being the one the doctor is shining directly into it so she can see what the heck she's doing).

Other highlights this week:

Your baby's eyes are partially open now and can blink. Truly superior babies can actually wink. (OK, there is no way to prove that, but it's fun to imagine, no?) Your baby can also now become a shiny, happy person as she has begun having rapid eye movement (Get it? REM? Shiny, happy person?? We'll be here all week.)

His eyes have color now, too. It may not be the color he ultimately ends up with, especially if they're light gray or blue. The eyes typically don't settle on a final hue until nine months after baby is born. So when your mother-in-law says that the baby has her eyes, you can politely inform her that they'll most likely change soon. Sorry.

Your babe is downright chubby compared to a few weeks ago. He is about 15 inches long, about the length of an amusement park cinnamon-sugar-coated churro (yum!), and weighs 2 to 3 pounds."

28 Week Belly Pic

The dreaded swollen ankles set in today. I have marveled at how I've avoided them so far-- then, today I looked down and Fred Flinstone's feet were in my sandals. I sit at a desk all day with nowhere to prop my feet up and it doesn't help that my office is 80-ish degrees. (I work in a very old building without central air in my office. We have a 20 year old window unit that doesn't actually cool air, it just moves air around.) I've been so hot the past few weeks, it's no surprise that my feet would swell. Never fear, some big changes are coming next week. I'm excited and scared at the same time. More on that later!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Itty Bitty Baby Legs

Years before Liam was created & back before I met Rob, I enjoyed reading family related blogs. I always loved peering into other people's lives, seeing what was thrown their way and how they handled it. I liked watching their kids grow up, celebrating birthdays and sharing holidays. I dreamed about how my future family would do these things.

Sweet Juniper (points to link on sidebar) was always one of my favorites-- a hipster couple leaves San Francisco and moves to Detroit, lawyer mom & stay at home dad. The writing was always entertaining and their daughter Juniper was adorable. A few years later, their son Gram entered the picture, complete with fantastic birth story posts. While I obviously never knew this family, I loved reading what was happening in their lives each day.

Back in 2007, Sweet Juniper introduced me to BabyLegs. Back then, they were wacky kids legwarmers-- something that only this ahead-of-the-trends couple would dress their children in. But now? Everyone's raving about them and their line has so many adorable patterns I don't know how anyone could pass them up. (Don't believe me? Heir to Blair blogged about them this week. Check out her 20% discount!)

With Liam arriving right before it gets cold and the inevitability of him learning to crawl on our hardwood floors, I decided he needs some. Stat. BabyLegs has quite a few retired patterns on sale right now (and Blair's discount helps!) but I've found that Ebay has an amazing selection, all new & super cheap. They have "My First Baby Legs" (slightly smaller and shorter) as well as the standard size.

So, 4 new fabulous pairs of BabyLegs will be arriving at our house next week!

What better way to celebrate your first Halloween at 6 weeks old than these orange and black polka-dot baby legs?
To coordinate with his 5 billion brown and blue outfits (with monkeys) we bought: Overall, I am not a fan of orange, but I couldn't resist pairing these blue and orange stripes with the goldfish in bag onesies that I made.
Springtime here we come!
I love that these can be used on legs or arms and that combined with a onesie diaper changes will be super easy! We have two showers coming up, and I know I have to stop buying things, but I rationalize that these weren't on our registry, so no one would have known we wanted them.

That excuses the shopping, right? :)

Monday, June 14, 2010

27 Weeks: Welcome to the 3rd Tri!

Holy 3rd Trimester--13 weeks to go!

This week, baby is the size of a roast (ewwww):
And looks like this:

Baking Baby Blakely

"Baby's lungs and immune system are maturing this week as baby prepares for his grand entrance. If he were born today he would have an 85 percent chance of surviving as his lungs are capable of breathing air (with medical assistance, of course).

Other exciting developments:

Baby's done a lot of growing over the past few months. His length has more than doubled in the past 15 weeks! And that's not the only thing growing—baby's brain tissue and neurons are all developing at a rapid pace. His brain waves are now firing away just like those of a newborn baby. If baby is a he, his testes will have completely descended at this point.

Your baby now weighs in at approximately 14½ inches and just over 2 pounds, or about the size of that roast you made last time your in-laws were in town. (OK, the baby is the size of that roast you meant to cook before you decided that ordering Chinese was a much better idea.)"

The doctor's office called today to let me know that my Glucose Tolerance Test results came back normal-- thank god!!

27 Week Belly Pics


Rob was a good sport and wore the empathy belly at our childbirth class last night! I'm not sure how much empathy a man can get from wearing it for a minute and a half (you can tell he's mocking the misery in this pic!), but it at least gave him an idea of how difficult it can be to move with the belly in your way. Difficult or not, I wouldn't trade it for the world.

Spits & Giggles

Yesterday, Rob and I spent the day trying to get some things done around the house and in the yard. We needed to spray for bugs, so after Rob sprayed, we took off for the afternoon so that we wouldn't breathe in the chemicals all day. We went out for lunch, then frozen yogurt, then tried to think of something fun to do before we went home.

Despite it being almost 100 degrees, we decided to go to the zoo. It's fun to walk around, and we've been meaning to purchase a membership-- it will be a great place for me to get some exercise after the baby arrives and fun for him as he gets older.

We watched the kangaroos, fed the Lorikeets nectar & watched the sea lions swim. We decided to make our way over to the Children's Zoo, which has a bunch of water fountains and bubble machines for kids and a petting zoo. We dreamed about what it will be like to take Liam there. We pet the goats, the pigs, the miniature pony, and then we came across this guy:

The Llama.

Rob was fascinated with him. I was terrified. I can't imagine how a kid wouldn't be afraid of him. We stood there watching him for a long time before visiting the barnyard animals. Then we came back to look at the llama again.

There was a large family standing there watching him and the little girl was pretty close. Her mother said, "Back up! You better watch out-- They spit!" As she backed away, Rob made his move to get closer. He stood there, eye to eye with this six foot creature & several people giggled nervously.

And then...

(Seriously, how else do you describe the sound of something spitting?!)

The llama spit right in his face in front of everyone.

I cannot tell you the last time I laughed so hard. Everytime I stopped laughing, I started again. I woke up at
2am, thought about it and started laughing again. That moment was well worth the $100 membership, so thank you, Birmingham Zoo. We'll be back again soon for more spits and giggles.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Jumping for G's

Since before we got pregnant, I knew that I wanted to use gDiapers. I love the idea of hybrid diapers that allow us to switch back and forth between cloth and disposable. And, even though I'm kind of doubting that we'll stick with cloth (I'm really intrigued & inspired by them but not sure I want to deal with the reality of them.) I like having options. So, the thing I love most about gDiapers inserts is that they are flushable. We're fully committed and stocked with Tiny G's and Small Gpants, with larger sizes on our registry for later.

Today, gDiapers introduced their latest "baby"-- biodegradable gWipes.

I immediately ordered a few cases-- thrilled to be jumping further on the gBandwagon. After a quick e-mail to customer support (who are awesome, I might add), I have learned that while these are advertised as "Biodegradable", they are not labeled as "Flushable." How a company can make an entire diaper that can be flushed, but not a wipe that goes with it baffles me a little bit. It's a little disappointing.

, these wipes cost no more than a package of Huggies wipes at the grocery store, and they're better for the environment. I don't regret my purchase at all & I'm happy to give them a shot. But in the meantime, let's work on a flushable wipe, and keep the poop out of my kid's nursery and in the bathroom where it belongs.

Ok, G?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

26 Weeks: 98 days!

We're into the double digits-- 98 days to go and lots to do!!

We started our "Preparing for Parenthood" class last night at the hospital where I will deliver--- it's four weeks of birthing, breastfeeding and infant care info. I think it will be good for us to get an overview of all of these things. I've done a lot of reading about our options and it's good for Rob to get a crash course before delivery day. We'll also take another breastfeeding class in July. With less than 100 days to go, it feels good to get stuff done!

This week, baby is the size of a burp cloth:

And looks like this:
Baking Baby Blakely

"Deep breath! Air sacks are developing in your baby's lungs, which means it just might be possible for your baby to take a breath at the end of this week. The air sacks (technically called alveoli) will continue to grow for the next nine years. The membrane that keeps the alveoli separate from the blood vessels is now thin enough to allow for that oxygen–carbon dioxide exchange we call breathing.

Other highlights this week:

The retina completes the development of its normal layers this week—all the better to see you with. Well not you, per se, because his eyes are still sealed shut and it's really dark in there, but your baby's eyes are now fully developed. Brainwaves for the auditory and visual systems are detectable in baby's noggin this week. That means baby's brain is registering things like sound and light. He can't understand what any of it means yet, but he's on track to comprehend an entire episode of Blue's Clues in no time!

As hearing continues to develop, your baby will start to recognize your voice. One hint that your karaoke rendition of "Bohemian Rhapsody" is not the best would be when the baby starts banging on your gut. Your bambino will also start to recognize your partner's voice. He may feel silly talking to your stomach, but assure him that somebody other than you is definitely listening. Research has shown that newborns actually recognize familiar sounds after birth. Proof that your baby has been paying attention all along.

Break out the sparkling apple juice—baby has now completed two-thirds of his stay in Hotel Womb. Your baby is about 1 2/3 pounds and is 14 inches long head-to-heel, or about the length of a burp cloth (otherwise known as your primary wardrobe accessory for the next several months). "

26 Week Belly Pic

We had our 26 week appointment this morning and everything looked great! I'm measuring a little small (around 25 weeks) , but it's nothing to be concerned about. My doctor doesn't worry about the measurements being off unless you are measuring more than 3 weeks +/-.

I'm up one pound since my last appointment four weeks ago. I sneaked a peek at my chart this morning and saw that I have gained 1lb every appointment (I go every four weeks) since I graduated from seeing the RE and started seeing my OB. So, 4lbs up from my lowest point during this pregnancy, but still 2 lbs under my starting weight.

It feels good-- I can't say that I've been making healthy choices all of the time (Hello chicken nuggets for lunch yesterday!) but I am trying to drink tons of water, eat lots of fruit and swim twice a week. I've been terrified throughout my pregnancy that I would gain an obscene amount of weight-- I was concerned about what risks it could pose to me and the baby. But at this point, I really feel like it's time to relax about it. Do I wish I had been a healthier weight to begin with? Of course! But I can't change that-- Now is the time to focus on the healthy baby growing inside of me and do the best I can. Once Liam gets here, I'll make a plan to work towards the weight I wish I had been when we got pregnant. I don't have unreasonable goals-- I want to maintain my curvy figure at a healthy weight and I know I can do it.

Other updates: I'm not sleeping well at night. My back often hurts and even with a pregnancy pillow, I'm constantly switching from my right side to my left, then back again, trying to relieve whatever appendage is asleep, cramping, etc. The heartburn & acid reflux is killing me-- 3-4 doses of Tums a day. We're trying a 24hr over-the-counter pill & if that doesn't work, I'll move on to a prescription.

I had my glucose tolerance test today and I hate to be a baby about it, but the glucose drink was really gross-- it was like drinking a bottle of snow cone syrup. I've felt queasy and gross all day and I think that, like a hangover, I just need to sleep it off. I'll get the results in 3-4 days. Fingers crossed that I pass-- I feel sick just thinking about the three hour test.
Otherwise, I'm hanging in there!!

I have to apologize for being such a bad blogger-- I know that it gets boring when all someone does is post once a week about their pregnancy updates. I have things to say... actually, I have a lot of things to say, but it's going to have to wait a few more weeks. I only have two and half more weeks of work and then I will have more time to post and more to post about! So, thanks for tolerating my boring phase, friends.

In the meantime, look for another nursery update soon-- We decided to have my uncle help install the beadboard and it's almost done. I think it's going to look great! Will put up pictures as soon as I can.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

25 Weeks!

The biggest news this week is that we've passed Viability Day! Every day that passes is a day closer to having a healthy baby. If Liam was born now, it would be a struggle, but his chances of survival are very good. They sky-rocket after 28 Weeks.

This week, baby is the size of a recorder:

And looks like this:

Baking Baby Blakey

"Get ready for pat-a-cake! Baby's hands are now fully developed and he spends most of his awake time groping around in the darkness of your uterus. Brain and nerve endings are developed enough now so that your baby can feel the sensation of touch. That doesn't mean he can feel it when his father pokes your stomach, however, so tell him to knock it off.

Other highlights include:

Your baby's arms and legs have grown to almost the proportions they will be at birth, which is still sort of short. So don't be alarmed when your newborn's arms barely clear his waist. Baby's nostrils, which have been plugged up until now, clear out (like he's taken a super-dose of Sudafed) and he can practice breathing through the nose.

The structures of your baby's spine are now made up of 150 joints, 33 rings and some 1,000 ligaments. Can you believe you're growing something that complicated inside of you?The capillaries, the teeniest blood vessels, are now forming in your baby's body, giving his formerly translucent skin a pink glow. The blood vessels in the lungs also develop this week. You'll see how well that worked out when your baby gives those lungs a workout while you're on line at the bank in a few months.

Your baby weighs about a pound and a half and is about 13½ inches long—roughly the length of one of those recorders you played in elementary school music class. Who's up for a round of "Hot Cross Buns?"

The 25 Week Belly Pic

Feeling good!