Saturday, December 31, 2011

Boys vs. Girls (A guest post by Brett)

Don’t worry, this is not going to turn into a sporting event where we intentionally put one team at a disadvantage.  Having one of each now I have really started to think about the real differences between the sexes.  Each man that finds out that he is going to have a daughter handles the situation differently.  Some experience paralyzing fear while others express cautious optimism.  I like to think I was one optimistic ones.  Knowing my mother helped me understand that a girl could do anything a boy could do short of using a urinal.  When my mom used to beat up a would-be-bully to use the ally way on the way home from school rather than take the long around the block… yeh, girls can be fun too. 

Having little firsthand experience with female siblings Laura and I have talked a lot about growing up.  I was really young when my Heather went off to college, so all I remember of her living at home was sneaking down stairs together to get ice cream after everyone had gone to bed.  When we compare notes I am surprised how few of Laura’s arguments from elementary school were solved with physical altercations.  There were lots of situations that ended with both parties walking away with pent up frustration.  I never remember being too angry the day after the argument.  So when does it all start?  When do we tell little girls to internalize everything and tell little boys to duke it out?  On the nature vs. nurture argument I have always been firmly in the nurture camp until we had kids.  My Dad always told me we came with some of our personality hardwired in.  So, let’s compare the two kids in the first month of life.  I can’t have influenced the boy too much at this point, right?

·        - Screamed on arrival, while being weighed, and basically the whole time she was in the birthing room.
·         -Woke up to eat, went back to sleep.
·         -Slept through the night almost from the beginning.  Started with 5-6 hours at night and went up from there.
·         -Seemed annoyed about being unable to move.  Constantly tried to move around by using her head.
·         -Wanted to be swaddled any time a nap was involved and had little use for a binky.

·         -Had to be encouraged to cry.  Stopped soon after starting.  Cried when unwrapped because he was cold.
·         -Doesn’t seem to be too concerned about keeping a regular meal schedule.
·         -Slept all day.  Woke up every night around 3 and decided to test his lung capacity.
·         -Wants to be held as much as possible.
·         -Wants layers to keep warm and doesn’t care about swaddling.  Wants the binky even thought he can’t keep it in.

Both of the little ones had lots of hair and were a little bit jaundiced.  So far Amy has shown that she is strong willed and will stop at nothing to get what she wants.  David has proven to be laid back as long as he has someone that will pay attention to him.  The two could not be any more different.  Maybe we will have a little girl that wants to play contact sports and a little boy that like to hang out in the drama department.  I will try to keep an open mind and not get caught up in gender-roles and stereotypes.  I’ll tell you this, the idea about boy diapers being easier to change than girl diapers is a myth.  Amy may have peed on the changing mat a few times but I never got the feeling I was staring down the barrel of a loaded gun. (his aim is deadly)  I will continue to watch David as he gets older to see how his first year differs from his older sister’s.  It is a good thing that he will have a weight advantage because he’s going to need all the help he can get.

Pictures of Baby David

The last post was really lengthy and short on pictures, so let's show off the brand new squishy boy! These aren't in order, but oh well. :D

After David's first bath up in the nursery:

Sleeping in his bassinet Minster style:

Big sister Amy meeting her new baby brother:


Our little Santa baby:

Sweet boy snuggled up on Mama:

Bath time after peeing all over himself (gotta watch out for that!):

Grumpy little man:

Post-bath towel baby:

Being weighed right after birth:

David and his proud parents:

A closer shot of David:
 David and Brett with Heather:

Meeting her newest grandson:

Mom, Heather, and David:

Tiny feet:

David Alexander's Birth

He's here! He's here! Woo hoo! I'm so glad he has arrived (and that I'm not pregnant anymore). This post will be about his birth, and for the sake of any menfolk that read this, I'll try to share without completely oversharing. :)

My estimated due date was December 19th. It came and went, alas, without me going into labor. I'd been having the occasional contraction, though, which I'd never had with Amy, so I was hopeful it would be happening soon. I had an appointment with my OB on Tuesday the 20th. Remember that whole "there's protein in your urine so you're going on bedrest" thing? Yeah. Well, there was a TON of protein in my urine this time. My OB was worried enough that he wanted to send me straight to L&D to be induced. Well, I didn't really want to since I was NOT looking forward to another induction, so I, um, convinced him that my services were vitally important for Heather that afternoon and that we should hold off until later that evening. He was less than thrilled, but agreed. He set up the induction and told me the hospital would call sometime after 7pm whenever they were ready for me.

I spent the afternoon with Mom and Heather, and that evening Brett and I finished up collecting/packing for the hospital stay and Amy's stay with friends. We were a little surprised that we didn't get a call until almost 11pm, but I knew the hospital would be super busy. We dropped Amy off with the Walkers and checked into the hospital around midnight. It took them a while to get me admitted, especially since it took 4 different nurses 5 tries to get an IV in me. Around 1:15 AM, the resident came in and put in the Cervadil, which is a gel that helps the cervix to dilate and efface. I honestly was rather pessimistic about its use, since I had it in for 12 hours with Amy and it had absolutely no effect on me whatsoever. But this time was different! By 4 AM I was having regular contractions. Around 8 AM after the shift change, my OB came and talked with me. He broke my water, and we decided that since everything was going so well they would remove the Cervadil and that I would be able to labor WITHOUT the use of Pitocin. I was so happy! The Pitocin was really hard on me with Amy, which is why I had eventually gotten an epidural. I wanted so badly to do without one this time. But I'm droning.

My contractions picked up pretty quickly, and I was dilating well. It seemed like things were going faster than anticipated, so around noon or so Brett called my mom to tell her to head up to the hospital. Mom had been there for Amy's birth, and I was looking forward to having her support again. Plus, Heather was going to come with her! I was excited to have my sister there as well.

I was doing well handling the contractions without medication. It started getting much more difficult when I was dilated to around a 7. They were coming closer together and were getting increasingly more intense. I started getting hopeful that I would be delivering soon. My nurse was very encouraging, and was very knowledgeable about natural childbirth. She spent a lot of time with me, rubbing my back, talking me through the more painful contractions when I started having trouble focusing through them, and just generally being amazing. I'm so grateful I had such a fantastic nurse. Brett was also amazing during this whole time. He said later that he hadn't realized how much more involved he would have to be with me "going natural" than he was with Amy's birth. I kept him busy! Especially the last couple of hours, when I was stuck at not QUITE dilated enough to deliver.

That was the hardest part. For about 2 1/2 hours, I was dilated to, like, a 9 1/2. Almost there, but not quite, and for some reason, my body just did not want to dilate that last little bit. We tried several times to start pushing with my OB stretching my cervix open the last bit, but it just was not working. And it hurt. A lot. I yelled at him.

My nurse realized eventually that he was sunny-side up (meaning he was face up--the "correct" position for delivery is with the baby facing back toward your spine). Because of his position, he wasn't putting enough pressure on that last lip of cervix to make it dilate. So, after a couple of hours, the nurse helped me to get up onto my hands and knees, a maneuver that often will encourage the baby to turn. Well, it worked! After maybe 20 minutes or so of being on all fours, David spun around. It was strange, because I definitely felt it, and suddenly WHAM! A TON of pressure. My doctor had actually left the room for something. But it was time to go. I remember shouting that whoa, I needed to push! The nurse sent Brett running for the doctor. Fortunately he got back in the room quickly, because David was born after only 3 minutes of pushing!

I managed to labor and deliver with no pain medication, and other than the initial dose of Cervadil, with no medical interventions. It got incredibly difficult, especially at the end, although I knew it would. I'm glad I had Brett to remind me how much I wanted a natural childbirth when the epidural started to look like a very attractive option. With his help and the help of my nurse, I made it! It was such a powerful experience. I understand now why people say that childbirth can be so empowering! I'm glad I had the experience, although to be perfectly honest, I very well may opt for an epidural next time.

Thursday, November 24, 2011


It's still Thanksgiving for another 40 minutes or so here, so while I'm still working on digesting dinner and pie, I'm going to write a post. And I'm not going to complain once. Nice change, right? ;)

I have so many things to be thankful for. Really. If I made a list, I don't think I would ever actually be done with it. But there are several that I want to share.

First of all, I'm grateful to be OFF BEDREST!! Woo hoo! No protein and my blood pressure is back to normal, so I am officially off the hook (barring any other scares this pregnancy). I'm so glad we have modern medicine that can detect some of these dangerous complications. But I am grateful to once again be able to cook and clean and grocery shop for my own family.

I'm grateful for the women I know who have been so willing to step forward and help us out by bringing meals, by keeping me company, by taking Amy for a little while, and for just generally making sure Brett, Amy, and I were okay. I am overwhelmed by the amount of help that was offered to us, and I'm grateful for the sacrifices others made in order to make our burden lighter.

I'm grateful for my family. That's such a simple thing to say, and I could write volumes just about my family! I have an amazing husband and such a sweet little girl. My mom is one of the best people I know in so many ways, and I'm so grateful that we chose each other. I have fantastic sisters who all influence my life in ways they may not even realize, but who make me strive to improve myself. I completely hit the jackpot with my in-laws. If I'd ever dreamt of having a second set of parents, Barry and Barbara would've been it! They are loving and supportive and just generally wonderful. Brett's siblings and their spouses, my sisters' husbands, you name it, I lucked out. Big time. I love my family, ALL of them. I don't know how I could be MORE blessed in regards to my family.

I'm grateful for the gospel. I haven't always been, and I'm glad that's changed! I'm grateful for the knowledge that my Heavenly Father loves me. I'm grateful for my Savior, who not only atoned for my sins but suffered in so many ways for me. I'm so thankful that even when my trials seem hardest, that I know I can turn to Jesus Christ, because He knows what I'm feeling and the pain that I'm in. I'm grateful for temples, because it means that I can be together with my family for eternity. What a blessing it is in my life to know that my marriage to Brett is NOT just "until death do us part", but that I will be with him and Amy and David and the rest of our children after this life. I'll be with my mom, and my sisters, and my dad. What a comfort that is to me!

I'm also grateful for the opportunity this holiday affords me to stop for a minute and reflect on the blessings in my life. We tend to get so caught up in the minutiae of everyday life, in the little complaints and slights that happen daily, that we forget how much we really have. I'm so thankful that I can take a few minutes to focus on all the good things in my life. There are just so many of them!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Warning: Crazy pregnant lady!

So, time for a funny story! I didn't think this was really worth writing about until I was on the phone with Miriam and the both of us were laughing about it rather uncontrollably. (Yes, there were tears, at least on my end of the line!)

Part of me being on bedrest means I'm stuck at home while Brett does the shopping. (Which drives me NUTS.) I've been waiting for our Christmas money to get here to get the stuff I need to make Christmas gifts this year. Well, it finally came, so I was ready to go shopping! Part of our trip took us to Walmart. I really needed to go in, but obviously can't walk nearly that much. Soooo.....

I used a "fat cart". (Yes, that's how Brett and I refer to them. It's not PC. I'm okay with that.)

Really, it was my only option. But me riding around in an electric scooter was NOT particularly attractive to me. Oh well. A girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do, right? Christmas presents were at stake here! So, I swallowed my pride (mostly) and commandeered a fat cart. (Not really commandeered, since I asked for one, but that sounds cooler.)

I figured I could either be embarrassed and miserable and wishing I were wearing a burqa, or I could at least TRY to make it fun. Brett got another cart for Amy to ride in, and we started off on our shopping adventure.

First of all, I am impressed at how quickly those things can go! Not that there was any danger of me outstripping Brett, but I definitely had no trouble keeping up. Also, it was WAY faster than I would've been able to walk.

Second, they have a surprisingly good turn radius (which was incredibly helpful, as I felt like I was in driver's ed again for the first little while), as well as stopping very quickly (also essential).

So, I got to zip around the store. A few times, if the aisle was empty, Brett and I would "race". Granted, he could've easily beaten me, but we made it fun by staying neck and neck most of the time. Amy thought we were hysterical. I'll do pretty much anything to make her giggle!

At one point I realized I'd forgotten to grab something, so I left Brett and Amy looking at work shoes and headed back to the grocery section. I was zooming. Yeah, not the best idea. I took a corner pretty fast to get into an aisle, and almost ran into a woman and her cart. Um....oops. I apologized profusely to the lady, who laughed it off. We exchanged a couple of jokes (including needing lessons to operate one of those things), she inquired about my pregnancy, and wished me luck. She was really nice. I was pretty embarrassed, but I'm glad she took it so well!

So if anyone needs a good laugh, just picture me zipping around Walmart in one of these babies:

I'm still here!

And I'm still pregnant! And on bedrest. That last part isn't so exciting.

I got a good report from my OB last week as far as my blood pressure and protein, so that was definitely a good thing. It looks like my pre-eclampsia is pretty mild, so yay! IF everything stays the way it is (which hopefully it will, since pre-e can escalate very quickly and without warning), I will NOT have to be induced. That would make me incredibly happy, even if it does mean I'm on bedrest for longer.

I just have to say this, despite knowing it will make Heather cringe: Bedrest sucks. Like, a lot.

I'm trying really hard to stay positive. I know this is just temporary, and I know it's the best thing for me and for baby David. But it is REALLY HARD. I feel completely fine, but I can't DO anything. It's really frustrating. Thankfully, we have a lot of help and support, so it could definitely be worse. At least we've got internet access! I'm bored most of the time, but I can't imagine not having the internet right now. I would be a basketcase.

I keep reminding myself that really, it could be harder. I can still get up, go to the bathroom, take care of Amy (mostly from the couch). I can scratch when I itch, I can feed myself, I can do my own hair (and sometimes even makeup). I remind myself that Heather has far more difficulties than I do, that her situation is permanent (at least in this life), and that she is STILL positive and happy. If she can do that, who am I to complain about a few weeks of bedrest?

We did have a scare this past Sunday. I hadn't felt the baby move more than a couple times in more than 12 hours. So, Sunday morning we packed up and went to the hospital to get monitored after trying every trick in the book to get him to move. Admittedly, I was panicking. Who wouldn't? Brett gave me a priesthood blessing before we left. Usually the blessings I receive are very comforting and reassuring. Yeah....that one wasn't. I was kind of disappointed, to be honest, because it only made me worry MORE. Especially considering a family member's loss very late in pregnancy because of a cord accident. Decreased fetal movement, especially as extreme as it was Sunday, is NOT something I will mess around with.

At any rate, we were monitored for a couple of hours. David's heart rate was good. I had a couple contractions, apparently, not that I noticed. The resident came in and did a long, thorough ultrasound. He looked great! His heart was beating properly, there was good blood flow, and we even got to see him take a few practice breaths. She also noted that the cord wasn't (at that point) up by his neck, which was an incredible relief for me. He moved a few times at the hospital and seemed to be perking back up. She estimated his weight around 5lb6oz (although ultrasounds are notoriously unreliable for fetal weight).

His movements picked back up like they normally do, so I'm back to being relentlessly attacked by my child. At this point, I don't mind. I'm so relieved that everything is okay.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Happy picture post!

Whew! After all that, I need a happy post. Let's see some pictures of Amy!

Cute girl in one of her new cloth diapers:

Feeding herself yogurt for dinner. As you'll see, this made QUITE the mess:

She decided the spoon wasn't working fast enough:

"All done, Mama!"

Aaaaand then the hand went in the hair. And the Amy went straight to the bathtub.

At playgroup, riding the fish mechanical-bull style:

And what outing would be complete without Amy showing off for random strangers? :D

How about a quick belly shot? This is me at 28 weeks and 5 days:

Since I'm stuck here anyway....

In my last post I wrote about depression, one of the things I've been dealing with lately. I honestly wish that were it. But of course, once I started getting my depression under control and was actually feeling better, something else goes wrong. Isn't that the way it usually works? *sigh* I'm really trying not to be too negative about this whole thing, but it's really difficult.

I had an OB appointment on Tuesday, where they discovered my blood pressure was high (150/90something) and there was protein in my urine (which is BAD). High blood pressure and protein in the urine are indicative of pre-eclampsia and related disorders, none of which are good. The doctor put me on modified bed rest until we figured out what was going on.

So after my regular appointment they sent me up to the Women's Evaluation Unit (WEU) to be monitored. It's right around the corner from L&D. I was on the WEU for about 2 hours. They took my blood pressure every 15 minutes, took another urine sample, and drew blood.

Confusingly, my blood pressure was normal and all my labs came back normal as well. So, we really didn't know what was going on. To help figure things out, I had to do a 24-hour urine collection (ew). Nothing like having a big jug of pee in your fridge, right? ;) We took the collection to the lab Wednesday afternoon once my 24 hours had expired, and were told we could call my OB's office for results in the morning. Great.

Thursday morning I called and the doctor wasn't in yet. (I hate that.) I was told to call back later in the afternoon, which was fine. Even though I wasn't able to help with Heather, I was going down to Mom's to hang out on the couch (with the added bonuses of Mom doing my laundry and making delicious dinner for my family). Technically I was discouraged from driving, but the midwife on the WEU had said I could go to Mom's. I liked her answer better, so that's what I did!

Just before leaving to drive to Mom's, the doctor's office called me back. (Which isn't good when they've told you to call them.) My OB's assistant explained to me that my test results were back. The normal range for protein in the urine is 0-0.15. My levels were at 0.52, more than triple what they should have been. That meant that I was officially being diagnosed with pre-eclampsia.

So now I'm on modified bed rest until I deliver. Yippee. Now, I have no problem lounging on the couch when I'm sick. But I don't FEEL sick. I feel fine, and I just started nesting a couple days ago, so I really WANT to be running around doing stuff. But I can't. I'm allowed to go to the bathroom, to shower, and to take care of Amy (although I'm supposed to really take it easy with her). I'm not supposed to be on my feet for more than a couple of minutes. I have to monitor my blood pressure throughout the day. And I will likely be induced somewhere around 36 weeks. Which is in about 2 1/2 weeks, the week of Thanksgiving.

I'm trying really hard not to freak out. I was completely unprepared for this. I'm really grateful that I have so many people willing to help us. The Relief Society (the women's organization at church) is especially helpful, and I know I can rely on them. It's tough because I hate asking for help, but this is one time when I really do need it. Mom and my friends are also great sources of help. I'm just so blessed to have so many people who care about me and are willing to sacrifice their time to help me out.

The downward spiral of depression.

It's been quite a while since I've updated my blog. I've had a lot going on the last couple of months and just haven't really felt like writing anything.

This pregnancy has been a lot harder than my pregnancy with Amy. I was working full time with her at the hospital, and although I definitely had joint pain (especially by the end) and dealt with morning sickness, heartburn, etc. I didn't have any real "problems". I wish I could say the same this time around!

I've dealt with depression for most of my life due to my abuse, etc. I've been in counseling a few times, and always found it helpful. After Amy was born, I struggled with post-partum depression. Since I lost my insurance coverage when I left the hospital, I didn't really have any way to seek treatment, so I dealt with it as best I could. It wasn't easy. I was starting to feel a little better, and then I got pregnant again. My hormones flew out of control, and I began sinking deeper and deeper into depression.

The scary thing about depression for me is that I'm not depressed so much that I don't know what's going on. I KNOW that my thoughts, anxiety, worries, etc. are irrational. I know that a "normal" person would never think that way. But I can't help it. In my head, it sounds completely normal. Of course I must've done something wrong and now my friends don't want to be around me anymore because they don't like me. Makes perfect sense when I'm thinking it, but once I actually voice it, I can tell how "crazy" it sounds. I just can't stop myself from thinking it.

A couple of months ago, my depression got really bad. I was never suicidal, nor did I want to hurt anyone else. But I could barely function. I was completely apathetic. I was lethargic. I had no appetite. I could barely force myself to eat. I had extreme difficulty making even the most basic of decisions, like what to wear, or what to dress Amy in, or what color diaper to put her in. I was lonely but I didn't want to be around people, because I felt like my negativity would bring everyone down. I got really good at faking being happy so that people wouldn't ask me what was wrong, or how they could help, because really, you can't. If I didn't have Amy forcing me to get up every day to take care of her, I would have happily stayed in bed all day, every day. I cried for no reason, sometimes several times a day.

In a nutshell, I felt horrible. I was more depressed than I had ever felt before, by a long shot. Fortunately, I was able to start going to counseling again. I've been seeing my therapist for over a month now. She, my OB, and I decided that with the way things were feeling for me, that I needed some extra help. So, for the first time ever, I'm on medication to help my depression.

The turnaround has been amazing. I've been taking meds for 3 weeks now, and I feel much, much better. I'm not back to my "normal" self yet. I don't know how long that will take. But between the medication and continuing therapy, there's a light at the end of the tunnel. One of the hardest things about depression is that it feels so hopeless. Will I ever stop feeling this way? Will I ever feel like "me" again? Is this only going to get worse?

But there IS hope! I know that my Heavenly Father loves me, and I know that He and my Savior are with me. The trials in my life become bearable when I can remember that. He will not abandon me. He puts people in the right places around me to help me heal and to cope. And in my darkest moments when I'm sobbing in bed with the covers over my head and just wishing that it were over, He sends the Holy Spirit to comfort me and to remind me that I am not alone, and that my Savior has felt everything that I feel now.

I am so grateful for the knowledge I have, and for the love my Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have for me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A few pictures!

Here are a few pictures from the last couple of months. It's hard to believe how quickly time flies by!

Brett wearing Amy on his back. The three of us and Chandra went to Lake of the Ozarks to visit Missouri Children's Burn Camp for their 15th year of camp. It was fun being able to show Brett just a few things around camp. Here we were by the high ropes courses, and Brett was watching someone.

Channie posing for a picture:

Amy's one year photo with Barry. Hard to believe that when she was born, the bear was bigger than she was!

One day when Brett was off we took a little trip to the Science Center. Amy LOVED it, and was fascinated by the dinosaurs. I'd wondered if she would be scared since they have models of a T-Rex and a...something else...that move and make noise. But she just stared and stared, and didn't want to leave. In the next few pictures, she's crawling on a slab that has an imprint of a dinosaur track on it.

Amy had recently discovered the fun ability to lay on her belly and push herself backwards. Hence this picture.

The three of us went to a Cardinals' game recently with our friends Brian and Jenn Johnson (who are expecting their own little girl any time now). It was fun, the Cardinals won, and Amy behaved herself! Brian was nice enough to snap a few pictures of us.

And yes, it does look like my child is throwing a gang sign. We ARE in St. Louis, after all. (Just kidding.)

 Amy is a very curious child. VERY. We always worry when suddenly realize it's been a bit quiet for a few minutes. I was out one evening and Brett was home with Amy when he realized that he hadn't heard her in a couple minutes. She'd gotten into our bedroom, in the dark, climbed onto the bed via a pregnancy pillow on the floor, and found the Kleenex box. (This was NOT her first playtime with Kleenex, either.) Brett found her sitting in the middle of the bed in the dark, with Kleenex all around her. By the time he grabbed the camera, came back, and flipped on the light, this is what he found:

I made buttermilk chocolate chip pancakes a few days ago for dinner. (Yum.) Amy definitely appreciates them. Of course, she's only met one food she didn't care for (jalapeno bratwurst), but she LOVES these. And does a very good job eating them.

I mean, really. Who could resist this face? Not me. How does that line go? Oh, yes. Resistance is futile.

We've had lots of fun lately, and I just love my little girl! It's so fun to watch her learning and growing. She is definitely a walker now, and spends most of her playtime trying to climb everything in sight (and succeeding frequently). She is so smart, and learns so quickly! She doesn't talk a lot just yet, but she's getting a lot better at using signs, which is helping with both of our frustration. I'm not worried about it. She definitely takes after her mother, and does things when SHE is good and ready. (E.g., she weaned herself from bottle to sippy cup in less than 3 days.) So, she'll talk when she decides to. Why am I not surprised that my child is headstrong? :)

Thursday, September 8, 2011

It was bound to come out some time anyway....

I really try not to complain too much about being pregnant, at least not publicly. Brett gets an earful as often as I feel like it (poor guy). But I just feel awful, and it's taking over my life anyway. So.

I had completely awful morning sickness for several weeks my first trimester. Like, couldn't keep food down, throwing up several times a day morning sickness. It was horrible. I managed to eat potatoes a couple times a day (if I was lucky) and sometimes even managed to keep them down. I'm so grateful that phase of this pregnancy is over. It was way worse this time around than it was with Amy.

Once I hit my second trimester, I felt like I'd been run over by a semi with an oversized load--several times over. They say usually you get MORE energy during your second trimester. Wow, so not true this time around. I'm sure it doesn't help that I'm chasing around a very energetic child (who has now learned to walk AND climb). On top of THAT, I've had a lot of trouble sleeping lately. Last night I was so tired, I went to bed around 10. Didn't fall asleep until almost midnight. And then woke up around 3:30 AM and couldn't fall back asleep. I finally gave up a little before 7 and just got up for the day. I feel like death.

I've also been having some issues with contractions. There's some debate as to whether they're Braxton-Hicks or the real deal. Regardless, Brett and I spent a lovely few hours in Labor&Delivery this past Saturday. I'd been walking around a lot during the day, and noticed that night on our way home from the Blues Festival downtown that my contractions were awfully close together. Started timing them around 9pm, and they were 5 minutes apart like clockwork. About 45 minutes later, they were becoming closer together. I finally spoke with the on-call doctor around 10:30pm, at which point they were every 2-3 minutes. He told us to hightail it to the hospital, so we did. Despite being monitored for a couple hours, their machine wasn't picking up my contractions. (The RN later said that as early as I am--just shy of 25 weeks at the time--the monitor doesn't always pick them up since my belly isn't as big and hard as it will be later in pregnancy.) Did an ultrasound, and Baby David was doing just fine. He was still moving around a ton, so I wasn't really terribly worried about him. I wasn't dilated or effaced at all, so they sent me home.

Had my regular OB appointment scheduled for Tuesday anyway, so it was the perfect time for a follow-up. Apparently I have an irritable uterus. It's not an awful thing, but it can (and often does) lead to real pre-term labor, which IS dangerous. So I'm just supposed to be taking it easy and not doing much walking around. Other than that, I can continue my normal activity. Prayers would be very much appreciated at this point--I'm concerned that despite my best efforts, this will get worse.

I also did my test on Tuesday for gestational diabetes. I hate that test. I mean, if I need to have a bunch of sugar in my system all at once, why can't I just eat a candy bar or two? :D WAY better than having to drink that awful stuff they give you. At least the lab keeps it refrigerated, I'm told it's even worse when it's warm. So, I had to drink the equivalent of overly-sugary, flat orange soda. I HATE orange soda. In fact, I really hate any sort of 'fruit' soda. I think it tastes awful. So imagine my even greater distaste for the nasty stuff they make you drink. Yuck. The lab tech gave me the bottle and told me I needed to drink it within 5-10 minutes. I laughed and told her I was going to finish it as quickly as I could so I didn't have to taste it for long. I seriously stood there and just chugged it. She was funny and told me, "Dang, Momma! Slow down!" I laughed and said if it wasn't going to affect the test, I would finish it as fast as possible. She said it didn't, so I drank the rest of it. Seriously, it probably took me about 45 seconds, and that was because I paused for conversation.

I'm just glad that's over. Gross.

Hopefully this didn't come across as TOO whiney. If it did, well...I don't complain all THAT often. Hopefully I can take a Benadryl tonight and actually get some REAL sleep. That sounds so good right now.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Facebook and Breast Cancer Awareness

I don't usually use my blog as a soapbox, but I have just got to say something.

Those of you who have Facebook and check it regularly may have noticed (and possibly participated) in a little game that is going around right now. You may have seen several people post status updates like "I'm 10 weeks and craving gummy bears!" followed by several comments of people surprised at a previously unannounced pregnancy.

The catch? These people aren't pregnant. A message gets sent around with instructions not to tell "the guys" to keep them guessing. You use your birth month as a certain number of weeks and what you're "craving" depends on your birthday.

And, of course, this is all for breast cancer awareness, don't you know?

Perhaps this is tacky of me, but the best internet expression I can come up with on this occasion is: WTF?

I have hated these stupid games from the beginning (and honestly, I hate pretty much any and all copy/paste status updates). What on EARTH does a FAKE pregnancy have to do with breast cancer awareness? Should I be grateful that at least this time around, the status update isn't full of sexual innuendo, like previous ones have been? (One update was: [your shoe size] inches, [how long it takes you to get ready in the morning]. Another was "I like it [where you leave your purse]". You get the picture.) I pretty much ignored them with a sigh and a hefty eye roll.

But this one has me fuming.

Although we've been blessed with a child and another on the way, I struggled with "unexplained infertility" for 2 years before getting pregnant. A comparably short period of time when considering the long and difficult journey many couples face. I have friends who struggle with miscarriages, friends who struggle to conceive, and family that has endured unimaginable losses.

I remember when I got pregnant with Amy being nervous to tell my best friend because she had recently miscarried. I was afraid that my announcement would rub it in her face. I put it off for as long as I could because I didn't want to hurt her. I was concerned for her feelings, because I love her.

This game with status updates takes no feelings into consideration. It ignores the thousands of women who struggle with infertility and who feel a sting every time a pregnancy is announced. It expects women to remain silent or to offer difficult congratulations while they ache to have their own child, while they wonder "Why her and not me?" It disregards the number of women who, because OF cancer and related treatments, may now be facing infertility.

Breast cancer awareness is important. It is a worthy cause. It does not deserve to have such a despicable game attached to its name.

Raise awareness by actually TALKING about breast cancer. Raise awareness by joining in campaigns that make sense and actually spread information. Raise awareness by donating your time or money to the Komen Foundation. Raise awareness by helping to care for those who suffer from cancer. Raise awareness by actually DOING something, rather than copying and pasting a cryptic, hurtful, nonsensical status update on Facebook.

This woman wrote a fantastic post on the subject, and I encourage everyone to read it:

Edited to add: Here's a copy of the actual message going around (the US version; the UK version has different candy):

Ok pretty ladies, it's that time of year again, in support of breast cancer awareness!! Remember last year so many people took part that it made national news and, the constant updating of status reminded everyone why we're doing this and helped raise awareness!! Do NOT tell any males what the status' mean, keep them guessing!! And please copy and paste (in a message )this to all your female friends to see if we can make a bigger fuss this year than last year!!! I did my part... now YOUR turn!

The idea is to choose the month you were born and the day you were born. Pass this on to the girls only and lets see how far it reaches around. The last one about the bra went round allovr the world. So you'll write... I'm (your birth month) weeks and I'm craving (your birth date)!!! as your status.

  • Example: Feb 14th= I'm 2 weeks and craving Choclolate mints!!


    Days of the month: 1-Skittles 2-Starburst 3-Kit-Kat 4-M&M's 5-Galaxy 6-Crunchie 7-Dairy Milk 8-Lollipop 9-Peanut Butter Cups 10-Meat Balls 11-Twizzlers 12-Bubble Gum 13-Hershey's Kisses 14-Chocolate Mints 15-Twix 16-Resse's Fastbreak 17-Fudge 18-Cherry Jello 19-Milkyway 20-Pickels 21-Creme Eggs 22-Skittles 23-Gummy Bears 24-Gummy Worms 25-Strawberry Pop Tarts 26-Starburst 27-Mini Eggs 28-Kit-Kat Chunkie 29-Double Chocolate Chip Chrunchy Cookies 30-Smarties 31-Chocolate Cake.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hosting a baby shower

I've hosted several casual parties with my friends, but I've never actually "hosted" an event, per se. Well, a good friend of mine, Jenn, is due to have her girl September 24th (though no one believes she'll actually make it that long, poor girl is already having contractions). About a month or so ago, I decided I wanted to be the one to throw her a baby shower for the ward. I was super excited!

I quickly enlisted the help of another good friend of mine, Dereth, for several reasons. 1) Our apartment is pretty darn small and could absolutely not hold more than 5-6 people comfortably. Just was not going to work. 2) I was completely overwhelmed at the thought of doing it myself, and Dereth is awesome at coming up with fun ideas.

Shortly after I asked her to help me out, Dereth found us a party theme! She LOVES reading blogs, and found a strawberry-themed party on someone's blog that had been used for a child's birthday party but was easily adaptable. She and I both loved the look of it, and Jenn agreed, so it was set! We set a date and started planning our menu and decorations.

Sadly, Dereth's mother passed away in the early morning the Monday before the shower. I'd gotten a text from Dereth letting me know, and got an email shortly thereafter apologizing that she wouldn't be in town to help with the shower. I was so sad for Dereth that it took a little while for that to sink in. Uh oh.....

Once I realized what that meant, I sent out an email to another woman in the ward. Marjean had hosted several events at her home, and I was crossing my fingers that she would be able to let me do it at their house on short notice. She agreed, and I heaved a sigh of relief. (Yes, Mom, the kind that 10 years ago would've left me on the kitchen floor.) One problem down! I had a mass email sent out to the women letting them know the location had been changed.

Dereth and I hadn't gone shopping yet for the decorations, since we'd planned on doing it together. So, with Amy in tow, I ran to a few different stores and got what I needed (though of course, I forgot a few things and had to run out last-minute on Friday afternoon). I made a schedule for myself of what food I would make on which days Wednesday-Friday so that I wouldn't get overwhelmed. It actually worked really well! (As an aside, a schedule was required because often when I get overwhelmed, my instinctive response is to shut down and just...not do anything. Ask Brett about my housekeeping. Actually, don't.)

So, Wednesday I made a strawberry cheesecake. It turned out well, although the top browned a bit. I don't make cheesecakes very often, so I'm not the greatest at them. (Especially since in my head, I was comparing it to Kristin's cheesecakes. Yeah. No real comparison there. It's quite obvious I'm still an amateur.) But it ended up tasting good, and the texture was perfect, in my oh so humble opinion.

Thursday I made mini-cupcakes. I am SO glad I only used one cake mix. I've never done mini cupcakes, so I honestly had no clue what the yield would be. Yeah, one box made 72 mini strawberry-flavored cupcakes. Holy cow! I left them to cool overnight.

Friday was my busy day. In addition to my last minute run to the store, I made strawberry buttercream frosting, frosted the cupcakes, made chocolate covered strawberries, and put together a strawberry spinach salad. Then I got all my stuff together, tied a few bows, and high-tailed it over to Marjean's house half an hour early to set up. Fortunately she gave me a hand, otherwise I would've been running really late. She whipped up some strawberry lemonade while I set up the table and the food.

I am so bummed, though. I completely forgot to take ANY pictures. I even had my camera right there! Gah! I blame it on my pregnant brain. I can do that, right?

All in all, I think it turned out really well. It seemed like the women had fun, and there were NOT a lot of leftovers (other than cupcakes, but that's totally understandable since there were a billion of them). The salad was completely gone, there were 2 slices of cheesecake left (small slices, at that), and a few strawberries.

I call it a success!

A new look!

As those of you who actually read my blog may have noticed, it has a new look!

My sister Heather had updated her own blog and put a banner at the top. I told her how much I loved it, and she offered to do one for me! I was so thrilled, of course I said yes. Admittedly, I liked my little backgrounds, etc., but I know this will be easier for people to read the type, and I do love the banner. Heather may not think she's terribly talented with these things, but I disagree!

Another great thing Heather showed me was how to change my blog template. Up til now, I had only been able to post 5 pictures per blog post. It was driving me NUTS! (Hence all the part one/part two picture posts.)

No longer! As you can see with my previous couple of posts, I can now put as many pictures as I want in one blog post! Ha! That change alone has made me so happy. I LOVE pictures, and I really like including them on my blog. Most of my family (including Brett's family, since they're mine now, too) doesn't get to see us very often. That makes me sad. I love being around family, and I want Amy to know her extended family as much as I want them to know her. So, I figure the least I can do is put up plenty of pictures so that our family can watch our adorable little girl grow.

So far, no complaints! :D

Amy's birthday party

Amy's birthday fell on a Wednesday this year, so we had her party on Saturday the 6th. Several of our friends were invited, and we had it at Mom's house so that she and Heather and Chandra could be there. I was glad our friends were willing to drive the extra distance so my family could be involved. What great friends we have!

I made some appetizers to go with our cake. We had guacamole, bean salsa, and sandwich wraps. Deviled eggs were on the menu, but I had 3 batches of botched hard-boiled eggs and finally gave up. Alas. But now I know for future reference.

Then there were the cakes. I made a little 5-inch round cake for Amy. I thought her "smash cake" turned out cute! It was chocolate, with chocolate buttercream frosting. Brett helped me out by freehanding the outline of a butterfly on top, and I filled and decorated it.

The butterfly matched the big cake I made for the grownups. I used a butterfly-shaped pan, which was the equivalent of a 9x13. The cake got sliced into 2 layers, chocolate buttercream between the layers, vanilla buttercream on top. I thought it turned out really well, and there were not a lot of leftovers. Next time, though, I need to remember to smooth my frosting.

Of course, Amy made a HUGE mess with her cake. It was so adorable! I set the cake in front of her (after we'd stripped her down to her diaper), and she dove into it face-first! Yup, that's my girl. :D At one point, she got quite a bit of frosting up her nose. We were still getting chocolate out the next day. Ha! After licking the icing off a good portion of the cake, she started grabbing fistfuls of cake and shoving them in her mouth.

After getting a thorough bath from Daddy, Amy came back down much more presentable and opened presents (with help from Mama, of course). She was quite fascinated by the wrapping paper/tissue paper, but loved getting new toys (and a dress)! Her new toys are at the top of the toy box, and she loves to take them out and make sure they're strewn across the living room. She must think if you can see a square foot of carpet that she's not doing her job well. She definitely keeps Mama busy!