Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2nd Pregnancy: Week 30

From week 30

There are some instances when, as a mother, you experience moments when your dignity goes down the closest toilet to save your children from, I don't know...dying. "Dying" meaning falling down stairs, choking on a quarter, or, well, you get the idea . In those moments you don't care about self preservation, because it is all about putting your little people's needs first.

On a Monday afternoon during week 30 of my pregnancy, I discovered a little trick after Granna left town.  She brought all kinds of goodies, including Shep's new favorite movie, Cars. I flipped the movie on, which immediately put Shep in a trance. He began to make  engine noises sitting on the floor in his favorite place, the boppy pillow (He may have a mini freak out when he discovers this pillow will soon be baby 2.0's - and no, we don't need a second one as a gift! You know who I am talking to...). I set him up with a bowl of  animal crackers and snuck upstairs shutting the accordion baby gate closed at the bottom of the stairs to take a shower.

4 minutes in to my glorious shower that I desperately needed, I hear a tiny Shep squawk sounding something of a questions like "aehhh?"  I immediately shut off the water to listen for more of his voice. After 10 seconds I heard his little squawk again followed by "ma ma! ma ma ma!" and a shaking of the baby gate below.

I quite literally hopped out of the shower not thinking of covering myself or making myself decent and rushed down the stairs as best as a very pregnant woman can to make sure Shep was still alive and not hurting in any way. At this point, I am soaking wet leaving streaks of puddles behind me as I make my way closer to my son. I am completely lathered in soap including my foamy hair swirled at the top of my head. I had just finished hastily shaving one leg after Lord knows how long since the winter. My mascara, which had not been washed off yet, was streaking down my face under both eyes, which I am positive that sight in itself traumatized Shep for life.

As soon as I was a foot away from Shep he immediately started giggling and ran back to sit in his boppy. Looking like a scary soaking-wet naked diva Medusa, I filled up Shep's empty bowl with more animal crackers without cleaning up the puddles I was leaving behind. Normally I would have been beyond annoyed at the disturbance of my shower, but I just smiled knowing he alive and well....and that no one had seen me in this state.

I made my way back upstairs to finish my shower. 2 minutes later the tiny Shep squawks started again, but I just continued to wash my face and rinse out my conditioner with confidence that Shepherd was going to still be alive in 3-5 minutes when I finished my shower.

As moms, we normally give up every ounce of dignity to preserve the safety and well-being of our little ones. I am glad my "vulnerable self" wasn't seen by anyone but me and Shep, but that is not to say that I wouldn't run down the street in the same condition to save the life of my little one. I am ready to experience funny out-of-body.....and out-of-mind.... experiences for this baby 2.0 too. There will probably be butt cracks revealed as I bend over hastily to scoop something out of someone's mouth or have pureed peas on my face for an entire day without anyone saying anything, but your dignity seems a lot less important when you have the responsibility of someone's life in your hands. We will see what funny stories I have to tell 10 weeks from this moment.

How far along? 30 weeks
Baby is the size of a: butternut squash
Total weight gain: 32 pounds. I think I am averaging 2-3 lbs a week and I just don't even know what to do about it!
Waist Measurement: 39 inches still
Maternity clothes?  Yes, but even those are uncomfortable.
Stretch marks? None, but my skin is definitely stretching just not making any marks.
Sleep: I get up 2-3 times a night. Annoying, but not unbearable.
Best moment this week: Hiking, BBQing, and having game night until midnight with our two really good friends from Texas Tech and their college students from their church. I loved getting to catch up with Kelsey Esgar, who I mentored for 2 years, but ultimately I ended up just being really good friends with her rather than mentoring her.
Movement: Movement is consistent and more down low.
Food cravings: Chicken Strips still and freakin' Ramen noodles. I normally gag at the thought of them, but for some reason they have sounded good this week.
Miss Anything? Being active.
Gender: I am still thinking girl.
Symptoms: I am just extremely uncomfortable at this point. No apparent symptoms other than walking, laying, and just being is uncomfortable.
Belly Button in or out? Out
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood?: Good - just normal with extra tiredness thrown in.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

2nd Pregnancy: Week 29

I have wanted to share this story since last week during my 29th week of pregnancy.  The day after my birthday, March 17th, I walked in to Saint Jo. East Hospital and went up the elevator to the 3rd floor to my friend's room who had a baby the day before. I did it as if I had been in that hospital a million times before, yet that was only my 5th visit total. I went to the hospital the first time to orient myself before Shepherd was born, the 2nd time to visit my very good friend who had her baby girl, the 3rd time on October 17th when they sent me home to labor longer, and the last time on October 18th to have Shepherd the next day.

To my recollection I hadn't been up to the postpartum floor since I had Shepherd a little over 17 months ago.  As I walked in to Rachael's hospital room, I remembered the feeling of being her in the hospital bed peering at the door to see who the visitor was making a special trip to MEET my first born baby. It is a very surreal time when adrenaline overshadows exhaustion, and excitement of the new transition fends off any fears that were present before giving birth.

As Rachael gracefully wobbled to the bathroom assisted by her husband, I realized then that this visit was key in preparing me in my soon-to-come visit to the exact same hospital. I will be using the same midwifery team, the same birth plan hoping to be medicinal free, and the same decision to not find out the gender as Rachael. She and her husband had even taken the exact same Bradley Method birthing class by the same teacher as Josh and I did before I had Shepherd.

As some of their visitors that were in the room before me left, I was able to really talk and help Rachael with a few things regarding breastfeeding, her birth story, and other hilarious details leading up to birth and after birth. This visit prepared my mind and heart in a way that I have been praying for the past several weeks.  By the time I had given Rachael all the instruction she would need to use (and forget how to use) her breast pump, I was pumped up and ready for the whole experience to be my turn.


On a side note, I forgot to mention two weeks ago I had my glucose testing. I immediately opted to do the Jelly Belly jelly beans, because last pregnancy it was a breeze. Last pregnancy I only had to eat 18 jelly beans in 5 minutes. This time around they increased the jelly bean intake to 46 jelly beans in 5 minutes. My neighbors graciously gifted me some of their Jelly Bellies as they had an abundance of Frozen themed jelly beans. So as I stuffed my face with sparkly glittery jelly beans, I thought my jaw was going to fall off from trying to chew and swallow so many beans in such a short time. It is like trying to eat 8 Saltine crackers in one minute, but these jelly beans were harder and not that tasty. I just knew I was going to push out glittery light blue colored poo later on that day. Thankfully I still passed the glucose test (how I don't know how) and actually ate all of the jelly beans in the allotted time.

How far along? 29 weeks
Baby weighs the same as a: red cabbage
Total weight gain: 30 pounds. I am fully aware I am rapidly gaining weight and I am not sure what to do about it! Yikes. 
Waist Measurement: 39 inches
Maternity clothes?  Yes. All the time. I am needing to bust out my maternity capri pants, but I am not sure where I stashed them. 
Stretch marks? None, but I seriously feel like my skin is tearing around my belly button sometimes. I'll catch myself either lifting up my shirt or looking the mirror to see if I have a 3 inch stretch mark as that is what it feels like. 
Sleep: I have been going to sleep pretty late as family has been in town and I have had lots of projects to do every night after I put Shepherd down. So sleep hasn't been great or at least enough.
Best moment this week: Best moment was just the overall spending time with Shep's Gammie, Pappy, and Granna. It is a true joy seeing someone else love my son as much as I do. Shep's and their delight when interacting with each other is priceless. 
Movement: Movement is consistent.
Food cravings: Chicken Strips...what the heck?!
Miss Anything? Being able to fit in regular clothes.
Gender: We still don't know. 
Symptoms: No symptoms other than the usual "once a week oops I brushed too far back and made myself gag and throw up." Brushing my tongue is a must, but man I really shouldn't do it so far back. 
Belly Button in or out? Out
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood?: Great! I loved being spoiled by family being in town. 

Sunday, March 15, 2015

2nd Pregnancy: Week 28

I can't help but run inside and upstairs everyday after work to change out of my gross work scrubs and in to "play" clothes and Chacos to get back outside to play with Shepherd. My neighborhood has been exploding with laughter, squeals, and song since the weather has heated up, as 85% of all the house in my complex houses children. After the snow stopped, it took almost a day and a half for the snow to completely melt away and even quicker for everyone to mingle outside letting their babies play. 

It feels like the first day of Spring, although the official date isn't for another week, the 20th. This baby will come at the end of Spring. Summer doesn't start technically until June 21st. It is bizarre to me that this season happens to align perfectly with my 3rd trimester. Now that I enter in to the last trimester I am starting that grieving process of preparing myself mentally for Shepherd, my first born, to no long be my "baby." The new seedlings starting to sprout are helpful in reminding me that new things are about to come about and letting it happen organically is the best way to transition in to them. 

I still consider Shepherd a baby at 16 months. It is hard for me to accept him being a toddler and an older sibling.  Our new baby will become the baby of the family. I am sure I will write more about this later, but for now my heart has not accepted this transition regardless of my this-is-going-to-happen knowledge. 

How far along? 28 weeks
Baby is the size of a: large eggplant
Total weight gain: 27 pounds
Waist Measurement: 38 1/4 inches
Maternity clothes?  I don't have much of an option at this point other than Josh's larger shirts and stretching the seams in my non-maternity shirts. 
Stretch marks? None. 
Sleep: Well seeing as I got 13 hours of sleep last night, I am going to say my sleep is great! I have actually been staying up late every night this past week, which doesn't bode well with this pregnant body. I put Shepherd to sleep 45 earlier than I normally would, and I crawled in my own bed around 6:50pm. I think I read 3 pages of my book before I promptly fell asleep with the lamp still on and iPad in hand. 
Best moment this week: Well it was not watching Shep fall off the end of my bed, band his head on my trunk at the foot of my bed, and flip forward completing his summersault. No... that was most definitely the worst moment of this week. The best moment this week was getting to spend time with family AND my community. The sun was out and the snow is gone so we were outside as much as possible. Plus I loved learning how to cook authentic chicken curry with several of my neighbors by a lady who knows her stuff! 
Movement: He or she is definitely making his or her presence known! Movement is regular. 
Food cravings: Nothing out of the ordinary. 
Miss Anything? Mmmmm I miss Shep being able to recline back on to me when he sits in my lap. Now he is forced to sit straight up with his cocked backwards if he wants to look up at me. 
Gender: I am thinking the same as last week about this baby being a girl, but we shall see!
Symptoms: None unless you count looking like a whale counts as a symptom. At work this week one of my African-American coworkers shouted at me from down the hall, "daaaaang, Elise, you are thick! I'm jealous." I told her I didn't even know how to respond to that other than, "well, yes, I have gained 27 pounds in more areas than just my mid-section." Oh wait... I lied. After the book club I threw for the first time this past week, I celebrated by renting a movie at 10pm and eating half a roll of sweet tarts as fast as I could. As soon as I pulled away from the RedBox, I promptly threw up in the McDonald's parking lot 30 yards from the box. I wasn't even mad when I noticed the rainbow my throw-up took on. 
Belly Button in or out? Out
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood?: Pretty good, but I would love for my scratchy throat to go away. I have definitely been in a better mood though since my sickness has gone away. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

2nd Pregnancy: Week 27

I am fully aware I cannot fully protect my child from harm or even him going astray as he grows up. I am surprisingly laid back as a 1st time parent, but there are a few things that make me a "helicopter mom" over Shep. The first one is the bathtub. Josh and I don't leave Shepherd unattended at all for even a minute by himself in the bath. There have been a couple of times he has lost his bearings, turned face down in the water, and doesn't realize he can just push himself up in the 4 inch deep water. Within the seconds we pull him out he has already swallowed water and immediately breaks out in a panic cry and signs "all done." 

The other circumstance we hover over Shep is on the stairs. He is fully capable of going up and down the stairs by himself safely by crawling, but there are always the instances when Shepherd's curiosity and confidence outweighs his physical ability. I was just finishing up getting ready, and he knew it was time to head downstairs. I grabbed my already-cooled half cup of coffee and iPad and headed his direction. He squealed with excitement and rounded the corner to the mouth of the stairwell. I started in with "Shep, wait for mommy. SHEP!" Normally getting his attention is enough to distract him, but this time it was a game. Mommy was chasing him so he has to get away! As soon as I turned the corner, I see Shep sitting on the top step and just before I scoop him up with my forearm, he giggles, stretches out his arms, and dives.

Had I not had anything in my hands, I may....may have been able to snatch him out of the air. BUT, again, I was holding a cup of coffee in one hand and an iPad in the other. As I impulsively stretched out to grab his tiny body, not only could I not grab him, but I sprayed my coffee all over him and the carpeted stairs. He slid down a few stairs head down then started rolling. 8 or so stairs later, I was able to stop him and pick him up. He was crying in hysteria and so was I. All I could think was "how in the world did I let this happen" and "thank God he didn't hit his head or have any injuries." He wasn't hurt more than having a little scare. 

It only took him a few minutes to recover and bounce around giggling again. I, however, took at least an hour after sobbing. This little "accident" wasn't what shook me to my core; it was how out of control things will be in my life. I have heard stories of parents looking away for maybe 30 seconds and their toddler is gone and they drown in a river or toilet or run out of the house and go missing. These things happen to good parents and this fear completely encased me this particular morning. I still don't hover over my Shepherd like most 1st-time parents do (or so I'm told). I let him eat food off the ground, make messes, change him on changing tables without wiping them down, etc... But I did buy a baby gate for the top of my stairs! I pray for the safety of Shepherd and this new little baby on the way, but I also pray that this fear of 'freak accidents' doesn't paralyze me from letting my little ones explore, try new things, and learn from their mistakes. 

27 weeks 2 days
How far along? 27 weeks
Baby weighs as much as a: Head of cauliflower
Total weight gain: 25 pounds
Waist Measurement: 38 inches
Maternity clothes?  I wear nothing but maternity clothes unless I am wearing scrubs at work or naked at home. (Just being honest)
Stretch marks? None still!
Sleep: Sleep is AWESOME compared to the 6 months after Shep was born. I keep thinking about how out of my mind tired I was as he woke up every 2-3 hours for those long 6 months, and how I thought I would never sleep again. So even though I get up on average twice a night I have to think about how amazing my sleep really is in comparison to sleeping while raising a newborn. 
Best moment this week: Just being snowed in with my family. I am glad we got to experience this crazy record-breaking snow blizzard while living here in Kentucky. I didn't like driving on two inches of snow all the way in to town to work, but at least I can say I have some experience driving in what the governor declared "a state of emergency."
Movement: Movement has been mainly when I lay down at night on my left side!
Food cravings: Nothing unusual really... this part of pregnancy is SO different from the first.
Miss Anything? I miss being able to make a pallet on the floor and watch a movie comfortably. Seriously the floor can die as far as letting me lay down on them. My hips ache after 45 seconds and I can't lay on my back. So I just switch side to side 300 different times throughout a two hour movie. Misery!
Gender: I am back to thinking this baby is a girl.
Symptoms: None
Belly Button in or out? Out
Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood?: As I was sick this week of pregnancy, I would say my mood wasn't top notch, ,but it also wasn't completely down in the dumps! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

2nd Pregnancy: Week 26

How To Prepare For Your 2nd Baby
These are not headlines you see very often, and if you do the article usually includes 5 "how to's" to prepare your 1st born for his or her upcoming sibling. What about me?! The mom?! With your first born, there are a thousand blogs, articles, and lists of things to do before your first baby gets here. The list includes but is not limited to: register for an explosion of baby paraphernalia in your home, have multiple showers for people to contribute to that explosion, arrange that explosion in to a baby nursery, monogram and gender-label everything with initials, names, and appropriate colors, take a birthing class to teach you how to have a baby explode out of your vagina... Okay, maybe that last "explosion" analogy was a bit too graphic. I digress...

The point is, there are a million ways to prep you, your house hold, your mental and physical being for a first born, but there is very little to prepare you for a second baby if you are in my position.
  • I do not need to register for the 300+ "must haves," because I just had a baby 16 months ago and still have everything I need for a newborn. We did not find out the gender with our first so everything is gender neutral. Again, showers would be pointless, except for the ones where I lather my body up with soap and wash my hair every 4 -5 days. (I realize that is under average, but why shower when I could be sleeping? Amen?)
  • I cannot prepare a second baby room or nursery as I live in a 2 bedroom and we are preparing for baby 2.0 to stay in our room until he or she is sleeping through the night. Then we plan to have both babes sleeping in the same room. 
  • We have decided not to find out the gender as it was the best surprise of my life with our first, but that cuts out another step in "preparing" for a new baby. Forget the southern tri-initial monogrammed bag in florescent pink and white chevron or camo.
  • Lastly, I reiterate, I just had a baby 16 months ago and do not need to take a second birthing class. 
So for all you mamas in my position having two under two years of age, not finding out the gender of your baby, living in a tiny two bedroom, and attempting natural birth, here is my best list of "how-to" prepare for your 2nd baby for you. Otherwise, I am likely just writing this list for myself.

  1. Pick Out a Name For Both Genders. This is one is absolutely driving me crazy, because my husband and I cannot seem to agree on names. We have somehow created an unwritten criteria for how we pick names. The name cannot be on the top popular names list. It has to have significant meaning - both the first and middle name. The name has to be easy to read and pronounce, and the name gets a bonus if it is unusual or unique. However, picking out names helps you think about the baby and mentally prepare, which you would have done with your first registering and practicing relaxation techniques in your birthing class. So think long and hard about this one.
  2. Exercise. I was way more fit during my pregnancy with my 1st, but that is because I had time and energy to workout. I could also take periodic naps whenever I wanted. This time around I was much more in shape doing CrossFit before I got pregnant, but with some difficulties I had early on in the first trimester, which you can read about here, I have barely worked out in this pregnancy, which I regret. IKEA about did me in last Saturday - TALK ABOUT A WORKOUT! More on that later though. Exercise will help you prepare for the marathon labor and delivery is. I am starting to build my stamina and endurance back up by walking. 
  3. Read a Birthing Book. Let's face it, we spend a lot of money on a birthing class for our first child, but we have slept or not slept nearly enough since then. My first didn't sleep through the night until 6 months, and the phrase "I about lost my mind" is applicable to me, because I actually did - ask my friends - I absolutely freaking lost my mind. I plan on reading The Birth Partner, which you can get here. Read a book that fits your birth plan.
  4. Make a Birth Plan. Write an outline of your preferences in the birth process. Talk these out with your doctor or midwife. Just because you know you don't want to be asked to have an epidural because you didn't get one your first time doesn't mean the nurses understand your plan throughout your labor. If you'd like a good example of a birth plan contact me at elise.hurst10@gmail.com and I will send you mine from my 1st birth. This is crucial for you to be respected and have all of your care-providers on the same page as you.
  5. Make a Hospital "To Bring" List. There are items you may want that is different than you wanted the first time. This time I will absolutely have those clever nursing cami's like this one from Target for easy access for the baby to nurse. The first thing on my list this time is to bring my diffuser and certain Young Living essential oils. Plus we bought a wooden train and tracks as a gift for Shepherd, our first born, to feel special when the new baby comes. There are several items on this list that is different from the first time, but the biggest one for me is my breast pump to pump in the hospital. Not pumping heavily impacted my milk production, but that is a subject for a different day.
  6. Make a List of Instructions For People to Help Out. If grandparents or friends want to help out with the big baby then let them! Write out the normal steps you take to put big baby to bed or a normal schedule throughout the day. Write out instructions on how to clean cloth diapers if you do cloth. Have a list of where things are located in your house such as the vacuum, dish washing soap, cleaning supplies, etc.. People are going to offer you help, so give them the tools to make it easier on you and them. 
  7. Prepare Your First Born. This is much easier to type than it is to implement, but here are a few ideas that we have done to prepare our now 16 month old who will be 19 months when baby 2.0 comes. We have a baby doll and are teaching him what "gentle," "soft," and "nice" touches are and aren't. We transitioned him out of the crib by placing the crib mattress on the floor. This transition happened beautifully, and he actually plays in his room for about 20 minutes or so before demanding to get out giving me a little extra sleep time.We also read books about a baby brother or sister coming in to the world, but I think the biggest help is having Shep around younger babies to learn hands-on. 
  8. Wash Everything. This includes washing all those nicely folded newborn clothes that you washed and stuffed in to huge Ziploc baggies and put in your storage. Rewash them. Annoying, I know, but just do it. Wash everything that you put in storage such as bouncers, swings, infant carriers, etc.. Sanitize all those bottles that, again,  you already washed and stored. 
  9. Deep Clean Your House. Either deep clean your house and all your floors or have someone do it. Let's face it, toddlers make your house dirty. They throw syrup dipped pancake bites against the walls letting maple drip down and dry so that a chisel is required to remove it. Toddlers also make it so you do not have enough time  or energy to clean out all those dust bunnies under your bed. I still have not retrieved my glasses from under my bed, because I cannot figure out how to maneuver my large-and-in-charge body to get them. Plus I do not want to inhale all those bunnies. I will either coax my husband in to doing this or hire someone to clean. Don't be scared to spend a little extra cash in this department. You want the environment to be as clean as possible when your new little one comes home with you. 
  10. Stay Calm. The only words of wisdom I have gotten from asking more than a dozen women on how to prepare for a second child is that "you can't" and to "turn the toilet paper roll around." Thus, in all my anxiety for trying to prepare for this second child the way that I did for my first born, I have found out that I just can't in the same way. This baby is totally different, and I am way more equipped than I think I am. You are too. So my words of wisdom I have gathered is just to stay calm and let this 2nd baby enter in to the family that has already been evolving for the past, well, less than 2 years. We will figure it out as it happens.  
There is more I could add to this list, but I am specifically speaking to those who have put themselves in a predicament like I have by not finding out the gender and not having a spare bedroom to prepare for a nursery. So... freak out a little because you are about to encounter the hardest thing ever by having two kids in diapers, zero sleep, and the same if not more will be expected of you regardless of how exhausted you'll be. After your deserved freak-out/tantrum/panic attack, calm down and realize you can totally do this. You are not changing your life around for baby 2.0. You are welcoming baby 2.0 in your already existing family, lifestyle, and home.

How far along? 26 weeks
Baby is as long as an: English hothouse cucumber 
Total weight gain: 23 pounds
Waist Measurement: 38 inches still
Maternity clothes? Yes.
Stretch marks? None.
Sleep: Sleep has been odd. I really cannot wait to sleep on my back again. 
Best moment this week: Nothing too monumental, but I have loved just spending time with Shepherd. He said "snowball" for the first time and is starting to learn new signs and communicate more. I am learning his fears and his love of certain things. Each moment has been special.
Movement: Movement has been bigger and in multiple spots at one time!
Food cravings: Nothing in particular this week.
Gender: Nobody knows!
Symptoms: Nausea still and a little morning sickness. 
Belly Button in or out? Out!

Wedding rings on or off? On
Mood?: My mood has been normal I would say. Happy!