Friday, March 16, 2018

Baby Paul's 2nd Week

I will eventually blog about something besides baby Paul, but right now that's about all I can focus on! Paul turned 2 weeks old yesterday. I feel like the 2nd week was better than the first week and I think each week will just get better as we'll get more and more confident about what we are doing. We also got more sleep during the 2nd week as we were able to stop waking him to feed so he got some 3-3.5 hour stretches of sleep at night which feel pretty amazing for mom! 

That milk drunk life

Likes: pooping right after we change his diaper, his pacifier (I know they say not to use them before they are 4 weeks when you are breastfeeding, but it helps soothe him so much and the pediatrician in the hospital told us to not worry about using it as he used them from the get go with his children, too), making funny faces at us, laying on his side and being bounced when he is upset.

He loves to pose with his little first by the side of his face. It's kind his 'thinker' pose, with a lip purse added in for some extra sass!
He also likes to houdini his legs out of sleepers so they can have them in a 'frog'pose with his ankles crossed. One time he ever got both feet in one leg of a sleeper. In hindsight we should have gotten some 'sack' type of sleepers. It would make diaper/outfit changes much easier!

Dislikes: still hates diaper changes and getting changed, being cold, and having to work to eat (he thinks mom's milk should flow like tap water it seems).

Firsts:  We started to do tummy time. He's usually not a fan.

He also had his first bath. He loved his first bath. He was not a fan of the 2nd one, though. We are only giving him a bath every 3-4 days as I don't want to dry out his skin. If he liked baths, I might do them more often but until he consistently likes them, we'll do as few as we need to do.

Lastly, he met his sister as she came home from Grandma's last Sunday. Phil thinks that Oscar has aged several years in the past week. She doesn't like loud noises we think the crying kind of stresses her out. She has mostly kept her distance from Paul but she does peek at him throughout the day. Sometimes during the night, she sits on the corner of our bed and watches him sleep in his swing.

Feeding: every 2-3 hours, but usually goes 3-3.5 hours between feeds at night. Breastfeeding continues to be challenging. He did well at his weighted feed last Wednesday but then when we had his weight checked on Tuesday, he had not gained an ounce, even though he cluster fed quite a bit over the weekend. So we saw the lactation consultant again on Wednesday and he did not eat much during that feed. She thinks he is not working very hard to eat when I am less 'full' so I have to pump after every feed, except during the middle of the night, and we give him a 1-1.5 oz bottle after every feed. I had no idea that breastfeeding a newborn could be so much work. I mean, I kind of new because I know other moms who strugged with BF'ing, but until it's you, you don't realize how much work it is and how anxious it can make you when your baby isn't gaining weight. 

That said, he's generating MORE than enough wet and dirty diapers and he's a content little guy so we know he's doing well. Both Phil and I were slow to gain weight after we were born and we were kind of underweight when we started kindergarten so I think that genetics is at play here. I just hope he has gained weight when we get it checked again tomorrow (and then again on Monday). So much for cutting down on doctor appointments after the baby is born. ;)  I'm hoping we get a break after his Monday weigh in - fingers crossed!

Sleeping: pretty well. He still HATES his bassinet. I tried laying him up against the wall of the bassinet (it's mesh so he can breathe through it if he turned toward it, which I doubt he would since he is a back sleeper) and that didn't make a difference. So he still sleeps in his swing. Sometimes he sleeps in it without it being turned on, other times he needs it moving and the white noise machine needs to be on. There's no schedule to his sleep during the day. Sometimes he will nap for a couple of hours. Sometimes he is more awake.

Snug as a bug in a rug in his swing 
Sleeping in momma's arms

Dad:  Phil goes back to work on Monday. Boooo! I'm so glad he's been home for 2 weeks with us. I can't imagine not having him around to help. My mom is coming for a couple of days next week so that will help with the transition to being on our own! Phil does most of the bottle feeding, all of the bottle/pump washing, and so many other things. He still pushes me to lay down for a nap or get out of the house for a break, which has been really nice.

Momma: my RA flare kind of came and went but I haven't had any pain for the last couple of days so hopefully the RA flares are a thing of the past now that I'm on great medications again (which cost $1,000/syringe!! Luckily I do not have to pay a penny for them since I met my out of pocket maximum, plus the drug company provides co-pay assistance since they make so much money on the drug.). 

My post partum emotions seem more in check but I'm definitely more prone to tears. Especially over the weight gain issues we've had. I felt really bad at his weight check at the doctor's office and cried as soon as the nurse left the room. It's tough to not feel all the mom guilt at times! But I'm reminding myself that I'm doing everything I can and that Paul seems healthy and happy. 

I start a new momma class on Monday which I'm excited about! It's a 6-week class led by an RN/Lactation Consultant. Each week there is a topic that gets discussed during the 2-hour class and then the instructor encourages all the moms to meet one other time. I think it will be really good for us to get out of the house at least 2 times a week! 

Friday, March 9, 2018

Baby Paul's First Week

The last week has felt like the longest, shortest time! We had a longer than usual hospital stay and were discharged on Monday afternoon (Paul was born on Thursday), just in time to get home before a nasty snow storm hit! We had to stay an extra day beyond what they keep C-section moms because we needed to do an ultrasound of his renal system. During his in utero level II ultrasounds, one of his kidneys was measuring a bit large so they wanted to make sure that urine wasn't backing up into his kidneys. They did the ultrasound on Monday to make sure the images were as crisp as possible. Luckily there was no other dilation in his renal system. One kidney is still measuring large, but they aren't too concerned. We'll go back for a follow-up ultrasound in 4-6 weeks.

While we were in the hospital, Paul slept like a champ. We had to wake him up for every feeding but after he ate, we put him down in the bassinet and he went right back to sleep.

He didn't wear clothes in the hospital because we did a lot of skin-to-skin time in between feedings.

He likes to sleep in a fleece halo sleep sack but we can't swaddle his arms because he gets pissed if they aren't by his face!

I was so happy when we got discharged on Monday afternoon. We were soooo over being in the hospital. Between the OB, Hematologist, and Pediatrician that would round each day and nurses (who were amazing!!) coming in with medications through the day, there were so many interruptions. Plus Paul's blood sugar was low the day he was born so they had to test his blood sugar 4-5 times that first day to make sure he didn't need to go to the NICU. Luckily his blood sugars went up once he ate. He also ended up with jaundice so he had regular blood draws to check his bilirubin levels. His little heels are so sad as they were poked so many times.

Obligatory family photo before breaking free of the hospital

Paul still spends a good amount of time in just a diaper at home. He's a very sleepy eater so we have to strip him down to a diaper when he eats. I also try to do skin-to-skin time with him each day as he loves it!

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Skin-to-skin with momma
This is one of my favorite pictures of him. I just love the look on his face. It's like he's a little embarrassed to be naked but also posing at the same time.

Phil has 2 weeks of paternity leave. We are really enjoying having him around as he is a huge help and he pushes me to lay down and rest/nap.

Likes: skin-to-skin time, being warm, and his swing

Dislikes: diaper changes, getting changed, being cold, having to work to eat milk at times when breastfeeding, the hours of 9 pm to 2 am. 

Feeding: mostly every 3 hours but I'm going to try to feed him every 2 hours during the day so we can let him sleep for longer stretches at night. So far we have to wake him up to eat. Breast feeding has been challenging but we've made a lot of progress in the last several days. Initially I had to pump after every nursing session - so 8 times a day. But we saw the lactation consultant today and she said I can drop down to 3 pumps a day (to make sure my supply stays high) which is a game changer. Paul is still below his birth weight so until he is back at birth weight and on a growing trajectory, we need to keep waking him to feed. I hope he continues to be as good of a sleeper as he's been so far!

Sleeping: a lot! At night he sleeps in a halo bassinet in our room, but so far only after the 12 pm and 3 pm feeds. Otherwise he sleeps in his swing or on a boppy lounger. 

Division of labor: Phil has been a huge help. Initially he had to help so much with breast feeding as we had to teach Paul that food comes from mommy! While I was breast feeding, he would have to put a dropper of pumped milk in the corner of his mouth at the beginning of the feed and anytime he got frustrated. Paul started eating better on Tuesday so Phil no longer has this role anymore. Hooray! 

During the day, Phil watches Paul while I nap after some of the feeds. Then at night, I go to bed after the 9 pm feed and Phil hangs out with him until we wake him up for the 12 pm feed. Then I'm on duty until he gets up for his 6 am feed. Besides that Phil does so much around the house - laundry, washing pump parts, picking up prescriptions, etc. I can't imagine going through this without a solid partner!

Momma: the post partum emotions hit me on Monday night. I was doing skin-to-skin time and Phil came out of the office and found me silently crying - happy tears. Tuesday and Wednesday were super emotional and I cried over nothing. I hate not having control of my emotions! 

I got to start RA injection drugs on Tuesday. Hopefully they kick in quickly as I'm still have a flare that moves around from joint to joint! 

My C-section recovery is going well. I noticed a huge difference in pain when we got home from the hospital on Monday. There's just no place like home! 

Overall, I'm doing pretty well but the sleep deprivation is EXHAUSTING. I pretty much only get 1.5 hours of sleep at a time before I need to get up and feed him again. I know it will get better and that we just have to get through these early weeks! Good thing Paul is so cute!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Paul's Birth Story

Settle in, because this is going to be a long story. Or just skip this entirely if birth stories aren't your thing! Even before I got pregnant I was fascinated by birth stories - probably because I watched A Baby Story all the time when I was in college! But I know they aren't for everyone - especially those who are struggling or unable to conceive (my heart goes out to anyone dealing with that).

Tuesday, 2/27 - Pre-Induction

Our story starts out on Tuesday morning. I had been having pain in my knee since Sunday evening and by Tuesday morning it was super swollen.

You can see how swollen the left knee is compared to my right knee
I'm no stranger to flares, but I usually get them in smaller joints like my fingers, wrists, or elbows. Getting one in my knee was not something I was used to so we decided to call my OB on Tuesday morning just to make sure it wasn't a blood clot. When you get a blood clot, there is swelling and it's warm to the touch - the same symptoms as a flare. My OB decided to admit me to the hospital since my induction was scheduled for the next morning. That way they could do an ultrasound on my knee to rule out a clot and keep an extra close eye on me.

Phil had already gone to work by the time my OB's nurse called back, so I rushed around the house to get what I needed for my hospital stay. My hospital bag was packed but we were expecting to go to the hospital at 7am on Wednesday so I was not prepared to leave on Tuesday morning! 

When I got to the hospital, the nurse examined my knee and said she didn't think it was a clot based the feel of the fluid in my knee, but they did an ultrasound and then I settled into my room in labor and delivery. 

In hindsight, it was probably better that I got admitted on Tuesday because then they were able to transition me to the blood thinner IV (which took 3 attempts to place - ouch!) and I got my consults done with hematology, the OB, the perinatalogist and the anesthesiologist. The consult with anesthesia was the hardest. My OB had thought that I would be able to get an epidural during the induction but it turns out that there is not much data about administering epidurals to someone with a blood clot that is on a higher dose of blood thinners. It increases the chance of a spinal bleed which could result in paralysis. The anesthesiologist was so kind about everything. She reviewed our options after which I said - "Maybe I should just plan on not getting an epidural" and she said that if she was me, she would not get an epidural. I also was able to text my cousin who is a nurse anesthetist to get her opinion and she concurred with the anesthesiologist. My OB came by around 8:30 that night and agreed that an epidural was off the table. We talked about my other options - nitrous oxide and fetanyl - and she reassured me that we'd get through it. Previously I hadn't planned on getting an epidural but I had been open to it when I found out I was getting induced as inductions can be longer and harder labors. So I was pretty upset on Tuesday and cried quite a bit out of fear and anxiety about what was to come. Talking with my OB helped, though, and by the time I went to bed on Tuesday night I was feeling more calm about everything.

Wednesday, 2/28 - Induction Begins

I started the day with a cervical check that showed I was a 'roomy' 1cm and 70% effaced. That was an improvement from the day before so the nurse was optimistic that the induction would take. They placed the cervidil around 8am, which is a gel that is used to ripen the cervix. It needed to stay in for 12 hours so we spent the day reading, playing cribbage (Phil beat me all 3 games - what a stinker), and we watched the monitor for contractions. I had to be continuously monitored because if the baby was under any distress, they needed to stop the induction and stop my blood thinners so they could do a spinal block for a C-section once my labs showed that my blood wasn't too thin. 

Playing the waiting game

Watching contractions come and go
I started to get crampy by early afternoon and started to have some mild contractions. By the late afternoon they were coming regularly so we knew my body was starting to do it's thing.

My contractions are on the top. The monitor below me is the contractions of a woman who was pushing. I so badly wanted to change places with her at this point as I was ready to be done!

The nurse took the cervadil out at 8pm and did another cervical check. Unfortunately I was only at 2cm. But after consulting with my OB, they decided to start the pitocin. Usually they would do something else to increase dilation but they wanted to get the pitocin started so they could see how the baby tolerated it. If the baby didn't tolerate it, they would stop everything and do a C-section the following day.

However, by the time they were getting ready to start the pitocin, my contractions were coming pretty regularly so they decided to hold off as they didn't want things to progress too quickly. During this part I hung out in bed and was able to breath through contractions. Phil laid down for awhile as we knew we had a long night ahead of us. I think they put the pitocin at the lowest level around midnight, though. I was able to sleep from 1:30-3 am but when I woke up the contractions were petering out so they increase my pitocin dose to see if they could get things progressing. 

At that point I started to have some really painful contractions. I got Phil up and sat on the birth ball. I would sort of moan through the contractions while he rubbed my neck and shoulders and told me I could do this. The nurse could see that the contractions were more intense and asked if I wanted to start the nitrous oxide.  I didn't want to start pain meds too soon, so she decided to check me around 4am to see where I was at. I was at 5cm! We were really happy about the progress I had made so she got the nitrous oxide set up. It really took the edge off the contractions at that point and I was able to lay on my side in bed during the contractions which was much more restful. 

The intensity of the contractions continued to pick up so she checked me again at 5 and I was at 6cm. She consulted with my OB - who was on call that day! - and they decided to turn off my blood thinners as they thought we might have a baby in the next 5 hours or so. My OB came in and checked me around 7, I think, and I was at a 7cm so things were moving along. Once I got to this stage of labor, the nitrous oxide really didn't help much. If anything, it was sort of meditative to breath in and out of the mask but I was in a lot of pain during each contraction. 

Things kind of get blurry after this but I know that the OB did another check and I was at 8 cm and then 9cm at the next couple of checks but the head had not descended. And then an hour later I was still at 9cm so she decided to break my water to see if that would get the baby to descend. When she broke my water, there was meconium in it so we knew that the baby might be distressed and not tolerate the increasing intensity of my contractions. 

An hour after she broke my water, she came back and checked me again and I had made no further progress. At this point, I was so exhausted. I had only gotten 4.5 hours of sleep on Tuesday night due to getting to bed late after getting my blood thinner drip started and a middle-of-the-night blood draw to check my clotting levels. And then I had gotten 1.5 hours of sleep on Wednesday night since I was in labor. So I was exhausted and the pain from the contractions was so bad. 

My OB gave us 2 options around 11:30 am (I think). I'd had a blood draw done that morning that showed that my blood clotting was at a safe level for a spinal block or epidural. So she said we could administer an epidural and see if that got my body to relax enough to let the baby descend so I could start pushing. The other option was to do a C-section. All along I wanted to avoid a C-section but at this point I was so exhausted and I knew that I did not have it in me to potentially work through more contractions and then push - potentially for hours. I was really emotional at this point and started to sob and said I felt like a wimp. My OB, who I love and trust, told me that I had been so strong and that I had given it my all. And the nurse echoed what she said. Phil also told me that this was the right decision and that I had been a warrior. So we decided to go with a C-section. 

Shortly there after, I got 2 really strong back-to-back contractions and the baby's heart rate decelerated. My OB was still in the room at this point and she said that we just got confirmation that we made the right choice because if we had decided to go the epidural route, that plan was no longer an option because we needed to get the baby out. They had me switch back and forth between oxygen and the nitrous oxide to see if we could get the baby's heart rate up and I had to get on my hands and knees to see if the baby would do better in that position. This was the most vulnerable and upset I have ever been in my life. I was crying so hard and writhing in pain but Phil was amazing through all of this (even though I know he was terrified and had the hardest time seeing me in that condition). 

Things moved really fast after that. They pushed off a scheduled C-section and got us into the operating room ASAP. Everyone was so incredibly nice and it was wonderful that my OB was the one doing my C-section. I have such an excellent relationship with her, so it was reassuring to have her talk me through everything. I got my spinal block and then Phil came in and sat by me and reassured me that everything was going to be ok. 

It felt like it took forever for them to get the baby out but Phil said it actually happened pretty quickly. He was able to announce the gender and I'll never forget the look on his face and the emotion in his voice when he told me we had a baby boy. He cried right away when they got him out so we knew that he probably hadn't inhaled meconium and would be just fine.

My doctor showing me baby Paul
 Phil got to cut the umbilical cord

And then they brought him over to my chest for our first family photo.

As I mentioned in my last post, I was able to do skin-to-skin with him while they stitched me up, which was incredible and so calming for both of us. 

After that, I was out of the OR and in the recovery room where we did more skin to skin and tried to start breastfeeding (which didn't go all that great - breastfeeding has been a struggle but we have made so much progress thanks to meeting with lactation consultants each day we were in the hospital).

By the time we got up to our post-partum room, my parents were there and ready to meet little Paul. They ended up being our only visitors in the hospital as I was very overwhelmed by all the people in and out of our room and I spent so much of my time in the hospital topless so we could do skin-to-skin and work on breastfeeding. Luckily my family understood and will meet him later this week when we are more settled in at home. We got discharged yesterday afternoon, so I ended up being in the hospital for a week total! It's so good to be in the comfort of our home, but I am thankful for the excellent care we received while in the hospital. The nurses and lactation consultants are angels on earth.

So there's my LONG story of little Paul's arrival. Like this pregnancy, his arrival did not go how I wanted it to go. But I knew all along that it was out of my control. We are exhausted and sleep-deprived but the baby cuddles are so amazing. We keep looking at him with wonder over the fact that Phil and I created him. It's also been amazing to watch Phil become a dad. C-section recovery is SO HARD so I rely on him so much. He had to do all the diaper changes for the first several days and has just been an all-around trooper. I didn't think I could love him more than I already did, but I do. 

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Meet Paul Donald!

Paul Donald came into this world at 1:07pm on Wednesday, March 1st via C-section after a stalled out induction! He is named after his grandpa's as my dad's name is Paul and Phil's dad's name was Donald. 

He weighed 7 lbs 5 oz and was 20" long. And his head was very average so they were wrong about it being 96th percentile!

Our first family picture
I will share the (long) birth story later this week. I was disappointed that we needed a C-section but luckily he was doing well when they got him out so I got to do skin-to-skin with him while they stitched me back up. I wanted 3 things out of our birth story: vaginal delivery, delayed cord clamping and skin-to-skin, so at least I got 1 out of those 3 things.

Skin-to-skin in the recovery room
He has the blondest hair! Every care provider comments on it as they usually don't see blond babies with so much hair.

We are so in love. We've been through the ringer over the past week - more on that in the birth story post - but he's worth it!

Monday, February 26, 2018

Pregnancy Update: (almost) 39 weeks

I'm a couple of days shy of hitting 39 weeks and this will be my last pregnancy update as I'll be induced later this week. Woo hoo! The finish line is soooo close. I know that the induction/delivery process is going to be like the last 6.2 miles of a marathon (some say that the race "starts" at mile 20 because that's when things start to get REAL hard). But overall I feel pretty calm about the induction. I know that the process is out of our hands and we just need to roll with the punches. I trust my healthcare providers and know they'll make the best decisions for me and baby.

Baby size: The baby is the size of a small watermelon this week and weighs over 7 pounds. Our baby was estimated to weigh 7 pounds at our 37 week ultrasound, though, so if that is accurate, he or she might weigh close to 8? That said, weight estimations are notoriously inaccurate. I'm carrying pretty small so I just struggle to believe we have a bigger than average baby in there. But we'll see. I was also told at my appointment last week that the head is measuring 96th percentile...  I wish I could have unheard that statistic because that has increased my anxiety about the delivery a bit! :P

Here's one last bump photo. This is me at 38 weeks, 2 days. I knew we were going out for one last date night so I actually put on make-up for a change! I've given up on blow-drying and straightening my hair, though, as the pain from my RA flare makes this impossible/not worth it!

Feeling: It feels surreal to know we'll have a baby in our arms by the end of the week! This pregnancy has not been easy for me but, with the exception of the last 6 weeks, it has gone by pretty fast! I know it's going to be challenging to care for a newborn but I think I will prefer it to the final stage of pregnancy, especially with all the complications I've had. I'm also looking forward to having WAY fewer doctor appointments!

After feeling pretty comfortable pregnancy-wise, I've started to have some pelvic pain. Hopefully this means that the baby has dropped!

GD/RA management: My gestational diabetes has felt a little bit easier to manage lately. After not having anything sweet for 2 months, I've let myself have some sweets at the end of the day, which hasn't impacted my blood sugars. Also, now that I'm in the final stretch, I've had a few 'cheat' meals, like the baby brunch Phil's friends hosted for us. I didn't go crazy but they had purchased special GF desserts so I sampled a couple of the cookies. I've watched what I eat so closely since getting the GD diagnosis - so much so that I pretty much did not gain any weight in the 3rd trimester. So I feel like it's ok to ease up a bit in these final days.

My RA still sucks. I have had a flare for about 4 weeks straight now. I got a one day break after 3 days at a higher dose of steroids but I had to taper back down as the high dose isn’t safe for pregnancy for more than 3 days. I’m so sick of icing joints and being in pain. Last night the flare moved into my knee so I am hobbling around and in quite a bit of pain. I’m really hoping the flare in my knee gets better before I get induced as I would like to be able to walk during labor and right now that isn’t really possible. :( I can’t wait to start a new, breast feeding-safe RA injection after the baby is born!!

Blood clot management: As I mentioned in my post on Friday, we found out I have a genetic mutation that makes me more susceptible to blood clots. So I will stay on my blood thinner injections for 5 months post partum, but will get to drop down to 1 injection a day. I have a follow-up appointment with the hematologist in May and we'll discuss how this will impact my life going forward. I'm sure I will have lots of questions for him in May!

Sleep: has gotten more difficult. I have the hardest time falling asleep and am often up past midnight which is SUPER late for me. I don't even stay up that late on the weekends when I'm not pregnant! I get up every 2-3 hours to go to the bathroom, too, so my sleep is very interrupted. Since I working from home, though, I can get up about an hour later than usual which helps. I was never a napper before getting pregnant but these days I take naps almost daily! I tried not napping to see if I would go to sleep more easily and it made no difference. So naps for the win!

Recent baby prep/decisions/purchases: We only ended up having to purchase one item from our baby registry (the car seat adapter for our BOB stroller). We were blown away by the generosity of our family, friends, and co-workers! That said, we did try to not 'over register.'

I packed my bag for the hospital last week and Phil installed the car seat this past weekend. Also, the glider that Phil's mom purchased for us was delivered last week. It is soooo comfy!

Oscar has been breaking it in for us.

So...  what's your guess on the gender? Early on I was so sure it was a boy, but now I am less sure. Phil is guessing girl. He never did open the envelop with the gender that was given to him at our 20 week ultrasound!! He clearly has THE STRONGEST will power (I could not have that information in my possession!). 

I'll "see you" on the other side of this pregnancy! Send us good thoughts/prayers for a successful induction that doesn't end in a c-section (I really, really don't want a c-section!!!). 

Friday, February 23, 2018

5 Things Friday!

Happy Friday, everyone! This was a short week for us as Phil and I both had Presidents' Day off, but it still kind of seemed to drag by! But the weekend is here - hurrah! Here are 5 things on my mind today.

1. First off - some good/exciting news: my condo sold! It closes on March 6th but we are signing the closing documents today since we'll have a days-old baby on the closing date. The condo actually sold incredibly fast. We got 2 offers the first day it was on the market and I accepted one of the offers. I'm also going to make some money on the sale which is great as I was expecting to barely break even. I'm glad I waited until this year to sell it as I would have taken a loss if I had sold it last year. My patience paid off! I can't wait to get that property off my balance sheet so I can fully put it behind me.

2. I got the results back from the genetic testing that the hematologist ordered and it turns out I have a genetic mutation (called prothrombin or a factor 2 mutation - basically I have too much of a protein that makes your blood clot) that makes me more susceptible to blood clots. Being pregnant does put you at a slightly higher risk for a blood clot but now we know there was an underlying genetic factor contributing to the issue. Now I will need to stay on blood thinner injections for 5 months post partum - I would have only had to stay on them for 2 months if the genetic testing all came back negative. Luckily I can drop down to 1 injection after the baby is born (I currently do 2 injections a day). Only 2% of Caucasians have this genetic mutation - lucky me. After reading more about the mutation, we are so thankful that the baby has done fine as people with this mutation have a significantly greater risk of miscarriages and stillborn babies.

3. Tonight we are going out for one last "pre-baby" dinner out. I can't remember the last time Phil and I went out to eat - it might have been as far back at November! Clearly eating out is not something that we do very often. We are going to use one of the restaurant gift cards that we got for our wedding. It's for a new-to-us place called Tilia. Hopefully we like the place because we have 2 gift certificates for this restaurant.

4. We also have one last baby shower tomorrow. Phil's high school friends are hosting a baby shower brunch for us. We haven't seen some of his high school friends since our wedding so it will be great to see them one last time before our world gets turned upside down (in the best way possible, of course!) by the arrival of our baby.

5. Lastly, I just have to say that I am SO over winter. It snowed yesterday and will snow again tomorrow. I'm so ready for spring to arrive. As I've mentioned before, we usually go somewhere in February to get a break from winter but couldn't this year since I'm pregnant. But we will resume that tradition next year because it's necessary for our sanity! I am encouraged by the fact that our temperatures will be in the 30s for the next week which will feel pretty 'warm' after the cold weather we've had lately. I'm really hoping that spring arrives in early March!

What's on your mind today?

Friday, February 16, 2018

Currently: February

Woo hoo, February is over half over. I'm so ready for this month to be over as that means the pregnancy will be over! I haven't scheduled my induction yet but it will be in late Feb/early March, so not far off at all! 

Reading: The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce. This was my January Book of the Month Club selection. It's a novel about a quirky music shop owner that will only sell vinyl records even though CDs have come on the market and are becoming more popular. He meets a mysterious girl who wants him to teach her about music. I'm about half way through it and enjoying it so far.

Loving:  the warmer weather we are having right now. It was 40F yesterday which felt terrific after a long stretch of single digit/low double digit temps with windchills below zero. I hope this mild weather sticks around! 

Feeling: excited for the birth of our baby. I'm a bit anxious about how the induction will go because I know induced labors can be longer and harder than going into labor on your own. But I know it will all be worth it when we are holding our sweet baby in our arms!

Wondering: about how Oscar is going to adjust to being a big sister. She's pretty terrified of kids but hopefully she won't be terrified of our baby since she'll meet him or her when they aren't intimidating/threatening. In the mean time, she is getting lots of cuddles from Phil and me.

Sitting on me at the end of my work day, waiting for daddy to come home.

Phil is still BY FAR her favorite. She never stretches out on me like this!

Cuddling on my tummy

Frustrated: that I have had a flare for over 2 weeks now. I've increased my steroid dose, per my doctor's recommenation, twice now but the dose I"m taking now is as high as I can take while pregnant. Fingers crossed it takes care of this flare for good. It would be really nice to be flare-free when I go into labor. I've been told that the pain of labor will distract me from any other pain I am having but it would still be nice to not have any joint pain. Especially when the baby arrives and we are caring for a newborn! My flares tend to impact my hand/finger joints, making it tough/painful to do much with my hands so it would make caring for a baby a bit extra hard.

Anticipating: my maternity leave. My company has a generous 16 week policy but I am tacking on 4 extra weeks (using PTO) so I can have 20 weeks at home with our little one. I had to get an exception to extend it but my boss has been great about it. Plus the old policy was 20 weeks long - 2 weeks before your due date and 18 weeks after the baby was born (but only 12 weeks were paid). So I am taking the same amount of time as I would have received under the old policy. We would have been happy to have a baby any month of the year but it worked out well that I'll be on maternity leave from early March until mid-July! I can't wait to go for lots of stroller walks and eventually runs with baby S!

Watching: Call the Midwife when Phil isn't around (I don't think many men would enjoy that show!). It's probably not a good time to watch a show about child birth, some of which are traumatic, but the show has totally sucked me in! We also watched a documentary series called "Dirty Money" on Netflix which we both loved. It's a series of shows about people who have done questionable things in pursuit of making money. Some/many of them will leave you enraged, especially the one about a pay-day loan company with super unethical practices.

Grateful:  to work for a compnay/boss who have been incredibly accommodating through this pregnancy. I'm so lucky that I am able to work from home for the last 5 weeks of my pregnancy as it would be really taxing to go into the office every day as I get tired very easily and still have pain if I sit up for too long or am out and about for too long. 

Working: on getting our house a bit more organized before the baby arrives. Since I have had so much pain in my hands, I haven't been able to do the deep clean I was hoping to do before the baby arrives so I am trying to accept that tidying up will be sufficient. 

Listening: to very few podcasts these days. Now that I'm not commuting or doing much cooking and cleaning, I don't get a chance to listen to as many podcasts as I used to! 

Wishing: for an early spring!  Our winter hasn't been as bad as past winters have been, but it's been plenty cold. So I am hoping that warmer, spring-like temperatures arrive in March. March can be a cold and snowy month, though, so I don't expect to have this wish granted.

What are you loving, anticipating and grateful for?