Monday, May 1, 2017

Happy Due Date, Lucy

Happy due date, Lucy Mae! As I sit here, I can't help but think, I'm still could be pregnant!! However, little Miss Lucy had her own plans and we have had the pleasure of enjoying her in our arms eighteen days early. Three days after my last blog post, Lucy made her dramatic, and somewhat early entrance into this world. Things didn't go as I had hoped for, dreamed about and had expected - but she is here, in our arms, happy and healthy - and our hearts are so full. 

40 weeks - May 1st, 2017

I hesitated to share her birth story, for many different reasons. However, since struggling with infertility, to both pregnancies and everything in between, being open and sharing our story has helped tremendously with some of the really tough times.  I also use this blog as somewhat of an open journal that I can look back on and hopefully share with Harper and Lucy one day. So here goes nothing...

Things started on Wednesday, April 12th. I was working a 12 hour shift at the hospital. I woke up with a slight ache low in my abdomen on the right side. I was also very nauseated, which was very unusual. Work was thankfully not too hectic. But after throwing up breakfast, and still feeling uncomfortable, I had a fellow midwife check me...unfortunately my cervix was unchanged. Still only 1cm dilated.  "Okay, maybe this is just prodromal labor, and could go on for a few days" I thought to myself. I left work and went straight home for a bath, phenergan and early bed. I gave Harper a bath but was too out of it to make it upstairs for our bedtime routine, so Dad took care of that while I fell asleep by 7pm.

I was scheduled to work the next morning, April 13th at 5am. After getting plenty of sleep, I woke up feeling better (so I thought). The right sided pain had moved more central, and reminded me of the bladder discomfort I experienced while in labor with Harper. However, I will still downplaying everything that I was feeling, and went to work. I had only been working for about an hour when I had to beeline to the bathroom to throw up again. I really had not kept much down, including water, in over 24 hours. The midwife I was working with advised me it would be best to head down to triage for IV fluid, IV antiemetics, and fetal monitoring. I happily obliged as I knew something wasn't right.

The next few hours to follow are somewhat a blur, yet still replay over and over in my mind everyday. Once I got to triage, I was put on the fetal monitor. Her heart rate was high from the get-go. Normal fetal heart rate ranges from 110-160, her's was in the 180's and went as high as 200 (not good). We assumed this was due to me being so dehydrated, which can cause fetal tachycardia, so the nurse started an IV to hydrate me quickly.  I proceeded to throw up again while in triage, so they gave me IV Zofran to help with that.  Unfortunately, the IV wasn't flowing great, but with some hydration on board, her heart rate still wasn't coming down. They went ahead and started a second IV that was working much better. While all this is going on, my abdominal pain and contractions were getting worse and worse. I was contracting every minute. The doctor on call as well as the midwife I was working with came down to see me in triage. I was so relieved to see them, but equally worried as they don't often see patients in triage - they usually wait to see them once they arrive to labor and delivery. It hit me - this was serious. My cervix was checked and I was unchanged... 1cm/thick/high. The outer portion of my cervix was 3-4cm, but ultimately that meant nothing with the inner part not being dilated.

At this point, all things considered - my diffuse abdominal pain, contraction pattern, unchanged cervix and most importantly, Lucy's nonreassuring fetal heart rate - the possibility of a cesarean section was discussed with me. I lost it. I was alone, Phil wasn't at the hospital yet. I was in pain and so terrified at the though of her wellbeing being compromised and me having to have a c-section. We decided to start some antibiotics, IV tylenol, continue IV hydration and move me to labor and delivery for an epidural. I was so hopeful and praying as hard as I could that the IV fluid would eventually bring her heart rate down, and the epidural would help me to relax and ultimately start to dilate. I've seen it happen a million times while working, surely it could happen to me. This is my second baby after all!

Once on labor and delivery, the nurse and nurse anesthetist were waiting for me. These were my colleagues, my friends. I was so relieved they would be taking care of me, yet still, I was terrified, and tears were streaming down my face. As I was rolled into the room, I noticed a c-section pack (a bag filled with items to prep a patient for a c-section when needed from L&D) sitting by the sink. I didn't want to believe I was going to have a c-section, but seeing that only made me more fearful of all that was happening.

The epidural, of course, couldn't go as planned either. My most favorite nurse anesthetist was taking care of me, and I know she's not too keen on caring for coworkers (curse of the nurse, right). Well, after three attempts (a positive test dose and blood in the tubing twice) they finally got it. The whole time, I was in so much pain, and only becoming more and more scared of all that was happening around me, and to me. During the epidural placement, Phil showed up with Harper, and it broke my heart for her to see me so upset. I tried my best to put on a strong face, but I definitely lost it a few times in front her. Phil did a good job keeping her calm, but thankfully, the nurses on the unit took care of her until my Mom made it to the hospital to take her. It kills me that my last interaction with her as my only child was so chaotic and scary. The thought actually makes me tear up still. I gave her a big kiss, and couple of butterfly kisses before she left the room.

The midwife rechecked my cervix after the epidural - still unchanged. I'm pretty sure this is when the decision was made that I needed to have an emergency c-section as her heart rate pattern continued to be nonreassuring and ultimately started to deteriorate. *Cue breakdown* This wasn't happening to me. I was literally in shock.

The anesthesia team was pumping me full of medicine, and I laid there as my body went numb.
I couldn't move.
My husband was getting dressed to go into the OR.
My nurse was performing the preoperative prep on me.
I was put into a gown specific for c-section patients.
My body was being loaded with IV fluids and prophylactic antibiotics.
A catheter was placed in my bladder.
I was shaking uncontrollably - mostly due in part to the epidural and IV fluids.
I was asked to sign the consent for a primary cesarean section as well as a consent to receive blood or blood products in the case of an emergency.
The OR nurse, who I know and have worked with, came in to get report.
There was no turning back - I was having a c-section.
The sobbing was uncontrollable at this point.

When I say I was terrified, I don't want that to be misconstrued that I felt as though my care wasn't good enough. That couldn't be further from the truth. I know I was being cared for by the very best, and if anything, I was getting special treatment.
When I say everything that happened to me was truly traumatic, it's not because any one did anything wrong. The medical staff all had my well-being and Lucy's well-being as their number one priority.
I say this because this wasn't my plan at all. I had 1-2 hours to discover there was a problem with my baby, and accept that fact that I was going to have a c-section. It's impossible to comprehend something that monumental in such a short time frame, and even harder to accept. It was all completely out of my control (isn't it always when it comes to pregnancy and delivery). I felt helpless. I've actually never been more scared in my life.

It wasn't long before I was moved from the labor and delivery room to the operating room. Everything happened so fast. I would't have gotten through it without my amazing nurse anesthetist at the head of the bed keeping me calm and talking me through everything.  However, I'm on the other side of the curtain every day at work - I knew what was happening. I know that the awful smell at the start of the procedure was my flesh being cauterized and burning. I know the "slight pressure", and "a little tug and pull", was my insides being stretched opened. It's very frightening knowing too much in a situation like that. I tried to keep my mind occupied with random thoughts - thoughts like "OMG her first birthday will be on Friday the 13th", as well as "Wow, her birthday all adds up, 4+13=17....4/13/17". You do what you gotta do.

Before I knew it, my uterus was cut open and a few seconds later, they lifted the clear drape up and I saw this squishy, vigorous, angry little lady being pulled from my womb. Lucy was here. She was crying. She was safe. What a relief.

She was rushed to the warmer where the NICU team looked her over. They weighed and measured her - 7 pounds 2.2 ounces, 20 inches long. Her Apgar score was 9/9, the closest to perfect you can get. I was a bit preoccupied with intense gas pain under my diaphragm as well as still fighting uncontrollable shakes. But eventually they brought her to me for skin-to-skin. I was so grateful they were able to offer this to me. Lucy also latched right away and I was able to breastfeed her for at least 20 minutes in the operating room. She was a ferocious eater from the get go.

Once Lucy was delivered, the placenta was delivered. After examining my placenta, the doctor found evidence of what we all suspected - a placental abruption. My placenta was was partially separating from the uterine wall before delivery. This compromised blood flow to Lucy, and thus compromised her wellbeing. His guess was that there was a 40% abruption, meaning almost half of my placenta had begun to detach itself too early. Had the placenta become completely detached, her life, as well as my life, would have been in danger in a matter of minutes. While I never experienced the classic symptom of vaginal bleeding, I did experience severe abdominal pain/tenderness as well as rapid, back to back contractions. As for why this happened - I don't think we'll ever know.

Due to her high heart rate and the fact that she felt warm at delivery, a diagnosis of chorioamnionitis was also made - basically an infection inside the uterus and amniotic sac. She and I never did fit the classic diagnostic criteria, but better to be safe than sorry. She was taken to the nursery for antibiotics and monitoring - I too was started on three different antibiotics for 24 hours. Luckily, Lucy's blood cultures came back negative and the antibiotics were discontinued 48 hours later. Neither one of us ever had a fever either.

Since the c-section, my physical recovery couldn't have gone any smoother. I was up less than 12 hours after her delivery and walking around the unit multiple times each day. My pain was tolerable and well controlled with oral pain medication. Lucy roomed in with me the entire stay, and she was an excellent nurser from the start. I left the hospital two days after delivering. My recovery has still gone great at home, minimal pain, taking short walks outside, physically feeling pretty good.

My emotional recovery - that part has been more difficult. The entire morning leading up to Lucy's birth was nothing short of a nightmare. When I would feel pain from the operation, it wasn't the pain that hurt, it was the reason behind the pain that made me cry. I was recovering from an unplanned, emergency c-section. I couldn't just jump up and go back to normal. I couldn't pick up Harper when she came to visit. I was forced to recover from a major abdominal surgery. ME!  That part was and is so hard to accept.  And then there are the times where I feel like a failure. Or even worse, thoughts of did I do something to cause this? Did I workout too much? Did I work too hard? Did I not eat the best diet? Did I not drink enough water? Did I not listen to my body soon enough? I know nothing I did caused this, and those thoughts will eat you alive if you let them. I am learning to move past them day by day.

I had the most amazing first baby experience with Harper - I had a 4 hour labor from the time my water broke to the time she was delivered. I only pushed 30 minutes. It was truly flawless. I expected the same experience this time, except maybe even quicker. Coworkers and friends teased me about how quick I would go. I drove with a bulb syringe and cord clamp in my glove box just in case she came too quickly and we couldn't make it to the hospital. From the moment I peed on the pregnancy test and it was positive, I craved labor. I yearned for it. When I got pregnant, I was finishing midwifery school and felt as though I was much more prepared to identify when I was in labor (I thought I had a UTI when I was in latent labor with Harper), as well as had the tools to cope with the pain of labor more efficiently. When I went to triage that morning, I was not at all prepared to have a baby, let alone a c-section two hours later. I was getting treated for a possible stomach bug and dehydration after all. That dream of experiencing labor and ultimately, another vaginal birth was taken from me in an instant.

Now, when I say things like that, I already can hear the comments - "how selfish, you say you're mourning the loss of a vaginal birth as you hold your healthy baby - don't you realize how lucky you are", or "you need to just move on now" and the one I'm guilty of saying "at least you have a healthy baby and you are healthy as well". Excuse my language, but are you fucking kidding me? To suggest I would chose the experience of a vaginal birth over the health of my baby is not only absurd, but also highly offensive. I've seen first hand women who refuse a c-section when it is truly medically necessary, and then immediately regret that decision once the child is born not breathing, requiring resuscitation. I'm not that stupid or unreasonable. So please, do us both a favor and keep those unnecessary and disrespectful comments to yourself.

I hold Lucy, and tears stream down my face as I think of all the what ifs...
What if I didn't go into work that morning?
What if I had stayed home instead and dismissed the pain I was feeling until it was too late?
What if I walked into triage a few hours later, and the nurses were unable to find a fetal heartbeat? What if I didn't get to take a healthy baby home?
I am grateful that I was at a facility that prompt recognition was able to occur, and a speedy c-section was able to take place. I am so grateful for the doctor and midwife who were on call that day, as I truly thank them for saving Lucy's life. I am grateful that I had the most amazing staff taking care of me, one of their own (which is never easy to do). I am all for medical intervention when necessary, and in my case, it was absolutely necessary. C-sections are not the enemy when it's medically necessary - surgeons with the skill of performing c-sections are gifts from God who hold the ability to make it possible for women, such as myself, to hold my baby alive in my arms. I am grateful. We often hear the horror stories from women who were forced to have a c-section against their will, and criticize the medical staff taking care of them. Let me be clear - this is NOT the case in my situation and I am forever grateful for those who cared for me that day. I trust every decision that was made. I can't even begin to name and personally thank everyone that helped us that day - but you know who you are and I am so thankful for you. To the nurses who took care of Harper and calmed my Mom down when she got to the hospital, to the doctor and midwife who helped bring Lucy into the world and everyone in between - we will never be able to thank you enough.

However, at the same time, without apology, I am allowed to grieve and be upset over the way it all went down. I am also allowed to be upset that I was robbed three weeks of my pregnancy. I truly loved every single second of being pregnant, and I wasn't prepared for it to be over that day. I am allowed to cry. In fact, it took 11 days for me to make it an entire day without a single tear. I am allowed to be sad. I am allowed to look at my scar with anger and disgust right now.  I hope one day, I am able to look at it with love, and know that I have a permanent scar to remind me just how lucky I am to be a mother - but that day is not today. I should be free to have these feelings without criticism or judgment. Being in the profession I am in, I feel as though there is no room to be upset about having a c-section, because "we should know better". Or "it's just a c-section, it's not that big of a deal". But I don't really give a crap - I will forever be somewhat heartbroken over this experience.  Before you pass judgement or make assumptions, please remember that your experience or your expectations about having a c-section was not my experience.

Now, almost three weeks later, emotionally I am feeling much better as each day passes. I am on an emotional rollercoaster though with many ups and downs, and with both good and bad days. I am beginning to be able to talk about it without crying (most of the time). I am taking care of myself as well as my girls. I am asking for help when I need it and allowing others to do things for me (not an easy task).  I am focusing on taking my time with my recovery and not pushing myself too hard too soon. Let me tell you - THAT has been the hardest part as I am dying to just get up and go, and start working out again. I am working on moving on and using this experience to be a better midwife. I have experienced the most perfect, flawless vaginal birth - as well as the most terrifying emergency c-section. Having lived first hand both ends of the spectrum, I feel as though this will only enhance the care I provide to my patients. As a new nurse midwife, and former labor and delivery nurse, I know how we can lose empathy and run on autopilot when things aren't going as planned. When things get bad, we usually have to do things quickly and without much explanation or involvement with the patients desires and wishes. While I understand we must remain objective in this profession, I think a little compassion goes a long way. I'll admit, I am guilty of rolling my eyes at a patient's thorough, written out birth plan from time to time, or not understanding why a women would be upset about a c-section in the case of something such as a nonreassuring heart rate pattern to ensure a healthy baby for her to take home - but I totally get it now. I will never joke about, pass judgement, or downplay a women's emotions or wishes for her birth.

Lucy's birth wasn't what I had dreamed about - but let me tell you, this baby is better than my wildest dreams. And seeing Harper interact with her, hold her and give her sweet kisses, my heart literally hurts as it bursts with pride and joy. My two girls are my entire world, and I am so grateful God picked me to be their Mom. I am one lucky lady, and I truly know that from the bottom of my heart.

A special thanks to Photo de Chavannes for capturing these precious memories for us just two days after Lucy's arrival! 

Monday, April 10, 2017

37 week (baby #2)

37 weeks - baby is the size of swiss chard (if swiss chard were the size of a watermelon, haha)
She weighs about 6.5 pounds and is somewhere between 19-22 inches long!

How far along: 37 weeks - Officially "term"
Swelling: Nope, can't believe it!
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: Sleep this week has been good - but I've been working like crazy, so I think the pure exhaustion helps me sleep!
Best moment of the week:  This weekend we took some maternity pictures! It was an unusually cool weekend here in Central Florida, so it was a perfect afternoon with no humidity and comfortable temperatures! A tad different from the pictures I took with Harper on the 4th of July in 90 degree weather and 100% humidity! I've also been working a lot this week and I just love being a midwife so very much!
Worst moment of the week: Can't think of anything beside the common discomforts of pregnancy - gagging, heartburn, frequent urination. All of which really aren't that bad.
Running/Workouts: I'm really missing my crazy workouts these days. I tried running but at only a half a mile in I had awful side stitch pains throughout my entire stomach (and not a contraction pain), so I listened to my body and stopped. Weights, elliptical, bike and walking from here on out.
Missing anything: Scrubs that fit!
Movement: With only three weeks left until my due date, I am sad to know these little kicks inside my belly that I love so much will soon be over. The kicks and punches are stronger each day and I can't get enough!
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: No changes - barfing and gagging aside, this really has been a pretty amazing pregnancy.
Energy level: I feel pretty good, even working 12 hours shifts! But as soon as I get home, I find myself falling asleep before Harper.
Labor signs: Definitely contracting, but I can't say that they are painful yet. My cervix is only 1cm dilated and I haven't started to efface yet. Since Harper came a week early, maybe this girl wants me to experience a 40 + week pregnancy.
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Excited
Looking forward to: A few days off after this weekend and maybe spending some time in the pool!
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2:  I truly cannot believe I am already 37 weeks pregnant. Where has the time gone?! I guess now we are officially on "baby watch" - the uncertainty of when/if labor will occur is more fun this time and less stressful. I am looking forward to experiencing labor and contractions all over again (as weird as that sounds).  My gut tells me I'll make it to at least 39 weeks with this baby...but only time will tell!

Monday, April 3, 2017

36 weeks (baby #2)

36 weeks - baby is the size of a honey dew melon
She weights almost 6 pounds and is about 19-20 inches long!

How far along: 36 weeks!
Swelling: No, and I can't believe I can still see the bones in my ankles this far along!
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: Hit or miss - constant cycle of being uncomfortable, repositioning and getting up to pee every night.
Best moment of the week:  What a wonderful week - I celebrated my 31st birthday on Friday. Then, on Saturday I was surprised by my friend Jen with a baby sprinkle! It was truly unbelievable. I wasn't planning a shower this time around, but being able to celebrate sweet baby Lucy was so wonderful. She did an amazing job organizing and decorating - and secretly invited my friends and family who were all there to surprise me! I am so grateful we have friends like Jen in our lives!
Lastly, on Sunday, I have my first shift as a nurse midwife! I caught a sweet baby boy and baby girl! I am so blessed to be starting this wonderful career!
Worst moment of the week: This was another wonderful week!
Running/Workouts: Running is slowly coming to an end this pregnancy - I ran a whopping 1 mile total this week, which caused two days worth of terrible hip flexor and hip pain. Instead I've been spending time on the elliptical and bike followed by some weight lifting. Wish I could still knock out the miles like before, but I am feeling good nonetheless!
Missing anything: It's way too early to say this - but I miss a good nights sleep...
Movement: This week I've had a few kicks that have caused some pain - she's definitely getting bigger and stronger by the day in there!
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: Gagging, nausea and vomiting seemed pretty bad this week. The end of this miserable part is near though!
Energy level: Completely and totally nonexistent
Labor signs: Same painless contractions and slight pressure...should start getting my cervix checked this week though...
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Loved
Looking forward to: Hoping to get some maternity pictures taken here in the next week or two - can't wait!
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2:  Each month has on average 30-31 days, except the last month of a pregnancy which has 1,724 days...or at least that's how it feels. Am I right? Honestly though, this pregnancy has flown by. I still feel great most days and I am so thankful for that! I feel like my belly can't possibly get any bigger, and yet this babe has the potential to gain about another two pounds before her big arrival. I can't express enough how much I love being pregnant. I truly am looking forward to this last month of the pregnancy!

Monday, March 27, 2017

35 weeks (baby #2)

35 weeks - baby is the size of a coconut
She weights almost 5.5 pounds is about 19-20 inches long

How far along: 35 weeks down - 35 DAYS to go!
Swelling: No - but I am rocking a very sexy waddle these days
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: It hasn't been too bad lately - the exhaustion has been winning most nights and I'm able to get some rest.
Best moment of the week:  This week I flew to NYC for my friend, Anthony's wedding. It was so nice to see so many old friends from high school and college! I also was lucky enough to stay with my step-brother who lives in the city. We had so much fun hanging out and hitting up all the bakeries in manhattan! He just landed his first role on Broadway, so I got to see him perform in the show Beautiful, The Carole King Musical. What an amazing show! Coincidentally, my Dad and step mom planned a trip to NYC the same weekend as me, so I got to see them as well. All in all, it was a fun, albeit exhausting weekend! AND I didn't give birth while out of town or on the airplane!
Worst moment of the week: It was a pretty great week!
Running/Workouts: Workouts have been good - never made it to a gym while on vacation, but I was averaging 5-7 miles a day, so I didn't feel too guilty about it.
Missing anything: I miss my stamina a little bit - I get tired, winded and sore so easily these days.
Movement: Her little movements get better and better each week! Some times they're just little taps and rolls, other times it's like she's in a full on rave in there! Love it so, so much!
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: Same ole, same ole.
Labor signs: Contractions still aren't painful, but are more noticeable. The pressure is also getting a bit more uncomfortable. My prediction is I won't make it my due date of May 1st....we shall see.
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Happy
Looking forward to: My birthday is the Friday - and it's not just any old birthday, it's my golden birthday (my age and birthday day are the same, 31). Annnnnnnnd, I will also be 31 days from my due date! I'm such a weirdo when it comes to numbers and I am loving this!
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2: Now that all the weddings are done, and my traveling is complete, I feel very content in knowing she can actually come any day now. Hopefully not in the next two weeks, but at least I know I won't be far from Phil or the hospital. It's still gone/going by entirely too fast, so just trying to savor these last few weeks being pregnant and getting so excited to meet her all at the same time!!

Monday, March 20, 2017

34 weeks (baby #2)

34 weeks - baby is the size of a cantaloupe 
She weights about 4.9 pounds and is about 19 inches long

How far along: 34 weeks!
Swelling: No
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: My Snoogle pillow has been a life saver! I've had more night of insomnia lately though...the whole waking up around 2am, and unable to fall back asleep until 4am. Thanks body, for reminding me about all the fun, sleepless nights I have in store soon...
Best moment of the week:  We had a fun, 4D/HD ultrasound this week! Such an amazing experience to get a sneak peak of this little baby. She was very active, liked to keep her hands by her face, and gave us a couple smirks. She is head down and the technician said she looks to be bald or have very short hair. We got some amazing pictures and makes me all the more excited to meet her very soon!

This week, my new midwife coworkers threw myself and another pregnant midwife (about 10 days ahead of me) a baby shower at work. It was so, so wonderful and so much more than I could have imagined. I have been a nurse at this hospital since 2012, and did two years of nurse midwifery clinicals with these midwives and they are such a wonderful group of women. I am so lucky they are taking me on as a new nurse midwife and proud to be a part of this wonderful group!

Finally, this week, Phil and I also drove to Jacksonville for the weekend to watch our old friends from college get married! My mom stayed at our house and watched Harper. It was so fun to see old friends and have a night away, but we sure did miss Harper while we were away.
Worst moment of the week: My nausea and vomiting were rough this week. I'm grateful they usually come in short bursts, and don't knock me out all day...but man oh man, I am so done with it.
Running/Workouts: Feeling and good and still working out. Running is slow and minimal, but I'm happy with running at least one mile each day in addition to the rest of my workout.
Missing anything: No
Movement: This baby is so active - my favorite thing still to do is find her little body part and gently press...the feeling of her moving back is just so indescribable!
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: I already mentioned all the nausea and vomiting lately. A new thing I'm craving though lately is banana chips, especially the fresh ones from Publix.
Labor signs: No
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Is feeling large a mood?
Looking forward to: I am flying to NYC this Thursday, by myself, to watch one of my best friends marry the love of his life. I'd be lying if I didn't say I'm a little nervous about traveling at 34 weeks, but so excited nonetheless!
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2: This pregnancy is flying by way faster than my first one did, especially the third trimester. Aside from the minor discomforts/annoyances, this has been such a wonderful pregnancy. My blood pressure has been good thus far, no carpel tunnel issues, and I just feel really good. Here's hoping and praying these last 6 weeks remain happy and healthy!

Some pictures from the 4D/HD ultrasound at Moms To Be Ultrasound in Orlando! 

Monday, March 13, 2017

33 weeks (baby #2)

33 weeks - baby is the size of a head of broccoli
She weights about 4.5 pounds and is about 19 inches long!

How far along: 33 weeks!
Swelling: No
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: I started using my Snoogle pillow this week...I tried it when I was pregnant with Harper, but never really liked it. This time around, I am loving it!
Best moment of the week:  Spent a day at Aquatica (can you tell we love that place) with Harper, my mom and three nephews/niece. The weather was perfect, the kids all behaved so well, and everyone had such a fun time. This mamma got a little tan going on too! Our pool water is still a bit too cold to swim in, but swimming feel so good when you're pregnant - nothing like being huge but feeling weightless in the water!
Worst moment of the week: I've had a cold most of the week - nothing too bad, but I think I have laryngitis - rocking little to no voice most of the weekend. Coughing and sore throat getting worse as well. There should be a law that pregnant women can't get colds. Sleeping is the hardest, as the symptoms always seem to be worse at night.
Running/Workouts: Broken records - some days are great and I knock out four miles without any problems...other days, a mile feels like a marathon. Feeling good still being very active though! And haven't had any weight gain in my third trimester (yet).
Missing anything: No
Movement: Kicking and dancing like crazy - still is and will forever be the greatest feeling in the world!
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: This past week I've had some pretty nasty heartburn for the first time. So I've switched out a few things from my diet to try and minimize the reflux. Worst part is the heartburn exacerbates my nausea like crazy (actually just ran to throw up writing this because of the heartburn). Have I mentioned I won't miss this part of the pregnacy?
Labor signs: The usual contractions throughout the day, mostly when I have a full bladder. Nothing painful though.
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Tired
Looking forward to: We unfortunately missed out on my step sisters wedding this weekend due to it being in south Florida, and the Zika threat. In the next two weeks though we have two more weddings to attend. Happy to be sharing the love with our friends!
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2: This is the first time I've experience heartburn. Holy moly this crap is awful. Tums only does so much, and just the thought of this chalky little devils nauseates me. Here's hoping this babe has more hair at birth than our bald little Harper had :)

Monday, March 6, 2017

32 weeks (baby #2)

32 weeks - baby is the size of a squash 
She weighs about 3.9 pounds and is about 19 inches long

How far along: 32 weeks!
Swelling: No
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: I'm entering that whole I can't get comfortable, toss and turn all night, and wake up at random hours of the night unable to fall back asleep stage. I know it's only gonna get more uncomfortable from here on out...
Best moment of the week:  This week I had orientation for my new job as a certified nurse midwife! I'm still waiting on hospital privileges to actually start working, but pretty exciting to have my badge in hand that says CNM!
This week we also got the nursery decorated a little bit more and I am so in love with it!
Finally, Harper and I spent a day at Aquatica - high in the upper 80s and sunny - such a fun day in the sun and water!
Worst moment of the week: This week I had a little tumble - I just miscalculated a step going down the stairs, fell to my knees and slammed my foot into a wall (it really does sound worse than it was). By the next day, my pinkie toe was swollen, black and blue and tender to the touch. Pretty sure I must have broken it - luckily it's felling much better this week already.
Running/Workouts: Despite the toe issues, I was able to run 4 miles Saturday - the trend lately seems to be a mile run followed by the elliptical most days, and a longer run once or twice a week.
Missing anything: Sleeping on my belly
Movement: This girl is a mover - sometimes when I can't sleep in the middle of the night, I feel her moving and think about our late nights we'll be sharing awake together in just a few short weeks.
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: I can't eat bananas first thing in the morning anymore - too much gagging. I did have the classic pregnancy craving this week - ice cream (and I am not an ice cream person). So thankful to Phil for running out and picking up some Coldstone!
Energy level:  Overall pretty good, but definitely struggle here and there to get motivated
Labor signs: No
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Grateful
Looking forward to: I finally did go through Harper's old baby clothes and sort out a bunch of newborn - 6 months stuff. I also just bought some Dreft laundry detergent this weekend, so I'll be doing lots of laundry and putting all the clothes away in Lucy's room.
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2:  When I think about being pregnant, 32 weeks always stands out in my mind. It's probably one of my favorite weeks of the entire pregnancy. You've got this big belly bump, one that you think can't possibly get any bigger (especially when you don't know any better with your first baby). Little do you know, over the next two months, you baby will gain anywhere from another 3-5 pounds! At the same time, as pregnant as you feel, you still have roughly 8 weeks to look forward to and savor of the pregnancy. For those who are struggling with their pregnancy, this can be daunting, but also encouraging to see a light at the end of the tunnel. For me, I am sad to think there's only 8 more weeks left of housing this little baby. Taking the good with the bad, and enjoying it all as much as I can.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

And her name will be. . . .


Once you order the personalized Pottery Barn Kids furniture, the name is official!
Still working on her middle name, and her nursery, but things are coming along nicely.

Monday, February 27, 2017

31 weeks (baby #2)

31 weeks - baby is the size of celery 
She weighs 3.2 pounds and is about 18 inches long

How far along: 31 weeks!
Swelling: No
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: Sleep is okay, I think due in part to my exhaustion - even though I struggle with getting comfortable, I'm usually so tired, I pass out no matter what.
Best moment of the week:  We had such a fun day at Magic Kingdom this week - Phil met us there after work, we rode a few rides, meet a few characters and princess, and ended the night with dinner at the elusive Be Our Guest restaurant! Such fun restaurant, great service and yummy food! After dinner, Harper got to meet The Beast, and when she met him, she bowed to him before dancing. I tell ya, my heart literally exploded into a million pieces right then and there! Such great memories.
Worst moment of the week: Broken record - but I've been pretty nauseous a few days this week with some throwing up. O-V-E-R it!
Running/Workouts: Knocked out four miles this week at 30.1 weeks - the rest of the week was a mixture of a mile or two, some elliptical and then weights. Feeling good.
Missing anything: I miss not having the sensation of having to pee all the time, which is obviously worse when working out. I miss my bladder control, too! Haha - tmi perhaps...
Movement: I feel her so often, all day long. I was able to get a sneak peak at her this week with an ultrasound and thankfully she is head down!! With all the movement I've been feeling, I was worried she was transverse (sideways) or something crazy,.
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: Nothing has sounded too appetizing this week - eating the same old things usually. Throw up at least 3-5 times/week now.
Energy level:  Pretty low this week - I've just been a lazy bum
Labor signs: No
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Oh so happy
Looking forward to: I think I'm gonna start going through baby clothes this week - and now that we finally have furniture in the nursery, I'm actually excited about doing some baby laundry and getting things organized. Hello, nesting!
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2:  I just can't believe how fast this pregnancy is going by now. Oh how I wish I could just pause time or at least slow it down a bit. I relish in the moments when Harper lays next to me and snuggles with my belly. Everything is just falling into place right now that I am overwhelmed with love and gratitude for this life I'm living. I say this every week, but I just LOVE being pregnant, and I'm truly loving every single part of it!

Monday, February 20, 2017

30 weeks (baby #2)

30 weeks - baby is the size of a cucumber (but definitely feels bigger than that!)
She weighs 3lbs and is about 17 inches long!

How far along: 30 weeks! I can't wrap my head around this! 
Swelling: Not really - but after working 12 hours I think my toes looked a little bit puffy
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: Sleep is okay...until I have to roll over or get out of bed
Best moment of the week:  This week for Valentine's Day we got Harper a hamster! She is so in love with her! We named her Minnie Mouse and she is actually a really cool little animal. Overall, we had a nice Valentine's Day, and a fun weekend spent with family. Bought furniture for the nursery on Saturday and had a picnic at the park on Sunday.
Worst moment of the week: This week we remembered our sweet Zeus, who passed away one year ago on February 17th. He was such a sweet dog, and so great with Harper. I really wish Harper could have gotten to know him for longer, and that he was around to meet the new baby. Pets are family and we miss him every single day.
Running/Workouts: I have good days and I have bad days. I've been able to sneak in a couple of three mile runs, otherwise, I'm sticking to one mile runs before doing some other form of cardio/weight training.
Missing anything: I miss not gagging and throwing up all the time
Movement: Every day and week the kicks/punches get stronger and stronger. I am constantly in awe at her movements and so grateful I am able to grow this little baby.
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: With my due date being May 1st - and my love for Chipotle this time around - I'm convinced she will be born on Cinco de Mayo wearing a sombrero and asking for a Corona with chips and guac!
Energy level:  Energy is good - but I get tired easily and need rest breaks when we're out all day
Labor signs: No
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Slightly terrified (that I only have +/- 10 weeks left)
Looking forward to: Still working on the nursery - now that we have furniture, I hope to get some stuff up on the wall soon.
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2:  This is more about just being mother - this weekend, Harper woke up around 4am crying in her bed. Since moving her to her own room at nine months old she has never woken up in the middle of the night (crazy, I know), so this was very unusual for her. I went upstairs immediately to her room to lay with her - she was crying about her pillow when I walked in, which was still on her bed, so I'm assuming she was just having a bad dream.

I decided to turn my alarm off for the morning, get in bed with her, and sleep with her the rest of the morning. She stayed awake for about another hour - and let me tell you, it was one of the sweetest moments she and I have ever shared. She wrapped her arms around my neck as we laid together and insisted on being right up against me in my arms. I soaked in every single second of her cuddles. I swear, if I can't die an old lady peacefully in my sleep, I wanna die with her arms wrapped around my neck surrounded by unconditional love. While it wasn't the most restful sleep, I wouldn't have changed it for the world.

She finally did fall back asleep and we slept in until 8am (something I never do).  I woke up and realized I am her Mommy, and when she is scared or has a bad dream, simply my presence makes everything better.  Little does she know I'm still afraid of the dark and don't have the answers to everything...but in her eyes, I am strong, and brave, and will always protect her. I think we as mothers judge ourselves too harshly, and always focus on what we're doing wrong, not what we we're doing right. What an amazing privilege it is to be a mother and I thank God every single day for giving me this honor.

Minnie the hamster!

Monday, February 13, 2017

29 weeks (baby #2)

29 weeks - baby is the size of a head of cabbage! 

How far along: 29 weeks!
Swelling: No
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: Sleep has been okay - I may be sleeping a little too hard, as I've had a stiff/sore neck for the past few days.
Best moment of the week:  Had a pretty laid back week - some crafting with the Cricut, a trip to the dentist, play time at the park, a visit from Nan and Granddad, a birthday party and some fun at the local fair. All in all, a good week.
Worst moment of the week: The little aches and pains of pregnancy are becoming more abundant and more frequent. Nothing terrible at all, but achy hips, sore feet, exhaustion, etc. are all making themselves well known.
Running/Workouts: I took running down a notch this week - mostly only running one mile before doing some other form of cardio for another 30-45 minutes. Ran a little over three miles on Saturday and it wasn't easy. Days of running 4+ miles may be limited (or extinct) for the duration of this pregnancy, and I'm totally okay with that. However, I feel so much better when I can break a sweat each day.
Missing anything: I've said this before, but I sure do miss ibuprofen when I get these aches and pains.
Movement: So my placenta is in a completely different spot with this pregnancy than it was with Harper. Last time, I had an anterior placenta, meaning it was right in front, so I didn't feel her movement until around 24 weeks, and even though I felt her move, it's nothing like this baby. This time, I have a more fundal/posterior placenta, meaning it's more towards the top/back of my uterus. I am in awe at how much I can feel! I can literally press her little body parts and feel her press back. Her kicks are so strong and visible from the outside. I will never get over how amazing this part of pregnancy is!
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: No real cravings - nausea is mostly at bay, but still having bouts of random dry heaving and throwing up - I'm so over that shit.
Energy level:  So-so, I can find the energy when I need's the motivation that I struggle with.
Labor signs: No
Belly button in or out: In - but a little itchy lately
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Happy
Looking forward to: Celebrating Valentine's Day with Harper - she might be getting a little surprise on Tuesday...
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2: I've got nothing to say this week other than being pregnant is the coolest thing on this planet. Not all of it is wonderful and exciting, but I am so blessed, thankful, and grateful for this baby, for this pregnancy, for this journey. I know so many women dream to be in my position, and I don't that lightly. I've been that women longing for a healthy pregnancy and baby, and God as blessed me with a perfect daughter and now, another one on the way. Loving and embracing every single day!

Monday, February 6, 2017

28 weeks (baby #2) - THIRD TRIMESTER!!!

28 weeks - Baby is the size of an egg plant!

How far along: 28 weeks - Officially in my third trimester!
Swelling: No
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: Sleep is okay - it seems like the first trimester fatigue is back though, and I just can't sleep enough
Best moment of the week:  This weekend I got to see some old friends to celebrate the groom to be, Anthony. Massages, brunch and a drag show, among other things. So much fun to see everyone! Harper and I also got to enjoy a lot of time outdoor with the nice weather - some side walk chalk, bike rides, rides in her little car and a trip to Leu Gardens to check out some dinosaurs.
Worst moment of the week: It was good week besides fighting a headache one day this week.
Running/Workouts: Taking it week by week, but currently still running and working out. I have some days where the runs feel effortless and amazing, and other days where a quarter of a mile is pure torture.
Missing anything: Not feeling short of breath.
Movement: My favorite thing to do when I'm lying around is to watch my belly jump and push at baby girl hoping for a reaction. Feeling her move seriously never gets old.
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: Fruit, yogurt and Chipotle! However, rang in the third trimester this afternoon by throwing up my entire lunch. No bueno.
Energy level:  Pretty low this week - most mornings, if we don't have plans or I'm not working, I get up early to work out and walk Juno, shower, eat breakfast with Harper and lay on the couch all morning. I feel like such a bum, but it's been hard lately finding the energy or motivation to do much.
Labor signs: No
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Nervous
Looking forward to: The paint in baby girls room is all finished - looking forward to moving the crib in and getting a start on decorating it!
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2: Ya'll - in roughly 10-13 weeks this baby will be here (God willing). I don't know why, but this fact just hit me. 10 weeks ago was the beginning of December and that seems like just yesterday - so my point is, she will be here in the blink of an eye. I think when you start trying for a baby, you consume yourself with simply getting pregnant. The positive pregnancy test, the reassuring lab work to follow, and of course, seeing a precious beating little heart for the first time at the ultrasound. This time, even more than the last time, I kind of almost forgot that after achieving the goal of getting pregnant, we now have to bring a baby home! And we already have a two year old in our home. So that makes TWO little people we are going to be responsible for. I sometimes get heart palpitations just thinking about it! Even though those annoying discomforts of pregnancy are starting to kick in, I sometimes wish I could be pregnant longer than 9 months. All the rough parts aside, being pregnant is my most favorite thing in the world. Oh yeah, and I also have no idea how we're gonna figure out how to take care of a newborn and a toddler...

Monday, January 30, 2017

27 weeks (baby #2)

27 weeks - Baby is the size of a Rutabaga 
(Over two pounds and 15 inches long!)

How far along: 27 weeks!
Swelling: No
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: Sleep has been okay, woke up once super short of breath, but otherwise it's been good.
Best moment of the week:  My Mom and I ran the Pro Bowl 5K at Epcot in Orlando this weekend! It was about 48 degrees when we started running at 7am, but it was actually really nice. It was fun to do a run with my Mom (and baby girl). Also had a fun week with Harper - a trip to Disney, a picnic at Lake Eola where we fed the ducks and swans, and Harper turned officially two and half years old.
Worst moment of the week: My left foot is absolutely killing me - self diagnosed myself with plantar fasciitis, which can be brought on by running (yep) and even pregnancy changes (weight gain + relaxed ligaments), yep. Doubly whammy. Stretching, massaging and ice have brought some relief, but this sucks.
Running/Workouts: Besides the foot ache, running has been good this week, 5K race included.
Missing anything: No
Movement: Her movements are stronger every day, and so much fun to watch the dance party going on in there from the outside
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: Watermelon was BOGO at Publix today, safe to say it didn't last long in our house. Love fresh fruit!
Energy level:  Energy level has been good - went on a super nesting spree this week and did a ton of cleaning/organizing/rearranging. Hubby also painted the nursery...just a few touch ups to finish up, then I can start decorating it and filling it with furniture! So exciting!
Labor signs: No
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Appreciative
Looking forward to: This upcoming week of beautiful, Florida weather  - highs in the 70s, lows the 40s-50s with lots of sunshine all week long!
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2: I can't believe I am 91 days away from my due date - I found out I was pregnant in August, which seems like forever ago, yet now I feel like time has its foot on the gas with no slowing down in sight. I can't wait to meet this little girl, but I also want to enjoy and savor this pregnancy for as long as possible.

Monday, January 23, 2017

26 weeks (baby #2)

26 weeks - Baby is the size of scallion 

How far along: 26 weeks!
Swelling: No
Stretch marks: No
Sleep: Insomnia seems a little better lately - but the getting up to pee all night is getting old quick
Best moment of the week:  Took Harper to Aquatica this week (Winters in Florida are so brutal). Harper had such a fun time swimming and playing in the sand. I enjoyed laying around, getting some sun, and relaxing with my girl.
Worst moment of the week:  Did my Glucola challenge test this week - drank 50 grams of pure (orange) sugar, sat in a quest for an hour, and had my blood drawn to screen me for gestational diabetes. I don't do well not eating in the morning, so it's safe to say I had to fight like hell to keep that drink least until I got home, when it all came out like the exorcist. Such an awful experience - but, the silver lining is that I PASSED and I am not a gestational diabetic.
Running/Workouts: Running and workouts are good - but I've developed some serious plantar fasciitis in my left food. Talk about ouch!
Missing anything: No
Movement: Lot of kicks and punches - love and cherish each and every one!
Things that make me queasy/recent cravings: Still loving my eggs/avocado breakfast. Lately I've really enjoyed fresh berries and Greek yogurt!
Energy level:  Energy level is moderate - with a side of naps most afternoons
Labor signs: No
Belly button in or out: In
Wedding ring on or off: On
Mood: Radiant
Looking forward to: Counting to work on getting the nursery ready - as you can tell by the pictures this week, we tried out some paint. Unfortunately, it's not the color we were looking for. Hope to get a new color on there this week.
Something surprising about being pregnant with baby #2: I really, truly am enjoying this pregnancy so much. Even with the nausea, aches, pains, urine frequency,'s all just so worth it and so amazing. I sit back and look at my belly as it jumps, and can't help but feel super human to have been given this opportunity to bring a new life into the world.