Sunday, February 22, 2015

36 weeks!

Mardi Gras belly
As I heard several times at church today, I'm now in the "home stretch." I completely agree and feel intensely sorry for any woman whose body chooses a 41-42 week pregnancy. Yikes. Ow. Ouch

Or at least that's how I feel, since I'm feeling intensely pregnant now and doubtful I can possibly stay pregnant much longer. It's always dangerous to say/write something like that, but it's very much how I'm feeling.

I've actually never seen 39 weeks pregnant as Jack came one day before that mark and Cora came at 38 weeks even. When will baby Luke come? Only the next few weeks will tell!

I do have moments of feeling pretty good, but the hard parts of pregnancy are taking over and include:
  • Standing - aiiee!! my back!
  • Sleeping - it's so hard to get comfortable (I use 5-6 pillows depending on whether Jacob will share that final one or not) and it's painful to roll from side to side.  I have to pee at least twice a night and it HURTS to haul my bulky self out of my little cocoon.  I feel like my abdominal muscles are broken.
  • Contractions - when my baby pops out in 30 minutes, it will be because I've put in the time with early labor contractions these last few weeks/months. I've been to the hospital twice with contractions coming every 3 minutes for multiple hours (having contractions has been such a consistent part of this pregnancy that it took that threshold to get me worried enough to actually go in to the hospital).  They are low down and painful and I really feel like they aren't going to leave much work left for actual labor.  Again, we shall see.
It is surreal to be so close to meeting our baby!  We are all four eager to meet this little guy. I feel like we've been preparing to meet him for so long, and I hope all of us, especially Jack and Cora, will be ready! I still am ticking off items on my pre-baby list (i.e. why there are no nursery pictures to share yet) but our hearts are definitely ready and that's what matters most.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

A Big Girl Room!

I'd love to say that moving Cora into a big girl room has been all positive, but life with Cora right now is decidedly challenging.  It's possible the big girl room/bed has played a role or it's possible it's just a difficult month for her.  But we can safely she loves her big girl room and so do I!

Santa moved Cora's belongings + set up new bedding for a fun surprise in the morning.

We've since moved some pictures around, purchased what I anticipate will be a well-utilized bookshelf (if she's anything like her brother) and settled in.  The result is lots of flowers and lots of color.






I had worried that it would be naps that would be the roughest part of transitioning from a crib to a big girl bed.  I would have been wrong.  She does pretty well staying in her bed and napping, or at least playing quietly in her room for a solid chunk of time.

Nights have been absolutely horrible around here. It's hazy, but I feel like there were a few good weeks where nights in the big girl bed were going well.  Then we started noticing a nightly pattern of little feet padding into our room and a bed upgrade around 5am.  We said, "okay," we need to nip this new trend before it becomes a habit. So we started walking her back to her bed. But at the same time, she started waking more, coming into our room more, not wanting to actually go to bed, and having wild night terrors to top it off.  There have been a few nights where she had one of us up more than 10 times.

This little girl continues to charm us and delight us with her wit and smiles, but when she's rotten, she's really rotten.  She doesn't back down and will keep crying, keep getting up, keep pushing back, etc.  We've threatened a return to the crib and done this several times.  The first night she worked herself up so much that she threw up everywhere.  (And thus was moved back to the big girl bed.  Cora: 1, Mom and Dad: 0)

We hope to sort out her sleep in the next month before baby Luke arrives.  Otherwise, I think it could be a rough spring!

*Jack, to his credit, goes to sleep by 8pm and usually has to be woken up around 7:15. He sleeps like a log and doesn't seem to notice the screaming toddler in the next room.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Thoughts on birth

I over-think things.   Jacob would probably say I "way" over-think things.  I love going on a solo walk and having time to just think.  I feel like I always come back with a better perspective and feel less stressed about whatever the topic is.

Luke's birth has been on my mind since well before I knew it would be Luke I was birthing :)  I love the anticipation of this event! I love that I can't know when it will be or how it will be. But I can certainly try to imagine all those aspects!

The reason I'm overthinking my third labor is because I've had two such drastically different labor experiences.  Jack's labor was incremental over 27 hours.  I gradually moved from cramps to spaced out contractions, to gradually increasing contractions, to intense contractions, to mind blowing contractions, to an out-of-my-mind period, to less than 30 minutes of pushing to BABY.

Naturally, this is what I had in mind throughout my pregnancy with Cora and what, on some level, I expected to experience again. The curve ball with her pregnancy was that I had a lot of contractions throughout my second and third trimester.  Added to this was that the day that my contractions seemed to be picking up was one day shy of 38 weeks.  It was hard for me to imagine that I was already in labor.  It seemed too good to be true; surely not yet!  On the night before her birth, I went to bed around 10:30 with contractions that were about every 9 minutes and not too intense.  I slept off and on.  I was able to sleep so figured I must not really be in labor.  Heartburn woke me up and I waited around to see if I was going to have a contraction.  I did have a strong one, so around 2:30, I thought, okay, this probably will be the day, but we are early yet.  I decided to get up and get ready and by 3:00, things had picked up significantly.  By about 3:15, there was no question things were moving quickly so we started racing around to get ready to leave.  By the time we'd dropped off Jack and gotten to the hospital, it was 4:05.  Once in the hospital room (4:15-4:20?), my water broke as I was being checked and it was discovered I was a full 10 cm dilated.  Cora was born at 4:38.

After hearing third-baby birth stories of several friends/acquaintances, it seems the trend is that things only speed up.  So I'm thinking it's more likely I'll have a repeat experience of my second birth rather than my first.  I know that baby's position will impact all of this, but my pregnancy this time has been similar to Cora's, just more intense: lots of contractions, pressure, a low baby, so I think that also points to a quicker labor.

Since I'll be "over-thinking" everything, I feel like it's unlikely I'll "miss" early labor signs this time.  My biggest worry is if the timing is similar to last time and I miss some of early labor because I'm asleep.  I plan to prepare for this by having bags packed early, not only for myself, but for the kids as well.  My mom is coming just short of 38 weeks, so we'll also make sure we have a back-up night time plan in the week before that as well.

I see labor as a challenge and as a chance to trust my body and a chance to rely on my faith.  I really fell apart in the last few hours of Jack's labor and I wanted to be more trusting the next time around.  I well remember that labor HURTS, but I also remember that there wasn't time to be overwhelmed during Cora's birth.  It was incredibly intense, but I was so focused on getting to the hospital that there wasn't time to dwell too much in the pain or to be scared. I learned a lot through both birth experiences and hopefully I'll be able to remember the most important things this time around!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Pregnancy Update: 31 Weeks

I'm at the happy point in pregnancy where baby doesn't seem too far away, but yet I still feel like I have time to prepare.  I also, overall, feel pretty good.

Babymoons

Last weekend, Jacob and I took our third "babymoon." I'm happy we've kept up this tradition and highly recommend it!! We took advantage of a Southwest flight sale to DC and spent four days/three nights while my parents generously watched Jack and Cora! Everyone (big and small) had a great weekend.

I satisfied the need for some serious quiet and adult time. I love museums and I got my wish to just wander and take my time reading and learning at the Smithsonian's American and Natural History Museums, as well as the International Spy Museum. I was humbled by my pregnant body and how apparently some walking and a lot of standing can cause all kinds of sore muscles and body aches. Jacob took advantage of this and made afternoon solo treks to local breweries while I read, rested and recovered.  We ate a lot and even got to have a leisurely dinner with our friends Janet and Stevie, who moved to DC last summer.

Here are some pictures from each of our babymoons:
26 weeks pregnant with Jack: MIAMI

34 weeks pregnant with Jack: NATCHEZ (with baby #1, you can take two trips!)

32 weeks pregnant with Cora: GREENVILLE and ASHEVILLE


30 weeks pregnant with Luke: WASHINGTON, D.C.

Ahh, nice to be just the 2 (or 2.75) of us for a bit!

Nesting

My personality type makes me a strong candidate for intense nesting. This go-round started post Christmas as I painstakingly put away every new item in a neat fashion, organizing along the way. I have a multi-page list of projects that seem worthwhile pre-baby, namely cleaning out cabinets, closets and drawers. These really are needed projects and I feel like they won't happen unless they get tackled now. I'm about halfway through and it's great to refind all manner of things we forgot we had! *Note, if you organize and clean your spice drawer, you'll realize you have three full jars of cinnamon.

Next comes the actual preparation for baby: washing Jack's baby clothes, preparing the nursery, etc.

Physically Speaking

My main complaint right now is interrupted sleep due to a baby riding low on my bladder. I'm up usually twice now to pee and it's a great reminder how interrupted REM cycles lead to low energy the next day!

I've had contractions in this pregnancy similar to those I had with Cora's pregnancy. They started at 19 weeks this time. They are less in number (generally 10ish a day) than what I had with her but they are stronger. They feel like the contractions I had the afternoon before she was born, the ones that clued me in to the fact she might actually be coming soon. When only having one here and there, it's not a big deal. I did have one day this week where they started coming regularly. I was going to call the midwife if they hadn't stopped by two hours, but they did stop right around that time. Contractions every 3-4 minutes for 2 hours, that will get you worried for a second!

The absolute best part of pregnancy is getting to watch the baby show every day. Luke always seems to wake up around 1:30 when I'm reading books to Jack and Cora pre-rest. This means they often get to feel or see him move. He moves a lot and makes my belly change shape. We've felt bones and feet, though it can be hard to figure out what we're feeling. His other active time is between 8-10 at night. It'll be interesting to see if we notice this same awake pattern in his first days with us.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Life Lately

December was so busy for our family, but in a great way.  I love the holidays and it has been fun with a now 5 and 2.5 year old to start bringing in our own family traditions.

There were daily holiday books under the tree thanks to a large collection of old/new Christmas/winter books from Jacob's and my childhoods + gifts Jack and Cora have received + secondhand books I've picked up.

Santa Mouse occasionally left presents tied to the tree.

Jack was the star (the actual star) in our church's Christmas pageant. Cora eagerly watched and has plans to be "an angel" next year. And Jack perked up for the rest of the month anytime one of "his" songs came on the radio.

We made and decorated cookies. This was something I loved doing growing up.  Now I wonder, did my parents put our cookies in their own special containers, so as to not actually ingest them?  That may sound horrible but if you'd seen our kids icing them, well...



Celebration in the Oaks

For the first time, we had our own Christmas (one day early) at our house.  Santa visited, the kids were excited and so cute in their little matching PJs, we had breakfast together, and lots of fun opening and playing with presents. 




Then we hit the road to go to Meemaw's house.  There was more fun with family, marred only by Cora getting sick and needing to go to Urgent Care on the 26th.


She then passed her bad cold to Jack.  And then both kids got ear infections to top things off.  But we are (nearly) recovered now and getting back into the swing of things and ready for 2015!

We sing the months of the year song in a special way over here and I think it's helped the kids order time and look ahead during the last few months toward what is to come.

January (point to Mommy as it's my birthday month)
February
March (point to belly - Luke's month) and
April
May, June (point to Cora), July and
August (point to Daddy)
September, October, November, and December (point to Jack)
Those are the 12 months of the year.

Whatever month it is we do another hand motion to indicate "now".  Well it's January and nearly halfway gone!  Time is passing!  30 weeks pregnant - this baby is 75% cooked!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

And he shall be called...

Our little baby boy has a name!  It was the first one to be tossed out after we found out we were having a boy and it quickly started to just feel right.

  • When you have Jacob, Courtney, Jack, and Cora, you have to think about whether the new baby needed to follow suit with similar letters...

  • When you are on baby number three, "fitting in" with the other two names is something to consider...

  • But in the end, it pretty much just has to sit right with Mama :)

Jack, Cora, and Luke
So, he shall be called "Baby Luke".  Full name, to be determined! 

  • L for Luke means our names are all Js, Cs, and Ls when you include our last name
  • Jack and Luke = perfect in my book!  And, along with Cora, all classic, 4 letter names!
  • Once Mama was on board with Baby Luke, well, the rest is history.

And this is how Cora (currently and perhaps forever known as "Towa") talks to her little baby brother:

Sunday, December 14, 2014

What you should NEVER say to a pregnant woman. Ever.

You've probably read posts like this before, but apparently not everyone has.  As a pregnant woman who seems to invite comments, let me say, it is NEVER appropriate to speculate on a woman's due date.  Chances are you will be wrong. 

I'm firmly convinced that most people don't know what a full-term, 40-week pregnant woman looks like.  Even if you've been one, apparently you can forget.  Here is a small sampling of what I heard in the last week (between 25 and 26 weeks pregnant.)

"Oh a New Year's baby!"  (only if you count mid-March as the new year)
"Looks like we're having a Christmas baby!"  (No. Not even close.)
"You look like you could go into labor any minute."  (Trust me, this is not what I'd be acting like if I were verging on labor.)
"Have you dropped or is it a boy?" (Can we please refrain from talking about things dropping in my pelvis?")

To the common "Not too much longer, eh?" I generally respond "It's longer than you might think."  Then I smile and walk away.  It's easier to be vague and let the comments roll off.  But depending on the wording, sometimes I end up answering "No, not due until March."  To which I heard this week:

"Well then it must be twins." 

Don't ever tell someone they look like they are having twins.  Why is it even necessary to write this?  Why would you TELL someone they look like they have two babies inside their belly? The few pregnant women who are indeed having twins will probably readily offer that information to you. A bystander doesn't need to "diagnose" twins!  I mean really!

Would you believe the below conversation really happened?

"Actually, I'm not due until March."
"Well then it must be twins."
"No, just one baby."
"Are you sure?"
"Yes, I'm sure."
"I mean you're really sure?  They can check for that now, right?"

 That is just so wrong.
26 weeks with big sister Cora