Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tears ... of joy?

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It's milestone time again for Riley. This morning I put her down in her crib so that I could hop in the shower real quick. When I got out of the shower she was awake and crying. I went into her room to get her and to my surprise, there were little tears rolling down her cheeks!! It broke my heart to see her look so sad! Crying up until this point - without tears - sounded sad but never really looked sad. I quickly looked up 'tears' in my "What To Expect the First Year" book and sure enough, tears start being produced somewhere around week 3, which we're smack dab in the middle of!

Riley isn't the only one crying tears today. I know rough days will come and go, so I take this with a grain of salt, but everyone who has said it before is so right - being a mom is one of the hardest jobs you'll ever have. I love, love, love my daytime time with Riley, but handling everything else PLUS a newborn is a daunting task and can get overwhelming at times. I didn't have difficulty today handling everything that I wanted to get done (tidy up the house, do a couple loads of laundry, put clean laundry away, make the bed, have dinner on the table when Kevin walked in the door ...) ... but ... I don't know ... this evening has been tough on me. Tomorrow is a new day - and will be a better day.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Tummy time ... I almost forgot!!

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Oh! I can't believe I forgot to mention this in my last post, but today during tummy time, Riley held her head up the highest (and longest) that she has done so far. She held it for over a minute this time. I am telling you - she has strong neck muscles!! Check it out!

Wrapping up the weekend

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The Christmas holiday weekend is over and it is time for most people to get back to the grind. It's very easy for me to lose track of what day of the week it is without being at work. Plus, since Riley was born, Kevin has only been in the office four total days, so that makes it difficult for me to keep track as well. Tomorrow Kevin returns to work. With New Year's Day being this week, and him working from home on Fridays, that just leaves me here alone for three days, but remember ... I've only been here alone ONE day since she was born. That is hard to comprehend, seeing as how she is already 3 weeks 2 days old.

Tonight was bath night for Riley. She is now sound asleep in her crib, snug as a bug and with a belly full of milk. I am typing this very quickly so that I can get myself into bed and hopefully get a couple hours of sleep before she wakes up again.

Today another milestone was reached. One of my own, however; not one of Riley's. I went for my very first run in nearly 10 months. I was never much of a runner, but ran occasionally prior to being pregnant. I hope that I develop a love for it, though, as it would be a great way to get back into shape. My run today was very short - Kevin warned me to take it slow and not overdo it. I probably only ran a quarter-mile or so, but it felt amazing. I returned back to the house and did some squats and some abs then hit the shower. I would love to get outside for a quick jog and/or walk each evening after Kevin gets home from work if possible. My goal is to be back into my pre-pregnancy jeans by March 2nd - that is the day I return to work. Of the 40 pounds I gained while pregnant, I have lost 29 of them and have just 11 to go. I have a feeling these will be the 11 I have to really work for, though. Does this mean no more ice cream??

Lastly, my parents and my grandma came to spend the weekend with us. This was Grandma's first time to meet Riley. It was a very nice visit and I wish it could have lasted much longer. Mom is planning to come spend another week with Riley and I mid-January and I cannot wait for that time with her. I have to remember not to wish time away until then, though, because that will be the halfway point of my maternity leave.

Time to go peek in on the little nugget. It is so hard for me to just look at her without touching her cheek or kissing her head. I love her so much.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas!

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This post is actually coming on the 26th of December, but Merry Christmas nonetheless!

Christmas this year was obviously extra special for us, having Riley to share it with. Sure, she didn't have a clue what was going on and she slept through the Christmas Eve church service and through opening gifts on Christmas morning, but being able to hold her and look at her reminded us of the greatest present of all - our precious, precious daughter.

She was certainly spoiled by all of her family members. Auntie Rhonda and Uncle Scott bought her some gorgeous dresses and a fancy coat for this time next year, along with three great books to add to her book collection. (Remember that book rack that was supposed to get hung before she was born? It's still sitting on the floor of her room ...). Auntie Heather and Uncle Jay bought her some adorable outfits along with a musical doll. Grandma and Grandpa Nichols were very generous with providing money to start Riley's college fund, along with a "Granddaughter's First Christmas" ornament. Grandma and Grandpa Balaban bought her an adorable outfit, a teether, a musical water globe that is engraved with her name and birthdate, and a savings bond to add to that college fund. Aunt Courtney and Uncle Mark bought her an outfit, some books, and a stuffed giraffe. Mommy and Daddy bought her some toys that she isn't quite ready to play with yet, but she'll be there soon.
One gift that Riley gave us last night was the gift of sleep! It was her first night sleeping in her crib rather than the bassinette in our room. It wasn't intentional, but as I was cleaning things up around the house late last night, I had laid her in her crib and she was so fast asleep that I didn't want to wake her. The little booger slept in there from 10pm to 3am! A FIVE HOUR STRETCH! That was the greatest gift of all! And then after her 3am feeding, she and Daddy slept sound in the rocker from 4am to 7:15am this morning. Now she is back in her crib, napping away. What a great baby. What an amazing Christmas.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

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Merry Christmas Eve! We have so much to be appreciative and thankful for this Christmas. I fell asleep as I prayed last night, thanking God so much for the miracle He brought into our lives. Just like everyone says - I have no idea how we got along without her all this time. Now that she is here, I could never be without her in life.

Tonight will be Riley's very first big outing. We're going to take her to Christmas Eve services as St John Vianney's church at 6pm. The church is literally right around the corner, so the travel time will be under two minutes. Kevin's parents and his sister's family will be there as well. While we don't attend the Catholic church, it is tradition for us to go there each year on Christmas Eve with his family and we wanted this year to be no exception.

In preparation for the big evening ahead, Riley and I had a fashion show for daddy this morning in an attempt to decide which outfit to debut. Thanks to my dear friend Kim for the gorgeous Baby Gap dresses!! One outift will be for tonight, one for Christmas dinner at Kevin's parent's tomorrow night, and one for this weekend when my parents (hopefully) come to visit. One thing is for sure - she is one beautiful baby!

Merry Christmas Eve, all! Remember the reason for the season - Jesus' birth - in all that you do!

Riley's First Bottle!

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Today we reached another milestone - Riley took her first bottle. Not only did she take it, but she did so like a little champ. The pediatrician had suggested that this be the week we try the first bottle. I had been a little hesitant because I wanted to read all that I could around properly introducing a bottle for the first time, how to eliminate nipple confusion, and all of that. Yesterday I did a lot of reading, went out and bought a bottle warmer, and felt very prepared for today's task.

I wasn't sure how many ounces to expect her to take, so I filled the bottle with 3 ounces and thought we'd go from there. She ended up taking 2.5, so we weren't far off and there wasn't much milk wasted. I'll use that as my baseline going forward. I think Kevin loved giving her the bottle - it was his first time to get to be part of the feeding process. The books I had read - and advice I'd received from friends - was for him to give her the bottle and for me to be nowhere in sight. If she is able to smell me, it could cause confusion for what the bottle is. I stayed out of the room at first, but quickly came back in to snap a few pictures and video once she took the bottle. We'll continue to give her one bottle a day so that she doesn't forget what it is. I still intend to nurse most of the time, but knowing that there is milk and bottles on hand makes it less nerve-wracking, should I need to be away during a feeding.

This is just a perfect day, following up a perfect night. She had a great night, only getting up at midnight, 3:30am and 7:15am for feedings. What a little champ. Right now she is all tuckered out, napping on my chest as we lie on the couch and I write this. These are the moments I love and that I never want to end.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Bath Time!

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Tonight was Riley's first bathtub bath. Up until this point we had been sponge bathing her until her umbilical cord stump fell off. Well, it finally fell off this past Thursday, but that was the same day that she was diagnosed with Thrush and put on medication, so we didn't want to put her through too much all in one day. We've decided that for now, Sundays and Thursdays will be bath nights.
The bath went better than expected, but Riley still cried. It is so sad for us to see her cry since she cries so rarely. As for the bath-givers, we learned how to do things better and more efficiently next time. I assume this will be the learning theme for so much through the next few years.

I've attached some pictures from after tonight's bath:

Also, the Thrush is getting much better. Tonight I couldn't even see a trace of anything on Riley's tongue. She is taking her medication like a champ, four times a day. I am so proud of the little booger.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Big "T"

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Dr. K confirmed at our appointment today that Riley does in fact have thrush. The good news is that Dr. K said we've caught it very early and sent us out the door with two prescriptions - one oral one for Riley and a topical one for myself. I am to take 1 cc of the liquid medicine and use a q-tip to literally 'paint' the medicine onto Riley's tongue and the inside of her cheeks four times a day.

I am going back and forth from not worrying about this too much since I've read that it is very common and nothing to be too concerned with (and the doctor didn't seem to be alerted by it) ... and then on the other hand I freak out that she "has" something. I just hope the medication works. Dr. K said to come back in if it doesn't clear up in 10-14 days. For those of you who know me well, that means I have the 10th day circled on my calendar already - no chance I'll stay out of that office a day after the 10th day if it isn't cleared up yet. He told me that the 'worst cases' are that it becomes too painful on the baby's tongue and then they don't want to nurse. That scares me.

The GOOD news is that for now she is certainly a good eater. The little chunk was 7lb 3oz at last Thursday's appointment ... and just one week later she is rocking the scales at 7lb 13oz!!!

Yes! The Stump is Gone!

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I was up with Riley for her 3:30am feeding this morning when I went to change her and was so excited to find that her umbilical cord stump had fallen off! I saw that it was gone first, then had to fish through her little sleep gown to find it. Aside from being an ugly sight, that darn stump made diaper changing and dressing her a challenge - I was so afraid of getting it caught on something. This is definitely a milestone in my book! Thankfully I realized at the next feeding that the stump had fallen off of the changing table onto the floor. I would have been disgusted if Oliver or Wendell would have eaten it. I was only keeping hold of it until I talked to Mom this morning to see whether or not it is something that I should keep. We both agreed to throw it out. I'll still have her belly button as a reminder. =)

We have an appointment with Dr. Kannensohn (pediatrician) at 3:40pm today. I was reading an article in a baby magazine last night titled "Infant Illness". The article listed out some of the "most common infant health complaints". I read about something called 'thrush' that I had never heard of before. Thrush is a yeast infection in your baby's mouth. The symptoms are elevated white patches that look like cottage cheese on the inside of your baby's cheeks or on the tongue, roof of the mouth, or gums. If you try to wipe them away, the area will look raw and red and may bleed. The treatment is to see your pediatrician who will prescribe an oral antifungal medication.

I had noticed the past few days that Riley had this white substance - that looked a bit like cottage cheese - on her tongue. I just assumed it was breastmilk remnants and never gave it any further thought. I am glad I read this article. While this may turn out to be nothing, I'd rather err on the side of caution and get it checked out. I took a washcloth to her tongue last night, but just dabbed it very lightly - I didn't want to make it raw or bleed ... I'll leave that to Dr. K if it's necessary. At least I'll get to see how much the little stinker weighs now.

Here is a link to a good article on Thrush.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Riley's Arrival ... all the dirt!

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Ahhhh. I've finally found the time to write out the details around Riley's big arrival. It isn't that I have been so overwhelming busy with her (as everyone told me I would be) - it is that I can't stand the thought of doing something that makes me take my eyes off of her beautiful face for more than a couple of minutes. Thanks to BabyBjorn, I can at least have her resting her sleepy head on my chest now as I write this all out. I'll take all I can get.

It is so hard to believe 12 days have already passed since she was born. Last Friday when the clock hit 8:14pm, Kevin and I wished her "Happy Birth-Minute". We'll probably be corny and do it again this week.

While in the hospital, I did my best to timeline out what was happening to me and when. I wanted to do this for several reasons. Several of my girlfriends are pregnant right now and getting very close to their own due dates - I thought this would help answer any questions they had about my experience. I also knew that my memory would most likely be foggy of the small details of that day and wanted to make sure I never forgot a moment of it. Sit back and enjoy - this could be long.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

- 7:00pm: Kevin and I are to arrive at Lake West Hospital for me to be admitted for my induction. We were too anxious sitting at home waiting to leave, so we left around 5:30pm, went to Target on the way, returned some movies, and still got to the hospital around 6:40pm. When we rang in to the maternity floor, they told us we were too early and we had to go sit in the waiting area until 7:00pm anyhow. That was a long 20 minutes.

- 8:30pm-ish: I am currently 0 cm dilated, 60% effaced, and at a -1 station. My IV is in and the Cervadil has been inserted. The rest of the time up to this point has been dealing with paperwork and all those formalities. Thankfully the nurse who handled my IV was willing to honor my request to insert the IV in the crook of my arm rather than my hand. Is it odd that of all things to do with labor and delivery, I was dreading the IV the most?

- 11:00pm: I finally drift off to sleep. My blood pressure cuff was set to take my BP every hour, so I didn't sleep too well. I am sure the anxiety of meeting my daughter had a little to do with that.

Friday, December 5, 2008

- 5:00am: Kevin and I both wake up. We're ready for the day to come!

- 6:00am: The Cervadil is removed. I am now 0.5 cm dilated, 60% effaced, and at a -1 station. Obviously there was little progress made through the night.

- 6:35am: The Pitocin drip is started. It is to be increased every 15-30 minutes. Nurse shift change. Our night nurse, Julie, leaves and our day nurse, Katarina, arrives. Both were incredible and we're so thankful for them!

- 7:30am: Dr. Brzozowski arrives to break my water. This was extremely painful. Dr. B promised me that it would be the most painful exam of the day. I prayed that he was telling the truth.

- 9:00am: The contractions have increased in intensity and frequency. I am not dilated enough to receive my epidural. I am told that I need to be 3-4 cm first. Instead, I am offered Nubane for the time being. Katarina tells me that it won't take away the pain of the contractions, but it will take the 'edge' off. She said it will make me a little woozy, though. I accept it. Within about 20 minutes I am talking to my mom and Kevin and all of a sudden I feel drunk. The Nubane is working.

- 10:00am: The Nubane is no longer taking the edge off and the contractions are in full swing. They're about two minutes apart and lasting around 30 seconds each. I am currently 1cm dilated and 80% effaced.

- 11:30am: The contractions are reaching their strongest peak and I am beginning to think there is no way I can continue to do this. I am currently 1.5 cm dilated and 80% effaced. At this point a c-section is definitely a possibility and I begin to think that is how it'll all end up. Katarina now tells me if we can just get to 2 cm I can get my epidural. She thinks the epidural will allow me to relax and progress. Our parents have left for lunch and I am now allowing myself to cry through the contractions. Kevin is helping me through them and being such an awesome supporter, but I am in maximum pain. The contractions are now about 1 minute apart and lasting about 45 seconds in length.

- 1:15pm: Katarina sees how hard the contractions are hitting me and makes the call to ask for the epidural. I am only 1.75cm dilated, and she is a SAINT for making this decision.

- 1:40pm: The epidural is in. Next to the IV, this was my next biggest fear. It was so much easier than I ever imagined. It really did feel like a bee sting, then a burning feeling for about 10 seconds and then pure relief from the pain of the awful contractions. It was comical looking at the monitor and seeing these monster contractions and not feeling a thing. One thing I didn't know to expect was how the epidural would give me the shakes. I felt like I was freezing, but apparently my skin was very hot to the touch. My mom is so wonderful and sits down in front of me and rubs lotion on my feet - combined with the epidural, I am completely relaxed.

- 1:40pm through 6:00pm-ish: I am completely relaxed from the epidural and even able to take a nap.

- 6:30pm: I am progressing nicely and around 7cm dilated. I begin vomiting. While it made me never, ever want another cherry or grape popsicle again in my life, the nurse was excited about it. Apparently this is a 'good sign' that you are transitioning into active labor. I had three spells of vomiting and then I was given some Zofran through my IV to keep the nausea at bay. It works wonderfully.

- 7:00pm: I am now 9.5 cm dilated. Katarina calls Dr. Brzozowski - who has gone home for the evening - to let him know I am ready to begin pushing once he arrives. A shift change occurs and we're so sad to see our day nurse, Katarina, leave. However the new nurses are just as kind and ready to get into action. They begin to transform the room, table, and setup for pushing to begin. My epidural is wearing off and I can feel the contractions as they come on, but not nearly as intense as prior to the epidural. The nurse suggests that I hold off on getting any more epidural medication so that I can feel the contractions come on and have more of an urge to push. I gladly accept her recommendation and allow myself to begin to feel the contractions. (There I am, celebrating the news that I am "9.5 cm". I should have raised half of my thumb to symbolize 0.5)

- 7:30pm: Dr. Brzozowski arrives and checks my progress. He says we're ready to go and that her head is "RIGHT there". He leaves to go get changed into scrubs.

- 7:45pm: Let's get this show on the road! We're all set to start pushing. We make it through the first contraction and my only complaint pain-wise was that my eyes felt like they would pop out of my head from pushing so hard. The nurse is very happy with how I am pushing and says they can already see the top of Riley's head. Wow. Dr. B isn't back in the room yet, but we continue to push through contractions. We get quite the system set up. I push during a contraction, then immediately after Kevin puts a cold washcloth on my forehead and feeds me exactly three ice chips. I was picky about the 'three'. Ha!

- 8:00pm-ish: Dr. B arrives in the room. I've pushed through about 4 contractions at this point and can tell that we're getting close from the pressure I can feel. Still not feeling any "pain", though. Dr. B comes in the room and says "WHOA! Stop pushing, stop pushing!". He actually tells the nurse to push the head BACK IN! He jokes quickly that he cannot catch a baby in bare hands as he hurries to get his gloves on, get the table disassembled and get into position. I push through two more contractions, just as hard as I had been from the start ...

- 8:14pm: Riley Elayne Balaban is born! She is absolutely perfect. The doctor lies her on my chest immediately and she cries and I cry along with her. She and I lock eyes and while I know a newborn's eyesight is very poor at birth, the connection made at that moment sends a shock through my body. This is my daughter. My baby. What a feeling. She weighs 7 pounds, 1.3 ounces and is 19 1/4 inches long. She scores a 9 on the APGAR. I watch in awe as the nurses clean her up and don't even realize that I am being stitched up and can even feel a little bit of it from the epidural wearing off. I realize that my life is forever changed and in the best way possible. Thank you, Jesus, for the most perfect gift I could ever be given.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Riley Has Arrived!!

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I am dying to write out all of the details of Riley's amazing arrival, but am just too tired to do so right now. I promised myself I'd really take "me time" when I came home from the hospital, so I am going to honor that promise. Very soon I will have detail by detail. Until then, I'll leave you with this information ...

Riley Elayne Balaban

7lbs 1oz

19 1/4 inches

December 5, 2008, 8:14pm

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The countdown is on ...

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One day down since learning the date I am to be induced ... two days to go. Well, a little over two days. I am obviously focusing on Thursday evening when we head to the hospital.

We were able to firm up some of our plans after talking with family last night. My grandma isn't going to be coming afterall. She is facing an eye surgery early next week and should something happen prior to the surgery, it would be best for her to be at home rather than up here. She will see Riley soon enough, although we'll miss her. My mom and dad are going to be up here late Thursday night. My dad works until 5pm, so they'll hit the road soon after that and be here between 9 and 10. They've decided to come straight to the house and get some sleep and show up at the hospital early Friday morning. They'll take care of the dogs for us that evening, through the night, and Friday morning. That helps me out more than they know, as I've been so stressed about the dogs being here alone through the night, not knowing what is going on.

My brother will most likely be heading this way on Saturday, just for the day. He'll leave the girls with Courtney for now since they couldn't come into the maternity ward anyhow. They'll meet Riley soon.

Kevin will head to the hospital with me on Thursday and after going back and forth on it, my friend Meagen has convinced us that Kevin should spend the night with me, although Thursday to Friday could be pretty uneventful. I just want him to be comfortable sleeping there and be well-rested for me on Friday. I'm going to need it.

Today we're (finally) going to get the carseat base installed. I want to go ahead and get the entire carseat in the car along with the window shades and baby mirror. I'd love to get the car all swept out and clean, too. I cannot stand a dirty car.

I went through the diaper bag this morning and laid everything out to make sure I had all that I needed. Of course, with the hospital just being 10 minutes away and my parents making daily trips back and forth, if I've forgotten something it won't be the end of the world. I think this preparation just helps the time pass.

My plan for Thursday, other than it being my last day of work, is to get the house tidied up for Mom and Dad ... plus I just want to return from the hospital to a clean home. We did a lot of cleaning this past weekend so there isn't much to do ... just some laundry and getting the guest room in order for our company. I hope these next few days pass quickly!

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm getting induced!!

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This morning's doctor appointment felt like an episode of the Twilight Zone. Dr. B did his exam and told me the same thing I've heard the past four appointments - that there was no change to my cervix and that I wasn't dilated at all. However this time, he asked that I come to his office so we could talk about how the rest of the week would play out. Ahh - some hope! Kevin and I both excitedly whispered back and forth in the exam room before going to his office, stating that we'd take him up on a suggestion to induce if he made it.

We step into his office and Dr. B states "Well, eventually this baby has to come out one way or another ... and while I like to wait one week past your due date, if you're feeling overly anxious I am willing to induce". He asked how I was feeling and I stated "Anxious". He then responded with "How about Friday, then?". Wow - it was so casual!! Kevin and I looked at each other excitedly as Dr. B called over to Labor and Delivery. "Hi - this is Dr. Brzozowski, I need to schedule an induction for Friday". I laughed and said it was like he was ordering a pizza. I was so giddy - I couldn't stop smiling.

The plan is as follows: I am to eat a small late lunch, around 2 or 3pm on Thursday, and then arrive at the hospital at 7pm to be admitted. At that point I will receive an oral medication every 4 hours that will help soften my cervix. Around 3am, the pitocin drip will begin to help dilate me and bring on contractions. A little later in the morning, Dr. B will arrive to break my water and the games will begin. I am beside myself knowing that by this weekend, we will be holding our baby in our arms! My parents and grandma are going to come up Thursday night and stay at the house so that they can be at the hospital early Friday. This makes me feel good, too, because through all of this I've been so worried about Oliver and Wendell - our dogs -being left alone at night, wondering what is going on.

Granted, this whole plan goes out the window if Riley decides to arrive on her own prior to then, which is fine with me. At least there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I have a meeting with my manager at 1pm today, but plan to work through the end of the day on Thursday. Kevin is going to work from home the remainder of this week with me and then take off all of next week to spend with Riley and I as we all adjust as a new family.

I can barely concentrate on anything right now and Riley seems to be pretty excited, too - she is moving around SO much! Now I am just going to sit back and enjoy all the kicks and jabs, knowing that my time is limited to take it all in!

December Baby

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Seeing as how I am sitting here, 40 weeks + 1 day pregnant, it is obvious now that Riley will be a December baby and not the November baby we thought she would be. I have my 40-week appointment at 9:45am this morning and I am very excited to hear what Dr. B has to say.

I was up through the night with different movements from Riley. Every time I felt something I would sit very still, waiting to see if it would turn into a contraction or something 'new' that I haven't yet felt. It didn't, but it did cause me to have dream after dream of her arrival. One of my dreams was Dr. B at the appointment today. In this dream he asked me "You have family that you want to come in from out of town, correct? If so, you'd better call them now". That gave me hope. =)

At the suggestion of my best friend Meagen (L&D nurse in Columbus), as long as I am at least 1 cm I will ask him to strip the membranes. I have read that it can be rather painful, but lasts only a minute or so and can help labor progress on its own - in many cases in that very same day. I may have written about this already.

I will post an update following my appointment ... unless I am sitting in a delivery room at Lake West Hospital. =)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Remaining Tasks

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I just looked back at a post from earlier this month - "Remaining Tasks" - just to make sure that I have everything covered that I felt at that point was important. I'm realizing there is still more to be done!!
  1. Have car seat installed and inspected by Police Department. This still remains on the list. After calling several local PDs and FDs, none have a carseat inspection program any longer. The car seat base is in our car, but just sitting there, not installed. Kevin's sister is going to install it for us and I'll have someone at the hospital inspect it before we take Riley home. I should go to her house today to have her pop it in there.
  2. Screw changing pad to changing table. This is still Kevin's department - and still hasn't been done.
  3. Hang baby monitor. Since this is something I was able to do on my own, it was done a few weeks ago. However once I got it hung, I didn't like it, so it is nestled in a corner of her crib with all wires tucked away so that they don't pose a safety threat. Finally - one thing that was accomplished.
  4. Add last few items to hospital bag. I think I am all set here. I've decided against an iPod. I am a curious person and want to be able to hear everything going on around me at all times. I charged up the video camera last night (no, we are NOT taping the actual birth - the camera (if used) will remain up by my head the entire time). The camera is all set with new batteries and a clear memory stick. I figure I'll send Kevin down to the gift shop for a new magazine if I need one. The boppy is ready and the breast pump pieces and parts have all been sanitized and are ready to go. My going home outfit is packed as well - a comfy sweat suit.
  5. Hang book rack. Still sitting on the floor, leaning against the crib. I think the main reason this hasn't been done is that we cannot seem to come to an agreement on where in the room to hang it. Kevin feels it makes the room too cramped, but it is the most logical place to hang a book rack that holds children's books. This must get done today - otherwise I've threatened Kevin that he'll lose his "holding the baby" privileges. =)

Due Date!

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Today is Riley's due date ... but still no Riley. I must be honest and say - although I have no reason to have felt this way - I thought through this entire pregnancy that I would never see the due date and that Riley would arrive early. I should be thankful that she is incubating this long - every extra day in the womb is an extra day of strength. My sister-in-law gave birth to the triplets at 32 weeks (30 weeks gestation) and she reminds me that they would have given anything for the girls to have gone full-term, although - thank God - they are all healthy and well.

However I woke up this morning feeling defeated - again. I just keep having this feeling that if I go into labor on my own, it will happen at night. But my chances for a November baby are slipping away very quickly - just 13 hours left for that chance. I have my 40-week OB appt at 9:45am tomorrow morning and I assume that while I am there, Dr. B will schedule me to be induced later in the week. I wonder if we'll be given the choice of the day. To me, that seems like a big responsibility. That would me that we - not God - would be determining her birthday. That just doesn't feel right. I just pray that Dr. B is thinking in the best interest of Riley - which I trust he is. I would much rather go into labor on my own and enjoy that entire experience instead of knowing that we are to arrive at the hospital at "x hour" to get things moving on the birth of our daughter. This shocks me, knowing what an extreme planner and control freak I am - this time, I don't want control.

Regardless of when or how she arrives, we just want her to be healthy - that is what it all boils down to at the end of the day.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Black Friday

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Well, Thanksgiving came and went without the arrival of a baby. Kevin and I both had a small feeling that we'd be eating turkey in a hospital, but that wasn't the case. Instead we enjoyed a very nice meal at his parent's house along with his sister and her family. After dinner we went for a walk, hoping to both make us feel better after eating so much and to see if we could get things moving along. We cut the walk short because I started contracting, but now I've learned that I should've kept going at that point! Walking is on our agenda again today, then - this time I won't stop.

I set my alarm for 5am this morning, not sure if I'd partake in Black Friday festivities before beginning work or not. I've been saying for weeks that if Riley were here before Thanksgiving I would go shopping ... and if Riley wasn't here before Thanksgiving ... well ... I'd go shopping. Black Friday has been a shopping tradition for my parents and I for nearly 12 years now, so not gearing up for it seemed a little odd. Since Kevin and I have all of our Christmas shopping pretty wrapped up for this year already, there weren't as many things that I felt I had to have. There was one item that I was interested in for one of our nieces - 50% off at Target - that I was interested in, though. So at 5am I rolled out of bed, threw on some sweats and a comfy top, and headed to Target. I was able to get the item I wanted for my niece and also snagged a flat screen for the bedroom.

Kevin and I have been looking for a new TV for our room and there was a great buy on a particular flat screen at Target. If you're a frequent Black Friday shopper, you'll know that it is rare to actually snag one of the electronic deals unless you're willing to run someone over with your shopping cart. I happened to luck out and was in the right place at the right time. Kevin is happy with it and actually unpacking it right now. We need to get a wall mount and some cables for it later today, but it will be fun to watch our new toy tonight when we go to bed. Hopefully that fun is interrupted by a necessary trip to the hospital. =)

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I'm a HOUSE!

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Kevin and I were really diligent with belly pictures there for a while, making sure to take one a week. It has been a month since we took the last one, and never knowing when our last opportunity will be, I had him take a few last night before bed. It's so funny looking at a picture of yourself, especially at 39 1/2 weeks pregnant. I had no idea I was so large!! Oh well - as long as it means providing a healthy, safe environment for Riley, I don't mind. I can run and workout the rest of my life ...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Uncomfortable ...

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Alright - my story has done a 180-degree change since this time yesterday! NO. I AM NOT IN LABOR!! I wanted to clarify that right off the bat incase someone were to read into that first sentence. At my appointment yesterday I was given the same news I've received the past three weeks - that there was no change. I am still not dilated. My doctor reminded me that it doesn't mean I won't go into labor soon ... and it doesn't mean it will happen before her due date, either. Ah, the unknowns of pregnancy!

Around this time yesterday I had several people asking me how I was feeling. I was able to honestly tell them that other than being impatient and dying to meet Riley, I physically felt great and had no complaints. Fast forward to about 8:00pm last night. It was as though someone flipped a light switch. Kevin and I were lying on the couch catching up on last week's Grey's Anatomy and all of a sudden everything hurt. My back, my legs ... my stomach felt as though it weighed 10 pounds more than it did five minutes earlier. I tried to just shift my position, but nothing seemed to help. I got down on the floor on all fours and tried to arch my back - an exercise suggested in one of my pregnancy books for back pain. No help. I ended up marching back to bed at the ripe time of 8:11pm because I just couldn't stand being awake and feeling like that - I needed to just fall to sleep and not feel anything.

I did fall to sleep fairly easily and slept well other than my five trips to the bathroom through the night. This morning my back feels better, but walking is uncomfortable. There is definitely more pressure as I walk - I take this to be a good thing.

My plan for today is to remain in pajamas all day long as I work, into the evening. It is snowing outside, the sky is grey, and it just seems like the perfect day to stay put and stay comfortable.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Week 39 Update

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Yesterday marked 39 weeks for me - hard to believe I've come this far. At times I feel as thought I've been pregnant forever, and other times I feel like the time has flown. I have my weekly OB appointment at 11:00am this morning and am wondering if I'll be told any progress has been made. I had dream after dream last night about the pregnancy overall, one of which was my doctor suggesting I be induced this week. That one stuck with me.

Dr. B works in a group practice. What does this mean? It means that while chances are high, my doctor isn't necessarily the one who will delivery Riley. It all depends who is on call at the time I go into labor. I've put this out of my mind up to this point because, frankly, I want only Dr. B to deliver me and no one else. Today I am going to ask him what the chances will be that he will be delivering me if I were to go between today and Sunday (my due date). I hope the answer is the one I want to hear, but with Thanksgiving this week, I don't know if he'll be in town, etc.

Kevin and I did a LOT of walking this weekend. I walked more on Saturday than I have walked since working from home - and that is no exaggeration. While it was exhausting and actually made my legs and feet ache, it felt great to be moving that much. I realized how much pressure there is in the pelvic region, making me think Riley has descended even further. Who knows, though. I just hope that the walking will have helped things progress. Other than that, there is nothing much more to report on the baby front. No contractions this weekend.

Riley taking her time allowed me to continue getting Christmas shopping completed and decorations up. Kevin and I needed new Christmas stockings and yesterday I ordered monogrammed ones from Pottery Barn. We decided to get them monogrammed with "Mom" and "Dad" and just seemed so weird to me! We're ordering a matching one for Riley, too, but decided to wait just until she arrives - just to really make sure that she is a SHE!!

I'll post another update after my appointment - wish me luck!!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

What a Dream!

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I don't think I've been writing about my dreams in my blog, but over the last several weeks I've been having dreams about being in labor that slowly progress. The first dream I had about this was that I knew it was time to head to the hospital and I was in the elevator, heading to the maternity floor but there were many, many other women in the elevator with me - all who were much further progressed into labor than I was - and the dream would end with me in the elevator knowing that it was still going to be a while until it was my turn.

The next dream allowed me to get one step past the elevator - to the registration desk where, again, I had to wait in a long line behind women who were definitely going to give birth before I did.

The third dream in this series was where I was finally checked in and shown to the birthing room, but everything was very calm and relaxed.

FINALLY ... finally, last night, I had the dream in which I gave birth to Riley. It was a very short and easy birth (the thing dreams are made of, right?) where I didn't even have a chance - or need - for an epidural and I only had to push two times! I am very calm and comfortable in the dream, but don't get the opportunity to see what Riley looks like. Seems as though God wants to keep that part a surprise for me. =)

Not only did I have this dream last night, but my friend Morrighan had a similar dream - I had given birth and something in the dream left her feeling that it was a very short and easy process for me.

I only hope this is a good omen of things to come ...

Work your Magic, Pedicure Woman!

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To celebrate my birthday, my friends Morrighan and Katie treated me to a (much needed) pedicture yesterday afternoon. I was excited for three distinct reasons: (1) no one's feet needed a pedicure as badly as mine and I want my feet to be in tip-top shape for labor, (2) Since working from home each day, my Morrighan and Katie time is almost non-existent, so I needed to catch up with them, and (3) I had convinced myself that the pedicurist would hit just the right pressure points on my feet to send me directly to the hospital - which was conveniently right across the street.

Well, my feet are certainly in tip-top shape now, I got my Katie and Morrighan fix between our pedicures, Target stop, and dinner at Smokey Bones ... but the part about the pedicurist sending me into labor didn't happen. When I sat down for my appointment I directly asked her to press wherever she needed to press to get things moving. She smiled, laughed, nodded her head and said something I didn't understand ... and now I am pretty sure she didn't understand me, either. I brought it up several times through the appointment, but she never hit any pressure points. In fact, she barely massaged my feet at all. Perhaps I scared her and she wanted nothing to do with my going into labor.

Today is my actual birthday - the big 29. It goes without saying that going into labor today and finally meeting this precious baby girl would be the greatest birthday gift I could ever receive. Kevin gave Riley a pep-talk this morning, asking that she come today or tonight, so we shall see. Regardless, my hopes for becoming at mother at the age of 28 are now impossible. Oh well - 29 sounds like a great age to me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Week 38 Update

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I had my 38-week check up this morning and was very hopeful going into it. Last night Kevin and I sat on the couch, him holding the stopwatch and me holding my breath as I had several contractions over the span of about 90 minutes. Each one lasted approximately a minute and they were about 15 to 20 minutes apart on average. These were very different than any I had previously. They were lower and stronger and just felt 'consistent' as to how they made me feel. I was reading a book when they began and some of the stronger ones made me unable to focus on the words I was reading. Kevin even got up and laid out clothes to throw on in the middle of the night and while we tried to keep one another from getting excited, I believe we both really thought last night was going to be the night.

Fast forward to my appointment this morning. Still no change. I am not dilated! Now, I know that people can go from not being dilated at all to being in active labor within the same day, but I was really hoping for some sort of progress.

"You said one week late, max, right?" I asked my doctor.

"Yes - one week late is the longest we will let you go. I promise we'll get you delivered", he responded.

So we scheduled next Monday's appointment for 11:00am and left - I felt a little defeated. The funny thing is when Kevin asked me "What did he say about the contractions you were having last night?" and I told Kev that I didn't mention it to him at all. He was so shocked. My thought was, what does it matter? I am not dilated anyhow, so it doesn't make a difference, right? Next week I'll mention it regardless, though.

So right now I am optimistic knowing that within 20 days we WILL be holding Riley in our arms, but of course I pray it is sooner. I've had more contractions this afternoon like I had last night, just not as strong. We'll see if they continue!

The rest of my appt was good news. My blood pressure is much improved since taking it much easier each day. Mom calls it 'modified bed rest' and I guess she is right. This morning it was 108/72. Much better than the 133/88 last week!! And my swelling is improving, too! Additionally I only gained 1 pound. Yay for that.

Lastly, Dr. B said that the baby is a 'great size'. I asked him what the guesstimate was on the weight and he said 7 pounds. Perfect.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

That's More Like It ...

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I ran to CVS during lunch to check my blood pressure - good thing that it is literally right down the street from here. If it were nicer, I would just walk. Anyhow, my blood pressure was 122/72. Much better! This whole 'resting' thing is working - who would have thought! Mom calls it 'modified bed rest' and I guess that is kind of what it is.

I pretty much stay parked on the couch from 7am until around noon with my feet elevated and work with the laptop on my lap. I get up and go to CVS and get my shower for the day from 12-1, then back to the couch with feet up from 1 until a little after 4. Then I get up and get dinner ready for Kevin to come home and the rest of the evening is more resting with feet up! It gets a bit boring, but just seeing the difference in my swelling, the low blood pressure, and reminding myself that this is the best thing I could be doing for Riley, it makes it tolerable.

Today has been a great work day, too. My meetings are going very well over the phone and I am getting so much done. The only thing that could make life better at this point would be to meet Riley!

Note to self ...

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... never trust the "WrisTech" home blood pressure monitor. According to the one that I borrowed from my father-in-law, I am dead. This morning it gave me a reading of 92/46. I know that resting at home is helping, but that is a tad extreme. Looks like I'll continue my daily drives to CVS to monitor it. I am curious as to whether CVS will review their security tapes and notice a trend in the pregnant woman in sweat pants coming in twice daily to use their blood pressure machine ...

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

It's Going Down!

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Today was a good day. It was a smart move to lie down for bed at 8pm last night. While I didn't fall to sleep until close to 9, I was able to get a lot of sleep. Subtract out the hour or so that I was up from coughing around 1:30am and I still got 8 1/2 hours of sleep ... not bad! I am really liking the whole 'roll out of bed 10 minutes before I need to start working' thing.

Last night Kevin was giving me my nightly foot rub that he does to try and help work the fluid back to my heart (I love him for doing this almost every night). It hurt a little. But not the normal ache from the fluid - it hurt because he was actually touching foot bone rather than fluid - something that hadn't happened in SO long. Keeping my feet up for the majority of the day yesterday really made a difference! My ankles were still swollen and my calves, but the fluid hadn't made it all the way to my feet and toes as it normally does. Success!!

My second piece of good news came around noon today when I checked my blood pressure. Down to 126/68!! Awesome!! My sister-in-law, Heather, brought an at-home monitor over this afternoon, so I'll take it again tonight before bed. Up until noon today I hadn't done anything other than sit on the couch with my feet elevated while working. I only got up to go to the bathroom. This apparently is the key to success. Yesterday I had done some laundry, swept the upstairs, etc during my "lunch" and even this may have been enough to keep my blood pressure up to the level it was last night. As long as it is getting better and not worse, I am a happy camper.

As for Riley, she is still moving around like a little gymnast! She is definitely the most active in the mornings - between 8am and 10am. Also, whenever I get up in the night to switch sides or go to the bathroom, she gives me a few pokes to remind me she is there - as if I could forget, as she is the main thing on my mind now.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Resting from resting

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Today was my first day working from home. It worked out really well - I was able to attend my meetings as normal (just on the phone and through NetMeeting rather than in person), and I feel like I got so much more accomplished today than I would in a normal day in the office. I am sure that is true - there aren't many interruptions here. I was able to keep my feet elevated almost the entire day. My back takes a toll from that position, though, so I had to give it some relief here and there. I am happy to report that while my feet and ankles are still swollen, they look better than they normally do at this point in the evening. I am sure that not wearing any shoes or socks all day played a big part in that, along with the elevation.

Riley was super active throughout the day today. I think that has to do with the position I was lying in, too. She loves to stick her foot right into my left side.

I went to CVS this evening to check my blood pressure. 133/88. Not great. I definitely expected it to be lower given that I barely did anything today in terms of being active. The fact that Edy's ice cream was buy one, get one free cheered me up pretty quick, though. (Not sure I recommend Egg Nog ice cream - the jury is still out on that one). I am going to borrow a home-monitor cuff from my in-laws tomorrow morning so that I can monitor it throughout the day rather than just once a day. I am curious to see what it is first thing in the mornings.

It was nice to get to be a "wife" again and have dinner on the table for Kevin when he walked through the door tonight. I haven't made a real meal in so long for him, so that gave me a sense of accomplishment that I have needed recently.

So now I am going to go lie down. It's 8pm, but I feel like I need to rest from my resting. I am having a hormonal/emotional evening anyhow, so falling to sleep may just be what the doctor ordered. More tomorrow ...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Working from Home

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Today was my 37-week checkup and it was very similar to the 36- week checkup. Still no progress being made. I was very suprised to hear this, as I was sure that the extra pressure and beginning of pains I started feeling last Tuesday indicated that something was happening. Well, apparently that something wasn't enough to start dilation. Kevin and I both wonder if maybe this means that it will happen very quickly, all at once. One can dream.

One thing different about this week's appointment and last week's was my blood pressure. It is elevated more than normal, but not in that 'preeclempsia' range. The magic number that will require a call to my doctor right away is 140/90. Today mine was pretty steady, sitting right around 138/80. At the end of the day it was 139/77. So between that and the continuous swelling of my legs, the doctor wrote a note stating "Patient is to work from home". It was less than an hour later that everything was in place for me to start working my full time schedule from home, starting tomorrow! It was a bit stressful making sure I had everything wrapped up at my desk and the right files with me, etc. It really hit me when Kevin mentioned that I wouldn't be back at my desk until close to March, when maternity leave ends. Crazy!! I did get a little sad, though. I really enjoy the morning rides to work with Kevin and those are a thing of the past for quite some time now!

So my plan each day is to work from 7am-4pm. The best thing is that I won't have to dread finding something that fits and is comfortable, since I can work in my pajamas! I am going to set up shop from the couch. I will be able to keep my feet up above my heart while typing away on my laptop each day. Plus, since I don't have to get showered and ready for the day right away in the mornings, I can sleep an extra hour each morning. And I won't be tempted to run errands on lunch, so I can use my lunch hour to take a nap on the couch or throw in some laundry, etc. It'll be a nice arrangement and I am so fortunate to work for a company that is so accomodating. The only thing I'll go out for each day is to run right down the street to CVS to take my blood pressure. I want to use a machine rather than an at-home cuff and continue to monitor it on the same machine each day. I may even go twice a day, we will see.

So no progress today ... working from home until Riley is born ... and, oh! Snow! We woke up to our first snowfall this morning! It was a slushy type of snow - the kind that makes the roads all yucky and brings traffic to a standstill because we've all forgotten how to drive in the stuff since the last snow back in March. We made it in safely, though, and by time we headed home from work tonight the roads were completely clear.

So we'll see how my first day of working from home goes tomorrow. I have plenty to do to stay busy and have a few meetings to call into as well, so I am sure they day will pass just as quickly as it does when I am at the office - I'll just be more comfortable and hopefully less swollen.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Hot, hot, HOT!

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I just wanted to make a quick post to document that I am currently eating the HOTTEST Chicken Burrito Bol from Chipotle that I've ever eaten. This is all part of my plan to burn Riley out of the womb. I wanted to document it in the event that I do go into labor tonight, then we'll know it was Chipotle - not Evening Primrose Oil or my body naturally doing anything on it's own.

And yes - for anyone concerned about my weigh-in on Monday, this means I'll skip the chocolate milky-shake tonight.

Evening Primrose Oil

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At the suggestion of my amazing friend Meagen, I picked up some Evening Primrose Oil (EPO) caplets at the drugstore the other night. Meagen is a Labor and Delivery nurse in Columbus, and proud mama to Baby Max, so I take her suggestions seriously. After she suggested taking it, I did some reading of my own on it.

EPO is completely natural and used more widely by midwives than OBs. There isn't too much scientific proof behind it, but it is thought to help ripen, or soften, the cervix in the weeks leading up to labor. Everything I found said that it was safe to take starting in week 36, and that you could increase the dosage starting in week 38. I've also read that the EPO isn't going to cause your body to do anything it isn't ready to do on its own ... so it just helps in the process once your body starts it anyhow.

Don't freak out - I asked my OB about this prior to taking it and while he personally feels it doesn't help at all, he said it also doesn't hurt ... so to try it if I wanted to. So I did. I take one 500mg capsule twice a day. Who knows if it will make a difference, but we will see!

Fridays are my day to really THINK as I drive to work. The other four days of the week Kevin and I ride to work together and while our conversation is normally around Riley, I am talking and listening most of the time rather than reflecting. Friday are my reflection days since he works from home on those days. So today I was thinking about how many of my friends are pregnant right now. It is such a blessing to be surrounded by other people, all of whom are experiencing this for the very first time as well!!

1. Carrie - Due 1/10/09
2. Kelly - Due 1/11/09
3. Katie - Due 2/11/09
4. Kate - Due 3/17/09

Thursday, November 6, 2008

"I'll have one gigundous chocolate milkshake with hot fudge, please"

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Did you know that mothers-to-be who plan to nurse must supply their bodies with as much whole milk as possible in the weeks leading up to the birth of their baby? Of course you didn't. Because that isn't true. But it IS what I keep telling myself as I sit in line at the local Steak & Shake almost daily, waiting to order the most delicious milky-shake I could hope for. "This is all for Riley. This isn't about me - this is about Riley."

Do you think Dr. B will buy that this is a selfless act for my unborn child when I weigh in at Monday's appointment? He'll probably laugh me right out of the room, just as he did when I asked him (with a very straight face and in all seriousness) "How is it that a baby can be head down - so upside down - for weeks on end and not pass out? If I hung upside down that long, I'd pass out!". This doctor must think I am BRILLIANT.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Just a normal update...

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Obviously, the pains that I experienced yesterday didn't lead to anything over night, but they have continued. They aren't increasing in frequency, though, and I am not having six or more within an hour, so I know they aren't labor contractions of any sort, but they do remind me that things are progressing and give me hope for this Monday's OB appointment. I even feel more pressure today than I was feeling yesterday and I guess this will just increase from this point out.

In the meantime I haven't gotten to anything in my list of remaining tasks that I posted the other day. Maybe this weekend. Mom and Dad are coming up on Saturday and staying until Sunday, and I am really looking forward to that. I haven't seen them since the first weekend in October, so this visit is much overdue. Normally I would have driven down to see them at least once between then and now, but as of the beginning of October we agreed I wouldn't travel any more, just in case, so it has decreased the visits. I think they'll be surprised with how much I've grown in size. I send pictures now and then, but I don't know that they do the 'real thing' justice.

Kevin continues to work each night to make our house more and more beautiful. He told Riley the other day that not only did she get a brand new bedroom (and the NICEST bedroom in the house), but due to her soon-to-be arrival she also got all new bedroom windows, new basement windows, new downstairs furniture, new living room furniture, new paint color through the entire upstairs, and now new window treatments. Ha! She's spoiled already! New carpet for the living room and hallway is the next - and last - thing on our list for major home improvements. We've done a LOT in recent months!!

Kevin's current project is the window treatments. We wanted the living room and kitchen area to be more "warm". Until now we've had nice wooden horizontal blinds in the windows. They're nice, but the windows we had put in last year are SO gorgeous that I hate to hide them behind the blinds. So we're removing the blinds and we found the coolest, most beautiful curtains that just make it feel like a home. It's hard to explain. But I am so appreciative of the work he is doing to make everything 'perfect'. I feel guilty watching him do all of from the couch, while I use my stomach as a tray for my ice cream. =) I try to take care of the tasks that I normally would enlist his help for, but that I am completely capable of doing on my own - like gathering the trash on trash day, putting his clean clothes away for him, cleaning up the kitchen, etc. He's already doing enough.

So my parents will see a LOT of new stuff this weekend - not just my growing belly - and that's exciting! Even more exciting would be if I went into labor on Saturday night while they are already up here. Oh, that would be so cool! One of my worries is that my labor will progress so quickly that they won't make it to the hospital in time for Riley to be born. (Fast labor would be nice, but I'd rather tack a few hours on and know they are here). Now, we're not having anyone in the delivery room with us, but it would be nice knowing they are in the waiting room while Kevin goes out to give his hourly updates (I picture something like, "Meg is doing okay - in a little pain - crunching on some ice chips ..."). But as long as they are there to meet her first thing after she arrives, I'll be okay.

Wow - I've written a lot.

Reflux and coughing and swelling ... oh my!

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"Pregnancy suits you well". I keep reminding myself that this comment was made to me at one of my baby showers back in September, because if that same person saw me now, she may just decide against giving me that compliment. I used to consider myself to be quite a lady - good manners, correct posture, the whole kit and kaboodle. Well, that's hard to keep up with when you have a beach ball in your stomach! Let's see - what do I do and how do I look nowadays?
  1. Acid Reflux / Heartburn - This is just fabulous. I hadn't suffered ANY of this up until this point, so most pregnant women would probably say I am due for it, but that doesn't make it any more tolerable. Thankfully it only ails me at night and not throughout the day, but it has caused my body to make very interesting, yet gross, sounds at night as I am falling asleep. Kevin actually said the other night, "I want my old wife back". HA!
  2. Swelling - So you know how swollen ankles (or naturally big ankles, such as mine) can be called 'cankles' due to your calf and ankle just kind of merging without any womanly curves? Well, what do they call it when your CANKLES swell? Tell me, quick, because there HAS to be a name for what is attached to my leg from knee down. I personally call it humiliating. I mean, my cankles grew cankles!! I refuse to wear skirts, dresses, or anything that could possibly be blown by the wind to expose my elephant trunks. The ONLY silver lining to this is that the doctor said the water weight will melt off so fast - possibly before I leave the hospital - and my normal cankles will return. I actually think I'll be excited to see them.
  3. Burping - Also see "Acid Reflux / Heartburn", but this also occurs minutes after I drink any beverage of any kind - ALWAYS. Classy, I know.
  4. Snoring - Apparently I am breathing differently at night - maybe it is due to the decreased lung capacity nowadays, but I am officially a snorer. And a snorter. And I also do this whole "Huuuuuh?" thing just as I fall to sleep. It sounds like I am honestly asking a question and it wakes me up. Kevin gets quite the laugh from this one, as it has become a nightly ritual now. Sometimes at work I take naps on lunch. One of the beautiful things about Progressive is that we have these "Quiet Rooms" in one of the buildings. They are dark rooms with partitions up and each one has a nice leather recliner in it. No one can see you sleeping ... but they can hear you. This must be karma kicking my booty for complaining about snorers in there in the past. Now I don't snore in there, but I have woken myself up several times with the loud "Huuuuh?" noise. It is at that point that I act as though I am clearing my throat. I hope I have everyone fooled.
  5. My cough ... oh, that gross cough - Last week I came down with a cold, accompanied by a cough. I went to the doctor and was given some meds that were safe to take during pregnancy. They cleared up the other cold symptoms - runny nose, sore throat, etc ... but they've done nothing for this cough. And it isn't a normal cough. I sound like an 80 year old man who just finished off his second pack of Marlboro's for the day. Sometimes it hits me mid-sentence, but I try and fight it ... continuing to cough as I talk. Gross, right? Riley would be so proud of her mama ...

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

What a Pain!

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This morning Kevin and I did our duty as good Americans and headed to the voting polls prior to coming into work. Our wait wasn't as bad as other precincts - we probably stood in line for about 30-45 minutes. During this time it occurred to me that (1) standing for a long time is now painful and uncomfortable and (2) something had changed with my body over night - at least that is what it seems. I found that beginning just this morning I have the need to put my hands underneath my belly - almost to provide it extra support. Until this morning, I was happy to rest my hands, arms, coffee mug, remote control and anything else on top of my belly. Not anymore. This thing needs support, people! But I really did - I felt as though I had to help hold it up a little more. This makes me wonder - has Riley dropped a little more?

Another change this morning - the pains. Now, this is why I realize I really don't like the "first experience" of being pregnant. Not knowing what to expect is very frustrating to me. And knowing that there is no text book pain, ache, or 'symptom' for women is just as frustrating. If I ask 5 different people what they experienced in the weeks leading up to the due date, I get 5 completely different answers. Even my sister-in-law, Rhonda, who has had five children told me that every experience was completely different and she felt she was learning all over again with each one. Yippee.

So back to the pains. They felt like sharp, stabbing pains ... "down there" and on the lower side of my belly. They would last maybe only 5-10 seconds or so, but they were very uncomfortable and ended with a nice menstrual-like cramp for a few minutes. I've noticed that they happen a lot more when I am standing up (standing still or moving around, doesn't matter) than they do when I am seated. Could it be that if Riley did drop more, she is moving in her new piece of real estate in my stomach and I am feeling different pains from her movements? Could these be stronger Braxton Hicks contractions? Could these actually be the real thing, just not as frequent as they need to be to send me to the hospital? I have no idea!!

Up until now I've heard plenty of friends, coworkers and absolute strangers tell of their false alarms and false runs to the hospital - and they've described it as being so embarrassed. My thought was always "Why would you be embarrassed? It's your first time having a baby - you don't know, and you're just playing it safe!". Well, now I am afraid I've crossed to the dark side with them. When these pains started coming on I thought that if they continue through the day and into the evening, maybe we'd make our first run at it. Dr. B has told me that six is the magic number to go - 6 contractions within an hour. But I don't know that I'd go now - out of fear and embarrassment that I would be wrong. Especially since I was just in his office yesterday being told that I was not dilated at all. Can these changes occur within 24 hours? I have no idea.

So my plan for today is to just wait out these newfound pains. At least they make me feel like something is changing ... and something, anything is good.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Remaining tasks

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Being the "list person" that I am (I cannot operate without a list), I have decided to list out the remaining tasks that I need to take care of during these last few weeks before Riley arrives.
  • Have car seat installed and inspected by Police Department. I went to the Fire Dept already - they directed me to the Police Dept. I went to the Police Dept, waited about 15 minutes for someone to help me, then realized I was so lucky that I was only there for a car seat install and not to report a murder. No one ever did come help me. And I am pretty sure those places don't close on the weekends.
  • Screw changing pad to changing table. This is Kevin's department, so I am just waiting on him (can't get onto him too much since he painted the entire upstairs this weekend.
  • Hang baby monitor. Since the crib is on a wall all by itself, there isn't a flat surface to place the baby monitor on, so I want it hung on the wall right next to the end that her head will be at. Once I find the hammer and nails I'll just do this myself.
  • Add last few items to hospital bag. iPod, headphones, camera, video camera, magazine or book, going home clothes, Boppy (people are telling me this is a must-have at the hospital). Man - there is still a LOT to add!! Better get on this one tonight. With my ZERO dilation, you never know what could happen (Sarcasm? You betcha.)
  • Hang book rack. I ordered this gorgeous book rack from Pottery Barn Kids (I've posted a picture directly below). My brother has one for the triplets and I think it is so classic looking. Kevin wasn't sold on the idea of needing to display her books, but I convinced him that we should "try it" to see how it looks and, worst case, return it. His version of the story is that I didn't get his agreement at all and just ordered it - and ordered it with gift cards purchased at Giant Eagle so that returning it for cash wasn't possible (I promise you, that thought never entered my mind - but it is good logic). So the case needs hung and he is purposely holding out on me ...

I'm Thinning!!

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I am thinning! Well, as anyone who has seen me lately could tell you, *I* am not thinning, but my cervix is! We just got back from our 36-week check up. Today was the first of my weekly internal exams. Going into the appointment I had convinced myself that I would be dilated a centimeter or two and then - earlier this morning - even convinced myself that I would be told I was actually in labor and the doctor would make over me for my high tolerance for pain. However, that isn't how it went. And any sane person would have told me that isn't how it would go, either.

Instead, I have no dilation at all, but the cervix is thinning and Dr. B confirmed that Riley is head-down. So that's a plus, right? And although I feel like I am 20 pounds heavier than I was at my last appointment, I was thrilled to see I had only gained 1 pound in the past two weeks. And I didn't even mull over picking out a "lightweight" outfit this morning! You see, typically for each of my OB appointments I have picked out the lightest-weight outfit possible and have even gone as far as skipping the jewelry, headbands, etc. Hey - that stuff can add up on the scale! So to celebrate this small weight gain, I skipped directly over to Steak & Shake after the appointment and ordered a chocolate milkshake. Even I can see that my logic isn't quite in line at this point. Oh well - it tasted fabulous.

So now we have next Monday's appointment to look forward to. Who knows - I suppose a lot can happen in 7 days, right? In the meantime, I can say for a fact that my Braxton Hicks contractions have kicked it up a notch. Last night one took my breath away and I had that "Oh my God, this is it" feeling for a split second - then I realized I am just not that lucky.

I do have to insert a 'proud mama' experience in here, though. I do believe that Riley has graduated from the beginners gymnastics class that takes place in my stomach daily and is on to the intermediate level ... or at least that is how it feels! The little stinker loves to kick around in there, day and night! But I love it - and I know those kicks are something I'll miss once she is here ... but I'll take her in my arms over anything else, any day.

Lastly, Kevin has been going through his own nesting stage. This past weekend he single-handedly repainted the entire upstairs (minus bedrooms). That means he patched, primed, and painted (two coats) the kitchen, dining area, living room, and hallway. No small feat for anyone! The place looks gorgeous and has that fresh, clean feeling - the best way to welcome a baby into their new home!! What did I do during all of this? I did my fair share of cleaning - like REALLY cleaning. Everything that is exposed to air in the kitchen got scrubbed, blinds got dusted, woodwork got dusted, etc. I even found the patience to put the Pack and Play together!! Now it is just sitting downstairs, waiting for a little baby to nap in it. Soon enough ... soon enough ...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

T-minus 1 month ...

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Today is officially one month away from our stated due date of November 30th. I've recently felt as though I've been pregnant forever, but when I consider the fact that I am now 9-months pregnant, it makes all the time seem so short. 1 month to go. 31 days. Unreal. I feel as though we are so prepared for her - both mentally and with everything we need to welcome her into her new home. Also knowing that our OB told us that he would only let me go one week past my due date, maximum, before inducing labor makes me be able to say with confidence that I will meet my baby girl in 38 days or less. Wow - what a countdown.

31 more days (give or take) of discomfort sounds okay to me ... but just when I thought it wasn't possible to become any more uncomfortable than I already have been, a nasty cold has settled in. Yesterday was day #3 of it and I realized that instead of getting better, it seemed to be getting worse so I headed to health services at work. I was given two prescriptions and orders to pick up an OTC medication - all of which my OB's office confirmed were safe to take at this point in the pregnancy. I am to take everything once a day, so I started them last night.

Today not only do I feel the same as yesterday, but I also feel drunk. It takes most of my energy to keep my eyes from crossing. I had my weekly massotherapy appointment this morning and I fell asleep on the table. If you can fall asleep while a 200-lb man grinds his knuckles into your back muscles, that says something for the medication. The silver lining here is that I had the best sleep I've had in months last night and I think the meds even succeeded in halting my bladder for a few hours so that I wouldn't wake up for my hourly bathroom run - and that is the only reason I am excited to take everything again tonight!

As for Riley, I think she is feeling the intoxicating effects of the medication as well. It feels as though I have a six-pound drunkard in my stomach, unable to walk straight, bouncing of the sides of my uterus, falling down, then jumping for the sky. But I love her all the same and can't stop smiling each time I feel her movements.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

33 Days ... but who's counting?

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I've decided to start this blog to help capture the last several weeks of my pregnancy with Riley. I had been journaling by hand here and there, but think this will be easier and therefore motivate me to keep up with it.

As of today I am 35 weeks, 2 days pregnant ... which means 33 days to go to the due date of November 30th ... but who's counting, right? Ha! Give me a few and I'll have that broken down into minutes and seconds for you, because I feel like that is how I am counting down.

I really don't have a right to complain much. Kevin and I have been blessed with a wonderfully healthy, uneventful pregnancy and to complain wouldn't be right. So maybe I'll just whine a little. That's not the same, right?

Here is a list of the "Top Five Hardest Things to Do" for me, personally, at this point in time (in no particular order):

  1. Put on socks or shoes

  2. Roll over in bed

  3. Get out of bed or up off of a couch

  4. Wipe after using the bathroom (sorry ...)

  5. Walk without waddling

Riley is quite the little gymnast. I have nothing to compare her movements to, but I never imagined in a million years that a baby would move this much, day and night. I am so excited to see how long she is because she is able to successfully slug me on the right and left, top and bottom, all at once with some swift kicks (or unusual yoga moves that I've never seen before).

I've had two dreams of her in recent weeks where I've actually caught a glance of her gorgeous face. In my dreams she has a headfull of dark, dark hair and the cutest expression on her face. I just cannot wait to see the real thing! I am just as excited to see Kevin as a dad in action. He is going to be amazing, that is no secret. I've already fallen in love with him all over again during this pregnancy, so I can't wait for that to happen a third time once she has arrived. It is very easy to become overly emotional and get a little depressed at this point in the game. It feels like the end goal is so close, but still ... 33 days can drag on quite a bit.

This morning is the first time that I feel more pressure lower than usual. I am wondering if this means she is beginning to drop. That would be nice. Our next doctor appointment is Monday (Nov 3rd ... Mom's birthday!) and my internal exams will begin at that appointment and continue on each week until she decides to enter the world. It would be very encouraging to hear that I am starting to dilate, but we shall see!

Until that point, my bag is packed and I am ready to go!