BakingBabyBigTime2.0: 32 Weeks

Well…surprise, surprise! Mama’s slacking and I have no bump photo this week. I’m also 5 days late posting this update, so I’ll just own it and try to post some pictures this weekend when we’re all fancied up for my sister’s wedding!

Size of Baby: Size of a squash! I think I said something cute about how Lydia would cost $15 dollars or something if I bought her at New Seasons. Funny how the budget is so different when you’re working full time and I spend all my extra money on cute things for my kid. I’d expect to pay more like $5 at Freddy’s for this baby – and I’d love eating it just as much as the expensive one from New Seasons! ūüėČ

Cravings/Diet: Well, I finally broke down into tears on the table at my Midwife’s office last week. I am so miserable and tired of the constant¬†discomfort in my bowels. Without going into too much detail, it’s been a constant and violent storm that switches between one extreme and the next – sometimes in the same day, which doesn’t even seem possible! She recommended I make some more dietary changes and have a salad every day and I’ve been trying. I’ve also been trying to cut out a ton of sugar, but really, there’s nothing as satisfying as an ice cream at the end of the day. As much as I want to say that I’ve made great dietary choices, I will fully admit that the $0.50 Frosty I treated Lydia and I to the other day was probably the best thing I’ve ever put into my mouth.

What I Love: BEING ON MATERNITY LEAVE!! I feel like the weight of the world has been lifted from my shoulders knowing I don’t have to go back to work. It was just getting to be too painful and I was so absolutely exhausted by the end of the day that I could hardly function to get myself home. Then, I’d spend the next day and a half on the couch just recovering from work. Ugh! Throw in my “I’ve gotta go to the bathroom RIGHT NOW” feelings, it was a miserable place for me to be and I feel like a whole new woman being home! Now, if only they process my freaking paperwork and my MW lets me stay out the whole time, I’ll really feel carefree!

What I Miss: Bending over without fire coming up my throat. Regular bowel movements. Tying my shoes.

What I’m Looking Forward to Most: Our family getaway¬†this weekend! My sister is getting married and we’re going to visit Crater Lake for a few days on the way home. Ben has been working like a mad-man lately and I’m so excited to spend some much-needed family time together, away from the looming to do list at the house and the constant demands of his job. For us to just enjoy being together. I’m so excited!

Worries: I had a growth ultrasound this past week to rule out sister being a little peanut like Lydia was, and they found that her right kidney is slightly dilated. I don’t really know what that means (not sure I want to google it) but I guess it often self-resolves. Either way, they want me to see a Perinatologist in the next few weeks to monitor progress and growth. I’m sure I will google it, and will probably have some moments of freaking out, but I’ll have to remind myself again and again the the Lord has a beautiful and perfect plan for this little girl, and whatever potential challenges come our way, we’ll take them with stride and will be so absolutely grateful for any and all moments we are given with her.

…ok…I just googled. Sounds like at worst it could be Hydronephrosis. I could totally deal with that. I sure as heck don’t want to have to, but in the grand scheme, we’d totally be ok.

Symptoms: Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, sciatic pain, round ligament pain, constant urination and a desire to watch an excessive amount of TV while mowing down on some ice cream. Seem to be following the “How to Be Pregnant” guide to a T!

Sleep: Last time I loved my Snoogle, and this time I want nothing to do with it! I am preferring a pillow for my head, on for my belly and one for my legs. Get those suckers tucked in just right and I’m out for the night…or for at least 3 hours until when I have to get up and use the restroom. Thankfully, I don’t even really notice these middle of they night trips to pee, they are just part of the routine and I go right back to sleep. I should also point out here that Lydia is maybe the world’s best kid and will easily entertain herself in the mornings and let me sleep until 8 or 8:30. She’s a gem!

Movement: Baby girl is head down and enjoys pushing her bootie out to my left and practicing lots of flutter kicks! Water polo star in the making??

The Belly: Large and In Charge! Much to my horror, the stretch marks keep coming (“why are those cracks on your body, mama?”), but watev, I’m just thankful for the opportunity to birth another baby. At the end of the day, really, truly, that is what matters most! Stretch marks, messed pants, and burning esophagus aside, I am just so blessed to get to be a mama!

Milestones: Hmmm…I bought a car seat base so now I actually have everything I “need”? Granted, everything is in the attic in boxes, but it is technically in my house, so that has to count!

Gender Predictions: We confirmed our little girl is very much a girl on her ultrasound last week – Ben may have been holding out hope for a change, but he’s pretty settled into the idea of two sweet, tutu wearing little humans in our house!

Best Moment of the Week: Last time I was pretty mushy with these, but this time, I’m too tired for mush. My best moment was at the chiropractor. She pulled out this ginormous pillow with holes for my head, boobs and belly and I got to lay on my stomach – painlessly! – while she rubbed my spine and worked on my lower back. I can’t wait to go back! I’m also considering booking an hour with that just that pillow!

Pictures to come!

 

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Baking BabyBigTime2.0: 31 Weeks

Better late than never, right??

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Another pregnancy, another awkward bathroom photo!

Size of baby: Size of a coconut!

Cravings/Diet:¬†Since I have passed both of my Gestational Diabetes tests this pregnancy (hallelujah!), I’ve been a super terrible eater! Before I was pregnant, I was absolutely loving any roasted vegetables, but once that tiny little line popped up on my test, the very thought of vegetables is repulsive! It’s been a long, fiber-lacking 31 weeks! I have however, devoured any and all forms of carbohydrates, with very buttery english muffins being my carb of choice these days. I don’t even know how I’ve somehow broken even with my initial pregnancy weight (Oh, wait, yes I do…the early pregnancy bloat and weight gain was incredible and caused the intake nurse to point out many, many times that I was “obese”. GRRR…). Thankfully, I seem to be over my Hershey’s Cookie and Creme bar phase, and the dollar chicken sandwich phase of the first trimester is long gone as well.

 

What I love:¬†I really do love being pregnant! I love feeling this sweet girl move all around and I love going through the bit of baby things I’ve been collecting and imagining the tiny little peanut that will soon be using them. Newborns are just so intoxicating!

 

What I miss:¬†I miss beer. Like woah! It was a long summer to not have an icy cold one! La Croix just doesn’t cut it!

 

What I‚Äôm looking forward to the most:¬†¬†Maternity leave! This has been a much, much harder pregnancy than my first and I’m anxiously awaiting the day my Midwife releases me from work.

I’m also super looking forward to my sister’s wedding next weekend (what?!?!!) – BUT – not for reasons you’d expect…yes, yes, I’m excited for her actual wedding and I’m super happy for her, but today, right now, what I’m looking forward to most is the freaking In-N-Out cheeseburger that is calling my name! Oh yeah! Medford, OR has an In-N-Out and this preggo has a date with a Double-Double in her near future!

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Worries:¬† I worry so much that I’ll be messing up Lydia’s sweet little life when we bring the baby home. I know we are giving her the best gift by giving her a sister, but, in my moments of doubt, I worry about¬†how she will adjust. It hurts me to think that she will miss the first part of her life, where Ben and I had no one else to shower our affections upon. I worry she’ll miss me, or choose Ben more. Truth be told, every time I worry, I really do almost instantly see the opposite and am excited for the prospect of her being a big sister, of her bonding with her daddy more, of our family instantly expanding with more and more love. I am so excited for every little thing, but I do worry too.
Symptoms: Man, oh man! So many freaking symptoms! Maybe your second pregnancy is¬†just a reminder of all the less than glamorous aspects of your first pregnancy. My¬†two current worst offenders are heartburn and sciatica. I’ve started acupuncture to help¬†with both of these, but I haven’t noticed a difference yet (it has helped¬†with my bowel functions though, which is wonderful!). I remember thinking I had to pee all the time last time and feeling like it was the worst thing I was dealing with. I still do have to pee now, but it doesn’t seem to be as annoying as I thought it was before.

Sleep:¬†Love it, gotta have it! I don’t even notice waking up the once or twice I do anymore. I’m just so loving every chance I get to shut ¬†my eyes!

Movement:¬†Oh, yes! Baby girls is an active little thing! She moves all the time, and I still think it is the coolest feeling! Every time I’ve thought “I haven’t felt her in a while” she starts to circle all around within moments. Such a good little baby this girl is! I’ve felt hiccuping this time around, which is not something I remember feeling with Lydia. It’s a strange, almost seizure-like rapid sequence of movements and they’re not my favorite because they feel really weird. All the other rolls, kicks and stretches are much appreciated and adored though!

The belly:¬†Large and in charge! People seem surprised when I say I’m 31 weeks – like maybe I should be bigger? I think it’s just because I have hips and my babies are just a bit more sunk into my body rather than sticking straight out. I tried to compare a photo to last time and I think I’m carrying a little lower than last time, but it’s hard to tell, both bellies are pretty similar.

Milestones:¬†I don’t know! Maybe when I do one thing to get ready for this baby I’ll feel like I’ve hit a milestone. So far, I’m in a stage of happy denial with a to-do list that seems to grow daily

 

Gender Predictions:¬†We are thrilled about the aspect of a second girl! Truth be told, Ben was really hoping for a boy. Not because he doesn’t want another girl, but just so he can have the opportunity to have a son. His face went a little pale when the ultrasound tech said “Girl!” and he had to give himself a minute to let the reality of having teenage girls for almost 10 years sink in, but in true Ben form, he was texting his friends our happy news before the jelly was off of my tummy!

 

Amusing comments from the general public:¬†None to speak of. Portland is a very family friendly community for the most part, and I’ve yet to experience any even remotely resembling¬†rudeness from anyone.

Best moment of the week: Maybe last night. Forewarning: this is a sappy mom moment. The last 6 months, Ben has been working nights and last night was his last night shift of the year. For lots of reasons, but mostly because her and I love it, when he is at work, Lydia has been sleeping with me. She¬†will happily sleep in her own bed if asked to, but she considers it a special treat to sleep¬†with mama (so do I!). As I was¬†going to work yesterday morning the thought hit me: this was our¬†last night¬†for a mama-daughter sleepover before I’d be sharing my bed with two sweet girls (i.e. I’ll be sleeping on the couch). I got a little choked up at the thought and made sure to try and¬†snuggle her extra tight as she fell asleep beside me and I let¬†the sound of her sweet little breath lull me into dreamland. I never want to lose sight of the incredible, beautiful blessing motherhood is.

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Knocked up, Again!

Well, in keeping with my theme, I’ve fallen off the face of the blog-world and have been busy enjoying my real life. I’ve been enjoying it so much, in fact, that I’m adding to my joy and am so thrilled to say we are expecting our second blessing! Soon, actually!!

I’m 31 weeks pregnant with our second daughter.

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I am so impressed with myself that I was somehow able to document so many details the first time around, and my hat is officially off to the mamas who are able to continue their pregnancy updates with every subsequent child. Rockstars! I am just not that mama!

We are absolutely enamored at the prospect of another baby girl, but somehow, her impending arrival seems so much more hard to believe than last time. I can’t really fathom that I actually get to have another tiny little precious human to keep! I get to do all the crazy newborn stuff and be filled with all the gushy new-mama joy AGAIN?? Seriously, pinch me, I’m so excited!

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That being said, like every other mother of more than one child will probably attest to, I’m also feeling some grief. Please, please don’t get me wrong – I am 100% in love with the idea of expanding our family and this little baby is so, so, so loved, but it is so bittersweet to know that as I welcome another baby, I am putting to rest this beautiful season where my first baby was literally my whole world.

Lydia is the most incredible treasure and I couldn’t possibly sum up my feeling for her with words. She is mine and being her mother is the best, most indescribable gift! I am so thankful I’ve had the last 3+ years to do nothing but shower her with all of me. And, likewise, I’ve been so abundantly blessed getting to do life alongside her! She is my best little buddy and my constant, happy shadow. As much as I am aching to start this next chapter in our lives, my heart breaks a little to close this current one, because it has been the sweetest in my whole life.

Speaking of my sweet girl, she is going to rock being a big sister! I fully intend to deal with some sibling rivalry, but right now, she is ready! Every day she asks me what the baby is doing and frequently asks to see pictures on my phone on how the baby looks this week. Sometimes, when I find myself feeling anxious about disrupting her perfect little life with the arrival of a new family member, she eases all of my burdens with a simple statement such as “I love our baby so much!” and it’s as if Jesus Himself is speaking to my heart and telling me that our little family will navigate this transition with grace, love and so much joy. We are so absolutely blessed!

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So, without further aiedu, I introduce, our precious second daughter…BabyBigTime2.0!

Version 2

 

Baking BabyBigTime: 40 Weeks, 1 Week Post Partum

(I intend to add pictures to this post later, but as it is, it took me three attempts to just write this, so I’ll add them in a few days. In that time I’m sure my tiny baby will be huge and big and almost a grown up. Time is flying so freakin’ fast.)

How far along were you when you had your baby? 39 weeks on the nose.

How long was labor? 12 hours almost exactly 

Total weight gain:¬†I wasn’t expecting to go into labor naturally, so I didn’t even think to weigh myself, but at my last check (a few days before I delivered) I was up about 20 pounds

Total weight loss so far: 14 pounds

Back into your own clothes yet?¬†My old pajamas and workout pants yes, but my prepregnancy jeans are tucked safely away in my closet, and I don’t really intend to bust those bad boys out anytime soon. Maybe it’s because I’ve never really embraced my body’s size and shape, but I don’t have any major hangups with how my pregnant body looked or now looks. I am just so thankful I was able to carry this baby and then deliver her without complication, now I’ll take whatever size I end up and deal with it. All that to say, I am pretty impressed with how my body is now though – I thought it would be much worse.

 Did you get stretch marks? As proud of my body as I am, these puppies will never be a source of pride or joy for me. They are gross and icky and I hate them.

How is physical recovery going?¬†Considering I had no idea what to expect as far as recovery goes, I think I’m doing well. I ended up with a pretty significant second degree tear, and that gets sore if I’ve done too much during the day. On Friday we went to the Pediatrician, Lactation, out to dinner, to Target and then on a big walk before bed. I think that was a bit too much because I was pretty sore all the next day. However, other than needing to be careful when I go to sit down or when I have to use the restroom, things are recovering well.

Best moment this week: Oh, I don’t think I can narrow it down to one. So many moments have been so precious and amazing and the best moments of my life. Going into labor on my own. My natural birth (which will be a best moment in my mind forever, though I know it was literally the hardest, most difficult thing I have ever done…full story to come). Grabbing her from my body and pulling her still-connected body to my chest. Watching Ben dance/rock with her the first night in our hospital room. Listening to Ben sing lullabies to our sweet sleeping girl in her little bassinet. Nursing for the first time on our own. Ben helping me to the restroom and his sweet, tender care of me. Putting her going home outfit on. Ben zipping her into his jacket in Babies R Us on the way home from the hospital. Bringing her into the house for the first time. Praying together as a family for the first time. Deciding on her name. Introducing Lydia to my mama. Waking up and watching her sleep. Listening to Ben’s little giggle when he is looking at her and she does something cute. Having sushi Friday night, our first “date” as a family. Every single moment has been precious. Every one. I want to relive this past week over and over again.¬†

¬†What do you miss about being pregnant?¬†I loved being pregnant, but I am so happy having this precious girl here with us that I can’t even miss anything.

How did you come up with Lydia’s name?¬†We had 9 months to agree on a name, but we couldn’t do it. Saylor was the closest we had gotten, but I wasn’t 100%. I always pictured my first daughter to be sweet and girly and to have a name that matched. Emma had been a favorite forever, but Ben deemed it too plain and overused. So, Thursday night on our evening walk I asked Ben what his second choice for a name was. He said he wasn’t sure and then said, “What about Lydia?” It was of the same girly vein as Livia (another favorite) but wouldn’t need to be corrected her whole life. It was sweet and girly without being too popular. I looked it up later that evening and I really liked it’s meaning (“beautiful”) and it’s ranking (right around #100). We thought on it for a few days and both grew to love it more and more.

Finally, after she was born, it came time to decide what we were going to name our daughter. We didn’t decide until Monday, in fact, after Ben said “Ok Steph, we need to have a talk.” Ultimately, we decided she could either be Saylor or Lydia, but because she was so precious and dainty she seemed more girly. And, the deciding factor in my mind was Ben’s reaction to her in general. He freely admitted he knew he would love our baby, but he thought really bonding with her would take time. However, that was not the case. Meeting her blew his mind in a way he didn’t expect. He told me the first night, how he was just overwhelmed with how much he loved her, so instantly and so deeply. He saw her and feel absolutely in love. No hesitation or question, he was her daddy 100%, completely bonded and smitten. To me, the overwhelming instant love that broke his heart lead to a more girly name, and with that, we decided to name our beautiful daughter Lydia.

Is Lydia named after someone?¬†Yes, my Grandma Clara. I had a very special relationship with my dad’s mom and I always knew I wanted to name my first daughter after her. I originally thought we’d use Claire or Mae as a middle name because her name was Clara Mae and I liked the sound of both of those names better than Clara with most names we talked about. However, when we were looking at our sweet Lydia and talking middle name combinations, Ben said “If we’re going to name her after your grandma, let’s use her actual name” and so there it was, Lydia Clara Geist. Our daughter. The musician in Ben also likes the rhythm of the names, and the fact that all three of our names have three syllables followed by a middle name with two. He noticed the rhythm, at least one of us does…

How big is Lydia?¬†My tiny little lady was 5 lbs 11 oz at birth and then on Friday at her first pediatrician appointment she was 5 lbs 15 oz! I was afraid my overactive let down which was often spraying milk all over her face and not allowing her to get a good latch was going to prevent her from gaining weight, but I suppose not! In fact, after the Pediatrician we went to a follow up Lactation consult and we measured her before and after a feeding and this little chunk downed 52 cc’s in 6 minutes!

Every day I notice her cheeks rounding a little more, and her tiny double chin becoming a bit more double. Please time stop right here. I want to savor her tiny, precious sweetness forever.

How is her temperament?¬† Perfect. She sleeps, she cuddles, she nurses. She fusses if she’s naked or hungry, but if you pick her up she stops immediately. I could not imagine a more perfect baby.

How is nursing going?¬† My milk came in Tuesday afternoon and nursing became a bit of a challenge. Lydia would attempt to latch, but my milk would overwhelm her and she would end up sucking/licking the milk off my breast. Obviously, this would not make for a successful nursing career, so I did some research and tried pumping a bit off before feeding her (I pumped 8 ounces the first day! I wasn’t supposed to do that though, so now I’ve mostly been hand expressing) and we’re getting better. She does better with the right breast, but about 50% of the time she’ll get a great latch with the left as well. Her appointments on Friday made me feel so much better and gave me a little confidence that even if we struggle during one nursing session, the next one will probably be better. I’m definitely thankful for more milk than less and I’d take the problem of oversupply before undersupply any day!

How many times have you been peed on? Barfed on?¬† We had our first blowout about 30 minutes after getting home ūüôā Full on, up the back of her outfit, out her diaper and everything. Wipes were not going to handle that mess, so we ran to the sink and washed her up in there. Welcome home mom & dad! Other than that, I’ve stayed pretty clean, and Ben has been spit up on twice, and both times he didn’t even blink. I’m going to have to dedicate an entire post to how amazing of a dad he’s been! Seriously, words don’t even do him justice!

What is the longest you have been away from Lydia?¬†¬†I took a nice, long shower yesterday ūüėČ Last night, when Ben’s parents were visiting we were making plans for the next day and I mentioned I wanted to go to our church’s Christmas service. We were talking about when we should meet up with them and my FIL started to suggest we leave Lydia with them while we attended the service. I think he actually said “You could leave her” when instantly my heart sunk, tears came to my eyes and I said “No. Nope. No.” faster than I ever responded to anything in my life. Sorry dude, no offense, but my baby is staying with me. I am so not ready to cross that bridge!

Have you taken her out yet?¬† I am quite proud to say yes! We went to Babies “R” Us on the way home from the hospital (I still hate that store, btw) because we needed smaller diapers. Then, we went to dinner with my mom and Hannah on Wednesday, then Ben and I took her out on Friday, where we did the Pediatrician, Lactation, sushi dinner and then Target. Today we’re going to try church and then dinner with Ben’s family. Nursing is the trickiest part because I haven’t tried using a cover yet. I think I’ll just feed her in the care if I need to.

How/where does she sleep?¬†¬†Right now we’re keeping her in bed with us. We’ll transition to the co-sleeper next week, but for now she’s on the Boppy positioner between us.

What are you looking forward to?¬†¬†Every little thing. Oh my gosh. I always knew I wanted to be a mom, but actually getting to be one is better than I ever imagined! As much as I want to freeze time and savor the tiny, new, preciousness of this baby, I can’t wait to see who she grows into. What will she look like? What will she sound like? Every little detail. At this second however, I am so full-to-the brim with happiness and I can’t even begin to thank Jesus enough for giving this most wonderful gift to me. I am so filled with joy and absolutely, overwhelmingly, 100% blessed beyond measure!!

A Letter to My Daughter, On The Eve of Her Birth

To my precious girl,

I am sitting in bed, knowing that tomorrow everything is going to change. I don’t know for sure if you will make your grand entrance tomorrow or the day after, but either way, you will be on your way.

I have wanted you for as long as I’ve been able to. To be a mom has been my life’s greatest dream and you, my sweet girl, will make it come true. I truly can’t even wrap my head around this blessing.

Your daddy and I are prepared as we can be to bring you home. We are so excited to see you, to touch you, to get to know you. We love you already. Our house is cleaner than it ever has been (seriously), the car seat is buckled in and your changing stations are stocked and ready to go. I have precious little outfits, soft blankets and every gadget and gizmo a newborn could possibly need. Physically, we’re ready.

I was going to write something long and sentimental, but, the morning is fast approaching and my hours for sleep are few. I want you to always know how loved, wanted and cherished you are. I want you to know that with every fiber of your being. I pray that you never doubt your worth or value and that you would find your joy in knowing that your earthly parents and, more importantly, your Heavenly Father are “enthralled in your beauty.” You, my sweet girl, are truly fearfully and wonderfully made.

I also want you to know that I love your daddy. I believe one of the best ways I can honor you as my daughter is to love your father well. He is by far my life’s biggest blessing, and having you as a byproduct of our love is something so sweet words can’t describe. I can’t wait to watch him with you, my heart may just burst with joy.

In every season of doubt in my life, Jesus has held me tight and given me hope and comfort. These past 39 weeks have been no different. In one sense, I was finally getting what I had always wanted (i.e. you), but the timing was off, the situation wasn’t perfect. Well, in His perfect way, God told me to be still and to trust Him. I heard him say so clearly, “I have plans for your family – plans to grow you, and to give you a future and a hope.”

Baby girl, I hope I can set an example for you of a woman whose faith is set firmly in God. I have so much growing to do, but I hope to show you where true hope and promise lye. I pray I can mother you in a way that honors our Savior and in a way that encourages you put your faith, your hope and your trust in Him alone.

You are already so loved sweet, baby girl. I can’t hardly wait to see you, to smell you, to touch you. I am so, so ready to meet you. My daughter. You have given me such a precious gift, because in you, I will have become a mother. Thank you little one, thank you.

I love you.

Mama

 

Baking BabyBigTime: Pregnancy Favorites

I’ve loved looking at other mama’s and mamas-to-be favorite things list, so I thought I’d try my hand at my own. I don’t feel like I’ve treated myself excessively or bought into a lot of the hype for pregnancy things (we simply did not have the budget to do so, or I probably would have!), but I have invested in a few things that have made the past 9 months a bit more comfortable.

First being the Snoogle.

How can something so wrong feel oh, so right?

I swore up and down that I would not buy a pregnancy pillow. But around 16 weeks I started adding regular pillows to my night time routine, but even then I’d wake up a little more sore than usual. I broke down after a particularly early morning wake up call after a particularly bad night of sleep and made my way to the store to buy this monstrosity and never looked back. There is something about the way you can fold this guy right against the curves of your body that is extremely supportive and comfortable. I’ve actually woken up from a deep sleep (which is awesome, btw…not) just to think to myself: I am so comfortable right now. Do yourself a favor and just buck up and get one, you won’t be sorry!

Next: the plumbers apprentice. BellaBand by Ingrid & Isabel.

The BellaBand, the REAL one.

I heard the real ones were way better than the cheaper Target ones, but again, as with the pillow, there was no way I was going to drop $30 on some tiny piece of fabric that I wasn’t sure would work. No way. So, I bought the Target one and wore it dutifully and felt like I had shoved my pre-baby chub into a sausage casing. It was not awesome, but my pants were no longer fitting right and the last thing I wanted was to be the nurse who bent over to look at her chest tubes only to expose my crack to my horrified patients and their parents, so I shoved myself into it every day. Then, at a consignment shop, I saw an original BellaBand on the shelf, in size XXL (the one they recommend for bigger ladies carrying multiples). It was $6 and when I put it on over my clothing it didn’t fall off (chubby girls for the win!), so I thought, why the heck not, at least it will make it so I don’t show my crack. That thing was awesome! Easily the best $6 I’ve ever spent, and the next time I get knocked up, I will be purchasing more of the original bands (in my size) because they are really so much better. The fabric is more substantial, they are softer and they don’t slide around like the Target ones. By the time I got the real one though, I had a decent belly and the large, looser size didn’t bother me because I was too be to keep regular pants up anyway, I just wanted something to help me protect my dignity while I wore my drawstring pants super low.

Another pregnancy splurge that I loved: LaVanilla Body Butter

Vanilla Coconut

This stuff is so lovely! I am not one to normally buy fancy schmancy body lotions (unless the buy 6 get 18 free deals from Bath and Body Works count), so me dropping more than $20 on a bottle of lotion seemed like a big deal to me, but every time I slathered my swollen, stretch marked body with this stuff, I felt pretty. I may have been bloated, broken out and constipated, but I felt like a princess every time I touched my smooth skin. Plus, the smell is perfectly light and refreshing and doesn’t smell like chemicals at all (it’s actually all natural and safe for mama and baby). I love this lotion (another great option is Alba, love that one too!).

My staples: Mossimo Microrib Tank

I lived in theses tank tops! I probably have 5 or 6 and wear them all the time, even now with my 38 week belly. The way I carried this baby, I didn’t “pop” like some women, plus, I’m normally quite curvy so the traditional long tops with ruched sides just didn’t work for me. Plus, the second you pop the word “maternity” on anything, it’s double the price. These are under $10 and hold up really well to washing. They come in a ton of colors and are the perfect weight to layer, but are not too see through to wear alone. I love them and hope Target never discontinues them!

Random but awesome: Human Gear capCAP

Fits Nalgene Perfectly

Preggers need to drink a lot of water. Preggers are also clumsy (at least I was – a strange pregnancy symptom that showed up years before I even gestated!). This helps save those perfect tanks.

Little indulgences: Endangered Species Dark Chocolate

MMM…

Mama needed her some chocolate, but mama had the Diabetes, so this was a good way to cure the sweet tooth and try to prevent having to birth a sumo wrestler baby. When all was said and done, I think Ben and I have tried every flavor New Seasons had, and this is my favorite (but they’re all good)!

Life Savers: American Health Papaya Enzymes

Miracle.

I will forever sing the praises of Papaya Enzymes! These bad boys are heartburn stoppers. They work much better than TUMS and taste better too. Baking a human or not, I will always keep these in my cupboard and will love them until I die.

And last, but certainly not least, this guy:

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DaddyBigTime

Your baby daddy. This one’s pretty important. I know that lots of ladies are not so lucky, but I happen to be blessed so much by mine. This whole baby thing came out of left field, especially for him, but he has handled it all in stride. He has been the perfect amount excited, scared, nervous and happy. He has helped me stay tough, but babied me when I needed it. He has given a glorious amount of back rubs and has obliged many, many of my “honey will you help me for a sec?’s” He has come to appointments, cried with me, brought me down from my irrational freak outs and reminded me time and time again how the only thing that is important is that we get to bring our little girl home, no matter how that looks. I am so thankful for him, so thankful he is my partner in life, and so, so thankful he gets to be this little girl’s dad.

Baking BabyBigTime: 38 Weeks

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Size of baby:¬†Sweet baby girl is nearly 7 pounds and probably 19 inches long, about the size of a leek. She’s full sized! It’s crazy to feel her little bum right under my ribs and think that I’ll get to hold that sweet bootie in just a matter of days!

Cravings/Diet:¬†Ice cold milk. Where in the world did that come from? Sidenote: I always drink my milk with ice. I saw my cousin Kristi do it once when I was very little and I thought she was brilliant, so I’ve taken my leche on the rocks ever since!

What I love:¬†The fire under my hubby’s cute bum. We’re getting ready all up in here, and not just ready, but ready ready. Like, I’ll have a bit of a nursery (which we probably won’t use right away) and Christmas decorations!

What I miss:¬†I just realized I had nasty heartburn last week and this week not so much, thank you Jesus! I don’t miss anything this week really, I think I’m just so looking forward to next week!

What I’m looking forward to the most: Meeting my daughter next week! Oh, and a celebration date night with Ben on Thursday (more on that below).

Worries:¬†How the heck I’m going to squeeze a freaking human from my vag.¬†

Symptoms:¬†Still sore at the end of the day, and my piggies definitely plump up if I’ve done a lot of walking. I did not notice this at first, but my sweet husband pointed it out to me the other evening “Your toes are fat!” Love that guy.

Sleep: The hours are all over the place (0200 Р1100, what??) but the quality is pretty solid. Thank goodness!

Movement:¬†I think I can feel her wiggling her shoulders and occasionally she’ll twist her bootie (which is lodged right under my ribs, right in the middle) from side to side. Like I said earlier, I really can’t believe I’ll get to actually put the butt I can feel through my stomach into my hands in a week! It’s surreal!

The belly:¬†I think she may be moving down into the birth canal (MW said she could feel her head on Thursday) which is causing the bump to change shape a little bit. I think anyways. Of course, I’ve been terrible about taking pictures and have no proof of this, but I’ll try to take some tonight before Ben’s Christmas party.

Milestones:¬†I had my first internal exam on Thursday. I was 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced, and the MW said baby girl was pretty low. She was very impressed with what I was doing to ripen my cervix and told me to keep up the good work! We tentatively set an induction date of the 17th (which I will confirm with my primary MW on Monday), but I’m still hoping I go into labor sooner (I think the 15th would be perfect! Ha!). Whatever day I actually go into labor, and by natural causes or with some help, I want my body to be ready, thus the cervical ripening. I have been drinking red raspberry leaf tea and taking Evening Primrose Oil capsules everyday (both are said to help strengthen the cervix – in higher doses and only after longer periods of time than what I’ve been doing, but whatev), and Ben and I have been walking about a mile an a quarter every night. I’ve also done acupuncture twice (and will continue twice this week as well) and have been pumping each breast with my new pump for nipple stimulation (which can stimulate contractions).

After my appointment on Thursday I came home and found Ben in the garage working away. I asked him what he was doing and he replied “Well, you’re dilating and we have so much stuff to do!” Ha! The impending arrival of this girl has really sunken into him this week and he’s on a mission to get ready. It doesn’t help his load because he has two final papers due on Monday (tomorrow) and a final exam on Wednesday, plus a bunch of projects to do around the house (steam the carpets, deep clean the kitchen, finish the office/nursery, bathrooms, decorate for Christmas, etc.). I told him I’d take it easy on the cervical ripening stuff (mostly I’ve taken the weekend off of acupuncture and nipple stimulation) and I’d pick it up again after his papers are done. I know that a few days off probably won’t make a lick of difference, but it made him feel better. He did ask me if I could wait until the weekend at least before I went into labor. OK buddy, I’ll get right on that!

Gender Predictions: Still a nameless little girl :)

Amusing comments from the general public:¬†I’m over people not thinking I look big enough to be full term. I’m a curvy girl and have big ‘ole boobs, and a big freaking belly. I really don’t care that you don’t think I look big enough to be that pregnant – I AM! Now, tell me I’m glowing or shut your freakin’ mouth!

Best moment of the week:¬†Last night, hands down. So, really, this whole week has been really good, but we received some wonderful news last night and I am so proud of my husband! We’ve been staying up really late lately, and around 1:30 am Ben was looking for a piece of paper he had lost. I told him that it may be in the box I’ve been keeping the last few days of mail in. I haven’t been looking at the mail, I just put it from the mail box straight into that box, knowing I’d get to it in a day or two. Super dumb. He started rifling through the mail and said “Here’s a card you haven’t opened, and something from your disability company, on and a letter from Beaverton to Ben Geist!” I heard the worry creep into his voice. He had the final step of his application to be a Reserve Police Officer last week and we had been hoping for an acceptance phone call by the end of the week. The call never came and he was a bit down. And now, here we were, looking at a tiny letter from Beaverton. I watched his face sink as he opened the letter, then I studied him as he read. He bit his lip and didn’t look at me. Tears began to come to my eyes – I know how badly he wanted this. How much we have prayed for this. How heartbroken he would be if he was not accepted – when he handed me the letter:

“Dear Benjamin,

Welcome to the Beaverton Police Department.”

I jumped into his arms and together we celebrated and thanked Jesus for his provision!! Ben passed! He is officially a Reserve Officer for the Beaverton Police Department! We will continue to hope and pray for a full-time,¬†i.e. paid, position to become available soon, but for now, his foot is in the door and this is such a blessing for our family! He will receive 19 weeks of training and when finished will patrol with another officer just as a “regular” police man does. God has provided just as He promised He would, in His perfect timing! “I have plans for your family, plans to prosper you, to give you a future and to give you hope.” He promised that to me and He is so, so faithful!!

Thank you Jesus, our cup truly runneth over!

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Baking BabyBigTime: 37 Weeks

I know I usually only do updates on even weeks (mostly because I struggled enough with doing posts every other week, much less weekly!), but considering I’m only going to be pregnant two more weeks (which is absolutely nuts!) I thought I’d do a weekly update from here on out.

Size of baby: Sweet baby girl is 6 1/3 pounds and 19 inches long, about the size of Swiss chart or a winter melon. I have no idea how big either of those things are…but let’s just say that girlfriend will probably fit into any of her size Newborn outfits!

Cravings/Diet: Christmas ales are out. Oh man. Be still my heart. I thought my cravings for summer brews were bad, but this is major. Ben had a perfectly ice cold Jubelale tonight and let’s just say that I fully intend to enjoy myself one or two once this lady makes her debut!

What I love: That we’re so close! This is also what is scaring the heck out of me!

What I miss: Not having heartburn

What I’m looking forward to the most: Finishing my to-do list (which includes the nursery, cleaning the living room, organizing the kitchen, deciding on and purchasing a diaper bag, and getting my hair done)

Worries: None? I don’t really know. I should probably be worried about my to-do list but I’m not…not yet anyways ūüėČ

Symptoms: My body is pretty done by the end of the day. My back starts to ache after any bit of physical activity, thankfully, Ben has been pretty generous with back rubs, though he has been suggesting I get a massage more frequently than usual

Sleep: A benefit of the sore, tired body is making sleeping easier and I’m not popping the Benny’s like I was before

Movement: Still very frequent, still my favorite thing!

The belly: Let’s just say I’m looking pretty pregnant!

Milestones: Full.Freaking.Term!! Oh my gosh! Also, this was my first official week off of work, it’s hasn’t really sunken in yet that I won’t be going back for a few months

Gender Predictions: Still a nameless little girl :)

Amusing comments from the general public: I have been lucky to receive no rude comments from anyone…yet

Best moment of the week: Maybe today. Ben and I just went out and did a little window shopping (I’m still trying to find the perfect diaper bag). We got coffees and held hands and spent the entire day together just the two of us. I think I’m really starting to realize that our time together as just the two of us is drawing to a close and as much as I’m looking forward to the next season of our life, I have so enjoyed the last five and half years of just the two of us. Maybe though, it’s just that I still really like that guy ūüėČ

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Baking BabyBigTime: 36 Weeks

Size of baby: Sweet baby girl is roughly 6 lbs (as estimated by my Midwife last week) and about the size of a honeydew melon. Girlfriend is running out of space and I can often feel her bootie all up in my lungs and her feet (I think!) trying to puuuuush their way out of my left side.

Cravings/Diet: These last few weeks have been focused on one thing: Thanksgiving, and more specifically, Pecan Pie. Oh man, it was naughty, not-at-all diabetes friendly, and absolutely heavenly! I may have had some for dessert, breakfast and then dessert again.

What I love:¬†Getting ready for this girl to get here! Slowly, but surely, I am getting things in order. I swing back and forth between “Oh my gosh I have so much to do!” and “HolyFreakingMoly! I’m going to bring a baby into my house! ICANTWAIT!!”

What I miss: Being able to bend over to tie my shoes.

What I’m looking forward to the most:  Starting acupuncture and trying to get labor going naturally. Crazy exciting and weird!

Worries:¬† Since my last post, I really have surrendered our sweet girl’s birth to Jesus and I truly am not worried about anything right now.

Symptoms:¬†¬†I started having Braxton Hicks this past week. None major or consistent, but mostly at the end of the day when my body is tired. I’m also still struggling with heartburn, mostly at night about two hours after dinner. Maybe acupuncture will help with this?

Sleep:¬†I seem to have found a routine that is working, for now: 50 mg of Benadryl about 30 minutes before I need to sleep. Knocks me out until the morning. If I give myself more than 7 hours before I have to get up, I don’t feel like a zombie for hours in the morning either.

Movement: Still very frequent, still my favorite thing!

The belly:¬†It‚Äôs getting bigger! I don’t think I’ve mentioned yet about my yuckiest pregnancy thing: stretch marks. Oh boy. These things came about 15 weeks ago (I’ve been ashamed to really admit them) and have continued to get worse and worse. I have them terribly and I am super sad about it. I know there is nothing more I can do, but I’m still bummed.

Milestones:¬†We bought our infant carseat. My dad and Allison bought us an awesome convertible seat (the MaxiCosi Pria Air) which we were going to use straight from birth, but then REI had an amazing deal where if you bought a BOB Revolution stroller (which we already had) and the carseat adaptor for the Britax B-Safe infant seat, you got the B-Safe for free. So, with Ben’s discount, we were able to spend under $40 for the adaptor and we got a free carseat! Such a killer deal! The set up is really nice and the carseat fits super nicely into the stroller, and having a carseat we can take in and out of the car will be really convenient (we had decided to forgo this luxury for cost efficiency originally).

Gender Predictions: Still a nameless little girl :)

Amusing comments from the general public: Mostly just complimentary :)

Best moment of the week: Thanksgiving! We co-hosted with our friends David and Lisa at their house. It was a beautiful day filled with yummy food, visiting with friends who are practically family and lots of loving on these sweet babies-to-be (three of the four girls there were pregnant!).