Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Embracing August

Unless things really pick up here in the next five hours, it looks like I better start embracing the idea of an August baby (and its not-as-pretty birthstone).  I guess it just wasn't mean to be to have a July baby, as I was secretly hoping.  And really, I know that this is better, in the long run.  As my very-dear friend, the pediatrician, was quick to point out--she's much safer on the inside than on the outside--even at 39 weeks. 

I had an appointment today, and I am pleased to share that I was in and out of there within 20 minutes, which was considerably quicker than my last appointment when I spent five hours at the hospital between my check-up and monitoring.  My doctor is actually out of town this week, so I saw the midwife and a student (it's a teaching hospital, and I truly value education, so I welcome the students at nearly every opportunity--though I will ask to not have a student this time if I end up getting an epidural again).  My doctor was okay with me declining a "check" last week (since I had absolutely no indication that she was going to make an appearance), but I agreed to let the midwife do it this week (even though I still had no indication that she was going to make an appearance--but figured that we're now one week closer...and was secretly hoping that it may somehow trigger labor).  The word she used was "shallow"--as in, I'm 80% effaced.  I'll take that!  I have been having a lot of completely painless Braxton-Hicks contractions (I really just feel tightening, but no pain...which is "nice", I guess), and they're apparently doing something.  On the other hand, I'm only 1 cm dilated (I was hoping for more), but hey--it's a start. 

I feel ready--emotionally, physically, and even at work.  I'll keep on working up to whenever she arrives, but I feel like I have all my projects and responsibilities in a good place.  If she came tonight, I'd be perfectly happy leaving the couple of little papers on my desk. 

Until she comes, I'm going to try to cherish these last few days (perhaps hours?!) with just Ella. 

Today's blessing is simply feeling excited about meeting this baby.  I told my very-dear friend that I was "nearly giddy".  It's just so different this time around!  Don't get me wrong--I was extremely excited to meet Ella, but I was just so unsure of what to expect!  I recognize things are going to be totally different, but it's all at a whole new level of excitement. 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

If I Nest, Will She Come?

Back when I was pregnant with Ella, I wrote about my style of nesting--which included convincing my husband to hire a cleaning service.  The house looked great, and I never lifted a finger!

This time, I still wouldn't say that I have the "urge" to clean, but I did indeed clean the house pretty much from top to bottom, including the baseboards (though I stopped short of moving the couches and cleaning behind them, because really--who is ever going to see behind them?!).  But I think that my thinking is perhaps backwards.  From what I've read, nesting is supposed to be an "instinct"--this overwhelming desire out of nowhere to get the home in order for the baby.  I think that I'm perhaps "nesting in reverse"--intentionally cleaning the house in the hopes that it somehow jumpstarts labor so that we can meet this new little one.

I am, indeed, anxious--in a good, excited, can't wait, counting down the days sort of way. 

(I also want to have a somewhat presentable house in the event that my friend--Ella's little friend's mom--comes over in the middle of the night.)

I did ask my husband to have someone come and clean the carpets for us (especially now that Ella has been officially potty-trained for months), but I cleaned the counters, baseboards, tile floors, rugs, and windows myself (though I did stop short of cleaning the exterior windows--we are, after all, still in the middle of monsoon season). 

Like I said, I'm anxious to meet this little one.  She now has a perfectly clean house to which to come home.  Let's just see if I can convince Ella to help me keep it tidy until she arrives (the rule is that she is allowed to have one big toy out at a time--currently, it's her railroad tracks).

Unlike last time, when I wondered if men nested too, my husband hasn't yet found the urge to get things in order.  I'm currently sitting in his office, which is overflowing with random computer parts.  He definitely appreciates the clean house, but figures that as long as he can get his office door to close, that he's fine.  For now, I'm okay with his messy office.  But we'll see if the nesting urge truly kicks in--he might be in for a surprise if this is the only room in the house left for me to clean!

Today's blessing is that the sciatic pain seems to be nearly gone!  On a pain scale of 1-10, I'd maybe give it a 0.5.  I can feel that something isn't quite normal down there, but I guess that's to be expected at 38+ weeks.  I'm just so relieved that the pain is gone!

Saturday, July 27, 2013


The sciatic pain has let up just enough to let squeeze in the last couple of miles that I needed.  I'm so proud to say that I doubled my initial goal and ran 200 miles while I was pregnant.  Here's what I shared last night on facebook:

(Fair warning--if you're opposed to seeing pictures of hot, fat, sweaty, pregnant women...then please kindly refrain from viewing these pictures...since that's what they show).

Shortly after I found out that I was pregnant, I made a goal to run 100 miles during my pregnancy. I reached that goal shortly before the end of my second trimester. Doug somewhat playfully, somewhat seriously challenged me to make it 200. Today, I doubled my initial goal and met his challenge.

I still don't feel like I can consider myself a "runner", but I am proud of my effort and determination. I am also aware of just how extremely blessed I am to be healthy and to still be able to run at 38+ weeks pregnant. I appreciate my friends and family--especially Doug and Ella--who continue to support and encourage me.

I now feel truly ready to welcome this new baby.

I feel so blessed to have accomplished this goal!  God brought me through some pretty painful challenges along the way.  He has blessed me with patience, persistence, perseverance, and determination along the way.  I pray that I continue to see these traits play out in my life in the weeks, months, and years to go as our family grows.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Monitoring

I spent another long afternoon/evening at the hospital yesterday.  Luckily, I was there for so long because I was the absolute lowest priority in the Labor & Delivery wing.

I had a late afternoon regular 38-week check up, and my doctor was running especially late (I overheard her calling over to Labor & Delivery at one point to let them know that a woman had lost her baby at 17 weeks and was headed over there--my heart go out to both of them).  It was nearly two hours after my arrival that she saw me, but it gave me a chance to chat with my childhood friend as she drove to pick up her boys from daycare (and made me appreciate that my husband had picked up Ella on his way home from jury duty since I clearly wasn't going to make it there by 6:00 pm at this point).  When my doctor listened to the baby's heartbeat, she expressed concern that it was a little bit lower than in previous weeks.  She acknowledged that heartbeats do indeed drop closer to delivery, but she still wanted me to head next door to Labor & Delivery for 10 minutes of monitoring--once again, thinking it's better to be safe than sorry

However, "10 minutes of monitoring" turned into half-an-hour of waiting to have an available bed, then closer to 90 minutes of monitoring the baby.  When she cooperated, her heartrate was consistently in the 130s (until she wiggled around and out of range of the monitors).  My initial blood pressure reading was a little higher, but then settled down with subsequent readings.  Throughout my time in the L&D triage area, I could overhear the conversations with the other women, and it was clear that my very normal, very low-risk pregnancy was the least of the staff's concerns.  As things slowed down, I was eventually taken off the monitors, and the nurse told me that the Resident would do an ultrasound to check the fluid levels. 

Unfortunately, the resident got called into a delivery right around that time.  So I waited for another hour or so until he returned.  By this time, there was another woman who had come in while she was in labor, so I was certain that he would see her first, given that she was clearly a higher priority than me.  But the nurse was amazing and suggested that he see me first, and I am very grateful that he did.  The baby still has plenty of fluid in nice, big pockets.  Again, a tiny bit of concern about some of the higher blood pressure readings, but they trust that was just related to emotions, since the other readings were okay and my 24-hour urine test from two weeks ago was clean (and was clean at my appointment five hours prior).  They did mention that I had quite a few little contractions, but nothing consistent yet.  I was eventually released at 9:30 pm...5-1/2 hours after I initially arrived at the hospital.

My very-dear friend's response was "you are officially too boring for your own good".  She's got a point.  I am more and more aware of just how blessed I am to have a such a boring, low-risk, normal pregnancy.  I've definitely had my share of struggles in the past, but what a blessing to feel her wiggle and hear her heart beating loud and strong (albeit a tiny bit slower than a couple of weeks ago). 

My only "bad news" from yesterday is that my doctor is out of the office next week!  I'm still kind of hoping for a late-July baby, in which case, my doctor may not be here for the delivery; but if I got the full 40 weeks (or more!), then I have nothing to worry about.  Either way, I trust the staff, and I trust we will be in good hands with whoever delivers our new baby.  I'm hoping to get through work today and tomorrow (and squeeze in two more runs on Friday and Saturday morning to reach 200 miles), and then I'll truly feel ready for this baby to come. 

Yesterday's blessing was the chance to text with my very-dear friend.  As a mom and a doctor, it's great to have her perspective, even from the other side of the country.  She's great about giving me layman explanations for medical interventions, and putting it all in perspective.  It was a wonderful blessing to have her keeping me company, all the way from Florida. 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Backyard Maternity Photo Shoot

When I was pregnant with Ella, I set up a maternity photo shoot as a surprise for my husband for his birthday.

This time around, I dragged my husband away from his video game to take a few quick pictures of me outside in our own backyard after the monsoon came through.

This poor, second child...already getting the short end of the stick.

Today's blessing was another prenatal massage.  I wish I could say that it totally fixed the sciatica, but it wasn't 100% effective in that realm.  Don't get me wrong--it was definitely relaxing, and definitely helped.  I would have loved to have jumped off the table with absolutely zero pain, but that would have been quite the massage.  Still, it felt good, and I got to that totally-relaxed-almost-asleep-and-start-to-snore sensation, which was quite the blessing.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Pain in the (You Know What)

I'm starting to think that this injury is more than just a pulled hamstring.  Instead of getting better, it's feeling rather worse.  I'm thinking it may be sciatica. 

I try really hard not to complain about anything pregnancy-related.  After our experiences with loss, I feel like it is such a blessing to be pregnant, so I told myself with Ella--and with this pregnancy--that I would embrace every symptom and experience, no matter how uncomfortable.  This is definitely the most uncomfortable I've been between the two pregnancies.  I can barely even walk--there is pain with every step.

My husband has stepped in and is trying to be as helpful as he can, but I feel bad for leaving him to care for Ella by himself.  And I feel for her, too.  These are her last couple of weeks of having us all to herself before the baby comes, and I can't truly enjoy them with her because I'm in so much pain.

I'm doing everything I can think of to try to heal--I'm sitting on a heating pad as I write this, and I've been doing some prenatal yoga stretches.  I have another prenatal massage scheduled for Saturday, and until then, I'm trying to stay off my feet as much as possible (which is rather challenging with a two-year-old in the house).  My little glimmer of hope is that if it is sciatica, perhaps that means that she has "dropped" and is simply pressing against a nerve, but hopefully relief will come when she makes her appearance.

If you have any other suggestions, I'm desperate to hear them.

Despite the pain, today's blessing is how beautiful the desert came be after some monsoon rains.  Everything seems extra-green this year!  We've had some amazing sunrises and sunsets, and I'm reminded just how blessed I am to live in such a beautiful area!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Thank you for the kind words and encouragement after our (very, very, VERY) minor accident.  I survived the four hours of monitoring, and Ella was very sweet that evening when I picked her up from our friends' house.  When I mentioned that I had missed her, she suggested that we sing "You Are My Sunshine"...which we did.

In my previous post, I said that all my labs and tests were coming back normal--which is what the nurse had told me.  I guess that the OB Resident was a little bit concerned about a couple of my blood pressure readings.  I'm guessing that some of my initial blood pressure readings--when I was still a little perturbed that I had to be there for four hours and was frustrated that I couldn't get my wifi working properly--were a bit on the higher side, and that they stabilized once I was able to relax a bit.  But, in the spirit of being "better safe than sorry", she asked me to do a 24-hour urine test, just to rule out preeclampsia.  So I agreed--but try explaining why you are collecting a day's worth of pee to a curious two-year old!

I submitted my sample Saturday evening, and was told that I would get a call within 4-5 hours if the results were concerns, but that "no news was good news" if I didn't hear anything.  I never got a call that night, so called to confirm on Sunday morning.  Sure enough, the results came back with only trace amounts of protein, so I feel that I can officially say that I got the "all clear" from the accident (though Ella still expresses a little bit of concern while we're driving).

However, I'm feeling sidelined from my running with another injury.  I'm so close to getting my 200 miles--only 10 more to go--but I'm in too much pain right now to run.  I think it may have pulled my hamstring while pulling weeds, but it could have been anything related to:
a) being 37 weeks pregnant,
b) carrying a toddler around,
c) running,
d) sitting in a hospital bed for four hours, or
e) any combination of the above. 
Either way, I hurt.  When I hurt, I have to convince myself that I'm not allowed to run.  When I don't run, I miss out on all those happy endorphins.  When I miss out on those happy endorphins, I'm not my usual cheerful self.  When I'm not my usual cheerful self...well, let's just say that this is an opportunity for me to truly practice being patient. 

I'm 37 weeks today.  In theory, I've got three more weeks to go in this pregnancy (give or take).  At this point, I have no indication that she's coming anytime soon (though we are now considered "full-term", so she now has my permission to come early, if she chooses).  I'm trying to remind myself that if I let myself rest and heal, I can knock out the last 10 miles in about a week.  We shall see...

Today's blessing was that Ella was very obedient and cooperative this morning while getting ready to go to school.  As she gains more and more independence (which is great, developmentally...but frustrating at times too), we've been struggling to get out the door on time.  I don't want to be the mom who screams and yells at her to get her butt in the car every morning, so we've been talking a lot recently about responsibility and making wise decisions that will help the family.  And this morning, something must have clicked, because she put down her toys and came right away when I asked her to get in the car.  What a tiny little thing, and yet still so so so significant!  It felt good to drive out of our neighborhood without worrying about being late!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Better Safe Than Sorry

I was in a very, very, VERY minor fender-bender yesterday.  It was so minor that I'm pretty sure I can buff out the scratch myself.  But after dealing with the insurance today, I figured that it would be wise to be "better safe than sorry" and mention it my doctor.

The nurse called back and told me that it sounded like everything was fine, but that I should really come in for an hour of least I thought I heard her say "one hour".  When I arrived at 2:00, thinking I would be out by 4:00 to pick up Ella, Labor & Delivery told me I would be here for at least four hours.

After a slight freak-out as I tried to figure out what to do with Ella (since my husband is out of town for Army Reserves, but we found friends to pick her up), I agreed to stay for the duration of the monitoring, and have been hanging out ever since.  My former colleague is now a nursing student, and she kindly dropped by to keep me company.  Unfortunately, my iPad doesn't seem to like the hospital wifi, so I'm stuck with just my phone (and praying it keeps a charge).  Had I known I would be here when I left the house this morning, I would have grabbed a book.

Although it's no fun to be hooked up to monitors, I know it's better to be safe than sorry.  I would hate myself if I didn't come in and something went wrong.  And hopefully this will give me a little peace of mind to get over the unnerving feeling of being in the (very, very, VERY minor) accident.

As much as I would rather not be here right now, it's a blessing to have access to quality care.  The nurses have been very kind, and I trust that I'm in good hands.  It's also a blessing to be in such overall good health.  Since I'm in the triage area, I can't help but overhear some of the concerns from the other women, and I definitely have it better than most! Lastly, it's a blessing that my labs, urine, blood pressure, and baby's heartrate are all coming back normal.  One more hour to go!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Stubborn vs. Determined

There was a time, early in my marriage, when I remember first recognizing that I hadn't realized just how stubborn I was until I married my husband.  He has always "claimed" or "acknowledged" his stubbornness, but I think--at the time--I was living in denial, claiming instead that I was ever-patient and every-understanding.  Looking back, I was pretty darn stubborn those first couple of years, insisting that things be done my way.

Three losses in those first three year broke me down, hard.  Experiencing God come to life in me, once again, built me back up, piece by piece.  Maintaining a pregnancy and becoming a mother to Ella changed my life in such amazing ways.

And somewhere along the way, I think that my stubbornness--my inexplicable desire to cling to and force my way for the purpose of winning--gave way to determination--an indescribable force that encourages me to put every ounce of effort that I can into doing the "right" thing. 

It started with changing my diet and giving up all those sweet vices when we were trying to get pregnant--and stay pregnant--with Ella back in 2009-2010.  I was determined to be more careful with what I put in my body, for fear of throwing off my hormone levels.  It continued when she was born, with my determination to nurse, despite a fairly low supply, with leaving work nearly every day during my lunch hour to drive to her daycare and spend that time with her...and waking up each night, even when she slept through the night, to pump and keep up both my internal and external supplies.  And it's happening now, as I push myself to wake up early each morning to get in a quick run before Ella wakes up, hoping now to get to 200 miles before the baby comes--both as a personal accomplishment, and in the hopes of being more physically prepared for delivery.

Some--perhaps even those closest to me, like my husband, my parents, and my child--may think that I'm still stubborn.  And I admit and recognize that I probably do indeed have my moments.  But I'm feeling the urge to "fight" to get my way less and less.  Instead, I'm filled with a sense that I can continue to try to persevere, and that is sufficient.  By no means does this mean that I'm "giving up"--it's quite the opposite.  If anything, I'm simply surprised at the changes that God has made in my personal life that are now allowing me to sustain my efforts--whatever they may be--more gracefully.

I was blessed earlier this week with an answer to prayer in one of those "laugh out loud" sort of ways.  My very-dear friend (a doctor) has a friend (also a doctor) who is pregnant.  At her anatomy scan, the baby looked great, but her doctor was concerned about her short cervix.  As we near the end of our pregnancy, I've been praying that God lengthen and strengthen her cervix, while he shorten and soften mine.  I shared this prayer with my very-dear friend on Sunday.  On Monday, she forwarded me a text that she got from her friend, saying "My cervix keeps getting longer every time they measure it...they're not sure how it's possible".  Is that not a "laugh out loud" response to prayer, or what?!  I, on the other hand, don't quite know what's going on with my own cervix at this point--we're at 36 weeks for now, so we're hoping to keep her in for a couple more weeks.  But the timing is right for things to "start" moving in that direction. 

Monday, July 8, 2013


I've been spoiled a bit lately. 

It started on Wednesday when my staff surprised me with a "book shower".  I know that we had a "fun lunch" with ice cream and trivia planned since we're finally at that slow time of the summer, but I didn't know that my amazing colleague who I admire and adore had suggested that everyone help us celebrate the upcoming arrival of our second baby with new books for both Ella and the baby.  Let's just say that we were so spoiled with new toddler and baby books that we had to move a giant stack of board books from our main bookshelf in our living room to the nursery. 

On the 4th of July, we were spoiled with front-row seats to the best fireworks show in town when we were invited to celebrate at our friends' home, which is right at the bottom of "A Mountain", from where they are let off.  This was the first time that Ella was up late enough for fireworks, and she loved them (and repeatedly told us that the gold was her favorite color to see).

On Friday, my husband stayed home and got our carpets cleaned.  We think (and hope and pray!) that Ella is done with potty training accidents, and we wanted them to be nice and clean for the new baby (not that she'll be crawling anytime soon, but it's still nice to have them done).  My dad then came back into town after his Grand Canyon adventure, and watched Ella that evening while my husband and I stayed at one of the local resorts in town.  We had an amazing dinner with grown-up conversation, and breakfast-in-bed room service the next morning.  I then indulged in my first pregnancy massage, and left feeling more relaxed than I have in a very, very long time.

We spent just the one night away, but were spoiled by my dad entertaining Ella (and I'm sure that she entertained him as well).  I think that we usually do a pretty good job of keeping Ella engaged around the house on a regular basis, even when we have chores and projects to do, but she sure loved all the undivided attention from her Boppy.  He also brought down two giant bags of baby clothes from my sister-in-law.  Most of the clothes were items that Ella had worn and outgrown, and we had sent on to my niece (who is four months younger than Ella).  But she also threw in a lot of my niece's old clothes as well, so we are fully stocked for the next year!  Yes, they are mostly previously-worn hand-me-downs, but they grow so quickly at this stage that they don't really have time to "wear out" anything, and most items still look brand new!

Now I'm back at work, and I guess I'm still a little bit spoiled to have this slow part of the summer coincide with the end of my pregnancy when I'm trying to get everything ready for my maternity leave.  I still feel a little bit bad that I'll be out during our peak time of the year, but I'm hoping to do the bulk of the prep-work before I leave.  My plan is to work all the way up until the baby comes (my office is just down the street from the University hospital, where the baby will be born, so I joke that I'll just waddle my way over there once labor starts). 

Today's blessing was Ella's sensitivity and compassion after we said "goodbye" to my dad.  We stopped by to get donuts on our way to daycare and his way out of town, and then went our separate ways.  After hugging him and saying "goodbye", Ella and I hit the road and talked about how we were going to miss him.  I started tearing up a bit, just thinking about how much I appreciate and love him, and Ella--from her carseat--suggested that I squeeze myself real tight to make me feel better, and demonstrated for me.  And she was right.  I'm so blessed to not only have my dad, but to also have my sweet girl.

Monday, July 1, 2013

I'd Be Okay...

I'd be okay with having a baby this month.

Ultimately, I want her to come when she's good and ready, in God's perfect timing.

Our estimated due date at our first appointment (when I found out I was nearly 9 weeks pregnant instead of barely 6 weeks, as I was expecting) was August 8th.  I measured with an August 6th due date at our 12 week scan.  I've been told that second (and third, and fourth, etc.) babies tend to come a little bit earlier, but we'll see.

Really, I'm being selfish in hoping that she comes a tiny bit early (and by "tiny bit early", I mean "a week"--I earnestly pray that she make it to the "full term" mark of at least 37 weeks).  In regards to work, my timing with Ella was "perfect"--I was here for the first week of classes and made it all the way through our selection process (I "shadowed" another staff member that semester, and then took on the responsibility of coordinating this huge project the next semester).  But I'm about two months earlier with this baby, so I'm missing both of those work commitments.  I totally trust my team, and I especially trust my amazing colleague who will coordinate the selection process this semester while I'm out, but I still kind of need to get back by mid-October.  If the baby comes on her due date, that really only gives me 9 full weeks at home with her (I would probably try to do some sort of "flexible schedule" for another week or two, if that's the case...and if my supervisors agree). 

My other reason for wanting her to come just a tiny bit early is even sillier.  In the same way that we chose to be induced on September 30th with Ella (I was 40+ weeks) so that she could have a sapphire birthstone instead of an opal, I'm secretly hoping that this baby will luck out with a July ruby instead of August peridot.  (Really, who wants peridot?!) I know--it's a totally crazy way of thinking.  But I'm already envisioning some piece of jewelry with sapphires, rubies, and perhaps my own amethyst...

That all being said, I want to repeat that I recognize that these are really silly reasons to want my baby to come a tiny bit early.  I've witnessed friends agonize over premature babies, and I have prayed over them myself.  Like I said, ultimately, want her to come when she's good and ready, and in God's perfect timing.

I was blessed yesterday to have a late lunch with my brother.  I mentioned that my dad has been in Arizona, and he and my brother will hike the Grand Canyon later this week.  My brother flew in to Phoenix, so my husband and I made the 1-1/2 hour trip up with my dad (in separate cars) to pick him up from the airport and grab a quick lunch.  It was a lot of driving for such a short visit, but it was worth it since he was that close.  It's also a blessing to have such a good air conditioner in our car, because it was definitely warm!