Monday, November 25, 2013

Natalie Claire

Natalie Claire 
Born Friday, November 22, 2013
7 pounds, 7 ounces
19.5 inches

So much to share!! So much to say...mainly about how she not only surprised the heck out of me by arriving 5 days early but also by being a girl!!! 

So many pictures!!

But right now...sleep :)

Thursday, November 21, 2013


I'm having a very productive and busy week so far, but it's also been extremely relaxing! I don't have a huge post ready for today, but I just wanted to share this adorable image my dad sent to me last week from Up!

I can't even believe I am due on Tuesday - every moment is so surreal right now. Everyone keeps asking me how I'm feeling and really, the best way to explain how I'm feeling right now is...Happy. I am unbelievably happy. 

Am I nervous for labor? Yes
Am I nervous for how things will change and how I will adjust? Yes
But am I the happiest I've felt in a long time? Yes. Having this time off to get things in order has been amazing, and I am so ready and excited to welcome our little one into our family in what could be just a few days!

Thank you again to everyone for following along and for reaching out to me. This week I have answered countless comments, text messages, emails, and Facebook messages from people who are following along. I even cried in my kitchen last night over an incredibly sweet message from an old friend from High School.

Lastly, on an unrelated note, I will be spending the day tomorrow at my in-laws house because their house is being used to shoot a commercial for Vicks! Their house will be transformed into a set all day long while they shoot a short commercial and I'm so excited! I love stuff like this!! Follow along on twitter, instagram or Facebook for updates!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Doctor Appointments During Pregnancy

Over the course of pregnancy, you go to a LOT of doctor's appointments. In the beginning of pregnancy, you go every 4 weeks, and then slowly start going more and more until the last few weeks where you're going once a week! With each appointment, I walked in with a little bit of apprehension: What exactly is going to happen at my appointment today? Will I be in the stirrups? Will I need to put on a gown? Will I be fully clothed? Is this just an ultrasound or is it blood work? If it's blood work, should I have fasted? Should I have my bladder full or empty? I really never knew what I was walking into. I've had a lot of friends ask me about these appointments, so here is a general breakdown of how it went.
Each doctor may do things a little bit differently depending on their office policy, and each specific pregnancy. This is how my appointments went for me.

8 Weeks: Appointment #1
Took a LOT of blood. But I didn't need to fast, and I didn't feel light headed at all. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Vaginal ultrasound because the baby was still too small at that point for them to do the regular ultrasound. This appointment confirmed for us that we were in fact, pregnant. Received packets of information and trial packs of prenatal vitamins in addition to our first ultrasound pictures!

12 Weeks: Appointment #2
Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Second ultrasound. Done on the stomach, Met with a separate ultrasound technician for our second ultrasound. Blood was taken again, but significantly less than the first appointment. Met with doctor for about 5 minutes just to touch base and ask her any questions we had on our mind.

16 Weeks: Appointment #3:
Quick appointment, no ultrasound, checked baby's heart rate with a fetal heart monitor (on the stomach) and took some more blood. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken.

20 Week Anatomy Scan: 
Done at the hospital. Lasted about 45 minutes. They will check all the limbs and organs and tell you gender if you want to know. If the baby isn't in a good position they may try to make him/her move around by poking your stomach or asking you to empty your bladder.
This is followed up with Appointment #4 a few days later:
Went over results of anatomy scan. (All good!) Recommended pediatricians and lamaze/lactation/parenting classes at the hospital. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. 

23 Weeks: Appointment #5:
Another quick appointment, Just checked the heartbeat with fetal heart monitor. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Given my glucose drink to take home with me for my next appointment.

27 Weeks: Appointment #6:
Glucose Test - Had to drink orange glucose drink 30-45 minutes before appointment, then went to office for blood work. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Checked baby's heartbeat, asked if we have any questions.

In that same week, I had a second 3 hour glucose test because I failed the first one:

28 Weeks: Appointment #7:
RhoGAM Shot if you are RH-Negative

30 Weeks: Appointment #8:
Third trimester sonogram: Met with sonographer - got 3D pictures in addition to regular ultrasound pictures. This was very surprising, I wasn't expecting that! Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Tthen met with doctor who basically just answered any questions I had.

32 Weeks: Appointment #9:
Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Doctor checked heart beat with monitor, asked us if we had any questions and that was it.

34 Weeks: Appointment #10:
Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken. Doctor checked heart beat with monitor, asked us if we had any questions and that was it.

36 Weeks: Appointment #11:
Vaginal exam - Swab in the hoo-ha and rectum for Group B Strep bacteria, check baby's heart-rate. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken.

37-40 Weeks: Appointment #12-#15:
Vaginal Exam to see if you're dilated (opening up), and effaced (thinning and stretching out of the cervix). For your reference, at these appointments I've been about 1 centimeter dilated. By the time I am in labor and ready to deliver I will go to 10 centimeters dilated. These exams are a bit painful and may cause some bleeding. Height, weight, urine sample and blood pressure taken at each one. Doctor checks heart beat with monitor, asked us if we had any questions. (I got the flu shot at my 37 week visit)

My Advice:
*Always go in with questions. They will ask you for questions at every visit and may not necessarily prompt you otherwise. I found that even if I asked one silly question that I may have already known the answer to, it got the doctor started on a conversation and would eventually lead to other discussion topics. I kept a list in my "notes" app on my iphone of questions. Whenever they'd come to me (on the subway, lying in bed at night) I'd add it to my notes to pull up at my next appointment.

*You may see one doctor in particular for your regular OB appointments, but if there are many doctors in the practice you go to, you could get any one of them on the day you deliver. Try and see them all at least once so you are not meeting a stranger in the delivery room.
*Go first thing in the morning. They won't be backed up from appointments throughout the day and you will be in and out much more quickly.

*I was very lucky that Chris was able to go to every single appointment with me. Though it isn't necessary for him to be there at every single one, it was nice to do together. My doctor said to me "The partners tend come to every appointment for the first child...after that, not so much" If your partner cannot attend every appointment with you, make sure they are there for the main ultrasound appointments. Those are the exciting ones! :)

*Peeing into a cup is hard. Peeing into a cup with a belly the size of a basketball is even harder. I have no advice for you on that...good luck. 

Did your appointments follow the same general outline? Any other words of wisdom you can impart?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bumpdate: 38 Weeks

I look so tiiiiirrreeddd
How Far Along: 38 Weeks! (Which means I'm actually 39 weeks today, which means I have ONE MORE WEEK TO GO!)

Baby is the size of: Leek - anyone else think that's smaller than the other "vegetables" it's been?
The baby on average should weigh about 6.8 pounds
Total Weight Gain: 34 pounds

Sleep: Still surprised by how well I'm sleeping. I fall into a very deep sleep every night.

Best Moment of the week: SOOOO MANY
*My friend, Kate, got some great advice from her acunpuncturist and sent it my way first thing Wednesday morning:
"Most people give birth between 39 and 41 weeks. She says 41 weeks is extremely likely for the first one. She says if you want an epidural, do it and do not apologize. She also said try to let nature takes its course (no induction unless medically necessary, no pitocin unless danger) as long as possible. If you have to have a c section, be happy that you can do it in a way (meaning modern medicine) that mom and baby will both be fine...but try to avoid that outcome if you can. You will be irrational toward the end, and that is ok."
Kate's been sending me little words of advice and interesting articles on pregnancy for the past few months. I love getting little emails like this from her.

*Along those lines, I've been so touched by the people who have reached out to me recently. A friend of a friend who I met ONCE back in July sent me a text this past week asking how I am, and reminding me that I can go to her for any questions or advice I need (she has a 4 month old daughter). A neighbor, and friend, that I haven't talked to since High School sent me a facebook message with information on how to make your own baby food and wishing me well in these final weeks. Text messages from friends already planning their visits to New York in December, and random "thinking of you" messages have warmed and touched my heart! I am so blessed.

*Before I left work for my maternity leave, I had to fill out my New York State disability paperwork. You would think by now there would be a specific form for pregnancy. Many of the questions didn't seem to fit why I was leaving, and it just felt weird to keep referring to my pregnancy as my "disability". I mean, just look at question number 6!...
(I didn't actually write that...but I wish I had)

*An extremely busy last week of work: Training my replacement all day long, attended a charity event hosted by a coworker on Tuesday, my office had a pizza party for me on Wednesday, saw Pippin on Broadway on Thursday night, and had my last day at the office on Friday! I got this sweet card from my coworkers:

*Discovering Wendy's Pretzel Pub Chicken Sandwich. It's very rare that I get fast food...but I've had my eye on this pub sandwich for quite some time. Finally, I was able to try it on Saturday for lunch and my oh myyyyy it was worth every calorie! Grilled chicken, muenster cheese, honey mustard, tomato and lettuce on a pretzel bun!! I had it again yesterday for lunch, and convinced my Mother-in-Law to try it with me as well!

*I survived my first "Womanly" appointment with a male doctor! LOL...I know we're all adults here, and yadda yadda but I was nervous about the appointment, especially with Chris right there during it. (Inquire within for more information, not going to go into any more detail than that). The appointment was a little bit awkward, but all in all, it was also a really good appointment. I am one centimeter dilated, which apparently is fine and normal. This particular doctor's wife is due with their first child only one week ahead of me (she probably had it this week). So he had a lot to share and gave me a lot of advice since he and his wife are going through the same thing right now, which was really nice. I felt that he fully understood my hope for minimal medical intervention, and kept driving home how I just really need to walk, walk, walk, and that I shouldn't come to the hospital until my contractions are 4-5 minutes apart (as opposed to the usual 5-7 that he recommends. This is unless my water breaks, at which point, I need to go immediately).

*Had an enjoyable book club meeting on Friday - Some of the topics that came up and questions they were asking me about labor and delivery were so funny. I was laughing so hard I was afraid I was going to go into labor!

*During my commute home on Friday, I made friends with a Luxury Hotel Reviewer who lives in London! He was very interesting to talk to. He was born and raised in Sweden and he was asking me a lot of questions about the maternity rights and privileges in the US vs. Sweden and the UK. He told me that in Sweden, women get 18 months paid maternity leave, and fathers get paid paternity leave too (and they actually all take opposed to here where even if it is offered, it's frowned upon). In the UK, women get 6 months paid maternity leave. Who's moving to Sweden with me?

Worst Moment of the week: 
*Honestly, I'm at a loss here.
I guess I could say being sadder about leaving work than I thought I would be?
Or being so incredibly busy that I haven't had time to read all of your blogs??
Being in a bit of a sad mood on Saturday night?
All in all, it was too busy of a week to really be bad!

Miss Anything: Spiced Red Wine, being able to hop out of bed or a car.

Food Cravings: Nothing in particular, but I got a craving for Tandy Cake on Saturday night and made it first thing Sunday morning (sorry, no on link for picture)

Anything make you queasy or sick: No...but I'm getting fuller faster.

Have you started to show? Oh yes. I get stopped everywhere I go now and asked when I'm due. It's kind of exciting to say "two weeks!" Yesterday I got to say "Next Week!" - PS: this maternity shirt from Target has clearly been amazing. Highly recommend!

Gender: Team Green!

*A few times I felt these very quick flutters from the baby. It's not kicks, and it's not hiccups (though I feel hiccups at least once a day, sometimes more). These are quick little flutters or taps in and around the same area that I feel hiccups. From reading what others have said on message boards, I believe this is the baby trying to take its first quick practice breaths. That is merely speculation.
*(Toni) Braxton Hicks Contractions - I definitely am having more and more moments of cramps. Once I walk and drink water they usually go away. It really just feels like menstrual cramps.

*Decreased appetite: Still eating a lot...and then feeling like crap after. My stomach just doesn't have the room it usually does!

*Increased swollen ankles and fingers. I put my feet up for two hours on Saturday. I ended up falling asleep for a pretty epic nap while I did this, but it totally got rid of the swelling in my cankles!

Workouts: None, just walks with my Zoey! I think we walked every morning this past week!

Mood: I've been totally running on adrenaline for the past 7 days. First of all, between having one week to train my replacement at work and trying to wrap up my own projects before leaving, I hardly had any time to breathe. There were actually moments at work when I looked down and was like "Oh! that's right...I'm pregnant!"

Looking forward to: This entire week!! I've had one official day of maternity leave - which I primarily used for running errands, but so far I am loving having this time to get everything fully ready and in order before the baby's arrival!! I realize that not everyone gets this time to prepare, and I am so grateful to have it! Each day is "go, go, go" Clean this, clean that, put together this, take apart that, hang this, put away that. I think by next Tuesday; my actual due date, I will be 100% ready for this baby - not any sooner though!!!

Maternity Clothes: Exclusively

Stretchmarks: A few on my hips which are just from the very beginning

Rings on or off? Just wedding band, and it "usually" fits me the whole day

Bellybutton in or out? OUT

This week I:
*Put together the Pack n' play - Chris did this, and Zoey approved of the work!

*Framed some Etsy art-work for the nursery
*Did some more wash of baby items!
*Returns to Buy Buy Baby and Babies R' Us

Reading: The Baby Book, Revised Edition: Everything You Need to Know About Your Baby from Birth to Age Two (Sears Parenting Library)

Milestones: S/He has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold her hand for the first time! Her organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb. "Fetal development is nearly complete as your baby tends to a few last-minute details like shedding the skin-protecting vernix and lanugo. He's also producing more surfactant, a substance that prevents the air sacs in his lungs from sticking to one another once he starts to breathe."


Linking up with Kristin for Baby Talk Tuesday

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Breastfeeding Class

Last week I took a breastfeeding class at the hospital. This was offered free of charge since we signed up for the Lamaze class at the hospital, and I'm glad I took this class. It was informative and helpful.

Things I learned:
* It's called "breastfeeding" not "nipplefeeding".
* If done properly, breastfeeding should not hurt
* It is best to exclusively breastfeed for the first 4 weeks. However, it's important to start introducing bottles after 4 weeks so that your baby learns to feed by both bottle and breast. Otherwise, they will completely and solely rely on breastfeeding.

What I found to be most interesting is that the American Academy of Pediatrics now promotes skin-to-skin contact immediately following the birth of the baby. This should last for at least an hour or two, or until the first breastfeeding session is initiated. Skin-to-skin contact regulates the baby's body temperature and has been proven to help both mother and baby get started with their first breastfeeding session.

"Skin to skin means your baby is placed belly-down, directly on your chest, right after she is born. Your care provider dries her off, puts on a hat, covers her with a warm blanket, and gets her settled on your chest. The first hours of snuggling skin-to-skin let you and your baby get to know each other. They also have important health benefits....Newborns crave skin-to-skin contact..."
The videos we watched showed the baby naturally gravitating toward "the goods." Within an hour, breastfeeding occurred naturally through the baby's own instinct and desire to feed. There are many videos on youtube about skin-to-skin contact for a newborn. Here is a CNN piece on it. (video)

Have you heard of this practice in aiding in the first breastfeeding session? Did you do this/plan to do this? Would love to get more information on this practice!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Bumpdate: 37 Weeks

 How Far Along: 37 Weeks! Full TERM - but still technically, and ideally 3 more weeks to go!

Baby is the size of: Bunch of swiss chard
Total Weight Gain: 34 pounds

Sleep: I've been sleeping really well. Actually, Friday night was probably the best night's sleep I've had in a long time. I fell asleep at 9:30 p.m. on the couch in the living room (the earliest I've fallen asleep in probably...I don't know...10 years?!) We finally went up to bed at 1:30 a.m. and though I didn't fall back asleep until after 2:30, I slept straight through till 8:30 on Saturday morning. I felt so good and refreshed on Saturday!

Best Moment of the week:
*We set up the baby monitors in the house! These are amazing because we can access the video from our iphones no matter where we are. We put one in the living room and one in the nursery. We've been enjoying spying on Zoey while we're at work. We found her sleeping on a part of the couch she is not allowed to sleep on...what a little rebel! She's been playing us for fools!

*Funny for me...but not for Zoey. This is Zoey trying to sit on my lap on Saturday morning. She gets so confused when she can't sit all the way down anymore. She has to either perch or sit on my lap sideways.

*Washed and packed the baby's coming home outfit. My parents got this outfit when they were in Italy this past summer:

*My boss finally hired my replacement so I can finally get started on training someone! She's great and I think she will be a fine addition to the team at work.

Worst Moment of the Week:
*I tested postive for Group B Strep at the doctors. This occurs in about 20-30% of pregnancies and according to my doctor is completely normal/natural, and there is no way to prevent it. It just means that I have a particular strain of bacteria that's fine for me, but could cause a problem for my baby. I will need an IV of pennicilin immediately upon arrival to the hospital for delivery in order to make sure that the bacteria is not transmitted to the baby. I'm not happy about it, but in the grand scheme of things, this is pretty minor, and not something I should be losing sleep over. Also, just because I have it for this pregnancy, doesn't mean I will have it for my next pregnancy.

*Major spotting after my doctor's appointment, followed by cramps. Spotting lasted about 4 days.

Miss Anything: Red Wine

Food Cravings: I've noticed I'm having my typical PMS symptoms: going back and forth from salty to sweet things. I'll have a cookie and then really want pretzels or crackers right after.

Anything make you queasy or sick: No...but I'm getting way fuller faster, and have had a decreased appetite the past two days.

Have you started to show?

Gender: Team Green!
I was stopped in the street this week on my lunch break by a random delivery man. He did a double-take before pointing to my stomach and saying "Boy!...November 30th!" It was so random, that I actually believe this random delivery man has some prophetic sense and that I will be delivering a boy on 11/30. We shall see!

*Def. feeling Toni Braxton hicks contractions now

*I've had some spotting from my appointment on Thursday, and 4 days after. At the appointment I was told that I am a "tight 1 centimeter dilated"

*Serious serious pregnancy brain. I'm repeating stories to Chris, having no recollection of telling them to him. I can't think of basic words. I needed to ask Chris where the paper towels were on Saturday and I think it took me a minute to think of the words "paper towels" to explain what I was looking for.

*SOOO out of breath. Just to explain things in training at work, makes me breathless. It's embarassing.

*Back aches. I noticed a signifiant decrease in energy this past weekend. Things are getting really challenging and exhausting for me.

*I've definitely dropped! My stomach is not nearly as high as it used to be. I feel increased pressure in my pelvic area.

Workouts: Walks with my Zoey! We walk a mile every morning before breakfast.

Mood: Very overwhelmed, primarily with work. Wrapping things up at work is stressful.

Looking forward to: 
Starting maternity leave, continuing to get the house in order. 

Maternity Clothes: hoping I can stretch these out for another 3-4 weeks. And anyway, once I'm not working anymore I can lounge around in Chris's big 'ol t-shirts for all I care.

Just a few on my sides that I've been using BioOil on regularly.

Rings on or off?
Wedding Band on (most days), Engagement ring off  - I missssss it :(

Bellybutton in or out? OUT

This week I:
*Did about 52,000 loads of laundry: Washed the car seat, the bouncer, baby clothes, swaddle blankets, bed sheets, changing table pads, socks, hats, etc. etc. This cuteness should be illegal:

*Installed the car seat bases into both cars (took about an hour...these things are complicated!)

*Did some major clean-up of the nursery! Still lots to do, but I would at least feel comfortable bringing a baby home to the room now.

*Finished and mailed all my thank you's!

*Attended a breastfeeding class. More on this tomorrow

*More crazy socks!

Reading: Just hospital packet information. These days, if it's not baby related reading material, I can't focus on it.

Milestones: "Your baby is simulating breathing by inhaling and exhaling amniotic fluid, sucking on his or her thumb, blinking, and pivoting from side to side (one day you feel the tushy on the left side, another day it has swung around to the right side). Here's an interesting fact: Your baby's head (which, by the way, is still growing) will, at birth, be the same size circumference as his or her hips, abdomen, and shoulders." The baby is still just growing fat at this point. 

Week 36
Week 35
Week 34
Week 33
Week 32
Week 31
Week 29 
Week 28
Week 19
Week 18
Week 17
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
First Trimester

Linking up with Kristin for Baby Talk Tuesday

Monday, November 11, 2013

Holy SH**, it's my last week of work

Well, it's here: My last week of work before I start maternity leave.

I used to dream about not having to work. Don't get me wrong, I like my job. But the thought of having 3 months off kind of sounds like the most glorious thing in the entire world to me. I realize that having 3 months off without a baby would be quite different than 3 months off with a baby, so I realize this won't exactly be "vacation," but still. Some people might find this sad, but I firmly believe that being a mother will fulfill me in ways that I haven't been in my 7 years in the workforce. I've had two great jobs, but I haven't really caught my stride in a specific career, and have been very "content" working as a personal assistant these past 3 years. However, I feel that I am about to embark on the most important job I will ever have, and the job that I am most suited for in my life.
But, since I suffer from "The grass is always greener syndrome", I'm actually a bit more emotional and sad about leaving my job than I thought I'd be. I'm not "leave leaving" my job. As you read in this post: Maternity Leave and Beyond, I will have 3 months of maternity leave, after which I will work part-time from home. It's an ideal situation for me. I'm a little anxious about exactly how/if it will work and there are still some logistical things to figure out as we eventually make the transition. But as far as my every day office setting is concerned: I've grown to really appreciate my coworkers, and have realized just how good I have it. I have a good solid job, with great coworkers, a great work environment, great work/life balance and I am very lucky to be where I am. I'm going to miss seeing my coworkers every day.

So, I'm a mixed bag of emotions right now: I'm excited, elated, anxious, sad, hopeful, hesitant, etc. etc.

I have a big week ahead of me training my replacement. I want the transition to be seamless, I want to make sure she is perfectly trained, and I want to help in any capacity I can even after I leave. If I am a bit MIA this week it's because I have a lot to accomplish in a short amount of time, both at work and at home. The countdown is truly on now.

There is no way to really describe the amount of emotions running through me right now, and the feeling of knowing how much my life is about to change.   

Friday, November 8, 2013

Fall Swap Goodies

Back in September, I co-hosted a Fall Swap with some other lovely bloggers: Megan from Elliot Wife, Elliot Life, K from Down at Fraggle Rock, and Britt from First Comes Love! The idea was to get paired with some other bloggers and followers, and send some of our favorite Fall Goodies to our partner as a way to meet knew people and get pumped for Fall.

I was paired with Nicole from The Countdown to October 2014. Nicole is a fellow Long Island bride, getting married at the beautiful Chateau Briand next Fall! I know how much I enjoyed blogging my way through our wedding planning, and can't wait to follow along with Nicole as she counts down to her big day next year!

Nicole sent me the sweetest package of Fall goodies!

In it was a Starbucks gift card, which is always something I can use, an adorable Winnie the Pooh mug, comfy and fluffy turquoise socks which are currently packed in my hospital bag, and a pumpkin scented air freshener, which now resides in my car!
To top it all off, Nicole included this adorable coat for our impending bundle of joy! This 18 month jacket should be the perfect size to use for the baby next Fall through Spring! I can't wait to dress our baby in this adorable coat, and it was so thoughtful of Nicole to think of the baby, too.

Thanks so much to Nicole for being the perfect Fall Swap Partner, and for all my wonderful gifts. Be sure to head on over to Nicole's blog to see the things that I sent to her. I had a fun time shopping for this Long Island bride!

Have a great weekend! I hope to finally catch up on my blog reading this weekend! I've had such a busy week! Make sure you link up below!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Lamaze Class


On Saturday we attended an all day lamaze class from 9-4:45! I really thought we would get there and the instructor would say "don't worry, I'll have you outta here by 3!" But alas, that didn't happen. This wasn't an all day "breathe in, breathe out" class like you might expect from the old fashioned lamaze classes you've seen on tv...this was a class that explained each and every stage of labor, the biology of it all, and covered all of our medical options from natural childbirth to an epidural to a c-section.

I really enjoyed our instructor who was a sweet and very humorous older woman who was very open to any and all questions - and believe me, we asked a lot! Our instructor thought we were one of her most inquisitive, informed, and outgoing classes she'd had in a while which I was very happy about. Everyone asked many questions and every question got answered. I was also struck by how involved the men were. Three men in particular asked mannny questions throughout the day, and many of the questions were about epidurals. These guys had come prepared! We did do a few breathing exercises and two meditation exercises, which I think will prove to be helpful when the time comes. It wasn't anything I haven't been doing in yoga, but she taught us how our partners can time contractions and help us get through them.

At the end of the day, she took us on a tour of the hospital, which was what we were most looking forward to with the class. We toured the Labor and Delivery floor of the hospital, saw the waiting room, a typical delivery/recovery room and a typical postpartum room. I don't know why I thought this, but I didn't realize that I would be in two different rooms. I was always under the impression that I would be assigned my room upon checking in with the hospital and that that would be where everything happened until I checked out. But of course, the delivery room is much more "medical" with scary machines and wires all over, and the postpartum room is much more hotel-like. There is a pull out couch in each room, a private shower/bathroom and babies can stay with the parents at all times in these private rooms. It was all set up very nicely.

North Shore LIJ website

We received a comprehensive booklet covering every detail of labor which I am working my way through now. In the end, I'm glad we decided to do the class. I think it got our heads in the game and got us mentally prepared for the task at hand, especially for Chris. That's not to say he wasn't prepared or ready, but this was a tangible thing that allowed him to be a participant in this process with me, rather than watching me go through it or experience all these things up until this point. I am curious how the private lamaze classes work, or the ones offered at my OB's office (something I didn't realize until after I signed up for the hospital). But I have to admit that it was nice to spend a day with 9 other couples who are at the exact same place as us. The men jokingly compared with each other who had gained more weight as a result of their wives pregnancy, the women shared their birthing plans with each other, and there really was no judgement coming from anyone's part. We all seemed genuinely interested in what we all had to say or share, which I think made this whole experience a worthwhile one.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Bumpdate: 36 Weeks

How Far Along: 36 Weeks!

Baby is the size of: A head of romaine lettuce

Total Weight Gain: 32.4 pounds

Sleep: I was all set to say "I've been really surprised by how well I've been sleeping lately." Buuut then Sunday night happened and I was tossing and turning all night. It was a cross between eating a heavy meal late at night before bed, and possibly adjusting to the time change. Hopefully it was a fluke because otherwise, I've been sleeping well.

Best Moment of the week:
*Had our 36 week appointment. I was tested for Group B Strep - which required a swab in both the hoo-ha and rectal area. If I end up having the bacteria, I will have to take an antibiotic to protect the baby from getting it too. I am not dillated at all, but my doctor says I have an excellent cervix!

*Lamaze Class on Saturday! Ok - so it could have been done in half the amount of time. And ok...I was really uncomfortable in the chairs all day. BUT I'm really glad we did the class, and got to tour the hospital! I'll elaborate more on the class later in the week.

*Attended a Registry completion event at Buy Buy Baby. They had a whole table set up with breakfast food and drinks, opened the store up an hour before it opens to the general public, and we got 20% off our entire order.
*Two little old ladies in the bathroom at a concert I attened. The first one says to me: "And are you due tomorrow?"  We laugh about it etc. etc. then the other one says "Well, my mother always said 'It was easier going in than it was coming out!'" Haha! LOVE that quote, and I'm sure it is definitely true.

*I tried Stop & Shop's new grocery pick-up option!! I placed an online order on Friday night for all my week's groceries, and set a pick-up time for Sunday between 10 and 11 a.m. Chris and I stopped there on our way home from Buy Buy Baby. We pulled up to the pick-up area, where our groceries were packed and waiting to be loaded into the car. We were out of there within 3 minutes! It was the most amazing thing EVER! There was no minimum purchase, no charge for the pick-up, and I think this is going to be an amazing grocery shopping option with a new baby!

Worst Moment of the Week:
*Sunday night's sleep: Heartburn, tossing and turning, frequent bathroom breaks

*Cramping periodically - I don't think they are Braxton Hicks contractions though - it's a constant dull period-like cramp.

*One word: CANKLE (this was Saturday when my feet were swelling in our class. They don't look like this all the time). The swelling has gone down since then.

Miss Anything: Red Wine

Food Cravings: Dark Chocolate

Anything make you queasy or sick: No...but I'm getting fuller faster

Have you started to show? 

Gender: Team Green! The waitress at the restaurant we ate at on Sunday was convinced it was a boy. I got two other random predictions from people who say boy based on the way I'm carrying.

Symptoms: Again, I was all set to tell you all that my heartburn was all gone! Then Sunday night and Monday came along and I had each day is just anyone's guess.

*Rash is gone! I had a pretty bad rash all over my lower legs this week. I figured it was from scratching so much, but it got pretty bad even when I wasn't itching. I thought that it might be PUPP, but my doctor said that only really occurs on the stomach and mine wasn't spreading anywhere. I put some benadryl cream on it and it healed up pretty quickly. The only thing I can think was that it was some sort of allergic reaction to the loads of cocoa butter I was applying to my legs to help with the itching. Long story short: My rash, and my itching have both subsided.

*I'm starting to get period-like cramps. Usually walking and drinking water helps. I am having a few very uncomfortable moments a day. I think I will be more than ready to stop working by the end of next week. My commutes are getting harder and harder, especially when I'm not offered a seat on the subway.

Workouts: Didn't make it to yoga last week. Walks with Zoey, and sometimes on my lunch break. 

Mood: Good, getting tired and overwhelmed. Cried like a baby watching New Years Eve with Chris.

Looking forward to:
We will finish the nursery this weekend come hell or high water!!! This is how it currently looks, and it kind of gives me a heart attack to even look at this picture.
The crib is driving me CRAZY - I can't find mesh bumpers that fit the crib right, and I have to buy a crib skirt online (Stores only carry full bed-sets with all this extra stuff that I don't want) Any advice on dressing a crib? Did you use a bumper? mesh bumper? no bumper?

Maternity Clothes: 
Thank goodness Kerry brought over that winter peacoat last week! It's freeeeezing this week. I've worn the coat twice now. Thanks again Kerry!

Stretchmarks: No new ones

Rings on or off? Engagement ring off, wedding band on. Wedding band gets tight if I don't drink a ton of water.

Bellybutton in or out? OUT

This week I: Most productive week yet!
*Started packing our bag for the hospital!
*Attended LaMaze Class
*Worked on the nursery
*I think we've purchased 90% of the things we need by this point. The only items I still realllly need are some more decor for the nursery, and nursing bras and shirts. I'm going to make a big trip to target this weekend.

Reading: Our comprehensive booklet from Lamaze class

Milestones: The Baby weighs about 6 pounds. The baby is more than likely moving down into the head down position for birth now. At the end of this week I am considered full-term. Most of the systems (from circulatory to musculoskeletal) are fully developed. But the digestive system won't really start working until s/he starts feeding.

Week 35
Week 34
Week 33
Week 32
Week 31
Week 29 
Week 28
Week 19
Week 18
Week 17
Week 16
Week 15
Week 14
Week 13
Week 12
First Trimester

Linking up with Kristin for Baby Talk Tuesday

Monday, November 4, 2013

Book Review: The Paris Wife

Disclaimer: For this post, I used Grammarly's plagiarism checker. Since my High School English teacher isn't around to correct my work, my grammar and punctuation could use some fine tuning. Luckily, grammarly edits my work for me! This has helped me tremendously in editing my posts for any and all errors. In exchange for trying out grammarly and writing about it, I will receive a $50 amazon gift card.

The Paris Wife

From Goodreads: 
A deeply evocative story of ambition and betrayal, The Paris Wifecaptures a remarkable period of time and a love affair between two unforgettable people: Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley.

Chicago, 1920: Hadley Richardson is a quiet twenty-eight-year-old who has all but given up on love and happiness—until she meets Ernest Hemingway and her life changes forever. Following a whirlwind courtship and wedding, the pair set sail for Paris, where they become the golden couple in a lively and volatile group—the fabled “Lost Generation”—that includes Gertrude Stein, Ezra Pound, and F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald. 

Though deeply in love, the Hemingways are ill-prepared for the hard-drinking and fast-living life of Jazz Age Paris, which hardly values traditional notions of family and monogamy. Surrounded by beautiful women and competing egos, Ernest struggles to find the voice that will earn him a place in history, pouring all the richness and intensity of his life with Hadley and their circle of friends into the novel that will becomeThe Sun Also Rises. Hadley, meanwhile, strives to hold on to her sense of self as the demands of life with Ernest grow costly and her roles as wife, friend, and muse become more challenging. Despite their extraordinary bond, they eventually find themselves facing the ultimate crisis of their marriage—a deception that will lead to the unraveling of everything they’ve fought so hard for. 

A heartbreaking portrayal of love and torn loyalty, The Paris Wife is all the more poignant because we know that, in the end, Hemingway wrote that he would rather have died than fallen in love with anyone but Hadley.

My Thoughts:
I thought I was going to love this book. There were parts that I liked and other parts that I just couldn't become invested. I was bored...through most of it. Unfortunately, as my "baby books to read" pile grew higher and higher, I couldn't focus on this book at this given time, so this might be an unfair review. I felt there was no excitement or suspense it was mostly following around Ernest Hemingway's boring, depressed wife, Hadley, throughout their marriage. I don't know much about Ernest Hemingway, or his books: perhaps I should, and perhaps it would have shed some more light onto the story for me. Hadley was a pretty annoying character who I somehow felt sorry for and yet didn't at the same time. She wallowed in her own self-pity most of the time and was incredibly needy.  

The plot didn't pick up until near the end of the book as their marriage officially begins to fall apart. So it got a little bit more interesting, but Hadley still did some pretty incredibly dumb things (Pretending to be asleep in the bed next to her husband as his mistress climbs into bed on the other side!?!?!) In the end, she finds her voice and the strength to leave him. They go on to marry others: Hemingway, 3 others to be exact. However, they always believed that they had a love that was pure and true, despite the fact that it didn't work out for them.