My first maternity massage

This past weekend I enjoyed my first ever professional massage! And not just any massage, but a maternity massage.

Maternity massage… sounds amazing, right? At a time in your life when you’re feeling tense, in pain and just generally uncomfortable, what could help you relax better than a professional massage?

Yeah, that’s what I was thinking.

But it didn’t end up being as glorious as I had imagined.

Embarrassing before and after pics.

Embarrassing before and after sefies.

Peter had given me a gift certificate to Neroli Spa (for a maternity massage) as an early Christmas gift when I was pregnant with Corban. Little C came just two weeks later, though, so I never ended up using it. This time, I vowed, I would schedule that massage before it was too late!

So at 35 weeks, I finally got a 35-minute maternity massage on the books. I was glad I had waited until later in pregnancy, because my lower back started aching and I just was feeling more uncomfortable than ever.

Essentially, a maternity massage is just a regular massage, but they have a special pad that you can lay on to accommodate your protruding belly. The masseuse warned me that it was highly possible I would start feeling short of breath or nauseous after some time lying on my stomach, so she would start with my lower back to make sure we got that in while I was still comfortable. Sure enough, after 10 minutes of bliss on my belly, I started to feel sick.

She had me turn around into a partially reclined position on my back, where she could still massage my neck, shoulders, head, etc. Again, I started out feeling great, but within a few minutes was feeling sick again – this time, I thought, due to the strongly scented oils.

She kindly wiped off the oil and proceeded again, but eventually I needed yet another break to sit fully up and drink some water.

While my neck, shoulders and head enjoyed amazing relaxation, I couldn’t fully appreciate it as I battled that horribly uncomfortable feeling of nausea that I thought I had left behind in the first trimester. I silently was thankful I hadn’t booked anything longer than 35 minutes.

How regretful to be treated to such bliss and not be able to enjoy it!

Apparently, this is common for pregnant women who come in for a massage. I’m sure there are some who have no issues, but sadly I was not one of them. It wasn’t a total bust – there were parts of the massage during which I felt fine and really enjoyed it, and afterward I sat in the relaxation room for quite a while with a lovely foot soak – but I will definitely wait until my body is back to normal before considering another massage.

I guess during pregnancy (especially at this late stage) there is only so much you can do to get comfortable, and a massage can only be as relaxing as your body allows. I don’t hold it against the spa or the masseuse at all (in fact, she was so kind as to give me 10% off, I’m guessing since she knew it wasn’t as wonderful as I was expecting). I did leave feeling much more relaxed and rejuvenated, just not as completely as I would have were I not pregnant.

Have you tried a maternity massage? Was your experience anything like mine?

Pregnancy #2: Home stretch

Tuesday will mark 36 weeks for baby #2, and I’m definitely feeling like I’m in the home stretch. Nesting has officially kicked in and my perfectly painted nails that I spent so much time on Thursday night are already wearing away from all the scrubbing.

nestinglist00

Since Corban made his debut at 36 weeks, 4 days, I feel like I need to be mentally prepared for this baby to come early too. My doctor has said there’s no indication this baby WILL come early, but after being taken by surprise the first time it’s hard to just relax as I approach 36 weeks!

This means I’ve finally made some good progress on all my pregnancy-related to do lists: got a haircut, had maternity photos taken, went shopping for nursing and hospital supplies, packed my hospital bag, got a maternity massage (more on that tomorrow!), completely cleared out our old office (Corban’s soon-to-be big boy bedroom), did some practice labor relaxation exercises with Peter, opened my disability claim at work for maternity leave, unpacked and washed newborn clothes and did lots of cleaning and organizing around the house (although to an outsider it probably looks just as messy as always). That was all in the past week!

I’m also physically feeling like I’m in the home stretch. I have contractions every day and need (like, *need*) to sit down with a glass of water if I’ve been on my feet too much (see above list…). My lower back has started to ache, and it’s just not easy to carry Corban or keep up with his joyful antics like I used to. Getting comfortable in general is not easy. My feet have definitely started to swell, but thankfully it’s not noticeable to anyone else, and they’re nowhere near as hideous as they were with pregnancy #1. I’ll spare you a link back to that picture.

Here’s a pic from almost two weeks ago. I can’t seem to time the photography and blog posting to line up…

34weeks

I was up 18 pounds at my 35-week checkup. That’s definitely less than I gained at this point with Corban, but comparing photos at 34 weeks, the bump is no smaller. Maybe it was all the foot-swelling last time…

34weeks01

Although we didn’t take a childbirth class with this pregnancy, I’ve thought a lot more about what I would like the labor and delivery to be like this time. I am not at all nervous about childbirth, partially because I’ve been through it before so I know what to expect (in general), but also because I have a better idea of what I can do to make it more comfortable and a more intentional plan for how to make that happen.

I’ve mentioned before that my goal is to have a birth free from medicine or other interventions. The more I read about natural childbirth, the more I realize that Corban’s birth was far from intervention-free, although I felt like it was fairly “natural.” With Corban, I had an IV in the entire time, a tiny bit of pain meds in the IV at the end, an episiotomy and a vacuum-assisted delivery. All of that (except the pain meds) was not by choice, but because I was told it was medically necessary. Of course at the time I wasn’t going to argue with my doctor when she told me the baby was in distress and I would need an episiotomy and vacuum to get him out as quickly as possible. Corban ended up being perfectly healthy, and looking back I have no way of knowing if my doctor was being smart or unnecessarily cautious with those interventions.

This time, I’ve talked with my (new) doctor about episiotomies (she doesn’t do them except in extreme cases where the baby is in distress), IVs, monitors and other interventions. I’ve thought about what was uncomfortable about labor last time, and the IV and hospital gown are at the top of the list of controllable factors. I was super hot and uncomfortable and felt trapped in my jungle of IV cords, contraction monitor and two hospital gowns (why two?!).

birthstory03

The IV was kind of unavoidable last time since my Group B Strep test results weren’t back yet (I had had the test two days prior) so I needed to have antibiotics administered as a precaution. They also told me I was dehydrated and would need fluids through the IV. This time, I got the strep test done at 35 weeks, and I’m in the clear. I’ve also been very diligent about drinking lots of water – and, to be honest, if they tell me I’m dehydrated when I check into the hospital I’ll decline the IV and just chug water. I think this will make everything SO much more comfortable! I mean… considering it’s childbirth.

I also bought a cute, comfy maternity nightgown that I plan to wear instead of the hospital gown. Such a small thing, but I think it will make a big difference.

I borrowed some books from my friend Litzy, who is a natural childbirth guru after having her first baby in May, and talking with her and reading up on the Bradley Method has made me feel more confident about natural labor. I don’t necessarily agree with everything in the book (can someone please write a pregnancy or parenting book that doesn’t spend just as much time bashing people who disagree with their methods as it does explaining what their methods are? I have found this to be the universal annoyance with ALL books on these topics!), but I like how positive the author is that with proper relaxation and pain management techniques you most certainly can have a natural childbirth without a problem. I definitely plan on employing some relaxation tips from the Bradley way of thinking. Peter is not too excited that the book recommends that the husband massage the wife’s lower back for hours on end during labor. He should be thankful that my first labor was way short, which means this one could likely be short too!

I do actually plan on writing a birth plan this time. Not a “this is how my childbirth experience must go!” plan, but more of a “here are my preferences” plan so I don’t forget to communicate something to the nurses.

So, that’s what’s been on my mind this past week or two. Nothing but work (a whole other set of to-do lists!), enjoying summer with Corban and PREGNANCY/CHILDBIRTH.

Pregnancy #2: 24 weeks

That number of weeks just keeps creeping up on me. Soon I’ll be starting the third trimester – I’m not ready for that yet!

On one hand, I am super excited to meet this little one. I know just how amazing it is to hold a tiny newborn – my tiny newborn – and I am looking forward to that day with this baby. I feel more prepared and relaxed about the logistics of taking care of a new baby this time around.

But on the other hand, I have a massive deadline at work not long before my due date (each week that ticks closer to baby’s arrival also counts down to that) and, unrelated, we just haven’t really done much to prepare our house for this transition. That basically means moving our current office into the basement and creating a bedroom for Corban in that room. It’s more daunting than it seems and I’m almost paralyzed as to how to begin the whole process. We’re also finally starting to see some nice weather here after a miserable winter and spring, so it’s hard to focus on that kind of work on the weekends when there’s yardwork, festivals and fun to be had outdoors.

I think it will help to first make a big list of everything that needs to be done, broken down into manageable tasks, and then start chipping away at it on weeknights.

Here’s a pic from last week at a few days past 23 weeks:

23weeks

Definitely have popped! Here’s my last photo:

19weeks

Physically, I’ve been feeling relatively good these past few weeks. My energy levels have been high and I haven’t felt too limited by my body. I am starting to notice more of the annoying pregnancy symptoms that I remember from last time, though: itchy eyes, constant congestion, decreased lung capacity, bad skin, aches and pains. My leg pain I wrote about in my last update seemed to subside after I took a yoga class, and my doctor thought it was probably just a muscle strain. Corban is getting harder for me to carry – probably also due to his increasing weight.

Although I have not had the most active pregnancy this time around, this baby sure is active! I feel lots of kicks and enjoy every single one. Although, sometimes it’s distracting, like when we were at the movies last night or when I was in a meeting today.

My appetite is still a bit off and I’m sure it will continue this way until the baby is born. I cope by listening to my cravings and planning meals accordingly. This usually involves lots of cheese.

We finally are making some good progress with baby names. Up until the past couple weeks I’ve felt lukewarm about seemingly every name there is, but Peter and I spent a great deal of our car ride to Missouri and back over Memorial Day weekend discussing names, and we now have a good list of possibilities for this baby and any future children. I am extremely picky about certain things when it comes to names, and have a bunch of unofficial rules I can’t bring myself to break regarding first letters, endings, styles and how all the family names sound together. I’m actually really excited about the names on our list because they fit together so nicely.

Tomorrow I turn 27 and will spend the day with Corban, at a playdate and perhaps some other adventures. I took the day off work with no intention of doing anything crazy. I don’t even really have the desire to relax (which wouldn’t be possible with C-boy, anyway). I just want to have a normal day doing fun stuff with my son. I plan to take a few more days off this summer for the same reason. He only has a few more months as an only child so we need to live it up!

Last pregnancy at this time…

Last time at 24 weeks, it was the week of Labor Day. I had an energetic week – did a bunch of meal prep and freezing, worked out three times (including Body Pump – go me!), went to a maternity store for the first time to buy a coat and went out for karaoke on that Saturday night. I had gained 13 pounds at that point, compared to 10 or 11 this time.

Sadly, Body Pump and karaoke have not been a part of my life recently, but this time around I get to enjoy Corban kisses, and that’s even better!

Halfway through pregnancy #2

Tuesday marks 20 weeks – the halfway point – of this pregnancy! (Or, if the baby comes early, like Corban did, we’re already more than halfway there. Eek.)

While the first trimester seemed to drag on and on (feeling sick all the time seems to have that effect), the second trimester has sped by so far.

I jumped right into wearing maternity clothes at the start of the second trimester. I still wear some non-maternity tops (some maternity shirts look pretty baggy on me still) but maternity is a must for pants now.

Physically, I’ve felt pretty normal for the second trimester thus far. My appetite came back as soon as I hit 13 weeks and I enjoyed tons of great food while on vacation in Charleston, SC. Since then, appetite, cravings and aversions have slowly become more hit or miss. I’ve started to notice, like during my last pregnancy, that some of my favorite foods just don’t taste as great as they normally do. I think my taste buds are just a little off. Bummer.

I’m just starting to notice more aches and pains that come with a growing belly. New to the list this time is an intense pain in my groin and inner left thigh whenever I move my legs to get out of bed or lift my left leg (like to put pants on or sometimes even to walk). I Google-diagnosed myself with Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction, which essentially is pain associated with a joint in your pelvis widening more than it should during pregnancy. It doesn’t seem serious, but I am not looking forward to spending the next 20 weeks with it. Has anyone else dealt with this? Don’t worry – I will be asking my doctor about it at my next appointment.

On to the fun part…  here’s a peek at the growing bump, and the growing big brother alongside it.

8weeks

11weeks

19weeks

Note Corban’s changes from pre-first haircut to post-haircut to the present, with his shagginess back again (I love it).

We got to see the little one this past week via ultrasound. That, plus my growing belly, makes this all seem a bit more real.

sonogram-19weeks

The day before the ultrasound, I realized I really want to find out whether this baby is a boy or a girl. We didn’t find out with Corban, and I loved every minute of the suspense and surprise. But this time, it’s different. We are pretty much ready for the baby as far as gear is concerned (we just did this, after all) and we know generally what to expect (although every child is different, yada yada yada). So finding out the sex is just more at the forefront of my mind this time. I want to imagine the sibling dynamic, to shop for baby girl clothes if it’s a girl, to go through all of Corban’s old clothes if it’s a boy. I just have a stronger desire to immediately satisfy my curiosity this time.

Alas, since I came to this realization a mere 24 hours before the ultrasound, I was not able to convince Peter or myself to change the game plan and find out. So another surprise it is. (Unless we have another ultrasound at some point :))

Emotionally, I am just starting to really think about this baby and the changes that will come to our family. I am so excited to once again experience the joy of bringing a new life into the world. I love that our family is growing, and I can’t wait to see Corban interact with the new baby.

At the same time, I’m overwhelmed by the thought of having another child. In my mom’s words, “One is like none and two is like ten.” So far, Corban really has felt as close to “none” as possible. He was such an easygoing infant and continues to have an easy demeanor. But even if we are blessed with two Corbans, our world will be significantly more complicated. Just leaving the house will be much more challenging. Parents of two or more kids, how scared should we be?

It’s also starting to hit me that we actually do have some major things to do before the baby arrives. Like move our super messy, cluttered office into the basement and set up Corban’s new big boy room. The weeks just keep coming and going, but in the next month or so we’ll need to schedule some significant time to focus on those tasks. I’ll keep you posted on our progress.

4.5 months down. 4.5 months to go. Time to get moving!

Some news

If you know me in real life or on Facebook, then this is old news by now. But if not, I’ve got some exciting new news!

I am 15 weeks along (holy cow!). This pregnancy has been quite different from my first so far, and not in a good way. I could barely eat during the first trimester — everything made me feel sick. It was so bad at one point that I stayed home from work one day, which I’ve never done before.

But right when I hit 13 weeks the clouds seemed to part and my second trimester came as a warm welcome. Now I’ve got newfound energy, a healthy appetite, and honestly, I just feel normal again. I’ll enjoy it while it lasts!

Mini-bump beginning to emerge

Mini-bump beginning to emerge

There are some other differences this time around, in addition to the enhanced morning sickness. For instance:

  • I haven’t been journaling every day and recording symptoms/thoughts/etc.
  • I’ve only taken two official bump photos.
  • I ate a ham sandwich at the airport on Sunday and was like, eh, lunchmeat, I’m sure I’ll be fine
  • I drank a small glass of dry (alcoholic) cider while on vacation, and many sips of others’ wine and cocktails (this was after I hit the second trimester)
  • I haven’t read any of those “your baby is the size of a lemon” updates or downloaded any pregnancy apps
  • I’ve already switched to maternity pants and wore my first maternity sweater the other day (partially this is because my maternity jeans are really cute and comfy, and I want to get use of my winter maternity gear while it’s still unbearably cold)

Just a little bit more laid back this time. I think the main difference, though, is that the first time around I was all-consumed by the pregnancy and ME being pregnant. I couldn’t possibly understand or appreciate what life would be like when the pregnancy stage was over and we had a baby. In some ways, I enjoyed pregnancy because it was this grand anticipation of something unknown, life-altering and slightly scary. It was all I knew at that point.

But now that I’ve been through it all, I have a better grasp on the fact that the pregnancy is just one small part – and not even the most fun part. I will do my best to enjoy this pregnancy as much as I (yes) enjoyed my first, but now that I know how great the prize is at the end, it’s hard not to see pregnancy as kind of a burden to get through (especially when you have morning sickness or when you remember how swollen your feet were in the third trimester). I was just getting used to not being pregnant and not nursing/pumping around the clock when we found out I was pregnant again, so for selfish reasons I wish I could enjoy my normal body for a while. But we chose to have our second be close in age with Corban, and I know that is a good thing (for them if not for us).

So although I’m not as excited for the physical aspect of pregnancy this time around, I think I’m more excited about having a baby (if that makes sense). Knowing how wonderful each stage of new life is makes me happy in a way that I couldn’t understand or imagine before becoming a mom.

Here we go again!

Jelly legs

One of my New Year’s resolutions (goals) for this year was to work out three times a week. I was loose with my definition of working out, and counted walks around the neighborhood with the babe some days. But this allowed me to keep this goal successfully for about four months. It was great, even if all the workouts weren’t incredibly intense. They were something. I was sticking with it, checking off three little boxes I would draw in my planner each week. Yay!

Then, at some point after I went back to work, I became less committed to this goal. Body Pump was skipped, runs were “rescheduled” and Corban wasn’t up for walks in 100-degree heat. I have lots of excuses, but the truth is, I lost sight of the goal and prioritized other things.

I’m actually OK with that. There have been more important things to attend to this summer, and that’s fine. The only thing I feel really guilty about is still paying for a gym membership I haven’t been using.

But recently I’ve been craving exercise. It used to be such a big part of my life, and for the past month or two it’s been virtually nonexistent, so now I miss it.

Tonight, I went to Body Pump for the first time in… I can’t even remember. My mom came with (she was in town babysitting Corban today). We both almost fell down the stairs after class. Jelly. Legs.

I love that feeling of exhaustion that comes at the end of class. It’s totally different from the feeling of exhaustion I get when Corban wakes me up at 4 a.m. This is a good feeling – an alive feeling (not a dead-to-the-world-4-a.m. feeling).

This morning I wrote my workout plan in my planner for this week. I got that tough first workout out of the way and checked the box. Now that I’m reminded of what I’m missing, I’m looking forward to sticking with it again.

Does your workout mojo ebb and flow? How do you get back into it after some time away?

Getting back in shape after baby

For the first few weeks after Corban was born, I was content to take it easy, rest and let my body take its time recovering from childbirth. I tried not to lift too much weight (even Corban’s car seat was a bit much) or be on my feet too much.

As I started to feel better, Corban and I went on a few walks, but walks have never really been my thing.

Three weeks and five days after Corban was born, I was ready to run*.

Peter hung out with Corban and I headed to the Y for the first time in months (I never got around to canceling my membership, so I am just going to consider it a donation to an organization that does a lot for the community so I don’t feel too guilty…) The plan was to walk on the treadmill, then work up to a run, and just see how I felt.

As it turned out, I felt amazing. I ended up running for 25 minutes straight, at a pace ranging from 11 minutes per mile to 9:30 per mile.

It was extremely encouraging, but knowing my injury-prone self, I knew I should take it slow in building up mileage. So here’s my tentative plan for getting back into running shape:

Goals: Work out at least three times per week. Run a half-marathon this spring, most likely the South Shore Half-Marathon on April 7 ($12 race entry!).

Training: January 1 – 29 do weeks 5 through 8 of couch to 5K (using the Ease into 5K app); January 30 – April 7 do a 10-week half-marathon training plan (not sure which yet – will keep you posted). I also would like to make baby yoga a weekly habit (we have not been able to make it out the door in time to go since our first class) and get back to Body Pump in the next week or two. Body Pump seems daunting right now – I know the first class will be the hardest!

So far the couch to 5K plan has been going really well. It is forcing me to be really conservative with mileage buildup, which is great. The workouts are measured in minutes, not miles, and they usually involve a walking break in the middle. I’m up to 25 minutes of running.

Earlier this week the weather was freakishly warm for January in Wisconsin, so I was able to run outside and take Corban with me. That’s right, I did a few stroller runs!

We bought a running stroller for $25 on Craigslist, but Corban is still too small for it, so I used our Baby Jogger City Mini with the car seat attached. The City Mini is not meant for running, but the front wheel locks into place, which makes me suspicious that it actually is perfectly fine for running but they tell you it’s not for liability reasons. Either way, Corban is nice and secure in the car seat so I feel comfortable taking it on short, slow runs (like mine were).

Running with a stroller is tough! Granted, I was running with a heavy car seat in a stroller that is not fully optimized for running, but still. Not only is it heavy, but you can’t swing your arms and you have to concentrate on keeping the stroller in line and in control. Hills and wind were brutal!

It was nice having my little buddy out there with me, though.

Anyone else have fitness goals and training plans for the new year? Please share! And join me on Daily Mile for daily training updates.

*I know a lot of people wait for their six-week postpartum check up before exercising, but I was told to do what feels comfortable with no set time restriction.

1 week postpartum

I have to admit, I did not expect to feel this good one week after having a baby.

For the first couple days, it was painful to sit or move from sitting to standing, standing to sitting, sitting to lying down, etc. I needed help out of chairs and I had to walk really slowly down the long hall to the NICU to see Corban during that first day.

The nurses kept offering me pain meds (nothing crazy, just Motrin or Tylenol), but I never felt like I really needed it. It was more discomfort than pain. I just had to take it slow.

Anyway, by Sunday I was feeling pretty good and started doing a few things around the house. I carried folding chairs and a few other things into the basement. On Monday, I carried Corban in his car seat into the doctor’s office (it’s surprisingly heavy and kind of awkward to carry). But by Monday afternoon, I was feeling a bit sore and worn out again. Then I read my discharge orders, which said not to lift anything heavier than your baby (6 pounds?? Come on!) and to do absolutely nothing but care for yourself and the baby.

Thankfully, my mom was here to do everything else around the house.

So the past few days I’ve been trying to balance resting with getting things done. I do notice that after a lot of walking around the house, or doing much of anything, I’ll feel sore in my lower abs and pelvis and have trouble walking comfortably. I feel like I have so much to do, but really, most of it can wait. I’m just incredibly glad we got almost all our Christmas shopping done the weekend before Little C’s arrival!

I probably can’t skip mentioning the weight loss side of things, even though I might be hated here in a minute…

I am completely shocked by how quickly my body has changed. If gaining 24 pounds over the course of 5-6ish months seemed extreme, losing it in less than a week is even crazier. The day we got home from the hospital I was 9 pounds from my starting weight, but within another 2 days I actually weighed about 3-4 pounds less than my starting weight. Never in a million years did I expect that. Before you start throwing things at me, I think the reason for this is because I went into pregnancy with a decent amount of muscle (thank you, Body Pump), and now I have pretty much none.

Though my weight is back to normal(ish) – and I am really happy about that – I still don’t look the same. My calves are strangely small and lacking muscle (getting back into running is going to be tough, I can tell) and the skin on my stomach is kind of loose. My belly button looks funny because it had been so stretched out.

The one thing I am a little concerned about is my ring finger – I still can’t get my engagement or wedding rings off. But I am really happy to report that my ridiculously swollen ankles and feet are back to normal (I had forgotten what normal sized ankles look like).

Seriously… before and after feet photos (sorry if this disgusts you):

It is sooo nice not feeling like I’m walking on sausages or bursting water balloons.

So that’s my body one week after giving birth. Still recovering, but feeling good.

Non-cheesy maternity photos

Almost all of the maternity photos that I’ve seen have had one thing in common: They are SO cheesy.

Husbands kissing stomachs, couples both baring bare bellies, huge bows tied around waists… maximum cheese. There are some hilariously bad ones out there (thank you, Pregnant Chicken, for compiling this roundup.)

I do think this is a really fun time to get professional photos taken, though. As uncomfortable as my protruding stomach might make me feel right now, I want to remember how I look at this stage and capture our excitement and joy as we anticipate our baby’s arrival. As long as they weren’t ridiculously posed, I wanted to have some professional photos taken for that reason.

We’re fortunate enough to have a friend, Anna Sparks, who is studying photography in college and already launching her career, so choosing a photographer was easy. It also made me feel better spending the money on photos – knowing it was supporting a friend.

So yesterday we tromped around by Lake Michigan, a park in Grafton and downtown Cedarburg for some chilly pics (though it was one of the warmer days of late). A lot of the time, it felt like we were taking engagement photos, only with my stomach being an extra prop.

Anna was kind enough to send a few “preview” shots to keep me satiated while she studies for finals. So without further ado, here’s a preview of our shoot yesterday.

There’s one more that I added to yesterday’s post and the belly pics page.

I’m loving all the shots so far and can’t wait to see the rest! Thanks, Anna!

36 weeks

As I type out “36 weeks” I am in shock that I am this close to the end of this pregnancy! I wouldn’t say it’s flown by, but this whole I-could-pretty-much-go-into-labor-any-day-now thing really crept up on me.

No picture today – yet! We had our friend Anna Sparks take maternity photos today, so you’ll have to wait till we get a pic from her to see this week’s bump [updated] and here is one in the style of my weekly photo, only much more professional.

I feel mentally prepared (I think) to welcome our baby into this world, but there are still a few things that need to happen before that day arrives:

  • Receive/set up bassinet that my cousin is sending us (or buy Pack ‘n’ Play, which I’m going to wait till after our final shower on Tuesday to buy with our registry completion coupon)
  • Set up appointment with pediatrician (we have one recommended by our neighbor, but need to meet him and do whatever you do to officially become a patient)
  • Get new tubes for breast pump (after the great used breast pump debate, I never updated you on my decision. Basically, my friend Michelle gave me her Medela Pump In Style. I am cool with it since after changing out the tubes and everything there is really nothing else that touches the milk. And I know who it’s coming from, so there’s no weirdness with that. And it’s free – thank you, Michelle.)
  • Wash baby clothes/blankets/etc.
  • Install car seat and have it safety checked.
  • Call the company that handles unpaid leave for me at work and officialize my maternity leave.

There are also some things that aren’t absolutely crucial, but I would really like to get done:

  • Set up crib
  • Finish organizing/arranging/decorating nursery
  • Purchase glider for nursery
  • Cash in gift certificates for prenatal massage (from Peter as an early Christmas gift) and pedicure (shower gift from my friend Litzy). They sound sooo good right now, but I just need to find the time!
  • Buy all the miscellaneous baby items we still need (this also involves figuring out what those items are…)

Current symptoms

Yeah, life with the bump is not getting any easier. Sleep is tough. Rolling over is tough. Getting up after sitting for a while is painful.

My feet are very swollen and at times it feels like I am walking on water balloons that could burst at any moment if I bend them the wrong way.

Baby still likes that right rib, only he/she is getting bigger and stronger and sometimes putting an undue amount of pressure on it.

Most people are really sweet to me and tell me I am one of those women who only gains weight in my belly when pregnant. For the most part, I think that’s true (and I feel really lucky), but it’s kind of the entire mid-section that’s bigger, not just the bump. One woman in the cafeteria at work (who I think is the same woman who made the weird comment I mentioned in this post) told me she can tell I’m nearing the end because my face is starting to fill out. I don’t know how she would have any grasp on that since I don’t know her, but I kind of have to laugh at the thought that she might be the only person being honest with me. I think my face has filled out a bit, but perhaps not noticeably to others.

And again I feel lucky, because I’ve only really gotten two weird/borderline rude comments over the past 8 months, and both were from the same woman.

In other news…

My co-workers threw me a lovely shower at work on Thursday. This was my only shower that involved animal masks. Which is an awesome addition to any party, in my book.

(Giraffe and pup, a.k.a. me being tall and Jackie being… an attack dog)

(Elephant and bear, a.k.a me smiling even though my trunk hides it and Enrique smiling because that’s what you do when you’re in a bear mask)

(Zebra and lion, a.k.a. Nancy looking cute and my hair threatening to turn into a full-on mane)

There were many more mask photos, just not taken on my camera. I think I wore nearly all of the maybe 15 masks at some point.

(Cake design inspired by this very blog)

(Lots of yummy homemade food)

(Some of the ladies in my department)

It was so sweet, and I was once again taken aback by the generosity and love poured out from the people in my life.

On a much more serious note

Another very busy week ahead. As overwhelming as life feels for me right now though, I would like to ask for prayers for my friend Michelle (mentioned above, who gave me her breast pump), who will be having a double mastectomy this Wednesday. Michelle found out she had inflammatory breast cancer a few days before her 30th birthday and the very same day I went to the doctor and took my official pregnancy test (we actually go to the same doctor). It’s crazy to think that as long as I’ve been consumed by this baby growing inside me, she has been consumed by cancer treatments and all the fear and unknown that comes with that. Her strength and trust in the Lord over this time has been a constant reminder to me that no matter the issue, large or small, God is in control. It has helped me put things in perspective when my problems were the center of my world and helped me realize that it’s God who should be at the center. So please pray for a successful surgery and recovery, no more traces of cancer and strength and comfort for Michelle and her family this week.