Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A Pregnant Woman's Guide to Maternity Clothes









Being pregnant with my first child, I had zero experience maternity clothes shopping.

I had no idea what sizes I would need nor what products would work for me.

Given that every body type is so different, and each pregnancy is so different, this post will simply serve as a guide and just a place to start. Ultimately, you will have to make some decisions yourself on what will work best for you. I just thought I'd share what I have learned in this first pregnancy.




When Should I Start Buying Maternity Clothes?


To me, this question has a simple and easy answer.

NOW.
(or, as soon as you find out you are pregnant.)

Here's why: CLEARANCE.

Take advantage of that clearance rack! If you buy as soon as you find out you are pregnant, the clothes on clearance are going to be the right season for when you are in your third trimester. I did a little shopping in the first trimester (early winter) and I got great summer tanks and maxi dresses for a steal! I'm talking $3 tanks and $8 dresses. You won't find that if you wait until you need it.

A lot of people might say to hold off until you hit the second trimester if, heaven forbid, you were to lose the pregnancy. Of course, just like announcing to friends and family, this is entirely up to you. You could always begin shopping and keep the items in the bags with receipts in case you need to return them. (I highly recommend keeping receipts for ALL things pregnancy/baby...you never know if/when you will want to return or exchange for a different product).

I did feel a little silly buying maternity clothes so soon. I had no bump yet. I didn't know how long my clothes at home would work for me.

But I love shopping. And I had waited for this pregnancy for 4 years.

So I felt it was my right to do it! So do what feels right for you. A lot of women can go almost the entire pregnancy wearing their original clothing and don't really need anything maternity. I lost a few pounds in the first trimester due to strong food aversions and "evening sickness", so it wasn't until the beginning of the second trimester that my waistband became tight. I also had a lot of empire waist shirts that were flowy and still worked for awhile. The problem I eventually ran into was that the shirts weren't long enough to cover my belly fully. 

What About The Hair Elastic Trick for Pants?


And that little trick where you weave a hair tie through the button hole on your jeans to expand them? Yeah, that wasn't enough for me. Plus my pants wouldn't stay up! I know it works well for a lot of women, but honestly, it will just depend on how you are carrying your baby and where you put on your weight. 

How About The Belly Band?


The Belly Band is basically like a bandeau top, but for your muffin top, haha! You wear it over the top part of your pants and your growing belly. It allows you to do the hair elastic trick (or simply leave your pants unbuttoned) while keeping it covered so no one else can see. It holds the pants in place, while providing a little support for your belly.

The Belly Band worked for me for the first trimester (when there is lots of bloating) and into the second. For me, the Belly Band would roll up when I would go from sitting to standing. I've always had to wear a belt with my jeans to avoid my pants riding down too low in the back, so trying to go without a belt, with pants unbuttoned just didn't work for me. I was constantly readjusting my pants and the band. But it may work great for you!

What Size Do I Buy?

I have had to do a lot of online shopping (well, browsing, at least) to find maternity clothes in my area. Most provide a conversion chart in which you find your pre-pregnancy size for each item and it will give you your pregnancy size. I quit looking at them after awhile because it turns out, your pre-pregnancy size is the same as the pregnancy size! However, if you were a little between sizes or on the edge of going up to the next size before getting pregnant, you will want to go up a size in maternity. By the third trimester, your whole body is going to be huge. So you may want to go up a size anyway! My sizes ranged all over the place in different brands pre-pregnancy, but I tend to average a medium in tops. I have mostly mediums in maternity, but I also have quite a few larges, too. Just consider the weather when you will be in your third trimester. Will you want your clothes to be a bit loose or fit more snug? It just comes down to personal preference.

Since I am due in the beginning of July, I have a lot of people warning me of how hot I'm going to be. They just laugh and say, "ohhh...you are going to be miserable!" And then they smile. They must be speaking from experience! I am glad that I am not going to be huge in the middle of winter, though. I like that I can just throw on a tank and a maxi skirt or some shorts instead of having to layer up and wear boots and a coat. The least amount of clothes for me, please! :)

There is a chance your feet will swell and expand from relaxin (the hormone that relaxes your ligaments to allow your belly to expand and to prepare for childbirth). If this happens, you might have to go up a shoe size or two. So don't buy any shoes during pregnancy unless you are in your third trimester (or your feet have already swelled and you need new shoes)! I have a little bit of swelling that I noticed while wearing a particular pair of sandals, but my running shoes still fit. I know of several women who have said their feet grew in size during pregnancy, but then did not return to their original size afterward, so it can be permanent.

How Can I Save Money on Maternity Clothes?

What a great question.

The best answer is to be patient, and be resourceful.

If you are shopping ahead of your baby bump, you can wait for an item to go on sale (which is the main reason I recommend shopping early). Try not to pay full price for anything! Get on the email list for maternity stores so you can get coupons and notifications of sales. It's better to have an inbox full of solicitations from stores before you need it than to have to pay full price! And shop that clearance rack! See if you can get what you need from this rack. Remember, you do not need to pick out things that are super fashionable (they tend to be the most expensive items - pick a few great staples for a work wardrobe and just wash them often). Maternity is mostly solids and stripes, anyway! This is just a temporary wardrobe, so try to be frugal and don't overbuy.

I have bought most of my maternity clothes from Old Navy. They have sales often, plus they do a  10% military discount on top of whatever sales or coupons are going on. They have a decent selection in-store, and have some great online-only items, too. Returns are easy; online purchases can be returned in-store.

I like Motherhood Maternity a lot; their clearance is amazing, and so is their overall selection. It's more pricey than most other places, but I think it's worth it for the selection. They carry nursing items and other products like pregnancy pillows and nausea remedies. They also will give out little welcome baggies with coupons and product samples - this is how I ended up getting 3 FREE Avent bottles!

Check your local department stores to see if they have a maternity section. Most of mine around here do not have one. I got lucky and found some great clearance items at Belk - $10 per top! Some department stores have maternity online, although I have not purchased anything from them.

Target is a great place to look...if you have a SuperTarget. Sadly, ours is not a SuperTarget, and the maternity selection is quite pitiful. 

Walmart also has maternity, but the same story here...not all locations have it!!

You can also check out secondhand stores. In my area, we have Once Upon A Child, a store that is mostly secondhand children's clothes, toys, and gear. My location also accepts maternity clothes. Clothes Mentor is another secondhand store that also accepts maternity clothes. I got a pair of white capris here for $6! It still had the original tags on it. I'm not a big fan of buying secondhand clothes, but for items that you are really only going to wear for like 6 months (and then for a bit postpartum), I just couldn't justify spending $34 on them for brand new.

Another great way to save some dollars is to borrow maternity clothes from a friend or family member. Remember to take care of them as if they were your own clothes. Keep them organized if you borrow from multiple people - consider marking the tags with their initials. Be sure to return them as soon as you are finished with them in case they need them back for another pregnancy of their own!

What Type of Belly Panel Should I Look For?

There are two types of panels on maternity shorts and pants (well, actually there are 3...)

Full Panel: this panel covers a good majority of your belly. It will feel like your pants go up to your armpits, but it keeps the pants up nicely.

Below the Belly Panel (also called demi panel or low panel): this one is like a thick, high, stretchy waistband that goes under your belly.

Modified Waist (I don't know what it's actually called): this is a relatively new design in maternity bottoms in which 2 v-shaped elastic sections are added to the hip areas of the pant. The rise on the waist looks identical to non-maternity clothes. They may still have a fly and a button, although both are non-functional (unless you purchase from high-end boutiques...those pants are pricey!).

I have purchased all 3 fits. 

And I like each one of them for different reasons.

The full panel is my favorite for coverage. You never have to worry about a shirt not being long enough and your baby belly hanging out. It also helps to keep your pants up! Again, I usually have to wear a belt to keep my pants up, so a full panel was the next best thing. CONS: the full panel can be too tight for third trimester bellies, and the stretchy material is not cotton and can be a little too hot for summer pregnancies, not to mention it can be annoying to have that panel over your belly all day. Also, dark panels can be seen through light colored shirts. You may want to get only the tan-colored ones. (Old Navy has a good selection, same with Motherhood Maternity.)

The below the belly panel is my favorite for later in pregnancy. You have gained some weight, and the elastic waist feels nice and comfy. There is no fabric pressing on your belly, so it is very comfortable once you have a third trimester belly. CONS: I found this fit to be uncomfortable on my belly in the first half of pregnancy - the waistband put too much pressure right where baby was growing. Once baby grew up and out of my pelvis, these were a much more comfortable option. Also, different brands will fit differently, and some waistbands may be too tight or too loose for your size. Shop around for your favorite brand! (I like the ones at Target.)

I purchased one pair of shorts with the elastic section on the sides. I liked it because it felt like "normal" shorts to me, while still accommodating my preggo body! This is definitely the way to go if you can't stand the panel at all. I ended up returning mine before I wore it; I swapped it for a pair I liked better elsewhere with the below the belly panel. CONS: You may find these pants don't stay up well enough and you end up tugging at them all day. I had a problem with mine when I sat down...you could see a little too much in the back! But I have a large butt, so that could be why. :)

Why Do Maternity Clothes Fit So...BAD?!

I have some awful fitting maternity jeans. They are super tight right after being washed, and stretch out to probably a whole size (or two) too big by the afternoon.

The fact of the matter is, is that maternity isn't a huge market. The clothes do not move very fast in a store, so they do not stock very much. If they were to make jeans based on every body type and keep them in-stock in every size, they would probably lose money on it. Maternity clothing is going to be somewhat ill-fitting. This is your new life. You will have to temporarily hate your wardrobe to grow your little one. But it's worth it! :)

I plan on using this to my advantage post baby...to motivate myself to get back into my pre-pregnancy clothes!

*  *  *

I hope this guide is helpful to you. Of course, this post is based on my personal experience with maternity clothes; you may have a far different experience or have entirely different preferences. And that's okay! Enjoy this magical time in your life! Thanks for reading!


Friday, April 25, 2014

30 Weeks

30 weeks...here we are!

And that means that the countdown just hit 9 weeks, 6 days!!!

9 WEEKS!!!!

I'm still feeling good! I have gained a little over 20 pounds so far this pregnancy. I try to stay active for as much as my back will allow. I am noticing that some of those pounds are showing up in my legs and buttocks...why does that not surprise me?! :)

I had a couple of "firsts" this week.

I finally decided to start taking advantage of parking spots reserved for pregnant women.


I used to avoid them because I always thought that there would be someone in more discomfort than me who would need it more. But I've decided enough with that hooeyness! Besides, there's only 2 places in town that even have this kind of parking - Babies R Us and the hospital on post, but at the hospital, you have to be 36 weeks AND have a permit.

And I also did Ava's first load of laundry!



And then I did another load, and another, and another, and another, and another...

And then, it finally happened.

I used Ava for a table!



Those are lemon oreos, in case you were wondering. Very delicious!

Of course, I have to talk about food now...

I haven't really had what I would classify as cravings - you know, the kind where you literally have to stop what you are doing to find that food - but I definitely have food "preferences". Now that I am nearing the end of my pregnancy (um, what?!) I have summarized my most popular food choices:

Ovaltine. 

Lay's potato chips. 

Soft-serve ice cream with a mix-in. (Sonic Blasts, mostly, and the occasional Mcflurry or Blizzard) I am patiently awaiting the return of the Rolo McFlurry: the best! They add in extra caramel drizzle!

Cinnamon-sugar toast.

Steamed broccoli.

Juicy apples.

And I am still waiting for the watermelon prices to drop. I'm planning on eating a lot of it!

I mean really...I could eat anything. It's safe to say all my aversions are long gone. I am a pregnant woman who is always glad to eat! I am wondering if taste buds can change during pregnancy. Everything I eat tastes so good to me, even if it is a food I have had 1,000 times before! Maybe it's due to the heightened sense of smell?!

I took a video of Ava and her crazy kicks. This is the right side of my belly where all the activity was. I think she was trying to straighten her leg or something - I wasn't quick enough to catch her biggest movement on video, but she made my belly stick out way farther than what's in this video! The video is posted below this photo:



(I am hoping you all can see these videos...the one from last week could not be viewed from a mobile device.)

For the most part, I don't feel very big. In fact, I kind of forget how big I actually am until I look at my belly from the side in the mirror! I am used to just looking down at my belly, so it's harder to see the "basketballness" of my belly.

Last week, I took my 29 week belly shot in the afternoon. The next morning, I was getting dressed to go for a walk, and I couldn't believe how much different my belly looked! Check it out in this photo I took:

This picture blows my mind! I look completely different! I'm pretty sure this girl has been changing her position a lot here lately, and this photo is the proof! Of course, I'm not wearing the same outfit so it's hard to make an exact comparison, but these photos look like they were taken from entirely different trimesters!

I feel like these weekly comparison photos aren't the best way to document my belly growth because her position really determines how big I look. Some weeks I look huge, and some weeks I look small. I look back on some of my weekly photos (especially last week's photo where I look really small for 29 weeks) and think, "that's not how I looked this week!"

I am beginning to think that she changes positions at night when I'm laying down. I sleep mostly on my left side. Occasionally I wake up and I'm on my back. It's funny - sleeping on my back has only been comfortable to me since the day I found out I was pregnant! I never slept on my back before now! I obviously try not to lay on my back, but sometimes it just happens. I will try sleeping on my right if I am unable to get comfortable or can't fall asleep. When I get up for the day, she has to re-orient herself to her go-to position: head to the left of my belly button and legs on my right side (and here lately I've been feeling her feet a lot higher up by my ribs).

Ava was extremely active on Monday. I usually feel lots of movement on my right side because that is where her legs are. On this particular day, all those movements I usually feel were happening on my left side. She moved all day long. The next day, she hardly moved at all and it was almost worrying me until I sat down to do some fetal counts and was reassured by her movements back on the right side. I'm thinking she got herself flipped around and spent all day trying to get back.

Ava got lost!

Tuesday must have been her recovery day, tired from the effort it took to flip back!

Now her movements are more consistent again. :)

The other night I felt her drop down or back or something... I was laying in bed and suddenly I could feel this "rush" of pressure release in my stomach, like my organs suddenly had more room! It was a very bizarre feeling, but I was glad for it because usually at the end of the day is when I am most uncomfortable, and her movement created that shift which made me feel a whole lot better!

There are only 2 more months (roughly) until her due date!! I just can't believe it! I have found myself suddenly thinking about delivery and post-delivery. It is such a crazy thing to daydream about because we have no idea how things will be until we are in the thick of it!

But I can't wait!!!



I would like to end this post with a bit of humor.

I was going through my baby boxes, and I found some real treasures.

Hair from my first haircut.

Teeth that I knocked out when I was 3 years old.

An ultrasound image from 2 months before I was born (a very, very poor image...technology sure has come a long way!).

And then...there were these:

MATERNITY CLOTHES FROM 1985!!!
Treasures indeed!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Life-Changing Beef Stroganoff

I am very excited to finally be sharing this recipe!

I know I promised I would share this awhile ago back at week 19!

Now, this recipe is probably not going to actually change your life, but it just might change your opinion on beef stroganoff.

Growing up, my memory of beef stroganoff was that it was a warm, hearty dish that I loved and my sister hated. But I also remember it being sort of...traditional. I began to search for the recipe (as I did not have my childhood recipe) and stumbled across a recipe that intrigued me. Of course, at the time, I was missing like half the ingredients it called for, and so I tried to think of what I had in the house that could be good substitutes. 

And I came up with a dang good recipe!!

Let's begin.

Begin by putting a big pot of water on to boil and getting a large sauté pan on medium heat with 2 tablespoons of butter in it.




Here are the 3 ingredients that I think make this dish so special:


White wine, smoked paprika, and beef bullion granules.

I'm no food expert, but I'm pretty sure that typically red wine is paired with beef and white wine goes with chicken and fish. But I like the white wine in it because it gives it a brightness that I really enjoy! I'm sure a red wine would make it delicious as well with the depth it would give. I used a pinot grigio. I think I've also used a chardonnay. Just use whatever you've got!

The smoked paprika was a last-minute substitution that I did the first time I made this recipe, and I've never looked back! It is really hard to find. I got mine from World Market for $3.99 and it comes in a very nice glass spice jar! You can get it online or in store. We checked stores just outside St. Louis and in Nashville during our last trip home from Kansas and only found 1 bottle. I originally bought it in the Lawrence, KS store. So online might be the way to go!

And as for the beef bullion granules...not such a special ingredient by itself, but I prefer the granules instead of the cubes because I can dump in however much I need.

Moving on!

The recipe calls for raw beef that you slice into bite-sized strips and then coat in flour and sauté in butter. But we grilled this past weekend and we had so much leftover steak that I decided to cut a corner this time and use it instead. It will be more flavorful if you don't use pre-cooked meat, but I hate wasting food and wanted to use our leftovers.

Lookit this hunk of meat! We usually buy the family pack of skirt steak from the commissary. Super economical and cooks quick!


So typically this is the point where you would throw in the raw beef to cook with onions and garlic in the butter. But since my meat is already cooked and simply needs to be heated through, I skipped ahead to adding the wine.

Of course, I don't measure, but I probably use a good cup of wine. A really good trick is to buy those four-packs of mini wine bottles and just use one whole bottle each time you cook this. But if you use a large bottle, then you can always pour yourself a glass while you cook! :)


I love cooking with wine. It smells so good! Let the wine cook for a few minutes and reduce a bit.

Since I did not have flour coated beef, I need to add the flour anyway to thicken the sauce. I used a tablespoon after the wine had reduced. Stir it in; it will absorb remaining liquid. If it doesn't look exactly like this, no big deal:


I promise it will still taste SO good!

Next, I added probably 2 cups of hot water and a heaping tablespoon or so of the beef granules. And I added my beef strips. TIP: use kitchen shears to slice the meat - much easier than using a knife!


Now for my favorite part: adding the smoked paprika. There is no smell like it! I think I ended up using about 2 teaspoons. You know what I'm going to say...I don't measure! I think I measure with my nose. I frequently smell my dish and judge that way. Weird, I know.

Bring the meat and sauce back up to heat until the meat is heated. Remember, you are not re-cooking the meat, just giving it a little heat.

Next, take your pan off the heat. You are going to add the sour cream in next. You do not want your sauce to be bubbling while adding this dairy.

By this time your noodles should be cooked, so this is a good time to tend to them.

Look at how the smoked paprika has deepened the color of the sauce!


Stir in 8 ounces of sour cream until it is blended:


Dump in your egg noodles and toss until they are coated.


I added some dried parsley and then separated it into 2 square aluminum pans for my post-baby freezer meal stash for hubby and I!



Beef Stroganoff

Serves 4-6

2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced

skirt steak, sliced into thin, bite-sized strips
2 tablespoons flour

1 cup white wine
2 cups hot water
1 tablespoon beef granules
2 teaspoons smoked paprika

8 ounces sour cream

1 pkg whole wheat egg noodles

dried parsley, optional


1. Prepare noodles following package directions. 
*If you are going to freeze this dish, I recommend using the lowest cooking time to prevent soggy noodles.

2. Melt butter on medium heat in a large saucepan.

3. Add onions and garlic.

4. Meanwhile, toss beef strips in the flour to coat (I use a ziplock bag) and add to butter, onions, and garlic.

5. Cook until meat has reached your preferred doneness. This just takes a few minutes.

6. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan; reduce for 1-2 minutes.

7. Add the water, beef granules, and smoked paprika. Stir and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

8. Remove from heat and add sour cream once the sauce is no longer bubbling.

9. Stir until smooth; add in cooked noodles.

10. Toss until noodles are well coated; top with dried parsley, if desired.



Friday, April 18, 2014

29 Weeks

It's Friday again! 

I can't really tell you what happened this week, because I can't remember! I feel like I was just writing last week's post!

Well, let's see...

I think I was pretty lazy this week. I watched an MTV marathon the other day.  I also had some uterine pain around my belly button, probably from Ava growing. So I took it easy that morning. 

This little girl (well, she's not actually little...) has become exceptionally friendly lately:

She is our skiddish kitty, and having just turned 4, she seems to really have turned a corner! She spends a lot of time on the corner of the recliner with me. She has even let the neighbor play with her! She has really come out of her shell in the last several months. Related to my pregnancy? Not really sure!

I made jambalaya for the first time (in the crockpot)! It was good. It made so much that I already have our first freezer meal for after Ava arrives! It's not my recipe, but if you want it, it's on my Pinterest board "Crockpot Cooking". So easy!

I am thoroughly disappointed in the selection of maternity clothes and nursing items in this area, Nashville included! I have almost given up finding nursing bras and tanks. There's a few more spots I'm going to check, and after that it will be online ordering. So to all you nursing mommies, give me your favorite brands and what you liked about it most so I know where to start!

No photo updates on her room yet...sorry! For whatever reason, I didn't really spend much time in there this past week. Laundry is where I'm at before I can start putting things away and clearing up the floor. 

My belly button is close to "popping". A few more weeks and I think it will happen! Right now it is even with my stomach. 

It's really hard to buckle my sandals. I think I will be strictly in flip flops pretty soon. 

It's almost impossible for me to get up off the floor while holding a baby. 

I like to eat. "Chipotle" is my trigger word!

I have mastered drinking 64 ounces of water each day. 

My sweet tooth has come back with a vengeance!!! I have to fight it everyday. 

The only pregnancy symptoms I deal with on a regular basis are pelvic pain and lower back pain. (Oh, and flatulence! Ha!) Most of the time it is more noticeable at the end of the day. Or if I've done a lot of bending over, my back will hurt more. It's amazing how much lower back muscles are used! Even a slight bend (like doing dishes in the sink) makes my back ache! Fortunately both pains are minor and are to be expected with my front getting larger and heavier.

Ava has been "acing" her fetal movement counts so far. She does her 10 movements in about 15 minutes. Up to 2 hours is considered normal. 

I feel her little feet and hands a lot.

At least I think that's what I'm feeling. 

Something small makes a tiny bump in my tummy, so I can only assume that's what it is!

Oh, and look! 

Here are Ava's hiccups!

(It will be easier to see if you make the video full-screen by clicking on the weird squarish symbol in the lower right. I had to hold my breath so the hiccups would be easier to see!)



I've never been able to post a video before! This is exciting! The last time I tried it didn't work!!


Next week will be 30 weeks!! AHHHH!!!!

Friday, April 11, 2014

28 Weeks

It has been a long slow week. Chris has been in the field since Saturday and was gone until Wednesday night. 

So it was just mostly me and Ava. And the crazy animals.

I have felt semi-depressed during his absence. I felt this way when he was away in Boston several weeks back. I'm pretty sure that the pregnancy hormones are responsible for that feeling! I normally do just fine while he is away. I just felt ultra lonely and I missed him a lot. 

It helped that I had some things to do, though.

I did some yoga from a prenatal yoga DVD. I was sad to realize my range of motion and flexibility has greatly decreased, but some of those poses felt so good on my back! Afterward I felt relaxed and less stiff and restricted and more like a well-oiled machine. I could see a difference in how much less effort it took to go up and down stairs! The video was a little outdated and sorta cheesy, but the yoga itself was good. Not a bad workout for buying it used at $4!

Ava participated by occasionally kicking and having a round of hiccups.

I was instantly hungry afterward. :)

I often think of the foods that are off-limits for now and how much I want to eat them.

Sushi.

Caesar salad.
(Some restaurants make the dressing from scratch.)

Cold-cut sandwiches.

A juicy steak with a medium-pink center.

And of course...

A beer.

Or some wine.

I've heard that it is "okay" to have one glass of red wine (I think it was red...) occasionally in the third trimester.

I think I would be okay with just a sip. Just for a taste. :)

I am beginning to prep for a day of making my freezer meal stash. I've already gotten the recipes together and compiled my grocery list and figured out what ingredients I already have. It's gonna be a busy day! Pinterest has been a great resource for my freezer meal selections. I made a small batch of freezer meals when I shut down our kitchen in anticipation for the PCS here. It was a lifesaver! I was able to pack everything in the kitchen; I just made sure to leave an oven mitt (or a towel) out and we used plastic utensils and paper plates. A disposable, square aluminum pan was the perfect size for the two of us to have dinner one night and have leftovers for lunch the next day.

I have had a bit of acid reflux in the past few days. I had to google it to be sure that's what it was - I've never had it before! Fortunately it's nothing severe, just that annoying feeling in my throat that makes me need a drink of water or want to chew a piece of gum. The sensation I feel is almost like food is coming up my throat and gets stuck there, and sometimes it makes me think I might need to throw up to get it out, but then I just cough instead and that usually makes the sensation dissipate.  The other day it made me stop what I was doing and run for some water! It is a yucky, sour/burning feeling.

I feel like Ava has really grown a lot in the past few weeks! I'm not quite sure how my doctor measures my fundal height since I have a bicornute uterus, but I think the uterus may finally be high enough to start pressing on my stomach, which is probably the reason for the reflux. No wonder babies with reflux are so fussy - I get it now! Not fun.

I had my glucose test on Wednesday.

It was really boring.

I had eggs for breakfast and I was ready to get it over with so I could eat some more. (By the way...have you tried Taco Bell's new breakfast menu? It's pretty good! I highly recommend trying the crunch wrap and cinnabon delights!)

It was really boring.

Oh, I already said that...well, it was.

I quickly drank the "glucola" and tried to occupy my mind during the hour wait by making a grocery list and a to-do list for the day. Then I read a little of my book I brought. There is no cell phone reception in most areas of the hospital that I have been in - it is a definite dead zone (which now I'm realizing could be a real downer when it's delivery time!) so I did not have that tool to keep me occupied. The drink didn't set 100% well with me; it did make me feel a little weird, for a lack of a better term. Tons of sugar on a semi empty stomach tends to do that to me.

But...

I passed! All my blood work came back normal! Yay me!

I had my 28 week appointment earlier today, and just as I suspected, she is growing like a little weed. The enlarged kidney is still present, but it is a very mild case and could very well be resolved by my 32 week ultrasound. Yay Ava!

I start my fetal movement counts from here on out. I have a feeling this is an area Ava will "excel" in; she is quite the active baby!

I am mentally preparing myself for the infamous third trimester agonies of overall uncomfortableness. Hey, as long as Ava keeps growing, that's all I will care about!

I was looking back through the images we got of Ava at our 4D ultrasound earlier in the second trimester. I really want to go back to see my little froggie again! Here are some images of her that make me smile (at almost 19 weeks...she is MUCH bigger now!):

Hanging out with her umbilical cord.


 
Maybe in the process of yawning?


 Her go-to position.


And my personal fave:


...and this one makes me laugh, too:

She appears to be quite comfortable in there!

We got a small recliner for her room and Chris plans to finish up her dresser this weekend. We are getting down to it in her room! I'm sure I will start her laundry soon and start to find places for all her essentials. Last week we got her mamaRoo swing!

For $8 out of pocket!!

(I had a 20% off coupon and we finally cashed in on our Babies R Us gift card stash.)

 We are getting so excited for your arrival, miss Ava! Mommy and Daddy are feeling more and more prepared!


(I don't know why these posts are getting so long...they are including much more info than I had originally thought they would! Oh well; to me this is taking the place of talking in person or on the phone with each of you. I do miss being able to drive across town to spend time with friends and family!)







Saturday, April 5, 2014

27 Weeks

So wait...I am now 7 months pregnant?!

I have started the THIRD TRIMESTER!!!

Some count week 27 as the start of the last trimester, and some say 28. I don't know which one is correct, so I'm going with 27 weeks.

Ava will be here in 3 months or 13 weeks or 91 days (or less)!!!

I had another first this week!

I felt baby girl's hiccups for the first time! I thought she was tap dancing and had amazing rhythm when I realized (especially since my last ultrasound where I saw her hiccups on the screen) that those were no punches or kicks - those were hiccups! I felt it much deeper in my belly, and they were not nearly as localized as a kick or jab. It was almost like a pulsing that happened every few seconds. Crazy! Chris was able to feel them too a few days later. Her torso must have been closer to the side of the uterus.  It felt like a little heartbeat, almost - it's kinda hard to describe! I've felt them almost every day this week! In fact, she has them right now as I am typing this. :) Growing a baby is both the most beautiful thing ever, and also a little bit wild when you think about all that is happening!

I am so happy and grateful to be here.

Ava is such a blessing already!

4 ladies (including me) on my little c-shaped street are due this summer. Babies will literally be popping out left and right! So Ava will have lots of friends her age. 

I caught this RARE image a few days ago...
All 3 of our animals.

VOLUNTARILY in the same room.

In the same corner of that room.

The cats are relaxed as can be and Duke is resting nicely on his bed.

It's only taken almost a year for this to happen!

It was a big day in our household! 

I guess I should have removed most of our living room furniture a long time ago to allow for this "play space" to exist.

We finally got the new furniture and sold the old set! I am so happy we went with a reclining couch and loveseat instead of a sectional. The reclining feature couldn't have come at a better time for me and miss Ava - I am much more comfortable, and it's nice to be able to put my feet up at the end of the day!

We had some severe thunderstorms roll through the other night. Lots of loud thunder and bright lightening. So it was hard to fall asleep. 

Also, Duke was howling in his sleep. 

And Ava was attempting to kick her way out of my uterus. 

So I did not get much sleep that night!

I have been getting the occasional leg cramp at night in bed. I've had them for several weeks now. It's a common symptom, I guess. I am usually able to flex my foot just in time to prevent it from becoming a full-blown Charlie horse. I could also eat a banana everyday to help combat that, but bananas also make you constipated. 

And I don't need any (more) of that. I already have to eat a Fiber One bar and Activia yogurt everyday just to keep things moving. 

But things still aren't moving very fast!

I've read that prenatal vitamins contribute to constipation as well, but there is really nothing that can be done about that!

I hung up some more things on a wall in Ava's room. Her changing dresser will go in front of it:

I plan to put some photos in the frames - I'm thinking maybe of the fur babies? And the little grey frame says "I love you to the moon and back". The pink cross says "For this child I have prayed", and the white frame says "Blessed little bundle of perfection". 

I got almost all of it from Hobby Lobby, the colored frames from Kirklands, and the white frame from Halmark. That white frame was one of the first things I bought when I found out I was pregnant. I've been very excited to find a permanent home for it in her room!

I have my glucose test (yay) and my 28 week appointment next week!

See you then!


I'm getting big!