Friday, June 27, 2014

39 Weeks

Only one week until the due date!!

Obviously, I am not having a csecton today.

Ava has remained head down, and I am half a centimeter dilated and 50% effaced!!

Not really big stats, but I guess the feeling you could say that I have is that I am "proud" of Ava for being able to do what she needs to do in my heart-shaped uterus. Even though she is head down, she is still not able to lay "normally" in there. I still have two lumps on each side when I have Braxton Hicks contractions - her butt is on my left side and her legs and feet are on the right. Ordinarily, babies would just be butt up in the middle with their legs tucked beneath. So she's a little sideways!

Despite feeling a tad disappointed that we aren't meeting Ava today, we were encouraged to hear that things are happening!

My pelvis has been hurting like crazy at night when I'm trying to roll around in bed. I have woken up many times, on my back, with my legs bent and knees resting on the pillows on each side of me. This is clearly the only way my pelvis feels good. I think I wake up because it's time for me to roll back to my side. And then I wince in pain because that movement of opening and closing my legs hurts so bad! I try to move my legs with my knees together, but that's not always possible with little miss watermelon in my belly.

My bowels have become...looser....which I have read is a good sign that labor is coming.

I feel little tiny back aches once in awhile, and they are not from being on my feet too long. I'll just be hanging out on the couch and it will ache. I also have had a few tiny moments of a crampy feeling in my lower belly. I immediately googled dilation and effacement when I got home from the appointment, and I read that these symptoms can be due to the fact that "things are happening down there". So these are good little pains to have!

I also have read in multiple sources that only 5% of babies actually arrive on their estimated due date. The majority of babies arrive in the week prior to, or the week after the due date. So the window is officially opened! My doctor said she will not let me go past 41 weeks. So I can finally say, for sure, that Ava will be here in 2 week or less!

It was a pretty quiet week. I was trying to stay calm for the potential of a csection delivery today. I've about read up on all I can on csections. But now that we will be waiting around for labor, I suddenly have a lot more to look up, haha! It was a very emotion-filled and exciting/nerve-wracking day yesterday, and it gave us a lot to process! I plan to repack my hospital bag now that we will be going through the labor process instead of just showing up for surgery.

It's so exciting!! And scary!!

I haven't really had a lot of changes this week. Just taking things a day at a time!

Ok, so there is one new thing. 

My teeth.

From one day to the next, my bite never seems to be the same. I can tell they are a bit misaligned because some days my chewing makes my jaw hurt and my teeth touch each other differently than what I'm used to. I didn't realize that teeth were affected by pregnancy! That hormone relaxin is responsible for the looseness!

I am down to a very limited wardrobe.

Dresses.

I don't like anything with a stupid belly panel (Ava can hardly be tucked into it anymore) or a waistband. I can tolerate it just fine the first half of the day, and then I have to change. Chris always calls me out on it on the days I put on shorts and he asks, "Why are you wearing that? You know you aren't going to be comfortable"

And he's always right. :)





Lookit how funny this is - it's not a maternity dress, so I look like a fat cow on the left! I look like I'm 20 pounds heavier without holding my dress back!

Friday, June 20, 2014

38 Weeks

Is it really?! 38 weeks?!

I know we are being incredibly inpatient, but Ava, darling...we are wanting you to join us so badly!!

I have been feeling a lot of different emotions this week, and they usually come in this order:

Excitement.

I can't wait for Ava to be here, to see her eyes, to hold her, to admire her hair, to watch her while she sleeps, to watch her daddy with her. This wait has to be one of the most unbearable waits ever! The house is full of baby things, just sitting...waiting. I find myself spending a lot of time just staring at them, imagining what Ava will be doing in each of these baby things, what she will look like in the car seat carrier, which motion on the swing she will prefer, and I can even visualize her flailing arms and legs when she will get her diaper changed on the changer (for some reason I am imagining her hating getting her diaper changed!). So much eager anticipation! I think about how exciting these changes will be. And then that thought easily leads into:

Fear.

Oh crap, pretty soon nothing will be the same. Will I be ready? Are we prepared? What if I don't know what to do? I'm pretty sure these are all normal feelings, and at this point, it's more of me second-guessing myself. Of course I'm ready. Heck, we've been waiting on Ava for over 4 years, so I've been mentally preparing myself for motherhood for a very long time. I think I just have too much time to think about it! Once I'm done rationalizing with myself, then this feeling sets in:

Calmness.

I look around our house. We are ready. We've done all the necessary preparations. I'm down to just a few final cleaning/organizing items on the to-do list. It's like the calm before the storm - we've done all we can, now we wait. I have to say, I've been the happiest I've ever been over these last several months. I can feel it in our marriage, too. I haven't turned into "preggo-zilla", in fact, it has been quite the opposite for me. 

I feel so, so, so fortunate to have had such a wonderful pregnancy despite my diagnoses of PCOS and a bicornuate uterus. Even if Ava decides to wait until 40 weeks (or beyond), I will still be so thankful and grateful for this blessing.

Ava has been doing some movements over the past few weeks that I haven't quite been able to figure out what she's doing. It's a very rhythmic movement, like a hiccup, that's not as forceful but a bit quicker in frequency. I know she's not actually breathing in there, but that's what it seemed like she was doing - breathing! I only see it on my right side where her legs are, and I have had a hard time believing that she is really that rhythmically tapping her foot. I have been googling it for a bit and all I could come across was the explanation that babies don't breathe in the womb...until I read this article (scroll to the section headed "Breathing Practice and Surfactant"). Makes total sense! Since she is all folded up knees to chest in there, with this practice breathing, if she is in fact expanding her belly, that would press on her legs and make them "pulse" on my upper right side.

She must be getting her lungs ready for screaming. :)



We had an appointment this afternoon.

Ava is going to make us wait.

She is still head down, so that's good news!

There really isn't any bad news, just not what we were hoping to hear!

She is not far down enough to cause any changes/progress, so no dilation or anything yet.

She was in the 43rd percentile for size and there was still a bit of swelling in her kidney. So when she is born, they will do an ultrasound on her belly to get a closer look.

So, here's the "plan".

The csection is still scheduled for next Friday. I have an appointment the day before to determine if it will be necessary. If she rotates out of head down, we will continue with the csection. Otherwise, we will wait for signs of labor! I will ask at what point we will induce.

It's been quite a ride over these last 9 months, Ava, and now we are ready to meet you! Don't take too long!!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Essentials for Pregnancy

I am not an expert on pregnancy. I have not even finished my first one, but I thought I would share some products and ideas that helped me make the most of this time with my little one growing inside, the same little one who is responsible for some less-than-desirable symptoms!



1. Ginger Ale, Sprite, and Water


These three are your friends from the very beginning. The ginger from the Ginger Ale is helpful for nausea and most general tummy issues, while the bubbles from the Ginger Ale and Sprite can have the same soothing affect. Switch over to drinking water as soon as your upset tummy will allow - both these carbonated beverages have lots of sugar in them, which can be counterproductive for your health in the long run! Water is extremely important in all stages of pregnancy for the health of you and your baby, so you may as well get used to drinking a ton of it. Sometimes water can be the cure-all for whatever is ailing you - hydrating is key.

How to Help Yourself Drink More Water

Not a big water drinker? No problem. You can easily spruce it up by adding a few lemon slices or plop in a few pieces of frozen fruit to add some flavor. I used a water bottle with fluid ounce measurements so I could track how much I was drinking per day. Or you can simply use the same water bottle and just remember how many times you need to refill it each day to get the recommended 64 ounces a day. My water bottle holds 33 ounces, so I made it my goal to drink 3 water bottles full each day. Or at least get through 2.



2. Bio Oil and Palmer's Stretch Mark Massage Lotion


You will need (and want) a good moisturizer throughout your pregnancy. One, to combat stretch marks, and two, to combat dry itchy skin. All is fair game in pregnancy - each pregnancy is different and no two people have the same experience. Be prepared for your skin to change in various ways and invest in a good moisturizer!

Bio Oil is an expensive but amazing product. It is what is says...an oil. But it absorbs super fast and really gives your skin a deep moisturization that you can feel until your next shower! The only con with this item is that I noticed some oil stains on my bra from when my belly got bigger and my breasts rested on my belly while sitting or reaching down (yes, this will happen to you too!). The oil stains didn't come out in the wash. I'm sure if I tried harder and used a stain remover it would come out, but I'm not wasting my time on that until miss Ava gets here and my belly size goes down. Bio Oil can be found at drugstores and will run about $20 for a little over 4 ounces. But it is so worth it! I used it on my torso and areas where I could tell I was gaining weight and wanted to avoid stretch marks (inner thighs and buttocks). I also found that the Bio Oil was a great remedy for when I wear skirts or dresses and my thighs rub together. I was able to prevent chaffing by putting the oil on my inner thighs the days I chose to wear skirts or dresses. This girl definitely does NOT have a thigh gap! It lasted all day! I would love to use it head-to-toe, but it's too expensive for that, so then I use...

Palmer's Stretch Mark Massage Lotion!

This is an indulgent cream lotion that goes on nicely and also absorbs quickly. I use it on my arms and legs to combat the dry skin and itchiness. You could easily swap this product out for Bio Oil and use it head-to-toe if you wanted to save a bit of money. Sometimes stores run some sort of deal on Bio Oil - the other day Target was offering a $5 gift card with purchase. My recommendation - if you see it on sale, BUY IT! You can use it even if you're not pregnant. It's an amazing moisturizer that also claims to help with aging skin, wrinkles, and scars.


3. A good sleeping pillow


Your body is going to stretch and hurt in all sorts of weird places. A pillow for side sleeping is a must! It's up to you to decide which one; everyone prefers different things. An extra bed pillow for between your knees could be enough for you. Or a body pillow. I bought a Boppy brand pregnancy pillow and loved it at the beginning. It has three parts connected by velcro that you can customize based on your comfort needs. I used my own pillow and the bottom two parts. But halfway through my pregnancy, I was disappointed to see how flat the pillow was getting (blame the polyfill) and was getting annoyed at the increasing effort it took to reposition the pillow every night. I used a body pillow cover to help protect my pillow since it did not come with a cover of its own. And I'm sure if it did that it would have cost just about as much as the pillow did! So of course, that pillow case does not fit properly and is constantly sliding off and bugging me in the middle of the night. Now that my belly is bigger, I don't really need the middle under-belly support my pillow has, so I removed that section of the pillow. Now the bottom part of the pillow is able to fit in the body pillow case, zipped up. So now I can say in hindsight, to save money, I think a body pillow is probably a good one to start with. I don't think my pregnancy pillow will last for another pregnancy unless I cut it open and add more polyfill. And I probably won't ever do that! I don't really think it was worth the $60 I spent on it, even with the $10 coupon towards a Boppy pillow for baby.


4. Fiber One bars and Activia yogurt (or other fiber-rich foods)


Your digestive system will slow down. Significantly. All for a good reason - your baby! But it really can make your days miserable if you are not getting enough fiber in your diet. I supplemented my fiber intake by eating a Fiber One bar and an Activa yogurt every day. I could tell when I had missed a day and regretted not eating these snacks! Trust me on this one, just go buy some sort of fiber snack and some yogurt. And eat it. I've had really consistent bowel movements and I owe it all to my fiber regimen! Of course, you will want to try and get fiber from natural sources, and there may also be some fiber in your prenatal vitamin. Water also plays a large role in how backed up your plumbing can get. Drink as much as you can to keep things moving! It's a little bit of effort that can go a long way in keep you more comfortable. I've also personally experienced that a cup of coffee (decaf for us preggers) can get things moving pretty quickly, too!


5. Yoga pants, yoga pants, yoga pants!


This one is simple. Buy some yoga pants. Even better if you can find the fold-down waist ones. Now wear them! You will be so happy! I have a few pairs that I still wear in the 9th month. They feel great!


6. Travel-size pillow


I have found having a small pillow was great for the second half of pregnancy when my back started to become very achy very quickly. I use mine for when I'm at home lounging on the couch to get extra support. If you have a desk job, you could easily take this to work with you and use it there. Or even in the car! It's a small thing that can make a BIG difference! Back pain is a symptom that practically every pregnant woman will experience at some point!


7. An exercise plan


I am using the word "plan" very loosely. What you plan to do and what you can actually do are two very different things! You will need to get some form of exercise during pregnancy. You can't be sedentary for 9+ months and expect your body to be prepared for delivery at the end of it. Walking is the best way to get the exercise you and baby need. You control the speed, you control the distance, you can stop and take breaks whenever you need to, and its not harsh on your joints and stretching ligaments. A walking buddy can keep you accountable and keep you company during your walks. Some days my dog just doesn't cut it. I walk too slow now for him, anyway! My doctor advised me to keep my heart rate under 140, but most importantly, to listen to my body. I purchased a cheap (like, really cheap) heart rate monitor watch off of Groupon to help me keep an eye on my heart rate while walking and exercising. Some days I can hop on the elliptical for awhile, and other days it just doesn't feel good. Some doctors will support you continuing a more intense exercise regimen, as long as you were doing these workouts prior to pregnancy. Always talk to your doctor about what kind of exercising is right for your pregnancy - don't assume what was okay for one momma will be okay for you!

I also purchased prenatal yoga and Pilates DVDs. I loved the yoga one - there were a few positions that didn't feel good (so I skipped them) and some that I wanted to stay in all day. I'll admit...I never opened the Pilates one. I didn't feel like I was at a level to start that one. I'll use it after baby is here or just save it for the next pregnancy!


8.(Cautiously) Indulge in those Cravings


Don't feel like you have to ignore your pregnancy cravings! As long as it is something that is not on the do-not-eat list, go for it! Just don't eat it all day, every day. Even too much of a good thing can be bad. Remember, everything you eat, baby eats too. But there's no reason to be miserable if you really want cheese fries for dinner. Just balance your day by making better choices at your next meal. Or, like in my case, if you are nauseous for weeks and the only thing you can tolerate is a crappy, 69 cent frozen chicken pot pie, don't fret. Whatever! First trimester is a joke when it comes to eating healthy, anyway! I don't know of a single mother who ate well during her first trimester. At the beginning of pregnancy, I feel like it is all about surviving to the next day! Take the opportunity once your nausea is gone to establish healthier eating habits. With the occasional craving food thrown in, of course!


9. Treat yourself to a pedicure

Look at those fat preggo piggies!! :)
This is an absolute must! Once you've hit the point in pregnancy where bending over to reach your feet is no longer comfortable or possible, consider getting a pedicure. You'll get to sit in one of those massage chairs and target those aching back muscles and someone else can tidy your cuticles. The foot rub-down is a definite relaxer, too! I've heard that you should be cautious of pressure points on your ankles because they could potentially put you in labor, but I don't know if that's just an old wives tale or not. You could always get a pedicure that doesn't involve rubbing your ankles or legs; most basic spa pedicures involve just the feet. I recommend getting the shellac polish that is dried (cured?) with a UV light for a lasting paint job. It might cost you up to twice as much, but it should last twice as long as a regular-polish pedi. No chipping, denting, or smudging!



10. Relax!

...in every sense of the word! Don't try to do too much! I had to continuously remind myself that I needed to "slow down" or "be careful" or "let someone else lift that". It was hard for me because I like to do things myself and hate waiting around when it's something I could be taking care of. But overdoing it can be a big problem during pregnancy. Your body's purpose right now is to grow a healthy baby, so this should be your main mental focus as well. I feel very fortunate that I have not had to work for this second half of my pregnancy. I worked up until about 18 or 19 weeks, right when things were physically starting to get difficult on the job. If you are working while pregnant, and especially if you have a job where you are on your feet most or all of the time, be sure to communicate with your superior that you need extra breaks and don't be afraid to speak up if there are tasks you can no longer do without discomfort and/or pain. Remember, you cannot be fired for being pregnant! It is against the law! Your employer is required to work with you until your maternity leave if you choose to keep working. Your main focus should be your baby and your health.  No paycheck can ever replace the health of your baby.

It is important for you to find time to mentally relax, too. Getting ready for a baby can be a stressful time, whether it was a planned pregnancy or not! Be sure to talk with someone if you are feeling overly stressed out or depressed or anxious. These feelings can be very normal, but also should be appropriately addressed with your doctor. Don't feel bad if you feel this way!

Some ideas for relaxation:

yoga
warm bath or shower
reading
going for a walk
having some quiet time in the nursery
sitting outside
"alone time" with your husband
resting/napping
going for a car ride

...or any other thing that makes you feel relaxed and in a better metal state! What relaxes one pregnant woman may be stressful to another. Maybe hanging out in the nursery stresses you out because you still have so much to do. Or walking makes your back hurt, or riding in a car makes you nauseous. And maybe "alone time" with your husband isn't so fun because your body changes almost on a daily basis! Practically everything in pregnancy is considered "normal"!

Even some time away from the house can be relaxing too, like an evening out with friends. This can easily take your mind off of all the preparations. And laughter is always a good medicine!


11. Buy Maternity Clothes and Wear them Whenever You Want

I started buying maternity clothes pretty early on (mainly because most of the summer stuff I was going to need when I got big was on clearance) because I am the type of person that wants to be prepared. You won't need maternity clothes until one day you realize that you just do! It was nice to have some options at home already so I didn't have to run to the store and settle for something full-price or not really what I was looking for. It felt kind of odd to wear maternity jeans so early on when my regular jeans still sorta fit, but I was so comfort driven that I didn't care. I tried using a belly band, but that didn't work well for me. My waist-to-hip ratio was just too big, and the band just rolled up to my natural waist and didn't stay put enough to be helpful. So I went straight to the up-to-my-armpit jeans.

Be sure to check out my post about Maternity Clothes...one little paragraph just isn't going to cut it!


12. Buy Some Bra Extenders


I got this tip from a friend. As your pregnancy progresses and baby begins to fill your torso area, your ribs will expand to fit everything in! To extend the life of the bras you have, buy these extenders instead of buying new bras! For about a week, I couldn't understand why I was so uncomfortable in my upper stomach right above my bump in the evenings. Then I realized it was because my bra band was too tight! I let it out 2 clasps and instantly felt better! Like me, you may not realize how much you've "grown" until suddenly a piece of clothing is very uncomfortable! 

I had to buy new bras at the beginning of my second trimester because the cups were too small. My "girls" grew the most in the first trimester, so I bought the new bras to fit me at that time. I had to go up a band size and a cup size, and now that I am at the end of my pregnancy, the cups still fit, but I have moved the clasps to the last row. And some days I use these extenders for added comfort.

These extenders are also good for strapless bras - I knew I would occasionally need to wear a strapless bra during pregnancy, but I didn't want to spend the money on a larger one if I wouldn't wear it very often. So while the cups were a little bit too small, I was able to make it work by expanding the bra as far as it would go, and then adding an extender. Plus, you can use 2 extenders together if you need to!

13.  Food Prep

Toward the end of the pregnancy when you start planning for the arrival of your little one, you may find it helpful to arrange for people to bring you dinner after the birth. It might be easier to have a friend or family member coordinate this so you don't feel like you are begging. People will be happy to help out! Or, you can prepare freezer meals and have your own stash. Anything from dinner to snacks to desserts will be of help because all your focus will be on your new arrival! The last thing you will want to do is concern yourself with how you are getting your next meal.

Check out my post on Freezer Meals for ideas and tips!

14. Stock Up

Another final thing that may be helpful for your family is to stock up on household items before the birth. Things like toilet paper, hand soap, food for your pets, deodorant, and a stash of pads to spare your husband from having to pick them up! This will save you the inconvenience of someone having to make a run to the store for things you've run out of, when it could have been taken care of beforehand.



...So that's my list! Pretty generic list if you have an overall smooth pregnancy. 







Friday, June 13, 2014

37 Weeks

Now we are for real full-term.

It's time for me to start really relaxing.

And walking up and down stairs to encourage labor.

And putting my feet up.

And going for walks to stay active.

It's kind of a contradictory time! Relax, but stay active! Sleep, but stay busy!

My pelvis hurts. It has been a pregnancy symptom that I've dealt with for a few months now, unlike most of my other symptoms that pop up for about a week and then go away (acid reflux, insomnia, pregnancy hives, and even the swelling in my ankle is almost non-existant). And the pain has kind of intensified over the past week. It's kind of like when you went for a super-long bike ride and your crotch hurts the next day. Right on those bones. But more of an achy feeling as opposed to a "bruised" feeling. It hurts most when I have been standing or walking for too long and when I am getting up from a laying down position.

Let's see, what else...I still have the stiff fingers in the morning. Most mornings I can't make a fist (they are puffy and painful) until I've been up for a little bit. 

Still have flatulence. That's been a symptom since first trimester! :)

I still rely on my daily fiber snacks. Couldn't live without those!

I get sorta antsy at night because I have run out of ways to stay comfortable. That's usually my sign that I should just give up and go to bed. I am still getting good sleep, but sometimes it takes me awhile to get comfortable after getting into bed. Ava has to adjust, and then I have to adjust. Having her little head on the side makes this difficult for us both! 

I have a really hard time getting up the in morning - I am still so tired! I still have a few random early mornings here and there, but most of the time I'm not getting out of bed until around 9 and I still feel exhausted.

I like to take little cat naps during the day, usually around 15-20 minutes long. Some days I don't need one, and some days I take 3!

My weight gain. Let's talk about that for a second.

I think I've always weighed more than people think. I carry a lot of weight in my curves, so I've never really been a "numbers" girl, because I feel how you look (and your overall health) is more important than what the scale says.

But man, it is so hard to see how fast that scale creeps up...

I am thankful for the automatic 10 pounds or so I will lose during delivery!

Of course, the weight gain is all for a wonderful and beautiful reason!

I wouldn't trade it for anything.

I had a few doctor appointments this week. The first one was a check up, in which the doctor was able to literally move Ava to a head down position! You can read more about that appointment here.

A few days later I went in for another growth scan.

We learned 2 very important things.

Ava has hair!!! It's not very easy to see in the images we were given, but when the tech was measuring her head circumference, one whole side of the outline of her head was squiggly - which means hair!

In this image, you can see a bit of hair on the top (the squiggly lines) and her little hand right up by her face.


And this is another image of her profile...


...and she's still head down!!!!

We were completely shocked! I thought for sure, without a doubt, that she had rotated back to transverse after Tuesday's appointment. When I have my Braxton Hicks contractions I can feel where her body is, and I felt the usual 2 lumps on each side. Well....either she is moving back and forth between transverse and head down, or I have no idea what I'm feeling anymore! Or it could be both! She may have just gotten in a more comfortable head down position and moved around a bit, making me think she was back to transverse.

I am clearly not an expert!

I would love to have my own ultrasound machine to just see where all of her body parts are on a daily basis! She's got us so confused!

Her head is not right on top of my cervix, so she still has a bit of adjusting to do before she is exactly where she needs to be.

So it looks like I'm going to be doing a lot of walking to encourage her!

We will get an update about her kidney at my next appointment in a week.

We did the Pre-Admission paperwork! Ahhhh!!!


We decided that we would spell her name Ava Mckenzie, not Ava McKenzie. No capital "K".

I got my parking pass for the hospital! Isn't it fancy?!

People. Can we please get this apostrophe thing figured out?! Drives me nuts!! Or should I say, "nut's", haha?!

So, Ava, we shall see you in 2 weeks!

Or in 3 weeks!

Or if you're late, maybe even 4 weeks!

Ava, you'd better not make us wait 5 weeks.

I am going to ask at my next appointment if they will let me go past the due date. Or if we could induce (assuming she is still head down) instead of a c-section on the 27th. I suddenly feel like I have a lot of questions!


I think the stripes in this dress created an illusion - my belly looks way smaller in this photo:


This doesn't even look right. I mean, how is there a 6+ pound baby in there?! I don't get it.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

36.4 Weeks

I'm doing a quick mid-week update because this is too exciting to wait to share...

Ava is head down!!!

I had a doctor's appointment this morning with a different doctor than my usual (mine had no availability), and of course, Ava was sideways, per her usual. The doctor could tell just by looking at my belly. She brought in the ultrasound machine to confirm it. Then she asked if I would mind if she pressed on my belly a bit. So she started pushing down on Ava's head and up on her frog legs, and then checked her position on the screen. Her head was almost where it needed to be! So she asked if she could press on her again, and of course I said yes. She manipulated her some more, and sure enough, she was head down on the ultrasound!!

She then wanted me to do a Non-Stress Test to see how Ava was tolerating that position. So I got to recline in a chair with some monitors on my belly for about 20 minutes, and after that was done, an ultrasound was done again to check on my fluid level. It was within the normal range (on the upper end of normal, so she has plenty of fluids in there). And, she remained head down!

So as of right now, my c-section is still on the schedule in case it will still be needed. But if Ava remains head down, her guaranteed arrival date is off the table and she can come whenever I go into labor!

Sitting here typing this, I kind of feel like she has already moved back, but I didn't really have much more than an hour to see what it felt like to have her body head down. And of course, without seeing it on a screen, I can't know for sure. I have an ultrasound scheduled for Thursday anyway, so I guess we will wait and see!!

I think Ava is trying to be just like the Army...unpredictable! You make plans, and then you have to suddenly scrap them all! 

Keep your fingers crossed that she will stay head down!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

36 Weeks

OhmygoshohmygoshOHMYGOSH!!!

36 weeks. 9 months pregnant. 

3 weeks from delivery. 21 days.

21 DAYS!!! When did this happen?!?!

IT'S AVA'S BIRTH MONTH!!!!!!!

I can say that as much as I have loved carrying Ava, I am SO ready for her to be born!

Even though nine months is such a long time when you think about it, it has gone by pretty fast. Although it does seem like forever ago that I saw the word "pregnant" on that stick!

Sitting upright in a chair is probably my least favorite thing to do lately.

Doing simple chores exhausts me. Soooo...I pretty much just do the minimum to get through the day!

Both feet have swelled a little bit. And I have lost one of my ankles to pregnancy swelling. Just one! Some days it is more swollen than others depending on how long I've been on my feet.

I discovered two itty bitty stretch marks on my left hip. I am hoping that's all I get!

My belly button has popped, but just the top part of it. And only when I stand up!

Ava's kicks are less than pleasant, although I still love to feel them! Her movements are very reassuring to me.

My belly really feels heavy now. It might have it's own gravity pull. Food seems to always land on it!

It took me 9 months, but I finally found the maternity section in the PX. I wasn't really missing out on much!

And I discovered Fiber One fruit snacks! Love them!

Today is also our 5 year wedding anniversary! I think this will be the best year yet!

I made a pecan pie cheesecake to celebrate.


Yes, a PECAN PIE CHEESECAKE.

I love cheesecake, and Chris loves pecan pie, so it was a no-brainer of a recipe.

I read that at 9 months pregnant, you either get really tired or you get an energy burst.

I'm thinking I'm experiencing the latter of the two! Cheesecake is a labor of love (which is another reason I chose to make it), especially when there are 3 components to it! And I chose to start making it at about 8:00 at night.

Today is also the 70th anniversary of D-Day. I am not known for my knowledge (or interest) in history, but my husband is the complete opposite, and plus, the Army is kind of a big part of my life now, so I am trying to learn. I hadn't realized how involved the 101st Airborne Division was in this invasion! Look for that "Screaming Eagle" patch on the arms of the soldiers' uniforms in photos. A lot of the street names on post here came from WWII: Bastogne, Market Garden, Carentan, Airborne, Air Assault, and even naming a neighborhood McAuliffe after the Division Artillery Commander at the time. We've been watching Band Of Brothers, an HBO mini series, about the events of that summer 70 years ago. David Schwimmer is in the first few episodes, so I had a bit of a hard time getting into it, because, c'mon...that's Ross from Friends! I couldn't take him seriously without flashbacks of "pivot! PIVOT!!!" and "It tastes like feet!". Anyway, if you're looking for a good summary of the history of the 101st Airborne Division, this is a good read.

We are thankful that Ava will be arriving soon. Honestly, things are getting kind of boring in our daily lives. I was afraid we had started a trend of getting another pet every year or so...

Instead, we just get to bring home a little froggie named Ava!

The other day I told Chris it was his turn to carry her. He told me he would take his turn at the end of the month. He's been so good at keeping me going during these last few weeks!

I can't wait to put her in her swaddle pod (it's a swaddler with a zipper down the front).

I can't wait to see her in a hair bow and to see if she has enough hair for a hair clip (I have a feeling she might!).

I can't wait to see her daddy hold her.

I can't wait to hold her!!


I had just woken up from my cheesecake-induced nap in this photo!

On a side note...

There have been a lot of people that have told us they want to come out and visit baby Ava this summer.

You will probably have get in line!

Unfortunately, we will not be able to accommodate everyone. We plan to spend the first few weeks as a new family of 3 without any house guests. We will need this important time to adjust to Ava and for myself to recover from my C-section. I don't think you will want to witness that!

We will eventually be open to visitors who stay in a hotel so we can maintain a routine and get the privacy and cat naps we (I) will need. It will be easier for us to only have visitors for a few hours at a time. Chris only gets 10 days total paternity leave, starting from the day of my C-section, so he will only be home with us for 6-7 days. After that, he will be back to work!

We will be coming home for a visit in August/September (pending Army scheduling) so it will save a lot of you a trip all the way out here! We would be able to arrange times for everyone to meet Ava in Kansas.

Once Ava is a bit older and I am fully recovered and have the hang of nursing and those sort of things, we will be more open to visitors to stay with us at our house. Of course, exceptions will be made for grandparents!

While some of you may be viewing a trip to visit us as a vacation with free room and board, that is not what this life event is for. I have been very overwhelmed (and honestly, kind of stressed out) with the requests from people to come and stay with us. There has been a lot more interest than I thought there would be! And while ordinarily I would love to have visitors, imposing on first-time parents with a newborn and a brand new mommy trying to recover from major surgery and adapt to breastfeeding (both of which mean I will need a lot of privacy), this is not the best time for us to be hosting people in our home.

I will not be cooking. We will not be going out to dinner in a restaurant. I would probably make you clean or do some laundry! Unless you come with the intention of cooking and cleaning so I can just focus on Ava, you will have to wait for awhile to come out and stay with us. This is a different situation than just driving across town to meet a new baby. We will need some time until we feel like we have a better sense of parenting and can actually enjoy having house guests.

My goal is not to be mean or hurt feelings or exclude anyone; if you really know me you will realize that is never what I would intend! These are simply the requests and wishes of a mommy-to-be. I have heard the 2 times in your life that you get to be selfish are on your wedding day and after the birth of a child! I am just glad we only live 8 hours from home - our next duty station could be much farther, which would mean probably only one trip home per year!

Thank you all for understanding and supporting us as new parents!!