Saturday, May 30, 2009

On Craft Projects and Baby Names

Over the course of the week, we've been working on a craft project together, making name plaques for the girls' room. To finish them, we (meaning I) had to commit to a baby name. We've spent an inordinate amount of time discussing options that fall within the guidelines of my crazy rules, but we keep coming back to the same name over and over again.

Working Diligently

All Done!

Painting Plaques

Painting Polka Dots

The Installation

A Place All Her Own

The Big Baby Name Reveal: Brystol
(rhymes with "pistol")

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bitty Baby in 3D

I had a 3D ultrasound as part of my regular doctor visit today. The baby wasn't as cooperative as I hoped she'd be, and she spent the majority of the time fighting for her right to privacy. She kept turning and yawning and hiding behind my belly button (which casts a very dark shadow across the baby's face). She abruptly ended the scan by putting both her hands and her feet right in front of her face. Little stinker!

As for growth, I'm at 29 weeks gestation today, and the baby measured about 31 weeks and 5 days. Though she's still measuring big, her measurements are increasing at appropriate intervals along the growth chart. The doctor would be more concerned with larger or more irregular advancements. We're just destined to have a sizable baby, I guess.

We were able to capture a few ultrasound images worth sharing:

Baby Profile at 29 Weeks

Looking Down

Looking Forward

Big Yawn

Cross Posted on Mandigirl Muses

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Third

This week, I reached 28 weeks gestation and officially moved into the third trimester -- all while remaining upright and as active as ever! Physically, I feel very good. In fact, much of the time I don't even feel pregnant.

I'm moving a bit slower, particularly after walking for long stretches, and sometimes I feel like I have to focus to keep the waddle to a minimum. I'm not walking slowly or waddling because the baby is all that big or heavy, but rather because she's been consistently positioned on the left side, causing sciatic nerve pain and muscle tightness there. So far, the pain is no big deal -- not debilitating or anything -- but it is inconvenient and makes the 17P Hydroxyprogesterone injections I take often really painful. Every other week, I prepare for the home health care nurse's visit by wrapping my backside in a heating pad. Fortunately, I only have eight more injections to go, four of them on my left side. We'll try injecting there once more, and if it's still too painful, I'll take the rest of my injections on the right.

I'm still having some food aversions, and really only crave Starburst Fruit Chews (most recently supplied by my friend, Jenny), which I allow myself to eat in a limited amount. In addition, I have some hip pain and arm numbness when I sleep and for a while after I get up in the morning.

Other than those very minimal complaints, this pregnancy has been a much lovelier experience than I ever dreamed. I'm not having any contractions to speak of -- only minimal irritability right around the time the injections are due -- and my cervix remains stable, measuring around the same length all this time. I passed the gestational diabetes screen on the first attempt. I am not in the hospital, I am not on bedrest, and I have no official restrictions to be mindful of. This is all such a new experience, I feel like I wake up in a new world every morning -- a world full of new mercies.

I had a sonogram today, and the baby is still measuring two weeks ahead. She appears to weigh about 3lbs. 6oz. and is the size of a baby at 30 weeks gestation. My due date will not change since early sonos were spot on with regards to measurement and dating, but her growth rate may influence how my uterus behaves in the long run and when we decide to deliver.

My MFM would like to do a amniocentesis at 36 weeks to check lung development, possibly having me deliver then if the baby's lungs are mature. My OB/GYN would like to deliver me no earlier than 39 weeks (unless medically necessary). I'd like to go until 38 weeks and be done with it all. I stop taking 17P injections at 36 weeks, and statistically, women who are prone to preterm labor (like me) begin contracting a week or so after the injections cease. Knowing that, I think delivery at 37 1/2 to 38 weeks is a fair estimate. Only time and bunch of doctor's appointments will tell.

As for our little one, she looked so cute on today's scan! She looks more like a fat little baby with familiar features and less like a stranger on a TV screen. Today, we were able to see she has James' Filipino nose and my chubby cheeks. She has a puff of wispy hair on top (which absolutely comes from James since all of the babies on my side of the family are bald for their first two years) -- we just wonder if it will be Asian black or blond like my baby hair. This little one looks just like her sister in utero. We're so curious about her and extremely anxious to meet her in person!

Not too soon, baby -- not too soon.

(Baby Facing Forward, Tummy on Left, Face on Right, Hand Up Top by Cheek)

Cross Posted on Mandigirl Muses

Monday, May 11, 2009

Bargain Baby Preparation

Having a baby can be a very expensive business, but it doesn't have to be. With a little ingenuity and effort, bringing a baby home doesn't have to break the bank. We've been preparing for our summer addition by purchasing furniture second-hand, by stocking up on cloth and clearance disposable diapers, and by accepting gently used items from generous friends whose littlest girls are their last.

When I consider what we already have for this baby, I believe we have enough for a healthy head start. Sure, I need a few more cloth diaper covers and some odds and ends here and there, but I think we could realistically bring a baby home without James having to make a midnight run to Wal-Mart.

Though I have everything I need, there are a few more things I want, and since I'm not generally the person who spends loads of money on things just because I want them, I've been browsing the internet looking for resources to help me acquire those wants using things I already have or can get my hands on for very little cost. I'm sharing some of these links with you here. If you have some favorite frugal baby sites, please return the favor by linking them to me in the comments section below.

Nursing Implements

Free Nursing Cover Pattern :: Bliss Tree

Homemade Nursing Pads :: Passionate Homemaking

Contoured Nursing Pad Pattern :: Pampered Cheeks

Baby Leg Warmers

How to Sew Baby Legwarmers ::

How to Make Legwarmers Out of a Sweater ::

How to Make Leggings for a Baby ::

How to Knit Super-Easy Baby Legwarmers ::

Harper (Baby) Leg Warmers :: The Funky Hooker

Baby Slings

Baby Sling Resource Page (Many Free Links):: Mamma'a Milk

Free Mei Tai Sling Instructions :: Jan Andrea

More Mei Tai Instructions :: Walter + Veronica

Free and Simple Baby Sling Pattern :: Karma Baby

Cloth Diapering

Recycled Diaper Sewing :: Fern and Fairie

Sewing Your Own Cloth Diapers (Pattern Links) :: The Diaper Jungle

Free Diaper Patterns :: Cloth Diaper Sewing

More Free Diaper Patterns :: Zany Zebra Designs

How to Make a Cloth Diaper Soaker ::

How to Make Wool Diaper Covers ::

Free Soaker Pattern :: Katrina's Sew Quick

Free Tiny Birds Soaker Pattern :: Tiny Birds Organic Baby

Make Your Own Wool Soakers ::

Other Stuff

Free Grocery Cart Cover Pattern :: Jan Andrea

Miscellaneous Baby Savings Ideas :: Frugal Baby Tips on Blogger

More Miscellaneous Baby Savings Ideas :: The Frugal Baby

Cross Posted on Mandigirl Muses
Photo Credit:

Friday, May 8, 2009

The NapStrap

Something that will definitely not make the registry cut: The NapStrap.
Seriously, how did we even survive the 1970's?

photo credit: Abraisme

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Twenty-Six / Ninety-Seven

First of all, let me reiterate how I detest posting profile pictures of myself. Were it not for my need to please my far-away friends and family, you'd just have to imagine what my changing body looks like.

I reached a couple of personal pregnancy milestones this week: I reached twenty-six weeks of pregnancy (my personal magic number), and I moved on to a double-digit pregnancy countdown. I have only ninety-seven days to go if I'm allowed to be pregnant all the way to my due date, which is actually quite improbable. (I probably only have 75-85 days left.)

I saw my MFM for my regular monthly check-up today. At the appointment, he confirmed that my cervix is still stable and that there was no evidence of an internal bleed. With that good news, he removed the precautionary restrictions imposed by the on-call OB at my little hospital visit on Sunday. Regarding my cervix, the doctor said since I've not had any adverse symptoms throughout the entire pregnancy, and since I'm now at 26 weeks, my overall cervical length is now less of a concern. He said with this transabdominal cerclage, once we successfully pass 24 weeks without any cervical issues, we're really in the clear -- if there were going to be a change, it would have happened by 24 weeks. The primary focus now is keeping preterm labor at bay, and so far, the once-weekly progesterone injections are doing the trick.

The baby weighed in at 2 pounds 10 ounces, and based primarily on femur length, is the same size as a baby at 28 weeks gestation (two weeks ahead of where I am in this pregnancy). I've been telling James she feels so much bigger, like a big lump in my stomach, and when she kicks now, you can see strong movement from the outside. He was skeptical since her weight was around 1 pound 5 ounces only one month ago, but to our great surprise, she's doubled in size. She's positioned head down and curled up in a ball.

As for her rapid growth, we're not extraordinarily concerned. James and I are both very tall people who come from very tall families, so this baby's long femur length is probably related to our genetic makeup. (Even Gracie was the size of a full-term baby when she was born four weeks prematurely, and now at six-years-old wears clothes cut for a tall ten-year-old.) Still, the doctor wants to see me again in three weeks to monitor and remeasure the baby, and wants me to begin watching my sugar/carbohydrate intake to help slow things down growth-wise. I'm scheduled to take the test for gestational diabetes in two weeks, but regardless of the outcome, I'm still supposed to watch my sugars and carbs (which is why I suddenly feel the need to engorge myself on watermelon, Junior Mints, and Cuppa Soup).

Baby Face

Tummy on left, Face Forward on right, Hand up top by face

Cross Posted on Mandigirl Muses

When Justice is Better Served in a Room Full of Dead Baby Mommies

I read a shocking article today about a 21-year-old man who's been charged with murder after attacking his ex-girlfriend and her three-month-old son, then kidnapping the baby and tossing him from a moving vehicle on an interstate highway. The sight of the dead baby disturbed the man who found him -- a news photographer -- so deeply that he couldn't bear to keep his eyes on the child.

I cannot even form words to describe how intensely furious I feel about this entire situation,
so I'm not even going to try.

I will say, though, that this unbelievable individual is quite fortunate to not have me on his jury -- particularly since I feel that true justice might be better served if a prison sentence were bypassed and he were locked in a room full of dead baby mommies.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Instead of Just Enjoying a Lazy Sunday Afternoon...

Instead of just enjoying a lazy Sunday afternoon at home with my family, my body decided it was high time for a trip to Labor and Delivery. Today began just as any other Sunday -- I went to church, I visited with friends, I picked up some groceries. I planned to spend the overcast afternoon parked on the couch watching rented movies. Instead, I spent the afternoon at the hospital having a most through examination. Sometimes I hate my body.

Were I anyone else with any other history, I would have still had a lazy Sunday at home, but I am me and I have an extensive history that leads me to be very aware of what should and should not happen in a pregnancy -- at least not in my pregnancy -- so today, when I had a minimal amount of bleeding, I told James it was time to head in for a check up.

We had the best L&D nurse who listed carefully and took my otherwise dismissible complaint seriously. (He even asked if I was a nurse because of my use of the "lingo" -- haha!) More importantly, he made us comfortable in a concerning situation. He checked me in, hooked me up to the monitor, and called the on-call OB in my practice who said because of my transabdominal cerclage, the on-call MFM needed to come in for a scan -- we needed his level of expertise. When the nurse called the on-call MFM, he refused to come in since I was established in another practice (forget the fact that he was on-call and it was his job). He told the nurse to keep me overnight and he might pop in to see me during his morning rounds.

(Have I ever mentioned how I really dislike doctors with God complexes?)

Instead of making me spend the night as punishment for my practice choice, the nurse had the hospital sonographer come scan my cervix, and since the on-call MFM wouldn't do his job, the on-call OB came in to review the report and complete my exam. Fortunately, James and I know enough about my girl parts that once we saw the image on the screen, we knew I was okay. I wasn't contracting or in pain. The baby was moving and had a good, reactive heart rate. My cervical length was stable and coincided with my last doctor's appointment. The cerclage was holding fine and there was no internal bleeding either in the uterus or around the cervix. The bleeding I experienced was erroneous and not a cause for continuing concern.

The OB allowed me to go home, but as a precaution, he put me on modified bedrest until I see my MFM for my regularly scheduled appointment on Wednesday morning. The doctor and I are both fairly sure the MFM will remove that restriction, particularly since my cervix is completely unchanged, still, better safe than sorry. As for my continuing care, he also said that it's really time for me to move to weekly appointments, though I'm not sure my regular OB is ready for that. I'll see what my MFM says because ultimately he has the final say when it comes to my course of care.

I am so glad to be home and not in the hospital -- even for the night. I'm thankful for our good news and that there are no immediate threats to me or the baby. I'm grateful for compassionate L&D nurses, wise doctors, and this very effective transabdominal cerclage. I'm thankful that my house is (fairly) clean, and my laundry-lovin' mama was already planning to spend the day here tomorrow. I'm thankful for a precious husband who takes excellent care of me (and the kids and the pets and the dishes). I'm extraordinarily thankful for God's mercies that are new every morning, noon and night.

The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.

Lamentations 3:22-23

A View I Hope to Avoid for a Good Long While...

Cross Posted on Mandigirl Muses