Thursday, December 18, 2014

This is Motherhood

Motherhood is placing a burp rag in every room in the house because your child spits up around the clock.

Motherhood is walking in circles around your culdesac because being outside is the only thing that calms down your baby.

Motherhood is singing and humming the songs made by baby toys all day, every day.

Motherhood is changing two diapers within 10 minutes because babies poop a lot.

Motherhood is calculating how much you will spend on formula for the next ___ months but realizing that one cost is only replaced by another.

Motherhood is crying while rocking your baby after her last bottle of the day. Happy tears that you made it through another 24 hours. Happy tears that you have a child.

Motherhood is feeling your heart ache so hard when you drop your baby off at daycare for the first time. And the time after that. And some random times in between.

Motherhood is walking into your child's daycare classroom, making eye contact with her and watching her arms flap with excitement.

Motherhood is incredible and overwhelmingly beautiful and hard. Really hard.

Julia is 8 months and 5 days old.

Friday, December 5, 2014

:Wades through the dust and cobwebs:

Oh hi. How are you? Geez, this place is covered with a layer of dust. Who knew blogs got dusty!

I have been thinking a lot lately about this little blog. I miss writing. I miss sharing. I miss expressing myself through words. As I find myself with a few spare minutes at the end of each day, I think about typing up a post but I'm not sure if anyone still has this blog on their radar and I'm not exactly sure what I would write about!

I said in my farewell post that I didn't feel quite comfortable posting pictures of my baby online, in this public space. God knows I share too many on Facebook and Instagram each day. Sorry, friends. But because this is a journal that goes back almost 7 years, I wanted to post about a special event that happened last night.

The first picture with Santa. Behold......

There she is, folks. That is my baby! Baby? Big girl. She is almost 8 months. She didn't like Santa. Hmm, I wonder what it is about Santa that is so scary? The beard, I think. 

I'm the mother that hoped she would react this way because it makes for a better memory than a smiling kid picture. I get plenty of those with my girl. She is rarely the type to cry when handed to a stranger. I should worry, shouldn't I? This is the type of picture that will make future visits with Santa more fun. To think she once full on freaked out when placed on his lap. And in a few years, she will hopefully be overjoyed at the thought of telling Santa what she wants for Christmas.

It was nice "seeing" all of you. Maybe something will pop back in this space again soon. 

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

See Michelle Blog: The End

This is post 1,260 on this blog. This is the last post on this blog.

What started out as a place to record my wedding planning journey became a place to share the daily thoughts in my head, my emotional trek through infertility and my surprise, miracle pregnancy.

And now that I have entered a new phase in my life, I'm realizing that blogging just isn't in my heart anymore. I see my entrance into motherhood as a transition that has already changed my priorities. I've been on maternity leave for 2.5 weeks and have barely had time to sit down at this computer to type this post. Or do much else!

 I actually wrote a draft of this post on my phone back in January. That is when I started to consider the end of this blog. There are two main reasons why I'm making this decision:

1. Privacy. I didn't include a picture of my daughter in the last post. For me, there is something about exposing a tiny baby to the world wide web that just doesn't feel right. When I post on Facebook or Instagram, I have settings that are private although I know nothing is really ever 100% private online. I'm not sure how much I want to share about my baby, motherhood, parenting, etc. I don't want to become a mommy blogger but the truth is that motherhood is all consuming right now. It is all I have time to think about, worry about and talk about.

2. I want to end this blog on my terms. I don't want to go months without posting, reappear for 1-2 posts and then leave again. I want to say goodbye the right way. I owe that to the dedicated readers I have had for 6 years. Readers who have prayed for me, cried with me and celebrated every single exciting milestone in my life.

Words can't express how much it means to me to have a group of people reading this blog for so long. I have appreciated your comments and your sometimes silent support. I know you were out there reading!

As I type these final words, I have a sleeping 7 pound 6 ounce, 21 and 1/4 inch long baby on my chest. I still cry when I look at her and  I am in awe of the miracle of life that was created. Life is beautiful. It is filled with poop, spit up and crying but it is beautiful.

Thank you for taking this journey with me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Julia Mary

Julia Mary was born Sunday April 13, 2014 at 9:11 am. She weighed 7 pounds, 1 ounce and measured 21 inches long. My water broke Saturday night at 7:30 while hanging out at my sisters house.
My labor was painful. I progressed quickly, without meds, which no doubt left people walking past my room fearful. I went from 1cm to 8 cm in about 90 minutes, maybe 2 hours. It was intense.

Julia's heart rate didn't respond well to my contractions. Oh those contractions. They were a bitch. It felt like my body was being ripped in half. One of my amazing nurses was pushing hard for me to get the epidural I requested while the medical team tried to decide what to do: check my cervix, monitor the baby or send me for a c-section. My previous cervical check just hours before left me screaming like a wild animal so I wasn't in favor of getting checked.

The staff decided to give me the epidural and then perform the check and apply a monitor to Julia's head to get a better read on her. Once the epidural was applied, the cervical check wasn't too bad. It took two attempts to get the monitor in place and once it was on, the doctor looked at the monitor for 30 seconds and said "csection." I was happy. I just wanted labor to end and knowing Julia was in distress, I wanted her out.

I had been shivering non stop for hours during labor which I was told was normal and that continued in the OR. They prepped everything and Chris finally came in and sat by my side. She was pulled out of me and I waited to hear her cry. It took a minute and I was so so worried. Finally I heard the cry and everyone assured me she was okay. She had the cord
Around her neck and swallowed some meconium which is why it took a while for her to cry. Chris brought her over to me and I cried my eyes out. I was looking at my daughter. Mine. All mine. I couldn't control my emotions. He gave her back to the nurse so they could take her to the nursery to be monitored. They held her to my face and told me to give her kisses. I instructed Chris to go with her. I had a staff of amazing people caring for me. I was in the OR for an hour and in a recovery bed for another hour. I saw the nurse walk towards me with my perfect baby and life seemed complete.

We finally were moved to our own room and settled in for 2 days of care. The nurses and staff at my hospital were incredible. I can't say enough good things about the care and support we recieved. I cried on Tuesday as I was wheeled out of my room and down the halls of labor and delivery. As much as I wanted to go home, I was sad to leave the supportive environment.

The good news is that being home has been amazing. It's been a week now and while this parenting thing is hard, emotional, taxing and exhausting, my husband has proven to be a natural at fatherhood and his husband skills have soared. He doesn't expect me to do a thing. I say I want an apple, he is cutting it up for me. He cares for our daughter with such love that it causes me to break down into crocodile tears. This man that I married 6 years ago is perfection.

And we have created this little person that has taken over our lives in the best way. We love our sweet Julia. This was the baby that was meant for us for all these years. And now she is ours.

*I typed this on my phone so please forgive for any grammatical or spelling errors.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

39 Weeks

We really need to get that one last piece of art work hung above the crib! 
 Also, I'm huge. I did crop out my huge feet and I don't know why I have a weird color splotch on my face.

Hey Baby, come on outta there! The birds are chirping, the weather is mild and your mom is just about ready to be done with this whole thing. It's been fun. It really has. I have taken immense pleasure in growing you. The biggest honor of my life, I'd say. But there comes a time when we all reach our breaking point. My feet (and my blood pressure) are saying it is time to go. So please, let me make you aware of some changes that will be happening the next few days:

1. I will be eating salsa more often. I think you like it so take it all in. And if you don't like it, consider exiting my body so you don't have to digest it anymore.

2. I will be doing squats every night. Feel free to continue dropping down (and out).

3. I might even resort to bouncing up and down on a ball. Don't be alarmed. Everything is okay.

4. When I'm done with work on Friday, take that as a sign.

5. I like to be punctual. It is my hallmark. Please consider not being late to bless the world with your presence.

6. Girl, you should see all the clothes awaiting you. You are going to rock your wardrobe!!!

I can hardly believe I am one week from my due date. Even if I go overdue, this whole experience of being pregnant is coming to an end. And that hurts a little. It has been incredible. In a flash, I'll go from waddling around to being in labor to holding my baby. Perhaps I should save the sentiment for next week, when I'm typing away on my actual due date but I can't help but want to get these feelings out just in case she arrives by then. 

In other news, I decided that I would start my maternity leave today instead of next Monday. So far, so good!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

38 Weeks

We went on a field trip last night. A field trip to Labor and Delivery.

No, this isn't a baby announcement. In fact, I'm grounding this baby the second she comes out. Mommy was tired and you and your lengthy nap caused me to miss my bedtime. I thought that only happened once you arrived!!!

As I do every night, I started my kick counts at about 7:30. I was on the couch watching tv and within minutes, I usually get something. Last night, it was operation silence in there. I counted a few small movements before seeing 30 minutes speed by. I needed a change of location so I moved upstairs and got into bed. After flipping from my left side to my right side to my back, repeat, repeat, I started to worry. Again, nothing. The clock was ticking, I was tired and I imagined a trip to the hospital was in order.

When the clock hit 9:30, I called L&D. They asked a few questions and said I should come in to get hooked up to the monitor and check things out. I appreciated the happiness in her voice but it didn't calm my nerves at all. I never have an issue with kick counts so this threw me for a loop.

I sat in a bed in the triage room and the nurse placed the doppler on my stomach. "Let's do a quick listen before I get you all set up so you'll know everything is okay." The strong heartbeat of my daughter echoed throughout the room and the nurse smiled. "See, she is fine." I laid back and had the doppler and a contraction monitor strapped to my belly. I had some water and waited for two significant jumps in her heart rate to please the doctor and nurse. It took a while. Girlfriend was not impressed. About 30 minutes in, I drank two juice boxes and 10 minutes later, my belly started to move, her heart rate increased and the doctor was happy. Just an extra long nap.

I had my fingers crossed, hoping for an ultrasound and was super excited when the doctor pulled the machine out. She was going to do a fluid check and I was super close to asking "how about a quick scan over her private parts to give me some confirmation?" Turns out I didn't have to ask. The first image on the screen led her to say "definitely a girl." SWEET RELIEF. I was so happy. What a silly fear but it has been on my mind for MONTHS.

The other news was that my amniotic fluid is on the low side of normal. Not in a dangerous range but something to be aware of. Luckily, I have a doctor appointment tomorrow so I can ask some questions about what that can mean for my delivery.

Two weeks until my due date but I will be surprised if I make it that far. I might eat those words later when I'm a week overdue and willing this baby out but you heard it here first. I think Julia will make an early entrance into our world.

I'm ready to meet her!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

37 Weeks

Still not close enough.

In the past week, I've started to transition from "x number of weeks left" to "x + 1 number of weeks left." This is mainly because a lady in the waiting room at my doctor appointment on Tuesday told the receptionist that her daughter was 11 days overdue with her first.

Hence my shift in thinking. My boss suggested counting down the days until I go on maternity leave and I like that idea. I'm hoping I don't spend too much of the beginning of my leave without a baby but I'm going to appreciate that time off and soak it all in.

Some other updates:

-Upon texting my sister yesterday, she replied "Please do not text me unless you are going to the hospital." The demands!!!

-Baby is head down! That explains a lot.

-I fell asleep on the couch at 6:15 last night and could have easily called it a night. I decided to wait until 7:00 to move into bed and didn't actually go to sleep until 8:00. This is like first trimester exhaustion all over again. Luckily, I can make it through the day with no problem.

-I'm said my first early goodbye to a group of wonderful 6th graders yesterday and got very emotional. I cried when I got into my car to leave the school. The next week will be quite emotional and I'm not sure why! I say goodbye to students each and every school year but there is something about leaving before the school year ends that feels out of place. I'll put some tissue in my car for sure!

-My doctor told me that I am having a textbook pregnancy and I didn't even get a lecture on my weight. Apparently, she has given up on me. I've gained 40 pounds and I can't wait to get it off.

Some images that rocked my world this morning:

Cuddles with Kitty before leaving for work. 

Yup, watermelon sounds/feels about right

Thanks. So the baby continues to grow but its house will not. POOR BABY!!!!

Here is hoping I make it to week 38.......

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


My favorite part of being married is chatting with my husband. I adore that time together.

In my "must get to the gym days", I would rush out of the door, work out, get home, shower, eat dinner and before I knew it, it was nearly time for bed. There wasn't a lot of down time to just talk. I longed for a day when I would decide that it was a rest day and I would get home at 4:15 and do whatever I wanted to do.

But my favorite thing would be to sit on our bed together and just talk about our days. The mundane, the exciting. Whatever it was-it was nice to just chat.

Earlier this week, we had a great chat. In between the hilarious story my husband was telling me, we would stare at my stomach as our daughter thrashed around, visible from the outside. She obviously enjoyed his story telling. Maybe it was all the laughing I was doing.

I love that after 10 years together, there are still stories I have never heard. 10 years of chats that can be easily forgotten but that make me happy to have such an amazing partner in this life.

Soon our chats will change topics. Our lives will be consumed with our baby and that is okay. As long as we still find time for chats, I will be happy.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Packing the Hospital Bag

There are a lot of pins that come up if you search "Hospital bag" on Pinterest. A LOT. I've been wading through them for the past couple of months, trying to determine exactly what I would need for a few nights (1? 2? who knows!) away from home. We are lucky because the hospital where I plan to deliver is just 10 miles away and both sets of families are also a quick drive. If  we need anything during our stay, no doubt someone can bring it to us.

That being said, my plan was to pack light. Pinterest links think differently. Even the minimalist hospital bag lists had things that I think are strange and quite honestly a waste of time. For example, a stand up mirror: I get not wanting to look completely tore up but really?? I'm going to pack a stand up mirror in my bag??? No.

Last night, a friend that is due a few weeks after me posted on Instagram that she had her hospital bag all packed. WHAT???? I'm so behind. We don't even have a duffle bag and I will not be rolling a suitcase into labor and delivery. So I aside my day of being lazy and watching basketball and made a plan to get some things packed and out of the way.

Thank goodness we had our hospital tour yesterday and they provided us with a great pamphlet that covered several topics, including what to pack:

This is more like it. I went to Walmart this morning, picked up a duffle bag and got to work packing. So far, I've included:

-3 nursing bras
-3 loose fitting tank tops
-2 pairs of leggings 
-a t-shirt for going home (it isn't a fashion show and we live 10 minutes away)
-2 outfits for baby to go home in (a newborn and a 0-3 month)
-2 blankets
-snacks for my husband
-toiletry bag with essentials (again, if I need anything else, someone can bring it to us)

I'll have my husband pack a couple of clothing items for himself before zipping the bag up and calling it a day. I know that chargers and other things might have to be thrown in at the last minute but I think I'll put all those things close together so we can grab them in case we find ourselves in a rush! 

Thursday, March 20, 2014

36 Weeks

Being 36 weeks pregnant means:

-If you sneeze due to seasonal allergies, you will pee a little.

-One second, you will be gasping for air (while simply lying in bed) due to the position of the baby and the next you will be squeezing your kegel muscles to avoid peeing yourself even more.

-Imagining the birth of your child on the way to work and crying in your car.

-Calling your mom and when she answers, hearing "are you in labor?!?!?"

-Purchasing Preparation H. And using it.

-Continuing to wonder if your 20 week anatomy scan was correct.

-Fearing your next doctor appointment because you really don't want to get the weight discussion from your doctor. Not this late in the game. I'M DOING MY BEST.

-Counting down the work days until you go on maternity leave. (17......or 14...or 15). I'm undecided.

-Rolling off the couch after a 30 minute feet propping session to make the swelling go down.

-Feeling like 36 weeks isn't close enough to the end but realizing that labor could realistically start anytime. Crazier things have happened!

As always, thanks for reading and following along this crazy journey with me!

Monday, March 17, 2014

What Will They Say?

I attended a beautiful memorial yesterday for my Uncle Miles. He passed away last month. He would have celebrated his 50th wedding anniversary to my Aunt in July.

50 years.

There were various people that spoke about him during the memorial. His brother, a friend from college, a firefighter that knew him from church. My Aunt wanted people to get a sense of his life from childhood into his adult life. Mission Accomplished.

I don't see this branch of my family much so my knowledge of Miles wasn't vast. I learned a lot about him yesterday and many of those things left a smile on my face. I knew he was a man of faith, above all. I knew he had a landscaping business. I knew he was passionate and head strong mostly because he passed those traits onto his daughters.

As family and friends gave their tributes to him, I got lost in my own thoughts regarding what is said about people after they pass away. In most circumstances, the best features of a person's personality and life story are put on display. Sure, we all have demons. No one is perfect and obviously, their memorial isn't the time nor the place to speak about that.

But the thing that stood out to me was how generous Miles was. How he once picked up hitchhikers, took them to church, paid for their breakfast and drove them hundreds of miles away to their desired destination. Aside from the obvious that picking up hitchhikers is a bad idea, this was the example of the type of man he was.

I hope my life story continues for several decades. I hope I can accomplish important feats in my work life. I hope I successfully raise a child to be kind, loving and fun. I hope my marriage thrives year after year. But mostly, I hope I can think outside of myself more often. Not so at my memorial there are kind words spoken about me but because it is the right thing to do. Because I want to be the kind of person that sleeps peacefully at night knowing that I gave it my all that day and that maybe, just maybe, I helped someone or made someone's day brighter.

It is funny how the death of someone sparks life in people. It makes us reevaluate our lives and the people we want to be, the relationships we want to keep and the improvements we strive to make.

I believe a good reminder to do the right thing, the kind thing, throughout our lives is to ask, "what will they say about me" when my time comes to transition from this life.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

35 weeks-35 days

Big week, people!!! I am 35 weeks pregnant and 35 days from my due date.

COMMENCE FREAK OUT. I also have a car seat in the back seat of my vehicle. And, nearly everyday this week, Julia has received presents from friends and coworkers. It will be a sad day when I don't walk to my desk and see a gift sitting there. Guess I'll just have to get pregnant again right away. LOLzzzzz. Totes kidding.

As I near the end of this out of this world experience, I find myself focusing on two things:

1. How and when and where my labor will start.
2. How and when and where I will learn how the hell to care for a newborn.

Notice something missing? The actual labor and delivery. It isn't even on my mind. Is it smart to block it out? I know it has to happen. I know it is going to be challenging, painful and trying. I know I will cry and be tired and it will all end with this intense amount of love and joy but I can not get myself to plan for it.  I can't even get myself to the point where I think about it. LAH LAH LAH CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!!

In thinking back to the past, I pulled up some blog posts that I never published from August and September when I was still in secret mode. I wrote this one on August 2nd, the day I took the pregnancy tests that would change my life.......

Today (August 2, 2013), I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. In fact, I took 2. They were both positive. I have never seen a positive pregnancy test. I've taken them even when I knew they wouldn't be positive.

When I took the first one and saw those two lines, I cried. Hard. I called my husband in disbelief. We decided that I should take another test, a digital test, to make sure this was real.

I chugged a lot of water and waited. And waited. I casually strolled to the bathroom (yes, this was all at work) and took the test. I moved away from the stick. I didn't want to be near it. I leaned over it as if my horrible eyes could make out the answer. I had to get close.

I got close. And I saw a "yes+." I smiled. I grabbed the test, washed my hands and ran downstairs to call my husband. It was real. It was true.

I am pregnant.

That day in August now seems like a lifetime ago. The progression that has occurred in our lives since that day is surreal. Everything has transformed into something new. And in a few weeks, the full transformation will be complete and life as we know it will never be the same.

Thank goodness.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

We are THAT family

Last Saturday, I waddled my way over to my niece Diana's first Bobby Sox game. She plays on the 8 and under team (8U as it is called). She previously played a couple seasons of t-ball and now is in the big leagues!!

The game had just gotten underway when I arrived and I quickly learned that in 8U, most of the action revolves around the pitcher and the catcher. Not many other people in the field see a lot of contact with the ball.

Many (most) of the girls struck out or were walked. I admire those that swing the bat-it is more fun that way! I've struck out in slow pitch co-ed softball just because I felt like if I swing the bat, at least I'm trying to hit it. Diana's first at bat went down that way but she looked so adorable doing it! When she was on defense, she assumed the "ready for the ball" stance the entire inning. Future Golden Glove winner for sure.

My feet were starting to swell so I moved to a bench to sit down. This didn't provide the best view due to being blocked by the dugout but I needed to sit down. My family ended up stationing themselves there for Diana's next at bat. We could see her at home plate as we cheered her on.

And she hit the ball. She hit the ball straight up in the air and ran. She ran to first base and was safe.

And that is when we became "that family." That family that literally jumps up and down, clapping and high fiving because our little girl got a hit. PEOPLE: there were only 1-2 other hits up to this point and Diana got a hit. And got on base. We were so excited. Actually, that is an understatement. We were beyond thrilled. I saw some other parents sitting in the stands, looking our way and smiling while probably thinking how dorky we were.

The fun didn't end there. Diana got to second, third and eventually scored a run for her team. I'm not sure she quite understood the impact that this had on us because her calm, cool, collected face was very much in tact but it was the highlight of my Saturday.

I think for her, the highlight was the shave ice she received from her mom when the game was over.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

JMD's Nursery

Nursery prep officially started when we found out we were having a girl. Before that, the room was a crap collector/secondary tv room. Chris painted the walls a little over a year ago, when our hope of having a child was at an all-time low. Isn't time amazing?

 Here is Julia's room:

Closet built-in's done by Chris, his dad and brother over one long weekend. It looks just like the picture I found on Pinterest. Curtain fabric from Joanne's and sewed by Chris' mom. It's a family affair!

Wood floors installed by Chris. 

Ikea dresser put together by me back when I could bend over easily. It took me about 3.5 hours total.

Letter "J" and frame are from Michaels. Chris painted it pink, the same color as the inside of the closet.
All framed art is from various Etsy sellers. 
All sellers were FANTASTIC. Great quality. Timely delivery.

On the left is a piece of fabric that I really liked but not enough to make it a huge centerpiece in the room.

Glass containers are from Home Goods as are the wooden blocks.

Storkcraft Glider
Rug from Pottery Barn Kids (on sale!)

Crib is Graco Lauren. Still waiting to frame and hang a special print above the crib that Chris purchased for the room. 

Ikea spice racks as book shelves. Art work from TrafalgarsSquare

Swaddled Cabbage Patch Kid. I need to practice!

This child already has more clothes than I do. Overwhelming to say the least. 

This dresser has enough drawers that for now, I can arrange each size category by drawer. 

Kitty sighting!!!

Thursday, March 6, 2014


For months, we have known that our child's initials would be "JMD." We knew what the "M" was for and obviously the "D" as well.

That "J" was yet to be determined. We had two names that we liked. We eliminated all others. We were so confident in our choices that I purchased a stocking at Christmas with the letter "J" and purchased a wooden letter "J" to hang on her nursery wall.

But I couldn't make a decision. One name stood out and seemed to be our favorite until I insisted that we have two choices. What was I thinking? My husband mentioned a name that I had suggested a while ago but he originally vetoed so I moved on. Now it was back and I had a very hard time figuring out which I liked more.

I believe it was over Christmas break that I sent him a text while I was at the gym. I said we should go with Name #1. He said no, it is too soon to decide. Let's wait. I had no problem with waiting until she was born and in my arms. Waiting until I saw her face and looked into her eyes. I never understood naming a person you had never met!

Then came Saturday night. We stood in her nursery and looked at the blocks I had used to spell out both name choices. I was scared to bring it up. Naming her made this all very, very real and time was just moving so quickly. But there was one name that I couldn't get off my mind. It was the right choice. I knew Chris liked it the most, as he referred to her using that name in a text earlier in the day.

It was time to name our daughter. It was time to think of her as a person with a name and not just a nickname. It was time to share with our family and friends who have been asking.

 Did you know The Beatles (my favorite) have a song named Julia? Just like they have a song named Michelle.
I've always liked to pretend my parents named me after that song and now, my daughter can do the same.

Her middle name, Mary,  is my middle name, my grandma's name and the name of Chris' favorite aunt. 

I'm 34 weeks pregnant today. Trying to take in each and every moment of this pregnancy and life without a baby before everything changes. 

We can't wait to meet our Julia.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

"The Next One..."

I'm getting the impression that people think I should have more than one child. Should have more than one. Will have more than one. Wouldn't even consider only having one.

"Well, for the next one you can...."

"When you have your next one......"

Excuse me? Did I miss something? I understand that China has a one-child only policy and believe me, I'm not considering following their rules but here in America, there isn't a two-child policy so....

Get off my back about it. 

Did you miss the part where it took us FOUR YEARS to successfully conceive? The part where I spent the better part of those FOUR YEARS in emotional distress about being infertile. The part where we spent a lot of money trying to get pregnant only to fail time and time (and time and time and time) again. Yes, I am pregnant. I still don't know why it happened when it did and not in 2009 on the first try. I try not to question this miracle we have been gifted.

The funny thing is that there is no "perfect" number of children. Some people think one child is too many. Others scoff at someone who has 4 or more kids as being irresponsible to the environment. I'm not sure why people seem to think it is appropriate to assume that we'll have more than one child as if having one child is so horrible. How dare you!? An only child? Never!

Shut up.

I don't need to defend my current feelings on this nor am I saying this decision has been set in stone. What I do know is that we have plenty of reasons to not make plans to continue having children past the one growing in my uterus. Responsible reason.

*I ain't young. I'm not old but I'm not young. I'm not interested in being 40 and pregnant. More power to those that are. It isn't for me.
*Kids are expensive. Day care is expensive. Bringing another human into the world before I'm 40 means two kids in day care and unless YOU are willing to finance that, it isn't going to happen.
*For 4 years, we couldn't get pregnant. It was the most painful time in my life. I do not wish to go through it again.

This child is such a huge blessing to us. A year ago, I was staring down a life without children at all. Now I get to have one. And one might just be perfect. Time will tell.

But please, stop the talk of "the next one." It is disrespectful to "this one."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Knocked Over

Some days, I just want to write. I want to write long, college length paper blog posts about thoughts I'm having, feelings I'm experiencing and what is going on in the world around me. I want to share the joy and happiness I feel about my life.

Other days, I want to hide. I want to get under a pile of blankets and shake my fist at the world. I want to curl up and knock the questions I am having out of my head so I won't have to think about the pain and hurt people have in their lives.

Today is a day for the latter. Some things happen to those in our lives and we sit and wonder "why??" We try to put together the pieces that allow these results. We try to make sense of it all but it never makes sense. A person could drive themselves crazy trying to figure it out. We want to take the pain away, sweep it under a rug and get back to normal.

But there isn't a normal. There is just life. Life that comes in and knocks you off your feet over and over and challenges you to get up and keep moving. Sometimes, even the strongest person has to yell out "I can't get up. I just want to stay on the ground for a little bit."

And that is okay. The ground is okay. And on the day you rise to your feet again and feel the sun on your face and prepare for a new day, a better day than yesterday, you will remember that life is worth living. Even through the pain you feel.

Hang in there, dear friends. I believe better days are ahead.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

32 Weeks

While I was trying to sleep Monday night, Baby D decided to have a dance party. Lionel Richie was on repeat (that was an All Night Long reference). I believe I got about 2 hours of sleep between the solid flipping movements and my inability to stop my mind from thinking about the most mundane of topics.

"What should I wear to my baby shower? No, not that, it will make me look huge!"

"What should I wear in maternity pictures? Do I want to even do maternity pictures? I need to practice smiling so my face isn't all scrunched up."

I wasn't thinking about labor and delivery or daycare or anything remotely important. I was thinking about outfits. That either makes me a bad mother or completely oblivious to how my life will change in the next 8 weeks.

EIGHT WEEKS. I keep thinking about being 8 weeks pregnant. We had just told our families. Only a small set of friends knew our news. Anxiety was high!

An excerpt from an unpublished post I wrote at 8 weeks pregnant (9/5/13):

I had a prenatal class at Kaiser yesterday. I couldn't help but rewind back to May 21 when I went to the IVF seminar in Sacramento. That was just 3.5 months ago. At the time, I never thought I would be in an IVF seminar and just 3 months later, sitting in a prenatal class, hearing the nurse midwife discuss genetic testing and setting up appointments for me was bizarre. Is this real life? Is this happening to me? Didn't I give up?

Now, I am 32 weeks pregnant. I am in the home stretch. Is that true? Or is 36 weeks the home stretch? I feel like I'm in the home stretch. Some updates:

  • Baby D is moving around all the stinkin' time. Day and night. Sometimes, I do feel like I'm smashing her if I sit the wrong way. My belly gets pushed up against my desk and she kicks back. Right now, as I type this, some limb is up where it doesn't belong. Is this the rib kick I've heard about? She is running out of space, moving all around the surface she has called home for 7 months. It brings tears to my eyes to think what she started out as and what she has become!
  • We attended a newborn care class at the hospital last weekend. My husband found it entertaining to take pictures of the dolls at our station and make inappropriate jokes about them. The information was basic but still very helpful. I attend a breastfeeding class next weekend and our late pregnancy/hospital tour is at the end of March. 
  • My first baby shower is this weekend! I'm most excited to see family members and spend time together and as much as my Leo persona enjoys being the center of attention, I always feel a bit uncomfortable at these things. I never want people to fuss over me or go out of their way to do things for me so I've asked that the shower be low key.
  • We are no closer to picking a name for this little one. I took the wooden alphabet blocks in the nursery and spelled out both names and left it on the dresser. Hopefully, seeing the names will help me come to some conclusion about which I like better. Kitty was on the dresser, looking out the window when I heard a commotion. She took it upon herself to knock down all but one block from one of the name choices. The other was fully in tact. I think Kitty made her decision!
In two weeks, it will be March and I can officially say that I'm having a baby next month. That is difficult to wrap my head around. I guess I better get to work on that!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Conversations with Strangers: Part One

Now that I am clearly pregnant, the public has a lot to say to me!

Location: Grocery Store aisle
Grocery store employee: (Reaches arm out to stop me while I'm walking past) "Gymboree and Crazy 8's are having huge sales right now on clothes."
Me: "Oh thanks! I actually just talked to my mom and she was in Carter's trying not to buy everything!"


Location: Starbucks, 6:15 a.m.
Very Nice Random man: "Is this your first?"
Me: "Yes it is."
VNRM: "Congratulations. Do you know what you are having?"
Me: "A girl."
VNRM: (smiles) "Ten years from now, you will be tired of all the back talk."
Me: (reaches for my coffee at the bar; said sweetly and sarcastically) "Well, I was a perfect child so I'm sure I have nothing to worry about."
VNRM: "So was I! Congratulations again!"

I then sent my sister a text, sharing his comment. Her response:
"I agree with him." LOL. #girlmomproblems

Stay tuned for more "Conversations with Strangers" over the next 8 weeks!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Babymoon in Vegas

This past weekend, I took a babymoon to Vegas.....with my mom! Sorry, husband. This was a ladies only trip. From the amount of kicking, moving and dancing Baby D did while I was there, I think it is safe to say she enjoyed Vegas from the womb.

The view from our room at the Bellagio. Not too shabby! Beware: If you book a room with a view of the water show, it is VERY loud. Most normal people probably aren't in the room trying to sleep at 10 p.m. but I was and had a hard time due to the loud BOOMs occuring every 15 minutes. 

But so worth it. Gorgeous!

The Conservatory was decorated for Chinese New Year
 Someone (me) got fat face in Vegas! Yay!

Speaking of fat face.....I didn't get these at the chocolate shop in the Bellagio but I did have a scoop of mint chocolate gelato.

Tiramisu at Trevi in Caesar's Palace

We had planned to go to Fremont St. Saturday night but with the traffic so heavy on The Strip, we knew it would take a very long time to get there so we waited until Sunday morning. It wasn't busy but cool to see it nonetheless. We even stumbled upon a parade for Chinese New Year. Culture!

 The highlight of the weekend was seeing The Beatles LOVE. It was my first Cirque du Soleil show. Those performers are crazy talented and a bit crazy. The show was stunning. As a huge Beatles fan, I was in heaven!

The trip ended with a prenatal massage Monday morning and losing $10 at the Roulette table. It was a fabulous weekend and I'm so glad that I have an amazing mom who insisted on taking me to Vegas for a last hurrah before baby comes. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go take several naps. Vegas is exhausting for most people but add a gestating baby into the mix and well.....I'll be back to normal in a week!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

30 Weeks....WOW!

I'm in the 30's!!! INSANE. I have 10 weeks left (or more or less) and I think I will officially start freaking out next week, when I reach single digits in weeks left. Today is also my husband's birthday!

Operation Prep for Baby is taking over my life. Between classes, appointments and increasingly annoying third trimester symptoms, it seems like April will be here in no time. All of my Saturdays in February are booked and March is filling up fast as well. Although I have two full months left at work (I hope), I am starting to prepare to be gone. Some of the people I work with are asking what will happen when I leave and I'm explaining that process to them. It is all very strange!

 In a short time, I found it difficult to bend over to pick something up off the ground and put my shoes and socks on in the morning. Removing myself from my bed isn't quite as easy as it once was. I have to get some momentum going and throw myself off! Aside from some other TMI things, I feel pretty good. Adjusting to my new body shape is taking some getting used to but nothing is impossible.....yet!

Weight. Such a fun topic. Since I started this pregnancy overweight, my doctor made it clear that she had hoped I wouldn't gain too much weight. This may seem mean or unrealistic but to me, it was for my own personal comfort and health. And of course, the health of the baby. I had no intention of being ignorant of my weight gain and eating junk food because "I'm pregnant and I can do whatever I want." No. That is not true! From November 4 to the end of December, I didn't weigh myself. My maternity jeans were fitting just fine in my legs and butt so I figured I was in the clear in terms of healthy weight gain. 

Then I had my doctor appointment on December 30th. And I gained 14 pounds in 8 weeks. Oh. Whoops. Thanks a lot, holidays!!! My doctor suggested that I try to stay in the .5 lb per week range and I didn't think that would be a problem. Another 4 weeks goes by and I gained another 5 pounds. Now, they said 7 but I was wearing clothes!!!! Clothes are heavy. Anyway, that put my total weight gain for this pregnancy up to 25, which was the top of the range my doctor was hoping for.

Ugh. I felt bad about it but not horrible. Personally, I always had the number 35 in my head. Knowing where I was starting, I thought 35 pounds would be a lot but not A LOT. My next appointment is in 2.5 weeks and I don't want to get lectured or put into a category where they are worried about our health so I am making some adjustments, being more mindful of my eating and hoping for the best. My body is going to do what my body does but I can help steer it in a better direction and know that I'm making good choices.

I mentioned above that we are signed up to take some free classes through my healthcare provider. We are taking a newborn care class next month, a breastfeeding class in early March and a late pregnancy/hospital tour class 4 weeks before my due date. I hope I don't get too overwhelmed in these classes! Information overload tends to leave me in a state of panic but I need to remember that people care for their children every single second and there is no reason that I can't do the same.

In other news, the nursery is nearly done! We have one more picture to frame and hang and aside from getting bedding, a mobile and a changing pad, we have all of the decorative pieces that have transformed a once rarely used room to a space I hope our daughter will love for many years! I can't wait to show pictures.

Although my due date is getting closer and things will start to get uncomfortable, I think I have officially started the "fun" stage. I have two baby showers coming up, people are noticing more that I am pregnant (seriously-it has taken this long) which is fun and this weekend, my mom is taking me to Las Vegas! It should be interesting to experience a trip to Vegas where I am completely sober the entire time but I'm sure it will be a blast regardless. We are going to see LOVE on Sunday night and I'm having lunch with my friend Lisa who will be in town that weekend as well.

No matter how much I'm trying to ignore the whole birthing a child thing, I'm picturing our first moments together and I can't help but get very emotional. Finally deciding on her name upon seeing her face, those first pictures together and seeing my husband hold his daughter-well, it just sends me into a tailspin of emotion. These thoughts are no longer months and months away. They are in the rear view mirror and approaching quickly.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Let's Go Somewhere!

A few weeks ago, I emailed my husband and suggested we take a day trip somewhere close. As I looked over my calendar and saw weekends filling up quickly with child birth classes and work hours, I realized that our time as "just the two of us" was coming to an end quickly!

My first thought was to drive up to Bodega Bay because I don't recall ever going there (my mom corrected me-I went as a teen) and I really just wanted to spend some time staring at the ocean and walking on the beach. I got some great guidance on Facebook when I inquired about where to go and what to do but was concerned about not having enough to do so I scrapped that.

The obvious fall back was to go to San Francisco. One of my favorite places to day trip and my husband's least favorite place to go. Period. But because he is awesome and I'm pregnant and emotional, he agreed to the trip. We decided to drive in (I never do that and won't ever do it again) and spend our time near Fisherman's Wharf and Fort Mason.

  It was a perfect weather day. Almost too perfect. I would say it was 70 degrees which means it was HOT in the sun. No jacket needed and a skirt would have been more appropriate than jeans! We ate lunch at Tarantino's. We both got the chicken sandwich. At a seafood restaurant. We are SO meant to be together.

Across the street, we saw barrels of salt water taffy so obviously we had to fill up a bag. We have a history with salt water taffy that is purchased in SF. Long story short: We purchased $20 worth, tried to bring it into a Warriors game, only to be told we couldn't bring it in and had to stuff some in our pockets and toss the rest. It was a sad moment.

 Next, we trekked through Fort Mason and over to the Marina. I tried to play it off like it wasn't that long of a walk and acted like we were just wandering because I knew my husband would be like "WHERE ARE WE GOING IT IS HOT!" I was punished for playing dumb. I had to walk up a huge hill and let me tell you, I was moving SLOW. I thought I would need a push. But the view from the top and on the other side was totally worth it.

There were tons of 20-somethings out at this park playing volleyball, frisbee, and catch. Drinking beers and soaking up the wonderful January weather. January. In San Francisco. With shirtless guys and girls wearing shorts and sundresses. What is this world!?!?

Finally, we made it to the Marina and plopped down on a bench to rest. The water provided a small breeze and cooler temperatures that felt amazing. I marveled over the clear sky and quizzed my husband about what city is on the other side of the bridge (Sausalito. He needed some help).

After a few minutes, we walked back with a quick stop at Safeway to use the bathroom. We made the wrong decision on which way to drive home and it took an hour to drive 2.8 miles from Ghirardelli Square to the Bay Bridge. And another hour to get home. The $52 round trip ferry ride that I didn't want to pay for would have been worth it 45 minutes into sitting on Battery St., not moving.

Traffic issues aside, it was a really great day. I say this every time I write about going to San Francisco but I feel so lucky to have this in my backyard. We heard accents of all types while walking around and I thought "those people came all the way from Germany/China/Europe/wherever to come here" and for me, it is a short (or long) car ride/ferry ride/BART ride away.

I can't wait to take our daughter there and stroll along that very waterfront pictured above. I'll have to tell her stories about how her great grandmother worked in San Francisco and commuted from the other side of the Golden Gate to get to work each day. How we are so lucky to live close to one of the best cities in the world and how I can't wait to see her fall in love with the place like I have.

I just have to make sure her father doesn't get in her ear too much regarding his feelings!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Common and Uncommon Pregnancy Symptoms

You know about the nausea. And the fatigue. But there are other symptoms that I have experienced over the past 6 months that I wanted to describe a bit more to prepare all of you trying to conceive folks! Please feel free to chime in and leave a comment on how you experienced pregnancy symptoms. I'm fascinated by how different people are.

Pre-Positive Test:
I always thought I would know I was pregnant before getting a positive test because everything I read online led me to believe you were exhausted, had sore boobs and were moody. False, false and false. I had NO signs of anything except an impending period. I was spotting prior to my period starting as per usual and didn't feel any different, despite being late. Don't be fooled into thinking your body will start acting pregnant before you have confirmation.

As soon as I peed on that stick (all of those sticks) and saw the positive, the two lines and the "+", things changed. 

Discharge: Two days post positive test, I recall telling my husband "ummmm I'm really, ummmm....well, you know, "down there." Discharge is the right word. So much so that I was running to the bathroom in between actual bathroom trips to make sure I wasn't bleeding. So.much.discharge. That hasn't stopped, by the way. You're welcome.

Discharge Part 2: I'll just say this-seeing brown blood isn't always a bad thing. It is normal. And in most cases, if it isn't followed with a lot of red bleeding or heavy cramping, there is nothing to worry about. Worrisome? HELL YES. Stay calm. Alert your doctor. Rest your pelvis.

Cramping: I was so happy when THAT went away. I had a decent amount of cramping. It worried the heck out of me. I was constantly googling and reading message board postings of women who experienced cramping. This stopped around week 14 and changed to more of a stretching feeling in my hips. It was never as bad as period-like cramping but it was there nonetheless and laying in bed was the only thing that helped take it away.

Nausea/Vomitting: My sister said she only threw up once in both pregnancies (or once in two pregnancies) but I remember she was nauseous throughout the first trimester during her first pregnancy. I wasn't so lucky on the barfing front. I threw up at least once a week from week 6 to week 16. One glorious week, I barfed 4 days. It would only happen once a day and always in the morning. Luckily, never at work. Do yourself a favor and eat three crackers before getting out of bed if you feel this way. For me, eating solved the problem. I know for others, eating makes it worse. I'm sorry if you are in the latter camp. I can't imagine not being able to eat. Ginger ale and crackers worked for me and I kept a sleeve of saltines in my car, in my desk, in my nightstand and in my purse. 

Fatigue: Hello, 6:30 bed time. Okay, I'm lying. I once (and thrice) fell asleep on the couch at 5:45 p.m. It was August/September and still light outside. I told my husband that I read that my placenta was taking all of my energy in order to grow. He asked "when is your placenta done growing because I'm getting lonely." I couldn't sleep enough. It would hit at 1:30 p.m. everyday. I would fight through it, be fine for a few hours and I would find myself completely useless by 5:30. I always wondered what pregnancy fatigue felt like. Now I know. It is "I can't possibly be awake one more second" tired.

Gagging/Puking while brushing: No one told me about this. NO ONE. I'd be brushing my teeth in the morning, afternoon or night, minding my own business when I would start to gag and more often than not, throw up right into the sink. What a waste of breakfast that was. Forget trying to floss. Are you kidding me? This was a daily occurrence until well into my second trimester. I finally realized the other day that it wasn't happening anymore and I even managed to floss my teeth without a major gag-fest. So gross but so true. Beware.

Cravings/Aversions: Other than a mac & cheese stage, I don't feel like I ever craved any food or felt disgusted by any food. I'm a sugar addict and the first three weeks after getting the positive test, I barely ate any candy. I wasn't turned off from it, I just didn't crave it like I normally do. That went away. My weight gain shows that. I could handle raw meat with ease. I didn't want pickles. Ewww. I have a sensitive sniffer anyways so smells always bother me. This common symptom was a fail for me.

Big Ol' (Sore) Boobies:   My first LOL pregnancy moment was when the lady at the maternity store told me that I wasn't a C cup anymore. WHATEVER. I rocked my old bras until last week. Sidenote: I should have replaced them a long time ago. Back to the start, my boobs were sore. Not horribly sore but sore enough where I would squeeze them several times a day to ensure that they still were sore because that meant I was still pregnant. (The first trimester is a complete mind game.) My husband would catch me massaging my mammaries and while I'm sure he didn't mind, he still gave me a puzzled look every time. Eventually the soreness went away, but I transitioned to staring at my naked chest to see if they were growing. My current D cup suggests the answer was yes. The next 13 weeks (and 6-12 months) should be interesting.

PEEING ALL THE TIME: For reals, I once kept track of how many times in one 8 hour work day I went to the bathroom. It was 9 times. And I wasn't chugging water either. Normal amount of water intake folks. NINE BATHROOM TRIPS. I still go every chance I can. The last thing I want is to get stuck in my car and need to pull into a shady gas station. I use the staff bathrooms at nearly every single school I visit for work. I'm now at the lovely point (this started about 4 weeks ago) where if I don't pee, I can feel my uterus getting tight. And that scares me. So I relieve myself whenever a clean bathroom is near.

Shortness of breath: Its that thing when you are walking up the stairs at work and you straight up can't breathe. It feels like an elephant is on your chest. Walking becomes a chore. And no, this didn't happen at week 27. It happened at week 20. It passed, thank goodness but that was a doozy. Expect to gasp for air at some point and feel completely pathetic for taking the elevator one flight with the other lazy bones you work with. 

Moody/Emotional: My name is Michelle and I'm a Leo. I'm an emotional mess 24/7/365. Old episodes of Full House can make me cry. The Cheerios commercial or the Trident commercial or God forbid.....a Google commercial send me over the edge. Table for One: Hot Mess, Reservation Michelle. Do I think I have been overly emotional during the last 6 months? Hard to say. This pregnancy is a miracle so when I relive telling our families or imaging meeting my daughter, I cry. Okay, I bawl. But that is normal behavior for me. Moody? I don't think so but my husband might have something different to say. But he better not because I'll kick him.

Stuffy nose/sneezing: I've had a stuffy nose for, ummmm, 28 weeks. The entire pregnancy. I have heard this is another wonderful side effect from increasing hormones. I've also been a sneezing machine and it isn't even allergy season (yet!). Such a strange symptom but it has been ever present for me. 

The funny thing about pregnancy is that everyone is different. There isn't a formula that is standard. My cousin didn't have any morning sickness. I can't even imagine how that is possible! So far, I am stretch mark free but not really worried about seeing the stripes appear on my body. I already have them on my hips from getting fat at 23 years old.

Which of these symptoms did you experience? Did I leave any common symptoms out? As I head into the third trimester, what should I expect? I already can barely put my shoes and socks on!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014


Over the past year, most family celebrations took place at my Dad's house. Since he couldn't yet drive, it was easiest to go to him for birthdays and holidays. This worked out well because his house is big enough for everyone to be comfortable and the backyard is huge so my nieces can ride their scooters and bikes and play catch on the lawn with no worries.

My dad earned his drivers license back in December and I must say, seeing him drive up to my mom's house on Christmas Eve was very emotional. Having reached that huge milestone in his recovery, I suggested that we have his birthday party at my house. No reason for him to always play host now that he can hit the open road.

Sunday morning found my husband waking up at 2 a.m. to put ribs and a pork belly in his new electric smoker. I found him sleeping on the couch when I got up to feed Kitty at 5:00. We cleaned the house, watched the first football game and awaited the arrival of my family. I love hosting. Aside from the added benefit of not having to drive anywhere and get home after dark, it is just nice to have a house full of people you love.

It was nearly 70 degrees outside so my nieces rode their scooters and bikes in the cul-de-sac, we ate lots of really good food (thanks Chris!) and celebrated another birthday. My nieces loved going into the nursery and took note of every detail:

"I like those shoes."
"Can I read that book?"
"Where did you get this dresser?"
"This rug is cute."

I think they approve.

Although the 49ers lost, it was another successful family gathering. I can't help but picture these moments in the future with a little person in my arms (or in the arms of her aunt, who will no doubt try to hog her from everyone). It makes me so happy that we live so close to both of our families because I know moments like this don't happen for everyone. I get to tuck away these memories several times a year and as my parents get older and my nieces grow up so fast, I know the dynamic of our family will change but I have no doubts that gatherings like these will continue to take place and bring happiness to everyone involved.

Friday, January 17, 2014


If you are reading this post from Feedly or some other third party site, please click through to my blog. I'll wait!


Welcome! I rarely, if ever, visit the actual home pages of the blogs that I read so I never know when they make layout changes unless they write a post about it. I wanted to let you all know that I updated and added some new tabs and updated the content that can be found in those tabs.

About Michelle: I've updated this to make it short and sweet and to reflect where I currently stand with my life.

Infertility: This tab covers all of the posts that I have made where I discuss infertility. The first post is from January 2011. WOW! I can't believe it took me that long to blog about our efforts to get pregnant. We first got medical help in March of 2010 but when I look back at my blog, I never talked about it. I hope the posts about our journey provide useful information, comfort and most importantly, laughter, as I always tried to find humor through the pain.

Pregnancy: I will keep this up to date throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. In this tab you will find the posts explaining how this all happened (other than the, you know.....) and updates along the way.

Travel Near and Far: Since I have documented our travels on this site, I wanted a place to group the links all together. Sadly, because I removed so many pictures from the blogger storage site, many posts are without pictures. That makes me sad! And I never even blogged about our honeymoon. I'm going to try to do a better job in the future of uploading from an outside storage site and keeping our travel (or lack thereof) adventures linked in this tab.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I get three whole days to relax which is greatly needed. I'm looking forward to a pedicure tomorrow, a family birthday party and 49er game on Sunday and potentially going to check out a daycare on Monday. I'll leave you with a bump picture I took today. Forgive the selfie. No time in the mornings for a photo shoot!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

27 Weeks

Eeek!!! I'm 27 weeks today which, according to my apps means that I am in the 3rd trimester. Freaky. While it is normal to think I have 13 weeks left, I understand that sometimes, babies have different plans. I could give birth in 10 weeks! Or 8! That isn't an invitation, Baby D, to arrive early but I'm fully aware that I have no control over my labor starting, early or late.

Due to the unseasonable warm weather we are experiencing in Northern California (70 degrees through next week), my allergies have already started to arrive. I've had a horrible sinus headache and pain the last two days. Usually, I go through this and then my body adjusts and I feel fine but it is tough not being able to take good medication to stop the annoying pain.

In baby news, my apps say she is about 2 lbs and 16 inches long. I'm feeling her kicks more frequently throughout the day now which is really nice. She really gets going at night when I'm laying in bed. It isn't at the painful or annoying stage yet and I might be eating my words in a few weeks but I can't imagine being annoyed by her movement. It is magical, especially now that her kicks have become flips and turns. If I sit very still and place my hand on the side of my stomach, I can feel her entire body moving around. That part is a bit creepy! :)

Now that the dreamy 2nd trimester is over, I'm wondering what the 3rd will bring. My nausea didn't go away until week 16 but after that, I felt pretty incredible. I no longer gag while brushing my teeth. My fatigue at night still exists but being tired is just something that I'm learning to live with. My appetite is normal and I really hope my weight gain isn't out of control at my next appointment. I still haven't had any huge cravings or food aversions. I even started eating sweet potatoes roasted in the oven. For someone who hates all vegetables, this is a big step for me. I ate them 3 times last week!

As the weeks go by, I am starting to get really excited about what this kid is going to look like. If she will have hair that starts dark but turns blonde. What color her eyes will be. I can't wait to see her little facial expressions and to hear her cries. To know that this little person was created by us gets me very emotional. The next 13ish weeks are going to bring a lot of changes as we get closer to meeting our daughter. I can't wait to see how it all pans out.

As always, thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

26 Weeks

Depending on what website you look to for information, this could be the last week of my 2nd trimester. Or I could be two weeks away from my 3rd trimester. Isn't pregnancy based on science? Shouldn't it be easier to find an answer for this?

I have to admit that the second trimester went by in a flash. August-October seems like ages ago and as I look at my calendar and see that January 17th is next week, I realize April is quite close. Sure, it doesn't feel like it but in the grand scheme of things, it is right around the corner.

I'm starting to feel the crunch of that to-do list. Call about day care, take some classes at the hospital, think about preparing my body for labor, ramp up the healthy eating, etc. What seemed like distant planning just a month ago is now staring me right in the face. For no good reason, I'll say that I think I will give birth before my due date. Go ahead and laugh. Or wait until April 21st when I'm overdue and laugh at me then. But I just wanted to put it out there for reference later so I can say "oh wow, I thought I knew SOOOOOO much!"

Aside from the heart burn (still) and increasing difficulty putting my shoes and socks on in the mornings, I'm still feeling pretty great. I'm trying to appreciate that feeling while I can because I know when the comfort ends, I will be thinking about the days I could move around with ease.

While changing out of my work clothes and into pajamas the other night, my husband walked past me and my bare belly. His eyes got big and he moved towards me as if there was a gravitational pull from my stomach to his hands. "You denying it now. You are for sure pregnant." I think I waited for this bump for so long (in years and just in the first part of the 2nd trimester) that it is a bit unreal (and sometimes unsettling) to see my stomach round and protruding.

I have some thoughts that I hope to jot down for another post regarding the things that I have experienced and have not experienced up to this point. There were the standard symptoms that I expected to happen that did and others that I knew nothing about and felt angry at all mothers for not warning me about. Look for that next week!

Monday, January 6, 2014

#weVerb14: Days 5-6

#WEverb14 is a set of 31 prompts meant to encourage reflection on the past year (2013) and look forward to the coming year (2014).

Day 5: What song or lyrics will be forever tied to 2013 in your mind? What songs are you excited to keep with you through 2014?

The Civil Wars released their new album just 4 days after I found out I was pregnant. Instantly, "From This Valley" became not only my favorite track on the album but I listened to it each and every morning that I drove to work and often shed a few tears.

Oh won't you take me from this valley
To that mountain high above
Oh I will pray, pray, pray till I see your smiling face
I will pray, pray, pray to the one that I love

This song comforted me when I was worried and gave me hope that everything would be okay and I would see the smiling face of this baby growing inside of me. 
As far as songs for 2014, I love my old standbys. I listen to my morning AM talk radio show on my way to work and catch the rest of the show via podcast throughout the day so I don't listen to the FM radio much but I know I will need to listen to music that keeps me relaxed and calm this year! A lot of The Civil Wars, Coldplay and Mumford & Sons. Throw in some classical music for brain growth and development for the baby and I'll be set!

Day 6: Share your favorite memory captured from 2013. What’s your plan to capture 2014?

When I told my sister and nieces that we were having a girl over dinner one night, I told the girls that the baby could hear them and they should say hi. Both Diana and Amy walked over to my belly and said "hi baby." It was the cutest among many amazing 2013 memories. Other great memories include seeing my dad improve and on Christmas Eve, drive up to my mom's house in the car all by himself.

As for 2014, I hope to continue blogging and taking pictures to capture moments. I try to upload my pictures from my phone to my Flickr account daily so I make sure nothing get deleted. I just purchased a baby book and as all mother's hope to do, I want to keep it filled out and up to date!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Gaining Through Losing

It has been 4 years since our friend Jonathan passed away. Whenever he comes up in conversations in our household, my thoughts always go to "why?" Why did he have to die so young? Why isn't he still here? How could this happen to someone so amazing?

Time gives you a perspective that you don't have in the midst of grief. We spent hours in the hospital with his friends and family. The Christmas season always causes me to reflect on those memories. I recall each trip to the hospital, each update we received and realizing that the last time we drove there was the actual last time.

Within the walls of the waiting room, friendships were born. We gained through losing. We gained friends. Friends that to this day I text with. Friends that we played softball with year after year and created really amazing memories. Friends that have supported us through our trials.

One memory that stands out was at Jonathan's memorial service. There was a chance for friends and family to share memories and I wanted a chance to share a funny story from when we worked together. The person with the microphone was on the other side of the room and didn't see me raising my hand. Our friend Michelle, who happens to be the wife of the Pastor who's church we were in, saw my hand raised and spoke up for the microphone to be given to me.

This was a person who I had only known for a week, maybe a week and a half. Sure, we spent hours and hours together in a waiting room but I'm not sure if we had many deep conversations. But when I wanted to say something at that service (one of hundreds of people who had hoped to talk on the mic), she helped me out.

At the time, the thought of being grateful for friendships gained seemed insignificant. We lost our friend. Kids lost their father and his wife lost her partner. But there is no going back now. Four years later, the friendships we made while praying for Jonathan's recovery and mourning his death remain in tact.

So thank you Jonathan, for bringing people together. You continue to provide joy for people even though your time on earth has ended. You have provided me with the gift of a lifelong partner and lifelong friends. I remain forever in your debt.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

weVerb Day 2: Remember

#WEverb14 is a set of 31 prompts meant to encourage reflection on the past year (2013) and look forward to the coming year (2014).

2:  Remember
What did you do in 2013 that you will remember the details of forever?

Shared the news with our immediate families that we were finally, after 4 years of trying, expecting a child. Part of me wishes we would have recorded the entire day, from start to finish but as we are 4 months out from that day, I remember it all so well that no recording is necessary. In a way, it is nice to have it be something that was only between us, our parents, siblings and nieces.

It was a series of moments that had only lived in my brain via daydreams. When I was driving home from work and sitting in traffic, I would imagine how we would share the news, what we would say and how the reaction would be. I scanned my mind for the most creative thing we could do but kept it inside, not wanting to share it with my husband since we didn't know if that moment would ever be granted to us.

When the day was over and the news was finally off of our chest after keeping it a secret from our loved ones for 3 weeks and 1 day, I felt a huge sense of relief and joy. Each moment, all 4 of them, was extremely special. I was a nervous wreck each and every time. I wanted our planning to go perfectly and the anticipation driving from one house to another left me a mess!

I know now that it was just the first of many moments of this pregnancy journey that will forever be engrained in my mind. And after I give birth, those moments will multiply. I'm not sure if I have enough space in my brain for all of the happy moments in store for 2014.

25 Weeks

When I reached the halfway point, I never thought the weeks would start flying by but they are moving a little too quickly for my liking. 

Christmas and New Years went by in a flash and thanks to a lot of time off, we were able to make major progress on the nursery. I'll show you just one photo of one wall because I'd like to wait until it is a bit more "done" to reveal the entire room. But I'm basically in love with it and once the glider gets delivered today, I might be spending a significant amount of time hanging out in there!

It seems that IKEA may have marketed these spice racks the wrong way. Book shelves all the way!

I had my 24 week check up with my doctor earlier this week. I hadn't seen her since November 7 so I was curious to see what these appointments were going to be like at this stage in the pregnancy. Verdict: pretty much the same. A quick review of my blood pressure, an overview of the ultrasound results from 6 weeks ago, a few seconds of checking the heart beat on the doppler and the first measurement of my belly, which was right on schedule.

The one "yikes" moment occurred when she was running through my chart. "Blood pressure, good. Weight, good....oh wait,  weight not good!" Yeah....I assumed as much. I pretty much stopped weighing myself after my last appointment. Big mistake. I'm already up 20 pounds total. I was hoping to make it through the entire pregnancy only gaining 20-25 pounds and my doctor was hoping for even less since I started overweight. I guess this means it is time to put myself in check and weigh in each week. No, I'm not going to diet, of course but it is important to me to be healthy and in good physical shape to give birth and that means not having a lot of extra weight on my body in April. She said if I was able to stick to gaining .5 pound per week, I would be ok so that is my goal. 

Selfie bump picture taken on Monday. I swear that stomach shrinks and grows throughout the day! 

Today is my first day back at work since December 20th as I think more and more about this baby growing inside me, I really need to concentrate on work! I have a lot of important projects and events coming up which I know will make the days on the calendar speed by. 

I'll leave you with this adorable picture of Kitty. She has been very curious about the nursery and while we kept the door shut during construction, now that it is all cleaned up, she enjoys looking out the window and hiding under the dresser. On New Years Eve, Chris walked upstairs and saw her laying down in the crib. 

Cutest. Moment. Ever.