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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Baby Margaret - One Month

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So in April Miss Margaret turned one month old and what a whirlwind that first month was for us all as a new family. One of the things we did was I basically "went to bed" for two weeks. Other than the required appointments for Margaret, I didn't leave the house. Here's some of my thoughts that I typed out and saved as draft before finally posting... in September. Amazing how things have changed...

After delivering Margaret (and enjoying our peaceful 2 hours of skin-to-skin and a few sweet attempts for her to feed from me, they moved us into the recovery wing of the L&D at Martha Jefferson. It was a beautiful few days with a view of Carter Mountain and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Margaret was with us the entire time except that first night when a sweet nurse said she was going to "give her a bath" and "bring her right back" and she was sympathetic to the fact that I hadn't slept in 2 days so Mike and I got a blissful 5 hours of sleep. Outside of the amazing staff, I really wanted to leave the hospital as soon as possible... the hospital bed was really uncomfortable (as I felt relatively fine, just sore and mentally all over the map) with the bar that folds the bed riding into my back... and the nursing staff was absolutely amazing... but their frequent bursts of coming in and out would coincide with being right when Margaret and I had gone to sleep which was honestly incredibly jarring. My parents came to visit and my Mom would be joining us at our home the day of discharge. There was some drama about my discharge but thankfully that was remedied and so M and I were able to take Margaret home by around 2pm on Friday, March 24. Starting with discharge day, I used the Notes app on my iPhone to log in feedings (which side, how long) and diapers (type of diaper) - this has proven to be SO helpful when the Pediatrician asks questions at appointments!

So M took a month off from work, and my Mom stayed with us for two full weeks and then came back and stayed with us for another week at around Week 4 and 5. (One of those, "Thanks Mom, we're good now." to "JK Mom PLZ COME BACK HALLLPPPPP"). I had been on a cooking frenzy before the baby arrived and so I had split pea soup, chicken tortilla soup, chili, lasagna and a bunch of frozen stuff ready to go in our deep freezer.

I really cannot recall a whole bunch of our days but I know I was bad about sleeping as I like to read to defuse and relax before bed. I struggled to sleep as Margaret struggled to sleep in her HALO Bassinest. We had ordered a new bed/frame and the metal basic one kept creaking and making noises which kept bothering poor Margaret! Then we made the mistake of introducing her crib to her during one very early naptime and that was it. She probably would have loved the Bassinest if we hadn't shared with her the glorious roominess of the crib. That said, the Bassinest was great for AM naps and when we needed to run to the restroom. Our long waisted and long-legged baby girl liked having stretch out room! So... sadly... M took the night shift (he handles shorter sleep shifts than I) and moved into the nursery with the twin size bed and the crib while I stayed in the master to sleep nice and long overnight. This helped my mental health and prevented post-partum depression, I am fairly certain. That solid sleep almost every night made a MASSIVE difference.

Because Margaret was discharged at the adorable but light weight of 6 pounds, 1 ounce, we had to see our pediatrician a little bit more frequently than is typical. On Friday the 25th the pediatrician weighed her at 6 pounds 1 ounce. On Tuesday March 28th, the lactation consultant was really proud of us for trying to increase my ability to feed (nips couldn't do it alone, so I had been pumping to keep supply up and Margaret took a spoon okay, but nipple shields were our saving grace. Nips were starting to look a bit worse for wear (and not in the good way) and I had been drinking a little bit of milkmaid tea to keep things going in the early first days due to the feeding issue. Anyway, Caycee the LC told us that (1) my latch was awesome... so clearly it was the nips themselves not a latch issue and (2) Margaret had gained more than 1 ounce a day since our previous appointment which was amazing! So on 3/28/17 Margaret weighed 6 pounds 5 ounces. On the 30th (Thursday) the umbilical cord stump came off - which honestly was GREAT as that thing was both fascinating from a science standpoint but also really weird? and inconvenient location (in the postpartum life). So that was a big development that day, haha!

We gave Margaret her first bath on Friday, March 31:

Heading into April was such a blur! Margaret typically had me feeding her around midnight, then 4ish AM then 7/8AM, 10AM, 2/3PM, 4PM, 6/7PM, 8PM, 10PM, 11PM. Sometimes it was for an hour at a time (both sides). Due to my PCOS, my Doctor has had me stay on Metformin as I breastfeed. Staying on this medication has prevented me from losing supply. It has been such a relief to feed Margaret as needed and while it's been tiresome her output and growth (head circumference and length have always changed the most over weight gain) have been great so I haven't cared over wanting our girl to thrive! (Don't get me wrong, I definitely on occasion would say "already?!" as I was tired and adjusting and dealing with hormones!) Her two week appointment on Wednesday April 5th was great, too. We started Margaret on Vitamin D drops and she didn't fight us too hard on them. She continued to gain weight while I exclusively breastfed. I would pump and put them in our deep freezer... eventually enabling me to donate some milk when I could. During her second bath ever she peed on me as I pulled her out to wrap her in a towel. That was hysterical and happy for me... better than poop, right? When we got to one month of age, we started her on a bottle. We did this typically only as her last feeding for the night and/or when I would leave to have some "mommy free time." At her one month appointment she was already up to 8 pounds and 22".

Some get real thoughts:
1. If I hadn't had an amazing nurse (Nancy!) during delivery, I probably wouldn't have had such an amazing gluten free dinner of chicken caesar salad and 2 servings of french fries. She was my hero in making sure I got the right nourishment to recover my body. Each AM I had like 3 hard boiled eggs, too, just to make sure I had plenty of protein! Make sure your nurse helps you feed solids again ASAP during recovery. It's so important and it will totally help your mood, too!

2. The nurse who has the honor of helping you go from wheelchair to bed or bed to wheelchair to toilet is a G-D saint. Then there is your postpartum lady bits ensemble to ease pain - the mesh panties are a real thing, as are kinda stretchy biker shorts, ice pads, Dermoplast spray around your parts, witch hazel pre-moistened pads (the ones for hemorrhoids are heaven all over the lower half), adult diapers (that are like underwear so actually perfect under your sweats/yoga pants) and that isn't including the pain killers and stool softeners. NEVER turn away the stool softeners. Seriously.

3. Don't go up and down stairs. Just don't. I missed that part on our paperwork until like 2+ weeks later and it didn't help with my postpartum bleeding. At least I know this information for next time. Hopefully by that point we will have a main level master bedroom or something slightly more convenient?

4. Nothing is supposed to make sense and life shouldn't feel normal. Don't put on appearances. Truly. Just try to relax your mind and don't be afraid to cry and be whatever or whoever you need to be as your mind/body/self heals.

5. Nipple shields are not something to be ashamed of. Some of us are just not built to breastfeed without them as we're not equipped with adjustable nipples like other women. And that's ok. She's still getting your milk, dammit, so who cares!? No shame, baby gets fed through the shield which is great, nips are only happy when you pump, and you figure it all out!

6. Amazon Prime is SO helpful. So are local shops that may have classes or provide advice. We really were grateful I over prepared as we honestly think it was why I didn't have that typical postpartum anxiety. If you love to read and are a fan of learning the good and the bad without getting wrapped up in hypotheticals, you may be like me and always have options A, B, C, D, E, F etc. etc.!

I hope if anyone reading this post has any questions, they know I am happy to answer anything at all! I'm an open book on my experiences.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

James Addison Jones I: strict discipline - thrift and generosity

{this post continues with the text of Minnie B. Jones Ussery, who wrote this in 1960} Previous posts here.

Strict Discipline

But my father's efforts to rear his large family in his religious beliefs and customs were not as easy as Bishop Harrell portrayed and Berryman recalled. I remember several times after family prayer Dad felt he had to whip one or several of us for giggling (my big offense) or otherwise being irreverent. If the use of punishment following our devotions ever seemed incongruous to him, he never gave any indication of such.

For my father controlled his large family as a patriarchy, using corporal punishment whenever he thought necessary. This was the only way possible for him, considering the size of our family as well as his own background. I realize now, too, that he had to maintain control over his children very firmly, because of the deaths of our mothers, and the number of housekeepers and mothers in the home. For to him to have done differently would easily have led to the flouting of all authority in the home. He demanded, expected, and was given obedience and respect by each of us, followed by love, as we came to understand him and his deep love and concern for us.

We were expected to do our duties assigned to us, to get our school work done promptly and on our own initiative, to be prompt at meals and eat what was served, to attend family prayer every night and all church services, to be courteous and respectful to our parents and all our elders, to be kind to and considerate of our servants, and to treat one another kindly. These and many other things were expected of us, and usually we did them. Although Dad seldom was demonstrative in his love for us (after we passed the baby stage) he almost as seldom used any physical punishment. We dreaded this so much that we preferred to do what was expected of us. Also, we were aware that he tried to treat us all equally (except for short periods when Emma Renn and Charles* were favored as small youngsters), as he understood it.

*WWJA note: these were two of her three youngest half-siblings

Self-Reliance and Responsibility

I cannot recall my father being overindulgent with any of us, unless it was to the youngest ones in the family in his later years. I believe he realized that any overindulgence on his part would actually hinder the development of self reliance and independence in us. He put each boy of his, when he became thirteen or fourteen years old, on one of his local jobs during the summer months, to serve as a water boy. He hoped that this would help to develop self-reliance in them, as well as expose them to a fundamental knowledge of the construction work and acquaintance with the working men and their life.

Although several servants were employed in our home, Dad expected all of us to share, as we grew older, in the responsibilities of the home. During most of the time, the boys were responsible for the yard... for cutting up discarded lumber into stove wood (we always had a large wood range as well as a gas stove), and for the care of the automobiles, while my sisters and I had duties inside the home. Besides the daily care of my clothes and room, I was expected home immediately after school to supervise my younger brothers and sisters at play. I also had the full responsibility for Robert* at night for many years, for he was not quite two and one-half years old when Dad took his third wife. But my main weekly job, and one that I hated but held for years, was the family darning. As this was in an era when children wore long stockings, knees were frequently torn in them and the darning required was large. In fact, it usually took me all of every Saturday morning and frequently it required more time than that.

*WWJA note: Minnie was 12 when her half-brother Robert was born in 1918. Robert's mother, Emma Lockart Renn, died on March 4, 1919 of pneumonia after contracting the Spanish flu while nursing some of her 11 stepchildren and children who had the flu. Baby Robert was only 8 months old.

For several years I was trusted with several responsibilities that pleased me. One was the annual ritual of filling the stockings of the younger children on Christmas Eve. As the stockings were hung in each bedroom, I had to stay up quite late and be a very quiet Santa's helper.

Another duty I liked and was proud to be trusted with, was a big responsibility, but I believe I carried it all through high school, at least. It was the job of determining what school books in the house could be used another year and what school books needed to be bought, and then to purchase them. My estimates had to match the cost of the books to the penny, and I was careful to figure correctly. Dad was quick to praise good work but equally as quick to notice when we (or anyone else) did not come up to his expectations. To have lost Dad's faith in my ability would have been a major catastrophe to me. I feel sure the rest of the family valued his good opinion as much as I did.

Thrift and Generosity

Another quality my father tried to instill in his children was the habit of thrift. Many a time I heard him say, "A penny saved is a penny earned". He practiced what he preached in this, for he was always careful in little things, such as cutting off unnecessary lights, and keeping track of every penny spent. I recall during one period of his life that he and Miss Maude made every effort to get to the early show at the theater (by 6 p.m.) in order not to have to pay the higher price charged for the night shows, although he could easily have afforded to do so. He was generous in supporting all church and welfare causes and helping those in need, but he hated to see money wasted and he did not believe in indulging every whim of his children. I can recall when I was young that it was a treat to get the privilege
of paying the grocery bill each month, because of the little bag of candy the grocer always gave.

Dad's system of teaching us thrift was unique. Although he probably never realized it, he must have been the originator of the "Christmas Club" savings plan, for he saved "our allowances" for us from one Christmas to the next. While every Saturday we received "an allowance", it was not ours to spend on ourselves. He put each allowance in a job pay-envelope, and placed this on each plate before dinner, the noon meal. The amount each received was based on age and the work he did. I believe the most I ever got was fifty or sixty cents a week, even while I was in high school.*

*WWJA note: $.50 in 1920 (when Minnie would have been 14) is equivalent to $6.34 in 2017 inflation calculator. My Mom and Dad gave me a $5/week allowance until I was 18! So that must be a Jones family trend. However, we were able to use it as we wanted.

As soon as Dad finished dinner, he took up all the envelopes, usually unopened, and locked them up in his closet "for us". Except for birthdays, and for very special reasons, we knew better than to request any of "our allowances" to spend. Dad followed this system strictly while I was living at home, but I noticed as the younger children began to grow up that he became more lenient in permitting them some money to spend for things they wanted.

While we rarely had any "spending money" of our own to buy things for ourselves, we did have the pleasure of giving to each other on birthdays and at Christmas. These were all great occasions in our home and ones we all cherish. I suspect the traditions we learned to love then are being carried on in most of our homes today. But I also believe we have given our children too much. We never received any toys, books, games, or gifts of any kind except on these occasions, at graduations, or when very ill. I can recall that oranges, which we take for granted today, were a special treat then, as we had them only at Christmas time.

Besides thrift, I would say we also learned many other things by Dad's system, such as the pleasure of giving to others, the value of special celebrations of birthdays, Easter, and Christmas in the family, and also the knowledge of what our money would and would not buy.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Margaret's Birth Story: Part II

So as I explained in my previous post... Margaret is a few months old now... and I feel like it's a good time to get back to blogging. I hope you'll enjoy reading these posts - I want to continue to be writing honest and realistic memories and reflections about my pregnancy, my birth story for her, and my adjustments to life as a Mom! So sometimes I may share more than is typical... but due to my honesty following our struggle for me to become pregnant... get over it! This blog is my space and I want to be a resource for anyone else who may have questions or want to know if others had their experience. Love.


In my last post, I talked about the long almost 24 hours of labor I had while at home and our checking into the birthing suite at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville. After checking in, Mike and I had our bags placed and started doing some settling in. I wanted to get an idea of the layout of the space, not knowing how long I would be in the hospital for this second leg of our journey before Margaret's arrival. The biggest thing for me was I wanted to continue to do as little medical interventions as possible (as was safe) for this labor, since it was my first. To not be redundant, I'm going to post again the photos of the hospital's birthing suite:

Since I wasn't 100% sure what the Obstetrician had planned, I decided to walk around and really familiarize myself with the space between contractions before the nurses arrived to learn my game plan. I figured out what light switches went to what light fixture, opened all of the cabinets, found all of the comfort items - Martha Jefferson's labor and delivery rooms have all kinds of birthing balls, bars, chairs, stools, rocker, etc. etc. In the top photo you can see my hospital bed and the time - 10:50:22 on Tues. March 21. My only complaint was how uncomfortable these hospital beds were. Especially after enjoying laboring at home in my own bed and our living room couches. That said the labor and delivery beds were comfier than the postpartum rooms (the folding metal bar underneath the mattress was uncomfortable as I'm long-waisted so it hit me in the worst spots). Anyway, these rooms are really comfortable and roomy otherwise. The couch to the right of my bed was actually a futon Mike slept on, with drawers underneath for storage. Behind the painting on the wall was medical equipment hidden away. The chair between my bed and the futon/couch was a rocker. The tub was a massive tub Mike and I could fit in - but I opted out of it only because it had stalled my labor the day before - but with a nurse monitoring you I would do it in a second for our next child and highly recommend it! Lots of storage in the bathroom on both the counters and the shelves. We had brought an essential oil diffuser, essential oils, some body oil and muscle lotion, LED candles to keep the lights low in the room, a Bluetooth speaker for music, and the like for the room to feel better. I changed into the delivery gown I had purchased ahead of time to wear during the process.

When our the nurses on duty came in, they asked if we happened to have a birth plan on us. And yes, in fact we did. It was a huge amount of relief for us that they cared enough to make that one of the first things which they discussed with us. There were only 3 or 4 other couples on the wing. I was coming in at the tail end of a nursing shift so I had one nurse for a few hours, but then our second nurse was with us for the duration. The nurse made notes on the birth plan as she asked us for clarification (or ranking of specific items) and they told us it was posted at the nurses station for the staff to review. A lot of my tension went away with that dialogue! Apparently the majority of laboring mothers enter the hospital, ask for the drugs, and delivery is a quick turnaround. I was an unusual case in that way, and so there was a nursing student on duty that we granted permission to observe. She was really helpful - grabbing popsicles, drinks, timing contractions, helping Michael walk me around the wing, etc. etc.

When our OB came in, the first one of VERY few hiccups came up. It turned out when she came in that I was only 2-3 cm dilated. All of my OB appts leading up to labor had been fingertip and 1cm dilation. That was SO FRUSTRATING. I had been leaking all day and to learn that there was little development after a whole DAY blew our minds. That was when we decided to slightly adapt our birth plan. I was receptive to having some slight intervention, so our OB on duty gave me the teensiest slice of a Cytotec pill (oral not vaginal) - I would say fingernail size so maybe 1/6 of a full dose. This pill brought back contraction regularity and I tried to rest. Really, Mike rested and I just lay there bored out of my mind. I was truly exhausted but knew I might only do a natural(ish) labor once so I just had my heightened awareness and creeped around online without people knowing I was in labor. I had done research online, so I knew then and know now that Cytotec is used off-label for this purpose often. I was glad to have been aware of this information. Make sure you do your own research, too! In future pregnancies, I plan to decline it, as it truly did nothing to speed up my labor or dilate me more.

When the next OB shift change came around for my practice, my nurse was motivated to have the baby before she left for the day (not for pressure, just out of enthusiasm for our birth plan). Margaret's heartbeat was consistently strong, I was feeling strong and just really tired, and I was continuing to go to the restroom regularly, so the OB was incredibly supportive of my sticking with my birth plan until I personally felt otherwise. My nurse was a rockstar (her name is Nancy, and is a former Bradley instructor). We did all of the Bradley Method tips and tricks for labor. I was up and down, swiveling my hips, using the medicine ball, squatting, pelvic rocking, half laying on the labor peanut ball, walking around the wing, deep breaths, bearing down and timing of the contractions. Nancy was using her fists (and so was Michael!) to knead into my tailbone and all around that area of my pelvis. Mike was giving me all kinds of massage to help me mask the pain. I got up every 45-60 minutes to go to the restroom. So after about 17 hours (such a long time) after getting the Cytotec dose, I was at 8cm (during a contraction dilated). Yes, other than the sliver of Cytotec, I'd had no other drugs to help the labor along.

At this point I was at my wits end. I had not really slept in almost 2 days. My body was in agony. I was bawling my eyes out as I had neglected to ask my doctor for something for my caffeine headache - don't forget to pinpoint your symptoms everyone!! I remember sobbing into the pillow thinking, "I'm not able to push yet... but I've been basically pushing for 15+ hours... I don't think I can do this anymore." I wasn't giving up in a morbid sense, but I knew my body well enough, and lets just say I was a REALLY active and healthy pregnant person, so I knew I was approaching a place where I didn't have 100% control of my mental, emotional, psychological self. I needed to pat myself on the back for trying for so hard. Michael and nurse Nancy gave me about a half hour to really collect my thoughts and come to the decision. I asked Michael difficult questions (had he ever seen me this way, what did my face and eyes look like to him at this point) and I asked Nancy difficult questions too (if I was your daughter what kind of advice or gentle input would you give) and since I felt myself slipping I finally adapted my birth plan by giving them my code word - which Michael and Nancy asked for TWICE to make sure I was sure. I wasn't giving up was the main thing. And I wanted to be as aware as I could be postpartum. My labor had stalled but not in a dangerous way, it just was stalling (we learned later) due to my hymenal ring being intact. But my BODY and MIND was stalling by hitting a wall. I really had done a marathon with my body and my mind and I finally asked for all the comfort measures. I had the Fentanyl, an epidural, and Pitocin at around 3:30 p.m. to open and ripen my body from the 8cm I had done naturally to the full 10 cm. My only big freak out was the epidural making me afraid that I would possibly be paralyzed. I had a contraction while he was putting in my line which was terrifying but thankfully M was facing me on the other side of the bed to keep me steady. The Fentanyl helped me nap, briefly, for the first time in almost 24 hours. Everything came together in just 2 hours once I had given the green light for the comfort measures. These amendments did mean I had to have a monitor on, IV line, and couldn't really leave the bed, but that was okay by me at that point. I just melted into the bed and tried to relax. It was fun feeling the contractions progress without the pain. I distinctly remember saying to Nancy or Mike, "WOW is that a contraction? I hope that was a contraction because that was SO POWERFUL."

At around 4:45 or so, Nancy had me practice the Bradley method of a push. She then put my legs up in the stirrups and turned on the overhead light. She called a nurse over and said, "hmm, well you are definitely ready." She also said something along the lines of, "Hmmm, now what is that ring like thing?!" which was very funny (more on that later). The nurses agreed I was in the right place to push... only problem was finding an available OB from my practice! The OB from my practice on duty was in an emergency C-section. The next one coming on duty was leisurely making his way to the hospital. I was ready to push and the nurse at the nurses station yelled, "STOP PUSHING" at everyone in my room. It was very funny. I say "leisurely" as my OB's office is a mere 1 mile or less away, so it would only take minutes for him to arrive. Nurse Nancy told Michael "Hey! You have got to see this (pointing between my legs)" and he actually looked! This action made me screech as we had agreed he wouldn't look to keep that mystery alive in our marriage. Looking back he says, "I saw her hair. Plain as day, the top of her head! It wasn't gross. Just amazing." The OB strolled in and Michael and I were SO EXCITED. Everything was ready to go and laid out. The OB started making small talk. The nurses gave him a MAJOR look and he turned, looked between my legs and realized it was GO TIME. It was all very funny, truly, I was laughing as I was comfortable and knew I was meeting Margaret in just moments. My OB was between my knees, I was ready to go, and I pushed once. He said the baby's ears or something was caught on my hymenal ring, so he broke the ring and she naturally moved out. She was crying already and in full color once he broke the ring. He let me put my hands under her shoulders (at her armpits) and I pulled her with the last push putting her directly onto my naked chest. Yes, I pulled Margaret out with my own bare hands.

I was astounded. I was relieved. I was excited. I was crying. There were no words for how incredible I felt and how wonderful it all was. I felt so strong. The tiredness was gone. It was euphoric. Margaret was born on Wednesday, March 22 at 5:49 p.m. 6 pounds, 8 ounces. The past four months have been incredible.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Margaret's Birth Story, Part I (pre-hospital)

So Margaret is a few months old now... and I feel like it's a good time to get back to blogging. I hope you'll enjoy reading these posts - I want to continue to be writing honest and realistic memories and reflections about my pregnancy, my birth story for her, and my adjustments to life as a Mom! So sometimes I may share more than is typical... but due to my honesty following our struggle for me to become pregnant... get over it! This blog is my space and I want to be a resource for anyone else who may have questions or want to know if others had their experience. Love!


My due date (March 17) came and went with Miss Margaret still not making an appearance. On Monday, March 20 I stayed up late in the evening to get some reading and organizing done (I REALLY needed to catch up on my hometown monthly paper The Rockbridge Advocate). Midnight passed. I was getting ready to go to bed and literally was laying down into bed at around 2:00am on Tuesday, March 21 when my water broke. I thought I had finally lost bladder control... but you quickly realize it's your waters when it just keeps going! Some mucus had passed in small pieces the past couple days (when you end up 'overdue' you really just feel the need to look into the toilet bowl...haha!) but I wasn't sure if there was any discharge or not. When my waters finally broke it was clear with very little blood. I shook Michael awake (who had been asleep for 2-3 hours), I said, "I think my waters broke..." and his very tired-REM sleep response was, "are you kidding me?" HAHA! I recall saying, "YES" and maybe even, "Yes, asshole!" I remember being both excited but also SO PISSED that I wasn't going to be able to get a full night of sleep before my labor started. By the time I hobbled to the W.C. there was some mucus visible - clear, white and snotty looking with some traces of brown (dried blood color). Thankfully, we had put a waterproof mattress cover over our mattress so I just plopped a towel down over the spot as it wasn't so much that I couldn't just lay there and try to nap once I returned to bed.

I felt really gross, so I told Michael to call the OB on duty line for our practice and I was going to take a shower. I remember him coming in with a disappointed face, and it turned out our favorite Obstetrician had been on duty that overnight, which meant she wouldn't be present when we delivered. Thankfully due to my PCOS and IUGR issues, we had gotten to know everyone in the practice so well! I enjoyed my shower and made sure to really enjoy it... I didn't know when the next one would be. I had gotten my hair and nails done in the two weeks leading up, so I felt as ready as I could be. I remember standing in the shower thinking, 'this is it' and feeling nervous about what all the labor could entail. I was excited to see what Margaret would look like, but the biggest thing is I was so scared she was going to be severely underweight and that we may get moved across town to UVA and the NICU. So there were many prayers about all of that... you just can't help it! I remember some early contractions pretty much right away, but they were so faint I didn't really know that's what they were as they were more at my back than anywhere else. I recall Mike said that the OB wanted us to go to sleep, so I sent Mike to bed and I... just lay there. I think I maybe got a 2 hour nap in before the labor really started moving.

We started tracking contractions when I learned what a contraction REALLY felt like. That happened at 5:48am. It was like a dull throbbing pain, but not as bad as I thought it would be. That said, I had had awful menstrual cramps for years and these early contractions weren't nearly as bad as those are for me. The fact that they gradually increased helped me kind-of surrender to the growing pain that I would still consider a discomfort more so than pain.

Contractions continued for several hours. Mike called the OB office during the workday, and we told them about the contractions, how they were pretty far apart and not regular (and when they were regular... still super far apart). We called my parents to let them know I was in labor but we'd rather they come after delivery... but Mike would keep them posted. My Dad responded by texting me a photo of the outfit he was wearing in honor of "his girls" - SO CUTE!

Mike called out of work to start his paternity leave. He also got our sweet Lily dog out of the house to go to her pet sitter for the next few days.

I took a bath to relax and be calm (and kill time)(but it turned out it stalled my labor... UGH). Day turned to evening again. We called the OB on duty again when I was about to go to bed... probably about 9:00 at night. I had wanted to labor at home as long as possible, but Mike was starting to get nervous (I really was fine, even though the contractions were uncomfortable I was prepared for that). The OB on duty wanted us to come in, I didn't want to, but Mike's face told me he would feel better so I had a really solid ugly cry about this not being my birth plan and I knew the baby was fine as our midwife class told us what to do about laboring at home and his stupid face was ruining it for me. haha. This OB on duty had already started discussing interventions and I was SO NOT HAPPY. So we got our bags and headed to the hospital which was a 30+ minute drive away. The next time we would be home it would be with Margaret!

When we arrived at the hospital it was so quiet. The parking garage was empty, it was a very still, cold winter night. At Martha Jefferson we go straight to the Birthing Wing - and since I pre-registered - and my OB on duty told them we were coming in - everything was a breeze (still had some paperwork though)(stupid bureaucracy). I had a contraction while we were speaking to the nurses at the check in desk. I remember just rocking back and forth in Michael's arms - like we were slow dancing - and it was so quiet in that hospital you could hear a pin drop. We were one of maybe 3 couples on the unit that evening when we checked in. We got to our room and it was just as serene and lovely as it had been in the hospital tour so while my tension was mounting I was also feeling at ease knowing everything would be alright. At this point it's just about 11:00pm on Tuesday, March 21, 2017, and I'm ready to get this show on the road!

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Weeks 38 - 40 Pregnancy Journal

40 weeks here!

How Far Along? 40 weeks, 1 day - as of today 3/18/2017

Week 38 Began: Friday, March 3

39 weeks in this photo with our dog, Lily

Week 39 Began: Friday, March 10
Week 40 Began: Friday, March 17

Size of Baby (at 40 weeks): the size of a red panda, minus the fluffy tail or a watermelon (average is 20 inches tall and 7.5 lbs)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: hovering around 188-194 pounds most days

Maternity Clothes: I've finally really popped at 38 weeks, with the baby continuing to drop down I think I'm really showing now at weeks 39 and 40. Shirts can barely cover my stomach!

Nursery: We have been given so many gorgeous gifts the past few weeks - handmade items! A handmade quilt from one of my boarding school professors, two knit hats and a throw blanket from someone who trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with M, and the spouse of a coworker of M's sent him home with a stroller blanket and a throw blanket. So girly and sweet!

Quilt from one of my retired boarding school professors - gorgeous and matches the nursery perfectly!

Movement: Margaret is still moving a lot all day long. She has definitely dropped but she has still really active so the Docs have no concern about rushing to induce me before we get to 41 weeks and then we will reassess.

Symptoms: Heartburn, calf stiffness, and now hip stiffness on both sides from when I'm sleeping and moving from side to side overnight. Side-sleeping really has been an adjustment.

Side Effects: We've had some global warming weather shifts that have been really dramatic lately. So we've been running 3 humidifiers in the house but I've had more issues tied to that than this pregnancy - dry nose, dry eyes, sniffles, etc.

Sleep: It's fine... except I'm now getting up due to needing to pee all the time. I mean, ALL the time. Totally wild. But trying to keep up with as much sleep or naps as I can.

Cravings: Just hungry in general quite often!

What I Miss: No heartburn. No muscle aches. Being able to bend over easily to put on socks!

Best Moment This Week: Finding out at 39 weeks 5 days I was finally ONE whole CENTIMETER dilated. haha. But also good progress in that my cervix is anterior. She'll arrive when she is ready!

What I Learned This Week: You can eventually run out of things to do when you aren't working and your baby is due to arrive at any time. Also, I got a manicure and pedicure last week and that was really nice - that pedicure felt AMAZING!

Looking Forward To: Active labor starting at some point.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Week 37 Pregnancy Journal

How Far Along? 37 weeks

Week 37 Began: Friday, February 24

Size of Baby: a bunch of swiss chard (or "winter melon" (19" or more, around 6.33 pounds))

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: hovering around 186-192 pounds most days (apparently I "lost" weight this week and they thought I had caught the local stomach bug going around. Nope... just going #2 a bit more regularly now. haha). But in all honesty they have always weighed me on the heavier end as I usually have OB appt after breakfast, lunch, in mid to late afternoon with lots of clothes on!

Maternity Clothes: maternity yoga pants, Uggs, cardigans, shelf bra tank tops, and dresses if they can stretch around my ever expanding chest (more chest than tummy/uterus for me!).

Nursery: We ended up getting a few more gifts in the mail or from coworkers but we are basically done with all nursery items except for hanging up artwork! Note the sweet handmade throw on our chair in the top of the photo - it's pink and orange with a white border - that same former coworker also made us a little pink cape/shawl for Margaret as well!

Movement: Margaret is still moving a lot all day long. She lets me know if she doesn't like a position I'm hanging out in. Obstetrician today said she was still head down and in the right position but her head was kinda buoyed up a little bit more than she was two weeks ago. But still dropped.

Symptoms: some heartburn. Not as frequent but when it's there it is awful! Insomnia. Biggest symptom this week is from my calves cramping up, kind of a restless legs syndrome feeling more so than a charley horse.

Side Effects: Nesting, eye sensitivity, bladder pressure, feeling more full in the front which makes me a little off on my feet when I try to get out of bed in the morning (I have to roll around and out otherwise my muscles feel pulled around my pelvis).

Sleep: I have to get up more in the middle of the night to go to the loo. She is a bit more insistent in her kicks regardless of my sleeping on my left or right sides. Still trying to get as much as I can, while I still can. A crappy night is like 5 hours and a good night is 9+ hours of sleep.

Cravings: King cake gluten free cupcakes from Pearl's Bake Shoppe in C'ville for Mardi Gras.

What I Miss: No heartburn. No muscle aches. Not getting winded going up our stairs... so weird (but they are steeper than usual stairs)!

Best Moment This Week: M bringing me those King cake cupcakes after work on Mardi Gras!

What I Learned This Week: That even though we haven't had a cervix check in two weeks (last time I was still closed), I learned I was a fingertip dilated on Thurs 03/02... so some progress which is good but surprised it was still less than 1 cm. I also remembered that it was exactly like all of my reading and the classes we took at the Birthing Center told us - it just sets you up for disappointment so don't take it personally or think too hard about the cervix checks. Remember they are optional in my situation so I could refuse one next week and it would be no big deal. So I wasn't bummed out but I was a little surprised... that I was relieved I wasn't more dilated. When you know you know I guess. Also learned more about perineal massage from an actual friend and not just from the birthing center or from my readings... as I continue to look into it/try it out. Super gawky but really neat concept. Got some real talk from honest friends - including one classmate who is pregnant with her 4th child and each labor has been different for her. Always good for perspective. Everyone is different and I keep telling myself that.

Looking Forward To: Continuing to savor every pre-baby moment with M. Which is mostly just in the house watching stuff I recorded on our DVR from 31 Days of Oscar as going anywhere is just exhausting for me. haha. Also when this is over I'm looking forward to sleeping on my stomach again!!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Week 36 Pregnancy Journal

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How Far Along? 36 weeks

Week 36 Began: Friday, February 17

Size of Baby: a head of romaine lettuce (18.5" or more, almost 6 pounds)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: hovering around 183-185 most days

Maternity Clothes: Chucks, anything I can bend and move in relatively easy. This week I purchased two nursing bras just to be more comfortable and have them ready to go!

Nursery: The bassinet has been assembled and placed in our master bedroom: Upgraded the basic mattress in this bassinet to a more firm organic one, waterproof mattress pad, and organic fitted sheets. I also finalized getting items together for our hospital bag!

Movement: Margaret is clearly running out of room - she moves ALL day long now and it pretty aggressive

Symptoms: Heartburn isn't terrible now... just occasionally awful. Seems to have alleviated with her dropping this week!

Side Effects: Sleepiness.

Sleep: It was a busy week - relatively speaking. I had a cold but it seems to have finally passed. Sleep has been a little harder with her dropping. Lots more pressure on bladder.

Cravings: Chocolate peanut butter. Chinese food (thank goodness for PF Changs).

What I Miss: HOT steaming baths. A nice rose or white wine with the hot weather we've been having.

Best Moment This Week: No evening obligations as we have finished all of our prenatal classes and the like. Really enjoying just being lazy-ish.

What I Learned This Week: Different baby bottle brands have different periods of time required for sanitizing bottles. From 5 minutes to 10 minutes to 20 minutes... kinda crazy that there is such a range!

Looking Forward To: Enjoying every pre-baby moment with M.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Week 35 Pregnancy Journal

How Far Along? 35 weeks

Week 35 Began: Friday, February 10

Size of Baby: a bunch of carrots or a mini-lop rabbit (18-19", should be at 5-6 pounds)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: Ballpark of around 14-19 pounds from starting weight. Still yo-yo-ing due to slow digestion...

Maternity Clothes: Anything soft and comfortable. Yoga pants. Broken-in t-shirts that still fit. This comfy long-sleeve tee M bought me while on a work assignment/trip. My black Chucks.

Nursery: We picked up a floor/reading lamp this week to put behind the recliner/glider in the nursery. It really will add a lot of helpful light to Margaret's room (we have several table lamps but no overhead light in room, unfortunately a project we didn't get completed this past year). So now we'll have direct and indirect light. Finishing touches continue to occur as we think of them!

Movement: Margaret is still a night owl... But is good about making her presence known throughout the day as well! Sometimes I think she is break-dancing in there!

Symptoms: M treated us both to a pre-Valentine's Day treat on Saturday of a couples massage. It was JUST what I needed - I hadn't had one since before Thanksgiving and that was far too long for me. It did me a lot of good. I've already scheduled another deep tissue/mom-to-be massage for the 24th, when I will be 37 weeks!

Side Effects: Heart burn not AS bad but still pops up from occasion. Always sleepy.

Sleep: Still loving sleep. Even with her moving around, I can make sleep happen for at least 9 hours. I really have to chalk it up to being able to not worry about anything/turn phone off/no 9-5 job to distract me.

Cravings: Chocolate peanut butter. Celery. Steak. Shrimp. Caesar salad.

What I Miss: Not too much of anything. Just comfort measures like no heartburn or less aches and pains.

Best Moment This Week: M surprising me by taking off Valentine's Day so we could enjoy the day together pre-baby.

What I Learned This Week: Lots of comfort measure tips from our childbirthing class. So grateful M is my partner. He really is a PARTNER and is so enthusiastic and helpful. He's been such an active participant in our classes, it's just... it's been a huge help for me mentally and emotionally!

Looking Forward To: Margaret's arrival being not-too-early but being here soon. Our bassinet arriving so we can put it in our master bedroom. Getting my hair done next Friday!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Week 34 Pregnancy Journal

My amazing cousin and her Momma/my Aunt who hosted my Feb. 4 baby shower!

How Far Along? 34 weeks

Week 34 Began: Friday, February 3

Size of Baby: a cantaloupe (18", should be at 4.75 pounds)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: Weight is still making itself up everyday. I vary in a 4-5 pound range so lets average it and say I'm up 14-18 pounds from my starting weight.

Maternity Clothes: I had my second baby shower - this one a family-oriented intimate gathering - on Saturday February 4, and I wore a shirt I got this summer VERY early on in my pregnancy. It is a really fun Lilly Pulitzer tunic top (Oasis tunic top in Dragonfruit pink toucan can) and I found it to be super comfortable to wear with just my go-to pregnancy leggings and a pair of black low-rise Chucks. It along with a comfy shelf bra top have been fantastic basics this entire pregnancy.

Nursery: Oh boy! We had a lot of fun things arrive this week and were presented to me at the baby shower on Saturday. Two showers, two weekends in a row, whoof! I don't know what I was thinking, haha. LOTS of laundry that's for sure. I had to do a bunch of cloth diaper liner and cloth diaper shell wash loads this weekend, as well as those baby clothes that were washable. So many fun things to put in dressers and hang up or put away for later use. Nursery continues to come together and be such a sweet oasis. Our recliner-glider no longer has a scent to it and so everything is really just... perfect!

Movement: As I type this post Margaret has stubbornly stuck an elbow, knee, hand or foot straight out on my tummy which is MOST awkward and uncomfortable as it definitely stretches the skin out.... that said I just push back gently and she tucked it away. Maybe she really is fattening up in there! She loves the night hours.

Symptoms: Tailbone pain is sucky but not AS bad as it was previously. The new thing is the abdominal soreness/itching/cramping. No other symptoms with it and it goes away when I sleep so I think things are just continuing to stretch out. I make sure to apply oil or lotion all the time to my abdominal area which seems to help. Gas is still awkwardly present. Insomnia as well.

Side Effects: Back pain, heart burn, needing to pee all the time... only get swelling if I push myself which is quite rare at this stage.

Sleep: Still fighting insomnia. One day this week I didn't get to sleep until 5am. That sucked. So glad I'm not working a normal job anymore! The heartburn and the pelvic/stomach/abdominal pain was bad. Not contractions or spotting, so I think it may have been a digestive problem but not 100% sure to be honest! It hasn't really happened again on that level of pain.

Cravings: Chocolate is still a top contender, especially chocolate and peanut butter together! And a newer one is sandwiches. Paninis, open-faced, toasted, all of the above seem extra delicious to me right now! I love melting cheese with some awesome avocado and roast beef or chicken... drool.

What I Miss: Honestly? Being able to reach to wipe. Being able to reach everything when I shower. Being able to easily put on sneakers or take off boots. Silly stuff like that which will be easy to do again soon-ish.

Best Moment This Week: Writing thank you notes from my baby shower on the 28th and having a wonderful baby shower on the 4th! Going to the Post Office to buy sweet "Love" themed Forever stamps for all of these notes I've been writing!

What I Learned This Week: Everyone's pregnancy is different. Everyone's labor is different. Don't let negative people stress you out with their less-than-pleasant birth stories. That said, don't ignore people who might have really good advice or input!

Looking Forward To: Finding out what the OB says at our ultrasound on Weds the 15th. Also curious as to what OB says at visit on the 10th (later on today).

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Week 33 Pregnancy Journal

How Far Along? 33 weeks

Week 33 Began: Friday, January 27

Size of Baby: a pineapple (17", should be at 4+ pounds)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: Well, the OB on Friday told me I could safely gain another 12 pounds so I'm still in the middle RANGE for my pregnancy. Which blows my mind but also makes me happy that I had been on such a good Celiac/PCOS protocol pre-pregnancy!

Maternity Clothes: As long as it is clean and fits I like it! For my baby shower on Saturday, I wore a great drapy dress I previously wore the burgundy version of over Thanksgiving and it still fits great! My boots still fit fine, too. Hoping to not need to get anything else, though I may buy another few pairs of lingerie and yoga pants so I don't have only 3 pants in rotation post-baby.

Nursery: Still getting more gifts or donations (like our friends K+T who gave us their old backup crib liners/sheets/changing table sheets/etc.) to wash and organize. Which I'm enjoying - cleaning, finding a place to store items and just the organizing in general has always been a good relaxation method for me. Things are really coming together! Our custom-ordered reclina-glider was delivered on Wednesday afternoon, so now that it is in place and the correct rug was sent to us... we are basically done with the nursery big ticket items! Very exciting.

Movement: Still a super-active girl in there! Margaret really loves the night hours and lets me know it.

Symptoms: back pain, general pain. No Braxton-Hicks or contractions though. I did start getting more aggravated tummy/stretched pain in a specific spot on my belly but not bad, just uncomfortable. The tailbone pain continues to drive me nuts.

Side Effects: The back pain really sucks. I'm taking more baths with salt as my OB said it was okay. Sometimes I do a lavender milk bath instead. Anything to help ease the back/coccyx/tailbone pains (I know, I'm sorry, ugh)!

Sleep: It's okay, but not as deep as it once was - at least I don't think so... I'm thinking I may just unplug all the phones on our top floor but kinda would hate to do that and need it at some point pre-baby... but the random calls always seem to happen while I'm napping or sleeping!

Cravings: nothing really specific. I've not gotten sick of anything either. Chocolate in some form or another has continued this whole pregnancy!

What I Miss: rum and Cokes. Being able to see certain body parts, haha! But I can still see my feet at least!

Best Moment This Week: OB telling us that Margaret has gone SO FAR and BEYOND anything they could have imagined with her IUGR diagnosis. She is now doing much better. She went from 2nd percentile to 12th percentile in waist circumference (which... whoa. They told us she was below a certain range but TWO percent?!? Intense intense intense). Everything else is doing well or more above-average great. But she is tracking on all fronts back in the various Bell curves the OBs use to chart growth. She has gone from not even 3 pounds (2lbs, 13/14 oz) to 4 pounds 8 ounces in just 3 weeks! We are still being monitored for IUGR just not as aggressively as we were the past month. We will still have another ultrasound in a few weeks. We can only hope it will be giving us more good news as we approach being term!

What I Learned This Week: Mommy gut instinct and positivity will take you very far, but that doesn't mean I should stick my head in the sand. I was informed, but just put all the scary stuff on the back burner so I could cope and function as healthily as I could for Margaret's sake. When we got the good news I wept with relief during the ultrasound. I was so glad M was there holding my hand and that I can read the ultrasound machine! All the back burner scary stuff could finally fall away for the time being and maybe we won't have to visit that topic again, I hope she continues to exceed expectations and grow!

Looking Forward To: Margaret making her appearance in healthy, due time. My second baby shower this weekend (family centric one) and thankfully the weather looks to be in our favor! Margaret dropping down more at some point which will help me with my breathing (I've had sternum inflammation issues so lots of current discomfort as she has grown... but I'll take her growing over my discomfort any day)! But I will say she has been head down the whole pregnancy so I don't know how much more DOWN she can get before labor/delivery.

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Week 32 Pregnancy Journal

#32weekspregnant #32weeks6days Here I am enjoying this fun little belly and sleeping in since she is still loving the heartburn game from 12am - 3/4am every night. People who text know I'm easiest to reach after 11:30 πŸ˜… I'm mastering the art of lounge wear - today's primo example are my circa 2000 @chatham_hall gym sweatpants and theeeeeee softest shirt M got me from one of his recent range school trips (@therangecomplex). Today's game plan is to start on Thank You notes and continue to wash onesies. But first, a nice long bathtub soak! πŸ›€ Tomorrow we get to have an ultrasound for the first time in the 3 weeks since Margaret's #IUGR diagnosis so we hope for LOTS of growth and only good news. Baths help me RELAX and just let the stress go as best as I can. πŸ’— #WorthyStyle

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How Far Along? 32 weeks

Week 32 Began: Friday, January 20

Size of Baby: a jicama (16.7", should be at 3.75 pounds)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: I had a crazy spike up on weight this week. I mentioned it during my non stress test and the OB told me to take Colace for regularity. Well, lets just say I lost about 5 pounds after that. haha. I had no idea I could be uhhh so backed up? #RealPregnancyTruths #SorryMom

Maternity Clothes: still just loafing about with the least interesting wardrobe possible. I mean, I even pulled out some sweatpants that were part of our "Winter gym uniform" in boarding school from 2000. So... yeah. Not really trying to impress anyone. I love my Barefoot Dreams cozy chic robe most of all.

Nursery: Since the room was painted we continue to get things settled in here. I started really working on washing the vintage clothes my Mom gave me that were my brother's and mine when we were kids, and washing things I had bought anticipating this someday moment! It's fun to fill drawers and bookshelves with items.

Movement: Margaret continues to be SUPER active which makes me happy.

Symptoms: I wish I had an in-house masseuse. Mike does a great job trying to help but I really do need to see a Pro. He does have us scheduled for a couple's massage in February which I CANNOT wait for.

Side Effects: Insomnia blows. Also I'm always hungry. So now I'm indulging it. Perpetually thirsty but that's because of the weather and how dry our air is, I think. (We have two humidifiers I just run all the time).

Sleep: Once I get to sleep I am reliably out 8-10 hours unless someone rings the doorbell or calls the house line... falling back to sleep once that jolts me awake is the big problem.

Cravings: Sour gummy worms.

What I Miss: Going to the bathroom being a simple thing, and not a game of Twister.

Best Moment This Week: OB telling me to take Colace and also the acetaminophen and Zantac as needed (basically stop being so conservative, Whitney). Margaret doing OK on nonstress test but not as well as we really would like to see.

What I Learned This Week: M and I are both learning more and more that we can about various kinds of deliveries. We want to go the natural route but are trying to be well versed on planned and emergency c-sections and induction methods due to the IUGR diagnosis. This includes reading: Dad's Playbook to Labor & Birth, Ina May's Guide to Childbirth, the later chapters of What to Expect When You're Expecting, What to Expect the First Year, and Mayo Clinic Guide to Your Baby's First Year. We have 4 more books to get through in the next few weeks that involve labor/birth as well!

Looking Forward To: Our ultrasound tomorrow which will be a huge deal as I could be sent straight to the hospital or we could be celebrating a great diagnosis! Fingers crossed.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Week 31 Pregnancy Journal

31 weeks and 5 days today. The past almost 2 weeks have been tough. Margaret is throwing us some medical curve balls (asymmetrical IUGR - low birth weight risk due to waist/abdominal circumference measuring behind) so we have done a bit of a rush job on getting the nursery together - just in case - but are pleased that things are coming together! We have been so deeply moved by the well wishes, surprise notes/trinkets, love from afar, and just cannot thank everyone enough for the support during this entire journey - including what I've sporadically shared on my blog and on social media over the past 4 years. It's been an infertility rollercoaster! I'm just hoping we can keep this sweet girl in utero to term. I want to celebrate her and RELAX at the adorable showers my family and friends have coming up in a few weeks! Also... no snow. Please. 😬 ❤️ M is my rock. His brother helped us swap room furniture around last weekend, and this past holiday weekend M painted Margaret's bathroom one day and her nursery the next. I don't know what we'd do without him! He's had a lot of late nights to help me get things done and I hate that I haven't been able to help more (and giving up control... I really suck at that... Type A!). 〰〰 Nursery theme isn't anything specific. But I guess you could vaguely point it to something involving the sea or the coast. This color is similar to the one in my childhood bedroom and I just always found it so soothing! It varies through the day which is also nice. All of the furniture but the crib were from Mike and my childhood. 〰〰 🎨 is @benjaminmoore Skydive CSP-700 Crib is @bertinibaby purchased @toysrus @babiesrus @babiesrus_inc Pembrooke Upholstered 3-in-1 Convertible Crib in natural wood 〰〰 #pregnancy #31weekspregnant #IUGR #iugrbaby #IUGRbabies #clomid #ClomidBaby #nurserydecor #nursery #benjaminmoore #homedecor #WorthyStyle #babygirl #baby #infertilityjourney #thirdtrimester #toysrus #toysruskid #babiesrus #Bertini #BertiniBaby #31weeks #PCOS #PCOSbaby #PCOSandpregnant #DIY #MyBRUBaby

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How Far Along? 31 weeks

Week 31 Began: Friday, January 13

Size of Baby: a coconut (16", should be at 3.4 pounds)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: They told me gaining weight or eating more would not help with Margaret's IUGR diagnosis, but my Momma gut is telling me to at least try. So I'm trying to eat a lot more even though it often makes my Celiac-damaged digestive system feel all sour and stuffed to capacity. I AM up another 2-3 pounds on average, so I'm about 12+ gained at this point.

Maternity Clothes: laying low and just lounging about outside of my doctors appointments means I am sticking to my 'uniform' (see last week's post).

Nursery: Since M's brother helped M get the nursery furniture all in, he started working on painting the room this week. It looks WONDERFUL! We used paint color Benjamin Moore Color Stories Skydive CSP-700. A lazy, poorly-lit tour of the very unfinished nursery is up at the top of the post.

Movement: Kicking is increasingly awkward or closer to tender areas but movement with her IUGR diagnosis is important and she is still WAY active so I'm OK with it!

Symptoms: pelvic girdle pain, tailbone pain, insomnia, heartburn (the usual nowadays)

Side Effects: Insomnia continues to be a bitch. That said, another one of my Momma gut instincts has been to just lay low during this stressful time. So I've taken to just lounging in bed or on one of the couches in the living room, laying or sleeping 75% of the time on my left side to ensure my placenta/circulation/etc. is all at it's biggest advantage point for Margaret in the hopes that somehow it will fatten her up! Also the heartburn gurgles that turn into surprise barf. Not fun.

Sleep: M has given me nightly foot rubs and we do some counter pressure work and that seems to help with getting me to bed and sleeping more deeply (once sleep comes to town). So, I'm averaging over 9 hours a night, sometimes over 10, which is great.

Cravings: chocolate peanut butter smoothies - with chocolate ice cream for good measure. I'm deliberately replacing a high fiber/folic acid cereal instead with a bulky smoothie. Chocolate protein, peanut butter, chocolate ice cream, a banana, vanilla Greek yogurt and lots of ice. Drink it up! Really tastes good.

What I Miss: digestive regularity (I mean, really). Also, infrequent peeing. Breasts that don't touch my expanding uterus. haha.

Best Moment This Week: Margaret and I acing our non stress tests at our OB practice... shows we are here to fight the IUGR diagnosis and we want her to stay in utero as long as possible!

What I Learned This Week: that yes, you can be leaking premilk already. Totally blew my mind when I was doing laundry this week. Childbirth class at the birthing center talked about pain management during labor. That was eye opening to options and reminded me why I ardently want to avoid others. Learned about delivery options for us if we have to deliver Margaret early, where we would go, what an NICU stay would look like in our situation.

Looking Forward To: our one-day, all day childbirth class at UVA this weekend. I hope we will learn new stuff and it won't be a waste of time!

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Week 30 Pregnancy Journal

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How Far Along? 30 weeks

Week 30 Began: Friday, January 6

Size of Baby: size of a head of cabbage (15.7", should be at 3+ pounds)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: Up about 10-13 pounds, that seems to be the range this week.

Maternity Clothes: My uniform pretty much consists of: comfy wool running socks, the most flattering but comfortable non-Granny underwear ever (Natori Bliss style), a shelf bra camisole, maternity yoga pants, Chucks, a v-neck t-shirt, a sweater, and then if I'm leaving the house a fleece or a vest.

Nursery: M's brother is a saint. In exchange for a delish steak dinner prepared by M and I, on Sunday he assisted M in moving the guest BR queen bed into the home office, set up the crib, moved the twin day bed into the nursery, rearranged the nursery furniture, and also watched some painfully bad football.

Movement: Kicking is occasionally uncomfortable but I kinda like knowing she's in there doing OK.

Symptoms: pelvic girdle pain, continued tailbone pain, insomnia, heartburn

Side Effects: Insomnia is throwing a wrench into my reliable sleep, and I think it is aggravated by my terrible heartburn that I just can't quit until after 3am pretty much every night...

Sleep: Still lucky enough to get more than 8 hours a night even though I am not working in an office setting anymore... which is probably a good thing due to increasing doctors appointments and terrible insomnia

Cravings: chocolate peanut butter gelato from Gelati Celesti

What I Miss: piles of sushi, a good white wine, GFs going out with me for girls night

Best Moment This Week: Talking with the hostesses of my two baby showers over fun details and having events like that even happen! Seeing the crib assembled and ready to go in the nursery. Going to our first childbirth class which is done by a Midwife at a local birthing center in Cville.

What I Learned This Week: That Margaret only weighs 2 pounds 13 ounces (only because while that's only slightly below the goal weight her waist circumference is measuring at 27 weeks which is NOT GOOD)... That she and I are now on the practice's IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) protocol, which includes twice weekly non-stress tests, more ultrasounds, biophysical profiles, and regular checks on me to confirm everything is functioning as it should. We hope she will catch up on her weight soon. Otherwise I will be induced and/or have a c-section within the next month.

Looking Forward To: our 30+ scheduled doctor's appointments over the next two months that will make sure our baby girl is growing the way she is supposed to. We are very optimistic she will catch up and not have to go to a NICU at birth.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Week 29 Pregnancy Journal

My #2016bestnine on @instagram πŸ’— Thank you for all the encouragement during what was quite the difficult year for me! So happy for the continued support and love in 2017. It's going to be an incredible one and I'm so hopeful and excited. I look forward to trying to keep up with my blog as a new Mom (due March 17!) and will continue to enjoy sharing my #glutenfree cooking experiences, #beauty product testing and reviewing, #fashion adventures (a stylish breastfeeding Mom... I can't wait to figure that fun challenge out with tops and likely stains 😬!), #lifestyle and #homedecor as we adjust our 3BR home into a family friendly retreat that is resell-friendly, and our #travel adventures with a few highly likely road trips and international getaways on the calendar! I hope everyone had a safe and fun New Years and wishing you all the best. πŸŽ‰ #WorthyStyle #2017 #HappyNewYear

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How Far Along? 29 weeks

Week 29 Began: Friday, December 30

Size of Baby: size of a butternut squash (15", 2.5 pounds)

Gender: A girl, Margaret

Weight Gain: Up about 10 pounds overall.

Maternity Clothes: Still not really doing tons of socializing. We had a legit cold spell and I had to decide between a coat that just felt way heavier than usual or a vest that I couldn't zip up. That was funny! Layers are my BFF.

Nursery: M's brother is coming over soon to help us put together the crib and rearrange the upstairs extra rooms in the house. Then M will paint. Excited!

Movement: Kicking is still not uncomfortable but it certainly is frequent. She loves to dance in there!

Symptoms: Backaches, gas, uhhh slowing digestive tract (yuck), leg cramps, heartburn, insomnia, pelvic girdle pain has finally started!!

Side Effects: Well, lower back pain and pelvic girdle pain are really no joke.

Sleep: Now I'm enjoying the Snoodle and the Boppy wedge. And another 4 pillows on my side of the bed at night. Thankfully it hasn't impacted M so we're in a good routine now as I continue to expand!

Cravings: Sushi. Chocolate peanut butter smoothies.

What I Miss: Sushi. Going to this fun cigar bar here in RVA on Wednesdays to hear jazz music and enjoy cocktails.

Best Moment This Week: Seeing how much together my husband has things, and how supportive he is with this pregnancy compared to some more traditional or less mature Dads-to-be out there. Really, really attractive!!!

What I Learned This Week: We had our Martha Jefferson Hospital tour for Birth & Delivery which was great. I learned a lot from that tour and it was great to see the suites and tubs in person (I hope to use tub for early labor). We also had a breastfeeding class at UVA one night this week, and it was super informative as well. I also had a French bikini wax with my go-to, regular waxer and well... once you can't see where stuff is let me tell you it's great to have someone do tidying up for you. But it DEFINITELY HURTS more than it used to soooo.... I learned about sensitivity. Whoof.

Looking Forward To: Starting our first childbirth class next week - series of 5 classes one evening a week. Also looking forward to our Third Trimester ultrasound which I politely insisted on having. Probably my first diva moment of this pregnancy, but after 3.5 years of infertility treatments I really wanted some positive reinforcement that all was well without any doubts in anyone's mind!