My Not-So-Grownup Christmas Bucket List

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With Brady due so close to Thanksgiving, Nate and I knew – from the beginning – that the holidays were going to be very different this year.

But we quickly learned just how different… We’ve had several different doctors highly recommend that we not shuttle Brady to the usual, family Christmas parties due to its being smack-dab in the middle of flu and cold season.  They warned us that if Brady were to come down with the flu, he would automatically be tested for meningitis (which would mean a needle stuck into his spine as part of the testing).  Realizing that our little baby would go through so much, should he get sick, made the decision an easy one for us to make.

We aren’t willing to risk it, even if the chances might be low that he would contract something.  Therefore, we will be spending Christmas at home this year.

And honestly, the more we talked to new parents, the more we realized just how important the first few weeks are for recovery, rest, and bonding with the baby.  So due to that – and the fact that we’re going to delay his vaccinations until he’s a tiny bit older –  we’ve decided to ask for no visitors in the hospital or at the house – other than family – until Brady is the recommended 6-8 weeks old.  (This will also give this new mama plenty of privacy and time to figure out the not-so-easy adventure of breastfeeding).

We’ve already received a few comments about how ‘silly’ and ‘overprotective’ we’re being. And that did upset me at first, because I didn’t want to come across as one of ‘those’ helicopter moms.  But Nate, my family, and a few close friends quickly reminded me that there will always be opinions thrown at me.  At the end of the day, we have to do what we feel is best for our child.

So a quiet, holiday season at home it is!

We did decide to invite my immediate family over for Christmas Day (since we’ll miss out on my family’s party on Christmas Eve).  And Nate’s brother is hosting a get-together for his immediate family just two days after Christmas, and we have decided to go to that (as long as Brady doesn’t decide to hold off too far into December).  This way, we will have time with our family over the Christmas holiday, which was very important to both me and Nate.  Otherwise, our Christmas holiday will be low-key and spent at home with visits only from family (which I’ll probably really appreciate after going through labor and then the following amazing – but sleepless – nights).  :)

Anyway, to ensure that we don’t miss out on Christmas as we spend lots of quality time with our precious newborn, I’ve put together a Christmas Bucket List, of sorts.  If we’re too tired to do anything but one thing on this list, then the items will all be replaced with activities such as ‘sleep’, ‘nap’, and ‘ be lazy’.  ;)  BUT I wanted a list of fun, holiday activities handy, should we have the energy and desire to do them!    As you’ll notice, most of the items on the list are quick and super simple.  (Some might seem kind of silly too, but I’ve decided to embrace my inner-child and to just have fun with the childish crafts… and coloring)!

Christmas 2013! 058

I think that including some of these activities into our December will help us feel as though we did have a special, baby’s first Christmas.  But, with or without this list, I imagine that this will be THE most magical Christmas yet!  After all, for the first time ever, we’ll be celebrating as a family of… three!

Awwww, SO excited!!!!!!!

What are some holiday traditions that you’re especially looking forward to this year? 


My Not-So-Grownup Christmas Bucket List

  • Decorate a gingerbread house (We already bought a kit with all the supplies included and it’s prebaked for easy-peasy fun)
  • Sip on hot chocolate and drive around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights
  • Put up the Christmas tree
  • Make paper snowflakes
  • Watch Christmas movies (not limited to – but definitely including  – Elf, A Charlie Brown Christmas, Home Alone, The Santa Clause, It’s a Wonderful Life)
  • Have a picnic in front of the Christmas tree
  • Listen to Christmas music while picking out baby announcements
  • Wrap gifts while listening to Christmas music
  • Have a baby’s first Christmas photo-shoot
  • Eat French Toast and hot chocolate for dinner
  • Play games by the light of the Christmas tree
  • Color a Christmas picture
  • Paint fingernails a festive color
  • Bake something festive together
  • Read the Christmas story from the Bible together

 

Preggo Grumpies

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I’m not sure if I’ve declared this yet on my blog, but – just in case I haven’t – here it is.  I have officially entered the I’m-really-uncomfortable stage of this pregnancy.  Some may wonder at all of the positivity displayed in my previous preggo posts and wonder if I was being honest.  I have been, I promise!  Being pregnant, even with its expected discomforts, has been easier (and even more enjoyable) than I thought it would be.  But that being said, I am now 39 weeks pregnant.  So, yeah, as of this past week, I’ve felt better.

And I’ve honestly come down with a small case of the Preggo Grumpies.

My belly is uncomfortably large and heavy, and I’m left wondering why no one has yet invented the belly bra.  (Oh, wait, scratch that…  I just Googled it, and apparently it already exists.  Who knew…).  Anyway, there are plenty of other things to complain about… You know, if I felt like complaining.  ;)

preggo

These days, bending over to reach something off of the floor is close-to-impossible and often painful, so I tend to kick such items into a neat pile and then wait for Nate to come around to pick them up for me.  Nate saw this claw-like contraption at Target and wanted to get it for me, but I told him that would be a waste of money since I’m due so soon.  (Besides, a pregnant woman needs some perks, even if it’s the excuse to be lazy and to not pick up dropped items from the floor.  Hey, I’ll take what I can get!).

claw

The Braxton Hicks contractions are getting stronger and more frequent (usually at least two an hour, in addition to the menstrual-like-cramping that is almost non-stop), and they make it difficult for me to really get comfortable.  I heard that moving around a bit can help to ease them up a bit, so I’ve been baking a lot.  (I’m pretty sure that baking counts as a workout, at least when you’re pregnant).  The only problem with that is that pregnancy brain doesn’t always help the end result, and – for the time being – I’ve definitely lost my touch in the kitchen.

The other day, after a particularly rough morning of Braxton Hicks contractions, I decided to bake a homemade bread… and I didn’t realize that my yeast was expired until an hour into the rising period (when I noticed that the yeast hadn’t risen an inch).  I was really disappointed and instantly in a bad mood.  I mean, not only had I wasted an hour and a half of my day and dirtied a bunch of dishes, but I also no longer had thick slices of buttered, warm bread to look forward to.  In pregnancy terms, that equals devastation.  I mean, you don’t mess with a pregnant women’s cravings.  You just don’t…

Not realizing how upset I was, Nate tried to cheer me up and teased, “What’s the matter?  Did the yeast not rise to your expectations?”

I stormed away dramatically.

Oh, pregnancy hormones.  They have hit me at full force this week as well.  Seriously, they have no conscience and therefore no qualms about hitting a girl when she’s down.  One minute I feel like sobbing… and then the next minute, I want to punch something.  Sometimes this is due to rapid mood changes.  Sometimes this is only because I’m forced to pick one or the other, since I don’t have enough breath these days to punch something while also sobbing.

I don’t want to give the impression that I’m miserable, because that would be a major stretch of the truth.  I’m not miserable by any means!  But to say that I’m uncomfortable, ready to meet my baby, and more than ready to no longer have a watermelon strapped to my belly would definitely be accurate.  And really, I didn’t do too badly, considering that I’m just now at this point, and I’m only one day away from my due date!

Honestly, I think that my sudden case of the grouchies is mostly thanks to not knowing when the official, labor contractions will start.  I’ve been so patient all along, but now – with the end in sight – I’ve suddenly realized that -wow – I really am glad that this chapter is just about finished.  I’ve suddenly realized that I am tired, uncomfortable, and – mostly – just really eager to meet my little guy.  But I don’t know if I have one day left to wait… or a week.  And that messes with a girl’s head after awhile!  The last week or so of pregnancy is definitely tough, if only because the end is in sight.  The end is so close… yet still feels so far away.

Of course, once a pregnant woman reaches this point, she is more than ready for labor to start.  I’m really not worried about it at all, because I’m just ready!  So maybe God knew that – by this point – being uncomfortable (and maybe even coming down with a case of the grumpies) was just what a woman needed to mentally prepare for labor.  ;)

Bring on the pain!  I just want to have this baby!

Hmmmmm, I wonder if – when my doctor asks for labor symptoms at this week’s appointment – I should tell her that I’ve officially come down with a case of the Preggo Grumpies.  That has to mean I’m officially close, whether or not I’m dilated!  Right??  :)

 

When ‘You and Me’ Is About to Become ‘Three’

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Just weeks after I found out that I was pregnant, I experienced a momentary pang of sadness…  As ecstatic as I was to realize that there was a sweet little baby on the way, I also understood that – in 9 months time – it wouldn’t be just me and Nate anymore.  And although Nate and I were both more than ready to set out on the challenging – yet rewarding – adventures of parenthood, I struggled a bit with the realization that our relationship was now going to be adjusted in order to make room for the roles of ‘mommy’ and ‘daddy’.

‘You and Me’ was about to become ‘Us Three’.

The past six years of being married to Nate have been six of the most amazing, magical years of my life.  He’s my best friend.  He’s the one who ‘gets me’ when no one else does.  He truly knows who I am and what I’m feeling… and he still loves me despite of it and because of it.  He’s the only person I could spend countless hours with and not need a break.  He’s the one who builds me up and believes in me, even on the days when I can’t believe in myself.  He inspires me, encourages me to reach for my dreams, and he makes me laugh.

Oh, how he makes me laugh!

He’s an amazing kisser, an incredible hugger, and my favorite cuddle-buddy at the end of a long day.

For a brief moment, I struggled with how our relationship was going to change.  I can only imagine that 3am feedings, countless diaper changes, homework, bath-times, sports schedules, and just the 24-hour responsibility that is being a parent puts a strain on a marriage.  It’s suddenly not just ‘you and me’ anymore.

And I honestly felt so incredibly guilty when I first experienced these feelings, because I wondered what kind of mommy-to-be would struggle with this.

I quickly discovered that I wasn’t alone, however.  It’s actually quite normal.  It’s normal to struggle with change, and my pang of sadness over saying ‘goodbye’ to the incredible life I’d known didn’t mean that I was any less excited about the next adventure ahead.  Because while I truly wanted – and looked forward – to this next chapter, I had also absolutely loved the previous chapter.

Oftentimes, change just isn’t easy, even if you’re ushering in something amazing.

Since then, I’ve received some amazing advice from seasoned, married couples who assured us that our marriage can remain strong, intimate, and loving, even as we have a child and raise him up in a caring, loving home.  Even if things are going to change.  It’s just going to take a little bit of extra work (mostly dedication).  We have to be dedicated to making sure that our marriage still comes first and that we make time for date nights and quality time.  (And – they’ve told us – our kids will be happier because of it, as they are raised in a home with parents who are in love… and who have made time to regroup and to refresh.  Because, let’s face it, if mommy ain’t happy… well, you know how the rest of that saying goes!).

Looking back, I can see this same model represented in the way my parents raised me, my brother, and my sister.  We never doubted, for one second, that my parents loved us unconditionally, that they would do anything for us, and that they made sacrifices for us.  But at the same time, Mommy and Daddy were a team.  There was no asking Mommy a question, receiving ‘no’ for an answer, and then trying to get Daddy to say ‘yes’.  Mommy and Daddy had each other’s backs, went on date nights at least once a month, held hands during our afternoon walks, and laughed together endlessly.

And for me – as I woke up on Sunday mornings and found them sitting together in the living room, talking over steaming cups of coffee – the unshakeable love they had for each other meant security at home.  I wouldn’t have had it any other way!  Even as a little girl, the love I saw between them filled me with warmth and happiness!

My parents worked hard to make sure their marriage still came first.  And now, 31 years later, they’re closer than ever.  While some couples find themselves married to – and living with – ‘strangers’ once their children leave the nest, my parents are embracing their newfound ‘you and me’ time.  They go on dates together (and, yes, my mom still gets all dressed up for my dad).  :)  They’ve enjoyed some simple vacations.  And they even dream of home renovations as they dream of retired life spent together.

At the end of the day, marriage always takes work, even if kids aren’t in the picture.  A marriage with kids just might take a bit (or a lot) more effort in order to keep the romance and friendship alive.  But I know that it will be worth fighting for, even during the seasons that might leave us feeling not-so-close.  And it will be worth it – not only for me and Nate – but also for baby Brady who will arrive so very soon!  (YAY, I just cannot wait to meet him)!  And even if it will be a challenge, it will be an amazing challenge that we will make a priority.

And maybe one day – when Brady is older, married, and about to become a parent himself – he’ll look back on his childhood and know that he and his wife will be okay too.  Because he’ll remember growing up in a loving family where the mommy and daddy always made time for him… and for each other!  :)


Fun Fact:  The location for this 39-week photo shoot is where Nate and I had our first kiss. :)

Nursery Reveal!

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Decorating Brady’s nursery was probably my favorite prep ‘work’ of this pregnancy…

No, scratch that…  It most definitely was my favorite!  Seeing the plain, spare room transform into a nursery for our baby was exciting and something tangible that I could actually see come together, as my baby boy safely grew inside my belly.  (Not that his growth isn’t tangible, because – trust me – I can most definitely feel and see my big ol’ belly quite easily these days).  :)  Still, there’s something absolutely precious about immersing yourself in adorable baby things and dreaming of the day when your newborn will be there to snuggle with you in a room decorated just for him.

I’m sure that those who know me are as surprised as I am that the nursery was actually finished before baby Brady’s arrival.  I tend to be quite indecisive and particular when it comes to decorating my home.  In fact, it only took me about three years before I picked out paint colors for the house we now call home, and many of the walls are still bare.  ;)  Sometimes it’s due to budgeting, and it just takes awhile to save for the décor we really want.  But to be completely honest, I most often don’t know what I want and am determined to hold out for the perfect thing.

It’s not necessarily a bad trait, because – in the end – I do always love my choices and so there are no regrets when it comes to home improvement purchases.  But at the same time, at this rate, our house probably won’t be finished until Nate and I are retired.  (And by finished, I just mean that there will actually be things hung up on all the blank walls).

But somehow, when it came to the nursery, my vision just came together.  I did run into a few budgeting bumps in the road (and time constraints), which forced me to tweak my plans just a little.  (And my dad – an amazing carpenter – is still working on a homemade toy chest for us).  But for the most part, I was able to run with my ideas and to pull my nursery together… before the baby arrived.

Nate says that we made a good team, because I was the creative ‘genius’ while he was the muscle.  If we had our own decorating show, we’d have a clever name, like Belly and the Brawn.  But since we don’t, we’re still just Nicole and Nate, partners for life.  It just worked out really well…  Nate can’t stand looking at wall hangings and paint colors, while my idea of getting a room painted is bringing Nate a brush, snacks, and a beverage.  It just all came together, and – even if we finished at last minute – the important thing is that we finished!

I decided to go with a jungle-theme, although I didn’t get too carried away with it.  I decided to just use it as inspiration.  I had known, from the beginning, that I wanted to paint the walls gray; and they matched perfectly with the elephant curtains and quilt that my bestie Ashley sewed for me.  My parents had very generously bought us the mocha crib and changing table from Babys’R’Us, so Nate and I saved up for the dresser that matched.  And the beautiful mirror that my uncle had bought us as a wedding gift (still not hung up on any of the walls in the house) looked perfect above the dresser!  See, I had known all along that we’d find just the right spot for it!

The majority of the other decorations were gifts or purchases from Etsy.  (I had never shopped from Etsy before, but it was a great experience!  Plus I loved that I was supporting small business)!

I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out…

Now we just need an itty-bitty baby for the room!  :)

 

 

 

 

Preggo Journal – Last One!

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As I reach the last week of pregnancy before my due date (November 26th), I thought that I’d do one more Preggo Journal, just to make sure that I fit it in!  (At this point in time, who knows when I’ll go into labor!  Ha, ha).

CAN YOU BELIEVE HOW FAST THIS PREGNANCY FLEW BY?!?  :)

 


How big is baby:  During last week’s ultra-sound, the tech said that she measured baby Brady as being 8 1/2 pounds already!!  And during this week’s ultra-sound, she kept commenting on his chubby cheeks and little, fat rolls.  So it seems as though he’s going to be a big boy who likes to eat!

Total weight gain:   I was spot on with my weight gain until my amniotic fluid started to get out of control.  In fact, last week (in just one week), I put on 9 more pounds!  Nine!!  I didn’t think that was possible (especially since I hadn’t changed my eating habits), but apparently the fluid is just building and building.  It’s all in my stomach!  So after that started happening, I kind of stopped keeping track, because there’s nothing I can do about the water-retention weight gain.  The doctors are just keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn’t cause any complications…

As always, all that matters to me is the health of me and my baby!  :)  And so far, Brady’s vitals are strong and healthy!

 Maternity clothesI’ve had a very easy pregnancy, and I can honestly say that I didn’t hit the I’m-super-uncomfortable stage until about a week ago.  Since then, I’ve been living in yoga pants, comfy sweaters, hot pink sneakers, flannel pajamas, and my fuzzy bathrobe.  ;)

Although I still take out my favorite maternity jeans and heeled boots on occasion, because – well – they’re cute.  And I’ve fallen in love with sweater dresses paired with leggings and fuzzy boots!

I’ve also raided my hubby’s closet.  I don’t have a winter coat that fits around my belly, and some days have been pretty chilly.  So when I go for a walk with Nate to get some exercise, I usually pair his over-sized sweatshirt with my winter vest.  I totally think it’s going to become a fashion trend…  ;)

 Sleep:   I’ve had bouts of pregnancy-related insomnia, but it usually hits for a few days… and then goes away for a few days.  This past week has been a good week for sleep, other than the waking up every other hour to use the bathroom.  In fact, I’ve been falling asleep earlier and earlier these days, with bedtime two nights ago being as early as 8pm!

Awkward moment of this week:   This isn’t an awkward moment as much as it’s a we-weren’t-really-thinking-moment.  :)

One of our favorite places to go walking is a State Park in the area…  Well, as always, we were walking through the woods (about a mile from the car) on a lovely afternoon, when I suddenly stopped, looked up at Nate, and said, “Wait, what if I went into labor right now?  What if my water broke?  We’re over a mile away from the road or help!”

Nate instantly looked panicked and said, “Do you need to walk slower?”

I replied with, “No, no, I’m fine.  But what if…”

“Then let’s walk faster,” he said, cutting me off and instantly turning us around.

It was actually a little scary on the way back, because I had a few good Braxton Hicks contraction cramps.  All I could think about was going into labor in the middle of the woods and how uncomfortable that would be.  Ha, ha.  Thankfully, we made it back to civilization… and let’s just say that we’ll stick to the campground roads that have car access, from now on!  :)

 Best moment of this week:   Finishing the nursery!  YES, we finally finished the baby’s room yesterday, and pics will be up the minute I take them!  :)

AND we put up white Christmas lights in the window!  :)  I took a nap on Monday afternoon and woke up to find that Nate had put them up for me and had set up the baby swing in the living room.  I was over-the-moon excited… and the room felt oh-so-cozy!!

 Food cravings:   Seafood!  If I wasn’t restricted as to the amount of fish I was allowed to eat, I’d eat it every day!  And honestly, I’ve been on a veggie kick too.  I just want fresh food… and chocolate!  ;)

I really do always want chocolate… but that was kind of a problem before I was pregnant.  Ha, ha.

Symptoms:  Slightly swollen hands and feet, but they’re really not that bad…  I’ve been getting quite a few Braxton Hicks contractions every day (but nothing really painful)…  My back is sore by the end of each day…  And I had my first pregnancy-related migraine the other night.  It was no joke, especially since I couldn’t take anything to make it go away.  (Actually, I learned afterward that I could have taken Tylenol, but I didn’t realize that at the time).  I thought my head was going to explode, and even just resting my head on my pillow hurt too badly.  So I ended up sitting on the downstairs couch all night, praying for the pain to go away.  Needless to say, it was a long night!

Happy or moody most of the time:    Still happy!  (I tell Nate ALL the time that he should be very grateful for the fact that I didn’t have a moody pregnancy)!  :)

Labor signs:  Just those Braxton Hicks contractions.  And I know my due date is soon, because my mom now calls every day (several times a day) to find out how I’m feeling (which I’m fairly certain is her way of asking “Are you going into labor yet?” without actually asking that).  :)  It’s cute, because I know that she’s as excited as we are.  And I’m blessed to have a family that cares so much!!

Sadly, at Monday’s doctor appointment, the doctor told me that I’m not dilated at all yet.  Pooh!  :)  And apparently they don’t induce for big babies, so he could be cooking for a couple of weeks yet if he decides that he doesn’t want to come on time!  So it’s still a waiting game!!  :)

Final thought:  I seriously can’t wait to meet baby Brady!!!  :)  I can’t believe that I’ll be a mom so soon!

Celebrating Nate’s Birthday… 13 days early

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In years past, Nate’s birthday has kind of slid by under the radar, seeing as how it always falls directly before or after Thanksgiving.  In fact, last year, it fell on Thanksgiving.  So as special as my husband is to me, and despite how much I adore and love him, I’m often shopping for his birthday gift the day before his birthday.  *Insert sheepish grin*

It’s just that previously, I’ve worked a full-time job, and his birthday always fell right before Quarter End (the pull-out-your-hair stressful season). And then there were the pies and side dishes I had to whip together for family get-togethers.  Oh, and Black Friday shopping had to be accounted for too.  ;)  (In other words, the end of November is usually insanely busy without a birthday thrown in for good measure).  And although I’m always sure to make him his favorite meal and dessert of his choice, I do feel as though his special day isn’t as special as it should be.

Nate has never complained, but I did know that I wanted this year to be different.  Then I found out that my due date was two days before his birthday…

“Happy Birthday and Merry Christmas, Nate!  You get a baby this year!!”

Actually, if you ask me (or him) that’s a pretty amazing gift, but I still wanted to do something to celebrate his special day.

So despite the fact that his birthday isn’t until November 28th, I decided to ‘kidnap’ him this past weekend for a yummy lunch, Christmas shopping (so that we wouldn’t miss our usual tradition this year with the baby coming), and a movie of his choice.  (AND I’m happy to report that I’ve already picked him up a few birthday gifts… but he can’t open them until his actual birthday).  :)

Every year, Nate and I go Christmas shopping together to buy a new Christmas decoration for the house.  (If you watched my vlog the other day, then you know that I also already squeezed in Christmas shopping with my sister)!   :)  This year – Nate and I both agreed that we had to buy a tree skirt.  We’ve been married 6 years, and we’ve yet to have a tree skirt under our tree.  Shameful, I know.  Ha, ha.  So we checked that one off of our list right away, so that this year’s tree wouldn’t have to face Christmas half-dressed.

We also bought a gingerbread house kit!  I’ve been putting together a Christmas bucket list of festive, fun things that we can do, even with a newborn arriving in the next week or so.  And this pre-baked, all-inclusive kit will be an easy way for us to have a fun evening of cookie decorating without it being too time-consuming or too much work.

Throughout the course of the day, we found a Christmas ornament with baby’s name on it (although – to be honest – we didn’t buy it)…

…we enjoyed a delicious lunch out….

… AND I splurged on a decaf, gingerbread Starbucks latte, served in a red holiday cup.  (Oh, how I love those holiday cups!  Somehow, hot chocolate and latte’s just taste that much more delicious in them)!  :)

Nate picked out a movie, and we finished our date at the theater.

I’m SO glad that we had this special day-long date to celebrate his special day, even if we celebrated it early.  AND it was good practice, since we’ll have two birthdays to celebrate next November (Nate’s and Brady’s)!!

Hmmm, maybe next year I’ll have to throw a joint birthday party for my big guy and my little guy!  Although given my track-record of not always being on top of November birthdays, maybe I should start planning now?!?  :)

Let’s Get it Started in Here

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As I got ready for this week’s ultrasound and non-stress test (to keep an eye on my amniotic fluid levels since I had too much last week), I found myself wondering if maybe – just maybe – I wouldn’t pass the test and therefore maybe I’d be induced.  (Between you and me, I’ve been against induction for my entire pregnancy, because I’ve heard that the contractions can be more intense due to the medication used to induce labor).  At this point in the game, however, I’m more than ready to ‘get this party started’, no matter what the doctor suggests.  Being pregnant actually was a much better experience than I could have imagined, but I’m now ready to meet my baby… and to be able to touch my toes again.  ;)

It’s amazing how one takes touching their toes for granted until they can no longer do it!

Now the doctor has never mentioned induction to me; but – still – as I did my makeup, I wondered if maybe this was woman’s intuition telling me to bring my hospital bag with me to the hospital.  Just in case!  And even if I was wrong, there was no harm in being prepared!  Better to have my hospital bags and to not need them, then to need them and have to go without.

I casually mentioned to Nate that we should probably bring the bags with us, just to be prepared, since we’d be driving the 20 minutes to the hospital.  I didn’t want to make him nervous or too excited, so I didn’t mention why.  Apparently, however, he had already come to the same conclusion, as the bags were already stashed in the Jeep.

On the drive to the hospital, he took my hand and said, “I’m so excited… and I’m proud of you, Babe!  Are you nervous?”

Nervous for an ultrasound and a painless, non-invasive stress-test?  No, not at all.  So I shook my head ‘no’, although I now knew that he was thinking the same thing as me.  Maybe today would be the day!

The ultrasound lasted an hour, and – as always – wasn’t painful.  BUT it was really uncomfortable for me.  Every so often, Brady would stretch out his little legs, pushing against my rib cage and straining my abdomen muscles against the wire in my bra, making it feel as though I was about to pull a muscle…or crack a rib.  ;)   Whenever I felt my muscles tense up like that, I’d try to adjust my posture to find a bit of relief, figuring that the way I was lying on the table was probably tensing my muscles.

I was a little disappointed to learn that my amniotic fluid levels were up even more, since they had already been too high before.  But I was relieved to learn that Brady is still doing well.  That’s all that ultimately matters!

Upstairs in Labor and Delivery, I was hooked up for the non-stress test. Again, I could feel the sudden tensing in my upper abdomen, near my rib cage, and the tightness around my bra strap increased.

“This bra is going to be the death of me,” I muttered to Nate, pulling up my bra a bit so that it didn’t strain so tightly.

Just then, the nurse came back in and asked, “Did you realize that you’re having contractions?”

Wait, what?!?  All this time, I had thought the tensing was just baby Brady stretching out against my ribs, when it was actually my body contracting!  This type of contraction was different than the other Braxton Hicks contractions I had experienced, which were more like light cramping.  Now that I knew it was a contraction, it made sense to me, as I really could feel the tightening muscles!  When I told the nurse that I had thought that my bra was just too tight, her eyes widened and then she just started to laugh.  At first, I felt kind of stupid.  But then, images of me going into labor and popping off my bra thanks to a really strong contraction came into my mind, and I started to giggle too.

Now that would be a story to tell one day!  ;)

The test lasted about an hour, and I had several light contractions during the course of it.  One of the last contractions was particularly strong (although not painful), so I told Nate that they did seem to be getting a bit more powerful.

“Are you timing them?” Nate asked, sitting up straight, the TV forgotten.  “Is anyone timing them?”

His concern was really sweet, but I quickly assured him that they were hardly five minutes apart or a minute long.  These types of contractions can go on for days before labor!

Another nurse walked in then as if sensing my husband’s concern and said, “You are free to go home now!”

My blood pressure was elevated, but not so severely that they were overly concerned.  But still, it was the first time in my pregnancy that it was actually high.  :(  But again, Brady wasn’t showing any signs of distress, so it was okay for us to go home.

Now that I knew what the light contractions felt like, however, I was more aware of them.  And I realized that I was getting them quite frequently throughout the rest of the day.  So even if it’s not quite ready yet (and even if Nate and I needlessly brought along hospital bags to my appointment), my body is definitely preparing for D-Day… which will be SOON!

I’m really looking forward to tomorrow’s doctor appointment to find out if I’m dilated at all!!  :)

 

 

Bits o’ This and That

9

#1.  ‘Red Carpet’ by Sally Henson is my favorite nail color for November!  It’s a gorgeous, candy-apple red speckled with the tiniest flecks of glitter; and it’s perfect for the holiday season!!  That being said, don’t be fooled by the ‘Hard as Nails’ label.  I have to touch up my nails every morning, because this polish chips easy.  So it’s perfect for a one-night wear or if you have time to do that quick touch-up before your day gets started.  Otherwise, I’d recommend passing this one by… even if it is really pretty.  :)


 

#2.  My point-and-shoot camera AND my laptop both decided to die in the same week.

*Insert moment of silence for these two electronic devices that have been such a helpful part of my life over the past three years*

I tried not to panic, but not having a laptop meant using the much slower computer in the bedroom (which won’t be at all convenient once the baby arrives).  And, well, I don’t need to tell you what not having a camera would mean.  Because of this blog, I use my camera every day, several times a day (which is probably why it only lasted as long as it did).  AND I’m still learning how to use my large, manual camera; so I was instantly afraid that not having a small, point-and-shoot camera would mean less baby pictures, once Brady arrives.

Noooooooooo!!!

I convinced myself that it would totally be okay, but Nate instantly went online and found me a refurbished laptop (which is coming in the mail) and a point-and-shoot camera (which arrived just the other day).  He said that he understands that catching up on my favorite blogs, blogging, and photography will be major hobbies of mine in December when I’m home recovering with the baby.  I was left completely overwhelmed that he knew this without my having to say so.

He is seriously SO good to me!

So far, the Canon ELPH 150 IS is a lot more complicated to use than my other camera was (may it rest in peace).  I actually had to read the user-manual for this one and am still figuring it out (in order to know which functions to choose for the appropriate lighting / setting).  But I’m pretty sure that – in the end – the quality of photo’s will be just as good, so the $120 on Amazon was well-spent!


 

#3.  I am addicted to homemade gingerbread cookies!  I made a batch with my sister last weekend, and then baked a whole new set this week so that I could freeze them to enjoy after the baby arrives.  :)  They have the perfect crunch and blend of holiday spices to hit the sweet tooth without feeling too heavy.

Soooo delish!


 

#4.  I did it!  I finished reading baby book # 3!!!  :)

You know what that means?  I’m officially ready for baby Brady to arrive, whenever he decides that he’s ready!


 

#5.  Coffee shops are coming out with their holiday beverages and hot chocolates.  It makes me possibility giddy with happiness!  :)


 

#6.  I was starting to get pretty tired of wearing the same maternity outfits, so I was beyond thrilled to discover that a few of my sweater dresses (which aren’t maternity) are stretchy enough to fit!  Granted, they look more like long sweaters than dresses, thanks to my rolly-polly baby belly.  ;)

BUT they fit, and that’s all that matters!  Ha, ha.


 

#7.  How funny is this hand-towel?  And maybe a bit true?  ;)

Have a GREAT Monday, my friends!!

 

 

 

It Snowed!

3

It snowed here in New England last night!!!

And while I know that by February, I’ll want to curse the white stuff, and wish it were spring, and try to convince Nate that we need to move to Florida, there’s nothing like the first snow flurry to make me feel like a kid again.  :)  I was so giddy with excitement this morning that I jumped out of bed by 6:30am.  And by 7am, I had convinced my hubby that we just had to go for a walk before it all melted away.

Much to my happiness, Nate was up for a little adventure before breakfast as well.  :)  I love how the snow creates an entirely new world.  A marshmallow world, as the song says.  And most definitely, a beautiful world!

“Since we’ve no place to go,

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!”

Happy Friday!!  :)

The Waiting Game

9

This pregnancy has been so unbelievably smooth and uncomplicated that I was thrown for a loop a few weeks ago, when the doctor began to suggest that Brady was going to be a big baby.  I mean, that’s not even a complication or something to be alarmed about!  But considering how easy these past months really have been (with just the typical pregnancy discomforts thrown in for good measure), I somehow convinced myself that baby Brady would be a tiny little guy.  (Not that having a small baby means that the labor and delivery will be easy, but – somehow – I had convinced myself of that, so expecting a big baby was slightly traumatizing for me)!  Ha, ha.

(A special ‘thank you’ to everyone who assured me that a big baby doesn’t necessarily mean an especially difficult delivery or recovery)!  :)

However, when my doctor was concerned at how big I was measuring this past week, I began to feel just a tiny bit uneasy.  Now she wasn’t just talking about Brady being on the large side.  She was talking about me having too much amniotic fluid, which – she said – could be nothing… Or could be the result of a medical complication in the mother or even a birth defect in the baby.

So she scheduled me for an emergency ultra-sound…

Nate and I kept saying that this was maybe just a blessing in disguise, because it gave us the opportunity to ‘see’ our baby once more before he was born.  And honestly, the peace that has been with me this entire pregnancy really did continue, much to my surprise.  I just really knew that it was going to all be okay…  But still, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t feeling a little nervous.

As usual, baby Brady cooperated for the ultrasound, waving his chubby little hands around and waving at us.  :)  The technician agreed with my doctor’s prediction that this is going to be a big baby, pointing out his chunky cheeks and thick arms.  In fact, she thinks he’s already 8 1/2 lbs, and he’s still 2 weeks away from his due date!!!

Nate was all like, “YEAH, that’s my football player!”

And I was all like, “Yeah, easy for you to say, because you don’t have to push out the football player.”  ;)

The important thing is that Brady looked healthy and had a strong heartbeat!  However, I do have too much amniotic fluid, which can cause some serious complications if not carefully watched.  So I was instantly placed on a High Risk Pregnancy list, diagnosed with Polyhydramnios, and ushered upstairs for a non-stress test.

By this point, I was pretty nervous and wondering what had just happened to my stress-free pregnancy.  Honestly, I’ve always known that one shouldn’t face labor with the idea that everything will go according to plan, because it rarely does.  Apparently, however, pregnancy is the same way.  Things can change pretty quickly, and you just have to stay calm, pray, and put your trust in the able doctors around you!

The stress test, thankfully, had a good result too.

But still, the doctor on call said they won’t take any chances (because of those complications that could still arise), so I have to go back on Monday for another ultrasound and stress test… followed by my routine checkup on Tuesday.

I’m beginning to change my mind about going late…  It may have taken my stomach a good while to get going, but – at this point – I can’t help but think that I’ll go into labor early (or AT LEAST by my due date)!  I’m definitely carrying around a full watermelon at this point… ;)

We shall see!