Category Archives: Pregnancy

Introducing Ethan Matthew

It’s official: I’m a mom of two. I’m actually still in the hospital as I type, but it’s just me and the little one and he’s passed out while I’m too wired to sleep.  I’d forgotten how much they snooze at this age.

After my last post, I was admitted into the hospital. No doctor in their right mind would let me leave with blood pressures of 177/115. They decided to induce me and around 4:30 a.m. started my pitocin, a medication that makes you have contractions.

The contractions were pretty light at first and I started practicing some hypnobirthing techniques that I finally had time to research a week ago since I was no longer working. I’m not against having epidurals, I had one with Logan, but I have scoliosis, making it very difficult to give an epidural and getting it in was the worst part of Logan’s birth. So I thought I’d try the unmedicated route if I could.

I made it fairly far, especially considering I hadn’t slept in more than 24 hours when the labor really started rolling. (I had a long day on Monday, left for the hospital shortly after midnight that night.) So was I exhausted, had lost my focus and couldn’t get it back.

There was even a time where Hubby was frantically searching for songs that could help me through and the next thing I know Eminem is playing in my delivery room… At first I was like, what in the hell is he doing? But I was game for anything and it turns out spitting rapid-fire lyrics *can* help you through a few rough contractions. Thankfully the nurse never came in while I was dropping rhymes.

In the end I got the epidural, the anesthesiologist said it was one of the more difficult ones she’s ever given, but she did a great job and I felt loads better.

I had my mother-in-law in the delivery room because we’re very, very close and I felt I’d need her support. Also, though she has three grandchildren, she hasn’t seen one come into the world and I thought that’d be a wonderful gift. When the doctor announced that in a few minutes the baby would be there, tears welled up in her eyes. “Hey, there’s no crying until the baby’s here.” I said teasingly. Then I looked at Hubby and he too was teary-eyed. I smiled. I love that they wear their big hearts on their sleeves.

Two minutes later there was this exquisite moment where at first there were five people in the room and bing! Then there were six. The newest person was the smallest one, but had the biggest presence.

At 6-pounds, 7 ounces he has dark eyes, a head full of dark hair and big hands and feet for his 19-inch frame. His name is Ethan, a name Hubby and I have loved for years, and the middle name is Matthew after my nephew Theodore Matthew who died of SIDS.

Whenever I look at Ethan, I’m amazed at this little being. I’ve waited months to meet him and have worried week after week about his health considering my blood pressure. And he’s perfect. Absolutely perfect.

So here I am, a mom of two and feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.

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I Don’t Know Nothin’ ‘Bout Birthing No Babies

That’s exactly how I feel. My new baby is to make his/her debut soon and I know I’m already a mom, but still welcoming a new one into the world is scary. Are women ever nonchalant about having a baby? Was Michelle Duggar like: Meh, this is just kid No. 19?

Not sure, but I know we’ve prepped all we can for Bean, I simply wonder how the big day is going to go down. Is it today? Tomorrow? Will I be induced? Get to go on my own?

They’re monitoring me very closely for preeclampsia. My due date is Jan. 6 and I honestly didn’t think I’d make it this far without being induced, so I’m glad that I stopped working early and have been taking it easy to give Bean the best start possible.

Earlier today I had a doctor appointment where my blood pressure was very high in the beginning and then lowered about 10 minutes later. The non-stress tests on my 7lb Bean were perfect, as usual. The doctor said that I didn’t need to come back until Monday, but I didn’t listen and made another appointment for Wednesday.

And we all know how much I hate doctors and hospitals. It just felt… right. So back home I went and after lounging around the house for some time, I started to feel… for lack of a better word, woozy and my blood pressure was again sky high.

Though like Prissy in Gone With The Wind “I don’t know nothing ’bout birthing no babies,” yet I thought let’s go to the hospital to check this out.

Who knows, maybe I’ll go in for monitoring and then get to go back home. Or maybe I’ll come home with a wriggling bundle of joy. Funny thing about these kinds of things, even Type As like me can’t control the situation.

Stay tuned.

Maternity Fashion: It Doesn’t Have To Be An Oxymoron

You’re pregnant and your growing belly, butt and boobs let you know it won’t be long before you’re bursting at the seams. It’s time for some serious maternity shopping, but what do you buy?

The obstacles are many. Your shape is changing every week getting curvier, bigger. It’s hard to anticipate what your size and shape will be down the pregnancy road. Also, since growing a baby is a nine and a half month venture, that’s two, possibly three seasons of clothing that you’ll need. And you don’t want to break the bank for clothes that you don’t plan to wear much after the baby is born. (Warning: In the weeks, sometimes months after baby, you could still be wearing your maternity clothes.)

Some girls are lucky enough to have a batch of friends or family who just pass a collection of maternity clothes among themselves so they only need to get a few items to personalize their wardrobe. The rest of us have to hit the shops.

First off, handle the basics. You’ll need staples. Cute jeans, black pants, khakis and if you wear them: a versatile skirt and dress. I found it helpful to buy classic styles and colors of shirts so that they could be swapped out with pants as well as not look out-of-date for a pregnancy down the road.

I do like my fashion though and some of the really fun maternity fashions can be pricey, so I admittedly would buy a handful of trendy pieces to mix it up. I’ve found most of my cute affordable stuff online. There’s scads of great boutiques and they have sizing charts that can help you get the right fit. Google your heart out.

There’s also these wonderful things called maternity pant extenders that helps you stay in your pre-preggo pants for quite some time. I have the BellaBand in three colors.

Don’t buy all of your maternity clothes in the beginning. I know it can be exciting to build a new wardrobe, but don’t get carried away. I mean seriously, who knows how large you’re going to get or what your needs will be.

Broaden your personal style. (No pun intended.) For this pregnancy, I was glad leggings were back in. I didn’t wear them much before I was pregnant and in my first trimester, I scoffed at the maternity jeggins thinking, what pregnant woman would want to pour herself into those? Fast forward to the end of my second trimester and that preggo pop was me. I caved and got my own pair of jeggins, size large from Kohl’s.

And paired with my chocolate leather knee-high boots, I must say: they’re pretty boss.

Simply because you’re sporting a new, shapely body doesn’t mean you have to forsake your fashion sense or your finances. Just be creative and have fun with it.

Hee Hee Ho: Tis the Season for Lamaze

With my firstborn we took several baby prep classes. There was Baby 101, Breastfeeding 101, and Prepared Childbirth classes that included Lamaze and other breathing techniques. This time around, everyone comments how since I’m already a mom, I’m a pro and should have no worries, but for the birth, I still wanted a refresher on getting through the labor marathon.

By the time we signed up, the CliffNotes version of the course was full, so we are in Great Expectations: Having A Baby. Deciding we couldn’t sit through an eight-hour course, we’re in a two-part, four hour class in the city.

The city is 30 miles from our house and 40 miles from our daycare, so making this happen was a logistical nightmare and we naturally were 15 minutes late, *but* the key is we made it even with our yummy, greasy Thai food. (You can bring your own dinner.)

The class was really good, there was a lot that I’d forgotten and I liked the breathing techniques. Also when we did introductions, it was clear we were the only second-time-around parents, which made us instant celebs. I sat back and enjoyed watching Hubby extol advice to the boys: “Guys, the pecking order in the house changes, you are no longer the big cheese. I always say I’m below the dog, and we don’t even have a dog… There’s nothing greater than sitting there watching the Bears with your boy… Being a parent is the best thing in the world.”

The moms mostly wanted to know about my labor experience, what it felt like. The teacher asked me what a contraction is like. In my head I answered, “like a big menstrual cramp.” But I heard my mouth say “It feels as if an octopus has latched onto your stomach and it’s squeezing your stomach.” There was a long pause, and Hubby looked at me. I shrugged, it’s true. I always think that when I’m in the middle of a contraction, but I’ve never voiced it. The teacher just nodded and said, “or a big menstrual cramp.”

I’m glad we signed up for the refresher course, not just for the content, but it gives me a new perspective on Hubby and me. I see the anxiousness in the new parents’ faces and while excited for their new adventure, I’m glad I’m not them. I like having grown into our roles as parents. Not that we are anywhere close to having all the answers, and not that we don’t have a lot of fears real and imagined, it’s just a little more comfortable this time around.

And that alone makes it easier to exhale.

Preparing My First Born for The Newer Model

Logan is your typical only child. We adore him and he loves being adored. He doesn’t have to share any of his toys, food or place in the home. Little does he know how much his world is about to be turned upside down.

Erica Lynn Hang Photography

With Bean’s arrival less than a month away, I’m wondering how well he’ll fare with a new kid in town. We’ve followed all the advice, and talked up what a wonderful thing it is to be a “BIG BROTHER.” We’ve discussed how he can help, emphasized that it’s *his* baby in my belly and we’ve given him children’s books on the greatness of being a big brother. We’ve brainwashed him as best as we can.

But I can’t help but think he’s still going to feel like last year’s model, a has-been of sorts. One of my co-workers, who has six grown kids, told me how her doctor once said that having a new sibling in the house is hard for young ones: “Imagine if your husband came home with a young blonde.”

Well said.

Hubby and I know it’ll be good for Logan to have a little brother or sister, I look at it as though we’re giving him a best friend, he just won’t realize it for at least a year. And it’ll be good for him not to always be the center of attention, nevertheless there will be growing pains. And those are what I dread.

Logan is an uber mama’s boy. (But really, can you blame him?) Already he gets jealous of time Hubby spends with me, saying “Daddy, don’t hug mommy.” Or while his chubby arms are wrapped tightly around my neck he’ll turn to Hubby and say “Go away! Leave us alone!” As my belly gets bigger I’ve noticed that he’s gotten even more clingy. It’ll definitely be an interesting transition since he’ll have to be with Hubby as I’ll be busy with Bean.

After Bean is born, we’ve got a plan for when Logan visits me in the hospital, the nurse can present him with his baby instead of him walking in the room and seeing mom cuddling with The Replacement. Also, Bean has already been collecting items for a spectacular gift basket for Logan.

As I said we’re about as prepared as we can be and honestly, I’m sure it’ll work out fine, I’m just trying to minimize some of the bumps in the road. What are some things you guys have done to make the transition a little easier?

Team Pink? Team Blue? Not Us, We’re Team Green

I can tell you that the baby in my belly weighs about 4 pounds, has an average heart rate of 139 and gets the hiccups every night around 11 o’clock. But I can’t tell you if Bean is a boy or a girl. We’ve decided not to find out the gender and it’s been interesting to watch people’s reactions to us being not on Team Pink or Team Blue, but proud members of Team Green.

I’m such a planner and like to have my Is dotted and Ts crossed, so it surprises many that this Type A doesn’t want to know the gender. It’s because my love of control is outweighed only by my love of surprises. I know, I know. I’m an oxymoron, deal with it. But I do love happy surprises, and I can’t think of a bigger surprise than the gender of your baby. (Well, other than the surprising fact that you’re having a baby, but that’s another story.)

We already know so much. We’ve been in the Information Age for years, I’m in an industry founded on informing the masses, we frequent blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and the usual social-networking suspects, we’re all about knowing more, more, more, more. So why not have the gender as a surprise? After Bean is born, everyone will know, but for these months, a little mystery is fun. And as far as planning, there’s plenty of cute hues of greens and yellows and other gender-neutral colors to get us through.

When people find out that we don’t know Bean’s gender, their reactions vary. Most think it’s fun, though many say they couldn’t stand not knowing. A few of friends have tried to bribe me to find out and at least one pool was started to collect money on whether I was having a boy or a girl.

Then they start trotting out the old wives tales, which are always entertaining. If you’re carrying high it’s a boy, carrying low, it’s a girl. Bad acne? Girl. Great skin? Boy.

Some couples have shared their stories about how they were split, and somehow managed to have one parent know the gender and keep it secret from the other parent. That’d never fly in our house. There have also been one or two interestingly negative reactions, where it genuinely frustrates people, but I have to dismiss them, it’s our child, our choice, the world will know soon enough.

Though for a friend of mine, her hand was forced. She wanted so passionately to be on Team Green and at an early second trimester ultrasound, she told the technician they wanted to be surprised at the birth. After the ultrasound, the tech said: “Well, it’s a little early to tell, but if you want my opinion, I think it’s a boy.” … My friend was livid. The stenographer was right though, she had a boy.

The same woman is pregnant now and tried again for Team Green and again, told that to the tech. This time at the end of the ultrasound, the tech held the thingymabob on the spot on her belly so that it showed her baby, in 4D, spread eagle. The tech kept the “viewfinder” there and stared at my friend. It apparently was quite the awkward moment, but it’s unmistakable what she’s having.

At least she’s not freaking out over it, which is good, we, like all moms, really just want a healthy baby, and the rest whether your pink, blue or green is simply having a little fun.

Because You’re Worth It

I blogged a couple weeks ago about going on a babymoon and how great it is to get one in before your child is born. I was bound and determined to go on that last vacation as a family of three and it seemed like destiny was equally bound and determined not to let it happen.

Story time at Timber Ridge Lodge

First Hubby and I had trouble finding a weekend that worked for us, he was traveling and I had my own work schedule conflicts. Once we settled on a date, all of my friends decided to do something fun that weekend.

A good friend from Philly was visiting Chicago, a great gal pal was having a birthday party and my best friend who lives in suburban St. Louis was coming to town. I wanted to cancel our babymoon.

Then Logan got sick. So sick he stayed home from daycare for two days, which *never* happens. My kid’s hacking up a lung, has a fever and I really wanted to cancel our babymoon.

Finally, it became clear that I’d have to work late on the Friday that we’d planned to leave. I proclaimed our babymoon was cancelled.

But we never picked up the phone to scrap our reservations. Largely because deep down we knew that we needed a break. We needed to hit the pause button on our crazy lives so we could catch our breath and for us that’s not possible unless you get out of Dodge.

Nevertheless I kept telling myself it was a mistake not to break our babymoon.

Friday night came and I was running even later than anticipated. After racing home, rushing through dinner and finishing off the packing, I was wound so tightly that I didn’t want to go anywhere except for bed. But I stuck with it, we were having this babymoon.

After an hour’s drive to Lake Geneva, Wis., we got to the Timber Ridge Lodge and Waterpark at 10 p.m. and Logan thought it was the greatest adventure ever. He was bouncing off the walls, the couch, the bed, everything. Finally, he passed out on the bed, Hubby went to the store to fill the suite’s kitchen and I sat on the couch as I felt the stresses of the day melt away.

The next day, we had a blast at the waterpark, spent some time in the cozy downtown area and enjoyed story time in our PJs in the hotel’s lobby with about 50 other kids. I even got a few hours of peace and quiet alone in the bedroom and that was heaven.

All in all it was a tough road to get to our babymoon, but the biggest hurdle was in my mind. And that’s how it is for many of us, we have to push ourselves hard to take time to get away. Often we decide there’s just too many other things that need taking care of, so we neglect ourselves.

Honestly, that weekend the laundry didn’t get washed, the grocery shopping wasn’t done and the house wasn’t picked up. Yet we came back feeling more rested, ready for the upcoming week and even a little closer as a family.

I’m so glad we took a break to be with just each other and I blog about this since I’m hopeful you will do the same for you and yours because you’re worth it.