Friday, January 30, 2009

37 Week Appointment

I had my 37 week appointment today and all is well. Suffice it to say, Zoe seems to be comfortable in my belly and it doesn't look like she'll be entering this world in the next week....but you never know. My cervix still hasn't dilated, but it is starting to soften a bit.

Zoe: still head down, but she hasn't dropped very much. Her heart beat was nice and strong ~ in the 150s. Dr. S estimates Zoe's weight at 5 lb., so we think she's going to be petite. :- )

Mommy: my blood pressure was great ~ 102/70. I've gained 1 lb. since my last appointment. My Group B Strep test came back negative, and I'm no longer anemic. YAY!!!

It was a great appointment! But it was pretty surreal when Dr. S told me to go ahead and schedule my "last two appointments." Crazy!!! Worst case scenario, I'll probably have three appointments because Dr. S won't allow me to go more than 1 week over my due date. T-19 days and counting....

Monday, January 26, 2009

Baby Shower #2

My second baby shower was on January 17. It was a blast!!! My BFF Dione and my good friends Janice and Tonia hosted it. Another friend, Sonia, assisted with making the day run smoothly. The shower was held locally at a really cute and girlie tea room. The turnout was amazing--22 people total. And Zoe got so much stuff--a bassinet, Baby Einstein activity mat, another activity center made for tummy time, TONS of clothes, a diaper bag, some of the cutest shoes ever, adorable blankets, a baby monitor, a first aid kit, a grooming kit, shopping cart cover and the list goes on! Oh, and she even got her first coat courtesy of my Aunt Colette who came down from Indiana. The coat is absolutely adorable!!!

The games were a lot of fun. One of the most meaningful things we did was an activity where everyone wrote out some new mommy advice for me and then read it out loud. I was given the cards as a keepsake, and I'm sure I will refer to them regularly. When each person stood to tell me their advice, they were asked to introduce themselves and tell the group how they knew me. What an emotional time! My mother, aunt, BFF Dione and my good friend Tonia all got emotional when addressing me. So I got emotional as well. The things they said were very touching, and I knew the spirit in which their comments were made which made it even more touching. I also got emotional from a couple of the guest favors. The first was the "thank you note from Zoe" that was attached to the water bottles. I cried when I read it. And the second was when a prayer candle was explained to the guests. Each guest was given the cutest little candle with Zoe's name on the holder, and they were asked to light the candle and say a prayer for her when she's born. It was overwhelming to think that so many prayers would go up/out for little Zoe in a few short weeks.

The hostesses did an amazing job with the shower! So many of the guests commented on how it and said they'd never been to such a beautiful shower! I've been blessed with some amazing friends!!! Here are some pictures:

Group Photo (minus the latecomers):

The Hostesses (Tonia, Sonia, Dione and Janice):

My Mommy and Me:

Cupcake Tier (red velvet....yummy!):

One of the gorgeous diaper cakes:

Favors that made me cry:

Zoe's first coat (love it!):

Gift Table:

Maternity Leave

Last spring my firm revamped its maternity leave policy. Attorneys are now given 18 weeks of leave at 100% pay, with the option to add an additional 6 weeks at no pay (upon approval). During my evaluation in December I talked to my boss about taking the full 24 weeks off; she was okay with it, but we needed to get it approved through our section head in D.C. You know how office/firm politics go. Anyway, I just got an e-mail from our section head approving my full leave! Woot!!! So, Zoe and I will have six glorious months to spend together!! YAY!!! Assuming she arrives on time, I won't return to work until......mid-August. I'm so excited!!! (As you can tell by the overuse of exclamation marks! ~ smile)

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Educational Day

Today was very educational. First, I had Zoe's car seat inspected for proper installation. While Trevor did a really good job installing it, it still needed a few adjustments. We scheduled our inspection with a car seat consultant we found through (Website was recommended during our Infant CPR and Safety class) The consultant we went with was awesome! My one-hour appointment turned into nearly two hours, and it was the best two hours I've spent in awhile! I learned all about our car seat and infant car seat safety from A-Z, and I now feel equipped to keep Zoe safe! I highly recommend this type of exercise for any new mom or when transitioning a child from an infant seat to a convertible seat and/or when transitioning to a new vehicle. Biggest take-away....don't clean the car seat straps/harness with anything but water. The chemicals in soaps can break down the integrity of the straps/harness and render them ineffective during a collision. If the straps/harness get too nasty or stinky, it's best to buy a new set from the manufacturer. Also, don't use any of the after-market stuff sold as car seat accessories (e.g., seat protectors to place between the base and your automobile's seat, "baby view" mirrors, etc.) because they are not crash-tested with the infant seat, so you have to use them at your own risk. And who wants to risk injury to their child?!

Second, I went to a "New Moms Tea" offered at our hospital. It is a monthly gathering offered for new moms and expectant mothers. It was great meeting and seeing so many new moms with their babies and meeting other moms-to-be. I will definitely be doing this on a monthly basis. (And it's free!) Today's lecture was "Diapers to Dendrites", which focused on infant brain development. It was great!!! We were taught how we can contribute to our child's brain development in a meaningful way from day one. I had a number of take-aways, but my biggest take-away.....LIMIT TV to about 20 minutes per day (once a child is ready for it). I've been so accustomed to hearing family and friends talk about how much their kids love (fill in the blank) cartoon or educational video, so I always assumed I'd expose my child(ren) to the same "entertainment". But we were encouraged to limit TV to help our children learn to entertain themselves and to even replace TV with music if possible. This helps with a child's attention span, which will do wonders for them when they start school. I plan on doing additional research on dendrites and healthy brain development so that we can equip Zoe. (Trevor got a precursor to this lecture during his new dad's boot camp, so we're both pumped!) Another interesting factoid was that kids don't develop socialization skills until age 3 and beyond. I've often heard people advocate day care around age 18-24 mos. all in the name of teaching their kids socialization skills. Apparently this isn't true. Interesting to know from a child care perspective since this will probably influence when we transition Zoe from nanny care to day care.

Today was a good day.

36 Weeks!

36 weeks marks the start of the 9th month! Woot!! We're on the home stretch, and in one more week Zoe will be considered full-term. That's amazing! Not long before Zoe is in our arms. We can't wait! This week I've been having the following symptoms: aching back, swollen ankles (a/k/a cankles), oily skin (yuck!), tons of Braxton Hicks, constipation (TMI--sorry), fatigue, and according to Trevor, snoring at a whole 'nother level. Oh, we mustn't forget the labor scare I experienced this week. What fun! Despite the aforementioned list, I still think I've had a remarkable pregnancy.

No weight gain this week---still up 16 lbs. from my pre-preggers weight. I had an appointment with Dr. S last Friday, and my blood pressure is still picture perfect. As of the date of my labor scare and subsequent prenatal appointment, my cervix is still closed.

Zoe this week: first, she is still moving like crazy, and I still love it! Also, she's been having a lot of hiccups lately. Anatomically, most of Zoe's systems (from circulatory to musculoskeletal) are almost equipped for life outside of the womb. While her digestive system is ready to go, it won't get its first work-out until Zoe gets her first taste of breast milk (hopefully) or formula (hope not). In preparation for taking her first suckle of the breast or bottle, Zoe has been practicing by sucking her thumb, fist, toes and anything else she can get her mouth on. Awww....

Zoe is around 20 inches long and she weighs approximately 6 pounds (about the size of a crenshaw melon....whatever that is???):

Cute pregnancy cartoon (and very apropos given my constipation symptom mentioned above ~ ha ha):

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Daddy Boot Camp

I'm so behind on updating this blog! A couple of weeks ago Trevor attended daddy boot camp for new dads. He LOVED it, and it made me feel so good to know he wanted to attend. He learned a lot and came home pumped! He said there were about 15 men there, which is awesome! Before attending the boot camp, Trevor was concerned about changing Zoe's diaper. Now he feels prepared. He even had me show him that I know how to change a diaper. LOL. So, I obliged him and put a diaper on a teddy bear. They also taught the guys how to swaddle a baby, so Trevor taught me. It was so cute. The guys learned a whole host of things in the 2.5 hours they were in class, including different ways to support their wives during labor and after the baby is born. I think Trevor is now equipped with the basics to get off to a good start. It really is so refreshing to know that he truly is just as excited as I am about this new stage in our lives. As I've said many times before, Zoe is so lucky to have him as her daddy. He's going to be great and so loving!

I Want Them Back!

Two things in my life have always been constant--my skinny ankles and wrists. In the last couple of weeks, that has changed. My wrists are still pretty skinny, but my ankles....not so much! I swear I've been walking around on CANKLES lately!!! And they are NOT cute! Thankfully, I can still wear my shoes, including my boots, thus the swelling probably isn't as bad as I'm making it sound. But I really want MY ankles back! Just a few more weeks....

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Dry Run (a/k/a False Alarm)

We just got home from....labor & delivery! Yep, we had a false alarm! Trevor and I went to bible study last night, and I started having pretty regular contractions in the middle of praise and worship. I chalked it up to Braxton Hicks, although they were non-stop. The contractions continued through the night and this morning. After having several contractions at work this morning, I decided to call Dr. S. I was instructed to lie down and time my contractions for an hour, so I went to the firm's sick room to do this. My contractions were consistently 2-7 minutes apart with varying duration. Dr. S instructed me to go to labor and delivery for observation.

My contractions continued at 2-7 minutes apart, but my cervix was (and is) still closed. This is TMI, but I think I lost part of my mucous plug while at the hospital because when I went pee there was something fleshy floating in the urine cup. (Sorry!) Zoe was doing beautifully through it all, which was great! Her heart rate was great (between 150-190....only in the 180s/190s during the contractions), and she was very active. I was discharged this evening with instructions to return if (1) my water breaks, (2) my contractions get stronger, and/or (3) my contractions get closer together.

Trevor and I learned a lot today. First of all, we now know where to park for the real thing. Very important to know! Also, I need to pack a REAL hospital bag. I threw some things in a bag in about 10 minutes, so I need to start over this weekend....assuming Zoe doesn't decide to make an appearance before then. Otherwise, we'll just make do with the ghetto bag I threw together today! LOL. Last, we need to install the car seat....Trevor is working on that as I type this post.

I'm hoping our baby girl will stay put and bake awhile longer since I'm only 36 weeks. But I've been having a nagging feeling the last few days that she's coming early, and oddly enough my mom has been having the same feeling. We'll see....

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting a Cavity!

Pass the novacaine please. I think I'm getting a cavity! Figuratively speaking that is. Today, I received a BEAUTIFUL bouquet of 3 dozen yellow roses. My favorite! I truly believe this is by far the most beautiful bouquet of roses I've ever seen. Seriously.

The card says: "36 Weeks and Counting! I Can't Wait! I Love You Very Much. Love, Trevor"

This is the second time Trevor has surprised me with roses at a pregnancy milestone. He is so amazingly sweet!!! I'm so blessed to have him as a husband, and Zoe is so lucky to have him for her daddy!!

Thank you for making my day, my love! And thank you for caring about this pregnancy (and Zoe) enough to keep track of it (and her) so closely. You're amazing!

35 Weeks! (plus belly shot)

This is OLD news, but I'm 35 weeks pregnant! Since Trevor's return home on January 10, we've been going non-stop. Last weekend we had family and friends in town for my second baby shower. It was so amazing. More on that in a later post. We've also been busy putting the finishing touches on Zoe's nursery and finishing up our series of childbirth, infant care, breastfeeding, and infant CPR classes. I AM EXHAUSTED!!!

I'm still feeling pretty good, but lugging around a 35 week fetus is becoming tiring! My back aches are getting to be more chronic and miserable. I've been having Braxton Hicks like crazy, and Zoe has decided that she likes to lodge her foot (or feet?) in my left rib cage (ouch!). I'm up a total of 16 lbs. from my pre-preggers weight, but my appetite is increasing so the next few weeks will be interesting. Despite the discomfort I'm feeling these days, I wouldn't change any of this for the world. I'm falling in love with this little girl more and more every day, and I cannot wait to meet her!

Zoe this week: according to the books, Zoe is running out of room to move and shouldn't be doing many somersaults. Well, the authors of those books haven't met my baby girl. She's been quite active, and I think she's definitely learned how to do a somersault or two despite the limited space. Zoe's kidneys are fully developed now, and her liver can process some waste products. While most of her basic physical development is now complete, the next few weeks will consist of gaining weight.

Zoe is likely between 18-20 inches long, and she weighs approximately 5 1/2 lbs. (about the weight of a honeydew melon):

Here's a 35 week belly shot taken in Zoe's nursery:

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sixteen Long Days

Trevor returned home on Saturday after a sixteen day trip overseas with the Navy. It's so good to have him back home! I can't imagine what it will be like when he has to take one of these trips after Zoe is born. This trip demonstrated how hormonal I really am, because I cried like a baby the day Trevor left (Dec. 26). And I prayed and prayed and prayed for his safety like never before. Pregnancy has brought about a great deal of nerves.....and fear. Fear of losing Trevor. Fear of raising Zoe alone. I know that this type of fear isn't of God, so I have to resist it and pray against it daily. Recently I did some soul searching to understand why the fear is so deep. I realize that there are two things driving it....the first is my desire to ALWAYS have Trevor in my life. I wouldn't have married him otherwise. I love that man with every fiber of my being and I can't imagine life without him. The second is my desire for Zoe to experience what I didn't....truly having a "daddy." This isn't intended to be a knock against my father, but after my mother and he divorced when I was three, the relationship just wasn't what it should be. While I wasn't greatly impacted by this emotionally because my mom did a phenomenal job of raising me, as I've gotten older I realize just how much I truly missed out on. I'm glad Zoe won't have to experience that. She's such a lucky little girl because Trevor is going to be an amazing father!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

34 Weeks!

Today begins my 34th week. Yep, 34 weeks as in 6 more weeks until Zoe arrives....assuming she arrives on time. Holy moly!!! My pregnancy symptoms are unchanged. But I did jinx myself last week by saying I hadn't had any nose bleeds in awhile. My nose bleeds are now back in full force. They're still only on the left side, and I was a logging a couple of nose bleeds per day for a few days. Lovely.

I lost a few ounces, so I'm up 12.4 lbs. from my pre-preggers weight. All is well.

Zoe this week: our baby girl could be as tall as 20 inches right now and she weighs about 5 pounds. More energy-storing white fat is present, which accounts for approximately 8 percent of Zoe's total weight. Plus it's giving her a smoother, more plunk appearance! Zoe's fingernails have probably reached the tip of her fingers at this point....maybe that's what I've been feeling inside me. I swear it felt like she was scratching my spleen or some other vital organ yesterday. Zoe's central nervous system and lungs are continuing to mature. The good news is if Zoe were born between weeks 34-37, she'd probably be just fine barring any other health issues. What a relief! But I really want her to stay put and keep baking. Lastly, Zoe continues to be very active. And when I lay on my left side, I can feel her inside of me! I can't explain it, but I feel her. Weird! Oh, I had a dream about Zoe's birth last night. I couldn't see her face, but man she had some long hands and feet....I'm talking remarkably long! Hmmm.....

Zoe could be as long as 20 inches now and she weighs about 5 pounds (as much as a cantaloupe):

Monday, January 5, 2009

Another Great Prenatal Appointment

I had my (almost) 34 week appointment today. My appointment was with the second doctor in Dr. S's practice. As mentioned previously, there are two Dr. Ws. I saw Dr. W2 today. I REALLY liked her! She had a great bedside manner and was very friendly.

Everything looks great! My blood pressure was good ~ 102/68. I'm measuring right on target. And it seems that I've LOST 2 lbs. I'm not sure that I believe that to be true. I was wearing high heeled boots and a sweater at my last appt, so I think I was just weighing heavier last time. I'll do my "official" weekly weigh-in Wednesday morning at home, so we'll see what the scale says then. I asked Dr. W2 to check me for a possible bladder or urinary tract infection because I've been feeling some bladder discomfort lately. My urine came back clear, so she said it's probably just pressure from Zoe.

Zoe's heartbeat was nice and strong ~ high 150s, even the low 160s at times. She is positioned head down and is getting close to the pelvic opening. Dr. W2 says she will probably settle into my pelvis around week 36, and she doesn't expect Zoe to turn at this point. Fingers crossed....

The only bad seems that my abs have separated. I've been reading about this, so I asked Dr. W2 if it's possible to determine if it's happened to me. She showed me a little trick, and sure enough, ab separation! Booo!!! She said the abs will reconnect postpartum. I'm just bummed that it happened to me.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Nursery Progress

Zoe's nursery is coming along nicely. There are still several things to be done---we need to put in the bedding, hang a few pictures, wall letters, the window valance, possibly put in a rug, put in the changing pad/changing accessories, and other odds and ends. But, this is what we've come up with thus far. Oh, and the pink has grown on me. :- )

Happy New Year (and 2008 in review)

Welcome 2009! This is going to be a great year....I can already feel it. Of course, the most exciting thing about this year will be welcoming Zoe into our lives. This will be a year of "firsts", which is exciting!

2008 was a great year. A few highlights:

- Trevor and I celebrated 3 years of marriage on March 12. What a blessing! God couldn't have blessed me with a better husband.

- Trevor and I took a great trip to the Playa Mujeres region of Cancun to celebrate our anniversary. The resort was amazing; I'd go back in a heart beat. What a magical trip. This trip kicked off our "trying to get pregnant" quest.

- In March, my baby brother graduated from Navy boot camp. It was fun going to Chicago to watch him graduate. He looked so handsome in his Navy whites.

- In April, I had the experience of a lifetime! I was able to score last minute tickets to the OPRAH show! Woot! I couldn't believe it when "Mark" from the Audience Dept called to offer me tickets. I enjoyed the experience with two of my BFFs, Sharri and Michelle, and my mom. We thought it was going to be the "Favorite Things" show because they were hush hush about the topic and we were told to wear bright colors, but it was a Dr. Oz show. Our seats were amazing! Middle section, first and second row. We were so close we could see Oprah's bunion. LOL. My mom and Michelle even touched Oprah's hand when she entered and exited the studio.

- In May, unbeknownst to us, Trevor and I conceived Zoe. YAY!!!

- In June, I found out I was pregnant. The best month of my life!

- In September, Trevor and I took an amazing "baby moon" to San Francisco. So relaxing....

- In September, we found out our little angel is a girl!

- In October, my brother got engaged and married. He's growing up.

- In December, I had my first baby shower. So fun!

Besides Zoe's birth, I can't wait to see what 2009 has in store. Happy New Year!