Tuesday, November 23, 2010

26 Week Belly Picture

I've had to move to the front porch because of the lighting on our back deck. And I ALMOST didn't get one taken this week. We were really busy and by the time I realized I hadn't taken my picture yet, it was almost dark and I didn't look my best. But I decided that it was more important to me to actually have the picture in the long run then whether or not my hair was straightened. So, here we go. 26 weeks and I'm realizing that what I wear makes a huge difference in how big I look. Black is definitely slimming, which when you want to look slimmer is great, but it's not the best color for showing off a baby bump. Oh well. Tomorrow we hit 27 weeks and then Thanksgiving is the next day. It's absolutely amazing how quickly time is passing right now. I'm not sure if it's a good thing or a bad thing. I'm trying to savor every moment that I can. Have a great Tuesday everyone!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Another Week... Another Eggplant (26 Weeks)

Welcome to Week 26 everyone! We're still officially an eggplant but according to one of the other weekly updated I get Ms. Lily should be about 14 inches today and about the length of a hot house cucumber. Also she should be about 1.75 lbs.

What else is she up to in there?

"By now, your baby's lungs and brain are much more developed.  In fact, your baby can likely detect light and dark through the optic nerve.  Your baby can now also hear more than just your rumbling tummy, such as outside noises like our partner's voice."

I've noticed a big change in her movements too. She has either gotten bigger and stronger or she has officially moved up above the placenta because her little kicks aren't so little any more! They aren't uncomfortable or anything, but they are definitely more noticeable and noticeable from the outside now too. Jay has gotten to feel her on a bunch of occasions.  It's awesome and I'm loving every moment of it. Yesterday morning I swear she was either tap dancing or trying to peck her way out of there. It was adorable. She was doing something funky with her feet the other day, too. It felt like she was rolling them or something. Jay laughed because I do this thing when I'm really tired or trying to fall asleep where I rub my feet together in a very rhythmic way. I'm completely unaware of it until someone draws my attention to it. It must be genetic though because my dad does the same thing. Lily may have the same thing.

How's Mama doing?

I feel like I'm doing really well. I had a stressful night last week, but was able to get past it. The weekend was pretty busy so I was wiped by the end, but seem to have bounced back fairly well. I was proud of my self on Sunday. I got a hankering for some pecan pie and some homemade Russian Tea so I swung by the store on the way home from having lunch with my family and got all the ingredients. I followed through with making both and have greatly enjoyed them. This is the first time that I've had the energy to think about, let alone, follow through with baking anything out of the ordinary.

I'm very much looking forward to Thanksgiving next week even though we only get Thursday off. It's ok really because I don't get paid for days off, so the fewer days I take off the less money I lose. Plus, we have been hitting up Cracker Barrel for our Thanksgiving meal for a few years now. It's become our tradition and cuts down immensely on the stress involved. I'll probably do a whole spread for Christmas Eve, but for Thanksgiving Cracker Barrel is just too easy and convenient. Plus it's actually cheaper than if Jay and I were to buy everything to make the whole spread. I think we might have a Toy Story marathon that day... Watch Toy Story 1, then go out to eat. Watch Toy Story 2 and then eat some dessert. Then finish up with Toy Story 3, but we'll see.

I am starting to have some more aches and pains. My hips feel like they've gotten loser which makes them hurt a little. And I having a harder time getting up and down off the couch and floor. But Jay's usually there to help me. I know this is only going to get worse, but I welcome it, truthfully. All the aches and pains of the 3rd Trimester just mean that I'm closer to holding my outside baby. I have fallen in love with my body pillow. It's amazing what a difference it can make. I had written its help off earlier in the pregnancy, but now I realize it was just because it wasn't time yet. I'm actually getting very good at wrestling it from one side to another during the night too because I'm a flipper. Jay is enjoying it though because I can't "crocodile roll" like I usually do and steal all his covers. He's not going to know what to do once I'm no longer pregnant and go back to my old tricks. Then again, the first few weeks and months I'll probably be so sleep deprived that I'll sleep like a rock.

Speaking of Jay, how's he doing?

He's great as usual. He's really enjoying feeling Lily moving around, although he did have to tell me that it is not necessary for him to feel her every single time she starts moving. I think I was annoying him with it. ;-) He's really taking over the general pick up around the house and the cooking of dinner in the evening (or picking up of dinner in the evenings as some times happens). I so appreciate this because like I said the aches are starting to settle in and I know they will only get worse. I also love being married to a man who does not expect to have a germ-phobic approved house and if something cleaning wise is bothering him, he is more than happy to take care of it himself. I really am so lucky to have him in my life. He even let me take his picture this past weekend. My middle brother came over to take some pictures of us in front of our house for our holiday card and my camera-shy guy didn't even complain. The pictures came out beautifully, as did the card design. They were shipped yesterday so we should have them next week and then I can get them out the first of December, hopefully. I can't wait to see them!!

Well, Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 18, 2010


This afternoon I've been subtly reminded of the fairy tale life I have. It's so easy to forget all the blessings in our lives. Work stress, family stress, financial stress, housework stress.... stress, stress, stress. Thank you Rascal Flatts for reminding me of what a lucky, lucky girl I am to be married to my best friend, my partner in crime, high school sweetheart, the one my soul longs for, and for reminding me how close we came to missing out on it all.

Circa: 2000

Circa: Last Weekend (2010)
a little plumper (at least me), a little older, and (hopefully) a little wiser, but more in love today than ever

Now please excuse me while I have myself a good ol' hormone driven emotional pregnant woman cry!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Another Milestone!

That's right! DOUBLE DIGITS BABY!!!! We started at 280 and we are officially down to less than 100!! Our Little Lily Lou is going to be here before we know it!

Monday, November 15, 2010

The 2010 Stafford Family Holiday Card Adventure

I don't usually send out holiday cards. Every year I get a great idea, talk about it, think through how to make it work, sometimes I even take a family picture to include, but every year the time seems to get away from me and before I know it... it's New Years! But this year I'm bound and determined to change this! I've been wanting to have my brother take a picture of me and Jay, maybe in front of our house and that way we can sign them from Jay, Bonnie, and Baby Bump Stafford. :-) I figured I'd just design them and print them myself, but then I realized how laughable that thought actually is! I haven't done any crafting projects like that in MONTHS! Since I found out I was pregnant really. See, The Bump (aka Ms. Lily) has a way of sucking every last ounce of energy out of me and leaving me with maybe enough energy to go from the bed to the couch and back to the bed sometimes. So, I decided this year, maybe I'd enlist the help of some professionals.

Last week I was on Shutterfly.com's website, browsing this year's collection of holiday cards. And then what do I stumble across in my Google Reader Feed Friday morning, but this awesome post from one of my favorite bloggers Marriage Confessions about Shutterfly giving away 50 holiday cards to bloggers who are willing to write about them. A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

Being a design oriented person, and someone who dabbles in stationary design, I can be rather snobby when it comes to stationary. Put another way, I have pretty high expectations. Thankfully, Shutterfly always impresses.

For instance...

I love this one. I love the bold black background, the use of traditional colors and shapes but in a non-traditional, mod way.

I love this one too! The black and white color scheme along with the font choices and design flourishes are elegant in such a simple and almost understated way! Plus the black eliminates the need to worry about colors in your family picture clashing with the colors of the card design.

Have more than one adorable picture you want to include on your card? Have no fear, Shutterfly has plenty of those designs too!

I love the elegance of this one! The colors are non-traditional but beautiful and still feel appropriate for the season. The font combo is awesome, and the snowflake design is beautiful!

But choosing a holiday card design is about more than just picking the example that you like the most. Because a design can be the most beautiful thing you've ever seen, but if your family picture doesn't look "right" in it, then it's a no go.

So, this weekend, my wonderful brother came over with his camera and took a few pictures of us sitting on the front step of our first home. Technically we bought it this time last year, but everything was so hectic that we didn't get to send out our first family-photoshoot-in-front-of-our-first-home holiday card. So, this year will have to do. It took us a little while to figure out how to work with the baby bump so that our friends would say "wow! Look how cute and pregnant she looks!" and not "Wow! She's put on some weight from last year!" We also figured out that the black turtle neck I had on at first was making the bump disappear instead of stand out, so there was a mid-session wardrobe change. But when it was all said and done, I think we got some really awesome pictures, and thus far, this is the forerunner for the 2010 Stafford Family Holiday Card.

But don't be too surprised if you get another design in the mail. As of right now, I have 7 designs saved in my account. I love them all and for different reasons. This could be difficult!!... But oh so fun too! I can't wait until next year when Ms. Lily will be our outside baby. I know I'll need one of the designs with multiple pictures to showcase all her awesomeness!

So, are you a blogger? Would you like to get in on Shutterfly's give away? It's really easy! All you have to do is head over to Shutterfly and register your blog. They'll send you an email with all the information you need, and then away you go!

Happy Monday everyone!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

25 Week Belly Pictures

We took our family picture this afternoon so that I can get our holiday cards made (more on that soon)! While we were taking those, though, my brother got this one. I may have to move to this spot on the front porch from now on since the lighting on the back deck is getting so difficult to work with.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

That's an Eggplant BAAAABY! (Week 25)

Ok! I know I say every week that I can't believe this pregnancy is going so quickly, but this is really getting out of hand!! We are even almost to the 3rd Trimester, which is debated to be anywhere from Week 26 to 28 depending on who's counting or what book you're reading. And we get a new food this week. My little Lily is the size of an eggplant! Holy cow! How is this happening!

That explains why I'm looking more and more pregnant. And why I'm feeling her more and more, which is awesome! Due to having an anterior placenta (when the placenta attaches to the front of the uterus instead of the back) I am behind in feeling her move. I've been getting some "pops" and "knocks" for a few weeks, but nothing really strong enough to feel from the outside (with a couple of exceptions). I feel her moving around every day but it's not what other girls describe. But that is really starting to change. I'm starting to feel my whole belly move when she gets kicking... AND... this weekend Jay got to feel her move for the first time!! It was so awesome! We were lying in bed, enjoying the morning off and he was cuddled up behind me with his arm around my stomach. I had been feeling her moving around but didn't want to say anything because I think I stress him out sometimes when I say she's moving but he doesn't feel it. Well, I think she got the hiccups because it felt like she was jumping off one side of my uterus and banging her head on the other side in quick succession. I felt him go deathly still and then he said, "What was that?? Was that Lily??"  We laid there for a couple more minutes while she did it a few more times and I almost cried! It was such an amazing moment. I can also tell that she's getting bigger because I'm feeling movement further up in my belly. Before she had buried herself deep in my pelvis and most of the movement I felt was very low and on the sides near my hip bones. But now I'm starting to feel kicks and punches closer to the midline of my belly.

I heard something cool the other day, though about her not kicking when Jay puts his hand on my belly. Another girl posted about this phenomenon on my message board (good to know I'm not the only one it happens to). She had heard that sometimes the babies get still and quiet because they are listening to the daddy's voice, because usually when the mommy calls the daddy over to feel they talk and the baby hears the daddy's voice. The babies like the sound of the daddy's voice so they get still and quiet so they can listen to it. I thought that was such a sweet thought. I tell Jay that that is why she gets moving in the mornings after he leaves. He goes to work about an hour before I do, so I'm awake, but still in the bed when he goes down stairs. Before he leaves, he always bends over and kisses my belly and talks to Lily, telling her to have a good day and to take care of Mommy. It's usually about 10-15 minutes later when she starts bouncing around. I tell him that he wakes her up. :-)

So what's up with Ms. Lily this week?

"Your baby's body parts are continuing to become more proportional to each other.  Baby fat is also continuing to fill in your baby's wrinkled skin for a smoother look and more hair is growing, developing texture and color."

So, what up with Mommy?

I've actually had a fairly good week. Had the usual ups and downs but I'm learning to manage them a little better, I think. Had a really great weekend. Saturday, Jay went to Cars and Coffee with the boys so mom and I went to breakfast. MMMmmmmm... the Pumpkin Pecan Pancakes from The Original Pancake House were awesome! We also went to Target and did a little shopping around. I got a new maternity jacket, which I'm loving! It's really more of a heavy sweatshirt, but that's what I was looking for. I usually end up just wearing my fleece most of the winter, but am having a hard time getting it zipped now, plus it hikes up my shirts when I do that.

It's super cute and so nice having something that fits properly! And at only $40, I thought it was worth it. Now, thankfully, when it gets really cold, I'll probably just wear Jay's Columbia jacket if I can even get it to zip. I'm not really interested in paying $100 or more for a heavy coat I'll only wear for a few months. I also figure this jacket will be something I can probably wear after the baby comes.

Saturday night, Jay and I made an awesome Craigslist score too! I'm writing a blog about the epic quest that has been our journey to buying a stroller, but the short version is, I found a used Bumbleride stroller, which retails for $350ish new, for $115! It's awesome! It has all the features I wanted, is a better quality than the one I had on our registry and we actually got it cheaper than the one we have on our registry! I love getting a great quality product for an awesome price! It's in great condition and I think it will serve us very well.

Tonight is our last HypnoBabies class. So I need you all to be following up to make sure I'm doing my practice like I should from here on out! I can't start slacking off now! One fun thing though is that we are having dinner with one of the couples from class tonight! I hope it'll be really fun. They seem like a really cool couple... plus the husband has a BMW which makes them a shoe-in with our group. Hehe. (Note... WE do not have a Bimmer, but Jay's best friend, as well as my brother and his bestfriend/roomate all do. So, we're kind of surrounded by Bimmer people. Hehe.)

So, how's Daddy doing?

He's great as always. Like I said before, he got to feel Lily moving and that was the most exciting thing yet! He has been so awesome with helping with housecleaning, laundry, and food prep lately, since I never seem to have gotten that 2nd Trimester energy surge. Pretty much he's just bumping along, being his usual laid back self. He has really gotten into his role as the Hypno-Guardian (as the HypnoBabies book calls him). He wasn't all that sure of his abilities to be in the labor room with me. He has a hard time seeing those he loves in pain and didn't seem to feel comfortable in his ability to support me. I think the classes have really helped him. They've given him a very positive outlook on the whole experience. He expects that I'll be able to handle everything very well and he knows what to do in order to help me do that. He also sees himself as the guardian, the protector, the watchman. His job is to interact with hospital staff, midwives, nurses, our friends and family, etc. so that I can stay focused on relaxing and riding each pressure wave as it comes. We've talked a lot about how I deal with stress and he knows not to take it personally if I just want to be left alone to listen to my hypnosis script cd's and do my thing. He knows that he is still vitally important even if all he's doing is sitting in the room standing guard. And I love knowing that I'll have him there to help keep me "safe" so I don't have to be worrying about what the midwife or nurses or anyone else wants or needs. I know that he'll deal with them and all I have to do is focus on letting my body do its thing without distractions. I am so thankful to have such a wonderful and reliable partner.

Well... Happy Wednesday everyone! Have a great rest of the week, and I'll talk with you again soon!

Monday, November 8, 2010

24 Week Belly Pics

It's official! There's no denying Ms. Lily any more! Depending on what I wear, you can even see her from the front. 24 1/2 weeks down. Only 15 1/2 to go... ish. Good lord I have so much to do! 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Week 23 Belly Pictures

Sorry this is out of order. I took this on Sunday at 23 weeks 4 days, but just haven't gotten them posted here yet. Can't believe it's almost time to take Week 24's pictures. This pregnancy is just flying by!

Little Miss Lily Lou is certainly making her presence known!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Our Last Week as a Papaya (Week 24)

Good morning all! Today has been a busy one! Lily and I made our first unscheduled stop by the doctor's office this morning. When I got into work, I started seeing blurry spots in my vision. And yes... I cleaned my glasses and it didn't go away! (Jay's always amazed by my ability to see through dirty spotted glasses.) I knew that spots in ones vision could be a bad indicator of high blood pressure so I googled it quickly, being very selective of what I read. In fact I read just enough to know that it could be nothing, but it could be something and that I should give my midwife's office a quick call and then a stepped away from the computer! I usually like to err on the side of calling anyway, since I figure they know a lot more than I do and can tell me if it something I should worry about or not. I get frustrated with the girls on my message board who are constantly posting things like, "What do you think of these symptoms? Should I call my OB?" Um... I don't know. I don't have any medical training. Plus you are PAYING THEM to take care of you, not me. And since I'm not one to call about every sneeze and sniffle, I didn't feel bad.

So, the nurse said it was good that I called. She agreed that it could be nothing, but could be something, especially given that I had a high-ish blood pressure reading last week. So, she was able to get me in to see one of the OB's this morning, since my midwife is at the hospital on call today. I was able to leave work without any issues, and tried my best to stay calm. They checked my urine for protein and sugar and took my blood pressure. I tried my best to relax while they were taking my blood pressure and use my HypnoBabies techniques to battle the anxiety. Amazingly... it worked! Blood pressure came in nice and low 108/68 which is where it should be. The nurse said I was probably either anxious or feeling rushed and that caused the high reading last week.

When I got in with the OB, she even told me something that I'd never heard before (learn something new every day!). She said that you can spot an anxiety induced high blood pressure reading because the top number will be elevated but the bottom number will still be low. And she showed me my history and the bottom number has stayed within a few points of 68 the whole time, which is GREAT! Somehow when they tell me the numbers I only tend to hear the first one and don't get the second one so I didn't realize that that number was staying consistently low. I also asked her if it were possible for me to "fake out" the reading, as in use my hypnosis to artificially bring down a high reading and make it look low. (Only someone with anxiety would find a way to worry about a LOW blood pressure reading!) She said that if the high blood pressure is in fact pathological (i.e. there is truly something going on in my body causing it to rise like pre-eclampsia), then no I would not be able to relax it away. She said it might show up as a mildly elevated, but I wouldn't be able to bring it down so much that they wouldn't catch that something was wrong. So this lets me know that I can safely use my hypnosis techniques to keep me nice and calm when they are taking my blood pressure which will help them get a more accurate reading.

I was really glad to have been able to meet this OB as well! I really liked her and we got a chance to talk about my hopes for a med-free birth. We talked about having the best of both worlds in their practice, where in you can have the low-intervention childbirth advantages of midwife care without having to transfer to the hospital in the event that there is a need for OB care. She even made the comment, "At least with our practice if interventions are suggested you know it's not just because it's 8 o'clock." I loved hearing this! When I decided to switch providers from my OB, I knew I wanted a care provider who, in the event that they suggested an intervention, I could trust wasn't doing it because of some arbitrary time constraints but it was because we had given my body every chance we could and it was truly time to think about medical interventions.

So, bottom line... the Dr said that most likely the spots were a fluke or something they see in pregnancy called floaters. They don't know what causes them, but they aren't harmful. She gave Lily and I a clean bill of health and sent us on our way! Yay!

Beyond this morning's excitement... Today marks Week 24 which is an exciting time. In the pregnancy circles we celebrate Week 24 as V-Day (or Viability Day). Today the chances of a little one surviving outside the womb shifts to the positive side. If Lily were to be born today, she would have a 50/50 chance of survival and that number will only go up from here on out! Not that we want her to come this early! We want her to cook as long as she needs, but its nice to know that we are on the down slope. We only have about 16 weeks left in fact, give or take! Holy Cow! I can't believe how much this pregnancy has sped up in the second trimester. Speaking of, only about 3-4 more weeks until we are officially in the 3rd and final trimester.

Lily is still officially a Papaya. But according to my phone app, she is also about the size of an ear of corn at about 12 in long. Wow! No wonder I'm showing so much and it's because more uncomfortable to sleep! Plus she's about 1.25 lbs. And seeing that I've only gained about 6 lbs (as of last week), things are looking right on track. Now before you get on my case about gaining weight being a good thing... I know that! And I'm not restricting calories or starving myself in any way. It's just that I was overweight to start with so I need to gain less over this pregnancy than others who are of average or underweight. My weight gain should stay closer to 15 lbs over all. And I suspect that most of my weight gain will be in the 3rd trimester as Lily keeps putting on her fat. All my weight gain number means is that I'm not gaining an excessive amount of body fat but only the amount of weight that I need to support Lily and her growth. My butt and thighs are thanking me. And I'll be thanking me after the pregnancy is over when I don't have an excessive amount of weight to lose.

So, what else is Lily up to in there?

"With all the rapidly developing senses in your baby, she should probably be able to sense what is upside down and rightside up.  Your baby's respiratory system is also rapidly growing, lungs are developing in preparation for breathing, moving amniotic fluid in and out of the lungs.  For now your baby still gets oxygen through your placenta."

So, how's Mommy been?

I've had my ups and down this week. We had a very busy weekend, went to the Renaissance Faire on Saturday and then went shopping/carved pumpkins/handed out candy on Sunday. I think I over did it a little. Plus I've not been sleeping very well lately. My growing Lily carrier (i.e. belly) is making it harder to get comfy enough to sleep. And when I don't get enough sleep, I have a harder time controlling my illness. I'm aware of the fact that this will only get worse as the pregnancy goes along and even worse after Lily is born. I'm trying not to worry about it! I'll figure it out as I go along. I left work early yesterday and got some good rest time in. Jay has also been helping a lot over the last few days, letting me pretty much crash out on the couch for the entire evening while he takes care of dinner, etc.

My monthly appointment went very well last week. I saw a new midwife and really liked her. I'm hoping to meet all the midwives since they rotate and I don't know who will actually be on call the day I go into labor. I went in with a load of questions left over from my hospital visit and was satisfied with the majority of the answers. I'm writing a whole other blog about the delivery and my quest to get the experience I want, but the main thing she said that I liked was that the majority of the mothers who really do not want an epidural successfully birth without one. The nurse at the hospital tour said that she estimated that 98% of the women who come through the hospital get an epidural. When I told this to the midwife, she said that that did not sound true for the midwife patients. This really made me feel good. Everyone is so quick to say, "Well, yes you can have a med-free birth AS LONG AS NOTHING GOES WRONG" so often that it sounds like "normal" births are the exception. But she said that was not the case as far as the patients she sees. Yay!

So, how's Daddy doing?

Jay's great! He still hasn't felt Lily move yet. Grr. I think it bothers me more than it bothers him though. I told him that it makes me feel selfish that I'm the only one that gets to feel her and he reminded me that he also doesn't have to feel her kicking his cervix or punching his bladder and he won't have to feel her digging into his ribs later on in the pregnancy so he's ok with me being the only one who gets to feel her right now. :-) Lily has made it very clear that she is not a circus animal and we should not expect her to do her tricks on command since she can be jumping all around but as soon as Jay puts his hand on my belly, she'll go completely ninja stealth on us! Either that or she really likes having his warm hand over her and just kicks in order to make it happen. In that case WE may be the circus animals. Hehe.

The rest of this week should be pretty calm. Our next midwife appointment isn't until the Monday after Thanksgiving. At that appointment I'll have my gestational diabetes test where I have to drink the super sugary gross drink and then they draw my blood to check my sugar levels. Not really looking forward to it, but not necessarily dreading it either. Thankfully, it won't effect my ability to eat as many wonderful Thanksgiving desserts as I want! If I fail the test, it might effect how many wonderful Christmas desserts I can eat, but I don't expect to fail. Thankfully, it's not a big deal as long as its caught. Just means a different diet.

Well, have a wonderful Wednesday everyone! Thank goodness the elections are over and we no longer have to be bombarded with all the candidates commercials! There's not much I despise more than a scewed, half-truth, opponite-bashing campaign commercial and that's pretty much all of them, both sides. SOOOO glad it's over! Now we can get back to the business of... arguing and getting nothing done. (I don't have a burnt out, negative view of politics at all! Why do you ask? Hehe!)