Sunday, January 31, 2010

Nursery Pics!

All that's left to do is the wall decor which is coming soon!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Difficult Decision

It's the eve of my last day of work and I'm officially scared. I have so many thoughts whizzing through my head right now I just don't know what to do. There's good and bad, but mostly all of the scary thoughts are because of the "unknowns". I always have problems with the unknown. I so much prefer to have everything planned out and know the outcome before starting down a path! If only everything was able to work like that and there were no leaps of faith needed.

Mark and I have been discussing me leaving my job to stay at home with the baby since we started trying to get pregnant! This is not a new development and further it's my choice. It's what I *want* to do. I *want* to be able to stay home with my baby. In fact, it's very important to me. I'm so grateful that this is even an option to me. So many families can't survive on a single income and it's not even a thought in their mind that after adding a family member they'll walk away from a significant portion of their household income! Not to mention that my wonderful husband agrees with my point of view on raising a child and supports my decision to stay home with our child and is willing to adjust his lifestyle accordingly.

Keeping all that in mind, walking away from your job is SCARY AS HELL. I'm sure that everyone has those mornings (it's pretty much every morning for me!) where you don't want to get out of bed and you fantasize about what it would be like to not have to get up and go to work every day and you think that would be the greatest thing in the world! Well... being on the threshold of that is not at all what I expected!

I have worked since I was 16. I have *always* made my own money and had my own money. I've not had to rely on anyone else financially for years. I'm now moving into a "career" where I have to allow my husband to fully support me financially not to mention we are going from supporting 2 people on 2 incomes to supporting 3 people on 1! Oy, that scares me when it's laid out like that! We've gone over and over the numbers and we have spent the last year and a half getting our financials in the best place possible to ready ourselves for this jump. I know that on paper the numbers make sense and indicate we'll be fine, but what's on paper and how things go in real life are two different things!

Not to mention I've been in my field for 5 years now and fell right into it at the age of 18. It's not like I'm at the top of the ladder right now, but I'm certainly not in an entry level position and I've worked hard to get where I am. I've done pretty darn well for myself if I do say so. I'm walking away from that to stay home with a baby. I worry that if/when I want to get back into my current field my skills will be rusty, or I won't be able to get back in at the level I'm currently at... or a hundred other things! There are just so many what ifs!

Also, we've planned and worked hard to be able for me to do this. And again, it's what I *want* to do, but what if I don't like it. What if, after all of this - cutting our household income, walking away from my job, etc. - I don't even like it! What if I go crazy at home all day by myself with a baby! What if I'm not ready to be a full-time parent?! I know that staying at home with kids all day every day is not for everyone and I don't judge those people one bit. A happy mom is certainly more important than one that's there to clean up spit up at 11am or change diapers mid-day. What if I find that the grass isn't actually greener on this side and I should have stayed at home for 12 weeks on maternity leave and then taken my happy parasite-free body right back to work and found a sitter we liked for the baby?

What if I have nothing interesting to talk to my husband about anymore? Or what if he resents me because he doesn't think I do a good job at being a stay at home mom? : /


I'm just going to stop. I've gone over and over my fears and anxieties about this change and I can't do anything about the fact that I won't know what this adventure holds until I actually experience it. Chances are everything will be fine (as Mark likes to remind me over and over). I just hope that when I finally meet this baby that I will KNOW that we've made the right decision.

At least I can look forward to a couple weeks of rest before all hell breaks loose. I fully intend to get some extra sleep and spend the rest of my time getting the house all ready for baby! I'll probably feel like I'm on vacation. I doubt I'll be worrying/obsessing/anxious about the situation then! I wonder when it will actually hit me that I don't have a job anymore?! EEK!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Baby Shower Recap!

Oh boy did I have a great time at my shower on Sunday! I had so much fun that after a few hours of baby shower excitement I was absolutely worn out! My mother-in-law did a wonderful job putting everything together and I'm so greatful that she planned this for me!

We started out by playing a few games: Baby Bingo, a memory game where a tray of baby stuff is passed around, then taken away while people try to make a list of the items they saw, and a guessing game where we took a stab at guessing how many cotton balls were in a bit baby bottle piggy bank (I was close, I guessed 50 and there were 57!).

The decorations were amazing and the food was great! It was a jungle theme inspired by our nursery.

People were SO GENEROUS! We came home with LOTS of goodies for the baby!

As I said before, I had a great time, but by the end of the afternoon I was absolutely exhausted!

Off topic, but here's a pic of Kitteh loving on the Pack 'n Play:

She seems to be under the impression that all of the baby stuff coming into the house is actually for her so she's sure to throughly investigate everything. Today we found that she had somehow gotten hold of a binkie from the nursery and brought it to our bedroom to play with. I think our animals are going to need therapy after the baby gets here because they are so used to being the center of attention!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A New Level of Pregnancy Hell

Weight gain? Meh, that'd probably happen anyway over the Winter. Stretch marks? I don't usually make a habit of showing people my tummy. Limited mobility? Who wants to be able to pick something up off the ground anyway? Heartburn? Terrible, BUT I can manage with my now ever present Tums. Pelvic pain for the last 5 weeks? That's beginning to stretch my limit, but I enjoy laying down as much as possible these days regardless.

However, something that does cross the line and is completely unacceptable in my book: insomnia. THIS is NOT okay.

I have read about late pregnancy insomnia. I figured there was NO WAY this would affect me as I have always been a champion sleeper. I sleep and I sleep heavy. I can sleep through my alarm going off in the morning right by my head. I can sleep through Mark getting out of bed, showering, getting dressed and being completely ready to leave for work. I can sleep through our HOUSE alarm going off! I'm a seriously heavy, deep sleeper and I really enjoy that sleep.

Now, I wouldn't say that I'm experiencing extreme insomnia, but sleep issues of any kind are foreign to me. Not to mention, I'm already exhausted all the time! I really need my sleep here! However, my body seems to feel otherwise. For the last week or so I've begun the fun practice of only sleeping for short periods of time.

I sleep for an hour and then I have to get up and pee for the billionth time. I get back in bed, struggle to get comfortable and then sleep for another hour, then I'm up and needing to flip over because my hips are hurting from laying on my side. Flipping over doesn't just involve a brief motion like it used to. Nooooo. It involves me having to lift myself up off my tummy if I want to go that way, or if I want to chance the longer way and roll to my back first it involves lots of groaning because as I shift around my hips and pelvis get hit with sharp pains. THEN I have to drag my body pillow over to the other side (which by the way, the body pillow is pretty much the best thing in the whole world right now) and get that all positioned without accidentally smacking Mark in the head with it or smothering him in the process. By the time I'm situated I'm fully awake, kind of have to pee again, and Mark is also up from all my groaning and moving and such. I repeat this process probably every hour or two now. It doesn't make for a sound night's sleep and it's not something that's appreciated in the least.

I have decided that the last few weeks of pregnancy are biologically formulated to be so uncomfortable that by the time your body is ready for labor you want to actively participate in getting this relatively large parasite OUT of your body. Further, once the baby is back home your body is already used to having to get up every 2 hours so you'll be all ready for those night feedings! I can vouch for the fact that this little trick is mighty effective.

In happier news our baby shower is this Sunday! I'm so excited!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Birthing Class = CHECK!

Whew! I'm glad we got that out of the way! We spent nearly 7 hours today taking a general labor and birth class at Mount Carmel. The instructor went through just about everything one needs to know about the labor and birth process.

The class was pretty interesting and definitely not boring. I can't say I really learned anything new, but it was reassuring to know that I already know what I need to know. Does that even make sense? I hope you understand what I'm getting at. I think Mark learned a few things and probably feels a little bit more comfortable with what to expect and that sort of thing. The instructor did give the support people a lot of hints, which pretty much were along the lines of stay out of a laboring mother's face and don't take snippyness or criticism personally. Really though, I think it was a good thing for the guys to hear about the process and what the mothers are going to be experiencing.

Something that was of interest to me was the information discussed about non-medicated birth. I've read a lot about medications for labor as well as techniques to help a non-medicated labor and birth. I'm still not quite certain what I'm planning to do. Honestly it depends on the day and sometimes the minute. What will likely happen is I'll just play it by ear and put off medication as long as possible to allow my labor to progress naturally for as long as possible, but I seriously doubt I'm going to be able to go without an epidural. It's just such an unknown experience to me and knowing that the option is right there, all I have to do is ask, is going to be very hard to ignore.

The instructor gave information on various labor positions and we got a chance to try a birthing ball, which I really liked. I scare Mark though because he thinks that my unbalanced, klutzy self is going to fall off, which is very likely. He'll have to spot me while I'm on it. For my labor I'll probably utilize the birthing ball, (hopefully, if we can get a room with it) jacuzzi, and massage courtesy of Mark. Massage was also something we practiced today. She provided us with one of those little massage thingers and we'll definitely need a couple of these to save Mark's hands! Looks like this:

We also discussed and practiced some breathing techniques to help us to relax and focus through the contractions. I'm not sure if it'll be helpful or not during labor, but between a full tummy, back massage, and slow breathing I was ready for a nap during class!

Now, we just have to find a pediatrician and have the shower(s) and then Jack is welcome to come at any time!

Friday, January 15, 2010

DIY Air Freshener?

I have this... thing. A pet peeve, if you will. I absolutely abhor stale food smell. I love the smell of good food cooking. I can get on board with some cookies in the oven or a lasagna, bread, or even a yummy meatloaf, but if those smells stick around AFTER the food has been cleaned up it drives me nuts! If that smell happens to sink into my clothes... well then I'm really ticked off. I even avoid certain types of restaurants (Hello Japanese steakhouses and Bob Evans at breakfast time!) because I *HATE* leaving smelling of food. It ruins my day.

Last weekend I put together a breakfast casserole for Mark and I to enjoy. The casserole was absolutely delish, but involved my arch-enemy: bacon. Now, I fully enjoy eating bacon in any capacity. It's yummy. But cooking it? I DREAD it because I know my house is going to smell like a restaurant for the next 3 days and any cloth around the kitchen is going to soak up the smokey, greasy smell! *gag* HATE it.

The good news is perhaps I have found a solution to my problem. I haven't tried this yet, so I can't endorse it's ability, but I just came across a suggested DIY, green, solution for ridding your house of unwanted smells. Ready for this??? Baking soda and water in a Crock Pot! How easy is that? Apparently, if you mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with water and leave it in your Crock Pot on low with the lid off voila! It neutralizes odors in the air! For an added bonus you can add in some scent in the form of essential oils, extracts, spices, or fruit rinds and the air will be scented as it is neutralized.

I can't wait to try this! Baking Soda may just be my new best friend! I have a Little Dipper that would be perfect for this use, but I'm sure you could do the same thing if you brought a pot of baking soda and water to a low simmer on your stove.

If anyone has tried/tries this let me know how it works!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hospital Tour - Check!

Monday evening, at 8PM... in the cold... when I was tired... while the snow was coming down... and it was icy out... I digress, Mark and I took a tour of the St. Ann's Labor and Delivery unit. I don't know exactly what I was expecting, but I wasn't super overly impressed. It's a very nice hospital, but I wouldn't say it's any nicer than Riverside. Maybe I've just heard so much hype about St. Ann's I was expecting a magical place. ::shrug::

The unit is very nice and everything is new and shiny. The labor rooms have all the modern comforts including interwebz access and ESPN on the television, as well as a 24 hour Tim Horton's for Mark's iced cappuccino needs. The post-partum rooms are a little small, but not unusually so and definitely nice. Security seems good and the staff seems nice.

I've heard this is the hospital to deliver at if you want any sort of "alternative" birth. I'm not sure yet exactly what I'm going to do about medication, but I like the idea that the hospital embraces other options besides walk in and get an epidural even if that's what I end up doing! They do have 3 labor and delivery rooms equipped with jacuzzis that they like to reserve for moms trying to go the au natural route. That's a nifty extra.

We have decided this is where we're going to deliver. It's the closest hospital to us and it was very nice. And plus, I was born there. If a FAB person like me comes out of a place like that I'll go in hopes that the greatness rubs off on my baby ; )

Really, what sealed the deal for me was the fact that the R.N. hosting the tour kept talking about how they are changing things to adapt with new research. I LOVE that they aren't (or at least don't seem like they are) rigid about the way they do things in spite of new findings.

Something that was key for me - they don't immediately separate mom and baby following birth. Once baby squeezes out of mom's nether regions the baby is immediately (as long as all is well of course!) placed on mom's chest to warm up vs. being taken across the room to one of those little heater beds to be poked and prodded and that sort of thing.

They also said that they don't have to put the antibiotic goop in the baby's eyes or jab them with a needle for the Vitamin K shot immediately after birth. This is something else that I really liked. They said they are required by law to do it within the first hour post-partum, but it doesn't have to be right away. Poor baby! They have enough to deal with. They're being forcibly squeezed out of the only place they've known into a cold environment with strange people, bright lights, AND they have to breathe on their own all the sudden. Let's give them a break with the poking and prodding and shots, shall we? I'd like to give my baby a chance to nurse first.

Something else that was important to me - baby is allowed to transition with mom from L&D to post-partum and doesn't have to leave the mom's side AT ALL while in the hospital unless you want them to take the baby. This means the the nurse will come to your room to give the baby their first bath instead of whisking them away to the nursery post-birth.

Now, I don't judge anyone else for what they do with their kids including their preferences for birth, nor do I claim to be some expert - I've never even had a kid - BUT from the research I've done, it's very important to me to keep my baby with me and to have physical contact with him immediately after birth.

We did get to go by the nursery and see all the tiny (you know, the closer I get to my due date the bigger those newborns look! It's amazing how that happens.) newborns wrapped up like Chipotle burritos. That was exciting. In just a few weeks we will have our own little Chipotle burrito baby.

Speaking of having our own baby in a few weeks, I went on Monday for my now usual bi-weekly doctor visit. Blood pressure is good, weight is good, and then when the doctor measured my belly she says, "the baby is measuring a little bit big"! Whaa?! So, in 2 weeks when I go back for my next visit they are going to do an ultrasound to get a better idea of the baby's size and weight, but if they do find he's bigger than originally thought then the doctor says they might have to move up my due date a bit! THIS is an awesome and scary prospect all at the same time!

So, I'm very excitedly looking forward to this ultrasound. We weren't supposed to have another one, so this is a little unexpected. We haven't seen the baby since the sex ultrasound around week 20. I'm anxious to know what they find!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Productive Weekend

I confess, I played hooky from work on Friday. I had a super long week and I could go on with a long list of complaints, but what it really boils down to is the weather was nasty and I'm lazy. So... there you go.

I did use my extra free time to (well... sleep, but also) to schedule our hospital labor and delivery tour as well as a birthing class!

January 11th we are signed up to tour St. Ann's baby factory as I'm fairly certain this is where I'll deliver. I guess if I'm not wowed then I'll set up a time to go visit Riverside.

January 16th we are scheduled to take an all day "Express" Labor and Birth Class. From the website:

This class provides the basics of labor and birth preparation. Instruction focuses on essential information for mother and her birth partner, including what to expect during labor and birth, techniques for coping with labor discomforts, medications and epidurals, and medical interventions. Breathing, relaxation and comfort strategies are discussed, and written instruction are provided for at-home practice

I've gone back and forth about whether to take a class. I've read quite a bit about different birthing techniques and what to expect at the time of labor and delivery; I've also been present at 2 births, but at the end of the day I still don't really know what to expect for myself. Everyone is different and everyone's experience is going to be a little different. However, I decided that the more information and knowledge I can gather the better and someone else (::side eyes Mark::) doesn't really know what to expect at all. So I think this class will be good for us. I'm looking forward to it.

Mark spent all Saturday working on the nursery. He has the chair rail up and the holes patched so now I guess he's ready to do the final paint touch ups.

Today we made a trip to Michael's for some nursery decor (along with a 20% off your entire purchase coupon!) and bought a few baskets (at 60% off!), a few cute little decorative wooden animals that we happened to come across ($0.47 each, I couldn't pass them up, they're so darling!) as well as some wooden letters to paint that I want to hang above the crib. They didn't have any "J"s in stock so we ended up with "ACK" and some paint, but I Mark will check back later this week to see if they have any "J"s in yet. I'll hold off on the painting until I'm sure we can track down the last letter!

Then we stopped at Wal-mart to pick up the crib and changing table that we ordered and had shipped to the store. They're currently sitting in the garage in boxes just begging to be put together, but I don't think that's going to happen today. I am SO. EXCITED. to see them set up and in the nursery!

Health-wise all is well besides the fact that I feel like a baby walrus, have trouble rolling over, get tired walking back and forth to the bathroom and ache all over, but I think that just comes with the territory of the latter half of the third tri! Really though, I can't complain (even though I do... to Mark at least) I have, thankfully, had a very healthy pregnancy. I have a doctors appointment tomorrow for the usual weight, blood pressure, and belly growth check. I'm really sick of going, but at least every time I walk out of the office I feel confident that everything is going right on schedule.

In other news, I'm 99% sure that we've decided my last day of work is going to be the end of January. A couple of weeks ago at the time of my (glowing) performance review I broke the news to my manager that I'm not returning post-baby. She was obviously not thrilled at all about the announcement, but she took it as well as can be expected. She told me there might be periodic opportunities for some part-time work, which I told her to definitely contact me about, and she went on to say that when I'm ready to return to work to please call her first because they would love to have me back if at all possible.

She thanked me numerous times for giving her an early heads up and then said that for now, she's going to keep this between her and I so that I can contact HR for some additional information to see if I'm still entitled to maternity pay. (Side note: I emailed HR on December 28th and followed up with a voice mail on the 6th, and still haven't heard anything back. This ticks me off.) I think I'm going to have to forfeit my mat pay, especially since I'm now planning to leave a few weeks before the birth. I'm not too torn up about this. I'll miss the money for sure, but I REALLY will appreciate not having to get up and go to work for the last few weeks of my pregnancy!

Saturday, January 9, 2010