Cooper's birth story - part 2

So, I left off and our son was born, but things definitely weren't going the way we thought they would. Hubby wasn't given the option to cut the cord, Coop wasn't put to the breast, and he was whisked away to the corner of the room for awhile. We knew there was an RT in the room for a reason, (meconium in the water) but things seemed to be taking longer than it seemed. 

As I mentioned, I had some stitches, so I was trying to see what was happening and get my son's stats while going through some pretty awful pain. Hubby was staying by my side and looking as well, so I encouraged him to leave me and go check out our babe - plus he wanted verification it really was a boy!

Next thing I know, they announced Coop's weight - 9 lbs, 13 ounces! I was knocked over by this - we figured he would be 8-8.5 lbs, definitely not practically a 10-lb. baby! As I worked to deliver the placenta, etc., the doctor also noted how healthy and strong it looked, which made me immediately proud, that I was able to grow a baby that healthy and large. 

Cooper was brought to me shortly after and I finally got to hold my little cutie! Shortly after, they came to take him to the nursery to check some things out and clean him up and the nurses were still working with me, so it wasn't a big deal. I remember commenting on how hungry I was - sort of ironic considering what I'd just seen/gone through - and the nurses assured me I could eat in about an hour. 

After that, the afternoon was kind of a blur. I called my parents to share the news. We had lunch. My parents arrived just before Coop was brought back to the room. We sent out tons of text messages. 

To our knowledge at this point, it was a normal delivery. The end was pretty crazy but seeing as we had never been through it before, we thought that was the norm. 

The next day, we learned that Cooper's delivery and entrance into the world wasn't as seemless as the doctor and nurses (thankfully) let on. As some of you may know, an APGAR score (Activity, Pulse, Grimace, Appearance and Respiration) is given immediately after birth and again at 5 minutes after. Babies receive 0-2 points for each category. Cooper's first score was a 2 - not so great. 

It turns out that our little boy's shoulders were pretty big and got stuck in delivery. So he had no color and wasn't breathing or moving when born. When we asked a nurse (although she wasn't ours at delivery) she said that with what she could see of our son and had been told, we were very fortunate to have such a great team on hand to suction everything out of him, etc. She also pointed out that, by five minutes, Coop's score had improved to an 8, so we should be thankful to have such a great little fighter. 

Regardless, we are totally in love and think our son is the most perfect thing ever! Even if he hadn't recovered so well, we would think the same! We often find ourselves exclaiming at how beautiful and perfect he is and are just in awe that we get to keep him. 

Here he is later on his birthday, wearing his "brand new" onesie. Definitely can't tell he had a somewhat traumatic birth :)

And that wraps up Cooper's birth story. Congratulations if you've made it this far. 

I hope to be back later today with a little recap of Cooper's first week! I can't believe it's passed by so fast! Next thing I know he'll be a month, then a year, then a teenager. AHHHH. Excuse me while I go cry my eyes out. 


Cooper's birth story - pt. 1

I realize that some people don't like to read these. And that's fine - but I loved reading these, especially while I was pregnant. Plus, I want to remember all of this!

Also, I'd spoken about a birth plan on here. It never left my suitcase, and practically everything I'd wanted I either changed my mind on or wasn't possible. I do, however, plan to post it and what did/didn't happen.

My labor process actually began on Monday, Nov. 21. After having lots of regular contractions through the weekend, work was a big struggle that morning, and after a few hours of work and contractions that were 3-5 minutes apart, I decided to head home for the day to rest/finish packing and take a bath. All morning, I was in contact with hubby, and he was working quickly on the route so he would get off as early as possible, since I was pretty sure I was in true labor. Once he finished, I picked him up from work, because we didn't want to have to worry about his co-workers getting it in case we were admitted that night. 

After a couple hours of the contractions continuing, hubby and I decided it was time to head to the hospital. On the way up, I remember wondering if it was the real deal, as I was pretty chatty and not in a lot of pain. I know I thought labor would be rougher - but then again, I also knew that everyone reacts to labor pains differently. I was pretty excited, thinking our baby would probably arrive on his due date!

Once we got checked in, the nurses checked me and we learned that I was dilated to about 1.5 cm and still not totally effaced - some progress since my last doctor appointment but not much. However, my contractions were very regular and coming in at 3-5 minutes, like I'd thought. The nurse talked to my doctor, who thought I was in early labor, and offered to let me stay and start a pitocin drip to push me into full labor. I had been against using pitocin (it's a synthetic designed to help with contractions, often used in inductions) but since my doctor, who is against inducing, recommended it, I took her advice and said yes, figuring it would push me into active labor. 

At this point, I was starving - I had only had a granola bar, toast and broth that day. It was also around the time of shift change, so while the daytime nurse said I couldn't have anything to eat, the new nurse (Alexis) said to get something, as we would be there for awhile and the last thing she wanted was for me to be hungry and run down the entire time. Let me tell you, that was the BEST whopper I ever inhaled!

Anyhow, the drip began and hubby and I decided to get some rest. It was pretty tough for me, as I was hooked up to all sorts of things and needing to use the restroom every one to two hours, so I didn't get the best sleep. I think it was around 1 a.m. when Alexis checked me again and I had no progress. And let me tell you, internals hurt. Pitocin can cause a lot of pain, and she noticed I was experiencing it, so she offered to put me on a morphine drip as well, but I initially declined it.  

She left and I had a little freak out moment, crying to J about it all. I was in pain, but I was crying because I was so frustrated. I wanted my baby to be born and I didn't feel like it was ever going to happen. One of the other nurses came in at the time to check my vitals and noticed my tears. I asked if it would be possible to take a bath - I thought that would help. My nurse OK'd it and I spent about 30 minutes soaking. Once I was out, they offered the morphine again and I said yes. I was having some bloody show and lots of cramps, which confirmed that while I wasn't really dilating, I was thinning. 

I think the morphine was one of the mistakes I made. It seriously slowed me down. However, it did knock me out and allow for some really great sleep. 

The next thing I knew, it was morning and my new nurse, Julie (who turns out to be a second cousin - I had asked about her and luckily she was working) was there and giving me an update. Basically, my body wasn't really doing what they thought it would after the Pitocin. My contractions had slowed and weren't regular at all anymore. The doctor suggested stopping the Pitocin and seeing how my body reacted, then checking me again in a couple hours. So we slept some more. Once I had some decent sleep, hubby and I walked the halls some to see if that would help move things along. She last checked me around 11 (I think) and I was at about a 2. Julie called my doctor and while the doctor was unsure what to do, Julie suggested we discharge and go home, since there was no real idea of when my labor would pick back up. 

Hubby and I left and went to grab some lunch. We then stopped at the mall (I had an Old Navy coupon for $20 off a $40 purchase that expired that day) and I also wanted to do some walking. 

Once we got home, hubby took a nap and I took another bath, then napped. Around 4:30 p.m., I began having very strong, shooting pains. I didn't know what they were - they were different from the contractions I'd been experiencing, and I was having them about 20-30 minutes apart. 

Through the night, these pains progressed as well. They got harder and harder - but still not very close together. Some brought me into tears, however, and I started having to go to the bathroom every time I had one. I was so nauseous, I only had a granola bar and maybe half a bowl of soup for supper. 

Once 10 p.m. rolled around, we knew it was about time to head to bed, and I told hubby that I was going to sleep on the couch, as it would be too difficult to roll over out of bed every time I experienced a contraction or needed to go to the bathroom. He stayed in the living room with me, and I ended up having contractions about every 10-15 minutes apart for awhile. And they were PAINFUL, and about three to five minutes each. The only way to get through them was to kneel with my arms on the seat of the couch. A couple times, I woke up to another contraction after having fallen asleep in that position. 

After awhile, I called L&D and luckily Alexis was there again. She understood that I didn't want to come in for another false alarm and wasn't sure what was going on, as my contractions were so far apart. Remembering how I'd liked the bath the previous night, she suggested I try that and see what happened. I thought it was a great idea, so I got in - but it didn't provide the same comfort I'd experienced with other baths. It seemed the contractions were getting closer together, too. 

I got out of the tub and told hubby I thought we should think a bit more seriously about going to the hospital again, but I still wasn't sure. Honestly, I wanted him to make the decision. He decided to take a quick shower and told me to walk around and change positions to see what happened. During this time, it got even worse. Later, when I was getting dressed, I ended up in so much pain I was crawling around. That's when I told hubby that I didn't even care if I was in labor at that point, I had to go to the doctor to get something to manage the pain! 

I really don't remember much of the drive, just that I was in pain and afraid of going to the bathroom! I had probably 4 or 5 contractions on the way? I just tried to zone out and focus on getting to the hospital. When we were about 10 minutes away, I called the hospital to let them know we were almost back and asked if I could have a wheelchair and I didn't think I could walk that far. 

Once we got upstairs (around 3 a.m.) I quickly changed into the gown and remember telling her that I best be at least a 4, because I knew that definitely signaled active labor, and that I could get an epidural. These pains were no joke and there was no way I could endure them. Thankfully, I was a 4.5! She said she would call the doctor but they were definitely keeping me and she would start getting things in line for the epidural. 

I honestly don't remember much until I got the epidural (about 4 a.m.) other than more pain and my being super excited to share the news of my progress with J. When the epidural lady came in, I thought she looked like an angel! 

Once it was going, things got moving. Luckily I couldn't feel any contractions, and they were getting to be about three to four minutes apart - some back to back - so I was glad I took advantage of the epidural. 

About 5 a.m., a catheter was inserted, which made things easier on me, not having to get out of bed. Since epidurals can slow things down, the doctor really wanted them to artificially break my water, so I said OK. Alexis did this at 5:18 a.m., and also noted I was dilated to somewhere between 5 and 6 centimeters. I asked for a popsicle, and my loving husband got me one :)
The nurse also noted that there was some meconium (the baby's first poop) in my water, so they would have a respiratory therapist on hand during delivery, just in case. 

At 6:15 a.m., I was dilated to between a 6 and 7. The baby wasn't reacting well to the way I was lying, so they gave me an oxygen mask and had me roll onto my left side. 

My doctor came in at 7 a.m. and said I was 7 cm. They rolled me to my right side. 

Julie was my nurse again :) As of 8:20 a.m., I was 7.5 cm. and the contractions were very close. 

In between all this, I was trying to get sleep. I definitely needed it!

By 9:45 a.m., I was 8.5 centimeters and feeling the urge to push but holding back. Julie got things ready for delivery, and I began doing some practice pushed at 10:15. Ten minutes later, Julie saw the top of the head - and dark hair!

At 10:30, I began doing more practice pushes. Hubby wrote "Michelle is doing great." A couple minutes later, he was able to see the baby's head. I requested a mirror so I could see and it was moved in around 10:40. We then continued doing practice pushes along with my contractions every 2-3 minutes. 

By 11:25 a.m., we could see the baby's head even when I wasn't pushing. It was around then that Julie asked for our last guesses regarding the sex/size of the baby. Julie said girl, I said girl and 8-8.5 lbs., while Daddy said boy.

This is where things got crazy and hubby didn't get to take anymore notes. I believe it was around 11:30 the doctor entered the room and we had a real audience. I had a nurse on either side and the doctor in the middle. I continued doing pushes. Shortly after, I started telling them when I would push. Every time I got to the third round, I would close my eyes and hope the head would pop out. 

Time actually seemed to go by pretty quickly, but I was wearing out. J was administering my oxygen mask by this point. Then, all of a sudden, things got crazy. I had been pushing for 10-second phases in sets of three or four, but all of a sudden, it felt like everyone was yelling at me to push and I was being surrounded. I was in so much pain my eyes were closed and I remember yelling "I can't!" and "It hurts too bad!" I didn't hear a baby crying, so I was confused why everyone was so excited. Finally, I worked up the energy, held my breath, and did a push. 

Next thing I knew, I heard the doctor say: "I seriously underestimated the size of this child." She said something about it being a boy, and I looked at hubby with tears in my eyes. He said that when he looked down, he had no idea what was going on - he had turned away after seeing the afterbirth and didn't even hear the big announcement! RIght then, the OB tech was about to cut the cord. Hubby wanted to do this and I was about to tell them so, but I didn't even have the energy to do so and figured he would object if it were that big of a deal. Then our little boy was whisked over to the edge of the room to be checked out, while I was stitched up - I had a second degree tear, which wasn't too bad all things considered. 

This time was actually scarier than we realized at the time. But I have a hungry baby right now, so I'll be back with that and the rest of the story later today (I hope!)



Well, I'm sure y'all have figured where I've been.

That's right, I've been loving all over this sweet bundle of joy!

Cooper Michael was born at 12:15 p.m. Nov. 23, 2011. He was bigger than anyone expected, weighing in at 9 lbs. 13 ounces and was 21.5 inches long. 

So far, he is very bright-eyed and has lots of hair! 

Be back soon with lots of updates - his nursery, the birth story and more! 

I am so in love with this little angel!


Bumpdate: 40 weeks

Well, my due date is here. Now I don't feel so bad about all my misery over still being pregnant.

At the beginning of my pregnancy (and still now) I told myself that I would stick it out to the 41 week mark, which my doctor supports and actually advocates, if need be. However, around 30 weeks, Baby R began to grow like a weed and I started measuring two weeks ahead. At one point, his/her weight was about a pound bigger than average. While the weight gain seems to have tapered off a bit (thank goodness, I really didn't want to have to push out a toddler!) he or she is still a big (likely tall) baby and has continued to measure one to two weeks ahead. This, combined with others' comments about how big my belly had gotten, really had me thinking the baby would be born a week or so early. So still being pregnant isn't the end of the world, but it is frustrating!

Add to this that I was having one minute contractions three to five minutes apart for about two hours last Friday, while up and moving around. Then we lay on the couch and nothing. I really thought a baby would be coming that night. I'm beginning to think that not knowing the sex is much easier than not have an appointment scheduled for this baby to come out! The not knowing when truly is the hardest part.

However, everything is ready. The bags are packed and loaded, other than the last-minute things like my makeup and straightener. I'm as mentally prepared as I can be. Hubby and I are hoping for the baby to be born today, so he can have today-Thursday off work, go back on Friday for a semi-easy day, then have three more days to use - likely that first week of December.

Last week hubby looked at me and said I better get the turkey out of the oven soon, my timer was about to pop!

I don't think I've mentioned it yet, but at last week's appointment, my blood pressure was pretty high, so they made me lie on my left side and did another check in five minutes. Luckily, it looked perfect after that!

As of last week, I was still dialated about a 1. Hoping that's different by now with all the cramping/contracting I've been feeling.

No real cravings. My weight is actually down, and I'm at the 22-23 lbs. range for weight gain right now. I wish my stomach didn't look like I'd gained 50. But the belly is so big, I'm down to just a few outfits that I can wear without constantly tugging my shirt down. Lucky for me, we are off Thursday-Friday and if the baby isn't born by next Tuesday, we'll come up with a plan to get him/her out.

Last week after I watched the L&D video on my pregnancy app, I put the phone to my belly and replayed it in case Tuff needed some direction. Yes, I closed my office door to do so.

According to my app, during week 39, Baby is like a mini watermelon right now - and people continue to tell me I look like I swallowed either a watermelon or basketball. Doctor still guessing about 7.5 lbs at last week's appointment, so I'm going to say he/she will probably be about 8?

Tuff continues to build a layer of fat to help control body temperature once born, and the outer layers of skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath.

No picture today. Not feeling it. 


Miscellany Monday

{1} So, I'd planned to post nursery pictures today since we finally got everything hung on Friday night, but silly me, I left my memory card at home! So it will have to wait until tomorrow probably.

{2} Part of me hopes I'll be introducing you to Baby R before I reveal the nursery. I know I'm biased, but I seriously think it's the most beautiful room I've ever seen!

{3} I've had lots of "baby action" over the weekend, but never enough to push me into active labor. Grrr. I joke if baby is like me, he/she will come today or tomorrow - right on time or a little early. Of course, if like daddy, he/she will be late.

{4} Friday and Saturday, I got pretty amazing sleep. And napped during the day Saturday/Sunday. Last night, I was up off and on from 2-6 a.m. I don't think I will be making it at work past noon today.

{5} Other than the obvious, what are tips/tricks you've heard for getting the baby out? Right now, our house is in order - I contemplated staying home today, but reasoned with hubby that all I'd have to do is wash dishes and pick up the spare bedroom - combined, these tasks shouldn't take more than an hour. So I assumed I'd just be bored and came into work anyhow. I've eaten pineapple, taken long, relaxing baths and done the nesting thing. In fact, when I was up this morning, I folded a load of towels around 3 a.m. - am I crazy?

{6} Is it bad that part of me hopes to be in the hospital on Thanksgiving? I don't want to be running around, nor do I want people stopping by all day. I'm in a generally pissy mood these days and hate it, so I try to avoid people.

{7} I do love how clean our house is though. J even cleaned out our shed and garage over the weekend. And we got to spend some great time together ... you know, he watched some shows that we'd DVR'd to clear up space, while I napped.

{8} I totally planned to bake some pumpkin chocolate chip muffins yesterday, but I never had the energy to do so.

{9} If you are tired of hearing me talk about pregnancy things, feel free to say so. I'm kind of sick of it too.

{9} I've noticed that, as my due date nears, I'm getting more daily page views. If you are new and stopping by, please say hi! And if you haven't yet, vote to guess our baby's gender - since my due date is tomorrow, I think it's set up to close then as well.

{11} Our menu plan for the week looks something like this:

Sunday - Applebees
Monday - Something with chicken ...
Tuesday - Dinner with friends (I think I am taking a salad? better check on that!)
Wednesday - BBQ sandwiches, french fries
Thursday - TURKEY DAY! We've had plenty of offers for dinner, including people who say they'll bring food to us in the hospital
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - We'll see. Maybe just frozen pizza?

THANKful: Day 6

Manic Mother

Hands down, my favorite Thanksgiving dish is the chicken and dressing. But I never have made them (in fact, my mom often makes me 9x9 dishes to freeze throughout the year) so I'd feel a little weird sharing the recipe.

Instead, I'll share a staple I make for most every holiday, especially hubby's family. We LOVE this low-calorie dish.

Cheesy hashbrown casserole (imiage via Google)

What you'll need:
2 bags of hashbrowns
1 can cream of mushroom
1 can cream of chicken
8 oz. sour cream
1/2 stick butter
Shredded cheddar cheese

To make:
  • Dump your hashbrowns (preferably thawed overnight, so your hands don't freeze!) into the baking dish or a bowl, if you don't want things to get too messy!
  • Mix in soups and sour cream. I find it's easier to just mix with clean hands! Also, if you don't like one of the creams/don't have them on hand, you can do both the same, just use two cream soups.
  • Pour into 9x13.
  • Melt butter and pour on top.
  • Bake in a 350 degree oven for 1 hour, stirring every 20 minutes or so.
  • Once the hour has passed, mix in shredded cheese. I usually do about 1.5 cups, but it all depends on how cheesy you like it! I also sprinkle a layer on top.
  • Return to oven for about 15 minutes or until cheese has melted.
Enjoy! This stuff is so good, I can just sit down with a plate of it as leftovers and be completely satisfied!


THANKful: Day 5

Manic Mother

With all the advancements we've seen in the 21st century, it's wild to think about how things will be different in another 100 years. But here are some of the things I am most THANKful for:

- My iPhone. LOVE it, can't live without it. But even if I didn't have it, cell phones in general.

- Microwaves.

- Mini fridges. It's great to have this at work!

- Computers. I mean, the way networks are, lots of people can practically work from home. And once baby gets here, I'll be able to do that some days!

- The internet and all it entails - email, social networking, etc. So great to keep in touch! (And make new friends, like you :)) 

- Ultrasounds. I can't imagine not getting to see my babe!

- Technology in vehicles. Cruise control, XM radio, heated seats, remote start ... what's not to love?

- Heat and air conditioning.

- A time when it is acceptable for women to work. But OK if they don't.

What are some of the 21st century luxuries you couldn't live without?


Thankful Thursday (3)

Week Three of Thankfulness :)

Nov. 11: Thankful for all of the veterans who have sacrificed so much to give us freedom.

Nov. 12: Thankful for all of the cute mom-and-pop stores in our Downtown Area. I love shopping there where I get unique items and support local people.

Nov. 13: Thankful for my friends' babies. I love loving on them! Happy 3rd birthday Payton Oliver!

Nov. 14: Thankful that mine and hubby's phones are working (after a 2 hour drive to St. Louis' Apple store to get them fixed on Sunday)

Nov. 15: Thankful that hubby and I have jobs. We may not always love them, but they are enjoyable and allow us to enjoy a comfortable lifestyle and pay the bills.

Nov. 16: Thankful for our furbabies. Even if Doc and Jax (our two studs) are being mean to each other.

Nov. 17: Thankful for friends who come to the rescue with makeup so I don't have to go home before a meeting to make myself more presentable.

THANKful: Days 3&4

Manic Mother

Oh hey guys. How are you doing?

I've been really behind on things. A million things going on and through my mind. So much that I forgot to put on makeup this morning. Whoops.

But I haven't forgotten this little linkup. Wednesday's topic was about why we are thankful for our hometown. Last year, I wrote a "me on the map" post, so to be lazy, I'm just going to link it HERE. I LOVE being a Sikestonian :) And my new job working in development makes me even more proud, since I feel I am making a positive impact in trying to grow the community through education, bringing in new jobs, etc.

Today's linkup topic is why we are thankful for the Blogosphere. I have to say I have made some of the best friends through blogging, and learned so much about other places, who I am, pregnancy, childcare, new products and more. When I started this blog about two years ago, we were in the process of buying our first home and I wanted to journal our feelings on that, plus document the befores and afters. I still share home projects (which are few and far between) but I've also used this as a way to post my random thoughts, details on our wedding, pregnancy and more. Someday, I know I'm going to love being able to look back at this all, and I plan to make a book. I'm sure that as Baby R grows, I'll pull excerpts from the blog to use in his/her baby book and photo books. I'll also use y'all to answer my questions.

I blog for myself - in fact, I don't think many people I know IRL are aware I have a blog. But it is nice to have those blog buddies who are there to support you, give you advice, rally around you, and also share details of their life. I LOVE every email conversation I have with my blog friends.


Bumpdate: 39 weeks

Yes, I'm still pregnant.

Not that I should really be surprised - after all, I still have a week to go and most babies (especially first) are a few days late. I'm just anxious/disappointed/frustrated. People keep commenting on it, my feet look like they should be painted green (like Shrek!) and it's hard to move. I'm maybe dilated to a one. Sigh. I've pretty much consigned myself to the fact that Tuff is obviously very comfortable and may enjoy Thanksgiving through his/her umbilical chord.

There has been a lot going on, however. Thursday I was kinda crampy all day and had several contractions all night, so I hoped I would end up with my 11-11-11 baby after all. Nope, when I moved around they went away.

Saturday night/Sunday morning, I woke up around 1 a.m. due to the pain of a contraction, so I thought maybe that was triggering something. But when I took a bath (at 2 a.m., mind you) they went away - until I'd been back in bed for about 10 minutes. I don't think hubby or I one got a lot of sleep that night, as they were quite painful and he was timing them - all under a minute and again, every time I'd get up and move, they went away. I finally got up for the day around 6:30 a.m. in hopes that hubby would get some sleep. By the time he got up around 8:30 I realized that I probably had a bladder infection or something of the sort, so I got in touch with the on-call doctor, who said we should come in to L&D, mostly due to me being so far along. After talking to my doctor yesterday, it's still pretty unclear what is going on, but it looks like it's not an infection, but irritation stemming from my kidney stones. Anyhow, while I was there they hooked me up to a couple monitors to keep an eye on baby's heart rate and see if I was having any contractions. I was actually surprised to see how intense some of the contractions were, as I didn't really feel them!

Nothing to report from yesterday's doctor appointment. My blood pressure was kinda high at first, but it leveled off. Still a good, strong heartbeat in the 130s and measuring around 40 weeks. She didn't really think baby had gained much weight in the past week either. While she was checking me, she noticed I was having another contraction - which I didn't feel. Please, Lord, make sure I know I'm in labor and can deliver at the hospital!

Since I felt quite a bit of activity last Thursday, both of our bags are packed. Once I get my sweet husband to hang the art on the walls, the nursery will be done and we can get pictures :)

Anyhow, here's what my weekly email says about week 38. At that point, they are typically about 6.8 lbs and 19.5 inches. By this time, they have mastered a firm grasp and organs are mature and ready for life outside the womb!

No cravings or anything to report this week. Weight gain still around 24 lbs.

And here I am. I was thinking I still hadn't dropped, but comparing this week's bare belly shot to last, I think I may have slightly?


An update :)

The 39 week bumpdate is delayed due to my crazy work schedule and life happenings. Hopefully I will get it posted tonight or tomorrow morning.

Baby is still snug as a bug and we are good though.

Love love!


Manic Mother

I'm linking up with the challenge again, and today we are talking about YouTube (and other Internet fun!)

I have to be pretty honest and say that I mostly just use YouTube to see commercials or music videos. So while I love it, it's not one of those can't-live-without things.

But I am quite addicted to the Internet. In our old duplex, I was so bad about just sitting around playing on the computer ALL NIGHT after sitting at work in front of a computer for 8 hours a day. Bad Michelle. I still use my iPhone quite a bit at night, but I'm definitely not as bad.

My most-visited sites include:

Blogger (duh)
Our local newspapers

What I love about online is that everything is at your fingertips! It's such a great way to type in something and have it articulated. I love crafty things but am not crafty at all, so Etsy gives me a chance to buy those items as girls and support the small guy.

In terms of the social media sites, I like to stay informed and know what's going on. If I happen to know too much about your life, I think it's your fault because you are sharing it in a public forum. But how great is it to remember all those birthdays you wouldn't otherwise? Or better yet, be overwhelmed by the number of birthday greetings you get or congratulations on big life events? It's a great way to keep in touch and connected. While I do agree there are certain evils to social media, it's still a great tool I am very THANKful for :)


THANKful:: Day One

Manic Mother

I'm participating in the Plenty to be THANKful challenge and today's topic is guilty pleases.

Man, do I have a lot of guilty pleasures. That I've been partaking in more than I should lately.

They include:

- Long baths.
- Chocolate (M&Ms these days). Or any sweets, for that matter.
- Hitting the snooze button one.more.time.
- Trashy reality TV. Although I am making a real effort not to watch the Kardashians since Kim's scam divorce.
- Looking at hubby and suggesting restaurant/fast food I know he'll love for supper. Last week, we had Lamberts' takeout and it was divine.
- Lounge pants
- Online shopping
- Social media

What are your guilty pleasures?



For a while now, I've been struggling with my expectations in terms of divvying up responsibilities once the baby is born. And honestly, I'm still conflicted and need some advice! I don't care if you have kids or are just in a relationship and have confronted the same "how do we share the load" situation, I want your advice so I know I'm not being unreasonable.

First, let me give you some background:
  • At my previous job, we only worked 32 hours/week for the past three or so years. Hubby on the other hand works commission, so he typically works 50-60 hour weeks. Naturally, I stepped up and took care of most of the household duties because of the difference in our work schedules.
  • In late July, I took a new job. It's "full time" but I am on a salary and don't punch a time clock, so some weeks I work less than 40 hours while other weeks I work more.
  • Most every morning, I pack J's lunch and make him breakfast. And 99 percent of the time, I do the cooking and cleaning up for supper.
  • We (now) both bring home about the same amount of money every month. However, we keep our money separate, but have a joint account that pays our bills, such as the mortgage, groceries, utilities, etc. and both transfer an equal amount of money to it every month.
  • I'll be the one to take the to/pick him/her up from daycare unless I am working late. It just makes sense with him driving a work truck.
So where do we draw the line? For instance, I think that if I have been up with a crying baby, he shouldn't expect me to make breakfast, pack lunch and brew coffee. I've hinted at this and it seems that he doesn't agree.

I think that we should share in the household responsibilities - especially everyday things like cooking supper and cleaning up - equally. Hubby's often joked (?) that when he comes home he'll take over baby duty while I do all that, but I just don't think that's entirely fair. I mean, I want some baby fun time too, especially when I'm back at work. And cooking/cleaning is by far harder than playtime.

How do we handle the night time feedings? For the record, I plan to bottle feed breast milk, so it's something both of us can do. And my dear husband actually thinks that by the time I go back to work when Tuff is six weeks old, the baby will be sleeping through the night. People can dream, I suppose.

What's going to happen to our morning routine? Since hubby leaves for work 30-45 minutes before I do, will all the baby care fall on my shoulders? Right now, I get up once he is out of the shower and do his breakfast/lunch then focus on getting myself ready after he leaves. Which means if he oversleeps and is late, I probably will be too.

Most specifically, I'm not sure how to handle maternity leave. I've learned that with J, I need to express my expectations early on, or he thinks that is the status quo. For instance, he still expects me to do more around the house, even though I am now working full-time.

No, my job isn't as physical and yes, I still work fewer hours, (two things he has pointed out) but on the same token, I contribute equally financially around our household (perhaps more if you consider that I could care less whether we had horses that we spend a decent amount of money feeding every month) so I think that should make a bearing.

Life at home with a newborn isn't a walk in the park like I believe most men see it to be. Babies typically need to be fed every three hours, right? So by the time you feed them, burp them, clean them and get them back to sleep, you only have 1-2 hours in there. Mommies need sleep too. Mommies need down time. And it's hard to juggle that with cooking and cleaning!

Due to starting a new job while pregnant, my employer (very graciously!) worked out a plan so I would not have to go on COBRA and will continue to be paid, although I don't have short-term disability. So after I've wiped out my accrued vacation time, I will work part-time from home. I'm not sure how much yet (it could be as little as five hours/week) but that will definitely change things.

*Just a disclaimer, my husband isn't an ass like some of these examples may make him out to be. I just think we have very different ideas on what the expectations should be and since he and I both were fortunate enough to have mothers who stayed at home raising us, it is something we aren't sure how to handle. If I were an SAHM, I would view things very differently.


Thankful Thursday (2)

Here's Week 2 of my November tradition :)

Nov. 4 - I'm thankful for an awesome hairdresser who does a great job on my hair and is a good friend (we went to high school together!)Nov. 5 - I'm thankful that at this point in my pregnancy, I am blessed to still be active.

Nov. 6 - I'm thankful for the friends that have become family.

Nov. 7 - I'm thankful for a beautiful home.

Nov. 8 - I'm thankful that hubby and I both have jobs to pay for our beautiful home and a good lifestyle.

Nov. 9 - I'm thankful to have an awesome doctor and staff who make me feel so comfortable and never like I'm holding them up or asking stupid questions.

Nov. 10 - I'm thankful to have a refrigerator, deep freeze and pantry full of food. Some aren't so lucky.


Wednesday randoms

  • THERE IS AN END IN SIGHT! Ha! Yesterday we went to my weekly doctors appointment and I found out that while there is no dilation, I am about 70 percent effaced (thinned). There's been a big change in barometric pressure here and there is a full moon beginning tomorrow, so I'm still hopeful to go into labor at some point over the weekend.
  • If not, I have an excuse not to drive the hour to our main campus for work Monday/Tuesday. And my mom also offered to drive me if need be.
  • I'm also measuring like I'm already 40 weeks pregnant. In my mind, that means my job is done! Haha. I'm actually not that miserable, I'm just anxious and impatient. I want my baby HERE!
  • Last night we set up the pack and play. I hope it's not that hard to disassemble and set up every time we transport it. If so, it will not be packed :)
  • We planned to come straight home after seeing the doctor, but decided to make a trip to Sears instead to check out the treadmills (we've both been wanting to make this purchase!) and I told hubby to look through the tools, etc. to pick out a few things he might like for Christmas/his birthday. I now have several photos on my phone - including item numbers - so I'll probably just wait for a good Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale and buy online.
  • Online shopping will be the death of me someday. Thankfully hubby and I keep our money separate so it's not something he can get too upset about :)
  • The fall color is beautiful right now. Love the orange leaves. Definitely worth the wait.
  • The weather hasn't been too bad either. Highs were in the 70s yesterday and should be in the 50s today. I can't really get socks on at this point, so I'm very hopeful we'll have decent weather until Tuff decides to arrive.
  • I dreamt the other night that we were surprised with twins. Scared the crap outta me.
  • Hubby and I are discussing selling my car (a 2003) very soon. We could really get by with just one vehicle, especially while I am on maternity leave. Since my car will just sit for awhile, we figure we may just sell it, earn a little interest off the money, then use it toward a newer vehicle with 4-wheel or all-wheel drive in late December, before I go back to work. That way too, we will save on insurance for a month or so - not too expensive, but it adds up!
  • I am "nesting" at work today. So far, I've cleaned out all the desk drawers and am working to get them organized. I've already filled one trash can - ha!
  • Since I haven't had time to decorate the house for fall, I am super-excited to get out all my Christmas stuff SOON. I usually don't pull anything out until after Thanksving, but that's only about two weeks away. However, there are a few craft sales in town this weekend and I plan to hit those up. Walk, walk, walk :)
  • I could spend an entire weekend catching up on the DVR and probably still have shows to watch.
  • I'm in the mood to bake, but don't have the energy. Sigh.
  • I think that's all for today. Happy Wednesday!


Bumpdate - 38 weeks

I'm crossing my fingers this may be the last Bumpdate. But realistic enough to realize I probably have one or two left to go.

Believe me, this baby can bake as long as he/she wants to (up to Nov. 29, that is) but I am SO READY to meet this little munchkin. Not to mention there is a big lunch meeting on Nov. 19 with my work that I'd love to be able to attend, but am pretty sure there is no way I'm going unless the babe is at least two weeks old. At about 8 pounds, don't you think he/she is ready to come out? I mean, it's getting to the point where I feel pressure from the babe on my hip and ribs at the same time.

On to the recap from last week.

During Week 37, Tuffy ...
  • Was finally considered full term. Meaning while it wasn't quite due date, his/her lungs were mature enough to fully adjust to life outside the womb.
  • Weighed 7-8 lbs. according to the doctor - generally, it's 6 1/3 lbs at this time.
  • Gave mommy lots of heartburn. Does this mean we may have a head full of hair?
  • Chubby baby with a head full of hair? I die!
Mommy ...
  • Believes she has experienced some Braxton Hicks contractions. And a lot of cramping.
  • Continued to drink all the time. Chocolate milk, grapefruit juice and KoolAid ... yum.
  • Went through about half a bottle of Tums.
  • Realized her belly button is now flush with the rest of the skin. Not an innie or an outtie.
  • Feels like the baby is trying to rip apart her skin at times! I have very sensitive skin and will probably never wear a bikini again :( But I'm sure Tuffy will be worth it.
  • Thinks the baby has dropped some based on how the bump looks.
  • Continued swelling.
  • Gained about 24 lbs.
  • Gotten up 2-3 times a night to use the restroom. But other than that, very blessed when it comes to being able to sleep.
  • Is constantly hitting her belly on something. Most often while opening the refrigerator door. Reason 416587341 this baby needs to come out soon!
  • As sure as I was that baby was a boy for such a long time, I now have that same conviction Tuff is a girl. We shall see soon :) It seems like most of you all are thinking boy though. If you haven't voted yet, please do!
Now that we've reached the 38 week mark, Mommy plans to ...
  • Walk every day, even if it's just up and down the stairs
  • Eat spicy foods!
  • Spend lots of quality time with Daddy :) Including a date night on Saturday if the baby has not decided to grace us with his/her presence.
  • Pray for some sort of progress at today's dr. appointment!
Over the weekend, we did some "nesting" projects. We got Tuff's "Just Born" onesie all ready to go, and I packed the majority of our things for the hospital. We gave the nursery another good cleaning and painted the frames for the artwork. Did all the laundry. Cleaned most of the house (including the trim and finishing the deep clean in the spare bedroom, finally!) Cleaned out the truck and installed the car seat and mirror. Finished thank you cards and got them in the mail.

So, I'd say I'll definitely be ready for a baby later this week. Are you listening, Tuffy?


miscellany monday

{babies are a lot of work}
seriously. how am i supposed to rest before the baby comes when we have a million or so things to do? ha! it's actually not that bad, it was just a busy weekend. we got quite a bit done yesterday though. thank goodness. i'm waiting on the prints for the walls which i should be able to pick up today, and i think once i get that done, the nursery will finally be ready. we still have a to-do list, but i condensed about three pages to one yesterday morning. and we keep adding things!
and yes, i realize i should enjoy the time i have now, because it will be even less once tuff arrives.

{yummy food}
so, we played texas hold 'em with some friends on saturday. as usual, the food was delish! i made a veggie pizza - simplest appetizer ever and decently healthy. pre-baked crust, veggies, cream cheese and a ranch dressing packet. so yummy, i used the other crust and rest of the packet to make another yesterday and that is today's lunch :) and lynn made her delish "artery cloggers" - little smokies wrapped in bacon, topped with brown sugar and baked. yum-o. baby was definitely a fan of those.

{new hair}
i've mentioned that i had a hair appt. friday and didn't want the baby to come before that. hey, it hadn't been cut since late august! i wanted something different but didn't know what, and figured now isn't the best time to start styling my hair differently. so we added some caramel and blonde highlights, trimmed as usual and also threw in a side bang. LOVE. but forgot to get pictures. i think what i love most is that i still haven't washed it and it only took about 5 minutes to touch up this morning.

why do some people feel like they need to be in on EVERYTHING that goes on it others' lives? and if they don't know things, they practically get jealous and go nosing around? if i want you to know something, i will tell you! don't look at my facebook status that is ambiguous for a reason then go calling my husband to hint around and try to find out. grrrrrrr.

{menu monday}
so as i was cleaning out our upstairs freezer yesterday, i noticed that we have a lot of pre-made food that probably needs to be eaten. my mom has frozen a few dishes for us and several other people have told me they plan to bring food after baby is born so i'm trying to create some space. which means this week will be very simple:

Sunday - Long John's. Grocery shopping took longer than anticipated :(
Monday - Something with boneless pork chops. If it weren't dark so soon, I'd just have hubby grill them ...
Tuesday - Meatball subs, fries, salad
Wednesday - Leftovers
Thursday - Kettle beef and gravy (from the freezer), mashed potatoes, corn, rolls.
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - ??? Maybe we'll be able to have one final date night? i haven't been to a movie in forever ... but then again, would i really enjoy it considering how many bathroom breaks i need these days?


You Challenge - Week 10 :)

I remember starting this challenge back in September and thinking that by the time I finished, I would either have a baby or be very close.

Sixteen days from my due date, I'm still sitting here with a very big belly. I hoped I would have a family photo to show off, but that's OK, Baby apparently needs a little more time to grow. So, I'm going to share the next best thing:

Happy Sunday! Maybe next Sunday I'll have baby pictures to post? After all, I've said all along I'd love to have 11-11-11 as a birth date :)


Keeping the spark ...

So for the past six or so weeks, I've been on the hormone roller coaster. I'm up, I'm down, sometimes I don't even know how I feel. It's all very strange to me.

Unfortunately, hubby seems to catch all of the moodiness. Ironically, about two months ago, he told me one of his friends/customers asked about me and he commented on how great of a preggo I was, that I didn't have any of those horrible mood swings you always hear about.

That's when he jinxed himself.

For me, I think it's just the anxiety of everything. I want to have the house in order. I want to make sure we have everything we'll need to get us through those first couple of weeks, because I'm pretty sure hubby will want to spend time at home with us, not running to the store. Honestly, I'm scared to be responsible for a newborn - I've never been around witty bitty babies without their parents, and they are so tiny, I'm afraid I'll hurt them. Fact: Last night, I had a dream that I couldn't burp the baby because I was so afraid of hurting him/her.

I'm a control freak, hubby is a go-with-the-flow guy. Hello, hormones!

Obviously, this irritates the crap out of me. Whenever I ask him to do something like vacuum, he says OK and after two hours of him sitting on the couch staring at the TV, it's going to make me go off. When he mows the lawn instead of panting, I'm gonna get upset. Enter my evil twin.

For weeks we fought pretty much every day about something and end up with me in tears. This wasn't good for our marriage or the baby, who totally reacts every time I get upset. So many times I've said I just can't keep fighting like that and vowed to give up and just lower my expectations. And two days later, we were back at it again. Seriously, I don't know how many times I told him that as bad as we were fighting over these crazy little things, we would have broken up had we not been married and expecting a babe. It was nothing earth-shattering, of course, just the constant bickering because we were both so headstrong.

This past week has been better. Then yesterday morning, he made a comment (that I don't even remember now, if that tells you how menial it was) that just rubbed me away. I thought about yelling back. I considered throwing the egg I was making him for breakfast in his face.

But then I decided that instead of focusing on what he was saying/doing that I didn't agree with, to listen to what he was saying, the point he was making. Yes, I am pregnant and yes, I have crazy hormones and am exhausted all the time. But does that really give me a free pass to treat my husband like a pile of dog crap 50 percent of the time? No. And of course he's not going to kiss up and fall all over me when I'm treating him that way.

In childbirth class, they teach you to try to visualizing a "happy place" when you are having those horrible contractions. I decided to try that in this situation. Instead of thinking about how mad I was and all the things I wanted to do/say, I reminded myself how much I love my husband and told myself to remember that. I closed my eyes and remembered our wedding day and the moment that we locked eyes while I was walking down the aisle. Then I walked off to begin getting ready for the day.

You know what? He immediately noticed the difference. As I walked him to the front door to lock up, he apologized for his attitude. Last night when we got home from work, he helped me do a few things in the nursery.

Sometimes, you just have to quit pointing the finger at the other person, and turn it around to yourself ...


Thankful Thursday (1)

Since Tuesday, I've seen a lot of people in blogland and on Facebook listing one thing they are thankful for each day.
I don't think I can keep up with it daily. But I certainly can once a week, so I've decided that each Thursday, I will make a list for the days that week. Much easier for a scatterbrained Michelle :)

Nov. 1 - I am thankful for God, who makes all things possible.

Nov. 2 - I am thankful for my husband, who has had to endure far too much from me recently ...

Nov. 3 - I am thankful that I have been blessed with a little miracle growing inside my tummy. I may complain about back aches, exhaustion, a lack of disposable income, etc., but I'm pretty sure this babe will be worth all that and more.

What are you thankful for today?


What I'm Loving

{1} I'm LOVING that we had yet another good doctors appointment yesterday! Baby is still right on track and I doubt I've had any progression. I'm not loving that I'm still on track to deliver a toddler, however, with doctor guessing he/she weighs 7-8 lbs - with three weeks to go!

{2} I'm LOVING the beautiful sunrise this morning.

{3} I'm loving our first babies :)

Hanky Poo

Doc Holliday


Scarlett, AKA Momma Horse

{4} I'm loving chocolate milk. And grapefruit juice.

{5} I'm LOVING that I have a flexible job where I can take the afternoon to work at home if it's more comfortable.

{6} I'm LOVING that the nursery should be DONE tonight, other than hanging things on the walls. And that won't take too long.

{7} I'm LOVING the little alien I see squirming around in my belly as I type this.

{8} Of course, I'm loving my hubby and baby daddy who works hard to take care of me and even helps pull me up out of bed in the mornings when I'm too lazy to make the effort myself.


Bumpdate - 37 weeks

I did a bit of a happy dance this morning - it's November! Usually I dread the cold, winter months, but this will most definitely be Tuffy's birthday month, as my doctor will not let me go past Nov. 29 without an induction.

Anyhow, here's a recap of Week 36:
  • First off, at my dr appt last week, the nurse said I was down to measuring just one week ahead and the doctor guessed Baby was about 6.5 lbs. So by now it should be 7 lbs. and who knows how tall.
  • Also had the Group B Strep test. Hopefully I'll find out the results of that today.
  • It looks like the kidney stone is out of my system. Praise the Lord!
  • Since they did the GBS, I also had an internal, which showed absolutely no progress. Ugh! I'm going to decline one this week.
  • Baby was in the head down position, hopefully it stays that way!
During Week 36:
  • Baby continued packing on the pounds, at the rate of about an ounce per day or half a pound a week.
  • He/she is now shedding most of the downy hair that covers the body as well as the waxy substance that protects the skin during the nine months in amniotic fluid.
Mom is...
  • Holding steady at gaining just under 23 lbs.
  • Yet still feels bigger and bigger every day.
  • Experiencing lots of exhaustion and back pain, some cramping at night.
  • Feels stretched to the max! I don't feel kicks anymore, just stretches and such. Daddy enjoys feeling baby (especially while applying cocoa butter!) and trying to figure out what body part it is.
  • Still loving drinks! Water, grapefruit juice, chocolate milk and KoolAid are all musts around our house.
  • Stressing about the littlest things, like making sure the dishes get washed every night and some household tasks get done every weekend, just in case.
  • Still debating names with Daddy.
  • Hating the stretch marks
  • Experiencing some swelling in my hands
  • Wondering what I'll wear when my maternity clothes are too short
  • Loving rocking in the glider every now and then :)
  • Still guessing whether we have a cowboy or princess on the way. Most everyone thinks cowboy, by the way, but I'm still not sure.
  • Kinda wanting a boy because the going home outfit we've bought for a boy is just too precious!
  • Needing about one more week to get my house/mind/work ready, but thinking a Nov. 11 birthday would be perfect. But feeling for the first time like I may make it to/go over my due date for some reason ...
And here I am last night (nope, the baby isn't growing in my chubby arms!)

I was trying to pull up my 19 week pix, where I was wearing the same cami, so we can all laugh. Well, I can't get the pictures to load, but here is the link. No big difference, right?