Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Preparing for baby!

Things are going well here.  I have felt a burst of energy finally and admitted to "nesting".  :)  I have some projects I've been working on for the past few weeks/months and finished those up for the baby.  I also am looking ahead and trying to get things done (or stay on top of things that need to be done) so that nothing necessary is put off.  I don't want to put off a task that I don't enjoy doing, because it certainly won't be any more enjoyable after the baby comes.  Each morning I think through my "emergency" plans for the day: who would I call first, what needs to be taken care of, what do I need to grab, etc.  A couple nights ago I decided to work on packing my hospital bag (besides the items to grab last).  I couldn't find any of my reusable nursing pads.  I must have given them all away!  So I quickly whipped up a few new pairs.  The older kids are excited for me to go into labor just so they can begin their two-week break from school.  How thoughtful of them!  :)  To be honest, I am ready for the break too, but I'm pushing through to not take any days off this side of delivery.  If we need more than two weeks later, I'll be glad that I didn't skimp when I didn't *really* need it.  Mitch is getting ready, too.  He made all his lesson plans for next week already and has things laid out for a sub to be ready to pick up whenever he leaves off.  ::squee::

Here are some of the things I have made for baby (click on the pictures to see a larger version):

 I knitted an entire blanket!  By far this is my largest knitting project ever.  Normally I crochet, but I wanted to give it a try.  It didn't take me a year (or four)!

 I still have Tirzah's diapers, but I did a count and made a list of how many more I would want.  Here I finished 9 Little Cheekies fitteds.  These are my absolute favorites to sew.  I haven't made any in 2 years, since I was making some for Obadiah.  It was SO nice to be making them again.  Just like riding a bike...almost.  I did forget some things along the way.  It's a good thing I have a pattern for sale.  :)

 I adapted this hat to look like some adorable ones I saw on pinterest.  I hope it fits!  It matches the blanket and the coming home outfit I picked out perfectly.

 My pictures are out of order, but that's ok.  I also made 2 All-in-Two style diapers.  Just to keep working on my pattern, you know...always experimenting and researching!  I also made 5 new covers.  Apparently when I had Tirzah I wasn't sure what would work well and I had a variety of covers that I now know do NOT work as well as I would like.  So add these 5 to the 1 "good" one I had, and I'll have 6 hard-working covers.

 A wonderful group I am a part of was talking about nursing pillows.  I have a boppy, but usually just grap a regular pillow to use for nursing because the boppy is just awkward.  One friend recommended a boomerang shaped pillow, but the ones I saw were all very expensive (over $50!!).  I had Micah help me draft a pattern, and I used fabric and stuffing I had on hand to make the pillow.  Then I bought this piece of minkee at Joann's for $3.74 to make a cover.  Sweet!

 I wanted to make a girly car seat cover like the one Kristin made for me when I had Obi.  I was planning to go shopping for just the right fabric, when Bonnie brought over some blankets for me.  It just so happened that THIS one was the perfect weight and size, and I love the earthy pink color.  It matches the car seat cover underneath really well, too.  So I simply added straps with snaps.  It took me 10 minutes of work and cost me nothing.  Perfect!

 I tried my hand at knitting some booties (on the left).  I had never knitted booties before, so I got to learn all kinds of new knitting techniques.  The pattern turned out so cute, but unfortunately they booties are too big for a newborn, even one with monster sized Theis feet.  So I also crocheted a pair using a pattern I knew for sure would fit.  I love this striping yarn though, it works well when knitting.  I made sure to start in the same place in the pattern on the yarn when I made the knit ones, so their striped pattern would match.  Yeah, sometimes I just have it all together.  Most of the time I don't, though.

Next up, these photos were taken tonight.  I am 37 weeks 5 days.  I was trying to get just a simple belly shot, but all the little kids kept coming into the picture.  I finally realized I should just take pictures with them.  Oh my goodness it was so much fun!  I can't get on to the kids for loving the camera, and even better that they wanted to be in the picture with my belly.  :)

 {Malachi}

 {Tirzah}

 {Josh}

 {Obi...on his "seat"}


 {Zeke...with a pillow up his shirt}

{And my photographer: Eden}

I had some fun with Micah and Eden in Algebra this week.  Their curriculum reviews previous concepts often, and one of the previous concepts they learned this year was finding range, mode, median, and mean for a given set of data.  I gave them all the days early that I have delivered: 4, 17, 10, 18, 15, 10, 7, 13, but I didn't tell them what the data represented.  Then we found those things, I told them what the numbers were for, and we "analyzed" the data.  Hehe.  Just bringing Algebra into real life.  Oh, and I also told them what an "outlier" is and we talked about how I certainly could have one of those this time if the baby decides to come AFTER my due date.  (We may need "help" if that happens, though, because I think ALL of us will go crazy! LOL)

Patterns:
For the blanket, I just did a simple stockinette stitch.  When I cast off, though, it was WAY too tight for the type of yarn I was using.  I found this method and used it and it worked perfectly: http://knitty.com/ISSUEfall09/FEATjssbo.php
Newborn hat pattern:  http://nonaknits.typepad.com/nonaknits/2006/09/newborn_hats.html (I modified the pattern by doing a seed stitch at the bottom instead of a ribbing)
Flower on the hat: http://momof5daughters.blogspot.com/2010/06/how-to-crochet-flower.html (The original was too big for what I wanted, so I did only 2 rows of petals instead of 3).
Knit booties: http://pickinandthrowin.blogspot.com/2008/08/baby-booties-san-seams-bottom-up.html  (I used a magic loop circular needle for this pattern, and this method for a toe-up cast-on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gkyd3nq3Yn8)
Crochet booties: This pattern is not free, sorry.  :(  This is the book I own (and love):  http://www.amazon.com/Crochet-Precious-Baby-Booties-8740501/dp/1931171246.  The pattern I use most often is the yellow booties on the front cover.
Oh, and the Little Cheekies pattern can be found (for sale) at http://www.pamperedcheeks.com, of course.  I haven't made the cover pattern available, but some day I hope to do that and then have it as a free download. You can also find a free pattern there for the contour nursing pads that I LOVE.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Pictures

Here are some pictures from the past week...

We've enjoyed some warmer days and I've taken the smaller kids out to play.  Do you know how hard it is to try to climb in the Cozy Coupe car with snowpants and a big winter coat on???  Well, it's about as hard as getting into/out of a real car when you're 36 weeks pregnant too.  If I posted a picture of me trying to get in/out, it would look just as silly.  :)


Malachi and Zeke on top of the snow fort (which keeps getting bigger, I think):

Zeke and Josh were playing "King of the Hill".  Check out Josh's hat all caked with snow.  

Since I am not a boy, I cannot understand just WHY this is fun:

At some point Obi ditched his gloves.  Then of course I had to rescue him within minutes...the snow is much colder than he thought...maybe Mom isn't wrong about the whole mittens thing!

Still at it...


On a different (warm) day, the big kids all ran outside to play.  Micah built a snowman:

Valentine's Day this year was fun.  Normally I don't do much to celebrate.  Mitch pretty much always orders mylar heart balloons for his classroom and gets extra so our kids can have some too.  This year I bought a couple bags of candy and made some valentines for the kids.  It wasn't much, just enough to eat in one sitting so it's not laying around.  In secret I made cupcakes and used heart sprinkles on them (I'm so sneaky).  We had them as a snack after homeschool basketball that night.  I made Mitch a double batch of no-bake cookies (almost a tradition...I have done it enough years) and used the sprinkles on them, then sent them to school for him to share.  He had conferences after school until 9 pm, so we postponed our date until Friday night.

My kids were super cute Valentines.  :)




When Mitch came home he brought me TWO bouquets of flowers--a dozen white roses and a mixed variety.  I was going to take better pictures today, but I got too busy.  The sun wasn't shining anyway.  Tomorrow it should be better.

Obi is a little thief and managed to get TWO cupcakes. He only ate the frosting off this one and left the cake.


I am whittling away at my to-do list to get ready for the baby.  I had Micah get the car seat out of the garage attic for me so I could wash it down.  While I was washing the padding, Obi claimed the seat.  He grabbed a doll and put in it right away, placed a blanket on her, then patted her head and said, "Shhh."  It was so cute!  He linked his elbow into the seat handle and tried to carry her around.  We DO have a doll car seat, but you know that's not the same as playing with a real one.  He is ready to be a big brother, I think. He has been sleeping more and more with Micah, rather than in our bed.  I don't have a plan for when the baby comes, but I am hoping for a smooth transition however we handle things.  I do hope to put the baby in a pack-n-play beside our bed instead of IN our bed...but I also know my own weakness. 



Mitch had Friday and Monday off.  I didn't have any daycare on Monday, either.  I got some diapers finished, and a few more rows on the blanket I am knitting.  I did LOTS of shopping and got my pantry pretty well stocked.  I found some awesome deals on used jeans at the thrift stores (Thank you, Lord!!).  Today I got 8 pairs of boys jeans for $17.50.  One pair was brand new, and the rest were in *excellent* shape.  I seriously couldn't believe how good it was!  I feel really super duper tired.  I don't like that at all.  I try to rest and put my feet up, but the reality is food needs to be made, messes must be cleaned, schoolwork has to get done, and laundry must be washed/dried/folded/put away.  I'm thankful for Mitch's help and all my kids are great helpers too.  Only a little further to go.  At the doctor on Friday I was up 2 lbs for a 30 lb gain total so far this pregnancy.  I am about 2 cm dilated, 70% effaced, and baby's head is at a -2 station pushing right on my cervix.  This is pretty much right on normal for me.  I'm trying to enjoy each moment and relax and be patient.  I will say that there are times where I feel SO peaceful.  I am concentrating on that.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Baby Poll

I have done this in the past couple pregnancies and I think it's pretty fun.  It's a baby poll to guess when the baby will be born and the stats of the delivery.  To help you out, here are the stats from previous deliveries:

#1, boy, 4 days early, 8 lbs 4 oz, 20"
#2, girl, 17 days early, 7 lbs 5 oz, 19"
#3, boy, 10 days early, 7 lbs 15 oz, 20"
#4, boy, 18 days early, 8 lbs 5 oz, 21"
#5, boy, 15 days early, 7 lbs 5 oz, 20"
#6, boy, 10 days early, 9 lbs, 19.5"
#7, girl, 7 days early, 8 lbs 4 oz, 20.5"
#8, boy, 13 days early, 8 lbs 6 oz, 21"

Average: 11 days before due date, 8 lbs 1.2 oz, 20" long.

At the 20 week ultrasound we decided we were looking at girl parts, but it was still sort of uncertain...so lean towards a girl, but feel confident in making a boy guess, too.  I'm preparing for a girl but also have some boy stuff ready (including some boy names!). 

Click the link to enter your guess! 

35+ Weeks Pregnant

I have been meaning to do a pregnancy update, but just never seem to have the time.

I last saw the doctor at 34 weeks on February 1st.  I had gained 3 lbs in 2 weeks, for a total gain of 28.4 pounds (which is about average for me--yay!).  We listened to the baby's heartbeat, but I didn't catch the rate.  The baby was wiggling all over the place, so it was possibly hard to catch a rate (it has typically been in the 140s).  Or it could be that I was just talking so much that the doctor couldn't get a word in edgewise to tell me.  :)  My blood pressure was great at 100/62.  She didn't tell me what my tummy measured, but I assume it was within the range of normal or she would have said something.

This picture was taken a couple days later:



I'm feeling ok considering I'm 35 weeks pregnant.  I've been having some trouble with my SI joint this pregnancy.  I thought it was sciatica at first, but a friend who is a therapist suggested it could be my SI joint.  I did a little research and decided the description fit perfectly.  I found some great exercises/stretches to do.  I saw my chiropractor twice, who confirmed my suspicions and gave me a clean bill of health--telling me to keep up the exercises.

I've been taking an iron supplement, but I'm not sure it's got me back up to where I need to be.  I have taken both a pill form (that the doctor prescribed) and a liquid form that I bought on Amazon.  I don't like the liquid form at all--it has honey used to sweeten it, and I really can't stand honey.  Yuck!  I have also been drinking Earth Mama's Third Trimester Tea, which has some red raspberry leaf and other herbs in it.  I have never been a tea drinker in my life, but a spoonful of sugar goes a long way.  I find it soothing in the afternoons when I tend to feel cold for some reason.  This week I started steeping some straight red raspberry leaf with it also.  Apparently it's supposed to help "tone" the uterus.  It may not do anything at all.  But I figured that by baby #9 (and 36 29 years old) my uterus may need a little toning.

I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping, which leaves me feeling exhausted most of the day. I have lots of weird dreams.  When I wake up from one I immediately flush it from my memory by 1) purposefully avoiding recalling it and/or retelling it and 2) bringing to mind real events in my life.  Unfortunately sometimes I get my mind working on real life "problems" and then can't fall back to sleep easily.  Oops!  For some reason when I sleep on my right side my right arm falls asleep.  When I sleep on my left side (which is preferred for pg women anyway) I don't have any problems.  But I can't sleep on one side all night long because I get too stiff/sore.  Sometimes I wake up on my back--oops again! When I roll over at night, the baby invariably wakes up and pushes on my bladder...so I'm up 3-4 times a night now.  I always think of this time as prep for after the baby is born when I'll be getting up every couple hours to feed.

The baby is very active, especially in the evening when I am getting ready for bed and after I eat.  The past couple weeks she has insisted on ramming herself up under my ribs, particularly when I'm driving in the car/van.  She doesn't listen when I tell her there's not enough room!  I wish I could remember better from pregnancy to pregnancy.  I always think that whatever baby I'm carrying is the most active baby ever.  I think I just blissfully forget how forceful the movements are in the last weeks.  She responds when I push on my tummy (I love trying to guess what parts I'm feeling), to loud noises, and a change of environment (like getting in the warm shower).  I'm weirdly fascinated with the show "I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant" and at this point seriously doubt any of those women could possibly be telling the truth.  If they are they certainly did not experience a pregnancy with a mover like mine!

Yesterday I was pondering my to-do list and started to feel just a little panicky as I counted down days left on the calendar.  I don't have a bag packed, and I don't even have a list!  So I got out my baby journals from previous pregnancies and started working on a list of essential items to shove in the hospital bag when it comes time.  Here is what my to-do list still looks like:
  • Figure out where the baby will sleep during the day (I *think* it will be in the smaller bassinet if I bring it upstairs and instead set up a pack-n-play beside my bed.  There's not enough room to leave up a pack-n-play upstairs all the time.  This should work at least for a couple months until she gets bigger, then hopefully I can have her sleep downstairs during the day if I get a good baby monitor.)
  • Get down the infant carseat/carrier and clean it
  • Clean out the van and the car (I wish I could wait for warmer weather, but I probably shouldn't)
  • Finish knitting the baby blanket I am working on--it's my first time knitting one!  For someone who takes days just to knit a dishcloth, this is a monumental achievement.  (I would have finished it long ago if I had been crocheting, just for the record).
  • Back up the computer hard drives (my external hard drive kicked the bucket recently...I need a replacement to back up my computers...I know this doesn't seem related to the baby, but it IS important)
  • Work on Malachi's 1st year baby album (low on my priority list at this point, but I do have the pictures printed...in my dream world I'd also get Tirzah's and Obi's done!)
  • Finish my tax return (almost done!)
  • Finish diapers for the baby (I have a lot of hand me downs from Tirzah, but not quite enough...I have a few cute new diapers almost done--9 fitted newborns, 5 newborn covers, and 2 newborn all-in-twos).  Eventually I'd like to make her a complete stash (18-24+) of one-size pockets, but we'll see.
  • Pack for the hospital (Some things I can pack ahead of time)
 While I had my baby books out last night, I did a little reflecting.  (AKA I analyzed the heck out of them).  My official due date is March 15, but that is because I gave the doctor the wrong lmp...it should be March 16.  The ultrasound at 20 weeks had March 16 as an estimated due date too, which is a little weird because usually my babies measure ahead at least a little.  This whole pregnancy I have been thinking the baby would come on March 11, and I've had my sights set on that week (I'd be 39 weeks pregnant).  Here are my stats from previous pregnancies:
#1 delivered at 39 weeks 3 days, (went into labor, broke my water to get things moving a little faster) 4 days early
#2 delivered at 37.5 weeks, (water broke and was induced) 17 days early
#3 delivered at 37.5 weeks, (went into labor) 10 days early
#4 delivered at 37.5/38.5 weeks, (water broke and was induced) 18 days early (11 days early based on ultrasound)
#5 delivered at 37 weeks 6 days (38 weeks), (water broke and was induced) 15 days early
#6 delivered at 38 weeks, (went into labor) 10 days early
#7 delivered at 39 weeks, (water broke and induced) 7 days early
#8 delivered at 38 weeks 2 days, (water broke and was induced) 13 days early

Some other information:
#1 I had narcotics, baby was posterior and asynclitic
#2 I had narcotics and a pudendal block right before delivery
#3 I had an epidural, absolutely perfect delivery
#4 I had an epidural, baby was posterior and badly bruised
#5 I had an epidural, baby was posterior
#6 I went completely unmedicated, but hemorrhaged after the birth and was miserable on pitocin the rest of the day
#7 I had an epidural, baby was posterior, epidural didn't seem to work
#8 I had an epidural, baby was posterior and badly bruised

What will this delivery be like???
I've delivered an average of 11 days early, or at about 38 weeks 2 days, which would put me around the first week of March (a week earlier than I planned!).  I think I'll still plan on the second week of March but get myself ready earlier.

I am praying for a baby that is facing the right direction.  I hope that my water doesn't break before delivery starts because there seems to be a correlation between the position of the baby and water breaking (#1, #4, #5, #7, #8).  The chiropractor said that I need to keep moving during birth in order for my SI joint/sacrum to be happy.  With #3 and #6, who were positioned perfectly, I didn't arrive at the hospital until I was quite dilated and well into labor, so being up and moving (rather than laying in bed) definitely must be a correlation to baby's position.

I can't keep moving if I have an epidural.  I'm preparing for an unmedicated birth by brushing up on my Bradley method skills, but I'm going in with an open mind.    We'll see what happens, though, I had a lot of fears to overcome and just couldn't do it med-free the last two times. 

"Every birth is different," is the mantra of my doctor.  "Healthy mom, healthy baby is our goal."  She's right.  I could have 100 births and they all be different (she has attended nearly 1,000, she said).  But it's still fun to analyze and speculate and try to learn from the experience.

In doing all this I also remind myself that while it is a significant, miraculous event, it's also a very short-term thing.  I try not to let it consume my focus and attention and take away from the needs of those around me.  Preparing for the birth of a child is important, but so are daily lives of my spouse and my other children.  I can seriously wrap myself up in this so much that I become a selfish pregnant lady, grumpy anytime someone dares to break my train of thought.  This is sinful.  The baby will come on the day that God has ordained in the method He has already planned.  I can take a chill pill now.  :)

Also I have had several friends around me suffer devastating losses recently in their own pregnancies.  My doctor's "healthy mom, healthy baby" seems like such a cliche, but it is a chance to reflect on the true miracle of birth.  One friend said to me, "It's a miracle that any of us are here."  She is right.  Do we take that for granted?  My focus on the delivery of my child can be so myopic.  Every day is a gift.  Not just every day of pregnancy, but every day of our lives.  Each breath is a gift from God.  I'm thankful that He is real and present and active in my life.  I need to remember this each time I feel anxious or like I'm losing control. 

Speaking of losing control...I need to wrap this up before the day is completely lost!  :)  Stay tuned...

Monday, February 11, 2013

Snow Day!

I was hoping for a late winter snow storm, 8-12 inches, and we got one!  It came yesterday (Sunday).  We stayed home from church and watched the snow fly.  Mitch kept the driveway clean periodically throughout the day.  I even went out and moved a little snow in the evening because it is kind of fun as long as you don't "have" to do it.  Mitch built an awesome snow fort for the kids.  Hopefully I'll go out and get some better pictures during the day, but we played until it got dark out yesterday:


 Mitch said Malachi was actually a really good helper when it came to shoveling the snow.



 Obi and Tirzah got to come out and play too.  Obi loved it until the snow got under his gloves for a long time and "burned" his wrists. 
 Mitch brought out sheets of plywood and boards and cardboard to stabilize the fort walls/roof.

That is one clean driveway!  Not so bad for doing it all with shovels.  The snow plow had been through and left us a nice ridge at the bottom too that we had to move.  I dug out the mailbox so we can still get mail.  :)

Caleb and Malachi inside the fort.  By this time it was pretty dark and my camera had no idea where to really focus. 

Schools in the area are on a 2-hour delay today, but that's all.  That's just how efficient our people are at moving the snow off the roads.  Mitch's school already had no school for kids today (just in-service), so he had to report to work on time.  Oh well...get it over with.  Homeschool is running on schedule!

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Haircuts

Tirzah has been at it again.  On Monday she hid and cut her hair.  I found a clump of hair on the floor and it wasn't hard to figure out whose it was.  I was SO sad, because she really did a number.  Then as I was trying my best to "clean it up" with scissors, I took off a little too much and had to clean up MY mistake.  Ugh.  It's just hair, right??  I thought I had it all taken care of, then put my hand on Obi's head to realize she had also given HIM a haircut.  I didn't get his "cleaned up" until Thursday.  But she had cut it clear down to the scalp (both of theirs, actually), so for his I just buzzed it all off.  Everyone has commented on how much older he looks.  I wasn't ready to give up my "baby" just yet...even if I do have another one going to be here in a matter of weeks.  ::sigh::

I took this Sunday morning before church, so this was before they cut their hair.  Tirzah's had finally grown out long enough for ponytails, which we had been trying to do more often.  Giving more attention to her hair lately is probably what precipitated the haircut.

After:
Her curls can somewhat hide the fact that it's super short in places.

A true monkey: