Wednesday, January 28, 2015

38 Weeks!

This past week has been really fun. The highlight for me was getting to attend a psychology class at the local tech college that a friend of mine is teaching. Her class interviewed me about pregnancy. I had a blast sharing from my experiences and answering their questions.  I commented (and it's true!) that I was so excited about the class that I could have stayed pregnant for another month. Now that the class is over, however, let's get the show on the road!

Here are some pictures and I'm too tired to reorder them into an interesting post. First up are the projects I've worked on.

 Knit blankie and hat. The hat is way to big and will probably fit next winter. The yarn is called Flutterby I think. It's a chenille type yarn and is soooo soft.

 Another hat attempt...trying to get a hat that was small enough. It turned out pretty darn cute and I learned how to knit an i-cord.  I found my patterns on I'm officially in love with that site!

Next a knit hat and crocheted booties. This was another special yarn called Cascades. It is a lightweight cotton with a little bit of elastic in it so it's stretchier. It also turned out bigger than I wanted, but my friend Kristin pointed out that their heads grow very quickly and it will still be cold for a few more months here.  

I had a little more of that first yarn leftover and couldn't resist one more try. This time I crocheted the hat and learned how to do ear flaps. The kids love the hat--they say it looks like the hat the little girl from Despicable Me wears.  I think this one is a winner and will fit right away. If not, it sure does look cute on the doll, and Mercy is more than happy to keep it for her. ;)

 I so enjoyed this afternoon cuddle with Mercy yesterday. The baby kicked her in the head the entire time, though. :) I think Mercy is going to love her new sister. 

My chain is getting so short!! I just can't believe it! Here are some stats from this week:
  • Counting from an estimated date of conception, I have had babies in my tummy for 365 weeks (7 years) now!! That's a lot of weeks of pregnancy, but it's also a tremendous blessing.
  • In the past week, we noted Eden, Zeke, and Josh all arrived when I was 37 weeks and some days pregnant.
  • Spoiler alert: In the next week we will note the arrivals of Caleb, Malachi, and Obi. Tirzah arrived at 39 weeks on the nose. That leaves only Micah and Mercy as the "late-comers" arriving after 39 weeks.

I didn't do a baby poll this time around, but feel free to comment here or on facebook when you think the baby will arrive and how much she will weigh. Here are the stats from my doctor appointment today:

Weight: 166.2 lbs (down 1.6 from last week, total gain at 41.2), and I confess I ate more than half a recipe of mounds candy in the past week. ::shame::
Blood Pressure: 106/73 (I took the elevator when going up to lab, and I arrived a few minutes early so I would have time to "rest" in the waiting room before my appointment, LOL. It paid off!).
Baby's heart rate: 141-144
Other: cervix wasn't a lot different, but she could stretch me to 4 cm, so it's definitely favorable and ready for labor to begin. My fundal height was measuring a little closer to 38 weeks where it should be, but she did feel a large pocket of fluid up at the top. Still she was able to feel the baby and identify the head and the butt ("cute little butt" she said, LOL).

She and I both feel this is going to happen within the next few days. I have things about as ready as I can have them (not as ready as I *want* mind you, but I'm pretty much at my limit). I mopped my floor last night. If that's not nesting, I don't know what is. The mop, which was already on its last leg, broke right as I finished, so that's the end of that. Haha.

I did have a terrible night last night. I had more prodromal (false) labor for hours. I tried all kinds of relaxation techniques to no avail. It was after 3 am before I finally slipped into a doze that lasted for more than 10 min between contractions. At 4 am I heard Mercy crying and coughing with croup. :( Croup scares me, so I got up immediately and took her (Eden had her). We were up until 5. So that said, I'm more than ready for bed tonight. On that note, I'm outta here!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Is This Really January? (And 37 weeks pregnant)

Well, I suppose if we had January in November, it's only fair to have November weather in January, right? We have been blessed in the latter half of January with temperatures about 10 degrees above average. Today I was shocked to step outside at 1 pm into the bright, warm sun. It was 43F. I hurriedly called everyone outside promising "natural Vitamin D" to all. :)

 What a blessing to be out in the warm sun!

 Can this really be January???  It looks more like March!

We played outside for about an hour. While we were out there, I took the opportunity to clean out the van (with help, of course--we even vacuumed!) and switch around car seats. Now I know exactly where the new baby's car seat will go when she is ready to travel with us in the big van. :)

I am now 37 weeks pregnant. One of the funnest things on the rings this week was that it was exactly one year ago that Micah started his first job at McDonald's. He quit his job later in the year, but the cool thing is that JUST THIS WEEK he interviewed, was hired, and started at a new job. So neat that it was exactly one year later!

I don't feel like I have changed much since last week. I am not in pain as much as I was before--the baby has dropped firmly into my pelvis. I dropped 0.6 lbs. My fundal height is one week ahead (38 cm). Baby sounded happy. Her heart rate was between 140's and 150's most of the time. I was a "stretchy" 3 cm dilated and 70% effaced, so I'm making good progress.

I did have a really bad night on Friday night--I woke up at 12:30 am with a killer headache that tylenol couldn't touch. After 4 hours of excruciating pain (and worry that I needed to go to the hospital, but didn't want to undergo needless tests and stress), I dug through every drawer in the house and finally found ONE sudafed tablet. Thank the Lord! I took it and within 30 min I was able to get some relief. It was just sinuses. Whew!

I had another bad night on Monday night--I began experiencing contractions around 2 am. They weren't strong enough to make me think they were real, but they were strong enough to shake me awake every time I had one. I tried so hard to sleep so I didn't look at the clock for most of the night, but they kept coming. Between 4 and 5 am they were about 10 min apart (at that point I just *had* to time them for a little while). Finally I was able to doze a little. The next day I consciously upped my water intake and have been more purposeful about that ever since. I've not had any more prodromal labor interfere with sleep, but the need to pee certainly does. LOL. I can't win!  Oh well, almost done. Amazing how much shorter my little paper chain is already.

 Obadiah has been a real hoot this week. A couple nights ago he came up to me and asked me, "So, how DID a baby get in your tummy?" We laughed so hard as we contemplated all the possible answers we could give him. The next day he drew ^this picture. He said, "Look mommy I drawed you when you was fat!"

I have been making things for the baby, and I need to bring them up and take pictures in the daylight, but I also made a hat for myself. Yay!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

36 weeks pregnant

Nice, dirty bathroom mirror! Add that to my to-do list. Nesting has hit me as hard as it possibly can. I still don't feel awesome, but the urge to have everything clean is strong. I wish I physically felt able to keep up with that urge. 

I need to take more pictures of my projects, but here is one I finished this week. I used a special yarn called Cascade Sensations yarn. It was fun to work with. I cast on the hat twice. The first time it was too big. I think it's still too big, but I'm done.  I finished her baby blanket. It's pretty small compared to what I usually make. It will be good for the carseat. I have some leftover yarn that I think I'll try making another hat from that. I will keep knitting and crocheting as long as I'm pregnant. After that things get kind of busy.

Almost there!

On Monday I had an ultrasound (a bio-physical profile, or BPP). It was fun to see the baby. She looked amazing. I literally had tears watching her "practice breathe" on the ultrasound. My fluid level (AFI) was 28.78 cm, which is pretty high. Dr. Spaulding said she would rather see it around 21 cm. The good news is her kidneys looked good, and she passed the BPP with an 8/8 score.  Also I got some info about her orientation. She is head down with her spine to my left and her feet to my right where I have so much pain in my ribs. From what I read, this seems like a good position and I am feeling more hopeful that she will have an anterior presentation, not posterior.

I saw the doctor on Wednesday. Here are my stats:
Weight: 168.4--up 1.8 lbs for a total gain of 43.4
Blood pressure: 126/76 (I had just gone up and down the stairs for lab, lol, that counts as an exercise blood pressure, right?)

I didn't catch the baby's heart rate or my fundal height. She said that she will see how I'm measuring next week and decide if she wants to do another ultrasound. In the meantime, she reminded me to keep close watch on the baby's movements.

She tested me for group B strep (I'm sure I'll get those results next week), checked my cervix (2 cm dilated--normal for me at 36 weeks), and rechecked my hemoglobin (up 12.4--yay! The liquid iron supplement I switched to is good enough). The baby's head is right up against my cervix too. It doesn't feel like she's "low" to me.

The kids had fun tearing rings off our paper chain this week. Here are some of the fun facts that I shared with them from being 35 weeks pregnant:

~When I was pregnant with Eden at 35 weeks I weighed 137 lbs, my blood pressure was 110/64, and my fundal height was only 32 cm. Far cry from 168!!
~Before this pregnancy, my total weight gain over the previous 9 pregnancies was 313 lbs, an average of 35 lbs/pg.
~My weight in college (before pregnancy) hovered around 130 lbs, and my weight before this pregnancy was 125 lbs.
~I have lost over 300 lbs over the past 18 years!

I'm trying to enjoy each day. Physically the pain is still there, and now I have a little bit of insomnia too. Today I made a to-do list and a packing list for my hospital bag (I've already thrown a few things together). I hope that having this to chip away at will help kick the insomnia. I worked more on taxes, got laundry done for few more days, and have menus made for the next two weeks. My shopping list is also ready to go for tomorrow morning. Last thing to do today before I start relaxing is make my library list.  Whoot!

Oh one more thought--we still have no name. I found a cool website: The author of this blog has put together an extensive list of not just people names, but virtues, places, objects, flowers, etc. They included pronunciations, meanings, and their Biblical references. I copied the girl names lists into a word document (2 columns per page) and printed off 25 pages (after reducing the formatting as much as possible) of baby names for us to mull over. :)

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Caleb's Golden Birthday

Caleb turned 14 yesterday on the 14th! We had a fun celebration around our busy evening. Caleb requested General Tso's Chicken for supper (with an extra portion, please) and chocolate cupcakes for dessert. Most of the kids had activities at church after supper, so we planned dessert for after church. We had a little fun.

Ok, long back story: Caleb loves his hats. He has one from Kathi that he wears all the time (I need to figure out how I can clean it for him). He has a second one from Eden that he wears on special occasions. I've got Kathi's on and Mitch has Eden's on in the picture above. Back before Christmas, Micah asked me to buy him a winter hat at Menards. I was distracted, and it wasn't on my priority list, and I wasn't sure if he really *needed* a hat (don't we have some at home?), so I didn't buy the hat. Micah would not stop complaining that I didn't buy the hat for $5. Blaze orange Menard's hat. Ok then. I offered to make him a hat. Nope. He wasn't going to have it. Then this past weekend while we were already at Walmart, I said, "Hey, let's pick up some yarn and I'll make you a hat. I promise it will be a good one." He wasn't keen on the idea, but he did pick out some yarn. A few hours later I had made him a hat (record time for me!).

Micah complained. The hat was too short. It wasn't warm enough. It cost too much money for the yarn ($6) compared to the Menard's hat. It took me 8 hours to make (it did not). You get the idea. I think he likes it...

Anyway, Micah continued to complain and tell everyone I should have just bought him the hat from Menards. I spoke with Caleb and then with Mitch about it. I thought it would be hilarious if we went to Menards and bought the hat and gave it to Caleb for his birthday.  You know, a prank on Micah for all his worthless complaining. BUT when Mitch and I got to Menards, we found some really awesome things on clearance. One was this adorable raccoon hat. I am not sure I know the story but it's something about a nickname that Caleb has on the Minecraft server he plays on, but he loves raccoons. The hat was $4 (score!). After snatching Caleb's favorite hats, we had him open the raccoon one. He loved it.

Then we had him open the Menards one. Well, at Menards we couldn't find a blaze orange Menard's hat. There were Menard's hats (for $7, not $5, mind you...more than the cost of the yarn!), and there were orange hats (for $5). We bought one of each. Caleb had a stash going.

We also got CJ a little stuffed raccoon (found at the thrift store for $1)...Mercy nearly had a meltdown wanting that raccoon and we had to trick her to get it away eventually. Even now looking at pictures on the computer while I write, I think she's going to have a heart attack! :)

Somehow we have gotten ourselves into a tradition of buying CJ a "new" t-shirt every year for his birthday. I suppose they are also supposed to be black according to tradition? This was another thrift-store score. Overall CJ had a great birthday and it cost us very little. :) I should note that Micah didn't take the joke very well. He's still pretty peeved at me. Oh well...

At 14, Caleb
~is in 8th grade
~wears approximately a size 30/32 pants and adult medium shirt
~is probably as tall as me (mental note--I need to take a picture)
~does really well in school, especially in Algebra
~loves to play Minecraft (he made "staff" on the server called Oasis...whatever that means???)
~is still the baby whisperer...just a couple days ago I was in the schoolroom with Caleb and Mercy came in. She held her arms out to Caleb and said, "Cay-bub, seep." She was tired and wanted him to put her to sleep. Within 10 minutes she was out. :) Eden said she woke up twice last night in the middle of the night asking for Caleb. Oh my! I asked him if he's going to put the new baby to sleep too, and he insisted that Mercy is his girl.
~prefers things to be organized and orderly
~doesn't like change--he gets the green plate at supper EVERY night
~owns a Kindle Fire and a checking account (whoot!)
~favorite color is green
~is a pretty steady, predictable guy

I may have to come back and add to the list later!

Happy Birthday, Caleb! We love you, buddy!

Wednesday, January 07, 2015

35 weeks pregnant and more

I'm 35 weeks pregnant today! So 5 weeks to go, give or take a little. It seems like a loooooong time, though. I don't know why it's so hard at the end. Part of it is the pain and discomfort I feel. I saw the doctor for my 34-week appointment last Friday. Here are the stats:

Weight gain: 1.2 lbs (not bad for 2 weeks, and over Christmas to boot! Total gain--41.6 lbs.)
Blood pressure: 111/74
Baby's heart rate: 130s
Fundal height: 35 cm

I'm still measuring large, and when I had an ultrasound at the tech college my fluid levels were at the upper max of normal. I mentioned that the baby feels very high and "floaty." I have a lot of discomfort up around my right ribs. It gets to be downright painful. It feels like there's a knife between my ribs, especially in the back. When I have a braxton-hicks contraction, it is really painful if the baby happens to have a leg/foot/body part up by my ribs (which is often). Ow ow ow. The doctor decided to send me for a bio physical profile to check fluid levels. I'm excited to get to peek at the baby again. I always enjoy the wonder of ultrasounds.

My iron supplement gave me a lot of trouble, so I ordered a liquid supplement that a friend recommended. It has been so much better. As a bonus, the liquid supplement has folic acid and vitamin B12. Super! Because I hate my prenatal vitamin and I don't take it, either. I've been drinking Earth Mama's Third Trimester Tea. Next week I think I'll start taking alfalfa. Though if I don't quite get myself motivated to, there is some in the tea.

In the meantime...

Mitch and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary on Saturday! We enjoyed a pretty typical Saturday (laundry, grocery shopping, afternoon nap for me), then we went out to eat for supper while the kids at home had spaghetti. If I haven't mentioned it before, I'll mention it again. I really dislike spaghetti when I'm pregnant. I can tolerate it when I'm not pregnant, but I'm the kid at the table eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on spaghetti nights. The hamburger and onion rings I had were the best food I'd eaten all week. I inhaled them. Oh yum.

My 34w3d belly. Huge.

I was thrilled that Mitch and the kids got the Christmas tree taken down on Tuesday of last week. We got all the decorations put away, except for a Joy to the World wall hanging that I bought on clearance at Walmart. I'm considering Mitch's good suggestion of leaving it hanging all year round. It matches the color of our walls. :)

I somehow managed to not take any pictures, but we had our college friends Al and Barb (and their three kids) up to visit over the New Year holiday. They came up on New Year's Eve and stayed the night. It was SO MUCH FUN. We ate junk food and played games until midnight. The Emersons joined us for a little while, too. We counted down and rang in the new year with some sparkling juices and the song All Glory Be to Christ by Kings Kaleidoscope (which is set to the tune of Auld Lang Syne). I love that song. Mitch, Micah, and Al got to play some basketball together. Barb and I got to do some fun shopping. The kids had tons of screen time, plus running around outside and inside.

Zeke got a bionicles lego set for Christmas (one of my fabulous thrift store finds). I wondered if it would have all the pieces. I hoped it would be fun, even if it was missing something. It was missing some instructions, but those were easily found online. He spent a few days working on building it. It turned out to be way cooler than I imagined. Oh, and doesn't his haircut look cute? I love his long, shaggy curls, but it's nice to have him cleaned up a bit too. He DOES have ears!

I told the small kids for months that the baby would be born "after Christmas." I figured after Christmas I could say "after Caleb's birthday" and that would get us close enough. I also thought about doing a paper chain after Christmas. As I was sitting thinking of this more yesterday, I got another wild hair to put fun facts on it. For example, I had Eden when I was 37 weeks and 4 days pregnant. So on the chain that will be 37w4d, I wrote that that's how pregnant I was when Eden was born, her birth weight, etc. I got out my baby books and eventually thought up stats to write every day from today until Valentine's Day. I put the links for January in pink and the links for February in red. I hope to make it to the red...after that I hope it's really fast!

So here's today's. It says "When I was pregnant with Eden at 35 weeks I weighed 137 lbs and my tummy was only 32 cm. Her heart rate was 136." Just a little perspective for you--I weighed almost 167 at the doctor on Friday, and my tummy was 35 cm. Wowzers what a difference!

This past weekend and again yesterday I spent a few hours getting started on our taxes. This is normally a chore that I enjoy, mostly because I get to use a part of my brain that I typically don't get to. I think it's because I'm pregnant and suffer from "pregnancy brain" (yep, that's a thing), but it is really difficult. It's always hard to get started, but wow it's a mountain in front of me and I'm not able to figure out the best path to take. In reality, I don't think things will be any easier with a newborn, so I am forcing myself to dive in now. These are receipts that need to be organized (hence the pile) by type and recorded. There will be many more things I have to go find.

Couldn't I just do more algebra or something? Please??

This was last night's supper and way too funny not to share all three pictures. I love homemade pizza night. Everyone is happy. It's a ton of work, but it is so yummy. I made 6 pizzas--2 pepperoni, 2 barbecue chicken, 1 chicken bacon ranch, and 1 cheeseburger (which was as good as that hamburger I inhaled on Saturday, oh my). I didn't think to snap a picture until we were almost done eating. Then I didn't notice what I actually caught on film until tonight when I loaded the pictures onto my may have to click to make them larger:

Mitch is holding out his plate, and Micah has just tossed him a piece of pizza (which is hovering in the air) from the other end of the table:

Mitch caught it! Mercy is a hoot.

Mitch turns to see what I'm doing, Caleb is laughing into his hand. I still am clueless that I just got those pictures. :)

Here is my 35 week belly shot today. It was super cold here today and windchills were in the -35F range, so school was cancelled. Well, for those kids that GO to school. And for Mitch, lucky guy. My kids still enjoyed a day of school from the comfort and warmth of our home. Hahaha.

I love these little pictures from the ovia pregnancy app. When I first got the app, the hand was too tiny to even see. I was a couple months along before the tiniest little speck showed up. It was precious. Amazing to be where I am now!

Edited to add: I found a picture from the app when I was 9 weeks pregnant:

In spite of my pregnancy aches, pains, exhaustion, and the emotional roller coaster that sometimes comes, I have been reminded lately to not look too far ahead. Today is the day to live in and enjoy, even in the midst of pain (like the knife in my back that's causing me to rush so I can go to bed right now). It's easy to want to hurry time on ahead, to wish the weeks away. The reality is that tomorrow may have sufferings that I'm not ready to face. So I will stand in the grace that I am given for today, and live trusting that the waterfall of grace never runs dry. I won't borrow from the future. I'm thankful for the lives around me and the little life inside me. As another day comes to a close, I'm thankful for this day that we spent together, by God's grace. It's pretty amazing. And while I wish for the easier days that I hope lie ahead, I am reminded that even while being 35 weeks pregnant at 38 years old, with 9 other children to care for, is not easy, Christ's grace was sufficient for me today. And for that I am most thankful.