February 25, 2010

A more detailed update

My previous post was super short - and probably didn't sound to happy. The truth is, when I wrote that post, I wasn't happy. In fact, I was downright miserable - a red-eyed, sobbing, ball of pregnancy hormones. However, a hard workout, a hot shower, cuddling with my husband, and a few pieces of well deserved chocolate have me feeling much better. Now, many of you are probably wondering why I got so upset by a simple doctor's visit - so allow me to explain.

Sunday morning, I woke up feeling as though I had been run over by a semi - that had then backed up and hit me again. Every inch of me hurt -my ankles, my legs, my knees, my hips, and my precious daughter had taken up residence under my ribs where she was practicing her kickboxing moves. My exact words to M were "I really want to skip church today." But I knew that most of the soreness was due to the four hours I had spent riding to and from my baby shower on Saturday, and that the only way to feel better was to move. So move I did - up out of bed and to church. I made it thru Sunday school before the real fun started.......contractions.

The contractions started during the first worship song and lasted thru out the entire service. By lunch, I was in sheer agony. However, I knew the contractions were not regular or in a consistent pattern.....so I figured I would just white knuckle my way thru them. My MIL (the nurse) insisted on bringing me to the hospital to have me monitored. M agreed with her.....and I began thinking that perhaps we were taking the first steps to meeting Joycelen. 20 minutes later, and it was confirmed -- I was experiencing true contractions -- but they weren't strong enough to do much......so home I went.

The contractions lasted on and off all day Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday. My Tuesday evening, I felt as though I had been used for someone's punching bag. I just knew that my cervix had started dilating and that Dr. H was going to tell us that Joycelen would be making her grand entrance. Instead, I found out that my cervix was still close - not even thinned the tiniest bit...... the disappointment on top of the discomfort proved too much to bear and I became a puddle of tears.

I suppose that my disappointment is heightened by the fact that several of my co-workers who were also expecting have either welcomed their child into the world, or are progressing towards delivery. I feel like the odd person out - as though my body is betraying me by not doing what it should be doing at this point.

Today, I am able to see the wisdom in my doctor's decision to wait. Dr. H knows me quite well -- and knows that while I am eager to have Joycelen, I am going to be just as eager to return to my normal self after delivery -- and if I had to undergo a C-section....my recovery would be longer.....and I would struggle with that. I respect that she is attempting to give my body time to do the amazing thing that it has been designed to do.

I have also been able to shift my focus from "7 more days of pregnancy...ugh!" to "I have 7 more days where my daughter is safely inside me.....7 more days that she is solely mine to 'hold'". I can also see that the additional waiting provides a perfect opportunity for me to spend time with M. These next few days will be especially precious as it will be some of the last moments we are truly alone.

With all that being said, I am content to wait - knowing that my daughter will arrive (in the Lord's timing). And I am finding lots of reasons to smile.....including this gorgeous bouquet that my MIL and FIL sent me this morning.

February 24, 2010

Doctor's Visit - 38/39 Weeks

Cervix remains closed......

Doctor wants to wait another week.......

Back to work for me...............

38 Weeks

What's Happening with Joycelen?

  • Joycelen now weighs over 8 pounds is probably approaching 20 inches in length.

What's Happening with Mama?

  • Total weight gain/loss: 25.5 pounds
  • Maternity clothes? Yes, although they are getting quite old very fast. I am ready to wear normal clothing again.
  • Best moment this week: I had two great moments this week. The first was experiencing my first contractions. Although they were in no regular pattern and my cervix still has not dilated -- it was exciting nonetheless. The second was the baby shower thrown by my Aunts (my Mom's sisters). It was not a traditional woman's only shower - instead all of my family was there. We ate lots of yummy food, shared family stories, and played a few games. Joycelen was given lots of beautiful and thoughtful gifts.
  • Food cravings: Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate
  • Belly button in or out? Still in.
  • Stretch Marks? Amazingly, there are still no stretch marks.
  • What I miss: I am starting to think about how much I am actually going to miss being pregnant. Up to this point, Joycelen has pretty much been mine exclusively. I know that once she is born -- I'll have to share her, and I am not sure I'm ready for that yet.

What's Happening with Daddy?

  • Daddy has focused his efforts on keeping Mama as happy and comfortable as possible. This means he has taken over most of the cooking duties and done lots of cleaning in preparation for Joycelen's arrival.

**When this entry posts, I will be 38 weeks and 4 days. I have a doctor's appointment at 3:15 p.m. Hopefully, we will receive the green light to go ahead and either induce - or if my cervix is still not favorable schedule a C-section, so that we can meet Miss Joycelen. Although I do not want a C-section, I also know that Joycelen's size may present complications if we went to my due date. I am going to trust the advice of my physician and will post an update as soon as a decision is made.

February 18, 2010

Doctor's Visit - 37/38 weeks

I had another doctor's appointment yesterday afternoon. At the time of the appointment, I was 37 weeks and 4 days. After the usual ritual, of weight, urine sample, and blood pressure check - my wonderful Dr. H came into the exam room.

We began by discussing the results of the cultures that she took last week. I have tested positive for Group B Strep - something that happens in roughly 25% of women. Therefore, I will be given a round of IV antibiotics during labor/delivery. Once we wrapped up our discussion, it was time for the cervical exam. And.......

Nothing. Not a single change, not a single dimple. In fact, Dr. H's exact words were "Your cervix still has marked thickness to it." So what does this mean for Joycelen and Mama?

At this point we are in a catch-22 situation, Joycelen is already a healthy sized baby (7.7 pounds last week, probably close to 8 pounds by now) and constantly growing. The longer we allow her to remain in utero - the larger she is going to become - which could pose problems during delivery. However, my cervix has not thinned so it is currently unfavorable for induction.

The plan at this point is to wait another week and see if something happens. Assuming there is still no change to my cervix by next week, C-section will become a serious option. So for now, it is more waiting.

February 17, 2010

37 Weeks

What's Happening with Joycelen?

  • Joycelen now weighs 7.7 pounds is over 19 inches long.
  • In other big news, she is now full-term - which means she is preparing for life outside the womb!

What's Happening with Mama?

  • Total weight gain/loss: 25.5 pounds
  • Maternity clothes? Yes.
  • Best moment this week: The snow storm that hit over the weekend. Although we only received a few inches that did not last very long - it made for a magical feeling.
  • Food cravings: Veggie subs and Southwest chicken salads
  • Belly button in or out? Still in.
  • Stretch Marks? None
  • What I miss: Hard to think of anything this week.

What's Happening with Daddy?

  • Daddy has had to endure quite a bit of teasing from Mama this week. On Thursday, he made the comment "If it snows this weekend, I'll eat my boot." It was quite tempting for Mama to serve it to him on a platter -- instead she let him eat Mexican. Daddy is also trying to find a way to drain the yard -- all the rain has the driveway looking like a pond. When he isn't doing that, he rubbing Mama's feet, back, and belly -- basically doing whatever he can to make sure she's comfortable thru the home stretch.

February 16, 2010

Nursery Renovation, Part Four

Things have been progressing nicely in the nursery. The above picture is of the bookcase that M has built for the room.

This is one of my favorite pictures from the renovation. I love watching my husband devoting so much time to making our daughter's nursery perfect. Joycelen is one lucky girl to have a Daddy who loves her so very much.

In addition to nursery renovations, we have had 2 baby showers. The first was thrown by the ladies of our church. We were blessed with so many thoughtful gifts. My sister-in-law (Aunt Lane) made the gorgeous diaper cake. It has hundreds of diapers and so many cute items - hats, shoes, hairbows, hair clips, and paci's.

This is a shot of Joycelen's closet - full of the super cute outfits that we received at our first shower. Along with the diapers that were gifted to us. Our second baby shower was thrown by my co-workers. They went in and gave us the money to purchase her bassinet. I have yet to snap a picture of it, but when I do, I'll be sure to post it.
The painter is at our house today - painting the bookcases and touching up a few areas. I hope to have video of the finalized nursery by tonight!

February 13, 2010

Doctor's Visit - 36 weeks

M and I attended my 36 weeks check up on Thursday. The appointment began with an ultrasound which allowed us another peek at our precious baby girl. The ultrasound tech was able to get great shots of Joycelen's feet, arms, hands, and her head. But "Miss Priss" refused to show her face....instead keeping her hands in front of her face the entire time. We were able to learn that Joycelen is weighing in at about 7 pounds and 7 ounces. I also learned that I was measuring 38 weeks and 4 days -- but was only 36 weeks and 5 days.

After the ultrasound, M and I moved into a regular exam room - where I underwent the normal routine of blood pressure and heart rate checks. Dr. H arrived and we discussed the results of the ultrasound. Once that was over, Dr. H and her nurse took cultures to check for Group B strep and I had my first cervical check. I was hoping that I had dilated at least a little bit....but Dr. H reported that my cervix was showing no change.

After the check, Dr. H discussed Joycelen's current weight, my birth weight, M's birth weight - and how easily my mother was able to deliver me. Dr. H said that she would have liked to see a change in my cervix, but was not worried yet that nothing was happening. I will go for another visit on Wednesday when I will be 37 weeks and 4 days -- assuming there is still no change in my cervix and Joycelen is still measuring ahead of schedule we will start discussing options.

It was quite a lengthy visit, that left us with more questions than answers. However, we know that our baby girl is happy and healthy so that is all that matters.

February 11, 2010

36 Weeks

What's Happening with Joycelen?

  • Joycelen now weighs about 6 pounds and is over 18 1/2 inches long.
  • She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath.
  • On Friday, she will be considered full-term!

What's Happening with Mama?

  • Total weight gain/loss: 25.5 pounds
  • Maternity clothes? Yes.
  • Best moment this week: Getting our maternity photo proofs from the photographer. Each image is amazing and captures such a special time in our lives.
  • Food cravings: Oatmeal with peanut butter and bananas
  • Belly button in or out? Still in.
  • Stretch Marks? None
  • What I miss: Being able to sit at my desk for more than 20 minutes at a time. Joycelen gets very grumpy if I am in a seated position for very long, and proceeds to ball up and make me very uncomfortable. I also miss having nights/days without Braxton-Hicks.

What's Happening with Daddy?

  • Daddy had the grand opening for the State Patrol office this week.... it was a great. He is also in charge of the sound system in our new church sanctuary - he is trying to work out the kinks so that the sound is optimal for everyone.

February 09, 2010

Body Image and Pregnancy

I have shared a lot of the details of my pregnancy with you, my readers. However, one topic that I have spoken little about is my body image during this pregnancy.

Sure, I have posted my weekly weight gains and whether or not I had developed stretch marks. But I have never allowed you inside my head, to know how I was feeling as I watched my body change (almost daily) before my eyes – and with very little control on my part.

Long time readers know that for several years, I suffered from an eating disorder and extremely low self-esteem. It took nearly four years of therapy and fighting before I was able to let go of my ED and finally accept my body (and in a larger sense myself) exactly the way that I was…….so when I discovered that I was pregnant, I worried that my ED would rear its head.

It has not. From nearly the moment I knew that I was going to become a mother, I started thinking about how my view of my body would potentially influence the way my unborn child saw his/her self – and I knew that I never wanted my child to experience the horrors that I had faced while battling and recovering from my eating disorder. M and I set down and had a long talk about my expectations of pregnancy: what was a healthy weight to gain, how would my exercise regime change, how to eat healthy, and finally how to accept the changes that would inevitably come. Then I had the same conversation with my doctor.

In a nutshell, I created a “game-plan” for pregnancy. With the doctor’s permission, I have been able to continue my exercise program, modifying for my condition as necessary. I have tried to eat as clean and healthy as possible…..but allowing myself pregnancy induced indulgences. Most importantly, I daily remind myself that I am growing a life – a precious little girl who is strong, healthy, and to her Daddy and I absolutely perfect.

Yes, there have been moments where I have called myself “fat”. However, M is quick to admonish me that I am not fat, that the weight I have gained is helping our daughter to grown. To quote him directly “However, I think that you have done fantastically so far and I am very proud of how you have been able to handle everything. You are a much stronger woman than I could have ever imagined.”

And that’s the most important thing, my focus is not on a final number on the scale or the label of a pair of pants. Instead, I am embracing the fact that I am 9 months pregnant and probably the healthiest I have ever been. I have gained aerobic endurance and muscle tone. Moreover, I love the body I have now - I have never felt more beautiful.

What about after Joycelen’s birth, you are probably wondering? Will I still feel as confident, as beautiful? If the number on the scale never goes back to where it was 9 months ago, will I be happy? The answer is a resounding yes. Any stretch mark, pound gained, or change in my body shape is worth it because I will be holding my beautiful baby girl. Yes, I will work to get back into my pre-pregnancy shape --- but I also understand that pregnancy takes a huge toll on the body and I am not expecting the changes to come immediately. After all it took 9 months to get this body, it might take just as long to get back to the old me. And if I don’t reach the old me, I will embrace the new me – a strong, beautiful, confident woman who has the privilege and blessing of being a mother….and who will be tasked with raising a daughter who loves herself no matter her shape or her size.

February 05, 2010

35 Weeks

** This post is nearly a week behind schedule. I apologize for that - but this week has been a trying time for our family. On Monday, my mother's eldest brother was brought into the hospital where I work in full cardiac arrest. Even though the doctors and nurses worked diligently on him -- he did not survive. Needless to say, my thoughts and actions have been devoted to things other than blogging.

What's Happening with Joycelen?

  • Joycelen now weighs about 5 pounds and 12 ounces (per our 3-D ultrasound) and is over 18 inches long.
  • Her kidneys are fully developed now, and her liver can process some waste products.

What's Happening with Mama?

  • Total weight gain/loss: 25 pounds
  • Maternity clothes? Yes.
  • Best moment this week: Being able to share 3-D images of Joycelen with our family and friends. The 2nd best thing was the shower that our church thru for us -- they did an outstanding job and gifted Joycelen with lots of things.
  • Food cravings: Butterscotch
  • Belly button in or out? Still staying in....although I think its days are numbered.
    Stretch Marks? Still a negative to this question.
  • What I miss: Being able to where real clothes - like jeans with a zipper. I am entering the stage where maternity clothes are comfy but I am tired of them.

What's Happening with Daddy?

  • Daddy has completed finished the State Patrol Office and will celebrate the grand opening next Monday. He is starting to gear up for blueberry season and all the work that comes with the season.

February 01, 2010

2010 Goals - How Am I Doing?

A little over a month ago, I shared with you my personal goals for 2010. Now that January is behind us, I thought it would be a good idea to sit down and take stock of how well I am progressing towards those goals.

Goal: To deepen my relationship with Christ.

  • Develop the habit of a daily quiet time. - In January, I started a study on the book of Provers. I did well finding time to devote to my quiet time during the week. However, I was often remiss and I did not have a quiet time on Saturdays/Sundays. I find this ironic as I have more time on the weekends. I will need to re-evaluate how I use Saturday/Sunday mornings going forward.
  • Devote more time to preparing my Sunday School Lesson. - Major Fail on this. I am still flying by the seat of my pants when it comes to my Sunday school lesson. I have asked my MIL to hold more accountable for preparation.
  • Find opportunities to serve others - both in my church and in the community at large. For January, I am working on collecting donations of non-perishable items for our community food bank. - Success!

Goal: Deepen my relationship with Mikey

  • Devote at least 1 night per week to "hiding out" with M. - M and I have become quite good at setting boundaries with our families and saying "Tonight we are staying home." I find those our the nights where we feel less rushed and more refreshed.
  • Have "date night" each week. - Our date nights have included shopping for Joycelen's nursery, double dates with friends, and cooking dinner and watching a movie at home. I am loving date nights.

Goal: Develop stronger relationships with our nieces/nephews.

  • Between now and the end of February, M and I will take our oldest two nephews out for pizza (their favorite meal) and our two oldest nieces out for Mexican. Baby niece Kaitlynn will get a few hours with Aunt Kim and Uncle M all by her lonesome. - Check
  • We will try and have each of the four oldest spend the night with us at least once prior to baby's arrival. - Two down and two to go

Goal: Reconnect with old friends. - This is the goal that I am really struggling with the most. I find myself blaming fatigue and baby preparations on my lack of effort. I am still resorting to e-mails and texts as a primary means of communication. I need to start reaching out in more personal ways.

Goal: Spend more time with our parents - We are enjoying spending time with our parents. My parents came over the other week to have dinner and see the progress on the nursery. Last night, M and I had dinner with his parents.

Goal: Complete a minimum of 20 minutes of cardio at least 5 times per week. - I am meeting and often exceeding this goal.

Goal: Complete 3 weight lifting workouts per week - specific focus lower body - Again this goal is going well.

Goal: Eat less junk food - I have cut my junk food consumption in half during January. I am still eating more than 1 junk food item per day but it is significantly less that I was consuming.

Goal: Eat more fruits/veggies - I am getting quite creative in sneaking fruits and veggies into my diet. I have managed to hit my target 28 out of 31 days.

Goal: Drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. - Check.

Goal: Reduce the amount of "meals out" that M and I consume each week. - Another check mark. Our tummies and our budget thank us.

Goal: Take more pride in my appearance even as pregnancy progresses:

  • It would be very easy to fall into a rut of sweats/scrub pants and oversized sweaters as the last 8 weeks of my pregnancy come and go....but that's not what I want to do.
    To combat the temptation of being a "slob" - I am going to plan out my daily outfits each evening, using inspiration from
    You Look Fab and Fab Finds Under $50. . Wake up 10 minutes earlier each morning, to ensure that I have enough time to style my hair (I don't need to default to a bun every day) and put on my make-up (more than just lip gloss.) - Once I started making this a priority, it quickly became a habit. M has even commented on how I have managed to look pulled together while getting more and more pregnant.

Goal: Read more. - I read Tuesdays with Morrie and The Time Traveler's Wife in February.

Goal: Finish Joycelen's nursery. - Almost done, just a few finishing details.

Goal: With M's help, make a list of those "home improvement" projects that we would like to accomplish in the coming year. Figure out how they will impact our monthly budget and "schedule" them over the course of 2010. - Completed!

If you made New Year's resolutions or goals, how are things going?