Sunday, January 3, 2016

My Pregnancy Diary

It's been a week of resting and nesting as we patiently wait for baby girl to arrive. We are post due date and although my body is moving slower than a snails pace, she is still happy as a clam dancing around in my belly.

I have not blogged much about my pregnancy, so I thought I would take some time to share a bit of my experience (the second time around). Soon this growing bump of mine will be gone and in its place will be a wiggling little baby snuggled in my arms, staring up at me with gentle eyes. While that sight is everything I have been dreaming of since the day I found out there was a tiny heart beat growing inside me, I know there will come a day where I will drift back and want to remember all the details of my pregnancy.
Here are a few fun tidbits and confessions to document my pregnancy and how it has differed from the first!

Overall Experience:
Being pregnant with a second child has been a very different experience than being pregnant with the first.
In some ways it has been harder but in others it has been way easier. The harder comes from having a very energetic toddler to take care of while working through pregnancy symptoms and tiredness. The easier comes from being more knowledgeable and knowing what to expect. I admit that I was a bit anxious with my first pregnancy. I rushed through the process. I had a lot of nerves and did not find it to be "the most beautiful time." I never felt that pregnancy glow. With this pregnancy, I have really tried to savor each month and enjoy every growing moment. With so many woman (some of my dearest friends included) struggling with fertility, I know how very lucky I am to have endured two relatively easy and healthy pregnancies. There is no doubt that I am so very grateful we've been given the gift of another precious life.

Pregnancy by Trimesters:
Although I experienced a great deal of morning sickness and fatigue in the first trimester, I have completely sailed through the second and third trimester! My energy level has been great and I have not encountered the back and hip pain that I did in the third trimester with Lola. Did I ever tell you all that I had to wear one of those belly support bands in my first pregnancy while undergoing physical therapy? It was brutal! Overall this pregnancy has gone much smoother, not to mention so incredibly fast.

Weekly Baby Updates:
In my first pregnancy, I diligently read about what was happening with my baby each week (this week your baby is the size of a watermelon). I confess that this time around, I have just assumed the baby's fruit size based upon how big my belly is :)

Bump Pictures:
I confess that I did not do a great job tracking my growing belly with either pregnancy. I have not been one to embrace my growing bump (I may regret that someday, I'm not sure). With that said, I feel like I have carried this baby different than my first pregnancy. With Lola I grew wider through the middle and was more round all over. I'm a bit more belly this go around, a little leaner and not as swollen. The wedding ring still fits!

Maternity Clothes:
In my first pregnancy, I held off wearing maternity clothes as long as possible. I confess that I did not hesitate, for one second, to pull out the maternity clothes this time around. Hello full panel leggings that I have worn everyday for the past 20 weeks!

Total Weight Gain:
I confess that I gained about 40 pounds in my pregnancy with Lola. I wanted to do a better job in maintaining a healthier weight this time around. And although I feel that I ate a more balanced diet in my first pregnancy, I have been more active during this pregnancy. I give all the credit to Lola for keeping her mama moving while chasing after her. At this point I am holding steady at a  weight gain of 28 pounds.

For baby one, I was neurotic about what I ate. Following all the food and nutrition "rules" to a tee. For baby two, I have laughed in the face of the rules of pregnancy eating. Obviously I haven't done anything to put my baby in jeopardy, but I haven't made myself crazy over an occasional cup of coffee or turkey sandwich.

I didn't experience many cravings in my first pregnancy. In fact, it was mostly about what foods I could stomach to eat. This time around, I confess that I have craved EVERYTHING - salty, spicy and sugary! Yet at this point, I am craving more space in my stomach so that I can eat food again without heartburn.

Up until these last few weeks, I have not had any issues with sleeping. Recently it's been a battle of waking up in the middle of the night (usually to use the bathroom) and struggling to go back to sleep. I find my mind racing with anticipation, to-do lists and other such things. Maybe it's my body preparing for those middle of the night feedings that are upon me.

For baby one, I worried about literately everything I could think about. I confess that I have been much calmer during this pregnancy. However my husband would probably tell you that I am guilty of at least one good hormone-filled meltdown a day! My main concern this pregnancy has been how I will manage two minis and whether I will ever sleep again. 

I started feeling those first flutters and rolls around 20 weeks. The movements became more intense in the 3rd trimester (you know those movements where you can see your entire belly shifting). In comparison to my last pregnancy, the movements seem to be about the same. Both being very active in the evening hours or when I am resting. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just not noticing the movements when I am up and on the go.

Labor Signs:
I definitely feel that this baby has "dropped" in the past couple weeks. My husband was quick to point out that I was waddling more than usual and those bathroom breaks have gotten very frequent. I've also been experiencing those pesky braxton hicks contractions, much more than in my first pregnancy. Yet at my 40 week appointment this week, I was only dilated to 1.5 cm and 70% effaced which is the exact same progress I had made with Lola at 40 weeks. It's evident that I have stubborn little babies who like to stay cozy in my womb :)

Birth Preparation:
For baby one, I actively thought about giving birth. I wondered what it would be like and thought about the process, like how long I would be in labor and when I would ask for the epidural (because I knew it would be when and not if). I ended up being induced a week after my due date, which took the fear of going into labor and the uncertainty of when I would deliver out of my hands. For baby two, I confess that I am no less terrified of giving birth. We are giving her a chance to make her way on her own but have a back up plan to induce labor if she ends up being "difficult."

Looking forward to:
I confess that I am looking forward to a cocktail and a normal wardrobe. The nine months of fun has run its course and I'm ready to feel like my body is mine again. With that said, above all, I am most looking forward to holding my sweet baby girl, showering her with love and kisses, and spending the rest of my life showing her just how special she is. She will complete our family and I cannot wait to have her with us on the outside!

Until then, I am holding onto the now - I am savoring every kick, every hiccup and everything in between the now and what will soon be beautiful chaos with my two little girls.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas 2015

Another year, another wonderful Christmas. I hope you all had an amazing holiday weekend, filled with lots of love and happiness.

Words to describe our Christmas this year? Simplified - Cozy - Blessed.

We generally travel each year for Christmas and although we missed being with all our family, it was fun celebrating the holiday in our own home this year. Here is a little recap of our cozy little Christmas :)
Our festivities started on Christmas Eve. David's parents along with my mom and stepdad made their way to Kansas City to be with us. We enjoyed a spectacular Christmas Eve dinner at Hereford House before attending candlelight service at our church. Lola was a perfect little angel during dinner so I should have known she would be a complete monster during church. She lasted about 10 minutes before I hauled her to the back of the church to join the other restless children. Still, it was a beautiful service and joyful celebration.
After church, we did our family gift exchange with my parents. Lola was so excited to finally open a few of her presents! We then set out cookies for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, and made sure our fire place was ready for Santa to come down the chimney. Lola was one excited little girl and I was surprised that she fell asleep as quickly as she did. That left Santa's Elves staying up way past their bed time assembling toys for Christmas morning. In the end, it was well worth it!
Christmas morning was as magical as ever! Lola came downstairs all smiles as she discovered that Santa really came! She was in complete awe of her train set and play table. It was all fun and excitement until she realized her Elf had disappeared and gone back to the North Pole. She was so bummed over it! But nothing that a couple cookies for breakfast couldn't fix :)
After a yummy breakfast, we opened stockings and the rest of our gifts while playing over mounds of wrapping paper.
Lola was so excited about all her presents - I think it's safe to say she got everything on her wishlist and then some. The beauty bag and pretend make up were big hits. She played with them all day long, making sure everyone had a turn (or ten) at her beauty salon. She also went bonkers over new kitchen accessories, play food, puzzles and games. How cute is that grin?
We spent most of the rest of the day in our pajamas, shuffling through a mess of toys and watching the Christmas Story marathon. To keep things simplified, we skipped making a big Christmas dinner and instead feasted on appetizers, soup and sandwiches. Lola played tirelessly throughout the day while the adults rotated rounds of card playing.

On Saturday, David's brother and family joined us for more Christmas fun. More food, more presents and more card playing. Lola was so tickled to play with her cousin, Ava. At the end of the day, it was a messy house, full of good food and good company - we loved every second of it!
It has been a fun last few days, but also bittersweet as we packed away all of our Christmas decor until next year. We welcomed the first snowfall of the season today and we are staying cozied up at home as we wait on baby sister to arrive. We just know that 2016 is going to be filled with so much wonderfulness.
I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and wish you a happy New Year's weekend ahead!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Christmas Spirit

Merry Christmas Eve! I hope you are having a wonderful Christmas week thus far.

It has been a bit of a doozy over here as our family was hit with a cold and flu bug over the weekend. Yet in between resting and recouping, we are embracing the Christmas spirit!

Over the past few weeks we've been filling our house with bits of Christmas cheer and trying to do something festive each day. Lola has been eyeing her wrapped gifts under the tree while waking up every morning asking if it is Christmas yet - I love seeing all the excitement in her eyes!
I really love getting ready for Christmas, everything about it warms my heart. Especially the traditions and family that comes along with it. I thought I would share a little photo snip-it of some Christmas fun we've enjoyed this month. We really tried to take full advantage of all that this season has to offer, in both teaching Lola about the true meaning of Christmas and in making every day just a little bit magical.

We had much fun with our Elf on the Shelf.
We danced around the house while singing Christmas carols.
We paid a visit to Jolly St. Nick.
We admired Christmas lights out and around the city.
We crafted a gingerbread house.
We watched our favorite Christmas movies.
We admired the Christmas magic at Union Station.
We decorated Christmas cookies.

My favorite highlights ...

Lola could hardly contain her excitement and was all smiles as she walked up to meet Santa! She was a little shy at first but eventually told Santa that she wanted a dolly. Then after a short pause she added, "and I want baby sister to come for Christmas." My mama heart nearly exploded, she is going to be the sweetest big sister!

Our thoughtful little Elf left Lola a few fun crafts and activities to do, including a kit to make her first gingerbread house! At first she thought it was just a giant cookie to eat, but once we explained it to her she was on board to build it. David was the icing master and Lola glammed it up with lots of candy. Although I'm certain she ate more candy than what made it onto her house!

One of my favorite outings was a morning spent together at Union Station. The displays and activities at Christmas time are both breathtaking and exciting! I hope it's a tradition that our family continues to enjoy each year. Although next year I will be a bit more on my game in making reservations for the Holiday Express train - try explaining a two hour wait to a train loving toddler in the midst of nap time!

To say Lola is obsessed with Christmas lights is an understatement. She peeks out the window each night to admire our neighbors lit up houses. I'm pretty sure her daddy will not get away with forgoing putting up lights on our house next year!

Last year at Christmas time, Lola was hardly talking. This year she has been running through the house belting out "Jingle Bells" and "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer" on repeat! 

Each night after bath time we have let Lola crawl into bed with us to watch (part of) a Christmas movie, usually whatever is airing on ABC Family. She gets so giddy about this special family time, making me a bit of a push over in letting her stay up past her bedtime!

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas that is full of magic and memories! From our home to yours, we wish you the happiest holiday!

Friday, December 18, 2015

Five on Friday: All things baby prep

It's been a busy week over here as we scramble to prepare for Christmas while gathering final items for baby girl's arrival. Today marks 38 weeks of my pregnancy and although we've managed to push through this busy season, I'm hoping to slow things down a bit and savor up these last couple weeks of my pregnancy.

Here is a snapshot of my week, which involved all things baby prep as we count down the final days!

ONE | The Nursery
With a few finishing touches put on the nursery this week, it is finally complete! I am absolutely in love with the space and can't wait to share it with you all (very soon). Here is a little sneak peak of her sweet room!

TWO | Birth Plan
David and I met with the hospital this week to pre-register and complete paperwork. We discussed our birth plan and wishes for labor and delivery with the Maternity Navigator. Although I should feel more prepared and knowledgeable the second time around, I am no less terrified of giving birth! Since I ended up being induced with Lola at 41 weeks, I feel that (in a lot of ways) I'm experiencing the idea of "going into labor" for the first time. I have all the same emotions of a first time mom rushing through me - excitement, anxiety and nervousness. I am keeping faith that things will go smoothly and can't believe our sweet baby could make her grand entrance into this wild world any day now!

 THREE | Pampering
I've been so caught up in nurturing this new life while keeping up with my spunky two year old, that I have completely neglected taking care of myself. I have been feeling a bit "blah" lately, so I took sometime this week to put myself first with a little pampering. A visit to my hairdresser, a spa pedicure and a Sephora haul was the perfect blend to making this tired mama feel more put together. Of course I credit most of this indulging to my mom who continues to spoil me beyond measure.

FOUR | Newborn Preparations
I've spent so much time gathering and organizing sweet baby things - making up little piles, moving them here and there and admiring all the little details. I've washed all the teeny tiny laundry, stacked baby garments and blankets, sterilized bottles and toys, and cooked up a few different meals to freeze. I've also kept David busy with tasks like  installing the car seat and assembling a cozy bassinet in the corner of our bedroom where our little bug will sleep for the first couple months. We are officially feeling ready!

FIVE | Hospital Bag
And finally, the last item on my checklist - preparing for a couple overnights in the hospital! Our appointment with the hospital prompted me to get my bag packed. Although the hospital provides you with a lot of the things you will need, I like to be prepared for anything and everything. I also feel more comfortable having a few of my own things.
While fresh in my mind, I thought I'd share a little bit of what's packed in my hospital bag - essential items that I remember being helpful the first time around and items I regretted not having on hand!
 You don't need to worry too much about clothing the first couple days as you will most likely wear a hospital gown. I however like to pack a few lounge wear items of my own for comfort and for when visitors start rolling in. I made sure to pack a comfy robe, loose pajamas, socks, nursing bra and slippers. I'm also bringing along a cute floral printed hospital gown/ kaftan that was a gifted to me - it will surly make my pictures look prettier :)

Going Home Outfit:
I also made sure to pack a comfortable outfit to wear home, something that isn't too form fitting. I went with a pair of maternity leggings paired with a loose tunic. I remember being very swollen for a few days after having Lola, so clothing that was a size larger than what I would normally wear worked best.

Toiletries and Make-up:
Of course you don't need to bring your entire make-up bag, but it's nice to have a few items on hand to feel refreshed and a little put together. My essential items include a toothbrush/toothpaste, deodorant, chapstick, facewash, lotion, dry shampoo and Lanolin cream.

For Baby:
The hospital provides you with everything you will need for baby, but I still packed a few cute things for her to wear during our stay including a special hat (the same one her big sister wore!), a pair of booties, a onesie and a soft blanket. And, of course, a fun outfit to wear home. I've also packed my favorite nursing pillow, which was extremely helpful with positioning when first nursing Lola (we actually purchased it from the hospital during our stay with Lola).

Other Essentials:
A few other items to have packed is all of our electronics - cell phone, camera, computer, chargers, etc. I don't want to miss the opportunity of capturing those first sweet moments and days with our baby girl. It's also a good idea to pack a pillow and blanket for dad and have a few snacks on hand!

It's now time to slow things down and save up my energy for when she arrives - I know I will need every ounce of it! We have very little to do other than dream of our little love and pray for the changes our family will encounter. We are happy to be home, doing what we do - waiting patiently, enjoying the holiday season and soaking up the little things. We cannot wait to see her precious face and snuggle her for the first time.

Cheers to a happy weekend, friends!