Friday, March 7, 2014

37 Weeks!

Woah!  Time has really flown since I last posted an update!  Brent and I have been pretty busy taking advantage of our last couple of months of independence.  In the past 8 weeks, we went to NYC for one last time and hung out in Philly and Princeton with my brother Kyle and sister-in-law Angie, I had a fabulous baby shower hosted by my dear friend Alex and attended by many of my closest Princeton friends, and I went to Michigan for a few days to spend some time with my parents.  Here are a few highlights:

Brent, Kyle, Angie, and I went to the Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia- a huge indoor marketplace with lots of food vendors.  So, we ate our way through the day and posed for pictures with this bronze pig since Angie and I share a love for the creatures :-)

Alex's chosen theme (which I loved!) was Hip Hop Hooray! She knows I also love bunnies.  She really outdid herself with awesome handmade decorations, fun games (and that's coming from someone who doesn't usually enjoy them!), and tasty treats.

Alex made three kinds of cupcakes- all very good!

I made cardamom and orange star and bunny cookies.

One of the games and some bunny garland!  I've saved it for the baby's corner of our room.  #9 is me!

Everyone was so incredibly generous.  Baby Hill will be very well-dressed and accessorized, to say the least.

My former field ed. supervisor and church friends Robyn and her daughters were able to join us!
Meanwhile at home....

Brent and Fry making the most of their baby-free time.

Somewhat last minute, I went to Michigan to visit my parents and little brother Brett.  We were really missing each other.  Plus, who can say no to a few days of pampering, relaxation, and quality family time?  Not me!  I was spoiled with a massage and pedicure, we explored the new Grand Rapids downtown market, and got to look through my old baby clothes!  It was a nice trip and way too short.  But, I didn't want to be away from Brent and Fry for too long at this point. 

So maybe he's not so little anymore...

Last Sunday night, I attended an annual Oscars Party thrown by friends at our apartment complex.  Even though I only saw TWO nominated films (one foreign and one a documentary available on Netflix no less), it was a really good time and a good excuse to get all dolled up one last time!

Beautiful Alex guessed every single award correctly (seriously, she didn't even miss one!!) and won the grand prize of the evening!

Me and Alex, at our most glamorous.

As you can see, Brent and I have been trying to make the most of these last few childless weeks and the energy that I've had.  We are so excited for Small Fry to get here, but are also very thankful to have some time to spend together and with those we love before everything changes! 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

29 weeks- Picture!

I'm feeling a lot better today and Brent is home so I made him take a picture.  Seriously, he is the most reluctant photographer ever.  After he snaps one picture, he routinely responds by handing me the camera and saying, "Tell me what is wrong with it."  This is why I want to hire someone to take newborn photos of the babe!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

29 weeks: Feeling Faint

No pictures for this post- mostly because I look like a zombie.  More pictures soon, I promise.

The last couple of weeks have been a bit extreme in terms of range of feelings.  First, I finally felt some of the magical energy that all of the baby books (curse those things, seriously) tell a woman to expect in the second trimester.  I waited and waited for this burst of energy throughout the second tri, but it never arrived.  Then, during finals and Christmas, I felt so good, but it could have been because I was almost done with school or because of the holidays.  Either way, it was nice.

Fast forward a few weeks and the energy has already been dwindling.  I've been having trouble sleeping when I'm supposed to and then wanting to sleep all of the rest of the time.  Lying awake at 4 AM recently, I tried to figure out what I was feeling and why I could not sleep.  I realized that I was really hungry!  So, now I get up sometime in the wee hours of the morning to eat something and then usually go back to bed.  Even though it is far from ideal in other terms, I am so lucky to be out of school and unemployed right now so that I have one or two less things to juggle!  Seriously moms, how do you do this with a full time job?  The baby isn't even here yet!

Then, Brent and I went to our midwifery appointment today.  The midwife was able to discern the baby's position with her hands, showed her assistant how to feel it, and then let Brent try it out.  The baby is already head-down, which is fantastic.  It could change in the next few weeks, but it is still a good sign!  Although, I'm slightly concerned that this kid has 8 legs because there is no other explanation for the crazy sensations I've been feeling...

The baby's heartbeat sounded great, my labs were all normal (Thank God I don't have gestational diabetes after all.), and we were going over the next few weeks.  All of the sudden, everybody sounded far away and I had the spins.  Mid-sentence, I just blurted out, "Uh, I feel really dizzy."  I felt myself fading fast.  The midwife and her assistant sprang into action.  They gave me water, opened a window (it was really warm in their office), and had me put my head between my legs while the midwife vigorously rubbed my back.  Has anyone ever tried to put her head between her legs while 29 weeks pregnant? Ha!  Not geometrically possible.

When I sat up, I still felt awful and my vision was blurry.  I have never, ever felt like this in my entire life.  I was a bit freaked out and apologetic for being a hassle.  We walked into the waiting room to get more air.  It all started spinning again and we repeated the bending forward.  The midwife brought me a snack but I was suddenly nauseous and couldn't even think about eating.  Brent started fanning me and my blood pressure was taken- it was normal for me.  So, a blood pressure spike was ruled out, as was anemia thanks to my recent labs.  I was likely overheated.  Plus, I only slept 5-6 hours last night with a break for a bowl of cereal at 6 AM.

The midwife had me smell an alcohol pad, which was surprisingly effective.  She also brought out smelling salts and showed Brent how to activate them.  But, she told him to spare me unless I truly fainted, since apparently they are awful.  I joked that Brent may need them too.  He was so worried and completely freaked out, but very supportive as always.  

I perked up a bit and decided that going outside into the cool misty air seemed like it would feel good.  Really, I just wanted to get home and lie down on the couch with Fry pup.  Once we all got down the stairs and outside, I felt much, much better.  I felt even better when we got home.  Eventually, I was able to eat lunch and called the midwives in the afternoon to check in and let them know I was feeling better.  I still feel really weak, so I have been taking it easy. 

Hopefully, it doesn't happen again.  Just in case, those smelling salts are on the kitchen counter.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

25-26 Weeks- Christmas in NYC

I crammed the majority of my finals writing into the beginning of the week and I had great motivation to do so- Brent and I wanted to go to NYC.  It was likely our second to last trip before Baby Hill arrives and we move... I know, we are getting a lot of sympathy for only getting to go a couple more times, right?

Anyway, we decided months ago that we wanted to see the Christmas lights in the City.  So, we set off Thursday morning on the train.  We knew it would be incredibly busy and we were right!  We had to wait several minutes just to get from the train platform to the main floor of Penn Station.

Once we were outside, we walked toward our first destination- Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Co.  We were so disappointed when we moved to Princeton that we were giving up several decent bagel places in Madison (Gotham especially, but I also miss Bagels Forever = you don't appreciate what you have until it is gone...or 1000 miles away), only to find Princeton seriously lacking in good bagels.  So, when we go to the City, we like to try different bagel places for a cheap breakfast or lunch that we literally cannot get at home.  Brooklyn Bagel definitely hit the spot.  Brent had an everything bagel with jalapeno asiago cream cheese and I had a cinnamon raisin bagel with fig cream cheese.  Yum.

On the High Line

Then, we decided to walk west toward the High Line.  We had wanted to go up all summer just to see this place, but we never made it.  It's a park up in the air in the form of a converted railroad bridge.  It's about half-way up the skyline on the lower west side.  Though I imagine it's more interesting in the summer when the vendors are out and the whole thing is open, it was still really cool to see.  Just to be able to walk a few blocks without having to stop for cars was a treat.  Plus, it was snow covered, and we are snow people.

After the High Line, we walked down to the waterfront at Chelsea Piers, which we had seen from the High Line.  The whole place was completely deserted.  Given how busy the rest of Manhattan was, it was cool to sit on a bench and not see anyone!  We hung out there for a bit and talked about how we will miss being able to come up to the City, but that we miss Madison and cannot wait to go back there.

The view from Chelsea Piers

We caught the subway and walked up the east side of Central Park all the way to the Met, only to find the tree we had been told of was only visible inside the paid-part of the museum.  From there, we took the subway to Rockefeller Center.  The one thing I really wanted to see was the tree.  It was sparkly and beautiful.

Then, it was time for dinner.  I know that some of you will read "vegan" and stop there, but honestly, this was one of the best meals of my life.  We went to Blossom which is a 100% organic vegan restaurant that Brent's coworker told him about.  Brent had seitan scallopini in a lemon caper sauce with truffle mashed potatoes.  I had rigatoni with a porcini mushroom cream sauce garnished with pistachios and onion jam crostini.  Holy cow was it amazing!  Both dishes were awesome, but Brent's was especially good.  Normally, we like vegan food but always think it could be improved with cheese or butter, but for once we didn't miss it.  We joked that we wanted to see the kitchen because we didn't believe what we were eating didn't have dairy.  We finished the night with tiramisu, because you can't leave NYC without dessert.  Oh My.  It was delicious.

Being 6 months pregnant and walking all over the city was a bit rough, but we just took it slowly.  Oddly, it is my legs that are killing me a couple of days later.  Luckily, I needed to return to writing all day yesterday to finish the last bit of graduate work I had left.  I didn't need legs for that!

I'm so thankful that we've been able to enjoy the City while we've been here.  I'm even more thankful for Brent and the rest of our family and friends for all of the generous support, love, and blessings that have filled our lives over the past two and a half years!


Sunday, December 8, 2013

24 weeks

So this sweater isn't doing me any favors, but then again this sweater has never, ever been very flattering.  It is one of the many odd things my mom sent me in high school.  You know, because everyone in high school wishes they had Coldwater Creek sweaters.  But, now it is sentimental and I decided to wear it in honor of 1) our first legitimate snowfall (if 1-3 inches even counts as legit), and 2) I needed a picture to send to my mom and figured, why not?  Maybe it will make her smile, and 3) I have my first Christmas party of the year (a cookie exchange!!) tonight. 
Anyway, my bump is a lot bigger, but probably not quite as huge as this picture seems to indicate.

Also, Brent doesn't understand why one picture of the entire pregnancy will not suffice. 

- We finally started our registries and picked out some essentials in the time between midterms and finals.  Our trip to Babies R Us was actually kind of wonderful.  Brent did not pass out.  Instead, he put his engineering skills to use trying to figure out how to collapse various strollers.  The one we ended up picking out- the Britax B-Agile- was the most user-friendly and took the least time to figure out.  We are registered at Babies R Us and also set up a universal registry on 
- Brent and I had a wonderful Thanksgiving between celebrating with vegetarians in New Jersey and then with his sister, her husband, and their friends in Vermont.  Unfortunately, Thanksgiving coincided with the point in this pregnancy when I no longer have much room in my tummy for all of the things I want to eat = worst Thanksgiving gut ache ever.  I couldn't even eat on Friday.  Also, traveling is no longer very comfortable.  Good thing we are staying put from here on out!
- At our monthly midwife appointment on Thursday, we found out my glucose may be high.  Please pray that it was a fluke and that I pass my official glucose test next month.  The thought of gestational diabetes terrifies me between the restricted diet, the counting of carbs and protein (especially during the holidays), finger pricks, and the potential for a giant baby and health complications for both of us. Apparently it is just something that happens to some women and doesn't mean I did anything wrong, but it still stinks.
- In better appointment news, the baby's heartbeat was nice and strong.  One midwife joked that it sounded like a girl's heartbeat.  She said she likes to guess but that she will change her mind again and again!  It's an old wives' tale anyway, but it is fun to guess.  The baby was also very active at our appointment and we could listen to him/her squirm and see the movement across my belly at the same time.  I love, love, love that I can feel him/her all the time now.

I should get back to writing finals. It is hard to believe that in less than two weeks I'll be done with my masters work.  I will really, truly miss this place and all of the awesome people that we have met.  We've been blessed with so much over the past two and a half years.


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Saturday, November 16, 2013

20-21 Weeks

I have been feeling the baby move around for a couple of weeks now, but it mostly just feels like being on a roller coaster or driving over a hill.  Then, on Thursday I started feeling actual jabs.  It seems like the baby is more active at night and as much as I know I'll regret this at some point- I can't wait 'til he or she starts moving all the time so I don't have to worry between kicks!

I finally finished my five midterms- YAY!  Now, I have lots of little projects and a few long papers and then I am done with my masters!  Everything is due by Dec. 20th, so Dec. 21st will be a really great day!

Then, we'll have to hit the ground running on prepping for baby!  We have been lucky in that several people have already gifted us with free baby gear, but there is a lot of stuff we'll still need.  I've warned Brent for weeks that a trip to Babies R' Us is going to happen in the next week or so.  It's time we both get schooled in what all of these contraptions are.  I'm really excited about it, but I'm also afraid that my husband might faint. 

One thing I thought you all would like to know is that we are in very good hands as far as our midwives go.  Out here, we have two options when it comes to prenatal care- either our midwifery group or another group of OB/GYNs and midwives.  Last time, we went with the latter group.  We had a pretty terrible experience, even apart from the awfulness of losing the baby.  They were impersonal and it just did not feel right.  Working for UW Health before I came to school just set the bar too high for my standards of care. 

So, this time, we tried the other option.  These midwives came highly recommended by neighbors and friends.  Even people that went with the other group before say that they'll try these midwives in the future.  With all of the added anxiety I have this time around, I really needed care providers that I could trust, that made me feel confident in them and in Brent and myself.  These women listen to us; they don't rush us.  Their style is laid back and low-tech, but that doesn't mean that we are all living in the Dark Ages.  We have access to any technology that we could ever need, but we don't feel pressured to do things unnecessarily. 

Just one example of how awesome they are:  I have been struggling with some serious asthma symptoms over the past week and a half.  Since my asthma has not been a problem for the last five years, I was not expecting it to be a problem.  Then, I started coughing and having to use my rescue inhaler every day.  Apparently, this happens to some pregnant women (add that to the list of a billion things nobody ever tells you!!).  About a third of women with a history of mild asthma develop more serious symptoms during pregnancy.  The threat of asthma could mean more monitoring, more expensive tests, more doctors, and a major change in birth plans.  Pretty serious stuff.

Anyway, I called our midwives on Tuesday.  Their office closes at 2, so I was thinking that if I didn't hear by then, I wouldn't hear back until at least the next day.  Instead, one of the midwives (the only one we haven't met in person) called me at 5:15 at night, gave me her cell number, and told me to call her any time before she went to bed at 11.  I ended up talking on the phone with her at 8:30 at night.  Now, there is something that just doesn't happen in a standard practice.  She didn't rush me; she answered all of my questions and listened to my symptoms.  She talked to me mom-to-mom.  She was very nice and very informed.  She gave me options.  We agreed that I should see my primary care physician, but she said that if that didn't work out, she'd still help me.  If you don't have asthma, you may not know how scary it can be to feel like you can't breathe.  Combine that with feeling like you may not be getting enough air to your baby and - well, I'm sure you understand how I felt.  Our midwife put me at ease and helped me come up with a plan.  Fantastic. 

It still stinks to be far from family and friends, but at least we have these midwives to walk us through the process!  We are very grateful for that!


Tuesday, November 5, 2013

19 Weeks

Yesterday marked 19 weeks down, just as many to go (at least)!

These pictures are blurry cell phone pictures, but they will have to suffice!  Last night, Brent and I went to James Blake's concert at Union Transfer in Philly.  I cannot describe how awesome the show was.  When I got Brent the tickets for his birthday in June, we were a little bit skeptical about how Blake's electronic, heavily produced sound would translate live, but the show was all the more amazing in that he and his band pulled it off.  So incredible.  Also, James Blake is adorable....Just saying.
Two friends joined us and it was all around a good night.  But, standing for that long wasn't easy for this pregnant girl.

Since I've been getting a lot of questions lately, which is fine and goes with the territory, I thought today's post would work as FAQs. 

Q: How are you feeling?
A: This is a tough one because I always feel guilty for not feeling absolutely amazing.  We have wanted this baby for a very, very long time and so far, I love being pregnant.  I've also been very lucky in that I have not had severe morning sickness.  However, I do have severe allergies that have plagued me for a month now and have not allowed me a good night's sleep.  I had bad allergies before, but nothing compared to this!  Also, I'm still waiting for that second trimester BURST of energy that all the baby books speak of...  So tired.  All the time.
It is all worth it though, even the sneezing attacks at 4 am that wake up Brent and the dog.
And, I still feel well enough to do a lot of the things I love.  School work, not so much.

Q: When is your due date?
A: Our official due date is March 31st, 2014, but our baby could arrive full term any time between March 9th and April 14th.

Q: Do you know if you are having a boy or girl?
A: Nope!  We have decided to be surprised and would prefer that our baby gear be gender neutral anyway.  

Q: Where will you be when the baby is born?
A: Your guess is as good as ours :-)  It's likely that we will still be in New Jersey, but there is a small chance that we'll be able to move before then.  Our (incredibly) tentative plan is to move to Madison either before or after baby. 

Q: Speaking of plans, what are your plans next year?  What about spring semester?
A: I am taking extra credits right now so that I can finish my coursework at the end of December.  I cannot graduate in December, but I will not have classes in the Spring and will graduate then... If I can manage to keep up this semester.  So far, so good.  Good as in I'm still afloat, but definitely not enjoying it.

To become a chaplain, I have to complete a 9-12 month clinical pastoral education residency, much like I did this summer except for a lot longer.  These residencies exist all over the country (and in Canada!!!) and generally start in August.  Seeing as we'll have a new baby this Autumn, we have decided to put the residency off for a year.  It won't be easy with a 1.5 year old either, but it will be manageable if we play our cards right. 

So, that brings us to Madison.  Basically, there is no good reason to stay in NJ.  We love our friends, but sooner or later they will all be leaving too.  The cost of living is ridiculous, and our families are a thousand miles away.  While we have parties voting for us to settle in Illinois or Michigan (you know who you are), we feel compelled to return to Madison, if only to hang out for a year as we get used to being parents and I study for my last two ordination exams and apply for residencies.  We have extended family and a few really close friends there.  Plus, Madison is our kind of place and it is a good midpoint between family in northern Wisconsin, Michigan, and Illinois.  

Then, depending on the program I get into, we'll move again.  Don't worry too much; The programs I'm looking at are all in the Midwest...oh, and Canada, but that is just a dream.

And then, we'll move again.  Notice a pattern?

That's all for today!  Let me know if you have questions I can answer in future posts.  Also, feel free to send leftover Halloween candy our way.