Friday, April 27, 2012

My pregnancy in pictures

I've told the story of my pregnancy through my ultrasound pictures, but everyone knows when you're pregnant all others really care about is the belly! So I'll start from the beginning. Hubs and I found out we were pregnant the same day the offer on our house was accepted. It was a crazy crazy day, and one I'll forever remember. Of course I took pictures of the positive test, but they were on my old cell phone and that went kaputz before I saved them. So here's the first picture of me pregnant on the day we closed on our house. I was about eight weeks pregnant and still feeling great. I was pretty tired, but had no morning sickness and no real cravings. But I did start the nesting process early- we moved into our house when I was pregnant, what do you expect! I couldn't wait to find out if baby was a boy or girl so I could put nursery plans into action.

I told myself before I got pregnant that I would take weekly pictures, and I actually had every intention of resurrecting the blog then. But as the first trimester passed, I realized I hadn't taken any pictures because I just didn't feel pregnant- I felt fat. I'm going to be completely honest here. I didn't love what pregnancy did to my body early in the process. One day I woke up and my hips had expanded and my thighs were rubbing together (which is really annoying in hot weather). I felt like I had no shape whatsoever, and I just didn't feel beautiful like so many women say they feel when they're pregnant. Another detail the perfect blog world doesn't talk about is that in order to take belly photos, you have to actually have someone to take them! Hubs doesn't get home from work until I've already changed out of my work clothes and put on my stretchy pants. So was I seriously going to get dressed, touch up my make-up, and take the picture with a self-timer? Sounded like a lot of energy for this tired lady.

But as my belly grew I focused more on that and less on my expanding love handles. I realized I needed to capture this pregnancy before it passed me by. So here I am around 15 weeks, starting to feel good about my bump, and really starting to get excited about the changes happening to my body- love handles and all.

When I was 18 weeks pregnant, I went on a girl's trip to Martha's Vineyard. I snapped this picture before I went, and I feel like in that weekend on vacation there was a visible difference in the size of my bump (of course only noticeable to me!). I felt good, but it was the middle of the summer and I was starting to understand why it's better to be in your second trimester than in your third in the summer- the heat is exhausting!

Here I am at 18 weeks, friend S at 28 weeks, and friend L at 32 weeks. I swore I looked like I had a belly but nobody noticed when I stood next to these girls!

I even enjoyed a few non-alcoholic brewskis while I was on the trip. Made me feel like I was a little more fun to be around, when all I could really think about is what restaurant we would go to next and how chubby I looked in my bathing suit.

Hubs and I celebrated our half-way 20 week mark with a trip to one of my favorite local restaurants Longhorn Steakhouse, or as his family calls it "not the Outback". A few weeks earlier, my Dr. told me that my anemia had gotten worse and I needed to take a serious iron supplement. I used this as an excuse whenever I could to eat a steak:)

20 weeks!

Another belly shot at 21 weeks- I think after 20 weeks I really started to feel like I looked pregnant instead of just bloated. This is when I started taking more belly pictures. I wish I had more pictures of me early in my pregnancy. Next time, I'll just suck it up and take them even if I feel bloated and not pregnant- it's worth it for the memories. My mom sent me this maternity jean skirt for my birthday, and it was the first maternity item I wore. What sweet relief! Next time I'll also start wearing maternity clothes WAY earlier- I now wish I could wear maternity wear and stretchy pants all the time!

23 weeks in Maine. This is when other people started to notice I was pregnant, and it made me feel kinda good. I actually put on a bathing suit, and for once on the beach I didn't have to suck it all in! We went out to dinner one night and walked around the amusement park, but all I could think about was what I would order at Dairy Queen when we got home. Ice cream was a very serious subject at 23 weeks.

Around 28 weeks, I really felt like I had popped. People at work were calling me "huge" and I started to get the "are you sure you're not having twins?" remark. Why do people say that, anyway? Do they think it makes a pregnant woman feel good? Like she's doing a good job of getting fat? I've never understood that, and it's definitely something I won't be saying to anyone. This is also when my face started to change a little. I didn't quite get the Bethanny Frankel pregnant jowls, but I filled out a bit for sure. I'm convinced if I had gone full-term, my nose would've taken over my face. How a nose swells, I have no idea- but it did. Lucky for me, it didn't stay that way:)

 At 28 weeks, hubs sister got married and I made my best effort to party hardy 7.5 months preggers. Sure my feet were swollen and I would've loved to take part in the champagne toast, but I actually loved dressing up and feeling pampered. Hubs' family really made me feel a part of the wedding party, and I had my hair and make-up done which made me feel beautiful and special.

I really wish I had more pictures of us that night, but you can see my belly a little better in this photo- this was a non-maternity dress I found at Macys. I purchased two sizes and wore the one that fit me best that night! 

I mentioned we were in the hospital around 30 weeks for steroid injections. I was nervous, and anxious that if baby did come, I wouldn't be prepared to handle if anything went wrong. This is when I started to realize that I needed to mentally prepare myself for the unexpected- like a c-section or a nicu baby. It made me sad to even consider these things, but I just had to deal with them before Luca made his arrival.
I snapped this picture at 31 weeks because at this point I was way too tired to get dressed and set up the camera for a portrait. I still felt great, but moving around was taking a lot more energy!

Around 33 weeks my MIL hosted my baby shower! My in-laws were seriously amazing throughout my pregnancy- my MIL came to every appointment when hubs couldn't come, and it was so nice to have a support system at every appointment "just in case". About this time people started to tell me I was starting to drop, and others were telling me I was in for the long haul. I squeezed my feet into heels for one of the last times, and I was feeling pretty good! About a week after this, my feet started to swell, and well... it wasn't pretty and that's why I don't have a picture!

My last belly picture before our maternity photos- feeling pretty good, but not exactly ready for the little man's early arrival!

I'm sure I can't be the only one who didn't document my pregnancy with weekly belly photos, right? Next time I swear I will...

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Four Months! (and some catch up)

Dear Luca,

I can't believe my little baby is 4 months old! I've been uploading the photos from my camera and when I look at pictures of you as a newborn I realize now you were just a little peanut! At the time, I didn't realize just how small you were. You've changed so so much in such a short period of time. You're now eating every two and half to three hours instead of every hour (or sometimes for hours at a time!). Mommy loves this because I actually get to spend time playing with you now instead of nursing all day! (Don't get me wrong, I love our time together when you nurse, but it seemed like that's all we did that first month or so).

One month old!

Two months old!

Look at (all of those) chins! Mommy had a tough time cleaning in those crevices as Daddy and I would say during bath time. I actually thought we might have to ask the doctor for some anti-fungal meds because your little skin folds started to stink! You definitely packed on the lbs your first two months- you were averaging a weight gain of two ounces a day! Even your doctor called you a chunker at your two month appointment.

Three months old and really starting to show your colors. We tried to make you smile at the camera for weeks (you did smile all the time without the camera), but you were such a serious boy whenever mommy would take a picture.

This fourth month has been full of smiles and giggles, and I'm loving the little person you're becoming. You've discovered how fun the ceiling can be, and Daddy wants to buy you one of the light projectors for your nursery so you can stare at the ceiling.

So Luca, mommy and daddy feel so incredibly lucky to have you as our son. We always talk about how our love for you just keeps growing when we think it can't get any stronger. Parental love is intense! We love watching you grow and can't wait for the months ahead. One request though- slow down?! It's all happening so fast!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Our favorites (0-3 months): part I

When figuring out what to add to our baby registry, I did the obvious- research and copy other people's registries:) I'm only sort of kidding but seriously it's insane how many options we have as moms on items you would think were simple. Diapers, wipes, diaper bags, wipe warmers, bumbo, boppy, moby- what do you really need? Because posts like this really helped me, I thought i might talk about Luca's favorite items so far.
#1Chicco Keyfit 30: Limonata

We love this car seat. This is one of the decisions that took me forever to research. I was going back and forth between this and the graco snugride 35, and honestly it just came down to the fact that Luca was expected to come early and the Keyfit is reviewed as a very safe car seat for small babies. This article by Consumer Reports talks about the specific car seat needs of preemies and low birth weight babies, and this article published by Safe Ride News Publications lists the specs on some of the most popular car seats and categorizes them by weight. Across the board the Keyfit was among the safest for babies around 5 lbs. So that's one reason I chose the Keyfit. The other reason? Duh, I like the color. BUT, this is the one thing I wish I could change! Not necessarily the color (I still love the lime green), but this specific color has a material that does not look good when it gets wet. We all know that babies spit up, rain and snow fall on your car seat, and baby gear can start to age quickly if it stains easily. I had actually read this about the color and I purchased a protection plan with babiesRus when I bought the car seat. From the Babies R Us website,
Here's a breakdown of what our coverage includes:
Mechanical and electrical breakdowns
Failures from normal wear and tear
Damage caused by power surges
Defects in materials and workmanship
Accidental Damage from Handling on select eligible items
Replacement Plans begin on day 31
Replacements on all eligible items under $300
Service on all eligible items $300 and above

So for I think 40-ish dollars, the protection plan is essentially a replacement Plan. Again from the BRU website, "Our Replacement Plans are intended to cover products under $300.00. These plans provide 15 months of coverage from your date of purchase, and the start on the 31st day. Reimbursements made are in the form of "R"Us Gift Cards."
Basically use it for 15 months or less, call them and tell them it has stains and the fabric is snagged (normal wear and tear), and they send you a gift card for the price of what you paid. According to the manager I spoke with, you don't even have to send your item back or return it. It's a win win if you ask me, but obviously I haven't redeemed the benefits yet, so I'll keep you updated:)
#2: Wubbanub Infant Pacifier

Shopping at Target with his elephant
We actually have both the elephant (thanks Auntie Liz!) and the giraffe. Luca loves his Ellie and it's his designated car seat pacifier. I love that it's big enough that I don't ever lose it, and I love that it's helped develop his ability to grasp. I worried about how I would clean it, but I actually just throw it in the regular laundry twice a week and wash it with hot water and soap every night and it's clean. No biggie. I've purchased this as a gift once or twice and I've heard good reviews from my friends. But, I also have a friend, E @ Oh Apostrophe who didn't love it, so I think it's one of those items that some babies love and others don't.

#3 Halo Sleepsack Swaddle

I snapped this photo one morning while Luca was still sleeping next to our bed in our room. This also shows one of our other early favorites the Rock n Play.
This swaddle has been a HUGE part of Luca's successful sleep in the past two months or so. Until about a week ago, we would swaddle, nurse, and bed. Luca finally started breaking out and we had to go cold turkey without the swaddle. It was a rough couple of nights of sleep training, but we made it! (more on this later).

# 4: Fisher Price Rock n Play
Ok so I might get a little slack for this, but this is actually a product that we loved. Let me start by saying that we only used it for a couple of months, but I do think that it was a huge help when Luca was having reflux issues and when he was congested. Around 8 weeks, Luca's reflux got pretty bad and the Dr. suggested we probably start to think about rice cereal. For me this seemed like an extreme suggestion, and I did some research and took some advice from friends. Everyone suggested that sleeping in a more upright position would help, but when I propped up the crib and bassinet mattress, Luca just slumped over and his reflux got even worse. No one was getting sleep, and I called my hubby at work in desperation and asked him what he thought about the rock n play. When you read the reviews online, some of them talk about how they believe the rock n play can cause torticollis and a flat head. The reviews criticize how hard the backing is under baby's head, and although most people agree it helps with sleep and reflux, some of them suggest you only use the rock n play as a place for a nap or rest and not as an overnight solution. But the newest version of the Rock n Play has more padding where baby's head rests, and we really had no issues with Luca's head or neck. For us the RNP was a lifesaver, and I would use it again in a heartbeat.
Luca loved that the sides cradled him, and I think part of the reason babies sleep well in the RNP is that it makes them feel like they're being held. It also rocks really easily, so when Luca would fuss he would actually rock himself. I also love how it's only about 30 inches high, so when placed next to my side of the bed I could just reach over and easily bring him up to bed instead of having to stand and get him. It made for easy night feeds, and I'm convinced the Rock n Play and Halo sleepsack swaddle are the two reasons we got any we've had any sleep the past few months.

While we're on the subject of sleep, I should talk about our white noise machine/iPod dock/nursery clock. We were gifted the Cloud B Gentle Giraffe, and we do love it, but it stops working after 45 min, and we found that Luca really does sleep better with the noise. I had also been asking for an iPod dock for our nursery, so hubs picked up this twofer (2for1) and I love it. I've used it a few times as an iPod dock, and the only criticism I have is that I wish I didn't have to take off my phone's case every time I want to plug it in. It does charge my phone, though, so I guess I can't complain too much! We use the wave sound, and as part of our bedtime routine, we turn on the waves and Luca knows it's time for bed. It also helps me avoid looking at the video monitor every two seconds because I don't hear every fuss from the little man. Another win-win:)

So those are just a few of our favorites right now, and they're already changing as Luca grows and his needs change. It's crazy to think that only four months ago Luca joined our family- I feel like I've known him forever. I know we're soulmates.
(luca at 8 weeks)

What are your favorites or must-haves?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Our busiest week yet

I'm sure I won't continue to do weekly updates (our life is not really that exciting after all), but Luca's 17th week was our busiest and probably most stressful week yet. We started off great, but quickly went downhill from there.

Luca has started sitting in his bumbo chair, and he loves it for a few minutes and then melts. I have mixed feelings about the bumbo. Although I appreciate it helping him sit unassisted by me, I can't help but think that it's really just holding him in a slumped position leaving him with little work to do to hold up his head. I'm sure it'll really come in handy later when he can sit in it for a longer period of time, but for now it's just for show:)

Monday Luca started with what seemed like a cold. He was congested, but it didn't really sound that bad. He went to my SIL house as usual, but his cough seemed to get a little worse throughout the day. By Tuesday morning, I had a feeling it wasn't just a cough so I took him to his pediatricians office. The Dr. listened to his lungs and was a little suspicious of pneumonia, so she did a chest x-ray that confirmed Luca had pneumonia. I'll be honest, I was surprised and full of guilt. How does this happen to a four month old- specifically, how did this happen to my four month old? I've been responsible washing his pacifiers, toys, and he's exclusively breast fed. I felt guilty that I wasn't going to be there to comfort him during the day while I was at work. Mommy guilt is the.worst.
So we picked up his prescription and tried to continue life as normal. Luca even discovered a new love for Sophie the giraffe. Until this week he just stared at me blankly while I giggled at Sophie squeaking, but Tuesday night they made out for the first time. So cute.

By Thursday it seemed like Luca was feeling a little better, but the Dr. asked us to come in immediately if we noticed his respiratory rate (breaths per minute) was above 40. My SIL checked it and it was mid/high 40s, so she headed over to my MILs house so she could assess the situation. Apparently his breathing was very shallow and he had vomited a few times, so they felt it was best for me to meet them at the emergency room. It's a call I hope to never get again at work. I high-tailed it so fast out of my office- speed takes on a whole new meaning when you have a sick baby. I'm so lucky we have hub's family near us- I'm not sure what I would've done throughout my entire pregnancy and Luca's first few months if I hadn't had the support of my in-laws.

Turns out Luca was having a reaction to the Amoxicillin he was taking. A little medicine to calm down his stomach and he was a new baby- smiling a cooing at the Drs so much it almost embarrassed we brought him there in the first place. Better safe though when he's so little.

Saturday we woke up and decided to watch a little of the Masters golf tournament. My dad sent Luca this little outfit, and what a perfect day to show it off! This smile makes my day.

Easter morning Luca tried his new jumperoo. He loves it, and so do we- hubs did a lot of research on an activity center vs jumperoo vs walker, and he decided on the Baby Einstein Musical Motion Jumperoo. It's very stimulating, and so far a great buy. My apologies for the grainy picture again, it's an iphoto of a screen shot from my "real camera". Hubs ordered my new laptop last night and I can't WAIT to upload all of my photos and use them to blog- it's been annoying with just my iphone.

Normally on Easter we have a big family celebration, but this Easter one of hub's family members is sick and we decided it just wouldn't be the same without him there. So we all decided to do our own thing. We ended up just hanging out, opening presents from the Easter bunny, and eating an entire bag of mini eggs. Oh wait, that last one was just me:) That night, though, Luca's cough got worse so again we went to urgent care because hubs was a little nervous. In the waiting room Luca discovered the ceiling. He flailed himself back to look at the fish painted on the ceiling, and now he won't stop looking up- even at home. It's pretty cute.
Luca's improving, but they think he has a viral infection which can take a while to heal. I'm so thankful things weren't more serious, and I really hope we never have to make 4 trips to the dr/ER/urgent care in one week again!