Car Seat Struggles

Or, Perhaps the Worst Part of Parenting

Most days I am confident in my parenting capabilities.  Then there are days like today that kick me in the butt and continue to pummel me while I’m down.

Today we had an appointment to get our 3 new car seats installed.  This has to be one of the most challenging parts of parenthood.  It seems like you need an engineering degree just to be able to pick out the right seat, install it, and use it correctly.  Statistically, 90% of parents who get their car seats checked have installed them incorrectly.  To me, that’s a glaring problem – not the fault of the parents, but the manufacturers who have made these seats almost impossible to use correctly.  In the case of one of our car seats, the manual didn’t address a certain installation issue, and we had to call the manufacturer directly.  And it was an issue most all parents wouldn’t have known to even ask about.  Two hours.  Two hours to install car seats this morning.  And it required all of my husband’s strength and additional support from the technician.  But a pregnant mother with impatient children under her supervision is supposed to be able to do this on her own???  It’s like the chips are stacked against us.

The configuration was less than ideal once all was said and done, but after two hours laboring to get them in, a super-fussy toddler, and a bladder that was about to burst, I was just ready to be done.  The seat that was supposed to be Ellis’s was turned rear-facing in the center for Asher to use, with Ellis’s old car seat on the passenger side and the infant seat behind the driver’s side.  The recline on Asher’s seat was so low he was practically lying on his back and for me to strap him in, I have climb in on either side, squeeze on top of one of the other seats, and wrestle with Asher to get him buckled because he fights getting in his seat every time.  Again, less than ideal.

After leaving the car seat check, I asked Trav to follow me to the nearest fast food restaurant so I could run in and use the restroom without having to get Asher back out of the car.  Afterward, Asher screamed the entire ride to Ellis’s school.  I sang to him, tried to hold his hand, stroked his head, but he was unrelenting.  I had no more snacks for him because he had eaten them all during the two hours it took to get the seats installed.  I should add, he hasn’t screamed in the car since he was an infant.  (Okay, there was one time that he was tired and couldn’t reach his water, but we were close to home so it didn’t last long.)

We got to Ellis’s school in time to pick her up.  That’s right.  My morning consisted of dropping Ellis off, getting the car seats installed, and immediately driving back to pick her up.  I figured we could take a breath after getting her, and the kids would play on the playground for a while after school like we usually do.  Only this day, as the two were running from the classroom to the playground, Ellis tripped and scrapped her knee and both hands.  She’s bleeding and crying.  Asher starts crying again.

I am fully aware that this is a spectacle with many observers.  I know I shouldn’t care what people think about me in the moment, but I do.  Especially the grandparents of one of Ellis’s classmates, who were waiting to pick her up from class.  We had met them at her birthday party on Friday night, and again, of course, my kids were the only ones who cried and were upset at the party (Ellis didn’t want to play the party games.  She just wanted to play with toys and eat cake.  Asher didn’t want me to help feed him).  Embarrassing then, too.  My kids are usually super easy, tough, resilient, happy, fun-loving kids.  I’ve always been proud of how I’ve been raising them, but moments like these I feel like I have no idea what I’m doing and I’m completely failing.  And I’m worried others in these moments think the same thing.

I find a way to pick Ellis and Asher both up (made Ellis stand on a bench) and carry them to the car where I have a first aid kit.  I clean and bandage Ellis up, assuring her it won’t sting and which band-aid does she want, while Asher makes trouble in the car without my ability to supervise him.  Then it’s time to strap them in, and Ellis learns that Asher is the one who gets to sit in her new car seat.  She starts crying again, completely upset that she has now been misinformed twice (we told her she was going to get to sit in the third row, which we later learned she couldn’t because it doesn’t have a top tether for her car seat.  Then I was informed this morning that the purple Diono Radian RXT that I purchased for her wouldn’t grow with her past the next year, so the technician chose to use it for Asher, who could use it longer, and keep her in her Graco that will grow with her for longer).  I’m hunched over her trying to finagle Asher into the middle seat that he despises and his sister doesn’t want him in.  He starts having a fit of rage.  Both kids are beyond upset.  I am emotionally tanked at this point.  I call Trav just so I can cry to him instead of unleashing my emotions on the kids who are already distraught.  I realize he is busy and doesn’t have time to deal with our relative problem, but I just need to let it out.  So I do, with the kids crying in the back seat.

They have both exhausted themselves with their tears and are napping, and I am now, with the help of this post, stabilizing.  I was hoping this car seat appointment was going to be a huge check off my to-do list and bring relief that we are finally ready for this baby to come.  Now I feel like I’m back at square one.  We need to return the new seat we had purchased for Asher and either buy the angle adjuster for the Diono, or possibly return it and find something more user friendly  that would allow us to put Ellis back in the middle and Asher on the side.  I am THIS CLOSE to asking Trav if we can trade in my beautiful GX460 that he spent a lot of time researching, finding, and driving to Miami to purchase, for a minivan.





The Countdown Is On!

One little monkey jumping in the bed

The third trimester is upon us, and I am very aware how unprepared we are.  We. have. nothing.  I take that back.  I just accumulated a total of 3 newborn onesies, so we should be good, right?!?  This third baby is a blessing, but was not planned.  In fact, I was so done having kids that I sold EVERYTHING.  No car seat.  No bassinet.  No swing/bouncer.  None of the big items.  ellis. I even got rid of all my maternity clothes and undies.  Fortunately, I still have our changing tables and diaper pails – thank you, Asher.  And I have the Tula because I could still use it with Asher even though he doesn’t like to be worn anymore.

Mentally, I’m ready.  Newborn Asher is still a fresh memory as are sleepless nights and feeling exhausted all the time – the latter has yet to pass!

One of the biggest preparations is figuring out how the baby is going to fit into our lives.  Where is he going to sleep?  Where can he hang out?  How will our routine affect him and vice versa?

Then there are all the worries.  I still don’t have this parenting thing perfected (darn kids keep growing and changing, as do their needs, plus they have their own individual identities – what’s that all about?); so I feel less together than when I was impatiently awaiting Ellis’s arrival.  Maybe it’s because I didn’t know what I didn’t know back then and now I’m aware that I know very little.  I tried tweaking and doing things differently with Asher than with Ellis, but none of our tweaks were actual improvements – just changes.  A lot of things we actually did better with Ellis than we did Asher – so I don’t know which way I’ll go with #3.  Will I go back to overprotective and neurotic or will I be so overwhelmed that I will maintain survival mode for years to come?  I tend to overthink and overcomplicate things and then I just become so stressed.  It takes actual work and focus to try to simplify – and I’m talking everything from routines to household maintenance to play time and self-care.

I like Asher’s room because it’s small, un-cluttered, and everything has its place.  Some of my systems need to be rethought, however.  The blue baskets at the top of his closet were for “Too Big” clothes and “Outgrown” clothes.  I have the same system in Ellis’s closet, too.  It kind of works for the “outgrown” clothes, to just throw them up in the basket out of the way until I can decide what to do with them (need bigger baskets, however), but the “Too Big” clothes are sometimes forgotten about.  When I was going through Asher’s clothes at the top of his closet to figure out what I have for his little brother, I found clothes with tags on that he could fit into now.  And a ton of t-shirts in the size that are a little big, but that I’m already putting him in.  I found some size dividers at TJ Maxx and decided that would be a better system, especially now that I will be dressing two different sized boys out of one closet.

The closet situation

The right side of the closet is sizes 12 – 24 months, or Asher’s side.  The left is what I’ve picked up for Baby #3 and Asher’s old clothes, sizes newborn – 12 months.  I didn’t find out I was pregnant until Asher was 1, so I only have his clothes from 9 months and up. I store extra diaper changing supplies in the blue bins on the left.  Behind that is the pack n play which might end up being Baby #3’s crib until he’s ready for a toddler bed or can climb out of it.

Asher doesn’t have a dresser, so his clothes are all organized by baskets:  PJs, sleep sacks, socks, swim clothes, and shoes on his book case, and then his bottoms are divided into shorts, pants, and sweats/leggings in his closet, and I hang his shirts.  I love the baskets because I don’t feel inclined to fold all his tiny clothes, making life easier and putting away his clothes a quick task.  I will probably share my dresser with Baby #3 for things like diapers, pjs, and anything I might need for him at 3 am.  Because diaper blow outs do not discriminate day or night.

I keep diaper creams, brush and comb, Dreft stain remover, nail clippers, etc. in the blue organizer on the side of the changing table.  The first chevron basket has burp cloths/old school cloth diapers that I use under his hiney for #2 changes and patting him dry after wiping.  The next basket has his day and night time diapers, and then he’s got wipes in the last bin.  The large basket underneath is where I store his extra sheets and extra changing pad cover.  And that’s a pair of shorts on top of the table because he never sits still long enough for me to get them on him.  Hence the reason he’s always running around at home in a diaper and no pants!

Asher doesn’t have much else in his room.  He has one activity cube that he really doesn’t use anymore but makes for good decor, I guess, a tub of cars, and tons of books.  I threw his stuffed animals on the floor of his closet because I don’t know what else to do with them.  Sometimes he goes in there and snuggles them, but not often.  He has a rocker (uncomfortable – I make really bad choices when it comes to this essential nursery purchase), a night stand next to the rocker, and an ottoman where I store extra blankets.

My little helpers


If you’re feeling charitable…

We have a baby registry set up at





The One and Only Pregnancy Update

Well, today marks exactly one month until my due date, so I guess I should write something about my pregnancy.  I realize my first time around I wrote an update every couple of weeks and included belly bump pics, but this pregnancy has been different for me in just about every way possible.  This pregnancy has been no fun from the very beginning; it’s just been rough – not in a medical, “you’re on bed rest til the baby comes” way (man, I wish) because all of my “ailments” are typical pregnancy symptoms according to my 7ish? doctors.  So, I’ll just list out all the ways this pregnancy has been a big ball of suck compared to my first. (Sorry, Baby #2).

1. I blew up like a whale from the very beginning, and my bladder completely failed me from the start.

I was so hungry my first trimester.  I could not eat enough or sleep enough.  I ate everything in sight, and at night, I ate even more.  So I gained a lot of weight very quickly, and it didn’t take long before I had outgrown my clothes and was already pulling out my maternity bins.  My leaky bladder also got worse and made it basically impossible to teach my Sh’bam classes anymore, so I had to give those up which did not help with the weight gain.  My first few Ob appointments I was given warnings about too much weight gain, and I wanted to punch the Ob in the face and cry at the same time.  I tried switching to yoga/pilates/flow types of classes to maintain my physical health as I could no longer do any of my high-cardio classes, but there are no prenatal classes in my area, and I grew tired of having to make up my own options for half the class.  It didn’t take long before I was wearing my 3rd trimester clothes (and underwear – hello, giant ass), and by the start of my 3rd trimester I practically weighed the same as I did at the end of my first.  In fact, I think I have now surpassed that number, and I still have a month to go.  I never had the cute bump profile because I gained weight everywhere, not just in my belly.  Now that my bump is so large, I look more proportionate, but I’m to the point that I can’t imagine how I ever fit into my regular clothes and doubt I’ll ever return to fitting in them again.

2.  I changed doctors and have been less than enthusiastic about their care.

I decided to switch doctors because we moved last year, and I wanted to be able to deliver at a closer hospital.  My old ob has an office a block away from my house, but in order to have a sonogram, I’d have to drive to their downtown office, and to deliver, I’d have to go downtown as well.  So, I asked around and decided to see a practice that was in the same group as my other Ob but would allow me to deliver at a closer hospital, and their offices are next door to it.  I went from having four doctors that I saw regularly to more than I could count.  I’m 36 weeks and still haven’t seen every one, have never seen one doctor more than once, and have seen the RNP at least 4x more than them.  I don’t know any of their names, and I wouldn’t recognize them if I passed them on the street, especially since my typical meetings with each lasted on average less than 2 minutes, and most of them had dud personalities from what I could tell.  With my first pregnancy, my Ob appointments made the whole pregnancy seem more real and special.  We had a sonogram done nearly every visit (hence, not wanting to drive downtown for every visit this time around) and a good amount of time with the ob who monitored the heart and measured the belly.  Usually my husband attended, too, so it was an event.

This time, my husband has come with me to exactly one appointment – the anatomy scan where we learned of the baby’s gender (another underwhelming experience because the sonographer spent most of the time trying to capture all 4 heart chambers and zero time showing us all ten tiny fingers and toes.  The pictures she took sucked, too).  I know it’s most common to only have two sonograms, but I was used to having them done at almost every visit, that this was a huge change.  I know basically nothing about the baby growing inside of me, and with Ellis, I knew she was going to have a head full of hair and the cutest nose.  Additionally, it’s the nurse who monitors the heart at the appointments, and the doctor basically takes a two second measurement of the belly, asks if I have any questions or concerns, and then says, “Okay, peace out.”  There has been nothing magical or special about this pregnancy, and I leave every appointment disappointed.  Sure, I could have found a new practice or gone back to my old doctors, but I am so lazy busy and tired, that I just didn’t want to have to deal with either finding someone who delivers at my hospital of choice or dealing with hassle of the downtown hospital for all of my visits (hard to find parking and a train that passes right by adding to the congestion and travel time).

3.  I have a toddler.  And stairs.

Ellis weighs around 25+ pounds now, and she still wants to be carried everywhere.  She is also obviously very high energy, so there is no time to relax during the day, with the exception of sweet, sweet nap time.  We also have stairs in our house where we didn’t with my first pregnancy.  My trips up and down are strategically planned to avoid any extra ascents.  I’m to the point now that I don’t carry anything up with me.  It all is placed at the bottom of the stairs waiting for my husband to carry it up for me.  And I try to get Ellis to hold my hand as much as possible on the stairs because she often prefers I carry her.  Every time I go down the stairs, I have to be careful because I always have a moment where I feel off-balance and get the feeling that I’m going to topple forward.  Thankfully, I’ve avoided tripping or falling down or up the stairs.

4.  I’m not getting any younger.

Really, I’m not.  My body hurts in more ways than I thought imaginable.  Sitting hurts.  Standing is exhausting.  Laying down is uncomfortable.  Walking is painful.  My pelvis feels crushed every time I stand up.  I always feel like I have to pee.  It’s even worse when I have to carry a toddler around.  My last pregnancy, I had some round ligament pain and some discomfort with my sciatic nerve, but the pain this time around is on a whole new level.  About 2 months ago, I moved to our guest bedroom because it has a much firmer mattress.  I wake up less often with round ligament pain on it, and when I do, it’s easier to get up and massage it out than our pillowy-soft mattress that I sink into and struggle to get out of.  But the farther along I’ve gotten, it gets harder to lay comfortably without pain, and I still have to get up every couple of hours to pee.  I always have to have a pillow behind my back when I sit down or else I have to sit straight up on the edge.  The other day we went shopping for a new recliner, and I left the store wobbling in pain from all the sitting and pulling myself out of the chairs.  I think if I had stuck with yoga and pilates I would be in much less pain, but I just can’t make myself get back to the gym.

5.  We still don’t have name for this kid.

We had Ellis’s name picked out not even a full week after we found out we were having a girl.  This time around, we are still trying to come up with a list of possible considerations.  I have favorites.  Trav has favorites.  Our favorites don’t mesh, and neither of us loves the other’s choices.  It’s possible we’ll just end up letting the nurses name him.

Mental Wreck

Yesterday we had our 38 week appointment with a scheduled ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid levels.  Last week, the US technician calculated my levels at at 8.  Yesterday, they had shot up to 16, and my baby was back to her favorite position (looking and kicking right instead of left as was described last week).  Last week, we had a different technician for the first time in our entire experience, and I just don’t think she knew what she was doing as well as our regular tech.

My Monday had started out so well yesterday.  I was checking off items left and right on my “Baby To-Do List.”

  • Set up an appointment with a housecleaning company,
  • set up new parent consultations with two pediatrician offices for later this week,
  • finished addressing Thank You cards,
  • washed and folded laundry, including the linens for Baby’s bassinet,
  • created a Baby Watch list (names and numbers to call when it’s time to announce Baby News),
  • put a list together of what to pack in our hospital bag

And then it was time for our appointment.  I remember last week feeling so much better after our appointment, so I guess my expectations were too high going in, especially since I was already in a fairly good mood.  The ultrasound went well.  Baby was content as could be, even playing with her feet.  She was very active for us, but would still stick her arms in front of her face when we would try to get a look at her chubby cheeks and blinking eyes.  Then it was back to the waiting room for a good 30 minutes before getting into a room.

The nurse taking my weight and blood pressure asked the usual questions: “Any questions or concerns for the doctor today?” and then she asked me if I was getting my cervix checked.  I told her it hadn’t been discussed in my last appointment, and she replied that it was fairly routine to start checking at 38 weeks.  Great.  Besides my routine exam at my initial appointment and being swabbed for GBS testing, they have left my lady bits alone, until this appointment.  Which I would have been a-okay with, except that I was being seen by a doctor I had never met in the 9 MONTHS I’ve been visiting this office!  WTF?  At the start of this journey, I had voiced my wishes for all female doctors.  They explained that I would rotate between four of them, so I could get to know each one in preparation for whomever would be on call when I went into labor.  My entire pregnancy I’ve been rotating between three lovely lady doctors.  And then, ten days before my due date, I’m now being seen by a complete stranger, who is male, and who is going to be checking my cervix.  To add to my anxiety, they put me in a room and asked me to strip from the waist down and then proceeded to make me wait in there for a good 20-30 minutes, with a picture collage of Dr. Boyd and all the babies he’s delivered staring back at me immediately in front of the exam table.

Finally, Dr. Boyd comes in and immediately starts discussing birth control with us.  What?  How about we deliver this baby and survive postpartum before we have this discussion.  He proceeds to tell us what he prefers as a contraceptive (the Mirena IUD) as though he’s had any personal experience with contraceptives.  (Am I being a bit critical?  Yes.  But unless you are a woman who has experienced menstruating, pregnancy, labor, etc. you can’t truly know what I’m going through.  I even had concerns about one of my other doctors until I learned she was pregnant herself, and then I liked her a lot more.)  In the middle of our conversation, his phone rang, and he excused himself from the room and came back a couple minutes later with a nurse for the cervix check.  This is another reason I don’t like male doctors because then there has to be yet another (female) person in the room simply as policy.  I don’t enjoy a crowd when my hooha’s on display.  (No comments about labor and delivery.  That’s entirely different.)  Currently I am 1 cm dilated and I think he said 75% effaced, which is normal for this stage.

The icing on my miserable cake was when we made our next appointment, they were completely booked on Monday, the 17th, so I don’t go back in until two days before my due date.  In my current mental condition, that is forever from now.  I left my appointment completely deflated, annoyed, and upset.

What upset me most was that by now everything should be pretty routine.  I shouldn’t be meeting a brand new doctor for the first time two weeks before my delivery.  I’m also scheduled to see him next week.  I feel like I got the bait and switch.  Surprise!  We’ve completely changed caregivers on you without your consent and with no time left to seek care with another provider.

After dinner, because by the time we left our appointment it was dinner time, I came home and started working on some of Baby’s laundry.  Around 8, we had a painter come out to give us an estimate on painting the nursery.  He spent the first ten minutes showing us pictures of homes he had done exterior paint jobs on in an effort to get us to hire him to paint our exterior.  We finally got him to the nursery and explained what we wanted: a simple, clean paint job.  He of course told us all the great things he can do above and beyond what we were asking.  The room itself is tiny, but he explained that he’d need to paint the ceiling, apply two coats, do this, do that, and the project would take about 2 1/2 days.  We asked several times for an estimate, but he said he’d be in touch with us.  He finally left, and once again I felt distressed about having some strange guy in our house and up-charging us for what should be a simple project.  Also, it didn’t sound like he’d be available to complete our project anytime before Baby gets here. To top it off, I entered my latest weight into my pregnancy app, and for the first time, the number came up red and said “excessive weight gain.”  I ended up crying over the Baby’s bassinet as I was attempting (and failing) to put the linens on it.  Big, soggy tears and snot and runny mascara-kind of crying.  In my adult life, I have cried like that only a handful of times.  Then I sat there numb for about 20 minutes, got up, washed my face, and went to bed.

For me, I wish I didn’t have all this time off before baby’s due date.  It sounded like a perfect situation because I’d have all this time to prep for baby, but now I’m finding that I have all this time to stress over baby.  I also have no hopes that she’s going to come early (or even on time).  I scheduled Alex’s teeth cleaning on our due date.  It was the first available, and I’m a realist.  Girl is going to be a week overdue, 9 lbs, and won’t fit into the newborn take home outfit I just washed and have laid out for her.

38 Weeks

How far along? 38 weeks

Total weight gain:  approx. 30 lbs.

Baby is the size of: a baby.  The US technician approximated that she’s in the 50th percentile for her size and length, weighing approx. 6lbs 11 oz.

How’s baby doing?  All seems well.  At our appointment, the doctor measured my belly at 36.5 cm.  My last appointment two weeks ago I was 36 cm.  Because my belly was measuring small, the doc decided to do an unscheduled ultrasound, just to check things out.  It turns out I’ve lost a lot of amniotic fluid since my last sonogram (went from an AFI of 18 cm to 8 cm).  This is considered normal for this stage in the pregnancy.  According to, “A normal measure for the third trimester is between 5 and 25 centimeters (cm). A total of less than 5 cm is considered low.”  But because it is close to the low side, they decided to schedule another ultrasound at our next appointment.  Yay for us!  We thought we were done seeing our little girl until she shows up, so it’s a nice surprise to get these extra looks at her development.

Position in my belly:  Head down, facing left.  Back and spine on my right.  Her butt is at the top of my belly.  Little hands and feet are squished up in the middle and to the left.  She had to have switched positions recently (though she’s been head down for a while now).  I had been feeling major kicks and seeing her little alien parts poking out on my right, but now her kicks are felt on my left side, and I know that was no spine swiping up and out across my right side the last couple of months.

Also, we learned that she has a full on set of hair.  And she’s still a girl.

Belly Bump:  huge and uncomfortable

Maternity clothes?  Maternity clothes, Travase’s clothes, potato sacks, whatever fits

Stretch marks?  Not yet

Sleep:  Getting prepared for baby.  I sleep in 2-4 hour shifts, having to get up to drink water, use the restroom, and rearrange my aching body.

Best moment of the week:  Spent last weekend at the beach, eating poorly and soaking up the sun.  Yesterday was my last day of work.  There was something very liberating about creating a To Do list and knowing that I wouldn’t be the one who had to complete it.  (Preplanning notes for my replacement.)

Miss anything?  Not being physically handicapped by this giant belly.  Clothes that fit.  Walking without pain.  Sleeping through the night.

Movement: She’s still moving around in there, but it doesn’t seem as intense or frequent.  I have to pay closer attention now that she’s slowing down and running out of room.  Since she’s changed positions, too, she’s not poking out as much so I don’t see her movements all the time like I’m used to.  Here’s a pic of how my belly looked for the last couple of months:

 Triangle Belly

Food cravings: I started cooking again. I think I’m nervous about baby’s nourishment these last few weeks, so want to make sure I’m feeding her well.

Anything making you queasy or sick: the heat, the smell of old, musty library books, and giant black sharpie markers – thank goodness I’m finished with the last two!

Gender predictionWe’re having a girl.

Labor signs:  Apparently, I’ve been getting Braxton Hicks, but they are not noticeable unless I’m touching my belly.  The tightening sensation feels just like baby moving, so I can’t really tell the difference unless I feel my belly and it’s solid hard.

Symptoms: The usual discomforts.

Belly button in or out? It’s out, and it’s ugly.

Wedding rings on or off? Tight, but still on.

Happy or moody most of the time?  Only moody when I’ve been in pain for a while, am overheated, and/or hungry.  Sometimes, when I’m this irritable, I have this irrational expectation that everyone in the world should be treating me like a queen and when they don’t, it pisses me off even more.  Don’t they know I’m working a miracle here?  The trick to getting myself out of the funk is to think about meeting our baby, or other sweet things, like remembering back to Trav’s reaction when I told him we were having a baby.  That snaps me out of it and puts a huge smile on my face.

Looking forward to:  Our next appt where get another ultrasound and see how baby is progressing.  Work is over, so there’s nothing to do but wait for baby at this point.

Baby prep:  Okay, so I get asked all the time, “Are you ready?”  The answer is, “Sure, as ready as we’re going to be.”  We’ve taken all the classes and did our reading.  We’ve talked to lots of wise and knowing parents.  But, as a teacher, I know that the only way to learn is through hands-on experience.  So, having never cradled a baby, breastfed, soothed a fussy infant, pushed a tiny human through a 10 cm hole in my cervix, I can only guess at how prepared I am.  Not at all, or as much as I’m going to be.  I choose to think positively.

As for the nursery, most mom-to-bes are so excited to show off their nurseries, which they spend a good portion of their pregnancy putting together.  This is probably the one area we slacked on, but I’ve read and been advised by so many parents that the baby is hardly in the nursery the first few months.  We have her bassinet set up in our room, her furniture is on order, and with the glider assembled, it is hanging out in her room until we decide where we’re most likely to use it.  We’ve called a couple of painters, but none have returned our calls, so my impaired mother (she busted her ankle trying to do a cartwheel – doesn’t she know she’s a grandma now?) may be painting our nursery for us when she comes down.  Not an ideal use of her time, but she says she’s happy to do it.  And who knows?  Baby might come late, so we’ll have time together to fix up her nursery before she arrives.  So, with that, I present to you the state of our nursery:

Next appointment:  June 10th

Maternity Photos

Taken on Mother’s Day, May 12th, at sunset at Boone Park in Riverside.  34 weeks pregnant.

Lots of bugs and trekking through mud.  No restrooms.  Did a quick change behind a bush.  Travase was dripping with sweat from running back and forth to the car.  While it wasn’t glamorous, I think it was worth it, and fortunately was only an hour long session.

Thanks to Aimee Tarynn Photography!

36 Weeks

36 Weeks

36 Weeks

How far along? 36 weeks

Total weight gain:  approx. 30 lbs.

Baby is the size of: approx. 6 lbs.

Belly Bump:  huge and uncomfortable

Maternity clothes?  Maternity clothes, Travase’s clothes, potato sacks, whatever works

Stretch marks?  Not yet

Sleep:  Getting prepared for baby.  I sleep in 2-4 hour shifts, having to get up to drink water, use the restroom, and rearrange my aching body.

Best moment of the week:  Baby-Q last Saturday

Miss anything?  I miss not being a walking mess.

Movement: Lots.  Can’t complain because it means she’s healthy and strong.

Food cravings: I’m very fickle these days.  Not very hungry and nothing ever sounds good.

My very first Mother's Day gift!

My very first Mother’s Day gift!

Anything making you queasy or sick: no

Gender predictionWe’re having a girl.

Labor signs:  Nothing lately.

Symptoms: Just the usual discomforts.

Belly button in or out? Starting to poke out slightly.

Wedding rings on or off? On unless it’s super hot and my hands start to swell.  Yesterday, the library was so warm that I had to tug my rings off, and they fit my pinky finger without a lot of looseness.

Happy or moody most of the time?  Happy but tired.

Looking forward to:  Our postponed beach weekend and only two more weeks of work

Baby prep:  Finished our two-night expectant parents class – still don’t feel confident that I’ll have a clue what to do, but Travase seems to have it together for the both of us.  Breastfeeding class on Tuesday.  Trav picked up the bassinet last night.  Still lots to do to get ready.

Next appointment:  June 3rd

34 Weeks

34 Weeks

Please excuse the dusty mirror…

How far along? 34 weeks – that’s 3 weeks until baby is fully developed and safe to deliver and 6 weeks until full term!

Total weight gain:  25.5 lbs at last doctor’s visit

Baby is the size of:  a 5 lb. bag of sugar, almost 18 in long (according to average estimates)

Belly Bump:  huge and uncomfortable

Maternity clothes?  Maternity clothes, Travase’s clothes, potato sacks, whatever works

Stretch marks?  I thought I was getting them on the lower part of my belly (the part I can’t see without a mirror), but it turned out they were just imprints from the pants I had been wearing.  I think once the baby is out, and my belly shrinks rapidly, that’s when they’ll appear.

Sleep:  Getting prepared for baby.  I sleep in 2-4 hour shifts, having to get up to drink water, use the restroom, and rearrange my aching body.  The other night I had the worst leg cramp of my life, and because of it, I’ve been limping around the past three days.

A maxi dress: n.  The 2013 pregnant woman's version of the muumuu.

A maxi dress: n. The 2013 pregnant woman’s version of the muumuu.

Crazy Dreams:  The other night I dreamt that my baby’s first word was “popcorn.”

Best moment of the week:  Teacher appreciation this week, so our PTO fed us well at work.  “Thank you” isn’t said any better than with food!  I also had a parent bring me chocolate covered popcorn from

Peterbrooke.  Yummm!

Miss anything?  Every once in a while I get nostalgic for my former, pre-preggo life.  That life was so much easier and fun.  I feel completely handicapped by this miracle growing inside me.  Even doing the dishes or picking things up off the floor is a major struggle.  The best thing about pregnancy right now is that we are getting packages at our door almost every other day.  This baby is loved!

Movement: No real changes.  She’s very active, sometimes painful, mostly uncomfortable.  The hiccups were cute at first, but now they wig me out.  It’s like having a throbbing heartbeat pounding in my belly, and they take forever to go away.

Food cravings: Again, no cravings (all food is good at this point), but I have realized that I’ve been eating blueberry waffles just about every morning for the past few months.  I also had a major grape craving one morning at work.  I had brought some with me, and while I normally snack casually on them while working, I stopped everything I was doing and ate every single one of them and then was super depressed when they were all gone.

Anything making you queasy or sick: no

Gender predictionWe’re having a girl.

Labor signs:  My body is in a total state of discomfort and, every so often, pain.  There’s ten times more pressure on my pelvis and cervix.  The round ligament pain has come back with a vengeance.  I’m experiencing cramps, and an occasional mild contraction.

Symptoms: I think I’ve covered it all.  I can’t believe I have six weeks to go.  It’s such short time, but when I think about how I’ve been feeling lately, it also feels like an eternity.  I understand why women want to rush birth.

Baby Books

Alex checking out some new additions to baby’s library. Picked these up at T.J. Maxx for cheap!

Belly button in or out? In

Wedding rings on or off? On, but I have had to take them off a couple of times due to swelling.

Happy or moody most of the time?  Iron Man 3 had me teary-eyed and choked up several times throughout the movie.  I am happy, but the level of discomfort I’m feeling these days sometimes makes me want to cry.

Looking forward to:  Maternity photos on Sunday and baby shower next Saturday.

Baby prep:  We had a six-hour crash course on 3rd trimester, L&D, and babies last Saturday. I think it was more beneficial to Travase’s work cases than to us.  (At one point, the thought crossed my mind that he sounded like he was deposing our instructor.  Turns out, he kind of was unofficially.)  On Friday, we took a car seat workshop, and now I’m driving around with a car seat in the back of my car.  I guess it’s good to get used to having it back there, and now I’m comfortable with using it.  The only problem is it’s heavy without a baby in it.  I’m going to need to start using my hand weights again.

Next appointment:  May 20th

32 Weeks

How far along? 32 weeks = 8 months!

Total weight gain: no longer matters to me.

Baby is the size of:  The US technician estimated she weighed in at just over 4 lbs at our appt on 4/22.  The weekly app I’m using says babies are generally 3 lbs 3 oz at 31 weeks.  Might need to lay off the sweets, but I’m happy she’s growing.

Belly Bump:  Sometimes I forget my belly is so protruded, and I do things like shut a door on it.  I have to turn sideways to work at the kitchen counter, which makes me feel like I have TRex arms.  Napkins go on my belly instead of my lap.  Sometimes after showering I hang my towel over my front and imagine what I used to look like bp (before pregnancy). I’m going to need pedal extensions in my car soon, or Trav’s going to have to drive me everywhere.  My belly touches the steering wheel, and I’m sure that’s not safe.

31 Weeks

Sporting Trav’s shorts at 31 weeks.

Maternity clothes? I’m wearing Trav’s athletic shorts for comfort these days.  I also went up a size in my underwear again.  Yesterday, I had a pretty successful trip to the mall for some cheap summer clothes.  I bought a ton of shirts and dresses at H&M, a birthday dress and a blouse at Cotton On, and grabbed a couple tanks at Forever 21 as I was heading to the car.

Stretch marks? None yet. 

Sleep:  Hard to find a comfortable position.  Prefer to sleep on my side, but she starts kicking the crap out of me when I do, so I end up in a reclined position on my back.  That’s starting to become uncomfortable, too, the heavier she and her baggage gets.  I also started taking naps before my evening classes.  I set my phone’s alarm to 7:30 and pass out on the couch (sitting up, laying down, however).  There’s nothing worse than having to get up to an alarm twice in one day.  But the naps help make up for the sleep I lose at night.

Best moment of the week:  Finishing my 4th semester of grad work.  No more night classes, no more papers/projects/reading until August!

Miss anything?  Sleeping on my stomach, being able to go all out when I work out, tying my shoes with ease

Movement: She’s very active.  Sometimes she feels like Thumper, sometimes she feels like a fish stuck in a tiny bowl, and sometimes she gives me a serious whack that’s almost painful.  The best is when she sticks out a tiny hand or foot, and then I melt to pieces.  She mainly pushes out on my right side.  Trav suggested I push her over, and I’m like, “I don’t think that’s how it works.”

Food cravings: none

Anything making you queasy or sick: none

Gender predictionWe’re having a girl.

Labor signs: I think I felt my first Braxton Hicks contractions on Thursday, April 18th.  At first I thought it was just a stomach ache because I had eaten lunch quickly and probably eaten too much.  I drank a lot of water, but it didn’t seem to help.  My stomach would kind of seize and then release.  I was in the middle of a class, so I couldn’t really take much time to think about it.  I just held my belly and kept on going.  Only one or two contractions felt slightly painful.  The rest just felt like my belly tensing up. 

Symptoms: Every once in a while I’ll feel unnecessarily exhausted, so I think she must be having a growth spurt.

Belly button in or out? In  – I don’t think I’ve talked at all about my belly button, but it is a strange part of pregnancy.  It goes through all sorts of changes, is very sensitive to the touch, and it’s super soft and fleshy in and around the area.

Wedding rings on or off? On

Happy or moody most of the time?  Right now I’m super happy.  But again, easily emotional.  I cry listening to hip hop music.  When starts singing about the ghetto, I just can’t take it.

Looking forward to:  Turning 31 next week, and Trav has planned a birthday beach weekend for us next weekend.  I think that’s going to become a new birthday tradition!

Next appointment:  Going every 2 weeks now – May 6th!