An Uncomplicated Life Blog: May 2014

Friday, May 30, 2014

High Five for Friday!

I'm starting to get the hang of this whole mommy thing! We're not in a schedule yet - little Henry is only a whopping two weeks old today - but I'm starting to be able to read his body language and cries and predict what he'll need before he needs it so that I'm ready for him. Can I get an AMEN?!

Good timing too, because Kirk went back to work this week.Thank goodness my mom is still in town to help me with lil' dude, or I would be overwhelmed with baby-duty and c-section recovery.

Lots to be excited about this week, so let's get to it:

1) I'm up to walking between two and three miles per day! Still going about as slow as I did when I was 30someoddweekspregnant, but I'm getting back up there in distance. It feels so good to get out in the mornings and move my body - and EXTREMELY nice to have 45 mins to myself!

Beyond excited to fit into my pre-pregs workout clothes again! Back to my obnoxiously awesome bright colors and patterns. Just call me Rainbow Bright over here... :)

2) While on that subject, and perhaps because of my willingness to get back into my workout zone immediately after baby, I'm already back to my pre-pregnancy clothing size. Why hello, Lululemon and J Crew, I've missed you so! Walking and breastfeeding y'all, I'm serious. Does a body GOOD.

3) My wonderful sister-in-law sent us a good chunk of her son's clothes that he's outgrown. Not only does this mean I don't have to shop for Henry for quite some time (I think shopping is the DEVIL) but she happens to have fantastic taste, so Lil' H will be stylin'! I mean, these elephant pants! Ahhhh!

Henry rocking his cousin Finn's former pants. He even struck a pose for this pic!

4) Henry had his two week check-up with his pediatrician, and she was super impressed with how much weight he is gaining and how much he is eating! He even placed well into the "normal" zones for all his measurements, despite being three and a half weeks early (thus, a late-preterm baby). Our little boy is getting big and strong!

This was a few days ago, and his cheeks are even chubbier today! Also? Kirk makes this SAME face. Henry came out an itty-bitty replica of his daddy. I think I may also have an obsession with elephants, because here is another outfit featuring them... And I have more where that came from!

5) Kirk and I have decided on my "push (just kidding - major surgery!) present" that women get after having a baby. I have a love for green, and therefore have a love for emeralds. Henry was born two days after Kirk's birthday, which means my two boys are May babies... And wouldn't you know, the birthstone for May is an emerald! Therefore, I'm getting an emerald band to wear with my wedding set. Check out a close replica of what we're getting designed here! I can't wait to wear it.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend! Ours will be filled with more visitors and hopefully going to see some friends who just had their first baby, too. For those of you NOT living in baby-central, have a cocktail or three for me and cheers to the weekend!

And while you're busy cheers-ing, check out these lovely ladies' blogs:

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mommy... Tuesday? Mommy Post-Holiday Monday Tuesday!

Hey readers! I'm still here. Just preoccupied with nursing and diapers. And after that, another diaper. Then another feeding, and maybe some pumping-for-food-storage, should the mood hit me for a glass of wine later. Then more diapers.

As any of you other mamas know, a newborn is a LOT of work! As such, and given he's a whopping week old, my goal for An Uncomplicated Life Blog is to get three posts out a week while we ride out the "fourth trimester", or until Henry is 3-4 months old (he was a late-preterm baby, so the doctors told me to use his due date in calculating development rather than his real birthday).

I'm going to do my absolute best to stick to a M-W-F schedule, but I'm sure you'll understand if some weeks I'm a bit off. Sometimes babies just have their own agenda, and don't care about blog posts, amiright?

Let's jump in then! Given this Monday was a delightful holiday but I'm still a new mom, we're hijacking a typical Mommy Monday post for Tuesday. Take THAT, Tuesday!

Top Five Things I've Learned As a New Mom: Week 1

1) You'll develop irrational fears: I consider myself a pretty sane, well-adjusted person. But I've noticed myself having absolutely insane thoughts. "Are his lips turning blue? Can he breathe?" "What the heck was THAT squeak about?! Is it SIDS? I better check to make sure he's breathing!" "My husband left the damn bathroom door open. I ask for ONE THING. Shut the bathroom door! Where's a knife, I'm going to chase him down the next time that happens!" "Are you sure his lips aren't blue? Because I don't think he's breathing." I could write pages of stupid and insane thoughts I've had over the past 10 days or so... However, most of them? Yeah, I don't need to make them public!

My irrational thought during this pic: "My seven-day-old baby knows how to hold his own paci! Did I give birth to some sort of freaky-child-prodigy?!"

2) Everything takes much, much longer than you expected: Remember how you used to get up and plan your day, and knew how long it took you to eat breakfast and shower, clean the floors or do a load of laundry? Yeah... Forget that. Everything will take you much, much, dramatically, insanely longer. I can't even safely say a number, like "it will take at least twice as long" because there is no arithmetic for a new baby. They make their math up daily, and juuuuuuust when you think you've cracked their code, BAM. New numbers need to be inserted for x and y.

3) Newborns require tummy time: If you have kids, have every babysat, have friends with kids, or have thought once or twice about a baby in the history of your life, you've likely heard of this thing called "tummy time." It's when babies kick it on their bellies and it promotes neurological development, coordination and strength. I've always associated it with, say, a four, five or six month old. But a newborn?! Yeah, I guess they need it too. The more ya know, right?!

Family tummy time!

4) Your day will revolve around boobs: Guys, don't get jealous! But a new, breastfeeding mom's day will now revolve mostly around her boobs. You think it's the baby, but really, since the baby is relying on your boobs to live, it's your boobs. You'll begin to "read" the way your boobs feel to determine if the baby is hungry. You'll spend time talking about them. You'll look in the mirror in awe/terror at the size and sight of them. You'll curse your leaky nipples as the drizzle all over the clean onesie you JUST changed your baby into. Really... It's all about the ta-tas.

5) Belly binding is God's Gift to new moms: No, seriously. It sounds like it would be uncomfortable - maybe like a corset back in the 1800's? Nope! It. Feels. Ah-maze-zing! First, your baby pooch doesn't stick out nearly as far. Second, your poor stretched out uterus and abdominal muscles get pushed back into place and held there. And finally, your back gets supported. All of these things are lovely, and SO needed by a new mommy! I don't buy into (and nor should you) the complete crap some websites have regarding weight-loss and tummy binding. What a bunch of hoo-haa. The only thing that results in weight loss is taking in less calories than you use during the day, and consuming high quality calories. But, the support of these things is absolutely great!

Belly wrap shot FIVE DAYS after delivering Henry. I'm using a bamboo Belly Bandit

Friday, May 23, 2014

SUPER High Five for Friday!

In case you hadn't heard, last Friday we welcomed our little boy into the world!

I plan on writing up a post all about how things went down (it's a rather exciting story!) but for now, since he's currently napping at my side and I fear I have limited time before he decides he wants to nurse again, I'll give you the basics and a quick High Five for Friday week review in pictures!

Henry Malcolm Leitch was born on May 16 at 10:15pm. He came out at nearly six pounds and 18 inches long, with blonde peach fuzz and big blue eyes. Little man was more than three weeks early, but as his pediatrician told us this week, "He's healthier than most full term babies I've seen!"

And this is how the week has flown by since he waltzed into our world (FYI, this may be a "High Seven for Friday" post):

1) Likely at about 10:18pm, right after he was born via C-section. I immediately fell in love with Henry!
2) One day old and laying on mama while she recovers at the hospital. That bottom lip!
3) First day home and snoozin' with his newborn mitts on to protect his little face - his hands are always near his face!
4) Otis is trying to cope with the fact that he is no longer the baby of the family. Look at that sad dog face! Daddy is much happier.
5) Fully awake and showing off those big baby blue eyes by day three at home!
6) I've been going for (very) brief walks since coming home from the hospital on Monday, but I didn't take Henry with me until he was a whopping five days old. It's so fun to push him around the 'hood!
7) Daddy got up early to run before it got too hot in Dallas, so I stayed in bed to snuggle Henry. He's an excellent sleep-in late-bed-mate!
It has been a wonderful week with our new addition! He has been an excellent baby who loves to eat, look around the room with his big eyes, spend time on his tummy working on his coordination skills, and snoozing. Thanks to all who have sent their well wishes! We feel so blessed to call Henry our son.

As always on Fridays, make sure to check out these other fantastic blogs (two of which ALSO welcomed babies in the last week or two! It's such a baby-boom right now, isn't it?) with whom I link up every Friday!

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Friday, May 16, 2014

High Five for Friday!

It has been a WEEK, y'all!

From failed baby-flipping to creating new birth plans with new doctors at hew locations to early labor contractions to celebrating birthdays and Mother's Day, we're just worn out around here. I guess that's how babies work: right when you think you're all situated and have everything under control, they throw you for a loop and you're left scrambling making last minute plans to cover your bases.

Silly babies!

Regardless, I'd still call it a great week! Here are some of my favorite moments:

1) By all accounts, it's looking like we're going to have a May baby! Not that I have anything against June, but we're pretty excited about the upgrade to a May due date.

2) I had a very special "first" Mother's Day thanks to my husband! The day followed a pretty disappointing failed medical procedure that resulted in EVERYTHING we had planned for baby boy changing. He went out of his way to make me feel special despite all the disappointment over the previous 24 hours, and I'm so thankful for him and all he did for me!

Mother's Day at the Leitch's

Mother's Day brunch at the Leitch's

3) I may be super-pregnant, but I'm still managing to get four to five workouts in a week, so I still (kinda) have my sanity! I am also extremely thankful for this ability to move and use my muscles.

4) The weather cooled down in Dallas this week, so I was able to actually sit outside and read, work on my tan, blog, and of course play ball with these two cuties!

Baxter is nonstop ball but Otis prefers the shade

5) We celebrated Kirk's birthday this week! We kept things low-key and super-healthy with cheeseburgers, fried pickles, waffle fries, beer, and two different kinds of cake. You know, just gettin' fit for the summer season!

I hope everyone has a beautiful weekend! If you enjoy reading my blog, check out these other lovely ladies I link up with every Friday, too - they're fantastic bloggers!

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Birthday Celebrations

My husband Kirk had a birthday yesterday!

Any gift giving holiday is always tough for me - what do I get the guy who has everything, or could simply go out and get himself whatever it is he wanted? I mentioned earlier this week that I am NOT sentimental, but do you know who is? Kirk! Therefore, it's always a good bet to get crafty and make him something to celebrate these holidays.

I had a good idea of what I would give him this year way in advance of this birthday. But with all the baby happenings around here, I couldn't get it ordered in time to have it delivered by his birthday, dangit! When retail stores fail you, it's best to take matters into your own hands (literally) and make something personal and special.

Time to get to craftin'.

I had these great "action" shots and some good ones of the final product... Then realized they may or may not reveal the name we have picked out for Baby Boy! Thus, this mediocre "action" shot and no final shot to show my immaculate painting skills. Bummer!

After the present was made, wrapped and the card filled out, I ran to a bakery to pick up some delicious cake. Holy-massive-assortment of cakes! It just wasn't even right for a pregnant woman to be standing in that bakery. I nearly ordered one of everything... But regained control of myself and went with something vanilla-y and fruity, and one crazy chocolate thingy. 

Kirk got home from his meetings with clients late in the afternoon. Since he was the birthday boy, he got to decide if he wanted presents first, cake first, or to head to the burger joint he wanted to hit up for an IPA and some grease. We decided to head to an early dinner at Good Friends where we indulged in burgers, fried pickles, waffle fries, and beer.

Low cholesterol birthday fare. My burger is topped with veggies; Kirk's is topped with bacon, BBQ brisket, extra cheese... And tomatoes, to keep it healthy!
When we got home I lit the birthday candles and hid my horrific signing voice by grabbing our dogs and having "them sing to daddy." Sometimes having dogs around is just the best, you know?! We were still far too stuffed from dinner to enjoy either of the mini cakes I bought, so we headed outside with the dogs for a bit, and *one of us* was able to enjoy a few more birthday brews.

It was a great, relaxing, simple and low-stress way to celebrate another year of Kirk's life, which is exactly how we think birthday celebrations should be!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

A Comical Look Back

As this pregnancy thing draws to a close, I thought I would take a moment to reflect.

Don't worry, I'm not going to use this post as my personal journal and get all deep-thoughts on you. I'll just take a moment to dispel some promises and myths I was told about pregnancy that turned out to be COMPLETELY false (for me, at least... And we're all a wee bit different and special).

I found that women, especially other mamas, looooooved to tell me how "everything was going to be" with a lot of "just wait until ____ happens!" or "ohmygosh, you're going to need _____!" While I appreciate the well intentioned advice and forewarning of what was {supposed} to come, these are the top five biggest... Hmmm, what should I call them? Myths? Lies? Things that never ended up happening for me/this pregnancy? Ah well, you get what I'm saying!

And with that said, let's jump in!

1. Maternity jeans are the BEST!
I never fell in love with full panel maternity jeans. I even bought designer label ones so I knew I was getting "the best of the best" as it were... NOPE. Not even a little bit. At a full nine months pregs, they STILL slide down my rump when I sit down, the panel is STILL itchier than hell, I feel like a two year old with these "pull up" pants (please give me my fly and button back!) and I basically feel like I'm wearing pantyhose over my belly. Demi panel is the business, ladies. Full panel is for the birds.

(FYI, I wiped this mirror down THREE TIMES before taking these shots... I'm convinced I'm either surrounded by spirit orbs, or the "fuzz" is in the silver of the mirror and not the glass. Maybe both).

Boo, full pannel! Boo!
Demi panel FTW!

2. High(er)-end maternity clothes are unnecessary!
Target Maternity is garbage. I don't know who these clothes fit, but the size small is STILL too big for me at full-term. After one wash, the rouching on this shirt stretched out, and looks stupid. Invest a little cash into some higher quality clothes, girls. You won't be disappointed.

Nine months pregnant. Limp Target Maternity. Size small on a 5'10 frame. Dumb. On the plus side, the hanging fabric makes me look "thin" and I'll take that right about now!

3. Just you wait for those pregnancy cravings, your health food will go out the window!
I still don't understand people with pregnancy food cravings. I believe you have them! I just don't get it. My husband and I were SO looking forward to the day when all I would want is ice cream topped with fried chicken and a side of peanut butter... But, alas, it never happened. The best I had was a few strong desires to eat fruit... Just L-I-V-I-N on the wild side over here!

4.There's a natural health remedy for everything, don't medicate while pregnant!
Papaya does NOT work to cure preggo heartburn. Holistic and natural health, I love you and will always try you first, but that's a friggin joke. Unless it comes in a blue capped bottle and says "TUMS Extra 1000" on it, and you take twice to thrice the recommended dose, it ain't curing what burns you.

5. Your hair is going to be so pretty while you're pregnant!
My hair never got fuller, thicker and more luxurious. High-five if that happened for you, but man! Was that ever a let down over here. I'm told (potentially yet another lie) that if your hair never gets super thick while pregnant, it won't fall out like crazy after you give birth. Here's to hoping at least THAT holds true... Or I will have nothing left. Seriously, nothing.

Who got full, thick hair?! Not this girl! This was after drying upside down, curling it and giving it a little tease/backcomb... Sadface.
I could regale you with more tall tales I was told about pregnancy, but I think that shall suffice for now. Again, these are just my opinions and what I found to be true. I'm sure your experience has been or was very different! Or not, and these are just universal lies we're told about being pregnant. Who knows!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

What Having an External Cephalic Version is REALLY Like

This past weekend, I had an external cephalic version (ECV) in attempts to turn our breech baby to the head down position.

It failed to work.

But this is what we went through in order to give it everything we had to have this baby naturally! Actually, get serious, this is what I went through to have this baby naturally:

We arrived at the hospital and got checked in, shown to our room (it was a very nice room! The hospital was recently redone and had a beautiful birthing ward) and I changed into a hospital gown. Our nurse, Sherri, was fantastic and friendly, and got me comfortable in the bed. Then she hooked up external monitors around my tummy to get a baseline on baby boy's heart beat and my contraction frequency and strength. A quick ultrasound confirmed that little man was indeed still breech, and a quick exam proved that I have indeed dropped and am quite dilated and effaced (not good signs for an ECV).

After that, I was given an IV. Nothing was run through the IV, it was just all set up and ready in case something happened during the ECV to necessitate an emergency c section. After that, one of the hospital's financial educators came through and went over billing with us. Nothing like America to show you your bill before you even get the procedure done! I mean, good Lord.

Anyway, after we signed away our retirement, the doctor came in to speak to us about what would happen. Nurse Sherri gave me a shot of a large muscle relaxer to relax my uterus from contractions. This shot also relaxes your heart muscle, so my heart started to POUND. Also, I was getting nervous! They hooked me up to a heart rate monitor too, to ensure I wasn't about to enter the Next Life via heart attack.

The doctor disabled the baby monitoring, and both oil and gel was slathered on my belly. They told me to put both hands up behind my head. Then, the resident doctor held baby boy's head (which is by my belly button) while my doctor DUG  her fingers into my lower pelvis to lift up his little butt. Since I have dropped, she really had to get in there and give it hell to lift him out of my pelvis.

Then the resident and the doctor applied pressure and counter pressure to get him rotating. Ha, pressure. Pressure is a kind way to describe that... It really felt more like their fingers were going to rip through and puncture my internal organs and attempt to externally break my water. Baby boy thought it sucked too, because his heart rate dropped. The doctors backed off, and waited for his heart rate to come back. He's a resilient boy, and it bounced back within a minute. Then they both dug in and gave it everything they had again. I should note that many women opt to have an epidural for this procedure. So it's possible to have it be painless. I'm not a fan of needles, especially in my spine, so I declined the epidural. To each her own!

Meanwhile, Kirk is holding one of my hands and nurse Sherri is holding the other and wiping away tears. I always cry when I get scared!
Thanks Google Images for the photo. What's attempted in an external cephalic version
Back to business: so baby STILL wasn't having this ECV deal. His heart rate dropped way low! The doctor stopped everything, and decided that there was something in attempting to turn him towards my right side that wasn't good. So they decided to give it a go to the left. This was MUCH less painful! This indeed just felt like crazy intense pressure. I can handle pressure... I can't handle my organs exploding.

Well, this way started to have success! He was moving! Go, baby go! And then... His head got stuck in my rib cage. They decided to give him (and me) a break to let both our heart rates resume something close to normal. After the break, the doctor asked if I wanted to give it one more try. I said absolutely! So she got a hold of his little rump again while the resident got his head, and they tried... But his head couldn't make the turn past my ribs. They determined that I'm simply too narrow/slender to turn a 36 week baby, and that he is indeed stuck in the breech position.

We weren't that surprised that it failed. There are a number of "success indicators"  for if an ECV will be successful, and I met none of them. But we were really committed to doing everything in our power to avoid a c section and have a natural and un-medicated birth. Alas, baby boy just isn't having it.

So we know what day he will be here by for sure, and it's earlier than my due date! With my contractions and increasing dilation, we're just not sure if he'll be here any earlier than that date. Only time will tell! And the good news is that I won't be 40+++ weeks pregnant in this Texas heat. So, that's a bonus.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mommy Monday: Happy {Belated} Mother's Day!

Happy {Belated} Mother's Day to all my mommy's and soon-to-be-mommy's out there!

This was my first "unofficial"/still-very-pregnant Mother's Day. So despite the fact that I'm still only a mommy to our two doggies and baby boy is still kickin' it internally, my husband made the day special for me.

First, I came into the dining room to find this:

I was told to open the pink card, addressed to "Mom" first. It was a super sweet card for a mama-to-be!

Then I tackled the wrapped present. I'm not at all a sentimental person; I'm not "mushy" and I rarely cry in films. In fact, emotions annoy me. So my husband was scared to get me something sentimental for my "first" Mother's Day, and kept talking about how I could return it if I didn't like it. But this was very sweet. It's a Willow Tree "Now We Are Three" figurine that will be adorable in the nursery!

Next, I was told to open the piece of paper. Kirk created a gift certificate telling me that he got me an aqua-therapy session at Adrift Float Spa. Basically, you float in salt water and feel weightless, and they do some other treatments on you to take all the weight and pressure of pregnancy off a poor aching body. Another pregnant friend did it, and she said she felt fantastic and back-pain free for days afterwards. Yesssss! That's scheduled this week.

Then, Kirk made me breakfast. I requested sprouted-grain Belgian waffles, fruit and bacon. Mmmm!

After such a big breakfast, I thought a walk to White Rock Lake would be great. So we rounded up our four-legged boys and ventured out to hunt birds and squirrels, make some new dog-friends, and sniff wildflowers. I had to snap this shot, because all my boy's rumps were just too cute!

After a nice rest, I headed off to yoga. It was a great and relaxing day! My mama spent the weekend in New York City with my sister, but she'll be coming back next week for the impending arrival of her first grand-baby, so we'll get some time to celebrate together then. I hope you were able to spend some time with your hard-working mom, or were able to be spoiled like I was on this great holiday!

Friday, May 9, 2014

High Five for {Baby} Friday!

Whoohoo Friday!

LOTS going on around here! All sorts of surprising baby news. ALL SORTS.

Regardless, I clearly have enough time to compose this post quickly, so in the spirit of H54F, here she blows:

1) What we thought was a procedure day on Thursday was more or less "last minute data gathering" to check on the baby and me. What they found was surprising! I'll save you the baby-medical-details, but this baby is READY to join us, ASAP style! In fact, we're being admitted to the hospital today.

2) There is still a chance I get to keep my midwives, but the odds are all pointing to me keeping this doctor I was referred to. I have to say that I REALLY like her! She is one smart cookie and also supports holistic health and natural medicine where it's possible. This is SUCH a relief. I cannot even begin to explain this level of relief to you...

3) As you can imagine, the early baby news sent my husband and I into a frenzy! Kirk dropped me off at my nail salon so I could get my nails did up, and he headed over to get his haircut. Then, we went out to eat, in case that happens to be the last time we get out for a while...

Spring-y lavender mani

4) We might not have the crib and changing table yet, but my mom and I did get this put together this week! It came highly recommended to me by pretty much every new mom on the planet. So if he does join us before the crib is scheduled to arrive later in May, at least he has somewhere to sleep! Of course, do we have the batteries to operate it? Nope, why be that prepared?!

We planned on having baby boy sleep in this in our room for a while anyway!

 5) I was absolutely overwhelmed with all the wonderful words of prayer and praise I received yesterday! From comments and messages on facebook to emails, texts and phone calls, Kirk and I are so thankful we have so many fantastic people thinking about us and rooting for baby boy. We sincerely thank all of you for the encouragement!

That's all for now, friends! I'm off to pack my hospital bags. I hope everyone has a FANTASTIC weekend and that I have great news to report to y'all on Monday... Whatever that great news might be - a new baby or a flipped baby or BOTH!

Make sure to check out these other awesome blogs!

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Big Day for the Leitch's

Today is a "D-Day" of sorts for Kirk and me.

We're headed to the hospital later this morning to try out this procedure to flip our son, who is currently very content in the frank breech position.

In all my sonograms, baby boy had been head down. And then at 30 weeks, he suddenly decided that wasn't kosher for him, and flipped himself breech. I've since spent the last six weeks attempting to get him to turn. I've inverted myself for periods of time throughout the day, done hip rotation exercises, drank more water than I thought was possible, and put peppermint oil on the upper part of my belly (babies are supposed to "turn away" from the smell of the peppermint. Why yes, I've walked around for the last several weeks smelling like a ginormous stick of gum). All of this has been in vain. Little dude is happy sitting on his rump.

I don't blame him. Mama doesn't like being upside down, either. Why do people like twisty-turny upside down roller coasters? Yeah, no thanks.

Here's a fun comparison on just how big he's gotten: on the left, I'm 23 weeks. Notice all the room I have in the drawstring! On the right, I'm over 35 weeks and trying to cram it all in there with a maxed out drawstring...

My midwives won't take me if I have a breech presentation - they'll refer me over to the hospital that's across the street. Since it's my first baby, I haven't found a doctor that will let me attempt a regular birth by going into labor (his head is too likely to get stuck in the birth canal since there hasn't been a baby traveling through there to "pave the way" before).

An ECV at nearly 36 weeks is our last hope of having him naturally with our midwives. If he doesn't get with our program or there simply isn't room for him to move, then they'll immediately transfer my files/medical records over to the hospital, and I'll schedule a c section for sometime between 37-39 weeks. Whoa. That could be in as little as nine days!

Hopefully our strong-willed little one wants to play today, and gets himself assisted into the head down position! All thoughts, prayers, fingers crossed and good vibes sent our way are greatly appreciated.

In brighter news, IF it does work, I'll have the "green light" to start all natural labor induction methods I can think of. Bring on the power walking, drinking pineapple juice, suffering through spicy food-induced heartburn, applying primrose oil, and doing other things I won't mention on a public blog to get this little bugger out ASAP! C'mon lil' baby, it's too hot to be so pregnant, let's gooooooooo!

And... If it fails, I'll likely have a c section scheduled within a week or two since we need to work around Kirk's travel schedule. I'm trying to get excited about this option, but I'm just not there yet.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

April Birchbox Item(s) Review

Now that I've had some time to play around with my April Birchbox, I wanted to highlight my favorite items with you!

This box was crammed with goodies. It was really hard to choose what to highlight as my favorite. I was able to narrow it down to two, but couldn't decide on just one.

Number 4 Lumiere d'hiver Clarifying Shampoo came in a very plain black and white bottle (the full size version actually has an interesting bottle... Not sure if it's functional, but it is indeed fun looking). I opened it to smell it, and thought, "Meh. Another shampoo sample" and then threw it in my shower to try it out later.

The weather here in Dallas has been HOT and surprisingly humid. I naturally have oily hair, but in this weather it gets real gross, real fast. This shampoo lathered well and felt good in the shower. You know, which is a plus and everything... But then it kept my hair clean and shiny ALL day. And then the next one, too. I usually wash every other day and spritz dry shampoo on my roots in between washings, but I felt no need for any dry shampoo on day two. The real miracle happened on day three. My hair was still pretty clean! It didn't strip my hair and make it dry - it simply made it really good and clean.

Bonus: the smell of the product in my hair was far, far better than what it was straight out of the bottle. You know, the whiffs you get when you have a new (and new-smelling) hair product in? Yeah, that smell. It was great - almost like an Aveda product.

How About Them Apples "The Balm" had about the cutest packaging ever. It's a creme-based product that can be used on lips and as a cheek stain. The full size comes with all six colors, but I received the sample of "Pie." It's a bright pink-coral color, which I have to say, is tough for my olive-without-a-summer-tan-yet skin tone to pull off. I usually don't like samples of makeup products because, frankly, I have unique coloring - dark olive skin with dark hazel eyes and light hair - makes it tough to find shades that work with all the contrasting colors I seem to have going on.

This was pretty though! I tried it on my cheeks and it blended easily. It was a flattering shade on my lips, but I would recommend a gloss to put over the stain to make it pop. I would say, though, that it would be a tough product to put in your purse as only a lip color. You have to use your finger to apply it since there's no brush, and wouldn't you know... Your finger tip gets stained if you can't wash your hands right away! So my sample will remain a cheek stain.

I mean, seriously with the packaging?! Love it!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Pregnant at the Barre

I wish this post was titled, "Pregnant at the Bar" or really just, "At the Bar" because being pregnant at a bar isn't exactly helpful, either. But alas, I'll have to settle for an added "r+e" for the time being and keep this post fitness-related and not about drinking.


Oh well. Soon enough, right? Right?! RIGHT?!?!

I digress...

Have you tried a barre class yet?!

Because if you haven't, you really should. If you're not pregnant, it's a fantastic toning workout and you'll be free to participate fully in the class. If you're in Camp Preggo with me, it's still a great toning workout, and one that is easily modified to suit your individual needs and abilities.

My fitness club* has two varieties of ballet barre class. One has a brief warm up cardio component, and then focuses on honing in on those small muscle groups that leave you thinking the next day, "man, I didn't even know I had muscles there!" The other integrates bursts of cardio throughout the class so that your heart rate is elevated and you're sweating the whole time. I accidentally went to this version at 34 weeks, and ended up having to sit for a bit of the cardio (it was THAT hard/intense). So I'll save that particular class for post-baby body work when I'm looking to melt off these extra pounds! Oh, and when I can breathe again. Breathing is good for cardio heavy workouts.

Both classes are Fan. Friggin. Tastic! If you've invested in some yoga wear, you'll just want to show up in that, and be bare foot just like you are in a standard yoga class.

There's no prancing across the floor like a beautiful ballerina (can you even imagine? With this big ol' belly? No. Just no). No graceful lifts from the zero males that show up to the class, either! There's no bouncing, jumping, or anything else that's high impact. Just lots of small movements with many repetitions. For example, you may stand in second position (if you're not a dancer, don't worry! The instructor will tell you how to position your feet) and do a combination of 15 full plies, then hold at the bottom of the plie and pulse your legs muscles, then transition all the way up to your toes and focus on some arm work. It all depends on the creativity of the instructor.

The class will tone your all the muscle groups in your legs, use the dumbbells to work the arms, and then usually concludes with abdominal work. Basically, it's a full body workout! For the last five minutes of class, you'll work on flexibility and stretching out those long lean muscles you've just worked on.

Now that I'm SO PREGNANT, this is the class I go to when I'm feeling extra energy and looking for a good workout. It's fun and challenging, yet you're able to adopt it to your individual fitness level. Oh, and it's fun! The hour flies by. If you've been thinking about checking out a barre class at one of the six million barre studios that have opened in the past year or so, I could not recommend it more. It's such a fun way to get (or stay) in shape!

*We're members at Lifetime Fitness at the Dallas Athletic Club. BarreFusion is the less-cardio intense class while LifeBarre contains the cardio bursts. If you're a Lifetime member in other parts of the country, they likely have similar options, although I've noticed Dallas has different names for classes at local clubs. Barre-specific studios are also excellent options to explore!

Monday, May 5, 2014

Mommy Monday: Preventative Care for Stretch Marks

A few friends and acquaintances who are a few weeks to multiple months behind me in their own pregnancies have asked me what I've done to successfully curb stretch marks. I'm currently 35 weeks gestation, and *knock on wood* have zero to date... Almost there.

For the record, I'm no dermatologist. Nutrition-specific education aside, the extent of my 'medical' education consists of freshman and sophomore level biology and chemistry classes as mandated by my liberal arts degree from the University of Minnesota. There's my disclosure! Therefore, I have more experience in this realm than formal education. Does it count if I have a number of doctors and nurses in my family?! No?Oh.

Some sources say it's genetics; if your mom got them, you likely will too, especially if you got them in puberty. For many women, especially us Type A ladies who pride ourselves (probably a bit too much) on a great figure, leaving something this important up to genetics simply isn't enough. I'm with ya, ladies!

I conducted some rather thorough research to round out the genetics claim. Here are the other biggest contributors to the "stretch mark factor" and what I'm doing about them:

- Proper weight gain: this one makes extreme sense. If you pack on too many pregnancy pounds, or they all come on at once (say, in your third trimester), that's a lot of stress for your skin to handle. Eating sensibly, not overindulging any unhealthy cravings you may develop, and keeping a consistent workout schedule are all going to help pregnant mama's be successful in this area.

Up until 30 weeks I was doing everything I had been doing prior to getting pregnant in terms of my workouts. After my preterm labor debacle, I now do four yoga and/or barre classes per week.  I also try to be as sensible as possible with what I consume. Luckily, I'm a health nut anyway, and love my veggies, but when I do indulge (I mean, heck, I'm pregnant!), I keep the portion small and stick to ONE portion. Remember, you're feeding your baby everything that goes in your mouth. Don't feed him or her garbage!

- Exfoliate: exfoliation helps to more quickly turn your skin cells over. New skin cells contain more collagen, and also have a higher H2O content. If you're consistently turning over new cells on your tummy, backside and thighs, you're keeping your skin in the "best shape possible" for stretching. I use a natural bristle brush with moisturizing body wash and lightly apply it to my skin in circular motions at the end of EVERY SHOWER. It only takes an extra minute or two!

Natural-bristle brush and my body wash of choice
- Hydrate: think great skin starts with the right topical product? WRONG! It starts with what you put IN your body (this goes for your hair too). Make sure to drink enough water throughout the day. I learned the hard way (remember the preterm labor thingy? Yup, dehydration). I now have a water bottle with measurements on it to ensure I'm getting at least 64oz of water a day.

- Hydrate again: externally this time! No, lotions and cremes wont save you, despite the best marketing efforts of these companies. Yes, they do feel great! I've found Burt's Bees Mama Bee Belly Butter to be fantastic in moisturizing my skin, relieving that itchiness you get as your skin stretches, and helps at night when you feel like your skin is too tight for how big your belly is. I rub this stuff in after a shower and usually again at night, and put it on my tummy, hips, thighs and butt. Plus, it doesn't have an obnoxious perfumed odor, so you won't walk around smelling like a fake flower all the time. Yessssss!

My favorite "belly cream"

Do you or did you have any other tricks or preventative measures you swore by while pregnant? Feel free to comment below or send me an email - I'm always looking for fun new things to try, especially in stretch mark prevention!

Friday, May 2, 2014

High Five for Friday!

All day yesterday I walked around thinking it was Friday. I was excited for our plans "that night" and got to throwing around plans with some folks for Saturday night as well... But I was talking about "tomorrow" and just ended up confusing everyone.

I hate it when my brain refuses to work! That ever happen to you?

So, I decided to unofficially theme this H54F post, "Paige's H54F Best-of-Stupid Moments" to celebrate what is hopefully the last few weeks of my pregnancy brain. Here goes:

1) Our coed baby shower was awesome. And awesomely hot, clocking in somewhere in the mid 90's and super humid to boot. Maybe that's when my brain stopped working... It got cooked. Anyhow, you can read about the event here!

2) Have you ever drank Komboucha? I've had it several times before, and was super thirsty during my weekly Whole Foods run. So I picked out a flavor. Paid for it, and the rest of my groceries. Then after loading up the car, I sat down and absentmindedly start to shake the bottle (most juice I drink needs a good shake since they're all-natural products). I start the car to run the AC, and start to text a few friends back. Meanwhile, I'm still shaking...

Then I open it to an EXPLOSION of strawberry all over my face, phone, shirt, legs, seat, dash board. Yeah, kinda forgot about the whole "naturally carbonated through fermentation" thing. Oops! Pregnancy brain FAIL. On a brighter note, my car now smells like (fermented) strawberries. Wait, is that gross?

This brand is great if you want to dip your toes in the Komboucha water. Just don't shake before opening!
3) Last week, I randomly met a woman in my Friday ballet barre class. She had just given birth to her daughter five weeks ago, and was recommending home workout DVDs for me since our club won't take babies in the day care until they're 12 weeks old. We quickly bonded over how bizarre and huge pregnancy boobs are.  

Let's get serious here, any woman who's willing to talk openly about her boobs in the first five minutes of the conversation is someone I'm going to love.

We've hung out since then, and she's awesome! I love meeting new friends in obscure places by talking about gross pregnancy issues. Pregnancy brain was on my side for this great moment, since she understood juuuuuuust where I was coming from! Or, trying to come from...

4) Since baby boy could be here in as little as one to two weeks (and as long as seven weeks... But I won't focus on that) I decided I should start to get my hospital/birth center bag ready. That's when I realized I had no nursing tops to wear! So I ventured out to get some post-baby supplies, just in case he wants to join the real-world-party soon.

I picked out four nursing tanks and two stretchy nursing bras, went to pay for them, aaaaaaaand... had forgotten my wallet in my gym bag. Which was at home. Pregnancy brain FAIL. I did go back and get the wallet, then went back for the items. As far as nursing bras go, these were actually pretty cute! Trust me, options are limited to mediocre, ugly, super-ugly, and super-ugly-granny-inpired.

It might seem like I'm sponsored by a Pea in the Pod. I'm not - they just carry clothes for tall, slender pregnant women. Love them for that!
5) I mentioned here that we picked out our car seat. So clearly, the next step is to get the base installed in your car. If you follow me on Facebook you probably know that we were going to trade my car in for something bigger. Well, with one baby, I just don't want a bigger car. I love my car. So my little Audi A4 and I will maintain our longstanding friendship until baby number two comes along.

With that decision made, it was time to get my car seat base properly installed. I read the instructions... Something about LATCH systems, belts, leveling the seat... HUH?!?! It was too hot and I was too pregnant to focus on this. My husband gave it a try and said, "Yeah, I don't get it." My car dealership was worthless. So my last resort was taking a trip to our local police station. I waddled on in there and asked for either help, resources to help, or the date of a clinic where they'd have staff to help. Everyone was so nice! Maybe I was a nice break from all the paperwork and criminal complaints they have to deal with daily? Regardless, nobody was officially on staff to help me, but one of the officers heard I was looking for assistance and came to my rescue. He was a daddy of three and had that sucker installed in about two minutes flat! Thanks kind officer for helping this pregnant brain lady figure out something so *simple* in her moment of need.

The weather is getting hot-hot-hot here in Dallas, and I hope it's heating up for you too - wherever you're reading from! Happy weekend, readers!

Make sure to check out these other lovely blogs via our weekly link-up!


Thursday, May 1, 2014

WANTED: Advice and Opinions!

Well, it is official: I have entered the proverbial "nesting phase" of pregnancy. All I want to do is straighten up and organize baby purchases and read baby books. All. I. Want. To. Do.

So, with that in mind, I'm looking to you, dear readers!

What I want to know is, what baby books would you recommend? Specifically, books that focus on newborns and the first year. Don't hold back, what are your favorites?! Go ahead and comment, email, or reply via social media with your personal recommendations.

Since I only have a few weeks left, I don't really need any additional books on pregnancy. I've read the ever popular What to Expect                " (fill in the blank - "When You're Expecting" "In the First Year" etc.)  Up next in the que is this little gem:

My manicure matching the book was unintentional, I swear!

Beyond that, I've got a subscription to Fit Pregnancy Magazine, which has a few parenting articles per issue, but that's about it. So clearly, I'm in need of bolstering my parental reading! I've heard both good and bad reviews of Baby Wise. My midwives say it's good to implement the strict schedule after the "fourth trimester" (aka, when baby is at least three months old) because a newborn simply needs constant attention and feedings. Any readers have any thoughts on that book in particular?

Any and all good reads are greatly appreciated! I'm only sleeping about four hours a night, so I have a lotttttttttttt of time to get caught up on best practices in the baby realm.

I look forward to hearing your recommendations!