Friday, October 14, 2016

Declan Stone

A little over a week ago, we welcomed a little boy into our family and this world.

Terry, Marshall, and I are so excited and proud to introduce this tiny bundle.

Declan Stone Heinrich

Born Wednesday, October 5, 12:30 am ("zero dark thirty," as Terry says)

7 pounds, 13 ounces

20.5 inches

(the same length as his big brother, and exactly one ounce bigger!)

We are settling into our new routines as a family of four. The hospital stay was much shorter than last time (hooray for no jaundice!) and allowed us to get home to focus on our little boys.

Marshall seems so excited by the arrival of his little brother. He says things like:

"Declan! Hi Declan! How are you?"

"I want to hold Declan's hand."

When Declan cries during a cold diaper change: "It's okay, Declan!" (usually yelled loudly, to make sure Declan can hear him)

"He's waking up a little bit!"

"He's SO little."

"He's SO sleepy."

Likely, the transition has been toughest on Marshall, but he is handling it well. Sweet as he is to Declan, he is also two and needs attention from both Mommy and Daddy that we are trying so hard to give him. I am still recovering physically, so Terry has, as usual, stepped up in every way to make sure we have good meals, a clean house, and a happy toddler (though the last often feels like a tall order).

Once again, I am reminded how wonderful of a man I married. He truly astonishes me as he demonstrates patience, love, kindness, and helpfulness with all of us.

I will share Declan's birth story soon, along with the first few weeks of his sweet life. For now, we are focused on snuggling this sweet, tiny (well, relatively) newborn.

Welcome, sweet Declan. We are so glad you're here (early!); thank you for giving us two extra weeks with you! We can't wait to get to know you better, and we love you beyond words already!

Monday, October 3, 2016

Happy October and Waiting for Baby

Happy Monday, and happy October! Terry and I are stoked we made it to October before getting a visit from the stork. With all the unexpected events of the last few weeks, we're just waiting to see when baby will make his or her appearance. This weekend we checked the last few things off our big to-do list, and we're ready!

The only bummer is that Marshall has come down with a second round of a cold. He had a bad cold while my parents were in town two weeks ago, and then immediately after he got better he came down with another cough. I started feeling a tickle in my throat yesterday, too, so I'm praying it doesn't develop into more than that. Coughing at this point in my pregnancy is one of my biggest fears; I get coughs that last for weeks, so I worry about coughing through labor and delivery. Also, poor Marshall coughed all through the night last night and it turned into a restless (lack of) sleep for all of us. We're praying Marshall gets well soon and that Terry and I can stay healthy!

Speaking of which, the universe works in mysterious ways. When I ended up in the hospital at 35 weeks and had to get off work a full week earlier than expected, I later learned that my boss came down with bronchitis soon after that. She's feeling better now, but I am so grateful I wasn't there to catch that!

Now that I'm past "full term" (37 weeks) and feeling ready to meet this baby, we're trying to get out of the house a little more so I don't go absolutely insane. Last week, we went out for an impromptu dinner in Westwood at one of our favorite spots, TLT.

(He loved getting to drink out of a regular cup with no straw. It's the little things.)

And on Friday, thinking it might be my only chance, I headed out for a couple of hours to get myself a manicure and pedicure! I can't remember the last time I got my nails done, and normally I don't really care about how they look, but it is nice to have them all fancy. Of course, I smudged both big toes and one finger by the end of the day, because I'm amazing.

Random photo: Marshall hit his head and asked for ice, and we walked in to find him like this on his stool. <3

On Saturday, we celebrated Jenn and Justin's little boy for his first birthday! Jenn and Justin recently bought a beautiful home, and it was so much fun to enjoy their backyard and delicious food. Marshall was a huge fan of the giant bubble rope thing.

And the boys and men all played KanJam, a Frisbee game. The two-year-olds giggled like mad watching them play!

Marshall also found a toy dumbbell, and I'm proud to say he carried it around for about half an hour.

On Sunday morning, I requested a walk around the neighborhood. I haven't been able to walk for pleasure for weeks, and it was finally cool enough (and I felt well enough) to go out. It was a lovely fall morning, even if it did get hot later. We only circled the block twice, but it felt SO great to move my legs. (I have a--likely irrational--fear that all my muscles will have atrophied by the time I go into labor from all this bed rest, and I'll be exhausted from the mere act of walking around in labor, so I'm trying to go for short walks now to at least stretch out and gear up a bit!)

Terry is still doing physical therapy for his knee, even though you'd never know he's still recovering! This guy is such a champ; he isn't limping at all and gets up and down with Marshall like the surgery never happened!
(Marshall "helped" with Terry's exercises.)

 We also took Marshall for a long-overdue haircut! Last week we brought him to our 37-week doctor's appointment so he could hear the baby's heartbeat, and he freaked out, so we had no idea what to expect here. Luckily, he was awesome! He stayed calm and kept looking in the mirror and saying, "I'm so handsome." Ha! (Also, please note the Toy Story-inspired cape...but it's not the actual characters? So weird.) Now Marshall is all ready to meet his little brother or sister!

But he's NOT super thrilled lately with Scout. Sometimes Scout will crouch down as if he's going to pounce, and lately Marshall is terrified of him! It's actually pretty hilarious; this is Marshall's position for protecting himself. Please keep in mind we have a seven-pound cat. Marshall weighed more than that when he was born!

But really, this cat is just a big snuggle bug.

Some food recently and our meal plan for the week (unless a baby has other plans!):

Homemade Lara bars (in ball form, because who has the patience to cut these into bars?)
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup dates
- 2/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 T (or more) water to bind everything together
Throw it all in a food processor and process until the pieces are all uniformly tiny; then roll into balls. Add more water if it's not sticking well. Store in airtight container in fridge.

I also made some nut-free ones (Marshall's school is nut-free):
- 1 cup dates
- 1/2 cup sunflower butter (I like Wild Friends because they are the only brand I've found that doesn't add sugars or palm oil; we buy it at Bristol Farms)
- 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- a tiny bit of water, if needed, but the sunflower butter should be binding enough
Same directions as above!

Homemade Chocolate Pudding from 100 Days of Real Food - a treat, but SO delicious!

And dinners this week:

Pesto Shrimp Pasta:
- 1 lb whole wheat pasta (we used shells, because it's what we had)
- 1 package frozen Red Argentinian jumbo shrimp from Trader Joe's (the only wild-caught brand available there, and delicious! Plus, the tails are removed, although it is raw so needs to be cooked prior to adding)
- 1/3 - 1/2 cup store-bought pesto (we buy a big container of Kirkland brand from Costco and freeze it until we need it)
- 1 cup frozen peas
- 6-8 ounces fresh spinach

I cooked the pasta as usual, and sauteed the shrimp in butter and olive oil. Then I put the fresh spinach in a colander and strain the pasta over the spinach to wilt it quickly. Then I add the pesto, peas, pasta, and spinach back into the pasta pot and combine everything (maybe a little extra olive oil if needed). I serve it up and top it with shrimp! For Marshall, we cut his shrimp into bite-size pieces. Delicious, and it takes so little effort and is super quick! (~20 minutes!)

Carnitas tacos (but we're just using Whole Foods 365 brand salsa verde, our favorite!)

Ina's Butternut Squash soup with curried condiments - our favorite fall soup!

Greek salad with couscous - cucumbers, tomatoes, feta cheese, red onion, and couscous

And now we wait! Who knows if I'll be back again before baby arrives!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

36 Week Update & Recent Goings On

When we set out on this adventure to have another baby, we tried to learn from our last experience and be more prepared this time. We imagined dozens of possible scenarios so that we wouldn't be caught off guard like last time when my water broke early, I had an unplanned C-section, and we had to return to the hospital for two extra nights for jaundice. This time, we've been optimistic about my hopes to have a VBAC while still maintaining a healthy mentality that things might go differently from what we envision.

Still, despite our best efforts, we have found ourselves in a flurry of unexpected events over the last seven or eight weeks. Terry's knee surgery, followed by two weeks of an especially difficult routine for me handling everything at home, work, and with Marshall. Then, Terry healed very quickly (hooray!) and is now nearly at 100% as far as day-to-day activities, so we settled back into our normal.

And then we got hit last week with another whammy: At 35 weeks 2 days, I started having regular contractions. While they weren't intense, they were about five minutes apart for over twenty-four hours, so my doctor sent me to the hospital on Friday (September 16) for monitoring and to get a shot that would stop the contractions. (Ultimately, if the shot didn't work, it would have been safe to deliver the baby, but my doctor emphasized that "every day counts" as far as keeping baby in the womb to continue growing.) Thankfully, it worked! My contractions continued, but I couldn't feel them and they were so far apart that we were in a safe zone and able to go home.

Since then, I've been on bed rest. The contractions are still pretty frequent, but since they haven't intensified we are assuming it's all pre-labor/false labor/Braxton Hicks. And hey, if it means my body is getting all warmed up for baby's delivery, that's fine!

But since I am eager to keep the baby in as long as possible, I am indeed parking myself on the couch as much as possible, and it's been a tough week. Terry and I switched roles from after his surgery, and now he's the one doing 100% of the cooking, cleaning, caretaking for Marshall, grocery shopping, errands, and more. On top of that, Marshall came down with a bad cold and had trouble sleeping, so Terry spent at least one night on his floor for frequent wakeups, plus Terry had to stay home Monday because I couldn't leave the couch to take care of Marshall. Next, of course, the cold hit me and has (so far) lasted a solid five days.

But we've made it through that tough week (apparently Mercury was in retrograde and isn't anymore, so I guess that's something?), and we learned our lesson about thinking that we have imagined every possible scenario. Now I'm just thankful that we have made it to 36 weeks 3 days, and that the worst of my cold seems to be over before labor has truly started (and Marshall's too!). We still want to go longer--ideally at least 37 weeks--but at this point my doctor won't stop labor if it really starts up. I miss being up and about, and I miss helping around the house, and I REALLY miss picking up my toddler and spending time with him that isn't just lying on the floor while he plays nearby, but we're getting through.

As for updates this week (almost 37 weeks):

- I've gained about 28 pounds. For Marshall, I gained 33 total  and delivered at 38 weeks, so I'm a little behind where I was with him, but close enough and my doctor is happy.
- Baby is measuring right on schedule based on the last ultrasound we did (although I know those should always be taken with a grain of salt because measurements are off all the time); I'm just relieved that my doctor isn't worried about a big baby preventing me from attempting a VBAC.
- Baby is moving around a TON still! I can't believe how active this kid is.
- Even with the contractions, I'm not sure when labor will really begin! Perhaps once I'm off bed rest it'll kick in immediately, or maybe it'll still take a few weeks? I am trying to prepare myself for anything!

And last weekend, my parents visited for a few days because they had interviews at LAX for Global Entry (I still don't know what that is). The timing was actually perfect, because they helped us a ton while I was in the hospital, plus (of course) they helped clean our house (my dad shampooed all our carpets, and my mom got our kitchen and bathroom sparkling), not to mention a few meals. They'll be back again when baby arrives, so not much longer, I imagine!

While they were here, we of course enjoyed some fun adventures, as usual:

My dad volunteered to take Marshall for his swim lesson...

My parents took "Marshall" for a wagon ride, which turned into this:

We all went out for donuts, which were insane (Sidecar Donuts is our new favorite!)...

My mom bought Marshall Candy Land and tried to teach him.

Another fun trip. :-)

In food adventures lately...

This delicious fall meal--farro with roasted butternut squash, onion, and brie (SO good!)

(not sure what magazine this is, but here's the recipe!)

Marshall has been cooking up a storm!

(sprinkling spices on his oatmeal...obviously)

Chili from Jenn and Justin in the midst of our crazy week

(Marshall LOVED that chili)

Pancakes courtesy of Daddy and Marshall! Terry encouraged me to sleep in this weekend, so he and Marshall made pancakes. Marshall ran in to our room a few times with some hilarious lines:

- "Mommy, you don't feel good?"

- "Mommy, we're not using buttermilk! We're using regular milk." (so cute!)

Lunches for Marshall, tucked in the freezer for when baby arrives and Marshall is with grandparents.

Now we're counting down to baby! Could be any day, but hopefully baby will grow and stay healthy until he or she is ready to join us. We're actually feeling pretty prepared (dare I say?), and we're definitely excited!