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! 

Sunday, September 11, 2016

34 Week Update

Sunday night again, another fun but tiring weekend in the books. This time I started my weekend with a little girls' night with Heidi and Katie; we saw Bad Moms (funny but way more vulgar than I expected) and then chatted over Starbucks until way too late. It felt awesome to go out, catch up with friends, and talk (mostly about our kids and husbands, of course). We had a great time! 

Of course, that late night meant way too little sleep, so after swim lessons on Saturday morning I gladly took advantage of Marshall's nap time with a nap of my own. I'd say I slept about 90 minutes, and it was wonderful. Then we headed out for our little adventure. Originally, we planned to take the Metro to Santa Monica for dinner, but there were some delays with the westbound train. Instead, we headed eastbound and enjoyed dinner in Culver City (the highlight for me was chasing Marshall around a tree after our meal) before heading back to the train station and panicking because the earlier delays still appeared to be an issue. 

Thankfully, we made it home around 8:15, way past Marshall's bedtime, and I promptly fell asleep on the couch. 

(Scout didn't mind)

This morning we watched some of the 9/11 coverage on the news, hit up the grocery store, and walked to our local bakery for our weekend treat, assorted French cookies. Marshall played by himself a while, we got some chores done around the house, and then for lunch we tried "butter sandwiches," which are apparently a thing in France. I had read an article about them, and basically you use really good bread, really good butter, a little salt, and whatever (single) topping you want to make the world's simplest sandwich. We chose cheese today, but you can use fancy meat, tomato, avocado, whatever sounds good to you. They were indeed simple but also totally delicious! 

In other food news, we made this quick shrimp pasta with jumbo shrimp (found wild-caught shrimp at TJ's in the freezer section!), roasted cherry tomatoes, and Costco pesto. 

I asked Marshall if he wanted to watch a video this weekend. He said, "Uncle Chris," which means the videos that Uncle Chris (my brother) has sent Marshall of the construction sites where he works as a project manager. This kid can't get enough.

Speaking of this kid, some funny recent developments and Marshall-isms:

Asking questions instead of making observations. He used to announce his observations, like, "Daddy has a brace on his leg." But now he asks questions, and his inflection is priceless. "Daddy, you got a brace on your leg?" "Mommy, you're in the driver's seat?"

He's learning a little bit of Spanish at school, and today he asked us how to say a few words in Spanish. His little accent is pretty great! Our downstairs neighbor is working on his Ph.D. in Spanish at UCLA, so he offered tutoring. :-)

He's interacting with Scout more, for better or worse. The other day he walked by Scout sitting on the table, and Scout swiped at him (no claws), which scared Marshall. But he also has started talking to Scout like a little friend: "Scout, I'm playing with my garbage truck. You want to play with me?" "Scout, you want some food?" "Scout, you want to read a book?"

Random side note: One of the greatest joys of my life has been stealing glimpses of Marshall and Terry together. I don't know how my heart will be able to handle watching Terry become a father of two, but I'm excited for the challenge!

Speaking of which, a quick update on where we are in preparing for baby number two:

I'm 34 weeks along! I feel totally huge (I'm not, I know, but I still feel huge). I'm pretty uncomfortable most of the time; my hips hurt a lot, especially at night. My back hurts anytime I stand up. The baby is kicking wildly, and I'm thrilled for a healthy, active baby but a little nervous about how active he or she will be on the outside! I have had some trouble sleeping lately, which I know is quite normal for the third trimester. Overall, it's been an uneventful, healthy pregnancy, so I am very grateful and so happy to be where I am.

Workouts are down to a few a week. I am mostly active throughout my days, but I could definitely stand to walk around more at work. I squeeze in short strength training workouts at home a few nights a week, but I'm also focusing more energy on stretching and relaxing when I feel tired, so I'm not overdoing it.

As far as prep for baby, we got a little more serious this week about getting things ready. I sorted through all of Marshall's old clothes to determine which ones would be appropriate for boy or girl, and which ones will only work if we have another boy. I washed a whole bunch of baby stuff, started packing my hospital bag, and added to our lists of stuff to do before baby arrives. 

A few weeks ago, a new sensation hit me that I hadn't yet experienced in pregnancy: excitement! I'm sure it sounds terrible to say, but in complete honesty I don't remember feeling a lot of excitement before Marshall's birth. I felt scared and anxious, and even though I felt very blessed and lucky to be having a baby, I did not feel ready for his arrival. This time, I was thrilled when we learned I was pregnant but also focused a lot on the present. But now, as we near baby's due date and I think about meeting this sweet new addition, I feel absolute joy! I know we will face obstacles, but I also know our little family is strong and that we have support outside the three (four!) of us to help if something big comes our way. Of course, it helps that even after feeling so nervous and stressed about Marshall, we made it through and fell in love with our little boy the instant we met him. I can't wait to meet this little one, too!

Here's the 34 week photo this time around:

And 32 weeks and 33 weeks with Marshall:

I actually think I looked bigger last time!

It's been a great weekend. We're hoping Marshall will fend off what looks like the beginning of a cold. My parents are visiting this weekend, and I'm just hoping for some good sleep before then. Hope your week goes wonderfully!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Treat Tradition & Labor Day

Happy Labor Day! We enjoyed a wonderfully low-key weekend (as is becoming the norm around here, and you'll hear no complaints from this pregnant mama), and I am finally getting around to sharing some photos and happenings from recently. 

This week I will hit 34 weeks, well on our way to meeting our newest addition. Marshall still isn't super into feeling the baby kick or anything, but he'll show some interest and give a kiss if we suggest it. It's a little hard to believe he'll be a big brother in just a few short weeks, but I think he'll fill the role wonderfully.

(That photo was probably around 32 weeks)

I've had some meal planning hits and misses lately. For the most part, I'm planning away as usual, with two caveats: I'm incorporating one night out per week (order in, take out, eat out, whatever) to give us a break from dishes and cooking; and I'm mostly using meals that require very little prep. Plus, I'm enlisting the help of my little sidekick! Last weekend, Marshall sat with me while I wrote out my grocery list and "wrote" a list of his own with crayons! Then we folded up his list, put it in his pocket, and pulled it out at the store to remind me of what we needed. Two-year-olds are too fun!

Of late, we've started a new weekly tradition of going out for a treat! We've hit up various ice cream shops and last weekend chose a new-to-us donut place, Sidecar. It was incredible. We tried the cinnamon crumble, butter & salt, vanilla with chocolate, and buttermilk "drops" and loved every bite.

This weekend's treat was a trip to Beverly Hills to Bouchon Bakery, where we tried an almond croissant, a chocolate chip cookie, and a beignet. Marshall's face when I tried to steal a bite of his beignet--I will never forget it. Anger, confusion, panic. I put it back down (without taking a bite) and he instead shoved the small bite of cookie he was holding toward me. But I was already laughing so hard I told him he could keep the cookie. Such a sweet boy who loves food so much.

Then we spent some time checking out the fountain (getting super soaked) and walking around the block before heading home. These quick trips for treats are becoming my favorite part of the week, and I'm glad it's something we can easily continue once baby is here.

Random photo: Marshall helped Daddy build our new shoe rack. He hasn't stopped talking about it since.

Also last weekend, Jenn and I took a cooking class together! We have a new Sur La Table in Westwood with cooking classes, and Terry booked a class for me for my birthday. The class, Global Gourmet Burgers, was fun and unique, but I think next time I'd go with a multiple-course class to incorporate more techniques and variety. Still, we had a great time, and it was awesome to be out doing something new and different!

More in food: We recently tried out Smitten Kitchen's summer squash pizza, which was delicious and a great way to throw in vegetables, but took more time than I expected for a weeknight meal. Next time I would do some steps ahead, but it was tasty. Marshall loved helping me throw the squash into the food processor to grate it!

Last week we made nachos at home. They turned out to be more of a treat and less veggie-filled than I had planned, but still, a fun, easy meal.

Breakfast casserole has become my favorite way to throw lots of vegetables into my diet. My stomach is not handling raw veggies well lately, so leafy greens are tough to incorporate. Luckily I can easily eat a whole serving each morning with this casserole. I just throw a bunch of frozen chopped greens all over the bottom of a 9x13 baking dish, then a bunch of sauteed vegetables (onion, bell peppers, squash, etc.) and then cheese on top of all that. Then I whisk up a dozen eggs with salt and pepper and pour them over the vegetables. Bake at 350 for 35-40 minutes. It lasts us three or four days of breakfasts!

Other highlights of the last week or so:

Hanging out with my favorite little guy

A photo of Marshall wearing an outfit my dad would totally wear
(Also, Marshall recently learned how to "smile for the camera," which is adorable and so sweet!)

Terry and I took M to a playground yesterday and let him do his thing. We love watching him explore his abilities and have been deliberately hanging back more to see what he'll get up to without us nearby. Yesterday he explored the entire playground set and was so proud of himself for going down both slides. It truly makes me so proud, too, to see him figuring out his limits and becoming more independent and coordinated.

This weekend also marked another attempt at watching a movie. Marshall has shown very little interest in movies and television, which of course is fine, but we also don't want him to be that weird kid who doesn't know what a movie is. So we tried again, this time with How to Train Your Dragon, and he was actually into it! But he does have a strange quirk: He fixates on small, random details within some books and, apparently, movies, where he obsesses over something really minor. In Lady and the Tramp (book version), his favorite part was the rat(? I completely forgot a rat is even in that story!). In Pinocchio, he loved the whale (a little more understandable). And now, in How to Train Your Dragon, he was absolutely fixated on...the boats??? There are approximately two scenes that feature boats, and not even prominently.

So anyway, we had to watch the movie over three different attempts, but we made it through. He was genuinely into the dragons by the end, and he kept saying, "It's funny!" so I guess he liked it well enough. I can tell movies and TV will be a rare activity around here, but at least we can say we tried!

Meanwhile, yoga is apparently much more entertaining.

Today was pretty close to a perfect day. Marshall slept in, so we all slept in until 7. We took it slow this morning, ate breakfast at home, helped our neighbors jump their car, and made a quick trip to the store. We finished the movie, hung out around the house, and had Marshall help me with making a breakfast casserole. During M's nap, I went out for a massage(!), and then this afternoon we took a family walk around the neighborhood before dinner. Nothing too big or exciting, but a truly great day with my boys. I am so grateful for my little family and am finding myself more and more eager to meet the little one on the way!

Okay, that was pretty long. I have a doctor appointment tomorrow, so maybe I'll post a pregnancy update this week, since I'm running out of time to post those!

As for meal planning this week:
- Veggie spring rolls as snacks (hoping my stomach will tolerate the raw vegetables)
- Pasta with pesto, roasted cherry tomatoes, and shrimp
- Bruschetta and broccoli melts (not sure if we'll do these all on one night or just split them between two nights)
- zucchini corn chowder (Marshall gobbled this up tonight! I like to puree the soup before adding the corn for a smoother texture)
- sweet potato fries (tossed in olive oil and salt and roasted at 425 for about 20-25 minutes) with a chipotle hummus from our farmer's market
- breakfast casserole, as mentioned above

And now we're heading into a short week! I'm already looking forward to another wonderful weekend in just a few days. Hope you had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!