Covey’s Birth Story | Part 2| Let the Wild Rumpus Start!

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It was 11:30 pm on November 17 and I was trying to sleep… but I couldn’t.  I was uncomfortable, tossing and turning intermingled with going to the bathroom and cramping.  The cramping had definitely turned to contractions, and I quickly downloaded an app on my phone to keep track of them.  I was having them every 10 minutes and they were lasting for 15-20 seconds {Stay Home}.  I would lay down, sit up, walk around, and then lay down again.  I had resigned myself to the guest room/nursery so I didn’t bother Chandler.  He had gone to bed hours earlier and had a very important meeting early in the morning.  Finally, I was able to doze off for a little while after a long, uncomfortable and arduous day, before I woke up needing to pee…

Sniff Sniff, is that pee?

At 1:17 am I sat down on the toilet, and let it out… tired and groggy with cramps getting stronger.  I made a joke in my head about peeing like Austin Powers {it just kept coming}, and then I remembered Chandler’s step-mom saying that when her water broke it, “just felt like I had to pee.”  I sat up shocked, and without thinking held my hand underneath the stream.  I pulled my wet hand up to my face.  *Sniff sniff* I took a whiff and noticed there was no scent.  I leaned back, looking in to the toilet bowl… it was clear.  How did I just pee for that long, and how am I still peeing, and it’s clear?!?  I put my hand under again.  This time I realized I wasn’t pushing the pee out anymore… it was just coming out by itself… and still, *sniff sniff,* no smell and no color!

Instantly I was cloaked in excitement, panic, fear, and happiness.  There were so many emotions happening all at once, I started to shake.  I pulled up my pants and walked into the room where Chandler was sleeping.  “Umm hunny?  I’m 98% sure my water just broke.” I said, crying and trying not to startle him.  Chandler is not the most graceful man when woken from a dead sleep, and often jumps up with fists blazing ready to throw a punch!  To my surprise, he sat up with a jerk, and a big smile on his face, “It’s baby time!?”  He said excitedly, half proclaiming, half asking!

Thank goodness I had packed our bags two weeks earlier and loaded them in the car!  We changed our clothes, and while Chandler took Addie to the bathroom, I called my mom to tell her the news.  She told me she was getting online to buy a plane ticket and would see me as soon as she could.  We jumped in the car, turned up the music and headed for the Hospital.  I was so anxious up to this point that I hadn’t noticed how bad the contractions had gotten.  I was trying to breathe deeply through them {we hadn’t taken any labor classes, but that’s what they do in the movies}, while Chandler tried to take my mind off of things by singing obnoxiously loud and yelling “PUSH!”  It worked, but soon, I was crying through each contraction, now only 5 minutes apart lasting for 45 seconds, in between laughing and singing to the radio.  It seemed as if the radio DJ was excited for us because every song we heard could be related to childbirth: “I’m Coming Out (So You Better Get This Party Started)” by Pink, “We Are the Champions” by Queen and “Baby” by Justin Beiber.

We finally made it to the hospital.  Chandler offered to drop me off while he parked, but I needed to be with him and not alone.  We parked in the parking garage and I had to stop, hunch over and cry four times before we made it the front desk.  We went straight to the elevators and up to triage.  I was given a urine test and told to lay on a bed while the nurse hooked me up to a baby heart monitor and began the admitting process.  Because I was only dilated 1 centimeter {STILL, ugh!}, the hospital wouldn’t admit me until they could confirm my water had in fact broken.  There are two ways to do this.  The first is with litmus paper.  The tiny strips of beige paper I used to use in Chemistry Lab.  The nurse would press the paper against my panties and if it changed color, my water had broken.  She did this twice, but “it’s inconclusive…”  She said looking at me with pity.  Next she tried test #2 and took a small glass microscope slide, again dabbed it inside my panties, and told me it would be about 15 minutes before we knew the results.

She turned on the TV and headed off to the lab.  Imagine my excitement when Jerry Springer was on!  YES!  Trash TV to take my mind off the pain and give me something to do when I wasn’t bawling through every contraction!  Just then, we saw the couple across the hall from us walk out of their room.  The woman was clearly in pain, and another nurse was telling them to come back if things changed.  “They’re sending them home!” I told Chandler!  “Ugh, that would be terrible..” I continued.  I started to get nervous and said, “I know my water broke, it wasn’t pee, I swear.”  I was half trying to convince Chandler, and half trying to convince myself.  I was in pain, and I know I wouldn’t be able to handle being sent home until things got worse.

A few seconds later the nurse came back.  “I’m sorry guys, I have bad news,” she started.  She told us that they couldn’t tell if the fluid on the microscope slide was amniotic fluid, so they would be sending me home… Just then… GUSH!  I was peeing the bed!  I looked at Chandler horrified and when he asked what was wrong I said… “It’s happening again!  It’s gushing out… and I’m pretty sure it’s not pee!”  The nurse grabbed another slide and held it underneath me.  Smiling she said, “I’ll be right back!”  She came back what seemed like a gajillion hours later {20 minutes in contraction speak} and said, “Congratulations guys, you’re having a baby!”

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Oh, we have a birth plan…

I was told to undress, put on a hospital gown, and then taken upstairs to a delivery room.  I climbed into bed still crying through each contraction.  By now it was nearly 4 am.  The nurses checked my cervix and in the two hours I was in admitting, I had dilated to 3 centimeters.  They asked if wanted an epidural and I hesitated before answering…  “I heard that if you get an epidural too soon, it prolongs the labor…?”  They assured me that once a woman was dilated 3-4 centimeters, an epidural would have no effect on the length of the labor.  It was the happiest news!  I told them I did indeed want an epidural and then said, “oh, and we have a birth plan…”  They looked at me like they were annoyed.  I said, “Our birth plan is get the baby out and don’t feel it.”  They both laughed and then one nurse offered me Tramadol while we waited for the anesthesiologist.  Tramadol is a drug that wouldn’t take away the pain, but would make me not care about it, “similar to a few shots of tequila.”  YES!  I want that!  The other nurse outfitted me with pitosin and an IV and fed the drugs through my tube… Ahhh!  Around 5am the anesthesiologist arrived!

A woman I worked with gave me a book about the labor and delivery process.  It is more detailed and more informative than any other source of information I received elsewhere.  For example there is a section that shows actual size” diagrams of cervical dilation from 1 centimeter to 10 centimeters… Imagine the difference between a Cheerio and a bagel…  Anyway, in the book I had seen a picture of the epidural process, and more importantly, the GIANT epidural needle.  As thankful as I was to be getting an epidural, I was afraid!  They made Chandler sit across the room, he couldn’t even hold my hand.  I sat up straight, hunched my back into a “C,” and held my breath…  It was not bad at all!  In fact, getting the IV hurt more!  The doctor gave me a remote control and told me I could press the button once every five minutes to get more epidural.  It was glorious… and for the most part I only pressed the button a few times per hour.

Labor in real life is not the agonizing spectacle I’ve seen on TV… well not with an epidural anyway.  Once I had the epidural, it was actually quite boring.  I was exhausted and would have loved some sleep, but just after I got it, my brother-in-law and his girlfriend arrived.  An hour or so later my in-laws arrived… with my mom!!!  I cried the second I saw her, so relieved she had made it!  A few hours later everyone went to get lunch… I was starving!  I hadn’t eaten since dinner the night before.  They brought back pizza and burgers, and ate them in front of me.  It smelled so good, and I wanted some.  However, I was only allowed clear liquids, so I got a cup of jello, which I quickly threw up.  Apparently, contractions cause vomiting, totally normal.  I threw up at least once, roughly every hour.  Guess what else happens with contractions?  Flatulence!  There was one point where I blasted my father in law in the face with a fart.  I was mortified, but I couldn’t feel it coming, and I couldn’t have stopped it if I wanted to!  My sister-in-law and her family came in next, and I tooted away with every word I spoke.  I quickly realized why people say that all shame goes out the window once you have a baby.

Labor also lasted a lot longer than I expected.  Naively, I’m sure, I thought I’d walk into the hospital, be in labor for a few hours, push and be done.  Four hours total is what I had cemented in my mind.  So wrong!  While the nurses gave me pitocin, one nurse kept turning it off every time I’d dilate a centimeter…  Two hours later, she’d check on me, and turn it back on.  To pass the time, we visited and Chandler played Garth Brooks’ new song “Mom.”  I cry every time I hear it, so he thought it was funny.  In total, I was in labor for 20 hours!  I later found out that yes, they were delaying my labor because there were 4 sets of twins and a few C-sections happening that day, and only one doctor was on duty.  My normal OB, Dr. Vesona, was at a conference and another woman would be delivering our boy.

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What happened to my body?!

At 5:00 pm she came to my room, and introduced herself.  I didn’t like her.  She was very short with the nurse and sort of rude.  She told the nurse to set up, and when she was done, “we’ll start pushing.”  Just like that.  “We’ll start pushing.”  It was as if she was telling me I would need to sign a dinner receipt, so casual!  I instantly panicked, and started to cry.  I was scared.  I was worried I’d feel pain.  I would not be signing a piece of paper, I would be pushing a human being out of my vagina!  I frantically pushed the button on my epidural remote.  The nurse set up and then disappeared.  I continued to push that button every five minutes.  I wanted to be sure I would feel as little pain as possible!  At 6:00 pm my OBGYN walked into the room.  I had never been so relieved to see someone!  Her conference ended early and she wanted to deliver my baby.  I instantly felt at ease, and I wasn’t sure if it was due to her carefree spirit, purple hair or the 12 pumps of drugs I’d given myself over the last hour.  It could have been a combination.  She told me to put my feet in the stirrups and scoot to the edge of the bed.  I was afraid and started to cry, but my mom grabbed one hand and Chandler grabbed the other.  She told me that when I had a contraction I would need to bend over forming a C with my back, and push like I was trying to poop.

Only, I was so numb, I couldn’t feel my contractions.  The nurse watched the monitor and told me when to push.  After the first push I had to ask if I was in fact pushing because I couldn’t feel anything!  Apparently, I was pushing, and doing a great job!  Dr. Vesona asked Chandler if he wanted to deliver our baby, and of course he said yes!  I was so numb that I decided I wanted to see the action since I wouldn’t feel it, and asked if they had a mirror.  I was thinking of a little handheld mirror, but they wheeled over a giant mirror, so I could see everything!

“What happened to my body?!” I asked in horror as I saw ALL OF IT!  It was quite something to see myself, in all my glory, from that angle.  My butt was huge, my thighs were huge, my vagina was huge, there was the tippy-top of a tiny head, covered in dark hair, peeking through it; there was blood, and hemorrhoids, and it was a mess.  Dr. Vesona told Chandler to get ready, and I pushed again and again but our little man just didn’t want to come out.  I’d push his head out, and he’d suck back in.  Dr. Vesona asked Chandler to step back and told me that his shoulders were getting stuck, and she was going to try three times to vacuum him out.  If he didn’t come out by the third try, we were going to have to an emergency C-section.  Again, I cried, Chandler removed his gloves and I gripped his and my mom’s hands harder.  The nurse put an oxygen mask on me, and they got the vacuum ready.  I pushed with everything I had, but she looked up at me and shook her head.  “Only two more times” I thought, feeling worried.  Again it was time to push, this time she yelled, “Dad, get in here!” and before I could blink everyone was cheering and Chandler pulled our baby out of me… bare handed!  “Welcome to the world Cowboy!” Dr. Vesona yelled jokingly!  He must have been slippery because Chandler almost dropped him, but Dr. Vesona was there with an extra set of hands and together they placed the tiny little baby, crying, on my chest!

He was beautiful, 7 lbs. 6.5 oz. and 19.5″ long!  I was completely overcome with love and excitement.  He’s here, he’s here, I thought!  I kissed his swollen and red little face over and over, told him I loved him and that I was his mom!  I don’t remember much afterwards, well I do, but it’s spotty.  I remember that I couldn’t stop shaking… for nearly twenty minutes I shivered uncontrollably.  I remember my doctor telling me I delivered the placenta and that I didn’t tear.  Chandler kissed my forehead and looked at me and then to our baby.  Then he looked back at me and opened his mouth to say what I was sure would be a loving remark… “You pooped… twice!”  I guess it’s exactly what I should have expected.

Chandler cut the umbilical cord, and the nurse took the baby to be wiped off, weighed and measured.  But, until I was taken to my recovery room nearly two hours later, I don’t remember much else.  Lots of kissing and smiling is all.  From pictures I know everyone took a turn holding him… but I don’t actually remember ever leaving my arms.

Our sweet boy is here.  I am a mom.  It seemed so scary and so new, and at the same time it seemed just as it if it had always been.

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Covey’s Birth Story | Part 1 | How to Initiate Labor

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My maternity leave began on Friday, November 7.  I planned it this way because I “just knew baby [was] going to come early.”  I’m not entirely sure what expecting mothers are supposed to do on maternity leave: catch up on rest, “nest?”  I was looking forward to sleeping in a day or two, but honestly, I was worried about getting bored.  I really should have known that I didn’t need to worry though.  Bright and early on Saturday morning, Chan let me know that we would spend the wekeend doing “projects.”  Projects meant home renovations.  Normally I’m all for that, but if you’ve ever been nine months pregnant, you know that everything hurts, everything is uncomfortable, and everything moves a lot more s-l-o-w-l-y that it did before.    We started our projects, and tackled about one every day, starting with the storage unit… err… guest room… err… nursery.   We had the missionaries over to help us paint the pistachio green, Timothy Mist walls with a few fresh coats of High Style Beige!  Next came the closet.  The closet and doors got a fresh coat of white paint.  We then moved onto the baseboards.  They were ripped out, and new ones put in, and painted… I was then able to start putting the nursery together {Yes, I waited until 39 weeks to set up the nursery. We did not have that new parent sense of urgency.}  We built the changing table and rocking chair, and I started  decorating.

Once we finished the nursery, it was on to the Master Bedroom, which received the same royal treatments!  On Thursday, November 12, I went to what I hoped to be my final doctor’s appointment.  She checked my cervix, which was finally dilated!!!  To 1 centimeter… She told me that unfortunately, our little man would probably be late.  “I’m guessing he’ll come on the 20th or 21st,” she said, “but if not, let’s plan to induce you on the 21st.”  I panicked.  We had already made travel plans to go to Las Vegas for Thanksgiving!  I calculated delivery time, recovery time, and time to pack our bags, and decided that “late” was not an option!  He was to come on November 18 {his due date} or sooner!  Luckily, my OB was able to check my cervix again, this time getting aggressive, and I left her office dilated 1.5 centimeters, sweaty and walking bow-legged from the pain.  I’m fairly certain my screams scared off a few other patients…

We enjoyed another weekend, and on Monday I was back at my projects.  I cleaned our house – top to bottom, and then went for a stroll around the mall.  Again, everything hurt!  My hips felt like rubber bands instead of bones, my lower back ached, and my knees and ankles struggled not to buckle underneath all of the weight I had gained.  I’ve heard that long walks can help to get baby out, but I was struggling to take every step!  I decided to go home and begin painting the kitchen cabinets.

Now from the outside, our kitchen cabinets aren’t half bad – a light wood veneer.  However, when opened, their true nature show: ugly, dark brownish-black plywood!  It was depressing to look at them, and I felt like our dishes should be happy.  I decided to paint the insides a cheery coat of white!  I started with an upper cabinet, and quickly realized that my humongous self was going to have to stand on the counter to complete the job successfully.  I placed a dining chair in front of the cabinets, and a small stool next to the chair.  Up and down.   Up and down.   Up and down I went for nearly five hours until I had to take a bathroom break.

I went to the bathroom, and while I was doing my business I felt like I peed out jello!  I looked in the toilet, and there it was!  I giant snot-rocket laced with blood.  “This must be the mucus plug,” I thought to myself before screaming for Chandler to come look.  He did, and gagged, while I texted my entire family that I had just had my bloody show!  I was getting excited, but tried not to.  I knew that the mucus plug could pass days or even weeks before labor started.  It was 8:15 pm and I decided to finish my project.   Now, I had been having what I can only assume were Braxton Hicks contractions for nearly a week.  They felt like dull menstrual cramps that came and went every eight hours or so.  I noticed after my jello incident that they were a little stronger, and lingered  a little longer; but still nothing to write home about.

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By 11:30 pm, I had finished the cabinets, got a kiss of approval from Chan and decided to go to bed.  I tried to sleep… but I couldn’t.  I was so uncomfortable, tossing and turning intermingled with going to the bathroom and cramping. I was surprised that in only nine months I had forgotten what a pain in the butt “period cramps” can be!  Tylenol wasn’t helping, so I would lay down, sit up, walk around, and then lay down again.  Not to mention, Addie was all up in my business.  She would sniff my crotch, lick my stomach, and then lay right on top of baby boy.  I was able to doze off for a little while after a long, uncomfortable and arduous day, before I woke up needing to pee…

Letter to Baby|#6 |Your Name

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My sweet baby boy,

A few months after your daddy and I started dating, probably three months, I saw a picture hanging on the wall of his bedroom. It was his college diploma and said, “Bernard Chandler Dove.”  I laughed and asked who “Ber-nard” was, with a heavy twang in my voice. Your daddy explained to me that Bernard was his real name, but he liked to be called by his middle name, Chandler.

Your name has history

He also corrected me, telling me that I was pronouncing it wrong, “it’s actually pronounced ‘Bəːnəd’ with soft R’s because it’s British, and that’s how the British say it!” Your daddy then explained to me that his grand-daddy’s name was Bernard Clarence Dove; his dad’s name {your Opa} is Bernard Cortie Dove, and he is Bernard Chandler Dove. He told me that if we ever got married, there was a good chance that we would name our first boy Bernard C. Dove. It took a long time for me to get used to, but eventually it wasn’t a “what if,” it became a “when.”

Your name is different

I’ve known since before your daddy and I got married that your name would be Bernard. In today’s society with all of the Aiden’s, Braiden’s and Caden’s, Bernard might seem a little old fashioned, but I love that it’s original. I’ve never liked popular names, I’ve always liked names of Irish, Scottish, Celtic, Welsh and British origin. I like names where I don’t know anyone else with that name. You see, in my experience, sometimes people with the same names can have similar personality traits; and that could be great, or it could be… not-so-great…

I’ve always wanted my children to be their own person. To have strong character, to be clever and creative, to be friends and leaders and be different from everyone else. I’ve always wanted them to march to the beat of their own drum, and all of the “Brittany’s” and “Jason’s” of this world just seem too much alike.

Your name is significant

I started researching the name Bernard. Bernard is an old French name and it means “strong, brave bear.” When I think about your daddy and your Opa, there isn’t a better description I can think of to describe them. Both of these men have strong characters of the best kind. They are everything a man should be. Strong willed, determined, driven, hardworking, fearless, serious and would do anything for the well-being of their families. They are also gentle, kind, happy, fun-loving, a friend to everyone, and loyal; everything I imagine a big teddy-bear should be. So, while some may say your name is a little old fashioned and uncommon, the meaning behind your name is exquisite!

When we found out you were a boy, your Opa told your daddy and I that we “don’t have to keep tradition and name you Bernard,” but that was met with mixed reviews. Your Great-Grandma LaRue {B. Clarence’s wife} was over the moon when she found out you were coming to this world to carry on the Dove name, and I just know she is tickled pink that we’ve named you after her sweetheart, her son, and her grandson. Your aunt Brittany is very opinionated and told us that we “have to have a boy and have to name him Bernard, because it’s tradition.” Your uncle Brandon told us he would really like a little Bernie, and your Nana Kim and Papa Randy have called you “Baby Bernie” since you were only 13 weeks old inside my tummy.

Your name is perfect

Since the day I saw your Daddy’s diploma, I knew your name would be Bernard, but it has been my mission and my job to find a name that you will go by, you know, in case you prefer to save Bernard for “special occasions.” A name that will represent who you are and everything we hope you to be. A name that will be perfect for you as a little boy, and still just as perfect as you grow to a man. As if naming someone isn’t difficult enough, we were limited to names that start with the letter “C.”

Sometimes, when I didn’t have much to do, I would search the internet for names. Even before you were conceived, I studied names. Celtic names, Irish names, Scottish Names, “cool names,” “unique names,” etc. Your daddy and I both decided we want your name to sound just as good on the playground as it does on a resume. I wanted something cool, smart and sophisticated, and your dad wanted something masculine that sounded like a surfer… He even suggested “Cowboy” everyday for my whole pregnancy…  I’m sorry, but I said “no.”

It was actually your dad who thought of your middle name. “If I ever have a son, I want to name him Covey.  Covey Dove.” He told me this on one of our first five dates, and ever since then, I’ve loved it! You see, little man, when I was planning our wedding, our “theme” was “The Lovey Doves.” I’ve liked it so much that I’ve continued to use it on all of our return address labels and even our family blog!  I added the end part just to be different.  Covey Dove reminds me of how much the Lovey Doves love each other! It’s unique and precious for a little boy, but you can transition to Cove, or Covington as you get older.

Back in June we went to dinner and thought about names. Your name, little Covington came up again, as it always did, and was still our favorite of all of the “C” names we’ve thought of. We tried to think of people who share your name, and to be honest, we couldn’t think of one. Stephen R. Covey is the closest we could get. We decided to research the meaning and scoured tons of baby name websites… again, we couldn’t find much. Covington has traditionally been a last name that means, “by the dark cave,” and Covey, we finally found to mean “a brood of birds.”

It was so PERFECT!

You will find out soon enough that your mom is a big ol’ nerd. I got so excited upon learning these meanings, and I’ll tell you why. Obviously, we are Doves. Doves are birds, and “a brood of birds” describes our family just perfectly! But secondly, my name, “Morgan,” means, “by the dark waters.” You got a little piece of your dad’s name with Bernard, and with Covington {by the dark cave}, you’ll have a little piece of your mom’s.

My darling little one. I hope you are never embarrassed or ashamed by your name. I hope you never wish for something different. I know it will happen sometimes, there’s been a few times when I wished my name was something different than Morgan. However, when I really would think about it, there is no name that suits me better! I hope you know that we thought for a very long time {before we ever even planned on having a baby} and very carefully about the name you will carry through the eternities. We wanted to make sure it fit you, and that we liked it and that you would like it. I hope you wear your name proudly and that people will know you by your name and your good works. You are and always have been Bernard Covington Dove.

Love always,

Mommy

Pregnancy Update | 31 Weeks

Week 31 Pregnant Sign

How far along? 31 weeks!

Total weight gain: Currently I weight 140 lbs. Total gain of 25 lbs.

Maternity clothes?  This week… no.  I wore a hospital tent I mean gown.

Stretch marks? Nope {says sweating a little}

Sleep:  I so tired!  People always tell you to “get some rest” during a hospital stay, but I tell you what, there is no sleep to be had!  Every hour someone was barging in my room to poke me with a needle, force me to swallow pills, or take my food order.

Food cravings:  Apple juice.  Do you know much juice I’ve drunk this week?  It flows like water in the hospital.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope.

Symptoms:  I still am having CRAZY heart burn, and baby still insists of beating up his poor mom.  I’ve also started having what feel like menstrual cramps!  Seriously?!?!  I thought pregnancy meant 9 months of no cramps, that was the deal, that was the trade-off!  But no.  Braxton Hicks.  They are uncomfortable {although nothing to call home about}.  I also was having contractions in the hospital {averaging 3 per hour} but I didn’t even feel them.  Otherwise, I’ve just been super sleepy.  Not first-trimester sleepy, but more tired than usual.

I am also freaking out about the birthing process!  And while I’m SOOOO beyond excited to have our little munchkin in my arms soon, I’m in full on panic mode!

Baby Center 31 weeks

What’s going on with the baby:

Weighing in at three-plus pounds and measuring 18 inches long, baby is quickly approaching his birth length — though he’s got to pack on another three to five pounds before D-day. He’s also putting in longer stretches of sleep, although it doesn’t feel like it.  He’s one big wiggle worm and is active 24/7.

Baby Dove’s brain is working overtime these days, developing faster than ever. Connections between individual nerve cells {he’s got to make trillions of them!} are being made at a super-fast rate. He’s now processing information, tracking light and perceiving signals from all five senses. Sure, he can’t smell anything right now, but that’s only because he’s still submerged in amniotic fluid and needs to be breathing air to get a whiff of anything. Lucky for me— and baby — mine will be one of the very first scents your baby breathes in, a scent that will quickly become his or her very favorite.

So what’s our little dove doing all day while I’m busy feathering our nest for his arrival? Making faces, hiccupping, swallowing, breathing, pedaling with little hands and feet along my uterine wall and even sucking his thumb. In fact, some babies suck their thumbs so vigorously while in the womb that they’re born with a hickey on their thumb!

Belly Button In or Out:   Out.

Wedding rings on or off: On… but when my arm swelled up in the hospital, I thought it looked like it was surrounded by rising bread dough!  I’m surprised it didn’t cut off circulation and my finger didn’t have to be amputated

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!  Excited!  Scared.to.death!

Best moment this week:  It was a busy week, and there were some great moments!  Going home from the hospital was nice!  A few friends took me to brunch for small baby shower!  Baby Dove is going to be the most stylish baby on the block!  Also, I was brave… and put blonde back in my hair!  I love it!

What I miss:  My family.  But we’re going home this weekend for the baby shower!  Woo hoo!

What I’m looking forward to: Going home for my baby shower!

Milestones:  Braxton Hicks!  Enough said.

Weekly Wisdom:  Ask a lot of questions, and don’t be afraid to stand up to doctors.  When I was complaining about kidney pain and the doctor told me it was, “probably just the uncomfortable hospital bed.”  I wanted to cry, but argued instead and demanded pain meds.

Pregnancy Update | 30 Weeks

30 Weeks Pregnant Sign

How far along? 30 weeks!

Total weight gain: Currently I weight 141 lbs. {Hey, I lost a few pounds!}  That means I’ve gained 26 lbs!

Maternity clothes?  I wear my Pink Blush or Target dresses 98% of the time, and I’ve actually been wearing a lot of Muscley Arms tee shirts once I get home.  Soooo comfy!

Stretch marks? None.  Still.  Fingers crossed I can keep them at bay!

Sleep:  Since Sweet Dee gave me her pregnancy pillow, sleep is no longer an issue.  I’m sleeping like a baby, and getting tons of it!

Food cravings:  Juice!  Muscley Arms’ juice recipe calls my name on the daily!  I love it, and it’s packed with nutrients that are SO good for my little man… Baby Dove, not Muscley Arms.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope.

Symptoms:  OH MY GOSH I THOUGHT WE WERE PAST THE HEARTBURN.  Nope, nope I was wrong.  It’s back, with a vengeance!  My poor self wakes up in the middle of the night, gagging and choking on my own acid.  Ick!

Baby is also so strong!  For something that weighs less than 3 pounds, the dude packs a punch.  Upon feeling his movements, I used to tenderly rub my belly and smile, happy to have him around.  Now… Sometimes I’ll poke my stomach, sometimes give it a little tap and tell him “Stop hurting mom!  Spank spank!”  It really has gotten quite uncomfortable!

Baby Center 30 Weeks

What’s going on with the baby:

My belly’s increasing size is a definite clue that baby is getting bigger every day — now he’s weighing in at over three pounds {he’ll be packing on the weight at a rate of half a pound per week for the next seven weeks}.  Also growing at a quick pace these days? Baby’s brain! Until now, the surface of baby’s brain was smooth — but now, Baby Dove’s brain is taking on those characteristic grooves and indentations. The reason for this change in appearance: Those wrinkles allow for an increased amount of brain tissue — a necessary change as your baby prepares to develop street smarts for life outside your womb.

Now that his brain and new fat cells are regulating his body temperature, the lanugo — the soft, downy hair covering baby’s body — is beginning to disappear. But we may see a few leftover strands of fur on his back and shoulders when he’s born.

Another big change at 30 weeks pregnant: Our little peanut’s bone marrow has taken over production of red blood cells {before, tissue groups and then the spleen took care of producing the blood cells}. This is an important step for baby, because it means he is better able to thrive on his own once born.

Belly Button In or Out:   Out.  Out.  Out.  And I have to say, I’m so in love with it.

Wedding rings on or off: On… but sometimes it’s a little too tight.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy!  Excited!  Scared.to.death!

Best moment this week:  It was a busy week, and most of it is kind of a blur….

What I miss:  My blonde hair.

What I’m looking forward to: Going home for my baby shower!

Milestones:  Baby is growing some BIG brains!  He’s gonna be so smart!

Weekly Wisdom:  Rest.  The nesting period will come, and then I can go crazy cleaning.  Until then I’m trying to enjoy my last few weeks of having “down time” and the ability to take naps!

Pregnancy Update | 29 Weeks

29 Weeks Pregnant Sign

How far along? 29 weeks!

Total weight gain: 145 lbs. {*sobs uncontrollably*}

Maternity clothes?  I think I need a few more shirts.  I have dresses o’plenty, but sometimes I just want to wear stretchy pants and a shirt… and apparently it’s not appropriate to wear Muscley Arm’s t-shirts to work…

Stretch marks? None.

Sleep:  I have not been sleeping well.  I just can not get comfortable and sleeping on my stomach is finally out of the question.  My sweet friend Dee Dee let me borrow her full body pregnancy pillow, and oh.my.gosh!  On the first night I used it, I was out like a light within 5 minutes!  I have used it for almost a week, and I have slept better than I have in months!  Who knew?!

Food cravings:  Mexican popsicles… the kind from Costco in the variety pack.  Specifically the coconut ones.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope.

Symptoms: My tummy is pretty heavy and it’s sticking straight out!  I can no longer see my legs when I look down!  My lower back is often sore, and my left hip has actually been sore for weeks.  I’m not sure if that has to do with pregnancy or if I hurt it doing some yoga or stretches.  I’m making a doctor’s appointment to have it looked at.  I’m still experiencing heartburn, and finally traded my Tums for Prilosec… this Ish is for real people!  Sometimes I still wake up gagging in the middle of the night because the acid creeps up into my mouth!  I also have hemorrhoids… so gross, but it is what it is.  *Ahh pregnancy.  No one ever said it was glamorous!

Also, I’m still getting swollen feet and ankles every evening… and sometimes early afternoon depending on how long I’m up on my feet.  They get so big and so sore!  I’m getting a pedicure soon, and going to make sure they spend extra time on the massage part!

baby29weeks

What’s going on with the baby: Baby Dove now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds {about the size of a head of lettuce} and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel.  While he’s pretty close to birth length, he needs to chub up a bit {hooray for chubby babies!} – doubling or even tripling in weight!  As more fat is deposited under the skin surface, his wrinkled skin is smoothing out. This fat, called white fat, is different from the earlier brown fat that baby accumulated as a “fetus.” Brown fat is necessary for body temperature regulation, while white fat {the fat I’m gaining} actually serves as an energy source.

His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to make room for his developing brain. To meet his increasing nutritional demands, I’ve been eating plenty of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron. And because his bones are soaking up lots of calcium, I’m drinking tons of milk {yum!}. This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in baby’s hardening skeleton each day.

Since space in baby’s living quarters is now at a premium, I’ve been feeling jabs and pokes from elbows and knees, mostly. And they are more vigorous than before because baby is stronger and excitedly responding to all sorts of stimuli — movement, sounds, light and that candy bar I ate half an hour ago.

One more exciting development this week: baby’s baby-teeth buds formed weeks ago. But now, the buds for permanent teeth are forming in his gums!

Belly Button In or Out:   Out, and you can now see it through my clothing.

Wedding rings on or off: Sooooo tight.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy.

Best moment this week:  Muscley Arms and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary!!!  Woo woo!!!

What I miss:  The ability to maneuver quickly.  I feel like everything is sloooooowed down a bit.

What I’m looking forward to: Going home for my baby shower!

Milestones:  We have started our kick counts!  I’m supposed to designate 1 hour twice a day where I monitor baby and make sure I can feel at least 10 movements each hour.  This little guy is going to wear his mama out, we usually accomplish all 10 in the first 15 seconds of the hour!

Weekly Wisdom:  Take care of yourself.  I’ve been so busy with work lately, and when I get home, all I think about is work… I’ve gone and gotten myself a cold!  Luckily there’s no fever, and I’m allowed to take the good stuff Sudafed and Robitussin DM {not just Tylenol}.  Hopefully I can kick this and get back to feeling better!

At Least She Doesn’t Have Fleas

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It started just a few days before we left for Mexico… well, that’s when I, Mrs. Super-Observant, noticed anyway.  There was dog hair everywhere, much more than usual.  I couldn’t figure it out… I mean, I know I feel like wewe still haven’t had a summer, but it was too late in the year for Little Miss Miss to be shedding her winter coat…

I vacuumed it up… and swept… and vacuumed some more.  Tada!  Clean House!  Until the next night.  I had just finished packing when I noticed more CLUMPS of doggie hair gathering in every corner of our home.  “Addie, WTF?”  I asked her.  Then I noticed the scratching.  She scratched so much and so often that her hair was falling out!!!

Fleas.

That’s what Muscley Arms said.  “She has fleas.”  I was so disgusted, we didn’t have fleas in Las Vegas, and the thought of bugs crawling on my dog, myself, my furniture or anywhere grossed me out.  I immediately went to the store and purchased a topical treatment and specialty shampoo.  I bathed Addie, applied the treatment, and did roughly five loads of laundry before scouring the house with bleach filled cleaning products.  Take that fleas!

When we got back from Mexico, she was still scratching, so Muscley arms bought her a flea collar.  She wore it for roughly two days before I took her to back to PetsMart!  She was still “so itchy” and the collar flaked little bits of medicated-peppermint scented white powder all over the place!  The little boy in line behind us {as I purchased a second, Vet recommended topical treatment} kept sniffing my little lady.  His mother was obviously embarrassed as she scolded him to stay close, and I’m sure she was just thrilled when I told her, “It’s fine, my dog’s flea collar smells like peppermint…”

After another week of scratching, and hair loss, I didn’t know what to do.  Addie now had bald spots.  Her coat has always been beautiful.  I remember the day we brought her home, we took her straight to the backyard to sniff.   When the afternoon sun hit her, her fur glowed chocolate-brown with magenta undertones.  I have never seen anything like it, but the fact that we had a pink dog made me the happiest girl in the world.  She’s always been complimented on her color and thick, soft fur.  Now, her fur was thin, and patchy.  The fur on her elbows and knees {do dogs have elbows and knees?} was gone.  Her little bummy, once covered in magenta-chocolate fur, appeared as a light pink, naked little starfish.  “You’re scratching so much you’re bald like your daddy,” I would tease her.

I couldn’t imagine the thought of a flea infestation, but nothing was working.  I was grossed out, tired of cleaning everything, and was worried about giving Addie any more pesticides, and risk poisoning the poor thing.  I made an appointment with the Vet, and took her in.

“How could let this happen?”

Said Muscley Arms as I recited the Diagnosis.  My tiny little bum bum had an ear infection, which she’d apparently had for a long time {apparently common in Labs}.  Chan would often rub her ears and she would moan and groan like someone getting a deep tissue massage.  We thought she liked it.  We thought it was funny.  We didnt’ know she was in pain… but wait, it gets worse.

The vet seemed concerned and took Addie in the back for a “skin scrape.”  A skin scrape is where they take a scalpel and cut out chunks of doggie’s skin so they can look at it under a microscope.  I bawled in the waiting room as I heard my baby whine and howl.  My girl was suffering and I couldn’t stop it.  Through the tears I told Chandler that I was not cut out to be a mom and he would be the parent to take Baby Dove to get all of his vaccinations and to be circumcised.  There.was.just.no.way.

Diagnosis.

When they brought her back out, I immediately the floor; crying, apologizing, and giving her loves.  All seven months pregnant, giant belly, swollen ankles of me.  I was pleased to hear that she didn’t have fleas, and probably wouldn’t get them anytime soon because “mom was so proactive and taking preventative measures” {aka: the doctor thinks I poisoned my dog}, it was WORSE!  Our little lady has Scabies.  SCABIES!  That is so much worse than fleas!

Scabies are tiny little mites that live on the skin.  They eat their way down a few layers, and lay their eggs.  When the eggs hatch, those jerk mites eat their way back to the surface, and the whole process repeats itself.  She wasn’t just itchy, this girl was in pain! Those sores we were seeing were from the bugs!  Not only does she have an ear infection and scabies and bald spots, but she also has a really bad skin infection from scratching.

How could we let this happen is exactly right.

Luckily after a few hundred dollars, we brought home the pharmacy.  We have a very strict medical regimen we’ve got her on for the next week.  I had to write it out and color code everything just to keep it straight.  Little Miss is going to get some seriously TLC for the next few days.  Going through all of this all I keep thinking is, “…and God trusts me with a real baby?”

Pregnancy Update | 28 Weeks

28 Weeks Sign

How far along? 28  weeks!  I am feeling large and in charge!

Total weight gain: 141.0 lbs. OH MY GOSH!  I nearly cried at my doctor’s appointment when I saw this number…  I’ve been gaining an average of 4 lbs. per week since the third trimester began, and the normal weight gain is 1 lb. per week.  I’m not eating any more than normal, but I swear all of the weight is going straight to my “big ol’ ass” and my things… *cry)

Maternity clothes?  Oh you know it!  However, I did wear a swimsuit in Mexico that was non-maternity, and still a size small!  I felt so good in it.

Stretch marks? None.

Sleep: I am not sleeping.  I can’t get comfortable to save my life.  Once I finally fall asleep, I have to get up to pee.  It’s a vicious cycle that needs to end.

Food cravings:  Juice.  Muscley arms started juicing every morning for breakfast, but now I need it!  AND water with ice and lemon.  I drink about 8 large glasses of water with ice and lemon every day… it’s sooooooo good!

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope.

Symptoms: I’m still really veiny, but only in patches, which is so strange.  I swear, every day I wake up and something with my body is different.  If we were back in February and all of this happened at once, I would not recognize myself!

My nose has been really stuffy, and at first I thought my friends were getting me sick.  Turns out this is yet another symptom of third trimester pregnancy.

Lastly, my feet and ankles have started swelling!  Usually by about 4:00 pm, I need to take my shoes off and put on compression socks to avoid them turning into elephant feet.  Muscley arms has taken to calling me Shrek.  I can no longer wear closed toed shoes, and live in sandals, although even some of my sandals are a little snug.  If I could wear flip flops to work {or even go barefoot}, I’d be a really happy lady.

baby27weeks

What’s going on with the baby: By this week, our baby weighs 2 1/4 pounds {about the size of a large eggplant} and measures 14.8 inches from the top of his head to his heels.

He can blink his eyes, which now sport lashes. Blinking is just one of an already impressive repertoire of tricks he’s working on, like coughing, more intense sucking, hiccupping and, perhaps most important, better breathing.  With his eyesight developing, he can see the light that filters in through my womb. He’s also developing billions of neurons in his brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world.

Baby Dove is settling into the proper position for birth, with his head facing downward {toward my body’s nearest exit!}.

While I’m dreaming about baby, baby may be dreaming about me, too. Brain wave activity measured in a developing fetus shows different sleep cycles, including the rapid eye movement phase — the stage when dreaming occurs.

Belly Button In or Out:  Outtie!

Wedding rings on or off: It’s.so.tight.

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy.

Best moment this week:  A friend’s trip to Mexico!!!  I needed a vacation, and it was so great to get away and just relax in the sunshine!

What I miss:  A good night’s sleep.

What I’m looking forward to:  Going home at the end of the month for my baby shower!

Milestones: Baby is 2/3 his final body weight!

Weekly Wisdom:  Be able to make fun of yourself.  Seriously, if I couldn’t laugh at my big ‘ol ass or my Shrek feet, or my purple veiny legs, this whole process would be so miserable!

Pregnancy Update | 27 Weeks

27 Weeks Sign

How far along? 27 weeks!

Total weight gain: 138 lbs.  I pray every morning that my scale is wrong!

Maternity clothes? Yes, and Muscley Arm’s t-shirts.  They’re my favorite things to wear on the weekends!

Stretch marks? None.

Sleep: I’m back to sleeping well, except for the twice-per-night bathroom breaks.

Food cravings: Still none. Seriously, where are my cravings for pickles and watermelon?!?

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope.

Symptoms: My belly itches all of the time!  I know this is because it is stretching and growing, but man, I feel it!!!  I’m applying lotions and oils like crazy.  Stay away stretch marks!  I’m also hungrier than hungry.  I’ve been having to eat two lunches at work just to keep going.  Baby loves to make mom eat!

baby27weeks What’s going on with the baby: Our little guy weighs almost 2 pounds {about the size of a rutabaga} and is about 14 1/2 inches long with his legs extended. He is sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing his eyes, and perhaps even sucking his fingers. With more brain tissue developing, baby’s brain is very active now. While his lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if Baby Dove were to be born now. Those tiny rhythmic movements I’ve been feeling are baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don’t bother him, so I just relax and enjoy the tickle.

Baby recognizes both Muscley Arms’ and my voices now. His auditory development {hearing} is progressing as the network of nerves to the ears matures — though the sounds he hears are muffled thanks to the creamy coating of vernix covering those ears. I take every opportunity sing to baby — and have been rehearsing those nursery rhymes and lullabies I’ll be repeating {and repeating} pretty soon. PS.  When someone presses their ear to my belly, they can hear baby’s heartbeat!

Baby Dove’s taste buds are very developed now as well {with more taste buds than he will ever have outside the womb}.  Need a taste test?  When I eat spicy food baby can taste the difference in the amniotic fluid. Some babies will even respond to that spicy kick by hiccupping!

Belly Button In or Out: Out… it’s out!  Finally, but it’s so little.

Wedding rings on or off: On, but my fingers are swelling a little bit every morning and evening, making my size 4.75 ring, a bit snug!

Happy or moody most of the time: Happy.

Best moment this week:  Being able to SEE baby move in my belly.  I’ve been able to see kicks, punches jabs, and flips.  And it is so creepy but so cool!

What I miss: I don’t really miss anything this week…

What I’m looking forward to: Mexico this weekend!!

Milestones:  We can see baby move!  It’s awesome!

Weekly Wisdom:  Enjoy the ride!

Want Something? Just Ask!

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{Image via}

I remember going to a church activity when I was a teenager.  We were listening to a motivational speaker talk about… I don’t remember what.  Needless to say, this speaker has quite the impact on my life, 10+ years later…

At the beginning of his speech, he held up a copy of Rich Dad Poor Dad, and asked who would like a free copy.  A few of us raised our hands, but my brother stood up, walked to the front of the room, took the book from the speaker, and returned to his seat!

This was the lesson.  We were told about the importance of making something happen, not wishing it would happen.  Like I said, I don’t remember his name, or what the rest of his speech was about, but I remember that my brother got a free book, just because he took it.

When we moved to California, I began working for a company that is really fun.  The people are great, and there’s really good morale, and while I don’t fully understand the ins and outs of the industry, for the most part, I’m enjoying being there.  The problem is, I was hired for an administrative position.  This isn’t exactly a problem, but anyone who works in admin can attest that work loads ebb and flow, and more often than not, I’m left looking for something to do.

Within our office our company has a subsidiary company which creates and develops software programs.  One morning, our President asked me if I could write a job description for a Social Media Manager and post it to all of the job boards we use.  After finding out what it is they were looking for, I wrote the job description.  Once I had written it, I thought, “I could totally do this job, and I would really enjoy doing it…”

I went home that evening and created an accompanying document to my resume; a social media CV, documenting my 6 years of blogging, and social media experience.  The next morning I submitted the job description write-up for approval, as well as my CV, with a message asking for meeting to discuss my qualifications for the position.

Now, I am not “ballsy.”  I don’t typically go for something when there’s a large chance that the answer will be no, but I did.

I am now the Social Media Manager for our subsidiary company… as well as the executive assistant to the top three C-level executives at the parent company.  I’m busy all of the time.  I’ve been working long days, and I usually work a little more when I get home, but I love it.  I’m essentially blogging for a living!  while I don’t fully understand the technical aspects of software development and programming, I’m learning.  I spend hours upon hours in meetings, researching, and developing ideas for content and strategies.  I’m learning to use Twitter {am I the only person alive who doesn’t know how to do this?}, and I spend countless hours of Facebook and LinkedIn building relationships and making contacts.

I nearly forgot how much I love writing.  I love the process of writing, and I’m especially loving the creative outlet.  I also partner with our Marketing Manager to create graphics, e-mail and newsletter campaigns, landing pages, and a full website design.

I’ve always been content with my past jobs, but now I’m happy, and look forward to going to work everyday.  I had no idea that doing what I actually loved {my hobby} would make me so happy!  All of this, because I “took the book” instead of just raising my hand.

Here’s a sample of some of the things I’ve been writing.