30 September 2008

Wedding Pictures

As promised earlier today, here are a few wedding pictures:
The Bride & Groom: Stephanie and Joe before the wedding.
The Parents of the Bride: My mom and dad before the wedding.

Bridesmaid: My sister, Rosco (ummm . . . Lindsey), before the wedding.
The Big Moment: Stepher dismounting the carriage.
Bride and Groom in Prayer: Right after vows were taken.

Cake Fight: This is what I would NOT allow Dave to do at our wedding!
Master & Mistress of Ceremonies: Dave made it for the entire reception, and I survived the entire day (and week) at nine months pregnant! (And then I spent the next two days recovering.)

Wedding and Neonatal Updates

My sister's wedding was this past Friday. The weather was perfect, all went smoothly, and I think Stepher and Joe had a good time. Now, I am just jealous of her: She's in Disney World and NOT pregnant! If I get the chance (and our Internet is cooperating) I will post a few pictures of the festive event a little later.

Yesterday I met with the Neonatalogist. It was a wonderful visit-- almost a waste of time, in a good way. He was explaining that a time not that long ago they would have taken Sylvia away from me and ran all her tests and kept her in neonatal, BUT they don't like to separate baby from mama unless baby really would not survive without the intensive care that neonatal offers. And so . . . He is planning on having me deliver in the normal maternity ward, Sylvia will stay with me, and her tests will be performed either by a pediatric urology specialist in the pediatric unit OR if peds is uncomfortable doing it then neonatal will. He is also going to have her undergo a little more intense monitoring than normal, but nothing invasive. Just more frequent heart rate and blood pressure checks, etc. But hopefully everything will come back normal, and if it does, then she gets to go home when I do! We are so very, very happy! [Our social worker did give me a tour of the neonatal floor and went over our rights as parents and visitor guidelines, etc. with me just in case we should find ourselves there in a few weeks. So, we are prepared, just in case.]

Now, if only she would be born!

22 September 2008

Looking for the Funny

There is a lot going on right now. My sister gets married Friday, so that means a full week of preparation and gatherings AND my husband is out of town all week for state training for his new job. So, despite having gotten the requested time off for the wedding, last Thursday he was told he couldn't go. Frustrating, to say the least. But I decided to instead use this blog to relate some of the "funnier" things that happen to you while pregnant (which many of you already know and completely understand).

First, my health has suddenly become everyone else's concern. Rarely can I order a coffee without the barrista asking me if I want that decaf. (If I wanted decaf, I would ask for decaf!) Generally, I reply with, "No, I want the caffeine and so does the baby." They never know what to say to that.

And at the post office last week a postal worker told me, "Now, don't work too hard. You need to take it easy." Huh? How does she know what I do and don't do and what I can and can't do?!?! But the worst was when I walked away from the window and she yelled at me (with other customers present), "Waddle, waddle!" Gee, thanks. As if I am not aware of just how pregnant and ridiculous I look right now!

The lady at the grocery store asked me if I was feeling okay, as does everyone. This question I find particularly humorous. They want me to say "Yes, I am feeling quite well. Thank you." But let's get real: I am carrying an already six pound child plus all the other "amenities" on my front side, have feet so bloated I can't move my toes, heartburn that doesn't go away even if I sleep standing up, my lower back is killing me on a regular basis, I haven't slept for more than 1.5 consecutive hours in over a month and would give anything to not have to use the bathroom every ten minutes. Not to mention the "bundle of joy" that is inside me likes to drive a foot up under my right ribcage or knock a fist into an ovary. These are NOT pleasant feelings! So, the real answer to "How are you feeling?" is actually, "Pretty crappy, thank you."

AND I am amazed at how many people are terrified of the "pregnant woman." At Meijer I routinely have people quickly move out of my way and apologize, despite the fact that generally I am in their way. I am not sure if they are afraid of the huge belly or the fact that I have an almost perma-weary look on my face, one that would suggest to them that I might just "snap" at any moment. (Which, sadly, does sometimes happen but I call this crazy person who emerges Psycho Pregnant Woman. She's not me. She's an evil twin.)

Now there are some perks: I often have MULTIPLE doors being held open for me. Of course, that could be because I can't fit through just one door anymore. And at some places (the ones that God must like the most) they have pregnant woman parking spaces. These, I love. Every step I take is now like running a 5k. So, even just a ten yard walk into a store is like . . . Well, you get the idea.

And I can be UNintentionally rude to people and totally get away with it. For example: I was at one of my favorite craft stores and was waiting in line to make a purchase. There was an elderly woman in front of me who was finishing up her transaction. After she was done she just stood there like she was waiting for something. Finally she gently poked me and said, "May I have my cane, please?" I was standing right over her cane and had NO CLUE that it was hiding under my pregnant belly!

Now, I don't know about being intentionally rude to people. I haven't tried that one yet. YET being the operative word. Depending on how much longer I'm pregnant I may be willing to experiment.

And so, while these little stories are all told in genuine jest, it does give you something to think about the next time you see that hugely pregnant woman out shopping. (And, really, I am thankful that so many people do care. I need that daily positive stimulation to keep me going until the end of this pregnancy.)

18 September 2008

Thanks Goodness!

This is Edgar. This is what he looked like for about sixteen hours late Tuesday-Wednesday morning. He's back! I finally found him late Tuesday afternoon. I went out to call for him (again), and this time I heard him crying in our backyard. I called, he cried, I called, he cried. I finally found him on the edge of our woods hunkered down and terrified. I picked him and up and, yes, I started to bawl. I was just so happy to have my cat back. He slept right in between my legs the entire night Tuesday, and other than being a little dirty and completely exhausted he seems to be no worse for wear. Thank goodness!

16 September 2008

Very Sad News

Of all of our cats, Edgar is my absolute favorite. He is the one who will lie on the bed with me all day if I have a migraine. He is the one who is a perfect angel to me but a little snot to Dave. I share my yogurt with him, and he loves the smell of peppermint tea and his toy, "Morty." His blanket sits on the foot of the bed and he is there most every night to sleep by me. He is such a good cat, and I affectionately refer to him as my "Edgar Baby."

Saturday night we gave Annabelle and Alex to my sister and almost-brother-in-law. We simply have too many cats and Alex was not adjusting well. Stephanie and Joe agreed to take them and provide them with a new home, one where Alex could get the attention he needs. That was very hard for me. We have had Alex since he was a kitten three and a half years ago. Apparently, it was also very hard for Edgar. Yesterday afternoon, after returning from running a couple of errands, Edgar made a dash out the door and ran away. I have not seen him since.

He is not allowed outdoors. He is not an outdoor cat. I hope he is all right. I miss him terribly.

11 September 2008

A Great Day!

I had a great visit at Maternal Fetal Medicine today! Sylvia was a little stinker, though, and did not want us to see her face or get any cute pictures of her so I am afraid the two I have included are very hard to see what you are looking at (and most of you won't), and are not very exciting. But that is beside the point.

Sylvia weighs in at 5lbs. 2oz. This puts her in the 52nd percentile for her gestational age. Average is great for our baby! Her growth looks to be progressing very well and no new red flags were seen today. Her heart continues to look good and the most problematic element right now, her kidneys, appear to show no change. This is actually a good thing. The doctor explained that when you just look at the kidneys they appear normal, but when you measure them they reveal how large they are in comparison to what they should be. Still, looking normal probably means no cysts and indicates that they are most likely functioning. Yay!!! We also got to see her practice breathing during the scan and this is a very good indication that if she were born today she would probably be breathing entirely on her own within a few short days.

I have a consult with a neonatal doctor on the 29th this month. At this meeting the doctor will tell me what tests they intend to perform immediately following Sylvia's birth and what actions would be taken if they happen to see something abnormal. Given our last two visits, however, we have every reason to believe that everything will prove normal and functioning and her stay at the NICU should be very short.

I then return to Maternal Fetal for yet another growth and anatomy scan on the 7th of October (today wasn't my last one, afterall) and they will also do a cervical check on me. They really want to monitor those kidneys and, while not a normal procedure anymore, they also want to keep tabs on how I am effacing and dilating. Given the distance we are from the hospital and the fact that Sylvia will be a NICU patient, if they happen to see that I am "ripe" at a visit (either with Maternal Fetal or with my regular OB), then they may want to keep me and try to induce. Not my first option, but I will, of course, do whatever they feel is best.

After getting home today I felt so happy that I was willing to have Sylvia and me go through a little photo-shoot. Those are the above shots. I also picked out her outfit for her hospital picture. (But I am not sharing what it looks like, because that will have to be a surprise.)

And so . . . Her most recent pics. The first one is a picture of her ear. Look for the bright white part and then on the top of it you can see an ear shape. The second one is a profile shot again, but not a very good one. The only time we saw any of her face was when they first stuck the wand on me and this picture is from then. Immediately following, she promptly rolled over and stuck her face into my uterus. (Like I said, bad pictures this time, but a great report!)

09 September 2008

The Nesting Instinct

Today I got hit with the "nesting instinct" bug. I went online and ordered several of the remaining we-need-to-have-this-in-the-house-when-the-baby-arrives items. Once those come we will have all the necessary equipment for when Sylvia first comes home. There is, of course, a lot more that we need but all the immediate must-haves are now taken care of.

I also got out all our autumn/halloween decorations. I know this sounds silly as it is not even mid-Setember yet, but Dave's favorite holiday is Halloween and he would have been VERY sad had I not managed to get all those decorations up this year. So, I thought better to get it done now than hazard the chance that Sylvia comes early and not be able to do it at all. Our Halloween village is what is pictured.

I also cleaned the whole house, organized a closet (again), found our cake cutter and server from our wedding for my sister to borrow for hers, got together my sister and to-be-brother-in-law's wedding present, also got together my cousin's wedding present, packaged some eBay items for customers, made spaghetti sauce (which we then ate for dinner with a fresh-made loaf of bread with locally harvested honey and blueberries), and managed to do some other basic "tidying up" type things. Needless, I am exhausted and can now hardly move but I certainly feel accomplished for the day!

The following are all animal pictures. The one of the cats on the table was taken by Dave yesterday morning. We had some huge insect in the house and he said that when he first came into the kitchen ALL NINE cats currently living with us were on the table to get a good look at this little visitor. By the time he got the camera only five remained. And the deer picture is actually of the same fawns that I captured on "film" and posted on the blog only a few weeks ago. They have grown so much! Just another reminder that time is moving forward-- and our daughter's birth becomes more and more imminent.

03 September 2008

Big and Growing!

So, here is that promised most recent pregnancy picture of myself. As you can see, I am getting quite large and I can almost see the difference on a day-to-day basis. Sylvia continues to be very active but her movements are no longer just little kicks and punches. I can now feel (and see!) her moving across me on the inside. Kind of freaky, actually. And when I lie in bed I can often find a little leg or foot and push on it, and she will move or kick in protest.

And today we got our "Congratulations" letter from the state letting us know that we are indeed poor enough to qualify for Healthy Kids (a Michigan Medicaid program for pregnant women and children). Normally this would be a point of sorrow, but Dave and I are thrilled as right now this minute we do not have health insurance. So just in case anything should happen between now and when our benefits kick in with Dave's new job, we are still covered. Phew!

01 September 2008

32+ Weeks

Last week I had my 32 week check-up. All looks and sounds good. Sylvia's heartbeat continues to be a steady 150 bpm. The muscle relaxant they prescribed me has done wonders for the pain and has allowed me to get some sleep! My pain has been so great because my wonderful daughter has decided that my right side is the most comfy place to be and has refused to move from there for the last couple of months. Now that she is around five pounds, that is a lot of weight to be carrying on just one side; hence, constant pain and soreness on that side. The doctor, while checking me out last week, noticed that my uterus was indeed very stretched out on the right side and then informed me that even after I have completely healed from the pregnancy (in 2.5 years!), the right side of my uterus will always be stretched and out of shape. I guess Sylvia just really wants to leave her mark (as if she won't leave enough of them!).

Next week I have three different doctor's appointments, and one will include what will hopefully be my final ultrasound. At this appointment we can only hope and assume that they will confirm everything they found to NOT be wrong at my last appointment: Kidneys are still functioning, heart looks good, etc. It will also be strange to see my daughter one last time via technology before getting to actually meet her in person.

Otherwise, things seem to be going well with the pregnancy. I am feeling very unlike myself, as though I have been invaded and "Valerie" is no longer present. I worry that I may never return. I do worry that from now until Sylvia is grown and out of the house I will never get to be me again. I suppose, though, this is a normal fear. [And I will post another picture of me sometime soon. Rest assured, I am getting HUGE and am not exactly eager to be friends with the camera right now!]

I hope everyone enjoys their Labor Day and we will keep you posted!