Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hospital Bags

These past few days I've been working on getting my hospital bag all packed and ready to go.  With Samantha I never packed a hospital bag and ended up needing an emergency induction so I had to send Chris home to get all the stuff I needed.  While he did do a decent job, it stunk not having everything that I wanted with me.  With Zach, I packed most of my bag before hand just in case.  Turns out that was a good thing since I needed to be emergency induced with him as well.  Since I was induced for the same reason both times (very low fluid) I decided this time I'd be proactive and pack early.  Finally I think I am just about finished.  I do have a few last minute things that will go in the day of but I'm not too worried about it.
To start, I am using my All Pro Tote from 31 Gifts.  This bag is awesome and the perfect size to be a hospital bag.  It has an outside pocket, two inside mesh pockets, an inside regular pocket, a pocket for shoes, and a "tab" for jewelry.  Definitely room for everything we'll need.
For me I've packed (probably overpacked!)
  • two nursing tanks
  • two tops
  • two pairs of shorts
  • two pairs of pants
  • one skirt (for coming home)
  • two tank tops (for coming home)
  • toothbrush/paste/scraper/floss
  • hair brush
  • deodorant
  • body wash
  • body splash
  • lotion
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • razor
  • sandals
I'm pretty sure that's everything that I have in there for me!!!  I need to also pack some breast pads (though I don't recall ever needing them in the hospital but I suppose I'll pack some just in case) and I think I should be good.
For the baby I've packed (double each item since I've packed each list for both genders):
  • two sleepers
  • two outfits
  • one swaddle blanket
  • coming home outfit
  • bag of headbands
We've also got the Build-A-Bear set and ready to go.  This is Twinkle, named by Samantha.  Sam and Zach made it at Build-A-Bear for the new baby.  The left picture is Twinkle for baby boy and the right picture is Twinkle for baby girl.  In the girl picture Twinkle is also sporting a Disney princess shirt but Samantha's hug covers it up!  She is so excited for the doggy!  We also have small gifts for Samantha and Zach that will be from the baby.

I will have a list of things for Chris to pack in my backpack in the event of another emergency induction but hopefully that will be avoided and I can pack myself.  My backpack is usually my electronics bag and I'll probably have that bag with me in the labor and delivery room.  I haven't packed it yet since I am obviously still using everything.  It will include:
  • computer and charger
  • cell phone charger
  • book
We will also have the camera bag with associated chargers, extra battery, lenses, etc.  I am also planning on bringing my new My Breast Friend pillow.  I've always hated having to prop myself and the baby up with a million little hospital pillows so I'd like to give it a go with a nursing pillow in the hospital this time.  Hopefully it will make things a little bit easier!

I am fairly certain this is everything I plan to bring to the hospital with us.  Is there anything I'm forgetting?  What did you pack in your hospital bag?

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Full Term!

Today marks 37 weeks and I am officially full term!!  So exciting.  I feel like this pregnancy has flown by which is crazy since the first two seemed to go on and on forever.  Today we went and got a new lens for my DSLR so we can take pictures in the hospital once the baby is born.  The lens has been broken since before Samantha's 2nd birthday so I'm thrilled that I finally have a working one again.  Phew!!  I am also in the process of washing the coming home outfits and then I'm going to wash the swaddle blankets and the hospital bag will be ready to go!  Thank goodness!

Today I had my 37 week check up and biophysical profile exam.  The check up went well, though I felt sort of silly having to ask what to do if I go into labor!!  You'd think since this is my third baby I would know, but I had emergency inductions with both Samantha and Zach so I'm kind of clueless.  She said to call when contractions are 10 minutes apart, which seems kind of early to me.  I see a different doctor next week so I will ask what her opinion is also.  I am Group B + though so I know I will have to get there somewhat early so that I can get the IV antibiotics.  I don't know how to compare my first two labors but with Samantha (Pitocin) I labored for around 9 hours and with Zachary (Cervidil) I labored for around 11 hours.  I know I need two doses of the medicine and I can't have penicillin as I am allergic.  I guess we'll see.  I had my cervix checked for the first time and as I expected nothing has happened.  She said I was a little effaced but didn't give me any numbers.  No dilation and my cervix is still long.  I never had any signs of labor with Sam and Zach so I'm not really expecting this to be much different.

The biophysical profile went well also.  Got to see baby in 3D again which was awesome.  At this point I think s/he looks a lot like Samantha as a baby.  In previous ultrasounds though, I think s/he favored Zach!  It will be neat to see who s/he looks like at birth.  Baby passed the BPP with flying colors.  My fluid has dropped some, it was slightly under 13 and it was around 18 a week ago.  I've been averaging between 96-128 oz of water per day so I do think that I'm drinking enough.  Definitely a LOT more than I drank with Sam and Zach.  We'll see where my numbers land next week.  The ultrasound didn't measure the weight, but according to my tickers the baby is the size of a winter melon, whatever the heck that is!  At the scan next week the guess was 6 pounds 8 ounces.  I'm hoping it was an over guess, I don't want a huge baby!!  Samantha was 6 pounds 12 ounces and Zach was 6 pounds 15 ounces.  I think right around that size again would be perfect.

At this point I am still feeling pretty good.  Been having some uncomfortable Braxton hicks contractions but nothing too painful.  I'm feeling motivated to get things done though I do have to take frequent breaks to rest.  I am super anxious to meet our baby but still trying to really enjoy these last few weeks of pregnancy!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Pink or Blue?!

As our baby's arrival gets closer there is still one big question looming in the back of everyone's mind.  Or if you're like my neighbor, it's at the very front of your mind ready to get on my case at every available opportunity.  ;-)

Finally this past week I found coming home outfits for both a boy and a girl.  I feel so relieved to have it out of the way!  This will also be the outfit we use for the newborn pictures in the hospital.  I also purchased the Aden and Anais B Jeweled swaddle set to bring to the hospital with us.  I am still debating which two to bring along but at this point I am leaning towards the purple and the blue.

I will probably pack and old sleeper or two from Samantha and Zach so that we have other outfits available to use during our stay.  I also plan to purchase the "I was born at ______" shirt in the gift shop!  It's a tradition!

Back when I was pregnant with Samantha I knew I wanted to know what we were having.  She was our first baby and I wanted to plan plan plan.  Chris on the other hand was completely indifferent and didn't care either way about knowing.  I was glad we found out though and it was so fun collecting girl stuff and buying personalized items before she was born.  Again with Zach, I just had to know.  I was so excited going to his ultrasound and had a huge day of shopping planned afterwards.  We got clothes for him, made him a Build-A-Bear, and had fun planning.  However, after we found out Zach was a boy, I decided that for baby number 3, we were going to go team green and not find out.  I mean we already have one of each so why not?

The first half of the pregnancy was relatively easy.  Since I had had it set in my mind since finding out with Zach so many months before it wasn't even a question that I'd be tempted to find out at our 20 week ultrasound.  Then, at our 12 week ultrasound, we found out that our baby had a 1/40 chance for being born with Down syndrome.  I opted to take a non-invasive blood test that showed that our baby will not have Down syndrome.  The test was also able to tell us if we were having a boy or a girl!!  Thankfully, I was able to stop the nurse just before she gave me the results over the phone!  I didn't have much temptation at the 20 week ultrasound either.  However, as time has gone on, I'm getting more and more anxious.  Though not anxious enough to cheat and find out!  (We had the ultrasound tech print out the "money shot" at our 20 week ultrasound just so we have it.)  I have the envelope sitting on our kitchen counter and it's so fun to torment my friends with the knowledge that the info is RIGHT THERE and I refuse to look!!

At this point we have a little over 3 weeks until the due date and I feel like nothing at home is prepared.  I am still in the process of sorting through all of Samantha's outgrown clothing (and I still can't find the newborn bin!) and I then I can move on to Zach's clothes.  It's so overwhelming!!  Once I am done, I think I will wash a few outfits for each gender so we have enough to get through a few days at home and then once we return from the hospital I can wash the rest of the gender specific clothes.  Thankfully the clothes are really all there is to it.  The other items we need I don't care about being a certain color...I put Zach in Samantha's pink high chair and moses basket.  It's not a huge deal!!

While it's been fun, and made the end of pregnancy that much more exciting, I don't know that I could do it again.  Actually, I can say with 100% certainty that I will not do it again.  If we do have a 4th kid, and I'm really hoping we do, I want to be able to have things set and ready to go by the time baby arrives.  Plus, since a potential baby number 4 would for sure be our last I want to have time to prepare and get rid of baby stuff we don't need before I have to throw a newborn into the mix as well.  Just seems like it would make things so much easier!

For now though, I am enjoying not knowing and I can't wait to push this baby out and get the big "IT'S A ______" announcement throughout the delivery room!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Finally A Yay for Insurance!

It seems like in the past few years our insurance has gone downhill.  Deductibles are higher, coverage is lower.  Only good thing we've got going for us were $0 copays...or so I thought!  Back when I was pregnant with Samantha I knew I was going to breast feed her.  Unfortunately, immediately after her birth, we realized that that wasn't a possibility.  I learned how to pump from the lactation consultant in the hospital and left with a rental pump from a company in town.  So began my pumping journey.  We learned when Samantha was 9 days old that she had a rather severe posterior tongue tie.  She had it clipped by a top rated pediatric ear nose and throat doctor at Georgetown Hospital in Washington DC.  We had high hopes that breast feeding would come more naturally after that but sadly it didn't.  At her follow up appointment when she was 2 weeks old we realized that she still had a slight attachment of her tongue to the bottom of her mouth so she had a second procedure done.  Even then, she struggled to nurse.  At this point, it became evident that nursing was going to take a lot of work and that pumping was a better solution for us.  I ended up choosing to purchase a pump since it was a goal to give her breast milk long term and renting was rather costly around $60/month.  I trekked to Babies R Us and purchased a Medela Pump in Style Advanced which was an awesome pump!  In the end, I only ended up needing to pump for Samantha's first 10 weeks of life.  In June of 2011 we travelled to Chicago for a wedding and I did NOT want to deal with bottles and all the extra luggage.  I brought my pump just in case, but no bottles and I used our time away from home to really work with her on latching.  She did amazing and we never looked back, as a matter of fact, as time went on she grew to hate the bottle!  I ended up nursing her for just shy of 16 months when she weaned since I was pregnant with Zach.

With Zach, I planned to breast feed as well and hoped that we wouldn't face the same challenges as we did with Samantha.  Sadly, he got an even shorter end of the stick.  He was gaining weight poorly and went on a few feeding strikes so I made an appointment with a lactation consultant.  She discovered more ties!  Turns out he had a tongue tie, upper lip tie, AND a lower lip tie!  We had these issues corrected with laser surgery at a pediatric dentist.  Thankfully the procedures were fairly easy and he had a quick recovery.  Yet again, we didn't see immediate progress.  Thankfully though, he was able to nurse enough that I did not need to pump regularly.  I still relied on my Medela while I was away from home.  Zach was a stellar nurser and actually just weaned a little over a month ago, at 19 months.

I am currently 36w3d pregnant with baby number three and I am yet again planning to nurse.  Hopefully we won't run into the same issues we did with Samantha and Zach but you just never know.  I recently found out that through our insurance I can get a new breast pump covered at 100%!!  How cool is that?  My Medela PIS has been an amazing pump but I think it's always great to have a back up.  Plus, I have no idea where the AC adaptor is for my Medela.  I called our insurance a few weeks ago and they gave me a long list of websites that I could visit to choose a pump.  I ended up choosing the Hygeia EnJoye pump through Lucinacare.  I just had to wait until 30 days before my due date to order.  Once we hit 30 days I placed my order and it was shipped almost immediately.  My new pump came today and I couldn't be more excited.

The pump is very light weight and while it is a little bit on the large side, it isn't overly bulky.  It also came with a large insulated tote bag which will be extra helpful if I'm ever away from home and needing to pump.  Another awesome thing about the Hygeia is that they are the only company endorsed by La Leche League International and every Hygeia pump purchase comes with a free Annual Supporting membership to the LLLI!!  I can't wait to try this pump once our baby arrives and I'm hoping it's every bit as good as I've heard it is!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The time we tried Irish Step Dancing...

(disclaimer: this was before we knew how to tie her ghillies!!)
Little Miss Samantha comes from a very Irish family on her daddies side.  Her papa can often be found relaxing by playing his mandolin or playing that or guitar with his friends at the Irish club or other venues.  One of her aunts was an Irish step dancer when she was younger and her twin aunts, who are 21, continue to dance and compete today!  A certain other family member of hers, who I am not allowed to name ;-), was also a step dancer.  Ever since we watched our wedding video a few months back Samantha has been completely obsessed with Irish step dancing.  We watch tons of videos and she was very excited to take classes.
The last time we visited Connecticut, Samantha participated in a class that one of her aunts was teaching and she had SO much fun.  She participated for the entire class and learned a lot of new things.  Afterwards she kept talking and talking and talking about starting dance and how badly she wanted her own special step dancing shoes and socks.  For her Connecticut class, Grandma got her special socks that look like they have shoes on them which she was extremely excited about.
Once we returned to Virginia I contacted one of the local schools and found out that their classes don't start until aged 4.  After talking back and forth though, we agreed to let Samantha try out classes now.  We signed up for a 4 week/8 class summer session that began the first week of August.  We ordered her special shoes (that are two sizes too big since her feet are so tiny!) and her special socks (that I completely ruined before classes even started!).  She was so excited to start class and the first day she hardly said goodbye to me as she ran up the stairs to class.  She came down about 20 minutes later for a drink of water and exclaimed "phew, Irish step dancing is super hard!"  She came out again about 20 minutes later for another drink and told us again how hard it was!  The first two classes though, she did great and stayed for just about the whole class.  An hour class sure is long for a 3 year old!!  The second week however did not go as well.  On class 3, she repeatedly came out of class and wasn't listening so I ended up leaving early with her.  Class 4 was much of the same but the teacher invited me to come in with her.  I was thinking I'd just stand with her and encourage her to participate but no...I actually took the class and danced with her!  Let me tell you, at 35 weeks pregnant, it was quite the feat.  I was SO sore afterwards.  Today was much of the same with her sitting down, not listening to the teachers, and running around doing her own thing (still step dancing, but not what her little group was working on).  We are going to attempt to finish out the last 3 classes but I don't think we will continue dancing into the fall.  She does love dance, and practices at home all the time, but she is showing that she is not quite ready for an hour long class and having to focus for that amount of time.  She cried when I told her we wouldn't be doing dance in the fall, but it wasn't sad enough to motivate her to behave during class, haha!!  Hopefully once she turns 4 things will change and we will be able to try again next summer.  She sure looks cute dancing and I can't wait to see her in the little dresses and competing and getting better and better!  For now though, we will find a fall activity geared a little more towards her age group.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014


Since I started this blog shortly after Samantha's birth the blog has taken a few directions.  It started out simply as a way for me to keep in touch with our families back home about how we were doing since we are so far away.  Then, I discovered the world of activity blogging and decided to try my hand at it.  After a while however, I realized that that type of blogging just isn't for me.  I was feeling obligated to come up with all these wonderful activities and it was just so overwhelming.  Sure the kids had fun doing everything (and we still do tons of activities) but it's a lot to jot down recipes, take pictures, and get it all up on the blog.  Frankly, for me, it just wasn't fun so I stopped posting all together.  I've really missed blogging though and want to get back into it.  It needs to be fun though!  What I've decided to do, for now, is sort of a mix of the two.  It will be things going on with us, random thoughts of things going on in the world, with activities and fun stuff mixed in too.  Hopefully this new format will work out better for me and I'll stick with it.  I'm feeling very positive!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Exciting News!

Gosh, it's been a while again.  With good reason though!  Back in January, I ended up going to the ER for some extreme stomach pain.  The doctor was going to perform a CT scan, however we ended up finding out that we are expecting baby number 3!!  What a surprise!  I was hopeful that this would be the enjoyable relaxing pregnancy that I didn't get to have with Samantha and Zachary.  However, things haven't exactly worked out that way.  I started spotting early in the pregnancy, which thankfully turned out to be nothing. 

Then at our 12 week nuchal translucency scan we learned that our risk for having a baby with Down syndrome had jumped from over 1/600 to 1/40.  We opted to have a non-invasive blood test done, called the Panorama test.  It was an agonizing wait to get the results and I found myself running to the phone with every little beep to see if it was the perinatalogist calling with our results.  Thankfully when we got the results it was only good news.  Virtually no chance for Down syndrome as well as Trisomies 13 and 18.  The blood test was also able to reveal our baby's gender but we opted to not find out.

Due to the increased risk for Down syndrome the perinatalogist deemed me high risk and I have been having ultrasounds every four weeks for the pregnancy.  Thankfully things have been going well, though the baby is measuring a little big.  I'm not reading too much into it though, hopefully it won't be too big!!  Today I am 35 weeks and starting next week I will have weekly ultrasounds and BPP to check the baby since I had to be induced with both Sam and Zach due to low fluids.  I would love to be able to go into labor naturally this time, so we'll see.  I'm really glad they are keeping an eye on everything though.

I ended up in the ER again back in July after I randomly started spotting.  Thankfully they couldn't find anything wrong though.  I have had 3 other instances of spotting in the late 2nd/early 3rd trimester but everything is going great.  I just can't wait to meet our new baby and see if we have a little she or he in there!

I'll be back again tomorrow with some important news about my blog, which also plays a part in why I have taken such a long break!!  I'm glad to be back though.