baby blythe

d + r = baby b


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How to Score a Breast Pump for FREE

When I was pregnant, someone told me to check with my insurance company to see if it provided breast pumps. I was skeptical, and I figured I’d just have to shell out the $200-$300 needed for a quality pump. However, I did some research on the Affordable Care Act and realized that it was quite possible to get a free pump.  The process was kind of annoying, but it was definitely worth the trouble, because in the end,  I did not pay a single penny for my breast pump.

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I started out by calling my insurance company. The first thing they told me was that I had to wait until January 1, 2013. This wasn’t a huge deal to me, because Porter was due on Christmas Eve (born on December 28th) and I knew that most likely I wouldn’t need the pump right away. The second thing I was told was that I COULD get a breast pump for free, but they would only provide a manual pump, which would not really be worth the trouble of getting (in my opinion). Sure, free is free, but I doubted a manual pump was going to cut it. I knew I was going to need a high powered electric (double) pump when I returned to work. I asked the woman on the phone a few more questions and she said it was up to my employer and what specific insurance plan my employer selected. Some policies agreed to provide manual pumps and some agreed to provide electric pumps. I was bummed and thought I was out of luck.

However, I did not give up. The woman I talked to did not seem entirely confident in the answer she gave me, so I doubted whether or not I should accept her answer. I waited a few days and then called again, in hopes of speaking to a different person.  The second woman I spoke with looked up my policy and then told me there was no way for me to to know prior to January 1 if I would get a pump or not. Basically–according to her– it was up to my employer and it would depend on what insurance policy they chose to renew at the start of the calendar year. She said I could call back after January 1 to inquire. I was a bit annoyed. I knew that when January 1 arrived that I would have others things—um, like a baby–to worry about.

I almost decided to forget about the whole thing, but I contacted the woman in charge of our benefits for my school district. I told her about the two previous encounters I had and I asked her if she had any contact people at the insurance company who could give her a firm answer.  She said she’d look into it and get back to me.

She emailed me the next day and told me that yes, I could get a breast pump, and not just any breast pump, but a double electric pump. I would have to wait until after January 1, though, and I also needed to get the pump from a medical supplier (in my insurance network). She also instructed me to get a prescription for the breast pump from my OBGYN.  The prescription would serve as proof that I really needed it. I did some homework and called all the medical suppliers in my area and found one that carried the type of pump I wanted (most of the medical suppliers didn’t even have ANY breast pumps, let alone the type I was interested in.)

Porter was born, and a few days later I managed to shower and put yoga pants on and went to the medical supplier with my prescription in hand. I imagined I’d walk out of there with a brand new breast pump, but it seems I had more hoop to jump through.  When my doctor wrote the prescription, it was before Porter was born. The prescription literally said “Patient is pregnant. May require breast pump.” I gave the medical supplier my prescription.

The woman said, “Oh, you’re still pregnant? You’re pregnant now?”

Despite the fact that my belly did still look a little pregnant-like, I couldn’t help but to feel a little offended. Maybe I shouldn’t have worn my MATERNITY yoga pants, I thought to myself. I looked down at Porter in his car seat and looked back at the woman. “No, I’m not pregnant now. I already had the baby.”

“But it says ‘patient is pregnant.’ ”

“Well, she wrote it when I WAS pregnant.” I thought this was obvious.

I didn’t understand why this was such a big deal, but I could tell this was going to be a problem.  She called someone (I think it was someone from the claim department of my insurance company) and then told me that she couldn’t give me the breast pump because of the way the prescription was written.  She then said she would call my OBGYN and verify my need for the breast pump even though I wasn’t still pregnant. I thought having the baby right there with me was proof enough, but I guess not. Maybe she thought I borrowed someone else’s baby in order to snag a breast pump, but why someone would want a breast pump unless she really needed one is beyond me. She sent me on my way and said she would call me when she knew something. Again, I was a little annoyed.

The next day she called me back and said that my OBGYN verified the prescription. She then had to make another call back to the claim department, but she finally told me that I could come back in to pick up the breast pump.  The following day I returned to the medical supplier and picked up my breast pump. I was pumped (no pun intended) to have finally figured all this out, and I guess my persistence paid off.

The pump I received is a double electric pump. It has plenty of power, gets the job done, and  is almost identical to the Medela Pump In Style, except the bag that I have isn’t quite as fancy as the Pump In Style. [By the way, why is it called the “Pump In Style”? I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to pump one’s boobs stylishly.]

So, long story short, if you’re pregnant and you plan on using a breast pump, check with your insurance before purchasing one. While my experience was a tad tedious and cumbersome, a friend of mine (whom I work with, so she has the same insurance) had absolutely zero problems when she went through the process a few months after I did.

On a similar note, if you don’t have insurance or if your insurance doesn’t provide a pump, I personally do not think there is a problem with borrowing a pump from a friend or family member. I know this isn’t recommended and supposedly it voids the warranty, but if you purchase separate parts for the pump and do not use the original parts, I don’t see why this would be a problem. Obviously this is a personal decision, but I thought I’d throw my two cents in there.

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Guest Post: The Pregnant Friend’s Perspective on her Friend’s Miscarriage

I’ve written a little about Diana before, and I asked her to share her experience/perspective about something that created a visible wedge between our friendship: my miscarriage (written about here and here and specifically in reference to Diana here). Want more of Diana? Visit her blog, Losing It where she writes about weight loss and maintaining a healthy lifestyle after pregnancy.

On a Sunday in January of 2012, I found out I was pregnant.  The next day, I told only my family and one very dear friend, Rachel.  I will never forget our conversation.  I sat down in her classroom before school started and I said, “So, I am pregnant.”  She responded with a “Shut-up!”  It was an awesome BFF moment.  All throughout the day via email, and later that night over text, she asked me a variety of questions.  Actually, she asked me A LOT of questions, things like “How are you feeling?” to “How dark was the line on the pregnancy test?”  I just assumed she was curious.

The next day at school, Rachel came into my room and shut the door.  I didn’t think anything of it:  we do stuff like that all the time.  She handed me a card, which I assumed was a written congrats.  Rachel is a generous and thoughtful friend, and one of her trademarks is surprise gifting and affirmations.  I read the card quickly and looked up at her.  Then I said, “Wait!”  I read it again.  The card was not from Rachel; it was from Baby B.  My own personal joy of being pregnant had just been amplified.  My best friend was pregnant, too!  She energetically pulled out multiple pregnancy tests from her purse and showed me each one.  She told me that she found out she was pregnant on the exact same day that I found out I was.  Suddenly, all of the questions from the day before made sense.  I had never felt so connected to a friend.  I already had so much in common with Rachel, but we were about to experience the most amazing time in our lives, together.

Rewind just a bit.  I typically am difficult to get to know.  I would imagine that my first impression can sometimes be read as stuck-up, standoffish, and distant.  I don’t always do well during social situations and I don’t open up for a long time to people.  So, you can imagine my surprise when I first met Rachel and I immediately knew we would be friends.  We have joked about how we are seriously like friend soul-mates and that we were meant to meet each other by working at CHS.  Another coworker actually bought us a paper gift for our first friend-iversary.

Rachel started trying to get pregnant around the same time that I started trying.  This was not some weird pregnancy pact thing, although multiple students have asked me if it was.   We just happened to be in similar places in our lives.  (We each got married in June of 2009.) We spoke a lot about how exciting the prospect of becoming pregnant was, and we shared concerns that it seemed to be taking longer than either of us thought it would.  One day at lunch, I remember Rachel saying, “I hope that no matter what, we can be happy for each other.”  I never felt like it was a competition or a race to become pregnant, but I did wonder how I would feel if she got pregnant first, or vice-versa.

Over the next two weeks, Rachel and I exchanged emails throughout the day guessing at each other’s due dates and speculating on the size of our tiny babies.  We talked about birth plans, names, worries, maternity leaves, etc.  It was so nice to be able to talk about it with her because I was keeping it a secret from everyone else until it was appropriate to share.

One day during the last block of the day, Rachel came to my room.  She asked to talk to me, so I went out into the hallway and shut the door.  She told me that she had spoken to her OBGYN office, and they asked that she go to the hospital for some tests.  She was fighting back tears, and I could tell that she was trying very hard to not jump to any conclusions.  I did not want her to drive herself, so I insisted that I drive her home so she could leave for the hospital with her husband.  I had a team teacher in the room with me during that class, so I told her I was leaving and we got in the car.  It was an icy day.  The roads were not clean and it was snowing.  I don’t remember exactly what Rachel and I talked about in the fifteen minute car ride, but I do know that I was trying to stay hopeful for Rachel.  Like Rachel, I had been pouring over pregnancy articles, blogs, and books from the  moment I started trying to become pregnant.  She had shared her symptoms with me, and the word we avoided saying out loud was bouncing around in my mind.  I was very scared for her.

Later that night, Rachel called me.  She did not have any results back, but she told me a few details from being at the hospital.  While we were on the phone, her doctor called her, so we hung up.  A while later, Rachel sent me a text telling me that the worst had happened:  she was miscarrying.  I don’t remember how I responded, I just remember feeling so sad for my friend.  I do remember suggesting that she take some time off, but she told me that she needed to move on and live as normal, and I knew in that moment that she was incredibly brave.

The next day at work, I knew that something had shifted.  I did not know how to act around Rachel.  She was visibly drained.  She was broken.  I was the only one at work that knew what she was going through, but I also knew that I was probably the last person she wanted to be around.  I couldn’t help but feel like the enemy.  I was pregnant, and she was not.  I decided it would be best to give Rachel space.  I felt so conflicted.  I argued with myself.  I thought, maybe I should do something for her.  I should pamper her.  However, I couldn’t shake the feeling that just my presence pained her somehow.  I tried to consider how I would feel.  If she did have any negative feelings towards me, I completely understood.  I read the signs as best I could and I tried to give Rachel space while letting her know I was there when she was ready.  This strange friendship limbo went on for awhile.  People at work started to notice.  After I announced my own pregnancy, a coworker actually approached me and guessed the entire situation.  She somehow knew just by our actions that Rachel had experienced a miscarriage.  I, of course, did not share Rachel’s story, but I dismissed the claim.  Women know.

It felt very strange to be so happy for myself and so very sad for my friend at the same time.  Although I was not mourning the loss of my pregnancy, I was mourning for a friend, and I couldn’t help but feel like I was mourning the loss of our friendship.  The overwhelming emotion during this time was guilt.  When it was safe for me to announce my own pregnancy, I felt guilty that I did.  I wanted to be happy for myself.  I wanted to tell everyone.  I wanted to do all of the things I planned on doing as I waited to become pregnant.  I told myself that I couldn’t continue to compare Rachel’s situation to mine and I needed to enjoy the experience I was having.  Every time I did though, I felt like the most selfish person alive.  I convinced myself that I would also suffer a miscarriage.  In a weird way, I felt like I almost deserved it.  At one point, my husband confronted me and told me that I was never going to experience being pregnant for the first time again, so I had to stop analyzing everything as though I had had a miscarriage.  I knew that I had to just try to separate our two situations.

I eventually had distanced myself so far from Rachel that she confronted me.  “It seemed like you stopped being my friend.”  I was so afraid of hurting her that I actually did.  I continued to hope that after some time, Rachel and I would be able to be as close as we were before.  It was through honesty and a few letters that we were able to express to each other how we each felt about the situation.  As time went on, things started to feel more and more normal between us.  When Rachel found out that she was pregnant with Porter, I was overjoyed.  I know that she was very worried and did not have the easiest pregnancy, but I felt so happy that she was going to become a mother, and that we would still get to go through the process together.

Now, Rachel and I talk daily about the joys and struggles of being new mothers.  Rachel and I get our babies together as often as we can.  Porter is the most amazing little man.  He has beautiful skin and eyes, just like his momma.  She is Auntie Rachel in our house.    Although our friendship has mended, that difficult time has not been erased.  Whenever I share something with Rachel about McKenna, I worry that I might be reminding her of what she went through.  If Rachel did not experience a miscarriage, our babies would be exactly the same age.  I can say that Rachel and I are now very honest with each other, and we are able to share these thoughts instead of letting them stew.

I can’t say that any of my other friendships have been through something like this.  I am forever thankful that I met Rachel.  I am a better teacher, friend, and person than I would be never having met her.  She challenges me.  She gets me.  She is my sister, a supporter, and an incredible friend.  Most of all, she is an amazing mother to Porter.  I have a lot of regret from how I handled myself during this complicated situation, but I know that Rachel forgives me.  That is what sisters do.

Thank you, Diana for sharing your story! Be sure to check out her blog, Losing It!

Also, don’t forget to enter my first giveaway! You have until August 3 to enter and you have three chances to win!


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What we didn’t tell anyone…the scary stuff

To sound cliche, I remember it like it was yesterday.

It was a Monday–July 16–the day after my birthday. I was exactly 17 weeks pregnant and I was starting to show enough where people thought I was pregnant and not just a little pudgy.  It was a beautiful day and I was excited to celebrate my birthday with some colleagues that evening. After teaching my first day of summer school, I checked my phone and had a message from my OB office. I didn’t think much of it and assumed they wanted to reschedule an appointment or something.

I drove home with the windows down and once home, I changed into a maxi dress that would help show off my bump for when I met up with my friends that evening.  I casually called the OB office and was immediately put on the phone with a nurse.

“We need you to come into the office immediately. Your first trimester blood work came back and it tested positive for  Down Syndrome. Does 4 p.m. work?”  I dropped the phone and when I put it back up to my ear, I didn’t know what to say.

“Okay…so what does that mean exactly?”

“Dr. Short will explain everything when you come in. We have an opening at 4.”

“Okay. I’ll be there.”

Then the tears came.

I immediately called David and told him the news and he said he’d come home as soon as he could. About a half hour later he came home, and I contemplated cancelling my dinner plans with my friends. David said that we shouldn’t cancel and that we should just go to the appointment to see what Dr. Short had to say.

We got in the car and drove to the office. I couldn’t stop shaking, and I had no idea what emotions I was suppose to be feeling. It seemed like I was feeling everything from doubt to anger.

As soon as we got into the room, Dr. Short got straight to the point.

“Even though your nuchal fold tests came back looking normal, your blood work came back positive for Down Syndrome.”

I guess I should mention that we willingly got this first trimester testing done. During one of our first appointments, we were asked if we wanted to have the quad screening done which tested for things like Down Syndrome and neural tube defects and other chromosome abnormalities. We were told that most insurance companies covered the test, and we thought “Why not?”. Since my brother is mentally handicapped, we thought that we would like to know ahead of time if we were going to be parents of a mentally disabled baby.  We thought we would want the time to prepare–not only for ourselves, but also for our friends and family.

“Okay, so what does that mean?”

“Well, it’s pretty deceiving, because a positive test doesn’t mean your baby 100% has Down Syndrome. It just means your baby is more likely to be a Down Syndrome baby.”

“What does ‘more likely’ mean?”

“Well, according to your blood work, you are 8 times more likely to have a Down Syndrome baby than the average woman your age. Your chances came back as 1/150.”

“Okay. So we have a 1/150 chance of having a Down Syndrome baby?”

“Sort of. If we were to line up 150 women who had your same genetic make up, 1 of them would have a Down Syndrome baby.”

“So that seems like our chances are good that we won’t?”

“Well, maybe, but your risk is still considered to be quite high.”

“How often do these tests come back positive like this?”

“Very rarely. We might get 3 or 4 positive tests in a year.”

“So, what do we do?”

“Well, we have some options. The first thing you need to ask yourself is that if your baby DID have Down Syndrome if you’d want to continue on with the pregnancy.” My stomach immediately dropped and tears welled in my eyes. I looked over at David, even though I already knew his answer.

“Of course. We would never terminate.”

“Okay, then here are your options. One option is genetic counseling. A genetic counselor would go through your family histories extensively and then would determine a more accurate likelihood for you guys. This is pretty expensive, though, and doesn’t tell you anything for sure.”

“Okay, what other options are there?”

“You could get an amniocentesis which would give you exact results. You would know 100% if your baby had Downs or not, but the test is pretty invasive, and there are risks involved like miscarriage or pre-term labor.”

“That doesn’t sound like something we’d want to do.”

“Then your last and least reliable option would be to get a level II ultrasound. These ultrasounds are very extensive and detailed and take up to two hours to complete. We would search for traditional Down Syndrome markers such as heart defects and the amount of spacing between the eyes.”

“And why is this the least reliable option?”

“Well, 80% of Down Syndrome babies look ‘normal’ on these ultrasounds. The ultrasound could be free of any markers and your baby could end up having Downs.”

So we decided to go ahead and schedule the level II ultrasound, because while we thought we would want to know for sure, when it came down to it, the risks weren’t worth it. My level II ultrasound couldn’t be scheduled until the 22nd week of pregnancy, so they killed two birds with one stone so to speak and checked all the other things that they would normally check approximately mid-way through a pregnancy. It was at this ultrasound that we could have found out the sex of the baby. The ultrasound technician asked us two or three times if we wanted to know, and each time we said no. She even offered to put it in an envelope in case we changed our minds later, but we denied that as well. It was so exciting knowing that she knew whether we were having a boy or a girl. Anyway, she didn’t find any Down Syndrome markers during the ultrasound, but we knew that this was only somewhat reassuring.

And so, for 23 weeks of my pregnancy, we worried about whether or not we would have a baby with Down Syndrome. At first, I was terrified. David has a second cousin with Down Syndrome, so we knew it was “in the genes.” Of course we wouldn’t want our baby any less and we would love him/her just as much, but like all parents, we wanted what was best for our child. Since my brother is mentally handicapped, I know that mentally handicapped individuals are able to live long and fulfilling lives, but is his life different? Yes. Does he get excluded from a lot of things that “normal” people get to do? Yes.  We just wanted our son or daughter to have the best possible life he/she could.

Like I said, at first I was terrified, and I did a lot of reading about babies and children with Down Syndrome.  I also read a lot about what it was like to parent such a child. I found numerous stories of women who had the same exact odds as I did. Some of them ended up having Down Syndrome babies, and some of them didn’t. I also read plenty of stories of women who gave birth to Down Syndrome babies who had better chances and were less likely to have a baby with Down Syndrome than I had. However, with each day, I became less and less afraid of what it would be like if our baby was born with Down Syndrome.  Did it still cross my mind? Of course it did, but towards the end of my pregnancy, it was not something I feared or thought much about it (and this says a lot, because I’m a person who tends to over think, over worry, and over analyze everything.) I was at peace with it, and I knew that no matter what we would be happy and our baby would be happy.

On the day of Porter’s birth–when I knew for sure that it was the day I was going to meet my baby–I can honestly say that it was not something I was worried about. All I wanted was for our baby to be healthy and I wanted to meet him/her so badly.  It truly didn’t matter. Even when Porter was placed on my belly for the first time, I didn’t search his face for any Down Syndrome markers. (And if I’m honest, the first thing I looked at was his crotch anyway).

If we ever decide to have another baby and if we are able to get pregnant again, I’m not sure whether or not we would get the same first trimester testing completed. As of now, I don’t think we would.  For us, it caused a lot unnecessary worry and grief, and if the outcome wouldn’t change my mind about wanting the pregnancy, then I don’t see much of a reason to get the testing.

I was unsure for a long time if I was ever going to share this story. In fact, aside from our families, we didn’t tell very many people about it, even when it happened. However, an old friend of mine just recently told me that my post(s) about my miscarriage  have really helped her get through her own miscarriage. In fact, I’ve had many people–some of which I haven’t talked to in years–reach out to me to tell me about their own experiences or to tell me how much they appreciated my honesty in my posts. Some people even called me brave (me!) After this friend recently contacted me, I thought about sharing this story. I realized that it’s impossible to really know what people are going through or have been through, and I thought that maybe my story could help someone. That’s my hope anyway.

Stay tuned for a 5  month update (with pictures, I promise!)


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One year ago today…

What a difference a year can make. It’s a saying that may be heard quite often, but in this case, it really holds a lot of truth. One year ago, on April 9, 2012, I found out that I was pregnant. (Confession: I still have the positive test in one of my bathroom drawers.) When the little pink line first appeared, I wasn’t even sure it was a positive test. It was barely there. I had to hold it up to the light, just to be sure that there, in fact, was something there. I was only 11 days past ovulation, so I knew it was early (but possible) to get a positive test.

I was excited, but after miscarrying in January, I was a little hesitant to get too excited. Knowing that Porter was already growing inside me at that point makes me feel a little badly about that now, but I’m sure it’s pretty common among women who have miscarried.

I’ve told the story of how I told David I was pregnant the first time, but I don’t think I’ve told the story about the second time. Of course, I didn’t want to make as big of a deal the second time around. Yes, it was a big deal, but it was difficult for me to celebrate after our first loss.  I knew that I wanted to tell him in some way without actually saying the words “I’m pregnant,” but I wasn’t sure how. Eventually I settled on buying a book with a silly title. I don’t even remember the title exactly, but it was something along the lines of My Boys Can Swim.  So I bought the book and hid it away for when the time came to use it. I thought for sure that if I gave him the book that he’d understand what I was trying to tell him, but it didn’t exactly work out that way.

Let’s rewind a little bit. On the morning of Monday, April 9, I did take a pregnancy test but it was a big fat negative. David had stayed home from work that day because he had gotten severe food poisoning over the weekend and was still recovering. I came home from school and immediately went to the bathroom to take another test–I had been holding my pee for several hours by this point. I had purchased a huge pack of pregnancy test strips off of eBay, so I had plenty of tests to spare.  I took the test and waited a few minutes and saw the fainest of pink lines. I didn’t know what to do. I stayed in the bathroom for several minutes. I wasn’t mentally prepared to tell David, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to NOT tell him. I located the book that was hidden away in my nightstand and walked into the living room where David was watching tv. I handed him the book and sat down next to him on the couch. He looked at the book, literally said, “Oh, thanks,” and continued watching tv. My plan failed. I thought to myself Now what? I sat there for a few minutes and went to the bathroom to retrieve the positive pregnancy test. I came back out into the living room and with a smile on my face threw it at David’s chest. He picked it up and said, “Is that a line?” and I said, “Yes!” About 15 seconds later he said, “Oh, is that why you gave me that book?” I laughed and said yes and he replied with, “Oh, I thought you were just giving that to me to read.” So my plan didn’t go exactly as planned (Do plans ever go exactly as planned?) but it ended up being special in its own way.

I’m about to get TMI here.

I started bleeding the very next day, and my doctor sent me to the hospital to get a quantitative pregnancy test. After getting the numbers back, I was told that the pregnancy was likely  not viable because the number was too low. My number was an 11, and a 10 is a negative pregnancy test. Since I was already bleeding, the nurse on the phone said that it was likely an early miscarriage. I was told to go back in 48 hours to get re-tested and to see if my number at least doubled. My second test only came back as a 44. I thought this was good news (it quadrupled instead of doubled) but the nurse said that according to the first day of my last period that my number should be much higher than a 44. Again, they warned that the pregnancy may not be viable. I continued to bleed for a few weeks and when the bleeding increased, we were sent to the hospital for an emergency ultrasound when I was about 5 weeks pregnant. A sac was visible but nothing was in the sac. However, this was not abnormal, as a perfectly fine pregnancy would not show anything in the sac at 5 weeks. I continued to bleed for a few more weeks, and we were never sure if I was miscarrying again or if I was bleeding for some other unknown reason. I continued to take a pregnancy test every day until I was 30-some days past ovulation, and I loved watching the line grow darker and darker. However, this was not complete reassurance since hcg (what a pregnancy test tests for) stays in a woman’s system for awhile even while and after miscarrying. It wasn’t until I was about 8 weeks pregnant when the bleeding decreased and eventually stopped. This was also around the time that we heard Porter’s heartbeat for the first time.

Despite the worries early on, we didn’t keep our secret to ourselves for too long. My sister’s birthday was the weekend following the Monday I tested positive and I was planning on going down there to help her celebrate. I knew that she would be suspicious if I wasn’t drinking, so we decided to tell our immediate families later that same week. The memories of telling our families are some that will stay with me for a long, long time, and it was a great feeling to be able to give Karin such a wonderful birthday “gift.”

So…long story (not so) short, a year ago today was the first day of this journey called motherhood, even if I wasn’t sure it would end up that way. As I reflect on the past year, it seems to have gone by so quickly but so slowly at the same time. I am so amazed by what has happened in the past year. I am amazed by what my body achieved and was capable of; I am amazed by David and his natural abilities to be a good father; and every day I am amazed by Porter.

We are blessed.

Disclaimer: This picture was NOT taken one year ago today, but it was taken a few weeks later. I am holding the first positive test in the picture, though. 

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All I want for Christmas…

I am officially about 8 hours away from my due date and I can’t help but to feel like Christmas Eve is going to come and go without the arrival of baby B. All I (we) want for Christmas is to have our baby boy or girl in our arms, but I feel pretty confident at this point that baby will make us wait a little bit longer to show his/her face.

To say that I have been anxious (and a little bit crazy)  is an extreme understatement; however, I have to admit that I’m coming to terms with the fact that our baby is probably going to be late. I feel better about it today than I have any other day this week, and if tomorrow comes and goes without the birth of baby B, then I’ll be okay. I’ve been having contractions on and off for a week and a half now, and I think baby just gets a kick out of having us go into panic mode for a short while. We actually went to the hospital yesterday because I hadn’t felt the baby move in several hours and our doctors always advised us not to take that lightly. Baby’s heartbeat was normal and everything seemed fine. I was having contractions while hooked up to the machines, but they were not regular enough or following enough of a pattern for them to keep me there. Thus, back home we went.

If nothing else, this baby has taught us an extremely important lesson: patience.

I’ve had approximately 14 million people text me, email me, call me, or facebook me asking me if baby B has arrived. It sucks having to say “Nope, baby is not here yet,” but I know people are just contacting me because they care. I’ve also had a lot of people who have told me “Hang in there! I know how you feel,” but to be honest, a lot of these people don’t actually know how I feel.  Unless a woman has gone past 39 weeks, I do not think she can really relate to how a woman in my position feels. I’m not trying to say that I belong to a special club–because trust me I’d rather not be a part of this group–but I think this is a situation that one really has to experience to know what it’s like (and I think any woman who has been in my position would agree.)  Yes, the tail end of pregnancy is difficult and cumbersome on a woman’s body, but I think the emotional aspect of having to anxiously await for a baby so close to the due date is worse.

During the 39th week of pregnancy, baby’s layers of fat are continuing to thicken (to help control body temperature after birth) and his/her lungs are still maturing as well. Thus, I’m thankful for these last few days that my baby has had (will have) in the womb. As my sister has told me “You can’t rush perfection.”

Until baby decides to come, we will wait (and try to be patient.) Everything is ready, including the nursery where he/she will eventually spend most of his/her nights. Pictures are below.

Thank you for your well wishes and kind words as we await the arrival of our little one. We truly appreciate all your thoughts and prayers!

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Baby, it’s cold outside (but you should still come out!)

Baby, it’s cold outside, but I’d still REALLY REALLY like you to come out anyway (like today would be nice.)

In all honesty, I never expected to still be pregnant on the 19th of December. I know I am still 5 days away from my due date, but I have been convinced for the past month or so that I was going to go early (although technically I’d still be early even if I gave birth today.) All of my friends (with the exception of two) have gone into labor anywhere from 10 days to 4 weeks early with their first babies. I was convinced I would also fall into that category. My body seemed to start to get ready around week 35 when I was already 1 cm dilated, and even though that’s not a guarantee, even my doctor claimed that it could be anytime in the following weeks. However, no such luck.

My original guess for the baby’s arrival was December 20 (David’s was December 22), so perhaps baby just wants to prove mommy right (let’s hope!)

I wouldn’t say that I’m miserable and just “over being pregnant.” That’s not it at all. I’ll admit that I’m in quite a bit of a pain, I can’t sleep but a few hours a night, and whether I’m sitting, standing, or laying, I’m uncomfortable, but I can deal with the discomfort. I JUST WANT TO MEET MY BABY! I am so anxious and cannot wait for him/her to get here. It is almost driving me crazy. Not to mention, we are SO CLOSE to finding out if Baby B is a boy or a girl; the anticipation is almost too much! I feel like I’ve been pregnant for so long, and I know our lives are going to change in a myriad of ways once we walk into our home as a family of 3 instead of a family of 2, but I am so ready for that! There will be a million challenges thrown our way, there will be a million times when we question our decisions, and I’m sure we’ll make a million mistakes…but BRING IT ON. We are ready to be parents!

I want to give a sincere thank you to all of you who have been involved and checked up on me throughout this pregnancy. There are so many people who care (who I didn’t think would) and there are people who haven’t expressed much interest (who I thought would) so it has really put things into perspective for me.  Many of you have made this journey so much easier for me, and I question on a daily basis how I would have done it without some of you. THANK YOU!

On a completely unrelated note, I’m still waiting for the rest of our maternity pictures to come in the mail, but here are a few of them. We had the same photographers who photographed our wedding, and they did a fabulous job! These were taken when I was 32 weeks pregnant. Sorry, I don’t know how to make the photos bigger!

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Waiting Game

Here we are thirteen days before our due date, so now it’s just a waiting game.  My doctors have been saying that it really could happen at any time, and so we’re just trying to stay on our toes! I’m still working, but Friday is my last day. We’ll see if I make it until then. I was absolutely miserable last week and could have sworn the end (or the beginning!) was near. This past weekend some crazy things were happening, and I momentarily thought I was in the beginning stages of labor. However, the past few days I have felt like I have “returned to normal,” so we’ll see what happens. I’m still doubtful that I’ll make it to my due date, but only baby can decide if that will hold true or not. Tomorrow is 12/12/12, which would be pretty cool, and Thursday is David’s birthday, which would also be fun.

Either way, I can’t believe that baby B will be here so soon. We are getting so anxious! It truly will be the best Christmas gift we could ever ask for! Even now, it’s hard to believe that we will have a baby in a matter of days! While it seems to have gone “so fast” for everyone else, I feel like I’ve been pregnant forever. I don’t remember what I looked like or how I felt before I was pregnant.

It hasn’t been too difficult not knowing if baby B is a boy or a girl…until recently. Now that we’re so close, I’ve been thinking about it more and more (not that I didn’t think about it before, but I guess it just seems to be preoccupying my thoughts even more!) I really can’t wait to find out, and while I’ve been leaning towards boy all along, I truly have no idea and will be surprised either way.

My good friend Diana wanted my students to vote on the matter and I came into my classroom one day with the following poster hanging on my white board.

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When the official votes were in, the verdict was overwhelming boy.

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And since I’ve been so bad at posting pictures, here are some from the past few weeks.

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Thankful + Update

I’ve been a terrible baby blogger (my apologies!) but I’ve been working like a mad woman trying to get my classroom and sub ready for my upcoming absence. I only have 15 (school) days left until my maternity leave starts, and it’s really freaking me out! I’m starting my leave about a week prior to my due date, because I wanted to end on a Friday (just to make it easier on my students and the sub.) Hopefully I’m not just sitting around waiting for baby to come–and even if I am, I’m sure I’ll have some Christmas presents to wrap. 🙂

Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought I’d take a moment to give thanks. I have so many things I am thankful for, and it would be impossible to list them all, but here are a few. For starters, I’m thankful for this 2 hour fog delay, which is allowing me the extra time to write this post. 🙂
I’m thankful that my body has given me the opportunity to get pregnant and carry this baby. In a few days (only 12) baby will be considered full term, and I will (finally) be able to let out a huge sigh of relief. This pregnancy has been stressful (though third trimester has by far been the least stressful) and I honestly haven’t been able to be very relaxed and care-free. Don’t get me wrong: I’ve tried to enjoy my pregnancy as much as possible, but there have been several hiccups and bumps along the way.

I’m thankful for my strong and healthy son or daughter who continues to wake me up at night with his/her movements. Thanks for letting mommy know you’re okay in there!

I’m thankful to have a wonderful, caring, and supportive husband who is just as excited about our baby as I am. He talks to my belly nightly, and he likes to hold my belly, because it’s like he’s “holding the baby.” I know he will make an amazing father, and I cannot wait to see that side of him.

I’m thankful for my supportive family and friends who have been a constant source of comfort. Numerous people have reached out to me during this time, some of which have been completely unexpected. Our families have also been supportive (emotionally and financially) and I couldn’t be more grateful for their constant care and support. There is one thing I know for sure: this baby will never run out of people who love him/her.

I’m thankful that I am able to take some time off work, even if it’s not as long as I’d like. Likewise, I’m thankful for my health insurance, which will help to keep me and my baby safe and healthy.

I’m thankful for my body pillow, as it’s probably the only thing that’s allowing me to get any sleep at all, even if it’s only a few interrupted hours.

I’m thankful for decaf coffee, because I can’t tell a difference in taste, and I like to trick my body into thinking its getting a caffeine fix every morning.

I’m thankful for maternity jeans/pants and leggings. When finding things to wear every morning is a battle, at least I can count on these few staple items.

I’m thankful for my husband’s job and prosperous family business. I’m equally as thankful for my father-in-law who will allow David some time off when the baby is born.
I could make a list a mile long, but I’ll stop there. Truth be told, I couldn’t be more grateful this holiday season.

David and I have continued to take weekly belly pictures, but I have been SO BAD about transferring them to the computer to upload. I promise to post some pictures soon.
And now for a small update on the baby: When I went in at 34 weeks, baby Blythe was breech, and I was convinced then and there that baby would stay that way and I would have to have a c-section. However, when we went to the doctor at 35 weeks, baby had flipped and is now head down (at least for now!) Also, I am currently 1 centimeter dilated and 70% effaced. While that may be TMI for some of you, I figure if you’re reading this, you’ll be okay with knowing that information. 🙂 At first I thought that it was way too early for me to be dilated at all, but my doctor reassured me that it was fine and it didn’t mean I was going into labor by any means. I could go in to labor tomorrow, or I could stay this way and not progress for weeks. There is no way of knowing. Baby B will decide when he/she is ready to make his/her appearance. I cannot wait to meet you, baby!

Here’s to Thanksgiving, and the last one we’ll have as a family of two.

 


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Why Pregnancy Turns You Into a Three Year Old

The title of this post speaks for itself.

Now that I’ve made it to third trimester, I feel knowledgeable enough to write such a post. The following are reasons why I now feel like a three year old instead of a twenty-eight year old woman:

Reason #1: Pregnancy makes you feel like you could possibly pee your pants at any moment.

Pregnancy makes you pee. Any pregnant woman or mother will tell you that. By the end of a woman’s pregnancy, the amount of blood in her body is almost 50% more than before getting pregnant. This extra blood and fluid is processed through the kidneys and bladder causing you to have to pee a heck of a lot more. The growing uterus also adds pressure on the bladder as well. As a teacher, I don’t get to go to the bathroom whenever I feel like it. We have ninety minute classes, so I have to wait quite awhile. Even if I go between every class during passing period, I usually have to go again within ten minutes of the next class starting.  Likewise, there have been many times when I will go to the bathroom a few minutes before David and I are planning to leave the house, only to run back to the bathroom before actually walking out the door.

Reason #2: You cannot eat a meal without getting food all over yourself.

This is what bibs are made for, people. However, I don’t feel like it would be appropriate to go purchase a bib only to wear it myself while eating my lunch at school. (Plus, would it even fit around my neck? Probably not.) My friends may not care about the bits of food and saliva falling out of my mouth, but the new guy filling in as a maternity sub? Yeah, he probably cares. Too bad he’s seen this happen already.

In fact, David will tell people that this is one of the biggest changes in me since getting pregnant (aside from my growing belly, of course). I am not a particularly messy eater, but for some reason, nothing makes it into my mouth without falling all over my face and clothing first. (Side note: This is particularly frustrating when you feel like you are starving all of the time.)

Reason #3: You cry over spilled milk.

Okay, I haven’t actually cried over spilled milk, but pregnancy has made me cry over stupid, meaningless stuff. I’m not really a crier; I never have been. Even the movies that make “everyone cry” usually don’t make me tear up at all (unless we’re talking about The Notebook, because the first time I saw that, I was hyperventilating.  That was circa 2004 when it came out in the theaters. Ask David for that story.) Anyway, pregnancy hormones do all sorts of crazy things to the body, and apparently making you cry is one of them. Yesterday I cried because I stepped on a hanger in the closet and it broke (true story.)

Reason #4: You want to eat dessert before dinner.

I haven’t had MANY cravings during pregnancy–I still have thirteen weeks to go, so maybe that will change–but I definitely crave SWEETS. I’ve been tempted to eat an entire batch of brownies for dinner. (Disclaimer: I’ve never actually done this.)

Reason #5: You cannot tie or buckle your shoes by yourself.

I have reached the point in my pregnancy which makes it really uncomfortable for me to bend over. One thing I took for granted pre-pregnancy? Tying my shoes. I know it seems ridiculous, but if my shoes have ties or buckles, it is absolute misery trying to get them on and tied/buckled. I often give up and then David will come and help me.  He will make a good Daddy. (Side note: Can three year olds tie their own shoes? I have no idea.)

Reason #6: You wake up in the middle of the night–sweating and in a panic–from the most horrible nightmares, and all you want is to be re-tucked into bed.

Before I got pregnant, I heard a lot of people talk about pregnancy dreams, specifically nightmares. I never thought they could be that bad, but I take it all back. I still have normal dreams every once and awhile, but usually my dreams are actual nightmares. One time I even woke up yelling and crying, and didn’t calm down until David had his arms around me and was able to convince me I was dreaming. Pregnancy hormones are brutal. Why can’t I dream about rainbows and puppies and Ryan Gosling?

Reason #7: You constantly feel sleep deprived, which causes you to sleep like crazy or not at all.

I don’t think that three year olds constantly feel sleep deprived, but they do sleep a lot, right? There will be days when I feel like I could sleep for twenty-four hours straight if someone let me. And then there are other times when I wake up in the middle of the night and for the life of me cannot fall back to sleep. Sometimes I even wake David up, so that he can snuggle me. “What’s wrong?” he’ll ask, and I’ll tell him “I can’t sleep.”

When I was little I remember waking up in the middle of the night and not being able to fall back asleep. When I was really young, I’d wake up my parents and climb into bed with them. When I got a little older, I’d wake them up and they’d ask, “What’s wrong?” and I’d say “I can’t sleep.” I usually didn’t get the sympathy that I hoped for and was sent away with a “Go back to bed.”

Reason #8: Sometimes you talk and make no sense at all.

I consider myself to be a pretty intelligent, competent person, but pregnancy has not made me feel that way 100% of the time.  There have been many times when I’ll be talking and in the middle of my sentence, I have no idea what I’m saying. Sometimes my students have to remind me what I was talking about, and sometimes they had no idea what I was talking about in the first place.  Other times I think I know what I’m talking about, yet I’ll say something totally insane and not even realize it.

One weekend afternoon David and I were sitting on the couch, and this conversation took place.

“Hun, why don’t you go take a nap? You are really tired.”

“No, I don’t want to.”

“Why not?”

“I want to be able to fall asleep yesterday.”

“Yesterday?”

“Yes, yesterday.”

I meant that I wanted to be able to fall asleep that night, but yesterday made complete sense to me at the time. There have been hundreds of conversations like this. I imagine that it’s kind of like when a three year old talks nonsense.

Reason #9: Your bodily fluids increase (especially fluids coming from your nose).

Now, I cannot actually say that three year olds have more fluids coming from their noses than the typical child or person, but they always have snotty noses, right? Well, SO DO I. I feel like I am constantly blowing my nose, because it is constantly running. I have no idea if this is actually attributed to pregnancy or not, but I noticed it quite early on and it hasn’t stopped.

Reason #10: People are constantly acting like your parents and checking up on you.

This is definitely a good thing, and it’s nice to know that people care, but sometimes it can be pretty humorous. One time at school one of my students said to me, “Mrs. Blythe, you shouldn’t be lifting that!” What was I lifting? A stack of library books that definitely was not that heavy.

My mom called me a few weeks ago while I was snacking on some chips and salsa (this HAS been one of my few cravings). Chips are obviously loud and over the phone, they are even louder. She asked what I was eating and when I told her, she said, “I hope they are low sodium chips.” I kind of ignored her comment and continued on with the conversation. A few seconds later, she said, “Well?” and I said, “Well, what?” “Are they low sodium chips?” “No, mom, and I’m a grown woman! The baby is fine!” See what I mean? Eight months ago she wouldn’t have cared about my sodium filled chips.

I probably could come up with a few more reasons, but I’ve dedicated enough time to this post (and have successfully procrastinated grading my students’ personal narratives) so I’ll leave you with these ten. The next time you question the sanity of a pregnant woman, cut her some slack, because she may be operating as a three year old.


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Personal Choices

I know I haven’t been very good about posting lately. There have been so many things that I’ve wanted to write about, but I just haven’t made the time to do so.
Today’s topic: personal choices.

Deciding to have or not to have children in and of itself is a personal choice. Every couple is different and whether a couple decides to have children or not, it is that couple’s choice, and it really shouldn’t matter to anyone else.

In my 26 weeks of pregnancy, there have been many times when I have been shocked at what people will say regarding personal, individual choices. Some of these I’ve touched upon before.

1) Our decision to not find out the gender: People LOVE to comment on this, and while we’ve received mostly positive responses, there have been some people who have tried to convince us otherwise. Some people even try to convince us to find out and then keep something else a secret, like the baby’s name. The reason we are not finding out the gender is NOT to give everyone else a surprise. In fact, it has nothing to do with everyone else. This is about us and even before we got married, we talked about keeping our first baby’s gender a surprise. I’m glad it will be a surprise for everyone else, but sorry, this one is for us. P.S. There are some people who are convinced that we actually know the gender but just aren’t telling anyone. This 100% couldn’t be further from the truth. We really do not know whether baby b is a boy or a girl!

2) Not sharing the names we have picked out: We do have a boy name and a girl name picked out, but we haven’t really been sharing our decisions with anyone. Again, this is not for the surprise factor, but in all honesty, we don’t want other people’s opinions. This is OUR choice and if we like the name, that’s all that should matter. In truth, the two names we have picked out have been chosen (or at least discussed) for 3+ years, and surprisingly, they are still our “front runners.” The girl name has been one we’ve honestly been talking about for at least 7 years and the boy name surfaced about 3-4 years ago. The middle names we have chosen have been more recent, but we want to keep the names to ourselves. Since David and I have talked about our “girl name” for a long time now, I remember mentioning it once to a friend about 5 years ago. David and I weren’t married and we weren’t thinking about having kids soon, but the conversation turned to baby names, and I mentioned the name we had chosen for a girl. One of my friends reacted really negatively to the name, and while it didn’t change my opinion about ever using it, it definitely did change how I felt about sharing our names. The way we see it, if someone doesn’t like the name after the baby is already here, he/she is less likely to voice his/her opinion about it.

3) Our decision to use (or try to use) cloth diapers: We have made the decision to cloth diaper (or at least we are going to try our hardest to make this happen!) We obviously have no experience in cloth diapering, but we’d like to at least try it. I have to admit that David did take some convincing, but now he’s all for it. When I mention this to people, some have quite the reaction. One person even said “Well, good luck with THAT. Let’s see how long that lasts.” I know 100% for a fact that this person did not even attempt to cloth diaper.

4) The amount of time I’m taking off work: Believe me, if I could take an entire semester off to stay at home with the baby, I would; however, it’s just not financially possible for us. I plan to take 10-11 weeks off before returning to work (depending on when the baby actually decides to make his/her appearance.) A woman at work asked me how long I was going to take off and when I told her, she began to chastise me. By the end of our conversation I felt like a terrible mother before I have even become a mother. I’m sorry if I’m not taking enough time off in your opinion, but I’m doing the best I can do.

I could keep going, but by now I’ve probably made my point: pregnancy–and many things that go along with pregnancy–requires a couple to make personal choices about a number of issues.   We–like most couples–make our decisions with our family’s best interests in mind. While we are bound to make some mistakes and have some regrets, we’re doing what we feel is best for us right now. If you don’t agree, you have every right to feel that way; but please, think twice before voicing your critical and judgmental opinions.

Once words are spoken, they cannot be unspoken.