Tuesday, May 22, 2007

New cravings...fun presents!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
new cravings...fun presents!

I have been having a few new cravings. All along, I've loved Pizza. =) That is still a very strong craving. However, I've been eating cereal like a crazy person! I think somedays I eat it in the morning AND at night time. either for dinner or nighty snack. =) all kinds of cereal are GREAT! And i used to hated anything other than skim milk, but now i really like to have cereal with 1% or 2% =) I also eat strawberries like they are going out of town forever. =) It's bad. I eat soooo many strawberries! But, hey...dr says i'm healthy and that's all that matters! =) I finally am at a place in my pregnancy where food tastes good! i actually love meals again. i love food and it's amazing! it was 4 1/2 long months of hating food...so, i'm thrilled to enjoy it again!

Along with the thrills of pregnancy cravings, i've been SPOILED with the thrills of getting presents in the mail! My parents and Aimee send me cutie stuff for the baby all the time. But now people i don't even know are sending me gifts...it's so heartwarming! The chicblvd family is amazing at putting the word out there that i'm the new mom to be. and so many people are sending me fun stuff from their companies. All of which, I love! Mom4life.com sent me the sweetest baby journal ever. I use it all the time. I would and will give it as a gift for friends and family who become pregnant. It's just such a fun time in life, why not document it? =) Anyway, I will make sure to keep all of you posted on all the fun baby items i'm receiving! I'm getting such great ideas for friends that are prego. These vendors send the CUTEST things! Stay tuned! =)


Turtles at week 20!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Turtles at week 20!

Finally! Week 20 rolled around...we were SOOOOOO excited! My sister Anna was able to go to the first ultra sound at 14 weeks, but Aimee wasn't. She lives in the San Diego area and it's hard for her to get up to Huntington last minute due to her busy schedule. But...she planned ahead and took a half day off work so that she could come with us! The ultra sound was on May 8th and 3pm. =) What is also neat about this day is not only that Aimee came, but that it's my mom's birthday! I think she wished she could have been there as well, but she was in NYC with Anna...I'm jealous!

Anyway, Micah and I went to the ultra sound and Aimee met us there a few minutes later. While there the technician said, "now, 14 weeks was too early for you to tell...don't be surprised if I tell you a different sex today." Micah and I looked at eachother like, "oh no!" we had already planned on a boy. picked out a name, told our family and friends...but then on the flip side, we could care less. as long as the ultra sound told us our little one was healthy and on the right track! =)

"Girls look like hamburgers...and boys look like turtles," the technician said. I looked at Micah like, what? that's an odd thing to say! She found the heartbeat, and Aimee teared up. It's a pretty emotional part of any ultrasound. Just realizing that there really is something living and growing inside is AMAZING! The heartbeat really is an amazing thing to hear. =) We were all so caught up in seeing the images. The face, the spine, the little arms and legs, hands and feet! I have this amazing picture from the ultrasound of just a foot! It's pressed against my belly and it's the BEST picture EVER!!! We were all cooing and looking at the screen when all the sudden she paused the picture. "And there's your turtle," she said. We were smiles all around. It is a boy after all!

What an amazing day, shared with my perfect husband and adorable sister. This was an event to remember! I couldn't be happier at this moment!


My Booglet moved in!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007
My Booglet moved in!

My younger sister, Anna, is one of my very best friends. both of my sisters are my closest friends in the world. i adore them. i have a special relationship with each of them. anna is my sister that i tease a lot. she's my younger sister, so maybe that's why. but we spend a lot of time laughing and playing around. its been that way ever since we were younger. aimee, my older sister, and i used to tease her mercilessly when she was around the age of 5. She had that horrible Dorothy Hammil haircut...looked like a bowl around her head =) and we teased her and told her that she was really a boy! Funny thing is she believed us for a short period in time. =) We told her that her real name was "Bert" and that she just hadn't grown a "pee pee" yet. HORRIBLE! i know! But it was hilarious. Mom and Dad finally blew our cover. But ever since then we lovingly teased her by calling her "Bert". Well, middle school rolled around and she HATED that name. So it changed one day from Bert to "Booglet Moonchinsky". Odd, i know. But she's my Booglet! Always has been and I still refer to her as "Boogy". Anyway, She moved out here 2 years ago to go to university in costa mesa. I have so much fun spending time with her. She practically lives here at my home. she's ALWAYS over! But its a good thing =) She's the kind of family that you never get tired of. she's always fun to be around. She and Micah get along GREAT! And of course I love that! She's literally such a part of my every day that i can't imagine her NOT living close by. As summer rolled around she decided to move home to MY house! =) I was thrilled that she chose to stay with me...i was dreading her going home to mom and dad's in Colorado cause i knew i'd miss her too much! But...My Booglet moved in! And i'm so happy!

My husband is a pro-surfer, so he travels quite a bit...especially during the summer months. And having Anna at home will really help me not to get so lonely. PLUS! As an added bonus, Anna is going to be my baby's nanny during her school year. So it's nice having her here, watching me go through this whole prego process. It definitely bonds her to him. I already feel the baby move when she's around. I know he ADORES her as much as I do! =)


We cheated!

Monday, May 14, 2007
We cheated!

So, one of my sister's friends is actually pregnant right now as well! She and I oddly enough have the same due-week. I am due on Sept. 23, while she is due Sept. 30th. It's very fun seeing her go through the same things I am. And it's funny, cause she has gotten to do all the fun stuff before me, and i'm due before her! =) For example, she already knows the sex of her baby and we are only 14 weeks along! She is having a boy and i'm so jealous that she knows!!!!

So, I convinced Micah to go with me to a place in Costa Mesa that specializes in Baby Ultra Sounds. It is $25 to find out the sex of your baby, plus an additional $5 to get pictures and a dvd of the ultra sound. So.... I called and they had an appointment at 4pm. =) Yay! They said on the phone that they can't guarantee the sex of the child until after 20 weeks, but that they normally can tell around 12-14 weeks. Weird, I know. Especially because the Dr. told me that you can't get a clear picture until week 20. But...nonetheless, we were so excited and wanted to go anyway!

My sister, Anna, came over and the three of us went together. I was so excited all the way there that I couldn't stop talking. I was probably driving everyone in the car crazy. But I think Micah and Anna were just as excited as I was. =) We arrived and had to wait. It was the worst waiting period EVER cause i was so anxious to see the baby on the monitor screen.

Once it was my turn, I couldn't believe my eyes. I loved seeing my baby on the screen. The tiny body, arms, legs...the little heart beating so perfectly! It was so emotional and so fun! I was fine with NOT knowing the sex, just because i loved getting to see the baby move on screen. But before long the lady announced, "and there is his unit. you are having a boy."

WAIT...WHAT? ARE YOU SURE? OH MY GOSH, I AM SO EXCITED! all sorts of thoughts were running through my head. Micah and I didn't care either way what we were having. But it was still kind of a shock to hear the sex. Obviously you know it's one or the other, but you are so anxious to hear what your baby is, that either sex would have shocked me! =) We were thrilled. It was a very special moment and I was so happy to have cheated the normal "20 week" rule. =) we felt naughty that we did that, but it was soooo worth it! but, what if the lady was wrong? and what if it really IS too early to tell? I guess we'll know for sure in 6 more weeks. =)


Monday, May 14, 2007

Oranges from the Yard

March 2007

I am so incredibly morning sick, it's so annoying. Food tastes gross, I feel gross, it's not that fun. But oddly, I don't mind it. I think because I know it's a good sign. The dr. said that morning sickness is actually a sign of healthy pregnancy. So, I welcome it with open arms! But, nonetheless, it would be nice to start enjoying food again.

Micah has discovered a little trick, though. Every morning before I get out of bed, he picks an orange from the tree in our backyard and peels and cuts it up for me. It's honestly the ONLY thing that helps me not to get sick when I stand up and attempt to start my day. =) He had read somewhere that citrus helps nausea, but the oranges from our back yard are the ONLY kind of citrus that works for me and baby. =)

Hopefully i don't get sick of eating oranges! We'll see how long this lasts, and how long this little trick helps. But anyone out there that is struggling right now with morning sickness, try an orange. It's amazing!


Telling the parents

Micah's parents live literally less than 3 minutes away. It was so hard NOT to tell them during the first few weeks of pregnancy, but we really wanted to wait and tell them in a special way. So, 2 weeks after we learned of our pregnancy, we planned on special ways to tell our parents.

With mine, it was more difficult as they live in Colorado. So, we bought bibs that said, "I love Grandpa" and "If mommy says no, ask Grandma". We took text pictures of them and sent them over the phone. My mom and dad were both thrilled. Dad said he was golfing and after receiving his text, he golfed the best game he ever had! =)It was fun because moments after sending the texts to them, we went over to Micah's parents house to tell them.

We had acted as if we were bringing lunch over after church. They were super excited that we were doing that, and had NO idea anything was up. So, we arrived with Sparkling Apple Cider, Baby Bibs and various kinds of baby food. =) We started passing out the baby food and everyone was confused except for Micah's mom. She said, "oh my, are you saying what i think you're saying?" we were quiet and smiled, waiting for his dad and sister to catch on. They finally did after we exploded with, "we're pregnant!" More tears and smiles were all around. It was a special moment. And after we celebrated with a Sparkling Cider toast, we went out to lunch.

All in all, I think the day went well. Both sets of grandparents were so happy and excited. This is the first grandbaby on both sides... very exciting for everyone!


Wait... I'm Pregnant?

January 17th, 2007

Tonight my husband, Micah, and I found out we are pregnant! I had gone to lunch earlier in the day with a friend. She and I always had our cycles around the same time and I hadn't gotten mine yet! So, we took a pregnancy test in the bathroom stall and I could not believe the test read 'positive'. I literally thought it was lying to me! My husband and I weren't planning on having a baby for a few more years....but, I guess that's the fun in life! All the unexpected surprises!

So, I after taking the test at lunch, I called my husband. Micah was out of town for a trade show in San Diego. I said, "honey, I just took a pregnancy test and it was positive!" He was so happy from the start. I was the one who freaked out! Not in a bad way, in a very honest, "i can't believe it" way. =)

As the day went on, I was going crazy in my own skin. Waiting for Micah to come home felt like an eternity. I knew he wouldn't be home til morning, so I called my younger sister over and over again. She is a college student and was in class at the time. She later told me that I was scaring her cause I was calling so often. I finally text her with "CALL ME. IT'S IMPORTANT." So she left class and I started bawling when I heard her voice on the other end of the phone. "I think I'm pregnant. Will you come over?" She laughed, "ALLI! You scared me! I thought something was wrong!" So, she left to come over and together we went to CVS pharmacy to buy two more prego tests!

We had so much fun taking all 4 of the tests! She and I were laughing cause they would turn positive within like 3 seconds. We took pictures and just enjoyed the night. We called our older sister and she cried on the phone when we told her. She was so happy. We were all so thrilled about the little surprise on the way.

This baby is definitely unexpected, but I couldn't be happier. We already have so much love for this child. This is a HUGE blessing and we can't wait to start this new journey!


Tuesday, May 8, 2007


My name is Christy--and I just found out that I'm pregnant! My "girlfriends" at ChicBlvd.com are following me along this journey which you will see on video , email (sign up for the newsletter www.chicblvd.com/newsletter_signup.html) and this diary blog. Thank you for joining us on the journey!

My New Life As A Mom-WE’RE PARENTS!
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These last few weeks have seemed so tremendous and unbelievable all at once. We are honest-to-goodness parents! You always talk about someday starting a family, but it seems so strange when “someday” is “today.” Our lives have quickly become all about naps, feedings, diaper changes and baths—we looked at each other yesterday and realized gone are the days when the weekends were our own.

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I think we’ve slipped into the parenting role rather well though. The other roles? Well, we’ve had a smidge of help. It’s amazing the team of friends and family we’ve leaned on since Grace’s been born—they’ve filled the roles of nurse, chef, housekeeper, babysitter and party planner (ok, usually party planning isn’t something you need—but I was also psycho enough to try and throw Ira a surprise 30th birthday this last month).


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And then there’s trying to prep Grace for a simple outing. I will, inevitably, forget something important in the diaper bag (like a warm blanket)—and will have to makeshift something else (like sub a burpcloth for the blanket) so I don’t feel like a completely worthless mother. Grace needs 5 times as much stuff as Ira and I do when we venture out—diapers and wipes and baby powder and trashbags, a nursing cover and nursing pads and burpcloths and a change of clothes, and last but not least—a binky, a receiving blanket, and a warm blanket too.

If you didn’t know, Murphy’s Law on going out with baby states that: even if you are running perfectly on time, once you have gotten baby completely ready in the appropriate cute outfit (the one you want to show her off to all your friends in), loaded said diaper bag, gotten baby buckled into the carseat, snapped it into the car, wrangled your spouse, locked the house, started the engine, and are inching out of the driveway—the baby must emit massive volumes of spit-up or poop all over herself, her cute outfit, her carseat, carseat base, and the car. By the time this catastrophic event is over, you will be late anyways, so why even try?

I won’t begin to even try to explain the joys of trying to breastfeed modestly in public. Isn’t that an oxymoron?

Hmmm, the stretchmarks, well, stretched. The boobs swelled to inhuman sizes (and sprayed like firehouses—I swear it was impossible to control ‘em). And I fear my body will never be the same again. One girlfriend of mine confided it took EIGHT MONTHS till sex didn’t hurt anymore, so I don’t want to even talk about it right now with you. I’ve also read that though you lose an enormous amount of weight breastfeeding, you can forget even trying to get back to your pre-prego size till after your 3rd post-delivery period. Ugh. Let’s just say I’ve had to invest in a few new pairs of jeans since I loathe the sight of my slip-when-you-stand maternity jeans.

I really do enjoy being a full-time stay-at-home mom! I don’t know how women are able to go back to work—it would be really tricky to figure out how to make it work out even if I did want to return. I never dreamed how quickly the day would fly by (and it really does) between naps and feedings. Before I know it, Ira’s usually home from work, and I’ve barely been able to get anything done around the house, let alone for myself. But it’s all sooo worth it when I am able to look at our little Grace.

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I’m definitely treasuring this time of snuggles and naps; watching her make such leaps and bounds as she grows and begins to discover the world around her. Like that she can put her hands into her mouth (even when mommy hasn’t had a chance to wash them off since that last stranger held them—yikes!), that mommy and daddy love her (so much!), that her little mobile is fun to look at, and dances when she shakes her bassinet. Our new favorite game is copycatting sounds—she’ll coo, I’ll coo back at her, then she’ll coo back at me and smile.
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I love looking at her little feet and toes and nails, watching her when she’s sound asleep, and I even enjoy our special mommy and baby times during midnight feedings (even though I can barely keep my eyes open). Every inch of her is fascinating to me, and I love her little personality, her little voice, and spending time with her each day. I am so blessed beyond words.

I am so excited to watch her little life unfold—and being there for all her milestones. My mom said she couldn’t believe that her baby was having a baby—that it was one of her life’s high points watching Grace be born. And I look at Gracie now, and know that someday I will again trade places with my mom, and Grace will trade places with me—but it seems oh so impossible. My little girl will always be little to me. And I am so so thankful that day is yet a ways off—because I want to savor each step she takes from this day forward. God’s grace: that we should experience such joy.

May you be equally blessed by God’s goodness,

Labor & Delivery of Baby Grace

Last Friday, January 19th at 12:53pm, little Grace Corinne was born. Weighing 7 lbs 14 oz and 18.5 inches long. Ira, Grace and I are all home now and doing fantastic. Can't believe we have a little person here with us!

I ended up getting induced on 1/19 at about 1am. They administered pitocin (the labor-inducing hormone) to get things started, and gradually increased the drip every 1/2 hour--everything was totally manageable. At 6:30am my OB arrived and broke my water, which REALLY got things moving. I was 80% effaced and 2 cm dilated at this point in time. The contractions started getting so intense then, and the doctor said I could still be as much as 10-20 hours away from delivering.

Um, no thank you--I asked for some pain meds, and they recommended I get my epidural. I had really been on the fence about the epidural, but this was the clincher. So they sent in the anesthesiologist who put to rest all my fears, and in less than a half-hour I was virtually pain-free (and felt like a slug from the waist down—seriously, I struggled just to roll over to my other side!). At around 9am or so they checked my progress again, I was around 4 ½ cm dilated, and 90% effaced.

At 11am I began to feel my first contraction in a while, the nurse happened to be in the room, and I mentioned it to her. She said that as the baby’s head descended, that I would start to feel the contractions once again—she said she’d check my progress at noon, unless I was feeling remarkably different. They conjectured that I’d have the baby by mid to late afternoon. The 11am contraction was just the beginning—I was feeling EVERY contraction now, so I pressed the call button at 11:30 to have the nurse check on my progress. She was surprised to find that I was now 100% effaced and 9 ½ cm dilated. Only ½ cm to go!

I started to push at around noon, and my OB came at 12:30, and Grace was here by 12:53pm! Truly a miracle. They placed her little white wiggling body on mine, and I was in shock—I couldn’t believe that this little person just came from inside of me. Ira was there, holding my hand and tearing up over the grand entrance of our little tiny baby girl.

We spent the following 48 hours in the hospital getting acquainted with our new little one. It truly felt like a honeymoon period. We watched her get all cleaned up, get all her little documentation and health tests taken care of, and took our 101 crash course on caring for a newborn (who knew that breastfeeding could be so difficult! Thank you Lord for lactation consultants!)—and of course got to spend hours just gazing into her new little eyes, touching her soft skin, hearing her tiny sounds, and cradling all her new little parts.

We both find it so unfathomable that this new small person is in the world because of us, and because God, in His infinite grace, mercy and goodness, gave us our little Gracie as a gift. We are so so blessed. And I am so happy to have been able to share this experience with all of you. I pray that your experience is just as excellent.

Take care,

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The Countdown is ON

Well, I’m officially in the homestretch. Only 9 days to go until D-Day (delivery day!). And my OB says he’ll induce me on the 19th if she hasn’t come on her own by then—so I will definitely be a mommy here very shortly!!!

Why induce? Well, the doc says that “taller mommies pop bigger babies,” and that the longer I wait after my due date, the greater likelihood I will have for a cesarean. And I dunno about you—but as much as I shy away from the thought of my vagina opening up to 10 centimeters, I’m even more hesitant about having my belly ripped open. So induction, though not ideal, doesn’t sound all that bad compared to major surgery.

So what have I been doing these last couple of weeks? Well, work officially ended for me on December 22. So, now that the holidays are over, I’ve been preparing house. This includes… setting up our baby area, removing tags from tiny clothing, prepping the diaper changing station, cleaning every nook and cranny, assembling various gadgets and gizmos (i.e. car seat, stroller, pack ‘n’ play, etc.), and yes—even getting a 4-door vehicle. I am so thankful for my mom—who will be coming over next week to do all that cleaning that I really can’t (ever tried to bend over a tub and scrub when you’re 9 months along—yikes!).

So in these final days, what am I thinking??? I’m thinking... I’m about to experience labor, probably the craziest physical exertion I will ever endure. And that this is really my last weekend alone with my husband in a very long time—our lives are about to take on an entirely different reality. We’re about to be parents (and really are already). This title will never leave us for the rest of our lives. So crazy to think that in 2 short weeks from now our life together will look totally different. A new little person will be here—with little fingers, little toes, her own little voice, her own smell, and her own warmth. A little person who looks to me and Ira for everything she needs. A little person that we both already love so so much. So incredible to think you can carry so much love for someone that you haven’t exactly met yet. What a blessing, and a joy. I look forward to every moment, every minute of our new life.

Blessings until Grace arrives,

My Ambulance Ride

I would never wish upon you any emergency involving your unborn child. It is my understanding that these things are rare, but they do happen. That was why we were so surprised when we thought we’d discovered that one of these childbirth emergencies was happening to us.

We’ve happily registered and attended several childbirth classes up till now through our hospital. These include Preparation for Childbirth (think labor and delivery prep, including breathing and relaxation techniques), Prenatal Breastfeeding, and Baby Care Basics. All very worthwhile classes. In our Prep for Childbirth class, we learned of some of the dangers that may occur during labor. There was one that they labeled a 911-call, and that’s if the umbilical cord is protruding through the birth canal before the baby. This is a very dangerous, though rare circumstance, that can cut off both air and blood supply to the baby—endangering her little life. This is the danger we faced on the day before Christmas Eve this year.

I was in the shower when I noticed there was a “bulge” protruding from er—“down there.” It felt smooth and soft, and definitely had no nerve endings that seemed to belong to me. Since this part of my body has become increasingly difficult to inspect, I called in the only other expert I knew on the subject—my husband. He said that whatever it was appeared to be a purplish color, and definitely wasn’t normally there. So this threw our otherwise normal morning into complete chaos.

Ira called our OB’s line, but since it was Saturday and the office was closed, he had to wait for the on-call doctor to return our call. So while waiting for the one, he called 911—who immediately dispatched an emergency team.

I was calmly trying to towel off as much as possible, and then immediately tried to elevate my pelvis (something they’d mentioned in classes you were supposed to do to alleviate pressure on the cord). Whatever-it-was felt like it popped back in when I did this. Ira had me move to the bedroom and cover up with a sheet, so that when the medics arrived several moments later I wasn’t naked on the bathroom floor with my hair all wet—I was naked under the sheets with my hair all wet. A much better situation.

I heard the sirens scream up our street and dreaded the thought that they were coming for me, and that all the neighbors would see. I was completely mortified. But I still hoped that all this drama was for nothing, even if it would just make us seem like panicked first-time parents.

There were suddenly 8 male emergency peeps in my untidy, unprepared house. Asking personal questions, and one was inspecting me. Whatever-it-was was no longer visible, and after ruling some items out (since I’d so recently had an ultrasound) the medic made speculations that it might be several different things… the cord, the amniotic sac, or possibly a blood clot. They wrapped me up in blankets, walked me to the gurney, and wheeled me to the ambulance. Ira followed us to the hospital a few minutes behind.

All I could do was pray that everything would be ok for our little baby Grace. We were so worried about her well-being. But I felt reassured that she was ok, because I was feeling little kicks here and there. A sign of fetal distress is lack of movement—and she was still moving, so that was a good sign.

In the ambulance, they slipped an IV in my arm, strapped on heart rate monitors, and fed me oxygen. I tried joking with them as much as possible over the next 30 minutes spent in agonizingly slow holiday traffic. They didn’t feel it necessary to put on the sirens on the way to the hospital as there weren’t any visible signs that I or Grace were in any danger. But the medic speculated that he thought there was a 90% chance I would deliver that day—and that my water had likely broken in the shower without my realizing it.

A 90% chance?!? Woah. I was thinking how unprepared we were for Grace’s arrival still. We had just assembled the crib at least, but nothing else was really ready yet—we didn’t even have a 4-door vehicle to put the car seat in. I had no dresser for her clothes, and as I mentioned before, our house was a wreck from prepping for the holidays. But I realized we might not get a chance to prepare—she could come that day whether we were ready or not.

We arrived at the hospital, and I thought how ironic it was that I’d wanted a tour of the maternity ward—and now I was getting one from the comfort of a gurney, being wheeled by my very own ambulance team of 3. I felt so helpless and completely out of control. And as they wheeled me into my room I saw the little baby bed, and it all came flying at me that I could have a new little person in my life in a matter of moments.

Ira was by my side within 5 minutes as the maternity ward nurses took over. They were monitoring Grace’s heartrate and my contractions in no-time. All of which looked good and normal—thank God! My OB was there very shortly—he was very concerned, and started his examination…

It took just a few moments to confirm that yes, there WAS something there. However, the doctor inspected further, and showed the nurse how it was actually a vaginal cyst. She exclaimed that it looked just like the amniotic sac would if it had descended. Upon further discussion, my OB assured me I had nothing to be concerned about—that while cysts like this aren’t entirely common, they aren’t harmful, and I could still deliver vaginally when it was time. He said that we’d done the right thing by coming in. Whew. We received confirmation both that Grace was ok, and that we weren’t totally crazy all at once. This was quite reassuring.

Because this cyst wasn’t going away anytime soon, I asked the nurse how I would be able to tell the difference should something actually be quite wrong. She said that was a very good question… if it was the cord, she said that it would appear to be slightly more twisted and have somewhat of a pulse to it; if it was the sac, I would likely be in a lot of discomfort.

As I dressed in the clothes that Ira had snagged from the house before leaving (thank you!), I thought about how truly blessed we were. It was a scary experience, but I thank God that it was all for nothing. Some people are not so fortunate.

One week later, we’ve done some serious baby shopping to wrap up loose ends, and purchased our “baby-wagon.” Still have a bit of a ways to go, but we’re ever so much more prepared than we were at Christmas.

Ira and I pray that your Christmas and New Years were truly blessed, much less eventful than ours, and that you found yourself surrounded by those you love.

Looking forward to a fabulous and life-changing 2007,

3rd Trimester - Getting Big
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I didn’t really start popping until about month 7, and now that I’m at the tail end of month 8, things are getting fairly er—uncomfortable. This is definitely a whole new chapter in the pregnancy book o’ fun. It certainly is a new experience for my bellybutton too.

My EVER Changing Body
First of all, when you have a watermelon strapped to the front of you, there are some unattractive things that begin happening to your increasingly squished body. Back, leg, rib and pelvic pain certainly top the list. I learned in my child-birthing class that for every pound you carry up front in your uterus, 10 pounds are exerted on your sacrum area (lower back). This causes many women posture and waddling issues—compensation for the weight if you will. I have definitely had my waddling moments, although more often than not, I feel much more like a turtle that’s flipped on its back. Makes getting out of cars and up from couches lots of fun—and very entertaining for my husband to watch.

Also—frequent peeing. This past week I’ve woken up at 4am for the past 5 nights straight—unable to return to sleep for 1-2 hours. I’m writing this lovely note to you at 4:30am. Mostly it’s a pee-problem. I usually have to pee 2-3 times in the middle of each night now. My last pee of the night wakes me completely up—and so here I am. In my childbirth class, they showed us pictures of our pre-pregnancy and 3rd-trimester pregnant bodies in class. The instructor was quick to point out a very thin line that rests just under the baby’s head—“That, ladies, is your bladder.” And all the men in the room suddenly understood their partner’s potty trips.

One fun side-effect they call “incontinence” got the best of me over Thanksgiving at my parents’ house. Lounging around playing games with family, I got up and noticed my p.j.s were soaked through in a place that you don’t wanna soak through… if you catch my drift. I ran to the bathroom to show Ira—“I think my water broke!” I decided to remain calm, take a shower, and see if the problem continued, or if additional symptoms began appearing. After a few moments of panic, we discovered that I’d simply peed my pants and didn’t know it. I’ve never peed my pants and not known it—how can you pee your pants and not know it?? Apparently this happens to pregnant women all the time—I’d never heard of it before.

And finally, my very new favorite—dadadadum—hemorrhoids. I had never experienced hemorrhoids up until these last 2 weeks—was I missing out or what. There’s not much to say about them except for that they really hurt, make those potty trips a lot less fun, and are a complete pain in the butt to get rid of. Witch hazel is my new best friend. It doesn’t really cure them, but it sure helps curb the pain.

Baby Grace—On Her Way
I can’t believe that I’ve been entrusted with such a huge task as raising a child. Isn’t it crazy to think that just anyone can go out and do this—you have to get a license to get married, or drive, or literally do anything. But having children, one of the biggest and most life-changing things—anyone can do.

It has been so amazing to see how much God has prepared our hearts to welcome our little baby Grace into this world. I can honestly say that we are both very ready for her to be here now. Flashing back to May, we were absolutely dumbfounded—but now we are so excited and can’t wait to meet her. I have these moments of complete disbelief that I am growing and carrying a little person inside of me. My husband is thrilled just to greet her and feel her move each day—he says his day doesn’t feel complete until he’s said hello to her this way. It’s just amazing that we know her better than any other people in the world right now—a unique little girl who we will be completely and utterly responsible for. A little person who will be so important to us for the rest of our lives. I feel so blessed—and absolutely can’t wait for her to be here.

Cute for the pregnant belly: Due & Sprout T-shirts. I have a black tank that says "girl" - and I've gotten quite a few compliments on it!
Pants support: Belly-Ups (think suspenders that kinda link your pants up to your bra)--helps keep pants from falling down. =)

Baby Registry--A.K.A. Torture in its Purest Form

One thing that many people DON’T tell you about having a baby is all the STUFF that goes along with it. Like what in the world is an aspirator, and why would you need one? There’s baby clothes (also called “layette”), baby furniture, baby toys, baby bedding, baby bath accessories, baby feeding (and—er, potty) accessories, baby health and safety items, and the baby gear—all those items that are specifically baby—like strollers, carriers, car seats, swings, bouncers, high chairs and walkers. With all the stuff people tell you that you might want or possibly need—“Baby” is definitely an industry.

Ira and I walked into Target so innocently the day we thought we were going to register. I figured we would walk down the baby aisles and get ideas of what we should register for. Let me just tell you now—this is NOT the way to do things. We were so unprepared for the amount of stuff we would be assaulted with, and so ignorant of what we would actually need or want, that we were practically frozen in place—just staring at the different stroller systems without a clue.

Then enters baby-Yoda lady… she sauntered down the stroller aisle with a happy, bouncy, rosy-cheeked baby strapped to her front in a Baby Bjorn. This lady could immediately sense our frustration, and offered us some wise counsel. She suggested we first purchase a baby-gear guidebook to help us, and recommended “Baby Bargains”—a book all of her girlfriends had passed around to each other. So we stashed our registry wand for the moment and headed for Borders. Ok—just to warn you, “Baby Bargains” is not a bargain to purchase. It was about $18 for a skinny 200 page paperback. But it was full of indispensable information, and I’m glad we got it.

Basically “Baby Bargains” is a critique on all of the baby gear currently available. They compare gear, measure safety, cost and quality and offer the best buys for your buck. This was especially helpful when it came to strollers. We’d been looking at travel-systems (3-in-1 strollers), that the book reviewed as too bulky and heavy—it gave us alternative options for our lifestyle instead. I spent hours pouring over this book, reading reviews, and determining which items would be best for baby. They even have a quick-pick registry reference guide in back—which was oh-so-helpful.

So we entered Target and then Babies-R-Us anew and refreshed. And several exhausting hours later, had completed our registry. All I have to say, is thank goodness for online registries. Making changes was a breeze.

By the way, to answer my question at the beginning... a nasal aspirator is a little bulb-thingy that sucks the boogers out of baby's nose. Aren't you glad you know now?

Cool Stuff—

Baby Carriers: Here are a few cute and trendy ones you might want to check out—The Sweetness Pouch, and The Sugar Sac. These both go over one shoulder, and are great for cradling and carrying your precious itty bitty one.

AIDS Awareness: AIDS has killed more than 25 million people worldwide making it the most destructive epidemic in recorded history. In 2005 the AIDS epidemic claimed an estimated 3.1 million lives of which, more than 570,000 were children. Everyday more than 2,000 kids are infected with the HIV virus. AIDS is beyond a cause, it’s an emergency! Join ChicBlvd to help put an end to AIDS, visit www.chicblvd.com/aids/

Ultrasound Extravaganza

Ultrasound #1
The doctor wanted a little more clarity on just how far along I was. I showed him my Natural Family Planning calendar of my cycle—showing him the day we thought we’d conceived. Since there was about a five-day window that the egg could’ve fertilized, and we weren’t sure about which day was my “peak,” our OB wanted to narrow down to the week as much as possible. So in we went for our first ultrasound.

When you are this early in your pregnancy, a normal on-the-belly ultrasound doesn’t cut it apparently. Nope—they have to use the wand o’ fun. Super. All that aside, the process wasn’t terribly uncomfortable (not as bad as say, your pap smear—youch). But it was totally incredible. Everything seemed to become so real once we could see our little bitty baby. The shape wasn’t fully formed yet—but you could distinctly make out limbs, the little head and the little body. And we got to see the heart beating. That was pretty incredible. Knowing that a little life—so separate from my own was in there—already completely taking shape.

The nurse said we were at about 8 weeks at the time. So pretty much half-way through the first trimester already. Interesting fact—and I’m sure if you’ve been pregnant you know this… They actually count your pregnancy week-count from the first date of your last period. So for the first 2 or so weeks of your pregnancy, you aren’t even pregnant yet!

Ultrasound #2 – September 5, 2006
This was the one we were really looking forward to. By this time we’d felt the baby move already, seen the little heart beating, and heard the heartbeat on the little machine in the OB’s office during our normal checkups. But this one—this is the one they check for healthy pregnancy, and da-da-da-dum—gender! And unlike some people who want to be surprised at birth—we wanted to be surprised NOW. I know—very patient =) I’m just a planner—I want to register for the right stuff for the shower, so people can get our little baby the right kind of clothes—green and yellow can only go so far.

What did we want? Hmmm—good question. I’d really felt that from the beginning of pregnancy, that since God allowed this to happen to me, that He would have to give me a little girl first. I know that if we ended up having a little boy, that I would cherish him just as much. But there is something about the idea of having a little girl—someone that I can be girly with, dress in pink, and cuddle with all the time. Just so—appealing. I’m sure that there are some of you who totally understand what I mean. And there are others who are on the verge of throwing up right now. Totally understandable. Ira, like every guy I’d ever heard of, wanted a boy first. And for pretty much the same reason. Someone he could be buddies with, wrestle with, and relate to.

So as we were getting ready to go in, I made up my mind that I could be very wrong about the whole girl business. After all, I only had a 50/50 chance of being right. God could be giving us a boy. And that would be great. It would just be different than a girl.

This being our very first baby, Ira was video taping the whole thing—even though my assignment as “Mom-to-Be” wasn’t a sure thing yet. This video was pretty much just for us—but I hope you enjoy it too!!! The lady at the front desk was super cool, and excited for us (even though she was a bit camera-shy, as was the doctor). The front-desk lady brought us to our examination room, and asked us if we’d brought a VHS to tape the Ultrasound. I was so disappointed—I didn’t know we could record it! But she snuck us a tape out of the cupboard, and we got to record it anyways—told you she was super cool.

The doctor came in a few moments later, and it all started. She checked for all the health signs and risk factors. And in the end, told us we were having (with 90% accuracy) a healthy baby GIRL! I was so excited I totally teared up—even though you can’t really tell on tape. A GIRL! YAY!

So that was our new big news! Now we could register—yesssssss.

LUSH Cosmetics - These are some super cool, all-natural facial and spa products that are perfect for pampering yourself, or giving to your shower hosts as gifts! I tried the Ultra Bland Cleanser, Eau Roma Water toner, and Imperialis moisturizer. Some pretty chic stuff. =)

May thru July - Reality Sets In
Telling Our Parents

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Some people wait a while before telling people about their pregnancy because of the risk of miscarriage, etc. This wasn’t us—call us impatient, but we just couldn’t keep the news to ourselves for very long. So the first step was figuring out how we would tell our parents—this would be the first grandbaby on both sides.

Ira’s parents, my in-laws, were a breeze. Because they live in Oregon, we simply made a phone call and had the whole family on speaker phone. His mom suspected the news right away (and got the giggles)—but needless to say, they were absolutely thrilled.

Because we were going to tell my parents in person, we tried to figure out a more creative way of breaking the big news. We thought we’d show them the pregnancy test, and let that speak for itself. We gift-wrapped the test and told my parents it was a late Mother’s Day, early Father’s Day gift, that we’d just found it in the last week, but thought that it was perfect for them, and that they’d really like it. We should’ve asked them to put on their glasses before opening it. Oh, but hindsight is always 20/20.

They opened it together, and had absolutely no idea what it was because they couldn’t read the writing on it. My dad thought it was a thermometer and took the cap off—to which we immediately cried “NO! Don’t take the cap off!!” as I had visions of him actually touching my pee. Clearly flustered and confused, he replaced the cap. Still clueless a few moments later, my mom joked about it looking like a pregnancy test. We smiled and nodded. And she stared back at us with the biggest eyes and most frozen grin I’ve ever seen her give.

I’m not sure they knew quite how to react. My dad laughed, said “my daughter’s knocked up” jokingly, and made Ira drink a shot of tequila with him. My mom was tickled pink—but I really think she just couldn’t believe it. And thus they were introduced to the knowledge that they would soon be grandparents.

I felt great for about 2 weeks after the pee-test. Then a slight feeling of nausea introduced itself. And it became worse over time instead of better—pretty much all of June and July. NOTHING seemed to help all that much. I tried soda crackers and ginger ale, and candied ginger, and all those things that are supposed to help. But all I really felt like doing was lying down and trying not to heave. I just received “Preggie Pops” in the mail this last week—I wish I’d had them in June since they are supposed to aid in morning sickness. I pretty much felt green all the time—but in to work I went, and I only missed 2 days for feeling icky. I threw up 3 times a week at my worst—but felt nauseous all the time. I really got to hand it to you women who throw up 3 times before breakfast and still manage to clock in. I have no idea how you do it.

Prenatal Vitamins
By about July I was blaming my icky-ness on my cheapo-brand prenatal vitamins since the iron in them can really upset your stomach. I ended up finding some—Apex Prenatal Vitamins—that dissolve in your intestines rather than in your stomach. This helped quite a bit on the nausea actually.

Active Sinuses
I’ve read that the hormones in your body actually boost the productivity of all of your body’s mucus activity. In the nether regions it’s called leukorrhea, and is healthy body-function in pregnancy. This also increases your sinus activity as well (and I thought I was getting a cold all that time). Some women have such active sinuses in pregnancy that they get nosebleeds. Mine produced an unpleasant gagging reflex—often causing me to vomit—wonderful.

Good News
By August I was feeling MUCH MUCH better. The nausea had subsided by week 16, we were getting into the grove of the new “us.”
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And on August 2nd, in only week 15, we felt our little baby kick and roll for the first time! Ira just happened to put his warm hand on my tummy, and we felt what I thought at first was a tiny gas bubble, but then there was an unmistakable roll right against Ira’s hand. It was absolutely incredible. Nothing like a good dose of reality to put all things in perspective—there was a little life growing inside of me, and we already wanted to meet our precious little one! In fact, we were already thinking about names… (but more on that later =)

One of the little perks of being the Mom to Be is that I get to review different products and tell you all about them! So I will have this little section here that will outline some of those items with each post.
Preggie Pops--All-natural lollipops that are designed to reduce the symptoms of morning sickness. They can also be used to aid mommy during the fun, vomitous stages of labor and delivery.

I'm WHAT?!?

Ok - so our pregnancy wasn't exactly planned. Ira (my husband) and I knew that this would one day happen—we just didn't think it would happen so soon. We had thought 5 years was a good marker, we'd been married just over 2 years in May, when I peed on the stick. The pee that changed our lives...

Our Contraception Plan...
Yes, we did have a "let's not get prego" plan in place. It was 98% effective (if you do it correctly)—which is quite comparable to other birth control methods: The Pill (around 99% effective), The Condom (I think in the neighborhood of 96% effective), etc. We opted for The Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning (NFP). I didn't really want to mess with my horomones, or have to use a device all the time. So in our minds, this made sense—and we decided that if God blessed us with a little baby, that we would warmly accept it as His plan.

Rather than bore you with all the gory details of how this plan works - you can check out www.woomb.org for details (did you know there's really only a 72 hour window that you can actually become pregnant in each month?). The cool things that struck me about it though was that it has 98% effectiveness in 3rd World Countries where it's taught! And I could use it with my super irregular cycle. So we took a 6-session class through an NFP teacher. But there is always that 2%...

What We Think Happened...
Because the Billings method is based on your current symptoms, you gotta check them out on every trip to the potty throughout the day, and chart them on a calendar to keep track. Really not that difficult. But here's the trick (and what we think happened)—there is a slight chance you could be on the verge of starting your ovulation and not know it yet because you haven't checked in a few hours (did you know that sperm live only 3-5 hours in your normal conditions, but when your ovulation symptoms begin, and they have the right conditions—they can live 3-5 DAYS until your egg actually drops?!)... So we're pretty sure his little guys lived a few days—waiting for my egg to drop. And Ta-Da! Pregnant!

How We Found Out...
My boobs had been hurting for weeks, and I was pretty sure they were growing too. And when you're a "barely-A" sorta girl, this is big news! I went out jogging, and was surprised that my cammy wasn't doing the trick for support. Since when did that happen? So that shoulda been my first clue. But I didn't know that your boobs hurt during pregnancy...

Work was really stressful—I had taken on a second job responsibility for the time being, so I thought that maybe my period was just late because of stress (even though Billings was telling me that I was pretty sure I'd ovulated). I blamed my mood swings on the period that should be starting any second...

But any second turned into a few days. And there was a question growing in the back of my mind... "What If...?" But no, impossible. Still—I went to the store and picked up a test.

I peed on it the next morning while Ira was in the shower. Two lines appeared almost immediately. I checked the stick—“Two Lines = Pregnant." Huh?! I showed the showering husband—who looked at me with the widest eyes I've ever seen. "It's gotta be a mistake" I kept thinking—“There's no way!" Oh but there was—and going to the doctor later that day confirmed it. Our due date was January 19, 2007.

My First Response...
I was absolutely stunned in unbelief. I think Ira was the same way. Our lives would very soon be changing. I would have to share him, and he would have to share me—with a new little person, who didn't seem very real yet. I have to admit that I was very upset about this. I had an almost selfish desire to have my husband all to myself for longer—but I wasn't going to get that. It didn't seem exactly fair somehow. So there were some tears, and a few inquisitive prayers towards God. And finally, acceptance.

We began coming to terms with our news—and we started getting excited about all the things a baby would mean to us. Probably the most exciting thing to me was beginning family traditions and planning family trips. It will be so exciting to introduce a new little person to all the things and people we love so much—and watch this little soul experience it all for the very first time. It just seems so amazing that we get to be part of that. I was excited about Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Easter, the 4th of July—and knowing that those holidays would take on such a different spin in 2007.

These were my very very first reactions, and my emotions and thoughts about bringing this baby into the world are much more intense, deep and developed now.

Just the Beginning…
This was the very beginning of our journey—of which we’re now in the 23rd week (at the beginning of the 6th month). I hope that you will continue along with us, as I recount some of what the first few months were like—and bring you up to speed on where we’re at now. It’s been quite the experience! And I look forward to sharing it with you very much.

Blessings for happy pregnancy!

Diary of a Mom to be- Meet Christy

My name is Christy--and I just found out that I'm pregnant! My "girlfriends" at ChicBlvd.com are following me along this journey which you will see on video , email (sign up for the newsletter www.chicblvd.com/newsletter_signup.html) and this diary blog. Thank you for joining us on the journey!


Whew...Time is FLYING!!!

Sophia Maye is here!!! Sorry for the delay in giving an update…as you can probably imagine, it’s been a VERY BUSY few weeks in our household. It seems that ever since we brought her home, life has been in "fast forward"!

We welcomed our angel on August 25th at 4:02pm. She was bigger than the doctor expected at 7lbs 15oz and 19 ½ inches long. She is BEAUTIFUL! She has her Daddy's lips and chin. She's already changed so much in just a few weeks and as she grows she's looking more and more like her Dad! In fact, in looking at his baby pics, she's the "spittin' image" of Justin when he was a baby! And of course, she already has him wrapped around her "itty-bitty" finger:)

Justin and I just stare at her…it doesn’t matter if she’s awake or sleeping. We’re simply enthralled with her and the fact that she’s ours. Justin said it best, “I never knew I could have so much fun with a sleeping person”! :)

I thought labor would be the hardest part of becoming a parent, but given that I had a famous EPIDERAL upon the recommendation of nearly every mom I know, the most challenging aspect so far has been nursing. I guess I knew nursing would be hard, but it is REALLY HARD (and painful). In talking with many of my friends, the whole “if the baby is latching on correctly, it shouldn’t hurt” thing that nurses and lactation consultants usually tell new moms is WRONG (at least for most of my friends)! Sophia has got the hang of it…and it still hurts. It has gotten MUCH better over the last few weeks, and I’m committed to sticking it out. I’m chalking it up to a character building experience.

One thing that has made nursing much easier is a great nursing cover from BeBe Au Lait. It helps me with being discreet when I need to nurse in public…I’m still trying to figure out “nursing in public etiquette”! And it’s better than a blanket because the fabric is really light so Sophia doesn’t get too hot. It has a band on the top that allows me to see how Sophia’s doing without taking a chance of inadvertently "flashing" people around me (!)and it has a terry cloth panel for any spit-ups or accidents she might have! Plus it’s SUPER CUTE…mine is in the “Hot Dots” pattern. Find out more about these great nursing covers at www.bebeaulait.com.

It’s been so much fun to finally put those adorable baby clothes and gear that I’ve been stocking up on for months to use! One of my favorite things to put on Sophia are her “Baby Legs”. These adorable little leggings come in all kinds of colors and patterns and are great for lounging around the house (they will be especially great when she starts to crawl), or for getting lots of compliments when we go out on the town. They’re so unique that most people take note. Sophia’s favorite are her Rainbow Baby Legs…well, okay, I guess they’re Mommy’s Favorite:) The best part is, it's like she has pants on so her legs don't get cold, but I don't have to take them off when I change her diaper....and WOW, do I change A LOT of those! You can check them out at www.babylegs.net. Below is a pic of Sophia showing of her "Baby Legs" :)

The days go by so quickly…and even the nights aren’t so bad when I have her adorable little face pleading for her 4am feeding. I absolutely LOVE being Sophia’s mom…this is the best job EVER. We’re still getting acquainted with each other, but each day gets a little easier and a little more wonderful. She is simply a JOY.

Gotta go…I have a date with a cute little munchkin for some “TUMMY TIME”…
Video Frame eCards for Mom - bloombyag.com!


Check out the Video Frame eCards from bloombyag.com! http://www.bloombyag.com/category.pd?path=69061&

These are super cool--you can send video or photos from your cell phone, webcam, or video camera to all your friends via an eCard. You could use it to send to college roommates who you never see anymore, videos of how you look now that you are pregnant, etc! Of course moms use it all the time to send super cure things their little ones are doing..first steps, smiles, words, etc. Wow... maybe I'll be doing that soon! :)

The Frames are the ones where you can either add a photo or a video. Check out the online photo albums too.

My bag is packed...I'm ready to go!

I’m at 39 weeks this week…and I’m so ready to be done….not so much because I’m miserably huge and uncomfortable (although I do have my moments), but we’ve gone through weeks and months of preparation and we’re just ready to have her here with us!

Stretchmark update: 1 week to go and STILL no stretchmarks….Yippee!! For the last few weeks I’ve been using a new favorite product that I definitely want to recommend to “growing” moms-to-be. It’s this great stuff called TUMMY HONEY. They make formulas for both stretch mark prevention (what I’m using now) and to make existing stretchmarks fade. You can find Tummy Honey for yourself or for a gift for a mom to be by visiting mothersintuition.com to find a store that carries it.

I really don’t sleep very well anymore…between my heartburn and sweating profusely even with no blankets and a fan blowing directly on me…I’m being prepared for the long nights of no sleep ahead of me. Although I think I’ll prefer having an adorable little one getting me up in the night compared to a heartburn attack!

I’ve heard friends say it, and I think it’s true…you have a fear of labor for the first 8 months, and then after that, you develop this sense of just wanting to be done and your fear turns in to anticipation and eagerness. I like to call it “being in the ZONE”!

I packed my hospital bag this week…the socks, Chap Stick, pj’s, and a cute little “going home” outfit for Baby Girl-it’s a precious outfit from newforbaby.com that I love! They have the most adorable newborn sets that ACTUALLY FIT newborns!

I would love any ideas for items that you found helpful to have that aren’t on the normal “hospital checklist” that you get at birthing classes or in pre-delivery literature. Feel free to post any ideas here on my blog to help other moms-to-be too!

I think we’ve officially decided on a name, but you’ll have to stay tuned because we’re going to keep it a secret until after she’s born! It’s a really great name, though:)

Now that we’re down to the last few weeks, our Dr does an ultra sound in his office at each visit which we really look forward to. Our last ultrasound showed us that she has CHUBBY CHEEKS! We can’t wait to kiss those cute little cheeks!

The nursery is ready. Today I put the finishing touch up--an adorable piece of art with Noah’s ark animals from Squishme.com! This week we also hung up a beautiful quilt that Justin’s Grandma made for the baby above her crib. We have another blanket that my Great Grandma (the baby’s Great-Great Grandma!) made before she passed away a couple of years ago. So special! These kinds of things are such blessings to add to the Baby’s room since we’re so far away from our family in Illinois. But no worries…they’re already planning their visits out to come see the new addition to the family:)

Well…thanks for reading all my random musings as we approach the last week. Justin and I are now headed to see if we can figure out this “car seat installation” thing…which I’ve heard is one of the most challenging feats of parenthood!
Shopping Cart Covers from Kangaroodles.com

What a great idea! I would definitely want to get one of these when baby comes. They are not only hip and chic... but are perfect for keeping my little one free of germs! The covers can be found at Kangaroodles.com and we can get 25% off when using the code chickids now through December 31, 2006.

Diaper Bags at luxemama.com!

This website, luxemama.com, has a number of chic and useful things for a new mom or mom to be. The diaper bags look like purses... no one would ever know the difference! I especially liked the Mia Bossi Maria Diaper Bag. Wow, I would love to have one of these.
Attention Moms-to-Be
My apologies to all of you!…I’ve realized that I’ve forgotten to pass along an important tidbit of vital info for “growing” moms to be. During my pregnancy, I’ve discovered the BEST invention for moms who want to keep wearing their cute pre-prego clothes, and also save some $$ on buying an entirely new wardrobe. The secret I’ve found comes in the form of an accessory called a BELLA BAND. It’s an elastic band (kinda looks like a tube-top) that goes around your waist and that cute little tummy, then over the top of your pants. The best part is, when you can no longer get the button to meet the hole, or zipper to “zip” on your pants, you just adjust the BELLA BAND over the top of the pants where they gap—the BELLA BAND holds them up and on! Put a shirt on over the BELLA BAND and it looks like you have a cute tank top on under your shirt. They come in a bunch of colors, so you can match it to your outfit. If you’re in the market for a BELLA BAND, I recommend checking out mom4life.com (they’ve got a lot of other cute Mom and Baby stuff too). Alright, just had to make sure I got that out there…it’s been a LIFESAVER for me!

Our First Childbirth Class

Hmmmm….if you would have told me a year ago that we were going to be watching Labor and Delivery videos and practicing birthing techniques on mats and pillows, I would have called you CRAZY! But that’s exactly what we’ll be finding ourselves doing over the next 4 weeks as part of our Childbirth Class.

We just had our first session last night. It was interesting, scary, and very educational. I thought I knew most everything about going through delivery from my friends who have experienced it, but I realized I have given myself too much credit! There’s definitely a lot more we need to learn. Not to get graphic, but our instructor kept using these weird visual aids to represent the uterus, cervix, placenta, umbilical cord, etc. I never realized what a likeness the whole “placenta, water sac, umbilical cord” system had to a jellyfish…is that gross?? Sorry!

It brought up a lot of great things that Justin and I need to think about before we get to the point of nearing delivery. How do I want him to respond to me when I’m in pain? How sure am I of getting an epidural, and why? Do we want it to be just the two of us in the room during delivery? Things that we haven’t completely thought through yet, and seeing that we’re only about 8 weeks away from the event, they’re things we need to get figured out. I’d love any advice you might have about delivery. Things that worked well, or didn’t. Things you preferred to have, or not have? Let me know!

I’m sure we have a lot more in store to add to our “Birthing Repertoire”, but I feel like we got a good start last night. I’m really looking forward to the tour of L&D, and to at least be familiar with the environment where we’ll be having our baby.

This is going to be fun to do together…it’s so nice to be going through this with the man I love who can laugh with me about all these crazy things that are happening to my body!

So crazy...it's AMAZING

I was a little apprehensive at first…I mean, seeing your baby’s face while it’s still in the womb, it was all a little weird to me, but after my curiosity got the best of me and with my hubby being very excited about it, we decided to get a 4D ultrasound! …and I’m so glad we did, it was AMAZING!

Our friends at B4 the Stork 4D were wonderful in guiding us through this experience. My technician Kim sat down with us before we got started and fully explained what was going to happen. I had been wondering what the 4th Dimension was, and basically it’s like a 3D picture of your baby, plus movement which is the 4D.

Before we went to B4 the Stork, they suggested I have some sugar or caffeine about 20 minutes before our appointment. I was SO excited. I haven’t purposely had any caffeine since I’ve been pregnant (besides the traces in chocolate, which I can’t get enough of!), so I was in for a treat. I spent a day deciding where I wanted to “spend” my caffeine allowance…and STARBUCKS it was! A Java-Chip Frappucino has never tasted so good!

Once we arrived at B4 the Stork, we were guided to the beautiful, relaxing room that they conduct the ultrasounds in. They have a couch in it for families who come in to view the ultrasound together. Kim said that sometimes entire families come in to get the first glimpse of their baby’s face! They project the images on the wall, kind of like a big screen, for all to see!

As the ultrasound began, we started off in the 2D mode (what the ultrasound looks like that you get at the hospital) and once Kim locked into a good position, she switched to the 4D. Of course, at the first glimpse of our little girls face, I got choked up. It was so beautiful! I was expecting her to be kinda wrinkly and scrunched, but she was absolutely adorable. I decided she has her Daddy’s lips and chin, and I think maybe my nose. I had to keep moving around so we could get a good picture because that little girl wouldn’t get her hands out of her face for us to see her!...I wonder if that means she’s going to be shy? We got to see her sucking her thumb, yawning, grimacing and smiling. And once the caffeine kicked in, there was no stopping her. She was all over the place. It made me realize what kind of effect what I put into my body has on her….wow, the pressure!

We walked out of B4 the Stork with a DVD of the 4D ultrasound, a CD of 50 pictures that were taken during our time there, and a VERY special memory. Now that I’ve experienced it, I would definitely recommend this to Moms & Dads-to-be. Just make sure you schedule your appointment between 26-30 weeks (for optimal viewing in the ultrasound picture) and that you have already had your ultrasound done at the hospital (for medical purposes).

Kim said that if any of my “Diary of a Mom to Be” friends come to visit them for a 4D ultrasound, she’ll give you a FREE DVD as part of your package!

This was a great experience for Justin too. For him to be able to see what I feel was wonderful. And now when we see her moving around on the outside, we can imagine what’s going on in there!

This website, supermomz.com, has so many great things--including a Glamourmom Maternity Nursing Bra Tank. It sounds like such a great idea... I might need to get one!

The same revolutionary design of the patented Glamourmom® Nursing Bra Tank, but is tailored with more room and length for full coverage of your growing belly. The perfect transition piece, a built-in soft cup frame and elastic shelf provide superior breast support and a comfortable fit for your changing body. It is a great value because it can be worn throughout pregnancy as a supportive bra, tank, and undershirt and then used when nursing your newborn in the first weeks as your belly returns to pre-pregnancy size. Stylish, Practical, and Machine washable.

And ladies, they've offered us a 10% discount on orders over $10. We just need to use the code: chick.

My new favorite past-time.

These days my newest and most favorite past-time is watching my belly move around. It’s a combination of amazing and weird…an ongoing reminder that there’s a little person in there just waiting to make her appearance to the world :)

I’ve officially stepped into my third trimester (I’m 29 weeks today!) and am still feeling surprisingly well. The only pains I’m dealing with are some hip/joint tenderness and the arches of my feet hurting a LOT…maybe this is a good time to invest in some new “tennies”? But for the most part, I’m feeling great...I just hope that continues. However, when I think about how much longer I have and how much bigger I’m going to get, my hopes aren’t too high. Sometimes I think I’d like to skip over the next 3 months and labor/delivery and just have our beautiful little girl here with us. But I know there’s a reason for going through the entire 9 months…I think God has a lot more “preparing” to do in me.

We recently spent some time back in Illinois with our family and friends. While there, we were able to celebrate “in person” with baby showers and family get-togethers. It was so nice to see everyone and be able to share a bit of this experience with them. My little sister who is 11-years-old was a little hesitant when she first saw me with my “big belly”…it was so funny! After giving her a great big hug (I hadn’t seen her since Christmas), I asked her if she wanted to “touch my belly”, and as excited as she is to be a “young aunt”, she said no (I could tell she was a little nervous and didn’t quite know what to think). A bit later, the baby started moving and I told her to give me her hand (she did without knowing why). After I put her hand on my belly and she felt the baby moving, she had a completely different perspective of my huge belly. It was a precious moment :)

I just can’t wait to meet our little girl! Even on the days I’m not feeling so well, it keeps me going to think about the fun we’re going to have very soon. I’m so excited to go on walks, see her first smile, watch her taste her first spoonful of something she doesn’t like…there’s so many neat memories to be made.
The idea of “nursing” is still taking some getting used to….all of my friends who have been able to do it have told me how much they love it. After reading and researching the benefits of nursing, I really want to try to do it but am obviously a little nervous. I ran across a really neat product the other day that is made to help with nursing. I’m going to use it with our baby. It’s called Nursey Beads. You wear the beads around your neck. They are the perfect length for your baby to twirl, pull, and twiddle. Scary as it may be…I found out that babies will bite, scratch, pinch, etc while they’re nursing!...OUCH! Nursey Beads help distractible babies stay focused and nurse longer. Nursey beads are also designed as a keepsake of our special times together. I’ve already picked out a set of Nursey Beads that were handmade with “love” by The Delighted Child. My strand of beads incorporates purple (my favorite color), blue (Justin’s favorite color), pink (for the baby), and my favorite verse from the Bible, Jeremiah 29:11- “For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

24 weeks and overwhelmed by baby stuff.

Whew…I just got done registering…well, started anyway. My head is spinning. What’s the best crib mattress, excersaucer, car seat, stroller???…so many options and opinions! It’s hard to believe we’ll need all this stuff for a tiny little baby. We have plenty of room in our apartment for our new little girl…it’s all these other baby items that I’m worried about finding a place for!

One item I’ve already found a place for is our new “Poodle Shag” blanket from Baby Jake’s! This blanket is great. I’ve never seen anything like it! It’s a feather soft chenille blanket (ours is “pink” on one side and “chocolate” on the other…so cute!) that we can use in our little girl’s crib or bassinet…it’ll also make a great stroller blanket. I’m going to get all of my snuggle time in with this blanket before I have to share:)

I did discover a good strategy that I’d like to pass on. If you register at some stores online, you can read the reviews on the products to find out which ones other parents would recommend and why. I found this to be SUPER helpful not knowing the differences between types and brands of products…for example: a Fischer Price or Baby Bjorn bouncy seat…is there really that big of a difference between the two?? These are the questions I need answers to!

Little Baby Girl has been getting more active everyday. Justin is starting to be able to feel her kicking from the outside. It’s amazing to be reminded each time I feel her moving around that there’s a little life growing in there. I just can’t wait to meet her!

I feel extra large right now and I’m at 24 weeks, only a little over half way there. I can’t imagine how much I’ll be waddling around in a few months. But good news…no stretchmarks yet! Hopefully keeping my belly slathered with lotion is helping!

Justin and I took a weekend get away to San Diego last week. Trying to get as many of those in as we can before we have to start finding babysitters! We did a lot of walking. I’m sure glad I had a pair of Mommy Sox with me! These socks are a great item for any pregnant momma with achy feet. They have arch support bands and cushioned zones on the heels and balls of the feet to help with the extra pounds I’m walking around with these days.

Fun Websites -- threelollies.com and protectabub.com

The ChicBlvd Girls shared the site threelollies.com with me. Preggie Pops are naturally flavored and specially formulated lollipops made for pregnant women--to ease morning sickness. I have some samples so I'll have to try them out!

Since the weather's warming up, I was also looking at the stroller sunshade and swimsuits from protectabub.com. Since I live in California, these will come in handy all months out of the year. Use coupon code ChicBaby10 for a discount.

So much for my "Mother's Intuition" :)

We’re having a GIRL!!!!! All my hunches were wrong…so much for my “Mother’s Intuition”! Even though we couldn’t lose with whatever was revealed inside, I was so nervous to open the box containing the answer to our “Big Question”--Is it a Boy or a Girl?

We called our families on speakerphone to share the moment. I’m so glad we didn’t “cheat” and peek beforehand because it was a really neat experience to share with our parents, brother and sisters.

I have to say that I was completely surprised that it was a girl…I had totally convinced myself that it was a boy. But we’re delighted that we will be blessed this August with what will most likely be a blonde-haired, blue-eyed little girl!
A friend recently told me that, “little boys feed a dad’s ego, but little girls melt his heart”. That’s a pretty sweet idea to reflect on as we celebrate the news of our baby girl!

Watch my video to see us opening the package: chicblvd.com/whats_it_gonna_be.html

Ultrasound Day

As I write, an envelope containing the answer to the question of the sex of our baby sits beside me...it's taking all of my will power not to open it. I’m focusing on the elaborate plan we have to tell our family if they're having a grandson/granddaughter/niece/nephew (see previous post for "the plan").
Today we went for the ultrasound to make sure everything is healthy and to ultimately find out if we're having a Jane or a John (until real names have been determined). Even though the technician can't officially tell us if everything is in fact healthy, she hinted "off the record" that from what she saw we can put our minds at ease knowing we have a healthy baby...whew.
It was an absolutely amazing experience. At 7 weeks, when I saw the little peanut's heart beating, I thought that was the ultimate, but after today it really hit me that there's a little person in there that I can't wait to meet.
I loved seeing Justin's reaction to what we saw on the ultrasound screen. Up to this point, besides putting up with my moodiness, constant hunger and seeing my body grow, there hasn't been much of a reality of what's happening. But today I think he was able to see in a new and very powerful way what's going on in this expanding belly of mine.
We had the most fabulous technician! Once we informed her of our plan to tell the family she totally played along. We left with a sealed envelope in which she had carefully inserted the ultrasound picture with an arrow pointing to the “evidence” of the sex of the baby.
During the time she conducted the ultrasound, the baby flipped completely from head down and bottom up to bottom down and head up...I had no idea it was moving around so much in there!
As we left the hospital, all we could do was giggle at each other. We were sooooo tempted to crack that envelope open and take a peek. But, by focusing on being able to share the excitement with our families, we controlled ourselves :)

Bagettes.com - Kid's Art Bag

The ChicBlvd Girls introduced me to the CUTEST idea!! It's the Kid's Art - Custom Cosmetic Bag by bagettes.com!

You email them your childs art and they make it into a customized small cosmetic bag! You can even add a photo on 1 side and the art on the other. Such a great way to display love to your child while showing off their photo at the same time! :-)

The Baby Food Adventure...

Justin and I had a fun and "interesting" Sunday afternoon. Our friends at Bohemian Baby sent us loads of samples of their organic baby foods to try out for our little one.
It was a very brave thing to do on our part because traditionally the baby foods I see in the grocery store aisle never look very appetizing. Bohemian Baby has changed my mind.
They delivered our fresh, organic baby food jars in an insulated cooler right to our door! The combinations they put together for meals are so unique and healthy...and on top of that, I recognized every ingredient included in each jar, it's all organic and no preservatives. These products are fresh!
At the conclusion of our "Baby Food Dinner", Justin said his favorites were the Basil Pesto Pasta, Green Bean Soup with Basil Butter, and Pure Golden Pears. My favs were the Sweet Potatoes and Kale, Fresh Fuji Apples, and Strawberry and Coconut Yogurt. I tried combos of fruits and veggies that I’d never had before…and they were delish! Thanks to our Bohemian Baby friends for opening our eyes to healthy, fresh ...and very YUMMY options for our baby’s first tastes of food!

Unhealthy fear of stretchmarks and hemorrhoids

I’m sorry, but today’s blog might get a little graphic for those with weak stomachs (probably mostly men because they don’t have to deal with most of these crazy things!)

It seems that over the last few weeks, I've developed an intense fear of "pregnancy ailments" including stretch marks and hemorrhoids. I guess the reality of these very real problems set in once my belly really started to get noticeably bigger.

My poor friends, family, and doctor have been getting drilled with questions about these issues (and a bunch of others!). I found out that 80% of pregnant women get hemorrhoids…I’m really hoping that by some miracle I fall into the 20% of those who are in the clear. But just in case, I’m mentally preparing myself to go to the store and purchase my first installment of Preparation H…YIKES! I’m also eating lots of fiber, trying to get up and walk around a bit while I’m at work, and not over “exerting” myself while visiting the “ladies room”(whatever that means??).

In response to my fear of stretch-marks, my adorable husband has been an angel. Every night, he rubs oil and cocoa butter on my belly to help my skin adjust with the baby. This also gives him a chance to talk to the baby, it’s so cute (the baby can hear at this point, how exciting!). I think this nightly tradition will become even more special as the baby gets bigger and becomes more active. It will also become increasingly beneficial to my skin as by belly goes from a rolling hill to Mt. Everest!

I’ve found a really great book that has given me a dose of humor in all these sometimes uncomfortable pregnancy situations I’ve experienced so far. It’s called “Belly Laughs” by Jenny McCarthy. If you’ve heard of Jenny McCarthy, you can pretty much imagine what her documentation of her journey through pregnancy would be like (pretty crazy). She shares the experience of having her son Evan through this hilarious book that only those who have experienced pregnancy can truly appreciate.

I also went to the Yeah Baby Expo in Long Beach, CA last weekend. It was so much fun! It definitely helped me to get in the baby buying mood. There are so many great products out there to make life easier for moms...and the adorable babies there helped too...

Cute Nursing Covers

The ChicBlvd Girls told me to check out stylishlyprotected.com--what a CUTE site!

I'll definitely have to get one of these nursing covers after the baby comes. It's that breastfeeding thing that will be so foreign to me!

Anyone who reads this (including me... hehe) can get 5% off the site by entering voucher code ProtectInStyle at checkout, combined with the already 10% off for a total of 15% off.

This site has a lot of other cute useful things--check it out! StylishlyProtected.com

Me and my BELLY :)
I made my appointment today for the...dah...dah...dah.....ULTRASOUND! April 10th is the BIG DAY! Apparently your bladder has to be full to execute an effective ultrasound. You can imagine my surprise when the nurse told me that I have to drink 32 ounces of water in 1 ½ hours before my appointment. Are you kidding me…that is SO much water. And I’m not supposed to go to the bathroom during that time. How can they do this to pregnant women?!?! I’ll try my best, but I didn’t make any promises. I guess it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to make sure that our baby has 10 fingers and 10 toes and that everything looks healthy!

We won't be finding out the boy/girl news that day because we have very special plan. Since our ongoing desire has been to keep our families in the loop and incorporate them as a big part of this adventure (although it be from a distance...2000 miles), we've decided to hold off on the big surprise and find out at the same time as our parents and siblings if we're having a boy or girl...how can we do that in 2 different time zones you ask?? :) Here's the plan:

We're going to ask the ultrasound technician to write down the sex of the baby, put it in an envelope, and not let us see it. Then we're going to go to the baby section at a local store and get 3 pink and 3 blue "somethings", ask a clerk there to look in the envelope and wrap the appropriate colored items in 3 separate packages (while we go browse for baby gear that we'll soon be purchasing). We'll come back once the packages are wrapped still not knowing what our baby will be. Then the plan is to ship off the boxes...one to my family, one to Justin's family, and keep one for ourselves. Once they've all received their "box of joy" we'll open them all at once while sharing the experience on speaker phone. Not quite the same as "in person" but we still think it will be something to remember.

I went out last night to try to find some pants that will sustain my changing body:) I didn't have much success...although I did find some adorable stretchy shirts that fit my ever growing belly. It's becoming noticeable…probably more so to me than anyone else, but I’m getting bigger none-the-less...and it’s SO exciting.

I think I felt a little baby flutter last week. It felt like a tickle from inside my stomach! From what I’ve been reading, this is about the time I should be starting to feel movement. It’s so amazing!

I feel absolutely great this week. A little tired sometimes, but overall I have tons of energy. I'm finally starting to get some regular exercise again! This is great news since I have and EXTREME sweet tooth lately! I can't get enough chocolate or anything in the "dessert" category :)

Officially in the 2nd trimester...and GROWING
As I begin my 16th week of pregnancy, I’m looking back on all the changes that have happened just in the last 2 weeks. It seems that my belly is growing more every day! I've had to retire several pairs of pants that I probably won't be seeing for awhile. I feel so much better than I did during my first trimester-more energy and less nausea to be specific. I've heard that most women feel GREAT in the 2nd trimester, and so far for me it's been true.

During the first trimester, we told our parents and siblings in week 8 about our new addition, which was such a sweet experience (first grandchild on BOTH sides of our family!). Since everything looked healthy with the baby, we started spreading the news to family and friends at week 12.

Although everything was healthy, as we came out of the first trimester, a sense of relief came with us since our doctor said that the chances of completing a healthy pregnancy are much higher after getting through that window. I think that has allowed us to get more excited about picking a name, picking out furniture, and thinking about the reality of “being a mom and dad”.

Name choice has become much harder than I thought it would be. I guess it’s easier to throw out crazy names you like before you actually get pregnant because you know you don’t have to commit to any of them. But once you know you have the HUGE responsibility of actually naming a person…for the REST OF HIS/HER LIFE (no pressure,right??)…the stakes become much higher. Justin seems to be more traditional with his name choices. I, on the other hand, prefer more unique (yes some might call them odd) names. We’ve talked about a few, but haven’t decided if we’re going to announce the name before the baby’s born yet or not. We’ll keep you updated!

My mind is spinning with all the baby knowledge I’ve been learning over the last few weeks….I never knew or cared about Peg Perego, Graco, or Britax. All my “mommy friends” have been giving me great advice, including my own personal “Consumer Reports” on all kinds of baby items. It’s a little overwhelming, but I know their input will be very helpful as we seriously start shopping.

I’m like a sponge right now, so don’t forget, if you have any advice that you’d like to share-especially anything that might be helpful as I’m kicking off my 2nd trimester-you can email it to Katie@chicblvd.com.

Well…I’m up WAY too late for a pregnant lady…more to come soon. Thanks again for sharing this awesome experience with us!

I can't believe it!

Hi! I'm Katie. I just found out that I'm going to be a MOM! The girls at Chic Blvd have invited me to share this CRAZY and EXCITING story with you and take you along on this journey.

In August 2005, my husband Justin and I moved across the country from Illinois where we left behind our dear family and friends to start a new adventure of our own in California. MUCH to our surprise, part of that adventure in the NEAR future would include a little addition to our family! We're SO excited and a little nervous too.

It was on January 7th (after thinking I had the flu for a week) that I decided to take "the test" to rule out the possibility of being pregnant. I took it discreetly, not wanting to scare Justin with a "false alarm". But false alarm, it was not!

"Mom-in-Training Side note”: For those mom's-to-be who don't know this (like me) there is virtually NEVER the possibility of having a "false positive" with a pregnancy test...if you see 2 lines, you almost certainly have a munchkin on the way :)

The next week I went to the Doctor to verify that this was actually happening! This day, which was my BIRTHDAY!, it was confirmed that we were "EXPECTING",...but we definitely were not "expecting" to be "expecting":) I received the best birthday present EVER...I was able to see our baby's heartbeat for the first-time...it was AMAZING. The Doctor confirmed from the ultrasound that the baby was 7 weeks along. It moved me to tears to see this little being, the size of a peanut, which will soon change our lives.