Monday, June 4, 2012

Willa Capri is here and I am a Mommy! Our Ridiculously Long Birth Story

**Feel free to NOT read this post as it is ridiculously long and may bore you to death. I couldn't stop typing!!!**

Whew, what a whirlwind the past few weeks (err, months) have been. I started to go crazy the end of my pregnancy which is why I kind of why I stopped posting, and now I am a mommy to a three-week old and am totally sleep deprived. So much has happened, so I will do my best to condense it into a somewhat readable blog post.

So, around 37 weeks I started to go nuts. I wanted this baby out of me so badly and was simply dying to have my body back. Because of all the complications I had had, I was used to the idea of having her early. When that didn't happen, I started to get anxiety and did whatever I could in my power to try and induce labor. Of course, none of them worked (stupid wives tales, don't even try them). At my 38 week appointment I found out I was dilated to a 3 and had already lost my plug, so I was prepared for labor to start at any moment. My body had other plans. By 39 weeks I found out I was dilated to a 4 (!!!) but still had no other signs of labor. My doctor said she didn't want me going past 39 weeks because of my blood pressure, but I asked for as much time as possible to go into labor naturally because I was so terrified of induction. We scheduled my induction for Sunday night, May 13 (Mother's Day) which was my due date. The entire week went by and of course I didn't go into labor. So, off to the hospital we went on Sunday night.

As many of you may know, I was really set on having an all natural birth. In fact, if I wasn't considered high-risk because of my PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension,) I probably would have tried to convince Jacob to let me do a home birth in the living room. Walking into the hospital at 10:00 p.m. on Sunday night, I was terrified. I didn't want to be hooked up to Pitocin because it makes your contractions much stronger/closer together than natural ones and therefore makes most moms more likely to get an epidural. I didn't want to be hooked up to monitors my whole labor because I wanted to be able to get up and move around. I didn't want to be hooked up to an IV because I had heard it makes you swollen. Also, I knew my risk of getting a C-section went up 50 percent just by getting induced. I pretty much knew that my birth plan was going to get thrown out the window.

We checked in at 10:00 p.m. and were put in a triage room on the labor and delivery floor. I was hooked up to the Pitocin by 11:15, and was also hooked up to monitors so we could watch the baby's heart rate and my uterine activity (contractions). They started the Pitocin really low (thank God) so my contractions came on very slow. They basically just felt like mild period cramps, and came on every three minutes or so. Jacob took advantage of this time to take a nap, and I just kind of laid there wishing I could sleep. After an hour the nurse came and turned up my Pitocin, and it wasn't too long before the contractions started to get pretty hard to deal with. By 1:30 a.m I woke up Jacob. From that point on I needed him to get through every contraction. I had back labor and pretty much felt like my whole entire back was being sawed in half. Even though I was hooked up to an IV and the monitors, I was still able to sit on a bouncy ball next to the bed while he pushed on my back through each contraction. The pain was so surreal... no words can describe it! Because of the Pitocin, my contractions were unnaturally close together, about 45-60 seconds apart (eek!).

By about 6:30 a.m. I had had enough. I asked the nurse to come in and check me. I was sure that since I came in dilated to 5 cm, I had to at least be extremely close. After more than 7.5 hours of labor, I thought I would be at 8 cm or so. When the nurse came in and checked me, however, I had hardly progressed 1 cm! I was so devastated and felt like I couldn't handle the pain anymore. At the rate I was going, I was going to be in labor for 24 hours and I had no breaks in between contractions. I asked the nurse for an epidural. Jacob kept asking me if I was sure (since I had strictly instructed him NOT to let me get an epidural), but I think deep down he wanted me to get one. The pain I was in took such a toll on him too, since I needed him to get through each contraction (seriously, back labor is no joke). The nurse called the anesthesiologist and they moved me into a labor room. It took me ten minutes just to walk a couple doors down the hallway because I had to stop to get through so many contractions.

Getting the epidural was intense. I had to lean over and be perfectly still, but all my pain was in my back and the contractions were so close together. It was torture!!! After the epi was in, I laid back in bed and waited for it to kick in. and waited. and waited. and waited. Nothing went numb except for my mouth! Apparently 1-3 percent of people have this sort of reaction to the medication. The anesthesiologist came back in and doubled my dose of meds, and then moved the catheter around in my spinal canal, trying to get it in the right place. My tongue only became more tingly. Because the Dr. had doubled the meds, I had to wait at least an hour before they could try again with another epidural. In all honesty, this was the worst part of my labor. I was in so much pain, so exhausted, and so frustrated! After an hour, the head of anesthesiology came in and replaced my epidural, and this time it worked. I was so relieved. I was very adamant that I didn't want to be numb, and that I would still be able to feel contractions, and that is exactly what happened.

The epidural took all the pain out of my back, but didn't relieve what I felt in my uterus or lady bits. I could tell when each contraction came and went, which allowed me to relax but still feel like I was involved with the labor process and aware of what my body was doing. Within an hour of getting the good epidural, my OBGYN came in and broke my water. She checked my cervix, and I was already 8 cm dilated! That was 2 cm progress just from the time I got my epidural. I truly think that having it helped me to relax and made me progress quickly. Within two hours of having my water broken, I felt like I was ready to push. I felt so much pressure down there! I started pushing, and told Jacob to go and get our nurse. She came in and said to me: "Oh honey, I am sure you're not ready yet. I can check you if you want, but I am sure it's not time to push yet." I asked her to check me, and sure enough I was complete and it was time to push! The nurse warned me that most first time moms push for three hours or so.

My OBGYN came in and the party began. At first, I thought pushing was fun and I was literally enjoying it! I was able to feel the beginning and end of each contraction and I was able to kind of run the show. I had a student nurse holding one leg and Jacob holding the other. Pre-baby we always talked about how he wasn't going to look "down there" when I was in labor, but he pretty much watched the entire time. It wasn't nearly as awkward as i thought it would be, and he seemed to be pretty impressed with what my body was doing.

My doctor thought I would have the baby out in three pushes. Apparently I am an excellent pusher (I credit that to P90x and five daily cups of raspberry leaf tea. In fact, we all started placing bets on what time we thought she would be here... My doctor bet 12:08 (it was currently 11:58), Jacob bet 12:15, and I bet 12:30 just to be "safe." However, Willa ended up being sunny side up (we didn't know that she was) and so I pushed for one hour before she came out. Half way through, I literally thought I couldn't do it anymore. I wanted to give up! I was so tired. So hungry. In so much pain. So sleep deprived. I started getting frustrated because everyone was telling me how "great" my pushes were, but I felt Willa get sucked back in the birth canal after the end of every contraction. It was awful!

Well, finally Willa came out at 1:19 p.m. Once her head came out, I felt everything else just kind of slip out like jello. Oh, and that ring of fire everyone talks about? It is real. So, so real. Because my epidural was "turned down" so low, I could feel everything down there. Even my stitches. Getting stitched up was probably the most dramatic part of the delivery... the baby was on my chest but I was still in so much pain and couldn't even focus on her... I felt every last stitch. Everything was kind of mayhem, I don't even remember Jacob cutting the umbilical cord! I remember him crying tears of happiness, and me freaking out because I knew there was blood everywhere.

After the drama died down, I was able to look at my beautiful baby on my chest. The nurses let me stimulate her to get some cries out, and handed me towels to wipe her off. She didn't leave my chest for at least an hour, until I finally asked the nurses to take her and weigh her because I was dying to know! We officially named her about two hours after she was born. I didn't want to commit to anything until I could spend time looking at her with her eyes open, and that didn't really happen until my feet were out of the stirrups and the doctors were down pushing on my uterus (ouch). We had narrowed it down to three names pre-hospital: Willa, Everly, and Hazel. I knew right off the bat she wasn't a Hazel, and then eventually realized that she was most definitely a Willa. Jacob and I both agreed. I am so glad we chose the name we did... I am in love with it!

Well, without further introduction (as if it wasn't long enough), meet Willa Capri! She is a perfect little gem, and was born at 7 pounds, 13 ounces and 19 inches long. She has tons of dark hair, beautiful dark eyes, and pretty olive skin. She sleeps all day, loves to stare at people, and has a passion for sucking ANYTHING. I am the happiest mama in the world!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Full Term Update

At 37 weeks 4 days, I am now considered full-term. According to my OB, baby girl could now come at any time! It's kind of funny, because I wake up every single morning wondering if I feel any different, searching for signs that labor might be impending. Of course, my daily full body self check usually just tells me "Nope, I feel exactly the same as I did yesterday." Thankfully my doctor doesn't believe in doing internal exams (cervical checks), because I think that would really drive me crazy! I can't imagine knowing I am a couple centimeters dilated and still wake up every day with no contractions, broken water, or lost plug. Anyway, as most of you know I have had problems with my blood pressure this entire pregnancy. Yesterday, my blood pressure spiked crazy high and I had to go into Labor and Delivery at my hospital to get checked. They took a urine sample and drew blood to check for pre-eclampsia. The tests ended up coming back normal (although I had small amounts of protein in my urine--normal for someone with chronic hypertension). After a couple hours, they ended up sending me home. My blood pressure wasn't high enough for any sort of emergency action. I had an appointment with my OB today and she told me that my blood pressure is spiking most likely because the medicines are starting to wear off. After all, I have been on the stuff for almost eight months now! She did tell me, however, that with high blood pressure the placenta starts to deteriorate early and that she doesn't think it's a good idea for me to go any longer than 39 weeks. Although it's nice to be able to see the light at the end of the tunnel, I REALLY don't want to get induced. She did tell me that she would only induce me at 39 weeks if I was at least a little bit dilated though. She said that if your cervix is very high and closed (meaning body is definitely not ready to deliver) that labor turns into a very long and difficult process, and can often lead to a C-section. Of course she doesn't want to go that route, so if by 39 weeks by cervix is still completely closed, I will just have to go into the clinic every other day or so for ultrasounds to make sure that the placenta is still giving baby enough nutrients. I am hoping and praying that I will go into labor naturally before I hit 39 weeks! I have started drinking raspberry leaf tea which is said to strengthen the uterus, making the second stage of labor shorter by making pushes more effective. Today was my second day of drinking three cups a day. The stuff actually tastes pretty good! I also have been sitting/rocking/bouncing on an exercise ball. Apparently it helps the baby engage and encourages dilation, but I sort of doubt that. I am doing it anyway though, just in case. Besides, it helps relieve my back and hip pain! I have yet to experience a single Braxton Hicks contraction. I hope that doesn't mean anything.... On a side note, people's comments have really been cracking me up lately. The other day someone told me "Wow, your baby really has dropped. Her arrival is probably just around the corner." But then today someone told me "Wow, you're carrying so high. Baby will probably hang out in there for a while!" People are so strange... I am trying not to listen to ANYONE!

Maternity Photos

I swore I would never do maternity photos. I mean literally swore. I just do not feel beautiful with a big round belly, huge ginormous boobs that are impossible to cover up, fat, cellulitely thighs, and a very round face (all this and only gained 23 lbs at 37 weeks--what a feat!). However, my darling sister surprised me with a maternity shoot as a gift... she has a girlfriend who is a photographer and she worked out a deal with her so I was able to get some photos.
Let me tell you, at first I was terrified. I had no idea what I would wear to flatter my large body, and I was really self conscious of how my fat face would photograph. My dad eased a lot of my worries by offering to take me out shopping for a new outfit! What a sweetheart! He even looked at the things I tried on and picked out my outfit (I love dads).
The whole experience ended up being pretty painless--I don't know what I was so worried about. The photographer was awesome and kind of talked us through the whole thing (yes, Jacob was a trooper and took photos with me). It took just about an hour and we ended up getting some super cute shots! I don't know if I will be framing any of these around the house, but I am definitely glad to have something to look back on when I hit my "man I miss being pregnant" stage (which apparently I am doomed to reach?).
Here are couple of shots from the shoot (Thanks Hayley and Annie):

Saturday, April 14, 2012

36 weeks

Welp, I am 36 weeks pregnant and very round.
My brother made a joke the other day about how they could just use ME as their ball in the family kickball game. Hmph.
I am up 22 lbs and about 14 bra sizes (ughhhhh).

I have been having these crazy period-like cramps for the past three days. I don't feel any tightening in my abdomen (because it is constantly contracted and as hard as a rock), so I am not sure if I am feeling contractions or not. I am anxious for my non-stress test on Monday to see what's going on in there...

Thursday, April 12, 2012

It's a human!

We had a surprise 3D/4D ultrasound on Monday and lo and behold, there is definitely a human in there! Lately all of her ultrasounds have made her look like an alien, so I was relieved to find out that she is indeed a human with hair on her head, chubby cheeks, and a thumb she loves to suck!

We were unable to do the 3D ultrasound at our last appointment because she was facing my back, so when we went for a usual growth scan on Monday, the sonographer decided to try it out just for fun! It was so cool to see her moving around in there and moving her fist in front of her face. I think she is definitely going to be a thumb sucker! She is already 5 pounds, 12 ounces, and has jumped from the 31st to the 52nd percentile! YAY! If she comes at exactly 40 weeks, doctor thinks she will be in between 7.5 and 8 pounds.

My doctor is under the impression that I will deliver around 39 weeks. She says because of my stubborn tight muscles, high BP, and the fact that I have already had some serious contractions, this baby won't arrive late. We'll see though....part of me has a feeling that this baby might keep me waiting for a long time.

Anyways, I wanted to share the picture with you all. She's so cute!

Friday, April 6, 2012

What to do?

At 35 weeks, I find myself already patiently (read: impatiently) waiting for baby to come. I know that I am not even full-term until two weeks from now, but I feel like everything is done and I just can't wait for her to get here. We finished the nursery this weekend, packed baby's bag, and started packing my hospital bag. Most of the stuff I want to pack I use on a daily basis, so it will have to be thrown together at the last minute. Jacob even installed the car seat in my car today! With everything so close to being done, I just can't help but sit here and anxiously wait for her to make an appearance.

Part of me is sad, though, because as my mom pointed out, once she is out of my tummy I have to share her with the rest of the world. Now, the two of us kind of share a bond that no one else gets to experience or share. Once she's out, however, I have to share her with Jacob and everyone else in the family. Of course I am tickled there are so many people in my life who love her, but I think I might miss feeling her move around all day and dancing to music (I am convinced she does). Sometimes I can feel her little, tiny elbows, fists, and bottom through my stomach and I touch them lovingly. I wonder if she knows it is her mommy who is touching her? I just want to reach through my skin and grab her and kiss her little, tiny body parts!

We have an OB check and ultrasound on Monday. I am anxious to find out what sort of position she is in and if my OB has an estimated time for her arrival. If my blood pressure is down, she will probably get to stay in there until 40 weeks (or later). I have been feeling so much pressure down there lately (like my pelvis is about to crack in half) I am convinced she wants out early! We will see though, because according to when I think I ovulated, my due date is even later then what the doctors think it is (May 13). It would be amazing to have her on Mother's Day!

I definitely overdid it today. I vacuumed the house, folded laundry, made dinner, went to coffee with a friend, and then out to frozen yogurt in the evening. (Don't tell my OB I did all that!) Now, I am really paying for it. All the moving around just makes me feel muscles are SO tight!! I also having a headache, which can most likely be attributed to a raise in blood pressure. I am going to need to keep this in mind during the holiday weekend....TAKE IT EASY HEATHER!
It's just so hard to sit at home and "relax" when I just want time to pass quickly so I can meet my little beebee.

That's all for now. Hope everyone has an amazing Easter weekend! HE IS RISEN!

Nursery: Check!

Wow, after working on this nursery since 10 weeks, I didn't think we would ever finish it! But lo and behold, today I sewed the last stitches on the crib bumper and was able to put it into the crib. Now, just about everything is done! There are still a couple small things I want to do, like get some vintage throw pillows to put in the crib (for looks) and maybe install some mini book shelves to display some of the vintage childrens books I have.

I think the hardest thing about this project was the size of the room. I had so many ideas of things I wanted to do, but our space was so limited that I really had to pick and choose our decor elements carefully. Even then, I think I still may have overdone it. It's a super bright and colorful room and I hope it will fit her personality (I am imagining she is going to be a spunky spitfire, just like her parents).

I am going to post some pictures of what we have done so far... the only thing I can't show you is picture with the gallery wall in it since we are keeping little one's name and initials a secret.

Hope you enjoy! (Pardon all the crappy pictures, they're just from my cell phone)

Here's a little breakdown of where most of the items are from:

Tissue flower pom mobile: DIY. Ribbon and tissue from the dollar store!
Crib: Babi Italia from Babies R Us
Crib Skirt: Handmade by family friend, fabric from Hancock Fabrics
Crib bumper: Handmade by yours truly, fabric from Hancock Fabrics
Pink baroque mirror: Thrifted, painted with Rustoleum Berry Pink
Wall Owls: Thrifted and spray painted
Flag Banner: Handmade by my sister
Vintage dresser: Belonged to my great grandmother
Lampshade: DIY by me, fabric from Joanne's
Lamp: Painted with Krylon light pink
Tchotchkes: Thrifted from various stores
Rocking chair: Grandparents
Stool: Thrifted
Stool Cushion: Pier One
Yellow Curtains: DIY, fabric from Hancock Fabrics

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Hormones they are a Ragin'


Man, I am really, really, really sick of being pregnant. Not just the soreness and the sleeplessness, but the size! I really am at the point where I can't even stand looking in the mirror anymore. At 34 weeks I have only gained 19 pounds, but why does it look like I have gained 50? I am starting to see it in my face, and don't even me started on my thighs! For the LOVE!

I know what you're all thinking... "It's all going to be worth it once you see your precious baby girl..." Yes, it will be worth it. But I haven't seen her yet. And she is still in there making me fat.

I think (but am not certain) that maybe my husband is getting tired of the largeness too. The other day he called me a beef cake and today he said I have a pregnant butt (whatever that means).

I am sure that 90 percent of this rant is due to my hormones, and tomorrow I may look back on this blog and ask why the heck I put this vain, self-focused rant on the internet for all to see. Blame it on the h-ho-hormones!

I've also been super sleep deprived lately. For some reason it's impossible to fall asleep at night (no matter how tired I am) and I have to take lots of naps during the day. Luckily I am not working right now so I have time to catch up on the missed rest.

Baby is moving so much as I am typing this that I see my stomach moving all over the place from the corner of my eye. I am staring at the computer screen, but I can still see my belly moving like it's a goopy gelatin mold. WEIRD! Maybe that's one thing I WILL miss about being pregnant... feeling baby girl dance inside me!

Well, that's all I have for now. Guess I'll try and get some shut eye.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Hospital Tour

Last Monday we toured the hospital! Man, it was SO awesome! Maybe I just felt that way because I am not one of those people who is creeped out by hospitals or the sight of people in wheel chairs or the smell of latex gloves. I am cool with it.

I am going to be delivering at St. Joseph's Medical Center in Tacoma (and no, that is NOT an invitation for you to come visit me and the baby). Even though we live super close, I had never even been inside and I was shocked to find out the hospital is really hard to navigate. The tower is a super bizarre shape, and all of the floors are divided into quadrants. I don't even think that taking three tours would familiarize me enough with the layout... I am going to get lost regardless!

(Look: really weird shaped building)

Anyways, the nurse who showed us around was super sweet and helpful. I hope I get a nurse like her when the big day finally comes! She showed us around the Labor and Delivery floor first, and I was very happy to find out that each room has a jacuzzi tub! If I don't have a scheduled induction or have any complications, that is definitely an amenity I fully plan on utilizing. Then, she showed us the recovery floor which is two floors down. She said that if mom and baby are doing well, they are both moved down to this floor within two hours after birth. EEK!

The recovery rooms are much smaller than the delivery rooms... I don't see how there could be more than two visitors at a time (get the hint?). Each room has a bed, a bathroom with a shower, a crib for baby, and two plastic chairs for guests. You would think these would be bigger than the L&D rooms since this these are the ones you spend the most time in, but whatever!

After that, our nurse took us downstairs into the lobby and showed us where to check in (if we come during regular hours). The valet is right up front (and free) which is super convenient. She also showed us the ER entrance in case we come in the middle of the night or on the weekend.

All in all it was a very positive experience and I feel much more comfortable with knowing how things will go down on D-Day. It made Jacob very excited and even more anxious for baby to come... I think we were both kinda close to shedding some happy tears!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Glucose Test...For the Birds!

Yep, you read right! That darn glucose test is for the birds!!!

The test is usually performed around 24-30 weeks, but I put it off until 32 weeks. I really didn't think it was something I needed to do because a) I am not showing any signs of gestational diabetes, b) My mother never had it, c) I do not have any of the risk factors and d) I really didn't want to sit in a hospital lab for three hours. I tried to convince my doctor to let me bypass it, but she basically said that a mom can still have GD and not show any of the signs! When a mom has GD, the baby in utero is used to getting a certain amount of glucose, and when that changes when he/she is born, it can really throw things off and be quite dangerous. I decided it wasn't really worth the risk, so I finally caved in at 32 weeks and got the darn thing done.

Let me tell you. No one prepared me for what I experienced! Let me give you the rundown of my story. I am sure this will not hold true for everyone, but it's just how my body reacted.

So they ask you to fast before your test. Because of this, I knew I wanted to get my test out of the way in the morning so I didn't spend the whole day starving! I ate my last bit of food at around 8pm on Sunday night, and went in for the test at 10 am on Monday morning. First, they drew four viles of blood. Not too bad, just annoying.
Then, my tech guy (I don't remember what his official title is) asked me what flavor of glucose drink I wanted; fruit punch, orange, or grape. I figured orange would be the least foul of those three options. I was expecting to take a shot of some strange liquid with the consistency of cough syrup, but I was totally wrong! He came out with a 12 oz bottle of gatorade like liquid. I opened it and started drinking (seriously, it was so sweet it burned my throat and it was room temperature--why couldn't they chill it?) when he said "hey, you only have three minutes to drink that whole thing!" Are you kidding me? I started chugging.

Once I finished (gag me) he said to come back in an hour for my blood draw. I felt okay at first, but within 10 minutes I felt like the room was spinning. Within 30 minutes, I was nauseous and light-headed. I had a quick check-up with my OB at this point, and after it was done it was just the right time for me to go back and get my blood drawn again. When I sat down in the seat, I literally thought I was going to toss my cookies all over the lab and all over my poor technician. I was feeling all flu symptoms--shaking, goose bumps, nausea, and an absolute pounding head ache! When he finished the blood draw, I got up and went out to meet Jacob (thank goodness he was with me) and actually started to feel worse with time. I was sweating profusely and my whole body felt hot. I kept covering my mouth because the urge to gag or throw up was so strong!

To keep this story from going on for too long, I will just say that I did my third round of blood drawing and was SO ready to go home when it was done. I was out for the entire day, and immediately took a two-hour nap. I can't even describe to you the exhaustion that I felt. Like I had been run over with a dump truck!

**(PSA for my pregnant friends who haven't done this yet: TAKE THE WHOLE DAY OFF when you take this test, just in case you react like I did)**

Turns out that experiences like this are not uncommon among people who are asked to fast before their test. Especially if you are someone who does not eat a lot of sugar (like me), your body has to work overtime to produce enough insulin for the crazy amount of sugar you just took in on an empty stomach. I have heard the drink has as much sugar as six bags of Skittles, but I really have no way of confirming that as true.

I honestly don't know why they don't come up with a better way to do this, because it was simply God-awful. A lot of people don't have these sort of reactions, but I did! Some people actually enjoy the sweet drink (weirdos)! I have also read that some doctors don't ask their patients to fast before the test, and these people do not have as bad as reactions.

Outtie like my belly button for now,

next post I will talk about our hospital tour!

Oh, and here is a quick 33 week bump shot:

Less than two months to go, update!

I know it's been ages since I have updated this thing, but I think I have sort of been in a weird slump and felt like I have nothing to write about. I guess I can update you on my health and how the pregnancy is going thus far:

To make a long story short, my blood pressure has been getting higher and higher as I go father along in the pregnancy. Every appointment it's up by a good 10 numbers or so, so I am basically on house arrest to prevent it from rising. My doctor had me collect urine for 24 hours this week to test me for pre-eclampsia,and I have yet to hear back on those results. My doctor believes that my chronic hypertension will lead to pre-E eventually (because it most often does), but at the rate it's going up, I won't need to get baby out for another 3-4 weeks. That puts me at full term (37 weeks) if and when my BP gets too high for my body and baby to handle.

On top of that, I am still having some funky issues with my abdominal muscles, and they really aren't loosening up one bit and making room for baby. She has about 30% less space to grow because the top portion of my abdomen is so tight and closed off. This issue has proven quite painful for me, because whenever I do ANYTHING that even remotely tightens my muscles (i.e. walking), they tense up and make me feel like my stomach is exploding. I run out of room to breathe, and the baby starts moving lower and lower (and it feels like my pelvis is cracking, even though I am sure it's not). I am able to write in such vivid detail because unfortunately, I experienced this weird phenomenon last night and was in horrendous pain for a good four hours. It's like one giant contraction that never goes away! I don't know what I would do without the muscle relaxers my doctor prescribed me!

What's misleading about this whole thing is that I truly do feel great. I feel energized and healthy, which tricks me into thinking I will be fine to go for a walk around the neighborhood or shop around Target. WRONG. I think my Target trip yesterday is what triggered my very painful evening. My body REALLY just needs to lay low until baby is ready to come out.

In some other happy news, I am having a family baby shower tomorrow! My sister-in-law Lexi and my mom are throwing it for me, and lots of the Canada fam is coming to celebrate with us! I can't wait! (It might get a bit chaotic since ALL of Jacob's extended family and my family will be there). I will have to post pictures after the event!

Well, that's all I have for now. Baby Sipes is going to be here soon... Dad and I are so very anxious to meet her (and name her).

Monday, February 13, 2012

Big Mama

Man, I can't even imagine what I am going to feel like in ten weeks because I am feeling huge right now! It's not necessarily the way I look that is bothering me so much, but the fact that it is getting nearly impossible for me to bend down and tie my own shoes...and forget taking my boots off on my own! This morning, it took me three attempts just to get off the couch! I usually wear my husband's T-shirts to bed, and they are slowly but surely starting to become quite tight across my mid-section (why can't he wear a size large?). I have been needing more naps lately too. We had a doctor's appointment this morning at 10:00, and by 11:30 I was in bed for a quick 45-minute nap. Our baby is already two pounds and I think she is sucking a lot of energy out of me!

I am also feeling lots of aches and pains (is this what it feels like to be old?). My back hurts quite often, and I start to feel an uncomfortable tightness in my stomach after walking around too much or being too active. In fact, I had quite the scare the other day after going on a two-mile walk with Jacob and Kobi (our dog). Once we came back from our walk, my stomach became so tight that I could not even deeply inhale. It felt like all my insides were bursting. It was honestly the most painful thing I have ever experienced. My doctor prescribed me some muscle relaxers to take when needed. I guess for some odd reasons my ab muscles are not loosening up the way they should, which is making the baby and all of my guts quite crowded. Today at our appointment, our doctor told me that my stomach is still way too hard and my muscles are too defined--especially on top--and that it would make it quite hard for me to have a C-section. In a way, that's good news because this mama does not want a C-section! I guess P9-X Ab Ripper really does work!

Aside from feeling like a big mama, there are some other changes in my body that I am starting to notice. Someone pointed out the other day that I am starting to develop the linea nigra--a dark line that goes vertically down your baby belly. It's not very dark yet though--I wonder if it gets darker? I am also able to see my belly move a lot as this hyper baby practices Lord of the Dance in my uterus. Sometimes when my laptop is resting on top my belly, I see it kind of bounce up and down. SO WEIRD!

Well, I guess that's all I have for. I am scheduled to have a 3D ultrasound on February 27th...but part of me is kind of nervous to see the baby's face! I will post pictures on here if all goes well.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

How to Hang a Wall Gallery

Okay you Pinterest lovers, how many of you have ever repinned some sort of wall gallery or photo collage on one of your "Home Inspiration" boards? I bet that most of you have, because wall galleries are all the rage right now!

Trying to hang one, however, can be quite the daunting task. Luckily, I am married to MacGuyver and he came up with a fool proof way to hang the collage just the way I wanted. It wasn't too complicated and everything ended up super straight and perfect!

In order to hang a wall gallery this way, you will need:

-A giant piece of cardboard that is at least a couple inches bigger than your gallery will be when on the wall
-Tape measure
-Leveler (I think that's what they're called...)
-Blue painter's tape

First, we got two giant pieces of cardboard and taped them together. I had already figured out exactly how I wanted to hang the gallery ahead of time, so I just laid out the arrangement on the cardboard, exactly how I wanted it.

Then, carefully trace the outline of all the pictures (or whatever else you are hanging) with pencil. Once the item is traced, take it off of the cardboard. You might want to write in the outline exactly what it is that is hanging in that spot, so you don't forget or get mixed up.

Now, this is the tricky part. On each item you are hanging, you want to measure exactly where the nail needs to be placed in order to hang it. Some frames have hooks, cables, or just little holes for hanging. Whatever it may be, use a measuring tape to find out exactly where it is, and then measure the outline on the cardboard of that same item. Use your pencil and make a circle on that spot. Do this for all of the items that are going to be hung in the gallery.

You will then use a drill and drill holes in each of the pencil circles you created. Now, it gets funner (I know, I know, that's not a word)!

Place the cardboard on the wall where you want your gallery. Make sure it is EXACTLY RIGHT before you drill any holes. Use painter's tape to tape the cardboard template to the wall, and then use a level to make sure it is hanging straight on the wall.

Now, all you have to do is mark on the wall with pencil THROUGH THE HOLES IN YOUR CARDBOARD TEMPLATE where the nails are going to go. Make sure each pencil marking is dark so you don't get lost once you take the cardboard off the wall.

Take the template off the wall, but keep it close by for reference (you don't want to end up hanging the wrong thing in the wrong place). Now, it's Hammer Time! We used small tac nails. One at a time, hammer nails exactly where the mark is on the wall. Hang the picture on the nail. Slowly, you will see your gallery come to life before your eyes... and boy, is it rewarding!

Now, sit back and enjoy your creation!
Here is an example of ours, but we put up some stuff with the baby's potential name/initials on it and those are being kept secret from you all. :)

This might seem like it takes a long time, but it really doesn't. This method seems easier than any other wall gallery tutorial I have seen on the internet.

DIY Easy No-Sew Curtains

Although Mr. Brother and I aren't the greatest of friends, I DO know how to operate a sewing machine. However, I don't really have one at my disposable and even if I did, threading the darn thing makes me want to pull my hair out and I would probably avoid it anyway. Thanks to Young House Love (man I love those guys), I found an easy no-sew curtain tutorial on the internet and ended up making some spiffy wall coverings for the baby room.

Making curtains is honestly such an awesome way to go, cause I usually find it really difficult to actually get my hands on the exact kind of curtains I want. Curtains in the store can actually be really expensive--around $40 a panel!

I found this cute, bright calico fabric at Hancock fabrics, and it was on sale for $3.99 a yard. I needed about five yards of it. I got my measurements knowing that I needed two panels (the entire width of the bolt, I think 48 inches) and wanted them to go all the way down to the floor. I also added an inch or two for the hem.

So, if you want to do this yourself, you will need:

-2 rolls of extra strength/ultra hold hem tape

-5 yards of your desired fabric (or however much you want to use, depending on the length of curtains you want)
-fabric scissors
-iron and ironing board
-drapery clips (Target, Joann Fabrics)
-curtain rod

Seriously it is super simple. Pick a corner to start your "hem making." All you do is fold the top of the fabric over enough to cover the hem tape. Cut a section of hem tape and place it under the fold. You do not want any of the hem tape to show (it should all be under the fabric fold) because it gets super sticky and can ruin your iron.

Make sure you are folding over evenly and that the fold does not get skinnier or fatter throughout the fabric. This will cause your curtains to be uneven and hang poorly (and probably just look plain crappy).

You only have to hold the iron on the tape for a couple seconds, and the tape basically turns to glue and holds your fold together. Keep doing this until all four edges of your fabric have a nice straight hem.

I finished both pieces of fabric. Then, I mounted a super cheap curtain rod above the window in the baby room. I got some drapery clips from Joann's that I spray painted pink (the bronze did not really match the room) and then slid them onto the rod. after that, all you have to do is clip on your beautifully hemmed no-sew curtains!

The great thing about this is that you literally have ENDLESS options for patterns and colors for curtains. I just used calico fabric because it is relatively cheap and comes in thousands of patterns, but you could go for a thicker fabric if you wanted to.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

The Great Crib Search

Thanks to Pinterest, I had my future's baby's crib picked out before I even had a husband picked out. OK, not really, but I always knew I wanted a Jenny Lind style crib. All the cute vintage nurseries on Pinterest always have Jenny Lind cribs, and I thought it would be the perfect size for our tiny little baby room. I was tossing around the idea of getting a black one, or even a white one and painting it some fabulous, bright color. However, I guess I forgot that I have a husband who also has opinions of his own, and he was definitely not in the Jenny Lind camp. He thought they looked too "old" (isn't that the point?) and dated. We kind of went back and forth about it for a while, but eventually decided just to get one (and go against his modern design taste) because they are the cheapest cribs out there.

But then, we got some awesome news! My mom came over and told us she wanted to buy our crib, and her budget was bigger than ours. This opened a whole new can of worms and gave us many more crib possibilities. We had to start our crib search from scratch. I had a couple crib "must haves" that I wasn't willing to give on. They were:
-Crib had to be white
-Made out of real wood (not pressed wood or "wood material" like some of the cheap ones)
-Have a non-toxic finish/paint
-Convert to a toddler bed

Jacob really likes bigger, more modern furniture, so he was kind of rooting for a crib like this:

I am not fond of this style because I think the crib looks too big and would take over the little room. It also wouldn't match the vintage dresser and decor we already have purchased.

I thought maybe we could compromise and go for something modern with clean lines but that wasn't too big. We started looking at cribs like this:

But for some reason I just couldn't get over the brown legs.

We decided to bag the whole looking for cribs online thing and head out to Baby's R Us to see these suckers in person. Lo and behold, we found the perfect crib hidden between two dressers. We both freaked when we saw it... it is the perfect mixture of both of our design tastes.
It is a classic, mission style crib with clean lines and is not too big and bulky. However, it has a really modern element to it and meets every single one of our prerequisites.

Found here at Babies R Us:

It is so perfect... we can't wait for it to come!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Coming Together: Ending the Nursery Blues

For a while there, I was starting to get real worried. There's nothing worse than looking at a beautifully painted room unused and full of crap. Especially when you're married to a Type A clean freak who doesn't stop reminding you of the nursery's dire condition. Don't get me wrong--I have always been anxious to get cracking on the baby's living quarters. However, without the crib I felt like I couldn't move forward with the design (it's kind of the focal point of the room) and we didn't really have the funds to make such a big purchase. [Insert excited mother/grandmother and her generous offer to buy us our dream crib.]

We were through the roof excited, and my mom actually took us on Saturday morning to order the princess bed from Baby's R Us. It should be here in about 7-10 days, and as soon as that happens I can fill the room with beautiful vintage tchotchkes and old school fairy tale books. See next post for the big crib reveal!

In the mean time, I have still been busy with as many crafts as I can get my hands on. So far I have finished the curtains, hung them up, made the entire tissue paper flower mobile, and painted the chandelier and hung it up. I have also gathered all of the necessary knick knacks for the gallery wall. All that's left to do is purchase a changing table and get the custom crib bedding from a lovely friend who is sewing it for us.

Well, without further introduction, here are the nursery pretties I have been working on as of late. Can't wait to see the final product come together. Stay tuned!

These are the fabrics I decided on for the crib bedding. All three fabrics will be in the crib skirt, and then the two that are together in the photos will be used as big bows that I am attaching to the plain white eyelet crib bumper I purchased (3 bucks at Goodwill. SCORE!).

This is what our new and improved Ikea chandelier looks like (Thanks to my mother-in-law Sally for surprising us with it). I painted it with acrylic paint (pictured below) and then spray painted it with a high gloss clear coat. Jacob cut the wires to make it hang at the perfect height.

Can't forget the DIY no-sew curtains (thank you to Young House Love for the sweet tutorial). I don't have a sewing machine at my house, so I used hem tape to make these easy curtains with some fun fabric (that's also used in the crib skirt). I think the yellow looks awesome against the light teal walls, and these are just the perfect length. I also painted the drapery clips pink.

Check out this sweet before and after. Crazy what a can of spray paint can do! (And for those of you who are crafty DIYers out there, or at least want to try and become one, Fred Meyer has the best spray paint selection! It's a treasure trove.)

And of course, we can't forget about those tissue paper flowers. Now, these things are actually pretty snazzy. I made a bunch of colors (I made a couple practice ones with purple tissue paper, but they won't be used in the nursery). After I made 10 or so, I was starting to whip them out like hot cakes. They are so fun and easy to make.

Thanks for keeping up with these fun projects I am working on. I have turned into a major craftolholic diva, and am proud of how most of these little guys have turned out. Can't wait to keep sharing more with you!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Symptoms Explained

There are some people out there who think I am deciding not to work out of pure laziness. Sorry to break it to you, but that is definitely not the case. My husband and I have decided to stick to doctor's orders and I will not be working for my health and the health of our baby. Having a healthy, on-time baby girl in our hands is absolutely worth being on a tighter budget for the time being. I have full faith in my doctor, and I believe that this is what needs to be done in order to prevent pre-term labor, and hopefully put an end to the constant bleeding and miserableness I have been struggling with through this entire pregnancy.

Here is some info on what I am currently dealing with:

High blood pressure during pregnancy poses various risks, including:

* Decreased blood flow to the placenta. This reduces the baby's supply of oxygen and nutrients, potentially slowing the baby's growth and increasing the risk of a low birth weight.
* Placental abruption. With this condition, the placenta prematurely separates from the uterus. Placental abruption can deprive the baby of oxygen and cause heavy bleeding in the mother.
* Premature delivery. Sometimes an early delivery is needed to prevent potentially life-threatening complications.

(taken from

Now, in regards to the possible early c-section/induction:

Your doctor may have you take medicine if he or she thinks your blood pressure is too high.

The only cure for preeclampsia is having the baby. You may get medicines to lower your blood pressure and to prevent seizures. You also may get medicine to help your baby’s lungs get ready for birth. Your doctor will try to deliver your baby when the baby has grown enough to be ready for birth. But sometimes a baby has to be delivered early to protect the health of the mother or the baby as high blood pressure can be extremely dangerous. If this happens, your baby will get special care for premature babies.

(taken from

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

First diy

Since I have lots of time at home to relax, I have decided to take on a couple DIY projects to get this nursery rolling. Right now it's a painted room filled with a bunch of baby crap, so I am eager to get the decor started and turn it into a beautiful little girl oasis.

I stumbled across this amazing mobile on Pinterest and decided to give it a go. So far today I have made two pom poms, and only one looks half way decent. These DIY bloggers make it look so easy!
Well, wish me luck. Can't wait to show you guys the final project.

Isn't this so cute?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Happy Belated New Year (from the three of us)

Our family (and my belly) is excited to live out God's plan for our lives during 2012. Hope you are too!

six months and feeling super!

Okay, I may not be feeling super, but I was trying to think of some great alliteration for this blog post title (fail). The past couple months have been such a whirlwind and I have been terrible about posting on here (sorry guys). I know a lot of my friends and family members have been asking me where the posts are, so here I am. It's 11:00 on a Tuesday night and I really should be cuddling in my cozy bed with my husband right now, so this probably won't be too long.

...let's see, where to start.


Second of all, I am not currently working. After lots of spotting (ick/ouch), going in to pre-term labor, crazy cramping, and passing out a couple times at work, my doctor officially cut me off. I went back to her twice asking her for a note to go back part time, but it was to no avail. She feels that with my high blood pressure and other issues I should make a conscious effort to stay off my feet. She even recommended that I don't do any sort of exercise, even walking! It was a hard adjustment at first, but I know that it is better for both my health and the health of the baby. Only a couple months til our little girl is with us.

She also mentioned the possibility of a C-section (ick/ouch again). Jacob and I kind of got married to the idea of a natural birth, but I guess it's nice that we get to mentally prepare ourselves instead of having to go into an emergency c-section and being stressed out of our minds. It's hard to have a regular labor with crazy high blood pressure, and mine has been doing nothing but going up every single week. Also, if my placenta does not move (right now it's covering part of my cervix) then there is no way I can deliver vaginally. I am praying every day though that God will heal my body, cause I am kind of dreading a giant cut in my abdomen.

Our little baby girl has been doing aerobics in my uterus lately. I just can't believe how much movement I am feeling--she must be super hyper! At my last appointment, the nurse couldn't believe how much movement she was feeling from the outside. She even called some of the others gals in just so they could feel it--I guess she's moving around a lot for it being this early.

In other news, Jacob and I are both wonderfully happy. It's kind of crazy, but even through all of this physical stress and these financial worries, God has covered our house with an amazing peace. We are both filled with so much joy and complete confidence that we are covered with God's grace, blessings, and favor as we move into this new season in our life. He has been so good to both of us, and continues to provide even when we think there is no way things will work out.

I am pretty sure we have chosen a name for the little one. We are both thrilled about it, but won't be making any official announcements until she is born. (Warning: it's the most amazing/beautiful/awesome name ever)

Thanks for reading guys. :)

Oh, and here is a quick almost-six-months pic before I forget. I refuse to post these on my facebook, so I guess i'll just slip one in here. I am actually feeling a lot smaller than I thought I would feel this far into the pregnancy.