Friday, December 31, 2010

Milton's Manor

Since there is no longer a need for a blog about me and my baby belly, we've decided to start a new blog for our new family. Jason and I will both be blogging about our sweet Charlotte and our adventures as a family.

Find our new blog (named after our eldest cat Milton) here:

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sunday, December 26, 2010


Guestblogging this morning is Bethie's husband, Jason, live from the hospital. Bethie began her labor at about 12:30 AM on the day after Christmas. She is progressing well -- if not without pain -- and is showing great strength.

She's currently perched on the birthing ball and sans epidural.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

These Luxurious Days

I feel so lucky to not be working these last few weeks of pregnancy. I am singing a service tomorrow evening and a service Christmas day, but that is it. I have been spending my days relaxing, visiting with friends, taking long naps and long baths and generally getting the house in shape for Charlotte's arrival. I know things will change dramatically after Charlotte's birth so I am really trying to appreciate and enjoy these quiet days. I even treated myself to a pedicure today! Life is good.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our New Kitchen!

We are thrilled to have (mostly) completed our kitchen renovation!

Can you believe what it looked like when we moved in?!

We are so happy to have a lovely kitchen to bring our Charlotte home to. There wasn't much we needed to do in the kitchen to accommodate a baby, but we did give her her own drawer:

We also got this adorable drying rack for her bottles at our shower (thanks Aunt Tina!). I am planning on breastfeeding so we didn't need anything too big or involved and this one was too cute to pass up!

What a luxury it is to have such a lovely kitchen to work in after nearly two years of using a partially renovated kitchen. Charlotte won't be able to appreciate it, but her parents and visiting relatives sure will!

PS: I did a more thorough post about the kitchen reno over at

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Labor Induction?

I had my 38 week checkup today. The doctor checked my cervix and I am still only 2cm dilated. Bummer. I was really hoping things were progressing faster than that! The doctor then asked me if I wanted to be induced. What a horrible thing to ask an extremely uncomfortable, ginormous pregnant woman! Though I have to admit I hesitated, I told him that I would prefer to go naturally. Not only is there no valid medical reason for me to be induced, I've heard that induced labors are much more painful. Here are some other risks I found on the Mayo Clinic website:

  • Low heart rate. The medication used to induce labor (oxytocin) may provoke too many contractions, which can diminish your baby's oxygen supply and lower your baby's heart rate.
  • Infection. Inducing labor increases the risk of infection for both mother and baby.
  • Umbilical cord problems. Inducing labor increases the risk of the umbilical cord slipping into the vagina before delivery, which may compress the cord and decrease the baby's oxygen supply.
  • The need for a C-section. By definition, induction promotes delivery before your body is ready for labor — which may lead to poor labor progress and the need for a C-section.

It wasn't until after this conversation that I brought up my concerns about Charlotte getting too big. When I asked him how big he thought she was he checked my chart and said, "We're looking at between an eight and eight-and-a-half pound baby." At the time, I assumed he meant that she would be that big by the time I deliver, but now I'm a little scared that he meant that she is already that big! Assuming she does grow a full pound a week, that would make her potentially 10.5 pounds at 40 weeks! That would surely not turn out well. If that were indeed the case, I bet we'd be looking at a C-section. While I am against having either a C-seciton or induction, I would certainly prefer an induction to surgery!

Chances are, he meant she will be up to 8.5 pounds at birth. Regardless, there is a lot of advice online on how to naturally induce labor. Most of the advice involves some version of the following:

-stretches, exercises and gimmicks to get the baby to drop (bouncing on an exercise ball, going for a bumpy car ride)
-eating particular foods such as pineapple, eggplant or generally spicy foods
-consuming castor oil, primrose oil, raspberry leaf tea or other particular herbs

A few of these I'm willing to try, a few of these I'm not. I will admit, however, that I did consume half of a pineapple last night before bed. Ultimately, I don't think any of these tricks will work if your body isn't already ready to go into labor; obviously mine isn't quite ready. Still, I have to admit I got excited when a friend told me that pineapples are on sale at Safeway for a dollar each!

Monday, December 20, 2010

38 Weeks

We are getting so anxious to meet our little Charlotte! Now that my last concert of the season is over I feel like I can finally relax. I still have my church gigs to sing on Christmas Eve and Christmas day, but I have subs lined up for everything after that.

In the meantime, I need to get organized with my last bit of Christmas shopping and mailing. We got our cards out early so at least that's done. I also have lots of thank you cards to write! Our Charlotte has received lots of love via post mail in the last few weeks!

I am also just trying to rest and get the house in order. Overall, I'm feeling pretty good, but my lower back gets sore pretty easily. I'm not having any more sciatic nerve issues though; thank God for that!! I've also noticed I get a little dizzy if I overdo it so I am trying to make sure I nap and generally rest up when I can. Things are pretty calm around here so I am finding I have lots of time for baths, naps and reading.

Jason has jury duty today and tomorrow so he can't take me to my weekly OB appointment tomorrow morning. I arranged for a friend of mine to take me instead. We've been grateful that Jason has been able to make it to all the other appointments with me but I have to say, I'm pretty bummed that he won't be able to make it tomorrow. Regardless, I am hoping that I will have dilated a bit more! Who knows, tomorrow could be the big day! It is a full moon tomorrow night after all . . .

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Belly Pics!

I got a little scared the other day thinking about how big Charlotte must be getting. From what I've read, in the last month of pregnancy, the baby can gain up to a pound per week! While I'm happy to know that she is obviously thriving in my belly, I am a bit frightened about giving birth to a jumbo-sized baby!

We have our next OB appointment on Tuesday so I will talk to the doctor about my concern then. I am very much opposed to being induced but I am also frightened of the thought of needing a C-section if she is too big! Chances are the doctor will tell me that everything is progressing normally and I have nothing to worry about.

In the meantime, perhaps staying away from the three dozen frosted sugar cookies Jason just made will also help keep her weight down. (Yeah, right!)

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pyogenic Granuloma

I have had the weirdest, nastiest red mole on my chest near my collar bone. It started as just a little dot and over the last few months has developed into something that looks like this:

I showed my OB at my last appointment and she said I should get it taken off. Luckily there is a dermatologist just upstairs from my OB who was able to fit me in this morning.

Apparently it is called pyogenic granuloma and it is common in pregnant women. They are generally found on the hands and arms and face, but apparently most pregnant women get them in their mouths. (Ewwww!) I'm grateful that wasn't the case with me!

The dermatologist was able to remove it during my brief visit. She numbed me with a shot and then sliced it off with a razor. She then cauterized the area to help stop the bleeding (these things tend to bleed a lot!). I will have a scar, but at least I won't have a nasty blood blister any more. The whole procedure was fast and relatively painless. I was able to get back home in time to drive Jason to the metro. It is a white winter wonderland here today!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Oh My!

We saw the OB this morning for our now weekly checkup. He said I am 2cm dilated and 70% effaced! I have to say I was surprised! I am still three weeks away from my due date! He didn't seem to think that this changed our time line at all, but he did say that we could likely have her before the new year! Ack . . . I mean . . . hurray! . . . I mean . . . I want my mommy!

In other news, we toured the hospital last night. The labor and delivery floor is pretty new and is really very nice. The room we will stay in after the baby is born is very nice as well (not to mention private!). Aside from being being a state of the art facility with the state's largest neonatal intensive care unit (just in case) they are also less than five minutes from our house. With DC area traffic as crazy as it is, that is a huge comfort!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

I'm Full Term!

Today my pregnancy is officially considered full term! While most pregnancies last until 40 weeks, a pregnancy is technically considered full term at 37 weeks.

As exciting as this may be, I don't feel that our little Charlotte is going to arrive any time soon. I haven't had any of the gross sounding symptoms (losing my mucus plug, the bloody show, etc.) and I'm pretty positive she has not "dropped" yet. On the contrary, she seems to be up higher than ever before! I can feel her under my ribs a lot more these days. Luckily, as active as she is, she hasn't kicked me in the ribs yet. I am very grateful for that as I've heard it can be pretty painful!

We have another OB appointment tomorrow morning and they will check me for dilation again then. I assume there won't be any progress there, but it would certainly be exciting if there were! My mom said that she was dilated to about 3cm within a week of giving birth to her children. I can assume that my body would be on a similar schedule once I get to that point as well. Chances are I'll be closer to 40 weeks, but a girl can hope!

What I'm looking forward to most about not being pregnant:
  • No more sciatic nerve issues (hopefully!)
  • Sleeping on my stomach again
  • Wearing my old clothes (even though I will apparently look six months pregnant for a while after the birth)
  • Not peeing quite so often
  • Not being hungry all the time (although that may not happen if I'm breastfeeding!)
  • Walking without a waddle
  • Exercising without feeling like an enormous cow
  • Being able to carry and lift heavy things
  • Being able to put my socks on with ease
  • Putting my real wedding ring back on (I've been wearing a silver band in a larger size to accommodate my swollen fingers.)
  • Last but certainly not least I'm looking forward to getting to have Charlotte in my arms instead of my belly!

Monday, December 13, 2010


So, I was leaving work after teaching voice lessons on Friday. I was passing through a stairwell on my way out and all of a sudden I couldn't take another step. I couldn't put any pressure at all on my left foot otherwise the sharpest most acute pain would shoot from near my tailbone down my leg. I had had problems with my sciatic nerve earlier in the pregnancy so I knew exactly what it was. This, however was different. It was so overwhelmingly painful that I literally could not take another step.

I called Jason from the stairwell and of course there wasn't anything he could do other than suggest I call someone at the cathedral to come get me. He also told me to take a cab home (a 30/45 minute drive!) if I needed to. I considered calling the music director but I knew he had already left work. I decided to try to get out of the stairwell and then I could get someone to help me. Amazingly, I somehow made it down the rest of the stairs and out of the stairwell. Once I was there, I was able to get two women to help carry me the rest of the way. One of them brought my car around and they made sure I could drive before I went anywhere. Sitting was no problem and moving my leg was not a problem while sitting so I was able to get myself home.

I had my next door neighbor's number handy in case I couldn't get from the car to the house, but then I remembered that he had recently had shoulder surgery and wouldn't be much help. Luckily, when I arrived home, the two men who had been installing our new kitchen floor (woo hoo!) were just leaving. They ended up carrying me into the house and putting me on the couch. I sat there for two hours until Jason was able to make it home.

Jason had to help me with absolutely everything the entire weekend and was such a hero! I couldn't do a thing without him. We eventually got into a good groove. I spent most of my time in a rolling office chair and he would roll me around the house. He would prepare and bring me all my food and would even bring me a bowl and glass of water when it was time to brush my teeth. He also got up with me multiple times during the night so I could use the restroom. What a good husby!

Today (Monday) was the first day that the pain let up. I was able to get around using crutches this morning and now am able to walk (however slowly) on my own. I'd say I am 80% better. What a relief! I have one more big concert this Sunday to get through before I can relax. I need to get through Christmas singing my church gigs, but those are much less stressful than full blown concerts. I am in the home stretch! This pregnancy has overall been pretty easy, but I am so anxious to get my body back to normal!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cloth Wipes

Since we decided to go with cloth diapers, it only made sense to go with cloth wipes as well. With each load of diapers we wash we'll just toss the wipes in too. Sounds easy enough in theory! I ordered a whole slew of these cloth wipes from Baby Kicks:

They are made from organic cotton with one side that is soft and fleecy and the other side slightly rougher. One of the complaints I read about this particular brand was that the tag was so big that it reduced the usable space on the wipe. That was easily solved by cutting off the tag. Super genius!!

We will also need a cleansing liquid to use with the wipes. All you need with a newborn (so I've read) is water at first, so we will have a spray bottle with water to spray her with before wiping her down. Soon we will need to upgrade to something with more cleansing power. There are a lot of different recipes online but this one seems nice and simple:

1/8-1/4 c. baby shampoo
1/8-1/4 c. baby oil/olive oil
2 cups lukewarm water

We will put the mixture in the spray bottle (some people prefer to put it in a jar and dip the wipe in but the spray bottle seems tidier to me) and a couple of sprays should be enough. I've never tried using cloth wipes before, so we may end up tweaking this method once we get started. It seems pretty straight forward though!

We also purchased this wet bag instead of a diaper pail. It hangs on the back of the door and can be washed along with the diapers and wipes. We looked into getting a pail with a reusable liner, but we liked that this takes up less room.

There are many loads of laundry in our future, but we feel good about doing our part for the environment. Speaking of, here are some disposable diaper facts I found at

  • No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren are gone.
  • Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.
  • The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth.
  • Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.

Thursday, December 9, 2010


Jason and I feel so lucky to have friends and family come stay to help with Charlotte. My mom will be arriving December 31 and will stay until January 12. We are hoping that she will be here for Charlotte's birth. Based on our last OB visit it sounds like things are still on schedule, so hopefully Charlotte will wait for her Ammy to arrive before she does!

Once Ammy leaves we have about two weeks before my friend Kate arrives. Her visit coincides with Jason heading back to work (after a generous paternity leave!). It will be nice to have some help with that transition especially since Charlotte will still be so little! Kate is the mother of our goddaughter Perrin and will certainly be a big help with our little Charlotte!

I'll be on my own during the day for a few weeks until we all head out to the west coast for Charlotte's baptism and to visit family. We'll hit both Seattle and Stockton before coming back home. We're looking forward to seeing everyone and showing off the newest member of the family!

I'm thinking about starting up one of my church gigs in February (depending on how things are going) and plan to be back at both gigs in March. March will also bring a whole slew of rehearsals on concerts. Luckily, we may be getting more visitors to help in March! Jason's brother Jared and his wife, Tara are talking about a March visit. Having them here during that time would be enormously helpful! They are the parents of two beautiful little girls and I imagine they will be a wealth of information for these two newbie parents!

With all of these visitors, we really need to get a guest room ready. Our old guest room became Charlotte's room so we will be putting guests up on a blow up mattress in the office. Not too glamorous but it is cheaper than a hotel. ;) Getting rid of some big items and organizing what's left should make it work well enough. We can't wait for everyone to arrive (Charlotte included!).

Monday, December 6, 2010

36 Weeks!

I can't believe I will be full term in one week! We went in for a checkup this morning (we are now on a weekly schedule) and everything looks good. Charlotte's heartbeat is nice and strong and the doctor seemed pleased with how things were going. The doctor gave me a routine strep b test and checked to see if I had dilated at all. She said not only has the baby not "dropped" yet, but I'm not dilated at all.

While I'm anxious to get this show on the road, it is comforting to know that she won't be here this week! There are still some things we need to get done around the house. Mostly, we need until the end of the week for the contractors to finish up work in the kitchen and bathroom. We also need to purchase some sort of co-sleeper or bassinet so Charlotte can be in the bedroom with us when she is really little. The co-sleeper design allows for Charlotte to have her own space but she will also be very easy for me to get to while in a sleepy, new mom stupor.

I have seen ones that fold up easily for travel which would come in handy as we're planning a trip to the west coast pretty early on. A bassinet might be a good idea because I could move it around the house with me if I needed. I also have a friend who is looking to get rid of his old one so that might be a good, cheap option. I should probably figure this out sooner than later!

The last major thing we need to do is register at the hospital. We have a tour planned for next week and apparently I can register then. We can also register online so I should probably just get that done. This morning, the doctor seemed quite surprised that we hadn't registered yet and said, "you guys must be pretty laid back" which of course stressed us out. We didn't mean to be laid back about it! We just didn't realize it was so important to get done early! Oops. Maybe I should go do that now . . .

Friday, December 3, 2010

Feed Me!

Okay, that picture is not supposed to be me or Charlotte! I guess it best represents my insatiable belly. I have gone through phases of extreme hunger during my pregnancy, but this phase may take the cake (mmm, cake!). I feel like I am constantly eating these days! I finish my morning cereal only to need another bowl within an hour. I try to snack on fruits and other good for me foods, but when it comes down to it, a snack just won't cut it: I need a full meal.

I guess this must mean that Charlotte is having another growth spurt. I don't know how that is possible as she seems to get significantly bigger every week and I'm running out of room to house her! My poor belly is stretched to the max. What started out as small little stretch marks at the very bottom of my belly have now made their way up to my belly button (which still hasn't popped but the threat is very real now). I can't imagine how much bigger she is going to be getting over the next month, especially considering how much food she has been requiring lately!

Luckily Charlotte doesn't seem to mind her cramped living quarters too much. She is still as active as ever! She seems to be a happy, healthy little girl.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Pregnancy Pics!

A friend and colleague of mine also happens to be a wonderful photographer. I asked him if he would take some pictures of us to capture the belly in its last month; I'm very happy with how they turned out!

This will be our first year sending a photo Christmas card so we wanted to make sure we had a good pic for that as well. We wanted to avoid anything too cheesy so we just stuck with pretty traditional poses (except for the last shot). You'll need to wait for your Christmas card to see our favorite pic, but here are our other favorites:

And can you believe that the belly has gotten even bigger since these were taken?!

Friday, November 26, 2010

34 Week Checkup

We had our thirty-four week check up a few days ago. This was the first visit where the doctor talked to us about labor symptoms. He reminded us that thirty-seven weeks is considered full term. That's only three weeks away! Ack!

Charlotte is doing quite well. She is as active as ever and has been getting the hiccups at least twice a day. The doctor checked her heartbeat and it was strong and regular.

We're feeling pretty prepared for her arrival and are getting anxious to meet her! The cloth diapers are washed and ready to go, the car seat is installed and the stroller is in the trunk. Last week I hit Babies R Us to pick up items that we still needed (breast feeding supplies, receiving blankets, etc.). We've even taken a birthing class and gotten some professional pregnancy portraits done. Now we just need the baby!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Perhaps we should invest in a baby swing . . .

. . . and a banjo.

A Few of My Favorite Things:

1. Etsy heating pad:
I originally bought this heating pad to use for my feet in the winter. It kept my tootsies nice and toasty all last winter and this year has gotten even more use in providing relief to my back and rib. I just pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and it provides long lasting heat with no cords attached! You can find it here:

2. Bubble baths!
I take at least one long soak every day. I've acquired an assortment of yummy bubble bath products that make the soak that much more luxurious. Luckily, we live in an old house that has a nice deep tub. I know I'm supposed to be careful with taking hot baths while pregnant, but I assure you I am being safe about it. :)

3. This banana bread recipe:
I got this recipe from a woman I sing with after she brought some in to share one morning. I was so impressed with how incredibly moist it was and asked for the recipe. I was shocked to find out how healthy it is! I just made a batch and substituted ground flax seed for the wheat germ and it is super yummy. I also threw in some chia seeds to make it extra healthy. I will never again bake dry banana bread!

1 1/2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
2 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 egg
3-4 very ripe bananas
1/2 cup chopped pecans (2 oz)

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add applesauce and egg, and beat on medium speed for 1 minute until smooth. Add bananas and beat 1-2 minutes more until well blended (batter will be a little lumpy). Stir in pecans. Pour into greased bread pan and Bake at 350 degrees 60 minutes (40 minutes if making mini-loaves). Cool before slicing.

4. Pillars of the Earth Miniseries
I am trying to make sure I get plenty of rest while I'm healing from my cough and rib injury. It is hard for me to just sit and rest but this miniseries makes it much easier! I am a sucker for historical fiction novels and I absolutely loved this book. The miniseries is does a great job of representing the characters and story. It is a bit depressing at times, but overall a great way to waste an hour. The best part is that it is available to "watch instantly" through Netflix!

5. A good husband:
I know these can be hard to find, but I highly recommend one if you don't have one already. Jason has taken such good care of me throughout my pregnancy and even better care of me while I've been sick. He even took a day off work to take me to the doctor and generally dote on me.
It is also fun to see him get so excited about being a dad. He was just saying this morning how neat it will be to be referred to as "Charlotte's dad." I love that he thinks about these little things. Charlotte is so lucky to have him!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bed Rest

As it turns out, I somehow injured my rib from all the coughing I've been doing over the past few weeks. I went to see the doctor yesterday and he said he didn't want to take any X-rays, but he said it is quite possible I cracked or broke a rib. Thankfully I'm still able to breath without much trouble, but coughing, hiccuping, singing and even walking are quite painful.

I have spent the last day-and-a-half resting and will continue to rest as much as I can for the next week or two. To make matters worse, however, sleeping upright (which helps with the coughing and rib pain) has caused my sciatic nerve to become more of a problem. There are times when I have gotten stuck in one spot because I can't put any weight on my right leg without severe, shooting pain!

Unfortunately there are rehearsals I just can't miss and voice lessons that I also can't skip out on. The doctor prescribed me some strong pain killers (that are apparently okayed for pregnancy) but I would prefer not to use them. Also, since I can't drive while taking them, they wouldn't do me much good anyway unless I get a chauffeur!

I keep trying to remember that many women have it WAY worse during pregnancy. I am extremely grateful that these problems really only affect me and not Charlotte. She is as healthy and active as ever! I am also grateful to have such a great husband to take care of me. He even stayed home from work yesterday to take me to the doctor and generally dote on me. I only wish he could stay home for the rest of the week! Who's going to run my bath and bring me food in bed today?!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Alcohol During Pregnancy

The idea of drinking while pregnant sounds pretty risky; however the majority of mothers I've spoken to indulged at least a few times while in the third trimester. I did a little bit of research and have found a lot of strong opinions about this online. "Would you put wine in your baby's bottle?!" is one line that struck me as a bit over the top. Still, it shows how passionate people can be about this issue. I found the following points quite helpful in making my decision as to whether or not I would have an occasional glass of wine:

  • Lipp and Whitten, whose "To Your Health" was published in 1995, are among an increasing number of doctors and researchers who feel that pregnant women have no reason to fear drinking a glass of wine every day. As revealed by contributing editor Thomas Matthews in the August 31, 1994 issue of the "Wine Spectator" magazine which was devoted largely to this controversy, "there is even new research that shows that moderate drinking during pregnancy may actually help the development of the child after birth.
  • The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recently conducted a large study including 400,000 American women, all of whom had consumed alcohol during pregnancy. Not a single case of fetal alcohol syndrome occurred and no adverse effects on children were found when consumption was under 8.5 drinks per week.
  • A recent review of research studies found that fetal alcohol syndrome only occurs among alcoholics. The evidence is clear that there is no apparent risk to a child when the pregnant woman consumes no more than one drink per day.
It sounds to me like a glass of wine here or there is completely safe. Also, I've known so many women who drank moderately (one glass of wine a couple of times a week) during the third trimester and have perfectly healthy children.

Now, I can't write this post without mentioning Jason's aunt (who has two super genius adult children) who told me about drinking during pregnancy, "we used to get blasted!". Obviously I won't be getting blasted, but I have been enjoying an occasional glass of red wine in the evening. Jason even opened up one of our nice bottles we'd been saving for a special occasion for me to enjoy!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

32 Week Checkup!

Jason and I went in for our 32 week checkup this morning. We had an ultrasound done and I got my Rogham shot. I would post our ultrasound picture, but we left it in the office! Bummer! It wasn't great anyway as she had her hands in front of her face and it was pretty blurry. The good news is that she is head down and will likely stay that way for good! Her heart rate was good and she is right on track in terms of her size. We got a good look at her heart which is nice and strong and got to see her diaphragm moving as well as she "breathes" the amniotic fluid. She's going to be a good little singer! I can already tell!

I also checked out well. No big exam, but he measured the belly and I got my blood pressure and weight taken. Blood pressure was normal and the doctor said my weight is normal as well. I didn't expect I would gain quite this much weight, but I'm not going to worry about it too much. I am not carrying much extra weight anywhere (other than my belly!) and everyone tells me I look just the same as I always did but with a big belly and bigger tatas! I'm starting to see my face fill out just a tiny bit, but again, I'm not too concerned. Breastfeeding will help me slim down post birth as well as lots of long walks around the neighborhood with the stroller. I can't wait! (When I nannied for a three month old I looked forward to my long walks everyday as there isn't much else you can do with a baby that small!)

Speaking of weight gain, here is a look at where all my weight has gone:

I'm still within that 25-35 range, but just barely! I've just got to hold tight for the next eight weeks!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Asthma Attack

I called my OB's office on Friday and they insisted I see my GP. After taking my temperature (normal) checking my ears and throat (both normal) and assessing my other symptoms (coughing up light yellow mucus) the doctor listened to my lungs and told me that I've been having an asthma attack for the last week. I was diagnosed with a mild case of exercise-induced asthma when I was in high school, but have never had a problem with asthma otherwise. Nothing in my environment has changed that would have brought this on, so it seems pretty random to me.

My GP prescribed me an inhaler, a cough syrup with codeine and also prescribed me amoxicillin to try if it turned out not to be asthma, but some sort of bronchial infection. (Don't worry, I also cleared all the prescriptions with my OB before taking any of them.) The inhaler doesn't seem to do much good. The cough syrup helps me get through the night with only two or three bad cough attacks, but I'm guessing that is mostly because it knocks me out. I decided to start the amoxicillin on Friday and am taking it regularly three times a day but haven't seen an improvement from that either.

My ribs and stomach muscles ache from all of the coughing and my throat is pretty sore as well. It is at times like these that I feel a bit less fortunate about my line of work. If I can't sing, I can't work! I had to take off one of my church gigs yesterday morning and was sent home from the one I showed up to after having a huge cough attack that required me to leave the altar in the middle of the homily. Amazingly though, I was able to make it through the Durufle Requiem last night without too much hacking. Still, it is probably dumb for me to sing when my throat is so fragile from all the coughing. Luckily, I have today off and only have a low key rehearsal tomorrow.

I called my GP again this morning and he is going to put me on steriods since nothing else seems to be working. He also okayed me to take the prescription cough syrup during the day as long as I don't drive anywhere. I told him I started the antibiotics and haven't gotten any relief from them (I was pretty convinced he was wrong about the asthma thing and that it was really a bronchial infection) but he didn't seem surprised that they weren't working. He seems confident that this is asthma. Ugh. I just hope this goes away after Charlotte is born!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

I'm Sick

Ugh. I've had a chest cold since Saturday. It slowly got worse and is now pretty consistently yucky. Good news is that my coughs are becoming more and more productive; I hope that means I'll be on the mend soon! Until then it is pretty impossible for me to sing or even rehearse my music. I have a rehearsal for the Durufle Requiem tonight and have warned the director that I don't have much of a voice. I just hope it comes back in time for the performance on Sunday!

In the meantime, I'm trying to drink lots of water and get lots of rest. I've had a few cups of tea with ginger powder and honey in it and that feels nice on my throat, but doesn't do much for the constant tickle in my lungs. I may try taking a steamy shower or perhaps boiling water and inhaling the steam for a while to try to break up all the gunk in my lungs before tonight's rehearsal. I've also made up a batch of homemade, pregnancy safe, cough syrup that I found online. Who knows if it actually does any good, but it is worth a try:

Make a paste of 1/4 teaspoon of red pepper, 1/4 teaspoon of ground ginger, 1 table spoon of apple cider vinegar, 1 table spoon of honey, and 2 tablespoon of normal water. Mix them well and take 1 teaspoon of this mixture whenever you have cough problem.

It doesn't taste all that bad. Just a bit spicy. I'm also sucking on Ricola cough drops. Unfortunately, most everything else is not allowed for pregos. Sigh. I wouldn't mind the chest cold as much if it didn't mean I couldn't work! I've got things to do and songs to sing!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

9 Weeks to Go!

Oh my goodness. I can't believe I only have 9 short weeks until we meet Baby Charlotte!! The pregnancy continues to go pretty smoothly. I am experiencing a lot more discomfort but it is pretty manageable overall. It is mostly back pain. I'm not taking any Tylenol (the only pain killer allowed for pregos) but my daily bath always helps loosen things up. An occasional massage from Jason also does wonders!

We've also started to prepare for Charlotte's arrival including signing up for birthing classes and packing our hospital bag:

I've checked out numerous lists of what to bring and what not to bring to the hospital and have gathered together everything I think I might need. I am bringing the basics: toiletries, slippers, change of clothes, etc. and have also packed a few luxury items such as a down pillow with a soft, pretty case and a fluffy towel (so I don't have to use the tiny thin ones at the hospital). It may be early to have my bags packed, but it will be nice to know that if I go into labor early, I won't have to worry about what to bring as we head to the hospital!

I've also started to do more reading about what to expect during labor and delivery. I just finished reading the labor and delivery chapter in "What to Expect When You're Expecting" and am starting to try to prepare mentally for the big day. I want to do things as naturally as possible and am trying to prepare myself for what the pain might be like. I really have nothing to compare it to. I'm hoping that knowing we are so close to meeting our sweet baby will help me get through!

Monday, November 1, 2010

Breast Feeding

I had a conversation with one of my sisters-in-law shortly after I found out we were expecting. She asked if I was interested in breast feeding to which I replied yes. She then asked what insurance I have. As it turns out, we both have the same insurance: Blue Cross Blue Shield. She asked because this particular insurance company will purchase your breast pump for you if you choose to breast feed. I was completely skeptical, but decided to try it anyway. I called the insurance company and they told me to contact a medical supplies company that would handle the transaction.

I went to their website and, not knowing anything about breast pumps, just picked out the most expensive model at $350. I then spoke to a rep for the medical supplies company who told me they would let me know if the insurance company would approve my purchase. I fully expected that they would cover part of the purchase, or that they would deny the purchase and recommend a cheaper model. Much to my surprise, they quickly approved the purchase and this lovely breast pump is now on its way to my house! FOR FREE!

The reviews I read on (where it is listed for a good $100 less!) were pretty good. There were a few negative ones, but you find that with just about any product. I love that it is electric and it is nice that it comes with some bottles as well.

Since I hope to breast feed for a good full year or two (that's what the recommend these days!) I am sure I'll get a lot of good use out of this. I just hope it doesn't leave me feeling like a cow in a dairy farm. Oh man. What an image. No wonder so many women choose to go with formula instead!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Maternity Clothes Review

Here is a review of my favorite maternity clothing stores:

Motherhood Maternity:

This was the first maternity store I explored and I happened to be there with my friend Kate. While there, we had the following conversation:

Bethie: Hmm. The clothes here look cheap. Is this like the discount maternity store?
Kate: Shh!! Keep your voice down! You're pregnant, you don't have tourettes!

Despite my initial impression, I actually ended up buying most of my maternity clothes there! There is a store conveniently located near my house which may be the main reason, but they also have really decently priced clothes. I don't care for a lot of what they have there, but they are good with the basics: t-shirts, tank tops, bras, nylons, etc. I also love that they have petite sizes which accomodate my short legs!

Most of all, I love the "secret belly panel" that they offer on most of their pants. It is SUPER comfy! The belly panel is thin and I believe made of nylon so it disappears under clothes which I also love.

I wore these pants constantly this summer:

The Gap and Old Navy:

Old Navy has some cute, really well-priced maternity clothes. I also love the maternity clothes from The Gap, but they are generally a lot pricier than Old Navy. The problem with both of these stores is that the merchandise is a pain to return as they don't take maternity returns in the stores. Not only do you have to ship the returns back to them, but you have to ship them back by a certain date or you get no refund at all! Bummer. Still, I can't resist checking out their websites when I am in need of a particular item. I just cross my fingers that it will fit!

How cute is this $26 maternity dress from Old Navy?!

Isabella Oliver:

My big maternity clothes splurge was a shirt from this store. I have to wear a lot of black when I perform. I inherited some cute black dresses from friends and relatives, but none of them really made me look all that great. I knew I would have a lot of gigs toward the end of my pregnancy and wanted something I could wear that wouldn't make me look and feel like a beached whale. Enter the Wrap Around Top (clever name, eh?):

It is fitted around the bust and then just has two long pieces of fabric that you wrap around your belly and tie on the side. It will accommodate a belly of any size. Not only does it fit me perfectly now, but it will fit me perfectly by the end of the pregnancy. I am also planning on wearing it post baby! Totally overpriced, but well worth the splurge in my case. (I only wish I could have purchased it in this gorgeous green instead of black!)


H&M is probably my favorite maternity store. Not only are their prices low, they offer maternity clothes that don't look like your typical maternity clothes (floral prints or polka dots with puffy sleeves). In fact, I just got the cutest pair of skinny jeans there and a pair of corduroy pants as well. I had to hem them myself but having a few decent looking pairs of pants is worth the effort!
One draw back is that you can't buy (or even see) their clothes online.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More Nursery Progress!

The nursery is almost finished! Since the last nursery post, we've added more art to the walls, a new bookshelf and some more accessories.

We bought this bookshelf from Ikea last weekend. It is pretty empty now, but there is plenty of room for Charlotte to fill it with more books, toys and treasures!

I took down the noisy, metal closet doors and made some curtains from a few yards of fabric that I purchased from Ikea. I love how the leafy pattern fits in with the bird theme we seem to have going!

I adore this giraffe grow chart that we got from Jason's brother and his family. It was a bit of a pain to hang (it is all canvas and kept rolling in on itself when I hung it). Luckily it wasn't anything I couldn't fix up with tape, a wooden pencil and a few strategically placed nails. I also added the ribbon to the top which I think turned out nicely.

The last item we have left to purchase for the room is a rug. I've had a hard time finding something that is durable, affordable, soft and neutral but I finally have my eye on a few that might work:

This one is chenille:

This one is chenille and jute:

This one is jute, but is supposedly really soft:

They are all from Pottery Barn and are around the same price as rugs I found at Ikea and I might have to make a trip to my local Pottery Barn and check them out in person. Aside from the crib, the rug will be the priciest item in her nursery, so I want to make sure we make a good choice!