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?!