Monday, July 17, 2017

Fox is ONE month old!

Dear Fox,



You are ONE month old! Just like how it is with your other two older brothers, I am in a constant awe of how fast time flies, and those past four weeks have gone by in a blur. It does not feel like it is a long ago that I was pregnant with you, and waiting for your arrival. Yet here you are with us for a whole month. 




Our miracle, our rainbow baby, and our hope after the raging storm. Stu always tell me how amazing it is that you are already here with us, and amazing it indeed is. It has been a really long journey to have you arrive into our growing family's embrace. 

We used to be one of those couples that were untouched, separated, and outside of the realm of the loss. After all, we did have your older brothers, and we were naive to believe that we would not experience a heartache of a miscarriage. Unfortunately, our naivety was shaken up, and in that, we realized that life did not spare anybody from experiencing its thorns. 

The pain of our angel baby's loss is still very prominent. Somehow with having you here with us eases that pain, knowing that our angel baby has sent you to us, and having you here is profoundly healing. Having written these words, we also want you to realize that, while you are our blessing to our sadness, and that you are conductive in our healing as our rainbow baby, do know this: we love you dearly for who you are, for what you bring to our family even though we miss the chance and the possibility of the baby before you, you are set apart from our devastating loss, because you are uniquely YOU.  




You are clocking at 7 pounds, and 12 ounces! It is a surprise how fast you have gained since your birth. We jokingly call you our little piglet, since you are a champ at eating. Like Frank as a baby, you are quite small among your peers at only 20 percentile for weight. You are 20.75" tall, and that puts you in 54 percentile for height. You are an interesting mix of both Forrest, and Frank. You have Forrest's head shape, skin color tone, and nose, yet you have Franklin's lips, eye shape, and slim stature. Rest of your features is uniquely YOURS. It will be fun to watch you grow a bit more, and see who you resemble more.



The umbilical cord stump has fallen off. To my relief that the icky scab is gone, you now have a belly button! It is a bit hard to tell if it is an innie, or an outie. Time will tell once you get a bit older. The best part with having your belly button healed is that you are able to take baths instead of needing a sponge bath! Sadly, you are not a fan of baths! You're a voluble baby! You are definitely not afraid to let us know what is on your mind, little buddy. You scream, holler, and cry despite the water being warm, and the consistent room temperature. Once you are dried off, you are back to being a happy little baby. 

Your jaundice is slowly disappearing. The only sign left is a slightly touch of yellow-ness in your eyes. Nursing and sunlight are taking care of this for you. Before we know it, it will be gone. It does not affect how you nurse, or act on a day to day basis. Because of this, Dr. Karbon is not overly concerned. You are a healthy baby with no issues to worry about. This is a big change from our previous experience with Franklin when it comes to health, and care.



You wake up 2-3 times during the night to nurse, and be changed. It is not so terrible. Your witching hour begins at 2:30 am, and you tend to stay awake until 3:30-4:00 am. Darn the icky gas! You are more sensitive than your brothers when it comes to my diet going into the breast milk, and I often have to watch what kind of food I eat to reduce how often you have your 3 am party! I've learned that you don't like strong coffee late in the day, and because of that, I have to watch how much coffee I drink. You love to be bounced, and held, especially late in the night. Because of your late night shenanigans, it does take a bit of toll on me with sleep deprivation. However, what helps is knowing that this is only temporary. Before I know it, you will be sleeping through the night, and I will find myself missing those moments.

Bea, and the cats don't mind you. Bea is often too busy playing with Frank, and Forrest or sleeping to truly care. Missy Girl prefers to keep her company with me. Mr. Jinxy is most fascinated with you. He loves to rub his chin on your head! He is often sitting by your bassinet at the evening, watching over you. Mr. Jinxy enjoys having you near him...except when you start fussing, then he takes a refugee under the bed! 

Forrest, and Franklin love you so. With Forrest being a bit older, he is more engaged by helping giving me your diapers, clothes, and bathing! Franklin is still a bit too young to participate, and understand your vulnerability. Because of that, either Stu or I have to monitor Frank around you. Even so, Frank loves you so much, and always want to pet your hair (just like how Forrest is with Frank). Unlike Forrest, Frank does acknowledge your existence! We get a big laugh out remembering how it took Forrest a good year to acknowledge Franklin's existence. Thankfully, Frank is interested with your presence. He struggles more so with adjusting than Forrest is, and because of this, Stu and I make sure that Frank gets enough attention from us, and that if Frank is up for it, then Frank is able to help us out with your care. Frank gets a bit envious that Forrest holds you with limited assistance, and it is hard for him to understand that you are fragile to be left alone in his arms without an adult's help. We are grateful to have this problem though, because it goes to show how loved you are by your brothers!



Adjusting to having three of you is a continual process. Stu has been a huge help in taking the older two of boys off my hands so I'm able to shower, shop, and take care of you. It will be a challenge once Stu returns to work full-time, because it means I will have to learn how to juggle three of you until Forrest starts school again in fall! I have had small tastes of being on my own with three of you, and let me say this; it is an adventure! It is always chaotically fun, and sometimes, difficult to the point where I want to tear hair out of my head. Nonetheless, by the end of the day, I sit down, and realize that one day we will have a lot of stories to tell to you about your childhood with your older brothers! We have always wanted a big family of three to four kids, and we are so thankful for all the moments we have as a family. 

You don't mind tummy time too much. You like to be held against our chests, or to be babyworn. As a result, you are developing a strong neck already! It will be interesting to see when you hit your milestones. Will it be early, or on time, or late? We shall see, won't we?

Your personality is starting to emerge. For the most part, you are laid-back, which makes it easy for me to be able to attend other two boys' needs. You love your little swing. Being in a constant motion soothes you very much so. At the same time, you are not afraid to show your grumpiness. You can get quite fussy at times, which is a new territory for us, because we've been spoiled by other two not being overly fussy. Once you get fussy, it can be a bit hard to settle you down, and I have had often come up with tricks to soothe you. Among one of the tricks, I have discovered that you love to be bounced in my arms. Being wrapped against my chest is also one of your favorite ways to be held. I suspect it is to help to combat pressure in your belly from gas. Between babywearing, bouncing, and the little swinger, you are pretty set for the most part.

      

We are so blessed to have you in our lives. Words can't even begin to articulate how thankful we are to have your presence in our family. We look forward to what this month brings to you, and us.


Love, 

Mama, Daddy, and the Boys 


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Welcome to the World, Fox Edward!

On June 19th of 2017, we welcomed our rainbow baby, and our third boy to our family, Fox Edward, into the world. Fox was just two days shy of his due date when he decided it was a perfect time to grace his presence. 



I had no signs of starting labor with Fox until 2:30 am on Monday. Forrest had woken up Stu from a deep sleep, and he was upset about wetting his bed. I joined Stu to help to clean up the mess, and assured Forrest that all was well. I noticed that I had a wet discharge running down my leg. For a moment, I wondered if it was my water breaking, and had to check. As it had turned out, I had some light spotting, and it was something new to me, since I had not had that symptom in my previous pregnancies. Since it was not threatening, or worrisome, I went back to bed, and got up with the boys for the day. It was when I started having a bloody show, which was a good indicator that a labor could start within 24 to 72 hours. 

I had no contractions to indicate that I was going into labor very soon. Nonetheless, I informed Stu about the latest development. He excitedly replied that "today was the day", which I had dismissed. I figured with a bloody show symptom that I might as well just do laundry, and do some light cleaning, because who knows when labor will start? 

Stu had a flat tire on his car, and he was busy working on that situation, then went to work while I spent all morning doing laundry, and light cleaning without a single contraction. Stu checked on me periodically through the morning without any change in my report. By noon, I had a contraction out of blue, and nothing happened afterward. I opted for a wait-and-see method instead of jumping to a conclusion. Frank and I went to pick up Forrest from summer school. By the time we got home, I had a second contraction. I told Stu about the contractions, and quickly added that it was nothing to worry about, because they were so far apart. Stu insisted on coming home anyway. 



I took a shower, and did some last minute packing for my hospital bag...just in the case. By 2:30 pm, I finally sat down to put my feet up, and downloaded a contraction timer app on my iPhone to keep a track of my contractions. Within an hour and half of tracking, I realized my contractions were progressively getting closer together with a couple strong ones thrown in the mix. I emailed Dr. Mbah to follow up whether how far apart the contractions had to be in order for me to go to the hospital. She replied that time between contractions meant nothing, and just to go in as soon as I had six contractions in an hour. It was when I realized I had more than 6 contractions from 3 pm to 4 pm! 

I told Stu what Dr. Mbah had informed me, and showed him my contractions on the timer app. Stu decided he would like to leave to go to the hospital. I was more reluctant. I wanted to labor as long as I could at home before heading in, because I worried I was not dilated enough to be admitted. After all, I was only 50 percent effaced a week prior! Stu still insisted, reasoning that he did not want to risk delivering our baby at home, and called Wally to have her come over to watch the boys. 

It was when chaos began at home! Stu could not get a hold of Wally, then Spencer. I tried texting Wally to get no answer from her. While Stu packed his bag, we debated if we should take the boys with us to the hospital, having Bobbie meet us there to pick up the boys, and I started putting shoes on the boys. I also texted Andrea, our birth photographer, only to discover she was not also not answering her phone! Suddenly, Forrest promptly threw up on the floor. I thought to myself, oh no, he's sick on this day out of all other days he could get sick?! As it had turned out, it was thankfully one time incident from the stress, and anxiety from us running around, failing to contact our birth photographer, and trying to get a hold of Wally and Spencer to watch the boys. 

We were about to leave the house when Stu finally got a hold of Wally and Spencer. Thank goodness! We said our good-byes to the boys, and left them in Wally and Spencer's hands. Unlike my previous experience from being in labor with Frank, I was not sad about leaving my boys behind to bring their baby brother into the world. I knew my heart was capable was growing even bigger to make a room for all of my children, and I knew they would be loved as much as we would love their baby brother.  I kissed the boys, then went out of the door with Stu. 

Stu called Andrea, and to my relief, she answered! She had not heard text notification going off on her phone, and thanked Stu for calling her. After all a phone call notification was louder than a text notification! Then she was finally on her way. I decided that I wanted an Iced Caramel Frappuccino coffee to celebrate the fact that *maybe* I was in labor. Stu grabbed a hamburger just in case if he had to miss dinner that night!  I texted my interpreter to let her know we were on our way. 



On the ride to the hospital, I kept back playing to the night I was in labor with Frank, and how the ride to the hospital was extremely uncomfortable. I did not feel that way this time. My contractions were getting stronger, but not closer together. I remained still unsure whether I would be admitted that night. Stu assured me that it was better to be checked out  even if it ended up being a false alarm. We arrived at Bellin Hospital without any hitch. The nurse put us in the triage to monitor my contractions, took a quick history of my pregnancy, and performed a cervical check. The nurse discovered that I was at 4 CM, and 100 percent effaced. It was enough to admit us at the hospital! We were pretty excited about the fact that we were getting closer to meeting Fox! My regular interpreter had to leave, and promised to return in two hours. In the meanwhile, my back-up interpreter was able to take in the place for those two hours. I had already met my back-up interpreter from a previous appointment for one of my kids, and liked her. I assured my regular interpreter that it was not my first rodeo, and that it was fine to work with someone different this time even for a short while. Andrea showed up about the same time when my back-up interpreter showed up. We relocated to my birthing suite. Andrea started snapping pictures, and she did a fantastic job of making herself a part of the background without making it feel like there was an intruder during such an intimate time in our lives.  



There in our birthing suite, the nurse took my vitals, our histories, and monitored the baby during this process. My contractions were becoming more bothersome. I wanted to walk around. My nurse assured me that once an IV was placed, then I was free to do whatever I wanted while laboring. Bobbie showed up around 6:30 pm to exchange her car for our van since she planned on taking over to watch the boys while we were at the hospital. Stu and Bobbie left to do this while the nurse attempted to put an IV into my left hand. My vein blew. She attempted again into my left wrist only to blow my vein again. Darn my icky veins! She decided to insert IV into my right hand, and I told her that the third time was a charm. Indeed I was right! My nurse was able to insert the IV with no problem this time. Stu  returned, and I got unhooked from the monitors. I was told to inform the nurses when I felt a pressure, or when my water bag broke. I was quite ecstatic to be able to get back on my feet to ride out the contractions. 



We spent about 40 minutes walking the laps around the maternity ward. My contractions got more painful, and stronger. Stu wanted us to return to my birthing suite, and we compromised on one more lap before heading in. I wanted to be able to keep moving until I could not anymore, because I had learned from laboring with Frank that motion was what helped me the most. 


                           
Once we entered my room, Stu asked a nurse to check me, and the nurse explained that they didn't like performing checks so frequently in order to prevent from introducing an infection. By then, I insisted on swaying by the bed, and keep moving, because the idea of laying down did not sound appealing to me. A contraction after other kept hitting me. I closed my eyes, and focused on my entire being to ride through the pain. Unlike prior contractions, I had no breaks in the between the pain. 

                          

Stu was quite amazing as a labor coach. He may not have thought so, but I digress. He made sure that I was supported, loved, and comforted. Stu often asked me where was the best place to rub me while experiencing a contraction. When I was unable to ask, or speak for something, Stu knew what to ask, or what to say. Stu knew when a contraction was on its way, and when it was ending. We were truly a team in bringing Fox into the world. I could not ever show him enough gratitude for what he had done for me. 


Stu constantly put a cold rag on my neck, which I really appreciated, because it felt so good against my sweaty skin. I started making sounds, because the contractions were so painful. Stu helped me to power through the transition phase. It was when everybody collectively decided to see where I was at in my labor.


The nurse requested me to lay on the bed to be checked. As soon as I sat down, my water bag broke! Now, this was my first time experiencing water bag breaking on its own. It was not small short gushes, but rather one big splash! I was stunned, and announced my water had broken. For a moment, the pain all but ceased. I was able to lay down on my back, and wondered when the next pain will hit me. 


The nurse checked, and confirmed that yes, the baby's head was right there. She paged Dr. Temp, and the birthing staff to make their haste, then told me to not push. For a moment there, I thought it was doable, since I did not feel any pressure yet. However, the pain crashed over me. This time, the pain was so much more intense than I have ever had experienced in my entire labor with Fox. Little did I know that it was a calm before the storm. 
                             
                                         

Suddenly, my body just took over! I had no control over what was going on. I was just going along for a ride. All I remembered was intense, intense, intense amount of pain, and thinking, baby Jesus why didn't I get that damn epidural? Never mind that I never requested for one to start with, and had no desire to get one, but  sometimes when you are peering at the edge of darkness, you panic a little, and think you can't do it alone. I suspect that a lot of women feel this way right before their bodies take over to bring a baby into the world regardless how a baby is born.


Fox was not definitely waiting for Dr. Temp to come. I grabbed on a poor soul's arm, probably a nurse, on the left of me and on the right side, Stu's arm, and held on for my dear life. Stu became like a sport commentator; Oh the baby's head is right there. Oh! Oh! The head is out!...Now the body is coming out...Annnnndddd he's on the bed! 


Fox was born on the bed without it being converted into a pushing table with stir-ups. The nurse  was scrambling to glove up, picked up Fox, then placed him on my chest. She told me to wait for a doctor to show up to deliver the after birth. I looked at this baby on my chest in a stunned silence, then looked at Stu, and said, did this just happen? It all had happened so fast that I had not had time to process it all. 


Stu laughed, and said yes, yes! He cut the cord, and I asked the baby nurse to weigh Fox, because he felt so small. I was SO SURE that Fox was going to be the biggest one out of all boys I had. After all, I had been told that Fox was 65 percentile above average during my pregnancy. How wrong! As it had turned out, Fox was only 6 pounds 13 ounces! My mom later told me that he was close to my birth weight when I was born. Nonetheless, all 6 pounds and 13 ounces of Fox was blissfully perfect. 

                             



 Dr. Temp finally showed up, and said, well, well! She and I had a good laugh about how quick the birth was.  She took care of the after birth, and made sure all was okay health-wise with me. Someone commented that Stu should be prepared next time, if we ever decided on having another, and bring a baseball catcher mitts! A baby nurse brought Fox back to us, and placed him into my arms. It was when it finally hit me that we had our rainbow baby in our arms at last. It was a very special moment, the very moment that Stu and I were waiting for so long, and I was so thankful that Andrea captured this exact moment for us.  






After such a difficult loss, having Fox finally in our arms was a healing moment for us, and it was a moment that we were always going to cherish. There were so many times, especially when a nurse brought Fox to me for nursing, where it just took my breath away to have Fox in our arms, because he was such a miracle. We had waited so, so long for him to complete our family. At last, we felt complete. 



Welcome to the world, little Fox. We love you so. 






Saturday, June 24, 2017

Sixth Anniversary: Persistence is What Pays Off

It is hard to believe that a whole other year has passed. We are now the parents of three boys, a home owner for a year, owners of our crazy brood of animals (the cats, and Beatrice). It doesn't feel like this much of time has lapsed, but like we all have come to become very aware of: the busier you get, the  quicker life becomes. 



Our sixth wedding anniversary was celebrated with a new life entering into the world! Fox Edward Russ has arrived! His birth was healing for what had happened to our previous baby, even though a full closure have not quite happened yet. Our grief needed some more time in our lives to be processed, and accepted in order for a complete closure to occur, and we had not quite reached to that place yet. Nonetheless, with the healing that came with our rainbow baby, we have grown more appreciative, loving, and grateful for the lives that have touched us. 




The grief was also compounded by a passing of a wonderful friend who had long battled Breast Cancer. Never before have I been so personally impacted by someone with cancer until Brittany entered into our lives. 

Her illness, especially in her last few months, has made me realize that life is so fragile. I've always been a believer that what you put into the world will be returned double folded into your life. I've always tried to be a good person, to tell people I love them, and not to take life for granted. However, with Brittany's illness, it has made me realize how short life really is. Stu and I have not taken a real honeymoon after our wedding, and now I have realized that why should we wait until the perfect timing to do this? One day, life will pass us by, and we will still not have taken that trip together. I'm quite determined to start putting this in a plan before it is too late. Please do make sure you don't put things off until they are too late. If you have something to say, then say it. If you have always wanted to do something, then start planning for it! If you want a change, then start the change within yourself. Don't wait. 

While this might strike to some of you as bragging, I want to take my time to say this; I promise that this is not coming from the place of bragging, or by attempting to put others into a position to feel uncomfortable. I am writing about this, because it is a huge accomplishment for us, and I want to inspire others to achieve this accomplishment of their own! 




We have diligently stuck with our Dave Ramsey plan for budgeting for about a year. It has not been an easy feat, however, we stuck with our weekly budget meeting to discuss our spending, our debt buster, and where we were in term of money. We managed to pay off all of Stu's student loans, as well as several smaller debts! We  also crunched a huge number out of our van payments! In totality of how much we paid off was over 22 thousand dollars! Imagine that, all within a year, we have managed to pay off $22,500 worth of debt. What an accomplishment! 

We grew quite excited by the possibly that we will be able to pay off our van by next spring. It meant the only outstanding debt left we have will be our house! It was not always easy to stick with the budget, especially with so many wants in the world, and making some sacrifices to tackle on the debts we had. Fortunately, we never really had an issue when it came to talking about money, and being on the same page to complete our agenda. We persisted, persisted, and persisted along with communicating, and having a weekly budget meetings to stay on top of the spending we did for each month. And guess what? It. Paid. Off. It lifted a such heavy burden off our shoulders, and we were finally free from the shackles of worries. 

We are now aware how to spend wisely, be more comfortable with buying things, and knowing where our money is going to. For the first time since we have gotten married, we have saved a good amount of money for Christmas, and let me tell you; it is a great feeling to not have to stress about trying to come up with this or that to afford Christmas gifts (not that we never were able to in the past--it was just MORE stressful). We are also comfortable with the idea of being able to provide for our family for any crises that may come up down the road. 

The things we have been talking about, been wanting to do, and our hopes to see to be done can finally come to a fruition. We are planning on fixing up our backyard, to add raised boxed garden, put in a shed and a chicken coop for 4 hens for the near future! On top of this, it is also possible that we can start saving up for our honeymoon that we have wanted to take for so long. 

If we could do this, then YOU CAN DO THIS. I won't lie; it does take a lot of patience, sweat, and hard work as well as clear communication when it comes to spending, and saving. You will probably hit a wall, and start to slip back into old habits, especially when so much has been paid off. Don't. You have come this far!! 



Our boys have been doing really great. Forrest is quickly approaching his 5th birthday. Oh be still my heart. It is hard to believe that he will be 5! He will be enrolling in the same elementary school this fall into a LEADS program, which is a charter program designed for students to ask questions, and learn according to their pace, curiosity, and willingness to explore topics that are being discussed in the class. I predict a lot of dinosaur-related topics to be discussed this upcoming fall!

Frank is on the verge of being potty trained, and has expressed a great interest in taking action in attempting to poop on the toilet! I believe it is from watching Forrest doing his business, and wanting to mimic him. He has been working extremely hard with his speech therapist, Kim, in learning how to expand his vocabulary, and language development through early intervention program. He has testing boundaries by disliking the word, NO, and seeing what he can get away with!

With Fox joining our family, the older two boys have been adjusting beautifully to being a family of five. Forrest, and Franklin both love helping  out with Fox, and being big brothers. Bea, and the cats have also adjusted well to a life with three kids in the house! In time, I am sure Bea will find out what is the pay off (more food on the floor to clean up after)! With some normal adjustment bumps that the boys have with this new change, they have been doing extremely well, and we could not be any happier.

We have recently welcomed a new addition into our family, our niece Izzy this past December, and she has been a great joy to visit. I love seeing pictures of her, and seeing what is new with her. Izzy is such a sweet baby, and our boys are quite smitten by her. It is quite funny that Izzy is being mentioned, because for our 6th anniversary letter; it is penned by Izzy's own mother, Alex!



Don't worry, Alex, we have not opened this letter prior this year, and what a great message: with persistence, you will find happiness and joy. I can asset to this, especially with the majority of our debts paid off, a humbled lesson I've learned from the passing of Brittany, our boys' amazing strides in growth, the arrival of our new baby and our niece, Izabelle, surrounding ourselves in the love of our family, friends, and appreciating life.

I am looking forward to what our 6th year of marriage will bring to our lives. 


Sunday, June 18, 2017

WEEK 39



How Far Along: 39 weeks! Baby Flash is as big as an American shorthair cat! His old fetal skin is shedding off, and the soft baby skin is coming in underneath. He is about 19-21 inches tall, and falls within 7-8 pounds range. Flash is now able to recognize my voice, and his fingernails are possibly long enough to be clipped when he is born! Flash is more than ready to be welcomed into the world. 

I am Feeling: Excited, apprehensive, impatient, tired, and more than ready to meet our baby. I've been feeling a lot more emotional than usual lately, because the end is so, so close. I find that I am also anxious to make sure that the baby is doing well, and worry about getting him into the world safely. It looks like this little guy will not be early like Frank was; Frank came into the world at 39 weeks 4 days, and well, I'm currently 39 weeks and 3 days!

Movements: The movements are getting very limited. The peak of the activity remains the same so I am able to keep track of how Flash is doing that way. Sorry, little buddy, you are about to be evicted very soon.

Symptoms: A lot of heartburn. I wonder if this guy will be born with a head full of hair? My other two boys are born with some good amount of hair, but not crazy amount. So I'm curious! I feel big. I now have cankles instead of ankles. My poor feet! Aside from that, I am feeling pretty good. 

Labor Signs: I am 50 percent effaced, but no dilation, according to the last check. I can't say that I am surprised. I don't think Flash will be here before week 40. My belly appear to have gotten even lower, but I'm not entirely sure if he has dropped, because I don't have an increased pressure yet. It is usually common for subsequent babies to drop while the mom is in labor, so I may be one of them. No loss of mucus plug. Increased braxton hicks contractions. Things are progressing. I suspect we should be able to meet Flash within the next two weeks!

Best Moments of the Week: Walking with the family, having Mom and RO visit us (they were doing Quilt Hop and stopped by to visit for a bit), finding out that my body is progressing closer to having Flash, cuddling with my boys, and enjoying the final few days or weeks as a family of four! I got the hospital bag that I've been wanting all along; an anchors colored in rainbow that I had given up on finding, but with karmic blessing, I am able to get it! I also got a glitter covered kindle case for my kindle fire tablet. So I feel more than ready to have everything packed, and to go for the hospital stay! I managed to paint my toe nails!!! And they turned out nicely for a woman being 39 weeks along! 

Looking Forward to: Gosh, meeting Flash finally! I imagine how he looks like, who he will resemble more like, how much he will weight, how tall he will be, and how we will react when he's born. I'm more than ready not to be pregnant (I love being pregnant, don't get me wrong, but I'm so, so ready to meet Flash). I am hoping he will come VERY SOON!! 

Next Appointment: Friday June 23rd at 9:45 am. I'm hoping I don't have to show up for that appointment, because I will be 40 weeks 2 days. I think I'm going to get a check to see where I am at that point. I'm hoping it will yield some more clues as to when Flash will show up if he has not already yet! 






Sunday, June 11, 2017

WEEK 38



How Far Along: 38 weeks. Flash's eyes and hair both have pigments to them, even though they may change repeatedly throughout the first two years (I can vouch for this; Frank's hair went from red to blonde, then brown in his first two years of his life)! The melanin will continually change. Flash is now in 7-pound range, and is as big as a Pomeranian dog!

I am Feeling: Emotional, excited, anxious, apprehensive, and on my toes all at once! It's interesting, with my first baby; I remember feeling very apprehensive about the birthing experience, and becoming a mom for the first time, and with my second, I was also a bit worried about labor aspect, because I was not sure what to expect from having a natural birth. With this one, I'm like well, this ain't my first rodeo. I know what to expect, know what to look for from a natural labor process, when to go in, and a general estimate of how long my labor will be (barring any complications). I'm more anxious about the dynamic of our family changing once again, and how our boys will adjust to their new brother. I am a bit nervous about dealing with sleep deprivation, and dealing with TWO boys on top of it (who happens to like wake up at butt crack of dawn). I am also very emotional, because this is our rainbow baby, and it has been stirring up a lot of raw feelings about our loss. It is not a bad thing. It is just what it is. Honestly, I can't really explain what exactly it is, and why I am experiencing this emotion. It's a jumble of feelings...

Movements: Alien-like. Flash doesn't have very much space left. When he does stretch out, my whole belly rolls, distorts, and contorts itself. It's a crazy sight! I can tell that he is pretty cramped inside his little home. 

Symptoms: BH contractions are increasing. I feel very uncomfortable, not necessarily because I am very pregnant, but because there are subtle changes. I have a lightning crotch frequently (feels like shooting nerve pain but in your crotch), and my hips are loosening up even more. I can't really eat much either--if I do, then I feel nauseous, because there is not so much space left. I have heartburn quite often. It's when I know I am in home stretch, and that it's nearly over. I'm determined to ride this out though. 

Labor Signs: Very subtle signs...not really promising, or a guarantee that anything is starting. Like I had mentioned, I have lightning crotch, which may point to dilation and effacement. It may not either! I have been noticing more pressure in my bum, so maybe Flash is slowly making his way down. Again, it also could not be it. I'm not analyzing anything at this point. I will make an observation, and pay attention, and if nothing happens, then I just move on, which is usually the case these days. I have an increase of BH contractions. They are very painless. It just makes my belly rock hard, and it can be uncomfortable. They last very briefly. 

Best Moments of the Week: Knowing that all is done with the nesting! Everything is in its place, and set to go. The van is set up the way we want it to be. The boys are now sitting in the back row, and the baby car seat is installed. Getting a notification from my baby app that the "bun is DONE cooking", and counting down the days! All we have left is to finish packing the hospital bags with the last minute things, such as phone charger, and very basic necessities that can't be packed just yet. Cuddling with our boys. Frank telling people that there is a baby in my belly. How sweet is that boy? 

Looking Forward to: Enjoying these final few days to weeks before Flash makes his debut! Getting my 31 bag in the mail that I've been wanting (I thought this particular design was out of the stock, and one of the wonderful consultants were able to hunt it down to find it for me), and a case for my kindle fire! 

Next Appointment: Wednesday June 14th at 1 pm. I will be requesting a pelvis check, since I declined the check from my recent appointment, because I want to be prepared. I have a lot of things to do next week, and I am hoping the baby stays put in until after the 17th! 


Monday, June 5, 2017

WEEK 37


How Far Along: 37 Weeks! Baby Flash is as big as a Striped Skunk! He is nearly maxed out at weight, and height. Flash is practicing breathing by sucking, and expelling amniotic fluid. His digestive system is waiting for the start-kick button to be pressed, which will happen as soon as he nurses after being born. His reflexes are quite strong (I can asset to that). 

I am Feeling: I am anxious, excited, and apprehensive all at once. I've been busy at work at preparing everything for the baby's arrival. I've changed the sheets on all of the beds (going from winter to summer bed set), finished up switching all early spring to summer clothes in boys' room, packed the baby's diaper bag with some necessities that I think we might need (just in case if Bellin doesn't provide), toiletries for our hospital bags, made a list for both of us parents to put in our bags at the last minute, wrote up care instruction sheet for pets and the boys, organized a lot of last minute things, and took care of the postpartum kit for myself. If this is not nesting, then I don't know what this is! I also feel a bit apprehensive about how my older boys will react to this change, especially Frank, who has no idea what he's in for! 

Movements: Flash is running out of the space. He really has nowhere to go except to contort my belly when he stretches out. It's fun to watch! He is also in a steady cycle of resting, and playing. He is most active in the evenings. Flash has hiccups from time to time!

Symptoms: Just feeling very, very pregnant. I have been experiencing a sore hip from sleeping in one spot for too long. I notice that I have a burst of energy these days, and it propels me to get through the days. It's probably why I'm able to get a lot of things done without feeling like I'm going to die! I'm doing fairly well, and staying active. So it's all good. 

Labor Signs: All is unchanged. I'm fingernail dilated, which is very common for women who have had babies because their cervix don't really close all way, and no change in effacement. I'm not disappointed, or in a hurry. Things will change real quick! I'm not honestly expecting to see any progress until after 38 or maybe even 39 weeks. I'm planning on waiting it out--I have no desire to evict the baby out until he's good and ready! 

Best Moments of the Week: The boys hearing Baby Flash's heart rate, and using doppler to pick up on his heart rate. Loving how my boys are so involved with my pregnancy. Getting things done for the baby's arrival. Finding out that a 31 bag I've been wanting for so long is available through a network of connections of consultants, and it has been offered to me! I can't wait to purchase it, and have it in my hands! It may not be here in time for the hospital bag as I had originally planned, but that's okay! Karma is always good to you when you are good to others. 

Looking Forward to: My next doctor appointment, finishing up my postpatrum kit, finishing up last minute things, and being WEEK 38! 

Next Appointment: Wednesday June 7th at 1:45 pm. Dr. Mbah wants to do a cervical check, and see how things are progressing. I'm not expecting any change; a part of this is because I've been telling this little one to stay put in until AFTER June 17th, and a part of this is due to my past experiences in having my boys (they did not arrive until after 39 weeks). I'm pretty laid-back in when the labor will start. 






WEEK 36


How Far Along: 36 weeks. Here we are; the 9th month!! Flash  is as big as a chihuahua. He is currently producing meconium, a tarry poo, to be expelled shortly after he is born. His digestive system is the last major system to kick start, which won't be completely operational, until he starts eating on the outside! Currently, Flash is near-term, and is done cooking for the most part! It is approaching the time for Flash to be welcomed into the world!

I am Feeling: Cranky, big, and tired. It is getting to the point where it is no longer enjoyable to be pregnant, because everything winds me out. I find that I am impatient to reclaim my body back, because now all I can fit is in the loose clothes. I am having a harder time with my stamina, and patience. Gods know that I need a lot of patience to deal with two rowdy boys, especially with Stu working so much in the past month, and half, due to the end of year school responsibilities. 

Movements: Flash likes to go through cycles of being super active to resting for hours at the end. When he does move, it is an uncomfortable feeling, and despite not feeling comfortable, I really DO love this part, and will miss this a lot once Flash is on the outside. There is nothing like having a baby move around inside. One of the life's coolest sensations, I tell you, and makes all the crankiness worth it. 

Symptoms: BH contractions are continuing in the waves. They are super inconsistent, and doesn't do anything to help hurry along the labor. So I'm not overly concerned. If anything else, then it is just my little alarm to let me know that I need to slow down, and rest. I still have IBS issues, and it's a pain...literally. Aside from those two, I am feeling pretty good for being 9 months pregnant. 

Labor Signs: All is quiet. I had a cervical check, and it sucked. When it sucked, it usually meant there was no change, and I was right. I didn't anticipate to find any changes at this point, because it was still early. I figured I had until between 38-40 weeks. My boys didn't come until after 38 weeks, and I had no reason to think that Flash would be any different. 

Best Moments of the Week: Feeling Flash's heart rate (152) on the doppler, watching Finding Dory movie with the boys and Stu in our bed--just enjoying life of four, planning the end of year gift for Forrest's teacher, Memorial Day weekend activities, and having Bea smell CLEAN (check on the nesting list). 

Looking Forward to: Getting our van cleaned. Stu promised me that he would get our van cleaned, and I am really pumped about it. I want to move around the boys' carseats, and install Flash's carseat. I am also anxious to start packing our hospital bags. I don't plan on putting every thing in the bags right away, but to slowly add things over the weeks. I also need to clean cloth diapers, and prep them, but the problem is, with all the rain, it is making it impossible to be able to do this. I'm hoping for a sunny day this upcoming week!! So sick of the rain. 

Next Appointment: Thursday June 1st at 1 pm. 

Update: I had Group Strep B swap done. That was not very fun (I'll spare you the details of how it was done), and I also had my blood drawn for CBC (comprehensive Blood count). I had a feeling that CBC may return back normal with my platelets, but we shall see next week when I get my result. I also had a cervical check. No dilation. No effacement. Flash's head was down. All was well with Flash! 

I'm thinking that I won't request for other check until 39 weeks, because I have a lot of events on June 17th, and I am hoping that Flash will stay put in until past June 17th. Then he's welcome to join us! 

Sunday, May 21, 2017

WEEK 35



How Far Along: 35 Weeks! Baby Flash is as big as a Mini-Lop Rabbit (so cute)! Flash's testicles are descending into its rightful place. His skeletal development is nearly completed. He should be rotating into a head-down position itno a birth position into the pelvis. Because I've had previous pregnancies, Flash may not drop until I go into labor. Currently, he's piling on fat, and his lungs need a bit of touch extra work before completing. His height size is completed. 

I am Feeling: Tired, and big. I am finding it laborious to get dressed, and doing simple things. My belly is in the way of everything. I am getting anxious, and excited to meet baby Flash!! 

Movements: Sometimes, Flash like to chill on one side, which is usually on my right side, and all the weight pressing against the uterine muscle doesn't feel that great. I find it helpful to just gently nudge him back into the position. He likes to stretch out, causing an alien effect, and it can be quite fun to see. I also enjoy feeling his bum! His bum is easy to detect; unlike his head, he doesn't shy away, and just lay there to let people bop him on the butt! 

Symptoms: I really don't have much of appetite anymore. It's just too uncomfortable to want to eat. However, when I do eat, I find that I want to eat. It is just that the appetite part is lacking. I have heartburn, and a bit of water retention in my legs. 

Labor Signs: Still having BH contractions here and there, especially when I am very active, and not drinking enough water. Otherwise, Flash is content as a pill bug! It will be curious to see when cervical checks begin. I am not really expecting to be dilated at all. My body doesn't appear to get things going until two weeks before  my due date. 

Best Moments of the Week: Visiting my family. It's my last trip before Flash gets here! Boys having grand fun at the Milwaukee Public Museum! They really enjoyed the dinosaurs, and the history of the museum. Being on a date with Stu, and making our server's day. 

Looking Forward to: My appointment. I am curious to see how things are progressing, and being in month 9!!! Home stretch!!!!!!!!

Next Appointment: May 25th at 1 pm. No updates at this time. 


WEEK 34



How Far Along: 34 weeks! Flash is as big as Quokka, which is a pretty cute Australia marsupial. A slippery coat, called Vernix, is beginning to dry out. He is about 18 inches tall, and weight around 5 pounds (it feels like 8 right now). His nervous system, as well as brain, and lungs are rapidly developing into a final stage before birth. Flash is peeing about a pint a day, and preparing his first poop! It makes sense why I am pissing like a race horse these days! 

I am Feeling: Very pregnant. Everything is driving me nuts lately; people who drive too fast, people who drive too slow, whining, constantly moving and not resting enough, and...well, I'm hormonal. I would like those comments to stop about my appearance too. I know I am big, and I can see it in the mirror. I do love being pregnant, and with that, I don't love those little remarks! I know this and that about how I look, feel, and act. 

Movements: The little guy isn't so careful about where he stretches his arms, or legs. He loves to favor on my right side, and it's morbidly fascinating to see an alien-like movements under my skin. Flash continues to be most active at the evening, even though he perks up a lot when he hears his brothers talking, and screaming at my belly (poor guy). Ha ha ha. 

Symptoms: I'm always thirsty, and as result, I am constantly peeing. If I have to go, then I have to go NOW. Otherwise I will pee in my underwear. My itching is gradually lessening, which makes me happy, and I think it's allergies, since I notice the same behavior in Forrest. We both have skin issues. Yay for that. Aside from that, I'm feeling pretty good. 

Labor Signs: Nothing. Nada. None. Just a little Braxton Hicks going on. It's not terrible though. 

Best Moments of the Week: Being with the boys, enjoying the warmer weather, and hanging out at the park with the boys. Getting a cute Mother's Day card from Forrest that he made in the class! It made my whole week! 

Looking Forward To: Just truckin' along. 

Next Appointment: May 25th at 1 pm. I will be tested for Group Strep B, and probably cervix check. I'm not sure about the latter, since I can't really remember, but here we go. Then we start weekly appointments!! Holy shit! 

Update: I am glad to report that my blood result came back clean. So no ICP! I don't have to be induced, and get to keep my natural birth plan in the stone. I'm just an itchy pregnant lady! It's probably seasonal allergies. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

WEEK 33



How Far Along: 33 weeks. Baby Flash is as big as a Ferret. Flash is about 17-19 inches tall, and could weight between 4-6 pounds. He will continue to put on a half pound per week until he is born. He is nearly at his birth height! His bones are hardening, although he won't be quite ready to support himself once he's out of the womb! Flash continues to have a waking, and sleeping cycle. Soon, he will be ready to meet the world!

I am Feeling: Quite stuffed. With a baby, that is. It is getting difficult to dress myself, especially putting on pants, and socks. I'm quite glad for pregnancy yoga pants--just quickly slither them on, and be done. When I sit, I have to lean back, because all I feel is the baby when I bend forward. I don't think Baby Flash enjoy it either when he's being squished even more!

Movements: The movements are becoming different now that Flash is running out of space. He is no longer crazy little gymnastic. His movements are more lazy, and stronger. He is still most active in the evenings. He likes to stretch out, and it's crazy to see all the bulges out of my stomach!

Symptoms: I'm starting to feel itchy. Big. Uncomfortable. Tired. Less energy. Less motivated. Just feeling very pregnant. 

Labor Signs: Nope. All is well in the baby land! Just a month and half to go yet. 

Best Moments of the Week: Attending Forrest's concert! He did great. It was so much fun watching Forrest sing, and participate with his classmates. Working on Baby Flash's blanket. I try to do it with each of my baby; to cross stitch a crib quilt, and add a cute fabric on the back. 

Looking Forward to: I am eager to finish final touches in the baby room. I am planning on washing cloth diapers as a prep, and to be stored until it's time to cloth diaper the little guy! I plan on organizing, and tidying up our bedroom to put the bassinet in there! The countdown begins! 

Next Appointment: May 10th. It will be just a routine appointment of making sure all is well, and check on the baby. 

Updates: Because I've been feeling itchy, more than usual, I had to have my blood drawn to rule out a condition. I am pretty sure I do not have it, and am thankful that my doctor is at least looking into it to make sure everything is okay. I won't know the result for maybe 2-3 weeks. I think by my next appointment, not this upcoming one, but the next; I should know the result by then. 

WEEK 32



How Far Along: 32 weeks! Baby Flash is now the size of a naked-tailed armadillo. He is about 4 pounds! He's busy gaining weight, and growing. He's currently around 16 and half inches tall! Flash's digestive system is all set to start working. The skin is now opaque, and no longer "see through". Flash is busy preparing for life outside the womb! Only a few more weeks to go yet! 

I am Feeling: I am doing pretty good for the most part. I'm starting to feel more uncomfortable, and I can tell baby Flash is running out of the room. I think he will be a tall baby. It is getting harder to dress myself, especially my lower half of the body, and I am hoping for warmer weather to roll around. So I can just slip into a dress, and wear flip flops--which is a lot easier than trying to put pants, and socks on! Emotionally, I am getting anxious at the idea of having 3 kids, and juggling them all. It's almost more like nervous-excited energy rather than actually nervous energy. 

Movements: Baby Flash's movements are getting a lot more constricted. He's no longer flipping, and kicking like crazy. He is quite budged in where he is. Flash is still the most active in late afternoons into late evenings. He likes to rock around, stretch out, and hiccup a lot. 

Symptoms: Sore belly, constipation, dizziness, and out of breath while walking up and down the stairs. I am moving much slower, and waddling more these days. I am thirsty a lot, and as result of that, I go to bathroom more frequently. 

Labor Signs: Aside from those contractions I had last week, all is quiet on the front, and I still deal with those pesky BH contractions. They're more annoying than painful. Flash still need to bake a bit more though!

Best Moments of the Week: Having a movie night with the boys; we had popcorn, and watched The Secret Life of Pets. It was a great movie! The boys had a blast! Enjoying warmer weather here, and there. 

Looking Forward To: Summer like weather. We've been having a taste of it, and ugh, I'm so ready for warmer days ahead! 

Next Appointment: May 10th and May 25th at 1 pm. Then after that, I am starting weekly appointments!!! 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

WEEK 31



How Far Along: 31 weeks. Flash is the size of a Small-Clawed Otter, not including its tail! He is getting closer to his birth height, even though he is still working on gaining weight still! He probably has about 3-5 pounds left to go before his birthday! His neck control is now flexible so he's able to turn his head to either sides. His senses are intact. His immune system is ready to battle the germs on the outside. His brain and nerves, however, are still busy at development. His skull isn't quite fused yet so he can pass through the birth canal with an ease. His joints are getting flexible. Baby Flash is about 17 1/2 inches long at this point, and weighing at 3.5 pounds. 

I am Feeling: Pretty good, and at ease with everything in its place for the most part. I am able to relax until next month then we will have to do a couple more things to make sure all is in its place. 

Movements: Flash has changed his movements. He no longer really goes crazy with kicking, and punching. His movements feel softer, and I can feel his bum wiggling against my belly. He moves the most when he hears his brothers, and Bea play, or when something making noises. 

Symptoms: Not really much has changed. Things are still the same old. 

Labor Signs: I had contractions that lasted for 45 minutes the other night. It was a pretty painful deal; it was as if my body was reminding me that a big show was on its way in less than three months, and that I should be prepared for it! Thankfully, it faded away, and the intensity went down pretty fast. 

Best Moments of the Week: Seeing Flash's foot on the ultrasound, even though he didn't want to show off his face, and double confirming that he was indeed all boy. And that he is no longer a breech!! The boys came with me to the appointment, and they took turns holding the doppler. They LOVED hearing their brother's heartbeat. They were absolutely enthralled by the sound. 

Looking Forward to: Being in my 8th month of my pregnancy! 

Next Appointment: Tuesday April 25th at 2:45 pm! Just a regular check up. 

Update: I had a bit of scare with Flash that ended up an ultrasound to have him looked at. As it had turned out, all looked well. He got 8 out of 8, not sure what it was specifically for, but it was good to know that he was exactly where he should be at this point in the pregnancy. The best part was finding out that he was NO LONGER a breech! Yay!! 

Monday, April 17, 2017

WEEK 30



How Far Along: 30 weeks! I can't believe it. Only 10 more weeks until we meet this little guy. Flash is now a size of a Platypus, a little critter that is oddly created yet fascinating to look at, and that means he's about 17 inches long! He's clocking at 3 and half pounds. From now on, I will be steadily gaining 1/2 to a pound a week until giving birth. It is a good thing that I don't even own a scale! By 34 weeks, Flash's eyes will be able to roam vertically, and horizontally. At this point, he *SHOULD* be departing from a breeched position into a proper birthing position. If he isn't, then I'm going to keep up with spinning babies exercises until he does. Flash is also shedding laungo, fine hair all over his body, but it is possible he can still be born a bit hairy (Forrest did--he reminded us of a baby monkey, and we mean it out of love).  

I am Feeling: Scared shitless! Ha ha ha. It's not in a bad way, but like O-M-G, our lives are going to change again in ten weeks. I am hoping that sleep deprivation will not kick my ass, because I have two little boys, and a baby to look after! I would love it if Flash is as easy as Frank was, but Flash is his own person, and we will find out what is his personality! Then Ugh a bit about postpartum recovery; that is not my favorite part of being done with a pregnancy, because my recovery always seem to take so long compared to other ladies, but it is worth the bundle of miracle in my arms though. I am relieved as well, because I have FINISHED all the things I needed to do on my baby list for the baby's room, and the boys' room. What a big accomplishment, and a load off my shoulders! 

Movements: The stretches can be a bit painful, especially when Baby Flash is trying to turn sideways. All I have to do is boop on his little head or butt, then he will revert back to whatever he is doing. He loves to kick up a storm every evening around 7 pm, and it is quite a fun entertainment to watch my belly move. Occasionally, Flash will have hiccups lasting up to a half hour at time, and it's a pretty neat sensation. I enjoy it, even at 2 am in the morning!

Symptoms: Sore hips is just a pain...literally. Only 10 more weeks. I can do this. The pain can be reduced somewhat by stuffing a pillow between my legs to alleviate the pressure. It  is probably my only major complaint with this pregnancy, to be honest. I am finding that constipation is coming back, because of organs being squished from the growing baby. I have not been sleeping well, because of my darned hips. I get up to pee a lot during the night. 

Labor Signs: BH contractions pops up here, and there. No big deal. Flash is still a breech. Naughty baby. He needs to flip! Hopefully, he will soon. Dr. Mbah says that I will probably need an ultrasound next month to determine Flash's position, and discuss our next step. 

Best Moments of the Week: Knowing that my list is all done! I love knowing that everything is just done. Spending time with Mom. Having Bobbie coming over to watch the boys with Ainsley so I can go shopping with Mom to stock up on summer clothes (which is something I am lacking for Baby Flash). Building the bassinet by all myself! Finding Frank sleeping in the hallway made me giggle. Of course, we put him back in the bed. Knowing that I can relax finally!

Next Appointment: Wednesday April 25th at 2:45 pm. Just a routine check up. 

Update: Frank is struggling a bit with transition to a big boy bed from the crib. I've read so many articles about how to ease the transition, and we have been doing all the right things (yay for being a veteran parents). It's just honestly a matter of time for Frank to feel comfortable to want fall asleep in his own bed. It can take up to a month for Frank to fully adjust to his new bed. Forrest is in the last few weeks of school, and it is hard to believe that he will be done with his first year of 4K! He has been accepted into a charter program, LEADS, for this upcoming fall for another year of 4K. We are quite excited to see how he will flourish in a different environment, and hopeful to see some of his weakness to improve.  I am very pleased to have the boys' room finally organized, and properly set up for the boys to room together. The nursery room is about 95 percent done. At this point, it's just decorating the nursery, and the boys' room. There are several things I need to do left, such as finally finishing up switching out light spring stuff into summer clothes (Wisconsin weather is so finicky yet) for the boys, packing hospital bags (which will be done in the last month of my pregnancy), finishing up my postpartum care kit, creating an instruction list regarding care for the pets and the boys, and installing car seats in our van.