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Monday, December 27, 2010

New Blog

In an attempt to keep Gracie's blog space dedicated to Gracie and Jenna's blog space dedicated to Jenna, I have set up a new blog. I will use the new blog to post about things like cloth diapering, nursing, homemade baby food, cooking and recipes, natural childbirth, general fitness and nutrition, and other topics related to raising baby (and toddler and preschooler as I get to those stages).  While it certainly will not appeal to all, I know that I have some followers who are interested in similar subjects....  For those who are interested, my new blog can be found here

Thursday, December 9, 2010

We Believe in Miracles and Magic...

I posted over on Gracie's blog about Shutterfly.com's offer to bloggers for 50 free Christmas cards.  This post is a follow up to that post.

I mentioned in that post that I had played with some pictures and really liked the Noir Stars card that they have available.  After playing for about 30 minutes, I came up with the theme 'believe' and found a fantastic card inscription.  The card will represent our hope and our belief that we will have the worldly family that we have always wanted.  In the form of Gracie's footprint butterfly, it also represents what we have lost, but will hold in our hearts forever.

The inscription will read  "We believe in miracles and magic....We believe in angels and natural wonders....We believe in a bright and shining holiday season and new year ahead for our friends and family."  I have decided to use the following pictures:

If you haven't checked out this offer from Shutterfly.com, I urge you to do so via this link.  While you wait for your reply about how to get your free cards, check out some of their cards.  They really do have some fantastic cards.  Here are a couple links...   Christmas photo cards, Holiday Cards, Canvas Wall Art 

I am excited to send these cards out!!  If I have your address, you should be receiving yours in the next couple of weeks!!  Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2 Month Appointment and a Few Pics

Jenna went to the doctor for her two month check-up on Wednesday.  She is now 23" long and weighs 12 pounds (we started at 19" and 6 lbs, 11 oz).  She got her first round of vaccinations, which wasn't actually that bad.  The doctor asked about how much milk Jenna is taking in on a daily basis.  We told her that she is getting anywhere from 40-45 ounces every 24 hours, and she looked at us kind of funny.  She followed up the funny look by telling us that about 26 ounces every 24 hours is considered to be normal/average at this point.  I guess that explains the chubby cheeks!  :-)

We finally got the disk with her 1 month photos.  There are a few below, as well as some of our maternity photos taken by the same photographer four days before she was born.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Month Two

It's hard to believe that I haven't posted here in almost a month.  Things have been busy, and most of my posting efforts went into Gracie's blog during October.

All is going well so far, but unfortunately, she has completely mixed up her days and nights.  For the last week she has been wide awake from midnight until 4 a.m.  Not fussy (as long as we occupy her)...just awake.  But all things considered, she is still pretty low maintenance for an infant.   She goes for her hearing screening tomorrow (the hospital's machine was broken when we were there, so now they are catching up all the infants that missed it before they went home) and she goes back to the doctor for her 2 month checkup next week.

I had my postpartum follow-up last week, and of course Jenna had to go with me to make an appearance.  I thought I was going to have to fight the midwife to get her back.  :-)   Last weekend we participated in our town's annual Halloween parade.  The fire company decided to put a float together for all of our kids to ride on with the adults walking beside it.  I didn't get her a costume, primarily because she had 11 Halloween outfits to wear, so we put her in her little fuzzy bear jacket (it has little bear ears on the hood), wrapped her up in the Moby and walked with her.  It was fun for us, but she slept through the entire ordeal.  (Pics to come later when I steal them from someone else - we left the camera at home.)  This weekend's excitement was sitting down and figuring out what cloth diapering supplies to order now that we are settling into a regular routine and not feeling overwhelmed by the newness of having her here with us.  If any of you are cloth diaperers and have tips or suggestions, I am open to any input you might want to send this way!   For now, I think I am going to order 3-5 different pocket diapers to try out and some prefolds to use with our g-pants.

We had some professional pictures taken by an acquaintance 2 weeks ago.  I have one of them (pre-removal of my hand) posted below.  It is the only one the photographer emailed to me - I am getting anxious to see the rest!

Here are a few pictures of the relatively comical faces that she makes.  They come and go so quickly that it's hard to catch them with the camera!

These were taken on the day she turned a month old - October 15th....a bittersweet day, to say the least.

And last, but absolutely not least...

Monday, October 11, 2010

Question For Those Expecting Rainbows

I am ashamed to say it, but I have lost track of how far along some of you are at this point.  I am trying to get myself re-oriented to the world, so I am going to make a request of those currently expecting rainbows.  Could you leave a comment below with your due date or how far along you are at this point?  Thanks!!!  :-)

The First Three Weeks at Home

I just realized last night that today marks three weeks that Jenna has been home from the hospital...Wednesday will be 4 weeks since she was born and Friday will be one month since her birth.  How quickly time passes and escapes us!!  I am feeling a like Friday might be a little bitter-sweet....we will certainly have a somewhat larger than usual case of Gracie-on-the-brain since it is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day, but it will be so nice to mark Jenna's first month of life on the outside.

Here are a few pictures of our beautiful girl for those who have not seen them in any other forum.

 About 2 hours old - getting ready for her first bath after lots of skin to skin time with mommy and daddy

Note the orange raccoon mask from wearing the eye shields during her time under the bili-lights.  The expression on her face absolutely matches her personality!

   Taking another break from the bili-lights...a.k.a. the tanning bed

 Second day home; still with a little bit of the orange coloring around her eyes.  Under the blanket hides the bili-blanket that she had at home for 2 weeks. 

By far her favorite sleeping position when she is not swaddled.

10 days old...getting ready to do the Share Walk for Hope and Remembrance in honor of her big sister.  Wearing the special rainbow outfit that Debbie gave her (the rainbows might be hard to see in the picture, but they are there!)

Her first visit to her big sister's resting place.  Sadly, the first of many trips to this sacred place.

The first three weeks have flown by!  Jenna has had two appointments with the doctor to follow up on the jaundice.  At her two week check up she was 7 lbs, 2 oz...so she is growing like a weed!  We did heel sticks to check her bilirubin levels for the first three days after she came home, and once the levels were down in the high normal range, we were able to stop the heel sticks and just stick with the bili-blanket for a total of two weeks.  She is now a nice shade of pink instead of pumpkin orange.  Unfortunately, because of the relative incompatibility of my blood type and the hubby's blood type, we will likely go through this with each subsequent child, and would likely have gone through it with Gracie.

I have had lots of questions about Miss Jenna over the last 3 weeks, many of which I haven't really had a chance to answer adequately.  I am going to attempt to take out lots of birds with one stone and answer most of those here for those who are still curious.

"How did they induce you?"
For those who missed it in the post announcing her birth, we were actually able to skip induction.  Induction was scheduled for 8:00 a.m. the day after she was born.  The plan was to start by using a balloon catheter before thinking about chemical assistance.  As it turned out, we didn't have to think about any of it.  I worked until 7:00 p.m. the night before the scheduled induction and had my first contraction less than an hour later at 7:50.

"More birth story details, please!"
The first 3 or 4 contractions were very hard and painful and reminded me very much of the contractions that I had during the transition phase of labor with Gracie; they were nothing like the early labor contractions that I had with Gracie and they were nothing like the Braxton Hicks contractions that I had been having for most of this pregnancy.  (I started having BH contractions around 16 or 17 weeks, and had them daily for the duration of the pregnancy.  The midwives told me during both pregnancies that my uterus was an overachiever.  They also told me that I would develop a consistent pattern with them when I was actually starting labor, and that I would know for sure when it was the real deal.  Wrong.  So very, very wrong.  I had two periods of very regular and patterned contractions in the week before Jenna was born - one for 18 hours and one for about 11 or 12 hours overnight - and neither led to anything...not even further dilation or effacement.  There was nothing different about the BH contractions during the day that I went into labor...)  

After 5 or 6 of these contractions within 15 minutes, Jeff and I decided that perhaps we should think about heading to the hospital...but first he needed a haircut, shower and a shave.  That's right, ladies, he gave himself a haircut (and asked me to help!), got a shower and then shaved his face (because he couldn't go to the hospital with a freshly shaved head and whiskers on his face...that would make him look 'scurfy') before we left!!  We left the house an hour and a half after my first contraction, and pulled into the hospital about 20 minutes later.  It took about 10 minutes to walk from the car up to L&D.  I walked instead of riding in a wheelchair because standing/walking was much more comfortable than sitting.  The answering service for our OB's office never made contact with the midwife covering L&D to let her know that we were on our way, so they were completely surprised when we walked in!  Although I truly didn't want it, in the moment I wanted and asked for a shot of Demerol to take the edge off.  (The original plan was to go med-less and use self-hypnosis for pain control.  What I didn't plan for was everything happening so quickly that I didn't have time to get into a self-hypnosis zone.  There was NO self-hypnosis the night Jenna was born....just shameless begging for a shot of Demerol.)   The midwife told me that she couldn't give me anything until she checked me.  She checked me standing up next to the bed, since I refused to get on the bed at that point because of positional comfort.  Much to everyone's surprise, I was 10 cm and +1 station.  To quote my midwife, "Oh, Honey, there's no time for any medication at this point.  It's not safe and it won't work anyway.  You're 10 cm.  You need to get undressed and get on that bed.  It's time to push.  It's time to have a baby."  It was happening so quickly that she wasn't sure that they would have her instrument tray set up before it was over.  I pushed for about 15 minutes (begging for Demerol the whole time!) and that was it.  They flopped her up on my chest and my first words were 'Is she alive?' because she wasn't doing much.  About half an hour later I passed her off for some skin to skin time with Dad while I got in the shower and cleaned up a little bit.  This is not at all what anyone was expecting based on the fact that one week earlier my midwife was expressing concern about the shape of my pelvis inhibiting safe passage of the baby.

"Any complications?"
Not really.  No episiotomy and no tearing, which can be a common problem in precipitous labors.  The cord was loosely looped around Jenna's neck one time, but it was easily moved and did not appear to be constricting.  Jenna's speed in moving through my pelvis pretty much (temporarily) killed my pelvic floor, but we are working on that.  Kegel, Kegel, Kegel.  Overall, Jenna's jaundice was the biggest problem/complication.

"Why did she have to be under lights?  My son had some jaundice and didn't have to be under lights."  
The jaundice color started to become apparent about 18 hours after she was born, and her bilirubin level was first checked about 15 hours later.  Her bilirubin was pretty high...on the doorstep of the level that they become concerned about cognitive delays...but it was not as severe as it could have been.  If it had not responded to the light therapy and change in feeding, or had her bilirubin levels risen, we could have been looking at blood transfusion.  So it certainly could have been worse.  At this point I am pretty certain that it was the result of ABO incompatibility.  A slight inconvenience for a couple of weeks, but all is well now.  I would absolutely much rather deal with a few days of the bili-light than have a baby all tied up in tubes and wires in the NICU.

"What is the story behind her name, and why was it a secret?"
The only reason it was secret was just so we could maintain some element of surprise.  We already knew that she was a girl, and we shared that with everyone.  We will never reveal the names that we pick for our kids until they are born, just so there is something unknown for people to look forward to.  The name is more or less the surprise.  With Jenna, the other surprise was whether or not she had Down Syndrome, since the screen was so high, and we are 99% certain that Gracie also had D.S.  (For the record, she does not have D.S.)

As for the story behind her name, there really isn't a story.  I more or less held the cards in picking Gracie's name.  Jeff gave me no arguments and allowed me to have my way.  I wanted to give him as much opportunity as I could to bond with this baby before she was born, simply because he was so afraid and so pensive...so insisted that he be the one to pick her name (as long as it wasn't hideous).  I threw 300-400 different suggestions at him, and we finally ended up with a short list of about 8 single names.  From there, he moved to Jenna Nicole and didn't move away from it.

"Because of what I have read and been told, I am excited, but really apprehensive about bringing this (rainbow) baby home.  How was your experience?  Are you having any problems making the transition or bonding with Jenna?"
I was actually really concerned about this prior to her birth, especially after hearing other BLM's stories of how hard it was to bring their rainbows home, especially since I am dealing with another girl.  That said, I think I am doing pretty well.  I do think about the things that we missed with Gracie...simple things like changing her diapers, putting her in the swing, cuddling with her, seeing her facial expressions...but these thoughts haven't become overwhelming at this point.  I am absolutely in love with Jenna.  Absolutely in love.  I personally don't think she looks like Gracie, so I don't see Gracie every time I look at her; perhaps it would be different if she more closely resembled Gracie.  I don't know.  At this point, there is definite separation between the two, and I am glad that there is.  

I am having a harder time seeing all of the babies we know (via photographs or in person) that were born within the 3 months before or after Gracie was born....there are about 10 of them all together.  I look at them and see how big they are getting...how much they really look like little people now...and at all the things they are doing and getting into, and I am having a really tough time with that.  I think about what Gracie would look like now, and what she would be doing.  I wonder if / how much the Down Syndrome would be affecting her skill development.

Despite the fact that we have finally been blessed with a perfect, beautiful, living, breathing baby to bring home, I think that I will probably still have weird reactions to pregnant women or people who take their kids for granted.  I am fortunate enough to not have infertility issues like some women in our community, but I understand exactly how fragile the balance is and how quickly everything can change and turn life upside down. 

"How is your family coping with Jenna's arrival?"
Our family is elated.  She is the first biological grandchild (there are some steps) on my side of the family and she is the second biological grandchild on Jeff's side (there are 3 adopted on his side), so the grandparents are just over the moon.  My cousin and his wife also had their first baby about 17 1/2 hours after Jenna was born, so it was a very joy-filled 24 hour period.  Neither of us knew about the other until everything was said and done.  My sister, who is stationed in Namibia, Africa with the Peace Corps is so anxious to meet Jenna that she has decided that she won't be able to wait until her assignment is over in December 2011...she will be coming home for a few weeks this December to meet her.

Sadly, Jenna arrived just one week before (almost to the hour) my BIL's wife suffered an ultimately fatal head injury.  In the storm of her passing, Jenna has been a huge ray of light.  She had no idea how uplifting she has been or how much emotional weight has been on her shoulders over the last few weeks.

"What are you enjoying most about her?"
Honestly, just the fact that she is alive and here with us.  But I am also enjoying how animated her expressions are.  She has a much wider range of facial expressions than I could have ever imagined, and she uses her hands almost like accessories to her facial expressions.  Unfortunately, she goes through them so quickly that I haven't been able to catch many of them on camera.

She received a gift that included a hat that says "I was worth the wait."  Nothing at all in my life was worth Gracie's death, so please don't interpret this statement as such...but every minute that I have spent since Gracie's death...every minute that I have spent waiting for Jenna was sooooo worth the wait.  Bringing home a living, breathing baby was worth every minute that I waited for it to happen.  So ladies out there who also lost baby number one and are expecting their rainbow, parenthood as the rest of the world knows it is simply amazing.  And to anyone expecting a rainbow, regardless of how many living children you might have, while it is certainly not without its inherent and unique challenges, I can tell you that life over the rainbow is good!! (Thanks, Deb, for the wonderful phrasing!) 

"Has the nickname Jellybean stuck?"   
As a matter of fact, it has.  She gets lots of variations...Jenna Bean, Jenna McBean, Beanie, Beanie Wienie, Beanie McWienie...and my dad still calls her plain old Jellybean.  :-)

"Do you plan to tell her about Gracie?"
Absolutely.  Gracie has a wall in the living room where some of her mementos and pictures are displayed.  There are no plans to take those things down, so they will be readily visible as Jenna grows up.  Although we will have to do it in a way that doesn't create a complex for her, she will know that the baby in the pictures is her older sister who lives in heaven.  Details will probably come out as she gets older and starts to ask questions.  The same will hold true for any other little ones that come along.  

I think that's most of the questions that I have received.  If I missed any big ones, I apologize.  Just an FYI...due to recent happenings with some family members, and the very real potential for some people to start digging, snooping and e-stalking me, I am considering making Gracie's blog and Jenna's blog private.  I suppose that because my blogs are technically 'public' I don't have the right to complain too much, but I haven't shared these blogs with people that I know in real life for specific reasons.  Sadly enough, some people just cannot respect the privacy of others and leave well enough alone.  I am hoping to avoid privatization, but I have not made a concrete decision yet.  Stay tuned...

Saturday, September 18, 2010

From a Jelly Bean to a Jenna Bean

Although this post is delayed thanks to our hospital's blocking of Fa.cebook, Blogg.er and various other websites critical to my daily survival, I am happy to announce that our rainbow has arrived!!  Instead of a Jelly Bean, we now have a Jenna Bean.  :-D

Jenna Nicole was born on Wednesday, September 15th at 10:20 p.m.  She weighed 6 lbs, 11 ounces and was 19 inches long.  She even has hair, which I was doubting, since her parents, aunts and uncles were all bald.  To abbreviate her birth story, I worked until 7:00 on Wednesday night, walked in the house at 7:15 and ate dinner, had my first 'real' (as opposed to Braxton Hicks) contraction around 7:50 and walked into the hospital 10 cm. dilated at 9:55.  She was here at 10:20.  By far, not what I was planning for, but we were able to skip the induction planned for 0800 Thursday!!!

So far, all is well with one exception.  She developed quite a case of jaundice on Thursday, and since yesterday morning has been on a structured feeding schedule and under lights to help bring her bilirubin levels down and resolve her pumpkin coloring.  I was officially discharged last night, and we were hoping that we would be able to take Jenna home today some time, but we just got the word that she will have one more night under the lights.  Fingers crossed that tomorrow's 0600 labs look better and we can have her home bright and early.  And for those who have been following a while and might be afraid to ask, there are no obvious indications of Down Syndrome at this point.

I apologize those of you who have been waiting for additional communication - the browser on my phone has been getting quite a work out over the last few days (again, thanks to the hospital) and it's been slow going.  I still haven't sent out my text message announcements, which were planned as being the first 'wave of announcement.'  I guess at this point, I can abandon that plan.  :-/

Hoping to post more when we get Jenna home and get her settled...

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Decision Day

Had a NST, ultrasound and midwife appointment today.  All was well with the NST and the US.  I am still about 3 cm, 50% effaced and -2 station, which is where I was last Tuesday.  (Since then, I have had one 18-hour period of contractions that were minutes long and spaced anywhere from 4-8-12 minutes apart, and I had contractions pretty much all night last night.....all to no avail.) 

I will spare you the details, but at this point, we are definitely looking at induction in a few days if Bean does not come out on her own.  Check back later in the week for developments....

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

35, 36, 37 and 38 Weeks

I can't believe that it's been almost 4 weeks since I last posted.  Things have been super crazy here, and I was without my laptop for a while (which, I have sadly learned, has become a physical extension of my body).  Consequently, I have become a bit of a cyberslacker.  I have been neglectful of Bean's blog, as well as Gracie's blog and FB; I am hoping to get Gracie's blog updated by the end of the weekend, since I have had a post brewing in my head for quite some time.  

Bean has been busy over the last couple of weeks getting her feet wet as a tiny little firefighter.  We have been to three working fires in the last two weeks, which is actually a lot for a two week period of time in our little corner of the world.  No, I am not doing any actual firefighting, but instead doing the 'boring' things that a deputy chief gets to stand around and do at large fires.  Aside from all of this excitement, everything with Beana is moving forward pretty uneventfully.  Here is a quick rundown since my last post.

Tuesday, August 17th was a three-appointment day....non-stress test, ultrasound and midwife appointment.  The NST was again reactive within 20 minutes.  The biophysical profile ultrasound was good, scoring 8/8.  The ultrasound tech gave the very distinct impression that he was in quite a hurry to get us in and out; I was only on the table for about 3 minutes.  I have confidence in his scoring/evaluation of everything except the amount of amniotic fluid, which he rated as normal (it had been high during the two preceding ultrasounds).  After the ultrasound done yesterday (8/26) I am pretty sure that my assessment was correct in not trusting his 'normal' rating on the 17th.  The midwife appointment on the 17th was uneventful.  She reviewed the rest of my labs that were not back by the last time I was in to see her.  There was very little protein (which is normal) in my 24  hour urine sample, which is what anyone with chronic hypertension wants to hear.  The 1-hour glucose test that I did on Wednesday the 11th was also well within the normal range, so it means that the extra amniotic fluid that was seen was not the result of new onset gestational diabetes. 


Friday, August 20th was another NST...again reactive within 20 minutes.

Monday, August 23rd was another NST...again reactive within 20 minutes.  I am starting to love the quick reactivity that Jellybean is showing at this point, as Gracie was never this reactive.


Thursday, August 26th was a NST, a Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment (which included a level II ultrasound) and a midwife appointment.   Bean was quite active during the NST, so I was again done within the 20 minute window.

The level II ultrasound was good.  We didn't get any good pictures because she continued to be quite active right through the ultrasound.  She was estimated to be 6 lbs, 4 oz, which puts her in the 50th percentile for size.  Keep in mind that this is an estimate, and can be +/- one pound of the baby's actual weight, but it is encouraging.  At 35 weeks Gracie was estimated to be 5 lbs on the nose, which put her in the 19th percentile; a week later she was born at 4 lbs, 3 oz, which put her in the 7th percentile...which is way to small for a fetus.  So...at this point, Bean's estimated weight is about 50% more than Gracie's actual birth weight at 36 weeks.  The ultrasound technician seems to think that Bean is going to have quite a bit of hair.  She pointed out white spots around Bean's head on the ultrasound and said that it was hair (from her head) floating in the amniotic fluid.  Given the hair history of Bean's parents, aunt and uncles, I won't really put too much faith into that prediction until she is born with a full head of hair!!  :-)  

I met with a MFM doc that has not been to my OB's office before...the assumption is that she usually doesn't travel and was just filling in for one of the regulars.  Too bad if that is the case, because I liked her quite a bit more than the regulars.  She had no concerns other than my amniotic fluid level, which is, in fact, still pretty high.  Right now, there are two realistic explanations for the high fluid levels (there are many other things that can cause high fluid levels, but most of those have already been ruled out).  It could be absolutely nothing - completely benign and insidious.  It could also be the result of a chromosomal abnormality (i.e. Down Syndrome).  If it is benign without substantial cause, it may go down between now and the end of the pregnancy, or it may not.  If it is due to Down Syndrome, it will likely persist for the remainder of pregnancy with the possibility of increasing further.

The MFM doc offered me induction any time after 37 weeks (this coming Thursday).  She offered this for two reasons, first and foremost being our emotional well-being in light of our history.  The other reason was the fluid and the potential impact that it might have on my breathing.  Luckily Bean has been very low during the entire pregnancy, and she's not yet dancing around under my ribs, so I am not having any breathing issues yet.  At this point, we are not considering early induction, however she left the option open and on the table in the event that we change our minds.  If I start having a hard time breathing, we will probably consider it, otherwise we are just going to wait things out and let her come on her own terms.

Thursday's midwife appointment was relatively uneventful.  We did and discussed some end-of-pregnancy stuff.  We discussed the fluid issue a little more and that was it.  Bean and I coerced Jeff into helping with our belly cast on Sunday, August 29th.  My midwife keeps telling me how lopsided my belly is...I just wish I could tote the cast in for her to see.  It is one of the most lopsided things I have ever seen!! 

37 weeks
Tuesday the 31st was a NST, BPP and midwife appointment.  The ultrasound was uneventful, and amniotic fluid was measured around the same levels that it has been.  The NST was unfortunately non-reactive and I had to go to L&D for additional NST.  I was there for about 45 minutes, it was reactive, and I came home.   Before I went to L&D, the midwife checked my cervix - 1 cm with no substantial effacement.  
Friday, September 3rd was a NST and my hospital pre-admission visit.  Both were uneventful.  

38 weeks
I'm a little off at this point - I will be 38 weeks tomorrow, but you get the point.  We had a NST, US and midwife appointment yesterday.  
The ultrasound was good - 8/8 toward the BPP score.  The amniotic fluid level was actually in the high end of the 'normal' range, so it's still coming down a bit.  The NST was reactive, so the overall BPP score is still coming in at 10/10.  
The appointment with my midwife was a bit more eventful than normal.  She expressed concern about the shape of my pelvis.  This is based on the last couple of exams, as well as the fact that it previously took me almost 90 minutes to push out a 4 pound baby.  She had the high risk doc from the practice come in to do my internal exam, and he insisted that I have the room to push this baby out.  The baby has also changed position a little bit and my cervix is now dilated to about 3 cm and about 50% effaced.  He thinks that the position of the baby and the status of my cervix had a lot to do with how my pelvis was feeling to the midwife.  Much to my dismay, my midwife did confirm that they are not going to allow me to carry to my E.D.D. because of my history of chronic hypertension (which as been completely under control for the entire pregnancy), the amniotic fluid level and our history of stillbirth.   We discussed this at length.  I really want to go into labor on my own, but at this point, I guess we are not in a position to argue.  For now the plan is to see what my cervix is doing on Tuesday (9/14) and formulate a plan for possible induction if necessary. 

I have a NST on Friday, and then Tuesday will be decision day.  Who knows what will happen beyond that point.  Until then, I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that there will be a baby here within the next two weeks.  Will hopefully keep you all posted on any further developments...

Friday, August 13, 2010

34 Weeks

I had a NST today, which went well.  It was the third NST in a row that I have been in and out in 20 minutes!!  When the midwife came in to look at my NST strip, she went over lab results from earlier in the week.  The repeat on the 1 hour glucose test was fantastic, so as I suspected, no new onset of Gestational Diabetes.  All of the other blood work, including that associated with the 24 hour urine collection, looked good.  I did my 24 hour collection yesterday into today and returned it when I went for my appointment today, so no results yet, but I don't expect anything out of the ordinary.  We will see what the fluid level looks like on Tuesday, but at this point I will just assume that the extra fluid is either something completely random or benign or a possible side effect of DS if it is present. 

Here is a pic of Beana from Tuesday's ultrasound. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

33 Week Appointment Marathon

We did the BPP, NST and midwife marathon today.  At this point I am pretty sure that Bean is going to come out with a sharpened point on her head...she keeps spinning around like a top.  Last week she was resting comfortably on my right side, today she was all settled in on the right for the BPP and NSP.  She has already spun back around to the right side.  :-)

Scored an 8/8 on the BPP.  No size measurements until next week.  We got an amazing 4D picture of her face, but it's not scanned into the computer yet.  Amniotic fluid is still a bit elevated.  Normal is anywhere from 5-25 cm of fluid (measured by US)...a week ago mine measured at 22 cm.  Today it measured at 27 cm.  So, just to make sure that I have not developed gestational diabetes, I will go in the morning for a 1 hour glucose test.  It is possible that the extra fluid can be completely without cause, as there have been no problems visualized with Bean's kidneys, GI tract or other organs.  It is a problem that is more common in babies with Down Syndrome, as compared to babies without Down Syndrome; so if my glucose test is normal, this could be one more thing that points to the possibility of Bean having Down Syndrome.  Hopefully I hear something from my OB's office tomorrow afternoon about the glucose test. 

NST was very reactive within the normal 20 minute time period.  That's two in a row!

Midwife appointment was pretty uneventful.  We discussed the fluid issue, and some other things.  I will do my third 24 urine collection and related bloodwork (because of my pre-existing hypertension) at the end of the week in conjunction with Friday's NST.  Anything else they might want to check will be dependent upon the results of tomorrow's glucose test. 

It was around this time that some of the very subtle signs of problems with Gracie started to surface; some of them so subtle that they didn't raise any flags or eyebrows until it was basically too late.  I have the smallest feeling of deja vu.  Not in terms of impending death, but just in terms of 'end of the road' issues.  We are so close.  Things have gone without a hitch so far, with the exception of our first trimester screening, and now these little things are going to creep up.  It all just makes me wonder what is really going on in there and what surprises there might be once Bean emerges.  It's getting hard to be patient.  But, I suppose all I can do is wait...

Friday, August 6, 2010

33 Weeks

Had a NST today - that was the only appointment.  It was far and away the best NST that I have had.  Period.  With either baby.  I was hooked up for the minimum of 20 minutes, not a moment longer!  No weight gain since Tuesday, so no further accumulation of fluid in my hands or legs.  :-)   Back to the office on Tuesday for NST, BPP and midwife check. 

Jeff has spoken to Beana close to 10 times over the last couple of days using a real name, so I think we have settled on a first name!  Because I picked Gracie's name more or less without any input, I wanted to let him do Beana's name.  I was also hoping that it would be a little therapeutic and give him a way to bond and feel a little better about this pregnancy.  Now all that's left is picking a middle name...the short list is down to two options!  Yay!!!

Wishing you all a fabulous weekend!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

32.5 Week Appointment

We went yesterday for this week's marathon of appointments - BPP, NST and midwife appointment.

The BPP was good.  Bean scored 8/8.  Placenta is still graded as a zero, which means that most of it is still very healthy and functional tissue.  Amniotic fluid level was slightly increased - no big deal at this point.   Bean's size was not measured. 

NST took an hour, but was reactive.  It was better than last week once I got Bean to quit running away from the fetal heart rate monitor.  She had the single best sustained heart rate elevation that I have ever recorded on a NST, Gracie's included.

Midwife appointment was uneventful.  No protein in my urine today, so I must have just been a little under hydrated last week, which I am still trying to figure out.  Blood pressure was good.  I have gained 8 pounds in the last week; I am starting to carry a little fluid in my hands and lower legs, and I think that this probably accounts for most of the 8 pounds.  :-(      If amniotic fluid level is really up a little bit, that might also account for some of that.  The excess fluid during Gracie's pregnancy only lasted a few weeks, so hopefully the same holds true this time.

The greatest news of the week is that I think we might FINALLY be closing in on a real name for Bean.  Exciting stuff.  Once we make the final decision, there will be no disclosure of the name until she make her grand appearance.  Sorry.  :-P 

I go back on Friday this week for a NST.  Otherwise nothing else exciting to report. 

Friday, July 30, 2010

32 Week Appointment

Yesterday was our 32 week appointment - the schedule included non-stress test, level II ultrasound and short visit with MFM doc, midwife follow-up.  (And just for reference, today is the one day anniversary of Gracie's last day alive in my belly...)  The appointment was not bad, but it wasn't as good as some of our previous appointments.  I left the office feeling frustrated.

Important information from the day
  • Trace protein levels detected in my urine - not going to worry unless the same thing turns up on Tuesday.  Blood pressure was a little higher than it was last time, but nothing to be concerned with.  I have now gained 25 pounds since our 9 week appointment.
  • NST was ultimately considered reactive, but it took an hour for it to be deemed as such.  Bean was moving a lot and I had to constantly chase her around with the heart rate sensor, but there were times that she was moving that the monitor was just not detecting a heart beat at all, simple because she was moving so much.  Because of that, nothing (such as the heart rate elevations that the NST specifically looks for) was recorded during those heavy periods of baby movement.  I am hoping that the rest of the NSTs go better than this, but given our overall record with NSTs, I am not holding my breath. 
  • Results of the ultrasound...  A formal biophysical profile was not performed, but the US tech specifically mentioned that Bean was doing everything that she would have needed to do the BPP...I assume that this means she would have scored 8/8, since she pointed everything out to us and it was good.  Jellybean was an active girl yesterday.  I think she was still unhappy about the hour of NST monitoring.  She came in at the 51st percentile for overall growth with an estimated weight of 4 lbs, 3 oz...this is exactly how much Gracie weighed when she was born.  Kind of weird, especially considering that this appointment was so close to Gracie's anniversary.  Given this placement on the growth curve, it puts the collection of growth estimates all over the place.  The girl that did yesterday's ultrasound is the one that estimated her to be in the 39th percentile 8 weeks ago; a different technician did the measurements 4 weeks ago that gave the estimate of 61st percentile.  I am inclined to think that the 51st percentile is a little closer to accurate at this point. (It's that whole intra/inter-rater reliability thing for those of you who have been forced to take research classes at some point...)
  • We will continue with NST 2x/week and the ultrasound to complete the biophysical profile1x/week.  We will have a formal midwife appointment 1x/week, but will also usually have one pop in when we are there just for the NST.  
  • We will see MFM again in 4 weeks, and unless anything changes, that will likely be the last MFM appointment for Bean.
  • And of course, a picture or two.  The first picture made me laugh as soon as I saw it.  It immediately assured me that Bean is, in fact, our daughter.  (After looking closely, I am pretty sure that it's her index finger, but you get the point...)

    Now on to my frustrations from the day
    • The NST ran into my MFM appointment time.  I was assured that someone was going to go to the other side of the office (literally 40-50' down the hallway to the other end of the SAME office) and let MFM know that I was going to be a few minutes late in coming over to see them.  My appointment was for 3:30, which is their last appointment slot of the day.  When that appointment is done, they pack up and drive an hour back to their main office.  When we walked up to their 'reception' area at 3:44, we got all kinds of attitude from the girl sitting there because we were late.  While we were waiting right outside of the ultrasound room, she went in to tell the US tech that we were there.  The tech said something along the lines of 'Yeah, I heard, but I already started tearing everything apart, so they're going to have to wait a few minutes while I put it back together.'  In the meantime, the doc walked into the same room and said "what do you know...3:44 and about 50 seconds."  To me, that means that at 3:45, they decline to see you because you are too late for your appointment.  I was kind of pissed that they were talking the way they were when we were right outside of the room and could hear them very clearly, so I spoke up and said "Excuse me, did anyone from OB/GYN Assoc tell you that we were going to be a few minutes late?  I've been in the office since 2:30 and hooked up to a NST since 2:45.  They told me about half an hour ago that they were going to come over and tell you that I would be late."  "No.  Nobody said a word to us...did you hear that girls?  She's been in the office since 2:30..."  Not that big a deal, but the whole thing just kind of pissed me off, especially since they could have just unhooked me from the (at that point) non-reactive NST and had MFM throw in a biophysical profile when they did the US. The attitude that we got for being late kind of pissed me off, too, primarily because we all run late at some point...whether it is as a provider or patient, we have all run late at one time or another. 
    • We met the new midwife yesterday. Instead of just seeing me in the scheduled slot after the MFM appointment, she kind of squeezed me in while I was hooked up to the NST.  It was a bit chaotic, so it was hard to form an impression of her yesterday.  We see her again on Tuesday, so perhaps it will be a little less chaotic and we can actually chat with her for a few minutes.  The one thing that I was not crazy about was how she did my fundal height measurement.  I felt that it was really sloppy considering our history of IUGR caused death.  She measured me while I was in the recliner, hooked up to the NST; she measured OVER the stuff strapped to my belly and never felt for my pubic bone, which is the starting point.  Minor detail, but something that could turn out to be important in the long run.  The midwife that we usually see has spoken quite highly of her, so I am hoping to leave Tuesday's appointment with a better impression. 
    • I am frustrated, that after being pregnant for 15 of the last 20 months and having a stillborn child thrown into that mix, that I still leave the OB office feeling like very few people actually listen to the words that come out of my mouth.  Specifically, I am talking about care providers.  Not all of them, but many of them.  I know they hear me speaking, because they nod their heads and smile and then give me some stupid cookie cutter answer.  But here's the deal...I am not an idiot.  I am an educated health professional.  I have read and read and read about pregnancy and childbirth, even before I was pregnant.  I don't call the OB's office in a panic every other day because the baby kicked 18 times yesterday but only 14 times today.  I only call when my baby is dead.  Literally.  So I get frustrated when my providers ask me a question and then don't want to hear my answer because it is different than the cookie cutter answer they were waiting for.  I get frustrated when they say "Do you have any questions or concerns at this point?" and then become annoyed when I do have a question or concern...and then they follow up the obvious annoyance with a standard cookie cutter answer.  It's happened several times in the last 12 weeks with various providers, and it's really starting to piss me off.  It's part of the reason that I pushed for less 'big medicine' and a smaller circle of providers that I know will listen to what I am saying, give me a reasonable answer, and tell me when I am legitimately being an idiot...instead of always acting like I am an idiot for actually having something to ask when they open up the floor for questions or concerns. 

    So that's it for this week...a little update, a couple pics and a little ranting and venting.  Will probably post a brief update again next week...

      Thursday, July 29, 2010

      Belly Casting

      I want to purchase my belly cast/mold kit in the next week or so.  I have looked at so many of them over and over.  Wondering if any of you who have done belly casts before might have suggestions on which brand to purchase???

      Saturday, July 24, 2010

      30 Week Appointment and a Long Weekend

      Last Friday morning (Jul 16th) was our 30 week midwife appointment.  For a simple appointment, with no other 'procedures' scheduled, it took a long time.  I spent just over 90 minutes in the office...but we got a lot accomplished.

      In short, all is well with the Bean.  I have gained 21 pounds since my first appointment at 9 weeks (about 28 pounds over pre-pregnancy weight according to my bathroom scale).  My blood pressure is still really low, which is fantastic news for someone with chronic hypertension!  Beana's heart rate was in the high 130s, and several times during counting, Jellybean had very noticeable heart rate accelerations.  Again, a very good thing.  Belly measurement was right on target.  We reviewed the report from the last Maternal Fetal Medicine appointment (since I saw MFM after midwifing last time, instead of before), and she confirmed that Bean is measuring in the 61st percentile.  Again...very reassuring, since we were starting on the downward slope to IUGR at this point with Gracie. 

      So, as things stand now, I am scheduled to see MFM again on July 29th, as well as the new midwife.  We have added a non-stress test to the string of appointments for that day.  After that, I will go twice a week for non-stress tests; one of those appointments each week will also include an ultrasound and a midwife check.   These appointments are scheduled out through August 20th, with the anticipation that I will see MFM again on August 26th, unless they decide otherwise next week.

      After the appointment, we hit the road for Beana's first trip to NYC.  We visited with friends from college and did some 'touristy' things in the city...we did a Yankee game, the Rockefeller Center observation deck, the Brooklyn Bridge, Little Italy, the Bodies Exhibit  (This exhibit is set up in various cities across the country...if you have the chance to catch it anywhere, I highly recommend it!  I will put a disclaimer here for all BLM and BLD...there is a section of the display that is nothing but pregnancy related.  Jeff and I both had to use the bathroom about half way through, and we had to go through the rest of the exhibit still in front of us to get there.  We turned a corner and stopped dead in our tracks, as we found ourselves face to face with a non-living baby on display in front of us.  Not something we were expecting to see.  When we finally got back to that room on our way through the remainder of the exhibit, we were both able to go through all of it without too much problem...but I know that it is not something that every BLM or BLD would want to walk into unexpectedly.  Despite this unexpected part of the exhibit, I recommend the exhibit as a whole!).  When I was pregnant with Gracie, Jeff and I somehow managed to not have our picture taken together, so we never really had a 'family' photo; we also managed to not do one together after she was born.  So I made sure that we got a 'family' photo of the two of us with Beana while we were being touristy.

      So now down to the nitty gritty.  I know that some of you reading here have already been through the rainbow baby process, and that several of you are walking this road with me right now.  But I have to say that this is one of the most difficult things that I have ever done.  It goes without saying that going through L&D to give birth to a dead baby is hard, and it goes without saying that burying your child is hard, but not everyone expects this process to be as difficult as it is.  Some days aren't bad...they are normal days.  I have thoughts about Gracie, but I don't link them to this pregnancy.  Some days are a little rougher, and dead baby thoughts creep in amongst the pregnancy thoughts every chance they get. 

      Some days I feel like I cannot get it together...  I am eating well, but my diet was impeccable with Gracie, and I wanted it to be the same this time around.  I feel like this baby is sucking the life right out of me; I am sleeping more soundly at night than I did with Gracie (Gracie practiced for her Stomp audition at night; Beana thankfully does her practicing during the day), yet I am still exhausted.  Some nights I skip dinner and go to bed as soon as I get home...skipping dinner is not helping physically or mentally.  I am behind on my Hypnobabies home study - I wanted to be all the way through it by now so I could be working on the self-hypnosis.  I am going to need all the practice I can get for the self-hypnosis, as relaxation and anything even remotely related is not something that comes easily for me.  There are things that we did not have ready for Gracie, as we thought we had a few more weeks.  I am getting to the point that I feel like I should have that stuff ready to go now, but I keep procrastinating.  My list keeps getting longer and longer...car seat and stroller (which we have had for almost 15 months, yet the box is still unopened) rewashing blankets and other non-clothing items that are on the shelves under the changing table, purchasing some cloth diapering stuff, purchasing some of the other 'essential' baby gear that we have not gotten yet, packing a hospital bag...you get the point.  Part of the problem is just old fashioned procrastination.  I think a bigger part of the problem is not wanting to jinx myself, and I honestly think another large part of the problem is that my brain does not fully comprehend that pregnancy is supposed to end with actually bringing a baby home.  

      But, all of this aside, we are moving forward one day at a time.  We are trying to live in the good right now and hoping that it is enough to balance everything out from one day to the next...and we are very much looking forward to the day in the not-so-distant-future that we bring our daughter home to love and raise...

      Sunday, July 11, 2010

      A Smattering of Thoughts

      (I found myself typing and typing this afternoon, only to get to the end and realize how long this post was.  There aren't too many of you reading here at this point, and I don't expect many of you to get all the way through this post.  It just really helped to get it all out somewhere...it's been sitting on my chest, and that isn't overly productive for me.  If you don't make it all the way through, make sure to check out the pic at the bottom...it's kind of amusing.)

      Lost Baby Emotions Mingling with Rainbow Emotions

      If you have been to Gracie's blog in the last couple of days, you know that I had a pretty lousy week.  I cannot pin the lousy week on any one thing, but I am pretty sure that 'Jellybean emotions' were a contributing factor.  Hormones and 'Jellybean emotions' seem to have started on an upswing in recent weeks - I can't wait to see how much they start to fluctuate in the coming weeks. 

      I have found myself intentionally trying to avoid conversation about Jellybean and this pregnancy as a whole, which is getting harder to do as I get larger.  I am in the middle of the first round of summer services for most of my school caseload, which comes after a several-week-long break from school/services.  The very nice teachers and aides that I see on a weekly basis during the year all ask the same questions when I go into their rooms.  I know that they mean well, but answering the same questions over and over gets a little overwhelming sometimes....  How are you feeling?  (Same as a few weeks ago.  Tired, but otherwise fine...)  How are you handling this heat?  (Probably the same as everyone else...wonderfully, as long as I stay in the A/C.)  How is everything looking with the baby?  (Okay at this point...)  Oh, that's fantastic!!  (Yes, it is fantastic, but things looked fine at this point with Gracie, so we are just taking things one day at a time.)  Do we know what it is yet?  (Yep...it's still a baby...but if you're asking about gender, it's another girl.)    I feel ungrateful for not wanting to answer their questions, but I just really don't want to talk about it anymore.  Sometimes I feel like if I cut everyone off from all information, I won't have to talk about anything if something goes wrong. I know that that is completely backwards logic, because there will be a million questions from everyone if something goes wrong again, regardless of how much people did or didn't know along the way.

      I also need a haircut - possibly a whole new do - and some highlights in the worst way imaginable.  For some reason, the salon is one place that I have been avoiding like it's my job.  Probably because I just don't want to talk, and that's pretty much what goes on when you go to get your hair done - lots of talking.  I have been to my regular salon once since Gracie died.  I went in, sat down and the first words out of my stylist's mouth were "So, I hope you brought pictures!!"  She had no idea, and I didn't expect her to know; once we were over the hump, it was fine.  But I know that if I walk in there now with a pregnant belly there will be more obligatory question and answer time.  A friend's step-daughter just opened a salon here in town, and I went there once a few months ago, but it doesn't matter where you go, you still have to chat...otherwise it's even more awkward. :-/

      A few times a week I drive past a memorial (headstone) retailer in the next town over.  For the last month or so they have had a beautiful stone sitting in front of their showroom that continues to catch my eye.  It is a very pretty angel kneeling next to a heart.  I look at it every time I drive past it, and I have actually caught myself thinking that if we need another stone, that this is the one I would like to have.  Holy shit!!!  I have already picked out a marker!  I really must figure out how to do this rest of this pregnancy without my subconscious planning for the worst case scenario.  I will not need a marker - I am going to bring home a very live Jellybean!!!  I will NOT need a marker this time!!  Go away thoughts!!!

      At some point, before we are done having children, I will figure out how to balance all of these thoughts and emotions...

      Life Out of Control

      I think that another part of my problem this week was the fact that my life feels like it is spinning faster and faster out of control.  More accurately, I just really feel like I have no control over anything going on around me and I can't seem to make anything stand still.  

      Despite the fact that I have been making a concerted effort to slow my schedule down, it just seems to get busier and busier...and I seem to get 'behinder and behinder'.  :-/   When we were pregnant with Gracie, everything was centered around the pregnancy.  I mean everything.  Birthing class, sleep, food prep, lots of 'prenatal exercise and stretching'...you name it, we did it the name of pregnancy.  What a difference a year makes.  I don't have any other clinicians working for me until next month, so it's up to me to get it all done in the office...Jeff is working a part time job that adds 20-30 hours a week to his schedule...  Now I feel like I cannot find any time to sleep, I can't find time to cook, we cannot find time to set aside to do our HypnobabiesKegel exercises a day. 

      The food thing actually goes quite a bit further than not finding time to cook.  A few years ago I decided that it was time to start cutting some of the junk from our diets and giving some serious thought to the long term consequences of the food on our plates.  Jeff has been wonderfully supportive with this.  Admittedly, it is not something that he would do on his own, but he acknowledges and agrees with the need to do it, and he has been much better with it than I though he would.  It was a long, arduous process, but we transitioned from pseudohealthy eating to actual healthy eating.  (I will, however, admit that I still think that potato chips and french fries should be a their own food group.)  We live in a rural area, where lots of people choose to live with their heads either buried in the sand or shoved up their asses; many of them choose to be uneducated about the things going on around them (and I'm not talking formal education) and do things just because that's how they've always been done.  The choices and decisions that we started making about food and nutrition are not considered to be in the popular majority around here.  Because of this, some of our options were limited and we took quite a bit of grief for the changes that we implemented; people did not understand or care about why we were making these changes, and it made it difficult sometimes.  But we did it, and felt worlds better as a result. 

      Over the last year, stress and time constraints have taken a front seat and our natural/organic eating has started to slide.  Jeff has really fallen off of the wagon, especially when eating without me.  It is sometimes a matter of circumstance, sometimes a matter of just not caring about anything anymore.  Funny how the spark in life can be snuffed out for so long by one life changing event....    :-(     It's not the end of the world, by any means, but I feel like all of the effort we put into it has gone down the drain.  It's something that will have positive health benefits for both of us, as well as our children, and that is important to me.  We are trying to get turned around and headed in the right direction again, but lack of parallel thinking on the part of our families (and others around us) has made this difficult; they invite us for dinner and/or bring us food, to which we cannot really say no, but it's not what we would be putting on our plates if we were doing the cooking.  For now, I continue to look for ways to explain our choice(s) about food to the family in a way they will understand and respect, I am trying to get our food selection/purchasing back under control, and I am trying to ignore my constant compulsive twitching as we work to get this back on track.  :-)  

      Childbirth, the Marvels of Modern Medicine, and Sheep

      I think another reason for my meltdown this week revolves around modern medicine.  There are lots of ways to look at it, I suppose.  Technology and the expansion of medical knowledge is supposed to make life better...'better living through chemistry' as they say...but I definitely don't buy into the theory that all advancements and developing trends in medicine can be viewed as advancements.  Again, a thought that falls outside of the mainstream, which buys me more grief from many people around me. 

      We are firm believers that, while modern medicine can offer amazing things to the minority of women who truly need medical support to get through pregnancy and/or childbirth, for the most part women can give birth to healthy babies without significant medical intervention (they have been doing it for centuries).  We believe that many women don't do enough to educate themselves about pregnancy and childbirth and do not make their own decisions, and in the end, many allow themselves to be turned into 'sheep' by the medical community.  This said, when we were pregnant with Gracie, Jeff and I decided early on that we wanted a natural pregnancy and birthing process.  Very specifically, we were not interested in induction, labor augmentation or pain medication/epidural.  This is not a decision that we made lightly; it was made after much research, reading, thought and discussion.  Definitely not a mainstream decision, and definitely a decision that bought us quite a bit of grief from a lot of people.  Luckily, the midwife who delivered Gracie (luck of the draw with that) was quite supportive of our plan; the other midwives were not overly exuberant about the fact that we had a birth plan and that we were vocal about not wanting medication.  Unfortunately, in the end it did not matter. 

      Now that we are getting closer to Jellybean's arrival, we have begun to review and revamp our game plan.  Not a fun process.  Every decision makes my brain jump back and forth from one side of the field to the other.  Overall, the plan is still natural child birth.  People continue to question this, and now they apparently feel that they are justified in telling us that we are nuts, simply because Gracie died.  The fact that we prepared for natural childbirth did not kill her; she died before labor was ever induced.  We have been told by our midwife that it is not likely that they will 'let' me go beyond my due date with Jellybean.  This bothers me, primarily because Gracie also did not 'overbake'.  

      But here's the catch with the whole plan... I still believe that I can give birth to a healthy baby without all of the bells and whistles, but I am scared to death to do so.  I am so petrified of lightning striking twice.  So far, I have gone against my beliefs and agreed to ultrasounds every 4 weeks since 20 weeks.  I am not really in a position to decline the ultrasounds until we can see for sure that Jellybean is growing appropriately and not showing any indication of IUGR.  At our midwife appointment this week we will lay out a game plan with the midwife for the next 10 weeks.  We will decide about the frequency of NST and regular (level 1) ultrasounds (as part of the biophysical profile testing).  Part of me wants to consider scheduling an induction if this baby doesn't come on her own by a certain point, but the rest of me is so totally opposed to it.  There (hopefully) is plenty of time for me to hash all of this out with myself and have further discussion with at least our primary midwife about this.  For now, though, my brain keeps going back and forth about all of it.  I guess only time will tell...until then, the sheep costume is out of the package and hanging in the closet.  :-(

      Last, But Not Least

      I will end on a funny note, well a funny picture.  Our nephew just graduated from high school and has enlisted in the Navy.  He will leave for basic training in Chicago on 7/21.  Last night was graduation/going away party. Although my husband and his brothers never need an excuse to drink beer, the party gave them a fantastic excuse to get together and guzzle.  Toward the end of the evening, they decided that we (myself included) should hike up our shirts and compare belly size.  So here is the first public Jellybean belly pick.