Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Macey at 3 Months

How can it be that my little baby is 3 months old already!? This past month that I've been back to work has made time seem to fly by, that's for sure! Here's a little about Macey at this age... 

Eat = Macey eats every 3 hours, but now she regularly takes 4 oz at a time. She has dropped her early morning (4-5am) feeding, so she takes 6 bottles a day (6:30a/9:30/12:30p/3:30/6:30/10)! She is still fed breast milk exclusively and I'm really proud of myself for making it this far with my trusty pump! 

Activity = We have a rolling baby! She rolled for the first time the day after she turned 12 weeks. It was SO fun to watch! I really didn't expect to have that same excitement with Macey as with Maleah. But I was SO excited and it made my heart so happy to watch her roll over for the first time! Macey is still a super happy and relaxed baby. She likes to see what's going on around her and loves to be held. And she loves watching mobiles! I don't ever remember Maleah being particularly interested in mobiles, but Macey loves one. I think Santa might bring her one for Christmas! One funny thing about Macey is that she likes movement... A LOT. If she is sleepy while we're driving, she will be calm while the car is in motion but if we get to a red light... my, oh my does she let me know she's not happy we have stopped! 

Sleep = Macey is sleeping through the night now. WOO HOO! She takes her last bottle around 10pm and goes until 6/6:30 before she is hungry again. She still rouses some around 4am, so we're working to help her stay asleep. Sometimes all it takes is a pacifier and sometimes it takes a little extra effort (like finding something safe for her to snuggle with!). We are working on crib training her since she's sleeping so well. Hopefully by Christmas/Near Years she'll be in her crib all night. We're just taking it slowly! Macey is not the best napper, but she does nap! It just isn't totally consistent - she might sleep for 45 minutes, wake up for half an hour, and drift back off to sleep. Who knows, haha. She's such a mellow baby that I just kinda let her do what she will! 

Other = Macey has had her first cold this past week. :( She was really fussy over the weekend and earlier in the week, but it seems to be subsiding and our happy baby is returning! 

Overall things are going really well! Macey is just the perfect addition to our family. She is usually very happy and content. When she does get fussy, it's pretty easy to figure out what's wrong and help her calm down. Maleah is doing really well as big sister. She loves Macey and is really proud of her. She likes talking to her and showing her toys and her things. She is starting to be okay with the boundaries we have set and the jealousy is subsiding some. I'm trying to incorporate the girls' routines as much as I can so that they are doing things together (like going to bed, for instance) instead of separately. 

I won't lie, though, working full-time on top of taking care of two kids has really been exhausting. Blake does just as much with them and around the house as I do and, yet, we still can't stay on top of our to-do lists! We are just kinda making it at this point... but we know things will get a little easier with time. I am learning to just do what absolutely NEEDS to get done and try to get to the rest when we have time. I think part of the stress is that I went back to work right as the busy holiday season was picking up. Once we are done with this weekend (our church's Christmas program), we will be able to relax a little more. Plus, Blake will be done with tutoring and can be home every night of the week! Yay! 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Being a Mom of 2

On January 22, 2013, my world was ROCKED. Little baby Maleah was born and life as I knew it was changed forever. No one can ever prepare you for the process of going from a married couple to a couple of parents. No book, no anecdotal advice, no amount of watching friends do it... nope, nothing can prepare you for the way your life changes after your first child.

I remember struggling so badly with the 3-hour schedule. I felt like we were chained to this incessant wheel of feed-play-sleep. I remember resenting how long it took to get Maleah settled for bed - how am I going to spend an hour of my life every night getting this tiny person ready for bed?  I remember crying over lost sleep, crying over room-temperature cups of coffee, crying over her crying. 

I finally settled in to being a parent. All those things I found so difficult in the beginning slowly but surely just became part of who I am. And, no longer did I resent the bedtime routine... it actually became my favorite time of day. I don't miss the "freedom" I had before Maleah came along... and, frankly, during the times she's spending the night with a grandparent and we're able to do things kid-free, I'm really just counting down the hours until she's with us again. 

So when we found out we were expecting baby #2, I wasn't really sure how to prepare myself. How much more change would there be? How would I handle it? How would Blake and Maleah handle it? How could I stretch myself even more to care for another child? 

Honestly, the adjustment to two children has not been as difficult as I imagined. If Blake weren't as helpful as he is, I might be having a tougher time. But usually when things are hectic, we divide and conquer. We each take a kid and handle whatever needs to be handled. The hardest part, so far, about having two children is the heartache of not being able to be in two places at once. 

The other difficult adjustment has been helping Maleah transition to being a big sister. She has been the center of our world and, while we have tried not to spoil her, I know (as an only child, myself) that it's very different to suddenly have to wait... or to share... or to be told "no". She has adjusted fairly well, but also being almost-3 means she is changing in addition to the change of having a baby sister. 

The best part about being a mom of 2, though, is really simple. Snuggling both of them at once is like the greatest feeling ever. These two beautiful little girls didn't exist just a few years ago. Blake and I haven't even been married five years and, yet, we have these new people to call our own. It is such an amazing thing!

And who knows... maybe I'll eventually be writing about being a mom of 3. :) 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Two Months of Macey!

Two months ago, Macey Ellen came into our lives and - WOW! - what a crazy two months it has been! Macey is still just the sweetest little baby! She is very mellow and easygoing. She is the perfect addition to our family!

So... I'm gonna keep this short and sweet!

Eat = Macey eats every 3 hours and goes 7-8 hours at night. She takes between 3-4 ounces at each feeding and seems to tolerate it well! We are trying to wean her from the 5 a.m. feeding since it is so close to our desired wake-up time (now 6:30 am instead of 7 since I have to go back to work tomorrow!). She has started spitting up a little more, but she doesn't seemed bothered by it! Macey is also a very busy eater - sometimes she wiggles around so much while she eats that it's hard to hold her! 

Activity = Macey smiles SO much! Half of her awake time is spent with us getting her to smile! She loves the little mobile on her swing... makes me wonder if we should get one for her crib. She holds her head up fairly well and has also started turning her head towards noise. According to "Wonder Weeks," she's currently in a leap where she should start being even more aware of her surroundings. So, far, I'd say that's true! She is definitely more aware of us, who's doing what, and looks around to figure out what's happening in the room. Thankfully Macey is also usually really good about being put down... it's hard to juggle two kids sometimes, so I'm glad she's happy to chill in her bouncer while we attend to the other kiddo!

Sleep = Sleep... oh, sleep... while Macey does go 7-8 hours between feedings at night, she still cries out or makes noises for other reasons during the night. We're currently trying to stop using the rocking motion on her Rock & Play because she wakes up as soon as it turns off! She has become dependent on it. Eventually the goal is to move her into her & Maleah's room, but we want her to be sleeping soundly through the night first. Naps are pretty good... she sleeps for about 1.5-2 hours at a time (with some random waking). 

Our daily routine looks a little like this... the morning has been a little crazy because she's waking during the 5 o'clock hour, but so far this works most days:

5-5:30 a.m. - Macey wakes to eat, we get up for the day
6:30 - try to get Macey to take another 2-4oz, get both girls up and ready for the day
9:30/12:30/3:30 - Macey eats
6pm - we eat dinner
6:30 - Macey eats, then we do baths and play until bedtime
7:30 - Macey usually falls asleep by this time and we start getting Maleah off to bed 
10pm - Blake feeds Macey a "dream feed" and we go to bed!

I also pump during the day... right now at 5:15, 7:45, 11:15, 2:15, 5:15, 9:30. I'm trying to change to 5:15, 7:45, 11:45, 3:45, 9:30... but I'm going to wait until after Thanksgiving to do that.

Life is going great... it's really hard, to be honest, but it's worth it! We love our girls so much and want to provide the best little life for them! It can be quite challenging at times, but I have never had a better job!!!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Macey: One Amazing Month (and a half!)!

Macey girl is six weeks old! In so many ways, it feels like she has been a part of our family for WAY longer than six weeks. She completely just fits right in and it's almost like we've always had her! In other ways, we are quickly reminded that she is, indeed, still a newborn! I have had to remind myself OFTEN to take it easy, rest, and that it's okay not to take a shower until noon. 

The first several weeks are really hard with a newborn. They just are. There's the adjustment of just bringing home a new baby, healing from labor and delivery, trying to sleep whenever you can, mounds of laundry... and - oh yeah! - taking care of yourself AND a toddler (AND a husband!)!!! Life is busy, but blissful!

So, about Macey... first of all, she is a seriously sweet little baby! She has definitely "woken up" from the newborn slumber, but she's still a pretty calm baby. Every time I look at her, I just feel like she has always been part of our family. It's so hard to imagine life before her - even at this early stage! Since she is our last baby (never say never, but... probably never...), I'm really trying to just enjoy all of it and not stress too much. Easier said than done, of course!

I wrote about Maleah during each month of her first year so I must do the same for Macey, right!? So, here's All About Macey at six weeks!

With both of our girls, we have used the "E.A.S.Y." method to guide our daily routine. E.A.S.Y. in a nutshell just means eat/activity/sleep/"you" time... it has worked really well with both girls and establishes consistency in their day (as well as in ours). 

Eat = Macey eats every 3 hours during the day and has been going 5-6 hours at night. Currently she eats around 7a/10/1/4/7p during the day with 7pm being "bedtime". She has recently been taking a 10pm bottle and then waking around 3:30/4am again to eat (instead of waking at 12am and 3am, which is what she was doing before). I am exclusively pumping and am really pleased that we have not had to supplement at all! Pumping is a lot of extra work, but it works well for us and I love knowing we are both getting all the benefits of breast milk!

Activity = Obviously a baby this young doesn't do much during their awake period. Most days, Macey stays awake anywhere from 45 minutes to 1.5 hours after eating. I might use her alert period to do tummy time, read a book, walk outside, cuddle and talk to her... you know, baby stuff. This is also when she gets a diaper change. In the past week she has really started being a little more interactive - smiling, looking for us, staring at objects. I love it! She likes to practice holding her head up while she's on my chest and does pretty well! Right now we spend a lot of her awake time trying to get her to lay on the left side of her head - she prefers the right and it has caused plagiocephaly on that side. We are really hoping it resolves with re-positioning. We'll find out a little more at her 8-week appointment.

Sleep = Macey takes a nap after each feeding - so that's four naps a day before bedtime. We consider 7am "wake up" time. We get her up, feed her, change her clothes and that's when the lights come on and we let in the noise of the day. "Bedtime" is at 7pm - that's when she gets a bath, pajamas, we turn down the lights, and limit noise. I really think having these two "fixed points" during the day helps differentiate night and day and will help her sleep better in the long run. 
     Naps have been a little tricky lately. Macey has what is known as the "45 minute intruder" AND she seems to be somewhat of a light sleeper. While I definitely don't believe in tip-toeing around a baby, I also know she needs sleep so I'm willing to meet her in the middle! During the day, I dim the lights while she naps and try to keep the noise level relatively low - like, I keep the TV or music quiet. She rouses at the 45-minute interval, and I can usually just quickly soothe her without picking her up (b/c I want her to learn to sleep through that light stage of sleep!). For her early evening nap (after her 4pm bottle), I just wear her in the Moby wrap because when Maleah gets home, it's LOUD!!! Macey does GREAT napping in the Moby!!! 
      Night-time is going well, too! Macey really only wakes to eat and then goes right back to sleep. If she does have trouble sleeping, it's after her feeding and usually some gas drops do the trick! 

You Time = Well, "me" time isn't really about "me" these days! There's plenty to do... like write this blog post! ;) But I spend my down time trying to get things done around the house, rest, pump, and take care of myself (i.e., shower!). I have pretty much healed from delivery and am ready to start walking and exercising some... I'm just not sure when exactly I have time to do that! I think I've lost all but 8-10 pounds of my baby weight (I gained 26) and it'll come off eventually! I'm not really worried about it. I'm pretty tired and usually take a little nap after lunch... and then I have coffee!!! I look forward to my morning and afternoon coffee! :) 

Maleah has adjusted pretty well to having a new sister around. The first week was NUTS. Just being honest. While Maleah hasn't necessarily been jealous, she has had a hard time learning the boundaries of a baby (don't put toys on her face, don't push her head, don't scream in her face while she's sleeping... or, at all...). At first she was constantly in Macey's face, but that incessant fascination with her has worn off and Maleah has learned certain "rules". Maleah is also learning a lot about patience - sometimes Mommy and Daddy both have their hands full! But I'd say the past two weeks have been really good and I'm hoping it just keeps getting better from here!

One of the vast differences between my time with Maleah and Macey is that I am STILL ON MATERNITY LEAVE! :) I'll go back 1/2 days in 3 weeks and then full time the following week. It has made a HUGE difference to have this extended time to stay home. The biggest struggle for me staying home is that I am a really goal-oriented person. While I do enjoy being lazy, it's hard for me not to feel guilty about all the things I "should" be doing. When I think back to the past six weeks, I'm like... what have I accomplished!? My house is a mess, I have barely gotten out of the house, I rarely wear makeup, we've watched A LOT of movies... but, then I remember that my biggest "goal" during this leave is simply to take care of Macey (and Maleah!). And I have done that really well!!! All that other stuff will come with time - there is absolutely no need to rush it! 

So, now I have to go dry my hair and put on some concealer (so I don't scare myself or the UPS man) and watch Dancing With the Stars while I feed Macey! (Bindi is her favorite, BTW!) 

Stay tuned for more updates!

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Happy Birthday, Macey Ellen!

We now have two kids! Ahhh!!! Macey Ellen was born Monday, September 7 (Labor Day!) at 12:47 p.m. and has just completely melted our hearts all over again! Here's her birthday story: 

After having a very successful, peaceful, and happy induction with Maleah, we were hoping to have a similar experience with Macey. Early on in the pregnancy, we agreed that if I was progressing on my own near the end that we would go with an induction. I know elective inductions are controversial, but obviously I have two healthy kids and had two great deliveries, so I guess you can consider me proof that they don't always result in horror stories! :) 

At my 35 week appointment, I had no progression. At 36 weeks, I was 1cm and somewhat effaced and by 37 weeks I was 2cm. My doctor won't do an elective induction unless you are at least 2cm and favorable, so by 37 weeks we were pretty confident we'd be getting induced. At my 38 week appointment, I hadn't had any change, but we were able to get our induction orders for Labor Day! That just happened to be when my doctor was on call after I turned 39 weeks! WE WERE SO EXCITED!

Just like with Maleah, I had lots of Braxton Hicks contractions and a couple episodes of false labor in the latter weeks of pregnancy. This made me hopeful that things would go well during labor and delivery. But I had no idea just how well things would go this time! We got to the hospital a few minutes after 5am and were quickly taken to a room. We got all set up and they started pitocin and I felt the first contraction at 5:44 a.m. - yes, I remember the time! The contractions were really strong and consistent from the beginning. Dr. Ray came to break my water at 7:20 and the contractions got even stronger after that. At that point, I was 4cm and about 50% effaced and -1 station. She said she'd come check me again after I got an epidural - there was no need to keep checking me. 

Maleah's labor was around 13 hours in total and I think I pushed for around 40 minutes. It was mostly uneventful - I got an epidural after 5/6 hours of labor and had a little blood pressure dip after the epidural, but that was resolved quickly. Transition lasted around two hours, so those two hours were quite emotional and intense (yes, even with an epidural!). I felt very much in tune with everything that was happening - just without intense pain! I was really hoping for the same with Macey's delivery. 

So, when I was already thinking about the epidural around 7:45, I was feeling like a total wimp. I didn't want to get it too early because I know it can slow labor and the longer you have it, the longer the after-effects last. But by 8am, the contractions were intense enough that I called for the anesthesiologist. He came in the room at 8:12 and I was really feeling like a total failure! I had barely been contracting 3 hours and was already needing relief! These contractions were super intense in my back and I was mostly nervous that waiting would make it even more difficult to get the epidural. So I obeyed the CRNA's orders and got in position to have the epidural placed. 

The placement was quite interesting... I have scoliosis and failed to mention that to him, so we all learned the hard way! Once he got going, I told him I could feel something to the left of my spine. He said, "Really?" I thought maybe I was just imagining the pain, so he tried again and, again, I felt pain to the left. In a puzzled voice, he said, "That's strange because I am WAY over to the right..." - Blake even saw that he was working more towards my right side. He kept feeling around and finally got it in and later mentioned my back was curved about 1 inch to the right, so he just unfortunately had to find the sweet spot by trial and error. Once it was placed, I was laid flat on my back for the medicine to take effect. 

Not sure if you know this, but having to lie flat while having really intense contractions is NO FUN. And, guess what! I had to lay there for a long stinkin' time while waiting for the epidural to work! For whatever fun (sarcasm) reason, the epidural decided not to take correctly. I could feel it s l o w l y working its way up my legs, but it just was not getting to my belly! The CRNA left after about 30 minutes from placement and said if it wasn't working within 20 minutes to call again. We made it 15. The nurses called and the CRNA came back with the anesthesiologist. My legs were getting more and more numb, so they did some simple testing to make sure it was equal on both sides. It was evenly distributed, so they first wanted to just give a re-dose instead of totally replacing it. THANKFULLY, the re-dose worked within 15 minutes. I had a little hot spot on my lower right abdomen (same with Maleah), so they tilted me for a little bit to get the medicine to trickle into that spot. 

Finally, after over an hour since the initial placement, the epidural was doing its job. I could still feel the pressure of the contractions, but little to no pain. Rest was on the agenda! Except... I couldn't rest... because my legs were killing me. I suppose since they took the medicine with the initial dose, the second dose was almost too much for my legs to handle. They were so incredibly tingly and heavy that I could not for the life of me get comfortable enough to rest. There was a lot of blanket rolling, pillow stuffing, turning, and anxiety as I tried and tried to get into a comfortable position. 

In addition to this discomfort, I noticed the contractions seemed to be slowing and, on the monitor, it looked like Macey's heart rate was dipping some. I was really getting nervous that things were headed to a bad place. I was wondering if this epidural was going to spiral my labor out of control and send me into an unplanned C-section. I was really worried. 

Finally around 11am, I just really needed total relief. I turned on my Brian & Jenn Johnson station on Pandora and put phone near my belly and just started focusing on praising God and asking Him to be with us during labor! I just kept praying for God to bring me peace and rest and for Macey to be okay. Blake and my mom went to grab lunch soon after my little jam session began and as soon as they walked out the door, Kim Walker Smith/JesusCulture's "Holy Spirit (You are Welcome Here)"  came on. As soon as the chorus started, the tears just came... it was just a sweet, sweet moment with the Lord during labor. It was exactly the song I needed to hear in that moment. I just kept praying for God to fill the room with His spirit and to help me get through, no matter what that meant. 

And, y'all, I am not kidding, He answered those prayers within minutes. I was able to really relax and calm down. And my contractions started to pick up. And then things moved very quickly... very quickly... 

Around 11:30/11:45 (?), the contractions started to get really intense. While I couldn't feel the pain, I knew they were getting stronger. I called the nurse to come check me and when she did, she said, "You're at least 8, if not 9 - it's really hard to tell because the baby's head is really low." She explained the decels we thought we were seeing were actually just a sign that Macey's head was engaged and getting squished a bit with each contraction. She said she'd been watching the monitors from the nurse's desk and knew I was getting close. Answered prayer! The nurse said Dr. Ray would be in to check me in 20-30 minutes.

My cousin Holly showed up right around noon. I don't remember all the details at this point, but things were starting to really pick up and Holly was having to talk me through the contractions. I could feel intense pressure and started to even feel pain again in my lower abdomen (on both sides, this time). All I could do during contractions was close my eyes, breathe, and ride the wave. Holly told me to call the nurse again, so I did. I just couldn't wait for Dr. Ray. The nurse came in and I explained the pain aspect, so she called the anesthesiologist to possibly do a re-dose. I was really worried that I'd feel pain elsewhere during the actual delivery, so the plan was for them to come give me a little boost before pushing. 

But before that could happen, Dr. Ray came in the room quickly and said she'd check me and that if I was complete, we could make those hot spots of pain go away by pushing instead of getting more medicine! So, she checked me and - voila! - I was complete and ready to push! I kept saying, "I told y'all!"!!! Even with a heavy dose of epidural, I was really aware of everything that was happening - just like with Maleah's labor. It was awesome!

It's go time!!! 

They got the bed and room ready very quickly because I was actually having to hold off on pushing. (Don't worry, there are PLENTY of pictures of me not looking quite as chipper as the photo above!!!) I remember them telling me I could "bear down, but don't actually push" while they rapidly prepped. Ummmmm.... that's not entirely possible.... :) 

Within a few minutes, I was pushing with the nurse. Pushing was different this time - with Maleah, I was literally cracking jokes in between pushes. With Macey, I could barely keep my eyes open in between! I pushed through two contractions and was then ready for Dr. Ray. She was rushing to get her gloves on and get seated for the next contraction and they were saying, "Try not to push!". I did not like them saying to wait! This baby needed to come out! But Dr. Ray - in the midst of racing to put on her gown and gloves - said to go ahead, so I started pushing again with her. I pushed through one more contraction and Macey was born! She came out perfectly (unlike her sister whose little head was sideways!) at 12:47 p.m. and with pink skin like a little piggy! (She got a 10 on her Apgar!)

They immediately placed her on my chest to do skin-to-skin and then they left her on me for over an hourI was so amazed that they let me hold her for so long. That was not the case with Maleah - we did skin-to-skin briefly, then they took her to the warmer for assessment and brought her back all bundled. I truly think that time with Macey made a huge difference as far as nursing goes. Anyway, I felt bad that no one was getting to hold her - we let everyone come in to get a glance at her. But, I knew she was right where she needed to be! After about 45 minutes, the nurse weighed and measured her - she was 6lbs15oz and 19.5 inches - and then gave her back for me to start trying to nurse. She latched on easily and spent another 30 minutes just enjoying herself! Haha! 

Daddy finally got his hands on his new baby girl!

Once they took Macey to the nursery, they noticed her temp wasn't stablizing. She had to stay under the warmer for a couple of hours until she could warm up. That part was pretty frustrating because I knew if they'd just bring her to me, she would warm up! Everyone kept an eye on her from the nursery window... including Big Sister!

Finally, Macey got to come back to the room! Maleah got to hold and love on "her baby" and all was well! This go 'round at the hospital was much calmer than with Maleah. We were actually able to get some decent rest and Macey stayed with us all day long both days we were there. We sent her to the nursery at night just to get a little sleep in between feedings, but other than that, they only took her twice during the day. It was great!

And when she was just over 48 hours old, we dressed her up like a doll baby and took her home!

So far, things are going as well as expected! We're exhausted and trying to adjust to having two kiddos to care for. But we are loving it! So far, Macey is a really chill baby - I hope that lasts! She pretty much eats, gets her diaper changed, and goes back to sleep! We have to go get her bilirubin checked again tomorrow (it was borderline on Friday), but all signs point to her being a really healthy baby. And Maleah is adjusting as well as she can - it's a lot to take in for her, but she's doing a great job as big sis so far!

We can't wait to see how this precious girl grows. We love her so much already! 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Macey: 38 weeks

This will probably be my last post before Macey arrives! I honestly can't even get my brain to function anymore, so... I doubt I'll be in any shape to write for a little while. But here's the 38 week update for little Macey girl!

Heart Rate: 140-something. Healthy and strong!

Stats: For a few weeks, I didn't gain any weight. My appetite here at the end has been rather finicky so I wasn't surprised that my weight gain slowed. All in all, I've now gained 25 pounds! Macey seems to be growing right on track - ever since we had a little stall in growth, my doctor hasn't told me my fundal height at my appointments. I assume that means I'm measuring a tad behind and that she doesn't want me to worry! At our 35 week ultrasound, they estimated that Macey weighed 5 pounds 3 ounces. So she's growing just fine!

Symptoms: I actually feel pretty decent for being this pregnant! I think I've just finally adjusted to all of the weird pregnancy symptoms and, if nothing else, I know the end is near! I'm very grateful to be really healthy, not have swollen feet and - don't be jealous - no stretch marks! So I guess I'm just so happy about the problems I'm not having to really dwell on the things that aren't so lovely!

Appetite: My appetite is so-so. If I am able to eat whatever it is I'm really craving, I can pack away some food! Today I ate a huge chicken gyro and a big bowl of rice for lunch! YUM YUM! But you know what REALLY tastes good ALL THE TIME? PELLET ICE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 

 Movement: Macey has been quite wiggly the past few days! She has kept me up the past couple of nights as she stretches. Usually her feet are WAY over to my right side. But last night she had her feet right up against my rib cage! Not cool, little one! 

Sleeping: One day I'm going to sleep on my stomach again and it's going to be GREAT!!! The past several nights, I have been taking Tylenol PM to help me sleep. It's not that I just can't sleep, but my hips are so sore that I can only lay on my side for so long. And rolling over is an acrobatic act, so I have to wake up in order to move to my other side. So, there's lots of tossing and turning in the night. The Tylenol PM helps me stay drowsy enough that, even though I am waking up 5, 6, 7 times a night, I can go back to sleep very quickly. I also wake up to eat around 2/3 and I stay up for maybe 30 minutes to an hour before being able to go back to sleep. I've actually gotten used to this routine, so I am really interested to see how much of a sleep hangover I'll have in the far far far far far away future when I can actually get a full night's rest!

Looking Forward To: HAVING THIS BABY!!! It's SO close! I just cannot wait for her to be here!!! I have packed her bag and am so eager to see her in all of her precious little clothes. Maleah's ready (claiming "Macey's ready to come out!" almost every day), Blake is giddy with excitement, and I'm just hoping I can get all the laundry done before she's born!

Loving: These last days of pregnancy. This will most likely be my last pregnancy, so the end is a little bittersweet. This pregnancy has been much more physically demanding than my first and I'll be the first to admit that I have done a lot of griping! But, it is honestly the sweetest experience. I love having my girl with me all day - even when her little feet are tapping on my ribs. The idea of having two kids is just completely surreal to me. You only have one mom, one dad, one husband... but... I get to have two kids! That's amazing! I am so grateful to have been able to carry two beautiful girls and to see them grow! 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Macey: 30/36

Last week I started my weekly visits and, unfortunately, we had a little hiccup. All this time, I have been measuring right on track and have felt really confident that everything was going well in between visits. But during my last appointment, my fundal height didn't change any from 33 weeks and I hadn't gained any weight. So, off to ultrasound we went to make sure Macey was growing appropriately. She measured within the normal range for 35 weeks and my amniotic fluid was at a healthy level. (Also Macey was looking mighty cute in there!!!) So all was well and we were sent home. It did make me a little nervous, though, and I just prayed for growth during the week!

So now I am 36 weeks... and 30 years old!!! I never thought I'd be super-preggo on the day of my big 3-0, but I'm happy to have this memory of carrying my baby girl into a new decade! I always imagined I'd be done having kiddos by the age of 30 and, well, I guess a few weeks' difference isn't that big of a deal! Didn't miss my goal by too much! ;) 

Heart Rate: 130-something - and she had the hiccups while we were doing the Doppler so it was funny to hear that noise in addition to her heartbeat! I was having a hard time not laughing!

Stats: I didn't gain any weight (again), but I did measure bigger than last week. My doctor didn't tell me how much I had grown... probably not to freak me out... so I assume I'm probably still measuring a little small maybe 34-35 cm. (BTW - you can be within two centimeters without concern - she was only concerned last week because I had no change whatsoever.)

Symptoms: WOW my bones hurt! Like, they HURT. Even my most recent trip to the chiropractor wasn't much relief! But I'm in the homestretch and Tylenol and bubble baths are my friend! My iron was also low during my 35 week appointment, so I've been taking iron supplements. I wish I could tell a difference in my energy level with the iron supplement, but I don't.... but I have stopped craving ice! Also... Braxton Hicks! WHOA! I forgot how uncomfortable they can be at the end! Sometimes they stop me in my tracks - not out of pain, just out of discomfort!

Appetite: My appetite has been pretty good! Other than avoiding food that causes heartburn (red sauce!), I can eat pretty much whatever I'm craving without too much aversion. 

Movement: Macey had me freaked out during this past week... after the little growth hiccup, I was super nervous about whether or not she was moving enough. But I finally figured out that she's just really settled into a more noticeable wake/sleep pattern. She definitely has longer periods where she's pretty still... then she wakes up and moves for 5-15 minutes, then she's back to sleep. Sounds like a baby to me! :)

Sleeping: One day I'll sleep well again!

Looking Forward To: Maleah meeting Macey. I just keep thinking about it and I'm already crying!!! Maleah has been SO EXCITED lately about Macey coming. I don't sense a whole lot of jealousy, but I definitely know she will have a hard time adjusting to the change in focus from all-eyes-on-me to Oh, she's busy with Macey again... The other day, I came home around 6pm and Maleah ran up to me (makes you feel SO good!!!) and gave me a big huge hug. Then she started tapping on my belly... I said, "What in the world are you doing?" And without missing a beat, she said, "Macey's ready to come out!". Haha! 

Loving: My husband!!! For real! Have I mentioned how awesome he is yet? This guy just doesn't miss a beat. He is so helpful around the house and with Maleah so that I can rest and take it easy when I need to. Many nights, lately, he has been cooking dinner, cleaning up the kitchen, giving Maleah a bath, and lets me go lay down in the bedroom for a power nap when I need to! And he doesn't complain one bit. Yesterday he said he just tries to do what he can since I'm the one that has to do the hard work of growing a person! It means so much to have a husband who is so selflessly helpful. I'd be a hot mess without him! (Okay, I am a hot mess anyway!)

I really just can't believe our due date is less than a month away! Can't wait to meet this precious girl!

Monday, August 3, 2015

Macey: 33 Weeks

I'm now 34 weeks, but... whatev! I wrote this last week, so... there ya go!

Heart Rate: 125-ish ~ This was the first time that the nurse has had a difficult time finding Macey's heart beat. It took several minutes for her to get a good reading. At first, I just shrugged it off because I know babies can "hide" and make it hard to find their heart beat. But after a few minutes of the nurse silently searching, a part of me did get a little scared. I kept thinking,  I KNOW she is in there! She was moving just a little while ago! Thankfully the nurse was able to get a good reading finally and I have been really paying close attention to Macey's movement since. 

Stats: I measured at 33 weeks and have now officially gained TWENTY THREE pounds. I only gained like 26 with Maleah, so.... here's to hoping I can still fit into my maternity clothes in 5 weeks.

Symptoms: I AM SO THIRSTY! All. The. Time. And whatever I drink has to be ICE COLD. My boss tipped me off to a gas station that will let you get FREE CUPS OF PELLET ICE if you bring your own cup. It's my new favorite place!!! I'm definitely starting to feel more tired again, the way I was in the beginning. It's hard to stay up past 9pm (if I even make it that long!) and I'm just generally feeling more worn out. I'm trying to rest up as much as I can and have definitely learned to let some of the "to-do's" (laundry, dusting, and quick trips to Target to name a few...) go in exchange for a few moments of relaxation!

Appetite: Heart burn reared its ugly head a couple of weeks ago. No more spaghetti, pizza, or anything really spicy. So sad!!! I am also at the point where I get full really quickly, so I can't eat a whole lot at a time or I start to feel like Violet Beauregarde. One of my favorite new smoothies is a really simple one - a Breakfast Essentials chocolate packet, 3/4 cup milk, 1/2 frozen banana, and 4-5 ice cubes. Lots of protein and vitamins and it is soooooo cold!!!

Movement: I forgot about how much the baby's movement changes at the end. Macey feels like a little alien in there squirming around! There's a little less thumping around and much, much more wiggling! And she has been getting hiccups a good bit, too! 

Sleeping: Good news! I have had several nights of good sleep recently! By "good," I mean that I'm waking up a little less (3-5 times instead of 6-8), able to fall back asleep quickly, and not as uncomfortable! During week 32, I had the sinus crud and was sleeping terribly. I couldn't breathe and was just completely exhausted. To keep from waking Blake up too much, he slept on the couch. Since I had more room, I played around with my pillows and found a way to stuff them around myself that was quite comfy. Now that the sinus crud is fading away (takes forever to get better when you're pregnant!), the new pillow arrangement is working out quite well!

Looking Forward To: Seeing her in some of these sweet little clothes I've been washing and putting away! 

Loving: BETTER SLEEP!!! I am so grateful to be getting better rest. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Macey: 31 weeks

Heart Rate: 130 something :)

Stats: I measured right on track at 31 weeks and have now gained 18 pounds! 

Symptoms: Everything still hurts. And it is hotter than hot outside. So basically I'm staying inside as much as possible, despite my longing desire to be swimming in an outdoor swimming pool while drinking a cherry limeade with extra ice. 

Appetite: I'm starting to lose my appetite again. Nothing except maybe ice cream and chocolate milk sound really appealing. 

Movement: Lots of wiggles going on! I can tell Macey is getting more cramped because her movements are definitely less forceful and dramatic! 

Sleeping: No change from 29 weeks. I still wake up every 2-3 hours despite every effort to stay asleep. My doctor recommended I eat something with a lot of protein just before bed to help keep from getting hungry during the night. Last night I tried peanut butter, but it made me so thirsty that I had to drink something before bed. Tonight I'm going to try eating a Clif bar and drinking as little milk with it as possible. We'll see. I'm totally aware that sleep is hard to come by in late pregnancy, but I am experiencing MUCH MUCH MUCH more sleep disruption than I ever had with Maleah. (Oh, and it doesn't help that Maleah is sometimes the reason I'm waking up!!!) 

Looking Forward To: Having a baby... for real, though! The closer we get, the more absolutely excited I am to welcome another baby. I love Maleah so much (tearing up now...) that I can't even imagine what it will be like to have two sweet girls calling me Mama (where's the Kleenex?)! We have slowly been accumulating baby items and pulling things out of storage and it's just really sinking in that she's going to be here very soon! 

Loving: My super-fantastic husband. Poor Blake is struggling right along with me, but he is trying so hard to help make these last weeks as comfortable and manageable as possible. He always listens when I go on my rant about how uncomfortable I am, he rubs my back to help me get back to sleep at night, and he takes such good care of Maleah when my body just can't! I am so appreciative that he takes an active role in parenting!!!

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Macey: 29 Weeks

Am I allowed to say that I am "over" being pregnant? I mean, on the one hand, please hear me when I say that I completely appreciate being pregnant and am so grateful to be able to experience it again. Trust me on that one! But, on the other hand... the actual being pregnant part is really hard! It's an exciting period of life, but it is very physically demanding and that's the part I'm completely and totally OVER. I'm ready to be exhausted because my sweet girl is here keeping  me up all night. That'll be hard, too, but at least I'll have a cute little face to look at while I'm crying from exhaustion!

With that being said, the end is in sight. We have 11-ish weeks to go before Macey arrives and... frankly, I am not prepared! All this exhaustion has really held me back from getting everything ready. Thankfully I have learned from experience and know she doesn't really need much to start with! We'll see how much we can get done here in the coming weeks!

Heart Rate: 150-something... 

Stats: I think have gained 14-16 pounds so far. I can't remember how much I weighed in the beginning but during my last three appointments I have packed on some pounds! I think I gained 26 with Maleah, so I'm hoping to keep it between 22-28 pounds total this time.

Symptoms: Everything hurts. Is that a symptom? I really think in the past week that my hips have spread (ouch!)! I am waddling around like crazy and I just don't care. It's the only way that feels good to walk! I am really trying to stay positive in these last weeks - honestly it is hard some days! Macey is also laying diagonally, just like her big sister, and last night she decided to swap sides!!! It's very very very very very uncomfortable... so I hope it's just as uncomfortable to her as it is to me so she'll move back!

Appetite: I get hungry. I have to eat. I eat. I get full really quickly. Repeat, repeat, repeat. 

Movement: Little Thumper is still banging around in there, but her movements have changed. She is still way more forceful than I remember Maleah being, but she has calmed down some in the past few weeks. I think she's probably starting to run out of room to continue her wild and crazy punches! Oh! And we felt her have the hiccups for the first time last night! I have been waiting on the hiccups because Maleah started having them much earlier and there has been a time or two when I wondered if she had them, but they didn't last long enough. Last night, she definitely had them. Blake just happened to have his hand on my belly when they started. It was so fun to experience a "first" with him!

Sleeping: I wake up every two hours and consider it a good night if I can get 3-4 hours of uninterrupted sleep. I keep telling myself this is great practice for life with a newborn. Because it is. 

Looking Forward To: Getting some stuff done in preparation for this baby!!! Last night I ordered all of the "first week essentials" that I could think of. Of course I forgot to include Dermoplast so I'll be hitting up the drug store this week to get some! 

Loving: My appointments will be every two weeks now for the next two visits (31, 33, 35 weeks) and then we'll start the weekly visits! I think this is when things get REALLY real!!! Plus I love seeing my doctor so I'm totally happy to pay her a visit more often!

Random Note: Since my last post about our girl at 26 weeks, our family suffered a major loss. My Fred suddenly passed away in his sleep on June 10. I'm still in shock... still processing... which is why I haven't written or said much about it. It's just really hard to believe he is gone - just like that. He loved Maleah so much and he was so excited about Macey. Actually the last time I saw Fred was about a week or so before he died - I convinced him and my mom to pick up a changing table from my cousin and deliver it to our house in the middle of the week because I HAD TO HAVE IT RIGHT THEN to calm my nesting urges! He was always happy to do stuff like that. I absolutely hate that Macey won't get to meet him and experience his love. 

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Maleah at 2

I suppose with all the buzz about baby Macey, I have neglected to keep track of Maleah's development recently! Having a two-year-old is definitely an adventure - I never really know what to expect with her. She keeps us on our toes and keeps us laughing! So, I think I owe it to her to provide a little overview of what her life is like at nearly 2 1/2!

     At her two-year check-up, Maleah was 24 pounds, 12 ounces and 34 inches tall. I imagine she's around 26/27 pounds and maybe 35 inches tall at this point. 


     I love how independent Maleah is - and she loves it, too! She's definitely in the "I do it myself" phase! We try to let her do what she can on her own - I love seeing the look on her face when she does something difficult by herself! She also LOVES to help. She wants to help us do all sorts of things - cook, sweep, mop, fold laundry, get the mail. I know she'll be a great help once Macey is here!
    Physically, Maleah is becoming much more coordinated. She can run, jump, climb, throw the ball (and sometimes catch it), and is also honing in on those fine-motor skills. She loves to use stickers - and I love that she can now peel them off the page by herself!
     Maleah knows most of her basic colors, can count to thirteen or so, and speaks in complex sentences. She says things like, "Then, I did ____" and "Sometimes we do ____, but today we didn't." I am constantly amazed at how well she communicates! 

Behavior & Discipline
     Maleah's behavior is directly related to her mood. If she's in a good mood, she is generally obedient, sweet, funny, and playful. If she's in a bad mood... yikes! She can be anywhere from overly whiny to flat-out mean! We really try to work hard with her to teach her how to handle her emotions and not take her bad mood out on other people. 
    We use a lot of different disciplinary "techniques" with her - lately one of the most effective is having her stand in the corner with her face against the wall! Thankfully we've only had to put her in the corner a few times and now we can just use is as a warning and she'll straighten up! She did NOT like it! For me, it is sometimes hard to discipline her because I don't want to break her spirit or hurt her little heart. But I have learned that not following through with consequences makes her a brat - and I definitely don't want her to be that, either! So we do what works best with her in order to help her learn her boundaries. 

     Two-year-olds are famous for throwing fits and Maleah is certainly no stranger to a tantrum! It's really annoying when your kid decides to just scream and cry out of nowhere. But, it happens and we move on. We are learning that the best way to handle Maleah's tantrums is to get her in a quiet space (like her room) and let her finish her crying. She has never been a child who is easy to calm - she just needs to get it out of her system. She'll sit in her room and cry and then calm down and say, "Mommy, I'm done crying!" and come out and play! 
     Sometimes she just needs to be left alone to finish her little fit. I am always careful not to call this a "time out" or act as if it is punishment - but rather just that she needs to do her screaming and crying somewhere other than right in front of my face. I read an article the other day that said putting your child in his or her room to cry during a tantrum was essentially telling them that you don't want to be around them unless they are being good (it was encouraging parents not to isolate their child but to comfort and console them). I was like... yes... that's exactly right. I do not want to be around my child when she is acting like a loony bird... the author has obviously never tried to console my child while she's screaming - it only makes it worse! To each their own...

     Maleah's eating habits have been changing slowly since she turned two. She is definitely starting to turn the corner into bland-land. It is not unusual for toddlers to prefer bland, "safe" food over the yummy flavors they enjoyed as a baby. I am not really too concerned with her new-found preferences. But, I do want to continue encouraging her to try new things and to eat a well-balanced meal. She still likes a wide variety of fruits and vegetables and is still not too fond of much meat. She recently started liking beans - black beans and baked beans being her favorite. Still not a fan of green beans. :) We also have been letting her eat more sweets. Mainly because I want sweets and I'd rather not wait until her bedtime to indulge! 

Potty Training
    Maleah is potty trained!!! Yay! I don't have any tricks or tips or secrets... she was just ready! We didn't have to do stickers or bribes or timers... she just wanted to go! We have been working with her on potty training since late December, but more or less we were just slowly introducing the idea, talking about it, and we've had the little potty out since then so she could try when she wanted. About a five or six weeks ago, we noticed she was telling us every time she peed. She would say "I tee teed in my diaper!". This was the sign that she was getting close to being ready. Then, pretty much out of the blue, she started telling us she needed to go before she had gone, so we were able to make it to the potty in time. Then it took a few more weeks of getting her to ask to go consistently (stopping to go during play time being the most challenging), but she got the hang of it! She has been wearing her big girl undies to school and on outings and she's done really well!

Thoughts on Two
     I'm really happy that we're having a second baby before Maleah turns three. I think she is at a great age to introduce a new sibling - she's had a great run as the only child but not so long that she's totally spoiled. We have been working really hard the past several weeks letting her know what life will be like once the baby is here. I don't pick her up or carry her as often and we're trying to teach her that she doesn't always get her way. It's not easy when you've been the one and only for so long! But I'm hoping starting these things now will help make the transition a little easier.
     With that said, I'm also really trying to enjoy all this one-on-one time we have! I am finding myself saying "yes" to more with her (despite what I said in my above paragraph!) - more play time, more singing, more books being read, more time outside, more dancing like a crazy person in the living room during America's Got Talent... because I know those things will be much harder to do when there's a newborn in the house.
     A little part of me is totally nervous about starting all over with a new baby who will probably be different from Maleah. Just being honest, the newborn/baby phase was not my favorite. It's exhausting and confusing and just when you get the hang of one routine - presto, chang-o - your kid is moving on to something new! Toddler-hood is definitely a challenging phase of life, but I am just generally more confident in what I am doing and I'm enjoying it a lot better than her first 6-8 months of life!

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Baby Macey: 26 Weeks

I'm a little in freak-out mode. The 26th week is the last week of the second trimester. Which means I'm about to be in the third trimester. Which means we're about to have another BABY!

Our 26-week appointment included the gestational diabetes test (yuck) and our 4-D ultrasound (YAY!). I originally did not want to do the 4-D ultrasound because I thought we could spend our $125 in a more practical way, but... hey, this is probably the last kiddo... let's splurge... :) 

Here are the basics:

Heart Rate: 138

Stats: Gaining weight like a madwoman! I think I gained 7 pounds this month, bringing my overall total to 13 pounds. 

Symptoms: Unfortunately, that second trimester honeymoon phase is over. I think the extra blood volume plus heat plus humidity is to blame. My hips are hurting already and I have been having weird tingling sensations in my arm from time to time - hopefully regular chiropractor visits will help with that. I'm also so tired all over again. I thought I was going to have some energy for a little while longer, but no. However, I really can't complain! This pregnancy has been much more relaxed than with Maleah. I'm not as nervous or as worried (although there is some apprehension, of course!). But I think I'm just able to take it all in stride and enjoy it even though it's difficult at times!

Appetite: I'm very hungry. But not a lot sounds great. I am really trying to maintain a healthy diet throughout this pregnancy. I did well with Maleah, but towards the end, my cholesterol skyrocketed because all that I wanted was chicken fingers & ice cream! Some of the things I am loving right now are: BLTs, boiled eggs, Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and waffles with syrup.

Movement: This little girl is quite humorous! I am always trying to figure her out. She likes 9pm a lot - which worries me. I can almost always count on her to start thumping around at that time! Please, please, please little baby be like your sister and go to bed at a reasonable time!!! I think I'm going to start calling her "Thumper" because that's exactly what her little movements feel like. Maleah was more of a wiggler, but Macey girl is definitely a thumper! At our ultrasound, we found out she is laying pretty much the way I predicted - her head is in my lower left side and she's laying diagonally. She was pulling on her toes during the ultrasound, which is exactly what I wondered if she had been doing because I can feel little hands and feet really close together! 

Maleah (left) at 29 weeks and Macey (right) at 26 weeks - definitely sisters!!!
Our 4-D ultrasound was so much fun! Macey was cooperative, although she didn't move a whole lot - until the probe wasn't on her! She would be pretty still while we were peeking around and as soon as the tech would lift the wand for a moment, she would start thumping around! That's just like her! She does that when people try to feel her moving. She measured on track, looked healthy, and weighs approximately 1 pound 15 ounces! We got to see both feet and one hand!

Sleeping: I should just take this off of my list because I have a feeling it will be the same for the next 14 weeks. I'm usually going to bed around 9. I'm up every 2 hours to go to the restroom. If I wake up around 2am and am hungry, I have to eat. And then I'm getting up at 5:45 to get ready for the day. My doctor suggested I try Tylenol PM so that's my plan for tonight! I used it off & on with Maleah so hopefully it'll help me get some good, restful sleep this time around, too!

Looking Forward To: Our next doctor's appointment! It starts the 2-week appointments which means things are really going to kick into high gear!!! I'm also looking forward to getting some of Macey's things organized. I want to nest but really there isn't that much to do... so I'm trying to space it all out!

Loving: Maleah. I can't imagine loving another child as much as I love her, but I hear it happens! I think my heart will explode when Macey is born!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

22 Weeks

Since writing my last post, we have MOVED! Goodness, I did not think I could move another time while Blake was in grad school! But we did it! And we are excited! We really love the new house we're in. It's a bit bigger than the previous house, and the layout is so much more functional. Hopefully we'll be settled in soon!

My favorite room in the new house is, of course, the girls' room. (I kept saying that phrase this weekend - "the girls". LOVE!) It will be interesting, to say the least, to have them share a room but hopefully it will work out! We have a third bedroom, but Blake needs an office so "the girls" will be stuck with each other! 

I had my 22 week check up yesterday and it went really well! Every time I see our doctor, I am more and more grateful for her. I know not everyone has had good experiences with their OBs, but I have been fortunate to find one who I feel treats me as an entire person - not just a patient to mark off the day's "to do" list. I spent more time chatting with my doctor yesterday than I did in the waiting room! That doesn't always get to happen, but it was a nice discussion about babies, taking a Sabbath, people throwing clothes on the floor, and - oh yeah - Macey! 

Heart Rate: 156

Stats: I have finally gained weight! HOORAY! Morning sickness is pretty much totally gone and my appetite is comparable to that of a teenage boy! It feels so good to be able to eat again and to not be sick!!! 

Symptoms: The second trimester is definitely the honeymoon phase for me. With Maleah and now with Macey, the 16/17 week mark was definitely a game changer. I feel good, I have a good appetite, I have more energy, and I'm definitely less grouchy (I think). But I do remember very clearly with Maleah when my morning sickness returned at 32 weeks. I am not looking forward to that happening again! 

Appetite: Great! Not having a lot of cravings or aversions - just HUNGRY! If I had to name the one thing I have loved to eat during this pregnancy, it would definitely be Mexican food. Tacos, chips & salsa, rice & beans, burritos... yum, yummy, yummier! I am also drinking milk like a hoss... seriously can't get enough of it. 

Movement: During the past week, Macey started to get her hands and feet going at the same time! I always think that's so cute! I also felt her roll around a few days ago - I was laying in bed and she was moving around like crazy and then I felt this weird rolling sensation! I had forgotten how fun it was to try to figure out what in the world babies do in the womb when they move around like that!

Sleeping: Eh. Some nights are better than others. :) 

Looking Forward To: Gettin' in the swimming pool!!! I am not, however, looking forward to finding a maternity swimsuit! But goodness the pool sounds like such a great idea right now!

Loving: All this energy I have! I am trying really hard to spend a lot of time with Maleah right now while I have the energy to play! And I am loving being outside. Our new house has a deck and I have lots of plans to spend lots of evenings out there!!!