Thursday, March 31, 2011

Day 594 - March 31, 2011

I had a appointment with one of our midwives yesterday. Everything looks wonderful! Itty's head is really far down and she's in the perfect position. Doesn't look like we'll have to worry about a breech baby. That's my girl! We also brought home our birth kit which contains basically everything we'll need for our planned home birth. Just another reminder that Itty's arrival is quickly approaching.

In other news, it is beyond gorgeous in Southern California today! It's over 80 degrees on the coast and the sunshine feels glorious on my skin. Itty and I are spending the day outside. There is no better place to practice my hypnobirthing breathing and relaxation techniques than on a comfortable lounge chair beside the pool. is good!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 593 - March 30, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday...

A message for Uncle Greg

We love you too, Noah!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Day 592 - March 29, 2011

The beauty of my body is not measured by the size of the clothes it can fit into, but by the stories that it tells. I have a belly and hips that say, "We grew a child in here," and breasts that say, "We nourished life." My hands, with bitten nails and a writer's callus, say, "We created amazing things."

- Sarah, from I Am Beautiful: A Celebration of Women in Their Own Words

Monday, March 28, 2011

Day 591 - March 28, 2011

I'm 33 weeks pregnant today! Only about 49 days to go! Itty is over 4 pounds now and my baby updates compare her weight to that of a sweet pineapple. I remember the days when she was my little apple baby. (Sigh) They grow up so fast.

Greg and I took Itty shopping this weekend. Carter's had 50% off their entire store and I also had a coupon for 20% off my purchase, so we took advantage of the great sales and bought much of Itty's Spring/Summer wardrobe for next year. The nice thing about living in California is knowing the weather doesn't change all that much, so I'm not too concerned about her outgrowing clothes before they are in season.

I just ❤❤❤ my baby girl!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Day 590 - March 27, 2011

Psalm 22:10

From birth I was cast upon you; from my mother's womb you have been my God.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Day 588 - March 25, 2011

We had our second childbirth preparation class last night and it was exactly what I needed after a very full day of running around the city and waiting in too many long lines. It was nice to connect with the other parents-to-be in our group. I had a moment before leaving for class where I noticed my belly button had popped just a little bit more than the day before and instead of feeling excited and being thankful that itty is continuing to grow big and strong, I just felt huge. It was such a comfort to walk into a class where all the women were pregnant and felt the exact same way. It helped me realize I'm not alone in my feelings and that our bodies are doing exactly what they should be.

One of the interesting discussion topics that came up last night was what to do with our placentas. With my experience assisting in the birth of numerous babies in Benin, West Africa, the placenta is not new to me. I delivered several placentas and found it incredibly fascinating that a woman's body is able to produce an organ. Just think about that for a second. Not only do we create another human being, but our bodies create a fully functioning organ during pregnancy. Pretty amazing stuff! So anyway, I always just figured I'd deliver the placenta, the midwife would take it away, and I would never think about it or see it again. Last night, we talked about the valuable minerals, nutrients, and hormones in the placenta that really assist in childbirth recovery. The thought of rinsing my placenta off and eating it raw (which is not uncommon, apparently) or frying it up and making a placenta taco really does NOT appeal to me. But when one of our instructors offered to take our placentas and make an incredible almond face cream out of it, I have to admit it gave me pause. Apparently, cosmetic companies pay an arm and a leg for placentas to make pricey anti-aging creams. One mother-to-be joked that we should all sell our placentas on Ebay and make a fortune! What did you do with your placenta?

In other news, I completed my second handmade vintage headband for Itty. I love it even more than the first! There is something that I find so beautiful about the frayed fabric roses and I think the antique lace band is just precious. I can't wait for Itty's first photoshoot!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Day 586 - March 23, 2011

Almost Wordless Wednesday...

An apple a day...

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Day 585 - March 22, 2011

The smell of freshly baked soft pretzels draws my husband in every single time we're in a shopping mall. He cannot pass a Wetzel's Pretzels or an Auntie Anne's without trying one of their delicious pretzel samples, which inevitable leads to him buying us each one. I really don't mind since I love them too, although I don't quite have the obsession he has.

Anyway, I've been promising him that we'd make our own soft pretzels at home since January. We finally got around to it this weekend and they were fantastic! I went to my go-to website for yummy recipes, Tasty Kitchen, and found this amazing recipe for soft pretzels. Seriously the best homemade soft pretzel recipe I've ever tried. These pretzels are the perfect combination of soft and chewy (don't overbake them) and they are still that way 2 days later unlike some recipes I've tried that get tough and stale very quickly. They were delicious brushed with melted butter and either salt or cinnamon sugar. Yum!

Monday, March 21, 2011

Day 584 - March 21, 2011

I'm 32 weeks pregnant and getting so excited! Starting childbirth preparation classes last week, visiting our midwives every 2 weeks now, and setting up the crib this weekend are all exciting signs that Itty's arrival is just around the corner.

After much research, we are so thrilled with our new DaVinci crib. It feels solid and sturdy and was very easy to assemble. We can't wait to lay our little one down to sleep in it!

(Thank you, Grandma! Love, Itty)

Thank you so much for the gorgeous crib, Mom, or I suppose it's Grandma now. Itty's losing space in my belly every day and made it very clear while we were setting up the crib that she's ready to stretch out in her new bed. Now, we wait for the crib bedding to arrive. More pictures to come as we gradually complete Itty's space!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Day 582 - March 19, 2011

It's a very exciting day in our house! Can you guess what we're up to?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Day 581 - March 18, 2011

As you could probably tell by the photos I've posted recently, we took my 7 month pregnancy pictures this past weekend. I know I say this every month, but I just don't know where the time is going.

According to my weekly baby updates and a chatty librarian, Itty is heading into a growth spurt. I was at the library the other day picking up my hypnobirthing book. The ladies behind the counter ooo'd and ahh'd over my baby and we chatted for a while. One of the ladies asked how far along I was and commented on how cute my belly was for 7 months, while the other lady said, "You're about to get a whole lot bigger." She proceeded to tell me about how she had only gained about 20 pounds by her 7th month, but in the last two months of pregnancy, she put on an additional 20 pounds. Gee, that's just what I wanted to hear. But don't worry, she reassured me, all the weight came off.

These days, my baby girl wakes up every single morning with the hiccups. Very cute! She's definitely still a very active little one and I often find myself asking her, "Itty, do you ever sleep?" I do find that she calms down in the afternoon so I'm thinking her morning aerobics must tire her out.

It has been very sweet this week to see the bond between Itty and her Daddy. Like I said, she's a lot quieter in the afternoon, but as soon as Greg gets home from work and starts talking, Itty begins kicking like crazy. I love how much she knows and loves her Daddy already!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 579 - March 16, 2011

Almost Wordless Wenesday...

Family Baby Boom!

Me (May), Sister-in-law Elly (June), Cousin Karen (July) & Cousin Allison (September)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Day 578 - March 15, 2011

I've never been a big believer in hypnosis. You know the kind of hypnosis you see on TV where the hypnotist puts people into a trance and makes them do crazy and embarrassing things? I've always been a little bit skeptical and thought it was kind of ridiculous.

About a year and a half ago, I heard that my cousin was attending hypnobirthing classes in preparation for the birth of her daughter. The more I looked into it, I realized it wasn't at all about clucking like a chicken during labour or performing any other ridiculous task. Hypnobirthing is about empowering mothers and allowing them to be focused, relaxed, connected, and really present during their labour. It sounded exactly like the experience I wanted giving birth to my children.

My husband and I attended an introductory birth hypnosis class on Friday night. We learned a self-hypnosis technique which I've been practicing every night before bed and the state of deep and peaceful relaxation has lead me to fall asleep within minutes and awake feeling very rested each morning. I have found myself more relaxed in the past few days as I remind myself to take deep breathes before reacting to the pile of clothes left of the bedroom floor. If I can keep this up, I think my husband's going to really like the new me and the more relaxed, life-doesn't-have-to-be-perfect Andrea (remember the white rose birthday cake post?) is going to make a better mother as well.

I have a book on hold at the library that my cousin recommended called, "Hypnobirthing: the Mongan method: a natural approach to a safe, easier, more comfortable birthing." I'm looking forward to reading it in the coming weeks and hopefully finding and practicing more techniques that will help me prepare for labour and achieve my perfect birth experience.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Day 577 - March 14, 2011

I'm 31 weeks pregnant today and feeling thankful. I was reminded this weekend how blessed we are to have been able to conceive our little itty so easily and how wonderfully easy this pregnancy has been. (Update: My rib pain has basically disappeared in the last 2 weeks and I am so thankful for that.) I know that conception and pregnancy is not such an easy road for many couples and my heart goes out to them. This week, my prayers are with those who are struggling to conceive, those who have lost children, and those who are seeking answers as they ask God, "Why?" Will you join me, please?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Day 576 - March 13, 2011

1 Peter 4:10

Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in its various forms.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Day 573 - March 10, 2011

These days, life is all about baby and I couldn't be happier! I'm over 30 weeks pregnant now and, according to the widget my sister and nephew installed on my computer's dashboard, we only have about 67 days to go. My husband says almost daily, "I know we should be enjoying this time with just the two of us, but I just want to meet her" or "I can't wait to be a Daddy!" Those statements melt my heart and make itty squirm around with excitement.

I had my first labour and delivery dream since becoming pregnant. I went into labour sometime during the night. My husband was at work, which he never is in the middle of the night. Luckily, my sister, brother-in-law, and 2 nephews were here. My sister helped me through the contractions while my nephews watched in amazement. After about an hour and a half of labour, I squatted down in my bedroom and, with one push, gave birth to our little girl. When my husband got home from work, I handed him his daughter and he said, "She is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen." We couldn't stop staring at her, amazed by how perfect she was.

Is it wrong that I'd like to take this dream as a sign that I will have a relatively easy and short labour? Here's hoping.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Day 572 - March 9, 2011

Wordless Wednesday Rock Star Edition...

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Day 571 - March 8, 2011

Waiting in the airport for my flight back to California. Can't wait to see my husband and itty's excited too! She's kicking up a storm! More updates on my visit to the North to come once I'm settled back home.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Day 569 - March 6, 2011

Psalm 34:8

Taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 568 - March 5, 2011

Considering that I was bald for the first 2 years of my life, I don't hold out a lot of hope that itty will come out with a full head of hair. So I've decided to make bald beautiful with some homemade headbands. Here is my first attempt at a vintage newborn headband for itty.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 567 - March 4, 2011

I went back home today. Back to the home that my husband and I shared for the first six months of our marriage. I stood in the basement remembering my dream to turn it into a photography studio one day. I saw the little white room upstairs where I used to imagine rocking my first born to sleep. I remember standing in the front hallway 2 years ago holding my husband's hand as he prayed that final evening before we took a leap of faith and moved over 2,600 miles away.

As I looked through boxes of dishes and clothing we had packed away, I came across a little slip of paper and wondered why I had packed it away with some old photographs and phone numbers instead of just throwing it out. I opened the paper and read:

"Earth has no sorrows that heaven cannot heal."

I don't remember when I wrote out this verse or what I was going through at the time, but I know I must have found comfort in it. Although today, I am in a season of great joy, I know there will be a time when I will need to read this verse again, and so, I'll tuck this little slip of paper away in my childhood bedroom to stumble upon again some day.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 566 - March 3, 2011

This morning, I had a date with a rock star!

There's nothing better on a cold winter's day
than a steaming cup of hot chocolate
and a doughnut with someone you love!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 565 - March 2, 2011

Wordless Wednesday...