Monday, December 31, 2012

The End and The Beginning

This time last year:

I was thinking about quitting my job and had recently discussed having a baby in the near future. We were still paying off our Escape, and had a minimal amount in savings. We were eating whatever  we felt like, but didn't feel super great. We had just started working at the church with Alex as the Youth Pastor. 

Over the past year:

My last day of work was in the beginning of February, and I found out I was expecting in the beginning of March. We paid off our Escape and took a trip to Disney in February. We reached our halfway point for our savings goal. I started a diet due to a gestational diabetes diagnosis. We have a beautiful baby girl, who is sleeping soundly on me as I type this. We've been at the church for over a year, and are building relationships. 

Goals for next year:

I've been reading through Hebrews, and our pastor has been preaching on the book for the Sunday night service. I've based some goals on this book. With scripture as the basis for goals, we will be more focused on His will.

Hebrews 10:22-23 " let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water. 23 Let us hold on to the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful."

1. Make time with God my #1 priority. As soon as I have a quiet moment in the morning, that time is Bible and prayer time. Even if I have an incredibly messy house, God time comes first.

2. Get reading! I have a number of books  that I want to read, but haven't. TV is something that has dominated my time, when I could just as easily be reading a book. I would like to finish one book a month. So, I plan to have 12 books finished by the end of the year. I think this goal is attainable for me.

Hebrews 12:12-13 "12 Therefore strengthen your tired hands and weakened knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed instead."

3. Food and Physical activity-okay, so this may be a little bit of a stretch with the verses, but I know that when we exercise and eat healthier, Alex and I do a much better job as children of God, spouses, parents, and friends. Therefore, I want to start walking and strength exercising more often. I'm going to need to incorporate holding a baby for a lot of it. I could do squats while I'm bouncing her...not 100% sure how this is going to pan out yet. 

Food: Gluten is in EVERYTHING-even my jar of mixed nuts was processed in a place that also does wheat. I realized that trying to avoid it altogether was stressing me out more than just eating it every now and then. I'm going to focus on eating lots of fruits and veggies, plenty of protein, and then not stress out of there's a little gluten in our diet. We're also only going to have dessert once a week, and most likely when we are hanging out with other people-that's when we are most tempted to have sweet treats.

Hebrews 13:1-2 " Let brotherly love continue. Don’t neglect to show hospitality, for by doing this some have welcomed angels as guests without knowing it. "

4. Hospitality: I want to plan meals so that if extra people show up for dinner, I won't be stressed out. I need to plan so that leftovers aren't necessary, but still have enough to have extra if needed. My plan is to have a lunch plan that doesn't go bad right away as a back up plan if we don't have leftovers. I want our house to always be a place where people are welcome.

Hebrews 13: 5,16 "Your life should be free from the love of money. Be satisfied with what you have, for He Himself has said, I will never leave you or forsake you... Don’t neglect to do what is good and to share, for God is pleased with such sacrifices."

5. We will write out a budget for every  month (which Alex already does) and we will stick to it. We will use cash accordingly (usually spending and grocery). We will give to our local crisis pregnancy center above our tithe. We will also reach our savings goal of 3-6 months of expenses by the end of the year.

My final goal is to pray continually. So often I forget who is really in control, and try to take charge myself. I want our house to be a place of learning, and I want Adara to learn what is most important.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Adara Grace: A birth story

I wake up Thursday feeling the best I had in months. Grocery shopping is a breeze. I stock up on all the food I thought we would need, and feel prepared for Adara to come at any time. When I get home, I start on a cookie recipe that were dubbed "Labor Cookies." I eat a couple of them, and also have a burger covered in hot sauce. That night Alex and I meet up with his sister Julia and her crew to see the last of the Twilight movies at 10pm. We get home about midnight and go to sleep.

I'm not feeling too great. I get up a couple times to use the restroom, which isn't unusual for me. I finally wake up around 5am and feel the need to go to the bathroom again. While in there, I heard a pop, and then felt a gush coming out of me. I first question what it really is, but when it won't stop, I realize, "That must be my water breaking! We're going to have the baby in the next 24 hours!"

I walk into the  bedroom and say, "Alex, I need you! My water just broke!" We check the time-5:15am, and then try to decide what to do. I don't feel any contractions right away, so we call our parents and then the on-call number for the doctor. The on-call person says that if my water has broken, to go to the hospital. Both our moms say that I probably don't need to be in a hurry. My mom encourages me to take a shower and get some breakfast. I get in the shower and start to feel some contractions. They aren't painful, but I can tell that they are contractions. We realize that they are already coming a couple of minutes apart, so we decide to go ahead and go to the hospital. I am feeling a little queasy, so I opt out of breakfast. We finish packing up and headed to the hospital.

We get to the hospital, park, and start walking to the fourth floor. I want to walk as much as I can. On the way, I  stop during the contractions, and then keep walking in between them. We make it to the fourth floor and I say with a smile that my water had broken. Apparently that night was a popular night to give birth, because we get the last open room on Labor and Delivery. We get into our room between 6:15 am and 6:30 am. Unfortunately, this is right before a nurse shift change. One nurse comes in and says something about hooking me up to an IV. I explain that I wasn't going to have an IV, and ask if she would look at our birth plan. She asks if we have checked with our doctor, something about the IV being mandatory for liability reasons, and that she was leaving in 15 minutes. She also said something about how she had her baby all natural, but that she had hers at Vanderbilt. Apparently it had been a long night at the hospital. This does not help me relax. We also realize that we left the multiple copies of my birth plan sitting on the bed at home. We did have it saved as a google document, so Alex prints copies and brings them back to our room.

The new shift nurse comes and is wonderful. She sits down and reads through our birth plan, explaining how that would work practically for all of us. She says she adopts all of the women who are under her care for the day. She explains that she will only check me every couple of hours until I am at a 5, and then every hour after that. She checks me and says I am a four, but then says a "loose three" so that it will seem like I progressed more the next time she checked me. I agree to get a Hep Lock just in case, and agree to have Pitocin after Adara is born to help my uterus contract. The nurse tries once to get my vein and it doesn't work.  She says she has a "one stick rule" and calls the anesthesiologist to do it. He does, but it hurts, and temporarily distracts me from my contractions. The nurse tells me that all the anesthesiologists are good, but this one who put the Hep Lock in is the best. She said that she knows I'm not getting an epidural, but if I was, he's the best. This is comforting to me, as I don't know entirely what to expect in the coming hours.

Both my mom and Alex's mom arrive early in the morning around the same time. Allison times my contractions as they come-they are still about two minutes apart and last about 30 seconds. They are slightly painful, but not bad at all. I am prepared for a long day at the hospital. Twice I go to use the restroom, as the nurse told me that a full bladder makes the contractions feel worse. The second time I stay in for some time, since the contractions are getting stronger and closer together. I can hear Alex, Allison, and my mom talking in the other room, discussing how the labor seems to be going faster than expected.

The rest is somewhat of a blur. I am thankful that my mom wrote down some of the times and events. At 9:15 am I am checked again and am at 5cm. Contractions continue to get worse. I hang onto Alex, standing on my knees on the bed. I put all my weight on him during the contractions, trying to relax. I picture the contractions pushing the baby out of me. I close my eyes and just try to relax and breathe. I can tell that I am wearing Alex out, and both of us are drenched in sweat. The nurse encourages me to work with gravity and sway my hips, so I do. She puts counter pressure on my lower back, and this also helps. At some point I switch to leaning on my yoga ball-we put it up on the bed and I hug it. It helps, but the contractions are feeling really painful. They intermittent monitoring is not working for me. The nurse tries to do 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off, but I can hardly stand to have the monitor on me for more than a few minutes. The nurse comes in to check me again. It hurts to be on my back, and I have only a small window to turn over for them to check me. At 10 am she announces that I am at 7 cm. I am encouraged that I am progressing. I am much louder than I thought I would be. The nurse tell me not to holler through my contractions, but to breathe. My mom encourages me to keep breathing. I try to focus on the switch on the back wall. The pain during the contractions are intense, and it takes all my focus to get through the next one. I keep thinking I should get a break, but the contractions keep coming one after another. At one point I say that I never want to do this again. I also remember mentally questioning my decision to labor without pain medication. My mom reminds me that when I feel like I can't do this anymore, that's when I am almost done. Allison calls the nurse in to check me again. The nurse tells me that I have to turn over for her to check me, and I tell her I don't think I can. I finally do and she announces at 10:45am that I am at a 9-10, and should be able to push soon. I cry out "Yes!" and am relieved that this will all be over soon.

According to my mom, I start pushing around 11:08am. The doctor convinces me to turn over to push. They angle the bed up and prop my feet on the stands. My mom, Alex, and Allison surround and support me. Both the doctor and nurse are very encouraging during the pushing. Someone asks the doctor how long it will be, and she says something about 15 minutes. I know I'm supposed to breathe during the pushing, but I only breathe through them a few times. I end up holding my breath and pushing-I feel like I can push better that way. The doctor encourages me to hold onto my legs while pushing, so I do. Here's my mom's account:

"We begin to see hair and a bit of her head, but then she would slide back up the birth canal. After 15-20 minutes of pushing, the doctor is a bit concerned but keeps telling Calista what an excellent pusher she is. She rested between pushes. Dr. is concerned after 45-50 minutes of pushing. Suggests possibility of C-section, and that maybe the shoulder was the trouble. Calista pushes again. When Calista pushes again, doctor cuts episiotomy and here came Adara! The little girl had her hand up by her head, that that's what made the pushing stage slower."

When the doctor mentions cutting me, I respond "Just get her out. I don't care anymore, just get her out." At some point during the pushing they bring out the mirror. My mom encourages me to look so that I can see her coming. I can hardly focus on pushing, let along look to see what was going on. Near the end of the pushing I start hyperventilating, and the nurse gives me oxygen. This helps me calm down some and finish pushing. Adara comes out and I hear her cry as soon as I see her. The nurse immediately puts her on my chest. She's beautiful. She's perfect. I'm so relieved to be done. Nurse says something about giving me Pitocin to help my uterus contract. I don't care. She's out-I don't care what they do to me know. The doctor explains that my placenta is about to come out. I can feel it coming, but this it painless. Doctor stitches me up after giving me a local anesthetic. Every check from the nurse says Adara is great. I'm so relieved. I keep saying, "I'm so glad it's over! I don't have to labor or push anymore!" A nurse weighs her and cleans her. Lots of pictures and congratulations. I say something about only being able to do this by God's grace. They keep us in labor and delivery for a couple more hours before moving us to the Mother-Baby room. We are checked on routinely, and are home by 2:30 pm the next day. I am still very weak and can hardly walk, but I am so happy to have our daughter and be home.

Adara Grace Barberi. Born November 16, 2012 at 12:05 pm. 7.3 ounces and 19.5 inches long.  Praise God for a healthy little girl and a good, fast delivery!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 4: Planning for uncertain days

Basically every meal from here on out is something that can wait if Adara decides to come and I don't get a chance to make it. Next week I planned meals like breakfast for dinner, pasta, and pigs in a blanket-all things that can sit in the fridge, freezer, or cabinet and won't go bad for a few days. Also, they are all super-easy to prepare. Our freezer is full of food for when she comes, but I'm trying to not use any of those meals/pieces of meals until Adara is born. If she isn't here before Thanksgiving, I've just planned leftovers and freezer food for next Friday and Saturday. I hope she's here by then!

I've had a continual challenge: "How much do you really trust Me (God)?" He's got it all under control, and I have absolutely nothing to worry about!

How I'm feeling today: I'm actually feeling great today! Last night after showering and blow-drying my hair, I slept better than I had in a while! I still had sore hips and had to get up a couple of times, but I slept really well in between the ups and downs. Usually I wake up ready to go back to sleep, but I have way more energy today. I'm really glad, because I need to get one more grocery shopping trip in. Then I will feel all set for her to come!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 5: Trusting God's timing

So we decided that we are not going to schedule an induction. We didn't have God's peace about inducing. We've been trusting God with this whole pregnancy, and we are going to trust Him with the delivery. He knows the perfect time for Adara to come.

I'm still going to be stretching, exercising, and yoga ball-ing. I'm still going to talk her her daily and tell her how incredibly excited we are for her to come.

Last night I think we tried almost everything under "natural induction" other than things like castor oil and herbs. Rolling over during the night=cramps and feeling uncomfortable, but no contractions yet. That okay-God has a reason for everything. At some point we decided that the best time for her to come would be sometime Friday or Saturday. It would give both Alex and my mom the perfect window for time off, since Thanksgiving is next week. We'll see if that is what God has on His timetable too!

My next doctor's appointment is on Tuesday, November 20th-the day after her due date. I hope and pray that she comes by/before then, so that we don't need to revisit induction. Please pray with us!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 6: Hopefully my last doctor's appointment

Blood pressure, weight, urine sample, and baby's heartbeat are all great. Tiny bit of swelling. I told the doctor I haven't been checking my blood sugars this week since they were fine before and I haven't been feeling bad. She wasn't worried. The doctor measured me and then felt for where the baby is positioned: head down and but "way up there." I did let her check me this week-I was super curious! She said that the baby's head is right where it is supposed to be, that I'm about 3 cm and 80% effaced. She said something about my cervix being ripe or ready.She didn't say anything about stripping my membranes, so I'm glad that's a discussion I didn't have to have.

She then said I have two options: I can go ahead and schedule an induction for Friday or Saturday-Saturday being the best day for her, or I can wait to go into labor naturally. She said that if I haven't gone into labor naturally in a week when I come in for another appointment, then we will schedule an induction. I said I think I want to just wait for now, and she said that's fine. She said that I will probably go into labor naturally.

But it's so temping to call the office back and say I've changed my mind-that I do want to be induced by Saturday if I haven't had her yet. The timing would be perfect, and it would be a relief to know that we'll have our baby girl by sometime this weekend.

So right now we're praying and praying and doing more research and praying. We want to do God's will in everything, and we want His peace in every situation. He's taken such amazing care of us so far. I know people who have been induced and still have healthy babies. The planning and scheduling me loves the idea of a deadline and knowing when to be ready. But I don't want it to be my selfish decision. 

So if y'all would just pray for us, that would be great. Comments are fine, but please be nice.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 7: Week 39 Photo

Week 39
Exactly one week left until my due date! So far no sign on contractions or anything else that might indicate labor. I have a breastfeeding class at the hospital tonight, so I'm glad Adara's waited to come so that I can learn more about feeding her. If I started having contractions sometime tonight after the class, I wouldn't be complaining....

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 8: Ready to drive her home

We installed Adara's car seat today. And by "we" I mean Alex put it in and showed me how to snap it in and out. I now realize that I need to read the manual so that I know how to adjust the straps and all that. I'm so excited to use it!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 9: Another day down

Less than 10 days! So that's exciting. No contractions or anything yet. I have a breastfeeding class Monday night, and my last doctor's appointment on Tuesday morning. If I'm not in labor by that appointment, I suppose it will be a pretty short one. I keep telling myself that it's okay to be a little stubborn and avoid any kind of medical intervention-I have a healthy baby, and God's timing is perfect. She will come at the right time for her, and I don't need to try to rush that.

Still, I am so incredibly excited for her to come, and feel ready for her to come at any time :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 10: The Final Countdown

It's the final ten days before Adara's due date! In no particular order, here are 10 reasons why I'm excited for her to be born:

1. I'll get to see what she looks like.
2. I'll get to sleep on my stomach/back if I feel like it.
3. Alex will take time off work just to be home with me and Adara.
4. I will have the experience of birthing a child.
5. We will get to dress her in her super cute clothes.
6. After holding her for nine months, others will get a turn to hold her.
7. Baby cuddles.
8. I'm ready for my belly to feel less like a watermelon-even if it takes a while to be more normal.
9. Baby photo shoot with Bethany.
10. Adara will be the center of attention.

What are some other reasons to look forward to the birth of our child? Help me build up even more excitement for her coming!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 11: Getting Labor-Ready

I got a yoga ball! It's called a "Stay Ball" because it has something in the bottom of it to make it weighted and not roll away! Which is great, because I plan to sit on it during labor. It's supposed to help with pain and position my hips correctly. Click here to see the one I got. I had never been to the exercise section of WalMart before. I didn't even know WalMart had an exercise section...

Now I just need to take it out of the box and figure out how to make it ball-shaped instead of box-shaped.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 12: Thankful for Christ

"who did not become a priest based on a legal command concerning physical descent but based on the power of an indestructible life."
-Hebrews 7:16

Christ is our Intercessor and Ruler. He is both of these forever. He is the superior Ruler and the superior High Priest. He is "an indestructible life", and nothing can take that away from us.

I am thankful for His salvation and His ultimate authority over everything. I put my trust in Him, for He holds my future for eternity.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 13: Two Appointments Today

First, thank you all so much for your prayers! They mean so much, and it is evident that they are effective.

The ultrasound went really well! Adara's estimated weight is 6 pounds 11 ounces, and the ultrasound tech says everything looks great. She also said that Adara has lots of hair! She said to go ahead and let the office people know that I was done, and that they may call me back to see the doctor.

I did, explaining that my next appointment wasn't until 1pm. Thankfully, my doctor's nurse practitioner offered to go ahead and see me! Urine sample looks great, blood pressure great. Weight at 147 lbs-I explained that I was super full of water last time I was weighed, and that may be part of the reason why it looks like I've lost weight. She encouraged me to keep drinking water, and I said I would.

I briefly saw my doctor, as she looked over my ultrasound to make sure everything looks okay.She said that everything looks great, just as she expected it to be. She said unless I've progressed any, she'll see me next week. I asked if there wasn't any other reason, if I could just skip being checked this week. I confirmed that I haven't had any contractions. She asked how far away I live from the hospital (two minutes) and said it is fine to not be checked this week. She said that since I was at 2cm last week that I "may be one of those people that doesn't feel contractions right away." I think that sounds awesome.

I started to explain to the nurse practitioner that I don't want to be checked, and she said that she heard me talking to the doctor. I'm glad I didn't need to explain again. All she needed to do was measure my belly-right on track-and ask a few questions. I have checked my blood sugars a couple of times, and gave her a brief range of numbers-all of which are fine. She emphasized coming in as the contractions get stronger, even if they aren't always 5 minutes apart. She said that she tells people to come in if they are 10 minutes apart, as long as they keep getting stronger and stronger.  She said to call when labor starts. I nodded and said okay. We'll see what actually happens when I go into labor.

I was so nervous about telling the doctor that I didn't want to be checked this week. I was afraid that she would act like I didn't know what I was talking about, and insist that it is medically necessary. When I actually said something IT WAS NO BIG DEAL AT ALL. I had a short appointment-which is what I was hoping for-AND there was no issue with not getting checked, since I'm not in labor! I was all worried for nothing. So thanks for all your prayers, and please continue!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Day 14: Week 38 Photo

Week 38

Two weeks until my due date! Alex and I told Adara that we're ready for her to come anytime now.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Day 15: Celebrating Fall

We celebrated Fall time with Pumpkin Spice Kisses on chocolate chips cookies. I actually didn't make them-Belle and Jasmine did! I think they enjoyed them:

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 16: A place to rest her head

We built this today! Called the "Newborn Rock 'n Play Sleeper", this is where Adara will be sleeping most of the time. Thanks Mom!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 17: More baby shower photos

Not a whole lot to report today, so I thought I'd share some more pictures from the baby shower at Alex's work the other day:

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 18: Celebrate Alex's birthday!

A while ago, Alex and I signed up to get offers from various places, and they gave him coupons for free stuff on his birthday! He shared one with me so that we could have a free meal together. Fun celebration day!

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Day 19: Alex's Co-workers throw us a baby shower!

Again, I am overwhelmed by the generosity of others. The conference room was full of people celebrating the coming of our daughter. They were so nice, offering many congratulations. I realized that we may have a few visitors after Adara is born, since she will be born where Alex works. That's fine with me, as long as I have a little bit of my own recovery time! Here are some pictures I took while we were there:

Minnie Mouse Diaper Cake
 I love that the burp cloth has Adara's name on it! I remember when I was younger, that I was super bummed that nothing had "Calista" on it. I cherished the personalized items with my name on them. Now Adara will have some, even though her name is also unusual!

diaper/wipes baby
 Alex's co-workers told him that he had to hold this baby, since I've been holding one for so long! They said people around the office had taken turns "holding the baby."


Super-cute cake! There were some other table decorations that were also functional. Someone at the shower took pictures with a real camera, so I'll share those when I get them. Alex's manager got us a gift that we opened, and everyone else pitched in for gift cards! Yay! Now we can order what we need, as we need it! Such a great idea! Like I said, very thoughtful, and so appreciated.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Day 20: Doctor's appointment

Weight 151 lbs. Blood pressure looks good. Other signs look good. Before I saw the doctor, I was hooked up to a monitor that checked the baby's heartbeat for a while. This was the non-stress test. It was kind of boring, but at least there was another lady and her mom in the room for a while. The other person being monitored is due around the same time I am, so that's pretty cool.

The doctor says the monitoring looks great! She asked also about my blood sugars, and I told her they were fine, as long as I remember to eat at night before I go to sleep. If I don't, I sometimes wake up in the night not feeling well. She also asked how my levels are after meals, and I said they are fine. Technically, I haven't been checking them this week, since they were so consistent before. She didn't ask to see specific numbers, so I didn't tell her that I hadn't been checking. By this time I can tell by how I feel if I've over indulged in sugar, or if I need to eat something. I may check my sugar every once in a while just in case, but it's been so nice to not worry about checking it this week.

Progress: Doctor says I'm this same as last week-2cm and 70% effaced. She said the head is still down. She said baby can still come at any time, and that I am further along that what she expects from a first pregnancy. She said to go to the hospital if my water breaks and to call or come in if I start having regular, painful contractions. She asked if I've been having any contractions, and I said that I've only had very mild Braxton Hicks, but nothing serious.

I almost left without asking about the Strep B test. The doctor says my test came back negative! Yay! One less thing to worry about!

Although it's exciting that going once a week to the doctor means Adara is coming soon, I'm already tired of going to the doctor. It isn't particularly enjoyable being checked for progress, and it's pretty boring sitting in one room or another waiting to talk to someone. I'm glad this part is almost over.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 21: Week 37 photo

37 Weeks

Considered full term! My belly reaches the corner part of the rectangle on the door! Only three weeks left!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Day 22: Appreciation

Apparently October is Pastor Apprecation Month, so the church had a surprise reception for Alex and Pastor Frank! Just another of the wonderful blessings on our lives!

Lots of comments on our big I am. People are genuinely excited for us, and have said that they are keeping us in their prayers. Much appreciated!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Day 23: Family Time

This morning Alex and I met my mom and dad for breakfast at Cracker Barrel! It was so wonderful to see them again! We had good conversation, and yummy food. I'm bummed that I forgot to take a picture.

On our way back we saw a truck with a huge amount of wood for sale, so we called about it. After Alex's parents agreed to let us store most of it at their place, we bought the whole truck full of wood! This wasn't a pick up truck-it was something like a small dump truck. We brought a small amount of it back to our apartment. Apparently this stuff burns for a long time, so we got a good deal!

We also had lunch at Alex's parents house, and had a good time talking with his dad. Alex's brothers helped us unload the wood both at his parent's house, and at our apartment. When we brought his brothers back home, they cleaned our vehicle inside and out! Our Escape hasn't been this clean in a really long time.We rewarded them with snacks, chocolate, and coffee.

Since we've been out for a lot of the day, we're planning to spend the rest of the day chilling at home. Too much activity in one day makes me tired and kinda grumpy. I'm looking forward to having a fire in our fireplace tonight!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Day 24: Freezing something

Thanks SO MUCH to those of you who've offered suggestions for freezing and simple meals! They have all been super helpful! I use my crock pot often but don't always think to freeze the extras. I also love the idea of just having frozen meats on hand to thaw and toss in spaghetti or some other dish. The suggestion I put into practice yesterday was freezing muffins:

I got the recipe from here. I used flax seed+water instead of eggs. Not because I don't like eggs, but because I'd rather eat the eggs with the muffin and get some extra fiber in the muffin. I also added some nuts and chocolate chips, and omitted the sugar. They aren't sweet, but make a great breakfast/snack food. When I eat them, I either have them with eggs or spread peanut butter on them. I doubled the recipe, and ended up with more muffins than I originally planned-yay! I kept one dozen out to eat now, and froze another dozen and the mini-muffins. I've already eaten three of them today.

Thanks for some inspiration! Feel free to send more ideas anytime-they are always welcome and appreciated!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Day 25: Stocking up

I've started stocking up on some of our essentials! Some are non-food items, like soap. Others times I'll buy enough meat to make double-like burgers-and then freeze half. I've also frozen some bread dough, so we can still have home made bread. I'm hoping that my grocery shopping will be minimal after Adara is first born-then it will be easy for me, or anyone picking up a few things for me. I'm hoping to fill my freezer up before Adara is born! That shouldn't be too difficult, considering it's already pretty full (it's a top freezer and isn't very big).

I've read that it's good to freeze meals, but so many of them are casseroles that have some kind of dairy involved. Dairy makes us feel sick, so I'm trying to just buy staples for our simple meals. Does anyone have good freezer/simple meals that don't have any dairy in them? What worked best for making meals with a new baby in the house?

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Day 26: Movement motivation (updated)

Y'all were super helpful with some tips for exercise motivation. I especially like one friend's comment (thanks Freya) about exercise should make me feel better, not worse. Rest is good too! So, I still try to do stretches and some strength stuff like squats, but if I'm tired, I give myself permission to take a nap.

Today, I feel great! However, I straightened my hair yesterday, so every time I looked in the mirror I thought, "Aw man! If I exercise, I'll need to shower, which means I'll have to wash my nicely-straightened hair!" After my morning snack I braided my hair; so it's pulled back and ready to get dirty! Can't use that as an excuse now! Gonna get my move-on to help keep blood sugar regulated, increase oxygen flow and so many other reasons to exercise!

**Edit update! Perks of taking a walk to the mailbox:

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Day 27: Doctor's appointment progress report

Fun exciting things to tell you all!

Weight: 149 pounds. Doctor says I'm right where I should be now. Yay for eating lots of little meals!
Blood pressure good. Baby heartbeat good. She's moving around plenty. Doctor told me that my urine sample is the best she's ever seen, and should be an example to others because it's so clear. This made me laugh. Guess I'm just that good at drinking lots of water. She said I'm as good as I can be right now!
The doctor checked for Group B Strep, which wasn't nearly as bad as I'd anticipated. I'll get my results later.

She then checked me to see if/how I've progressed. She said the baby is head down, that I'm at 2 cm and 70% effaced! Now, I KNOW that doesn't mean that she's coming sooner rather than later, but my doctor did tell me to go ahead and have my bags packed, because she could come at any time.

I asked her about still checking my blood sugar. She said all my other indicators are looking great. I told her that I've been checking twice a day, and that they were fine. I said they are still a little low in the morning, but I just need to remember to eat before I go to sleep. She said that I'll have a non-stress test next week, and another ultrasound in two weeks just to make sure. She said these precautions are only taken because I failed the three hour test, but I'm doing great otherwise. Good to hear. Also, because she didn't say I needed to, I'm not going to be checking my blood sugar levels anymore. They've been consistent so far, so I know that I just need to keep eating well and at the right times throughout the day.

The appointment ended with the advisement to be prepared for labor symptoms, and to call/come in with concerns. I did some rescheduling at the front desk, and was on my way.

I spent the afternoon packing as much as I could. I think I have the essentials. I've looked at lists online and in my "What to Expect When You're Expecting" book, and have almost everything needed. Actually, we probably have everything we absolutely need, but there are a few things I'll probably throw in before we actually take the two-minute drive to the hospital. Now we're just waiting for her to come!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Day 28: Week 36 Photo

36 weeks

Kickoff to month nine! One month/four weeks/28 days left! Been feeling pretty good. Usually a little tired, but nothing unbearable. Afternoon naps help, and so does eating plenty of protein.

Organizing our little apartment has been so encouraging! We've had to move stuff around, but we have more room than I thought we did! Thank goodness for closet space above where the clothes hang.

Mondays are always cleaning days. The biggest challenge right now is cleaning the shower/tub-my belly gets in the way of scrubbing the bottom of the tub very well! 

Continued prayers are so welcome right now. Prayers are powerful!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Day 30: Couponing dinner

Burger King coupon used for dinner. The receipt said we saved like $11 on these three meals-we split them between the two of us. Grossest chicken nuggets ever, but live and learn I guess. At least I wasn't hungry when we finished!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Day 31: Keep on keepin' on

Recent pregnancy-related story: Last night Alex and I decided to get Chinese food. I put on a maternity sweater, which has horizontal stripes, and definitely shows off my baby bump! Not that there's any way to hide it at this point.....
Anyways, we went to the Chinese place and got our order. The girl there asked if I am having a girl, since I am carrying high. Not sure how accurate that is, but I do think it will be pretty obvious when she drops!

Today I got dressed in exercise clothes, hoping it would help motivate me to get up and actually exercise. I haven't been to good about that lately. Yesterday my exercise was carrying groceries and jugs of water up to our apartment. Maybe today I'll get on my elliptical while watching something.....guess I'd better start soon if I want to get it done before lunch time.

Do any of y'all have ways to stay motivated to exercise, or any advice for me to exercise while in the last month of pregnancy?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Day 32: Prepared to feed baby

I went shopping at the lactation boutique at the hospital today! The lady, Angela Lee, is a lactation consultant, and owner of the shop. She is one of the lactation consultants for the hospital, but she also does in-home lactation consultations, and private childbirth classes. Her email is:, if anyone would like more information for her. She was super nice, extremely helpful, and didn't pressure me to buy anything. I only have a couple things left to pick up (somewhere other than the boutique), and I'm all set! I got a pump, extra bottle, cleaning wipes for pump, storage bags, cream, nursing pillow, and multiple kinds of nursing bras/tanks. Not cheap, but a big relief knowing that I will be well-equipped for this task. I'm taking a breastfeeding class in early November, and I'm sure that will also help me feel more prepared. Another big section to cross off my list of items needed!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Day 33: Closet space

We've started making space for baby! It was so much fun putting stuff in these drawers, and hanging up dresses! By the way, the clothes are all in the left side, and they are all zero to three months-the bigger stuff is in a tote for now! The right side is burp cloths, swaddler blankets, towels, and wash cloths. Thanks everyone who has blessed us so much already!
Now the rest of the room is a mess, but we're making progress! Today I'll probably go through some of my stuff and see if there is anything else I'm willing to toss. 

Also, I feel a nap coming on this afternoon.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Day 34: Bragging on Alex again

I know I've bragged about him before, but I really do have an awesome husband! Prime example:

Yesterday was rough. I'd eaten too much sugar over the weekend, and I felt tired and sick ALL DAY! Every task felt like it took twice the effort to complete, and I felt emotionally depleted. I kept telling myself not to have a pity party. God has blessed us so much, and I've had such a good pregnancy experience. Still, I felt apprehension about going through labor, breastfeeding, having what we need, and being a mom. I also just felt huge.

Later that evening, I fell apart. I was sitting on the floor combing through my tangled hair, and started crying. Alex stopped what he was doing, lay with me on the floor, and held me while I sobbed. He finished combing my hair for me. He told me everything was going to be okay, and not to worry. He reassured me that I am doing great carrying our child, and that I'll be a great mom. He told me I am beautiful. He helped me up, and told me that he'd take care of everything so we could go to sleep. I'd washed our sheets earlier that day, and he made the bed and tucked me in. He got me a snack, and we cuddled and watched Netflix.

This morning, I feel 100% better! I feel relaxed, more energetic, and happy. I have the day to do things at a leisurely pace, and we're going to work on the side room/baby room this evening.

I thank God often for such a wonderful, loving husband. He cares for me, even in my emotional and physical mess. I'm sure I'll brag on him again soon.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Day 35: Week 35

Huh. Just realized that I have 35 days left, and I am at week 35. Makes sense mathematically, I just hadn't thought about it before today. Cool. 5 weeks left!

Week 35

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Day 36: Adorable baby shower!!(different from yesterday)

Today we were Nashville bound! My wonderful friend Bethany threw me a baby shower with many of my Nashville family and friends. I am impressed-this girl had a baby of her own this past June, works a full time job, does photography part time, and still planned a baby shower for me! We got so many cute things, and a bunch of books! I'm looking forward to reading to Adara, and instilling the love to read early on. We also got a sleeper/rocker, so now baby has a place to sleep when we bring her home! Thanks so much to everyone who came and supported us!

Thanks Bethany for taking this photo!
One of the ladies who came is a long time family friend of ours, and is also a nurse part time at the same hospital where I am giving birth! She works on the labor and delivery floor, so I'm praying-and y'all can join with me-that she'll be working the same time as when Adara comes into this world! It would be such a relief to have the nurse working with me be someone I've known and trusted my whole life. We exchanged numbers, so I'm going to text her when I'm heading to the hospital. God works in amazing ways, and I hope that this is one things that works according to His timing!

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Day 37: Super cute baby shower!!!

Check out this super-cute cake! Unfortunately, I didn't get any other pictures, but other people did, so I'm hoping to see them on facebook soon! My in-laws threw us a baby shower, with Minnie Mouse all over! It was so incredibly cute, and I loved it! Also, there was some super-yummy food. So many of our friends in the area came and showered us with love and support for Adara! We got some more clothes and other essentials, and I got the purple Minnie Mouse car seat! I'm so excited to bring her home in it! Being at this shower makes her coming feel even more real. Thanks to everyone who came today!

We have another one tomorrow-can't wait!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Day 38: A few of my favorite things (dessert)

You know when a recipe combines chocolate chip pan cookies, Reese's cups, and brownies, that the dessert is going to be delicious! I've seen the idea all over Pinterest, but here's the source that I used for baking temperature and time.

I bought mixes, because they are easier and not very expensive:

Yum, yum, and yum

I used two packages of cookie dough, then put the layer of Reese's. I may or may not have eaten a Reese's while making this recipe.

I then mixed the brownie mix and poured it over the cups and cookie mix.

Then I baked it! I had to leave it in a little longer than I expected. I also was careful to test an area in between the cups. This is what it looks like finished:

I cut in between the Recce's cups, so the result was 12 large pieces:

I also cut out a piece so you all could see what the inside looks like:

I have not eaten a slice yet, but I have stolen a few crumbs that came up while I was cutting-yum! I put this slice back in the pan. I may end up cutting all the pieces in half, because they are huge!

This dessert is for the kick-off of our Young Adult small group tonight. So, if you are between the ages of 18 and 35 and would like to come to our house at 6:30 pm tonight, feel free to come and enjoy a time of Bible, fellowship, and food :) 

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Day 39: Yesterday's ultrasound and doctor's appointment

Good news all around! First we had the ultrasound. The tech printed a couple of pictures, but it is the back/side of her head and part of her spine, since she was looking at my back. That's where she is supposed to be, so that's great! I'm just a little bummed that we didn't get to see her face. Oh well. Tech measured her and said she's approximately 5.3 pounds! She also confirmed that our baby is definitely a girl :)

Then I had a doctor's appointment. Doc looked at the ultrasound, and said everything looks great. Adara is in the 50% growth rate, so no worries about too big or too small. She also looked at my blood levels and announced that I "have gestational diabetes in name only." She said I definitely won't need medication, and that my levels are actually too low sometimes. We talked about good snacks and eating good protein/fat before I go to sleep, so that my fasting sugar level isn't too low in the morning. She still wants me to check my sugar levels, but only my fasting level and then one other time during the day! She told me this is what she expected my sugar levels to look like, and why she was surprised that I failed both tests. Doc said she'll still see me a little more often as the due date gets closer, but that she's not worried at all.

Praise God for good results! He had blessed us over and over and over again.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Day 40: Pedicure on our toes

Mom and I got pedicures today! Fun and relaxing :)
I'll post about my doctor's appointment tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Day 41: No Judgment

I need to check myself before I get on my high horse on any issue. The issue of gestational diabetes is one such issue. Whenever I heard of people getting it, I thought "Well, it must just be their diet/exercise/lifestyle/something that I will most definitely avoid." Sometimes I think God brings things into my life just do bring me down a few notches. He shows me that sometimes things happen to our bodies, and it may or may not be a lifestyle issue. There were things in my diet that I've had to change, but I thought I was fine. I was even a little proud that I'd gained a minimal amount of weight. I kept thinking, "Well, I"m doing so much better than all those other people eating processed junk food all the time."  If you've shared a pregnancy malady with me, I've probably passed some self-righteous judgment, and I'm sorry. Please forgive me.

I'm learning that when I read about a particular issue, I shouldn't automatically assume I'm immune. I should commit my entire body, mind, and soul to my Savior, who is the Author and Creator of life. He's the one that calls the shots.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Day 42: The answer to life, the universe, and everything

That's the answer to life, the universe, and everything: 42. Small tribute to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

Anyways, here's a week 34 picture:

week 34

Notice how my belly almost reaches that long rectangle on the door! Lots of excitement-only 6 weeks left!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Day 43: church

These are the youth we chilled with today. We enjoy having them around. Never a boring moment for sure!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 44: Snack Mix

Snack Mix: Corn Chex, pretzels, and Fritos, only it's all Aldi brand. I grabbed some walnuts from the freezer so that I'd have some protein to throw into my processed carbs. We used to have a mix that was cheesy, so this is progress :)

Friday, October 5, 2012

Day 45: Which doctor we picked and why

We've decided to go with Dr. Mulder at Cool Springs Family Medicine. It's worth the drive to have the welcoming environment, and understanding about our vaccine concerns. I realize that plenty of people get vaccines and are fine, but I'm not convinced that it's a good idea for our baby. I was watching this video, and felt the need to share it. Click here to see it. It's long-I've watched it while exercising and doing laundry.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Day 46: Too many store trips

I don't mind last minute runs to the store, but since Monday I will have gone to Hobby Lobby, Walmart, a mall, the bank, Walmart, another mall, Walmart, Aldi, someone's house to pick up eggs, and then Aldi again.Not all of those trips were just for me (some were hanging with friends), but most of them were. We ran out of water yesterday, so I got refills yesterday, and finished what I needed to get today-I probably could have planned that better. Although it seems silly to go to the store so many times, I realized I am so thankful that we live close enough to make last-minute runs as needed. We're close to stores, and Alex's work-which is also where I'll be giving birth. I'll go visit people out in the country, but I think I enjoy being close to so many places we frequent.

I also just thought about how these store runs won't be quite as easy once we have a tiny child. Hmm....maybe I should start planning my trips a little differently...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Day 47: Out and about

Today I went to the bank, got some jugs of water, some makeup at WalMart, and then got to see Angie and her little angels. She had to got her hair cut, so Lacey (sis-in-law) and I helped watch Jayden and Jenna.

Lacey and Jayden

Me and Jenna
Adara sometimes kicks while I'm holding Jenna-I like to think she's say hi rather than "get off me!" haha.
I can definitely tell my belly is getting bigger! My belly button is continuing to disappear,  and I expect it will be gone before I give birth.