Friday, May 29, 2009

Pregnancy Update

On Sunday I'll officially be in my 37th week of pregnancy. Wow. In some ways it has flown by and in others it has dragged on and on. Here's the latest update on our situation.

I began having contractions at 33 weeks along. By 35 weeks, I went to the doctor and discovered I was already 2 centimeters dilated. I had been having some other symptoms so I wasn't surprised! I was hoping to keep working through the end of May, but I ended up taking my doctor's suggestion to go on work restriction in order to try to slow down the progress a bit. I wasn't put on bed rest, but the idea was to take it easy and hopefully allow the baby to grow a few more weeks before she was ready to make her debut. So my last day in the office was last Wednesday and I've been at home being extremely lazy ever since!

I'm happy to report that the work restriction really seems to be helping, because my contractions have lessened significantly and I was still only 2cm dilated at my appointment this week. The only new development is that the baby has dropped, meaning that she has moved much closer to the position she'll need to be before delivery. I continue to have occasional contractions and other symptoms, but I'm convinced I have at least 2-3 more weeks before her arrival is imminent. My doctor has said that she'll send me to the hospital for induction at either 39 weeks along or when I reach 4cm dilated, whichever comes first. So my best guess is that baby girl will make her appearance sometime between June 10 - 17. Only time will tell!

Our latest sonograms and biophysical profiles of the baby have gone great. She passes all the tests and seems to be "happy" based on her movements. One fun finding is that she appears to have lots of baby hair along the top and back of her hair! I LOVE newborn hair, so I've already packed some cute hairbows in her hospital bag!

Here's a belly shot at 36 weeks along. Everyone I encounter tells me I look really small for 9 months, but I sure don't FEEL small!

Connor's Birthday Celebrations

OK, I am still WEEKS behind on my updates...

This year for Connor's 3rd birthday we had 2 celebrations for him. The first was his annual Cousins Birthday party at Makenna and Madison's house in the Fort Worth area. (Each year we try to combine all the cousins spring birthdays into a single gathering to make it easier for family to celebrate together.) My sister-in-law Alli did a FABULOUS job of organizing a fun party for the kids this year. The theme was Dora and Diego, and the kids had tons of fun following Dora's map to get to the birthday party activities. Too cute! Below are some pics and a video from the party.

Makenna and Connor blow out the candles as their cousins Ryah and Renee look on.

Makenna's sister Madison also celebrated her birthday. She turned 1 in April!

After the festivities, Connor and Makenna were excited to have a sleepover. Here's a picture after they were sound asleep. Notice Makenna is perfectly positioned on her pillow. Connor on the other hand managed to turn completely sideways! A visit to the Thomas the Train store in Grapevine was another fun birthday activity. That is a cool store! I think Connor's favorite activity by far was riding the big roller coaster at Makenna's house. This has got to be one of the coolest toys for toddlers ever invented!

For birthday celebration #2, Connor had a joint party with his best buddy Benjamin. They both attend Creme de la Creme daycare in downtown Houston, and Benjamin's mom Julie and I thought it would be really fun for them to celebrate their birthdays together (they are 3 weeks apart). Julie did a fantastic job organizing the party at a local Pump It Up, and all of the boys' school buddies were invited. It was a wonderful turnout and the kids had so much fun! (The adults had quite a time as well!) One note for parents...Julie and I split the cost of the party and were still ASTOUNDED at the price! It would be really hard to justify for 1 child, and even splitting the cost we felt a little guilty paying so much. But since we aren't sure how much longer Connor will be at Creme, we thought it would be a nice sendoff for him and all his school buddies. Below are some pics from the party.

Benjamin and Connor about to enter the first jump room - so sweet!Connor on one of the slides. Jeff and Kevin enjoyed playing with all the kiddos.

I love this picture - I can't tell who's having more fun, Jeff or Connor!
Enjoying pizza and cake in the party room.
Connor and Benjamin about to blow out their candles. After the party, Connor told us many times that his favorite part of the whole day was sitting in the crown chair with Benjamin while his friends sang Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mother's Day Surprise

Still way behind on posts right now...

This year for Mother's Day I received the best surprise ever! I was in the Dallas area for Amanda's baby shower, and then early Sunday Connor and I headed to Fort Worth to join my extended family at church followed by Connor's birthday celebration with his cousins. Unfortunately Jeff had been consumed by work for many weeks prior, so he was unable to join us this trip. He's been working 18-hour days, even on the weekends, so he sometimes gets left out of events when they conflict with his busy times at work. When we arrived at church, Connor and I made a quick trip to the potty, and when we came out we saw our family members waiting for us in the hallway. Connor was very excited to see his cousins and to go to Bible class with them. All of a sudden, I heard him yell "Daddy!" and run down the hallway towards the front church door. I assumed he was yelling "Grand Daddy!" but I was confused why he would be SO excited to see his grandpa (no offense, Dad!). That's when I watched as Jeff walked through the church door to give Connor a big hug, and then come over towards me. I was having a hard time comprehending that it was actually Jeff standing there, but I was immediately overcome with emotion as I realized that he had driven all the way up to Fort Worth in the middle of the night just so he could surprise me on Mother's Day! He was only able to stay until mid-afternoon and then he had to drive all the way back (5 hours) to Houston for work the following day. It was the best surprise I've had in a long time and made me feel incredibly special!

Mother's Day photo with my baby

Thursday, May 14, 2009

34 week update

This week I'm 34 weeks along...hard to believe the end is so close! Last week I began having very uncomfortable contractions that were irregular and inconsistent, but still painful enough to be a bit worrisome. I visited my regular ob/gyn doctor who checked me and determined that I was definitely contracting but not progressing otherwise (which is good). The same thing happened with Connor at 36 weeks so this one is just starting early I guess.

Later in the week I went for my weekly biophysical profile and I got another cute picture of the baby's face. I got to see her yawn while I was having the ultrasound (too cute!) and the sonographer also pointed out that the baby already has hair on her head! I love newborn baby hair; Connor had a head-full as well when he arrived. While I was hooked up to monitor the baby's heartrate and movements, the on-call doctor noticed that I was having contractions and began asking me about them. She wanted me to check in at the hospital to make sure I wasn't going into early labor, but I told her that I'd been having them all week. She later called my regular doctor who confirmed that I was okay as long as no other signs of labor developed. So thankfully, I was sent on my way.

Today was a different story. I went for my 34-week biophysical profile and again the doctor noticed contractions. This week the contractions are becoming more uncomfortable, so the doctor sent me across the street to the hospital for observation. I spent most of the day hooked up to the monitors, and the contractions are definitely present but not in a regular pattern. Since I'm not showing any other signs of labor, they released me and just told me some other symptoms to look out for. At this point, the doctors aren't going to stop the labor if it starts in earnest, but they aren't going to do anything to progress the labor either. So what that means is that I'm just going to have to live with the discomfort until Baby Girl decides she's ready to come on her own! I suspect she'll hold out until the very end, making the next several weeks very difficult for me! Of course, I'm thankful that she's staying put for now because she definitely needs to grow before making her debut. Below are some recent sonogram pics to share with you.

Here is a 3-dimensional image of the baby's face. Some spots are distorted but you can see that she has a nice plump face already!
Here is a shot from today looking up into the baby's nose.

Here's the baby's foot. It was all the way up right next to her head!

And here's the baby's profile at 34 weeks. It's amazing to me how all the pictures throughout the pregnancy look so different. In this shot, her profile really reminds me of Jeff!

Amanda's Baby Shower

Connor and I traveled to the Dallas area last weekend in preparation for Amanda's baby shower. She is having her first baby - a precious little boy! - and we were thrilled to throw a shower in her honor. She is one of those pregnant women that just looks ADORABLE the bigger she gets...I am definitely jealous! She and Jerry are now living up in Virginia so it was a special treat to see them and celebrate this big event in their lives. The shower turnout was great and her sock monkey theme turned out so cute. I can't wait to see how her nursery turns out! Below are some pics from the special day.

The entry table with the shower invitation.
The dining table.
The cake! And it was as yummy as it was cute!

Amanda's sister-in-law Lisa made this super precious sock monkey diaper cake.

All the shower hostesses.

Connor's 3rd Birthday

I am so far behind on my updates that I'm going to have to post several things in a row to catch up! I feel terrible for not posting sooner, but last weekend (May 3) we celebrated Connor's 3rd birthday! It was fairly low-key since his real birthday festivities were scheduled in upcoming weekends (more on that later), but we still managed to have a little birthday celebration in his honor. My biggest contribution was to make cupcakes with orange icing - his favorite color - and he definitely seemed appreciative. He also wanted to swim on his birthday, so despite the cold water Connor, Jeff, and Kevin managed some swimming fun in our pool.

Some reflections now that Connor is 3... I recall telling some close friends of mine recently that I am LOVING this age right now. It just seems like Connor has become such a big boy, almost overnight. In the past few weeks he has moved from a crib to a big-boy bed, given up his pacifier, begun sharing a bedroom with Kevin, and he is now also officially potty-trained. Such big changes in such a short time! Another thing I've noticed recently is that we are no longer "Mommy" and "Daddy" but instead he calls us "Mom" and "Dad"... what's that about?? Below are some pictures and a video from Connor's big day.
Connor and his orange birthday cupcake.

Enjoying a birthday swim. Happy 3rd Birthday, Connor!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

From Guppies to Goldfish

I've mentioned in earlier posts about enrolling Connor in a 2-week introductory swim class at Houston Swim Club (HSC). He and his best buddy, Benjamin, just completed their "Guppy" lessons and their progress has been amazing! HSC does an incredible job of focusing on water safety by teaching young kids to float on their backs in the water.

After 2 weeks of 30-minute classes each day, Connor and Benjamin were both floating independently and have also learned many other swimming skills. They have now both graduated to the "Goldfish" level and will soon be taking additional classes to continue their progress. I'm hoping to enroll Connor in another 2-week class in July (I'll be a little too busy before then!) and by then he should be able to pass the "Float Test." This is where he'll get thrown in the water in the middle of the pool, roll onto his back, and then float for safety until he reaches the edge of the pool. Talk about peace of mind for Mommy and Daddy!

Below are some pics and video showing off Connor's new skills. (For much better video quality, scroll down and click on the links to the same videos posted on YouTube.)

Connor was so excited to have Mommy in the audience for his last day of swim class.

Here's the boys' instructor, Mr. Josh, teaching Benjamin to lift up his chin while floating.
Connor floating on his back!
Another key skill: learning how to climb out of the side of the pool.
Mr. Josh gives Connor a high-five.
Connor proudly shows off his certificate and ribbon from Guppy graduation!
Here's a video of Connor showing off his newly developed swim/float skills.

And here he is diving for a ring and then floating to the side.

Friday, May 1, 2009

32 Week Update

I had my first biophysical profile (BPP) test today. It's a series of tests performed to ensure the well-being of the baby in the 3rd trimester. The first step was a quick ultrasound to check heart, lung, and kidney functions as well as amniotic fluid levels. Everything looked good. Baby girl was doing fine in there, all snuggled up against my left side. She was head down 2 weeks ago, but I guess she's still got plenty of room to move because she's laying sideways again. The sonographer printed us a couple of quick pics which I've attached below, including a 3-dimensional face shot. Of course, the first thing I did was stare at the photo trying to figure out who she looks like!

After the ultrasound, I went to another room where I was hooked up to a heartrate and movement monitor. The goal is to make sure her heartrate is stable and that she is moving enough at this point in the pregnancy. After about 20-30 minutes of observation, I "passed" the test, although I think they were hoping to see a little more movement during that time period. We'll repeat this sequence of tests once a week until she arrives in June, so we have a lot of doctor time to look forward to.

Here's a 32-week belly shot. I was really tempted to edit out my bad hair day in this photo!

This is a picture from our last ultrasound 2 weeks ago. Look for the letters "NOMO" (for nose mouth) in the middle of the picture, and then to the immediate right is the tip of the baby's nose with her two little nostrils. It's as if the picture were taken from under her chin.

Here's a picture from today. This is a front face shot. Her forehead is off to the left and you can see her eye sockets, nose, and lips. It almost looks like she's smiling at us. And check out those already plump cheeks (the solid white round semi-circle in the very middle)!
This is another under-her-chin shot of her nose and lips.
And here is her face in 3-d. I can't tell if that's her hand covering the side of her face or what. She was nice and snuggled in there. It almost looks like she has a baby cap on her head!