Saturday, July 30, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

38 Week Doctor's Appointment (and Ultrasound)

Today was probably the day of one of our last doctor's visits. If we have any more we won't have more than 3.
Today Dr. Taylor examined me and told us that I am 1.5 cm dilated and 50% effaced! I have already lost my mucus plug (I had no idea), and we're now basically on-call. She could come quickly (anything this week or weekend) or slowly (all the way up to the 2nd)... but regardless we are being induced on August 2nd. At the most we'll have baby-in-belly for only 2 more weeks!

The doctor did a great job of describing what "effaced" means -- cause I wasn't sure. To put it in layman's terms:  Bria is half way (50%) down into my cervix. When I am 100% effaced she will have dropped to compensate all of my cervix. At that point I will probably also be 10 cm dilated. Once she is 100% effaced and I'm 10 cm dilated, all I'll have to do is push her out!

We know her current weight but that could definitely change depending on much longer she stays inside. I'm not spilling the beans just yet because I want everyone to have a fair chance if they're gonna guess her birth weight. :) Only Clue: my birth weight was 6lbs 5oz. and Michael was 9lbs 8oz. Good luck all you betters!

We also had our last ultrasound. The purpose was to measure her and weigh her, check out her organs, see how her lungs are workin, etc. Everything looks great, amniotic fluid level is good, her size is wonderful. We weren't expecting to get pictures to take home with us but our ultrasound tech was super sweet and gave us these:

Check out her chubby cheeks!!!! Love <3 That's all I can say.

I'm feeling pretty good. I have definitely felt a difference within the past few days; it's not just that she's dropped but I'm more uncomfortable (especially when I sit). It's nothing to complain about.
Whereas some women may fear and dread the actual event of childbirth, I'm pretty calm about it. I know that the experience itself (pain, possible complications, discomfort, after-effects) are all things that I can't help, control, or change. The negatives will be FAR outweighed by the positives. I know that I can get thru it and all of the negatives will equal my baby girl. Which is what I want the most.

What stresses me out more than childbirth is the current unknowns of our lives. I won't go into detail here but basically there are still a lot of things that need to be done and I don't have enough time in the day to do them all. To the people who may cause me stress: I really have no time to deal with this extra baggage. NO TIME. I am REALLY learning to eliminate the unnecessary problems that I'm dealing with and although it may seem selfish to throw the towel in, in some circumstances, I'm looking after my baby more than anything else.

To everyone who can't get a hold of me, or who may feel left out of my loop: I'm sorry but I really and truly can't talk to everyone. Every day at work I am training two people at once and I get a 1 hr lunch break. During this time I am busy trying to solve the other issues in my life. If we start talking on the phone and if I have to go all of a sudden, it's not because I don't cherish our conversation but I really HAVE GOT TO GO. I'm trying my hardest to spread myself between everyone but its completely obvious to me that I can't. Even the most important people (Michael, my mom, and his parents) don't get my undivided attention. I tried calling my mom 5+ times today and EACH time I had to let her go. I have three people asking me to call them in the mornings, and I can't call everyone every morning. So, to everyone else, please just be understanding.

I'm grateful for those people who ARE understanding and who ARE helping us in EVERY WAY POSSIBLE. I appreciate (to the point of tears) what everyone is doing for us. I'm trying my hardest not to treat those that I love the most, the worst. I'm sorry if I get a little cranky.

As an end note: I love my family. It's overwhelming how much I love Michael and Bria (and our parents, and our extended family members)... and she isn't even here yet. I don't know how this love can get any bigger, but I'm EXCITED to see it grow. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I wanted to share two DIY projects I accomplished recently, even though I don't have pictures. I plan on taking photos soon and putting them up, but in the meantime I have inspiration photos that can give yall an idea of what it is I've done.

First I made some wall art for Bria's nursery. I'll put pictures up when we're actually moved in and the wall art is on the wall. But this project was SIMPLE, CHEAP, and UNIQUE -- three key words that I love. I went to Hancock fabrics, bought 4 embroidery hoops (3 medium sized, one large) and then browsed the fabric sample wall. These samples are about 1'x1' large and came in a variety of colors/patterns. I chose one pattern that is loud and fun, while the others are simple and pull colors from the original pattern. The pattern samples were only $1.99 (and are refundable if I choose not to use them)! The fun, busy, pattern that I chose has all the colors that I wanted to use originally (yellow, green, blue, bright white, and even pops of red), and the simple patterns are basic yellow or white. I want to go back and get one or two more sample fabrics of the pops of red or blue, and create appliqu├ęs to sew onto the finished embroidery hoop.
So you insert one square of sample fabric into each embroidery hoop and VOILA... you have wall art! Check out the following examples:

See the appliques on the first and the last one? I want to add something similar -- maybe a bird or a flower.
Easy, unique, and cheap. Love. :) Total cost for 1 hoop? $5 (medium) and $7 for large. = $25!

Secondly I created a Thank You Basket for the nurses that will be taking care of Bria and I while we're in the hospital. I made 2 baskets -- one for the labor and delivery nurses, and one for the postpartum nurses. I got the idea from, while reading one of the forums. So I did a little research and found that nurses really love snacks. They also really love lotions because they wash their hands a million times a day. SO... off to the Dollar Store, I went.
I bought two mini laundry-baskets (one in blue, one in green. cute!), and stock piled the snacks. I also bought 1 bottle of notion for each basket (because I couldn't find smaller, individual bottles). The result is a messy basket full of food items that is not at all pretty... which is why there are no pictures yet! I want to organize the treats, and maybe add some ribbon/fabric/colored DIY thank you card -- something to tie it all together. But at least they're made and we can grab-n-go if Bria should show up early.
In the meantime, check out these pictures as inspiration:

I wish mine looked as organized and delicious as these do! The first one especially. Total cost of the Thank You baskets? $1 per basket, $9 worth of goodies = $10 per basket x 2 = $20 for 2 baskets!

Other items on my DIY list: make curtains and make Bria's mobile.
Stay tuned!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Well hello blog. It’s nice to see you again. I know it’s been a while – please forgive my absence.
In all seriousness, I do miss blogging. I wish I could write in here every day but my daily life has turned into a whirlwind (yes, even more than it used to be), and I have NO TIME.

Work is going well. Everyone at work is wonderful and always inquiring about how I’m feeling, and how baby Bria is doing. But I’ve been staying busy at work – staying late, or taking short lunch breaks – because I’m training two people at once. These two ladies will be splitting my work while I’m out on maternity leave, and there is so much to teach/learn in so little time. I have faith that these ladies will do great while I’m out, but I still feel like I have so much to show them. When I get back I plan on working hard in a future attempt to get a promotion to Analyst. For now until forever every financial/work-related decision I make is for my family and becoming an analyst would be great for us.

At home, it’s kind of a mad house. Michael and I have been staying with his dad for the past week to pack. There’s still a lot to put away but we’re getting there. We plan on taking all of this back to my house on Monday.
On downtime we have been running between rentals, looking and then applying. We’ve applied for two rentals (a house and a condo) and have been waiting eagerly in hopes we’ve landed one of them. We’ve even considered buying a house. But… so far the odds are looking… bad. So, because things aren’t looking that great we’re also looking at some more houses/townhouses/condos… and will probably be putting in applications for all of these, plus an apartment this week. Every day I get more anxious about moving, but I try to remain optimistic. I know that God will help us find a home. But in the meantime all we can do is look and apply, and pack. My lease is up on August 1st.

It’s hot right now. REALLY HOT. Memphis has been on the news once or twice so far this summer with summer heat temps over 100. I’m constantly sweaty and my feet/ankles are ridiculously swollen. My fingers are starting to swell but my face/upper half is mostly normal. Last weekend I spent some time in Michael’s dad’s pool, so that was nice. Otherwise I’m always drinking water or ice tea, and trying to stay inside as much as possible.

The rest of the time Michael and I have escaped into a new show we love, Game of Thrones. Unfortunately we finished the 1st season already. To be honest I haven’t cooked at all lately. I’m either too hot, too uncomfortable, or just not in the mood. All I want to do is pack, find a place, and unpack.

Speaking of uncomfortable, I have had some intense night-time false labor pains. I think Brianna is bouncing on my sciatic nerve (which explains why my right foot and ankle are super swollen), and sometimes I jolt upright in pain. The pain is a very intense, but short-lived, stab… and although it’s really uncomfortable I don’t mind it too much. Sometimes I get excited and think maybe I’m getting closer to being in labor. My false labor contractions are mostly in my lower belly, and they never intensify or get closer together… which is how I know they’re not true contractions. I’m praying that something definite happens when I go into labor – like my water breaking in a tremendous GUSH, but according to statistics that doesn’t happen as often as you’d think.

This upcoming Tuesday I’m going to see my doctor again (we last went two weeks ago). I’ll probably get another vaginal exam (to see if I’m dilated at all), and an ultrasound (to see how big she is right now). Right now we're seeing Dr. Taylor every 2 weeks -- last time I had my first vaginal. I am not dilated and the doctor didn't think I would be, thus the 2-week intervals. A HUGE HUGE HUGE part of me wants to be dilated and wants to look forward to meeting my little girl as soon as possible, and another huge part of me is praying that everything is locked up tight. The thought of her coming late really doesn’t upset me either; We still have so much to do and I feel like I need more time.

Michael and I toured the hospital last week and it’s beautiful. I think our stay there will be great and I’m looking forward to the day that we walk in there, expecting to walk out with a beautiful baby girl.

Her kicks are so strong – I still love to feel her move. This is the one part of pregnancy that I cherish and will always cherish. Something I’ll look forward to the next time around ;)

I don’t know when I’ll be able to update again. I’m sorry for the lack of blog posts. Keep hoping and praying for us that we find a house soon. Once we find a place, and get situated, I’ll have more time and space to get my thoughts down “on paper”. Otherwise it might not be until our little girl is here that you hear from me again!
Wish us luck!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Week 36 (almost 37) Doctor’s Appointment
-Twas my first vaginal exam. Whoohoo (not)! He told me that I am not dilated and my cervix is closed.
-He described how Bria is in me right now – head down (she has dropped!) in my pelvis, facing my right side. Her back is on my left side. Her legs and arms are all tucked under themselves on my right side. This explains all the pushing I’m getting on my right side.
-He also showed Michael how to feel Bria’s head from outside of my body. Michael’s eyes lit up when he felt her little head. I bet it was amazing. We tried again later at home but couldn’t quite recreate the obvious feeling that we were feeling her head. Oh well – she doesn’t need to be squeezed, poked, and prodded right now anyway.
-Had my maternity leave papers filled out. I should be ready to go!
-Doctor told me that it’d be safe to see me in two weeks (when I’ll be 38 weeks along). Mark your calendars – Tuesday the 19th!
-We went to view Camden Grove Apartments and if we must choose an Apartment Complex, this one will probably be it. This week, weekend, and next week we are viewing houses. If nothing works out then Camden is where we’ll be.
-We went to Michael’s dad’s house to swap out cars. His dad has been helping get my car into a safe driving realm. He changed all my tires and my brake pads and I CAN’T THANK HIM ENOUGH!!! Now he is working on Michael’s break pads. All we have to do is clean out the interior and figure out how to put Bria’s car seat in. THANKS AGAIN TO MICKEY RYAN!
-Finally collapsed at home. So much to do and so little time to do it.

Below are two different videos (that can be found on YouTube). The first one was created by my coworker and good friend, Tammy. She has been such a sweet sweet person to be around at the office, and a constant light of happiness. I’m so glad to have her in my life. Tammy and the rest of my great department threw me a baby shower a few weeks ago and had me in tears while this video played. Check it out.

The second video is a -SHORT- clip I made for Michael, back in February. It was for a contest (which is why it was so short – contest restrictions), and it did not win. But I made it out of love and I hoped that it would be something he would enjoy regardless. The people in the video are family, friends, coworkers, etc. Most of Mike’s family and friends live about 5 hours away from us, and it was important to me that he know how much he is loved during THE month of Love (Feb). I recruited as many people as I could to help me with the video and I thought it came out well. Plus it features one of our songs – I love you baby, by Frankie Valle.

We recently purchased our first video camera (family videos, here we come!), so stay tuned to see more and more of our lovely faces. (insert cheesy grin here)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

A few things I’ve learned during these short 25 years:
(And that most people end up learning on their own, no matter how many times you’re told. Been there – done that. Thanks to all those folks who tried to teach me these things prior to me learning the hard way.)

-Life gets boring/monotonous/hard/sad/and discouraging. It’s these downtimes that make the up times even greater. Cherish those up times – remember them when things go really south.

-Keeping faith is not the same as keeping religion. Keeping faith is harder because it’s truer – religion is just a way for the word to compartmentalize, and label things that that have no name. Instead of going to a certain church on a certain day, try talking to The Man, himself, every day. It’s hard.

-There is no batman or superman -- no hero that can avenge the wrong-doers in your life. It may seem like bad people get away with hurting the good ones, but I PROMISE YOU that one day they will wake up and realize their mistakes. ONE DAY the wrongs will be righted. All you can do is keep your head up and keep going. Learn to survive thru the adversities. It truly will be alright in the end (if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end).

-With that said, don’t give them a reason to find you guilty. Strive to leave a smile on everyone’s face – try your damndest not to leave ugly stains.

-But no one is perfect. Everyone has faults. That’s including you.

-So when you make mistakes, learn how to say I’m sorry. Those two words have some of the most powerful forces in all the world behind them. Another powerful phrase? I forgive you.

-Just don't forget.

-We tend to hurt the people that we love the most. Don’t take your frustration out on them. Try, every day, to remember how important these people are to you. Try every day to treat them so that they know how important they are to you (and if you slip, and make a mistake, remember those two important words).

-You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think, and more beautiful than you feel.

-All of your problems can be solved with salt water: tears, sweat, or the ocean. Cry until it doesn’t hurt anymore, work out until you’ve left it behind, or visit the ocean to see a God-made beauty. It’ll put your life into perspective.

-There will always be someone better than you, and there will always be someone worse. But don’t become complacent. Strive to make yourself and your life better. Create goals (small and large), and celebrate when you accomplish them. Be proud of who you are and who you are becoming.

-Relationships are like buildings being built. The foundation should be something strong, solid, and unwavering – like faith. Love should compose the rest of the house – the walls and the roof. It should be warm, inviting, and overwhelming. Inside should be treasures that are kept sacred. Sometimes fights will occur, and bricks of the building will be knocked down. But with the right partner you can discuss the problem, build the relationship back up, and be stronger than you were before. If the same bricks get knocked down over and over again you’re not fixing things properly the first time.

-Marriage is important. Divorce is not – in fact, it shouldn’t even be an option. Take the time to get to know your partner before committing to the ultimate commitment. Once you take that step every ounce of God is behind you to make it work – its only our weaknesses that let us give in to divorce.

-Communication is key for any relationship!

-Laugh. Laugh at funny things, laugh at sad things, laugh at everything.

-Learn. You’re not inconsistent or wishy-washy if your interests constantly change. No, you’re developing a personality and keeping an open mind. Learn as much as you want about as many topics as you want. From brain surgery to knitting. Learning too much has never been anyone’s downfall.

-Hate the sin, love the sinner. We’re all sinners… wouldn’t it be awful if we all hated each other for that?

-Perception is reality.

-Say what you mean, mean what you say. Keep the games put away for family game night.

-Invest in: nonstop flights, zip lock bags, kitchen knives, toilet paper, and hotels when on vacation.

-Practice respect and your manners, especially: when dealing with an elder, displaying an example to a younger, at work, when driving, and when walking thru the door before someone else.

-Don’t make a permanent mistake due toa temporary emotion.

More to come! I’m only 25.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Updates! plus MILF inspiration...

It’s hard to want to blog when there is so much going on and still so much to do. To recap:

-I interviewed our first pediatrician today, Dr. Robert Higginbotham with Pediatrics East. I was referred to him by a friend of mine and Dr. Higginbotham was helpful, friendly, and accommodating.  We may interview one more pediatrician before making our decision but that should be happening soon.

-We had our last baby shower, which was held at my office and was hosted by my coworkers. They themed the shower “tropical”, had a tropical cake that read “You are my happy, Brianna” (LOVED IT!), and I hafta say it was probably the best shower EVER at CB. Not just saying that cause I’m biased. They also created a slideshow with pictures of me, Michael, us together,  other important people in my life, and Baby Bria pics (ultrasound). It made me cry, yes it did.

-I turned 25! The same day as the shower was my 25th  birthday. I felt so loved by so many people. The only reason why next year will be better is because Bria will be here to give me kisses. J I’m jealous of Michael who will be celebrating his birthday a month after she’s here. So lucky. J He did buy me an Adele CD for my birthday (of which I’m listening to right now). LOVE.

-With the last shower over and done with Michael and I got to doing the returns, and also started using our gift cards. With that money we got a camcorder (family videos here we come!), a jogging stroller (which we need to return due to a broken speaker), a side sleeper pillow (ahhhhh… sleep. It’s so awfully nice to meet you again.), a breast pump (electric, one side at a time), breast pads (box of 75), crib mattress, and we’re not done yet.

-We’ve continued our house search… with no luck thus far. We have more to look at so our new home is bound to come up soon.

-I had my first night of false labor contractions. False labor contractions = we almost thought we had to go to the hospital. Period cramp-like pains that I could time and that went on for two hours. I went to bed and woke up the next morning, not in labor. I’m guessing the best bet that I’ll be going into true labor is that I won’t be able to go to sleep (still hoping my water breaks or my mucus plug comes out; something definite that I can bank on).

-I swell almost every day. My feet, ankles, and legs are swelling like crazy. I try to drink tons of water, and keep my feet elevated... otherwise there's not much I can do. It's the nature of the beast, right!

-I’m going out today with my mom to buy a few craft things for the baby’s room. When I’m done with said projects I’ll share with you all. Thing: wall art, fitted baby sheet, curtains.

-I’ve started a Fitness Inspiration folder on my computer. GOAL: to return to the best shape of my life postpartum. Baby Bria will be my priority but for her sake I want to be in shape. I want to commit to something that is difficult for me to commit to and I want to succeed.

And that’s where I’m going to leave you for now. Check out some of my fitness inspiration: 

So powerful! And I love the sign above/behind her.

I will always have a big butt, so I love this.


Need to remind myself of this when I start running again; cause I know I'll feel like a snail.

Portion plate

MILF Pledge!!!

Amen. Me = sweaty and bright bright red, after a good workout.

My favorite.