The Final weeks of Pregnancy

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Whoa… it’s almost baby time! This week is all about preparation because next week I am gong to be full term. Actually that’s not true. I used to think that, but turns out that is “outdated” information. Things have already changed since my last baby!

As USA Today reports (2 years ago)

“Generations of mothers-to-be have heard that babies born any time between 37 and 42 weeks of pregnancy were “at term” — neither too early nor too late. But that is now officially outdated wisdom.

A pregnancy is “full term” only in the narrower two-week window that starts at 39 weeks, under new definitions published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology and endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine.”

Here is the new rundown

• Early term: Between 37 weeks 0 days and 38 weeks, six days

• Full term: Between 39 weeks and 40 weeks, six days

• Late term: Between 41 weeks and 41 weeks, six days

• Post term: 42 weeks and beyond

I found this to be interesting. 37 weeks is still significant though because if I went into labor this week it would be considered “preterm” and therefor high risk. So I would be admitted to the hospital. If I went into labor next week it would be “early term”, but low risk, normal, and healthy. I would have the green light to give birth at the birthing center as planned.

So this week is all about getting stuff done in preparation for baby girl (whose name I am still anxious to announce. I might cave!)

  • Sunday- Clean out freezer and refrigerator. Stock freezer. 
  • Monday- Look at mini van options
  • Tuesday- Research Study (this is not pregnancy related, but it’s an appointment I was already committed to)
  • Wednesday- Appointment with Midwife, GBS test, scope out hospital and hotel routes with mom
  • Thursday- WIC appointment (I am getting Ezie, the baby, and I signed up for the women, infants, children nutrition program)
  • Friday- Appointment at birth center to finalize preregistration paperwork and discuss birth plan!
  • Saturday- Dad watches kids so J and I can have our “baby moon”

So I have something scheduled everyday and most of it is all baby related. Next week I’ll be packing my bags getting the house ready!!! Hopefully we will have a van by then because that is the last major necessity that has to be taken care of ahead of time. We have a major prospect lined up, but we still have some praying to do before we pull the trigger on it.

Chances are I won’t have the baby until 39 weeks, but I would rather be prepared ahead of time. At least to the best of my abilities, nothing ever works out exactly like I plan. It’s just like when I throw birthday parties. My mind is reeling with to do lists and I think I am covering all the details, but it never fails that I am frantically trying to pull it together at the last minute! It always works out though. This is just another birthday. It’s the birth day and I can’t wait to find out when and how it will all take place.

By | October 27th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|3 Comments

Birth Photography

 

 

I know birth photography isn’t for everyone, but for some of us it is such a wonderfully significant milestone it’s worth documenting. I am currently working on doing multiple guest post about my natural birth experiences. I had to dig the digital photos out of the archives to get to my pictures for these blogs, but after looking through all of them and reminiscing I knew I just had to share some of them on Messy Mom.

For how different each one was (birth center, Texas, home birth, water birth, hospital birth, Kentucky…) All of my pregnancies and deliveries have been quite predictable, which is a blessing. Without further ado here are some black and white photos of each stage of my last three pregnancies and deliveries.

 

The belly

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Ah, yes the retro iPod. This was at about 37 weeks with Z. 

 

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Full term with SJ

 

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Days before Ezie’s birth.

I tend to carry all of my babies the same I guess. I always gain 25 pounds and I usually don’t get stretch marks… until the end. Ha, you thought I was one of those lucky women, but no.

 

Labor

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My first baby. Laying on the bed at the birth center. J said I was mean. I don’t remember that! 

 

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I have almost NO photos of labor with SJ because the photographer and the midwife got there right when it was time to push, but here is one strategically cropped photo of me in the bathtub in our home. I was literally crowning and that’s my midwifes head in the foreground. Sorry if that’s TMI for anybody. 

 

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Here is a shot of me swaying with my husband during Ezie’s labor. I did eventually get in the water though after I progressed a little more. 

 

Delivery

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I’ll spare your the graphic photos of when Z was born, but J was the catcher and here he is with my midwife the very moment Z was delivered.

 

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Seconds after SJ was delivered. 

 

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I don’t even have my arms around Ezie yet in this photo. It’s the very moment he was born. 

 

Meeting the Family 

 

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The grandmas meeting our first born.

 

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Big brother and the grandmas meeting SJ at our home birth. 

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Z and SJ meeting their little brother for the first time. 

 

The First Look

Here are the first close up shots ever taken of my three little angels.

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Stay tuned for the 4th installment, which will be about a month from now!

By | October 22nd, 2015|Babies, Pregnancy & Birth|8 Comments

3 Year Gap

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Tomorrow I am 35 weeks along in this pregnancy! Let’s just say that if history repeats itself (as it has consistently done with all of my other pregnancies) then a month from now I will NOT be pregnant. I might still be in the hospital, but more than likely I’ll have my baby! So, I am getting so very excited, but also nervous.

Even though, yes, I have done this 3 times before it was over three years ago. For some reasons I have forgotten so much since then. All three of my children are 2.5 years apart, like clock work. This will be the first time the youngest is over three years old. It’s not that big of a difference, but somehow it is. I haven’t breastfed in over a year. I haven’t changed a diaper in 8 months. We rarely use a stroller and it’s been a long time since our home has seen a pacifier, crib, or highchair.  We have one child proof doorknob, other than we just don’t do baby proof these days.

It wasn’t like that with my other pregnancies. When each child turned two I already knew I was pregnant so we never fully vacated the baby zone.

Obviously a three year gap is NOTHING compared to the many friends and family I know that had surprise pregnancies after 8, 9, or even 10 + years! I could tell you some stories (and you probably have some for me). So I’m not implying it’s a big gap I’m just admitting that I feel slightly more rusty this go round. It’s like I have to loosen those muscles again and make more of a conscious effort to remember what post partum stuff I need or did my belly really stretch this much before!?

I told the midwife that I had a growth spurt. I was convinced this baby was bigger and would come sooner than my other three. As far as we can tell from her exam that is not the case, but I just don’t remember stretching this much!

On the other end of the spectrum I feel like enough of a veteran that I don’t worry too much about what to expect. In fact I feel old when I am on Facebook reading about all these new moms touting what the latest and greatest must-have baby products are.

First I feel old just for being so out of the trend loop and then I feel really, really old because my reaction is usually

Eh, you don’t need any of that overpriced mumbo jumbo. You got some diapers, boobs, and a carseat? Then yer all set. 

Yeah, the voice in my head is a hillbilly apparently.

Anyway, I will definitely keep everyone posted. This is the last week that I have no prenatal appointments. After this I’m full term and I’ll be seeing the midwife once a week. At that point it will be all hands on deck as far as nesting, planning, and preparing. You can expect some tunnel vision. I apologize in advance for the lack of diverse content on the blog. It’s baby or bust!

By | October 19th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|8 Comments

Update on “The Jeremy and Natalies”

I have some exciting news to share with all of you, but before I get right to the announcement let me start with some interesting facts about my “unique” family.

Close to 15 years ago I married J, the love of my life. Although, I call him J for short on the blog his name is actually Jeremy. I also have a brother named Jeremy, so everyone also thought that was funny.

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Almost 10 years later my brother Jeremy married the love of his life who happens to be named Natalie (which is also mine name).

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That’s right. Two brother in laws named Jeremy who are both married to a Natalie. Out of the three of us siblings half of us have the same names. It’s weird, but we’re pretty used to it.

Shortly after I was pregnant with my 2nd child I found out the other Jeremy and Natalie were pregnant with their 1st. We both had girls.

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They are 4 months apart and currently the cutest and best of friends at 5 years old.

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They are both in Kindergarten and loosing teeth at the same time!

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We seem to take turns having babies back to back. The ages from left to right (for the photo below which was taken this weekend) are 8, 5, 5, 3, 3, 1. Although some of those numbers are about to change with birthdays quickly approaching.

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Most of you know I am expecting our 2nd daughter who is due in 43 days (not that I’m counting), but a lot of you don’t know that my sister in law Natalie is also expecting again. We don’t know the gender yet, but I am so thrilled that we get to be pregnant together one more time and our babies will once again be just a few months apart!

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8, 5, 5, 3, 3, 1, due in November, due in March.

We get a lot of comments and questions from friends and strangers. One year they even threw in a joke about us in the annual Christmas comedy sketch at church. So far no one has offered us our own reality show, which is for the best. I don’t think the world is ready for that.

It’s been a fun to watch our families and kids grow and in a way we’ve just begun. These next two will make 8 grandchildren in 8 years for my mom and dad.

I know they couldn’t be happier.

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By | October 12th, 2015|Babies, Family, My Life|5 Comments

Trying Out My New Maternity Clothes!

While this is not a sponsored post I did receive a complimentary subscription and promotional item in exchange for my review. 

 

I said I would be bombarding you with pregnancy pics and showing off all of  my Bella Gravida maternity clothes so here is the first installment!

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Last week these packages showed up at my doorstep.

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What a treat!

The first outfit (shown on the top left) was a basic black dress by Imanimo. I wanted to like this dress. It was soft sweatshirt material, but modern and chic.

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It had so many fun details like the zipper in the back

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Or the asymmetrical grey piping and kangaroo pocket in the front.

 

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It’s a cute dress and I did have an appointment this week that it was totally appropriate for, but in the end I would say the dress did not do me any favors. The cut on my body was like wearing a potato sack (you probably can’t tell from these poses, but just take my word for it). Oh well, it was still worth a try! That’s one of the perks of Bella Gravida maternity rental wear. You can try stuff without any obligation to keep it, but if you do love it they do have purchasing options available.

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Next up I got to try this Everly Grey Eunice Dress. It was much shorter than I expected, but I paired it with leggings so it was more like a shirt.

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The first day I wore it I got to go on a little coffee date with J followed by attending Z’s graduation from his robotics class. It happened to be really cold that day. The red lips, boots, and trench coat made it such a classic autumn look. I loved it and wore it again to church the next day.

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Lastly, I had a similar look with with this lightweight knit sweater. It’s perfect for this unpredictable weather because you can stay cool when it warms up, but it’s not summery. Coincidentally it’s called the Evelyn Top and Evelyn is what we plan to use as our baby girl’s middle name. Ahhhh! Did I even just say that!? I’ll admit, I have had a really hard time not just announcing the name.

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As long as I’m talking about baby stuff, I should mention that I am 33 weeks now. I feel like she is going to be a fairly big baby. I probably have just forgotten what it feels like to be “with child”, but my stomach is so heavy and tight! The braxton hicks have been increasing and so has the insomnia. Also, I am all over the map emotionally. Last week I felt invicible whereas this week I have felt a ton of anxiety, but I am hanging in there.

I have been more intentional about taking ALL of my vitamins. I want to be in tip top shape when it comes time for labor. My next prenatal appointment is on Monday. I’ll be sure to give updates on that and my next Bella Gravida package!

This whole rental maternity fashion experience has been awesome, but it’s even better getting to share it with you, so thanks for that!

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By | October 7th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|12 Comments

Update on Baby #4


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Yesterday I was trying to remember how many weeks pregnant I am.

Thirty-two. The answer is THIRTY-TWO! I feel like everything is hitting me all at once. I really want to meet and hold my baby. I can’t wait to see the excitement and joy of my other three children to get to meet their sister.

I am also nervous though. There is still so much left to do and even though this will be my 4th natural birth I am also a little scared about the labor and the post partum period. I love pregnancy and babies and all the emotional miraculous stuff that goes along with it, but it’s hard work. I always compare it to running a marathon, which for the record I have never done. You train, you prepare, you have great expectations. You love running (again this is just hypothetical none of this applies to me) and there is nothing that compares to the feeling you get when your first foot crosses over that finish line, but there are times of exhaustion that make you think you are crazy for trying. Times you need a cheerleader and a second wind.

Things are moving along though. J and I went to an orientation class at the birth center.  I was amazed at how geared toward natural birth it is. It’s actually within a hospital so I expected it to be a little bit more mainstream, but it wasn’t. Which I liked. The one thing I was shocked about was that they don’t allow video during births! I don’t know if it’s a legal issue or what. This was the one birth I was going to video tape and it’s the one birth where it is not allowed! Out of all the things to be frustrated about though, that isn’t really a big deal.

After the orientation we explored the city and made a date out of it. The last time we went on a date was in March when we took the pregnancy test so we were long overdue.

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All of these photos are ones that J took that day. So these are the most current pics I have of my belly which is getting huge.

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I am feeling really great. Lots of fetal movement. We have a name and it’s really hard for me not to say anything, but with only 7 weeks to go I’m going to hold off. I get the normal braxton hicks. Call me a weirdo, but I’ve always liked braxton hicks. It’s an empowering feeling to me, but as I already mentioned this time around they scare me just a little because my mind starts racing with the reality of it all. The baby is already head down so as long as she doesn’t flip that’s one thing less to worry about.

My iron is still really low and I do not want to give too much info, but if you don’t like to hear about gory pregnancy details you can stop here.

I have been trying to be good about taking my perscribed iron supplements (which they have now doubled the dosage on), but they make me constipated so that is really annoying. I asked my midwife what I could do and there was a range of answers, none of which I wrote down or have yet to try so I guess I can’t complain.

I should be getting my Bella Gravida maternity clothes in the mail soon and then I am going to bombard you all with tons of baby bump pictures because before you know it the baby bump will be gone and I’ll be able to bend down and pick stuff up again. I know most women can’t wait to be done with pregnancy, but it’s bittersweet. I am just trying to take it all in.

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By | September 30th, 2015|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|9 Comments

What I Wore the 2nd Trimester

From the creator of What I Wore the 1st Trimester comes the next set in the trilogy. Unfortunately, I have been very busy the last three months so unlike the first installment where I had my fancy camera and set up a little session just to feature each outfit, I have nothing like that this time.

I do have some shots of my baby bump along the way though and I thought it would be fun to look at some of my outfits from the summer. So here it is. What I Wore the 2nd Trimester.

 

what I wore the first trimester

I had the opportunity to dress up and go to the Aronoff theater and I didn’t get any decent photos other than these super grainy ones from the phone camera. It’s shame too, because who knows when I’ll do something like that again.

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I was 15 weeks here so not quite showing, but I definitely could not fit into any of my usual formal dresses so I headed off to Goodwill and was pleased to find the deal for the day was buy two dress for $6. I got this dress and the one I will share next.

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Cute from the back too, although not that comfortable to sit in through a whole production. Ahhh, the things we do for fashion.

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Here I am outlining my 19 week bump, just before finding out we were having a girl.

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This is supposed to be a dress, but no way I am ever going to wear it without pants, however I might wear it without being pregnant because it isn’t actually maternity it’s just stretchy.

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Moving forward to 24 weeks.

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Shirt/ Kohl’s- this is also not maternity, but it’s billowy enough to work if I hoist the belted area up.

Pants/ Gap Maternity.

 

If you subscribe to the Messy Mom newsletter then you have probably seen this photo.

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I was 25 weeks here (I am 30 now!).

Dress/ thrift store

Shoes/ Given to me from a  friend whose feet didn’t get along with the lack of support (they are tricky to walk in)

Necklace/ Charming Charlie and since that day I have never worn that necklace with that dress again. After seeing the photos I didn’t like the combo at all.

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That’s about it. It’s fun to highlight some of my favorites, but most of my 2nd trimester summer days were spent in a tshirt, shorts, and flip flops.

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Shirt/Motherhood (I snagged it second hand from Once Upon a Child)

Shorts/ Gap maternity. 

That’s all I’ve got for now, but I plan on taking an annoying amount of pregnant selfies in a few weeks because I have a really exciting opportunity to work with a  maternity clothing company and review some of their stuff. I can’t wait to share more!

I potentially have only two months left before meeting the baby. It’s so hard to believe. I have tons emotions going on right now, but most of them are all goooood.

By | September 15th, 2015|Pregnancy & Birth|9 Comments

The Deaf Elephant in the Room

All of my pregnancies and deliveries have been just about textbook, but there is one aspect of my pregnancy that is unusual.

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It’s not something I want to make a big deal out of all, but I feel like it should be okay to acknowledge and talk about openly. The proverbial elephant in the room if you will.

My entire life I have been a carrier of a genetic mutation called connexin 26 and so has my husband, but we never knew it until three years ago. You may be a carrier of some kind of genetic abnormalities too. The thing about being a carrier is that it doesn’t affect you. From what I understand we all have genetic abnormalities. I believe it is approximately 1 in 50 people that have Cx26, if I remember correctly. I can’t seem to verify this information online so don’t quote me on that statistic. Anyway, it’s not all that uncommon, but like I said carrying only one copy of the gene doesn’t effect you, however if you have a child with someone else that has a copy of that gene you have a chance that you will pass one gene from each of you to that child. If the child has two copies of the mutated gene then they will be deaf. There are a lot of diseases and genetic abnormalities that work this way, so you may be familiar with the science behind it already.

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Here is how it works when you have Connexin 26.

We have a 1 in 4 chance of having a child that gets two copies of the normal genes which means no genetic hearing loss at all, not even carriers (as shown in blue). 

There is a 2 in 4 chance of having a child that receives 1 copy of the genetic mutation (shown in purple).

Lastly we have a 1 in 4 chance that the child will receive 2 copies of the genetic mutation and be deaf (shown in red). 

I wrote all about it here on the blog when I first found out.

We never suspected that SJ’s hearing loss was genetic because we had no history of deafness in either of our families. She had testing done just before my due date when I was pregnant with Ezie. I remember talking to our speech therapist saying that I didn’t know if I wanted the results before the baby came because if it was genetic then I would be worried. They assured me that I did not have to hear what the results were until I was ready and it could wait. My response to that was, yeah right I am not going to have the patience to wait one extra second for an answer! I was just too curious about how all of this happened. In the end the problem took care of itself. Ezie was born passing the hearing test and then about a week later I learned of our genetics so I didn’t have to worry.

I say all of that because this is the first pregnancy where I am well aware of my odds. This child could be deaf and I know it. In fact I know lots of families from SJ’s school that have proven that it doesn’t really matter what the statistics are. The chips will fall where they may (if that’s how you want to look at it). I know a Cx26 family where 2 of their 3 children are deaf, one where 2 of 2 are deaf, another that has 3 of 4 even! So even though J likes to joke that we have our 1 out of 4 so we’re done, it obviously doesn’t really work that way.

It’s nice to have other families in the school that I can talk to because they’ve been in my shoes. I know one mom whose first two children were deaf and the last one was not. She tried to make nothing of it, but she distinctly remembers her last baby going berserk in her belly when the fireworks were going off on the 4th of July and she felt like the baby must be able to hear. She was right. I know another mom who said that with her 2nd (out of 3) who was deaf she didn’t have any clues until after the baby was born, but she could tell almost immediately after knowing what to look for with her other two.

Honestly, it’s not something I think about too often. I am going to be fine with it either way, but of course we would love it if the extra challenge of hearing loss was not something that this child or our family has to face. I was reading recently in the updates about the baby that her hearing is fully developed now. The book encourages you to talk to your baby and play music for your baby. It says that the baby will be able to recognize our voices when she is born. I paused in that moment and just allowed the emotion to well up into tears.

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We do talk to our baby girl, and again I want to stress that Connexin 26 is not something I focus on, but the fact is- it’s a possibility. It’s information I never had to face when I was pregnant with the other three.

Who knows what will happen. The irony of all this is when SJ was a baby we had her vision tested because Z had such totally unexpected vision and eye problems when he was a baby that he actually had to have surgery. There we were. worried about her eye sight when it turns out that she had hearing loss the whole time! So the moment I think I prepare myself for one thing a completely different issue arises. All I know is that each one of our children are hand crafted by God. They are fearfully and wonderfully designed and he knows each of us in the womb. I put all of my trust in the Lord and I have a peace about it. I really do.

We will have the standard newborn screening at the hospital just like we did with Ezie. I probably won’t announce it right off the bat if there are any concerns. I just want the initial focus to be on the baby and all the fun aspects of birth announcements. If we do have anything that needs to be addressed medically, we’ll tell everyone soon enough after our family has had time to process things privately.

So that’s about it. I know that was a lot of info and this is quite a personal update, but I did want to get it out in the open. As far what we can tell so far the sweet little baby girl is healthy and the perfect measurements for my due date (which is 99 days away). I am 26 weeks and almost done with the 2nd trimester. She will be here before you know it. We are overjoyed.


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By | August 17th, 2015|Special Needs|6 Comments

Behind the Scenes of the New Messy Mom Video

 

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Baby Face

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Baby Hand

Last week I had my 20 week ultrasound. Everything went great. The baby is healthy. I’m right on track with measurements. The kids enjoyed seeing the baby on the monitor and yes, we did find out the gender.

I texted my brother from the doctor’s office to announce the news and tell him I had a gender reveal video that I wanted to try to put together as soon as possible. He was on board and days later he and my sister in law came out to turn my idea into reality.

Some of you may remember last time we did this (back in March).

That video was obviously scripted whereas this next one (which I have not seen any of yet), is totally just documenting the moment.

I can’t share too much because I don’t want to blow the secret, but we used paint to make the announcement.

 

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This was the first drawing on my story board. Don’t critique it! It’s just a really quick sketch to get the idea across and that’s just about all I can show you other than this photo of set up

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and the two paint cans

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and here we are getting ready for some fun.

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I can’t wait to share our news with everyone!!! It is an honor to have my brother help out with this project. He has a busy schedule and he literally travels the world shooting films and commercials. Yet, he and his wife jump in with both feet to make a short film for their new nephew… or niece. Ha! Just kidding. I’m not telling.

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That’s my brother in the orange jacket on set in Iceland. Photo Credit: Paper Lantern Productions 

 

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Here he is wearing some kind of gear that I don’t know the name of. Photo Credit: Drive Media House

 

Subscribe to my youtube channel so that you know exactly when we release the video. The big reveal is just days away!

By | July 17th, 2015|Creativity, Pregnancy & Birth|2 Comments

Finding Out We Were Pregnant

I think most moms remember where they were when they found out they were having a baby for the first time. Well, you were probably in the bathroom, but I guess I mean where you were at in life. Or maybe you remember the date or details with every child. It’s one of life’s most surreal and indescribable moments.

With my first pregnancy I took a test and then announced it to J at the Macaroni Grill while playing hangman with our crayons on the paper table cloth.

Then with the next pregnancy I had Z color a picture for J saying saying he was going to be a big brother.

With Ezie I switched things up. Instead of me announcing to J I had him tell me. I saw it on a show one time. I took the test, but he was the one to go in three minutes later and come out and tell me the news. If you consider this keep in mind this also means your husband will be the one to tell you if you are not pregnant (which did happen once). So it can get emotional, but it was really special to hear the news from my husband that we were expecting our third.

This last time I thought why not just find out together? 

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Once your test leaves the bathroom it opens up a whole world of possibilities really. You could take the test and then tuck it away to save after you hike up to the top of a mountain. You could have the life changing experience at the same place he proposed. In our case we went home after a nice date night and then opened a little gift bag while snuggling on the couch. That’s where we were when we found out our lives were going to change forever, again.

The thing I worried about when I started drumming up this idea was the possibility of accidentally seeing the results. That’s an easy fix though since you can just cover up the result window with tape.

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I used Christmas tape because that’s what I had. It could be any colored tape. Once you take the test you can put the cap on and seal it in a zipper bag. Most test results will last up to 24 hours, but you will want to check the specific brand to know for sure ahead of time. That would be no fun to plan to take a canoe out on the lake or something and then just see a blank screen because your plus sign faded.

Another obvious downside to finding out together is that you don’t know if you are pregnant are not, which could be very anticlimactic if the test is negative. I can see how this is an impractical approach that would NOT be ideal for all situations. For me, since this was my fourth and I was tired of finding out alone. I KNEW I was pregnant. I was just waiting to confirm it with a test. So I just waited a little longer so that we could schedule a date night and celebrate afterwards with a special package and lemon meringue cheesecake. It was fun!

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So that is the story of how we found out we were pregnant this time. I’ll never forget it.

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By | July 9th, 2015|My Life, Pregnancy & Birth|13 Comments