Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Reflections on 2008

*Noah is 11 weeks old today!*

It's been such a busy last few weeks, and I definitely want to blog about Christmas and my birthday, but today, on the last day of 2008, I'm feeling very reflective.

A year ago today, I was in a pretty okay place. I remember not feeling so hot, and not really wanting to go to Amy & Mike's, but in the end we did and had a great time. We had just returned a few weeks earlier from the Dominican Republic, and we were definitely refreshed. I remember feeling calm and peaceful upon our return, and I remember hoping that was a sign of things to come.

I don't make new years resolutions, but last year I resolved to finally get pregnant, and within a month of making the resolution, I had succeeded!

2008 was FULL of joy, almost from start to finish. I had doubts that my IVF cycle would work and actually considered scrapping it after only one egg fertilized... thankfully, we did not do that, because the resulting embryo became baby Noah!

Sadly this year, we did lose Ben's grandfather, and of course it was hard, but with all deaths, it is important to celebrate the person's life. A good friend's mother also lost her battle with cancer earlier this year, and I just found out that a coworker's father-in-law just passed away.

This year, I've also watched friends struggle to become pregnant. A few have succeeded, while others have started down the path that Ben and I took. All I can do is be a supportive and good friend, but I know how much pain they are in, and words really cannot help that.

I've often thought years have been the "greatest of my life", most recently the years I graduated college and got engaged (2002) and got married (2003). But 2008 takes the cake thus far. After two long years, I finally became pregnant and gave birth to the most amazing human being. I look at him daily and am so thankful for him. I try to remember the pain of the journey and acknowlege that it was worth it in the end. I could have been pregnant when we started trying almost three years ago now, but that baby wouldn't be THIS baby. When my first round of IVF failed, I was devestated, but again - had it suceeded, that baby would not be Noah. I'm not a religious person, but I really think everything happens for a reason. It was not meant to be until now, and now that I have Noah here, it seals the deal!

2008 was the greatest year of my life, but now that Noah's here and part of our family, I know each year from now until the day I die will be even greater because I'll be able to watch him grow and change. While part of me doesn't want my baby to grow up, part of me is also SO excited to watch him change and find out what kind of little man he will become. I think of little things, short term things like rolling, sitting, crawling, and the thought of this little person, initially so helpless, becoming independent both excites and terrifies me!

We are so in love with Noah that it hurts. I'm so amazed at what love, medical technology, and my body created, it's almost unbelievable. I look at him and laugh because he really sums it all up for me. That probably doesn't make sense to you, but to me - I guess I just feel like I won the lottery. I have an awesome husband, an incredible little boy, great friends, and supportive family who loves us like crazy. 2008 was great, and I am the luckiest girl in the world!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Sleep is nice!

*Noah is 9 weeks old!*

First of all, I was just revisiting the blog, and my belly picture from 38 weeks caught my eye. Oh my, I was HUGE!!! And I was still pregnant for three more weeks after that! I'm a *SO* thankful to have lost all my baby weight already. Yes, I said all. However, there are two types of weight - baby weight and IVF weight. I've lost the baby weight, but NOT the IVF drug weight. When I found out I was pregnant, I was at about 150, but when the whole IVF process started back in August 2007, I was just about 140. So at 148 now, I still technically have at least 8lbs to lose. I'd like to get to 135 - that's what I weighed when we went to Europe in the spring of 2006 before the whole trying to conceive thing started... Maybe I'll make a new year's resolution for once...

Anyways, SLEEP! It's becoming a common thing in our house, and I hope by typing this, I'm not jinxing it... I think we must have been jumping the gun with the middle of the night feeding. Noah would usually stir and make some grunting noises like he was waking up around 3am, and we would get up so Ben could feed him and I could pump. Well, since he started sleeping in the crib on Monday, he's been out cold until 6 or 7am! At first I thought maybe we were missing it - sleeping through a screaming spell or something, but I keep the monitor turned up so high you can hear the clock on the wall ticking in his room... If this keeps up, we will be *so* happy.

There are only a few glitches with the current sleep schedule. The main one is that we still can't get him down until between 9:30 and 10:30 (usually closer to 10:30). I think it's hard right now, for one, because I'm going out a lot during the day to run errands and do Christmas shopping, so he's napping a lot during the day. It's also hard because Ben doesn't get home from work until 6:30. Noah usually gets a bottle around 6 or 7, and we usually have dinner around 7 or 7:30, making it really hard to try to take the time to put him to bed after that bottle, so he usually goes to bed after the 9:00 bottle. I'm really hoping to make bedtime at least a bit earlier before I go back to work. As much as I'll want to be able to spend some time with him, I need to be able to get other things done too, like dishes, laundry, etc...

The other glitch, if you could call it that, with the sleep schedule is that I sleep through my pump session, making me incredibly uncomforable when I wake up in the morning. Usually Ben is able to feed Noah when he wakes up so I can go pump, but it makes me worried about my milk supply. Before 12 weeks, you're supposed to pump 8-12x a day with one being between 1 and 4am to get a good supply. By sleeping through that middle of the night pump, I could be killing my supply. It's good now, but I'm worried that it will drop around the 12 week mark... I'm up around 200oz of milk in the freezer, so at least that will keep us going for a little while after I go back to work. Like I think I said before, my first goal was to make it to 3mo with Noah getting breastmilk exclusively, and we're definitely going to make that goal. The next hurdle will be making it to 6mo. I'm feeling good about it for now, but like I said, we'll see what happens to my supply come 12 weeks.

Today, Noah went to see Santa Claus. Mommy & Daddy have been talking this guy up for weeks. Noah won't tell us what he asked Santa for - he's trying to make it hard on us. I mean, on Santa... I'll post pics soon!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Two months already!

Noah is two months old today, and at times, it feels like he's been here forever, and at other times, it feels like just yesterday I was looking at him for the first time. So much has happened in these two months, and he has changed immensely almost daily. The love we feel for him is truly indescribable...

Visiting Daddy at work - that's Zombie Noah (he just ate...)

Mommy and Crabby Noah

He had his two month check up today and got his first shots. He had three shots in all, plus the oral Rotavirus. He was *SUCH* a champ. He cried briefly - you would too if you saw the size of the needles! - but we got him dressed quickly and gave him a bottle as a reward when it was all done.

He's officially 13lbs, 8oz and 23.5 inches long. He is in the 78th percentile for weight, but better than that, his head is in the 98th percentile!! I'm surprised at his head control given the size of his ginormous melon! We are starting to transition to 3-6 month clothes, as we've noticed the 0-3 month onesies are either fitting tightly or not at all! Also, we finally ran out of size 1 diapers, so we decided to try the 2's, and they fit! Little by little, Noah's growing up!

Practicing tummy time on Daddy's chest

There are so many little things that I know won't last forever that I want to try to remember forever... Like how when he's really hungry, he raises his eyebrows with each such of the bottle for the first handful of sucks. Or how he kind of swings his feet when he's eating, like he's just hanging out... Or how his eyes smile sometimes before his mouth does. And oh my god, the faces! I need to take more videos of him I think, because I can never quite catch the faces in pictures. Sometimes he raises his lip like he's Elvis, and other times he crunches up his nose and/or forehead... The faces he makes when he's whining are pretty classic too!

Smiley Noah...

...and Grumpy Noah

He's loving sitting up like a big boy. We prop him up on the couch, either in the corner or surrounded by pillows. He looks around (and is entranced by the TV) and talks a lot when he's feeling it. He loves his changing table. That's where we can ALWAYS get a smile and a conversation. Those smiles will absolutely melt your heart!

Enjoying the changing table, as usual!

Tonight is a big night. Not only did Noah get his first round of shots today, we're going to give the crib a whirl... I really want to get on a better sleep schedule before I go back to work, so we're going to see if sleeping in the crib helps. He took a short nap in there earlier tonight, and after a big 6oz bottle and some awake time, he's back to sleep in there now... we'll see how long it lasts before he's hungry again...

Sleepy Noah

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

A way past-due update

*Noah is 7 weeks old (tomorrow).*

My friends!! (Yikes, now I'm sounding like John McCain...) Anyways, I'm so sorry I've been absent from the world of blogging for what must have seemed like an eternity. I've had good intentions and have thought frequently that I need to update, but you know how it goes... the kiddo needs to be fed, changed, rocked, etc...

Things are going really well with us. I can't believe my little man's already 7 weeks old! My god how time flies. I'll be back to work in six weeks (I think), and my time off is just flying by.

Noah has been doing great since his transfusion on the 14th. He's really a different kid. His color is better for starters, and he's got a lot more energy - staying awake more, cooing, smiling - okay, sometimes I wonder if they are just poo smiles, since I mainly get them on the changing table, but I'll take what I can get! He's getting huge too! We haven't had him weighed since the day of the transfusion, but we go back to the hematologist for a follow up on Thursday, so I'll be very interested to see what he weighs. I know for sure he was 10 pounds, 5 ounces butt-nekkid on the 12th, and I'm guess he's at least 12, if not 12.5 pounds by now.

He went through a crazy growth spurt the middle of last week. He was so fussy for two days straight, and he wanted to eat every 1.5 to 2 hours, and it was KILLING me!! We had our annual Turkey Hangover party on Friday (the day after Thanksgiving), and I had intentions of getting a ton of stuff done during the week leading up, but then we had to have this dang growth spurt. We survived it by finally deciding (thanks to the recommendation of Erin on the IVF message board) to increase his intake from 4oz per bottle to 4.5oz. That seemed to do the trick, and he was satisfied and back to normal by the end of the second day.

As for me, I'm still getting the hang of this "stay-at-home-mom" thing. It's freaking hard, and I have so much respect for my friends who do it! I still stand by my strong desire to want to be able to stay home with Noah (we can't do it financially), but I do desperately crave "me time". I love my two-hour trips to Target or lunches with the girls. Anything to get out of the house!! I am looking forward to seeing my work friends again and having regular adult interaction, but actually going back to work TO WORK... that's going to be tough!

I think I've finally broken myself of the guilt of not breastfeeding. I think the cards were stacked against us from the beginning, with Noah's jaundice and anemia (both of which made him so lethargic). It was so frustrating for both of us, and while part of me feels like maybe I could have given it one more shot, I refuse to stew on it now, because I am proud to now say that I am exclusively pumping. We haven't given Noah formula since November 6th, and he only got it then because I was having "supply" issues at the time. Now I'm way ahead of what he needs, and I've got close to 80oz of milk frozen for when I go back to work! Hopefully, I can keep up the very hard work that is pumping and therefore also keep my supply up. (I'm probably averaging 37oz per day, if you're interested.)

Noah was evaluated by a developmental and physical therapist through Early Intervention and will be receiving PT once a month to work on stretching and positioning for his neck. We've tried to be very aware of the position of his head and neck, and I definitely think it's getting better, but he definitely still needs the therapy, as he's favoring one side more than the other. Noah also had an ultrasound of his neck that revealed that the muscle in one side of his neck is thicker, probably causing the torticollis. The pediatrician ordered an x-ray of his neck just to be sure there's nothing else going on.

Hm. Did I cover everything? These past 7 weeks have been such a whirlwind, and I try to pause everyday, even if just for a moment, to take it all in. Last night while I was rocking Noah to sleep in the darkness of his nursery, I examined his tiny fingers. I thought about how they're not as tiny now as they were when he was born, and they won't be this tiny in a few more weeks. I often think about how these days and weeks will soon be gone forever, and I don't want to miss a second of it. I look at him everyday and see the most precious gift I've ever received. He is so amazing, and when I stop to think about everything we went through and how he came to be, it still blows my mind. He truly is a miracle in my eyes.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Some new pictures!

*Noah is one month and two days old.*

First of all, here are before and after (well, during) pics of Noah the day of his blood transfusion. He had started looking kind of pale to us, and you can really see from the pictures how his color improved as a result of the transfusion.

Here's before:

And after:

In the after picture, you can see his little IV. It was so tiny! The blood on his shirt is from where the IV cap that connects the pieces was leaking a bit.

He's been such a sleepy baby because of the anemia. Some people still comment that they've never seen his eyes!

But he's feeling better and getting older, so he's awake more often now!

Of course, he still loves sleeping on mommy or daddy's chest. And don't forget about the cats! They need love too!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Good blood = pink baby

*Noah is one month old today!!*

We spent the ENTIRE day in Chicago yesterday at Children's Memorial for his blood transfusion. We left the house at 7:15am and got home at 6:00pm. I think I slept three hours that night to top it all off, so when we got home, I was spent. Fortunately, little man let me sleep a bit last night!

Anyways, when we got there, they started an IV right away and took some blood to type and cross. It took about an hour for the blood to come down, and then they started the transfusion. The transfusion itself took about four hours, and then they sent us on our way.

Noah was SUCH a champ during the whole thing. He was so brave when they gave him the IV and barely fussed all day. Everyone loved him - he was definitely the littest one there, and probably the healthiest, thank god. So many of the other kids there were getting treatment for cancer, sickle cell, and other things like that...

We're doing good, and it seems like he shouldn't need another transfusion, but only time will tell. This website explains it better: - basically, kiddos don't start producing red blood cells until 6-8 weeks of age, but because of Noah's blood disorder, his body is destroying his RBCs too quickly, resulting in the anemia. We go back to see the specialist to follow up and have more blood work done on Dec 4th.

Thanks so much for everyone's support and well wishes! It means a lot to us!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Hemoglobin of 7.6 = blood transfusion

*Noah is 4 weeks, 1 day old.*

poor baby noah. it is just one thing after another with him. just like his mommy, he seems to have a lot of medical issues...

i took noah to the pediatrician yesterday for his follow up bloodwork to re-check his hemoglobin level. they gave me an order for additional bloodwork every week through the end of the year to get done at the lab at central dupage hospital. the ped called later and said the hemoglobin was 7.8 - down from 8.7 last week, but he didn't seem too concerned. he told me he'd forward the results to the hematologist and they'd follow up.

so the hematologist called me this morning and told me that he's concerned that the hemoglobin dropped so much in one week and that the decrease in the number of red blood cells oxygenating noah's body could be putting stress on his heart. he told me he wanted to do a blood transfusion, which was shocking, and even more shocking was that it needed to be scheduled for tomorrow!

i didn't even know what questions to ask. i was so taken aback. they had told us that transfusions were a treatment option for kids with anemia and spherocytosis, but never imagined it would be something we would have to do, much less this soon! noah's only four weeks old!

the hematologist said that even though they can't *officially* diagnose it yet, he's 95% sure that noah has spherocytosis because of the family history, his history of jaundice, and now the anemia.

what sucks is that i've lived with anemia and spherocytosis my entire life, and didn't even know i had the spherocytosis until i was 17 years old! now i have to worry about my baby having a blood transfusion already - it makes me worried that he'll have a more serious battle with the disorder and may need surgery down the road to remove his spleen and/or gall bladder. and worse, i am having immense guilt about it all, because it's hereditary on my side, and therefore my fault he's sick. i know, i know. of course it's not *really* my fault, but i just feel like - i don't know. after IVF and everything, obviously we wouldn't have done anything differently. i guess i'm just frustrated that i wasn't better prepared. i knew this disorder was hereditary, but i didn't realize it would be a 50% chance i'd pass it on, and i guess i didn't really know the implications because i've never really had any major problems with it.

anyways, PLEASE keep us in your thoughts tomorrow. i'm sure everything will be fine, it's just terrifying to think of your baby being so sick. i'm trying not to overanalyze or google too much because it just makes my mind race.

honestly, it's a very surreal experience for me. i have so many memories of my childhood - like up until age 21 or 22 - of regular visits to the, sometimes weekly, to larabida for follow up appointments with the rheumatologist, blood work, ultrasounds, therapy, and even one two week hospitalization for a drug treatment... and when we were at children's last week, it just felt so weird to be on the other side. for so many years i was the kid, and now i'm the mom. it makes my heart ache for my son, but also makes my heart ache for my mom and what she must have gone through with me for all those years. my dad wasn't the most supportive person either, so my mom was usually alone with me (and sometimes my sister) on those trips, which usually lasted all day. so thank god for ben. i can't imagine doing this alone.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bad blood, a stiff neck, and VH1

*Noah is 3 weeks, 5 days old.*

Just like mommy, Noah's going to be a pro at doctors, specialists, and bloodwork before long! Poor guy...

On Thursday, we had a consultation with the hematologist at Children's Memorial. We discussed Noah's and my medical history at length, and then Noah needed to give some blood. Those poor little heels were just starting to get better! The doctor originally wanted to see us back in 6 months for follow up blood work on both Noah and me and to possibly make a diagnosis of Hereditary Spherocytosis (HS). However, the doctor called the next day and said that Noah is anemic (hemoglobin of 8 point something - 12 is normal), and they want him to get blood work every week for a few weeks and go back to Children's in December for a follow up. Anemia is one of the main symptoms of HS and is something I've lived with my entire life. We're scheduled to see the pediatrician on Wednesday for the blood work.

Noah also had a physical therapy evaluation on Friday for his torticollis. We're doing the evals through Early Intervention. Conflict of interest? Not really - this way I can pick my therapists (call in some favors, if you will) and be on top of what's going on, plus I don't have to take Noah to a clinic full of potentially sick kids at 4 weeks old... The PT said she's going to recommend she see him monthly to check in and make sure he's getting better and not worse. She gave me a lot of tips on positioning and stretching exercises. I'm not too worried about Noah's neck at this point, but it's definitely going to be a matter of breaking bad habits that both he and we have gotten comfortable with in terms of positioning and whatnot.

Noah definitely loves to eat, sleep, and poop. Perfect storm of baby, if you ask me! He's eating about 4oz of pumped breastmilk every 3 hours or so. I try to set my alarm to wake every 3 to 3.5 hours at night, and I've often been sleeping through it (shame on me), but Noah doesn't seem to mind. He'll wake me up when he's ready to eat, and usually will sleep for 4-5 hour stretches. The 3:00am feeding is the hardest for sure, BUT there is one perk. I usually change him, feed him, get him back to sleep, and then go to the basement to pump, which used to suck... until I discovered that VH1 plays music videos in the middle of the night!!! SCORE!!! It totally makes the time fly right by, and last night, part of me almost wanted to keep watching!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day!

*Noah is 2 weeks, 6 days old.*

Today is a big, big day. Noah doesn't realize it yet, but history is about to be made, and he was a part of it!

It's MY future!!

Mommy & Noah getting ready to go!

No campaigning beyond this point. Mommy had to close her sweater to hide her Obama shirt...

Proud to be an American under President Obama!!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Baby's First Halloween!

*Noah is 2 weeks, 4 days old*

Noah's first Halloween was so much fun. Mommy bought his costume a few months ago after searching FOUR Babies R Us and Toys R Us stores to find it in a 0-3mo size, which by the way, was huge on him! First, we went to visit Mommy's office - it was so nice to see everyone, including all the other kids who were there trick or treating too!

Kari, Kaden, Noah, & Mommy

After the CFC, we went home for lunch and Grandma & Grandpa came to visit. Then we went to visit Grammy at her work. She was so happy to see us!

After Grammy's work, we went trick or treating at Grandma & Grandpa's house and Great-Grandma's house. Everyone thought Noah was the cutest monkey ever!

We then went home to pass out treats to all the neighborhood kids. We don't really know our neighbors, but they all said congrats on the baby, which we thought was so sweet. Auntie Julie & Uncle Scott came over to visit with the monkey baby.

Mommy & Daddy sure do love our little monkey!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Time flies!

*Noah is 2 weeks, 1 day old*

It's hard to believe Noah's already over two weeks old. These last few weeks have been such a blur. The hours and the days run together, and I don't know up from down, but we're trying to enjoy every second of it. I'm not going to lie - it's hard when Noah gets so upset because we don't get him food fast enough or when he won't settle down to fall back asleep after his midnight feeding, but we're learning to cope with it and survive on little sleep.

In general, things are going well. One thing that has been tough has been breastfeeding (BF). Things just didn't start off the way I had hoped, and I think it's been sort of downhill ever since.

Of course, I had imagined having him naturally, and trying to BF him immediately after he was delivered. Well - the c-section got in the way of that. I had read that as long as c-section babies are put to the breast within an hour or two after birth, they'll latch right on. Well - Noah didn't really have a good suck-swallow-breathe pattern initially, so they gave him a bottle of formula. Unfortunately, I was so out of it from the surgery and residual pain, that I wasn't as pro-active as I normally would have been, insisting on BFing and requesting the help of a lactation consultant more quickly.

Then Noah got so sick with the Jaundice, and they put the fear of god in us, saying he could only be out of the Bilibed for 15 minutes at a time. That made BFing damn near impossible, because even a bottle feeding and a diaper change alone took more than 15 minutes. In retrospect, I think I'm glad we stuck to keeping him in the Bilibed as much as we did, as opposed to pushing for more time out for him to BF, because it worked. He got well, was able to come home with us, and has continued to improve. If if the end BFing is sacrificed for his good health, then I'm fine with that.

Once we came home, I tried to exclusively BF, but after having had bottles of formula (mixed with pumped breast milk) in the hospital for nearly a week, Noah wasn't getting enough milk fast enough. He would become so frustrated and impatient waiting for the milk to let down, and once it did, he would get lazy, stop sucking, and fall asleep. We met with a lactation consultant a few days after we were discharged, who gave us some pointers on keeping him interested. It seemed like he was latching well, but was still just very lazy, so we continued to supplement with pumped milk.

I had to take a few days off BFing all together because I developed cracks and blisters (sorry TMI!), and the pain of trying to feed Noah was excruciating. I know he sensed my agony, because he would become agitated. I pumped exclusively for a few days, and we saw a lactation consultant again this past Monday. She gave me some pointers on caring for the cracks and blisters, and suggested I use a nipple shield and continue pumping to supplement.

Noah still gets frustrated and lazy when I try to BF, which is frustrating for me because I know he is the way he is because we weren't able to start things off the way I wanted. I know even just the pumped milk is better than nothing, but in a way I feel like I'm letting everyone down, including myself. BFing is *SO* much harder than I ever imagined it would be. Even after taking a class and reading up on it, things happen that are out of your control, and I realize that, but I really wanted it to work, and now I'm not so sure I have it in me.

One week old, and Noah already found his thumb!

On the upswing, Noah is gaining weight, so we know he's getting enough food! He's up to 8lbs, 12oz and 21.5in! His head size is in the 95th percentile - he's definitely got his daddy's noggin! We saw the pediatrician again yesterday. He wrote us orders for an ultrasound of Noah's hips because he was breech. I mentioned to the doctor that Noah likes to keep his head tipped to one side, and the doctor said he thinks it's torticolis, and suggested we have Noah evaluated by a physical therapist and also get an x-ray of his neck. Poor baby Noah. Like daddy said, how can you be so healthy and have so many problems?? (I think it's just because he's my son...)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Oh what a week it's been...

*Noah is 8 days old*

I know I said I would keep the blog updated, but damn - who knew how exhausted I would be between no sleep and breastfeeding and pumping every few hours...

We've been home since Sunday, and Noah is doing really well. He had severe jaundice when we were in hospital - so much so, the neonatologist was talking to us about the NICU and brain damage. He was in the Bilibed for phototherapy from mid-day Thursday until Sunday morning. They had talked to us about him not being discharged at the same time, but fortunately, his bilirubin levels were coming down consistently enough that he was able to come home with us.

We've been to the pediatrician twice since he came home, and his bilirubin had continued to come down. We can still see that he's yellow in his face, but he's definitely looking MUCH better than he did when the jaundice was at it's worst. The pediatrician and neonatologist think Noah may have the same blood disorder I do, which is called Hereditary Spherocytosis. Because it's hereditary, there's basically a 50/50 chance he has it, but it can't be diagnosed until he's a bit older. We've been referred to Children's Memorial Hospital to see a hematologist for a consultation.

I'm working on uploading some more pictures, but in the meantime, here's a link to some pictures my father-in-law took while we were in the hospital. Enjoy!!'sFirstPhotos/

Friday, October 17, 2008

New Pictures!!

We've had a busy couple of days, so I apologize for the lack of updates. I'll post a bit later with ALL the info. For now, just know that Noah is doing great, despite having pretty significant jaundice. Poor little man can only come out of his light bed to feed, so we're missing giving him lots of hugs, but there's always the rest of his life for that! For now, enjoy a few pictures of our little (yellow) bug!

The very first time I held Noah in the OR recovery room.
Mommy & Noah in our room
Noah in his Bilibed.
Chubby cheeks!!
Daddy and Noah eating lunch today.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Noah Taylor Koechling

Noah Taylor Koechling
Born 2:55pm
October 15, 2008

8lbs. 8oz.
19 1/4 inches

Mom and baby are both doing well. Mom's recovering from her C-section surgery. It took a lot more out of her than we both expected. Between all of the emotions, the lost sleep from the night before, and the physical scars we're both pretty exhausted.

Thanks for all the well wishes and words of kindness! We look forward to visiting with you guys soon!


Well, Dr. Carroll came in for an exam about 20 minutes ago and did an ultrasound (at the nurse's urging). She was convinced that Baby K was breach. Well, ultrasound confirmed that she was right. (I told her that's why she gets the big bucks!)

Anyway, I am furiously typing since I need to change into my scrubs. We're headed upstairs to the operating room!

Baby is absoultely healthy, no problems, only problem is we have been talking to his butt for the last 9 months or so! lol

Anyway, it will be at least 4 hours at the earliest before we will be able to see anybody. won't really have the blog to update either, i'll have my cellphone and will be able to contact julie though!

Thanks for all the support!!!


finally - progress!


i didn't sleep much last night. i got the cervidil at 7:00pm and had to lay flat on my back until 9:00. around 11:00, i got lunesta to help me sleep. unfortunately, i really only got four hours of good sleep before i started waking frequently with minor contractions. it felt like really bad menstural cramps, and my hips and lower back were burning with pain. i got another stretch of sleep (maybe an hour an a half) this morning, before the nurse woke me up at 6:00am to remove the cervidil. i took that opportunity to take a hot shower and wash my hair. i felt a lot better after that.

around 6:40, the nurse started my IVF antibiotics, fluids, and pitocin. i started feeling milder contractions that i'd felt before. it was at this point that i started to freak out a little bit.

this is really happening. TODAY.

around 8:15, dr. carroll came to check in on me. he checked my cervix, and while i suffered in pain, he told me it would be my worst exam ever. thank god it can't get worse... anyways, in the end, it was a good exam. the exam broke my water, and he said i was 3-4cm dialated and about 70% effaced (thinned).

now that my water is broken, i'm *definitely* feeling much stronger contractions. (just had one.) i'm doing my breathing from my L&D class, and for now it's helping. i'm not going to try to be a hero either - i'm asking for the epidural as soon as i think i really need it (being in mind that it usually takes a big of time for the anesthesiologist to show up).

i should mention too that the doctor said that it looks like there's meconium in the fluid, and it's probably because i'm past my due date. (meconium is the baby's first bowel movement that usually they're not supposed to make until after delivery.) the neonatologist will be present during delivery just to make sure baby's okay and hasn't aspirated, or breathed in, the meconium.

so that's where we're at for now. thanks for all the well wishes we've received. we truly appreciate everyone's thoughts being with us today! stay tuned!!

The Home Stretch...

*41 weeks*

Be kind, this is my first blog post... EVER!

We're at the hospital, and it's late, but I wanted to get an update out there for everyone. Well to call it an update really isn't fair since there's really no news other than... we're here and things are going fine. We're basically just hanging out and waiting. Julie and Scott stopped by for a couple hours and helped us pass the time. Julie made us laugh and the nurse came in to tell us to knock off all the noise we were making check and make sure everything was alright. I'll have photos of Julie's antics in another update.

The nurse told us that the pitocin will be administered around 6:30am. I really have no idea how quickly things will go from that point. I guess we'll have to wait and see. Well, I need to get some sleep. Here's a picture of us shortly after we arrived.

Monday, October 13, 2008

It's official!

*40 weeks, 6 days*

I'm being admitted to the hospital tomorrow at 5pm!! Woohoo!!

We had another NST today and the baby did great. I even had a few contractions during the test (again, could've fooled me...) Still nothing happening with my cervix, but the doctor feels like it's time to induce, which is okay by me!

So, I just got the call that labor and delivery is expecting me at 5pm on Tuesday evening. The doctor said they'll draw some blood and get an IV going. I need to get IV antibiotics started right away because I tested positive for group-B strep, which can be harmful to the baby if not treated during labor. Then the nurses will administer the Cervidil, which will help my cervix thin out and dialate and will also start contractions. The doctor said they'll also give me something to help me sleep tomorrow night - hallelujah! Wednesday morning, they'll start the Pitocin, which will strengthen the contractions and hopefully get things moving!

Stay tuned for updates!!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Random thoughts

*40 weeks, 5 days* - 3 days to induction!!

It's been a lazy weekend at the Koechling house. I think I showered on Saturday at about 6:30pm, and today we lounged around watching the Bears lose AGAIN in the 4th quarter. Tonight, we had a "date night" - probably our last for awhile, though we've promised each other we'll still try to take time for ourselves even after the baby comes. We did dinner and a movie, and it was a lot of fun.

It's so weird to think that a week from now our lives will be completely different forever. We stopped at Target tonight and bought a 0-3 month Bears outfit for the baby because it occured to us - he'll be watching the game with us next weekend! Well - we'll be watching (if we can stay awake), and he'll probably be sleeping, eating, or crying. Regardless, he'll be here, in our house, in our arms...

It's starting to freak me out a little bit. It's been SO surreal up to this point. It's been such a long process to get here, and now, after almost three long years since we started this journey, our child - our son - is going to be born in just a few days.

I've watched friends and coworkers have their children over the last few years, and now it's my turn, and I'm scared and thrilled all at the same time. I'm absolutely terrified of the unknown that is childbirth. I'm going to stay as laid back, relaxed, and calm as possible, but I know that induction might not be an easy process and could very well end in a c-section, which is NOT what I had hoped for. But I know that the doctor will do what's best for me and the baby.

In the end, however he's delivered, our little boy will be here. I've dreamed for so long of meeting him for the first time, seeing him with his daddy, seeing the reactions on the faces of the family and friends who have been by our sides on this journey, and who will love and spoil this child just as much as we will. The thought of the first time I see him and the first time I hold him - it brings tears to my eyes. It's almost hard to believe that this is actually, *finally* happening to me!

The girls on my IVF message board have said that seeing their husbands with their newborns has made them fall in love all over again, and I believe it, but I don't necessarily need to see Ben with his son to fall in love all over again (though I KNOW that will melt my heart).

Throughout this process - well, words really cannot describe how grateful I am and how lucky I feel to have such an amazing husband. While no relationship is perfect - of course, we frequently have our disagreements and we've defintely had our share of nasty screaming matches - I truly could not imagine going through the rest of my life with anyone else.

Ben has been my rock. The two years of trying to conceive resulting in heartbreak month after month... the mood swings and emotions of the fertility drugs... the intense regiment of shots, appointments, and procedures... I don't wish our struggles on anyone, but I still can say that I am stronger from this experience, and without a doubt I know that our relationship is stronger too.

I know I haven't always been easy to deal with during treatment and during the pregnancy, but Ben has loved me unconditionally and always made me feel that everything will be alright. He's missed maybe two doctors appointments from the start - once because of work and once because I told him it was okay to not come (I think he was entrenched in yard work). He told me tonight that he has looked forward to and been excited about every appointment, and you have to understand - most appointments during the pregnancy last all of 15 minutes for the doctor to measure my belly and listen to the baby's heartbeat for about 10 seconds. My point is that I am so grateful for his support and involvement. I am so lucky that he is my husband, and even luckier that he is the father of my son.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The end is near

*40 weeks, 3 days* (though I originally typed 50, instead of 40...)

I'm still pregnant! Yep. This little one is super comfy inside of me and is showing no interested in making his grand entry into the world! But never fear - the end is *officially* in sight!

Yesterday, we went back to the doctor for a non-stress test (NST). They hooked me up to some equipment that monitored the baby's heart rate and whether there were any contractions, and I pressed a button every time I felt him move. I'd been instructed to eat something sugary beforehand, and they gave me candy when I got there to get him (and keep him) moving. He passed with flying colors! His heart rate was spot on - Ben said it would go up when he would move - and the doctor said I even had a contraction during the test. Could have fooled me!

So we passed the test, meaning the baby's still thriving and the placenta's still doing it's job. The doctor then measured my belly (still growing) and checked my cervix (still high and closed, but "starting to soften"), and informed me that not much has changed. Duh.

I go back again on Monday (40w, 6d). We're going to do another NST, and the doctor will check my cervix again. Assuming I'm still pregnant at that point, he basically said we'll start the induction process on Tuesday night. I was unclear as to whether the process starts at the office or the hospital. Basically, he'll insert a gel that will help "ripen" my cervix - hopefully getting things moving along, so that Wednesday morning, they can start pitocin, thereby starting contractions.

SO - finally, I feel like the end is in sight. Wednesday, October 15th is it, though I'm not lying to myself in thinking he'll be BORN on the 15th. I'm thinking it'll be the 16th, because I don't see things moving very quickly, given my current state... And I *really* don't see anything happening naturally between now and then. I'm not normally a pessimist, but nothing's happened to this point... Though I was having the weirdest nesting yesterday - I was on a mission to find back massagers and very specific Halloween decorations......

Now we just need to settle on a name for this child...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Due-day!

*40 weeks*

Yes, people. Today is my official due date, there's no two ways about it. There was no "estimating" where this one's concerned. Our son was conceived, albeit in a laboratory, exactly 38 weeks ago today, making today my undeniable due date. I know the day's not over yet, but...

I went back to the doctor yesterday, again not expecting much, as I'm still not having any contractions and have very little in the way of pressure "down there". He checked my cervix, and still - nothing. It's closed and high. No progress, whatsoever.

I had gone in thinking I was absolutely NOT going to leave without an end date - either a date for induction or c-section. At this point, I just want this kid out! But alas, I did not win that battle. I asked the doctor for a "game plan". He told me that me and the baby are healthy and doing well, which PLEASE don't get me wrong. I am so grateful that I have had an awesome pregnancy and that this little man is healthy and strong, especially after everything we went through to get to this point. However, I am physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausted. I'm am uncomfortable, restless, emotional... and never in my life have I had so much anticipation for anything. The waiting is torturous! (I'm sure I'm preaching to the choir!)

So I go back on Thursday (40 week, 2 days) for a non-stress test, where they'll basically hook me up to a fetal heartrate monitor for 30 minutes or so to monitor his heartrate and movement. If all goes well (which I anticipate it will), I'm guessing I go back on Monday (40 weeks, 6 days) for another checkup. Perhaps I'll get lucky and Thursday the doctor will finally take pity on me... I'm not holding my breath.

Here's the latest belly pic from 38 weeks, 1 day:

Yes, I'm huge.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Still pregnant

*39 weeks, 1 day* - 6 days til our due date......

So yep. I'm still pregnant. Doctor's visit on Monday was uneventful. I wasn't expecting much, so I guess I was prepared for what I heard. He checked my cervix for the first time. He told me my cervix is closed and said I'm "doing great". Not sure *great* is the word I would use, but okay. I didn't even think to ask whether I was effaced at all, or how long he would let me go past my due date before inducing...

My BP and baby's heart rate are still perfect. I actually gained 2.5 pounds this week, after not having gained any weight in three weeks. Weird, right? It's not like I've eaten any differently this week... I am happy that me and baby continue to be healthy. I feel like crap, but for what it's worth, I am glad that my body is not giving up on us. I'd rather be induced for going late than for my or the baby's health being compromised.

Sleep is a struggle. I'm so uncomfortable in the evenings, and it's very hard to get comfortable in bed. I can't flip from one side to the other very easily, yet I need to switch sides frequently. I get up 3-4 times a night to pee, and I'm surprised I haven't wiped out yet. I stumble to the bathroom every night without turning the light on, and usually have to manuever over a cat or two and all their toys...

Motiviation is also an issue. Because I'm not sleeping well, it's really hard to get going in the morning. Part of it too is that going to work feels like such a waste of time at this point. I have so little to do that I dread going. I had originally planned to start my leave this coming Monday, but I'd *hate* to start leave without a little man to enjoy it with... What if he doesn't come for two more weeks, and then I've "wasted" two weeks of leave?? (Bear in mine, my "leave" is comprised of vacation, personal, and sick time I've saved over the last two years, since I was denied for short- and long-term disability coverage.)

Soon enough, I know. I KNOW he'll be here sooner than later. I've made it this far - it's felt like a freaking eternity and in the grand scheme of things, these last few days are like seconds! But the anticipation is KILLING me!!!

I just so want to meet this amazing little miracle boy that we fought so hard for. It's amazing to feel such love and adoration for someone you've never met, and I just know that we will be overcome with emotion when he's finally here. I used to daydream about the day I'd get engaged, the day I'd get married, and the day I'd learn I was pregnant. Now I daydream about the moment I lay my eyes on my son.... The thought gives me chills, and it will be real in mere days! (BUT WHEN?!?!?!?)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Who knew?

*37 weeks, 5 days - only 16 days to go!*

I've heard the complaints about the last few weeks of pregnancy, but I swore that once I got pregnant - after everything - there wouldn't be a single complaint out of me, and I think I did a pretty good job of sticking to that.

Well, that was before I hit right around 36.5 weeks...

I have SUCH guilt for my complaining, when I have dear friends who are still struggling to conceive. I am so grateful to be pregnant, albeit in such an uncomfortable - strike that - miserable place at this moment. My son is growing inside of me, which still freaking boggles my mind. And he could be here at any moment!!

But in the meantime, blech! My belly hurts - I feel like my skin might rip right off. My hips, knees, and ankles are succumbing to the added pounds. My back aches all. the. time. I am chronically uncomfortable, and I don't know how else to explain it. I want him out!!

I talk to him every day and tell him how much mommy and daddy and his furry brothers want to meet him (well, at least mommy and daddy do). I ask him what he's waiting for and what I can do to bribe him to come out. I promise hugs and kisses and lots of love from lots of people. But I got nothing. People keep saying "he'll come when he's ready". Well, what about me??? I'm ready now!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Bouncy baby

*36 weeks, 6 days*

As I type this, my son, the monkey, is bouncing off the walls. The uterine walls, that is. I think he's about as ready to get out as I am ready to get him out!

We saw the doctor again today. My BP is still normal, baby's heart rate is still good, and I'm growing and gaining weight appropriately. And that's all. The doctor said he won't check my cervix until 39 weeks, which I'm kind of happy about, because I've heard how painful that can be, BUT part of me would kind of like to know if there's anything going on in there....

I think I'm growing especially anxious because babies seems to be popping up (or out) everywhere. First, Ben's cousin's wife, then my friend Jodi, then one of the therapists I work with, plus two ladies from my IVF message board, and one of Mar & Chris's friends, all in the last few weeks!! Julie's friend Lisa is expecting twins and could go any day, but I keep telling her she has to wait because I'm due first!!

And so we continue to wait. We're trying to be patient, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and it's making it really hard!!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

McCain/Palin Oh-Never

Okay - so I said I was going to post this later, and I guess later is now. I wound up posting this to a Pregnant after IVF message board that I'm on, so I'm just going to cut and paste. Hopefully my thought process is clear. I encourage comments and communication on this one. I *strongly* believe in being a well-informed and educated voter. I apologize in advance that this is sort of lengthy and rambling...


i am a die hard democrat from illinois and have been a proud obama supporter from the first time i saw him speak at the DNC four years ago. i've been really interested in politics since college and the debacle of 2000, when i actually lived with two GWB supporters, who both realized the errors of their ways and i believe voted dem in 2004. :)

my first reactions to the announcement that palin was mccain's running mate were 1) wow, he picked a woman (intrigue), and 2) wow, he picked a woman (disgust). disgust quickly won out on intrigue. in my opinions, mccain is playing a game- he's trying to reach out to the undecided female voters who may be uninformed, naive, or (for lack of a better term) ignorant. i don't mean that as a slam again women - i mean that, in general, i think americans are ignorant and uninformed as it pertains to politics. i think a lot of people align themselves with their politics and beliefs for the wrong reasons. they think "she's a woman/a mom/a parent of a child with special needs - she's going to fight for me", and that's the end of it. they don't look at her record - having cut funding for special education and sex education in alaska, for starters. in my opinions, this "game" that mccain is playing is a slap in the fact to women. maybe i'm looking into it too much, but as the days wear on, it makes me more and more angry that mccain thinks women are going to bite at his bait.

the only night of the RNC i watched was the night palin spoke, because yes, i was still a little bit intrigued. i don't necessarily want to say she shouldn't have accepted the nomination because she's a mother, or because her son has down syndrome, or because her daughter's pregnant, but putting myself in her shoes, i can't imagine having five kids, a very young child who will have a lifetime of special needs, and a grandchild on the way, and thinking this is a good time to advance my career. i know everyone has their own goals and priorities, and i don't necessary slam her for doing so, i just know that if i were in her position, i don't think the timing would be right.

so anyways, i watched her speech just to see what she was all about. i wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, even though there was no way they were getting my vote.

when she played the special needs card, my jaw fell on the floor and i'm sure my blood pressure went through the roof. this is what she said: "To the families of special-needs children all across this country, I have a message: For years, you sought to make America a more welcoming place for your sons and daughters. I pledge to you that if we are elected, you will have a friend and advocate in the White House." so says the woman who over that last few years has cut special ed funding by 62% in alaska!

i am a service coordinator for the early intervention (birth to three) program in illinois. i have a number of families on my caseload who have children with down syndrome among other devastating developmental and medical disabilities. i also have a coworker who has a son with down syndrome. it pains me to think that palin is trying to reach out to parents of children with special needs to serve her own purpose. her record shows, as does the republican record, that they don't serve these populations. they repeatedly cut funding for social services and disability services. now don't get me wrong - the democrats aren't always great on this one either. the state of illinois has raked us over the coals the past few years, and cut funding for EI and DD services, which is sickening, but the dems have historically been far more likely to support our cause than the GOP ever has.

again, i feel like it's a game they're playing. they're playing to women who want to see a female in one of the nation's highest positions. they're playing to parents of children with special needs who want to desperately believe that the government will step up and start taking better care of their children.

i just hope upon hope that mccain loses this game he's playing. for the sake of my unborn son, this country needs to change. we cannot keep going in the direction we are going. for better or worse, experienced or not, obama gives me hope. it makes me ache. it makes me feel proud to be an american for the first time in a very VERY long time. i want so much more, so much better for my son. i know i've had a good life and i've been able to overcome a lot of struggles and pain, but my goal is to still give my son better than i had. i want him to live in a world that's safer and more peaceful than the one i've lived in. i want him to be proud of who he is and where he's from. i want him to be able to believe so strongly in something that he someday feels the same ache that i feel. i have to stay hopeful that we will win and change will come, because i fear nothing more at this time in my life than mccain winning the white house. i fear it for myself, my son, my family and friends. something needs to happen to turn this country around, and i know for certain that that something is not john mccain.

so that's my two cents. hopefully my passion and my point were clear.

Home stretch

*35 weeks, 4 days - only 31 days to go!*

It's been awhile since I've posted, so I'll apologize in advance for the long post!

I cannot believe this is actually almost over! These past few weeks have dragged, and I know the next few will as well, but I know the end is in sight, and that both excites the hell out of me and terrifies the hell out of me.

I've started getting "nervous" recently. I'm a little nervous about labor and the pain and everything that goes along with that (though I'm getting an epidural as soon as humanly possible), but I'm more nervous about taking care of the babe and of how my body's going to react, post-pregnancy. My arthritis has generally been in remission thoughout my pregnancy, which has been amazing. The pain I have from time to time is annoying, but tolerable. My fear is that I'll become so debilitated that I'll struggle to move and to take care of the baby. I'm also afraid of whether I'll be able to breastfeed, knowing that I'll have to go back on some form of medication within a few weeks after he arrives. I have an appointment to see my rheumatologist at the end of October, and at that time, he said he'll probably put me on a low dose of steroids (I'm assuming Prednisone, which I've taken once before). He said a low dose will help me feel better and will also be safe for the baby to continue breastfeeding. However, I recently read that steroids can reduce the amount of milk that's produced, which I know can be a frustrating experience as well, from my friend Kari who experienced a reduction in her milk after having to take Vicodin (or something like that) for kidney stones. I know I shouldn't worry about it and just play things by ear, but I can't push it out of my mind...

In general, I'm still feeling pretty good. My hips have been hurts a lot again lately. When I wake up in the morning and again at the end of the day, I just feel like they're going to pop right out of socket. I know that's normal, but I wonder if it's worse for me because of the arthritis. All I know is that it's making it really hard to get comfortable and fall asleep at night. My nights are hit or miss these days. Some nights I sleep really well and some, not at all. Of course, I have to get up 2, 3, 4 times a night to pee...

I'm also starting to hit a phase of heartburn and gas, which SUCKS! I'm taking rolaids, which helps a little, and trying to watch what kinds of foods I eat, but it isn't really helping. I know it all just comes with the territory...

Baby K's latest thing is HICCUPS!!! For the past two weeks or so, he gets hiccups everyday. Sometimes just once a day. Last Saturday, it was FOUR times! It's the weirdest feeling that can really only be described as a very rhythmic "flick" from the inside. Last Sunday morning, I lost count at 110 - they go on for minutes and are very consistent. I always feel them low and on the right side.

Baby's still moving up as much as he can in his cramped quarters. He's getting LONG. I can tell by the foot that lives in my right ribcage. I can sometimes push on it, and he'll move it, but other times, he's stubborn and refuses. The doctor says he is head down, and I can sometimes feel what I'm guessing are arms or elbows poking me on both sides.

My belly's still measuring on target. I've officially gained 20 pounds, and I can definitely appreciate that it's all boobs and belly! Hopefully that'll make it easier to lose the weight after baby comes. The last few appointments we've had have been non-eventful. My blood pressure is consistently perfect and the baby's heartrate is consistently in the 140s! I'm still having pretty regular swelling in my left foot and ankle, but the doctor's not worried about it, since that's really the only swelling I have. I think my left knee was a little swollen last night, but I wonder if that's from being pregnant or from the weather.

We are moving right along on our "to-do" list. We've officially signed up with Viacord to store the baby's cord blood, and I received the collection kit a few days ago. We've also applied for life insurance. We have to have bloodwork, urine, and a medical history done now before the underwriter will approve our app. We still need to pick a pediatrician. I have a short list of people to contact, but work has been insanely busy for me the past two weeks, so I'm *hoping* to call some docs this week. We also still need to meet with the lawyer to write a will. I need to pack a bag for the hospital, and yes, we STILL need to pick a name for this kiddo! I promise, he will have a name by the time he's born!

I definitely wanted to post my reaction to the whole Sarah Palin thing... blech... but I'm not going to go into that now. I definitely have a few things to say about her and the games that John McCain is playing. Let's just say that, as a woman, a mother, and someone who works with the special needs population, I am sickened by what the republican candidates are trying to do and by how ignorant and naive they think female voters are. More on that later...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Not so lazy after all

*33 weeks, 5 days*

It was a very productive weekend. I got tons of baby laundry done and put away. I worked on cleaning and organizing the nursery (still a work in progress, but getting closer). AND, most impressively, today I put together the swing and high chair by myself! Yes, I'm awesome. Here are some pictures of my handiwork...

The Eddie Bauer high chair from a group of girls at work. Bear's checking out the newest piece of furniture in the dining room...

I was amazed at how easy this thing was to put together! Now we just need batteries and it'll be up and running.

I realized I never posted a picture of the dresser after it was delivered. Here it is with the new changing pad and super soft blue cover on top:

I'm pretty happy with how my organizing is going, particularly with the closet. Everything actually has a place, and we haven't quite run out of room yet! Note the plethora of diapers up top. I'm definitely feeling good about my diaper situation now.

We've got about six weeks to go, and I'm beginning to think we *might* actually be ready when he gets here!!

Lazy Sunday

*33 weeks, 5 days*

I'm feeling good these day - I feel so lucky that this pregnancy has been so easy. I'm not having any Braxton-Hicks contractions that I'm aware of. I mean, maybe it's like feeling the baby move in the beginning - it's happening but you just don't know what you're feeling...? I don't know. He moves a lot and sometimes I wonder what I'm feeling, but I'm pretty certain I haven't felt any contractions yet...

My back and hips are doing okay. I had a phase where they hurt like crazy, but maybe my hips have stopped "spreading" or whatever they're supposed to do. I bought a pregnancy belt or maternity belt or whatever they're called the other day at Motherhood Maternity, along with a few tops that were on clearance since the non-maternity tops that have been a staple in my wardrobe have pretty much reached their limit. I've yet to wear the maternity belt yet, but I think I'm going to try wearing it to work because I tend to have back and rib pain towards the end of the work day and in the evening. It's supposed to support the belly to reduce back pain, so we'll see! My fingers are crossed.

The third trimester has been pretty kind to me. I get tired but NOT the way I did in the first trimester, which is what I was expecting. Actually, I think nesting is starting to kick in. I'm in clean-organize-finish getting ready mode, for sure. I met with my boss on Friday to talk "maternity leave" (not technically ML since I don't have any disability coverage, bastards) and I'm officially taking 14 weeks off, almost nearly all paid due to having saved up vacation and sick time for the last two years... I made a "to-do" list and assigned responsibilities to each of us: calling the insurance agent re: life insurance (Ben), calling the lawyer re: writing a will (Ben), enrolling with a cord blood bank (both of us), choosing a pediatrician (me), packing a bag for the hospital (me), and PICKING A NAME FOR THIS KID (both of us, but mainly Ben - I have a list of *possibilities* now he needs to make one so we can pow-wow and come up with something). Lots of pretty urgent matters that still need attending to, so it's going to be a busy next six weeks...

At home, nesting *definitely* took control yesterday. I should have been exhausted because my mom and I went to the Cubs game (they won 9-2 - WOOHOO!!) and then went to Babies R Us afterwards to pick up a few things (changing table pad and covers, bassinet sheets, and a baby book to name a few). I got home and immediately took everything into the nursery and decided I needed to do laundry.... I did baby laundry all. night. long. I felt so productive and I can't wait to finish the laundry today. I think I'll finally have the nursery organized by the end of the day today, and that is an awesome feeling! Now I just need to finish my shower thank you cards and clean and organize the rest of the house.....

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

August so far

*33 weeks, 1 day*

It's been a little while since I've posted last, because I've been SO busy. Between August 1st and August 8th, I worked almost 70 hours in preparation for my much needed and deserved vacation to Piatt Lake. I had an OB appointment on 8/7 to basically get the okay to go away on vacation to the middle of nowhere, where the nearest hospital was an hour away, and not a very good hospital at that. Thankfully, there were no crises so I didn't have to worry about it!! At the appt, the doctor said things were still looking good - my BP is perfect, baby's heart rate's still in the 140s, and I'm measuring on target.

Vacation was delightful. The weather was the nicest I've ever experienced up there - sunny and warm every single day! I think it maybe rained once and it was while I was still in bed... We did a lot of nothing. I floated in the lake almost every day, played card games, ate a lot of food, and watched the Cubs and the Olympics in the evening. It was just nice to get a break from the grind of work and the stressors that come along with preparing for baby.

Ben & I enjoyed our last night at the cabin

My first day back to work was my baby shower there! It was great. The girls really did a great job - the food was delicious!! I got tons of goodies - finally some diapers, wipes, and bottles so my kid can poop freely and won't starve!! We are really so grateful for all the amazing and supportive people in our lives. I know I couldn't have gotten through everything without each and every one of them...

Kari, me, & Megan at my shower

The afternoon of 8/18 was another OB appt. Same as usual - great BP, heart rate still in the 140s, measuring well. I'm up about 18lbs, and by what I've read should gain about a pound a week from here on out, putting my total post-IVF weight gain at 25lbs. I feel good for the most part. Now it's just little discomforts that are starting to get to me, such as chronic constipation (I know, TMI - sorry) and the swelling in my left foot.

The baby moves like crazy all the time, and he seems to be the most active when we're laying in bed at night. It makes me laugh, because I try to imagine what body part is doing what, and how hard Baby K must be trying to get comfy. He pokes a lot on my left side when I'm laying on my right, so Ben rests his hand and just waits. It's usually not very long before the antics begin!

We still feel like we have SO much to do... Our priorities now are (really in no particular order) 1) finding a pediatrician - I have a few in mind, I just need to "interview" them, 2) getting life insurance and writing a will - I lump those together because they're so of the "legal" matters that need tending to, and 3) deciding on a cord blood bank and registering - I think we've pretty much decided to spend the money and bank the baby's cord blood... technology is an amazing thing as we've already beared witness to, so we think it's totally worth the cost.

There are a few other things on the "to do" list of course, such as finish cleaning and organizing the nursery, packing a bag for the hospital, and you know, maybe NAMING the kid... yeah, we're still working on that one!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Miscellaneous ramblings

*29 weeks, 6 days*

We had an OB appointment today, and everything's still looking good. Baby K's heartbeat was right around 140bpm, and my blood pressure and weight are looking good. It doesn't seem like there's going to be anything to worry about, but I'm going back next week for one last visit before we go on vacation. I'm not super worried about it, but there is a little anxiety about being an hour from the nearest hospital, one which I'm pretty sure does not have a higher level NICU. I know the chances are slim of anything happening, but I know a girl from my Pregnant after IVF message board whose water just broke last Friday at 29 weeks, 2 days. She's due the day after me, and now she's sitting in the hospital on strict bedrest trying to keep her little man inside as long as possible... She was having a great pregnancy until her water broke, and it just goes to show that anything can happen at any time...

Anyways, the nursery is coming along very nicely. I love to just sit in there and take it all in, and now we can sit in comfort, because our Glider and Ottoman are here!! The dresser that matches the crib is coming on Friday, and we also bought a dresser from IKEA to put in the closet for extra storage.

The cats have been so good, and I know they're starting to notice that something's going on. Of course they love anything new and, for better or worse, have to check it all out. It's hard to get too mad at these sweet boys...

Toby loves the crib, but Bear is too old to get in.

They love the new glider, and the easy access it gives them to the window!

Ben and I finished our Labor & Delivery classes at CDH. We learned *all* about the stages of labor, breathing and relaxation methods, etc. We got a tour of the L&D and Mother/Baby units, which I was familiar with, but it was all new to Ben and he was quite impressed. We have a Breastfeeding class coming up next week, and I'm thinking about taking the Infant Care class as well. It would be a good refresher for me I think and good for Ben too, as I want him to feel as confident and knowledgeable as possible. Ben has also said that he's going to have a carseat installation "party" for his parents, my mom, & I so we can all learn how to properly install the carseat in our cars.

Not much else going on... I can't WAIT for vacation!! I need it in a bad way. :)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Miracle

*29 weeks, 4 days*

To my little boy:

"Before you were conceived, I wanted you.
Before you were born, I loved you.
Before you were here an hour, I would give my life for you.
This is the miracle of love." -Maureen Hawkins

Friday, July 25, 2008

The nursery finally takes shape!!

*29 weeks, 3 days*

It's late and I really should be in bed, but I'm SO excited to report that our nursery is *finally* starting to become a nursery. Our crib, car seat, and stroller all came today, and of course, we set up the crib as soon as we got home from work. It went really quickly, which made Ben happy because he didn't have to spend all night on it, and it made me happy because it meant I would be able to make the bed and dress up the room a bit.

Our dresser still has to be delivered and will come in the next few days, and our glider is in at the Babies R Us in Schaumburg so we're going to pick that up this weekend. Once all the furniture's in the room, I think we will *finally* be able to get organized and make the room perfect!!

Here's what we have so far...

The view from the hallway

The completed crib!

Close up of the Cubs mobile that plays part of "Take me out to the Ballgame"

Monday, July 21, 2008

Baby Shower

*28 weeks, 6 days*

Yesterday was our baby shower, and it was awesome! I was so overwhelmed the moment I walked in, and I don't even think I was able to take it all in... The food, the friends, the games, the books, the gifts... Everyone went above and beyond, and we feel so amazingly lucky to have so many people who love us and our son so much!

I need to thank everyone who played a part in the planning and coordination of the event. I'm so used to being the party PLANNER, so I know how much work everyone must have put into the shower. I wish I could thank everyone individually, but I don't know who all did what. I don't even know what to say to my sister, other than THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!! It was incredible, and I can imagine how much you must have put into making the shower amazing. I hope you know how much we appreciate everything you've done for us and your & Scott's neverending support.

Sarah went above and beyond on the sweets table. It was all fantastic, and we definitely appreciate all your hours of hard work! My mother-in-law and sister set up photo displays of Ben & I as kids and our friends & family as kids, as well as Baby K's ultrasound pictures. Our friends orchestrated the Dirty Diaper game, the Who will do it? game, and the Clean & Dress the Baby game, which were all so much fun! And if you still want in on the pool (guess the baby's birth date, weight & length), it costs a buck and I'll put you down on the calendar!

Baby K made out with a LOT of goodies, and Ben and I spent most of last night going through everything and taking it all in! We went through all the books, and believe it or not, there were only one or two duplicates!! I was shocked! Now we just need to get this kiddo a bookshelf for his new library!

We ordered Baby K's crib and dresser today from Pottery Barn Kids and will hopefully have it by the end of the week! I'm super excited! I think we're going to go ahead and buy the crib mattress this week so we can set everything up when the furniture arrives. We also heard from Babies R Us last week that our glider came into the distribution center and will be in the Schaumburg store in 7-14 days! Woohoo! It looks like our nursery may *finally* start coming together.

Today, Ben & I are just hanging out. Like I said, we ordered our funiture, and I think we may make a run to Target & maybe BRU today. I think we're going to use our plethora of Target giftcards to buy our carseat & stroller. Plus, we have a 10% off coupon to Target!! We're also hoping to see The Dark Knight today, thought it's almost 1:00 and neither of us has showered yet....

Thanks again to everyone for everything! We are the luckiest mommy and daddy-to-be!

Friday, July 18, 2008


What do you think? I think he kind of looks like Ben if you compare these two pictures...