Thursday, April 17, 2014

Pregnancy Update: Into the 3rd Trimester We Go!

As of today there are 75 days left until Plus One is due to make his arrival. I am 29 weeks pregnant, and thus just at the beginning of the my third trimester. That means two-thirds of this pregnancy is already behind me, which is just madness.

My 28-week belly picture, in Gainesville this past weekend

One of my biggest issues right now is not feeling ready. Like, AT ALL. Nothing is purchased, nothing is set up, nothing is ready to go. I mean, logically I know that we have the basics of what we need - if he came home tomorrow, he would have clothes to wear (thanks to Molly for the hand-me-downs!), food to eat (that's my department), a place to sleep (we did pick up a Rock-N-Play on Amazon for cheap, though it's still in the box), and I'm sure there's a drugstore between here and the hospital where we could pick up diapers. So the child is hardly going to be freezing and starving in a cardboard box or anything like that.

But a couple of weeks ago, my nesting urge kicked in HARD. I just woke up one morning and all of a sudden, I wanted to CLEAN AND ORGANIZE ALL THE THINGS. I do not exaggerate here; I mean ALL the things. Kitchen cabinets, closets, the works. And that says nothing of the work that needs to be done to prepare our bedroom for baby's arrival: cleaning, sorting, organizing, furniture-rearranging, acquiring/assembling/arranging of baby furniture, etc., etc. Unfortunately, my energy level does not match my ambition, so despite my great intentions my plans are getting off to a slow start. Plus, we've had a pretty busy April. I worry about leaving much until June (in case of an early arrival), which means I have declared May to be "Do Not Do Anything Fun, Only Prepare For The Baby" Month. In addition to nursery/baby supply prep, we also need to do things like tour the hospital and interview doulas (I'm SO SAD I can't use my same doula as last time, because she was/is amazing!) and things like that. It's all going to be super fun!

At the very least, we do have a nursery theme decided on, and I have craft projects in the works. I think we have furniture picked out, too, it's just a matter of getting it. And, my mom and stepsister are very generously throwing me a shower next weekend, which I am quite looking forward to.

In other more meaningful news, my OB appointments have continued to go well. I passed my gestational diabetes test (hooray!), and my midwife had some follow-up bloodwork done to check my blood platelet levels again and everything still seems fine. We also met with the actual OB at our practice just this week (as of now, there is one OB and one midwife, and to this point we've only met with the midwife). She was very nice and continued to reassure me that neither my current state nor past history in any way indicates that we shouldn't try for a VBAC this time around, so I am hopeful that everything will go much more smoothly than it did for Ellie's birth.

On a related note, probably my biggest issue at this point is anxiety about giving birth. I'm debating about writing an entire post about it, so we'll see if I can muster both the time (see above re: SO MUCH TO DO) and the courage to put that all out there. But suffice it to say, I'm scared. Ellie's birth left me with a feeling of helplessness, pessimism and overall being out of control when it comes to birth. And I know that those things are almost always true, regardless. Birth is not predictable and it's largely out of our hands. But what is really an issue for me this time is just a very defeatist attitude. For example, Eric wants to read about VBACs and the birthing process and do all our research and be as prepared as possible. And I'm sure that's smart, but I cannot silence the voice in my head that says, "yeah, but what's the point?" I feel like my last birth taught me that no matter how prepared I may be, it doesn't matter. What's going to happen is going to happen. And again, while that may be true, that feeling of helplessness is sucking away my courage, dedication and drive to even try to make this birth happen the way I want it to. Instead of seeking out information and doing everything I can to prepare, I have adopted an ostrich approach this time. That is, I just want to stick my head in the sand and not deal with it. I hate that last time, I felt that birth was a physical challenge I was ready and eager to overcome, but this time, I just feel out of control and scared. Frankly, that really sucks. As I said, I may share more about my struggles with all this in a later post, but we'll just call this paragraph the Cliffs Notes version.

Aside from this emotional stuff, I am otherwise feeling pretty decent, but definitely trending towards uncomfortable. I'm having a lot more back pain and have been graced with the appearance of acid reflux, heartburn and sciatic pain in the last few weeks. My belly is getting a bit unwieldy - I've started bumping into things more (it's hard to remember to accommodate for the extra belly size!) and any food I spill hits my belly long before it has a shot at finding my lap, so that's fun. My belly button is a full-blown outie now, too - it is not shy about poking out of my shirts all, "HELLO, WORLD! I'M HERE!" Simmer down, belly button. (Ellie has renamed it "Mama's yucky belly button." Kids are so sensitive.)

I also get out of breath very easily and have a hard time carrying Ellie as much as she would like. She broke my heart the other day when she looked at me and said, "Mama can't hold you right now," because I know that means I've been saying that to her too much. All at once I felt so horrible and realized that it's only going to get worse for her before it gets better (but it will get better!). I still struggle with guilt over changing her world so drastically, but I know she'll be okay in the long run.

As for how Ellie is doing with it all, she still doesn't really get it. We talk about Baby Brother a little bit but how could she really understand? She does like to go to the doctor with me, and at my last appointment she even got up on the table to "lay down" like Mama, and had Dr. Daddy check out her belly:

Her belly is WAY cuter than mine!

And as for Plus One himself, he is quite the active little thing. Basically, if I'm sitting, he's moving. And he's getting downright violent, too. I remember feeling like Ellie moved a lot in utero, but I feel like Plus One is way more active even than she was. I mean, in the mornings, if I so much as have a half-conscious thought (even before moving or opening my eyes), that kid gets to jumping. He is constantly ready to go and he is making his presence known. I've been able to see him moving for some time now, so I feel like my belly is in constant motion. One nice thing (for now, at least): as of now he is still breech, so I've been spared the using-my-ribs-as-a-footrest thing that Ellie was so fond of.

We also had an elective ultrasound yesterday to get another sneak peek at the little guy, and guess what? He looks like Eric! Just like his sister before him, which of course means I think he looks like her, too. Which, frankly, is not a bad thing, because Ellie was an adorable baby and I think Eric is a rather handsome man, so Plus One could really do a lot worse for himself.

There's my boy, looking all content!

Smiling his Daddy's smile


And for comparison, a 3D ultrasound picture of Ellie at 29 weeks exactly (on the left), and a 3D picture of Plus One at 29 weeks and one day (right):

What do YOU think? Do you see a resemblance?

Also, for those of you who are wondering, I still can't say we've finalized a name, although I think we have a serious frontrunner. Not that it matters, though, because I'm not sharing anyway!

So that's where we are. We're motoring right along towards July 1st, and I'm sure the next 2.5 months are going to fly by. In the meantime, I'd better get to my nesting!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Orange and Blue Debut

On Saturday we took a little day trip down to Gainesville to catch the Florida Gators spring football game, the first game we've seen in Gainesville since 2005. Interestingly enough, I don't think I ever went to the spring game at all before, even when I was a student there. No better time than the present then, right? Plus, we really are excited to take Ellie to a game, but regular season football games are just too hot and crowded and crazy - no place for a fidgety toddler. So this was an excellent substitute to hold us over until the kiddos are a little older!

We arrived early and did some wandering through the Fan Fest in front of the stadium, then made a stop in Alumni Hall.

Ellie getting acquainted with Albert and Alberta in front of Alumni Hall

We also did a little souvenir shopping.

It's totally her look.

When we started to get hungry for lunch, we picked up some slices from Italian Gator, our favorite pizza place from our college days. We took our lunch across the street to the Murphree Area Commons, the outdoor common area for the dorm in which I used to live. We camped out at a little picnic table and gave Ellie her very first Italian Gator experience. I think she gets the hype.

The biggest piece of pizza her little hands have ever held

Practicing her "Go Gators" after lunch

We made our way into the stadium about 30-45 minutes before the game was due to start so we could catch a little of the alumni football game they had going on beforehand. Ellie was very excited to "see football," and she liked watching the cheerleaders, too.

Ellie's first game in The Swamp!

Cheering along with the cheerleaders

Practicing her lifts

Loving it!

When it was time for the game to start, we enjoyed seeing the introduction again (I didn't get a video of it, but if you don't know what I'm talking about, check it out on YouTube) - it's hard not to get pumped up at that!

Heeeeeeeeere come the Gators!

We watched most of the first half of the game but it was getting rather hot (duh, it's The Swamp) and Ellie was getting restless, so we decided to go find Albert and Alberta, who we could see were taking pictures with fans in a section across the field. Unfortunately, right when we got there they moved on, so we spent some time chasing them down. Poor Ellie sooooo wanted to meet those Gators! She kept saying sweet things like, "show Alberta piggies [pigtails]" and "Cuddle Gators!" Awww.

We did finally catch up with Alberta first, and then Albert. As is Ellie's style, you'd never know how excited she was to meet them by her faces in the pictures, but trust me - she loved it. In fact, she loved it so much, that she pretended to be Alberta the whole way home and for about 24 hours afterwards.

Ellie and Alberta

Ellie, Eric and Albert

By that point we knew Ellie was about done, so we called it a day and made the drive back to Jacksonville. Sure enough, shortly after getting on the road, this happened:

Later, Gator!

We had a great day back at our alma mater. One thing that really struck me was the memory talking with Eric years ago about how someday, it will be so fun to bring our kids back to Gainesville. And somewhow, we're already old enough to be doing so. That hardly seems possible, but at least it is every bit as fun as I expected!

The two of us with our 1.5 kids, back in Gainesville!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Beach Day with Grammy

Last week my mom came to visit for a little overnight stay, which was very nice. We didn't do anything too major - went for a walk, played in the sand, played with Ellie's toys, went out to dinner, did some crafting. All fun!

Left, top to bottom: My mom brought stickers, which Ellie assumed were a new outfit; Mom and I working on a craft for Plus One's nursery!
Right, top to bottom: Ellie laying in a sandtrap near our apartment; Ellie and her Grammy holding hands in the car; out to dinner

On Friday morning we did take my mom out to Jacksonville Beach, which we have been wanting to do for some time. The beach is so nice and we wanted to show off that part of our new hometown!

We started out with a walk on the fishing pier, where Ellie was quite excited about all the "bishies."

Jacksonville Beach!


Fun with Grammy

"Here, fishy, fishy, fishy!"

We hadn't planned to walk on the actual beach, because we anticipated spending the entire time trying to keep Ellie out of the still-chilly water. But, the kid insisted, so we obliged because we are softies. (And frankly, "no, we can't go enjoy the beach" is not exactly a hill I want to die on, because the beach is awesome.) Ellie did head straight for the water, but quickly realized the waves are a bit intimidating, so problem solved! Everybody wins! We spent the rest of the time running around (and laying in) the sand until it was time to head home for lunch.

She wins.

Beach baby

Chasing the birds continues to be a favorite beach activity

Cuddling with her Grammy

Sandy toes!

Fully immersing herself in the beach experience

It was a great way to spend a beautiful spring morning!

She's totally eating sand and loving it.

Thanks for visiting, Mom!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Bunny For The Win

This weekend we took Ellie to see the Easter Bunny. We were eager to do so after she somehow got it into her head that we were going to do just that on Friday evening, when in fact we were only going out to dinner. She spent the whole ride in the car talking about "say hi to Easter Bunny!" and "show Easter Bunny piggies!" (show him her pigtails), and when we arrived at the restaurant with no Bunny in sight, she kept calling out, "Easter Bunny, where are you???" Adorable. So needless to say, she was pumped when the Big Bunny Day finally came.

The line for the Bunny was long, as we went on Sunday right when the mall opened, and we wondered what such a lengthy wait would do to Ellie's mood. But we did not have to worry, because that kid might be the Easter Bunny's #1 Fan:

Ellie and the Easter Bunny, 2014

It's pretty safe to say that Ellie much preferred the Easter Bunny to Santa Claus:

Her reactions to the two were slightly different.

I was hoping it would work out that way, considering that even at Disney she seemed to prefer the fully-costumed characters to the "real people."

Or, maybe she just loves oversized rabbits, because as you may recall, she didn't hate her encounter with the Big Bunny last year, either:

Left: 2013, just shy of one-year-old; Right: 2014, just turned two years old.
These are quite possibly the two happiest pictures ever taken of a child with a large rabbit.

But no matter how you slice it, Ellie loved meeting the Easter Bunny and I think she's all ready for the holiday this weekend!

Ellie and her best bunny

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Happy Beach Bum

The happiest little sandy smile you ever did see:

Friday, April 11, 2014

Play Ball!

A couple of weeks ago we were able to see the Florida Gators baseball team play Florida State here in Jacksonville. The game sold out, but we got our tickets early and were able to get great seats. Interestingly enough, we may not make it to a professional baseball game this season (given that much of baseball season is spoken for with a newborn), which is particularly odd since we have spent the last few years not only going to games in general, but often traveling around the country to see games at new baseball stadiums (just last year, we saw games in five different cities!). We'll see how this season plays out, but in the meantime, we'll try to get our baseball fix through college and minor league games. Thanks, Gators and Jacksonville Suns!

It was a lot of fun to take Ellie to a ballgame now that she's older and more vocal, and she loved it. We ate hot dogs and fries (and carrots and strawberries for Ellie - baseball game staples, am I right?) and watched the Gators beat Florida State, which is always a fun time. Well, we almost saw it - we left around the seventh inning (baby bedtimes ruin all the fun), which meant not only did we miss the conclusion of the game but also a bench-clearing brawl that would have happened right in front of our seats. Alas! But, we had a great time even if we did have to cut the fun short.

Somebody is PUMPED for some baseball.

The view from our seats

Well, I thought I had a good view, but then somebody's pigtails were all up in my line of sight.

And this is what she thinks about my plight.

Play ball!

Silly selfies

Winding down

Even if we won't be enjoying this baseball season in our typical fashion, it's fun to have baseball back!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Pool Day

So now that we've wrapped up all the couples-only parts of our babymoon, I just wanted to share a few more pictures from our last day at Innisbrook. As you know, Ellie spent the weekend with my mom while we were babymooning, and on our last day my mom and Gary brought Ellie to us at Innisbrook. We all spent the day at the Loch Ness pool, which was great. We had planned to meet up for a beach day, but after I saw the children's area of the Loch Ness pool I knew that Ellie would love it, and it helped us avoid spring break beach crowds.

As it turned out, I was quite right - Ellie loved it. The Loch Ness pool has a little sand area to play in, as well as a zero-entry portion of the pool with a couple little fountains. Ellie was all about all of it it. She was so excited that when she arrived and immediately asked to go "'wimming," and I told her I needed to change her diaper first, she climbed right up onto a lounge chair and "assumed the position," as if to say, "Let's do this already, Mom." Girl was serious.

So, she spent the whole day going back and forth between playing in the sand and in the water. I'm not sure which she preferred, actually. We also took a time-out for lunch from the grill by the pool, but then it was right back to it. That kid does not hate Florida life, that's for sure.

Pretty pool girl!

Being silly in sunglasses with her Daddy

Cuddling with her Mama

Playing in the sand

Gary's lounge chair nap inspired Ellie to (pretend to) do the same. For a second, I thought maybe she would actually nap, too, but then I realized, LOL. That'll be the day. My kid does not nap in places like this. Hopefully Plus One is a bit more free with the public sleeping.

Pool curls

Rocking her Grandpa Gary's hat and shades

Oh, yeah. She's totally having a terrible time.

It's safe to say that her day at the pool effectively wore Ellie out: she passed right out in the car on the way home (snoring and everything), and when we stopped at Publix to say hi to Eric's grandmother, she was still so out of it that she didn't notice 1) the car stopping, 2) Eric getting out, 3) me getting out, or 4) me unbuckling her. It was only when I started to lift her out of her carseat that she woke up which, for my kid, is unheard of. She's hardly a car-sleeper to begin with, so for her to be that out of it, you know she must have had one awesome day!

Sleepy angel face