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From Start to Finish

Our choices are Who We Are

03-31-11

 

As people we are on a constant physical, psychological, spiritual, financial, and emotional road of Newton’s law [of motion]. Newton’s law states that for every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. Spend money on a candy bar = your body absorbs the calories, your wallet is 65 cents lighter, your sweet tooth craving is satisfied. You give someone an honest compliment = that person’s day is momentarily a little bit better. You let your guard down, and snap at someone you love = the harsh words expressed cause damage and can never be taken back.

 

For those of us who are spiritual and religious, we learn that God blessed us with the gift of choice. This gift usually ends up a curse. But this is how life goes – we live, and we learn, and we grow. We love, and we hate, we cry, and we smile. We work, we play, we sleep, we indulge, we regret.

 

As parents, these [seemingly] small, every day choices suddenly have a much larger ripple in the grand scheme of things. Every simple decision turns into something greater – it starts to form the next generation and their habits, hobbies, beliefs, morals, and overall lifestyles. From the moment of conception on – not for the next 18 years, but for the rest of your own life – the decisions we make shape us and those around us.

 

This is why I have taken my eating habits and shifted them, to my dismay. This is why every cent needs to be accounted for. This is why I am insistent on avoiding stress, sadness, and tears. This is why millions of people over the course of this earth’s lifetime have taken pregnancy so seriously – in the pursuit of a happy and healthy baby. Once that baby is here, the rest is done on the fly.

 

No one parent is perfect. After all, no one person is perfect. People make mistakes, and taking upon another life to love as your child is an ENORMOUS responsibility. I pray every day that I do not let Brianna down. I pray that Michael and I are her biggest supporters, her most helpful teachers, her best examples, her must trustworthy confidants. I pray that through the difficult times that we will have as a family, that our roots will outlast any anger, hurt feelings, or difficulties. And most of all, I pray. Michael and I are not perfect people, we won’t be perfect parents, and Bria will not grow up to be the perfect person (although to us she will be as close to perfect as you can get)… but to God anything is possible. He is perfect.

 

From now until forever every choice I make is a choice for my family: Michael and Bria. Every decision Michael and I make together is for our family: Brianna.

 

And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

Father/Daughter

03-22-11

 

I receive daily, weekly, and monthly pregnancy emails, published by baby websites, that describe to me how my baby is growing. This information is useful and it’s taught me to start my work day the right way – with my mind focused on the most important, and joy-filled part of my life. This week I have learned that Bria’s bones are growing stronger and her movements will reflect that but I think Michael and I could have told you that part due to what happened to us this past weekend.

 

It was later in the evenings (maybe around 8:30pm) on Saturday March 19th. We had enjoyed the entire day together relaxing and enjoying each other's company. We finished eating dinner and began to watch tv/a movie/etc. Like routine I slid down into my normal evening posture (two pillows behind my shoulders, neck, and head – the rest of my body parallel to the bed), and with my right palm flat against the surface of my tummy. I sit like this every night, most of the night, until I roll over and fall asleep – for I am feeling the little kicks and pushes of little Bria. She has been letting me know that she exists for a few weeks now, at this point, and I am familiar with her sleep schedule. She wakes, and kicks, at the same times practically every day (which tells me she wakes up right when I’m going to sleep, in the middle of the night a few times, but later in the morning – so thank goodness I might actually get some sleep). And during the past few weeks I will grab Michael’s hand, press it against my skin, and wait for him to feel her. He would look at me, disappointed, and let me know that he couldn’t feel anything.

 

But this Saturday evening was different. She was moving, moving a lot, and moving hard. So I asked him to pause the movie and try again – I put his hand against my tummy, towards the left side where she must have been snuggled up against. We waited a moment – she kicked lightly, Michael felt nothing. We waited a few moments more – a small movement, Michael felt nothing. And then finally—POW!

 

He turned to me all of a sudden – his eyes wide, bright, and unbelieving.

“I felt her! Wow I felt her!” He exclaimed, his mouth hanging open. His hand pressed firmly against my tummy, waiting for her to move again.

 

[Yes, I cried a little. It was such a sweet moment.]

 

Since then her movements have grown stronger and stronger, her kicks much more detectable on the outside as they are from the inside. Now when we lay, parallel to the bed – watching tv, reading books, or talking about our days – I will often grab his hand and lay it firmly against my skin and each time Michael because a little bit more familiar with our little girl, bonding in the sweetest way.

 

“Kick for me, baby girl. Kick for daddy,” he’ll say. I’ll smile and we’ll laugh with each other when she fulfills his request.

 

Best and Worst

03-21-11

 

Okay so the best and worst thing is happening right now.

 

I’m dieting.

 

I know I have mentioned it before but this is just too awful to mention once. My doctor recommend I diet because I have gained too much weight so far into the pregnancy (grumble). SO... I haven’t snacked on a cookie/cupcake/candy bar/soda/anything besides non-fat or greatly reduced-fat. Everything from the mayo to the beef broth is reduced or non fat. Luckily fruit still exists and I have been quenching my sweet tooth by making smoothies (with 2 scoops of protein and non-fat milk).

 

I am currently depressed about the lack of cupcakes in my life, but I am doing this for Brianna. Time to stop the pity party (and time to start the party! I lost 7 lbs. since my last doctor’s visit a week ago). Instead I am going to find the tastiest ways to eat more protein and less fat.

 

Wish me luck...

 

 

Girl or Boy

03-17-11

 

Okay so the day has come and gone and I have yet to put up  a written description of the biggest of the big ultrasound screenings. THUS… after many laboring hours, I have completed said description:

 

THE UNVEILING OF THE GENDER

 

[bum bum buuuummmm]

 

The day was a chilly, non-springlike day, Tuesday March 15th, 2011. It had been an entire month since our last doctor’s visit and those four weeks seemed to linger FOREVER (cue: Specs from The Sandlot – “For-eh-ver”). At 3:00pm that Tuesday I skipped out on work, trying to leave the unimportant stress behind. Afterall, my baby was going to go from being referred to as an “it” to being a “he” or “she”!

 

Michael and I drove to the hospital. We nervously sat in the beautiful waiting room, me sipping on a bottle of orange juice (old wives tale: drink orange juice before your ultrasound – this will pump the baby full of sugar and get him/her moving around, which will make it easier to see the genitals… this did not work for me…). FINALLY the nurse invites us into the dark ultrasound room. Michael sat in a chair beside my grand behemoth of a thrown. I laid down, whipped off my pants, and we got down to business.

The nurse started at the top. Skull, check. Brain, check. Neck, check. Face, check. Spinal column, check. Arms, check… and so on.

Eventually we got to the legs, then the feet… and finally it was time for the main course.

 

 

…and then twenty minutes rolled by.

My little one was holding their legs tightly together and refused to give us a peak. We bounced my belly, I changed positions, I even tried coaxing her out with promises of lots of years of lovin’… but she was not convinced.

 

And then…

“GIRL!”, the ultrasound nurse exclaimed.

 

We were all silent.

 

Until it sunk it and I started to beam.

“I knew it! I knew it I knew it!” I started to say, looking at Michael. He stared at the screen as the nurse typed in ”GIRL” above our little one’s labia. His face flushed, he smiled and his eyes did not blink. “Wow,” he said.

 

Later that night, after speaking shortly with my doctor, Michael and I went to Chili’s for a celebration dinner. We daydreamed and talked about everything to do with our little girl.

 

Brianna (Bria for short).

 

What an amazing day it was and, no the mood couldn’t even bother being dampered by “the bad news” the doctor delivered us that day. The bad news being I have gained too much weight and that I need not gain much more at all. Michael and I went grocery shopping and I vow to change my eating ways – thus I admit to the retirement of the BRATT diet. Now I’m onto an Atkins-like diet, low carb intake and all (I know… I’m crying on the inside).

 

BUT, never you mind that little Bria. I want you to come out healthy and if that means starving myself of cookies, cake, ice cream, cheese, potatoes, pasta, and all of the other wonderful foods God put on this planet for us… I will do it. Just for you, sweet little girl. <3

 

(But you best believe I am having a huge bowl of pasta and cheese followed by a brownie with ice cream dessert, as a post-pregnancy reward. Booyah!)

 

 

Learning on the Job

03-11-11

 

19 weeks (and 3 days) pregnant (baby is as big as a mango!)… What have I learnt so far?

 

-To expect the unexpected. I am constantly surprising myself whether it be the gory nightmares I have begun to have nightly, the strangeness of my diet (ramen noodles… give me more),

 

-The little [negative] things really don’t matter. I have found myself not caring about the small things that used to bother me, and now am more focused on [what I believe to be] the more important parts of life. Work is work… it’s not what I live for. Difficult people and clashing personalities… I can do without them.

 

-Every day is a good day, and truly it IS because I am alive. Even on those less than par days when I’m tired and cranky, uncomfortable in my clothes, and my patience is waning… I feel a little kick in my belly and that day is a good day. :D

 

-On that note I have learnt that looking forward to small things make the world go ‘round.

 

-Instead of buying (or having someone buy me) a wipe warmer = grab a wet wipe, scrunch it together in your fist, hold for a few seconds… and POW… warm wipe (thanks Reneice for that tip).

 

-Breastfeeding is gonna hurt. I don’t know about this one first hand but I’m sure you’ll hear me gripe about it eventually.

 

-I’m not as frugal as I’d like to be. When browsing the discount baby isle I find myself snubbing my nose. Looks like I need to go from frugal to penny-pincher.

 

-People are gonna talk. I can pretend that it doesn’t bother me but no one should be fooled… it kinda hurts when you are the happiest you have probably ever been in your life, while others whisper and ask questions behind your back.

 

-I have great insurance and I do not take it for granted.

 

-Savor everything. When you can’t eat what you want, when you can’t sleep a full eight hours, when you can’t get a moment’s peace… you finally realize how important it is to savor the delicious/simple/quiet things.

 

-Patience is key, even on those days when I feel I have run out. I can only imagine how much further my patience will stretch during the next few years (or next 18 years) of my life. I am already being pushed to the brink every day but I must remember this must be for good cause.

 

-God really is good. During this seemingly impossible situation God has supplied everything we have needed. First of all let’s look at the fact that I was considered unfertile (doctors said I didn’t need birth control, and that I would need Invitro), then let’s look at how far I am (made it past the 1st trimester)… then there came a pay raise, then some training at work for a possible promotion (for both Michael and I). Things are falling into place and I can’t credit anyone but God for all that.

 

-Babies don’t only bring sleepless nights and stress galore… but they also bring an alleviation of life’s burdens… and love beyond our former knowledge. As if it were even possible, Michael and I are closer than we have ever been before. Yes the stress and worries are still there, but I have never been so solid and sure about my life before. I have no fear in my heart about this baby and his or her life, and I have never been more sure that Michael and I are just beginning on the wonderful adventure of our lives.

 

-Making is more fun than buying. Creating memories instead of wasting away in front of technology. Sewing, painting, singing, daydreaming… I can feel my inner child coming back to life as the one inside me grows. I can’t wait to play with him/her, and teach him/her the wonders of the world.

 

-Loving my body. This is not a task anymore as it used to be. I could always find imperfections with myself and have never been that confident girl who knows that she’s hot. It was always a chore for me: work out, eat right. NOW… now, I love my body. I love what is happening to it and I love how it USED to be. I love to know I will get to go back to that but I’m in no rush, because right now I love these changes. LOVE LOVE LOVE.

 
 
GADGETS ARE NOT FOR ME
03-03-11
 
I find it difficult to express my beliefs on motherhood considering I have no actual experience in the matter. Yes, I’m pregnant but no I am not yet an experienced mom. However my opinions are forming so I’m sorry to anyone who may disagree with me.
 
Gadgets. We live in a world where there is a machine for every task, and this applies to the baby world. While browsing online baby stores I have come across a number of gadgets/machines/wastes of money that I would rather opt out of. Below is a guide of my thoughts on said gadgets and what I would prefer instead…
 
1.        Wipe warmer – To me this is a “want” item, not a “need” item, and in some cases this could be a “money-wasting” item. The wipe warmer often times dries out wipes, which then wastes money spent on something truly useful (the wipe). I am sure my baby will grow up fine and unscarred if his/her bottom is wiped with a cold wipie rather than a warm one.
Instead of a wipe warmer I’d like: Baby grooming set with nail clippers, soft brush, and even a thermometer.
 
2.        Diaper genie – Some people swear by these while other people compare them to expensive trash bins. Getting a stainless steel, foot pedal-opening trash can (and some scented trash bags) I have the same thing which can be used as a regular trash can once the babe is potty trained. Voila!
Instead of a diaper genie I’d like: A nice stainless steel trash can!
 
3.        Burp rags – come on now… burp rags are cute towels. That’s it!
Instead of a burp rag I’d like: A gift card.
 
4.        Bottle warmers/Coolers – From what I have read bottle warmers are not reliable, and bottle coolers are fancy COOLERS. Instead of buying these gadgets I’d like to warm the milk the “old-fashioned” way (bottle in stove-top warmed water) – and if I need my milk to be cool when transporting it I will invest in a small, regular COOLER (think Coleman, Igloo, or Rubbermaid).
Instead of a bottle warmer/cooler I’d like: A comfy chair for the baby’s room – See my Target registry for my favorite one!
 
5.        Bottle sanitizer and scrub brushes – The same cleaning affect can be done using a regular scrub brush (perhaps a different one than the one used on my own dirty dishes, but a regular scrub brush nonetheless), the dishwasher, and even the microwave (if I want to triple sanitize baby’s bottles).
Instead of a bottle sanitizer/scrub brush I’d like: Bumbo
 
6.        Bumper pads for the crib – How many times do you hear about babies dying because of SIDS? To me the bumpers are cute but they’re a safety hazard.
Instead of bumper pads for the crib, I’d like: A cute noise maker. This is another item that is definitely not a NEED but I’d rather have this than something dangerous.
 
7.       Crib bedding – On the same note as #7, I dislike crib bedding. First of all the bedding available out there is overly tacky for me. I’m all for colors and learning and cutsie things, but I also believe that a baby and a child can be fashionable (whether or not I pay $100 for a cute dress or make it on my own, you will never know). I finally did find a bedding set that I loved enough to add to a registry but after researching the topic I found that the more bedding, the more danger.  Instead I’m opting for cute fitted sheets and sleeper sacks.
Instead of crib bedding I’d like: Sleeper sacks!
 
8.       Changing table – Instead of investing $200 in a table that will be useless once baby is out of diapers, I am thinking of getting a wide book shelf or dresser. This way the piece of furniture can be useful as the baby grows.
        Instead of a changing table I’d like: A bouncy chair or baby swing. Or both!
 
9.        Baby videos – I really don’t want to sit my kid in front of the TV unless I absolutely have to.
Instead of baby videos I’d like: Books! Lots and lots of books!
Modern Day Hippie
03-03-11

I guess it’s safe to say that I’m a 21st century mom. I mean… my baby already has a website, c’mon now. If you look at my most recent searches on Google you’d find nursery inspiration, homemade stage one baby food, new dad tips, etc. I’m using the technology available to me in this day in age to make the most educated decisions about how I want to raise my little one.

With all of that being said, take a look at some of my favorite websites…

 

Obviously this one would make the list! It is the host site of this, my baby’s page. It’s also very interactive and informative. I haven’t even begun to explore all of the helpful hints and useful articles.

www.ivillage.com

Another great place for articles and information.

www.wholesomebabyfood.com

I’d like to describe myself as a 2011 hippie mom. I love the idea of making my baby’s food – this way I will know exactly what is in each spoonful, plus save some money!

www.projectnursery.com

Oh my word, do I love this website. For an artsy person like me this is inspiration heaven! Seeing what other parents out there have already done with their baby’s nurseries have really gotten me into Martha-stewart-gear. Check out my nursery inspiration boards that I created using ideas from this site (I can’t wait to make the tissue paper pom-pom mobile!)

www.etsy.com

This website is good for any unique and artsy person, whether you are getting married, having a baby, or just redecorating your living room! So many unique and creative buys just a mouse click away. I also use this site for inspiration and hope to make a lot on my own.

http://Pregnancyandbaby.sheknows.com

Articles articles articles! Everything from child vaccinations to cute teething toys.

www.babycenter.com/packing-for-the-hospital-or-birth-center

A great list for the planner/control freak in me.

www.fitpregnancy.com

For those health-conscious moms this is the perfect site for you. More great articles and information.

www.marthastewart.com

Have I told you already that I’m crafty? Martha has it all – even baby DIY’s.

www.target.com

I’m a Target person, not a Walmart person. Michael and I have already started a registry at Target but its ever changing. I use it more for a “what do I need to buy” list than anything else.

www.amazon.com

For when Target just isn’t enough.

LIVE, LEARN AND LOVE

03-02-2011

Well here I stand, eighteen weeks into my first pregnancy.

[Pause for effect]

Yeah, I know... it's just beginning.

But let’s face it, at this point there is no going back or hiding it. Where some girls start showing within the first three months it has taken me until the fifth month to really appreciate maternity clothes. I can’t suck in and my stomach muscles are already starting to ache – I can’t imagine how the next four months will be! In order to [hopefully] prevent stretch marks I am lathering on the Nivea body cream every night. Smooth and bright, glowing skin. It's really not half bad. It also helps that the scent of the lotion doesn’t make me wanna hurl.

Also, let’s reflect on my diet and how that has changed. I went from a “I’ll try anything once”-person to a “No thank you”-person. It seems that if someone offers me anything but ginger ale I will politely refuse it. I don’t like spicy, I don’t like sour, I don’t like eggs, I don’t like water, I don’t like mayonnaise, I don’t like steak, I don’t like chicken, I don’t like fish [which I’m not supposed to eat much of anyway], and the list continues. I DO like fruit or any variation of a fruit (yogurt, smoothies, sorbet, parfaits, fresh fruit, dried fruit) – so send the watermelon my way!

This isn't because I don't WANT these foods (what I would give for a big ole hamburger), but it's that the BABY doesn't like these foods. I will eat [insert something delicious] and will feel nauseated within a few hours. Hands down, ever time. I'm also facing heart burn every day which is not good for my esophogus but I hear it's good for a baby with thick hair (old wives tale).

SO... I have tried to adapt to the BRATT diet. Each letter in the word “BRATT” stands for a food that could very well help one with digestive discomfort -- whether is be a pregnant lady like me or someone who is just puky. Bananas, Rice, Applesauce, Toast, and Tea – I try to have at least one of these a day or with every meal and so far it's been working! Tea is my staple. And for those ANTI-CAFFIENE moms out there who are appalled at my intake of tea, listen here! My doctor told me 100mg of caffeine a day is not harmful to the baby whtatsoever, so I WILL be drinking my sweet tea (with lemon, please)!! To put it into perspective: a small redbull contains 80mg of caffeine while a big glass of tea only contains 7mg to 27mg of caffeine. We’ll be fine ;)

Lastly is my sleeping, or lack thereof! Pre-pregnancy I would be a dead-to-the-world kind of sleeper. Now I toss and turn a while before I konk out, then I wake up multiple times a night due to bad dreams or being uncomfortable [READ: big boobs and big tummy = not good for belly-down sleeping], and then finally I wake up every morning about thirty minutes PRIOR to my alarm going off. Weekends I don’t often get any more sleep than the weekdays, so don’t suggest that.

Honestly, I’m not cranky about the lack of sleep… I am embracing it. I know that once baby gets here I will probably get even LESS sleep than I am now. So I think of it as practice for the big race that’s coming up. J

For all the changes happening, and for the ones that will come, I am learning and enjoying all the more. This time will only last so long and it’s God’s way to prepare me for what is coming. I try to sit and learn from my body – and from those around me whether they be elders with advice, Rigby who tests my patience, or Michael who teaches me about love.

 Live Learn and Love.