Saturday, November 15, 2014

He's here!!!

James Strutton Todd arrived Sunday, November 9th, at 6:00 pm on the dot! He is a beautiful and healthy baby, weighing in at 9 lbs, 14 ozs and measuring 20.5 inches. 
He looks and sounds very much like his big sister Claire, who has taken to calling him "doll". In the pictures below, James is the top picture and Claire is the bottom one. 
Early labor started late Saturday night and we went to the hospital late morning on Sunday. His birth was a really beautiful and peaceful experience, kind of what you'd expect from a baby arriving on a lazy November Sunday. 

We are totally in love with this precious little blessing. We are really enjoying adjusting to life as a family of four! There have been a few challenging moments, but overall we're just treasuring this special time with all four of us at home, tucked away from the bitter cold outside. I'm so in love with my little family.
More to come!!!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

39 Weeks


Total Weight Gain: Another week, another pound. Up 31 total.

Size of Baby: Baby James is the size of a mini-watermelon.

Sleep: I don't want to jinx anything but the time change seems to have totally reset my internal clock for the better. I'm going to bed earlier and waking up earlier on my own, instead of dragging myself out of bed in the mornings.

Movement: Yep!

Cravings: I am just hungry! For everything!

Gender: It's still a boy...James.

Mood: I've been a little down and discouraged the last few days. We thought things might be starting to happen over the weekend and when they didn't, I felt let down. Then I was convinced there'd be signs of change yesterday at my appointment, but nope! I think the waiting game is just getting to me. Also, I found out yesterday morning that my grandmother is in the hospital and not doing well. She's 91 and very, very weak. She's dealing with very low blood pressure (80/40!) and low potassium, and weighs 75 lbs. Hopefully the fluids and medications they're giving her can help her perk up. Obviously the timing of all of this makes it a bittersweet time for my family. 

Symptoms: I had my weekly check-up yesterday and I'm still 1 cm dilated, just like 2 weeks ago. I'm pretty surprised, because I don't think this kid could possibly be sitting any lower than he is right now. I'm slightly more effaced, about 70%. My doctor tried to strip my membranes today, but my cervix was too posterior. She encouraged me by saying that this stuff means nothing and can change in an instant! 

Still having the same end-of-pregnancy symptoms: very uncomfortable, swelling, lots of aches and pains. There are times when I feel relatively good and then I'll just feel terrible, especially as the day goes on. I'll have random sets of contractions (not sure if they're the real thing or more Braxton Hicks). Last week I tried to time them, but it was difficult, and with time, water, and activity, they went away. Saturday I felt awful all day...my stomach was upset and then in the afternoon I got a really bad headache. I rarely get headaches when I'm pregnant and my doctor always warns me about if they don't go away with Tylenol because that can be a sign of pre-eclampsia, so I took notice. When it didn't completely go away with Tylenol, I borrowed my sister's blood pressure machine and started checking. Later I spoke to the on-call doctor, just to be safe. When I told her my blood pressure, she wasn't at all concerned. By then, the headache had moved into my sinuses, so I was pretty sure it was my allergies rearing their ugly head...ugh! To finish out the day, late evening I started having really bad cramps. As they went on I was convinced this could very well be early labor. Cam and I decided to try to go to sleep and see if things continued. I slept all night and woke up to no pain. 

I had another headache on Monday that didn't go away with Tylenol and one of my blood pressure readings climbed into the range of concern, but then immediately went back down. When I took a second larger dose of Tylenol that evening, the headache went away. I think I just needed 3 pills instead of 2! I talked to my doctor about it at my appointment the next morning. I'm not really showing any signs of pre-eclampsia and if I did have it, that one high reading I got wouldn't go right back down like it did...it would stay up. So I'll keep an eye on my blood pressure, but don't have any real reason for concern. 

The new and very uncomfortable symptom I'm having is that the lovely stretch marks on my stomach have become very inflamed! Up until recently, these stretch marks had been just an unsightly annoyance, but now they literally looks like bright red raised welts! It is driving me crazy and making me feel like I'm going to itch my skin off! Lotion and hydrocortisone cream help, but I think I won't get true relief until this baby boy decides to make his exit!

We should just change that entire section to "complaints and things you'd like to bitch about"...haha! Sorry, I guess it's just the nature of the beast at this stage in pregnancy. I'm trying to remind myself that things were much, much worse at this point in my last pregnancy! It usually helps me regain some much-needed perspective. 

Milestones: Reaching 39 weeks! 39 weeks is the new 37 weeks...the milestone doctors really want you to reach. Despite all my moaning about being uncomfortable and wishing labor would happen, I do recognize that I'm incredibly lucky to get to carry my baby to term. 

Best Moment this Week: Cam got some great news at work...he's being promoted and hired on by Dell for a permanent position! He's been a contract employee at Dell up until now. This is huge for Cam and such a blessing for our growing family. I seriously couldn't be prouder of my husband...he is amazing!!! 

What I'm Looking Forward to: I want to meet my baby boy...he is the sweet and perfect prize at the finish line, and I just can't wait to hold him! 

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

38 Weeks



Total Weight Gain: I gained two more pounds, so thirty total. My doctor attributed it to swelling...it's probably more the Halloween candy and the fact that I've been eating like there's no tomorrow!

Size of Baby: James is the size of a pumpkin! How appropriate for Halloween!

Sleep: It's okay. Lots of tossing and turning due to hip pain.

Movement: He's definitely slowing down as we get closer to the finish line. A couple of times recently I've worried about lack of movement, but it's been okay. His heartrate was in the 150s yesterday at the doctor's office so he's doing well.

Cravings: I'm craving juice of all kinds!

Gender: Boy...sweet baby James!

Mood: Pretty good, definitely antsy. I have that nervous feeling like I need to have everything perfect at home because it could happen at any moment. I'm excited and ready to meet my baby!

Symptoms: I'm uncomfortable and swollen, particularly in my hands. In the mornings when I'm waking up, my hands are very numb and to borrow a Pink Floyd song lyric, "feel just like two balloons". Once that passes, it hurts to stretch out my fingers. The baby is sitting very low and I have quite a bit of nerve compression and pain. Also, it's so random but I have this really awful pain in my upper left rib...I had the exact same thing with Claire. So weird...I guess your body is your body, no matter the pregnancy.

I had my weekly appointment yesterday and all is well. The baby's head is very low so my doctor said she could possibly see me back there as early as tonight, but there's just no way to know. Effacement is the same, about 50%. Because of the way things are tilted at the moment, it was too difficult and uncomfortable to get a reading on dilation. I'm really curious how dilated I'll be at my next appointment, if I make it that far. Since we've made it to 38 weeks, I think I'd like to go ahead and make it 39 so he'll be fully full term. Of course, there are also moments I'd like to be done being pregnant immediately! 

Differences from Last Pregnancy: So many things are different! It's so incredible being able to walk this time around. When I get to feeling whiny about being in that uncomfortable, miserable phase at the end of pregnancy, I try to keep in mind that last time was so much harder and that I'm so blessed. It's really weird not having any frame of reference for what this is like, despite it being my second pregnancy. When I think about being in the hospital, I always picture myself confined to the bed, because that's how it was last time. I have to keep reminding myself that while I'll certainly be in pain after giving birth, I'll be able to get up and walk around...it's just crazy wonderful to think about!

Milestones: We are finished with the nursery!!! It's been a labor of love for me and Cam, and we're so happy with how it turned out. I'll try to post pictures soon. Cam painted a beautiful mural for our son, and it's so special that our kids have these works of art that were custom designed for each of them by their daddy. I seriously don't think I can ever paint over them...or move. Everything's washed and set up, me and the baby are packed, and thanks to some wonderful help from my mama, there are a several meals in the freezer for when we come home from the hospital. It feels really good. Now that most of the work is wrapped up, I'm ready to snuggle my sweet baby boy!

Best Moment this Week: We had a wonderful weekend with Cam's parents in town. It was a lot of fun and Claire loved getting to be with her beloved Gigi and Poppy!

What I'm Looking Forward to: I'm looking forward to meeting my son! In the (likely) nearer future, I'm looking forward to trick or treating with my adorable little Minnie Mouse Claire!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

37 Weeks


Total Weight Gain: I'm up 28 lbs.

Size of Baby: Baby James is the size of a bundle of swiss chard.  
                                      
Sleep: Pretty good. 

Movement: This is going to sound very non-maternal, but at this stage in the game the movement is weird and uncomfortable. He is just so big and so out of room! Finding these hard spots sticking out of my stomach that are feet or whatever is a little bizarre and almost painful. I guess we're both just feeling some growing pains. ;)

Cravings: I'm craving Mexican food!

Gender: It's a boy...James!

Mood: Pretty good, getting really excited! I can't wait to see his sweet face!

Symptoms: I'm feeling okay, just more of the same aches, pains, and discomfort, along with uncomfortable Braxton Hicks. I had my appointment yesterday and it went well. I'm 1 cm dilated, my cervix is very soft, and 50-60% effaced. My doctor says I'm definitely contracting and while there's no way to know the timeline, she thinks I'll just slowly go into labor. She, along with Cam and I, don't think I'll make it to my due date. His head is way down low. In fact, when she measured my fundal height last week it measured 37 weeks, but this week it was 35 weeks because he's dropped so low. It kind of makes me wonder if something could happen soon. I'd like him to stay put until I'm 38 weeks so that his lungs can keep developing, we can finish our last few to-dos, and because my doctor will be out of town until Monday. 

Best Moment this Week: We had a great time taking Claire to the pumpkin patch on Saturday. It's fun doing things like this with her while she's still the only child, and also neat to think about what it will be like next year with two! She is so so cute and getting to the stage where she cracks us up daily. Love that girl. 

What I'm Looking Forward to: Cam's parents are coming into town this weekend and we can't wait! Also looking forward to our sweet baby boy's arrival...it won't be long now and I can't wait to see how it all unfolds. Will Baby James be a Halloween baby? Or a daylight savings time change baby? Or an election day baby? We shall see!!! :)

Friday, October 17, 2014

36 Weeks

                      

Total Weight Gain: I've gained 25 lbs.

Size of Baby: James is the size of a head of romaine lettuce.

Sleep: It's okay. I'm having some trouble falling asleep at night. Thankfully, one benefit of Claire moving out of the crib is that she's sleeping later in the morning (b/c it takes her so long to go to sleep at night) so I've been able to sleep in. It's pretty nice timing with the third trimester exhaustion!

Movement: Some days he's more subdued because he's running out of room, but then others he moves around a lot.  His movements feel very dramatic, I guess because he's so big at this point.

Cravings: I'm craving sub sandwiches. I've been super hungry these past couple weeks!

Gender: Our little boy, James Strutton Todd. I can't wait to see his sweet face and hold him.

Mood: Pretty good. I'm ready to not be pregnant anymore, but I'm also trying to enjoy these last few weeks. Pregnancy isn't always easy, but it is a special experience. I'm definitely enjoying being mobile after what happened last time...perspective is an amazing thing.

Symptoms: We had a growth ultrasound and 36 week appointment yesterday. Baby James looked great and very healthy on the ultrasound! His estimated weight is 6 lbs, 10 oz, which puts him in the 70th percentile. I had my first exam today: I'm about 40% effaced and not dilated yet. My cervix is soft, which Dr. Orth says means I'm contracting (not sure if that means Braxton Hicks or real contractions). His head is down where she could feel it. She thinks I'll probably go to 39 weeks. It'll be interesting to see when he does decide to make his appearance! After being induced with Claire, it's a new and exciting experience to get to go into labor on my own!

I'm feeling alright, just having the typical end-of-pregnancy symptoms. I have lots of tightening/Braxton Hicks. One spot I really notice it is in my left hip bone...feels very odd. Still dealing with pretty bad allergies on the daily...I'm convinced congestion is worse when pregnant. Breathe Right strips and Claritin have become almost daily companions. My hands feel/look so swollen and have been going numb a lot at night. I can definitely breathe better and have less heartburn now that the baby's dropped. Walking can be pretty painful and it's definitely getting tougher to get up from the couch! I think some of my walking discomfort is sciatic nerve pain, among other things. It is soooo nice to be able to walk though! It's so crazy to think about where I was at this point with Claire...I had just broken my ankle and was preparing to have surgery. Just so so so thankful to be able to have a more normal experience this time around.

Milestones: While 37 weeks is technically considered full term, 36 weeks feels like an important point. We're about a month out and it seems like if he came soon, he'd be in good health. Still want him to cook for a couple more weeks though!

Best Moment this Week: My pregnancy brain got the best of me last week and I didn't mention it, but two friends and my sister gave me a suprise sprinkle at a playdate recently. It was so sweet and fun! Baby James got some very cute things and I felt very special! Love my girls!

What I'm Looking Forward to: We're planning to take Claire to the pumpkin patch this weekend. I'm also looking forward to getting more baby clothes washed and organized ...we've been working hard these last few weeks in the nursery and we've almost got everything ready. I'm also looking forward to my next appointment on Tuesday!

And here's a bump selfie (bumpie?!?) from last weekend!



Wednesday, October 8, 2014

35 Weeks

Size of Baby: James is the size of a honeydew melon.

Sleep: It's been better the last few days since I've stopped choking. I'm really going to try to be more mindful of going to bed earlier. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a total nightowl...night is "my time" to do what I want and I really relish it. Because of that, I'm pretty good at surviving on not a lot of sleep, but I'm realizing that this is not the case when I'm 8 months pregnant! Not getting a decent amount of sleep really wrecks me...plus these might be the last few nights of uninterrupted sleep I have for a long time!

Movement: Yes! Sometimes it is really painful...not sure if that indicates that he's out of room or Braxton Hicks, but I'm definitely have those too.

Cravings/Aversions: I'm craving pizza. I've just been really hungry for everything though! 

Gender: Sweet baby boy James! Everyone tells me that boys are super sweet, especially to their mamas, and I'm just so excited to experience that for myself. Really looking forward to newborn snuggles...nothing like it! 

Mood: Good, but a little moody, which I think is just inevitable at this stage of the game. Sometimes I have to give myself a little reminder to get over myself - haha! Claire has also decided to make things extra interesting by diving headfirst into the "terrible twos". In addition to the frequent fits and cutting of the dreaded two year molars we've been dealing with for weeks, on Monday she escaped from her crib, so now we're making a very unexpected transition to a toddler bed. This isn't something I wanted to do right before adding a second baby to the mix, but oh well. The first night went great (likely because she was exhausted from her escapee antics!) but nap and bedtime yesterday were much more challenging. Last night she finally gave up playing in her room and fell asleep on the floor at 11 pm and then we moved her to her bed. While I'm glad she's sleeping at all, I'm nervous and hoping we can get her settled into a routine before James is born. I need at least one kid to be sleeping! 

Symptoms: I can say with almost complete certainty that the baby has dropped! Hallelujah! Claire also dropped around the same time, although I had no clue until my doctor told me! It's really odd: late last week I had two days where I just felt awful...I felt really strange, uncomfortable movements, I couldn't sleep, and I just felt "off". Coupled with the fact that I started having to pee all the time, I figured baby had dropped. I could also kinda see that baby was sitting lower...as the days have passed, I can see it more and more. Then I got a little nervous when I googled "Can you feel baby drop?" (yeah, I know...bad idea) and several people said that second babies don't usually drop until right when you're about to go into labor. Combine that with how weird I'd been feeling and I got a little worried I was about to go into labor way early. I called my wonderful nurse and she told me what I already suspected was true...this is really individual and there are no hard and fast rules about such things. So now I'm just really enjoying the relief...no choking at night and I can breathe much easier! Plus Sir James is doing what he needs to do to get ready to join us in a few weeks!

Differences from Last Pregnancy: I don't fill out this section very often, but I wanted to this week because this is the last week where there will be anything comparable between my two pregnancies. This is the week in my pregnancy with Claire that I broke my ankle. After next Monday this pregnancy will be an entirely different experience, one I'm really looking forward to! But as for the here and now, I feel like this pregnancy has been fairly similar to my last overall, with a few differences. I definitely have more pain in my hips and pelvis this time around and much earlier. I think this is totally related to this being my second pregnancy. My swelling and blood pressure have been so much better this time around...definitely a result of not teaching anymore and not having to deal with a monster boss on a daily basis. Can you tell I don't miss my old job one bit? 

Milestones: On Sunday, it'll be one month 'til my due date! Crazy! 

Best Moment this Week: Baby dropping! And my Dad got some good news today. For the last several weeks, he's been having trouble with his vision in one eye. He's been to several doctors and never been able to get a clear diagnosis, until yesterday. He saw the best cataract doctor in Austin (who also happens to be Michael Dell's brother!) and he confirmed his cataract needs to come out soon, and that doing so will give my Dad a ton of relief! The doctor could also tell that some gel that naturally occurs in the eye had gotten displaced and was contributing to the issue. Thankfully that will resolve itself in time! Woohoo! We're so relieved! Waking up one day with significant blurred vision out of the blue is pretty scary, so it's really reassuring to hear that this is fixable! 

What I'm Looking Forward to: My ultrasound and appointment next Wednesday! Can't wait to see baby boy one more time and find out what he's up to! I'm also looking forward to Saturday being over...Cam is going to the A&M football game Saturday night. Not only does it mean him being on the road by himself very late coming home, but there's almost no cell service at the stadium! While the odds of something happening with the baby at that exact time are low, it still makes me nervous. Plus my parents may be out of town too. Stay put, baby James! 

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

34 Weeks

Total Weight Gain: I've gained 24 lbs.

Size of Baby: Baby James is the size of a cantaloupe.

Sleep: Terrible. Between really bad allergies (breathe-right strips are a nightly requirement), leg cramps that send me leaping out of bed at all hours, and reflux choking episodes nearly every night, sleep has become a miserable experience. When I do sleep, I wake up in the morning covered in sweat. I think at this point I would rather be getting up every two hours all night to feed a newborn baby.

Movement: Oh yeah. My little wiggle worm has moved his way back into head-down position...yay!

Cravings/Aversions: I'm craving ice cream, but have been resisting the craving fairly well. Yesterday I noticed I was just really hungry for everything in sight!

Gender: It's a boy...Baby James!

Mood: I'm totally tapped out in every sense of the word. My mind feels like one never-ending to-do list right now.

Symptoms: It ain't pretty! Lots of reflux and choking. Sweating and burning up 24/7. Having a lot of pain in my pelvis and hips, as well as sharp nerve pains. While walking is a pretty painful experience, I am so thankful I can do it.

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and it went great! James' heartbeat sounded strong and clear on the doppler and my doctor could tell he'd moved into a head-down position. When we go back in two weeks, I'll have another growth ultrasound and she'll check to see if I'm dilated...eeek! Hard to believe we're already almost at this point! From there, we'll start weekly appointments. As long as baby doesn't look super big on the ultrasound, I'll get to go into labor on my own! After being induced with Claire, I'm really looking forward to getting to experience going into labor spontaneously.

Milestones: 34 weeks is the point at which my doctor won't do anything to stop things if I go into labor. Crazy! James...don't take that as an invitation to come anytime soon...you need to stay put awhile longer!

Best Moment this Week: Getting to have a kid-free night on Friday. I'll be honest...earlier in the day before Claire left, I almost cried thinking about how weird and empty my house would seem without her, but of course it was very nice to have some time to ourselves. My parents were really sweet to keep Claire for us, and I'm happy to report that she did great. I think we were all a little shocked by how well she did...she didn't even cry when my mom put her down for the night! Thank goodness - it gives me so much peace of mind about leaving her to go to the hospital to give birth.

What I'm Looking Forward to: I'm looking forward to meeting my sweet son! I'm kind of over the preparing phase and I'm ready to move onto the next part, although I want James to stay in awhile longer. I'm also really looking forward to him dropping so I can hopefully get a little relief from the reflux.

And here's a bump picture from Sunday. I hardly have any pictures of myself during this pregnancy so I'm going to try to take some over the next few weeks so James can have some photographic proof that I actually carried him - ha!