Look How Baby is Growing!

Check me out... my bump is gettin' even bigger. :)

Although my weight gain has maintained (or some days i'm down) around the 15.5-18 lbs mark, my bump continues to grow. And since i was "pre-padded" (as a class mate said about herself one week), my weight gain can stay around 15-20 lbs and it be completely OK. So i'm happy about this as my goal was to stay within that range. The diet has assisted and the constant reminder that even the 30 minute walks I take make a big difference - so i try to do them daily.  And of course, I am constantly doing my stretches and floor exercises - taylor sitting, butterfly stretching, pelvic rocks, down dog... anything to get a good stretch of the hips, rib/ab area and pelvic area!

While i'm starting to get the slight pressure on my back and ribs, this is still such a glorious time for me and i wish it could go a little longer than 61 (+/-) days. I said to Husband yesterday "maybe i can just be pregnant non stop for the next few years" b/c it's been such an amazing experience. I love the constant feel of movement all day long... it entertains me through my work day and I love feeling the kicks, punches and jabs!!

Of course I was half joking! :)

Happy Wednesday Y'all.. hope its beautiful whereever you are!

Why we chose a birth center

So with only 62 more days til D-Day, we are starting to feel the pressure of this impending labor & birth of our child. Happily, we have switched care providers and are planning to birth at BirthCare in Alexandria.
There are many reasons that we chose to switch from a hospital to a birth center, and this past weekend while in NJ, I was asked by several people why we wouldn't go the "normal" route of a hospital. It was funny to me b/c "normal" now is so NOT what "normal" was for centuries before.

Because the Husband and I had discussed the various reasons together, we were comfortable with this decision for us and felt it was right. But I never really formulated a response to questions when asked - so as i stumbled a long the few reasons that popped into my head - i realized, blogging about it could potentially help me articulate our personal reasons for why this was the appropriate decision for us a little better.

And before I start on our reasons, I do want to say this: just because we chose a birth center does not mean we disapprove of hospital births, interventions, or doctors - at this time and with a low-risk pregnancy, we just feel this is the appropriate thing for us to do. We respect everybody's personal decisions and are thrilled to say all our friends and family have had beautiful babies and healthy moms at the end of the day!
  1. A Mommy-Baby focused birth - all things being equal, we all want a healthy baby and mom at the end of the day. This is the ultimate goal for all involved. A birth center will give us this just as much as a hospital. Both have the same goal. The procedures involved to get to this goal are different. For us, we wanted a birth that also focused on me & the baby and not the convenience of the Doctors and nurses. Hospital policy can dictate many procedures followed - liability is a big concern, but it is important that we also have a positive experience. For this reason, we chose a birth center since they are more Mommy-Baby focused in the procedure aspect as well.
  2. No Mommy-Baby separation: It is important for us that our baby stay with us at all times. This can be done in both hospital and birth center settings, however, when interventions increase, the chances of separation increase. (i.e., sometimes an epidural can cause a fever. If mom has a fever, the baby catching an infection becomes a concern and can be swept away to the NICU). While, this isn't the case in a majority of the situations, it can happen. And we are not willing to take that chance (unless absolutely necessary).
  3. Allowing our baby to do what s/he needs to do. It is important for us that we allow our baby to do his/her thing. In other words, no inductions or interventions to force the baby out before s/he is ready. Now of course if i'm 43 weeks and baby ain't budging, we will have to work with this, but there is many ways to encourage labor aside from external inductions (physical stimulations etc). As long as our baby stays healthy and I'm healthy, we'd like our baby to do his/her thing, to come out on his/her terms and we trust the process. A birth center won't push, encourage or force us to induce or have interventions we don't want.
  4. A natural birth. While i'm not opposed to epidurals - by any means, we are preparing for a natural birth. Some say i'm "crazy" or trying to be a "hero" or some sacrificial lamb ... but to be honest, I admire those who go this route and fully trust it. I know that epidurals hurt. I know that epidurals don't always work. I know that epidurals can cause reactions. I know that epidurals may not be given at the right time. I know that epidurals aren't going to make your labor pain free. It works for many, but not for all. So for me, its easier to just trust my body than to hope for an easy solution that may or may not work.
  5. Pain is not always bad. I read this book by Tony Dungy several years back. He talks about his adopted son that has a congenital insensitivity to pain (he feels things but does not feel pain). While it sounds cool, never feel pain!!! It definitely can be dangerous. Dungy talks about his son reaching into an oven for freshly baked cookies and not knowing his hands are burning from the heat of the cookie. Dungy also said. "We've learned that a lot of times because of that pain, that little, temporary pain, you learn what's harmful. You learn to fear the right things. "Pain sometimes lets us know we have a condition that needs to be healed." (Source
    In that sense, while I don't welcome pain, i know that being able to feel the pain will help me in knowing how hard to push, when to push, and what my body should or shouldn't do. Sometimes you may be told to just push push push not knowing that you actually may need 20 seconds of rest else something bad could happen with your pelvic floor b/c you can't feel the pain. I trust doctors, but i trust my body more.
  6. Immediate Mommy-Baby bonding. Many hospitals are now following this route of allowing moms to bond with their babies immediately, but some are still taking them away to do the APGAR tests and other analysis. The birth center encourages immediate mother-baby bonding, so this is not something i have to worry about at all.
  7. Delayed Cord Clamping. While its not something that all moms want, I do. I think the body, when allowed to do what it needs, will do it on its own. And the placenta, while still breathing life into the baby, shouldn't be halted too early with cord clamping. So for me, delaying cord clamping until the placenta stops pulsing blood to the baby is important for me. My OB said "i'll accommodate you within reason" which was alarm bells right away. So, i switched to a practice that would accommodate me without reasons!!
  8. Wanted to be surrounded by experienced providers who have assisted in births without interventions.
  9. Encouraged husband involvement. To the extent that we want, the Husband will be my coach. He will be very involved in birthing our child. While he won't be catching the baby, since he doesn't want to be "all up in it", we have decided he will "lead from behind" and will be actively involved in keeping me sane!! I love that he will be an integral part of the birth of our child and not just an observer or mildly involved.
  10. Encouraged movements. I love that i will be encouraged to move around. No straps or monitors and a lot of movement! This will assist in labor since its not natural to lay on one's back and birth (this is done for the Dr's convenience). I like the idea of freedom of movement.
  11. Encouraged eating and drinking. While this is just a side perk and not a main reason, I love the fact that I will be encouraged to eat and drink. Not just ice chips for me!!! A midwife explained that labor & birth is like a marathon, you wouldn't just have ice chips for a marathon - you need to keep your energy levels UP!
I can probably add to this list, but i may just end it here for now. And I'm not saying that our way is the right way for all, but it is the right way for us. And I know that there are SO many of my friends (and strangers) that have had wonderful and beautiful hospital births with wonderful doctors and great experiences. I also know of friends who have had traumatic experiences. Because of this, we are not willing to take that chance. We have done our research and decided the OB we had was very much into Doctor convenience, interventions and not focused on mommy-baby (emotionally) so we happily switched to a place we knew our concerns would be heard and we would be able to birth in a manner we were most comfortable with.

We can't guarantee we won't end up at a hospital, ultimately, the baby does have a mind of his/her own... should s/he come early, decide to be breech, decide to get stuck... whatever the case may be; it isn't up to us and our plans are flexible. However to the extent that we can plan to have the ideal birth we envision, we have done what we can.

One of the things that our birth teacher did tell us was that the moms who had the best experiences were usually the ones who were involved in the decision making process - regardless of hospital/birth center/home birth. So she taught us a couple of good phrases to always ask when procedures are being done, and i thought i'd share
  • What are you doing?
  • What are the risks?
  • What are the alternatives?
  • I do NOT consent - will stop ANY AND ALL procedures that you do not want.
So, for me this whole experience has been so empowering. I've learned a new respect for my body and what it is capable of. I've learned to be flexible and to go with the flow (ok, this is still a work in progress). And i've learned that being informed, regardless of who you birth/deliver with is important b/c it is your body, your well being and your baby that are being dealt with - all very important. It is good to know why they put antibiodics on your baby's eyes at birth, or if you want to do a vitamin K shot, or when you want to clamp the cord. These are decisions that everybody will do differently, but not everybody knows there are different options for.

We have choices and we have options... and that's the greatest thing about where we live, so i encourage you all to make the most of these opportunities afforded to us and do what is the right thing for your family!

How have you decided to birth? What factors played into your decisions?

Happy Birthday Husband!

to the man who has made me the happiest girl in the universe... I'm so thankful that you were born on this day!
Thank you for being who you are and for helping me become who I want to be for you!

I love you! Happy Birthday!!

Baby Watch: Week 32

So with Thanksgiving week behind us, I feel very accomplished. I kept my blood sugar in check with the help of my wonderful husband. He made me several of my favorite dishes including a Ham loaf (diced ham and ground pork), with a pineapple cracker casserole, green bean casserole, home made cranberry sauce and a sugar free pumpkin pie. It was all fabulous and I gorged on it all weekend AND kept my blood sugar in check. I was worried about feeling deprived or sad that i wasn't eating stuffing or tons of mashed potatoes like i normally like to do - but to be honest, I felt great :)

And to top it off, I've lost weight!!!! I'm only happy about this because I came "pre-padded" to the pregnancy, so knew that I may want to keep my weight gain below 20 lbs. As of today, I'm only up about 15.5 lbs which gives me wiggle room towards the end of the pregnancy :)

And while I caught the sniffles this weekend, the time off was great and we had a great time with our neices in NJ. A lot of Votes for boys this weekend too :)

So here's our baby watch this week... our baby weighs... about the weight of four naval oranges.
Source: Baby Center

{Article} How To Raise a Grateful Child

Parenting is difficult. I won't even pretend to know what i'm talking about yet b/c I don't - but i do envision my children to act and behave in a certain way... however the reality of this ideal situation is that the only way this happens is if it starts at home.

Here's an interesting article "How to Raise a Grateful Child" by which I'll merely italicize some exerpts I like. I highly encourage you to read the full article linked above!

You can raise your children to be grateful for what they have.

For distractible, still-developing children (and that's pretty much all of them), gratitude can be hard-won. While many can be trained to say "please" and "thank you" beginning at about 18 months, true appreciativeness and generosity take time to seed and blossom.
"There's a difference between encouraging thankfulness in your kids and actually expecting it," says Claire Lerner, a child-development specialist at Zero to Three, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the healthy development of kids and families. "Raising a grateful child is an ongoing process."
In-The-Moment Fix
"Emphasize that you appreciate there are many things he wants, but let him know it will only be possible to get a few of them," says Robert Brooks, Ph.D., a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and coauthor of Raising a Self-Disciplined Child. That way, you won't make him feel greedy or foolish for compiling a lengthy list, but you will set his expectations.

Another idea: Ask him to make a second list, equal in number to the things he wants to get, of things or actions he is willing to give, suggests Maureen Healy, author of 365 Perfect Things to Say to Your Kids. For example: 1) Clean his room, 2) Help you find a charity that the family can donate to, 3) Pitch in when Dad starts wrapping presents, 4) Make a holiday card. Last, if you're in for belt-tightening this year, let him know.

Long Term Strategy
Help him understand that gifts are thoughtful gestures, not just a way for him to score materialistic gain, says Lerner. Anytime he receives a present, point out everything the giver put into it.
Your 5-year-old grimaces at the stuffed Elmo her aunt gives her and says, "But I wanted a Barbie!"

In-The-Moment Fix
"The concept of hiding your own negative feelings to protect someone else's is way too complex for kids five and under," says Lerner. (Older kids get better and better but will still have frequent slipups.) So validate your daughter's feelings without responding critically, says Brooks.

Say "I know you wanted a Barbie, but let's think about all the different ways we can play with Elmo." You can also step in and model the appropriate response -- and defuse the uncomfortable situation -- by exclaiming something like "Wow, that was so thoughtful, wasn't it, Alli? Aunt Karen remembered you needed mittens!" This trick works for all ages: If your older son receives a gift he already owns, for example, say "Oh, cool! That's your favorite game!"
Long-Term Strategy: Before any gift-getting occasion, prepare your child for the possibility that she may not like all her presents, but at the same time, let her know that it's still important to show her appreciation. Remind her that people put effort into trying to find her the best thing.
You can't even take your kid to get socks or lightbulbs without him whining for you to buy him something -- seemingly anything.
In-The-Moment Fix
Before you go on any shopping trip, inform your child that you'll be hitting the mall to, say, buy gifts for his cousins. "Engage him in the process," says Lerner. "Ask him what his cousin Jane likes and which toy you should get her. Get him excited about buying for someone else." At the same time, make it clear that you won't be able to buy anything for him. Then, if your son throws a fit at the store, you can refer back to that conversation, and say something like "I know it's hard to be here when you're not getting anything, but that's the rule. Now, I really need your help finding something for Jane." Let's be honest: That might not be enough to stop his whining. But steel yourself and stay strong. Caving in will only teach him that he will eventually get his way if he complains loud or long enough.
Long-Term Strategy
Your weekends may be errand time, but try to avoid spending all your family moments pushing a shopping cart. That way, your kids won't think acquiring stuff is the leisure-time norm. (Don't get us wrong, though: We know those flattering jeans are sometimes an absolute necessity!)
Long-Term Strategy
Remind yourself to model grateful behavior.

 In your own everyday interactions, always offer warm thank-yous and praise to grocery store clerks, gas-station attendants, waiters, teachers -- anyone who's helpful to you or him. You may think your child isn't paying attention to those small moments, but he actually is.
When you say no to a toy that, according to your daughter, "everyone at school" has, she complains that all her BFFs get cooler stuff than she does.
In-The-Moment Fix Sympathize with her frustration, but remind your daughter that, actually, many people don't have as much as she does. How? Begin a tradition of charity work and donating. Start simple: As young as age 3, children can be encouraged to go through their belongings and pick out items to donate, says Lerner. Every year after that, they can get more involved.
Long-Term Strategy
Expose your daughter to people from all walks of life.

So the next time you see a homeless person, pass a shelter, or read a story in the news about a needy family, he suggests, ask questions -- "Where do you think that man sleeps?" or "Can you imagine what it would be like not to have a home?" -- that get your kids to put themselves in someone else's shoes. (At the same time, assure them that your family will always have a place to call home.) You'll be surprised -- and pleased -- at how often kids are moved to want to help.
Bonus mom advice: Don't diss gifts yourself as long as your little one is around. In fact, make a point of talking about the redeeming qualities of even that hideous necklace from your mother-in-law--how shiny! "You have to model gratitude if you want your child to practice it, too," points out Janette B. Benson, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology at the University of Denver.

Copyright 2011 The Parenting Group. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.

Christmas 2011 Decor

So, a little late this year, but according to the Husband - we're still early - but we finally put up our Christmas Tree Last weekend! Since we live in small quarters, our tree is environmentally friendly (Plastic) 4 ft tree pre-stringed with lights. And we have only 5 ornaments! So it didn't take us long, but here are some photos from our Tree Trimming! :)

Our completed Tree!!!

And here are our ornaments. Each one is from my MIL except for the last one. But can you tell me which one is kinda odd (not necessarily out of place)? One is just a little odd... let's see if you can guess it!
2008 Engagement Ornament

2009 Christmas

Wedding Ornament 2010

Honeymoon ornament

White House ornament from my neighbor!
YAY~ I'm feeling more festive just having the tree up...

30 Week Appointment

Counting weeks is just so confusing... still confusing to me and i'm almost done counting. How bad is that!  So basically i've completed my 30th FULL week (and am now entering my 31st week). This means i'm 10 (give or take) weeks away from birthing our baby!




I can't believe its 10 weeks away (70 days)... omg.

so the appointment went uber well with the midwife. We checked my #'s for my blood sugar. Aside from one # that was way out of range that coincided with a day that my whole eating schedule was off AND i had major indigestion - all my numbers have been below the Gestational normal of 130. Aside from like 5 meals, the last two weeks have been all under the normal normal of 120! So i got a star sticker and good job (j/k no star sticker) and was told to keep up the good work.

I asked her about the baby's position and we checked that when she checked the fundal height of the baby - 30 cm! (Right on target) and the baby is now HEAD DOWN and facing right (i.e., back is to the left and facing the right side of my body) which explains all the movement i've been feeling up and down my right side :) This will also explain why i had some rib pain for two days last week :)

My appointment was great and I can't be any happier with the midwives! They take their time, answer every question I have and help me stay on track for all the things I should be doing or planning to do.

Today the Husband made our first prenatal Pediatrician appointment, so more on that!


Baby Watch: Week 31

This week went by fast. With only 70 days left (O M G... i may pee myself)... It's starting to dawn on me how quickly this is gonna happen... here's our weekly update.

This past week i've been feeling a lot of moment above and below the belly button and mostly on my right side. I also had two days of rib pain - only on the right side, which was very odd. That pain has since subsided - although i don't know if that is a good thing b/c some sites said this pain is most likely due to the baby kicking in that area, which for me is a pleasant and welcomed sign the baby has flipped.

Other than that, I've realized that I can't eat off schedule. Having a late night dinner, completely threw me off with my blood sugar (or it was that i needed control solution for my monitor) and that lasted about a full 24 hrs. So now i have to be more careful for that.

Thanksgiving is this week and with my new diet restrictions I wasn't looking forward to it, but the Husband spend his Saturday evening and Sunday morning making me diabetic friendly dishes to eat at the In-Laws' house this Thursday! He's a GEM!!!

So here's the weekly update!

The baby is about the weight of a head of cabbage....
Source: Baby Center

Cute as a Button DC Baby Shower {Friends}

So here I am... with my fun gifts, I got some fun ones to share...

I have a feeling I may need this one for the baby :)

And of course i will definitely need this book!

and here are some pics of my friends who were able to attend... it was Halloween weekend, so of course, one friend came in her halloween attire :)

I'm not sure if the baby was talking to Anna, but it seems she heard something!

We went belly to belly - with a faux belly (costume i used last year for Halloween) under my friends shirt!

And my fabulous hosts who threw my very wonderful DC Shower... I couldn't be more pleased and it was super sweet! I had such a great time... "Thank you" is definitely not enough to say how grateful I am for such good friends!

Cute as a Button DC Baby Shower {Details}

As i shared on my Relentless Bride Blog, the invitations for our DC baby shower were just ADORABLE.
Storkie Invitations
Well, this is just one detail of my overly awesome baby shower here in DC that was thrown by two of my close friends in the DC area.

It just happened that we decided to have the shower here in our condo building... mostly to make my life easier, but boy, did it work out even better b/c it was an awful weather day - October 29th was our First snow/sleet in the DC area.

Unfortunately the weather did keep a few friends away, but others who weren't too far away or metro reliant (and of course metro decided to close a few stops that weekend) were still able to make it.

Here are a few photos of the details... the theme was Cute as a Button and included a lot of my favorite foods.
 Adorable little cute as a button boxes with a pretty soap inside for party favors.

 Colorful flowers and tons of buttons!

 Little cute button frames!

 An adorable wish plate that all my friends signed!

A variety of colored plates and cute napkins (with of course some buttons)

 Georgetown Cupcakes with little buttons on the very top...

 Tomato, Mozzerella and Basil salad & Fruit salad..

 Cheese & Crackers ( I LOVE CHEESE), Crab cakes and little tacos

 Meatballs and another huge tray of crab cakes and mini tacos

And my absolute FAVORITE... pigs in a blanket.

Some wine for my lady friends...

Not pictured were some amazing Snickerdoodle cookies as well...

The details were so cute and the food was yummy! Stay tuned for some pics from the rest of the shower fun! :)