Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home Again, Home Again

Project White Christmas was a success.

We left at 11 pm on Sunday night, because Aaron couldn't sleep. We stopped at 6 am in Oklahoma City, got a room, and slept for 3 hours. At 10 am on Monday we continued our journey, and made it to Grinnell around 9 pm. What a long day!

Declan loved Aaron's dad, Kevin. As soon as he held him, Declan started babbling up a storm and smiling non stop. We visited tons of friends and relatives, with whom Declan played favorites - for some people he would smile and coo, for others he would do nothing but scream. Oh well. He also got tons of presents; teddy bears, books, rattles, clothes, even a car seat. His favorite toy so far is a plush froggie that has a big embroidered smile - he sees the frog smiling and he smiles back at it!

Lots of cookies and a few ham balls later, the festivities were over with, and we all packed up to make the trek back to Texas. This time, we set realistic goals for driving, and it went much smoother. We left around noon, and stopped about 7:30 pm in Witchita. Then we had some mexican food and a good night's sleep, and got on the road again at 9 am. We here home by 7 pm! It was much, much nicer than leaving in the middle of the night.

Anyway, it feels great to be home. I had a rather traumatic doctor's appointment yesterday (biopsy of my cervix) but then we went to Mom and Dad's and had a beautiful rib roast and leftover Christmas cookies. Mmm. And Aaron and I have decided that after we clean the house, we will reward ourselves with a Scrabble tournament - Katherine gave us our own set for Christmas! But the house is in total shambles, so Scrabble may not happen until 2010.

Pictures of Christmas journey:

Friday, December 18, 2009

A Bucket o' Fuss

Turns out we're going to have a white Christmas after all. Aaron, Declan and I are headed to Iowa on Monday (!!!) and staying for a week.

Here's what I'm excited about: Declan meeting the rest of his family, visiting friends, the first 5 minutes of playing in snow.

Here's what I'm dreading: The rest of the week of snow, being cooped up in a strange house with people I've only met once or twice, the two 18-hour car rides with a two-month-old.

I'm also anxious about being back in Grinnell in general. Seeing the grocery store where we used to buy snacks and liquor, the library where I spent way too much time on Facebook and not enough time writing my papers, the fields where I built snow-forts in the winter and got a tan in the spring. Sometimes I think,"I should be there right now, in my dorm room, packing to go on winter break. Not wiping spit-up off of myself and changing poopy diapers." But then my sweet baby smiles, and there's nowhere I'd rather be. The degree will come, one way or another. But Declan is one-of-a-kind, and I love him way more than I ever loved college. So... there.

Declan will officially be two months old tomorrow! I can't believe it's been two months since I held that tiny, squishy, purple newborn. Now he is a little man, with opinions. Squishy newborns just sleep all day, and you can dress them in different outfits, and snuggle when you feed them... Little opinionated two-month-olds do not stand for playing dress up, or taking naps. But sometimes, I still snuggle him, even though he's very long and very big.

Look at these pics of my two boys, taken last night:

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Declan's Favorite Things

Mommy's left boob. Mommy's right boob. Any boob, really. The paintings above Grandma and Grandpa's couch. My hands. The folds in Aunt Sue's sweaters. Lauren Grace's feet. The picture of a zebra on my exersaucer. My pacifier. Bathtime. Daddy neighing like a horsey. Peeing on things.

These are the things that make me smile.

Weeks Seven & Eight

I've been a bad blogger, forgive me. There's been quite a bit of chaos around here lately.

Declan has had big ups and downs the last two weeks. At the beginning of his seventh week, it was like a miracle occurred. He became a "by-the-book" baby - eating every two hours, sleeping longer, not crying as much. But that only lasted three days. Then the switch flipped and he went back to his fussy, non-sleeping, eating every hour self.

Then last week, we temporarily ran out of cloth diapers and I put him in disposables for a night. Guess who slept from 10:30 pm to 6 am straight? Yep, Declan. Guess who woke up every 2 hours the next night, when he was back in cloth? You guessed it. So, guess who is contributing to landfills by putting disposable diapers on her son at nighttime? This overtired mama right here, that's who. And I only feel mildly guilty about it.

Getting more sleep is terrific. We haven't had another straight-through-to-morning night yet, but at least we only get up once or twice rather than a batrillion times. The other great thing about this week is the smiling. Declan has been grinning at us so much more this week, especially when Aaron makes fart sounds at him (what a boy...)

We've decided not to go to Iowa for Christmas. I'm sad that we won't see his family, or our Iowa friends, but I'm also relived that we won't be driving 17 hours with a two-month-old.

Pictures from weeks seven and eight:

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holy Cow

I just found out that an online friend of mine (Yes, that's possible, for all of you skeptics. I'm friends with people I've never met in person. And they are the only way I made it through six weeks of bed rest without going completely bonkers.) Anyway, an online friend of mine whose son is a couple weeks older than Declan is pregnant again! She's due in August.

This just makes my mind spin for so many, many reasons. One, this is medically possible?! Two, someone felt good enough and well-rested enough and not paralyzingly embarrassed of their body enough to make a baby?! And three, HOW DO I PREVENT THIS?! I mean, duh, I know how to prevent it. But after reading my friend's announcement, I just feel like being extra, extra sure, because the idea of trying to manage a ten-month-old and a newborn simultaneously makes me nauseous. I want to install deadly lasers in the doorway to my bedroom, programmed so that only Declan and I can enter. Or maybe dig a moat. With crocodiles. And sharks. I'm really not ready for another baby.

I had my six-week postpartum checkup today, the doctor said everything looked "totally normal." Which is a huge relief to me, because I was half expecting her to take a peek down there and be like, "OMG! Why didn't you call me earlier! Your stitches are terribly infected and we're going to have to amputate your lady parts!" Okay, well, I knew they weren't terribly infected, but scar tissue down there is a very tricky thing... Sorry, I'll stop. Sorry.

More later, I'm trying to make the most of the baby-is-asleep-in-the-bouncer-for-once-in-his-life time that I'm being blessed with, and there is a heaping pile of laundry to fold. Some things you just can't do one-handed.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Week Six

For some reason, six weeks seems like a milestone, but I'm not sure why... Maybe all those years of getting report cards every six weeks have something to do with it.

The big news this week is that Declan has had his first two bottles of pumped breastmilk. He sucked them down like a champ! Aaron and I both tried it. Yuck. I expected it to be sweet like soy milk, but it just has a weird aftertaste.

Declan has officially outgrown his 0-3 month size clothes. He didn't even get to wear all of them! Oh well, on to 3-6 month.

Last night was a small miracle - we got up at midnight for a diaper change, went back to bed, nursed, and slept until about 5:30! The only downside is that the diaper apparently cannot handle five hours worth of pee - we'll have to look into getting some absorbent inserts. I was glad that I had decided to be a lazy bum and not put the sheets back on the bed after washing them yesterday.

I think Declan is having a growth spurt. He usually has an awake-and-happy period in the late morning, but today he just ate and slept, then ate and slept some more. But his naps have been good, long stretches, so I'm grateful.

Not much else to report... It's cold. It's December. Christmas is coming!

No pictures this week, as I haven't had time to locate the camera charger. But I promise I'll take some before next week.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Week Five

Last night was rough. At about 1 am, Declan decided it was daytime. He wasn't especially fussy, just awake. We paced the house, we rocked, we sang... and we still didn't get back to sleep 'til 4 am or so.

Week five was good. His head control has improved drastically, it's like having a different baby. He has chubbier cheeks, more fat rolls, even a new cry. Here are some pictures of my five-week old!

And some pretty baby parts, just for you:

Monday, November 23, 2009

Things to Remember

It's sinking in that Declan is one month old.

From here on out, we just tick off months, one by one, and before you know it, he won't be a baby. I can't count his age in days anymore. Soon, I won't count it in weeks, either. He'll be 6 months, a year, two and a half, sixteen. And when he's sixteen, snuggling his little eleven pound body will be a distant memory. Maybe I'm just feeling extra hormonal tonight, or maybe it's the sappy episodes of Grey's Anatomy that I've been watching today, but I want to record a few moments so that when my baby is not a baby, I'll remember how it felt.

The day that we found out he's a boy, I went to Wal*Mart. I had saved a little money just for that day, so that I could buy the cutest, tiniest, gender-specific clothes that I could find. I spent a good thirty minutes in the baby section, running my hands over all of the little blue onesies, tiny socks, itsy bitsy hats. I bought three onesies - a red one with sailboats and anchors, a navy and white striped one, and a light blue one with an oxford collar. I also bought a little white sleeper with blue and orange cars, that had the word "beep" embroidered on the bottom of each foot. When I was checking out, the girl asked if I wanted a gift receipt. I said no, that I was keeping them, and explained that we just found out that we're having a boy. She smiled and said, "I thought I saw a baby bump! Congratulations!" She went on to tell me about her daughter, and her own post-sonogram shopping spree. It was the first time that anyone had noticed my belly, and I was grinning from ear to ear. At that point in time, the baby was a big secret. A source of anxiety and something that I had to hide. Even with the doctors, because they knew my age and that I was unmarried, the pregnancy unplanned, I felt like I had to act ashamed. But with this stranger at the Grinnell Wal*Mart, I could get excited. I could smile, and talk about baby clothes, and rub my belly. She didn't know if I was unmarried, or a teenager, or scared. She saw in me a fellow mother, and that was all. From that point on, I wasn't ashamed, I didn't suck in my stomach in public places. And I have a random cashier to thank for that.

In the hospital, after Declan was born, they kept a pitcher of cold water beside my bed. To keep the condensation from running onto everything, they put a diaper on the pitcher. I know that's not profound or sentimental or anything, it's just something I want to remember. I thought it was funny.

Also, that first night with my baby, I ate two dinners. He was born at 4:38, and by the time I was all stitched up, the baby had nursed, and we were ready to move to the mother/baby room, it was almost 7 pm, which was when dinner hours end. The nurse said she'd order a meal anyway, and hope that they still had some. After about 15 minutes, she came back in and saw that they hadn't brought anything yet, so she ordered me a "special dinner" from the cafeteria, one that they can serve after hours. Lo and behold, about ten minutes later, both dinners arrived! Lucky me. I had been eating tiny meals for the last few months due to lack of room in my body, and now I was ready to fill 'er up. I finished every last bite of both dinners. Then I held Declan in my arms and watched TV. We both drifted in and out of sleep all night. The nurses, when they came in to check us, always asked if they should put him in the bassinet or if I wanted to hold him some more. I always held him.

These days, my one month old reaches up and pats me on the chest when he's nursing. He likes to look out the window while I'm changing his diaper and coo at the leaves on the trees. He smiles during bathtime if I make the rubber ducky sing to him. He takes nature very seriously - today we studies some red berries, yellow flowers, and some leaves. He just stares and stares, with the occasional grunt. I also used the booger sucker for the first time today. Man, that was a big booger for a little baby.

Sorry for the epic saga. I'll post his five week update tomorrow, but first I have to take some pictures!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

I have a what?

A one-month-old!

Today is Declan's one month birthday. This month has flown by faster than any month ever, in my life. Including summers, which usually go by pretty fast. But this is like, unprecedented turbo-speed time. I remember giving birth very clearly (too clearly, if ya ask me) and it seems like just yesterday I was holding my little baby burrito in the hospital bed, watching the A Baby Story on tv and yelling at the screen, "Haha, I did better than you!" (Because some of those women have to push, like, forever. And some have really weird looking babies.)

Anyway, we celebrated one month of parenthood by going to Target and spending a gift certificate we had received. The card read, "For Baby Declan." Um, right. We bought me a shirt, Aaron a beard trimmer, and fixings for tacos. Declan got zilch. But you know what? I clean his butt like seventy times a day, so I think I deserve a little present once in a while.

Besides, Declan has everything he needs and more. Seriously, there are some things that Babies R Us declared were "NECESSITIES!!1!" that I haven't touched. Like tiny bibs. Declan is breastfed. He does not need a bib until he's eating solid food, and by that time the 90,000 itsy bitsy terrycloth bibs we've received will be too small to wrap around his chunky thigh, much less his neck. The only bib I'm excited about is the one Julie bought, because it's normal sized instead of miniature, and it's waterproof. :)

Also, breast pads. I acknowledge that many women need these. But my child eats so often (and I guess my boobs also have some sense of self-control) that I've never leaked. And yet, I have boxes and boxes of breast pads. And ya know what, even if they did leak, it would just drip onto my arm or something, because the only time my chest is clothed is when I leave the house, which is like, once a week. Otherwise, the girls enjoy the fresh air. Sorry if that's TMI, but I find it very convenient.

I blogged on Monday about trying to get Declan on a schedule. I was going to record his every move for one week, then try and stretch him out to longer between feedings and longer naps. Well, I recorded our schedule on Monday, and it scared me so much that I haven't done it again since. Scared me because once I wrote it down, there was no deluding myself - my kid eats every FORTY-FIVE minutes. I think the average time between feedings for one-month-olds is 2-3 hours during the day, 4-5 at night. But Declan is on the boob every 45 minutes, day or night, rain or shine. So now you understand why I'm deliriously rambling.

The funny thing is, I thought we were getting long stretches at night. But I was only looking at the clock when I got up to change his diaper. In reality, we woke up many, many more times than just diaper changes. I just blocked them out, I guess. But recording them on Monday night was a wake-up call (no pun intended). So now I'm just bewildered, and have no idea how I'm going to get him to go two hours without eating. I guess we'll just transition slowly. My goal for tonight is ONE solid hour of sleep.

Wish me luck?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Week Four

Four weeks! One month! (Kind of... I'm confused as to whether he's one month old today or on the 19th.)

Laying in bed last night, curled up with my baby, I was trying to think of all of the nicknames that Declan has accrued over the last four weeks. So here goes the list, for posterity:

Declan, Dec, D, Baby, Buddy, Bubba, Bubba Bear, Bubbie, Bubs, Pumpkin, Pumpkin Pie, Honey, Little Man, Little Guy, Sweetie, Fussy, Mr. Fuss, Fussbucket, Monster, Rascal, Sir Farts-a-lot, Pooper, Puppy, Pup, Little One

So, future Declan, if you didn't learn your name until Kindergarten, I'm sorry. You're just so cute and funny that your Daddy and I like to call you lots of random things.

He's officially smiling now, which is amazing. It makes late night diaper changes so much better when I get to see a big, gummy grin once he has a dry diaper on.

This week, my mission is to track Declan's "natural" schedule. I'm recording every time he nurses, takes a cat nap, wakes up, needs a diaper change, etc. Then, at the end of the week, I'll look for patterns in the schedule, and make a "master schedule." Hopefully this will facilitate longer naps and fewer feedings, because right now I feel like a milk-cow who is owned by a very thirsty little farmer.

I can't wait for the holidays! Finances may be tight (or rather, nonexistant - expect some homemade gifts this year, family and friends!) but we can still enjoy turkey, pumpkin pie, family togetherness, baking cookies, listening to Christmas music, and taking loads of pictures of Declan's first Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Pictures from week four:

Monday, November 9, 2009

Week Three

I promise, someday, I'll get back to writing more than once a week! It's very rare that I have two free hands right now, and typing a whole blog post one-handed is just too frustrating. Right now the baby is sleeping in my lap, although I don't expect this to last long, since he 1) is not in motion, 2) cannot hear my heartbeat, and 3) does not have a boob in his mouth. Usually it takes at least one if not two of those things to get Declan to fall asleep and stay asleep.

The newborn stage is fading away... he's getting more awake and alert every day. And he's officially smiling at us! No more eye gunk, no more cord stump - my boy is growing up!

The most exciting development is that he's learned to roll from his tummy to his back! He's done it a couple of times now; I even caught it on camera once (see the two week video off to the right). On one hand, I'm thrilled, because that's a milestone that's not expected until 3 months or so. But on the other hand, I though that the era of "being able to put the baby down, look away for a second, and have them stay in the same place" would be significantly longer.

More later, the baby just startled and smacked himself in the face. That makes for a very unhappy (and apparently hungry?) baby.

Pics from week three:

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Week Two

Declan has started to reveal his personality, little by little. Just tiny signs here and there that he is going to be silly, curious, impatient, cuddly, not a morning person, an early talker. All of this, interpreted from the fleeting grins and insistent grunts of a two-week-old.

Aaron finally found a job - cooking again. This time he's working in a corporate cafeteria, 6 am to 2 pm, Monday through Friday. It's a good job. Let's just hope he can keep it.

Declan and I are adjusting to "real life." Life without mothers or mother in laws around to clean the kitchen or make us soup. It's tough! And by "it's tough," I mean, I haven't cleaned the kitchen or made real food. We're working up to that. First, Declan has to stop nursing every twenty minutes.

Today, in honor of his bellybutton healing, I gave Declan his first real, non-sponge bath. He liked it a little bit better, but still was not a fan. And I discovered a painful-looking ring of blistery rash around his right thigh - that's what happens when you diaper-change in dim lighting, you miss things like angry red rashes. So now I feel terrible, and I'm letting him nurse as much as he wants while I slather his little leg with expensive organic creams that we got as samples from Wheatsville. Luckily, he doesn't seem too bothered by it.

Pictures from week two:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Week One

Aaron was napping on the couch. Declan was napping on my chest. And they farted simultaneously in their sleep. My life with two boys has officially begun.

The baby is perfect. Tiny fingers, tiny, unfocused eyes, tiny lips that have the power of one thousand Hoover vacuums when they suck on my very sore boobs... Sorry if that was TMI. It's one of the big issues in my life right now. 

The first week has been trying, I won't lie. Not much sleep, lots of learning. But I'm so lucky to have lots of family close by to provide us with food, cleaning, an extra pair of baby-carrying arms so that I can take a shower once in a while. My goal for next week is to actually wear a new, clean outfit every day! I'll let you know how that goes.

Pics from week one: 

Friday, October 23, 2009

School of Motherhood

Here are some things I've learned in the past 48 hours:

- Despite years of believing the opposite, I can fall asleep sitting up. In fact, I can fall asleep sitting up, in the middle of a conversation, while nursing the baby.

- Babies do not recognize a difference between night and day.

- Boobs full of milk are not attractive, nor are they comfortable. They are, however, quite useful.

- Nursing at 4 am is much more enjoyable if you are watching Gossip Girl and eating cake.

- Deflated pregnant bellies are very strange and jiggly.

Will write more later, Declan is crying for food. Which is me.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Happy Birthday, Declan!

He's here!

I went in at 6 am for my induction. By 7:30, the contractions were strong and 2 minutes apart. By noon, I was dilated 6 cm and begging for i.v. pain meds! Unfortunately, they made me sick. So around 1:30, I got an epidural - it was heaven!! I took a nap. When I woke up at 3, I had gone from 6 cm to 9 cm!

So then I suffered through an hour of strong contractions, and reached a full 10 cm. I started pushing at 4 pm. The nurse said, "With first babies, you usually have to push for anywhere from an hour to three hours. So don't expect him before 5 o'clock."

Turns out, I'm a good pusher. Aaron was at my head, counting to ten with each push and being a perfect coach. My mom held up one leg while the nurse held up the other. By 4:30, his head was crowning, I was told to stop pushing, and the doctor was called in. One last push, and his head was out. The hugest sense of relief washed over me as the doctor delivered the rest of his body, then placed him on my chest.

He was wet and a little slimy, his skin was a weird lavender-blue color, and he had a cone-head, but I was immediately in love. I said, "Hi Baby!" He opened one eye and looked at me. I stroked his warm little arms and legs. He didn't cry, just kind of gurgled protests as the nurse rubbed his vigorously.

They took him to the warming table, where he was weighed, measured, and dried off. (Stats: 8 lbs, 13 oz, 20 inches long, head circumference of 15 inches!) They put on a diaper, wrapped him in a blanket, put on his hat, and handed him to Aaron, who practically hasn't put him down since then. Once I was all stitched up, I nursed him for 45 minutes - he was such a hungry boy! He nursed perfectly.

Now we're all settled in our room, Declan is fast asleep, and Aaron and I are just staring at him.

I'll have a lot more pictures soon, but for now, these are the ones Katherine took on her iPhone -

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Nearing the End

With my induction scheduled for Monday, I'm trying to live every childless moment to its fullest this weekend, to appreciate my last few days of only being responsible for myself. I still cannot wait for Declan to be born, but now that the event is looming before me, I realize that it's going to be a huge change, and I should savor the way my life is right now, rather than wishing for it to be different. It will be very different soon enough, and then it will never go back to this.

Luckily it's a great weekend to savor. Austin is gorgeous - highs in the 70s, dipping into the 50s at night, clear skies, crisp breezes... Fall is here, and it's better than I remembered. Or maybe I'm just more appreciative, since I've suffered through the summer with lots of extra poundage!

Yesterday Aaron, Melodee, Jeff and I drove out to Fredericksburg to walk up and down the rows of antique shops, ice cream parlors, vintage boutiques, and candle makers. It was very quaint, and I had a good time. Except that one time when a shopkeeper (only half jokingly) told me to "get out of her store!" because she's "like, terrified of blood!" That was after she asked me when I was due, and I gave a good-natured chuckle and said, "Yesterday!" I'm not sure why she thought I was going to give birth right there on her antique rugs, but I left in a hurry.

Tomorrow night we're having "The Last Supper" at my parents' house with Grandma, Melodee and Jeff. Beef stew! And pumpkin cake with cream cheese frosting! Because after that, I'm not allowed to eat or drink anything until I successfully give birth.

I'm sure I'll update on Sunday night when I can't sleep because I'm so excited and nervous! If not, and I actually manage to tire myself out enough to sleep despite the anxiety, I guess I'll update next in the P.D. era - post Declan. Love to all!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Due Date

Well, no baby today. My blood pressure was high, but not high enough to be an emergency. Just high enough to bump my induction date up to Monday rather than Friday, which I'm thrilled about.

You should have seen the extreme measures that Aaron and I took to raise my blood pressure this morning. First I got up and took a brisk walk around the neighborhood, then he screamed along with annoying loud music all the way to the doctors'. We parked far away and walked to the office, all the while Aaron is screaming obscenities at passing traffic - nothing like a healthy dose of embarrassment to raise that BP! When we got there he made me take a lap around the parking lot, then do jumping jacks in the hallway outside the office. And all with a neverending stream of insults, stupid jokes, and playful pinches.

So yeah, we kind of faked it. But karma's a bitch, and we didn't get induced despite our wonderfully successful effort.

Melodee and Jeff (Aaron's mom and stepdad) are here, and we're going to Buffet Palace to have dinner. Wish me luck on not making a pig of myself with the crab rangoon...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Jump to the Conclusion

Just got home from my 40 week doctor's appointment.

The stats are: 3 cm dilated, 75% effaced, and Declan's at a -1 station.

Another stat: Blood pressure was 140/70.

While that might seem like a nice number for people who regularly have a higher BP, it's scary for me, because I'm usually like 100/60. My doctor is mildly concerned - I have to go back at 7:45 am (ughhh...) on Thursday to re-check it. If my BP is still high, she'll send me straight over to the hospital to be induced.

Aaron is super pumped and wants to try and keep my blood pressure high on purpose. Honestly, Thursday would be a great day to have him, for many reasons, but I don't think I'm willing to stress myself out and eat lots of high sodium foods just to get induced... although I do like salty food...

The doctor also "stripped my membranes" which is code for "wiggled her fingers around inside my cervix in order to cause as much pain as possible while giggling at the horrified expression on my face."

Luckily the hospital has free wi-fi, so I'll update on Thursday morning whether it's from my couch-nest or my hospital bed.


I think my subconscious is taking "nesting" a little too literally.

Usually it means that a pregnant woman goes around cleaning everything in her "nest", making sure the house is nice and pretty for the new baby.

Me? I built a nest. On the couch. Out of pillows. And I'm not leaving it until I go into labor!

Monday, October 12, 2009


Every day I'm flabbergasted at the way my body looks. I mean, it seems like I'd be used to it, since I grew gradually over the course of nine months, but this end result is really something otherworldly.
Because I'm a huge cheapskate, I only have 4 real maternity shirts and a couple pairs of horrid preggo pants. The rest of my clothes are just regular clothes that have stretched with me. Until a few weeks ago, I could get away with it. Now, even my longest, stretchiest shirts and tanks leave me with a very unflattering strip of stretch-marked, pale underbelly peeking out.

Since I feel pretty good, I sometimes forget that I'm actually huge and very awkward looking. I was at H.E.B. the other day, and I kept noticing people's eyes lingering on me for a moment more than I'm used to... Then I remembered that they're probably either horrified or have pity for me, depending on whether or not they've ever been pregnant before.

Even Aaron is weirded out by my girth. He used to like my belly, and touch it, talk to it, etc. Now that it's got strange purple lines and is bigger than the biggest pumpkin for sale outside the grocery store, he avoids it at all costs. He jumps when the belly accidently brushes his arm. Luckily, he's quick to compliment the rest of my body - in his own words, "It looks like you're just a normal girl trying to shoplift a beach ball."

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Nothing Yet

Just wanted to update, no baby yet. I still feel it coming. We played a rather vigorous game of Apples to Apples tonight at Elizabeth's birthday party, and I had a contraction or two - I wanted to keep playing, because I think Declan wanted to join us!

I'll let everyone know when I finally find something that can tempt him out. If he takes after his mother, maybe I can just wave a leftover piece of italian cream cake near my hoo-ha...

Friday, October 9, 2009


I can feel it coming.

I've been crampy and contraction-y the past two days. Actually, I just feel like I'm PMS-ing in general. Moody, crampy, craving chocolate, crying when Bear Grylls killed a reindeer on Man Vs. Wild...

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Make Your Guess

Forgot to mention earlier - We're taking a poll of what you think Declan's birth weight will be. So far, the guesstimates are as follows:

Natalie - 8 lbs. 8 oz.
Aaron - 9 lbs. 1 oz.
Patti - 7 lbs. 8 oz.
Allen - 8 lbs. 3 oz.
Katherine - 9 lbs. 6 oz.
Melodee - 8 lbs. 2 oz.
Jeff - 7 lbs. 9 oz.
Mary Ann - 7 lbs. 15 oz.
Angie - 8 lbs. 1 oz.
Bill - 7 lbs. 14 oz.
Sue - 8 lbs. 6 oz.
Ragnar - 8lbs. 5 oz.

We haven't decided what the prize will be, other than the glory of winning... But if you feel so inclined, I'd love to hear any and all other guesses!

Hurry Up and Wait

My doctor apologized profusely today for putting me on bed rest before. It was kinda funny. Also funny - the nurse TOTALLY loved my mythical-beast-tattoo plan. She saw the unicorn on my belly when she was doing Declan's heart rate, and gave me a funny look. I explained, and she was cracking up and said she completely understood!

The big news (<--sarcasm) - I've dilated one half of a centimeter since last week. Like, 0.5 cm. So for those of you who speak the language of labor, I'm now 2 cm, 80% effaced, and Declan's at a -2 station.

The doctor seemed optimistic that it would happen soon, but I think she's forgotten that it's taken me TEN WEEKS to dilate HALF a centimeter. So I went to Wheatsville and got some Evening Primrose Oil and a box of raspberry tea. Neither actually induce labor, but the EPO is supposed to help the cervix soften, and raspberry tea tones the uterus for contractions and makes labor easier when it does happen.

I'm walking a couple of miles every night, and today in the shower, I held on to the soap-holder and did a bunch of squats. Even if all of this doesn't make me give birth, I'm getting fit!

In other news, we moved the bassinet so that it's beside the bed... I forgot, and totally ate it trying to get out of bed for bathroom break #1 last night. Oops! Everyone is fine, I just have a bruised shin.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Walk It Out

Last night was the full moon, and still, nothing. Everyone kept telling me that he would definitely come during the full moon, and they got my hopes up.

I was so disappointed last night that I resorted to walking laps around the condo complex, trying to somehow "absorb" full moon into my body. After six laps, I thought I might be having a contraction, but it turns out it was just a stitch in my side. As soon as I drank some water and sat down, I felt fine. Boo.

So then Aaron and I tried walking to the gas station and back. Nothing. On the way back to the condo we started discussing induction. I just honestly don't think Declan is going to come on his own at this point. I have absolutely zero symptoms of early labor. I feel fine. I was able to walk about four miles total last night with no results. I mean, if anything was going to put me into labor, four miles under the full moon should have done it, right?!

Anyway, we've decided to talk to the doctor at my appointment tomorrow about possibly getting induced on my due date, Thursday the 15th. If I go before then, fine. But if I don't, at least we'd have a for-sure date to look forward to. And it really would be nice to have him on a Thursday, so that Aaron could have four school-less days with us, and his step-dad, Jeff, could stay for the whole weekend before going back to New Mexico for work.

So we'll see what the doctor says tomorrow. She may say no, or she may let us do it even sooner than that - Aaron's rooting for this Thursday, the 8th. Yikes! I always said I didn't want to be induced, ever, that I'd rather be 42 weeks pregnant than get pitocin, blah blah blah... Yeah, I had obviously never been 39 weeks pregnant. There's just so much anxiety and excitement building up, and I'm scared that if I don't get induced, I'll be pregnant forever.

Not really, but that's what it feels like.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Brilliant Plan

You know how stuff always seems to happen when you're least prepared for it?

Well, thats what I'm counting on.

I really want this baby out. So I decided that the best plan would be to put some really embarrassing temporary tattoos on my belly, so that I would go into labor and not have time to wash them off, and the nurses will laugh at me.

I'm willing to sacrifice my dignity in order to bring on childbirth.

Right now I have a minotaur tattoo. As soon as it starts to fade, I think I'll put on the Sphinx. Or maybe the Medusa.

Thank God Pat had a "Mythical Beast Tattoo" book hidden away on a top shelf. And if my plan takes longer than expected, I'll start using Pat's Celtic Art Tattoos.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Hello, October

This is it. This is the month that I 100% for sure, no doubt will have a baby.

Lots has happened and I haven't felt like blogging about it, but I'll summarize: Aaron got fired from his job on the same day that Aunt Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer. Luckily, both situations are being resolved quickly.

Aaron is now enrolled in a training academy to become a certified personal trainer. I've never seen him happier. We'll be completely broke for the next few months, but I think it will be worth it in the long run for our family.

And Sue had her lumpectomy on Monday - it was the size of a pea and the cancer hadn't spread to any lymph nodes. So she'll probably start radiation next week, just to be extra sure that no cancer escaped the little lump. Everyone is really optimistic and she's doing well.

Despite the stress that has come with these two major events, I'm still pregnant and doing just fine. Well, just fine if you don't count not sleeping, back pain, peeing every 15 minutes, and a rapidly expanding road map of stretch marks. I'm very, very ready for Declan to be a member of the outside world. Unfortunately, there's been no change in my cervix for weeks now. 1.5 cm dilated, 80% effaced.

But Sunday is a full moon, and we're supposed to be getting a thunderstorm... both are known to bring on labor... I've got my fingers crossed.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Oxford Comma Day

I thought it would never happen, but nesting mode has finally kicked in.

It was talking to Melodee on the phone last night that put me in high gear - she and Jeff are coming to stay with us for a couple of weeks after Declan's born, and they're already packed and ready to go. Yikes! Having visitors over to sit on the couch and chat is one thing, having visitors live in your house is another!

So I decided to get off my butt and make our house more than just "presentable." I made my own vinegar and water mixture in a spray bottle, unwrapped a new roll of paper towels, put on Vampire Weekend (great cleaning music, if you're looking for some) and took off. I'm emptying drawers, scrubbing baseboards, getting rid of embarrassingly old leftovers in the fridge, even taking the cushions off the monstrous green velvet couch and vacuuming underneath!

Anyone who knows me knows I normally hate this. But when I've got "Oxford Comma" playing merrily in the background, I just feel so happily productive. You may wonder how I'm writing a blog post if I'm so "productive"... I just wondered that, too. My only excuse is that the toilet cleaner said to let it sit for 10 minutes. I guess I didn't realize that I could be cleaning something *else* for 10 minutes...

Um, back to work?

**Four minutes later** Edit! Update! I just made a magnet. As in, I just krazy-glued a magnet to the back of a random wooden Texas that Pat had in a drawer. And stuck it on the fridge. My blogging break is totally redeemed.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

No Change

An uneventful doctors appointment today. There's been no change since last time, despite the contractions and other random pains I've been having. Oh well, the longer Declan stays in, the better.

But thank God for the new TV season. As long as I'm sitting around here waiting to give birth, I might as well have entertainment. And today I almost choked on my cereal when Dan woke up next to Georgina in Gossip Girl's latest episode. Rainy days like these were made for Cookie Crisp and trashy teen TV!

Warning, I'm about to get totally sappy.

The last week or so has been the best week ever in the history of my relationship with Aaron. He loves his job, so he comes home happy, and we're both so, so excited about Declan. Aaron has never been this nice, or this helpful. And to hear him talk on the phone to his family and friends about how much he loves me, and our son, and our life here, and to know he's not lying, just melts my heart. I hope this doesn't all crumble once we have a wailing newborn in the house.

Now I'm busy getting call-lists ready (Who to call the beginning of labor, who to call after birth, and who just gets a text... Major life decisions!) and preparing the house for the in-laws - Aaron's mom and step-dad, who are driving in from New Mexico to stay with us for a couple of weeks after Declan's born. Bags are packed, bassinet is assembled, blankets and clothes are washed and folded in the dresser... All we need is a baby!

Monday, September 21, 2009


Well I don't know exactly what I did to deserve this, but something really funny happened today!

So Aaron was craving Chinese food (I swear, the boy gets more cravings than I do.) We headed over to Wok and Roll, but I really didn't feel like eating anything there, and Thundercloud is right down the street, so he agreed to go through the Thundercloud drive-thru and get me a Cali Club.

Annnyway, we get to the drive-thru window and this guy, about my age, opens the sliding glass and goes, "Hey, I remember you guys! What's up? Y'all want some free chips and drinks?"

Uh, yes?

Actually, my immediate reaction was, "No, um, that's okay," because I was so bewildered. Luckily Aaron's emphatic "Yeah, sure!" drowned me out. So we got free chips and drinks, and the whole time this Thundercloud guy is like, "Yeah man, alright. I like y'all. Anything else?"

So we tipped him $3.60 on a $5.20 order, and got the hell outta Dodge before he could realize that he actually didn't remember us from anywhere. Once home, we popped in Apocalypto and shared a Cali Club, cashew chicken, Cool Ranch Doritos, egg drop soup, and Sierra Mist. A veritable feast.

I'll have to pay it forward somehow. Maybe I'll bake some cookies and hand them out on the bus on my way to the doctor's office tomorrow. Because that would be sketchy at all...

Sunday, September 20, 2009

All Showered Out

Well, the baby shower was a success! We only have a few little things left to buy before we're totally, completely ready. Hooray!

Julie was a big winner...
She only crossed her legs once, and no one caught her. But she sure caught everyone else!

Aaron's mom, Melodee, and her husband Jeff bought us a year's worth of cloth diapering service... We love them. Forever. That is a huge, huge deal. Anyway, the gift certificate for the diaper service was delivered to us tucked inside a little cloth diaper with a Snappi. So of course I had to demonstrate my diapering skillz on a teddy bear :)

Big thank yous to everyone who came, and to those who couldn't come, we missed you! Hopefully we'll make it up to Mount Pleasant sometime this winter, so that everyone up there can meet Declan (and Aaron!)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


I spent all day today planning the baby shower. Talk about mentally exhausting.

So I was thinking it would just be casual get together - some chips and dip, some cupcakes, paper plates and napkins, etc.

Well, Grandma had other ideas. By the end of the day, I was polishing her good silver salad forks and ironing the Spanish linen tablecloth.

Christina-the-floral-department-lady at Randalls totally broke my heart when she told me that they don't have ANY blue flowers. I was like, hello, I can think of a dozen different blue flowers off the top of my head and you have NONE? Unacceptable, Christina, unacceptable. She was like, how about lavender? Um, Christina, I just picked out two "It's a boy!" mylar balloons. You really think I want a lavender centerpiece? Too bad Christina can't make this.

Anyway, the plans are now a mish-mash of my casual, low-maintenance style and Grandma's lofty plans for a high tea. We'll be serving cupcakes on a sterling silver platter. No joke. And drinking punch from bone china tea cups. I'm excited.

My doctor's appointment yesterday went well. I'm 1.5 centimeters, 80% effaced, and he's at a minus two station. I hope those pictures, particularly the last two, sufficiently explain why I now waddle.

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Becky's in Texas, Sue's in Austin... my world is finally coming back together from this weird week of waiting. I think I changed out of my pajamas exactly twice in the last seven days, not counting showers.

Now I'm being serenaded. Hint: "Flightless Bird, American Mouth" by Iron and Wine is not for beginners. Aaron hasn't quite perfected his falsetto.


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Rainy Days, Birth Days

It's so dreary here today. I just want to curl up with a book and a cup of tea. But I can't, because 1) I've read all the books in the house and 2) all of our tea is caffeinated. So I'm curling up with milk and my computer. But not really curling, because my body is so unwieldy that it's the best I can do to plop down and throw my legs onto the coffee table in front of me. So really, my plans have been dashed, once again.

Cleaning didn't go exactly as I'd imagined. I had the motivation, but was lacking the stamina. The kitchen is spotless, the rest of the house is rather unchanged. Oh well.

Last night I (partially) packed my hospital bag. I kept telling myself, "You won't wear this again until you're a mom!" and "You won't use this chapstick again until you're a mom!" causing myself to get pitifully weepy. I think I packed too many clothes for Declan, but they're so small that they hardly take up any room at all. Besides, I have no idea how big he'll be, so I had to pack outfits in multiple sizes. Just in case.

Bed rest made time drag by unbelievably slowly, and being off bed rest is making it really fly! Not that I'm doing much differently. I keep shaking my head in amazement that it's Thursday. Thursday is the day before Friday, which is one week from when Becky gets home, and then it's Saturday, which is one week from the baby shower, then it's Sunday, and Julie will finally be old like me! I think it was Labor Day that threw me off. Yeah, we'll blame Labor Day and not blame the ever-growing list of things that I still need to do before giving birth.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Belly of the Whale

Here's the latest pic, 34.5 weeks:

I spent the morning poolside chatting with Marcie, and the afternoon sorting old pictures with Grandma. Definitely more than ready for my doctor's appointment tomorrow when she'll let me off of bed rest!! I have big plans for tomorrow afternoon; walk to Randall's, mail Sue's package, swim laps... um... other fun things that I've been missing out on...

Wednesday is Cleaning Day, as in, a major household scrub-down to catch up on the month that I have been unable to clean. The nesting instinct is definitely setting in, because (as those close to me know very well) I am SO not a cleaner. But for the past week all I've wanted to do was wipe down counters, empty trash cans, vacuum the corners, etc. Very out of character.

Time is flying by. Sue's birthday is in two days, my mom's is in three, Julie's and Ashley's is in six. Sue gets back from her trip to Big Bend on Sunday, then Becky gets back Friday, then my baby shower is Saturday. After this whole slew of birthdays and homecomings and parties, Declan is free to arrive at any time!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Welcome to the Family, Aaron

Aaron is officially part of the clan, I guess, because he's been recruited by Grandma to do handyman work out at Ann's house.


He's been gone all day, something about a U-Haul and a chainsaw? A little bitty bit of me is annoyed, because it's his day off, and I'm here, alone, bored out of my skull. But the rest of me is kinda happy, because I know this will appease the workaholic within Aaron, not to mention he's getting paid and working outdoors, which he loves. And it's not even that hot.

Also I'm okay with him being gone because I'm watching the new season of Project Runway, which he would never watch with me. The second challenge is maternity dresses! Hehe, I'm just thrilled.

Friday, September 4, 2009


Okay, so the back story is that I am registered for my baby shower at Babies R Us, which we'll call BRU from here on out. And the only other Natalie Schr0eder registered at BRU is from McKinney, Texas, which is where my mother grew up and her family still lives. But I wasn't worried that people would get confused, because it's pretty common knowledge that Aaron and I are in Austin. Not to mention that the other Natalie's due date was sometime last year (BRU keeps registries on file for 12 months after your due date, for returns purposes.)

So just now, I get on BRU's website to change something on my registry (and also to check if anything's been purchased, because I'm nosy like that) and the search for "Natalie Schroeder" comes up with THREE results rather than the usual two.

Natalie #3's location? Austin, Texas. What are the frickin' odds of that, huh? Is there anyone with my name living OUTSIDE of Texas? #3 has no listed partner, but she does have a maiden name listed. She's due in December.

There are some people invited to my shower who don't know me very well... I really hope they use their best deduction skills and do not click on #3's name, because she's having a girl with a pink and brown butterfly themed nursery.

Also, Sue just texted me that Jennie Frederick RSVPed yes for my baby shower. My initial reaction was excitement, because someone RSVPed already, but that quickly faded to confusion because who the hell is Jennie Frederick? I figured she must be someone from my mom's office. I called my mom. No Jennie Frederick at the office.

Wild scenarios started running through my head. Could Jennie be my mail carrier lady, who saw the invitations and decided she'd like to join us? Maybe she's been obsessively reading the postcards I send out and feels like we're best friends. Or maybe Jennie is a lonely old woman who received an invite by accident because I wrote an address down wrong, and even though she doesn't have a clue who I am, was so excited to be invited that she ignored the fact that her name wasn't on the invitation?

I was determined to solve the Jennie Frederick mystery. I trekked through the torrential rains to Sue's house (read: walked about 50 feet across the parking lot while it was drizzling) and asked her, "Sue, WHO is Jennie Frederick?!"

"Um, Julie's... sister? Cousin?"

"Aunt Sue, you mean Jeanna? Jeanna G00drich?"

"I guess so! You know me and names..."

So hooray for Jeanna coming to the shower, but boo on Sue for getting me all excited about a mystery guest! Actually, it's really funny now that I think about it.

Add to this excitement a letter from Rachel and a free sample diaper from Huggies (whole 'nother story for another day) and today has been pretty fun-filled. Comparatively.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

C'est Septembre!

I sat down to write a blog post earlier, but Aaron was in a very hyper mood and kept play-punching me, pressing keys, throwing pillows, etc. So I only got one sentence down before I gave up.

I am so excited that it's September. If there's one thing that this pregnancy has taught me, it's to appreciate each month. I've never been happier for (or more aware of) the beginning of September. Usually I'm only vaguely aware of dating my papers 9-whatever-whatever, and get caught off guard my the big group of birthdays (Mom, Sue, Angie, Ashley, Julie) between the 3rd and the 13th.

... Maybe we'll be adding another September birthday to my collection? I've been having contractions (irregular, nothing to call the doctor about) and lots of pressure in my nether-regions. Something is happening in there, for sure. I think Declan's feeling cramped.

I'm counting down the days until the doctor takes me off of bed rest next Tuesday! My greatest fear is that I'll go in, all excited to be taken off bed rest, and I'll be even more dilated / effaced, and have to be admitted to the hospital. Keeping my fingers (and legs) crossed.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Big News

Aaron is watching Dragonball Z: The Movie.

Yep, that's my big news. I am having a child with an overgrown 11-year-old.

But I can't be too hypocritical, because I'm suddenly kind of intrigued by this movie - a very white kid has a very asian grandfather. How did this happen? And why are they walking on tightropes? And why do wise asian grandfathers always have greenhouses?

Annnnyway, everything is going well, nothing new to report. I'm excited about my baby shower - there will be cupcakes and melon balls and decorating of baby t-shirts!

Oh wow, this movie is glorious. The white kid is slicking his hair back in order to woo the hot asian girl named ChiChi, he put on his girl jeans and leather jacket to go to her mansion party, ditching his asian grandfather and the chicken & noodles he made for dinner. Then, outside the party, the popular boys gang up on him, so he's using his Xi powers to take them all down - in SLO MO. The asian girl is totally wooed.

And Aaron just asked "Why does everybody know kung-fu but me?!" I love him.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stretch Marks and Sniffles

My nose has been stuffy today, and I've had a bad headache for the last, oh, 48 hours. I hope I don't have swine flu. Ha.

Actually I'm really not scared of swine flu for myself, I've always had very healthy lungs and a fairly hardy immune system, I'm sure I'd be just fine. But a newborn is a whole different story, and they say (they = mainstream media, I guess) that the swine flu is supposed to reappear with a vengeance this fall. So don't be surprised if I'm passing out travel-size bottles of hand sanitizer when you're around Declan. I'm no germaphobe, but I feel like this is gonna be a "better safe than sorry" situation.

Anyway, I'm getting pretty tired of this whole baby-growing gig. I mean, I love him, and pregnancy is an awesome miracle or whatever, but my skin burns and itches from being so stretched out, I can't sleep because my back and hips hurt so badly, I can't bend over to save my life, and my hormones are raging like nobody's business. Yesterday my dad caught a glimpse of my bare belly, and asked if I had a bunch of mosquito bites... No, Dad, those are stretch marks and places where I've scratched myself raw, despite slathering my abdomen with an assortment of creams and butters.

I go places so infrequently that riding in the car is totally foreign, and makes me slightly nauseous. Considering that I am either sitting still or walking at a snails pace all day, I can see how 50 mph would be a shock to my brain. Not to mention the searing pain in the lady-parts that comes with going over speed bumps (Of which there are entirely too many between my house and my parents... like 10 at least. Ouch.) Just imagine if you were carrying a bowling ball between your hip bones and someone jostled you up and down. Yeah, unpleasant.

Sorry I'm so whiny today. Aaron's been at the gym for like 3 hours, and forgot to take his phone, so on top of all of my pregnancy woes, I'm worried that he either has a gay lover at the YMCA or was in a terrible car crash... Can't decide which I'd prefer.

Only two weeks until Becky's back, and only 2.5 weeks until I'm allowed off of bed rest! And only 6.5 weeks until my due date! And if Declan isn't born by my due date, I'm going to reach in and yank him out, then give him a stern talking to about teasing Mommy and making her think that he was going to come early.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

And The Thunder Rolls

Big storm here tonight! Pouring rain and almost constant thunder and lightning - I hope it lasts for longer than five minutes!

My doctor's appointment today went well, no changes. Bed rest for two more weeks, then I'll be freeeee! And I don't have to go back next week unless I'm having lots of contractions.

I spent the day designing baby shower invites, which are to be mailed out by this weekend. If anyone reading this has any ideas of people who they think I might be forgetting on the invite list, let me know. My list is pitifully short, but I really can't think of many people who live close enough. If I could include free plane tickets to and from Austin in the envelope, I could expand the list exponentially, but the budget is a little too tight for that. Just a little. Anyway, if you have any ideas, speak up!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Another Week

Let me tell you, Mondays have a whole new glorious meaning when you're not in school and not working.

I mean, they still suck, because it's the beginning of a five-day stretch of monotony and being home all day by myself. But gone are the days that I would lay in bed on Monday mornings praying, "Oh dear Lord please, please let me go back in time 24 hours because I did not properly appreciate my Sunday and I'm so not ready for this, Amen."

But please don't take this as me bragging that I get to laze around all day while the rest of you attend classes / go to work / are productive members of society. I would give anything to be able to get up and get dressed and go make money each morning.

And this weekend was especially painful because I kept being reminded that all of my college friends are moving back onto campus and celebrating the beginning of the school year. (The oh-so-subtle ways I was alerted of their celebrations? Texts at 11 pm, midnight, 2 am and 4 am from various Grinnellians, each one a little less legible.)

Anyway, I'm comforted by the fact that I only have 2.5 more weeks of bedrest, and after that it's only 1 week until my baby shower, and after that, well, he could be born at any time. Woo!

I'm still picniking like a fool. Here's Aaron with a handlebar mustache.

Friday, August 21, 2009


Bah, today was miserable. I cannot keep my hormones in check. As soon as Aaron came home from work, I started picking fights and being overly sensitive.

I really think it's the bed rest. I spent all day knitting and watching The Tudors, so I forgot how to properly interact with human beings. I mean, it's also being 8 months pregnant. That's probably the bulk of the issue. But being on house arrest with only my computer to keep me company sure doesn't help.

So we had a Big Blow-Up Argument, which, as per usual, ended up with me sobbing hysterically over nothing and Aaron calling me a big baby. Then we kissed and made up, and I sent him off to see Inglorious Basterds without me, tearing up again as he drove away because I SO want to see that movie! But at least one of us should be having fun, so that they can put up with the other's crabbiness. Both of us being bored and unhappy is just a recipe for disaster.

For the record, the argument was about how much "maternity leave" I get until I MUST (<-- Aaron's emphasis) get a job. His opinion? As little time as possible. My opinion? As much time as we can afford. So you see, we differ.

Maybe I need to get out in the sun. Maybe I have a vitamin D deficiency. Or maybe... ice cream. Maybe I just need some ice cream.

Thursday, August 20, 2009


As per Katherine's suggestion, I've been wasting away my hours editing photos on Picnik. Here's my latest update for you. When I'm feeling especially cow-like, I enjoy taking a front picture and a side picture, and flipping between the two and trying to convince myself that from straight on, I don't look that ginormous.

Please, if you'd like to make my day, tell me that those indents below my ribcage still make a perfectly good waist.

There's nothing about this picture that makes me feel less like a beached whale, but I do enjoy that Picnik has the thrilling ability to hide stretch marks and make me look all glowy.

And one more for fun:

Aaron is off today, and Grandma's making us beef stew for dinner. Yay!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Update (Not Feeling Creative)

All went well at my doctor's appointment today. I'm exactly the same, 1 cm and 75%, which is good. Still on strict bed rest, but not quite as worried.

The nurses really loved my knitting. I was working on it in the waiting room; these weekly appointments with 45+ minutes of waiting each time mean that I've read every single magazine they have to offer. So far I've got a blanket thats 30 inches long and about 1 inch wide. Got a ways to go.

I saw the nurse practitioner since my doctor's on vacation. Turns out she was put on bed rest at 27 weeks for being dilated and effaced, just like me. They took her off bed rest at 34 weeks, and... she ended up going 3 days past her due date. So she told me, "You never know. You have to be prepared for a baby anywhere between 4.5 pounds and 11."


So on Sunday at Katherine and Jessica's birthday party, my family is going to start betting on Declan's birthdate. You put in a dollar to "buy" a day, and if he's born on that day, you get half the pot. I'm excited because I get the other half of the pot no matter when he's born. :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Going Nuts

I have a huge headache. And that unshakeable restless feeling that you get when you're laying down 24 hours a day. Plus I'm alone from 7 to 4 or so, and when Aaron does get home, he just wants to play on my computer.

I swear, if I were rich, I'd hire someone to come talk to me. And play board games. I'd put an ad up on CraigsList. "Funny, smart, and highly patient person needed to entertain and cater to a pregnant woman on bed rest. She'll give you a run for your money in Scrabble if you'll refill her water glass."

But then I'd get a lot of weirdos. Plus I'm broke. So I'll just have to wait for Aaron to get home, and then... and then I'll pretend my computer is broken. So he'll have to talk to me.

OMG, I am shaking with boredom. WHAT DO I DO? I feel like a druggie in withdrawal. I mean, I've got books and I've got my computer, but I just want to RUN AROUND LIKE A MANIAC! Or go for a swim. Just one little swim. But I called my doctor to ask in floating in the pool was okay on bed rest, and they said no. Ahhh!

I want Declan to stay in as long as possible, but seriously, if I go insane, I won't be a very good mother.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Grandma Says "Keep Your Legs Closed"

Aaron's not very good at the whole keep-Natalie-on-bedrest thing. When I was at my parent's house while he was gone, they wouldn't let me get up except to go to the bathroom. Period. No getting up. And while that was very frustrating, it's even more frustrating for Aaron to be asking me to "run out to the truck and get _____," "make [him] and omelet," "go get the socks [he] left at Sue's," etc.

I get stuck in a very awkward position of telling him, "But I can't!" And he says, "You don't look sick, or in labor. You can do it." "Well I know I'm not sick or in labor, but, but... The doctor said not to!" "Walking 50 feet is not going to kill you." "I CAN'T! I'M NOT ALLOWED!" Then big sighs are emitted from either party, and I keep my butt planted firmly on the couch while he goes around doing things for himself (for once) and slamming doors.

The dishes haven't been washed since I've been out of commission, and the bathroom floor looks like Aaron's personal hamper. But I am stubborn. I will not exert myself by picking up after him. I will sit here and eat Katherine's birthday cake and wait for Aunt Sue to get back from Mexico (today! hooray!).

And I'm going to try and give my blog a makeover, so don't freak out. It's time.

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Well, the fetal fibronectin test was negative, so I've got at least two more weeks.


I'm on strict bed rest until at least 34 - 35 weeks. So for the next month, I'm only allowed to get up to use the bathroom and shower. Prison! Bleh. But, of course, I'll do anything to keep Declan healthy and growing and inside me. No matter how much he jabs my right lung with his bony knees.

That means no camping at Knox for me. Sad.

I'm also starting to process the possibility that Declan will be born earlier than expected - my doctor thinks I'll progress pretty quickly after being taken off bed rest, so we're looking at mid- to late September rather than mid-October.

I had planned to have my baby shower on September 19th, so that Becky could be there... but Declan might be there, too. I'm going to keep that date, and if he's here, he's here. I've been advised that all I'll really need for the first couple weeks is a car seat, some clothes, and my boobs. Although I'd really like to be more prepared for his arrival. We'll see. Maybe my body will decide to get a clue and I'll be able to hold out until October.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Not Yet, Baby D!

I went to the doctor today...

1 centimeter dilated and 75% effaced. If that means nothing to you, Google it. Basically, he's trying to be born.

I feel guilty, but my first thought when the doctor told me the news was, "But I haven't had my baby shower yet!" My second thought was, "OMG, we don't even have INSURANCE for him yet. Imagine the hospital bills a preemie would rack up!"

After that, my thoughts have been pretty much variations of those two.

So I'm going in tomorrow for a Fetal Fibronectin test. In layman's terms, it tests for the presence of the glue that is holding him inside me. If the glue is dissolving and coming out (AKA a positive result), there's a high chance I'll go into labor in the next two weeks. If the glue is still busy sticking the amniotic sac to my uterus (AKA a negative result) then chances are slim that's he's coming out soon.

Aaron's gone to New Mexico to trade his Mustang for his stepdad's truck. I'm going to stay at my parents' house until he gets back, so that I don't have to cook my own food, because, oh yeah, I'm on COMPLETE AND TOTAL bedrest. I'm only allowed to get up to use the bathroom. And now I feel guilty for walking to the store and back today, walking up and down the stairs to Marcie's apartment, and a million other things that probably-wouldn't-have-but-maybe-could-have prevented this.

I'll keep the blog updated. Prayers and or positive thoughts for Declan would be appreciated.

Monday, August 10, 2009


My parents and sister came over for brisket and swimming last night, and introduced a thoroughly amused Aaron to the concept of "name songs." You see, when I was a baby, I cried a lot. So my mother made up a song to sing to me while she paced around the house, trying to make me sleep. I'll spare you the lyrics, but lets just say it rhymes "Rose" with "toes."

Then, trying to keep things fair between siblings, Katherine got her own song, which rhymes "Marie" with "be." Easy peasy. Rose and Marie rhyme with a multitude of good baby words.

Well, I had to go and name my child Declan River. And I was up half the night trying to think of things that rhyme with either of those to make him a song. Specklin'? Sliver? I actually made up a pretty interesting verse comparing him to a sliver of pie, but it sounded so frugal. Like, why wouldn't he be a whole pie? Or at least a generously-sized piece?

This morning, I decided to use a rhyming dictionary. Problem: "Declan" is not a word and therefore cannot be looked up. And I can't think of any real words that rhyme! River has some that I didn't think of - giver, liver, quiver, deliver. But those aren't good baby song words.

Oh Declan River, you have a pretty nice liver...

The rhyming dictionary also gives you phrases that rhyme, such as "cirrhosis of the liver." Yeah, real practical, rhyming dictionary. Thanks.

I'll let you know when I've come up with a brilliant masterpiece of a song.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

I Don't Get It

What is the point of living in the city if you still step in deer poop on your way to the grocery store?

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


This bed rest thing sure is making me write on my blog more. (On that note, I know a certain someone who is long overdue for some ramblings of her own... *cough* JULIE *cough*)

Today, I got really sick of being cooped up in the house, so I asked Aaron if I could go to the gym with him. Mind you, I haven't wanted to go the gym in MONTHS. Bed rest will make you do crazy things. I feel like my muscles are going to atrophy or something.

Anyway, I don't know what I thought I was going to *do* at the gym, since I can't do any cardio and didn't bring my swimsuit. But my plan-less-ness didn't end up mattering, because just blocks away from the gym, Aaron turns the radio down and says, "I'm not in the mood for the gym right now. Can we do something else?"

So of course my mind turns to baby shopping (annnd that's why we're broke, in a nutshell) and we head south, to the land of Target and Savers and Babies R Us. But we keep seeing restaurants along the way, which lead to whines of "I'm hungry. Will you buy me lunch?" coming from the driver's seat.

(If this story is reminding you of "If You Give A Mouse A Cookie," well, that's kind of how my morning was. Aaron being the proverbial mouse.)

But of course I didn't bring my wallet, because I thought we were just going to the gym and back. So it's either head back home to eat or... go to my parents house! Their fridge is always stocked and they have a comfy new couch. Away we go.

A series of events involving Daisy puking, me finding A Baby Story on TLC and Aaron having a sudden urge to go home and watch G-Force on my laptop culminate in me spending the day with Katherine at my parents house, alternately snacking and napping.

And that, my friends, is as exciting as it gets for me. I promise I'll wait until something actually happens to post next time!

Monday, August 3, 2009

August is Here!

I haven't been this excited about August's arrival since... um... Actually, I was pretty excited last August, because I couldn't wait to get back to Grinnell. And the August before that, because I was starting college. Okay, honestly, I've always liked the first days of school, and I was always pretty ready to go back. But August just gets a bad rap for being the END of summer.

Well ya know what? I'm pretty darn ready for this summer to be over, seeing as I'm carrying THIS thing around with me everywhere:

Friday, July 31, 2009

Lesson Learned

Dear Katherine, 

Today I took one of those secret trips to Randalls and I spent some time inspecting the bakery case. I learned a valuable lesson. The creme filled donuts are ovals, not rectangles. We should remember this for next time, so that we aren't so disappointed with our faux-eclairs-that-are-really-just-rectangle-donuts. And since I can't trust my brain to remember anything these days, you're in charge.

Love, Natalie

Dear Aaron,

If you got nosy, clicked the "Blog" bookmark, and read this post, you are probably thinking, "WHAT? She's been eating donuts? She's spending money, poisoning our child, and her butt practically has its own gravitational pull already!" Well, tonight's was only the third donut I've had in the past, like, year. Wait, that's not counting that one free sample at Walgreen's cosmetics counter (what was THAT about?). So, the fourth donut. And only two of those have been creme filled (should have been three, but one was the above mentioned faux-eclair.)

Anyway, my point is, when YOU complete twenty-nine weeks and one day of pregnancy without eating at least four donuts, THEN you can reprimand me. Also, besides the donut, I bought bananas, spinach, mixed veggies, and V8. So the donut is totally cancelled out. 

Love, Natalie

Thursday, July 30, 2009


So today my OB looked at my cervix through binoculars (technical name: colposcopy, not to be confused with colonoscopy. Nothing went up my butt). It was very bizarre. First she swabbed me with vinegar (which I've decided really is a miracle liquid - it cleans, it "highlights abnormal cells", and it makes salad dressing!) then she got really close and looked at me through these funny binoculars. 

I came thisclose to farting in her face (this is what pregnancy will do to you - it's hard to hold them in!), but I did hold it in because I remembered that she may very well have a knife and free reign with my lady parts in 11 short weeks. And 11 weeks is not enough time to forgive someone for farting in your face.

The good news is that Declan is growing well and his heart rate was perfect. The bad news is that my body is stupid and thinks it's time for him to be born. My cervix is soft and a little bit dialated. Dumb, dumb cervix. 

So now I'm on "modified bed rest" - I can still walk around and do normal things, but no lifting above my head, no sex, and absolutely no running, jumping, or squatting. Basically the Dr told me to lay down as much as possible, so that Declan's weight is kept off of my unforgivably stupid cervix. When she said this, I pictured myself jumping and him falling right out of me. Ew.

So those 11 weeks that the good doctor would have had to forgive me had I farted in her face may actually be nine or ten weeks - she thinks he'll come early. Luckily for him, he's a tank, and will probably be fully developed by then. I'm just praying that I make it to October, for purely selfish reasons - if he's born in September, his birthstone won't be opal, and the gorgeous opal necklace that Aaron got me will be meaningless! 

Oh well, shouldn't have counted our chick before he hatches, I suppose.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009


I wish I had  bunion. Because then I could call a number, get free bunion surgery, and get paid $700 for FIXING MY BUNION!

I would totally participate in those medical research trials, but ever since I've been able to legally consent, I've either been living in Nowhere, Iowa, or I've been with child. And I'm not willing to (by proxy) give my baby experimental drugs. 

Monday, July 27, 2009

Around the World in 80 Days

80 days until my due date!

Hopefully they fly by as quickly as the last 80 have.

Exactly 80 days ago, it was May 8th, and I was getting ready for finals, trying to figure out how to get to Texas, waiting anxiously for my ultrasound, and enjoying the Iowa springtime. I spent a lot of time on my green fleece blanket out in the yard, playing Scrabble on my iPod. I was also spending a lot of time trying to spend my dining dollars at the Grille. And now I'm living off of PB&J sandwiches and questionable leftovers.

Sidenote, Declan's kicking and squirming has become semi-painful. But I figured out that when I sing, he calms down. Hopefully this trick will still work outside of the womb.

Saturday, July 25, 2009


Just because the "something" happens to only be one day doesn't mean that I can't say I'm twenty-something.

I had a great birthday! Babysat in the morning, then went to lunch and my 4D ultrasound with Aaron, Mom and Katherine. Aaron made us steak, mashed potatoes and broccoli for dinner, which I gobbled down while watching Coraline. Then Elle picked me up, gave me a cupcake, and we went to see Orphan with the Goodriches plus Ben. Then off to Julie's house, where we finished the butterfly puzzle! What a day. 

Although really nothing can beat seeing Declan in 3D. Aaron cried the whole time, Katherine kept calling him creepy, and the tech told us he looked "buff." He's got Aaron's nose, my chin, and very pretty lips. I think he has my cheeks, too, poor guy. I've never seen another baby with jowls like the ones I had.

We also double checked that he's a boy, and YEP, no question. We saw it in 3D. Aaron was so proud. So if anyone out there was hesitating on buying something blue, don't worry. :)

Now I have a weekend full of doing nothing. I hate when Aaron works 8-6. I wake up when he leaves and when he gets home, I'm cranky from being so bored all day. At least when he works 5-11 we get the day together and then I have the evening to relax (because I need some alone time after a day with Aaron!) Only kidding, I love him.

Anyway, I'm obviously bored and boredom-induced blogging usually results in boring, rambley posts. So I'll go have some Honey-Nut Cheerios and wallow in sorrow that Jeopardy isn't on during the weekends.

Friday, July 24, 2009


I'll let these speak for themselves.