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Nearly half a million babies (1 in 10) are born premature in the US each year which is higher than that of most other developed nations. This is the journeys of our first born son, Finnegan, who was born 14 weeks early and weighed only 1 pound 15 ounces at birth. Of our daugher, Korrigan, who was born a healthy 7 pounds, 7 ounces at 37 weeks. And of our second son, MacKeegan, who was also born at 37 weeks at a whopping 8 pounds, 13 ounces. Our continued adventures reminds us daily how good God is.

Wednesday, December 31

3...2...1...1...Happy New Year

Happy New Year everyone! In case you thought I was going a little too stir crazy and forgot how to count based upon what I wrote for the title of my post there is some meaning to it. In the event you didn't hear, there is an extra second this year. Sorry for the lame rhyme, but I'm trying out my prose in case I want to become a poet when we are done with this journey. Anyway, there is a leap second that is added to all of the official times immediately before midnight - not sure how the ball in Times Square will handle that one.

Stacy remains in good condition and spirits. She beat me at Trivial Pursuit tonight - I only had one pie when she won and for you naysayers no I didn't just let her win!

Thankfully we won't be getting an extra tax deduction for the baby this year - hopefully he'll stay closer aligned to his original due date of tax day on April 15 than anything else as it relates to that subject.

Thanks again to everyone who has supported us, prayed for us and been so thoughtful. It has been a shining beacon of happiness and hope in what has otherwise been a sad close to 2008.

Here's to 2009 - I hope for the best for everyone!

Back to the Garden

Big day so far and it's not even close to over. Yea, we made it back to the garden - same room as before; that move happened at about 12:30 this afternoon. It's good to be back here - it is so much more comfortable. The move came so quickly I still forgot to take pictures of the critical unit; I'm sure people will start thinking that I'm exaggerating the difference so I really want to get those pictures!

The morning started at about 6:45 am when the transport took us over for the ultrasound. That lasted about 40 minutes or so. It was good to see the detailed ultrasound again. They gave us a few printouts and I hung a couple on the railings of Stacy's bed and put one on the white board. The results of the ultrasound showed that the heart looks good (DeAnn will be happy, and yes we told them about the heart history in our family!), there is very little fluid (no surprise there), baby is about one pound nine ounces (with a plus or minus error margin of four ounces), and his size is estimated to be in about the 48th percentile.

The overall score that baby got on the ultrasound is 6/8. I guess that's OK but 75% isn't that a C? They said if it wasn't for the lack of fluid it would have been an 8/8 - I guess he'll have to take his Fluid Sciences courses a bit more seriously. I'll have to have a talk to him about that! The resident that we see everyday said that the score was actually pretty good but beyond that we don't really know what the score means.

We have been seeing some visitors again so if you were planning to come today or anytime forward you are definitely welcome and we can't wait to see you. Keep in mind we are trying to keep visitors to no more than two at a time though and only between noon and 8:00 pm. Even though we are back in the garden right now please call before visiting to make sure the time is good and to verify our location. Since we've been changing rooms so much and because I don't really want to post a phone number in the blog please call the hospital and ask for Stacy's room to check (our cell phones aren't supposed to be used so if you do call our cell phones leave a message and we will get back to you).

That's all for now. Happy New Years to everyone. Meaningless bowl game in Arizona tonight, but it is a bowl game (not sure if we will be able to see it or not), GO GOPHERS!

I was told to get some rest, but can't...

...so I opted to write a quick update instead.

Stacy felt some more tightening this morning which got us both up around 4:00 am; she went on the monitor for about an hour. They took it off about half an hour ago. At 7:00 am, transport comes to take us to a level two ultrasound which is a bit more detailed in terms of measuring the size of the baby, fluid levels around the baby and the like.

When that is completed, we may know some more about what is happening and what to expect; but like with everything else my assumption is that regardless of what they find out that the only thing that we should expect is not to know what exactly to expect because every case is so much different. I am hoping though that we can see the baby doing some more practice breathing for a more sustained time period.

I'll follow my instructions now and try to get about an hour of rest before the transport comes - at least Stacy is sleeping now again which is good. I'll post another update once we find out more information from the ultrasound or if anything changes.

Tuesday, December 30

Back to the Future II

We are still in the critical pre-birthing unit but the doctor recently read the fetal/maternal tracings and decided it was safe to take off the monitor for now. That decision was made before the IV was attached to the line - poor Stacy though she just had the first one removed about three hours ago and then they placed another IV line and it never even got used.

We'll be here again in critical for at least the night and hopefully things will stay stabilized. I'll try to get some sleep on my mini cot again - so much for the the full airbed I just bought to use on top of the uncomfortable, spring ladden, thin mattressed but larger hide-a-bed in the garden. That's definately the least of my concerns though and hopefully I'll be able to use it later. It is not necessarily common but also not unusual for people to move back and forth between the garden and critical. But like I said before it doesn't matter where we are as long as the baby and Stacy are OK.

I said in my first post this would be like a roller coaster and it definately is - at least I accurately defined the expectations for myself. Feel free to write comments and continue to send emails. I read them all to Stacy and she enjoys hearing them.

Back to the Future

Unfortunately we were just transferred back up to the critical pre-birthing unit - moved down three rooms from our previous location. Stacy is getting an IV put back in right now and the fetal/maternal monitor will remain as long as we are in this unit.

When they monitored the baby in the garden this evening, he was presenting heart beat variations which in and of itself isn't bad but requires closer monitoring. It can be a sign of contractions even though Stacy has felt none and is not in any pain.

They did an ultrasound immediately when we got back up here and the baby was demonstrating a good heartbeat, good position with his head still down and other positive signs including he was practicing his breathing motions. Unfortunately there is, as we know, very little fluid left which can exacerbate the condition since it constricts the umbilical cord at times depending on the baby's position which can in turn contribute to the heart rate fluctuations. Thankfully they continue to watch us closely and have us in the best place for the current condition of mom and son.

We appreciate all of the visitors and think that it has been very helpful for Stacy, the baby and me. I think that it has put us in a better state of mind, helped the baby progress in a positive manner and certainly made the time pass faster. That being said if anyone was planning on visiting please check with someone first to confirm that Stacy can have visitors at the time you were planning. A good way to check is by commenting to this blog and waiting for our response or emailing us at:

stacy.thomas97@yahoo.com

Obviously at this juncture the ongoing prayers are appreciated and undoubtedly helpful.

Monday, December 29

Station 54 Where Are You?

Station 54 is one of the units in the "garden" where early term babies not yet born go to continue to grow. We are so thankful for many reasons to be transferred here earlier today most of all is the fact that the transfer means the baby is still getting bigger and stronger!

Because "I'm bad at taking pictures because Stacy is usually the one who normally does it" I unfortunately don't have any pictures of our previous accommodations to use as a comparison but I have included some pictures of our new room in the garden.

While the care was great in the critical pre-birthing unit, the room was a bit small. Our current suite has plenty of room for guests, it's own bathroom with a shower and on a selfish note a full pull out bed for me instead of the fold down cot size bed I had before. It also has a DVD player and nice TV as well as a stereo which will help us pass what will hopefully still be a great deal of time.

Stacy and baby continue to do as well as we can expect. She is now off of the IV support and taking nutrients and medication orally. She also no longer requires the continuous fetal monitor which is now only done twice a day.

Our greatest hope is that we can be here for as long as eight to 10 weeks before delivery but we know that it could still happen at any time since the labor hasn't technically been stopped and the risk of infection which would induce active labor is still quite high. Even so we're still very thankful that we've cleared the first 48 hours and take comfort in the fact that the baby's lungs are maturing with each passing moment since that time.

We've had some wonderful emails and comments from many of you and they are all greatly appreciated; as are the countless other thoughts and prayers.

If anyone has any questions about anything that they would like me to respond to or would like to inquire about coming to visit please post a comment here on our blog or email us at:

stacy.thomas97@yahoo.com

Hurry Up and Wait!

I just wanted to let everyone know that we are still cleared to move to the garden but it doesn't seem as if there is an opening right now. The nurse practitioner came over from Childrens' Hospital and let us know that she normally sees about 15 women during the day and today she had 27 so their volume is way up. She also said they have about 14 rooms in the garden and it doesn't look like anyone will be leaving today and there are three other women who are waiting to get in as well. One of those women is waiting for triplets! While I hope we get in soon I hope that everyone else who needs their deliveries to be delayed as well get their wish. We're fine though for now where we are although it's a little cramped here. The important part though is that the labor is still on hold and as long as that stays the case I guess it doesn't matter where we are at. Hopefully we'll have some pictures to add for the next update but we'll see.

Moving to the Garden to keep growing the baby?! We hope!

Well, we have made it through the first critical stage - it has now been over 48 hours since the baby had the medicine to help develop his lungs. Whether he is born sooner or later his lungs should now continue to progress faster than they would have so he will be better situated to either avoid the respirator or come of it it sooner.

The second stage has now begun as Stacy is off of the magnesium. As I noted in the previous entry, this is the medication which slowed the labor. Thankfully now three hours after that stopped she has still had no major contractions and the doctor thinks she'll remain stable. As such, he has placed the order for us to move to the "garden" at noon assuming there is a room available and nothing changes before then.

When we move to a new room, I will confirm the move for people who have been visiting so they don't go to the old room. Likewise if anything changes before then I will also update here if I have a chance.

Sunday, December 28

Day Two: More Waiting!!

Thankfully there were no changes today thus far. Stacy remains stable although a bit sore from having to be in bed on either her right or left side 99% of the time; the baby's fetal monitor tracings are looking good and we're happy, given the circumstances, that we aren't yet officially parents.

We're getting ever closer to the end of that first vital 48 hour period since the baby was given the steroids to help develop the lungs faster. Hopefully we will make it to that point (6:00 am Monday morning) in our current condition and when we do we will engage upon the next critical stage.

At that point, assuming no changes prior to then, Stacy will go off of the medication (magnesium sulfate) which has been preventing the contractions and delaying the labor process. She will remain in the critical pre-birthing unit until at least noon for observation after that medication ceases.

During that time (or anytime after of course) it is very possible that the labor may continue to escalate as it did prior to the magnesium in which case we'll move forward and prepare for delivery. It is also very possible that the labor might remain stalled and stable as it has been - in that case we will move to the "garden" which is a unit outside of the critical pre-birthing unit where women who are in Stacy's situation go for their "baby's to grow".

We are of course hoping that the labor doesn't escalate and we can go to the garden and our baby can continue to gestate.

For those of you wondering at this point, if taking her off of the magnesium might move the labor forward then why the hell are they doing it there is a sensible answer. Infection, which is a high risk right now since there is little fluid left to protect the baby, can cause the labor to move forward; the magnesium could prevent the labor even if there is an infection; delivering the baby as opposed to allowing an infection to escalate is a better option - hence, if you followed that, the best move after the baby has had the 48 hours with the lung medication is to stop the magnesium and primarily hope that the labor process remains stable or else deliver if it advances. Got that?

Hopefully you haven't stopped reading because given the last critical hours of stage one (until 6:00 am on Monday) and the critical hours beginning stage two we hope that you will all continue with your thoughts and prayers as it relates to this transition.

Stacy wasn't really into dictating because "she likes to type the message" so there is no entry from her today like I had hoped but she says hi and thanks for the support.

Captain's Blog Hospital Date 1.125

Still at Abbott in the critical pre-birthing area and thankfully no delivery yet. Stacy just remarked how it's strange that your life can slow down from counting days, weeks and months to minutes and hours.

Every extra hour without delivery is good. The baby just got a second dose of medication that will help his lungs develop faster - he needs to hold off from being born for at least 48 hours from the first dose, which happened yesterday at 6:00 am, for the medicine to have the most effect. He will still need to be on a respirator when he's born but it will hopefully reduce the amount of time before he can breath on his own.

If by some miracle he can hold off being born until about 28 weeks the chances go up greatly of being able to breath on his own and having less problems. Keep in mind though we are only at 24 weeks and 4 days today so while we're hopeful we can wait as long as possible for delivery we're taking it one hour and one day at a time.

That's all for now - if Stacy's up for it later today I'll see if she wants to dictate an update to me from her. Thanks for all the support.

Saturday, December 27

Forget what the pregnancy ticker says, these things happen at their own pace.

Well, so this is my first post and unfortunately it doesn't get to be a fun one. Stacy went into early labor this morning. Needless to say if you've been looking at the ticker our little baby boy is really LITTLE.

At this point, they won't be able to stop the labor or delivery but they're trying to do everything they can to delay the delivery as much as possible. That will give the baby extra time to continue to develop and he needs every hour and hopefully day that he can get.

Right now I'm writting this from Abbott Northwestern Hospital in Minneapolis. The eventful day began at 4:00 am on our trip to North Memorial Hospital - I only passed one car in a no passing zone - didn't go over 45 mph and only ran two red lights. When it was determined that the baby was going to have to be delivered and it is only a matter of when the decision was made to transfer to Abbott this morning at 10:00. This was a bit safer of a trip in an ambulance with lights and sirens - Stacy in the back and me in the cab. No they didn't let me drive or even hit the siren or horn buttons.

The good news is that Abbott is associated with one of the best childrens' hospitals around and is connected to them by tunnel. Immediately after the baby is born he will be transferred over to Childrens' Hospital's NICU where hopefully if things go well he'll stay until he gets stronger and gets discharged at would have been between his 36th week or delivery date.

It will be a bit of a rollercoaster and we will try to keep everyone updated with all the ups, downs, twists and turns.

Friday, December 26

Your pregnancy: 24 weeks

How your baby's growing:

Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts him at just over a pound. Since he's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), he cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but his body is filling out proportionally and he'll soon start to plump up. His brain is also growing quickly now, and his taste buds are continuing to develop. His lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help his air sacs inflate once he hits the outside world. His skin is still thin and translucent, but that will start to change soon.
How your life's changing:

In the past few weeks, the top of your uterus has risen above your belly button and is now about the size of a soccer ball. [it feels like it is sitting really high, but last time my doctor measured, she said it was in the "right" spot...I'll take her word for it!]

Most women have a glucose screening test (also called a glucose challenge test or GCT) between now and 28 weeks. [I have this screening at my next appointment, which is on Tuesday. I have to drink a ton of "juice" which I'm sure it gross. Hopefully all is well. Will update after the appointment.] This test checks for gestational diabetes, a pregnancy-related high-blood-sugar condition. Untreated diabetes increases your risk of having a difficult vaginal delivery or needing a cesarean section because it causes your baby to grow too large, especially in his upper body. It also raises your baby's odds for other complications like low blood sugar right after birth. A positive result on your GCT doesn't mean you have gestational diabetes, but it does mean that you'll need to take the glucose tolerance test (GTT) to find out for sure.

I've gained a little more weight than I'm supposed to (maybe 4 or 5 extra pounds), but I'm blaming that on Christmas (I was doing so well beforehand!). I ate WAY too much. Getting back on a normal schedule will probably help (and getting rid of all the yummy Christmas cookies and treats!).

We just found out our friends Steph and Steve are having a girl (Steph, hope you don't mind me sharing!). Think pink! It is funny because Jim and I were positive we were having a girl and they were positive they were having a boy! They are due two weeks after us, so if they only lived in MN or we lived in KS, our babies could be best friends. Boo, hoo.

Wednesday, December 24

Merry Christmas to all!

Jim and I want to wish all of you a wonderfully merry Christmas. Our Christmas plans start today. We are going over to my sister Kristine's house near Maple Grove. Then on Christmas morning, we are traveling to Ortonville to Jim's parent's house. We will be stopping in Benson on our way to see my mom's family (we didn't get to see them for Thanksgiving).

This is the first year we haven't celebrated with the Thomas clan on Christmas Eve, but we are rotating every year going forward. It's only fair since both of our families celebrate on Christmas Eve. We are staying over in Ortonville Christmas Day night and then probably heading back to the Cities. Should be a fun time with family.

On a baby update, I've been having some pain in my lower abdomen. I'm thinking it was intestinal related, as it went away and I'm feeling much better today. I have a doctor appointment next week, so I can talk to my doctor about it then, if it persists (or I'll call her sooner if it comes back!). In the meantime, I'll be sure to eat lots of fiber!

Merry Christmas!
Love,
The Thomases

Sunday, December 21

Fun Fact: Little lightweights

The average newborn weight in 2005 was 7 pounds, 5 ounces, almost exactly what it was in 2004. About 8 percent of babies born in 2006 were low birth weight (less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces) — also basically unchanged from 2005. The low-birth-weight rate has risen 19 percent since 1990. Induced labors, cesarean deliveries, older maternal age, and fertility therapies are reasons cited for the earlier trend.

I'll be prefectly happy with an average sized baby (I'll be prefectly happy with ANY sized baby, but my body would be happier afterwards with an average sized one!). Just as long as Baby T doesn't take after daddy and want to be one MONTH over due! Seriously, I don't think they will even let you be that over due any more (hopefully!). If Nicki (due May 11) has her baby before I do, I will NOT be happy. Ha, ha.

Friday, December 19

We finally registered!

Okay, for those of you who have been asking...yes, we have finally registered at Target (link to our registry). While it isn't fully complete, it is a good start (hopefully Babies R Us will be following shortly!).

By posting this website, Jim and I by NO means expect anybody to buy us anything. I just wanted to make it easier for those of you who were wondering and have been asking about it. I put a link on the blog on the right hand side (under Helpful Information), so you can refer to it any time. Again, we appreciate any and all support from our family and friends and while that includes monetary items, we appreciate all the emotional support much more! We are very blessed.

Fun Fact: Boy power

Boy babies outnumber girl babies, with about 1,049 males for every 1,000 females in 2005 — a ratio that's stayed about the same over the past 60 years.

We should have guessed he was going to be a boy! Ha, ha. In both of our families, this baby tips the balance boy/girl ratio over to the boys' favor. We better start having some girls!

Thursday, December 18

Your pregnancy: 23 weeks

How your baby's growing:
Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With his sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that he's more than 11 inches long and weighs just over a pound (about as much as a large mango), you may be able to see him squirm underneath your clothes. Blood vessels in his lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing him for entry into the outside world. Loud noises that become familiar now — such as your dog barking or the roar of the vacuum cleaner — probably won't faze him when he hears them outside the womb.


How your life's changing:
You may notice that your ankles and feet start to swell a bit in the coming weeks or months, especially at the end of the day or during the heat of summer [well, don't have to worry about the heat of the summer! No swelling yet, but I'm sure it is just a matter of time]. Sluggish circulation in your legs — coupled with changes in your blood chemistry that may cause some water retention — may result in swelling, also known as edema. Your body will get rid of the extra fluid after you have your baby, which is why you'll pee frequently and sweat a lot for a few days after delivery. In the meantime, lie on your left side or put your feet up when you can, stretch out your legs when you sit, and avoid sitting — or standing — in one place for long periods [much easier to do when you don't have a job!]. Also, try to exercise regularly to increase circulation, and wear support stockings (put them on first thing in the morning) and roomy, comfortable shoes. You may be tempted to skimp on liquids to combat swelling, but you need to drink plenty of water because staying hydrated actually helps prevent fluid retention. While a certain amount of edema in your lower extremities is normal during pregnancy, excessive swelling may be a sign of a serious condition called preeclampsia. Be sure to call your midwife or doctor if you have severe or sudden swelling of your feet or ankles, more than slight swelling of your hands, swelling in your face, or puffiness around your eyes.

Baby has been moving a TON. Not regular enough for others to catch the movement and feel it (other than Jim), but I'm sure that won't be long. We are hoping to start our registry today, but we've been trying to do it for a while now. If Jim is up to it, we will be going after work. And I know in a few months, I'll think I'm crazy, but my belly is HUGE! It is weird how for months, nothing and then in a matter of a couple weeks...pop! I'll take an updated picture next week.

Wednesday, December 17

Fun Fact: The waiting game

Over the last three decades, women have been waiting longer to become moms. In 1970, the average age for a first-time mother was about 21. In 2005, the average age of first-time moms was 25.2 years.

The average age of a first-time grandparent in the U.S. is 45.

I guess I'm a little behind the curve ball, but I don't mind (I'll be 30 when baby is born)! Good things come to those who wait! I couldn't find stats on the average age of first-time dads.

Tuesday, December 16

Baby is moving!

Jim felt the baby move last night! For about the last week, I thought I could feel the movements on the outside, but they are very sporadic and when it is your body feeling it inside and out, you can't be sure which one you are feeling (in the stomach or on the hand!). Baby kicked a few times in a row after we went to bed, so I grabbed his hand and put it over that spot. About 15 seconds later, he felt it! Very cool.

Sunday, December 14

Fun Fact: Some like it hot

More newborns arrive during the late summer and early fall months of July, August, and September than during any other time of the year. It makes sense if you think about what happens nine months earlier in most of the country — the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors with their sweeties. Also, some people plan their baby's birth to coincide with summer vacations, especially teachers and other people who get summers off. August had the most birthdays in 2005 at around 369,000, and February had the fewest at about 310,000.

I can't imagine being pregnant during the hottest part of the summer, though! Although, there really isn't much else to do during the long winter in these frigid climates. Ha, ha.

I picked Jim up at the airport Friday night around 7:30, we stopped by and picked John, Kelsie and Dixie up and we headed to Ortonville, despite the many warnings about the possible bad weather. On Saturday, we had Christmas Lunch with Granny and we headed out of Ortonville at 3pm. No bad weather either way. Today, however, is a different story. It is raining here and it is -6 with a -35 wind chill in Ortonville right now with white out conditions. Glad we left yesterday! The rain here is supposed to turn into snow in a couple of hours, which is never a good thing. Hopefully we can all sit tight.

Kristine and Grace are coming over today to decorate gingerbread houses with Becky, Austin, Jim and I. John, Kelsie and Dixie are over, too (the Vikings play at 3pm!). Should be a fun day.

Friday, December 12

Fun Fact: Twins

These days, about one in 32 births are twin births. This rate has gone up 65 percent since 1980, and it's more than double the rate among women who conceive without medical assistance — one in 89.

Meanwhile, the likelihood of having identical twins (when one fertilized egg divides in half) is about one in 250. This rate hasn't changed over the decades and is remarkably constant all over the world.

Thursday, December 11

Your pregnancy: 22 weeks

How your baby's growing:
At 11 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound, your baby is starting to look like a miniature newborn. His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and he's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath his gums. His eyes have formed, but his irises (the colored part of the eye) still lack pigment. If you could see inside your womb, you'd be able to spot the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his body and the deep wrinkles on his skin, which he'll sport until he adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside his belly, his pancreas — essential for the production of some important hormones — is developing steadily.

How your life's changing:
At this point, you may find your belly becoming a hand magnet. It's perfectly okay to tell folks who touch your tummy that you'd rather they didn't. [at this point anyway, I don't mind...but then strangers can't really tell I'm pregnant with all the winter gear on] And if people are telling you that you look smaller or bigger than you should at this point, remember that each woman grows — and shows — at her own rate. What's important is that you see your practitioner for regular visits so she can make sure your baby's growth is on track.

You may start to notice stretch marks on your abdomen as it expands to accommodate your growing baby. [none yet, but I'm sure it won't be long!] At least half of all pregnant women will develop stretch marks by the time they give birth. These small streaks of differently textured skin can range from pink to dark brown (depending on your skin color). Although they most commonly appear on your tummy, stretch marks may also show up on your buttocks, thighs, hips, and breasts. There's no proof that lotion helps prevent stretch marks, but keeping your skin moisturized may help with any itching. [my belly had been a little itchy, but could be the dry weather, too]

I uploaded current preggo pics! Click on the "our pictures" link on the right to view. Man, my belly went crazy over the last two weeks. I'm DEFINITELY showing now! Jim is out of town on business and gets back Friday night. Then we are driving straight to Ortonville from the airport for Christmas with Granny (Jim's great grandma). Back on Saturday and decorating gingerbread houses with Becky, Austin, Kristine and Grace on Sunday. Busy few days. Good thing I don't have a job to get in the way of all of my plans!

Wednesday, December 10

Clothes Organization & Christmas Tree

My sister Renae was visiting for a few days and was kind enough to kick me in the butt. I've been wanting to organize my room and transition my pre-preggo clothes out and move in the maternity clothes for over a month. But, if you have seen our bedroom, this is a much bigger task than it sounds. So, she helped me move the pre-preggo clothes into the spare bedroom closet. Then I tried on Becky's maternity clothes to see which ones fit me and then I hung all of the maternity shirts up. It feels good to be able to go into my closet and see what clothes I have to pick from. I'm still in transition with the whole pants situation, but I wore a pair of my old size 12's last night and they were pretty comfortable (but they won't be fitting me for long!). Sad to think they used to fit me when I wasn't pregnant! Glad they aren't my normal size any more.

We FINALLY started decorating for Christmas last night by putting up our brand new pre-lit LED light tree! So pretty...except four branches won't light up! Jim and I did everything we could think of to fix it and nothing worked. I'm really disappointed because it is a really pretty tree. Hopefully a call to the manufacturer will shed some light. I plugged it in for Austin this morning (he was in bed when we put it up last night) and he LOVED it. So fun to see Christmas through a child's eyes. Now I just need Jim to bring up all the decoration boxes for me.

Tuesday, December 9

Fun Fact: When Babies Arrive

Super Tuesday: The most popular day for babies to make their entrance? It's still Tuesday, which boasted 13,169 births in 2005. That's 16.2 percent more babies than on the average day. Sunday was the slowest day, with 7,374 births. Scheduled labor induction and c-sections may be part of the reason babies were much less frequently born on the weekends.

[Grandma Thomas has requested a Friday, I believe, so I'll see what I can do! I wonder what days Jim and I were born on...]

Monday, December 8

Christmas, names and preggo update

Well, I probably shouldn't have, but I bought a video camera the day after Thanksgiving for our Christmas present to each other. I got a really good deal, but given our financial situation, I feel like maybe I shouldn't have. But, I know I will be really happy I have it once baby is here (and it is one less thing we'll have to get later on). I'm wrapping it up so we have something to open on Christmas! Too funny. I justified it because we didn't get each other anniversary presents, either, so I figure it is a deal!

If I wasn't in the Christmas spirit before this weekend, I should be now. It snowed on and off all weekend and the ground has a good covering of snow. Plus, it has been fairly cold (around 10 degrees during the day!). Hopefully the white stuff stays around for Christmas (then it can go away for all I care). Now if only we had our tree and Christmas decorations up, I would definitely be in the mood. Maybe I'll bust out the radio and listen to Christmas songs today. I LOVE Christmas songs.

We've been thinking about names and have a "short" list, but nothing for sure. For some reason, I feel a lot less pressure in naming a boy than a girl. I guess that is a good thing since we are having a boy! We are very open to suggestions, as long as feelings aren't hurt if we don't chose them.

As far as the pregnancy, our baby is getting huge and kicking more and more regularly. I still am not sure if I'm feeling the movements on the outside or not, but our doctor said probably not until after the first of the year...so probably not. I still am a little tired, but sleeping in until 8 or 8:30am every day sure helps that. In the last week, I've started getting heartburn, which I hear is a common symptom associated with pregnancy. It probably doesn't help that I haven't been eating extremely healthy either. It is hard to do that this time of year when there are so many goodies around. Doesn't help that I'm craving sweet things, which I didn't really eat much before the pregnancy. Oh, well. What baby wants, baby gets! I have been trying to drink more water regularly, though.

Oh and I tried the Bella band on Saturday. My pants stayed up (yeah!), but I had to constantly adjust the band. I guess it is better than your pants falling off.

Saturday, December 6

Fun Fact: Eye & Hair Color

How is the color of my baby's eyes and hair determined?

These characteristics are determined by the genes he inherits from you and your partner, and certain "laws" of inheritance apply. With respect to eye color, for example, brown is dominant over blue, so if your baby gets a brown gene from each parent or one brown gene and one blue gene, he will have brown eyes. However, if two brown-eyed parents each carry a blue gene that gets passed on to their baby, that child will have blue eyes. Be aware that a newborn's eye color can change in the first nine months. And your baby may be born with hair that falls out and grows back with a completely different color and texture.

At birth, almost all babies have blue eyes because the iris has not yet made brown pigment (called melanin) that colors the iris (although some babies can have very dark eyes at birth). This is also why even the skin of black babies can appear lighter than it will eventually be.

[I really hope our little guy has daddy's bright green eyes...I guess we'll have to wait and see! Mine are hazel/blue/gray, so there is a chance.]

Friday, December 5

Fun Fact: Uterus Size

Maybe not a "fun" fact, but interesting none the less.

Before pregnancy, your uterus weighed only about 2.5 ounces and had very little space inside. By the time you're full term, your uterus (not including what's in it) will weigh almost 2.5 pounds.

Thursday, December 4

Your pregnancy: 21 weeks

How your baby's growing:

Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long — the length of a carrot. You may soon feel like he's practicing martial arts as his initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. [I swear I felt him move on the outside twice two days ago, but I might have felt it inside and thought I felt it outside. I think it is a little early for external movement] You may also discover a pattern to his activity as you get to know him better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now.
How your life's changing:

You're probably feeling pretty comfortable these days. [overall, I'm doing good, still a little tired, but the extra sleep from no job sure helps!] You're not too big yet, and the usual discomforts associated with early pregnancy are, for the most part, gone. If you're feeling good, relax and enjoy it while you can — the third trimester may bring with it a new crop of complaints. [Oh joy, I can't wait!]
That's not to say you won't have some minor glitches to deal with now. For example, increased oil production may contribute to the development (or worsening) of acne. Don't take any oral acne medications — some are very hazardous during pregnancy — or use any topical acne products without first checking with your practitioner. [Hasn't been a problem so far, I'll keep my fingers crossed]
You're also more prone to varicose veins now. As your pregnancy progresses, there's increasing pressure on the veins in your legs; higher progesterone levels, which may cause the walls of your veins to relax, can make the problem worse. You're more likely to get varicose veins if other family members have them. [a few family members have them, so I'll have to be careful] Also, they tend to get worse with each successive pregnancy and as you age. To help prevent or minimize varicose veins, exercise daily, prop up your feet and legs whenever possible, sleep on your left side, and wear maternity support hose.
You may also notice so-called spider veins (a group of tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin), particularly on your ankles, legs, or face. [nope, nothing yet!] They may have a spider- or sunburst-like pattern with little branches radiating out from the center. Though they may be a bit unsightly, spider veins don't cause discomfort and usually disappear after delivery.

For the record, my belly button has not popped yet. It is getting flatter, so I'm sure it is just a matter of time before it pops out. Renae calls it a "snooze button." Swelling/water retention has not been a major issue, either (other than when I eat too much salt, of course). I can still wear my wedding band, but not my engagement ring (both rings were uncomfortable). I know swelling gets worse the further along you are, so I'll have to keep any eye on it.

Wednesday, December 3

Doctor Appointment

Jim and I went to our monthly doctor appointment this afternoon (Jim's flight got in at 2:50, he picked me up and we still make it to my 4:20 appointment!). Pretty routine appointment. She said my weight gain is right on track (right at 10 pounds) and my tummy is looking good. Baby's hear rate was 138...a little lower than before, but still within the norm. We discussed the family heart problems on the Thomas side (DeAnn emailed me a description of it all, which I gave to my doctor). She said there is probably nothing to be concerned about since Jim and John were fine, but it is good to be aware of any potential problems. She will know more after she sees the heart from the ultrasound (she hasn't received them yet from the ultrasound last week). Our next appointment will be in 4 weeks, at which time we will go over the ultrasound results and I will take the diabetes test.

Oh and due to the many suggestions I received, I bought a Bella Band today after the appointment at Target. It was a little more expensive then I thought they would be, but if it makes wearing pants comfortable and possible...it will be well worth it! I'll let you know.

Monday, December 1

Maternity clothes

Okay, maternity clothes are frustrating. Especially the pants. I tried on lots of pants and found a pair that I thought fit great (secret fit belly from Motherhood Maternity). Then I tried actually wearing them somewhere. Let's just say they didn't stay up! So I thought maybe they were just too big and I'll grow into them. Then I got another pair with the low belly instead of the big panel. They fall off too (not quite as bad, though)! So, I've been wearing one pair of pants for over a week now (a pair of cute sweatpants Becky found at Motherhood Maternity...thank goodness!). I need to break into my box of size 12's to see if they fit. Argh.

And now that we know we are having a boy, I really need to train myself from calling him "It." I did it several times yesterday and everybody kept catching me. I guess before we knew, I didn't want to say either one so I got used to saying "it." I'm sure it will sink in soon!

Saturday, November 29

And the answer is...

It's a BOY! We were wrong. For some reason, Jim and I (I don't think we were the only ones!) were sure it was a girl. But the Ultrasound technician was about as certain you can be that it is a boy (his goods were out in plain sight for all to see!). It was so amazing to see him moving all around in there. Everything looked good to the technician. We will go over the results with the doctor at our next appointment (which is on Wednesday). Now that we know we are having a boy, we are so excited and feel so much more connected with our baby. Jim already decided the baby's room is going to be sports' themed, which I'm fine with (especially since cousin Austin loves sports so much and will have lots to teach our little guy).

Kelsie is going to school for Ultrasound, so next month, we are going to go in and have her do a 3-D ultrasound for us. It is much more detailed and gives her the practice she needs! We can't wait. I will be posting the ultrasound pics on the photo page as soon as Jim can scan them in for me (probably late next week...he is traveling Monday-Wednesday). We got a few really good ones.

Ah, I can't believe we are having a boy! It seems so much more real now. For all you doubters who told us we shouldn't find out...you'll never know the wonderful feeling(s) we are experiencing right now. I wouldn't have done it any other way. I can't belive we are halfway done with the pregnancy already. The first half went crazy fast.

Between grandpa Ron, uncle John and daddy, our little guy will be playing basketball before his first birthday! Sorry, Jim...no basketball in the crib!

Thursday, November 27

Your pregnancy: 20 weeks

How your baby's growing:
Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now [they thought about 13 oz at the ultrasound]. He's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel [they thought about 11 inches at the ultrasound]— the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, when a baby's legs are curled up against his torso and hard to measure, measurements are taken from the top of his head to his bottom — the "crown to rump" measurement. After 20 weeks, he's measured from head to toe.)
He's swallowing more these days, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first soiled diaper (some babies pass meconium in the womb or during delivery).
How your life's changing:
Congratulations! You've hit the halfway mark in your pregnancy [already?]. The top of your uterus is about level with your belly button, and you've likely gained around 10 pounds [as of this morning, I've gained 9, so I'm pretty much right on track]. Expect to gain another pound or so each week from now on. Make sure you're getting enough iron, a mineral that's used primarily to make hemoglobin (the part of your red blood cells that carries oxygen). During pregnancy, your body needs more iron to keep up with your expanding blood volume, as well as for your growing baby and the placenta. Red meat is one of the best sources of iron for pregnant women. Poultry (especially the dark meat) and shellfish also contain iron.
If you haven't already signed up for a childbirth education class, you may want to look into one, especially if you're a first-timer [please, we signed up a few weeks ago; our weekly classes start January 20, I think]. A structured class will help prepare you and your partner for the rigors of labor and delivery. Most hospitals and birth centers offer classes, either as weekly meetings or as a single intensive, one-day session.

More information to come on the sex and ultrasound later!

Wednesday, November 26

Happy Thanksgiving

We know what we're having, but until we can tell our immediate family in person, we are keeping it a secret. Check back late this weekend or early next week for the wonderful news!

Our Thanksgiving plans:
Wednesday: Stacy going to Wild hockey game AGAIN (I've gone more this year than ever before combined!)
Thursday: Jim's family at his aunt DeAnn's in Burnesville
Friday: shopping early (for Stacy, Becky and Kristine), KMS (Jim and Stacy's highschool team) State Football Championship game at 1pm, Stacy's family at Kristine's in Corcoran after the game (we are sad we had to miss the Smith celebration)
Saturday: Stacy's Dad's family at her uncle Tony's in Hudson

Compared to last year, that isn't too bad. We want to wish you all a wonderful and happy Thanksgiving! Be safe.

Monday, November 24

Movin' Like Crazy

Okay, so we went from nothing to ALL THE TIME! I felt the baby move once last week and once this week...until today. It has been moving ALL day long! At first I thought it was because I was hungry, but it wasn't growling like usual. It felt different. Then it kept happening every so often. Definitely the baby. I have a feeling I'm going to be wishing for the pre-movement times before long, but for now, it is awesome. I keep stopping and saying, the baby is moving! Jim and Becky freak. It is really cute. They are both going to sit on each side of me for the next month and a half until they can feel it on the outside. I guess I'll stay warm from their body warmth. Ha, ha.
Two days until our ultrasound!
Oh and Jim's car is broke AGAIN! That darn thing. Too bad I don't have a job so we can get him a new one. I guess he'll have to suffer a while longer. Sorry, babe!

Sunday, November 23

Go Gophers?

Well, the Gopher football team had their final game of the season on Saturday night. It was also the last game played in the Metro Dome (they have a new outdoor...burrrrrr...stadium next season on campus; good riddance Dome!). We went with Mike and Jim's dad. They definitely went out with a bang...they lost 55-0 to Iowa. Terrible. Jim didn't get in a fight, arrested or kicked out, so I'd say it was a successful evening. We stayed to the bitter end, which was a good decision since all fans left by the middle of the third quarter (made for easy traffic on the way home). I hope the Vikings come through for us today.
My wonderful sister Becky went maternity clothes shopping with me for the first time yesterday. We went to Motherhood Maternity since Nicki said they have the most comfortable jeans, which was the reason for the trip. I found one really cute pair of jeans that fits well and a few other things. I have to go through what else I already have before I get any more. It was tiring, but Becky kept me on track and focused. She should be a personal shopper for people. Seriously (I am the world's worst shopper). She took a few pictures of me with the preggo belly on, so I'll upload them shortly. It shows what my belly will look like in three months.
Update: Click on the "our pictures" link on the left for the updated preggo pics!

Friday, November 21

Wild Game

We (Jim and Stacy) went to the Wild game last night with Jim's friends Mike and Nate. It was really fun, even though they lost. There was good food, which is pretty much what my life revolves around now days. Got home and couldn't sleep, so played on the computer for a few hours.
John and Kelsie close on their new house today. How exciting (and scary...I remember that from a little over a year ago!). Can't wait to see the new place.
Baby is doing well. I haven't noticed any more movements. I'm sure they will get more regular in the next week or so. Looking forward to Wednesday's ultrasound appointment. I can't believe it is almost here already! Look here next week (after we tell our families obviously) to see if we're having a boy or girl!

Thursday, November 20

Your pregnancy: 19 weeks

147 days to go!

How your baby's growing:
Your baby's sensory development is exploding! Her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you.
Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. Her arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now. Her kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on her scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on her skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.

How your life's changing:
Think you're big now? {No, I haven't had to transition into maternity clothes yet} You'll start growing even faster in the weeks to come. As a result, you may notice some achiness in your lower abdomen or even an occasional brief, stabbing pain on one or both sides — especially when you shift position or at the end of an active day. Most likely, this is round ligament pain. The ligaments that support your uterus are stretching to accommodate its increasing weight. This is nothing to be alarmed about, but call your practitioner if the pain continues even when you're resting or becomes severe.

I've been feeling a little emotional lately and short (especially with Jim). I'm sure it is all the hormones, but I'm not used to feeling this way. It probably doesn't help with the added stress of losing my job on Monday! Yup, lost my job (cut backs). Oh, fun. Now we're working through that, but on the bright side, I don't have to get up early to go to work!

I'm hoping to convince Becky to go to Motherhood Maternity with me this weekend to get some jeans and/or comfy dress pants (I tried with Jim, but I needed a girl with me). While I'm still not wearing maternity clothes, my size 10's will not be fitting for much longer! I saved some size 12's from before I lost the weight, so I can always transition into them (but I hear that maternity pants are WAY more comfortable).

I will be taking a belly update picture next Wednesday (and then maybe every two weeks after that as the requests for updated pictures keep coming in!). Jim and I did a cute pose last night (belly to belly), but didn't take a picture. Hopefully he will let me recreate it so I can have Becky take it and then post! Too cute.

I also think I felt the baby for the first time this morning in bed. It was very faint, but it probably was the baby. Yeah! I was starting to wonder if I ever would!

Wednesday, November 19

Your pregnancy: 18 weeks

(as of 11/12/08)

How your baby's growing:

Head to rump, your baby is about 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a bell pepper) and he weighs almost 7 ounces. He's busy flexing his arms and legs — movements that you'll start noticing more and more in the weeks ahead. His blood vessels are visible through his thin skin, and his ears are now in their final position, although they're still standing out from his head a bit. A protective covering of myelin is beginning to form around his nerves, a process that will continue for a year after he's born. If you're having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If you're having a boy, his genitals are noticeable now.

How your life's changing:

Hungry? An increase in appetite is pretty common about now. Bigger, more comfortable clothes are a must now as your appetite and waistline grow. <started going through Becky's preggo clothes last night...might need to take a trip to the maternity store in the next week or so!>Your cardiovascular system is undergoing dramatic changes, and during this trimester your blood pressure will probably be lower than usual. Don't spring up too fast from a lying or sitting position or you might feel a little dizzy. <I learned about this at the Gopher games...oops!>
If you haven't already had a second-trimester ultrasound, you'll probably have one soon. This painless procedure helps your practitioner check how your baby's growing, screen for certain birth defects, check the placenta and umbilical cord, determine whether the due date you're working with is accurate, and see how many babies you're carrying <better be one!>. During the exam, you might see your baby moving around or sucking his thumb. Bring your partner along, and be sure to ask for a printout for your baby's first photo album!

I haven't felt the baby move, but they said any time between now and two weeks I should. Can't wait! My tummy has definitely "popped" out this week. I think I will feel less "fat" once I transition into maternity clothes. Still feel tired, headaches still a problem (coke has been working, which I take it!), but overall I feel great!