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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.

Friday, December 31

They're done!

The pregnancy photo shoot is done and ready for your viewing pleasure! As I said yesterday, Jess amazes me with her ability and always "get the shot." I won't question it...I'll just go with it and appreciate it!

Here is the link to the slideshow:

If you'd like to order pictures, view the proofs or make a "favorite" list, email me for the password. I hope you enjoy them even a fraction of how much we love them! Thanks, Jess!

We're keeping Jess busy this fall/winter. We had family pictures this fall for our Christmas card, my maternity pictures before Christmas, Finn's 2 year pics last week and we'll do newborn pics of Miss Thomas when she arrives, hopefully in Feb. Not to mention Finn's 18 month pics last July and my whole family in June! I wonder if she has time for any other clients than the Walsh family...haha.

33 weeks and a new year

Bring it on! Are you ready for a new year? 2011 is shaping up to a busy, fun, and blessed year for us and we can't wait. Lots of changes and additions coming with family and friends. Here's to taking the lessons we learned from 2010 and using them to enjoy and better ourselves in 2011! Happy New Year to all of our wonderful family, friends and blog followers!

How your baby's growing: This week your baby has passed the 17-inch mark and weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple).
[First of all, I can relate to the size of a pineapple. Second, I can deal with FOUR pounds!!] She's rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and her skeleton is hardening. The bones in her skull aren't fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for her to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don't entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as her brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood.

How your life's changing: As your baby fills out even more of your belly, lots of things might start to change: Whereas before you were sashaying, you may find yourself waddling. Finding an easy position to sit in — let alone sleep — is becoming more of a challenge.[it is usually worse in the morning hours, probably from laying down for so long] And bumping into chairs and counters is par for the course. [I keep spilling on my belly! I made lasagna last night and Jim had to tell me I got sauce on my shirt. Oh, well!]

You may be feeling some achiness and even numbness in your fingers, wrists, and hands. Like many other tissues in your body, those in your wrist can retain fluid, which can increase pressure in the carpal tunnel, a bony canal in your wrist. Nerves that run through this "tunnel" may end up pinched, creating numbness; tingling, shooting or burning pain; or a dull ache. Try wearing a splint to stabilize your wrist or propping your arm up with a pillow when you sleep [I thankfully don't have this symptom yet anyway, but propping your wrist on a pillow while sleeping?!?! Really? Sounds really practical to me ;)]. If your work requires repetitive hand movements (at a keyboard or on an assembly line, for instance), remember to stretch your hands when you take breaks — which should be frequently.

Many women are still feeling sexy at this stage — and their partners often agree. You may need to make some adjustments, but for most women, sex during pregnancy is fine right up until their water breaks or their labor starts. [because we are a high risk pregnancy, no sex for! Maybe in a couple weeks...]

New symptom as of yesterday: dizziness! I don't think I've ever been dizzy (not to be confused with ditzy!) in my life. I got out of bed yesterday and just about fell over. It continued all day whenever I transitioned from one position to another or was in a reclined position. I called the nurses line and she told me other symptoms to watch for (in case it is preeclampsia) and if it persists for a couple days, to call back and talk to the doctor on call. It seems better today, but still on and off.

My FFN test came back negative again this week, which is good news. It really does look as though little baby girl Thomas is planning to stay put until she is supposed to arrive. I don't know if that makes her more stubborn or more obedient than her big brother. Hmmm... I'm hoping for Feb 1 (we already have enough Jan birthdays in our family!), but at this point, would happily take anything.

Thursday, December 30

Preggo shoot preview

Yesterday afternoon, Finn and I went to my aunt Karen's house in Rogers to see my godson John. We only stayed about an hour, but Finn fit right in (the three boys all had Vikings cute) and loved all the commotion (our house must seem so boring to him!). I don't even think Finn would have noticed if I'd left (and the thought crossed my mind...I wouldn't turn down a little "me" time!).

In the morning, we had Finn's 2 year picture photo shoot! How is that possible?!?! Two years? It really does just seem like yesterday when Jess came to the hospital to take some pictures of Finn when he was one month old. This shoot was a little different than that one, needless to say. I know we got a ton of good ones, but it is so frustrating for me when Finn won't do what I want. I wonder if it would probably be easier if I just left...but it was fun, too, especially after he acclimated to the new space. He is just so goofy sometimes. Auntie Becca came with, so I had help and she got a few pics with him, too. As always, I'll post viewing info when I get it from Jess.

Speaking of photos from Jess, she has a few from my Preggo Shoot done!! I hope she doesn't mind me posting a few here for a preview before the full shoot is ready.

Honestly, I couldn't be happier. I never know how a shoot is going to go especially when I'm in the pictures (hard to see what you look like when you're being shot). But, as always, Jess comes through and continues to amaze me. Now I'm patiently waiting for the rest of the pics ;)

Wednesday, December 29

Go go Vikings

Yesterday I got my weekly hormone shot. Ouchie! Some of the medication came back out of the injection site and it literally took my breath away it was so painful (you should know how much it must take for me to stop talking!!). It continued to sting for about an hour afterward, but nothing like it was while the medicine was on my skin. Now I understand why they have a special procedure for injecting the medicine. I hope that doesn't happen again (only three more shots, I think!).

My OB appt went well. My OB was at the hospital delivering a baby so I saw the nurse practitioner instead (which was kind of nice only because there wasn't a wait!). We talked about my recent symptoms and my mood changes. She said to keep track of it all and call the nurses line for any reason or if anything gets worse. I will get the results of the FFN test today, but my cervix was thick and closed, which is what we want! I think this baby may actually stay put until she is supposed to arrive ;)

On a very happy note, the Vikings actually WON last night! So weird to watch football on a Tuesday night, but if moving the game to a non-football night is what it takes to get a win, I'll do it every week if possible. It was so much fun watching Webb (our rookie) quarterback blossom before our eyes and even more exciting was the amount of blitzing and pressure we put on Vick! I've always said that defenses win was definitely true last night. We play our last game on Sunday against the Lions, which coincidentally is the same time as Finn's birthday party. I hope we can leave this crazy 2010 season behind with a win streak going into the 2011 season.

Tuesday, December 28

It Won't Be Like This For Long

You know how when you're struggling with something and God has a way of putting things in perspective or having you notice something you otherwise wouldn't have that makes you feel better? Well, as you can tell from my previous post this morning, times have been a little rough for me the last few days (and weeks, if you count the issues we've been having with Finn). Well, Darius Rucker has a song out called "It Won't Be Like This For Long" and the song talks about the different stages in life. The chorus for the preschooler stage goes like this (and is specifically talking about separation anxiety):

It won’t be like this for long
One day soon you'll drop her off
And she won’t even know you're gone
This phase is gonna fly by
If you can just hold on
It won’t be like this for long

Thank you, God. I needed that!! I should buy that CD so I can listen to that song every day. I don't want to wish any phase of my child(ren)'s lives away and even if it is tough right now, things will always get better. And when Finn is being his normal sweet self, it totally makes up for any issues we are having. And I want/need to rememeber that!!

Locked out

Shouldn't your kids be at least be able to say, "I hate you" before they want to lock you out of the house? Well, since I don't have a remote starter for my car, yesterday, I went out to start the car before Finn and I ran some errands. When I got back to the house, Finn had locked me out!!! Our doorknob turns from the inside even if it is locked, so it isn't hard to do. I had to trudge back to the car, get the keys, unlock the house, go back to the car to restart it and go back to the house. The whole time, Finn was crying inside because he was mad at me for leaving in the first place! Sheesh. I wonder if he did it on purpose...I'd like to think not. You better believe I will double check the door before heading out to start the car next time!

I don't like to complain and rarely mention things that ail me, especially pregnancy things, but this weekend just about did me in. I just wasn't feeling well at all. I was tired, crabby, easily irritated and offended, probably somewhat depressed, having on and off contractions (without pain, so don't worry!) and now my knees and ankles have joined my lower back with almost constant aches and pains. I can handle it most days and even do it with a smile on my face, but I don't know if it was the extra activities or what, but I just wanted to crawl into a hole and not come out, even with all the wonderful festivities and supportive family around. I talked to Jim about how I've been feeling after everybody left and I'm getting a little more support from him, emotional if nothing else. I don't know if there is such a thing as pre-natal depression, but I'm going to talk to my OB about how I've been feeling at my appointment this afternoon. Nothing serious, but along with the pregnancy, Finn's antics aren't helping. One day over Christmas, at one point, I just wanted to push him out in a snow bank and leave him (don't worry, I would NEVER do that, his crib would suffice!). Maybe I've been coming off a sugar high from all the Christmas cookies. Ha, ha.

Yesterday, Finn and I braved the potential crowds to run some errands. I had to return some stuff at JoAnn's and pick up the supplies for my next class (which starts next week...thank goodness!). While the parking lot was almost full, the lines at JoAnn's were normal and not bad at all! Then last night, the three of us headed over to Babies R Us to see what this little one may need and it was almost dead there. Shocked. After BRU, we got supplies for Finn's birthday party at Party City and headed home for a somewhat late dinner. And I'm pretty sure we were the only customers in Party City, at least for part of the time. Weird.

Monday, December 27

A very merry Christmas indeed

Jim ended up running out with Ron and Lynn after they got here on Thursday, so Finn and I got to avoid all the crazies that were out! Then for the rest of the night, Finn "conned" grandpa and Memere into reading to him endlessly. So glad it was them and not me. I mean, I LOVE that Finn loves books, but you can only read the same books so many times in one day (right now, I have a two times per day per book rule!).

Friday, the five of us went to Christmas Eve mass, which was beautiful and the church was lovely. But, yet again, Finn was TERRIBLE in church. We just don't know what to do with him any more. We now consider him to be "good" when he isn't screaming, which is a pretty low bar to jump over, if you ask me (or Jim for that matter). Oh, well. After church NeNe and Les came over and we opened gifts. If I didn't know better, I would think Elmo threw up in our house! Of course Finn loved it and actually could unwrap his own gifts this year for the most part anyway. Then we ate dinner and Finn almost fell asleep at the table!

Before going to bed, Finn and daddy put out milk and cookies for Santa. I don't think Finn "got" it, but on Christmas morning, the milk and cookies were gone and Finn had to think about that one (and finish the rest of the cookie that Santa didn't eat). Then we opened stockings and had a nice, quiet family morning/afternoon with just the three of us. My family came over around 4pm and holy presents! Finn got a little overwhelmed and eventually I just had to have him open all of his presents at once (we usually go one present per person at a time).
After his presents were open and pj's were on, he was fine and played in the kitchen while everybody else finished. I guess that isn't too bad. Everybody was overly generous, as usual. Now we just need to find room for all these new things before Finn's birthday! Yikes.

Yesterday, I went to church by sense in trying to deal with Finn at church twice in one week. And then we watched football (even though the Vikings game was postponed until tomorrow!) and had an easy day. We were able to Skype with Nana and Papa (and Dave!) in Washington state for about 10 minutes in the early evening...that was about all Finn could last. Uncle John and aunt Kelsie came over in the evening for dinner and to open gifts. They were supposed to watch the Vikings game with us, but obviously didn't.

Like I said before, this Christmas was just magical. It is so much fun to pass on your traditions to your children and watch them as they look with wonder and fascination at all the festivities and fun. It is like being a child yourself again.

Friday, December 24

Merry 32 weeks!

That's a combination of Merry Christmas and we are now 32 weeks pregnant!

How your baby's growing: By now, your baby is about 16.7 inches long and weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama), taking up a lot of space in your uterus. [I know I've never picked up a large jicama before!]
You're gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, she'll gain a third to half of her birth weight during the next 7 weeks as she fattens up for survival outside the womb. She now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). Her skin is becoming soft and smooth as she plumps up in preparation for birth.

How your life's changing: To accommodate you and your baby's growing needs, your blood volume has increased 40 to 50 percent since you got pregnant. With your uterus pushing up near your diaphragm and crowding your stomach, the consequences may be shortness of breath and heartburn. To help relieve your discomfort, try sleeping propped up with pillows and eating smaller meals more often.

You may have lower-back pain as your pregnancy advances. [mainly in the morning, probably need to "prop" myself better while sleeping] If you do, let your caregiver know right away, particularly if you haven't had back pain before, since it can be a sign of preterm labor.

Assuming it's not preterm labor that's ailing you, you can probably blame your growing uterus and hormonal changes for your aching back. Your expanding uterus shifts your center of gravity and stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, changing your posture and putting a strain on your back. Hormonal changes in pregnancy loosen your joints and the ligaments that attach your pelvic bones to your spine. This can make you feel less stable and cause pain when you walk, stand, sit for long periods, roll over in bed, get out of a low chair or the tub, bend, or lift things.

Thursday, December 23

Believe in the magic

Wrapping marathon done and all presents are least I hope so. Hopefully I don't run into any that I forgot. However, this morning during the pre-dawn hours, I did remember one person I (and by that I mean Jim!) forgot to get a gift for. So I guess we'll be running out today and dealing with the hordes of last minute shoppers. Boo! On the bright side, Jim has the day off, so I won't have to go by myself (or maybe I can even stay home...hmmm).

As a parent, I find it interesting to look at your child and see things in them that remind you of yourself or your spouse. Like, Finn has my chin and Jim's green eyes (and hopefully my patience, which isn't saying much!). That kind of thing. Well, Jim has a very distinctive and consistent sneeze pattern. One sneeze, pause and then two sneezes (SOMETIMES there is a fourth sneeze, but not very often). He always gets me and I say bless you during the pause instead of the end even though I KNOW he is going to sneeze two more times. Anyway, is it possible to inherit how you sneeze from your parents? In the car yesterday, Finn did the exact same thing (and I've noticed it before), although his pause is a little shorter than Jims! Regardless, I think it is really cute and love taking the time to notice little things like that. Oh, and what makes it even cuter is when Finn says, "Bless you" to himself when he sneezes! I guess it is better to be over polite than not polite at all, right?!?! Ha, ha.

Yesterday, cousin Erica ran some errands with us. I had to return and pick up some stuff at Walmart (and wanted to get it done before the after-Christmas-return fiasco), so we picked her up on our way. A little diversion for her (she's on Christmas break) and help with Finn for me! He was doing things that kept cracking her up. I love my little guy.

Memeber and Grandpa are on their way to our house as I type (or at least are supposed to be!). I hope Finn is ready for three (and maybe four!) days of completely spoiling and lots of attention (not to mention the presents!). I'm sure he can handle it ;)

Merry Eve of Christmas Eve everyone. Have a wonderful and family-filled Christmas!! And don't forget to believe in the magic of and the reason for the season.

Wednesday, December 22

Trying Twos

Last night cousin Lauren (aka NoNen by Finn!) watched Finn so we could go to our prebirth hospital tour at Abbott. Now, I know what you may be thinking...Didn't they spend TWELVE days there when Finn was born? And you would be correct. However, since we are hoping for a full term baby and a "normal" birth (whatever that is!!), we wanted to know what normal procedures will be when I go into labor, instead of being rushed over there by ambulance and being in the high risk areas the majority of the time. The tour itself was very helpful, but the nurse giving it left something to be desired. Oh, well. Now we at least know where to go! Oh, and they remodeled the postpartum wing, so it is nicer than it was when I was there, which is good because I was not impressed ;) She said they will have an entire new "hospital" for maternity care in two years...doesn't do us much good now ;)

So, I think they are upon us. First, let me start by saying I love everything about my son even when he is naughty and testing me. That being said, the Terrible Twos are knocking on our door and at times, I have wondered what the number is for a local adoption agency! A friend at ECFE said they call them the Trying Twos! I guess the "good" news is that he doesn't really seem to do it for other people yet, mainly me and sometimes Jim. Lauren said he was a peach last night (keep in mind that he completely adores her). Really?!?! Before we left, he had to have a time out in his crib because he was screaming uncontrollably and I don't even remember why. And earlier we "argued" for 10 minutes about what he was eating for lunch with HUGE crocodile tears...and then he eventually ate what I wanted him to anyway! Argh. Ready or not, here they are, I guess!

Are you ready for Christmas? All shopping is done and a little over half of the wrapping, I would say...thanks to Lauren's help yesterday. Now I just need to find boxes for the rest of the stuff and get them under the tree, too. What's the rush? We have two days. Ha, ha.

Tuesday, December 21

Santa and Finn

Yesterday, once Finn finally got up, we headed over to the Arks for a play date. It had been a while! Finn loves playing over there because they have all the fun toys (and all the girls, too, I'm sure!!). We couldn't stay long because cousin Lauren was coming over to spend the night! Yay! We got a bit of snow yesterday (haven't seen any totals) and in the middle of it, the three of us headed to dintytown (part of the U of M campus) for waxing appointments! Yes, I said waxing. This whole experience was a first for me (the pregnant, and holy painful. But they said it is more painful when your pregnant (of course!), so hopefully next time...if there is a next won't hurt as much. The results are great, though!

Then last night, we let Finn stay up late to watch some of the Vikings game. He was the cutest. We were eating pizza and he would stop and shake his hands in the air and yell, "Go, go, Vikings!" Other than the opening drive, the game was lack luster, but it was very cool to see the Vikings play a home game outside. Jim really wanted to go, but the whole ticket situation was a little wacky, so we watched it from our warm, comfy couch instead. Plus, Jim got to give Lauren Football 101 lessons, which he loved (duh...being the know-it-all on a subject!).

This morning, Jim, Finn and I FINALLY headed to Ridgedale mall to visit Santa. I really had no expectations and just wanted a picture. Finn knows "Santa" when he sees a picture and I told him he was going to sit on his lap. Finn actually did crying... but no smiling either!
Finn looks a little dazed, but I'll take it! Hopefully next year we will do it a little earlier than the week of Christmas! The rest of the day we hung out with Lauren and got a big chunk of present wrapping done! Yay. What's the rush...we have three more days! Ha, ha.

Finn's new favorite saying is, "What happened?" Which is not usually from the result of something good (like the broken necklace that just happened)...but really cute.

Sunday, December 19

Stand up and cheer

Yesterday, Auntie Kristine stopped by for a quick visit, which Finn loved. He was kind of crabby and ready for a nap, so the distraction was much needed. And of course, he "conned" her into reading "Babar" to him.

After auntie left and Finn took his nap, the three of us were "playing" walking and Finn hit ANOTHER milestone...he stood up in the middle of the room unassisted!!! This is huge for balance and another "step" closer to independent walking. I just about died when he did it. Here is a short clip (longer version on the video website!):

Then in the evening, Sam, Stacey and Dillon came over for a family night in. It was a great, relaxing evening. Jim made focaccia bread with goat cheese (my fav!) and steak (and even shoveled out the grill!) and Stacey made mashed potatoes with bacon and brussel sprouts (SO YUMMY!). Finn LOVED playing with Dillon and had to show off his new found talent for standing and walking to our guests. We all tuckered out around 10:30, but when they were leaving, I think Dillon was the most wide awake of all of us! Probably didn't help that Jim was riling him up pretty good ;)

Saturday, December 18

More, please

On Thurs, Finn and I went to ECFE. He was really happy when Jane, his PT, came for a visit (since they had to cancel Tuesday's visit). He STILL cried when I left, even with Jane next to him. Argh. I know this phase will pass, but it does make me feel bad. One mom said you have to treat it like a business and not take it personally! Ha, I thought that was funny. The snack was apples and Greek yogurt and they said he ate three helpings, MAYBE an ounce each, of the yogurt (if you've had Greek yogurt, it is very thick and not sweet at all). Not sure how he did on the apple, though! They also said they were impressed with his ability to use a spoon. Honestly, I think the teachers that stay with the kids think he is younger than he really is (because he is small and doesn't walk) because Jim and I do NOT think he is good with a spoon! But he tries and that's what matters at this stage.

In the afternoon we went to PT. We ran some errands after class, which means he didn't have time for a nap...but fell asleep on the way there. I waited in the car until one minute before our appointment so he could sleep a little longer...and then they had forgotten to switch our appointment times! I was a little ticked because it was the second thing the reception messed up in one week for us (as far as scheduling). I was proud of myself because I actually said something. Luckily, the time I had rescheduled for was still open, so we still got in. Melissa thought Finn was doing fabulously, but she hadn't seen him in a MONTH, and looking back, I guess he has made a ton of progress since before Thanksgiving. We are going to revisit the issue of his feet in two weeks (we ran out this time).

We had our last swim class of the session yesterday morning. We signed up for winter class, but on Saturdays so Jim can help with Finn. It just takes too much out of me to get us both ready, work with him in the water by myself and then get us both ready to leave again. Plus, Finn loves having daddy in the water much more than me (you know, dads are just more fun!!).

In the afternoon, we had to run to the post office. Ugh! But it honestly wasn't that bad. This time of year, they actually have enough people working to keep the line moving. We waited in line about 5 minutes and were out the door about 2 minutes later. Much better than I was anticipating. Of course, by not even doing anything, Finn had all the workers smitten...I don't know how he does that!!!

Friday, December 17

31 weeks

How your baby's growing: This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. She weighs about 3.3 pounds (try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt.
She can turn her head from side to side, and her arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath her skin. She's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy.

How your life's changing: Have you noticed the muscles in your uterus tightening now and then? Many women feel these random contractions — called Braxton Hicks contractions — in the second half of pregnancy. [I can't tell if I'm having these or cramping...I get tightening every so often, but my OB isn't concerned at this point, regardless] Often lasting about 30 seconds, they're irregular, and at this point, they should be infrequent and painless. Frequent contractions, on the other hand — even those that don't hurt — may be a sign of preterm labor. Call your practitioner immediately if you have more than four contractions in an hour or any other signs of preterm labor: an increase in vaginal discharge or a change in the type of discharge (if it becomes watery, mucus-like, or bloody — even if it's pink or just tinged with blood); abdominal pain or menstrual-like cramping; an increase in pressure in the pelvic area; or low back pain, especially if you didn't have it before. [They make it sound so easy to tell, but honestly, I have all of these symptoms at different times because they are also "normal" pregnancy symptoms. Argh!]

You may have noticed some leaking of colostrum, or "premilk," from your breasts lately. If so, try tucking some nursing pads into your bra to protect your clothes. (And if not, it's certainly nothing to worry about; your breasts are making colostrum all the same, even if you don't see any.) If your current bra is too snug, you might also want to pick up a nursing bra. Choose a nursing bra at least one cup size bigger than you need now. When your milk comes in you'll be grateful for that extra room! [Amen! So glad my sisters brought one to the hospital for me last time. Ouch!]

The FFN test results came back negative! Yeah. That means, hopefully, another 2 uneventful weeks (which is good because I REALLY don't want a Christmas baby!).

Thursday, December 16

Finn walking?

Yesterday morning, Finn and I ventured out to check out a "Mom's Club" for our neighborhood. They had their monthly meeting, so it was a good time to see what it is all about and sign up! They have an event scheduled every day of the week and you can chose to go to whatever events you want to (or none at all!). I, of course, signed up but I really think it will be good for us since Finn and I are already going stir crazy and it is only December. I left my new member packet there (too many things to least I didn't forget Finn!), so I'll have to wait until they email me more information. They had somebody come in today to play guitar so we could sing Christmas carols. The first request was Jingle Bells...Finn was in heaven. The second request was Frosty the Snowman...Finn was over the moon. THEN he continued to sing Frosty the Snowman for each additional song we sang! Oops. Oh, well, it was cute.

I had my OB appointment yesterday. Jim was able to join us, so he got to see the new clinic...although my OB was backed up, so we saw a different one (I liked her, too, so it was fine). She said everything looked really good (cervix looked closed!) and we'll get the FFN test results sometime today. Hoping for a negative result so we have two more uneventful weeks!

When can you say a child is "walking" per se? This video is from last night. Jim and I sat facing each other, but a little distance apart and Finn walked back and forth to us maybe TEN times, taking about 10 steps each time! The original video was about 2 and a half minutes, so I cut it down for ease of viewing (the longer version is on our video website).
Sorry about the shoddy camera work. As you can imagine, it was tough to help Finn AND hold the camera! He still isn't confident enough to stand independently or to walk without somebody on the receiving end to catch him. Although, after he was walking back and forth with us, I did notice he was much braver about taking steps (or at least trying to!) on his own the rest of the night. Hmmm...could Jane (his PT) be right again? She predicted when he was going to crawl (he was on the verge for 5 months!) and she said he will be walking over Christmas break! He is so freakin' close :) Proud momma...even if he isn't technically walking yet.

Wednesday, December 15

Flowers and Cake Design

Well, we've somewhat recovered from all the snow. Just after "we" got done shoveling, they came through and plowed our sidewalk back in! So frustrating. I'm hoping we can get our snow blower fixed before the next snow storm. Well, maybe the next after the next because we are supposed to get 3" more tonight and tomorrow! Sheesh. I guess when you have this much, what is a little more? Just not sure where we are going to PUT it!

Monday was the last class of my Flowers and Cake Design Class. A HUGE thank you to aunt Kelsie for babysitting! Here is my final project:
I didn't have a clear vision for how I wanted it to turn out, but I think it looks okay. The basket weave on the side was time consuming, but I really enjoyed learning that technique. Our instructor says she reserves that for very special occasions, since it does take so much time. It helps when you have a short cake like mine! Our next class which starts in Jan is Gum Paste and Fondant. We will learn how to create gum paste calla lilies, carnations, daisies, mums and roses, and also do ruffles, borders & bows (interesting since I can't seem to make a good looking bow with normal ribbon!).

Poor Finn has had a major case of cabin fever. Before yesterday, he hadn't been out of the house since Friday morning. First the weather was too bad and we were snowed in and then the temps were just too cold. AND his EI team had to cancel yesterday morning because Minneapolis schools were closed (they go by their schedule). However, after I got my weekly hormone shot, Finn and I met Stacey and Connie at Benihana for lunch!
This was a first for Finn and although he was tired and whiny (even if Stacey said he was actually really good!), he was amazed by the chef for sure! He ate half my rice and loved the chicken and ice cream! Thank you for an absolutely perfect time, ladies! I really enjoyed myself. How did I know Finn was tired? He fell asleep on the 10 minute drive home and didn't wake up when we got home, when I unbuckled him, when I brought him inside, carried him upstairs, took his mittens, hat and snow suit off. He only woke up when I lifted him into the crib. Then he just stuck in his thumb and rolled over. You have to understand that this child does NOT do this. First, he hardly ever falls asleep in the car and second, when he does, he wakes up the second you try to unbuckle him. I guess next time I'll make sure he is well rested.

Sunday, December 12


Well that was quite the snow storm. They are saying it is the worst storm since the Halloween blizzard of 1991 (which I remember fondly). As of right now, 17+ inches have fallen in Minneapolis with 4-6' snow drifts and the temperature is fighting to stay at Zero degrees. The Metro Dome roof; where the Vikings were scheduled to play the Giants today at Noon; deflated this morning and now they don't know if/when/where the game will be played. I was very disappointed to have to miss my cousin's wedding yesterday in Willmar which is normally a 2 hour drive, because of the weather. We figured we could have driven in Friday instead of waiting until Saturday, but we were afraid we wouldn't get back today! I hate when weather makes you change your plans. On the "bright" side, we don't have to worry about having a white Christmas this year...or from the looks of it, a white Jan/Feb/Mar and probably April! I told Jim that his car will still be under a snow drift come July (seriously, it is entirely enclosed in a drift!). I'm just glad I didn't have a need to go to the hospital yesterday. Can you please remind me why we live here again? Finn asked Jim last night before bed if they could go build a snowman! Ha!

Friday, December 10

Happy to be 30!

Thirty weeks, that is. I honestly didn't think we'd make it this far when we got pregnant, but so thankful that we have! I'd prefer a full term baby, but I also know I can handle a 3 pound one!

How your baby's growing: Your baby's about 15.7 inches long now, and she weighs almost 3 pounds (like a head of cabbage).
A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds her, but that volume will decrease as she gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. Her eyesight continues to develop, though it's not very keen; even after she's born, she'll keep her eyes closed for a good part of the day. When she does open them, she'll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means she can only make out objects a few inches from her face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.) If you shine a light on your belly – your baby can follow it.

How your life's changing: You may be feeling a little tired these days, [Yup!] especially if you're having trouble sleeping. You might also feel clumsier than normal, which is perfectly understandable. Not only are you heavier, but the concentration of weight in your pregnant belly causes a shift in your center of gravity. Plus, thanks to hormonal changes, your ligaments are more lax, so your joints are looser, which may also contribute to your balance being a bit off. Also, this relaxation of your ligaments can actually cause your feet to spread permanently, so you may have to invest in some new shoes in a bigger size.

Remember those mood swings you had earlier in pregnancy? The combination of uncomfortable symptoms and hormonal changes can result in a return of those emotional ups and downs. It's normal to worry about what your labor will be like or whether you'll be a good parent. But if you can't shake the blues or feel increasingly irritable or agitated, talk to your doctor or midwife. You may be among the 1 in 10 expectant women who battle depression during pregnancy. Also let your caregiver know if you're frequently nervous or anxious.

I don't know about being clumsy, but holy pregnancy brain. I can't remember the most common last night when I couldn't remember what to call a CD player! Jim said his fatherhood book said a pregnant woman's brain shrinks 3 to 5% in the third trimester. I guess I'm a testament to that! At least Jim is understanding...for the most part!

Thursday, December 9

What is wrong with people?

I forgot to mention a very unpleasant experience at class today. We have "parent" time when we go to a different room than the kids and talk about joys and concerns from the previous week and usually cover a specific topic for that week. Well, today there were several parents who were not there last week. When it was my turn, I just expressed my feelings about how I am REALLY ready for Finn to be walking and that I've been patient with all the other physical delays, but now I'm just ready. I said I'd like him to be walking before he turns two in January. Well, another mom who was not there last week and is of a different..."background" shall we say...than myself just about fell out of her chair and was like, "Two? He is almost two and not walking? Most babies walk at 12 months. That is ridiculous." And on and on. I was so caught off guard. I haven't had to deal with this kind of reaction in a long time (if ever). I interrupted her to say that Finn was early and that was why but she just kept on going. Another mom chimed in and said that her son didn't walk until 17 or 18 months and he was full term (trying to make me feel better, probably) and mom #1 just didn't get it.

I know that what we went through with Finn probably made me more accepting and tolerant of differences than the average person, but seriously, this was ridiculous. I wish I'd been prepared so I could have responded better, but of course, all those things she was saying have gone through my head at some point (how couldn't they have?!?) and brought up some major insecurities I have as a mother (what is wrong with me that Finn isn't walking...although my logical self knows it isn't me) and just made me feel terrible. I don't know. I haven't had a "preemie experience" in a while and I was hoping they were past us. I guess not. I feel like if he would just start walking, maybe then it would be behind us. I should have said to her, "Yeah, well when did your kid start talking? Finn did at 11 months. Did yours? I didn't think so." But unlike her, I have self-restraint and common decency.

The hydrologic cycle

Yesterday, Finn and I had a play date with a friend from Preemie class. Samuel is three, but was a 23 weeker, so he was even earlier (and smaller!) than Finn was. Lisa, Samuel's mom, is pregnant with their second as well, so it is really nice to have somebody who is going through the same feelings and precautions and fear that I am. I seriously think we could talk all day about this stuff! She is also the one who recommended me to my new OB, so I'm very grateful for that. We went to "Wee Wednesdays" at the Midtown Global Marketing. The program was for much older children (the hydrologic cycle which is the circulation and conservation of earth's case you didn't know!), but they have a play area and lots of choices for lunch. I hope we can do it again soon! The Global Market is where Jim would walk to for dinner when I was in the hospital trying to not birth Finn. Since I couldn't leave my bed at the time, it was nice to see where he'd been going.

Stacey (and Dillon) dropped off a maternity coat for me! Yay. I think my shoulders are a little broad for it, but Jim says I'm just too critical. It is nice that it actually fits around my belly (and it is super cute). I think I'll be okay as long as I'm not wearing a sweater or sweatshirt or anything bulky like that. Thanks for letting me borrow it, Stace!

Jim had a quick over night business trip to Michigan Tuesday night, so Finn and I went to pick him up at the airport yesterday. Man, I have to say, after being so used to his all week trips, one night is nothing! Other than Finn asking where daddy is every three and a half minutes! Oh, and if you don't already know, the construction on 35W appears to be done and it is fabulous!!! Granted, I wasn't driving through heavy rush hour traffic, but it was after 4pm on our way home and only slight slow downs on 35W (62 was a different matter!). Love how wide it is now.

This morning, I got a call from Becky saying that Austin couldn't be at daycare because somebody was sick. SO...he got to go to ECFE with us! I wasn't too worried about it since the age range is fairly large and there are a couple of siblings that come along. I just mentioned to Austin that he had to be careful since all of the other kids were smaller than he is. I know Finn loved having Austin there and on the way home, Austin said to me, "Can you pick me up next time you go to that class?" How cute! I wish he lived closer or I would!

Wednesday, December 8

Faux hawk

I have to say, I've just been feeling overwhelmed, unmotivated and unorganized lately. I don't know if it is the pregnancy, the holidays or what, but is ridiculous. It doesn't help that we have been uber busy lately, so down time (and just "me" time) is at a minimum. This is the longest I've gone without blogging in a long time (FIVE days!). Oops.

Friday, we had a play date with our fall ECFE group. Finn loves checking out other people's toys (aren't they ALWAYS better than yours?!?!). We had to cut it a little short because auntie NaeNae came for a visit! The only way I could get Finn to leave the play date was telling him that auntie was at our house. She colored my hair and cut Finn's hair into a faux hawk.
It is kind of hard to see on the picture, but it is SUPER cute. And the thing I love about how she cut it is that if we don't style it, it just looks like a normal hair cut.

That evening, Ryan, Leah and Doug came over for our annual cookie exchange. I think Ryan (well, actually Leah!) won hands out on taste, but I might have eeked out a win on overall Christmas theme (I did peppermint candy cake cookies). As always, there was lots of food, laughter and fun (not too much booze...probably because everybody had to drive and I obviously can't partake this year!). Doug made me promise not to be pregnant next year so I can let loose. Goodness, I sure hope not...

Saturday, all four of us got up and headed to Chanhassen for my pregnancy photo shoot with Jess! It was at a studio, so I didn't know what to expect, but it was really fun and worked out well. I can't wait to see them, BUT she has several Christmas shoots to get to, so I promised to be patient and wait until they are all done. Thump, thump, thump (that is my finger nails drumming on the table...ha, ha!). We did a few with the name we THINK we're going to pick spelled out (Renae looked away...what will power!) so Jess is the only one who knows! Don't ask her, she might cave :)

After the shoot, we went over to auntie Becca's for a Christmas cookie baking extravaganza. I, of course, forgot my camera. Boo. We made peanut butter balls ala Gram, Kristine made peanut butter blossoms, Becky made ginger cookies and Grace made cupcake cookies. It was hectic, but a lot of fun. Becky was able to rent out her community room, so we had space to spread out and the kids could watch TV and play. Now I'm just trying not to eat all the cookies at once.

Monday Finn and I had a play date with our spring ECFE class at the Eagle's Nest in New Brighton. Finn LOVES it there and the little kid area is secured, so they can just go wherever they want and they can't get out. It is always so nice to catch up with those moms (and dad!) and the kids seem to grow like weeds when you only see them once a month. Monday night I had my 3 or 4 flower cake decorating class. Next week is the final project, so I'd better figure out what I'm doing!

Monday, December 6

Stinky Socks

Stacy mentioned that I haven't written a post in a while and Finn said something funny today that she wasn't going to write about. So if anyone was going to hear about it that it was going to have to come from me - more about that in a minute depending on how fast you read. It indeed has been a long time and those of you who know me would think I'd like to see my name on a byline as many time as possible but Stacy has been doing such a wonderful job I figured why mess up a great thing. So here goes messing it up - I'll keep it short and to the point...for the most part.

I'll start out by saying thank you for those who continue to read this blog and support us with or without comments....although I prefer comments!! As Thanksgiving has passed and Christmas approaches I don't have much more to add to things I'm grateful for beyond Stacy's top ten thank you list which should be required reading somewhere.

When Stacy was at one of her appointments with the new OB, I had the chance to spend most of the session with Finn's EI team. I can see why Stacy likes them so much. They are so kind and helpful and it is obvious how much they love Finn and want to see him doing well. Since they are employed by the school district we are talking about education, so while we're talking about learning all I have to say about the birthing class we went to is, "wow." I can't believe how much I didn't know. Reading the pregnancy book daily and having had one kid already I would have thought I knew enough but I guess having one at nine months (hopefully) is different than five! That's for those of you who think that I think I know everything...I don't, maybe close though.

On to the good stuff. So today Stacy went out shopping. Maybe she went alone because I thought that Finn should spend some time apart due to his separation fits and she should get out on her own but more likely because I was too lazy to go out - whose to judge though? Anyway, I was changing him (thanks Papa for practically making that part of our marriage vows - sarcastic or not? you can figure it out) and he tried to pull off one of his socks at which point I said stinky socks. Well, he tried to repeat it and what he said would make anyone who was at church with us this morning while he was screaming blush.

When Mommy got home, I thought I'd take the opportunity to confirm what he'd said. After much distraction from the football on TV that Finn would swear was the Vikings and was not (he thinks anything related to football is the Vikings, don't even get me started about him saying Vikings when he sees anything Gopher related - at least he loves Goldy), I got him to repeat "stinky socks." And sure enough there it was clear as day - children should either stop reading or ask their parents what this means - he said "kinky cocks." I'm sure his mother was proud - no comment on Daddy's thoughts! What is it that they say about "out of the mouths of babes?" Not sure that's what they meant with that phrase but we laughed our butts off before we realized that he would then just keep repeating it because of our laughter!

I think (read hope) that he's forgotten it by now so hopefully it will be back to just calling balls "balldies" (given the subject matter, this clarifies that in saying this I mean basketballs, footballs, baseballs, etc.) which I think is a combo platter of ball and Goldy.

Again, thanks for the well-wishes and here's to hoping I don't have anything to write about until February!

Bet you didn't think I'd write this did you Stacy? As Sasha would say ha-ha! Love you!

Friday, December 3

29 weeks

How your baby's growing: Your baby is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heeland now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds (like a butternut squash).
[Now a butternut squash is something I can relate to!] Her muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and her head is growing bigger to make room for her developing brain. To meet her increasing nutritional demands, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron. And because her bones are soaking up lots of calcium, be sure to drink your milk (or find another good source of calcium, such as cheese, yogurt, or enriched orange juice). This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your baby's hardening skeleton each day.

How your life's changing: Your baby's very active now. [Yes she is. Sometimes she makes me jump!] Your healthcare provider may ask you to spend some time each day counting kicks and will give you specific instructions on how to do this. Let your provider know if you ever notice that your baby is becoming less active. You may need a nonstress test or biophysical profile to check on your baby's condition.

Some old friends — heartburn and constipation — may take center stage now. The pregnancy hormone progesterone relaxes smooth muscle tissue throughout your body, including your gastrointestinal tract. This relaxation, coupled with the crowding in your abdomen, slows digestion. Sluggish digestion can cause gas and heartburn — especially after a big meal — and contribute to constipation. [Oh, these, especially heartburn, are pretty constant friends already!] To prevent constipation, eat a high-fiber diet, drink plenty of water, and get some regular exercise. [also, Miralax is my friend!]

Your growing uterus may also be contributing to hemorrhoids. These swollen blood vessels in your rectal area are common during pregnancy. Fortunately, they usually clear up in the weeks after giving birth. [thankfully, none yet. Fingers are crossed.] Avoid sitting or standing for long stretches. Talk with your provider before using any over-the-counter remedies during pregnancy, and let your provider know if you have any rectal bleeding.

Some women get something called "supine hypotensive syndrome" during pregnancy. This happens when lying flat on your back causes a change in heart rate and blood pressure that makes you feel dizzy until you change position. [this is a constant worry of Jim's, but luckily so far, it isn't too bad, especially since laying on my back seems to be more comfortable depending on whatever aches at the moment!] You might notice that you feel lightheaded if you stand up too quickly, too. To avoid "the spins," lie on your side rather than your back, and move slowly as you go from lying down to sitting and then standing.

Thursday, December 2

I eat what I want

We talked to Finn's EI teacher, Deb, about a couple different topics on Tuesday, but one that we talk about often is Finn's eating habits. He has started to be a picky eater and throwing his food and not eating what we give him. Prior to talking to Deb, I would give Finn each "course" separately. Like, here is your yogurt. That is gone, so now here is your fruit. That is finished, so here are your veggies. Or whatever he would be eating at a certain meal. Deb suggested giving it to him all at once and letting him CHOSE what he wants to eat from what I give him. Two year olds like to feel like they can control things in their environment. I didn't have high hopes, but we've been doing it since Tuesday and it is amazing the difference. So now, I put appropriate serving sizes on a plate of whatever I would have normally given him and he can chose what and how much he wants to eat. If he wants more of something, he has to finish the other stuff, but if he doesn't want to finish, he is done...and I don't stress about how much he is eating! If he is hungry, he will eat. It seems to be going so much better. Honestly, what would I do without Deb!?! Simple yet effective suggestions. Why can't we just figure all this out on our own?!?! I'm just glad I don't have to!

Finn and I went to our first winter ECFE class today. It went better than I was expecting. There are two kids that are older than the rest, but otherwise for the most part, the kids are two, give or take a few months. There is one other little boy who has special needs and isn't walking yet, either, so at least Finn isn't the only one (I don't even know if Finn would notice anyway...more my hang up than his!). This is the first class session we will be separating (meaning the kids stay and play for part of the class and the parents go to a different room). They said that Finn cried a little bit when I first left, but then was quickly distracted by snack time (and had THREE helpings...of course!). I loved the parent time without the kids around. You get so much more out of what others are saying when you aren't keeping a watch on your child and only paying half attention. Plus, it turned out that I knew two other parents and had met another one once...I must get around the ECFE circuit! Ha, ha. I liked the teachers, which was a struggle with one teacher in our fall class, so I think we will stick it out, at least for now.

Wednesday, December 1

Negative is good

Finn has had a tough day and a half. He bumped his forehead yesterday morning and got a small bruise and little scrape. I scratched him last night when he was trying to walk to me (but fell on me instead). He bruised his right cheek on the kitchen chair this morning after breakfast and bruised under his right eye at the doctor's office today. Sheesh! I guess that is what kids do. At least he recovers quickly from stuff like that. Maybe if he learned to walk, it would get better...or maybe worse?!?! Hmmm...

Finn and I went into my OB's office for the FFN test this afternoon. I got a call tonight and the results were negative! Yay. That means the likelihood of me going into labor in the next two weeks is VERY LOW. So, this is what peace of mind feels like...too bad my other doctor didn't understand that peace of mind is important!

While at the doctor, Finn and I were reading a Ranger Rick magazine. Well, there were cuddlefish on a couple of pages and Finn kept wanting to look at those pages and saying, "more piss. more piss." Apparently he can't say "fish" yet! I'm sure the nurses could hear him and got a kick out of it.

Tuesday, November 30

I finally did it

Keeping in mind that we have been listening to Christmas music in the car for a couple of weeks, Finn can sing Jingle Bells. He sings it any time, anywhere with little prompting. It is too cute. He only knows, "Jingle bells; Jingle bells; Jingle all way" but that counts in my book. He also likes to listen to Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer, but hasn't quite figured that one out yet. Last night, Jim dug out Frosty the Snowman movie and Finn sat stone still and watched 90% of it! I couldn't believe it, but he is mildly obsessed with snowmen right now, so I'm sure that was part of it. Have I mentioned yet how much I'm loving sharing this Christmas season with Finn? It is totally different and magical when you see it through your child's eyes.

I finally did it. Upon a recommendation from another mom of a preemie who is also pregnant with her second, I contacted a new OB yesterday AND had an appointment this morning already! I wasn't able to get in to see her OB, but it was at the same practice. The appointment was almost 2 hours long, but luckily, Jim was able to stay home with Finn (and work with the EI ladies without me!), so I went by myself. I love the doctor I met with. She was very informative and understanding and listened to my concerns (novel concept for a doctor!). As I'm sure all of you already were thinking, I should have made this move a long time ago. The new plan of "attack" is to continue with the weekly hormone shots and to do FFN (fetal fibronectin) tests every two weeks along with my two week OB visits. These test should tell us if I'm going to go into preterm labor within the next two weeks and if so, we will act accordingly. I feel like at least there is a plan and she didn't just tell me to "relax and stop worrying" like I've been told before. Feeling very good and very positive!

Monday, November 29

Angel, angel, angel!

Yesterday, we headed over to the Borns to watch the Vikings game and belatedly celebrate Vincent's baptism and Quinn's 3rd birthday. The Vikings (actually!) won, which was a nice suprise. Thanks for a yummy lunch and a nice afternoon, Borns!

We headed home and got our Christmas on! I'm to the point where I easily get tired, so I haven't had much motivated to do anything. Luckily, Jim went into OCD mode and did about 90% of it by himself, with me watching. Finn was napping during some of it and the tree, lights and angel were lit when he woke up.
This is Finn's reaction to seeing it all for the first time. He LOVED it and kept saying, "angel, angel, angel!" because he has a plush Precious Moments angel that prays out loud and he loves that, too. We got all done except putting lights on our front porch, (which Jim hates doing and I don't know if I should be standing on a ladder to do it) and putting ornaments on the tree, which we'll hopefully do tonight. Thinking it might be better to do put ornaments on without Finn's help this year, so he doesn't think he can play with them. Last year he was rolling and couldn't reach the tree (although he got UNDER it plenty!). So, I'm curious to see how he will do now that he is mobile and likes to explore.

We are trying to teach Finn to say, "Merry Christmas" but so far, just his version of "Christmas" comes out. Although, he has "santa" down and says it every time he sees a picture of Santa. Pictures with Santa this year could be interesting!

Finn woke up with a running nose this morning. So far, he doesn't have any other symptoms and he seems to be in a good mood. Hoping it is just a little cold that passes us by without too much trouble (and that Jim doesn't get it, too!).

Saturday, November 27

Black Friday

Thursday, we headed up to Kristine's in Maple Grove for Thanksgiving. Everybody except Nick was there, so that was really great to see everybody. Too bad Finn has been so whiny lately, but I think it only bothered Jim and me. Of course, Finn only napped for MAYBE 30 to 45 minutes, so that made for an interesting rest of the day. I don't think he likes to miss anything when we are at Kristine's.

In the early evening, we headed down to Chaska to NeNe's to spend a little time with Jim's family. It was very relaxed and even though I was already plenty full, managed to sample lots of their food, too! Sheesh. One thing about being this pregnant, you can't eat as much at one sitting as you used to and if you try, you get REALLY uncomfortable (speaking from experience!). Overall, a great Thanksgiving. This is the first time, in well, probably ever, that I haven't celebrated with at least one of my extended families (both my mom and dad's families usually celebrate the weekend after Thanksgiving). But we decided driving 2+ hours and being so far from specialty hospitals probably wasn't the best thing for us this year. While it makes me sad to miss both celebrations (because I don't get to see my extended family very often any more), it definitely makes for a much more relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. I told Jim not to get used to it! Jim, of course, is going to the Gopher game today, so Finn and I get to spend the day together.

Yesterday, I got up at the crack of 7am (haha!), looked at online ads and headed out by myself to grab a few deals. Can I just say how much easier it is to go shopping without a child to tote around? Since I started so late, many of the things I wanted were already gone, especially at Wal-mart, but I still got a few things at really good prices. I went to Kohls, Toys R Us and Wal-mart, and was home again in a little over 2 hours. I had a time line to be home by 10:30 so we could go to swim class and I made it. Now I've started my online shopping and already bought a few gifts. I think I only have 7 people left. Yay!

My left foot continues to be swollen on and off. For the most part, it isn't painful, so I'm not too worried. I just try to stay off it as much as I can, which isn't that much ;) I called a new OB yesterday, one of the recommendations, and they were closed! Darn it. So I will call on Monday and see what they say. I/we just need to make a decision about this and move on. I'm sick of discussing it and worrying about it.

Friday, November 26

28 weeks - 3rd trimester

How your baby's growing: By this week, your baby weighs two and a quarter pounds (like a Chinese cabbage) and measures 14.8 inches from the top of her head to her heels.
[Okay, first of all, I've never even heard of "chinese cabbage" and based on this picture, I call that napa cabbage. I'm just saying.] She can blink her eyes, which now sport lashes. With her eyesight developing, she may be able to see the light that filters in through your womb. She's also developing billions of neurons in her brain and adding more body fat in preparation for life in the outside world.

How your life's changing: You're in the home stretch! The third and final trimester starts this week. [Yay, a much anticipated milestone. I made it!!] If you're like most women, you'll gain about 11 pounds this trimester.

At this point, you'll likely visit your doctor or midwife every two weeks. Then, at 36 weeks, you'll switch to weekly visits. If your glucose screening test result was high [nope, thankfully, it was good!] and you haven't yet had follow-up testing, you'll soon be given the 3-hour glucose tolerance test. And if the blood work done at your first prenatal visit showed that you're Rh negative [thankfully, no!], you'll get an injection of Rh immunoglobulin to prevent your body from developing antibodies that could attack your baby's blood.

Around this time, some women feel an unpleasant "creepy-crawly" sensation in their lower legs and an irresistible urge to move them while trying to relax or sleep. [not yet, but now I have one more thing to potentially look forward to!] If this sensation is at least temporarily relieved when you move, you may have what's known as restless legs syndrome (RLS). No one knows for sure what causes RLS, but it's relatively common among expectant mothers. Try stretching or massaging your legs, and cut down on caffeine, which can make the symptoms worse. Ask your caregiver if you should try iron supplements, which can sometimes relieve RLS.

Thursday, November 25

Giving thanks

While I try to be thankful all year round, today is a great opportunity to stop, reflect and share the 10 things I am most thankful for.

1. My wonder, loving and supportive husband. Yes, we argue and disagree, but at the end of the day, there is nobody on this earth with whom I would rather argue, cry, laugh or spend my life. You are an amazing husband and father, Jim.

2. My amazing, stubborn, funny and smart son, Finnegan, who brings so much life and laughter into my life. I don't even remember what life was like before you came or the things that seemed important. I stop and just take you in some days and am overwhelmed with my love for you. Thank you for teaching me how to be the best mom I can be.

3. For my wonderful, active and growing daughter-to-be. I can't wait to meet you and find out all the fantastic things you have to teach and show me. You may not be coming exactly when I planned, but you help me to remember that sometimes God's plan is different than mine, and that is okay. Even though I haven't seen you yet, my heart swells with love for you.

4. For my swollen feet and making it to 27 weeks and 6 days with this pregnancy. My swollen feet help to remind me that this is a pregnancy symptom I haven't experienced before and that I didn't make it this long with Finn. It has been a roller coaster ride so far, but I know everything is worth it. Here's to many (MANY) more days before this pregnancy comes to a joyous end.

5. My family (both biological and through marriage) who support me and keep me grounded and helped me to become the person I am today. We have weathered much together and having you in my life gives me comfort and stability knowing you are there for me no matter what. Whether it be a late night phone call venting about the latest thing to upset me or sitting by my side in the hospital for 10+ days while I was going through the most difficult time in my life. I am lucky to have family like you by my side.

6. My friends (you know who you are!), because you are in my life because you choose to be, not because you have to be. Your encouragement and companionship make me feel loved and accepted and help me feel like it is okay to "just be me."

7. For my ability to be a stay-at-home mom. I loved my job and working, but it is nothing compared to being able to spend every day with my son, watch him grow before my very eyes and be the one to raise him and teach him life's important lessons. I don't know how long I will be able to stay home, so I am thankful for each day I'm given.

8. My health. This might seem like a small yet obvious thing to be thankful for, but I am a healthy person, which allows me to take care of my son and husband when needed and not have the need to take "sick days" which my job doesn't allow. But also, because of my overall health and strength, this pregnancy is going smoothly and I feel amazing (most of the time!).

9. Surfactant, a protein that makes lung tissue elastic. This might seem like a very specific thing to include on a list like this, but without it, Finn's chances of survival, after being born at 25 weeks, would have almost been zero. Because this medicine (and several others) was invented and given to my son, it allowed his lungs to expand and collapse and ultimately only be vented for one day. I owe my son's life to this life-saving medicine (and the wonderful care given to him by the amazing staff at Children's NICU/ICC).

10. Toothbrush and hot running water. Let's face it; because nobody wants to have stinky breath or a dirty body! Enough said :)

Wishing you a very happy and grateful Thanksgiving. May you be able to celebrate your many blessings in the company of those you love. Travel safely! Stop today and think about the 10 things YOU are most thankful for. It is very therapeutic.

Wednesday, November 24

All clear!

Jane, Finn's EI PT, was VERY impressed with him this week. He just "walked" between the couch and chair like it was no big deal. He is getting much steadier and hopefully his confidence will get better, too. It is SO much fun to see him taking several steps at one time. Oh, my little boy! Now if he would stand independently, it would make this whole process much easier for him.

Finn and I got to play with Austin yesterday because Becky had houses to clean and his daycare was closed. It is so much fun having him, but man, he really keeps us going! I think Finn dropped unconscious by nap time. Makes me miss that time when I got him every Friday. Maybe again this summer, if I'm still able to stay at home.

Jim and I were supposed to go out on a date night with John and Kelsie last night, but I feel like I've been gone so much lately, that I asked if it was okay for them to come over and Jim make dinner instead. It didn't take much convincing! Finn loved having both of their attentions and it was a really nice evening. Too bad we need to schedule times like that, but at least we do once in a while ;)

This afternoon, Finn and I braved the weather, roads and holiday traffic to go his follow up ENT appointment (daddy met us there). And low and behold, both ears are infection and fluid free!!!! We were shocked. I don't have a ton of confidence that they will stay that way, but it was a really nice surprise. If he doesn't have any more ear infections, we don't have to go back for 4 months. Yay. They will only do new tubes if he has three or more infections in six months or less, I think. Here's to Finn's ears staying clear!

Yesterday around Noon, I noticed that my left foot hurt, only to look at it and see it was swollen to the size of a club. I tried to stay off my feet yesterday as much as I could (which isn't easy!) and it went down a little bit before bed. Today it was swollen on and off. Jim made me call the nurses line and she said that as long as it bounces back when I poke it, I should just stay off my feet and keep it elevated, unless it gets worse, then to go to Urgent Care. I never had this symptom with Finn, so it is new to me! I could barely get my shoe on this afternoon, so good thing the snow justifies wearing big boots :)

And, I had my last session for the beginning cake decorating class tonight. I felt like I was running around with my head cut off all day, but I got almost everything ready for class that I needed. We learned how to make roses:
Which were actually pretty tough. I had the tip upside down for one and it looked like a butt...not what I was going for! And we had to do our final project. I made a pumpkin spice cake with butterscotch filling (homemade!) and cream cheese frosting. The cream cheese frosting is much tougher to work with than buttercream, but I just do not like the taste of buttercream.
I didn't have a full scheme for how I wanted it to turn out, but I think overall, it works. The Thomas clan will get to sample tomorrow, so hopefully it tastes as good as it looks (well, that is what Jim told me anyway!).

Tuesday, November 23

Cake makin' fool

Sunday morning, even though the weather did it's best to keep me home, I headed to New London (a 2 hour drive without thick sheets of ice for roads!) for my friend Holly and her son, Breck's baby shower. I left early, so it really wasn't THAT bad. Seeing an opportunity to use my newly accquired cake decorating skills, I volunteered to make the baby shower cake.
Of course it didn't turn out exactly how I'd imagined in my head, but overall, I think it looked pretty good.  Everybody said it tasted good, so that is what really matters to me. They asked me if I was going to start selling cakes. Um, no! Too stressful (Kelsie and Jim can attest to that!).

Yesterday, Finn and I went to our last Preemie class for the fall. They aren't having it in the winter, but are in the spring. So as of right now, we have every Monday and every other Thursday open! I feel like I need to plan things...ha, ha, just kidding. I still need to figure out which ECFE class Finn is going to be in for the winter. That will be every Wed or Thurs, depending on the class.

Last night, I had my first "Flowers and Cake Design" class. It is the follow up class to the cake decorating beginners class we've been taking on Weds. We worked with gum paste and fondant to make flowers.
I need to work on my technique a little bit, but they were really fun (and time consuming!) to make. Kristine and Becky A are in this class with me, too, so it is fun to have a girls' night out once a week. We have the last session of our beginner's class tomorrow (Wed) night. We need to bring a fully assembled and frosted cake to class and a design scheme to work on all of our techniques. Yikes! Trying to find a good spice cake recipe and filling. Hmm...

Finn's been acting kind of funky and "off" lately. Jim thinks it is his ears; which it very well may be since he finished his antibiotic last week. We have the follow up with the ENT on Wed, so we'll know for sure then. He is just whiny and starts crying at the drop of a hat...which is VERY not like him. Oh, and he hasn't been eating super well, which is also very not like him, obviously.

I've been feeling good. A little cramping and "heavy" feeling, but looking forward to this Friday when we'll be 28 weeks! That is the magic age when babies lungs are mature enough for them to be able to breathe on their own. That is what we were hoping for with Finn, but didn't quite make it. Ha! No reason so far to think that we won't with this one.

Oh and over $600 later, our furnace should finally be fixed for "a long time." Sheesh. What a pain, but at least we are warm.

Saturday, November 20

Capable and well informed

Swimming was canceled yesterday because there was an "accident" in the pool. It is frustrating because we don't find out until we get there and by then, I've gotten both Finn and myself all ready, which isn't a small feat. AND I don't know if Finn is too young, but he seemed really upset when we didn't actually go swimming, which makes me sad. We can do a  make up class, but it doesn't help with his disappointment yesterday! Maybe daddy and Finn can go on Wednesday night when I have my cake class. On the bright side, at least we weren't changed, showered and in the pool area when they closed it!

Today, Jim and I had our second (and last) birthing class. This one covered c-sections, a tour of North Memorial and parenting/baby care stuff. It was actually helpful. I've been kind of terrified of c-sections and now I feel like, if for whatever reason, I need to have one, I would be okay with that. The parenting stuff was a little bit of review for us, but we had a good time anyway (Jim liked playing with the doll baby they gave us). We are now fully capable and well informed enough to have this baby...yikes! Aunt Kelsie came over last night so she could be here to watch Finn when he woke up. They were both in their cozy beds when we left this morning. She said he was a good boy for her and that she read him books for 2 hours! Poor, Kelsie. I know he loved the attention...and can now say "Aunt Kelsie," which I also know melts a certain aunt's heart :) Thanks for watching him, Kels!

We watched "She's the Man" and "Dear John" last night. Very different movies, but both pretty good flicks. Jim started "The Bodyguard" with Whitney Houston and Kevin Costner, but pooped out a little way into it. I don't have any hope that he will love it NEARLY as much as I do. Movie sound tracks don't get any better!

Friday, November 19

27 weeks

How your baby's growing: This week, your baby is about 14 1/2 inches long with her legs extended and weighs almost 2 pounds (like a head of cauliflower).
She's sleeping and waking at regular intervals, opening and closing her eyes, and perhaps even sucking her fingers. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now. While her lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning — with a lot of medical help — if she were to be born now. Chalk up any tiny rhythmic movements you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. [haven't felt any yet] Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and they don't bother her, so just relax and enjoy the tickle.

How your life's changing: The second trimester is drawing to a close, but as your body gears up for the final lap, you may start noticing some new symptoms. Along with an aching back [yup!!], for example, you may find that your leg muscles cramp up now and then [not yet]. They're carrying extra weight, after all, and your expanding uterus is putting pressure on the veins that return blood from your legs to your heart as well as on the nerves leading from your trunk to your legs. Unfortunately, the cramps may get worse as your pregnancy progresses. Leg cramps are more common at night but can also happen during the day. When a cramp strikes, stretching the calf muscle should give you some relief. Straighten your leg and then gently flex your toes back toward your shin. Walking for a few minutes or massaging your calf sometimes helps, too.

It may be the furthest thing from your mind right now, but it's not too soon to think about family planning. You'll want to have made some decisions about postpartum birth control before your baby arrives. If you're considering a tubal ligation [nope], be aware that most states require you to sign a consent form at least 30 days beforehand.

This is our last week in the second trimester. When Finn was born so early, I missed out on a lot of things (obviously). One of these things was making it to the third trimester. Might not seem like a big thing to most (since I hear symptoms get worse!), but I'm looking forward to being able to say I made it that far! Fingers crossed for next Friday (yet so thankful for getting even this far)!

Thursday, November 18

It's a small world

The perinatologist recommended two OB practices that deliver at both North Robbinsdale and North Maple Grove hospitals. I looked at both of their websites, but now Jim and I are wondering if it is "worth it" to switch at this point. I would feel better, I think, but how much interaction am I really going to have with my doctor from this poing going forward?!?! I hate making decisions.

And our furnace went out AGAIN! The guy came back last night while I was at class and found it was another part that wasn't working. He is going to order it. In the meantime, every time it goes out, we have to go out to the furnace and wiggle a part until it turns on. Fun ;)

We had our last fall ECFE class yesterday. One of the regular moms was missing because her son started napping at 11:30...class starts at 11:15!
I really liked the group, so I'm sad to move on, but all the other kids are staying in that age group and Finn is moving up. Maybe. I have a call into the offices to see the age ranges of the other kids for the older group. Waiting to hear back. I made banana bread for class and gave the extra one to Jim to take to the office. Everybody raved (the recipe is on my recipe page!).

PT was VERY good today (much different than last week). Finn took as many as EIGHT unassisted steps (the most he has done to date) and consistently took three unassisted steps at a time. I told his PT it was too bad the world wasn't smaller and he only had to take three steps all the time...then we could say he is walking! Ha. Also, because he is progressing so much and really has to work on balance on his own, we are now moving to every other week for PT at Gillette. I obviously love their help every week, but it will be nice to have ONE morning every other week available to do other things. I forgot my camera, so no pictures/video this week. I'll be sure to bring it to the next appointment on 12/2, as I think he might take off (he tried running unassisted can guess how that turned out)!

I had my third (of four) cake decorating class last night. We focused on decorating cupcakes.
While the results weren't as spectacular as last week (the fish cake), the techniques were actually a lot harder. Before class each week, I look at the lesson plan and think,  "there is no way I can do that." And by the end of class, I usually can (although my stuff NEVER looks as good as the instructors!). Uncle John was here when I got back, so he got to sample the cupcakes (chocolate with raspberry filling...and I filled them myself!) AND bring the rest home (Jim doesn't eat that stuff and preggo here doesn't need the extra sugar!).

Tuesday, November 16


Yesterday Finn and I went to Preemie class. Only one more left for this session :( Finn painted for the first time, so of course, I had to grab my camera.
They were using cars and trucks as the paint brushes, so that really interested him. As always, once he got his fingers dirty, he was very concerned about that! I thought the paint smock was so cute because it was longer than he was tall!

During parent time, we discussed feelings surrounding the birth of our premature babies which lead into having subsequent children (two of the four of us are pregnant). They were super supportive with everything that has gone on in the last three weeks or so with me and my care. Of course, they suggested switching to a high-risk OB, but I just don't know if it is worth the hassle at this point. I know that sounds terrible, but I do feel good and I don't know what else can be done (my doctor has jaded me, I think!). I did leave a message with my perinatologist this morning and asked for a recommendation. Then we'll see.

Our furnace has been on the fritz. It wasn't working Saturday, so we did a few things with it ourselves and left it off over night to hopefully reset (nobody was home). We turned it back on Sunday morning and it STILL didn't work. So I found the number of somebody on Craig's list and he came around 3pm and replaced the pressure sensor. It worked great Sunday night and Monday morning. But then stopped working late Monday morning. He wasn't able to come back until 8pm last night (it only got down to 67 degrees, which is tolerable). He had set the pressure sensor incorrectly, so he adjusted it and it has been working every since. Yay! I hate worrying about stuff like that.

Monday, November 15

Frosty the snowman

My doctor's office just called and said that my diabetes and hemoglobin tests came back normal! Yay. One less thing to have to worry about.

Birthing class on Saturday was good, other than the weather! Good thing we have all-wheel drive. I don't feel like we (I) "learned" a ton, but it was nice to go through the stuff and maybe give Jim a few tips to help me through contractions and to relax between them. We have one more class this Saturday which goes over c-sections, postpartum care, a tour of North's labor and delivery, caring for newborn and breastfeeding. Since we aren't planning on having our baby at North, the tour seems silly, but you just never know how things will work out! As of right now, our plan is prior to 34 weeks, to deliver at Abbott, post 34 weeks to deliver at Maple Grove.

After class we headed to downtown Mpls for Jim's work gala. It was semi-formal, black tie optional, which was a first for me, I think. Other than wishing I could drink, it was fun. I pooped out a little after 10, but since we had a room at the hotel, Jim headed back down there for a little bit. Then on Sunday, we headed to Kristine's to pick up Finn. He was happy to see us, but was perfectly fine staying there! He didn't even need a hug or anything! Hmmm.... I'm glad he had fun and from the reports, he was a good boy, which all parents want to hear. The rest of the day was devoted to football (boo, Vikings!), getting our furnace fixed (58 degrees is a little chilly!) and taking it easy (nausea and heartburn were ridiculous, so I couldn't do much).

Oh, we did take Finn out to play in the snow after his nap.
Finn wasn't too sure about it, but the longer we were out, the more he seemed to like it. Looks like this sled is already getting a little small! Finn especially thought it was cool when daddy made a snowman.
The snow was so heavy and wet that Frosty fell over a short time later. Oh, well. I'm sure there will be lots of opportunities to make more snowmen :)