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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.

Sunday, October 31

Halloween shenanigans

We FINALLY carved Finn's pumpkin yesterday afternoon (nothing like waiting until the last possible minute!). It was, of course...
...Elmo! Thanks to Ryan for making the template for us...I think it is ridiculous to pay for a pumpkin carving template. Finn even touched the pumpkin "guts" which surprised me since he is such a "I don't want to be messy or dirty" kid. Jim and I were lame and didn't carve our own this year. I guess things change when you have a kid(s)! I wish I were more motivated to roast the seeds because I LOVE pumpkin seeds. Maybe next year...ha, yeah right.

Despite my lack of excitement leading up to it, I had a blast at our Halloween party last night. Jim was spectacular with cleaning and decorating the house beforehand.
I did what I could to help, but would get tired after doing the littlest thing(s). My legs/knees have been prone to aching lately. Between Jim's apple shots and several rounds of beer pong, I think everybody was feeling pretty good (well, those that could drink of course!). I got rave reviews on my meatballs, which I make every year. Guess it was a good BBQ mixture this year. Laura's pumpkin chocolate chip bars were AMAZING, too. Since it is a costume party, we award prizes for different costume categories.

Best Overall Costume: Leah and Jen (Jolly Green Giant and Little Sprout...only Leah is in this picture, didn't get one with Jen...sorry!)
Best Couple: Becky and Pete (nerds, nobody specific ;)
Scariest: Jim (devil/Lucifer)
Most Creative: Kelsie and Mallory (Mario and Luigi)
Sexiest: Stacy/me (angel...I honestly wasn't even going for sexy...I AM 5 months preggo after all!)
Honorable mention: Katie (Brad Childress...this wasn't an actual category, but I would feel remiss to not include her...well done, but no picture, sorry!)

Of course no party is complete without a random adult couple ringing your doorbell after 1am to ask if they can have candy...when it isn't even Halloween yet! Or the Pizza Man pizza man telling Jim he'd been gone for a while because he'd had heart surgery...not a ringing endorsement for your product, sir!

I stayed up much later than anticipated, as even Jim crashed before I did! I think I made it to bed a little after 2:30am...pretty good for a non-drinking preggo lady! Thanks to everybody who came and we hope you had as much fun as we did. Now I can't wait for next year, as I plan on drinking heavily (nothing wrong with the occasional pump and dump if I'm still nursing)! Ha, ha. Anybody want to volunteer to babysit ;)

Saturday, October 30

Busy bees

Finn got his flu shot Thursday (FINALLY!). Jim was able to go with, so for once, I wasn't the only bad guy. The thing about Finn is that he recovers so well from things that deal with pain. He cried right away and then was magically better the second the nurse gave him a sticker. It's like he just forgets about the pain. I'd even brought elmo, juice, pretzels and apple sauce if needed but they weren't! Also, last year he needed 4 shots (2 flu and 2 H1N1) and this year just 1! Yay for being older and not needing the second booster AND putting flu and H1N1 together :)

Finn and I had a fun and busy day yesterday. We got up bright and early (me=7:30 and Finn=8:00) to go to the early swim class. We normally go at 11am, BUT we had plans to drive up to the Brainerd Lakes area and I wanted to get a little earlier start. So we switched to the 9am class instead (I LOVE that they are so flexible). Finn didn't love class like he has the other times, but he could have been tired, or still recovering from some of his ear stuff.

We were able to get ready and leave right from swimming by 10am. We went to visit Holly and new baby Breck in Nisswa, which is about a 2.5hr drive. Finn did well, but of course, didn't fall asleep until 20 minutes before we got there. Breck is super tiny (only 5 days old!) and is cute and looks EXACTLY like his big brother Odin, who is one month younger than Finn. Even though Odin was at daycare, Finn had a blast checking out and playing with all of his toys. We finally called it a day at 4:30 and made it back home around 7pm. I'm SO glad we were able to go for the visit. And of course I completely forgot to take any pictures. Darn it! Holly is doing very well and Breck seems like a very content little boy! Can't wait to see you guys again in a couple weeks!

You'd think sitting in a car and visiting all day wouldn't tire you out, but man, was I tired when we got home (as was Finn...who didn't sleep at all on the way home, but was really good regardless!). I lasted until a little after 10pm and then had to call it a night. Tonight we have our annual Halloween party. I don't know if it is because I'm pregnant or because the party isn't ON Halloween, but I'm just not super excited about it this year like I have been in the past. We have to pick up and decorate today...maybe then I'll be more in the spirit. Oh, and I should probably try on my costume to make sure it fits!

Friday, October 29

24 weeks

How your baby's growing: Your baby's growing steadily, having gained about 4 ounces since last week. That puts her at just over a pound. [1 lb 4 oz as of Monday] Since she's almost a foot long (picture an ear of corn), she cuts a pretty lean figure at this point, but her body is filling out proportionally and she'll soon start to plump up.
Her brain is also growing quickly now, and her taste buds are continuing to develop. Her lungs are developing "branches" of the respiratory "tree" as well as cells that produce surfactant, a substance that will help her air sacs inflate once she hits the outside world. Her 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.

Most women have a glucose screening test (also called a glucose challenge test or GCT) between now and 28 weeks. [Mine is schedule for 11/12, I think] 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.

Finally, if you don't already know how to spot the signs of preterm labor, now's the time to learn. Contact your caregiver immediately if you notice any of the signs mentioned below. [Easier said than done, since many of the signs of preterm labor are the same as regular pregnancy symptoms!]

Thursday, October 28

Steps in the right direction

Finned "stepped" again today at PT. His PT is so certain that it will only be a couple weeks until he is full on walking! He is so close.
video
In the meantime, Jim and I are supposed to sit facing each other and continue to move further apart and have him "walk" between us. We'll see how that goes. So exciting!

Yesterday, we had Halloween costume day at ECFE. The kids were very cute!
We had a bumble bee (was supposed to be a tiger, but he got scared of that costume!), elmo and a hula dancing monkey. And a dalmatian came later, but missed the pictures. Finn LOVED his costume and left it on all during class (I was actually a little worried about it being too hot). He FREAKED when we got out to the car and he saw himself in his mirror! Elmo, elmo, elmo, while pointing to himself.

Finn's day was complete when Austin came over in the evening. They hadn't seen each other for a while, so they had a blast. And it helps that Finn is getting big enough to play a little rough with Austin, so Austin loves "wrestling" with him, which consists of grabbing Finn and both of them rolling over!

I've been getting more nervous the closer we get to the gestational age my water broke with Finn (which will be next Monday...but whose counting?) and my next OB appointment wasn't for two and a half more weeks. So I called today and talked to my doctor's nurse (my dr is on vacation, of course!) and they moved my appointment up to next week! I feel much better about that. I just need a little hand holding to get through the next two weeks.

Wednesday, October 27

Cutest moment of my life

When we found out we were pregnant and knew how close in age Finn would be to his little sibling, we really didn't think he would "get" it that there was a baby in mommy's tummy. Well, I don't know if he "gets" it, but he points to my belly...or that general area...when we ask where his baby sister is (or he points to himself and says, "baby"). Well, yesterday, he started pulling up my shirt, asking for the baby and waving hello to her! And then he leaned over and KISSED MY BELLY! I seriously think it might have been the cutest moment of my life.
This is a reenactment once Jim got home. I am having Jess take some artsy pregnancy pictures in December and wanted Jim and Finn to be in a few, but didn't know if Finn would cooperate or understand. Maybe now he will!

Oh, and Laura said I can officially spill the beans...her and Matt are having a baby at the end of April!! For those of you who don't know them, Jim and I went to high school with Laura (well, I did since Kindergarten!) and Jim went to the U of M with both Laura and Matt. We are so excited for them. I don't now...once you have children, something in your anatomy feels like everybody should have babies, too! Can't wait to meet Little Grapentine. Congratulations, guys :)

Well, it's not really new, but Finn's thing now is to say, "Peek-oooh" and cover his eyes! He has always loved playing peek-a-boo, but never participated like this. It is really cute (if I do say so myself, which I do!).

I think he might grow up to be a ballerina! Okay, maybe not, but he does this thing where he stands (supported) and lifts up his legs like he is practicing ballerina moves!
He isn't very flexible and I'm not sure about his coordination, but who am I to crush his dreams?!?! Ha, ha. I love his expression in this picture.

Tuesday, October 26

Thanh Do Yumm-O

Finn and I missed Preemie class yesterday. I thought we'd be able to make it after the peri appt, but since they hooked me up to the monitors for half an hour, that kind of put a kink in our plans. Oh, well. We had a nice, relaxing day at home instead (and Finn was able to catch up a little on his missed sleep).

Last night Finn and I met Jim, Laura, Matt, Katie, Mike, Quinn and baby Vince at Thanh Do in St. Louis Park for dinner. Yumm-O! They've moved to a new location across the street since I'd been there last and I really liked the new restaurant. The food was fabulous as always (I caved and got my stand by of pad thai...which was as wonderful as always). They serve pan-asian cuisine, featuring recipes from China, Vietnam, Thailand and other regions of Asia. Jim and I used to eat here a lot when he lived in Minnetonka. Vince slept the WHOLE time (what an amazingly good baby!) and Finn and Quinn did well, until the end. They both kind of lost it, which is to be expected when its bed time. We got some exciting news, but I don't know if I'm at liberty to share yet. I'll wait patiently (yeah, right!). Oh, and Laura and Matt's remodel is ALMOST done, so next dinner is at their house so we can see all their (contractors!) hard work.

AND our friends Holly and Matt had a baby boy yesterday! Breck Mason, 6 lbs 8 oz, 18" long. Mom and baby are doing well, from what I hear. Can't wait to mee the little man :) Congratulations, guys.

Monday, October 25

Baby good so far

Yesterday, we went over to the Born household for dinner and to watch the first half of the Vikings game. Dinner was good (pheasant) and while the game was frustrating, at least it was entertaining. Finn stayed up until we left (9pm) and wasn't crabby at all. I felt bad keeping him up that late, though, because I knew I'd have to wake him up this morning to go to our perinatologist appointment.

So, all weekend, I'd been feeling some tightening in my lower abdomen and a couple other symptoms (don't want to share too much!), so I was glad we were going in today. The ultrasound went well (more pictures to follow). Baby girl measured exactly 23 wks 3 days, which is what I am, so that is great. She was 1 lb 4 oz (this is what Finn weighed when my water broke!). My cervix is measuring between 37 and 39 mm and they don't worry until it is at 25 mm.

At the end of the appointment I talked with the doctor (not the one we were supposed to see, which upset me!) and we decided to hook me up to the contraction/heart monitor for half an hour to see if what I was feeling were contractions or not. As it turned out they, weren't, but at least I have a little piece of mind about it (and the nurses loved the extra time to flirt with Finn...what a ladies man!). The doctor also said that they don't need to see me back unless symptoms start presenting themselves (which I would report to my doctor first). So, we'll just wait and see, I guess. My next OB appointment (which is also the glucose test...a new experience for me!) is November 12.

Being on the bed, hooked up to that stuff definitely brought back (not so good) memories. I've been overly emotional today (which I haven't had hardly ANY emotional swings above and beyond what is normal for me so far with this pregnancy). I'm sure it is a combination of not getting a lot of sleep last night, worrying, a headache and the monitors, but I'm feeling better now.

Oh and Jim got my computer set up again (maybe that's why I'm feeling better...haha)! I was without it for ONE WEEK! That is a long time for somebody who pays all our bills online and email/facebook is my main means of communication to the outside world. It is now super fast and I love it. Thanks, babe!

Sunday, October 24

Swim swimmin' away

Yesterday Finn and I headed up to St. Cloud to visit Auntie NaeNae. We wanted to see her new apartment (which is absolutely beautiful by the way...totally jealous) and Finn needed a hair cut and I needed a color. It was kind of a rainy day, which was fine because there is a pool in Auntie's building!
Watching auntie NaeNae swimming
Catch, auntie!
Auntie and Finn just after he woke up from his nap
I didn't bring my swim suit and Finn was upset that I wasn't swimming, too, but too bad. Because of the hour plus drive, the visit seemed way too short, but it was still really good. I'm sure we'll be heading in that direction this winter so Finn can go swimming with auntie. Both Austin and Finn love to swim, as does auntie, so it works out well!

Memere and Grandpa left for home yesterday while we were in St. Cloud. Jim and Ron went to the Gopher game, which I'm sure they both enjoyed (even if the Gophers lost...shocker!). While she was here, Lynn washed close to a million loads of laundry. Okay, maybe not a million, but a lot including almost every single towel in our house, which I greatly appreciate. Now I just need to get everything put away!

After a very tough and trying day, NeeNee, Les and their two dogs stayed over night Friday night. Pepper, the younger dog, was pretty sick, but the outlook is much better now...thankfully! Tough day, but hopefully some time with Finn took her mind off everything for a little while (Finn has that effect on people!). That night Jim made homemade pizza for all of us and it was awesome.

Friday morning, Memere came with us to swim class.
Finn had a blast, but I was a little disappointed with the class. We started late and ended early. Argh, oh, well. It sure is easier when Jim comes along.

Friday, October 22

23 weeks - Yay!

How your baby's growing: Turn on the radio and sway to the music. With her sense of movement well developed by now, your baby can feel you dance. And now that she'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 her squirm underneath your clothes.
Blood vessels in her lungs are developing to prepare for breathing, and the sounds that your baby's increasingly keen ears pick up are preparing her 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 her when she 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. 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. 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 continues to be very active. Jim THINKS he felt her kick last night, but since I was sleeping, I couldn't confirm it was a kick or not. Soon, Jim, soon! As most of your know, 23 weeks is what the APA considers a baby viable...so we have a viable baby (should something happen!). Although Jim asked that we go longer if possible. Ha! I couldn't agree more.

Thursday, October 21

Standing to walking

Finn took FOUR unassisted steps today in PT! He even faltered, corrected his balance and continued. I wanted to stop the world so I could get my camera, but, alas I don't have that power. He also stood independently for FIFTEEN seconds! I don't know how close he is to actually standing/walking, but I do feel like he is progressing, which is what we love to see. This week we are to work on transition from sitting on a bench up to standing and independent standing. Fun, fun!

Memere and Grandpa arrived last night for a few day visit. It was Grandpa's birthday yesterday...happy birthday, Grandpa Ron! Finn loves having the extra attention. AND Memere graciously mowed the lawn for me today, which I greatly appreciate. Just to be on the safe side, I'm really not comfortable mowing any longer...especially since our lawn is fairly large. I don't want to vibrate that baby out! Tonight, Aunt Kelsie came over and all of us went out do dinner at Shaw's....Yumm-O! I'm stuffed and might be for a few days...wait, who am I kidding?!?!

FYI: my computer has been broken the last few days, so be patient with posts and picture updates please! Jim is fixing it, so I'm hoping it won't be too much longer.

Wednesday, October 20

Here we go again

Jim, Finn and I headed to Finn's 6 month post-op appt for his tubes, thinking it would just be a quick check and done. Unfortunately, that wasn't to be. The doctor looked in Finn's right ear and said that not only did he have an ear infection, but the tube, while still in his ear canal, had come out of his ear drum. Great! Then he looked in his left ear and that one was infected, too, although it was draining and the tube was still in place. Argh. I was SO not expecting this. That might explain Finn's bipolar behavior lately! Finn is on an antibiotic ear drop in both ears for one week and an oral antibiotic for 10 days. Then we will have to go back in for a recheck in one month. If the infections don't clear up, we'll have to discuss tubes AGAIN. The frustrating part was that Finn just had his well-child doctor appt and his ears were fine then! Oh, why, oh, why did Finn have to inherit Jim's ear problems?!?! It isn't the end of the world, but it totally came from left field and smacked us in the face.

On a bright note, we discussed herbal remedies today at ECFE (one of the mom's teaches herbs at a local college). And one herb is supposed to help with ear infections. Guess I'm going to look more into that! Before the class, I thought herbs were kind of useless, but she gave me a remedy for sinus infection (I'm pretty sure I have one from my cold) that is safe during pregnancy that I tried as soon as I got home. Other than having  the compress too hot and burning my face (you should have seen me!), I guess we'll see! Hey, it doesn't hurt to try. I'm pretty open to trying new things...Jim on the other hand; not so much ;)

On Monday night, Jim, Finn and I met Doug, Ryan and Leah at Psycho Suzi's for happy hour and to bid them a farewell, as they are moving down the street to a new location in about a month. A nice relaxing time was had, although, it is sad to go there and not have one of their fabulous drinks! Finn hit the wall just after 7pm, so we headed home. I knew Jim wasn't feeling well when he passed up a Greenie at Jaros'. On that note, Jim was on death's bed AGAIN this week, but finally is feeling somewhat better today. Oh, seriously, this cold/virus needs to leave our house and not come back for a long time!

Tuesday morning was a bit chaotic. Jane came for Finn's EI PT at 10. Finn does this ballet-type thing with his legs that impressed her (um, Finn...if you can balance on one leg while holding on, you can probably stand on two without holding on!). Deb, Finn's EI teacher, came at 10:45 and got to play with Finn while my home nurse came to administer my shot. This was probably the first time Deb got one on one time with him (I'm usually there), so I think that was good for both of them. She noticed that Finn is getting really good at enunciating the last syllable of his words (like "baT"). By the time everybody left, Finn and I were both pretty tired! Finn napped and then we brought auntie Becca, Pete and Austin to the airport for Austin's first airplane ride (I wish I could have been there for it!). Becky texted me today and said Austin did great!

Monday, October 18

Vikes win, Gophs don't

We had a football day yesterday...which Finn loved, of course. We switched between the Packers and Bears for the early games (both lost...yay! Sorry friends who are fans, but it helps the Vikes in the division). Finn slept through most of that but woke up right on time for the Vikings. And the Vikings won! Not a pretty win, but a win and I'll take it. I told Jim it was nice to have a team win for once (Gophers...not so good at 1-6 for the season...but Brewster, the coach, was fired yesterday!). The first thing Finn said to me when I went into his room this morning was "touchdown" so I'm guessing it stuck with him over night!

Jim made an amazing dinner. I've been without Jim's cooking for a while (although don't miss the mess that accompanies it!). He grilled steaks, jumbo shrimp and bread and we warmed up yummy mashed potatoes he'd made for Pete on Friday night. Then Jim finished my dinner off with a piece of (store bought...Jim doesn't bake) blueberry pie and icecream. So yummy.

This AM Finn and I went to Preemie class. It was good and Finn was independent again today. Maybe if Jim can stay in town for a stretch, it will help with Finn's separation anxiety. Finn did seem to be tired and a little bipolar again. His teacher said it is very common for kids' emotions to swing a lot at this age; something about development. Let's hope he gets over it quickly because I can deal with a crabby kid and obviously a happy kid, but when it switches back and forth at the drop of a hat...somewhat trying for the caregiver. I found out that another mom in the class is pregnant, although VERY early on, so it feels good to have somebody with which to share my mixed emotions about having #2 after a premature birth with #1.

Sunday, October 17

I must be showing

My boys (BOTH of them!) went with me to church today. It is nice to go as a family. If you ask me, Finn was super good in church (quiet and easily distracted). If you ask Jim, Finn was naughty...but I don't consider being antsy naughty...he is ONE after all. A lady came up to us after service and said that Finn is the cutest baby in the church and she loves when he comes with me to mass (and for the record, she said he was good, too!)! I thought that was really sweet. Proud momma moment. Then, I had a pregnancy "first" moment: without being told I was pregnant, she asked when my next one was due! I didn't get to experience this with Finn probably because I showed later in the pregnancy and by then, it was super cold and I was wearing big sweatshirts and winter coats. The question totally thrilled me. Now I guess I can say for sure that I look pregnant!!!

Yesterday morning, we met Jess at a park in Savage for some Christmas card photos. Finn was having a bipolar day. He woke up happy, got really sad and crying when we left, was happy in the car and upset when we got to the park and was NOT smiling for the pictures, except toward the end, maybe. Oh, well. Like I told Jim, at least he is cute even if he isn't smiling ;) Thanks Jess for squeezing us in. You are the best!! Now maybe I'll be inspired for our cards...or you'll be inspired at least!

After pictures, Jim and I watched the Gopher game while Finn napped. Well...I started the game and then ended up napping, too! Hey, I'd had a late night the night before and an early morning! When we were all awake and up, we met Kristine, Alex and Grace at the pumpkin patch! It wasn't nearly as commercial as the one we went to last year, but it was far less hectic and Finn really enjoyed it...especially once auntie got there because she got him out of the stroller and took him in the pens with the animals (there was a petting zoo). And he ACTUALLY touched them! I was very impressed. It was a beautiful day and Finn seemed to have fun, even if he was still being bipolar (you'll see from the pictures...one is happy, the next is mad, etc...hope to upload them later today or tomorrow).

Friday night, Becky dropped Austin off with Jim and Finn (Pete came after work) and we headed over to our aunt Janice's house for Smith Girls' Night. Which was a gathering of all my mom's sisters and their daughters/daughter-in-laws and about 15 girls attended. I had a blast and as expected, there was lots of talking, laughing and eating...isn't that what families do?!?! I'd say drinking, too, but I obviously couldn't partake. I probably stayed a little too late, but I really didn't want to leave. Can't wait until the next one! Thanks, Janice, for having us all over. Your house is PERFECT for an event like that.

I almost forgot, Finn had his first swim class of the fall Friday morning. Jim came with us (he took the day off) and Finn had the time of his life. He was laughing and splashing the whole time. I mean, he has always enjoyed swim class, but he seemed to like it even more. Maybe because it had been so long since he'd been or maybe because daddy was home and swimming with him. Who knows. Classes are every Friday morning for 10 sessions...I can't imagine how big I'll be by the end! It is true what they say, though...being in the water is very therapeutic for a preggo lady (if you can stand putting on a swim suit)!

Friday, October 15

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.
Her lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more distinct, and she's even developing tiny tooth buds beneath her gums. Her eyes have formed, but her 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 her body and the deep wrinkles on her skin, which she'll sport until she adds a padding of fat to fill them in. Inside her belly, her 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.[I haven't noticed, but maybe I just don't mind] It's perfectly okay to tell folks who touch your tummy that you'd rather they didn't. 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. 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. [Definitely itchy belly!]

My lower back pain in the mornings comes and goes. The nausea and heartburn seem to be better...maybe I'm eating better? Hard to tell. Overall, feeling pretty good :) OB visit this afternoon. Baby is kicking like crazy, but not consistently yet! Now that Jim's home (yay!), we're hoping he can feel it soon...since he only got to feel Finn kick ONCE!

Thursday, October 14

One step closer

Today is the first of (hopefully) many reasons for celebrations. While the American Association of Pediatrics says that babies born at less than 23 weeks of gestational-age are not considered viable, the worlds youngest gestational-age baby to survive was born at 21 weeks and six days (weighing less than 10 oz!). So as of today, we are 21 weeks and six days pregnant and have a viable baby, should something happen! While it would certainly not be easy, it is a huge relief moving forward. Only time will tell, but things are looking good and we're hoping for the best.

Yesterday, Jane (Finn's EI PT) stopped by ECFE class because she couldn't make our regular Tues appointment. Finn loved the extra attention and it seemed like Jane enjoyed seeing Finn interacting with the other kids. Plus, she could work with him during song time and he didn't even know it. And he got his first big lip! Jane was working with him and he lost his balance or something and fell right on his lip. There was blood, but Finn recovered and forgave very quickly. I think it "hurt" Jane more than Finn! He's a tough guy, that's for sure. In parents' time, we talked about emotional coaching your child. Very interesting...now if I could just remember how to do it when strong/high emotions present themselves (not that MY son would have strong emotions about anything!)!

Daddy's' home today! Jim's home today! Okay, late tonight, but still... And has the day off tomorrow! Yay, yay, yay!!!!!

Wednesday, October 13

21 months - great!

Finn's doctor appointment went well yesterday. His doctor is absolutely thrilled and honestly can't believe how well Finn is doing considering where he started out in life. He is 30" long. She didn't tell me his percentiles (we got distracted), but I looked online and it is <3rd for actual and at 3rd for adjusted. I think this is a slight improvement to where his height has been falling. He weighs 24 lbs 14 oz! He gained 3 lbs in 3 months...little porker! That puts him at the 10th percentile for actual and 25th for adjusted. Both of these measurements put him almost exactly at the 50th percentile for the average 12 month old...hopefully he catches up! She has no concerns about his height or weight right now based on his growth curves and the fact that he is gearing up to start walking any time now. I didn't ask for his head circumference, but I'm sure it was big ;)

She did suggest switching him to a chewable vitamin since I can't seem to remember to give it to him in the liquid form (my understanding is that extra vitamin D is vital for his continued growth). She didn't think Finn would qualify for Synergis (RSV medicine) this fall because he doesn't have chronic lung disease and is extremely healthy. Boo (about not getting it, not about him being healthy!). She was going to double check just to be sure.

We talked about introducing a pillow and blanket and she said we could certainly use a blanket now, but he won't keep it on anyway! She recommended not giving a pillow until he transitions to a big boy bed...which is what I was thinking anyway. So for now, we'll just keep doing what we're doing. We talked about his feet and she said she tends to agree with Gillette's assessment, so we will wait to do any corrective measures until he is at least 2 years old. I feel better knowing two professionals have said that (instead of having one on each side of the fence).

They didn't have any flu shots for kids under 3, so we will have to go back in for that later. Double boo. BUT Finn did get a shot. He was on schedule for one immunization that could have waited until 24 months, but I figured do it now and it will be one less at the next appt! He cried until he got to hold his Elmo and eat a pretzel. I asked about testing for allergies and she said they don't typically do it (especially for environmental allergies) until 2 or later and that parents typically blame allergies far more than it really is allergies. I said that was fine, but that Jim has pretty severe seasonal allergies and Finn was sick the same time this year. She then agreed that Finn would probably suffer from allergies, too (triple boo!), but we can address that at a later date.

Overall, great appointment! I just LOVE our pediatrician!

My home nurse listened to my lungs yesterday when she gave me my shot and they sounded clear. And Finn's doctor listened to his and his sounded clear. Yay! Hopefully this cold leaves our house and doesn't come back for a long time. Although after talking to Jim last night on the phone...he still sounds terrible. Why does it take him so much longer to get over illnesses than it does for me or Finn?

Tuesday, October 12

Class and play date

Finn and I headed to Preemie class yesterday morning bright and early (who schedules a class for early Monday morning?!?!)! Finn had a blast and was very independent which was nice to see since we've been having some separation issues, although we didn't actually separate for this class. Anyway, toward the end, the parents were talking about their birth stories and it was good to talk to other people who've been through something similar. I've realized that I think I've dealt with most of my feelings surrounding Finn's early birth and subsequent journey (even though there are still things we are dealing with) and now I'm just worried about the birth of our little girl. The closer we get to the day my water broke with Finn, the more anxious I'm getting. I do take comfort in knowing that we're doing everything we can and it is truly in God's hands.

We had a great play date with the Arks yesterday afternoon. Instead of doing "the usual" of meeting at their house (which is fine, but I wanted to take advantage of the beautiful day!), we met at a park that is close to halfway between our houses. It was hot when we got there, but eventually the park was shaded and the kids all had a blast. I couldn't believe we were there for 2 hours! At one point, the three girls were running around and Finn was sitting in the middle of the playground just watching them and playing with wood chips (he wouldn't crawl because he didn't like the texture). Some day, soon hopefully, he'll be running around with them (and I'll be too big to keep up with him)!

We have Finn's 21 month well-child doctor appointment this afternoon. As always, can't wait to find out his stats and talk to his doctor about a few things. Hopefully no shots for this visit (unless the flu shots for under 2 have arrived!).

Monday, October 11

More ketchup please

We (stupidly and also accidentally) introduced Finn to ketchup the other week. Up until this point, he didn't know it existed nor did he think food could possibly taste any better than it already does. Well, now he loves ketchup. He hasn't had it enough to ask for it per se, but today he wasn't eating his chicken very well, so I asked if he wanted ketchup. After a brief excited freak out that almost ended with him falling out of his booster seat (thankfully he was buckled in), I gave him a little dollop. Into which he proceeded to dip his chicken, suck off the ketchup and go back for more ketchup...forgetting that the whole point was for him to eat more chicken! Argh. Oh, well. I mean, 99.9% of all kids in America love ketchup and there are certainly worse things for him to eat, but I'm somewhat disappointed that we fell off that wagon.

Finn woke up with a stuffy and runny nose this morning. I am almost over my cold (it moved into my chest, so that usually means a couple more days and it will be gone) so I was majorly hoping that Finn wouldn't get it. Oh, well. So far, not too bad and no fever. Although, he, of course, thinks it is really cool because he can make his nose make weird noises. Oh, how different a girl will be (maybe!)!

We were able to Skype with Jim last night. Finn asked to call him when we got home from auntie Becca's, so we did. Then we decided to try to Skype and it worked (Jim had to reinstall it on his laptop or something). Finn is a little older now, so he at least knows it is daddy and waves at him and tries to touch him. Not sure if it makes Finn miss Jim more or less, but Finn liked it for about 10  minutes, than was done. Jim gets home late Thursday night and we'll both be very happy to see him!

Sunday, October 10

I don't want to!

We had a lovely day yesterday for a baby shower. Although, because it was so warm out, I had to break down and turn the a/c on (in OCTOBER!)! I hated to do it, but it was almost 80 degrees in the house with the windows open BEFORE people got there. Oh, well. Hopefully people were comfortable after we shut the windows. I'll take this weather any time, though, for sure!

Baby Vincent was the perfect guest of honor. He slept most of the time, woke up to eat and look around for while. What a mellow baby! I really hope our #2 has some of his same characteristics. I experimented with a new cake for the shower...Chocolate-Raspberry Dream Torte. And based on the comments, I think it turned out pretty well. I'm not a huge chocolate lover, but wanted to try this particular recipe (and have an excuse to use my torte pans again!). I think it is a keeper (although I tend to think zesting an orange is rather annoying...don't they sell zest?).

So I forgot to mention what Finn did the other day when we were at the outlet mall. When we arrived, I parked at the far end, even though the baby stores were on the other end because I wanted to run into one store (and then I was going to drive to the other side before walking all over). Well, I'd promised Finn a "walk" and since we were out of the car MAYBE 5 minutes, he did NOT want to go back in (he also may have wanted some pretzels that I wasn't willing to give him). He started freaking out when I tried to put him in his car seat, looked straight at me and said (clear as day), "I don't want to!" Well, I guess he is decisive. But too bad! I'd thought he said something similar once before, but figured I was just making more out of it than it was. Guess not. I think we're knocking on the door of the Terrible Twos! Needless to say, I did get him buckled, and he was very happy when we got back out of the car a minute later for a much longer walk (that did, in fact, involved pretzels!).

I could hear Finn on his baby monitor yesterday morning and again during nap "talking" to dada...and singing to him at one point, I think. Poor guy. He just doesn't understand why daddy is gone for so long. He has picked up my phone twice and asked to call dada. Who am I to say no? And he is having major separation anxiety because of Jim's absence...Finn doesn't even want me to go in another room if somebody is at home with us. Argh. Hopefully this is short lived (both Jim's extensive travels and Finn's separation issues!).

I took Finn to church BY MYSELF for the first time this morning (I think anyway). He was actually good...loud, but not fussy. I guess with me as a mom, how can he NOT be loud? Poor guy. Off to go wedding dress shopping again in a bit! Can't wait. This is so much fun...especially when Pete volunteers to watch Finn for me/us!

Saturday, October 9

Bless you

Thursday night Kristine and I got to go dress shopping with Becky on her first trip to try on wedding dresses! Pete graciously volunteered to watch Finn, which was such a huge help (and of course, Finn had a major poop for him...sorry! But from what I hear, he handled it in stride.). Thanks "uncle" Pete :) Dress shopping was so much fun and she looked beautiful in every one! What a hard problem to have! She found two that she loved, which is a good thing because now she has them to compare other dresses to. Just a heads up, this blog may turn into "The adventures of Jim, Stacy, Finnegan and Baby T #2...and Becky's wedding!" But I don't think anybody will care.

Finn does one of two things when anybody sneezes (coughs, burps or clears their throat). #1. He says, "Bless you!" He doesn't understand that only works for sneezes, but it is polite and super cute. #2. He copies them and tries to mimic whatever sound they just made (NOT polite!). Which is rather embarrassing when you are out and he copies somebody who coughs or whatever in the middle of the grocery store! Luckily, nobody has seemed to mind so far. He also mimics the sound when I blow my nose! He is a hoot, sometimes!

So, I'm officially mad at Jess, "our" photographer! Okay, not really mad, but I realized this week that she has ruined us for all other photographers in the future (not that we'd ever "cheat" on her!). We had our family picture taken for my church directory and they were...just okay. He didn't get Finn to smile, which normally is pretty easy to do. We got a free 8x10 with the sitting, but I had no desire to order any others (and if you know me, you know I'm a picture freak!). I guess it is Jess and only Jess from now on! Maybe I shouldn't tell her that in case she uses her monopoly to price gouge me! Ha, ha. Doubtful.

We are having a baby shower at our house today for Vincent (and the Born family)...so better get to it! Lots to do before the party starts!

Friday, October 8

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 she's practicing martial arts as her initial fluttering movements turn into full-fledged kicks and nudges. [she kicked so hard today, the ultrasound tech felt it!!!!] You may also discover a pattern to her activity as you get to know her better. In other developments, your baby's eyebrows and lids are present now, and if you're having a girl, her vagina has begun to form as well.

How your life's changing: You're probably feeling pretty comfortable these days. 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. [I don't know what the third trimester feels like, but overall, I can't really complain. Just a few discomforts/annoyances here and there.]

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. [this actually seems to have gotten better since the first trimester] If that's the case, be diligent about washing well with a gentle soap or cleanser twice a day, and make sure that any moisturizer or make-up you use is oil-free. 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.

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. [I didn't get them with Finn, BUT I'm taking high levels of progesterone AND I might not have gotten far enough along. Hope they pass me by!] You're more likely to get varicose veins if other family members have them. 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. [maternity support hose? yeah right!]

You may also notice spider veins (a group of tiny blood vessels near the surface of your skin), particularly on your ankles, legs, or face. They may have a spider- or sunburst-like pattern with little branches radiating out from the center, they may look like the branches of a tree, or they may be a group of separate thin lines with no particular pattern. Though they may be a bit unsightly, spider veins don't cause discomfort and usually disappear after delivery. [I haven't noticed any yet, but lately, I'm not so keen on inspecting my body...I just try to ignore it as best I can!]

We had an ultrasound today. Stacey kindly came with me since Jim is out of town. She was a god-send with Finn. We got a better 3D pic of the baby, but since Jim isn't in town, I don't have access to a scanner. Hmmm...aunt Kelsie?!?! So the next ultrasound at 23 weeks might be our last, or at least our last regularly scheduled one. They don't perform cerclages after 24 weeks, so there isn't as big of a need to monitor the cervix as closely. Interesting.

Thursday, October 7

I got it

Well, I guess it is true after 3 years of marriage, you really do share everything...I got Jim's cold! I denied it, I fought it, I refused to believe it, but alas, I am forced to admit that I am sick. Darn it! And of course, Jim left this morning for 8 days, so I get to be sick and take care of Finn all by my lonesome (I'm sure I'll deal just fine...mom's have a way of doing that). So far, nothing too serious (sore throat, plugged/itchy ears, runny nose and congested chest...okay, sounds worse than it is!). If it gets worse, I'll call my doctor to see what I can take to feel better. For now, bring on the Tylenol and cough drops!

And thank you to everybody for the kind and wonderful anniversary wishes! Yesterday was Jim and my 3rd wedding anniversary. What a crazy three years it has been; especially considering 4 years ago at this time, we weren't even engaged! Jim got me the BEST card, I was laughing so hard, I think I had tears in my eyes. He also got me maternity Vikings sweatpants and t-shirt! That man knows me like the back of his hand! NeeNee was kind enough to come over last night and watch Finn so we could go out to dinner. There weren't any plays in town that we wanted to see and with money being as tight as it, a lovely dinner just the two of was was perfect. Thanks NeeNee for watching Finn. I know he loves playing with you. He even woke up happy today...not sure what you did, but it worked!

Finn and I headed to PT this morning. When we got there, I asked him if he was ready to got to PT and he got really excited and repeated, "PeePee!" Ha, gotta work on his "T's" I guess. Melissa was very impressed with his progress (she hasn't worked with him in about a month) and our goal, albeit somewhat lofty, is for Finn to be independently standing by next week. He can do it and is SO close, but he doesn't have the confidence yet. Get ready for lots of falling, buddy, because that's all we're doing this week!

After PT, we headed up to the Albertville outlet malls. Holy buckets, we scored big! I don't usually put a lot of stock in outlet malls because I wonder how much you really save...do they just call it an outlet store, but charge you the same as their regular stores? Well, either everybody has HUGE sales right now, or at least with the baby stores, you save a ton. I got Finn maybe 8 long sleeve shirts for an average price of maybe $6 each! I "splurged" and got him my all time favorite piece of kids clothing: a Gap hooded sweatshirt (it was only $12!). We should be set now for the fall. Yay! Finn didn't love shopping, but Magic Mom had anticipated this and brought a sippy cup and pretzels, so he was a happy camper. He would turn in the stroller and say, "More pretzels please." So cute. What beautiful weather to walk from store to store...I was actually a little too warm a couple times.

Tuesday, October 5

Say, "Cheese!"

I found the camera cord (on the floor next to my bed were I packed my bag sitting by his sandals that I couldn't find in FL either...little stinker!) and uploaded lots of pictures and two videos today. It took a while, but felt good to get it done. We got the unpacking, grocery shopping and play date (holy beautiful day!!) done yesterday...but not the laundry. I'm just not motivated and there is a lot to do.

I am very proud of myself because today I FINALLY transitioned all of Finn's 12 month clothes out and brought in the 18 month. They seem so much bigger, but now at least he won't be wearing belly shirts! The 12 month pants still fit (getting tight in the belly, perfect for length), so I kept a few of those, because I didn't want the 18 month ones to fall off! Austin had a ton of pants, but I didn't find too many shirts (I hope I didn't miss a box somewhere!)...so I'll get to go shopping and buy Finn some long sleeve 18 months shirts. Yay. I'm hoping to head to the Albertville outlet mall after PT on Thursday. We'll see if Finn is cooperating or not.

EI came for their visit this morning. They brought an OT along to assess Finn's fine motor skills. She thinks he is right on track for his age, so that was good to hear. Finn almost took his first step today. Jane, the PT, was sitting in front of him and he had his back on the couch. She kept inching away from him and making him reach for the puzzle they were playing with. Finally, he reached forward, took one step, which lifted his body away from the couch and fell down! SO CLOSE! It won't be too long now...although I said that for crawling and it took 5 more months :)

We have family pictures tonight for our church directory. It should be...fun? Jim is sick and Finn has been crabby (possibly teething, slight fever) all day. It just takes one good one, right? Maybe I should bring some cheese along because if the photographer tells us to say "cheese," I KNOW Finn will want to eat some cheese! Maybe just snacks will suffice.

Here is a cute video of Finn dancing with Scout. Thought I'd share:
video

Parenting question of the day: When do you put a pillow and blanket in bed with your child? Right now, Finn doesn't use either (well other than KeeKee, but that is just a security item), but the older he gets, the more I think about whether or not he should have them. When he transitions out of the crib? Sooner? I'm not sure.  We have a heater with a thermostat specifically for his room, so I know he isn't cold. Thoughts? Suggestions? Comments?

Monday, October 4

Home again, home again

I didn't explicitly mention it, but we obviously didn't go to Disney World. Oh, darn. I didn't think Jim would take me up on the Disney/spa trade off anyway!

We are 0 for 3 on vacations where Jim doesn't get sick! He got sick toward the end of our honeymoon, was on his death bed the whole time we were in Aruba for Kristine's wedding and got sick Saturday on this trip...and is still "very" sick (to his "credit" he didn't get sick the two times we've gone to Chicago, I don't think). Sheesh, it is like having two kids to take care of. Although, last night he said I was super fun to go on a vacation with and that I take really good care of him. Hmmm...too many meds? He also asked if he was being annoying and I honestly replied, "YES!"

We made it home safe and sound yesterday (thanks Auntie Becca and Pete for picking us up!). Although, Finn was lucky the airplane windows don't open, or he would have found himself floating toward earth somewhere in the midwest! He cried, whined or screamed about 90% of the flight. It was miserable for everybody. It was a bad time for him (prime nap time), and he would NOT go to sleep. Eventually, the flight attendants had the person next to us move so we had more room for Finn, which kind of worked, but he still wouldn't sleep. Argh. Next time we are totally drugging him before we leave ;)

We only get daddy three days this week and then he is traveling for work again for a week and a half. Boo. Lots to do today, like unpacking, laundry, grocery shopping and a play date with ECFE friends! So not used to it being 35 degrees when I wake up! Hoping to find my camera cord today.

Saturday, October 2

Fountain of youth?

After an extensive and frustrating search, we FINALLY found the one and only (that we could find anyway!) zero-degree entry pool at the resort! I think that makes us 1 for 6 (or so). Maybe not the fountain of youth, but I felt like it was even better! We went there today and Finn loved it...other than when he tried to follow daddy to the deeper part and just kept crawling until he couldn't touch any more and went under! It was kind of funny, only because I was right behind him. If we come back to this resort, I will definitely request to be by this pool. There is another bigger pool with a recreation center, bar, food court, kiddie pool and hot tub just next to this kiddie pool. The location would be perfect.

Yesterday we went to an outlet mall near our resort, that we've been to before and really liked. Jim got Finn a small basketball...so he can start learning how to palm it (seriously!). We found a "big brother" shirt for Finn which I just had to get. Jim finally found some reasonably priced sunglasses. Overall, a fun familiy outing and Finn was great even though it was pretty hot and we stayed far longer than I anticipated (he slept for almost 3 hours when we got home!). We decided not to go to the beach today. I really wanted to check out the above mentioned pool and Jim wasn't feeling 100%, so I figured staying close to home was best. Oh, well. Beaches are much harder to clean up from after visiting than a pool anyway (sand gets EVERYWHERE!). Maybe next time.

We are headed home tomorrow morning (our flight leaves at 12:45 EST, I think). Sad to be leaving, but happy to get home. What a wonderfully relaxing week, and I didn't even miss not having a book to read! I did a few sudoku puzzles when I had some down time, but that was about it. Vacationing with a kid is a lot different than vacationing as a couple, that's for sure!

Friday, October 1

Half way (hopefully!)

How your baby's growing: Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. She's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom and about 10 inches from head to heel — the length of a banana.
For the first 20 weeks, when a baby's legs are curled up against her torso and hard to measure, measurements are taken from the top of her head to her bottom - the crown to rump measurement. After 20 weeks, she's measured from head to toe.

She's swallowing more these days, which is good practice for her digestive system. She's also producing meconium, a black, sticky by-product of digestion. This gooey substance will accumulate in her bowels, and you'll see it in her 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 - 20 weeks. The top of your uterus is about level with your belly button, and you've likely gained around 10 pounds. [I'm definitely showing much higher and I haven't weighed myself while on vacation, but I think I've gained around 12 pound, maybe] 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. Some common non-meat sources of iron include legumes, soy-based products, spinach, prune juice, raisins, and iron-fortified cereals.

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. [I signed up last week...maybe we can actually attend this time! I didn't think we needed them, but Jim did and since he is my "coach," he probably wants some pointers!] 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. Many communities have independent instructors as well. Ask your friends, family members, or caregiver for recommendations.