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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.

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 today...you 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

J-J-J-Jaded

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 :)

Saturday, November 13

Finn-less

Thursday, I told Finn I was going to leave him at PT until he started walking! First of all, he was very stubborn and wouldn't even STAND for Melissa. She is using him as a case study for a conference she is presenting at and needed to "test" him on a few things. Argh! Second, we all know that for all points and purposes, he probably CAN walk and just chooses not to. He will be that kid who just gets up and walks across the room one day. Needless to say, I did take him home with me, but he is lucky Grandma was there or he might have needed a sleeping bag ;)

Yesterday, auntie NaeNae came with me to my OB appointment while Jim opted to stay home with a napping Finn. It was my gestational diabetes test, which wasn't as bad as I was expecting. The liquid at least...when I was done drinking, it made me nauseous. Not sure when the results are expected back. Overall, I'm just very disappointed with my Dr's care. She told me that now that I passed Finn's delivery date that maybe now I can just relax and enjoy my NORMAL pregnancy! Um, nobody told me that all I had to do was "pass Finn's delivery date!" What is wrong with some people! Yes, I'm trying to just breathe and take each day as it comes because I'm happy we got further than we did with Finn, but my feelings are still valid and should at least be acknowledged.

After the appt, Renae and I went to the Wedding Chapel with Becky, Austin, Kristine, Grace and my mom so Becky could buy her wedding dress! Yay. It is so beautiful. One more thing off her To Do list. And then Renae took Finn with her over to Becky's where he stayed over night, then Becky is dropping him off with Kristine this afternoon and he is staying over night at Kristine's tonight. Busy boy...I feel a little guilty being away from him for so long, but he'll have the time of his life I'm sure and we have birthing class all day today and a function for Jim's work tonight, both of which Finn obviously can't attend.

Since we were Finn-less, Jim and I took advantage of the rare opportunity and went to a movie last night. We decided on Due Date, which was really funny (Jim enjoyed it a little more than I did...probably because of the crude factor!). I just enjoyed the time out with my wonderful husband.

Happy baptism day to Vincent! We are sad we can't make it, but will be thinking of you :) Hope to celebrate with you soon.

Friday, November 12

26 weeks - Uncharted waters!

How your baby's growing: The network of nerves in your baby's ears is better developed and more sensitive than before. She may now be able to hear both your voice and your partner's as you chat with each other. And she's continuing to put on baby fat. She now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber) from head to heel.
She's inhaling and exhaling small amounts of amniotic fluid, which is essential for the development of her lungs. These so-called breathing movements are also good practice for when she's born and takes that first gulp of air. 

How your life's changing: Are you rushing around trying to get to childbirth classes [tomorrow!] and prepare your baby's room [I don't have any inspiration or ideas other than I know I want at least SOME pink in the design. Any suggestions?] while still taking care of all your other daily tasks? Make sure that you also continue to eat well and get plenty of rest. Around this time, your blood pressure may be increasing slightly, although it's probably still lower than it was before you got pregnant. (Typically, blood pressure falls toward the end of the first trimester, and it tends to reach a low at about 22 to 24 weeks.) [I think my blood pressure this week was 80 over 50 or something like that...no preeclampsia here!]

If your lower back seems a little achy lately [YES! mainly in the morning before I get out of bed and at night before going to bed], you can thank both your growing uterus [thank you, growing uterus!] — which shifts your center of gravity, stretches out and weakens your abdominal muscles, and may be pressing on a nerve — as well as hormonal changes that loosen your joints and ligaments. Plus, the extra weight you're carrying means more work for your muscles and increased stress on your joints, which is why you may feel worse at the end of the day. Walking, standing, or sitting for long periods, as well as bending and lifting can all put a strain on your back. A warm bath or hot compress might bring relief. (Some women, though, find cool compresses more comforting.) Try to maintain good posture during the day, avoid activities that require bending and twisting at the same time [with a toddler? Yeah right!], take frequent breaks when sitting or standing, and sleep on your side with one or both knees bent with a pillow between your legs, using another pillow (or wedge) to support your abdomen. [Time to get a pillow, I guess!]

Thursday, November 11

We made it...

...so far! Today at 5:24am we passed the gestational age that I gave birth to Finn. In case you forgot how little he was, here is the first picture post birth after mom got to go visit in the NICU:
If you can believe it, this picture makes him seem bigger than he was...man, he was little! So many uncertainties on that day and for so many to come. I kept waking up last night, kind of expecting something to happen (good or bad, not sure!). I'm feeling good and baby girl seems very strong and kicks ALL THE TIME, which I love since I didn't get to experience much of that with Finn. After my water broke, there wasn't really room for him to move around or kick. She is already kicking so hard that it seems my whole belly moves at times, which I definitely didn't experience with Finn, and it always seems to be when I lay down for the night! Must not like the change in position. Here's to at least 11 more weeks of pregnancy (you're considered full term at 37 weeks)!

I had my second cake decorating class last night and we had to fully assemble and decorate a cake BY OURSELVES!
While I obviously still need to work on technique (it is supposed to be a fish, not a turkey!), I think it turned out pretty good for a first attempt! My first mistake was making a chocolate cake...hello?!?! You can really see brown crumbs in white frosting! Rookie mistake. It was totally intimidating, but it was helpful having the instructor right there and Kristine and Becky A to lean on for support! Next week we work on cupcakes. How fun :)

And a very heart felt thank you for time served to all veterans. Happy Veterans Day!

Wednesday, November 10

Chick magnet

Finn is getting braver with letting go when moving between two objects. We worked on that quite a bit yesterday with EI PT. He even took a step once or twice. Here's a short video (notice his t-shirt...love it!)...
video

I love my home nurse who administers my hormone shots. No other health care professionals seem to really care whether I carry full term or not, but she always listens and has helpful suggestions (she had two preterm pregnancies as well, so can empathize as well). The shot didn't got too well this week and is/was a little painful, but nothing I can't handle (hey, I feel like it is the only thing I'm doing to keep little Ms. T in me at the moment, so I'll deal!).

Since we have been blessed with such beautiful weather, we decided to get out of the house and meet the twins, Maia and Becky at the park yesterday. It was a little breezy, but still unbelievable for November. Today, too, is very nice. Depending on how long Finn sleeps, I might see if our neighbors want to go to the park this afternoon (she has two little girls, 2.5 years old and 6 months). I've been wanting to develop more of a relationship with her and thought this would be a great excuse.

We only have one more class of fall ECFE left! I just can't believe how quickly it went by. We talked about parenting styles today, which obviously fascinates my psychology mind. I think that Jim and I are lucky in that we generally have the same parenting style, we just administer it slightly differently...which is fine (I need to remind myself of that sometimes!). I signed Finn up for the 18-24 month class for the winter, but have since found out it is now an 18-36 month class. I'm going to call and possibly switch him back to the younger class. If nothing else, I think it would be a hazard for him to not be walking when other kids are so much bigger than he is. I may also see if any 36 month olds signed up for that class and if not, keep him there. I like the older class for his social/cognitive development needs, but wonder if the younger class would be better considering his physical development (or lack thereof). Oh, just walk already, Finn ;)

Grandma is coming today after work! Yay...Finn will love it. She is going to hang out with Finn and me tomorrow and then hang out with Austin on Friday (Austin told her he needs a break from day care...ha!). Cake decorating class #2 tonight. I made my cake last night (looks funky, but hopefully will work) which we will be decorating tonight and need to make two batches of butter cream frosting today before class. Super excited!

Monday, November 8

Those darn ears

After several days of Finn having a low grade fever, occasional diarrhea and extra whining and pulling on his ears, Jim asked if I could just take Finn in to see if the ear infections had cleared up or not (he'd been off antibiotics for a week). We were able to get in today (yay!) and the left ear with the tube looked fine but the right ear where the tube has come out was still infected. That means Finn is back on antibiotics for the next 10 days, but a little stronger one than last time. Walgreens was a fiasco trying to get his prescription filled so after over 45 minutes of waiting (when I was told it would be ten), we left without the prescription. Argh. I know I'm pregnant and probably easily annoyed, but seriously...all they have to do is fill prescriptions and they can't even get that right! Now I have to pack Finn back up after his nap and head back over there because I really want him to start the medicine today if possible.

Yesterday was a nice day. After going to church as a family (again...yay!) we headed up to Rogers to my aunt Karen's. Both my cousins, Michael and John, were home visiting so we got to see both of them with one visit. Oh, and watch the Vikings game ;) Finally, a win! Jim left this morning for an over night trip to Chicago. Now that I'm 25 weeks, his goal is to only take over night trips as needed. My friend Stacey is coming over to keep me company tonight. Yay...girl time!

Sunday, November 7

'Tis the season?

A big huge thank you to my mom! They stayed over Friday night and yesterday morning, she helped me pack up my non-maternity clothes (yes, I realize I'm 5 1/2 months pregnant and still had them out!) and helped me go through my maternity bottoms. I found out that I only have one pair for jeans that fit, so I might need to find a couple more than will work. I have such a hard time finding ones that will stay up, but sweats stay up just fine, so I've been living in them instead (so comfy!)! Now I just need to go through my tops, which is a lot less intimidating as the rest. Yay! Thanks, mom :)

So for some reason, I am totally and completely in the holiday mood already! We were putting away the Halloween boxes yesterday (hey, less than a week past Halloween...not bad for us!) and arranging stuff so the Christmas stuff would be in front and I said, "let's just decorate for Christmas now, it will be easier." Jim said no, and I was kidding, but not completely. I usually have a very strict "no decorating or listening to Christmas music before Thanksgiving" rule. I might have to break it this year. I'm yearning for Christmas music and all things red, green and gold!

I can't remember if I mentioned it or not, but we have a new roommate! Pete (Becky's fiance) moved into our basement until their wedding in July. So last night after arranging his stuff into a livable layout, they had dinner with us. Jim made rotisserie chicken with potatoes and bread which was super yummy. Finn even got to eat with us (a rare occurrence) AND stay up until after 9 (Dad and auntie Becca convinced me it was a good idea since it was day light savings!).

Saturday, November 6

Things that make you go Hmmm...

A new cute thing I've noticed Finn doing lately is when he is trying to figure something out, he'll say, "Hmmm..." until he figures it out or asks for help. Today he even had his finger by his mouth, like he was thinking. It is super adorable. I hope I can catch it on video some time.

I had my OB visit on Thursday, which was a little disappointing. I was hoping she'd be a little more proactive but she didn't even do a physical check of my cervix, which I thought was weird given my situation. She said they don't do the fetal fibronectin test unless there are symptoms that warrant it, which I'm (thankfully!) not having any right now. So, unless things change, I go back in two weeks for my gestational diabetes test and for my next OB visit. I guess no news is good news. On a positive pregnancy note, my headaches seems to be gone or very infrequent! I still drink one coke every few days, but I haven't had to take any meds for headaches for a couple weeks, I think. Yay! Now let's just hope this trend continues.

Last night, Finn and I met Becky, Renae, Kristine, Austin and eventually Pete at David's Bridal to try on bridesmaid dresses! Of course, they made big fat preggo try dresses on (a size 16, thank you very big!) because there could potentially be one or more pregnant bridesmaids at the wedding. We found three that we really liked and with a little altering would work for preggo bellies. I'm sure it was because Austin and Pete were there, but Finn was actually GOOD! I'd brought some stuff for him to snack on and keep him busy, but he didn't need it. He loved climbing up and down from the raised platform...which Pete taught him to do head first! Thanks ;) And to top the night off, Grandma came for a quick visit before he had to go to bed. I'd say that was a perfect day in Finn's book!

Friday, November 5

25 weeks

How your baby's growing: Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. Her weight — a pound and a half — isn't much more than an average rutabaga [because everybody knows how big a rutabaga is, right?!?! Ha, ha!], but she's beginning to exchange her long, lean look for some baby fat.
As she does, her wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and she'll start to look more and more like a newborn. She's also growing more hair — and if you could see it, you'd now be able to discern its color and texture.

How your life's changing: Your baby's not the only one with more hair — your locks may look more full and lustrous than ever. [like I need thicker hair! ha, ha] It's not that you're growing more hair, but thanks to hormonal changes, the hair that you'd normally shed is sticking around longer than usual. Enjoy the fullness while you can — the extra hair will fall out after you give birth.

You may also notice that you can't move around as gracefully as before. Unless your caregiver has advised you otherwise, it's fine to continue to exercise, but follow a few safety rules: Don't work out when you're feeling overly tired and stop if you feel any pain, dizziness, or shortness of breath. Don't lie flat on your back and avoid contact sports as well as any exercise where you're apt to lose your balance. Be sure to drink plenty of water, and make time for both warm-up and cool-down periods.

When you have your glucose-screening test at 24 to 28 weeks, a second tube of blood may be taken at the same time to check for anemia. If blood tests show that you have iron-deficiency anemia (the most common type of anemia), your caregiver will probably recommend that you take an iron supplement.

Have you started thinking about baby names yet? [We think we have a front runner, but are keeping our options open at this point] Choosing a name is an important decision, but it should be a fun one, too. [I still believe that choosing a name is harder than actually HAVING a baby!] You may want to consider family history (Great Grandpa Zeb), favorite locations (Venice, where you honeymooned [Hmmm...what do you think about Manchebo? No? Really?]), or cherished literary or film characters (Greta, Meg, or Atticus, for example). Check out a couple of baby-name books to help you brainstorm, too. [Books? Really? Have you heard of the bazillion lists online for free?]

I've noticed in the last week or so that while my belly button hasn't "popped" out yet, it is definitely getting flat! Weird! Better make sure there's no belly button lint hiding in there. Fingers crossed: if/when we make it to next Friday, it will be unprecedented territory since I had Finn at 25 wks 6 days! How exciting.

Thursday, November 4

Ace of Cakes?

The adults at ECFE yesterday were playing "let's see if Finn can say this" game. It was actually kind of funny and they LOVED it when he did repeat what they said. Too bad I can't make money with that trick! We talked about gender roles, especially with boys, during parent time and it was right up my psychology alley. I find it fascinating and wonder how you can raise a boy/man who is both empathic/kind and yet assertive/tough (especially for things like sports, leadership and whatnot). Hmmm...

I had my first cake decorating class last night and LOVED it! Kristine and Becky (Ark...the twins' mom) also signed up and went to the same class. It was at JoAnn Fabric in Maple Grove (and I even got to eat at Noodles and Company with Kristine beforehand...bonus!). I don't have the lesson book with me, but last night we learned how to frost a cake without getting crumbs in the frosting and finishing with an extra smooth finish (but we just watched...next week we practice) and we learned how to decorate using a star tip. We even practiced the technique on cookies.
These were my finished products (after getting a little smooshed on the way home); from left to right, top to bottom: snowflake, "F" for Finn, concentric circles, Christmas tree (the lamest one!), heart and "2" because my baby is turning 2 pretty soon! Of course, sitting between the two cake professionals (Kristine and Becky who have both made several fancy cakes) was a bit intimidating, but I honestly don't need to learn all the fancy stuff (that's what I have Kristine for!)...just how to make my cakes look as good as they taste (if I do say so myself!). Also, thanks to my lovely husband for letting me get out of the house for a few nights. It was nice not thinking about anybody but myself for a couple hours.

Wednesday, November 3

Molasses cookies...yum

Okay, I'm going to come clean before Jim tattles on me. DeAnn, I bought a package of molasses cookies last night with the strict pledge to only eat one per day. I promise...unless I get really hungry ;) There is a loose theory running through the Thomas family that I MAY have eaten more molasses cookies (and venison jerky!) than I should have the day before my water broke with Finn. I realize is a very weird combination, BUT I was pregnant and they are both so good! So, just to be safe, I'm banned from molasses cookies this Christmas season (which is near torture...where are my protected unalienable rights?!?). There are only ten in the package, so hopefully I can resist having too many at once! Of course, Kelsie is happy because now SHE gets to eat all the molasses cookies ;)

Finn was a rock start at EI PT yesterday. We worked on going back and forth from a chair to the couch. We did this last week and he had a hard time. This week, he kind of worked his momentum up and just did it...several times! And even took a step once or twice while going between! It just amazes me how much he learns and changes each week. Now knowing that he WILL be walking before long, I'm really enjoying this stage he is in because he seems to be learning and adapting so much. I mentioned Finn's intermittent stuttering to his development teacher and she said it is extremely common at this age because they know they want to say something, but the words aren't always there (probably exacerbated by Finn's early and extensive vocabulary). No worries yet...just patience when he can't get a word out (okay, it is kind of cute, now that I know it is normal!).

My shot went well yesterday (other than the nurse not putting a band aid on and bleeding on one of my two favorite pants! Argh). I talked with her about my concerns and frustrations about the perinatologists and what not. She is so understanding and compassionate. I'm glad I get to see her every week. Next OB visit is on Thurs. Hope all is well (I feel good, so it should be)!

Jim, Finn and I walked to the polling place last night to vote (Finn stole my sticker, so apparently he got to vote, too!). There wasn't a line, so we were in and out. I do have to voice my extreme discontent that you don't have to show ID when voting. I mean, what's stopping people from voting for others? Seems irresponsible and foolhardy. But maybe it's just me. Anyway, Finn loved the outside time (as it gets colder, I'm not so good about making sure he gets outside as much as he probably should!). And then we walked to the neighborhood grocery store later. Two walks in one day?!?! Unheard of! I have to say, I was pretty tired by the time we got back from walk #2. Hey, you try walking around with 20 extra pounds...not so easy!

Tuesday, November 2

Hey, Maytag man!

I got through yesterday with a little bit of emotions, but nothing too severe. I had wonderful friends around and support, which always makes something difficult more easy. Next milestone (beside every day, of course!) is next Thursday: my delivery date with Finn. The countdown is on and after that, it is just gravy!

Finn and I headed to Preemie class yesterday morning (probably the best place for me to get support about preterm labor!). They had to combine two classes due to some aids being gone, which I didn't like that too much, but it was good to talk to the regular preemie moms and Karen, our teacher. The sad thing is that I found out they are canceling our Preemie class! I don't know if it is just for the winter or if it is for good. They had just found out before class, so hopefully we'll know more in the next week or two. BOO!

Right from there , Finn and I headed to Eagle's Nest in New Brighton for our ECFE playgroup. First of all, I'd never been there before but it was PERFECT for the kids. We planned to be there for two hours and I think we finally left after 2 1/2 hours and then only because Finn really needed a nap since he was going nonstop since 8:30! Second, we had a great turnout and I just love catching up with this group of moms and the kids are so much fun to watch. Since we only meet once a month now, the kids get so big between play groups! They are all excited for our baby to come and gave a lot of support yesterday. It was nice.

The dishwasher repair man came today...finally! It only took me 5 months to call and get it scheduled. Oops. He thinks the problem was due to using the wrong kind of soap (not supposed to use the "brick" kind in our dishwasher...um, would have been nice if the sales person had mentioned that when we bought it!). He ordered a new dispenser just to be safe and a new piece that had cracked on the top rack. Yay! By next Tuesday, I should (hopefully!) have a fully functioning dishwasher again :)

I should probably start thinking about taking my wedding rings off at some point before I CAN'T get them off! I just know I'll feel so bare without them.

Monday, November 1

Trick or Treat

Yesterday was a pretty laid back, rest up and recover day (even for those of us that didn't drink at the party!). The Vikings were their normal disappointing selves, but Finn was in heaven watching his favorite team.

After the game, probably around 6:15pm, Jim and I took Finn, or rather Elmo, trick or treating. This really was his first time, as last year, we went with Austin, but Finn/Spock stayed in the stroller the whole time.
We put Elmo in the wagon and went down our street. I don't think Finn really "got" it, but sure liked getting candy. He would take it out of his basket between houses and sort it in the wagon (or try to eat it with the wrapper still on)! We probably went to 6 or 7 houses and figured that was enough for Finn. It isn't like he needs a basket full of candy or anything and while the weather was actually decent, it got a little chilly toward the end.
Finn got to eat two pieces (one while in the wagon and one when we got home...oh, I guess three as Jim gave him one JUST before bed, too!) and then was perfectly fine with putting it away. What a good boy. The three of us all had a very fun time.

Well, as of 3am this morning, my amniotic fluid has officially stayed inside me longer than it did with Finn's pregnancy. I am 24 wks 3 days, which is the day my water broke when I was pregnant with Finn. It boggles my mind to really stop and think about that. I'm feeling good and fingers are crossed. Mentally and emotionally I thought I'd be more upset today, but so far, so good...but it is still early.