Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Evan Thomas

Ed and I are beyond thrilled to share that we were given the best Easter present of all this year.



Evan Thomas was born at 2:19pm on April 20th. He was born weighing 9 lbs 13 oz and was 22.5 inches long. Clearly, arriving over a week early was not an issue for our little big guy. The labor story is definitely long, dramatic, and not remotely what we expected, but it gave us our wonderful little boy and it was exactly how he was supposed to come into this world. I'll be sharing the rest of the story later, but for now we are just beyond happy soaking in new parenthood.





Friday, April 18, 2014

And...We're Having a Baby!

Well, ready or not, it's baby time!

Even before I got all of my test results back on Thursday, my blood pressure numbers were scary enough that my midwife, in conjunction with my new doctor, decided that induction was the best option, regardless of whether I just had hypertension or I had pre-eclampsia.

Once my test results came back, it was incredibly clear that they had made the right call. I definitely have pre-eclampsia, and the only cure is to deliver your baby.

So, right now we're about 24 hours into the induction. Last night got very intense with my first medication, but they have switched me to a new one, which is much more mild. Ed has been with me since yesterday morning, and has been more than wonderful. He brought these beautiful decorations to made the room more special.


Evan's going home outfit, our photo book from our first year of marriage, framed pictures from our wedding, and beautiful daffodils. We got moved to a better room yesterday, and that's where we've been ever since!

I'm not going to lie, last night was much harder than I expected labor to be. The meds they gave me cause good contractions, but ones that didn't follow an actual pattern. That meant that sometimes I'd have 4 or 5 minutes or pretty intense contractions and no real breaks. Then, a minute later they would start up. Very thankfully, my blood pressure started doing much better, so by early morning, they let me disconnect from all my monitors in 40 minute chunks and shower/use a birth ball. 

They switched me to a different medication this morning, which hasn't done as much for my contractions, but did allow me to nap for almost 4 hours, which, after 2 nights of just a few hours of sleep, was heavenly. It's also why I can write a blog post - if only all of labor could be done with contractions this mild. 

I'm definitely a little nervous about hitting active labor. The contraction pain, plus the fact that I'll be given magnesium which, as put by my midwife, is a drug "that makes you feel like death so that you don't die" since pre-eclampsia can cause strokes. Plus I'll be getting my antibiotics for the group B strep. 

But, we do need to have this baby on the sooner side, since even though Evan is doing awesome and my blood pressure has been really good since I started meds, my other numbers are still climbing, which means I am getting sicker and I need to deliver. 

So, ready or now, we should be meeting our son by the end of this weekend!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Well, this was unexpected...

Guess where I am? Does this give you a hint?


No, I'm not having the baby (at least I hope not). However, at my routine appointment this morning, my body decided to suck and give a couple crazy high blood pressure readings (plus a couple other problematic symptoms), so off to labor and delivery I was sent. Things remained high and that, plus some slightly elevated other numbers, won me a 24 hour(ish) stay here at the hospital.

This was definitely not how I was expecting my first overnight hospital stay to go. Since there's nothing really happening right now, besides hourly blood pressure checks and baby checks every 4 hours, we decided that it wasn't necessary for Ed to stay with me. He came to visit after work (and bring me my PJs, some snacks, and some other goodies) which was really nice. I was given permission to be wheeled down to the healing garden, which was really lovely.

It was a perfect temperature outside, since the sun had just ducked behind the building. We parked in front of the fountain for a while and just sat and talked, in part about how we would feel to become parents sooner rather than later.


After sitting for a while, we discovered that the pathway kept going and went all the way to the end where we found this very cool tree sculpture. 



Eventually, it was time to head back upstairs so that I could have dinner and get tested, and Ed could head off. I'll admit, it's a little lonely here, but I have a tv with plenty of shows (I'm watching "Singing in the Rain" right now), my laptop, and my kindle, so I'll be fine. My nurse all day was just wonderful. Her name was Pam, and she got my everything I could possibly need. She even made me a "mocktail" of orange juice, cranberry juice, and a bit of ginger ale, that was just lovely. I have a new one now, Michelle, who also seems nice, but a bit more business-y.

Hopefully, my numbers will come back okay tomorrow and they'll decide I can go home and let Evan cook a while longer. There is also the chance that tomorrow may be the day things get put in motion to meet our son. I can't say that Ed or I feel totally ready for that option- it just feels like Evan needs more time to grow, and mentally, we were expecting to have a few more weeks. I did just check our "to do list" and we did get pretty much the whole thing done, so I guess we are technically ready, even if we don't feel it. I trust our medical team and know they will make the right choice for Evan and for me. Even if things are okay tomorrow, the doctor who visited earlier said that they may want me to deliver sooner rather than later (i.e. 39 to 40 weeks).

So, we may not get the labor experience we imagined. Instead of laboring at home (at 41ish weeks like we've been told to expect), we may be looking at being induced before Evan is even due. I am trusting that things will work out the way it should, and that everything will be okay. We love this little boy so much and getting him here safely is the primary concern. So, if that means we meet him tomorrow, or next week, or whenever he chooses to come, that is just fine with us.

Sunset out of my room's window

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

38 Weeks

("You still have 2 more weeks?!? And there's really only one in there?!?" - random person at the grocery store. Apparently being on maternity leave doesn't rescue me from all the comments. At least at this point, I'm supposed to look just about ready to have this baby :) )

Thankfulness: I am so thankful for the wonderful year I had with my students. It was harder than I expected to say goodbye on Friday, and to let go this week and trust that they will be fine. It has been so, so nice to be able to take a good nap each day, and check much needed things off of our to do list, and I feel very thankful that I am able to take this time before Evan arrives to prepare both our home and myself for this big transition. 

How Far Along? 38 weeks. Only 2 weeks until our due date! Even if Evan is very overdue, he will still definitely arrive within the next month. 

Size of the Baby? Again, it's all a little variable now, but he should be close to 7 lbs and 20 inches long. Ed predicts that he'll be nice and tall. 

Sleep: The insomnia nights have be fewer this past week, which is lovely. I've generally only been getting 6-7 hours, with 3-5 wake-ups during the night, but I'm able to fall asleep pretty easily. And, now that I can take 1-3 hour naps during the day, I'm feeling pretty good. 

Eating? This heartburn has really been giving me a run for my money. I am going through a ridiculous amount of milk, since it seems to be the one thing that really helps tone it down. Still loving my smoothies, though I have had eggs and bacon a few mornings, when Ed is willing to cook. We've stuck with still having pretty healthy dinners, but with some treats thrown in. 

Exercise: Now that I'm on leave, I have a goal to go on a walk and do yoga every day. It's so liberating to not have to worry about contractions, though it is a bit frustrating to feel how much my fitness has dropped in the last few months. Still, I am loving getting to enjoy our beautiful weather. This weekend, we kept it low key, since all the packing and moving out of my classroom definitely also counted. 

Sometimes I take our beautiful riparian preserve for granted, but it was the perfect choice this Sunday. 
We were super excited to see all these sweet ducklings. Ed tried to be reassuring by commenting that if that Mama duck could birth 10 babies, I could have one. Of course, it doesn't quite seem the same, considering ducks lay eggs, instead of having live births. 


I'm very much looking forward to the saguaros blooming, which should be happening soon (as you can see from this saguaro). We're planning to visit the botanical gardens next weekend, and I'm hoping that we'll get to see some blooms.  

The prickly pear cacti were also blooming.

As were the beautiful palo verde trees. They may be my favorite desert trees, especially this time of year.


Best Moment? I'd have to say my last day of work, even though it was definitely bittersweet. Just soaking in those sweet faces for the last time, packing that last box, and moving on was such a surreal but lovely feeling. I also got lots of sweet baby presents from students, and lots of sweet comments from them. 

Milestones: Obviously, being on maternity leave is a huge one! I've been looking forward to this for such a long time, and it is lovely. It's also letting me accomplish some other important things. I finally went through all the baby presents and sorted them, which was a task unto itself. All the rest of the clothing is now sorted, though it still needs to be hung up. 


I tackled all the cabinets in our bathroom. They are now perfectly organized and can fit the baby items that need to be in there. It was definitely a task that I'd needed to do in a super long time, so it felt great to accomplish. 

Mommy Update: Overall, I'm doing really well. I'm really appreciating being able to rest when I need to after last week when I was really overwhelmed with teaching, testing, and packing. Ed was wonderfully helpful, but we were still spending multiple hours after work getting things in boxes and into the car. I'm not sure I can adequately describe just how tired I was. In not so great news, I did test positive for GBS (group B strep). This really isn't a big deal (about 30% of women have it), but it does mean I'll need an IV of antibiotics every 4 hours during labor, once I arrive at the hospital. With the antibiotics, there's only a 1 in 4,000 chance that even would contract GBS, but they will keep a closer eye on him after birth, and we may need to stay at the hospital a little longer. In terms of complications, I would much rather have this than diabetes, high blood pressure, etc, but it still doesn't turn off that little voice of worry. My midwife was very reassuring that this shouldn't affect my ability to have a natural birth or really change much of anything, so I'm trying not to worry too much. 

Baby Update: Evan seems to be growing a lot and is so much fun when he moves around. It's so fun to think he's more or less ready to come out and we'll get to meet him soon!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Leaving it Behind...

Right now, It's 7:52 on a Monday. I should be jumping in my car and driving to work. Instead, I'm sitting on the couch, figuring out what I want to do on my first day of maternity leave.

And to be honest? I'm having a bit of trouble letting go. I am never very good about having a sub - what if I forgot to prepare something? What if they don't show? And somehow maternity leave takes all those stresses and compounds them into this big glob of stress, because I can't just fix it the next day - this is for the rest of the year! Now, I comfort myself knowing that if there really were something I'd forgotten, someone would let me know. The sub has all my contact info and actually emailed me yesterday, so I do know deep down everything will be fine.

There is just this guilt about *abandoning* my students. I think it would have been easier mentally, in some ways, if I'd taught up until I went into labor, because then I would have had to leave. Right now, I technically could still be teaching, I am just choosing not to. Don't get me wrong, I was very ready to be done. My body is definitely feeling it at this point, and I do need time to get lots of rest and get some things done before Evan shows up.

I'm hoping that after today, I'll get used to my new normal. After all, it'll be almost a year and a half until I step back into a classroom as the teacher, which seems incredibly surreal. I get to focus on my new role as "mom" now, which is amazing, and exciting and just a little bit scary. So, good positive thoughts that my students will be fine and that I will be fine and we all enter into this new transition.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

37 Weeks!

("Can't you just have the baby here at school?" Kids are starting to get sad that this is my last week. I am too! As a side note, I'm definitely looking quite tired these days...)

Thankfulness: I am thankful that this is it! 4 more days of teaching and then I get to be on leave and finally get some rest. It's definitely very bittersweet, as I love my class and am sad to leave them. I also cannot believe that this is it for me for teaching for over a year. 

How Far Along? 37 weeks. I've officially reached term! Granted, 37 weeks is considered early term, and developmentally, we definitely want to give Evan those last few weeks to fully develop, but he is a legitimately sized baby in there right now, which is amazing. 

Size of the Baby? Again, it's all a little variable now, but he should definitely be over 6 lbs (and probably closer to 6.5) and his birth length. 

Sleep: Still waking up a million times and unable to sleep in past 6am. Last night, on my 3rd wake up, I decided that I'd much rather wake up to a baby than just because my body hurts and can't hold it's water anymore. We'll see if I still agree with that in a month(ish) :)

Eating? Still super loving my smoothies, especially now that the weather is turning (ack...95 degree days this week!). Convinced myself to not buy ice cream this week (after lots of it last week), so I'm considering that a win. Still sticking with protein heavy lunches and dinners. 

Exercise: Ed and I actually went for a hike this weekend! We went to a trail we did before that is incredibly mild, just did out and back, and stopped at a couple benches along the way, doing maybe 2 miles total. It was perfect, though definitely left me a bit sore. So, so nice to be outside though!




Not many wildflowers, but this one type of cacti was sending up some gorgeous magenta blooms!


(stumbled across this picture from when I was around 13 weeks along, thinking I looked "so big and pregnant." Yeah...not so much :) )

A bit more baby going on in there now!
Best Moment? Probably Ed returning home from the east coast. He was gone for a week, which was something I was a bit worried about for quite a while leading up to this trip. While it would be early, what if I went into labor? Luckily, it was actually very smooth, and I found that I actually handled being on my own pretty darn well. Evan kept me company :). It was so nice to have him back home, though. Our hike is also up there on the list! A last one is that a friend in my yoga class/midwife group had her little boy this week. She had a good labor and was able to do things naturally, and now has a very sweet little one. It's exciting that people are actually having babies!

Milestones: Just checking more and more things off of our list. Our diaper area in our bathroom is totally prepped (with our very cool changing pad. No cover needed, and the surface is anti-microbial and easily wiped down. It's supposed to be very user friendly!):



Mommy Update: It still hasn't sunk in that we are going to have a real baby home with us in about a month. I'm definitely feeling a little less worried about being active, since we're in the safe zone, though I'm also definitely a lot more tired and worn out. My classroom is probably about halfway packed (I'm just leaving behind what I think they'll need for that last month). Feet are still scary looking, but verified normal. Good thing I can just live in flip flops! I did treat myself to a pedicure, which was the best thing ever. Can't believe I waited about 2 years to get one! I maybe be getting another one if I'm still pregnant a month from now. The foot massage alone was totally worth it. 

Baby Update: Evan's definitely head down, and unlikely to change at this point. He's practicing all the skills he'll be using on the outside, like breathing, and is doing lots of pushing and wiggling around. He should be gaining about 1/2 an ounce a day and just getting ready to come out!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Home Transformation

We have done a lot to our home since we moved in. As we've just finished another outside transformation (installing sunscreens that will substantially cool our home), I thought it would be fun to show how we've changed it to make it more desert friendly (and more pretty). With everything blooming, it's a great time to show off the outside of our home :)

Here it is when we bought it - green lawn, three junipers in the front, roses in the poorly installed planter. The only thing we kept was the morning glory. 

This was right after we pulled the plug and got rid of the grass for more desert friendly gravel and desert landscaping. I was so worried about pulling the trigger on this, but it was a fantastic decision. 

And here is our home today! Our tree has been growing like crazy, as have the lantanas and agaves. You can also see the sunscreens on all the front windows. It makes them look darker, but we like it, and the difference in temperature inside is huge! We can't wait to feel the difference this summer (and actually use the front rooms that were basically unusable 4 months of the year during the worst heat).


Here's a close up of the front right after we relandscaped. It's amazing how small all of our plants were. The white pole is our tree, before it had any leaves. Definitely looked very monochromatic. 

Now we have so much lovely color out here! I cannot believe how much our agave has grown, and the purple lantana gives some great color (though it doesn't seem quite as showy in the picture). The planter box has really taken off as well! It's lovely having more desert friendly plants in there. 

We have a mix of annuals (snapdragons and petunias) as well as brittle bush, a few cacti, some lavender, and some other things that I don't even know the name of. We love it!

The back of the house has also transformed plenty. 

This is the space outside of our breakfast nook. I don't have an original picture, but it was full of a green leafy, viney kind of plant that completely died the first summer we were there. 

This is what it looked like after we planted (with our brick border that was coming apart)

Now we have beautiful lavender and lantana growing (though we are still having issues with the lavender in the further spot). So fun to be having breakfast and see the lavender peaking up through the window. 

Our very sad space behind the pool after the frost. We didn't have a lot going on in the planters to begin with, and the frost killed about half of it. The ficuses also looked horrible. 

Now, it's beautiful! We have so much blooming back there, with a ton of colors. The snap dragons are even more plentiful than when we took this picture. The ficuses have also thankfully grown back :). Ed also repainted all of the planter boxes a few weeks ago to freshen them up. 

This is what the strip between grass and pool looked like when we moved in. The planter was so in the way, as it cut off a walkway from the patio area to the pool area, and the pond, while fun, leaked. 

This is what it looked like when we first redid it. After that first effort, we realized that the pond was more trouble than it was worth, and made the great decision to ditch the pond and redo the lawn border while we were at it. 

Now, it's a beautiful space! (It helps that we did reseed our grass this year, meaning that we had pretty green grass all summer, instead of dormant, yellow bermuda)


We are so thankful that we decided to go through with getting rid of the pond and making this whole area a ground level planter. It fits so much better with the space. 

We still have a few things on our list that we'd like to do for our outdoor space. Our next "big" project is to dress up the space to the right of the pool. Right now it's a sad little collection of pavers that we have our fire pit on, but we are envisioning making it more of a fire pit "room" with some special light gravel,  a border, some landscaping with agaves, nice seating, and maybe even one of the succulent frames that I've seen on pinterest. Our pool fence goes up this week, which is also exciting. 

While it's been a lot of work, we've really enjoyed being homeowners and adding some more beauty to the place we live.