Happy Birthday to my Hubby

Today is the Hubby's 30th birthday! I've officially got an old man on my hands (; We celebrated Kev's birthday with our family & friends over the weekend. I'll post a blog about it soon. Until then I'll leave you with a picture of my handsome man while we go out & celebrate with just our little family of three! 


(Monthly Recap}: Two Months

At your two month check up, you weighed in at an even 12 pounds and were 23 inches long. Hence why you've earned the nickname "Chunky Monkey". Over this last month, we can truly see where you've gained weight. You are quickly filling out and starting to get little rolls here and there. By next month, I'm wondering if you're going to still have wrists and ankles? But don't worry, that's when Mommy thinks babies are the cutest!

Your Daddy and I have been blessed to have such a healthy baby. You spit up quite frequently but your pediatrician said that he wasn't worried about it because from the looks of you, it wasn't affecting your nutrition. Sorry baby girl, even he was implying you're chunky! haha We meet with the pediatric nephrologist in a few weeks to check on your kidneys. However, you are still peeing quite frequently so Mommy and Daddy are pretty sure your kidneys and bladder have corrected themselves. If they haven't, we'll be quite shocked!

When you were almost six weeks old, on June 22nd to be exact, you slept through the night for the first time! It scared me to death when I woke up at 6am and realized I'd never gotten up to feed you. I woke you up to make sure you were still breathing. You weren't happy that I yanked you up but Mommy has never been happier to hear you fuss! It took you until you were seven weeks old to start sleeping through the night consistently though. But once you made it a habit, Daddy and I transitioned you into your crib in your own room. The first night you spent in your room was super hard for Mommy. You slept like a champ but I didn't. I kept your video monitor next to me and I woke up to every sound you made. Even Rimy did too!

Your big brother was so worried about you. He kept running from our room, to your room, then downstairs, and back up to complete the whole room search all over again. I couldn't figure out what he was doing until I caught sight of him looking in your bassinet. Poor thing couldn't find you. He could hear you on the monitor in our bedroom but couldn't find you where you normally slept. So then he'd go in your nursery where he could hear you too but with your crib bumper he couldn't see you so he thought you weren't there either. So then he'd take off downstairs to check out your play mat, swing, and pack in play. He got so worried that he couldn't find you that he actually made himself sick. Poor doggy!  When you finally woke up the next morning and I got you up, he stayed right next to you wherever I took you and put you down! He refused to let you out of his sight! I definitely think you two will be best friends one day!

I don't want to start you on a set routine until closer to when I head back to work and you head to daycare (cue tears!). The reason being that I don''t want to establish your routine and then have to up and change it due to the daycare's routine. So for now you're still dictating when you want to do what. But for the most part, you've got yourself on your own little schedule and our days look pretty much the same, give or take an hour or two. Typically, you sleep from 11pm to 9am (occasionally waking up sometime between 4 & 7am wanting to eat again). At 9am, you get your diaper changed and a bottle. From about 9-12, you play on Mommy and Daddy's bed or downstairs on your playmat. At noon you eat again and go down for about a thirty minute nap in your swing. Then you'll play again until around 3 and then it's time for another bottle. After which, you'll take a nap till about 5; though you fight this nap with all of your might! Once you wake up around 5, you get a bath and then a bottle. Then you're perfectly content to hang out downstairs while Mommy cooks dinner. You then fall asleep on your own around 7 and wake up sometime around 8. Then from 8-11 you hang out with Daddy and he feeds you your last bottle and puts you to bed! All in all, it's a pretty nice schedule and works out great... unless you decide you want to fight your sleep most of the day and not nap!            
Even though you're our little chunky monkey, you're still in a size 3 months and from the looks of it, you will be for a few more weeks. Most of your 3 months outfits, still allow you quite a bit of moving room; unless we're talking sleepers or onesies! Mommy washed most of them and the cotton drew up :( But regardless, I'm glad you're still wearing 3 months clothes because we have more in that size than in any other. Thankfully, you've been able to wear just about every outfit you have in that size with the exception of a few that are still hanging with tags. But by the end of next week, you should have worn them all so no one's money will have gone to waste! That makes Mommy happy!

You're in size 1 diapers currently but I'm worrying how much longer you'll be in them. My guess is by the time you hit 3 months or a short time after, we'll be in size 2's. Taylor, my coworker, told me that it seems that babies stay in newborn diapers forever but once they hit size 1's, they're only in them for a few weeks and then they're moving up to size 2's. Apparently, she wasn't kidding. Looks like I'm going to have a cart full of diapers to exchange at Walmart in a matter of a few weeks!

You're still on Newborn Enfamil. Over the last couple of weeks, you've been spitting up quite a bit with it though. Your pediatrician suggested us adding a little rice to your bottle to see if that helps. We'll start it this month. If it doesn't work, we'll look at putting you on a thicker formula when you turn three months.

Baby Gear Love
- We love your Fisher Price Luv Zoo Musical play mat. It's seriously the biggest lifesaver. We can put you on it and you're perfectly happy to hang out and play on it for a few hours a day. You love staring at the lights, batting the toys, and watching yourself in the hanging mirror.
- We have the Fisher Price Snugabunny Swing and you spend as much time in it as you do on your playmat. You love staring at yourself in the mirror (I'm seeing a pattern here with you and mirrors!) or watching the bird mobile go around and around. Most of your naps are taken in this during the day. If you're fussy, I usually pop you in it, turn on the mobile, and you're out like a light in no time. Definitely one of Mommy's favorite items in the house! Without it, I'm not sure how much stuff I'd get done throughout the day!

Girl, you sure do have a temper when you're hungry! If we don't get your food to you fast enough, you start flailing your little arms and legs all over the place, you turn beat red, and your mouth is open so wide that I can see your tonsils rattle when you're screaming! It's quite amusing. One day I'm going to record it and put it on here. But besides that, you're pretty mellow. You get fussy when you're tired or when you need to be burped. Otherwise, you laugh, coo, and carry on as a happy baby for the rest of the day!

We've had quite a lot of milestones this month. As I mentioned earlier, you started sleeping in your crib in your own big girl room!  This month your personality has really came out. You truly are such a happy baby. You love for people to talk to you. When they do, you smile really big and try to talk back. You've also learned how to grab a hold of objects and you've been learning about cause and effect. When you were only five weeks old, you discovered that if you hit one of the toys on your play mat, it would move. Since then, you love to bat and swat at it with your little hands. When it swings back and forth, you grin real big and get so excited! But even though you are a happy baby 95% of the time, you've learned to stiffen up your back when you get mad or you don't want to do something the other 5%. Mommy and Daddy joke with you about how that is okay to do right now since you don't know better, but when you get older, you'll get a spanking for it! We'll see if that happens or not! haha Oh and did I mention that you've discovered the power of your bottom lip? Well you have. You pop it out and instantly you get whatever it is you want. Daddy says its going to get him into trouble one of these days!

-You love attention. You'll make random loud noises just to gain people's attention. Once you get their attention, you turn into quite the little ham. You smile, coo, and talk to the people surrounding you... instantly making them fall in love with you.
-You also discovered your hands this month and you're fascinated by them. You love balling your hand into a fist and just staring at it. If you aren't staring at it, you're trying to chew on it.
- You still love your bath time. I think it's your favorite part of the day. As soon as I lay you on the bathroom floor to undress you, you start smiling just like you know what's coming next. As soon as I put you in your tub, you wiggle and squirm until you can just about get your whole body under water. I'm constantly having to scoot you back up so you won't have your ears under the water. But each time I slide you up, you wiggle those little legs until you can get your body back down. Your grandma finds it quite amusing; and so do I!
- Daddy got you hooked on tv! You'll sit with him all evening just watching tv like you understand all thats being said and going on. My guess is the movement and colors fascinate you. But then again, you've come to love sitting up instead of laying down, so it could just be the fact that it allows you to sit up for a long period of time!

- This month, you decided you weren't a fan of naptime anymore. You nap great in the morning but by the time your evening nap rolls around, you decide the naptime thing is for the birds. You'd rather stay up and check things out than close those eyes. Sometimes you and I battle but Mommy's figured out a little walk around the house, a quick stroll, or a brief car ride will get you to give up the fight in no time!
- You do NOT like having to wait for your bottle. If you're hungry you want it NOW! If it doesn't come when you want it, you don't mind throwing a tantrum to let us know you aren't happy. But thankfully, thats the only time you really scream and yell.


Weekend Recap

Friday morning our little Harper doodle had her two month check up. Those of you with babies know that this is not a fun visit. Unfortunately, of all days, Kevin had a doctor's appointment that morning too so he couldn't come with me. Harper ended up with a liquid vaccine and three shots, one in one thigh and the other two in the other thigh. It was quite amusing at first because she was laughing and babbling for the first shot but about the time the nurse started the second, it finally hit her what had happened seconds before. She went from happy to screaming baby in 0.01 seconds flat! If only I could have gotten it on video. 

After her appointment, we headed to lunch at my in-laws. As we were eating, I had left Harper in her seat since she was sleeping. Halfway in the middle of downing my homemade soup, I glanced over and saw her just sitting in her seat, quiet as could be with tears streaming down her face and that bottom lip poked out. It broke this mama's heart. I immediately jumped up, forgetting my lunch altogether, and took out my baby to snuggle with her for as long as she would let me. Which was pretty much all day which was fine with this mama and her daddy.

Later in the evening, we ventured out for our usual Friday night dinner with Kevin's family and some of our friends. However, Harper started running a fever shortly before we arrived, so it wasn't an enjoyable dinner as we worried about our baby girl. I mean look at that face. It's absolutely heartbreakingly pitiful!

At some point over the night, Harper's fever broke. (Yay for Little Tummies pain reliever and fever reducer. I recommend it to all mommies!) Kevin and I woke up to her just babbling away to herself. Since she was in such a good mood, we got her up and put her in the bed with us. We spent most of the morning laying in the bed with her and Rimy just talking and playing away. I couldn't imagine spending my Saturday morning any other way!

Shortly before lunch, my mother in law came over and watched Harper so Kevin and I could spend the day together. Something we hadn't been able to do in a while! Most sane people would choose their time away from baby to go out to a movie or a nice dinner, but instead we headed to the tanning salon and then hit up the gym together. Crazy I know, but working out together is something we both took for granted before Harper arrived. I didn't realize how much I missed working out with the hubs until we went Saturday. Typically if we both want to go to the gym, one person stays home with Harper while the other person goes. Then we switch when the first person is done. 

After our intense workout, we hit up a local Mexican restaurant for some lunch. Kevin's brother joined us and we had fun catching up and carrying on. But by the time the check arrived, I was anxious to get home to my baby even though I knew she was in good hands.

Saturday night we headed to High Point to have dinner at Steak Street with my sister and brother in law. Steak Street is a delicious steak restaurant that costs an arm and a leg to eat at; hence why we only eat there when a Groupon becomes available :P We stuffed ourselves on a barbeque chicken pizza as an appetizer, bread, salads, and steaks! It was delicious but I think I put all of that post baby weight back on from just our one meal!

After we ate, we headed over to my best friend's house to pick up Harper. She and her fiance, who happens to be my cousin, asked if they could watch Harper for the evening since we were eating just a mere ten minutes from their house. We agreed and it was nice to have a dinner baby free despite how much I missed our baby girl.

We didn't get home from hanging out and  picking up Harper at Alyson and Clint's until close to 1am Sunday morning. Sadly and inexcusably, we didn't make it to church. By the time we got up it was after 10am so we decided to beat the church crowd and go on and do our grocery shopping for the week. 

After we hit up the grocery store, we headed to my parents house for our usual Sunday lunch. We spent most of the afternoon there. It's hard to get away early from their house these days as everyone wants to love on Harper... but we wouldn't have it any other way.

By the time we got home and did some cleaning and straightening up, most of the day was gone. Kevin had agreed to go to the movies with his Dad and brother so Harper and I crashed at the house for the rest of the evening with my mother in law. We had fun talking, reminiscing, and planning for our upcoming beach trip!

All in all, it was another perfect weekend. Too bad it has to end so quickly!


Postpartum Recovery Questions & Concerns

One of my biggest fears about pregnancy was what was it going to be like after I had the baby. I honestly think I was more worried about the after effects than I was about the whole labor and delivery process. I was constantly roaming the internet for bloggers who shared their experiences; as well as asking each of my friends who'd had babies to share their stories with me. In hopes of helping some of those out there with the same fears and concerns, I thought I'd share my personal postpartum experience. Hopefully it'll help a few people out there like a few other blog posts helped me!

My one request during my labor was to not have an episiotomy. If I tore, I wanted to tear naturally. I'd read many bloggers experiences with this and many thought tearing naturally offered a better recovery. Lucky for me, my doctor doesn't like doing episiotomies anyways because she feels that often times they're unnecessary. In the end I tore in two places. To be honest, I don't know what degree the tears were but I do know that one was pretty bad because it took the doctor a while to sew it up and she made a comment to us about it. 

Despite having torn in two places, I didn't have any pain down there. While at the hospital, I took an 600-mg Motrin pill once every six hours which I know helped with that. I did however use the dermoplast and peri bottle while at the hospital and just patted dry. However, after coming home, I pretty much just did everything like I did before giving birth. However, when Harper was about a week old, I ripped one set of my stitches. I'm not gonna lie, that hurt pretty bad. Moving around the house, they didn't bother me but it was super hard to get in and out of my suv; as well as in and out of the bed.  Despite the pain, I didn't want to go back to the doctor so I just would soak in a hot bath once a day and started taking three ibuprofen every six hours for two days. Apparently it did the trick because I didn't have any more issues with it after that.

While we're on the topic of pain, I have to say that one thing I did not expect to have was severe back pain caused by my epidural. Apparently, in some cases, some of the medicine can linger causing pain after the fact. No one warned me about that. After coming home from the hospital, I started having severe back pains on the right side of my lower back. Like with my tearing, I didn't have as much problem with it if I moved around. But trying to get out of the bed, off the couch, or in and out of the car made the pains pretty intense. But thankfully Ibuprofin relieved lots of the pain for me and it disappeared after a week or two. But even with the pain the epidural caused, I'd definitely have an epidural all over again!!

My postpartum bleeding wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. It was pretty much just a heavy period the first two days but from then on I pretty much just spotted. By day 10, it was gone completely. I was pretty lucky with this considering it lasts up to six weeks for some people. However, I will say, I think the fact that the nurses came in every few hours to push on my uterus helped with my bleeding considerably. And speaking of that, having them push on your uterus is not very fun but at least it only hurts for a minute and the result makes it worth it ladies! 

Baby Blues
Just like during my pregnancy, I have only had one emotional meltdown. It was all over the fact that I looked fat and I didn't think I'd ever look the same and I thought Kevin would never be attracted to me again. Thankfully my husband is amazing and assured me otherwise. But since then, I've been my normal self. No crying fests from the thought of my baby growing up or my fear of not knowing what I'm doing. 

Body Temperature
When people say you sweat after giving birth, they aren't kidding. I've always been pretty cold-natured but after having Harper, I could freeze even my hot-natured husband to death. Before Harper arrived we'd keep our house set on about 70 and I'd have to sleep in sweats to keep from freezing. Now, with the house set on 70, I can barely stand running shorts and a tank. Even then, sweat pours down my face. I can't imagine what life will be like in 20 years when I have to face "the change".

If you're reading this and still concerned about some of the after effects, feel free to ask me any questions, I'll be happy to share my experience with you!


Labor & Delivery Questions & Concerns

Before having Harper, the closer I approached my due date, the more often I got asked the question if I was getting nervous. My response was always the same no matter who asked the question, "She's gotta come out sometime so I might as well get it over with." And in all honesty, that's exactly how I felt. Up until about an hour before I had to go to the hospital to be induced, I was never really nervous about going into labor. I knew everyone else did it and survived and so I knew I would too.

Yet, even though I wasn't nervous about labor and delivery, I still read as many birth stories as possible, read lots of different articles, and asked quite a few friends about their experiences. I think with all of this combined, it helped me to feel much more comfortable even though I knew my experience would be completely different from everyone else's since no two people will have the same experience.

But even though every situation and birth is different, I wanted to write about my experience with some of the things I had questions and concerns about in hopes that it may help some of you readers if you have the same questions.

Being Induced with Cytotec
If you read Harper's birth story, you'd know that I had to go in the night of her due date to be induced. The first step in my induction process was to receive three doses of Cytotec in order to soften my cervix. Cytotec is just a tiny pill that is inserted on the other side of your cervix. During the insertion process, I felt a bit of pressure but wasn't uncomfortable or in any pain. Following the insertion, you can't get up for thirty minutes to an hour in order to make sure the pill stays in place. After that time is up, you're free to move and go to the bathroom as you please. One in every four women go into labor as a result of the drug. Unfortunately, I was part of the 75% of women who didn't. However, the drug did cause me to have contractions and thus resulted in them only being able to give me two out of the three doses I was supposed to receive.

Being Induced with Pitocin
Having not gone into labor from the Cytotec injections, I was placed on a Pitocin drip. I'm not going to lie, the idea of Pitocin wasn't very appealing to me. I'd heard lots of people talk about how painful it made the labor process and that in itself made me dread it. But I can't say that it was as bad as I expected! I began to the Pitocin drip around 8:30am. There was no extra needle or anything needed. The nurse just hung the bag on my IV pole and stuck the needle into the IV that was already in my arm.

Every thirty minutes, the nurse would come in and check my current contractions. If they were pretty stable, she'd bump the dosage up by 2 mU's. If they were going haywire, she'd leave it until the next thirty minutes came. The maximum dosage my hospital will give you is 30 mU. It wasn't until I'd reached 18 mU's that I really felt anything. The only trouble I had was that with each increase, I had to go to the bathroom.

Once I reached 18mU's, I was five cm's dialated and was starting to feel cramping in my side. After telling my nurse, she suggested I go ahead and have an epidural. I informed her it didn't hurt that bad but she insisted that if I was going to have one anyways, I might as well have it before the pain began. Figuring she was right, I went on and had the nurse put in the order.

The Epidural
I've never been one to be afraid of needles, so receiving an epidural didn't scare me. However, reading that an epidural could cause paralysis did. But thankfully, my anesthesiologist  talked with me before I received my epidural and told me about the myths versus the facts. After our little chat, I was no longer concerned and told him to go for it.

To receive my epidural, the doctor had me sit sideways on the bed. I then had to scoot as far back as I could so that basically I was sitting on the edge of one side and my legs and feet were hanging off the other. I  then had to bend over as far as I could (yes, with a bulging baby belly), put my arms around my husband's waist in order to keep me in position (he stood in front of me), and arc my back like a rainbow.A nurse then wiped my back down with iodine in order to reduce infection. After which, the doctor thumped a few of my vertebrae in order to find the perfect spot and then in went the needle. It made a popping sound and I felt a brief pinch and then it was done. Easy peasy!

It took about twenty minutes for my epidural to kick in and take complete effect. As it kicked into place, I felt a cool sensation in my veins, similar to how your muscles feel when you apply icy hot. Once it kicked into place, I could feel pressure if it was applied but had no pain. It was a strange feeling. On top of that, something they don't tell you is due to the sensation, you feel like your legs are full of fluid. They feel extremely heavy. Or at least, thats how mine felt. I had to steal a few peeks under the hospital blanket to make sure my legs hadn't swelled twice their size. But to my relief, they looked like they had before!

Also, when you receive an epidural, the nurse will come in and put in a catheter since you're not allowed to get up and go to the restroom. However, it isn't placed until you have no feeling so no fear! You don't even notice!

One of the perks to having an epidural is it allows your body to relax and thus speeds up the labor process. So just two hours after receiving my epidural, my doctor broke my water and  three hours after that it was pushing time. Because I'd had an epidural and couldn't feel anything from the waist down I was worried that I wouldn't know when it was time to push... especially since I hadn't felt a single contraction since the epidural had kicked in. Yet, that wasn't the case. When the time came, by body seemed to take over and began to run on autopilot. When people tell you a woman's body is made from childbirth they aren't kidding. It amazed me how my body knew just what to do when I didn't. With each contraction, I could feel the pressure building and it just came naturally to me as to when I needed to start pushing and when I needed to stop. I didn't need to watch my contractions on a monitor or have the nurse tell me when to start or stop, I just knew it. So for two hours I pushed until I heard that beautiful scream and felt my baby being tossed on my chest. Yes, I said tossed, because literally thats what they do!

After Delivery
After Harper was tossed on my chest like a football, the doctor and nurse pushed on my belly for me to deliver the placenta as well as clean out my uterus. To be honest, that was the most painful part of delivery. The fact that someone was pushing and squeezing on my belly was quite uncomfortable. However, it only lasted about thirty seconds and then it was over. And truthfully, that thirty seconds flew by because I was so engrossed in staring at my baby that was laying on my chest looking into my eyes. Yes, it was heaven, even though it was not so much of heaven going on below my chest!

Labor and delivery was nothing as I expected. It was nothing like Hollywood portrays in movies. I didn't have to breath in patterns, have someone hold my hand, or have someone talk soothingly to me. I wasn't screaming or yelling. I was laughing, cutting up, and cracking jokes the whole time I pushed. I was never in excruciating pain. The worst pain I felt from the whole experience was getting the IV placed in my arm when I first arrived at the hospital. If you can manage that, it's all downhill from there!

It's really an amazing experience and is definitely something I look forward to doing again in a few years from  now. If you have any questions or concerns that I didn't cover, feel free to ask. I'll be happy to share my experience with you (:


Baby Bargains

When moms say they'd rather spend money on their kids instead of themselves, they aren't kidding. Before Harper was born, I loved to shop for myself. I'd spend my entire Saturday perusing sales rack after sales rack looking for a good bargain. But once Harper doodle arrived,  that changed. I still shop just as often but instead of looking for bargains for myself, I head straight to the baby sections and look for bargains for our baby girl.

With the holiday sales going on over the weekend, I hit up quite a few stores and scored big time. As I've mentioned before, Harper has an abundance of clothes. However, she doesn't have many bigger sizes that would carry her over until next year. So with the summer clearance sales going on, I stocked up on items for Harper to wear next year. And by stocking up, I mean she has an entire wardrobe!

Here are some of the bargains I snatched up!

I was a bit unimpressed with Carter's sales. Their fall stuff was actually on sale for less than a lot of the summer clearance items. But despite that fact, I snatched up a few cute items for Harper!
White blouse with khaki flowers: $5; Tees: $3; Yellow flamingo print shorts: $5; Turquoise knit shorts: $4; Romper: $6; Pajamas: $8

Summer dresses were on clearance for $3 each!

Peaches & Cream
 They were clearing out their summer inventory to make room for the fall and winter things. 
Outfits were $10 and bathing suits were $5

Osh Kosh was by far my favorite bargain spot! And to think that I almost didn't stop there because usually their prices are sort of high. ha! The majority of their summer things were marked down from $2-$5 and you got an additional 30% off on top of that. And did I mention for every $50 you spent, you got a $10 off coupon? Told you I scored big! In addition to these outfits, I got two more shirts... all for a total of $57... $47 if you consider the $10 gift card!

Dress: $3; Tanks: $2; Blouses: $3; Tees: $2-4; Knit shorts: $2; Denim & Yellow Shorts: $4; Skirts: $2!!

Any of you other mamas find any bargains over the weekend? If so where? And for all of you mamas out there, most of these sales are still going on so be sure to check them out!


Pregnancy Questions & Concerns

When I was pregnant, Google became my best friend. I had so many questions that I was constantly searching for answers to. The only problem with Google though is that you can look up something as simple as side pain and you'll be diagnosing yourself with some life altering disease in no time. After reading horror story after horror story on Google, I finally decided to find a new best friend. So I started asking my friends who had had babies for advice and answers to all of my questions. And you know what?! It was so much more helpful and less stressful! So since my friends helped me out with so many questions and concerns, I decided to offer you ladies my 411 on the top 5 concerns I had during my pregnancy. 

Morning Sickness
I was one of the lucky ones that didn't have to experience this wonderful side effect of pregnancy. However, there are a few things I attribute to this success. Each morning, before ever getting out of bed, I'd snack on a few crackers and drink a glass of ice-cold Ginger Ale, Sprite, or Coke that the hubs would bring me just to have something on my stomach before getting up and moving around. Occasionally during the day, I'd start feeling nauseous. If I did, I'd immediately start chewing some gum or suck on a Starburst to make the feeling go away. Apparently the increased saliva production can help the feeling of nausea! Who knew? 

Caffeine or No Caffeine?
At the beginning of my pregnancy, this was my biggest concern. All of my life I've been a soft-drink drinker. To say my body is addicted to caffeine is an understatement. So when I went to my first ob appointment, I explained to my doctor my concern about cutting out caffeine out of my diet. I'd tried before and it left me with a migraine each day. I wasn't looking forward to that again. Her advice, "As long as you aren't downing a two-liter each day, it's fine." So with that said, I felt okay to continue caffeine as long as it was in moderation. For me, moderation was two can drinks of Coke each day. I always had one can while at work. Because hey, I'm a teacher and without caffeine, I don't think I could make it through the day! The second one I'd drink at dinner. For the rest of the day, I'd stick to water or Gatorade. 

Round Ligament Pain
It's no joke. Right around the time I entered my second trimester, I started getting sharp pains in my right side. By sharp pains, I mean I felt like someone had a knife in my side. The pains were so bad I could barely stand up and walk. After contacting my doctor she informed me I was experiencing round ligament pain. A common symptom during the second trimester. Not being a big medicine taker, the only way I found some relief was to soak in a hot bath or lay on a heating pad. But trust me, they only last a few days and they aren't constant. And some people are lucky in that they may not even experience them and if they do, it may just feel like a tightening sensation.  If you're one of those people, lucky you! I'm hoping next go round, I'll be one of those lucky people!

The Glucose Test
It isn't nearly as bad as you think. My doctor's office offers two flavor options: fruit punch and orange. I'm not a big fruit punch person so I opted for the orange flavor. It tasted like a diet Sunkist. The only difference was it had the consistency of cough syrup. Thankfully I only had to drink about 3 oz. of it. It wasn't that bad going down but after my throat felt like I'd just downed a whole glass of raw sugar. My suggestion is to bring a bottle of water to wash it down with. Water is the only thing they'll allow you to have within the hour. No food, drink, or even gum before they can draw your blood. But you won't need any of it because water does the trick. Also, my doctor's office allowed me to eat the morning of the test which was amazing. A friend of mine told me the key to having good blood sugar is to take in extra protein. So the morning of the test I made sure to eat my eggs and a slice of toast with peanut butter! Apparently it worked because I passed with flying colors.

My biggest fear at the end of my pregnancy was that I was going to go into labor and not realize it because I didn't know what a contraction felt like. So for those of you with the same concerns, it really does feel just like cramps. They'll start off pretty mild but get stronger in intensity. The strongest they felt to me was the equivalent in a cramp in my side that I might get if I haven't ran in a long time. And once you get an epidural, you literally feel no pain!


Hospital Bag Update

Before Harper was born, I posted what all we were taking to the hospital in this blog post and included my reasons for taking each item. I also promised to give an update on what we did and did not use and until now, I hadn't gotten around to it. So I reposted the list with my views after the fact.

For Mommy:
- Robe: I packed a robe for two reasons. One being that I didn't want to have to walk around the hospital trying to get contractions going and showing my rear end to the whole labor and delivery floor. The second reason being that if I didn't feel like wearing pajama bottoms, I could throw on a cami and put this over it so when I stood up I wouldn't be flashing visitors.
* I stuck to our room for our entire stay so I never had a use for this in the hallways. As for our room, it was so hot that if I'd have worn it, I'd have probably died!

Comfy Pajamas/ Lounge Clothes: I'm not a big pajama person as I usually sleep in athletic clothes. So I packed a pair of loose yoga pants and a nursing cami to wear with them. I figured if I didn't feel up to wearing the pants, I could throw on the robe over the cami as I moved around. I also packed a nursing gown that I purchased from Motherhood but many of my friends suggested sticking to the hospital gown so that I didn't end up ruining my new gown due to those extra "fluids" I'll be losing.
* After the first day of swimming around in that ginormous hospital gown, I was so anxious to put on some clothes that actually fit. I ended up sticking with wearing just my nursing gown because it made it easier on the nurses to check my stitches and my bleeding than pants allowed. 

- Nursing Bras: I packed two. Originally I had only intended to include one in my bag but a friend suggested packing two just in case I was in the hospital longer than the traditional stay.
* I didn't wear these while at the hospital because  my milk did not come in. However, I did wear one home because it was much more comfortable than the bra I had worn to the hospital. 

- Pack of Cheap Hanes Briefs: Oh the mesh undies! I know everyone knows about these. Some people like them, some people hate them. Just to be safe, I grabbed a cheap 8-pack of Hanes cotton briefs (yes, granny panties and I got them one size bigger than I normally wear) that I wouldn't mind throwing away if they were ruined. I decided to include them in my bag in case I wasn't a fan of the mesh undies.
* I didn't mind the mesh panties so I didn't end up needing these. I did try them on the second day though and they were a bit uncomfortable since I never wear brief styles. My suggestion is if you plan to take your own undies, take the kind you're used to. Next time, I'd take the bikini style. They still give you full coverage but won't be tight on your stomach and still allows for space for an incision if you were to have a c-section. 

Overnight Pads: Again, I know we've all heard about the massive pads that the hospital gives you post-delivery. Like the mesh undies, some people love them and some people hate them. Just to be on the safe side, I picked up a pack of giant overnight pads to try out if I didn't particularly care for the hospital's pads.
* The hospital pads were more than adequate and I didn't really mind them. However, since my bleeding was really not that bad, I tried switching to the pads I bought with me since they were about half the size, however, they didn't work very well with the mesh undies. And as I mentioned above, the brief style panties I had brought were just uncomfortable so I stuck with the mesh panties and hospital provided pads for my stay. 

Nursing Gear: Just in case we have to stay at the hospital longer than planned and my milk were to come in, I threw in a few pairs of nursing pads. I also threw in some lanolin and a nursing cover in case we have visitors when it's time for Harper to eat.
*As I said earlier, my milk didn't come in during my stay so I didn't need nursing pads. When it came to trying to nurse, our visitors usually stepped out in the hall so I didn't need the cover either. However, the lanolin cream was great to have on hand...especially since Harper had a hard time latching. 

- Cheap Flip Flops: I refuse to walk around the hospital in my bare feet or just socks so I picked up a cheap pair of $1 flip flops from Walmart to wear to walk around in. I also figure they'll be perfect for the shower. The great thing is they're also stretchy so if I get to experience that wonderful post-partum swelling, I know they'll fit!
*I didn't wear these at all during my hospital stay. I thought I would but with all the nerves, anxiousness, and excitement, I didn't even think twice about walking around barefoot on the bare hospital floor. Looking back, I know that's gross but in the moment it doesn't even cross your mind!

Make Up & Toiletries: Every mama I know suggested taking my own make up and toiletries. They all encouraged me to throw on a little make up each day to make me feel more human. So I packed a small make up case with the bare essentials, a travel size package of make up remover wipes, a bottle of shampoo, a travel size bottle of shower gel, a loofa, my toothbrush, toothpaste, and some deodorant.
* This is by far the thing I was most thankful to have packed. It felt great to wash my face each day and add a little make up. On top of that, I didn't look so drowned out in photos. 

Towel: I was told hospital towels stink because they're super thin and not very big so I decided to throw in my own bath towel just in case the towels sucked. After all, I really don't want to use a towel that feels like sand paper after my skin is already sore and dry from delivery.
*Our hospital's towels weren't that bad. They were fairly large and though not as soft as my towels at home, they still weren't that uncomfortable. 

Going Home Outfit: I decided to take a maxi skirt, cami, and button down shirt. I figure a skirt would be my best bet just in case I'm sore or end up having to have a c-section. A skirt would be loose and I can wear it higher to avoid rubbing on my stitches.
* I'm definitely glad I chose to take a skirt.I didn't have to worry about it not fitting and it was loose and comfortable for the thirty minute ride home. 

For Daddy:
Lounge Clothes: Since Kevin will be lounging around throughout the day, he packed a couple pair of athletic shorts and t-shirts. Not only will they serve as his daily wear but he'll just sleep in them too.
*As expected, Kevin stayed in basketball shorts, undershirts, and tees our entire stay so I'm thankful we packed him a few pairs!

Going Home Outfit: Kevin packed a nicer outfit to wear on our way home. But nothing too nice. Just a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and polo.
*We didn't know if we were going to be able to go home until 6:30 on Friday evening. They finally released us at 7 so Kevin didn't bother changing into his going home outfit. He just wore his basketball shorts and t-shirt home. 

Toiletries: Kevin threw in his toothbrush, a travel size bottle of shower gel, and a stick of deodorant in with my toiletries. We'll share the toothpaste, shampoo, and loofa sponge.
*Kevin didn't take a shower at the hospital but he was glad to have his own toothpaste, toothbrush, and deodorant on hand. 

Cheap Flip Flops: I made Kevin take his cheap flip flops to wear in the shower as well.
* Since Kevin didn't take a shower at the hospital he didn't use these. He just wore his rainbow flip flops around. 

For Harper Doodle:
Thanks to the hospital providing pretty much everything, Harper gets to pack light. I'm not even taking her diaper bag.
3 Outfits: The average hospital stay is 2-3 days so I figured Harper would need at least two outfits and I threw in an extra just in case she was to mess up one while in the hospital
* Since Harper stayed swaddled for our entire stay, we just kept her in the little t-shirts that the hospital provided. So we only ended up needing one outfit for when she went home. 

- Pacifiers: I'm not going to be one of those mama's that refuses to give her baby a pacifier until their baby is three weeks old. So many of the mamas I know started giving their babies pacifiers in the hospital so I went on and threw in a few types in Harper's bag to try out while we're there.
*Harper wouldn't take a pacifier at the hospital so we didn't end up needing these. 

Other Items:
Chapstick: I read on tons of lists to include chapstick. I thought it was kind of a crazy idea but after spending four hours in the hospital a couple of weeks ago, I totally saw what the fuss was about. It truly is super dry in the hospital and just in those four hours that I was there, my lips felt like sandpaper. So I've definitely threw in a tube in my bag!
* Our hospital room was so warm from where we had to keep it above 72 for Harper that there wasn't a chance for my lips to get dry so I didn't even use this. 

- Boppy Pillow: We've packed Harper's boppy pillow but are going to leave it in the car until we see if we need it. Several people suggested learning to nurse with a pillow; whereas, some suggested learning to nurse with a boppy so I decided to bring ours along just in case plan A doesn't work.
* I took the boppy pillow but ended up leaving it in the car. I just used my personal pillow and the hospital pillows while trying to feed Harper and they worked great. 

- Personal Pillows: Kevin and I are both taking our own pillows. Afterall, when the nurse at the hospital tells you the only thing you need to bring is your own personal pillow, you better take the warning and do it.
*I loved having my own pillow. The hospital pillows are super flat. By flat I mean, I needed 2 to 3 of them to be even close to the size of my personal pillow. 

- Camera/ Camera Charger/ Camera Card: Do I even need to explain?
* My best friend used my camera to take pictures of the delivery. However, the rest of our stay, we just used our cell phones to take pictures. It made it easier to update everyone on social media. 

- Cell Phone & Chargers: Definitely don't want to forget those!
* Used them both non-stop!

Laptop & Two movies: Since I'm being induced and have to be admitted into the hospital the night before, Kevin and I know we're having a long night ahead of us so we decided to go prepared. So we're taking my laptop and we packed two movies we've been saving to watch for the occasion...Guilt Trip & Parental Guidance.
* Kevin and I did actually watch part of a movie on my laptop the night we were admitted into the hospital. We'd have probably watched both of the movies we had taken if we hadn't have been so tired that night!

-Book: For the same reason as the movies, I decided to throw in a book in my bag. I'm sure I'm not going to get any sleep the night before I'm induced so I figured I might as well take something to do. Afterall, there won't be much on tv at 2am.-
* I didn't end up reading my book at the hospital because if we weren't watching tv, we were on our phones playing games or texting our friends with updates. 

Looking back over this list, I realized I overpacked. I knew some things I probably wouldn't need but since the hospital was thirty minutes from our home, I decided to take the items just in case. On top of that, they fit in my bag so I figured why not take them? However, next time I"ll be packing light. I'll also be adding a few things I didn't consider taking. Here would be my list for the next go round.

For Mommy
- 2 Nursing Gowns (I wore the same one for two days so I'd like to have an alternate next time)
- A couple of pairs of bikini style underwear and a few overnight pads for when my bleeding tapers off and I want to wear something a bit more comfortable and practical
- Make up & toiletries
- Tube of Lanolin 
- Going Home Outfit (dress or skirt definitely!)
- Personal Pillow

For Daddy
- Basketball shorts, t-shirts, under shirts (for skin to skin)
- Going home outfit (just in case we left earlier than we did this time!)
- Toiletry items
- Personal Pillow

For Baby
- A couple of cute swaddle blankets (since you can't see baby dressed in cute outfits, might as well bring cute blankets since the hospital ones are pretty plain)
- Going home outfit

Other Items
- Camera/Camera Charger
- Cell Phone/ Cell Phone Charger
- Baby Book ( I wish I had thought of this before. We could have had the doctor's stamp Harper's feet and place them in the book instead of having to include the copy they gave us. 


Harper at One Month

As I've mentioned before, my cousin April is a photographer in Jacksonville, NC. Over the years, she's taken quite a few pictures for Kevin and me. So naturally, when Harper arrived, I wanted her to take some pictures of her as well. Unfortunately, April didn't make it home until Harper was almost a month old. But after seeing all of the images she took, it was well worth the wait. The pictures turned out great and I couldn't have hoped for anything better! Here are just a few of my faves!