Thursday, May 30, 2013

Look out! We've got a big one coming!

Yesterday, I went to see my doctor for a routine checkup and was told that my fundal height is measuring large.  I was able to get in for an ultrasound this morning, and they checked all of my little guy's measurements.  As I watched the tech measure his abdomen, femur, and various other body parts, I kept seeing "38w0d" or "38w1d" pop up on the screen, meaning that the measurements they were getting were about average for a baby that is at 38 weeks, not 34 like my little guy.

So, he really is a big baby, and it isn't just the way he was positioned or something like that.  The doctor said that he estimates the current weight at about 6 pounds, 13 ounces, and by the time I hit my due date, he could be around 9 pounds or more.

He spoke with a lot of caution when he shared this news, almost as though he expected me to freak out, but hearing it, I really felt relieved.  Big babies do tend to run in my family.  My sister's kids were both just over 9 pounds, and I was, too.  My other sister was even bigger than all of us, weighing in at 9 pounds and 4 ounces.  Even my dad was a big baby.  My mom's mother had 9 childen, and my dad's mother had 4.  None  of any of the aforementioned babies necessitated a c-section, with one minor exception: I was breech, and although my mom did not have a c-section, the doctor later told my dad that if he had known I was breech, he definitely would have ordered one.  But he didn't know, so the record stayed clean.

The doctor did mention that one reason for the mammoth baby could be gestational diabetes, so I am going in tomorrow to retest.  I tested a while ago, maybe 28 weeks or so, and I passed with flying colors, so they do not think that is what it is, but it is possible.  If it is gestational diabetes, they can deal with that by adjusting my diet, but if not, then I've just got a big, healthy baby in there.

Either way, it's amazing how just getting more information can help.  I was not really stressed about the situation last night, but it was still on my mind.  I guess I would say I was antsy.  I just felt like I wanted to know what was going on so I could prepare for what was most likely coming.  Now, knowing that he is indeed big but that he is only projected to be around 9 pounds at birth, I feel like I can handle it.

I also think that there is a good possibility that my due date is off by about a week.  Every ultrasound I had earlier in my pregnancy pegged me for a July 7 due date, but my OB decided to keep me at July 12 based on my very rough estimate of my last period.  I never really kept track, so it is possible I am a little ahead of schedule.

Sticking with the July 12 due date, I will be 37 weeks on June 21.  I have childbirth classes scheduled for the weekend of June 22 and 23.  (I know, I know.  That is very late in the game, but we had a special little guy's first birthday party to attend, so we had to reschedule, and those were the only dates we could do.)  As soon as we get done with the classes, which I really want to attend just for the experience of it, I am going to be doing as much walking as I can.  Hopefully, I can encourage him to at least make a somewhat early appearance.  I am certainly eager to meet him face to face!

Yikes! Fundal Height Measuring Large

I am 2 days shy of 34 weeks pregnant, and at my doctor's appointment this morning, the doctor informed me that my fundal height was measuring large for my due date.  In fact, she said I was measuring like someone who was a week from her due date, not six.

At first, I thought she was telling me that my due date must be wrong, which was a bit startling given that I am supposed to go to the beach with my family next week, host a bridal shower/bachelorette party for my best friend the following weekend, and serve as matron of honor for my best friend's wedding the weekend after that before finally settling in for my last few weeks.

She quickly clarified that an incorrect due date was not her concern but rather that I may be carrying a large baby.  This could, of course, mean that I would have to have a c-section instead of a vaginal birth, which, naturally, I would really like to avoid if possible.

My doctor did reassure me that having a big baby has some serious benefits, including better overall health, better appetite, and better sleep habits.  However, as she put it, "we just have to figure out how to get him out of you."  (I assume she has some ideas on how best to do this, which will be revealed once we know more.)

I was able to get an appointment for an ultrasound tomorrow morning at 9 a.m., so hopefully after that I will know more.  It's funny because I am not really nervous about any of it, at least not in the conventional sense. I get that if this little guy turns out to be not so little, I may have to have a c-section, and that is fine.  It's not my preference, but I can deal with it.

I guess what makes me freak out a little is that I have been mentally preparing for the labor and delivery process for months and especially in the last few weeks.  I really felt like I was ready for it, and now I feel like I have to mentally prepare for something else entirely.  I know, I know.  Every woman should prepare herself to have a c-section because it is always a possibility, but I guess now I may have to seriously prepare myself.

If it comes down to it, a c-section would not be that bad.  I would be prepared for it, and I would deal with it, and it would be fine.  But the goofy thing is that a part of me feels like if I do have to have one, I would be missing out on the birthing experience.  Which is just plain ridiculous because that is not exactly an experience that people crave.  However, after reading and watching videos and preparing, I was kind of looking forward to the whole thing.  Kind of.

All that being said, I think it will all be fine.  I mean, yes, my family does tend to have big babies - even I was a big baby - but my family also tends to not have c-sections.  My mother carried big, just like me, and she was fine.  And since the beginning of my pregnancy, I have been praying and proclaiming blessings over my delivery, so it is almost unthinkable that something other than a normal, relatively easy and uncomplicated birth would happen.  As my mother said, this is probably nothing more than a roadblock thrown down to test my faith, and I will meet it with a confident smile and believe that everything is still going to go according to my birth plan.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Mommy's Craft Corner Nursing Pads Review and Giveaway

I am so excited to bring you this review of nursing pads made by a work-at-home-mom (WAHM).  Tracy, owner of the Etsy shop Mommy's Craft Corner, generously sent me a pair of these nursing pads to review and has offered a $20.00 gift card to her amazing shop for one lucky reader.

One of the things I love about Tracy's shop is her prices.  Everything is so darn cute that you want to buy it all, and with her great prices, you practically can.  I have already ordered more of the nursing pads, and I am so pleased at the savings over other brands and especially over disposable nursing pads.

Tracy's story

I asked Tracy to tell me a little more about herself so I could share with my readers about who this WAHM is and what motivates her.  This is what she shared with me.  I love her story, and I love supporting her!

I married my best friend in February 2007 and we had our first daughter November 2008. She was 3 1/2 weeks early at 5lbs 10oz, but completely healthy and no need for the NICU. My second daughter was born in 2011, 10 weeks premature at 2lbs 7oz and stayed in the NICU for 7 weeks. After her and I returned home (because the nearest hospital with a NICU was 2 1/2 hours away) I was very busy worrying about her and getting ready for my Student Teaching Internship. I finally completed my Student Teaching, after two attempts due to the premature birth, and earned my Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education in December 2011. It was wonderful to not be so busy with school and my preemie baby girl was 100% healthy... and that's when I started crafting. It started with tutu's and hair bows/flowers for my two girls and turned into a love and obsession with sewing and fabric! These days I sew almost anything as well as craft almost anything, and I just started building some things too... for my girls' new 18 inch dolls, beds and little closets, and soon I will be attempting my first big building project... a table to home school my girls next school year. :)

I am so lucky to be able to substitute at my local elementary school occasionally, stay at home with my wonderful girls, and have my very own Etsy shop that I absolutely LOVE! :) I have a fantastic husband who works very hard at making us three girls happy and I am so grateful that I am able to do all these things that I love every day!

My goal for my Etsy Shop is to make high quality, adorable, one of a kind items at a price where everyone can enjoy them! After having two baby girls and nursing them both for 15 months each, I feel like I can make nursing pads and baby items that are not only cute, but durable and actually work! No mom or dad wants to put a bib on their baby and then have to change it within ten minuets because it just doesn't absorb all that drool from teething or it isn't big enough to catch baby/toddler spills. :) Besides baby items, my shop also has, girls hair clips, garlands, and one of a kind personalized wreaths for birthdays and our military! 

My experience

I had been using disposable nursing pads, and even though I am still pregnant, I was going through at least a pair a day because I do have a fair amount of leaking already.  When I got towards the end of my economy-sized box of disposable nursing pads, I knew I needed to find another solution.

When I received the set of nursing pads to review, they were nicely packaged and even pre-washed for me.  The first time I used them, I was instantly sold.  They are slim enough to be concealed by my bra, and they are so much more comfortable than the disposables.  No more painful moments of getting stuck to the nursing pads for this girl.  The flannel is so soft against the skin, and they easily conform to your shape without showing lines.

I have washed these nursing pads many times, and they are still just as soft and adorable as the day I got them.  (I know it really shouldn't matter what they look like since they're just riding around inside my bra, but I love that the nursing pads all come in cute designs.)  I wear them to bed, and they are so comfortable I don't even remember I am wearing them.

The nursing pads come in regular and extra absorbent.  I found that the regular were just fine for my purposes, but if you need a little extra protection, go for the extra absorbent.

The giveaway

Tracy has generously offered a $20 gift certificate to her Etsy shop for one lucky reader.  Once you visit her shop, you will be hard-pressed not to order something, so make sure to favorite her shop and your favorite items.  She adds more items periodically, so check back often!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Go ahead - rub that belly!

I saw this posted on Facebook this morning, and while I can understand the sentiment, I have to admit that I have never felt like this.  Now granted, I have not had a lot of strangers touch my belly, and the few who did had the decency to ask first, but I have always been so excited to bask in the glory and wonder of pregnancy that I never minded.

What makes this particularly weird is that I am very much a person who needs her space.  Whenever my husband and I travel, I am always eager to get home after about two weeks because I just need to be back in an environment where people respect the bubble.

But when it comes to the belly or questions about our baby, I have to remind myself to rein in my enthusiasm and not talk the ear off of each kind person who takes what she thought would be only a moment to politely inquire about gender or due date.  I just cannot help myself.  

Rationally, I recognize that I am not the first woman to become pregnant and experience all the wonderful feelings - emotional and physical - that come with pregnancy, but I am just so overwhelmed by how awesome it all is that I find myself gushing on and on about it to anyone who will listen (or pretend to listen), including women who have had multiple children of their own and already know all about how fabulous it all is.

People often ask me if this is my first, as they ask with a knowing smile that seems to say that this must be my first child because I am so excited.  But the funny thing is that I believe I could be like this with every single one of our children, just because that's how I am.

For example, my husband laughs at me when we go places because I get so excited over every hotel room and every little amenity that comes with it.  Although we have done a lot of traveling in the past few years, I continue to exhibit this enthusiasm.  As he once described it, "She walks into a hotel room and gets really excited when she sees that there is indeed a bed, a television, and a shower."

I do.  I know it is ridiculous, but there is something so luxurious about staying in a hotel where someone comes and straightens up, empties your trash, and makes the bed.  It never gets old.

Similarly, I can never imagine that pregnancy will wear on me.  Even with all the aches and pains, it is the greatest experience I have ever had.  Recently, my sister, a mother of two, and I had a conversation in which we discussed all of the aches, pains, and unpleasant side effects of being pregnant.  She paused for a moment, then said, "Don't you just hate those women who say they love being pregnant?"  To which I responded, "No, because I do.  In spite of everything, I love it."

On that note, I am going back to bed.  I was up almost all of last night alternating between searing pain in my chest - the kind caused by swollen breasts, not the scary kind - pelvic pain, and leg cramps. Ha!


Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Independent Travel vs. Tour Travel

On Tuesday, Jesse and I returned from a two-week trip to Spain and Ireland.  We first planned the trip back in August when my aunt and uncle showed up at the family reunion with information about a week-long tour of Ireland.  They had been trying to organize a family trip to Ireland - we have Irish roots - for several years, but although people expressed interest, it never quite seemed to happen.  So, they said, "Hey, we're going.  If you want to go, too, then here's the information."  Jesse and I decided to go along, mostly to make the memories with my aunt and uncle.

Jesse wanted to add on to the trip and go somewhere else.  His philosophy - and it's a good one - is that if you are going to spend all that money to fly over the ocean, you might as well make it worth your while.  Flying internally in Europe is a heck of a lot cheaper than flying to Europe from the United States, so it makes sense to capture a couple of different sights while you're there.

In March, he settled on Spain, which was somewhere that I always wanted to go.  Of course, a large part of why I wanted to go was for the wine, but being nearly 7 months pregnant, I had to settle for churros and palmeritas.  I got by.

Our time in Spain was our own.  We spent four days there before flying to Ireland and three more days there after flying back from Ireland.  We did not have a tour guide or any set schedule.  We planned a two-day trip to Salamanca and spent the rest of our time in Madrid.

With the exception of two days during our week-long visit to India in 2010, we had never done a guided tour before.  Our first day on the tour, we took a ride around Dublin and saw some of the major sights, which would have pretty cool except that we happened to be seated across the aisle from one of the more annoying people the world has to offer and directly behind a couple from Canada who talked so slowly and deliberately it made us want to leap over the seat and throttle the words out of them.  (Part of this was due to excessive drinking later that evening - on their part, not ours - which exaggerated the slow talker effect.)

Fortunately, the tour company rotated our seats during the trip, so we were never forced to deal with these particular people for very long after that first day.  The rest of our seatmates were delightful.

However, it did not take long for us to both decide that tour travel is not for us.  When you travel with a tour, you have to conform to their schedule.  For us, that meant waking up every morning by 6:30 and having our bags all packed and waiting outside the door by 7:30 at the latest so that the hotel porters could pick them up and stow them on the bus for our departure.  We would then all be herded into the breakfast room at a designated time, usually between 7 and 7:30, where we would spend the entire breakfast checking and rechecking our watches to make sure we had time to go back up to our rooms to grab our hand bags and get back down to the bus before its scheduled departure.

Wherever we stopped, we were on a schedule.  It makes it difficult to relax when you are constantly watching the time to see if you need to be headed back to the bus.  And while I enjoyed our time in Dublin, I could have spent another full day there seeing the sights that I did not get to see.

On the other hand, when we went to Salamanca, there were a few sights that we wanted to check out while we were there.  One was the famed Salamanca frog, which is carved into the side of a University of Salamanca building and promises good luck to all who find it.  Another was the beautiful Puente Romano, which offers a beautiful view of Salamanca, as well as a pathway to a much less touristy part of town.  We also climbed the 198 stairs to the top of another university building, which seemed like quite a feat for my pregnant self until a week later when I climbed to the top of Blarney Castle and kissed the Blarney Stone.

In Madrid, we traveled all over the city, usually via the Madrid Metro system, which is amazingly fast.  We got to see many different neighborhoods.  Just like New York City, different areas of Madrid have very different feels to them.  We visited Sol, a very touristy area near Palacio Real, as well as Bilbao, where there are some fabulous restaurants, and the area around the gorgeous Parque Retiro.  We also happened across my husband's firm's Madrid office near one of the city's train station, which is always fun.  (We have now seen PWC Zurich, PWC Madrid, and PWC Dublin.  We know how to party when we're on vacay.)

All in all, we were certainly glad we took the trip, but when it came down to it, what we enjoyed most was the time with my aunt and uncle and the opportunity to share the experience with them.  Had we not gone with them, the tour concept would have been wasted on us.  We do plan to work on getting the two of them to do some non-tour travel with us in the near future because they were a lot of fun.

To sum up the debate on independent travel versus tour travel, I will say that if you are the kind of person who needs someone to tell you when to get up and go, as well as someone to take you there in a sheltered environment, then by all means, do the tour.  It will be much less stressful for you, and after all, you are on vacation.  If that is what you need to feel relaxed, then go for it because the extra money you spend to have all the details taken care of for you will pay off.  However, if you want to be in control of your time and get a bigger bang for your buck, then I highly suggest you forego the tour travel and plan the whole thing yourself.  You will save money, and you will be the one who decides when it's time to leave.  Be smart about it and book hotels that will allow you to cancel on short notice.  Then, if you decide Dublin needs one more day, you can take it.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

How is Helping Me Work from Home

A few weeks ago, I wrote an article about how you can earn money for your writing and work from home.  For me, this is a major deal because, as those who follow this blog know, I am due in July with my first child, and I am really trying to figure out how to be able to stay home with him, even if it means working during his naps and when he (hopefully) sleeps.

Shortly after writing that post, I left for a trip to Spain and Ireland.  When I returned, I set about the task of really making the most from my writing role.  The first thing I did was take advantage of the resources that the website has available to help me improve my writing and tailor it to their standards.  I discovered that certain types of articles and media include incentive pay, so I decided to make sure that I completed as many of those article types as the site allows each week in order to get that pay.

Next, I studied what the site defines as newsworthy content.  For writers who consistently produce newsworthy content, the site will sometimes promote your content and eventually submit it to news partners. In the past week, I worked hard to find content that was both on topic and newsworthy.  This included such articles as "Couple weds after 21-year engagement""Bakery refuses to supply wedding cake for same-sex couple""Former Facebook president's $10 million wedding raises red flags", and a personal favorite, "Wedding invitation blown up after police suspect it is explosive device".  I am now eligible to have my articles promoted in the news section of the site, and with continued diligence, I can work towards even more exposure.

My earnings have continued to increase even just over the last week.  I still have a long way to go, but the more I learn through the information provided by, the more I can focus my writing to maximize my full earning potential.  I requested an additional title this week, and it is my hope that in a few months, I will be able to earn a significant income from my writing there, as well as here.

As I said in my previous post, Examiner pays a $50 referral fee for writers who apply through my referral link and are accepted.  THERE IS NO COST TO JOIN.  If you are interested in joining as a writer, please use my link to do so and then email me once your application has been submitted.  If you are approved, I will share $10 from the one-time referral fee with you once it is paid to me.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Safety of TSA Body Scanners for Pregnant Women

Jesse and I arrived in Madrid, Spain yesterday morning.  The flight here - my first trip ever in business class - was even better than I could have imagined.  I will come back to that in a moment, but first, I wanted to be sure to share something that I learned from my experience of traveling while pregnant.

When we arrived at the airport and got up to the front of the security line, a woman there directed me to go through a different scanner than the one where everyone else in my line was going.  My line was set up to go through a full body scanner as opposed to one of the regular, old-school metal detectors.  However, the woman specifically directed me out of that line and instructed one of her fellow guards to take me through the old metal detector.

Naturally, being six and a half months pregnant - and looking about nine months pregnant - I had to assume that the reason she directed me - and only me - to that line was because of my baby bump.  When I arrived at my hotel, I started doing some research and found that many doctors have advised their patients to avoid the body scanners when they are going through airport security.

Apparently, there has not been much research done on the scanners and their health effects, whether it be on pregnant women, their babies, or the overall health effects of the scanners on the general population.  However, because of the radiation transmitted by the machines, doctors have been telling their patients to avoid them. 

Of course, this does make sense, and it is something that, in retrospect, I think I probably should have realized on my own.  However, since I did not, and since my doctor did not mention it, I figured it was worth bringing to the attention of my readers. 

If you are pregnant and getting ready to travel, talk to your doctor about it and even do some research on your own.  But also remember that the body scanners are not your only option and feel free to alert the guards to the fact that you are pregnant so you can go through the other scanners.  You may want to bring along a note from your doctor in case you encounter a guard who is hell-bent on getting you through that body scanner no matter what. 

On another note, flying first class is unreal.  My husband gets to do it all the time because he often travels internationally for business, but the flight to Madrid was my first time.  (Ironically, it was because my hubby travels so much that we were able to get the tickets.  He used all the points he has accumulated to get us our tickets for next to nothing.  First class would not have been nearly as sweet if we had to shell out all that cash for it.)

I could not believe how comfortable the seats were.  Granted, we were on a plane with seats that went all the way down into a flat position, which is not always the case, but for the first time ever, I was able to sleep on the plane.  In addition to adjusting into about a hundred different possible combinations of feet and body positions, the seats had built-in massagers to lull me to sleep. 

The service was amazing, too.  No sooner was I awake in the morning than someone was there with a hot washcloth and a glass of orange juice.  A few minutes later, I had a breakfast tray in front of me.  I felt like a celebrity.

Hot Iron Holster Giveaway

Enter to WIN a purple Hot Iron Holster - Ends 5/17 - Sparkle Me Pink
Hosted by Sparkle Me Pink 
Sponsored by Hot Iron Holster 

One of the coolest beauty gadgets on the market today is the Hot Iron Holster. 
Made of heat resistant silicone, this pocket of sorts holds your curling irons, flat irons or hair dryers. 

Perfect for those that live in apartments with limited counter space, are headed off to college dorms or even those with little kids running around to help prevent accidental burns.
Check out Sparkle Me Pink's Full Review HERE

One of the greatest uses for this holster is for travel.  There is nothing worse than waking up in the morning and rushing to get your hair done so you can leave, only to realize that you now have a hot iron that you do not want to pop right into your bag.  You can use the holster to hold it until it cools sufficiently! 

Enter to win a purple Hot Iron Holster through the Rafflecopter below 
Giveaway will run May 1st - May 17th at midnight