Comparison Photos

Because I like to torture myself, I'm going to do yet another comparison session.

We all remember this photo, right?  It was taken around 5 or 6 weeks.

Then we have the 26 week photo, next to the 35 week.  It's amazing what a different 9 weeks can make!!!

From pleasantly plump to protruding naval.

And to think, it's only going to get bigger!!!

36 week photo

Lots going on this week, including much drama, which you are probably aware of if you follow me on Twitter or Facebook. 

But for now, I leave you only with a few pictures. 

36 weeks - view from the front.

Black is such a flattering color. I love that you can barely tell I'm enormous in the picture above. If it wasn't so flaming hot outside, I would wear black every day until I was skinny again.

But when you get the side view, there's isn't a color in the universe that could hide this puppy.

(sorry for the blur)

Less than one month to go....

36 Week Appointment

No picture for this post right now (although I did take one earlier today.)

First of all, I went for my 36 week appointment today....  only to find out that it was actually scheduled for tomorrow.  Oops... people have told me about pregnancy brain, but I thought I was immune.  Apparently not.

Anyway, they were kind enough to fit me in, since I was already there.  I had to have my first internal exam since the 12 week appointment, to take a sample for a routine bacteria they test for (testing positive would mean that I would have to have antibiotic's via an IV line during delivery.)  They also wanted to make sure that the baby was head down, as one of the previous doctor's had suspected.

Unfortunately, the doctor today was not able to confirm that Baby Hartman was head down at all.  In fact, she was fairly certain that he wasn't.  She said that she couldn't feel any indication of a head down there.  She seems to think that he is "frank breech," which means that he is head up with his feet also up and over his head, which would explain "hard spot" that I thought was a butt, and the aggressive kicking on my right side.  So she gave me orders to schedule an ultrasound appointment ASAP (before my next appointment, which is Tuesday) so that they can determine whether or not the baby is actually breech.

If the baby is in fact head down then all is good, and we proceed as normal.

If the baby is breech, then I have two options.

1. Have an External Cephalic Version (ECV; more information about that here) where they will basically try to force the baby to turn.  This will need to happen next week if we're going to go this route. 

These are effective about 50% of the time. But there is also a chance that even if he does turn during the procedure, he'll flip right back over.  Some babies apparently just prefer to be head up.

It is fairly low risk for both me and the baby, but it is a procedure that has to be done in the hospital.  I'll have to get an IV and blood drawn, and I can't eat anything after midnight to night before the procedure because in some instances emergency c-sections have to take place and so they would prep me as if it was going to be surgery.  It's apparently fairly painful/uncomfortable so an epidural will be offered, although some people chose to have it done without pain meds.

2. Schedule a C-Section - Not ideal, obviously, since a c-section is major abdominal surgery.  But it's tempting nonetheless since DH goes back to school on my due date, and having the baby a few days early would mean he could be there with me without any problem.

I was able to get an ultrasound appointment for tomorrow at a satellite center north of the city (north of where I live, even.) It's not as ideal as have this done at the hospital, which is a 10 minute drive from work for me, but they were booked up through the end of the next week, even for their "emergency" appointments, which this is apparently considered.  (So, what happens if there is a real emergency??? I admit that I don't need an emergency appointment, but if I did, what would they do???)

The good news is, I don't need to think about this much more than I already have until after tomorrow, when we will know for certain whether he really is breech or not.  I'm glad that I'm getting it out of the way sooner rather than later, because having to go through the weekend "not knowing" would drive me crazy. 

Furthermore, we're taking a childbirth class this weekend and if I'm going to have to have a c-section, then is taking a childbirth class even worth it!?!??!

Week 35

The level of movement that I feel these days is incredible.  It's not just at certain times of the day anymore, it's pretty much constant.  Rarely more than an hour goes by where I don't feel huge, rolling waves of movement that are clearly visible even through my shirt.

All movement is still focused on the right side of my body, and that is clearly where he prefers to hang out.  Some nights I lay on my back and look at how my stomach is sagging to the right.  I use my hands to "push" him to the left and it's hilarious to see him just plop back to the right side.

Until recently, I never had a strong sense of his size.  I felt little movements here and there but it was never enough to really understand that a small, 5 pound human was moving around in there.  I used to read the emails that said "your baby is as big as a pineapple" but had a hard time visualizing that.  Now I feel movement from all directions and can really tell that there's something massive growing in there.  I can tell that not only is there is something the size of a large pineapple in there, it also has arms and legs.  I continue to not believe that he's still going to continue to get bigger.  At this point I think I'll be in denial forever.

We had our last baby shower two weekends ago and I am officially done with long, 5 to 6 hour car drives.  A while back we had to decide whether or not we were going to attend a wedding on August 6th, even though it was within that "last four weeks" window of time when they recommend you stay close to home.  Ultimately, I decided that I didn't want to take the risk and we decided not to go.  Now, I am sooo glad that we decided that way.  After all of these showers and parties and long drives in the car I realized that there is  NO WAY that I'm going to be up for that in three more weeks.  Absolutely no way.

Anyway, the week 35 picture is more of a full body one, taken by DH.  I'm going to use this soon in a comparison like I did at 26 weeks.  If I cringed then, I'm probably going to faint this time.

With a shirt on it's still pretty obvious that I am huge... but then I take the shirt off....

If I didn't know better, I would say that there were two in there.

It's like a bullet protruding from my abdomen.  No wonder people are always asking how I feel - I look so uncomfortable!!!

Comparison coming soon....

One Month Countdown and the Post Where I Really Complain

Yesterday marked the start of the official "one month countdown."  Just a little over 4 weeks from yesterday, this baby is due. 31 short (or long, depending on how they go) days.

This weekend was spent trying to purge and organize.  We got rid of a lot of stuff as we try to make room for a "playroom," baby swing, high chair, bottle supplies and baby dishes and food makers and everything else that won't fit in our tiny kitchen.  We spend Saturday morning shopping at Babies R Us, Target and Wal-Mart, making some returns and trying to get all of the last minute things that we still needed or wanted (mostly wanted, I suppose.)  Even though I got a solid 8 hours of sleep on Friday night, after 3 or so hours of that, I spent the early part of the afternoon watching my husband buzz around like a honeybee while I could do little more than lay on the couch and watch. 

Even when I tried to help by sitting on the floor to go through something, my hips and back started aching so intensely so quickly that I almost immediately became cranky.  Making me throw stuff away is always a sure fire way to make me cranky, but add into the mix the fact that I was uncomfortable made it 10 times worse.  I tried to hide it, but I know I failed. 

A few weeks ago, I could stand for awhile, and then sit for a while, lay down for awhile and then walk for awhile and the constant changing of position kept me relatively.  Now everything is a challenge.  Let's start with standing.  I can't really stand for more than 60 minutes - if I'm lucky - without my feet and back aching to the point where I can't help but comment on it (some might call it complaining - I like I think of it as "vocalizing my discomforts.")  I feel like DH is sick of hearing me talk about my aches and pains, although I don't know that for sure.  My hip bones also now sometimes hurt during the day - it's like I can physically feel them starting to spread.  It is not an image that I find comforting. 

Sitting should surely be comfortable than standing, right?  Ha! I wish! When I'm sitting my feet almost instantly start swelling (remember those long horrible car rides I wrote about awhile back?) Whether it's on the floor, on a chair, in the car, nothing seems to be very comfortable, although sitting on the bed or on the couch seem to my best bets these days for minimizing the discomfort.

Sleeping and laying down is also less pleasant these days.  My hips ache in ways I never new existed.  They (or maybe that's me) groan in misery every time I roll over onto a new side.  I want to lay on my back more than anything, but then my back hurts and I have images of cutting off the circulation to my child.   So I roll back over onto my side and try to fall asleep.  Of course, even the mere act of trying to turn over is difficult.  Until recently I was still able to go from a laying to a sitting up position in bed by simply using my stomach muscles.  Now I need at least an arm or two, and usually just end up rolling out of bed because it's easier that way.  Laying down is really one of the only ways to relieve my back pain, but now that I have this new hip pain, it means that I'm either hurting in one place or the other.  It's a lose-lose.

In essence, life is hard now. 

DH was always more productive, more energetic, and just overall more effective than I ever was at getting things done.  But now, his energy level only makes me feel more useless.  I look at how much still needs to be done around our house, I analyze my physical state of being and then I wonder how it would ever happen without him, because most of the time I feel useless.  Even with him, I know that some things may just not happen.  I try to help, try to move around and get as much done as possible, but then when I plop onto the couch 10 minutes later feeling sore and exhausted I can't help but feel guilty. 

I need to learn my limits, because my limits are now much more physical than just mental. I need to remember that no one benefits if I wear myself to point of breaking down.  I lose it much more quickly these days.  I over did it with being on feet on Saturday and I am still hurting from that.  I knew I  was overdoing it too.  But I wanted to get that shopping down, I wanted to get stuff put away, I wanted to finish the laundry... etc, etc, etc.

I also need how to learn to deal with the guilt of not being helpful.  I should stress that this is self-imposed guilt and that DH doesn't try to make me feel guilty.  But simply by being his normal, busy-body productive self - and occasionally showing general, normal frustration about all of the things that still need to be done (that I am clearly not helping with) - I feel bad for not being more helpful.  For the first 32 to 34 weeks of this pregnancy I was fairly symptom free and he got used to that, but now that aches and pains and tiredness has hit me like a ton of bricks, it's meant that both of need to drastically re-evaluate my abilities and the expectations regarding how much I really can do.  He already does a LOT, and now he's in a position where he might need to do even more.  I feel bad for him.... oh wait, there's that guilt again!

I still really want to be helpful, but not at the expense of too much pain and tears.  I have a feeling that there's going to be plenty of even more intense pain in the near future, so I'd like to be as comfortable as possible in these final few weeks.  And hopefully I can be at least be somewhat helpful in the process.

Highchair for a Baby Murph

Continuing the trend of testing out our baby products with Murphy....

I present to you.... 

.... The Highchair.

And because a dog in a highchair isn't nearly funny enough, we thought we'd add alcohol.

No - the martini is NOT mine.   (Although oh how I wish it was....)

Too cute, right??? It's like that thing was made for him. 

Maternity Outfits - Part 2

Time for Part 2 of the Maternity Outfits series!!

Here we go!!

Shirt: Free (from a co-worker)
Skirt: $1, Gabe's maternity clearance rack (and yes, it's actually a maternity skirt, although that doesn't really seem to matter with skirts)
Total cost: $1

I didn't like this shirt at all when I first got it, because it was too baggy in the belly, but I knew it had potential so I kept it.  Then I found that $1 gray skirt at Gabe's and suddenly this became one of my favorite outfits!  Now that I'm bigger, the shirt is more fitted, but without being uncomfortable.  Love it!!!

Shirt: Free (hand me down)
Skirt: Free (already owned, non-maternity skirt)
Total cost: Free

This one barely seems worth mentioning since I didn't spend a penny on it, but I love it as a work outfit since it's primarily black and looks more formal than most of my other maternity outfits.  Again, this shirt didn't really do much for me early on, but now that I'm bigger and fill it out, I like it!

Shirt: Free (hand me down)
Cami: $6.99, Gabe's
Capris: Free (hand me down)
Total cost: $6.99

These hand-me-downs really got a lot of wear starting in the 3rd trimester.  Most of it was too big for any earlier, and this is definitely not my favorite outfit in the world, but it adds some nice diversity to my wardrobe and is perfect for a cooler day when wearing two shirts and long-ish pants doesn't make sweat buckets.

Dress: $12.99, Gabe's (but it's Liz Lange Maternity/Target)
Total: $12.99

You've seen this dress before from the hospital wedding, but it's worth showing again.  Now that I'm a little bigger, it's getting a little shorter, and nothing gives me an outie belly button like this dress, but I still feel good in and love the ruffle collar.  It looks more and more like a hot air balloon from the side view (which I don't have a picture of right now) but with the bust area being more fitted, I'm generally ok with the "frump."

Shirt: $10.99
Skirt: Free (already owned, from Target)
Total cost: $10.99

This is more than I would usually pay for a shirt - especially a shirt that I didn't originally love - but as I started outgrowing most of my maternity wardrobe I found myself needing to purchase things that fit, even if the look wasn't totally what I was going for.  This shirt can be a little frumpy, but it's my favorite frump shirt. It's got a floral ruffle collar at the top and the gray color in the shirt matches the skirt color perfectly.  It's actually a cuter outfit in person than it is in this picture!  You'll see this outfit again soon when I show pictures of the "cabin shower."

Well, that's all for now!  If I get enough outfits together to do another post, I'll do one more.  Otherwise, I hope you enjoyed!

The Glider

Have I written about our glider yet?  I feel like I did, but I can't seem to find the post.  It was one of the bigger ticket items on our registry that we figured we might not get (since it was pretty expensive) but we really wanted on so we decided to put it on there anyway.

Well, DH's Dad and step-mom were oh-so-kind and bought it for us!  We were thrilled!!!

The glider wood color matches the color of the crib and the spray painted dressers perfectly.

One of our main criteria for a glider was that it have a high back, so that we could rest our head's back during the many long hours that we'll inevitably spend in this chair.

Here, DH demonstrates how he is going to rest and burp the baby.

Burping success.

I took the decidely more "lounging" approach.  Note the water marks on my belly.  I can't wash dishes without getting my shirt wet these days. 

We love the glider and were so glad to be able to "complete" this room.  It was the last piece of furniture we wanted.

Murphy loves the glider too, but has a love/hate relationship with it.  You see we've never had a rocking chair in our house, so he does not understand the concept of moving furniture.  For the most part, he can jump up onto the chair part of the glider with only mild terror at the fact that it moves.  But the ottoman is a whole other story.

For the first couple days that we had the thing set up, he would go into the room and try to jump onto the ottoman, only to quickly be thrown to the floor.  He would recover, get up, and take on a defensive stance, like he thought the ottoman might try something a second time.  When that didn't happen, he'd usually walk away.  After this happened two or three times, he gave up, and has not tried to jump onto either the chair or the ottoman since.

It's probably better that way.  At least one piece of furniture in our house won't be covered in dog fur. 


Frumpy clothes make you look frumpy

I know I've talked a lot about how frumpy clothes make you look frumpy, but I haven't really shown any pictures of that.  It's not because I never wore any frumpy clothes, for I certainly did.  But since frumpy isn't exactly stylish, I didn't take any pictures of myself them, and those outfits were few and far between.

I officially prefer fitted clothes.  Pregnant or not - or perhaps because I am pregnant at all - I like to remember that my body has (or at least used to have) some shape.  Sometimes I feel self-conscious when my shirt is fitted and you can easily see my half-outtie belly button showing through.  I think about changing my shirt to put on something that won't accentuate that so much, but then I stop myself.  Why does it matter?  Why do I care??  I'm pregnant, enormous, and bulging.  Of COURSE my belly button is sometimes going to show through my shirt.

Embrace the pregnant form, ladies.  There's nothing to hide.

BUT..... now, at the 34 week mark, a lot of those cute maternity clothes that I used to love and wear all the time no longer fit.  Or at least the word "fitted" has taken on new meaning.  Very sad.  :o(

So I've found myself resorting to some of the frumpier options in the bottom of my drawers, at least as far as shirts are concerned.  Ya gotta do what 'cha gotta do, right?

This outfit is one of my frumpier outfits.  The skirt is something that I owned previously and the shirt was a hand-me-down that was originally waaaay too big and is now only mostly too big.  It doesn't look so bad from the front, right?

But when you get the side view....

You're all like, "HOLY HELL! That is one frumpy-ass shirt!"

Or at least that's what I'm thinking.

But seriously, no one can tell me that I look great in that side view picture above.  I seriously look like the "beached whale" that I so often feel like.  I look like I gained 75 pounds instead of 29.  I look like I'm wearing a hot air balloon.  I look awful.

And yet I still posted this picture on the internet.  Mostly to prove to myself that I was right in believing that frumpy clothes make me look frumpy.  Back to my regularly scheduled tight-fitting shirts, pronto.


In early June, I attended the first of the four baby showers that are being hosted in our honor this summer.  Well, I guess I should say that three are being hosted in our honor - the fourth is being hosted by DH "for" me, although we have both been integral parts of the planning process.  More on that shower later, since - yet - it's already happened.  Yes, I am that behind in posting.

In any case....

Shower #1 was and will be the only traditional baby shower that we're having.  But still, there were an impressive 22 (or maybe more?) people there, and I was definitely honored that so many people showed up.  It was held at a cute little shop in my hometown that also has a restaurant and hosts small gatherings.

The theme was rubber duckies, which was appropriate given my love for ducks as a youth and since - although ducks also work well for a baby boy shower because they usually are accompanied by blue colors for the water.  If we hadn't decided to do the jungle theme in our baby room - which I absolutely love and have no regrets about - I might have thought about doing a duck theme.

Anyway, we dined on spaetzle soup and salad, and then had cake, which was amazingly delicious.  Everyone filled out little "advice" cards and I'm going to do a separate post on some of the advice that I received.  Everyone also receive a little thing of scented hand lotion with a little rubber duck attached to the top and there was a Baby Lottery card where everyone got a scratch off ticket and the person who had three babies on their scratch off won a prize! It was really cute!

After food and cake it was present opening time. I can't even believe how much stuff we received.  It was really overwhelming.  It probably didn't help that I was super self-conscious about my too-short shrunken dress, or the fact that the place wasn't air-conditioned and I was - for some reason - sweating like crazy.  But my, oh my, did we get so many amazing things.

My niece had the very important job of passing me the presents, handing the opened cards to her mom (who was keeping track of who gave us what), taking the wrapping paper and putting it into a garbage bag, taking the opened gifts and putting them behind the chair, and all the while having the next gift ready to go.  Seriously that girl was multi-tasking like crazy and never fell behind.  She's got a bright future, that one...

Anyway, we got SOOOO much stuff.  Almost all of the bedding and blankets that we wanting, our baby Bjorn, the car seat and stroller (which you've already seen but was from my mom), the pack-and-play, the high chairs, bottles, bibs, utensils, bowls, toys.... seriously, I could go on and on and on.  I was overwhelmed by all of the stuff that we got and at that point could NOT believe that there was anything left on our registries for the other showers that would be coming up.  The generosity was amazing. 

Anyway, it was a great time and we are still working on getting everything washed and readied for the nursery.  Thanks so much, everyone! And especially to my mom, sisters, and aunts who did so much working getting things ready!


I have recently started feeling extremely emotional.  The pregnancy books made me think that these feelings are more or less normal early on in pregnancy, but I never had any problems.  These days though I often feel so overwhelmed, or so exhausted, or so.. just something.... that tears start streaming down my face and I can't even speak.  If you know me at all, you know this is SO uncharacteristic of me.

Is it all just related to hormones? Or is it something else?  The physical pains that I have been experiencing lately certainly seem to play a part.  For example, on Saturday morning I was trying to help get things set up for a baby shower.  I was having horribly painful cramps and Braxton Hicks contractions and really could not help so I went inside to lay down.  I felt incredibly guilty for not helping more, because I knew there was a lot that had to be done.  I also hadn't eaten anything for breakfast yet, and there wasn't really anything available other than things like chips and pretzels, and I wanted to avoid the salt.  DH was working hard outside and I didn't want to take him away from helping, especially since I was being so useless. So I allowed well over two hours to pass between the time I woke up and the time that I literally broke down in tears because I was so hungry and so uncomfortable that I couldn't take it anymore.  I was so emotional I was basically irrational and couldn't make decisions or respond to questions.  For the next couple of hours I felt like I was constantly on the verge of tears. 

I have also felt incredibly lonely lately.  I can be with a group of people and be carrying on a conversation and everything would appear completely normal on the outside.  But inside I feel so vacant and disconnected from everyone else, like I'm not really a part of what's going on around me. It's as if I go through the motions of what I think is probably expected of me in that situation without really being aware or even remembering that it ever happened at all, which is very unlike me. 

I realize that I am not the best self-advocator.  I have internal battles over whether or not I should speak up so that I am happy and comfortable, or if I should just keep my mouth shut and suck it up.  I usually don't say anything because I don't want to seem selfish.  But then I just start feeling even more disconnected and it snowballs until the issue is too big for me to deal with without breaking down.  Like in the situation above, I mentioned something once to DH about needing to eat, but didn't push it, nor did I take any action on my part, like just going somewhere myself.  I know that I am partly - if not mostly - to blame, but I also felt that pushing harder would have made me look incredibly selfish.  The internal debate went on for so long that I reached my breaking point.

I've also been having a lot of "last" and "never again" realizations.

"This is the last time that we'll be here with a child." 

"In a month and a half we will never again be able to go out to eat again without worrying about who is going to watch the baby, or whether or not he'll behave if he comes along." 

"The next time we see you, we'll have a son." 

I am an intense introvert.  I am an extremely internal person, and I tend to process things for an extended period of time before being able to clearly articulate my feelings on the topic.  Although I've had plenty of time to "process" the life changes that are about to take place, I am certain that there is still a lot of work to be done in that area before I can say with any sense of confident that I feel ready.  I think these "last" and "never again" realizations scare the living crap out of me. I don't know how to deal with them, or how to process through them.  I am no longer in control.

 I recognize that most new parents will never feel completely ready, but another aspect of my personality is that I like to plan ahead as much as possible - I do not enjoy "surprises."  (Gifts or birthday surprises don't count - I'm talking about change of plan surprises.)  But I don't know how to adequately prepare myself - or DH, for whom the changes will likely be even more significant since until the birth he won't really play an active role - for all of those unexpected surprises.  I know there will be hard times, but how I can prepare now for that?

I should also add that I'm not feeling this way all the time, so don't start worrying that I'm super depressed or anything like that.  That's not the case at all.  But the intensity of emotion and detachment that I feel at least a couple times a week is so unlike me, that I definitely feel it's worth mentioning.

Are these sorts of feelings normal?  Has anyone else ever felt this way?

Week 34 - Picture, Dr. Appointment and Updates

I had my 34 week doctor appointment today. I'll go again in 36 weeks and then after that it's every week until delivery day!  Scheduling these appointments is getting to be hard, because I'm only scheduling them a week or two in advance and I really need morning appointment times.  They'll let me book up to two appointments at a time, but no more than that, so I'm going to have to just cross my fingers that I can get morning appointments for those last couple of weeks.  I like being able to do morning appointments - that way, I can go there before work, and just get to work a little later than normal (which is no big deal.)  Plus, there is still plenty of parking at the doctor's office (parking in Oakland can be a pain), still plenty of parking when I get to work, and the office is usually still running on schedule in the mornings.  Lots and lots of reasons why I do not want to have to come to work, leave mid-day, park, go to appointment, return back to work and have to park again. It just seems to take up so much time.

Wow, that was quite a rant... let's break things up with a picture.

Wow-ser, I'm big.

Anyway, everything is still going well.  Critter was still head down today, and still somewhat sideways, but the "mostly head down" piece is good news.  I am visibly heavier and bigger on my right side because that's where his butt is sticking out, and where his feet constantly kick me.  The nurse's aid actually laughed at how lopsided I looked when I pulled my shirt up so that they could check the heartbeat.

They found white blood cells in my urine, which could mean an impending infection.  I told them I wasn't having any other problems and explained that the abnormal urine could be from the fact that I ate about a pound and a half of pure salt this past weekend while traveling. I'm fairly certain I am STILL dehydrated from it. 

Other updates.

Weight gained so far: 29 pounds (but I bet at least some of that is water weight from the salt-fest weekend)

Stretch marks: Still none (but I still have at least 6 weeks to go!)

Belly Button: Still having an identity crisis; she's not sure if she wants to be an innie or an outie. 
BUT, the good news is that my obsession with my belly button has seemed to finally pass.  I think that's mostly because it no longer feels "weird" so I'm not constantly thinking about it. However the other day when I was choking on cranberry juice, I swear I felt it pop out and then back in.  Weirdest and grossest feeling yet.

6 (SIX!!?!!?) weeks left.  Let's break that down into days.  42 (FORTY TWO!?!?!?) days!

33 Weeks - Things I've Learned

I am now through week 33, with only 7 more to go.  The weight is finally starting to slow me down.  I used to be a super fast walker and now am just a normal walker, but depending on the day, sometimes I am out of breath even after a short walk.

I've gained 27 pounds so far, and assuming that I gain an average of 1 per week from here on out, hopefully I won't top out at more than 35 pounds gained total, which I am perfectly comfortable with.

There are some things that I've learned, the past couple of weeks, that I think
1. When cooking with the stove-top, remember your belly
Yesterday I was cooking stir-fry and noticed that my stomach was incredibly hot.  Turns out it's a lot closer to the heat than it used to be during my cook-fests.  I also somehow got a little soy sauce on it. Oops.  I'm just glad I didn't burn it.

2. When clothing isn't required, go without
Increasingly, I am running out of clothing items that fit comfortably, and still look good on me.  Somehow, my chest continues to grow, making it nearly inappropriate to wear many of the cute maternity tank tops I purchased awhile back. Additionally, many shirts that are more fitted irritate my incredibly sensitive belly skin, and creates an almost sort of chaffing feeling.  When I'm home, I now am exclusively clad in nothing more than a sports bra and some running shorts.

3. People are going to comment on your size
When someone tells you "look great," just say "thanks."  There's no reason to try to argue with them - they'll just argue with you more.  People are going to comment about your size.  It sucks, but get used to it. 

Actually I'm sure I've learned a lot more than those 3 things, but they're really standing out for me right now. 

Anyway, believe it or not, 33 weeks was LAST week so tomorrow you'll get to see the pic from 34 weeks! Woo hoo!

Just Try to Understand

As I near closer and closer to the 6 week countdown, I have really been reflecting on just how much crap pregnant women put up with.  There are so many sacrifices to be made, so many changes to your body that you have absolutely no control over.  And every woman is different, so even if you've personally been through it before, you can't totally relate to what someone else might be going through (or at least I don't feel like I can totally relate.)

I have decided that the saying is true - A woman becomes a mother at the moment that she finds out she's pregnant.  A man becomes a father at some point after that.  Maybe it's early on in the pregnancy, maybe it's not until the final weeks, and for many, if not most, maybe it's not until the child is actually here (hopefully it happens at that point.)  A woman immediately needs to start making sacrifices.  She needs to start making major changes in her lifestyle, diet, habits, and so many other things.  Men don't need to do that.  If they'd like, they can just go on with their lives as if nothing at all has changed, when it reality so much has changed that it's mind boggling.  Nearly a full year can pass before the father has to admit that things might have to change. 

The list that I've created below is just a sample of the things that I have thought over the past 8 months when I really feel like my husband (or sometimes other people around me) doesn't understand how hard this whole thing can be on me.  As much as they might try, I'm convinced that men will just never understand.  I'm guessing that I am not the first person to feel this way, and I certainly won't be the last, but if there are any male readers out there - particularly if you don't have any kids yet - keep some of these things in mind as you try to be the best support person your significant other could ever hope for.

You might think that having to "put up" with us during this period of time is challenging enough, but do you think you would be willing to make so many changes to your life at the drop of a hat? It's crazy to think that women do it all the time.

Just try to understand, and remember that..... 
  • You don't throw up when you think about or eat food.
  • You don't throw up when you don't eat food.
  • You're allowed to eat deli meat.
  • You can still stand for more than an hour without being in pain.
  • You can still drink alcohol.
  • You can go on carnival rides.
  • You don't feel left out on all of the fun.
  • You can still consume caffeine in mass quantities if you want.
  • You can still drink diet sodas without worrying whether or not the chemicals are going to hurt your child.
  • Your hip bones are not spreading.
  • You're not trying to sleep on your side, when all you really want is to sleep on your back.
  • Your arms and legs don't go numb if you do sleep on your back. 
  • Your skin is not stretching to point of tearing.    
  • You don't have stretch marks.
  • Your belly button is an innie, and it intends to stay that way.
  • You can bend over at the waist without extreme discomfort.
  • You have a waist.
  • You can put your own shoes on.
  • You can see your feet.
  • Your legs aren't swollen.
  • Your clothes still fit.
  • You're not gaining weigh at an unprecedented rate.
  • Your doctor isn't calling you a fatty. 
  • Your chest isn't expanding.
  • Your chest isn't tender and sore.
  • You are not being kicked by a creature inside of you.
  • You do not have to deal with waking up from aforementioned creature's nightly hiccups.
  • You don't have to go to the bathroom every hour.
  • You can make it through the night without waking up to go to the bathroom four times.
  • You don't have massive amounts of hormones raging through your body.
  • You're not emotional and overly sensitive. 
  • Your nose hasn't been permanently stuffed up for the past 9 months. 
  • Your lungs, stomach, and abdomen are properly positioned in your abdomen.
  • You can eat a normal sized meal without feeling like you're going to explode.
  • You're not constantly tired.  
  • You're not carrying around an extra 30 pounds of weight in your abdomen. 
  • You don't have to push a bowling out an extremely sensitive area of your body. 
  • People don't constantly comment on your weight. 
Ladies - what else would you add? 

Stingray excitement

Last weekend DH and I attended a wedding and the reception was held at the Pittsburgh Zoo inside the PPG Aquarium.  If we were to do it again - and if we could afford - we would totally think about having our reception here.  It was awesome.  Great food, an awesome venue (with more to do and see than just drink alcohol during cocktail hour - score for the pregnant lady!), and a cute-as-can-be couple made it an all around awesome evening, sober or otherwise.

I have a lot of pictures go through from the evening and I'll be doing a full post about it at some point, but for now I leave you with this picture of my reaction when I touched an actual stingray!  Can I just say - SOOOO slimy!!

Have an amazing weekend!


At my 32 week doctor's appointment, she confirmed with me what I had already been thinking - Baby Hartman had finally flipped.  I had been feeling a lot of kicking higher up in my abdomen, and even though it's still too early to say for sure whether or not he'll stay there, she was fairly confident that he was finally head down.

Great news!

Then this morning, I woke up at around 5 a.m. and the little guy was kicking like crazy.  I couldn't fall back asleep (sooooo sad) and finally got out of bed around 6.  I showered, turned on the TV and started putting on my make-up.  All was well.  Then dried my hair.  Pretty normal morning, right?  Although it was a bit strange since little Critter was kicking more than usual.

Then I started straightening my hair, and that's when "IT" happened.

This tiny little baby inside of me started peddling his feet like he was on a bicycling.  It was like he was pumping for dear life, so ferociously.  I felt the feet peddle at the top of my belly and then all the way down my right side.  I could literally feel my organs being pummeled in there.  I felt sick to my stomach and wanted to throw up, but there was nothing in my stomach to throw up. 

I stood there for a moment, in shock, and incredibly nauseous.  The peddling was now happening exclusively on what I initially thought was my bladder, but now I realize it as something else, since it just hurt incredibly bad and didn't actually make me feel like I had to go to the bathroom.  What other organs are down there? Intestines? Kidneys? I have no idea.  In any case, it hurt so bad, it bent me over.

I couldn't remain standing, the nausea was so bad, so I went and laid down for about 10 minutes, and slowly the intense movement passed.  I still felt sick, but at least I could finally stand up.  It was clear by the continued occasional kick though, that he was now - once again - butt down, instead of head down.

I left for work nearly 20 minutes late because of this ordeal, but honestly, when I was happening I wasn't sure that I would go to work at all.  All morning he was still more active than he ever is - it's so strange. 

The good news is, I think he's flipped back, as I now once again feel the kicking closer to my ribs.  I still feel sick, and am completely exhausted (either from the lack of sleep, or being pummeled in the organs, who knows?).  I certainly hope that he never pulls a stunt like that again!! I miss my sleepy, complacent and well-behaved little fetus!!!


I realize that I never wrote about our baby registering experiences.  I say experiences because we registered at 3 different places.  So, even though it's long past the fact, I think it's valuable enough to share our story. 

Registering for gifts is one of the hardest things in the world.  I used to romanticize it, like I think many people do, as this amazingly fun time when you get to walk around a store with a laser gun and shoot at all of the things that you've ever wanted.

In reality though, registering is exhausted.  We learned that during our wedding registry experience, and so we were prepared for a similarly difficult experience on the baby front, but it still kicked our butts.

We are now the proud owners of three baby registries - one at Wal-Mart, Target, and Babies R Us.  The Wal-Mart registry is mostly for people from my hometown, since there aren't any Targets or BrUs's nearby, and there are a handful of older relatives invited to my shower that don't really use computers.

But our Babies R Us registry - the first one we did - really kicked our collective butts.  We started out bright and early on a Saturday morning (I highly recommend the morning route if you must go on a weekend - by the time we left, people were waiting in line for registry guns and the place was swamped.)  We followed the advice of the woman at the registry desk and started with some of the bigger items - stroller and carseat.  I had done some research previously on the best/safest car seats, but once we got to Babies R Us we realized it was going to be harder than we initially thought to find something that was both highly rated and that we liked. 

Ultimately, we decided to take a different route - we would register for things that we liked, and then take them off later if they weren't good. (And by "we," I really mean that I would read reviews and take them off later....)  We were at BrUS for about 3 hours, and we did hit most of the big items, but it was so hard to chose things. Most of it doesn't seem like stuff that we really "need," but I know that it's stuff that most people get.  We weren't sure what were "must have" items and what would just be nice to have.  We spent at least 1/2 an hour looking at cribs, and then ultimately deleting the one we selected from the registry.  We spent some time in the gliders (my favorite part of the day) but didn't chose one because most of them were broken or really worn from them being the floor models (same with the cribs, somehow) and so they all seemed super crappy.  We picked bouncers and bedding, mobiles, and monitors.  And finally, after we were both way past cranky, we decided to leave, even though there was an entire half of the store we hadn't hit yet.  Oh well...

My mom and I did our Wal-Mart registry and I'm not sure if this is true of all Wal-Marts or just the one we happened to go to, but their registry system sucked.  First of all, their customer service people didn't even really know how to get us set up with it.  Then we had to log into this machine, which wasn't working, and they didn't know how to fix it.  Somehow we ended up with a registry gun, and fortunately were able to get through the 4 or 5 aisles of baby stuff in an hour and a half or so. 

But we learned later that the Wal-Mart registry woes didn't end there.  People had a hard time using the registry, the cashiers wouldn't scan the registry at all if you didn't give it to them at the beginning of the order, and thus we got a ton of duplicate items and a bunch of things that weren't on the registry at all.  Oh well.... it's easy enough to return things to Wal-Mart so in the end it worked out.

Target was the last place that we registered.  I decided to get DH a little liquored up before this trip, and let me tell you, THAT is what you need to do to get your husband into registering.  He was silly and fun, and especially considering how much we were initially dreading doing yet another registry, this one was most enjoyable.  Yes, he ended up scanning about a dozen toys that we certainly didn't "need" but that were "neat," and at least 2 dozens books.  Fun, random things may or may not have ended up on our registry, including some silly bath toys.  Oh well... kids love silly bath toys, right?  If we were debating one item over another, I could use my sober influence to sway him in my direction, and he was relaxed enough to shrug it off and move on to the next item.  It. Was. Awesome.

So ladies, take this piece of advice - before registering, take your husband out to dinner, make sure he has at least 3 beers, and then head straight to the store to do the registering before the buzz wears off. It will make the experience so much more pleasant for the both of you.

Maternity Outfits Part 1

Since I've talked so much about maternity clothing, I thought I'd showcase some of the outfits that I've been wearing the past few weeks (mostly to work) to show you that it really it possible to have a cute maternity wardrobe without spending a fortune.  (Well, I suppose that's really subjective.  After all, if you don't agree that my outfits are cute, then this post is useless to you.  Don't tell me if you don't think I'm cute. I need positive moral support these days.)  

This first outfit is actually 100% purchased new, but still not super expensive.
Pants: Motherhood Maternity, $18 on sale
Shirt: Gabe's, $10 and NOT a maternity shirt (but I did buy size XL, when usually I wear a medium)
Shoes: Gabe's, $5
Total cost: $33

This dress was given to me by a co-worker who is done having kids.  It's not something that I would have purchased for myself, but it was 100% free and it fits, which at this point, is good enough for me!
Total: $0

This isn't a particularly exciting outfit (brown skirt, white shirt, ehh..) but it's still work appropriate and comfortable, so I love it. You've already seen it in my week 30 picture update.  The shirts with side ruching weren't my favorites a few weeks ago, but now that I fill them out, I totally understand why pregnant women rave about shirts with side ruching.
Shirt: Target Liz Lange Maternity, $4.84 on clearance
Skirt: From my sister's old maternity wardrobe
Total: $4.84

 Last outfit for this post.  This one includes the same black capris that were part of the first outfit, with yet another non-maternity shirt and a maternity camisole tanktop.  I loved this outfit a few weeks ago when it was a little cooler.  Now that the temps are in the 80s and 90s, I can't handle the double layer of shirts, or the length and snugness of the capris. 

Pants: Motherhood Maternity, $18 on sale
Shirt: Gabe's, $12.99 and once again, not a maternity shirt. It just happens to be super stretchy.
Camisole tank top: Gabe's, $6.99
Total cost: $37.98

By far one of my most expensive outfits, but I assure you that I wore this is a ton in the spring, so even if I never wear any of those pieces again (which I will) I still got my moneys worth.

Is this interesting to anyone other than me?  Should I still do a Part 2 of this topic??

32 week update

I officially have only 8 weeks to go, and let's hope that it's ONLY 8 weeks left to go, and not 9 or 10 or even more...

This little guy now weighs nearly 4 pounds.  4 pounds sounds like SOOO much.

Don't you agree that it looks a lot bigger when it's not behind clothing?  Clothing is clearly more flattering than no clothing, but man.. when it's hot out, it's hard to want to cover that thing up!!!

My feet and ankles now swell like an inflated balloon if I stand for more than hour, wear shoes that are even remotely snug, and sometimes even if I'm just sitting there.  Swollen feet are hella ugly, and I hate them, but the Google machine tells me that there's not a whole lot that I can do other than to keep my circulation going and to drink more water.  Ugh...

I started experiencing Braxton-Hicks contractions recently.  My stomach gets hard and tight for short periods of time, and the it relaxes.  It's totally not painful but somewhat uncomfortable since I feel like a sharp jab would cause me to pop.

But then I started feeling cramps as well.  Oh my... cramps I do not like.  I never used to get cramps, and man, do I hate them.  Yesterday I felt "crampy" for nearly the entire day.  I had a hard time focusing at work and sort of felt nauseous for much of the day.  It subsided by about 4 p.m., which was nice, but I hope these cramps don't become a regular occurrence. 

I also had another migraine this week - I'm pretty sure it's only the 2nd or 3rd (it's probably good that I can't remember, right?) migraine that I've had during this pregnancy, so that's amazing, considering that I got through the spring and allergy season without any major problems.  I'm going to continue to try to minimize the sodium that I ingest with hopes that will help ward off any other headaches.  And besides, sodium isn't really good for anyone, right? 

This last picture really exemplifies the basketball size of my abdomen.  Bye bye, waistline!  Bye bye, belly button!  Look at how round and huge!! Oh my... I will say this a thousand more times between now and D-day, but I seriously cannot believe that I have 8 more weeks to go and I'm going to come out of this ordeal alive.  Oi....