The Girls: A Better Glimpse

Not gonna lie, even looking back through these pictures it occurs to me: that wasn’t easy. Three girls across the spectrum of ages — a pre-teen, a toddler and an almost three-month old infant. Learned a lot from shooting them, though. Everyone needs to have a snack or at least a full tummy and coordinating outfits/planning ahead DOES make good sense. If given the chance, I’d definitely do a lot of things differently on my end. Thankfully the kids are cute — so that made the event not suck in the end.

Enjoy!

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Jay’s Girls: June 2011

My best friend from waaaaayyy back was in town in June and I took photos of her girls then. These are just a few that I’ve mulled through this far. More to come, of course, some random Friday night down the road when I sit and do this again…until then, Alivia, Stella and Amelia.

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Infant Photos: Drew. Day One, Five and Thirty

This was my first hospital visit to see a baby since, well, probably my 23-year-old brother was born! It was good to see what I’m in for in just 11 short weeks (well, 11 weeks now…I’m a bit delayed in photo updates). The cool thing I’ve discovered tonight are these gallery settings. I’m going to try out the slideshow on this one…why not, right?!

Drew, Day One. I’ve known him his WHOLE life!!

 

Maternity Photos: Andrea, June 2011

Andrea is one of my best friends and her maternity photos we took (my first-ever try) exactly eight days before Drew’s arrival. I think we got some good ones for me being a total novice!

 

Understand Your Insurance Coverage, Ladies

Ok, the insurance debacle is one that we all struggle with. Isn’t it confusing trying to determine what’s covered, what’s not, what you pay, what your employer pays and what the insurance company pays? Or what your doctor charges.

So, today I decided to look up how much more I had to pay toward the looming $5,000 out of pocket maximum that I’ve been dreading. We got a bill that exceeds our mortgage payment that we’re responsible for. Knew it was coming, but it still hurts to pay that.

Anyway, I start looking online at what my insurance covers, the deductible, the credit toward my out of pocket maximum, etc., and the new bills that I can expect to arrive soon. For $7 and $20. Weird, why aren’t they more? I was totally confused.

So, I called the UnitedHealthCare hotline. After getting miffed at the robot I was trying to get information out of (which actually gave me information), I asked to be transferred to a representative.

Keep in mind, I have done all this before. I had called, asked for how my coverage works, and repeated it back multiple times to be sure I understood. Today, I did the same thing. And, lo and behold, I’m ONLY RESPONSIBLE FOR 20% OF THE COSTS until I pay the $5K out of pocket.

Wait, huh? How did the rep several months ago let me believe that I would have to pay $5,000 before they would cover anything? How did this woman today explain it so well that I now understand that since I’ve reached my $1,500 deductible, that my insurance now covers 80% of this pregnancy and its needs…so that from here on out, if I rack up $5000 in charges, I’m still only obligated to pay $1,000?!

I just saved $4,000 (well, in my head).

I can’t explain what a relief this is and how mad I am at myself that I didn’t ask better questions/clarify sooner. The weight off my shoulders is huge and I can’t believe that we’ve now paid the ‘big bill’ of this pregnancy. Holy moly!!!

Whew, is all I can say.

29 Weeks: Status Update

It’s that time of the week to update the status of this baby growing inside me…she’s now the size of a SQUASH. I don’t know, the eggplant seemed bigger, but whatever.


Due Date:
October 20, 2011. But, I’m sticking with Week 29 status update. Why not. Call me an optimist.

Baby Developments: Baby’s energy is surging, thanks to the formation of white fat deposits beneath the skin. Baby is also settling into sleep and waking cycles though they don’t necessarily coincide with your own. Also this month, all five senses are finally functional, and the brain and nervous system are going through major developments. She’s somewhere between 15-17 inches (probably on the longer side if I had to guess) and 2.5 – 4 pounds. If baby were born today, she’d be likely to survive without TONS of medical intervention.

Weight Gain: Currently, I’m up 6.6 pounds total this pregnancy and probably up around 10 pounds now. We’ll see next Friday when I head to the doctor.

Cravings: Water, lots of water. Not doing a great job getting all the water that I crave, but I also don’t necessarily enjoy sitting on the toilet peeing for 75% of my day.

Symptoms: Don’t get grossed out (this is where you skip to the next bold part if you simply don’t want to know): discharge. They say it’s normal and it’s nothing totally bizarre, but it is a recent development. I’m H-O-T hot ALL the time. I feel menopausal (couldn’t be further from that truth, huh?) I get so damn hot. Jon can’t handle riding in the car with me because I keep it so cold.

I am loving: lots of Minnie’s movements. Now’s the time when all the baby websites tell you to start keeping track of kicks…how long it takes to feel 10. I can tell a little more what’s going on in there — when she’s stretching (discomfort on my end), when she’s rolling (or attempting to) or just freaking herself out and being jumpy. Pretty cool. Haven’t been able to tell what appendages are what, but that’s coming quick I bet.

Sleep: Need a lot of it, get tired easily, like naps and can sleep for a long time. This is probably because I am up 5 times a night to go potty.

I miss: Feeling good about the thought of wearing a dress; having a closet full of clothes to choose from.

I am looking forward to: getting going on Minnie’s room. Jon insists it’ll happen — but he’s also begun painting the garage. I won’t get into it here, but suffice it to say that it’s a point of contention in our relationship these days. Also looking forward to Molly’s shower tomorrow and her shower at home on Thursday. Getting excited for my own showers on August 21 and September 17, too!

I am spazzing about: getting the nursery complete (see: started) and figuring out our insurance. Beyond that, I feel pretty much at ease.

Best moment of the week: arriving at HOME after being on the road for three days straight.

Milestones: Signed up for birthing class, infant care class and breastfeeding class. And Jon scheduled them all in his phone/calendar, too. Both are milestones.

Movement: Minnie still is a 10 p.m. ball of activity.

It’s a….: sweet baby girl!

Exercise: I wish.

Diet: See Exercise.

Boobs & Belly Button: Went bra shopping this week twice. I MAY need a 40 DD. I don’t know, need to measure. But these things are growing at a ridiculous pace. The belly button is still deep. When I wear shirts, you can see my belly button hole because it’s so deep, and it stretches across the middle of my shirt. But, it’s not as deep as it was…but it’s not in any danger right now of ‘popping’.

Goals for the upcoming week: Help Jon paint the garage and the bathroom so that those two items are done so we can get the nursery DONE. It’s seriously giving me palpitations the more days that pass. I wish that Jon WANTED to do this for me/him/the baby but that’s just not happening. I don’t know. That’s the only goal. Oh, and to get our insurance figured out.

Preggo Pics at a Glance

I found myself wondering ‘how different DO I look’ and so I was compelled to put all the photos I’ve taken over the last couple of months in one post. Here goes….

In hindsight, I feel like the Week 27 picture looks bigger than the 28.5 picture. Guess I got a good angle this morning in the mirror, what can I say?

I’m struck by the fact that I didn’t share any ‘bump’ photos between weeks 15 and 23 and 23 and 26. That 15 to 23 week gap was where a lot of changes happened. I’m sure I have pictures somewhere at home, just need to go searching.

Ok, well there’s a look back. Only 11 more weeks to go and hopefully 11 more pictures to post!!

28.5 Weeks (or so) 

Somewhere around 29 weeks!
27 Weeks

I really should do my hair and makeup before I take and post these shots. Seriously.
26 Weeks

No denying it now…I’m for SURE pregnant.
23 Weeks

23 Weeks. Ok, I’m pregnant it turns out.
15 Weeks 

Taken May 6, 2011, 15 weeks.

 

Eight Weeks

Jon & I at the Kappa Sigma Founders Day Dinner at the Sarvis Center in Flint. March 2011.

 

Week 29(ish)

Well, I felt like I liked the color shirt I was wearing this morning and when I looked in the mirror didn’t hate my appearance, so I snapped this photo of me and the baby belly today, July 27, 2011. Based on the original due date the doctor gave me, today would be the official “Three Months To Go” date. But – as we all know – my fact-based approach to negotiating has got the due date to October 20, 2011. That means — 11 weeks to go my friends!!

Somewhere around 29 weeks!

 
Anyway, not much new to report. Sleeping is still going well. The water intake I definitely need to increase. I’ve gained just 7 pounds total during this pregnancy. Not bad, all the way around.
 
It’s surreal (I keep using that word to describe this pregnancy journey) to know that in just 11 weeks or so, we’ll have a real, live baby living at our house!! Holy crap. How did it get to be just 11 weeks?
 
I need to get a new bra. Not that you care about this, but the boobs keep growing, outpacing the belly for sure. I was a 36C, solid, before this adventure began. I’m now wearing a 38D and it is UN comfortable. Need to go tonight and see what I can find in the way of a more comfortable bra. Heck, even my sports bras are beginning to get tight (at least the older ones…the newer ones I bought a little bigger).
 
I continue to be relatively conflicted about the breastfeeding route I want to take. I know ‘they’ say it’s good (again, who are they?? Oprah’s people, I think). But — then everyone says they don’t know why exactly it’s good. So, if you don’t know what’s good about it, how do you know it’s good? I guess I’m just not passionate about breastfeeding the way some women are. I believe that there are a lot of paths towards getting the baby the nutrients she needs. And the whole thought of being the sole person to be able to feed the baby bothers me a lot. I know this is an adventure that is not meant to be done all alone — so I don’t want to do it alone. I don’t have to, Jon’s there, so I feel like he should be involved in the feeding requirements as well. And seeing’s how that’s the only thing that babies need, other than a warm bed and diaper changes, I just don’t see how that all works out anywhere other than in his favor, if I’m the sole provider of nourishment.
 
I need to educate myself a bit more I guess and see how I feel about it. I guess I’m envious, frankly, of the women who know, vehemently, one way or another what they want to do. Some women are ‘No, not breastfeeding’ and others are ‘Absolutely breastfeeding, pumping, etc.’. I don’t fall in either of those categories.
 
Take, for example, the conversations of the last several days. My aunts (Mom’s sisters) whom I love dearly have said the alluded to the following things:
“Don’t feel guilty if you don’t want to breastfeed. I didn’t. I wore two bras and taped them up and bottle fed from the beginning.”
 
“You’re going to breastfeed, right?” When I responded I didn’t think I was, I got a “Oh, please do it just for the first month or so”.
 
Here’s where I stand as of today on the topic: I have just 8-12 weeks of leave for maternity. I want to truly enjoy and savor those moments with my child. I will not get the time back, I will not ge the opportunity to truly enjoy this baby, with no other distractions (like work) ever again. I don’t want to be struggling (or even not struggling) with breast feeding. I don’t want to be chained to a breast pump throughout the holiday season. I don’t want to breastfeed for one month, begin the weaning process, and battle through that process until I return to work. I want to enjoy my baby, one on one, with Jon, with my family. I want all of the people I love to enjoy the baby and bond with her. I want to enjoy the holidays that will fast approach after her arrival. I want to concentrate on nothing more than loving my baby — and to me, breastfeeding gets in the way of that. I know that for countless others they will feel exactly the opposite. But today, that’s how I feel…and that’s how I have felt. So now, I’m just trying to reconcile that with the feelings of guilt that the rest of the world (billboards, well-meaning family and friends, etc., websites, books) seems to put on me.
 
I’m sure in 11 weeks we’ll know a lot better how I truly feel about it…but for now, I’m just not convinced it’s the way I want to go.
 
L

Ow, Shoulder Pain

I have been having this severe shoulder pain, especially at night, but in general too.

Haven’t been able to figure out why, or how to get rid of it.

I forced Jon into just grabbing and pressing super hard on my shoulder, which actually seemed to make it feel better.

And when I woke up the following morning, my opposite shoulder hurt.

And that’s when I put two and two together and, folks, I got four.

Sleeping on my SIDE (as indicated is the best/only way when you’re pregnant) is creating this awful shoulder pain from holding myself on my shoulder all night. I have to say that these days, sleeping/laying on my back is pretty discomforting…makes it a little harder to breathe and it’s just generally uncomfortable. So, the side it is. But this shoulder pain was something I did not account for.

I think part of it was the antiquated beds at the cabin upnorth last weekend and the hotel beds I was in last week. Last night I slept awesome (save the four bathroom trips throughout the course of the night).

And while Jon has made fun of the 10 pillows on our bed, I think he now realizes how important they are to my sanity and muscle tension.

Last night I hybrid-ized a sleeping position that is sort of like sleeping on your stomach for the top half of your body, but the bottom half of the body remains properly in place on its side. Seems to have rid my body of the shoulder pain at least for today.

These are the things no one tells you about. That, and the hemorrhoids. And the acne.

But it’s a joy… … …really, I swear.