My Breastfeeding Journey: Low Supply

I 100% planned I would breastfeed. I read the books (lots of books). I bought the travel pump to take to work, I bought the accessories, I got the clothes, set up my nursing spot, I was ready. Then I had the baby.

Bennett and my nursing journey didn’t start as planned. We didn’t get to start during that magic first hour due to a nurse’s advice to “wait until he’s really ready.” Then, we were separated a lot because of severe jaundice treatment. More here.

I saw multiple board certified lactation specialists. Five to be exact. They did assessments and weight tests to determine I have low supply. I’m producing about half of what my baby needs. That was heartbreaking. However, I knew I wanted to give my son everything I had.

I breastfeed my baby as often as he wants (on-demand) which is usually every 1.5 hours. During the day for as long as he wants. During the night, I cut him off at 20 minutes so I can get some sleep. (Once he started sleeping a bit longer, I stopped cutting him off and let him eat.)  After nursing, I supplement with formula. At first this was with a syringe to avoid nipple confusion (really bottle preference).

Daddy finger feeding with the syringe

Then, we used the comotomo bottles.


The first month was hard, really hard. It was also painful.

how breastfeeding really looks at the beginning
How breastfeeding really looked at the beginning for me: 3 am swollen face from crying, semi dark room, struggles, pain, determination

Typically it was only painful when he first latched on because we worked hard on getting a good latch, but it still didn’t feel great. (It did start being easier around 2 months.)

Then there were the challenges:

  1. Sleepy jaundice baby – I’d have to wake him constantly while nursing
  2. Fussy – he gets frustrated during letdown and then when I run out of milk so he whips his head around – again, painful
  3. Not enough milk – this meant pumping and herbs and lactation specialists for me
  4. Learning to latch – standard challenge for all breastfeeding mommies and babies

To try to increase my supply, the lactation specialists prescribed I:

  • Feed on-demand around the clock
  • Feed both sides each time
  • Take fenugreek and brewers yeast
  • Pump after every feeding for 20 minutes
  • Supplement with formula as needed

This plan was literally sucking the life out of me. So, after a month, my husband and I modified it:

  • Feed on-demand around the clock but try to keep night feedings under 30 minutes
  • Feed on both sides
  • Take fenugreek and brewers yeast
  • Pump after daytime feedings for 10-20 minutes
  • Supplement with formula

After a month, the lactation specialist confirmed I was producing more but my baby’s appetite increased too, so, I was still at about half what he needed. She told me to keep with the plan.

To stay alive, at around two months, I started the following:

  • Feed on-demand around the clock but try to keep night feedings under 30 minutes. If I had someone here to help, I would nap after nursing for up to 3 hours and let them give him a bottle of formula while I slept
  • Feed on both sides
  • Take fenugreek and brewers yeast
  • Pump if my baby had not eaten in an hour and was sleeping soundly – this was always a gamble
  • Supplement with formula

If I had listened to the books,  the online forums, and the breastfeeding groups, I would have just breastfed on-demand as much as my baby wanted. That should have increased my milk and given him everything he needed. That is all true if my body worked properly. However, I have low supply. So, I would have starved my baby.

Not being able to exclusively breastfeed like I planned killed me. However, I know I’m doing what is best for my baby. Getting support from lactation consultations at the beginning is key for a good latch and to identify any problems early on. If you do have low-supply, morn the loss of your breastfeeding dream, but do what is best for you, your baby, and your family.

Fed is best.

Sleep, Eat, or Shower: Choose One – The First Month with a Newborn

I knew the first few months having a baby would be life-changing. I just didn’t realize how much; aka: you can shower, sleep, or eat, but you only have time for one, choose wisely. Needless to say, we didn’t have the easiest start to our little family, but we’re powering through.

Bennett was born with sever jaundice. He was born early (37 weeks). We (Bennett and I) have different blood types so his slightly underdeveloped liver had an extra difficult time processing my red blood cells. This led to him being “under the lights” for the first few days of his life. We also had to stay in the hospital longer.


The combination of the jaundice treatment (being away from me), a not great terrible nurse who advised me to “wait a long while” before trying to breastfeed for the first time, and his being born early, resulted in nursing challenges. I ended up seeing many lactation specialists, five to be exact. Who, all determined, I was producing hardly any colostrum and then later, I didn’t produce enough milk. Weight tests before and after feedings determined I was only making about half of what Bennett needed. So, all the lactation specialists and pediatricians advised us to supplement with formula. We needed to get the calories in so he could process the red blood cells and get the bilirubin levels down.

The next couple weeks were spent with daily trips to the doctors to get blood work done for his bilirubin tests and weight checks to see if he was gaining. Bad news for both, for a solid week. Bennett ended up losing almost a pound and his levels did not go down like we hoped. Not being able to produce the food my baby needed made me feel like such a failure. Breastfeeding was something I was passionate about. Eventually (after a lot of formula), we got his bilirubin numbers down (at about 2.5 weeks) and then finally at three weeks old, he passed his birth weight.

Despite everything, I haven’t given up on breastfeeding. It’s a long, hard, and tiring road, but I’m trying. I have modified my six month goal, to a one month goal. Then, I’ll continue to set manageable goals to keep my sanity. The feeding plan is as follows:

  • Breastfeed on demand (usually every 1.5 hours but can be up to three hours) this of course includes waking him up throughout the night. I was not prepared for that. At the beginning, he was nursing for 45 minutes to an hour. Around week three, we cut that time to an average of 36 minutes per session.
  • After breastfeeding, supplement with formula if he is still showing hunger cues and doesn’t seem satisfied. He never is satisfied after nursing. The supplementation started at one ounce, but has increased as he is getting older and growing.
  • After breastfeeding, I pump. Pumping started with 30 minutes after every nursing session. Then we cut it to 20 minutes after every daytime nursing. [I was dying with the previous schedule]. Then, after my body still wasn’t improving, the lactation specialists reduced the pumping to 10 minutes. I know they thought I would give up completely if I kept up with the previous schedules.

So, yes, that is a lot. The whole process takes about 1.5 hours. Yep, by the time I finish the feeding, it is time to get going on another feeding. All day, every day.

Feeding baby via syringe
Feeding via the syringe
At almost one month, we started with a bottle

Naming Bennett

Jimmy and I used our September drive to Blacksburg very productively. I was armed with a list of baby names I didn’t hate (literally spent all my free time going through thousands of names) and a baby name book a wonderful coworker gave us. We went through names one-by-one. Deciding we liked some a bit. Favorite compromise was Gregory. However, it didn’t really meet all our requirements.

Ingrid’s Requirements:

  • be unique but not too weird
  • ideally have family significance
  • “flow”

Jimmy’s Requirements:

  • be normal
  • ideally have Christian ties

These requirements did not match up on many names. There were a few we liked and had jotted down. One in particular, Bennett. During the drive, Jimmy was on the phone with his best friend Andy. I got a call from my brother Kurt, so we were on two different phone calls. Kurt asked how the drive was going. I said there was traffic, but we were working on our baby name list. Kurt asked for favorites. I said “well we think we like Gregory and then I really like Bennett, but didn’t you guys want that name?” Kurt and Kate said we should use it. It was still a little grey area for me.

Then, we’re driving back from Church on Sunday in Blacksburg and Jimmy notices a street sign “Bennett St.” He goes, “what about Bennett.” I said “that was my grandfather’s name!” [it was on our list but he forgot]. He goes: “I really like it.” I reply “I really like it too!” Now, Bennett Street is a tiny two block street in Blacksburg, very easy to miss. We literally saw a sign for our son’s name!

bennettst

Then, on the drive back home, we were getting onto 81 and I said “what about middle names.” Jimmy replies: “William. It’s my dad’s middle name.” I smile and say: “It’s my dad’s middle name too!”

And there you have the naming of Bennett William Racine.

Ingrid’s Requirements:

  • ✓ be unique but not too weird – absolutely! When he says “Bennett” people will know what he’s saying but there shouldn’t be 8 other Bennetts in his class.
  • ✓ ideally have family significance – definitely does! Honoring the late MSGT Leland Bennett, my grandfather. William for Jimmy’s dad, my dad, and my brother Kurt.
  • ✓ “flow” – yep, with or without the middle name

Jimmy’s Requirements:

  • ✓ be normal – nickname “Ben” aka completely normal
  • ✓ ideally have Christian ties – there are quite a few saints named William

 

37 Weeks Pregnant

Weekly Update: “You look miserable”

37 weeks pregnant aka full term!!!!! (Technically “early term” and it is best to go all the way to full term: 39-40 weeks because baby’s lungs are still developing). But I’m not going to lie, I’m over being pregnant. I was born at 37 weeks, so you better believe I’m praying this baby decides to be just like his mama and come early. Also, I saw my baby breathing on the ultrasound, he’s been measuring ahead this whole pregnancy, and I feel like he’s ready. I’m likely to be wrong and go right up to my due date or past since I have learned I am the worst at gut feelings.

Let’s start with the rant: I am so swollen now.

[Clarification: my feet are mainly swollen, my hands are a bit. The swelling came on gradually over the course of a couple weeks without a spike in weight gain or higher blood pressure. (My blood pressure is “amazing.” If you have high blood pressure, sudden swelling, or a big spike in weight gain, it could be Pre-eclampsia so talk to your doctor.]

Swollen

But here I am, puffy as a balloon. I can’t have anything on my fingers or wrists without going insane even if it doesn’t apply any pressure. Although I think this is because of my joints mores so than the swelling. Even typing is uncomfortable. I only can wear my UGGs or my Crocs. I’m also experiencing bad back aches – this kid is heavy – feels like a bowling ball is attached to my stomach when I stand up.

Pain

Definitely having Braxton-Hicks contractions (that actually hurt) that I pray turn into the real thing ASAP. It’s been fun growing a human, but I’m ready to have him on the outside. Again, I am SO SO thankful to have a healthy pregnancy and to be able to carry our child, I do not take this for granted at all, I thank God for this blessing every single day. I’m just ready to give him to his dad to hold a bit. Also, I’m tired of taking baths. I’ve never been a bath person, but laying in a warm bath (with my stomach completely out of the water) is the only thing that really helps my back pains. I did cave and buy a heating pad, but it doesn’t get my whole back.

Image result for third trimester meme

Everyone wants dinner at 3 am right???

A lot of people say newborns have their nights and days confused. Well, I think this baby passed it on to me. I have no interest in eating during the day, but bring on the hours of 10 pm to 4 am and I would love a three course meal followed by a nice dessert please. My bedside almond butter crackers just aren’t cutting it anymore. However, the thought of getting up, going downstairs, fixing something to eat, eating, coming back upstairs, and then trying to go back to sleep makes me laugh hysterically. I know that I will be WIDE AWAKE if I attempt to make something to eat, 2) I will then not be able to sleep, which will turn to 3) hungry again. So, I just sit in the dark at the edge of my bed, eating my crackers, praying this baby comes soon.

37 Weeks Pregnant Questionnaire:

How far along? 37 Weeks

How big is baby? Huge. 19″ & 6.4 lbs; the size of a winter melon (which will be replaced by a honeydew melon for this week’s photos)

Maternity clothes? Yes.

Sleep: Now I get up to pee every 1-2 hours and then when I’m awake I start thinking every single ache and pain could be the start of a contraction and baby is coming. Then, I fall asleep and stress dream about labor.

Best moment this week: Being full term

Movement: He stretches and wiggles more than kicks. He’s out of room. There’s lots of room out here buddy, come find out. I made a nice room for you with all the space you could ever want.

Food Cravings: Nothing

Food Aversions: Food is terrible.

Gender: Baby’s a boy!

Labor Signs: Braxton-Hicks that I feel in my “stomach” (uterus but that’s weird to say) and also my back. They’re irregular but hurt and usually only occur at the end of the day and go away when I move, so not actual labor yet.

Pregnancy Symptoms: swollen; tired; STARVING, but only during sleep hours (see above); feeling huge; not sleeping; peeing as often as every five minutes; acne; a general cranky mess;

Belly Button in or out? Out

What I miss: everything. Literally everything. The only things I’m currently doing are 1) sitting (uncomfortably), 2) working (thank you Lord for my job, it’s keeping me sane), 3) obsessing over when the baby will come. So, that leaves a lot to miss. In no particular order missing:

  • exercising
  • eating a salad
  • eating during normal hours
  • shoes – all of my shoes
  • clothes – basically all of my clothes
  • wine
  • sleeping
  • being able to get off the couch without feeling like dying
  • walking up the stairs and being able to breathe
  • looking in the mirror and not feeling deflated that results in a verbal “eww” each time.
  • not being the crazy lady saying “eww” to herself in the mirror in public bathrooms
  • seeing the scale stay the same (or even go down! I like to dream)
  • mimosas – yes they need their own line
  • walking (not waddling)
  • pants (didn’t see that one coming)
  • energy

I know, I know. I should go into sales. Being pregnant is the best everyone! You should totally have a kid.

What I am looking forward to: holding him in the hospital. Actually at this point, I’m even looking forward to the pain of labor because it means Baby will be on his way to the outside.

Upcoming appointments/events: 1/25, 2/1 OB – we’re in the weekly appointments now

Weekly Wisdom: I don’t know how many more weeks like this one I can endure. Confession, I googled all the natural induction methods. Most have been proven to not do a darn thing, and it is best to let your body and Baby decide the timing, so, I will wait. Thinking of taking up calligraphy or starting Duolingo for German to pass the time.

Milestones: full term!!! Thank you Jesus!

Bump Picture:

37 weeks pregnant

10 Things I’ll Miss About Pregnancy (And 10 I Won’t)

10 things I'll miss about pregnancyTop Ten Things I’ll Miss about Pregnancy

  1. Baby Kicks – Feeling my baby move, wiggle, kick, and jab, makes me smile every single time. Even if it hurts. It lets me know he’s healthy and growing.
  2. The Excitement – From seeing the word “Pregnant” on that digital test, to telling friends and family, to decorating the nursery and making plans. Everything is exciting.
  3. Maternity Pants – These are amazing. I wish real jeans didn’t exist and we all wore maternity jeans all the time.
  4. Hearing the heartbeat – magical, every single time.
  5. Eating for Two – No I have not used this pregnancy as an excuse to eat whatever I want whenever I want, but it’s still nice to have some extra wiggle room if Baby really needs that cookie – note: don’t do this often if you care about weight gain. Another aspect of “eating for two” is, I am literally supplying my baby with all his nutrition.
  6. Super Power – I am growing a tiny human. That is so cool!
  7. Never being Alone – No matter what I am doing or where I am, I have a tag-along buddy, so I am never alone. That is comforting.
  8. Interaction with Everyone – People in my life have been so excited for us. Even strangers want to share in the joy. It is very connecting and fun to share.
  9. Connection with My Husband – I feel a stronger bond with Jimmy knowing we created this life together. The doctor’s appointments, nursery decorating, research on all the baby products is truly a fun adventure we’re sharing together.
  10. Getting a Baby – At the end of this, I get my baby. I get to become a parent. I get to raise a child. I cannot wait!

Top Things I will Not Miss about Pregnancy

  1. Swollen & Hurting Feet – Oh my goodness, it’s so hard to be active when your feet feel like they’re two sizes too big in shoes two sizes too small. Just walking to the bathroom hurts.
  2. Bathroom Trips – Every 10 minutes? Great.
  3. Doctors Appointments & Tests – I know prenatal medical care is so important to the health of my baby and me, but I’ve never been a fan of doctors. I also HATE needles. One thing I’ve learned is pregnancy = blood work, so this has been rough.
  4. Worrying – I worry every single day about my baby. If I am doing everything correctly to keep him safe. If I am eating the right foods. If I am exercising enough. If I am worrying too much about worrying. I know the worrying won’t stop when he’s born, but I’ll at least have the pressure off my body.
  5. Body Changes – Pregnancy is magical and amazing that my body can grow a baby. However, seeing the weight gain on the scale, getting stuck in clothing, looking in the mirror and not seeing your normal self, all this is hard.
  6. Decisions –  So many big decisions all at one. Choosing a pediatrician. Choosing a car seat. Choosing a glider. Choosing a name. Choosing what screening tests to have. Choosing maternity leave details/timing. Choosing daycare or to stay home. So many choices in nine months. Breast feeding or formula. Cloth diapers or disposable? And then worrying if you made the right choice. Will this glider squeak and wake up the baby and therefore be responsible for me getting less sleep???
  7. Exhaustion – I know, I haven’t seen anything yet. I will be thinking back on the good days when I was just pregnant tired. But, carrying around the extra weight, on the swollen feet, with the compressed lungs, is so tiring. I can’t walk up the stairs from getting water without being tired.
  8. Nausea – “Morning sickness” is no joke. I would vomit multiple times a day almost every day. There are medications you can take to help with nausea. I was probably borderline get medication vs power through. I chose to power struggle through. Won’t miss this in the least.
  9. Solo Care – While Jimmy is very supportive – especially now that we’re in the third trimester, he’s been great! – growing a tiny human is really just my job. It is a solo thing only I can do. I can verbalize what I’m feeling. I can show the sonogram photos. I can have someone feel a kick (theoretically, but this hasn’t been successful yet). But ultimately, it’s just me and baby on this ride. I can’t tag out for a minute and have Jimmy take over like we will once he’s born.
  10. Not Knowing What the *?!#@ is Going on – Yes, I’m reading every book and blog I can get my hands on. Yes, doctors have great information. But short of googling every single thing I’m experiencing (spoiler alert: if you’re not experiencing cramping with bleeding, everything is normal. If you are having cramping with bleeding, call a medical practitioner ASAP). I’m ready to get my body back all to myself and be normal again. And don’t get me started about labor. Classes, books, videos, stories, all these things can only prepare you so much. Feeling it and experiencing it for myself is something that will surely bring great confusion.

36 Weeks Pregnant

Weekly Update

36 weeks pregnant is my last week I could deliver a preemie. That is very comforting to me. This week had a huge variety of emotions. On the happy side, I had my last baby shower – thank you to my amazing co-workers! On the stressed side: my OB appointment.

Elevated Heart Rate Scare

Wednesday morning I had my weekly OB appointment. As always, I walked the two blocks from my office to the doctor. Apparently this is now too much for my body. When I arrived my blood pressure was high and (much more alarming) Baby’s heart rate was in the 180s. Normally his heart rate has been in the 140s or 150s. So, I got to be hooked up to monitors in the NST room (non stress test) to watch his heart rate and to watch for contractions for almost an hour. That freaked me out!

After the monitoring, I went back in to see my doctor who assured me once I started resting, Baby’s heart rate went back to where it should be. Then we got to see him on the ultrasound. It’s been a month since I got to see my little guy. I found out he is head down and “ready to go.” We also got “the best sign ever that everything is good” by seeing him breathing! It was amazing to watch his little back rise and fall as he practiced his breathing. Also, still creepy to me that babies breath in the fluid…

Take it Easy

Once we determined Baby is ok when I’m resting. I got “sidelined.” At this point I could deliver a healthy little guy so bed rest isn’t needed, but we want him to “keep cooking” longer – especially this week when one set of grandparents are in the middle of the ocean and Jimmy will be 8 hours away for a couple days. So, I will walk as little as possible, keep as calm as possible, and limit all activity. Jimmy took this super seriously and came home early so he could be the one to go to the grocery store and cook dinner. So sweet!

Luckily this week was inauguration so I had off work on Friday, that made the Take-It-Easy plan super easy to follow. Netflix and delivery food here I come! However, I quickly discovered, I no longer enjoy an all-day binge watching marathon like I used to [what is the world coming to?!?!?]. So I’m only doing that sidelined thing for one day. I will still not walk much because I don’t want to elevate Baby’s heart rate, but I’m going to do normal things like the dishes or go to brunch.

Car Seat Inspection

Saturday morning, I decided I needed to get out of the house, so I made the terrible decision to go to Fairfax County car seat inspection event. As a local government employee, I could have asked the City of Falls Church Sheriff’s department to inspect my car seat. While I’m at work. Nope. I decided to drive myself to a parking garage in Fairfax. Sit in my car in the line that took two hours, get it inspected, then drive back. Holy swollen feet after that one.

In case you are wondering, we were in the 75% of people who incorrectly installed the car seat. It wiggled a bit. Basically we needed to drop the feet of the base down all the way, then tighten it, then look at the bubble level.

However, I was told it “was very good for a ‘mommy install” and “you can get multiple bases to install one in your mom’s car if she’ll be helping you.” Yes, because I went to a car seat inspection event by myself, I was labeled a single mother. Unfortunately, I put zero effort into my appearance that morning, so I also looked like a high schooler. Everyone was probably wondering where my MTV film crew was. I didn’t care at all, but Jimmy (who was out of town for work) did get a little offended and defensive about it when I told him. Sorry, but having two people sit in a car to get a car seat inspected is not a good use of time.

36 Weeks Pregnant Questionnaire:

How far along? 36 Weeks

How big is baby? 18.5″ and almost 6 lbs; the size of a honeydew melon

Maternity clothes? Yes.

Sleep: Tuesday night I slept for 5 hours straight! Other that that, I get up every 2 hours to pee.

Best moment this week: Seeing baby breathing

Movement: My doctor said he’s “a wild child”

Food Cravings: Chinese

Food Aversions: most food sounds bad, but I’m either STARVING or nauseous all the time 🙁

Gender: Baby’s a boy!

Labor Signs: He still feels like he’s trying to kick his way out aka he’s kicking my cervix on the regular. It hurts. I did find out he is head down and ready to go, that is very good news!

Pregnancy Symptoms: high blood pressure after “exercise,” nausea, fatigue, acne

Belly Button in or out? Out

What I miss: feeling like my body is mine

What I am looking forward to: meeting my little guy

Upcoming appointments/events: 1/25, 2/1 OB – we’re in the weekly appointments now

Weekly Wisdom: Slow down

Milestones: last week before full term

Bump Picture: ummm I didn’t take one… I have been taking them Saturday or Sunday each week but it was rainy or I was tired and I didn’t go to the store for a honeydew melon. I’ll hold the melon in my 37 week photo because that week is a winter melon which sounds similar to honeydew.

35 Weeks

Monday, Jimmy, Kai, Fitz (Kurt & Kate’s dog) and I watched the National Championship while eating homemade Beef & Barley soup. Of course we were rooting for Clemson. Go Tigers! We were watching Fitz because K&K went to Tampa for the game. Sadly, I couldn’t stay awake, but I heard it was a great game and obviously I’m happy with the winner 🙂 I didn’t find out the score until Baby’s 4:30 am dance party. He’s been doing that lately. Which makes me hungry so I casually sat on the edge of my bed eating a Nature Valley Biscuit Almond Butter (I would describe it as more of an almond butter cookie sandwich) and realized I didn’t know who won. So, I snacked, scrolled the ESPN app, and danced a bit with Baby to celebrate. By 4:38 we were back to sleep. Until 6 am when we were up again for a bathroom break. (Every 1-3 hours minimum).

Tuesday evening, I dropped Fitzgerald off at his house to wait for his parents to get back from FL. Then it was leftover Beef & Barley soup for a quick dinner before I headed back to work. Once a month I have a work night meeting. These are getting harder and harder since I get tired so early now. The good news is I earn comp time.

Wednesday, I had an OB appointment. I had my Group B strep test during this appointment. Not the most fun test to run, but it’s necessary. Basically, 1 in 4 women are carriers of this bacteria that is harmless to us, but could be very bad for baby – think pneumonia, sepsis, Meningitis – all sorts of very bad diseases and problems. If I test positive, I just have to have some antibiotics and we’ll (me and Baby) will be good to go.

Friday, I had a half day due to comp time. I seriously needed to catch up on laundry & cleaning. Jimmy has been AMAZING lately – doing the dishes, taking out the trash, cleaning out the fridge, being protective of me & how much I’m working, but he’s not the best bathroom cleaner. Also, his idea of laundry is everything in the wash at once, everything in the dryer, so I prefer to do those two chores. [I use green cleaners now while pregnant.]

Saturday, was a rainy gross day. I wanted to just watch movies on the couch all day, but instead we went to the mall. Oh joy. Jimmy needed a suit this week so, we had to go. He ended up getting a great charcoal Ralph Lauren suit (separates) for 60% off, a lavender dress shirt, and a new tie. He looks great in them! Everyone we encountered asked when I was due, when I answered: “one month to go,” they immediately replied: “that baby could come any day! It could come now!” and backed away cautiously. Thank you stranger, I’m not going to need your assistance and I am aware I am close to my due date. A girl’s still gotta help her husband buy clothes.

Sunday, we installed Mini Moose’s car seat. I feel so much better now that it’s installed! I’m going to get it inspected (75% of people incorrectly install a car seat), but Jimmy tugged and pulled on that thing with all his might and it didn’t budge so I’m feeling pretty good. After the car seat, Jimmy went shooting. I think he definitely needed to blow off some steam. I’ve been a good pregnant lady up until this point. However, once we hit week 35, I became a cranky uncomfortable mess who doesn’t want to do anything. Sorry.

35 Weeks Pregnant Questionnaire:

How far along? 35 Weeks

How big is baby? 17.7″ & 4.7 lbs; the size of a durian – perfect, I already have three of those at home hahahahaha (seriously who comes up with these fruits?!?!?)

Maternity clothes? Yep.

Sleep: Nope.

Best moment this week: installing the car seat!

Movement: All. The. Time. Big kicks. Painful kicks. He also squirms that feels just like your stomach dropping when you’re on a rollercoaster. He’s getting too strong. The eviction process starts in T-1 month.

Food Cravings: bran muffins, all the water & juice in the world

Food Aversions: most food sounds terrible, but I’m either hungry or nauseous all the time  🙁

Gender: Baby’s a boy!

Weight Gain: I’m now up 36 lbs (and counting). Yep, that is the upper limit of what is a recommended range for an entire pregnancy. (Only 33% of women gain the recommended amount, 50% gain more FYI). I keep reading all these blogs and the women are “oh my goodness I’m so big, I’ve gained 17 lbs!” Just stop. I am big. I no longer recognize myself in the mirror. I’m seriously ready to not be big anymore. Could I have been healthier in my eating choices? Probably. But I was all “survival mode” eat-what-I-could-keep-down in the first trimester (aka mac and cheese or toast with butter), hungry ALL THE TIME in the second trimester, and eating well in the third, but the damage is done. Whatever, I will kill it in diet and exercise when this kid is born. I can definitely say a lot of it is swelling. My fingers are now two ring sizes bigger than they were pre-pregnancy. My feet fit in three pairs of shoes (the largest sizes & widths I own). Hopefully this means I’ll lose 23 lbs within two weeks like Blac Chyna. Also, I hate that I know that fact.

35 weeks pregnant weight gain meme

Labor Signs: I feel like my body is gearing up. While I haven’t had Braxton-Hicks contractions (that I can feel), I just have the feeling that my body is doing lots behind the scenes here.

Pregnancy Symptoms: fatigue; heartburn; inability to walk without being out of breath; inability to get off couch or out of bed;

35 weeks pregnant inability to move meme

Belly Button in or out? Out. It happened. It’s out. It’s super soft and squishy so it doesn’t poke out of my clothes (another eww fear of mine) but it’s out there.

What I miss: Not being out of breath after putting on shoes or walking up a flight of stairs….

What I am looking forward to: a couple long weekends – I need some rest

Upcoming appointments/events: 1/11, 1/18, 1/25 OB – we’re in the weekly appointments now

Weekly Wisdom: Smile when you want to punch someone in the face. Which will happen. Smiling fakes your body into thinking you’re not in a hormonal sleep-deprived rage.

Milestones: Car seat is in, we’re ready to go! (But not actually ready; stay put Baby, your grandparents are in SC and the other set is on a cruise. And I swear, if you come next week while your Dad is briefly in SC for work, I will remind you of it every day for your entire life. I will also record myself reminding you and figure out a way to get it to automatically play on your future cell phone with some technology I will invent if I have to. Hugs and Kisses, Mom).

Bump Picture:

35 weeks pregnant
Sweatpants because, well, see above. Also, because the last month of pregnancy is rough. For reals. And those wrinkles are my tank top under the VT shirt, not some crazy wrinkles in my skin.

Natural Nautical Nursery Tour

The moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew I wanted a calming, neutral nursery with pops of blue or pink (boy or girl). Then came the challenge of choosing a theme. Since Jimmy and I both love boating and being around the water so much, I chose nautical. But I didn’t want cheesy nautical. This is my baby boy’s Natural Nautical Nursery Tour.

Calming Natural Nautical Nursery

natural nautical nursery tour

Parent’s Bed

The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends babies sleep in their parent’s room for the first six months. Rather than do that and have both Jimmy and myself awake a lot, I chose to put a bed in Baby’s room so one of us can sleep in here and the other can actually sleep.

natural nautical nursery tour bed
My bed: Snoogle, Whale lamp: Mom bought SC Marshalls, White Nightstand: Wayfair

Closet

I wanted to have a variety of sizes ready to go; I know he’ll be growing quickly. I bought closet dividers to separate the sizes. There are baby hangers on the top shelf with clothes pins that I use these to attach pants to the small hangers. The closet has his dress clothes and jackets.I also have extra diapers on the floor of the closet (and a spare king size quilt for some reason).

nursery closet
Closet: Dividers to separate by size: 3 mo, 6 mo, 9 mo, 12 mo.

Changing Table

I debated not getting a changing table because their usable time is limited (babies that roll over could roll off ahhh), but decided to get one for the storage and for using while he’s little. On the shelves, I have: baking powder – put some in the diaper pail each time you throw away a diaper, extra changing pad covers, waterproof changing blankets – for when he’s bigger and it’s easier to change him on the floor, trash bags, a diaper organizer, burp clothes, lotion, wipes, diapers.  Next to the changing table is a humidifier and the hamper – I attached a small mesh bag for those itty bitty socks and mittens.

natural nautical nursery changing table
Changing table: Amazon – get a thicker contoured changing pad, the one that comes with the table is terrible. I have an amazing co-worker Susan who gave us hers. Grey small fabric bins: Amazon, Grey large fabric bins: Amazon, Diaper pail: Amazon, Hamper: Amazon, Humidifier: Amazon, Blackout curtains: Amazon

Glider

I wanted an easy path from crib to changing table to glider so I arranged the three in a row. I’m going to use the salt lamp as my nighttime nursing lamp – it gives off a nice warm orange dim glow that should be calming for both Baby and me.

natural nautical nursery art
Glider: Amazon, Diaper caddy: Amazon, Nightstand (actually a little girl’s jewelry stand – told you I thought I was having a girl): antique store, Salt lamp: Amazon, My Breast Friend: Amazon, Quilt: wedding present, Nautical Prints: Etsy

dresser

The dresser is directly across the room from the changing table. This is actually my dresser from my room at my parents’ house from back in the day. I used blue masking tape to label all the drawers to make it easy for whatever kind soul is helping me with laundry/packing/dressing Baby. The dresser contains his clothes, pacifiers, shoes, blankets, extra sheets & waterproof mattress liners, feeding supplies, sleep sacs, swaddlers, towels, and washcloths, The bookshelf was also mine from my college apartment. Pretty confident I got it at Target. The bookshelf holds his book collection, baby monitor, white noise machine, and his file (I’m putting copies of all his important documents in here).

Baby boy nautical Nursery tour
Dresser: Ikea, Diaper Bag: Skip Hop, Wave organizer: Mom-bought SC Marshalls, Oar: Wayfair, Painting: Wayfair, B: Etsy, Print: Etsy, Sign: I made, Bookself: Target, Rug: Wayfair
Baby boy nautical Nursery tour
Masking tape labels

dresser organization

I rolled all of his clothes to make it easy to see everything in the drawer. Also, baby clothes are small, so rolling them made a lot of sense. They are organized by size and type. I labeled each of the drawers and the divider with what is in each. For example: “0-3 mo Pajamas” or “Mittens.”

Baby boy nautical Nursery tour
Drawer dividers: Ikea
Baby boy nautical Nursery tour
Cutest whale lamp
Baby boy nautical Nursery tour
Storage fabric bin: Home Goods, Storage Basket: Home Goods, Swaddle blankets: Home Goods & Amazon.

crib

Baby boy nautical Nursery tour
Crib: Craigslist (new: Potterybarn Madison), Vinyl decal: Etsy, Let Your Dreams Set Sail sign: Buy Buy Baby, I crocheted the blanket
Baby boy nautical Nursery tour
Kai loves the bed in his brother’s room

34 Weeks

Monday we had off for New Years. I used the time to pack up Jimmy’s hospital bag and to finish up the gallery wall in the nursery. I have never done a gallery wall before, but wanted to try. I knew wanted a mix of materials and sizes with a canvas painting, an oar, a letter, and some other pieces. I got the oar and the painting from Wayfair, the B and the I’ll Love You Forever print from Etsy, the frame from Ikea, and I made the sign. I ordered a sign from Etsy but it ended up being the wrong color, (a bright turquoise, which would not have gone with anything) so I traced the words from the wrong sign and made my own wood sign with barn wood from Hobby Lobby. Next time, I will just make my own signs to begin with, it was way easier than I thought and I totally could’ve come up with font combinations to trace onto the boards.

natural nautical Nursery gallery wall

natural nautical nursery Nursery gallery wall

Now the nursery is complete 🙂 I’ll do a separate post with photos of the whole nursery and where I got everything.

Thursday morning was so weird. Before I go to bed, I check that I have my alarm turned on (sometimes I turn it off after hitting snooze). So, Wednesday night, I checked the alarm, it was on. Thursday morning, it did not go off. Luckily my numb left hip woke me up at 7:15 – the exact time I get up each morning. I glanced at my FitBit to see if I had time to roll over and sleep more or if it was close enough to wake up time that I should get up. It said 7:15. I looked at my phone. Alarm is still “on.” I laid there watching my phone until 7:15 when I decided the phone failed. I guess not all bad side effects are bad all the time. Thank you hip for getting me up so I could get to work on-time.

Friday evening, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and I went to Paint Night. We bought tickets for my MIL’s Christmas gift. I love paint nights. Now that there is a paint bar in Mosaic (right near our house), I see lots of paint nights in the future.

Saturday, we got our first snow! One of my all time favorite things to do is sit by the fire and watch the snow fall. I love snow! We didn’t get enough for my liking – a good 4-6″ inches is nice – enough to play in, but not enough to be too difficult.

Saturday morning, Jimmy and I went to an Infant CPR class. I didn’t want to do a full CPR certification course (because I am very pregnant at this point and that sounds tiring), but I wanted to do some training. I fully believe in the umbrella theory; if you bring an umbrella it won’t rain. So, if we take a CPR class, we won’t ever need it. Or, if we (God forbid) do need it, we’ll be prepared. The class was great! I am so glad we took it. I’ve been CPR certified most of my life, but Jimmy never has taken any sort of class before so it was especially good for him to learn.

Infant cpr

Somehow Jimmy and I got split into two different classes (his at 8:30 and mine at 11:30) which of course sent me into a panic. However, Jimmy took charge, said we’d both go to the 8:30 and he’d handle it. He talked to the instructor for us, explained the registration error, and let us both take it together. Life saver there!

Sunday, we had our Jack and Jill baby shower. We headed to Manassas so everyone in Jimmy’s life could celebrate baby. I’ve said before, but we feel so blessed there are so many people who are so excited for this baby. We had so much fun at the shower! My sister-in-law did an amazing job with the games, my father-in-law killed it with the food, and everyone had a blast! Jimmy and I couldn’t stop talking about how great it was the whole drive home. Finally, my in-laws were INCREDIBLE and got us our travel system car seat & stroller so we’re all ready for baby now!

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Adorable cake and baby cookies – the only photo I took, so I’ll have to get some from Katie

Speaking of the car ride home, Jimmy had a few beers at the shower – he’s drinking for two after all 🙂 and wanted to call some people on the drive home. My phone was connected to my car’s bluetooth and is in my purse in the backseat, so he just used speakerphone. We called his best friend Andy, then called my brother, then finally called my parents. My Dad didn’t answer so Jimmy called my Mom’s cell. Then he dropped the phone in between my seat and the center console. I’m driving down I-66 so I can’t reach the phone. Of course, it goes to voicemail. Jimmy was going to leave a funny “This is a test of the Baby emergency announcement system” message but now that the phone is out of reach he goes “Dori! I dropped the phone. This will be a very long message.” While I am laughing so hard I’m starting to cry. Jimmy is going “pull over” and the whole thing is a hilarious mess. Well, my parents see that Jimmy (not me) called both of them. Then they listen to the scrambled message that sounds like me crying, Jimmy talking about something from far away, and general chaos. So, they instantly think I’m in labor. Apparently they were about to pack everything up and jump in the car for the 8 hour drive when we finally got a hold of them. Good times hahaha.

34 Weeks Pregnant Questionnaire:

How far along? 34 Weeks

How big is baby? 17.7″ & 4.7 lbs; the size of a butternut squash

Maternity clothes? Yes.

Sleep: I have stress dreams about labor, finding daycare, work (typical for me), and parenting in general, so when I fall asleep I’m often restless. Something I haven’t mentioned yet on this blog, the drool. I never drooled before, I swear, but ever since I’ve been in the third trimester, I’ve actually woken myself up in a pool of drool. Ahhhh! It is disgusting. I guess my body goes into a super comatose sleep whenever I actually fall asleep and at that state, anything can happen. Pregnancy is so glamorous. If I’m not falling into that super-deep sleep, I’m not sleeping at all. I believe it’s been four nights since I’ve slept more than four hours. Sunday night was all about the Baby dance party the whole night. I think he was still excited from his baby shower.

Best moment this week: 1) baby shower, 2) infant CPR class, 3) paint night

Movement: Yes, some days he is more active than others, but every hour he’s at least wiggling around. We spent a while Monday night trying to get Jimmy to feel some movement. This kid did not cooperate.

Food Cravings: spaghetti

Food Aversions: most food sounds bad, but I’m either hungry or nauseous all the time  🙁

Gender: Baby’s a boy!

Labor Signs: He feels like he’s trying to kick his way out aka he’s kicking my cervix on the regular – didn’t even know that was possible to feel, but it is. I did have a nightmare this week that I had to deliver Baby in our bathtub because everything happened so quickly. While this sounds terrifying, I totally rocked that fake delivery and was calmly all “Jimmy, please put Kai in our bedroom for when paramedics get here. And call 911, Baby is coming now.” while holding a premie newborn. And, “Please go get our hospital bags, oh and Baby’s.” Followed by: “You’ll need to put pants on to go to the hospital. Perhaps you shouldn’t be driving.” So, maybe my subconscious is telling me I can handle anything (and apparently Jimmy cannot hahahaha).

Pregnancy Symptoms: fatigue; acne; nausea; this is feeling like the first trimester all over again + waddling. Oh and I peed my pants for the first time Thursday. Baby kicked my bladder so hard, there was nothing I could do. Luckily it happened right when I got home for lunch so I could change before going back to work. Finally, my face is super puffy now. I mean, yes I continue to gain weight so that contributes, but the photos from last week to this week are crazy how much puffier my face looks – at the same weight.

Belly Button in or out? Flat, but out more – the turkey pop up belly button is coming noooooo

What I miss: a large glass of wine (not drinking has been super easy, but I am definitely looking forward to that first glass of wine)

What I am looking forward to: our baby shower this weekend

Upcoming appointments/events: 1/11, 1/18, 1/25 OB – we’re in the weekly appointments now

Weekly Wisdom: Walk like a penguin when walking over snow and ice when pregnant. Seriously, take the waddle to the next level. It’s easier for you to keep your balance and you’re less likely to fall. And wear proper shoes!

Milestones: Peed my pants. That seems like a pregnancy milestone.

Bump Picture:

34 weeks pregnant
Oh the lack of sleep is so apparent in my eyes
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Butternut squash “Baby” got snow on my dress

2016 Year in Review

Baby bump, Hokies, and our new car. That sounds about right for 2016

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2016 was clearly all about the baby bump.

Jimmy

Jimmy continued his health and fitness commitment: playing lacrosse at least twice a week, going to the gym almost daily, and using the 5×5 weight lifting program. He went hunting a few times and got one deer. He continued growing the National Harbor branch of his company as the Geotechnical Department Manager.

Ingrid

Honestly, I don’t remember what I did pre-pregnancy. I know I continued pure barre. I chopped my hair off. I’m sure there were lots of brunches and wine nights with my friends. Then, positive pregnancy test and my whole world changed 🙂 Oh, in June I went to Smith Mountain Lake for our annual Girls Wine Weekend trip. Obviously I was drinking all the seltzers and none of the wine, but didn’t matter, I had a blast! I was spoiled at an amazing baby shower in October. I turned 30 in November.

Decided to chop my hair off 💇 my head feels like it's floating 🎈

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We (Ingrid & Jimmy)

January 2016 – we had an amazing time enjoying the Blizzard of 2016 when it snowed for basically a day straight.

Always the first ones out ❄️❄️❄️ #blizzard2016 #7am #snow #hour19 #kaigotstuck

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Snow dog #KaiRacine #blizzard2016 #kaigotstuck

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When your husband braves 2 feet of snow to smoke some pork shoulder 😍 #smoker #blizzard2016 #manly

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February – we went to the boat show in Annapolis.

March – We took a spring break to the Penthouse to use up Jimmy’s “use it or lose it” leave. We also got to go celebrate our wonderful friends’ Keli & Mike’s at their wedding. Congratulations Keli & Mike!

Starting our spring break #beachfishing #jimmyfishes

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Morning mimosas #beachtrip #surfsidesc

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April – April started rougher. A HUGE tree fell on the house my grandmother owned that Kurt and Kate were currently living in. But then, we got to go celebrate another wonderful couple and see their engagement at the spring game in Blacksburg 🙂 Congratulations Meredith & Ryan!

May – We went to the Outer Banks with friends.

June – We found out we’re having a Baby!

We told my family about Baby at the Cottage. We went to Massachusetts to visit Jimmy’s family. We also told Jimmy’s parents, his sister, and his extended family about Baby this trip.

July – We went on our annual beach trip to SC.

August – We told my extended family about Baby at a house warming party Kurt & Kate threw.

September – We found out we’re having a son. We celebrated our 4th wedding anniversary.

We went to Blacksburg for Homecoming weekend.

Homecoming weekend Blacksburg 2016

October – we went apple picking.

Looking to 2017

Obviously 2017 is Baby year. So, we’ll mainly work on becoming first time parents this year. We also want to do the following:

  • Ingrid: lose the baby weight! (I’m already obsessing just because I want to feel and look like me again, and I want to fit in my cute clothes that I miss).
  • Trips: Penthouse, Blacksburg for a game (and bring Baby), Richmond for Meredith & Ryan’s wedding, Atlanta for Petey & Danielle’s wedding, lots of Cottage trips – Baby has his own crib & changing table there
  • Jimmy – wants to continue lacrosse & shooting, possibly join a hunting “lease”