Posts Tagged ‘Pregnancy – Z3’

January 17, 2018

Welcoming Dana!

Look who finally arrived! I say “finally” even though she was just 9 days late (Nicole and Alexis were 10 and 11 days late) because I was convinced she would come on her own, and possibly before her due date. The week leading up to the induction I kept having bouts of contractions that would last for a few hours, and grew closer together before stopping completely. The day prior to the induction contractions lasted 13 hours, starting 20 minutes apart and growing to just five minutes apart. In the end, Dana decided she’d rather be an induction baby, just like her big sisters.

I can’t really say that her birth didn’t go as planned since our plan was literately “have baby”, and have a baby we did. Still there were a few unexpected hurtles. She’s doing great, but I have a longer recovery ahead of me. The added stress of it all also meant very few photos were taken at the hospital since I wasn’t in much of a state to use my camera. The one above is from my cell phone.

The girls were very excited to meet their little sister. They have been waiting for this moment almost as long as I have.

For weeks now Nicole has been asking when Dana was going to come out of my tummy, and has been whispering into my belly how much fun the two of them will have together when she comes out. Nicole thought Dana was going to come out my mouth and would occasionally push up on my belly to get her little sister started.

I’m surprised Alexis has shown as much interest in the baby as she has, given she’s only 3. She has been eagerly telling everyone at school that she was getting a brother, and would even correct me if I said the baby in my tummy was a girl. Now that Dana is her she seems to accept that Dana is a girl. Alexis internalized “use soft touches” as “softing” and keeps asking to “soft the baby.” She also desperately wants to hold Dana, but has a bit of a cold so we’re holding off. For now it’s just Purell and softing.

The kids are back at school, and I have a lot of help to get through the next to weeks. I’m supposed to take it easy, but I’m eager to pick up my camera again.

January 5, 2018

3 for 3 in Extra Innings

This pregnancy continues to keep me on my toes. I’ve had a number of pre-labor symptoms, including some short bouts of prodromal labor this past week. According to the pregnancy websites I read most of my current pregnancy symptoms are signs that “things are moving in the right direction” and “labor will likely start in two to three weeks.” I would hope so! Today is my due date. I was convinced something was happening yesterday, that labor would officially start and I’d be having a baby on my due date. Nothing materialized, and now we’re heading to extra innings.

At my last OB appointment we discovered I have made more progress than I had with either of the two previous pregnancies before going into the induction, which confirmed that the prodromal labor is I’ve been experiencing has not been completely false starts and something is happening, albeit slowly.

One of the differences I’ve noticed this week is a return of nesting energy. Or maybe ‘nesting desire’ is the better phrase since I’m feeling rather run down an energyless lately. I have a number of smaller tasks on my to-do list that I really want to get crossed off before our littlest one’s arrival:

– I have end tables that need to be assembled (which I plan to keep by the rocking chair.)
– The Datayze website needs to be backed up (waiting for my host to resolve an issue first.)
– Baby clothes are all washed, but some have stiffened over time and I’d like to see if a liberal dosing of fabric softer can help.
– Put the new registration sticker on the car

All total there are just nine things left on my to-do list, three center on getting the nursery ready. None of those things should take much time, once I find the energy to get up and do them. I’ll probably try and tackle a few mid morning, when I’m usually feeling the best, from her until this girl decides to make her appearance. Should she keep me waiting a while, I’ll hopefully finish off my list. If not, well I won’t complain.

December 25, 2017

Not A Christmas Baby Afterall

For a brief moment, it looked like we were going to have a Christmas baby.

I had finished nearly all of my Christmas prep work early: tree trimmed, presents purchased and all but one wrapped (it was a last minute addition by a family member). I’m trying to stay off my off my feet as much as possible, feeling what could be the start of contractions since early to mid December. That meant no baking for me. Instead of making Grandma’s Cinnamon rolls from scratch we bought the Pillsbury kind which turned out pretty reasonable, especially given the effort to end product trade off. After the kids went to sleep on Christmas Eve the only thing left was for Santa to stuff the stockings and put out the special presents, and then (of course) to take the last photographs of everything finished and done.

I went to bed shortly after 11. I had been uncomfortable all day, with lower back pain, but no measurable cramping or contractions to speak of. By around 11:30 I was still awake and tossing uncomfortably, noting the back pain was now radiating down into my legs in waves like it did when I was contracting with Nicole. That’s when I noticed the discomfort I was feeling was not the baby moving, but a tightening in my abdomen. For a moment I thought this was it. Fortunately by 11:45 everything stopped and I was able to finally fall asleep.

By morning everything was back to normal. I am still uncomfortable, but no signs of early labor. I was even able to get up early with the kids and take some photos of them with their stockings. I’m still getting used to my new camera in low light situations, but I walked away with at least one really nice shot and I always treasure those.

A mild cold has been making it’s rounds through our house, and by mid day it was clear it was my turn. So it’s contractions and a cough for me for Christmas this year! So far it’s just a dry cough and a sore throat.

Domingo is insisting I spent even less time on my feet than I already was. We’re hoping to make it at least to 39 weeks, which will be Friday. I’d prefer January, but logistically things get a lot easier if we could make it to at least Friday. It’d also be nice if I can go into labor at full strength, so I’m resting, running the humidifier and drinking as much hot tea as possible.

Now watch as I go all the way to induction day again. Wouldn’t that be ironic?

December 21, 2017

Sarah Brain

Whether it’s lack of sleep, seasonal stress or the mythical “mommy brain” my cognitive functions appear to be lacking I’m making some really epic level of mistakes lately. Let me count the ways in just the last couple of weeks:

  • I very carefully measured out the single portion of the home made chili I’m allowed to eat per my pregnancy gestational diabetics diet, put the rest in the microwave and my portion back in the fridge.
  • Fat fingered not just my account number, but also the bill amount while paying online. Still trying to get that resolved.
  • Lost my phone and the *first* place I look, without thinking, is the refrigerator. (Thankfully it was not there.)
  • Forgot about my ~38 week appointment until the end of the day when Domingo got home from work and asked how it went.

Oopsies.

At least we are continuing to make good progress through our to-do list.

The infant car seat has been checked over for any weak spots in the plastic, cleaned and installed in the car. I even found the newborn insert for it! The rocking chair is assembled and upstairs. The nursery is still a disheveled mess, but we have a rock n’ play that the baby will likely sleep in for the first couple weeks or months anyway.

One source of stress during both Alexis’ and Nicole’s first year was the baby book. There were many, many months struggled to find a workable onesie for the monthly photo in time for the photo shoot, often settling for something that was over priced that I didn’t really like. I decided to do things a little differently this time around. I took advantage of a year end sale, found a onesie that would have matched both girls’ complexion and purchased it in all-the-sizes, that is from newborn to 18 months! I plan to keep them separate from all the other baby clothes so there’s little change it’ll get stained before it’s needed. At the end of the year, they’ll be very gently used and I can easily donate them at close to their full value.

I also decided to purchase both girls a new dress for newborn/sibling photos, again taking advantage of the year end sales.

Hospital bag is not packed, but was also not really used either previous delivery. I am slowly gathering a few things (e.g. going home shirt/blanket). It’ll be easy enough to throw those things in a plastic shopping bag on our way out the door, and in an emergency I can send Domingo home to pick them up if we forget them. The only other thing of importance is my camera, but I plan to use it between now and then so pre-packing it makes no sense.

My modus operandi these days is whatever reduces stress and makes my life easier. Can you tell?

December 15, 2017

Staying in

This pregnancy continues to be vastly different from my other two. With both Nicole and Alexis I used being hours away from my induction as an excuse to walk around the mall. I felt annoyingly fine, and was anxious for things to started. This pregnancy? Moving at all has been a struggle for weeks.

Z3 is super low. I feel her in my hips as I walk, pushing against my pelvic bone. By the time I get to the store from the parking lot I’m usually in need of sitting down. Yesterday I thought I’d preserve and power through for the last of my holiday shopping least Domingo be left picking out nail polish colors for the girl’s stockings.

When I was nearly done the discomfort started to intensify into undeniable pain. The kind of pain where I wasn’t sure I could physically make it out of the store. I leaned against my cart, breathing deep and slow waiting for the feeling to pass. My spare hand was resting on my 8.5 month pregnant belly.

All of a sudden my cart was pulled out from under me. I nearly hit the ground, but luckily my grip on the card was strong enough that I was able to stay up right. I glanced over to see an older woman with her hand still on my cart. She gestured that I was blocking the merchandise. No “excuse me” or “I’m sorry.” Thanks lady. I would have moved out of your way had you given me the chance.

I’ll give her the benefit of the doubt and assume she didn’t notice my big pregnant belly under my T-shirt. Even so, moving an object someone is leaning against is still a jerky thing to do, even if they’re physically fine.

Nail polish was not acquired. I left as soon as I felt able.

Domingo and I decided that, jerks aside, it would probably be best that I not tax myself like that again in the future. Especially by myself. I’m still going to do daycare/school drop-offs solo, partially out of necessity and partially because I usually feel the best in the morning. We’ll stick to reheating meals in the evening so Domingo can help me with pick-ups. Even if that means cooking them the night before, after the kids are asleep.

One more week until vacation starts. Two more weeks until we have family in town to help out. Five more weeks at most of pregnancy. According to my Labor Probability Calculator, there’s a 10.5% Z3 will come before vacation starts, a 14.1% she’ll be here before Christmas and a 30.6% chance she’ll be born in December. Fingers crossed we make it to January. We can do this.

At least Santa was able to finish the shopping online.

December 13, 2017

Mery and Done! (Almost)

The stars have aligned and I’ve been able clear out my Christmas task list in a major way.

Christmas cards can take weeks for me to finish, since I like to do everything from take the photo to designing the actual card. This year I didn’t even have a design concept I was happy with coming into the weekend. I have been mulling over just using past photos of the kids, and maybe even an old card layout when an idea struck me Saturday night as I was going to bed. I told Domingo my plan Sunday morning and we were able to do a mini photo shoot with the kids that afternoon. After the kids went to sleep I managed to design the cards in what felt like a lightening fast two hours. Check it out, I think it’s one of my best. One day, people. I have never designed anything so fast.

To send out the cards I opted to use Shutterfly’s addressing service for the Christmas Cards again. It’s not as nice as hand addressing them, but I figure most of our friends and family won’t mind. I don’t mind. Life’s busy for everyone, do what you got to do. Besides, I have a better excuse for not hand addressing the cards this year than last since I’m roughly the size of a beached whale with an energy level that ranges from almost non-existent to flat-lining. At least they’re done early enough that recipients should receive their cards before the holidays. Last year a few cards didn’t arrive until the day after Christmas.

Santa needs to find one more present and a few stocking stuffers, but all non-Santa presents have been ordered and sent. All presents that I have received from out of town friends and family have been wrapped and are under the now trimmed tree. I know a few more presents are on their way, but nothing that will require too much energy to wrap. They may even come wrapped.

The house could use still use some tidying up (when does it not?).

That only leaves taking the kids to see Santa which we’re planning on doing this weekend, and getting a nice family photo by the tree. I won’t stress it if the family photo happens after Christmas again. For that matter, we can always do decorating cookies or gingerbread houses after the holidays again too. The kids will be home for two weeks, starting Christmas day, anyway, and it’s a nice way to prolong the season.

Now I just need to finish getting ready for the baby. Putting the car seat in the car and assembling the crib would be a good idea before hitting 37-weeks/term on Friday. Tidying up the nursery would be nice too. Baby clothes up to 12 months have been cleaned, sorted and put away in the dresser. The rest are sitting in piles on the floor of the nursery, or in the not put back together crib, waiting to be put away. I’m also planning on using a heavy dose of fabric softener on the older clothes. Time has not been super kind to them.

We’re getting there, and it’s helping with my stress level.

The biggest sense of relief this past week came in the form of two offers to watch the girls should Z3 decide to make an early arrival. Z3 is head down and very low. My doctor was initially pretty sure I’d need to be induced again, but seemed much less convinced when she checked on Z3’s position. I have been feeling what might be off and on again contractions. Could be braxton hicks. Could be somersaults. I know it sounds weird or a 3rd time mom to not be sure, but I had made next to no progress before either induction. I am not entirely sure what it feels like when things start to kick off on their own!

December 6, 2017

First Time Charm

My best photo shoot is usually my third. Unless it’s something I’m shooting on a regular basis, I usually take a few iterations to figure out the best settings to lessen the chances of unintentional blur (both depth of field related, camera shake and motion). So when I decided to try a modified low key maternity photo in front of the Christmas tree, I was pretty stoked to get this on my first attempt.


ISO 5000
F/36 (to produce the star light effect)
2 Second Shutter Speed

It was a difficult shot. I’m kneeling so my bump is against to the widest part of the tree (you can see the floor in the background to the right.) I had troubles sitting still for so long, and ended up leaning against Alexis’ training potty so I could hold my position better. Even still there’s a bit of noise, but it’s not horrible. Given the difficulty of the shot, I think the end result was rather impressive. I was using normal noise reduction, and could experiment with pushing it to the max. If I used a star filter (something I didn’t yet own) I could create the stars with a wider aperture and not rely on such a high ISO setting or long shutter speed. If this is what I got when I didn’t quite know what I was doing, imagine what I could get with a little work!

All other attempts have been flops.

The stars created with a small aperture are small and dense with 14 rays that don’t stretch very far from the point light. The star filter set I purchased produce a maximum 10 rays. I was hoping there wouldn’t be much of a difference between 10 and 14 rays, but the 10 rays looked mighty thin compared to the 14 rays. Adding insult to injury, the greater the difference in contrast between point light to the rest of the photo, the longer the rays. The end result? Long streaks of light that didn’t really look like stars stretching across most of the photo. The darker the photo, like these low key setups, the worse the filter stars looked.


With star filter

Results with increased noise reduction were ok, but not remarkably better.

Sadly for me and my perfectionist tendencies, the further along I get in this pregnancy the less energy I have to try for better photos. I’m also getting impatient with the still yet untrimmed tree (I worry the ornaments will detract from the photo) so I decided to declare this photo attempt done after five tries. I did take a back up shot with an increased the aperture (bye bye pretty point light stars) which at least doesn’t suffer from noise or blur. I’m convinced that somewhere out there is a program that can add stars to point lights after the fact. If it doesn’t exist now, I’m sure it will at some point.

In the mean time, I ran my best photo (above) through every single photo manipulation app on my phone. Here are my two favorite results.

The first is from an app called Camera+ using the faded filter. I love the nearly black and white look with the stars supplying little bursts of color. The color tone is a nice touch as well.

Next up is Prism with the Curly Hair style. It’s another mostly black and white image, this one looks almost like a drawing.

Tomorrow while the kids are at school I plan to trim the tree while blasting Christmas music. My goal: be done with my to-do list early enough that I can relax the week leading up to Christmas and get plenty of sleep before the chaos that is Christmas morning. I did it before, I can do it again!

November 10, 2017

Low Key Maternity Photography

How can I possibly be 32 weeks already? It suddenly dawned on me that despite approaching the midway point in the third trimester, the only “bump” photos I have are a handful of bathroom selfies at 8 weeks when I couldn’t believe I was already showing. I needed to fix that, and I waned to challenge myself to try at something different.

Low key photos are low light, mostly dark photos that emphasize shadow and shape. I tried to do low-key bump portraits while pregnant with Alexis, but couldn’t master the light. I’ve experimented with dark background, spotlight photos before using a desk/craft light, but the craft light wasn’t strong enough to take photos of a larger subject (like my bump.)

This time around I decided to get a long, skinny adjustable craft light since I can almost always use more high quality desk lamps. I settled on TaoTronics LED Desk Lamp since it allowed me to adjust both brightness & color temperature. As an added bonus, TaoTronics had a newer model so the one I purchased was on the cheaper side. As long as it’s a bright white light and the right narrow shape, any lamp will do. To further control the light I cut up the Amazon box it shipped in and made cardboard flaps. I taped a flap to each side of the lamp, to focus the light so it wouldn’t illuminate the wall behind me.

As a general rule of thumb the darker the photo, the more visible the ISO noise. To make this photo work I had to shot at a very low ISO setting, which means a longer exposure time. Unfortunately, unlike my previous spotlight attempts I needed to shot with the room dark. The larger the subject, the further back the craft light needs to be. The further back the craft light, the less bright the light is when it reaches the subject. I shot the above photo ISO 100, f/5, 1/13 a second. Normally I’m comfortable shooting at ISO 1000, but it was just too much noise.
The above photo is pushing the boundaries of what my 5 year old camera can do.

If you want to attempt a similar photo, here are my tips:
– Where light color, possibly skin toned clothes. I tried this in a dark sweater and everything other than my hands all but disappeared.
– Use a Lower ISO settings to avoid noise. I know I said that before, but this is one instance where a little noise can really ruin your photo.
– Adjust the cardboard flaps (you can use masking tape at the tops and the bottoms) to control how narrow or wide the light beam is.

September 28, 2017

Differences in Pregnancies

This pregnancy has been so amazingly different from my other two. I’ve had virtually no migraines, when that was a pretty common system with both my first two. Instead I’ve had way more morning sickness. It’s part of the reason most everyone around me guessed Z3 was a boy (spoiler, she’s a girl). My Mother in law was convinced I was carrying differently and that must be because Z3 was a boy. Alexis’ former daycare teacher was sure it was a boy because I looked like I had lost weight. I hadn’t, but I appreciate the complement.

I thought it would be fun to put together a list of how all my pregnancies differ.

Morning Sickness
1st/Zippy: No real morning sickness or food aversions to speak of. I did find myself loving sun dried tomatoes which normally I pass on.
2nd/Ziggy: Can’t eat black beans, pinto beans are fine. This is note worthy since my go-to lunch while working at Google was a burrito so I had to skip on black bean days. All other food preferences remain the same.
3rd/Z3: Food is the DEVIL. There seemed to be no rhyme or reason to what I can eat. It was if some invisible force was rolling the dice each and every time I tried to eat. Something I could eat yesterday would turn my stomach today. Sometimes even bread was on my no-can-do list. I craved the flesh of a plum, but the skin makes my stomach turn. Morning sickness finally started going away around 20 weeks.

Diet (At least initally)
1st/Zippy: Cried on a five hour flight because I was hungry, all they had to eat was ham and cheese sandwhiches and that’s on the no-no list when pregnant.
2nd/Ziggy: Stuck to the no-no list reasonably well.
3rd/Z3: Forgot deli meat was a no-no item and lived off of ham & cheese sandwhiches for a week before remembering.

Prenatals
1st/Zippy: 3 months before we started trying, during the trying to conceive journey and every day pregnant.
2nd/Ziggy: Took a few off an on when we started trying to conceive. I was a lot more diligent about it after we got our positive pregnancy test, but I know I missed a few days here and there.
3rd/Z3: Pretty sure I last took one in the 1st trimester. At least I’m eating a lot healthier over all (now) and the carbs I was eating back then were heavily fortified with folic acid.

Migraines
1st/Zippy: Started around 10 weeks with one that lasted four days. Got worse in the second trimester and stayed bad mostly through the third. Extra protein seemed to help.
2nd/Ziggy: I had 3-4 a week, not sure when they started, but it was towards the end of the first trimester and lasted through the rest of the pregnancy. Magnesium supplements helped.
3rd/Z3: I’ve had 2 or 3 total since becoming pregnant the third time. I’ve only needed to take medication for it once.

Gestational Diabetes
1st/Zippy: Nope!
2nd/Ziggy: Nope!
3rd/Z3: Partially failed the diabetes test. I’m on the diet (hence the eating a lot healthier now) but am not technically diabetic.

Weight Gain
1st/Zippy: 10 lbs. Lost a lot initially thanks to those pesky migraines making it difficult to eat.
2nd/Ziggy: 16 lbs. No note worthy weight loss at any point in time.
3rd/Z3: I was up to 10 lbs, but at 28 weeks I’ve dropped to a total net gain of 7 lbs thanks to the new diet.

Energy Levels
1st/Zippy: I felt pretty normal, assembled her crib at 37 weeks pregnant mostly by myself.
2nd/Ziggy: Got stuck under my desk trying to plug an Ethernet cable back in around 32 weeks, but otherwise can’t complain.
3rd/Z3: By 20 weeks walking upstairs was too much effort, I think I’ll nap on the couch.

Sleeping
1st/Zippy: Boppy please!
2nd/Ziggy: Ugh, no boppy!
3rd/Z3: Random pillow between the knees to spare my hips and is the only way I get any sleep.

Kids’ reactions to future pregnancies
2nd/Ziggy: Nicole would tell everyone she had a baby in her tummy too.
3rd/Z3: Both Nicole and Alexis would say they have a baby in their tummies too until I had to go on the gestational diabetes diet. Once Nicole learned I couldn’t have candy she quite adamantly determined she did NOT have a baby in her tummy. Alexis still likes to say she has a baby in her tummy.

September 9, 2017

In Twos, not Threes

I am full of Mommy guilt lately.

Ever since giving birth to Nicole there was a part of me that thought about being a mom of three one day. I loved being a parent. I loved all things baby and pregnancy related. But we weren’t sure it would work out for us. California is expensive. Age is a factor. Careers are a factor. Sometimes life doesn’t work out the way you envision. I didn’t let that stop me from daydreaming.

After Alexis was born we struggled to find a house and move out of our tiny apartment. Being on top of each other was stressful. Long commutes were stressful. Bay area housing was stressful. We decided the best course of action for family happiness was to move closer to Domingo’s work and give me the chance to do my own startup that I always envisioned. Another child didn’t feel compatible with all that. I thought our family was likely complete.

We gave away baby clothes and gear. We bought toys for the girls in pairs; princess shoes, dolls, matching outfits. (I never thought I’d be a matchy-matchy mom, but the girls insist on wearing the same clothes.)

Now that we’re about to add another child to the mix, especially another daughter, I’m starting to feel a tremendous amount of guilt that we don’t have these things in threes. Nicole and Alexis currently share a big girl room. They got to spend time together at recess in preschool, being just two and a half years apart. Nicole and Alexis are close in a way that’s hard to envision Z3 will ever be with either of her older siblings.

Z3 will be three years younger than Alexis, and will still in the toddler room when Alexis is ready to start school. They’ll never get recess together, never share a ride in the tandem bike. The girls will likely be ready to have their own rooms again, just as Z3 will be old enough to share a room. Nicole and Alexis have gotten fancy dress-up photos taken together. It was arranged through their preschool, so even if the preschool does it again while Z3 and Alexis are attending, Nicole will be the one left out.

Fairness is very important to me, even though I realize fairness for fairness sake is neither practical nor, well, fair.

My mom keeps reminding me that it’s ok for the girls to all have different relationships with each other. Different does not mean lesser. They are different people with different personalities and needs, and having different pairs o relationships are to be expected.

Perhaps the best way to cultivate each pair of relationships is to be sure each pair gets to spend quality time together, much like the Mommy & me days. In fact, when Mommy is giving one of the girls undivided individual attention, it may be the perfect time for Daddy to arrange for something fun for just the other two.

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