Meet Lucy

My last scheduled OB appointment was set for July 24 (my due date was July 26) and I just knew I'd have my baby by then.  I didn't.  After declining to have my membranes stripped to possibly induce labor, my doctor scheduled another appointment July 30 to do another ultrasound, measure the baby, check amniotic fluid level, etc., but neither of us thought I'd make it to that appointment.  I did.

During the ultrasound, my baby looked nice and healthy, was doing a fair bit of kicking, and had a strong heartbeat.  But then, dun dun dun, the doctor came in and said that because of dangerously low amniotic fluid, that baby had to get out - NOW.  If I never mentioned it before, the two things I never wanted to happen were induction and c-section.  I cried and cried and cried some more because I WASN'T READY TO HAVE MY BABY FORCED OUT THAT DAY!  After heading home to get the animals squared away and pack a few last minute things I didn't have in my hospital bag, Chris and I headed to the labor and delivery unit to get checked in and have me induced.  I cried a lot more.

Dr. Sadist (we'll call her that) came in and promptly stripped my membranes and dared me to cry (not really, but I bet she would have since she was not friendly or gentle) and started the induction process with Cytotec; pretty much immediately, contractions started.  When I checked in, I was about 3cm dilated and 70% effaced, so I hoped that the quick-onset contractions meant labor and delivery would happen sooner rather than later.  Several hours later, after there was no change, Dr. Polite broke my water and started me on Pitocin.  Surely things would start moving right along now.  One of the nurses on duty kept telling Chris, my parents and I that we would have a baby soon, soon, soon, but still, there was no baby.  A couple shift changes (and a day) later, Dr. Handsome said that I would have a baby by midnight.  And that made me nervous -  a baby on a schedule means possible c-section.

It turns out, a blue full moon brings babies out of the womb and into the world right and left.  Because the labor and delivery unit wasn't staffed to handle such a busy birthing night, patients were prioritized; I wasn't progressing very quickly, so I was a low priority.  My pitocin was turned off and I was left waiting, water broken, with diminishing contractions since my  body wasn't ready to have a baby, and every second that passed made me more sure I would end up having my baby cut out rather than pushed out.  When Dr. Passive came in, she didn't want to turn the pitocin back on, but wait around to see what happened instead, and that was the first mention of a c-section.  Not too long after that, after using everything they had in the unit to induce labor and monitor me and 9cm dialted and 100% effaced, my baby's heartbeat suddenly slowed and was difficult to locate.  Tubes and wires were flying, nurses were stabbing me with needles, Chris was given scrubs, and the nurses were running, pushing my bed to the operating room all for the safety of my baby - I had to have a c-section.

Although the epidural eliminates pain, it does not eliminate sensations and pressure, so I could still feel, in a sense, everything that was happening to my body, all while worrying that I might never get to meet my baby.  Naturally, I had a panic attack.  It was so embarrassing.  And, naturally, Chris wanted to watch, and later relayed to me that nurses were yanking on either side of the incision as if they were trying to rip my flesh with their bare hands (that was the awful, jerking sensation I was feeling while laying on the table), and that my uterus was laying on my chest as they stitched it up.  Gross.  And they fixed a hernia while they were up to their elbows in my guts.  BUT I HAD A HEALTHY BABY GIRL!

My Lucy Adelaide was born on July 31 at 9:27pm with long fingernails, weighing 7 pounds 14.5 ounces, and measuring 21" long.

Was the experience at all like I'd wanted or hoped it would be?  Absolutely not.  Would I do it again?  I would do it a million times over for my baby Lucy.  I had (and still have) a lot of feelings about needing to have an emergency c-section.  I feel I was cheated out of the birthing experience; I know there are women who look at c-sections as an easy way out, but it wasn't easy - both physically and emotionally - and it wasn't my choosing; I didn't get to have the skin-to-skin contact after birth that experts all say is so very important; and I wasn't the first one to hold my baby - the baby I'd been carrying for nearly 41 weeks.  It doesn't bother me as much as it did, but the feelings are still there, and when I think about it and get bummed, I just remind myself that I have the most beautiful baby girl, and that's the only thing that matters!

30 - 40 (almost 41) weeks

In between assuring people that I would, in fact, let them know when my baby was born (family was relentless and, quite frankly, irritating with all the calls asking if I'd "had that baby yet"), getting the nursery ready, and general nesting, I dropped the ball on weekly posts which I'm kind of upset about since it would've been nice to be able to look back on tham as it already seems like an eternity since I was pregnant!

So here goes, weeks 30 through 40, and almost 41!  Everyone I know, including my doctor was certain this baby was going to come early - everyone but Chris.  He'd been talking about taking a beach trip as a sort of last hurrah with just the two of us, but because I was terrified of going into labor several hours from home and either having the baby in another city or laboring for several hours in the car on the way home, we stuck pretty close by.  About two weeks before my due date, we decided to take a weekend trip to Greensboro, NC since it's only 2 hours south.  Then we came home and waited... and waited and waited and waited.

The nursery, it turns out, was completed in plenty of time, I craved sugar more than ever the further along I got in my pregnancy, I never once had a stranger rub my belly (so the warnings were moot), I never did experience the dreaded morning sickness - all in all, my pregnancy was absolutely amazing and I wish it could've lasted longer!

29 weeks (and a few pros and cons).

I'm in the middle of my 29th week and still loving being pregnant.  I don't want to say I wish it would never end because I do want to meet my baby, obviously, and finally find out if I have a son or a daughter (a James or a Lucy), but pregnancy has been good to me.

At 29 weeks, I've learned about some pros and cons of being pregnant in public.

- Random people (who, I imagine, would otherwise pay you no mind) flash you and your bump genuine smiles.
- Strangers wish you a Happy Mother's Day (and it makes me want to bear hug them, but that might get weird).
- Strangers in close proximity congratulate you and ask when you're due.  That makes my day every. Single. Time.
- People are more helpful (as in holding doors, reaching things, etc.).
- You can have a belly and feel absolutely beautiful in fitted clothing without even thinking about trying to suck it it (not that you could anyway).

- Way too many people call the baby "It."  Have you seen It?  I'm not having one of those.
- Apparently, you can't have any emotions about anything, otherwise you're hormonal (much like not being pregnant and having anything you might possibly feel be blamed on the fact that you're on your period, even if you're not on your period).
- People feel it's their right, nay, their duty, to tell you that your belly is huge and you'll never make it anywhere near your due date.  My belly is 34.5" around, thank you very much.
- If you tell people how great you feel, instead of being met with the same positivity, you will be told to "just wait until (fill in the blank with something negative)," or about how awful labor is and you just wait, or "that's only because you haven't had (insert super awful pregnancy symptom)."  If pregnancy is such a beautiful thing, how come so many woman have so many pessimistic thoughts?
- You're warned about how many strangers will touch your belly, but in my experience, NO ONE touches my belly, and I want them to because I'm JUST SO HAPPY ABOUT THIS BABY!

What I've Been Working On

Surprisingly, as busy as life has gotten lately, I've managed to work on quite a few new items, as well as get a few extra regular items made (so I can hopefully have a bit of an inventory built up that will be ready-to-ship once the baby gets here and I have to get adjusted to being a new mom).  For the last year or so, the 'Bonjour Y'all' tees and totes have been wildly popular, but lately the 'Hola Y'all' shirts have claimed the most popular item position!

Hola Y'all Tote, Hola Y'all T-Shirt

I have so, SO many ideas for new things - screen designs for shirts and totes, jewelry, paintings, etc. - but it's all a matter of finding adequate time.  The next screens I plan to make for shirts and totes will be more graphic in nature rather than having sayings, so hopefully they'll turn out...

What have you been working on lately?

26 and 27 weeks.

Though not shocking considering all the priorities on my to-do list that must be crossed off before Baby arrives, I've gotten behind on my weekly updates (which, really only bothers me since it seems an easy enough task).  As far as pregnancy goes, the only thing that's really changed is my energy level; much to my dismay, and following right along with typical third trimester pregnancy symptoms published everywhere that discusses pregnancy, this sudden onset fatigue has me feeling like I'm back in the first trimester, and no amount of sleep seems to re-energize me!

26 weeks:

- Our first baby shower!  Chris' aunts Amy and Anne were sweet enough to throw us a shower for friends, family, and anyone else we wanted to invite.
- My mom drove up from Florida to attend the shower and to spend time with Chris and I and her first grandchild.
- At this point I didn't have any pregnancy symptoms, and aside from my belly, you'd never guess I was growing a tiny human!

27 weeks:

- When my mom left Virginia, she headed to Pennsylvania (her family is there), then came back to Virginia for a few days before heading home to Florida.  This segment was much more relaxed since there wasn't a baby shower.
- Baby was lazy for at least half of this week and it was awful!
- My total weight gain as of this week was 15 pounds, putting me one pound less than the most I've ever weighed.  As it turns out, healthy eating really IS a good idea!

Being that today is Mother's Day, it has me thinking a lot about being a mom (not that the subject is ever bumped from first place in my mind) and what all it entails, not just in the beginning, and not just during the good times.  And those thoughts make me appreciate all the more the fact that we didn't start a family in our early 20's (or as everyone else likes to call it, "the right time") as I think we're better, calmer people and more capable parents-to-be at this stage in our lives.  I can't wait.

24 weeks: my whole world weighs about two pounds

From my little karate chop baby, to an upcoming shower, to home repairs - everything is moving so quickly!  I feel like I'll blink and pregnancy will be over and my baby will have already been born.  It's crazy to think that I'm nearing the end of my second trimester, and with the delivery date rapidly approaching (at least it feels that way to me) I'm starting to think about all new things; considering the baby will most likely come early, when should I have my hospital stay bag packed? which detergent is the best for washing Baby's sheets and clothes? will I accidentally cuss at the doctor or nurses in the delivery room and then feel guilty?  So many thoughts and questions!

You know how sometimes you look at a picture of yourself and think, "WHY COULDN'T I MAKE MY FACE LOOK NORMAL?!"  That's this.  I swear I'm happier than I look, but it's like I forget how to, you know, HAVE A WORKING FACE when a camera is around.

I think luck was on my side when I found this dress.  It's not maternity, but because of the hippie-ish style and the higher waist, this baby should last me for a while longer (assuming my stomach doesn't torpedo overnight).  I'm still having such a difficult time dressing myself, but I'm beginning to think that maxi dresses might be my new BFF...

22 weeks: big and healthy

Chris and I (along with our parents) went for the 22-week ultrasound on Wednesday to see our beautiful baby one last time before birth and, as I expected, it was pure magic and loads of happy tears.  We discovered that our baby is growing a little bigger than average, weighing in at 1 pound 3 ounces, or 538 grams (the average weight being 1 pound, or 478 grams), and we I managed to muster up enough willpower to keep my head turned while the ultrasound tech was measuring the legs so the gender would remain a mystery.

Current cravings: candy, donuts, cookies, pretty much anything sweet (which is strange considering I didn't have a big sweet tooth pre-pregnancy).
Current weight gain: 12 pounds!  WOW!  My weight gain was very slow at first, and this time I thought that I'd step on the scale and it would read 107 pounds, but when I saw 109.4 pounds, I think it was a cartoon moment where my eyes got really huge and temporarily popped out of my head!  I'm happy though because it means things are progressing just as they should.
Current projects: I cleaned A LOT of stuff out of the closet in the bedroom that will be the nursery (and it's a good thing considering Chris and I found an amazing deal on a stroller/carseat travel system the next day; there's now plenty of room for it in the newly-organized closet), settling on a wall color for the nursery (which will be a super pale shade of grey), making the baby's bird mobile to hang above the crib!
Current favorite thing: still, it's feeling the baby's movements and watching my stomach pop out and contort with each movement.
Current annoying thing: when people give me "helpful" advice even though I've already decided things (for example, telling me that I can do the nursery in green or yellow even though the color scheme has already been decided; or telling me that I can add pink or blue to the nursery once baby is born, even though it will work just fine for either gender without the addition of pink or blue).  To be honest, I think most people just don't understand not finding out the sex, or doing things gender neutral.

Last, Chris and I were waiting in line at the pharmacy today when I was giving him a list of all the candy and sweets I wouldn't mind be surprised with on Easter morning (I'm telling you, I'm a sugar fiend these days, and the fact that Easter candy is EVERYWHERE doesn't help).  I got down the list to "box of donuts" and he said, a little loudly, "A BOX OF NEWPORTS?!"  Hopefully no one heard it as he did, noticed I was pregnant, and immediately cursed me.


I don't know if there will ever be enough time for me to paint as much as I'd like (because painting is, essentially, a black hole of time in that I plan to spend an hour or two doing it, then reemerge, paint-covered, five hours later wondering where all the time went), but I have been sneaking in a couple hours here and there to work on a few things.  It seems I'm drawn to pinks lately, and although I don't really plan it, that just seems to be the predominant color.  I'm okay with it.

'Over It' - Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

'21 and 22' - Acrylic Palette Knife Painting on Watercolor Paper

These prints will be listed in my art shop in the coming days, and in the meantime, I have another painting in the works, and several other ideas I hope to get down soon (before I lose them).

*Interior design images from Pinterest.

21 Weeks: Belly Ripples

In the last few weeks, I've gone from feeling what felt like popcorn gently popping in my stomach, to feeling full-fledged kicks, and even seeing more defined, ripple-like movements; this is by far my favorite part of pregnancy.  This evening I laid on the sofa until it was dark just because I didn't want to get up, turn a light on, and possibly make baby stop moving!

I'm wearing | jacket: American Eagle (like, 10 years old) // sweater: I don't remember, but that baby is COMFY // dress: ASOS (not maternity, but it's got enough stretch for another month... I hope) // clogs: Lotta From Stockholm // sunglasses: c/o Oasap

Current cravings: still donuts, but I wouldn't mind a side or four of cheese and veggie pizza.
Current weight gain: 8.5 pounds (although my scale isn't 100% accurate, so I'm curious to see at my OB appointment next week).
Current aches and pains: my back hurts after too much standing or walking without sitting breaks, and my hips are sore at night which makes it difficult to sleep at times.  BUT, if these aches and pains are what it takes to grow a baby, I don't mind them a bit!
Maternity clothes: I have a few maternity shirts (only two have the ruching to make them look like actual maternity shirts), one maternity dress that's a little too big at the moment, and a pair of black maternity ponte pants.  Because I'm still so petite, most maternity clothes are far too big, but I've outgrown most of my regular clothes which makes getting dressed a real challenge!  I was lucky enough to find a new, unused Belly Belt on ebay for $6, so that should allow me to continue wearing my regular jeans for another month or two (and by that time it'll be so warm I won't have any interest in jeans).

20 weeks: I pity the fool who steals my donuts!

I cannot believe I'm at the halfway point in my pregnancy.  WHERE DID THE TIME GO?!  I've been enjoying every single minute of it (I imagine the absence of morning sickness, bleeding gums, stretch marks and the other typical pregnancy afflictions play a part in the enjoyment), and I want to try living in each and every moment as best I can so as not to let this precious time pass too quickly!

I thought it would be fun to do a weekly update to look back on once the due date is near, or once baby is here so I can relive the excitement of pregnancy!  So...

My current craving is: DONUTS! GIMME ALL THE DONUTS.  If Chris keeps eating my donuts though, my inner Hulk might come out.
My current weight gain is: 7.5 pounds, and trust me, I'm eating everything in sight...constantly.
Weird thing: I really like apples now.  I hated them before pregnancy, but now I eat one almost daily.
Baby's size: According to the app I use and a book I have, about 6.5" crown to rump and 10.5 ounces, but I have a feeling baby might be a bit bigger since he or she measured at 1.5 weeks larger size at the first ultrasound (Chris is 6'2", so I think we know who baby takes after in length).
My current belly measurement: 31", up from 23" pre- and early-pregnancy.
Favorite part: seeing my belly move when baby is kicking!  I could watch that all day, everyday, and never get tired!
Gender prediction: Boy.  We're not finding out baby Lucy or James' gender because we like the idea of a surprise, but for some reason, I just feel like this baby is a boy.

National Portrait Gallery

One of the perks of having friends in a large city is avoiding touristy places and being introduced to new and interesting things you may not discover on your own; still, every now and then it's fun to just be a tourist and visit the popular attractions!  On a recent trip to DC for our good friends' wedding, we all decided to visit the National Portrait Gallery to see the Mingering Mike exhibit (very amusing), and we ended up staying for several hours.  I took about a billion pictures, but it's impossible not to when you're surrounded by such beautiful art.

If you find yourself in Washington, D.C. with several hours to kill, I strongly recommend a visit!  DC is only about 3 hours from me, which is perfect for a weekend trip, but a little bit of a drive just to visit a gallery for an evening, so when I just now discovered that an Elaine de Kooning exhibit was opening this Friday, I just about cried thinking I would miss it.  Although, in my defense, the near-cry could just be a by-product of these pregnancy hormones.

Big change, little bump.

I've held off on blogging for some time because I knew I wouldn't be able to not mention my biggest news, and the most exciting experience of my life thus far - I'm going to have a baby.  It's funny how, in an instant, I went from thinking about getting new stones for earrings I needed to make; a pair of boots I'd love to have; where my husband and I would go out to eat, to: finishing the work that needs to be done to our house; creating a nursery; learning all I can about breastfeeding; birthing a baby; raising a healthy and loved child.  I don't feel that I'm a different person, but I now have a new facet to my life and personality that seems so natural I can't believe I'm just now experiencing it.

I'm just shy of 18 weeks, and in the last couple weeks my bump has finally become visible so that bloated-but-not-pregnant look is (luckily) a thing of the past!  I've been lucky enough not to experience morning sickness, heartburn, swelling, or many of the other common pregnancy discomforts, but the downside to feeling so great (in fact, better than I did pre-pregnancy) is that I'm a worrier, so I stressed and stressed about the fact that I didn't feel pregnant, so suppose I wasn't any longer.  It's crazy, I know.  My grandma even laughed at me when I told her I'd taken a total of seven pregnancy tests, saw the baby moving like crazy on the ultrasound, and heart his or her heartbeat on the doppler, but I still worried.  So my growing belly is much-needed reassurance that baby James or Lucy is growing and things are progressing as they should.

While I'm anxious to finally be able to meet my baby, I can't wait to experience all the joys of pregnancy, and I feel I'm at the point where those things will start happening and the fact that I'm a mom will become more and more real!