Under 30 days to go!

Steve sent me an email this morning to share with me that our little countdown now reads "29 days to go!" This is just unbelievable to us!!!

It has been quite an eventful week...

We had an enjoyable Christmas weekend split between the East and West side of the great Commonwealth of MA. We even got to see Sean, Courtney, Mike and Adrienne for a bit on Friday night, and Kathryn and Matt at Mass on Sunday, which was a special treat.

I was really uncomfortable on Monday night, had dreams that I was in labor, and woke up to some concerns on Tuesday. Luckily I had an OB appointment already scheduled for first thing in the morning so after showering and counting little fetal movements after a quick breakfast, we went warp speed to pack a bag JUST IN CASE and tossed it, a pillow, and my work stuff into the car. I figured if we had the bag we wouldn't need it and we didn't.

The doctor was not nearly as concerned as we were and told us that at this point they would not stop labor if it began - my response to this was to grab his arm and tell him and I quote "you are freaking me out!" He listened for baby's heartbeat and announced cheerily that it was "a regular baby" in there. We were instructed to call if the concerning things I noticed continued, which thankfully has NOT been the case. Phew. I have to go for a glucose test after lunch today, but that is unrelated to this incident. My next appointment is January 3rd and we will likely have weekly visits from here on in!

I have noticed a real change in my belly and am now feeling the baby on my left side, which is brand new. This guy or girl has always favored my right side. Movement has not slowed for the most part and you can now feel the baby moving appendages back and forth through my skin and not just adorable kicks. This is a very strange feeling. My belly is almost sore at the end of the day from all the movement. I began having some pain where my hip meets my leg - sharp and shooting pains. The first occurence of this was in Sean and Courtney's kitchen on Friday. =) It felt like I was losing my legs almost? It continued off and on both while standing and sitting over the weekend and yesterday morning I had a real sharp one while drying my hair that made me say "ow" loud enough to get Steve out of the shower. Can you say hypervigilance? Since Tuesday we have both been a bit on edge... BUT the silver lining of all of this is that we are now mentally in a place where we recognize that though it is unlikely, we could have this baby at any time. This is a very different way to think than "we are having this baby in 4 weeks." (4 weeks from Saturday is our due date!) Now that I have shared all of that, please remind us of how worried we were that we would go this early in February when I am begging to be induced! =)

I will admit that I did speed off into hyperdrive in my baby prep as a result of all this craziness. Who wouldn't?!?! We washed adorable little baby clothes, organized the baby's closet, put things away in the dresser, relocated a table to be the "changing table", reorganized the living room funriture to make more room for toys and visitors, amd are officially calling our second bedroom the baby's room. So much for taking it easy right? That mental switch from weeks to whenever really affects you!!

So what is Cash really up to this week???

... over 5 pounds
... 18 inches long
... not able to do flips in my belly anymore, but still just as active with kicks and punches
... kidneys check!
... liver check!
... most development is now complete, just putting on weight in this last few weeks~

Our big New Year's Eve plans include lobsters (NOT from the Sound!!!) and chocolate fondue at home. Hope you all have a happy and safe New Year!!!

Sad news from the South

It is with a heavy heart that I share the news that my Grandfather passed last night. In my experience, people often select their time and it seems that is just what he did. His birthday was Friday, Christmas was Monday, he passed on Tuesday - likely knowing that my uncle was flying down on Thursday to assist with packing and to plan my Grandmother's relocation from Florida to Massachusetts/Connecticut. In a twist of fate, today is also the 12th anniversary of my father's Dad's passing. The holidays are such a time of joy and celebration, with all the hopes of the new year ahead. This time of year is always bittersweet for my family and though it will weigh heavily upon us to grieve another loss this time of year, I am sure that in some way it will help see us through.

On behalf of my family, thanks to all those who have sent kind notes, good thoughts, and prayers his way. Very special thanks of course to the wonderful hospice team in Florida who provided such loving compassionate care to my grandfather and much needed support to everyone, especially my grandmother.

Happy Holidays from us and Cash!

With all this mild weather it seems very strange that Christmas is this weekend?!? We are readying ourselves for the holidays at home in MA.

Friday night we will most likely head up to Medfield. The annual family party is on Saturday and it will be so nice to see Steve's Dad's family; always a very special event! Santa even comes!! Saturday we will celebrate Christmas with Steve's immediate family before heading over to Steve's Aunt Joanie's for Luminaria 2006. Steve is especially excited to see his godson Nolan. Saturday night we will drive to Western MA to spend some time with Brett and my parents. Brett is actually off for Christmas Eve night AND Christmas DAY!?!? My aunt and uncle will join us for dinner on Christmas. I really enjoy that Christmas is over the weekend this year because it allows us to be able to spend real quality time with both sides of the family.

We have a lot to do before we head home! Besides packing of course, I am baking tonight for my holiday get together at work - whoopies! AND we have plans for our own little Christmas on Thursday night with a nice dinner out, some wine (shhhh!), and our gift exchange.

Sooo... the updates...

The latest news from Florida is that my grandfather is stable with hospice intervention, somewhat restless, but overall quite comfortable. My grandmother is home today taking a much needed break. We're in touch with one another all the time and I have passed on all the kind words people have extended to her and my father. Thank you for keeping us and especially my grandfather in your thoughts.

Cash's week~

Steve and I are going to meet with Cash's pediatrician later today. I have a list of questions for her, but REALLY how much can you "interview" a potential doctor. The only things I really want to to know are how often they want to see Cash the first year, the charges associated with these visits, and if she is open to a shared decision-making model (like that word!?). Other than that - what can we really get from an interview? Until we see her in action we won't really know will we? I won't stress about it. =)

... weight is up to 4.75 pounds
... almost 18 inches long
... Smooth skin as s/he layers on the fat - which I hope to assist with during my holiday meals =)
... Central nervous system still maturing
... Lungs are well-developed
... 99% of babies born at this point survive just fine

Happy Holidays!!

Energy Surge or Progress?

Just got my daily update from my father on Bob in Florida... They arrived back at the hospice facility this morning and were greeted by reports by the nurses that he had toast this morning, is drinking, and is talking. The staff is already discussing how if this progress continues they will need to consider signing him off of hospice as early as next week, which seems (to me) quite hasty given the prognosis earlier this week. Based on my work with this population, he may be experiencing an energy surge which is very common at the end of life. Given that the only medication he is taking at this time is to control pain and secretions and that he is only on a nasal candula when previously he needed much more intervention to breathe - this may be an energy surge... but stranger things have happened... I'll continue to update as the reports come in.

"This kid is active!" and other updates

As I have always been a good news before bad news believer...

OB Appointment ~

Dr. Van Dell exclaimed "this kid's active" while measuring the heart rate with the doppler. I wanted to shout back, "DUH!" but I somehow managed to control myself. Cash has been keeping me up a bit at night with all his/her squirming about, but really that is a good thing. I would rather have an active baby than be waiting around to feel those reassuring little movements. The rest of the appointment was pretty uneventful. They did a fingerstick to test for anemia and while I am not anemic, I have turned into a non-clotter! It seriously took almost 10 minutes for the bleeding to cease and desist and my finger is STILL a tiny bit sore - what's up with that!?!? The doctor shared some helpful hints to get to sleep and some foods to avoid to help manage my heartburn. Luckily the heartburn has eased up a bit - probably the result of some diet changes I have made. At the end of the visit I left with a circumcision release form (only if Cash is a boy!) and our PRE-ADMISSION PAPERWORK!!! I stared at the form and it is so surreal to think that we are turning in paperwork!??! My next appointment is December 26th...

Other Baby-related goings on~

We have officially figured out how to operate that car seat! (thanks Sandy and Sylvia!!!) I should take a photo, because we practiced strapping in my stuffed bear and he is currently still strapped in and ready to go for a ride. We have yet to tackle actually installing it however. I have a call into the town Police Department because they offer installation appointments to ensure safety. We both have the LATCH system in our car, but I know I would feel better if someone else at least inspected our handiwork before we bring the baby home.

Had my first complete stranger rub my belly - and I couldn't really say anything because it was in a professional situation. Family is one thing - but I didn't even know this person! She just rubbed away and said - "oh you're having a boy!" Maybe next time I will have the guts to rub the offender's belly back?

I continue to get a bit more uncomfortable at night. Steve has been my lifesaver! He came up with a nifty little pillow behind the back and preggo pillow in the front remedy that had me snoring in under 5 minutes - BLESS YOU STEVE!!! I have slept solidly through the night since the pillow intervention until at least 5AM!

Congrats to Steve!

He attended his company's annual awards and holiday party this afternoon and though he did not expect it he received a really wonderful award for "outstanding leadership and achievement!" I am SO incredibly proud of him!!!!

And the sad news....

The update on my Grandfather/Bob in Florida is that he has been moved (this afternoon) from the hospital to a 4-bed hospice facility in Orlando. I am told that the ride over was somewhat long and stressful and that he needed the mask on the way over. Last I heard he was settling into his room (very nice by all reports and private) and the crew were going to take a much needed break for a meal (their first since breakfast). My brother flew down this morning and it is unclear how long he will be staying. My parents still plan on returning North on Saturday at this point.

Please keep him in your thoughts - I will continue to update as information becomes available.

Update on Florida...

A brief update seems appropriate regarding the worsening situation in Florida. My grandfather (Cindy's father) continues to struggle and remains in the ICU. He has up moments and very down moments and after spending a period greater than 6 hours without a vent mask on, he has suffered a severe set back. My parents are en route on Tuesday and expect to be there for the remainder of the week. Admist all of the excitement and happiness of both this time of year and welcoming Cash, there is a gentleman in Florida who would greatly benefit from any kind thoughts or prayers you can send along to him.

HEADLINE: NINJA MORPHS INTO WIGGLE WORM!

Seemingly overnight - we have a wiggle worm on our hands. I guess the "baby cave" must be getting a bit too cramped because it now feels more like a rubbing against than a kick when Cash moves around. As recent as a few days ago Cash pushed out against my stomach and when I reached down and touched the little rounded spot (in a vain attempt to identify the body part protruding from my abdomen) the baby MOVED AWAY from my touch. So FUN! It was like interacting with Cash before s/he gets here... I have had similar experiences most days since. I can't wait for Steve to share in that too!

We have a crib!!!
The big news from the weekend is that we built the crib! It was a painless experience and it came together quickly and easily thanks to simple-to-understand directions and not so many pieces. =)

Office/Nursery
Pictures of Cash's room are posted below. We now officially have an office/nursery - which we think will work out just fine for now. I am imagining that Steve will actually be grateful to have the computer in that room during his share of the middle of the night wake ups - he can read ESPN or boston.com or check his work email while he comforts the little one back to dreamy slumber. More likely we will hover around it at 3AM bleary-eyed and exhausted googling ways to get the baby to sleep =)

32 Weeks
We are in the 32nd week - so just about 8 weeks until Cash's estimated arrival! I have been feeling pretty good overall. Getting out of the car and getting up from the couch are getting to be a little more challenging, but not cumbersome. I feel like Cash just went through a little growth spurt because I feel a lot bigger. We are planning on taking some 32nd week photos and will post so you will have to let me know if I finally look pregnant =) Heartburn continues to irk me, but I am managing ok.

The wonders of Massage
I had my pregnancy massage on Saturday! Steve gave me a gift certificate for our anniversary and it was so wonderful!!!! What a nice hubby. It was an hour and focused on my back, hips, legs, and feet. GLORIOUS!!! I wish I had gotten one each trimester it was so great. I had begun to feel some lower back pain, but the massage therapist worked hard on that area and it was 110% better when I left.

So what's happening with Cash this week~
... almost 4 pounds
... almost 17 inches long
... Toenails - but no pedicure in sight yet =)
... may already have a headful of hair - or peach fuzz
... skin is becoming less wrinkled looking
... general growth!

This time next year we will be getting ready to celebrate Cash's first Christmas and Cash will be almost a year old!

On a special note: Please extend some thoughts and prayers to my mother's parents in Florida who have been coping with some very stressful construction in their home and are hoping to be moving north soon. Wouldn't that be the best Christmas gift of all?!?!

View from the door...



















The office "corner"













Cash's future alma mater?













The Crib!













The crib "interior" with mobile













Another view (the sox stuff WILL come down - photos of Humarock will go up)



















Cash's dresser - Reese approves!