34 Weeks

How far along?  34 weeks

Total weight gain: up 13.5 lb.  The PA at my doctor's office seemed impressed that I hadn't gained any weight considering the massive nature of my ankles.  Or I should I say cankles...

Baby is the size of:  Cordy, the corduroy crocodile - this was a gift for Coop from our dear friends Colt and Sarah. Colt was the best man at Tanner's wedding.  Once he met Sarah, she might as well have been part of "the gang" forever.  We don't see them as often as we would like, but we always pick up right where we left off.  We got to have lunch with them while they were in town this past weekend.  Love those crazy kids!

Maternity clothes? Most definitely. I am still wearing quite a bit of non-maternity stuff too just because I refuse to go buy more maternity clothes at this point.  My scrubs had their last hoorah this week.  I might still be able to wear the pants, but the top is annoyingly clingy.   
Stretch marks?  No new ones.  But the varicose veins are coming on with a vengeance.  I'm already wondering if I could convince my insurance company to pay to have them lasered.  Probably not...
Sleep:  I've slept a little better this last couple of weeks.  Even though I've been drinking a lot more water to try to combat the swelling, the nocturnal enuresis has subsided a bit. Try to soak up these last few precious nights of relatively uninterrupted slumber. But I'm also looking forward to those solitary moments with my girl.  Yes, I'm one of those freaks who missed my kid once he slept through the night.  It took him a full year to do it for crying out loud!  After that, I missed that time with him.  He was a busy toddler and didn't have time to snuggle during waking hours.  Sometimes when I wake up in the night and can't sleep, I'm tempted to crawl into his bed to snuggle.  He's still a very squirmy sleeper so this is really only a good idea in theory. :)
Symptoms: The swelling in my feet and hands has hit a new level.  By the end of most days, my feet are swollen to point that you can tell exactly which pair of shoes I wore to work long after I've taken them off. My hands aren't noticeably swollen until I try to take off my rings.  I haven't had to employee any hand soap to get them off yet.  But I have also stopped wearing them if my hands feel at all puffy in the morning.      
Movement: My little gymnast is still flipping and kicking.  She still likes to stretch out from the lower left to the upper right of the bump.  Depending on how much room she thinks she needs, this can be uncomfortable to downright painful.  But sure is fun to watch her bounce around in there! 

Food Cravings:  At one point this week I had a pretty random, very intense craving for raspberry tea.  Thank you God for Snapple K-cups which we just happened to have in raspberry iced tea. 
Miss anything? This pregnancy has been so different from my first.  With Cooper, I felt like I was the most beautiful woman in the world while I was pregnant.  I felt like I truly had that pregnancy glow.  This time around, with all of the drama (early contractions, low lying placenta, more contractions, crazy busy at work, blah, blah, blah) I've felt more like an incubator than a glowing Greek fertility goddess.  I've still very much enjoyed being pregnant, but this time around has been much more uncomfortable and challenging.  So I guess I miss the glow...

I have started going in for weekly checkups.  They did my strep B screen and a cervical check.  Turns out I'm already dilated to 2 cm.  At this shocking piece of news I laughed hysterically since that seems to be response to all pregnancy related medical information this time around.  She said Baby was at +2 station but when I laugh she moves to +1.  Still pretty high, but a little scary that all it takes is good joke for her to move down that much.  So I'm now taking the medication to stop contractions 4 times a day.  We are hoping to get a few more weeks in the incubator before she makes her debut.  

Since I've already been at a two longer than I ever was with Cooper, it seems pretty likely this labor experience will be very different from my last.  I am toying with the idea of attempting an unmedicated delivery, or at least foregoing the epidural.  I hated how I felt like a lump on a log for quite a bit of labor with Coop.  I want to be a more active participant in the experience this time around.  I also don't want to be stuck in a bed for hours after Cate is born because my legs still feel like tree trunks.  I'm planning to discuss pain management options with my doctor this week.  I'm also planning to labor at home substantially longer than I did last time.  Best laid plans...

My Advice for New Moms

A quick Pinterest search will find you about a million articles packed with advice for new moms.  I am in no way attempting to recreate some of the brilliance that exists out there.  This is just an honest list of advice I wish I had been given (or actually listened to).

1. He will be tiny, but only for a moment.  Enjoy him!  Marvel at how the precious little sound he makes after he sneezes.  Treasure the moments of him sleeping on your chest.  Kiss his bare shoulders, fuzzy with newness. 

2.  He will grow.  You will turn around and he will be a man-child sword fighting with his Daddy.  He will ask to be tucked in like a bean burrito.  He will pull a rainbow out of his butt!  He will make you laugh until you cry.  You will cry because you make the hard choice to stick to your guns when he starts testing boundaries. No matter how much you want to make it stop...he will grow. 

3.  You will make mistakes.  You will get angry with your husband for not recognizing that you are drowning.  You will get angry with your child because he just. won't. sleep.  You will mess up, wish you had done things differently, want a do-over.   Forgive yourself.  That's worth repeating. FORGIVE YOURSELF. Tomorrow is another day, another chance. 

4.  You will need help.  People may offer to help - accept any and all offers.  Give them your grocery list, let them do your dishes.  If you can convince them to clean your ceiling fans...you, my friend, are a rock star!  Don't try to entertain these people who come to offer help.  Feed the baby and sleep - these are your 2 jobs while help is in your house.  Let someone else change diapers (unless you just really enjoy changing diapers. In that case, by all means, have at it!).

5.  This too shall pass.  For better or worse, this too shall pass.  You WILL sleep again, I promise.  I know this doesn't help when you haven't slept for more than 30 minutes at a time since you met this little bundle of "joy".  I swear to you, it will get better.  Maybe not today, or tomorrow...but you will sleep again.  The bad news here is that the good passes, too.  The gummy grins, the hysterical laughter because you turned your head, the "I don't know" hands.  These pass before you even realize they are gone.  And you will miss them desperately.

6.  Give your body time.  You just put your body through a 10-month marathon.  You grew a person for crying out loud!!!  Now your body is capable of producing all the nourishment your baby needs.  Your body is a strong, amazing, miraculous creation!  Yes, you may be a little squishy in the middle.  Yes, it will take time for your body to resemble the one you once knew.  No, you do not have to be satisfied hanging on to those last 5 pounds.  Although you may not lose them until after you stop breastfeeding.  You may get back to pre-baby weight and find that things just don't land exactly where they were before baby.  Whatevs! YOU GREW A PERSON!

7.  Find some mom-friends.  These can be moms you know and admire.  These can be strangers in a Facebook group.  Just find your tribe.  Find moms who will not judge or be catty.  Find moms who will challenge you without making you feel bad for doing your own thing.  These moms know that every baby, mom, and family are different and there is no magic bullet.  These moms will support you and hold you up. 

8.  There will be times you feel completely lost.  There will be times you just go through the motions, get through the day, survive.  This mom thing isn't for wussies! It is hard - more challenging than anything you have ever done.  You can do this.  You WILL do this.  Take a minute, say a prayer, and keep going.  Vent to your mom-friends and know that you are not alone.

 Tanner and I often felt like punching people because they told how hard it was being parents.  They made it sound like torture.  We just wanted to tell everyone to shut up and let us enjoy it!  I'm hear to tell you, it is hard.  But it is also AWESOME!   

32 Weeks

How far along?  32 weeks

Total weight gain: up 13.5 lb.  I blame the ninja/circus freak growing in my gut for me losing half a pound in the last 2 weeks. Girl is nuts!  She is constantly squirming and flipping and kicking and flopping.  It is fun that she is so active, but some days it is truly exhausting. I try to remind myself to enjoy this because it will be over soon...and then Cate plants her feet squarely on my spinal cord and attempts to jump out of my belly button.  OUCH!

Baby is the size of:  Douglas - this is one of the first things Tanner and I bought for Coop.  We thought it was cute and quirky.  Turns out that's a pretty great description of our Little Man!

Maternity clothes? Finally found a pair of black maternity pants in my size.  Did you hear that?  I'm pretty sure it was angels singing...  I'm still wearing a lot of dresses.  And thankfully my scrubs still fit (PTL for drawstrings).  
Stretch marks?  No new ones.  
Sleep:  Still struggling to get comfortable, but not too bad.  If I didn't have to pee 57 times each night it might be a little easier.  Hoisting myself out of bed is getting to be a challenge. 
Symptoms: You mean other than the belly, revolving bathroom door and mood swings?  Well, I guess you could also count the swollen hands and feet.  Nothing ridiculous yet, but definitely noticeable if I've eaten too much salt/not had enough water.     
Movement: See above - girl is crazy! 

Food Cravings:  Still loving fried chicken - thank you cafeteria ladies at work for rocking that one this week!  Cranberry juice over good ice is as close to a snowcone as I can get without having to leave work.  It's becoming a staple as an afternoon treat. 
Miss anything? Getting off the couch with out grunting.  Putting on tennis shoes without having to stretch first.  

I finally had to break down and get my prescription filled for the medicine to help control contractions.  They have never been regular, but I have been having real contractions often enough that the PA wanted me to have the med available.  I was in denial for several days and left the prescription sitting at Target.  After a couple of rough evening with some relatively painful contractions, I surrendered.  The medicine definitely helps.  I still have lots of Braxton-Hicks contractions, but fewer of the real deal.  Keep cooking Baby Cate!

In Case You Were Wondering, My Son Is Still AWESOME!

I feel like I've neglected Cooper on the blog lately.  I've been trying so hard to keep the pregnancy stuff up to date, I struggle to stay current on the boy.  But he is still the most amazing kid on the planet!  Here's a little round up of what he's been up to this summer.

 While Daddy was working on the retaining wall, he found a baby bullfrog.  Cooper loved talking to it and watching it hop around. He even gave it a name.  He wasn't to keen on touching.  Somehow, Mommy worked up the courage.

"I sink I'll name him Judy!"

Mother's Day

 Coop is becoming quite the little helper in the kitchen.  Over Memorial Day weekend, which we spent just chilling at home, he used a butter knife to help Daddy cut up a watermelon.

"I'm gonna lick it!"

I don't think the rind had quite as much flavor.

Cooper has an interesting way of saying several words.  This goes beyond the fact that he is still developing the ability to make certain sound.  Lellow for example - he is perfectly capable of making the "y" sound, but he still says lellow instead of yellow.   With other words, I really have no idea  why he says them the way he does, but it's adorable and I wouldn't dare correct him. Just a few examples to illustrate my point:

  • Musgic - this is music.  Why there's a g in the middle, I will never know.  Lately, when we are driving to/from school in the mornings he gives me a list of things he wants to do.  It always goes something like this: These are my questions.  First, I want to having quiet time, then a little talking time and then some musgic time. Okay? Those are my questions. 
  • Chlocate - no I did not spell it wrong.  If you ask him what anything tastes or smells like, odds are the answer will be chlocate. 
  • Score - we've been watching a squirrel in our backyard for months.  It likes to attack the bird feeder Coop hung up with his daddy.  It runs along the fence and stalks the cat.  Pretty entertaining.  Coop insists that it's a score.  If you tell him otherwise, he will correct you.
Cooper has always enjoyed music.  Lately it's a lot of the Frozen soundtrack.  He likes for us to sing Love Is An Open Door as a duet.  I do the girl part and he does the boy part.  It's totally nerdy and I LOVE it!  I'm not sure why the resurgence in popularity, but we have been hearing Jesus Freak by DC talk a ton lately.  It always seems to come on just as we are arriving at our destination.  He insists that we stay in the car until it's over.  He gets this scowl on his face and bobs his head to beat.  It's pretty fantastic.  And really, is there a better song for your son to love?

So, as you may have imagined, Cooper is still amazing.  I know he has no idea what he's in for with a baby on the way.  I'm just trying to soak up all the Coopy-goodness while I can.  Love you Little Man!