Saturday, March 1, 2014

Week 41: A March Baby!

Dear Baby,
You’re officially a March baby – our little lucky charm!  This week posed some challenges for Mom.  For most of the week I felt comfortable physically but I have experienced some hip pain from you settling lower into my pelvis.   Mentally and emotionally, I had some ups and downs.  Let’s just say I’m ready to meet you.  I remind myself often that as soon as I see your adorable little face it will all be worth it!

At our weekly prenatal appointment you still seem to be healthy and happy, so our wait continues...  Your heart rate is still good and fluctuates when stimulated.  Mostly, this means when the nurse touches Mom’s belly in different spots your heart rate changes.  Supposedly this is a good thing.  Mom’s blood pressure and health are still fine, too.

If you don’t make your debut we have some extra appointments and tests scheduled to make sure we both stay healthy.  These tests include non-stress tests and an ultrasound to check fluids.

Lately, I’ve been thinking about what day you’ll arrive.  I’m curious when we’ll celebrate your golden birthday and if you’ll be old enough to remember.  I’ve also looked up some interesting facts about the upcoming dates.  Here’s what I’ve found.

If you’re born on…
March 2 – you’ll share a birthday with Dr. Seuss
March 3 – congress passed its first tax law (1791) and the Star Spangled Banner became the national anthem of the United States (1931)
March 4 – Abe Lincoln sworn in as president (1861).  FDR was also sworn in as president (1933).  You’d be a Mardi Gras baby this year!
March 5 – the Hula-Hoop was patented (1963)
March 6 – Walter Cronkite signed off CBS for the last time (1981)
March 7 – Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone (1876)
March 8 – religious instruction in public school was ruled unconstitutional (1948)
March 9 – Barbie doll made her debut (1959)

I’m not going beyond this.  I’m optimistic we won’t have to go this far out.  But, if we do, I know you’ll be worth the wait.
A chocolate cake.  It could have been your birthday cake.  Now, it's just a cake and Dad and I are enjoying it.

We bought a "Pick 6" at the grocery store.  Here's my two that I'm looking forward to enjoying after your arrival.

Our bags are packed for the hospital.  I've double and triple checked them.  I'm sure we'll still end up forgetting something!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Week 40: Due Date

Dear Baby,
Happy Due Date!  While I can’t say with certainty that you will or won’t arrive today, I’m going to guess you’re holding out a little longer.  I woke up today feeling the same.  Dad was scheduled to work, so he went.  Grandma Liz and Aunt Katie are visiting.  They were hoping to be present for your arrival.  Guess we’ll all have to be patient.

Life carries on pretty normally as we wait for your big debut.  Both Dad and Mom are still working.  The Wisconsin winter is still COLD!  Because of this, I can’t really blame you for not wanting to come out yet.  Although, Mother Nature did give us a little break this past week.  We took it as an opportunity to spend some time outdoors.  Mom went snowshoeing with her friend Megan, who is also a soon-to-be new mommy.  Dad and Mom took advantage of a 40 degree day and took our first walk around our new neighborhood.  It’s fun to imagine pushing you in a stroller in spring.

Now that we’ve officially hit your due date, the element of surprise seems more real.  One day, very soon, life will change in a big way!  We can’t wait to meet you!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Week 38 (Technically 39): Happy Belated Valentine’s Day

Dear Baby,
With only one week to go until your “guess date,” Dad and I were unsure if we’d be sharing this year’s cliché romantic holiday of Valentine’s Day with a new little cupid.  Nope, not this year.  You were in our thoughts, though.  I’ve always been a believer that Valentine’s Day isn’t just about couples and romance.  It’s also about sharing feelings with special people in our lives. It’s important to tell family and friends, both girls and boys, that we love them.  Baby D, you are special to us.  We care about you and love you very much!

Of course, you’ll experience Valentine’s Days where you feel obligated to do something special for someone.  Perhaps, you’ll live through a few February 14ths where you’ll question why you’re the only one who has no one to spend the holiday with.  Believe me when I say you’re not the only one!  And if you ever do feel this way, just know it is days like these that build character.  And days like this are opportunities to make the best of every situation.  Find people who can surround you, laugh with you, cry with you, and still celebrate with you.  Some of my most favorite Valentine’s Day memories are not extravagant, romantic dates.  Rather, they are watching sappy movies with girlfriends, writing love poems to best friends, or delivering candy to co-workers.

All this said it is fun to make the holiday special, too.  This year Dad and I (and you) attended the Valentine Ball.  It’s an annual fundraiser for the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra.  It was a night to feel fancy, eat delicious food, and enjoy fun company!  We had a good time.

I forgot to mention in a previous post that I finally used Dad’s Valentine’s Day gift from last year.  He gifted me with a certificate to a store where I can paint my own pottery.  I chose to paint a dinner plate that says: “You are Special Today!”  I made this in hopes of starting a tradition in our family.  Anytime a member of our family has an important event, whether it be a unique privilege, big accomplishment, birthday celebration, or anything we deem worthy, that person gets to use the special plate for their meal.  I look forward to this tradition and hope it teaches us to celebrate both big and small accomplishments.

In preparation for your arrival I completed a few more projects.  Your car seat base is now installed in Mom’s car.  Much easier than I anticipated!  Although we did have to remove it briefly to haul a few more belongings that were being stored at Grandma and Grandpa Duchrow’s house during our move.  Our hospital bag is slowly becoming more full – a true reminder that you’re coming soon.  I’ve created a short list of family and close friends that we’d like to notify when the time for your birthday finally arrives.  Dad will probably be in charge of this.

Pregnancy is still going well.  At this week’s check-up nurses were a bit surprised to see us still.  The progress you made had some thinking you could be an early baby.  I get the impression that you’re pretty comfy in Mom’s belly.  That said, I have started to feel some irregular tightening in my stomach.  It doesn’t hurt and nurses say it’s a positive sign that my mind and body will know what to do when the time comes.  It’s clear you’re putting on weight and becoming stronger.  Mom’s belly has grown a lot in the past few weeks and when you move you pack a bit more punch.

At 39 weeks my week-by-week baby app estimates that you weigh the same as a mini watermelon – about 7 pounds. I remember reading ahead in early pregnancy thinking how awful this might feel.  I likened it to picking out a juicy watermelon in the produce section upon first entering the grocery store and hauling it around while finishing the rest of shopping.  It’s really not that bad.

I guess we’ll see if we make it to another week of writing to you.  Can’t wait to meet our little valentine!
Mom & Dad at Valentine Ball
For those who want a belly pic, here is week 38 (almost 39)
Feeling the Valentine's Day love from family and friends!
Car seat base installed.  Check.
A ladder to showcase all the lovely blankets that people have made you!
The "You Are Special Today!" plate.  Our tradition begins.
Just for fun, Mom took this silly quiz and got 4+.  Dad took the same quiz and got 1.  We figure that averages to  2.5.
 In math don't you round up for this?
P.S. While I rarely get sick, I DO sleep and anyone who knows us well will testify that having our house be a disaster would drive us to the funny farm.  I promise I did answer honestly.  Still, I say bring on the kiddos!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Week 37: Dad Says, “Stay Put!”

Dear Baby,
Your birthday is getting so close!  It’s fun to think about all the excitement that will surround us on the day we meet you.  It’s also fun to imagine how we’ll celebrate you for all the years to come.  Right now a date on the calendar exists that holds little meaning to us.  But, once you arrive it will forever be your birthday!

At our prenatal appointment this week Dad was extra curious about when you will be born.  That’s because he has a snowmobile trip planned with some friends.  But, like we imagined, the answer we received from nurses was inconclusive.  It’s anyone’s guess when you’ll make an appearance.  Dad did to go on his 2-day snowmobile trip.  You and I stayed cuddled up at home. We’re exited to hear about his adventures when he returns home.  Don’t get any ideas about coming out until he returns!

While we’re hanging out at home I’ve taken some time to think about becoming a mom.  It’s rewarding to know all the ways I will be able to provide and care for you.  Exciting as it to imagine everything you’ll learn on your own, it’s also a scary feeling to know I won’t be able to protect you from everything as you grow.  It makes me understand and appreciate all the rules that were set for me as a child and teenager.

My favorite part of having you in my belly is feeling and watching you move.  It’s a bond that I will miss once you’re born.  Every so often, what I imagine is your foot or knee will protrude from the side of my stomach.  It’s not painful.  Sometimes I’ll watch it until is slips back into place.  Other times I’ll press on it to see how you react.

As long as you’re still comfortably hanging out in Mom’s belly, we’ll travel home to Maplewood this weekend to celebrate your uncle Mike.  He leaves for his basic training to join the U.S. Navy next week!  That means you probably won’t be able to meet him until he graduates from his basic training.  We’re already planning to a trip to Naval Station Great Lakes in April to attend his graduation, offer congratulations, remind him how much we love him, and to introduce you two.  We’re all very proud of him already!

As pregnancy continues, Mom still enjoys prenatal yoga class at Rootdown Yoga Studio.  The class offers stretches, relaxation, and time to connect with other mamas.  All this is reassuring.  I’m happy to report that discomforts of pregnancy haven’t set in too harshly.  Together, you and I are still sleeping well at night.  I am able to find comfortable positions and you don’t move too much during the night.  Maybe that means you already understand what “bedtime” means?  Fingers crossed! Dad continues to work to finish some projects around home.  He has done a fantastic job at making our new house a home.  Looking forward to showing off his hard work to everyone who comes to visit you!

Stay warm, little one.  We’re up to a total of 33 days below zero so far this winter.  Yuck!

Thanks to Mom's friends Kassidy and  Mandy for helping to capture some belly photos and pregnancy memories!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Week 36: Reality Hits

Dear Baby,
Four weeks and counting...  A four week countdown is nothing new to me.  I’ve made them in anticipation for vacations, last day of school, birthdays, and other holidays.  But, four weeks (give or take) until Dad and I become parents – forever?  That’s crazy!

At our 35 week check up we learned you’re in a good position to make your entrance.  Stay that way!  It gives Mom optimism that labor and delivery will be challenging, yet manageable.  I continue to read material and talk with other mamas.  This also gives me confidence. 

But, enough about me and my pregnancy.  It recently hit me that as I near the end of my pregnancy journey, it’s not really about me anymore.  It’s about you!  Soon, your story begins.  After you’re born we’ll have so many details to share with you.  We’ll know your gender, your size, whether you will be born with or without hair, and weather you arrived early or late based on your due date. (February 23)  We’ll have stories to share about how cooperative or stubborn you were during labor.  We will have photos with the people who came to visit and hold you in the hospital.  We’ll remember details about the weather on the day you were born.   Right now all these details are a mystery and it’s fun for Mom and Dad to imagine everything we’ll learn about you on your birthday.

How about a weather update, since that’s what everyone seems to be talking about these days!  This winter has seen some extremely cold temperatures.  The news folks say they’re caused by a weather system called a polar vortex.  Unfortunately, we seem to be continuously stuck in the cold trap.  Currently it’s about -17 degrees.  That’s without a wind chill.  Add the blustery winds to the mix and it feels more like -35 degrees.  Dad, who attempts to look on the positive side of this weather, says that we’ll be able to tell you just how cold it was during the winter you were born.

Some other exciting events to share with you – your room is ready!  Dad and I had a date night one Tuesday and painted your nursery.  We chose the color Agreeable Gray.  It’s a peaceful room to be in.  We hope you think so, too.  This past weekend I also prepared our stash of cloth diapers.  We’re all ready!

One tiny request that I know full well is completely out of my control, but if you could hold off your arrival until at least 37 weeks that would make everyone feel a little more comfortable.  37 weeks is what the medical world considers “early term.”  But the key word there is “term.”  At that point all you have left to do is gain weight.  As excited as we are to meet you, we’re also excited for you to be a healthy baby! 

See you soon!
Mom refinished your night stand
Refinished dresser - this furniture used to belong to Grandma Liz.  Now it's yours!
Your nursery!  Still needs a few things, but we're mostly ready.
Washing our cloth diapers so they're ready for use!
Somebunny practicing how to use the new dipes! 

Grandma Jo and Grandpa Dave helped us paint our kitchen yellow! 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Week 33: A System of Support

Dear Baby,
Life is back to routine and I am a happy camper.  While all my travels were fun, I was ready to slow down and get back to a routine. 

This week I am regaining confidence in giving birth to you.  My most recent prenatal check-up was very positive.  I was able to enjoy a comfortable visit with our midwife and share good conversation about some questions I’d been pondering.  In addition to having had an extremely positive pregnancy and prenatal experience, I have been reading a few books, talking with other moms, and trusting my personal strength.  I am having fun imagining how your birthday will play out.  I know it will be an experience I remember for my lifetime. 

Dad has been getting quite excited for your birth, too.  It’s intriguing for this Momma to imagine how different a father’s “pregnancy” experience is from a mother’s.  Dads-to-be must learn and adapt to many new scenarios, too.  You are a very lucky little munchkin to have such a caring and involved Daddy.

It’s crazy to think that we’re getting close to meeting each other.  Our nurse suspects that you’ll probably be a wee little thing.  This is a just her guess based on the size of Mom’s belly.  I’m curious to see how little or big of a peanut you actually are.

Today, your Grandma Jo hosted a baby shower for us.  Attending the shower were many wonderful women who have posed as role models throughout my life.  Since I was a little girl these women have taught me much.  It is comforting to know that as I approach motherhood I will continue to have their support.  I can’t wait for you to meet all of them.

Having the encouragement from these women gets me thinking about how important it is to surround yourself with people who bring out the best in you!  I am confident you already have many talents yet to be discovered. Spend time with those who will help you find these talents and support you in reaching your goals and chasing your dreams.

While we wait for your arrival, I will continue to draw on my support system.  Dad and I can’t wait to start life with you!

Your new swing!  Grandma Liz swears by this because Mom was a "baby in motion!"
For your listening pleasure while Mom is working :)
Your bedside crib.  We are slowing getting ready for you!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Week 32: Becoming a Mommy

Dear Baby,
The reality of becoming a mommy – your mommy – is getting more and more real.  I’m a mix of emotions about it.  Some moments I can’t wait for you to get here!  I count the weeks we have left in my mind, ponder your due date, and think about whether you’ll make your appearance early or late.  Other moments I start making lists of everything I need to do before your arrival.  Sometimes I question whether I have what it takes; the knowledge, patience, and stamina to be a mom.

Lately I’m finding it difficult to plan my parenting goals or picture my ideal parenting lifestyle.  There seems to be so much information to sift through.  I want to know it all!  I want to do what’s best for you.  But, if I think too much I become overwhelmed with the pressure of advertisements for new or convenient baby products, advice from other parents, and warnings about being cautious in regards to health and safety hazards.  This is where I need to remind myself of my own self-confidence.  I will approach parenting just as I do many other things in life.  I will approach it with an open mind and heart.  I will have to trust my own instincts and “Duchrow with it!”  Thanks in advance for letting me practice with you.

Today was an exciting day – your cousin Mary was born!
Here's some photos of all that we've been up to lately!
The Big Easy at Christmas Time

Bridesmaids on Jane's Wedding Day!
Our friends, Emma and Max, are curious to see your hair color since we figure all our children's hair will be about the same.  It's science, right?
The after wedding party continues at Pat O'Brien's
Your first souvenir
Mom was practicing with the car seat
More practice... you'll definitely be cozy!
Christmas Eve
Rotary Lights in downtown La Crosse with your cousin Ryan

Bridesmaids on Nikki's NYE Wedding Day!
Wigs & Wiggles - Jane's Burbon Street bachelorette party!