Category Archive: pregnancy

A baby story [Part II]: Weeks 26 + 27

Week 26: Baby’s the size of a head of lettuce

A lot was going on in Lucia’s world this week, namely, opening weekend for her Nani’s play “Shadows”! I helped produce the show, Uncle Derdo directed and was the lead male actor in the play, and Nani wrote the play, was the props master and costume director, and produced the play so it was a wild time for our family the past four months and we were so excited (and relieved!) to finally see opening night arrive and go over so well. Seeing the play again after 15 years and being in such a different place in my life (I was in high school the last time the play was produced), I was overcome with pride in my mom and in my family. It means so much to me that because of my mom, not only do I have some amazing stories of my family that I otherwise would never have known but I also have it in a visual performance where my family members, some of whom I never met, really came to life right before my eyes. Means the world to me and hopefully will be treasured by Lucia, Sirena and any other kiddos we might have in our family. 🙂

Now back to Lucia: I’ve come to the conclusion that this little girl moves a LOT more than Sirena did when she was in my belly. Lucia jiggles my belly around all day long and gets me with some major jabs and belly rolls a few times a day. I have yet to catch it on film (I need to keep our camera handy!) but hopefully soon. She also seems to stick around reaaaally low most of the day and night. It can feel really uncomfortable where my pants rest on my low abdomen and I find myself having to resituate myself (or my waist band!) to get some relief from her pushing down.

I’ve also noticed that clothes do not fit me the same as they did with Sirena’s pregnancy. It’s obvious that my belly has grown a lot more quickly this time around but even shirts and leggings that I wore through to the end of Sirena’s pregnancy (when I was a lot larger than I am now) just aren’t fitting the same even now. I’ve had to purchase a few more maternity shirts and a new couple of pairs of stretchy pants to feel more comfortable on a daily basis. Hopefully these will last for the next 3 months!

The only other news with the pregnancy is that so far I haven’t developed linea negra (a brown line from navel to top of pubic bone that is temporary) like I did during Sirena’s pregnancy by now and so far I’ve still got an actual belly button! It’s becoming more and more shallow by the day so I think its days are numbered. 😉


Belly shot!

No photo this week, oops!

Week 27: Baby’s the size of a cauliflower

We started off this week with a prenatal appointment. We met with a new midwife, Vicki, so it was nice to be able to get to know another midwife who may end up being the one present at our birth when the time comes. The ever-exciting glucose screening was at this appointment and a few days later I received the same potentially disappointing news that the test levels came out a bit high and so I’ll need to go in for the longer 3-hour glucose screening next week. Fingers crossed I’m not diagnosed with gestational diabetes but of course we’ll face that if it comes to that!

Things are starting to get more and more real with the impending birth and arrival of Lucia…the midwife talked to us about preterm labor signs and starting next week I need to start keeping a kick count (to make sure she’s keeping active throughout the third trimester). Third trimester starts next week…ahhh! So much to do and now it’s really getting to be crunch time.

Fun fact: Next week during Sirena’s pregnancy is when I chopped all my hair off. I’m considering doing it again…guess it’s a third trimester pregnancy thing??


Belly shot!



My shadow seems to have returned!

Other pregnancy updates:

  • Total weight gained so far: 7 pounds
  • Fun baby developments: She weighs about 2 pounds and is around 14.5 inches long, she’s beginning to show brain activity, she’ll take her first peek around this week while her blinking reflex begins, and she probably recognizes my voice!
  • Number of days until our family vacation/babymoon to Hawaii: 6! We are so excited!

A baby story [Part II]: Weeks 24 + 25

Week 24: Baby’s the size of a grapefruit

This week in the pregnancy started off on Christmas Eve–such a fun time this year with Sirena and being in our own home. Throughout this time we kept talking about how amazing it’s going to be next Christmas with a 3.5 year old and an 8 month old to celebrate the holidays with! This week marked the one year anniversary of moving into our new house as well and we could not be more happy with our beautiful home and the family that we’re growing here.

A conversation I had with a fellow mama who was actually on bed rest from this point in her pregnancy until the day her daughter was born (talk about an amazing mama) really gave me a new perspective on things and it was so timely with the new year being at the end of this week. Bed rest for her really got her out of shape and didn’t prepare her well for her extremely long labor. This really got me thinking about my own preparation for labor which, until this point, I’ve maintained the perspective that with the back pain I didn’t experience before I’m so limited in what I can do and that there’s nothing I can really do about it. I’ve also honestly been banking on the fact that I had an overall low-key labor and delivery with Sirena and that that will surely happen the second time around, if not be even more low-key this time. I realized that my labor was the way it was because of the months and months of physical preparation–walking 5 miles to/from work in the first 3 months of pregnancy, then student teaching and working 12 hour days through my 8th month, and continuing to walk Lola every day and go hiking just about every other week throughout the pregnancy. Up until this point, this pregnancy doesn’t even begin to compare to the physical activity of my last pregnancy. I know that I am more limited because of the changes in my body but that doesn’t mean that I have to allow it to completely keep me from being active. So I have come up with a schedule for walking and a routine of low-impact stretches and floor exercises to keep myself active and moving and to hopefully help with the back pain, prepare me for labor, aid in my postpartum recovery, and allow me to slowly (but not too slowly) return to more physical activity 6 or so weeks postpartum.

Last but not least, Kevin came up with a really awesome name idea that we both liked the sound of and the meaning of right away and I think we’re getting closer to choosing this baby girl’s name! I really look forward to being able to talk to and about her by name, it makes things so much more real when we are able to do that. 🙂

Belly shot!


Week 25: Baby’s the size of an eggplant

This little eggplant is not messing around! I feel a crazy tug and pull on my sides as my belly stretches more and more to fit this growing girl inside. I remember that feeling with Sirena’s pregnancy but not nearly this fast or this intense.  Standing for too long the weight of my belly hanging down gets to be too much for me and even crossing my arms can be uncomfortable because my arms push my belly down and it’s too much pressure for my belly.  I’m seriously considering getting some sort of maternity support belt to keep the weight from pulling down so much. The crazy thing is that the most growth happens in the third trimester which we’re not even in yet…I’m anxious (in a good and bad way!) to see how this pregnancy continues to develop!

Sirena has really stepped up into the big sister role this past week. She’s become so attached her baby Nine and wants to take her everywhere. Here are some shots of big-sister-in-training in action:

baby nine collage 1Feeding Nine a bottle, putting her to bed, and buckling her up for safety!

nine collage 2

Swinging her at the park, playing “choo choo” train in our laundry basket (with older sister Lola in the background), and taking a photo of Nine with her “camera”

And last but not least, here’s Sirena demonstrating what NOT to do with a baby!


The biggest news is saved for last, of course! Kevin and I (with Sirena’s approval) have decided on a name for this little lady! We wanted something that has meaning, sounds beautiful, and pairs well with Sirena’s name. We had been pretty set on her middle name for a long time but we could not decide on a first name at all. We had been tossing around a few names for months but it wasn’t until last week when Kevin shared a new name that we were totally and completely sold. We wanted to wait to share the name with our family first before publicly announcing it so the time has finally come!

Her name is: Lucia Judith. Lucia means “light” in Italian (so literal translation of her name will be “light of the Edmonds sea”) and Judith is Kevin’s sister’s name who we love and adore and wanted to honor her. Lucia will be pronounced “Lu-SEE-ah” and not “Lu-CHEE-ah” like it is in Italian. We’ll probably call her “Luci” for short sometimes. 🙂

We finally had a chance to share the name with Kevin’s sister Judith this week and, in true Lisa fashion, videotaped her reaction.  We wrote out the name “Lucia Judith” on a piece of paper and rolled it up so Kevin unrolled it slowly, let the “Lucia” sink in for a second, and then unrolled it the rest of the way so she could see the middle name.  Here’s a link to a quick video of it (along with Sirena announcing the name to the world 🙂 ).


Belly shot!



My trusty shadow is back! And not at all shy with telling me how she feels about these weekly photos…with a giant yawn. Hah!

Other pregnancy updates:

  • Total weight gained so far:  5.5 pounds
  • Fun baby developments this week: All five senses are now fully developed.  She may start sucking her thumb in utero around this time…how cute! And she most likely has a distinct sleeping and waking schedule (she is most definitely up and at ‘em between 8-10pm).
  • Number of days until our next prenatal appointment: 7!
  • Number of weeks left in the second trimester: Two! The third trimester starts at 28 weeks…not too far off at all!

A baby story [Part II]: Weeks 22 + 23

Week 22: Baby’s the length of a spaghetti squash

Things have been a bit slow-going in the baby department due to the holidays. The only thing that has not slowed down (and in fact has sped up like CRAZY!) is how BIG this baby girl is getting! My belly has gr-o-o-o-wn by the minute, it seems like. The unfortunate thing is that because of the hectic holidays, I not only forgot to take a belly photo this week…but the following week as well! All I can say is, looking back at my belly photos from weeks 22 and 23 with Sirena’s pregnancy compared to now, it looks like I’m 4-6 weeks ahead of schedule with the baby belly now, haha!

We think we’ve decided what to do with the baby in terms of sleeping arrangements which is a pretty big deal. Some people have asked if the girls are going to share a room and although that’s the plan eventually, it’ll be a while. Here’s the plan as of today (goodness knows how things change when babies enter the scene so this may all go straight out the window!):

  • The first 3-4 months, baby girl will be in our room in the co-sleeper. We’re going to buy a changing table/dresser (so Sirena will keep her dresser as is) for our room and a comfy and good quality glider/recliner for our room as well.
  • After the transition out of our room, we’ll move her into a space in our office with basically just the co-sleeper (set up like a crib) and her changing table/dresser. This will probably be until she’s 18+ months old.
  • When she’s sleeping through the night, we’ll transition her to share Sirena’s current room with her. The room will basically be only for sleeping and getting dressed. All of their books and toys will be transitioned to our current office which will eventually be half office/half playroom.

One really exciting piece of news is that this week…Sirena felt the baby kick! Her reaction? “Whoa.” 😉


Belly shot!

No photo this week, oops!


Week 23: Baby’s the size of a large mango

We started week 23 off with a prenatal appointment and I’m grateful after our scare at week 21 that everything is looking just dandy with the little miss. She’s measuring just right and after the midwife looked at our u/s photos from a few weeks ago she determined that the due date is right on time (with Sirena’s pregnancy, her due date was pushed back two days at around this time). At our next appointment in a couple of weeks will be the oh-so-exciting glucose screening. I’m anxious to find out what the results are because I was glucose intolerant during Sirena’s pregnancy and had to basically follow a diet for someone with gestational diabetes (to prevent developing it because I was borderline). The midwife says that their test only determines yes or no, so there will be no grey area–if I’m a certain level I’ll be diagnosed with gestational diabetes, there won’t be any diagnosis for glucose intolerance. Here’s hoping for the best!

This week the major discomforts of pregnancy really started to get to me. Walking just up and around the block for me can be painful for my lower back and I have to slow waaay down. Thinking back to my pregnancy with Sirena where I was hiking one week before she was born, it frustrates the heck out of me that this early on I can barely get up and walk around the block. The other major discomfort has been crazy insomnia in the middle of the night. There was a string of 5 nights in a row this week where I’d wake up somewhere between 1-3 in the morning and not be able to get back to sleep for at least 2 hours, I’d just be wide awake lying there. Blech.

One question that a lot of people ask me is if we’ve chosen a name yet. We’ve got a small list of names that we keep tossing around that we like a lot but we just haven’t settled on the one yet. The fact that I knew Sirena’s name when I was in college makes it feel so weird that now here we are like so many other people trying to decide a name just months away from having her. I’m happy to know that we’ve decided on a middle name (can’t reveal it quite yet, though!) so that at least helps when trying to come up with a first name and hearing how they sound together. I’m hoping we’ll have a full name decided on by the end of this 6th month of pregnancy, but we’ll see!


Belly shot!

No photo this week, oops!


Other pregnancy updates:

  • Total weight gained so far: 2.5 pounds
  • Fun baby developments: Her face is fully formed right now and just needs some fat to fill it out, she weighs just a little over a pound, and she’s actively listening in to what Mama is saying as well as the loud noises out in the world (Lola barking, for one).

A baby story [Part II]: Weeks 20 + 21

Week 20: Baby’s the size of a banana

We’re officially at the half-way mark!  What an exciting time.  And an even more exciting time because this week we had our big anatomical ultrasound and found out that we’re having…drumroll please…another girl!!!  The ultrasound (u/s) tech lubed my belly up and basically as soon as she put the machine on my belly she asked us, “Are you interested in knowing the baby’s sex?”  This was vastly different from our big ultrasound with Sirena when we almost left the office unsure as to whether she was really a she or not.  So this little lady was rearin’ and ready (no pun intended, lol) for us to know right away!

wk20 ultrasound 1Pretty lil’ profile. She was gulping away in there, over and over again, it was so cute to see!

wk20 ultrasound 2The u/s tech called this one “Hang Ten” (Can you see the bottoms of her little feet?? Looks like the Hang Ten logo.)

wk20 ultrasound 3

The obligatory (somewhat creepy but really cool nonetheless) 3D photo!

As soon as the tech told us that it was a girl I began to cry.  I would’ve loved to have a boy of course but the thought of Sirena having a sister…man, I broke down with tears of happiness.  My sister Jessie and I are super close and there is nothing in the world that could replace our relationship and what impact she’s had on my life and I hope that Sirena and this little chica can be just as close and me and Jessie.  🙂  And Kevin is thrilled to be able to continue to say “his girls” about me, Sirena, Lola, and now this little lady.  If we adopt another dog, we better make it a boy dog to balance the hormones in this house, haha!  And like I mentioned in my last post, Kevin and I aren’t sure if we’re going to continue to expand our family after this baby or not so who knows, maybe a little boy is in our future after all…

In true Lisa fashion we announced the baby’s sex at the Thanksgiving get-togethers for both of our families and caught them both on video.  Here is a link to a fun video of both announcements!

Another major milestone occurred this week: Kevin felt the baby kick for the first time!  We were lying in bed on a rare morning when Sirena didn’t wake us up first and as I felt the baby jiggling around I put Kevin’s hand on my belly and I was so happy that she gave an extra strong jab right then and there and he was able to feel it!  I told Sirena that she could try to feel it which she has now attempted on a number of occasions but she’s too spazzy and won’t keep still long enough to really feel it yet.  🙂

Lastly, this week baby girl #2 got her first gift from Aunt Juju and cousin Katelyn!

IMG_3538I can’t wait to see that diaper booty in those fox pants!

Belly shot!

No photo this week, oops!

Week 21: Baby’s the length of a carrot

With all of the excitement of last week, this week really threw us for a loop with a real scare that almost sent me to the ER.  I am not the kind of person to go to urgent care/ER for any little thing (to be honest, I’ve never even been!) so when I thought I might be losing the baby and was advised by the on-call midwife to either go to the birth center or to ER right away, I was freaking out.  Luckily it happened on a day that I was working from home, Kevin was off of work, and Sirena was at school so we were able to get to the birth center right away without any issues.  And I am so happy and grateful to report that everything is 100% okay with the baby and with me and it was something completely unrelated to the pregnancy (and not a serious health issue I might add).

Those couple of hours before we really knew what was going on were terrifying.  I kept talking to the little lady, telling her that we would get through this together and that she had to be a fighter.  I kept feeling her move throughout the whole ordeal which I was hoping was a really good sign that things were going to be okay.  I hope to goodness that there are no more scares like this and that everything is as smooth sailing as they have been so far.  Man, being a mom and a woman is tough work, physically and emotionally!

The best part of this week has been how much more active she’s been lately.  I actually was able to see my belly shake from the outside which means she’s getting stronger!  Soon I’ll post a video of the belly shakes like I did during Sirena’s pregnancy.  Such a strange but cool experience!  Feeling the baby kick is by far my most favorite experience of both pregnancies.  <3

Belly shot!

wk21Baby girl is gettin’ serious in there!

Other pregnancy updates:

  • Total weight gained so far: 0 pounds–I’m back to my pre-pregnancy weight again which is so strange but is actually exactly how it was when I was pregnant with Sirena so I guess I’m not too surprised. It’s just so strange because my belly is significantly bigger this time around and one of the pregnancy websites I follow said for this week that “you should have gained around 10 pounds by now”…um, okay!
  • “Fun” physical things that have resurfaced: Middle-of-the-night leg cramps and good ol’ heartburn! The heartburn I experienced with Sirena was intense and I was hoping I might not experience it with this pregnancy but darnit, every day the past week I’ve felt the sensation. It’s not terrible yet but I’m going to start watching what/when I eat and buy a bottle of Tums now to be ready!
  • Fun baby developments: Baby girl is around 10.5 inches long and weighs 3/4 of a pound. She’s got working taste buds (I better start craving all that exotic food I craved when I was pregnant with Sirena so this baby’s as much of a foodie as her big sister!) and she’s already got around 6 million eggs in her womb (crazy!)
  • Days until our next prenatal appointment: 9!

A baby story [Part II]: Weeks 18 + 19

Week 18: Baby’s the size of a Bell pepper

This little baby is an active little monkey already–I feel it kick and bounce around all day long and nothing could make me happier.  It’s most active right after lunch and a few hours after dinner when I sit down to read a book or watch a show.

Not too much going on this week with the baby other than that a sad day I knew was coming has arrived–I can no longer sleep on my stomach!  Most nights that’s how I have to fall asleep and during those sleepless moments in the middle of the night usually turning onto my stomach does the trick to get me to finally fall back asleep.  I tried to do that this week and was so uncomfortable there was no way I could stay that way more than 2 minutes.  Boo!  I busted out the ridiculously large maternity pillow that I used when I was pregnant with Sirena and have been reacquainting myself with it (that thing takes some getting used to to figure out exactly the best positions to put it in for the most comfort! But boy when I figure it out, it’s a godsend.)

My back has been feeling a lot better this week, probably because I’ve been taking it more easy on myself and have been asking Kevin to pick Sirena up or carry her whenever he’s around.  I went on a mostly uphill walk with some mama friends at the end of this week and the whole night my back was really sore.  It’s so frustrating to not be able to be as active as I used to be (especially given how active I was when I was pregnant with Sirena).  Three years older and caring for a toddler really changes the game!

Belly shot!


Week 19: Baby’s the size of a mango

Not much going on this week in the baby department other than that it’s more and more obvious that the little bugger is really growing and kicking a ton!  We are so anxious to find out the sex of the baby TOMORROW and we’ve got two fun plans up our sleeves to announce it to our families at our respective Thanksgiving get-togethers.  Just you wait, Delmar and Edmonds families…you’re in for a treat.  A lot of people have asked if we care what the sex is and I am being 1,000% honest here–we will be thrilled with either a girl or a boy.  A few people have made mention of how great it would be to have one of each and my reply to them has been that Kevin and I think we might like 3 kids so we may not be done after #2 (whether or not that is by blood or through adoption, that’s also still to be determined) and also in my family, I’m the second girl and I sure wasn’t a disappointment so I wouldn’t be disappointed in the slightest with another girl.  And if you know us and our parenting styles, very little will be different in the way we raise this child if it’s a boy.  There’s nothing (other than teaching him how to pee standing up, basically) we can do with a boy child that we can’t already do with Sirena, and vice versa.  We want to raise our kids, no matter their sex, with equal amounts of affection, rough-housing, and encouragement to be strong, smart, playful, and compassionate.

In other news we’ve entered a new frontier with big sister Sirena–she officially kicked the diaper habit this week, all on her own!  She had been rebelling against any and all mention of the potty for a couple of months now and I was getting really frustrated and disheartened by the whole process.  One day I came into her room after her nap and she was buck-naked from waist down and hadn’t peed in the bed.  I asked her if she needed to use the potty and she said yes and successfully peed in the potty.  The rest of that day she was in her chonies.  The following day was a school day and her teachers kept her in underwear all day (except for nap time) and she had zero accidents the whole day.  Since then we’ve only had her wear diapers during nap time and bed time and on a couple of occasions on longer car rides or outings.  We’ve successfully gone to a party, to the grocery store, to a restaurant, and to her grandparents’ and Nani’s houses without wearing diapers and she’s kept it up with only a couple of minor accidents.  We are so so so so proud of her and I know that this is finally it!  A few times throughout the day she’ll tell us, “I’m a big girl now” and it makes me smile and fills me with so much pride.

Belly shot!


Other pregnancy updates:

  • Total weight gained so far:  1.5 pounds
  • Fun baby developments: Baby is around 6 inches long and weighs 8.5 ounces and is busy rolling, kicking, punching, hiccuping, swallowing, and dancing around in its private jacuzzi.

A couple of updates to the blog: I’ve added a page for all of Sirena’s Monthly Photos (from 1 to 24 months) and I’ve updated the Pregnancy Posts page to include weekly photos of both pregnancies–side by side, which is fun to compare.  Check ’em out at the top of our site! And we’ve fixed an issue with our comments so feel free to comment away!

A baby story [Part II]: Weeks 16 + 17

Week 16: Baby’s the size of an avocado

We’re in ‘cado territory right now (that’s what Sirena calls an avocado, and she referred to the baby as “baby ‘cado” this week) and some pretty major developments happened this week, namely…I felt the baby move!  Just like with Sirena’s pregnancy, the first time I felt the little pop-pop-pop action in my lower abdomen was at work after lunch (I guess this baby will be a foodie just like Big Sis!)  I wasn’t sure I was really feeling the baby move or not but the same sensation has been felt throughout the week, mostly when I’m sitting (so my pants are pressing against my abdomen and the little nugget is pushing against it) or when I’m relaxing and laying down in bed.  This is just about 2 weeks earlier than when I felt Sirena move which I hear is pretty typical for a 2nd pregnancy.  Such an exciting time!

This week we celebrated Halloween which was so much fun.  Big sister Sirena dressed as Mickey Mouse and had a blast trick-or-treating.  Holidays are so much fun with her at this age, she seems to really understand a lot about what is going on!  We kept imagining Halloween next year when we’ll have a 6 month old and a 3.5 year old…wow!  Ideas for a fun family costume welcome (extra points if Lola’s included!)

Belly shot!


Week 17: Baby’s the size of an onion

This week started out with both good and bad things.  The good was our prenatal appointment on 11/6 when we met with midwife Allison and everything was looking “perfect” which we couldn’t be happier about!  And the whooshwhooshwhoosh of the heartbeat might be the sweetest sound in the world, I can’t get enough of hearing it.  We also got news that our first trimester genetics screening came back looking great which is a big relief.  So far baby is doing great!  So the bad thing is my lower back pain which has progressively gotten worse.  Kevin, Sirena and I did some yard work one day and I had to stop in the middle because I could sense that I had been pushing myself too hard.  Throughout the night and when I got up the next morning the pain was pretty intense.  The midwife suggested I go see a chiropractor (I’m going to try going to yoga with my sister once a week first) and to of course take it easy on myself and not push myself so hard.  At the moment this is so frustrating because anyone who knows me knows I always have to keep busy so it’s going to be a major adjustment in my way of thinking and going about my day to day activities.

This week I got the opportunity to go on a girls’ weekend with some of the Edmonds girls (Dorothy, Judith, and Sarah) to support my niece Katelyn in her band competition in Las Vegas.  We had a nice low-key weekend filled with catching up, eating yummy food, and enjoying each other’s company.  Sirena enjoyed wearing out spending time with Nani, Bopa, TT, and Jessie all weekend which was a special treat for everyone involved.  🙂

Sirena took the baby belly love to the next level by putting her stuffed animal “Georgie Bear” inside her shirt and rubbing her belly and singing “Rock-a-bye Baby” to her belly.  Adorable!  She finished by having the baby “be born” and pulling it out from the bottom of her shirt.  If only it were that easy, Sirena…

I think she’s mimicking me and my belly photos, holy cow!

Belly shot!


Other pregnancy updates:

  • Total weight gained so far: 0 pounds
  • Fun baby developments: Baby’s measuring around 5 inches long and around 5.5 ounces.  It can sense light (even though its eyelids are still fused shut) and it can now probably hear our voices!
  • Days until our BIG ultrasound (where we’ll hopefully find out the sex!): 15 days (day before Thanksgiving!)
  • Days until Thanksgiving: 16 days! That’s when we’re going to announce to the families what the sex is (as long as it lets us see between its legs, haha!)

A baby story [Part II]: Weeks 14 + 15

So this time around I’ve decided to post bi-weekly instead of weekly. Now that we’re not preparing for our very first baby and now that I know a lot about what’s going on and what to expect (and with my life with a toddler and crazy schedule) it just feels better doing it bi-weekly. But the belly photos will still be weekly to compare week to week when all’s said and done (one of my favorite things to look back on with Sirena’s pregnancy!)

Week 14: Baby’s the size of a lemon

The start of the second trimester came with a whole lot more energy and I’ve only had to take a nap every third day or so instead of every day. 😉 And the timing couldn’t have been more perfect because this was the wildest week I’ve had in a long time. I’m producing my mom’s play “Shadows” and I was working like crazy editing her 100 page script, preparing for our first rehearsal with the directors and cast, preparing for and moving out temporarily while our house was tented (termites, oy!), and going on a 3-day work trip to Sacramento (this all within a 6 day span!)

Needless to say I am glad that week is over and that I survived somehow! The only major pregnancy development this week has been some intense lower back pain. I never experienced sciatica or really much back pain with Sirena’s pregnancy but I remember when she was a newborn I was lying flat on my back in my sister’s living room and I got a sharp and intense pain in my lower back on the left side which happened off and on over the past 2 years. The past couple of weeks, though, it has been really frequent and really intense. The pain is sharp and in my lower back but it doesn’t shoot down my leg like sciatica does. There have been a few times that I can’t put a lot of weight on my left leg or I have to modify the way I get up from sitting or laying down. Definitely something to talk to at my next prenatal appointment.

Belly shot!

My little shadow Lola at it again! And can you tell I’ve been out of practice with these timed self portraits? I need to work on better lighting, haha!

Week 15: Baby’s the size of an apple

Complete opposite of the previous week came a huge breath of fresh air with a much-anticipated family vacation! The trip coincided with my birthday which was an extra special treat. We went to Palm Springs with my mom and Steve and had an absolute blast. This was the first real vacation we’ve taken as a family since Sirena was 6 months old when we went to Zihuatanejo, Mexico, and it’s safe to say that this girl likes to vacation! The weather was still gloriously hot even in late October and we enjoyed an early morning hike, a trip to The Living Desert zoo, and lots and lots of pool time.

The only major pregnancy development this week is dizziness! I never experienced this before and thought it was just random but when I’d get dizzy at least once a day for a week I started to worry. I went to trusty Google and it seems that dizziness during pregnancy is common and is usually related to changing hormones, faster blood flow to baby, and slower blood flow to the mama. There was one day when I just could not shake the dizzy feeling off and I began to get a bit worried but since then it’s been okay. Just another interesting way to prove that no two pregnancies are alike!

Sirena saying hi to the baby belly

Belly shot!

No photo this week, oops!

Other pregnancy updates

  • Total weight gained: 0 pounds
  • Food cravings/aversions: The meat cravings have definitely calmed down but they’re still there for sure. The only other out of the ordinary food I’ve been interested in is cold cereal for breakfast which is generally not something I go to. No major aversions at all right now.
  • Fun baby developments: Baby measures around 4 inches long and weighs a whopping 2.5 ounces and it’s probably sucking its thumb and wriggling its little toes all while bouncing around like crazy even though I can’t yet feel it.
  • How many years Kevin and I have been together as of this post: THIRTEEN YEARS! We celebrated our 13th anniversary on 10/27. It’s hard to believe that we’ve been together almost half of our lives (we were just a couple of fresh-outta-high-school-nerdy-18-year-olds when we started dating in 2001) but it just keeps getting better.  Here’s to another Lucky 13 years together, Kevin (aka Daddy)!

A baby story…part two!

It’s hard to believe that just about 3 years ago I was sitting here at my desk (albeit it was November in Oakland and not September in Long Beach) writing out the words “A baby story” for the first time on the blog (check out the post here!)  And now here we go again!

Kevin and I have been looking forward to growing our family ever since Sirena was a little over a year old.  The journey has had its ups and downs–mostly only close family and friends know this…in October of last year I had a miscarriage.  We were 9 weeks along and I was, in a word, devastated.  It took months for me to recover emotionally from the loss and, to be honest, true healing came about after the due date passed and then when this pregnancy was confirmed.  It’s still a very real part of my life experience and I’ll never forget what the experience was like or how it impacted me.  I’m just so thrilled to be here at this moment writing about this new part of our journey which is now full throttle into making us a family of 5 (yes, Lola is still a big part of our family! That hasn’t changed a bit.)

4 weeks (baby’s the size of a poppy seed)

I’m starting the story one week earlier this time around, for a special reason.  At this point there was no way to tell if I was pregnant, it was still a bit too early to take a pregnancy test, but the hope was very much there in the back of my mind.  I was standing and putting my shoes on for work and Sirena asked if she could help me.  As she was helping me she looked up at me and said, “Mommy baby belly?”  I was in complete shock and had to sit down.  I said, “What, Sirena?” and she leaned her head on my belly and said, “Baby belly.”  I was pretty overwhelmed with what was actually happening and to this day I tell people that Sirena called this pregnancy before anyone else did.  🙂

Another fun tidbit is that I ran a 10k race that week!  I ran almost the entire way (and when I say run, I really mean jog…) and was so proud of myself for the weeks of training leading up to the race and for the time I clocked in.  It’s fun to look back and think that the little poppy seed of a baby was with me the whole way to the finish line.

5 weeks (baby’s the size of an apple seed)

After a long day of work on Aug 11 I came home to Kevin, Sirena, and Lola and was anxious to take a pregnancy test to confirm what I hoped was a pregnancy…and it was!  The months of hoping and waiting and disappointment were finally behind us.  I was overcome almost immediately with an intense fear that the pregnancy might end the same way my last pregnancy ended.  Kevin was the most amazing support through these few weeks of fear and I’m so grateful that things have been going as well as they could be.  We called Kevin’s parents and my mom and Steve right away to share the good news.

8 weeks (baby’s the size of a raspberry)

A few days before our first prenatal appointment, Sirena threw me for a loop.  She likes to kiss my belly and say hi to the baby and one night as she was saying good night to the baby she asked me, “Two babies?”  In utter disbelief I said, “No, no. Only one baby in mommy’s belly,” and she responded saying, “No, two babies.”  Oh, man…

One other fun Sirena-related thing that happened was we were taking a walk around our neighborhood and I asked Sirena what she thought we should name the baby.  She said, without hesitation, “Cody.”  I’m not even sure if she knows a Cody, not sure where she came up with that!  Too funny.

Our prenatal appointment had finally arrived on Sept 4!  We are going with a local birth center and our first appointment was with midwife Allison (our appointments will rotate between their multiple midwives so that we can become familiar with each of them as we won’t know who will be present for the birth).  She was very attentive and caring, just the way it should be in this line of work.  She told us that at this early stage we may or may not be able to see anything on an ultrasound and she asked if we wanted to try it out or wait.  We were hopeful because it was at 8 weeks when we saw Sirena for the first time on an ultrasound and so we told her we’d like to try.  I reached out for Kevin’s hand and we braced ourselves as the midwife took a look-see.  As soon as she said, “There! Do you see the little heart flickering?” I lost it.  I was overwhelmed with relief and gratitude and joy and I couldn’t keep it together–I squeezed Kevin’s hand so tight and was sobbing there on the examination table.  Allison and Kevin continued looking around and I tried to as well through tear-filled eyes but it was hard to focus on anything other than pure relief.  It was incredible how much weight had been lifted from my shoulders after that appointment.

Our little blob…and there’s only one!

And here’s a link to a cute video of Sirena seeing the ultrasound photos

10 weeks (baby’s the size of a kumquat)

We had our second prenatal appointment on Sept 15 and this time Sirena came along with us!  This appointment was also with midwife Allison and it was longer than the first–talking about my family medical history, about my pregnancy with Sirena, Sirena’s birth, my recovery from the birth, etc. and talking about what would happen in the coming months and finally during labor and the birth itself.

Feeding her baby Honey some apples

Playing trains under the chairs with Daddy in the waiting room

What doctor’s visit is complete without playing with medical gloves?

The best part of the appointment is that we got to hear the whoosh, whoosh, whoosh of the heartbeat and confirmed that everything is still going well.  Sirena gasped when she heard the noise and she agreed with us that it sounded like a little helicopter in my belly.

12 weeks (baby’s the size of a plum)

I had been very excited and very anxious leading up to Oct 2 which was the day of our nuchal translucency ultrasound.  This ultrasound is done voluntarily around 12-13 weeks and is done in conjunction with a couple of blood tests which make up a prenatal genetics screening.  We went through the screening with Sirena and we wanted to do it again with this baby.  I feel like I was a ton more anxious this time around and I’m not really sure why.  I guess I was so afraid that they’d find something wrong or they wouldn’t find a baby at all and I had a lot of anxiety the week or so leading up to the appointment so I was so glad when the day had finally come.  And I’m so grateful to report that the little baby looks good and healthy!

It’s amazing what technology is able to show us today.  We were able to see the flitter, flutter of the heartbeat, both hands and feet, the cute little belly, the beautiful profile, the two hemispheres of the baby’s brain, and even the blood flowing from the umbilical cord…incredible!

Why hello there!

The little baby was bouncing around all over the place in there, it was so heartwarming to witness especially because I can’t feel the little bugger yet (I first felt Sirena at 18 weeks and I’ve heard [and I’m hoping] that it will be earlier with the second pregnancy).

Kevin and I were a bit disappointed by the ultrasound tech we were scheduled with.  With Sirena’s pregnancy it was at this nuchal translucency ultrasound that the u/s tech provided us, with 95% certainty, that Sirena was a girl and she provided us a really amazing 4D view (photo here).  The u/s tech told us that she didn’t like to make a guess without 100% certainty and she said that although they have the 4D technology she thought fetuses this age were too bony and didn’t look very cute.  Phooey.  Here’s hoping we have a fantastic u/s experience at our big appointment around 20 weeks.

Here’s a link to another cute video of Sirena and Lola checking out the u/s photo

13 weeks (baby’s the size of a peach)

Which brings us to the 13th week which is the very end of the first trimester.  Our close friends and family already knew the news for weeks and we had begun slowly telling other people in our lives about the good news but nothing is really official until it’s posted on Facebook, am I right?  Last time we used Lola to make the announcement (photo here) and this time we knew we had to include both girls in the announcement.

Batgirl and Wonder Dog to the rescue! You can rest assured that lots and lots (and LOTS) of treats (both kid and dog treats) were used in the making of this photo.

Other pregnancy updates:

  • How I’m physically feeling…: The first trimester is now behind me and goodness does it feel good to be on the other side.  The extreme exhaustion was fully present now like it was with my first pregnancy but this time around I had a 2 year old to entertain and run after which took it to a whole ‘nother level.  Just about every day I had to take a nap so the days I was with Sirena full-time I took advantage of her 2 hour nap mid-day and passed out.  Something else different this time around is a slight bought of insomnia.  I have to get up to pee once a night with this growing uterus but there are nights that I lay wide awake for an hour or two and cannot fall back asleep.  This sure helps with the first trimester exhaustion, I’m sure.  With Sirena’s pregnancy I didn’t get morning sickness at all and with this pregnancy I was again so fortunate to not experience it at all!  I did feel pretty nauseous for a few weeks in the beginning but that hasn’t been the case for a couple of weeks and I really do consider myself so lucky, knowing what some pregnant moms have to deal with.
  • How I’m emotionally feeling…:  I have been really emotional these past 13 weeks but things are starting to chill out some in the hormone department, especially knowing that so far everything is looking a-okay with the baby.  Just like last time my patience was wearing really thin the first trimester but I think things are finally starting to go back to normal.  One day in particular Sirena refused to nap (she’s only done that a handful of times) and it was so f’n hot and I was so exhausted I thought I was going to lose it!  But that was really the worst of it.
  • Total weight gained:  0 pounds so far (it wasn’t until 19 weeks that I saw the scale go up with Sirena’s pregnancy but I highly doubt it’ll be the same way this time!)
  • Food aversions: In the beginning I had crazy aversions to the same thing I hated during Sirena’s pregnancy which was mushy/savory sweet potato or pumpkin (sweet potato enchiladas, for example). I also naively tried to ferment some vegetables at home when I was maybe 6 or 7 weeks along for the health benefits and lord almighty, the sight of those carrots sitting in brine on my counter made me want to puke.  Even typing this out now at 13 weeks makes me feel sick.  Blech.
  • Food cravings: I’m a pescatarian (have been since 2010) and I never once craved meat when I was pregnant with Sirena…but this time around there were a few weeks that I really craved meat (and the thought of some seafood made me feel gross)!  It felt very strange to have those feelings again after so many years of not thinking twice about eating meat again.  The cravings have died down the past week or so so we’ll see if that changes again or not.
  • Next prenatal appointment: Nov 6th!

Sirena’s birth story

Friday, June 1

5:00 AM

I woke up to the sound of the ticking clock in our bedroom and I remember hearing the faint, faraway sound of the Amtrak train horn going down the tracks about a mile from our apartment.  I had to use the restroom (something that I had gotten well-accustomed to during the pregnancy).  When I returned to bed, I thought about the few baby items I wanted to take care of on my very first day of maternity leave and about the possibility of getting a pedicure.  I quickly fell back asleep.

6:15 AM

I woke up again, this time to the sensation of what turned out to be my water bag breaking.  I sat up and immediately made my way to the restroom.  I told Kevin on my way out the door, “I think my water broke.”  Kevin’s reaction may or may not have included a curse word which, thinking about it now, I find hilarious.  I took a shower to get cleaned up and got back into bed.  We laid in bed for a while, trying to figure out what we should do next.

7:15 AM

After snoozing in bed for a while we decided to call our doula, Lauraina.  She said that we still had plenty of time to get some rest, eat a good breakfast, and get things together before calling the hospital.  After hanging up with her we decided to call the Labor & Delivery line just to make sure and the nurse who answered told me that I needed to be there in thirty minutes and that we would most likely be admitted to the hospital right away.  This really stressed me out—I hadn’t pictured our birth story starting out this way (very few women actually have their water break before going into labor, unlike what the movies show) and I had hoped to labor at home for as long as possible.  We knew that it was relatively safe and acceptable for a baby to remain in the womb for 24 hours after the water bag breaks so we decided to nap and then take our time getting to the hospital.

7:15 AM – 1:30 PM

For those few hours at home we slept, showered, ate a significant breakfast and lunch, and cleaned our apartment.  We even took Lola on a walk up and around the block.  It felt good to do normal things because at the back of my mind I was terrified of what was to come.  I didn’t feel 100% prepared mentally or emotionally to give birth within the next 24 hours and I am so glad we decided to stay home to get things taken care of and for me to work things out in my head before heading to the hospital.
My contractions had started within those hours at home but they were very mild, like menstrual cramps.

1:45 PM

We arrived at the hospital parking lot and sat there for about 10 minutes—I was still terrified and Kevin helped talk me through my fears.  I told him that I was afraid I wasn’t going to be able to give birth naturally and unmedicated like I had hoped and that as soon as we were admitted I would be pressured to do things on their schedule, their way.  He assured me that the nurses and doctors were there with the best interests of me and Sirena at the forefront and that I had to be positive and give everyone the benefit of the doubt before making any assumptions about them.  After some deep breaths, we decided to make our way down to the hospital.

2:00 PM

We were admitted by a very friendly nurse name Cathy in triage (the room where laboring women are evaluated before being officially admitted to the hospital) and she immediately calmed my fears.  She wanted to determine if my water had actually broken and tried to do a few tests which turned out to be inconclusive.

With a smile on my face in triage!

The doctor on duty came in to check me—she said that if my water had broken they were going to limit the amount of times I was checked internally by a doctor because the more times I was checked, the more times I and the baby would be subject to new germs being introduced.  She determined that my cervix was 4 centimeters dilated (a very good number to be at so early on!) but that it needed to thin out some more.  She also said that she was pretty certain my water had broken even with the inconclusive tests because…she could feel Sirena’s hair!  She said that they were going to admit us to the hospital and that, in the next couple of hours if my contractions didn’t start to pick up in intensity, that she’d like to start me on a pitocin drip (pitocin is a synthetic form of the natural hormone oxytocin and it is used to induce labor).  I was very honest with her in that pitocin was not something I was interested in so early on (the reason being that, generally, contractions are extremely intense after pitocin is started and it can lead to a “snowball effect” with interventions, possibly leading to an epidural and/or c-section) and that it was my hope to induce labor naturally.

3:00 PM

Cathy led us down the hall to the Labor & Delivery (L&D) hall, we were in Room 11.  The room was, to our surprise, HUGE and although it was most definitely a hospital room we were encouraged to make it our own (even being encouraged to rearrange some of the furniture if we wanted to).  The most surreal moment was when Cathy said, “And this is the room where your daughter will be born.”  Incredible.

3:00 PM – 4:30 PM

The nurse on duty for the evening, Anissa, was amazing and we really took to her quickly.  I shared my concerns about the doctor’s recommendation to start the pitocin that afternoon and asked her opinion–she said that we still had plenty of time for labor to start naturally and that the best thing for me at the time was to walkwalkwalk the halls to try to get things moving along.  She had to hook me up to an IV, though, for an hour—I tested positive for something called Group B strep (a very common bacterial infection found in many pregnant women that can be passed on to babies during birth so they had to give me penicillin via an IV every six hours)—so I couldn’t walk around much in the beginning.  While I was hooked up to the IV they also put a fetal heart monitor on my stomach so that we could hear Sirena’s heartbeat (to make sure that she wasn’t in distress) along with a monitor to time my contractions and monitor their intensity.

The number on the left is Sirena’s heartbeat, the number on the right is the intensity of my contraction (very low at the time Kevin took this photo)

Kevin and I were on our own for the majority of this time—we kept ourselves busy setting up our room, eating snacks to stay nourished for the long night ahead, trying to relax, and talking about the little lady that decided to grace us with her presence a week early.  I couldn’t get over the fact that she decided to begin her arrival on the very first day of my maternity leave–for the 2-3 weeks leading up to my maternity leave all I kept telling her was to “wait until June 1!” and guess what?  She listened.
My contractions were coming pretty regularly by this time, about five minutes apart but still very mild in intensity.

4:30 PM

My sister Jessie arrived at the hospital with a huge smile on her face—she was so excited to be a part of the birth but obviously very nervous too.  The three of us sat in our room and talked for a while.

5:30 PM

Our doula, Lauraina, arrived at the hospital to check in with us—because things were progressing pretty slowly she wanted to come in for a visit to try to help things move along naturally with massage.  She enlisted the help of Kevin and Jessie and all three of them worked on me while I laid in the hospital bed.

7:20 PM

My mom and her boyfriend Steve arrived at the hospital after having taken a last-minute flight from Long Beach to Oakland.  Generally they only allow three other people in the L&D room but our nurse said that until things started progressing they didn’t have a problem with the number of visitors.  Mom jumped in to help with massage and acupressure and we all passed the time away talking about the night ahead of us.

My massage team getting to work!

9:00 PM

My contractions had actually started slowing down by this time and I was starting to get nervous again.  Lauraina asked me if I noticed that they started slowing down once everyone had arrived and it seemed that they did.  She asked if I thought it might be better if Kevin and I were left alone to rest and focus on the baby and the birth ahead of us and although I didn’t realize how much I needed it at that time it was such an appreciated suggestion.  Jessie and Lauraina both went to their respective homes to get some sleep and my mom and Steve went out to the lobby.  Before Lauraina left I shared my fears about potentially being induced with pitocin and I asked her if she had ever witnessed a birth where a mom was given pitocin and things were still able to progress naturally and, luckily, she said she had.  This gave me an extra boost of confidence and set my mind at ease if we were to eventually go that route.
When everyone left, Kevin and I decided to take a nap to see if things started picking up when we woke up.

10:45 PM

Kevin’s parents, Dorothy and George, arrived at the hospital after the long drive up from Long Beach.  We were afraid that they might not make it in time and we were so happy to finally see them!

Dorothy so obviously elated that they made it in time!

11:00 PM – 1:30 AM

At this point we were feeling more rested so decided to get up and out of the hospital bed to walk the baby out!  The loop we had to walk was pretty short and we must have walked that hallway over 100 times.  At one point we decided to switch things up and go in the opposite direction, just to keep things interesting.  It was great that the L&D halls were so empty during these hours so there wasn’t a lot of foot traffic to have to walk around.

Kevin and me on lap 79

In the center of the loop we walked was the visitor’s waiting area so my mom, Steve, Dorothy and George were all hanging out and watching us walk around and around and around.  My mom and Dorothy joined me for a few laps to give Kevin a break.

Dorothy going for a lap with me

The family was starving at the late hour (since none of them had eaten dinner) so they decided to order pizza around midnight.
After walking the hall for a couple of hours and talking things over with the nurse, Kevin and I decided to start the pitocin drip at 1:30 AM.  She was going to start me at 2 drops per hour and increase it two more drops every hour until everything was at the level it needed to be.

Saturday, June 2—Sirena’s birth day

1:30 AM

The nurse began the pitocin drip but told us it would take thirty minutes to kick in so it was advised that we try to get some rest.  Kevin got onto his reclining chair again and I laid down in the hospital bed for one last pre-baby nap.

2:00 AM – 4:00 AM

Right on schedule I was woken up by much more intense contractions at 2:00 AM.  At first they were pretty manageable just with the use of deep breathing.  Kevin and I were in our room together with the lights kept down low, working through each contraction one at a time, just the two of us.
Kevin would keep his eye on the monitor to see how far apart the contractions were coming along.  The funny thing was that on our monitor we could also see the contractions of the other laboring women who were also hooked up to the monitors–it was hard not to compare where we were at with all of the other women’s contractions we were seeing on the monitor.
At 3:00 AM the pitocin drip was increased to four drips per hour.  This ended up being as high as the pitocin needed to get–my body got the kick-start it needed and basically took it from there!
Towards 4:00 AM I was starting to have a harder time coping with the intensity of each contraction.  I had read a lot of books about natural childbirth and there were a few things that stuck with me that helped me a ton–I would wrap my left arm around Kevin’s shoulder and lean into him sideways, rock back and forth, then I would relax my jaw, take a deep breath, and on the exhale I would make a low “ahhh” sound.  This is what we would do every few minutes for a few hours, over and over again.  We were honestly living life in five minute increments, just getting through each contraction together, one at a time.
There were a few thoughts that kept going through my mind during this time–I would keep in mind that Sirena was working just as hard as I was to come into the world and that we needed to continue to work as a team to get through this experience together; I would also imagine life with Sirena, camping with our family, playing with Lola, spending time outdoors in the sunshine–these thoughts helped me get through the brief moments of relief in between each contraction and helped me prepare mentally and emotionally for the next big wave.

4:00 AM

We called the nurse in because things were feeling a lot more intense and we wanted to know how we were doing.  She said that things were coming along and that we should call Jessie and Lauraina to let them know and that they should start making their way back to the hospital but that they could take their time.  Kevin called them to let them know our status.

4:20 AM

Within 20 minutes (about four contractions) things became extremely intense.  I was having a harder time standing during the contractions and began feeling the urge to push.  We called the nurse back in and told her how I was feeling–she said that things weren’t far enough along for me to be pushing and that I should try other coping techniques but that things were definitely progressing and that Jessie and Lauraina should really make their way to the hospital.  Kevin texted Jessie and Lauraina and told them that they needed to get to the hospital NOW.

4:30 AM

The intensity of my contractions was overwhelming–I felt such an incredible pressure and a need to push that I couldn’t get relief from.  We called the nurse in again and she suggested I lie down on my side and she said that she would call the doctor in to check me.  As I was lying on my side I felt so many different sensations that were overpowering–I felt nauseous, like I was going to throw up, and Kevin held up a bag next to my face just in case I did; and at the same time I felt such an urge to push that I could not control.  The nurse suggested to Kevin that he help me with quick, shallow breaths so he sat in front of me and mimicked the fast breathing that I was able to follow (and this helped a ton with keeping me from pushing as much as my body really wanted to).
Dr. Gray arrived to check me and said that I was only six centimeters dilated so I still had a ways to go.  Hearing this was so incredibly frustrating and I began feeling overwhelmed and defeated.  I didn’t know how much longer I’d be able to keep myself from pushing when the urge was so incredibly overpowering.
Neither Jessie nor Lauraina had arrived yet so Kevin texted my mom and told her to come in.

4:40 AM

Within 10 minutes (about three contractions) I could no longer control the urge to push and told the nurse.  She called Dr. Gray back into the room and the doctor quickly noted that I was ready to begin pushing.  They had me lie down on my back and put my feet in stir-ups.  By the next contraction, I began pushing.

4:45 AM

Jessie arrived just as I was placed on my back and she joined me opposite Kevin at my right shoulder.
This time is both extremely vivid in my mind but at the same time, a blur.  I was aware overall of my sister arriving and my mom being in the room but I also was only focused on what I was feeling and how I was going to get through each push.
At first I didn’t really know how to focus my pushes, it was just an urge I had but I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right.  Dr. Gray placed her fingers on me and told me to focus my pushes there which I tried but I still wasn’t sure I was doing it right.
They brought a standing mirror into the room and Dr. Gray asked if I was able to see the top of Sirena’s head.  I tried to focus enough to see her clearly but there was so much going on in those moments I really couldn’t focus on anything other than what my body was doing.
For each contraction I was able to get about three pushes in–when the urge would arrive I would lift my knees up (which Kevin and Jessie helped with),  take a deep breath, then push with all of my might for around 10 seconds (which Kevin and Jessie would count out for me), then take another deep breath and do the same thing two more times.  After three pushes I would get a break of around 45 seconds when I would relax my legs, try to breathe and relax my body, Kevin would pat my head with a cold washcloth, and I would prepare myself for the next set of pushes.

5:00 AM – 5:15 AM

Lauraina arrived at this time and went to my left shoulder while Kevin went to my feet with Dr. Gray.
By this time there were so many more doctors and nurses in the room, just standing around and getting ready for Sirena’s arrival.  In between the contractions I remember glancing around and taking note of how many people were standing there in the room while I was lying there with my feet in stir-ups wearing nothing but a sports bra (but of course, I couldn’t care less in that moment!  It’s completely true that any and all modesty goes straight out the window when a woman gives birth).  Luckily no one thought to tell my mom to leave the room but she stood in the back and tried to blend in with all of the other people in the room as much as possible just in case.
I continued the cycle of pushing three times in a row with about 30 seconds of rest in between each set of pushes.  Lauraina told me later she noticed that I had gone very much into myself during this time and I couldn’t agree more–I was semi-aware of what was going on in the room but was mostly focused on the work my body was doing.  I had to close my eyes shut during each push and all I remember listening for was the countdown to 10 Jessie would say aloud during each push and Dr. Gray saying, “That’s it, that’s it” which was so helpful to hear while I was pushing, hearing validation that I was doing it right and that things were coming along.
Kevin was having a completely different experience while at my feet with Dr. Gray–she asked him if he wanted to touch Sirena’s head while it was crowning which he did and he says it was amazing.

Kevin’s smile here makes it so apparent that he was having an amazing experience while watching his daughter be born

As her head was emerging, Kevin continued to have his hand on her head and Dr. Gray was supporting it with her hands.  Then as the shoulders emerged, Dr. Gray began to help pull them out while Kevin continued to hold Sirena’s head–it was at this time that Kevin barely dodged a stream of fluid that came out with one of my pushes (something that Sirena and I had been planning all along 😉 ).   Once the shoulders were out, it was with one more big push that her entire body squirmed its way out of me and into Kevin’s and Dr. Gray’s hands.  I remember a very warm, wet sensation (and a huge relief) when she was finally born.  The nurse looked at the clock and declared her time of birth as 5:15 AM.
Dr. Gray had to remove the umbilical cord from around her shoulders and then Kevin immediately placed Sirena on my chest, umbilical cord still attached and allowed to finish pulsating as we requested.

Kevin and Dr. Gray lifting Sirena to my chest

I cannot quite describe the feelings I had when I first saw her.  It was an extremely surreal moment that I still have not found the words to describe (and I’m not sure I ever will).  This photo that my mom took captures the moment beautifully and it makes me cry every single time I see it.

I was in total and complete awe of this creature that had just come out of me, this creature that had been growing inside of me for nine months, this creature that I had wanted and dreamed about for so long, this creature that was me and Kevin.

Love at first sight

First family photo.  Head over heels in love.

She was finally here and our lives have not been the same since.

A baby story: Week 38

Week 38: Baby’s the size of a pumpkin!

We’re officially in pumpkin-size territory…how is it possible that I’ve got a baby the size of a pumpkin in my belly?  Pretty crazy.

I’m happy to report that we got a lot more done on our baby to-do list and I’m feeling more and more ready for her imminent arrival.  The room is just about finished but not quite yet so I’ll have to post photos of the finished product in a separate post.

We were excited to receive our first cloth diaper delivery this week!  This is our pre-baby delivery and once she’s born they’ll start coming regularly on Monday mornings.  We’ve got her changing station and dresser all set up and ready for use!

Here it is! Diaper hamper on the left, clothes hamper on the right, doggy bin filled with wipes, diapers, diaper covers, etc. up top.  We still need to put up other frames on that small wall between the bookshelf and the dresser but those will be going up this weekend.

The adorable cloth diaper covers we can’t wait to wrap her little chubby booty in.  Those plastic things in the top left are the Snappis which hold the cloth diaper closed, then you put the diaper covers over them.

Filled to the brim with diapers!  80 newborn cloth diapers up top, newborn disposables on the bottom with a box of wipes.  After we get through these disposables that were given as gifts we think we’re going to order some compostable disposable diapers from the same diaper delivery service which we can actually throw in the same bag as the cloth ones and they’ll pick ’em up for us each week.

We finally got a frame and matting for the whale print I purchased a looong time ago (before we were even pregnant!) with the thought that it would go up in our baby’s room.  So excited that the time has finally come! The print is titled “Ocean Meets Sky” and it’s by artist Terry Fan, purchased on Society6.

We spent this holiday weekend outdoors and enjoying the sunshine to get as much adult pre-baby activities in before she arrives.  We went for a hike in one of our favorite parks, Joaquin Miller, in Oakland.  Kevin dusted off the ol’ DSLR camera and took it out for a spin, I’m guessing to get ready for his little lady’s arrival so he can take some good pictures of her?  Most of these were taken by him…

I LOVE this one, what a great shot, eh?

Big belly amongst the tall trees

The photographer and his sidekick

Lola enjoying the great outdoors!

Me and my favorite pup

And for your viewing pleasure, here’s a funny video of Kevin and Lola on the hike!

We also spent some time at Albany Bulb dog beach (we don’t think it’s an official dog beach but that’s all we ever see there…and I’m not sure anyone would be brave enough to go for a swim there anyways!)

Lola patiently waiting for Kevin to throw the ball.

Playing catch in the bay.  I just laid out on the beach and enjoyed watching these two play together.

Belly, meet the sea…

The soon-to-be parents!

Lastly we got to spend some quality time with our friends Kim, Frank and their 3 month old baby girl Amelia!

Happy mama Kimmy enjoying a beer while happy baby Amelia enjoys a milk-induced nap.

Today was our 39 week prenatal appointment and things are still looking good!  Nothing much to report other than the fact that we submitted our hospital pre-admission form so that they’re ready for our arrival in the next week or two!  We scheduled our 40 week appointment for next Friday, June 8 (her due date!)  The doctor and both of us wonder if we’ll make it to that date…  Today was also my last day of work for the next three months!  It was an extremely hectic week trying to tie up all loose ends but now that it’s all over and done with boy does it feel GOOD.

Lastly, this week has been somewhat of an emotional and physical roller coaster this week.  Sirena has most definitely dropped which makes sitting for too long pretty uncomfortable.  My co-worker told me that it looks like she’s sitting right in my lap and she really is!  I feel my belly resting on my thighs whenever I sit down and it’s pretty trippy.  I’ve also had to start putting a pillow under my belly when I’m sleeping just to keep it from feeling like it’s sinking and putting too much pressure on my back and it makes for much less comfort during the night.  I’m keeping up really well with walking at least 30-60 minutes a day and starting tomorrow (my first day off!) I’m hoping to keep it going (if not walking more) along with some (light) upper body weight-lifting and some floor exercises to strengthen and help relax my back.

In terms of the emotional roller coaster, it finally started to sink in that I am going to give birth.  I had kept myself so busy the past few months that I hadn’t really had time to think about it but this weekend it hit me head-on and I started to become afraid.  After sharing these fears with Kevin, my sister, and a couple of co-worker-mamas I have begun working on overcoming the fear and thinking of the experience only in a positive light.  Both Kevin and my sister Jessie said that they know it’s going to be an amazing experience regardless and I am thinking about it like that as well–that it’s going to be amazing, exciting, rewarding, and fulfilling on so many levels.  I’ve also been ravenously reading Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth (almost done!) and I’m thoroughly enjoying reading all of the positive birth stories (almost all natural, unmedicated) which is such an inspiration for me.

Belly shots!

Other pregnancy updates

  • Total weight gained so far: 14 pounds
  • Fun baby developments this week: She measures around 20 inches (or maybe a little more? Probably since me and Kevin are so tall) and weighs somewhere in the 7-8 pound range but who really knows until she’s born!
  • Number of days until our due date: Eight!

Poll time: When do YOU think she’s going to make her grand appearance??  Leave your feedback either in the comments here or on Facebook and we’ll see who gets the closest.  Feel free to guess date, time, weight and length too!  Our first due date was June 6 and then after our 20 week ultrasound it was moved to June 8. Guess wisely!  🙂