Friday, July 18, 2014

Introducing Vivi!

I'm about five weeks late posting this, but I'm sure y'all understand that operating with a newborn means things don't run exactly on schedule.

I won't share my birth story, because quite frankly I don't think most people want to hear a birth story that isn't their own or someone extremely close to them, so I'll just do a list of a few highlights so you get the jist.

-Went to my 40week (my calculations 39week) appointment and my blood pressure was high, as it always is at the doctor's office. So high in fact (160's) that my doctor told me it was baby time. I didn't realize exactly what she meant until she told me she was sending me to the hospital immediately to be induced. Cue me breaking down and crying in her office. I was NOT ready, my hospital bag was not completely packed and I felt like I had a million other things to get done before the baby came. I pleaded for bed rest instead, but she was not having it. So to the hospital I went.

-They broke my water, but labor didn't progress fast enough so then came the Pitocin.

-Umm..worst pain of my life, labor that is. I had no illusions that it wouldn't be, but I don't understand how people do this un-medicated. I went to about a four before they'd give me my epidural and it was torture.

- My epidural didn't really take, so the anesthesiologist came back not once, not twice, but three times to try to make it right so I wasn't pleading for the nurse to call him because "I'm still in pain! No, it's not just pressure..it's pain! I never did lose feeling in my legs and I could still use them, as well as still felt the urge to push. So, yeah, I'd like my refund back on that epidural.

- In all I labored for about 12 hours. Took me about 45 minutes to push and then there she was! Viviana Valentina in all her glory. She was so alert and so observant and so quiet that I actually asked the doctor and nurses if she was ok. She did not scream or really cry at first, which really freaked me out. Thankfully, she was just fine.

- The first things I noticed about her was that she had blonde hair, a dimple and my lips. I guess my predictions about her being my mini-me weren't far off.

- We went home after the first night, because although being fed and not having to do much in the hospital had it's perks, I was sick of the nurses coming in at all hours of the night and waking all of us up.

-The first weeks have been a learning curve. Sleep has been all over the place, because Vivi either sleeps all day and night. Sleeps during the day, but has trouble sleeping at night. Or doesn't sleep during the day and sleeps at night. We had one horrible night where I slept maybe an hour and a half at most because she was screaming and would not sleep. I cried at least three times that night. It's tough. Tougher than I thought it would be. Thankfully she's been napping/sleeping better these last few days.

-I had to cut chocolate out of my diet for now. Apparently it disagrees with her stomach. The bright side? Maybe it will help getting rid of those pesky pounds I put on during pregnancy.

-Speaking of weight, I'm six pounds off of where I was when I got pregnant. The downside? I started off about 30lbs over what I should be and had been when we first got to Italy, so even though I'm really close to my pre-pregnancy weight, I'm not even close to my goal weight. I am steadily losing (don't worry, I'm being smart about it and still eating enough so I won't lose my milk supply)

I'll be popping in from time to time to update when I can. I already have a few blog posts in the works, so hopefully it won't take me another five weeks to share those!


My sweet little girl! This is one of my favorite newborn photos I took of her. Let me just say, newborn photography is not my forte. It was much more difficult than I thought it would. Probably due in part to the fact Miss Vivi would NOT sleep no matter how many tricks or tips I tried during her session.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

38 Week Update


Just some updates on what's been going on with me, since I seem to be terrible about keeping up with these. I know I've mentioned this before, but I'm counting myself at 38 weeks, even though my doctor has me at 39 weeks as of today. My due date is June 11th, next Wednesday (EEK!)

I'll admit it, I had a mini-meltdown in the work bathroom today when I realized I'm this close to having a child. It's not that I'm not excited to be a mom or to see my daughter, but as a first-time mom, I am completely freaking out about the fact that I'm about to be responsible for a tiny human for the rest of her life. It's a big responsibility and when I think about it, it blows my mind and terrifies me at the same time.

These last few weeks have crazy busy. I'm still working full-time and will up until I give birth. I'm not wasting valuable vacation days when I have no idea if she'll be here on-time or late. I wish I wouldn't have waited so long to wrap stuff up in her nursery, because now I'm in a nesting frenzy trying to get things done. Everything big that needs to be done for the nursery has been completed. Really the only thing I need to do now is to hang the artwork in the nursery and buy some baskets and storage items for the closet.

I've had a few incidents that have landed me in L&D for monitoring in the last few weeks. The first time my blood pressure was high at one of my weekly appointments, which it always is at the doctor's office. When I check it at home it's never over 115 and usually is in the 97-110 range for the top number. However, my doctor didn't want to take any chances and even mentioned bed rest if it didn't improve when I was monitored. So...I spent about four or five hours at L&D where they put some fetal monitors on me, monitored my blood pressure, did blood work and various other things. My blood pressure was perfect there and Baby P looked fabulous so I got to go home.  Then last week I was rear-ended in a construction zone on the way to work, so my doctor insisted I go back to L&D to make sure everything was fine. I knew it was, we were traveling at a low rate of speed, I didn't get knocked around and there was only a scratch on my car from where I was hit, so I wasn't that concerned. I went in to be checked out like she had asked and they again monitored both Baby P and I, did more bloodwork (ACK!) and sent me down for an ultrasound, which I actually appreciated, since I got to spend more than just a few minutes looking at Baby P. The ultrasound tech showed me that she could see Baby P's hair (can I tell you how cute it looked floating off the back of her head?!) and then estimated her weight to be higher than what my doctor was telling me. As of last week she had her at 7lbs, 5oz, so I guess we'll see how accurate that is when she's born. Again, we were both fine and I really don't want to go back to L&D until it's time for her to be born!

Still no stretch marks (holler!) although the swollen feet and ankles still make an appearance every single day and pregnancy induced carpal tunnel syndrome sucks. I'm tired of tingling hands and a middle finger that is numb throughout the day. I feel huge, although I don't think I'm that big, but body parts that weren't hurting before, do now and don't even get me started on weekly dilation checks.

My baby shower was a couple of weeks ago and it was AMAZING. My good friend Kebi hosted it and she threw me a travel themed baby shower, since Vivi's nursery is travel themed. It was amazing and I loved it. I'll have to do photos of the shower in another post, since my computer is taking forever to load them.

Currently I'm just trying to tie up loose ends like packing my hospital bag (yeah I'm a procrastinator) and buying things off my registry that I didn't get at either baby shower.

I can't believe it's almost time for Baby P to make her appearance!


Saturday, May 10, 2014

35 Week Update

Just wanted to fit in a quick update about my pregnancy and Baby P.

As of tomorrow I'll be 35 weeks, almost to the 9 month mark!

- I just had a baby shower at work and although we have a small staff, they were very generous to Baby P and I. I was very excited to get some items off my baby registry. We also had the most delicious cupcakes. Knowing there are such delish cupcakes to be had in Tulsa is a very dangerous thing.

- I'm now seeing my OB once a week. This week she's estimating Baby P to weigh in at 5lbs, 13oz. She reminded me to do keep doing my kick counts, but honestly I don't really do them, because the baby moves constantly. She even has started waking me up at night kicking around. I hope this is something that doesn't continue outside the womb. I'd like her to sleep sometimes.

-Braxton Hicks contractions are increasing. Especially when I'm being really active. I'm careful about it, but I feel like there's too much to do right now to slow down. I'm trying to finish up painting the nightstand and changing table that are going in the nursery.

-Still no stretch marks. Thank God. My mom said she had very few and they were under her belly, so I'm hoping I'm getting her good stretchy skin. I'm still slathering on massive amounts of coconut oil twice a day in the hopes that keeping my skin hydrated will also help.

 -This week was my first dilation check. Verdict? I'm not dilated at all. I can't say I was surprised.

-My feet swell pretty much everyday, regardless of how much I sit or stand. It is NOT attractive and besides morning sickness is my least favorite part of pregnancy. I can also no longer wear my wedding ring. This makes me sad. I did however, force it on my finger for my maternity photos. I was not having my beautiful wedding ring not on my finger for important pictures.

-Speaking of maternity pics, we had them taken a couple of weeks ago. Next time around I'll have them taken a few weeks earlier as the week prior to them I started developing a double chin. I've shared a few photos on Instagram and Facebook, but I'll go ahead and share a few of my favorites on here too.

 
 



Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Updates!



I like to try to do updates about every month or so, just to catch my readers up on what's going on with me (pregnancy and otherwise).


Job


As of tomorrow I'll have been at my job for a year. I'm enjoying it and I've had some great experiences so far, but I'm hoping for a raise and adding to my responsibilities at work in the second year.


The first anniversary of the Woody Guthrie Center (where I work) is coming up at the end of this month and we are celebrating with live music, programs (even Hanson will be doing a program, since their studio is right down the street) and opening a new photography exhibit about Bruce Springsteen. My official assignment for the anniversary weekend is simply to walk (or waddle) around and take photos of all that is going on. Now that is a job I can handle.


Home


In June of this year, we'll have lived in our home for a year. We haven't really done any improvements to the house so far and honestly it doesn't need that much improvement, just some customizing to make it more of our own home. So far, we've only painted one room (the nursery) and we have plans to update the yard and get the pool running this summer. I'm not looking forward to messing with the pool, it was a pain in the butt last year and I don't relish the thought of messing with it again this year.


This weekend Sean and his dad were up in our attic trying to hook up an antenna to the cables in the attic. Imagine my surprise and then anger when a foot comes crashing through my kitchen ceiling. Yeah, Sean fell off a beam in the attic and his foot went through the drywall. To say I was angry is putting it mildly. I may or may not have been mad the entire rest of the day and then had an ugly cry.


Baby


Baby P is doing well. She's growing like a weed (she was 3 lbs, 6 oz at my last appointment) and I have another appointment this Thursday. The doctor says she looks perfect and she is constantly moving around inside the womb. She can't really do the hard kicks she was doing anymore since she's running out of room, but that doesn't stop her from rolling around and doing what feels like kneading my belly from the inside. It's a pretty freaky feeling. I'm to the point now where I know where she's located inside and I will press down on her butt (which either she doesn't like or likes the interaction) and she'll kick and flutter. It's endlessly amusing to me. I have my maternity photos at the end of April, my baby shower in late May and I'm still getting her nursery set-up. Sean has painted the nursery, we put the crib together and now we just have to finish paining the changing table and nightstand and getting other little things like artwork off of Etsy, a lamp shade and a new slipcover for the rocker and ottoman I bought second hand. I still feel like there is a ton to do, but time is quickly running out and I know she'll be here whether the nursery is ready or not. I don't have my hospital bag packed yet, but I have taken a labor and delivery class, which after going I decided that I'd rather the stork just drop off my baby and I've attended 1 of 2 breastfeeding classes. I must admit, I'm just ready to meet my daughter. I cannot wait to see who she looks like and what her personality likes. According to my doctor I'm 32 weeks tomorrow, but according to my conception calculations, I'm really just 31 as of this past Sunday. So..not much time left! EEK!


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Storm Photography

Minus the weekly bump photos, I haven't been doing as much photography as I would like. Work and projects on the weekends have been keeping me too busy to get out and shoot much.

However, that hasn't stopped me from planning new photo shoots. I'm currently obsessed with storm photography. I told Sean that several weeks ago and he cautioned me about getting too close to storms, but honestly I'm not trying to get in the middle of a storm/tornado and take pictures. I'm referring to photos more like these:

 
Photo Courtesy of Tornado Titans on Flickr

 
Photo Courtesy of Matt Granz on Flickr
 
 
Photo Courtesy of Matt Granz on Flickr
 
Aren't these shots absolutely beautiful? As a native Oklahoman, storms have always been a big part of  living here. I'm determined to get a beautiful shot like this so I can hang it proudly in our home.
 


Sunday, April 6, 2014

Baby Talk: Let's Talk Registries

I swore when I wasn't pregnant, that once I was, I wouldn't blog all the time about pregnancy and baby related stuff, but as you can see that went straight out the window.

However, I really do want all of my blog readers expert opinions on what you think are must-have items for your registry or really great gifts you've given to expectant mothers.

I've actually done a lot of research on what should go on a registry, starting with AlphaMom's suggestions and going from there. However, nothing beats real advice from people you know and trust.  I have registries on Amazon.com, Target and Wal-Mart, but since my baby shower is coming up in late May, I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed on there before people started buying gifts.

I've already been buying some items for Baby P on Craigslist and second-hand, because I wanted specific items and when I found a good deal, I didn't pass it up.

I already have:

Davinci Emily crib
Changing Table
Snuggabunny swing
Chicco Keyfit Carseat with extra base
Prince Lionheart wipe warmer (it was free, how could I say no?)
Puj Tub
Primo Tub
Halo Sleepsacks
Miracle Blanket
Aden +Anais swaddle blankets
Sleep Sheep
Clothes in Various sizes
Boone grass Bottle Dryer

So let's hear it, what do you recommend I don't leave off my registry?


Friday, March 21, 2014

Fun With Photography: Newborn Photography Props


Although I'm paying for maternity, birth and newborn lifestyle photos, I didn't want to pay extra to have the cutsey, posed newborn photos done by another photographer. My photographer is great, but she does lifestyle newborn photos, not posed photos. Anyway, I decided I would put my photography skills to work and try to do Baby P's posed pics myself. Then a friend of mine asked if I'd do her newborn photos in August, so I knew I was going to have to find some props for these two sessions. My goal was to find props for cheap and props that were gender neutral or that I could use for possible future sessions.

I'm putting what I've found in one post, in the hope that it might be helpful for others trying to find newborn props on a budget. In an ideal world, it would be great if I could afford the $60 newborn outfits, $40 flokati rugs and $100+ newborn furniture. However, I don't shoot newborn photography exclusively and I don't get any sort of incentive from those that sell props/wraps/hats, etc, so I don't have the money for that.

First step: Browsing for inspiration on Pinterest. I made a board specifically for photos that I wanted to take for my upcoming two newborn sessions and then pinned what caught my eye. Once I did that I made a list in Microsoft Word of what props I already had and could use for these photos and what props I needed to be on the lookout for. It helps immensely when the person that you're going to do newborn photos for, also has a lot of cute props that you can use too.

For example, my to-find prop list looks something like this:

Large woven round basket
Doll bed
Wire egg basket
Lace
Faux furs
Cheesecloth wraps
Vintage metal mailbox
Wooden chair

After I made a list, I hit up a bunch of different places to see what I could find. I've done searches on Ebay, Craigslist,  local Facebook Swap and Shop groups and also put up in search of posts with an example of what I want on these local Facebook swap and shop groups. Sometimes it's fruitful and sometimes not. There is a DIY Newborn Prop group on Facebook that I recently joined that is EXTREMELY helpful when it comes to inspiration, DIY ideas, etc. Offline I've searched at Goodwill and other thrift stores, as well as Hobby Lobby, but I have yet to hit up antique shops or anyplace like Ross, Tuesday Morning, TJMaxx, where others have said they've found throws, bowls, etc.

Pinterest is also a great resource for DIY props and outfits. Two posts I've found very helpful deal with upcycling sweaters for newborn hats and pants.

Pixie Hat Tutorial

Newborn Pants Tutorial

Headband tutorials for girls are also easy to find on Pinterest. I found a ton of great flower pieces and bows at Hobby Lobby this past week on the clearance aisle. Nothing was over $3.00, so all I have to do is hot glue some elastic to it and I've created my own headband without having to buy an $8.00 headband on Etsy.

Did you know you can make backdrops or fake wood floors out of snap together pieces of flooring and wall paneling from Lowes/Home Depot? Me either! Or that you can make a backdrop out of foam board, spray on adhesive and scrapbook paper? Yeah, I didn't either.

There are some things that I will actually spend the money on to buy from people on Etsy, because it's cheaper for me to do so than to make it myself. Buying cheesecloth and then buying all sorts of dye to dye it the six different colors I want doesn't make much sense.  Especially if I can find it for a good price on Etsy. Enter JuicyBerries, a seller on Etsy who sells beautiful cheesecloth wraps for a great price.  Anything knit I have to buy as I don't knit, or search on DIY groups for someone who does knit. Unfortunately I don't have anyone close to me that knits, otherwise I'd put them to task knitting cute baby hats for me. I did splurge a little and bought Baby P this beautiful bonnet, but that will probably be my one and only splurge for anything prop related.



For backdrops, I'm most likely going to buy some cheap Martha Stewart throws I've found on Ebay in neutral colors and then get a couple of yards of a two or three brighter colors in a knit fabric at JoAnn. You can also find faux fur at JoAnn, which is probably what I'll end up buying for a basket stuffer. I did notice that IKEA has a cheap sheepskin rug that I'm wanting to pick up on my next visit there and they also have a doll bed that will be perfect for a newborn shoot. That tip actually came from a fellow blogger, otherwise, I never would have known!

Don't forget to take stock of what you actually have in your own home and what could be used as a prop. I have several baskets, curtains (for a fabric backdrop) my bike basket (see pic below for what I mean) our wood floor, hat box, children's' books and a quilt that can be used. You might be surprised about how much you actually already have that can be used in your newborn shoot.



Last, but not least, and this probably should have been at the very beginning of this post, make sure you have some sort of beanbag (preferably the puck shaped beanbags) to pose the baby on as well. I lucked out and found one for $50 on a local Facebook group, but those suckers can get expensive, especially if you have to fill them too. Mine was already filled, so I was extra lucky in this instance.

I'm sure once the newborn shoot happens I'll have to update on what I've learned, but for now, I hope this helps others out there in the search for newborn props!