Welcome to the World, Vera Katherine!

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I know most of you already got the news via Instagram, but for those who don’t follow me, here it is!

We welcomed baby Vera at 1:07 pm on July 3, 2018. Even though I was a week past due, she only weighed 6 pounds, 11 ounces, and was 19.25 inches long. We are absolutely, over-the-moon in love with our little peanut.

I don’t plan to do a full “birth story” type post, as that’s a little too personal for me to feel comfortable sharing, but here are the highlights that I anticipate people are curious about:

  • I went in for my 41 week check up and due to low levels of amniotic fluid, we decided to move forward with induction
  • Start to finish, the entire ordeal lasted just shy of 24 hours
  • I had an epidural after 14 hours of unmedicated labor
  • Vera was born hale and hearty with no complications

We are all adjusting fairly well to life as a family of three. Sleep is hit or miss, but Vera is eating like a champ and Ben and I are taking care of each other as much as we are taking care of her, which I think will give us a strong base moving forward.

As promised, going forward will my posts about motherhood will be focused on my postpartum recovery and return to normal activity rather than posting details about Vera’s development. While I’m excited to eventually return to running and CrossFit, these sleepy newborn days are very much my pace right now. I’m happy to do nothing at all but gaze at her sweet face and snuggle her for hours on end.

Thank you all for your kind words and support!

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40 Week Pregnancy Update

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Well, I honestly never expected to be writing this post. Despite knowing full well that most first-time moms deliver well past their due date, I assumed I’d have a baby by now! As I publish this week 40 recap, I’m already at 41 weeks pregnant (I’ve been publishing these posts as a retrospective once the week has finished)!

As Tom Petty said, “The waaaaaiiting is the hardest part.” For the most part, I think we’re doing a good job of staying busy and not just twiddling our thumbs waiting for me to go into labor, but it’s difficult not to think about it pretty much all the time. It doesn’t help that family and friends call and text daily to check in on Babywatch 2018. I know everyone is excited, but it’s like, come on guys, you’d know if something was happening; I’d tell you, and this isn’t helping my anxiety over not knowing when labor will start.

Continuing from last week’s theme, we’re keeping the house ship shape, cooking, baking, and staying busy. We remembered to pick up fish food and filters for the fish tank, picked up Rocket’s prescription food, bought (used) sun hats for Baby Girl, and dropped off our water test (which thankfully came back positive!). We had dinner at the Farmer’s Market, had a full moon “Baby Come Out!” bonfire and party, went swimming and went to a one year old’s birthday party. I also went to yoga and the chiropractor, and we had our 40 week prenatal appointment.

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Still no dilation or contractions, so we talked about next steps. We tentatively scheduled an induction for July 6, which would be 2 days before I hit 42 weeks. There is a possible nurse’s strike due to start sometime in early- to mid-July, so my midwifery team wanted to get us in before that might affect us. **Full disclosure, Ben and I both support this nurse’s strike, the timing is just scary for us. Hence scheduling our induction a bit early. 

We also scheduled some 41 week tests to check up on baby and make sure she’s OK in there until we reach induction or natural labor. They’ll do a non-stress test to check her heart rate and movements, and an ultrasound to double-check fluid levels and make sure the placenta is hanging in there. There was a time when I was staunchly anti-induction, but at this point I’m so ready to meet this baby and not be pregnant anymore that I don’t really care how it happens. Being induced would put an end to the uncertainty and the waiting, so if that’s how it goes, so be it.

On the “let’s get this baby out” front, I’ve been bouncing around on an exercise ball frequently, taking lots of walks, eating lots of spicy foods, and spending time in a forward-lying position as much as possible because our midwives think Baby Girl is currently sunny-side up (face front), which is not an ideal birth position. Thankfully, she’s head down and moving into my pelvis, but ideally she would rotate prior to birth. I’ve been doing lots of cat/cow breathing and leaning forward on my exercise ball.

Any predictions for delivery date? Maybe we should start a pool…

Friday Free-For-All 06/29/18

Friday Free-For-All

Our well water is finally safe to drink! The initial water test before we bought the house came back as no good, so the seller shocked the well. But because the well cap was still open, bacteria was likely still getting in, and a second test was still no good. We closed the well cap and then let it go for a while because inertia. We’ve been buying bottled water for drinking since we moved in, which has been kind of expensive and less than ideal. Two weeks ago Ben did a really thorough chlorine treatment, and our third water test this week came back with “Acceptable for human consumption”! Hooray! Just in time for us to bring a baby home. Nothing like waiting until the last minute, eh?

It’s supposed to be brutally hot this weekend. Like, in the mid- to upper-nineties, and I am SO not here for it. Our house usually stays pretty cool, but that’s still quite warm, especially for a preggo, and especially for a preggo who was already heat-sensitive to begin with. Is it bad that I’m hoping to go into labor just so we can be at the hospital with air conditioning? If not, we may need to find a swimming hole. That is, if I can fit into my bathing suit…

We recently started feeding both cats prescription food. Rocket has been on a special diet since his urinary blockage back in the winter. Because it’s more expensive than regular food, we were continuing to feed Creemee the “normal” stuff. But she would regularly try to steal Rocket’s prescription food, while he would try to eat hers, so we had to constantly watch them during meal times, which was getting old, fast. We checked in with our vet, and since there’s no harm in eating the food if a cat doesn’t need it, we’re just feeding them both the same kibble, and life is a lot simpler now. Both cats are happier and eating better, and we don’t have to constantly police who’s eating what. Sure, it will be more expensive in the long run, but I think our time is worth it. Speaking of cats…

Our cats have been catching mice in the house like gangbusters. I think we’re now up to a grand total of six adult and three baby mice that have been either caught (and subsequently removed by me or Ben) or killed by our kitties since we moved in. While I’m glad that the cats are doing their job, it’s kind of gross. We need to do some reconnaissance to see if we can find where the mice are coming in and block up the hole. It can be pretty damn difficult to make your home completely mouse-proof, but the evidence seems to suggest we could do a better job. Considering that we live in the middle of a gigantic field, mice are always going to be a challenge for us.

Cat owners, do your cats do a good job of pest control?

 

 

39 Week Pregnancy Update

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It’s so strange; I had a feeling all along that I would go into labor early, and yet here I am hanging out at 39+ weeks with no baby! I know a lot of first-time moms go late, but for whatever reason, I assumed I would go early. Still though, I’m not complaining. I’ve had two glorious, work- and baby-free weeks to run errands, do fun stuff, and relax. God only knows when I’ll have down time like this again, so I’m just trying to enjoy it. I’ve also been sleeping pretty well, so hopefully I’ll be well-rested whenever labor kicks in.

We’re trying to keep the house as clean and well-stocked as possible in the event that Baby Girl makes sudden moves. Ben made four loaves of bread, and I made a few crockpot freezer meals. I even remembered to special order Rocket’s prescription food, which was almost gone, and stock up on kitty litter and other grocery basics. The co-op in Burlington offers an extra 10% off bulk foods on Thursdays, so I grabbed a ton of rice, spices, grits, and popcorn (one of my favorite snacks that I’ve eaten SO MUCH during pregnancy).

Ben finished the school year this week, so we are both officially in “waiting for baby” mode. It feels kind of like we’re on vacation. We’re spending tons of time together, doing lots of stuff around the house and generally having as much fun as we can while living under the shadow of impending and unknown baby arrival. We are only meal planning and grocery shopping a few days at a time, rather than a full week, because we don’t want to have a fridge full of perishables if we end up stuck at the hospital for more than a few days. And I’ve started loading my hospital bags into the car whenever we’re going to be away from home for a bit, cause you just never know!

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Trying to walk baby out

We had some lovely visits with friends this week. I feel super spoiled that my friends Lizzie and Megan drove all the way out to the boonies to spend time with us on Thursday. Lizzie brought her adorable dog Nora, and we hung out for a while, basking in the sun in our yard. On Friday we had lunch at Burger Barn with our friend Merlin (yes, that’s his REAL name!), which is always a treat. Merlin is currently a stay-at-home house husband, so I’m sure he and I will be spending lots of time together once Baby Girl is born. And Ben’s older sister and her boyfriend were up from DC for the weekend, so we got to spend some time with family as well. It’s been great to have quality time with people, as I know that the first few weeks with out little one will be hectic.

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The Nutty Goat: caramelized onions, goat cheese, candied walnuts, and bacon

Do you ever buy bulk foods? Such a great deal!

 

Friday Free-For-All – 06/22/18

Friday Free-For-All

Still no baby! I know you’re all anxiously awaiting news (or maybe not, I don’t know), but I promise you can’t possibly be more anxious than Ben and I are! My family started a baby pool, and my dad thinks tomorrow is the day, but I’m less convinced. I still haven’t had a single early labor sign. I don’t know how much I will want to share on various social media outlets, but Instagram is probably a good bet if you want up-to-date info. I doubt I’ll be blogging from the hospital!

Honda AC is finally fixed! This took a bit longer than expected because our mechanic had to order a new compressor. I had to get up early on Monday morning to drop the car off at the shop, and the repair took almost the whole day but HOORAY! We have functioning AC just in time for a string of VERY hot weather. Woot!

I baked this week for the first time in FOREVER. Baking used to be one of my favorite hobbies, but our Burlington apartment’s oven was so tiny I rarely used it. And living with my in-laws, it just felt like too much work, using someone else’s stuff and taking over someone else’s kitchen for hours at a time. But on Tuesday, I made two batches of rhubarb oat bars, and my oh my are they delicious! We have a HUGE patch of rhubarb in our yard, so I think this recipe will be a go-to for years to come.

We’re getting a piano! This is a luxury that Ben and I have often dreamed of for our family, but which seemed financially and practically out of reach. Then out of the blue this week, my dad texted to ask if we wanted his grandmother’s spinet piano. It had belonged to his sister’s youngest son (the only one in the family who played), but after Hayden moved out of his dad’s house, it went “up for grabs.” Considering that this belonged to my badass, long-lived great grandmother that we are thinking of naming our daughter after, we jumped at the chance to have one of her possessions! We are grateful to have something so nice, and which can be a great activity for our kids for years to come.

Have you ever baked with rhubarb? Got any recipes for me?

 

Why You Won’t Be Seeing Much of Baby Girl on the Blog

Even before becoming pregnant, Ben and I had a lot of discussions about the presence we wanted our children to have on social media. From the get-go, Ben was adamant that putting pictures and anecdotes about our kids on the internet made him deeply uncomfortable, and he’d prefer that we keep our kids completely offline.

As a blogger and social media devotee, I was less convinced. How in the world would I share pictures easily so that friends and family could access them? How could I continue to blog about my life and family without including pictures of our future kids? As time went on, however, and especially after becoming pregnant, I realized that what Ben had been saying all along resonated with me more strongly. Thus, we’ve made the unanimous decision to minimize any sort of online presence for our kids until they’re old enough to decide for themselves what/how much they want to share. Here are a few reasons why.

Agency and Choice For Our Children
I understand that some people choose to be open books online, and love sharing photos and stories about their kids on their blogs or social media channels. It works for them, and I offer no judgement, truly. I just worry about how my own kids would feel about it when they grow up. Some day, my kids are going to want to create their own online lives, and for them to find out they’ve already got a lifetime of photos and stories about them online might not be happy news.

Safety
I think we can all agree that the internet is a scary freaking place sometimes. I don’t think I need to go into details (though I could post numerous examples), but suffice to say, I don’t want complete strangers all over the world, or even close to home, to have access to photos of my kids.

Parent-Shaming
It seems like not a day goes by without some stupid click-baity article posted about celebrity parents being called out for things like not properly buckling a car seat or their kids being “too skinny” or “too fat” or some other BS thing, all because they posted a photo online. But the thing is, this happens to “normal” parents too. Posting photos of your kids automatically invites comments. The vast majority are benign and even supportive, but you just never know what someone else is going to have to say about your parenting choices, and I’d much rather have those conversations one-on-one as needed, rather than via Instagram, ya know? Sidenote: when I posted a pic of my car seat installation, I had a comment about a better alternative within 5 minutes. Granted, it came from a place of helpfulness rather than judgment, but that’s EXACTLY the kind of thing I’m trying to avoid… Lesson learned!

All of the above means that you probably won’t see many pictures of Baby Girl, or any future kiddos, here on the blog. I’m sure they’ll pop up occasionally, but my determined rule is that there will be no “full face” photos, meaning you’ll be seeing a lot of back-of-the-head shots, emoji-over-the-face shots, or from-a-distance shots. I think this will be the sweet spot for maintaining my children’s privacy while still being able to share about my life. This will also likely mean that any updates post-baby will be focused on me and my recovery/return to fitness adventures versus posts about Baby Girl’s development.

Also, I’ve finally taken the leap and made a separate Instagram account for the blog, and made my personal Instagram account private. From here on out, blog-y, fitness-y stuff can be found on the handle @darlin_rae, while more personal and family stuff will be on @rbdinvt. If you’ve been following my personal Instagram for a while, don’t worry, I won’t boot you! But I will be VERY selective about who gets access going forward.

This also means that we need to have a firm conversation with family and friends about not sharing photos of our kids on social media without our permission. I will be the first to admit that in the past, I have shared photos of other people’s kids without giving it a second thought. But becoming a parent myself has made me realize that that’s really not cool. I don’t anticipate that this will be a fun or easy conversation, but it has to be done if we hope to maintain our kids’ privacy the way we want.

Parents, how did/do you handle social media sharing with small children?

38 Week Pregnancy Update

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This was my first week out of work and waiting for baby. It’s incredibly surreal to be expecting this big, life-changing event, but to have no idea when it’s actually going to happen! I mean, I know they won’t let me go past 42 weeks gestation, so she’ll be here in a month or less, but still. It could literally be ANY moment between now and then. I could go into labor first thing in the morning or the middle of the night or while I’m at yoga class. Or I might go all the way to 42 weeks and have to be induced. It’s so wild!

At this point, I’m more than ready for her to make her appearance. In the last week, I’ve gotten a lot more uncomfortable. I’m still not having any Braxton-Hicks contractions, but I just feel off. Eating often makes me feel nauseated or overly full (or both!), but I’m hungry all damn day. I actually woke up at 3 am one day this week, had a bowl of cereal, and went back to bed! I have also had some brief twinges of pain down low in my belly, which is indicative that she’s moving down into my pelvis to prepare for labor and delivery. While the wrist brace is helping me with carpal tunnel symptoms, the belly is a lot bigger and more unwieldy, so it’s hard to move around and find a comfortable position to sleep in.

We met our new pediatrician on Monday, which was great. We picked the pediatric office that Ben used to go to when he was little, and Dr. Monahan is one of the most popular docs in the practice. After our meeting, I can see why people like her so much. She was incredibly friendly and easy to talk to. She immediately felt like someone I would feel comfortable asking anything and everything related to my child’s health, which is invaluable for nervous first-time parents like us. And she was wearing Wonder Woman earrings, which just made me like her more!

Since I’m not at work, I have been nesting like a mo-fo. I’ve been making huge, detailed to-do lists each day and actually doing a fairly decent job of getting stuff done. It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you don’t spend 8 hours a day at the office! So far I’ve done some curtain shopping, hung said curtains, gone for lots of walks, made lots of phone calls, had some friend time, and done lots of fiddly little projects I’ve been putting off for ages. I know that my time for productivity will be coming to an end very soon, so I’m trying to make the most of what I’ve got. Of course, I’m also 38+ weeks pregnant, so there’s been plenty of time on the couch with my feet up too! Skyrim has been back in my life lately, and I’m pretty happy about it 🙂

We went to a concert on Thursday night, which was a huge accomplishment for me. I stayed out way past my bedtime, and it was totally worth it. We saw Sturgill Simpson as part of the Ben and Jerry’s Concerts on the Green series at Shelburne Museum. Ben LOVES Sturgill, so I got the tickets as an early birthday present way back in the early spring. Ever since I bought them, I’ve been praying that Baby Girl would stay in long enough for us to get to the show, and she happily obliged! Ben confessed to me after the concert that he was sort of hoping that I would go into labor while we were there, which had also been on my mind! But no, Baby Girl seems to be quite happy in utero for the time being.

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Sadly, my Group B Strep test came back positive, meaning I will need IV antibiotics during labor and delivery. While this is certainly not ideal, I know that there’s nothing I could have done to prevent it, so I’ve decided to just accept it and move on. It shouldn’t impact my mobility, and it will also mean that I’m just that much more ready if there are additional concerns or complications as labor progresses. The only real bummer is that if my water breaks before labor truly begins, I HAVE to go to the hospital to begin IV antibiotics; I won’t be able to labor at home at all.

Mamas and preggos, how did/do you deal with the waiting game?