Thursday, March 15, 2018

Baby 4 Pregnancy Journal: Week 16!

*16 weeks was actually 3-8-18. I'm a little behind in these posts!*

This baby deep inside me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rogers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"

How Far Along? 16 Weeks

Baby Size:  
"baby now weighs in at a whopping three to four ounce and he's four to five inches in length. " -What To Expect When You're Expecting

Gender: We'll find out in August!

Weight Gain: No new number yet. I'll update after my next ob appointment. 

Belly: Feeling like the belly is growing rapidly. I definitely feel bigger than just 16 weeks. I think that has a lot to do with the extent of diastasis recti from my previous pregnancies. 

Sleep: Oh man, I crave rest. My body is having a hard time finding a comfortable position and then reaching a state of rest at night. Add to the sleeplessness the fact that the youngest two children are awake so often in the night, and some days have been just brutal. But, the day must go on! haha

Symptoms: This pregnancy is definitely taking it's toll early on. The body is just not holding up as well as it did in the past. 

It's now become mandatory that I wear the compression hose during the day or else I can barely stand or walk on my legs. I have an intense love/hate relationship with them. They get me through, but they're not exactly comfortable or attractive. Oh well, I'll do what's necessary for this little one!

I've also felt the state of my weak ab muscles and subsequently back as well. It can take more effort to maneuver and/or lift as I often need to (ie lifting children in and out of carseats or lifting the double stroller). I constantly catch myself sitting or standing with a slouch, and consciously push myself to work those core muscles to have a better posture. I'm trying not to pay too much attention to this matter though because if the belly becomes as stretched as it did with baby 3, then the ab muscle separation is likely to only get worse. I'm hoping I will be able to find something that I can do after the baby arrives to heal my core. It's a pretty helpful muscle grouping for carrying about the day caring for the home and children. haha

A perpetual lack of rest has also become a more prominent issue. My body is often so achy and tense that I have a hard time reaching the deeper states of rest at night. The level of restlessness is surprisingly intense considering the last four years have had disrupted sleep from children each night. Perhaps it's the greater demand on me during the day while on little rest that makes it seem so much worse. (Maybe this baby will be a good sleeper later. One can dream, right?! haha)   

(I'm amazed at women who have much larger families. How they physically carry so many babies is remarkable to me! My body..yeah, it's telling me that this will be our last. It's done. haha)

Clothing: I'm enjoying the new pieces I purchased recently! They have helped a lot in concealing the lovely compression hose in an attractive manner. I still would like to find a few pairs of shoes that would look good with dresses and skirts, as well as be such that covers the obvious ending point of the hose at the toes (I'm thinking something like a simple Keds shoe). 

Movement: I'm still staying plenty busy managing the housework and children. Now that the weather is warming up, I'm wanting to resume our daily neighborhood walks. However, the few walks we've been on have resulted in me needing to prop my legs up afterwards. I'll still go for walks because I know it's healthy, but I'll probably wait until David is home so he can push the big stroller (or pull them in the wagon) to take some of the strain off of me. Walks will probably happen less frequently this time around, but they'll still happen. (Walks are one of my favorite activities!). I still think a prenatal yoga or pilates dvd would be really helpful. Something to stretch and strengthen my body a bit. I wanted such as this last pregnancy, but never purchased one. I need to search again and commit to one this time.  

Baby Movement: I do believe I'm feeling some rolling around in there! It's still so subtle, but it's there. I'm eager to feel and see much more distinct movements! (I love the period in which the movements are simply magical. Later, they are just plain painful as little ones seem to know exactly where the weak spots of my belly are. haha).

Food Adversions: I still have some challenge at times of eating full meals. Small portions seem to be easier to tolerate. I'm trying to find a good system for really good, balanced meal and snack options that will be suitable for the children and myself. These things take more time and effort, though.

Food Cravings: fruit! Dried fruit, fresh fruit, frozen fruit...bring it on! I love fruit with a passion. 

Other Notes:
     We toured the other hospital in town. I must say, it lived up to all that we had heard about it. The only draw back is that a "laborist" is used during the night shift. (My current OB attempts to make every delivery as much as possible. She's the only one in her practice though and so her lower patient load allows her that ability. The offices/docs that deliver at the other hospital are much larger and it therefore wouldn't be feasible for them to attend every birth day or night). David and I talked about the decision for a while. When I considered the possibility of either myself or the baby being in-patient for an extended time prior to or after delivery (because past experience has taught us to prepare for anything!), then I really wouldn't want to be at our current hospital. I would feel much more cared for at the other hospital. (We noticed a notable difference in the staff between the two hospitals). So, even though I'm comfortable with my current OB and we're nearly to the halfway point, I decided to make the switch. 
      Unfortunately, after calling and finding out more information on the other OB practice in town that delivers at the other hospital and is covered by our insurance, it looks as though we actually will be remaining with our current OB and hospital. The chances of delivering vbac with the other OBs is slim. There's only three OBs that I know for sure will deliver vbac, with my current doctor being one of them. The other two aren't covered on our insurance. I'd rather remain where we are and have the chance at delivering vbac. I absolutely wouldn't want to have to go for an automatic csection, especially after having two successful vbacs already. So, we'll be staying with the current OB and hospital. 

     In much less serious news, the nesting with this one is strong! Clutter and messes are driving me nutty! In turn, I'm probably driving David nutty with my need for things to be orderly. I'd like to do a big decluttering of the house before the new baby comes. Less stuff = less to maintain! We also have arranged to have a couple of big house projects to be completed soon. I'm excited to get this place in more of a shape that will be easier for me to maintain, especially with four children four years old and under!

Friday, March 9, 2018

Toy Storage in Children's Bedrooms

     I personally prefer bedrooms to be maintained as places of rest and retreat. It's difficult for me to achieve those ideas when the room contains too much stuff. My mind is far too stimulated to rest peacefully. I've read that children can react similarly in that they too can be too attracted to too many toys in a bedroom to fall asleep. (Currently, my children can somehow fall asleep in a sea of toys on the bed they're sleeping in. I honestly don't know how they can sleep with so much stuff!)

     Aside from enabling greater rest, a more minimalistic approach to toy storage in children's bedrooms lessens the housework load. The less that is kept in a room is the less that must be tidied in a room. I simply don't have the time or energy to tidy playroom-scale messes in each bedroom each day. My children are still quite young, and as such are capable of completing small cleaning tasks such as a few select toys. Too many toys and they are quickly overwhelmed with the task. 

     And so, for us the solution has been to have a small toy storage area for each child within each bedroom. They can include whatever toys they wish as long as it fits within the space.

     I chose simple wooden crates for each child. They were fairly inexpensive and easy to find in stores in the case that we'd need to add an additional crate to a bedroom (which we do ;) ). I also liked that I could paint and personalize the crates. The only downside to these is that the slats break easily. I broke a few screwing in the braces and brackets. So, these probably wouldn't be ideal for a more rough and tumble child.

This is what working on projects with little ones looks like-
one child sitting on the piece while the other hammers on it. haha

      I chose to stack the boys' crates to allow for greater floor space. Their room is (hopefully, one day) done in navy, orange, gray and white. Their crates are painted orange to match this color scheme. Since the idea was to have the crates stacked and against a wall, I needed to ensure they were secure and safe. I used a long bracket to attach them together (probably could have used a smaller one, but this is the one that was available). I then used a couple of "L" brackets to secure them to the wall. I discovered while screwing in the screws with a simple screwdriver that a drill probably would've been a better tool. I found that the wood slats split easily with my method. (However, I don't entirely know how to use a drill but can use a screwdriver, and so did what was within my means to accomplish the project! Learning to use a drill is on my list!). Despite the few cracks in the wood, the end goal of the crates being safely in the room for toy storage was accomplished!


  Since Annelise is currently the only girl, her crate is simply in the floor beside her reading chair in her bedroom. Her room fis (hopefully, one day) purple, pink, turquoise, white, and gray. I painted her crate a beautiul shade of turquoise to match that scheme.

    I really like how bold and vibrant the colors came out! (The children's rooms are the boldest and brightest in the house. Elsewhere, I prefer soft neutral colors.)

     For an added touch of personalization, I decided to paint each of their names onto the sides of the crates. I did a different basic font for the boys'. For Annelise's, I enjoyed giving her a girly flowery font! If baby #4 is a girl, then I suppose I'll need to redo her name so that the crates will stack as well. Oh well, I didn't want to leave the project undone. 
(I'm not sure why the coloration in the photo is a little yellow-ish. The true colors are so pretty!)

    There is now a proper place for (a few) toys in the rooms for them to play with whenever they are in there! I like the idea of giving each child a place for his/her own things in the bedrooms, especially since we will soon have four children and the bedrooms will be shared. I'm sure we'll have a different "crate" though when they're older. For now, this works great for them!

The completed crates!

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Baby 4 Pregnancy Journal: Week 14!

*14 weeks was actually 02-22-18. I'm already behind in writing these journal posts! 
(More  photos at the end of the post)

This baby deep inside me, ever so small, is a child of God. A child that God gave me to take care of whether for a day or for years. That care began at conception. Whether he or she lives or dies each day I am with him or her is a gift and has a purpose with eternal consequences. My baby is now part of my life, my testimony. -Brenda Rogers, "New Rules for Announcing a Pregnancy"

How Far Along?   14 weeks
"more fluid-like in his movements ... Other developments this week include a roof of his own (inside his mouth, that is) as well as intestinal activity: His intestines are producing meconium ... He is also sporting a downy coat of hair (lanugo) that keeps him nice and warm." What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed. 

Baby Size: "the size of your clenched fist." What to Expect When You're Expecting, 4th ed. 

Gender: David and I had decided to wait until the baby's arrival to know gender. The older two, especially Tennyson, are still wanting a baby sister. We're still emphasizing that it could be a boy or girl. Hopefully they'll come around to wanting a baby brother too! hah

Weight Gain: I was the same at 13 weeks that I was at 9 weeks (119lbs).

Belly: The baby belly is growing!

Sleep: I've entered the "pregnancy sleep" phase, which is little quality sleep. I collapse into bed as soon as the children are asleep (usually 8:30-9pm). I'm not sure what I do at night because I wake up feeling just as exhausted as I went to bed. It's a constant state of tired, and yet there's still a lot more pregnancy to go!

      I complained to David how I felt guilty for not being more energetic and enthusiastic with the children. I'm just so tired all the time that I don't have an extra ounce of energy. He replied that that was the exactly case last time. We made it through then, and will do so again now. In the end will be another wonderful addition to our family! It will all be worthwhile!

Symptoms: My legs are the biggest issue at the moment. (The veins in my legs are not happy during pregnancy). I've swallowed my pride, and now wear the compression hose even when out. Without them, I can barely withstand standing on my legs. I've even started using a tight wrap around the most severe area at night so that I can get up when need be. It's a challenge, but one I'm learning to work around. It's certainly teaching me to find ways to take things a little slower and prop my legs up to rest when possible.

Clothing: Since I'll be wearing the compression hose so much this pregnancy, I've wanted some additional pieces that will accommodate the hose well. I happened upon PinkBlush*, and loved their clothes. I ordered a few maxi dresses and a maxi skirt. They are fabulous! It might be one of the first times in which I have ordered something and everything fits perfectly. I feel just lovely in the dresses. And even though they are technically maternity, I don't see any reason why they couldn't be worn at any other time as the styles are very versatile. These pieces will definitely be seeing a lot of wear! (I'm wearing one of the dresses in the photo at the top :) ) 
*I'm not affiliated with PinkBlush in any way, and this post was not sponsored in exchange for my opinion. I simply love the dresses I bought from them and wanted to share!

Movement: Still going as much as I ever was! There are many days in which I sit down for dinner and realize that that is the first time I've sat down all day! When possible, though, I'm trying to force myself to sit for at least a portion of naptime to rest.

Baby Movement: I believe I've felt some rolling motions! I can at least at times pinpoint where he/she is because there will be a hard protrusion somewhere. It's always pretty neat to see and feel where the baby is so early!

Food Adversions: Sugar! The desire for sweets is plenty present. The ability to tolerate such things is totally gone. I nearly always regret indulging in sweets. Coffee is in a similar state. I still look forward to my morning cup of coffee with creamer. I pour a cup, and then then unfortunately only drink about 1/3 of it. The portion that I did drink was delightful though. haha

Food Cravings: fruit, fruit, fruit and more fruit. Dried fruit. Frozen fruit. Fresh fruit. Bring me all the fruit! I absolutely love it! Oranges, in particular, have been a daily favorite. (Hence, we've started to buy 10lb bags! haha)

Other Notes:
   I'm still debating switching practitioners and hospitals. The decision is mainly regarding the NICUs of the two hospitals in town. While we don't believe there will be a need for one, the potential is always present. Having had a NICU baby once, my mind and heart automatically prepares for another experience. We've scheduled a tour with the hospital I haven't delivered at to get a better idea of their facility. I'll decide from there.

They wanted to have their pictures taken after Mama!
 She was in the "Baby 3 Pregnancy Journal: 14 Weeks!"  photo.
She's changed so much!

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