Welcome to a piece of our sweet journey of life. This blog is about our family life-- my husband, my type 1 diabetic kindergartner, my spunky pre-schooler, my newborn baby girl, and myself! Enjoy!

Monday, July 31, 2017

NST Update

For the past 4 weeks, I’ve had weekly non-stress tests (NSTs).  I come to the OB office, sit in a recliner, and am strapped up to a heart monitor for Baby, and a contraction monitor for me.  I sit there for 20 minutes or more (mostly, more), and I press a button on a remote every time I feel Avery kick or bump or roll around in my belly.  The NST machine prints out a roll of paper with wiggly lines showing the heartrate, any contractions I have, and the dots that my beeper puts on the paper to show her movement.  The doctor is looking to see if her movements correlate with the heartrate.  For the first three weeks, the appointments were at 2:30pm.  Avery is very active during that time.  However, for last week’s appointment, they scheduled me for 1:00pm.  I thought this might end up being an issue since it could be at a time when Avery is napping.

Avery started out being active in the NST, then she fell asleep.  So, even though her heart rate was steady and I was still feeling movement—just very far apart in timing—the nurse had to wake her up with a bell.  So they inverted this little metal bowl on my belly and banged it with a metal spoon then switched to the other side of my belly and did it again.  She immediately woke up and started moving again—I’m pretty sure she was mad. 

Then the monitor started picking up the transfer of my blood to hers through the placenta (it makes a whooshing sound), so the other nurse had to come in and rearrange the heart monitor to find Avery’s beat again.  Then I had a big contraction. I was thinking “man, this hurts” and I looked over at the paper from the machine, and sure enough, there was a wave showing the contraction.  The nurse comes in and goes “wow! You had a contraction!  And it was a big one!” but it could have just been from Avery having to wake up from the bell, etc. Then she got the most intense hiccups.  I was in the NST room for over an hour (gag).  Then I got right into an exam room, but took a while for the doctor to get in there because he had other patients to see.  He said everything looks great and we’ll do an ultrasound in 2 weeks to measure her weight.

When I was checking out, a girl in front of me was making her appointment for 4 weeks from that day, which will be August 24th.  It was fun to think that I will be holding a baby by then (Lord willing!). 

I had to get blood drawn again for my thyroid, and I’m hoping that was the last time.  At the time I handed in my folder at the check-out counter, and then headed to the lab, it was about three hours since I had eaten lunch.  I was trying to get out of there as fast as I could so I could get back to my car and check my blood sugar. 

Once I got to my car, I checked myself and sure enough, I was low.  I went back inside to the little Walgreens they have in the building, and I bought a Coke.  I ate the peanut-butter and jelly sandwich that I brought for myself and drank some Coke (about a third of the bottle) and checked my blood sugar again about 15 minutes later.  I was in a safe place to drive by that time, so I was able to make it home okay. 

I am pretty much guaranteed to go low on Thursday afternoons after these appointments.  Although I brought a substantial snack with me this time (pb&j), the NST took WAY longer than normal, and I think that set the stage for me to be off kilter by the time I got back to my car.  I was trying not to bring in my big tote bag (with my meter and sandwich), but this upcoming Thursday I might just have to bring it inside with me anyway so I can eat my snack in the OB office and not have to delay leaving the parking lot for 20 minutes after every appointment.

This Thursday's appointment is at 3:00pm, so hopefully Avery will be in her active stage and not napping because sitting in a recliner when you can't take a nap gets annoying!  I bring something to read during the NSTs, but good gosh, there's only so many times you can flip through a magazine, or try to read a textbook while still paying attention to Baby movement.  It's also nerve-wracking to make sure the heart monitor stays on Avery's heartbeat instead of picking up mine or the placenta-transfer!

I am SO READY for August 23rd!  School for Michael starts next week (cue the tears) and I have medical meetings next week with the staff to discuss the care that is needed for him during the school day.  I'm also a little perturbed at his teacher for mailing us a separate supply list than the one the school provided in April during Kindergarten Registration.  The lists are basically the same, but a few extra items are on the teacher's specific list and I think it's rude to send out a list within 10 days of school starting, and after tax-free weekend has passed, and after parents have already bought items on the list they were provided with during registration!  But, I have my child's needs at heart and by golly, Michael will have everything on that list so that he doesn't have to be ashamed or have reason to cry if he doesn't have a certain supply.  He already has enough to go through each day, so I'm going to suck it up and buy the extra items on the teacher's list so my child can have confidence as he starts school for the very first time.  Once he gets into a pattern at school, I will feel more comfortable and then I'm planning on just coasting to Delivery Day!

Thanks for reading my little "mom of a kindergartener rant"!

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Show & Tell Tuesday: Phone Apps

Today I'm linking up with Andrea at Momfessionals for Show & Tell Tuesday!

The topic today is all about phone apps!

Now, I'm not a very tech savvy person and actually do not have very many apps on my phone because I'm the only person in the universe whose phone acts crazy if I have more than one full page of apps.  Seriously, I've tried with the iPhone 3, iPhone 4, and my current Samsung Galaxy something or other.  Every time I think about adding apps, the phone just starts loosing battery like crazy and eventually just starts shutting itself off at random times (even if the battery was fully charged).  I'm one of those people who limps over the 2-yr contract finish line with a phone that has hardly functioned correctly in the months leading up to the contract's end.  So... I remedy this by not having a lot of apps. 

I am, however, having a blast reading about the apps that you guys are using and I'm hoping to add one or two onto my phone.

The apps that I do have on my phone are very much needed and used.

First, the Dexcom Follow App.  This is a new one to me and my husband, but it's a tremendous help!  Our oldest son (he's almost 5) has Type One Diabetes (the autoimmune disorder where his pancreas doesn't make insulin).  He wears a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) that lets us know the sugar content of his tissue cells every 5 minutes.  We still have to give him finger pricks at mealtimes to check the sugar content of his actual blood cells, but the CGM helps us monitor him in between those mealtimes, and overnight.  The CGM will alert us if his tissue-sugar is too high or too low (both are dangerous conditions-- but a low sugar is far more dangerous in a shorter amount of time). 

For two years, we had been using an older model of the CGM until the newest model came out.  The newest model communicates via Bluetooth to a smartphone, and then it transfers that data to the phones of my husband and myself. 

Can you imagine how helpful this will be once he's in school this fall???  We are so excited about it!

Another app on my phone is the Kodak Pic Flick.  This app houses all of my photos on my phone as well as on my Facebook account.  If I want to print a photo, all I do is enter this app, choose my photo and select "print."  The app sends the picture to my printer, which prints it out on 4x6 photo paper!

The second page of apps on my phone is Mom Central, I'd say.

Here's where Amazon Video and Netflix reside.  I work from home, so sometimes it's nice to pull up a mindless show to listen to as I work.  Favorites include Andy Griffith, I Love Lucy, Escape to the Country, etc.  Also, if the boys (my 4-yr old and 3-yr old) crowd into our bed on Saturday mornings, I can pull up a show for them and not have to get out of bed just yet. :)

I also have Publix and Winn Dixie apps on this page.  The Publix one is by far my favorite of the two since it actually categorizes my grocery list based on what aisle the item is on.  It's nice to be able to see the sale papers from both of these stores as we're meal planning. 

My Amazon music bar at the bottom of this page is awesome because it's free music!  I'm not an iTunes fan (and I don't even know if it would work with an Android phone), so my husband set up Amazon music on my phone so I can download albums and songs for free!

There you have it! 

Not a lot to see, but apps that are important to us and make our lives easier.

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

What is (going to be) in my Hospital Bag

We are 34 weeks along today!  Five weeks left to go until our scheduled delivery day!  We are so very ready to meet little Avery!

I won't be packing my hospital bag until next week or the week after, but I've already made my list of things to pack.  I'm a list-maker and I like to "know the plan" so it was helpful and stress-relieving for me to go ahead and write down what I wanted to pack in the hospital bag.  Now, some of this stuff I obviously won't be adding to the bag until the last minute-- like my phone charger and medication, but the other things I can probably get by with packing sooner rather than later.

Am I an over-packer? Yes.  Do I forget some of the things I've packed? Yes.  Most times, while I'm unpacking at home, I'll pull out an item from my bag and think "Gosh, this would have been really helpful if I had remembered that I packed this."  It happens more often than not. However, I've been on the "didn't pack enough" side and that's no fun.

So, here's my current list:

  • phone charger (won't be packing until the day we go to the hospital)
  • medication (thyroid and gestational diabetes meds) (won't be packing until the day we go to the hospital)
  • Vera Bradley duffel (this is the actual bag I'll be placing these items into)
  • maternity/nursing PJ set w/cardigan
  • nursing nightgown
  • black maternity yoga pants
  • gray pj pants
  • belly band (won't be packing til the day we go to the hospital-- I use it too much to pack it away too early!)
  • nursing tank
  • nursing top- blue stripe
  • gray or black maternity cotton shorts
  • underwear
  • nursing bra
  • couple nursing pads
  • makeup bag and deodorant (won't be packing til the day we go to the hospital)
  • shampoo/conditioner in tiny bottles
  • dry shampoo
  • brush & straightener (won't be packing til the day we go to hospital)
  • toothbrush/ toothpaste (obviously won't be packing til day we go to hospital)
  • hair ties
  • Reese's cups
  • cookies
  • granola bars
  • notepad & pen (very helpful when writing notes of things the pediatrician says for the baby)
  • going-home outfit for Avery (to include a blanket to cover her legs in the carseat)
  • carseat (which should already be in our car by the time I pack)
I've never purchased one of those special pretty labor hospital gowns that people promote.  I really wanted one when I was pregnant with my first, but I couldn't justify the price or the "one time use" thing-- once you have the baby, when do you wear it again?  Also, labor is messy.  I didn't want to ruin a pretty dress/gown that I just spent a lot of money on.  So, alas, I never bought one and I also never cared that I was wearing a normal hospital gown when I gave birth.

However, after I have my baby, I like to put on my own clothes.  So, since we're looking at a 3-day stay (the day the baby is born, the following day, and then coming home the next day), I pack enough of my own clothes to last this amount of time.  I also make sure these are "public appropriate" clothes so that I can have visitors and also use one of these outfits to go home in.

I don't really expect my milk to come in while I'm in the hospital, but sometimes this happens faster than I've planned, so bringing a couple nursing pads is a good idea.

Depending on how long labor takes, my hair might not look so great at the end of it all.  So, dry shampoo is a special treat.  Aaron can help me spray this in my hair and brush it through, and I'll feel even a tiny bit refreshed, which is just great.

Hair ties are essential because during labor, you never know what's going to annoy you!  Having hair in my face would totally annoy me, so bringing hair ties is a good idea.

Once Avery comes out and the cord is cut, gestational diabetes is officially over (although I'll have to check my blood sugar occasionally during my post-partum 6 week recovery so I can show the doctor that my numbers are normal again).  After having to be super diet cautious for the preceding three months, it's nice to have a cookie or some Reese's cups as a reward-- after all, a baby human just came out of me and I deserve a pat on the back (or a cookie!).

As much planning as we do for delivery (ie, choosing a day, going in the night before to start the process, etc), we really don't know at what time the baby will be born.  Fortunately, when both of my boys were born, the cafeteria in the hospital was still open and I could have food.  But, there's no telling if Avery is going to show up in the middle of the night.  If she does, it'll be nice to have some food with substance (and not just cookies and candy).  Packing granola bars takes care of this.  Also, it gives Aaron something quick he can eat in the mornings if he doesn't want to go down to the cafeteria or out to a restaurant.  Finally, it's a good snack to munch on in the middle of the night when feeding a baby. 

A notepad and pen are just smart to have.  My mom brought me a little notepad when I was in the hospital with my first.  This was great because Michael had to be in the Extended Care Nursery during our whole time in the hospital.  The pediatrician would come into my room and give me her report on Michael's condition each day and I'd write down notes on what she said.  Then when she was explaining some things we'd have to do for Michael when we got home, it was nice to have the notepad to write those things down on. 

Packing a going-home outfit for baby is essential.  I don't pack outfits for my babies to wear each day they're in the hospital-- although some people do, and this is totally fine.  It's just not how I do things.  I also don't bring baby diapers.  The hospital provides baby diapers and diaper cream, and blankets, etc, so I'll just change her into her own clothes and put on a fresh diaper before we leave and we'll be good enough to make it home. 

I might think of more things as time goes on but I've pretty much stuck with these items for both prior deliveries and it works for us. 

I can't believe we're close enough to be thinking about the hospital bag! 

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Things that Worked for Us, Despite not Following Norms

When it comes to baby things and ways to do baby-caring-tasks, there's always an opinion out there.  It doesn't make that opinion truth or gospel or necessarily what you should do.  We didn't follow a lot of the "norm" with our babies and it worked for us. 

One thing I constantly heard as I was nearing the end of my pregnancy with my first was that I would never get to shower again.  Guess what?  I showered as much as I wanted.  I devised a plan that worked for me and I worked my plan.  Our house at the time had a bathtub shower combo, so I hung up an extra shower curtain rod and I bought a completely clear shower curtain liner and hung it on the inner rod.  When I wanted to shower, I gathered my decorative shower curtain like a curtain on a window, and I tied it back with a hair tie or piece of ribbon.  I'd move the baby swing (small swing, remember) into the bathroom right in front of the tub/shower and I'd set my little baby bundle in the swing.  I'd get into the shower and know that I could peek at my baby as much as I wanted.  When I was done showering, I'd untie the decorative curtain, and let it fall back into place.  I used this method with my second baby, and even when my boys were crawlers and toddlers and couldn't be trusted to be in the house without supervision while I showered.  I never felt "shower deprived" as a mom and always felt like I could shower even if I was home with my newborn (or newborn & crawler, or crawler & toddler) by myself.  This was a life saver to me.  In our current house, we have a separate shower and tub, and the shower has a door, so I imagine I'll just stack some extra towels on the floor to absorb any escaping water and crack the shower door open.

I also remember pouring over the baby registry lists of others and thinking "man, I need to add this and this and this to my list!"  I struggled deeply with adding certain things to my baby registry because I'm a very practical person, and some baby stuff just isn't practical (at least for me!).  One thing that I could not justify was a changing table.  I don't like "single purpose items" and what do people do with changing tables when the baby is potty-trained?  Placing a changing table pad on top of a low & long dresser was becoming popular when I was pregnant with my first, so I thought about registering just for the changing table pad.  But then my mother-in-law told me that she just put a towel on the floor and changed diapers on the floor of whatever room she was in.  I thought this was brilliant.  Babies can't roll off a dresser or a changing table if they're already on the floor.  So, I kept a folded towel and a little basket of diapers and wipes in my living room and bedroom.  Then, anytime my baby needed a change, I just unfolded the towel and got to changing.  A coworker of mine who lived in a two-story house complained one day that it was such a hassle to change his daughter's diaper because he had to go all the way upstairs to her room to use the changing table.  I told him what I did at my home, and I think it blew his mind.  I don't know if he followed suit (and I don't really care), but I know it's what worked for me.

With newborn babies, you can't have their bodies submerged in water until their cord-stump falls off.  I didn't register for any plastic baby bathtubs because I didn't have the storage space for that.  So I registered for a mesh sling to use in the regular bathtub.  It was supported by wire sides that could recline in 3 positions to better suit baby's ability to support himself in the tub.  However, I couldn't use that until the cord stump fell off.  Again, my mother in law came to my aid.  She showed me a picture of my own husband as a baby getting a bath on the floor.  She had towels laid out, and a washcloth and a bowl of warm water and she just bathed him on the floor.  At the time I was pregnant, a company made what they called a baby bath sponge.  It was a big sponge that you could easily set a newborn baby on, and she bought that for me.  I put that on the bathroom counter (or you could easily put it on the floor), and I would wash my baby that way until his cord stump fell off, and I kept washing him on that sponge until I felt he was capable of reclining in the mesh sling in the tub.  I used this method for both of my boys, and I recently purchased a new sponge (I had gotten rid of the old one) for use with my daughter.

Once my oldest could sit up on his own (and probably several months past that!) we would put a laundry basket in the tub for him to sit in.  That kept a bit of a boundary around him and kept his toys within easy reach.  This was totally something I saw on Pinterest, I think.  Again, it worked for us. 

I'm excited to try all of these methods again with our little girl arriving soon!  Tomorrow marks 5 weeks from when we'll deliver, and that SOUNDS. SO. CLOSE!  Yeah, thinking about 5 more weeks of diet restriction, etc, is a bummer and that makes it seem like a long time, but it's really not that long!  Lots of things still have to happen before 5 weeks is up (like Michael starting kindergarten and me finishing out this summer school term before starting a brand-new set of classes!) but I know these weeks will fly by! 

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

33 Weeks & Nursery Reveal

We hit our 33 Weeks mark today!  The weeks following Week 30 seem to fly by and I'm all-the-more excited every day to meet our sweet baby.  So much still has to be done by the time Avery arrives, but knowing that we're finally getting to the point where some of those things are happening is exciting!

The following is a picture of me when 32 weeks pregnant with Noah:

These pictures are of me at Week 30 with Avery:

This picture is of me when I was 33 weeks pregnant with Michael:

And here's the Week 33 picture of Avery.  (ignore the make-up-less face!  It's been a long week!)

Avery's weight this week is about 4.25 pounds (about the size of a grown-up duck), and her height is anywhere between 16 and 17 inches (the length of a head of celery, a pineapple, or a ukulele). :)

Here's the "I-Spy" Quilt my Nana made for Avery!  It arrived in the mail on Monday and I LOVE it to pieces!

And......here's some more pictures of the nursery!  This is the first time I've ever had a designated "nursery."  This room was functioning as our guest room, but we moved the queen bed down to the shop in our backyard so that we'd have room for the crib, etc.  In our other house, Michael used the guest room as his room (his crib and the bed fit in the room-- not so in our new house).  Noah, poor guy, had a crib set up in our other spare room that I was using as our home office.  So, in our new house where we have an extra bedroom that serves as our home office, Michael & Noah share a room and we have a room left for Avery to have as her room!  Once she outgrows her crib, we'll move the queen bed back to the room and have her sleep in it.

Since my guest room has a "beach theme" I decided to keep that theme going and just add in some girly pieces here and there.  Michael's nursery/guest room was this theme as well except that house already had the room painted blue from the previous owners.  This room in our new house still has its original light taupe walls-- somewhat hard to tell in these pictures.

From the doorway looking in: (hanging over the front of the crib is a baby quilt I received at our baby shower in early June.  It was hand-made by a church member!)

A closer look at the rock-and-play to the left side of the crib.  Inside the rock-and-play is a baby afghan my Nana crocheted. 

A basket of goodies my coworkers gave to me!

Our swing and bouncy seat-- ready to make their way across the house as "stations" when we need them. 

The washboard that acts as a nightstand when the queen bed is in the room.  In the cabinet part of this I have sheets for all the beds in the house, and I'm still in process of moving these to another location.  The seashell lamp and the Auburn booties, and sound machine are on top.  I've never used a sound machine for a baby before, but it was a good deal at the consignment sale, so I decided to try it out. 

My current diaper hoard.  I LOVE getting diapers as gifts because they'll totally be used.  If I have an unopened package after she outgrows that size, I'll exchange it at Target for the next size up! You can also see the gift bag of books which were used as d├ęcor in the baby shower in June.  The boys like to come in here to pick out a book to read.  I make them keep her books in here because if the books were moved to their bookshelf, pages would go missing.

Here's a close-up of the art hanging above Avery's crib.  It says "A Little Mermaid Sleeps Here," so it's my touch of pink that keeps with the beach theme.

On the far side of the crib, I have baby towels and washcloths in a bin. In the center are the lovies she's received thus far.  In the bin towards the bottom of the picture, I put newborn and 0-3 month size sleep-gowns for easy access since this will be what she wears the most upon coming home from the hospital. 

Here are two pictures hanging by the door.  The picture on the left is of a view at our actual beach cottage that I printed a verse on top of.  The art on the right is a wall-hanging that my mom bought for me to remember that God is in control no matter what.  It resonates deeply with us because it reminds us of a song (I have this hope in the depths of my soul, through the floor or the fire, You're with me and You won't let go) that really helped us get through a family tragedy earlier this year. It still stings and we'll never fully get over it, but seeing this plaque reminds me that God holds all things.

Here's two other prints hanging on the left side of the dresser mirror, and on the dresser you can see a porcelain doll I picked out when I was about 10 years old.  She's been packed away for a while, but I got her out to add some more pink to the room and to celebrate the fact that someone is arriving who will like dolls! (hopefully)

This is a cropped view of the closet. The prior owner converted this room to a craft room and therefore, there's like a million shelves in this closet.  That was helpful when no one was actually living in this room, but I'm working at clearing off those shelves so I can add more hanging rods.  I hung up just a few things that really couldn't be folded well for the dresser drawers. 

Here's our 33 Week Stats:

How far along? 33 weeks

Total weight gain/loss: +17lbs  I've maintained my weight for the last five weeks since I’m on super-cautious low carb diet, and consistent exercise 4-5 days a week of alternating weight training and cardio.

Maternity clothes? Yes.  I haven’t really tried to wear any pre-pregnancy t-shirts in a while because I don’t want to stretch them out.  If I’m wearing any kind of pants that do not have an over-belly elastic, then I wear my Belly Band to offer support to my tummy.  My workout clothes are a combo of maternity & non-maternity tops and shorts.

Stretch marks?  Yes, but I do feel like I haven’t gotten any additional ones since I’ve started lotioning my belly post-showers.  Of course, I can only see what the mirror shows me, so I have no idea if I have additional stretch marks on the underside of my belly.

Sleep: Unfortunately, it’s getting worse.  Last night was HORRENDOUS.  My left leg calf muscle is super tight, so it either hurts or gets a Charlie Horse in the hours leading up to bedtime, then severely right at bedtime, and also during the night I can wake up from leg pain. My hips are also pretty sore throughout the night as I “rotisserie chicken” myself back and forth.  That first night in the hospital post-delivery when I can sleep on my back will be so great!  Each time I came home from the hospital with my other two pregnancies, I’d lie on my back and just breathe a sigh of relief because it was so comfortable! 

Best moment this week: Feeling Avery move a whole bunch.  She gets hiccups nearly every day and I think she’s head-down because of where I feel the hiccup bumps.  Also, my Nana sent Avery’s “I-Spy” Quilt this week and it’s ADORABLE.  She’s made one for each grandkid and this is the first time we’ve gotten to see what a girl “I Spy” quilt is like!  It’s so super cute and I now have it hanging on the side of the crib.  I plan to use this blanket for tummy time until Avery is old enough to really match the objects shown on the quilt squares.  It was such a fun day when Michael could match the objects on his quilt! 

Have you told family and friends: Absolutely.

Miss Anything? I still miss being able to snuggle my kids close and I miss picking up Noah. I wasn’t really able to pick up Michael prior to this pregnancy anyway because of how big he is, but I am sad that this pregnancy kind of removed my ability to pick up Noah.  He’s still a little guy and a definite “threenager” and needs hugs sometimes to get him out of his moods.  I look forward to picking him up once I get the doctor’s clearance after the post-partum recovery weeks.

Movement:  She’s still active, and I know that this will lessen a bit as the weeks progress because she’s running out of space.  On Sunday, though, I thought she might be transverse because the jabs or kicks on my right side were SO INTENSE that they made me tear up…. in church.  I’d grab Aaron’s hand or his leg and stiffen my back.  Fortunately, I haven’t felt such hard movements again since that day.

Food cravings: Peanut butter milkshake.  Also, Oreos and a glass of cold milk.

Anything making you queasy or sick: Certain smells still get me periodically.  We made a pasta side dish to go with a meal last week and the smell of the pasta was really working a number on me.   

Have you started to show yet: Yes.  I think I’ve surpassed my prior pregnancy carrying size for this far-along.  I took occasional bump pictures throughout both prior pregnancies, and I compare how I looked then with how I look now and I do think my belly is bigger this time around.  I’m carrying pretty differently though, so maybe I’m not as big as I think?  

Gender: GIRL! 

Labor Signs: Not yet. I think I’ve had some Braxton Hicks contractions—which I didn’t feel or didn’t have at all with Michael or Noah. 

Belly Button in or out? Out out out.

Wedding rings on or off? Off. :(  Still so super sad about this.  

Happy or Moody most of the time: Pretty happy since we’re on a countdown to meeting this sweet girl!  I’m also pretty moody or overwhelmed at times when I think of the school work that I have to do this month!!!  I’m also moody when all of my “roles” start coming to the forefront of my mind and I’m trying to balance them, while preparing for Michael to go to school, and nesting at the same time!  Hello, tears and a racing mind!

Looking forward to: My OB appointment tomorrow.  I’m now on weekly visits.  This shouldn’t have happened until Week 36, but for patients who are on oral meds for diabetes, weekly visits start at Week 32.  Tomorrow, I will have an Non-stress test (NST) where I will sit in a recliner and have fetal heart monitor and contraction monitor on my belly, and every time I feel Avery kick, I will press a button on a remote.  The monitors will create a paper print-out of her heartrate, and the remote will input a dot onto the paper with whenever I felt her kick.  The doctor will then be able to look at the paper and see if her heartrate corresponds with her movements, etc.  With Noah, I had only two NSTs (at Week 36 and Week 38 I think), but since I’m taking medication for the gestational diabetes this time around, I’ll have weekly NSTs.  After my NST tomorrow, I’ll have an ultrasound.  This will determine Avery’s measurements. It’ll also allow the doctors to measure the amniotic fluid level and Avery’s position in the womb.  I’ll have another ultrasound three weeks after this one.  After the ultrasound, I’ll meet with the doctor to go over all of the results.  These tests tomorrow might help us solidify a plan for delivery—whether we think we’ll have to go early or if we can hold out to week 39.  We’re looking at Week 39 to deliver just because sometimes it’s better for babies of Gestational Diabetic moms to go ahead and come out so that they can start regulating their own blood sugar.  Michael was born at 39 Weeks 5 days, and Noah was born at 39 Weeks 2 days because of gestational diabetes.  This time I’ve already put in my request for a 39 Week delivery and the doctor said it’s perfectly reasonable.  That means, we’re 6 weeks away from Delivery!

Until Next Time,

Much Love, Reba

Monday, July 10, 2017

Low Carb Meals & Snacks

Since I was diagnosed officially with Gestational Diabetes a little over a month ago, I've started taking pictures of some of my meals and snacks.  

Part of the reasoning behind this was to catalog things I've found that work well for blood sugar maintenance so that I could reference it again either within the next 6 weeks or the next "however long" since we really can't escape the need to sometimes be low carb in our house now that Type One is a full-time resident.

The other part of the reasoning behind the photos was to show myself that I really can find enough, as well as a variety, of things to eat that are low carb.  Although I'm planning to treat myself for a couple days after Avery arrives, I have noticed that my weight has been maintained for the last 5 weeks (nearly 6 weeks now), and this is due to exercise and eating right.  I know that to lose the baby weight, I'm going to have to get serious-- especially since I spent most of 2016 adding weight to myself that was induced by a medication.  I didn't have time to lose more than 5 pounds of the additional 20 before I got pregnant.  It's my goal to get down to my real pre-pregnancy weight-- or we can even call it my 2015 weight-- which is not quite as low as what I weighed prior to getting pregnant with either of my first two, but it was a good weight and I could wear all my clothing comfortably.

Anyway, enough about weight!  Let's talk food!

First up is breakfast.  This was the category I took the most pictures in, probably because it's the toughest one for me to really think about creatively.  I'm a sweets person-- I love pancakes, french toast, cereal, etc.  Those things are pretty much off limits for a low carb breakfast.  So, I took lots of reminder photos to show what I really could have.

(Notes: all of the coffee pictured is decaf.  My "Mom" cup is always filled with ice water unless it has Crystal Light in it).

Pineapples with a fried egg and bacon.  The carb here is pineapple.  Unbeknownst to many people, eggs and bacon are carb-free foods and serve as the protein sources here.

Special K Protein Cereal (brown sugar cinnamon flavored) with Fairlife milk (high protein-low carb milk).  Now, although this type of cereal is "low carb" (ie, under 30g of carbs per serving for breakfast), it is a processed food and therefore, my blood sugar does not act kindly towards it.  I found that I needed to eat food in as close to its natural state as possible, so I've put cereal aside for the remainder of this pregnancy.

Fried egg, bacon, and two pieces of Reduced Calorie Toast.  Our Publix stores sell their own brand of this bread, but Sara Lee makes a version called "45 Calories and Delightful" which might be more readily available in other locations.  Two slices of this bread are only 18g of carbs-- total.  So it's well under the 30g carb limit guideline for breakfast food.  And since it's wheat bread, it takes the body longer to process it-- therefore, reducing the blood sugar spike after eating.

This is probably a Saturday morning breakfast.  Aaron typically makes breakfast for us on the weekdays and weekends, and I make our lunches.  The mornings where I had cereal, or the photos to come where I may only have a scrambled egg or peanut butter on my toast are days when I had to fend for myself.

And again:

Kashi cinnamon waffle with peanut butter spread on top.  Two Kashi waffles (which are whole grain) are only 26g of carb total, but again, since it's technically processed, my blood sugar doesn't do so well with this meal.  I ate this on a day when I was out of eggs and bread.

Reduced Sugar Oatmeal.  This is the Apple Cinnamon kind, and the Maple Brown Sugar is also very good.  We used to buy this all the time when Michael was first diagnosed with Type One and had eaten oatmeal for breakfast everyday prior to diagnosis.  Same ol' story for me-- since this is single serving bags, it is technically processed and my blood sugar doesn't really behave after eating it.  I've even tried eating legit real oatmeal, but my blood sugar still acts a fool.  So, oatmeal is also something I no longer bother to eat while pregnant.

Omelet and a peach.  The carbs here come from the peach.  And again, this is probably a Saturday morning breakfast because on the weekdays, we have no time for omelets. :)

This was a recent day when Aaron had to be out the door super early for work and I had to fend for myself.  Instead of having two pieces of toast, with little protein, I opted for one piece of toast spread with peanut butter, and one cup of Fairlife chocolate milk.  Whatever the manufacturers of Fairlife do to make their milk have a fantastic protein-to-carb ratio, I wish they'd disseminate across the board to all other milk factories.

We've reached the lunch category.  Now, I did not take nearly enough pictures of lunch options.  In fact, I think the lunches shown have the same side dish from a prior evening's dinner.  Most days for lunch, I'm taking leftovers of what we've eaten the night before, or I'm taking a turkey sandwich (made with the reduced calorie bread) and a side salad.

Lean Cuisine Garlic Chicken Spring Rolls, and leftover yellow summer squash.

Leftover baked chicken and squash.  On this day, I probably had a piece of fruit to act as the carbs with lunch since baked chicken and squash are nearly too low-carb in and of themselves for pregnancy.  The baby needs carbs for energy, and I have a minimum amount of carbs that I need to eat at each meal in order to make sure Avery gets the carbs she needs to grow.

Snack time!
Once I was diagnosed this time around, my mom brought over a snack-tray filled with low-carb foods.  I enjoyed picking snacks off of this tray for a few days.  (Please ignore the marshmallow on the counter.  One of my boys was setting it there for a second snack). :)

Each day, I'd choose a couple of things off of this tray.  Below is showing a completely no-carb snack.  This could be paired with a cup of milk to add in some carbs.

This is one of my favorite snacks.  Apple slices with peanut butter, and a cheese stick on the side.

This picture is not good quality, but it's carrots and hummus.  Carrots are very low carb and measured out hummus is a good carb to add in.

On evenings when my blood sugar is not cooperating, I sometimes do go the "no carb" route.  Some pepperoni slices and a string cheese are a no-carb combo.

Air popped popcorn is a great snack!  Three cups equals about 15g of carb, which is a good amount for a snack.  I obviously don't eat the whole bowl-full, but three cups is definitely a pretty big portion and can fill me up quickly.

Skinny Pop Kettle Corn.  This stuff is so good!!!  Now, the serving size is around two cups, but I forgot to take a picture until my bag was over half-empty.  The sweet/salty combination is a definite favorite.

This is what I call a "fake shake."  One cup of Fairlife chocolate milk, and a sprinkling of peanut butter powder combined in a Blender Bottle and frozen for just about ten minutes.  The milk gets frothy and a bit thicker in the freezer, and I can trick myself into thinking it's as good as a peanut butter milkshake!

If I'm tired of ice water, I will squirt some Crystal Light flavoring into my cup.  My boys like this too and like to pretend they're making and selling different kinds of juice.

One of the best things I've found to bring up a low blood sugar in Michael and in myself are Smarties. My car is now stocked with these just in case I ever feel a low coming on while driving.

I hope I've covered enough ground here to satisfy myself in a few months when I'm back on the "eating right" train after Avery arrives. :)

Until Next Time,
Much Love, Reba

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Summertime Memories

Our family has a beach cottage in the panhandle of Florida. This is owned by my Nana (who I’m named after), and we have spent years and years enjoying time on the sugary sand beaches of North Florida.  My Nana’s family bought this cottage when she was a girl!  It’s the most perfect vacation spot ever!  Quiet and serene—but within driving distance of restaurants, grocery stores, shopping stores (not chain stores, but rather quaint “downtown” kind of stores that are perfect for meandering in & out of in the summertime). 


I took my best friends here for Spring break in 2008.  In 2009, my older brother and his wife honeymooned here, and in the fall of that year, Aaron & I honeymooned there as well.  I learned to walk there since I didn’t like the feeling of sand on my knees as I crawled.  Lots of precious memories happened in this cottage.  Our fair share of family reunions, and quiet single family gatherings as well.  Little has changed in the cottage overall throughout the years.  There’s still no TV set, no air conditioning, but it’s quite perfect that way.  To wake up to the sound of waves lapping the shore, to go to sleep listening to tree frogs on the pine trees outside… just glorious. 


We took the boys here twice last summer. This summer we’re not able to get down there for obvious reasons (hello, 31 week pregnant belly).  We’re highly looking forward to traveling that way next Memorial Day for another (even bigger!) family reunion.  It will have been ten years since we had a family reunion and lots has changed.  I’m hoping we’ll be able to sneak back down to “The Beach” (as we call it) over Labor Day next year, just as a family of five.  There’s something about the beach that just refreshes our souls and makes us remember things are going to be okay. 


A few times when travelling that way as a child, my parents would stop at my mom’s great uncle’s house.  He had a big pond, and we’d fish for catfish there.  If we caught one, my older brother and I would fight over who got to name their fish “Old General” (Touched by an Angel reference).  We’d then come inside my great-great-uncle’s house and he’d fix us bowls of vanilla ice cream with Hershey’s syrup poured on top.  I thought this was the BEST THING EVER!  My brothers and I would stir our ice cream and syrup together and call our creations “chocolate soup” or “Chocolate Alaska.”  We’d then either continue our journey home or to the beach.  Once my great-great-uncle passed away, his daughter and her husband renovated most of the house (leaving some original areas), and it’s absolutely beautiful.  The land surrounding the house is such the epitome of “country life.”  Large grassy pastures, old barns from the dairy farm, ponds, etc.  Just perfect. 


These things when I think about them, just create so many wonderful summertime memories.  I’m hoping to give my own children opportunities to make memories like this while they are growing up.  As I watch my children progress in age, and realizing that my oldest two are very much no longer babies, I am constantly thinking of ways I can cherish more moments with them!  Beach trips with vanilla ice cream might just be the ticket.

Until Next Time,
Much love, Reba