November 11, 2014

Benjamin's Birth Story

Throughout my entire pregnancy, I was always so curious about how I would know I was in labor. Would the contractions slowly come on? Would my Braxton Hicks turn into real contractions? Would I know the difference between fake contractions and real contractions? Would my water break in a slow trickle? Or a large gush? If my water broke, where would I be? Would I be at work? Maybe the grocery store? Would it happen at home? Would it ruin my mattress? Now I know you are probably thinking, this chick is crazy! But, it was the unknown that I was so nervous (and excited about). You see, a woman spends nine whole months waiting for that moment. That moment when she goes into labor and knows there is only a matter of hours before she gets to meet that sweet little baby she has been growing for nine months.

In the weeks leading up to my due date, I started researching how to induce labor naturally.

**Now, before you judge me and get angry that I was trying to have my baby before he was done fully cooking, I did talk to my doctor about all of these things first. My doctor did tell me that no matter what, nothing can induce a baby to come early if they are simply not ready. I wanted a healthy baby more than anything else.**

At 36 weeks, we were told he may be a bigger baby and was already measuring 6 pounds 7 ounces. The doctor said a baby usually gains about a half a pound a week. So, at 40 weeks, our little boy was estimated to be 8 and a half or even 9 pounds. At this time, I was already 1 centimeters dilated and 60% effaced. My doctor said she would strip my membranes at my 37 week appointment. If the stripping of the membranes worked, I knew I could go into labor within 72 hours of doing so. Throughout the week, I drank red raspberry leaf tea (which is supposed to make your uterus contract), I took evening primrose oil (1 capsule in the morning, 1 at night and then I also inserted one inside of me before bed). The evening primrose oil is supposed to soften your cervix and inserting one at night is supposed to reduce the risk of tearing. I went walking every single day during my lunch break and each night with my husband. I also bounced on my exercise ball each night.

I didn't want to get too excited, but I was really excited about the thought of having my baby so soon. When I went to my 37 week appointment, I made sure the car seat was installed and we had our bags packed, just in case. To my disappointment, I had made no progress since my 36 week appointment and my doctor said we should wait until my 38 week appointment to strip my membranes. I left the appointment feeling disappointed and with tremendous guilt. I was disappointed that I probably wasn't going to have my son that week and I felt so guilty for feeling disappointed. Like I said before, my son's health is and always will be far more important than anything else. I felt so guilty for wishing he would be here sooner than he was ready.

The following week, I went back for my 38 week appointment. I was about 1 and a half centimeters dilated and 70% effaced. My doctor decided to do a partial stripping of the membranes since I hadn't made a ton of progress since my last appointment. At this point, I was pretty convinced I would be going all the way to my due date, if not later.

Week 38 of my pregnancy also happened to be my last week at work before maternity leave. I had saved up all of my vacation at work to use for my maternity leave. What I didn't realize is I had saved up about a week too much. If I didn't take off the week before my due date, I would lose a week of vacation at the end of the year since it does not roll over to the next year. I figured I would use this week to prepare for the baby and simply just rest and relax.

Photo Credit: Ashley Mae Scott Photography

So, Friday, October 3rd rolled around. It was my last day at work before my maternity leave started. I had spent the prior few weeks writing instructions and making sure all of my work was covered for the few months I would be off. So by the time Friday rolled around, I didn't have a whole lot left to wrap up. I was planning on working the entire day, until 5 pm. Once 2 pm rolled around, I found myself with nothing left to do and my boss's boss came over and gave me the go ahead to take off early. I left the office around 2:30 pm which just so happens to be the same time my husband is off work. I gave him a call and we talked about how both of our days were and talked a little bit about the baby. Tom's Dad does some traveling for work and we both talked about how we hope he is in town when I go into labor.

I live about ten minutes away from my work, so I got home fairly quickly. I pulled into the garage, shut the garage and turned off my car. Just as I opened my door and stepped out of my car, I felt a huge gush. I was 100% sure I did not wet my pants and my first reaction was to drop my pants, right there in the garage (thankfully I shut the garage door! Lol). My husband was still on the phone with me and I just screamed that I think my water broke! The water was clear and as I stood there in the garage, I realized my pants were soaked and the liquid continued to leak. I ran upstairs to the bathroom as fast as I could, with my pants around my ankles still. As I sat on the toilet, the liquid continued to stream out, like I was going to the bathroom.

I was in complete shock and I was shaking. I told my husband that it was time and I was going to call my family and get my bags together. I called my Mom twice, got no answer. I knew she was on her way to a town two hours away with her boyfriend so I started to panic. Thankfully, I remembered I had her boyfriend's number saved into my phone. To my relief, he answered and they turned right around and headed to the hospital. I then called my Dad and told him the news. Lastly, I gave my doctor's office a call. They wanted me to come into the office before heading over to the hospital to check to be sure that it was my water that broke. Once my husband arrived home, we both ran around like chickens with our heads cut off. We were both so surprised we were just running around the apartment frantically trying to gather what we needed. Our bags were packed and we had a list of things we needed to still pack like phone chargers, toothbrushes, etc.

We quickly grabbed my bag, my husbands backpack and the diaper bag and hopped in the car. I quickly remembered I hadn't ate lunch yet and I knew from our baby classes that they won't let you eat once you are in labor. I grabbed a container of peanut butter and spoon and hopped in the car. Once we hit the road, my contractions started. During our birthing class, they made us hold a baggie of ice for a minute and told us that it was similar to contractions. Um?! NO! Contractions are NOTHING like holding a baggie of ice for a minute.

Within the 20 minute drive to the hospital, my contractions were lasting a minute and were about two to three minutes apart. I ran into my doctors office and I felt like people were moving in slow motion. They made me wait to be seen and then once I got into a room, I had to wait for the doctor. I understand people can't completely cater to me when they have other patients, but, goodness, waiting with contractions was difficult. Once the nurse practitioner came in, she just wanted to chit chat. I will be honest, I am all for chit chatting about how our days are going, but not when I am contracting every two minutes.

She laid me back and did a quick exam. Her response was, "Wow, there is a lot of liquid down here!". My response? "UM, YEAH!!!". My husband and her both laughed at me, I clearly didn't think it was very funny. She then called the hospital and made sure they had a room ready for me. I thought they would have wheeled me over to the hospital or something, but they made me walk. Once we walked across the street to the hospital, we had to wait a couple minutes for a nurse to come out and walk us back to the room. Once again, it felt like people were moving in slow motion. I had a very painful contraction as we waited to be walked back.

Once the nurse came out, she called my name and walked us back to our room. She was trying to walk slow because she knew I was in pain. Personally, I wanted to sprint to the room so I could curl up in a ball during my contractions. Clearly, I am not a very patient pregnant lady.

We got back into the room, by this time, it was about 3:45 or 4:00 pm. She gave me a gown to change into. Before I could do anything, I needed to go number 2 (TMI, sorry!). To me, the contractions felt similar to menstrual cramps and the cramps you get when you have diarrhea, but ten times worse. Once I went to the bathroom, I changed in my gown and sat on the bed. There were a lot of people in and out of the room, hooking me up to IVs and different machines to monitor the baby and my contractions.

By this time, I want to say it was about 5:00 pm.  I was dripping in sweat and felt like I was going to throw up. I felt so exhausted after each contraction. I was only two centimeters dilated still, but they offered me an epidural. I will be honest, I thought I was going to be a champ when it came to labor, but I was a huge wimp. I took the epidural the second they offered it. A resident came in to administer the epidural and it took him a lot longer than I thought. The initial poke wasn't the painful part. The painful part came when he was moving it around to get it in the right spot. I could feel a lot of pain on the left side of my back.

Once the epidural kicked in, I was in heaven. I was surprised I could still feel contractions and my legs, but my pain went from a ten to a two. My Mom, Sister and my Mother in law came in to hang out. We talked, we laughed and I almost forgot I was in labor. My energy came back, I didn't feel nauseous and I stopped sweating. I felt really good.

The nurse came back in around 7 pm to check me. My contractions had slowed from two to three minutes to about five to six minutes apart. I was also only dilated to about 4 centimeters. The nurse said that most people dilate about a centimeter an hour. We figured we wouldn't have a baby until midnight, or later. The nurse suggested a little bit of pitocin to get my contractions to speed up.

Once 8:20 pm rolled around, the nurse came back in to check me and was shocked to see that I was dilated to 10 centimeters. We know what that means!!! Time to push soon!

I had always imagined pushing to be like the movies, where you have a ton of nurses in the room and the doctor all suited up to catch the baby. It was nothing like that. I started pushing at 8:40 pm. It was just my nurse, my husband, my mom and mother in law in the room. Once I felt a contraction, I grabbed both of my legs and pushed three times. I held each push for as long as I could, took a breath and then pushed again. Once I pushed three times, I waited until the next contraction rolled around. After just a couple pushes, the nurse was able to see the baby's head. Every one in the room told me how much hair our little boy had!

Not sure what time it was, but once the baby's head was really showing, the nurse called the doctor in. With each push, the baby's head came out a little further. During this whole time, all the doctor could talk about was how much hair the baby had. At one point (this is kind of gross lol), she even gave him a little Mohawk between pushes. By this time, she said the baby would be here in about 5 more contractions. I was so determined to meet our little guy that by the second contraction, he was here!

The doctor immediately put our little boy, Benjamin, on my chest. I cried and I cried. He was the most beautiful, most perfect, most amazing little baby I had ever seen. Best of all, he was ours. Ben was screaming and I just couldn't take my eyes off of him. I counted his fingers and toes and examined him from head to feet.

He was perfect.

Just as I spent nine months wondering how I would go into labor, I also spent those nine months wondering what our son would look like. He was more handsome and more perfect than I ever could have imagined. I loved Ben from the second the pregnancy test said "Pregnant", but the amount of love I felt for him the moment I saw him was truly indescribable.

For the hour after he was born, I held him. That is all I did. I was so mesmerized by him that I didn't even see my husband cut the umbilical cord or notice that the doctor had delivered my placenta. I just couldn't take my eyes of my beautiful son. I was surprised to hear later on that I had no tearing what so ever. What a relief!

Once that hour was over, the nurse came in to weigh him, measure him, help bathe him and swaddle him up for us.

Benjamin Gregory Dukes was born on October 3, 2014 at 9:58 pm. He was 6 pounds 13 ounces and 19 inches long.

Ashley Mae Scott Photography
My sweet boy is now almost six weeks old and there are no words to even begin to describe how much I love him. Throughout my pregnancy, everyone told me that little boys love their mamas. I am happy to say, my little boy is no different. When he cries, my husband will try to soothe him with no luck and the second I pick him up, he instantly is calmed. We have this special bond and I could just sit with him all day and stare at him. He is perfect and I have never been so in love in my entire life.

Being a Mom is the best thing. Ever.


Ashley Mae Scott Photography: Website

September 25, 2014

Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce

This picture really does not do this meal justice. I adapted this recipe from Skinny Mom. My husband and I were shocked at how amazing this meal was. So simple to prep too! All of these ingredients are things that we usually have on hand, so that makes this meal a keeper for us! We eat grilled chicken almost every night of the week and sometimes struggle with how to spice it up and make it taste more rich, rather than like bland chicken. This recipe did the trick for us! Love that the sauce is made with fat free greek yogurt! We prepped this entire meal and stuck two of the chicken breasts in the skillet, and saved the other two in a plastic bag for the next night. Two dinners prepped in less than 10 minutes! This meal is gluten free, high in protein thanks to the chicken and greek yogurt, low carb and contains healthy fats!


  • 4 thin sliced chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ½ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1 avocado
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • ½ tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • Optional: I wanted mine a bit sweeter, so I added a 1 packet of stevia
  • I added about two tbsps of water to this to make it thinner.
  1. Combine paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, onion powder, sea salt and black pepper in a small bowl.
  2. Coat chicken breasts in seasoning.
  3. Spray a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, cook chicken for 7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. 
  4. Meanwhile, mix all sauce ingredients in a blender until fully blended.
  5. Once the chicken is fully cooked, top with the avocado cream sauce and enjoy!

September 19, 2014

36 Weeks

How far along are you?  I am 36 weeks and 3 days pregnant today! 25 days left until our due date!

Gender: It's a BOY

How big is the baby? About 19.5 inches long and he is estimated to be 6 pounds and 7 ounces right now. Going to be gaining a half a pound a week from here on out! Doctor estimated him to be about 8-8.5 pounds at birth. From the ultrasound this last week, we could see is is a skinny little string bean with LONG legs in the 94th percentile! He also has some pretty chubby cheeks!

More about this week from Baby Center:

"Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. She now weighs almost 6 pounds and is more than 18 1/2 inches long (about the size of a head of romaine lettuce). She's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered her body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected her skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement.

At the end of this week, your baby will be considered "early term." (Full-term is 39 to 40 weeks. Babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term, 41 weeks is late term, and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely your baby is already head-down. But if not, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an external cephalic version (ECV). That's a fancy way of saying that your practitioner will apply pressure to your abdomen to try to manipulate your baby into a head-down position."

Total Weight Gain: I am sitting at about 17 lbs right now. Pretty happy with my weight (goodness, never thought I would hear myself say that!). Knowing I have three weeks left, I feel good that I will probably only hit the 20 pound mark, which was my goal in the beginning of my pregnancy! I am SO incredibly confident in my ability to lose the weight and get in even better shape than before, so I am feeling more at ease about my weight gain.

How I’m feeling: My body is pretty achy these days, but nothing compared to how I feel emotionally. At my appointment this week, the doctor told me I was measuring smaller than I was two weeks ago. This could be due to many things: baby dropped, low fluid, leaking amniotic fluid, etc. I went back for an ultrasound this week and was told that if I was leaking or if my fluids were too low, that I needed to be prepared to be induced that day. So, mentally, I went in prepared to come home with a baby. As happy as I am to report baby is completely healthy and my fluids aren't low, I would be lying if I said I wasn't slightly bummed. From day one, I have said I want a healthy baby (that is most important) and if I had things my way, I really want to go into labor on my own and have a regular delivery. Meaning, I don't want to be induced and I don't want a c-section. So, as bummed as I am that I have to wait a couple more weeks to meet my son, I am really glad that he is healthy and my delivery preferences are still on track. 

I just can't wait for the moment I get to meet my son and to see what he looks like. I feel like I have been waiting for the moment my entire life and it is SO close, yet seems so far away too. During the first trimester, I found myself super emotional, crying at literally everything. Happy, sad, exciting, name it, I cried. Emotions kind of dried up in the second and for most of the third trimester. But, now they are back. I get so emotional every day before work. My bathroom is right across the hall from his bedroom and each morning as I get ready, I peek in there and it gets me every time. For a while it was just a spare room where we kept our junk that we were too lazy to unpack. But now, its HIS room. His name is above the crib in wooden letters accompanied by the words "Dream Big, Little One", my husband's old baseball cards are on his shelves, his clothes are neatly folded in his dresser, his bedtime books are neatly organized and his little lamb stuffed animal is on his changing table. I don't know why, but it is SO emotional for me. I find myself in the mornings just standing over his crib thinking that in just a few short weeks, he will finally be here. I really can't wait. 

Maternity clothes: I have about a handful of items that fit me right now. I may have to start wearing things from my husbands side of the closet if my belly grows much more. 

Favorite workouts: Lots of walks. I am trying my best to walk on my lunch break when I can and also after work. I am still weight lifting with my husband occasionally too. I can tell my ligaments in my hips/groin area loosening up for baby. When I walk for long periods of time, it feels like something is about to dislocate or pull. I also get a LOT of contractions while working out, so I feel like I really need to be careful.

Stretch Marks: My tummy has a lot of veins, but, knock on wood, I don't think I haven any stretch marks yet. I have a lot of old ones from when I gained weight years ago, so it would not surprise me if I get new ones as I get bigger. 

Cravings: I feel like I could eat for a family of five lately. Pretty sad when I can out eat my husband at EVERY meal. When we used to cook, I used to give him the bigger piece of chicken, the bigger potato, etc. Now, its the opposite. So many cravings too. I have lots of cravings for fried food (EWW) and sugar!

Sleep:  I have been sleeping like a baby this week and I am loving every minute! I have been having some SUPER weird dreams though.
Best moment this weekWe got to see our little guy on the ultrasound this week. We haven't had an ultrasound since our 20 week appointment, so we loved seeing him again! I was happy to find out I am already starting to dilate and am 60% effaced too! He has dropped and is head down, perfect position for labor and delivery!

Movement: His movements are getting smaller since he is running out of room. He likes to stick his foot out of my right side! He has a lot of hiccups these days too! He is most active in the mornings when I am eating breakfast! Likes to sleep during the day!
Food aversions: I don't have too many food aversions lately. 
Belly button in or outIn still, but getting smaller by the day! Wouldn't surprise me if it disappeared soon!
What I Miss: I miss sleeping throughout the night without having to take 5+ bathroom breaks. I am up about once an hour each night to go to the bathroom.

What I’m looking forward to: I literally cannot wait to go into labor. If I knew how to start labor, I would. I am pretty convinced it won't happen for a few more weeks, but I really can't wait. 

Baby Buys: I am done buying for baby! We are as prepared as we are going to be!


September 12, 2014

34 & 35 Weeks

How far along are you?  I am 35 weeks and 3 days pregnant today! 32 days left until our due date!

Gender: It's a BOY!
Can I just say that I LOVE when I tell people that I am having a boy that their first response is ALWAYS..."Aww, little boys sure looooooooove their mamas!". It is like music to my ears! Clearly I am hormonal because just typing that makes me tear up! LOL. 

How big is the baby? A little over 18 inches long and about 5.25 lbs, which is the size of a honeydew melon!

More about this week from Baby Center:

"Your baby doesn't have much room to maneuver now that he's over 18 inches long and tips the scales at 5 1/4 pounds (about the size of a honeydew melon). Because it's so snug in your womb, he isn't likely to be doing somersaults anymore, but the number of times he kicks should remain about the same. His kidneys are fully developed now, and his liver can process some waste products. Most of his basic physical development is now complete — he'll spend the next few weeks putting on weight."

Total Weight Gain: I am sitting at about 17 lbs right now. I have been SO stressed about my weight gain throughout this entire pregnancy and now that I am nearing the end, I have kind of come to terms with it, especially knowing I will be back to losing weight in about a month!

How I’m feeling: My body is a HURTIN'! But I am reminding myself that all of these aches and pains are WORTH it! I am having a lot more contractions lately and a lot more pains throughout my pelvis and legs. My body aches though, are nothing in comparison to how I have been feeling mentally and emotionally. My emotions are all over the place and some of them make me feel quite guilty. Being uncomfortable all the time makes me sometimes wish I wasn't pregnant anymore. Even typing that makes me feel flooded with guilt. I am only 35 weeks, I should not be wishing my little guy was here because he isn't fully developed yet. I find myself googling how to induce labor naturally, etc. WHY?! Selfish me wants to have my body back and wants to not be in pain anymore, but the mommy inside of me feels so incredible awful for even thinking about wanting him here sooner than he is ready. As anxious as I am to meet him and to get my body back, I really want my little guy to be healthy. I feel awful for wishing he was here sooner than his due date. Also, starting to really stress about postpartum. I have read so much about the mood swings, baby blues, bleeding, tearing, stitches, swelling, going to the bathroom postpartum, sweating, exhaustion, etc. That all sounds scarier than the entire nine months of pregnancy! My husband will be able to stay home for a week or two, but then I am on my own for the rest of my maternity leave. How will I care for myself and this tiny infant? I need to keep reminding myself that my sweet little boy will be here in HIS OWN time, when HE is ready. I can wish him here all I want, but I want him to be fully baked and healthy as can be. That being said, I really cannot wait to meet the little guy I have been carrying for the last 9+ months.
35 Weeks

Maternity clothes: I have about a handful of items that fit me right now. I may have to start wearing things from my husbands side of the closet if my belly grows much more. 

Favorite workouts: Lots of walks. I am trying my best to walk on my lunch break when I can and also after work. I am still weight lifting with my husband occasionally too. I can tell my ligaments in my hips/groin area loosening up for baby. When I walk for long periods of time, it feels like something is about to dislocate or pull. I also get a LOT of contractions while working out, so I feel like I really need to be careful.

Stretch Marks: My tummy has a lot of veins, but, knock on wood, I don't think I haven any stretch marks yet. I have a lot of old ones from when I gained weight years ago, so it would not surprise me if I get new ones as I get bigger. 

Cravings: Oh, cravings. I was hoping I would be one of those lucky pregnant women who craves fruits and veggies. But no, I am one of those pregnant ladies who craves disgusting unhealthy foods. Chips, french fries, chicken nuggets, candy, cheese, salt, etc. I literally have to FORCE myself to eat healthy these days. Its a real struggle. I want to be healthy for my little guy and I wouldn't want him eating that kind of junk, so that helps me stay motivated to eat healthy.

Sleep:  What sleep? I wake up about every hour or two to use the bathroom at night. Lately, ALL of my dreams are about babies. Whether its preparing for labor, taking care of a baby, getting ready for baby to be here, etc. Clearly, I am ready for this baby!
Best moment this weekI finally decided when would be my last day of work before my maternity leave. October 3rd. I wasn't planning on taking any time off before I go into labor (I am not due until the 14th), but I have saved up all my vacation for the year and found out it will go to waste if I don't take off some time before my due date. I think this is a blessing in disguise. I have been so stressed about all the things I want to do before I go into labor and this will hopefully give me a little time to get those things done (unless he decides to arrive early). I have never taken days off work unless I actually have something to do, so I am kind of looking forward to that down time before our lives change forever. Knowing I have three weeks of work left kind of makes things feel more real! Very exciting for me!

Movement: His movements are changing, that is for sure. You can tell he is running out of room because his movements used to feel like kicks and punches and now it just feels like slow moving lava. There are not too many distinct movements anymore, more like slow movements that move my entire belly!
Food aversions: I don't have too many food aversions lately. 
Belly button in or outIn still, but getting smaller by the day! Wouldn't surprise me if it disappeared soon!
35 Weeks
What I Miss: I miss being able to breathe. I find that I have to watch tv while leaning forward on an exercise ball. He is pressing on my lungs and I almost have to hang my belly while on the ball to relieve some pressure so I can breathe. I constantly feel out of breath!

What I’m looking forward to: We are taking another baby class next weekend. This class is all about how to take care of baby (diaper changing, bathing, etc). Looking forward to this one because, let's be honest, I don't know a lot about babies! Also, I am really looking forward to the day I go into labor. I don't know why, but I feel so ready and I am really looking forward to labor beginning, even though I know it will be painful!

Baby Buys: I think it is safe to say I am all done in this department! Last weekend, my mom and I went to Babies R Us and did a last run through for the things I needed. We bought a crib mattress protector, baby bath, hangers, a couple outfits, a baby memory book, home safety things, receiving blankets and more sheets. There are still a few things we will need down the road, but I think they can wait until he is a couple months old!


August 26, 2014

33 Weeks

How far along are you?  I am 33 weeks pregnant today! 49 days left until our due date!

Gender: It's a BOY!

How big is the baby? A little over 17 inches long and about 4.5 lbs, which is the size of a pineapple!

More about this week from Baby Center:

This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds and has passed the 17-inch mark (about the size of a pineapple). He's rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and his skeleton is hardening. The bones in his skull aren't fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don't entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as his brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood."

Total Weight Gain: I am sitting about 15 lbs right now. My weight fluctuates quite a bit though. My doctor was pleased at my last appointment and even gave me a high five for my weight gain! Really trying to keep my weight gain under 23 lbs total, which is about one pound a week until my due date.

How I’m feeling: This last week has been ok! My body definitely aches all over and its hard to ever get comfortable. I am getting more frequent heartburn lately. I thought it had to do with eating certain foods, but it seems like the heartburn wants to stay no matter what I try! Its starting to hit me how close we are. I remember when October seemed so far away. Now it feels right around the corner. I am full term in three weeks and that is just insane to me! Last weekend was really productive, so I am feeling less anxious knowing that we have almost everything we need for Baby B's arrival!

Maternity clothes: I love being at home lately so I can just wear my pajamas, so much more comfortable! I am on a mission to NOT buy any more maternity clothes. If I am going to spend money on clothes, I want them to be new clothes for my post-baby body. I have a feeling I won't be feeling too great about my body and I would rather save money to buy some fun new clothes to help me feel good!

Favorite workouts: Lots of walks. I am trying my best to walk on my lunch break when I can and also after work. I am still weight lifting with my husband occasionally too. I can tell my ligaments in my hips/groin area loosening up for baby. When I walk for long periods of time, it feels like something is about to dislocate or pull. 

Stretch Marks: My tummy has a lot of veins, but, knock on wood, I don't think I haven any stretch marks yet. I have a lot of old ones from when I gained weight years ago, so it would not surprise me if I get new ones as I get bigger. 

Cravings: Yesterday I sent my husband a text that read "I want muddy buddies...with fries...with pad thai....and gummy worms...with a side of chocolate...topped off with pizza.". Oh the cravings. They are no joke. I thought the cravings I had while dieting were bad, pregnancy cravings are a thousand times worse! Thankfully, I have had the willpower to say NO to 99% of my cravings and continue to eat healthy, but wow, it is tough work! I do allow myself a skinny cow ice cream bar in the evenings. Knowing I can have that at night helps me turn down the rest of my cravings. Based on the text above, thank goodness I have not given in to all of my cravings or else my weight gain would be outrageous!!! I still have been on a deviled egg kick. Thankfully, they are packed with protein and I have the willpower to limit myself to one!

Sleep:  According to my Fitbit, I am up on average about three to five times a night. Baby boy likes to sleep on mamas bladder. My Fitbit also says I am restless for about an hour each night, which equates to about 20+ times a night. My groin hurts like none other every time I attempt to get comfortable or roll over. This may be TMI, but it feels like a gnarly pinched nerve combined with someone hitting you in the crotch with a baseball bat. I assume its due to extra pressure from baby, but I really don't know. Anyways, this pain wakes me up throughout the night. Oh, the joys of pregnancy!
Best moment this week: Best moment has been getting things finished! We finished up our little guy's nursery (minus hanging a couple frames on the wall). We went through the list of things we need before he arrives and we managed to get almost everything. I have started packing my hospital bag. Just like every other time I pack, I am pretty sure I am majorly over packing! I would love to hear if any of you have advice on the things you enjoyed having with you at the hospital! I also finished writing our birth plan. Think writing our birth plan really made things feel more real. Just makes me realize how close we really are to finally meeting our little boy!

Movement: Minus a little scare last week, he has been a very active baby. We went to the hospital last week late at night to check on Baby B since he hadn't moved all day. Scared the you know what out of me!! Once the nurse hooked me up to the monitors, Baby B decided to wake up and start wiggling around. Such a relief. Other than that, he moves quite a bit. His movement patterns have changed though. He is now most active in the mornings when I wake up and he seems to sleep during the night. I can't quite figure out how he is positioned because I feel a lot of limbs in my ribs and you can see a little foot poking out of my side. Hoping he is head down!
Food aversions: I don't have too many food aversions lately. 
Belly button in or outIn and stretching! Don't think it will be going out.
What I Miss: I miss being able to get comfortable. When I sit/lay in bed, my whole body hurts and I can't seem to move without feeling massive sciatic nerve pain. Looking forward to lay on my tummy and back again! Also...I haven't really missed alcohol at all during this pregnancy, but I will say, I am REALLY looking forward to having a glass of wine in the future. 

What I’m looking forward to: Hubby and I are going on our Babymoon this weekend. My guess is, this will be our last kid free vacation for a LONG time. We are going to be staying at a cute little bed and breakfast right on the beach. The only vacation we have had alone is our honeymoon, so we are really looking forward to our Babymoon!
Baby Buys: I have purchased a lot of little things lately for Baby B like: diapers, wipes, pacifiers, nursing cover, nursing pads, podee baby feeding system, blankets, swaddlescradle sheets, a lamp for his room, decorations, books, etc. The only bigger items we need are a video monitor and a diaper genie. I am thinking that the rest of the things we want/need can wait until Baby B is a couple months old. A couple of things that I have purchased for myself are a diaper bagthis book about child proofing your marriage, a belly binder, and this rolling massager for labor. Other than that, I really think we are pretty set for right now. There are a ton of things I would love to buy, but my husband and I are pretty frugal and we really just want to buy the necessities!


Balsamic Chicken

  • 4 thin Chicken Breasts
  • 1/4 cup Italian Dressing
  • 2 tbsp Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 1/8 tsp Red Chili Flakes
  • 2 tbsp Olive Oil
  1. In a small bowl, combine Italian dressing, balsamic vinegar, honey and red chili flakes. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium high heat. Add chicken and cook for 5-6 minutes, or until chicken is tender and no longer pink, turning once. 
  3. Add half of the dressing mixture to skillet, turn chicken to coat. 
  4. Transfer chicken to a plate and keep warm.
  5. Add remaining dressing mixture to skillet. Cook and stir for 1 minute, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet. 
  6. Drizzle the dressing mixture over chicken and enjoy!
Serves 4! This meal was so simple to make. I prepped the dressing mixture the night before and it took me less than 15 minutes to prepare and cook!

Adapted from: Better Homes & Garden

Hope you enjoy!


August 13, 2014

28, 29, 30 & 31 Weeks

 How far along are you?  I am 31 weeks and 1 day! Only 62 days left!

Gender: It's a BOY!

How big is the baby? A little over 16 inches long and weighs about 3.3 lbs, the size of a coconut!

More about this week from Baby Center:

This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3 1/3 pounds (about the size of a coconut) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy."

Total Weight Gain: I am sitting about 14 lbs right now. I fluctuate a lot between 11 and 16 pounds. I am finding myself very anxious to start losing this baby weight and getting back down to my previous weight and get back to losing weight like I was before I got pregnant!

How I’m feeling: Pregnant. Very pregnant. I have had a pretty bad headache over the last three days. The headache is fine as long as I am consistent with taking Tylenol every 4-6 hours. I have tried drinking more water, relaxing, laying down and nothing seems to help it go away.  Work has been really stressful for the past few weeks and I am finding I am having A LOT of braxton hicks contractions, some will shock me so much they will drop me to the floor. I am sure the added stress at work is not helping. Belly is feeling very heavy and I am feeling very sluggish. I like being on the go and up and moving, so being restricted is making me crazy. Other than that, I am feeling very overwhelmed and stressed lately with the amount of things I feel like I need to do before Baby B arrives. I have started writing a list and the list is growing fast! Writing a birth plan, packing a hospital bag, getting a prescription for a breast pump, buying the extra things for the baby, finishing the nursery and finding time to get organized. I am feeling the need to organize every nook and cranny in our place...but no time to actually do it!

Maternity clothes: Living in my maternity clothes. I only have a couple pieces of maternity clothes and I find myself wearing them so often that they are wearing out. I am sure the added weight gain doesn't help either! My work pants started to split down the back and I was forced to buy a new pair. All of my clothes are feeling tight but I really don't want to buy more clothes. I am starting to stress about what I am going to wear postpartum (stupid I know). I don't have fall/winter maternity clothes and I am nervous I won't be able to wear my pre-pregnancy clothes. With only 62 days left, I think I am just finding extra things to worry about, this being one of them! 

Favorite workouts: I am struggling when it comes to workouts. I am all about having a NO EXCUSE kind of attitude when it comes to working out, but it has been tough lately. Working long hours on top of not feeling well, I sometimes wonder if I am doing more harm than good when working out. My body is telling me to rest but my mind is telling me to push through the fatigue and workout anyways. When I do workout, I get cramps and contractions and just wonder if I am doing harm. Definitely going to ask my doctor next week when I go in about exercise. I am planning on starting T25 with my upcoming challenge group on Monday, but I definitely think I will have to really modify to make it work for me. 

Stretch Marks: I still have one faint purple mark but not sure if it is a stretch mark or a darker vein. Using lotions in the morning and evening. Skin is starting to REALLY itch and it feel like it is stretching. Fingers crossed that I don't get any!

Cravings: I am craving lots of unhealthy foods like sweet potato fries, pizza and milk with chocolate syrup. I haven't given in to too many of my cravings. I did give into my deviled eggs craving last night. Not sure why but I really crave salads with hard boiled eggs on them! 

Sleep:  I am getting up at least twice every night to go to the bathroom. Each time I feel like rolling over, I have to completely wake up to roll my body over. So many aches and pains when moving from side to side! I have been getting to work much earlier than usual so I am lucky to even get 6 hours of sleep each night. I feel like a walking zombie. Guess this is preparing me for motherhood?

Best moment this weekWe finished up our Labor and Birth series that we took at the hospital. I loved getting to tour the hospital rooms, think about our birth plans and learn about the labor/birth process. My sister-in-law and mother-in-law threw me a baby shower this past weekend too! It was such a fun shower and it was so fun to get together and celebrate Baby B!  It kind of made me realize how close we are to having our son. Its exciting, but definitely makes me anxious too. I found myself so overwhelmed this week with everything we have left to do. With work being crazy, it leaves little time in the evenings to get things done. Our weekends have been jammed packed too. I have started making a list of everything we need to buy/do before Baby B arrives. 

Movement: Baby B is a very active little boy. He likes to kick me and poke his little feet out. I love watching him move around. Some of his movements are actually pretty uncomfortable, you can tell he is getting stronger and stronger each week!
Food aversions: I don't have too many food aversions lately. 
Belly button in or outIn and stretching! Don't think it will be going out.
What I Miss: Sleep. I miss laying on my stomach and my back and getting to sleep through the night with no interruptions. I also miss my energy! I feel so tired all day, even if I have a cup of coffee.

What I’m looking forward to: I am looking forward to this weekend. My husband and I FINALLY have a weekend with no obligations and I couldn't be more excited. We plan on finishing painting the changing table, washing Baby B's clothes, organizing his closet, hanging shelves/pictures on the walls and finishing up his nursery. I feel so stressed with how much we have to do before he arrives, so I am really looking forward to having a weekend to get some things checked off the list. I don't think I will ever feel fully prepared, but I have a long list of things I want to get done. Aside from finishing the nursery, I really want to clean out cupboards, get organized and do a deep clean. Really hoping this weekend will help me feel a little more prepared and organized. 

Baby Buys: I have put off buying things until we had our baby shower. Since we had our baby shower this past weekend, we are now in the process of getting the extra things we need before Baby B arrives.  I am finding a lot of the things I thought I needed are things that can wait until Baby B is a few months old. Aside from a diaper bag, breast pump and a baby monitor, we really only need some smaller things. Hoping to slowly buy the rest of the things we need in the next few weeks. 

Our latest baby buy has been the Kiindle Twist Breastfeeding Gift Set. I went in to Babies R Us to get some Tommee Tippee bottles that were 50% off and got talked in to buying this set. My first reaction was that this was just another unnecessary gadget, but the sales lady told me that it has been a lifesaver for her and her newborn. My goal is to breastfeed and to then pump when I have to go back to work. The nice thing about this set is that you can pump straight into these bags (with any breast pump) and then they clip straight into the bottles that come with the set. I know that all babies prefer different bottles, so the nice thing about this set is that you can use these bottles with ANY nipple you want. It also comes with a warmer to warm up the frozen breast milk in less than 10 minutes. I am still not completely sold on this set, but I got 20% off and an extra $10 off. I haven't opened the box and I am still a little skeptical if it is actually necessary, but, I am figuring it is probably not much more expensive than having to buy a bunch of bottles and having to constantly wash them all. If any mamas out there have this set, I would love to know what you think of it!