Colic, Round 2

Dear Charlie,

You’re two months old today! As always, the time has been flying by ridiculously fast. You are growing like a weed– last week you wore an outfit that Alex wore to his first day of daycare when he was 4 months old! I packed up your newborn sized clothes not long after I wrote you last time, and you’re pretty solidly in the 3 months size at the moment. By the time I write you next, I bet I’ll be packing up that size too! Dad & I decided that this time around, we’re not going to keep all the baby clothes/toys/etc like we did the first go-round. Although it’s going to be nice to have all that space back in the garage & attic, the finality of getting rid of baby things is admittedly emotional for me. We haven’t decided whether we want to have another baby someday, but even if we do (it’s a BIG if right now) it won’t be for a few years at least. Knowing that you may very well be my last baby, I’m trying to burn into my brain all the precious little memories of what life with a newborn is like: the way your tiny toes and fingers curl up when I touch them, the smell of your head, the look of your eyes as they drift off to sleep and your eyelids get so heavy, the sound of your coos and even your little newborn cries. I’d forgotten how much different it sounds compared to our toddler’s cries (which we hear pretty often as well these days… but that’s another letter entirely. LOL).

Talking about crying brings me to the title of this letter. It is true that you indeed have colic– not unlike your brother did at this age but also not JUST like him either. Overall I would say it isn’t nearly as bad this time around, but I’m not sure if that’s because you don’t have as severe of a case or if we’re just more prepared for it now (having gone through it once already). You have a colicky period in the evenings, but it isn’t every night and there is no one particular way to calm you… different things work on different nights. Sometimes nothing works– Dad & I just take turns holding you/attempting to calm you until you finally fall asleep (like last night). Sometimes your days are 100% peaceful, other days are colic central and I can hardly put you down. When you go through those particularly rough spells, the sanity level gets pretty low in our house unfortunately. With Alex things were much more predictable, albeit more intense. The only thing that makes colic with you more challenging is that I don’t have the kind of free time I did when there was just one baby to worry about. I tend to feel extremely overwhelmed when you’re extra colicky on top of everything else I have going on. It’s times like those that I wish we lived closer to our families, so we could have extra help with you guys. If Alex is at home I have to try to divide my attention and can’t hold you as much (thank God I decided to keep sending him to daycare during my maternity leave, that’s been a huge help!)… even when he’s not here, I spend my days catching up on chores & projects as much as I can (or rather, as much as you will allow me to. Haha).

Speaking of Alex, he is still a very good big brother to you so far. There have been some subtle ways that I’ve noticed the addition to the family affecting him, but overall I think the two of you find a lot of entertainment in one another. Although he still loves to share his stuff with you, the only “gifts” he’s been able to truly impart on you so far are germs. :-\ Late last week all three of us (me, you & Alex) had a terrible cold. It started with Alex and quickly spread to me and you. Sigh. Luckily for you it seemed to be fairly mild– just some congestion & sneezing.

As far as milestones go, you quickly “forgot” how to roll over (which I hear is common in babies that roll over that early).. but have started to smile more. 🙂 It is so cute! Dad gets the most smiles though– he can get a smile out of you almost every time he looks at you, whereas I’m lucky to get a smile once a day or so. But I know it will come in due time! The other big milestone is sleeping– you sleep really well at night, only waking up once during the night to eat (if that). Woohoo! That will be a big help when I go back to work in a month. Now that the end of my maternity leave is drawing so close, I’m starting to dread going back to work a bit. That first week especially is going to be so tough! But, I know in the long run I’ll be glad to be back at work. As much as I love you boys, I just don’t think I’m cut out to be a stay at home mom.

Anyway, here are some pictures and videos from this past month. Sorry there aren’t more… the colic leaves little time for taking pictures.

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Big brother time! In that first picture, Alex was showing you his Legos. 😉

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You generally hate tummy time… but tolerate it a little more on the pillow. Our little penguin friend usually keeps you company!

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So handsome! And so big! Folks seem to say that you look more like me, whereas Alex looks more like Dad… and although at the moment I tend to agree, it’s really too soon to tell. Your hair is an auburn sort of color & even looks red in the sunlight (at the moment– it may very well lighten up the way Alex’s did) and your eyes are blue. That last picture cracks me up every time I look at it!

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Lots of sleeping going on, as you can imagine! That top picture was from your first trip out to a restaurant (one of my & Dad’s favorites– a new Mexican place called Chuy’s). Notice in the bottom picture that Alex thought you could use a Ninja Turtle. LOL

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Some artwork you & I made for friends recently. 🙂

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Quality time with my boys! It’s a tight squeeze fitting you both in my lap… but I always make sure there’s room. 🙂 In the last picture you actually were about to cry because the binky had fallen out of your mouth, but to me it kind of looks like a smile or a smirk in this shot! LOL

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THE POUT! This is one of my favorite faces of baby-hood. It’s not as cute on toddlers. Haha. So clearly it took a few tries, but eventually….

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We got your two month shot. 🙂 It’s amazing how much life can change in just a couple short months like this… but I truly would not have it any other way. Despite the ups & downs, you have truly been such a joy and a blessing to our family already. For that Dad & I are so, so thankful. All of us love you so very much! ❤

And as I wrap this up, it’s now the day after your 2 month “birthday” … what can I say, these days it’s almost impossible to knock out one of these letters in one sitting. But I do have some extra news to add as we had your 2 month checkup today: you clocked in at 15lb 1oz, 23.5 inches long, and a 16 inch head circumference. That puts you in the 97th, 77th, and 92nd percentiles respectively– confirming my suspicions that you’re a big dude! The pediatrician said you look “perfect” and had no concerns whatsoever. Always music to a worrywart mom’s ears! 🙂 I suppose that’s about it for now, Charlie Bean (my current favorite nickname for you, no idea where it came from)… Until next time!

All my love,
Mom

Like riding a bike…

Dear Charlie,

You’re just over a month old already! In what feels like less than the blink of an eye, you’ve gone from this…

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to this!

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Obviously you are not one to miss meals! So far you’ve done a great job on your three main tasks as a newborn: eating, sleeping, and pooping. 😉 You sleep pretty well at night, going about 4-5 hours between feedings on average & usually going right back to sleep after you’ve been fed and changed. I was worried that your cries would wake Alex at night, leaving me with two fussy boys to deal with, but so far that hasn’t been an issue (phew!). During the day you’re a bit more needy… you have some issues with gas, and at certain times of day want to be held and/or given your paci constantly (which you also constantly spit back out despite your desire to have it. I guess there’s just a learning curve with pacifiers). Still, none of it is nearly as difficult as what we dealt with during Alex’s newborn days… so we’ll take it!

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All in all, getting back into the swing of newborn care has been much like riding a bike– you pick it back up quickly, even though it’s been awhile since we’d done it. We’ve been able to enjoy and savor this time much more than we could the first go-round…. in addition to the lack of colic, I largely credit our choice not to breastfeed for this. It was definitely the right choice for us. Dad and both sets of grandparents each took a week off to help with you, and having them be able to help was invaluable.

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We also decided to keep sending Alex to daycare even though I’m home from work… it’s been good for him to keep up his routine and get TLC from the ladies at daycare, and it’s been good for you & I to have some one on one bonding time. And frankly, I can get a lot more rest during the day without an energetic toddler around! Haha

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(more photos from your newborn photography session here)

That being said, I do love watching you & Alex together. You of course are fascinated with him (as you are with anything that gets in your line of sight, haha), and he loves you to pieces. He’s a very good big brother so far– remembering to be gentle with you (well, most of the time), giving you lots of hugs and kisses (getting him not to kiss your mouth during this cold/flu season has been a challenge!), and wanting to help with you as much as he can… especially when you’re crying. When you cry, he says things like “Shh”, “What’s wrong Charlie?”, and he’ll tell me that you need your paci or that you’re hungry.

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As far as milestones and development goes, you’re doing great with things like head control and even have rolled over from you tummy to back several times! No social smiles yet, but I think that’s not too far off. And so we’re all settling into our new life, with new routines. The biggest challenge still at this point is bath/bed time… it’s a lot of work getting two little ones fed, bathed & in bed each night!

We’re still working on getting adjusted, but couldn’t be happier overall. 🙂 I suppose that’s enough for now, you’re waking up and it’s time for lunch and snuggle time!

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All my love,
Mom

Good things come to those who WAIT… (Charlie’s Big Debut!)

Dear Charlie,

YOU ARE HERE! As I type this you’re 5 days old, asleep in a cradle right next to me. 🙂 Although your birth was overall much smoother than my last birth experience, it still had its ups & downs. If I’ve learned nothing else about pregnancy/birth/motherhood so far it’s this: nothing EVER goes according to “plan” ….

Thursday night, the grandparents arrived. Dad & I didn’t sleep much. I told him it felt like the night before Christmas, and he was like “sure, except the stakes are MUCH higher!” When I put Alex to bed for the last time as an only child that night, admittedly I got a little emotional…. mostly from knowing I was about to turn his world upside down. The next morning we were up early and spent our time relaxing with the family before we had to leave for the hospital. Here’s our last family picture with you as an “inside” baby!

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The doctors asked us to be at the hospital by 9:30 Friday morning (2 hours before our scheduled c-section time), and we actually ended up there about 45 minutes earlier than that since there was no traffic on the roads. They checked us in, we filled out paperwork and received a pleasant surprise: the hospital’s visitor policy wasn’t as restricted as we originally thought it would be! Although there was a 3 person limit on the number of visitors we could have in our room after you were born (and none could be younger than 16 meaning Alex would not be able to come visit), we were at least allowed to rotate different visitors in & out so all four grandparents could be there. Uncle Jeff & Kayla were in town for a concert, so they got to visit as well. This was a huge improvement over the visitor policy in place when Alex was born!

Anyway, they took us back to a small mini-room which was essentially just a hospital bed behind a curtain. They hooked me up to monitors for a little while to make sure you were still doing okay in there, then the nurse told us to wait and they’d come get us when it was time. All around us we could hear other c-section families coming back with their new babies crying. After about an hour the nurse came back again and told us that an emergency c-section had come in, which bumped us back a spot. After the emergency c-section there was one more in front of us, then our turn. However, I think that this also bumped us back to after their lunch break because from that point we were waiting for a LONG time. The nurse kept coming back & swearing that it would be any time now, and frankly I was getting pretty frustrated…. mostly because I hadn’t been allowed to eat or drink anything since midnight, but also because the longer I had to wait the more I was getting into my own head about it all. The nerves & anticipation were building up big time! We tried to rest and Dad kept me in good spirits…

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FINALLY they came to take me back to the operating room around 2:00 or so, but Dad had to stay behind until I’d been fully prepped and laid out on the operating table. I’m not sure why that is, but in the mean time he got suited up in his scrubs.

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Once I was in the operating room, they put the spinal block in to numb me from the chest down. This is the part I was most nervous about as I heard it would hurt and of course it can go drastically wrong if the anesthesiologist doesn’t do their job properly. Thankfully it didn’t hurt nearly as much as I thought it would and I was numb within about 5 minutes. The spinal block is weird in that although it blocks your pain receptors, you can still feel touch/pressure… so despite reassurances from the doctors, I spent quite a bit of the time leading up to the beginning of the surgery wondering if I was truly numbed enough to withstand what was about to happen because I could feel the doctors’ touch while they were prepping me for surgery. It was a good 20 minutes or so before they finally let Dad into the room, much of which I was just lying on the operating table thinking about that & worrying about how the surgery would go plus all of the things that could go wrong while everyone else bustled around me preparing… and all of a sudden I just lost it and started crying. I was scared out of my mind and I wanted Dad there next to me. The nurses of course were asking if I was okay so I explained what I was feeling, which they assured me was totally normal and that they’d get Dad back there as quick as they could. He was there holding my hand less than five minutes later. I felt much better after that. 🙂 It’s just kind of a scary place to be in by yourself.

After he got there they put the sheet up so we couldn’t see anything. I wasn’t really lucid for the c-section with Alex, but Dad tells me that the sheet was much taller this time so he couldn’t see anything at all without physically ducking his head around the side of the curtain. We were sitting there talking and after awhile I noticed there was a lot of pulling going on around my stomach & chest. I said to Dad, “Wait, did they start already?” Dad laughed and was like “yes, they started a couple minutes ago!” From that point on I got quiet and spent my time looking at Dad & squeezing his hand for reassurance. Within just a few minutes you were out! The table where they checked you & cleaned you up was right behind Dad’s head, so I was already facing that direction when I heard you cry for the first time and then saw you being carried over there (just a few feet away from us). Again, I wasn’t as drugged up and therefore much more lucid this time around… I got to truly experience and take in so much more of the process than I did during Alex’s birth, so this was my first time actually seeing a baby be removed from my belly like that. Dad was watching me so he caught my expression when I heard that first cry and caught that first glimpse of you. He said it was a really interesting mixture of shock, awe, fear and joy. 🙂 Another bonus that we didn’t get with our last birth was the ability to have a camera in the operating room with us. Dad took this picture of my face about 5 seconds after I saw you for the first time. I was still watching you as you were being checked and cleaned:

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And so you were born on Friday, January 23, 2015 at 2:39pm (about 3 hours after your scheduled time, haha). You clocked in at 8lbs 14oz and are 21 inches long. It was fascinating watching the doctors check you out and getting a good glimpse of what you looked like straight out of the womb like that. Everything looked perfect and you got a clean bill of health!

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A side story… Before you were born, both Dad & I had what is a very common fear for parents about to welcome second siblings into the world. How could we ever love anyone else as much as we love our first child? That heart-bursting, unconditional, fierce kind of love that only parents can truly understand? At the time, it seems like there’s no way that kind of love can occur more than once. We both felt really sorry for you & guilty about this, because we feared our relationship with you would never quite hold a candle to what we had with Alex. While we were watching them clean you up, I turned to Dad and we had the following conversation. I didn’t have to clarify further, he knew exactly what I was talking about:

Me: We shouldn’t have worried.
Dad (grinning BIG time): Yeah, we shouldn’t have.

🙂 Anyway, it didn’t take long for them to finish up with that and hand you over to Dad to hold while they closed me up. That’s when I got to truly meet you for the first time.

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When it was all over they put you on my chest and wheeled us back to the recovery room. There we got a few minutes of snuggle time before the grandmas descended upon us (the grandpas were back at home taking care of Alex).

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However, not long after that things started to go poorly for me. I was supposed to be able to finally eat and drink some crackers/juice at this point, but the anesthesia made me feel extremely nauseous. I took 2 bites of crackers and almost immediately threw it up. They tried giving me the standard nausea medication, Zofran, but it did not work for some reason. So they bumped me up to something stronger, which worked but I still couldn’t eat or drink anything and it made me extremely tired. 😦 And that was pretty much how I stayed the rest of the day, until about 2am the next morning when I was finally able to hold down some crackers & ginger ale. I couldn’t even hold you during that time because the pressure of your weight on my abdomen made me vomit within minutes. It was so, so frustrating not being able to help care for you that first night. Luckily, Dad took care of everything and it gave the grandmas as well as Uncle Jeff & Kayla (who were leaving later that night) a chance to meet you while I slept off the nausea.

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The next morning I was doing MUCH better, and was able to get up and move around the room by lunch time. The grandpas got to come meet you, and of course they were just as smitten with you as the rest of us were!

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That day there were many people in & out of the room checking in on us, the most important of which were my OB & your pediatrician. They both agreed that we were recovering very well & if things continued to go that way, there was no reason we couldn’t go home the next day! This was music to our ears as Dad & I were both anxious to be back in the comfort of home, and to introduce you to Alex.  Thankfully the rest of the day and that second night went very smoothly. You were already eating, sleeping and pooping like a champ. 😉 Other than being a little fussy right after your circumcision (understandable of course!), you hardly ever cried… and that is actually still the case, you generally don’t cry unless you’re hungry or sometimes during diaper changes.

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The next morning we spent getting ready to leave the hospital. We were discharged and out the door right around lunch time.

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As soon as we got home Alex was waiting at the door for us. He was SO excited to meet you! It was pretty clear to all of us, he loved you from the moment he saw you. 🙂 He didn’t want to share you with anyone else but me & Dad, LOL. Watching the two of you interact is one of the most heartwarming things I’ve ever experienced.

Even now (when I thought the novelty might have worn off), Alex spends much of his time trying to hug & kiss you. He asks to hold you quite a bit and wants to know where you are almost as soon as he wakes up every morning. He tries to share his toys, books and food (yikes!) with you. I think he really likes being a big brother! It’s going to be so much fun watching the two of you grow up together and your bond get closer once you’re big enough to really play together. It’s truly been my greatest joy as a parent so far, giving you two this gift of each other. 🙂

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These first few days at home have gone fairly smoothly. You are a very good baby as I mentioned before– not too fussy (yet?) and doing pretty well adjusting to life on the “outside” so far. Dad & I have nicknamed you “Squeaker” because you make the funniest squeaking noises when you sleep! I’ll see if I can get it on video at some point. You sleep as well as I’d expect a newborn to during the night, only waking to eat and have a quick diaper change. During the day you are very peaceful and alert.IMG_20150127_140940

While it is true that Alex made me a mother… you, my sweet little Charlie, have made us a family. 🙂 Already we can’t imagine our lives without you. We all love you so very much!

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All my love,
Mom

Waiting on Charlie!

Dear Charlie,

We’re getting down to the wire! You’re just over 37 weeks along & about the size of a “winter melon,” which honestly I have no clue what that is (LOL)… but translates to about 20 inches and 7 pounds. I am huuuuuuuuuuge and uncomfortable almost all the time, but still able to get around and do most of my usual household chores, at least.37 weeks

After taking this picture last night, I realized that it will be my last before the “heading to the hospital” picture– wow! The hardest part about being this big is sleeping. No position really works well for me at this point, at least not for more than an hour or so, which is fine I guess because usually at that point I have to get up & pee anyway. LOL. You are also most active at night, and because you’re so big/running out of room your movements can be downright painful. Specifically you enjoy punching my hips, kicking my ribs, and doing some sort of snake-like “dance” that makes my whole belly move around. A lot of strangers tell me I look “tired” — gee, thanks people! 😉 I don’t even know how to respond to things like that.

But it’s okay, because all of that means you’re just about done cooking in there! The c-section is scheduled for 2 weeks from this Friday, so we’ve been working extra hard over the last couple weeks to make sure everything is ready for you here on “the outside” — we brought all the baby stuff down from the attic, sterilized bottles & pacifiers, unpacked baby clothes & swaddle blankets, and packed the hospital bag. Alex enjoyed messing with the baby swing & such, and is starting to understand that someone else is coming onto the scene soon because of the extra car seat installed in our car. I told him that was your seat and now whenever he gets in the car he points over to it & says “Charlie!” I keep assuring him that you’ll be here very soon.

Anyway, all that’s left on my “to-do” list is some self-pampering– I have a prenatal massage scheduled for this weekend, and am going to have my hair & nails done sometime next week. Other than that we’re all just relaxing and trying to soak up this last bit of time as a family of three as much as possible. I have to admit that although I’m SO excited to finally meet you (and to have my body back, haha), I’m also feeling pretty emotional about the end of my time with just Alex. I know having two children is going to turn everyone’s world upside down and I feel some guilt about how it’s going to effect Alex, knowing that I won’t ever be able to give him the same amount of time & attention that I do now. However, in the long run I know he’s going to love having you here. He LOVES babies & I think he’ll be tickled pink when he gets to meet you.

I had another checkup today & all was well (although it did take the OB a long time to find your heartbeat, but she didn’t seem concerned so I guess I’ll try not to be). My blood pressure & urine tests are still good, and I don’t have any major swelling which is a BIG difference compared to my first pregnancy. All of this indicates that preeclampsia will most likely not be an issue this time around, although of course that can change on the drop of a hat. Should something like that come up, or if I should go into labor early, we’ll head straight to the hospital & have the c-section early… but hopefully you’ll have these last two weeks to grow a bit more & I’ll have these last two weeks to relax a bit more! 😉 The next time I write will be sometime after your big debut– until then, know that Dad & I love you so very much. We can’t wait to see you on the “other side!” 🙂

All my love,
Mom

It’s a date!

Dear Charlie,

Oh my goodness time has flown by! We have been super busy with the holiday season, and now you are right at 35 weeks along. You’re the size of a coconut now, although to me it feels like a watermelon. LOL. Third trimester is all about growth & putting meat on your bones, and I think you’ve been doing just that. This was taken at 32 weeks…

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And this was taken  a few days ago, just shy of 35 weeks:

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A pretty big difference! Although I’m measuring right on schedule (just had my last biweekly checkup yesterday actually– all was well!), I still feel like I’m much bigger then I was with Alex. Well, let’s put that to the test:

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At both maternity photo sessions, which were taken around the same point in the pregnancies, I had the photographers take a shot of this belly angle. I think Dad is probably right… you two look about the same size. Maybe I’m just more tired and uncomfortable this time around because I’m chasing after a toddler all the time on top of being pregnant! 😉

Anyway, the big news now is that we’ve scheduled your c-section! Assuming all goes well between now & then, you’ll be making your big debut on Friday January 23 at 11:30am. That’s exactly one month from yesterday– and boy, we can’t wait!! There are a few things left to do to prepare for your arrival, but not much. Dad & I are SO excited to meet you! Alex still doesn’t really get it, but I think once you’re here and he gets to meet you, he’ll enjoy being a big brother– he LOVES babies. We’ll see! Haha

As promised, I did sit down and have a chat with Dad about this pregnancy and your impending arrival. Here’s your first Dad interview!

How has this pregnancy been from your perspective? 
Dad said that honestly, it’s been almost exactly the same as the first pregnancy. The only difference is that since we’re so busy these days with Alex, it’s been easy to forget that I’m even pregnant! (My thought was sure, that’s easy for you to say! LOL)

Are you worried about having a newborn AND a toddler?
Apparently Dad is not worried at all… he feels that we’re “baby experts” now so the newborn thing will be a breeze. To this I said “even if he has colic too?” (which is my biggest fear, I wouldn’t wish a colicky baby on my worst enemy), and Dad said that even if you have colic, at least this time we know what we’re dealing with and it will be easier for us to remember that it DOES end eventually. As for having two little ones under one roof, Dad wasn’t too worried about that either… “at least we’re not outnumbered!” Haha. I guess it’s pretty evident who is the worrier in this relationship. 😉

Do you think Alex will be a good big brother? 
Dad thinks it will be a rough transition for Alex since he can be so clingy (especially with me), but in the long run he’ll like being a big brother. I definitely agree with this assessment. We discussed (and have discussed this many times) how important it will be for Dad to try to fill the void as much as possible when I’m too busy/exhausted in the throes of newborn care. He’s up for the challenge.

Anything you want to say to Charlie before we wrap this up?
Keep growing! (Again, my thought was “easy for you to say”… haha). Dad also said, which I mentioned earlier, that he can’t wait to meet you. 🙂

And with that, I think that’s enough for one letter! I will try to write one more time before the “main event” next month. Until then, my little coconut!

All my love,
Mom

Large and in charge

Dear Charlie,

Over 30 weeks along now, and you are the size of a large head of cabbage (about 3 lbs). The realization that there’s less than 10 weeks left until your due date (coupled with the likelihood that you’ll be here at least a bit sooner than that as I’m planning to have another c-section) has given me the kick in the pants I needed to start preparing for you in earnest. Your nursery is pretty much done, and I love how it’s turned out. I wanted it to look totally different from Alex’s nursery despite using the same furniture, and I think we’ve accomplished that:

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Nana took on the joyous task of painting the nursery walls for me again this time around (THANK YOU NANA!), and I didn’t want to do blue again so I went with green this time. Love the bright colors of this “woodland creatures” nursery set!

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Got wise this time (actually got wise well before that, sometime around Alex’s first birthday) and invested in a more comfortable rocking chair. As much time as you spend in that thing the first year, it’s crucial!
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The branch is the one thing that I kept fairly similar to Alex’s nursery. I guess that can be our “thing,” and I’ll do it again if we have a third baby someday (don’t hold your breath grandparents, that’s still a BIG “if” at this point in time!).

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You have lots of fun things to look up at all over the room– the mobile above the changing table, the puffs above the rocking chair, and of course the letters above your crib. 🙂

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Speaking of the mobile, how cute is this thing? My friend Ashley made it for you as a shower gift. She is so talented!

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I will probably get the side-eye from some people for having a TV in the nursery… but honestly, it was already there from when this was a guest room, and it just didn’t make sense to move it & patch the wall when we’d eventually be putting it right back in here anyway. Besides, it will come in handy to have all those times you’re asleep or eating in my arms while I sit in the recliner. (Annie wanted to make a cameo in this pic apparently, LOL)

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Nana’s working on a piece of art to go on that wall near the light switch– I’ll show you a picture of it when she’s finished!

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I didn’t have one of these diaper stacker things last time around, but the nursery set I bought this time came with one. Super cute!

Anywho, I’ve also got all your newborn clothes put away, a large pack of newborn diapers ready to go, and am working on packing a hospital bag. Somewhere on Dad’s rather lengthy list of honey-do’s (bless his heart, there are a lot of things we.. or I… want done around the house before we’re all caught up in the craziness of life with a newborn + toddler. He’s been hard at work on that stuff the last few weekends) is to go up in the attic and bring down stuff like bottles, infant car seat, swing, etc. I meticulously hoarded kept every single baby item, piece of clothing, toy, etc. we’ve had for Alex so that we’d have it all when the time came for you to grace us with your presence. 😉 Now it’s just a matter of dragging it all out of storage & making sure it’s ready for you! I recently learned to my dismay that bottle nipples & pacifiers can’t be reused because the plastic in them breaks down over time, so at some point I’ll have to go buy replacements for them as well. Yesterday I started sorting through all the toys & books to filter out the infant-appropriate stuff to put in your toy box, things Alex hasn’t touched in MONTHS, but of course seeing me remove them from his room sparked a whole new interest in them. Haha. Luckily toddlers have the attention span of a gnat. 😉

Other than all that, I think we’re as ready for you as we’ll ever be! I’m often waffling back & forth on whether I wish this pregnancy would be over already, and beginning to lament/fear the end of my time with only one child. As the title of this letter suggests, the size of my belly has gotten to ridiculous proportions & I’m getting pretty darn uncomfortable…

30 weeks

The downside of being a younger sibling is that your big brother has no idea that this large protruding belly might be at all delicate. I try to keep him off of it, but he is forgetful. Hopefully he’s not causing too much damage… I’m sorry dear. Consider it the beginning of what probably be many instances of fun-filled sibling roughhousing. And I swear, I don’t remember having to pee THIS much during the last pregnancy! Like, I’ll come back from peeing and have to pee again less than 5 minutes later… it’s ridiculous. Bending over and even just sitting upright are pretty awkward & uncomfortable. Thank goodness I’m able to telework the rest of the pregnancy! Being at home in a cozy bed or recliner is a huge help… and especially with my history of pre-eclampsia, I’d rather be conservative and take things as easy as possible.

Speaking of that, of course my doctors are keeping a close eye on my blood pressure as well as other symptoms of pre-e (and I still have my at-home monitor here as well, which I’ve put to good use), and so far everything seems normal. All my appointments, tests, etc. have gone really well up to this point, thank goodness! I recently started going in for bi-weekly rather than monthly checkups, another sign that we’re getting close to the end… woo hoo!

And with that I think I’ll wrap things up for now, since this letter is getting pretty long. Next time I write I’ll have a long-overdue interview with Dad! 😀 Until then, keep growing little one (but for God’s sake, get off my bladder! haha).

All my love,
Mom

P.S. — I alluded to this earlier, but wanted to mention specifically that a few weeks ago some of my friends threw a lovely shower in your honor! It was so much fun celebrating your upcoming arrival with some of my favorite people. 🙂

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Down to the wire…

Dear Charlie,

27 weeks– two trimesters down, one to go! I’m truly blown away by how quickly this pregnancy is going by. I know I say that almost every time I write, but it’s true! And it’s by far the biggest difference between this pregnancy and my first pregnancy. Almost every morning, after I get out of bed I look down at my belly think “What the heck?!” because I swear it seems to have ballooned up overnight, LOL. At about 14 inches and 2lb now (the size of a rutabaga, apparently)… you make your presence well-known  almost constantly, to everyone around you but especially to me. You move & squirm around a LOT, and you like to stretch out and put pressure on my spine + other key body parts way more than I remember Alex doing. Maybe it’s just that us moms quickly forget those parts of pregnancy. 😉 Luckily I haven’t quite reached the stage of constant discomfort… yet. But I’m pretty close. I’m really glad that my job will allow me to work from home for the majority of this last trimester, as it’s much more comfortable for me. On the flip side, you give me way less heartburn than Alex did… so thanks for that!

Yesterday I had my monthly checkup, and all was well with you– heartbeat & blood pressure were great, your measurements were on track, and I only gained 1lb this month which balances out the whopping 5lb I’d gained the prior month. I talked to the doctor quite a bit about how certain types of exercise are getting difficult for me, which is tough because exercise is one of my biggest contributors to keeping weight gain in check. Although I miss jogging, I’ve recently gotten into swimming & water jogging/aerobics. It’s much lower impact while still a fantastic total body workout. I probably look pretty silly flopping around the pool with my big preggo belly while the hulked-out body builder wearing a speedo in the next lane does butterfly strokes up & down the pool at the speed of light… oh well. 😉

Other than that, not much else is going on. I haven’t really done much more with the nursery these last couple weeks as things have been pretty busy at work, as well as all the fall/Halloween festivities going on every weekend. On top of all that Dad & I are going to begin to tackle another bathroom remodel starting this weekend… who are we kidding, really it’ll just be Dad tackling it. LOL. But I will help as much as I can! So the nursery is on the back burner a bit for now, but my goal is to have it done before Thanksgiving. That way I can relax & enjoy the holiday season without a bunch of baby-related to-do’s hanging over my head. Also coming up this weekend is a baby shower in your honor! I’m looking forward to celebrating your upcoming arrival with some of my favorite people. 🙂

I think that’s about it for now… but before I go, here’s your latest bump picture:

10714251_10100495984689577_1232258876404257171_oCan you tell how exhausted I am? Haha. I haven’t been sleeping as well lately, although I think it has more to do with anxiety/stress than physical discomfort. Well scratch that, if it weren’t for having to pee ALL. THE. TIME. maybe I wouldn’t wake up so much in the middle of the night… but once I get up it’s the mental side of things that keeps me from getting back to sleep. Even though Alex is almost 2 years old, I never stopped following the mantra “sleep when the baby sleeps.” What can I say, those afternoon naps help keep me going!

Speaking of Alex, I still don’t think he really “gets it” at all as far as the pregnancy & your impending arrival goes. Right now he thinks there’s a baby in my belly as well as Dad’s belly. LOL. He does sometimes point to my stomach (or pull up my shirt, which is an issue when we’re in public!) when I ask “Where’s Baby Charlie?” and will occasionally give you kisses too. 🙂 I worry a lot about how the transition to being a big brother is going to go for him, but really it’s just of those things we’ll have to deal with when the time comes. Even as an adult nothing can truly prepare you for a baby’s arrival, so I imagine that is even more so the case with young toddlers.

And with that I think I’ll wrap this up. I’m so excited to be in the home stretch of this pregnancy… Dad & I can’t wait to meet you, little guy!

All my love,
Mom

Moving & Grooving!

Dear Charlie,

Things have been insanely busy around here and the time is slipping by so quickly… which is why I’m just now writing you another letter at 25 weeks! I’m sorry I haven’t written sooner, although honestly there isn’t too much to update you on except for the awesome fact that you are moving & grooving around in there. 🙂 As I mentioned last time, I first felt movement around 20 weeks but now the movements are much more frequent and much stronger. Although I think they’re strong enough to be felt from the outside (sometimes) at this point, Dad hasn’t caught one yet. Every time you start moving I’ll be like “quick, put your hand on my belly!” and then the moment he does you don’t move anymore. You’re just shy I guess! Haha.

The other recent bit of news is that we had your 24 week check up a few days ago, and all was well. Your heartbeat was nice & strong, you’re measuring right on target (about 1 foot long and 1 pound– this week’s fruit is cantaloupe!), blood pressure was good, etc. My weight gain was a quite a bit for only one month at 6lbs, but I think there are a couple reasons for that… (1) I had to stop jogging a few weeks ago because I started getting pretty severe groin pain/soreness that would last for hours or even days afterward, and (2) I think you went through a huge growth spurt in there. I mean, take a look! Here’s your 22 week picture….

22 weeks

And your 25 week picture (not my best photo, but as I told Dad at this point it’s a week late, it needs to get done LOL)….

25 weeks

WHOA! Actually Dad & I have a conversation almost daily now that goes something like this:

Me (looking in mirror or down at belly): This is ridiculous! There’s NO WAY I was this huge, this early, when I was pregnant with Alex.
Dad: Yes you were, dear. It’s okay!

Oy! :-\ By the way, for your future wife’s sake go ahead & add “yes you were (and are) huge” to the list of things NOT to tell a woman while she’s pregnant. LOL. Anyway, other than that I don’t have much to report. We’re still working hard on your nursery & it’s actually almost done. We just have a few finishing touches to add & then I’m going to get all your stuff organized in there. Some friends are hosting a baby shower for you in a couple weeks, so I’ll probably finish everything up & take some pictures of it to show you shortly after that. I will say, it’s looking really good so far! 🙂

And with that, I’ll go ahead & wrap this up. Until next time little guy (and who knows when that will be as I clearly suck at writing these letters lately, so sorry!), keep up that moving & growing! Dad & I are getting ever more excited to meet you. 😀

All my love,
Mom

Episode VII: Return of the Snoogle

Dear Charlie,

Coming up on 21 weeks now, over halfway through the pregnancy! You’re getting bigger and bigger with each passing day now, currently around 13 ounces & 11 inches long… the interwebs says that’s the size of a pomegranate, but I’ve never seen an 11 inch pomegranate! Haha. I’ll let the belly speak for itself (this was taken last week actually, right at 20 weeks):

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As noted in the title of this letter, I did have to break my humongous Snoogle pillow back out a couple weeks ago… it has become kind of uncomfortable to lay flat on my back for too long, plus technically it is not good for either of us to have me laying on my back after the 20 week mark anyway. Poor Dad, he (understandably) was not looking forward to the return of the Snoogle. It really is like having a third person in the bed. LOL. A necessary evil!

The other obvious indicator of your size is the fact that I can feel you moving around in there on a regular basis now. It’s not constant (yet), but I can usually depend on you to poke & flip around after a meal and/or when I’m laying in bed at night. It’s not quite at the point where Dad can feel you moving from the outside yet, although that hasn’t stopped him from trying! I suspect that will happen within the next month or so.

All other indicators are pointing to a smooth, healthy pregnancy so far as well. Every test I’ve taken up to this point has come back normal, my weight gain and blood pressure are right where they should be, and you “passed” your anatomy scan last week with flying colors! The ultrasound tech took her time to show us all your organs, bones, etc… and you almost immediately showed us “the goods” confirming (again) that you are definitely ALL BOY. Haha. And not shy about it at all! 😉

We got a few pictures from the ultrasound, but we also got something even better this time– a video! I was so excited when the OB office told us they do this free video service now for all their patients. Here you are, in all your glory:

As fun as it is to watch you on the screen, we are getting more and more excited to meet you in person! 😀 And admittedly, a little terrified about it too. :-X You’d think with being second-time parents that would not be the case, and it’s true that many of the things we were nervous about the first time are not things we’re worrying about now… but there are things about the transition from a family of three to a family of four that Dad & I worry about. Not just how we’re going to be able to handle having a newborn & a young toddler, but more importantly the young toddler’s transition from being an only child to a big brother. I know in the long run that Alex will be a GREAT big brother to you, but I also know that he is a stage 5 “clinger” on me and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Having to divide my time between the two of you is going to be really hard on him, and honestly I feel a lot of guilt about it already. I hope & pray that we do a good job of helping him to handle it, and that he does not take it out on you too much.

Speaking of Alex, we’ve been trying to introduce the “there’s a baby in mommy’s belly” concept to him recently & I think he’s starting to pick it up a little bit! Randomly he touched my belly the other day & said “Baby sleep” out of nowhere. I was like “Yeah Baby Charlie is sleeping in there” and he goes “Charlie!” 😀 So, there’s hope for the two of you after all. LOL.

Well I’d better wrap this up– you are kicking furiously at my bladder all of a sudden so a trip to the bathroom is in order… :-X Until next time, sweet boy!

All my love,
Mom

Keeping Busy

Dear Charlie (!),

You are about 17 1/2 weeks along now, almost the size of a sweet potato. 🙂 It’s been a very busy summer for us, as this time of year is for any family with kids, but I have found some time to start working on your nursery. At the same time, I’ve been working on Alex’s “big boy” room… so both projects are at an awkward, incomplete stage at the moment. Still, I’ll share with you what I’ve got so far:

IMG_20140724_144008I picked out this animal/forest themed set for your room because it is so fun & colorful! Several people have asked me if I was going to just re-use Alex’s nursery set for you, but I don’t want to. Nursery linens are relatively inexpensive, and seeing as you are your own little person with your own identity, I wanted you to have your own unique nursery. 🙂 We may re-use the branch from Alex’s nursery though, but if we do I’ll jazz it up a bit to make it look different. I’m thinking your walls will be some shade of green, or possibly gray or a darker blue…. still in debate on that. I do also have curtains, which are orange. I think green, blue & orange will be the main colors we use in here. Hoping to make more progress in the next few months!

I’ve also been randomly purchasing the few little things we need for you, as I’ve had time to shop. I got a new chair for Alex’s room so that we could move the comfy recliner into your room (I imagine you & I will be spending a LOT of time in it together come January/February 😉 ), and also purchased a couple lots of gently used newborn-sized clothes off of the yardsale sites. I discovered these online yardsales about 6 months or so ago… they’re a GREAT place to find good deals on gently used stuff, particularly baby/kid stuff. We were told not to get newborn sized clothes for Alex, and I always regretted that because, even at 8lb 3oz, he was still in newborn clothes for quite awhile. I’d say for the first month or so he just wore the size 0-3month clothes that totally swallowed him. LOL. Anyway, I suspect you’ll be around the same size as Alex & therefore I will need some newborn sized clothes. I might have gone overboard though….

IMG_20140724_140428What can I say, they were good deals! There’s about 80 outfits in this box. :-X Oh well, at least we’re prepared on that front now. Haha! The only other thing on my list is a nicer changing pad and covers for it– I never liked the thin, cheap one that came with our changing table. Other than that, I plan to start stocking up on diapers and possibly formula as we get closer to your due date.

[Yes, I said formula– I’m not planning to breastfeed for very long, if at all. It was NOT a good experience the first go-round, and although there’s a ton of pressure on mothers to breastfeed their babies these days, it is NOT something that comes naturally to me & I refuse to let the stress of it ruin those precious, fleeting days of the “newborn phase” like it did with Alex…. that is one of my biggest regrets with him. So, to me it’s not worth it, knowing that formula also does a fantastic job of nourishing babies– Alex was quite healthy & thriving on formula. If by some miracle the breastmilk overfloweth this time around I’ll certainly run with it, but I don’t want to assume or anticipate that scenario the way I stupidly did last time. As this is a public blog, I know there are moms reading this who will probably judge me for it, but I don’t care– it’s my choice. That’s all I have to say about that.]

Anywho, I haven’t posted a picture of you in quite awhile… I should have put one up in my last letter, but there was so much else going on that I just plain forgot! Here’s my “bump pic” from 15 weeks:DSC_0766

And here’s my most recent bump pic, at almost 18 weeks:

DSC_0768It’s hard to see in the pictures, but I can feel it with the increasing weight/discomfort in my midsection– you sure are growing fast in there! In fact, you are just about to embark on a major growth spurt, typical for the second trimester. Hopefully I’m at a point now where when people see me, it’s clear that I’m pregnant and not just fat. LOL. I really hate that “in-between” phase where it’s questionable. About a week or so ago, I admitted defeat and broke out my stash of maternity clothes. I forgot how comfy maternity clothes are! 😀 Plus I picked up a few more maternity things on the yardsale sites. I also got a really great deal on one of those baby fetal heart rate monitors, and Dad & I have really enjoyed listening to your heartbeat whenever we want at home. Okay, I might be addicted to those yardsales… Whoops!

That’s about all for now. I will probably wait to write again until after my next OB appointment, which is the 20 week check-up & anatomy scan. Dad & I can’t wait to get another glimpse of you! Hopefully we’ll have nothing but good news to report from that appointment. Until then, keep growing little guy!

All my love,
Mom