The (bumpy) end of the road

Dear Emma,

Here we are at 38 weeks… if all goes according to plan, your birthday is in less than 2 weeks! I am still very much glad that this is my last pregnancy– the struggle is REAL and I’m more or less a beached whale these days. LOL. Obviously this is not my usual bump photo– I had Dad take it specifically to send to a friend who wanted to see how big I was. :-X And mind you, this was a couple weeks ago. The next bump photo I purposefully take will be right before we go to the hospital for your birth.

Truth be told though, lately I’m feeling more impatient not because of being uncomfortably huge… but because I am getting SO INCREDIBLY EXCITED to meet you face to face. ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s so close I can taste it! I think Dad feels the same way too. He’s starting to talk more about what he thinks it will be like to parent a daughter– obviously it’s going to be a whole new ball game for us both, but I think he feels moreย anxiety over it than I do. But I also sense excitement from him. He’s not type to be super exuberant about it, but I know him well enough to see the signs. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Tonight he was talking about dealing with boyfriends and being a “Papa Bear.” LOL. I, for one, can’t wait to see your & Dad’s relationship develop. The father-daughter bond is such a special, indescribable thing. I’ve been trying to explain this to Dad, but don’t think I’ve been doing it justice.

Dad & I are not the only ones who are excited to meet you! Our family recently threw a baby “sprinkle” (mini-shower) in your honor and there was a lot of cuteness to be had…

We made bows! It’s hard not to go overboard with all the girly-ness after having two boys. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s a nice photo of you & I from the sprinkle as well:

And an awesome ultrasound photo of your sweet face! I went to the specialist at the hospital right around 35 weeks for one last check to be on the safe side (given my history of pre-eclampsia), and you looked perfect. ๐Ÿ™‚

Unfortunately I wasn’t feeling so perfect… and in a shocking development of events, I ended up right back in the hospital a few days later with the flu and pneumonia. Seriously, no one was more surprised by this than me. That Saturday morning I ran over to the Minute Clinic because I’d been feeling crappy all week and had come down with a fever the night before… I expected to get some antibiotics and be back home within the hour. I didn’t even put socks on! Just slipped on my shoes and ran out the door.

When the doctor at the Minute Clinic saw me, she confirmed that I had the flu and asked whether I was having trouble breathing. To this I responded “Well I’m 35 weeks pregnant, of course I’m having trouble breathing!” She laughed and told me I should go to the nearest ER and get my lungs looked at, just to be safe. While I was sitting there waiting for her to finish typing her notes/wrap up the paperwork, I started feeling light-headed and had to lay down for the last few minutes I was there. Before I went to the hospital I called the OB to see whether they wanted me to go straight to them at the main hospital or if I could just go to the local ER. I’m glad I did, because they suggested going straight to them since the outpatient ERs would likely send me there anyway. Off I went….

When I got there they were expecting me and took me right back. I went in for a chest x-ray, which revealed the pneumonia. I was admitted to the hospital shortly after that. Thankfully Grandma and Papa were able to come up and help take care of your brothers so that Dad could come be with me. They kept a close eye on you at the hospital, and at first your heart rate wasn’t quite what they were hoping to see. The OB came in and basically said “We’re going to do an ultrasound to see what’s going on, and if I don’t like what I see we’re going to do the c-section today.” This was on Sunday morning… and going from running out the door to the Minute Clinic without socks on the day before to possibly having my baby over a month early had me feeling a bit floored, to say the least. Thankfully the ultrasound looked good and your heart rate was doing much better by the second night. Dad and I watched the Super Bowl at the hospital, and I was discharged/ officially on the mend Monday morning. Phew!

Since then we’ve been laying low, trying to avoid germs and failing miserably. This time of year is the pits. Thankfully I have not gotten sick anymore since the hospital stay, and as it stands you & I appear to be as healthy and normal for this point as we possibly can be. ๐Ÿ™‚ I should know better than to worry about you… with brothers like these climbing all over you all the time, you’re already one tough cookie!

They are both very much aware of your presence (how could they not be with a belly this big?!?!) and Alex is SUPER excited to meet you face to face as well. I doubt Charlie will really “get it” until we bring you home. He has been extra clingy lately though, so I suspect he senses/understands more than I’m giving him credit for. Alex is also more interested in babies, with more of a nurturing soul, than Charlie is… nothing wrong with that, but I don’t expect Charlie to take much interest in you until you can play with him. On the other hand, he LOVES to “help,” and actually a key toย the successful big brother transition with Alex was involving him with all things baby from Day 1 (diapers, bottles, you name it). So I plan to do the same with Charlie and hope he gets a kick out of helping take care of you. Time will tell!

Speaking of time, it’s 10:30pm on the start of my & Dad’s last kid-free weekend before you’re born. The bed is calling my name! ๐Ÿ˜‰ This will most likely be my last letter to you before you’re born… see you on the outside, Miss Emma! :-* We really can’t wait to meet you and adore you SO MUCH already!

All my love,

TGIMLP (Thank Goodness It’s My Last Pregnancy)

Dear Emma,

You are just over 33 weeks along now– the size of a pineapple! And boy, are you making sure I know it. In my last letter I said that Iโ€™m rapidly approaching the point where Iโ€™m going to be uncomfortable and exhausted regardless…. yeah. We’re definitely there now. LOL. I keep telling Dad “I swear I don’t remember being this uncomfortable with with the other pregnancies,” to which he responds “Well you said that last time too.” ๐Ÿ˜‰ I’m not sleeping well as it’s hard to be comfortable in any position, everywhere hurts, you move a lot and no area is safe from your jabs/kicks (which are getting MUCH stronger), and I am having a LOT more practice contractions than I remember having with either of your brothers. I suppose being pregnant while chasing around 2 toddlers has something to do with it!

That was taken right at 27 weeks, when 3rd trimester officially began. As I mentioned in your last letter, Alex is still incredibly excited to meet you. Charlie still doesn’t get it, but I’m getting so big now that he’s starting to sense something is going on. He keeps pointing to my stomach and saying “Ball!” (balls are his favorite toys, heaven forbid I might be hiding one under my shirt… hahaha). I’ve been correcting him, but I doubt he’ll understand until you’re here. Anywho, we had a lovely Christmas and everyone was spoiled rotten… including you!

Yes, your closet is already FULL OF CLOTHES and I think you’re pretty much set through size 12 months, at least. Having a girl is definitely bad for my (and Grandma + Nana’s) wallet, as there is just soooooo much cute girly stuff out there. You also have accumulated a few girly baby toys (plus of course we have lots of baby toys already to be passed down from your brothers), various other girly baby accessories (the bows! the shoes! the pink pacifiers & bottles!), and naturally we’re stocking up on diapers as well. I know better than to stock up on much formula since we won’t know what kind you tolerate best until you’re here drinking it. ๐Ÿ˜‰ Nana & Grump got your car seat for Christmas as well. So, at this point we’re as ready for you as we’ll ever be. But it’s still a bit early, so even though I’m incredibly uncomfortable, I hope you stay put for awhile longer! We have your c-section officially scheduled for the morning of March 9, so if all goes well that will be your birthday. Woohoo!

Speaking of being ready for you…. as promised, here are some pictures of your finished nursery:

SO. MUCH. PINK. I might be a little excited about having a girl, eh? ๐Ÿ˜‰ I know, I know… it’s 2017 and all, but pink is my favorite color so I just couldn’t resist. The room is kind of ballet-themed as you can see, and most of the quotes on the collage wall are dance-related.

Now it’s just a matter of trying to relax as much as possible these next 7 weeks. And trying not to fall, which unfortunately I did manage to do not long after my last letter. :-\ Tripped over an umbrella on the front porch and although I felt fine (landed on my side), the OB sent me to the hospital to be monitored as a precaution. All looked fine, but you were measuring a bit small so I followed up with the maternal fetal specialist a couple weeks later to confirm that you are growing properly. Which you are, of course:

I mean, how the heck could I be getting SO EFFING BIG if you were not growing like a weed in there? ๐Ÿ˜‰ But it’s better to be safe than sorry, and I’m glad we got to go to the specialist because they have much nicer ultrasound machines there. I got to see you in much more detail, and they basically did another full anatomy scan. It’s still hard to say who you look like, as those definitely look like my chipmunk cheeks! Because of my history of preeclampsia, the specialist wants me to come back for one more look in early February. I’m glad I’ll get to see you one more time before we meet face to face.

It’s hard to believe we’ll officially be a family of 5 in just a few weeks! Although I occasionally feel a little nervous about the logistics and finances of handling three young children, overall I’m just so incredibly excited. And VERY ready to be done with pregnancies for good. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Although of course I’m very thankful to have been blessed with three healthy pregnancies/babies. I say to Dad all the time– “How did we get so lucky?!” ๐Ÿ˜€ Well, I suppose that’s all for now… I may write once more before your birth, but you can see by now how that goes. Until next time, sweet Emma Jean!

All my love,

A whole new ballgame

Dear Baby Pacheco,

You’re coming up on 13 weeks along now, and we’re almost out of the first trimester! Before I go any further, I’m happy to report that the second ultrasound to follow-up on your heartbeat went really well. You were a perfectly normal little blob and we could see the little flickering of your heart just fine. ๐Ÿ™‚

That time I had Dad & Alex go with me, and they were both so excited to get their first glimpse of you! Alex especially, although at first he thought there were three babies because they gave us three pictures to take home. LOL. He also asked where your eyes were. I explained that right now you are still a seed growing in my tummy, and won’t be a full grown baby with all your body parts until you’re ready to be born. He seemed okay with that answer (for now!).

By the time the date of that second ultrasound came around, honestly I wasn’t too worried about the pregnancy because…. I was SO. VERY. SICK. They call it morning sickness, but for me it was all-day-long sickness. I started to come down with that right after the first ultrasound appointment, around 6-7 weeks along, and thankfully the worst of it lasted just over a month. It took me quite by surprise, as I experienced little to no morning sickness with my first two pregnancies. But this time, there wasn’t much I wanted to eat (or could hold down), and many other sensations like most smells, heat, too much motion, eating too much or not enough, etc. caused me to get sick as well. One night right after this started, Dad was kind of enough to make chicken teriyaki for dinner while I was staying late at work… only to have me start yelling “GET THAT SHIT OUT OF THE HOUSE!” while running to the bathroom moments after walking in the front door. :-X Sorry, Dad! Anyway, the only thing that really helped me was sucking on peppermints and taking vitamin B6 (who knew?). Although the situation is much better now, actually I still get waves of nausea from time to time, but only if I let myself get too hungry.

The only other major symptom I’ve been dealing with is extreme fatigue…. straight up exhaustion really, almost constantly. Pregnancy + mothering two young toddlers would do this to anyone, I think. I sleep as much as I can and try to function as best I can, but have admittedly been a very lazy parent this summer. Not many homecooked meals, not many fun family outings, and too much TV for sure. But I’m sure your brothers will forgive me someday!

At my 10 weeks checkup, they took my blood for the DNA test where they look for issues/anomalies in your DNA that might be cause for concern. They did not find any, but they did find out whether you are a boy or girl….

OH. MY. GOD. Not gonna lie, the main reason we decided to have one more was in the hopes of having a girl. We (mostly I) thought that I would regret not trying one more time and would always wonder what my daughter would be like if I did not. And I did do many of the old wives’ tales that you hear about with regards to conceiving a girl– timing, calcium intake, etc. etc. And with the huge difference in my pregnancy symptoms, I thought there was a good chance that I had a little girl growing in there…. but doubt continued to flicker in the back of my mind, and when I got those test results I honestly was expecting to read “boy.”

But man, I’ve never been so happy to be wrong! Not because I wouldn’t have loved another boy (we did have a name and nursery theme already picked out for either scenario, along with fantasies about dominating 1/3 of a baseball team, LOL)… but now I will not have to wonder what having a daughter would be like. We have YOU, Little Miss Emma! ๐Ÿ™‚

As you can see above, we just had another ultrasound today to check nuchal translucency (an indicator of Down’s syndrome)– although the NT piece of it looked normal, the tech noticed what is called a “venous lake,” which on the ultrasound just looks like a dark spot on the placenta. The midwife told us later that it could just be old blood, or maybe a cyst, and that it should resolve on its own. In the meantime, I keep going back for ultrasounds every two weeks until it resolves. She assured me that it’s not a cause for concern at all, just something to keep an eye on. For now, I’m not too worried. I have a lot of trust and faith in God, as well as our doctors.

So I decided it would be fun to tell the boys your big news in a fun way (well really just Alex, as Charlie understands none of this yet), so we did one of those balloon gender reveals for them. Alex is so excited and says he loves you already! He talks to you in my tummy all the time. I know he’s going to be an awesome big brother, and I think Charlie will too once he figures out what is going on.

In the meantime, we’ll keep watching our little baby girl seed grow… preparing and anxiously awaiting your arrival! You are so loved already. It feels like the final piece of our family is finally settling into place. ๐Ÿ™‚

All my love,

Third time’s the charm

Dear Baby Pacheco,

It feels so crazy to be typing that again! There have been so many ups & down these last few years with Alex & Charlie that honestly we were not sure whether or not we would want to have a third baby when the time came. One thing we have always known for sure was that we wanted all of our kids to be relatively close in age if possible, so this spring the time came… and went. I was struggling with depression and had been for almost a year, so at that time I just did not think I could handle another baby. After getting help with that and bringing balance back to my life, Dad and I had a long heart-to-heart about it on the long drive to/from the family reunion in West Virginia over Memorial Day weekend. Lots of discussion and reflection led us to conclude that we really did want one more baby, and given our desire to have kids close in age (and our desire to not have to “start over” with the baby phase long after Alex & Charlie have grown into big kids)… the time was right. I went off the pill a few days later and opted not to track or anything during the first cycle, in order to give my body time to settle back into its normal rhythm. But God had other plans and we got this right around Fourth of July:

We could not believe how quickly it happened! Well Dad could, he has said many times that he has a lot of faith in our baby-making abilities. LOL. Anyway, at that point I was hardly more than 4 weeks along, so there wasn’t much else to do but wait and see how things went. Last Friday (which also happened to be Dad’s birthday!), we went to my first midwife appointment. All was well there, and we scheduled the ultrasound for today. Right around that time (6 weeks or so) morning sickness reared its ugly head, which is a new thing for me as I didn’t deal with that much in my first two pregnancies. I notice it mostly during big meals or when I’m out in the heat. Not throwing up at least, just being hit with intense waves of nausea from time to time.

Dad had to work today, so I went to the ultrasound by myself. It was hard to sleep these last couple of nights, constantly worrying “What if there’s no heartbeat? What if the due date is drastically different from what I thought? What if it’s twins?” Unfortunately, one of those fears turned out to be true:

You are measuring at 6 weeks 4 days, which is right on target based on when I think I ovulated (the pic says 6w6d because that’s based on the last period date)…. but there was no heartbeat. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ The ultrasound tech said she thought she saw a flicker but not enough to pick up on the monitor. When she turned the screen to show me, I saw absolutely nothing. With both boys we saw clear “flickers” of the heartbeat at 6w0d. Not to mention this ultrasound picture doesn’t even look like anything discernable, which is very different from how the boys’ first ultrasounds looked. I’m trying not to freak out, and failing miserably. :’-( I go back for another ultrasound next week.

In the meantime, I’m so thankful for all my mama friends out there who I’ve been able to lean on and receive reassurances from. They have told me, and I have read online, that it’s quite common for there not to be a discernible heartbeat this early. I have also heard that some doctors wait to do the first ultrasound until at least 8 weeks for just this reason. So we wait, and go back again next Tuesday for another ultrasound to give you more time to grow. Until then, I will try to relax and constantly repeat to myself the newly pregnant + worried mama mantra: “Right now I am pregnant, and I love my baby.”

All my love,

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 getย 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!ย ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 OBย a long time to find your heartbeat, but she didn’t seem concerned so I guess I’ll try not to be). My blood pressureย & 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 likelyย 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! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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!” ๐Ÿ™‚

All my love,

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…



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

34 weeks

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:



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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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?ย 
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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Do you think Alex will be a good big brother?ย 
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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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,

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 thanย 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:


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!


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!


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!).


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. ๐Ÿ™‚


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


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)


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!



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,ย 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 onย 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.ย 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,ย 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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 themย 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜€ Until then, keep growing little one (but for God’s sake, get off my bladder! haha).

All my love,

P.S. — I alluded to this earlier, but wanted to mention specifically that aย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚


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-knownย  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. ๐Ÿ˜‰ 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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,

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 atย 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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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! ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ˜€

All my love,

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):


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! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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! ๐Ÿ˜€ 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!” ๐Ÿ˜€ 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,