33 Weeks

Weeks: 33 weeks -- it's all becoming so REAL now!
Weight Gain: +15 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight
This Week's Cravings: In the short duration of my previous pregnancy, I noticed that I wanted everything savory and salty. I wanted nothing but salt and vinegar chips, steak, chicken strips, and cocktail onions. During this latter part of this pregnancy, I have wanted sweets. Granted, I am still so careful so as to maintain my surprisingly minimal weight gain as well as to not be a poster child for type II diabetes, but I have wanted {and gotten} my fair share of sweets. We have continued to keep a supply of cran-grape juice in the fridge along with the now staple package of Oreos on the kitchen counter. I have also wanted and eaten doughnuts often. In this case, often means actually eating them at all. I normally don't like doughnuts, let alone to eat them by themselves as breakfast, but for some reason only known to the pregnancy gods, I have LOVED them as of late. I even shamelessly eat them as an afternoon snack and on Saturday afternoon, made requested J go out and grab me a chocolate glazed doughnut before our nearby doughnut store closed. As I type this, I am salivating at the thought; clearly, we know what I will be having tomorrow for breakfast.
New Maternity / Baby Purchases: With the baby shower coming up in less than two weeks, J and I have tried our best to really steer clear of baby purchases. It hasn't exactly been easy, especially with my always-anticipated Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale having just passed last week, but we've managed to be good and he certainly has been especially pleased with my efforts.
Moment of the Week: The other night, during storytime, I laughed so hard when I realized what book J picked to read aloud to his daughter:
Evidently, someone's fear of a zombie apocalypse is more real than we originally thought. 
Aside from that, I think J and I were both excited to finally start preparing our hospital bags this past weekend. He brought out the Daddy Diaper Bag that I got him for Christmas, started going through checklists online and one that we made together and filling his bag with essentials.
{I think he really loves his Daddy Daypack. I know it definitely makes him less weary of carrying around baby gear, knowing especially that he doesn't have to be seen with the flowery design of my Petunia Pickle Bottom diaper bag}
This Week's Pregnancy Cheat: We had a neighborhood Memorial Day block party this weekend and our neighbor and friend Lisa brought over some of her watermelon slushee {with vodka} and gave me a sip. I swear, I took the tiniest sip, and although it was delicious, I couldn't help but freak out and rinse out with water. What a spaz I turned out to be.
Sleep Pattern: It's still the same -- sleep is generally good, despite being interrupted several times a night by frequent bathroom trips.
Things I'm Really Missing: Right now, I'm just really missing not getting backaches and side cramps. With a baby who is not only growing physically but also seemingly growing more antsy and more demanding about what positions she likes me to be in, it has become increasingly hard to get comfortable in any position. Still not complaining, but definitely just missing having some semblance of painlessness in my body.
Things to Look Forward To: This week, not only do we have class 4 {of the series of 5} of Lamaze, we also have the first of two pre-baptismal classes too. We want to ensure that Cam gets baptized very soon after birth, and these classes are mandatory at our church for any parents looking to baptize their children. Both J and I feel that it is extremely important to raise children with a knowledge and faith in God, and the earlier we can do it for Cam, the better.
All in all, we are counting down the very short weeks until Cam's arrival. We are excited that the shower will be here in a week and a half. After that, the cerclage removal will occur the week immediately following... and after that, we will be at 37 weeks = FULL TERM! She could arrive any minute after that!! What an exciting and glorious and blessed time for our family!

What is Love? A Lesson for Our Baby Girl

Dear Camden,

We are so close to the day we get to finally meet you in person. Throughout this pregnancy, I realized how true it is that every parent worries about their baby. Right now, our worry is getting you into our arms safely, healthily, and happily. I know that when you are born, we will constantly be worrying for your safety -- are you breathing? Are you eating well enough? Is your poop supposed to be this color? Daddy and I have met with your pediatrician last week, and we've warned her that the question "Should I be worried?" will be coming out of our mouths quite often.

Outside of that, we worry about how you will grow up. Parents want their children to fit in, to find themselves comfortable in their own skin, and whether as a child or an adult, we want you to find love. We want to teach and instill love in your heart so you know what to look for, what to expect, and what you deserve.

As your Daddy and I celebrate our anniversary today, I look forward to your life and I wish for you

The kind of love that opens your door and pulls out your chair even after 5 years of being together
The kind of love that wakes up at 2 a.m. just to help you take some Benadryl during an unexpected allergy attack
The kind of love that checks your car gas level and fills up your tank at 10 p.m. because you are going for a drive in the morning
The kind of love that argues with you because you are not napping enough
The kind that gives you a leg and foot rub without expecting one in return

A love that turns off his video game even during an intense battle because he sees you are in bed and decides to cuddle with you instead.
A love that goes out of his way to pick up treats for you {and your future baby} on his way home from work -- just because.
A love that lets you get angry as you think he has nothing planned for your birthday, just so he can keep up the surprise that ends up being an item being crossed off your bucket list
A love that listens to you vent and spin out and then just holds you when you're ready to cry

Most of all, I wish you the kind of love that cherishes the person you are, encourages you to be the best version of yourself, and one that you know will return yours forever.

Always yours,

32 Weeks

Weeks: 32 weeks! This is the start of month #8!
Weight Gain: +14 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight
This Week's Cravings: No cravings this week. I did want and devour pepperoni pizza on Monday, a sushi roll on Tuesday night, and have been eating a slow but steady stream of Oreos, but it's been quiet on the gastronomic front.
New Maternity / Baby Purchases: Having very few regular summer clothes that fit my very pregnant body, I've just been stocking up on comfortable bras, tank tops, and dresses to get me through these last 8 weeks. We've been lucky to have weather in the 70s and 80s in the daytime and about 50 to almost 70 degrees at night. Needless to say, my pregnancy shorts and trusty yoga pants have been put to good use these past couple of weeks.
Moment of the Week: J and I were laying in bed and watching TV one night and he had his arm around the belly. Out of nowhere, he felt a strong set of the new breed of movements Camden's been making -- a strong, slow motion motion across the entire belly, like a switch of positions or an elbow or knee going across. From what I read, because the amount of amniotic fluid has peaked, there is much less cushion now between her appendages and me, and now even her slow and smaller movements are more noticeable. Sure enough, she makes sure her presence and movements are known. We have also started saying that she is "Shawshanking" -- her constant ticking movements remind us of the character Andy Dufresne from Shawshank Redemption, chiseling his way out of prison. It feels like she is trying to chisel her way to escape the womb!
This Week's Pregnancy Cheat: On Tuesday, I had an unforgiving craving: sushi. Poor J had to go and pick up some for me after dinner that night. 
Things to Look Forward To: We are looking forward to our two year wedding anniversary on Tuesday, the 22nd. No, it's not necessarily baby related, but we are proud to be where we are, two years after getting married. We have been through a lot; we have been through as close to hell as it gets and are back to a place of happiness and excitement. We have a great dinner planned at our favorite restaurant and are looking forward to celebrating this wonderful time together. 
Sleep Pattern: Having consciously increased my water intake the past week, my bathroom breaks seem to have doubled. My sleep has been pelted with about five to eight bathroom trips each night, but surprisingly I have been able to still keep my 8-9 hours of sleep. If I go to bed at midnight, I still wake up at 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. despite my unforgiving trips to the potty. 
Things I'm Really Missing: The amount of discomfort is now unmistakable. You know that feeling when you eat too much and your belly skin is so stretched that it hurts? That's how I constantly feel now. I have noticed a significant change in my breaths -- shorter and shallower -- and my walk is now an unmistakable waddle. {J did point out that I may just now have noticed, but I evidently I have been waddling for several weeks now.} It is also now at the point where I can't stand too long because my legs start to hurt and my upper body starts to ache, and I also can't sit too long anymore, as I get side and back cramps from having to hold up my body weight. I am actually pretty comfortable for a long time laying on my back, but I'm actually not supposed to be doing so, as laying on your back decreases circulation for the baby -- lying on my side is definitely the best position. Suffice it to say, I miss being comfortable, but I am still thankful for where I am. I am thankful for this baby, that she is happy and healthy and obviously growing.

As we enter this 8th month, I have so many more things to be thankful for. I've said it time and time again: each day is a milestone. Each sunrise brings another day of growth and development for our baby to be thankful for and each sunset is another day done and closer to bringing our baby girl into our arms.

31 Weeks

Weeks: 31 weeks . . . we are on the single digit week countdown -- 9 more weeks to go!
Weight Gain: +13 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight
This Week's Cravings: My husband and I are foodies. I think that much is a safe statement. So I have to be honest that at this point, it's really tough to discern between what is really a pregnancy craving and what is a craving driven by something I see on TV. For example, the other night, I saw someone making a thin crust pizza on Food Network. Man, it looked amazing. Needless to say, I spent the rest of the evening craving it and Sunday actually fulfilling it. {And to tell you the truth, I thought about it again as I was typing this and just called J to have him bring me home a slice of Costco pepperoni pizza} The point is, YES, the pizza on TV looked so delicious, but was my craving due to seeing it on TV, or was it part of what seems to have been a pregnancy constant of pizza cravings? Hard to tell, right?
New Maternity / Baby Purchases: Believe it or not, I actually sat here and had to think about the answer to this question this time and we actually didn't purchase anything for Cam this week {I know! Are you still alive?}. We did, however, receive a few gifts from friends -- one was an adorable pink step stool from our neighbors, Bill & Susie, that their daughter, Samantha, used. {It looks completely brand new and works great to fill a small blank corner in Camden's nursery -- at least in the meantime until Cam is old enough to use it} Another surprise was from another neighbor, Lisa, who came over the other day and dropped off a new Boppy pillow and a new pajama overall for Cam. What awesome surprises from our great friends! As for maternity stuff, I have to say that up until right around this point, I'd been able to get away with wearing most of my regular clothes. Key words: UP UNTIL. These days, the vintage t-shirts that used to fit just fine have now risen up to revel the bottom of my ballooning belly and even what used to be loose fitting shirts are, well, not so loose anymore. This morning, I put on my favorite purple and turquoise flannel shirt and the buttons were not only stretching at the top by my chest {long standing problem, even pre-pregnancy} but now at the bottom by my bellybutton as well. I was prepared before, having so many long-sleeved maternity shirts and cardigans from the previous pregnancy, since it only lasted until the late winter / early spring. Now that the weather is warming up, it's become much more of a challenge to find clothes that not only fit, but also fit the season. Gone are the navy blues and blacks and I've started to replace them with long ribbed tank tops {see 2429, and 30 week post pictures}. Last week, I was so excited to find coral skinny crop maternity jeans at H&M to add on to my dwindling options. At least I don't have to go through the rest of the season in drab winter colors.

Moment of the Week: We had so much fun with Cam on Wednesday night during story time. J took his usual post of laying down with his head next to my belly and read to Cam. We must have gotten her at a good {party} time because as soon as she heard his voice, she went nuts. We kept track of her movements and everytime he stopped talking, she would stop moving. He then put his face close to the belly and was talking to her and FLICK! She kicked him right in the nose! Even more, he put on our favorite Van Morrison songs on his iPhone and put the headphones on my belly to have Cam listen too -- and we caught some of her twitches on video!
{You can see the twitches the most at around 0:15 to 0:20 seconds into the video}
This Week's Pregnancy Cheat: None! What a good momma!
Things to Look Forward To: We went to our first Childbirth Preparation / Lamaze class last week and it was interesting, to say the least. We covered the tip of the iceberg on most things, which we will learn about more in-depth through the next four weeks. The most interesting part of the class was the people who were there with us. I swear, the range of people went from good and normal to the presidents of Douchebagistan. This week, not only do we have Class #2 on Wednesday, we also had a doctor's appointment today, a Baby Care Basics class on Tuesday night, and then our pediatrician interview on Thursday afternoon. We are booked solid! We don't mind, though, as we know these will just prepare us more for Cam's arrival!
Sleep Pattern: I can feel this pregnancy heading to a close, for sure! I've been exhausted lately, and despite my bathroom breaks in the middle of the night, I've been able to just hop right back into bed and pass out. In the daytime, my body has felt heavy and tired. Both J and I have been sleeping so soundly that we almost missed our 9:00 a.m. doctor's appointment today! I woke up at 8:24 and bolted out of bed in a rush to get ready!
Things I'm Really Missing: With late pregnancy comes discomfort, and I think that's all I really miss -- the feeling of being lighter and being able to move around better. Sudden movements cause round ligament pain, swift movements cause me shortness of breath, and eating a little faster than normal has caused indigestion. For someone with a go-go-go personality, pacing myself has been a challenge, but one that I welcome, no matter what.
We had our 31 week appointment today and it went smoothly. Dr. Moore didn't even have to check cervical length this time. We're at the point now when he is just checking the size of the belly {approximately 31 cm. = 12 inches}... and according to my research, Camden is about 16-18 inches long from head to toe now. We heard a strong and solid heartbeat today, and Dr. Moore estimates that she is just about 3 lbs. now. He assured us that everything looks great, and that Cam's {and my} growth is right at the average. {Funny enough, with J and I being such Type A personalities, we laughed at our acceptance of the word "average", but we know that in this case, average is GOOD.} In about 5 weeks, Dr. Moore will be removing the cerclage stitch, which will get us even more ready for delivery!

30 Weeks

Weeks: 30 weeks . . . 10 more short weeks to go!
Weight Gain: +11.5 lbs from pre-pregnancy weight!
This Week's Cravings: I had to ask J this question because surprisingly enough, I didn't crave anything out of the ordinary this week. Of course, I'm still chugging down a pretty steady flow of cran-grape juice, but he and I agree: perhaps cravings dwindle towards the end of pregnancy? Who knows. All I know is that he is pretty thankful that there haven't been any 1:30 a.m. emergency Oreo trips to CVS as of late.
New Maternity / Baby Purchases: I don't know if I can even relay how excited we are that this week that our friends, Craig and Michelle {who are also expecting their twin boys in late July / early August}, sent us the Chicco KeyFit 30 car seat that we had on our baby registry! {J has known Craig for many years, and I met him for the first time in February when we went to Las Vegas for J's work convention. Michelle and I have not had the pleasure of meeting yet, but this needs to happen soon! *hint, hint, J and Craig!*} It was an absolute surprise and it was so thoughtful of them to send the car seat. Another item we did buy this week for Cam is Sophie Giraffe and a leash to keep her secure. 
I figure this much -- Pretty much, Baby B has no choice but to love this toy. According to so many moms I have spoken to, Sophie is a baby staple. {Find out HERE exactly why} I think I am more excited than anyone to have gotten Sophie. {FYI, Craig and Michelle, do NOT go out and buy Sophie. You have a double order coming your way!}
Moment of the Week: This is going to sound silly and perhaps downright nerdy, so before sharing the moment of the week, I should let readers who don't know that I thrive on a full schedule. I have had a day planner since I was 11 years old. To me, there is nothing more exhilarating than filling a calendar and / or checklist and slowly crossing off items and events as they get completed. My personal moment of this past week was finally sitting down and registering for the rest of the classes we need before the baby is born and synching J's and my calendars to include all the activities. Additionally, I placed reminders on both our home and phone calendars regarding things that I have to do and prepare before the baby shower and Cam's arrival. Being able to look at our full calendars and knowing we are prepared has added a little bit more ease to our hearts and minds that we are ready for our little lady to arrive.    
This Week's Pregnancy Cheat: On Tuesday, on my way to a maternity focus group in which I participated, I stopped at Bruegger's Bagels and had a smoked salmon and cream cheese bagel. It had been a long time since I had smoked salmon, and its flavor along with the cream cheese and the bite of the capers and fresh onions were sooooo delicious. 
Things to Look Forward To: This week we are starting the first of the set of five Childbirth Preparation / Lamaze classes we signed up for. I look forward to this particularly more because it's something to keep us busy for the next five weeks and by the time the series is over, I'll be 35 weeks pregnant already! Like I said in my last post, it's easier to look forward to small events and before you know it, the bigger event we are looking forward to is here!
Sleep Pattern: My sweet little party animal has made the past few nights very interesting, to say the least. Especially because of my nightly kick counts, J and I have been able to peg down a general schedule of when she is awake at night. We've noticed that she's awake {and makes it quite known that she's awake} at around 8:00 p.m., 11:00 p.m., and 1:00 a.m. Her sleep and waking patterns are quite rigid, and it's been good training for me in preparation of when she is born and I will have to be partying with her during those times. Her movements, especially during her 1:00 a.m. parties, are strong and seem very deliberate, and they take their inevitable toll on her Mamma's sleep.
Things I'm Really Missing: Both J and I have noted that the belly seems to have grown exponentially during these past three weeks, especially, and with that comes extra weight and extra strain on my body. While I absolutely enjoy every moment of pregnancy {I seriously do!}, the aches and pains that come along with it are positively unavoidable now. I look forward to being able to move more freely and being able to lay on my stomach once Cam gets here.
I realize I probably say this every week, but I can't believe we are at this point already! 30 weeks! With our history in mind, I never thought I'd make it this far. Each week, I closely read and follow articles online and the apps on my phone about fetal development and get more and more relieved as each passing week gives Camden more and more of a fighting chance, should she {God forbid} have to come out early. 

At this point, we are trying our best not to think of worst case scenarios and just focusing on enjoying our little girl, even if she hasn't been born yet. Everyday, J and I talk about her, what personality she has now and what she will have when she's here, and we dream together of what our life will be like when she is born. We often sit in her nursery and daydream of her, and late at night or even when J gets home from work, we lay in bed with our hands on the belly, waiting for her to give us a little swish or flick. I'm sure most couples will agree that pregnancy makes marriage that much sweeter. I may try to fight it most of the time sometimes, but I do love how protective of me and the baby J gets. He's always making sure that I take several breaks during the day to lay on my side and relax, gives me the bigger side of the couch to lay on when we're watching TV, encourages me to nap {and sometimes actually tries to plan our day around my naptime!}, and argues {yes, argues!} with me about letting HIM do the dishes!

Needless to say, I feel extremely blessed. There is a song from The Sound of Music with a part that goes:

Perhaps I had a wicked childhood
Perhaps I had a miserable youth
But somewhere in my wicked, miserable past
There must have been a moment of truth.
For here you are, standing there, loving me
Whether or not you should
So somewhere in my youth or childhood,
I must have done something good.

That song always seems to come to mind these days. I am aware and grateful of how I have been blessed with an absolutely amazing and supportive husband, and despite the rough journey we have been on in the past year, we are, this week, so thankful to be that much closer to our "something good."

Therefore, I will give thanks to You, O Lord . . . and sing praises to Your name. {2 Samuel 22:50}