Penny: Three Months Old!

Penelope is three months old today!

This munchkin weighs a whopping 15 pounds, 7 ounces (94th percentile) and is 24.5 inches long (87th percentile). She’s been in 3-6 month size clothing for several weeks, and depending on the brand, some of it’s already looking a little small…! Just keep your fingers crossed that she’ll make it to Christmas before outgrowing her holiday outfits!

Penny smiles all the time, and loves nommin’ on her hands, “chatting” with daddy, and sitting upright. She is generally a very tolerant and content little baby, but she does hate being stopped in the car before she’s fallen asleep, so stoplights are kind of the bane of my existence right now.

She crushes tummy time on the reg, doing these little baby pushups that makes me think we’re definitely on the road towards rolling! (Which is exciting but also terrifying because it’s just so much easier when you know she can’t go anywhere, lol.)

Before our Texas trip, she was sleeping six hours straight at the beginning of the night and we were getting on a pretty good bedtime schedule! The past couple of nights, of course, that’s all gone out the window since she’s still a little under the weather. But we’re both on the up and up, and I’m confident we’ll be getting back to normal-ish soon!

Our little moonbeam really does brighten up each and every day, and we’re so excited to be celebrating her first Christmas soon!

Also, we got our family photos back from Taylor & Ben and I lovelovelove them. I want to wallpaper our entire house with them.

I mean, even the outtakes are perfect. Yeppppp, I am so totally one of those moms and I’m not even sorry about it. I just love our little family!

Here’s to you, Penelope, and the best three months of our life so far!

Baby Stuff Recommendations: Months 1 – 3

Tomorrow Penny will be 3 months old (!!), so I thought it might be a good time to finally publish the product recommendation post I’ve been talking about posting for the past, um, month? (Have I mentioned how much harder it is to complete a blog post these days? Lol.) If I’d had my game together maybe I would’ve had this posted in time for Black Friday / Cyber Monday so you guys could’ve taken advantage of the many, many sales going on over the weekend buuuuuut… sorry. Hopefully it’s helpful anyway!

I think you guys may have realized that I now own and have tried out a LOT of baby crap at this point. So these are some of the things that I recommend based on how the past three months with our little munchkin have gone! Probably doesn’t need to be said, but 1) as Penny is my first baby, I am clearly not an expert, and 2) every baby is different, of course, so what’s worked for Penny may not work for your little one, and vice versa.

But, that being said, I know that I myself found product recommendation posts super helpful when I was preggo and doing my due-diligence in researching and browsing and building my registry. I’m sure this’ll end up being quite a long list, so I’ll try to keep my commentary short & sweet… with “try” being the operative word, since y’all know how I do like to go on. Also, some of the links below are affiliate links — if you end up wanting buying something through them, I just get a little somethin’ from Amazon that I can put towards the next round of stuff I’ll inevitably be buying for my baby. 😉

All right, heeeeere we go!

BABY ESSENTIALS:

  • Diaper Bag: Ju-Ju-Be B.F.F
    • You’re gonna need a diaper bag, that’s just a fact. If you’re anything like me, your diaper bag WILL be your purse, so it might as well be cute, right? Ju-Ju-Be bags are kind of pricey but I was gifted mine as a shower present from my wonderful friend Jackie, and I looooove it. It’s cute and super functional (can be worn as a shoulder/messenger bag or as a backpack, the entire thing is machine washable). The only thing is that I do wish it were a little bit bigger, but Ju-Ju-Be does make a larger backpack-style diaper bag called the B.R.B. as well (which my sister has.)
  • Wet Bag: Planet Wise Diaper Small Wet Bag
    • Even if you don’t plan on cloth diapering, having some wetbags around is crucial since tiny babies are known for causing all kinds of messes when it’s least convenient. I keep an extra outfit for Penny in one of these wet bags inside her diaper bag. If she has an accident or spits up too much and needs to be changed while we’re out on about, the new outfit goes on and the dirty clothes go right into the bag. Then you can toss everything in the wash when you get home — bag included!
  • Burp Cloths: Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs and Cloth Diaper Prefolds
    • You’re gonna need burp cloths and you’re gonna need a LOT of them. I LOVE the Aden + Anais Burpy Bibs because they are burp cloths that are perfectly shaped to go over your shoulder but also have a small snap so you can use them like a bib that goes all the way around your baby. I also highly recommend picking up some diaper prefolds even if you’re not planning on cloth diapering because they make amazing spit-up rags — so cheap and absorbent!

 

  • Swaddle Blankets: Aden + Anais Silky Soft Swaddles
    • Penny hated being swaddled the instant she turned about 13 days old, but I’m still glad we have 134920394 muslin swaddle blankets because they’re definitely multifunctional — I use them as blankets, of course, but also as burp cloths, nursing covers, to lay down on the floor for tummy time, etc. So it’s not a bad idea to have a little stockpile of muslin blankets, and despite Penny’s face in the photos above indicating otherwise, these Silky Soft Swaddles are our favorites. They’re SO soft but also have just the tiniest amount of stretch so if you are going to use them for swaddling, they let you wrap up that baby burrito nice and tight.

 

  • Boppy Pillow
    • If you’re planning on nursing, I highly, highly, highly recommend you get a Boppy pillow and a couple of covers. It makes nursing a floppy, can’t-control-any-part-of-its-body-newborn so much easier, and has functionality beyond nursing once your baby is stable enough to prop up. I use mine all day, every day, and even brought it with us to Texas.

 

  • Pacifiers: Phillips Soothie and MAM pacifiers
    • I’ve mentioned before that Penny would only take Soothies, which I didn’t like because I think they’re ugly, but who cares if it makes your baby happy, right? Only she still couldn’t really keep them in her mouth — even when using a Wubbanub, which is a Soothie with a stuffed animal attached to it that’s supposed to help with that. Well, I’m glad to say that Penny is now using MAM pacifiers really well and she can actually keep them in her mouth and even sort of pull it back in once it starts to fall out!
    • If you’re a mom-to-be I would recommend you do what I did and pick up at least one of every type of popular pacifier (SoothieMAM, Nuk, Tommee Tippee) so you can see what your baby might take to — and do the same with bottles.
  • Bottles: Phillips Avent Natural Bottles and Comotomo Baby Bottle
    • Speaking of bottles, we primarily use the Avent Naturals with Penny, but also really like the Comotomo. However, the latter is a lot more expensive, so we only own one and decided it was more economical to invest in the Avents. Like with pacifiers, we tried a lot of different ones to see what worked best for Penny (you can get a free bottle in baby registry welcome kits a lot of the time.)

LET’S TALK ABOUT POOP:

So, babies poop. A lot. For the first six weeks of her life, Penny pooped every time she ate, which meant we were changing like 8 – 10 poopy diapers a day. You’re gonna wanna make changing those diapers as easy on yourself as possible, which, for us, means we have three separate changing areas set up around the house.

Upstairs we have a pack ‘n’ play with a changing table attachment in our bedroom plus a station set up on our dining table (which we don’t use very much), and a station in the nursery downstairs. Here are all the various poop-related accoutrements you’re gonna want to look into:

  • Wipes: Bloom Baby Jumbo Wipes, Amazon Elements Baby Wipes
    • I LOVE Bloom Wipes — they are huge and soft and have just the right amount of moisture. Big fan, but the cost per wipe is almost twice as much as Amazon Elements Baby Wipes, which are also great. I definitely would say opt for wipes packs that come with the little plastic flip top on each package, unless perhaps you enjoy the challenge of trying to shove the 5 extra wipes you accidentally pulled out back into the pack.

 

  • Diapers: Honest Company
    • Okay, okay, you caught me: obviously what I really love most about Honest Co diapers are the prints! But I also really like that the diapers are pretty chemical-free as far as diapers go, and are environmentally greener. Penny has also never had any issues with diaper rash using these, and we’ve only ever had one blowout in an Honest diaper (I bet I just totally jinxed it by saying that in writing though, lol.) You can get a diaper subscription through Honest or buy packs individually at Target, Buy Buy Baby, CVS, etc.
    • My thoughts on some other brands: I do like Huggies a lot – they feel soft and cushy, Pampers are fine but not my fave (feels like they run small?), and I really don’t love Luvs (ironically?), as I think they feel really thin and cheap (I mean, they are a very economical choice tho!). All three brans are also scented, which is a little more irritating to Penny’s sensitive little baby bottom. I’ve also tried Parasol brand diapers and like them a lot (they also have super cute prints, and are much softer than Honest), but they swell up a lot when they’re wet just like Luvs do, and for the price I still think I prefer Honest.

  • Hatch Baby Grow Scale + Changing Table
    • The Hatch Baby Grow has been an awesome, if admittedly somewhat unnecessary, addition to our household. On its own, it’s a very nice, wipeable foam changing pad, but what really makes it great is that it’s also a baby scale that syncs with the Hatch Baby app. Through the (free) app, I can also keep track of Penny’s feedings, sleeps, diapers, etc.
    • It is expensive, but there are changing pads out there like the Keekaroo Peanut that cost the same amount and don’t have any of the smart functionality, so I figure it’s worth it. Plus, Hatch’s customer service is AWESOME.
  • Diaper pail: Dekor Plus Hands-Free Diaper Pail
    • I like that the Dekor Plus lets you use regular garbage bags if you want (or a wet bag, if you’re cloth diapering), instead of (or in addition to) its own bag refill system. It contains the smell well and is a good size (and is half the price of diaper pails like the Ubbi!)

NURSING:

Breastfeeding is a commitment, and you might think that you’re saving tons of money by not having to buy formula, but you still need some stuff to make it all go smoothly. I’ve had a much easier time breastfeeding than a lot of other women, and I still think it’s tough. I highly, highly recommend having the following before you even head to the hospital:

  • Reusable breast pads: EcoNursing Pads
    • I like these ones better than Bamboobies brand because the outer layer is kind of waterproof so you’re less likely to leak through even if you were to fill the pad.
  • Lansinoh Soothies Gel Pads
    • They’re totally overpriced because you only get two per item, but they are soooo necessary in the first couple of weeks. Stick ’em in the fridge before applying.
  • MotherLove Nipple Cream
    • I got both this and lanolin cream, and vastly preferred this nipple butter as the lanolin was so thick it kind of hurt to apply.
  • Sleeping nursing bra: Fiery Youth Nursing Bra Five-Pack
    • These bras are not exactly super supportive, but they are very comfortable and a great price for getting so many. I still wear a bra or a nursing tank top to bed each night so I can use breast pads (and also because it’s just more comfortable.
  • Daytime nursing bra: Bravado! Designs Nursing Bra 
    • You’ll want a more supportive bra for daytime use. They do sell underwire nursing bras, and I’ve also heard you can take any bra to Nordstrom and they’ll alter it to turn it into a nursing bra, but I find underwire incredibly painful and uncomfortable these days. This bra is pretty supportive even for being wireless, and it’s well-made and comfy.

Also, get use to planning your outfits around how easy it is to access your boobs. This usually means I’m dressed one or two ways these days — either I’m wearing an actual nursing top or dress, OR I’m using the two-shirt method with a nursing tank underneath a regular shirt or sweater. Here are my recommendations either way:

  • Nursing tanks: Caramel Cantina 3-Pack
    • I originally got the black, white, and grey set, then went back and purchased the other set of three later, so I have six in total. I throw these on under any shirt, sweater, or button up and am good to go.

  • Breastpump: Spectra S2
    • My health insurance paid for my breastpump, and I got the Spectra S2 after seeing so many raves about it. Though i don’t really have anything to compare it to, I love this pump and it works really, really well for me. The flanges are wide-necked, which means they work directly with the Avent bottles, but you’ll need an adapter to pump into Medela storage bottles (I received a few of those from my insurance as well, so I got the adapter online for like $6.) I also ordered a smaller flange size to maximize my output, and I also got longer tubes so that I’d be able to sit further back from the base while pumping.
    • I will say, I kind of wish I’d paid extra to upgrade the S1, which is exactly the same pump only it has a battery pack instead of needing to be plugged in. If you’ll be taking your pump back and forth to the office or anything like that, you might want to consider the S1 as an option instead.
  • Silicone Pump / Milk Catcher
    • I’d never heard of a silicone pump before joining some new mom Facebook groups, but this thing is a total game changer if you just want to keep a small stash of milk in the fridge or freezer without committing to regular pumping. It’s this little pump that you just suction to your other breast while nursing your baby, and it catches your let-down and allows you to rack up a nice little store of milk with no extra effort. For me, it “catches” 1 – 2 ounces each time I use it.

O BLESSED SLEEP:

I feel like I should be inserting a bunch of jokes about not really remembering what sleep is like, but we’re actually starting to get into a pretty good groove with sleep these days so I can’t say that anymore! She’s not sleeping straight through the night or anything, but she is getting to be predictable and have nice long stretches of 6 hours to start the night, then usually a 4 to 4.5 hour one after that, and then sometimes another 1 – 2 hours after that, so I really am not complaining.

That said, as you guys probably remember, this modicum of predictability in her sleep routine did not come quickly nor easily, and I definitely tried basically every single baby sleep product that exists in order to find out what works for us. And so!

  • Sound machine: Hatch Baby Rest Night Light and Sound Machine and Cloud b Sleep Sheep / Peaceful Panda
    • A sound machine has been a total necessity for Penny to sleep longer and more deeply. In addition to the scale, Hatch Baby also makes a cool nightlight/sound machine that is app controlled to be fully customizable, from the color and intensity of the light, to the type and volume of sound, how long it stays on, etc. It even has an “okay to wake” feature that you can use for when you have an older child that tries to get out of bed too early. I really love this because you can leave it going all night if you want, whereas most other baby sound machines all timeout after a certain amount of time.
    • We also have the Cloud b Peaceful Panda (full-size) and Sleep Sheep On the Go (travel-size). These are great because they can attach to her crib, bassinet, swing, carseat, or wherever she’s sleeping, although they suffer from the time-limit issue mentioned above. White noise for everyone!

 

  • DockATot
    • You guys know from my previous post that I’m a 100% drinker of the DockATot Kool-Aid. This overpriced dog bed has just worked out really well for us, haha. Once Penny stopped letting us swaddle her, we couldn’t get her to sleep in her bassinet no matter what we tried, and I was super paranoid about just letting her sleep loose in bed with us. The DockATot solved both issues by helping her sleep better in her bassinet if we put it in there and allowing us to cosleep with her more confidently.
    • The DockATot is what initially got us from 1.5 – 2 hour stretches of sleep, to 3 – 4 hours, which made a HUGE difference in my ability to, like, I dunno, function? And even though she doesn’t sleep in it every night anymore, it’s still awesome for naps and was super convenient when we traveled to Texas last week. All that being said, if there’s only ONE recommendation you take away from this entire far-too-long list, it’s not actually the DAT but what comes next…

 

  • Baby Merlin’s Magic Sleepsuit
    • Baby Merlin, I love you. This ridiculous marshmallow suit is without a doubt the BEST THING I HAVE PURCHASED. By transforming Penny into the Michelin Man each night, it has enabled her to graduate to the aforementioned 6+ hours stretch of sleep each night… in her CRIB… in her ROOM. I KNOWWWW!! A quick nursing session in the middle of the night and she’s back to sleep. Does it have actual magical powers? Perhaps! All I know is this ridiculous baby snowsuit has been my literal saving grace.
    • Notes: it comes in both a microfleece and a cotton version. I got the cotton version because I was worried about her overheating, and it works really well where I can still put her in a onesie or a light sleeper underneath. Alas, this cannot be used for newborns, as I believe the minimum weight requirement is 12 lbs, and the maximum weight (of the next size up) is 21 lbs.

BABY CONTAINERS:

Much though your baby may protest, you are just not going to be able to hold him or her 100% of the time. Yeah, yeah, I know we have to cherish the snuggles and this time because it’s fleeting and before long they won’t want to be held, the laundry can wait, blah blah. This is true. But it’s also true that the laundry can only wait so long when every item of clothing I own is covered in spit-up, drool, sweat, breastmilk, or spilled food (from trying to eat while holding the baby.) And so, yes, sadly but truly, you gotta be able to put your baby down.

 

  • Boppy Newborn Lounger
    • Penny l-o-v-e-d the newborn lounger for the first month of her life. As she’s gotten bigger, she likes it less as I think she is less comfy and cozy in it (and also she prefers sitting up so she can see stuff), but it’s still nice to have a place to set her down next to me on the couch. I got an additional cover for it on Etsy as Boppy doesn’t actually make covers for this product (though you can put the whole thing in the washing machine.)

  • Activity Gym/Playmat: Skip Hop Silver Linings Activity Gym
    • This activity gym makes for a super plush place for Penny to get her play on a few times a day. It comes with a bunch of toys, a tummy time pillow, and has a great aesthetic that I really vibe with, lol. It’s such a plush, comfy playmat that Penny often falls asleep on it.

  • Swing: Fisher-Price Cradle ‘n’ Swing
    • You may already have read about how I was very resistant to getting a swing because our place isn’t very big, and swings take up a lot of room. Buuuut then I actually came home with my baby and realized that physically rocking her and bouncing her and swinging her all the time wasn’t really all that enjoyable when you had to do it for an hour straight. So we shoved our dining room table to the side and made room for the Cradle ‘n’ Swing, which I’d had the opportunity to try out at my sister’s house and Penny tooootally loved. Penny can easily take a 2-3 hour nap in this thing, it’s awesome.

  • Floor Seat: Fisher-Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat
    • Like I said above, Penny is at a stage where she absolutely loves sitting up and being able to see and interact with things, but, of course, is still too little to sit up on her own. A friend gave me her Bumbo floor seat, but alas, it didn’t work too well because A) the back doesn’t come up that far so Penny’s head kept falling all the way back, and B) her meaty thighs were already getting stuck in the leg holes, hahahahaha. Enter the Sit-Me-Up. Penny loves it! I still try not to have her in there for more than 10 – 15 minutes at a time as I want her to develop her own sitting up muscles, but it’s a really great way to entertain and exhaust her — the equivalent of holding her in a sitting position on my lap.

 

  • Baby Carrier: Baby K’Tan & LilleBaby All-Seasons Complete
    • So what happens when your baby just won’t tolerate being put down, even in one of the aforementioned boss-ass baby containers? I mean, hey, I get it — they spent nearly 10 months INSIDE US, can you blame them for wanting to remain close? Well, thankfully, there’s babywearing. Strap that baby into a carrier or wrap her up in a sling, and go about your business! I have both a wrap-style carrier and a traditional soft carrier, and like both of them.
    • The Baby K’Tan is like a wrap/sling for cheaters, which makes it perfect for me. It consists of two loops that you can wear like an infinity scarf when not using the carrier, and then you just loop your arms through and pop your baby in when you need to. I used it when flying with Penny by myself and it was sooooo helpful. I also typically use this when I’m wearing her inside the house.
    • I honestly haven’t used my LilleBaby a ton, just a for taking Penny out on a few walks around the neighborhood, but I do really like it. It has six different positions (I think I’ll love it even more once I can start wearing Penny facing out in it), it’s sturdy without being stiff, is highly adjustable and easily accommodates my post-baby belly (this brand came up a lot in my research as being good for plus-sizes), and it comes in the best prints — mine has donuts on it! 😀

CLEAN & HEALTHY:

All right, we’re down to the last category here — things you’ll want to help keep your precious, delicate babe clean and healthy and perfect as can be.

  • NoseFrida: The SnotSucker
    • This thing is FAR superior to the aspirator bulb you’ll get from the hospital at helping babies when they have congestion and a runny nose. Don’t worry, the snot doesn’t end up anywhere near your mouth.
    • I actually got the FridaMom Bitty Bundle of Joy kit which comes with the NoseFrida, extra filters, the MomWasher (awesome for your postpartum down-there care), Nail Clippers, Windi (for gas relief — I gave them to my sister as Alex was a bit gassy / colicky and she said they worked pretty well). I recommend all their products TBH.

  • Baby Bathtub: Schnuggle Bath
    • There are a lot of baby bathtubs out there, and the most common one you’re likely to come across is a long blue tub that goes in your bathtub and a lot of people love. I wasn’t really looking for a reason to be crouching or kneeling next to a bathtub any sooner than I’ll have to, so I opted for the Schnuggle Bath, a bucket-style tub instead that fits in our kitchen sink. This way, I can stand and give her a bath right there, or I can fill it and move it to wherever is convenient to get her squeaky clean.
    • We use Aveeno Baby shampoo, wash, and lotions which have worked out great as well.
  • Little Remedies Gripe Water
    • Sometimes if Penny is just a little extra fussy or upset, a squirt of gripe water is just what she needs to help calm her gas pains or settle her stomach. I’ve tried both the Mama’s Bliss and the Little Remedies brands of gripe water, and prefer the latter just because I like the applicator that comes with it better, but both have worked well for us.

Okay! So there you go, a really ridiculously long list of products that have been officially Penny-tested and Gretchen-approved. But wait, there’s more!

BONUS: FAVE BRANDS IF YOU LOVE LARGE CREDIT CARD BILLS AND EXASPERATED HUSBANDS:

Because sometimes it’s not just about the functionality, it’s about the adorableness?

  • Monica + Andy: Super soft organic baby clothing, blankets, and more with the best prints – unicorns and rainbows and coffee cups and donuts and foxes and I gotta say, I think this is starting to become a bit of an addiction… ::gulp::
  • Cuddle + Kind: Adorable hand-knit dolls with a great cause attached — for every doll sold, 10 meals are given to children in need. They just released a unicorn doll WEARING A RAINBOW SWEATER, so obviously I am now a fan for life.

  • Freshly Picked: Super trendy baby and kid moccasins that are soft, adorable, and really do stay on those squirmy baby feet!
  • L’ovedbaby: Also very soft, organic cotton baby clothing that fits really well.

AAAAAND okay NOW I’m done, I promise. Although I’m pretty sure I’ve still forgotten several items I wanted to mention… Oh well. I’ve been trying to finish this post for like a week, so if there’s a particular item you’re wondering about, just ask! And obviously if you have a die-hard fave item that I didn’t talk about, please please leave a comment letting me know what it is!

For additional product recommendations/help building a baby registry, I’d also highly recommend checking out Lucie’s List. It’s a great starting point for sorting through the insane amount of baby products there are out there, especially for the big stuff — cribs and mattresses, strollers, carseats, etc. I didn’t go into recommendations on these products since so you’ll probably want to do a lot more research on what’ll be a good fit for you functionally, stylistically, and price-wise, but just in case you’re interested, we went with the Chicco Bravo Travel System (comes with the Bravo stroller and the Chicco Keyfit30 carseat + base), the DaVinci Lila 3-in-1 Convertible Crib, and the Colgate Eco Classica III crib mattress.

Penny’s Birth Story

Huzzah! We’ve successfully managed to keep our tiny human alive for over two weeks! Though we are still getting the hang of this whole parenting thing, and the lack of sleep is definitely catching up to us, I didn’t want to wait too much longer to jot down the details of Penny’s birth story lest I forget anything.

So, first off, let me say this: every totally annoying, super cliche thing you’ve ever heard about childbirth and motherhood is 100% accurate: it is incredible, entirely life-altering, and no matter how much I’d read or heard or felt I’d prepared (and truly, I thought I was prepared!), there’s no way I could fully understand it until I, well, went through it. The act of giving birth was, for me, a truly transformative experience. Trite as it sounds, I honestly can’t believe I’d lived my life for 29 years without this little nugget — or that I was so scared of the changes that becoming a mother would bring. Penelope has indeed rocked our world, but in only the best, most positive way.

Now, I’m sure this will come as no shock to those of you who’ve been following my pregnancy, but I don’t tend to hold back the TMI details here when it comes to her birth story. So if you’ve come across this post as my casual Facebook acquaintance and decidedly do NOT want or need to know all about dilation, contractions, and all the other nitty gritty labor details, here’s the tl;dr version:

Much to my surprise (I am the girl who got married in a blizzard, after all), my induction went exactly as planned — smoothly and without complication! I was officially induced at 7 AM on Wednesday, August 30th and at 6:07 PM, Penelope Spencer Fox was born!

For those of you interested in hearing juuuuust a little more (lulz) than that, go ahead and strap yourselves in. Or, you know, scroll and skim through, because this is probably going to be overwrought and overly detailed to the point of serious annoyance.

As we all know, I was diagnosed with pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure) 34 weeks into my pregnancy, which eventually progressed to preeclampsia. As a result, my doctors recommended we induce labor at 37 weeks due to the risks to both baby and myself. The plan was pretty simple: I was to go to the hospital the night before I hit 37 weeks (Tuesday the 29th) to start ripening my cervix (dilating), then would be officially induced the following morning.

Now, knowing the exact date that you’re going to have a baby (and basically picking her birthday!) ahead of time was quite the mind-twist for me. I will say, however, that despite any anxiety I was feeling with regard to my medical issues and the process of induction itself, it was kind of nice in a Type A, love-to-plan kinda way to know exactly when I’d be going into labor, lol.

In fact, my day leading up to going to the hospital ended up being pretty nice! I tried to keep myself busy so that I wouldn’t dwell too much on what was to come, so I went for my final prenatal massage, got a pedicure + my eyebrows waxed, and enjoyed a visit from a friend. I also made sure to take a shower, washed my hair, triple-checked my hospital bag, got in some final extra pre-baby puppy cuddles with Harry & Daxter, and took care of the final items on my work to-do list.

When Sean got home from work around 5 PM, we packed up an overnight bag for him, loaded the dogs into the car, and headed into Falls Church to drop them off at my parents’ house. My doctors all told me to make sure I ate a good meal before checking into the hospital, so I made arrangements for my parents to pick up food from my favorite restaurant, and had dinner with my entire family before heading off to the hospital. I did experience a burst of emotion when Sean and I arrived at my parents’ place, as what was about to happen started to hit me, but I didn’t have too long to fixate on it. After all, we had a very important appointment to keep!

We arrived at Inova Fairfax for our 7:30 PM appointment and checked in at the Labor & Delivery registration desk. We were led to room 123 — same as our wedding date! — and I had a chance to settle in and change into the labor gown I brought from home (it’s this one, if you’re interested!) as the nurses prepped.

A few pokes and prods later, I was set up with a saline-lock IV so that they’d later be able to administer my induction medications and intravenous fluids. Alas, getting an IV is never a fun experience for me, as I have deep, hard-to-find veins. They had to stick me twice, ultimately putting it in on the side of my wrist because there was no other good vein they could find — ouch! I was also set up with fetal + contraction monitors, as well as a blood pressure cuff that went off every 15 minutes.

It took quite a while to get all of that set up, plus I had to answer questions about my medical history and go over what would be happening. My doctor had me set up to receive a drug called Cytotec that would help dilate my cervix in anticipation of being induced, and I was to receive a low dose pill every 3 hours. Unfortunately (don’t say I didn’t warn you about the TMI thing!) I had to receive the pill vaginally — which means exactly what you think it means. Every 3 hours, the nurse would give me a cervical check to see how dilated I was and  then shoved a little pill all up in there — not gonna lie, it was a very uncomfortable process.  I tell you, the cervical checks at the hospital were not nearly as quick or gentle as the ones I had received previously at my OB’s office.

ANYWAY.

The first dose of Cytotec was administered around 9 PM, and I received another two doses at 3 hour intervals — midnight and 3 AM. My nurse disconnected me from my various monitors to try to allow me to get some sleep but, given that I was always waiting for the next, er, rather invasive dosage (not to mention all the general excitement and anticipation), I only ended up getting like two hours worth of sleep in total. Sean was able to conk out though, despite his less-than-stellar sleeping arrangements (a chair that pulled out into what we’ll generously call a “bed”), which was good because I needed at least one of us to be well-rested and level-headed for what was to come!

I didn’t feel much different after the first dose of Cytotec, which made sense because nothing really happened in those first three hours. After I received my second dose, however, I started to feel very mild contractions. They weren’t painful, and it made me happy that it felt like something was happening! These contractions really just felt a lot like Braxton-Hicks at this point, and they continued as I got my third dose, increasing very slightly in intensity as morning came. They were still so mild, though, that in addition to watching lots of Scrubs reruns on my iPad overnight, I was also able to do my makeup as I waited for things to really get kickin’ in the morning. Priorities, y’know? 😉

 
A little before 7 AM, my nurse came back in to check me again and informed me that after all that work the night before, I was at… 1 cm dilated and 50% effaced. Womp womp. I was kind of discouraged to hear that I had only progressed a single centimeter overnight, but my nurse informed me that it was actually good progress considering my cervix was completely closed and long when we started.

Doctor’s orders were to begin my Pitocin drip at 7 to officially start my induction, so they hooked up my IV and we were off to the races! Pitocin is a synthetic form of oxytocin — the hormone that is released during labor that tells your uterus to contract and your cervix to dilate. Basically, it’s what lets your body know that it’s baby time! And the Pit definitely works, I tell you what. They started me off on a very low dose and increased it every 15 – 30 minutes, and my contractions began ramping up in frequency and intensity almost immediately! While it took 10 hours for that first centimeter, by the time my doctor came in to check on me at 8:30 AM, I’d gone from 1 to 3 cm!

My doctor was happy with how things had been progressing, so she went ahead and broke my water. They use a plastic hook thing that looks alarmingly like a crochet hook, and it was a painless procedure — just made me feel like I was leaking, haha. My doctor suggested that I put in my request for an epidural at this point as well, as breaking the water really tends to increase the intensity and pain of contractions. Plus, it could take upwards of an hour for the anesthesiologist to get to you once you put in the request. I followed her advice and was sooooooo glad that I did, as my contractions ramped up VERY rapidly, to the point where I was now doing the whole comical HEE-HOO-HOO type of breathing and closing my eyes to get through them.

As soon as I got that epi though — sweet, sweet relief! I couldn’t feel a single contraction anymore and it was absolutely fabulous. My mom and mother-in-law arrived at the hospital and I was just happily chatting away with them – that stuff really is magic, ahahaha. The process of getting the epidural wasn’t bad either — the worst pain was from the initial needle poke that you get when they put numbing stuff into your back. I won’t lie, that did hurt (made my eyes well up with tears, and I feel like I have a relatively high pain threshold for needles + shots), but I didn’t feel the epidural needle or catheter going in at all.

The medicine started working within like, 5 minutes, and I seriously felt like a whole new person! You hear a lot of epidural horror stories out there, but I think it worked pretty well on me. No more contraction pain, and it didn’t give me dead legs or make me feel all doped up or anything like that. I felt some numbness at the tops of my thighs but still had full control over my legs and could easily turn from side to side, etc. My only negative side effect was that my skin got quite itchy — which is apparently a very normal, if slightly uncomfortable, reaction.

Once the epidural was in, it was really just a matter of hanging out and waiting for things to progress. The doctor came back in around noon, and I was excited to see how much progress I had made in the four hours since she broke my water. Came to find out I had dilated… a whole whopping centimeter more. 4 cm and 60% effaced, wooooooo. I was, once again, a bit discouraged by this, but my doctor once again reassured me that things were looking good, and told me that labor progresses kind of exponentially. It can be very slow to get those first centimeters, but you can progress very quickly the further along you get. She’d be back to check in on me again in — you guessed it — four more hours.

The hospital provides a peanut ball in each delivery room — basically an exercise ball that’s literally shaped like a peanut — which I also started utilizing at this point. It’s supposed to help open your pelvis, encourage dilation, and help get the baby to slide into position, all of which I was definitely aaaaall for. You keep it between your legs, and I alternated laying on my right and left sides to change up my position. Then I just kept my fingers crossed that things would start moving along a little more quickly — I think I was getting impatient, heh.

I’d now been at the hospital for like 18 hours, and the previous night’s dinner was becoming a distant memory. Now that my contraction pain had dissipated, I could focus on the fact that I was HANGRY, and the hospital-approved consumables of water, popsicles, and jello were simply not cutting it. Now, I’m a big believer in following doctor’s instructions and hospital rules, but I do think it’s total bullhockey that you’re not allowed to eat anything while you’re in labor. As if, you know, pushing a watermelon through a bagel-sized hole doesn’t REQUIRE STRENGTH OR ENERGY OR ANYTHING. So I totally had Sean sneak me bites of Panera mac ‘n’ cheese while the nurses were out of the room, and also plowed through my stash of contraband granola bars while we were waiting around.

At around 3:30 PM, I started feeling a lot of pressure down there, paired with the feeling like I needed to take a biiiiiig ol’ poop. My baby books, the internet, and the hospital nurses had all prepared me for the fact that feeling you have to go to the bathroom is a sign that you’re getting really close. I wasn’t at I’m-gonna-crap-my-pants-immediacy yet, but I let the nurses know, and since the doctor was supposed to be coming back to check on me around 4:30 anyway, we decided to wait for her.

Well, shockingly, patience has never really been my strong suit, and after about 20 minutes of waiting, things started to really feel like they were escalating. I very quickly started to feel some serious downtown pushdowns, so the nurses called the doctor to let her know that things were speeding up. Alas, my doctor still wasn’t able to make it back to me until almost 4:30, which was about the time she was supposed to come back around anyway, lol. She checked me, then had one of the nurses who was new & still in training check me as well (with my permission, of course) to see how much of my cervix she could still feel. Well, turns out it was kind of a trick question, because I was fully dilated to 10 cm and what she was actually feeling was baby’s head!

Despite having held it together really well (especially considering it’s, you know, ME) since checking into the hospital, this was the moment where I promptly started freaking out and crying. After all, I knew what 10 cm meant! And despite having been in the hospital for 20 hours at this point, and in active labor for 9 or 10 hours, it really didn’t feel quite real until that moment.

Alas, I’d have plenty of time to check my emotions, as my doctor informed me that all three of her laboring patients had reached 10 cm at like the same time (ha!), and she had one mom she wanted to deliver before me (she referred to her as her “troublemaker,” so I assume she had some complications.) “Can you wait 20 or 30 minutes?” she asked me, as if A) I had a choice, and B) I had any idea if I would be able to wait or not, lol. I’d never done this before, after all! I nodded meekly and proceeded to turn onto my back… where I stayed basically just trying not to move until the doctor returned almost an HOUR LATER for fear of, like, accidentally sneezing and pooping out my baby. In retrospect, of course, I realize that my rationality may have started escaping me at this point.

I had Sean turn on my delivery playlist (which, sidenote: I received lots of compliments on it from all the nurses and my doctor, so if anyone is interested in putting something similar together, here’s a link! It’s full of super chill music that really helped me remain calm and focused leading up to and during the actual delivery) and after a while, the nurses came in and told me that my doctor was on her way back, and I was allowed to start pushing now!

I gotta say, despite all my prep work, all the research and reading and forum-surfing and obsessing I had done, I still was not prepared for what the actual experience of pushing would be like. I knew that you were supposed to bear down as if you were going #2, but the reality was still just nothing I could have expected. You lie there with your legs held back, do a stomach crunch with your chin to your chest, and push literally as hard as you can for ten seconds at a time, three times in a row — trying to time your pushes with the contractions that you can’t really feel (although I did feel the down-there pressure increase each time I was having a contraction, so I tried my best to go with that.)

I don’t know what I was really thought, if I was expecting that just you got to 10 cm and — whoosh! — suddenly your baby slides on out of you, but it was definitely a lot of work and it was really exhausting both physically and emotionally. I was straight up sobbing for the last five or ten minutes of pushing, partially from the effort I was expending, partially from the pain (the epidural had gotten rid of my contraction pain, but I could still feel a lot of what was happening “down there,” especially as she actually came out — urk!), and, of course, mostly from the sheer emotional weight of it all. I am happy to report, however, that unlike some 80-90% of women giving birth, I did NOT poop on the table as I was pushing — it’s the little victories, y’know?

 
After pushing for about forty minutes, at 6:07 PM on Wednesday, August 30th, amidst huge, heaving sobs, our beautiful daughter was born!

They placed her on my chest immediately for a minute of skin-to-skin contact while Sean cut the cord, and then she was whisked over to the baby scale to take her measurements while I delivered my placenta (didn’t even notice this happening) and my doctor stitched me up (kinda felt it). I had a second-degree tear, which, according to my doctor is pretty normal for first-time deliveries. And as we already know, Penny herself was pretty perfect at 19.75 inches long and 6 pounds, 15 ounces! She was born still covered in vernix, the cream-cheesy-looking substance that protects babies’ skin while in the womb (it is usually gone by the time full-term babies are born), so they also wiped her down a bit and gave our little Penelope Spencer back to us to keep.

We didn’t have her name picked out going into labor, but had a list of our top 5 choices that I was planning on “trying out” on her once she was born. As soon as they placed her on my chest, though, I just knew right away that she was our little Lucky Penny — didn’t even give a second thought to the other names on our list.

Her middle name comes from my paternal grandmother, Gretchen Spencer Powell, who I was named after. I also have an uncle and a cousin Spencer, and the Powell side is big on family names, hehe. She also has a Chinese name that my mother bestowed upon her: 美玲 (Mei Ling). It means “beautiful bell” which is accurate IMO. 😛

And who knows, her name might end up being the most Chinese thing about her, since even though Sean and I are both half-Asian, Penelope popped out with — I’m not kidding — a head full of golden peach-fuzz hair! We, along with our families, our doctor, and all the nurses, were pretty surprised at that one! I mean, even my quarter-Asian niece Mia, who now has light brown locks, was born with black hair, hahaha. Penny’s has already gotten a bit darker though, so we’ll have to see where she ends up! (With her eyes too — she was born with dark grey-blue eyes, like many newborns, and they still haven’t really changed so I can’t wait to see what color they end up either!)

Anyway, after a bit more time getting cleaned up, we were transferred up to our recovery room, where Penelope got to meet our patiently-waiting family members!

And just like that, our lives were changed forever — and immeasurably for the better. I can’t believe Penny’s already been in our lives for over two weeks! It’s also so weird to think that, under “normal” circumstance and had I not been induced early, we wouldn’t even have met her yet, because I already can’t imagine what my life was like without her in it.

And that’s the whooooole story, in far more detail than you were probably expecting or wanting. You already know about the bit of extra drama we experienced upon bringing her home, but otherwise she’s a really great baby. Sleeps well, nurses well, doesn’t cry much — I know all of those things can change in a heartbeat, but for now we’re just grateful to have such a great little girl and are really enjoying getting to know her! Basically, she’s awesome and we feel really fracking lucky that she’s, well, ours.

Foxlet: Week 26 (Glucose Screen Results + Nursery Sneak Peek!)

Aloha! We’re back with another update — and actual things are happening… good and bad lol! Let’s jump in, shall we?

Foxlet’s Size: Foxlet’s just under 2 pounds and about the size of a head of lettuce or package of Oreos.

Weight Gained: My scale ran out of batteries and apparently I have like 6 boxes of AA batteries but nary a single AAA battery in my house, so I’m not really sure where I’m at this week. But I think I might’ve gained another pound or so, which would bring me back up to to -5 lbs from my pre-pregnancy weight.

Symptoms: Eh, heartburn, insomnia, SPD, general uncomfortableness… there’s not a whole lot of new stuff going on with me physically. Just some more unfortunate-but-normal stuff, which seems to be pretty much par for the course with me.

Foxlet is SUPER ACTIVE (not sure where she’s getting her athleticism from, because it certainly ain’t her couch-potato mama) and loves twirling around and punching and kicking me to high Heaven. Sean was able to feel her kicking from the outside for the first time last week, which was a really special moment for us. I think the “realness” of this whole thing is finally starting to set in for him — he’s been super sweet about rubbing and talking to my belly, and has been really into discussions about baby names and baby stuff lately too. 🙂

I’m also already deep into nesting mode — my baby shower isn’t for another few weeks, but I haven’t been able to help myself from starting to set up a few things already. Which, I know, is kind of silly because I still have months to go, but I can’t help it! Nesting! The nesting is real!

Our plan is to have her sleep in the bassinet we got in our bedroom for the first however-long and then transition her into her crib in her room downstairs when she’s sleeping “through the night” (whatever that means at the time, lol.) Our bedroom isn’t very big, with two big closets taking up an entire wall, so we just kind of have to make it work by shifting some things around (including Harry & Daxter’s beds, haha.)

Luckily, we don’t really use that one side of the closet that much anyway — it mainly houses Sean’s and my fancier clothing — suits and cocktail dresses and whatnot.

Emotions: Sooooo, as I mentioned last week, I had my 1-hour glucose screening test…

…and I failed with a blood sugar level of 146 (my OB office’s cutoff is 135). Womp wompity womp.

Not gonna lie, I was SUPER bummed out about failing my initial screening. Like, crying on the phone to the poor woman who had to call me with my results. And then crying to Sean about it. And then crying to my sister. This is despite already knowing that lots of women fail the 1-hour test, and many of those who do fail go on to pass the 3-hour test. (Dr. Google says anywhere from one-third to one-half of tested women fail the 1-hour screen, while only 3 – 9% of pregnant women actually have legit gestational diabetes.)

Well, even being aware of all that beforehand, I was still pretty upset when I got the call and am distinctly NOT looking forward to having to do the more invasive tolerance test. ESPECIALLY considering the lab tech who drew my blood last time left me looking like I’d been in some kind of weirdly specific forearm fight:

Le sigh. Anyway, my doctor’s office didn’t make it seem like it was too urgent for me to take my 3-hour glucose tolerance test, so I’m doing it at the end of this month. Basically, I get to drink another super sweet glucose drink (TBH I kind of liked the first one — it tasted kinda like super sweet non-fizzy Fanta), and then they draw my blood 4 times over the course of 3 hours (once at the beginning to establish a baseline, I believe, and then again at hours 1, 2, and 3.)

If my blood sugar is elevated outside of the normal range for 2 of the 3 blood draws, I get officially diagnosed with gestational diabetes. Which means I’ll have to go see an endocrinologist and follow a special diet and have to do those finger prick things and maybe even potentially have to give myself insulin shots! Buuuuuuuut, before I spin out of control (again), I just need to remember that those are all attached to a big “if” at this point.

So for now, I’m going to try to remain hopeful that I’m in the 20-plus percent of women that will go on to pass my 3-hour, and if I do end up having GD, I’ll cross that bridge then. After all, Foxlet’s health is obviously the most important thing here, so of course if those things need to happen, they’re gonna happen. But it doesn’t mean I’m gonna be happy about any of it, lol.

Cravings/Aversions: Been craving lots of sweet things — fruit, desserts, bubble tea. Maybe it’s my mind telling me to get in my sugars while I can, just in case I do end up having to go on a stricter diet, lol. No real aversions right now though, so continued yays there!

Sleep: Sleep is a tricky thing. When I do finally fall asleep, I think I sleep pretty hard. But the actual falling asleep part is really hard. I get uncomfortable staying in one position for too long, but sometimes it hurts to change positions while lying down because of my aforementioned SPD. Plus, my acid reflux means sometimes I need to be laying kind of upright so as not to aggravate my esophagus. I continue to be very grateful that I work from home and don’t have to adhere to a super early alarm clock.

Purchases: I went ahead and ordered a Nanit baby monitor — they’re backordered until August, so I figured I’d go ahead and bite the bullet now. Calling itself the “Tesla of baby monitors,” this monitor is supposed to provide a great quality picture, secure access via your phone, includes temperature + humidity sensors, a special night light that’s not supposed to wake the baby when you go check on her, and white noise/nature sounds functionality as well.

Plus, the “Nanit Insights” feature (an extra subscription) stores video from throughout the night and even compiles a little highlight video for you each morning so you can check on how well the baby did the night before. It has a bunch of sleep analysis features as well that are supposed to let you know how well your baby slept, and help you figure out sleep improvements and whatnot. Which, eh, I’m mildly skeptical of how accurate/scientific that part of it all is, but I’m sure it’ll still be fun and interesting for us, haha.

I was also lucky to receive a couple more baby gifts this week, so in addition to getting her bassinet set up in our own bedroom, I have wasted no time starting to get Foxlet’s room in order as well. Sean’s parents very generously gifted us with our crib and mattress, and I just couldn’t keep myself from setting it up!

Man, talk about making this whole thing feel real! A crib feels VERY REAL, let me tell you.

It’s taking a bit of time to figure out how everything’s going to work in her room, as our house only has two bedrooms, so her room is also our guestroom. So it was already full of furniture that I’m trying to repurpose for the baby as best I can. The main thing is trying to work around the bed, which I’m reluctant to get rid of because I think it’s sure to come in handy after she’s born — whether for actual guests or just for me, haha.

So setting up her room is involving a lot of trial-and-error, shifting things around, and just seeing where things fit (or don’t.) For example, in order to fit the crib in there at all, we have to push the bed pretty far over to one side (it used to be centered in between the two windows). It’s not ideal, but I think it kinda works? I’ll be playing with the layout of everything a lot more, so I guess we’ll see how it all ends up.

So there are still tons of changes to come, of course, along with swapping out a bunch of the current decor, adding new stuff, and performing a general girlification of the room, hehe. But consider this your very first peek at what Foxlet’s nursery will be like!

I also haven’t decided if I like the cranes pulled to the side like curtains (how it is pictured above), or if I want to cut some of the strands so they all hang straight down (the way they used to), but in a way that kinda forms an arch over/around the crib. It’s probably kind of hard to visualize, but… thoughts? If I leave it as it is now, I’ll definitely be putting a decal or some artwork or something on the wall in the middle.

In other news: I’ve put together a rough birth plan document and pre-registered at the hospital (for anyone who’s familiar with the local hospital system, I’ll be delivering at INOVA Fairfax), and am now looking into birth classes for Sean and me to take. Although, I have heard some mixed things about taking birth classes.

Some friends say they really loved theirs and thought it was really valuable, and some have said it didn’t really provide any new information and was kind of a waste of time/money. As someone who is neurotic Google-happy watches a lot of medical tv shows prone to doing tons of research and self-education anyway, I am wondering if I’ll fall into the latter category. I mean, I’ve already read through like 3 baby books, am constantly perusing the BabyCenter forums, and am listening to the Pregnancy Podcast every night before bed soooooo… lol.

I imagine birth classes are one of those things that can’t possibly hurt to do (and might be especially great to get Sean more comfortable with things), but I’d love to hear from you guys on whether you felt taking a birth class was necessary (or, if not necessary, then at least warranted.)

Anyway, that certainly catches us up (and then some!) to what’s been going on lately. See you in week 27!

Foxlet: Weeks 23 – 25

Hihi! Wow, I’m definitely overdue for an update! Time is really starting to fly — I feel like I’m staring down the barrel of my third trimester, and things keep moving more and more quickly. I spent last week in Atlanta with my also-pregnant sister, getting to see my beautiful nieces and going on what we dubbed our #sistermoon!

Basically, we booked ourselves an overnight stay at a fancy spa, ate some fancy meals, and spent some serious QT together. It was pretty great! Of course, the actual pregnancy pampering stuff was only a small part of my visit — I spent the rest of the time partying with my awesome nieces and scaring people away with how white my belly is, ahaha:

 

I also got to attend Mia’s very first dance recital! She was a little rockstar, and I got to experience what it must be like to be a pageant mom by loading up a 4-year-old with makeup and a sock bun.

It was a great trip, though one that ended a little more bittersweetly than usual when I realized that it might be the last time I see my nieces for quite a while! I’ll get to see my sister again in a few weeks when she comes up for my baby shower, but I might not see the girls until Christmas! Which, yes, okay, I realize isn’t really that far away, but given that I’m accustomed to getting to see them pretty much every other month, it certainly feels like eons. Although Sean pointed out that I miiiiiight have a few other things on my mind in the interim anyway, so maybe it really will seem like no time at all, lol.

And speaking of those other things, on with the Foxlet update?

Foxlet’s Size: At 25 weeks (today!), she is apparently the size of a myriad of different fruits: cantaloupe, rutabaga, acorn squash? Take your pick. She’s also apparently the size of a baseball mitt, which seems ginormous!

Weight Gained: I have officially gained another pound, which brings me back up to 7 pounds below my “starting” weight.

Symptoms: The past few weeks have been good on the food/nausea front (thank goodness!) but kind of terrible on the aches & pains front. I’ve been dealing with some pretty harsh SPD, or symphysis pubis dysfunction (also referred to as pelvic girdle pain), which basically means that because my ligaments have gone all loosey goosey to make it easier to, y’now, squeeze a watermelon out of my hoo-haa, the alignment of my pelvis has gotten a little out of whack. It’s very painful to change positions in bed when I’m laying down, and hurts to do things that requires putting weight on one leg (like putting on/taking off pants or getting out of my car.)

I’m also dealing with some heartburn and insomnia, which I’m actually pretty used to since non-pregnant Gretchen had heartburn/acid reflux and don’t really sleep all that well anyway. Both just seem to be popping up a little more frequently is all. Also a symptom lately:

PREGNANCY BRAIN IS SO REAL.

Emotions: LOL, what do you think? After I got back from my trip, I literally cried into Sean’s shirt for like 15 minutes straight over how much I missed him, how I missed the dogs so much, how I wouldn’t see the girls until Christmas… not to mention the fact that every episode of Grey’s Anatomy that I’m rewatching right now turns me into a potential tear-bomb. Basically, if you see me, there’s like a 70% chance I’m either currently crying, just cried, or am about to cry. Just ignore it.

Cravings: Still craving fresh fruit and raw veggies, along with all things sushi-related… le sigh. Cooked rolls are delicious, of course, but they just don’t fill the void that salmon nigiri has left in my life.

Aversions: No real specific or strong aversions have popped back up, so huzzah!

Sleep: As mentioned, I’ve been battling insomnia every few of nights, and have to sleep with like 3849283498 pillows (much to Sean’s delight.) My mom surprise gifted me with a new body pillow though, which I slept with last night and am in looooooorve with.

Purchases: Haven’t made any personal baby-related purchases lately, but I have been extremely fortunate to be the recipient of several gifts lately — including the entire stockpile of baby girl clothes that have lasted my sister through raising two awesome little girls. I brought an entire extra suitcase with me to Atlanta, and was only able to fit like a third of the stuff she’s handing over to me!

I feel super blessed to be able to get so much awesome clothing (granted, much of which I think I bought for Mia & Kira in the first place, lol) and baby stuff. It’s definitely nurturing that nesting feeling, too. I just want to get everything here, put away, and organized in her room. 🙂

In other news: Tomorrow morning I go in for my glucose screening test, which involves me drinking a super sweet drink and then getting my blood drawn an hour later to check and see if I’m at risk for gestational diabetes. Whether or not I could have GD has weighed on me pretty heavily so far this pregnancy, so even though I really hope that I don’t, I’m thinking it’ll be a relief just to know either way. (Well, technically even if I test positive on this screening, it doesn’t necessarily mean I have it for sure, but that I’ll have to undergo an additional, secondary blood test to find out.) So… onward!