Thankful, letter by letter.

Joining Kiki’s linkup to share (acrostic style) eight of the many, many people/place/things for which I am most thankful in the season of thankfulness.  Don’t be surprised if all of the below tracks back to a baby — that’s kind of my life right now.


T – This Child.  She is such a blessing.  I am so completely overwhelmed with love for this beautiful, smart, sweet, perfect little girl.

H – Husband. To paraphrase the quote, I thought I couldn’t love Kevin more…then I saw him be a father.  He is amazing.  Such a natural with Ava, and so supportive and loving to me.  He still gets up at least once in the night to change a diaper or perform swaddling magic (he’s the champion swaddler in this house), even when he has to go to work the following day and doesn’t have the luxury of catnapping while the baby-boss sleeps.  He fetches my water-snack-book-etc. when I’m stuck nursing, and he listens to my post-partum woes.  When I get frustrated and burst into tears he just puts his arms around me and lets me cry, then tells me that I’m doing a great job and that the hard stuff will pass.  Needless to say, I am thankful for this guy.

A – A job.  I genuinely enjoy my job, and I am grateful that I am able to take some time away from work to take care of Ava.  When I return to work, it will be part time, and I’m very thankful to have that flexibility.

N – Nest.  Since I can basically count on one hand the number of times I’ve left the house in the past month, I would be remiss if I didn’t salute the ol’ home at this time.  I’m thankful for the roof over my head, the floor under my feet, and the special belongings that fill it.  I’m thankful for furnaces that keep me and my family warm.  I’m thankful that I live in a safe neighborhood.  I am so blessed.

K – Kiki and Rue.  The cats have done so well with the addition of Miss Ava.  They are so sweet and it is great to have them as company, day and night.  I’m thankful for furry family members.

F – Family and friends.  They are the best.  Near and far, they listen and they love and they share in the laughter and the tears.  They have shown….

U – Unsurpassed generosity.  Texts, phone calls, food deliveries, words of advice and support and love.  We have been spoiled beyond belief in the past month.

L – Library.  My first adventure separate from Ava was a quick trip to the library.  After all, due books and picking up holds are time sensitive. I may not have much time to read, but it’s nice to have the option.  I’m thankful for freedom of speech and access to books.  On a similar note, I recently finished the 2015 Reading Challenge and posted my final list of 52 books read this year.  I didn’t pay attention to the posting date though, and it backdated to October 30 and was instantly buried in archives.  Here it is, if you’re interested.

What are you thankful for this year? 

2015 Reading Challenge – final list.

I finished the 2015 Reading Challenge!  It was so much fun to do.  I’m looking forward to the 2016 challenge, if there is one.

Here are the 52 books I read this year, the categories I fit them into, and a few brief words about what I thought of each one.

2015 Reading Challenge

1. A book with more than 500 pages
The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy – 5 stars
This is one of my all time favorite books.  I think Maeve Binchy develops characters so well and the story is just beautiful.

2. A classic romance
The Princess Bride by William Goldman – 4 stars
Would you believe that I’ve never even seen this movie?  Or maybe I’ve seen part of it but not the whole thing…?  I dunno.  Doesn’t matter.  The book was good.  Classic, romantic.  And I love the supporting characters.

3. A book that became a movie
Paper Towns by John Green – 3 stars
I really love John Green’s writing.  He has a talent for spinning a sentence.  I debated between three stars and four stars for this book and ultimately settled on three stars because while I love the writing, I thought the ending was kind of weak.

4. A book published this year
A God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson – 3 stars
This is the “companion book” to Life After Life which I read last year and LOVED.  It follows the brother of the main character in the Life After Life and it was good, but I think LAL is better – the books do stand alone though.  You don’t need to read them in any particular order.  And if you read A God In Ruins first, it wouldn’t surprise me if you like it better than Life After Life – the format of the stories are just so different.

5. A book with a number in the title
One Plus One by Jojo Moyes – 3 stars
This one was fine.  I found the two kid characters very likeable and the two main adult characters a little grating.  Pretty predictable but good story overall.

6. A book written by someone under 30
The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank – 4 stars
I’d never read this one and I wonder how my opinion of it would be different if I’d read it as a teenager rather than as a 30 year old.  I think I was mostly struck by how…ordinary a good portion of the diary is.  It’s typical 13 year old girl stuff…some of it is downright boring.  But that is life – and that was life for her.

7. A book with nonhuman characters
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – 3 stars
I borrowed this one from my mother in law who has a beautiful edition with the most gorgeous illustrations.  I thought the story was sweet and whimsical.

8. A funny book
The Rosie Effect by Graeme C. Simsion – 4 stars
This one is the sequel to The Rosie Project, which overall I liked better.  But Mr. Simsion’s writing is still so engaging and I can’t help but think of Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory when I read it.  The main character is so likeable.

9. A book by a female author
Anne of Ingleside by LM Montgomery – 4 stars
Anne is always a good idea.  This one follows the adventures of Anne and Gilbert and their five children.

10. A mystery or thriller
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn – 4 stars
Creepy.  Super creepy.  From the author of Gone Girl but I thought it was even more disturbing.  I liked it, in a weird way though.

11. A book set in a different country
Rumor Has It by Jill Mansell – 3 stars
I read this one at the beginning of 2015 and it just happened to fit this category.  Pretty cute and funny.  Very light, very predictable.  Set in England, and I think it technically may be “Rumour” rather than “Rumor”.

12. A book with a one-word title
Son by Lois Lowry – 5 stars
The final book in The Giver quartet.  Ties the other three books together.  I really liked it.

13. A book of short stories
Single, Carefree, Mellow:  Stories by Katherine Heiny – 3 stars
The first few stories were funny, but then I realized they’re all pretty much the same storyline.  And there was a lot of cheating and other behavior that I don’t necessarily approve of in the stories.

14. A nonfiction book
Bringing Up Bebe:  One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting by Pamela Druckerman – 4 stars
I thought this book was great!  The author was very “I’m not saying French parents are better than American, I don’t even like Paris all that much, these are just a few things I’ve observed about the differences.”  There were ideas that I’m excited to try with my own child(ren) including the French “way” to get babies to “do their nights” and be open minded about food and regulate themselves and entertain themselves.

15. A popular author’s first book
Three Wishes by Liane Moriarty – 4 stars
Pretty cute.  Not my favorite Liane Moriarty book, but light and easy to read.

16. A book from an author you love that you haven’t read yet
Anne’s House of Dreams by LM Montgomery – 3 stars
I ranked this one 3 stars but as I look back on it I remember it more fondly than that, so maybe I was a little harsh with the three stars?  I liked it for sure.  Loved the new characters like the neighbor girl and the Captain.  I think this is the book where I thought Anne was kind of…self-obsessed.  She just seemed much more interested in herself than anything else.  I don’t know…I should have jotted down my thoughts right after reading it.

17. A book a friend recommended
Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer – 3 stars
Okay.  I think I was too harsh with the three stars on this one too.  The story was wonderful – excellent.  I was so annoyed with the format though.  Long run on sentences in the diary part, etc.  It was hard for me to read – I guess I’m too simple minded for that depth!

18. A Pulitzer Prize winning book
John Adams. by David McCullough – 5 stars
This is one of Kevin’s favorite books, and it is really, really great.  I tend to prefer fiction to non-fiction, but David McCullough is a great author and this was so easy to read.  I highly recommend it to anyone who likes history.  Also, I’m convinced that there should be a John Adams memorial or monument somewhere.  He was instrumental in the formation of our early government and so much more!  Underrated!  He’s underrated.

19. A book based on a true story
Wild:  From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed – 3 stars
This was a pretty good one.  I haven’t seen the movie, but I like Reese Witherspoon, so I’m sure it’s great.

20. A book at the bottom of your to-read list
The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach – 4 stars
This was at the bottom of my to-read list because I’m just not into baseball, so I didn’t think it would be that interesting.  It was more about the people though and was really quite good.

21. A book your mom loves
Shabanu: Daughter of the Wind by Suzanne Fisher Staples – 3 stars
My mom loves this book (as the category would suggest).  And it was interesting – about a different culture, set in a different part of the world.  But it made me sad – especially the ending so I couldn’t give it more than three stars.

22. A book that scares you
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins – 4 stars
I think this one received so much hype that I had my expectations too high when I read it.  It was really good, but it wasn’t as thrilling as Gone Girl, which it is often compared to, I think.  It is a really interesting concept for a book!  I think that made me like it more than the characters (none of whom I found very likeable) did.

23. A book more than 100 years old
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – 5 stars
I actually had never read this one, which is crazy.  I also haven’t seen the movie.  I know, I know, who am I?  But the book was awesome.  I can see why it is still popular, over 100 years after the original print date.

24. A book based entirely on the cover
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles – 5 stars
I bought this book a few years ago based entirely on the cover.  Read it, loved it.  Decided to read it again this year and since I bought it because of the cover, decided it counts for this category.

25. A book you were supposed to read in school but didn’t
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell – 4 stars
Technically I was never assigned to read a book in high school that I didn’t read.  But this is one that most people read in high school, and I never had, so I decide that was close enough for the category.  A classic – I’m not too into the dystopian society, futuristic genre, but Orwell did a great job with this one.  So scary, that Big Brother.

26. A memoir
Popular:  Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen – 3 stars
I found this one on a fluke and thought it was really cute.  It’s written in 2013 (I think) by a 13 year old girl after she finds a book from the 50’s about how to be popular.  She decides to document her attempts to follow the rules of the book in her southern Texas middle school.  An easy read and a fun idea.

27. A book you can finish in a day
Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation – George Washington (Francis Hawkins’ translation) – 4 stars
This is found at the end of the Rules of Civility that I mentioned for the book based on cover category.  Some of the tips are less applicable today (Spit not in the Fire, nor Stoop low before it neither Put your Hands into the Flames to warm them, nor Set your Feet upon the Fire especially if there be meat before it.) but there are so many more that are just as true today as they were then (Every Action done in Company, ought to be with Some Sign of Respect, to those that are Present.).  If it was good enough for George Washington, it’s good enough for me. Here’s a complete list – they’re worth a glance:  Rules of Civility.

28. A book with antonyms in the title
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty – 3 stars
Liane Moriarty is always fun to read.  Her books are all of a similar vein, but good.  This one was no exception.  It follows the lives of three women and their intertwining stories.  It had a nice twist at the end!

29. A book set somewhere you’ve always wanted to visit
The Rosie Project by Graeme C. Simsion – 5 stars
I loved this book!  I basically read it in Sheldon’s voice (from the Big Bang Theory).  The chapter where Don and Rosie are tending bar at the reunion event is one of my all time favorite scenes I’ve read.  Hilarious!

30. A book that came out the year you were born
Beaches by Iris Rainer Dart – 4 stars
I have heard of this movie (never watched it though), and didn’t know there was a book until I Googled “Books that came out in 1985”.  The book was good, and from what I’ve heard of the movie, I think it must follow the book well.  Two girls from very different worlds with very different personalities become friends as children, and through better or worse, their friendship survives time and distance and even death.

31. A book with bad reviews
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 4 stars
Did you know that this one was received with bad reviews when it first came out?  It has stood the test of time though.  I hadn’t read it since college so I decided it was time for a re-read.  It really is a great book.  Scarlett is so not-likeable…but I root for her all the same.  I had forgotten what a relatively small portion of the book actually is spent on Scarlett and Rhett’s relationship.  Hollywood really played that up, but there is so, so much more in the novel.

32. A trilogy
The Selection by Kiera Cass – 4 stars
The Elite by Kiera Cass – 4 stars
The One by Kiera Cass – 4 stars

This was definitely Young Adult Fiction – dystopian society meets The Bachelor.  But they were fun and easy reads.  I’m excited to read the fourth book – The Heir.

33. A book from your childhood
Christy by Catherine Marshall – 4 stars
I read this book when I was around 12 or 13, so I decided to read it again as an adult.  It has a very strong female lead, which I always love.

34. A book with a love triangle
Can You Keep A Secret? by Sophie Kinsella – 4 stars
Sophie Kinsella books always bring a smile to my face.  This one was really good!  Predictable but good.

35. A book set in the future
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – 3 stars
This is the first book in a dystopian society based trilogy.  The main character is a 12 year old boy who lives in a world where thoughts are “noise” that can be heard by everyone else.  I liked it and will probably finish out the trilogy at some point.

36. A book set in high school
Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira – 4 stars
Fun fact:  This book was written by one of Kevin’s high school classmates.  I liked it better than I thought I would and it’s a book that kind of stuck with me – I still think of it on occasion.  I cried harder reading this book than probably any other book I read this year. It takes place in the town I currently live in, which was interesting.

37. A book with a color in the title
The Red Tent by Anita Diamant – 4 stars
A really interesting look at a story that isn’t explored in the Bible – that of Dinah, the daughter of Jacob.  The turmoil’s of ancient womanhood really tugged at my heart.  If you’re interested in midwifery, this would be a great one to read.  Dinah is a strong female – which, as you’ve read about fifteen times in this post alone, I love.

38. A book that made you cry
Before I Go by Colleen Oakley – 4 stars
This book was so well written.  It’s a heavy subject – a woman is diagnosed with cancer and there is no hope of treatment, so she sets out to find her husband a new wife.  Somehow though, while reading it I laughed more than I cried.

39. A book with magic
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis – 4 stars
I read this book when I was a child and remember really liking it.  It was just as fun to read as an adult.  A nice escape from reality – via a wardrobe!

40. A graphic novel
Emily the Strange by Cosmic Debris Etc. Inc. – 2 stars
Graphic novels aren’t my thing.  I found this to be weird.  Definitely not my style.  But Emily does like cats, so I liked those drawings…

41. A book by an author you’ve never read before
The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare – 3 stars
A classic story.  An orphan is forced into a Puritan society where she finds it difficult to be accepted.  Her only friend is an alleged witch, and before too long, the young girl is accused of witchcraft as well.

42. A book you own but have never read
All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – 5 stars
Kevin bought this one for me when he was away on a work trip, and I wanted an excuse to read it this year since it was all the rage, so I slipped it into this category.  I really, really liked it.  It mostly takes place during World War II, and the two main characters are so likeable.  I know pretty much everyone has read it since it was THE book this year, but if you haven’t read it – I highly recommend.

43. A book that takes place in your hometown
No Life for a Lady by Agnes Morley Cleaveland – 4 stars
I grew up in a very small town in western New Mexico.  What are the chances of finding a book that takes place there?  Actually pretty high!  My mom suggested a couple of options, and I settled on this one.  It is basically a memoir written by this lady who grew up in rural New Mexico.  It was really good – lots of funny stories about shenanigans she and her brother and sister got into.  And it was fun to imagine the area that she writes about since I am from there.

44. A book that was originally written in a different language
Sophie’s World by  Jostein Gaarder (translated by Paulette Moller) – 2 stars
My least favorite book of the year.  It is a philosophical analysis and got just plain WEIRD at the end.  I guess I’m just not deep enough or philosophical enough to appreciate it.

45. A book set during Christmas
This Year It Will Be Different and Other Stories by Maeve Binchy – 5 stars
This was the final book I read in the challenge – just finished it today!  It was a gift from Kevin’s aunt Andy when she came to visit last week.  She knows I love Maeve Binchy!  I loved these stories.  Often books of short stories by the same author become repetitive, but this one didn’t.  All of the stories were set during Christmas, so it was a great way to start the holiday season.

46. A book written by an author with the same initials as you
Simple Pleasures by Alfred Portale – 3 stars
This is actually a cookbook.  Most of the recipes were too fancy for my kitchen, but I scanned a few and plan to try them.  I thought it was a nice change of pace to read a cookbook cover to cover!

47. A play
4000 Miles by Amy Herzog – 3 stars
This play follows the story of a young man who has recently tragically lost a friend and he moves in with his grandmother.  I think it would be interesting to see acted out in the theatre, but just reading the script didn’t captivate me.

48. A banned book
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley – 3 stars
Less sinister than Nineteen Eighty Four on one hand, but still disturbing.  I read this one during Banned Book Week, which was the last week of September.

49. A book based on or turned into a TV show
The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell – 3 stars
Carrie before she was the lead in Sex and the City.  It was fine.  I’ve never watched the show The Carrie Diaries, and I doubt I will.  But this book was easy and one of the first I read in the year (I think prior to when I decided to do this challenge) so I had to fit it in somewhere.

50. A book you started but never finished
The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Stedman – 4 stars
I tried to read this one about a year ago and just couldn’t get into it.  Then Allie read it and liked it and recommended that I try it again.  I’m glad I did, because I couldn’t put it down by the end!  A man and woman who live on a remote island, taking care of the lighthouse, save a baby who washed up on the shore in a boat that also contains a deceased adult male.  They decide to raise the baby as their own, and it leads to tragic upheaval when the truth comes out.  Since I had just had my own baby when I read this, I think I took a different perspective than I would have a year ago.

Check in numero cuatro –
# of books read: 52
# of books remaining: 0

What are you reading?  Have you ever tried a reading challenge?

Evicted – a birth story. {Part 2}


Part 1 can be found here.

Friday: We left off with my dilation at a zero and a Miso tablet doing its thing to get the ball rolling at around 1:15 PM.  At this point I was feeling really disappointed about being induced.  I remember crying and telling Kevin that this isn’t what I had planned.  He and the doula (the first of three that we would have over the next four shifts!) were both so wonderful and caring and supportive.  When they checked me again at 4:30-ish, I was barely dilated.  Not enough to insert the Cook’s catheter, which is a mechanical way to increase dilation without drugs.  The midwife intended to check me again at 6:45, before her shift ended, but things got crazy on labor and delivery and she didn’t make it to me.  The doctor on duty that night was allegedly notorious for advocating high levels of Pitocin and a desire to rock and roll through labor, so we were nervous that she would pressure us to go that direction.  The doula reminded us that we have a say in how things proceed and recommended that we push for a night of rest.  It turned out to not even be an issue.  We only saw that doctor once during her shift (she was the ONLY member of the staff that we worked with that we didn’t absolutely love during our four days at the hospital) and while she didn’t give us any warm and fuzzy feelings, she did just kind of leave us alone.  I wouldn’t say that we got a fantastic night’s sleep, but we did get some rest and that was really a good thing.

Saturday: The midwife (the same one from the day before and from Wednesday) came back on duty at 7:00 AM, and my dilation had not changed much overnight.  She decided to insert the Cook’s catheter anyway, and then hooked me up to a very low dose of Pitocin.  I could wander the halls with my rolling IV, and that’s what we did – me and Kevin and the doula.  I was a lovely sight – two hospital gowns (one covering the front, one covering the back), stopping periodically to hang on to the handrails along the walls and breathe through a contraction.  The doula showed us different laboring positions to try when we weren’t wandering the halls and that helped the time pass quickly.  I was really glad to not be tied to the bed.

Things progressed – if slowly – and by around 1:00 the Cook’s catheter was ready to come out, which meant I was dilated to a 4.  Then it was more of the same – hall walking, bouncing on the birthing ball, deep breathing.  They were slowly turning up the Pitocin, but the contractions were still very manageable.  The nurses, the doula, and the midwife said that it was hard to read where I was in labor because I was so stoic and in the zone.  Finally at around 6:00 PM, the midwife said that I looked far too comfortable.  She checked me and I was at around a 6.  The baby’s head was very low and it looked like the bag of water was right by the baby’s head, blocking it from moving further down.  The midwife broke the water and inserted some handy little tool that could track the contractions from the inside – far more accurate than the wireless external monitors I’d been hooked up to since check in.   They also turned up the Pitocin.

Somehow the combination of those things pushed me into the transition stage of labor and the contractions started coming on top of each other.  It was horrible. Really, really horrible.  I asked for an epidural around 7:00 PM and they started the process for that.  And a process it was.  They needed to get a full bag of fluid into me before placing the epidural.  The anesthesiologist had a million questions to ask and informed me of all the risks and it all felt like the longest block of time in my entire life.  Either Kevin or the doula could stay with me when the epidural was placed and I didn’t hesitate to kick Kevin out into the hall because Tammy (the doula) knew more about what was going on at this point.  She went to get Kevin and bring him back into the room as soon as she could.  And I think he was relieved to find me not writhing in pain.  :)  My lower back on the right side still had feeling, so the anesthesiologist gave me one syringe full of something “stronger”.  It worked and finally there was blissful nothingness from my rib cage down.  They left us to relax and said they’d check on my status in a couple of hours.

That time is a blur to me.  Maybe I slept?  I don’t remember.  I am really glad that I got the epidural when I did – not only because I really think the pain was going to kill me but also because it allowed me to relax enough to finish dilating.  My doctor happened to be the doctor on duty that night, so he was going to be the one to catch the baby.  We were really excited that it had worked out that way!  He came into the room at about 10:00 PM, checked me, and said, “If we wait thirty more minutes this baby would fall out on her own!”  Finally – 34 hours after arriving at the hospital – it was time!  Everyone sprung into action – setting up whatever needed to be set up, breaking down the bed to suit the doctor’s preference, assigning stations.  The nurses gave a few instructions on how to push and then I gave it a try.  Because the epidural was so effective, I could not feel anything.  It was the strangest experience.  They were all telling me how to push and what to do and all I could really do was think about it and hope I was doing what they told me to do because I had absolutely no control over what was going on in the lower half of my body.  It must have worked, because I pushed for around 20 minutes and then she was here – all 5 pounds, 14 ounces of her.

Kevin held one of my dead legs while I was pushing and he was the absolute best partner I can imagine – so calm and supportive and sweet.  He says that watching Ava join the world – one minute she was hidden, then slowly, one push at a time, she was with us – was the most amazing experience.  He cut the cord (“A nice cut,” per the good doctor, who knows about these things) and took a picture of her right away – the first of a million pictures that will forever fill our phones.  She cried out right away, showing off a strong set of lungs.  They moved her up on my chest and it was just surreal that she was there with us!  We felt like we’d always known her and it was immediately the most natural thing in the world to be her parents.

She was – and is – perfect.



Evicted – a birth story. {Part 1}

Some people have no interest in birth stories, but I personally love them.  It’s fun to have one of my very own to share now.

I jinxed myself with this post from week 36, where I talked about how all is well and the pregnancy is going swimmingly.  During week 37, things changed.  It started on Monday.

{Because the week leading up to the actual delivery is just as much part of the story as the labor and delivery, I’m breaking this story into two parts.  Here’s the week.}


Monday:  We had our week 37 doctor’s appointment at 9:30 AM.  I was feeling great and had no reason to think it would be different than any other appointment.  Lo and behold though, my blood pressure was high.  I’ve never had an issue with high blood pressure – pregnant or not pregnant – so this was very out of the ordinary.  They asked me about my vision and other stuff that could signal preeclampsia, scheduled an ultrasound for the following day, and sent me over to triage at the adjacent hospital so that my blood pressure could be monitored every 15 minutes for a few hours.  Lab work was also done to check for preeclampsia.  The blood pressure remained high, but the labs came back with nothing out of the ordinary, so the midwife on duty told me that I should go on bed rest because preeclampsia can come on quick. She also sent me home with two jugs that resembled milk cartons and a urine collection tent – I had to do a 24 hour urine sample.  It felt hilariously absurd.

And just like that, I was on bed rest.  I spent the remainder of the day on the couch with my laptop, trying to clean out my inbox and get a few outstanding work items passed on to my backup.

Tuesday:  We started out the morning by dropping off my 24 hour collection of urine at a lab.  Of course I already knew that Kevin loves me, but when he carried my jug of pee into the lab…well, that is a for-better-or-for-worse kind of love, people.  Then we went to an ultrasound appointment and the primary takeaway was that the amniotic fluid levels were low.  The tech also said that she thought the baby was weighing in at around 7 lbs.  (She was very wrong.) The perinatal doctor told me he would send a report over to my doctor and that he wanted to see me again on Friday – if I hadn’t had the baby before then.

More couch time.

Wednesday:  We had a follow up at my doctor’s office for a blood pressure check.  It was high.  The nurse went to go tell my doctor the reading, and he was with another patient but somehow managed to convey to her that we were going to have the baby THAT day.  So we went to triage with that on our minds.  They hooked me up to the monitors, put in orders for more lab work to be done, and kept an eye on the blood pressure. They also brought in an ultrasound tech with portable equipment to check the fluid levels.  Strangely enough, the fluid levels were double what they had been the day before, and we learned that it’s really a subjective science, those fluid level measurements.  It depends on the baby’s positioning and other stuff that changes day to day. {Also, the equipment used on Wednesday was not nearly as fancy as the equipment used at the perinatal facility, so I think that may have had something to do with the difference in numbers.}

Through all of this, the baby was looking great – her heart beat was strong, she scored all the points possible at each ultrasound, and she was moving like a little champ.  She was perfectly content right where she was.  She had paid her 40 weeks worth of rent and wanted to wait it out.  Unfortunately it seemed my body was over being pregnant and ready to evict her.

Since the fluid levels seemed fine, the blood work and urine showed no signs of preeclampsia, and I even managed to get some lower blood pressure readings when laying on my left side, the midwife (a different one than Monday) said that they wanted to try to keep me pregnant for as long as possible.  She sent me home with instructions to stay on bed rest and come back Friday after the perinatal ultrasound for another blood pressure check.

Thursday:  No appointments so I couch rested like a boss.

Friday:  The third ultrasound of the week showed really low fluid levels.  On Tuesday the levels had been 7 (we were told that 8-24 are what they consider normal).  On Wednesday (with the less fancy ultrasound equipment) they had been 13.  And today – Friday – they were at a 4.  The perinatal doctor called my doctor, and then told us to go straight to the hospital – we were being induced.  We were direct admitted when we arrived at the hospital (skipping triage! yay!), which told us they meant business this time.  My doctor was talking to the midwife upon our arrival and they were in agreement that the fluid levels were getting dangerously low and it was time for the baby to leave her (depleting) water bed.

It was 12:30 PM when they admitted us to the hospital.  When they checked me, I was dilated to a big fat zero, which meant this induction was starting completely from scratch.  They started with some pill called Miso.  And then we waited….

To be continued….


Project 12 // October 2015.

*Project 12 – A photo on (or around) the first day of each month.*
{Idea credit & linking up with  The Lady Okie}

October:  IMG_1920^ And then there was Ava. <3  ^

Truman by David McCullough – 5 stars {Kevin}
Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell – 4 stars
The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness – 3 stars

Travel Adventures:
We stayed close to home this month!

Noteworthy Days & Events:
October 1 – Maternity photo shoot with Shawna!
October 2 – Kevin’s parents got a puppy!  K’s new baby brother is named Teddy and he’s a poodle.  He’s soooooo cute.  (Not as cute as Kevin though.)
October 3 – Baby shower hosted by one of the best family friends ever and her team of amazing co-hostesses.  We are so spoiled!
October 3 – Kevin’s final home football game, which was also Homecoming.  It came down to the wire and they lost by one point.  So sad.
October 10 – Kevin ran a 5K at Los Poblanos!  His time was 28:21, with minimal preparation and training.  He ran ONCE in the six weeks leading up to the race.  Let’s hope the bambino gets his natural athleticism and not that of her mother, who huffs and puffs her way through a mile jog and feels exhausted.
October 16 – Baby shower at work!
October 18 – Kevin’s diaper party!
October 24 – The bambino’s birthday!  Ava Elizabeth joined the world at 10:32 PM.

Ate: (new recipes & restaurants)
We met the Sanchezes for brunch at Prime.  I’d eaten lunch there, but never brunch and Kevin had never been at all.  New restaurant!  It was delicious.
Kevin and I took a Friday lunch at the Golden Crown Panaderia, which was great.  We each had a sandwich and Kevin had what they claim is the world’s best coffee milkshake.  I had two sips and it really was quite good!  I may need to test a few more around the world to definitively say it is the best though.

Tell me something about your October!

Chance of shower(s).

Kevin and I are surrounded by the BEST people.  We are so appreciative of the love and support and advice and gifts and shared excitement that family and friends, near and far, have offered.  It is truly a blessing that our little girl will be joining a world that includes these people.

Back in August, a Junior League friend put together a tea party shower for me and another JL friend who was due in early October (she recently had a baby girl!).  I adore high tea and it was so fun to get together with some of my favorite ladies and celebrate. A perfectly girly shower!


In early October, a wonderful family friend and her team of top-notch helpers put together the most gorgeous and thoughtful shower I can imagine.  The theme was “Oh The Places She’ll Go” and it was so perfect.  I had the best time, chatting with friends and family, laughing, eating the delicious food, and enjoying the hospitality of this lovely group of hostesses.



^ She is definitely the hostess with the mostess!  I love Honnie. ^








^ With my mom and sista. ^

In mid-October, a few of the sweet ladies that I work with organized a shower at work.  There was delicious food, adorable decorations (including a diaper cake, homemade by one of the hostesses), and it was a great chance to catch up with people at work.  This was especially fun because Kevin was also there for the gift opening.  And the candy bar in the diaper game – he was really good at it.  I think that alone has earned him the key responsibility of head diaper changer.  :)


Last but definitely not least, a couple of Kevin’s friends threw him a diaper party at a local brewery/restaurant last Sunday.  It was co-ed, so I got to tag along as well (I stuck with an Arnold Palmer rather than trying something on tap).  One of Kevin’s good female friends was an organizer, so there were even decorations!  I told Kevin that I think this is highly unusual for a diaper party, so he should feel especially honored.  We went home with a truck full of diapers after a really fun afternoon of football, tasty drinks, and great food (chicken and waffles – need I say more).



How lucky are we to have these amazing people in our lives?

When did you last feel completely spoiled by loved ones?