Dec 19, 2014

The Differences Between Two Pregnancies

"No two pregnancies are the same." I've always heard that, and I'm sure I believed it deep down, but being pregnant is a daunting experience, let alone not knowing what to expect for each on, so I didn't necessarily think it would be true. It's easy to fall back on what you already know and have experienced, but when things are different it's a whole other ball game. 

I'm fascinated by pregnancy, and it's the number one topic that comes up when I'm at a playgroup or somewhere with a lot of other moms. Inevitably, stories of those particular nine months will emerge, and then it always, always leads to birth stories. It's interesting that something so absolutely and completely individualistic can help women share a common ground.

Since I'm in the single digits (as far as weeks go), (OH EM GEE!!!) I thought it'd be a good time to share some differences between my two pregnancies.


Baby One:
I had so much freaking heartburn with Julia that I swore she'd come out with hair down to her knees. The old wives tale was absolutely wrong, though, because she was born bald. Well, almost bald; she had one tuft of hair that stuck up in the back and has yet to calm down. I took Pepcid AC like it was going out of style, because simply looking at a glass of water—WATER—would give m heartburn. Having heartburn roughly all day and all night for six months was miserable. I cringe just remembering it.

Baby Two:
I was prepared to have wicked heartburn again, so I had my Tums and Pepcid in hand and I waited...and waited...and waited. With the exception of a few random moments here and there, this time around has been almost completely opposite from last time. My diet is pretty much the same (I'm actually eating more spicy food now), so it's gotta just be the different pregnancies. I think it'll be hilarious if she comes out with a full head of hair. Take that, old wives tale!  


Baby One:
I could take a nap any darn time I wanted too, and it was AMAZING. I do remember having a hard time falling asleep late in the second trimester, and towards the beginning of the third tri; she'd kick me so hard around 4 am that I always woke up at that time.

Baby Two:
The first trimester I found myself taking two, two hour naps during the day. Then Julia transitioned to one nap a day (and I just about lost my freaking mind), so I moved to just one nap. I've never been so thankful that I'm a SAHM until I started needing those naps! I've taken one almost every single day. Sometimes they're just a half hour, but on days when my body really needs the rest, I'll sleep for about 2 hours. I miss sleep, and the sad part is that I know how much I'll really miss sleep once this baby gets here. I wish you could stockpile sleep. Sleeping at night is okay, but it's getting a little shaky now that I'm in the third trimester. I have a hard time falling asleep and don't actually snooze until around midnight, then I'm up around 6ish. I can never get comfortable, and I'm also up several times in the middle of the night to pee.

The Peeing:

Speaking of peeing...(goodness I talk about pee a lot on my blog)...
Baby One:
I did okay until around the third tri when Julia flipped and decided to stay super duper low the rest of the time. I think I maybe used some pee pads towards the end of the pregnancy, but it wasn't nearly as bad as...

Baby Two:
It's like I have no bladder control, especially when I cough. It's a little ridiculous. The craziness is how early it started this time. I was expecting to start "leaking" in my third tri again, but it kicked in really early on. Lucky me.

High Risk

Baby One:
A couple weeks after my anatomy scan we discovered two things: that one of my hormones was elevated, indicating a possible "marker" for an issue with the baby, and that she had a cyst on her brain right next to her spine. Separate, those things aren't really anything to worry about (the cyst, they said would diminish by the time she was born), but since she had both, it was cause for alarm. I go into detail here and here about what happened, but long story short: she's perfect and everything cleared up. However, I was dubbed "high risk" because of those issues. I saw a high risk doc once and then I had NST (non-stress tests) twice a week for the remainder of my pregnancy. With the exception of a few times (that people didn't have their act together), I actually loved having the NSTs, because I got to hear her heart beat out loud twice a week, and once a week they did a quick ultrasound to check my amniotic fluid. It was awesome seeing her, and I also got to know all of the doctors a lot better because of this.

Baby Two: 
So far, so good. I'm not high risk, I don't have gestational diabetes, and every test has come back negative. This is amazing news, and it's nice to be considered as a "normal" pregnancy, but I'd be lying if I said I don't miss the constant monitoring and getting to see the baby every week. Then again, I don't know how I'd have time for twice a week NSTs with a toddler in tow. Yikes! 

Glucose Test/Gestational Diabetes

Baby One:
Since I was overweight to start out my pregnancy, they had me do a glucose test after my first appointment. I passed with flying colors. I later did the normal test (around 28 week), and also passed. Julia was born 9lb, 2oz, though, which is apparently considered big. (I mean, yeah...big, but she was still my little baby!)

Baby Two:
Since I was still overweight AND since Julia was a "big" baby, they had me test early this time around, too. Once again, I passed easily. I took the test again at 28 weeks and this time I failed it by four points. Unfortunately, that meant I had to take the 3-hour test. (Read about all that here). Fortunately, I passed that test and celebrated by eating a cupcake after I found out.

Stretch Marks

Baby One:
I was so sick during the first trimester that I actually lost weight (about 10 pounds) during those three months. My stomach, however, didn't get that memo; I started getting stretch marks right away. You know those girls who can wear their pre-pregnancy pants until they deliver? Yeah, that's not me. I have a super short torso, so there's nowhere for the baby to go, but out. In the end, I ended up loving my tiger stripes.  

Baby Two: 
I swear my first set of stretch marks finally faded the month I got pregnant again. I read that it would take around six months for them to fade, but it took well over a year for mine to lose that deep red/purple hue. I was curious what would happen the second time around, and as of right now it looks like I'm just sprouting a few new marks off the tops of the old ones. Like I said, this baby has no place to go, but out, and she's taking advantage of that.  

The Name

Baby One:
I fell in love with the name Julia when I was around 11 weeks pregnant. I was walking around and saw the name of the region where we lived (Friuli Venezia Giulia), said it out loud, and fell in love with it. All I had to do next was hope we were having a girl. I became attached to the name very, very quickly, so it's a good thing she was a she! (Read more about her name here)

Baby Two:
Um...Yeah. I have a feeling this kid won't have a name until I pop her out. Picking a name last time was so easy, but this time it's turning out to be a super ridiculously hard decision. We have a few narrowed down, but we may just wait and see what she looks like and what fits her when she's born.  

Those are all the comparisons I can think of at the moment. Did/do you relate to any of them, too? I'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below!

*The pictures in this post are teasers from our maternity session with Brooke Ashley Photography. I'm totally in love with them, and can't wait to share more when we get them. If you're in the Savannah, GA, area, get in touch with her if you need pictures taken! 


Dec 17, 2014

Let Her Sleep {DIY Nursery Wall Decor}

With baby numero dos on its way, I realized it's time to stop procrastinating and start blogging! I have a few more things to share about Julia's nursery, so it's time to start crossing those items off my list. Today I'm sharing a project I'm proud of. It took a decent amount of work, because there's a lot of cutting, gluing, and making sure lines are straight, but the result is exactly what I wanted.

 The whole thing revolves around this quote:

"Let her sleep, for when she wakes she will move mountains."

Oh, how I fell in love with that saying. The origins come from Napoleon, and he was actually referring to China, but I love it and felt a deep connection with it while Julia was still in my womb. I felt, and still feel, like she can do anything.

Thanks for the picture, Brooke!

I started this project when we were still in Italy, but didn't get very far, because the base craft store was missing several key items (and couldn't tell me when they would get them in). I ended up finishing it once we moved to Georgia when my mom was here helping us move in. I owe her a lot, because she helped cut out the teeny tiny letters after Julia went to sleep.

To be fair, I probably put more effort into it than it needed; I choose maps that corresponded with parts of Julia's life: Italy (for where she was born), Germany, France, and Switzerland (for her first trip), Alabama (for where she lived for a few short months), and Georgia (her second home). I made sure to cut the letters where significant cities or towns were mentioned.

It's not perfect: there's a piece of the canvas that got damaged in the move—I tried fixing it (didn't have the same color spray paint, so I used nail polish); the letters aren't entirely straight and some are hard to see against the pink color; there are pencil marks that didn't entirely erase, but I love it and I love that it's the focal point above her crib.

I thought about sharing how I made it, but I'm going to refer you to the original post instead. My canvas is an odd size and I honestly don't remember the size of letters I used. Besides, they made it first, so they should get the credit.

It's ironic that I put so much time and effort into personalizing this for Julia since it turns out we're going to have the two girls share a room. Looks like I need to figure out something fun for this next little one! 

Oh! And in case you're wondering, the heart garland is from YoungHouseLove over on Etsy. She was fabulous to work with and their made from up-cycled vintage atlases, which was right up my alley for her nursery theme!

Did you DIY anything in your child's nursery? 

Dec 15, 2014

Staying Home for the Holidays

I grew up with a very large and close extended family—I have more than two dozen first cousins, and now many of them all have families and kids of their own, which results in some pretty epic holiday celebrations. Being surrounded by tons of people for Thanksgiving and Christmas was just the norm, and it easily helped make it my favorite time of year.

Thanksgiving with that many people truly resulted in a feast with gobs of delicious food, and while we worked off our food coma, we'd all play several rounds of BINGO. I have no idea where that tradition started, but its lasted throughout the years. Then, for Christmas, the amount of laughter and mountains of wrapping paper after Santa visited (oh yes, we have a "real" Santa and an elf deliver presents every year) always solidified my love for the holiday.

This year, however, will only be my second year (out of 30) that I won't be home for the holidays. We didn't go home a couple years ago because we were living overseas and it wasn't economical for us to fly back. But this year we're staying home for different reasons.

It was a hard decision to make, but since my husband just returned home from a deployment, and since I'm due a mere six weeks after Christmas, we decided it would be best to stay put instead of hopping a plane or taking a road trip home. I'm sad, of course, to not spend time with my family and see friends, but there are several bright sides to sticking close to home.

Wanna make this canvas art for your house? Here's a tutorial!
For one, we get to wake up at home instead of in a hotel room. My daughter will also get to run over to the Christmas tree and open gifts, and we can lounge around in our pajamas all day since we won't have to bounce from house to house. We'll also get to start making our own traditions, which is something I'm really excited for. 

Thankfully, technology these days means we'll still get to "see" our family and we may even get to open presents "together." Of course, it's not the same as being there, but it's the best option available for the situation. We're also exploring our own area more—checking out holiday festivals and going away on mini weekend trips. I can't wait to bake cookies with my daughter next week and then take them to our neighbors.

(Looking for more ways you can have holiday cheer without going home for the holidays? Check out my post on AHRN!)

While there's no match to being surrounded by family for the holidays, there are certainly a few perks to skipping the big get-togethers and making some new memories with your very immediate family. And who knows, maybe staying home this year will become our own tradition...only time will tell.  

If you live away from "home," do you go out to visit for the holidays or do you make your own traditions with your family?

Dec 12, 2014

The Cabbage Patch Babyland General Hospital

When we moved back to Georgia, I started researching places we could travel around the area. I discovered that the Cabbage Patch Babyland General Hospital was located up in Cleveland, GA. Yup. A Cabbage Patch (as in the doll) hospital. Intriguing, right? And, not only are new "babies" are actually "born" there every single day, but you can adopt one right then and there! Basically, my inner child (no, not the kid I'm currently growing) got really, really excited about visiting this place.

Like many girls, I grew up with a Cabbage Patch kid. I don't remember the exact Christmas when I received her (or maybe it was my birthday), but I distinctly remember being over the moon that she shared my name. My mom, it turns out, went to dozens of stores looking for that doll, because she wanted one that shared my name. While she couldn't find any Jessica CP kids, she did find one with the name "Lynn" in it. And that's how I came to own Ramona Lynn:

I told my mom about visiting Babyland, and she was excited to check it out with me, so when she came out to visit over the summer, I picked her up in Atlanta and we drove straight up there (2 hours away from the ATL airport, in case you're wondering).

Y'all, this place is legit. I was recently up there again last weekend with my husband (we were visiting Helen, GA, and he wanted to visit the hospital, too), and he remarked on how cool it was that they went all out to make it a special place for kids. The building looks like an old Southern hospital would look, and they try to make it special inside with "licensed" nurses and doctors, and tons of play opportunities for the kids. Not to mention, the live births.

Before I get to the births, let me give you a little tour of the place. When you first walk in, you're greeted with dozens of old CP kids. They're vintage and behind glass, but it's cool to see the history of these dolls.

There's also the opportunity to take your picture inside your own CP kids box. She's my favorite doll, but I'm a little biased.

This was actually taken a few months ago. It's crazy how much she's already grown! Also, she was sick the day we were there, poor little red nose!

After the lobby area, you head to the nursery with hundreds of itty bitty baby dolls all looking for a home. These kids are cute, but fair warning: they're expensive. These are their premium dolls, if you will, and they come with a hefty price tag.

Make your way past the nursery and you've entered Babyland. There's a play area for kids, tons of stuffed animals and toys, two party rooms (oh, how I wish we lived closer so I could have her birthday party there some day), too many CP kids—in boxes and out of boxes—to count, and the magical crystal tree with tons of little dolls nestled underneath (all of which are for sale).

Julia had an absolute blast visiting this time. She found a little doll stroller right away and started pushing it everywhere. Then she played in the little play area, and then she just wandered around looking at all the dolls and babies.

just pretend that this was in focus—it's the most clear picture out of, like, 20. Julia and her Papa were all over the place with their little strollers. Any time my husband would stand up and stop, she'd insist that he continue pushing. "Push, Papa, push!" Maybe I should have her in the delivery room with me?

Several times throughout the day they'll make announcements over the loudspeaker regarding Mother Cabbage and how close she is to having a baby. When I heard that she was "8 leaves dilated," I grabbed my husband and daughter, and we took a seat in front of the magic tree. (Oh yes, my friends, this is really happening.)

Instead of literally spelling out for you what happens next, I took a handy little video. It's about seven minutes long...fair warning, but you do get to see it happen like you were there yourself!

Pretty neat, right? The first time we were there, it was a male doctor, and I have to admit that he was a lot funnier than this lady was. The babies that are born there are super expensive (I don't remember the exact price, but I want to say it's in the $200 range). If you want something a tad bit cheaper than that, they have some kids that are out of the box (so you can't get them in the stores), that you can adopt and name yourself for around $50. The first time we visited, I got Julia one of those dolls. I'm pretty positive she's the prettiest kid on the block, and after careful consideration, we named her Gracie Lou Freebush. (Julia's middle name is Grace, so that name just came naturally.)

Since she doesn't need another big doll in her life, this time around we bought her something a little smaller: a baby doll that she can take home from the hospital after her little sister is born!

I'd love to go back again, but I don't know how many Cabbage Patch dolls a little girl needs. Maybe we'll head back there after this next baby is older and before we leave Georgia again, so she can get a bigger CP kid.

Crazy cool place, right?! So, tell me: did you have a Cabbage Patch kid growing up? Tell me about her (or him) in the comments below!