Friday, December 17, 2010

So close...

I was so close. I thought I would make it, but alas, it didn't work out that way. I have focused on trying to not get sick during my pregnancy, but I didn't make it. I know many more people have many more problems than getting a ferocious cold, but many of those problems can't be helped. Not getting sick for 9 months is possible, but I couldn't manage. I even got a stinkin flu shot, but alas, I'm at home instead of at work. And of course, when I left yesterday, everything was fine. But as it goes, things unraveled, and I am now completely unloading an entire day's work on top of someone who is awesome, doesn't deserve it and didn't plan on it. So I'm now screwing up not only my day, but someone else's as well.

On top of not being able to breathe and coughing up green stuff all day long, I've had a migraine for four days. I can't get rid of it because I can't quit coughing. The one thing I'm supposed to do is rest, but as other moms-to-be know, sleep isn't easy to get. Add to that a four-hour car ride I have to take this afternoon for the first round of family Christmas festivities, and you've got a less-than-stellar pregnant woman. Crud is not a good look for me...even when I'm in pink.

Good grief. I complain a lot. So let me follow that up to say how grateful I am for how well Ella has done the last 30 weeks. Only 10 more weeks to go, and she will grace us with her stellar presence. I am so thankful to have family and friends around me who are supportive and as excited as we are, and I'm grateful to work with a few amazing people who tell me to put baby and me first. This handful of people know that I'm struggling with not always being a rockstar right now, and I'm especially thankful for their support. That's it for today. I'm starting to get teary-eyed, and my nose and head can't take it:)

Monday, December 13, 2010

Slowly but surely...

We are making progress. Ella now has a crib and a dresser, but that's as far as I've made it. I thought having a girl would make the decision-making process easier, but I love so many things that it's actually difficult. I'm against posting pictures from her room until it looks more like a room, so for now, I've put pictures below that I found online of her furniture. It's part of the Ma Marie collection from Young America. I've got the bedding narrowed down to three choices, but I'm struggling.

And on a sidenote, it is snowing in Atlanta! It's not actually sticking to anything, but it's still out and about in the air. It makes me very, very happy. I hope it snows a lot next year so that I can bundle Ella up in a pink North Face full body suit that I found and introduce her to the wonder and perfection that is snow. Forget summer. Give me snow, snow, snow:)

And on another sidenote (this one, baby-related), here are two videos of baby animals that are too much for words. 

The first was sent to me - it's of baby ducks that are getting blown around by the wind. It's actually terrible to watch, but I love how the momma duck keeps it (and her babies) together. Watch it here: 

The second one is from the Columbus Zoo, and it shows a mother otter teaching her baby to swim. It's pretty hilarious because the baby has zero desire and zero intention of getting in the water, but the momma drags the baby in by its legs. Sounds terrible, but it's pretty funny. Watch it here:

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Sorry. It's been a minute:)

Update: My glucose was normal, so the orange liquid is now a memory. And the remnants of the orange liquid came out of my cardigan, so uniform saved! Starting Dec. 21, I go to the doctor every 2 weeks instead of 4 weeks. We have our hospital tour this weekend, and my childbirth classes are scheduled for January. I have started the kick count routine, which Ella makes very easy. 10 movements in 10 minutes. Done and done. As of today, there are 11 weeks and 3 days left to go, and little girl is apparently the size of a small cabbage, weighing about 2.9 lbs and measuring at 17 inches long. I've had a couple of less than fabulous nights lately - a lot of tossing and turning (which itself is becoming more difficult) and crazy dreams. I've always had crazy dreams, and I remember every detail, so for me to categorize these as particularly crazy is saying something.

Now, on to my thought for the day. Someone asked me yesterday if I was looking forward to drinking alcoholic beverages again. My answer was simple: no. I've never liked the taste of anything alcoholic. Therefore, I simply don't drink. It's not a moral stance - I just don't like it. Simple as that. So I didn't have to give anything up, and I don't crave it now. This conversation meandered into, "Well, if it's not alcohol, then what did you have to give up?" Oh...many things, my friend....many things. Granted, I'm a bit of an obsessive person, so there are some things I possibly could have been more lenient with, but basically, if the book said, "Don't do it," then I didn't do it. A lot of things I could care less about, but there are a few I'm anxious to have back. So here is my list of things that I look forward to being able to do/have again:

1. Turkey sandwich. Turkey sandwich. Turkey sandwich. I'm going to tear Jimmy John's up. No lie. Not many people know that you can't have deli meats due to the risk of listeria, but it's true. Apparently, as long as it is heated to 165 degrees right before you eat it, you should be safe, but it was a chance I wasn't willing to take.

2. Sleeping on my stomach. I don't care if it is just for an hour or two at a time. It will be glorious.

3. Goody powder. Less than fabulous, I know. But I have always had terrible headaches, and pregnancy really just increased them. If I laugh or cough, I immediately have a throbbing pain in my head. Goody powders are strictly forbidden, as is pretty much everything else. I can take Tylenol, but they might as well be M&M's for all the good they do. The doctor gave me a prescription, but I've been hesitant to take it. I think I've taken two pills the entire time, and it was because I was pretty sure the bones were about to pop out of my head.

4. Cheese dip from Taqueria del Sol and bleu cheese chips from Buckhead Diner. Soft cheeses are another no-no. Again, if it's bubbling hot, then you should be safe, but it still has to be in moderation. I've had about 10 chips from the Taq and 10 chips from the Diner in the last 7 months. This is about a 6,450% reduction in intake. 

5. Diet Coke and Diet Dr. Pepper. I gave up all artificial sweeteners. This means no diet sodas, unsweet tea with Equal, chewing gum, etc. I read the labels on everything to check for artificial sweeteners by their many names, and if they are present, it goes back on the shelf. I've limited myself to one caffeinated beverage a day because it helps with my headaches. 200 mg daily is what you should limit yourself to, but I've been keeping it at about 50 mg.

6. Popping my back. Dear sweet baby Jesus. I've needed every bone in my back popped for about 5 months now, but I can't twist the way that is necessary, and Kyle certainly can't walk on my back. But as soon as Ella is here, I'm going to twist and crack in every way possible.

That's is. There are other things I gave up (hot dogs, steak, Mountain Dew), either because I had to or because I now have an aversion to them, but nothing that I miss. All in all, it hasn't been hard. I mean, it is for a pretty good reason:)

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Two down, one to go...

That's right. I am officially in the third trimester. According to my handy dandy "What to Expect" app, Ella is as big as a head of cauliflower - 16 inches long and 2.5 pounds. We've only got 12 weeks and 5 days left until she is estimated to make her grand debut. At my appointment this morning, the nurse said that she is currently laying on her side, and her head is positioned in the top right corner of my abdomen, right under my chest. This explains why I have surges of pain down my right side and back. Her little head is nestled right in a spot that keeps pushing on nerves or something that triggers it. I certainly don't mind, but it would be nice if she found another position comfortable:)

I also had my lovely glucose screening this morning. For those of you who don't know, the purpose of a glucose screening is to check for gestational diabetes. Basically, you can't eat or drink anything for an hour, then you have to drink a 10 oz. bottle of orange liquid (for me, it was a cross between cough syrup and syrup you would put on pancakes) in 3-5 minutes. Doesn't sound difficult, but downing the whole bottle is 3-5 minutes was a challenge. Then, they have to draw your blood one hour after you finish drinking the liquid. My appointment was at 9:30 this morning, so I had to drink the stuff in my car on the way there, just to make sure that I was there before I reached the one-hour mark. I got about half of it down and then I started gagging. I ended up spitting a bunch of it up, and I didn't have any towels or napkins in my car. Therefore, the light blue Georgia Aquarium cardigan (my work uniform) bit the dust. It was totally gross, and even harder after the gagging had been triggered, but I eventually got it all down. Now hopefully, I will pass the screening, and it will be in the past. If I don't, I have to go back in for a four-hour test. Not sure what all it entails, but I have zero desire to find out.

On a more fun note, most of the time when Ella is moving around, I can see it. I took this video with my phone the other night and sent it to my sister. Brittney kept hoping to feel her moving around while I was home for Thanksgiving, but Ella didn't cooperate. I figured seeing it might be a fun consolation prize. Focus on the white line of my shirt against the red at the 5-6 second mark. You will see two small bumps.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What's in a name?

Rihanna just came on my iTunes at work, so I'm inspired to share the latest development in the babydom (as in kingdom...another one of my made-up words). So basically, I'm one of those people who plans life events way in advance. Way, way in advance. Case in point. I've basically had my baby names narrowed down for the last two years or so. I know...I'm special:) The challenge I face now is, even though Kyle and I are calling Little Miss by her name, I still haven't declared it publicly. It's because I have a problem committing. The only two decisions I can recall never second-guessing were marrying Kyle and deciding to bring Little Miss into our crazy life. Everything else requires thorough research, discussion, deliberation, pro/con lists, etc. I overthink everything. Absolutely everything. And while I'm pretty sure I've aged myself a bit for less than worthy reasons, I'm still doing pretty well, so no reason to change my practices now, right?

I'm telling you all of this so that you can appreciate how incredibly difficult what I'm about to do is for me. I am going to share baby girl's name with you. And honestly, I'm really nervous, because like I said, I haven't declared it publicly. Whenever I've shared it with anyone, I've prefaced it with, "I'm pretty sure it's going to be..." But the thing is, whenever I've pictured her during the last couple of years, her name has always been the same.


The middle name is new, though. Harper. So there you go. Ella Harper Payne.

I say that Rihanna inspired me to blog about it because "Umbrella" came on, and Brittney and I have talked over the last year about how we can't wait to sing it to her. You know..."Umbrella, ella, ella, eh, eh..." (I also can't wait to sing songs from "Cinderella" {the Disney movie, not the hair band}. I will figure out a way to make them work.) So I decided to put it out there in the universe and see how it felt. Feels pretty good so far, but I haven't hit "Publish Post" yet. We shall see how it goes...

Monday, November 15, 2010

All things new...

There are lots of (relatively) new things to talk about, but I haven't had time to write. That's new, for one. It's been a while, so I'll dive right in.

1. We bought baby furniture! I thought that having a girl would make it an easy decision, but it was just the opposite. I've gone back and forth for weeks about what kind of furniture I wanted, and last week, I finally narrowed it down to two choices. On Saturday, I took the bull by the horns and made a decision, ordering her crib, dresser and hutch. I'm in love with it, but I was in love with a lot, so hopefully I will stay happy with my decision. It should arrive in December, so I will put a picture up after it comes in. Now I just have to decide on the bedding...

2. Pictures! Kyle ended up going with me to take a few. I think he got tired of me crying about it and said that it obviously meant a lot to me. I thanked him through my heaving sobs (read previous post) and promised to make it as painless as possible for him. The photograher was amazing. She did our engagement pictures four years ago, so I knew she would be. I only hope our daughter is more photogenic than her mother. The photographer did a fantastic job - I just don't give her much to work with. My smile is really small; the wind killed my hair; in hindsight, I could have picked a better outfit. That's how it usually works, though. At least fo rme...

3. New job! Not for me, for Kyle. Two years ago, he left Fox Sports to go to the Atlanta Spirit (Atlanta Hawks and Atlanta Thrashers). On Monday, he will begin at Turner Sports, working for NCAA and I'm beyond excited for him. Turner is one of those amazing companies that people spend years trying to get into. I was offered a position there a year ago, working in PR for Cartoon Network, and I chose to stay at the Aquarium. I love my job, but I still wonder sometimes if I made the right call. Kyle will never have those worries, because he always goes for it, and I love that about him. Plus, Turner offers daycare. Not just any's a really, really amazing facility. Their waitlist, however, is more than a year. We are going to put our names on it, but Little Miss will have to go somewhere else for maybe 6 months-1 year. Which brings me to...

4. We found a daycare! It's a fantastic place with great people. When I talked to them on the phone a month ago, I knew it was my favorite. I tried to stay unbiased when we toured it, but after meeting the people and seeing the babies there, I knew that my first reaction was correct. Kyle agreed, and that pretty much solidified it for me. We toured several places, and by the end of the day, I had committed myself to taking a 30-minute detour in the morning and afternoon (on top of my 1-hour commute) to take her there. It's absolutely worth it.

5. Last thing. Little Miss has gotten big enough for everyone to feel her doing jazzercise now. She judo chopped the girls at work. It was one of the best moments ever. Their faces are absolutely priceless, and I'm simply overwhelmed every time. I can't wait until she gets here:)

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Batten down the hatches...

It has started. I was so proud of myself, and now, it's over. The streak has ended.

People kept asking me how I was doing "emotionally" during my pregnancy, i.e. mood swings, fits, etc. I was proud to report that I was doing just fine. Naturally, I'm a pretty emotional person, but even considering that, I've been incredibly even-tempered. No crying. No fits. No crying fits. Yeah...well...

Batten down the hatches, boys. Thar she blows.

That comment is also appropriate because it was written in reference to...all together now...a whale. And what am I if not a whale?  I can answer that for you...

A blob. An emotional blob. I've cried for the last three days. Sometimes with a purpose, sometimes without. I put a hole in Kyle's car door. That was a reason to cry. (Basically, when I was getting out of his car, I was in a big hurry because it was raining. I didn't notice that my seatbelt didn't go into place, so when I slammed the door shut behind me, the metal part of the seatbelt was sticking out in the perfect position and actually punctured the inside of the door. Yep. Made a nice hole in the Lexus. Let the sobbing commence.) I then cried EVERY time I recounted the story. The recounting was done twice because someone asked why I was crying, and that made me cry more.

Later, my sister asked me on the phone if everything was okay because I wasn't upbeat. Immediately, tears. Then sobbing. While driving. I later cried because my favorite winter coat wouldn't button. I cried because Kyle refuses, absolutely REFUSES, to do maternity pictures with me. Then I cried while trying to explain that the reason I was upset was because all of my pictures would look like I was an unwed expectant mother. Not that there's anything wrong with that. I would just like to have my husband in a few of them, but the other option is to not have any at all, which isn't really an option for me. Then I cried and had a meltdown because someone asked me what daycare we had decided on, and we still haven't toured any of them. We're going next week, but that was prompted by my meltdown. I cried because I hadn't folded the towels yet. I cried because I couldn't figure out what to have for dinner. And remember, this is just since Tuesday. Today is only Thursday. How does my emotional rollercoaster affect (no, not effect...I checked my AP Stylebook) my child, you might ask...

It's not. I'm pretty sure she's hanging out in there, doing her jazzercise, thinking, "This chick is CRA-zy. How did I end up with her?" Other than that, she is doing well. Doctor appointment on Wednesday confirmed that. Her heartrate was 160 bpm, which is a little higher, but the doctor said it's because she won't quit moving. Even right now, as I type, she's doing Zumba in there. Pretty fabulous. I think she's trying to remind me that I don't have anything to cry about, which I'm thankful for:)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

She's a chunky monkey...

That's right. I will never call her that, of course, once she is old enough to understand. But right now, Little Miss is a chunky monkey. When we had our ultrasound last month, the pictures of her heart weren't adequate. Since her heart is of the greatest importance, we went back today for more. This also meant that I got another round of 4D pictures. We got great pictures of all her important parts today, including confirmation that she is, indeed, a she. She was incredibly active, moving constantly. At one point, we visible saw my stomach move from where she was doing her morning jazzercise routine.

Despite all that exercise, sweet pea is a chunky monkey. She weighed 1 lb 3 oz, which doesn't seem like much, but she's about a week ahead. I'm 22 weeks and 3 days, and she is measuring closer to 23 weeks and 3 days. The nurse said it was genetic - that if Kyle and I were big babies, then she was likely to be a big baby. Not what I wanted to hear. This girl...8 lbs 15 oz. That's right. The idea of a 9 lb baby makes me a little nervous, but hey, it just means she will fill out her Juicy Couture bloomers. Here are two pictures from our appointment this morning. We've decided that she has my nose and Kyle's mouth. If she had my mouth, there would be no way to tell that she had lips. She still has a lot of growing to do, though.

How weird is the top of her little head?! Since she is still pretty new, the bones at the top of her head haven't fused yet.  My girl likes to have her mouth in front of her face. She kept it there almost the whole time. She stretched once, but it went right back into place. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Out with the old...

Yay! New background! I decided that since I now know Gretel is a girl, I could girl up my blog a little. The last design wasn't exactly masculine, but it was my idea of neutral. This one is aptly titled "Fairy Tale," and since I'm having a princess (note the crown to the right side), I decided it was appropriate. It makes me happy. And since I'm in a good mood, here are the things that make me happy today...

1. The princess ballerina in my belly. Or soccer player. Whatever she prefers. But every time I feel her bumping around, which she does often, I imagine her doing pirouettes in there. I can only feel them, obviously, so she may actually be working on her free-throw shooting form. I've said before, she may be her mother's daughter, but there's a distinct possibility that she is actually her father's. In which case, it would be her 3-point shooting form.

2. Capri Sun! I freaking love Capri Sun. Kiwi Strawberry only. I take a lunchbox to work with nothing in it but Capri Sun. That is all.

3. Driving a red car. I kind of feel like a rock star.

4. Having two computer monitors at work. I'm somewhat of an online mogul at work (mostly website...Mallory rules the social realm). I have my laptop monitor and then extend my desktop onto another monitor. I can't imagine my life without it:)

5. The husband. He gave me four tickets to tonight's Thrashers game (awesome seats) so that I could give them to someone I work with (hello, brownie points!). He even drove them to me at work. And then he is taking me to the Hawks/Heat game tomorrow night. Although he did change my channel last night when he realized that Glee was a rerun (I chose not to offer that information up)...

6. Thriller. As in MJ. We worked on the Aquarium's Halloween e-card this morning. Think Thriller and Flash Mob. It's going to be AWE-some.

7. Modern Family comes on tonight. Yay!

8. Willow Smith's video for "Whip My Hair." Kid is 9 years old. Insane!

9. Did I mention Gretel?

10. And pretty much everything else. I think today is a good day. Tomorrow may be different, and yesterday wasn't fab, but far, so good.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I can explain...

I suck. I know, and I'm sorry. It's been two weeks since my last post, which I promised myself I wouldn't do. But to be completely honest, I didn't really have anything new to write about. I'm in that stage where things are just consistent, nothing really changing except my circumference. Which is also why I haven't written anything - because I've been a bit negative lately. And I didn't want this to be painful to read. It's supposed to be fun, right?

See, it all started when a volunteer at work leaned over to a colleague of mine and said, in reference to me, "She's having a girl." The colleague said, "How do you know?" The volunteer said, "Because she's round all over." Knife. Heart. Plunge. I've always known it would happen, but a sweet lady telling someone else, while standing in front of you, that you're round all over doesn't do a lot for your self esteem. Don't get me wrong. My mother-in-law took me to A Pea in the Pod, so I'm totally rocking this pregnancy thing, and the clothes have made me a lot more confident in my growing self, but it still got me where it hurts.

Writing posts after that was therapeutic, but I couldn't publish any of them. They were all about the things that make pregnancy less than glamorous, and sometimes, just downright difficult. I told myself if was okay to write about those things because I had made a vow to be honest. But there's a difference between venting because you're a little down on your appearance and being honest. So I wrote and deleted probably six different posts. After that, I decided to stop trying for a few days and just wait. It wasn't perspective I needed, because I know how fortunate and blessed I am, but it never hurts to step back and take a minute to think.

So now, instead of talking about those things, or trying to create something to talk about related to pregnancy, I'm going to tell you about the two awesome things that happened over the last four days that I know are really only exciting to me.

#1 - I bought Wrestlemania tickets before they go on sale! It's in Atlanta in April, and it's a pretty big deal in the WWE world. That's right. This girl. And you thought you knew me:) Kyle and I are taking my Dad, but he won't know until Christmas. Since he doesn't know how to work a computer, I'm not worried about him finding out. Gretel will make her debut in February/March, so this may be my first big girl outing.

#2 - I got a new car! It's a bright red 2010 Mercedes C300, and it's B.E.A.utiful. I put a picture of its hotness below. And more importantly, it's super safe, so Gretel will have no worries. It has the safest record in its class, and it has plenty of room for Gretel in the back. I will also still have bluetooth in the car so that I can drive with both hands, and (new for me!) it also has iPod integration, which means my iPod can be controlled via my steering wheel controls or the little spin wheel that operates my screen. This means that I won't be looking down at my iPod to shuffle through my songs, which means a big WIN for me. I'm a little sad about saying good-bye to the Acura, but my lease was up in January, and a new baby meant it was time to purchase instead of lease again. The Acura was a good car - my first brand new one and the first one I paid for - so it's special to me. But if the last 5 months have been any indication, things change...usually for the better:)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Excuse me, do you have this in pink?

Gretel is training to be an acrobat. Yep. Little Miss, which Kyle's sister Allie named her, moves around a LOT. I felt my first distinct kick on Sunday night, and it about took me off the couch. It shocked me more than anything else. She moves constantly though. I had a doctor's appointment this morning just to hear the heartbeat, and the nurse commented several times on how much she was moving around. Her bpm was 160, which I was afraid was high. The nurse said it's just a sign of her being active. I guess that means we may need to find outlets for her to express all that extra energy:)

Gretel made her first official shopping trip to the mall this this weekend. Kyle's family was in town, so his mom, sister and I made a day of it at Lenox and Phipps Plaza on Saturday. We found some fabulous things for her, including Juicy Couture diaper covers, beautiful dresses and her first pair of shoes - hot pink, sequin-covered Stuart Weitzmans. Most everything was pink, but we did fit in some classic Burberry, not the pink check. So far, she is absolutely her mother's daughter. Technically, it's because I'm still the one doing the shopping, but it's nice to think that maybe she's a little like me. Allie took care of the toys, so she will have something to entertain her after I entertain myself with baby dress-up.  I kept having to remind myself that I don't have to dress her for the entire first year of her life before November. I want to buy everything I see right now, so I'm trying to pull back a little. The kid may need more than a pink dress and sequin shoes to get through life. I mean, that's all I've ever needed, but I better not bank on that. Here are her diaper covers and my three favorite dresses:) Some of them will have to wait until she's older, but they were too adorable to not get now.

I got a text message from her Aunt Allie at 11 p.m. last night. She has added two onesies to the mix - a red one that says "Born to Rock," which should go nicely with the pink Aerosmith and pink AC/DC onesies I got her (hey, the girl's gotta have some street cred), and a blue one that simply says "meh..." I retract my previous statement. She is her father's daughter.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

It starts...

The shopping has begun. I knew online shopping wasn't going to be nearly as fun, so I knew that a trip was in order. Thankfully, I live in Atlanta, where everything is available. However, I live in the suburbs of Atlanta, so not everything is open very late.

Kyle and I both had to work late yesterday, so we weren't both home until after 8 p.m. The BabyGap next to my house closed guessed it...8 p.m. The Babies R Us, however, was open until 9 p.m. It was 8:40 by the time we got there, but that 20 minutes was all the time I needed to buy my girl a few comfy things. I thought I would go straight to the frilly outfits, but I was drawn to the colorful, soft things with cute prints. I'm a sucker for hearts and polka dots. Plus, I needed more than 20 minutes to fully evaluate the frills they had. Those may be best left to full Saturdays at the mall. We got mostly 0-3 months, but the outfit with the grey jacket is 9-12 months, and the cargo parts are 12 months. I was wearing cargo pants almost identical to these, so when I saw them, she had to have them.

I try to keep this blog cheese-free, but I have to tell you that shopping for her was unreal. She has always been a real person to me, but she became even more real in those 20 minutes. I'm bursting at the seams with love and excitement. Okay. That is all. 

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

It's a...

GIRL!!! Holy cow. Never thought it would happen. Those old wives don't know jack. Every single predictor they use said that Gretel was actually a boy. But it took the ultrasound this morning to show anything definitive. And homegirl is...well...a girl. To say that I'm excited would be an understatement. I will chill with the pink font now, because it's hurting my eyes. 

Yesterday was the longest day of my life. I was so relieved when it was finally time to go to bed, but do you remember how you felt when you were 6 years old and it was Christmas Eve? Yeah. Take that, and multiply it by 10. That's how I felt. And restless leg syndrome is no lie. I should know. It struck me at at 3:30 a.m., and that was all she wrote. I laid there for a while, and finally gave up at 5 a.m. Between the need to have every joint in my body popped and the nervous anxiety that was throwing a party in my stomach, it was an extra long morning. I didn't get that instant gratification you get on Christmas morning when there is 0.5 seconds between waking up and opening presents. Noooo. This girl had to wait another 5 hours. It was important for me to eat this morning because they were drawing vials of blood for the second part of my sequential screening, but it just wasn't happening. I couldn't eat anything. I drank OJ because my friend MW said she heard that it makes the baby move around and cooperate. Not sure why, but I did it anyway. Anything that might help, right? 

Once I finally got in the ultrasound room, the most important thing was to make sure Gretel was healthy and growing properly. So the technician took lots of images before we finally got around to gender. Gretel is, by the way, healthy and growing quickly. She weighs a hefty 10 oz, which actually puts me a week ahead of schedule. That's the most important thing, of course. I actually have to go back in four weeks for another ultrasound because homegirl was moving around so much that they couldn't take enough good pictures of her heart, which is only about the size of a quarter. 

Finally, the technician stuck the wand on the side of my stomach, and it showed Gretel from underneath, pretty much like she was sitting on the wand. God help me - if she ever finds out about this blog or comes across it one day, I hope she forgives me for posting this picture. But I have to. You can see her tiny bottom, legs and her girliness. 

My girl was not ready to wake up and didn't want to be bothered. It didn't take long, though, for all the poking to wake her up, and then she wouldn't stay still. She kept her hands around her face and later sucked her thumb. 

Today begins the shopping extravaganza. My mom has already been on a diaper run. Kyle and I are going shopping tonight (He knows it and isn't trying to get out of it. How awesome is that?!). And Kyle's family is in town this weekend, so I'm sure that his mom, Allie and I will go browsing. 

And before I turn you loose, I have to tell you what the amazing girls I work with did for me. Without my knowing, they sent an office email to everyone, asking them for their boy/girl predictions. Then, they were texting Kyle last night and this morning to make sure the timing was right for my arrival this morning so they could surprise me. When I got to work, they had showered my desk with pink and blue stars, the whiteboard was decorated with the boy/girl predictions and designs, and everyone was wearing pink and blue to coincide with their predictions. I was so surprised and touched that everyone put so much effort into today. I love my girls. They are the best. And I love that my girl will know them:)

Monday, September 27, 2010

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

I have both good things to share and a bone to pick. I will start with the good things. Gretel/Seven is definitely moving around in there. I can't feel anything when I put my hand on my belly, but I can feel him/her flipping around a little. It feels like a lot of flutters right in the middle, and it's almost like she tickles my side at times. It's unreal..surreal, actually. I keep trying to figure out if there is anything that will make her move around more, but it seems like she just moves when she feels like it. Hopefully there will be more of it and I can figure out a know, like when she wants me to quit singing or she doesn't like the way I'm laying. We shall see:)

We find out on Wednesday if it is indeed a she, or if my habits need to change. My appointment is at 7:45 a.m. It was the first one they had. I think it's probably a he, despite the pronouns that I use, but I have to wait about 36 more hours to know for sure.

Now, on to my bone. Why, WHY do people think that a round belly is an invitation to grope you? Don't get me wrong. I'm totally fine with people touching me when they either warn me or even ask. As long as I know you're going to be touching me, I'm all for it. But don't think that just because I'm pregnant that you can cop a feel whenever you want. What would you do if I just started rubbing all up on you? In the last 72 hours, I've had three people (one of which I had never met and whose name I still don't know) rub my stomach. One of them actually grabbed it with two hands and shook it.  I'm sorry...can I help you? Skittles aren't going to fall out of there and they set the big, blue genie free, so you can stop touching me now.

And here's another one for you...why do men think they know more about being pregnant than I do? Because their wives had babies? Sorry...not the same thing. I actually had one man, upon seeing that I was drinking water, say to me, "Good girl." WHAT? I've also been asked if I know how much protein I'm supposed to have; how much protein am I getting; how am I getting that protein; what kind of exercise have you been doing; you can't have too many Cokes; etc. Again, don't get me wrong. I'm incredibly grateful to have people care about me and the kiddo. But not all of these people actually know me, and I feel like I'm being tested. The ones I do know, I don't mind so much. They only ask because they either care or are interested, even though I still feel like I'm taking the "Are You a Good Mother?" quiz. The worst part is that I will actually lie to them. If I know I haven't eaten enough protein that day, I lie. How pathetic is that?  Whatever. When you grow a human being in your non-uterus and then push a kid out of your willy, then we'll talk.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Holy cow...I think it moved

Not kidding. I never write posts during the day because I'm at work, but this called for a 10-minute break from being brilliant. I think it moved.

Hi, by the way. I've gone back to sucking at being a blogger. It's been more than a week since I posted. I blame the conference in Houston that I had to go to. No time to do the things I needed to do, nevermind the things I wanted to do. But I'm back. And a very special occasion has spurned me to write again. That occasion being...

I think it moved.

It's really somewhat frustrating to not know for sure. My doctor told me that it would feel like flutters or bubbles in my stomach, and I definitely just felt some bubble-ish movement in there. I've been bouncing her, trying to get her to do it again, but I suppose she doesn't feel like it. Of course, I could be completely wrong, and the bubble-ish movements were, in fact, bubbles. I've also been singing to her, trying to prompt some movement. Of course, this is all in private, because I really, really can't sing. I figured she would at least kick me in an effort to make me stop. But alas, that hasn't worked yet.

On another note, we find out in a week from tomorrow if she is indeed a she, or if it is a he. Longest. countdown. ever.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What is this witchcraft?!

No, posting two days in a row is not my attempt to not suck at blogging. It's mostly a coincidence. I posted yesterday because I started to feel bad about myself. I'm posting now because I went to the doctor today, and I don't have anything else to do:) Plus, I thought of some funny things that I didn't want to forget.

Doctor appointment today was easy breezy. She just listened to the heartbeat and answered my questions (will the Kings of Leon concert on Friday hurt kiddo's ears; why does my head hurt ALL THE TIME; when is it supposed to move; are you sure my kid won't be deaf after Friday night?). The heart rate was 160 bpm. Average is 120-160 for this time period. An old wives tale about gender prediction is that a heart rate of 140 bpm or higher indicates a girl and lower than 140 bpm indicates a boy. I've kind of been banking on this one since it seems more science-based, but my nurse assured me that there is no truth to it. While it seems more legit, I certainly haven't limited myself to just this one tale.

I'm a desperately impatient person and I hate waiting, especially for surprises. I don't find out pink or blue until Sept. 29, which, to a normal, sane person, is just a short three weeks away. It's not. It's freakin forever. It was even longer than freaking forever two weeks ago when they made my appointment. At that point, it was a six-week wait. So I was left to my own devices to try to figure out what kiddo is. Enter the witchcraft. Well, not really witchcraft. I didn't mix any potions or chant spells or even break out the Magic 8 Ball. I googled old wives tales until I was blue in the face. I've taken a million online quizzes that are supposed to predict gender - I've received an equal amount of girl/boy results. There are a lot of things that the so-called old wives say can predict your baby's gender - your complexion, the changes in your body, how you're carrying your weight, your baby's heart rate, foods that you crave...they seem legit enough, right? Then we get into the more ridiculous ones - how fast the hair is growing on your legs (ick), how cold your feet are, did you conceive on a full moon, etc. Really? Then, there's the needle/ring test. Enter more witchcraft.

The tale goes that you suspend a needle or your wedding ring from a string or a strand of your hair (what?) over your stomach. You have to hold the needle or ring still, and then it will either swing in a circle or back and forth like a pendulum. Seems silly, but I figured I would try it. So I made Kyle suspend my ring, and later a needle, over my stomach. At first, nothing happened. But then, both times, it started swinging back and forth like crazy. It was freaky. I told the girls at work, so they wanted to try it. After we thought everyone had left for the evening, we shut the door to my office and I laid down in the floor. They took turns. One time, it went in a circle. Every time after that, a pendulum it was. I don't think they believed how crazy it was until they did it. I don't know why it's supposed to predict gender, but dude, it's pretty crazy. Craziness further ensued when there was a knock on my door. It was my senior VP, who wanted to know what kind of witchcraft we were performing. Luckily, he has a sense of humor and a gaggle of grandkids, so he understood.

So now, I've got the ring/needle test telling me boy and the heart rate telling me girl. So who knows? All I know is that the next three weeks can not go by fast enough.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Word of the Week....Amazingness

Amazingess is the word of the week. Yes, I know that's not a word. If you know me, then you already know I'm brilliant. That means I can make up a word if I want to. And amazingness is the only word that captures the week. One important element of the word amazing is that it can apply to both positive and negative, and I have both. Not all of them happened directly to me, but they happened to people I'm tied to, which is pretty much the same thing as happening to me. I'll start with the three negatives, that way we don't end on a sour note.

1. My sister is a high school teacher. I won't say where because I don't want you to know where the criminal belongs to. She just got a new car. Not just any new car. A freakin Mercedes Benz. What happens when she drives it to school and parks? Someone hits it. Hits it and then drives away. They don't have designated teacher or student lots at this school, nor do they have assigned spots or cameras. So it means she will never know what idiot 16-year-old hit it and drove off. Nice. Amazingness.

2. I finally got to announce Baby Payne on Facebook and Twitter. Lots of people were really sweet and congratulated us. Amazingness. Sadly, a lot of people that I thought would say something, in fact, didn't seem to care. Lesson learned - don't expect people to wish you well just because you've wished them well and sent them a present every time they sent you an invitation for some life event. Yep, they don't deserve my word of the week. (Sorry, take it back to the previous blog post. Just keeping it real.)

3. My beautiful (and newly engaged) friend M.W. was in a less than stellar car accident two weeks ago. She and the bling are fine, but her car was totaled. I've been listening to her on the phone for two weeks now trying to get the perp's insurance to take care of her. They tried to only give her a rental care for like 2 days, and then tried to undercut the price on her car by a ton of $$. Unbelievable amazingness. But the really amazing part was listening to her side of the conversation. Homegirl did not back down. She absolutely took control and made them her b**ch. Now she gets to buy a new car. I would have totally buckled. SHE was amazingness.

4. I made it through one whole night without waking up to go to the bathroom. Absolute amazingness.

5. My wonderful, agreeable husband let me buy all new stainless steel appliances for my kitchen. Amazingness.  The new stove has a griddle. Have you ever wanted a cheese quesadilla at 10:30 p.m.? Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. Life just got easier.

6. My wonderful dad came and installed ALL OF THEM so that I wouldn't have to pay someone else to do it. He and my mom took them back to Alabama to sell them for me. Double amazingness.

7. As I type this entry, my friend and former colleague A.D. is getting to know her brand new son. Her husband checked in on Facebook at midnight, and later compared her to Chuck Norris. Baby A.H.D was born at 3 p.m today....on his actual due date. How is that for amazingness?

8. Group trip to Carvel at 4 p.m. one day this week. Ummm....what is that if not amazingness?  Oh, and the cafe at work is now serving Jim and Nick's BBQ. My pregnant belly was much obliged.

9. This is for that beautiful and newly engaged friend M.W. (soon to be M.A.) that I was telling you about. She discovered this video this week, so I feel compelled to share it with you. She rolls every time it plays. I'm still partial to the Oregon Duck, but I've learned not to mess with her. Amazingness is the angry goat

10. My beautiful friend N.C., who is now 8 months pregnant, has been putting my hand on her round belly for months. Of course, it's only when Baby kicks. Not because she likes being rubbed on or anything. But, every time my hand goes up, he stops. Until today. She came running into my office, grabbed my hand and put it on her belly. He had the hiccups, and I could feel every little bounce he made. It's the first time I've felt truly overwhelmed about what's happening with me. Ultrasounds and heartbeats are amazing. But feeling it is something else entirely. That was utter and complete amazingness.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gretel...Take 2

We had our second ultrasound on Wednesday. Gretel is measuring right on target to be here Feb. 27. It's actually starting to look more like a baby. The nurse had to measure the nuchal translucency (it's for a test to determine the probability of the baby being born with Down's Syndrome), and in order to do that, the nurse needed the baby to lift up a little bit. Apparently, she was sleepy and stubborn, because she was having none of it. The nurse made me cough a bunch of times, and she even resorted to pushing on my belly repeatedly. Gretel didn't care. She would raise up a little bit, and then snuggle back down into her nook. No doubt at all...that is my child.

Gretel/Seven at 12 weeks 3 days. The dark circle in the middle of her head is her ear. (And no, I don't know if it's a her yet, but even before he/she existed I called it a her, so I figure I might as well keep calling it a least until Sept. 29.)

We find out on Sept. 29 if I can keep using the name Gretel, or if I have to switch to Seven and paint the pink room blue. Ahhh probably didn't know that. Kiddo's room is already pink. When we bought our house in April 2009, one of the four bedrooms was light pink. I immediately designated it as the future nursery. We knew when we wanted to bring Gretel home, so I decided to leave it that way, just in case. I thought it was a nice sign, but now I'm not so sure. I have a feeling that the pink room will be getting doused in blue (or another boy-friendly color) soon.

Which brings about another topic...boy or girl? I've always wanted a girl, but now that Gretel is on the way, I honestly don't care. I always thought it was a cop-out when people said that, but's true. Go figure. I want one of each anyhow, so the order doesn't matter much. Although, I've always heard boys are easier, so a boy might be better for the first round. A girl might should wait until we're more advanced.  Now don't get me wrong, I would still love to buy a pink Burberry bathing suit and matching hat, but I would love to buy Chuck Taylors and a Red Hot Chili Peppers onesie too:)

Since it's Friday, I'm leaving you with one of my favorite YouTube videos that has nothing to do with babies. If nothing else, it's a reminder that fall is around the corner. Without further ado...the Oregon Duck kicks the Houston Cougar's butt:

Monday, August 16, 2010

Let's keep it real, shall we?

Let me begin by saying how incredibly grateful and blessed I feel to even be in this position. I can't put into words how excited I am about Gretel/Seven's arrival in 6 months.  I am exactly where I want to be. I planned and timed everything out exactly like I wanted it to be, and it actually worked out that way. BUT, that's not what you always want to read about, is it? Hey, I'm in PR. I know what sells. So, in addition to the fluffy things, I would like to "keep it real." In honor of keeping it real, I'm going to share with you five of the less-than-glamorous aspects of my pregnancy thus far. (Also, these WILL get shorter. You're just so far behind that there is much to catch you up on.)

1. I drink a lot of Gatorade. A lot. Not kidding. My refrigerator looks like I'm training for the Tour de France. After I was sick for so long, there aren't many things I can stand to drink. Ginger Ale, Sprite and any other caffeine-free soda makes me gag, and Gatorade seemed to stick with me. Let me put it this way. For the last 3-4 weeks, I've spent about $100 a week on the stuff. Yeah. You're welcome, Publix.

2. I burp. A lot. I'm a girly girl to the 10th power. I hate dirt, bugs, sweat, body functions and general ickiness. So the fact that I went from never burping (especially out loud) to not being able to control it is unacceptable. I think the husband thought it was funny at first. Now I think he is getting grossed out. Most of the time, they are dainty. I go to speak, and a small, funny noise comes out. Other times...well, you know that scene from "Elf" when Buddy downed a 2-liter Coke and then proceeded to rattle the wall hangings. Yep. This girl. I can't believe I admitted it, but hey, we're keeping it real.

3. I can't button a single pair of pants that I own. When I told my mother, she thought it would be helpful to tell me that she didn't have to wear maternity pants until she was 7 months pregnant. Gee. Thanks. Isn't there someone in Alabama that needs a pep talk?

4. Apparently as your uterus grows, your bladder shrinks. Not really, but it feels that way. I wake up in the middle of the night at least once (EVERY NIGHT) because, I'm certain, Gretel/Seven (who is only the size of a peach right now) is kicking my bladder with all of her/his might. It makes car rides very, very long.

5. Ok, so I will only share four things. I don't want to be totally negative, so I will share Gretel/Seven's first picture. I think that "keeping it real" also requires a reminder of just how incredible this whole thing is. This was at 8 weeks, when she was only 17 millimeters long. Now she is about 3 inches long, or the size of a peach. Half of that is her head, but I've been reassured that she should even out by the time she gets here.

In the first image, you can see where his/her brain is developing. She's standing on her head, basically, and the dark circle is her brain. In the other pictures, the ring is the yolk sac, but the nurse said it looks like she has a halo. Was there ever any doubt that my child (and Kyle's) would be an angel with a big brain? I don't see any hands going up. If you look at the circle, the go to the right, you will see her head, arms and legs.  Pretty cool, huh? My second ultrasound is on Wednesday, so I will hopefully have a new picture to post.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Where to begin...

Two posts in a row. That's right. Don't get used to it. Right now, I'm on a roll. And football is on, so I don't have much else to do. Onward and upward. Now that I've shared with you why I started this little blog, I should probably go back a little bit. You are, after all, about 3 months behind. How about I just start with a few things that might help to know? For background info and future posts...

If you read my first post, then you know that Kyle and I are expecting kiddo numero uno. Feb. 27 is the date, which makes me 3 months along right now. And no, next year is not a leap year. That's the first thing I asked, though. We've already told our families and a handful of friends. I had to tell my work girls a few weeks earlier than planned because Gretel (the in utero name I have given kiddo - despite not knowing the gender) had me nauseous all day long for about 6 weeks. When you no longer eat during the day, the group of girls you devour cheese dip with weekly are going to notice (BTW - you can't eat queso when you're pregnant, but that's a different post for a different day). And yeah, the idiot that came up with the term "morning sickness" was either a dude or part of a conspiracy to keep women pregnant, not fully revealing to them that vomiting throughout the day for weeks was a possibility. It is, is.

My plan was to wait another couple of days before telling anyone else, but I broke weak and started telling more people at work today. I actually only told two people, but they told two people, and they told two get the point. When I got dressed for work this morning and looked like I had stuck a cantaloupe under my shirt, I decided it was time. Which is a nice transition to...

Maternity pants. Dude. They are freaking awesome. I held out as long as I could because part of me wasn't ready. I was missing out! They are like wearing yoga pants at top and trousers at the bottom. A-MAZING. I want to wear them forever. I went around work with my pants unbuttoned for a few weeks, which afforded my group a few laughs. But maternity pants are waaaayyy better. Sorry, no transition to the next topic...

In utero names. So I've named kiddo Gretel. I don't know why. I don't know if it's a girl or a boy yet, but Gretel just seemed like it fit. I tried a bunch of meaningless nouns, but nothing stuck like Gretel. My grandfather has called me Myrtle my entire life. Seriously. He has never, ever called me Ashley. And to me, Gretel and Myrtle sound similar, so maybe that has something to do with it. Kyle, on the other hand, has another name for Gretel....


Yes, Seven. If you are an avid Seinfeld watcher, you probably get it. Seinfeld is the only show (aside from sports) that Kyle has ever regularly watched. And thanks to syndication, he never has to stop. Seven is the name that George Costanza has picked out for his future children.

Okay, I think I've covered enough for today. But don't worry. I have an editorial calendar of sorts started on my iPhone notes, so I might actually be able to keep doing this regularly. We'll see how it goes:)  Oh, and all my love to Mallory for becoming my first follower. She didn't have a choice. She's the only one who knows about the blog right now:)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

This could be a bad idea....

I'm not kidding. This could be a bad idea. One of two things will probably happen. Either I'm going to suck at this because a) I don't have anything interesting to say  b) I won't make the time to be a timely blogger and c) I've already decided I'm going to suck at this. OR - I'm going to be awesome, realize that I'm awesome and then completely neglect more important things (husband, laundry, weeding, etc.) because I'm here...typing because I have a distorted view of how important my thoughts are. But I've already invested too much time in making this thing look pretty, so we're doing this thing.

Now that I'm committed, allow me to cut to the chase. You're behind. That's not your fault. It's because I chose for you to be behind. Most of you are reading this post more than a week after it was originally posted. That's because I haven't let you in on my secret yet. But I will a week from today. You see, my inspiration for becoming a blogger comes from within. Literally. At this moment, you probably know me, but what you don't know is...I'm going to be a mom. That's right. Come February, I will be one of the bona fide mommy bloggers that I cherish and appreciate (personally and professionally speaking). So, I originally decided that I would blog about the experience. But I realized that not everything has to be baby-related. Oh, don't get me wrong. A lot of it will be, especially at first. But I promise to try (repeat, to try) not to drive you to the brink of insanity with baby stories. I have plenty of other interests, which I will share with you as we go along. Not today. As of this moment, I have probably spent two hours trying to make this thing look pretty, and being in the delicate condition I am in, I don't have the stamina to tell you the story behind baby's in utero names, my love of maternity pants (I will explain later) and why General Hospital is the greatest show on television. Yep. Greatest. That's what I said.