Friday, February 25, 2011

The Promised Land

Wednesday was a breast day for us. We had a breastfeeding class at 3:10 for WIC, and then another one at 7:00 for my prenatal class. Needless to say, we got a lot of information twice. On top of that, I've been studying up on the topic for a while anyway so most of the classes' information was review for me. It did help cement it all in my mind, though, and help me prepare for the big day so I'm not completely overwhelmed when I try nursing the first time. Of course, all we've learned is theoretical so far because we can't actually practice until Evie makes her big debut.

In all of the breastfeeding classes, we got hammered over and over with information about colostrum, the pre-milk substance that the breast produces that is filled with nutrients and is referred to as "liquid gold" because of all of its benefits. It's been described to us as a thick and sticky yellowish-clear liquid and it's like "sucking honey through a straw" for babies to get it out. After 3 to 4 days postpartum, the actual milk comes in and mixes with the colostrum to fill out the baby's diet. Yesterday morning, while I was still dozing in bed, it occured to me that after a week postpartum, a mother's breasts are literally "flowing with milk and honey." This reference to the scriptural Promised Land made me smile to myself, and I've been feeling smugly witty ever since. :D

Actually, it also reminded me of a dream I had a couple of months ago. Todd and I had been looking at breastpumps online and there was one available for upwards of $1500! We were discussing why on earth anyone would spend that much for a breastpump. That night, I had a dream in which I was using that breastpump and getting fantastic results, even though I was only 6.5 months along at the time. Just out of curiosity, I tasted it and it tasted familiar, but I couldn't figure out why. When I woke up, I was telling Todd about it, and my brain suddenly clicked. I shouted, "Sweetened condensed milk! That's what I was pumping!!" So, apparently, if you use the Medela Symphony Plus breastpump, you will be able to pump sweetened condensed milk for your baby! That's why it costs so much! :D

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Belly Music

Last night, Todd and I went to BYU's Symphonic Band concert. He wanted to go because there was a really cool trombone piece in it, and I wanted to go because I wanted to get out of the house and experience some last-minute culture before Baby makes concert-going impossible. I was taking a test in the Testing Center that ran a little long, so I actually missed the first part of the concert, but then I got to my seat and settled in next to my sweetie.

Then I realized something funny: Evie was dancing! Even in her now-cramped quarters, she was boogie-ing along to the music. Then, the band hit a huge crescendo and pounded on a big drum which startled her, causing her to jump a little bit and tense up. By this time, I was laughing. Todd looked over and I gestured to my belly. He put his hand on our little girl's tense little bottom and we felt as she slowly relaxed and started enjoying the music again. Before too long, she was back to dancing.

This isn't the first time she's shown an interest in music, either. Todd is in the Orchestra on Temple Square, so he performed in the Christmas concert with David Archuleta. All during the concert, Evie would be kicking along to the beat and getting especially active during high notes. I told him afterward that I didn't know whether she was enjoying the music or protesting against it. I'm thinking now, of course, that she was enjoying it.

Even earlier than that, at our halfway ultrasound, we saw Evie's little hands against her head, with her right hand keeping steady time. I told Todd, "Look! Our baby is right-handed! And probably musical too; look at that rhythmic tapping!" He chuckled and said, "Don't do it, Baby. It'll make you poor," but I told her, "No, it's okay, sweetheart. Heavenly Father's already given you a talent!" At the time, I was mostly joking, but I'm starting to think there may be more truth to that statement than I originally thought. My daughter is still in the womb, in an increasingly tight space, but she still reacts to music by getting her groove on. Todd, of course, is not surprised. He told me last night that he'd be more surprised if she didn't like music, with a trombonist for a father and a chorale vocalist for a mother. True. For now, it's fun to just feel her. Later though, I think it would be cool if she turned out to be a musical child prodigy. We could have our very own Mozart!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Baby Recap #4

This is the final post recap, and this post was actually published after I started this blog. Just a couple of weeks ago, actually, on the 5th of last month. Funny, right? Anyway, it was originally titled "The Final Stretch!" and here it is!

I have now officially entered the third and final trimester of my pregnancy. Woo-hoo! 
My belly really popped out over Christmas break! 
Adorable shirt is courtesy of my wonderful mom. It is possibly my favorite shirt now.
I have cleared the final hurdle and am sprinting for the finish line (metaphorically, of course. I hated running even pre-pregnancy.)! This scares me a little and excites me a lot. It scares me because I've passed the last known landmark and am trekking into unknown territory- I have no idea when little Evie is going to be born. At least with the other two trimesters, I knew the exact date I would transition into the next one. But this final trimester ends when she decides it ends, and I have no control over that. That lack of control secretly terrifies the snot out of me. On the other hand, I am excited because it is going to be one amazing surprise! All I want is for her to arrive safe and healthy: my very own gift from heaven. I'm so looking forward to holding her warm little body in my arms, and counting her tiny fingers and toes, and dividing her features between mine and Todd's (he's already convinced that she has my nose instead of his). I can't wait to rock her, and sing lullabies as I nurse her, and push her in the stroller. I love zoos, and I have a vision of going as a family and watching her fascination with all of the different animals.
Speaking of animals, I know that I mentioned in an earlier post that we were planning on using a Noah's Ark theme for decorating. Well, in my mythology class last semester, there was a really sweet girl that I sat next to who brought her little boy to class. We started talking about babies and strollers, and became friends. One day, while we were talking, he dropped his fleece blanket and I bent to pick it up. It was the cutest motif of baby animals I have ever seen! I asked her where she'd gotten it, and she didn't know because it was a gift from her mother. Then, when we went to Idaho to visit my family for Thanksgiving, my mom pulled out a quilt panel she'd found and was planning on sewing for Evie. I think I startled her when I shrieked "That's the fabric Allison had!! Where did you get that?!?" So on Black Friday, we went to Porter's and I got one for $2. Then, we went to Wal-Mart and happened to find the matching fleece:

It is so soft and warm and adorable; I can't wait to wrap my baby in it and just snuggle with her. Best yet, there's a whole range of fabrics that match it, so we can make sheets as well as the blanket and the quilt! Finding that pretty much made my whole weekend. :D I wanted to hold it on the drive home and just stroke it, but Todd looked at me sternly and asked "Is this for you or the baby?" But I still sometimes sneak the fabric out and wrap the teddy bear that we made for her in it and just practice rocking. Yes, I'm a dork, but I accept this about myself. :D This is the teddy we made for her at Build-a-Bear all those months ago: Isn't he cute? We sure thought so. And, speaking of animals AND of strollers, Todd and I picked out the most adorable travel system. It's great quality (we were assured) and also very cheap, especially with the coupon we have.
                                      Click to view large image
I'm slightly obsessed with monkeys lately. Sadly, I can't enlarge the picture without making it fuzzy. Oh well. I love it so much, and can't wait until we can go buy it for her! The best part about all of this stuff is that it's gender-neutral, so we can use the same gear if/when we have a little boy. Hooray for saving money!
As for the actual pregnancy itself, everything is great. I'm still feeling fantastic, although a little achy. I'm also experiencing painless Braxton Hicks contractions, but that's entirely normal. Evie is being interesting: sometimes she's really REALLY active, but increasingly she's calming down. I don't know if it's because she's getting too big to move around as easily, or if it's because she's busy dreaming (REM sleep this week, according to the book!). I'm not worried though, because she moves around often enough to keep my life exciting. Over Christmas break, people across the room could see her shifting around and got quite a "kick" out of it. (Yuk, yuk, yuk. Cheesy, I know.)
Also over Christmas break, it came to our attention that some people might come to some incorrect assumptions about her name. I'm going to clear those up right now. NO-she is not named after Evangeline Lilly, the actress who plays Kate on LOST. I like LOST, and Kate, but I did not name my baby after her. NO-she is not named after the star in the Princess and the Frog, NOR is her middle name a nod to the firefly named Ray in the same movie. That one surprised me, actually; the connection hadn't even occured to me. NO-she is not named after Eva from the movie Wall-E. Her nickname is Evie, NOT Eva. Where I DID get the name: Henry W. Longfellow, American poet. From the time I was little, my whole family would get together and play Authors, a card game based on Go-Fish, except with 4 specific books by each author. One of the books listed for Longfellow is his poem Evangeline. When picking out baby names, I was looking for elegant names of 4 syllables that began with a vowel and had an "interesting letter." (Alexander, Elizabeth, Olivia, etc. (Yes, I know I'm way too... anal? about some things. I accept this about myself, too.)) Well, Todd's brother had already named his son Alex, and Todd didn't like the name Olivia, so I was running low on options. Suddenly, the name Evangeline popped into my head and I decided I really liked it. Todd agreed. It took another eternity to find her middle name- nothing seemed to go with it. We didn't want something super long, since her first name is pretty lengthy, and Todd didn't want something "hoity-toity" like Belle. So I was cruising around Facebook, stalking my friends, and came upon one of my best friends from middle school and early high school. Her middle name is Rae, and I looked at it and said the whole thing to myself. Then, I tentatively suggested it to Todd, and he loved it. And thus was our baby's name born. I kind of hope her own birth will be that easy. ;)
**On a side note, I'm purposely not including the brands of the stuff I've pictured. This is because I'm evil and selfish. I want to keep all of the cute stuff for myself and not share any of it with others. I want to imagine people pulling out their hair trying to FIND the cute stuff, and smugly sit back with a smirk and fondle my treasure hoard. I'm feeling very draconian just now.

Baby Recap #3

In another installment of baby blog reposts, this one was titled "Introducing..." and was published on November 19th.

First, I would just like to apologize to anyone actually reading these posts that I did not immediately post news of the baby on Monday, like I hoped to. This week has been insane and isn't over yet. However, I am taking this time (which I should be using to study) to officially introduce our baby.
As I mentioned in my last post, Monday was our halfway ultrasound appointment. It was wonderful! We got to look at the baby's brain, stomach, heart, spine: the whole nine yards. Our baby is very healthy, developing right on schedule, and weighing in at a proud 13 oz. Then, at the very end, the sonographer asked if we wanted to know the baby's gender. Of course we did! It's only been killing me since the day I found out I was pregnant! Well, it took her 10-15 minutes, but she finally pried the baby's legs apart long enough for us to get a quick peek. And the verdict is (drum roll, please): our modest little darling is a little girl!
A GIRL!!! Her name is Evangeline Rae Jacobs, and she's already stolen our hearts. Even while still in Mommy's tummy, she's already forming her own personality and showing us how much fun she's going to be. While we were looking at her brain, she waved at me! She had her fists up next to her forehead the whole time, and was probably really trying to push the ultrasound wand away, but I'm firmly believing that she was waving to her mommy. I'm also pretty sure that little Evie is right-handed. Besides waving with her right hand, when we looked down her spine and then came back up to look at her brain again, she was keeping time by tapping on her head with her right hand. I told Todd, "Look! Our baby is right-handed! And probably musical too; look at that rhythmic tapping!" He said, "Don't do it, baby. It'll make you poor." But I told her, "No, it's ok, sweetheart. Heavenly Father's already given you a talent!"
She let her strong personality be shown in other ways, too. Apparently knowing that we were looking at her face, she let out a huge yawn. I'm sad that we didn't get to keep a picture of it; it was so cute!! But here's her little face:
Ultrasounds only show bone and fluid, so she looks like a little skeleton. But a CUTE skeleton!
Then, we followed her spine down and looked at her legs. She had them so tightly clenched, but in such a ladylike way, and had one ankle daintily draped over the other. Since we didn't know her gender then, I was thinking "I sure hope we're having a girl, because if not, we're having one ladylike little boy!" Anyway, this is a picture of her bottom foot; the one draped over it isn't visible.
Isn't that just darling?
We'd finally finished everything and we were eager to see if our little baby was a boy or a girl, but like I mentioned earlier, she was tightly clenching her thighs together and it took the sonographer 10-15 minutes to finally separate them. She tried gently tapping the baby's knees, then her head to make her just uncomfortable enough to squirm. Oh, she squirmed, all right, but kept her knees together the whole time. She's very flexible and also very stubborn. On one hand, I was proud of her modesty, but on the other I was starting to worry that I wouldn't be able to find out until she was born! And, of course, the suspense would kill me before then. I told my belly, "Come on, sweetie, let Mommy and Daddy see what you are! From the day you're born on, you're never to open your legs again, but we want to know right now!" So she finally opened them just enough for the sonographer to get a quick picture. However, I'm not posting that one because Todd and I are defending our daughter's honor. As Todd says, "She tried so hard to be modest! And I don't want pictures of my daughter's girly parts splashed all over the Internet!"
Then, as if that struggle hadn't worn her out, she refused to let us get a profile picture. She kept looking at the wand, and it took us another 5-7 minutes to finally get another quick picture. But it's all so worth it! Look at that cute little face!
She's so precious!
She's already a healthy little girl with a strong personality. She'll probably be a handful, but I just laugh. I'm proud of having a girl who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to get it, and I'm tickled to death that I get to be a part of her life, and watch her little personality unfold as she grows. I'm so excited to hold her in my arms and tell her how much I love her. In fact, I was so excited as we left the doctor's office, that I was bouncing all the way to the car. Todd, who's more reserved than I am anyway, walked calmly. I asked him, "Why aren't you excited?!?" He answered, "Jess, when am I ever as excited as you about anything?" "Good point. But we just found out that our baby's strong and healthy!" "I never had any concerns on that score." "Ok, fine. But at least now we know we're having a little girl! We can call her a 'her' and not an 'it!'" "That's true." Then, a few minutes later as we were driving down the road, I looked over to see him smiling. "What are you smiling at?" I asked. He said, "Oh, I was just thinking about my little girl, and how I'm going to tackle anyone who tries to take her." I thought he was talking about when she's a teenager and boys try to date her, but he tells me he was actually talking about when she's born and other people try to hold her. See? She's not even born yet, and she already has her daddy wrapped around her little finger! :D And we are so excited to welcome little Evie into our home and hearts, and get to know this precious little spirit.

Baby Recap #2

The second installment in my reposts, this one was entitled "Halfway There," and was published on November 10th of last year.

Today was a very momentous day in the life of Jess Jacobs. Among other things, today marked the completion of the first 20 weeks of my pregnancy--the halfway mark! And just recently, during the past couple of weeks, things have been starting to happen to really "prove" my pregnancy in a number of ways. First of all, I started feeling, or at least thinking I was feeling, the baby move about a month ago. But last week, Baby really started moving around in there. It happened at night when I was in bed and just starting to unwind my mind and think about going to sleep. All of a sudden, I felt a big long "whoosh" against my tummy, followed by a flurry of smaller movements. Baby had learned how to do a somersault! It's been really fun ever since to be sitting in class and feel the little munchkin do somersaults and other gymnastics. It seems to happen more when it's dark, for some reason, so I tend to feel the little jabs when my professor will turn off the lights for a powerpoint presentation or when I'm just about to sleep. Even when it's dark for me but not for baby, like if I cover my eyes with my arm or something, I can feel them more regularly. Maybe it's just that I can concentrate on them better when I can't see the distractions around me.
On Sunday evening, I had Todd put his hand on my belly so he could feel the antics of his little baby, who had been active the whole day. He got to feel a few little kicks, but then the silly baby got stage-fright and stopped moving! Apparently, Todd needs to be more formally introduced to help Baby get over being shy, so he's been talking to my tummy and touching it at random times to see if he can "catch" the baby in the act. No wonder our baby's so silly with such a silly daddy! (Ok, ok, and mommy...) :D The baby has also recently discovered Mommy's bladder. There hasn't been any jumping yet, but I have received a few curiously explorative little punches. I have had an absolute blast feeling the baby move around and grow a little more every day, and I'm already getting a sense of who this little person is.
That sense is going to be even more refined when we go to our ultrasound appointment this coming Monday, the 15th! We get to see our little munchkin in person and find out if we're going to have a little girl or little boy. I'm so excited!! I've already got names picked out in either case; our baby will have an official name come 3:00 on Monday, and I'm so thrilled to be able to start using it! And I'm so excited to get the word that everything looks healthy and is developing right on schedule. It'll be so much fun to then visit my parents a week later for Thanksgiving and share the joy!
I guess I should maybe post some halfway pictures of my pregnant belly, which isn't as big as I would like it to be.
This is a Mommy's-eye-view. There's a definite bump!
See? I'm WAY bigger than I was pre-pregnancy!
I want the whole world to notice my pregnancy and be as excited about this baby as we are! However, as seen above, I am finally growing and getting more noticeable. In fact, last week, my Latin professor told me that she can now tell that I'm pregnant. She even said that I had the famous "glow"! Even my clothes are starting to cooperate. My old roommate Linds (who is due any second now, by the way) gave me a couple of new maternity shirts that her sister-in-law bought for her, but that weren't really her style. I took them off of her hands because, heck, I don't care enough about style to turn down free maternity clothes! Anyway, they're pretty comfy lately, and that quasi-maternity shirt I posted about a while ago (which is what I'm wearing tonight in those pictures) is really comfy. A few of my pants are needing to be unbuttoned to be comfortable, but I have a pair of dark jeans that are really loose around the waist and fit everywhere else. I usually just pull my belt to the tightest hole and hope my pants don't fall down anyway. I was wearing those pants on Thursday and noticed several hours later that my belt had mysteriously settled into the next loosest hole and I was still comfortable. The next day, my belt had graduated another hole! I can now comfortably wear my belt 2 whole holes looser than I used to! I don't even wear a belt to work at all anymore. It was a belt breakthrough, and made my day!
Of course, with all of this growing and stretching on Baby's part, there are some not-fun things that happen to Mommy. My back is starting to ache a lot more, no matter how I shift on the couch, and I can feel the ligaments stretching in my belly, which feels like short and sharp cramps. These are just little things, and they don't really bother me all that much, especially when I think about the precious bundle I'm going to be holding at the end of it all. One thing that hasn't changed is that Baby is still stealing all of my body heat, making me cold all the time; it's more noticeable, though, as fall turns into winter and the snow starts coming down. At least our new apartment will be warmer and better insulated than where we're living now. Which brings up the last reason today was so awesome: we signed our new lease today!! And we get to pick up our keys and start moving in next Wednesday! (We're waiting the extra week so we're not paying double rent...) I have to confess, when we got home from signing the lease, I wanted to immediately pull out all of our boxes and start packing right then and there. But we do have to be able to survive for the next week. *Sigh* Oh well, I have lots coming up between now and then to keep me occupied, right? Anyway, I survived the first half of pregnancy, and I'm looking forward to the next half. :D

Baby Recap #1

This was originally a post entitled "Baby Jacobs Say Hello (via Mommy)!" and published on September 9th of last year from my other blog, but I wanted to have all of my baby-related posts in one place. This is the first of a couple of posts that I'm going to be bringing over.

Quite a lot has happened on the baby front since we first found out we're expecting. For instance, we narrowed down our 4 possible due dates to just the official one, thanks to ultrasound. We're due March 30th, which I think would be a cute birthday (3/30), although Todd is hoping I deliver early so that I can get the birth out of the way and focus on finals. I tell him that he's just cursed me to go 3 weeks late and miss finals altogether, and it'll be all his fault. :)
Speaking of the ultrasound, my family arrived on the night of August 11th, my mom's birthday, for Todd's graduation, and I went for my ultrasound early the next morning. My mom and my sister came with Todd and me to the appointment so that I could share the first sight of Baby Jacobs with the future grandmama and aunt. The nurse was very good and quite efficient; we were in and out in 15 minutes. She told me that I was exactly 7 weeks and one day along, putting my due date at March 30th, which was only a day off from one of the original due dates we were given. Honestly though, the timelines are still really confusing to me and I need to nail down my doctor at our next appointment and get him to explain it to me in detail so I know if the dates describe how old the baby is, or how far along the pregnancy is: not the same thing, as it turns out. Anyway, the nurse found the baby in next to no time and zoomed in until it was actual size. She explained what everything was, even though the baby still just looked like a cocoon. We could hear the little heart beating, and then she zoomed in even more and focused on the heart itself. We could see the heart fluttering on the screen, and the sound of our baby's heartbeat filled the room, which of course made me cry. It was such a strong and steady sound, telling me that my baby was alive and healthy and developing right on schedule. Hooray!
So this is baby's first picture (the white oval inside the black oval):
See? I told you it looks like a cocoon. But a very precious cocoon!
All of this happened about a month ago, so I'm now about 11 weeks along, trudging steadily through the third month and coming up on the second trimester. I've been asked by many people if I feel any different as my pregnancy progresses, and the honest answer is "no." I've had no morning sickness, no suddenly massive breasts, no constant bladder dances, no crazy cravings, no super smell sensitivity, NOTHING! I look and feel exactly like I did pre-pregnancy. Although, when Todd and I were grocery shopping last week, the evil Macey's bakery people pulled some DIVINE smelling pumpkin chocolate chip cookies out of the oven and we could smell them all over the store. In fact, I could still smell them as I walked down the stairs to our apartment. I don't think that counts as super smell sensitivity, though, since we live a couple of miles away from the store; I think the smell just insinuated its way into my clothes and hair to tempt me, so I made pumpkin bread a couple of days later. :)
On a more serious note, though, this lack of symptoms is starting to really worry me. Todd keeps telling me to be grateful I'm not hugging the toilet every morning, but I almost wish I WAS having morning sickness, just to assure myself that my baby's still alive and kicking in there. Especially because I've been hearing all sorts of horrible stories lately of women farther along than I am losing their babies, and the thought terrifies me. To me, the second trimester seems like home plate, and if I can just make it past the 14th week, we'll be ok. Although, Todd's brother Steve and his wife Tina came to SLC on Tuesday, and we went up to have lunch with them. While we ate, Tina told me that at my next appointment, they should do a Dopplar scan for the baby's heartbeat, even if they don't do a full ultrasound. This made me feel better, because as long as I can hear the baby's heart beating, I'll know that everything is fine. I know, I know: I worry too much. My mom tells me that I need to stop stressing or I'll die of a heart attack before the baby's even close to coming. I'm sure everything is just perfect, I'll just feel a little calmer once we're out of the danger zone.
While Steve and Tina were in SLC, we went to Build-A-Bear Workshop to make the baby a teddy bear. We chose the Coconut Cub, which has cream fur and a cute face. I'd stuffed it and cleaned off all the excess stuffing, and was trying to do the "birth certificate," when I ran into trouble. They ask you on the screen, "Is this for you or for someone else?" I said it was for someone else and they asked, "Is the recipient a boy or a girl?" I turned to Todd and said, "I can't even fill this form out completely for another 9 weeks or so! What should I do?" We decided to just buy the bear and come back to fill out the birth certificate once we know the baby's gender. So until then, we have this adorable bear just sitting in its box waiting for its owner to show up.
To keep my mind off of scary thoughts and focused on preparing for our baby, I've been working on a cross-stitch pattern that I've had for several years but only worked on during General Conference. It's a wonderful pattern that shows Noah with his ark filled with mythical creatures. He has dragons, griffins, unicorns, sea-serpents, and yeti, with a phoenix bringing the olive branch. At the bottom, it says "Not Forgotten." I love it, and I'm trying frantically to finish it before the baby comes. I've actually made quite a bit of progress on it. I pulled it out while my mom was here, and I only had Noah, the sea-serpents, and the sea itself mostly done. Since then, I've finished the second sea-serpent, the sea, both dragons, most of the rainbow, and parts of the ark itself. I'm working on the phoenix next, and I'm optimistically thinking I'll be done with everything I can by the time Thanksgiving rolls around, so I can have my mom help me do the outlining, and use her Whisper thread for the yeti, so they'll be fuzzy. The finished product will be amazing, and I'm going to frame it for the baby's "room." I'm thinking a Noah's ark/animal theme with monkeys (I LOVE monkeys, lately!!), lions, giraffes, etc, on yellow and green backgrounds will be super cute decor that I can use for all of our kids, no matter the gender. My mom has already volunteered to make butter yellow crib sheets for the little darling. Todd and I are also going to put up a shelf with some of our most beloved old toys, like the Raggedy-Ann doll my mom made for me, and our first teddy bears. I'm so excited, and just thinking about and planning everything is making me wildly impatient!!
In fact, I bought my first quasi-maternity shirt just a couple of days ago. It's technically not a "maternity" shirt, just a XL shirt that was cute, and only $2.50. Since I'm not really showing at all, I dragged Todd over to the sporting goods section so I could borrow a basketball. I tried the shirt on with the basketball underneath to make sure that the shirt would still fit no matter how big the baby gets, because I'm not a large person at all, and even a smallish baby could make my petite frame look like it's carrying twins. We're both excited for when my belly gets big, and Todd's looking forward to seeing little hands and feet poking out. It'll be fun!
One last interesting thing I've noticed lately: I think I'm the last person in the world to get pregnant. I keep hearing about all these people who are going to have babies and I think, "Hey! Wouldn't it be cool if we were due around the same time?" Nope. They're all due in January or February or even December. I haven't heard of ANYone I know who's due in March, April, or later. Sometimes I think I got the last spirit still up in heaven, and I only hope I can live up to that spirit's huge expectations, because it obviously waited a very long time to be born, and I wouldn't want to disappoint it. (I really hate using "it" and can't wait to find out the baby's gender so I can nail down which name I can use of the absolutely perfect names I've picked out.) Tune in again in about 10 weeks to find out: will Baby Jacobs be a boy or a girl?

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crisis Averted

In about 6 weeks, our little girl is scheduled to grace us with her presence. Which means, of course, that she could pretty much show up anytime she feels like it. The thought had me panicked all last week. Our prenatal class, which is supposed to help educate us on what to expect for birth, just made matters worse. They cover everything that could possibly go wrong, just so you're prepared if something does, and I freaked out. What if she was breech? What if she came too early? What if I couldn't get an epidural? What if I tore really badly? What if she had to be delivered C-section? What if I was incapable of nursing? The horrors of birth aside, what if I couldn't take proper care of my baby? What if I had postpartum depression? What if we couldn't get any of the necessary baby gear? What if I turned out to be a horrible mother? WHAT IF I TURNED OUT TO BE A HORRIBLE MOTHER??? I felt like I was standing on a cliff with a man behind me holding a gun to the small of my back, and it was suddenly so real to me. This isn't just a happy, theoretical daydream about cute babies; it's REAL! I HAVE to give birth. I HAVE to be ready to be a mom. I HAVE to be able to take care of my little girl. There were several nights of panic and hyperventilation and crying into my sweetheart's shoulder about how I felt so inadequate and just plain scared and what was I thinking?? It didn't help that at the prenatal class that week, we watched the birthing videos and holy cow! I'm getting an epidural as soon as I walk in the hospital doors because I'm not doing that without some serious medication.

Todd was very sweet and supportive. He rubbed my back and kissed me gently on the forehead. And you know what? I'm fine. He kept reminding me that this pregnancy has gone really well so far, so why should I expect everything to go badly during the birth? Also, no matter what ends up happening, within 24 hours it will all be over and we'll have our little girl in our arms. And it's true: my body has just naturally taken control during the past 8 months and steered us clear of any real trouble. It's kind of fascinating to see my new body and feel how things just sort of shifted around and stretched out (without any stretch marks!) to make room for this new person. Now, my breasts are even starting to leak a little fluid, which I'm taking as a very good sign that I'll be able to nurse my babies like I want to. Like Todd keeps telling me, my body was made to take good care of my children and I can trust it to see me safely through birth. As for after she comes, my mom is coming to stay with us for several days and I'll always have Todd.

We had a doctor's appointment on Thursday, and according to the doctor I'm "Golden." Everything (weight, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc.) looks fantastic, and the doctor had no trouble feeling how Evie was situated. He immediately felt her head down between my hips, her little bottom on the left side of my abdomen, and her feet up under my right ribs. That's mostly where I've been feeling her move lately, and she's even deigned to play with her daddy a few times when he tickles her feet. She's already poised for birth, and the doctor assured us that it's highly unlikely that she'll shift around into a breech position. So that's one more worry off of my mind. I'm not panicking anymore--I'm calm and looking forward to the miracle of motherhood!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Pregnancy Menu

My sweetie has been down in St. George all day and doesn't get home until tomorrow afternoon, so that means I'm home alone all night with only the baby in my tummy for company. She's been very good at keeping Mommy company, though: turning lots of flips and somersaults and just generally making her presence known. With our powers combined, we've done a pretty good job of keeping my mind off of being alone all day, but now it's dinner time. Cooking only for myself, I've fallen back on the easy: grilled cheese sandwiches and a mug of hot cocoa.

It occurs to me that I've survived pretty much this entire pregnancy with three main staples in my diet: grilled cheese sandwiches, chicken Mcnuggets, and Froot Loops (Malt-O-Meal version). I know that it's not exactly the most nutritious diet of all time, but at least I have something from every food group, right? Grain-cereal, and bread from sandwiches; protein-chicken; dairy-cheese, and milk from cereal; fruit-hello, they're Froot Loops! Made with natural flavors, no less.

Sometimes I get a little worried that my baby is going to come out looking like a chicken nugget. But she seems to really like them! Even after eight months, when I get hungry I automatically want either chicken nuggets or a grilled cheese sandwich. I've had relatively few cravings, I guess. Besides what I've already mentioned, the main thing I've just been craving are fudgy brownies. I want an entire pan of hot fudgy brownies all to myself. But hey! Chocolate is a vegetable, right? :D

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Forever Families

This past weekend, Todd and I had the fantastic opportunity of driving down to Manti, Utah to witness the temple sealing of our close friends, the Hopes. We left home Saturday morning, hoping to get down there in time to do a session ourselves beforehand. We missed the session time by 15 minutes, but at least we actually made it in plenty of time for the sealing itself, unlike when we tried to go through with Linds for her first time! I was determined that the devil was not going to have a hand in making me miss this special occasion for my dear friends.

Because we were there a couple of hours early, Todd and I just waited in the temple for the sealing to begin. We got to look up at the famous spiral staircase, which was incredible! We were also surprised when the temple worker came and took Todd away for a minute. I found out later that Matt and Linds had requested that Todd act as the second witness, along with her dad, of their sealing. Todd felt deeply honored that he got to sign their certificate and be such an important part of their special day.

When they led everyone into the sealing room, Matt and Linds were already sitting there, all in white. I got to sit next to Todd at the head of the room, so I was able to see both of their faces when they knelt across the altar from each other. They both looked so happy, but also so peaceful. Linds especially looked calm and serene. I, on the other hand, burst into tears. It was so different from my own sealing to Todd, in which I remember seeing tears of love in Todd's eyes, and feeling my own face spread in such a huge smile that tears had no room to squeeze out. At the same time, it was so similar to our sealing because the feelings of peace and belonging and eternal joy enveloped me at both sealings. It just felt right being there watching two of my best friends covenant to be married for time and all eternity. Then the temple worker brought in their baby daughter Lily, also dressed all in white, and I think we all lost our composure. She was so beautiful and precious and perfect, smiling around the room at everyone there. When Matt, Linds, and Lily were sealed together as a forever family, there was such a feeling of heaven in the room! They were able to stand together as a family in front of the double mirrors and see themselves reflected into eternity. It was such a beautiful picture of joy that I turned to Todd and sobbed into his chest that I wanted our baby to be here so I could hold her and see my own little piece of heaven. (I'm blaming all of the weeping on the pregnancy hormones!) The next morning, Todd had to be in Salt Lake City for the broadcast, but I was able to be there to see little Lily be blessed by her daddy.

This experience was so special to me, and I feel so honored that I was invited to witness this sacred event. I know that it really means a lot to both Matt and Linds that they were finally able to be sealed after almost two years of waiting. I can already see a brighter light around them, and noticed while I was staying with them that they are more in harmony now than they used to be. It makes me so grateful that Todd and I were able to be sealed in the Lord's temple, and that our little Evie will be born in the covenant. I am so grateful that the Lord blesses us with temples, in which we can be sealed as eternal families, and I know that He loves us. I think this experience has reinforced to me that I get to be with my husband and children forever, and it causes me to love him (them) just a little bit more.