About Tidbit

Choose a pregnancy stage below to learn WAAAY too much information about Hilary's pregnancy!
Please check back for regular updates.

Conception First Trimester The Reveal Second Trimester
Third Trimester My Due Date The Arrival FAQ


We decided to start a family on September 7, 2005. We followed the Fertility Awareness Method (FAM) after reading about it in a library book, Taking Charge of Your Fertility. With FAM, moms-to-be take their temperatures every morning (and monitor some other fertility signs), then record those signs on a paper chart or with special software. When the morning temperature jumps up significantly, that signals ovulation. When the temperatures jump up and stay up, that signals conception. Our ovulatory jump came on October 29, and the secondary jump came on November 6. Amazingly, we ovulated and conceived just one cycle after coming off birth control pills! How God Intervened
We got our first "positive" on a home pregnancy test on November 14, 2005. The second and third came that night, and the next three (unmistakable) ones came the next morning.

First Trimester

We had our first ultrasound at 6½ weeks, on September 30. We couldn't decide what to call the baby in utero and didn't want to go with the conventional "bean" or "peanut" (for fear of tipping someone off, should they hear it in conversation). After seeing the ultrasound pictures, we decided on "Tidbit." The ultrasound showed the due date as July 26, but our FAM software puts it at July 22, based on the date of conception. CLICK HERE FOR THE U/S VIDEO!
The coolest thing was getting to see the heart beating on the ultrasound. It looked like little "flutters" in the picture! We also heard the heartbeat a little, but there was too much static to establish a rate. When Hilary was on her way to a prenatal appointment December 12, her minivan was run off the road by a fishtailing truck on Harrodsburg Road. Only by the grace of God (and that is not an exaggeration), Hilary broadsided the wooden fence passenger-side first. Since no one knew about the baby, no one but Charlie truly understood Hilary's hyperventilating panic, since she appeared to be just fine. She was fine (and so was Tidbit), but it was really scary at the time.

Luckily, Hilary only had one vomit session in her first trimester, but nausea raged nevertheless. By her 12th week, though, she'd gained back the weight she lost early on because of that nausea. We also got to hear the heartbeat at the 12 week appointment, which was beyond amazing. You don't know what weird is until you realize there's a human heart beating inside your abdomen! We got a strong 170 BPM rate established on the Dopplar machine. CLICK HERE FOR THE DOPPLAR SOUND FILE!

The Reveal

We told our families on Christmas (except Hilary's little brother). Hilary's parents were having Christmas at our house, so we had them open their present before breakfast. Hilary had been awake off-and-on since 2 a.m. out of excitement! We gave them a t-shirt that we'd had made (below, left) and videotaped the opening/discovery process. When they finally "got it" (partially), mom said, "Oh, we're grand! That's so nice." Hilary was about to explode, so she made the grandparent connection for them. Joy-disbelief-"oh, baby!"-hugs abounded.

We opened presents that morning while on the phone with Duncan. Mom could barely contain herself while waiting for him to open his present from us (she literally kept her hands over her mouth). When he finally opened his t-shirt (below, top right), he said, "Cool! You know I go by that sometimes?" Hilary responded, "It wasn't supposed to be cool; it was supposed to be a hint." He was happy and shocked!

After Duncan came the Fiskeaux clan. Since we'd spent Christmas Eve with them, we had to make a special trip out "just to say 'Merry Christmas'" (which was kind of fishy). We announced that we had another Christmas surprise and whipped out the ultrasound photos. Amie freaked out and everybody (you read that right, everybody) either teared up or cried! Lori thought the ultrasound video was messed-up (in the slang sense).

Hilary's grandparents were the last Christmas Day reveals. They'd each been sent a picture frame with the ultrasound inside, with "Your First Great-Grandchild" written on it. The Frasers were stunned and the Higginbothams were ecstatic. Expectedly, Grandma H. kept freaking out on the phone (she's wonderful). We're so glad Grandpa Higginbotham didn't have a heart attack!

We drove to D.C. to see Hilary's younger brother the day after Christmas, so we had him open his t-shirt (below, bottom right) the moment we got inside. We videotaped it, but he deliberately held the t-shirt up in front of his face (you can still hear the mile-wide grin in his voice).
They're all grand!

This plane is the actual model that Stuart flies: a C-21. We got the picture from the Air Force's website.

Times It Was Hardest Not to Let It Slip:
  when Hilary played a pregnant woman in her church's Christmas drama
  at Thanksgiving, which we spent alone with Hilary's parents
  after Hilary's car accident the week before Christmas
  at the Cre8tive Group Christmas dinner
  Christmas Eve, which we spent with Charlie's family
  6:00 Christmas morning, when Hilary couldn't go back to sleep

Second Trimester
Hilary's first cutesy maternity t-shirt (right) arrived on January 17 to mark the start of her second trimester. It was so nice wearing it out to run errands — nobody wondered why Hilary was rubbing her belly! At 14½ weeks along, Hilary got her second prenatal massage. The doctor prescribed it for Hilary's strained back (too long in the crappy rental car at Christmas). Everyone should get a massage! It was wonderful (and "cured" Hilary's back)! One tip, though: don't hesitate to say it's too hard. Trust us — you will regret "just sticking it out."
Hilary's maternity t-shirt
Aside from the strong desire to sleep as often as Fin and Mia, Hilary's pregnancy is going peachily. Well, that's kind of not true: Hilary couldn't sleep through the night without sleeping on her back, which is a no-no after the four-month mark. She got a new body pillow for side sleeping, called a Snoogle. It's really weird, but it helps her sleep through most of the night on her side. And because of a wonderful invention called a Belly Belt, Hilary was finally able to rediscover the joy of wearing jeans after two months without! Before you snigger at her elation, try wearing drawstring Wal-Mart track pants every day and see how dressy-casual you can make them. Hilary's only other excitement thus far has been her first heartburn (woo hoo) and a come-and-go battle with sciatica.

At the 16-week appointment, Tidbit's heartbeat registered a strong 147 BPM. CLICK HERE FOR THE DOPPLAR SOUND FILE! Hilary re-lost the weight she lost-from-nausea-then-gained-back in the first trimester, but the doctor says it's okay for now. They also did some routine genetic disorder blood tests and will do a glucose test (for diabetes) at the next appointment. The next appointment is also the BIG ONE — the gender ultrasound!

On February 14 — after 14½ hours of doing Singing Valentines with her quartet — Hilary felt a really weird sensation in her right abdomen. For about 10 seconds straight, it felt as if there was a foot- or knob-covered cylinder rolling against the inside of her tummy! Every once in a while, she felt a sharp prick in that area too! Everyone agrees that it was baby, but Tidbit must have had steel-toed boots on...or spurs!

We went to a two-hour cloth diaper workshop on February 28. We decided to take the class because trying to self-educate online about cloth is WAAAAY too overwhelming (and brand-biased, most of the time). It was at a local natural birth resouce center and was so informative. The instructor had cloth diapered for 7 yrs and was also pregnant with child #4. She brought tons of actual diapers of different types and brands, talked about use and cleaning, let us try putting the different kinds on a baby doll, and answered all of our questions. We learned so much in that class that we never could have absorbed from the internet. We are 100% confident about our decision to cloth diaper now and have even decided on a brand! We never could have narrowed it down without seeing the different kinds in person and getting to try the different styles available today. It was really helpful to learn that the brands really are different, and that we couldn't just get away with buying some cheapo store brand of diapers or covers — even as a supplement to a real cloth diaper brand; the differences in quality, longevity, and effectiveness are huge! The kind we love is called Motherease and it consists of a snap-close diaper with a waterproof cover on top. One of the big reasons we chose Motherease is that (once the baby is out of tiny newborn size) the diapers are size-adjustable, so we don't have to keep buying new sizes as the baby grows. It's amazing how much money you save by using cloth diapers! We started a diaper registry with Motherease, so people can contribute to our diaper stash!

Just before the "big" appointment, Hilary tried out her first prenatal yoga class. She decided to do that instead of getting more massages, to increase flexibility and back strength in preparation for delivery. She hopes to go back again...and that she will still be able to hold in her giggles. She did well the first time, but it was hard when the instructor said things like "You are creating a new definition of 'normal' for right now, for your body."
At our 19½ week appointment, we finally got to have another ultrasound. We prayed and prayed that Tidbit would cooperate...and he did! Yes, he! As you can see from the picture on the right, the baby is unmistakably a boy (if you can't "see," just mouseover the picture). He weighed in at 11 ounces and measured right on schedule in every way. From the moment the tech said, "It's a boy," Hilary sobbed throughout the rest of the entire ultrasound, it was so emotionally overwhelming. Charlie cried the whole time too, but he tried to be quiet so it wouldn't interfere with the video camera. It's kind of funny to listen to the video; Hilary is completely rational up until those exact words come out. Laughing to crying in the blink of an eye!
It's a boy!
Tidbit was such a good boy; he "displayed" at his first opportunity so we would know he's a boy. He even played with his own toes (that was for Grandma Bonnie). You could actually see his foot and some little fingers reaching over to wiggle the toes! Then he opened his hand and waved! Another treat came when the tech turned on the 3D ultrasound camera. You could see the baby's face clearly (below, right), and at one point he turned toward the camera and cracked a huge smile! You have to watch carefully during the 3D part — after the tech says he has "a perfect little face" and the camera refreshes — but it's a clear smile!   CLICK HERE FOR THE ULTRASOUND VIDEO and HERE FOR CHARLIE'S REACTION!
Hilary thinks Tidbit looks like Uncle Stuart in this picture...especially the brow, lip, and chin.

After composing ourselves, we realized that we had an overwhelming urge to purchase something boy that day. Conveniently, the ultra-inexpensive Burlington Coat Factory was just down the street. We looked through all of the baby clothes to find something not sports-related, then bought only our favorite pieces (right). Between his artist dad and his artistic mom, this baby will definitely be dressed carefully! Hilary even learned something new: Charlie hates sailboats on baby clothes! However, Charlie absolutely loved two little sets showing how to fold a paper airplane (origami baby!) and Hilary picked a dinosaur set (featuring the cutest dinosaur ever, a bonus dino-head rattle, and writing on the tushie). Charlie also picked up a book for new dads called Be Prepared. It was done very tongue-in-cheek, with the layout and the pictures mimicking the style of old Boy Scout handbooks (hence the title). The book had a wonderful blend of humor and information, and even showed how to rig a makeshift diaper using a dishtowel, a sweatsock, and some duct tape...which is not exactly the type of cloth diaper Hilary intends to use on her son. Charlie's an Eagle Scout, so he thought it was great.
our first real baby purchase
Sunday night, March 5, Hilary was watching Charlie play Nintendo Gamecube when she suddenly gave a start! A few seconds later, she started again and gave a little shriek! That freaked Charlie out...and Hilary too, when she realized what it was she had been feeling: kicks! The baby had kicked her twice in the waist, about four inches to the left of her navel. Naturally, as soon as Charlie's hand went to the spot, Tidbit decided to settle back down for the night.

Okay, this page is officially switching to blog-like mode. This is such a personal experience for us that we'd rather use "I" than "Charlie" or "Hilary" (which we had been doing to avoid feeling like it was a big "all-about-me" party). Since many of you have asked about details and milestones, we're also going to start dating each entry.

March 6 ~ I started experiencing round ligament pain last week. It feels like sharp pokes and aches when I stand up after sitting for a while...or when I walk, lay down, or move at all. They're just "growing pains," basically, but it's still annoying. I'm also craving raw cookie dough now. It drives me crazy every time I walk past the refrigerated case in Wal-Mart! No raw eggs for me, though. Sigh...

March 8 ~ I had my first baby dream last night! We were in the hospital and the baby was just "out" already — no labor in this momma's dreams! He was beautiful and (I think) blond. It was disappointing to wake up and still have 4½ months to go.

March 12 ~ We've been looking for weeks for something for Tidbit to wear to Stuart's wedding. It's a semi-formal evening wedding in Colorado in early September and will be the baby's big introduction to the Fraser-Higginbotham side of the family. Despite the proliferation of Easter clothes in stores right now, we cannot seem to find any fancy baby boy clothes (that is, fancy baby boy clothes that don't cost $40+, which is ridiculous for an infant who will outgrow them the next day). We found some cute outfits with little fake ties, but they were all for bigger boys — our boy will only be seven weeks old, if I don't deliver late! There are frilly dresses and sets everywhere for baby girls, but nothing dressier for a boy than a sweater vest! Today, we finally found an outfit we both liked (at Wal-Mart, of all places). Come to the wedding if you want to see it!

We finally realized that the belly spasms I've been feeling are baby hiccups! I'd been wondering if the spasms were baby or gas, so I looked up the sensations in a book: textbook hiccups. It's so neat to know that I've been feeling Tidbit even more. I think yesterday he was trying to decide whether to try out for the karate team or the tumbling team. He hardly stopped moving all day! I swear he even head-butted me a few times. (sigh) I'm in love!
I can't wait until Charlie can feel the baby, too. I've tried to feel the kicks from the outside with my hand, but I've never been able to. Every time I try to give Charlie a chance, the baby stops kicking — the little stinker.

March 16 ~ I decided yesterday to become a Mary Kay consultant. We really need the income, and it'll allow me to be flexible when the baby comes. I've used the eye liner and eye shadow for years, and a lot of people are already into MK. I never thought I'd do something like this, but a few things about the opportunity really spoke to us (yes, us — Charlie was in on the decision). The company's credo is "God first, Family second, Career third," so I don't have to worry about pressure to abandon my baby to child care. Also, all consultants, regardless of seniority, make 50% of what they sell, so I will earn good money right away. I don't have to wait on a check from the company because it's a dual-level marketing business (not multi-level or a pyramid scheme); I buy wholesale from the company and sell at retail to my customers — I make a sale, I get that money. Finally, I can build up my customer base in the next few months and live off reorders when I'm on maternity leave from my business (so I won't have to hold parties to make money while I'm recovering). God has been really supportive in this decision, so we feel secure in it. To God be the glory!

March 21 ~ I saw a changing table online that flipped over, top-to-bottom, to become a regular dresser for an older child to use — all you had to do was put the drawers back in the right way up! Can you believe such a thing? It's hard enough to realize that real furniture actually costs real money when you're used to bargain-hunting, but this specialty stuff can get ridiculous!
Hooray for second-hand shopping!

We gasp/laugh every time we see how much kids' clothes cost (and sometimes it's just silly, considering how fast kids grow), so we haven't bought Tidbit any new clothes since that first euphoric "boy" purchase at Burlington Coat Factory. As addictive as it is to buy him things, we can't justify indulgent shopping for him on our current budget...so we indulge at second-hand stores instead! Our self-imposed clothing restrictions (no sports or sailboats) makes second-hand shopping even more of a challenge, but it's so fun when it pays off! We've only bought him a very few things (we still don't allow ourselves to go on an all-out spree, despite the cheapo prices), but we can still get our baby fix every once in a while, this way. Plus, when you shop second-hand, you're more likely to find interesting or unusual outfits. The baby will probably be inundated with practical onesies (which he'll be living in exclusively for quite a while), so we try to limit our personal purchases to unusual/different pieces that reflect our personalities. Hey, one more challenge! Bring it on!

We went to the local Peddlers Mall (flea market) on March 16 and got Tidbit two shirts for $1.25 each (top right). I call them his "just-like-Daddy clothes," because Charlie loves Tigger and would live in flannel day and night if I let him. I actually liked the colors of this particular flannel shirt, so now Charlie and the baby can both "go rugged."

We also went to a local church's Little Lambs Closet (consignment sale) on the 17th but only found two things we liked (middle right). The little boys' rack was so sparse, but there were three racks for little girls! We got an awesome pair of bug-covered overalls for $1.50 and a monkey outfit with suspenders for $2.00 (you can't beat suspenders and monkeys).

We went to Goodwill today and bought two super-cute outfits for 50¢ each (bottom right)! That really took some skill, since all of the baby clothes were dumped together in one large laundry cart. Charlie had to hold me so I could dig without falling in!

...more 2nd trimester to come...

...I promise...

Third Trimester

April 19 ~ Happy 3rd trimester to us! The baby has definitely had a growth spurt in the last week — I was shocked when I looked at my bare belly in the mirror today! I feel so blessed. Every time I feel cranky about being tired or sore, I just think about all of the things that haven't happened during my pregnancy...and tell myself to shut up. Yes, I have a right to feel sore or tired or cranky (because I am), but I'm trying to keep it in perspective. God has been so amazingly good to us in this pregnancy, I can't truly complain. (Does that mean there won't be any more cranky posts? Ha. Let's be realistic, shall we?)

April 20 ~ There was a MAJOR lightning storm here overnight last night — it literally looked like a strobe light outside for over an hour. It was really scary, so I couldn't fall back asleep. I don't know if it was my agitation or all the thunder or both, but Tidbit was absolutely frantic! I had to wake Charlie to spoon with us and pat my tummy until we could both fall asleep. Tidbit has been totally spastic all day today. I wish I could comfort him better.

A friend showed me a very revealing and disturbing article on SIDS. Please read it! Once we find out the mattress size we're going to buy, we're going to register for a polyethylene crib mattress cover.

April 21 ~ One of the cats woke Tidbit up this morning. I was laying on my side, and Fin came bounding over the bed and used my side for a springboard to leap off the bed. He didn't step on my belly, just where my belly meets my side. Of course, moments after the cat launched, the baby started kicking in indignance: Hey! Do you mind? I'm sleeping here!

I tried Mary Kay's sunless tanning lotion on my legs for the first time on Monday, and I think there should be a warning on the tube that tells pregnant women to make sure their bellies don't touch their thighs when they lean over to do their legs. The tanner goes on clear, so you can't see where it has gotten. I now have two "tanned" areas on my belly where it touched my legs as I leaned forward!

April 22 ~ Every time I freak out at the date (like when I see that the ticker says "only 13 weeks left"), I tell Charlie so he can freak out with me. The first freak-out time was when I realized we only had 16 weeks left. Charlie happy-cried when I told him! We both remember rejoicing when I was "a whole 16 weeks" along — now we only have 13 left!

April 24 ~ Tidbit kicked so much last week, I got kind of worried when he barely kicked at all this weekend (maybe 3x/day total). My midwife's office had me come in for a "non-stress test" (fetal monitor thing) today...and wouldn't you know it, our little ham showed off more in that half hour than on any other day of his life. I guess he just needed a new audience, the little stinker. Charlie recorded the baby's heartbeat so we can loop it and make a "white noise" CD to fall asleep to. We both love that sound so much! On the ride home, Charlie said, "Man, after having a "real" scare [baby's health], all of our other problems [in life] seem so minor!" I'm always amazed to hear how thoroughly involved Charlie is in our baby. I think they're both wonderful!
April 25 ~ It's been over a week since I did the MK sunless tanner on my legs, and it has only faded about 40%! My inexperience makes me too nervous to put it on my face (and dιcolletage, where I really need it), so I started using the new MK bronzing powder. I LOVE it! I was so excited the first time I tried it that I called Charlie in to see. It doesn't even look like I'm "tan," necessarily — just like I've been outside for a while (sun-kissed)! It is awesome. I could put more on to look tan, but I want to be a realistic-looking redhead. A friend tried it earlier and hated it, but then I found out that the right way to apply it is to go in small swirls all over, not straight strokes like regular powder. I had Charlie take pictures yesterday and I pulled my shirt over my shoulder to show the "tan line." It is so cool.
Just think how pale I normally look if these are both pictures with Mary Kay Bronzing Powder!

Yes, I'm wearing bronzer.     See?
April 26 ~ I just registered for an AWESOME Mary Kay event for July 13 called "A Cinderella Experience" on (it's 9 days before I'm due), so the baby can come any time after that! I get to enter all of my Mary Kay hostesses in drawings for cash and an ultra-pampering Cinderella makeover that takes place that night. I went to the last Cinderella event right after I started MK (and had no hostesses), so I'm totally pumped for this one. Cash just flies left and right, and it is a totally amazing experience. Even my out-of-town/web hostesses get entries! National Seminar starts the day after my due date, so this is the only MK thing I'll get to go to for a while.

April 28 ~ I WANT TO MOVE SO BADLY. We weren't really worrying about moving before the baby comes because his crib will be in our room for quite some time. Just recently, however, we started to realize exactly how much stuff comes with a baby: crib, changing table, glider, clothes, pack & play, toys, swing, exersaucer, etc. I mean, the crib itself technically won't fit in our room (if I want to be able to get out of bed, anyway), but that's where the baby's sleeping, period. We've started discussing moving now, just to have an actual, separate nursery (he'll still sleep with us). Today, however, was the last straw for me. Even putting the lack of space aside, I cannot stand living here anymore. We're currently in a townhouse — in the middle unit of a three-unit building. Since I don't really sleep well at night, I desperately need a nap some days. For some reason, I sleep soundly when I take naps. I had finally started drifting off to sleep for a nap today when I was jolted awake by my neighbor starting guitar practice. It was just an acoustic guitar, not electric, but the materials used to build our townhouses are not good quality. After about 20 minutes, I started tuning out the guitar and drifting again, but then my neighbor on the other side started hammering something. Turns out it's more draining to take a failed nap than not to take a nap at all. I felt like crying. The frustrating part is that I can't just bang on the wall or go next door and complain — they have every right to do these normal things in their own homes during daylight hours! One previous neighbor watched loud car chase/shoot-'em-up movies with surround sound at 2:00 a.m., which we definitely spoke to him about (it's a problem when our pictures rattle because of a neighbor's bass speaker). But when we can't get sleep or concentrate on work because of the noise from our neighbors having their praise team over for a 8:30 a.m. rehearsal every Saturday morning, that's not okay either. But they have a right to sing in their own homes and there's nothing we can do about it! What will happen if we've just gotten the baby to sleep after hours of trying, only to have a crappily-insulated-wall-sharing neighbor wake him up? For my own sanity — not to mention space issues — we have got to move to a free-standing dwelling.
Please pray that we can find something. Seminary families will start moving in May and June, which means family-sized houses paid for on student-sized budgets will come available. We need something of a certain size for a certain amount of money a month, which is not necessarily going to be easy in Wilmore (plus we have the cats). I know God can provide, though, so please just lift us up to Him.

April 29 ~ I sang in a wedding today and had a Braxton Hicks contraction right in the middle of some note I was supposed to hold. Tidbit's been really good about not kicking while I'm teaching/singing, so I was totally unprepared for a contraction! At the reception, Charlie and I got to ballroom dance for the first time in about six months, which was awesome. I couldn't handle all the twirling in my first trimester and I got tired really easily in my second trimester, but this was great! I'm not brave enough to try swing dancing in my condition, but everything else is fine (even though our form suffers a little because of my new belly).

April 30 ~ Found out when I tried to get dressed this morning that Tidbit's last growth spurt knocked all of my pants out of the running. I had been using some too-big elastic-waisted pants and some pre-pregnancy bottoms with a Belly Belt, but no more! I even have to wear maternity undies now. I'll be stuck in skirts forever...or until they make petite-cut maternity pants. I think "forever" will probably come first.

May 1 ~ Yesterday was kind of weird. I got a sharp cramp in my right side (waist-level, a few inches from my belly button) that lasted all day long. It stabbed worse whenever I sat down, and it didn't go away all day! Tidbit kicked a few times during the day, so I wasn't really worried, but it was disconcerting to have that sharp cramp from 9:30 a.m. to past midnight. I always get those kind of sharp cramps when I stand to sing or teach soon after eating, but I didn't eat first (I had praise team, so I was singing) and it lasted all day this time. I don't know what to think, since it's never spread or lasted that long before. I'll ask Beth about it tomorrow.

May 2 ~ I finally got to see my own midwife today! Beth has been my "female stuff" doctor since before Charlie and I got married, and we were very excited that she'd get to deliver our children. Her cancer relapsed, though, and she's been on hiatus since January for treatment (click here and enter beththemidwife as the site name). She is the most amazing human I have ever met (I'm not exaggerating) and such a steadfast Christian. Today's appointment was the first time I've gotten to see her since we got pregnant!
The whole appointment took 1Ύ hours - 50 minutes of which were spent waiting in the exam room for my midwife to come in. Charlie actually fell asleep! Tidbit's measuring exactly right for his age. His HB was on the low end of "okay" (120), but Beth said he was fine as long as he was still moving (which he is). I gained a pound at each of my last two appointments, so now I've gained a total of 6 pounds for the pregnancy (appointment weights in first trimester = -6, +4, -3, +5, -3; second trimester = +4, +5, -2, +1; third trimester = +1 so far). I just LOVED finally getting to see my midwife! She also gave us the lowdown on the hospital birthing class, which apparently barely even touches on Lamaze, much less any other coping techniques! Since we want to try for an unmedicated birth, we rushed to sign up for the natural childbirth class at the local birth resource center. We're now down to our 2-week appointments, which is surreal.

I asked Beth about that cramping, and she said it was completely typical for her clients who are singers. Apparently, your diaphragm smooshes up your stomach when you use it as strenuously as I do — that is, if you're pregnant and all your organs are shoved together already — so it's going to take a while to settle back down sometimes. (Click here to see what happens to pregnant insides!) In addition, the stabbing feeling I occasionally get behind my belly button happens because Tidbit's rolling over in a way that pulls on the umbilical cord, which pulls on me! It really does feel like getting stabbed, so I try to get him to settle down whenever it happens.

May 6 ~ Tidbit kicked Charlie in the face tonight! Tidbit was kicking off and on, so Charlie put his face up to my belly and started talking...and the baby kicked him in the head! Charlie did it twice more and got kicked twice more. It was so funny — we kept saying, "Come on, honey...kick daddy in the face again!"

May 8 ~ Poor Charlie. I woke up at 4:30 yesterday morning to the sound of him vomiting in the bathroom. He caught whatever stomach bug is going around: vomiting, fever, diarrhea, joint aches, hypersensitivity, headache... Poor guy. He has only been sick about 4 times since we've been together, so it's always heartbreaking when he gets really ill. We stayed at home in bed all day yesterday (I stayed there to keep him company and monitor his symptoms). I've been a Hand-Washing Nazi. Everything was gone this morning but the abdominal cramping, but he stayed home today anyway. Part of this is due to stress, I know; Charlie had been having stress headaches and stomachaches lately. The ironic thing is, we had been desperately wishing for "a day off," where we could just stay home and not do anything. Be careful what you wish for! It's nice that God gave us today off, too. My commitments all rescheduled or canceled, so I got to stay home and chill with Charlie on his "almost better" day.

May 12 ~ I had the worst night last night, trying to turn over in bed. It took actual effort not to cry, my hips hurt so excruciatingly. My hips felt like one of those old dolls whose legs were connected by a rubber band (like the GI Joes from the 80's), only the rubber band was too stretched out. I have to turn over in stages already, but it's never been that painful. It's typical, though, since pregnant joints loosen to prepare for birth, so what are you gonna do?

May 13 ~ Our hospital's annual maternity fair was today. It was fun, but looong...lots of walking around. There was a huge tent filled with vendors: everything from photography and insurance to chiropractors and baby clothes. There were lectures given throughout the day, but we only ended up attending one because of timing issues. We took a tour of the maternity floor again, too. The main prize given away was free delivery at the hospital! We didn't win, but we did get a lot of valuable information.

May 14 ~ My first Mother's Day was a mixed bag. Charlie got me an awesome card, as did my dad and even my 7 year-old niece! Unfortunately, someone actually had the audacity to approach me to say that this was the last Mother's Day I wouldn't be a mother. Ummm, hello? If Tidbit's a "baby," I'm a "mother"! I tried to be really calm in dealing with that person, explaining that I am a mother now, so I consider myself to be a mother now — and they actually tried to argue with me about it!?! Okay, #1, you don't go up and tell a preganant woman she isn't a mother. #2, if that pregnant woman subsequently makes it clear that she considers herself to be a mother, you don't contradict her, regardless of what you think. I hate having an overall-negative memory of my first Mother's Day, but that's how it goes, I guess.

May 17 ~ Today's appointment was pretty good. Tidbit's HR was a strong 160 and he was head down. Beth felt around and actually drew his position onto my tummy with a pen — umbilical cord and all! I took a picture, but "ewww" for my ugly preggo belly...I won't be posting that one. I thought it was good just that Tidbit was head-down, but his back was on the right — Spinning Babies says that's bad! And for the first time, the baby measured a little big; normally he's spot-on for his gestational age. I haven't gained a single pound since my last appointment, so it's all baby. That means I'm joining the cut-back-a-little-on-carbs club (since they all go straight to Tidbit). I attribute his extra growth in part to the fact that I went from eating fresh fruit multiple times a day to none for a couple weeks, when Wal-Mart's produce tanked. It's hard to limit your carbs when you're trying to increase your fiber intake but have no access to good produce. What's left but grains?

May 19 ~ Tidbit kept pushing his tush up against the outside of my belly, so I started patting on it...and he punched me! It happened three times in a row, so I stopped. I tried to tell him that I have unlimited tushie-patting rights both inside and outside the womb, but he wasn't interested.

May 22 ~ I can't believe we're down to the single digits already — 8 weeks, 5 days to go! And SEVEN months?!? I thought I'd never be seven months pregnant, but it's finally here!

Fellow First-Timers: go buy Baby Bargains!!! The crib chapter alone is worth the cost of the book! This book is especially for anyone who's having trouble deciding what brand/style of baby stuff to buy (and from where). It's better than Consumer Reports' book, because it actually goes in-depth into every baby gear category and gives both item and overall brand ratings.

We may have found a place to move! It's only $50 more than we're paying now, is a freestanding house in my parents' subdivision, is next to a toddler playground, has 3BR, accepts cats, and even has a big tree out front! The only variables are that we haven't been inside to see the size of the bedrooms and it won't be available until early/mid July. My midwife freaked when we told her we wanted to move before the baby comes. Her professional opinion is that we shouldn't do it so close, but if we have to, I'm not allowed to help pack or move anything (and can't be present to supervise when other people are moving us out). I draw the line at someone else packing me, but I will occupy myself elsewhere on moving day. We're just praying that we'll get to see this place soon and that it will be right...AND that we can handle moving. This place seems like a literal Godsend, so "thank you" to those who've been praying!

May 23 ~ Tidbit was moving a ton yesterday — especially after I laid down for bed. I was on my left side with the Snoogle behind me, then Charlie spooning with his hand on my belly. The baby just kept kicking and rolling! He knew daddy was there, I guess (our baby is such a ham, he'll perform if he thinks someone's watching). Charlie was amazed, since he's only felt little random kicks before. These were roller-coaster whooshes by comparison.

I swore for about 6 hours that today was Friday. Boy, was I disappointed.

May 25 ~ We read Tidbit his first bedtime story last night. I held the book and turned pages while Charlie read to my tummy. It was Pat the Bunny, if you're curious (thank you, Great-Grandma Fraser!). I think we're going to read to him every night. We laughed hysterically at parts of the book (especially when Charlie ad-libbed), but it was great "family time."

Our first natural childbirth class was good. Today's session was kind of just an intro to natural childbirth, but I think the other sessions will be very valuable. We do "birth art" at every session, too. This time, we drew pictures of our "journey to birth." We were the only couple who chose colored pencils instead of crayons, and most people drew stick figures and hearts and stuff. My darling art major husband sketched a mountain vista and said it meant that we'd had such a great pregnancy so far, it was "a mountaintop experience" for him. That was cool. The biggest problem I foresee with this class is that it is right next door to our local Krispy Kreme — and the "hot" light is on right when we leave! I guess it'll be a good reason for me to save up all my carbs for Thursdays.

May 29 ~ Memorial Weekend Plans: Clean/purge house in preparation for baby/moving
Memorial Weekend Reality: Sitting around, trying to be productive without being able to lift/carry anything...and failing miserably
We only got a good morning of cleaning/purging in on Saturday before we had to quit because Charlie got strep throat for the first time in his life. After his fever increased 2.2° in an hour (while he was already on fever-reducing meds), his doctor told me to take him to the Urgent Treatment Center. I started sobbing and sobbing (overwhelmed hormone alert!). He tested positive for strep immediately, so I became the Hand-Washing Nazi again. Another new discovery from this weekend: our couch was not designed for pregnant women to sleep on it. Every time I woke up Saturday night, I was in must-have-just-napped-on-the-couch mode and thought "This is awful. I'm going upstairs to bed"...then realized I couldn't. I slept better on the couch last night than the night before, though. I think part of it was because I put a little pillow under my belly. It's one of those squishy "space age" pillows filled with little foam pellets that are so popular right now. It didn't take up any precious couch depth, but it supported my belly perfectly. I highly recommend it to anyone!

May 30 ~ I finally got to look at the belly shot we took on Thursday. Wow! I can't believe I thought I was so huge in my 19 week picture! When I saw it at the time, I thought, "Man, these pictures make you look so much bigger than you actually are. I wish my baby bump was really that prominent!" Comparing it to Thursday's picture, though...wow. Next pregnancy, I'll know to take pics in the same shirt periodically — a comparison of the two in the teal shirt is the most telling.

My biggest problem with being a plus-sized preggo is maternity clothes. I would maim for a pair of jeans right now! Although many places are starting to carry plus-sized maternity, NOBODY has plus petite maternity — and I desperately want a pair of pants or shorts that fit. It's not a length thing, either, so tailoring the legs won't help; if I pull the inseam up to where it should be, the stretchy belly panel doesn't start until above my belly button! Also, it's the same problem buying plus-sized maternity that it is buying regular plus-sized clothes: they try to push the same skinny-chick styles and just size them bigger. I didn't want to wear short shorts or body-baring shirts before I was pregnant, and I certainly don't want them now, thank you! I cannot find a short sleeve shirt that isn't spaghetti strap, cap sleeves, or a tank with arm holes like a wifebeater. Hello? Even non-plus-sized pregnant women wear bras, people! I should add, though, that this is the first time in my life where I love wearing body-hugging tops. I love that prominent baby belly!

May 31 ~ Tidbit measured perfectly on schedule at this appointment. I didn't gain any weight again, so I'm still at just +6 lbs. My midwife isn't worried, since I eat healthily. Tidbit's just growing at the same rate mommy's shrinking!

I really, really want to pack my hospital bag right now. I think it's because of "nesting," but also because I'm panicky about going into labor before the move (or during). I'm not exactly a control-freak (no laughing), but I figure this bag is one thing I can control about the delivery...I just have to pack it first! I think it's too early to pack it, but I don't want to box something up for the move that I'll want in the bag. I kind of want to pack it before we box anything up, just in case...especially with my scatterbrain nowadays. I'm definitely taking my Mint Bliss Energizing Lotion for Feet & Legs. I love the smell of mint and it helps me with nausea. That lotion is sooo great, especially on uncomfortable legs. And I'm taking my Travel Roll-Up Bag, so I can have all the skin care I want. I may not use it, but at least I'll have it and won't lose anything.

June 1 ~ My body started a new trick. Turns out it's round ligament pain again, but this time it's pain in my pelvic triangle and leg bands (where the leg meets the hip). It hurts the most when I've been sitting for a while and then try to walk (like anytime I get out of the car). It's pretty awkward, since I can't clasp or rub the area of sudden pain, as humans instinctually do. I just kind of stop in my tracks and breathe until I can walk again. It feels so stupid.

Charlie and I have also made a joint decision not to accept/schedule any new, unnecessary commitments for the next few months, since we have no idea what's in store for us. We don't want to have to renege on any promises, and we certainly don't want to burn ourselves out by biting off more than we can chew (which we are both wont to do). It pains us both to cut back on current activities (like praise team and quartet rehearsals), but we're trying to get into the "what's best for our family and our baby and our sanity" groove. Once we have a better handle on what parenthood is like and what our daily routine will entail, we'll be able to start some things back up again. It's hard to keep saying "no" to people, but we know it's best.

June 2 ~ We went over stage 1 of labor in our natural childbirth class last night. I'm kind of antsy about the how-long-should-I-wait-before-going-in-to-the-hospital quandary, as it's about 45 minutes away from our house. There's a library and a movie theatre (and the Krispy Kreme) right near the hospital, so we could always fritter time away until the Active Labor stage. What I didn't know was that your OB/MW is legally required to tell you to come to the hospital if you tell them your water breaks, and once you check in with ruptured membranes, you have to stay! It's because of the risk of infection, but the longer you labor at the hospital (instead of at home or wherever), the more interventions you are likely to have. After a lot of consideration, we've also decided to start interviewing doulas. Births with doulas are actually 80% less likely to require interventions, and that is a priority for both of us.

The birth art this time was fantasy birth experiences: in a perfect world, what would your delivery be like? Charlie drew the baby being beamed out via transporter (α lΰ Star Trek). My fantasy included delivering during the day (as opposed to nighttime), delivering on my actual due date, Charlie helping Beth deliver Tidbit while also cradling me at the same time (there were two Charlies in the picture), no medical interventions, and a perfectly healthy baby. There were a bunch of cameras/video cameras recording the birth from different angles (which isn't allowed at our hospital due to a dumb lawsuit from last year). And also, Tidbit and I weren't all sweaty and bloody and gross. All of the other moms' fantasies involved not actually having to give birth at all.

After our class we went to Krispy Kreme, and it was Hot Light hours (of course). This time, Charlie and I stood there and watched the entire process through the viewing window. We followed one bunch of doughnuts from raw dough all the way down the conveyor belt to the glazing waterfall...and then the guy gave each of us one of those brand-new fresh doughnuts we'd been watching! It was amazing (and highly entertaining, if you're interested). After we picked our dozen and ordered some milk, the guy said "I'm not going to charge you, so get whatever you want." We thought he meant free milk, but he didn't charge us for anything! Guess it pays to be a pregnant woman in Krispy Kreme at 9:30 at night!

We finally got in to see/measure that potential rental house this afternoon, and it is a great size for our needs. The only bad thing is that it won't be ready for us to move into until the very beginning of July. I'm a little panicky about packing and moving in less than a month — especially since I won't get to move/supervise anything myself — as well as being panicky about moving so close to my due date. I'm on strict midwife orders to be away from the area the entire time, so I may go watch movies all day or sit in Barnes and Noble and read (I'm afraid to be out by myself in July, though). Our poor cats have never moved before, either. The new place doesn't have as many closets (or as large) as we have now, but there is an unfinished attic space. There's no front hall closet, either, so we'll have to get a freestanding coat rack. I'm totally fluctuating between being excited and being worried about all of this. Good thing God's in control, not us!

June 5 ~ Happy 3-0 to Uncle Dumpin!

Last night I dreamed I was in labor. I went straight to Transitional Labor and had major contractions really close together. The doctors were telling me to push, so I kept pushing and pushing. I finally felt this tremendous release of pressure (like something finally squeezing out) and assumed I was done...but they said, "Well, we can't see the baby yet!" He wasn't even crowning or anything! I woke up so frustrated. One of the online pregnancy things said the baby should be coordinated with my sleep cycles now, but he must have had a pretty active dream last night himself because he was dancing every time I woke up to turn over!

We bought some nursing bras to put in my hospital bag (unopened). We got one that was a cup larger and one that was both a band and a cup larger, just in case. They're just from Wal-Mart, so I can return them if I don't use them. There is just no way to know how I'll turn out once my milk comes in...it could be catastrophic. I was kind of hoping to start taking the hospital bag with us whenever we left the house, but there are so many things on our hospital bag list that can't get packed now. I worry if they'll make it in at all, in time! I can't put Charlie's camera or my toiletries/cosmetics in there yet because we use them every day...

June 7 ~ Pillsbury finally started offering oatmeal chocolate chip ready-to-bake cookies! Ahh, the little things...

Last night, I woke up every 1-1½ hours to turn over (or try to turn over, anyway). At this rate, I may appreciate having a baby to feed — at least I'll have a better reason to wake up so often! I already want to go back to bed...but I know it won't do any good. I've just got to keep reminding myself that I can handle it as long as the baby's still healthy.

June 8 ~ For those of you wondering where the updates have been...well, there are some here now. You can thank Lilly's mommy for that, too, because she's been bugging me about it. I'd been waiting until I had time to put everything up at once (all the way back to March), but I decided just to put up some things from the third trimester to appease people and fill in the rest as I have time. So go ahead and scroll back up every once in a while — you never know when I'll have added something!

June 10 ~ I dreamed we lived in Jessamine Village. When we drove up, we discovered that all of the other apartments connected to ours had collapsed into a sinkhole. Ours was untouched, but the ground around it was starting to go. We went in to grab a few important things before it was too late. The weird thing is, all of the really important stuff was already gone: the cats, the photos, the computers. We were just looking around going, "Umm...should we take that?" I ended up getting all of my MK inventory out, but no books or clothes (I'm shocked that I prioritized something over my books, even in a dream). After we got back in the car, I went into labor and immediately had the baby, right in the car. I was really upset because I thought the car was too dirty and because we had nothing to cut the cord with.
June 12 ~ God really blessed us this weekend! We found a dresser to use as a changing table and were given the money to buy it! After receiving some "baby money," Charlie and I went to the Versailles Flea Market to look for a dresser. They had a bunch of nice dressers, but many were antiques, the wrong height, or just too expensive. Then we came upon a six-drawer wooden dresser that was a pretty good height for both of us (important, since we will both be changing diapers). It had dovetailed joints, easy-sliding drawers, and was in perfect condition — for only $60! We immediately started praising God, because it was nothing short of a gift.

We also drove to Louisville to get me some more maternity shirts. I only have three actual maternity tops, and I've gotten to the point where regular shirts are riding up on my belly, so I can't fake it anymore. The nearest Old Navy with maternity is in Louisville, and they actually have affordable clothes in my size (what a concept). We found four tanks for $5 each and two cotton shirts that will double as nursing tops on sale for $19.50 — God provided again! Oh, and I went down a size on top!
our new changing table!
June 16 ~ My midwife was sick today, so we saw our 2nd favorite OB instead. Got the Group B Strep Test done and had my first pelvic exam (1 cm dilated, 40% effaced). I've gained 5 lbs since last time (for a total of 11), and the OB said it's swelling/water weight. It's kind of funny-gross, but you can tell my right foot/toes/ankle are swollen, and the left is still normal. Tidbit measured right on size-wise for his gestational age again, and his HB was 140-something. He was a little stinker, avoiding that Dopplar (the nurse called him "active," but I know he was just being a stinker). The OB told me that since I've "had a pefect pregnancy" (thank you, God!), they wouldn't try to stop labor if it started after this week. I was really surprised! We're down to weekly appointments now, too, which is surreal. Boy, do I feel unprepared...

New belly shot added — ooh, it's interactive!

June 17 ~ 35 weeks pregnant and 35 days to go! How funny is that?

June 18 ~ I forgot to mention it, but Friday marked my first $1,000 week in Mary Kay! It was a huge personal goal, but it all added up before I even realized what was happening. I earned a "$1,000" bar pin and a ring to commemorate reaching that milestone. I hope to keep turning in the bar pin for larger numbers as I have successive $1,000 weeks. You know, I really love what I do now! I really enjoy teaching skin care...and also being able to control my earnings. Being in Mary Kay has been a big boost to my self-esteem, and my own skin even looks fabulous! God has really blessed us through this opportunity, that's for sure. He is so, so good, isn't He?

June 19 ~ We had another major blessing from God today. The rental house we're supposed to move into wasn't scheduled to be vacated until the 23rd, and the tenants were actually paid through the 30th (so they could stay that long, if they wanted). We didn't know when we'd get to move in after that (because of landlord touch-ups), but we were hoping for sometime the first week of July. Our landlord-to-be called today and said, "Well, it's empty now — they're already gone." That was a big answer to prayer, since I was kind of nervous about moving so close to my due date. As if that weren't enough, the landlord then said, "Come on over and look at the place, and if you don't think we need to paint or clean the carpet, you can have the keys today...and we won't start your rent until July." I was so overwhelmed. Not only will we get to move in before July, we won't have to overlap rent payments! Is God awesome or what?

June 20 ~ The baby dropped last night! "How can you tell?" you ask. Well, I've been lotioning the same stretch marks around my belly button for about 3 months now, and last night they were about an inch or two lower. Plus, my belly is no longer a convenient under-the-breast resting shelf for my arm — my arm almost slides off! It's kind of funny, but I feel like my belly's so small now that it's "settled" lower...I'm kind of sad to "lose" it. Today's picture doesn't really make the dropping obvious, but it's definitely happened. I don't want to go past my due date, but I sure could use these next four weeks...hopefully Tidbit's not quite ready to come out yet.

Now that we have a place to put it (the new house), we can go ahead and bring home our crib! That's something else that was making me nervous. What if we didn't get the crib before D-day? What if there was a broken part, and we had to wait 6 weeks to get it? Well, we picked it up today, and it was the first thing we put in our brand new empty house. There may not be a mattress in it, and it hasn't actually been set up yet, but at least the crib parts are in the nursery now.

July 3 ~ SORRY, SORRY, SORRY! No labor, no baby! Aside from the delay in posting due to moving, the phone company has also been over a week delayed in transferring our DSL (internet/e-mail) despite a special call from them promising it last Monday (I'm at Cre8tive Group right now). I am so mentally/physically exhausted. Sorry to worry you, guys! For the record, I don't want to go early — on the night of 7/13, at the very earliest. I'm just fine being pregnant! I've been proactive in staying calm, so hopefully I won't progress too much before the 13th. I don't even have contractions every day!

MOVING UPDATE: Finished moving/spackling/vacuuming/everything last night. Every room in the new place is full of boxes now, but at least it's all in one house and Charlie will be home at night. Charlie and I are going to focus on emptying/assembling the nursery and washing the baby's clothes tonight. It was frustrating to be so helpless/useless during a move - especially since my limitations changed every day...I never knew what I couldn't handle until I'd already done it! Thursday night was the worst, though. We were up until 2 a.m. trying to get stuff moved/put away, and I could literally feel my body shutting down. Around 4:30, I woke up getting kicked and contracting so hard I thought my water would break if I stood up. I went into the bathroom and sat there in pain and panic, wondering how long before I should wake Charlie or call the OB. It was the most frightening, horrific experience of my life, hands-down. I felt so alone and helpless. All of my relaxation techniques went out the window and all I could think of was praying (which I did). The baby and the contractions eventually calmed down, but it was not a very nice way to wake up. I vowed from then on to rest/eat/hydrate like I'm supposed to, regardless of how completely, stupidly useless I feel watching everyone else carry boxes and things.

BABY/BODY UPDATE: The baby moves every day, still. I can't believe it's just 2-3 weeks before we get to tell the world his name! Between my appointment last-last Friday and my appointment this past Tuesday, I lost 1½ pounds (probably from stress) and went from 1½cm to 2 (still 60-70%), plus had a negative GBS test. My MW said I should refuse any future cervical exams, since she is legally obligated to send me to the hospital at 5cm even if I'm not contracting. No thanks!!! We also went over our birth plan with her. I'm SO GLAD we took that childbirth class. I can't imagine what unnecessary procedures and drugs we'd get if we weren't so informed - not to mention how much more panicked I would be in labor.

After my progress at that last appointment, Charlie and I panicked and bought the crib mattress and some sheets and the changing pad (but we still don't have a carseat, diapers, monitors, glider, bathtub...). We can't fit the crib or a Pack 'n Play or anything in our room, so Tidbit will have to sleep in the nursery. Since the nursery doors will have to be shut at night to keep the cats out, I may freak out and make Charlie pick up our monitors on the way to the hospital if we don't get them before that. We're also practicing with our Moby Wrap, in preparation for carrying the baby. I still wake up a couple of times a night, but now I actually get up, go to the bathroom, and take more Tylenol instead of just turning over. My hips feel completely dislocated at night, so it's a mental effort to make myself get up...but it's better than waking at 7:30 without any Tylenol in my system. We also got to meet with our doula on Saturday! We feel very reassured in our decision to have a doula after meeting with her.

July 5 ~ We went to see our local minor league ball team for Independence Day, and I ate like a junk food pig. I paid for it last night, though — it's amazing how a night-long bout with diarrhea will put you off ballpark food! It rained here almost all day, too. I thought for sure the ballgame would be rained out, but it just started 1½ hours late. We really wanted to stay till the fireworks afterwards but decided to leave at the top of the 11th inning since it was already 11:30 at night. We were both exhausted (parenthood: here we come).

Also, my ankle/foot swelling started last week. I was just horrified when I took my sandals off one night and had actual half inch indents where the straps had been. It was so icky and weird. I thought my toes looked like little Vienna sausages, but Charlie was very gallant and tried to tell me it wasn't that bad.

July 9 ~ Charlie and I are way too paranoid. Every time I feel a widespread gas pain, I feel like I need to time it. When it lasts for 10 minutes, then I accept that it's not a contraction. I had them when we went to Pirates of the Carribbean on Friday (Kaplan's treat — woo hoo!), and Charlie kept asking if we needed to leave. He's so freaked out that we won't be ready! We put our hospital bags in the car yesterday, just in case we're out when it happens. I also gave up driving, after yesterday. I feel way too cramped behind that steering wheel, and I get distracted too easily now! Last night was it for my rings, too. I normally wear three in addition to my wedding band (engagement, anniversary opal, puzzle), but I had to use cold water AND lotion to get them off! Once I did, my fingers looked so gross...but not as creepy-weird as my feet do when they swell up!

Charlie also assembled the crib yesterday! We "put away" the living room, then moved all of the miscellaneous boxes from the nursery into that newly-emptied space. Since there were then only a few non-baby-related things in there, Charlie had room to do the crib and I can start getting the nursery "ready" this week. I also washed all of the baby's clothes and blankets and things yesterday, too. Folding his tiny clothes was awesome. I love how empty the basket looks, even when there are four shirts and three pairs of pants in it!

Charlie sits imprisoned while assembling the crib       Charlie puts some finishing touches on the drop side

July 14 ~ I abhor dial-up. I feel like I can't get anything accomplished — everything takes forever. Alltel says they won't have anything available for another week (= 4 weeks total). You'd think they would make us a priority. Their excuse for the delay is that there are "too many new customers in the subdivision requesting service," but we've been customers for years! We were only transferring our service and they promised a particular installation date in advance...which they shouldn't have done if they already had so many people in the area without available lines. Plus, hello, I work from home, people! I can't go for a month without DSL and still get the work done that I need to accomplish. We signed a year's extention contract to retain our low monthly cost right before the move, too, so we can't switch. Although technically we haven't had any service since that contract started...

Now that my MK Cinderella Event is over, I am officially-officially on maternity leave from out-of-the-house events. The next event I have scheduled is Stuart & Stephanie's wedding! We broke down and bought a really sturdy bassinet at Once Upon A Child (consignment) for $25 so we can keep the baby in our room to start. We are almost completely prepared, now. The carseat, diaper pail liners, and bassinet mattress wrap should arrive any day now, and we'll be going out to pick up some sheets and towels and a Diaper Champ tonight. We're also going to start saving money for a glider rocker, since I'll be breastfeeding Tidbit for a long time to come (and the other children, eventually). We still have to buy some diapers, though — I keep forgetting.

I can't believe the baby's due ONE WEEK FROM TOMORROW!!!!!!!! I'm pretty sure he dropped again, too. I don't realize how huge I'm getting until I compare belly pics. And I thought I was big at 31 weeks!? (BTW, you'll have to excuse my appearance in last night's belly shot — it was taken at the end of a very long day.) Wednesday was the last time I'm going to attempt shaving my legs until after I deliver, I think. I literally almost fell out of the shower just turning around in there with my big belly!

July 15 ~ I've felt like I'm about to start my period for three or four days now. I think, "Ooh! Maybe it's a contraction cramp!" but then it lasts for a couple hours. I don't miss menstruating, that's for sure. I'm not bleeding or anything (praise God), but having these "menstrual-like cramps" is unnerving!

July 16 ~ Found out today that menstrual-like cramps are a sign of early labor! Tidbit's kicks were so abruptly faint and weak today that Charlie and I went in for a non-stress test. The baby's fine, but I started contracting when I was in the hospital and having lower back pain (also signs of early labor). I'm up to 3cm dilation, 75% effacement, and -1 station. That L&D nurse's exam was the first time I've bled in the whole pregnancy, which kind of freaked me out. Tidbit's still head-down, praise God. I'm also still contracting (6 hours later), but they're anywhere from 2-13 minutes apart. Charlie took me to get a pedicure on our way home from the hospital, too! Boy, did that massage chair feel AWESOME. Fingers crossed for today or tomorrow...

July 17 ~ No baby yet. My contractions were exactly 10 minutes apart for two hours, then became erratic again. Charlie and I went walking around after dinner, but nothing has happened other than I'm tired out. We put the waterproof sheet on the bed last night in case something breaks, but no luck so far. Don't worry, though — we have a phone call list for when something does happen.

July 18 ~ Mucous plug down the shower drain last night! "Yay" and yuck!
I am really pumped after my MW appointment this morning!!! I lost 3 pounds and the ultrasound tech estimated that Tidbit is just 7lb 5oz! I have been praising God all day. Tidbit also measured perfectly in the other u/s things (femur length, belly, head, etc.). We got a 3D pic of him with his arm in front of his face (that's his elbow in front of his nose, and the little "bumps" there are probably the fingers on his other hand) Charlie and the nurse think he has my nose! I am just so relieved that he's nowhere near 8 pounds. The entire 1½ hours we waited for our appointment, he was absolutely manic (you know how excited and wriggly kids get when their birthdays are imminent). Of course then the little stinker chose our 5 minutes of u/s time to hold perfectly still. The tech even tapped with the u/s wand to try to get him to move!
I picked up some red raspberry leaf tea on my way home, and we'll try some other natural progression techniques tonight. I'd better calm down, though — the MW reminded me that adrenaline blocks contractions! God is so good, I wonder why I'm surprised every time He blesses us.

July 20 ~ I'm pretty sure he dropped again. I woke up a bona fide "outie," and he sticks out a lot further in this morning's belly shot! He has hardly moved at all today, and I'm praying it's because his head is wedged in my pelvis ("engaged"). I drank some OJ and lay down and got 10 movements out of him in about 20 minutes, but he's hardly moved since. I may go in for an NST, but I have to think carefully about it, since I may have progressed a lot since Sunday and don't want an induction. Praying for major contractions, here!

July 22 ~ I'm due today!!! I wish that meant something...

Charlie thinks the baby dropped again yesterday because my belly button is so low. I was a little frightened that I would go into labor last night when that nasty storm was here, but then I remembered that adrenaline staves off labor. It's still rainy and yucky today, but no tornados or big thunderstorms, PTL.

I woke up with some contractions around 2 or 3 this morning, but I think the fact that I was able to fall asleep while trying to time them means they weren't anything. At least Tidbit was moving a lot last night, when I turned over on my right side! I can't wait to go out and answer "I'm due today" when people ask. I love seeing people's faces when they find out how close I am — they freak! I've started making two cups of Red Raspberry Leaf tea at a time and leaving the one steeping while I drink the first one. I could drink gallons of this stuff! I drank it hot today instead of icing it, because I woke up with a sore throat yesterday and still have it.

Today is the first day Charlie and I have actually made plans in two weeks, so hopefully our son feels the need to interrupt them for his birthday celebration. We're going to see Lady In the Water (M. Night Shayamalan's new film) and run a billion errands (we have a list, so that counts as "plans that can be interrupted"). Charlie even has a project he has to get done when we get home later. Hopefully the baby just wanted to make a dramatic entrance on his due date! Fingers crossed that Tidbit didn't inherit his dad's lack of time awareness! (hee hee)

July 23 ~ I think I've figured it out: I put a physiological block on myself. Last night I really, really wanted to have a good, cleansing cry — not over anything in particular, just to let myself sob as a form of release...but I couldn't do it. I tried in the tub and as I lay in bed, I talked over my feelings about everything, and I even cried a little. But each time, just as I got to the verge of sobbing in release, something seemed to shut off and I immediately calmed down! It was really weird. My lack of ability to have a good sobfest really made me think that I must have put some sort of a block on myself, in my attempt over the past few weeks to appear calm and happy to everybody. What worries me is that I'm pretty sure that's why I'm not having any sort of productive contractions at all. The problem is that it isn't conscious at all — I wanted to cry and I want to have this baby! I think it's just been ingrained in me for so long (to stay calm and not go into labor) that I don't know what to do to unblock myself. I can't just stop thinking a certain way or whatever, because it's subconsious. I've tried relaxing and not thinking about labor, but nothing's happening. Oh, and for added pressure, my doula is going out of town from Wednesday noon through Sunday night, and all of her potential subs are either busy or out of town then too! Since nobody expected me to go this late, we didn't worry about it earlier...

July 24 ~ I feel pathetic at being so discouraged when I'm just two measly days past my due date. The majority of first-timers actually go past their due dates. In fact, the AMA is considering changing the "official" gestational period for first pregnancies to 41 weeks. I'm only at 40 weeks, 2 days...but I'm already discouraged! I've been so progressed (effaced/dilated) for so long that every OB, MW, and lay "expert" I've seen in recent weeks has asserted that there was no way I'd go past my due date — and that it was likely I wouldn't even make it there at all! All that consistent hype has really built me up, so now I'm really bummed every day that I go without laboring. I know many women would've loved just to make it to their due dates — and I am VERY grateful to have a healthy, normal-sized, term baby — but I've spent over a month expecting to have given birth by now! Not only have I not given birth yet, I'm not even having "real" contractions. I'm so pathetic. I shouldn't be freaking out until at least next Saturday. Blah.

I'm relieved, at least, that God's timing is perfect...and that He won't give us more than we can handle!!

July 31 ~ This is just the cut-and-dried version, due to sleep deprivation. I'll post the birth story, pics, etc. online in the next couple of weeks. I won't be checking e-mail very frequently, so I apologize if you never get a response to something you send.

Caspian Charlie Fiskeaux was born at 2:50am on Wednesday, July 26. He weighed 7lbs 13oz and measured 21" long. Labor was 6 hours long, 100% unmedicated, and resulted in no perineal tearing, praise the Lord! He has either red or blond hair and has grey-blue eyes (for now). He's named after the Narnian king and Charlie's paternal grandfather. We checked out of the hospital Friday night...then back in again Saturday afternoon to treat his jaundice. We stayed in for two days and just got back home again this evening. I can't believe he'll be a week old soon! He has his days and nights switched, but he's a strong nurser (once you get him to latch on). He sleeps even more deeply than his daddy (but mommy wakes every time his breathing changes), and the cats are still afraid of him for now. He is the #1 most gorgeous thing we have ever seen. Ever.

Thank you all for your prayers so far -- God's hand has been evident! Please please continue to lift up our family in the coming weeks, for health, rest, and de-stressing for all three of us. God be praised for this indescribable miracle!


Is it a boy or a girl? — It's a boy!!! CLICK HERE FOR THE PUZZLE WE MADE OUR PARENTS DO!

What are you going to name him? — We're keeping our choices private until the baby is delivered.

Have you felt him move? — Every day! He's a very active boy.

Are you showing yet? — Hilary's waist started out slowly disappearing, kind of like Violet Beauregard's did when she turned into a blueberry in Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Now she has a pretty nice baby belly! CLICK FOR PICS!

Do you have a nursery theme? — Yes, garden/insects/bugs. We already bought a leaf-shaped bed canopy, a cool light fixture (organza-like tube with lights inside), and some wall and hanging storage from IKEA.

Are you registered anywhere?We have an online registry, but you can also use it to shop offline (it's just easier for everyone to see). Plus, this way nobody is stuck shopping at Babies"R"Expensive. CLICK HERE FOR INFO!

Breast or bottle? — We plan to breastfeed and use a particular brand of cloth diapers. Why cloth...?

Epidural? — Nothing is going into Hilary's spine, if she can help it! Hilary has a high pain tolerance and will try to go without other drugs, too, but she isn't morally against them.

What about circumcision? — Heck, no. He shouldn't have any "issues" if he's taught proper care. It was once thought to be necessary for the baby's health, but that theory has been debunked. Now it is strictly a personal/religious choice, and we want our baby in tact.

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Much of this part falls under "Too Much Information," but hey, God overcame some medical odds to create this baby!

When we decided to conceive, we didn't expect to do so very quickly. For one thing, Hilary had been on birth control pills (BCP) for over five years. As a side effect of the pills, she only menstruated a couple of times a year. It can take one to two years for the effects of BCP to leave a woman's body, so we weren't even sure when Hilary would be fertile again…but one month after coming off the pills, Hilary menstruated and we conceived! Additionally, the vast majority of personal lubricants are "sperm motility decreasers" — basically, they slow the little guys down. Yet again, despite the odds, we conceived. Furthermore, Hilary's doctor discovered an ovarian cyst just after we decided to try to conceive. Wouldn't you know, it turned to be the type that goes away on its own without any lingering effects! These may seem like minor things, but any one of them should have prevented or delayed conception. God's timing prevails!

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