May 29, 2009

40 weeks


(That's the sound of me screaming.)

I am 40 weeks pregnant, and I really can't believe it. What does that mean? Today is my due date!

(I had to save my ticker from the Bump to mark the occasion. As you can see, I never updated the name.)

Let me tell you something. Due dates don't mean anything. I had my fourth internal yesterday, and I have made no progress whatsoever. No dilation, no effacement. Those real contractions I thought I was having? Yeah, they weren't real. They were Braxton-Hicks.

Despite that, I do think that I have dropped some, but probably not all the way. I can walk farther and catch my breath easier. I'm also waddling more than I was. And I can just feel that he's lower.

But all this adds up to is that I have to see the doctor again on Tuesday, and we are going to have the Big Induction Talk. My OB doesn't want to let me go much further than 41 weeks, which means that right now induction is looking like more and more of a reality. I think I would feel more at peace with being induced if I had made some progress, because as it stands right now, I am a great candidate for an induction turned C-section. I am not one of those people who has to deliver vaginally, but I would prefer it. And I'm not over being pregnant. I could do this for a couple more weeks if that's what it takes. I just worry about letting him stay in too long. And then I worry about trying to induce.

But I'm trying not to think too much about this. It is what it is, and all I can do is stay active and hope that some of the activity helps with moving things along. A lot can happen in a short amount of time, and I still could go into labor at any moment. Also, we found out that Charlie weighs about seven and a half pounds right now, so he's right on target. (And so am I, with a total weight gain of 29 pounds.)

My mom is flying in today! This is exciting. It means that she will be present for Charlie's birth (no, she will not be in the delivery room), and we might even get to have some mother-daughter time beforehand. I can't wait to see her.

I forgot to mention this, but I won an awesome giveaway last week from Mummy's Product Reviews. I won quite a few eco-friendly baby products created/sold by some of the posters on the Eco-Friendly Family board. All in all, I won eight different items, and I have already started receiving some of them in the mail. So far my favorite is this adorable pair of handmade baby shoes:

You can find them here if you're interested. There are a whole bunch of cute fabrics to choose from.

Anyway, I promised last week that I would share some pictures of Charlie's room. First off, I'd like to say that I love themes. But I decided not to do a theme for Charlie's room for practical reasons: 1) he's not going to care what his room looks like, and 2) we have no idea how long we'll be living in our current house. If we were homeowners, I would have probably gone a little nuts with the nursery. But we aren't, so we stayed basic. (Two of the themes I thought about were sock monkeys and aquarium/fish/ocean stuff.)

My original idea for the color scheme in Charlie's room was baby blue and chocolate brown - however, somewhere along the way we ended up with basic baby blue. The only brown to be found in the room is the carpet (which is probably considered more beige than anything) and the picture frames. I am now glad that we didn't incorporate a lot of brown because Charlie's room is pretty small, so the light colors and furniture helps with making it feel less cramped. That said, it is kind of cramped, but I love it and I think it's going to work just fine.

As promised, here is the evolution of Charlie's room.

Here's the wallpaper that was originally on the walls:

Beginning to gather baby stuff:

In the process of taking off the wallpaper:

Picking the paint color:

Beginning to paint:

Here's what it looked like after our shower:

Here's Roy painting Charlie's little bookcase:

And now, for the mostly finished product.

View from the doorway. You can see our awesome glider and ottoman that we got at Babies R Us. This was our one nursery splurge, and we only went for it because it was on sale. We're hoping it will last us a lot of years.


Artwork above bookcase (small original watercolors of sea horses from the Aquarium of the Pacific):

Chest of drawers with light up aquarium on top (both of which were gifts from one of Roy's co-workers). The white boards above the chest of drawers are where we are going to make a collage of some of our maternity photos. I do think that Charlie, if he was older and saw the pictures hanging up in his room, would probably say, "WTF, Mom?! What makes you think I want to have pictures of your gigantic pregnant belly in my room? Not to mention you and Dad kissing! Gross!" It was either this or wall letters, which have become so freaking trendy that I decided not to do them - they are cute, though. I did want to do something like this (but with my own photos), but I didn't for some reason. Maybe for the next baby...

Changing table and little bouncy chair (also gifts from generous co-workers):

Charlie's crib:

Charlie's closet:

Charlie's friends, waiting ever so patiently to be chewed and drooled on (including the world's most patient sock monkey):

(We put Charlie's friends in his crib for now since he won't be sleeping in the crib for the first few months anyway.)

Charlie's room definitely won't be on any design blogs any time soon, but we're not design blog people anyway. I absolutely love how calm his room makes me feel, and hopefully it'll have the same effect on Charlie. I also love how there are different elements going on in one space: space (the mobile), the ocean (the aquarium and sea horse pictures), sock monkeys, etc.

Holy long post, Batman! Sorry about that. I'm trying to cram a lot of stuff in since the end is near. Perhaps there will be a (shorter) 41 week post? I guess we'll just have to wait and see!

May 28, 2009

Beginnings, Captured

I was over-the-top excited to see that we got our disc of maternity photos in the mail yesterday. As promised, here are some of my favorites.

(Click to enlarge.)

(You can click here to see them all.)

The photos are by Christine Farah Photography, the awesomest photographer ever. Thanks to her, we have these treasured memories to look back on for the rest of our lives. I can't help but tear up when I look at them. Love is an amazing thing.

May 27, 2009

Pregnancy 102

Here's part two of my pregnancy advice list. Enjoy (or something)!

10) Take a picture of your belly every week. Document your pregnancy through a journal or blog. Recognize the value of keepsakes (like ultrasound pictures). Remember that you will only experience this pregnancy once. Even though it sometimes sucks, enjoy it.

This is one piece of advice that you really can take or leave. I know that pregnancy is different for everyone, and some people have had such crappy experiences with it that it's not a joyous or wonderful time. Me, I love documenting my life, both the good and the bad. And I always find myself sad that my mom didn't really document anything about me as a baby or her pregnancy with me (probably because I was the second child). There is a general lack of info about myself when I was very young, and that always bothered me - especially now that many years have passed and my mom just doesn't remember. It's like there are parts and pieces of me that have been lost because they weren't written down. I never want to not remember (or document) my pregnancies or my birth stories.

11) Indulge.

Take a warm bath every night if you feel like it. Have dessert. Spend the evening in bed or on the couch. Just do what makes you feel good (as long as it's not harmful to the baby, of course). What's more, forgive yourself your little transgressions. I was bound and determined not to ingest caffeine while I was pregnant. I made it through the first trimester caffeine free. I started drinking caffeinated soda around the time I entered my second trimester. I was just too tired due to insomnia. But I have always stayed within a reasonable limit. "Everything in moderation" became my new motto (and to me, it's a good motto to have).

I don't mean that you should have fast food for every meal, but I guess what I mean is that you should treat yourself well when you're pregnant. And let others treat you well, too - everyone loves (and wants to spoil) a pregnant woman for some reason.

The point of all this is you will never be able to pamper yourself again on the same level as you are able to when you are pregnant. So do it now. I've done plenty of it through my pregnancy, and it's been totally and completely worth it.

12) Get your teeth cleaned at least once, but preferably twice, while you're pregnant.

Pregnancy did a number on my already bad teeth and gums. It's pretty common to have bleeding gums and gingivitis during pregnancy. And if things get too bad, you could go into pre-term labor.

I'm not sure if other pregnant women have experienced this, but every time I had to have dental work done during my pregnancy (which was about four times total), I felt the strongest sense of guilt at subjecting Charlie to novocaine and X-rays (even though my OB okayed it). I kept getting angry at myself for not taking better care of my teeth before I was pregnant, because I had finally found myself at a point where my avoidance of the dentist affected not only me, but my unborn child. I felt (and still feel) pretty awful about it. The good news is I have turned a corner and have realized that my dentist anxiety is not something that should hold me back from taking better care of myself. Hopefully with my next pregnancy there will be no dental work.

13) Become acquainted with the many websites that offer awesome bargains on baby gear.

There are some really good ones out there. My top two favorites are Mamabargains and babysteals. Also, there are a ton of blogs out there that post about the best baby/mom-related deals - I like that they do the legwork for me. I've gotten so many good deals on products, thanks to these sites and blogs. As an expecting mother, you can never find too many bargains.

14) Before you register, do your research.

There are so many useless products out there and so many things that may work for others but won't work for you. I can't really say that I picked the best products out there, because I honestly have no practical experience with them yet. But I did a ton of research and asked mommies that I know what they thought about certain products, etc. Special thanks goes out to Nanette for all her help with our registries.

But why is it important to be knowledgeable about what you're buying? Because babies need a fair amount of stuff, and you might as well get the best stuff out there.

A great book for this kind of thing is Baby Bargains. And don't forget to consult with moms you know for their opinions and advice. They are great resources.

15) If you have so-called "negative" feelings, don't hide from them. Let yourself feel what you feel.

Most people out there don't like to talk about how they feel. And moreover, when they ask you how you feel, they want to hear good things and only good things. This can sometimes pose a communication problem when you're feeling weighed down by scary and hard-to-deal-with feelings. Maybe you're good at avoiding talking about these feelings. But I'm not. I really like talking about how I feel, and I make it a point to not avoid it. (Of course, I am choosy in who I talk to, unless I write a blog post about it, in which case the whole world is free to know.)

This blog post generated so many responses, not necessarily in the form of comments, but in emails, conversations, texts, etc. I like that it got people talking with me about things that were bothering me - I not only got the support I needed, but also the validation. Pregnancy, though filled with joyful moments, is not a walk in the park. Like any life-changing event, it's complicated - and it brings out conflicting feelings in the parents-to-be. The best way to deal with these feelings, in my opinion, is to talk about them. You never know what connections you may make as a result.

(I'd like to interject here that while many people don't like to talk about their "negative" feelings, I think that is okay. Everyone has their own way of dealing with these feelings. I just happen to be pretty open about mine. It's not a judgment, just an observation.)

16) Try to be in good shape when you get pregnant.

I was attempting to get back in good shape when I found out I was pregnant. While I certainly wasn't a fat cow, my pre-pregnancy body left a lot to be desired (back then) - I would, of course, embrace it lovingly now. With my next pregnancy, I'd like to be in better shape beforehand. It just makes sense to me and ultimately is better for the baby (and the mother).

17) If you are able to, take time off before your baby is due.

I've talked about this before, but I'd like to reiterate that my maternity leave has been invaluable. I am taking a pay cut to have this time off before Charlie's born, but in my opinion, you can't put a price on some good old fashioned R&R. We are fortunate that we are able to afford this, as I know many people can't. I also know how lucky I am to have a decent maternity leave policy in place at my job, because many women have extreme limits placed on them in this regard (which completely sucks!).

My time off has been very special because it's been time devoted to me and to the very basic needs I have right now. I needed time to rest and reflect, and I've realized quite a few things about myself and life in general as a result of taking some time to myself. Many women seem to complain of being bored while being off work and waiting for the baby to be born, but to me, this time is something I will never get back. I have days that most would probably call "boring," but after years of working, going to school, and rushing around, I have realized that being busy really is not all it's cracked up to be.

I will no doubt return to having a very busy life very soon. And I won't regret it because there will be extra dimension and depth to it. But no way would I have wanted to work up until Charlie's birth. I was miserable while working, and I feel great now. I will hopefully make my entrance to motherhood feeling relatively well rested and serene.

18) Remember that so much of pregnancy, like any other thing in life, is about faith.

This is the toughest piece of advice I have to offer.

I am not a religious person by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not even what you'd call "spiritual." But during this pregnancy, I have come to understand a few things about faith. I've realized how necessary it is. I don't mean faith in God or Jesus Christ (for me, anyway), but faith in some kind of abstract "it's all going to be okay" feeling.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again: pregnancy is scary. It is horribly, terribly scary. There is so much of it that is out of your control. You can do everything right and still miscarry or deliver a stillborn baby or have a baby with birth defects or special needs. There are never any guarantees that once you get pregnant you will stay pregnant or that you will have a perfect, healthy baby.

Me, I am incredibly lucky to have carried Charlie to term and to know that barring a disaster, we are going to be meeting him very soon and that more than likely he is going to be pretty damn healthy. However, my level of anxiety is high. Extremely high. Even now. I worry more now than I did when I was in the first trimester.

Back in the early days of my pregnancy, I would sometimes be overcome by these waves of panic. I felt like I was having an anxiety attack sometimes. It was completely irrational but it was real. Now the anxiety is dull but continuous. It doesn't go away. It has gotten worse since I've been on leave because I've had more time to myself and my thoughts. I've really had to take it all on a moment-by-moment basis sometimes. I've had to learn what it means to realize that faith is really all I have to fall back on. I have to have faith that things are going to work out. I have to just believe - because if I don't, I might go insane.

It is not like I'm sitting at home crying or chewing my nails down to the quick, but in the back of my mind all the time are these questions: "What if this doesn't work out? What if we lose him?" I hate to go down that road, but I think it crosses every parent's mind at some time or another. To love is to accept the possibility of loss. It's hard. Terribly hard. But it has made me stronger, that's for sure. And perhaps I'll be a better mother because of it.

At the end of the day, all I can do is put faith in the hope that everything will be okay, no matter what happens. There is always a way back from the blackest of darkness (should that darkness manifest itself in my life, that is). I've lived enough to know that. So I consciously choose to live in the light of the possibility of my son and our family.

So, this concludes my totally wise and awesome pregnancy advice list. I hope that you found something useful in here. I hope that I'll be able to look back on these posts when I'm pregnant again and find something to hold onto. That would be cool.

May 26, 2009

Pregnancy 101

So who would have thought that somewhere in the last nine months I became sort of knowledgeable about pregnancy? I might even be considered an expert. For that reason, I decided to put together a list of some good pregnancy related advice. I did this as much for anyone out there who might need some guidance and for myself for future reference. This is a long list, so I'm going to split it into two posts.

Note: Thanks for bearing with me through all the pregnancy posts. I know that I've been kind of one-note through it all, and I'm sure I've lost readers as a result - but I've come to terms with that. I realize that my pregnancy just isn't as interesting to anyone else as it is to me, but I'm one of those people who loves documenting my life and the things I experience. I know that I've posted some way TMI stuff, but I do believe in being honest and forthcoming about things (although there are definitely things that I have left out). I totally value hearing real life stories over something that is insincerely positive or unrealistic. Let's face it - pregnancy is a beautiful thing, but it wreaks havoc on your body and your emotions. If I can help just one person by relating my experiences, then I think that's awesome.

Now, onto the list of what I consider to be helpful advice in dealing with pregnancy.

1) See a chiropractor/massage therapist.

I've been seeing either one or the other throughout my pregnancy; I consider them essential due to the stresses placed on the body as it grows and changes. You may not be able to tell how tired and overworked your body is at the beginning, but trust me, you will once you get to the third trimester. Remember to make sure to see someone who has been trained in working on pregnant women, and make sure you discuss your desire to see a chiropractor and/or massage therapist with your doctor. My doctor has been totally okay with my seeing both, even in the first trimester. Some doctors are not.

2) Buy a good maternity support belt/brace.

Mine makes me look really lumpy, depending on what I'm wearing, and it's not the most comfortable thing in the world, but it really does the job of keeping the back pain at bay. I can't think of a single pregnant woman who doesn't have back pain sometime during pregnancy; this is a good solution. I haven't worn mine since I've been on leave, but while I was still working, it was a lifesaver.

Here's the one I bought. It was recommended to me by my chiropractor. I am definitely going to hang onto it and use it whenever I'm pregnant again.

3) Stretch your pre-pregnancy wardrobe as long as possible.

Maternity clothes suck. Granted, there are so many more options these days than there used to be. But I personally hate them.

I have been able to use some (not all, but some) of my pre-pregnancy wardrobe throughout my pregnancy. When I was seven or eight weeks pregnant, I went out and bought a package of three white wife-beaters. I bought them in a bigger size, and as my tummy grew, I began using them to layer underneath my pre-pregnancy shirts so that I always had full belly coverage. I also already had a big stash of camisoles and tank tops that I was able to use for layering purposes as well.

I bought about five cheap maternity shirts and then was over them after a couple of months. So I started buying larger sizes in shirts so that I could get some cuter clothes that would still fit. These shirts still fit - well, kind of. I have started outgrowing everything in the last few weeks. They will probably come in handy after Charlie is born as well, since I know I will still be a bit chubby.

The best idea I had was to go to Forever 21 and buy some shirts from there. F21 is a super trendy store, filled with bright colors and annoying teenage girls, but wearing their clothes has been one of the biggest ego boosts for me during my entire pregnancy. (It's a good thing that really long shirts are in style right now.)

I would not, however, recommend buying shirts from Old Navy. I bought some from there, and the quality sucks. The seams started unravelling after a couple of washes, or the shirts became really misshapen and unflattering. Even the regular shirts that I bought in larger sizes are shapeless and unattractive now. No bueno.

Pants are a whole other story. I don't think that it's possible not to buy maternity pants while you're pregnant. I bought three or four pairs of jeans, a pair of black dress pants, a grey pair of drawstring pants and a pair of black lounge pants. I borrowed some other pants from a friend of mine and have been able to make it through with a decent amount of variety. I also bought this skirt and love it. Yes, it was pricey, but it also has been totally worth it.

Out of all the pants that I have, the jeans are the least comfortable. I much prefer the lighter, looser pants that I borrowed from my friend, especially once I got to the stage where it became hard to cross my legs and bend over. Sadly, these pants don't fit as comfortably as they used to. I can tell that my hips have widened some.

I was extremely lucky that my workplace is/was super casual, so I didn't have to buy completely separate work clothes. I imagine buying maternity suits and work clothes is a major pain in the ass, not to mention expensive.

I think the key to finding a good maternity wardrobe is trial and error. Try something and see if it works. I could not wait to get into maternity clothes because I was bloated and uncomfortable in my pre-pregnancy clothes. But once I began to hate maternity clothes, I found a way to make some of my pre-pregnancy clothes work for me. This means that a few items of maternity clothing that I bought have been sitting in my closet unworn for quite awhile now, which kind of sucks.

And this is really just my experience. Not everyone puts on the same amount of weight in the same places. For example, I am pretty much all baby. The rest of my body has stayed pretty much the same or has increased in size very slightly. So it's been easy for me to stretch out my pre-pregnancy wardrobe because I've only had the tummy to worry about. Many, many women have to buy new underwear and bras, and that can be costly.

4) Buy a bella band.

Pregnant women tend to sing the praises of the bella band, and I can't blame them for doing so. I bought two (one in black, one in white) when I was eight weeks pregnant in order to keep wearing my pre-pregnancy pants for awhile longer. I ended up in maternity pants at around 13 weeks and put the bella bands away. I pulled them back out of the drawer when I began wearing my brace (to wear them underneath it), and they were invaluable in keeping me somewhat comfortable. I have also heard they come in handy after giving birth. I am taking one to the hospital with me, and I may use it as a bra during delivery. (It sounds silly to wear a bra while delivering a baby, but I am kind of modest and would like to have the girls covered up should I decide to rip my hospital gown off.)

The bella band is not perfect, however. You do have to rearrange your pants quite a bit while wearing one, but it always has done the job for me. Plus, I have to rearrange my clothing all the time anyway. It's something you get used to doing while being pregnant. Nothing fits right, that's for sure.

5) Rent a doppler.

I did not have the emotional strength to not rent a doppler during my pregnancy. Once Charlie got big enough to have his heartbeat detected by a doppler, I went to Baby Beat and rented one. Here's why:

A month between appointments at the beginning of pregnancy feels like an eternity. With all the scary stories out there about missed miscarriages, I wanted to have a little more control over knowing that the baby was doing okay. Roy and I listened to Charlie's heartbeat religiously up until I was 21 weeks pregnant. I would listen to it in the morning before my OB appointments, because if something bad had happened, I wanted to find out at home (or at least be forewarned) and not at the doctor's office. It sounds morbid, but being pregnant is scary - especially before feeling the baby move (which acts as constant reassurance for the parents-to-be).

We stopped using the doppler as much once I started feeling movement - however, we still use it when Charlie has had a really quiet/inactive day. (I will say this, though, that picking up the baby's heartbeat on the doppler despite decreased fetal movement is not necessarily an indication that everything is okay. Please call your doctor if you have concerns.)

We still have it and probably won't box it up to send it back until we're home from the hospital. It's just nice to have around, totally worth the $30/month rental fee. Plus, you can use it to record the baby's heartbeat, which is a very nice memento.

6) Be an informed patient. Take the time to read a book or two about pregnancy. Do research. Ask lots of questions.

There are so many women who just blindly accept what their doctor tells them, and frankly, I feel that people should be stronger advocates for themselves and their care. It's your body and your baby - why would you not have a say in it? Don't be afraid to ask for what you want or for clarification if you don't understand something. Also, make a list of the questions you have and take it in when you see the doctor. We have done this for pretty much every visit, and while we have become known as "the question people," I'd rather be known as that than be uninformed about my condition.

7) If something doesn't feel right, call your doctor.

One thing I don't understand is why a lot of pregnant women will ask for medical advice on an internet message board before calling their doctor. I see this all the time, and it drives me absolutely crazy. Spotting? Call your doctor! Not feeling the baby move? Call your doctor! Have a question about whether it's okay to take ibuprofen? Call your doctor (if it can't wait until your next appointment, that is)!

The absolute best person to speak to when something feels wrong is your doctor, not a bunch of random strangers on an internet message board. You'd think this would be common sense, but apparently not.

8) Remember that drinking lots of water and getting plenty of rest go a long way.

This is something I didn't really get until I was pregnant: the importance of staying hydrated and taking it easy when your body tells you to do so. I am convinced that I have felt really good these last few weeks because I do what my body tells me as opposed to try to make it conform to some stupid work schedule like I was doing.

And water really is amazing! I think we take it for granted, but really, it's so important to drink plenty of it (and not just for pregnant women, either). I had an issue with dehydration at 11 weeks. I felt absolutely awful. Once I had some fluid in me, I felt so much better. Drink your water, ladies.

9) Don't overdo it.

When I first found out I was pregnant, I told Roy flat out that I was really going to need his help throughout my pregnancy. I was working full time and attending classes, and that in and of itself was more than enough. So my advice to anyone who is expecting is to warn your spouse or significant other that you will need lots of help and support during your pregnancy.

Also, don't try to be the same person you were before you were pregnant. I had to learn this the hard way. At the end of the fall quarter of school, I was so incredibly sleep deprived that I missed too much work and ended up getting in trouble with my company's HR department. It was pretty messy ... and stressful. I finally realized that it's just not possible to operate at the same level of efficiency. So don't be afraid to tell others that you need help. And be flexible. I was bound and determined to have finished my thesis by the time Charlie was born, but that is something I had to let go of for the sake of my sanity and health. I have now made peace with the fact that I will not have my MA by the time he's born, which was my original intention.

The rest of the list will be put up in a subsequent post, so stay tuned for all that totally fascinating and riveting information.

May 25, 2009

My mom is an amazing woman.

I talked to my mom on the phone today and found out that she had to put yet another of our sweet family kitties to sleep, only two weeks after putting his brother to sleep as well.

I hate that my mom has to be alone and deal with making these tough choices for our family pets, and I hate even more that I could hear the utter sadness in her voice today. She has two cats left, which is great, but she has had to make entirely too many hard choices in the years that I've been away. I wish I could be there to shoulder some of the sorrow.

She is flying out on Friday and should be here for a little while, and I am really happy she's coming. I can't wait to see her. I feel really lucky that she'll be here for Charlie's birth (assuming I don't go into labor before then). She'll also be here for my 30th birthday - it has been years since we've been together for either one of our birthdays.

Sometimes I feel really torn about living so far away from my mom. Even though I grew up in Texas, I prefer California, and it is not always easy to be so far away, no matter what the best thing for me is. Now that we are bringing a little person into the picture, I feel even more divided, because I want him to know my side of the family as well as he will know Roy's side.

I wish we could be in both places. I wish I could be there for my mom when things like this happen. I wish I knew what will happen when (God forbid) my mom won't be able to care for herself anymore - not to mention my dad.

My greatest hope is that someday I will be able to be as strong for her as she has always been for me. We don't always see eye to eye, but I could not have asked for a better mother.

39 weeks

As of Friday, I am 39 weeks pregnant. Wow!

I decided to include a naked belly pic this time. Sorry to those of you out there who don't like them. But I don't mind them. Check out my outie. It's pretty weird to have one after having an extreme innie my whole life. The outie is not a new thing, by the way - it's been around for awhile.

I have managed to avoid getting stretch marks up until this point. However, I am definitely not home free. I could still get them, even after Charlie is born. I am really surprised I don't have any yet. My mom got them, and they are genetic. But hey, I'll stay stretch mark free if that's what ends up happening.

This week something notable happened. My feet are now so swollen that they don't fit in my shoes anymore. That's hot.

I saw my OB again, and here are my stats.

Weight: +2 pounds in the last week, +28 total
Blood pressure: good (can't remember the number)
Charlie's heartrate: strong and healthy
Labor signs: still no dilation or effacement at all - but plenty of pelvic pressure, Braxton-Hicks contractions (and even some real ones!), and stabbing pain in my lady bits

I am now going pee once an hour at night. It makes getting any amount of good sleep freakin' impossible. Supposedly the increase in needing to go pee is a sign that the baby has dropped, but as far as I can tell, he hasn't.

I keep having this feeling that I'm going to end up being induced. But I will gladly eat my words. I don't really want to be induced, but I'll do it if I have to. We'll see what happens.

This week I thought I'd share my absolute favorite baby products that we've either bought or received as gifts. By "favorite" I mean super cute, not necessarily the most practical. Most of this stuff was not on our registry, although I so appreciate that people were good about sticking to the registry when buying us gifts. (Sometime in the future I'll write a post about the best and most useful baby products out there. For now, I have no practical experience.)

Anyway, on with the cuteness!

1) Clothing

Babylegs - It took awhile for these to grow on me, especially since I'm having a boy baby. I mean, really - what boy wears leg warmers? But I seriously love them now. I can't wait to put Charlie in them.

A hilarious onesie Roy received at his work shower - You may have seen these cartoons circulating the internetz. I sure have. But I don't have a link for them.

I like this one just because it has bugs all over it.

My absolute favorite diaper cover - Note the skull and crossbones on it!

A gift from my mother-in-law - This onesie has a special place in my heart because my mother-in-law picked it out with Roy-as-a-child in mind. Apparently he loved dragons.

I love this pirate onesie. Like, love.

I bought these two T-shirts off babysteals quite awhile back. It'll probably be awhile before Charlie will fit into them, but I know he is going to be so cute in them!

I can't remember who bought us this onesie, but it's adorable.

The most awesome baby socks, gifted to us from Amber - I had seen and given the girl version of these socks as gifts before, but I had no idea there were similar socks for boys until these showed up in the mail for us. Yet another thing I can't wait to put on Charlie.

I want to marry these shoes.

We are planning on this being what Charlie wears home from the hospital if he's big enough. I love this onesie so much.

2) Blankets

A gift at our shower, this is probably my favorite blanket of Charlie's.

A co-worker let me pick out two baby blankets from a gigantic stack of blankets her mother made, and these were the two I chose. I particularly love the Snoopy one because I had (and adored) a Peanuts blanket as a child that I lovingly referred to as my "Snoopy blanket."

I truly love this blanket. It's so soft, and the animals are so cute.

3) Miscellaneous

I love my Bebe au Lait nursing cover that I got for 50% on Amazon.

Wet bag from my friend Lynn - I love the pattern on this. So flippin' cute. And I can't wait to fill it up with stinky diapers.

Mobile we received at our shower - We love, love, LOVE it. And it's from Ikea!

Charlie's piggy bank - I saw this on Hautelook and fell in love. I just had to have it!

And last but not least, a children's book that makes me weep, a gift to Charlie from Angelina.

One last bonus picture, the result of swaddling practice:

The nursery is complete! Or as complete as it's going to get at the moment. I am waiting for two things: 1) Charlie's quilt, which won't be done until after he's born (most likely), and 2) the disc of photos from our maternity shoot so I can get some printed and hung up. I'm going to go ahead and share pictures of the nursery in my 40 week post, though. I'm pretty sure there will be a 40 week post, even though I've been having a lot of contractions.

See you then! (Well, I'll probably be posting before, but see you then for sure.)