Vote for us! :)

We have been asked to join the TOP MOMMY BLOGS website!!  We are so excited to join this online community.  We would absolutely LOVE your help in raising our rank by voting for our blog on the right side of the screen.  You just have to click the little brown square that says “Vote For Us” and it will count as a vote.  Right now we are #685 out of #1060, but we would love to get up into the Top 10 eventually.

 

THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU!!!! 🙂

We love y’all!

Andrea and Ian

The calm before the storm.

We now officially have everything we need for baby. We picked out the perfect outfit that he will wear home from the hospital (and later we will display in a photo box in his room), we ordered “props” (some really super cute hats) for his newborn pictures, have been doing load after load of laundry, washing all of his new outfits with that wonderful smelling baby detergent, we even have bottle warmers, bottle sterilizers, and bottles of all shapes and sizes- washed and waiting in the cabinet.  We even bought a fabric baby sling (that came with an instructional DVD) and taught ourselves how to use it today- thanks to Daddy Dizzle, the perfect practice tool.

Tomorrow is our 37 week doctor appointment.  I will decline the cervical exam, because last time it caused a lot of strong contractions- and quite frankly- I want Grae to take his time and come when he is ready, and checking every week to see where we are seems kind of pointless- you know in the “a watched pot never boils” kind of way.  (I’m not going to lie though, I would like to know if I’ve made any more progress since the 1.5 cm dilated, 50% effaced “diagnosis” last week! ;))  I am sure he has dropped significantly since last Friday’s appointment, as I can actually take a full breath without huffing and puffing. I had very minor heartburn for a few weeks, but that has pretty much disappeared now that he is much lower in my belly (Thank goodness, because I have been hearing HORROR stories from Mom and my aunt- they both said they spent the last few weeks of pregnancy sleeping sitting upright in a chair while devouring bottles of Tums.) Lets hope I didn’t just jinx myself!

Saturday we are going to tour the Women’s Center that I will deliver at.  I’m really looking forward to this- I think it will ease a lot of tension and confusion on the big day.  We also have a consultation appointment set up with a highly recommended pediatrician, and I have my list of questions ready.

Our TO-DO list is getting shorter and shorter… we still need to pack a bag for the hospital, make some freezable meals for after the baby, install the car seat (its in our trunk all ready to go- just not buckled in yet), and my midwife said we need to write out a birth plan.  Hopefully we can conquer these few things by the end of the weekend… hopefully being the key word.  I was a “nesting” fool a few weeks ago- from scrubbing baseboards to cleaning out every single drawer and cabinet in our house and everything in between; however, that phase is officially over.  I’ve been resting a lot more now- I even take naps once and a while (those who know me will understand the magnitude of this- I never sleep),  and Ian and I spend countless evenings out in our hot tub on the back deck- don’t worry it isn’t too hot for baby! 😉

21 more days until your due date, Little Man! Your daddy and I cannot wait to meet you- anytime you are ready!

 

 

The vaccination proclamation

I get emails almost every day in regards to how we feel about vaccinations for our baby.  This is such a controversial, HOT topic right now, and I have been debating for months if I should even address the issue on my blog.   I have finally decided that I will share my feelings, but that is the extent of what I’m sharing- just feelings and opinions.  In no way, whatsoever, are my opinions correct, and I do not disagree with any of you that chose something different for your children.  The decision we made just seemed to feel right for us.

For the last couple of months, I have spent the majority of my days researching.  Researching about the best type of bottles to use, cloth vs. disposable diapers, breast pumps and bottle feeding… To me, these small things can be scary and overwhelming… and when faced with huge issues such as circumcision and vaccination schedules-Ahh… just stick a fork in me!

I have been scouring the internet for anything that may be relevant to vaccinations.  I always try to place myself right on the fence and I like to play devil’s advocate for both sides when trying to decide where my beliefs fall when researching any controversial topic.  I’ve read reports from the American Academy of Pediatrics, autism and anti-vaccination websites, and my favorite- Dr. Sears sites.

Did you know that today’s infants are bombarded with nearly 3 times as many vaccinations than we were when we were children?  That being said, I know that these same vaccines have nearly eradicated many horrid diseases (Polio, anyone?) in our population.  I frequently read new studies that completely discredit the “vaccinations causes autism” theory, but at the same time, I am a complete skeptic when it comes to medication. I am a firm believer that many pediatricians are over diagnosing and over prescribing pills for today’s youth.

After a lot of research, Ian and I have decided that we fall somewhere in the middle.  We feel most comfortable with Dr. Sears’ thoughts and recommendations.  Grae will be getting vaccinated on a delayed vaccination schedule, which means that he will not get more than two shots per doctor’s visit.  This means that we will be spending a lot more time at the doctor’s office, as he will have to go more often, but it will also allow his little immune system to deal with one or two things at a time.  In addition to this, we have decided to forgo the non-life threatening vaccinations all together -such as rotavirus and chickenpox.

I want to point out that it is absolutely true that the AAP has done many studies to show that the current vaccination schedule is safe for children and that the Dr. Sears recommendation has never been proven in any study to be more effective in preventing autism or severe vaccine reactions.  Ian and I are choosing to follow the Dr. Sears recommendations because it is what WE are most comfortable with for our son. Each parent needs to decide what they feel most comfortable with individually.  We are confident in the decision we made regarding vaccinations and hope anyone else facing this difficult decision finds peace as well. We all just want to do what’s best for our babies! 🙂

XO,

Andrea

Spoiled baby!

Our shower invitation designed by Kellys Creations 🙂

My best friend from college threw us a baby shower this weekend and it was wonderful!  It was so much fun to see our family and friends, and our baby boy got spoiled ROTTEN!  🙂  He now has his very own Baby Bathtub/Spa Bubbler, the most stylin’ stroller a little dude could travel in  (accessorized by the most convenient backpack stroller/over-the-shoulder bag I’ve ever seen), his own Peter Rabbit china dishes, and the cutest onesies imaginable to just name a few things.  We were also presented with “The Wheel of Responsibility,” which will allow us to “put parenting in the hands of fate.”  When duty calls, we will simply spin the wheel.  With the wheel, there is no more dodging diaper duty, no more forgetting who’s turn it is to give the baby a bath. No more sleeping through the 3am feeding. It says on the packaging that there are only two non-negotiable rules: 1. Spin the Wheel. 2. Accept your fate. If it lands on the line, ask yourself, “Is it really on the line or are you just cheating?” Ian says we are mounting it to our headboard. 🙂  Mom told me I needed magnets to weight the arrow. 😉  It was a fantastic day- Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us, thank you for all of the AMAZING gifts, and Thank you, Brittany for the PERFECT baby shower!! 🙂 We love you!!!

Here are some pictures from our AMAZING day 🙂

Backyard progress

Today Ian and his brother built the second flower box around our deck! We are getting closer each weekend to our finished backyard, thanks to all the help from our wonderful families!! 🙂 We couldn’t do it without you–especially since lately my only contributions have been sitting, watching, and maybe offering some constructive criticism occasionally (aside from planting the flowers in the flower boxes). 😉 Thank you so much, Mom, Dad and Khyle! We love you all!

The flower boxes!!

A few of our favorite maternity photos! :)

We have one busy weekend planned.  Ian has to take his teacher certification test this morning which will take a couple of hours, then getting our house cleaned up a bit, then hanging out with Khyle and Brittny (Ian’s older brother and his gorgeous girlfriend) and maybe even go to a first birthday party for one of Ian’s best friend’s babies- one of the cutest babies ever I might add.  Then tomorrow we get to see our friends and family at our baby shower that my best friend, Brittany and her sister, Kelly are throwing for us!  We love you girls!

In addition to all that, we got our disc of maternity photos back in the mail a couple of days ago!  They turned out great- not that I had any doubts- our photographer (Jessica Gutzman) is kind of a rockstar :)!  Yesterday we got some developed to put in the frames hanging on the wall in the baby nursery.  I wanted to share just a few of our favorites today, and I’ll be posting the rest soon!

 

 

9 month doctor appointment today- AHHHH!

We had our 36 week doctor’s visit this morning, and it turned out to be an eventful one.  The purpose of this checkup is to determine the position of the baby (hopefully confirming he is head down) and to see if the cervix had started to dilate. A culture for Group-B Strep (GBS) is also normally performed. GBS is a type of bacteria found in the human body.  The midwife told us that 1 in 3 women carry the bacteria without developing an infection or illness, but it’s necessary to find out if a woman has it during pregnancy because it can be passed on to the baby and cause respiratory complications if not treated. If the mother is found to be a carrier, she’ll be given antibiotics during labor to prevent it from being passed on to the baby.

My blood pressure is “rock solid” and I have gained a total of 21 pounds now- up three pounds from my last visit!  My baby bump is measuring right on the money.  The midwife predicted Grae is now a little over 6 ½ pounds and that if he decided to come now he would more than likely be just fine… Although, another OB doctor always says “White boys are weak! You gotta keep ‘em in there as long as possible.” 😉 Although, after today’s appointment, its even more obvious that our baby could join us at any moment (and finally we can welcome him without worries of NICU time).

My midwife performed the cervical exam and confirmed that the baby was head down and that he had “dropped” very low.  The last time I had my cervix checked, it was excruciating.  This time, she told me to make two fists with my hands and put them under my bottom before the exam.  This was the best advice I’d been given, because it wasn’t anywhere near as painful as before (thank god!).  She told us that I was 1.5 centimeters dilated and my cervix was 50% effaced, or in other words, half way thinned out.  She said that it had softened a lot, but wasn’t as soft as it could be.  When I asked what this meant, she said that I would not be one of those 41 week mommas that has to be induced (I’m really hoping that she is right).

So now, at 36 weeks, my complaints are starting.  My stomach is gigantic, it’s a challenge to sleep comfortably or even breathe at times, I can hardly bend over to pick something up without grunting, I’m peeing every 10 minutes, it takes me forever to get dressed because finding clothes that are tolerable enough to wear throughout an entire day is nearly impossible, and now my shoes barely fit and socks are not my friend as I cannot bend over far enough to put the things on. I am having at least two contractions every day, my back hurts and the right side of my chest is the worst part of all- I have a little baby bottom shoved up there, stretching my rib cage apart- pleasant, eh?

But I know it is all worth it… We love you, Grae


Q&A Session :)

We have been overwhelmed by the amount of support and words of encouragement from our friends, family and the blogging community.  It has been wonderful to learn about all of the people who we have never even met that read this blog on a regular basis- people who are expecting their first child, couples who have already raised their families and are now expecting grandchildren, and even people that say they enjoy reading it because they hope to have a family someday in the future and they now know what to expect. Again, it was always our intention to write this journal for our child, so someday when he is grown, he can read about his early life, and for our family and friends so they can be a part of this pregnancy, even though they are so far away.  I never would have thought that our writing would reach people that we don’t know, but we love so much to hear from each and every one of our readers.  The encouragement, questions, advice, support– we look forward to opening our emails every day.

Lately, I have been getting many great questions from readers regarding our pregnancy and the baby.  I thought I would take the time to answer a couple, and will try to do so more often, so please ask away!

Heatherfaith asked:  Have you thought about circumcision yet for your baby boy? Are you for it or against it? We are 22 weeks pregnant and found out I am carrying a boy, and my husband and I disagree about this topic. 

Ian and I have been doing a lot of reading on the subject of circumcision, even before learning we were carrying a boy, and there is so much new research to suggest that the old stereotypes that it is “less hygenic” or can cause infection are untrue. The thought of putting our brand new baby through a cosmetic medical procedure makes me uneasy to say the least.

But there is a huge WHAT IF to this.  What if choosing not to circumcise causes him to feel like he is different from the other men in his family? from his friends?  What if it affects his confidence and makes him feel embarrassed when he is in the locker room at school or in future relationships as an adult?

Societal norms aren’t always right, and in most cases I would say “So what!” but this is such an intimate subject that it is going to take a whole lot of discussion, prayer and thought for Ian and I.

Circumcision is becoming as controversial a subject as vaccinations these days and it’s a choice we are not taking lightly.  With that being said, when we do make our final decision, we will not be sharing it on our blog.  We feel that this is a very personal, private matter- one that each family should make on their own- after conducting extensive research on the subject. As with everything else, we will weigh all of the factors and make the decision that we believe is best for our son.

chaseaway asked:  Do you plan on having more children after your son?

I have been asked this many times. My answer is always “YES!”  I would love to have three, four, maybe even five children- but I’m not yet sure if I will give birth to all of them. There has always been a calling in my heart to adopt. There are so many factors to explore- the money, planning, legalities that come along with adopting – but it’s an echo in my soul that can’t be ignored. Ian and I actually had a conversation about adopting children one of the first times I ever spoke to him.  He was so accepting of the idea- I truly believe it was just one of the reasons I fell in love with him.  After fostering 8 children, I can easily say that being a parent is so much more than purely giving birth to a child.  There are many different kinds of parents, and each of them has the capability to love their children just as much as if they were biological.

I know it sounds crazy to even be thinking about future children when the one in my belly has yet to be born – but all dreams deserve to be acknowledged, no matter how far off in the future they might be.

Will answer more soon.

Love, A

35 weeks :)

 

The countdown is on– 3o days until Baby Grae’s due date!

 

One of my second grade students (a little girl) raised her hand in class yesterday and asked, “Mrs. Mielke, is your baby a girl or a boy?”

I replied- “He’s a little boy.”  She sat there, contemplated it for a bit, then raised her hand again.

“Yes, Molly?”

“But, how do you know it’s a boy?”

“Well, because the doctor told me it was.”

“But… I still don’t understand- how did the doctor know?”  (Dead pan, straight faced- asking these completely innocent questions out of pure curiosity)

“They took a picture, kind of like an x-ray of my belly, called an ultrasound. They were able to see the baby and they told me that he was a boy.”

“How can the doctor tell the difference between boys and girls?”

“Ummmm… well…how do you know you are a girl and not a boy?”

“MRS. MIELKE!! All babies look the same! Even girl babies have short hair!”

I just smiled at her and moved on with my lesson.

 

 

She came into my office today at lunch with her face bright red.  She said… “Mrs. Mielke, I know how doctors can tell the difference now. I thought about it all night.”

LOL!  I love kids.

 

 

 

One more month to go

When I first learned I was pregnant with Grae, I researched and read to the point of over doing it. I scared myself with every “what if” scenario and added unnecessary stress by reading about unusual and rare pregnancy conditions.  I was so happy to be pregnant but fearful of everything that could possibly go wrong. I felt out of control of the process and let myself get worked up over the things I had no ability to manage.

Finally, exactly one month away from my due date, I have settled into a quiet confidence with my body.  And, so for these last few weeks, I’m allowing myself to just enjoy being pregnant without falling victim to the stress and anxiety. I watch as my belly grows and feel those aches and pains of a rapidly stretching body, but instead of fearing the worst, I know that every thing is going right. The hardest part of this journey still lies ahead of me – giving birth to my son and then learning to care for his individual needs.  I’m enjoying the confidence I’ve discovered in myself- I’m sure it will not last forever, but it sure feels good right now.