Countdown to Kinsley: Leading up to the final days

In my first countdown to Kinsley post I chronicled the first two weeks of the countdown. Now we’ve been given our induction date, so instead of posting the second and final two weeks of the countdown together in one post, I’m going to post the third week, and then the last few days before induction will be in another post.

So! Here are countdown days 17-10!

June 15, Day 16:
-try something new

June 16, Day 15:
-do absolutely nothing (except wash baby clothes and sterilize bottles)

June 17, Day 14:
-take a hike (with nick and merlin)

June 18, Day 13:
-go grocery shopping alone

June 19, Day 12:
-make some homemade food

June 20, Day 11:
-take the jeep for a drive

June 21, Day 10:
-spend time with Berlin

So, that sums up what I’ve done for the third week of my countdown to Kinsley, and with induction occurring early next week, we don’t quite have 9 days left, but we have a few. In my final countdown to Kinsley post I will chronicle the last days of my pregnancy and non-parent journey, and include a cumulative, running list of everything I got to do during my last month of pregnancy.

 

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Update

It’s Monday, and I think Nick and I were really hoping for a father’s day weekend baby, but she is still tucked away safely in my belly, doing her own thing with no real intention to come out according to any schedule we make.

That’s okay, though. The weekend was a little frustrating, because even though she obviously had no intention of making her arrival, she sure made it seem like she did.

I had an appointment on Thursday, June 15th where we underwent our second stress test and passed with flying colors. The doctor checked me for the first time and explained that I was 70% effaced and dilated to 1cm. She explained that while she has no special calendar that tells her when a baby will be born, based on what she knows and what she’s seen, she would say that Kinsley could arrive sometime within the next week or very shortly after.

To me this made sense. I was 37 weeks and 5 days at the appointment, and a week from then would put me at just about 39 weeks- a good time to have a baby.

She explained that if everything looked good and we were still moving forward without any real danger or complication, she was okay with talking about the possibility of inducing the last week of June, any time after my 39 week marker, which is June 24th.

I left the appointment hopeful that we could have a baby in the next week, but things seemed like they might be going faster than the doctor anticipated when I started having contractions the following afternoon.

The contractions I had Friday were inconsistent and not painful, so I chalked them up to braxton hicks or maybe early labor, knowing that it wasn’t time for her to come yet. The following day Nick and I were up before 8 am and the contractions had already started by 7:30.

I kept a running list the entire day Saturday of each contraction and how long after the previous one it had occurred, keeping in mind that the doctor said if they are 5 minutes apart consistently for an hour or more it might be a good idea to come to the hospital.

There were several periods where the contractions were 4 and even 3 minutes apart, but they still weren’t super painful, and even after 45 minutes of contractions 4 minutes apart, then the contractions would suddenly be 7 or 8 minutes apart for the next hour, so I knew that things still weren’t as consistent as they needed to be for us to go to the hospital.

We decided at around 1:30 pm that maybe we should take the dog for a walk to try to speed things up, since contractions from 7:45am till 1:30pm aren’t exactly the most fun way to spend the first half of your Saturday.

We walked for an hour and a half and toward the end of the walk, especially when we got home, the contractions seemed to be stronger, so we decided we should go to the hospital and find out what kind of progress my cervix had made and if we were close to Kinsley’s arrival.

We spent the next 4 hours in the hospital. I was checked again, and to my surprise I was still only 1 cm dilated. The nurse explained after hooking me up to the monitor that while I was having a lot of contractions, no labor was being done on my cervix, so I wasn’t dilating any further. She told us that there was a good chance I’d been having contractions for so long because my uterus was irritated and I may have been dehydrated.

She had me drink two glasses of water and monitored the baby’s heart rate for a little while before offering us a solution.

She said that everything looked good but that these contractions were not active labor, so if I wanted to go home and be able to relax and get some sleep, the best thing they could do is give me a shot that would relax soft muscles like my cervix so that the contractions would let up. She explained that if the contractions were true labor then the shot would do almost nothing, and in two hours the contractions would return.

I really don’t like medicine of any kind. I’m really not into taking things that my body doesn’t create itself, especially when the benefit to taking said medication isn’t outstanding. So this was tough for me, but we decided that we really wanted to know if this was true labor, and the only way to do that was to have the shot and wait a few hours.

She put the needle in my left arm and whatever was in the syringe made its way into my bloodstream. Within 18 minutes the contractions had almost completely stopped. She unhooked me from the monitor, but not before telling me how absolutely adorable my bump is and saying five times how exceptionally healthy Kinsley must be because of the results she was getting on her monitor. She sent us home and told us that if the contractions started again and occurred 5 minutes apart and were increasingly painful, then I should come back, but until then drinking plenty of fluid was the best thing I could do, especially if I wanted the false labor contractions to stay away.

I wanted a chicken sandwich, so we went to BK and got one. Later that night I had a few contractions, and Sunday morning they began all over again just like the day before.

Since it was raining, and there was nothing we could really do outside, I decided to go grocery shopping, hoping it would loosen things up further and maybe the contractions would become real labor pain, but I had no luck.

I went to bed last night and woke up around 1:00 in the morning with really painful contractions that lasted about 5 hours, but were irregular so there was nothing to be done.

And now it’s Monday and I’ve had a few contractions but nothing like the weekend. My next appointment is Wednesday and hopefully then there will be some talk of inducing since they are legally able to this Saturday. The sooner we have Kinsley, at this point, the better, because Nick would really like to work 4th of July week for the overtime and holiday pay benefits, rather than end up taking it off for Kinsley’s arrival. Obviously he is prepared to do whatever, but the extra cash from working the holiday would be nice.

That being said, if we can schedule accordingly, it won’t be unlikely that Kinsley be born the beginning of next week. Fingers crossed that I can be induced as early as June 26th, one week from today!

We were totally ready for a father’s day weekend baby, and now we’re even more ready than before! 

Kinsley June, feel free to join us any time. 🌼

 

 

What you need will find you.

For some reason this morning I decided to take a little journey back in time using my Instagram feed. If you’re close to me you know how much I love taking pictures, and even if you’re not, you only have to be one of my followers to know what an Instagram whore I am. Contrary to belief, I don’t post these photos for anyone but myself.

A lot of people use Instagram to promote popular brands or mainstream labels, but for me Instagram is like a diary, a way to quickly blog something that’s just happened with a photo and caption so I can revisit that slice of my life at a later time.

Trust me, it works really well. I got a taste of just how well this morning.

I had just taken the dog outside, it was our second time out since 5 am, and I was really grumpy. I was tired. I was annoyed, ‘how does he have to poop again?!‘ I kept saying over and over again in my mind.

But we got outside, and we walked for a while, and when we got to this little field that we visit sometimes behind the association we live in, I just kept looking at all the tiny daisies and how nice they look in this field and I started feeling sort of strange.

I started feeling really grateful.

I was out there, letting this little dog drag me around through these weeds, but at least they were pretty weeds, and at least he’s a sweet, cute little guy, and at least I’m well enough to be out here in these weeds breathing this air and standing on this soft ground, looking out at these apartments I’ve come to really like the past six months.

A year ago I don’t know if I could say these things. I don’t know if I could look at all this with the positive perspective that I have now. One year ago I was a completely different person, an extremely unhappy person, pretending to have it together, and I was in a totally different, miserable place.

When we got back into the apartment I sat down and pulled up my Instagram feed just to see what exactly I was doing, to the day, a year ago. I found these two photos, among several others, that mark the early summertime period we’re in now, 365 days ago.

It’s hard for me to look at these photos.

To someone else it looks like I was reading Game of Thrones at the beach during the day, and snuggling my kitty in my comfy bed at night. But I know better than that.

I was extremely depressed. My close friends knew it and they kept telling me that I should talk to someone, I should see a doctor and get help trying to take care of it. But I didn’t want to. I wanted to be normal and okay and I wanted to be able to figure it out myself, on my own, like everything else in my life. I wanted to feel in control.

I was trying so hard, but the longer I waited to see someone the worse it got, and the more out of control things became. I never ended up seeing a doctor. Instead I wound up pregnant, which was probably the best thing that could have happened to me, even if I didn’t realize it then.

Last summer was a scary time for me. It was dark and exhausting. I was drowning but I wanted to be the one to pull myself to safety, not realizing that sometimes you can’t do it- you need help. I can look back at the photos from my Instagram feed during that time and know exactly what I was going through. I can remember exactly how I felt and the pain that I was in like it was yesterday.

But I haven’t felt like that in several months (the first few months of my pregnancy were really terrible, as bad as the summer was, because we were in such a pickle and just couldn’t grasp what was happening, but we finally did and since then everything turned around). I’m so thankful for that. It was like becoming pregnant gave me a totally different perspective on life, and gave me the strength I needed to pull my head out of the water I was drowning in.

Friends of mine have told me that they haven’t seen me this happy in a really long time, maybe since high school. I know that every day I wake up feeling okay is a good day, and I rarely have bad days anymore. I’m glad I kept going, and got to see things turn around in my life. I’m not saying everyone who feels depressed should get pregnant, but you should definitely keep going, because some way, some how what you need WILL find you. If you’re struggling, just keep going. Everything I went through was worth it.

Here’s why: It might be a strange thing to say, but I’m so grateful for that hard time I went through, because it really helps me appreciate how amazing my life is turning out to be now. I don’t feel sad every day anymore. I don’t feel like sleeping every second because I don’t know how to deal with the next several hours. I don’t hate where I’m at and what I’m doing. I’m not so distracted by how much I’m hurting that I can’t notice things like daisies in a field. I don’t feel like I have to pretend to smile, I just do it- without thinking.

Maybe that’s what I’m most grateful for. The chance to finally smile, and feel like things are exactly right.

The more I think about it, even when I’m grumpy in a field and the dog is pulling me through the mud and I’m panting and annoyed, I realize that things are still hard, there are still struggles in my life and times when things don’t go according to plan. Things are not perfect or easy by any means, and once this baby is born things will only get harder, but I’m still grateful. No matter how hard it is, I am grateful and I’m genuinely happy. And that’s how I know I’m better; that’s how I know things are exactly like they should be right now.

Everyone deserves this feeling. So if you’re in a tough place, just keep going. What you need will find you. It found me.

#30DaysBeforeKinsleyJune

Today is the 14th of June, and two weeks have gone by since I began my countdown to Kinsley. Two weeks. Gone. Already. How? I don’t get it.

That being said, I thought now would be a good time to compile the photos I’ve taken of my countdown thus far and show you guys what I’ve done on the list and what still remains to be done before baby Kinsley is born.

June 1st, Day 30:
-pick fresh lilacs
-enjoy a casual Thursday
-make note of the sun and summer smells

June 2nd, Day 29:
-deep clean without interruption
-listen to a new album
-go on a date with Nick (El Ranchero)
-take the dog for a long walk

June 3rd, Day 28:
-enjoy quiet breakfast with Sam
-visit the state park with Nick & puppy
-picnic at the park
-go to starbucks
-explore bayview


June 4th, Day 27:
-have roast and toast with Nick
-relax together
-run errands alone


June 5th, Day 26:
-meet for cookies and lemonade with Carly
-tackle long monday to-do list

June 6th, Day 25:
-tour hospital & have carseat checked
-take a long bath
-eat ice-cream on the deck


June 7th, Day 24:
-pack hospital back
-reorganize closet


June 8th, Day 23:
-organize planner
-update calendar
-work on college course

June 9th, Day 22:
-craft baby shower center pieces
-pick tons of lilacs


June 10th, Day 21:
-celebrate baby shower
-enjoy day with friends and family

June 11th, Day 20:
-sleep in
-put away all baby shower gifts
-make breakfast together
-visit state park, swim with Nick & merlin

June 12th, Day 19:
-deep clean entire apartment
-move furniture
-reorganize reading nook

June 13th, Day 18:
-play Sims 4
-watch criminal minds

June 14th, Day 17:
-spend morning reading
-finish to-do list

With 16 days or less remaining until we have a newborn baby I feel a lot of different things. I feel some part of me not being ready, thinking I have so many things I need to do even though we are very much caught up and if Kinsley came today we would be totally (i think) prepared, which brings me to the other part of me, that is ready right now, and has no idea what I will do for the next two weeks if she’s not ready to come yet.

I have nothing to worry about, here’s the rest of the things that will keep me busy before I become a parent.

-go on a motorcycle ride with dad
-color for a few hours
-bake pumpkin muffins
-get a pedicure
-watch a sunset
-prepare dinner with Nick
-do absolutely nothing
-write a blog on kids before marriage
-buy and read the newspaper over coffee
-look for petoskey stones
-lay out at the beach
-clean out email inbox
-take a hike
-spend time with Berlin
-try something new
-get down comforter out
-go grocery shopping alone
-take the jeep for a drive
-binge watch season 5 GOT
-get ice-cream in town

This seems like a very completable list to me. We’re so close now. Every night I go to sleep thinking, “Is this it? Is this the night I’m going to wake up, go into labor and come home with a tiny baby in the morning, forever changed?”

Only time will tell…(:

Baby Shower 🌸

So we (finally) had our baby shower today!

What a beautiful baby shower. I am in awe of the generous outpouring of love (and gifts- holy cow!) that we received today. The time and money that people put into this to make sure we had an amazing celebration did not go unnoticed. I could not be more grateful or have a fuller heart. ❤️

The people who showed up to the shower today brought food & gifts & smiles & laughter & warmth, and really made me realize even more that I have the most amazing family. There is no doubt in my mind that we will have more than enough support if we ever need it. 

I’m so glad that all these special people were able to come together to help celebrate Kinsley June and our growing family. I could not be happier. 

So now we just have one thing missing: a baby! 

Any time now Kinny Jay- we’re ready for ya 😉 (as soon as I get all these gifts put away! She is one spoiled girl). 

Countdown to Kinsley

Despite receiving unfavorable news at our last ultrasound, I refuse to allow myself to be depressed for the last 30 days of my pregnancy.

Yes, you read that correctly: 30 days.

The cool thing about having a due date that falls on the first day of a month is that it makes counting down super easy and fun. Kinsley is due to arrive on July 1st, and now that my pregnancy is deemed high risk, the doctors have decided that if we make it to my due date, I will be induced that day to prevent any complications as Kinsley gets bigger and possibly deprived of oxygen and nutrients due to her umbilical cord abnormality. Being that today is the first of June, all that remains are the thirty days left in this month.

That being said, about two weeks ago I decided that during the month of June I would make it a point to do at least one thing per day that I’ve come to love as an adult before my life turns upside down and I become a parent. I decided to do this as part of my count down to baby Kinsley because it think it will be a nice way to celebrate and cherish the last weeks of my pregnancy while having a final 30 day self care binge at the same time.

The closer we get the more real becomes the idea that after Kinsley is born my life will be completely different from anything it’s ever been; I won’t be living for me anymore, instead every move I make will be for her. These 30 days before Kinsley will hopefully give me a chance to reflect on the good life I’ve had as a non parent.

I’ve made a list of the 30 things I plan to do, but I’m not going to post it here, instead, you’ll have to watch my blog for the updates. If I don’t post one here every day, you can be sure to find it on my instagram feed under my username: mirlynnn.

Without further ado: here is #30daysbeforeKinsleyJune

Update: Pray


 One week ago I began writing this post, when the expiration date on the milk jug in our fridge said 06/06/17. I kept thinking, how can that be…? However surreal, it was a fact.

That morning I poured myself a colorful bowl of Captain Crunch and sat down at the table, thinking about the fact that I realistically could have a tiny baby in my arms before the milk on the shelves at the grocery store became expired, and that was so strange to me.

Today is the 31st of May, and we are only 31 days from my doctor given due date. At any time during the next four weeks I could deliver my baby. One week ago that surreal fact excited me, but it doesn’t today.

This morning I sat down at the table with a bowl of chocolate chex. By the time I had finished swirling my spoon around in the white-turned-chocolate milk, the cereal was soggy and I was so filled with worry that I couldn’t eat it, so I poured it down the drain.

I kept thinking, how can this be…? However surreal, it is a fact: yesterday at Kinsley’s 36 week ultrasound, the doctor came into the room and said to Nick and I, “your ultrasound gave us an interesting surprise today,” and he described the potentially dangerous complication that was found.

According to the doctor, Kinsley will be a baby born with a Single Umbilical Artery or SUA. What this means is that Kinsley’s umbilical cord only has two vessels, a vein to take things to her, and one artery to take things away, where a normal umbilical cord is made up of three vessels total: two arteries and one vein.

Anywhere from half to two-thirds of babies born with a single artery umbilical cord are born healthy and with no chromosomal or congenital abnormalities. Of the remaining babies born with SUA, studies suggest that about 25% have birth defects, including chromosomal and/or other abnormalities. These can include trisomy 13 or trisomy 18, however, the most common pregnancy complications that occur in infants with SUA are heart defects, gastrointestinal tract abnormalities, and problems with the central nervous system.

The doctor explained that while it isn’t a normal thing, it isn’t the rarest complication ever to exist, and it isn’t super uncommon. He mentioned that sometimes these babies can be born with congenital defects like double uteri or two ureters, some babies can be born with organ abnormalities like having one kidney or three, or two where only one works properly, and other babies with SUA are 100% healthy as if having only one artery in their umbilical cord had no effect on them whatsoever. He said that in extreme cases, these babies are born with chromosomal defects, where they have more than one copy of certain chromosomes, like #13 or #18, in which case ultrasounds will pick up serious and sometimes fatal organ damage or delayed development.

Our doctor told us we shouldn’t be worried about those things because all of our ultrasounds have come back perfectly normal, and none of the typical symptoms of these abnormalities have been found on our scans. Typically, a baby with SUA that has chromosomal or other abnormalities will be born before 37 weeks, and will show signs like low birth weight, a sloping forehead, organ damage/extra organs/two few organs/organs in the wrong place, stunted growth, extra fingers or toes, etc. However, Kinsley is weighing 5 pounds 8 oz at 35 weeks and 4 days, which is one quarter of a pound larger than typical babies at 35 weeks, and much larger than babies with abnormalities.

The doctor informed us that since ultrasound scans are very good at picking up abnormalities, due to the fact that we have had normal ultrasounds it is likely that our baby will be born without any congenital or chromosomal abnormalities. Nothing is 100%, and we will not know for sure if she is completely healthy until she is born, but he has instructed us not to worry until then.


All of my remaining weekly appointments have been changed to include non stress tests (NST) which will take place at the beginning of my appointment. I will go in and they will put straps around my belly to monitor Kinsley’s heart rate better. When she is moving her heart rate should increase and when she is at rest it should decrease. If this is the case, the test results will be deemed “reactive” and no issues will be found. If not, sometimes further testing will be done to determine if she is getting the oxygen she needs from the umbilical cord despite it having only one artery.

The doctor explained that if it is determined at any of these appointments with non stress tests that Kinsley is not getting what she needs on the inside, they will schedule a cesarean and she will be born early to ensure she is able to get what she needs. He said it is common for babies with SUA to be born early, and by cesarean. In addition to that, my ultrasound shows that I have extra fluid, which may also cause me to go into labor sooner. He laughed and added that this extra fluid is also the reason I am measuring a bit bigger than most women at 35 weeks, and is likely the cause of most of my discomfort.



Before we left the appointment he assured us that babies with SUA are born healthy all the time, in fact, he delivered over the weekend with a single artery umbilical cord, and that woman’s baby was perfectly fine.

Of course, nothing is 100%, and that’s the thought that had me in tears on the phone with my mom last night as I told her the worst that can happen to this precious child.

Nothing is 100% is all I could think as I tried not to sob while chopping the vegetables for our stir fry last night.

Nothing is 100% ebbed away at my glass half full for the rest of the evening, even when Nick hugged me and told me not to worry because everything will be okay and he needs me to be strong for him too.

Nothing is 100% slammed around in my mind when I poured my soggy chocolate chex down the drain this morning.

One week ago I sat down hardly believing that I could have a tiny baby before the milk in our fridge expires, and that’s still a very real and strange possibility. Today I’m eating my breakfast with excitement and worry over when she will be here, and I’m praying, too- for her, and Nick, and myself.

I’m not praying that Kinsley June is born ‘normal’ because she is already whatever she will be. I’m praying that when she comes I will be ready for whatever that is, no matter what the outcome looks like.

I hope you’ll pray for us too.