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.

 

 

 

 

 

Nursery

I think we’re ready to have a baby!

Today I am 33 weeks and 4 days pregnant, and according to my doctor given due date (July 1st) and my handy little pregnancy tracking app, we have 46 days to go.

Finally, I am finished with the nursery. If miss Kinsley June decided to come tomorrow, we would be ready for her.

I love this room, and I am so proud of all the work that went into making it look the way it does. I got almost all the furniture from second hand shops and refinished all the pieces except the crib, which we bought new. Everything was hand picked and thought out for the theme we chose and I am so happy with the way it turned out.

She is more precious than rubies, and we are so incredibly blessed.

xoxo

Pregnancy Pet Peeve (1)

Since becoming pregnant a question I get often is, “how are you feeling?”

Being that I’m 26 weeks pregnant with my first baby, this is all new to me and I’m a bit uncomfortable. My body hurts, my ankles are swollen, my back aches, my ribs are sensitive and my sides sometimes tingle and go numb, my legs are sore from charlie horses that keep me up at night, and this damn heartburn might be the death of me.

Usually I don’t say all that, I just say, “I’m uncomfortable” and the response I typically get to that is this:

“Well it’s just going to get worse from here!”

And in my mind I scream: well, no fucking shit. Really? I had no idea that with over 10 weeks to go I’m going to get somewhere between 10 and 15 pounds heavier. I didn’t have the slightest clue, thank you, however, for letting me know it’s going to get worse. How encouraging of you to let me in on that little secret.

Yes, I am aware it is going to get worse, you asked how I felt, and I told you uncomfortable. Just because I am 26 weeks and not 35 doesn’t mean that I am not uncomfortable right now. Ugh.

The second answer I give to people when they ask how I’m feeling typically goes something like this: “Well, I’ve gained about 13 pounds so far and I weigh more now than I ever have, so I feel a bit like a cow, and I’m ready to be skinny again.”

The response I almost always get:

“You weigh less at 26 weeks pregnant than I do right now without a baby inside me!”

Or

“You feel like a cow?! You can’t wait to be skinny again?! Even pregnant you are so tiny!”

And in my mind I scream: JUST BECAUSE I AM 129 POUNDS AND YOU ARE 150 (or whatever) DOES NOT MEAN THAT THE EXTRA 13 POUNDS I HAVE GAINED DO NOT AFFECT ME! No, I am not overweight, even as a pregnant person, but that does not mean that the changes my body has undergone so far do not make me feel different. None of my pants or bras fit, I’m talking about pants and bras I’ve worn since I was a freshman in high school! That means that what I’ve become used to looking at and feeling has changed, and even though it’s still smaller than you, it’s bigger than normal me, thus the reason I feel like a cow and am ready to be tiny again and rejoin the itty bitty titty committee and wear bralettes and size 1 jeans. I like those things about myself, and pregnancy has temporarily taken them away from me, WHICH IS FINE, but you asked how I’m feeling and I told you ‘bigger’ because I AM. Ugh.


It’s probably all hormones talking, so this will be all for now, but if you’ve enjoyed my rant or found yourself getting these responses, let me know in the comments. If I’m not the only human on earth who’s heard these types of things then maybe I’ll post my other pregnancy pet peeves as they come up.

oh honey

Nick didn’t know that I called in to work today, so when he came home around 11:30 for his lunch break he was a little shocked to find me at home making eggs, sausage and fruit salad.

I heard the door open at the bottom of the stairs so I turned John Mayer down a couple clicks and walked over to the stairs. Nick took his coat off and handed me a card that came from the vet regarding the loss of his 12 year old Belgian Shepherd, Ares. “It’s a really nice card,” he said.

I opened it and read a few of the notes inside. “That is a really nice card,” I said and I set it down on the counter. He hugged me. Noticing I was in a long sleeve shirt and underwear he said, “You didn’t go to work today?”

I told him I was in a lot of pain from moving the last few days and decided to take a vacation day. He kissed me and sat down at the table.

“Do you want some eggs?” I asked.

I made him a plate of waffles and strawberries and brought over the whipped cream and syrup. When the eggs and sausage were done I scooped some out of the pan onto his syrupy plate and sat down with my own next to him. “I like John Mayer,” I said as Emoji Of A Wave started playing. I took a bite of my eggs.

“I like him too. Did you put that seasoning in the eggs?”

“Yeah I think it’s really good.”

He agreed and asked me what my plans were for the day. I told him my ideas, and when he finished his brunch and swallowed a few gulps of juice he put the cup down in front of me and said I could have the rest. I told him he had some syrup on his chin and he wiped it with a napkin and asked, “did I get it?” I nodded and smiled.

“I gotta go, baby,” he said as he stood up from his chair. He set his dishes in the sink and then put his coat back on and kissed me. “I love you, thanks for lunch” he said, and then he turned to the cat and rubbed her belly while playfully telling her how ferocious she is.

He picked her up and put her on his chest, her front legs over his shoulder. He rubbed her head and gave her kisses before putting her down and saying to me again, “I love you, baby.”

“I love you, too,” I said. And then he walked down the stairs and returned to work.

I remained seated in the chair for a few minutes after he’d left, just sitting there wrapped in a blanket in my underwear with just-dried-shower-hair that I hadn’t even brushed yet, smiling like an idiot in the dining room, our messy kitchen behind me.

I didn’t care, and he didn’t care either. The longer I sat there the luckier I felt.

I thought about the last half hour, and I felt lucky that he wasn’t mad I called into work. He chose to trust that I’m doing what’s right for my body and the baby. He chose to focus on me feeling well instead of the 8 hours taken away from my paycheck this week.

I felt lucky that he looked at me the same way he would have if I were in my favorite outfit with makeup on and neat hair. Instead of teasing me about having frizzy unkept hair, no bra on, and annoying pregnancy acne, he just looked at me, not all the rest, and I feel so lucky that I can be comfortable exactly as I am in front of him. I’m not hair and makeup to him, I’m me, and he is him.

I felt lucky that he took interest in my plans for the day, and expressed gratitude for the food I made him. I felt lucky that he snuggled my cat, whom I also love so much. I felt lucky that he wasn’t stressed about the mess in the house from the rest of the stuff we moved in the past couple days and haven’t been able to put away yet.

I felt lucky that he told me how much he loved me before he went back to work. I realized that I feel lucky because I am. I’m so lucky that I get to build this life with someone who teaches me everyday to focus my attention on the important things in life, and to expend less energy on all the stuff that doesn’t matter.

 

 

DIY Changing Table

Hi guys, today I’m going to be sharing the steps that I took to make Kinsley’s changing table.

Right now we live in a beautiful two bedroom apartment that is part of a nice association less than one mile from each of our places of employment, and for those reasons and several others, we have no plans to purchase a house or move any time soon. That being said, when we found out we were pregnant there was some conversation about what we might and might not be able to do with our nursery. Initially I was worried that not being able to paint would really hinder our experience in making the baby’s room exactly like we wanted it, but we chose to do a few things instead to sort of make up for not being able to paint.

Instead of painting the walls, we decided that we would buy [most of] our furniture for the nursery from resale shops, and we would refinish each piece to fit the nursery theme we chose. In doing that, we got to spend time together on fun projects and make each piece in the nursery our own- this has been, in my opinion, even more rewarding than painting the walls would have proven to be.

We bought a dresser and a rocking chair from one local resale store, and I was able to re-paint a bookshelf and vanity table I’d used in my room when I was younger. In addition to those pieces, I bought a sink base cabinet from Lowe’s for $30 [originally $250] that had been returned due to a broken vanity top, and I repurposed it into what is now our changing table.

Here’s a step by step guide on how we did it:

  1. I started with the vanity. Because the top was broken we left the top at Lowe’s, and instead I bought wood to make a top that would better suit our needs [we needed something flat without a sink anyways]. 
  2. When I got the base cabinet home I laid down a sheet of painters plastic and I took a sanding sponge to the entire cabinet. Sanding the wood gives it a rougher surface that paint sticks much better to.
  3. After sanding, I bought a quart of primer. Using a cabinet and door roller kit, I primed the cabinet with zinsser bullseye primer. I let it dry, and for kicks and giggles I applied a second coat of primer. Typically you would only need one coat of primer, but because I had so much of it, combined with the fact that the wood was really dark to begin with and the color we were going to paint it wasn’t super dark, I chose to give it a second coat. It did no harm.
  4. After priming and allowing it to dry, I used the same roller kit to apply the paint. We used Valspar Signature, which is a zero VOC paint [it doesn’t have harsh chemicals or fumes and is safe to use in a baby room] in the color morning fog. Morning Fog is a sherwin williams color, but I work at Lowe’s and run the paint department, so we worked our magic and made it valspar compatible. Actually, this particular can was an oops paint, originally mixed as a lighter gray, but, again, we threw it under the tinter and adjusted the tint to match the color that best suited us- even better as an oops paint because it only costed me $9 when originally a gallon of Valspar Signature hovers around $32 at the lowest.
  5. I recommend using a satin or semigloss paint, because those sheens are more resistant to scratching, chipping, and wear and tear in general. Our paint was mixed as a flat, so I bought a clear gloss to go over it once it dried for extra protection. If you do that, use a water based gloss, and a note that a little goes a long way. 
  6. Once all that was dry, the cabinet was basically done, and now we started on the top. I paid around 40 dollars for the supplies I needed to make the top, and I had a friend build it for us because he had the tools required. I bought pine because its a much sturdier wood, but even a sheet of OSB would work. I bought one long piece to cut for the three sides and I left the right end open. 
  7. Our cabinet was 18 3/4 inches wide by 32 inches long, so I had the board cut to 18 3/4 by 36 inches so we could have an overlap for hooks to hang things on the bottom and a part for bottles of baby powder/lotion/hand sanitizer/diaper rash cream/ etc on top.
  8. Jim cut the wood to size and screwed the boards together, and I bought corner brackets to fasten the top onto the base cabinet. Once it was all together, I sanded the boards, and then primed it just like I did the cabinet.
  9. Following the primer I applied paint, and then I added personal touches like the flowers on the corners and the wooden letters on the top. Throw on a changing pad and you’re ready to change your baby. 

The only other thing I need to do is attach the hooks to the open left side, and add the knobs to the doors if I feel like it. Berlin likes it just the way it is though 😉

Next time I’ll make a post about the other pieces in the nursery that we refinished. So stay tuned for that.

Reminiscing.

It was two minutes to three when I clocked out. I grabbed my jacket, book, and tums from my locker and used the bathroom before leaving the building. I was expecting it to be frigid when the automatic exit doors slid open, but the rare February sun was doing a fine job, and it felt every bit of the 40 degrees it was.

I looked both ways before crossing the road separating Lowe’s and it’s parking lot, the wind lifting loose strands of hair that had fallen out of my pony tail over the course of the day. I felt overdressed crossing the dehydrated pavement that was caked with crusty salt; it didn’t feel like winter, but there I was, wearing bogs and a thick winter coat.

I opened the car door and sat down, placing my belongings in the passenger side. I moved my seat up a couple inches and adjusted the mirror. Nick and I have been sharing my car while his is being repaired in grand rapids, but today his shift ended at 3:30, and since I got out at 3:00 I was the one picking him up this time.

I plugged my aux cord into the charging port of my phone and found Ariana Grande’s album ‘Dangerous Woman.’ I clicked the first song. It had been quite a while, a few weeks at least, since I’d had the car to myself and could listen to my favorite music alone without feeling judged. Nick and I like a lot of the same music, but there are some things I wouldn’t expect him to listen to on a regular basis; Ariana’s song ‘Moonlight’ is one of them. Not 3 seconds later her voice was filling the car, and I was driving toward the apartment.

A thought occurred to me then; it came at first as a question: When did I first hear this song?

It was summer, I remembered that almost immediately. Some time around the fourth of July. Then several other thoughts populated and starting bouncing around inside my head:

I was at the beach when I first heard it
I listened to it almost every time I went there
I always went for walks to look for petoskey stones when I visited the state park, always right before leaving and always with both head phones in my ears
I was always tired
I was sad and miserable, heartbroken at best
But the beach was my happy place, and I was doing at least one thing that I loved almost on a daily basis, even if only for a couple hours.

And then I thought back to the sun that was shining in my eyes at the present moment, it won’t be long before it’s summer time all over again.

I started to imagine what I might be doing on the 4th of July this year, and then I remembered that Kinsley June will likely have just been born.

I won’t be spending time at the beach, and if I get to at all in June before her due date July 1st, I won’t be comfortable enough to really enjoy it.

At this point I was parked in front of our building and a ton of other thoughts started pouring in. ‘Moonlight’ continued to play in the background.

I kept thinking of how during last summer I’d drive to the beach with the windows down, the air filling every crevice of the car, lifting my hair and blowing it in every direction before exiting the car out any open window just to come back in the next and do it all over again. I kept picturing the waves, and the cool water splashing over my feet and up my legs with the occasional powerful burst. I imagined the sand and my hands full of beautiful petoskey stones, these tiny gems with the most intricate and unique design etched into each one; all the same, but different too.

And I was sad for a moment; sad that my life will never be exactly like that again. But then I looked into the center console and found a stray petoskey stone that hadn’t made it out of the car and into one of my three jars with the other stones I’d collected last summer, and I thought to myself, there is still time, I am still me, and my life will still be the same, but different too- in a good way.

I have so much hope for the future.