Baby #2 Has Arrived!

She’s here! Rosemarie Ellen was born on September 17th, 2014 at 8:41 pm, weighing in at 9 pounds 5 ounces and measuring 21.5 inches long. (I already posted quick updates on Facebook and Instagram, but had to make sure to update the blog as well!)

Me and Rosemarie after the delivery.

Me and Rosemarie after the delivery.

Rosemarie arrived healthy and perfect, and scored 9/9 on her Apgars despite a brief (but scary) complication during her delivery. And I’m doing great as well — up and around, cleared by the doctor to drive, and generally feeling better than anyone has any business feeling less than 48 hours after pushing out a 9+ pound baby.

Here’s one more photo, taken from the same angle as the photo from Lillian’s birth announcement post:

Rosemarie Newborn

Couldn’t resist, and I love comparing the two baby pictures — I think they look a lot alike! Although Rosemarie’s hair seems to be darker than the blondish wisps Lillian was born with (which eventually turned red) so it’ll be interesting to see how that changes as she grows.

Anyway, just wanted to post this quick update. We’re getting ready to leave the hospital in a bit, so more details and pictures to follow shortly!


39 Weeks Pregnant — The Most Pregnant I’ve Ever Been

At around this point in my first pregnancy, we were already back home from the hospital with a week-old baby, so this is getting to be uncharted territory for me now. Here at 39 weeks pregnant, I’m gaining a new appreciation for the feeling of wanting to be “done,” and a newfound sympathy for those moms who go to 40, 41, or even 42 weeks in their pregnancies.

39 Weeks Pregnant

39 week baby bump photo — looking every bit as huge as I feel!

I’ve been on maternity leave for over a week now, which has taken some adjusting — even with doing some work remotely, it’s definitely shaken up the usual routine, and there’s been a sneaking sense of cabin fever creeping in. Then toward the end of last week I was knocked flat by a bad cold (no fever or anything, just really bad congestion) which interfered with my ability to sleep above and beyond the typical pregnancy-related discomforts — but thankfully, that’s subsiding now.

I’ve also pretty much given up on wearing shoes other than flip-flops, partly because my feet have been super swollen lately, but even if they weren’t, it’s also gotten really cumbersome to do the bending needed to put on any other kind of shoe. And heck, it’s not like I’m going anywhere. The only drawback is that the temperature here in Chicago has been falling into the 60’s and 50’s, which is getting to be about the bottom threshold of flip-flop wearing weather. (Hard to believe that summer is pretty much over already, and fall will be in full swing before we know it.)

On the medical side of things, my doctor’s appointment last Wednesday revealed no additional progress, which was pretty discouraging. Even so, an eviction induction date has been tentatively set for this Wednesday, September 17th (which would put us at 39 weeks + 5 days), though only if all the scheduling works out. Which is far from certain at this point, since apparently I’m only on a “waiting list” rather than anything more concrete.

I have to admit — when my doctor (repeatedly) brought up the possibility of a 39-week induction earlier on in the pregnancy, I didn’t realize there would be so much uncertainty and rigmarole involved in actually making it happen. If I had, I might’ve been able to plan things out differently when it came to arranging my maternity leave, or at the very least adjusted my expectations of how (and if) the whole induction thing was likely to go down.

But it is what it is, I suppose. It is nice to have gotten to a point where everything is pretty much ready to go — the nursery is ready, the car seat is installed, and I’ve even gotten a hospital bag mostly packed. (The first thing to go in was like 10 newborn-sized outfits, after that whole business of bringing Lillian home from the hospital in a ridiculously oversized outfit because we somehow failed to pack anything smaller when throwing things into the bag at 1:00 in the morning.)

And just to put an even more positive spin on things, it helps to try to focus on the grand prize at the end. Once we get to hold and cuddle this new baby girl, and introduce her to her newly-minted big sister, all these pregnancy-related frustrations and discomforts will become inconsequential things of the past. (Or at the very least, forgotten in that wonderful haze of new-parent sleep deprivation!)

Nursery Progress: Moving In The Baby Furniture (Tetris-Style)

We’ve reached the 39-week mark in this pregnancy, with no sign of baby’s arrival just yet! So it seemed like a good time for another nursery update post. When I last left off blogging about the nursery progress, we had finished cleaning out the room, patched the various cracks and cosmetic imperfections, and painted the whole thing a happy pastel yellow (more on all that here).

So the next step was to move in the various baby furniture we would need for the room’s incoming new occupant. The wish list of items we wanted to put in there looked something like this:

  • A crib
  • A rocking chair
  • A changing table
  • Some sort of table next to the rocking chair (for setting down baby bottles, etc.)
  • A dresser or drawers for baby clothes storage
  • Shelves for additional storage and/or decorative items

All of which may seem like a pretty tall order, considering that the room we were working with was only 6 feet by 10 feet. But we did manage do cram all of those things in (plus a bonus ottoman for putting up our feet).

Here is the view looking in to the room right now:

Nursery View (Yellow)

And here is a (badly warped iPhone panorama) photo showing the other side of the room:

Changing Table And Shelf

There’s no denying that it’s a bit of a tight fit, but it’s all there, and surprisingly enough it doesn’t even feel all that claustrophobic. For clarity purposes, here is a floor plan showing the current furniture arrangement:

Nursery Floor Plan

A few of the furniture items shown above were new purchases, while others we already had on hand. For instance, the crib got passed down to the baby after we upgraded Lillian to a big girl bed. (It sat disassembled in the dining room for a week or so, and when we finally got it put back together in the nursery, Lillian said, “You built the baby crib bed? Yay! Great job, mommy!” while clapping her hands. A little recognition is always nice!)

The bookcase had also been in our “office” for a year or two, just crammed with various hoarded junk, so it was relatively easy to clear it off in preparation for holding baby paraphernalia.

The glider rocking chair is new. We didn’t really consider re-using the big cushy Lazy Boy recliner from Lillian’s room, partly because we still use it while reading bedtime stories in there every night, but also because it has a large-ish footprint, and we didn’t have much space to work with in the new nursery.

So we paid a visit to Babies R Us to check out their selection of glider rocking chairs, and found that one of the least expensive models was actually quite comfortable. For some reason, though, they only had it available in a dark cherry / chocolate color — and while that wasn’t really our first choice color-wise (considering the whole yellow-and-white thing we had going on in the nursery), we were pretty much set to go for it, since it didn’t really make sense to pay considerably more for a different model just to get a different color.

But then at the last minute we looked online, and found that not only had the same Stork Craft Hoop Glider available in a bunch of other colors, but also for about $50 cheaper than what we would have paid at Babies R Us. So, we went ahead and ordered it in the “White/Yellow Gingham” color — and overall I think it turned out to be a great fit for the room, both size-wise and color wise.

Here is another angle showing a better view of the rocking chair:

Nursery Furniture (Yellow)

The ottoman also came included, and is really nice and comfy to rest your feet on and rock — though if it starts to feel like a tripping hazard or otherwise too much for this little room, we may have to put it away in the basement or something. As for the color of both the glider and ottoman, since it’s kind of hard to see from further away, here is a closeup showing the pattern and texture of the fabric:

Yellow Gingham Fabric Closeup

The little round table next to the glider was also a new purchase. We learned our lesson after trying out Ikea’s “Lindved” side table in Lillian’s nursery early on — that one was also round, and similar in shape and size, but made of metal, which turned it into something like a banging gong when setting things down on it. This one, the Winsome Wood Sasha Accent Table, shouldn’t have that problem since it’s made of wood. It also has the nice little bonus drawer (which in fairness isn’t big enough to store more than the tiniest things, maybe just a pacifier and burp cloth).

Side Table Closeup

And finally, the changing table, which was also new (specifically the DaVinci Jayden 3-Drawer Changer Dresser). It was just about the right size to cram in on the other side of the room, and in addition to providing a dedicated surface for diaper changes, it also included three generously-sized drawers for stashing all those baby clothes and related items).

Changing Table Closeup

Changing tables seem to be one of those items that lots of parenting forums and websites consider optional, but based on our experience with Lillian, we did pretty much 100% of diaper changes on her changing table (technically a dresser with a changing pad on it) if we were at home. So we knew we’d get a good use out of it, and by choosing a model that’s basically a dresser with a sunken top rather than just a table, hopefully we’ll be able to get some use out of it even beyond the diapering days.

All in all, I think things came together pretty well in this little room — it has pretty much the same amount of functionality and storage as Lillian’s nursery did, despite being barely more than half the size. So, victory! And the next steps (which we haven’t gotten started on yet) are the fun ones, to add some decorations and personal touches to the room… Plus, of course, the baby. Crazy to think that she could arrive any day now!

38 Weeks Pregnant, And Waiting For Baby

Only a week ago, I wrote a post about how unprepared for baby I was feeling at 37 weeks — but it’s funny what a difference a week can make, because things have really come full circle since then. Now, I’m just eagerly counting down the days until we can meet our new baby girl.

(Obligatory baby bump picture at 38 weeks pregnant.)

(Obligatory baby bump picture at 38 weeks pregnant.)

Getting the nursery to the point where it’s now (mostly) ready for a new occupant was a big part of that shift in perspective, though I’m also relieved to have finished out my last day in the office as planned. This past Friday was a virtual conga line of coworkers wishing me “Congratulations!” and “Good Luck!” and “Happy Birthday!” (not a non sequitur, Friday also happened to be my 29th birthday as well). I’ll have the opportunity to work remotely between now and baby’s arrival as circumstances allow, but all my work projects and responsibilities are about as squared away as I could have hoped at this point.

All of it has felt sort of like a weight being lifted, and has taken me from “hoping that she stays put for another week or two” to “come on out, baby, anytime now would be awesome!”

Which brings me to the sad irony of the situation (possible TMI warning): at the 38-week mark in my first pregnancy, my cervix was already 2 centimeters dilated, but this time, as of my most recent doctor’s appointment this past Wednesday, there has been zero progress at all. I’m hoping that will change before my next doctor’s appointment this upcoming Wednesday, because it’s sounding like the whole “favorable cervix” thing will be a factor in determining when (and if) that planned induction of labor can go down.

The other day while we were picking up a few last minute supplies at Babies R Us, Lillian eagerly explained to an employee that she was going to have a baby sister. “Oh yeah? When?” the employee asked in that amused, humoring-a-little-kid way. Lillian’s response was, “I don’t know. She’s hiding in there,” and pointed at my ever-growing baby bump.

We laughed at the time, but the description has been feeling more and more appropriate as the days go on. I have to say, I’m hoping this baby will be able to come out of “hiding” sooner rather than later — but at this point we’ll just have to wait and see what happens!

Nursery Progress: Patching And Painting

When I last left off on the nursery status, we were in the early planning stages while slowly trying to clean out the Hoarders-style mess that had built up in our “office” over the past year or two. Once we finally got the junk moved out, we went on to the next step: patching and painting the walls, ceiling, and trim.

It took a while, since all we were doing was a little bit here and there during the evenings and weekends, but I like to think the effort paid off in terms of making this space so much cozier and more inviting. Here is what the room looked like after it was done:

Nursery #2 (After)

(Ignore the weird warping of the edges — an iPhone panorama has so far been the only way I could figure to photograph this tiny room.) For comparison purposes, here is what it looked like when we started:

Nursery #2 (Before)

We did a fair amount of painting when we first moved into this house back in 2011, but somehow this little tandem room just got completely skipped over at that time, and we never did much of anything to it since. So when we got started, it still had the same dingy white walls and greenish-brown baseboards that the previous owners had left it with.

For the paint color, we wanted to go with a pastel yellow — not too garishly bright, but not too pale or cream-like either, and ended up picking “Toasted Wheat” by Valspar. When it first started going on the walls I worried that we chose poorly and it would be too overpoweringly yellow, but seeing it all finished with the freshly-painted white trim, I think it got the balance just about right.

One thing we tackled before starting the painting, though, was to patch some minor cracks with paintable caulk. There were quite a few of these — no more than cosmetic imperfections, but something about seeing those cracks for some reason made me think of bugs and spiders hiding in there, just waiting to get you with their legs. For example, here’s what the doorway looked like before and after:

Doorway (Before And After)

And this random crack in the wall above one of the windows, before and after being caulked and painted:

Crack (Before And After)

And the light fixture on the wall, which had already been painted in the same dingy off-white by the previous owners, after getting a fresh coat of paint and some caulk around the edges:

Light (Before And After)

And finally the ceiling, which was made of bead board, but in a sloppy sort of way with wide visible gaps between some of the boards. Caulking these up probably took the longest, but now that it’s all finished and painted, it’s so nice to look up and not see those big dark cracks anymore.

Ceiling (Before And After)

Speaking of painting the ceiling, we tried out Valspar’s “Ultra Color Changing Ceiling Paint,” which is supposed to go on purple and dry white. I probably got little too excited about the idea of seeing the ceiling in here temporarily purple, and ended up feeling pretty disappointed when the paint went on and it didn’t look purple at all.

Paint (Not Purple At ALL)

(Can you spot the purple section?)

I don’t know it it was bad lighting or a faulty batch or just a crummy misleading product, but I thought I’d share about our experience with it. No complaints about the end result (the ceiling looks great) but the whole “purple” thing seemed to be pretty oversold.

(You let me down, you beautiful can of lies.)

(You let me down, you beautiful can of lies.)

During the patching and painting process, we removed the damaged and mismatched shades that the room started with (along with at least three different kinds of mounting hardware for various bygone window treatments) and once everything was finished and dried, we put up new cordless Ikea “Bruddans” shades:

Windows With Ikea Bruddans Shades

They’re great for privacy, and soften and diffuse the light coming into the room, but aren’t blackout shades by any means — so we might need to consider adding some thicker curtains that can be optionally drawn if we need to be able to darken the room more for daytime naps and the like.

But anyway, that’s the scoop on the changes and improvements we’ve been making on this tiny little room, and it feels so good to have them finished, especially now that we’ve reached the 38-week mark in this pregnancy. Happily, the crib is all set up and moved in, and we’ve been slowly Tetris-ing in a few other nursery pieces — so in the next blog update about this room, it might just actually look like a nursery!