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!

Transitioning To A “Big Girl Bed”

One of the most vital necessities we needed to get ready before the arrival of Baby #2 was the crib. From the beginning, the plan was to upgrade Lillian to a bigger bed and use her old crib as a hand-me-down for the baby, since it didn’t make sense to get a second crib for little sister when big sister was sure to outgrow hers soon anyway.

According to the blog archives, we originally bought and assembled Lillian’s crib with about eight weeks to spare before her due date (we were a lot more on top of things during that first pregnancy!) and she’d been sleeping in it ever since the first night she came home from the hospital. And even now that she’s approaching her third birthday, so far she hadn’t outgrown it or even really started climbing out of it, even though she’s tall enough and will readily climb in and out of a pack’n play with ease.

Like everything else with our preparations for Baby #2, we procrastinated on this one a bit, and only last weekend did Lilly finally start sleeping in her new “big girl bed.” Here is a view of the room now, with the crib moved out and a toddler bed moved in:

Toddler Bed With Hello Kitty Blankets

(So much Hello Kitty!)

When it comes to transitioning out of a crib, there’s always the question of whether to go to a toddler bed, or go straight to a twin sized bed. There seem to be pros and cons to both, as evidenced by much online discussion of the subject — the following seems to be a pretty good summary of the arguments for both (in bullet form!):

Twin Bed:

  • Better long term investment (won’t need to replace again)
  • Room for parent to lay/snuggle with kid
  • No need to make a second transition eventually

Toddler Bed:

  • Takes up less space in room
  • Smaller / lower to the ground / less worry about falls
  • Cheaper initially (even if they won’t last as long)

Ultimately we decided to transition to a toddler bed rather than going straight to a twin sized one. In addition to the standard pros and cons, we were a little hesitant about making the decision based on ideas about the long haul, since we’re not entirely sure what that will involve — Will we manage to get that attic remodel finished, so as to have separate kids’ rooms, or will our daughters end up sharing Lillian’s current room with most likely some sort of bunk bed setup? With the long-term plan still up in the air, it seemed preferable to just go with what seemed like it would work best for right now.

So we ended up ordering the DaVinci Sleigh Toddler Bed from Amazon.com, since it seemed to be one of the best rated ones in terms of quality based on the reviews. It arrived in a big box, and sat propped up against the wall in the dining room for a week or so. During this time, Lillian would ask, “What’s that?” just about every time we walked past it, and we would explain that that’s her new “big girl bed,” which I think built up a lot of anticipation and excitement for when the time finally came to get it put together.

Assembling it turned out to be relatively easy for us — and by “us” I mainly mean Joe, since I spent most of the time sitting all pregnantly in a chair, supervising. Lillian got in on the supervising action too, as evidenced by this slightly blurry photo where she was helpfully pointing out the middle slat that daddy hadn’t gotten around to installing yet:

Assembling Toddler Bed

Meanwhile, the old crib had gotten taken apart and moved into the dining room (since the nursery wasn’t quite in a state to accommodate it yet), where it sat in pieces for the next week or so. This may have been a good thing — instead of “we’re taking your old crib and giving it straight to the baby,” it was more of a “you don’t need this boring old crib anymore since you have the amazing new big girl bed” thing. Though I’m not sure how much that really matters one way or another.

For now, the toddler bed seems like just the perfect size for this two-going-on-three year old. It has the railings on the upper portion to provide a little bit of a guard against rolling out, and she can sit comfortably on the edge of it the same way an adult could sit on the edge of their bed. And by all accounts she loves it. We’ll be in the living room and she’ll say, “I’m gonna go look at my big girl bed!” Or she’ll randomly announce “I’m gonna rest in my big girl bed,” and then do this for about fifteen seconds before getting back up to go do something else:

Resting In Big Girl Bed

And most importantly, nighttime sleep has been going really well, at least for the last seven nights since we made the switch. I was actually pretty worried about this — she’s always been such a great sleeper in the crib that I wondered if switching might throw a wrench in that — but so far the only thing that’s changed about our bedtime routine is that she climbs into bed herself. (Knock on wood that this remains to be the case, rather than the novelty of the “big girl bed” wearing off and then she realizes there’s nothing stopping her from getting up and running through the house at all hours of the night!)

37 Weeks Pregnant… And Not Feeling Ready At All

Today marks a big milestone: I am officially 37 weeks pregnant, and even though the due date (September 19th) is still three weeks away, baby is technically considered full term now (or early full term at least, according to this). It’s hard to believe — the time really has flown by.

On a whole, I’m still feeling pretty good for being this pregnant. During my first pregnancy, I remember getting to a point where I couldn’t walk all the way to the train station without stopping a few times to rest, but this time I’m still able to trudge (waddle?) all the way there with no breaks and a 12-pound computer bag slung over one shoulder. Maybe some of it is that second pregnancies are easier — although blog evidence suggests that it was a lot hotter the summer I was pregnant with Lillian, so that might be a big part of it too.

36-week-baby-bump

(A semi-relevant Instagram photo featuring the baby bump at the train station.)

Not to make things sound too easy, though — at this point I feel like I’ve upgraded from “big lumbering dinosaur” to “beached whale,” especially when trying to do things like climb out of bed or bend down to tie my own shoes. It probably doesn’t help that my weight gain is up to around 50 pounds now — definitely more than the recommended amount, but similar to last time, I’m not worrying too much about it.

On Wednesday, I had a routine doctor’s appointment, and part of it involved an ultrasound to estimate baby’s size. The verdict: she’s in the 88th percentile, estimated to weigh over seven pounds if she were to be born today. These estimates can vary by 15% in either direction, I’m told, but it sounds pretty likely that we’ve got another big baby a-brewin’.

And since I’ve had a previous vaginal delivery, and a history of having big babies (Lillian was nine pounds when she was born at 38 weeks), I’ll have the option of choosing an elective induction at 39 weeks if labor doesn’t start on its own before then. After talking it over with Joe, we both agreed that that’ll be the way to go for us.

But that means we have only around two weeks — maximum — before this little bundle of joy makes her entrance into the world. And boy oh boy, am I feeling unprepared.

The nursery (while getting very close in some ways) is still in a state of chaos, filled with paint cans and drop cloths and nothing baby-related in sight. The crib is sitting disassembled in the dining room. We don’t have an infant car seat installed or a hospital bag packed. Even at my job, the project that I’d been hoping to get (mostly) wrapped up before going on maternity leave keeps getting hit with delays outside of our control, and will likely end up with a bunch of loose ends for my coworkers to deal with — since next Friday will be my last day at the office, unless baby decides to come sooner than that.

On a rational level I know that none of this stuff matters too much in the broad scheme of things, and we’ll be able to scramble to get things together enough to get by even if baby does make a slightly early entrance. Still, I can’t help finding myself hoping that she stays put for another week or two — we still have lots of preparing to do!

Kitchen Upgrades: The Stove, Refrigerator, And Window Treatments

When we bought our house, we knew everything in the kitchen was dated — and if we were more ambitious (and had a bigger budget) a full kitchen renovation would probably be the way to go. Instead, we’ve been slowly making upgrades here and there, such as adding the dishwasher and microwave — and in the time since then, we’ve made two more major appliance upgrades, and also replaced the half-broken off-white blinds with some nicer window treatments.

Jumping ahead, here is a view of the kitchen as it looks now:

Kitchen (Current)

Current kitchen (August 2014).

Which has come quite a long way from what it looked like when we moved in:

Original kitchen (July 2011).

The stove and refrigerator upgrade really made a big difference, though it didn’t happen all at once — the stove actually got replaced almost a year ago (eek, how has it been that long?!) while the refrigerator upgrade, blind replacements, and some general cleaning and organizing all happened the weekend before last in a flurry of manic nesting insanity.

I know what you’re probably thinking: That’s the wrong room, you guys! Second Baby can’t sleep in the kitchen! Which is totally true — although thankfully I’ve been able to redirect some of that misplaced nesting energy toward the room where it’s actually needed (aka the nursery) and happily, we’ve been making some good progress in there as well. More details (hopefully) to follow shortly!

But getting back to the details of these upgrades, we replaced the stove last September. Even though the white gas-powered stove that came with the house wasn’t as old as the fridge (which I’m pretty sure is a relic from the 1960’s or so), it had some issues with the burners and the oven not preheating right. We kicked around the idea of upgrading to an electric or induction one, but eventually decided to stick with another gas model, since we already had the hookups for it and it was what we were used to.

Here is a view of the new stove (beneath the very old rusty-looking range hood that we still need to do something about):

Stainless Steel Stove

Unfortunately I lost track of exactly what model it is, other than that it was a GE, but we chose it mostly because it was on sale at Abt Electronics.

As for the fridge, we went back and forth on what kind to get — I really wanted a side-by-side model, while Joe was somewhere between indifferent and anti-side-by-side. One thing we agreed on was that we weren’t particularly interested in one of the in-door ice makers, since we don’t use ice that much, and had heard that they can increase the amount of energy the freezer uses. It seemed to be surprisingly tricky to find a side-by-side fridge without the ice maker, though — I can only recall seeing one model while browsing in various stores over the past few years, and it wasn’t very attractively priced.

But then a few weeks ago, I stumbled upon one on Sears.com (a Kenmore 25.2 cubic foot model #41153, product listing here) that looked like exactly what we wanted at a reasonable price — so we took the plunge and just ordered it online. Which felt a little risky / adventurous after that incident where we tried to buy a crib online from Target, but it arrived in one piece, and we couldn’t be happier with the upgrade.

Side-By-Side Stainless Steel Fridge In Kitchen

The old fridge really was on the small side. It was actually more or less counter-depth (from a time before that was the cool trendy thing to have?) and had little in the way of freezer space (made even worse by the fact that it built up frost in there at an incredible rate). Here’s a view of the inside of the old fridge:

Top Freezer Fridge Storage

By comparison, the new fridge is holding pretty much everything the old fridge was, plus two additional gallons of milk, a 12-pack of soda (we couldn’t dream of fitting one of those in the old fridge!), most of a watermelon in that green bowl, and a bunch of additional frozen goodies — and it still looks half empty!

Side-By-Side Fridge Storage

One interesting side note on our appliance purchasing experience: I was kind of surprised at the contrast between Abt Electronics and Sears when it came to delivering appliances, considering that Abt gives the impression of being the fancy, high-end place to go — you walk into their store and it’s all fountains and aquariums and artwork surrounding their huge shiny selection — while Sears comes across as being just your standard run-of-the-mill retailer. But here is how the deliveries went from both places:

  • Abt called at 9:00 in the morning on the day of delivery to confirm they’d be delivering that day, never gave an exact time, then (after calling at least once more later in the afternoon/evening), finally delivered the stove at 8:00 or 9:00 pm. (I don’t even know the details — Joe and I had scheduled a romantic evening away, expecting that it would be delivered long before Lillian’s bedtime, so it was my mom babysitting at the house who let them in.)
  • Sears contacted us the day before delivery to give us a 2-hour window in which they’d be delivering (between 10:00 am and noon in our case), then called again on the day of delivery to let us know they were on the way and would be there in 20 minutes or so — and they were, just as expected. (This was particularly handy with it being a fridge delivery, since we were able to leave our food in until the last minute, then stash it in a cooler so they could haul the old fridge away.)

Not sure if either of these experiences was just a fluke, or how things normally tend to go with appliance delivery from these two places, but it was interesting to compare.

Anyway, the other kitchen upgrade involved the window blinds — I don’t have a close-up of the old ones, but they were just the standard plastic kind, which we decided to replace after Joe tried to open them one day and they just irreparably fell down. When it came to replacing them, we splurged a little to get fancier wood-looking ones rather than the same kind of plastic ones as a replacement (picked out in-store from Home Depot, but I’m pretty sure these are the same ones). I think the end result looked a lot more polished and fitting to the kitchen than the plastic:

Wooden Blinds In Kitchen

And more importantly, they actually restored some privacy after a few weeks of having broken blinds, which should come in handy for the next time we want to prance naked through the kitchen while baking pies.

Another random side note: I did actually have ambitions to write a “kitchen upgrade” blog post way back in January, after we replaced the stove but before we replaced the fridge. I even tried to take a picture, but in the very short amount of time I spent trying to set up a shot of the kitchen, Lillian carried an empty cooler over to the counter, climbed up on top of it, and started ripping open Sweet ‘N Low packets.

Toddler Mischief

I was kind of floored at the speed and efficiency of the mischief. Thankfully for our sanity, it was the first and last time she did that (though it probably helps that the cooler lives in a locked closet now).

In addition to red-handed toddler mischief, the photo above also shows how we used to store a blender and slow cooker in that awkward triangular space behind the sink But, we found that we used them so rarely that they just ended up gathering dust, so when tidying up the kitchen after the fridge delivery, we stashed them in a cabinet and went back to having the little faux flower basket there instead. (Figuring that if something is going to gather dust up there, it might as well be a useless decorative object.)

Anyway, that’s the extremely long rambling update on our kitchen. It feels a bit off topic considering that we have a new baby due in less than four weeks (!!!) — although the new fridge in particular should come in handy for holding lots of frozen pizzas (or as we call them, “new parent chow”) and extra space for storing bottles and formula (since bottle feeding is the plan). The next few blog posts should be a bit more relevant to preparing for baby, so stay tuned!