September 6, 2014

Fourteen Weeks

Fourteen Weeks Status:Weight: 146 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Lemon

Five weeks have passed since Wombat had his first ultrasound. I have another appointment in two days and have enjoyed being able to say I am now in the Second trimester all week. Always a nice milestone!

I have definitely had much more energy for the last three weeks or so and feel more human again. I have been really bad about exercising though, and have decided to buckle down. I know for a fact now all the good I was doing myself in my other pregnancies by staying on top of the prenatal fitness, because the lack of it this time is all too evident.  My back has been really bugging me, and my posture is worsening.

I am determined to remedy all of this though, I started slow with two very spaced out workouts this week. I will try for three next week, and one every other day the following week.  It's hard because I really only have a chance right after the kids go to bed, and the kitchen gets cleaned up, and that is probably when I'm the least motivated to do anything physical, much less torment myself with cheesy workout DVDs.

10 weeks 6 days
I cycle through three different discs usually, so at least it's not the same one every time.  I highly recommend Summer Sanders' & Erin O'Brien's workouts...and if you can put up with her, Leisa Hart's prenatal workout always leaves me feeling straightened out and better prepared because of its focus on labor prep breathing, posture, and stretching.  I've tried countless other ones, just to add variety, but these are the only three that I've stuck with and not wanted to chuck out of a window. At least not usually...

The reason I haven't posted for five weeks was because Andy was travelling a lot. It seemed like every other day he was overnighting it. I also had Sebastian start homeschooling early, to prepare for the time off we'll be taking when Wombat arrives.  He loves school, and I can only hope my other three will take to it as enthusiastically as he has, although I am not holding out hope.  They all have graciously gifted minds! And, yes, I'm probably biased in that opinion...

I will start teaching ESL next Thursday as well, so my schedule will not get any easier, but hopefully Andy's will be a little easier now that his annual Summit is finished.  We had another ultrasound when wombat was 10 weeks 6 days...he was being stubborn and hiding during the sonogram so they sent me for a freebie. He measured a little long, which is not that surprising I guess. Thankfully the US tech this time printed out a much better picture (see above).

Well, hopefully on Monday I will get a better idea of when the big gender reveal will be...although I seem to remember it is usually around 22 weeks, which means I have a long wait still. Trying to enjoy it as it comes. Love this trimester so it's not hard to do!

July 30, 2014

Nine Weeks

Nine Weeks Status:Weight: 140 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Grape

Three weeks later and fatigue is still going, but it's potency is beginning to ease up.  I still feel like I need a couple naps a day and don't want to get out of bed in the morning, but I feel surges of functionality this week that I would have killed for last  week.

Yesterday, out of the blue, I decided it was time to trim the hedges (or small prickly trees) in the front yard, and I actually did the laundry I've been putting off all I'd say I'm getting back to normal.

It hasn't been all that eventful for the past three weeks. The boys went to VBS at a neighborhood church for one week, and Andy has been travelling a lot, which I do not like, but have been dealing with. We did get to see our dear friends The Cook family who are moving up here. As I type, in fact! Excited to have them in our neck of the woods again, as they moved away before Leopold was born and had a baby I only recently was able to greet.

The most exciting baby news is that I had the 8 week ultrasound last week. I was highly disappointed in the quality of the frames the tech decided to print for me, because there were some really beautiful full baby profile shots that I would have loved to capture. Oh well, pictured somewhere above, with the help of the Paw Patrol, is the almost indiscernible strip. The important thing is that Wombat looked healthy, and had a good heartbeat. I am convinced that Wombat is a boy because he/she was obviously on the right of the uterus (left on screen but abdominal is flipped) as per the Ramzi method, this means boy #4!  My mom took it better than expected. It could be wrong after all!

I have been spending most of this week calling and meeting with contractors to fix our deck, which is in pretty bad shape. It doesn't appear to have been treated as often as needed, so many of the boards, all of the top rails and caps, and the benches and steps will have to be replaced, and the whole thing will need some screws, powerwashing, sanding and restaining.  I will be happy when that is done.

I have also been getting estimates to fell our huge walnut tree in the back yard. It drops walnut bombs from who knows how high, I'd guess at least 100 ft if not more.  And it is positioned right over the kids' swingset.  Only a matter of time, and my goodness what a pain it was to clean up after when all the fruit dropped off of it last fall. The nuts were all spoiled too, so it's beauty and shade have been outweighed by it's negative qualities...and it has to go! I am going to leave the stump because I SO enjoyed playing on stumps as a kid, and I figure the boys will feel the same...I may keep a few of its logs and use them as benches and screw down a top on it to make a cute little yard table au naturale...

I guess that's about it. See you again in a couple of weeks!

July 8, 2014

Six Weeks

Six Weeks Status:Weight: 135 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Lentil 

Well I definitely feel as though I am pregnant as I approach the six weeks mark tomorrow. Notorious and glorious (only because it means things are working) pregnancy fatigue has been leading me to indulgent four hour or so naps, and I'm starting to feel the necessity for unrelenting trips to the ladies' room.

For me, these symptoms are pretty trademark for my previous pregnancies early on, so there is nothing new here, except perhaps for the now trio of gentleman whose beckon and call are also somewhat unrelenting. Thankfully their neediness also will offer a great deal of distraction from the long waiting game of pregnancy.  Maybe this pregnancy will feel more swift as a result!

While incubating Boops, Zoops, and Loops, I had recorded  that morning sickness started around 6-7 weeks each time and lasted just a brief 5-7 days. I only had nausea, mostly on an empty stomach, with the exception of one night of latrine bonding with Boops.  I am starting to feel nausea again as of last night, so my pregnancy is thus far being very predictable.  It seems I get the most variety out of my labors with each child, and hardly any out of my pregnancies. Still, I will take fact I much prefer it. Though I suppose I shouldn't assume it's not going to get worse until a week or so has passed, right? Right...

Ah, yes! In keeping with our tradition, Schwartzling #4 is to be given a womb name, post haste!

I hereby dub our lovely lentil baby: Wombat, to be referred to as such until such time as Andy and I reach an agreement on a proper name after the revealing of  his or her gender.

Wombat and I will have our first appointment on Thursday.  I've been informed this will be a very exciting session of blood drawing to confirm that I am not deluded into thinking that I'm pregnant, but that the midwives at VCU can indeed proceed with my care in another yet to be determined appointment. !

With that, I bid you adieu! I think I might need another nap!

June 23, 2014

Pregnant Again! - Four Weeks

Four Weeks Status:Weight: 135 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Poppy Seed 

Yes! We are indeed pregnant again with our fourth!  I am beyond excited. We had loosely planned on trying for a fourth later in the summer, in August, but God had other plans for us, and I am happy for the somewhat unexpected surprise!

Since last I wrote, Leopold has grown into a sweet, loving mamma's boy. He's struggling with eating properly, as they all seem wont to do at times, and he is beginning to really talk clearly.  Sebastian will be starting Kindergarten (at home) this year, and I will teach Izaak alongside him. It will be very low-key, with lots of electives, history songs, and field trips! :)  Love my sweet boys! They can be really well-behaved or completely wacky depending on when and where we are, but they love deeply, and God's not finished with them yet. Mommy's patience may be taxed, and her hands may be full, but I wouldn't trade a minute of it!

On Saturday I started having a bit of a weak stomach. I had taken a Clearblue digital test earlier in the day and it was negative, but, after a full day of mild nausea, and not being able to sleep because I was just sure something was up, I got out of my bed around one in the morning and tested again. I was just a tad out of it at this point. This may or may not have had something to do with Andy calling from Kroger earlier in the day telling me the car was stolen...don't ask! We have it "back."  He maintains he has not lost his marbles, and we'll leave it at that! Haha! :) Anyhoo, it felt like I was sitting there staring at that blinking hourglass for 10 minutes instead of 2.  When it finally pronounced "pregnant" I had a momentary jolt of shock pass through me, like maybe I was seeing things because I should've been in bed dreaming.  (I should add, I had dreamt about a positive test two days prior).  I suppose after getting the negative result earlier in the day I should have been even more surprised, but I had a feeling I was pregnant, or I wouldn't have tested at 1am, right?!  I had even expressed the possibility with my parents and a close friend or two last week.

Alas! Here we go again!!!  Of course, the grandparents are all rooting for a girl, with seven grandchildren, ALL BOYS, on both mine and Andy's side, who can blame them right? I admit I think that it would be novel and adorable to have some estrogen backup around here, but it's hard to fathom getting a girl result after three boys.  'Tis not in my hands, so we shall see in 22 weeks!  I am going to use the Ramzi method on the early ultrasound scheduled for Jul, 10th, as it has been accurate for everyone I know who has ever used it, and was accurate for all three of my boys.

Gretchen has suggested, since Andy was #4 in his family, in honor of him, this little one should adopt his womb name of "Azalea."  This would be the first feminine sounding womb name bestowed to any of our brewing bundles. If you recall, Sebastian was Gorthar, Izaak was Lord Chitty Merlin Arthur CaChoob Pendragon Schwartz III, and Leopold was Wooster aka Chewy.  Schwartzling #4 will probably end up with his/her own unique womb name anyways. We  have too much fun with them to borrow one from Andy.

There will be no belly pic this week; we started Vacation Bible School (VBS) today and the church is borrowing our camera. Besides, it's not like there's really much of a baby bump the first few weeks, so whenever I post again it will probably look the same!

I could ramble on and on about the complexities and joys of adding a fourth child to our quiver, but I am sooo tired, I always forget how powerful that early pregnancy fatigue is. Besides, I really should go study up on the story I'm teaching at VBS tomorrow...I don't recall the story of Jairus. Tsk tsk...

Fare thee well for now!

October 5, 2012

Happy Birthday Leopold Walter!

Happy Birthday Leopold Walter!

Well, with a name like Leopold, I should have known that our lovely little Loops would be a tad unorthodox. What a strange yet wonderful journey his birth was. 

It all began on Wednesday, September 26th with noticeably stronger Braxton Hicks contractions that were coming for about 30 seconds at 15 minutes apart.  As it seems is usually the case with BH, when I went to bed for the night, they disappeared. On Thursday afternoon, the Braxton Hicks came back, and settled into a pattern again. This time, however, when I sat down after making and cleaning up dinner, they didn’t go away, and instead slowly and surely lengthened in duration and increased in frequency.  However, they did not, by any means, hurt. So there I was, a “seasoned veteran” at birth, and feeling completely confused as to whether my contractions were real or not. (I hesitate to endorse the notion of veteran status since each birth has the potential to happen in a completely unexpected way). Finally, Andy and I just decided we had better get some sleep, just in case the contractions were to get stronger. It’s a good thing we did, because even when I laid down for bed, the contractions didn’t go away. 

By 2:00am, after the contractions were strong enough to become uncomfortable and even a little bit painful I decided to play it safe and make the call to my mom, telling her she could hit the road. She had a seven-hour drive from Asheville ahead of her. Not long after I called her, probably because having her on the way put me at ease a little bit, I finally fell asleep for the night; my body just couldn’t stay awake any longer. When I woke up in the morning, it took a while for the contractions to start back up again. This time, when they did, they were weaker again, so I officially felt kind of silly for calling my mom, I had been duped by Leopold! At least I thought I had…shortly before my mom arrived, they came back in earnest, and these I had to concentrate a bit, and breathe through. They felt just like the contractions I had the morning of the day Sebastian was born, so I felt confident Leopold would be a September 28 baby. 

I was still convinced, however, because of the irregularity of said contractions, that Leopold and I would have a slow and steady labor ahead of us. So I left the boys with Andy (my mom was almost there) and headed off to get a much needed pedicure. It was pretty funny being able to text my sister to tell her I was being a hick, and laboring in Wal-Mart (my chosen pedicure spot), ha! When I got back home, things just became more confusing. The contractions were still strong, but they were all over the place. If I was sitting, they could be as long as 40 minutes apart or 10 minutes apart. If I was being active, they could be anywhere from 15 minutes apart to 3 minutes apart, and were they ever strong! I could still breathe through them and keep my calm, so I was determined, even when bedtime rolled around, to wait for a more obvious and immediate pattern to emerge that would signal the necessity for the trip to the hospital. Sleep was nearly impossible on Friday night. At most I would get about 15 minutes of sleep before a contraction would prod me to my hands and knees to rock through the pain…I don’t even know if I really slept at all. 

When Saturday  (D-DAY) arrived, I was determined to do whatever it took to get the contractions closer together. I walked, I did squats, I sat on the ball, but the painful and chaotic contractions never embraced the pattern of immediacy, the 4-1-1 or 5-1-1 rule you hear so much about. Four or five minutes apart, for one minute long, lasting for one hour. My midwife Blair, had instructed me earlier that it wasn't really a hard and fast rule for most moms who have already had babies anyways. Still, it was something to shoot for. Instead, the contractions were doing funny things, like lasting for one and half minutes long, anywhere from 11 minutes to three minutes apart. This went on all day. By the afternoon the contractions were quite painful, I recognized them as the level of pain I had when I had gone to the hospital to have Sebastian. Still, I felt too silly to call the midwifery when they were so obviously not forming a discernible pattern. So instead I labored along for another three hours with my quirky contractions. It wasn’t until I looked up an exercise called curb walking that a friend of mine recommended, Emily Willett (who happens to be a doula who also had a baby delivered by Blair), that the contractions finally started to occur frequently enough, however inconsistently, for me to call Blair and tell her what was going on. When she spoke to me, she said she could understand how confused I must be, and that if it would help, I could come in and get checked. I told her I would head in, as at this point, I was exhausted, and at my wits end. 

My abnormal contractions hadn't finished entertaining for the evening. Sitting down made them space out to about 25 minutes apart. So during the non-stress test they plug you into when you get to DePaul hospital, I didn’t have one contraction in the entire 20 minutes I was sitting there. The worst part was, whenever that happened, and then I stood up, I endured a longer than usual mega contraction…  I think Blair was surprised to find me at 5cm dilation considering my NST. She thought it best that I choose to stay at the hospital and just not sit down. So, Andy and I began a journey of laps around the labor and delivery of DePaul hospital, back and forth, round and round, all the while iPad in hand to record the irregular contractions I was having. An hour later when Blair came back to see how we were doing, she looked at the contractions we had recorded, and sparks flew. She noticed that as odd and unorthodox as the contractions seemed to be, they were, in fact forming a pattern we hadn't recognized, but it was one she was familiar with. My really long and intense contractions were being followed by shorter less intense contractions. This was a sign that the baby’s head was not engaged fully, to progress labor in the proper pattern. Instead, his head was canted a little to the side, because he had not tucked his chin.  If you’re interested in this phenomenon, has some info on it…very interesting I think. Anyways, she said that it was fixable if I was willing to endure some more pain during contractions, and try some positioning techniques that should get him to tuck his chin over a few rounds of contractions. First, however, we had to wait for someone to clean up the room in the midwifery where we were hoping to have the baby.

 Therefore, we walked the halls some more, and I felt even more hopeful that Leopold would arrive soon.  She had warned us that once the problem was fixed, I'm guessing because the amount of hormones and everything else that had been trying to push this labor along against the difficulties of his position, could mean a very intense, painful, and quick labor. After two days of labor pains, of course I was up to the challenge; I just wanted to see my little man.  When our room was ready for us, I was relieved to walk into a dark, calming environment, so different from that offered by the Naval hospital that had accommodated my last two births.  The bed was a queen size, real bed, there was a Jacuzzi whirlpool, in case I wanted to labor in the water, and the lights were down low. When Blair checked me again, she was surprised to find me at 7 cm, since I had been laughing and joking with her intermittently for the past couple of hours. Thanking God for my high pain tolerance! 

To encourage things further, she broke my water. At first she was surprised to find clear fluid (since the labor had been so long) but there was a little bit of meconium that came out when more of the water came. This meant that I might not get much time to hold Leopold before the pediatrician would have to suction him. Moreover, there would be no delayed cord clamping. All's well that ends well I suppose...and it did. Moving on, Andy plugged in the iPad, and played some relaxing music I had prepared ahead of time, and did an excellent job comforting me through the next stage of labor, giving me back massages, and putting Argan oil on my hands for aromatherapy. Blair wasn’t kidding about the pain my new labor positions would put me through. For each contraction I had to hang onto Andy with my arms around his neck, and place one leg at a 90 degree angle up onto a chair that was off to my side.  This was NOT a comfortable position to labor in! As she had told me, one side would be far worse than the other because of the angling of the baby’s head I think. I’m not sure how long this went on, my guess would be for an hour or two. I could tell I had moved into transition at some point and that the positioning had done its job, because the contractions started to come very close together and were at the point that I was making noise through all of them. The pressure was just nonstop at this point as well. Finally, I reached a point where I felt the urge to push was imminent, so I had the nurse retrieve Blair (or rather Andy did).

She checked me again, and okay, that reallllly wasn’t comfortable during a contraction! She said there was just a tiny lip that I could push through on the next contraction if I wanted to. I couldn’t have stopped myself either way. When I pushed, the lip went away, and I officially entered the pushing stage of labor. The nurse left the room to gather the pediatrician and baby’s nurse to prep the little station where he would be taken care of. Nothing ever prepares a woman for the pushing stage of labor. At least not one like me, whose babies don’t just slip out. (I’ve heard there are women this happens for). The amount of force it seems to take to get that little body out is just not something previous births can ever fully prepare you for. For me, it was all new, like my memories of my other births were repressed by happy hormones and I had forgotten what I was about to enter into. The ring of fire! After what seemed like an eternity, however, Leopold finally emerged. Blair, my midwife, did some crazy dance-like move to unwrap his cord and throw him up on top of me, in the hopes he might cry and not have to be taken away to the Ped’s station. The first thing he did when he entered the world? Pee on his mama! Everyone was pretty amused by his marking his territory. And I was quick to point out that the little stinker was 21 minutes late. Tsk tsk, Leopold! 

While he was briefly on my chest he didn’t really cry, but was coughing slightly, so Blair had to make the rapid decision to clamp the cord and send him over for suctioning. He started to cry before they began the suction, but they helped him out a little by doing it anyways. Less gunk for him to cough up later.  That newborn cry was so glorious!  I couldn’t believe how strange and unexpected the entire birth experience was for me this time around. You always have an idea in your mind how your birth will go. Sebastian was pretty textbook, apart from me not knowing what I was doing and tearing a lot, he even arrived on his due date, and Izaak, was so stubborn he had to be induced.  I should have known I couldn’t possibly know what to expect with Leopold. Even Blair seemed to think it was a strange, albeit exciting, birth story, and she’s delivered thousands of babies…six that same night! Ha! Well, there it is. My long, drawn-out, detail-packed story of Leopold Walter’s birth. He was born September 30th, 2012 at 12:21 am, delivered by Blair Conger at DePaul medical center. After our hour of bonding time, he weighed in at 8lbs, 8oz., and measured 19.5 inches long. The runt of the family, ha-ha! Happy Birthday Leopold!!!! You are a blessing and gift from God, and we are all so blessed to welcome you into our family!

September 12, 2012

37 Weeks

Week Thirty-Seven Status:
Weight: 172.9 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Stalk of Swiss Chard (What? I have no clue...)
est. 19+ inches & 6.5+lbs.

Leopold has reached full-term status this week, which is a great feeling. I am always surprised when I see people making comments on about wanting to have their babies before this point, but I guess some people have had harder times with pregnancy than I. Now that I am at this point however, I am ready. I also feel like adopting the midwives due date of September 29th (even though I've been swearing it can't be correct due to the whole family's stomach flu in January)…I just like the earlier due date, for obvious reasons. He can come any day. I still need to call the hospital and pre-register, finish sewing all the baby blanket squares together and doing the trim, and I need to pack a few things for my hospital bag. I don't, however, place a lot of importance on packing, since labor should be lengthy enough of a process for me to do it then. Other than working on checking off those last few things, I am just trying to enjoy thoroughly the gorgeous pre-Autumn we're having in Hampton Roads at the moment, and giving all of my attention to Sebastian and Izaak, who will not get as much undivided affection once Maestro Leeps makes his appearance.

Since in the last post I promised to show some of the preparations for Leopold, I'll attach a couple pictures below. I am no interior decorating maven, but I did the best I could with the small space and multi-purposing issues I had. He will be sharing the master bedroom with mommy for a while, where his co-sleeper and crib are all prepped and ready for him. Probably about a year ago Andy happily relocated to the guest bed (and couch when we have visitors), and we both are getting a much healthier amount of sleep. We drive each other crazy otherwise, and this is just a much more blissful arrangement, especially since lately he gets up so early and goes to bed so late, and I have an enormous pregnancy body pillow, or "nest" as Andy calls it, taking up our whole Queen bed in the master bedroom. Ha! People think we're weird, but they'd understand if they had to sleep next to either of us, and it actually used to be the norm back in the day…I totally get why! I also don't like sharing the bed with the kids when they wake up at 4 am, and Andy enjoys the cuddle time with the kids…so it works perfectly for everyone.

Pregnancy is still non-eventful. Leopold feels more boney and strong than I remember the other boys being, but he is measuring perfectly.  Details alert! Ha! (If you don't like reading about lady parts stop reading now.) I am prompted to warn everyone as I recall my pastor's sermon this past Sunday when he made the comment that he is the type of person who doesn't like hearing too many details when someone is talking…this made me chuckle. I'm sure he's not the only one, and I am totally a detail disher, so if you feel the same you may want to stop reading! The midwives have said my cervix feels like it will labor well…whatever that means. I was 2 cm dilated, and 70-80% effaced at my 37-week appointment, and Leopold's head was at zero station. I refuse to let any of that go to my head however, it just means labor should (but won't necessarily) entail less work for my body to do whenever he decides it's time to flip the switch. It really is just a waiting game at this point…cue Jeopardy theme song.
When will he be born? Care to hazard a guess? I am now officially accepting predictions! :)

Prep Pics:

Crib! The pillow and stuff will be moved of course...breathable bumper.

My lone attempt at creativity. Leopold Sign above the crib.


Mommy and Leeps's shared closet/dresser.

Cute outfit Donna bought for him! She always gets the cutest things! Thanks Donna!

Socks, mittens, hats and swaddling/receiving blankets have overtaken my endtable!

August 14, 2012

33 Weeks

Week Thirty-Three Status:
Weight: 166.7 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Pineapple
est. 17+ inches & 4+lbs.

Hmmm....where to start? Is there really only a mere 7 weeks left before Leopold will join our household? It is hard to believe, then again, I hesitate to anticipate a set date since they are so unreliable. Since my last post there has been so much to report on that I'm not sure any recount on this blog will do justice to all the experiences I've had. One of the main events was our vacation to NC for a week. It was a fun-packed excursion for the kids with trips to a hands-on museum, the Cradle of Forestry complete with lots of train stuff for "train day" and of course the kiddie pool in the yard. It was nice to be around adults all day as well as the children, and have help taking care of them! My folks were happy to oblige, and the boys' older cousin Lunden spent a lot of time playing with them so we all had some breaks to just catch up...and watch the Olympics (anyone who knows me eventually discovers that I'm a gymnastics fanatic...same thing with figure skating during the winter games).

Also, just this past week, some of the ladies at our church organized a baby brunch to celebrate Leopold's impending arrival. It was so much more than I was expecting with a third baby, the food was delicious, the diapers and generous gifts and gift cards were amazing, and the prayers and fellowship mean so much to me as I anticipate the gift that will be Leopold. A couple of excerpts from the cards:

"Sailboats, trains, and baseball games; // Popsicle kisses and grass stains. // A baby boy is on the way // Can't wait to celebrate that day! // May the Lord continue to bless your growing family!"

"Dear Baby Schwartz, May you grow to know the love of Jesus always, and may all of your days be spent loving and serving our Savior and Redeemer. He is so Worthy!..."

"We rejoice with you at the gift of another child! 'Behold, children are a heritage from the LORD, the fruit of the womb a reward.' (Ps. 127:3) Blessings to you & precious Leo..."

There were many others but I won't put them all here. It was such a special moment spent delighting in the joys of God's many blessings, I need to get to work on the thank you cards! Another girl from church is having her baby shower next weekend (her first baby!), so I am looking forward to experiencing more warm baby-focused fellowship shortly.

As far as pregnancy goes, I still feel like I am just being blessed with the easiest of pregnancies. Leopold continues to "perform" well at his appointments,and while my sleep suffers every once in a while (the Olympics did not help), overall I have very few discomforts other than the usual inability to breathe when I am brave enough to reach to the floor...which is a very common occurrence for mothers of two toddlers...  My new diet has just improved my overall mood and health incredibly over the past weeks as well, and exercising and stretching routinely has kept all aches and pains of pregnancy at bay. Here's to another 7 or so weeks of pregnancy bliss!

I ordered everything we still wanted/needed for Leopold, and so now the gradual nesting phase will begin! Perhaps next post I will post pictures of the preparations. For now, that's all folks! Good night, and God bless.

July 18, 2012

29 Weeks

Week Twenty-Nine Status:
Weight: 164.2 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Butternut Squash
est. 15+ inches & 2.5+lbs.

It’s 29 weeks for Leopold Walter this week, and I feel like this pregnancy is just kind of whisking by me. It’s amazing how much faster time seems to fly by with two children in your life. There isn’t a great deal to report on, the pregnancy couldn’t be going better, everything is measuring great and looking/sounding perfect, so we have been very blessed. With Andy back at work full time with a lot of overtime, I have been working on adjusting to the new rhythm of our household. I have begun to really enjoy being a happy homemaker. It makes a huge difference no longer balancing schoolwork with parenting and housework. The house is cleaner than its ever been because I finally have my chores in a pattern that works for me. This “work,” for the first time, actually brings me a lot of joy too. There is something pleasant about knowing my dear husband will appreciate the little things I can do for him, and it grants me a true sense of purpose to make things relaxing for him when he returns home from working in the tiresome world everyday. 

With the kids, apart from enjoying things like the Norfolk Botanical Gardens, and their awesome splash pad and trails, discipline has been my summer project. I’ve been teaching the boys to pick up after their messes, share better, and just be more respectful in general. It is a noble task that will never reach the state of “accomplished” but I am okay with settling for steady growth with occasional setbacks. The women’s bible study group I’ve been attending over this summer has been all about Contentment, and it has made a significant impact on me at this pivotal point, as I transition to being a full-time stay-at-home mom.  Although, I had a rough start, as one of my close friends who received a phone call from me in distress over my poor handling of my new situation could easily attest, I can now honestly say that I have never been happier with my marriage, my children, and my lot in life than I have become over these past few weeks. 

Ha…I should now say: Enter Leopold. I know that he will try, and usually succeed in muddying up all of my established household rhythms with his arrival, so I will be readjusting big time again when he arrives. I am ultimately not in control anyways, only God is sovereign, so it will be a good period of growth for patience and faith I’m sure.  Hopefully, as is the plan, my mom will be here for the first week, because with Andy working for the presidential campaign, October couldn’t be any busier!   

My other summer project, inspired in part by my need for something brain-heavier, as well as Leopold’s and the family’s well-being, has been developing healthier meals; I have relied heavily on the Internet to do research and find recommendations for meals via Pinterest. The information I have stumbled upon has definitely seemed to make an impact on us all. Not only have I successfully gone from considered overweight for my pregnancy to right on target, but Andy has shed pounds as well. Basically, liver function and how quickly it is able to process fats has got to be the biggest change in our diets. Anything that is not natural, like all the ingredients in those low-fat fake butters or processed foods, bog down your liver with things to reject from the body, so the liver doesn’t have as much time to deal with fat. Also, an increase in good fats which actually help your body process toxins and fat (think nuts, avocados, coconut oil, etc.) I think it works…but who knows? In any case, I’m glad to be back on real butter, and can honestly say unprocessed foods, while they take longer to make meals out of, make your moods brighter, your energy levels higher, and give you an overall healthier feel. I won’t be going back, especially since it seems to be a little cheaper to eat this way as well. Okay…I’m rambling at this point, so I will call it a night. Bonsoir mes amis!

June 15, 2012

24 Weeks

Week Twenty-Four Status:
Weight: 160.2 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Ear of Corn
est. 12+ inches & 16+ oz.

Okay…so I didn’t post on week 20 when I found out the gender, but in my defense, it was the first week of my summer vacation, and the news wasn’t very shocking. Yep, that’s right, the Schwartz continuum (and Harper continuum as it is appearing my family is starting a new trend of lineage too) remains intact yet again! We are expecting our little man Leopold Walter this fall, and although it would have been nice to shock the world with a score for team pink, I have to admit that it is comforting to know that I won’t be faced with the temptation of buying all those little outfits that have been catching my eye every time I’ve allowed myself to fathom the possibility that Leopold was a girl. Moreover, I definitely would have bumped sewing machine to the top of my list of wants. Leopold was deemed to be in perfect health and measuring a little larger than “normal,” which is actually completely normal for my boys. Now at 24 weeks, he is quite the lively little chap, as it feels like there’s a circus of squirrels attempting amazing acrobatic feats in my belly. Just Thursday he kicked it up enough to actually wake me up in the middle of the night for the first time this pregnancy. Sebastian thinks it is hilarious…Izaak just thinks any part of mommy that is round is a “baby” so I have to keep him in check while we’re in public places so he doesn’t pat things inappropriately, declaring proudly “BABY!”

I have been so hungry all the time lately, and the cravings are always for sugary or yeasty delights that were declared a no-no for me at my 20-week check-up… I haven’t been very good about resisting the urges, and at my 24-week appointment, was actually informed I had gained five more pounds than I should have at this point…tsk tsk! I’m sure I was around the same weight gain mark with the last two boys though, so I’m not concerned. Aren’t you supposed to gain a little weight each pregnancy anyways? Why do I let myself care? Ha!

What else? Oh, of course. We celebrated the coming of Leopold by trading in our car for a minivan. What a blessing it already is! Also, after a brief period of uncertainty, when we weren’t sure whether or not we’d be moving the household to the West coast for Andy to work, he was blessed with a position working here, at least until December. Yay! I get to have Leopold at the Midwifery Center! I was looking forward to it, and really didn’t want to leave our church family. God is good!

Well, I think that about sums things up…I will do my best to be more diligent with my posts, now that I have finally found the battery charger for my camera. It was under a pile of yarn for Leopold’s mommy-made blanky.  I haven’t really touched it since I started the first couple of rows, I became distracted by an adorable Owl pillow pattern I wanted to do first instead. My sister will be receiving the first Owlet shortly. J

May 9, 2012

19 Weeks

Week Nineteen Status:
Weight: 150.6 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Large Heirloom Tomato
est. 6 inches - 8.5 oz.

Well, it's been another seven weeks since I last posted on here...but the good news is, I'm finally all done with school and I shouldn't have as many problems finding time to post from here on out. I thought I'd feel different being a college graduate, maybe eventually it will all settle in and I will, but since I see no reason that I'll be using my degree in the near future with Sebastian and Izaak and Wooster to tend to, I guess it doesn't feel that monumental. Nevertheless, I'm glad it's over with and I finished what I started.

I don't know if it's because I've been so busy or not, but this pregnancy has been an absolute breeze so far. Other than having a hard time breathing when I bend over, and having a little more trouble picking up the boys, it's almost like I'm not even pregnant. I could probably eat better and exercise more, but I think I've done a relatively good job, despite what my midwives might think from the one day of food recall I had to do for them. (Apparently, I ate too many carbs and not enough protein that day).

The exciting stuff that's happening now is potty training has begun again now that I'm done with school. Sebastian has taken to it quite well, but he has had a few bumps here and there. The biggest struggle is keeping him excited about it and not annoyed by how much more work it is for him to stop playing and go to the potty instead of relieving himself in a diaper. I haven't really applied any methods I know of. I was trying the naked method but realized quickly that it only trained him to react appropriately while naked and he would wet himself while dressed. Now I just leave him in undies at home, and undies and clothes if we go out. I will be cleaning up several accidents I'm sure, but I think it's the fastest way he'll learn. We have a cool M&M dispenser to reward with, stickers too! He's doing really well, and I'm relieved that it doesn't seem like it will be a terrible transition for him.

In addition, as far as exciting goes, next week is the 20-week ultrasound when we can find out whether we're having a Wooster or a Woostress. I will be bringing a DVD to record the experience, and have about 20 people who will be expecting phone calls the second we find out. Everyone is wondering if we'll break the Schwartz continuum and have a girl. My sister recently got married, so at least some of the pressure's off on the Harper side, ha-ha! You can do it Rachel! Both sets of grandparents have five grandsons, crazy!

I will be happy with either of course, but I have to admit I would love to throw a girl into the mix of our household.The names as of this moment are Leopold Walter and Coralie Millicent...the middle names are taken from my Grandparents on my mother's side: Walter and Barbara Millicent Sukut. The first names are just what we agreed on together...we must be made for each other to agree on such odd names huh? :)

Man it feels good to write with my brain turned off! I feel like I'm on cruise control. Here's hoping we earn one for team pink! Tune in next week for the big announcement!

March 18, 2012

12 Weeks

Week Twelve Status:
Weight: 142.6 lbs.
Estimated Baby Size: Lime

Seven weeks with no posts is testament to how busy I have been with trying to balance night classes, two babies, a job search for Andy, church activities and finding time to enjoy the really nice weather we've been having before it gets too hot for us pregos to enjoy.

Despite how hectic my schedule may sound, it has really been a nice first trimester so far. Apart from three days where I was feeling the nausea, I haven't had any serious morning sickness. I have had the unquenchable thirst and the zombie-like fatigue bouts, but now that they have subsided, I hardly remember them as being very bad. I am happy. Happy that I am graduating in the spring, happy that I am adding another bundle of love to our brood, and happy that the excitement of a transition lays in our near future. I have no clue where God will bring us in the coming year, where Andy will end up with his job, or if we will move. All I know is that I have lived through some bleak conditions in my 28 years of life, and God has sustained me and brought me out of them all. Our humble abode is the largest house I've ever lived in, and if we have to downgrade our square footage or neighborhood quality, trailer parks and Philadelphia ghettoes have prepared me.

At my first appointment, I fully experienced Wooster for the first time. I can't believe how excited I was after doing this for the third time, it really is just so awesome to see that little heart beat going at 176 bpm. The U/S tech said everything looked great, and the midwife told me I was approved for future appointments at the Midwifery Birthing Center where I have been hoping to deliver! Yay! No more military teaching hospitals for this mama!

Exercise and baby bump have brought my weight up to a less freakish level as well. Moreover, to help matters, I have been enjoying cooking with and especially baking with Sebastian lately. Izaak is a little too young to join in just yet, so it is our special time together. Both he and Izaak are gaining quite the vocabulary. Izaak just moved in to share his big bro's room this week, as Andy and Sebastian pulled some Bob the Builder time putting together the toddler bed our friends gave us a while back. The boys seem to be handling being roomies really well. The first night, they both slept in way past the time they normally do in the morning, unthinkable! The second night, Izaak fell out of bed and it rather ruined the whole night for him; he had to join daddy in bed. Earlier today, however (day 3) he crawled into bed and fell asleep on his own for a nap. Ha! Talk about the antithesis of Sebastian. That boy would stay up 'til 3 am absolutely exhausted and delirious if we let him.

School got a little bit crazy for a bit, as I had the most insane study guide ever for a midterm in my Russian Politics class. It was so overwhelming that four straight days of pure studying and rote memorization left me feeling helplessly underprepared. Despite my insecurities (I was sure I did terribly) I received a 199/200, practically perfect! Thanking the Lord for that one :) I still have two ten-page papers to write and two final exams to take before May 7th, graduation day. I am determined to enjoy my spring around the chaos though. I have my next appointment this coming Thursday, where I'm hoping to get another estimate on the due date. They switched it on me at my first appointment, from Oct. 4th to Sept. 29th. That would put conception right around the time our entire household was in the grips of a nasty stomach flu, sooooo...yeah. Sorry. I don't think so, haha! I am guessing the date is closer to Oct. 2nd. It will be wild if Wooster arrives on the 1st to share big brother Sebastian's birthday. I'm not sure how he will feel about that... I can hear it now. SHARE! Share share share....

Anyways, here's hoping I find the time to get on here again before Chewy arrives. Toodles! :)