Sunday, February 26, 2017

Stay at Home Dads- Where's our support?

I haven't posted anything for a long while as my hands have been pretty full.  I have enjoyed the last 7 months so much but I have had one thing that has ticked me off during this time.  How come every advertisement, app, or anything that must do with taking care of babies, are geared only to the mom???  It’s funny because I remember downloading the Huggies App being all excited that I can earn rewards for every diaper and wipe massive container that we buy and going into the app and being severely upset.  So, upset that I ended up writing an email to their customer service team.  Why was I upset, well in the link that I created above, it turns out that on the site and app, they have a huge section dedicated to "Mommy Answers."  Why does that upset me, well because, 1. I am not a mommy and 2. We are in the year 2017 and the number of dads staying home has definitely increased.  And it’s not just Huggies that is gearing the majority of the content towards women.  Just because I am on my kick, I decided to check out other major baby brands to see who else is geared towards "mommy."   The following links all have content geared to the mommy's out there:  PampersLuvsGerberBeechnut, BabyCenter, baby Einstein, Johnson BabyAvent,  etc.  Now I do not have a problem with the content because a lot of it is really good, however the times have changed and it’s not just the mom staying home anymore. specifically, in my case.  And just so everyone out there is aware, this is a choice of mine and not something about I lost my job, I have always wanted to stay home and take care of our children.  Stace has a very great and rewarding job that allows us to have this amazing opportunity.  

I figured I should do some research before I just went on a rant and try to figure out if I have any merit to my argument and it turns out I did.  I had a conversation with Stace the other night and I was basically stating how it’s not fair that men do not have anything really geared to them.  And she said well it’s not that common which made me look it up.  But before I do give you the facts and articles, it really isn't known.  Just like infertility isn't a topic of conversation among most of the male population, especially male factor, because typically guys do not talk in general about our emotions and feelings regarding how we are treated.  I came across a really neat article in the Huffington Post regarding how many dads are actually staying at home.  Here is the article and I am pretty sure it might shock some of you reading it, because honestly, it opened my eyes up even more.  Now the article does state that 80% of the almost 20% of men that are staying at home is due to unemployment reasons, however there are still almost 20% of men staying at home to take care of children.  In the article, they reference that in the 1970's, only six (6) total men were stay at home dads.  I am pretty sure that the number has risen greatly over the years and this article was even written in 2015, so I am sure that the number is even higher.  We will not know for sure until another census is taken but I was actually intrigued more than a fifth of the United States population is stay at home dads.  That is why I rant about the websites and apps that do not mention men at all as being the primary caregiver.  

Now to go back to the Huggies piece about the site not having anything geared towards men, I decided to email the site to see what the company’s response would be.  I did not expect them to change their whole website, but the first response I got was the usual, we will pass that along as an idea.  I did not really think that was an adequate response so I decided to email them again and include my original email and I did get an actual response this time.  But it was more of a push over than it was okay we will take it into consideration.  With technology on the rise and everything being so accessible now a day, there is no reason that major companies would just say parenting instead of mom and make it universal.  I am pretty sure that they pay people lots of money to maintain their websites, so they could easily have someone just change the words or a couple of pictures here and there.  Basically, in the times that we live in, we should all be recognized.  I understand that motherhood is very hard and that women should have a lot of resources available to them because that is the norm, however, for us guys out there that must take care of our beautiful little ones, we should also get some respect in the same regards.  

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Bumpdate~ Week 37

Week 37: (July 6-12)

Me this week-

The kickstart to week 37 was coincidentally our wedding anniversary! :) 9 years married... 9 years of happy times, ups, and downs. 9 years in the making of dreaming about, trying for, and fighting to start our family. 9 years to finally get here!! 9 years of waking up to my best friend every day. Scott is my ROCK, my best friend, soul mate, advocate, therapist, advice-giver, and more. I'm so glad we've found each other and I'm so thankful that we are finally getting the chance to bring our own baby into this world any day now. Cheers to many many more years ahead. I love you so much, Scott!! <3

We now have weekly OB appointments, and week 37's appt was the morning of our anniversary. This was nice because it meant Scott was home for a bit in the morning, and went to work afterwards. I was SUPER nervous and emotional at the appointment, though. I got major anxiety on the way to the appt and then again while waiting in the room for the Dr. I think part of me missed the last few months of appointments because they were so easy, fun, and painless. After the 36-week test and exam were pretty painful, I was dreading another internal check. I also am obviously over the moon excited about Baby Bee's arrival but I also can't believe we are here, I get nervous about delivering him safely, and I just have anxiety and worries about it all. I couldn't help it and broke down in tears while half naked sitting on the exam table, waiting for the Dr. Sure you're covered by the thinest paper sheet in the world, but it makes me feel vulnerable and freaked out and nervous sometimes. I was anticipating more pain with another exam and just overfilled with emotion about our baby boy coming soon. Finally the Dr came in, and luckily I had calmed down by then. The exam was super quick and way less painful than the Dr. I had seen last week. (Phew!!) I ADORE my OB and I now love her even more for having small hands!! lol sorry but it's true. Even Scott commented how he could tell I wasn't in nearly as much discomfort or pain with this check. Yippee... So the report this week was that I was just over 1cm, but not quite 2, and 50% effaced. She was happy with the progress, and we go back again tomorrow for week 38! Scott had to go to work for the rest of the day (I was super bummed about that) and I ended up at a friend's house to hang out by the pool because it was like 90 degrees. That was a good distraction and better than sitting home sad waiting hours for Scott to get home. 

37 week belly! :)

Scott sent me a text in the afternoon that he was getting out of work early and that we had dinner reservations in town... eeek!! :) I went home to change and wait for him. He surprised me with flowers too (gerber daisies are my FAV!!) and off to dinner we went. We ate at a place right in town (our new town, which is super cute and cozy), and we were the only people sitting outside so it was relaxing and sweet. :) Thank you, hun!!! It was all perfect!! XOXO

For the last few summers, I've taken on a summer job at school to design the calendar for the year. I love computer/design work and it's an easy way to make a few bucks so it's a job I actually enjoy. However, this year I obviously have a lot going on (between the new house and potentially going into labor any day) so I was panicking about not starting it yet. We had an issue with Verizon last week and while I waited around alllll day for them to get here and fix a problem, I set aside half the day to just get a head start and now I'm in a much better place for that should we suddenly go into labor. Phew! Now that I've started that, I NEED to get rolling on baby shower/gift thank yous. I'm sooo far behind on those but they are sitting on my couch and I hope to start them tomorrow. To everyone who sent us a gift, please know we are extremely thankful and have just had an insanely busy last few weeks but I have not forgotten about it. <3

I LOVE the Timehop app, and this popped up this week. While we were in Disney last year, we happened to get room #7727 and we were both super psyched! We are numbers people, especially in terms of our relationship. We have cool connections with our birthdays (numerically) and anniversaries, and 7s or 27 have always been some favs. Getting room 7727 was super cool and now that 7/27 is Bee's due date, it's kind of a cool connection to a year ago before he was even created in the IVF lab. I would LOVE for him to be born on his due date because numerically it would be so fun, AND he wouldn't have to share his birthday with any family. But he gets here when he gets here and it's out of our hands so whenever he gets here will be just right... it would just be pretty cool. ;) No pressure, buddy. 

Relaxing with my belly bump... <3
I'm seriously going to miss pregnancy. I'm so blessed and grateful to have gotten to experience it, but it's never a guarantee that it'll happen again. I've loved it so so much and have been lucky to have a smooth ride. I lovvvve my belly and love feeling baby movements in there every day. It's so incredibly and so indescribable.

A sweet TTC sister sent me some items, from one rainbow baby to another. Mostly rainbow baby newborn props for photos, but she threw in some books and a really nice note as well. Thank you, Vicki!! Can't wait to take pics of Bee in these and then someday pass them on to another rainbow baby mama. XOXO <3

I STILL do a double take walking past certain mirrors in the house sometimes... or just staring because I'm still in shock. There's a BABY in there!!! OUR baby!! <3 <3 Eeek!!

So I finnnalllly decided to stop Zumba this week... (boooooo). As much as I've loved it and it made me feel good even up until now, I can only slow down so much mentally. Physically, I can't do a ton but mentally I want to keep going and I know I'll end up hurting myself or just overdoing it and going into labor right there. lol. Plus, the gym is now 30 mins from home and I'm trying not to go far from the house. My friend Linzy is in town and was my original Zumba buddy years ago when I started, so I asked her if she'd want to go to a class AND keep me company on the drive, just in case. ;) As much as I miss it and don't want to stop, I needed to do what's best since Zumba at 38-40 weeks, 30 mins from home, when I mentally want to jump around like a rabbit, is prob best for this mama. So long, Zumba, but only temporarily! ;)

WHYYYY do we always take pics after, when we are yucky and sweaty? Blah. Ooops!
My friend, Marisol (in the center) is an amazing teacher. Christine and I have been going to her classes for years and both always stand in the front corners of class. We tend to match without planning, so Marisol calls us her bookends! :) Love you guys!! <3

Linzy and I used to always pose like this for pics before/after class... it's our ZT pose. (ZumbaTwin) <3

Mama and Baby Bee belly <3

 Timehop does it again.... :) :) I love silly TeamRicci <3

Monday night we had dinner out on the deck and Scott grilled. We ended up sitting out there for a while playing all kinds of music and a whole set of songs came on from our IVF days. You may remember that before any injection (even back to IUI days actually), I HAD to have a motivating song to get myself through it... whether it was a pumped up song or a meaningful song, I needed something. With IVF and multiple shots and then nightly PIO injections, Scott made a "Shot Playlist" and every time I hear any of those songs since being pregnant, it brings me right back to those nights of being scared, anxious, hopeful, excited, and wanting this so badly... now when I hear them I feel all those feelings again PLUS extreme joy, love, gratitude, and happiness. Hearing these songs again Monday, especially so many of them, while sitting out on the deck with my hands on my baby bump, I couldn't help but cry soooo many happy tears. We've just about made it!! We're finally here and it's not a dream. It's insane. I'm such a ball of mush. Some of those songs... "Home" by Phillip Phillips, "Life is a Highway" by Rascal Flatts, "Walking on a Dream" by Empire of the Sun, "United State of Pop 2014" mix by DJ Earworm, just to name a few. I know it may be best in some ways to have calm and relaxing vibes in the delivery room, but because of our journey and how we both love music, I want Scott to play our shots list as a way to motivate me and keep me focused when the time comes so it can become our delivery playlist too... I know I could be screaming and wanting to rip his head off in the moment, but as of now I feel like music focuses me and brings me through different emotions so we'll try and see what happens... Ok stop laughing at me for being naive. ;)

I've been feeling GREAT still. My feet swell and hurt IF I'm on them too much and/or if it's super hot. It's been on/off hot. Considering it's mid-July, it hasn't been so bad really so I've been lucky. I try not to overdo it each day and find time to sit with my feet up and relax when I can. I'm not at the point yet where people scream and complain and want the baby out... I'm loving him staying put and it's helping me slowly transition to end the bittersweet worries of missing his movements but having to trade them for snuggles, which I will happily do.

Bee this week-

Bee's getting much bigger this week and is now considered FULL TERM!!! This is a HUGE accomplishment in the pregnancy world and we are so beyond thankful that we've made it this far! Anything from here on out will likely mean baby boy will be okay, as pretty much everything is now fully developed. He'll spend the last few weeks building up his lungs and fattening up a bit.

Our little buddy bear is making some BIG movements when he squirms around... clearly he's running out of space. It's funny sometimes because it'll make my whole stomach move or shake and sometimes my whole body jolts when he moves. It cracks us up. He's also more active at night lately, an hour or so before bed. He's obviously head-down ready to come out soon but he tends to put a LOT of extra pressure on my bladder at night and it's funny. Sometimes it feels like intense pressure or sharpness on my bladder and I have to run (or waddle, since I can only go so fast!) to the bathroom. ha! The other night I ended up having pretty heavy cramps for a solid 30 mins as we went to bed (like period cramps but more intense). There was nothing to time so they weren't contractions and after talking to a few mom friends I think he's just moving down further and things are moving around/stretching more, with less room. It's kind of comical really, and it means he'll be here soon!!

Sleeping this week has become a little harder, especially during the hours of dark. I'm up every 30 mins to 1.5 hours to pee or change positions and it makes for a long, boring night. I love when the sun comes up because it doesn't feel as lonely and for some reason I've been sleeping better between 5am-10am (a friend confirmed today that it was similar for her first pregnancy too so we laughed about that). It's all fun and funny because I know it's my body's way of prepping me for feedings and diaper changes during the night.

Bee LOVES Scott's voice & touch. Whenever he puts his hand on my belly or talks nearby, baby goes nuts. Last night he was making his big movements and his foot was sticking so far out my side, it was crazy! Scott leaned over and was talking to him and we tried to coax him to do it again. All of a sudden, BAM, he kicks hard and it hits Scott in the face! We were hysterical laughing, it was so cute and funny. :) Go, baby, go! :) hehehee I can't wait to see my 2 boys snuggling... melts my heart just thinking about it. <3

Little mister is growing right along!! :)

We love you so SOOOO much, Baby Bee!! We get to meet you soon! It could be any day, or it could be another 2-3 weeks still. Only your timing will tell! Love you, little dude! 

Thanks for following our journey!! 



Saturday, July 9, 2016

Bumpdate~ Week 36

Week 36: (June 29- July 5)

Me this week-
I know the last post was a recap of weeks 31-35, but since then I caught up on some edited pics/collages for the last few weeks. So here they are from weeks 33-36, and all together so maybe someone will notice a difference or not in the last month. 

And here we are at 36!! :)
36 weeks is considered the last week of pre-term, so it's a BIG milestone making it through week 36!!

I don't know about you, but we definitely saw a difference in week 35 vs 36!! :) I am starting to feel it too! Not in a bad way, I just feel bigger and more pushed out. :) 

A lot has been going on at the house!! I'm sure I probably mentioned last time, but in case I didn't, Scott has been doing A LOT in the house. I feel bad that I can only do so much but he has been amazing. He's so super duper handy and has spent many late nights and early mornings doing projects here and there. So have his parents- THANK YOU!!! The downstairs is coming along greatly with all of your help! :) It's pretty functional now and still needs some work, of course, but it's getting there little by little! :) 

We took down the wall between the living room and office immediately after moving in. It opens up the living room so much more and lets SOOO much light in. This was the in-between stage, with random furniture everywhere. It was a construction zone for a while and was pretty tricky. One of our couches is under that plastic wrap in the back of pic.

After the couches were put together... yay!! Big difference already! :) 

My handsome handyman. :) 

I guess we need a new desk chair soon... haha!

I was happy to get some of my deco back up! This is a fav of mine, that on of my TTC/Instagram friends made a few years ago. Ironically, it now matches the paint colors we picked for the first floor... totally by chance!! When it went back up, I realized it was kind of a weird coincidence! The whole first floor is a light gray except for the dining room, which is a light aqua... woaaa!

The dining room (the whole house is still cluttered, but things are getting there!). :) We've only been in exactly a month, and with me being super pregnant and having the energy of a sloth, this is pretty damn good! :)

We hosted a neighbor meet & greet for our new little development last weekend, as a way to try and get to know some neighbors. We didn't know too many in our last development, so we figured anything more and 1-2 neighbors was a better start. We now know about 6 families on the 2 little cul-de-sacs here. :) Granted, we knew 2 coming in, but still!! (One of my work friends lives on the next street and her neighbor is Scott's 2nd cousin! Funny coincidences but now we know triple that amount!). Our new town & neighborhood are so cozy and cute, it's close to a lot of my work friends, closer to my BFF, closer to work (for me), and just a good central location to be. No more driving over the mountain (killing my car) or river (tolls) almost daily! :) 

Sunsets are gorgeous here... and it's another perk of having taken the wall down!! We can enjoy them more! :)

Some baby lovin'...
Bee's crib is ready!! I KNOW there shouldn't be anything in a crib with a baby, especially the bumper, Pooh bear, blanket, but since he won't be sleeping in here for a bit, I had to set it up cute because heck, I've always dreamed of setting up the nursery in a fun way!! :) I still have A LOT of decorating to do but it'll get there. This part looks so cute and I love it! :) 

Filled out my hospital forms to pre-register... Now whenever we end up there, it's one less thing we have to waste time on or worry about! :)

Pool date with some friends calls for a new suit!! :) It feels GREAT being in the water because there's virtually no heavy weight felt by my belly! :)

A sweet friend sent us this onesie in the mail... AHHH!!! How cute is this?! Thank you, Dorrie!! We LOVE it! (I've secretly always wanted one and just hadn't gotten around to ordering one!) Can't wait to put it on him! There's even a cute heart on the butt!

Some belly shots... I've started to get SUPER DUPER emotional, knowing I'm going to miss this part so so much.  I know I get to trade it for baby snuggles, but it'll be different. I've loved being pregnant and feeling Bee move and kick has been one of the major highlights. I love this little dude so much, therefore the belly so much. Trying so hard not to take it for granted and miss out since our time is winding down in this stage. <3

Mama & Dada to Beeeeeee :) :) :) 

And yes, STILLLLL doing Zumba!! (When I can, anyway!!). I haven't been able to go for 3 weeks, since before school got out, because the days I go just didn't work out with my schedule and I was bummed about that. I also think it made things a little harder for me too- it definitely affects my energy and activity level on other days for sure! Marisol ended up subbing for a different class so on the last day of week 36, I made it! :) I'm DEFINITELY much slower each time, but I made it through the first half hour without a problem! I pushed through the 2nd half but at a muchhhh slower pace, since my feet were starting to hurt and give up on me. It's pretty comical to me, but I certainly am not overdoing it whatsoever. By now, I know how to modify safely and I know what I can/can't handle. Plus, the Drs are all for it. :) Each day I make it, it could possibly be my last class... you never know!

Bee this week-
Our little munchkin is almost ready to come out!!! He's getting bigger by the week and so is my belly! It's fun to imagine him in there! He's already head-down and my OB can usually tell where his feet and butt are by feeling the outside of my stomach (so crazy how they can do that!). 

At my OB office, week 36 is when they start internal/cervical exams, to see how the baby is positioned and how things are progressing. My 36-week exam showed I was 1cm, and the Dr. felt his head! EEEK!! We weren't expecting anything yet, so this was kind of a "WOA!" moment for us! I know these exams are not indicators of when the baby will arrive, but it still felt strange and surreal for us to hear that. We could go into labor any day OR we could stay this way for weeks. Only time, and Bee, will tell! :)

 Size of a melon! :) I'm hearing from everyone how small I am, and how all-belly I am.... which is super nice and makes me feel good. I know I'm not huge but sometimes you can't help but feel big in different situations when it's not what you're used to. Sometimes I hear how small I am tooo often (believe it or not) and it makes me worry Bee is too small, but every checkup at the Dr has been totally on par! My weight gain is just under 30 pounds (pregnancy weight.. I'm still not counting IVF weight from the months leading up to pregnancy) and that's right on par with the suggested gain so I feel really good about that, too! :)

I'm super thankful to have made it this far!! I love feeling the big movements and when baby has hiccups. It's all so sweet and fun. My anxiety has totally kicked in and I'm starting to get really nervous about all that's coming down the lane! It's hard for me to envision us actually IN the delivery room or being in labor. I consider myself a wuss and although I know how babies come out, I don't really understand how it's possible at the same time. It all terrifies me a bit, to be quite honest. I keep saying I just want him out safely and to be on the other side of it all with him in our arms and knowing he/I made it through okay. I don't want to wish the experience of labor/delivery away, but at the same time I do because the thought of complications scares me. Even after coming this far, I won't totally be able to relax until he's truly here. See, I have become a hot mess of emotions... crying over missing him in my belly, to worrying like crazy how the heck weak little me is going to handle delivering a baby. Eeek!! 

I think I'm starting to experience contractions here and there... small ones, on occasion. Nothing to cause alarm or call about, and could possibly be Braxton Hicks, who knows. But I definitely understand on a super small scale where this could be headed. haha. My goal for week 37 is to finish packing hospital bags so we are ready to roll. We got the car seat installed this week, so that's one major bonus! 

Keep growing, little Bee!! We love you so much and can't wait to meet you... but Mama is still cherishing the little earthquakes and sweet belly movements with you. <3

Stay tuned!!! :)