37 Weeks!

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I’m 37 weeks pregnant today, which is a milestone – if Luke is born, a stay in the NICU is no longer required! That doesn’t mean it won’t happen (though we pray it doesn’t!), but it’s not a certainty – and I like that.

Luke is head down (not breech – yay!) and I have no idea if he has “dropped” yet. How do I tell? The list of things I don’t know grows by the day.

However, the list of things that need to be done before Luke arrives is getting shorter (yes, there is a literal list hanging on the fridge). Once I cross everything off, feel free to come out and play, Little Guy!

We will have a final growth scan next Thursday, so please keep praying that Luke is getting bigger and that my fluid levels are rising (or are at least above 5). Now that I’m drinking at least 100 ounces of water per day, I feel his kicks a lot more! I think he’s swimming in all of the extra fluid :)

Finally, Mom, Chris, Kourt and the kids are on a cruise to Mexico, Belize and Honduras until Sunday – and of course mom is freaking out about Luke coming while she’s at sea. I don’t see it happening, and I’m happy to report that we are now half way through their vacation with no signs of labor (knock on wood)! Let’s keep Luke cooking until Nana and Company return :)

Feeling Extra Blessed Lately

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Feeling Extra Blessed Lately

These past few weeks I have been feeling “extra blessed.” Like God is “closer than normal” – I’m not sure if that’s possible, since he’s always with us, but I like it :)

His Word speaks more clearly. Praise songs ring deeper. His love, provision and protection are evident at every turn. His blessings are abundant. My heart is overflowing with gratitude, love and joy. Could it be because Luke will be here in 4-ish weeks? It’s probably part of it. But I keep telling myself that Luke isn’t my child – he’s God’s. God is trusting me with this most precious little boy, and it is the most amazing, humbling and slightly terrifying responsibility ever. I am so excited to meet him, to shower him with love and to tell him all about our Savior. I am grateful for the joys and burdens of parenthood that await – and I pray to have them every day, until I am standing in heaven. And I am thankful for each of you who has walked beside us through this pregnancy – your prayers and love have seen us through some highs and lows (thankfully more highs than lows!), and we ask that you keep them coming!

As evidence of the extra blessings, here is a photo of Luke at 35 weeks, 4 days – he finally cooperated with the 3D ultrasound!

On the left: umbilical cord. Then there's a nose, two eyes and a mouth!

On the left: umbilical cord. Then there’s a nose, two eyes and a mouth!

If you’re of the praying type, please pray that Luke continues to grow and that my fluid levels continue to go up. Last week, we found out my amniotic fluid was at a 7 – anything below 5 would require bed rest/hospitalization and induction; “normal” is in the teens. We’re working our way up with lots of water and healthy eating! Also, he’s a smaller guy (though totally healthy), but it wouldn’t hurt for him to get a little taller and put on some ounces before he gets here :)

Showering Luke with Love!

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Showering Luke with Love!

Luke’s baby shower was last weekend and it was FANTASTIC! Everything was beautiful, the food was yummy and it was great to see so many of our friends and family all gathered together to celebrate our baby boy. The shower was hosted by my mom, sister and good friend Nikki (decorator/planer extraordinaire!) and I couldn’t have envisioned anything better – like me, it was simple, fun and easygoing but with a touch of sass :)

One thing is for sure – Luke is LOVED! So many people can’t wait to meet him and were kind enough to shower us with love, prayers and gifts. I can say without a doubt that this little boy’s furniture, clothes and belongings are nicer than most of mine! But the nurses in baby class told us that it’s impossible to spoil a baby, so no worries there :)

Just about every one of his “required” items have been taken care of – crib/dresser, stroller/car seat, pack n play, swing, mattress, bottles, etc. thanks to our amazing friends and family. Last night I wrote approximately 10 million thank you notes and was overcome with gratitude all over again! Our boy is so loved and I cannot wait to introduce him to everyone in 6-ish weeks!

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Baby Classes: Complete!

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Obviously nothing can adequately prepare you for parenthood, but we enrolled in three baby classes to help us learn a few things about taking care of a tiny human who is 100% dependent on us…it just seemed smart.

We actually did the classes in what I would consider reverse order – newborn, breastfeeding and then labor and delivery. In Our baby from the Newborn Care classthe newborn class, we changed clothes/diapers, bathed and aspirated a baby doll and learned about infant cues and some basic do’s and don’t’s. Breastfeeding taught us how to feed the child…obviously. And the labor and delivery class walked us through what would happen with my body during L&D and recovery, ways to cope with the pain, various pain relief options and a tour of the birthing suites/mother-baby rooms.

They were all helpful in their own way, but of course there is no “typical” labor or baby – so we’ll just have to play the cards we’re dealt when that day arrives. Let’s hope God deals us a stacked hand of short labor, high pain tolerance and a happy, healthy baby boy – but if not, He’ll be there to help us through :) Perhaps we’ll have Phyllis, the nurse who taught 2 of our 3 classes, as our mother/baby nurse!

Also, my doctor appears to be on the same page as me on every important baby birthing subject – how many people can be in the room, immediate skin-to-skin contact, delayed cord cutting and using a C-section as a last possible resort – so that’s great! Dr. Miller has been great through all of this and I’m starting to get really excited about Luke actually being here…which is good, since I’m 32 weeks pregnant!

Babymoon!

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Babymoon!

Hands down, taking a Babymoon was a great idea, perhaps one of our best – I’d encourage anyone to do it. Sure, it’s a vacation with a silly moniker attached, but it’s fun and blissful – and in our case, the last vacation as a family of two.

We spent four amazing nights and five days at the Hyatt Ziva Puerto Vallarta, a beautiful, secluded, all-inclusive resort in the “Romantic Zone” of the city (aka south of the city, on the Bay of Banderas). Every day, we alternated between beach and pool, beneath the palapa or the umbrella. Every night, the sunset was phenomenal – God really showed off his artistic abilities. There were several serious conversations about “was this better than our honeymoon?” Although we never determined a solid yes/no (settling on “it’s just DIFFERENT and AMAZING!”), I think if I’d been able to drink the fruity adult beverages and do something adventurous (say, ziplining), it may have put it over the top.

This vacation was a stark contrast from last summer’s big Euro Trip. There, we were blowing and going, seeing 5 things per day and running around like lunatics. This time, we slept late, ate whatever/whenever/for free, toured nothing and were extremely lazy. I read TWO books. It was GLORIOUS.

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Siblings Do GARTH

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Y’all…Garth Brooks is hands down the best performer I’ve ever seen. From first note to last, he was energetic,Sisters! engaging and entertaining, giving the audience everything we wanted. Perhaps there is something magical about being born on February 7…I’m just saying.

On Saturday, six of my favorite siblings (me and Kourt, Haley and Ashley, and Blake and Andee) took the Toyota Center by storm to see Garth Brooks perform in Houston for the first time in 17 years. I’ve long counted having not seen Garth perform live as a regret in life (granted, I was only 12 the last time he was in town), so as soon as the concert announcement was made I KNEW I was going, no matter what. Luckily, the concert was at Toyota Center and my CEO has VIP ticket access to all TC events, thanks to his longtime status as a Houston Rockets season ticket holder (thanks again, Phil!) – I emailed him weeks before tickets went on sale, begging him to send me his VIP access code. Of course, he did – and we scored 10th row center seats! It was FANTASTIC.

Sibling Love!

I knew the show was going to be amazing when Garth opened with “I have been in your position and have come to hear one of my old favorite acts perform. I know you want to hear the old stuff. Sure, I have a new album coming out – but we’re not going to play any of that. We’re going to play the good stuff! The stuff you love!” GOOD MAN, GARTH. GOOD MAN.

If there is a Garth Brooks song you can name off the top of your head, he played it – and every single audience member GARTH!sang along to every word of every verse. Yes, even the bonus verses found only when Garth sings live! I correctly predicted the first and last Garth songs to be played (HOLLA!) and enjoyed every second of his 2 hour and 15 minute performance. I was exhausted just watching him run around – and laughed at his fat/old guy jokes (made as his own expense) :)

Baby Daddy’s Back Status

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Thanks so much for all of your prayers and well wishes last week as Chad had his ESI (epidural steroid injection) to fix a slipped disc. He’s been injured for many months now (we aren’t exactly sure how long, nor how he did it), and the ESI has definitely had a significant impact on his pain level. It takes a full two weeks to know the results, but he is still in some pain (especially when walking), so it looks like we may have to do a series of the shots :( Keep praying, y’all! We need him 100% when Luke gets here :)

Also, I’d just like to add that the doctor said he should have been in so much pain that he wasn’t able to walk or get out of bed. Apparently Baby Daddy has the pain tolerance of a superhero – is there any way he can deliver the baby for me? That’d be great.