Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Joys of Pregnancy and Other Fabulous Tales

Yeah, I've got nothing on that one!
Since I am waiting to move on to the next step in decorating the nursery, I think this is a good time for me to finally post about the joyous and not so joyous parts of my pregnancy. Everyone I have talked to seems to have a different take on these joys and non-joys, as every pregnancy is different, but that's beside the point. Here it is all about me, bwahahahaha! (sinister, rule the world laugh!).  Anyway, I figured I should document what my experience in the baby making department has been like from the more physical, rather than the mental side of things.  I will probably forget some of this stuff if I wait too long, so now is the moment and I must seize it!  Just a fair warning, I don't like to hold any punches, so this may get a bit graphic for some.  But hey, that's just the kind of gal I am.  And is honesty the most important policy?  I do believe I read that somewhere once upon a time....

But first, here's your music video for this round!

Okay, now where to begin?  I'm seriously debating how to organize this segment...all the bad things at once, followed by all the good?  Mix it up by alternating between the two?  Chronological order by onset of experience?  I guess for the first time ever I'll just completely wing it and see where the flow takes me.  If it gets too chaotic I can always reorganize myself later, right?  Oh, and this will most likely be an entry that is added to as I get further along, so I guess winging it is probably best since the style will change from time to time as I delve deeper into my pregnancy.

I'll start with something happy, not that anything has made me unhappy, but good things are always nice to hear....

Now I have heard many a tale of being pregnant, but no one ever mentioned to me the waking up effect on the growing belly.  This is also one of the most amazing things I've experienced along the way, until actual movement occurred, so it's probably a good thing to put first.  Now I cannot speak for other preggos out there, but for myself, every time I wake up and get out of bed in the morning, I can literally watch my belly change shape.  It is so wondrously cool! When I first get up, my belly is higher up with a little bit of a flattened region between it and my pubic area (oh the pubic area, we'll get to that one later!).  I imagine it is because little Piper has had the weight of the world taken off her shoulders whilst I sleep, so she sits higher and more towards the back of my uterus.  I'm no expert mind you, this is just what makes sense in my head, so don't take my word that this is what is really going on in there.  But anyway, once I stand up to go start my morning ritual, I can literally watch my belly drop from the higher position to a much lower one that extends more in the front.  When I first noticed the phenomenon it was taking about the time it took for me to shower.  Now that I'm really beginning to show, I can simply stand there and watch it happen within a few seconds.  I imagine this is not something that is purely unique to my pregnancy, it's just something no other mother has yet to mention to me.  And why not?  It rocks!  Then again, I think everything about pregnancy rocks, even the not so pleasant parts.

And on that note, let's move on to a not so pleasant part....

Hmmm, where to start?  I think I should ease everyone into the not so pleasant parts so I'll begin with a not-so-not-so unpleasant part.  That make any sense?  If I was going in chronological order here, and was like a shit-ton of women out there, puking my guts up would be first on my list.  However, I was very lucky in the morning sickness department as I had not even the slightest bit of nausea, EVER!  Which is weird.  Every time I got sick as a child, and it has continued into my adulthood, every damn time I get the sniffles I hurl!  I've gotten so used to it that it doesn't even bother me to puke anymore.  So naturally I just assumed I would be a toilet hugger throughout my pregnancy. Well thank goodness for small favors as that did not occur!  You're wondering where the unpleasant part is now, right?  Sorry, got a bit off track and what I am about to tell you has absolutley nothing to do with puking.  My first unpleasant experience was, oh wait for the absolute horror....

         Horse Hair!!!!
And I couldn't have coffee to make it better like this chick!
Don't laugh, this stage was an absolute I-almost-shaved-my-head-bald phase!  My hair was so soft and luxurious and the prenatals were making it even more beautiful than ever, and then one day I woke up with dry, knotted, impossible to brush for all the damned tangles, snarled-up,disgustingly icky hair!  And that's putting it nicely.  It literally changed overnight!  It was so bad that every time I ran a brush through it to work out the tangles, it would instantly knot back up.  In order to help alleviate the situation I went to my hair dresser to get what I thought must simply be nasty split ends removed.  Guess what?  After the cut and during the styling she complained that my hair was impossible to work with because of the retangling effect...and she's a professional!  I tried leave in conditioner.  I tried not washing it.  I tried not washing it and using expensive conditioners followed by leave in conditioners.  Nothing worked!  I eventually broke down and decided to have it all chopped off.  Mind you I love my long hair and it was down past my shoulder blades, but I just couldn't take it anymore.  Luckily before I made that second appointment to have the hell hair removed from this world, I put out a desperate post on Facebook.  Well, it was more of a whiny, complaining, pity-party post than anything else, but you get my drift.
I'm sure this is what most people thought!
Lucky for me my female motherhood compadres responded to my desperate plea and told me DON'T DO IT!  They begged me to refrain from going into all out angry Brittney Spears with an umbrella mode and just wait a few weeks.
I totally get it now!
They promised me it would get better.  So against my better judgement I waited, and boy am I glad I did.  After about three weeks of hell hair, I woke up one morning and just as soon as it had appeared, it disappeared.  It was once again full and shiny and luxurious and awesome!  It was the best hair ever!  Now it was probably no better than before the horse-hair weeks, but it felt better than it ever had because of the hell it had put me through.  My hair and I are now on a friendly basis once again.  I like to think it lost its attitude because I threatened it with extinction, but I'm sure it was all just a hormonal thing.

One good thing and one bad thing down.  On to another good thing!

Next up in the rockin' pregnancy department....PORN BOOBS!  Yep, I said it, PORN BOOBS!  There is nothing  more awesome than waking up one morning and realizing you have finally grown those breasts you've been waiting on since you were twelve years old.  It might have taken almost three decades, but they have finally arrived!  I began my pregnancy as a small 34B, nothing spectacular in size but perky as could be. (hahaha, I rhymed!)  Over the last decade I had finally gotten used to the fact they weren't getting any larger.  Sometimes they would get smaller, like when I was on an extreme workout kick, but never any larger.  And I was fine with that, at least that's what I told myself because there was no changing them.  Well, not without surgery and I haven't ever been big on wanting implants (read between the lines that statement screams that I never had the money so therefore I didn't want).  So 34B...that was what I was given, and that was what I lived with...until now.

It is no secret that your breasts grow when pregnant.  We all know why, all that hormonal stuff and needing to supply milk for the baby, yada, yada, yada.  However, there is no set amount one will expand in the chest region based on their every day normal bra size.  I've read some horror stories of women who expanded to a K cup size once they got pregnant.  I didn't even know they made size K bras!  I'm sure these women started with much larger busts than myself, but dear Jesus what a nightmare!
These are 42K, and my artwork is awesome!
I've also heard stories of women who didn't increase in size at all.  Neither one of those scenarios was where I wanted to head once pregnant, and luckily neither one of those scenarios reflects what I got.  Luckily for me I gained only a cup size within the first month of my pregnancy.  It was nice to gain some right off the bat while I was still somewhat smaller everywhere else (I'll get to what that "somewhat" means here in a minute).  At first I was afraid that since I gained a cup size so quickly, that I would continue to grow and then have out of control massive boobs like those K cups!  But after the first little bit, the growing tapered off and they remained steady for awhile.  There I stayed at a nice 36C (yes I gained a bit around the rib cage, too) up until just recently.

As I began to grow everywhere else, my boobs for a time stayed where they were.  Then all of a sudden, within the last couple of weeks, I started getting sore boobs again.  Low and behold they were once more on the expansion route.  To make a short story short, I have just recently gone up to a D cup!  Now I'm not a huge D cup, but enough that the C bra is shamefully too small, and the girls are still perky which is a blessing.  I'm hoping that mother nature will be kind and let me not only keep some of what I've gained after everything is said and done, but I'm also hoping she'll be kind enough to let me keep them upright!  On the opposite spectrum of sprouting pregnancy porn boobs, I have read horror stories of deflating, droopy post pregnancy boobs.  I think I'll be fine, but have my fingers crossed regardless.
Yep, don't want to go there!

I'll entitle this next section "Why are my thighs touching?!?!?!"

As you can probably guess, this segment will not be a part of the pregnancy pleasantries.  This segment is all about weight gain!!!!

This section will not be FUN!!!  AHHHHHH!!!  

I'll begin with a little pre-pregnancy story.  Before I actually got the + sign on the old pregnancy stick, I spent three months trying to get that + sign.  During that three months the doctor's put me on Clomid and Progesterone cream.  The Clomid was to produce more than one viable egg a month and the Progesterone was to pump up the lining of my uterus so the implanted egg would stick better (that is the non-technical version).  Unfortunately, these two drugs have a slightly adverse side effect...weight gain!  My usual pre-pregnancy weight normally stays right around 135lbs max, and I was at this weight when my baby making adventure began.  To once again make a short story short, by the time I got that positive reading I had packed on 20lbs of side effect weight!  You heard that right, 20lbs!!!  I really can't believe I just threw that out there because only those who see me regularly have been privy to that knowledge, but what the hey!  So by the time I actually registered as pregnant I was close to a whopping 155lbs!  Now this may not seem like much to some people, I'm sure there are some women reading this right now who are rolling their eyes, but to me it was 20lbs heavier than I had ever been in my life.  I couldn't fit into any of my jeans and was forced to go on a dress buying spree to hide the extra weight until I could safely say I was showing.  I managed to cope pretty well with the extra weight knowing that in the end it would all be worth it...until I went to the beach.  

Right around the end of my first trimester, my parents and I took a little beach vacation.  I was past the just bloated stage and into the beginning to show stage, so that was great.  I was able to buy one of those modest 2-piece pregnancy suits with a tankini top and a little skirted bottom. I really only had one suit to choose from cause it was at the end of the season and there was only one left in the store that was remotely close to my size.  Most of them were extra large suits, so I was lucky they had the one medium left in stock.  Anyway, I wore the suit with pride and it offered enough coverage for that awkward stage of being in between really looking pregnant and looking like you drank too much beer the night before.  And with the extra weight I had gained pre-pregnancy, I was definitely glad of the extra thigh coverage.  I've always had nice legs and a damn good butt, but that extra weight made me a little uncomfy when it came to running around in a near thong like so many summers before.  Okay Ashley, stay on track...

So one day during this vacation we decided to take a day trip to a different beach than the one in front of our condo.  It was great because we had this completely gorgeous beach all to ourselves this particular day, which turned out to be a good thing considering my discovery that day.  As we were loading up to go back to our condo, and taking the considerable trek from ocean to vehicle, I noticed a burning sensation between my thighs.  At this point I realized my thighs, for the first time in my life, were rubbing together as I walked!  The burning sensation?  That was from the sand that was stuck to them and it was causing them to chafe with each agonizing step.  WTF?!?!?!?  I was completely mortified by this realization.  I had once been a professional ballet dancer and my thighs were a source of pride in my life...well no longer. Upon this horrid discovery I was greatly appreciative that this particular stretch of pristine beach was empty this day.  Once the discovery was made, and I realized the chafing was not going to stop, I decided to say fuck it and just waddled back to the car with my legs spread apart.  Yes, both my parents laughed hysterically at my new slightly retarded looking gait, all bowlegged and hunched over with my ass sticking way back behind me, but at least my thighs were no longer touching!
Yep, I looked this ridiculous!
After I got to the car I noticed my inner thighs were red and splotchy from the sanding they had just received.  I'm glad I was able to walk that ridiculous walk or they might have bled!  Anyways, needless to say I will not be wearing any corduroy this winter lest I should start a fire!
Once again, my artwork rocks!
Whew, glad that confession is out of the bag!  Now I can go on with my life free of that shameful burden.  Since we're on  the topic of thighs, I might as well just take you on a little trip north and go right into a little discussion about the pregnancy hoo-hoo.  Bet you thought you were going to get another pleasant topic, but oh no, let's just keep going down the path of shame and get all the fun (AHHHHHH!) stuff out of the way.  This voyage into the pregnant vagina will have two lovely parts distinctly different from one another.  The first part will cover a pregnancy delight that has been going on since day one, the second will be short and sweet and cover a more recently occurring event.

First off, let's talk about what I like to call the pregnancy vagina.  I know that sounds like it could go in oh so many directions, but the only direction this story is going is down. That's because what I have dubbed the "pregnancy vagina" is the ever annoying and constantly uber wet hoo-hoo that is a direct result of toting around a fetus.
Just couldn't help myself!
Who knows why pregnancy brings on a rain forest like environment to your nether regions, I'm sure once again it's all about hormones, but the fact is that it does!  And if you were extra lucky like me and had to shove a tube of Progesterone cream up your va-jay-jay every single morning for the first twelve weeks (not including the two months of pre-pregnancy injections), then you have had not only the normal pregnancy vagina, but the additional fun (AHHHHHH!) of dealing with a gooey cream slowly expectorating itself all damn day, every day, for what probably seemed like the longest twelve weeks of your life!  I guess I should have warned the squeamish to skip down to the next paragraph, oops!  Sorry about that one.  So there you have it, a woman's va-jay-jay is in a constant state of panty soiling during the baby baking process. To me it doesn't seem to serve any purpose, but then again what do I know?  I do know that throughout the first trimester that icky wet feeling had me constantly terrified that I had started bleeding every time I went to the bathroom.  So maybe that is why it happens, to keep the woman on her toes and constantly in fear that she is possibly losing the baby she worked so hard to create...sounds more like a cruel joke doesn't it?

Okay, now on to part dos of the vagina monologues...

As of the beginning of this week, and I discovered this in the shower Monday before work, I can no longer actually see my hoo-hoo.  Believe me, I tried to see it Monday morning.  You'd be surprised at the positions a lady can contort her body into in order to get a good view of the goods whilst holding a sharp object, aka shaving razor!  I ridiculously even tried holding up my belly with one hand whilst leaning way far forward to peer over the top.  Of course this didn't work and if it actually had I still couldn't have operated the razor with one hand while shaving anyway.  In my opinion there are way too many folds and crevices to maneuver around down there, so it definitely is a task that requires two hands!  No matter how you look at it, or in this case don't, my belly has overtaken my ability to properly groom.

Needless to say, it's a very good thing I've been grooming down there for years because now I can practically do it in the dark with my eyes closed.  Well I guess there would be no real point in closing my eyes if it was already dark, but you get my point.  So from here on out, I will be forced into grooming blindly.  I will admit I am horribly afraid that the next time I have to go in for an exam in which they actually have to check my girly parts, I'm sure that will be around the time of labor, that I will have grossly miscalculated my blind grooming skills and that I will end up having Chewbacca-like patches of growth that I have missed.
The horror!!!
I've spent my entire going-to-the-gynecologist career trying to impress the doctors with my grooming skills, and now I am facing the day when all that work will be thrown out the window and they will forever remember me as that chick with the patchwork quilt between her thighs!  I know I shouldn't care, and I probably won't even be able to get to it by that point in order to turn it into some Picassoesque style shave job, but I just can't help it!  I have at least some dignity I would like to maintain!
This was just too funny not to share, cause this is what I'll look like!
Alrighty then, I think I have spent enough time discussing my vagina, so on to more good stuff!

It is really quite difficult to pinpoint all the good things, besides the boobs and cool morning belly drop since those are so specific, because honestly everything is just so damn fantastic!  I finally have begun to feel Piper moving which is super duper wicked awesome!  I was actually feeling her here and there for a couple of weeks and didn't really even know it.  My mother told me the first baby movements felt like a flutter, sort of like a butterfly tickling you with it's wings but from the inside.  I was so set in my head that that was the feeling I was supposed to feel, that I failed to even think I could experience those first movements in an entirely different way.  When I finally got to 20 weeks last week, I went on an internet hunt for other women's descriptions of those first movements.  What I found got me really excited because I realized that the odd feelings I was experiencing were actually Piper doing her thing.

To me there were no real flutter sensations.  What I felt was more of a heavy, rolling, sometimes dropping sensation.  Ugh, it is so difficult to describe what I mean!  One of the ways I have been describing's a feeling like a manatee lumbering through water.  Why this explanation?  I have no idea!  To me it makes sense in my head and then when I say it out loud it just sounds crazy, much like when trying to describe a dream.  I do sometimes feel her kick, I did a few times last night while lying in bed with my hand on my stomach, but mostly it is that swimming, rolling manatee feeling.  I can't wait to see how those little sensations of movement change as I get further along.

Swan Lake music, how appropriate!

Notice in the video about 2 minutes in where the manatee is rolling around?  Yep, that's how it feels when Piper does it!  Does that make any sense at all to anyone else?  Surely I'm not the only pregnant woman to talk about birthing a manatee!  Okay, I'll move on!

I'll finish up this post by saying that it is absolutely amazing to know I have a little person camped out inside of me.  I kind of feel sorry for men that none of them will ever know what it is like to carry another being around in their tummy (yes I know the baby isn't really in my tummy!) and feel them grow and move and all that fun stuff.  How very lucky I am to have been born with this capability!
Like a boss!
And how very lucky I am to have the ability to create and grow this life even as a single woman.  It must be excruciatingly difficult to be a single man who wants a baby.  While I have the ability to go out, procure some sperm, and voila; they could never go that same route alone.  Yes men have the ability to be great single parents, no doubt about that, but they do not have the equipment to have a child without a woman's involvement...and that's really gotta suck for them!  I'm so very, very thankful that I do not have to have a mans direct involvement to experience this creation of life.  No I couldn't do it without the sperm, but thankfully there are men out there who are willing to help women like myself.  I still wish I could give my sperm donor a great big hug and kiss for making me the happiest woman on the planet, but alas that is impossible.  It's funny that the one guy who finally gave me everything I ever wanted, put a forever smile on my face, and brought me to the point of loving someone so much that I feel like I could just explode from it all will be the one guy I will assuredly never meet.  Weird how life works out sometimes.  But besides all that...

That just says it all!

As always, I hope you enjoyed this post.  And if you did, I would be overjoyed if you would click on the banner below and be kind enough to vote for me on Top Baby Blogs.  There are no forms to fill out or information to give, just a click on the banner and then another click on the owl.  It's literally that simple!

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Adventures in Nurseryland, Part I

Things get curioser and curioser!
Now that I officially know I'm having little Piper instead of little Beckett, of course I've been in all-out nursery design mode!  It started out as an innocent foray into mulling over various ideas, with the end goal always aimed at a vintage Alice in Wonderland look, but it has turned into an all-out crack-like addiction!  I have gone from browsing items in Babies-R-Us to a full-on Etsy shopping spree of eclectic one-of-a-kind items that have completely changed my initial choices of everyday flouncy patterns into a fantastical creation of babyland joy!

This is my mind on decorating, seriously!

Let's see if I can mange to start somewhere near the beginning of my fall into decorating madness.  It all started innocently on a trip to Babies-R-Us the day I found out that I was having a little girl.  My mom and I had already been there a couple of times, and I thought I had absolutely 100% positively picked out a crib and bedding set for either sex.  For a little boy I was going with the Driftwood crib...
What goes better with pirate's than driftwood?
 inside a pirate themed room with a nautical bedding set....
Ships, deserted islands, monkeys...all leads to pirates!
For a girl it was the Disney Princess canopy crib (no actual Disney anything on it as that is too overdone in my opinion)...
See, no real Disney at all!
 and this beautiful pink and dark green bedding set with the heart mobile.
Isn't it pretty?

On this trip to the baby store I actually was pretty much still decided on the canopy crib, but I was toying with changing my little girl's bedding to this Le Fleur set because I absolutely loved the mobile!

Love the fluff-ball mobile and how it is tiered!
While my mom said I should go ahead and purchase what I wanted in case items were discontinued or got sold out, since I was feeling torn I left the store with just one cute little outfit instead.  And it is a very good thing I did because within a matter of days everything had changed.

At least I had my theme down, vintage Alice in Wonderland.  This I was definitely 100% certain on.  So like all normal people, I began browsing online for various Alice themed items.  Actually, I originally started browsing crib bedding online since I figured if I was torn between the two at Babies-R-Us, then why not scour what else was available out there in the world.  The scouring for bedding led to a friend mentioning having hand-made bedding done and maybe looking at Etsy for inspiration.  Of course I thought that was a brilliant idea.  So I got onto Etsy and searched "Alice in Wonderland."

One of the first items to catch my eye was this incredible teacup bookcase.  You should know, I love books!  And since I have already started Piper's book collection, she would most certainly be needing a bookcase in her I took a closer look at said teacup bookcase.  Needless to say, I fell in love with the bookcase!
Isn't it fabulous?
Not only was it perfect for my theme, the creator/artisan Scott Blackwell at WoodCurve was willing to customize it for me and cover the shipping costs!  So even though the price was steep, to have a hand-made customized teacup bookcase was too incredible to pass up.  Soon Piper's bookcase will be arriving.  Each cup will be painted in a different pastel hue (inside and out not just the inside as shown), and each teacup will have specialized decals reminiscent of the Disney World teacups ride.
Totally awesome!
Now it may sound like the bookcase was the first item I purchased off Etsy and the beginning of the change from soft florals to bright bursts of color.  And it almost was, but it took me a few days to actually give in to my whims and go for the gusto!  My first actually purchased piece was found the same day as the teacup bookcase, however.  After I discovered the bookcase, I decided to look at other Alice inspired pieces of handmade furniture.  My intention was solely just to browse, and I swear I had every intention of sticking to my intention! But as luck/fate would have it, I found another must-have piece!

This piece, a brightly colored purple and yellow vintage side table, had all the whimsy of Alice and was just absolutely fun in its creation.  How could I resist such a wonderful morsel of fantastical delight?
Yeah, just slightly hard to resist!
I found this amazing piece at CasaKarmaDecor along with another must-have piece. My mom ran across this old key holder.  The bright color blue was once again perfect for where I felt the nursery was headed.
Alice has to have a key for all those doors!
The key shape of the key holder, of course, fit right into the Alice theme.  And on top of that, I determined it would be the perfect item from which to hang the wooden decorated letters that are going to spell out Piper's name. I was thinking of creating the letters myself, however, I have found yet another Etsy artist who does Alice in Wonderland themed and personalized letters.
Cute, huh?
I'm very tempted to simply scrap the notion of me being able to recreate these, but I think I could pull it off with some decoupaging and a little patience.  I have been searching for pictures I could use to recreate the little decals/add-ons, but I'm having no luck finding anything suitable.  I will continue to search, however, for the price on these is up there and I've spent quite a lot already.  But if it comes down to it, what's another $100 right?

By now you can probably see that my soft, floral, vintage Alice room had at this point begun to turn into a brightly colored Wonderland more reminiscent of the Disney version (as far as colors go).  So I began to ponder my original idea.  Yes I loved the vintage Lewis Carroll version with the artwork by JohnTenniel.  However, I also loved the over the top world of colors sported by the Disney version, too.  So a mix would be best, right?  Right!

Now that I had become comfortable with my new direction for the nursery, it was on to more shopping!  I had to come up with entirely new nursery furniture that would fit with my teacup bookcase and lively side table.  The white canopy crib was no longer going to fit as well as it had before, and neither would the bedding.  Soft colors with pale florals was not going to sit well within the walls of whimsy I was planning on creating.  I decided my next task was to choose a crib and bedding set that would work with the pieces I had already purchased.

Finding the bedding was not an easy task to say the least!  I wanted bright colors but nothing garish and unfeminine.  I still wanted to keep the vintage feel while incorporating the whimsy.  So I scoured the internet from top to bottom, side to side, all around and on every diagonal.  After searching every fancy-shmancy nursery decor site out there, I finally decided on a set I found on the BabySuperMall website.
It is absolutely perfect!
Just a closer-up look at the patterning.
I fell in love with the Dena Sophia set instantly.  It was soft and feminine yet still brightly colored in a myriad of whimsical shades.  And it was a patchwork design, which not only keeps that vintage feel, but also is reminiscent of the quilts my great grandmother used to make for me.  Piper is named for my Grandmother Wood.  Her name was Amelia and that is Piper's middle name.  So having a bedding set that reminds me of her just fits right into everything.

Once I had found the perfect bedding, I moved onto the crib.  This was another painstaking task that had me running all over the net.  I found some amazing cribs that were way too expensive, and I found some boring ones that were on the less expensive side...neither seemed to fit.  Then I ran across one in particular that was a special edition of another crib in a very special "Hope" pink color.  This Hope crib was created by the designers at Newport Cottages in conjunction with Little Crown Interiors.  In addition to the specialized pink color, 10% of all sales from the crib go to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.  So not only was it the perfect crib, proceeds from my purchase would go to a wonderful cause.  love a good win-win.
Notice that the bedding pictured has one of my fabrics in it!
Yeah, I was also surprised to see one of the fabrics from my bedding featured in the picture of this crib at Rosenberry Rooms.  This bed also has a couple of unique features besides the specialized pink color.

Side panel with fabric of your choice!
The sides of this crib have a special panel inlaid with the fabric of your choice.  This was a little extra touch that I just couldn't resist.  While I was initially going to go with the aqua damask fabric from my bedding set, I could not find even a yard of the fabric anywhere since it has been discontinued.  Instead, I have chosen another fabric which I will get to later as it is wrapped up in yet another element in my nursery design I had not yet decided upon when I discovered the crib.
Personalized plaque up to 132 characters!
In addition to the fabric panels, the side of the crib sports a plaque which you can have engraved with a personalized message up to 32 characters.  After much deliberating, I am going with a condensed version of a line from the E. E.Cummings poem I Carry Your Heart.  While the original line is "I carry your heart, I carry it in my heart," I am shrinking it down to fit so the plaque will read "I carry your heart in my heart."  I adore the poem and I think it speaks exactly to the feelings I already have for my unborn daughter.  I will carry her with me always, so what better way to express that sentiment?

Okay, so where are we on the nursery design?  I've got the side table, the bookcase, the crib picked out, the bedding ensemble, oh wait, I forgot to mention the mobile that came with the bedding.  Remember how I said that I loved the fluffy balls and the tiered style of the mobile with the Le Fleur bedding set?  Well low and behold guess what came with the Dena Sophia bedding set?  Check these two images out and tell me that the fates didn't somehow intervene on this one!
The one on the left is the new one!
See what I mean?  Exact same fabric fluff balls and the exact same tiered design.  In the end I didn't have to give up the styling of the mobile to get the bedding I wanted.  I tell you it was fate!

Okay, back to where I was.  Got the side table, the bookcase, the crib and bedding.  Now on to the rest of the furniture!  I have it all picked out, halfway paid for until it is completed, and I will be picking it up the weekend of January 18th all the way in San Antonio.  I decided a ten hour each way drive would be a lot better than the hundreds of dollars it would cost to have it shipped.  So, are you dying to see it or what?

First, I once again found this furniture on Etsy.  Imagine that!  I was once again browsing Alice inspired pieces when I came across a site called TraceysFancys.  Tracey does amazing work refurbishing old vintage/antique furniture and painting it to your heart's desire.  Her site is full of whimsical pieces to which I was instantly drawn.  I absolutely loved her eye for design and color and knew I had to have her do a piece for me.  So I began my correspondence with her to see what we could come up with.  After settling on which pieces I wanted done and initial costs, we then discussed design elements.  I talked with her about the nursery's theme and sent her pictures of everything I had already.  What I wanted from her was a dresser and either a chest or armoire that would fit the theme and the color scheme I was now 100% invested in.  And to my absolute delight, she got as excited as myself about the project and by the next day had come across a dresser and an chest/armoire that were, once again, perfect!
French Provincial Perfection!
The two pieces she found while out scouring the world for awesome furniture were of the French Provincial style and were on a slightly smaller scale than her usual pieces.  Not only were they the perfect size for a nursery, the smaller scale also meant a slight savings to me, woohoo!  But what drew her in, as it did myself, were the legs on the furniture and the floral-like appliques.  As you can see, they are quite dainty and adorable.  They are also very similar to the legs on the crib, yet another sign of the fates!  When Tracey sent me the pictures of the above furniture, I just knew these were the pieces I must have to complete Piper's Wonderland!
Close up of the dresser so you can see the details better.
Another great detail of the dresser is that the drawers are 10" deep!  A little girl can fit lots of frilly outfits in drawers that deep.

Inside the chest/armoire.
As you can see, the armoire looking chest has hidden drawers inside.  I think their design is perfect for onesies (or other small outfits) and the many accessories little girls come with.  Look at all that room for hair bows and frilly adornments!

So there you have it, my last two needed pieces of furniture for the nursery.  Once they were chosen, we then began the fun part of deciding what type of colors and designs I wanted them to have.  In order to get the design juices flowing, Tracey had me look around and send her pictures of pieces that inspired me.  I found several on her own site, of course, and I also found several pieces roaming the net in other places.  While compiling these picks, I ran across a certain design element I hinted at before while talking about the fabric panel on the crib.  Check out the top on this piece.
I instantly fell head-over-heels in love with the black and white harlequin top, and I instantaneously knew my furniture must have the same style tops.  This one little element then set off a whirlwind of ideas.  Since I could not find the originally chosen aqua damask fabric for the crib panel, I went and found a wonderful black and white harlequin fabric for the panels, whoopie!  I am also incorporating the fabric into the nursery's curtains.  The harlequin fabric will be used for a valance and the tied back side portions of the curtains, while the middle sections will be sheers of various colors that correspond to the rest of the color scheme.  They will be awesome!  Okay, back to the rest of the furniture design.

After I decided that the tops had to be the harlequin, I had to choose the colors for the rest of the pieces.  I knew I wanted each piece to be unique from the other as far as color went, and I went from there.  Now while I haven't 100% completed the design of the pieces, Tracey and I are waiting on a sample of my crib's paint to match up the pinks, I have narrowed my colors down.

One of the pieces, most likely the dresser, will be aqua with yellow highlights.  The other piece will be lavender (most likely two different shades) with citron green highlights (sort of an apple/lime shade).  The chest will have a floral style monogram "P" on each side, and somewhere we will be incorporating stripes.  Here are a few pics of other pieces inspiring my pieces:
Another one of Tracey's pieces
This chest really grabbed my attention on Tracey's site.  The monogram on the side inspired my own wish for a monogram on my chest.  The stripes are also an design element I want incorporated into my chest (hence the need for two shades of lavender).  The citron will be used in much of the same way as the pink is here.
Dig the color scheme!
This piece I simply used as an inspiration for the aqua and yellow scheme of the dresser.  I think the two colors play nicely together.  I also used this piece as an inspiration for keeping my pieces with that shabby-chic look.  I don't want them overly distressed, but a slight distressing adds to the vintage feel I'm going for.
Floral monogram idea.
I got the floral monogram idea from the above design.  I am unsure of exactly what my monogram will look like, but I sent this to Tracey to use as a jumping off point.  I respect her artistic eye and talents and can't wait to see what she does with it all.

So that is as far as we've really come on the pieces Tracey is working on.  I do know I will also be incorporating the pink from the crib into both piece in part of the floral-like applique.  As for additional design elements, once I get my crib sample in and get all my paint chips and samples mailed to Tracey, we will then brainstorm some more.  Now that I have the colors chosen and a basic blueprint for what I want, I'm pretty much going to trust her with the details.  From what I've seen of her work, I have no worries that she will absolutely stun me with the finished design.  Cannot wait to see the finalized pieces in January!

Besides a few other decorative pieces, that about covers what I have accomplished in the nursery so far.  Wait, I have decided on paint for the walls and ceiling, too.  I am going with a light blue ceiling with clouds painted on it.  I am most likely going with a lavender frost paint for the walls (or maybe a very light pink, still flopping around on that one) and then I have to decide on the color for the crown molding which will most likely be a darker shade of the wall color...I think.  Okay, now back to the decorative pieces!

Here are the piece I have purchased so far:

Most amazing Humpty Dumpty ever!
This Humpty Dumpty I found while at my last prenatal visit.  He was sitting on the top shelf of the Tipton and Hurst in Baptist Hospital here locally.  He is number 21 (or was it 22) out of 250 made by Mark Roberts who usually does fairies but did a whole Mother Goose series, too.  The picture doesn't do him justice but he is stunning!  For some reason men tend to find him creepy while women find him adorable.  Probably a good cultural study in that somewhere.  Anyway, a lot of people forget Humpty Dumpty was in Through the Looking Glass (Alice's second adventure in Wonderland) and was not just a Mother Goose character.  So as you can see, he just fits right in with all his whimsy and colorful clothes!

Alice banner
The Alice banner has eight different heavy card stock images strung together with a blue ribbon.  All the images depict the original artwork by John Tenniel in the Lewis Carroll novel.  I found the banner on Etsy at Creatinsbyminda who does a lot of hand made banners and other such items.

Freaking amazing!
I found this clock on Etsy, too.  It was created by Daniel Herron at blackbunny123.  What is so unique about this clock besides it's numbers are backward and go counterclockwise, the motor has also been manipulated to run counterclockwise.  So it will still tell the right time, just backward.  Too cool, huh?

I would just keep on posting photos, but I have actually run out of items purchased for the nursery!  I do have a rabbit lamp that I purchase some time ago that I will be using, but I will not be posting a pick of it until I'm done redesigning the shade and possibly diddying up Mr. Rabbit, too.  So you'll just have to stay tuned for that one.

So what do you think?  It's going to be a pretty awesome nursery, huh?  I really wanted it to be special and unique, fun and whimsical, bright and feminine and vintage and lovely.  I think I'm heading in the right direction and I couldn't be happier about my choices.  I have never seen an Alice inspired nursery done quite like it, and I can't wait till it is completed and I get to finally see all the pieces together at once.  I know Piper will love it and her little eyes will never get bored.

On a final note, I will leave you with another Alice in Wonderland video that I just loved.  Definitely check it out and when you're through please vote for me at Top Baby Blogs by clicking the banner below the video.  Also feel free to follow me on Facebook.   Until next time, go have some adventures for yourself!

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Let's Talk About Sex Baby

I've been hinting around for quite some time about publishing a post regarding gender prediction.  It has been awhile in coming as I've been off on vacation and slow to get back into the swing of things upon my return.  But finally, after much hemming and hawing (it's a Southern thing), here it is!  But first your video of the blog!

Had to go old school Salt-N-Pepa for this one!

I have spent a good many days throughout my pregnancy wondering about the sex of my unborn child.  I am pretty much 100% positive that every mother-to-be goes through the exact same thing.  Eventually, of course, gender is finally determined via ultrasound (or sometimes genetic testing), but this is usually around the 18 to 20 week mark.  In other words, you have plenty of time to drive yourself mad with trying to predict the sex by way of old wives tales, Chinese gender calendars, internet quizzes, and at-home chemistry tests!  Yes, there are oh so many different ways to ponder the gender genetics of your little bundle.  And yes, I went through most of them and the results are about to be revealed (along with the results of my ultrasound)! So sit back, relax, and get ready for some free entertainment!

I should preface the following little tidbits of information with that while absolutely none of these methods are scientific nor foolproof, they are amusing and fun to play around with.  What else do you have to do while waiting around for the most ultimately exciting ultrasound in the entire world?

1) The Chinese Gender Predictor 

There is an age-old legend that a ancient Chinese chart, one which predicts a baby's gender based on the mother's Chinese lunar age at conception and the Chinese lunar month in which she conceived,.was found in a royal tomb some 700 years ago.  Now that chart is all over the net for anyone to amuse themselves with.  I am one of those people and here are the results of all that gibberish.

Step one was to enter in my date of birth so my Chinese lunar age could be determined.  Just an FYI, the Chinese begin counting your age the day you are conceived.  So basically you are already 9 months old when born.
Step two was to enter the date of conception.  This step was quite easy for me since I knew exactly when that happened thanks to the wonderful world of IUI.
Drum role please...
Step three was the easy part, getting the results.
Am I really having a boy?  Keep reading to find out!
Chines chart method = BOY

2) Ring around the belly time!

This method of sex determination is one of the simplest and oldest out there.  All you have to do is dangle your wedding ring if you've got one (whatever!) on a string above your pregnant stomach.  Of course, with the modern times of single parenting, a wedding ring is no longer required.  You can use a threaded needle, another ring, a pendulum, or other such object that is able to be looped by thread (or stand of hair in some discussed methodologies).  Some say you can also hold the ring or other object above the wrist, but I think that just sounds odd, so I went with the old-fashioned belly dangle.

Once you have the ring or other object dangling (I just love that word!), then you slowly wait for it to move.  If it starts swinging back and forth, then you are supposed to have a boy.  If it swings in a circular motion, that indicates you are toting around a precious little girl.

As for me, I used my college graduation ring at one time and a pendulum from my mom's altar (my mom is Wiccan) another time.  Both times the ring swung back and forth.
My class ring dangled by a strand of hair!
Ring method = BOY

3) The Baking Soda Test

Now this test is one that I had not heard of until last weekend.  For this test you simply place 1TBS o f baking soda into a cup.  Then you pee in another cup.  You then add the pee to the baking soda.  If the mixtures fizzes you're having a boy.  If it just sits there and does nothing you're having a girl.
Yep, that's my fizzy pee!
So I know that's kind of a gross pic, but it's kind of a gross test!  Anyway, the results were all fizzy for me meaning I'm predicted to have a boy.

Baking soda & pee test = BOY

4) The Comet Test

This uber scientific and slightly toxic test requires yet another sample of, you guessed it, pee!  For this method you basically follow the same guidelines as above except this time you use Comet cleanser (the blue-green kind) instead of baking soda.  Now there is another similar test out there using either Drano crystals or Ajax, but those items were not amongst my cleaning supplies and the Comet was readily available.  Upon mixing the pee and Comet (be careful to do this in a well ventilated area and try not to breathe any of the fumes), if the pee stays the color of the Comet (sort of light green) you are having a girl.  If it turns a tropical blue color, then expect a boy.
I'll refrain from another pee pic here!
My results? The uber lovely scented mixture of Comet and urine remained the lightish green color of the Comet.

Comet test = GIRL

5) Random Simple Questions

A. Did you have morning sickness?  Not even a hucklebuck!  Supposedly girls cause morning sickness and boys don't.  No morning sickness = BOY
I say have a big cup of better you than me!

B.  Are you carrying high or low?  I think low right now.  Supposedly boys sit low and girls are on the up     and up.  Sitting low = BOY

C. Is your skin clearer or more broken out right now?  Definitely more broken out!  I feel like I'm back in junior high.  Supposedly girls steal your beauty while boys make you even more beautiful.  (I even had a spell  of extremely dry hair, ugh!)  Beauty succubus = GIRL
I sometimes feel like the Death Star is on my face!
D. Are you carrying all in the front or have you expanded all around?  I hate to admit it but at first I was expanding all around due to the water weight gain brought on by the pre-pregnancy fertility meds.  I've pretty much started losing that and am now carrying in the front.  Now my hips have kept on a bit more weight than normal but not enough to tell I'm preggers from behind...well not until I walk cause my brother says I'm already waddling!  Supposedly if you're carrying a girl you'll become a wide load.  With a boy it's all in the front.  Didn't move into a double wide = BOY
Thank goodness I don't have to fool with beeping when I back up!
E.  Is the baby's heart beat above or below 140?  My little one's has been around 155 the whole time.  Supposedly a heart rate below 140 is a boy and above 140 is a girl.  Be still my beating heart = GIRL

F.  Craving sweets or salty/sour goodies?  The first trimester I was all about the sugar.  Now I'm more in between (in other words all food is great!).  Supposedly all that is sweet means you're toting a sweet little princess.  All salty and sour means a rambunctious little prince is on the way.  More on the sweet side = GIRL

Candy is good in the mouth! (play the video!)
G.  If you pick a key up off the ground do you grab the round or the straight part?  Technically I have't had this one puuled on me, but I usually always pick up by the round part.  Supposedly if you grab for the round end you're having a boy.  Grab for the straight and you're having a girl.  Key to my heart (just a guess) = BOY

H.  Which of your boobs is bigger?  I'm going with the right one on this.  Supposedly left boob expansion means a girl and right means a boy.  Right Boobiliciousness = BOY

I.  Is your pee bright or light yellow?  Yes, another pee test!  Mine is definitely lighter in hue.  Supposedly bright is for boys and light is for girls.  Pee break = GIRL

J.  Are you're nipples dark or light?  Definitely not dark.  Supposedly if they turn dark you're having a son.  If they remain light you are having a daghter.  Tune in Tokyo = GIRL

K.  Do you have more hair on your legs now?  Nope, thank goodness!!!  Supposedly if you turn into Chewbacca then expect a boy.  If you remain not so werewolfy, then it's a girl!  Not hairy like Wookie = GIRL
Wookies need love too!
 L.  Has your face swollen up?  Nope, but my ankles sure have!  Supposedly a girl will make your head big and round and a boy will let it remain somewhat normal.  No Moon Pie head = BOY
I rock at homemade picture art!
M.  Are you getting clumsier?  Another thank goodness no answer for me!  Supposedly if you start tripping over your own shadow you are destined to birth a boy.  If you remain steady expect a girl.  Maintaining composure rather than going head over heels = GIRL

Just kidding!

So now that we've covered a ton of tests and questions, let's add up the results and see where my odds lie.
BOY = 9                                  GIRL = 8

Well there you go!  As per the remarkably scientific methods of the old wives tale universe I should be having a boy, just barely.  If you've been keeping up with the blog or my Facebook page then you know I've been predicting I'm carrying a boy all along.  I've always thought I'd have boys and I have just always known baby boys were in my future.  Well, I went this past Wednesday on Nov. 7th for my 17 week follow-up ultrasound with the high-risk doctor.  By the way, my tests came back so perfect that I went from a 1 in 81 chance of having a Down Syndrome baby to a 1 in 10,000 chance!  The doc was uber pleased at how spectacular my little one is at this point (yeah, I'm a proud mama!).  But I'll save all that for another entry,  cause right now I know you are dying to know what he said about the baby's sex....aren't you?

I took my mom and dad to the appointment with me.  My mom has been to every one, but this was my dads first experience.  He had never seen an in-utero ultrasound before.  Don't forget, when my parents were pushing out pups there was no such thing.  My dad was ecstatic and amazed by the technology and the results.  When he found out the baby's gender he teared did we all.  It was the most wonderfully, exciting, spectacular moment of my life.  And here are the results!!!!

Are you having trouble distinguishing what you're looking at?  I read somewhere on the net that with a girl on an ultrasound you look for the "hamburger."  Now you see it?  Yep, that's the girly goods!  My little princess tried her best to hide those goods during the entire ultrasound.  The doc had to jab her with the ultrasound wand quite a bit to get her to open her legs.  She finally did and she better never open them again until she's at least 30!

All in all, the ultrasound results for sex were quite a surprise to say the least.  I honestly have to admit, even though I was excited when I thought I was having a boy, I am over the moon about having a little girl.  Being a single mom I'm sure a little girl will be easier.  Besides that, I was once a professional ballet dancer and I would love for her to enjoy dancing as much as I did.  I will of course put her in ballet lessons, but if she absolutely hates it then I definitely won't push her.  But oh how I hope she adores the music, the movement, the lights, the costumes...everything my world revolved around until my early 20s.  And if she does I hope she is talented and doesn't have two left feet, although I'd let her dance even if she did, hahahaha!

What a remarkable thing, knowing now the gender of my child.  It somehow makes everything even that much better.  Now I get to call her by her name Piper Amelia, start planning the nursery, start shopping for tutus, and I just love how people's faces light up when I tell them I'm having a girl.  People seem to have a stronger reaction to me carrying a girl over a boy...aren't we just the luckiest sex!

I'll wrap things up this time around with a few pics from the ultrasound.  I know they are not the greatest pics in the world, but I have no scanner and had to take pics of them with my phone.  Some are better than others but all I think are breathtaking in their own right.  I think little Piper is just beautiful as can be already, even if she still looks a little alien!

Full body view

Sweetest face ever!

Another face shot

Waving hello!

Girly goods!

Crossed hands

Face closer up
Little tootsie!
I hope you all have enjoyed this little foray into gender prediction.  I hope you enjoyed even more my new baby pics!  Isn't she a doll?  I can't wait to meet her in person!

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