Super Bowl 2020 Commercial Bingo

HEY GUYS!

This super bowl commercial bingo has been a big hit at our house, please enjoy these 15 pages for you to use at your own Super Bowl Party!

This is a great way to keep the kids engaged during a game that they could honestly care less about – HA! 

super-bowl-2020-bingo.psd

I used this website (ispot.tv) to get a list of super bowl advertisers; with that and a bit of photoshopping, I was able to make my own version of the commercial bingo game.

Grab this and a few prizes and you’re ready to go! ENJOY!

Click this link below for the PDF to print at home:

Superbowl 2020 Commercial Bingo

 

Big Sister Gift Bag

When we were expecting our son, I knew I wanted to do something special for our daughter since I knew we were going to be separated for a little bit while my husband and I were both in the hospital following my c-section.

I put together a little gift bag and gave it to my parents to give to her the morning her brother was born as a reminder that we loved her and to get her a bit more excited about meeting our new little guy!

This bag consisted of a few different things that I thought would be fun for her and would go along with the new baby theme….

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Our gift bag included:

  1. Big Sister T-Shirt; These are very readily available nowadays! I was able to find a really cute one at Old Navy but a quick online search would surely send you in the right direction.

  2. Baby Themed Stickers; I found these at our local Michael’s

  3. Fruit Snacks; Our daughter is OBSESSED with fruit snacks! Always good for little kiddos to have extra snacks around, especially while waiting at the hospital!

  4. “I Am a Big Sister” by Caroline Jayne Church; I found this book on Amazon.com and it is absolutely ADORABLE! I especially loved that it was a little girl with red hair who was getting a new little brother – seemed fitting!

  5. Disposable Camera; Admittedly, she was a bit young but pretty much anyone can handle taking pictures with a point and shoot camera…. right??

    • Just as a heads up, not many places will develop disposable camera film these days but our local Walgreen’s was able to send it out to be developed. BUT the photos came in REALLY grainy – so be prepared for it to be more of a novelty item rather than heirloom quality photos. Our daughter did love being our personal “photographer” so as far as entertainment value goes it was awesome!

  6. Big and Little Stuffed Animals; I found these two puppies that are the same just the larger and smaller version of each other, I labeled them as “One puppy for you” and “One puppy for your little brother” so she had something special to give her little brother. I hope that these will be cherished for many years to come!

Puppies

  1. Lip Smackers Chapstick; I was looking for another filler item and what little girl doesn’t love chapstick??? Am I right????

  2. Small Pink Backpack; I wasn’t sure what I wanted to pack everything in but I found this sweet little pink backpack at Michael’s on sale for like $2, it was a win win! But any type of gift bag, etc. would work too!

Backpack

I hope that you’re able to have as much fun putting this together and customizing it for your kiddo as well, it was a BIG HIT!

 

Super Bowl Bingo 2019

Hey guys! This was such a hit at our Super Bowl Party last year that I decided to put it together again 🙂

Finding a way to keep the kiddos busy during the big game = win!

I used this website – ispot.tv to get a list of the advertisers that will be featured during this years game between the Rams and Patriots.

With that and a bit of photoshopping, I was able to make my own version of the Commercial Bingo Game:

BINGO 2018.psd

I wanted to share this with you all in case anyone else was interested in using it, there are 20 different game pages to use and (hopefully) they’re totally random 🙂

ENJOY!

SEE LINK BELOW FOR YOUR FREE DOWNLOAD!

Download, print and share as you’d like:

Super Bowl Bingo 2019

What to Pack in Your C-Section Hospital Bag

During my first pregnancy, we found out at 36 weeks that our daughter was breech, and despite my best efforts trying to get her to flip…external version, rubber ball to bounce on, standing on my head (well not quite but close!)… etc.

But it became clear that delivering naturally just wasn’t in the cards for me.

I had so many questions but one thing worked in my favor…

I was procrastinating and hadn’t packed my bag yet!

I started searching all over the place and it was definitely more difficult deciding what to bring when having a C-Section so I wrote all this down hoping it would help someone else out there 🙂

Here is what I’d recommend:

Clothes/Items for You:

  • Birth Plan – here is a guide of what kind of things to include. This helps your nurses and doctors be aware of your wishes and goals during your stay.
  • Any and all necessary paperwork for your hospital.
    • Have anything you can filled out prior to arriving, this will help streamline the process, you’ll be nervous that day so being prepared is important.
  • 1 Robe
  • 1 Pair of Slippers
  • 1 Sleepshirt/Nightgown
  • 1 Zippered Hoodie
  • 1 Long Sleeve Nursing Shirt
  • 2 Pairs of Comfortable Pajama Pants
  • 2 Nursing Tanks
  • 1 Nursing Bra
  • Bring whatever outfit you’d like to wear home – bear in mind, you’ll be sore and uncomfortable. You will be swollen and will still look pregnant, maternity clothing is your best bet if you’re going to wear “regular” clothes. Remember, you’ll have an incision and won’t want anything to rub in that area.
  • Socks: The hospital will provide a pair of gripped socks for the day of surgery, bring a couple pairs if you’d like to wear something different.
    • NOTE: No need for underwear other than what you wear in to the hospital. The hospital will provide mesh underwear and pads to use after surgery – you will want to wear this, it is MUCH more comfortable.
  • Toiletries: Shampoo, Conditioner, Body Wash/Soap, Deodorant, Razor, Makeup (if desired), Brush, Hair Ties/Clips, etc.
    • NOTE: It is recommended that you smell as “natural” as possible after your baby is born to they can get to know your scent. This is up to you, I couldn’t wait to take a shower and get cleaned up so I skipped perfumes, etc. when I finally got the go ahead, but did use my regular shampoo/conditioner/soaps.

Plan on staying at the hospital for at least 2-3 days, possibly longer depending on your recovery and add supplemental pieces as you’d like ie: long sleeve button down, other nursing shirts, etc.

Clothes/Items for the Baby:

  • 2 Sleepers (preferably with fold over cuffs that act as mittens)
  • Mittens to prevent scratches if needed
  • Nail Clippers or File if you’re feeling ambitious – trimming those TINY nails is NERVE WRACKING!
  • 1 “Going Home” Outfit
  • Any other outfits you’d like to put on them during your stay
    • NOTE: Skin to skin contact is recommended to help comfort the baby and to allow for more intimate bonding after birth, my husband and I opted for 24 full hours of skin to skin with both kiddos. This is truly a personal choice, if you do skin to skin you don’t need as many clothes! And I can tell you that putting a BRAND NEW newborn in clothing can be a bit nerve wracking, they aren’t as fragile as they seem but manipulating them to put on clothes isn’t for the faint of heart!!!
  • Any special blankets you’d like to use; the hospital will supply small receiving blankets.
  • Hat(s): since babies cannot effectively regulate temperature the hospital will supply a generic hat after birth. Our hospital gave us a knitted hat as well that volunteers make for new babies 😍
  • Baby Book: If you have something you’d like to use, bring it with you for footprints, etc. Let your nurse know you need help with this.

Other Helpful Items:

  • Chapstick, Lotion, Cough Drops & Humidifier:
    • Hospitals are very dry, as a result I caught a cold immediately following my first C-Section. The hospital will charge you for some of these items, bring them with you just in case you need them.
  • Prenatal Vitamins:
    • As long as you’re breastfeeding, you’ll still take these. If you have something you prefer to take, bring them with you. I always (and still do) take the gummies, they will give you pills of their choosing if you don’t bring them with you. Be prepared to give them to your nurse to administer, an unopened package is best. The hospital will monitor EVERYTHING you take very closely.
  • Books, magazines, music, etc – you may not even touch these things because you’re so in awe of your new baby but they’re good to have to pass the time until you’re discharged!
  • Cell Phone Charger
  • List of Names/Numbers of people you’d like informed once the baby has arrived:
    • Put a friend or family member in charge of this, you and your partner will be busy ogling over your new baby.
  • Snacks:
    • Our hospital provided food for the mother who was the patient as their diets are monitored (liquids following surgery, slowly returning to regular meals as recommended) but the partner or anyone else was left to fend for themselves in the food department. It’s nice to have some snacks/drinks in the room.

OTHER HELPFUL INFO:

If they don’t offer, ask the nurse to show you how to bathe your newborn. They will have good tips and tricks and will also give you some goodies to take home for baths. Ours showed us a newer swaddling bathing method that we never learned with our daughter and it is AWESOME!

Hospitals are like hotels in that anything in the room will be tossed after you leave. They will encourage you to take whatever you want and make sure you do so. Most importantly – mesh underwear, pads, diapers, wipes, and the highly coveted blue syringe – this is better than anything I’ve ever purchased in a store!

Nurses are excellent at swaddling and they all seem to have different preferred methods. Ask each one to show you how to do it, then you can practice and pick which way you like the best. Babies are used to being confined and swaddling helps them feel safe and prevents them dealing with the startle reflex.

Hope this helps at least a little bit with the C-Section Process!

BEST OF LUCK and HANG IN THERE MAMA!!!!

How to Increase Your Breast Milk Supply

When we had our first born I could never, EVER get ahead of her. She was exclusively breastfed for 6 months, but would only nurse sporadically, mainly first thing in the morning and at night. Outside of that, I had to pump in order for her to eat if I wanted to stick to breastmilk only.

Sidebar: I’d just like to say that if formula is the best option for you and your baby, for any reason, that is totally okay! There are so many pros on either side of that debate…

  • Breastmilk Only – pros; cheaper, slightly faster from crying baby to being fed, more natural nutrients that are difficult to reproduce, although formula companies do a darn good job trying to do just that.
  • Formula Fed – pros; quick to mix, no warming – just use hot water, anyone can feed the baby (nice break for mama), less stigma when feeding in public, not sure why anyone is hard on mamas just trying to feed their kids?

I’m not going to talk about cons because there are none, either choice is a good one and you need to make that decision for yourself and your baby!

Second sidebar: I took the kiddos to the zoo the other day with my mom, not sure why when the monkeys were feeding their young everyone oohed and aahed but when humans do it everyone gets all up in arms about ….OMG, WAIT FOR IT………. BOOBS!

FYI: More often than not, a nursing mother just wants hide out and will go to every effort to do so rather than make a spectical of herself….

Okay back to my main topic here….Because I never got ahead of our daughter by more than a couple feedings worth, I literally had to pump immediately before she ate – insert screaming kid here! It sucked, like a lot.

When we had our son, I was determined not to let this happen again!

Admittedly, our son is much better with nursing so luckily the pumping isn’t as much of an issue but it was imperative that I got my supply up and built up a stash before I went back to work and he started daycare.

  • Your body responds to your baby’s needs. This means that the more they feed, the more you produce. So when kiddos are going through a growth spurt they eat more and as a result, your supply increases.
  • In order to “trick” my body into producing more than I needed to physically feed my baby, I needed to increase the demand. Meaning I would feed my son, and then I would pump….
    • But, I did this at strategic times. For instance, you typically have a higher supply first thing in the morning because your baby isn’t eating in as frequent increments. I didn’t need more in the morning…waking up and leaking was already uncomfortable!!!
    • During the day was my best option while on maternity leave. Typically babies will eat every 3 hours which left me 3 good feedings between taking our daughter to daycare and picking her up while my husband was at work. I have a pump that does both sides simultaneously, this is nice because it is much faster and more efficient. You’ll get to understand your usual pattern after pumping a few times.
  • The first few days I started doing this I was pumping a couple extra ounces. It is best to store your milk in small quantities; 2-4 ounces are best to ensure you don’t have a lot of waste.
    • Have you heard the term “liquid gold?” It’s real, the first time you spill milk, you may indeed, cry over it! I chose to store mine in 3 ounce increments and that’s worked well this far.

Okay so here is the cool part, gradually my supply increased!

I went from producing an extra couple ounces to pumping anywhere from 9-12 ounces (or 3-4 servings). This seemed like a reasonable overage. I wanted extra but not to be pumping all day!

Eventually I ended up with a stash for just over 1 week, assuming my baby was going to eat (roughly) 24 ounces/day.

  • Gradually started backing off of the pumping sessions in order to return my body back to producing what my son physically needed, although when back at work I was still producing slightly more than he was eating at daycare.

Worked out great for me but honestly everyone is different so take this all with a grain of salt – but I hope it works as well for you as it did for me! Happy milking 🐄🤣😁

What Motherhood is Really Like

Hey Friends, it’s been a LONG time since I’ve written on this blog…. too long really. I love to write and sometimes it can be so cathartic to get some thoughts down on paper/screen? With the recent arrival of our son, my hands (and heart!) have been full which may be the understatement of the century….

But one thing I keep thinking about is people’s perception of motherhood based on what we see everyday through social media.

I hate to break it to you…. but….

It’s all a load of bologna.

Well maybe not all of it… but enough to make you second guess yourself and make unfair comparisons and judgments!

I have to admit that, I too, am guilty of posting only pictures that paint myself and my family in the most positive and perfect light imaginable. It can be so easy to fall into that trap and go searching for “likes.” But I’m here to tell you, there is A LOT that you don’t see and that we, as parents, don’t tell even those closest to us.

Every pictures holds a secret, take for instance this one:

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This picture looks nice enough, I’m without makeup and my double chin is somewhat prominent but I’m lovingly adoring our handsome little boy. Yes, that part is VERY true.

But, what you don’t see:

  1. Our kid sometimes sleeps. Sometimes. Chances are very good that it took my husband and I two hours to get him to just go to bed through every means necessary: ie singing, rocking, swaddling, vacuuming, driving, walking, bouncing, blow drier, swinging, cuddling, and a vast array of other techniques.
  2. Once he does go to sleep at night, chances are even better that he wakes up either every hour or two. YAY!
  3. Oh look, the sun is out! And…. NOW… he sleeps. Story of my life. And chances are pretty good that if he just fell asleep like this in the morning sunlight, our 2-1/2 year old daughter is probably up and ready to go. So kiss going back to sleep goodbye 😦
  4. Honestly, there are days when I feel like I’ve neglected our toddler. Sometimes she wakes up and plays in her room for longer than I’d like because the new baby needs our attention, this makes me feel awful but sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. At the end of the day I have faith that our daughter knows we love her more than life itself and that we are there for her even when we can’t always be right there for her… Having two kids is HARD!
  5. Chances are very good that I won’t have time to shower without a baby crying through the whole thing, and shaving my legs – HA! Yeah right. In this photo we were in full on newborn survival mode. That means uninterrupted showers are a luxury, sleep is a blessing and shaving your legs is something you do in emergency situations only – like when making an unexpected trip to the pool or going for a MUCH needed pedicure (in that case I’m going to shave up to my knees only, because I’m too busy to care! HA) You’ve got to make the most out of your shower time and unfortunately washing hair takes priority!
  6. Breastfeeding is NOT easy. It hurts, a lot, at first. And sometimes babies don’t want to do it like our firstborn, latching properly is something that has to be taught and learned, not all babies are born ready to go… And if you’re struggling, you’re not alone. I can tell you from experience that I shed a lot of tears trying to get our daughter to eat properly. It is not your fault and it was not my fault…amazing what a couple years will do for your clarity! Luckily (and by no action of my own) our son is a much better eater, must be a boy thing! HAHA

  7. Oh! And once you do get the hang of it, you leak. Like A LOT. You probably can’t see it in the photo above but chances are very good that I probably have a wet spot the size of Texas on my shirt.

Oh yeah, like this:

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Anyways, just wanted to take a second to remind the new moms out there, you are not alone even though sometimes it can definitely feel like it.

Everything is not perfect and that’s okay!!!!

The biggest thing I learned from our first born is that this too shall pass, every hardship does indeed come to an end.

I’m absolutely no expert but I assure you, eventually your kid WILL sleep!

Eventually you’ll be able to get ready again without interruptions and heck, maybe even shave your legs?!?

Eventually you’ll look back at your sleep deprived, milk covered, breastfeeding days and actually….miss them…

Or at least forget about them enough to do it all over again like us!

In the meantime, take the pictures you see floating around at face value, realize that there is more going on than what you’re seeing at the surface. Everyone goes through learning curves and some things are truly, 100% out of your hands.

But most importantly pat yourself on the back for being awesome!

Happy parenting, and remember, you’re doing great!!!!!!

Hang in their mama 🙂

Super Bowl 2018 Bingo

This is something I had seen on Pinterest and thought was a good way to keep everyone engaged on game day. I had found one online to use last year and it was a hit with kids and adults alike!

I used this website – ispot.tv to get a list of the advertisers that will be featured during this years game between the Eagles and Patriots. With that and a bit of photo-shopping I was able to make my own version of the Commercial Bingo Game:

Bingo 1.jpgI wanted to share this with you all in case anyone else was interested in using it, there are 20 different game pages to use and (hopefully) they’re totally random 🙂

ENJOY!

Feel free to download, print and share as you’d like: Super Bowl 2018 Bingo

Genetic Testing: Nuchal Translucency and False Positives

So I’ve been debating for a while whether or not to write this post but the more and more I thought about it, the more and more I figured it’s better to share in hope that I can provide information or insight that can help someone else out there?

I am absolutely convinced that the false positive statistics are far higher than the doctor’s offices claim.

I was told that there was a 5% chance of this happening, and yet…

it happened to me twice?


The general timeline for pregnancy is: 

  1. Get a positive at home test result.
  2. Call your Dr’s office and schedule your first appointment, usually after 8 weeks,  most miscarriages happen very early on so waiting gives them a bit of time to make sure the pregnancy is indeed viable.
  3. Schedule appointments with your OB/Midwife every 4 weeks from weeks 8-28
    1. Generally you’ll have an ultrasound around week 20 to check the anatomy and determine the gender of the baby (if you want to know of course!)
  4. Schedule appointments with your OB/Midwife every 2 weeks from weeks 28-36
    1. Rh Testing is typically done at 28 weeks; this test is to determine your blood type and whether you are Rh Negative (ie: A-, B-, etc.), if you are Rh negative and there is a chance your child could be Rh positive, you will get a Rhogam shot to prevent issues of cross-contamination between your and your baby’s blood. See this link for more information about Rhogam and Rh-Negative Moms on whattoexpect.com
  5. Schedule appointments with your OB/Midwife every week from weeks 36-Birth (Generally 40 weeks but that is not a hard and fast rule).
  6. If the doctor’s have any concerns about your pregnancy you may schedule a C-Section for a number of reasons; one example is if your baby is breech – when the baby has not switched positions to head down in preparation for birth and can no longer move due to their size and how far along you are in the pregnancy. Typically a C-Section is scheduled at 39 weeks to lessen the chance of you going into labor naturally.
  7. You will then either deliver the baby via vaginal birth or C-Section. It’s a fact ladies, best to face it now haha!
  8. YAY! You have a baby!!!!! Let the real fun begin!

Please bear in mind that this is a very rough guideline for pregnancy – each one is different and there may be certain complications and issues that come along the way, and your doctor may do things much differently than mine – but generally speaking this is how your pregnancy will be structured. 

Okay so, back to my point. When I was pregnant with our daughter, I was over the moon and couldn’t wait for my first appointment to make things “real.” Those first few weeks seemed to be the slowest of my life! BUT 8 weeks did indeed come.

I had this vision in my head of how I thought things were going to go:

I’d go in, they’d do an ultrasound, we’d see that beautiful baby and hear the heartbeat and find out what we were having. Okay so maybe I wasn’t quite that naive but the fact is, if you’ve never done this before, you just don’t know!

So imagine my soul being crushed when I found out that that they weren’t going to do an ultrasound until 20 WEEKS?!?!?

  • Part of the reason for this delay is due to my particular doctor’s office, I’ve heard of others where it is common place to do one earlier to check on everything.
  • It is also fairly common to do an early ultrasound if you’re unsure of when you may have conceived, but if you’re fairly certain of your lady dates than this is kind of a moot point and unnecessary.
  • And of course insurance also has many parameters which dictate whether a costly ultrasound is deemed medically necessary so throw that extra wrench in there! Thanks insurance!!!

The next topic of discussion at your 8 week appointment is determining which (if any) types of genetic testing you would like to do. The earliest genetic testing we were offered was Nuchal Translucency which is done sometime between 11-14 weeks. This testing was covered by our insurance and included my hook word – ultrasound. This test is done, in particular, to determine your risk for Down Syndrome in addition to other chromosomal abnormalities.

I was off in la-la land, not even remotely considering that there could be a problem with our precious baby, all I heard was “you’re telling me I get to SEE our baby?!?! SIGN ME UP!”

I was virtually skipping out of the appointment being so excited that at our very next appointment we would get to see our baby 🙂

So there we were, 12 week appointment and we got to see our baby!

Everything looked great, baby looked good and nothing was of any concern to the ultrasound tech while we were there. The actual Nuchal Translucency was within normal range. The Nuchal Translucency Test is done by measuring the fluid at the back of your baby’s neck while their skin is still translucent – or see through. The typical range is below 3mm per our doctor. See this link for more information regarding testing

The NT Testing actually measures 3 separate items to determine your risk factor so you’ll go through the ultrasound in addition to a blood test:

  1. The actual Nuchal Translucency Measurement (done during the ultrasound)
  2. Whether your HCG Levels are elevated – this is the hormone that your body creates when you are pregnant – if it is present you will get a positive at home pregnancy test (side note: there are no false positive pregnancy tests, if that hormone is present you are pregnant, false negatives however, do happen) – elevated results could indicate a higher risk for Down Syndrome. (Measured via blood test)
  3. Whether your PAPP-A levels are low – this is a protein that is also measured and can be an indicator for a higher risk of down syndrome. (Measured via blood test)

Okay so that was A LOT of info, and please, please, please bear in mind that I am not in any way shape or form a medical professional, this is simply what I’ve learned from both my first and second pregnancies. 

After the testing and doctor’s appointment I left with a handful of “pictures” of our kiddo (albeit, no idea about gender yet, from what I’ve read and been told it’s virtually impossible to know the gender via ultrasound until at least like 15 weeks and beyond, even then it’s a guess until you get that money shot!)

Then a few days later, I received a phone call. My risk for Down Syndrome was found to be 1:180, I didn’t care that that left me with a 0.6% chance, I was scared.

Again, the thought that the test would be anything but a photo op was not something that I had entertained for a single second. 

The next step was to schedule an appointment with a perinatologist, they got me in within the next day or so. Of course, in my mind, it was of the utmost importance to get in me ASAP because something was definitely wrong. The perinatologist we were referred to could not have been any nicer, he calmly explained that it is common for these tests to result in false positives. They did an ultrasound in their office and confirmed that NT measurement looked good, that the nasal bone was visible (another good sign) and then talked to us about the next step.

The least invasive of the options we were given was the MaterniT21 TestAmniocentesis was another option but that would require a big needle and has a (slight) chance of causing a miscarriage. The MaterniT21 Test is a non-invasive blood test with virtually no risks to you or the baby so we opted to go that route.

As a heads up, this test is not always covered by insurance and documentation has to be provided to deem it “medically necessary.” Your provider should do everything they can to ensure you don’t get any surprise bills after the testing.  However; if you’re over 35 or considered high risk it is considered common practice do to this testing from the get-go without jumping through the other testing hoops, so insurance may not be as much of an issue. 

They told us the test results would take up to two weeks to get back, I can honestly say those were one-two of the most agonizing weeks of my life, the uncertainty was awful. BUT, we finally got the call.

I was indeed part of the 5% that get a false positive during their NT Testing.

On the plus side, they asked me “Do you want to know the gender of your child?” UM YES!!!!

The fact that you can find out the gender through this test is often why insurance is so picky about whether it is medically necessary or not – some people opt to do it to find out the gender weeks before an accurate ultrasound prediction can be made.

And right then and there, I found out on the phone, by myself, (in retrospect it was extremely anticlimactic but I was SO EXCITED!!!) that we were having a girl.

Seeing as I tend to have the most complicated, un-complicated pregnancies… I also have a negative Rh blood type and said daughter was breech. But those are stories for another day – HA!

Anywho, fast forward to our second pregnancy.

Sitting in the office, discussing the options for genetic testing, my head said – don’t do it. I asked my doctor if a previous false positive gave me a higher chance of having a another and he said no, he’d never heard of that. We discussed that the NT testing was still one of the best screening methods and the least invasive, etc. etc. etc. And while I’d done my best to convince my doctor he should let me, I was told I couldn’t just do the MaterniT21 Test from the get-go and that insurance would consider it an elective procedure due to my age and lack of high risk status (don’t get me wrong, it is an absolute blessing to not be considered high risk!).

And yet, I decided to go through with it again?!?

That darn ultrasound!

Was I really that desperate to confirm that there was actually a baby in there – YES!!! And I truly figured, well I guess I’ve already gone through a false positive and that sucked but we were okay. And if there was a real positive, we’d like to know in advance. But the fact was, the numbers were in our favor that everything would come back hunky dory and we would get to see our little nugget.

So I went in for the scan and the blood test, again – everything initially looked good.

And then I got the phone call.

This time our risk was 1:115 based on the testing. (0.9%) Again, still scary. 

But this time I wasn’t scared.

I was angry.

I was so incredibly upset with our doctor for telling me this wasn’t going to happen again, at insurance for not considering the blood test necessary, at myself for going through with the testing in the first place…. I could go on for days about all the reasons I was upset. But I was going to take this in stride to the best of my abilities. (Still shed some tears but who wouldn’t? Especially when pregnant and extra hormonal HA!)

My husband and I got in the next day for testing, the same perinatologist saw us and was suprised to see us come through his door, again, but was still just as accommodating and comforting as the first time. He even told us he wouldn’t require the same follow up with him should we find out this was a false positive again. And he went through the spiel all over, again, about options and we settled on the MaterniT21, again.

We got the phone call after 1 week, more accurately, on a Saturday night – this was my first indicator that everything was good – no way would they call on a Saturday night and tell us bad news!

And…. I WAS RIGHT! YAY, YAY, YAY!!!! FALSE POSITIVE #2! I had beaten the odds twice by becoming part of the (so-called) 5%!

This time, when they asked if I wanted to know the gender I requested that they write it down and I could pick up the envelope when we were ready and together. Um yeah…. that lasted until Monday when they opened…. But more importantly, my husband and I could open it together. A BOY!!! YAY!

I guess my hope of this post is to give others out there a bit of insight into the general pregnancy timeline, and to talk about genetic testing and the risk and results of false positives. And also, if you’re ever wondering why someone was able to find out the gender or their baby before you could find out the gender of yours, it’s often because they’re going through more than they might be telling you. Gender is just simply a bonus to all of that heart-wrenching extra testing.

I know that this story could have taken a much different turn if we had gotten an actual positive result and although we would have embraced any outcome in stride, we were blessed with a healthy daughter and are praying for another healthy baby at the end of this pregnancy.

And while I feel like it may be overly dramatic to focus on what happens when you find out everything is okay (and you may be thinking the same thing, I wouldn’t blame you one little bit), any way you spin it – it was scary going through that, especially twice.

And if this post eases the mind of just one other lady out there going through the same thing, it was worth writing.

Love,

Niki

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When is it okay to announce you’re pregnant?

Call us crazy but my husband and I decided to take the big leap – the official jump from 1 kiddo to 2.

My recent absence from the ole blog is largely due to this fact. It’s amazing how finding out you’re pregnant can push you into a cocoon of your own world. It’s as though I’ve had this amazing secret looming over my head, being the only thing I want to talk about and write about but I can’t.

When you’re pregnant you’ve got this HUGE secret and you’re not supposed to tell anyone right? We’ve all heard the cautionary tales, the women who miscarry and suddenly find themselves retracting their statements to friends and family.

Miscarriages happen, often at no fault of the mother or any other extenuating circumstances under our control….and just the sheer lack of control can be debilitating. The level of anguish and pain one would go through having to explain this over and over is enough to have made me keep my mouth shut until it’s “safe”.

But just the idea of a “safe” time to make that announcement can be so scary, I’ve heard of many pregnancies being lost in the first trimester and I’ve heard of a some lost in the second trimester. Even worse, if you download an app like this Baby Center one, where there is a forum you truly hear nothing but the worst of the worst. While they can be extremely educational, especially to a first time mother, they can also cause massive amounts of undue stress.

I urge anyone who takes part in these forums to take them with a grain of salt.

The fact is that while miscarriages are common, the majority of pregnancies are successful and are carried to full term. This is something I had to constantly remind myself of when I read the devastating stories of lost pregnancies.

Then comes the first big sigh of relief… the second you hear that heartbeat.

Unless you don’t. 

We went in for our designated “Doppler” appointment at 10 weeks, my doctor recommended we come back in at 10 weeks as it’s easier to hear a heartbeat then. I was having an awful, awful day at work and was looking forward to this shining moment.

And then, he couldn’t find a heartbeat. My heart immediately sank.

Of course this would happen on this terrible day.

Anterior placenta. This is a term I’ve become fairly familiar with. They had us go over for an ultrasound to make sure everything was okay. The first thing I saw typed on the scan were those two little words. My placenta was on the front. Again. Although it could still move, this was probably a contributing factor to not hearing a heartbeat and the main reason I could not feel our daughter move well into my first pregnancy.

But much more importantly, during this scan we also saw a heartbeat.

The level of relief that flashed over me was indescribable.

As a female, you take the test, you get a yes or no and all of the sudden your whole life changes. You’re constantly grasping at straws trying to prove that this is real. Do I feel nauseous? Am I gaining weight? Do I look/feel any different?!? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. It can be absolutely maddening.

Then you throw all of the do’s and don’ts on top of that; no lunch meat, no caffeine, no alcohol, no soft cheese, no sushi, not too much seafood, etc. etc. Then you read the forums, then you read the stats.

It. Is. Awful.

I guess my point is that every single step of pregnancy is a big “what if” game. But it’s time for us all, myself included, to cut ourselves some slack. There are no definitive right or wrong answers, and while there are some things you can control, others you cannot.

If you’re ready to tell people you’re pregnant, go for it. If you need to talk openly about a loss, please don’t hesitate. If you need to tell someone that you’re scared, or excited, or overwhelmed – there are people who are there for you if you let them be. 

So rather than questioning everything and driving ourselves nuts it’s time to enjoy the journey and support one another through the beautiful, exhausting, sometimes devastating and incredibly trying experience of growing humans. 

 

Oak is A. O.K.

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It’s no secret that oak has gotten a bad reputation, largely due to an excessive use of the product from doors to trim to cabinets, everything OAK. OAK. OAK. And to make matters worse it was Golden Oak…..everywhere.

On almost a daily basis I have clients who walk through the door and say, “I’m getting ready to do a remodel, you know, because – well it’s Oak. And I don’t blame them one little bit, Golden Oak isn’t always the most desirable finish, especially when you look around and oak basically slaps you in the face!

But in all honestly, it’s a pretty great wood.

It’s got a very consistent grain pattern and coloration which allows it to take stain very evenly. This is a great trait to have for people who are looking for something to be consistent and who may be frustrated when there is slight color variation from one piece to the next. Maple, another very common wood species, is known to be finicky in taking stain and can have wider than acceptable range of color from one board (or even throughout the same board) due to mineral streaking in the wood itself and the type of stain you’re trying to use.

Then you throw in your Hickory which has an EXTREME amount of color variation, kind of a love it or hate level of color variation. Cherry has a beautiful marbling effect in the grain pattern but can also have heavy variation from one piece to the next, not to mention the fact that it will darken over time, which can come with a whole other host of issues – imagine an area rug on a natural cherry floor, imagine said area rug leaving that rectangle on your floor…..

Oak is also a hardwood that holds up well in terms of dents and dings. You won’t have the same issues like you would with Alder, while not a common wood for flooring due to the softness; it is extremely common in cabinets. And while admittedly your cabinets should not be taking that kind of a beating, it is a much softer wood that can get dinged up pretty easily.

The fact is; your Oak should hold up pretty well.

It is also very dimensionally stable which means, particularly in our dry Colorado climate, you don’t have as much movement as other wood species, which means that gapping and cupping should be less of an issue over time = win!

This is probably a good time to note that wood is wood. It is a natural product. No one piece is going to be exactly like the next and that is something that you will definitely need to come to grips with if you decide you’d like to use wood in your home. It will expand and contract depending on the time of the year and the level of humidity. It is not perfect, and that should be something you like about it if you decide to use it. It will dent, it will scratch. Again, you’ll need to embrace this fact.

Okay so back to Oak. Lately we’ve been using a lot more oak, but the key here is the stain being used. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who just walks in saying “I love Golden Oak; I have to have Golden Oak!”

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Some of the stains coming out on oak range from more of a cranberry red to contemporary gray and black tones, also into more of the rustic looking white-washed finishes that have become especially popular as of late. We’ve seen oak done in very contemporary applications, in particular on cabinets when used on a very clean door/slab or shaker door style it can look really sharp. The subtle grain pattern can be a nice contrast to give a relatively stark room some nice textural appeal.

In the world of cabinets, we’ve also seen more manufacturers offering paint on Oak. Typically Maple is the most commonly painted thanks to the fact that there is little to no grain pattern and it takes the paint very evenly. However; if you’re looking for a painted finish but still want a bit more character and texture a painted oak might be a great solution!

Painted finishes also come with their own issues such as face checking (very small cracks in the surface of the paint), this is due to the movement of the wood itself when it goes through that expansion and contraction we spoke about earlier. This is perfectly normal and not a defect in the finish, on a painted finish, Oak’s graining may actually help hide small “flaws” when it comes to the face checking.

So while reading through this, thinking about and looking at some of the different types of wood available, and trying to figure out what wood might be the best for you and your particular application – I urge you to keep an open mind.

As difficult as it may be to get that “oak is yucky, ew, ew, ew” thought out of your mind, you might be surprised!