Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Carter's Nursery

Well after MANY months of shopping, planning, organizing, dreaming and prepping... we have finally completed Carter's nursery!

Oh and now we can finally officially announce his name - Carter!!! We had been keeping it a secret (most family and friends knew) up until now for many reasons... one it took us a while to decide on a name and two I was getting tired of fellow teachers and their comments. When we were tossing other names back and forth and I would mention some of our top choices to a fellow teacher I would hear comments like, "UGH I had a child with X name last year and he was such a pain," etc. So we decided to keep it hush hush until I was on maternity leave and could be away from all the comments. But we are SO happy with our choice in names :)

Monday, March 28, 2011

38 Weeks & Counting...

So I have hit 38 weeks. And we are counting. It is SUCH a waiting game because it could be any moment now... or it could still be 2 weeks away. We are as ready as we could possibly be. The nursery is complete (I will post pics soon), we have taken all the baby prep classes, we have received everything (at least all of the necessary items!) off our registries, our hospital bags are packed, the hospital route(s) are mapped out, etc. If he came tonight, we'd be ready.

But alas, we have arrived at 38 weeks and still no baby.

We had our ultrasound this morning (to determine the size & position of the baby) and my sweet husband joined me at the appointment. It was a very short appointment. The ultrasound technician was very thorough and was quick to tell us that Baby Hake was definitely head down and in the "right" position. She took some measurements of his head (normal: measuring at 38 weeks), his belly (a bit bigger: measuring at 39 weeks, which if he has been eating what I've been eating it's no suprise haha), my fluid level (normal), his heart rate (149 bpm), and his approximate weight (7 1/2 pounds). We asked her how accurate the weight was and she said "pretty accurate", so if he gains a 1/2 pound each week (which is "normal") between now and delivery, it looks like we'll have an 8 1/2 pound baby on our hands. Not as bad as I thought - I was expecting him to already be 10 pounds! The ultrasound technician informed us that he had definitely dropped and was "very low" and headed in the right direction, so that was nice to hear.

I had originally changed my actual 38 week appointment (because I did NOT want to see Heather, the midwife I don't enjoy) to tomorrow but the ultrasound technician informed me that Dixie (my favorite midwife) could squeeze me in right after the ultrasound. SCORE! So Brian and I got to meet with Dixie :)

Dixie told me that I was still 0 cm dilated and 0% effaced. I, of course, was discouraged and it must've shown on my face. Dixie did a WONDERFUL job of encouraging me but also validating my concerns and pains. Dixie told me how when she was pregnant that she went to the hospital 3 times with false alarms... and she's a midwife! She told me that I WAS indeed having true contractions, they just weren't strong/consistent enough to help me dilate. Brian, Dixie and I discussed the possibilities of induction. Dixie said she won't dilate anyone until 39 weeks, to allow for healthy lung development. So at my next appointment (39 weeks, next week) we will discuss it. Dixie said if I am dilated/effaced then we might schedule an induction for 39 1/2 weeks. If I am still at 0 cm then we might schedule an induction for 40 1/2 weeks. Either way, this baby will be delivered at the latest 41 weeks. THANK GOD! Have I mentioned how much I love Dixie? :)

What have I been doing to pass the time this past week? Well since I am done with work (wahoo!) and don't have deadlines or lesson plans to write or emails from crazy overbearing parents, I have had MUCH less stress in my life. Here is what I have done to occupy my time:
- lunch/hang with friends (Monday: Nine Street Kitchen in Historic Roswell with my mom, Greyson and Harriet. Tuesday: Brio with Anna (my cousin). Wednesday: Nicole (my friend from small group) came over here with her 3 week old precious baby Abigail. Friday: Greyson came over, we ordered pizza and watched "How Do You Know" movie. Saturday: Stacy came over in the AM just to hang)... have I mentioned that I have the BEST friends in the world?!?!
- catching up on tv shows I've been missing (my DVR was getting backed up!)
- propping my feet up (the swelling has gone down A LOT!)
- Skyping with my college bffs
- had a service come out to clean our carpets (hadn't been done in the 2 year we've lived here)
- organized the nursery
- a LOT of online shopping (sorry Brian!)
- cleaned the house (finally got to dusting the upstairs, laundry galore, etc.)
- making lists (who to call on way to hospital, who to invite to Sip and See, double checking list of what to pack for hospital now that we've had a trial run, etc.)
- QT with Penny :) She needs it.
- making "summer goody bags" for my 20 students for when I go back to visit them in May
- playing Words with Friends AND Word Feud... I'm slightly addicted
- walking (more like waddling) around the neighborhood with Brian and Penny

Needless to say, I am keeping quite busy. I am very grateful for all my friends who have been helping to keep me entertained. I am very grateful for my sweet puppy Penny who snuggles me when I feel lonely. I am most grateful for my amazing husband who has listened to me complain about my Fred Flintstone feet, rubbed my achy back with tennis balls, made me delicious dinners (he's in the other room making me pancakes for dinner right now YUM!), refilled my water, helped me clean and organize the nursery, run errands for me on the weekends, and helped me to put on my shoes when I can't reach my feet anymore... all of this after he a hard day of work at the office, too. I love him SO incredibly much!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

37 Week Appointment

Since our "alarm" on Saturday at the hospital, life has been a little crazy here at home. I have continued to have contractions but they are still inconsistent. Each contraction lasts at least one minute, but the frequency is random. Sometimes they are 2 minutes apart, 5 minutes apart, and then I'll go 15 minutes without having one at all. The intensity of each contraction has increased as well and not only am I feeling them in my lower stomach but now it has moved to my low back and bum area as well. I have also had swelling in my hands/ankles for the past few weeks, but my gracious that has increased as well - it is now VERY painful and much more swollen. I am swollen in my ankles, tops of my feet, and fingers. I have been trying to take it easy here at home and sweet Brian has definitely helped me out a lot. I took a relaxing bubble bath, went for a walk in the neighborhood, drinking TONS of water, and have been trying to keep my feet elevated as much as possible. But, as you can imagine, sitting around with my feet propped up all day is quite boring. I have tried to occupy my time by chatting on the phone with friends, reading baby books, shopping online (woopsies!), watching tv, and napping. But I must be honest - if this (contractions, swelling, and boredom) continues for 3 more weeks, I might go crazy.

I had my 37 week appointment yesterday and met with Heather, the midwife at my OB/GYN appointment that is my least favorite. Heather "checked me" and told me that I was still 0cm dilated and not effaced at all (which confuses me because at the hospital on Saturday she told me that my cervix had softened a bit, so is it possible to go BACK?!?!). Heather did say that Baby Hake had indeed dropped and she could tell he was headed down, which was good. Brian and I talked with Heather about our next steps. She informed us to continue doing what we were doing - relax, feet up, drink lots of water, monitor contractions, and wait. BOO. Heather said this routine could continue for days or weeks and I may actually "last" until my due date. Another BOO. She said we would look at inducing later on. BOO.

One piece of good news from our appointment was that my Group B Strep test came back and everything looks good! :)

Brian and I went to the front desk after meeting with Heather and changed our 38 week appointment to another midwife. I don't want to meet with Heather again. I will be going in for an ultrasound (to determine position and size of Baby Hake) next Monday and then going in for my 38 week appointment with Christine (another midwife, who my pregnant friend Allie really likes!) the very next day. I just want to get different opinions and advice. Our 39 week appointment is with Dixie, our ultimate favorite midwife.

Driving home from our appointment yesterday was quite sad. In fact, these past few days have been quite sad. Brian and I are feeling like we keep getting our bubble burst. On Saturday we were excited as we drove to the hospital, thinking "this could be it". We were excited to watch the contractions on the monitor lasting one minute with five minutes in between. But then Heather came in and told us I was 0cm. Yesterday driving to our 37 week appointment, we were excited thinking that since my contractions had continued and increased in intensity here at home that maybe I had dilated a little bit. But then Heather came in and told us I was 0cm still.

I'm trying to stay positive and I realize I am only 20 days away from my due date. And I realize that 20 days sounds like it will fly by, but again when you are propped up on pillows and sitting around bored all day, I am thinking it may creep by. Brian and I have discussed that we are trying to understand God's timing of it all and maybe Baby Hake needs some more time to grow and develop, but patience is not my best trait as most of you know.

Looking back, I have had a WONDERFUL pregnancy! First and second trimester was so great - I felt great, thought I looked pretty cute in maternity clothes, only got sick one time, was on cloud 9 to be pregnant with sweet Brian, and had a lot of fun shopping for baby items. Third trimester has been a bit different. I am trying not to complain TOO much and I feel like, for my personality, I have done a great job of being positive throughout my pregnancy. So just bear with me these next 1-3 weeks as I vent. I am just SO ready to meet Baby Hake. I want to hold him in my arms and not in my belly anymore...

Sunday, March 20, 2011

False Alarm

March 19, 2011 was quite a day. I woke up feeling great. Brian and I made eggs and bacon for breakfast. Brian had to go into work (boo for Saturday work!) and I went to get a haircut. Brian and I met back at home around lunchtime and decided we would go out to lunch and see an early movie. We dropped Penny off at my parents' house and headed toward the mall area. As we were driving, I started to get weird cramps in my low stomach. I ignored them, thinking they were just random and would go away soon. They, of course, did not go away. Within a matter of 20 minutes, the intensity and frequency of these cramps had increased. Brian and I pulled the car over and did a little research to figure out what these cramps were. We discovered that they might be CONTRACTIONS!!

Of course, we panicked. How could I be having contractions when I'm only 36w4d (36 weeks and 4 days) pregnant? I was showing no other symptoms of labor (my water hadn't broken, etc) so we were confused. As the intensity and frequency picked up, we decided to call my OB/GYN just to check in and get their opinion. I spoke with Heather, a midwife, and she said I needed to start timing the contractions and then call her back in an hour. So, starting at 1:15pm, I began timing my contractions.

Of course, we changed our movie/lunch plans, and drove back home so I could be comfortable. We called Heather back around 2:45pm with the "results." On average, I was having a contraction every 5.5 minutes and they were lasting 45 seconds. Heather said we needed to meet her at the hospital. Brian and I calmly grabbed our hospital bags (which you know I have had packed for weeks now!) and drove to the hospital. I had contractions the whole way to the hospital. These contractions were now getting a bit more intense.

Northside Hospital admitted me and gave us a delivery room. I changed into the beautiful hospital gown and was greeted by a Labor/Delivery Nurse. Brian and I filled out a HUGE stack of paperwork, my blood pressure was checked and I was hooked up to two monitors. One monitor would keep track of Baby Hake's heart beat and the other monitor would keep track of my contractions. The monitor was able to pick up contractions in between my contractions. In other words, I was only feeling the super intense ones, whereas I was apparently having small ones in between those as well!

Heather came in and checked me. She said I was effaced a little bit, but not dilated at all. Bummer. She explained all the options and asked a lot of questions. She decided to give me an IV of fluids and monitor me for 2 hours and then reassess the situation. Heather returned to our room after 2 hours had passed and the IV bag had been drained into my system to find that I was still having contractions. She checked me again, but I still wasn't dilated :(

We all discussed the possibilities and Brian/I asked 29340 questions. Heather informed us that labor was near, she just wasn't sure HOW near. I could end up back at the hospital in one day, one week, or three weeks. It's too difficult to predict timing. The Labor/Delivery Nurse came back in the room and gave me a numbing shot of Nubain/Phenegren to help ease the contraction pains and help me to sleep that night.

Brian and I left the hospital around 6:30pm and drove home. We were quite sad that we had gotten that far, only to be sent back home. We talked the whole way home, inbetween me falling asleep from the medicine, about everything that had happened. I was glad to know that I was having true contractions and wasn't making anything up in my head. I was glad to know that I was timing my contractions correctly. We were both happy to know that labor was in the near future, whether it be days or weeks. But we were sad that we would have to return home and now wait it out.

I slept like a ROCK last night and only woke up to rotate to the other side. I didn't have any contractions (or if I did, I was too passed out to feel them) in the night. I got 11 hours of sleep and it was glorious. I woke up this morning very achy and groggy.

I am going to follow "doctor's orders" and take it easy. Thank goodness I am done with work! Heather said I need to rest, drink TONS of water, taking warm baths/showers, go for walks, and continue to monitor my contractions. So, needless to say, you may be hearing the "Good News" any day now or it could be 3 weeks from now. I have my 37 week appointment on Tuesday and will get rechecked (by Heather actually!) and will keep everyone posted.

Last Day of Work :(

I turned in my maternity leave letter to my Principal on February 17th telling her that I would be starting my maternity leave on March 21st. Under FMLA I am allowed to have 12 weeks unpaid leave, but I was only going to be using 10 of those allotted weeks. Of course, my Principal was upset that I was leaving AT ALL and wasn't too terribly nice about the whole situation. In fact, she hasn't been the most pleasant person throughout my entire pregnancy. She is just all "business" and not really a "people person." She informed me that contracts for 2011-2012 would be coming out the very next day and that whatever I put on my contract was legally binding.

So I took my contract home and looked it over with Brian and my family. We had an entire week (Winter Break!) to make a decision. After MUCH thought, prayer and discussion, I turned my contract back into my Principal on February 28th along with a letter of resignation. I was TERRIFIED at how she would respond to it. 36 hours later, my Principal finally approached me and told me that she understood my decision and knew I would be so happy at home with my baby. She also went on to say what a great teacher I have been and how I was born to do this and whenever I decide to return to teaching she would "love to have me back." I, of course, had a total out of body experience. Up until this point, she has never said any words of affirmation to me and has been quite cold. Obviously, God knew that I needed a positive reaction from her and He gave it to me.

I proceeded to tell my 2nd grade team about my decision. We all broke down in tears and all the ladies told me what a great addition to the team I had been that year. They said they were so happy for me that I could stay at home with my baby but they were sad for themselves that I wouldn't be working with them anymore. I can't express enough how much I LOVE my 2nd grade team. They all took me under their wings and showed me the ropes. They spent COUNTLESS hours with me, answering my 1239408124 questions and giving me advice along the way. I have been SO very blessed to have them all by my side this year. They made my first year of teaching so enjoyable. I am going to miss them all VERY much!

My last day of school was March 18, 2011. I had sent out letters to all the parents informing them of my decision a few weeks prior and had gotten numerous emails and letters back from them saying how much they'd all miss me and how I had changed their child's life for the better. I can't tell you how MUCH it all meant to me. I thrive off of words of affirmation (my top love language is physical touch, but words of affirmation is a close second). Leading up until March 18th, the students would draw me pictures with frowny faces and write sweet notes telling me "please don't leave us." So sweet. My last day was great and the kids made it special. The morning routine was business as usual (spelling test, etc). I decided that I would make the afternoon a little more fun though.

We returned from lunch and I called up all the students who had prayer requests to the front of the room. Half the class said they needed to pray that day. So sweet Olivia (one of my students) opened up the prayer and then the kids went down the line, one-by-one, praying for certain things. Some of their requests were:
"Please be with Mrs. Hake and help her to be comfortable."
"Please be with Mr. Brian and help him to be a good dad."
"Please be with the doctors and help them to get the baby out safely."
"Please be with Mrs. Hake and help her to pick a good baby name."
I am always the one to close the prayers, so when it got down to my turn I started to thank God for the beautiful weather and then said, "I want to thank You for each and every student in here. I know that You placed them into my classroom and into my life for a reason..." And then I broke down COMPLETELY. It was the type of cry where you can't catch your breath. Thank goodness my parapro, Lisa, was in the room and she picked up where I left off. Of course, her prayer didn't make matters any better because she started thanking God for ME and all that I had done to change lives. As Lisa was praying, I started to hear sniffles around the room and I knew that some of the other students had started crying, too. After the prayer was over, I pulled myself together and wiped away my tears.

That afternoon was a lot of fun - filled with yummy snacks and fun games. The parents sent in BEAUTIFUL flowers and tons of gifts. The last thing we did was a Compliment Circle. I had each student write their name at the top of a piece of paper and we passed it around. Everyone had to write a compliment about that person on the paper. In the end, we got our own paper back with 20 compliments written. It was very sweet to see what everyone said about others and also to read my own. It is something I will keep forever.

The last thing I did, one minute before the bell rang, was announce Baby Hake's name to the class. They all got COMPLETELY silent (they have been waiting for this moment for months now, SO cute!) and then started a drum roll on their desks. I announced the name (which I will announce to the world later!) and they all cheered SO loudly. You would have thought they all just won the lottery. It was adorable.

I hugged them all goodbye one-by-one and told them that I loved them so very much. I got quite a few emails that night. One mom told me that Emily (one of my students) got out to the car at carpool and bawled the whole way home :(

It is such a great feeling to finally find out what you are supposed to do with your life. I found out this past year once I began teaching. I know that I was created to be a teacher. Although I complain a lot about being tired and being stressed, it is very fulfilling and I am so passionate about it. I had the most wonderful year, surrounded by great co-workers, and blessed with sweet students. I LOVE second grade. Although I am BEYOND thrilled to be a stay at home these next few years with Baby Hake (and other babies to come!), I am excited to one day return to teaching. But for now, I will pack it all away in storage...

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from the year:Mrs. Hake's first day of school - I was SO nervous (and apparently pregnant)!
first day of school - all the girls
first day of school - all the boys
first day of school - whole class
100th Day of School with our awesome "100" glasses on :)
Christmas 2010
Botanical Gardens field trip
my 20 angels :)
History Day - my students chose an important person in History to research & then had to dress up as that character to tell a story about themselves