Archive | March, 2015

Annabelle’s Birth Story, Part One

31 Mar

On the morning of Friday, March 27, my alarm went off at 6 am. As I rolled over to get out of bed, I felt a pop and then a bunch of warm fluid.

“Trav, you’re not going to believe what just happened,” I said.

“I have absolutely no idea what you’re talking about,” he replied, waking out of a dead sleep. (He later remarked that my statement made it sound like something bad had happened, but my tone of voice was happy.)

“My water just broke.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Can you get up and get me a towel? … Now?”

As Travis got up to retrieve a towel from the hall closet, I thought, “What are the odds?” Only 10% of women have their water break before labor starts, and here I was, with my water breaking before labor started for the second time in two babies. Not only that, but I was in bed rolling over when my water broke with Emma too. I must’ve jinxed myself by saying repeatedly that I wanted labor to start spontaneously and to avoid being induced.

Continuing on with the similarities to Emma’s birth story, I was positive for Group B Strep again this time, and after my water broke, nothing much happened.  A glorious difference, however, was that my water broke at the sensible hour of 6 am instead of midnight. Also different, I was only 38 weeks and 2 days this time – last time, I was 39 weeks and 6 days (Emma was born on her due date).

Since this wasn’t my first rodeo with my water breaking and nothing happening, we took our time getting our stuff together. Travis jumped in the shower, took our recycling to the county disposal, and filled out his timecard for work. I washed the sheets from our bed, finished packing our hospital bags, took a shower myself, got Emma up and fed her breakfast, and tidied up the house a bit. We had called Travis’ parents after his shower and they were planning to be to our house by 9:30/10 to watch Emma, so we decided to just wait until they arrived to head to the hospital, though we did have a contingency plan with friends in case things started getting serious before his parents arrived.

Travis’ parents got to our house around 10 and after giving them the update on Emma and trying to put turkey decoys out in the backyard (ground was still frozen solid), Travis and I headed to Erbert’s & Gerbert’s for an early lunch. It was amazing. I had missed eating cold deli meat.

Around 11:30, we arrived at the hospital and got checked in. After testing to make sure my water had indeed broken (which it had) and checking my cervix (I was still only at 1 cm, 50% effaced), we were officially admitted and started talking about our plan for the day. I shared with our nurse, Valine, my experience in Denver since it seemed that history was repeating itself. I told her that I wasn’t opposed to Pitocin since I didn’t want to be there all day, but I also didn’t want things going gangbusters so fast like they had last time. She agreed and reassured me that I could call the shots when it came to being induced, and at what rate.

After walking around the delivery floor a couple times and bouncing on an exercise ball for a bit with no change in contractions, I told Valine that we could just go ahead and start Pitocin with my first round of antibiotics for the Group B Strep. So around 2 pm, we started antibiotics and Pitocin at a rate of 2. My contractions started getting a little more noticeable, but were still pretty worthless, so after an hour, I requested that the Pitocin be turned up. My new nurse, Jill, monitored the baby for a bit and at 3:30, increased my Pitocin to a 4.

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Travis and I ate a late lunch (I only had cottage cheese and peaches, and a Jello), and then I labored in the tub for a while. The jets provided a nice counter-pressure to the contractions, which had gotten more intense with the increase in Pitocin. While I was in the tub, the doctor that was on call came and introduced herself. I hadn’t met her before, but she seemed nice. Jill also started my second bag of antibiotics.

Around 6 pm, I got out of the tub and leaned forward on the exercise ball during contractions, both standing up and kneeling on the bed. My nurse had to put the contraction and baby monitors on me about once an hour, so I had to crawl back in bed for that every so often. The contractions were getting pretty intense at that point, and I was still on the fence about whether or not to get an epidural. So I asked Jill to do a ‘flush’ of my system (which was required and would take about an hour) so that I could request an epidural if I wanted one. The flush was started at 6:30 pm.

At 7:30, Jill checked my cervix and I was between 6 and 7 cm dilated. She remarked several times that I was doing great and that it wouldn’t be long before I’d be fully dilated and could start pushing. She paged the doctor to come to the hospital. Her confidence gave me the encouragement that I needed to hold out on the epidural just a little bit longer. I told Travis, if I’m not ready to push this baby out by 8:45, I’m getting an epidural.

That was one of the longest hours of my life. The contractions were so intense and painful, and were concentrated mostly in my back (though thankfully, unlike my labor with Emma, the back pain went away between contractions) that the only way I could get through them was bounce on the exercise ball, scratch my legs (I know, weird, but it helped!), breathe deeply and moan loudly.

At 8:10 pm, Jill checked my cervix again. I was at 8 cm. She could feel a little bag of waters that hadn’t completely broken so she asked if I wanted the doctor to come break it. Yes, please. So Dr. Rice came and did that.

Things didn’t progress quite as quickly as Jill expected but by 8:50, I was at 9 cm. A few more contractions and I started feeling pressure to push. The doctor came in and started getting dressed for delivery as a contraction came and I needed to push NOW.

I had heard the pain during pushing described as ‘the ring of fire’ so I honestly thought that if I could just get dilated to 10 cm without an epidural, I’d be home free. Ha. So not true. Whoever thought ‘ring of fire’ was an accurate description of pushing a baby out without pain meds is a liar or a man.

At 9 pm, I started pushing and immediately realized that this was going to be the hardest part. In addition to having painful contractions still, I now had to push a baby out too. And can I just say, there is no way to describe that kind of pain other than it feels like you’re taking the biggest poop in the world and it’s tearing your insides out with it? While I was relaxing after the first contraction of pushing (and screaming), I said, “Oh my god, that feels SO WEIRD. It feels like I’m taking the biggest poop ever.” The doctor, 2 nurses and Travis all laughed.

The next contraction was where it got serious. The pain was so amazing and different than anything I’d ever felt before that I got scared and started freaking out. I tried to straighten my legs instead of leaving them bent. I tried to get off the bed. I tried to feel if the baby was coming out so the doctor had to ask the nurses and Travis to hold me down. “Kathy, you need to push. We’re going to have a baby right now,” they kept saying. “I can’t! I can’t!” I screamed. “Yes, you can. You need to push.” In my dazed state, I finally relented and pushed through the pain – I honestly did not think I had it anywhere in me to keep going but somehow, I did. With lots of screaming I might add.

FINALLY, the baby was out. I laid my head back and for the next 10 minutes, even after they said it was a girl and put Annabelle on my chest, I just laid there saying, “Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap.” The placenta took a little encouraging to come out (consisting mostly of painful pushing on my tummy) but it finally did, and I could breathe. I did it.

And it was a girl! I honestly did not think Annabelle would be a girl, but lo and behold, she was. After the initial shock of birth wore off, I told Travis I was hungry and wanted to eat the pizza I had ordered earlier. I also requested my phone for some reason, and played a round of Trivia Crack. Travis laughs about it now, saying my brain was fried for a while after that experience.

Annabelle and I did skin to skin for about an hour and a half after she was born. She nursed a little bit, but she honestly wasn’t all that interested in breastfeeding until she was about 24 hours old. After those first 90 minutes, I got up to use the bathroom and Annabelle got weighed, her first bath and her Hep B vaccine.  She was 7 lbs 15 oz and 20.5 inches long.

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By about 11 pm, the commotion had died down and we were left alone to sleep. My night nurse Megan came and checked on me once but left quickly when I said I was fine. Around 2 am, I called her in to ask if my bed went any lower (it didn’t), and if I could get a snack and more pain meds. Annabelle slept like a champ that night. I woke her up a few times to nurse, which she didn’t do, and put her back down in her bassinet. Unfortunately, after falling asleep for about an hour and a half right around 11, I was wired for the rest of the night. I couldn’t turn my brain off. So I had a hard time getting back to sleep, but I eventually did here and there.

Read Part Two.

It’s A Girl!

29 Mar

We welcomed our newest baby girl, Annabelle Lyn, on Friday night (March 27) at 9:16 pm. She was 7 lbs 15 oz and 20.5 inches long — with a full head of dark hair! (Same hairdo I had at birth.)

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We’re heading home today. Birth story to come soon!

Bisky Junior Nursery Tour

25 Mar

At long last, here are the pictures of Bisky Junior’s nursery! Since we don’t know if we’re having a boy or a girl, the nursery had to be mostly gender neutral. But I felt ok with making it slightly girly because I’ll be the one spending the most time in that room (besides baby of course, but he/she won’t care how it’s decorated for a while).

We had an extra gallon of paint left over from painting our living room (Rolling Pebble from Behr), so that’s what we used on the walls.

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I was inspired by pictures on Pinterest (here’s the link to my Nursery Inspiration board) to buy gold dots from WallsNeedLove.com. So fun! I bought the poms from Luna Bazaar — they are super easy to make yourself but I couldn’t find the tissue paper colors I wanted in brick ‘n’ mortar stores. There’s way more selection online. The blue pom isn’t quite the right color, so I ordered a navy blue one off Etsy. It should be coming any day now.IMG_6197The glider was a gift from my parents. We tested out chairs in a store, but ended up buying online because it was way cheaper. It’s the Dutailier Grand Gilder from Babies R Us. Love it so far! We decided on a more traditional glider this time because we found our Best recliner glider to be slightly too deep and short for our comfort — though don’t get me wrong, it’s still a great chair and we use it all the time with Emma.

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We moved Emma’s changing table out of her room (using the top of her dresser as her changing table instead). You may be wondering where the crib is… well, we don’t want to buy a second one and plan to use the Rock n Play for the first 4-5 months anyway. So we’re hoping to transition Emma into a toddler bed by the time the baby needs the crib. We might also use our Pack n Play to fill in if the timing isn’t perfect.

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This bookshelf is a built-in, and the people who built it really designed it for books only. The shelves are fairly shallow and not adjustable height-wise at all. We were at a loss on how to utilize this space (since taking the bookshelf out wasn’t an option) and discovered that old diaper boxes were the perfect size! I covered them with fabric (another Pinterest idea) and plan to use them in lieu of a dresser.

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I have labels to put on the front, but am waiting until we know Junior’s gender, since that will probably affect how I label them. The fabric cost me about $45 (I used a yard for each) so they weren’t the cheapest things in the world, but they turned out well!IMG_6220

Yet another inspiration from Pinterest, I made no-sew bunting with some fun fabric. I was on the fence about whether or not this was worth the effort, but now that it’s hanging up, I’m glad I did it. If you have any questions about how I made it, let me know. But as I’ve remarked before, other bloggers do tutorials much better so I won’t go into the details here.IMG_6225

This room, like almost every room in the house, had no window treatments, so I sewed curtains (which actually turned out room-darkening enough to not necessitate blinds!) and we hung up a curtain rod.

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Since the built-in bookshelf is really close to the window, we couldn’t use traditional tiebacks. I had found an idea on Pinterest to use rope, but then I was at Michael’s and found these chains in the jewelry section. Cheap and ready-made! A couple 3M hooks later (the best we could find without putting a bunch of holes in the wall) and they were done!

And just for fun, here are some pictures from behind the scenes…IMG_6230 IMG_6211Emma has been all about ‘test driving’ baby’s stuff while we wait for him/her to arrive, and she now points at my belly and says “Baby.” Any day now!

Pregnancy #2 Update: 9 Months

17 Mar

I am 37 weeks today, and boy do I feel it. I don’t remember the end of my pregnancy with Emma being this uncomfortable but it probably was. Regardless, I am so incredibly ready to be done being pregnant. Everything is five times harder with a giant belly and all the fun side effects that go with it.

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*Commence whining.*

Standing up makes me out of breath and hurts my back. It seems I’ve developed a pulled muscle on one side of my belly that is fairly painful if I twist wrong or get a Braxton Hick contraction standing up. Baby has dropped so I’m now getting up 3-4 times a night to pee — not because I really *have* to go that often but because having anything at all in my bladder makes my belly rock hard. In addition to that being extremely uncomfortable, it also makes me feel like I have to pee more than I have to. Baby being low also means I’m dealing with some sciatic pain. My tailbone is mostly healed from my fall down the stairs, which is good because that was very limiting.

*Whining over.*

I AM thankful to have a healthy baby, healthy pregnancy and to be finally getting some energy back! I think the nesting instinct is finally kicking in a little bit. I’m not going crazy rearranging closets and deep-cleaning our house, but I at least have had the energy to get the nursery organized, start packing hospital bags, pull out our infant carseat, and keep our household running with some semblance of order and healthiness.

But exercise… that has fallen by the wayside. Last week, the weather was absolutely gorgeous so I did get out on a few short (very slow) walks, but this big old belly is too large and in charge for biking anymore, and going to the gym to swim sounds like a lot of work. So yeah. Triathlon training hasn’t advanced as much as I was hoping but such is life. I definitely haven’t had the energy levels with this pregnancy that I did with my first. I blame running around after a toddler, and having not only my own sleep issues to deal with, but hers too. Oy.

I’ve gained pretty much the same amount of weight with this pregnancy as I did with Emma (a little over 30 pounds thus far), but it seems to all be in the belly. Shirts that fit me my entire pregnancy last time no longer fit this time, so getting dressed is a fun challenge! I looked for some more maternity clothes at Target but they always have the cute stuff when I’m not pregnant. I’m also so. over. pants going over the belly so I might just start wearing dresses more often, now that it’s nice outside (nice meaning in the 40s and 50s). Thank goodness I can wear flip-flops finally. Shoes were getting tricky. I have had less swelling this time around too, which has been nice, though the cankles have made an appearance a few times (usually on days when I haven’t been as good about drinking enough water, which makes sense). I did take my wedding rings off though, just to be safe.

At my prenatal appointment last Friday, my doctor tested me for Group B Strep and checked my cervix. Nothing is happening so far, but I’m pretty sure I tested positive for Group B Strep again. It’s not a huge deal — I had it with Emma and got antibiotics during labor — but I was kind of hoping to avoid that this time around. Ah well. My main goals for labor/delivery (after a healthy baby of course) is to not need Pitocin or a c-section! Other than that, I don’t really have a “plan”.

The nursery is finally done! I am planning to take some pictures in the next week or so, and post a little nursery tour here on the blog. I wasn’t so sure about how it was going to turn out but I like it a lot now that it’s done. Travis and I are also mostly decided on names, but I’m going to wait to share until the baby arrives.

And that’s pretty much it! Emma’s birthday party is this coming Saturday, so I have lots to do this week getting ready for that. It’s gonna be fun!

When Your Husband Travels for Work

11 Mar

Like Murphy’s Law, it seems that the Law of Your Husband Traveling is that anything that can go wrong, will go wrong.

Back in February, Emma and I were playing in the basement on the second night of Travis’ 4-day work trip. She went around the corner where the stairs are. Being pregnant-lazy, I didn’t follow. Thirty seconds later, I hear her tumbling down the stairs. I race over to her and luckily she’s ok, just scared. Momma is not ok however. That quick movement made my pelvis and hips hate me. If I was moving at a turtle pace before, I was now moving at the speed of a beached whale. Luckily, the pain went away after a few days. Later that night, Emma slipped in the bathtub and bit her tongue, but thankfully it wasn’t bad enough to need medical attention.

Last week, right after our babymoon, Travis went out of town for a work trip. 5 nights, 6 days. Sunday night, I ate a couple of Tums before bed (which I do a lot these days) and hit the sack. A few minutes later, I felt like I was going to explode on both ends. Thankfully, that lasted for only about 10 minutes, I did some business and felt better enough to go back to bed instead of sit in the bathroom. But I couldn’t lay down without feeling awful so I watched an episode of Parenthood and then I could at least recline enough to sleep.

Monday, I still felt off but good enough to venture out to MOPS. (Whenever sickness prevents me and Emma from going to our normally scheduled activities, the week DRAGS by.) I felt mostly fine all day until nighttime came.  I was so miserable that night, I literally got up and drank a cup of coffee at 12:30 to see if it would get things moving, then took a shower and watched a couple episodes of Parenthood. When I finally did get to sleep, it was propped up against the wall in bed.

Tuesday, I had my prenatal appt and my doctor said it didn’t sound like anything to ‘fix’. Since Emma was at daycare and I felt awful, I spent the whole day on the couch. Then Tuesday night happened, which I will elaborate on shortly.

Wednesday, after talking with my mom, I started to think my problem might be acid reflux and not constipation. So I started avoiding trigger foods (citrus, tomatoes, caffeine) and by the end of the day, I was feeling significantly better. Thursday, I felt fine. Acid reflux is a nasty thing!

So Tuesday night. Ugh. I had just fed Emma dinner and was going to give her a bath right after I took the dogs out to go to the bathroom. But somehow, I
got locked out of the house — with Emma locked inside. After unsuccessfully trying to coach Emma to unlock the door (it’s a latch on the knob) and checking for a key in the garage and front door area, I started sobbing and decided my only option was to run to the neighbors’ house to use their phone, even though it meant leaving Emma, who I could hear was crying on the other side of the door. Of course it had to also be the day that we got 6 inches of snow and I was only wearing loafers. Luckily Travis had left a jacket in the garage or I wouldn’t have had one of those either!

Imagine a woman 35 weeks pregnant waddle-running in 10 degrees through snowy, icy roads and down 2 driveways that haven’t been plowed. That was me.

Luckily, my neighbor was home. I called Travis first to ask if we had any spare keys hidden. Nope. They were all in the house. He suggested calling 911 and having the fire dept come out. So that’s what I did. I didn’t want to spend time researching locksmiths. My wonderful neighbor loaded up her 8-month pregnant self and 3-year-old son to drive me back to my house.

When we got back, I went to the front door where we have a window and pounded on it to get Emma to at least come where I could see her. But she wouldn’t. I could hear her screaming hysterically and that made me cry even harder. I decided to head back to the door between the kitchen and garage (where Emma was). I took one step down the front stairs and ended up on my tailbone. I just kneeled in the snow for a few minutes, bawling and thinking,  “Could this night get ANY worse? Please let the baby be ok. OMG, this is so painful. And I’m cold. Travis is never traveling EVER AGAIN!”

The fire dept showed up around 5 minutes later but it felt like an eternity. They tried picking the lock but ended up using an axe between the door and jamb to open the door. Little Emma was fine — shaken up but not hurt. It seemed like she got over the trauma as soon as I picked her up.

Wednesday, I went to the hospital to be monitored just to make sure baby was ok. I wasn’t concerned since I had felt the baby move plenty since my fall but better to be on the safe side. Everything checked out.

Thankfully, the rest of the week was uneventful. I was so happy when Travis finally got home!

He traveled again this past Monday just for a (19 hour) day. Emma had developed a cold over the weekend and had very labored breathing so I took her to the doctor. They prescribed an albuterol nebulizer 3x a day, antibiotics for an upper respiratory infection, and steroids for inflammation. Poor girl! I swear, every time I’ve taken Emma to the doctor for being sick, Travis has been out of town.

Now you can see why I’m scared to have a newborn to take care of too, right? Travis is done traveling for the next couple of months though. It’ll be nice to have him at home.

Emma Grace: 23 Months

7 Mar

In just a month, Emma will be TWO years old! How is that possible? This past year went by really quickly. It’s amazing to compare Emma now to pictures from her first birthday — she was still such a baby then! Now she is full-blown toddler.

Emma’s favorite things this month have been:

  • Reading books on her own

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  • Wearing winter gear around inside

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  • Wearing adult shoes (still) — this actually seems to have improved her balance a lot!

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  • Painting and drawing

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  • Playing with clothes, whether hers or mommy’s

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  • Being held by mommy for naps

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  • Eating fruit snacks (she has a 2-pack-a-day habit)

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  • Playing with all the baby stuff that mommy has been getting ready

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  • Stickers!

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  • Drinking bath water, and other water-related shenanigans

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  • Making messes, of course

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  • Starting to show more interest in playing games on the tablet and phone

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  • Being crazy! She loves running around our basement, chasing the dogs, spinning in circles and jumping.

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Emma has continued to make great progress with her speech. She can now point to almost every body part we ask her about. She understands increasingly more complex requests, like when we ask her to find the matching sock or put the red block away. She has started to say hi and bye often, especially when we prompt her and sometimes even when we don’t. Her favorite words right now are “knee” (because she got an owie there a while ago), “ice”, “puppy”, “mom” or “mommy” and “uh oh”. She also says “wah wah” for water, “shoes”, “daddy” or “dada”, and “nye” for bye.

Just in the past week or so (I think), Emma got her first 2-year molar! Her sleep habits haven’t really been any worse than normal (though she has by no means been sleeping through the night every night) so I didn’t even realize that she was getting another tooth.

We bought Emma the Fisher Price Healthy Care Booster Seat to replace her high chair and she loves the seat so much (because of the buckles!) that she will voluntarily climb up into it for meals and buckle herself in all on her own. My parents have the same booster so we knew she liked the chair. Money well spent. Though when we take Emma out to eat at restaurants now, we don’t even ask for a high chair. We request a booth and let Emma stand or sit as she desires. This was learned after a particularly hairy dinner at Olive Garden back in January. She is just go-go-go all the time!

Emma definitely has the typical toddler behaviors of throwing things and hitting when she gets mad. We’re trying to coach her to ask for help instead of getting frustrated, and that we don’t ever hit or throw toys at people or dogs, but it’s a challenge. I’m sure other parents understand this. After a playdate this week, I realized that we should start teaching Emma how to say “I’m sorry” so that she can apologize to her friends when she either intentionally or unintentionally hurts them. She does get concerned when one of her friends is upset — though she doesn’t know how to communicate that with words.

20150306_115530Last but not least, Emma got a new cousin this month! My oldest brother and SIL had their baby boy yesterday. Such a cutie. Can’t wait to meet him! I’d be planning a trip down to visit if I weren’t expecting a baby soon myself. They’re a 13-hour drive away so it’s a little far to go at 36 weeks pregnant! Hopefully sometime this spring or summer though.

We’re having Emma’s 2nd birthday party about 2 weeks early so that we don’t have to worry about Bisky Junior crashing the party (since my due date is the day after Emma’s birthday, and the weekend right before her birthday is Easter). I finally sent out evites and bought Emma’s birthday shirt today. We’re doing a puppy theme and keeping things fairly low key with pizza, fruit, puppy chow and cupcakes decorated with paw prints. We invited our immediate family, a few of Emma’s friends and are planning to have the kids decorate paper dog ears that they can wear. Other than that, it’ll just be letting them play and eat! Should be a good time.

Babymoon #2

2 Mar

This past weekend, my mother-in-law watched Emma so that Travis and I could have a night away. The plan had been to go to a Minnesota Gopher hockey game but we didn’t realize until after we had reserved a non-refundable hotel room that instead of playing Friday/Saturday like they do 99% of the time, they were instead playing Thursday/Friday. What are the odds? We had even chosen a hotel right on campus so that we could walk to the game. Ugh.

The week before our trip, we also realized that Travis had to fly out for a work trip on Sunday afternoon. That meant we had to drive down to the Cities separately and spend time parking Travis’ truck in airport parking. Double ugh.

Nevertheless, we had fun — though I joked to Travis that with our time away from Emma, we ended up doing kid stuff anyway (like going to the Mall of America and the Como Zoo & Conservatory).

We left our house around 10 am on Saturday morning and stopped at Cabela’s (quite possibly Travis’ favorite store) on our way through Rogers. We dropped Travis’ truck off at airport parking when we got to the Cities and then headed to the MOA for a movie. We walked through Nickelodeon Universe a bit, did some shopping and then saw American Sniper. It was really good, but very sobering. Then we went out to eat at Digby’s in Roseville, where I had a delicious burger and Travis had a buffalo chicken pizza. After that, we checked into our hotel, attempted to watch the Avs vs. Wild game and zonked out.

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Sunday morning as I was getting ready, I started having some crazy Braxton Hicks contractions — like one every 3 minutes. I drank some water and laid back down on the bed, and after 20 minutes or so, they slowed to every 5 minutes. If I had been in Brainerd, I probably would’ve called and talked to a nurse, but since I was down in the Cities, I thought I’d just wait it out. So we checked out of our hotel and went to Panera for breakfast. By the time we got to Bethlehem Baptist for church at 11, the contractions were only coming every 10-15 minutes and irregularly. So weird. (I have my next prenatal appointment tomorrow and will ask about that.)

After church, we drove around our old stomping grounds a bit and then ate lunch at the Old Spaghetti Factory. Mmmm… spumoni ice cream. We had about an hour and a half to kill before I had to drive Travis to the airport so we checked out the Como Zoo and Conservatory for a bit. Gotta live it up in the city while we can!

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I dropped Travis off at the airport around 4 pm and then headed back up to Brainerd. I got home around 6:30 to a very happy Bisky. Even though it was only one night, I missed her. But the downtime was very nice.

Babymoon #2 in the books!

If I’m still pregnant the last Saturday of March, we are planning on going down to the Cities again (sans Emma) for the wedding of one my good friends. I can’t decide though if I want to just drive back afterward or risk being down in the Cities when labor starts. I guess I’m risking that if I go down regardless if I stay overnight or not. Hmmm….