We went to my parents' house in Goochland to sort-through baby gear and clothes that my aunt and uncle so generously donated to their niece and nephew's future babies (they have twins, a boy and a girl. Perfect!). There was a TON of stuff.

We took a break from our sorting to consume some super yummy Maggianos, finished the sorting, and then trudged home with our bounty. We finished painting the nursery two weeks ago, and I was excited to get some baby stuff in there! Our upstairs is in disarray as we (and by WE I mean mostly my super sexy-while-he's-painting husband) finish painting the master, foyer, and office, so I took the opportunity (really I was just trying to preserve my sanity) keep the baby stuff very organized (for now, while I still can).

The baby swing plays music and lights-up. SO EXCITED. We kept the swing downstairs all day Friday and Saturday so the dogs could get adjusted. Fiona, of course, went right-up to it and sniffed. Henrik, being the champ that he is, leaned-in and sniffed bravely. Turning the swing on, however, was a different story. Fiona was generally uninterested, and Henrik maintained a five-foot perimeter around the swing.

Josh is finishing the second coat on the master bedroom as we speak.

And Henrik is enjoying his new toys. This is the second chick we've gotten him. He LOVES appendages, so we figured the frog with giant arms and legs around be a big hit. Mission accomplished.

And now I'm going to stop posting udpated and pictures so I can clean, bake, and prep for a relaxing Memorial Day with some friends.

He really doesn't hate you, he just doesn't like you yet

Have you met our cocker spaniel, Henrik? If you know him, then you know that he’s sweet, cuddly, loving, and quite adept at fetching and catching. If you don’t know him, then he seems anxious and untrusting. If you walk into our house with something large (okay, who am I kidding – the object could be large or small) in your hands, your chances of forming a bond with H drastically plummet. If you make any sudden or major movements or gestures or do anything loudly during that crucial first meeting, then your chances of a bond are next to zero. He remembers. EVERYTHING. Seriously though, he really is the best dog (said the totally unbiased party). Ever. He just happens to believe that trust is earned, not automatically provided. I can’t say that I disagree.

Today, I ordered something that I think will save H’s sanity (and ours). It’s called
Baby Sounds for Pets, and it’s a CD full of baby sounds from baby talk to baby temper tantrums. To explain just how significant this CD is, let me tell you a little story:

The day we found-out we were having a boy was the day after Tax Day, and my mom and I were meeting for celebratory manicures. After our manis, we hopped over to the mall so Nana (this name is subject to change. My mom is still working-out what she wants to be called. I told her it’ll just come to her the first time she meets Liam and says, “Hi, Liam, it’s your ____.”) could buy Liam a few things. One of the things she purchased was a set of four small, stuffed sports balls (baseball, soccer ball, etc.) that came in a small, soft-sided case with handles. Each ball is less than three inches in diameter, so the case is no more than a foot long. Small and unobtrusive. Well, H HATES the case and the balls, together or separate. It probably doesn’t help that the balls make a “boing yoing yoing” sound when hit or dropped. We discovered his aversion when I was playing show-and-tell with Josh. H didn’t react to the blankets or the burp rags, but the second that case came into view he was GONE (and by gone I mean, scampered away then promptly came right back into view and paced because (a) he wants to make sure scary object doesn’t get us or (b) he likes to be within eye-shot of us and his sister, Fiona, at all times). Over the next few days, we would occasionally put the case somewhere in the family room to get him adjusted. We haven’t done this in weeks, but I am willing to bet that we’re still in the adjusting phase.

Now you know why the baby sounds CD will be playing non-stop, quietly at first and then gradually louder, until Liam’s arrival.

Side note: The wonderful and talented
Don Mears is coming to our house in July for a maternity session. Since we would really like our dogs to be in a few pictures, Josh and I have devised a plan to (hopefully) shorten H’s adjustment period to Don (and maybe Lindsay, his wonderful and talented wife). H seems to react better when we go out first and then come back with the strangers. Any chance of a friendship will be quickly bashed if Don enters the house with his arms and shoulders full of camera equipment, so Josh and I will carry-in his equipment. We haven’t told Don our plan yet, but I’m pretty sure he’s going to laugh, A LOT. I’m also pretty sure our plan will work (ah, the power of positive thinking).

Oh that's just GREAT

The number one question I get asked nowadays is, “How are you feeeeeeling?” or “How are you dooooing?” Which really means, “How is the pregnancy going?” My answer is always, “I feel great!” And it’s not “great!” as in, I’m trying to appease you with a happy answer but I really feel like death. Pre-pregnancy I usually answered such a question with “good” or “fine” most of the time for fear that an in-depth conversation about myself would ensue. So when I tell people I feel great, I can’t help but wonder if they think I’m giving them a canned answer. I really do feel GREAT. This is how my pregnancy has gone thus far:

During the first trimester I was tired, very tired. More tired than I’ve ever been in my life (if you know me well, you know this is saying a lot. I sleep A LOT, and I am tired A LOT by nature). This excessive tiredness was probably more due to the pregnancy + 12 to 14 hour days/working six days a week work schedule. Other than being tired, I was GREAT. Hungry a lot. Either not pooping enough or pooping too much (TMI, BETSY!). But GREAT.

During second trimester I am less all-around tired and more I get tired easily. To cope, I take breaks during errands and chores. I was less hungry, but now I’m starting to be more hungry again (I know the correct word is “hungrier” but I want to keep the sentence structure parallel, people!). I’m still pooping too much or too little (hopefully this ends by Liam’s birthday because I’d really like to avoid an enema and pooping on my poor doctor. This weekend my mom laughed (a rather uncomfortable laugh, probably more so related to her disbelief that I was talking so candidly about pooping in front of my stepdad, her, and Josh) and replied, “Betsy, you’re so not going to care.” She’s probably right. Because mother’s ALWAYS ARE), but it’s no big deal. My abdomen is starting to feel tight, but what do you expect? There’s a BABY in there (one that is roughly the size of an
ear of corn). These days, I fill-up quickly during meals, as stomach expansion has given-way to uterus expansion. Case in point: I ate too much for dinner last night. I got Josh’s attention, pointed to the top of my growing belly, and said, ‘It hurts RIGHT HERE;” which is about six inches higher than normal (I’m trying not to truly ponder the logistics of the space issue because it kind of FREAKS me out). But I still feel all-around GREAT.

And then I almost feel guilty for feeling so great. I’ve read countless recaps of women whose pregnancies were hell or of women how had to endure unspeakable heartbreak. Believe me; I know that I am blessed. I thank God every day for a myriad of things related to this baby. Things have been SO great, that a scary thought occasionally slithers into my brain: that it’s bound to end sometime. And then I catch myself, and I realize: God is SO MUCH greater than that. I realize this, and I relax. My God loves me, and my God loves Liam. And my God is capable of such GREAT love. I realize this, and I enjoy the GREATNESS that he’s blessed me with.

Side note: Josh and I were worried that we would have fertility problems. Many of the women in my family struggled to get pregnant. Josh’s mom struggled to get pregnant. A few years ago, I ran into a problem that caused worries (but is no longer a worry – I told you God is GREAT). I tell you this to tell you the cutest story involving my husband: My stepmom sent me a package a few months ago (I was freshly pregnant) containing a book and a little plaque that says, “God answers prayers.” After opening the box, I asked Josh where he thought we should hang the plaque. Without skipping a beat, Josh answered, “Above the guest bedroom door because that’s going to be the baby’s room.” I was speechless for a few seconds (THAT’s how much it impacted me), and then I agreed that it would be the perfect location. Every time I see that little plaque hanging above Liam’s door I am reminded of just how true the words are.

Oh sweet delight, I have BOOBS!

I’m at the belly-point where I’ve almost out-grown all of my pre-pregnancy tops (my love of shirts that are a size or two too big has really come in handy over the past few months). Even my two-foot stack of beloved v-neck t-shirts stretch tightly over my stomach (but I still wear them because I LOVE them. Plus, they make my feel pregnant). A few more weeks of this, and I’ll have five shirts that fit me. I’m trying to motivate myself to go shopping before that happens to avoid a 6:30 am “I’m having a fat/pregnancy/I’M SO BIG” meltdown. It’s not working nearly as well as it did with the painting.

Natalie, avert your eyes. Just skip this paragraph. Everything will be okay, I PROMISE. My best and oldest friend, Natalie is getting married on June 12th, and I’m lucky enough to be her matron of honor (speech = already written!). I’d only been with-Liam for about six weeks when she sent-out the bridesmaids dress email. CRAP, was my first thought. She was one of the first people to hear the news, and we devised a plan. We pick-out a great wrap dress from J. Crew in the same fabric and color as the other bridesmaids. It doesn’t scream SHE’S WITH-CHILD, which I really appreciate. In fact, I plan to alter the dress down-to-size once I’ve shrunk back to normal (OPTIMISM at its best). Since I had no clue how pregnant twenty-six weeks would be for me, I ordered a few sizes up (normally a size 2 in J. Crew, so I ordered a size 8). I tried that bad-boy on last weekend to see how much it would need to be taken in. My answer? NONE. I couldn’t believe it. It snapped, but barely. Thankfully, it’s a wrap dress, so the alterations to make it bigger should be fairly non-invasive. I whispered down to Liam, asking him very nicely to grow slowly over the next four weeks. I gave him permission to go nuts on June 13th. I can’t lie, I panicked. Josh was there to calm me back down to earth (his nonchalance always amazes me, in such a good way). I’m still panicked – don’t think Josh is THAT good. And I’ll continue to be panicked until I put the dress on in 22 days and it snaps, wraps, and fully covers all my goodies. All will be well (I’ve been praying VERY hard on this).

My belly isn’t the only thing that’s grown. Remember that butt I had in high school? Oh yeah, it’s back. Except this time it’s not the result of soccer seven days a week (I’m THAT girl who lost ten pounds her freshman year of college because I wasn’t being as active). I also have the thighs that I had in high school – the ones from all of those quick sprints. Only this time they’re not as firm. The third non-belly item that’s grown is a much, MUCH welcomed growth. I have BOOBS. Mercifully, these were the first things to grow, so my new butt and thighs delivered a softer blow to my ego. Because I had BOOBS. I went bra shopping a couple months ago and bought a C-cup bra. OH SWEET DELIGHT. It’s already time for an upgrade to a D-cup. Wait, WHAT?! It’s like Christmas.

On a boob side-note: This morning I put-on my C-cup bra and pulled-on my black tank top and grey short-sleeved cardigan. I walked downstairs to pack my lunch, and use the bathroom one last time before leaving for work. The bright, enclosed light of the downstairs bathroom revealed my nude bra in all its glory shining through my black tank top (THANK YOU bathroom lights). Easy fix. Where is that black bra?? You know, the B-CUP. I managed to wrangle my D-cup boobs into the black B-cup bra and pulled-on the tank top once again. You can’t see it (because the tank isn’t low-cut) but my cleavage (so THIS is what cleavage looks like!) looks GREAT today. But my new friends are screaming for support. Maybe we’ll stop-by VC after Motherhood Maternity.

Who ordered the early labor enema!?!?

Over lunch, I did some baby reading. A few months ago, such a task was all-around enjoyable. I read about pregnancy symptoms (and subsequently FREAKED OUT every time I felt ANYTHING going-on with my body for the first 14-weeks… thankfully, I am now intimately familiar with the difference between gas pains (YAY PREGNANCY!) and uterine cramps (p.s. I’m not entirely sure what a real cramp feels like because I don’t THINK I’ve ever had one. Nah nah nah naaaah!! ). Before you curse my existence as a woman, my monthly gift is accompanied by back pain, and I mean BACK PAIN), newborn development and care by week, looked at bump pictures, and day-dreamed about onsies that say, “I love my MOM.” Since I’ve read all the fun stuff of, I’ve moved onto heavier topics. Like episiotomies, enemas, pooping while pushing, natural vs epidural, circumcision, and the like. While these topics aren’t as light-hearted as the ones that came before, they’re necessary reads and decisions.

This is my problem: For a lot of the questions posed, my answer seems to be, “I DON’T KNOW!” Those that know me well know that Betsy + Not Knowing (or not being prepared, or not being ready, or not being on-time (on-time is five minutes EARLY, people!)) are like oil and water - we REFUSE to co-mingle. I’ve started to develop a birth plan, which has conjured-up all sorts of indecision and feelings of not-knowing. I mean, what DO I know? I’VE NEVER DONE THIS BEFORE.

Do I want to give birth naturally or have an epidural? I DON’T KNOW – What do contractions FEEL like? Am I as tough as I think I am or am I pain intolerant? Will I be one of the women who react badly to an epidural? Will it slow-down MY labor, like it does for some women? Am I part of the “some women” group? If I do get an epidural, do I want to let it wear-off slightly for pushing? I DON’T KNOOOOW.

Do I want an enema during early labor? I DON’T KNOW – I mean, I’d prefer to not poop during the delivery. But will my body empty itself as labor sets-in? What if I'm induced? Is this something that my doctor requires, discourages, or leaves up to me (don’t worry; I’ve made a list of questions for my next appointment. I’ll make Doc sorry for saying to me, “Wow, you’re easy!” at our last appointment. HA! I didn’t have any questions for him because I hadn’t yet stumbled across enemas or early vs. late clamping).

Do you want to use a mirror to watch your baby’s delivery? I DON’T KNOW. NO WAY! Wait, maybe? I’ve watched a birth video or two, and it’s not for the faint-of-heart. Do I really want to see all of THAT? We’re talking a once(maybe twice or three times)-in-a-lifetime chance here. Me: Josh, do you think you’ll look? Josh: (eyes bulge, heavy swallow): NO. I wish blood made ME queasy.

It’s probably not beneficial to put “TBD” next to 50% of the questions on our birth plan. Right now, I’m trying to focus on the things that I DO know the answer to: YES, I want my coach (that’s you, Josh!) present. YES, I want to listen to music. NO, I don’t want medical students using me to learn (SORRY). YES, I’d like to be free to move-around and walk as much as possible. YES, I’d like the baby to be put on my stomach/chest right after delivery. YES, I want to breastfeed as soon as possible after delivery.

The truth is, for 50% of the questions I don’t have strong convictions either way. And I don’t think that I will until I’m in the moment. So maybe “to-be-determined” IS my best answer. For now. For some of these things, how can you know (I mean, really know) as a first-timer? We can read and prepare all we want, but we just won't know until we know.

Who was productive this weekend? (Hint: WE WERE!)

Josh and I were uncharacteristically productive this weekend. Usually this is how it goes: On Thursday and Friday we make a verbal list of the things we plan to get done over the weekend (our week nights are generally errand/project-free – we get home, cook dinner, get ready for bed by 8:30 pm, and turn-off the lights by 9:30pm. Yes, we know; we live like 80 year-olds in a nursing home). Then on Sunday we recap the weekend’s accomplishments and finish-up with, “Okay, we HAVE to do _____ next weekend.” Not this weekend! Not only did we accomplish everything on our list, but we finished a few extras. Unheard-of! I went to bed last night beyond relaxed, knowing that the entire house was clearer and more organized than it’s ever been (although, I haven’t seen the attic… that’s Josh’s domain. And it got A LOT fuller this weekend. Ignorance is bliss).

Tonight we’re taking a piece of Liam’s bedding (as promised, it arrived from on Saturday around 2:00 pm – I am so in love. Not only was the turn-around 24 hours, but ALL SHIPPING IS FREE. I think I’ve found my baby crack) to Lowe’s tonight to pick-out paint. Maybe we’ll get the trim painted tonight. We can do this because the bedroom is already tapped-off. YES, we really were THAT productive. Did I mention that we (and by “we” I mean Josh) even put pictures in the frames hanging our family room? Yeah, we’ve lived in our house since October and those frames have been hanging empty since day-one (we’re talking six frames which in-case 12+ photos). We’re riding the wave as long as possible because there’s no telling when it’ll end.

Our extreme productivity this weekend meant that I had to take numerous breaks. It’s amazing how much pregnancy complicates easy tasks. For example, bending over to pick-up things off the floor repeatedly gets really uncomfortable. And taping-off a room for paint – HA! Watching me wipe the floor boards as I crawled along on all-threes on the floor must have been really amusing (Josh, thanks for not laughing at me). There was also a lot of pushing heavy items along the carpet, since picking-up these heavy items is discouraged. And there was a lot of this: Josh, can you pick this up for me? Josh, I’m really sorry, but can you take this downstairs on your next trip. I feel helpless and needy, but Josh is a champion helper.

Anyway, on to the reason I brought-up the breaks. On one such break, I sat in our big chair downstairs and stared at my stomach for five minutes. Liam was doing past-paced yoga poses. I eventually called Josh downstairs to marvel with me. But before I did that, I caught myself thinking, “I’m totally going to want eight kids because experiencing this once isn’t going to be enough.” I can’t believe I have less than four months left. At first thought, I get a little sad. And then, of course, I realize what comes AFTER pregnancy and that sadness melts away. I’ve been very lucky. This pregnancy has been a breeze, so I’ve really been able to enjoy every second (thank you, God). I may be singing a different tune in August when I’m out-to-here, swollen, and its 95 degrees EVERY DAY (thanks so much, Virginia). But right now, I’m savoring it all - even the minor discomforts and random tweaks of pain (if you twist too quickly, the ligaments around your uterus FREAK). Plus, I’m loving all of the opportunities for lists and spreadsheets. You should see our “things we need” spreadsheet. It’s a beauty.

I recognize this scene from Species II

I cannot get enough of Liam’s kicks. When he’s pushing eight pounds and round-housing my bladder, I imagine I’ll politely ask him to stop. But right now, I revel in every. single. kick. To be honest, before I’d felt that first flutter I thought it might freak me out. Think about it – something, that’s living by the way, is kicking you from the INSIDE. That thought conjures Alien and Species images. However, real experience was quite the opposite. We bond over these kicks. That’s all we can bond over. And Josh bonds with Liam through the kicks. And Josh and I bond with each other through the kicks. Last night we spent five minutes just watching my stomach twitch and bulge. We were exclaiming, “Whoa!” and “Good one!” the entire time. It doesn’t get much sweeter than this.

We had a check-up this morning (these happen every four weeks right now). My mom tagged-along. All is well with Liam! Doc said my fluid looks good (no, not THOSE fluids,
amniotic fluid), my blood pressure is good, Liam’s heart rate is normal, and he informed us that he looked at the results from our anatomy work-up two weeks ago and all looks well. My glucose test (aka they take MORE blood... did I mention the time they took SEVEN viles?) is scheduled for 4 weeks from now. An hour before the test I’m supposed to drink a 10 ounce drink they sent home with me. Those 10 ounces contain an obscene amount of sugar. Doc’s advice: drink it as fast as possible. They load you with sugar to see how your pancreas reacts. This gives them an indication of your susceptibility to gestational diabetes.

Our plans for the tonight: the first stage of operation Prepare for Liam. We’re cleaning/clearing-out the office. It’s still going to remain an office, but it’s been a catch-all for crap. Nothing feels better than throwing away bags of crap and donating bags of usable “someone else’s treasure.” Stage two is moving Josh’s clothes into the office closet (yes, I took-over the entire master closest). Then we need to remove the bed and bookcase from the to-be nursery. Then we PAINT. I finally pulled the trigger on Liam’s bedding. I can’t tell you how many times I added the items to my cart online. must know a secret that other online companies don’t because I ordered it this morning at 9:00 am, and by 11:00 am it has already shipped. It’ll be here TOMORROW. Maybe we can pick-out paint this weekend. I keep repeating: We will not procrastinate, we will not procrastinate, we will not procrastinate. I’ll let you know how it goes.

22 Week Bump