Sunday, October 26, 2014

My First Photoshoot

My husband keeps mentioning this blogger he knows that doesn't really blog much these days. Apparently, he doesn't think she has any excuse for it (not yet anyway)...I keep telling him that if the laptop wasn't stuffed under the bed and if I could reach the keyboard across my belly a little better, then maybe I would be a better blogger. Maybe.

Anyway, this has been sort of a rough week. Something about actually reaching my due date has made me a little grumpy. I worked hard early last week to try to induce labor. Lots of walking. So much walking that it felt like I accomplished little else. After returning to the doctor and finding that I was still only 3cm and 70% effaced, I decided that all of the walking wasn't really worth it if it meant I couldn't get to the laundry or didn't have the energy to make dinner. So, I gave up.

Wouldn't you know it? As soon as I decided to just relax and forget about it, I started having contractions. Lots of them. Every 5 minutes for hours on end. The only problem was, they never got stronger. They never got longer. They never got painful. And then, of course, they stopped. That was Thursday. I've continued to have some contractions since then, but nothing consistent at all. Days of false labor is not my idea of fun, just so you know.

I know. They say he'll come when he's ready, yet strangely there are a lot of inductions these days! Hopefully we won't have to go down that road again, but I don't think my doctor will let me go too far past 41 weeks, so we'll see what the next week brings.

These are obviously the pictures that I took for my friend last week. I actually set them up in the spot where I took my least favorite picture of my kidlets, but I knew that I really liked the light in that spot and that it would give the boys room to run around while still having a nice background and bokeh opportunities.

I arrived early enough to get things set up...a blanket that I moved around about 10 times trying to find the right light, my camera settings, and white balance. I wasn't sure that I was going to be able to do the whole session on manual so soon after my class, but I went for it, knowing that with a little help in post processing, I would have a better chance of getting what I wanted if I just left it in manual.

I left my friend, Kristin, in charge of the posing for the most part, so that we could be sure to get the shots that she wanted, and I was worried that I would be too focused on the technical aspects to do the posing. It worked out pretty well. I was able to get about 60 shots that I was happy with in the 45 minutes before the rest of our friends arrived. And, most importantly, she loves them, so I'm counting it as a success!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Any day now...

No, there's still no baby...

For about the last 5 days I've gone to bed feeling crummy...feeling like at some point in the middle of the night contractions will wake me up. Needless to say, it hasn't happened yet.

Last Thursday when I saw my doctor, she said that she thought she'd see me sometime in the next week, before my next scheduled appointment. Even though I was only 2 cm, I let her optimism get to me.

I thought a new baby would be about the best birthday present a girl could get (even if it meant labor and delivery on my birthday!). My birthday also fell on the 39 week mark, and considering the first 2 were born at 39 weeks, I was optimistic!

Of course, they were both induced, but both times I was already 4 cm and my doctor was pretty sure that I would go into labor spontaneously before I showed up for my induction. It didn't happen then, and it doesn't appear to be happening this time.

My doctor asked me how many hours a day I was walking, and I kind of laughed. Does back and forth from the kitchen to the couch count?? I have been trying really hard to do more walking.

I took the kids to the mall when it was raining yesterday and this morning I walked around the park near our house with my friend who is due the week after I am, even though it was still raining. We're motivated.

The nursery is ready, except for the rocking chair we just ordered because the school has apparently run out...too many babies around here! We picked up the bumper at the Seoul Swap, where we were trying to get rid of stuff. We have ended up with a whole lot of blue and green in there, but that's what happens when you don't buy any of your own stuff. I'm not complaining. I ordered the Instagram prints from Prinstagram, and I love them. We had to pay a lot for shipping, but I think it was worth it. They're really sturdy, and I love the simplicity and lack of permanence.

(The above is weeks 18, 28, and 38.) We had a baby shower on Sunday at church, along with 3 other women who are all due in the next week or two. Do I look uncomfortable in this picture? I am.

Without sharing any of the gory details, I can tell you that my body has been preparing itself for labor. All that's left is to have my water break (wouldn't that be a miracle?) and of course, the consistent contractions. Any day now, baby!

Monday, October 13, 2014

A Trip to the Park

On Saturday, I took the kids to Yongsan Family Park during Eric's baseball game. We actually just took the kids here a couple of weeks ago for a picnic. I had planned on this particular park because there isn't a lot of walking involved, but by the time we arrived, the parking lot was full, so we had to park down the road. We ended up with what I consider a long walk these days. I had Braxton Hicks contractions walking both directions, so I guess that's good. But, that was weeks ago, and I'm still not feeling any closer to labor.

We arrived early on Saturday, though, so there was plenty of parking. And no contractions even though by then I was 37 weeks...almost 38. Come on, baby!

I wanted to check out the light and take some pictures of the kids because on Monday morning, I was going to have my first shoot of someone else's kids. I was a little nervous!

I have a friend who is also a mom with a camera (actually her gear is a lot better than mine having benefited when our HS photography teacher made the switch from Nikon to Canon!), so we agreed to trade services this fall.

I'm hoping to have our pictures done before the end of November because soon after, all of the leaves will disappear and it will be too cold to be outside for any length of time. I'm not really sure how feasible it's going to be with everyone's schedules, though.

I didn't want her to have to wait through my postpartum recovery, so we just decided to do hers now, even without the fall colors.

She has 3 boys, ages 3 and under, so shooting my own kids isn't exactly great practice for shooting hers. Mine can do things like stand on fences and sit still and look at the camera (when bribed with lunch afterwards!).

Nonetheless, it was a good exercise for me in finding the light I wanted, and I was able to show up to the park yesterday with a pretty good idea of where I wanted to be and how I wanted to set things up, so I was happy about that.

After getting the pictures done (and then letting them play for awhile), we headed home and then walked into Itaewon for lunch at one of our favorite restaurants. It was a tediously slow walk for the kids, since I'm not moving too quickly these days. I had done the same walk the night before, so I was even slower than normal. Now that it's cooled off, I'm trying to walk as much as I can, though.

We have all had colds for the past week, which is bearable, but not much fun, of course. Secretly, I'd prayed that we would all get sick now, rather than in a few weeks with a newborn around. We've never made it through a fall in Korea without at least one of us getting pretty sick, and it seemed unlikely this year. I just wanted to get it over with.

Saturday morning, I had actually woken up thinking that I couldn't believe how quickly this cold had passed for me. I'd had a stuffy nose and a slight sore throat for a few days, but I could tell I was on the upswing already. Until that evening. Suddenly, a sore throat hit hard. I was also developing a cough.

I won't provide you with all of the hairy details, but suffice it to say that a sore throat and a cough were not mixing well with my 37 week pregnant body. The heartburn that had disappeared the week before came back with a vengeance when I started coughing, bringing up acid that had no business being brought up. I spent Saturday night trying not to cough or throw up. Obviously, I didn't have a lot of control over that.

Sunday, I skipped out on church, having slept very little the night before. Cade offered to stay home and take care of me, but not surprisingly when I threw up all over the living room floor (I was determined not to throw up!), he went running into his room and closed the door. After showering, I had to figure out a way to get down there and clean it all up without throwing up again! Eesh. Thankfully, after sleeping semi-upright Sunday night, my sore throat was gone Monday morning, and I am feeling much better at the beginning of week 38!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

The 8th Month

It's crazy to me that I still can't see a difference in these pictures from week to week, or even from the beginning of the month to the end, but it's clear that I've grown quite a bit in the past 9 months!

Throughout September, highs were in the low to mid 80s, and I was hot most of the month. I wasn't using the AC anymore in the house, but I was fooling myself every time I walked out the door thinking it would be cool. It wasn't.

He flipped in the middle of September, so I started getting more of those stronger kicks to the ribs, and there were a couple of weeks where my ribs just ached all the time. Even when he wasn't actually kicking me.

By now, he's moved down further, and while I still get the occasional jab in the ribs, the painful movements are much, much lower now. I can feel his movements radiate at the tops of my thighs. Eesh. There's a lot of pressure on my bladder, of course, and I was surprised to begin feeling pelvic pressure at only 36 weeks.

I went to the doctor every two weeks in September, but because she is out of town this week, I am going three weeks between appointments this time, just when I would have expected to start going every week. Oh well. I don't mind not trekking to the hospital every week.

My appetite has been cut significantly in the past month, which I'm fine with. I'm not really on board with the whole "never stop eating" thing. I experienced some pretty miserable heartburn in the past month, causing me to lay awake for hours, or taking Tums again just seconds before throwing up. Nasty. Another benefit to him being lower now at 37 weeks is the drastic reduction of heartburn. I haven't had any Tums in 2 days!

I have had some Braxton Hicks contractions in the past few weeks, mostly when I'm doing a lot of walking or stair climbing or something. Now that it's cooled off, I'm able to a bit more of that, which is good. This kid will never come out if I spend all my time laying around!

We now have his room set up, all of his clothes washed, and hospital and diaper bags packed, so as soon as my doctor returns on Friday, we'll be ready for this kid to arrive!

Monday, October 6, 2014

Kennedy's Birthday

On Wednesday, we celebrated Kennedy's 8th birthday. Wednesdays are our busiest day of the week, and this was no exception!

I baked cupcakes for her class on Tuesday. Then, Eric let her pick out Halloween frosting at the international market (taboo since our school doesn't celebrate Halloween!). It turned out that buying frosting was much cheaper than making my own, so I wasn't complaining. Kennedy helped me decorate the cupcakes, of course.

On Wednesdays, I take them to school, so that Eric can play basketball with his friends. So, I drove to school at 7:15, then again at 8:45, and then later at 4:15. Good thing it's close!

She got to share cupcakes with her class during their 15 minute snack time in the morning. They sang "Happy Birthday" to her in 4 different languages--English, Korean, Mandarin, and Spanish. After my short stint in her classroom, I headed to the cafeteria where I spent about 45 minutes catching up with former students, which was a lot of fun.

After school on Wednesdays, they have swimming, so I met them at school to save a little time, and then we walked into Itaewon to have dinner at the restaurant of her choice. This year it was Outback. We're not really sure where that one came from since I think the kids had only been to Outback once in their lives!

Dinner was good, and a nice change of pace, especially since I've been cooking every night these days. We still haven't been to most of my favorite restaurants this fall!

She had decided that she wanted to have dessert at Outback, so I had given away the extra cupcakes earlier in the day (after saving one for Cade, of course). We were a bit surprised when she said that she was just too full to order dessert (enter mom guilt here, as my mind starts to racing as to how we're going to sing and do the whole "birthday" thing without a dessert!).

Eric convinced her to pick up a cookie from Ben's Cookies (so delicious!), since it was on the way back to school, anyway. Then she could wait a bit and get some walking in before she had dessert. She happily agreed.

Wouldn't you know it? Ben's Cookies was closed. As we stood outside, waiting for the boys to come get us in the car, we did some brainstorming. She quickly came up with heading just a little further to the nearest Starbucks to check out their selection. It didn't take her long to choose the chocolate muffin, and no, she had no problem finishing it!

We made it home and then raced (a bit) through the cupcakes and gifts before finally getting the kids to bed an hour late. The one thing that she really wanted this year was the rainbow loom and bands to make bracelets. I would imagine that we're a little late to this party (as we are to most things these days), but she has been having fun producing bracelets en masse in the past week.

We told her last year that she was going to get this year off from having a big birthday party. Obviously, I'm so relieved, since I didn't know at the time that I would be 36 weeks pregnant for her birthday! She had a great attitude about it, and she is very understanding of the fact that this year it's her brother's turn for a party. So, we had one night of celebration, and I think she was pretty happy with it!
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