Saturday, December 19, 2015

Embracing Change

Yesterday was my last day as a lawyer for foreseeable future. Well, technically I am still under contract with my firm until December 31st, but since I only get paid when I work and I'm not doing any more work, I think it's safe to say I'm no longer a practicing attorney. It is such a strange feeling.

I've had December 18th on my mind for a few months now, since it was set as my last day. My calendar has been marked with "last day of work" since October. It has seemed like the day would never come, but then suddenly it was here and now it has passed.  I will wake up Monday morning without needing to get dressed to go sit at a desk. I have no contracts swimming through my head or clients to get back to. I have no deadline looming. I have no pressure. I have freedom.  And it feels amazing.

I cried yesterday as I pulled out of my work parking lot and called my husband to tell him I was done. The emotional release was immediate. The sense of completion and the knowledge that this was the right decision were profound.  After over 8 years doing something I have not been passionate about, it feels good to walk away.

I also find it ironic that on my last day in practice one of my best girlfriends made partner at her firm. She is propelling forward while I am hitting stop. For a second I felt jealous as she has attained something I thought I wanted to for quite a few years. But that feeling didn't last long. It's not what was in my heart and it would not have made me happy. My other good friend from law school just returned home after spending 61 days away at trial in another city, only getting to see her children for a few days over Thanksgiving. Yet another law school friend is now working part time, 3 days a week and spending the other two with her son. A few others have stopped practicing and now work for the law school, and yet others have said goodbye to the law long before me.  We all started in the same place but have ended up on different paths. It's hard to not compare and worry if you picked the wrong path. The doubts have started to creep in a little today. What if I hate this change. What if I am bad at being a stay-at-home-mom?

I've had to stop myself from going down this mental road. The truth is that I've left the legal doors open. I have options if a few months down the road, after Bridget's arrival, I decide I want to go back. But I don't see that happening. In my head and my heart, this is the end of my legal career for now.

So what's next?  My main focus now is getting Bridget here safely. I have less than 4 weeks to go as my doctors will not let me go past my due date. I suspect they'll schedule an induction for 39 weeks if I'm still pregnant at that point. She's measuring big and the last ultrasound on her kidney wasn't great. I'm mentally preparing for an induction, pitocin-fueled labor. It is not what I want. I want an unmedicated, doula-assisted birthing experience, but I know that my desires may need to be set aside if it's in Bridget's best interest to proceed otherwise.

Between now and my due date I have a lot going on. The boys are off school for the next two weeks. My parents are coming down on Monday and then my brother and his family are arriving Wednesday evening. This house will be full for Christmas. My nephews are coming and I'm so excited to see them and to watch Lukas and Julian play with them for a full week.  It will be a truly magical Christmas with four boys aged 2-7 under one roof. My heart is full just thinking about the week to come.

Then we will usher in a new year. 2016 is going to be a great year. A year of change and transition and unknown roads. It will bring us our daughter and we'll start navigating the road that is her health journey. I know that road might be bumpy, but we'll hold on tight and move forward. It's all we can do.

I also feel that 2016 will bring with it personal growth that I can't yet comprehend.  My Beautycounter business, the real reason I was able to step away from my legal career, is going to flourish. I feel confident in that. I love my job with Beautycounter. I love coaching the women on my team and working along side them to build robust, profitable businesses. Todd heard me on one of my coaching calls a few weeks ago and remarked how happy I sounded on the phone. I hadn't really thought about it, but he's right. I get so much joy out of sharing the company's mission and empowering other women to succeed in this business. I love watching my team expand and can't wait to work with even more amazing women.

One thing I never got from the legal world was positive reinforcement. No one was lifting each other up and it was not a collaborative environment. Beautycounter is the opposite of everything I experience in private practice. It is women helping women. It is building others up to succeed and acknowledging their hard work and dedication. I may not be as financially successful with Beautycounter (at least not yet, however I work with women who make way more a month than I ever did as a lawyer and I plan to join them soon), but the personal success and accomplishment I get from this job far exceed anything I've ever felt practicing law.  We will make the new budget work for our family and I will be happier for it. I have no doubt about this. And I also have no doubt that I will see greater success with Beautycounter than I initially dreamed possible.  When you find something you love, are passionate about and want to share with the world, you have found your thing.  Beautycounter and my family are my thing. Law was not. Of this, I am certain.

I also know that 2016 is my year to write. I'm not sure yet if that will be an uptick in blogging or something else. I have dreams of being a published author one day. I don't yet have a book idea, but I plan on finding one and going for it.

And who knows what else is in store. I'm embracing the unknown and cannot wait to see what this next chapter ends up looking like.

Monday, December 7, 2015

What Lies Ahead & Wishes for B

I don't think people like to read posts like the one I'm about to write. But I need to write it. Writing has always been a form of therapy for me, so I'm hopeful that by getting the words out on paper there will be some relief. Or a sense of peace. Or at least acceptance. We'll see. I never know what words will come or what catharsis will ensue until I'm done. But if you're looking for a positive post, this probably isn't it.

I'm 34 weeks and 4 days pregnant with Bridget. She's due in exactly 38 days. 5 more weeks and 3 days. But the reality is that she could very well come any day between now and then. And while we all hope she doesn't arrive until at least 39 weeks, she seems to have her own agenda and we're just along for the ride. She'll be here when it's her time.  The only thing certain is that within 6 weeks, she will be born. And as that time frame gets smaller with each passing day, my thoughts shift from worrying about keeping her in as long as possible to what will happen once she is here.

Since August 31st, my 7th wedding anniversary, when we learned we weren't having a "healthy" baby, I've longed to simply meet her. For weeks I checked viability charts to see what her odds of survival would be if she were to be born at that given time. I'd pray for her to stay put one more week. I'd wish for my amniotic fluid level to stay normal and for her right kidney to stay strong and healthy. I hoped the left kidney would stay as is and not worsen from appointment to appointment. And those things have happened, more or less.

Born today she would still be considered a premie. A NICU stay might occur. But she'd likely be OK. I've personally had two friends deliver at 33.5 and 35 weeks respectively and their babies had a rough start but are doing great today. So I know that I'm past the point of worrying about initial viability.

So my worry has shifted. Bridget will be here soon. By looking at her you'll not know she has a birth defect. I'm told she won't look any different from a healthy baby. But from what we can see on the ultrasounds, she's not "healthy". She will be born with a health concern, and it is one that we don't yet know where it will lead.  And I am so scared about how that will unfold.  **tears are now flowing as I type***

There are so many unknowns about her condition and the treatment and the tests. The doctors are focusing on getting her here, which obviously is step number one.  It's a key step, without which none of the rest of my concerns matter.  So yes, I'm glad all hands have been focused on watching my health and her stability on the inside. But then what? She's born and we need to monitor her number of wet diapers. If they are normal then we get to wait until she's the ripe age of 2 weeks old to go to CHOA for extensive testing on her kidneys to determine function and an actual diagnosis. The limited research I've allowed myself to do on theses tests has frightened me. My two week old will likely be sedated. I lost my shit when Julian, at 4 months old, had to have a beanie cap tied around his head and lay still as a laser took measurements of his head. There was no sedation or strapping him down and I barely made it through that 5 minute ordeal.  Bridget's test will be much more invasive and scary. I don't know how to prepare for that. I don't know how to stay composed and strong for her.

And then we are given a firm diagnosis (I hope). And we've already been told it will require surgery. The hope is that we wait until she is 6 months old for the surgery to be performed. We don't know yet what the surgeon will be doing, but there is one thing I do know. Surgery requires anesthesia. On a baby.  MY baby. And there are risks and complications and as an attorney I know there will be release forms that have to be signed prior to the surgery. One of them will say something to the effect of, "By signing below you acknowledge that all surgeries contain some level of risk including [insert laundry list of bad things] and possibly death."

And I know what you're thinking: Stay positive. Don't jump to the worst case scenario. Rely on God and know that he will get you through and protect her. Don't put negative thoughts out there into the universe. Surround her in white light.

I get it. I'm typically one of those warm and fuzzy type people. I like to live my life with positivity. I've said the phrase "Everything happen for a reason" before. I want to see the good in all things.

But the reality is that death happens. We are ALL going to die. And we don't know when that will happen. But it will happen. For all of us. Including our children, which is a terrifying thought. I know that any one of my kids could be killed in a car accident or freak accident any day of the week, and yes we have to continue living our lives every day without being paralyzed by this fact. So some would say that I should view Bridget's kidney defect and surgery in the same light. But I can't. Having surgery has inherent risk above and beyond every day living.  There is no guarantee something won't go wrong. And the thought scares me and brings me to tears.

Yesterday my girlfriends threw Bridget and I a sprinkle shower. It was a lovely afternoon and I am truly blessed with great friends. The hostesses know me well enough to not plan any party games, but they were thoughtful and had everyone fill out a card with "Wishes for Bridget".

I hope love __________; I hope you laugh __________; I hope you never forget __________; I hope you become __________; I hope you aren't afraid _____________; I hope you have __________; I hope you grow ___________; and I hope you learn _____________.

I sat on the couch last night and read through all the cards. I hope you love with all your heart. I hope you laugh often. I hope you never forget how much you are loved. I hope you become confident.  I hope you aren't afraid to speak your mind. I hope you have a great sense of humor. I hope you grow slowly and confidently. I hope you learn to take chances.  Some were funny, others were sweet and all were heartfelt. I was already so touched by them, but when I got to one of the last ones, I was brought to sobs. One of my dearest friends wrote down the one thing that I too wish for B.

I hope you have time.

It may seem like a bizarre thing for someone to hope for a soon-to-be new mother's child, especially at a baby shower, a day meant to be full of celebration and joy. But it was so real and so honest. And unfortunately it comes from a mother whose baby didn't have time. We all know life is a finite amount of time. Yet I think most of us assume we'll always have more time. We take our days for granted. We take our loved ones for granted. And none of us want to think that our baby will be the one who doesn't have the one thing you can never get more of once it's gone. I watched as my friend lived out the nightmare of losing her son Marco to cancer. He wasn't even 10 months old. He didn't have time.  And none of us know how much time we will actually have here.

And this fear and unknown of how much time I'll have with B is what I'm struggling with. I want her in my arms, yes. But I want to watch her grow up and live a long, loving life. I want her to have time. It is the one hope I have for her. So please, pray for time. And hug your loved ones tight tonight. Call that person to say I love you or I'm sorry. Live in the moment and love with your whole heart. Because we don't know how much time we're allotted here. So embrace the time you have.

And to my sweet Bridget:

I hope you love without fear.
I hope you laugh often and with a big ugly laugh like your momma.
I hope you never forget the joy you bring to those around you.
I hope you become a confident and passionate woman who cares deeply and beats to her own drummer.
I hope you aren't afraid to change direction when the path you're on is no longer serving you.
I hope you have time.  So very much time.
I hope you grow strong and healthy.
I hope you learn that kindness and love are the most important things in this world. So spread them both openly and without expectation.

Friday, December 4, 2015

34 Weeks. Round 3.

How far along? 34  weeks + 1 day. (Go here to see my 34 week bump with Julian)

Next OB appointment?  December 16th and 17th - MFM on the 16th and Midwife on the 17th (when I'll be 36 weeks). Then I start going to the OB/Midwife EVERY week. I think the MFM will stay every other week, but I'm not sure.

Total weight gain/loss? Don't know, don't care. At my OB appointment this past week I made the best decision I've made in a while and opted to not look at the scale. I figure the midwife would have said something if she was concerned about my weight gain. I don't need to know the number unless it's a problem. I've already gained over 30 pounds and I'm sure the Thanksgiving feasts didn't help that number go down.  I'm still slimmer this pregnancy than the other two and I can fit in my designer maternity jeans so I'm not giving it another thought.  I'm eating healthy (aside from the pie at the holidays) and exercising when I can/feel up to it.

Maternity clothes?  Yes and I did do a little Cyber Monday shopping to snag another pair of maternity jeans (I only had 1 and the fact that I wont' have to get dressed for an office after 2 weeks seemed to be a good reason for another pair of jeans). 

Stretch marks? The belly is still stretch mark free!  The gal that did my ultrasound on Wednesday noted how smooth and mark free my belly was, especially for a 3rd baby. I told her my hips and thighs weren't so line free, but I am blessed to not have them on my belly.

Sleep? Terrible. I can't fall asleep at night and I can't stay asleep. It's not event that I'm uncomfortable, I just can't sleep. I am every night for a while around 4am.

Best moment last week? Seeing Bridget on the ultrasound. She's growing great and is estimated to already weigh SIX POUNDS ONE OUNCE! She's doing great practice breathing and is just a cute little thing. She appears to have a head full of hair and is head down already and hopefully will stay that way!  Her right kidney is holding strong and doesn't have any signs of damage or blockage, which is what we are hoping will continue. Her left kidney looked worse this week, but we won't know the full extent of the damage until she's here and can be tested.  My amniotic fluid level is staying in the normal range and all in all things are good. The MFM said he hopes I can go into labor on my own, but that we'll continue evaluating the situation until she's here and adjust the plan if need be. He made the point that it is best for her to stay until at least 39 weeks to avoid any other potential complications in the event her kidney requires attention sooner than later. It's best if her lungs are fully developed if she needs surgery soon. So fingers crossed I stay pregnant until January!

Movement? Oh yes. Her feet pack a pretty hefty punch!

Food cravings? Nothing in particular.  My appetite has decreased slightly in the past few days. 

Food aversions?  Not really.

Gender? Sugar and Spice and everything nice.

Labor signs? Braxton Hicks contractions daily.

Belly button in/out? Out. And Lukas was kind enough to point out that I still have a freckle in my belly button but that it is gross and he doesn't want to see it.  Thanks bud.

What I miss: Sleep.

What I am looking forward to: This weekend my girlfriends are throwing me and Bridget a small Sprinkle shower. I'm excited to see my girls and celebrate B.

Milestones: I went 5 days between hair washing this week. I think that's a record for me. That's the only milestone I can think of for this week...

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

A Leap of Courage & the Road that Appeared

November was a huge month for my Beautycounter team. We added three new team members and I reached a personal goal of promoting to Director. My mentor reached a huge goal and promoted to the highest level in the company and other great friends I've made in this business also reached big goals. I'm as thrilled for their accomplishments as I am my own!!! This is truly a team effort.

So as I sit here on the first day of December I am so excited for the month ahead. I didn't really know where this job would take me when I signed on 9 months ago. I said yes having no idea what I was doing. I am not a salesperson and I have a fear of rejection like no other. But I am so glad I jumped on board.

In 17 days I will step back from my legal job and I have Beautycounter to thank for that. I will get to spend the holidays with my family instead of spending long hours at the office trying to close deals before the end of the year. Then in January I will welcome our baby girl Bridget with the knowledge and peace of mind that I won't have to hand her over to daycare at a mere 12 weeks old. Financially I would not be able to make this life change without this company.

But the best part is that I ADORE what I do with Beautycounter. I am passionate about educating others on safe beauty and personal care products. I believe in our mission. And I finally feel like I've found the work-life balance I've been looking for since Lukas was born over 5 years ago. So maybe you can have it all! If you're at all curious as to what I've been doing with Beautycounter, or how you can get involved, I'd love to chat. You never know where this road might take you!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

33 Weeks. Round 3

How far along? 33  weeks + 3 day. (Go here to see my 33 week bumps with the boys)

Next OB appointment?  This coming Wednesday I have an OB appointment in the morning and an MFM appointment in the afternoon.

Total weight gain/loss? No idea.  Somewhere upwards of 30+ pounds.  I'm sure the Thanksgiving feast and pies have not helped.

Maternity clothes?  Vomit. Yes. I'm so over them, but they're full on. 

Stretch marks? Oh yes, the old ones are getting dark again.  It's awesomely lovely.

Sleep? Some nights I wake up with leg cramps. I have to pee at least once a night and I'm starting to have back pain every morning, so sleep is not exactly great.

Best moment last week? It's a toss up - there were two pretty cool moments this week.  First was spending Thanksgiving with family. We had my in-laws in from Michigan, my parents came down for a few days and my sister-in-law and her hubby were here from Chicago. We had a full house and it was fabulous!  The other awesome moment of this week was promoting within Beautycounter to Director!  It's a goal I've been working toward for a few months and I'm so excited to have finally reached it this month.  I couldn't have done it without the amazing women on my team and the leaders showing me the way. I love the collaborative effort in this job!

Movement? Every day.

Food cravings? Pecan pie that my mom made for Thanksgiving. Thankfully there is no more to be eaten. 

Food aversions?  Crackers.  Apparently the cause heartburn.

Gender? Little lady on the way!

Labor signs? Braxton Hicks contractions daily.

Belly button in/out? I'm going to go ahead and admit that it's an outie at this point.

What I miss: Wine. Breathing. My energy. My waist. The list could go on...

What I am looking forward to: Our new refrigerator arriving this week.  Oh yes, we did just install a new one about 4 weeks ago but it decided to die on Tuesday morning. Great timing before having a full house for Thanksgiving. The owner of the local Sears we bought it from is getting us a new one, thank God.

Milestones: Less than 50 days until B's due date!!!! Also, her nursery is starting to come together. We painted the room pink and are slowly adding furniture.   I have a feeling she'll be here before we know it! I'm getting excited for her arrival!!!! 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Last MFM Appointment Update

My mom so kindly reminded me that last night that if I'm going to write about my journey with Bridget and her kidneys, then I should be a little more diligent about updating the blog after an appointment. Sorry to any readers who have been checking back for updates after my appointment last Wednesday. I forget that by updating Facebook I don't update anyone who follows the blog!

So last Wednesday my mom and I went to my MFM to check on Bridget.  She is head down (like way down, and sitting on my bladder which would explain my constant need to pee...), looking to my right side with her legs/knees up under my chest.  Does that makes sense? So she's in the perfect position for birth, but there's still room in there for her to flip around. The doctors aren't concerned if the baby is breech until about 35 weeks, but so far she's in a good position and has been the past 6 weeks or so.

Bridget is looking great!  Her estimated weight as of last Wednesday was 5 pound 1 ounce (2 weeks prior she was only 3 pounds 12 girl is growing!!!!). Babies are estimated to put on a half a pound a week here on out. So if my math skills are on point, this means I could very well be birthing a 9 pounder if I go until 40 weeks. Yikes!  L was 8 pounds and J was 8 pounds 6 ounces, so 9 pounds sounds about right. It also sounds a bit painful, especially considering I really want to do this birth unmedicated.  We'll see how things go.

B's left kidney is still all sorts of crazy. But the ureterocele in the bladder is not growing bigger so urine is still able to enter the bladder from the right kidney and exist the bladder via the urethra, which are all positive things that we need to keep working. Her right kidney looked good and the doctor says we'll just have to wait until she's born to know if there's a duplication on the right side too.

So it was a rather uneventful appointment. My favorite!  There was one new development, or I should say revelation as my understanding is that this isn't new, the doctor just hadn't mentioned it before. So I've known we've been watching to see if my amniotic fluid level decreases because that would indicate something has changed with her urinary tract system (either the function of her kidney(s) or the ability to drain from the bladder). My fluid level has stayed steady since I've been seeing the MFM.  Well, it turns out that my fluid level is actually on the HIGH end of normal, so I have MORE amniotic fluid than most. I'm still in the normal range, but my understanding is that it's at the very high end of normal. This means that her right kidney is likely working overtime to compensate for the bum left kidney.  But this also means that while we're concerned about a decrease in amniotic fluid, we're also concerned about an increase!  I don't really understand the implications of what too much fluid means so I'm trying not to worry about it.  The doctor only mentioned it after my probing questions about the fluid level, so he doesn't seem concerned at this point.

I will continue going to the MFM until B is here. I thought we'd get to say 36 weeks and I'd be discharged from his care, but it looks like my bi-weekly treks to Atlanta will continue for another 7 weeks.  This to me means that there is still the possibility that things take a turn and she will need to be delivered early. While I really would love for her to arrive without an induction, if the doctor says it's time, we'll go with whatever interventions he deems necessary.  So I'm trying to stay open-minded about what her birth will be like, but I'm hoping for the best. We've hired an amazing doula and I have hopes of an unmedicated birth without pitocin or an epidural.  But if a c-section or induction is what is best, I may shed one tear but won't get depressed about the birth experience I didn't get to have.  I have one goal at the end of this: sweet B in my arms, as healthy as can be expected.

Thanks for following along as we navigate this pregnancy.  I'll do a better job of updating the blog post appointment!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Another Wednesday Nears

Tomorrow I head back up to Atlanta to see my Maternal Fetal Specialist. And the nerves are setting in again. I'm hoping for another boring appointment, but am preparing mentally in case it goes a different way. I was talking to a friend last night about everything and she commented that I was so calm and handling everything so well. I told her that I had my moments. And I do. On the whole I'm feeling good about Bridget and this pregnancy, but the fear is still lurking.

I'm almost 32 weeks, so the fact that we're that far along has eased some of my worries. Even if one of my MFM appointments doesn't go well, Bridget is gestationally mature enough to hopefully survived without too many complications. I know a NICU stay would be in her future and that would be hard, but she wouldn't be a micro-premie. Still, I'd like her to stay put for at least another 5 weeks until we're officially full term at 37 weeks.  I also realize that I have no real control over that.

It's also sinking in that in less than 2 months, she WILL be here. We'll be a family of 5 and I'll have a daughter. I'm starting to get sad that Julian won't be my baby anymore. But he's helping me get lots of snuggles in and softening the blow by telling me he's "so happy to see my sister Bridget." And multiple times a day he'll randomly stop whatever he's doing, come over to me and say, "Momma, let me tell you something.... Bridget's my sister." He melts my heart. I just hope he loves her this much once she's actually here and he has to share me with her.

I feel like there's still so much to be done before she arrives. We're putting the finishing touches on the kitchen (well, the husband has been working tirelessly to do that). And her room needs, well, basically everything to be done. I did buy some pink paint this weekend. I went with Angelic from Sherwin Williams. So I need to paint. And then we need to get my white bureau from when I was a little girl from my parent's house for her room, move the crib from Julian's room into the nursey (which will require the husband to put together an IKEA bed for Julian which is a bear of a project) and then decorate her room.  I know there's still time for all this, and it's not the end of the world if we're not finished before her arrival, but I'd like to get it done. I think my hesitation to get moving is still this underlying fear that something could still go wrong with this pregnancy and her arrival. I know I need to be positive, but buying her anything or preparing for her to actually be here is something I've just been unable to do.

Please say a prayer that we have an uneventful appointment tomorrow. Bridget, please be boring my girl.  There is plenty of time for shenanigans in the years to come!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Beautycounter on Access Hollywood

Y,all! I am so excited!  Beautycounter was featured on Access Hollywood yesterday! Our CEO, Gregg Renfrew, brought a few of our holiday gift sets to share! Check out the video here:

Beautycounter on Access Hollywood

Isn't Gregg the cutest!?  I was lucky enough to hear her speak at a conference I went to in Denver and can't say enough about her. She has an incredible vision and is a passionate leader. I'm so thrilled to be a part of her mission!

And if you haven't already, check out all the holiday gift sets: Beautycounter Holiday Sets

Thursday, November 12, 2015

31 Weeks. Round 3

I've clearly fallen behind on the weekly updates this pregnancy. But in an effort to continue having a documentation of this pregnancy (and not just the kidney-related issues), I want to jump back on the horse.

How far along? 31 weeks. (Go here to check out my 31 week survey with Julian....I was obviously in a good mental state of mind at that point in my last pregnancy...)

Next OB appointment?  Next Wednesday I head to Atlanta to see my Maternal Fetal Specialist in Atlanta to check on Bridget's kidney and my amniotic fluid level. Then next Thursday I have my 32 week appointment with my midwife. I feel like I spend a good chunk of my time in doctors' offices.

Total weight gain/loss? 30+ pounds. Last week I think I was around 31 pounds at the OB's office. I've stopped weighing at home. It is what it is.

Maternity clothes?  Yes. And I'm totally sick of them. I'm trying to hang tight with the clothes I already have but have picked up a few new pieces over the last few weeks. I'm trying to stick with tunics and ponchos and other non-maternity clothes that will work after the babe is here.

Stretch marks? No new ones, just the old ones getting darker.

Sleep? Not the best, but I'm trying to get more of it. Last night I went to bed at 7:30pm after putting Lukas to bed. I woke up at 12:38 and 3:50 to pee and then was up for the day at 6:15 with Julian. I think my body needed the rest. I also only worked for an hour on Tuesday because I felt terrible and went home to sleep on the couch for 5 hours. I think I might be fighting off the crud.

Best moment last week? Celebrating Lukas' 5th birthday with a superhero themed party!  This is the first birthday party I've successfully pulled off.  Don't get me wrong, the kids have had parties, but they've been nothing to write home about. In fact, one year, my friend Emily threw Lukas' 3rd birthday party for me because I simply couldn't pull it together. I'm not a big planner and something about birthday parties stresses me out to the max.  

And this year was no different. But L was turning 5, which is a big deal in kid-land. So I knew I had to have a party for him. I decided that our awesome "new" park down the road would be the perfect place - there's a pavillion for cupcake eating/parent sitting and a huge park for the kids to play on. Easy peasy. I sent out a Paperless Post invite and was done.  No theme, no hoopla. Just a good old fashion party.

Until the weather forecast set in. Rain. Rain and more rain. I tried to convince myself we'd have sunny skies come Sunday afternoon, but eventually I had to face reality. This outdoor party was not going to happen. So the husband and I took advantage of our 2 hour car ride the Friday before (on our way to Athens to visit some of my sorority sisters!) to plan a new party. Then Saturday afternoon we ran around town like crazy people buying all the goods to have a party at our house. I shot off a message to all the parents to let them know we'd moved indoors to our house and we all set to work getting our house in an acceptable condition for guests and making the party a reality.

We bought superhero masks from Target (I had planned on the kids making their own masks but then the thought of kids and glue and glitter set in, and we changed course), my mom and I made super hero capes out of tee-shirts from Hobby Lobby, hubby cleaned the garage so we could spend most of our time outside and then we went about preparing the games. We found an elaborate Pinterest superhero party full of superhero games and decided to go with 4: Pin the Star on Cap's shield, Superhero Mind power (guess the # of starbursts in the jar), Spidey String (silly string fun...bad idea in retrospect), and a Batman pinata. I think a good time was had by all. Oh, and we served Publix cupcakes because ain't nobody got time for homemade at 8 months pregnant.

Lukas felt so special and my mom is a pro at keeping a party moving along so everyone was in and out in an hour and a half and the house wasn't a disaster!  All in all, it was a huge success! But I don't think I'll be starting an event planning business any time soon....

Movement? I'm pretty sure Bridget is an octopus.

Food cravings? Carbs. Give me ALL.THE.CARBS. This is a problem because I stopped eating gluten free this pregnancy, but gluten gives me massive indigestion. And when I eat something with gluten, I just can't stop. Like the leftover Chex Mix from Lukas' birthday party. Forget it. I'm fine if I don't eat something, but once I have one, it's over. I'll probably have gained 10 pounds this past 2 weeks.

Food aversions?  Nope.

Gender? I'm still a little shocked I'm having a girl.

Labor signs? Nope.

Belly button in/out? Outie. As in you can see my belly button poking through all my shirts. It's a little disturbing.

What I miss: My energy. I have been exhausted lately.

What I am looking forward to: Getting started on Bridget's room. So her room is constructed, but that's about it. I am sort of stuck with what to do. I get an idea and then it takes a detour or is too expensive. Basically, I have no idea what her theme is or what colors I'm going with. I need help.

Milestones: We are into single digit weeks left! 9 weeks buddy!  And that's if I go to her due date.  While I really want her to go full term, I'm not going to lie - another 9 weeks sounds sort of miserable.  Obviously I want her to keep cooking, but I'm just feeling so, well....what's the word?  Rotund. Yes, that's it.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Holiday Gift Giving Made Beautiful

I have a goal this year of getting all my holiday shopping finished before December 1st. The main reason is that I want to be prepared in case Bridget arrives early. But I've seen a few people write about this goal and I love it - if you get all your shopping out of the way before December even starts, then you can enjoy the month for what it is - a festive, special time with family, friends and loved ones.

So if you're trying to change your procrastinator ways this year, I'm here to help you get a jump on your holiday shipping!  Beautycounter has you beautifully and safely covered this Holiday Season. I spy some exciting new products for everyone on your list! I would love to sit down and help you check everyone off of your gift-giving list with these beautiful ensembles while keeping your budget in mind.

This has inspired the gift-giving spirit! So how about a little something for yourself? The first 5 customers to place an order that includes at least on gift set, will receive an extra special gift from me. Shop here:


Our gently cleansing Body Bar features our classic Citrus Mimosa scent, while our Charcoal Cleansing Bar for the face detoxifies and absorbs impurities in your skin without drying it out, resulting in a smoother, brighter complexion.
***Perfect for EVERYONE! (this one is a particularly man-friendly choice) ***

Have a mistletoe-kissable pout with our new Sugar Lip Scrub in Peppermint, which exfoliates and hydrates cold-weather-chapped lips, and Lip Conditioner Peppermint Balm, a moisturizing formula that goes on solo or under your favorite Lip Sheer.
***Perfect for HER***
Indulge overworked hands with our luxurious new Hand Soap Bar, which contains moisturizing shea butter, and our lightweight, easily absorbed Hand Cream. Both are infused with our sophisticated new Rose Neroli scent, a combination of fresh rose and floral, citrusy neroli.
***Perfect for the HOSTESS***
Make the holidays even sweeter with our Enrich Body Butter and Lustro Sugar Scrub—the best pairing for soft, smooth skin. While our brown-sugar scrub gently buffs away dull skin, our rich body butter absorbs easily without feeling greasy.
***Perfect for the person who never spoils themselves. Let them indulge***

Back for the Holiday season, our 5-pack of hand cream makes 5 perfect gifts (make sure you keep one for yourself).These lightweight moisturizing creams revive dry hands. Shea butter and vitamin E, combined with organic sunflower oil, aloe, chamomile and calendula, hydrate and soften skin with no stickiness - leaving a subtle, refreshing citrus scent.
*** Perfect for TEACHERS!***
Give them all or divide them and include your favorite Lip Sheer or Hydrate Body Lotion. This trio of bags features a unique, convenient shape, allowing each pouch to stand on its own and giving you easy access to tools and toiletries. All three sizes feature chic finishing touches, such as our signature logo zipper and a stylish striped black & gold lining.
***Perfect for the FASHIONISTA***

Get glowing this holiday season with our Lustro Body Oil in our new Rose Neroli scent. This luxurious blend of 11 oils hydrates skin while leaving behind the clean, light fragrance of rose and a hint of floral, citrusy neroli. Who needs toxin filled perfume when you can smell beautiful with this safe body oil?!
***Perfect for HER***

Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, our collection of four skin and hair products will simplify the packing process. Comes with a free gift—a chic travel bag to carry all the essentials. Includes:
Hydrate Everyday Body Lotion
Clean Everyday Shampoo
Rinse Everyday Conditioner
Wash Everyday Body Wash
Cosmetics bag (8.5 x 3.5 x 5.4)
***Perfect for the JET-SETTER***

Hit the party circuit with this duo, designed to give you that holiday sparkle. Our new Lustro Shimmer Oil in Rose Neroli delivers a head-to-toe glow, while our versatile Lip Sheer in Twig complements any beauty look.
Lustro Shimmer Oil - Rose Neroli
Lip Sheer in Twig
***Perfect for the SOCIAL BUTTERFLY***

Our wish-list-worthy Lip Gloss Collection includes two new, festive colors: Ruby, which is a soft, wearable red, and Opal, an opalescent shade with a sheer finish. For a bolder statement, layer either of them over Lip Sheers.
Lip Gloss in Opal
Lip Gloss in Ruby
***Perfect for THE CHAMELEON***

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

When Boring is Great

I saw the Maternal Fetal Specialist this morning and I am thrilled to share that we had a boring appointment! There was basically no change from two weeks ago which means Bridget is stable and we weren't given any additional bad news!  Hallelujah. My amniotic fluid level looks great which means that at least some of Bridget's kidney(s) are functioning properly!  This is hugely encouraging!  The doctor does suspect Bridget has the duplicated ureters on both kidneys, rather than just the left side like we'd originally thought.  BUT, the right kidney tissue looks normal and is not dilated size. This is all great news.  No change is what we want. We want to stay boring!

She is measuring over a week ahead (I'm 29 weeks + 6 days today but she's measuring 31 weeks + 1 day), so her growth is great. This is positive. She currently weighs 3 pounds 12 ounces!  My big girl!!!!  We still want her to stay in until she's full term, but it's good that she's measuring on the bigger side in the event she does come early.

We could see her eyelashes on the ultrasound and spotted a few wisps of hair, but it doesn't look like she'll be coming out with a head full of luscious locks! Considering her oldest brother was bald until he was almost 2, it's no surprise that she might be hairless. I'm still holding out hope that the hair she does have will be brown, but I'll be happy with another little toe head.

This is the first appointment I've come out of in a while feeling good. I don't feel defeated and I actually feel positive. The anxiety hasn't set in. I've cried no tears today.

Instead, Todd and I enjoyed the afternoon alone together. We went for Thai food in Decatur and then went shopping at our believed Dekalb Farmer's Market before heading home to Macon. We then spent the afternoon working on the house (him) and following up with Beautycounter clients (me). We got the boys at the end of the day and just had a nice, normal evening. Bridget started bumping around as I was laying down with Lukas at bedtime and he got to feel his sister kick, and then we had a fun conversation about HOW Bridget is going to get out. I actually used the "V" word and ended up with a very giggly boy convinced that Bridget would get pee-ed on when she was born. Clearly we have some anatomy lessons ahead of us!

Thank you for the continued prayers and good thoughts!  We all so appreciate the support! xo

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

2 Weeks at a Time

My bi-weekly appointment with the Maternal Fetal Specialist is tomorrow in Atlanta. I’ve been going to them for over 8 weeks now and I’ve noticed a pattern. My mental state is OK in the days leading up to the appointment, but the day before I start researching online. I start hunting for stories of other babies prenatally diagnosed with duplicated ureters, ureteroceles and kidney issues. I hunt for stories and statistics, desperately wanting to know what the chances are that I’ll go full time. What the percentage of cases are that require intervention in utero. There’s not much out there, but it doesn’t stop me from continuing to look.

Slowly my anxiety creeps back in. I start worrying that this will be the appointment where my amniotic fluid level is suddenly low. This will be the ultrasound that reveals her right kidney is starting to have issues. This will be the appointment where things get serious, fast. I mean, they’re already serious but we’re in a “wait and see” pattern hoping to make it to full term. Then the hope is that she has a normal output of wet diapers. And then the hope is that the tests at 2 weeks will come back as positive as possible and we can hold off on surgery until she’s at least 6 months old. But the wait and see nature is put on hold every other Wednesday when the doctor actually looks at Bridget and sees where we stand. The day leading up to this is hard for me. All the what-ifs roll around in my head.

The appointment itself is pleasant. The staff and doctor are wonderful and they know how to make a high-stress situation as calming as possible. Plus, I get to see my girl and am reassured that she’s still growing and holding strong. I love seeing her sweet nose – Julian’s nose – and watching her acrobatics in motion. It is comforting to hear she’s growing ahead of schedule and that she looks great aside from the kidney issues at hand. And it is even comforting to get to see the kidney and try to wrap my head around what I’m looking at on the ultrasound screen. I have yet to really lose it in the midst of the MFM appointment. I think it takes time for the new information to sink in.

But the evening after the appointment and much of the next day is when the sadness, anxiety and fear set in. This is the time when I’ll cry. This is when my husband looks at me and asks what is wrong. We handle these appointments differently. He hears the positive things the doctor is saying (or taking the good from the things the doctor’s AREN’T saying). Yet I don’t feel reassured by the appointments. My worry and the reality of the situation smacks me in the face each time. I crumble. I am so fearful of what could go wrong. And I cathartically need that day to wallow.

And then a day or two later the fog lifts and the cycle starts again. My anxiety lessens. My acute fear of the unknown lessens and I’m able to enjoy being pregnant again.

As hard as this all is, I hope the crushing depression sets in tomorrow night after an uneventful appointment. I can handle a day of sadness, because it means a 2 week reprieve is coming until the anxiety and fear starts again. I’m not really sure how I’d handle things if one of these appointments were to actually go bad. As Bridget flips around inside me as I write this, I pray with all my being that I don’t find out what happens if things go sour.

10 weeks and 2 days. That’s 5 more cycles to make it through. Please let me have those 5 more depressing days.

Sweet baby B, stay put. We’re not quite ready to meet you.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

The Time is Never Right

I read another interesting article on the work-life balance conversation recently. I love this topic and know there's no one path that works for each family.  But it helps to keep talking about the issues we all face!

When we decided to move to Macon over a year ago we made the decision to put my husband's job first.  This was a hard decision (especially as I was on the cusp of making partner at my firm), but it was right for our family. He has his dream job as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. And in 8 weeks I will fully step back from my legal job. It might be until Bridget is 4-6 months old, or it might be indefinite.  I'm not sure yet.  But December 18th has been set as my last day.

I'm excited and petrified by the possibility. I'll get more time with my kids and won't have to hand Bridget over to someone else to return to a job I sometimes loathe.  I won't be sitting at a desk 8 hours a day. But I will be stepping away from a career I've spent a lot of money on and for which I'll still be paying student loans for years to come. I don't know if I can get back in the game if I completely leave and that is where the massive fear comes from. Will that time, money and schooling have been for naught? Will I regret this choice?

But what about the other things out there?  What if I devoted more hours a week to my Beautycounter business that I truly love?  What if I actually wrote that book I've been wanting to write? What if I got yoga-teacher certified or became a lactation consultant like I've dreamed? What if I find that thing that I don't even know is my thing yet?

And how will my family life change? How much stress can I take away from my husband by taking over the morning drop off so he can always get to work on time? How much stress of my own will be relieved by being able to devote our mornings to the kids rather than rushing around trying to throw myself together too? And our evenings? What will happen when I can prep dinner while the boys are at school and then actually spend time WITH them when I pick them up?  How will their behavior change when they are no longer stuck in aftercare until 5pm every day?  I am so excited by these changes. 

So why am I so afraid? Why can I not answer the question "What do you want to do once Bridget is here?"  I was asked it this morning by my boss, but I couldn't respond.  In truth we won't know the extent of Bridget's medical needs until she's here, but I used that as an excuse to not commit to anything right now.  A convenient by-product of her diagnosis.  Hey, I'm trying to find the silver linings where I can.  

Yet in my heart I already know.  I want to step away from the law. It's not my passion.  It never was.

I know what I'm giving up.  But I don't think I fully understand the potential of what I have to gain.  The timing is never right to make big changes.  I'll never feel we're financially settled to take this big pay cut. But sometimes you have to leap. Sometimes you have to trust that it will all work out.

I think it's finally time to run and do what I need to do.  I'm ready to find out who I am when I finally lay aside my lawyer's hat.  Maybe I'll put it on again one day.  Maybe that day will be sooner than later.  But maybe, just maybe, I'll never look back.

Friday, October 16, 2015

27 Weeks. Round 3.

How far along? 27 weeks + 1 day. (Go here to check out my 27 week survey with Julian.)

27 weeks with Bridget.
Next OB appointment?  Next Wednesday I have a day of appointments - in the morning I see one of the midwives in my OB practice here in Macon and get to take the lovely 1 hour glucose test for Gestational Diabetes (I didn't have it with either of the boys so here's hoping that trend continues).  Then in the afternoon I head to Atlanta to see my Maternal Fetal Specialist in Atlanta to check on Bridget's kidney and my amniotic fluid level.

Total weight gain/loss? 22 pounds.  I've really been making an effort to hit 10,000 steps each day, walk on the treadmill and do light weights a few days a week.  I think it's helping keep the weight gain in check.

Maternity clothes?  Full on.  I did score some clothes from one of my BFFs and feel like I have a whole new wardrobe! It has curbed the urge to actually BUY any other clothes, which I'm planning to avoid the rest of this pregnancy.

Stretch marks? Ugh, yes. The old ones are rearing their ugly heads.  Mainly on my hips. I'm hoping they'll fade again once sweet B is here.

Sleep? I haven't had a full night sleep in a while. I still get up to pee at least once a night.  Ugh.

Best moment last week? Seeing our kitchen come to life!  We finally have the new hardwoods installed and finished, the cabinets installed and looking fabulous and the counter-top template measured and ordered!  I'm hoping we'll be fully functional in about 2 weeks or so!

Movement? Oh yes. Her movements are getting stronger every day!

Food cravings? Green smoothies (almond milk, spinach, frozen banana, peanut butter and protein powder)!  Along with sourdough bread grilled cheese sandwiches with avocado and sauerkraut. 

Food aversions?  Acidic food has been giving me heartburn so I'm trying to stay away which is hard considering I love me some Mexican food.

Gender? Team Pink!

Labor signs? Nope.

Belly button in/out? We're at the half-in/half-out point.

What I miss: Being able to breathe fully.  I cannot get a deep, full breathe in ever. I know the only thing that will relieve this is giving birth. So here's to another 3 months of breathlessness.

What I am looking forward to: Having my house back in order and cooking homecooked meals again!  The George Foreman grill has been a lifesaver during the renovation (think hotdogs, quesadillas, grilled cheese sandwiches, bacon - you know, all the healthy things my kids will eat....), but I miss my stove and oven. I want to make a pizza from scratch and some eggs for breakfast.  At least we'll be operational for Thanksgiving since I can't travel at all this holiday season!  Bring on the turkey in the new oven!!!!

Milestones: I am in the 3rd trimestser!  12 weeks and 6 days to go.  Less than 3 months from my due date.  Holy shit, that isn't too long now!  I better get going on her nursery!  

Oh and totally not Bridget related, but we have had a HUGE milestone in our house recently - Julian is POTTY TRAINED!!!!!  He is doing amazing. We had a rough 10 days of lots of accidents and then it totally clicked for him. He even wakes up most mornings completely dry or will wake up in the middle of the night to go potty. He is even pooping on the potty for 80-90% of the time!  I am so proud of him and am thrilled we'll only have one child in diapers come January!