Tuesday, August 14, 2018

An Impromptu Maternity Shoot

Why hello friends! I'm still here and still pregnant getting bigger and bigger by the day! Today I'm 38 weeks and 5 days. I have my weekly OB appointment tomorrow and I'm hoping to do a membrane sweep to help jump start labor. We'll see what happens. Stay tuned for my 39 week bumpdate later this week to see!

Today I wanted to share some special pictures with y'all, but first a little explanation behind them. When I was pregnant with Chloe, I did maternity pictures around the 32-33 week mark. I loved capturing that phase of life with my little bump, and we have several of the shots captured framed in our home. This time around I decided not to a professional maternity shoot. I honestly can't tell you why I made this decision, but lately I started to regret it! I think my original thought was that we did a family shoot when I was 13 weeks pregnant and got some sweet announcement shots, so we didn't need to do another one. I also kept saying that this is my second pregnancy, so I didn't need to do it again. Ummm...wrong on both accounts. Family pictures are great anytime and are always worth it, and every pregnancy is different and deserves to be documented and remembered forever! That being said, this Sunday, my little family was all dolled up from a Sunday baptism of my dear friends' twins, and I had to take advantage! We were stopping by my parents' house to hang out for a bit after the baptism, so we snapped some quick pictures in their backyard. Luckily my sister was there to help out.

Now that you know the back story, let me show you what we came up with on a whim! Now remember, these were all taken by my sister on my iPhone 7 and edited by me in Lightroom. Nothing fancy, but I love how they turned out and that we were able to capture this stage of life!

There you have it! These were taken at 38 weeks and 3 days. You can definitely tell I'm towards the end of my pregnancy! My face is starting to swell a bit, but I'm so thankful to have these memories! To top it off, we did this in all of about 10-15 minutes.

It's crazy to think that he could be here literally any day now. Chloe came via induction at 39 weeks and 5 days due to a week of nearly constant prodromal labor and my desire to get her out before my dad left to start his job in Colorado on August 2nd! So I want to know...

What are y'alls guesses...when will this little boy make his debut? What will his birthday be and how much will he weight? Reminder, I'm 38 + 5 TODAY and Chloe weighed 7lb and 6oz at 39 + 5 to help you guess!

Monday, August 6, 2018

World Breastfeeding Week 2018

World Breastfeeding Week is wrapping up tomorrow and I had to take a moment to reflect on the beauty that this week represents. While I'm not actively breastfeeding this particular week, it's only a matter of days before I am in the throes of the early days of breastfeeding! Not only that, I spend most of the year helping my mom prepare for her annual WBW event at the hospital, but we'll get to that in a minute.

Breastfeeding was something that I knew I wanted to do as soon as I found out I was pregnant with Chloe. Having a mom as a lactation consultant definitely helps not only when it comes to making the decision to breastfeed, but also when it comes to having the appropriate support needed to succeed. Breastfeeding isn't easy in the early days. The difficulty coupled with hormones can often break mommas down and cause them to give up. Another factor is support. You need the support and encouragement of everyone around you to succeed. That's what gets you past those hard days and hormones. Even though it was 3 years ago for me, I remember it all too well!

I wanted to look back on my breastfeeding journey and share a couple of posts from the past few years that I thought y'all may enjoy. 

This past Thursday was the Community Baby Shower hosted by my mom at Houston Methodist Sugar Land Hospital! This is the 4th year for the event and it was by far the best. We say it every year, but each year truly gets better and bigger.

We had several community partners come like The Lactation Foundation, GiGi's Playhouse, the local library, WIC and La Leche League! Everyone brought lots of good information, handouts and giveaways for our mommas.

This year was the first year that vendors were allowed to set up booths for moms and moms-to-be to shop around and learn about new products.

We also had the Sugar Land Police Department there to discuss car seat safety. He showed parents the proper way to have baby buckled into their carseats. He was able to examine any babies that had their carseats there to confirm or adjust if necessary, and he even went out to people's cars if they asked to assess the carseat bases! I feel like he is such an important part of this event year after year.

Another one of my favorites is Baby Wearing International! They bring various types of wraps and carriers for moms to try out and see which ones they like! It was because of them that I found out how much I liked the Tula with Chloe. I wish I would have known more about them when she was an infant. This year they helped me with my new ring sling and showed me how to thread it and wear it so that I can start using it safely as soon as baby boy arrives. My sister and other moms were also able to test out the different types of carriers to see which one best suits them. One of the ladies said that structured carriers are like a good pair of jeans, you just have to try on several to see which on fits your body best! 

The event itself was incredibly successful. We had over 250 people attend with 18 baskets to raffle, 10 vendors, about 15 community partners, tons of hourly giveaways and hundreds of burp cloths and reusable breast pads for every mom that attended. Not only did every mom that attended receive a burp cloth and set of pads but we sent 100 to WIC, 100 La Leche League and 100 to the Lactation Foundation! There may even be more that I'm missing, but my mom has all of those stats.

Breastfeeding has been a special journey in my life. I nursed Chloe for the first 18 months of her life before she decided to self wean completely on her own. I love breastfeeding and I can't wait to start the journey with my baby boy. I know the beginning will come with its challenges and I'll have to face some adversity, but I can't wait! Here are just a few pictures I found from my days nursing Chloe.

While I haven't had many negative experiences with people making rude comments to my face about breastfeeding, I know that many women have. I hope that with time we can continue to normalize breastfeeding and the beauty that comes along with it. It is such a magical bonding experience between mother and baby. There are countless benefits! Just because someone doesn't understand it, doesn't mean they have the right to bring down a mother who is just trying to feed her baby. So here's to breastfeeding!

Do you want to share your breastfeeding story? I'd love to feature some on my blog over the month of August! Write a comment or shoot me an e-mail at acgougler@gmail.com and we can figure out how to share!

Thursday, August 2, 2018

37 Week Bumpdate

Today I am officially early term! If baby boy came now, he would likely have little to no problems at all. On the other hand, as much as I'd like him out early, I know that it's better for him to cook in there a little bit longer. I'll probably be singing a different tune next week! Let's dive in and see how the last couple of weeks have been! I had my first internal check at my appointment on Monday and have lots of fun info to share!

How Far Along? 
37 weeks today!

Size of Baby:
Little man is the size of romain lettuce! I've also seen some other comparisons like a winter melon or a Cabbage Patch Doll!  
He's likely close to 19 inches long and according to our ultrasound on Monday, he was estimated to weigh 6lbs 13oz! That same ultrasound told me that he is measuring about 4 days ahead which he has been since the 20 week ultrasound.

Weight Gain:
Up just shy of 30lbs and starting to slow down a bit.
My appetite is hit or miss, and there's not much room left for food especially by dinnertime.

Currently dealing with lower back pain especially in the evenings. Some days it isn't terrible and sometimes I'm doubled over with JP rubbing my back and heating up my rice heating pad. Luckily it seems to be okay throughout the day. I'm also starting to swell a bit in my ankles and lower legs, but nothing incredibly noticeable. 

Like I said earlier, my appetite is hit or miss, but here's what I've been wanting when I'm hungry:
subs with turkey, salami &mayo, tacos, sno cones, peanut butter toast, cheese & Ritz crackers, watermelon, kettle corn

I think I've been fairly level headed lately. My extreme emotions around meeting this baby and Chloe's role as a big sister have evened out and I'm really looking forward to seeing her grow. Honestly I'm just excited and ready to meet this baby! I will admit that I'm still grumpy in the evenings and God bless my amazing husband for not only putting up with me, but helping me through the end of this pregnancy!

All done and I am completely in love. Check out my full nursery post to see all of the details!

He's still moving all the time. He is now rolling, stretching and trying to escape his tiny living space. His movements are much more painful these days. They seem to be the worst when I'm driving and in the evenings. Evenings are rough y'all!

I've been falling asleep on the couch while reading/watching TV between 9-10pm and JP wakes me up when he goes to bed. Then I shuffle into bed and conk out from complete exhaustion. I'm currently waking up about 2-3 times per night for potty breaks which is annoying! Whenever I move in my sleep, my bladder wakes me up. I'm usually up and moving in the morning between 6-7am, but deal with middle of the night insomnia at least once a week. Not terrible and getting way more sleep now than I'm about to!

I am determined to walk or squat this baby out! Just kidding...kind of. I'm still walking as much as I can and I'm averaging a 2-2.5 mile walk about 5 days a week! This week I even got a long 4 mile walk in with my girlfriend. It's amazing how much further you can go when you have someone with you to talk to the whole time! 

As far as other workouts go, I'm still getting 1-2 strength workouts in. Of course my Monday afternoon Tabata class and usually a simple body weight circuit at home one day. My exercises are much easier and I'm only going for about 20-30 minutes. This coming Monday is actually going to be my very last class at my current gym. I've been there for nearly 5 years, so it's bittersweet!

What I Miss:
Feeling like me! I'm just feeling out of sorts being so exhausted and pregnant these days. I'm looking forward to being able to breath deeply, eat normal meals and lay on my tummy!

Labor Signs:
My body is doing what it's supposed to! At my appointment on Monday I was 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. My cervix is still pretty high, but baby boy is slowly starting to descend. I was shocked to hear that I had already started to progress. That being said, I could continue to progress and still not deliver until my due date or I could deliver sooner. It all depends on when my body and my baby are ready, so I'm trying to be patient and just wait it out.

Now that I'm 37 weeks, I'm going to use Evening Primrose Oil to help my cervix completely efface. I'm also starting to drink red raspberry leaf tea to help prep my body for labor!

Anything making you queasy or sick: 
Nothing in particular. I get nauseous randomly and its usually in the evenings on days that I do too much. 

Best Moments The Past Weeks: 
Finding out that my body is starting to prepare itself for labor!

Looking forward to:
World Breastfeeding Week! This is a huge passion of mine and the biggest week of the year for my mom. I love helping her and setting up her big community baby shower event! The event is actually today, so I'm probably a busy bee while you're reading this. I can't wait to share how the event goes with y'all!

Missed a bumpdate or want to compare stats?

And just for fun, a little compare contrast. Today on the left and 3 years ago on the right!

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Chloe Grace: 3 Years Old

Another year has gone by with my little sidekick always a step behind me. It's hard to believe that my BABY girl is now a big THREE year old! My heart tells me that she couldn't possibly have been here with us for that long, but my mind and memory definitely tell me otherwise. We've been through so much together these past three years. Watching her grow and become the little person she is has been such a joy.

Two was a pretty wild year for Chloe! We did so much and really just took off running. This last year Chloe:

  • traveled to Norway, Sweden and Denmark for a 3 week adventure just weeks after turing 2!
  • was a flower girl in my brother and SIL's wedding in Colorado.
  • started her very first day of school in a two day a week Mother's Day Out program.
  • went trick or treating for the first time!
  • found out that she was going to be a big sister!
  • battled her first bout of the flu...over Christmas :(
  • started potty training during the big Houston freeze...and was successful!
  • road tripped to Dallas with just Mommy for a girls weekend to see Auntie Julie and meet baby Alexandria!
  • traveled the world again as we jetted off for a week in Amsterdam!
  • play for 4 days at DISNEYLAND PARIS!
  • transferred from her crib to a BIG GIRL bed and got a whole new bedroom set.
  • finished her first year of school and actually learned to love it.
  • helped mommy and daddy prepare to meet her baby brother!

Anyone who has met Chloe knows that she has such a big personality! She's a bit of a hot mess sometimes, but she knows exactly what she wants and how to get it. She is just as strong willed as she was last year if not more now. She loves to test boundaries, see who she can manipulate and find a way to make things work in her favor. It can be incredibly frustrating, but sometimes I'm impressed with her determination. Sometimes. Mostly when it doesn't involve her tying to manipulate me.

Chloe has a short list of people that she actually likes these days. To say she has a healthy fear of strangers is an understatement. Grunting, groaning, growling and yelling at strangers who ask her sweet questions happens more often than I care to admit. I'm not sure how to stop this behavior, but surly she'll grow out of it. Pretty much if you aren't on her short list, she doesn't want to talk to you. For a while I was really concerned with this, but with time I'm learning that my daughter is shy and that's okay. Once upon a time, I was shy too. My husband is much more shy than I am, so in time hopefully it'll become less intense. I will say that she's definitely a one person kind of girl. If you can get her one on one without a crowd, she's in a much better mood and you can see her personality shine.

Chloe's favorite place on the planet...and remember she's been quite a few places...is her own home! She's a bit of a homebody and loves being in her own space and own environment. She likes sleeping in her own bed, playing in her own game room, watching movies on her own couch and eating dinner at her own table. I totally get it kid. I like home too! Her second favorite place is probably her Nonna and Poppa's pool because we spend a lot of time there during the summer months!

Speaking of Chloe's favorite place, here are a few of Chloe's favorites these days:

  • Swim lessons with Mr. Juan! My little girl can really swim y'all!
  • Swimming all day at Nonna and Poppa's
  • Movies: Monsters Inc, Frozen, Guardians of the Galaxy 2, Cars 3
  • Shows: Anything Mickey Mouse, Sofia the First, Muppet Babies, learning shows on Amazon Prime (a Monster Truck show called Brain Candy TV is a summer fave!), Dino the Dinosaur
  • Coloring with chalk
  • Visiting the animals at the zoo
  • Reading one of her many books!
  • All things dinosaurs, princesses, mermaids, cars/trucks, unicorns
  • Stacking things and playing with blocks
  • Dressing up! Super heros and princesses are her current faves.
  • Gymnastics class. Jumping on the trampoline is her favorite part.
  • Playing pretend with her kitchen or her princess castle. I love listening to the conversations she has with her dolls!
  • Going on walks and runs with Mommy or Daddy to the park

I know I will continue to say this every year, but this past year she has shown the most change. She really started to grown up before my eyes! Her verbal ability went from her limited 2 year old vocabulary to being able to say anything she wants. Her physical ability has changed drastically too. I can see her coming into her own and really figuring things out. Swim lessons and gymnastics has helped a lot. Mentally she's learned more than I could have imagined this year! She can identify letters and numbers by sight and loves learning about them. Reading is one of her favorite things. Her love of books makes this book nerd's heart happy. I'm just so proud of her! I know there are definitely areas that we can work on, and she's definitely still a three year old, but that's part of life.

I've gone through her monthly updates, her birth story and all of her birthday party photos over the past few years. My raging hormones have me a bit of a mess sometimes, but I can't help it! I just love this little girl so much! In case you're interested in taking a peek back, here are allllll of the Chloe updates I've done over the years!

Did you miss an update?
birth story 1 | birth story 2 | one | two | three | four | five | six | seven | eight | nine | ten | eleven | twelve | eighteen | two years
Happy Birthday my little girl! You'll always be my baby!

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