Breastfeeding

16 Days Post Partum

Holy emotional roller coaster!

I guess I was naive in thinking that breastfeeding was a natural and automatic skill set that babies had with their moms. Maybe too many National Geographic episodes, seeing mammals gravitate to their mothers right after birth for food.

To my surprise, right after birth within the first 30 minutes-hour, the nurses asked me to put Easton on my chest to see if he would latch to my boobs and if colostrum/milk would come… none came. I ended up squeezing some colostrum out enough to fill half a teaspoon which to my surprise is all that he needed for Day 1 of life.

The next day, while still in the hospital as they had to run the 24-hour tests/exams on both me and Easton, they brought in a lactate specialist who helped me for an hour or so to try to get Easton to latch, again no luck. They shared that Easton would need to eat every 2 1/2-3 hours (at least 8 times a day and the ounces would vary depending on how many days old he is). Since he was not latching they showed me how to use a breast pump machine, and supplemented the rest of what he needed through formula.

For the first 5 days the routine was pretty much the same… tried to get him to latch to my breast, him rejecting, feeding him my pumped breastmilk first, and then supplementing with formula to get his needed servings.

Day 6 was a breakthrough day! I successfully was able to pump enough milk to stop formula, and we haven’t gone back since! Also on day 6 tried a nipple protector to try to feed Easton. It worked for a couple minutes and really thought this would be the best way to transition to breastfeeding. After doing this for 2 days and tearing up my breasts by taping these protectors on, met with a lactating consultant again … and decided that pumping and bottle feeding would be the best option for us. It would allow us to feed him more regularly, would still give him the benefits of my immunity support through my milk, getting help throughout the late ours from Jeff to be able to feed, and less meltdowns for both Easton and me.

To be honest, at least at first (and sometimes even now), feel like I have not been able to properly provide for my son since I couldn’t do it the natural way. What I am coming to realize is that having a baby latch and breastfeed is a common challenge for moms and that I am not the only one. In fact, many moms have already reached out to me to share they too could not do breastfeeding and to provide their emotional support. This has meant a lot.

Today marks 16 days PP and can say Easton has gained 21 ounces since his last check-in, which the pediatrician shared today means he is getting enough to eat and is healthy from where he had started. This to me is the most important thing… our little baby is healthy, progressing along as he is supposed to!

Some tips that I have found has worked for me to increase my pumping milk output:

Drink at least half my weight in water

Pump every 2-3 hours to train my body to continue to produce milk

Have the right size flange for the pump, the sizes that came with the pump were too big, and when I reduced the size the output increased

The white duckbills for the bottles are needed to get the milk to come out. I washed these and forgot to put them back and no milk came out. Once I realized what I had done and put them back on, it worked!

In Labor (Week 38 Day 2 & 3)

Well! The news is out! We have officially delivered our little one, but now that we are settled in thought I’d catch up where we left off!

Tuesday, November 16th, around midnight I started to get strong lower abdominal pain. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what was going on, my initial thought was that I ate something that upset my stomach and was having trouble digesting. As the morning/night progressed the pain started to intensify. By 3:30am, I was crouched over the bed trying to do hit rotations to relax my lower body when Jeff woke up, with me nearly in tears.

As Jeff worked with me on my breathing we started to track the pain to find out that what I was experiencing were contractions. Now, I know this may seem like an obvious thing to identify, but up to this point of pregnancy didn’t have Braxton Hicks or contractions. These contractions started at about every 5 minutes for 20-30 seconds, then to every 2-5 minutes for 30-60 seconds. From our pregnancy class, that when we are within 2-4 minutes lasting more than 30 seconds and lasts for at least an hour in this cycle it is usually the time to go to the hospital. This was achieved by 6:30am. We checked in, and by 8am was in a room with nurses and resident doctor checking where I was for effacement and dilation. To our surprise, given the pain I was in… I was only 1cm dilated but effaced at 50%. Because of the hospital’s protocols, they don’t induce early labor until Week 39. Because of this they determined that they would wait out my contractions for 4 hours, and determine if I would be admitted or not. 4 hours later we were at 1.5 cm dilated and 90% effacement. This put the doctors in a predicament because my effacement was progressing so fast. Their solution was to allow me to get morphine, stay 4 more hours to see if the dilation had changed to at least 3cm, if not would be sent home. 4 more hours passed and I was at 2cm. They talked with Jeff and I about possibly sending me home. For the amount of pain I was in we told them that our preference would be to stay so I can have medication for me to handle the pain. Even the morphine wasn’t strong enough for me during these contractions. Looking over at the contraction screen too… were peaking past the highest pain measurement on the screen. During this time, the nurse suggested that I walk around the room, bounce on the exercise ball, and do what I could to help self-induce labor. During this 2-4 hour period was desperate to get things moving, so Jeff and I did what they recommended as well as did squats to help induce labor. Around 6pm (I think, it is still somewhat of a blur) they measured me at 5cm dilated and 90% effacement). Officially was admitted as being in labor and staying.

As the night progressed, things from this point forward started moving more quickly. At around 10pm was given an epidural. That was a total game-changer. Once I had the epidural it was a HUGE relief off of the pain, and I could rest and relax. I had intermittent naps from 10pm-5am. At 5am, on Wednesday (November 17th), they measured me at 7cm dilated and the epidural took the edge off the pain but there was little sleeping from that point forward. By 8am I was at 9cm dilated. By 9am the doctor decided to break my water. At around 10:40am I started pushing, and at 11:07am we delivered Easton Jeffrey Roder! The nurses boosted my mood by sharing that the average woman pushes for 2-3 hours before delivering, but I was under 30 minutes!

I’ve recovered quite well, requiring just a couple stitches and baby is doing even better! Gaining weight and the most handsome baby I’ve ever seen (I know I am quite biased).

Easton Jeffrey Roder, born at 6 pounds 14 ounces & 19.25″ tall.

Week 37 Check-In

Today is 37 + 6! I decided that I should write today since our little one can quite literally come at any time. Going to give a quick doctor update and then a quick story on what happened last night…

Once I hit 35 weeks I have been seeing the doctor weekly. From what my doctor shared with me there are two main reasons to see me, see how I am progressing along with the location of baby to my pelvic area, and to do the strep B testing. Strep B I guess is a bacterial infection that can be transferred to baby at birth, so they test for this at 35/36 weeks so they know if they need to give pregnant mommas antibiotics when checking in labor and delivery. Any way, test came negative which is great!

This week I was going into my weekly appointment (Thursday this week) thinking this was a regular appointment with nothing really to talk or have updates on because my belly still seems quite high, still with no contractions, and things seem to be “regular.” Was shocked to find out that our little one has in fact dropped into the pelvic region and per the doctor “you and Jeff should be ready any time because you can be in labor and delivery before next week’s appointment.” I just stared at the doctor for a few seconds to be honest because I didn’t even think that Baby Roder even dropped. The doctor showed me where our little one’s head , arms, back, butt and legs are (surprisingly his head was a lot lower than I thought based on movements)…. the doctor did follow up with sharing that first time babys sometimes hang out in this area for a while before they are actually ready but it’s not too early at this point to make sure the hospital bags are packed and we are ready at home. I left feeling so very excited! Emotionally have been feeling mixed feelings thinking I have been pregnant for what seems like forever, and within the same five minutes feeling like I just shared with family that I was pregnant. Ironically Thursday evening was the first time I had a contraction. I don’t even know how really to describe it except for extremely painful for the 3 seconds it lasted. Made me a little worried, since pain is not something I’ve been good at and per our pregnancy class could last up to 30 seconds to a minute when in active labor.

Fast forward, yesterday (Friday)…. Jeff and I decided to do a date night. Went out to dinner and followed up with a movie. This was the first time that I have been in a “loud” environment. For sure live a more “quiet” life. I like the TV low in volume, don’t like to be around loud noises and/or people in general. I say this because Baby Roder was quite alarmed yesterday, and wasn’t even something I thought about until the movie started and he was in full combat motions inside my belly. I rubbed him throughout the movie in an effort to relax him, but definitely think it sped things up last night. Left with baby super active, more frequent contractions, and my body just in a bit of shock. Last night was a bit restless with very little sleep and today… we will see what we have in store.

Estimated due date is 11/28 (Sunday). Today is 11/13 (Saturday). Jeff and my boss are hoping I can make it through the end of this week before delivering to have work things in a good spot, but not entirely sure little one is going to hold on…. we will see!

Prenatal Baby Prep Classes

We are officially in Week 34! It seems like the time is both fast and slow… some days it feels as though I haven’t been pregnant long at all and that I should really be in the beginning phases; I think the little/no pregnancy symptoms have to do with this… some days seems long because by the end of next month we should have a healthy baby boy in our hands! Excitement grows with each kick and movement in my stomach.

Over the last two weeks we have taken two baby prep classes…

The first class: Was 8-hours and covered: what my body is doing in the final 10 weeks, when to know to go to the hospital, what to do to prevent early pregnancy and what to do to stimulate pregnancy, what to do to limit pain during contractions, what to expect when checking into the hospital, what nurses do in preparation and during labor, medications and pain relief when in labor, and post cure expectations. This class was extremely helpful! When we first heard how long it was both Jeff and I weren’t too thrilled, and wondered how we would sit for that long and if there is possibly that much to cover. Luckily we had am amazing nurse teach the class (Nurse Gayle), who is actually a OB/delivery nurse at the hospital we will be going to have Baby Roder. We are hoping to get her as our nurse and will definitely be asking for her. She made the class informative, fun and interactive. There were 5 other couples, all having babies between November & December 2021… so was exciting to share the moment with people who very soon would be parents along with us! As always Jeff amazed me on how in tune he was with everything, asking great questions and reminding me throughout the class how proud he was that I have made it look so easy this far. Side note: I do think genetically and through good graces have been blessed with how seamless this process has been for us, my body and my mind super clear and taking this so easily. I do think that Jeff and I are surrounded by SO much love and support, along with us both excited to become parents that this process has been easier as a result. When you want something, and you know the reward, the minor things don’t seem like a problem at all. If I am to be honest… leading up to this class I was low key starting to get anxious about going into labor. The main thought was wondering what is actually happening inside my body while “pushing” and knowing if my body can/will be able to do it. After this class, and learning what happens within the body during contractions, during initial labor, active labor and transitioning labor, now feel a lot more comfortable. Which was worth the 8 hour class alone 🙂 And would also like to share, that the woman’s body is amazing! What a great gift we have to be able to give life and for our bodies to naturally know what it should be doing!

The second class: Was 2 hours and covered: how to bathe the baby, how to swaddle the baby, how the baby should be sleeping (on back with no sheets or toys), breastfeeding and how to be successful in nursing and bottle feeding. This was a relatively quick class and again brought me comfort in knowing what my body should be doing, and how I can help Baby Roder along through the early stages of life! Jeff came along for this one, which I was surprised at! I didn’t know if this would be of interest to him so told him that he could sit out on this one, but that it would be nice to have his support and him there. Without hesitation he said he would come so he could pick up any tips he can to help where he can. Again, so blessed.

What’s up with baby: He is moving more now than ever. Anytime I drink or eat anything he will move around in my belly. I am pretty sure he knows differences in peoples’ voices because when he hears a new voice he tends to move around more as if he is trying to figure it all out. He is now the size of a cabbage, measuring about 19 inches and 5 pounds. From what the doctors share… he is running out of room so now more than ever should feel even his smaller movements. He is still very active, mostly after I finish with work and before bed. He does a good job with sleeping , his schedule similar to mine. I think a part of it is that I try to remain active and watch what I eat and the timing that I do… I hope this transitions into when he is born, fingers crossed!

What’s new with body: I definitely feel as big as ever, with some extra water weight in my face that I haven’t seen in some time. My pregnant belly is now definitely noticeable to others… Jeff and I went to Costco and a lady even mentioned her missing being pregnant and having an extra shelf to hold things on LOL. Energy during this last trimester has been at a lifetime low. I can go for a 20 minute walk and feel winded and ready for a nap. I haven’t been doing Peloton regularly for this reason and because clipping in/out of the shoes is quite the task. I have been giving myself more grace with what I can and cannot handle, and honoring my body when it needs to rest hoping that restoring it when it asks is helping Baby grow strong and healthy.

Estimated Due Date is still on track for 11/28 (ironically Jeff’s birthday). I have been getting so excited for him that I have been looking up first time mom delivery tables to give me hope for an early delivery. We are so beyond excited for our growing family. Nursery and everything we need is now in order just waiting for his arrival!

Love this photo of Jeff. He only dropped the baby one time (shaking my head LOL). It was so cute watching him swaddle the baby and holding the doll as if it were real, made me all the more excited.

Third-Trimester, It’s Game Time!

As of when I write this, we are at 30 weeks and 3 Days! Yes, that means we are now thinking COUNTDOWN!

With the glucose test results in and passing I have found that my anxiety is a lot more under control. To the mommas out there that have had this happen you are definition of true momma hero! I mean, as if thinking and preparing about a baby on the way isn’t enough, worrying about what to eat is one added stress for sure. Glad for us, with this baby, we are in the clear. This has brought focus to other things are preparing for!

Two weekends ago (9/11) we had the baby shower, as you may have already saw on another post :). Since then have really been going rogue on cleaning everything and anything. Baby clothes are washed, nursery is put in order, the thank you cards are out (still can’t believe how generous every one has been with this!), gifts are starting to be assembled in preparation for our little one! To be honest the cutest gift we received is this owl floor chair. I don’t know why but out of the things we got I can just picture him sitting in this chair at us as a baby. I thought I would get the feeling with the crib , but no folks a chair LOL.

Baby development…. Baby is estimated to be between 3lb-3 1/2 lbs. When we went in for our anatomy ultrasound they mentioned that our baby was slightly longer/taller and weighed more than babies at that stage… so have been curious when he comes what he will be weighed at. According to my app each week going forward he gains between 1/2 – 1lb. Let’s hope for my sake it’s 1/2 pound. This stomach has amazed me on how much it can stretch, but don’t need to stretching more than it needs too! I also learned, through this Ovia Pregnancy App, that the baby is now the length he will be at time of birth. I guess in the trimester the baby is gaining fat and weight, but stops growing in height. I hope he has his dad’s height by the way!

My body… to be honest I am still feeling great! I mean I am growing a human inside of me so definitely more tired in this trimester thank former ones, but all in all still staying active, staying within the weight limits the doctor has recommended and mood has been stable. I jokingly say to people who have asked me how I am doing that God really loves Jeff and he wants to bless him with more than one kid so he made sure this pregnancy was easy the first go-around ;). I do think there is some truth in that! But I will also say… Baby Roder has been (before we even got married) part of the long term plan and because of it any little annoyance related to cravings, cramps, sleep or whatever is easily overlooked and considered a blessing in our eyes, not an obstacle. Little guy was meant to be here with us and has made this all enjoyable for sure. Now, ask me my thoughts on my first pregnancy after labor… that’s the part that I am starting to think about now that we are about 9 weeks away!

Little things we are doing… now really making sure that we have everything we need. I have been stalking on Facebook Market place for diapers… a box at Costco is about $36/box. They say babies use on average 10 diapers/day. So in preparation for the first 6 months have been trying to stock up on enough diapers for stages “1,2 & 3” with a few boxes for each. So I have an alert on FBMP for whenever boxes are posted for $20 or less, and do same day porch pick up. Your girl is still thrifty LOL. But in all seriousness, we have time before he gets here so saving money when we can is a must!

Next up… is my doctor’s appointment Friday earlyyyy morning. (7am). I am with a new OBGYN. I guess the final trimester they have me weaving in new doctors so that in the event my doctor isn’t available when I go into labor that I would have met the whole OB staff. It’s all feeling definitely real that we are in the final weeks.

Alright 🙂 I think that’s enough for today. I hope this blog was at least fun to read and gives you a glimpse of what is going on over here in the Roder house. Until next time friends!

Upcoming Events:

  • Baby Preparation Class with Jeff in October
  • Nursing Class in October
  • Prepare Hospital bag
  • Prepare Baby Bag
  • TDAP shots
  • OB appoints start being bi-weekly after week 30
  • Await Baby Roder’s arrival!

Baby Shower for Baby Roder!

If you know me well… you know that I am not a partier by any means… which funny enough the last two years has been Jeff and I celebrating a bunch of milestones and throwing parties frequently. I think having a baby shower is only for the first baby? If that’s true…. I think this is the last party we will be hosting to the masses?! Hey-oh! This isn’t to say I don’t love people because you all know I LOVE people… I think it’s more so the anxiety that goes into trying to throw a meaningful and fun party… finding time in balancing talking with everyone but also basking in the moment too… I don’t know if I do that well yet… Jeff does though, thank goodness! He definitely balances me out in more ways than one.

I’m babbling!

Baby Roder’s baby shower was just the greatest! Definitely a majority to thank to Gina and Mona who came up with the Winnie the Pooh themed party and who worked out EVERY detail from table clothes, to the elaborate cake, to gifts, flowers, balloons, party favors, prizes, GAMES! Both Gina and Mona were total sweethearts and have been a support system through this pregnancy process for sure. Both are boy mamas and have helped provide guidance and comfort, and for real jumped on the LET’S CELEBRATE RODER LIFE when the time came to thinking about the party!

Also a huge thanks goes to both my mom and Jeff’s provided food and drinks, and both were amazing and allowed people to just feel comfortable. P.S. a lot of people like Mediterranean food and it makes a perfect lunch buffet!

Here is a video to share the party!

Mini-Story:

The night before the baby shower I had another vivid dream with Baby Roder. In my dream I was talking to him in my stomach and he was telling me that he is ready to come out now. I told him that for him to be healthy and strong he needs to try to stay in there a little bit longer. When I woke up I felt like it was a real conversation/connection with him, like he knew it was his party day and he wanted to come and visit with people that were celebrating him. I can’t wait to show him how loved he was even before he was born. The amount of love he was showered with on Saturday was unreal! So grateful that the people we surround ourselves with are so full of love, support and kindness!

It has been truly surreal the last couple weeks with him… I feel we have bonded more. I don’t know if it’s because he is coming soon, or that he is so much bigger now than before to where I feel that he is baby size (size of a pineapple now), or what, but when people say they bond with their kids in pregnancy I am definitely starting to get it!

Glucose Test (3-Hour)

Okay, I will also be posting a third-trimester update soon, but did want to share while I have your attention… energy levels are at an all time low. Thought perhaps some of it was related to this lingering question about me having gestational diabetes, but (SPOILER) evidently that is not it.

Quick Glucose Test (1-Hour) summary: Took my 1-Hour Glucose blood work test last week. Come to find out I was slightly above what they had wanted me to be at. There was some confusion, on my side, on what I had in my notes for fasting time versus what the doctor said… which could have caused this test to come back higher. Nonetheless, the I was supposed to be between 70-135 for the 1-hour test, and my result came in at 154. Since I “failed” this test they wanted to ensure I didn’t in fact have gestational diabetes so they had me come back this week for a 3-Hour glucose test.

Glucose Test 3-Hour Process:

Before I even get started, should note if this is/will be you… I highly suggest making this appointment first thing in the morning, so that your fasting timing isn’t being offset out the gate.

Fasting: to start 10:30p the night before with only water leading to the appointment. Once you take the glucose drink NOTHING to enter the mouth for the duration of testing, and no activity… they legit asked me to sleep or read in the lobby between each blood draw. I chose reading & coming up with baby boy names.

What they had listed for me as goal numbers to achieve:

Pre-Glucose Drink (Fasting): 70-94

1-Hour Post Glucose Drink: 70-179

2-Hour Post Glucose Drink: 70-154

3-Hour Post Glucose Drink: 70-139

  • Before any of the tests start they pricked my finger to see what my glucose blood level was at before drawing actual blood. Evidently when you do this, if you’re already above the recommended pre-glucose drink results then they don’t bother will drawing the blood and report to the doctor the level. I am to assume this means you have gestational diabetes? I am not a doctor, but glad they did this so I didn’t waste hours of time going through this for nada.
  • After I was cleared with the finger prick, at 82, they did the first formal blood draw. This was pre-glucose drink. My results: 80 (photo below), should be between 70-94, sooooo PASS!
  • Then they had me drink glucola which is a high sugar drink. This flavor was like Orange Sunkist but JACKED on the sugar. The sugar is doubled from the 1-hour test, so totaled 100g of sugar. And just for reference, a cocoa-cola 12 ounce can has 39g. So, yeah this was definitely harder to put down the hatchet and to keep it there. But powered through. They gave me only 5-mins to drink it, they say don’t do it fast because it can shock the system, so I took the entire time. Oh and if you don’t keep it down, it was all for nothing… they have to redo the test another day… or at least that’s what she shared when I made the nastiest face LOL.
  • After the drink goes down you wait in the lobby for one-hour. Yup, bring a book
  • Then they draw blood after one-hour, to get the 1-hour glucose results. My result: 98 (photo below), should be between 70-179, PASS AGAIN!
  • Then back to waiting for another 1-hour. This time I was looking up baby names and decided to move locations away from other people, trying to avoid getting sick from people in/out the hospital. PS, new baby names were found but still we are TBD on this.
  • Then, they draw blood to get the 2-hour glucose results. My result: 100 (photo below), should be between 70-154, PASS Again… your girl is on fire!
  • Then , you guessed it back to waiting in the lobby for another hour to take the final blood draw. My result: 94 (photo below), should be between 70-139, PASS… wootie woot woot.

All results came in next day, but evidently depending on your doctor/hospital/place could be longer.

Based on the results all falling within the limits, it has been determined that I don’t have gestational diabetes. To be honest, I wish this on no one… pregnancy can be hard as-is trying to float working, with body changes, mood changes, energy changes, the whole works… having to monitor and track sugar and carb levels is an added stress.

They say though, to limit this that it helps to : stay active, keep a balanced diet as much as possible, have kids younger (whatever that means now a days!), and try to keep BMI (body mass index) in check.

I hope this was helpful!

Also HUGE thank you to all those who reached out to me with prayers, kind texts, suggestions, advice, etc. when I posted on IG that I was stressing after failing the 1-Hour test. I didn’t realize how common it is to fail the 1-hour and pass the 3-hour! Also, super kind for those who shared that you had gestational diabetes during your pregnancy , the food logs and advice that helped you through this process. It genuinely fills my heart with warmth at the love and support you have given to me (and I am sure other to be moms) , it does not go unnoticed. Thank you.

Glucose Test (1-Hour)

I knew creating life would involve somewhat regular doctor visits, but what they don’t warn you about is how many times you actually go for blood draws! Now into the third trimester can say they have already tested my blood 5-10 times now. The first two happen pretty early on to test HcG levels (to be honest still don’t fully understand what this means),in summary think it is to make sure the body is nearly doubling in this measurement to show that baby is in it for the ride…later for progesterone, antibody screening, hemoglobin electrophoresis, hepatitis, AIDS, rubella, you name it… I’ve probably been tested for it at this point.

Also for those that are scared of needles and faint at the sight of blood, I feel you. I share with them that if I see the needle or blood I’ll faint and the last couple times they gave me a smaller needle (they said, still don’t look) and they go quicker? Or at least it seems that way. Also drinking lots of water beforehand evidently speeds up the blood draw process.

If you’ve read my earlier posts you probably remember that earlier on my HcG levels weren’t necessarily doubling as fast as they would like that posed a concern, but after week 13, have cruising through these tests, thankfully! That was… until my glucose test.

Again, I’m not a doctor so please please do your own research. What I understand about the point of the glucose test.. in Jackie terms… is to test how your body digests and converts sugars. If your body doesn’t convert sugars the way it should you could be considered for gestational diabetes… which is diabetes you get while pregnant that can cause two big risks in my opinion (1) your baby can grow faster than normal in the third trimester causing an early pregnancy and could result in a C-section (for those wanting lots of babies, generally natural births are preferred) and (2) higher risk of still birth.

How the test works… an hour before your test you are not supposed to eat or drink, the “fasting period.” At your appointment they will give a high sugar drink ; it’s about 8 ounces and totals about 100 grams of sugar. Some say this tastes nasty.. honestly mine was lemon-lime flavor and since I haven’t had soda in a very long time it was reallyyyyy good haha, was like an extra sugary Sprite. You’re given 5-minutes to drink the drink. An hour later they draw blood. Waiting period for test results range between 1-3 days. According to my doctor the levels should be been between 70-135 (mg/dL), my test came in at 154 (mg/dL). This was the first test that I’ve taken thus far and failed and it quite honestly put me in panic mode.

If you fail the test… you’re asked to come back to take a 3-hour glucose test. In preparation for this one (which I am in now) they ask that you have a min of a 250g carbohydrate diet for 3 days leading up to your test, and then they do the steps above every three hours. From these tests they can see the trend line of how the body is converting the sugars with a high (in my opinion) carb diet.

My exam is on Tuesday morning… I will keep you posted on how the results have come in…

I appreciate all the well wishes, prayers, and suggestions that some of you have already shared with me. Of course, the goal is to carry a full term healthy baby and my initial response to my results put me in panic mode. After talking to some mommas who had the same results and to some people close who have diabetes have been able to ease my mind.

“Nearly” 1-Year Marriage Check In: Key to Happiness

Something to know about Jeff and I, we are talkers. Ever since the first conversations he and I dug deep into knowing about each other. Part of it is that we both had lots of first dates and we valued our time being a little older, so cut to the chase with the important “must know” deal-breaker questions out the gate. Ever since we continued to have long conversations about anything/everything and dabbled in books as well to explore additional levels of ourselves both as a couple and individually. My mom jokingly (still) asks us if we ever get tired of talking to each other, the answer… still no. 😉

I bring this back-up story to say, recently (Tuesday night) we got into a conversation talking about why we think our relationship seems so “easy” and the source of our happiness. I share this not to boast or brag about our relationship, but we found it as a valuable conversation to “check-in” if you will on where we were at as a couple, and focus on the positive attributes and things that have and continue to work. It also allowed us to be mindful where there is room for improvement!

It came down to 7 key factors:

  1. Very Similar Values: we share a deep rooted interest to maintain and grow our relationship(s) with God, our families and our closest friends.
  2. We were happy in our lives before meeting each other; essentially coming into this relationship as two whole people: this we found was an important factor, neither one of us was coming in lookin to fix or to change the other person but to enjoy the lives we built separately and how they would blend together as we grow. We still are working through this, if I’m to be honest, as we learn the quirky things we each do. As we prepare for baby I am sure this will change even more!
  3. We both knew what we wanted from a relationship coming in: we knew from the first conversations that we both were not looking solely to date and enjoy company, but to find a deep connection that would lead into a marriage. Pre-marriage counseling and our books we read leading up to that point definitely helped guide the conversations, but will say we were pretty aligned in most of the hot button topics: thoughts of marriage and divorce, thoughts on family growth and dynamic, thoughts on how religion and faith would be incorporated into our every day lives, thoughts on money, thoughts on career planning, & thoughts on what a healthy marriage looks like decades later.
  4. Both surround ourselves with positive & growing relationships: We both have been extremely blessed to be surrounded by so much love, support and positive people. They say the energy frequency you give is reciprocated, but we truly think it has come back to us 10 -fold. We both have valued keeping those around us be the ones who share the same values/foundation as we do, and both value steering away from toxic relationships. I mean why spend time being upset/mad/complaining when you can enjoy the beautiful life we can choose to live!
  5. Financially secure and stable before coming in with similar ideas about finance/money: They say 80% of most marriages end in divorce over money. Can you believe that?! Well, thankfully even early on in our separate lives we both valued limited debt and capitalizing on opportunities that propel us toward happiness but also financial freedom. We both entered our relationship debt free with the exception of our mortgages. Pretty proud of that! That has flowed into how we spend and value saving, investing and even splurging on memory-making adventures. 🙂
  6. Overlapping Hobbies: We both were pleasantly surprised when we found that our interests include active sports (rock climbing, hiking, swimming, biking, etc). This has allowed us to more easily plan day dates/vacations/times with friends and family.
  7. The desire to grow as people and be impactful to those we are around: professionally and as individuals we are constantly thinking and talking (LOL) through what we can do to improve. What positive influence can we provide in the relationships and conversations we carry? You can spend hours just talking about this one alone!

Would love to hear your success story and key factors from your relationship/marriages that has helped you stay happy too! Heck, the more tips/suggestions the better!

Anatomy Ultrasound (21 weeks)

This week Baby Roder has been moving and grooving in the belly. There’s definitely not a day now that I don’t feel him moving around trying to get comfortable. Before it was hard to tell if I was feeling him or if it was my body gassy or something. Now, it’s definitely him and bizarre as it may sound sometimes can lift my shirt and see my belly physically moving. Wild!

As my body has been changing I have been sharing with Jeff and a couple instances he too was able to feel Baby Roder for himself. Yesterday though, he admitted it got really real for him… it was his first time since COVID being able to come to my doctor’s appointment. And in great timing, it was a fun appointment to be allowed to come to as it was a meeting with the ultrasound technician for the anatomy ultrasound!

For those who may not know (was new to me until I got pregnant) this is an important week as they measure the progression of the growth for the baby and make sure he is growing in proportion as he should. They focus on the heart to make sure all chambers are there and beating, that blood inflow/outflow is strong and steady, that the baby has 10 toes and fingers, that bone growth has started, that nose & lips appear normal (sometimes they can tell if there will be any deformities during this ultrasound), and can share if the baby is a boy/girl for those who don’t do the blood work in advance.

Up to this point all news has been filtered through to me to family/friends, but Jeff was alongside me for this one. He held my hand and could see how they find the baby , see the measurements, and he could ask any/all questions. Jeff was super into it , paying close attention to what the technician was sharing and keeping an eye on me to make sure I was okay. Funny story: he didn’t know for the first 20 minutes (in total took 1 1/2 hours) that I could see on a screen what the technician and Jeff could see on the computer monitor, so Jeff was giving me play-by-play .. until I shared I could see on the screen on the wall LOL. Good news: all appeared normal! Of course, they can’t confirm 100% everything definitely, but from what we saw, he is growing in there… and definitely active! He was kicking me, turning and rolling over in the 1 1/2 hours we were in there.

The most enjoyable part for me was seeing Jeff’s face, seeing him get involved with questions, and definitely hearing his excitement after on how cool that experience was and how this pregnancy now feels more real to him. I guess as a woman I thought that this may not be as fun for him, since it’s not his body changing, but it really blesses me that Jeff continues to show me his depth of love and compassion even if he himself isn’t physically going through the pregnancy.

Here are a few photos from the ultrasound!

Week 21, Confirmed Boy, 1 Lb 2 Oz

Baby Roder sucking his thumb
Baby’s Foot