Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Joke Gift - Joke's on me

This year Christmas was well... anti-climactic. After the birth of Noelle, Christmas was just not super exciting. I already had received the best gift of all time. This must be how the grinch felt when his heart grew at the end of the story. I feel like my heart has grown so much for this little girl. I just could never have imagined loving something so much.

Anyway, I figured I would share one of the "interesting" gifts that I did get. Every year it seems someone gets a super surprise gift or a joke gift of some sort. Well this year, the joke was on me! In order for you to understand this bizarre gift, you need some background information.

When I was younger (probably around 8-9 age range) I was a bit neurotic about organization. I am still pretty neurotic but this was probably the start of some serious OCD. My neurosis centered around notebooks. Yes... notebooks. Spiral bound notebooks, bound notebooks, stationary of any sort, binders etc... it all caused me stress. For some reason, EVERY notebook I received NEEDED to have a purpose. If it didn't have a purpose I would literally cry because I was so stressed about it. I even had a notebook where I would write down the purposes of each notebook. This was so bad that literally if someone gave me a notebook for a gift, I would cry privately in a corner in my parents room. My parents had NO clue that I used to do this until I told them when I was older. Haha. I used to go into this corner also to "stress" about what purposes to give the different notebooks. Literally I would spend an hour or two sitting in there trying to assign "purposes" to each of my notebooks.

Anyway, so this Christmas, my sister decided to play a joke on me. I knew something was up when I was receiving gifts from HER mother in law's dog!! This is what I received..

Luckily I don't have this OCD issue with notebooks anymore... or this may have killed me! haha! 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Noelle LaRae Portugal - Birth Story

I figured I better document my birth story before I actually forget. I have written this between multiple different naps. Motherhood so far has been exhausting but it is wonderful too.

Anyway, lets back track to the whole labor experience. I am going to break this into 1st, 2nd, and 3rd stage labor so make it a little more readable. It is very long, feel free to skim!


My due date based on my temping calculation was on December 6th, 2013. However, my first ultrasound that I had, dated me at December 8th, 2013. Therefore, in my mind we kind of had two due dates. I, of course, was hoping for the 6th or earlier. Now, one thing to understand is that my sister gave birth to her son on his due date, and my mom gave birth to both me and my sister before our due dates. I was pretty sure I was going to be "on time". Although, the average for first time moms is 41 weeks and 1 day. So I knew, I could potentially go late.

The week of my due date, I went in for an appt on Tuesday (due date on Friday). I had the midwife check me and I was about 25% effaced, baby was probably around -2 position, and my cervix was still high and closed. It wasn't exactly the most positive information but honestly all of that can change so quickly.

On Friday, I was tired, and just done. I had caught a horrible cold on Thanksgiving and it had NOT let up. I was extremely afraid that I was going to go into labor and be drained and sick. Around noon on Friday, I left work to get some peppermint oil to help my nose. I was frustrated because Noelle was most likely going to be late and I was sick. Ivan's parents, aunt, and grandmother had come into town on December 5th and were flying out on Monday morning. I really wanted them to be able to meet Noelle. Anyway, Saturday passed, Sunday passed, Monday passed, Tuesday passed.... I was getting frustrated and Ivan's family had left. My sister was flying out on Wednesday morning, so since I wasn't already in labor on Tuesday night, I knew she was going to miss it too.

I had been having a REALLY hard time sleeping due to the sickness and congestion in the days leading up to Wednesday as well. I was consistently waking up every night for about 3-4 hours because of the sickness. It was exhausting. Luckily around Tuesday, I had started feeling slightly better, but the sleep was still hard to come by. I had started taking naps in the middle of the day just to regain strength for when labor DID start.

I had done a few things to try to get things going after my due date. I had a wonderful "labor" massage by Kelli Hall, was using acupressure, and on Tuesday night I decided to take an enema to see if I could get things going. Around 12:30am on Wednesday morning I was up like typical, and I ran a bath for myself (pretty common). While I was sitting in the bath, the stupid power went out!! So here I am, sitting in the bath, in pitch black dark. Luckily, I had my iphone with me so I used the flash light to get out of the bath. I walked out to my laptop that was in the kitchen, because I wanted to check the Centerpoint Energy site to see when they said the power would be back up. I got on the site and it said around 3am... ug!

Anyway, as I was standing there in kitchen in my robe, I felt like something was about to "drip". So I grabbed a papertowel and held it "under" myself. I immediately soaked the papertowel. At first I thought, well maybe that was just bath water? But then it was more like a gush. So I grabbed some more paper towels and bam, drenched them. At this point I was thinking CRAP my water just broke, its 1am, I haven't started any contractions, and the POWER IS OUT!  I freaked out. I went to the bathroom and as I was sitting there, I called my doula who was in San Antonio for her final exams, and the midwife on call for the birthing center. Both of them reassured me that since my water broke in a "gush" (meaning not a slow leak) my contractions would almost surely start within a few hours. I then woke up my family to let them know what was happening, and they quickly changed my sister's flight (which was that morning) to Friday.

1st Stage Labor

So now, let me clarify a few things. Many hospitals will put you on a time table once your water breaks (heck they do it even if your water doesn't break). However, unless you have something like group b strep, it is not necessary to have your baby within 24 hours of your water breaking. The baby is still attached to the placenta and your body is still trying to replenish the water so staying hydrated is important. Anyway, the midwives assured me that I shouldn't worry about going into labor and that as long as I went into active labor within 72 hours, all would be OK.  They consider "active" labor to be when your contractions are on average less than 5 minutes apart, 1 minute long, for about an hour (which is pretty standard). This typically is indicative that you are around 4 cm dilated.

So, after my water broke, I basically went back to bed... and sure enough my contractions did start. They weren't super strong at first but I could tell something was happening. I slept as much as I could then I got up and walked around the house for awhile (light contractions were coming around every 15 minutes or so). I then took another nap around 10am. The nap made my contractions stop and at the time this frustrated me a lot (looking back, I should have just kept sleeping KNOWING that eventually they would pick up). But, at the moment I just wanted them to pick up. Therefore, we went to the mall to go walking around. We walked around for about an hour or so. We planned on going to Lupe Tortilla for lunch, but my contractions started to get stronger and I figured it was actually best to go home. When I got home, my contractions picked up. There started being between 5-7 minutes apart and around 1 minute in length or so. I was extremely uncomfortable and because my contractions were all in my back. I had heard about back labor but I never thought I would experience it. It is seriously horrible! It actually is so painful that it overshadows the normal contraction pain. At this point I didn't even have a clue how bad it would get.

Counting contractions at the mall

Jessica french braiding my hair

By that night (Wednesday), I tried to sleep but my contractions started coming stronger. They had decreased to every 15 mins again, but they were so painful that I had to sleep on the floor in the living room to help. That night was horrible... contractions were painful and varied between 7-10 minutes apart. When they came... they were horrible. There was no sleeping through them. By the morning, I was exhausted.  In the morning,  I decided to contact Kelli again (the massage therapist) to help with my back labor. She frequently massage women who are IN labor, so I figured it would help. We took the "painful" drive over to her house and I got a great massage. Although the back labor did not stop, she was able to help release the tightness to some extent. She also showed Ivan the best place to massage and provide counter pressure.

After the massage, I contacted Nativiti (the birthing center) to see if I could get checked. I arrived and they hooked me up to the fetal monitor. Noelle was doing just great... however based on the timing of my contractions, and the fact my water had broken, they didn't want to check me (to prevent bacteria from being introduced). It was very disappointing, but I went home. It was then that I called my doula, Lisa Rutledge. The midwives at Nativiti wanted Lisa to help me with some "Spinning Babies" techniques in order to get Noelle to be in the best position to come out. Back labor often is indicative of a malposition. Lisa came over and helped with the Rebozo (a wrap that goes over your belly) and every time I had a contraction, she would pull up and Ivan would apply counter pressure on my back. Lisa also had me do this side lying release position on each side for three contractions. This hurt like CRAZY!!!! Omgosh, it was horrible but I just suffered through because I knew it could help. I continued to labor at home for a few hours longer using the rebozo, cold compresses, peppermint oil on my back, and counterpressure etc. My contractions hadn't sped up too much, they still were around 3-4 minutes apart lasting around 1-1.5 minutes, but at least I was in active labor.
Lisa with the Rebozo wrap

Lisa getting me into a different position

I knew that at some point I was going to need to go to the birthing center. The car ride would be horrible. I bent over the sofa and just started crying. I was ready to give up. The pain was so bad, and my contractions weren't getting closer, so I felt like I probably wasn't super far along. I basically wanted to go the birthing center, but I also didn't want to go. I didn't want to go there and find out that I was only at 4cm. Either way, I decided to pack it up and go to the center. The car ride was excruciating as expected. Because I was riding in the car, no one could apply counter pressure to my back. When I got to the center, Jamie (one of the midwives) checked me...moment of truth...she looked up at me with a smile and look of sheer pity she said, "oh honey... you are at 8 cm! Let's get you in the tub"... OH LORD!!! The happiness overtook me. I started crying tears of absolute joy. My mom was in the other room and thought I was crying because I received bad news. I found out even later that I was probably more at around 9cm but she didn't want to get my hopes up too high. I went to the birth room and they started running the bath water. I got in the tub and it felt awesome! Omgosh it was great. Of course, that only lasted until my next contraction. I stayed in a hands and knees position in the tub with Ivan applying counter pressure (this was pretty much my default laboring position). At this point, I was still going through transition. But I was so committed to pushing through at this point.. I was ALMOST THERE!
Contraction at Nativiti while waiting on the bath

Contractions, Ivan, Lisa, and Betty (midwife in training)

Ivan applying counterpressure

1st stage contractions are the worst!

2nd Stage Labor

I looked up at Lisa who was sitting next to the tub giving me constant encouragement and smiling. I asked her, "when will I know when the pushing contractions are?" She reminded me that they would feel different and "expulsive". The problem is that if you have never experienced an "expulsive" contraction before, you have no clue what that means. Haha! Luckily, my NEXT contraction (right after I had asked Lisa) was just that... "expulsive". The contraction started off as a normal contraction, then it like took over my body. All my muscles clenched and I felt like my body was just pushing on its own. It is hard to explain...but I will say, it felt WAY better than 1st stage contractions. At this point my contractions slowed down. But when they came, it was pushing time. I was in second stage labor (pushing stage) for about 2.5 hours. I pushed for awhile in the tub in multiple positions that the midwives suggested (changing positions helps to progress things a bit faster). I was sooooo concerned about pooping in the tub, but when the time came, I couldn't give a crap (haha no pun intended). There was no helping the pooping and honestly, I don't even care. At that point, I was just so DONE with labor, I wanted this baby girl out!
Lisa told me to give a "quick smile" for the camera, this was the best I could do

During the whole process, the midwives also were checking Noelle's heart rate constantly. She was doing fine. The midwives also checked me during my contractions to see how things were going. Katherine (the midwife on call), told me that we really needed to get me out of the tub for awhile so she could stretch my ligaments. I guess my ligaments inside were so tight that it was preventing Noelle from moving farther down. So, I got out of the tub despite not wanting to. They then put me on a birth stool to push. While I was contracting on the birth stool, Katherine reached inside and stretched my ligaments. Not gonna lie... this was NOT fun. However, I felt an immediate change, it felt like my pushing was actually DOING something. It was then though that they checked Noelle's heart rate and it had dropped. They quickly moved me over to the bed to put me on my side to see if the rate would pick up. I absolutely HATED HATED HATED contracting and pushing on my side (it isn't pleasant for back labor) but I would do anything to keep Noelle safe, so that is what I did. As soon as I laid on my side, her rate popped right back up. They then moved me back into the tub. Sadly, at this point, I had to push on my side in the tub. I remember taking my Bradley Method natural childbirth classes and thinking... that the side pushing position looked like the WORST pushing position ever. Honestly, I wanted to push in a squat in the tub. However, Noelle had a mind of her own and she liked the side position. So there I pushed, I felt her coming out. I could feel her head moving, and knew that crowning was right around the corner.
Katherine (midwife) checking the heartrate

When she did crown, I felt a bit of burning. I know that many women fear this "ring of fire" they call it when the head comes through. However, it really wasn't that bad in my opinion. It may have been because I was in the water, I am not really sure. It stung a bit, but wasn't that horrible. Then she started coming out. I reached down and I felt her hair!! I couldn't believe it. Then I had about 4 more contractions and her head came out. Then they had me push a few more times (without the contractions) to just get the rest of her body out. Then she was mine to hold! Oh she was so precious... just soooooo precious. Honestly, I still can't get over her. She is too cute and gorgeous for words.

My mom actually came in the room right before the last push, so she could see her. It honestly was such an awesome moment for us. My little girl finally in my arms. I seriously couldn't be happier.

My mom and sister
3rd Stage Labor
The next part of labor is not quite as exciting haha. The midwives waited until her cord stopped pulsing and brought Ivan over to cut it. Ivan and I had talked before and decided that we really didn't care if he did or did not cut the cord. So I asked if it would be ok for my sister (who Noelle shares a middle name with) could cut the cord. So Brittany cut the cord. Then Noelle was FREE :). I let Ivan take her while they dealt with third stage labor (delivering the placenta). We had a bit of an issue here. My contractions had slowed down before second stage labor, so they completely stopped for third stage labor. We waited about 40 minutes to see if the placenta would just come out... but it was having some trouble. Therefore, they had to give me some pitocin (a small shot of it in the butt) and then had me get on my hands and knees and basically wait. I finally delivered the placenta! Then I was free to get out of the tub.
Melanie (midwife) waiting on placenta

Because I had such a long labor, I agreed to give Noelle the Vitamin K shot just so it would help her heal a bit faster. They also wanted to give me the pitocin, not just for the placenta but because I had a long labor and they wanted to make sure I contracted up. They checked all my vitals to make sure I was ok... and then Melanie (the midwife that was now on call) stitched me up. I had a 2nd degree tear, which considering everything, was not that bad at all! Noelle and I rested, ate, had our vitals checked, tried to breastfeed (which was tough), and just relaxed. There was a whole team of nurses and midwives who were bustling around just doing everything. Noelle was weighted at 8lbs 1 oz and 20 inches long. The sweetest little girl ever. So alert! She had 8/9 agpar score which is really great!

I delivered her at 9:36pm at night (around a 44 hour labor) and we were discharge and home in bed by 1:30am.

Ok so now I am going to give shoutouts to people that made up my wonderful birth team:

First and Foremost-Ivan
Ivan was a wonderful coach during the entire birth process. He attended 12 weeks of Bradley classes with me and stayed every minute by my side. Every contraction I needed counter pressure and he was there. He practically got into the tub with me to apply counter pressure. When Noelle's heart rate decreased for a few minutes, he was there to comfort me, reminding me that nothing was wrong, and it was all going to be ok. He really was my support and there is no way I could have done it without him. He also has been a great father to Noelle, getting up early in the morning for crying sessions, diaper changes, etc. I am so grateful that God placed him in my life. I couldn't ask for a better father for Noelle.

Lisa Rutledge- My WONDERFUL doula
Lisa was our Bradley method birthing class instructor. On the last week of the class, we decided to have her be our doula. We were originally unsure if we wanted/needed a doula. Since we were having a birth at a birthing center with midwives, we didn't need anyone to help us "fight off" doctors who would try to push pitocin on us. However, we realized that it would still be beneficial to have a doula. Why? Because, a doula comes to your home. I would be able to labor as much as possible at home before going to the birthing center. The doula also is with you the entire time. The midwives come and go during the process (just like a dr) but the doula is there the entire time. Lisa was seriously one of the best decisions we made! She came over to the house and helped us with spinning babies exercises, helped relieve pain with the rebozo (as listed above), brought multiple different ice and heat packs, and brought essential oils that helped with pain. She also was an invaluable resource leading up to the birth. I texted her the entire labor before she arrived, and after the birth she has continued to be a great resource! She is the one who recommended the massage therapist, and the peppermint oil for when I was sick. She also searched for a lactation consultant that could come over immediately after the birth (at no cost even) to help when Noelle was having trouble latching. During the birth she was a constant source of encouragement too, reminding me that I was doing great, and that I could do it! She made sure I was hydrated with coconut water during the labor and even fed me crackers after the birth to help with my energy. When I was totally exhausted, I would look up and see her smiling face saying "you are doing great! you are strong!" She stayed at the birthing center until we left and helped clean up dishes for the meal we had. She was such an invaluable part of the birth team!

Midwives and
I really love Nativiti. The birthing center was an amazing place to have a baby. Seriously they have a team there to help with the birth. It was such a comfortable environment to have a baby. It is also wonderful to be able to hold your baby immediately after birth and not have him/her pulled away. I mean, how amazing is it that they would actually reach up and STRETCH my ligaments to help get Noelle out! These women at Nativiti are just so skilled in childbirth. When it comes to the natural act of having a child, they are even more knowledgeable than doctors. I would say that it was the aftermath of the birth that most impressed me about Nativiti. After giving birth, they monitored my progress, made sure Noelle was doing well, and just treated you like a human rather than a sick patient. It was just so comfortable.

My Family and Friends
It was really great to have my family here with me during the whole process. My mom and dad made sure that I was reminded to eat and drink during the labor. The night of my labor my mom and sister came and stayed up with me for a few hours when I couldn't sleep (because of the contractions). My dad went and bought coconut water for me to drink. My sister and dad also stayed out of the house with my nephew during my active labor so I could concentrate. My parents have also cooked, cleaned, and just taken care of everything around the house (especially after the birth). My mom has changed countless dirty diapers and done tons of laundry. I am so thankful for them. I also am thankful for the countless friends that I know either in person or through online sources that were constantly praying for me throughout this (and who have given me so much help after the birth). Your prayers helped get me through some of the most painful contractions.. thank you so much!

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Baby Noelle Portugal: 36,37,38, and 39 Weeks

Well, I just keep getting worse and worse when it comes to blogging consistently. This may possibly be my last blog post before Noelle is here... figuring I am 39 weeks!

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:
- The nursery is complete at this point. Ivan took a video below.
- I haven't had too many awful symptoms of the third trimester. My weight is under control and I don't really have any swelling as far as I can tell. So that is all good!
- Noelle is making her way "down". I can tell. Although it isn't always the most comfortable feeling, it makes me really excited!
- I had both my baby showers, and they were both fabulous! It was great to see all my friends. 
- The baby book I ordered arrived, along with a Christmas stocking for Noelle.
- I am one week out... still feeling pretty good. Most people are like "GET THIS BABY OUT" by now and I really don't feel that, so I consider myself kind of lucky.. for now. 

The Bad
-  I do have some pains now and again from Noelle moving downward

- If I have to pee... I have to pee or it hurts. That is never a good thing in the middle of the night. 
- I look pretty huge and nothing really fits anymore
- I have quite a few stretch marks... oh well!.... I am a zebra
- I may be getting sick.. I feel a cold coming on which is NOT good at this point. 

The Ugly
- Nothing super bad lately. 

36, 37, 38, 39 Weeks
How far along: 39 weeks
Total weight gain: I have gained around 40 lbs (depending on what time I weigh). I am pretty satisfied with this number. 
Stretch marks: Yup.. all over. They look pretty bad.. ug
Sleep: Sleeping is fine.. although I turn from side to side a LOT. 
Best moment of this week : Well, within the last 4 weeks I have had both my baby showers. They were really great! It was great to get to spend time with my closest friends. Noelle also got some beautiful things!
Miss anything: Sleeping on my stomach.. and maybe walking normally. 
Food cravings: Nope!
Anything making you queasy or sick: If I eat a lot of greasy foods it will make me sick. I had a barfy moment around week 36 when I ate too many greasy foods on the weekend. Other than that I have been completely fine. 
Labor signs: Just Braxton Hicks, Noelle moving downward.
Belly button in or out: Its out now... pretty much.
Happy or moody most of the time: It has varied between weeks. I think overall I have been in a pretty good mood. I would say this week 39 has been the "moodiest" of all of them. 
Looking forward to: Noelle being here. My next midwife appt is on Dec 5th (the day before my due date). My sister is also coming into town on Tuesday. 

My registry is up at

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Baby Noelle Portugal: 32/33 AND 34/35 weeks

Wow.. this pregnancy brain this is getting bad. I can't believe how long it has been since I have updated this. I just keep forgetting every weekend. Haha! So I guess you will probably see a pretty big jump in belly size from the last pic figuring it has been a month!!

October was a CRAZY month for me. Work was just super busy, so busy that by the time I reached the weekend, I was just dead. However, that didn't stop me from shooting 2 portrait sessions, second shooting 2 weddings, and 1st shooting a wedding (all while working like crazy at my full time job). Needless to say, I am ready for November and things to just calm down a bit! 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:
- Noelle is very active. She has been doing well. 
- The nursery is pretty much complete. We have a few small details remaining, but it is complete (pictures coming soon!)
- Our birthing classes have been going well. Although, I am probably ready for them to end. 12 weeks is a LONG time. 
- I have had no swelling (which I hear is really common at this stage). My feet look normal and so do my ankles. I actually would still be wearing heels if I hadn't been told not to (I guess it isn't good for baby positioning or something like that)
- Noelle is head down.. so yay!
- It is getting "real" since this weekend we will be packing the "go" bag.. wow!
- My weight gain has been in control... I have gained around 30lbs which I consider highly successful. 

The Bad
-  I haven't been getting enough water lately (my fault of course). When I am really busy at work I just forget to drink water. 

- Been just having overall aches and pains. The joys of the third trimester. 
- No more highheels for me (midwife orders)... my flats are so ugly!
- Sleeping has become more uncomfortable but it hasn't been super bad. 
- Oh ya.. I kind of look HUGE!

The Ugly
- Work has been well... horrendous. As I have mentioned before, I am doing my job +80% of another girl's job. It is just crazy over here. So I am busy all the time. This last week was just horrible. 
- Oh ya.. the Miata (the cursed car) got hit AGAIN. Although it isn't our fault at all (someone backed into Ivan).. we will probably end up paying our own deductible because people suck and lie.. and insurance companies will do anything to get out of it. 
- Um how about this picture below... ug! 

32, 33, 34, and 35 Weeks
How far along: 32, 33, 34, and 35 weeks
Total weight gain: I have gained a total of around 30lbs total. I have been staying around 30 though. My goal is to gain less than 40 haha! I haven't been exercising at all though. Ivan did take me walking the other day which was good. The weather has been sooooo nice that we should definitely walk more!
Stretch marks: Yup.. I have them on my butt, upper thighs, and lower belly.. fun fun fun. I think Noelle is trying to create more too haha!
Sleep: Eh.. not that great. Sleeping on my right side is easier than my left, but I still wake up a lot. 
Best moment of this week month: We got the Noelle LaRae sign for the nursery! I was so excited, I ordered it around 2 months ago. Also my midwife appt was pretty awesome! I love the midwife Melanie...! Got Noelle's first Christmas ornament too!
Miss anything: Sleeping on my stomach I guess. 
Food cravings: Nope... nothing really. 
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope
Labor signs: Just Braxton Hicks
Belly button in or out: Flatish/out I guess. 
Happy or moody most of the time: I have gone between moody and happy the last four weeks. Honestly, as I said October was a horrible month. 
Looking forward to: My baby shower! I have a work shower on Nov 5th and then one at my home on the 23rd!

My registry is up at

Monday, October 7, 2013

Baby Noelle Portugal: 30 and 31 Weeks

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:
- Noelle is doing well... very active
- Had another midwife appt and everything is fine... she is growing well
- We had our maternity photos taken and they are beautiful (if you haven't seen them on facebook go check it out!)
- The nursery is almost finished! I will post final pictures once it is complete (the dresser should be here next Saturday.. I can't wait!)
- I haven't had the back pain lately so that has been good.

The Bad
-  Sleeping has been ok. I keep rolling over onto my back. They always say that pregnant women shouldn't sleep on their backs but also that they won't WANT to. Clearly that is not the case with me. Ivan has to roll me over in the middle of the night.

The Ugly
- Stress.... I am so stressed. It doesn't have to do with Noelle really. It is mostly work, and house stuff. I am trying to manage it with relaxation techniques but it has been tough during the day. 

30 & 31 Weeks
How far along: 30 and 31 weeks
Total weight gain: I have gained a total of around 22lbs total. Haven't gain much at all lately. 
Stretch marks: Yup.. on my butt.. none on belly. 
Sleep: Not that great lately... I am very tired as well. 
Best moment of this week: We had our maternity photo session and got the pictures back :) They are absolutely beautiful! 
Photo by Katie Lamb Photography

Miss anything: Sleep
Food cravings: Nope.. nothing
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.. doing well here. 
Labor signs: Just Braxton Hicks
Belly button in or out: Flatish/out?? It really isnt out.. like only the top part has pushed out. It is kind of weird actually. 
Happy or moody most of the time: Tired...moody I guess
Looking forward to: My baby shower! 

My registry is up at

Monday, September 23, 2013

Baby Noelle Portugal: 28 and 29 weeks

Seems like this may become the pattern.. every two weeks. I may have been a bit optimistic in the beginning trying to post every week. :)

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:
- Sleep has been getting better. My birthing instructor comforted me telling me that I cannot squash Noelle by laying partially on my stomach.. Nice to know!
- Went to a La Leche League meeting. It was ok.. but now I am on a researching rampage because there is so much I don't know.
- I have been booking photography sessions like crazy (I know this doesn't have to do with Noelle but it has been good)
- Birthing classes have been going well
- I got the fairy painted on the wall and it looks great!!
- Looks like all the insurance stuff will get worked out. The birthing center is going to give me a letter confirming that I will only owe my copay! So yay! That is finally off my back. 

The Bad
-  I have had some major back pain lately. Ivan typically just gives me a good back massage but it still hurts

- Noelle has been freaking me out lately because she has been kicking inconsistently, I am sure she is just fine.. but it still freaks me out. 
- We originally weren't going to have to spend the time to PAINT the fairy. It was supposed to just be a nice decal, however it really didn't stick to the wall well. 
- Because of Houston rain, my photography session got postponed. However, we are going this week so yay!

The Ugly
- Nothing much, other than back pain which I wouldn't consider "the ugly" 

- Honestly, probably just stress. Work has been stressful, and then I have photography responsibilities, home responsibilities, baby research (there is a LOT of homework associated with my birthing class). I am just a bit burned out. 

28 & 29 Weeks
How far along: 28 and 29 weeks
Total weight gain: I have gained a total of around 22lbs total. I am still on track to meet my weight gain goals, so that is good! Honestly my weight gain goal is... less than 40. Hah! I will be happy if I can do that much. 
Stretch marks: YES!!!! so I finally got some but get this... they are NOT on my belly! What the heck! I got them on my butt and the back of my thighs.. and the amazing thing is.... my butt hasn't really grown.. there is still some loose skin there. So what gives! Whatever... guess they showed up where I wasn't putting coconut oil. Although, I have now started!
Sleep: Its been better this week. 
Best moment of this week: Getting the fairy finalized on the wall. Actually, (non-baby related) Tim Hawkins was AWESOME. We had such a great time.Seriously.. if you haven't seen him, definitely go sometime!
Miss anything: Eating normally...
Food cravings: Nope.. nothing
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.. doing well here. 
Labor signs: Been having some braxton hicks. Every once in awhile I will feel my belly and it will be as tight as a rock. I don't really "feel" when they are happening, I just happen to feel my belly. 
Belly button in or out: Flatish/out?? It really isnt out.. like only the top part has pushed out. It is kind of weird actually. 
Happy or moody most of the time: My stressed! That is my mood. I am typically ok... but I definitely can get moody. 
Looking forward to: My maternity shoot is today! :) Yay. Also, I am looking forward to my shower 

My registry is up at

Monday, September 9, 2013

Baby Noelle Portugal: 26 and 27 Weeks

I guess I am just getting lazy, but I again did not find time to take my 26 week photo (despite the long weekend). So, here is my 26/27 week update. 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:
- I had a nice 4 day weekend to relax and get things done
- Got my glider and put it together! The nursery is really coming together
- Had our first birthing class. We are taking the Bradley method class, so far so good!

The Bad
- Still pretty stressed and tired mainly because of work

- Not sure if this is bad or not, but I have been craving sugar like crazy. I have to be careful or my weight will go crazy. 
- Had my glucose test, it was ok.. I didn't mind it that much, just the waiting was a pain. I am not sure why there is so much complaining about the drink. It honestly wasn't that bad at all. 

The Ugly
- Nothing really, still dealing with insurance company stuff which sucks though. 

26 & 27 Weeks
How far along: 26 and 27 weeks
Total weight gain: I have gained a total of around 20lbs total. I am still on track to meet my weight gain goals, so that is good!
Stretch marks: Nope.. none. I am excited about this.
Sleep: Its been ok this week. I consistently wake up every night to pee though. I can't even remember a night where I slept straight through.   
Best moment of this week: Getting the glider was pretty exciting. Also, having some time off was GREAT! I also really enjoyed getting to start the birthing class. 
Miss anything: I still miss shooting... I also miss normal eating. Trying to get my 75 grams of protein is sometimes annoying. 
Food cravings: Nope.. nothing
Anything making you queasy or sick: Nope.. doing well here. 
Labor signs: Nope
Belly button in or out: Flat.. I wonder if it will pop out or not.I think it may just stay flat
Happy or moody most of the time: eh.. my mood has fluctuated. I go up and down. I think it depends on how much I get done. If I have a productive day, my mood is typically better.
Looking forward to: My maternity shoot is coming up soon!

My registry is up at

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Baby Noelle Portugal: 24 and 25 Weeks

So I totally could not find time to take my 24 week picture. Anyway, so I am just combining weeks 24 and 25 into the same post. Nothing really changed too drastically. 

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good:
- Noelle just kicking.. I don’t think I will ever get sick of that feeling
- Getting some comfortable and cute maternity dresses.

The Bad
- Pretty tired this week and stressed. Work has just been killing me
- I am stressed about getting the nursery ready.

The Ugly
- None, unless you count the craziness at work. 

24 & 25 Weeks
How far along: 24 & 25  weeks
Total weight gain: gained 18 lbs so far. I had a bit of a “jump” the last two weeks. Hopefully it won’t keep going this fast. I honestly will be happy if I come in under 40 lbs total weight gain.
Stretch marks: None so far! Super excited about this! But who knows.. they could come whenever!
Sleep: It has been off and on. I need to get a dust mite cover for my body pillow because I can’t sleep with it (allergies) and I can’t sleep without it.     
Best moment of this week: Nothing super special happened this week. I would say it was good to get some new maternity clothes… I was definitely needing some!
Miss anything: I actually have been missed shooting. Because the baby’s ears are formed, shooting isn’t recommended (although there are differing opinions I would rather play it safe). I will definitely be heading to the range after baby is born!
Food cravings: Nothing really honestly. I did crave Sprinkles cupcakes one day! Yum!  
Anything making you queasy or sick: nope.. doing pretty good on this!   
Labor signs: Nope
Belly button in or out: It is pretty flat
Happy or moody most of the time: eh.. my mood has not been ideal the last two weeks. I have been very stressed with work and I am trying to get my photography business off the ground. It feels like I am trying to push a stubborn elephant across the street!
Looking forward to: I am looking forward to some of the portrait shoots I have coming up. I also am really excited for Tim Hawkins! I really need a night of laughing. Oh ya.. and my birthing class starts in 2 weeks! 

My registry is up at