25 weeks | Baby #4

3/26/17 | 25w1d

Twenty-five weeks seems really far along, doesn't it? I mean, fifteen more weeks until my due date or about 3.5 more months? That's insane, I can hardly believe it.

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This week baby is the size of a cauliflower and his kicks keep getting stronger, consistently happening whenever I eat, sit down, or try to fall asleep. I told Nate that 8pm seems to be this kid's most active time and we agreed that seems to be par for the course. I've caught myself wondering what it would be like to have a child that sleeps well, within his first year of life. I cannot imagine and know I shouldn't even get my hopes up to have a 'good sleeper'. 

In that same vein, Porter slept through the night last night for the first time in weeks, perhaps months. Can I get an 'amen'? Sticker charts really work for our children, point taken. Hopefully he keeps this up, mama needs some freaking sleep because I'm tired. My sleep is still fairly light and restless but at least I didn't have to physically get out of bed until 7 am this morning---the glory. 

Completely unrelated to pregnancy but I'm plunking it here anyway: Truman lost not one but BOTH of his top teeth this week, within 24 hours of each other. I'm not sure why these teeth got me, but they did. My biggest boy, weren't you just cutting those teeth yesterday? He looks so different. So big. Hold me.

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Let's talk about this comparison for a second. Yes, my hair was crimped. 1988 was a great year. And come on, people who say Truman only looks like Nate!
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Back to this pregnancy...

I had my first comment of, 'Oh, you are due in July? That is so SOON. You are going to have your hands full, aren't you?' I mean, don't we already? Our hands were full a long time ago, this will just be a new dimension of 'full'. But of course, our hearts will be even more full than our hands, with more love, more loudness, more memories to be had with our bigger family. I've been feeling overwhelmingly blessed this week and humbled by this baby in my belly. Bear with me here, I feel lots of emotions coming on during this post.

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Also, I've noticed a gross, acidic taste in the back of my throat after I eat. I don't know if this is heartburn or reflux or what, but it's pretty annoying. I've never had heartburn before and figured it would be more in my chest--this feels like my food is too acidic, if that makes sense. It doesn't matter what I eat though, everything makes that taste appear. It's not painful but it makes me want to drink water and not eat as much food. Novel concept!

There were several more hours spent in the attic this week, sorting and purging and creating boxes to go to Goodwill. I finally went through my 'keepsake baby boy' boxes and nearly cried when I found that I've saved lots of tiny boy clothes. Anything remotely sentimental, with memories attached from the other boys, were in those boxes. I love hand-me-downs so much (it's the comparison thing, I can't help it) and am so happy that I didn't actually purge everything we own last summer and fall when I couldn't handle our attic anymore. It's looking really great up there! I have three bins of girl clothes that I'm trying to pass down to our friends, but everything else has been donated or stored for safe keeping. The baby has two bins of toys that I'll keep. I think we found a car seat to purchase from a friend. Still looking for a mamaroo. And of course, no nursery to decorate until the fall or winter when our addition is fully finished. 

OH, and the floor plans changed again. We have decided not to mess with the attic because the beams are not the correct size and there will be many structural issues if we push for the walk-up attic becoming a fifth bedroom. (Read: TONS of money). Instead, we have a new plan for adding a fourth master bedroom, master bath, master closet, and a fifth kids' bedroom in our second floor addition. This fifth bedroom will probably be the baby's room and will be the same size as Porter's current nursery. I've wanted five bedrooms since we started this process and to see it all drawn out is so satisfying! Now we just need the structural engineer to make his recommendations and then we sit in front of the board for our suburb and cross our fingers that everything passes. I'm guessing we will break ground in May or June. Really hoping we have a roof on our house when I give birth but we will take it as it comes, I suppose!

I must be highly emotional today, this is the third time I've almost started crying when typing this post. Hormonal pregnant woman alert.

With Porter, we were coming off a horrible round of illness for the family and I had gained 17 pounds so far. This time I'm at about 15 pounds according to my (rarely used) scale. With Cecelia I hit the 20 pound mark at 26 weeks, and with Truman I was at 18 pounds at 25 weeks. I know, NOBODY CARES about my weight gain and when it happens but these things are fascinating to me. I love comparing pregnancies and also my children, as bad as that sounds.

All three times before this we had named our baby by 25 weeks. This time we are down to two names and of course I prefer one while Nate likes the other better. I might just agree with his top pick, since I did choose both names anyway and love that choice also. Or I might keep working on him to fall in love with my top name choice. Or maybe we will just wait until the baby is born to decide but that thought makes me panicky for some reason. (Type A, so different than what we've done before this). 

Now, reading back through my three previous blog posts at 25 weeks, something really sticks out to me. This was me at 25 weeks pregnant with Truman:

That's it... jumping back on the fitness train, and packing on the lbs marks my twenty-fifth week. I really love being pregnant you guys. At least right now, at this point in the process, I'm feeling incredibly happy and blessed and ready to pop out another 3 after this one. But I suppose I should bite my tongue until I experience the glory of labor and delivery, the frenzy of living with a newborn, and lack of sleep. Call me naive but I cannot wait:)

Huh, I guess I AM going to have three more kids after Truman. Who would have thought? 

And then this was me with Porter's pregnancy, and what I said in response to that paragraph from 2010 with T:

Everything and nothing has changed this time around. I still adore being pregnant and frequently want to cry over my love for the process. I still believe I could 'pop out another 3 after this one' in some ways, but in other ways I feel very at peace being finished with this stage of my life. I still get excited thinking about labor and delivery, life with a newborn, and the changes it will all bring. Even now as 'an old pro' I cannot wait, even though I know it will be hard as hell along with being more amazing than I could have imagined back then. I could have never imagined how life would change going from 0-1 kids and it's every bit as special and exciting going from 2-3. Every bit.

Spot on, Julia of 2014....except for the part about being 'finished' with the baby stage in your life. I mentioned this a lot in my weekly posts with Porter, trying to wrap my head around him being our last baby. And I still think going from 3-4 kids will be every bit as special as the other transitions we've had. I have perspective now, age and wisdom, and a boat load of tiny human beings to remind me that time freaking flies. They are not lying when they tell you this, mamas. 

It's better than I could have imagined and it's also so much harder than I thought possible. It's both ends of the spectrum, EXTREMELY amazing and extremely difficult, to be a mother. The good outweighs the bad though, for all of it---pregnancy, labor and delivery, newborn life, a growing child. This has been the most incredible ride of my life and I get a little teary when I think about doing it all over again. Four kids. Holy cow. Thank you, God. 

I can say with certainty that I don't want to pop out three more kids after this, however. Mark my words, this is our last, and I'm soaking it in for all that it's worth. Bring on April and a real spring! Let's do this.

24 weeks | Baby #4

Viability day, achieved! Which doesn't mean anyone is ready for this baby to be born, but it's still an awesome milestone to hit. You're getting so big in there, buddy.

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This was the week that I can tell I'm slowing down a little bit. I get out of breath pretty easily with any physical activity and I'm grunting when I have to grab something from the floor. Grunting already? I know.

But nighttime belly is not a joke.
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I've been forcing myself to walk on the treadmill or do my exercise DVD more regularly because I feel fantastically energetic after I get moving. I'm able to eat like a 500 pound man and really need to chill out on the appetite, and exercise seems to help that little issue, too. I still love food with a passion and if it weren't for my old blog posts, I'd be worried that this would continue forever. Alas, it seems like a few more weeks of being ravenous then my love affair with food dies off a little bit. Trail mix, potato chips, and La Croix are my faves for now. Also handfuls of M&Ms rock my world. Oh, I could go on about food but I'll stop there.

I'm also more tired overall, feeling like I could sleep forever at night and I never feel fully rested in the morning. If I wake up in the middle of the night (ahem, Porter) I have a hard time falling back to sleep about 50% of the time. The other 50% of the night wake ups mean that I just feel drugged in the morning, like I can barely force my eyelids to open. I cannot lay on my back anymore because I feel like I'm drowning, so laying on either side is fine, I guess. Rolling over takes a lot of effort, just like bending over....fourth time mom in me knows this is SUPER EARLY to feel like a whale!

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I mean, I don't feel gigantic but I'm feeling the changes in my body like woah. I'm so tired and slow. That about covers it when people ask me, 'So how are you feeling?' This is the most popular question in my life right now, and usually I just say, 'Still feeling good! Still in the sweet spot of pregnancy.' But now I've added, 'I can tell I'm slowing down a little bit.' Most of the time people also say, 'You aren't even showing yet,' but let it be known that this phrase is uttered when my winter coat is covering the bump. I mean, I'm absolutely showing but winter coats are quite forgiving, people.

Friday was a super busy day for me and this baby: I worked my five hours in the office, rushed back to school to conduct Truman's St. Patty's Day party in his class, then sat catatonic for an hour at home (so.much.screaming), picked up our sitters, and went to dinner with Nate for a date night. After that we went to the neighbor's house for game night and I managed to stay out until almost midnight. That obviously did me in and I  napped like a boss on Saturday. But although I feel tired and slow, I suppose I can still gather up the energy to survive a long day here and there. Not sure how much longer I'll be able to do it!

My buddy was so excited. Our Shamrock Man craft was a hit, as was the Lucky Charm bag of 'Leprechaun Bait.'
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The leprechaun visited our house this year for the first time and these kiddos were pretty out of their mind in the morning. So much green! Green toilet water, green footprints, green streamers, green Tic Tacs....he really outdid himself, that Lucky.
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Also, I 'had' to make these for the party. No chemicals at all, no sugar, all natural. Wink wink.
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Porter, Cecelia, and Truman were all named by 24 weeks. Quatro remains unnamed, poor guy. Also he doesn't have a fancy nursery all painted and decorated and probably won't until several months AFTER he is born. The horror!! We are making a lot of progress with our architect however, and I can't wait to move forward and get to the ground-breaking stage. I'm holding tight to the dream of a fifth bedroom, but also realize going from three to four bedrooms will be excellent, too. A fifth would be such a massive bonus though. And let's not forget a master bathroom---seriously, can't imagine the glory!

Somewhat related to this: I took an entire van-full of diaper boxes to Goodwill on Saturday. What did they contain, you ask? Kid clothes, adult clothes, random kitchen items we've had stored in our attic since 2012. When I say that I took a 'van-full', I mean that I literally hauled away 25 diaper boxes, three big storage boxes, and four large garbage bags to donate. It felt SO good to finally go through those boxes (again, since I compiled them in the fall), and purge them out of our house. I pulled out plenty of baby boy clothes that I will actually use again but for the most part, I'm all about downsizing. There is still a boatload of work to be done in the attic, which is our main storage area right now, but this was a giant push towards getting it cleaned out for the new roof and addition. YES.

Not even all of it:
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Those who know the spacious trunk of a Honda Odyssey understand that this is impressive:
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Baby boy is active and kicking in there more often than not, and he seems to get hiccups a few times each day. What a surreal feeling, both the hiccups and the kicks. I love it! It's also surreal to look at my current belly and know it's going to get SO much bigger. I can't quite imagine it yet, and I can't wrap my head around another little boy in this family---one that we haven't met and one with his own personality and story. I'm not sure it will feel real until he is in my arms, which is something I've said every time now.

All four times at 24 weeks. Love these comparisons, so different each time!
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So 24 weeks, viability day, basically six months pregnant, and feeling mostly good. Time is flying!

23 weeks | Baby #4

3.13.17 | 23w2d

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Forgoing the form this week because I want to keep it short and sweet. I mean, the week is practically over already and this was the first time I had to double check my dates. I think from now until week 30 is going to fly and perhaps there won't be many remarkable things to note.

And still, I document weekly! (Just barely, but it counts).

Baby boy is growing and so is my belly. I feel pregnant but also forget about the state of my uterus until he starts kicking like crazy. I'm feeling good! Sleeping fair, but mostly because of Porter and his nighttime antics. We removed the side of his crib to see if freedom helps him manage dropped loveys/waking early, but so far it's not much different. Ah, broken sleep, I remember you well.

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I have Porter's wicked cough this week, and it just won't quit. It sounds pretty awful but I don't feel sick, and yet I should probably get it checked out if it doesn't clear soon. We got hit with a foot of snow on Monday, right after 'springing forward' with the clocks, which means Wisconsin winter is still in full effect despite the confusing time change. We were supposed to fly to Mexico, sans children, on Monday for a six day vacation in paradise. Alas, Zika virus made this trip impossible and we are here in the snowy cold instead. We were able to get airline credit for our purchased plane tickets and the deposit on the condo can also be rolled over to a different time. I wonder if we will be able to pull off a trip like that with FOUR kids at home. Will we need six babysitters? Ah well, margaritas, the ocean, and the warmth can wait I suppose. Baby is kicking me right now to solidify that statement. ;)

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We haven't settled on a name for baby boy but I think we've narrowed it down to four possibilities. I had a great OB appointment last week, when we spent the entire time discussing name options and marveling at how hard it is to select a third boy name. My OB has three boys and a girl and is very concerned about us selecting another name that coordinates with our others. Also, I'm up 13 pounds and blood pressure was kind of low, measuring right on track and doppler sounded beautiful. Next time I go in to see her I do the glucose test at 26-27 weeks, then I start going every other week. I'm scheduled through the beginning of June and had a major 'OMG, I'm having a baby soon' moment when booking these next appointments. I mean, July seems forever away but it also seems like forever since I wasn't pregnant. It's going so quickly and I'm more than happy to have plenty of time before baby actually arrives....seems there is so much to do before he comes.

I mean, he needs a name. I need a new car seat, should find a swing to borrow since I sold mine, and I need to figure out what clothes I've kept and how much I've given away. We started organizing and purging in the basement to make room for our attic storage....which is the next big step. The attic is where I keep all kids clothes, baby gear, and basically all of our stored items in this house. The attic needs to be completely cleared out so that it can be refinished into a fifth bedroom. I'll post before pictures someday and you will understand this massive undertaking. We are meeting with the architect again today and want to get this show on the road already, I hope we can break ground in the next 1-2 months!

In case anyone likes floor plans as much as me:
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That's pretty much it right now, onto week 24!

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