Stephens Family

Stephens Family

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fifteen Weeks 3.22 - 3.28

I have had a very busy week.  First, I returned to school after a fabulous spring break.  It was especially hard because daylight savings time happened during that week so I did not adjust myself to the time change, as well as I slept in later because I did not have to wake up in the morning for work.  I was sleeping in until about 9:00 each day and having to wake up at 5:30 was an unpleasant change.  I went to work with semi-wet hair the first couple of days if that tells you anything!  But, Monday was fun because I announced to my co-workers that I was pregnant and got a tremendous amount of encouragement and excitement.  I feel so blessed to work with so many wonderful people!

The rest of the week I had something to do everyday after school.  On Tuesday, my friend Lara and her precious newborn Cooper came by to see me and pick up some pictures.  He is so precious and I very much enjoyed feeding him! We are very excited that our babies will be only 6 months apart.  Later, I met with a teacher who is retiring to get some of her materials for the summer school course I am teaching this summer.  It was so sweet of her to share with me and I am very appreciative because I have never taught an American history course (except for my student teaching).  On Wednesday, I had cheerleading practice with this year's and next year's cheerleaders to prepare for our spring assembly and on Thursday I went to another middle school to help judge their cheerleading try-outs.  Friday's after school activities were fun -- I attended a baby shower for a social studies department member.  I got lots of good ideas!  :) Then, I headed over to Sei Bella Salon in DT Lee's Summit for a much needed cut and highlight -- yes, I am blond once again.  I really love the new do and would recommend Megan to anyone who is looking for a good stylist in LS.  (Check Sei Bella out on FB at )Right after that I rushed to our church to meet Mike for the youth event we were sponsoring -- Mike and I are the youth leaders at Outreach Restoration Branch in Independence, MO for 2011.  Poor Mike had to keep the kids occupied for an hour by himself but he must have done a great job because when I showed up they all looked very happy!  :)  On Saturday, we met up with my friend, Amie, and her friends for her 25th birthday at The Drunken Fish in the P&L district -- we had so much fun!  It is a really neat modern sushi restaurant and we had a good time getting dressed up for a night out on the town.  Mike impressed me when he informed the waitress that his wife was pregnant and couldn't eat anything raw and to please point out to him some cooked items on the menu.  How sweet!  I guess his protective father attributes are already surfacing!  :)

Baby Milestones this week:  Continuing the march towards normal proportions, the baby's legs now outmeasure his or her arms. And, finally, all four limbs have functional joints. The baby is squirming and wiggling like crazy down in my womb, but I still haven't felt anything! 
Best Moment of the Week:  On Friday, when I finally got home I saw a package in front of my door.  Mike always orders things from Amazon so I didn't pay much attention to it but when I went to set it on our counter I noticed it was for me from one of my bestest friends -- Mary Beth.  I was very excited to see what was inside so I opened it right away.  And, I was so touched by the contents inside.  She sent me the cutest craft called Stephens' Pea in a Pod that she had made and a very touching note to go with it.  Also, some adorable John Deere cowboy boots for 3-6 months old! I don't think there is a better way to celebrate where we came from -- Moline, IL the home of the John Deere Tractor.  She also had bought me What to Expect While Expecting and the Journal to go with it.  How incredibly sweet of her!  I truly have some of the BEST friends in the world and she is definitely one of the them!  Thank you MB!

Obsessions of the Week:  Second Hand Maternity Wear!  I've really enjoyed finding the deals at second hand stores around the metro.  I found some really great stuff at Clothes Mentor (check it on FB at ) and a friend told me to check out Ditto as well.  You can bet I'll be going their soon!  Also, Mike and I went to a HUGE consignment sale in Independence on Saturday -- it was a little overwhelming but we both agreed it was really neat and we wished we knew the gender so we could have bought more but we did get a device you put your baby in that hangs from a door jam and it can jump around it.  Even though that was our only baby purchase, to my surprise they had lots of maternity clothes and I got a pair of Khakis, two dresses and a work top - all for 30 bucks!  Go me!  ***I've added a link under "Ali's Favorite Pregnancy Websites" called KC Metro Moms and it will give you the dates of all the huge consignment sales for baby items and kids stuff around the metro area this spring.

Symptoms this Week:  Growing belly -- I've now had several people tell me I am beginning to look pregnant.  A part of me is excited to hear this and another part of me is a little nervous!  I don't want to grow too fast!  I am going to try to make it to 17 weeks before turning in my regular pants for maternity ones -- wish me luck! 

Epiphany of the Week:  God is preparing us for parenthood.  Our Sammie girl came down with a bug on Tuesday.  When I got home she had thrown up all over the house and was very lethargic.  She wouldn't eat and her temp was high.  I had to leave for a while and Mike decided to stay home with her instead of going to the gym.  He loves that dog so much!  When I got home Mike and I debated whether or not to take her in to the emergency Vet.  We knew if we did we would easily drop $300.00.  So, we prayed that the Lord would bless her once again (she has been quite a sickly dog.)  And, He did.  She went to bed with me at about 11 and after about 15 minutes of panting she laid her little head down and went to sleep.  In the morning she was back to her crazy, licking self!  :)

What I'm Most Looking Forward to next week:  On Friday Mike and I are going to Kansas City Improv and on Saturday a good friend from Illinois, Jyl, is coming over with her boyfriend for dinner.  :)  It is always nice to start off the week knowing that you have something to look forward to! 

Week 15 Belly Pics: 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fourteen Weeks 3.15 - 3.21

***If you haven't gotten a chance to vote on the gender or hair color there is a poll in the column to the right -- we'd love to see your forecast!  Also, I've made it a whole lot easier to leave comments at the bottom of each post if you feel compelled.  We plan on making this blog into a book for our baby so your thoughts are sure to make a special touch!

The beginning of my second trimester has been fabulous.  Not only have my early pregnancy symptoms disappeared but this week was my school's spring break!  Not having to work makes me a very happy pregnant lady.  :)  Mike always looks forward to my breaks as well because he knows he can come home to a clean house and a cooked meal.  I have to admit, I love playing housewife during my time off -- perks to the profession of teaching!

This week we also celebrated St. Patty's Day by making an "Green" meal.  I invited my family over and the weather was so nice that we were able to eat outside!  Below is a very fuzzy pic of my parents on our patio.  I'm getting used to our SLR and didn't realize I had to change the setting from manual to automatic. 

Baby Milestones this week:  The baby is now busy with thumb sucking, toe wiggling, (not so cute but equally amazing) making urine, and breathing amniotic fluid as the liver, kidneys, and spleen continue to develop. Lanugo (thin, downy hair) is growing all over his or her body for warmth.
Best Moment of the Week:  This one is a tie:

1. Aunt Libby (my sister) surprised us again with cute baby clothes and blankets and even a mirror to put in your backseat so you can see your baby!  She has spoiled our little peanut rotten already -- clothes, blankets, toys, bath items and more!  Really, she puts us to shame.  We haven't bought hardly anything for the baby yet.  Our excuse is that we are waiting to know the gender -- 6 more weeks!

2. I received my 3rd pre-natal massage this week.  It was glorious!  I'm going to have to brag on my Chiropractor for a minute -- His name is Dr. Zach Jameson and he practices at The Chiropractic Health Center here in LS with his mother and brother.  It is a great place to go to receive all types of wellness care: chiropractic, acupuncture, physical and message therapy.  Dr. Zach really takes his time with me and describes everything in detail.  I've been going to him for a year and don't plan on leaving!  I'm very lucky because my insurance covers unlimited chiropractic care with no copay.  So, yes, I get FREE hour-long massages from wonderful masseuses.  Dr. Zach told me to schedule one weekly but for now I am going to go bi-weekly.  I'm sure as I get bigger and more uncomfortable I will take him up on that offer.  If you are interested in The Chiropractic Health Center -- there is a link in the column to the right under "Ali's Favorite Pregnancy Websites".

Obsessions of the Week:  Vinegar!  I love Sea Salt and Vinegar chips.  I bought a bag and two days later -- it is gone.  Also, I've been munching on sliced cucumber doused with vinegar, olive oil and dill (a recipe my dear friend Sabine taught us). 

Symptoms this Week:  Disrupted sleep.  I find myself waking up several times during the night and can't seem to get comfortable.  This kind of scares me because I know it will be 10X worse when I start to really grow.

Epiphany of the Week:  Swimming is going to be my new favorite exercise!  I went twice this week and it was wonderful!  Mike joined me the second time and we had fun.  BTW for all my pregnant or soon to be pregnant friends -- it is thought that women who are pregnant should not get into hot tubs but new research shows that hot tubs do no harm to the baby!  Yay for us!  How do I know this?  Listen to the latest pregtastic show on birth defects and you can find out for yourself -- there is a link to pregtastic in the right column as well.

What I'm Most Looking Forward to next week:  I'm getting my hair highlighted on Friday!  :)  I haven't had it highlighted since last summer!  I was trying to grow out my natural color so that when the baby came I wouldn't be spending so much money on maintaining my hair.  I'm proud that I lasted this long but, I can't take the dark any longer!  I think it will boost my self esteem -- especially since I've started to pack on the pregnancy pounds!  For me, the saying is true -- blonde's have more fun.

Week 14 Belly Pics: 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Thirteen Weeks 3.8 - 3.14

One down two to go.  It is a good feeling to know that 1/3 of my pregnancy is over!  I have read from multiple sources that the second trimester is the best -- you feel the best and you begin to look pregnant but you're not huge and uncomfortable yet.  :)

Week 13 was a good week.  It happened to be the week before my school let out for spring break so the work week seemed incredibly long but I have no complaints besides that!  On Saturday, my parents, Mike and I went to Branson, Missouri -- the Vegas of the Midwest (with out the casinos).  We stayed in an incredible cabin and enjoyed seeing the sights, walking along Tablerock Lake, and relaxing!  We only stayed for two nights but it was a nice mini-babymoon getaway. 

I've decided to do a blog post each week in a similar fashion.  (P.S.  I stole this from a blog I really admire.) So, here it goes! 

Baby Milestones this week:  He or she is forming teeth and vocal cords and approaching normal proportions, with his head now only one third the size of his body.  The intestines are in the process of moving from the umbilical cord to his or her tummy -- much more convenient!

Best Moment of the Week:  Finally sharing our good news on facebook!  We had told our family and close friends but it was exciting to finally let the cat out of the bag to the facebook world. 

Obsessions of the Week:  Browsing online for nursery items.  Mike's parents have graciously decided to buy us our nursery furniture!  THANK YOU!  You do not need to know the gender of the baby to pick out the crib, glider, etc -- so Mike and I had fun perusing our options and we think we've found a winner!

Symptoms this Week:  Round ligament pain.  I guess these pains are caused by my growing uterus stretching the ligaments that support it.  Wow -- they are painful and nearly stop me in my tracks.  They have been happening for a couple of weeks now but this week they were especially painful.  They feel like sharp, quick pains running up the sides of my abdomen. 

Epiphany of the Week:  I'm going to have to start looking for maternity clothes.  I'm in that stage in which I just look like I gained a few pounds which isn't much fun so I guess I'm ready to start "showing" for real.

What I'm Most Looking Forward to next week:  Announcing the good news to my staff on Monday.  I know a lot of people already know because they are friends with me and facebook but it will still be fun to share.  Currently there are several pregnant women at my school and one teacher's wife is due the same day as me!  Incredible! 

And, what you've all been waiting for -- 13 week belly pictures!

Keep praying for our precious one!  XOXO

Saturday, March 12, 2011

1st Trimester Ups and Downs

As we head into our second trimester, we wanted to reflect on the ups and downs of pregnancy.  :)

1. The day we found out.  After months and months of negative pregnancy tests -- it was a miracle to see a second line! 
2. Telling our friends and loved ones.  The outpouring of love and excitement was AMAZING!  This baby is going to have so many people who love him or her.  :)  Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and friends!
3. Seeing and hearing the baby's heart beat at 8 weeks and then again hearing it at 12 weeks.
4. Listening to my new favorite podcast -- Pregtastic.  This podcast has over 200 stored episodes and a new one each week focusing on everything from breastfeeding to clothe vs. disposable diapers.  They have experts on to talk about the topics and a panel of pregnant women who also share their opinions and questions.  I love it!  If you are pregnant make sure to check it out!
5. Browsing for baby stuff -- online and at the stores.  Baby stuff got a whole lot cuter all of the sudden!
6. Praying with Mike.  Mike and I have made it a habit to pray for our precious growing one!  We know he or she is truly an answered prayer!
7. First trimester symptoms subsiding!  Hallelujah! 

1. EXTREME exhaustion.  People tell you how terribly exhausted you will be in your first trimester but I don't think anyone can prepare you for it!  Wow!  I could barely get myself off the couch from the 6th-10th weeks.  It got me really depressed because our house started to look like a tornado had run through it!  Thank God I have my energy back!
2. Food aversions.  Meat?  No way!  Vegetables?  Yuk!  Seriously, for a few weeks all I had for dinner was McDonald's smoothies.  Thank goodness for prenatals because there is no way I was getting all of the vitamins I needed to grow tiny organs!  :)
3. Bloodhound nose.  I could smell anything -- and most smells made me gag!  I couldn't even wear perfume.
4. Keeping the secret!  When you are so excited about having a baby you want to shout it from the roof tops, but, we decided to wait until the end of the first trimester just to make sure.  This was really hard to do!
5. Tight pants.  Enough said.  :(

Here are some pics of my belly at 12 weeks (Don't be fooled though -- I think most of the "bump" is just chub :) )

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Love at First Sight.

On February 11th Mike and I got to see and hear our baby's heart beat for the first time.  I don't think words can describe how awesome that moment is. 

February 11th happened to fall on a Friday.  If you have ever worked in a school setting you know how crazy Friday's can be.  This Friday, however, I didn't mind that my students were a little stir crazy; all I could think about was that I was going to be able to see my baby at 3:20!  The day was slow to say the least.  Once the dismissal bell rang I was on the road within minutes to meet Mike at our house and drive together to the Independence Women's Center for our first OB appointment. 

We arrived, checked in and waited and waited and waited -- for what seems like an eternity!  Finally we were called back to meet with my nurse.  (My nurse is younger than me and I have had her for the past three years.  She is very sweet and knowledgeable.  I feel very blessed to work with caring and knowledgeable health care workers and pray that this continues throughout my pregnancy.)  She asked me if I had any questions and, of course, I did.  Let me preface by saying that I think worrying runs in my family.  My great grandma Ockee was a worry wort, my mother is a worry wort too -- so I think I will just blame them for my (and I hate to admit this) sometimes hypochondria-ish behaviors.  Anyways, I was worrying because I had taken another pregnancy test that week and the line was lighter than one I had taken previously.  Unfortunately, I decided to google this and found some disappointing results which made me worry that my HCG levels were dropping because of a miscarriage.  When I explained this to the nurse she seemed a little confused and perhaps a little worried too.  I asked if I was going to have an ultrasound and she said that usually they only do one per pregnancy because of insurance reasons.  I was really bummed.  She said that maybe the technician could fit me in if I was really worried. 

My doctor then came in to perform the exam.  She is a great doctor and took the time to answer all of my questions.  She did an exam and told me that my uterus was right on the mark for 8.5 weeks -- about the size of a large orange (normally the size of a closed fist).  She then informed us that we were going to get a chance to see the baby!  Yay!  We were thrilled!  Since I was so early, the technician used an internal ultrasound device and within a few seconds there was our little, what Mike likes to call, peanut!  It was so cute and it was already moving!  You could see the blood pump through the heart.  Wow, I couldn't help but giggle -- I was really pregnant.  She also recorded the heart beat which was 164 BPM -- the fastest it will ever be! 

      *** The two lines outline the baby's heart and the swivels at the bottom show the rate of the baby's heart beat!
   ***  This is my favorite shot, the baby is facing down with its head being on the left.  If you look hard enough you can make out its arms and legs in a curled up position!  This is our little peanut!

Our last stop before leaving the hospital was to Quest Diagnostic Center to do a work-up on my blood.  The woman who drew my blood was the most miserable person ever!  If she wasn't about to prick me with a needle I would have said something to her!  But, nothing and no one could have ruined that day for me.  (Oh, and I am happy to announce that I do not have AIDS - ha!  I guess it is law that when you are pregnant you have to be tested for HIV.) 

Mike and I decided to celebrate our "Love at First Sight" experience by going to a romantic dinner at Garozzo's, an Italian resturaunt in Lee's Summit.  I was so happy that I told him this could be our Valentine's celebration too and that I didn't need any gifts because this was the best gift any mother-to-be could receive!  And, I guess that offer was pretty unresistable because he took me up on it!  :) 

It has been almost three weeks since our 1st OB appointment and I still look at the ultrasound pics daily!  Then it was only 22 milimeters or .87 inches.  Today it is around 2.5 inches (around the size of a lime) and weights a half an ounce -- that is a lot of growth for 3 weeks!  Please continue to pray for our little baby as it grows in my belly!