For hand-stitched custom embroidery work, contact me at doahleigh [at] gmail [dot] com.




A few thoughts at 35.5 weeks

I'm pretty convinced this baby is coming early. The doctors have said they won't let me go past my due date because of potential complications due to gestational diabetes after 40 weeks, so I already know he's not coming late. But I've been making arrangements to be done with work some time the week of October 25, and mentally preparing for a birth around 39 weeks (my due date is November 4). But then my mom said she thinks he's coming even earlier. Separately my mother-in-law said the same thing, and so did a close friend. I have no reason to think they are any more correct than any other guess, but it gave me pause. Holy crap, what if he comes even sooner? So now I've been scrambling to finish up last minute preparations just in case. 

Except my weekend to do list included packing a hospital bag, but it's now Sunday night and I haven't done it. Maybe subconciously I think that once the bag is packed, I'm giving the universe the go ahead to let this baby come. I'm mostly ready, but ideally I'd like him to hang out in there just a bit longer.

- - - - - - - - - - - 

I'm hoping to use the next 2-3 weeks to clear my head a bit. Life has been so crazy and so exhausting lately that having a newborn actually seems like a lovely break. I know it's not, I mean we still refer to the first few weeks after Mo's birth as "The Dark Days" because of how difficult they were. But I think it really says something about how mentally spent I am that having a newborn sounds kind of like a vacation. I mean, no work for almost three months and fewer than four doctor's appointments a week? Sounds good to me!

- - - - - - - - - - -

Apparently by having a boy, we're creating the perfect family. Nearly every time I tell someone we're having a boy, they make a comment along those lines. Usually it's just "Oh good, you'll have one of each!" but several times people have said "You'll have the perfect family, a girl and a boy."

I never know how to respond. I think all family profiles are pretty perfect. I loved the idea of having two girls, so I can't agree with comments that suggest one of each is ideal. But I'm also not at all disappointed to be having a boy, so I can't negate their enthusiasm either. 

By the way, at a recent ultrasound, we confirmed it's a boy. I saw the goods loud and clear! There is no doubt.

- - - - - - - - - - - 

Speaking of ultrasounds, I've had two in the last couple weeks. The first was a growth ultrasound around 34.5 weeks. Baby Tennis was measuring approximately 6lbs 7oz, only 8 ounces smaller than Mo was at birth four days after her due date. Those ultrasounds aren't entirely accurate, but the point is that he will most definitely be bigger than Mo. Overall he was in the 74th percentile. His head measured in the 95th percentile - big heads are common in GD babies. I'm a little terrified you guys. In fact, I sort of want him to come a little early so he doesn't get too big!

Also, my amniotic fluid at that ultrasound was on the low side of normal, so I went back a week later to check again. Nothing had changed, so they want to keep monitoring it to be sure it doesn't get too low. 

I will likely have a weekly ultrasound until he is born. And I definitely have a weekly OB appointment, two NSTs per week, and a couple more appointments with the diabetes physician before the birth. I'm tired just thinking about it.

But I'm also so glad for it. I can't shake my fear of something going terribly wrong. I'm almost 36 weeks which is a really safe place to be, but I still think about all the terrible things that can go wrong at the end. Or health issues he might have that can't be seen in an ultrasound. I studied a sonogram picture I got last week relentlessly, looking for signs that something is wrong, as if I know what I'm looking for.

So I'll take the reassurance several times a week, even if it means I miss a lot of work and then take work home and then neglect other things so my house is a mess and my to do list is endless. 

- - - - - - - - - - -

My due date is a month from today. I can't believe how amazing that feels.


Family photos 

We don't invest a lot in professional photography, it's just not where we choose to put our money. The photos I display are snaps I take from our every day life, usually just on my phone. I have several friends who make their living with family photography, so I totally respect the profession and art, and I know it takes real skill to take a great photo. But I generally find myself satisfied with the hundreds of pictures I take, even the blurry ones.

That said, we have very few photos of the whole family other than some crappy selfies when we're goofing around. Unless I want to go to the trouble of setting up a photo shoot for ourselves, I have to rely on someone else's help. So in mid-October, we're scheduled for a 20-minute family photo mini-session, just to get a few good pictures of the three of us and the belly. However, there's been some speculation that I may not still be pregnant then, even though it's 2.5 weeks before my due date. I think it's likely I will still be pregnant, but just in case, I asked my sister to take some photos of us this past weekend. She is not a trained photographer and doesn't even own a camera, but she has a naturally artistic eye, and she used our Canon Rebel. 

In fact, I love so many of the "amateur" photos she took, I'm not sure we even need the mini-session anymore!

The focus was to get a few family photos, but she took some of me with Mike, me with Mo, and me solo, too. This pregnancy has been so full of distractions and worries, capturing it fell low on the priority list, so I'm really thankful to have some nice photos by which to remember it.

The Whole Family






Me & Mo




Me & Mike






Me and Baby Tennis 






I'm so happy with how these turned out, and there are many more I love, too! Even the less flattering ones are fun.


What does Amy Schumer call it? At-risk chin? I definitely have that!


Checking in at 34 weeks

Let me start on a positive note. This baby is healthy! I've had three non-stress tests so far, and he always passes quickly and with flying colors. I know the NSTs are serious business, but as long as they are going well, I actually enjoy them. It's a chance to check in with my baby regularly and hear his heartbeat, and every time I get an "all good" report, I rest a little easier. Plus, it's an opportunity to sit quietly by myself and have no obligations to anyone. The first time I brought a book, but I don't bother anymore. I don't even really look at my phone. I just close my eyes and try to clear my head. I've felt like this pregnancy is lost in a flurry of busyness and life obligations, and these NSTs are actually a blessing. They give me the opportunity to slow down for a moment and be with my baby.

In other positive news, the gestational diabetes situation is going well. When I last met with the diabetes specialist, it sounded like insulin was in my near future. In fact, she wanted to start me on it right away, and relented to give me another week. Thank goodness she did because my fasting numbers, which were her concern, have been fine since then. I have no idea why, but I'm grateful. I sent in my numbers on Monday, and the doctor said I was fine without insulin and to send numbers again in a week. So I bought at least another week without sticking myself in the tummy! I've gotten used to the finger pricking, although my new lancets definitely hurt worse than the samples I had. Just when I could do it without flinching, I ran out of samples and started using the lancets from the medical supply company, and now I'm back to flinching. But the anxiety is gone. I don't love doing it, but I know I can and it's fine. 

I have a growth ultrasound on Friday (followed by an OB appointment, followed by another NST all in the same day... my life feels like a series of appointments lately), and we should find out more about how he is reacting to the GD. Everyone still tells me I look small, and I tend to agree, so if he's oversized, I don't know where he's hiding! Maybe in my ribs because there's definitely some baby parts up in there.

I also have quite a bit of pelvic pain. I had severe pain earlier in my pregnancy, then it mostly went away for awhile. Now it's back in full force. I just read my 34 week post from my pregnancy with Mo, and apparently I had the same issue around this time. My hips, pubic bone, groin and entire pelvic region hurt, making walking difficult (and sort of embarrassing - I limp and waddle). Last time with Mo I eventually saw a chiropractor twice a week, so maybe that's in my future again. Although, I already have an average of 3 appointments per week right now, I can't imagine fitting in more!

The other issue is insomnia, another repeat from last time. Most nights it takes about 3-4 hours to fall asleep, then I "nap" for a couple hours, then I'm awake for 3-4 hours in the middle of the night. I usually fall back asleep right before my alarm goes off, which is just great. When I have the ability to sleep in, I take half a Unisom. It makes all the difference in the world, I actually sleep and feel rested in the morning. But if I don't have 10+ hours to rest, if I can't wake up on my own instead of to an alarm, I feel miserable and groggy and drugged the next day. So Unisom is just a special little treat now and then.

Baby Tennis still doesn't move much. He moves enough and he's consistent about the frequency, but I tell him all the time that I'd love to feel him more. Mama needs a little more reassurance!

Here I am at 34 weeks:

34 weeks


Baby boy's nursery

Today was another frustrating, exhausting day. I'm not sure how to take care of myself right now, and I'm not sure how to slow down enough to enjoy what's left of this pregnancy. I'm failing at both and then I beat myself up about that, which makes everything worse. But instead of dwelling on that today, I decided to share some photos from Baby Tennis' nursery!

Yep, can't get anything else done, I've still got approximately 6 weeks left in this pregnancy, and he won't likely use his room for the first couple months, but damn it, the nursery is done. I don't love interior decorating in general, but something about creating a space for my baby is very therapeutic to me. It was the same when I put together Mo's room, a space I still love. And despite everything else feeling like a mess right now, it's nice to have this project complete. Plus, I love how it turned out.

Before I started, I had two visions in mind: 1) A room with neutral, natural colors. 2) A room with lots of bold colors and patterns. I loved the first idea, but decided I could do that in any room. What better place to pull off bold colors and patterns than a kid's room? The main colors are blue, yellow and green. And sort of accidentally a subtle circle theme emerged, so you may notice that, as well.

View from the entrance:

Baby ZM2's nursery

Crib and windows on one side:

Baby ZM2's nursery


Baby ZM2's nursery

The door leads to an actual closet, but it is small and awkward. Plus we use it for storage and wanted to keep it that way. It's also the access to our attic, so we decided to buy and use a portable closet, which works much better than the actual closet would have.

Changing station and dresser:

Baby ZM2's nursery

Doorway, bookcase, rocking chair:

Baby ZM2's nursery

The walls were already grey from when this was a guest/craft/storage room, and I just left them that way. My mother-in-law made the curtains with fabric I got on clearance. My mom made that blanket on the rocking chair. None of the furniture matches, but I like that it's all mismatched wood finishes. I took the bookcase, dresser (changing table) and rocking chair from Mo's room, and replaced them with other things she needed. Mo is still (blessedly) in a crib, so we got this other crib from my sister. Two kids, two cribs!

And now some of my favorite details.

It all started with this rug. The room is a long rectangle, so I loved the idea of a round rug in the middle of it. But I wanted a bright color and I didn't want to spend more than $100. A round, brightly colored rug for $100 or less is hard to come by, so I'm glad I started with the rug rather than try to find a rug that worked with other elements already in place. This rug was exactly $100 with free shipping from

Baby ZM2's nursery

This mirror above the bookcase, free from my sister, is actually the last thing I did. It was an orangey wood, so I painted it white. The picture frame is from Goodwill and holds one of my favorite ultrasound pictures of the little boy.

Baby ZM2's nursery

Also on top of the bookcase is this lamp. The lamp was free from my grandparents, and I looked forever to find a shade I liked. Then one day it occurred to me I could paint the one it came with. A little blue paint, some frog tape, and voila!

Baby ZM2's nursery

The stool was given to me by another sister. I took it apart and recovered the cushion with fabric I found that combines the circles and all the bright colors I love.

Baby ZM2's nursery

This artwork (if you'd call it that...) is very special. After my miscarriage, I drew a little bit as a way to clear my head. Nothing special, but I did do this simple circle drawing one night and then left it laying out. Mo found it and a pencil one day and added her own flair. I love that it was a creative and (unintentionally) collaborative effort in the wake of a heartbreaking time, and that we can honor that loss in our new baby's room. Plus it's circles. 

Baby ZM2's nursery

This changing station makes me happy. I saw the idea of using a peg board on Pinterest (of course). First I painted the yellow and white stripes, leaving some of the natural wood showing to tie in with the other wood finishes in the room. Then I bought a peg board hardware kit and used a variety of hooks to hang everything: the fabric pouches on the right hold diapers, wipes, wash cloths and some miscellaneous items; the two small baskets on the bottom left hold diaper cream, lotion, baby oil, combs, a nose sucker and a rabbit rattle; the basket on the top is full of "distractions" like little toys; the colorful things in the middle at the bottom are teething rings; the Z and the M are for his hyphenated last name (no we haven't picked a first name yet); and I made the little sign by gluing the wooden Dream decal onto a wooden plaque from the craft store. The mobile is made from colorful poms, embroidery thread and an embroidery hoop. 

Baby ZM2's nursery

One of my very favorite things is this focal point above the crib. I saw something similar on Pinterest (again) and figured I could do an interpretation of what I saw pretty easily. So I bought four square canvases, several pieces of scrapbooking paper, some Mod Podge adhesive and a finishing spray. I measured and cut the quarter circles from the paper, Mod Podged them in place on the canvases, and sprayed the whole thing with a sealant. It's so simple, but I absolutely love how it turned out, and if someday Baby Tennis decides he hates it, it's something that easily transfer to a different room.

Baby ZM2's nursery

A bonus is that the paper is made to look like textured fabric, and it matches almost perfectly with the storage ottoman under the window. I bought the ottoman first and randomly found the paper, but it was a wonderful coincidence.

Baby ZM2's nursery

I also love the mobile I hung above the crib. I bought wooden "tags" from the Ball jar brand at a craft store, then painted them white, leaving the sides in the natural wood finish. I used a fishing line type string to tie them together, painted an embroidery hoop white, and used twine to hang it from the ceiling. 

Baby ZM2's nursery

Overall, it was a pretty budget-friendly room. I repurposed a lot of things we had or got free from others, and made most of the decor myself with inexpensive supplies. The most costly items were the rug ($100), the curtain fabric ($25 for 8 yards), the piece above the crib ($60 for the supplies), the closet ($80 for the closet, baskets and hanging shelves), and the peg board ($50 for the peg board itself and all the items on it).

In a way it feels risky to put together a whole room for a baby that isn't born yet, like I'm jinxing our fate somehow. But like I said, it was my therapy, and that feels like a good thing.


Feeling defeated

I'm feeling defeated today. I think I'm just hitting a wall and running out of steam to keep up the pace I've been going, but unfortunately there is no break in the foreseeable future. Today I met with the diabetes physician (by the way, I FINALLY got my testing supplies after three weeks and about 30 phone calls!), and while my numbers are not terrible, my fasting (first thing in the morning) numbers are hovering around acceptable, often slightly elevated. She didn't suggest insulin yet, but unless there is a significant change in a week, insulin it is. It's really not a big deal. I don't love the idea of giving myself a daily shot, but I'll do it.

However, it just feels like another thing in a series of things.

This whole pregnancy has been harder than my pregnancy with Mo. I used to wonder if I wanted three kids or if I'd stop at two. I loved my pregnancy with Mo - it wasn't all bliss, but after she was born, I immediately missed being pregnant and was eager to do it again. I thought, "I could do that again, and maybe again after that!"

But this time is different. I spent the first few months in constant fear because it was on the heels of my second pregnancy loss, and everything felt incredibly vulnerable. I also had the hematoma, which was not really concerning, but left me feeling anxious all the time because at any moment I could start bleeding.

I was sick with Mo for 14 weeks, and it was the same this time. But whereas with Mo I could come home from work and go directly to bed, this time I had to function until her bedtime before I could really rest. I also had quite a bit of pain in my hips for a long time, making it difficult to sleep or even move around really.

When I finally got some reassurance at the 20 week ultrasound, I thought I might also get some energy and enthusiasm back. But I never got a second trimester surge of energy, I was always exhausted and felt beat down and overwhelmed by life.

Then the gestational diabetes diagnosis. It came at a very stressful time at work and it was all almost more than I could handle. I've finally started to adjust to the diet and the finger pricking, and I thought maybe I could pause a moment and actually enjoy this pregnancy. Instead, I will start insulin soon and have a whole new emotional and physical hurdle to overcome.

I have so many appointments lately that it's really dificult to get done at work what needs to get done. I have a big deadline coming up, and I've had less time to work on it than I need. I try to focus on my wonderful fortune and on the baby growing inside me, but it has felt impossible to clear my head enough to do so.

Of course I realize that many women have far worse luck than me, far greater struggles. I don't mean to minimize any of that.

My point is that I think maybe the universe is making it easy for me to decide to stop at two kids. I may get to the end of this pregnancy and wish to do it again but not because I loved it in the way I did the first, but because I'll want a do over. Really though, I think I'm getting too old for this. At this point, I can't imagine having another pregnancy when I'm in my mid to late 30s, while taking care of two other children, while maintaining a full-time and successful career, and while probably having even more complications than this time.

I don't want to say I'm done because who knows. But maybe this is all meant to tell me that I'm lucky to have my incredible daughter and my son on the way, and that's enough.

Page 1 ... 3 4 5 6 7 ... 294 Next 5 Entries »