Pregnancy Week 25 to Week 26: This Tip Helped Keep Early Contractions Away!

Pregnancy Week 25 to Week 26: This Tip Helped Keep Early Contractions Away! - Girl Nesting

They say every pregnancy is different, ain’t that the truth. Michael listened as I told the Doctor in the hospital, “This didn’t happen before…”. I had wobbled to an Über and held onto “staying calm” through Chicago’s day before preparation of the Chicago Marathon. The main road to Women’s Prentice was closed…(great timing). I was having early contractions at week 24, taking me by surprise, this never happened in my last pregnancy. Now Braxton Hicks I’ve had before, I know how that goes, but this was not Braxton Hicks. These were contractions that were coming frequently throughout the day and closer together as the evening was approaching. They warned me just the day before that if I had 4 or more contractions within the hour to CALL THEM! So I did and I was determined to stay calm. Michael rushed through traffic from work in Indiana and got to the hospital only 5 minutes behind me. I looked at his face when the nurse said I was having contractions every 3 to 5 minutes, he had fear and worry in his eyes. I refused to have this baby too soon, I was going to keep it together.

They tracked me for 5 hours. After 5 hours they told me my contractions had stopped after the first 2 hours of being there; they needed to be sure I was ok before they could let me leave. My cervix was high and closed thank God; I was not dilating from the contractions I had struggled with since that morning and that was the biggest concern here. Contractions is one thing, dilating and contractions is the real thing. Granted the doctor informed me they have medicine to stop the contractions from happening any further if dilating should occur. I was in awe of how far we have come today in medicine. Baby “S” was doing amazing they reassured. We listened to her strong heartbeat gratefully for those 5 hours. She bounced around in my belly, more active than ever from all the new sounds. She was safe thank God. I never had early contractions before with my first pregnancy, but I had my share of scares: like dehydration a couple of times due to severe morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy and fainting at the dry cleaners. Just like before, I was going to ride this wave and get back to the sand standing…or leaning maybe.

So why did this happen? Well the doctors couldn’t give me a solid answer, but a friend contacted me and told me that she and other mommie friends of hers found that coffee and some teas, even decaf, triggered early contractions for them. My friend is all about natural remedies and I completely respect that! I’m for medicine, but I also like to cover all my options to see what works best, so I keep my eyes and ears open to the all natural ways as well. The morning before this all went down I had a brand of decaf coffee I never tried before. After drinking a bit, it started to taste bad…I couldn’t figure out why though, it was tasting pretty good at first. Normally I have a decaf latte, which has a lot of milk added into it. I’m allowed one cup a day the doctors said. This time I had decaf coffee though and it was pretty strong. I knew my friend was onto something. So I tried a few days without decaf coffee, latte or tea to see if there was any change. There was! I felt much better, no contractions (yeah)! Then I tried a day with a decaf latte (I wasn’t going near a cup of coffee again)…I went to the hospital for the 2nd time that evening. This time the contractions didn’t last as long – but I also didn’t finish the latte this time…ah ha! Dear Watson, I think we found it!

This brings me to my picture above ^. Hot water and lemon – my new go to when I need something hot and comforting. I’m drinking water like a fish and I feel really good. Zero contractions, hardly any Braxton Hicks (very mild if I do and one time in that day if it happens).

I am so grateful to my friend for reaching out, thank you Natalia! This is a very good tip I had to share with you all. I am currently 25 weeks and 4 days! Feeling AWESOME again. Just a few days more and we will be at week 26.

Every week is a definite milestone 😉

Baby #2 – Gender Reveal!

Baby #2 - Gender Reveal! - Girl Nesting

I grew up in a household made up entirely of women; raised by my mother, my aunt and my abuela (grandmother). The chatter of women used to drive me nuts, but loved I was indeed. We, women, are very sensitive and intuitive creatures. Some would even go as far as to say “dramatic” (forgive me ladies). Dramatic as we may sometimes be, we are without question Amazing.

This brings me to our gender reveal for baby #2. Guess what?! We’re having another girl!!! I am ecstatic! I will be in a house full of girls once again. Women are strong, full of fire, personality and yes…opinions. I couldn’t be more honored that God chose me to raise two future strong women! A huge responsibility. Michael is also very excited, but also terrified (lol). Zoë told him the other day, “Daddy, I’m the boss, Mommy’s the boss and you are a boy.” – Left him speechless. Imagine, another little boss will be joining the team soon…my husband is feeling a little out numbered.

So, I am soon to be the mother of two girls, thank you God!!! This journey will make me stronger, wiser and much more patient in the end…I’ll have a lot of white hair too. I look forward to all that I will learn about myself through them. I also look forward to taking them to boy band concerts and having movie nights at home with their friends; we’ll be found watching romantic comedies and giggle over sweets – I’ll be reliving my childhood for sure.

I am currently 22 weeks and can barely believe it! Our baby girl kicks me on a regular basis (LOL). We have a name picked out for her, its beautiful and unique. We call her by her name when we talk to her through my belly. To our friends and family we refer to her as Baby “S”, keeping it a secret until she’s born. I can tell you that I chose her name from a dream, where I saw that she was a girl long before they told me through genetic testing. It was her eyes that gave me the name.

Courage has led me here…

 Baby #2 - Gender Reveal! - Girl Nesting

*pic taken at 18 weeks. I am enjoying my 2nd trimester without morning sickness (hurrah!) Aches and pains are a regular though (oh well). 18 weeks left to go until we meet her at last 🙂

Hello 2nd Trimester and Babies Compared to Fruits & Vegetables

Hello 2nd Trimester and Babies Compared to Fruits & Vegetables - Girl Nesting

Hello 2nd Trimester! I have to say, it’s so good to see you again! For most women, this is when the morning sickness makes an exit and energy makes an entrance. So far, nothing different has happened. I am hopeful though. I too want to experience the “bliss” of the 2nd trimester. I really don’t want to be that small percent again that continues with morning sickness throughout the entire pregnancy, things could be different…positive thinking right?!

Yesterday, Michael and I went to get the genetic testing done. Yes, the tests continue. I tried my best not to worry too much about it, but thanks to procedure, they make that almost impossible. They placed us in a room by ourselves, with a 10 minute video of all the things that could go wrong with the genetics of our baby. I won’t go into it because that would just cause someone else out there to worry, and I don’t believe in that one bit. Michael, bless his heart, reached over and turned the video off a few minutes into it. “We don’t need to see that”, he smiled and shook his head. He suggested we enjoy Facebook or Pinterest instead while we waited for the counselor. I love a man with a great idea.The perk of the test is that you can find out the sex of the baby as early as 10 to 11 weeks pregnant, the results are ready within 7 to 10 business days. It’s a new test that’s offered for ages 35 and up, so definitely ask your doctor about it if you fit into that category.

The big question in the house is, “WHAT ARE WE HAVING???”. Well, according to The Bump, we are currently having a lemon. LOL! They’re still comparing babies to fruits and vegetables…it’s nice that some things never change. Comparing them to lets say…well geez, I’m drawing a blank here…animals, would be kinda of weird and creepy. I already have dreams I’m giving birth to kittens, so no need to make that dream any more confusing.

I sometimes feel the little “lemon” moving inside of me, which is pretty early really. Probably happening because it’s not my first pregnancy and that baby is a week ahead in growth. The little angel is not the size of a lemon at all, but some other fruit down the line (what comes after a lemon?).

Having a toddler to run after makes pregnancy a whole other ballgame. I am not even huge yet and when that happens, “God Bless Me!”. I often forget to look up the milestones each week, “We’ll look at it tonight”, one of us says and then I pass out. I know a bit more of what to expect this time, “Oh aches and pains, you’re back! Thanks for joining..”. It’s harder for the same reasons.

The new thrill is sharing the excitement with our daughter Zoë. I love encouraging her to tell baby, “good morning” – so precious. I am fascinated with her imaginative stories of all the things she wants to enjoy with her new brother or sister. We have a very vocal 3 and half-year old, she gets into long detailed stories that often have a friendly dragon that likes to come over to play, “then it eats mommy!”, she laughs. Funny girl, dragons don’t eat mommy’s. ..

Anyhow, I wanted to thank you all so much for your support and kind words on my last post about our Infertility struggle and success. Thank you so much for your love.

Nothing left to say for now, except for onward and upward! 

I Fought Infertility Again & We’ve Got News!

I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting

I know, I’ve been a stranger here on Girl Nesting, MIA for too long. I have a very good reason – We’re pregnant!!! Baby #2 is on the way! Feels so good to write that (oh my goodness!!!). I am a survivor of infertility. I’ve somehow beaten my odds twice now. A true miracle, because it’s not so easy for me to conceive. Being that the case, I needed my space and privacy for that time. I thought I was nuts to even dance around the idea to try again. I’m still kind of confused and bewildered how it happened the first time. Almost five years ago, I was told I had less than 30% chance. Despite the odds, we conceived Zoë on our own after 3 failed IUI’s and 1 failed IVF. This time, my chances were even lower. I knew going into this I wasn’t going to hear great news, I am 38 years old. My doctor called to tell me that my egg quality was older than I am, so time was of the essence. I was gambling on something so slim in my favor it was enough to make me want to crawl into a hole, but my heart was telling me not to shy away from my dream. I’m always preaching that I am a believer of positive thinking. So my goodness, I was going to live by my own words. I was going to give it my best try and a lot of that effort was going to come from my frame of mind. I wouldn’t allow myself to slip into doubt and sadness. No matter how easy it felt to slide down that dark path, I was going to keep climbing. 

I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting 

The nurses call you daily through this process. Each call has been anxiously awaited from the day before. On the phone, they are brief, they are direct, and many times they do not sound empathetic. They are fact readers. The first time I went through this process I was 33 years old. My heart was worn right on my sleeve and every word that was a negative burned like hell. This time I’m older and have a much thicker skin. I came into this with a realistic approach. Facts could equal yes or they could equal no, it is that simple. I reminded myself that the nurses are doing their very best and have so many women to tend to. I’m not their only patient who wants to have a baby…get in line! Being frustrated at the doctors and nurses is too easy. It’s only human to want someone to blame, and the truth of the matter is we’re really blaming ourselves and projecting it onto the messenger.

The money bit on all of this is too crazy to even digest. I was sick to my stomach at the thought of us wasting money on failed cycles. We were paying out-of-pocket (gasp!). I had a limit in my mind of what I could endure and then I had a limit of what we could afford. The two were actually pretty close. I only wanted to do two cycles of IUI, I could not see myself doing IVF again. I just couldn’t put our family through that financial burden. Michael wanted to do whatever it would take. We would figure out the money later, we could get a loan. This just didn’t sit well with me, I promised myself that I would do the extra work to make it a strong cycle. Extra work included: vitamins, working out, talk therapy, frequent acupuncture which was scheduled to my cycle (and is not cheap). If my best didn’t get us there, then I would have to visit the idea that it was not a tangible dream.


Call received before scheduled IUI:

“Jahaila you have made 10 follicles this round!” the nurse said with surprising excitement. 

“I have a chance…?” I asked.

“Yes, you have a very good chance, ” she said. I could hear her smiling.

I can’t begin to tell you the joy I felt…Of course being the worrier that I am, my thoughts fell upon the “what if’s”. I could actually have 1 child from this cycle after all…or I could have 3 babies! OMYGOSH what did I do?!!! Or I could have none... I don’t want to have none, I just want one healthy baby. I would be incredibly blessed with two…but we we would have to move again for sure. I could have 1…

Call received after IUI:

“Hi there,” the nurse said like an old friend, “well, your HCG levels went up 10 points…but I have to warn you..this is a very low number, so we are unable to confirm that this pregnancy will stick.” She took a deep breath, “Girlfriend to girlfriend, I would prepare yourself that it will most likely not. It looks like it could be a chemical pregnancy and you could start bleeding in the next day or two..I just thought you should know.” 

Chemical pregnancies, for those of you unfamiliar, is an early miscarriage. An experience I’m all too familiar with. Even though brief, this was the hardest conversation I have ever had. I wrote in my calendar notes that night, “Prayers. Even little miracles can grow up to be big miracles”. I told Mike and my Mother, “Being a mother to this life starts now, if I don’t believe in it, then I’m not doing my job. It needs me to cheer it on”.

That weekend, Michael and I attended his twin brother’s wedding. We were praying those numbers would go up and not down. It was terrifying. I had a couple of advantages that kept my mind in high spirits. #1 I had been successfully pregnant in the past. I knew I was feeling what I felt before when I was pregnant with Zoë. Cramping around the belly’s “shell” is a good sign. This distinct cramping is known as Implantation. It wasn’t the intense cramping and pain that is felt during a miscarriage, which I had experienced in the past before as well. #2 I was taking pregnancy tests like a boss! We counted a total of 28 tests…yep, 2 to 3 a day! Each time, the line got darker, and that (thank you pregnancy forums) is a GREAT SIGN.

Call received after the wedding. Note, I never started bleeding that weekend. In fact, I started experiencing nausea:

“So Jahaila, we have a good change in numbers that have happened! I must inform you, we are still proceeding with caution. Your HCG levels went from 10 to 99.”

“Thank you God!!!” I was in tears.

She went on to say that I was “currently pregnant”, but there was no way of knowing if it would stick. “That’s o.k”, I thought, “nausea, breasts hurt like hell and I’m glowing is all I need to know right now”. Fact: baby is getting stronger. 

Final Call. This was the make it or break it call:

“We have great news for you Jahaila, your HCG levels went from 99 to 237 in 2 days! We are very pleased with this number! We finally can confirm that you are pregnant!”, the nurse exclaimed. She was so happy to tell me, and I was just in tears from incredible happiness and joy. 

I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting

Saying that we are excited is clearly understatement. The feelings that ran through our bodies when we saw our baby for the first time on the monitor, was the most beautiful moment I will always remember. Sure, it was a simple black dot (LOL), but we were in love with that black dot. We were so emotional we actually made the nurses cry.

Each visit after that, everyone from the nurses to the staff behind the desk, were as happy as we were. They eagerly awaited to see pics and fought to who would perform our ultrasound next. We fell in love with these people, they have big heart. They helped to make this life inside of me happen.

When the light shines through the clouds and reveals a life worth trying for…there is no greater awareness of something bigger and more powerful than us all.

I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting

It took a team to make this baby. Thank you Infertility staff at my Gynecologist office who worked so hard to fit me into the schedule and helped get me ready so I wouldn’t miss this cycle (I didn’t even ask…). Thank You Doctor and nurses at FCI, you all are incredible angels. Thank you vitamins that the Doctor recommended to produce more follicles (it works!). Thank you staff at Pulling Down The Moon Acupuncture (you all are incredible miracle workers!!!) for helping me stimulate more follicles and easing the discomfort. Thank you to my Mom for being the best listener and never letting me slip into sadness, you are my rock. Thank you to my best buddy Rachel and my Aunt Janet for sending me images of beautiful and inspiring places. Thank you to my husband Michael for being there with me through every single blood retrieval (every single day), holding my hand through this process, doing your best not hurt me during the trigger shot in my lower back and being my best friend who gives me courage. Thank you God, who I spoke to regularly from the beginning. I asked you to help guide me through this challenge, and you gave me strength and courage every step of the way. Last, but certainly not least, THANK YOU BODY. I know I was asking a lot of you…you are stronger than anyone will ever know. 

 I Fought Infertility Again & We've Got News! - Girl Nesting

*Pics taken in Hawaii for our 6 year wedding anniversary & babymoon. We are currently 3 months pregnant. Our daughter Zoë is very excited to become a big sister 🙂

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

We are finally showing you all the final reveal of the rental unit! It has been a fun and sweaty journey, but we are finally finished. Professional pictures were taken last week and it’s going on the market for rent this week. We expect it will rent fast. Rentals are really booming here in downtown Chicago, especially for this location, which is located across from the new Maggie Daley Park. The experience had Michael and I wanting to flip homes full-time. I seriously can see us doing this in the future. We really loved seeing the transformation and bringing a tired dated studio apartment into the present time (see the before). For me, designing a space from scratch was more fun than I can conjure up into words. It’s the ultimate shopping experience, lets just put it that way. Everything I chose for the unit was budget friendly and because it’s a studio, granite for example, was less expensive because we didn’t need that much square foot of it. 

Mike and I drove to my mom’s building to clean the apartment the day before the realtor was to come in and see the unit’s transformation. We cleaned the floors, the mirrors, counters…everything. Cleaning is definitely our little therapy. Mike more than me, but I too love to just make everything look fresh and new again.

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl NestingRental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

I chose a laminate flooring (Southern Grey Oak) that really looks like true hard wood floors, but can be wiped down and is very durable; perfect choice for a rental unit. I’m in love with how they turned out. Instantly, you are WOW’d when walking into this unit because of the floors alone. They look very expensive and are just the opposite. If you’re looking for great floors, I highly recommend putting these on your list for consideration. They ranked high in ratings and we can clearly see why.

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

We had a small window cut out in the kitchen. Perfect to pass the food over when entertaining guests or to be used as a little breakfast counter. This made a huge difference with quality of lighting in the kitchen, natural light now floods into the previously dark space.

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

White penny tiles are the kitchen’s backslash. I have always loved penny tiles. In our old loft, I had installed black penny tiles, so this was a nice contrast to use white this time in a space. The floors were a great find at Tile City, $3 and something a square foot! They pair well with the laminate floors throughout the studio. The appliances were bought as a package deal, which saved so much money rather than buying each appliance separately. They look great don’t they?! The original kitchen did not have a dishwasher, so this was pretty exciting to install one finally – you’re welcome new tenants!

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

The bathroom is my favorite. The marble hexagon tiles on the floor are perfect in this space. I am very much a fan of hexagon tiles. They instantly make a space feel modern and current. I paired them with snow-white subway tiles in the shower and they look great together. The combination brings texture and pattern into a small space beautifully. The vanity my mother and I spotted at Home Depot and loved right away (here’s one similar). Grey is a favorite color of ours, I felt it would be the perfect statement in the unit’s only bathroom. We also had the tub re-glazed! I highly recommend this instead of replacing a tub. The process saved us a fortune and looks AMAZING! Other than that, everything in the bathroom is new, all sourced from Home Depot.

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

In the entrance and the wardrobe area, we had the contractor install new sliding doors in place of the old bi-fold closet doors. All lighting in the unit are from IKEA. Yep, I will always be a fan of IKEA. Great design for less, perfect resource for a rental unit. They can be replaced easily without breaking the bank. 

Rental Unit: The Final Reveal - Girl Nesting

Well, that’s a wrap! I hope you enjoyed viewing our rental renovation. Like I said before, we had the time of our lives bringing this studio back to life. It was an awesome project for us all to be a part of. Thank you Mom for asking me to design the space – truly an honor to be asked by someone so talented in interior design…you are my inspiration.

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