Sunday, December 6, 2020

My Pandemic Pregnancy

Dan and I had always talked about having two children, and we had hoped to get pregnant or have our second before we moved to Indiana.  We had even gone through fertility exams again, including a round of IUI before we moved.  After the IUI didn't take, we seriously discussed adoption again, but we knew that I'd gotten pregnant before in the cycles after my HSG exam before and I hoped it would happen again... and it did!

In March of 2020, just a few days before the pandemic shutdowns hit our area, I found out I was pregnant.  We'd been trying for over a year like we had with Kenny, so Dan didn't quite believe me when I told him.  The timing was also challenging, as we'd just moved and I was starting a new career.  But we knew this was what we wanted, and thankfully our move had brought us close to family who would be able to help us.

Things That Were Different...
  • Virtual Visits instead of in-person visits
    • I didn't really have much of an exam before my last trimester!  Since I found out about my pregnancy right as the first pandemic shutdowns and protocols hit, so they honestly didn't really even want to see me other than in-person.
  • Curbside Blood Draw
    • Since I had pre-eclampsia last pregnancy, they wanted to be sure to monitor me closely in case it happened again.  But what was different is that for one of my big blood draws, I was asked to pull up in my car and have the phlebotomist draw blood while I sat in my vehicle!
  • Masks for Visits
    • No surprise there, but I had to wear a mask every visit.
  • No Partner for Ultrasounds
    • Dan was unable to attend the two main ultrasounds, as no guests were allowed.  This protocol changed later in the year, so when I needed an ultrasound close to my due date, they allowed him to join me.
  • No Babymoon, or traveling in general.  All my trips for the year were cancelled.
  • Virtual Hospital Tour
    • We were delivering at a new-to-us hospital, but we couldn't take a tour of the maternity ward.  Instead, I watched a video online!
  • Limited Hospital Guests & No Hospital Photographer
    • Our hospital only allowed one guest per day, which included your support person.  So if I had tried to rotate someone else in, Dan wouldn't be allowed back.  But this worked out just fine because we only stayed at the hospital for 36 hours, and my parents were caring for Kenny.
    • For Kenny, there was a photographer who did a newborn photo shoot on-site in our recovery room.  This was not the case in 2020!
  • COVID-19 test in the delivery room
    • Apparently I refused this test pre-epidural (can you blame me?  I was in pain!) but the doctor asked me again once I had my meds and I consented.  It sucked!  It was a swab that went way down your throat, then the same swab went way up your nose.  It made my eyes water, and I had to cough afterwards.
20-week Ultrasound

One thing we were able to do safely with distancing was take family photos!  Pictures and social media were how we updated family and friends.

portraits by Amanda Field Photography

We also did a Star Wars/Mandalorian themed pregnancy announcement, sticking to TV trends like our Game of Thrones announcement when Kenny was born.

Overall, pregnancy in a pandemic felt more isolating and lonely. I didn't have my social support structure like last time (other than my parents and texts).  I did have super generous friends and family who sent us giftcards and gifts, which really cheered me up quite a bit to be able to shop or order food when we needed things.  It was also tougher for Dan to connect with this pregnancy, since he couldn't attend the ultrasounds or appointments to hear the heartbeat.  But we definitely were grateful to be growing our family in spite of it all!

Kenny's 2nd Birthday

 Kenny is almost three years old, but I never shared how we celebrated his 2nd birthday in early 2020!

Like so many toddlers, Kenny was a fan of Baby Shark.  So when it came time for his birthday, I decided to make a Baby Shark cake to celebrate!  At the time, Kenny couldn't get enough blueberries in his belly, so I made a lemon blueberry flavored cake with buttercream frosting.  I used some plastic pieces from a cake decorating kit I found on clearance at Target to make the fins.

We got Baby Shark balloons from a local party store, and we had cake and presents at my parents' house since we had just moved to Indiana the weekend prior.  His favorite gifts were his stuffed WALL-E and EVE toys from the Pixar movie.

Kenny was also able to celebrate with his daycare friends before we moved.  I sent mini cupcakes to the daycare, and he wore his Baby Shark shirt.  I didn't post photos here because of privacy for the other littles in his class, but I think he enjoyed his birthday celebration.

And now, due to the pandemic, we will likely celebrate in this small fashion again for Kenny's 3rd birthday in January!  It's tradition for us to do a big 1st birthday, but other than that I think we may wait until he is kindergarten age to do a party.  These mini family gatherings are much less stress and expense, and the memories are just as sweet.

Our New Home!

Remember when I used to blog here?  I'm on maternity leave, and I feel compelled to reflect on 2020 and share more about how we've been.

We moved from Tennessee to my hometown in Indiana early this year, and we bought our first house as a family!  So many things came together to make this happen, and it felt really great to move from apartment living to a house with a yard for a growing toddler.

We found a lovely house just 15 minutes from my parents and my office, as well as walking distance to a great paved trail.  The yard is perfect, it has a paver patio which we hope to furnish and enjoy more over time (we used it for a kiddie pool mostly this year!), and the previous owner who built it ensured we have pretty landscaping year-round.  The perennials he planted delighted us all spring and summer.

We did make a few updates to the house, which was built in 2008.  The downstairs had three flooring types: laminate, vinyl, and carpet.  We put engineered hardwood the whole way through the downstairs, and we painted the whole house.  It really spruced things up and gave us a blank slate, as we did also need to add some furniture for the downstairs mainly.

We would like to redo the kitchen at some point, adding an extended island, painting cabinets, and updating light fixtures.  This house really only required cosmetic updates for our personal preference, which made it perfect for us!  We did a U-Haul move, and we hired movers in Indiana to help us with the heavy lifting.

The upstairs has three bedrooms and a loft, the latter of which we converted to a playroom.  We made quite a few trips to IKEA to furnish the house, and Dan has basically banned me from it.  But combining what we had from our apartment with the new items, we really have made it into what we had hoped!

I've embedded a number of Instagram photos in this post, so you can swipe for Before/After images of what the house looks like and what it looked like in listing photos.

Living Room



Master Bedroom

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Proof of Life: 2020

It's been so long since I blogged here, I don't even recognize the Blogger interface anymore as it has changed!  I did want to check in here, as I do have a few posts I'd like to work on from this year.  But here's a rundown of where we are right now...
  1.   We moved to Bloomington, Indiana!  My hometown.
  2.   We've made a house into a home.
  3.   Kenny turned two years old!
  4.   I started a new job as a second generation financial advisor.
  6.   I got pregnant, and I'm due with another baby boy in November!
  7.   All the trips we had planned this year were straight up CANCELLED.
  8.   We celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary in New Harmony.
  9.   We've spent quality time with family.
  10.   Kenny started a new daycare.
I'm hoping to do some belated blog posts here for posterity, but mostly you can find me on Instagram.

We're doing as well as we can be!

Sunday, June 14, 2020


Today is both Flag Day and the Army Birthday. When I was in the Army, we often had cake and celebrations associated with this day. Today, I'm just at home still in my PJs reflecting on the fact that I've spent more time outside of the Army than in it.

The first time I deployed, a volunteer handed me a little flag before I stepped on the plane. It was the same kind I've handed out at parades or nursing homes, the little inexpensive ones on a wooden rod that might give you a splinter if you're not careful. But that day, I had this realization that there was a chance I might not set foot on American soil again. I clung to that little flag in fear and anxiety, hoping for the best.

As controversial as General MacArthur was, sometimes I still hear the recording of his aged voice in my head... ""Duty, Honor, Country" — those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying point to build courage when courage seems to fail, to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith, to create hope when hope becomes forlorn."

In tough times, in challenging times, in scary times, I find myself clinging metaphorically to that little 30-cent flag. Sometimes, I feel its splinters digging into my hand. But I hold fast because of those three words, reminding me to never give up on courage, faith, and hope. There remains the possibility and potential for a better tomorrow.

Saturday, January 4, 2020

San Diego

Another work trip journal...  My team went to San Diego to do some focus group research last year, so I got to travel to California and enjoy some pretty beautiful weather.  I also stayed at a hotel with marina views, which was positively lovely!  (I also had a chance to see a DAR friend and a family friends, both before starting work...  love being able to do things like that when I can!)

Hotel room view and breakfast

We also indulged in some delicious eats!  My favorite meal was in Little Italy at Barbusa.  It was absolutely delicious!  We found it using Yelp, and we made a reservation same-day.  I'm glad we did, because the wait when we arrived was long!  Parking was challenging too, but we managed.  The garlic bread was an absolute must!  It's an old family recipe.  The burrata was so fresh too.

My meal was a bit on the overindulgent side... a pasta with bone marrow!  It was heavy and creamy and had delicious sausage in addition to the marrow.  I loved it, even though it left me feeling a bit sluggish after the fact.

My favorite outing was our trip to the San Diego Zoo.  I'd visited the zoo once before in 2012 on a road trip with my sister.  It's an AZA zoo and world-class facility... and it's absolutely huge!  It's hilly, too, so you get your steps in.  We also enjoyed the aerial skyfari at sunset, another highlight to be sure.

On my last visit, my favorite animal to see was the giant panda exhibit.  Unfortunately, the giant pandas were recalled the China in April, so the zoo no longer has them.  This time, I enjoyed the elephants the most.

A weekday evening is the perfect time to visit the San Diego zoo... we found great parking, enjoyed few crowds, and the sunset was absolutely stunning.

I love San Diego, and I hope to visit again soon!

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