Buying Myself Presents

So, in case you didn’t know this about me – I have a total weakness for clever marketing tactics. It’s like I should know better, but I just can’t help myself!

My latest obsession is such an awesome product that it’s almost like the maker was spying on me when they came up with it.

It combines my love of awesome packaging, presents, surprises, a low price and oh yeah, the fact that I just popped out a baby. They’re spying on me, right??

Anyways, it’s a company called Citrus Lane and they offer specialized care packages filled with adorable products for you and your baby. When signing up you tell them your child’s age (0 – 3) and they will send you out a box each month filled with full sized products for both of you to enjoy. You don’t know what’s in the box, that’s a surprise – but based on their previous boxes it’s sure to be awesome!

Each month has a theme and March is “Dining Out with Baby” month. Since my husband and I have pretty much eaten out most meals* for the last three weeks, I anticipate this being a perfect fit for us.

I can’t wait to get my first box in the mail and I’ll be sure to fill you all in on whether it was worth it. Either way, it’s a brilliant marketing idea and I wish I would have thought of it first!

If you’re interested in signing up for Citrus Lane and experiencing it with me, click here. Also, here’s a special little code for my readers, use 20TODAY and you can save 20% off the cost of the subscription.

PS. I was not rewarded in any way for mentioning Citrus Lane on my blog. I just think it’s an awesome concept and I’m excited to try it out!

* Since Jack has been in the hospital, we’ve pretty much eaten dinner out every night. Since the NICU is closed between 6:30 – 7:30, it’s a convenient way to spend the hour. However, I never thought I would say this, but I am REALLY SICK of restaurant food!

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The Story of Jack

So I was totally rocking my goal of posting a new blog 2 – 3 times each week… and then the crap hit the fan.

I had a baby.

Yes, I know I wasn’t due until April 13th. And even with the cholestasis diagnosis, inducement wouldn’t have been until mid-March. However, apparently my son is just as headstrong and stubborn as I am because he decided to be born in February.

To say that we weren’t prepared would be a massive understatement.

We just moved into our new house two weeks prior, so most of our rooms have boxes in them. In fact, the crib wouldn’t fit out of the room I had built it in, so it was in pieces on the floor of the baby’s new room.

Here’s how it all went down:

Monday, February 13th
Around noon
I was at work and feeling kind of crampy. I checked, googled Braxton Hicks contractions and emailed a couple mommy friends to see if what I felt was normal. It appeared to be totally typical, so I ignored it and went along with my day.

After work
We had no food in the house, so I went to the grocery store on my way home from work. At this point I started feeling a little worse, but just chalked it up to the fact that I absolutely hate going to the grocery store and would much rather be sitting on my couch eating homemade macaroni and cheese.

Around 10:00 pm
I still felt like poo, so I called my sister-in-law who is an ER nurse to see if she thought I was having Braxton Hicks contractions. She thought it sounded like a typical case of false labor, so I figured I was being a wimp and went to bed.

10:00 pm – 2:00 am
I couldn’t sleep – every time I turned onto my side my stomach would hurt. I finally got out of bed and moved to the couch to try and sleep at an angle. This didn’t help. At around 2 am I decided to start timing my cramps/contractions and found that they ranged from every 5 minutes to every 9 minutes. At 2:00 am I called the doctor who agreed that it sounded like Braxon Hicks contractions and advised me to drink a glass of water. If they didn’t lesson within an hour, I was to come to the hospital to be checked out.

Tuesday, February 14th
3:00 am
They did not get better and actually got a bit worse. I finally went upstairs to wake up my sleeping husband to take me to the hospital. He was so out of it that he didn’t really realize what I was saying and asked me if I wanted him to sleep for a couple more hours and then meet me at the hospital. Um, no. After laughing at him, I told him to get his butt up and take me to the hospital!

At this point it’s Valentine’s Day, so imagine my surprise when my husband pulls a HUGE stuffed animal and dozen roses out of the backseat of his truck. Bonus points to Travis!

4:00 am
While being checked out at the hospital, we find out that I am actually in labor. They give me a shot to try and stop/slow the contractions. Then, they give me two more. Finally, the contractions are slowed so they’re about to send me home. However, when they check and find out I’m 4 cm dilated they inform me that I’m now admitted and not allowed to leave the hospital until Jack is born. The doctor hopes its three weeks from now though, so I’ll be at the hospital on bedrest until then. They give me a steroid shot just in case, to help mature the baby’s lungs in case he’s born early.

At this point I freak out. I am not prepared to be in the hospital for weeks on end! I have work to do and a huge “to do” list at home of stuff that must get done before the baby comes! My amazing husband assures me that if I’m stuck there he’ll take care of everything for me.

All Day
No matter what drugs they throw at me to stop this labor, much like the honey badger, the baby doesn’t care. At this point, we’re just trying to hold off until 10:00 pm so that I can get the second steroid shot before the baby comes. I’m actually not really in much pain, but the medication they have me on mimics symptoms of the flu so I feel like crap.

10:00 pmMidnight
YAY, we made it until 10:00 so they give me the second shot of steroids. By the end of the night I’m dilated to 8 cm, but still not feeling much pain. I decide to go ahead and get the epidural anyways, just in case it starts hurting.

Wednesday, February 15th
5:45 am
I pop out a baby! My husband and mom were there with me (my brother and dad were in the waiting area) and it was honestly the most amazing moment of my entire life.

Jack Greyson Dellinger was born at 5:45 am, weighed 4 pounds 15 ounces, and is 18 inches long. They had to immediately take him away to check him, but we were able to hold him for about 5 minutes before he was moved to the NICU.

Jack has been in the NICU ever since, but we’ve been allowed to visit him as often as we like. I was in the hospital until Friday night, so I pretty much paced the hallways from my room to the NICU all day long.

Jack is doing awesome. Even though he was born at 31 ½ weeks, his lungs were fully developed and he doesn’t need a breathing tube. In fact, the nurses keep asking me if I’m sure how old he actually is, since he doesn’t act like a preemie. Although they won’t give me an exact timeline, Jack will most likely be at the hospital until he hits 36 weeks and can pass three tests (breathing, heart rate and eating), however it is possible that he may have to stay until his original due date of April 13th. I hope not though – it breaks my heart every day when I leave him.

As for me, I’m feeling pretty great. All in all, I’m just mentally and physically exhausted. Every time I see Jack in the NICU, I pretty much burst into tears. Leaving him there at night is so incredibly hard, as I want to just grab him and run for the door.

I’d like to give a big “thank you” to all the family and friends who have been so wonderful with their prayers, well wishes, and sweet little baby gifts.

I’ve had lots of offers to visit, but at this point I’m feeling the urge to hibernate a bit. We’re keeping the number of visitors to the NICU down due to germs, so once Jack is able to come home we’ll have to have an open house day where all our friends and family can stop by if they’d like.

I’ll be sure to post updates here and on Facebook though so that you all don’t think I’ve fallen off the earth. And if you have an extra moment in your day, any prayers that Jack is able to leave the NICU as soon as possible are appreciated!

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And Then I Unleashed the Crazy

I’d have to say, I’ve been doing pretty good in keeping my emotions in check throughout the last 7ish months of my pregnancy. I’ve only randomly yelled at my husband a couple times and I haven’t really done any unprovoked crying either. I did shed some tears when I found out I was losing my job in the Fall, but other than that I’ve been pretty contained.

Well, until last night.

Let me start this off with saying that I’ve been under a lot of pressure lately. We just moved into our new house last weekend and the place is an absolute mess right now. I’ve been diagnosed with gestational diabetes, which means I’m on a fun free diet for the next 6 weeks. I’ve also been diagnosed with cholestasis, resulting in me attending two doctor’s appointments each week from now until the end of my pregnancy. Oh yeah, and I started a new job in early December.

Part of my duties in my new position is giving presentations at various locations in DC, Rockville, Baltimore and Columbia. On presentation nights, I typically won’t get home until 9:00 pm or later – meaning that I’m working at least a 12 hour day. Since I just started this job and will be going on maternity leave in the near future, I’m trying as hard as I can to give it 110%. Even though I may be tired and achy, I refuse to complain or show any weakness in front of my boss or any of my co-workers.

Which brings us to last night.

We had a tradeshow-type of event in DC from 6:00 – 9:00 pm, so I left College Park around 5:00 in order to give myself plenty of time to get there. The trip should have taken about 30 minutes tops, but I knew from experience that it could take a bit more than that with traffic.

Sure enough, after battling my way through heaps of traffic I ended up getting to the venue at around 5:50 pm. Which wouldn’t have been a big deal if I had been able to find parking. The first garage that I turned into wasn’t actually a garage, but a loading dock. Oops. So I turned around my big ol’ SUV and tried again.

When I entered the second garage, an attendant came out to tell me it was valet only. Um…okay, that’s fine. Well, except for the fact that the garage closed at 9:00 pm. Crap. Since the event didn’t end until 9, I probably wouldn’t get back to my car until 9:15 or 9:30. So, I had to once again turn my SUV around in a super tight space so that I could exit and keep looking.

So now I’m getting a little flustered and I’m late. I hate being late. I especially hate driving around DC while I’m late.

I find a third garage and get there by following another car down this sketchy alley. The car in front of me turns into the garage and I go to follow it. However, another car is attempting to leave the garage and the pathway is so narrow that both me and the other car need to back all the way back out in order to let them leave. At this point, I see how low the ceiling is and have major doubts that my SUV will even fit in there. So, I leave and try to find yet another garage.

I’m getting a little more flustered now and the cursing is getting a bit louder and more creative. However, when I pull out of the alley it’s as if angels are singing because I can see a huge, brightly lit garage just across the street!

Unfortunately, since I’m in the middle of DC at rush hour I can’t just ram myself across the four lanes of traffic to get there. So I go on a crazy roundabout loop and finally pull into the garage around 6:30 pm. I grab a parking voucher and follow the signs down into the parking area. FINALLY!

I take a deep breath and pray to find a parking space. However, there seems to be only one space on that level and the only way I could have fit in there was if I still had my Mini. Another car goes by and up another ramp, so I follow it assuming that they are going to another parking level.

And I end up back at the entrance.

NOOOOOOooooo! At this point, I’m about ready to crack. There is no way I’m leaving this garage without finding a parking space! So, I back up and attempt to re-enter the entrance side of the garage.

At this point, the garage manager runs up to my vehicle shouting “No, no, NO”. I wind my window down to speak to him and he tells me that I need to exit the garage and then re-enter it in order to keep from potentially scratching my vehicle.

And I burst into tears.

Yes, it’s true. I turned into “that girl” and unleashed the full power of crying on this poor unsuspecting man. I think I might have wailed something like, “I just want to paaaarrrkkkk!” I honestly could not stop crying and not in a cute, sniffly way either.

This poor man felt so sorry for the crazy, crying pregnant woman that he immediately pointed me towards the special handicapped spaces and allowed me to park there for the night. He was pretty much the sweetest parking garage manager in the world to take pity on me.

I honestly didn’t know that I was that close to having some sort of emotional breakdown, much less in a DC parking garage. I have to admit, that I did feel a little bit better afterwards though. Hopefully that let just enough crazy off the top that I can keep the rest under control for the next few weeks.

I can’t really make any promises though.

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