Saturday, April 30, 2016

Baby 3.0: 18 Weeks + Placenta Banking

We've made it to the 18 week mark already. I'm still not feeling that-was-without-a-doubt-a-kick movements yet and yes, that makes me a bit nervous. I've heard two schools of thought: one, since you've had multiple pregnancies that you should feel kicks sooner since you know how to recognize them or two, you might end up feeling/recognizing kicks later in the pregnancy seeing as you're busier with two kids unlike your previous pregnancies. I'm going with the second! Plus, I looked to see how I was around this time in my second pregnancy and read I hadn't felt any kicks yet and I was worried back then, too. Even still, I'll probably end up calling my doctor's office for some reassurance on Monday.

As far as cravings/aversions go, coffee has really disgusted me lately. Normally I look forward to coffee every morning so this is a bit sad for me. Any craving I've had so far hasn't been very healthy - Taco Bell soft tacos, hot Cheetos, a big juicy burger... oh and there was also raspberries! I'm also craving a solo vacation full of sleep, reading books, and laying in the sun. Still working on that...

We've got under two weeks until we find out this baby's gender and I can hardly wait! We've finally been working on some names and I'm coming up with some real contenders thanks to some wonderful Facebook friends! For the first time ever our boy name list is looking better than the girl options. I know I will be overjoyed either way!!!

Not exactly my best angle, but it'll do.
I figured if I waited to write a post until we got a normal/decent picture of my belly then it might accidentally be a couple more weeks before another update. So I'm improvising and using a photo from our trip to the Memphis Zoo from earlier today. Now, there is something else I'd like you to know if you didn't already...

Placentas are amazing. (How's that for a segue?)

While in the womb, your placenta is the link between you and your baby. It's your baby's lifeline. Again ladies and gentlemen, a woman's placenta is an incredible, AMAZING organ! And most of us think little to nothing of the placenta throughout our pregnancies or after our deliveries, mostly because it's a temporary organ that our body expels when it's purpose has been completely served. But we are finding out more and more benefits from paying a bit more attention to this beautiful organ. And I love that! For example, studies have shown that waiting a few minutes to clamp and/or cut your baby's umbilical cord allows more iron-rich blood from the placenta to reach your newborn baby.

After I had Presley I thought nothing of my placenta until months afterward. I started to hear more and more of power behind this organ and I wondered, what did mine look like? Was it healthy? How did it compare to other placentas? Might seem silly but it's something I did wonder about. When it was time to bring Molly into the world I asked Tony if he would take a photo of my placenta afterwards - but this was as far as my interaction with my placenta went. And yes, I am fully aware that I'm weird. But I'm pretty awesome, too!

Thanks to lots of celebrity moms bringing this to light, many of us are now familiar with placental encapsulation... or really, consuming your placenta. Sounds insane, right? But when it can increase your milk supply, chase away the baby blues, help heal your body, aid in regaining energy, and reduce bleeding - most moms wonder where can I sign up?! I'm absolutely considering encapsulating my placenta after this delivery.

What you probably haven't heard much about is placenta banking. The blood left inside your placenta is full of stem cells that may help heal damaged tissue or organs. The same applies to the blood found within your umbilical cord. LifeBankUSA offers both placenta banking as well as cord blood banking. The stem cells found in both the placenta & cord can be used to treat at least 80 differnt diseases (including leukemia and lymphoma). Stem cell transplants work by replacing other cells in the body that have been destroyed or have stopped working properly. The first cord blood stem cell transplant happened nearly 30 years ago in Paris. (Side note: How is it that it's been 28 years since 1988?) The transplant took place on a boy who was only five years old with a severe, rare type of anemia and it was a success! This little boy is now a healthy adult thanks to advanced medicine. There are ongoing clinical trials to study how stem cells may help treat a wide range of diseases including stroke, cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, diabetes, heart disease, and spinal cord injury.

With this type of banking, you only have one chance at collecting and storing these stem cells from your umbilical cord and/or placenta so it is important to be prepared. You can call and learn more at 1-877-543-3226 or visit LifeBankUSA to request a free guidebook. Banking with LifeBankUSA can cost as low as about $53 per month, though this does not include the annual storage fee - which applies after the first year.

If you haven't already, give placenta banking and cord blood banking a moment of your time. I've got two great reasons to consider it and a third one on the way!

Read more on The Power of Placenta Blood Banking with LifeBankUSA.
You can also visit them on Twitter @LifeBankU.

I was compensated for writing and sharing this post. 
I have shared my thoughts and my authentic thoughts alone. 
The facts I shared are true to the best of my knowledge.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Baby 3.0: Sixteen Weeks

Nothing too exciting has been happening - not seeing or feeling any baby kicks yet. We're well out of the first trimester woods and I am so grateful the all day nausea has subsided. My energy is slowly coming back! Thank goodness! Though by the end of the night I have no trouble falling right to sleep and if you know me very well, you know I usually have sleep difficulties at night. And during Molly's nap time every afternoon I am struggling to keep my eyes open. My sweet Pres usually lets me get in a little cat nap... anything as long as she doesn't have to go nap herself!

Sixteen weeks along with baby Duggan #3
We are 3.5 weeks away from my next appointment... this is THE big one... the ultrasound appointment where we will likely find out the gender of this babe. I keep feeling pulled in both directions - it really would be exciting to find out what we're having in the delivery room but it would be so comforting knowing beforehand what to expect! (Tony has no desire to leave it as a surprise.) And of course it'll be so nice to share the news with the girls... especially Presley since she understands everything so clearly at her age. She's certain it's a girl, though.

I have NO clue what kinda kid I'm carrying in there. I've got the craziest acne on my face, which I didn't experience the last two pregnancies, and it just feels like I'm carrying this kid so differently. Though I've never experienced a third pregnancy before so of course it would seem different than the others - because it IS different. The last few appointments the baby's heartbeat has been on the lower side of the spectrum whereas the girls' were a bit more high.

Here are all three pregnancies side-by-side at the 16 week mark
As far as the "what are you hoping for" question - I don't really even think I know. I'm not sure if I truly just don't have a preference (beyond happy and healthy) or if my preference keeps changing subtly or what! At first I 100% scared at the idea of bringing home a baby boy. After thinking through most of the illogical reasons, I really would be okay with it. Obviously I am inexperienced in the boy department but it would be different, fun, and exciting. I really enjoy being a girl mom and I come from a family of 3 girls so I would feel like I would fit in perfectly with having another baby girl. Either way, we are elated.

I'm not having any huge cravings yet but I've been ordering several Italian sandwiches lately - which is not something I usually order - it has just been sounding (and tasting) so good! And as I said before, I am just happy food has been sounding good and cooking is no longer so offensive.

We tried to be cute an include both kids in the picture and... well... we probably won't try to do that too often because things got a little crazy. Molly decided to fly backwards after giving no warning and when I tried to catch Molly then I started to lose Presley! Somehow we walked away with no injuries from this one.

So with that, I'll leave you with our baby pool. You can guess what you think we'll end up bringing home! Just a fair warning - Tony has won with both kids in the past (no pressure, dear!) so even though there will be a prize for the winner, don't anybody get too attached to the idea of winning!! You can put in your guesses right here!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Baby 3.0: Twelve Weeks

**I meant to post this early last week and never got around to publishing it! So here it is now.

So far in this pregnancy, I've felt sick almost as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I've also been on medicine this pregnancy (Metformin) so I am thinking that could have something to do with it because when I started the medicine in December it was VERY hard on my stomach. I am hoping since the sickness is getting better these last few days that HOPEFULLY the nausea will go away and stay away for the rest of the pregnancy. Though, it's sometimes a welcome feeling as it's confirmation every morning that the baby is still where it needs to be. I have had horrible nightmares of pregnancy loss to the point where I wake up thinking for sure that I've lost this precious baby. So again, I hate feeling so awful to the point where it has been debilitating many days, but the morning sickness/nausea is something I've been thankful for on many occasions.

Other than that, not a whole lot of symptoms going on. I'm definitely starting to show a little bit more but it's certainly not pronounced yet. Presley continues to be very supportive and understanding when she learns I'm not feeling good. She's at a very good age for this journey. Oh and she's certain this baby is a girl. (Though it might have something to do with the fact that her younger sibling is a girl and her new cousin is a girl as well.)

Since there is not a whole lot to share on the pregnancy front so far, I want to write about finding out that we were expecting this baby.

We went on our family Florida/Disney vacation December 13-21 and once we were back home I started Metformin for my awfully high insulin levels (I think it was insulin....) in hopes to get things back where they were supposed to be. Shortly after we were home my sister gave birth to baby Claire. We decided we would go visit her the weekend of January 23 and my period was due sometime while we'd be gone. I finished packing for the trip not long before we were jumping in the car to go and I grabbed some tampons to add to my bag. I decided to take a pregnancy test just in case. (This is when having an inexpensive supply of pregnancy test strips comes in handy!) My cycles have always been unpredictable so I'm no stranger to pregnancy tests and neither is Tony.

When I looked at the test a few minutes later I was pretty surprised to see an extremely faint second line. I asked Tony to look at it and he confirmed but added that it really was barely there. So from there we jumped in the car to head to my sister's and my mind was reeling. We'd been wanting another child so this was absolutely welcome, but at this point I wasn't even certain if it was a pregnancy or not. I continued to take test after test throughout the weekend and when we got home a few days later I bought a couple nicer tests to confirm. All popped up positive.

My first appointment with my OBGYN was February 10th. I was so happy when I found out we'd be doing an early ultrasound to check everything out. Baby measured right on the mark to the timeline of my last cycle and they gave me a due date of October 1st.

And at our March 10th appointment baby's heartbeat was about 163bpm

We have to make a decision about what hospital we'd like to give birth at - Baptist or Methodist - and we have zero experience at either location. I'm excited to check them out with Tony! Both hospitals sound like great birthing hospitals and they are about 20 minutes from our house. So, my Memphis peeps, any and all feedback on the hospitals are absolutely welcome.

That's it for now. Thanks to everyone for all the kind well wishes! We're very excited for another Duggan baby to add to our clan! I look forward to sharing the next steps in our journey with you all.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

WDW Day Five: Magic Kingdom & Be Our Guest!

We spent day five off at Magic Kingdom - absolutely a park that you want to spend more than one day at if you have the chance. So, we started off our day here by visiting one of our absolute FAVORITE characters for a meet & greet... TINKER BELL!

As you can see, Presley was completely starstruck!!!! We had a Fast Pass for this experience... there was definitely still a little bit of waiting involved but it cut down the wait time a whole lot by having a FP.  I knew we'd want to meet Tink because she is one of my absolute all-time favorite characters and we all love her movies - especially Pres! It was so fun and I wish I had gotten more pictures of the room itself - everything was huge to make Tinker Bell look and feel so tiny.

Since it's been 3 entire months since our WDW trip, I'm having a hard time forgetting the play-by-play of the day but I know we took the morning pretty easy peasy. We walked around and explored and rode rides with shorter wait times until our lunch reservation at Be Our Guest!

This picture right here is why I absolutely preach that the memory maker is worth every penny. We would have never gotten photos like this one otherwise!

When it came to booking Be Our Guest, it was a no brainer. I knew that we would accept whatever reservation we could get here - any day/time we would make it work. If you guys know me, I am a PLANNER when it comes to our Disney vacation. So I got up bright and early at the correct time to make advanced dining reservations (I think it was 5am?) exactly 180 days out from our trip. I had a list of places we wanted to go and what days we wanted to go there and the window of time we were hoping for. Cinderella's Royal Table for dinner was at the top of my list because that was the one we wanted to go to the MOST for this trip and it was followed up by Be Our Guest for both lunch and dinner. CRT is always one of the most coveted places to snag a reservation but right now I think Be Our Guest is even more popular and more difficult to get into because it's new and wonderful! So, thankfully we got reservations to both places but EVEN waking up at the crack of dawn on our 180 mark, we still kinda got crap times for the dinner reservations.

People either seem to really enjoy BOG or they feel like the food wasn't worth the price or the experience wasn't worth the trouble of trying to get a reservation. We absolutely loved the experience and the food was crazy good. I ordered the french onion soup, ham & cheese sandwich (the fancy menu name for this is Croque Monsieur), and the master's cupcake for dessert. What is the master's cupcake you ask? Let me tell you. It's a chocolate cupcake topped with "the grey stuff" aka a cookies and cream frosting. Ohhhh so good. All of it - literally every single bite of everything I ordered - was so perfect.

The cool thing about lunch at Be Our Guest is that it's a Quick Service credit (opposed to it being a Table Service credit when you eat there at dinner). If that doesn't make sense to you and you want to understand what I mean, just do some research on the Disney Dining Plan and it might make more sense after you read about that. BOG is the only quick service restaurant that requires you to make a reservation beforehand. I felt like this made everything super efficient and convenient. You place your order shortly after walking in at a super user-friendly kiosk.

It looks hectic but it was super streamline.
They bring your parties food out to you once it's ready. I honestly have no idea how they found our party so easy when they have no idea where you seated yourself. Selena said there is probably GPS in our Magic Bands which is kinda cool/creepy but totally makes sense.

Not only do you pick out your own table but you also got to pick which room you'd like to dine in out of the three - the West Wing (Presley wasn't going for this option - it's the creepy dark room), the Grand Ballroom, or the Castle Gallery. We chose the Castle Gallery because we found an open table that accommodated our group. Also, it was close to the drink refill station. Upon first glance it's probably the least interesting out of the three rooms but it's one of those rooms where the more you look around the cooler it gets.

The view of the Castle Gallery room from my seat
The focal point of the Castle Gallery is this pretty statue of Belle and Beast that dances around the entire time.

Relaxing in this comfy booth and waiting for our food to show up!

So happy and super excited!

The majority of these photos are my husbands. When we got home I realized how little I took pictures while we were there and I was SO upset. Tony showed me all the awesome pictures he took and he told me he tried to take as many pictures as he could while we were there so we could look back and enjoy them later. The swoon-worthy part was that he told me he wanted to do that so that I could fully enjoy everything in the moment. Is he not the best man in the world?! Makes me tear up. (But yes... I am hormonal...)

So back to the pictures.

Some of the beautiful details.

The Master's Cupcake. So delicious.

Walking through the Grand Ballroom.

There were good and great things about both lunch and dinner at Be Our Guest but when it comes to BOG for us in the future, I will more than likely opt for lunch rather than dinner.  But more on that later.

After we finished up with lunch we rode some more rides. Again, I don't remember anything at this point! I do know that Presley and I waited in the longest line for the longest time to ride Aladdin's Magic Carpets and man did that ride look extremely dated! It needs some TLC. Even still, we had so much fun!!! (And to be fair, I'm sure it looked so dated because the last time we rode a ride similar to this one was a few days earlier on Dumbo the Flying Elephant - literally the same concept ride. And the Dumbo ride was a new addition for Fantsyland so of course it was bright and beautiful and new! So it made Aladdin's carpets look like a carnival ride in comparison!)

Tony took this one... that's me holding my arms out like I'm having the best day of my life. Which is what I was thinking at that exact moment!

So excited to ride this with her!

We had a LeFou's Brew (which is a "no-sugar added frozen apple juice with a hint of toasted marshmellow topped with an all-natural passion fruit-mango foam") from Gaston's Tavern while we were walking around MK. We got it with a snack credit and for me it was just OKAY but Tony and the girls loved it. It was a little too tangy and too overwhelming for me but I'd definitely say try it once and glad we did!

I had a Fast Pass to the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and none of us had ridden it yet this trip so I decided to sneak away with Presley and BOOK it to the ride before we lost our Fast Pass slot and we ended up being the only ones to ride it on this trip and I'm so so so glad we got it in because it is honestly one of my FAVORITE rides at Disney World!

Presley was a little freaked out on this ride as it's a little spooky, especially with the cannons going off but overall she can understand it's just pretend and seemed to like it!

When we got off the ride Jack Sparrow was entertaining a crowd but unfortunately we had no time to stop and watch!

One of the other Fast Pass experiences of the day was meeting Anna and Elsa!!!! I'm so glad we did this because not only is Presley such a huge fan, but Molly is so in love with the movie, music, and characters, too! Pretty much the entire trip Molly just tolerated all the characters we came in contact with. And in the beginning she would cry and struggle out of our arms to get away from them! But not with Anna. I don't know what made Anna want to do this, but she came nose-to-nose with Molly and! She was entranced!!! It was a special moment.

Presley was in literal shock... could not believe what was happening to her!

Anna was so animated and just precious with the kids! Right here she was imitating Sven for Molly.

After this we headed back to Be Our Guest for our late late late dinner. This time we dined in the Grand Ballroom! I'm so glad we got to experience two different rooms at Be Our Guest! This room was beautiful and you really honestly felt like you were living part of the movie being there. Halfway through our meal Beast was introduced to the room and that was pretty neat. I got the layered ratatouille (which was a vegetarian dish) for dinner. It was just OK for me... wasn't a huge fan but I didn't completely hate it either. I really preferred their more simple lunch menu.

Once we finished up dinner and dessert we got to go visit Beast in his study! By this point Molly had food - mostly dessert - all over her face. We decided not to clean her up as it would make for a hilarious photo opportunity and it surely did. I told the staff in line that she ate like Beast at dinner! Thankfully they all found it pretty funny instead of thinking we were crazy!!

Snow falling! So magical.

The West Wing! 
A dessert cart!
The enchanted rose

Presley in the Castle Gallery room where we ate lunch earlier in the day 
My little Belle holding Lumiere!

It's Beast!!!!! 
Our sweet girl was not scared at all - she understood this was the more civilized Beast after he became nice from falling in love with Belle.

After dinner I tried to cram in some more rides while the park was so empty but overall our crew was not having it. It was a LONG day and everyone was tired and ready to go to bed!

So that's a wrap on day five! I tried to pack in as much detail as I could remember but seeing as I don't remember what we did between meals - aside from a few rides - I feel like there is a whole lot I'm leaving out. But if I keep putting off finishing up our vacation posts there will really be nothing left to remember!!!