Monday, January 31, 2011

Taco Hell

Every day, I discover new things that pregnancy does to my mind and body.

Case in point.

My beloved sweet tooth has disappeared. While cakes, cookies, brownies and such may LOOK good, there’s just not a bone in my body that wants to eat them. Instead, I have taken a stronger liking to things like spicy food. This is a radical change for me.

I find myself craving ridiculous things like Mexican cheese dip, peppers and even worse, Taco Bell.

I know, right? Who eats that crap?

Ironically, this week I saw on the news where a group of people in Alabama are suing Taco Bell for claiming their “Beef Tacos” are just that, when in fact the “beef” is really a combination of highly seasoned meat-like fillers. Gross. What’s even more disgusting is that I sat there and watched the entire story and then had Taco Bell for dinner the other night.

I haven’t had a hot dog in probably 20 years for that exact reason. I vividly recall someone telling me what hot dogs were really made of and it sickened me to my core. Now, as a level-headed, educated, intelligent adult, I chose to eat Taco Bell, knowing way too much of what was really in that taco.

What is this baby doing to me?!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Ba-bump… Ba-bump… Ba-bump…

The last few days have been especially exhausting for me. As you may have read, my Grandmother passed away last weekend. On Wednesday we had her visitation and the funeral on Thursday morning. Pregnancy in itself makes me more tired than I’ve ever known, and it will probably take a few days to recover from the last two.

However, in the midst of sadness and death for my family, I experienced another “first” in my pregnancy. On Wednesday morning, I had my 2nd OB appointment at Baptist Hospital. I didn’t know what to expect, so I had Neal go to work like normal and I went by myself. Leaving the appointment, I wished so badly that Neal could have made it.

We had the normal question and answer session. I confessed my love for tuna and my heartbreak over not being able to eat it anymore. We talked about the other perils of pregnancy and then… she pulled out something that looked like my first karaoke machine. It was a lil’ box with what looked like a microphone attached. It’s a miracle machine, I now call it.

I got to hear our baby’s heartbeat for the very first time!

(Oooo! I just got chills even writing that sentence.)

In a time where I’m mourning the loss of my Grandmother, God showed me again the circle of life. Where one person has passed, another will soon enter this world. Hearing that heartbeat brought much needed love and peace to my heart. As I prepared for her visitation on Wednesday, I was overwhelmed with sense of hope of where my Grandmother is now, and where my baby has come from.

I don’t like to get all preachy and soft, but it was a very special moment in a time where I needed it the most. And I couldn’t help but think that my Grandmother was probably hearing that very same heartbeat in a world a million miles away.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Pooh Bear"

My grandmother and I had several funny stories between the two of us – most of them involving pet names for each other.

Since birth my grandmother has always called me “Pooh” or “Pooh Bear.” I never understood, and it never mattered. Every Birthday card was addressed to “Pooh” and every Christmas gift tag said the same. About two years back, I was visiting with her and she decided that my late 20’s would be a good time to share with me where she got the name “Pooh.”

I was born in 1982. Besides big hair and bold colors, the most popular thing was the name “Jennifer” for new baby girls. My parents obviously went along with the mainstream and decided to name me as such. (Mom says it was going to be “Erica” and then my dad was home sick one day from work and caught an episode of “All My Children” and discovered the ever nasty “Erica Kane” character. Dad refused to name me that based on this infamous character. However, in the same episode was a beautiful, sweet “Jennifer,” and so they agreed that would be a good compromise.)

Mom and Dad made it very clear that I was to go by “Jennifer! NOT Jenny!” My Grandmother really wanted to call me Jenny, but my dad put his foot down. So she decided to go with a pet name of “Pooh.” She revealed to me, years later, where she derived “Pooh” from.

Ever heard of “Winnie the Pooh?” Well, Winnie rhymed with Jenny. And even though she couldn’t call me Jenny, she went with “Pooh Bear,” which was just a shortened version of “JENNY the Pooh.”

So the joke was on my parents this whole time.

Man I love that woman.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In memory...

This weekend, we had something sad happen in our family. The Church family matriarch, my grandmother, Judy, passed away.

She had been fighting a long battle with cancer and the after effects it left on her aging body. She had been in Baptist Hospital for the last 2 weeks trying to get her strong enough for a possible surgery. She suffered from a sudden medical fluke and passed away just hours later. My family is in shock to say the least.

She leaves behind a husband of nearly 59 years. There is my father, the oldest and the only son, and three daughters. Between her four children, there are 7 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. Neal and I would have given her the 3rd great-grandchild in the family.

I was so happy to be able to share our news with my grandmother last month. I sat with her and explained how excited we were and just talked through the jitters of expecting a first child. With her years of experience, she talked me through some of the fears and hopes. I remember the look on her face when I showed her the ultrasound picture. I had hoped she would be around to see our baby, but I’m thankful to have another angel looking down on us from Heaven. I know she’s still so happy for us, and I have a feeling she’ll be with us along the way.

Funeral arrangements are through Neal-Tarpley funeral home in Clarksville. Visitation will be Wednesday evening at the funeral home with additional visitation Thursday morning at Hilldale Baptist Church with her funeral following at 12pm.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby Registry

Neal and I have visited the local Babies ‘R” Us. Twice. Each time I had to come home and take a nap. Though too early to register, we go to purchase my “Preggie Pops” to help combat the nausea. But while we’re there we like to peruse the furniture to get an idea of what we like. Most of the time, we end up sitting and talking in the rocker glider chairs.

(Oh yes, one of those will be mine!)

It feels like we were just registering for wedding gifts and while that was a bit much at times, at least I had a decent idea of what we needed for our home. But even then, I had to take my mom back for a 2nd run because I apparently don’t cook and don’t know what I truly need for this barren wasteland of a kitchen. I’m thinking I will need to bring a younger friend (who has already reproduced) with us when we register for Baby Niblet.

So far the easy stuff is picked out – like the furniture. It’s the accessories we don’t know crap about. The best kinds of strollers, pumps, toys, bottles, etc.

(Ummm, scary! Looks like some freaky sex device!)

I can just see us registering for things we don’t need, but don’t know any better.

For instance, when Neal saw one of these three-wheeled activity strollers, he immediately started day-dreaming about running while pushing the baby along one of Hendersonville’s green ways. Endearing, but we don’t run now. We play Frisbee, fish, walk the trails and play tennis. But we don’t go “running.” When I told my mom about Neal’s fascination with this “toy,” she burst into laughter. Apparently we won’t have time for these types of activities when babies come along. Pfff!

I just know that Neal has already agreed to tote the baby around in one of these awesome things. I giggle every time I think about it!

So yeah, sometime after March 9th (the big 20 week appointment) we’ll start putting more effort into this registry. And then all you moms can go online and critique my “first time mom list of things I think I need.”

Report back to me. And often.


Thursday, January 20, 2011

Boobs, glorious boobs!

I’m entering my 13th week of pregnancy. I’m getting to the point where (they say) the morning sickness will go away and you can enjoy the most comfortable part of pregnancy. I am very much looking forward to that. I’m hoping it comes for me in the next week or so.

It may sound like I complain a lot about being pregnant, and that’s not what I intend to do. Every day I’m amazed at the changes within my body and the miracle of life growing within me. However, with that comes these dreaded side affects… like the nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, change in tastes, intense headaches and migraines, etc. But here are some things I’m most looking forward to:

  • My overwhelmingly, glorious boobs. I’ve been graced with the love nuggets since a tender age of like 10. Even then, I was always comfortable with them. Love them. In college I had a sticker on the back of my car… that in thinking back, was tacky as f… but it said, “Yes, they’re real.” Because people (men) stare at them constantly. Now, they’re everywhere. They’re huge. They’re beautiful. My cup(s) runneth over. I’ve been told to enjoy this before they deflate to those dreaded “mom boobs.”   And I think I will…
  • Having a FUPA is totally in. If you don’t know what a FUPA is, go research a lil’ on It’ll either make you sick or give you a new noun to describe this dreaded thing. I have an excuse to have a FUPA. And soon people won’t have to wonder if I’m just fat or expecting.
  • I don’t have to suck in as much.
  • Having an excuse to want to eat what I want, when I want. Within reason, of course.
  • I have an excuse to wear sweatpants, though fitted I may add, in public. Comfortable, loose clothing is totally okay.

I may add to this list as I see fit. But these are a few things I was joking with a friend about today and then realized I’m not joking. I really do enjoy these things. J

The one side effect I’m most not looking forward to:
People I don’t know (or hell, some that I DO know) touching my belly.
With or without permission.
Some of my friends have joked about making me a shirt that says, “Look but don’t touch” with an arrow pointing down. I don’t see the joke behind this. I think it’s totally reasonable.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Sea (band) Sick

One lovely side of early pregnancy is ‘morning sickness.’ (Which is a horrible way at disguising ‘all-day sickness’ in my case. Well, on most days anyways.) In the last month or so, it has really picked up, so I’ve reached out to other mom’s for what worked for them – remedies such as keeping ginger ale and saltines by the bed. But here are some other “natural remedies” I’ve tried that have had some postive effects.

Preggie Pops
Several people suggested these to me. I kept thinking they were popsicles, but they’re actual hard candies in varying flavors that have natural nausea subduing ingredients (ie, ginger.) They’re all natural and pretty tasty. If I fed one to Neal, who refuses to try them, he probably couldn’t tell the difference between those and other candies. They were a little hard to stomach at first because during my pregnancy, I haven’t wanted anything to do with sweets. Which is soooo unlike me and a little frustrating at times. I’ve never known my self to pass up brownies and cookies, but they do nothing for me anymore. But even when I did love sweet, I’ve never been much of a candy person, so it’s taken some adjustment.

These can be purchased at Motherhood stores or Babies R Us for about $4.95 a box.

Sea BandsI had never heard of these before, but again they were a natural remedy that other moms have sworn by. They’re based off the ancient Chinese principle of acupressure - effectively acupuncture without needles! (Score!)

It works by applying continuous pressure on the P6 (or Nei-Kuan) point on each wrist using a plastic stud. It came with instructions on how to find this spot on your own wrists. If you read about it, studies have shown that the women in the trial who used acupressure had suffered significantly less nausea and vomiting than those who didn't. You wear them on each wrist whenever you feel nauseous. It claims that it’s discreet and its one size fits all, but that’s questionable. I cant wear them for too long because I’m “big boned” (aka, I have fat wrists and they push a little on them.)

So, these are a few things that I think have helped. It could be mind over matter, but whatever helps, I’ll try. My nausea is getting better slowly and I’m hoping now that I’m in the 2nd trimester that it will go away all together. I can tell you this part has been NO fun!

Any other ideas yall might have?


Friday, January 14, 2011

Genetic Testing

Back when Neal and I were in utero, sonograms and ultrasounds weren’t readily available to just everyone. We were right on the cusp of this new technology, kind of like what 3D TV’s are now days. Not everyone has them, but we’ll all probably own one in our lifetime.

Now, not only are there 3D ultrasounds, there are all kinds of genetic testing that can be done with a blood test or a simple swab of the mouth. They tell you the specific likelihood of having a Down Syndrome baby, a baby with Cystic Fibrosis, amongst other things. And then there is the option of amniocentesis, which has a higher chance of resulting in a miscarriage. These tests are considered “optional” and a lot of health insurance companies won’t necessarily cover them.

These are tests we never even knew were available and they were put on the table at our first OB appointment. We have gone back and forth on whether or not to take part in the tests but our doctor and others like to throw different options at us. Here are a few takes on it…

-         Say we find out that we have a 99.9% chance of a having a child with Down Syndrome or Cystic Fibrosis. Ok. What would we do?
1.      After watching our 9 week old baby wave and kick in the first ultrasound, there is not a chance in this world that we would choose to abort this life. So, no, we will not take the tests, because it would just cause undue stress and worry in the pregnancy.

But there’s always another side…

2.      Say we do find out that we’re expecting a child with a detectible disability. We have time to prepare and research treatments and doctors equipped at dealing with cases like this from the very moment our baby enters the world. Being a planner by nature, there are some good points there to consider.
3.      OR, we take the tests and they come back negative and there’s a much needed sigh of relief.

It’s like trying to figure out if we’ll choose to know the sex of our baby. We waiver on it daily. But for this instance, my heart tells me that God’s WILL will be done, regardless. I’ve researched and there’s a lot of “false positives” on these tests. I want to enjoy my first pregnancy. In just 12 weeks of pregnancy I’ve learned that you worry about things during pregnancy anyways, so I don’t need another thing weighing on me.

But in any case, for you mothers out there, do you have any thoughts or suggestions on the topic? Please share them with me if you do!


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Sleep lil' baby....

I work for the local RE/MAX office in Hendersonville. After leaving Nissan and being unemployed for several months, this job just kinda fell into my lap and has been one of the biggest blessings for us. Having this job allows me to stay in Hendersonville and get to know this city and the people in it, even better. I work for two very successful real estate agents who have taught me a lot in the last nine months. They’re been incredibly generous and understanding, now that we have a baby on the way, which is an answered prayer. Another perk is that I have Hendersonville’s newest home listings at my fingertips.

Neal purchased his home before we even met, and it’s a lovely first home. But even for two people, it feels we’re busting out of the seams at times. We had hoped to put the house on the market in the Spring, but with a baby due in the Summer, it seems unlikely. Who’s to say that our house would sell fast? And what if it did? I can’t fathom packing and moving TWICE being 7, 8 or 9 months pregnant, so we’ve decided to hold off until its better timing for our family.

So with that decision, we’ve decided to make some updates to our home that will only help when we sell. We just got a new roof, replaced and extended the back deck and we’re getting new carpet and paint. What used to be Neal’s office (which over time has become the “junk room” – hey, every home has one) will now be converted to a nursery.
That’s right folks. Neal has to move that bulky gun safe, the signed baseballs and his beloved autographed Playboy magazine. It’s one of those unfortunate cons of growing up. J

We’ve decided to paint the nursery a neutral green, in case God plans on playing any more jokes on me. If it’s a girl, we’ll decorate with girlish (purple or pink - my vote is for purple!) accents. If it’s a boy, we’ll decorate with blue accents. Either way, we like the idea of a mural painted on the wall. Here are a few ideas I've come across that I like…

 (A girl's room, obviously.)
(A fun boys room. I like the idea of a "monkey" theme. But its still early to decide.)
(This one is kind of gender neutral. But I'm still saving it. We like the dark nursery furniture, too!)

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

28.9 & Pregnant

If you would have told the 16 year old me that I would be nearly 28 when I got married, my knees would have buckled out from under me. Likewise, if you would have mentioned that I’d be 29.5 having my first child, I’d straight out pass out.

“That’s almost… 30! That’s… so… OLD!”

And while I may be older than an average American mom, I can’t imagine it any other way.

I took a lot of the principles from my “Worth Waiting For” group and applied them to my own personal life. I’m not saying that I waited till my wedding night (love yall, but it aint none of yo business anyways!) BUT, I will say that a lot of what I learned and taught about some 10+ years ago proved to be true.

I met a man that I couldn’t imagine sharing the rest of my life without. In that loving, committed marriage, we made the decision to create a life, a child, together. 

The thought of becoming a mother, even now at my age, is overwhelming at times. I’m experiencing the real joy, excitement and even fears of impending motherhood. I just can’t imagine dealing with all these feelings at a young age of 16. Even 19. Hell, even 25.

In my teenage years, sure, sex crossed my mind, but I had better plans in life that didn’t include carrying a baby along the way. I was a fortunate one who made the sometimes hard decision to wait for the right time.

I had the ability to experience college in a college age. I did the sorority thing. I had the late nights and the early mornings. I did the overkill on Domino’s and Chic-fil-a. I walked across a stage and received a well-earned diploma. I moved to a big city, lived by myself, and experienced corporate America. I did everything I had planned for myself.

I feel like I owe a lot of my young choices to proper education about pre-marital sex and, my mother being open and honest with me about the subject, and a supportive group of friends who focused on other things in high school other than teen sex.

I like to think it truly paid off. And while looking 30 in the face and carrying my first child wasn’t in the 16 year old Jenn’s realm of thinking, I just can’t imagine it any other way.

THIS is what it feels like when it’s meant to be.


Friday, January 7, 2011

16 and Pregnant

When "16 and Pregnant" ( ) premiered last season, I was instantly swept into MTV’s newest reality show.

When I was in High School, the mere thought of getting pregnant was the best birth control I ever needed. While none of my immediate friends struggled with what is now a teen epidemic, you couldn’t help but notice the girls in HS that did. Coming from a somewhat young, Southern family, I had family members that could share their own experiences of being a teen mom.

The thought was frightening and so I pledged, like a lot of girls, to “wait till marriage.” While that’s kind of a grey issue now, I took it very seriously in HS. I was the President of a faith based group call “Worth Waiting For” (or WWF.) Yes, I was that girl who wore the shirt with the intertwined wedding rings and a big “WWF” on the back. As nerdy as it may seem now, I truly had a passion for preventing teen pregnancy.

As part of the organization, I would go to area Middle Schools and talk to the 8th grade Health Ed classes about the risks of teen sex and why waiting would allow them to do everything they wanted to in High School without the worry of STD’s, emotional issues or pregnancy. I guess at the time, I felt it would reach them better than a teacher getting up and reading about it out of a book.

I think most parents try to scare the hell of their child by preaching about how “it only takes ONE time.” For some kids, that works. For others, they push the envelope and insist on making their own choices. Combine that with a lack of education on the subject, sadly, some of those girls end up on a show like “16 & Pregnant.”

The MTV reality show has seen its fair share of controversy. Some opponents think that MTV is glamorizing teen pregnancy. I can see where some people might think that because some of the show’s “stars” are showing up on magazine covers, telling their story. But if you really watch the show, it is heartbreaking. It features a wide range of girls – middle class families, low-income families, black, white and everything in between. Southern, Northern, Mid-West girl. Girls from married parents, girls from single teens moms. Cheerleaders. Band geeks. Homecoming queens. It does a wonderful job at showing that teen pregnancy can happen to anyone.

It chronicles from when they found out they were pregnant, to how they told their parent(s), dealing with their baby’s father involvement (or lack there of,) delivery and raising a newborn. It features real struggles like money, not finishing high school,  pushing off college, losing friends, making ends meet, challenges with their parents and the father of their child. In my opinion, it never makes teen pregnancy look glamorous or easy.

In my opinion, I truly feel they should incorporate this show in middle school and high school sex ed curriculum. There a lot of kids that never learn about consequences of teen sex and I feel this show brings a very real feeling to something that ultimately should be experienced in a loving marriage between two consenting, committed adults.  

Anyways, that’s my take on it. In my next blog, I’ll address being damn near 30 and pregnant.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

To Know or Not to Know…

A lot of you have asked if we will find out what we’re having.

Before we found out we were expecting, Neal was pretty adamant about it being a surprise and I was torn on it. I think the nostalgia of waiting is quite charming. But if you know me, then you know I have OCD tendencies and like to plan the very best I can. So knowing what we’re having would put my mind at ease and perhaps a little more color in our world than just the normal yellow. Also, I may have mentioned before that my husband is brilliant, one of the smartest people I know, and I bet he’s already googled how to tell anyways. (Cheater!)

Of course, God has His own plan. For instance, I have a friend on Facebook who for months updated her status about “Baby Allison.” She would post multiple photos of this glorious pink room and everything they were doing to prepare for Baby Allison. And then she went into labor and her next facebook status was, “Everyone say hell to baby MICHAEL!”

So I suppose the moral of the story is you can plan all day long, but I suppose you never truly know until lil’ baby decides to show its squinty little face.

In the end, we are leaning towards finding out, but the room will be a nice green color and we’ll leave the tags on stuff, just in case. J

But I can say with certainty is we will not have one of those 3-D ultrasounds. While I am pleased with today’s technology, I kind of feel like those are cheating in a sense. I want to see my baby’s face for the first time when it enters this world. So at least we’ll be a little traditional in that aspect.


Monday, January 3, 2011

Thank You!

So again, I want to say a special THANK YOU to our friends and family who have had such kind things to say this last week. I also want to give a special shout out to you women who have shared me with your horror stories of pregnancy. My sleepless nights and I thank you greatly. Haha!

It’s been a huge relief to me to be able to share our news officially. I’m pretty sure my mom thought I was dying for a while there, so I was relieved to tell her. The first trimester has been rough at times, with the normal ailments of early pregnancy. One thing I didn’t expect was for my migraines to kick up again.

I’ve always had migraines and they were usually stress induced. For instance, when I worked at Nissan’s corporate headquarters, I had them 1-2 times a month. After I left Nissan, they miraculously went away. I had one or two with the wedding planning process, but that’s about it. Since I found I was pregnant, they started popping up more due to these pesky hormones. Since I cant take my normal medication, my doctor prescribed something for me to take that should help.

As you can imagine, the grandmothers-to-be are just as excited. Well, almost as excited! Baby Niblet will be the first grandchild for both of our parents, so it is sure to be one spoiled lil’ baby! I think the grandfathers-to-be need a little more time for it to settle in. As a whole, men are more “visual” creatures, so I’m not even sure that it will settle in until they get to actually hold the baby. Then they’ll probably be the biggest of the blubberers!

As I mentioned, July 30th is the current due date. I know that’ll be here before I know it. (I can hardly believe its 2011 now!) I do have major anxiety thinking about being huge pregnant in the middle of a Tennessee summer. I don’t deal well with the heat under normal conditions, so I know Neal will require a prayer or two when the temps start creeping up again. Our home is an ice-box, even now and I like it that way. I’m pretty sure Neal will be wearing fleece in June. I’m getting hot flashes just thinking about it.

Oh may the Lord be with us! J