My Epic (Holiday) Fail.

This year, I somehow surmised that it would be a good idea for me and Kamryn to make a gingerbread house for Christmas.

I’ve never made one before, and it seemed like a fun activity that could turn into an annual family holiday tradition.

Oh, and how I love traditions.

So yesterday, we broke out the store-bought kit that I bought a few weeks ago and got to work at the kitchen table.

The construction phase seemed to be going well, until I tried to get the house to fit into the plastic tray from the kit.

It didn’t work. And when I tried to push it…

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the entire thing fell apart.

And the front and back of the gingerbread house cracked into pieces.

From that point on, we weren’t working with just any gingerbread house.

We were building the Griswold Gingerbread House.

Ugh. Go figure. It looked so easy on the box.

The problems didn’t end there. Only a few minutes later, we suffered a fatality.

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During the panic and chaos (and mild swearing) that occurred in the aftermath of the gingerbread house collapse, Kamryn accidentally dropped the house’s owner, Mr. Gingerbread Man.

Sadly, our cookie friend had to be discarded in the kitchen trash can.

May he rest in two delicious pieces at the bottom of a 13-gallon Hefty bag.

After all the tragedy, it seemed like there might not be any hope for our little house.

Until I decided to try using graham crackers as reinforcing structural supports.

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That, combined with a little extra frosting to patch up the broken pieces…

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And our (most likely to be deemed uninhabitable) gingerbread house was finally standing.

Once we decorated the thing, it actually didn’t turn out as horrible as I thought it would.

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copyright - suburban princess diaries It was actually, dare I say it….

…kind of cute?

But because it isn’t exactly structurally sound, we hired someone to keep an eye on the place.

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There’s something about having Batman on the job that makes us feel all warm and fuzzy.

I think the gingerbread house will be safe now until Sunday.

Unless the kids eat it before then.

More bad news.

I got the results back yesterday.

And I failed my three-hour glucose test miserably.

So this year, I’m getting my second round of gestational diabetes for Christmas.

Thanks, Santa.

Now I get to spend the holidays reacquainting myself with all my old diabetic paraphernalia.

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6 bags of needles, 1 box of lancets, 2 glucose meters, one hundred test strips…             

and a partridge in a pear tree.

Daegan’s Intervention.

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In case the title didn’t tip you off, things have been nothing but chaos around here lately.

I now have two children seeing healthcare specialists, one child attending two preschools (one morning and one afternoon) and I’m still pregnant with number four.

Which means you can throw in bi-weekly OB visits (with increasing blood pressure measurements and a impending three hour glucose test) on top of everything else.

Busy doesn’t even begin to cover it.

Unfortunately, just as we are starting to get somewhere with the endocrinologist and Bronx’s latest test results, another medical issue is now beginning with Daegan.

He’s been seeing a pediatric gastroenterologist for the past month, since his nine month checkup revealed that he had been losing weight.

Surprise, surprise. The doctor couldn’t find any G.I. issues that would explain the weight loss.

So, no definite answers for why he is so small.

On top of that, Daegan has missed several important milestones. At ten and a half months, he still cannot sit by himself, cannot push himself onto his arms when on his tummy, and his head control is not as strong as it should be.

Because he is falling behind, his regular pediatrician referred us to an early intervention therapy team who came to our house to evaluate him.

The reports they sent back to us were more than just a little concerning.

Daegan is developmentally delayed. In all areas.

I wasn’t expecting him to be so far behind. It was a bit of a shock to hear that he was almost 50% delayed in motor development and between 15-30% delayed in all other development.

Based on the results, he will be starting physical therapy and developmental therapy in the next few weeks.

That’s not the most alarming part of all of this though.

The therapists and the gastroenterologist have all mentioned that Daegan has overall muscle weakness.

And remember how he was born with ptosis? That condition is caused by muscle weakness as well.

Based on the muscle issues, our pediatrician is now referring Daegan to a pediatric neurologist to determine if the muscle weakness is being caused by a dystrophy or some other muscle disease.

But that doctor is booked until after the holidays, so we have a little bit of a wait until we can even start investigating this new issue.

Between now and then we have another visit to the ophthalmologist (not sure how that is going to go now that we know his muscle weakness extends far beyond just his left eyelid) and we have two different forms of therapy starting.

At least we’ll be staying busy during the wait.

Serenity.

( Note: I would have posted this sooner, but I won an overnight stay in the hospital this weekend in the Labor and Delivery unit for preterm labor brought on by extreme dehydration from a nasty stomach virus.

Thankfully, I’m back at home now and the baby and I are both doing well.

So now I can get back to blogging... )

Ever since those red flags showed up on my anatomy ultrasound awhile back, I’ve been under close monitoring by the maternal-fetal medicine department at the hospital.

The upside of this is that I was able to get some extra ultrasounds, which means more baby viewing time for me. The downside is that these people like to make me panic.

And panic I did.

After the initial ultrasound, I freaked. I read every medical journal study involving the correlation between short nasal bones and Down’s Syndrome.

Most of what I read was reassuring. But still, I couldn’t shake my anxiety. I have never had anything even remotely concerning show up during any of my ultrasounds when I was pregnant with the boys, so this was all completely new for me.

And all I could do was worry.

For almost a week, I barely slept. I had panic attacks where I felt like my heart was pounding through my chest and I could barely breathe. I was constantly on edge, consumed by the terrifying thought that there might be something wrong with my baby.

It was an awful week.

Then, at my next OB appointment, I told the doctor that I was stressed out over the anatomy scan. He pulled up the report that maternal-fetal medicine had sent to him and showed it to me.

Based on my age alone, MFM had determined that my risk of having a baby with Down’s was 1:3760.

After my ultrasound, when they discovered that the baby’s nasal bone was measuring short, the risk was adjusted.

To 1:3700.

I was stunned and incredibly relieved to see that the numbers had not changed significantly.

The report alone did not ease my mind completely. I still needed to get through a quad screen and another ultrasound to determine if we might need an amnio.

The quad screen came back normal. It has a 75-80% rate of detecting neural tube defects and Down’s Syndrome. Based on the results of the screen, my risk of a neural tube defect is 1:2074 and my risk of Down’s Syndrome is 1:767.

According to the doctor at maternal-fetal medicine, the normal cutoff for Down’s risk on a quad screen is 1:270.

My results were way above the cutoff. The odds are in our favor.

I had two more ultrasounds with maternal-fetal medicine. The first one showed that the cyst in her brain (despite what the doctor had said during the first visit, the report stated there was only one cyst) had disappeared.

The scan also revealed that her nasal bone had grown since the last ultrasound. This was particularly reassuring, since short nasal bones in babies with DS don’t grow with gestational age.

Another ultrasound a few weeks later confirmed that her nasal bone was continuing to grow. She also is measuring right on target everywhere else.

It’s highly likely that we will be having a healthy baby girl.

And since my last ultrasound was in 3D, I also got a peek at just how beautiful she is.

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Now I just can’t wait to meet her.

More answers. Even more questions.

Bronx went and saw an endocrinologist last week for the first time.

It seemed like a fairly routine doctor’s visit. We went over his medical history and the doctor ordered some blood work and an x-ray.

Both proved to be tough for my little guy. I wasn’t allowed to accompany him to his x-ray because I’m pregnant, so against all my motherly instincts, I had to hand him over to the technician in the waiting room.

Then he had an awful blood draw. He got stuck in both arms because they couldn’t get enough out of just one arm. He screamed and cried and ultimately ended up with a nasty hematoma. It was horrible.

And then, today, we received the results of his tests in the mail.

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Not only does our Bronx not weigh very much (19 pounds at almost 2 and a half), his bone growth is delayed too.

His bone age, determined by the x-ray, is that of a one year-old.

Some of his blood work came back abnormal as well, but since I’m not a medical professional, I couldn’t interpret most of it. The only part I was able to decipher mentioned that he has a low insulin-like growth factor.

I’m not sure what any of this means at this point. I do know that the findings must be of some significance because we were not scheduled to see this same doctor again for another four months, but according to the report the doctor now wants to see him again in the next two to four weeks.

So until then, the mystery continues to unfold.

It’s happening again.

Daegan just recently went to his nine month checkup at the doctor’s office.

His weigh-in didn’t go so well.

In the past three months he has lost well over a pound, and now, at nine months old, he only weighs a few ounces over 12 pounds.

He weighs exactly what he weighed when he was four months old. Five months ago.

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He’s super tiny…just like his big brother, Bronx.

So now the cycle of tests and specialists starts all over again for us.

And in addition to that, a developmental interventionist has been scheduled to come visit him later this week because he still can’t sit up on his own.

It seems like my babies are trying to stay babies forever around here.

The Final IntelliGender Experiment.

I finally got a chance to take the third test that I received from IntelliGender.

A test that I was only taking because I had already taken two tests during this pregnancy with very different results.

This third test was going to be the tiebreaker.

Just to recap:

Test #1 predicted I was having a girl.

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Test #2 predicted a boy.

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At this point, I was really starting to think that maybe the accurate results that I had gotten with the two tests during my last pregnancy were just a fluke. With two different results for the same pregnancy, it was beginning to look like I had inadvertently proven that IntelliGender was a 50/50 thing. A product of junk science that wasn’t any more reliable than flipping a coin.

But then, I found out just a couple of days after taking the second test that I had a UTI/kidney infection.

And that there was a significant amount of blood in my urine.

So I had to wait for the infection and the antibiotics that I had to take for it to clear out of my system before I could take the third test.

During that wait, I had the ultrasound that confirmed I am having a girl.

I knew going into the third test that the initial IntelliGender prediction had been correct. Which made me wonder if that false boy result had occurred because of all the blood in my urine.

I took the third test the day after my course of antibiotics ended.

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It gave me another girl result, which leads me to believe that my theory is correct.

I think that there is some degree of validity to the IntelliGender test.

Out of a total of five tests across two different pregnancies with fetuses of different genders, four of the tests (two for each pregnancy) have yielded accurate results.

The only time I had an inaccurate result, there was something in my urine that quite possibly could have interfered with the test.

And considering the fact that UTI’s are quite common in pregnancy, I’m wondering if this is something that contributes to at least some of the results being wrong for some women.

With that in mind, my conclusion is that if the test directions are followed precisely and there is nothing out of the ordinary present in the urine sample, the outcome of the test should be pretty reliable.

I think that they have finally made the skeptic in me a believer.

Prince or Princess?

That Level II ultrasound that I had last week wasn’t all about unsettling findings.

The 70/30 gender odds that we were given during my previous ultrasound was just too much of a temptation. We HAD to find out the sex of this baby.

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So we told the tech that we wanted to know.

And the first thing she did was try to get a shot of the goods.

I saw it right away and before she had the chance to say it aloud, I knew that the previous tech had been right with his 70% sure guess.

This tech said that she would say 100% sure, but since she’s not allowed to say that for liability reasons, we had to go with 99.9%.

So now we have official confirmation that…

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It’s a GIRL!

And because I had to have proof… I got this.

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She circled the “three lines” (that’s the girl parts) and she even typed out the word “girl”.

I think it’s a pretty sure thing.

We’re finally getting a princess!

Fear Factors.

I had a Level II ultrasound last week, and it didn’t go quite as well as I expected.

The ultrasound tech was great. Unlike some of the others I’ve encountered in the past, she never turned the screen away from me so I was able to watch the entire scan.

And everything was completely routine until she asked if I had had an NT scan during my first trimester.

I explained to her that I had not had one, even though I had tried to schedule one when I was at my nine week appointment, but the doctor said it wasn’t necessary because I was low risk and had healthy children.

As soon as she started asking about the NT scan, I knew something was up.

But she went on with the ultrasound without any further explanation.

Towards the end of the scan, she couldn’t get a view of the baby’s back, so she told me I would need to come back for another ultrasound.

Then the doctor came in to talk with us.

She said that there are a few, tiny choroid plexus cysts in the baby’s brain.

She said that normally these go away by 21-22 weeks and that it doesn’t affect the baby.

I had heard of this cyst thing before, so when I was talking with the doctor I didn’t get too alarmed.

But then she started asking if anyone in my family has a short nose. I wasn’t exactly sure what she was talking about or why it would matter, so I just kind of started rambling.

It turns out, the baby also has a short nasal bone. She said that when the nasal bone is missing, they get concerned about Down’s Syndrome. She said that because my nose is short, (and there are a few other people in the family with shorter noses) it’s probably fine and that there shouldn’t be any reason to worry.

So I didn’t worry…at least not at first.

But then I went home and started consulting Google Howser, M.D.

I should have known better.

What I initially found scared the pants off of me.

There is a lot of information on the internet about choroid plexus cysts (CPC’s) being a marker for Down’s Syndrome. I started getting really worried after that, thinking that maybe my baby had two soft markers for Down’s on the ultrasound. After a little more research in medical texts and journals, I found that CPC’s are only a soft marker for Trisomy 18 (Edward’s Syndrome) and not Trisomy 21 (Down’s Syndrome).

From what I understand, one of the characteristics of Edward’s Syndrome is that the baby cannot unclench it’s hands. Since I have a clear sonogram of the baby with it’s hand open, and the doctor never mentioned anything about Edward’s Syndrome, I think it’s safe to rule that out.

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CPC’s are common in healthy babies and most experts are starting to believe that they are normal part of fetal development.

So, as scary as the choroid plexus cyst sounds, I’ve come to the conclusion that I really shouldn’t let it worry me.

Hopefully they will have resolved by the time I get my next ultrasound.

The part that I’m still slightly nervous about is the short nasal bone.

In the absence of other makers, it really could be that the baby has just inherited a small nose. And from what I’ve found on Google, many mothers who are told during their ultrasound that their baby has a short nasal bone just have healthy babies with small noses.

But while an absent nasal bone is considered a “hard marker” for Down’s Syndrome, it seems that the jury is still out on whether or not a short nasal bone is a strong marker or not. It does seem to be a bit of a red flag though.

The rational side of me realizes that in all probability, things are probably fine. The baby is most likely completely chromosomally normal and healthy.

However, now that the Pandora’s Box of “what-if’s” has been opened, I’m not sure I’ll be able to completely relax until the baby’s born.

Because even though I do have a quad screen scheduled in just a few days and another ultrasound next week, they will only be able to tell me if my risk for chromosomal abnormalities is higher or lower.

The only way I can know for sure is an amniocentesis.

So while I’m trying my best to convince myself that everything is most likely okay, I’m still a bit of an anxious mess.

Entertaining the Laws of Probability.

I ended up at the hospital last week after having some scary preterm labor issues.

After a lovely overnight stay filled with blood tests, ultrasounds and intravenous drugs, the doctor on call finally concluded that I had a UTI-turned-kidney infection.

And that was causing me to have contractions.

In the process of solving that mystery, something unexpected happened.

The ultrasound tech gave me his opinion about the baby’s gender.

And he said he was 70% sure that the baby is a…

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Well, I’m not going to say which gender he was 70% in favor of.

Because 70% isn’t exactly a sure thing.

What’s weird is that I have never had an ultrasound tech give me a percentage. They’ve always just called out the baby’s sex with confidence. Or simply said that they couldn’t tell.

This newest revelation, in addition to the conflicting Intelligender tests, has really started to make my head spin.

I think I’m going to have to find out  now…

This is One Doodle that Can't Be Un-did, Homeskillet.

I was downtown a few nights back on my way to a hair appointment.

Normally, this would probably be uneventful, but that same night the local high school was having it’s annual homecoming parade.

Judging by the crowded turnout, I guess it’s a pretty big deal around here.

The floats were all lined up on the same street as the salon I was going to, so much to my dismay,  I had to park about four blocks away and walk past all the parked floats.

Floats filled with bored, loud, obnoxious high schoolers.

It was just starting to occur to me that these kids were over a decade younger than me when I hear this:

“Hey! It’s JUNO!”

It was one of the float kids. Yelling, and I can only assume because I was the lone young-looking and visibly pregnant girl on the sidewalk, in reference to me.

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Which was immediately followed by a small crowd of kids chanting,

“JUNO. JUNO. JUNO. JUNO!”

OMG. They probably thought I went to school with them.

I called my husband and told him what was happening.

He suggested that I holler back and ask them if they have any Sunny D.

Seriously, I’m not a fan of teenagers.

Even Weirder Science.

After I took that IntelliGender test and got an unexpected result, I just couldn’t resist the opportunity to confirm it with a second test.

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Curiosity got the best of me.

That, and my obsession with bathroom-based lab experiments. Oh, and the unbelievable coupon to an online store that I found in my email inbox, which brought the price of the second test down enough that it was just begging me to buy it.

Plus, after the two tests that I took during my last pregnancy turned out to be 100% accurate, I was starting to believe that the test this time around might have some validity.

But…the scientist in me still had doubts. Mainly, because even after a ton of online research, I still have no idea how the darn thing works.

IntelliGender explains it on their blog like this:

IntelliGender's Gender Prediction Test is a simple urine analysis similar to the pregnancy test you took a few weeks ago. It uses first morning urine and a proprietary mix of chemicals which reacts with a combination of hormones to indicate the gender of your baby. It is an easy test to perform and provides quick results in-home so the news can be shared right away.”

Needless to say, it’s a little vague. They don’t state what chemicals mix with which hormones.

And since I can’t figure out how the test works, I reverted back to the scientific method.

I concluded that if I got another girl result, the original result would be somewhat confirmed.

So I tested…

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And apparently, in only four short weeks, IntelliGender has changed it’s mind in regards to the sex of our unborn child.

Just for reference, here is a side-by-side of my first test compared with this one.

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They couldn’t be more different.

I have to admit, I was really shocked. After the results of all my other tests, I was starting to think that maybe this IntelliGender test really had some merit.

I emailed IntelliGender to see what they had to say about the discrepancy between the two tests.

The customer service representative that wrote me back seemed just as confused as I was. She said that it was very rare for an expectant mother to get two different results.

To solve this mystery, they are sending me another test.

And so,  the laboratory saga continues…

The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes

And no. We’re not talking about me here.

Because we all know that I have made my fair share of messes.

Actually, I’m referring to a new children’s book that Sourcebooks was nice enough to send me for review, The Girl Who Never Made Mistakes, by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein.

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I have to say, I was really impressed by this book. The story is cute and the illustrations are beautiful. Most importantly, it was a hit with the kids. I read it with my son at bedtime and it ended up taking forever because he insisted that I read it over and over and over again.

We went through it together, cover-to-cover four times before I finally threw in the towel and told him to go to sleep.

But he just couldn’t get enough. Especially when the story includes a hamster being juggled.

Which is silly enough to even make me giggle a little.

Why I Don’t Want to Know.

Yes. You read that right.

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A huge (and growing) part of me does not want to find out the gender of this baby until I am in the delivery room.

And it’s not for the reason that you might think.

Because despite what IntelliGender has predicted, I still think that there is a very real possibility that we could be having yet another beautiful, bouncing baby boy.

And I am perfectly fine with that.

Even though I already have three little boys, I am genuinely excited to be expecting another addition to our family, regardless of gender.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like anyone else is going to be as unconditionally accepting of this baby as my husband and I are.

Seriously.

It’s still hard for me to believe the way that people are reacting to the news of my pregnancy with our fourth child.

Because whenever we have announced it, the first question out of everyone’s mouth is if we know what we are having.

And when we tell them no, they always tell me that they hope (or they “just know”) that it’s a girl this time.

Which makes me realize that when I do reveal the gender to those who are curious, things are going to go one of two ways.

Either I’m having a girl and it’s going to be one great big party…

Or I’m having a boy and people are going to inevitably say “Oh no! Not another one!”. tell me how sorry they are and give me sympathy.

Like someone died.

And I can’t handle that.

I can’t handle the fact that other people might be disappointed if my baby is the “wrong” gender.

The pressure on me to produce a baby girl this time around is just too ridiculous.

It makes me not want to find out. My anatomy scan is just weeks away and I am fairly certain that I do not want the ultrasound technician to tell me the sex of the baby.

Because if I don’t know, then I don’t have to tell anyone.

And in this situation, ignorance really does seem more like bliss.

The IntelliGender Verdict is in!

Ready for a little more bathroom chemistry?

I know I am!

Lucky for me, IntelliGender was nice enough to let me review their Gender Prediction Test again for this pregnancy.

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This test is fascinating to me. It’s a simple urine test that claims to be 90% accurate (in laboratory trials) at predicting the gender of your baby as early as 10 weeks.

I admit, I was skeptical the first time I tried this during my last pregnancy.

Skeptical…until I found out that my result turned out to be completely accurate.

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Although, even after the ultrasound confirmed that the IntelliGender test had been right, the cynical side of me still had doubts.

Until I took the test a second time. And got the same results.

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And several months later I did indeed give birth to this little (all boy) bundle of joy…

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Now that I’m pregnant yet again, I was beyond excited to have the chance to use this test one more time. (It is just so much fun!)

I took it at 14 weeks. I got up early in the morning, followed the instructions exactly and then spent the next five minutes trying not to peek and anxiously awaiting the results.

Even though I was fairly sure that I knew what those results were going to be.

But then IntelliGender said that I am having a…

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I couldn’t believe it.

I took a bunch of pictures of the result and I analyzed the bottle and all of the photos several times. I was so surprised by the outcome that I started to think that maybe I was misreading the results.

Just to be absolutely sure, I did a side-by-side comparison of my “boy” results from my last pregnancy and my “girl” results from this one.

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I’m pretty sure at this point that my color interpretations are correct.

Let’s just say that this has just made things a lot more interesting.

Especially since, given our track record, the hubby and I were practically assuming that this new baby was a boy until proven otherwise.

Maybe our assumptions are wrong.

I guess we will know soon enough…

Dissecting the Digital.

Ah, yes. The mad scientist in me has returned.

(Insert crazy, maniacal laugh here).

This really shouldn’t be much of a surprise. You had to have known from my previous experiments that once I wound up pregnant again it would only be a matter of time before I turned my bathroom back into a makeshift laboratory.

It seems that I have a slight addiction to at-home pseudo-chemistry.

So, for this round of science fun, I decided to take apart my digital pregnancy tests.

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Something that the instructions tell you to NEVER, EVER do.

The reasoning behind this is that most women (including myself) will endlessly scrutinize the results of their HPT’s, until their eyes start to burn from staring at the stick. This is why the standard line tests are so much fun. The lines (or lack thereof) can sometimes be open to interpretation.

The digital is much more straightforward. It has a readout that says “Pregnant” or “Not Pregnant”. It eliminates the lines and the ambiguity that comes with them.

No room for interpretation. No fun.

But...crack open a digital and you will find a strip. With those fun little lines.

The instructions that come with the test state that the lines are meaningless. They can only be read by the test. The word result that comes up in the window is the only one you should rely on.

That said, I’ve read many internet posts where women who have gotten a “Not Pregnant” readout on a digital test have not heeded the instruction’s warnings and opened up the stick to find a strip with two lines…

…Which inevitably leads to a lot of false hope.

Two lines? That usually means pregnant. So maybe the test is positive but the digital readout just isn’t picking up the second line.

It seems logical. But the instructions don’t lie. There is no way to determine a positive or negative result on a digital just by looking at the lines.

I have proof.

Both times I took the test, at the beginning of this pregnancy, the digital readout said “Pregnant”.

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Each time, after a few minutes, curiosity got the best of me, and I pried the stupid things open.

It took a few frustrating seconds (and almost breaking a nail) but I finally got the suckers apart.

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Only to find the inside of a freaking small computer staring back at me.

Seriously, it seems a bit too much for a home pregnancy test, doesn’t it?

Seeing it’s technological guts laid out almost made me feel as if I had peed on a the motherboard of a Nintendo Gameboy.

Weird.

Then I pulled out the test strips.

This is the from the first positive test. Only one line. 1linedigitalWhile the second positive test has two lines.DSC_0064

So the lines obviously are not meant to be read by the naked eye. You could be pregnant and get one line or two. Or you could be not pregnant and get one line or two.

My advice is to follow the instructions and resist the urge to tear the thing apart.

Besides, you don’t want to risk ruining your French manicure for no good reason.

Pajama Party Time! (*Giveaway!*)

**THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED!**

Winner: Veronika

Bedtime is not an easy event at my house, by any means.

I have three little monsters who try every night to convince me (through screaming, crying, and an insane amount of negotiation techniques) that they are nocturnal by nature.

Even though they fight off sleep like the plague, there is one part of their nighttime routine that they actually enjoy.

Pajama time!

Lucky for us, Crazy For Bargains, a company that specializes in fun sleepwear for the entire family, sent each of my boys a set of pajamas for review.

Now, I have to warn you…my kids were so excited about the new jammies that they weren’t exactly cooperative when I was ready to take pictures.

These are the best shots that I could get:
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The Lego Batman pajamas were a perfect match for Kamryn, who has an obsession for superheroes (inherited from his geeky father). And Bronx thought his new adorable giraffe pj’s were good enough to chew (Much like his old beloved crib)!

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Even though I loved all of the boys’ new jam jams, my favorite was the little fish sleeper for Daegan. The back actually says “Something’s Fishy” across the bottom! How cute is that!


Like what you see? Well, you can have great pajamas too! That’s because Crazy For Bargains is going to give one of my lucky readers a store credit worth $25, good toward sleepwear for you, your kids or someone else you love!

Here’s how to enter:

* Follow The Suburban Princess Diaries through Google Friend Connect (if you don’t already!) and leave a comment. Make sure that you provide a valid email address so that I can contact you if you are the winner.

* All entrants must be at least 18 years of age and a U.S. resident.

The giveaway will be open until Saturday, September 17 at midnight (EST).

I will select a winner by random drawing at the close of the contest. The winner will be notified via email and announced in an update within this post.

Good luck and Sweet Dreams!

The Bronx Tale continues…

Last month, we took our Bronxie Bear back to Children’s Hospital for more tests and an appointment with the nephrologist.

Based on the labs, the doctor sees no evidence of any kidney problems.

Excellent news.

One more thing we can rule out.

We’ve now been referred to an endocrinologist to keep investigating the possible causes of Bronx’s tiny size. (Just to update: At 2 years old he weighs only 19 pounds).

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I have run out of any plausible ideas as to why he is growing at such a slow pace, but shortly before Bronx’s 2nd birthday I did notice that he was exhibiting some strange behavior.

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The little woodchuck was eating his crib.

So, we decided it was time to move him out of the nursery and into Kamryn’s room.

Where he immediately began to gnaw on the expensive, new wooden bunk bed that he shares with his older brother.

He’s not teething anymore, so I can’t figure out why the heck he would be chomping on furniture like this.

It’s definitely something I’m going to mention when we visit the next medical specialist on our list.

Until then, I’m just hoping that he keeps his baby jaws off my entertainment center.

Now returning to our regularly scheduled programming. . .

Alright. I know you’ve been waiting.

And I’m sorry I’ve had to leave you in suspense for so long.

I finally do have some answers though.

Most of which came as the result of a visit to the hospital emergency room at 6 weeks.

The dreaded spotting that has been freaking me out since the beginning of this pregnancy suddenly returned. Only this time it was accompanied by back pain and cramps.

It was terrifyingly similar to the way my last miscarriage began, so I felt like I had to get it checked out.

It was late in the evening, and my husband had to stay at home with the kids. I ended up going alone.

And while I waited for the nurse to call me back into triage, I was afraid that it was all over.

The doctor ordered blood work. Thankfully the beta wasn’t tanking like it had the last time things went wrong.

Actually. It was the opposite. It was really high.

Which even made the doctor raise an eyebrow about the possibility of multiples.

After that, I was forced to down an insane amount of ice water and sent to ultrasound.

I spent almost an hour in there, getting both an external and an internal ultrasound by a blank-faced technician who didn’t speak and kept the screen turned away from me the entire time.

It was torture.

Especially since I started thinking that maybe the reason it was taking so long was because he was measuring more than one.

Or because something bad was showing up on the monitor.

I barely breathed the entire time. And then, when it was finally over, the tech handed me a printout.

According to the doctor, everything looked fine. There was no way for them to determine what exactly was causing my symptoms, so they warned me to take it easy and sent me home.

Where I held my breath and waited until my first OB appointment three weeks later.

Another ultrasound was done…and again everything looked perfect…

And the baby looked so much bigger than last time.

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You read that right. B-A-B-Y!

As in…only one.

And people, as exciting as twins would be… I am so relieved that we are not having multiples.

Because when this baby is born I will have four kids, ages four and under.

That’s right. Count ‘em. Four babies in four and a half years.

Any more than that right now and I would just be begging the TLC network for my own show.

God knows we can’t have that. The last thing I want right now is to be the replacement for the Kate Plus 8 timeslot.

Fetus to Fifth Grade

When I started my journey into the world of motherhood, I found myself approaching it the same way that I would tackle anything else.

I went seeking out any and every bit of worthwhile information that I could find on pregnancy and parenting and I researched the heck out of it.

That’s me. I’m a total bookworm.

Now as a mommy blogger, I have the wonderful opportunity to read and review books about child-rearing that I may not have discovered otherwise.

And recently I was given a copy of the book, Fetus to Fifth Grade by Dr. David Schapira for review.

Fetus to Fifth Grade

This book is unique from other parenting books that I’ve read because it gives helpful advice that is supported through scientific studies and statistical analysis. It holds a wealth of useful financial information, such as how to effectively budget for baby, and it even has a breakdown of how to determine whether going back to work after having a baby is really financially beneficial for the family. (We always figured that it wouldn’t be for us, which is why I ended up leaving my job shortly before my second son was born. Seeing the calculations in this book made it obvious that we really  had made the right choice).

In addition to the economic topics that are covered, the book also covers other important subjects such as post-partum depression, interpreting a baby’s cries, and making the decision to breast or bottle-feed.

There is also a great chapter about the actual science involving vaccinations and Autism. Other chapters include recommendations for promoting healthy child development and battling out temper-tantrums.

Overall, I was impressed with how much information Dr. Schapira was able to include in an average-size paperback. With pertinent content that is well researched, comprehensive and informative, Fetus to Fifth Grade is an essential read for any parent.

Especially one like me, who enjoys doing their homework.

Making the Case for Double Occupancy

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From the beginning, I have thought one thing.

Maybe… just maybe… it’s twins.

I am not just taking a crazy guess at this. I have a long list of reasons that I suspect there may be two cupcakes baking in there.

Here is why I’m betting that we are having two:

#1.) Spotting: I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I never spot. Not ever during any one of my other pregnancies. That aside, spotting isn’t very common (only happens in 30% of pregnancies) and it is much more likely to happen in twin and higher-order multiple pregnancies.

I seriously cannot think of any other explanation for why I would have implantation spotting this time (and for a whole week) when it’s never been an issue before.

#2.) Elevated FSH Levels: This is a strange one, but it’s totally relevant. Remember awhile back when I failed that fertility test? Well, the test considered me to be a failure because it picked up elevated levels of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) in my system. This particular hormone becomes elevated for most women as they get older and their ovarian reserve becomes depleted. The hormone increases in an attempt to release more of the eggs that are left in a last ditch effort to achieve pregnancy before time runs out and the woman reaches menopause.

Basically, if you have elevated FSH levels you can hyperovulate.

And hyperovulation can lead directly to twins.

I also discovered that in some cases breastfeeding can cause FSH levels to increase. Which is why I may have failed that test in the first place.

And that leads me to my next reason.

#3.) Breastfeeding: Women who are breastfeeding at the time of conception are nine times more likely to become pregnant with twins.

My theory is that it may somehow be the link between breastfeeding and FSH levels.

And, I have been exclusively breastfeeding my five month-old son now since birth…so there’s that.

#4.) Number of Pregnancies: It’s been proven that the more kids you have, the more likely you are to conceive twins in a later pregnancy.

I have an example for this. Take a look at Michelle and JimBob (hehe..his name is JimBob) Duggar. 19 kids…with two sets of twins.

I’ve been pregnant more than a few times, although not near Duggar numbers yet…

#5.) Family History: My sisters are twins, which means my mom could have passed down a gene for hyperovulation to me or my sisters.

And that whole thing about twins skipping a generation?

It’s a myth.

#6.) Ravenous Appetite: This one is less scientific, but it still makes me wonder. Case in point, since that first positive test, I have been eating like a beast. I am always hungry. I never feel full. In fact, I can eat an entire pizza by myself.

I should also mention that I’ve single-handedly managed to blow through our entire monthly grocery budget in a little less than two weeks.

Maybe I’m eating for three?

7.) Newfound Narcolepsy: Not only have I been hungry enough to demolish the dinner buffet at the Duggar house (nice tie-in, right?) but I also can’t keep my eyes open to save my life. I wake up, give the kids breakfast, and then catnap on the couch while they watch cartoons. A few hours later, I put everyone (myself included) down for a real nap. I get back up before dinner, eat enough to feed a small army and then pass out on the couch before nine.

I’m like freaking Sleeping Beauty over here.

Based on the above, I’m almost convinced that there’s two in there.

Then again I could be wrong.

Like last time, when I thought that maybe we were having a girl.

But I’ll let the jury weigh in. After hearing all the evidence, what’s your verdict?

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