"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, March 30, 2009

Today has been another wonderful day with Caroline! She's figured out that she's been born and lets us know with her crying, smiles, and grimmaces. She likes to be swaddled, held, and rocked! Sam says she's already spoiled! We love her so much already!
Our First Stroll!

She's so sweet!

Our Sweet Caroline!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Caroline Faye Leviner has arrived!

Sunday, March 29th at 11:03am
8 pounds and three ounces
20 1/2 inches

Caroline, Mommy and Daddy are all doing very well. Caroline is one perfect little princess!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

This morning I woke up with excitement thinking that this would be the day we'd be headed to the hospital. I had a "minor" issue and thought that I was getting ready to be in labor but after calling the doctor at 7:00 am, he told me that what I was experiencing (won't discuss here but if you have the latest edition of the book "What to Expect When You're Expecting turn to page 363 and look at the first set of bold words on the far left), was normal and that now I'd be waiting for contractions to begin. So all day I've waited and NOTHING! Oh well let's see what tomorrow brings!

I mentioned in a previous blog how my OB practice will allow me to go a week over my due date. Their reasoning is that it would be best for a woman to go into natural labor instead of being induced. I'll be induced on Tuesday if natural labor does not occur for me within the next several days. As I was pondering the reasoning for going into natual labor I ran across a magazine article on the subject. It comes from the April 2009 "Baby Talk" magazine:

"Every Week Counts"
"Full-term and wishing your doctor would induce you? Don't push it. Babies induced or delivered by scheduled c-section at 37 weeks have a 100 percent increase of complications, and a 50 percent increase at 38 weeks, a new study shows. These risks don't apply if you naturally go into labor at that point. Why? Nature knows when the time is right. At 37 or 38 weeks, rapid development can occur. 'Think of it as your baby lowering his landing gear- every extra week helps ensure a safe landing', says study coauthor Lucky Jain, M.D., a professor of pediatrics at Emory University in Atlanta."
From reading this I trust my doctor's decision for allowing me to go past my due date. My only fear is that she'll be so big that I'll struggle during delivery and when I brought that up he said there's no way to tell until I'm in labor.
I am very thankful that I'm full term and a few days over is just fine too! I just can't wait to hold her and kiss those chubby cheeks!!

Friday, March 27, 2009

This morning I had the non stress test and an ultrasound to see how baby Caroline is doing. Dr. Salley was pleased with the results (he's also the doctor that'll be on call this weekend and on Tuesday if I'm induced- I'm very happy with this news- he's wonderful). The results were that Caroline has enough amniotic fluid and has regular moving patterns.

The ultrasound tech predicted that Caroline's birth weight will be at the high end of eight pounds or even right at nine- YIKES- but I'm so thankful for being full term and getting to have a healthy baby girl! She also noted that Caroline couldn't get any further down than she is- so she's ready and I'm feeling it- but no contractions or any signs of labor. She also commented that Caroline has these huge chubby cheeks- more for me and daddy to kiss!!

This is Caroline's position- look at your belly- on the left side is Caroline's back and on the right are all her extremities- no wonder why only on the right I've noticed these bulges! The ultrasound tech used a visual (a baby doll) to demonstrate her position. She pointed out too that Caroline had one hand over the other wrist- like she was praying- how sweet! I tried to see if she had hair- as much indigestion as I've had I'm thinking she has a head full- but I didn't see any- guess I didn't know what I was looking for!!

I also asked her to check for body parts- feet, hands, ears, eyes, nose, etc- she assured me that all of those things were there as she was checking for them and also said that these items were seen in the 20 week ultrasound- so I shouldn't worry. She also told me that we were defintely having a girl- Sam asked me the other night- what if its a boy- I just told him that it would be fine and that we'd be painting the nursery a different color if this were the case! I did get pictures of todays ultrasound, but only of her girl parts so I'm not going to post those-Caroline wouldn't appreciate it! I wanted to see her head too and she mentioned that since she was full term it was harder to see her than at 20 weeks- she did the best she could and said that since she was so low that what we were able to see (her face) was it. I tried to determine who she looked like in the 3D ultrasound and I guessed me of course but we'll see very soon! She said it wouldn't be long before I'd be holding her! I'm so excited to meet her I can hardly stand it!

If Caroline doesn't make her debut before Tuesday than I'll be induced Tuesday morning. I'm really hoping I'll go into labor on my own instead of being forced- it'll be a lot easier on mommy and baby and not so long in duration, but whatever we have to do we'll do of course.

After my appointment I went to visit a friend and I had the best afternoon!!

Thank you all for your phone calls and prayers!

Love and Prayers,
The Leviners

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

40 Weeks and Counting!
Today, I'm 40 weeks or 280 days pregnant! I feel so blessed that I've made it this far with the pregnancy. I had my 40 week appointment today and I'm 2 cm dilated and still 75% effaced. We go back on Friday to see if there are any changes. On Friday I'll also have a fetal stress test and an ultrasound, both are protocol for being "overdue". They will check to see if Caroline is in distress and if she has enough amniotic fluid. If she is in distress and/or the fluid levels aren't where they need to be then I'll be induced. If everthing appears normal and if she doesn't come before Tuesday then I'll be induced Tuesday morning. I'm hoping that she'll come on her own this Friday (no particular reason for Friday, but I'm thinking two days after her due date, maybe just maybe she'll just want to be born)- but we'll see! Also, my BP and urine were great and I had no weight gain.

After the appt. Sam and I made a day of it-we headed over to my school to give my team a visit and an update- I also stopped in to check on my sweet lambs, we did a little shopping, went out for lunch, and came home to tidy up (Sam did the cleaning while I rested- he's so sweet, but I did help with the picking up after my nap, etc)!!

We are so thankful for all of your thoughts, prayers, and phone calls! They mean so much to us! We feel so blessed to have each and everyone of you in our lives and to be with us as we begin this journey of becoming parents. Looking forward to sharing the news of Caroline's birth with you! Here's probably the last of the belly shots! We'll keep you posted!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Letter to Caroline
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart...” Jeremiah 1:5
Sunday, March 22, 2009
Dear Sweet Caroline,
We are so excited to be having you! Daddy and I have waited such a long time for this very special time and we know the Lord will be blessing us with you very soon.
It’s been so wonderful being pregnant with you and watching my belly grow as you’ve grown. It’s a miracle feeling your kicks, punches, bumps, and movements. Besides flutters, I first felt you kick on Saturday, November 1st and daddy first felt you kick on Wednesday, November 12th- these were both amazing moments. Ever since then you’ve been such a busy girl with all of your moving around. Daddy and I watch you everyday do all your “funny” things in my belly.
Over the last nine months we’ve wondered many things like who you would look like- daddy or me- what your hair color will turn out to be- if you’ll have daddy’s easy going personality and patience or mommy’s get up and go determination. Whatever your characteristics and personality make up we promise to love you and be there for you each and every day.
We have just a few days now until we get to meet you and we’re filled with excitement and anticipation! Daddy and I are very excited about becoming parents and are especially thankful that the Lord has given us this wonderful blessing and opportunity. We know that you are going to bless our lives in so many different ways!
We’ve prayed for you daily over the last nine months. We’ve prayed that the Lord will help us to be what He wants us to be for you. That He will guide us and instruct us on how best to parent you. We also can’t wait to teach you about Jesus. We hope you grow to know that He’s always with you and loves you more than anything else in this world.
We already love you so much and can’t wait for when we get to present you to your new grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Until then our prayer is for you to continue to grow and develop and be a healthy beautiful baby girl! See you soon baby girl! We love you!
Love and Prayers Always,
Daddy and Mommy
Nope, no baby! We're just waiting!! Tomorrow I'll be exactly 40 weeks and I have a doctor's appointment at 9 am to see if I've made progress since last week! I am very thankful that I've made it this far and when Caroline's ready to be born she'll be born!
Here's some things that I promised to post!

On last Friday my sweet students gave me a surprise baby shower- complete with shower food, a fun game, and presents! It was so much fun and I'm sure the children enjoyed it as much as I did! The game we played was to see who could come close to estimating the size of my belly with a string- we had a winner. Sean was within an inch of getting my measurement just right!

We have a new take home dress for Caroline and its very lovely! My best friend's grandmother smocked the dress with matching bonnet and its beautiful! Thank you Mamie!

Also this past weekend was my birthday weekend (Monday was my actual birthday)! My mom and stepdad came up and took me out to eat at one of my favorite restaurants, Copper River. We had a wonderful time and the food was yummy!

Baby Shower at WKE!

Last Morning Message:

Birthday Weekend:

Caroline's Take Home Dress and Bonnet
Made by Mamie!

Waiting for Caroline!
39 Weeks 4 Days

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sam and I had a very busy weekend! We got a lot of things done in Caroline's nursery over the last two days- it's still not finished but it'll get there- we just have to add some accessories! We also did some last minute shopping and this was really fun- Sam picked out several cute outfits for Missy Moo and I can't wait to see her in them!

This was also my birthday weekend! I'll be 29 tomorrow- March 23rd! How lucky for me that I get to share it with a twin sister!

Friday was my last day at school and my precious children hosted a baby shower in Caroline's honor- complete with shower food and presents! They are so sweet!

I'm going to post pictures of this weekend and the shower on my blog soon- hopefully tomorrow!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

39 Weeks Pregnant!

Yesterday I reached week 39! Today I had my 39th week doctor's appointment! It went very well. My BP and urine were both normal! I did however gain 6 more pounds- to which I could not believe. Sheron, the lab tech said it was because of all the fluid that I was retaining- yes, I'm beginning to really swell in my ankles. This is from standing all day while teaching. It goes away when I wake up in the mornings but not totally. I mentioned this to Dr. Giudice today and he told me that this was normal and that I shouldn't be worried. I just have the swelling in my ankles but not my hands or face- I'm still glad to be able to wear my rings!
I've made some progress toward delievery but not much- I'm effaced 75% now and am still 1 cm dilated. Dr. Giudice said that they wanted me to have natural labor so things will go more smoothly but if I reach a week past my due date then they'll do some things to help me speed things along (induce), but that would not likely happen since most babies come a few days after their due date. All in all I'm doing very well (41 pounds total weight gain- and I'm proud to say that I'm in the same size maternity clothes since it all begin!!)

Sam and I have had a very busy week with getting all of Missy Moo's things ready- washing clothes, packing her bag for the hospital (and mine), shopping for those last few needed baby items, etc. Last night we went clothes shopping for her and we picked out the most adorable outfits- they are so cutie! I can't wait to see her in them! We are in still need of a cradle mattress but hopefully Babies R Us will have a shipment in tomorrow!

Today we had her car seat base professionally installed by a certified car seat technician! This was pretty neat to see and it only took five minutes! The only thing to it was attaching our car's latch system to the base and making sure that there was no more than an inch wiggle room- no seat belt required! Our base has leveling guides to ensure that it is properly installed- all these new gizmo's and gadgets sure do come in handy and make life so much easier! When we got back from having it installed- Sam assembled the stroller- it's cute too and I can't wait to use it!

Tomorrow is my last day at work... I'm going to miss all of Leviner's Lambs but they will be in good hands with Ms. Smith- my long term substitute. I've been notified that the children are planning something special for me and Caroline tomorrow afternoon and I'm excited! They have been just the sweetest bunch of children and I'm going to miss them dearly. I promised them that when Caroline was a few weeks old we'd be paying them a visit!

Oh, also, I'm realizing that pregnancy has caused me to somehow lose my ability to spell- I'm generally a very good speller and don't mind bragging about this (I seldom brag on myself about things)! So if I happen to misspell words forgive me- it'll all resolve soon enough!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Big Day!

Shower for Baby Caroline!

Today was another fun baby day! My friends Michelle and Fran hosted a baby shower for me and Caroline! Caroline received a lot of nice things- changing pad cushion, clothes, books, bibs, bottles, pacifier clips, bath towels, washcloths, baby wash, sleepers, boppy essentials, car seat toys, Dr. Seuss books, lotion, onesies, tummy time mat, burp cloths, and lots more. It was so much fun getting together with family and friends to share this special time! Caroline even got her very own smocked Gamecock dress!

Joining LBC!
Not only was today Caroline's baby shower but the day that we joined Lexington Baptist Chruch! We have been visiting LBC for 2.5 years and we are excited that we joined today. Sam and I have very strong ties to our home churches in Orangeburg- Sam's grandfather was a preacher at the church in which Sam grew up in so this was a very big decision to make not only for us but also for Caroline!
After attending worship services at different times in the morning (LBC has 3 morning services), visiting several Sunday School classes, and touring the children's department (which by the way is awesome, brand new, and very modern) we were ready to join. We have been ready to join for some time except that when we got ready to become members the preacher announced that there'd be a class required for all new member prospects! We took the class with many other families for four weeks. Afterwards we felt the class was very informative on how the church operates and about the Baptist Denomination in general. After our last class we felt assured that this was the place for our little family! We thoroughly enjoy our SS class and have met many new friends! We are now looking forward to continuing to serve Him in places of ministry within the church! Another decision that we'll make is to when we'll be baptised (I was sprinkled when I was a baby in the Presbyterian Church)- I wanted to already be but because of our timing with joining and me being very pregnant I'm unable. Sam wants to be baptized in June when the church offers the baptism at a local lake and he wants me to do it with him but we'll see- I'm not to fond of water that I can't see through.
Today was an awesome day and we feel very blessed! On another note, Caroline's due in ten days! Friday and Saturday I had for the first time Braxton-Hicks contractions- I told Sam that these aren't anything that's like what's to come and they are very painful; however they don't last long and for this I am thankful- I've been stopped dead in my tracks more than once!
We'll keep you posted!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Week 38!
Today I had my 38th week appointment! Caroline is measuring 38 weeks- the last two weeks the measuring showed that she was one week behind- as the Dr. put it- she has caught up! Everything was normal for the visit- BP- great, weight- gained 2.5 pounds (for a total of 37.5 pounds- I blamed today's visit on the baby- Dr. Salley did say that she was going to be at least 7 to 8 pounds at birth!!)- urine- excellent, swelling questions- very minimal and it just comes with being this far into the pregnancy (I'm thankful for no stretch marks and the fact that I can still wear my rings!!), Exam- HORRIBLE... yes I did say that today's examination was horrible however it wasn't due to the pressure I've been feeling lately but to the doctor doing the exam (won't mention any names here). I haven't seen this Dr. at all during my prenatal visits and wasn't supposed to see him today but the doctor that I was scheduled to see was in surgery. Don't get me wrong he was very nice, answered all of my questions, and was very friendly to me but the actual exam to see effacement and dilation was non too comfortable- Sam couldn't go with me so I squeezed the nurse's arm instead- I think he was a little too rough and from what I've been told it just hasn't happened to me- so I'm not a weenie! As I toddled out of the office almost in tears I thought to myself if labor is anything like what I just experienced I'm in Big-Big-Big trouble- the receptionist said that if I could handle that then labor will be a breeze- I tried to make myself think more positively about labor but I'm think I'm setting myself up!! We'll see....keep praying!!

After my appointment my friend, Michelle, called to see if I wanted to go to a local consignment sale that's only twice a year here in Lexington- It's called Bells and Beaus! I was very excited about going and found cute, cute, cute, things for Caroline- one of them being a precious Gamecock smocked dress! This was my find for the day and I can't wait to see our Missy Moo in it! It was an experience- looking through racks and racks of clothes- it reminded me of going to TJ Max or Ross, where you have to search for the goodies- but it was extremely organized so the searching wasn't that bad after all.

After coming home from the consignment sale Sam and I went to Babies R Us to get some needed items for Caroline- her traveling system, changing pad cushion, crib mattress, cradle mattress (which was not available- Yikes), and some other items. My sister Rhonda is coming on Saturday to help me with whatever else that I might need for Caroline and for my hospital stay! I'm very excited about our outing!

We had a very busy day today and I'm tired. Here's some pics of me at week 38- I'm one big mama but I love being pregnant- I'm going to miss her being in my tummy when she's born. Here's also her name above her crib- Sam did a great job of putting them up. The nursery is coming along nicely we still have some things to do so when it's all finished I'll post those as well!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Sam and I spent this past weekend in Orangeburg. We had a wedding to attend on Saturday- Congratulations Timmy and Jessica- and we were given a baby shower on Sunday at Sam's church. We had so much fun at both the wedding and our shower! Caroline received so many wonderful things at the shower! It was nice seeing and visiting with friends at both! It was also nice to hear compliments on my pregnancy- some couldn't believe that I only had 2 weeks to go! I have been very blessed with my pregnancy and I'm thankful that all has gone well- normal blood pressure, appropriate weight gain, carrying through to the third trimester, etc, etc! I am thankful to the Lord for all of these things including wonderful supportive family and friends!

So tomorrow makes week 38! Just this past weekend I've noticed definite swelling in my ankles. I don't know if it's because I was busy over the weekend, lack of sleep, or just being plain pregnant! Today after recess I noticed it more so I went to the school nurse to check my blood pressure- it was normal. Then I e-mailed pics to my oldest sister- who is also a nurse and she thought that I needed to go ahead and make the phone call to my OB's office. Tammy, Dr. Holladay's nurse said it was normal and to not worry- I was nearing the end and swelling comes with it! I came home after school today- I felt like I was on vacation because usually I stay so late and I was home in time to watch shows before the news came on! I propped my feet up, watched tv, wrote thank you notes, and dozed off! It was nice! The swelling- I was told would be normal if it were in my lower extremities- I can still wear my rings, etc! My legs, feet, and ankles do not hurt so I'm not going to worry too much. I never understood until now why expecting mothers would say "I'm ready"! I LOVE being pregnant but Caroline- I feel is getting bigger by the day and more cramped, I'm waking up a lot more during the night and I'm uncomfortable in lots of places and I'm so tired, so I hope this doesn't sound selfish to say that "I'm Ready" to meet my baby girl! I go back to the OB on Thursday! We'll keep you posted!
Here's some pics of the shower in O'burg! Before the shower we watched our niece and nephew (Samantha and Christian) in a children's church program!

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Week 37!
Today makes 37 weeks! According to the book "What to Expect When You're Expecting" Caroline is full term today! I had my doctor's appointment also today and I saw Dr. Holladay, my regular OB- I was very excited that he was in the OB suite this afternoon! Everything again checked out to be great news! BP- normal, urine- normal, weight- gained 3.5 pounds (not so bad- Sam's been fixing these yummy cinnamon streusel muffins and they're very addictive- I ate three in one day)! So total weight gain 35 pounds.
We got the results from last week's B strep test and I'm negative for this type of strep- so no antibiotics for me prelabor nor during labor- I was very pleased about this too! Dr. Holladay measured me and I'm measuring 36 weeks- still a week behind but again nothing to worry about.
I had a few questions for him that involve- LABOR- this word tends to make me nervous and cringe but it's going to happen! I received some handouts from last week's visit- came home, read them, and then afterwards had a host of questions. My first question- okay- really how do we know when to "make the call"? Dr. Holladay told me that my contractions need to be five minutes apart for one hour, I needed to be huffing and puffing with the contractions, and I need to be thinking to myself I can't take this anymore- these are signs that I need to "make the call"! I said okay, GOT IT! I'm trying to have all this planned in my head- I live 30 minutes from Baptist- so thirty minutes into the contractions- I'll make the call!!! I know, I know- things don't always go as planned no matter if you're the best planner in the world- but at least I can say I have a plan!
Oh, Dr. Holladay told me that I was also 50% effaced but no show no signs of dilation yet! I said, "oh that's good"! He told me that no I want to be dilating because then when its time to deliver I wouldn't have to work so hard- in other words if I wasn't dilated at all I would have to labor for a long time even if I were to be induced- so dilating at this point is what I want!
I'm getting anxious as I prepare my children for my leave- I've had some parents during our parent/teacher conferences last week to tell me that their child is very upset that I won't be back. I'm sad about this too and it was heartbreaking to see them so sad as I was telling them again that Mrs. Leviner won't be returning. It's really a lot of preparation in getting things organized for someone else to teach your classroom. I love my long term sub- Shirley Smith- she's done several long term sub positions for my team and I even told my team that I'm jealous that they get to work with her and I don't- she's such a Godly woman and Leviner's Lambs are going to love her- so I don't have anything at all to worry about! As of now I've gotten my maternity binder, filled with all kinds of information, ready. I've worked on getting end of the year permanent records, language arts folders (for when they go to second grade), testing samples placed in the ELA folders, summer reading packets, etc, etc. I'm now going to tackle 3rd nine weeks report cards, and getting my room ready for Ms. Smith. I'm going to have to come back when school's out to pack my room up for the summer- I may try to put some things away before I leave- but we'll see about that! Being a teacher is the best job in the world but it keeps me very busy- its a 7am to 6pm job! However, when school starts again in the fall I'll be leaving ASAP to get Missy Moo so I can spend that precious time with her- I'll never get the missed time back and I want to enjoy all of her firsts! I love her so much already but I just won't really know how much until she's born and I'm holding her for the very first time!!
Also, today I requested the doctor's on call schedule for the rest of March. It looks like Dr. Holladay won't be delivering me but I've seen most doctors in my practice and I'm okay with that- they're all WONDERFUL. I'm guessing- from the schedule that it could be either Dr. Salley or Dr. Stands- but we'll see!
I'll keep you posted!

Monday, March 02, 2009

Snow Day but without the Snow!

Today was a snow day but we didn't have snow! The weather forecasters called for one to two inches of snow in the Columbia/Lexington area but it never came! Since school was already canceled Sunday afternoon for Monday it was too late to change any district's plans- so it was a snow day but without the snow! I needed this day! I spent all day washing Caroline's clothes, bedding, etc! I did five loads of laundry and got most of her things folded or on hangers and put away. I can't still can't believe that I'm going to have something so small- so I took a picture of one of her onesies- it's so cute patootie. Sam has put together all of Missy Moo's furniture! Her room is coming together nicely! We still have some accessories to hang and some items to purchase but we're on our way to having her nursery ready! Wednesday I go for my 37 week appointment! I'll post then with any news.