5 months.

The 5th month has been one of my favorites so far. I love watching Henry discover and master new tricks. And I love to hear him talk. His personality is really beginning to come out. We have a really happy baby – he’s independent, determined and so curious. Jesse and I can definitely see ourselves in him.

Here are a few highlights from the past month:

  • At the tail end of the fourth month he started rolling over. Well, he’s now a pro. I’m not sure he stays on his back for more than a few seconds. He loves to look around and see what’s going on.
  • He absolutely loves Roger and it’s the sweetest thing. Whenever Roger walks in Henry’s face lights up. Roger is really sweet with him – lots of kisses (ew) and even lets Henry pull on his hair.
  • Henry is almost mobile. He’s been making his way around the living room floor by scooting backwards. He’s started to get on his knees. It’s a little easier for him in his crib, but he tries on the floor.
  • If we set him just right he can sit on his own.
  • We think he was teething last week, so hopefully we’ll see a little tooth soon. At least we hope that’s what was going on. He’s always been a chewer and drooler, so it can be hard to tell. But he wasn’t as happy as he normally is.

And of course there’s the helmet. The smelly, smelly helmet. At Henry’s two month appointment the pediatrician noticed his head was asymmetrical. Of course no one’s head is perfectly round, but it was really noticeable. From day 1 Henry has preferred sleeping on his left side. After a couple of months of trying to reposition him and more tummy time, the flat spot had improved a bit, but the pediatrician referred us to a cranial specialist. After getting his head measured we decided to get the helmet. He has torticollis (one neck muscle is tight causing him to tilt his head and prefer sleeping on/looking to one side, probably caused by going past due), plagiocephaly (asymmetrical head) due to sleeping on that one side, and brachycephaly (his head is a little flat on the back and wide on the sides). At first we thought it was purely cosmetic, but after a consult with a physical therapist at the cranial specialist office, we decided to get the helmet. Torticollis, plagiocephaly, and brachycephaly can cause issues with his jaws, ears, and the position of his spinal cord. Everyone’s question is “Does it bother him?” Not at all. He wears it 23 hours a day, and goes on just like normal. It’s come in handy when he rolls around on the floor and bumps his head.

Enough with the scientific jibber jabber and onto some pictures – because that’s what everyone cares about anyway.

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Henry’s Birth Story

Preface: This is long. But I wanted to write it out so I can look back and remember how The Lord was faithful to us in the birth of our child. So really, this post is more for me and my heart especially on days that trusting in God seems difficult.

Our “birth story” really started a few days before we ever got to meet our baby. The week of baby M’s arrival was filled with appointments and hard work!

On Monday, April 8 I had a weekly appointment at the birth center. That appointment was filled with lots of conversation about my due date: when was it really? Based on the first sonogram it was the last week in March, so at that point I was pushing 42 weeks. Based on my cycle it was April 3, so I was barely 41 weeks which makes a big difference. I was getting nervous about having to be transferred to a doctor and being induced medically. So after a routine exam and some time on the fetal heart monitor, all looked well and we all agreed my due date was probably the later one. That was comforting, but we still were so ready to meet our baby.

The midwife had us come back that Tuesday to try some natural induction. There’s a trick (stripping the membranes or a membrane sweep) that can kind of kick start labor, but doesn’t always work. So, we did that (which we also did the week before) and then we pumped and walked all day trying to stimulate contractions. Jesse’s guess is that we walked about 8 miles that day. I know that can be someone’s workout, but at full term, it’s a lot. By the end of the day I had started feeling some mild contractions, but nothing serious. I was still barely dilated to a 1.

We went home and tried to rest. Jesse went back to work on Wednesday and I did the only thing I know how to do when I want some sense of control – clean my house. On Thursday morning we went back to try again. This time we decided to come home and pump/walk. We went back at lunch and at that point I was almost a 2. Contractions were definitely starting, so we came home to pump and walk some more. The midwife felt optimistic that baby M was on his/her way.

I got home and pumped once. I was going to head out for a walk, but decided to sit for a minute. As I say I noticed the contractions were getting a lot stronger. I tried to sleep knowing that it may be a long night, but I started feeling uncomfortable and never got that nap. I really wish I had. The contractions kept getting stronger, so at 3PM I started timing them. On average they were about 50 seconds long and 3-4 minutes apart. Before labor I remember praying that my water would just break because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to time the contractions or feel when they start and stop. What a joke – you know.

Jesse walked in on me on all fours on the bathroom floor mid contraction and told me to call the midwife. At that point contractions were 2 1/2 minutes apart.

We headed to Denton and got there at 7. The midwife did an exam, and y’all – I was barely at a 3! She did say my water would break soon and that would speed things up. We went for a walk (again) trying to help things progress. I squatted through every contraction. Jesse was timing – they were a minute on and a minute off.

We got back and I was just laboring. I tried getting in different positions, walking around, squatting. It’s just not the most fun, you know? Definitely doable, though, so if you want to try natural childbirth – you can do it!

My water broke about 9:30. At that point I think I was a 5 or 6, so halfway there! Our midwife told us I was just laboring slow, so she encouraged pumping and walking around. The rest of the night is a bit of a blur. I was so exhausted I would nod off for a second in between contractions. I really wish i had that nap earlier in the afternoon. At about 2AM she hooked me to an IV, because people who labor longer usually bleed more. She gave me a little bit of medicine for pain. I still felt everything, but I was kind of sedated – a little out of it, but I remember breathing through the contractions. She was monitoring baby’s heart rate closely, and about 30 minutes later I heard, “Stephanie, the baby’s heart rate has dropped. We need to transfer you to the hospital. The best way to do this in this case is by ambulance.” I perked up fast. She called the ambulance. Jesse got our stuff and before we could even say anything the ambulance was there and I was being loaded up. I was at an 8 or 9 almost ready to push and had to be taken away.

When she first said “ambulance” I was scared. We were told that in most transfer situations you can take your own car, but not me! I just started praying that our baby would be okay. I feel like The Lord granted me peace. They didn’t put the lights or sirens on, so that was comforting. It was nothing like Chicago Fire. Kind of disappointing ūüôā

I was rolled right into a labor and delivery room, hooked up to machines, and asked a million questions – questions my midwife already knew the answer to. I remember thinking, “I hope Jesse didn’t call our parents,” because the birth center wasn’t ever big in their books so I didn’t want a “We told you so” speech. For the record, I never got that. As soon as that thought crossed my mind Jesse’s mom walked in. I’m so glad she did because Jesse had to go down to admissions so I could get checked in. They kept asking me questions, sometimes multiple people asked me the same questions which made me laugh. I repeated each answer I think three times to three separate people (in between contractions). My parents got there as quick as they could – about an hour later.

At one point the main nurse asked me what my birth plan was. I laughed at her. I think any plan I had was clearly thrown out the widow at this point. I honestly didn’t know how to answer her – I just wanted to have my baby. The only thing that really mattered, besides a healthy baby, was that Jesse got to tell me if we had a boy or girl. Eventually the on call OB came in. They had been monitoring my contractions and the heart rate and determined a C-Section was necessary. She really did wait and try to honor our desire for a natural birth. We were so close to pushing, but after about 30 minutes the final decision was made – C-Section. The one thing I didn’t want. But I can honestly say at that point it didn’t even matter. We just wanted a healthy baby and healthy mom.

Jesse gets a little queasy, and a lot had happened so fast he decided not to go back for the delivery. We worked it out with the doctor so Jesse would be the first one to know the gender of baby M. My mom went back with me. I got the epidural around 5:10am and the baby was born at 5:39am on April 12. I think the doctors and nurses stopped the room two or three times to remind everyone not to tell me if it was a boy or girl. They wrapped the baby up and showed my mom and me, but we still didn’t know! All we knew was the baby’s lungs were strong!

I was rolled into a recovery room and shortly after Jesse walked in with the baby and told me – “It’s Henry!” And immediately the months of calling our baby “it” seemed so distant. It seemed so natural and perfect that it was Henry. I was in the recovery room for an hour and a half, and all that time our parents were anxiously waiting for the big reveal.

Jesse and I told them together when we were finally in our own room. A little later Henry was brought in from the nursery and got lots of hugs and cuddles from everyone.

Jesse and I had a plan. A well thought out plan. We knew exactly why we wanted to go with the birthing center, why we thought it was a better route for us, and we thought it would pan out exactly as we had played it out in our minds.

I thought I’d be upset if I went to the hospital. It was actually a huge blessing. We had lots of rest while we were there. Henry was losing too much weight, which we wouldn’t have known about. The nurses were incredible. And we had lots of time with the lactation consultant. Had we gone home right after the birth, I think we would have been way overwhelmed.

I just can’t help but see the Lord’s goodness in all of this. In his infinite wisdom, he made this our story because he knew it would be good for us and point us to him. We went to Denton this weekend to eat dinner at a restaurant off the street we walked so much the first day we were trying to start labor. It was much harder than I thought – maybe because I was tired or hormones were going crazy. That was the first time I felt disappointed in how things turned out. I felt like I couldn’t do it. If only I had walked or squatted more, maybe labor would have gone quicker and I could have delivered at the birth center. Jesse was quick to remind me that was a lie, that I knew the truth. He’s right – I know the truth. God was sovereign over the delivery of our son.

My identity as a mom isn’t determined by how Henry was born. I’m not less of a woman because I had to have a C-Section.

We love this little guy. I can’t imagine life without him now.

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41… 42

For so long I’ve been fixated on March. Well, March is over and we are well into April. And if I’ve learned anything about myself it’s that I’m impatient!

Jesse and I have had some quality time together lately just laying low and for that I am grateful.¬†I think we’ve gone through every emotion possible – or at least I have. Anxiety, fear, excitement, just so ready to meet our child – this baby we’ve been praying for since July 29th when we found out we’d be parents. This time last week I think we were both feeling pretty nervous – that “Oh crap, I’m about to be responsible for a person!” feeling. But now we just need to meet this kid!

My appointment last Wednesday went pretty well. The BPP was good. The midwife tried a couple of things to try and naturally jump start labor. Obviously that didn’t work, but she didn’t promise anything – so I won’t hold it against her :). Today we’ll go back and hopefully see what’s next. 42 weeks is it – the point we can’t go past. Eventually our baby will be here with us and that is good news!

When people ask us about our baby the questions usually go a little like this:

“When are you due?”¬†The end of March.
“Oh, What are you having?”¬†We don’t know.
“What?! I couldn’t do that!” or “Oh, I love that!”

And then immediately, “What do you think you’re having?” or “What do you want?”

We don’t know and we don’t care! But the old wives’ tales are kind of fun to play around with, so here are a few.

Are you carrying high or low? Middle to high, so the old wives say girl.

Is the heart rate above or below 140 beats per minute? Definitely above. Heart rate has been 150s-160s every time which means girl.

Are you craving sweet or sour?¬†I don’t know how telling this one is, because every day of my life I want something sweet. That hasn’t changed since pregnancy. Once again, girl.

Chinese Birth Chart: Boy according to this link. But a girl according to this link.

Even and Odd:¬†Apparently those Mayans have answers for everything, but how reliable they are – that’s still up in the air. The Mayans said if the age of the mom at conception and the year of conception are both even or odd, it’s a girl. If one is even and the other is odd, it’s a boy. I was 26 in 2012, so girl it is.

Morning Sickness: None, which means boy.

Neither of us really have an idea. I’ve had dreams about both, but we’ll know so soon! Most people who are closest to us think it’s a girl. All of my homeless friends at work told me it was a boy. What we know for sure – we won’t be disappointed either way!

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just hanging out with my buddy. i am so glad he’s home with me during the day.

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the waiting game.

Little baby – when are you coming? Momma doesn’t like waiting!

Our first due date has come and gone. First due date, you ask? Well, I have a few. Without going into too much detail – the “due date” could be anytime between March 27th and April 3rd based on the first sonogram and good ole’ biology. One thing we can be sure of – this baby is coming! We just don’t know when. As of last week, the baby had dropped and was in prime position to get this thing going. However, it just seems that he/she is quite content on the inside. Takes after me! I go to the birth center tomorrow for a biophysical profile just to make sure everything is still progressing well.

My first week of maternity leave was really productive – lots of yard work done (thanks to my parents) and errands run. That came to a screeching halt when I got a vicious stomach bug on Thursday. Bless all you ladies with morning sickness, because that was awful! I am so grateful for the birth center. I called on Friday after everything had chilled out because I read that vomiting can be a sign that your body is preparing for labor, so I was curious – how do you know if you’re just sick or if your body is ready to go? One of the midwives just told me to come up, so I could be checked out. No labor, but I did get a shot to help me catch up on sleep I had missed and to take away the nausea. I slept for 16 hours and it was glorious!

I’ve noticed the past few days that I’m incredibly anxious! We were told in birthing class (and Jesse is great about reminding me) that most first time babies are late – an average of 9 days past the due date. And really I may not even be at my true “due date” yet. We’ve just been fixated on this one date for so long, now that it’s passed us by I’m getting really antsy. The truth is – I don’t know how to just sit and wait. My life has been marked by a jam packed schedule for so long, that free time is unsettling to me.

And then there’s fear. I get nervous that something is wrong, so the baby isn’t coming. Or I get fearful that the baby will never come and all of these things that I didn’t want – medical induction, c-section, etc. will be the only solution. As a result, I try to busy myself to drown out the fear and anxiety instead of running to my one true hope – Jesus. The fact that Jesus is enough, that he alone is my strength has been brought up again and again and again over the past 40 weeks. We’ve walked closely with people over the past year who have struggled with infertility or miscarriage, so when we found out we were pregnant the reality of loss was really fresh for us. So in my head I thought, “If we can make it to the second trimester, we’ll be in the clear, and I won’t have to be scared.” Then the second trimester came around, and I didn’t feel the baby move as soon as most people do. My fear then was, “What’s wrong? Why don’t I feel the baby move?”¬†I felt the first move at about 21 weeks. I will never forget that first little kick! But then, if the baby didn’t move for awhile, my good friend, fear, came right back for a visit – “The baby has been still. Something is wrong.” And now, as I prepare for labor and delivery, and life as a mom, I’m realizing that there will always be the possibility of something bad. In fact, I know something is coming at some point, because we live in a broken world. But when my eyes and heart are set on Jesus, I know that I have an unshakeable hope. God truly is for his glory and my good. The Lord has been sweet to remind me of this over and over again.

Our church has been studying Nehemiah. Yesterday I was reading Nehemiah 9 and the timing couldn’t have been more perfect. The entire chapter is just one big confession of sin and how despite that sin the Lord was faithful. It’s good to remember and proclaim how God has been faithful to his people. There are countless times that I can recall where the Lord has been so evident in provision or the answering of prayer. It just takes me a while to get to that place of remembrance sometimes.

So little baby, there are a lot of people waiting to meet you. We are eager to hold and hug and love you! Especially Roger. He’s worn out from excitement.

Roger.

 

tick tock.

Anytime now, right? We are officially one week away from the due date. I am now on maternity leave. So, we wait… and I finally feel anxious – ready to meet this baby and know if we’ll be bringing Henry or Olivia home.

The next week(s) just require us to hang out and enjoy the end of this season as we transition into the next. Baby prep is done!

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39 weeks.

I found a couple of links on Pinterest with great freezer recipes. I ended up picking a few from this blog, because they looked the easiest and like things we’d actually enjoy eating. I made 4 meals in less than an hour, so I definitely think this whole freezer meal thing will become a part of our routine. I pulled out all the ingredients, mixed them together and bagged them up. They all go in the crockpot (bless you little slow cooker), so I just labeled each bag with how long to cook each meal.

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the supplies.

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label and directions.

The nursery was the challenge – one I was eager to conquer, because so many people doubted that you could do “gender neutral”. We’re pretty pleased with how it turned out. It’s honestly one of my favorite places to be now. I’ve already fallen asleep in the glider reading.

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My friend’s mom made the bumpers and a quilt with fabric I ordered from¬†babybedding.com. This was a huge blessing! Jesse had ripped up the nasty carpet and put down new flooring. He also built the side table and book shelves. And of course Roger’s portrait is hanging in the room, because baby M and Roger will be the best of friends. Jesse worked so hard to get the room ready, and it looks great.

And our nursery is so absolutely full because our friends and family have been so generous. I still can’t believe how many gift cards we have just waiting to be spent on things we need after the baby is here! We really can’t thank everyone enough!

36… 37… 38…

And next comes 39 – eek! As of yesterday, I am officially 38 weeks.

A couple of weeks ago our friends from church threw us a shower. We got the last few bits we needed plus loads of gift cards. We’re holding onto those for after the baby is here when we realize we didn’t think of something or prepare in some way.

That same day I helped host a shower for my dearest friend, Megan. The day was jam packed, and I was pooped, but it was all so worth it! She had a great shower, and was blessed with so many gifts. Her baby, Cruze, is due just 4 weeks after baby M. And they are destined to be best friends. They don’t really have a choice.

Later that week, my friends at work threw a surprise shower for me. I knew it was coming, but had no idea the extent of their planning. Betty had called my parents to get some of my old baby clothes, toys, and pictures to decorate with. They ordered Campisi’s for lunch. AND the icing on the cake… surprised me with¬†Tiff’s Treats¬†cookies and ice cream. Betty acted like she forgot the dessert (so of course I doubled up on pizza) and then in walks the Tiff’s Treats delivery guy with warm cookies. Oh. My. Goodness.

Other than lots of showers, we’ve been getting last minute stuff done here. Last weekend we hung everything up in the nursery. Today, Jesse installed some shelves. And I packed the baby’s bag and my bag. We’ll just need to pick up a few snacks (apples and peanut butter, yum!) before we go to the birthing center on D Day.

Thursday is my last day of work before maternity leave. After that my plans include: mani/pedi, car wash, make freezer meals, and grocery shop one last time. I know we’ll have meals provided for us, because we our community is incredible. But I think having some extra meals on hand will make transitioning a little bit easier. And my plan is to stock up on lots of household essentials (doubles of shampoo, soap, etc.) so that’s one last thing we have to worry about. What else should we be thinking of? I feel like my preference is to just chill and not worry about anything, but my little brain just won’t shut off. I think I’m trying to prepare as much as possible, because I know that when the baby gets here I’ll have no idea what’s going on and have no control or order for a little while.

More than anything I just want to hang out and spend quality time with Jesse while it’s just the two of us. Life’s about to get a little bit cray.

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 A little nursery preview. Pee Wee is not staying.

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 He is loving his new toy.

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The set up at work. Other people brought their old toys and baby pictures to decorate with, too.

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We’re getting used to driving around with this now.

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Megan and I at her shower.

35 weeks. already?

time has flown by. it’s nuts. 35 weeks along. just 5 weeks away from our due date, which is a loose term i know.

some of my dearest friends hosted a shower for me a few weeks ago. and i was overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity. especially the hostesses – my friends megan, monica, ashley, and wendy. we still want to get a few more things, but all of the basic necessities are covered. so thank you to everyone who has blessed us with a gift for lil’ baby.

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the spread. food is important, y’all.

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and just a couple of other shots from the shower.

so now i suppose the real countdown is on. and things are getting a little more real. jesse and i completed 6 weeks of birthing classes. my philosophy so far has been to not really think too much about anything, otherwise i’ll get completely overwhelmed and stress out. so far it’s worked out well. i don’t feel nervous about delivery. i’m just eager to meet this baby!

speaking of baby – he/she will have a place to sleep. the crib mattress came in this week, so the room looks a little more complete. we’re still waiting on our glider. and then i think we’re done for a bit until we know if baby m is henry or olivia. i really love the nursery. roger and i spent some time in there a few days ago admiring the bedding. today i framed some prints ordered from tinyfawn. they will look so great above the crib.

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the cute new animal prints.

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he really is the sweetest.

hopefully our glider will come in within the next week and the room will be done! clothes are washed. plenty of diapers ready to go. now all we need is baby m.

and finally… a belly picture from earlier today.

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the biggest help.

growing a child is tough work, y’all. not necessarily the physical part, but the knowing what to do. i feel like every other woman who gets pregnant and has a child just has it all together, like she just knows what to do automatically. i know that is just a part of our social media society – everyone gets to flaunt the best parts of themselves, but let me confess – i have no idea what’s going on!

everyone is really quick to give advice (thanks guys!) but how do you know what will work for you? it’s every type a person’s worst nightmare trying to plan for something you just cannot plan for completely. so, i’ve put together a list of resources/people who have helped make me feel a little less crazy and unprepared.

Lucie’s List – i don’t really remember how i stumbled upon this website, but i’ve really learned a lot. she has a list of what you really need to register for and recommends the best of each for different price points. there are millions of baby products, surely i don’t need them all. this list narrows it down to the bare minimum.¬†the weekly emails are helpful, too.

My friend, Kat¬†– Kat is one of my dearest friends from college. she has the sweetest little son, and i trust her opinion, so i sent the recommended registry list from lucie’s list to her to look over and let me know what she actually uses. this is what i got back. websites and blogs are helpful, but to have someone you know and trust available to answer questions is invaluable. i printed this off, made notes, and went to town registering. ps – registering online is so much better than going to the store.

The Nappy Shoppe – i’ve decided that i want to cloth diaper. it’s good for the environment. and let’s face it – good for our budget. and if we can invest some money up front, but save in the long run, why not? but again, i found myself absolutely clueless, so i took a class last saturday. there are so many types of cloth diapers it’s ridiculous. the all in one, pre-fold and cover, pocket, all in two… and then throw in the sizes. it’s crazy. the nappy shoppe offers classes for $15. and the best part? you get a coupon for $15 after the class to go towards a purchase in the store. the ladies there didn’t grow weary of my hundreds of questions. by the time i left, i felt pretty confident in my decision to cloth diaper and walked away with some cute little covers. rest assured, if you babysit you can use disposables.

Breastfeeding 101¬†– i stumbled across this book on a visit to half price books about a month ago. it’s a quick read and straight to the point. i can’t vouch for my success nursing yet, but i do feel like this will be a great reference if a question or issue comes up. it’s easy to understand and i felt more informed after reading.

these probably won’t be the best resources for everyone, but i feel less overwhelmed. the truth is i just can’t be 100% prepared. and understanding that has given me a lot of freedom. i do know this baby is loved already and we’re eager to meet him or her. 8 short weeks till our due date. we just can’t even wait.

blogging for baby.

I’ve proven to be a horrible blogger. I gave it a go a few years ago, soon after Jesse and I got married, but it seemed so daunting. Partly because I’m not a great writer, and partly because I don’t feel like I have anything to write about. What in my life is so riveting that people need to read about? But on July 29th that changed. Jesse and I found out we were pregnant. I’ve been horrible at documenting anything so far in pregnancy – I mean, I’m already 7 months along and there haven’t even been any belly pictures. We have family and dear friends all over the country and across the world, so why not take advantage of technology and let everyone in on this little baby’s life? I’m sure there will be so many moments and things we want to capture and remember, and this an incredible tool to do so. Expect nothing profound!

We are excited about the next couple of months and eager to meet “Baby M”. I can catch you up fairly quickly as pregnancy has been fairly uneventful.

  • We found out on Sunday, July 29th.
  • Our due date is March 29th, but I’m hoping for March 28th because that was my grandpa’s birthday. And I just think that’d be special.
  • We’re not finding out the gender of the baby until he/she makes the grand debut. Surprises are fun. There are still plenty of cute baby clothes and things to buy.
  • No morning sickness. No awful weight gain. No cravings. And no back pain until just recently. See – pretty uneventful.
  • If baby is a boy, he’ll be Henry. If baby is a girl, she’ll be Olivia. Nice, classic, and English.

The countdown is on! Just a little over two months and we get to meet this little guy or girl. I can’t wait to see what baby m looks like and to see his/her little personality grow. And I’m so ready to see Jesse with this baby. I know he’ll be the best dad!

So, I’ll leave you with some photos to catch you up on the last several months.

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1. We bought some special Root Beer the day we found out.
2. Our first sono, right at the end of the 1st trimester.
3. Roger, our dog. He was my birthday present from Jesse because we didn’t expect to get pregnant so soon. We got Roger on the 18th and found out we were pregnant 11 days later. Roger will be the best big brother!
4. Our bedding fabric for baby’s room. We’re pretty pleased with how the nursery is coming along. More pictures soon.
5. Our last hoorah. We we so blessed to spend a few days in Telluride, Colorado for one last trip just the two of us.
6. In September I took one last girls trip to Boston with Wendy. We went whale watching and saw 3 humpback whales. The barf bags were just props for our picture.
7. Our most recent sono.