Monday, January 30, 2012


Dear Elliot,
On Saturday you were showered with so many awesome gifts and best of all, so much love. Your Grandma Cook (Dad's mom) did such an amazing job making your special day just perfect. I feel so blessed!

Here are a few pictures from the party:

Your awesome cupcake tree! I love how she incorporated trees into the day :)

The 'Price is Right' tree (we all had to guess the prices on the baby items hanging from it)

Tree centerpieces with legos (the very legos Dad used to play with!)

Grandma leading one of the games

Me and your Auntie Jaime (and your cousin, too!)

Me and your other Grandma (I seriously HATE this picture of myself; I look like a giant puff ball!)

After the shower, Dad and I had a great time (okay, let's be honest, it was probably more fun for me than for him!) putting together and looking through all of your new things:

Here are just a couple of my favorite things (not including a lot of the great practical things we got, because really, who wants to see pictures of a thermometer, a humidifier, or a package of bibs? Ha!):

The beautiful quilt made especially for you by your Auntie Rachel. I LOVE it!

The 'snugabunny' bouncer. I just think those bunny ears are so freaking cute!

Everything you could possibly need for bath time, from Grandma (my mom)

The sweetest deerskin moccasins, also from Grandma. These were actually mine when I was a baby!

Thank goodness we have the girls to give everything a test-run before you get here :)

Since this is pretty much just going to be a picture post, I'll throw in a couple of 31.5 week belly shots too:

I start my twice-weekly doctors appointments this week--one at the perinatal clinic and one at my regular OB's office. I am so looking forward to seeing you on both Thursday and Friday. Maybe we'll even (finally!) get another peak at your face!

I love you, baby!


Friday, January 27, 2012


Dear Stevie,
Sometimes I feel so guilty for writing to your little brother so much more than to you these days. I am really focused on making it through this pregnancy and preparing for his arrival, but that doesn't mean you haven't been on my mind. Far from it. If anything, being pregnant again makes me miss you even more.

It's also been really hard dealing with all the questions and assumptions about Elliot being our 'first.' They are just constant lately. From strangers, from well-intentioned friends and family members who make comments about him being the 'first grandchild,' or how much my life is going to change 'once I become a mom.' I'm not saying I am angry about any of these questions or comments (I know most people just don't think about it the way I do), but they hurt. They hurt because even though Elliot will (hopefully) be the first baby I get to watch grow up, he isn't my first baby. He won't be the first grandchild, or even the baby that makes me a mother. You are. And you always will be.

I was having a hard morning the other day and decided to read through all the messages and letters people sent after you died. This one from my amazing friend and old college roomie, Lisa, pretty much reduced me to a puddle of tears:

"Lil Stevie,
It’s been hard for me to think of what to say to you…I really loved you so much. I’ll never forget the day I had to pinch to stop the pee so I could run out and hear the yelps of the news that WE were having a baby! Yes, that’s right, from the very first day I have claimed you ; ) Your mom was our first bride, she got our first puppies, and then she gave us something even more—you, she became our first mom..."

Nothing touches my heart more than when someone else remembers that you came before; that you were the first. I hope people haven't forgotten that. I can promise you I never will, baby girl.

I miss you every day.


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Who Loves Elliot?

Dear Readers, Friends, and Family,
I have an idea that I would love your help with.

When I was pregnant with Stevie, someone (I think it was my mom, but I'm not totally sure) gave us a little book called 'Who Loves Baby?' The book has 4-6 clear pockets that you can put pictures into, so that you can look through the book with your baby and tell them all about the people that love him/her. I thought (and still think!) it's such a cute idea. But here's the problem: there aren't nearly enough pages!

I decided I would put in pictures of Elliot's immediate family in that book, but then I got to thinking about all the other people out there that already 'love baby,' that love him. There are our extended family members, our friends, and because of his big sister, so many 'online friends' that I have gotten to know and love over the last couple years. I can't wait to tell my little boy about how loved he is. I want him to know it, to feel it deep down, and to never question it.

So here's my idea. I want to gather as many little 'love notes' for Elliot as I can, along with pictures of the people out there that love him, and turn them all into a bigger 'Who Loves Baby?' book for him to look through when he's a baby, and read to him when he's a bit older. Wouldn't that just be the most awesome book ever?

So I am asking anyone reading this, anyone who loves my baby boy, to consider taking a few minutes to write a little note to Elliot, and sending me a picture of you/your family, and the state/country you live in to include in this project. It doesn't matter if we're close friends, or if you've followed our story silently up until now. And your message doesn't need to be long, or anything profound; simple is great! I can't tell you how much I would appreciate it!

If you're up to it, you can email me your note and picture to, with 'Who Loves Elliot' in the subject line. I am hoping to get this project done before he's born (because I know its less likely to happen when I'm busy with a newborn!), so if you could try to send them before February 28th, that would be awesome.

Thank you all so, so much for your help! It brings me to tears just thinking about how cool this could turn out and all the love out there for both of my babies :)


Monday, January 23, 2012

Top 10

Dear Elliot,
Instead of the usual boring weekly update, I thought I'd write up a quick list--my top 10 favorite things of this last week. So here we go!

1. The Snoogle. When my total lack of sleeping at night finally got to the point where I just couldn't function last weekend, I decided I was just going to have to suck it up and spend the ridiculous $64.95 on this pregnancy pillow everyone was raving about. But before heading to Babies R Us, I decided to check Craigslist, and sure enough, someone was selling the pillow, used once and still in the package, for $30! This may be the best 30 bucks I have ever spent in my life. Waking up feeling sort of awake and dare I say... refreshed?? What a strange and wonderful concept!

Okay so it takes up half the bed--totally worth it!

Doubles as the perfect dog bed :)

They have no clue this thing wasn't purchased especially for them

2. Queen Helene Cocoa Butter Creme. Oddly enough, I have my dad and his butt to thank for this amazing discovery (this might be one of the weirder sentences I've ever typed!). My Dad is super into biking, and he was told that this lotion is the best stuff out there for soothing the chafed butt you get from riding around on a hard bike seat all day. Anyway, turns out it also works amazingly well for soothing stretched out and itchy pregnant bellies. It's a mixture of cocoa butter and pure lanolin (the stuff nipple cream is made out of), and it just feels so, so nice on your skin. And the best part? A big tub of it only costs like $4! I did have to break my vows and go to Walmart to buy it (they didn't have it at Target), but it was totally worth it. It seems like anytime they can slap the word 'pregnancy' onto a product, it all of a sudden costs like six times as much, but I have used the 'pregnancy' and 'stretch mark creams' and they don't compare to the Queen! 

3. Getting organized. Dad and I spent a good chunk of this weekend organizing our living room and basement. My big project (because I could work on it basically sitting down!) was to figure out what to do with all our DVDs. We have a lot of movies, and somehow, they have managed to creep into every nook and cranny of our house. Seriously, we had DVD cases (and discs with no cases) coming out of our ears! So I gathered them all together and turned this big, messy pile...

...into this super compact little cubby:

We got rid of all the cases (some tossed, some put down in the basement on storage shelves), organized them by genre, and completely filled up this 362-disc case. The movies we never watch, we packed up and put in storage, to either sell (if we ever have a garage sale), or donate eventually.

Dad also organized his ever-growing record collection that was all over the floor, and I am super happy with how much less cluttered the entertainment area looks in general:

We still want to get rid of that tall bookshelf and do something different with the books, but at least its clean for now :)

4. Baths (not pictured). This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I've gotten into the habit of taking a nice warm bubble bath everyday (sometimes twice a day!), and it has been doing wonders for my achey body. I know my days of having this luxury are numbered, so I am soaking it up (yep, pun intended) while I still can!

5. Hard-boiled eggs. In my Hypnobabies classes, we've been talking a lot about nutrition, and specifically the importance of protein during pregnancy; we even had to track our protein intake in a daily nutrition log for awhile. Anyway, one suggestion for getting more protein was to eat more eggs, but during pregnancy, I can't stand them! Then I remembered how much I love hard-boiled eggs around Easter time, and decided to give that a try. YUM! I've been eating two of them every morning with breakfast. So good for you, and so cheap!

6. Finding a Doula (not pictured). I met with the most amazing Doula last week (for almost three hours!), and I am so, so excited that she will be supporting me (and Dad) during your birth. She lost a son in the second trimester herself, and her passion is working with women who have had past pregnancy losses and other traumatic experiences. We just clicked really well. I am really set on wanting a natural birth, and I think having this type of support will make it more likely to happen. For so long your birth has seemed like such a distant, almost abstract thing. It feels both really, really good to begin thinking and talking about it more. This is really going to happen!

7. Bras that fit. I have been shoving my poor girls into bras that are way too small for quite some time, and I figured I should probably start stocking up on some nursing bras since I will need those once you get here anyway. So Dad and I went to the Mall of America, where they have this huge new maternity store called Destination Maternity. From what I can tell, its like a mix of Motherhood Maternity, Pea in a Pod, and a couple other stores, all rolled into one. They had a 'nursing event' going on, where their bras were on sale and buy three get one free. Normal stores like Target or Kohls don't carry my size, so this seemed like my best bet. Anyway, after getting measured by a sweet young girl who had absolutely no idea what she was doing (she told me I was a 34C...yeah, I was busting out of my DD bra at that very moment!), I was able to find four comfy nursing bras that actually fit. I feel like I can finally breathe again! 

8. Your kung foo skills (not pictured, unfortunately!) In the last week or so, your movements have gotten so much more intense. Whenever I'm laying down, you like to stretch your legs and poke your feet super hard into my side. Each time you do this, you can literally see my skin just bulging out of place. It's the weirdest, coolest, most hard to explain feeling in the world. The other night you let your Dad feel it for awhile and it was one of the happiest 10 minutes of my life. He was just in awe and was like, 'holy crap! Kid's trying to escape!' 

9. Craigslist. So not only did I get the Snoogle pillow for a great deal on Craigslist, we also scored an Arms Reach Co-sleeper this weekend (in great condition for $50 instead of $150 retail!). I've always loved Craigslist (seriously, our computers, cameras, half our furniture, and even one of our dogs is from CL), but it is just the best for baby stuff. 

The Arms Reach is basically a basinet that attaches to our bed so I can feed you (and keep an eye on you!) much easier at night for the first few months

10. Things to look forward to. One of the things that has kept me sane during this pregnancy (so far) is having little milestones to look forward to every week or so. It was way too overwhelming to think as far ahead as delivery, or even the third trimester early on, so I'd just focus on making it to the next 'big thing,' whether that was my next ultrasound, the start of a new trimester, etc. Well all of a sudden, I have a lot of 'big things' to look forward to. My Cook family baby shower is this weekend, which for so long felt like something I would never make it to. Then next week, when I am 32 weeks, I start weekly NSTs (non stress tests) and BPPs (biophysical profiles) at my OBs office, along with weekly Doppler Flow Studies (to monitor cord blood flow) at the Perinatal clinic. So many times my doctor has said, once you get to 32 weeks...' and now that point is almost here. Then it's just five more weeks until I hit fullterm, and then, then it's the moment I've been waiting for all my life, really: delivery. It's all so exciting, scary, amazing, and overwhelming, all rolled into one. 

Keep on growing, baby boy. I love you, I love you, I love you.


Saturday, January 21, 2012

30 weeks!

Dear Elliot,
No time for a proper update (we're using this free weekend to cross as many things off the 'getting ready for baby' list as possible!), but wanted to pop in quick and say happy 30 weeks, baby boy! I can't believe we've made it to the 30's!


You are becoming so much more responsive (to touch, sound, etc), and I love it. I can't wait to finally see and touch those little feet and hands on the outside. 

All my love,

Monday, January 16, 2012

week 29

Dear Elliot,
Saturday was Dad's cousin Jeff's wedding. It was a lot of fun seeing the whole Cook side of the family all weekend (most of them came all the way up from Colorado for the festivities). It was also fun to have a couple reasons to wear something other than sweat pants and a sports bra! Seriously, I have like 3-4 actual maternity 'outfits' that I wear when I need to look nice, but 99% of the time, I live in sweats. If I'm running to Target or the mall or something, I'll usually put on my 'good' pair of yoga pants, but even wearing jeans is a pretty big deal for me these days. So yeah, it felt kind of good to get dressed up a bit and show off the baby bump.

 Dress from (the dreaded) Motherhood Maternity

 Non-maternity dress that I had bought before I was even pregnant. Looks way cuter with a bump than without!

I thought I was buying grey maternity tights...turns out they are actually sorta green, oh well!

Best picture of me of all time (Dad was going a bit overboard with the pictures!)

Friday night was the wedding rehearsal dinner at an awesome Thai place in Northeast Minneapolis, where I ate thai basil stir fry, chicken fried rice, and pad thai until I literally couldn't fit another bite in my stomach. It was awesome. 

The actual wedding on Saturday was absolutely beautiful. Jeff and Krista planned a January wedding because they wanted to have a snow/winter wonderland kind of feel to the evening. Well, for the first time I can remember, we've had no practically no snow in Minnesota (it was even over 50 degrees last Monday!). Everyone was crossing their fingers that somehow they would get their white wedding, and sure enough, it finally started snowing that afternoon!

Dad and I enjoying the fresh snowfall before the ceremony

The ceremony was a bit cold, but so, so pretty. 

The reception was much warmer, but equally as beautiful.

I spent most of the dance watching from the table, but you certainly seemed to enjoy the music and were having your very own private dance party in my belly the whole time. Loved it.

Yesterday afternoon while I met up with some friends for coffee (well, tea for me), Dad put wrapped up the weekend perfectly by finding a bunch of records at the thrift store just for you:

We LOVE the Muppets, so I was incredibly excited that he found not one, but four records for us to play for you. And the Raffi record is super funny because I was literally just telling Dad on Friday how we needed to get you some old Raffi records. How crazy/random that he found one for $.50 two days later!

I can't believe I am almost 30 weeks along. I am definitely feeling mega-pregnant these days! Hurry up and get here, March; we can't wait to meet this kid!

Love you, baby.


PS. Thanks for all the support on my last post. It always helps to just get those crazy thoughts out somewhere. 

Friday, January 13, 2012


Dear Elliot,
You'd think that the further past the point of 'viability' I got, the less and less nervous I'd become. Turns out that's not the case at all. Now that I'm 29 weeks pregnant, and the odds of you being able to survive and thrive outside of my body are very high, I am getting more and more anxious. The sane, logical part of me wants you to stay inside my womb for as long as possible, because I know its what's best for you. But the other part of me--the scared mama whose first baby died inside of her--that part of me just wants you out right now.

Now before anyone starts lecturing me about how awful I am to wish my baby to be born prematurely, I don't actually want that (obviously, I hope!). But I can't help but wonder: if you were born today, would you be safer? Would it be saving you from your sister's fate?

A woman's body is supposed to be the safest, most perfect place for a baby to be. But my body failed your sister. I feel like my body is a dangerous, scary place; that it's a ticking time bomb, waiting to explode once again. While you're in my womb, I have no real control over what happens to you. I mean yes, I can take care of myself, take my shots and my pills, eat my protein and veggies, and hope for the best, but I can't see you, watch you, monitor you 24/7 to make sure you are okay.

At 29 weeks (measuring more like 32 weeks), and well over three pounds, you'd more than likely spend a couple months in the NICU and have no major long-term complications if you were born right now. On the outside, we'd be able to watch you so closely, ready to step in at the first sign of any type of distress. Of course I'm not saying having a baby in the NICU would be easy (at all!), or that I want that for you, but I'd take that over losing you inside of me in a heartbeat.

I just want you to be safe, and I hate myself sometimes for feeling like I can't provide that for you.

It's been a hard couple days (I swear, every time I start feeling really confident, these kind of thoughts swiftly follow). We're getting so close I can almost taste it, and I'm just so terrified we won't quite get there again. I've been waiting to look into my child's eyes for over two years now (since I found out I was pregnant with Stevie). I know waiting just nine more weeks shouldn't be all that difficult. But those nine weeks are feeling like an eternity right about now.

Please just continue to be okay, baby boy. I want you, I need you, I love you. So much.


Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Week 28

Dear Elliot,
A lot of exciting new developments have taken place during week 28. Here are a few of the highlights:

1. My breasts have officially started leaking. Sorry if that's gross or too much information, but hey this did start as a pregnancy blog after all! It's not a lot, but it did kind of weird me out when I first noticed it. I'm hoping this is a sign that I'll have a good milk supply!

2. I've come to the conclusion that 99.9% of maternity dresses are ugly, frumpy, and designed to make pregnant women feel horrible and fat. I have a wedding to go to this weekend, and Grandma (my mom) and I spent hours and hours on Saturday shopping for a dress, since I literally have nothing wedding-appropriate I can squeeze myself into. Well, I finally found something at Motherhood Maternity, and after arguing with the cashier for ( and I'm not exaggerating) over five minutes about how I did not want to provide all my personal information and be 'entered in their system' (seriously, the last time I was pregnant I bought one pair of pants, gave them my info, and received stupid formula and diaper coupons and samples from them for over a year!), the dress ordeal was finally over. Thank God.

3. I went to my first baby shower since Stevie died on Sunday, and it wasn't nearly as hard as I thought it might be. It was for my sister-in-law, who is due about three weeks before me with a little girl--my first niece, Madeline. You and Madeline are going to be so close in age. I'm really excited that you are going to have a little cousin to grow up with! My own family shower is coming up soon--on January 28th. I am really looking forward to it, but there's also that fear in the back of my mind that something is going to go wrong again if I plan ahead too much or too confidently. Silly, I know, but I can't help it.

4. I passed my three-hour glucose screening test on Monday morning. I'm really glad I passed and don't have Gestational Diabetes, but man did that test suck. Like hands-down one of the most unpleasant mornings of my life. Worst of all, I wasn't able to eat anything for over 16 hours (and I can't usually go over two or three without my stomach growling), plus sitting in a waiting room for three hours is never fun, and neither is getting those painful finger prick blood draws done four times. Shots no longer phase me (I mean I've been injecting myself in the stomach every night for the last five months so I'm kinda used to it), but those finger pricks hurt! Anyway, by the time the test was over, I was so hungry I nearly passed out. I was able to make it to the restaurant (where I met Dad for lunch), but as soon as I got there, the dizziness and sweating and light-headedness started and I had to lay down on the booth for awhile. Fun times. I rewarded myself with a huge piece of oreo pie, and it was so good it almost made up for my horrible morning :)

5. I am feeling huge. And I love it. I feel like I'm finally to the point where I look so obviously pregnant that doors are held open for me, old ladies look at my belly and smile, and when I ordered nachos at Target's little concession stand the other night, they gave me two cups of cheese sauce without even asking. The main reason I love my growing body is that it's proof that you are growing too! Keep it up, Little E!

Crappy cell phone pic at just about 29 weeks

6. Hypnobabies classes are still going really well. In addition to the self-hypnosis tracks we have to practice with at home, I have to listen to a 'joyful pregnancy' affirmations CD everyday, and that has been incredibly helpful. It's basically just 30 minutes of positive thoughts about pregnancy and childbirth that you can repeat in your head. I usually listen to it when I'm taking a bath and it's been great to have that time each day to relax and think only positive thoughts. "Pregnancy is natural, beautiful, and safe"..."My baby is growing and developing perfectly"..."I am confident in my body and my ability to give my baby everything he or she needs"...Slowly but surely, I am really starting to believe these things and it feels really good.

Alright, I think that's it for today. I am about to run to Target to pick up a birth ball so I can start practicing the prenatal exercises/stretches we learned in class last night. 

I love you so much, baby boy. 


Friday, January 6, 2012

My big boy

Dear Elliot,
I don't have time for a full update right now, but wanted to quickly post that everything at today's ultrasound went really well. You are measuring in at 30 weeks+ 4 days at 28 weeks, with an estimated weight of right about three pounds! Things are starting to look pretty squished in there!

We weren't able to get a good 3D shot of your face because your hands were always in the way, but we did get this cute picture of you sucking on your thumb. It was so cute to watch!

I am getting so incredibly anxious and excited to meet you!


Thursday, January 5, 2012


Dear Elliot,
I've had a lot going on this week and thought I'd do a quick update.

1. Dad and I started our Hypnobabies classes on Tuesday night. We have one 3.5-hour long class a week for the next six weeks, and lots of practice/homework each night. I am loving it so far! For anyone who is like, 'what the heck is Hypnobabies??' It's a birthing method that uses self-hypnosis to achieve a comfortable, natural birthing experience. It focuses a lot on using our minds to control our bodies, and the idea that if we can train our subconscious minds to accept certain ideas, eventually those ideas will become our reality. Essentially, we are 'training' our minds to view childbirth as a beautiful, joyful thing. The part I like best about the program is all the relaxation exercises you are required to do at home. It's already been really helpful for me to have that time set aside each day to just relax and think only positive thoughts about this pregnancy. Anyway, I am really glad we decided to do this!

2. I had a follow-up appointment with my asthma specialist yesterday and my lung function is still pretty awful. I was hoping they would tell me things had really improved in the last month or so, but a new test showed some pretty severe inflammation of my lungs. So that sucks. I was given a prescription for a new preventative inhaler to try, so we'll see if that helps at all. I'd really just like to be able to breath like a normal human being!

3. I failed my one-hour glucose screening today, which means I get to go back on Monday and do the three-hour screening to rule out Gestational Diabetes. I am actually kind of annoyed because I was only a few points off from passing, and the nurse who drew my blood said, "you didn't eat any rice or anything like that today, did you?" And I was like, "um, yeah, I ate a huge bowl of stir fry for lunch." Then she said, "Oh, well that probably messed with your results." So here's what I don't understand: why send me home with a typed up instruction sheet about this test, and NOT include anything about staying away from carbs, if that can mess up the results?? Honestly, I don't think I have GD, considering I eat pretty healthy and am only up 18 pounds at 28 weeks, but who knows. Hey, at least I get to drink another bottle of that sugary orange drink--I loved it (and yes, I'm completely serious!)

4. Tomorrow afternoon we have your 28-week growth ultrasound. I am so excited to see how much you've grown in the last four weeks. Today at my OB appointment, my belly/uterus was measuring two weeks 'big,' so I am curious to see what they estimate your weight to be. I also really hope they'll give us a little peak in 3D...I am getting SO anxious to see your sweet face!

5. I really need to figure out how to sleep better at night. Last night I probably got less than three hours total. Between my crappy breathing, you kicking me like crazy, the dogs trying to sleep on my face, Dad snoring, having to pee every hour, my big awkward belly, and just pregnancy insomnia in general, the whole sleep thing is just not working for me. If anyone out there has any tips or advice, I'm all ears!

Okay, I think that's about it. Sorry for the super boring post. Hopefully tomorrow I'll have good news to share after the ultrasound!

Love you,

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

A new year

Dear Elliot,
I was going to do a big post all about my new year's resolutions, but to be honest, I really only have three goals for 2012 and they are pretty simple:
1. Get through (and even try to enjoy!) the next 10 weeks of this pregnancy without going crazy;
2. Deliver you healthy and alive;
3. Spend the rest of the year learning how to be the best darn mom a little boy could ask for.

Here are our last belly pics of 2011:

We had a nice New Years Eve weekend, which started out with a huge blessing: a super kind woman who follows this blog giving us a brand-new (in the box!) stroller:

Turns out the stroller is totally our style AND all the reviews say it's one of the best models for tall parents, which works out pretty well for your giant of a father (he's 6'10!). If you're reading this, thank you so much, Patti! Not only do we now have a great stroller for Elliot, we have an even greater story to tell him someday :)

New Years Eve we had some good friends over, played games, and stayed up way too late.

This is me hiding from the camera and trying not to fall asleep at like 2am

Then on New Years Day, Dad painted one of the walls in your nursery:

I love how the color turned out. I'll post another pic of the finished wall once we get things put back into their places again.

This weekend we also finally got some snow (about a week late!). I'm not really liking the colder temps, seeing that I don't even have a winter jacket that zips up over my belly anymore, but I was pretty excited to be able to enjoy my favorite winter snack: snowcream!

Snow mixed with milk, vanilla extract, and lots of sugar

This week we have a lot going on. We start our Hypnobabies birthing classes tonight, I have another appointment with an asthma specialist tomorrow, Thursday I have my glucose screening test, and Friday is your 28-week ultrasound at the Perinatal clinic. Hopefully all of the above go well!

I love you, baby boy. I am excited to be starting 2012, the year of your birth. See you Friday!

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