Friday, October 12, 2012


I'm working at Fusion-io today, filling in for the receptionist. I really do enjoy this so much more than substitute teaching in some ways. Although subbing is more mentally challenging and rewarding (in terms of helping kids), I really like being able to sit here in a comfy chair and ultra stylish surroundings occasionally answering phones...but mostly looking at Pinterest or helping Sam with his work load. It's a pretty sweet gig, especially for a girl who is 8 months pregnant. Plus, I get to see my husband at work, eat lunch with him (when he's not too busy) and see all the people I've met through Sam and at various tradeshows and events that I've helped with. I think this is a good outlet for me. I enjoy being around adults, especially awesome Fusion-io employee adults. I've offered to continue helping them out by filling shifts post-baby, and I think as long as I can keep it to a minimal amount it will be a healthy way for me to do a little side work and get out of the house occasionally.

 I will admit that Fusion has also made me a little sad. I was given 4 of the afternoon shifts for next week about a month ago, but I just found out they gave them to the new girl they hired as a receptionist. I understand that they need to train her and get her going as soon as possible, but considering the fact that Sam will be out of town next week and I was looking forward to the distraction... it just plain sucks.  Perhaps I got to comfortable here and used to the job. I knew it was temporary, I just wasn't ready for it to be done quite yet. I guess I'll have to find other ways to bide my time next week in the wake of his absence. Now that I'm getting further along in my pregnancy, I feel like distractions and staying busy are keys to my sanity--especially with an absent husband. My discomfort level seems to be rising everyday, and when I think about the 6+ weeks I have left before my due date it seems a little overwhelming. I actually had my first set of "Braxton Hicks" contractions last night... accompanied by a slight nervous breakdown. Maybe it was the contractions, perhaps a surge of hormones, perhaps the realization that the end--while close--is still considerably far away... whatever the reason I feel bad for my poor husband. He is so patient with me in my times of distress, even when my distress gets directed at him. Luckily he's also very forgiving. I apologized for my pregnant episode last night, and he was so kind and gracious about it. I really do have the best husband ever. The best decision I have ever made (and ever will make) was to marry that man.

To end on a happy note, this morning had a bright little ray of sunshine named Olivia. Our good friend and co-worker, Carley, brought her baby girl in. It was so fun to see a sweet little 3 month old. I was even able to hold her. It was so much fun! And I really do mean that. I used to be more timid when holding other people's babies. I would try and refrain from talking in "motherese" or making faces. Now, with my own baby coming, I can't contain my excitement... and I don't try to. It's moments like these that make me feel overly excited at the kicking taking place in my own belly right now. Soon enough I'm going to have a little baby girl of my own in my arms.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

32 weeks!

Today, Klair and I have been together for 32 weeks! I am finally at the 8 month mark! She is due on Thanksgiving, which is exactly 8 weeks from today!

...Okay so I realize it may seem like I'm just saying the same thing in different ways... because I am. But for some reason each time I state her impending birth in a different way it seems schocking to my brain and brings with it different emotions. I really cannot believe that we (Sam, baby Klair, and I) have come so far in the past 8 months. I am so incredibly grateful that we have though. I take so much comfort knowing that our little girl is within a fairly safe zone for birth in terms of the gestational timeline. Yesterday, at the General Relief Society conference, President Eyring stated that his daughter had her baby at 25 weeks and miraculously the baby is doing well. I almost burst into tears. I can't imagine having a baby that prematurely. I am so thankful that my little Klair is already 8 months along. 32 is a much nicer number than 25. I already have so much to be grateful for! It really does make me think twice about ever complaining (not that it stops me, but at least I think about it...right? Or is that worse? Oh well.)

Sam is out of town right now in San Francisco for the Oracle Open World tradeshow. He left on Friday morning and he won't be back until Wednesday. I really do despise his traveling from the very depths of my being. The void I feel in his absence is almost overwhelming at times, especially with pregnancy hormones running rampant. Yet, I also know that travel is a necessary part of his job.  A necessary evil, perhaps? It is hard to have him gone, but I am glad that he has such an amazing job. I'm also glad that he has really great people that he works with and is able to travel with. They care about him, and with his diabetes it's nice to know he's being looked after by people he considers good friends. I'm also glad that he doesn't really want to be there. Is that selfish? Well, it's true. I take comfort knowing that he would much rather be home, but that he is just such a good husband and father that he goes anyway and works like crazy to provide for us.

As I was typing that last sentence, I was going to put "father-to-be" but then I realized that this would not be a reflection of the truth. Sam is already a father. I am already a mother! I think that often times I imagine that my "mom" identity will start once Klair is born and takes her first breath of air, but that's simply not the case. She is already alive and thriving within me. I am already a "mom" and have been for 8 months. Wow... talk about a reality check. "Mom." That word is heavily connotated and carries with it so many emotions and implicaitons. I don't know if I will ever get used to being referred to as "Mom."

Klair is kicking/punching/flipping/twirling and just generally moving so much lately. On my pregnancy app for 8 weeks it said that this is the peak time for movement, because she will be plumping up in the near future and she won't have as much room to move around. That thought makes me a little sad. I love feeling her move so much. It's as if most of the time I'm conscious that I'm pregnant but detached from the reality of it. And then, when I feel her move inside me and see the ripples and lumps across my belly, I'm suddenly awakened to a sense of the miracle that is within me. I have a living baby inside me. There is another soul housed within my body. She and I are connected in every way, and she is completely dependent upon me for her survival from moment to moment. It's so incredible. I think... no, I know I have taken this fact for granted way too much. And the thought of her movements--these reminders-- decreasing over the next few weeks is a little depressing. I guess I'll just have to be better about remembering the beautiful miracle wihtin me without as many reminders.

Typing all this has made me realize that I already love Klair so much. It's overwhelming the love that I have for this little girl, and I am so excited to feel that love intensify as time goes on. I cannot wait to meet her face to face, to hold her in my arms, and to kiss her tiny little lips. I absolutely cannot wait for her dad to hold her for the first time! I came to this realization once while I was imagining holding her after her birth. I thought, "I can't wait to hold her in my arms." Immediately after this thought, I imagined Sam holding her for the first time. I imagined his big strong hands and arms reaching out, carefully taking her delicate little body from the doctor, and cradling her close to his heart. For some reason this vision struck me even more tenderly than the thought of holding her for myself. To see my husband holding his little baby girl... to see that inexplicable bond between daddy and daughter solidify with the first physical embrace... the thought brought tears to my eyes and I immediately thanked god for the impending opportunity to witness such a miracle. In fact, I'm getting all choked up thinking of it now.

To sum it all up, Autumn + Sam really does equal "Ausam." You want proof? She's sleeping in my belly now. Sweet dreams baby Klair... eight weeks simply cannot come soon enough!

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Timeline of Baby Klair (up to 29 weeks)

31 weeks: Harvey and Klair 

This is a photo of two of my babies (I also have a puppy who I have yet to post about). First, I will introduce you to Harvey, because I have not yet talked about him on this blog. He is my 1 year old cat (I think that is the age when they're no longer considered kittens, although he will always be my kitten). We moved into our house last November, and for my birthday just a few weeks later we got this sweet little 3 month old ball of black fur. I had had my heart set on getting a rag-doll cat (cats bred for specific traits that make them very amiable and almost dog-like) but the only breeder I could find would not return my calls. Thus, my husband suggested that we go to the humane society and just look. I informed him this was not a good idea because we would end up taking at least one animal home, and he insisted we could just look...
Guess who was right. We got there, and there were so many cats and kittens that needed homes that we simply could not leave that establishment without a new pet. We spent a couple of hours playing with different cats and kittens and trying to get a feel for their personalities. Sam wanted to potentially adopt an older cat, but I was more selfish and only wanted to consider kittens. I found Harvey, and immediately fell in love with how tiny he was and with his long scrappy looking black hair. I started playing with him with a few other kittens, and he seemed a little aggressive in his play so I put him back. After awhile it seemed like we would never make a decision, so I went back to the cute little black fur ball. Sam told me I should just pick him, and on a whim I decided to. I am so grateful that for some reason I was drawn back to him. My initial reason for putting him back seems so silly now--heaven forbid a kitten is playful with other kittens. He has turned out to be the cutest, funniest and best cat with the most personality. I actually liked him because he was a bit of an ugly duckling (with patchy fur) and the runt. He has now turned into a big, beautiful cat (a fact which I'm convinced he knows)... apparently all he needed was a little love.
Now I know a lot of people dislike cats for one reason or another, but I guarantee if they had Harvey they would be singing a different tune. He has convinced some of the most avid cat-haters that perhaps not all cats are bad. Some have even admitted to liking him. In fact, my husband admitted that although he has always liked dogs more than cats, Harvey has changed his mind and is his favorite animal--a feat that I am very proud of. His favorite pasttimes include hunting bugs, playing fetch, chewing up anything he can get a hold of, and play-fighting with our puppy. Basically, he's very dog-like. Also worthy of noting is the fact that he is very vocal when he wants something, and he absolutely lives for the spoonful of wet catfood I give him every morning (something I've done since he was a kitten at the vet's suggestion to prevent urinary infections). He has really been so good for Sam and I. As our first pet--the first sentient being completely dependent on us--we have learned a lot about ourselves. My heart grew to accomodate the profound love and attachment I feel to him. I will admit, however, that in some ways we've ruined him a little bit. When we got him we were really baby hungry, so we treated him more like our baby than a cat. He now expects such treatment and has a sense of entitlement as big as his giant cat tower we got him for Christmas (he really is very spoiled).
Anyway, with that introduction taken care of, I'll explain the picture. This was taken during week 31 while Sam was away on yet another business trip in San Francisco. I think that Harvey could sense my loneliness, so he came over and cuddled up on my lap. He sprawled out in a twisted, contorted way that could only be comfortable to him and promptly fell asleep. In his sleep he reached his arms and wrapped them around my baby bump as you can see above. Luckily my phone was nearby and I was able to snap a quick shot of the adorable little scene. Although my mother-in-law insists he was measuring Klair's size so he can plot her demise, I like to think that he was bonding with his soon to be friend that currently lives in my belly.

29 Weeks: First U of U Game

As the picture indicates, this was taken the night of Klair's first game. It was also actually my first football game that I had ever attended as well. As strange as it may seem to many people, I attended the University of Utah for 4+ years and never went to a single game. It's ironic that it wasn't until after graduating that I finally went to one (and mostly because Sam got free tickets and it was the highly anticipated U of U vs. BYU game).
It was actually a lot more fun than I thought it would be. I am grateful I had Sam there to walk me through everything that was happening. The crowd was literally electric with excitement and rivalry. We were in a section that had a good mix of Ute and BYU fans, and it was interesting to see how they interacted with each other. Women who looked like otherwise quiet moms really let their inner grizzly bear come out. Actually, I can't decide which I enjoyed watching more--the game, or the people?
Klair was responsive to the loud cheers of the crowd. It was so loud in that stadium that we couldn't even hear what the announcer said, so at times it was hard to know what was going on. At the end when the U kept ketting penalties and the game was extended 3 times at the 1 second mark, the crowd was louder than ever and little Klair was moving around a lot. 

28 Weeks: "Babymoon" in Park City 

This photo was taken in Park City. I have a confession to make... I was actually closer to 29 weeks here (just one day shy) but I seem to be so busy that I'm constantly running a little behind on the pictures. Sunday (the day that I start a new week) just creeps up on me so fast and suddenly I have to hurry and take a picture late Saturday night so I can technically count it for the week. That's what happened here. Sam was going to have to go out of town for another tradeshow, but miraculously it got cancelled. I had given up any hope of one last weekend getaway with him by this point, (we had tried to figure out a time that would work but his travel was just too much) so this reprieve in his schedule opened up an opportunity we weren't expecting. I jumped on the opportunity as quickly as possible and found a deal online. It was one of thos deals where they don't tell you where you're staying but they tell you star-rating, the ammenities the hotel has, and an approximate location. We ended up staying in the Holiday Inn by Kimball Junction for about $60 with breakfast and a pool. It certainly wasn't the nicest hotel I've stayed in (I've become a bit of a hotel snob travelling/working tradeshows with Sam and staying in the nice hotels that Fusion puts us up in) but it was certainly nice for the price and great to be close to all the shopping of the outlet malls.
We drove up to Park City on Saturday morning, checked into the hotel, and realized it was Saturday and I needed to get a 28 week picture (at this point I was feeling ambitious and thought I would try and take a picture every week for the rest of my pregnancy--I can tell you now that hasn't panned out very well). We had a hard time getting any good lighting in te hotel, so we decided to venture outside to the parking lot and decided this pretty little stone wall would make a decent backdrop. We then looked up information about 28 weeks and discovered the facts that you see in the picture above. I love knowing that Klair's senses are intact and it's fun to see her respond to certain stimuli (we like to shine a light on my belly and watch her responsive little kicks wherever the light is shone).
The rest of the babymoon was great. We shopped until we dropped (literally) went out to eat, hung out at the pool, and genuinely enjoyed each other's company in a place where the stresses of school and work and life in general were left behind in the Valley. I'm so grateful that tradeshow was cancelled and we were able to get away. I have a feeling it's going to be awhile before we can do anything like it again...

27 Weeks: The Beginning of the Third Trimester

We are now at 27 weeks and cannot believe that there are only 13 weeks to go. Some days feel like weeks and some weeks feel like days. We are so excited to meet Klair face to face! :)

At this point the energy of the second trimester is beginning to fade. I still try and do as much as I did before, but then I end up doing too much and making myself sick. Night is again a time where energy quickly fades and is replaced by uncomfortable aches, pains, and sicknesses. I guess I have to learn to pace myself. I'm also experiencing some new side effects--like sciatic nerve pain. That one comes and goes, and I'm hopeful it doesn't progress as she gets bigger. I've also been waking up with charley horses in my legs. I didn't realize this was a symptom of pregnancy until it happened to me, and I looked it up to confirm that it is indeed common. Oh, and did anyone know that pregancy can apparently make you feel congested? I am stuffy all the time! I checked with my babycenter app, and it is common. Who knew! At least I can't detect as many awful smells with my nose all stuffed up, I guess that is some silver lining in all of this...

Ultimately I have two things I have to remind myself of to keep me positive. First, Klair is healthy, and I am healthy. The negative side effects of pregnancy seem negligible compared to our overall well being.  Second, nothing is as bad as the constant 24-7 nausea of the first trimester. If all else fails, I can look back on that time and thank my lucky stars that whatever ailment I'm currently facing, it's not that!

23 Weeks

Look at that belly grow! So fun to go back and watch it take shape. I remember feeling so HUGE here. Ha, right. I am MUCH bigger now and I am sure I'll look back in a few more weeks and think the exact same thing again. So crazy how much this stomach of my can hold!

24th of July: 22 Weeks

The First Time Sam Felt Klair Kick!

I didn't feel my little bundle of joy kicking inside me until I was 21 weeks. I had read that some women start feeling their babies as early as 16 weeks, and I had been waiting in anticipation since this point to feel my baby girl. I started getting discouraged, but was reassured by my doctor that sometimes first-timers don't feel their babies until 21 weeks or so. Thus, when 21 weeks came around, I was relieved to feel her for the first time. Although there had been some sensations in my abdominal area that had aroused suspicion in me prior to this, on Sunday the 15th I can honestly say that I distinctly felt her for the first time. There was no doubt that the subtle tapping feeling inside was indeed a baby. The neat part about it was that although it was too early for Sam to feel it, he was still a part of it. I was sitting on the couch and he was laying his head in my lap. His head was resting against my belly, and the pressure from this made it possible for me to distinctly feel Klair's movements. I immediately told him what I was experiencing. And, although I suspected a little bit of sadness on his part that he couldn't feel her too, he was glad to have contributed and taken part in the experience.

A week and a half later on the 24th of July (Pioneer Day--a Utah holiday) we came home from a barbecue at our friend Austin's house. We were sitting on the couch again, and I felt her kicking stronger than I had before. I quickly told Sam to place his hand on my belly. He had to exert some pressure, but he was able to faintly feel the little movements.  We then got out the camera and took some photos to document the event. Thank goodness for the self-timer feature on our camera.

20 Weeks:

This was the halfway mark of my pregnancy. I actually started looking pregnant here.

17 Weeks:

I saw this idea on Pinterest. Another girl had done something similar, but had used a chalkboard. I searched high and low for a cute chalkboard to use, but never found anything satisfactory. Thus, Sam and I decided to simply put his skills to the test and he created this for me with some program on his Mac. We find the baby comparisons to fruits and vegetables both enlightening and humorous, thus it has been a theme througout many of our little updates.

Pregnancy Announcement: 16 Weeks

After discovering that we were having a girl, we decided to make an announcement to post on Facebook. Up until this point the only people who knew I was pregnant were family and close friends. I had seen a few cute ideas on Pinterest, and toyed with different ideas on how to present our happy news. I asked my cousin to take photos of Sam and I, which she did, but her camera broke after our photo shoot and the photos were lost. Thus, in a scramble for time, Sam downloaded an App on his phone with cool filters and we took this picture of a pair of girl shoes given to us by Sam's parents (they gave us  pair of girl shoes and a pair for boys right after finding out we were pregnant). Sam then used his creative skills and made this lovely little announcement. I think the pink filter is very fitting. And, although we didn't come out and say it explicitly, I was pleased that everyone was able to discern that we were having a girl.

**Note: Based on my 20 week ultrasound Klair's due date has since changed to the 25th of November--a.k.a. Thanksgiving :)

Gender Day! 16 Weeks.

On this lovely day we went to our OB early in the morning and they did a "courtesy" gender check. The ultrasound tech literally took about 2 minutes, located the baby's bottom, and told us we were having a girl. We didn't even have time to really register what had just happened before we were rushed out so she could accomodate the actual paying customers. Prior to this revelation, Sam and I had both been pretty convinced that we were having a boy--not because we wanted a boy more than a girl, but simply because everyone we knew had told us with confidence we were having a boy. Thus, when the ultrasound tech said "congratulations you're having a girl!" we were both a little shocked. The shock quickly subsided, however, and was replaced with sheer joy. Before getting married Sam and told me that he would prefer to have all girls, and I began to wonder if his wish was being fulfilled... I guess only time will tell.

After the brief 2 minute ultrasound, the tech printed out a picture of her legs with a little arrow pointing to the evidence that she indeed was female, and we left feeling like we had been caught up in whirlwind of emotion. We went out to the car, and just sat there for awhile. I kept saying "we're having a girl" over an over again. And then I realized that we already had a name picked out for her. Had it been a boy, there was still some debate about what his name would be, but Sam and I had both decided that if it was a girl she would be Klair Marie. Klair because it was my dad's name and it is my middle name. Marie because it is his mom's middle name, my sister's middle name, and it was even my great grandma's middle name. Also, we just liked the way the two names sounded together. It was pretty surreal to suddenly go from so much mystery regarding our baby to so much certainty: she was a girl, and her name was Klair Marie Duke. Suddenly, the reality of my pregnancy was taken to a whole new level and I immediately felt a deeper bond with the little Klair Marie inside me.

Sam immediately called his mom, and I called mine. We then called our siblings and anyone we could think of to spread the news to. It was an awesome moment, to say the least.

Feeling a little dissatisfied with the abruptness of our ultrasound and wanting to see more of our baby girl, we called up Fetal Studios in the mall. Our sister-in-law, Lacey, had gone there for both of her daughters and had a great experience getting photos and videos. We didn't want to wait another minute to see more of our baby Klair, so we asked if they had any availability. It was then about 10:30 in the morning. When the receptionist told us that there was an opening at 11:00, I knew that Sam wouldn't be going into work that morning. He took the day off, and we invited his mom to come along with us since we knew she was home and would love to see her granddaughter.

We met up at Fetal Studios, and I broke my own rule of no caffeine and got a coke from the food court in order to get that little baby moving. I wanted good photos of her. The ultrasound technician was so kind and much more gentle than I was used to, and it was wonderful to have someone take the time to get good photos. We were there for about 15 minutes, and it was amazing to watch my little girl and to see glimpses of what she looked like. During the ultrasound she played with her hands a lot and even sucked her thumb. She also gave me a few round-house kicks to the uterus. It was strange to see this child moving around and kicking inside me, and to not be able to feel any of it. During the ultrasound my mother-in-law was really great at discerning what was what, and she even cried a little. It was very sweet.

The tech gave us photos and a DVD of the entire ultrasound, and for the next few weeks we showed everyone who would let us the video of little Klair. I don't think anyone was as excited as we were, but they were all really good at pretending during the 10 to 15 minutes of video that we made them watch of her.

Below is one of the photos, my personal favorite from this experience. Little Klair has the cutest nose and lips. It was nice that she played well with the ultrasound technician at Fetal Studios and let us get such a great profile shot. This photo was taken at 16 weeks, can you believe it? I find it incredible how well defined their features are, even at such an early stage.You can easily see her profile. She has a nose that could easily be more like mine or Sam's, an upper lip that looks like her dad's, and big pouty lips (I can't wait to kiss them!) you can also see her brain, and the shape of her perfect little chin. What a beautiful angel.

On a brief side note that I feel is important to address--I may be psychic. About a year ago now, probably August of 2011, I had one of the most vivid dreams of my life. We were living in our Grant Street apartment in Midvale at the time, and it was early morning. I felt like I was in that state between wakefulness and dreaming. I briefly woke up, and settled back to sleep and immediately started dreaming. In my dream I was sitting up in my bed, and holding in my arms the most beautiful baby girl I had ever seen. She had brown hair, big brown eyes, and pouty lips. I knew that she was mine, and the feeling of love that I felt for her was overwhelming. I woke up from this dream crying because it was so real, and so beautiful. This led me to believe for awhile that my first baby would be a girl, but as I said before everyone I knew had been so convinced that we were having a boy that I allowed myself to believe it too. I should have had more faith in my dream. When I saw that baby girl on the ultrasound with her big lips, I felt like maybe, just maybe, my dream was some sort of revelation. I informed Sam that if she is born with dark hair and dark eyes he may as well call me a prophetess. I guess we will just have to wait and see.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

First Day of the Third Trimester!

First Day of the Third Trimester!

Today Sam and I are celebrating the fact that we have made it to the third trimester of pregnancy. It has been quite the adventure thus far, and I am confident that things will only get... more interesting :) We are both so thrilled to think that we only have about 90 days (give or take) until our sweet little bundle of joy, Klair Marie, enters this world and we can hold her in our arms.

I must say I have really enjoyed the second trimester, it was such a relief from the "morning" (more like all-day) sickness of the first. Except for the occassional ache and pain, the middle months have been relatively easy. The next three months supposedly get harder, or so I've heard. I'm still hopeful I can be the exception to the rule and have a nice easy breezy time through to the end... but I won't hold my breath. I guess in all of this I can look to my ancestors and to the sisterhood of womankind throughout the world and take strength in the fact that most babies throughout history have been born (and continue to be born in many parts of the world) in much worse circumstances, yet women pull it off. We are pretty amazing. And if they could (can) do it, then surely I can bide my time in climate-controlled buildings, and forge my way through labor in a brand new hospital with wonderful doctors and modern medicine.

I will admit that I feel guilty that it has taken me this long to really start blogging. I hope Klair will forgive me for my negligence in chronicling this critical time in her mortal beginnings. I do have some pictures and a few journal entries that I created, so I will likely do a sort of timeline of events and post them on here in the next few days. I am excited to get started with this blog, however. And in light of the fact that my sweet and overworked husband is out of town for the next few days, I will really have no excuse not to get this thing all up to date.