After Brenden was born, I created this page to tell the story of his pregnancy. We delivered at Baylor Irving, a great hospital where my sister Lisa works as a labor & delivery nurse. Our OB/GYN was Dr. Jeff Livingston from MacArthur OB/GYN in Irving, whose office is across the street from my high school.

The family had a pool going on Brenden’s delivery date. I finally compiled most of the guesses into a calendar format. Since he was born on July 30, I won, which makes this thing look totally rigged. Oh well. =) The winning guess on Brenden’s weight poll was 7lb to 7lb15oz, which was just under his actual birth weight of 8lb0oz.

Here’s the pregnancy blog:

7-24-08 Wednesday brought our weekly doctor’s appointment. The doctor says we’re still at a 2 but her body is ready to go otherwise. The contractions are getting stronger and more frequent, 10-15 minutes apart for much of the day, but we still aren’t sure whether they represent true labor or false labor. Dr. L leaves for Vegas on Wednesday, so we really hope Brenden will arrive by then! Jenny is walking a LOT trying to speed things along. She went to Target while I slept Wed morning, and after the appointment we walked the mall for a while. I’m scheduled to work through Saturday morning, but I found a guy who can probably work the Friday night shift for me and a girl who might be able to work Thursday night. It won’t be long now!

7-18-08 Thursday was a busy day for Jenny and Brenden! First, Jenny met with the woman who we think we want as our pediatrician, Dr. Michelle Fowers. Her practice has a nice website, and Jenny was really impressed with her. They keep their patient load small to spend more time with each patient and believe strongly in education, so they like to give their patients lots of handouts. The office has a separate entrance for sick kids to help keep the healthy ones from getting sick. Dr. Fowers is also willing to work with us on a vaccination schedule that spreads the vaccinations out a bit, which is important to us. Their office is just a few miles away. Even better, one of her partners can come to check out Brenden in the hospital just after birth.

Next, we met with Officer Spivey from the Irving PD for a free lesson in proper installation and use of a car seat. What a great service! I now have both seat bases installed in our cars, and his bucket is in my car. It’s really, really strange to look behind me while driving and see a car seat.

Finally, we went to our weekly doctor’s appointment. Jenny is now a “solid 2”, up a bit from last week. Brenden’s head has not engaged yet, so we should have at least a few more days. Jenny is having Braxton-Hicks contractions VERY frequently now and has had one or two real contractions, which feel a bit different.

My family has a pool going on Brenden’s birthday. Lisa has already lost. Jenny’s date is July 18, so it looks like she’s probably out as well. My date is July 31 officially, but I’m starting to think it might be next weekend. I’m waiting for Lisa to send me the dates so I can put them up here somehow.

7-11-08 We went to the doctor on Thursday for the first of our weekly appointments. Everything is still going well overall. Brenden’s heartbeat is strong and fast, and Jenny is normal for a woman who’s 9 months pregnant, just general aches, discomfort, and swollen feet. Granted, all of that doesn’t sound too fun, but she knows it could be much worse, and we’re thankful for a smooth pregnancy. The doctor said she’s already dilated to almost 2cm, which is a bit ahead of schedule but doesn’t necessarily mean anything. It’s hard to believe he’s scheduled to arrive in less than a month! Lisa’s shower is this Saturday, which means it won’t be too much longer until Reagan arrives as well.

6-29-08 Wow, less than 40 days until Due Date (D-Day?)! It’s hard to believe he’s almost here! Jenny had a good checkup on Thursday. Size-wise he measures in the 55th percentile for his age, which sounds great to us. The doc said our pregnancy was “boringly normal”, and that’s a good thing. Apparently he’ll be in Vegas for a few days at the end of July/early August, which means there’s a chance he won’t be able to deliver him. It wouldn’t be a huge deal, but we would rather deliver with him. But I hear the nurse is more important than the doctor anyway since you spend so much more time with her during labor.

Jenny’s work shower was on Friday, lots of fun and a great time with friends and family. Afterward Jenny’s sister and mom helped us organize our gifts, and on Saturday Katy cleaned our apartment! How cool is that?!?

6-13-08 Good news! They fixed the 4D sono machine and let us give it another try. This time Brenden cooperated and gave us some good shots of his face (see below). Jenny thinks he has my nose. I like his cute puffy cheeks. The tech said he’s around 4 1/2 pounds now, which sounds huge to me but is apparently right on track. He took several measurements, all of which were normal. Jenny goes back for another checkup June 26.

Here’s a good pic of his face:


Here’s his left hand in front of his face. You can see his left thumb sticking out:


Also, Brenden now has his own email address! It’s just like ours – his first name I’m helping him type until he gets the hang of it.

6-9-08 The doctor’s office called Thursday morning to say their 4D sono machine was broken. Even worse, it wouldn’t be fixed until after the viable window for this type of sono. After about 32 weeks, apparently, babies are often so squished in there that it’s hard to get a good view of their face. They are head-down facing the mom’s spine, which is ideal for delivery but bad for sonos. Oh well, at least we got a good foot picture!

We had our second shower on Saturday. It was HUGE, with most of my relatives and several family friends coming in, many from Wichita Falls. We have such loving and generous people. Now our challenge is to get our baby stuff organized. We set up the pack & play Sunday night and set it up in our room, where he’ll sleep for the first few weeks. I’ve already stumbled into it in the dark, so we might need to adjust its position. Brenden is about 16 inches long and weighs about 4 pounds. That boggles my mind. It’s hard to believe we’ll be able to see him face-to-face in 2 months or less!

Oh yes, the push present ring I wanted to get Jenny is no longer available. So I’m looking at other options. Think she’d like a MacBook? =)

6-2-08 Here’s a cute picture of Brenden’s feet. We’ll try the 4D sono again on Thursday.

Foot Picture

5-26-08 Today was our first baby shower, hosted by Jenny’s sister Katy, our sister-in-law Kelly, and our friend Renee. We had a great time hanging out with Jenny’s side of the family and friends from church and enjoying lots of good food. Our people are so generous, giving us lots of useful and fun gifts to help us get started. We’re thankful to have so much support from our people.

5-24-08 We had another checkup today. Mom and Baby are still doing well and making good progress. We tried to get a 4D sono like we’d planned, but Brenden was shy (stubborn?) and kept his face down, so we didn’t get a good look. We did, however, get a couple of great shots of his feet. I’ll post those pics soon once I have time to scan them. The doc said Jenny needs to exercise more even though it’s not much fun these days, so we’re going to try to hit the treadmill a few days a week after she gets off work. Our first baby shower is Sunday afternoon! This one is mostly for Jenny’s side of the family and friends from church. I think Sunday will make it all seem even more real. So will our birthing class the day before. I don’t know how they’re going to talk about labor for 9 hours (some babies don’t even take that long!), but we’ll see tomorrow. Except for the fact that I have to work the night before and might not be very alert during the class, I’m actually quite excited about it.

5-17-08 Brenden is about 2.5 pounds now and 14-15″ long! It’s weird to realize we’re in month 7 now. Often Jenny can detect which part of him is pushing on her – maybe his foot one moment, his butt the next – and sometimes see her belly move with him. How amazing!

Lisa and Reagan are doing better. Lisa is mostly off her anti-labor meds, just taking them on occasion as needed. She’ll remain on bedrest for at least another week. We brought her some movies to entertain her, one of which was Braveheart at her request. Maybe it’s a guy/girl thing, but I think it’s safe to say that watching Braveheart raised most guys’ blood pressure. OK, let’s be honest – it makes us want to grab a 50lb battle axe, put on war paint, and run across a field screaming. But she said she enjoyed the movie and reported no ill effects. Girls are weird.

**Jenny’s comment: Girls watch Braveheart and want to marry a 25 year old Mel Gibson in a kilt. Then go somewhere other than England so he doesn’t die.

5-9-08 Brenden is almost 2 pounds now and a little over a foot long! Jenny feels him all the time now, and he’s strong enough to shake her whole belly if he kicks hard. Jenny’s still feeling pretty good, with decent energy levels and few problems. We’re extremely busy this month, which is hard on both of us but especially on her. Once we get through the Southwest Airlines Duck Derby on May 22, she should be able to relax a bit. It’s hard to believe we’re in the double digits on the countdown, with about 3 months to go. It’s comforting to know that if he did arrive now, he’d most likely be OK with proper care. We are a little concerned about Lisa and Brenden’s cousin Reagan due to her preterm contractions, but we’re confident that everything will work out fine.

4-30-08 We have registered for birthing classes at Baylor Irving! Seems kinda odd to attend a class on how to have a baby, considering people have been having babies for thousands of years, but I’m sure we’ll both learn plenty! There’s a normal birthing class, which is a what-to-expect sorta thing, a baby care/safety class, a CPR and car seat class, and a breastfeeding class. Separately, we also have books to read on what to do AFTER he arrives, including Babywise and What to Expect Your First Year. Maybe I should play a little less PS3 and read a little more, eh?

4-26-08 After much deliberation and prayer, we have chosen a name for BB: Brenden Matthew Box. We will call him Brenden. No, we’re not naming him after anyone, it’s just a name that we like. And Jenny’s maiden name is Matthews, which happens to make a nice middle name. Yay Brenden!

Jenny did her glucose test for gestational diabetes on Friday. She says it wasn’t much fun, but wasn’t as horrible as she expected. We don’t have the results yet. Her blood pressure was great, though. Sleeping has become more difficult, with lots of tossing and turning, which wake Brenden up and make him roll around a bit to get comfortable after Jenny quits moving. We don’t have any new sono pics to post, but on May 23 we’ve scheduled a 4-d sono that should give us a much clearer picture of him. They’ll give us a copy on DVD, and I’ll post it if the file isn’t too big.

4-20-08 We have finally made great progress on BB’s room! Here are some pics:

We got the baby furniture as a set from Wal-Mart, all in one huge box. The mattress came from Babies R Us. We’re going with an ocean theme for the room. Still no name for BB yet. Pray that we can agree on something soon.

4-6-08 I felt BB kick a few days ago! I had tried a few times before but just couldn’t feel anything. But this time when he was moving around and Jenny called me over, I pushed on her belly and felt a distinct THUMP. I’m pretty sure it was a foot. I don’t know if he’s just curious and interacting with his environment, or I made him mad by shrinking his available space and moving him around. But it was unmistakable and extremely cool. I kept pressing, and he did it again, just as hard. Then I felt a lighter fluttery movement, perhaps as he rolled over. I’ve heard that near the end, you can watch the belly and actually see the baby moving. Check back later!

4-2-08 We found out this week that BB’s cousin, Lisa’s kiddo, is a girl! Several people had a feeling she was a girl, which I still don’t understand. They have some cool names picked out and are very excited. It will be fun to have one of each gender at about the same age.

3-31-08 We went to the doctor on Thursday, and everything looks good. His heart is still pumping like crazy, about double an adult’s heartrate. BB weighs about a pound and is 11 inches long from head to toe. I still haven’t felt him, but maybe I will in another week or two. Our doc, being the jokester that he is, did a sonogram but only printed one picture: his manly areas. He’s definitely a boy! Out of respect for him, I chose not to post that picture on the Internet. I’m sure he’ll thank me someday.

We finally got a crib! It’s a 3-piece set from WallyWorld that includes a crib, dresser, and changing table all in one very heavy box. The cherry finish will look nice in his room once we get everything set up. We’d looked at various stores, Craiglist, garage sales, and websites trying to decide on a crib until we finally settled on this one. The crib converts to a toddler bed for future use. It’s great to have the major baby furniture picked out! We’re getting more baby clothes and supplies every week, and now we have places to put it.

3-23-08 We’re now officially over the hump, approaching 21 weeks. Jenny still feels pretty good. She drinks lots of milk these days, more than she ever drank before. She feels BB swimming more and more, but I haven’t quite picked him up yet. Jenny says I need to talk to him, and I know she’s right, but I just feel silly talking to a bump. I think it’s a guy thing. Lisa talks to Gummy Bear/Peanut all the time. You probably saw Round 2 of the Baby Name Poll. Mail was the winner this time, so I think we’re going to go with Mail Lunch Box for now. I wouldn’t monogram anything yet, though – just in case!

Jenny and her mom worked a great consignment sale for baby/maternity gear called Divine Consign, where we got a few good deals including a car seat base. As more baby stuff rolls in, I’m feeling a more urgent need to find a crib and dresser so we have a place to store everything. We’re also a bit overwhelmed with all the different cribs to choose from.

3-10-08 We have cleared out most of the spare bedroom to make room for BB’s gear and almost decided how we want to arrange his furniture. Already we have a set of ocean-themed bedding and ocean art, so we’re going for a fish theme overall. Baby clothes are starting to appear, including a Dallas Stars onesie. We hope to get some funny ones for him. I saw one somewhere that has arrows pointing to the baby boy’s arms and says “Welcome to the Gun Show.” We’ve started looking at cribs and strollers and even started a registry at Target. The name search is on, with a current list of 10-15 names and a few favorites. Jenny is surprisingly energetic these days despite all our activities. She keeps waking up with hot flashes during the night, so we have to keep the bedroom very cool. She bought a body pillow and named it Drew. Not sure what I think about that. Now that we’re at 19 weeks, the halfway point is almost upon us, which is both exciting and terrifying! Jenny actually looks pregnant now and can feel him swimming around sometimes. Lisa might find out the gender of Gummy Bear later this month, which is also tremendously exciting. What a wild year this is!

2-27-08 Sono says BB is definitely a boy, although I would need years of training to make sense out of any of those blobs on the screen. The sono tech, a guy named Joe whom our doctor says is the best sono guy he’s ever worked with, took all kinds of measurements and pointed out various organs. We saw the four chambers of his rapidly beating heart, his disproportionately large head, and a HUGE pair of feet – like father, like son. Everything looks great, they say. It was amazing to see his tiny little femurs, arms, and face. He actually moved around a lot as well, especially when trying to check his naughty bits. Maybe he’s shy. We hadn’t seen a sono since early January, so he’d made great progress since then. The due date is still Aug 4. I don’t know how you all did it, but the majority of you were right on the money with your prediction. Thanks for all your enthusiasm, support, and prayers. Now we can start thinking more seriously about naming our son. Man, it feels weird to write “our son”!

Sono Feb 27-08

2-15-08 As predicted, I’ve been slacking on the BB updates. We’re now on week 15. BB’s crown-rump length is over 4 inches now! So if you stretched him/her out to include the legs, BB is more like 6-7″ tall! The head is close to racquetball size (“That’s a huge noggin!”). BB’s probably sucking his/her thumb sometimes and swimming around as muscles strengthen and grow. Jenny thinks she’s felt very faint movement a few times. We’re not thinking too much more about baby names until we find out which gender to focus on. It’s hard enough just to pick a name once you know!

1-31-08 We had our second OB/GYN appointment yesterday afternoon. That morning Jenny had mentioned wondering if our doc would ever get called away for a delivery during one of our appointments. I guess she jinxed us because sure enough, that afternoon he got called in. Instead we saw his nurse practitioner Kim, who is awesome. The only interesting thing to report is that we heard BB’s heartbeat. It’s fast like a chihuahua’s. I guess he/she has a lot of work to do. Swimming always raised my pulse a quite bit. No sono this time, but we’re planning on doing the detailed sono on Feb 27. That’s the one that should tell us BB’s gender and take lots of measurements.

1-27-08 We’re nearing the end of the first trimester (my, how time flies!). Accordingly, Jenny is starting to feel better, mainly in having more energy. She’s still tired, but isn’t almost falling asleep in her chair like before. She’s managing to stay pretty level emotionally as well, which makes her happy. Our next doctor’s appointment is on Wed, Jan 30. I hope we might get to learn BB’s gender on Wed, but it might be too early. Knowing the gender would help us wipe out half of our baby names and make some progress on that front. We’ve already gotten several baby presents from our sweet friends and family members. As mentioned on the main blog, Lisa is pregnant as well, which we’re SO excited about! We’re so thankful to be on this journey together and can’t wait to meet our new niece/nephew!

1-19-08 In light of today’s skyrocketing college tuition costs, we decided it would be wise to open up a college savings account for BB before he/she is born and continue contributing to it for the next 18 years. The government set up 529 accounts for this very purpose and provided some tax advantages. They work like a Roth IRA in that you contribute money after-tax, let it grow, and then withdraw it for your kid’s tuition and books without paying taxes on the growth. Very nice. Check out Texas College Savings for more information. If BB happens to get a scholarship, we can even withdraw the amount of the scholarship, count it as taxable earnings without any additional penalty, and take a cruise to Sicily instead. =)

1-15-08 Eleven weeks now! The major organs are pretty much formed now. BB’s eyes are almost done but will remain sealed shut for several more weeks. Tiny little fingernails have formed as well. Jenny is still really tired. I try to drag her out for a walk around the lake most days, but it often doesn’t work because a nap is more appealing. Morning sickness seems to have passed her by, which is obviously great! We’ve started talking more about life with BB – parenting approaches, discipline, and what we learned from our own childhoods. I wish I could remember better what it was like to be a kid. =)

1-7-08 BB is now officially a fetus instead of an embryo! Both those words have a definitely clinical feel, so I’ll keep using BB instead. But it’s a milestone! BB is the size of a kumquat or small plum, with a hardening skeleton and hair starting to develop. We’ve started outfitting the nursery, too. We didn’t want to start so soon, but the baby bedding set we like at Target (with an ocean theme) is on clearance and presumably being discontinued. Jenny liked it so much that we didn’t want to risk losing it. She also bought her first maternity pants and thinks they are the best things ever. 30 weeks to go!

1-2-08 Today we met our new OB, a colleague of Lisa’s named Dr. Jeff Livingston, for our first checkup. He is both highly competent and highly laid back, which we greatly appreciate. Everything looked fine. The technicians drew lots of blood for testing, but we don’t have any results or expect anything significant. BB is about the size of an olive now and has eyes, fingers, toes, elbows, knees, and ears. The little tail is gone, and BB is starting to move around a little, although the only real movement we noticed in today’s ultrasound was the tiny heartbeat. Jenny got a short-lived stomach bug right after Christmas but now is feeling much better. She enjoyed having so much time off for Christmas and New Year’s, which helped her get lots of rest. You can’t tell too much from the ultrasound below since BB is still so small. The dark area is the uterus, and the lighter area within is BB and the nutrient sac. We could definitely see some growth compared to the last ultrasound from a couple of weeks ago. We might have another ultrasound or two here and there in the next few months, but the important, highly detailed one that should reveal BB’s gender will occur around 18 weeks.

Sono Jan 2-08

12-25-07 Week 8 is here. BB’s hands and feet are forming along with the beginnings of a cartilage skeleton. BB is about 3/4″ long and starting to look more like a little person instead of a bean. Jenny is feeling OK, starting to get a little nauseous here and there but not too badly yet. We’re reading several pregnancy books, which I enjoy since I love to learn. We’re also starting to think about how life will be once we’re responsible for this little person who’s completely dependent upon us. How will we handle feedings, sleep, my work, bathtime, and all those little details that change parents’ lives? Jenny will be staying home with BB, which will be a huge blessing, but all you parents out there know that raising a baby is a full-time job!

This should be our last Christmas before becoming parents, which is a strange thought. BB is the first grandchild on either side, so all of us “kids” are accustomed to being the “kids”, even though we’re all adults now. Jenny and I have halfheartedly started some of our own Christmas traditions already, but we’re thinking about them more as we prepare for next year. We think we’ll want to spend Christmas morning just the three of us, reading the Christmas story together and having a special breakfast before we go visit family.

12-19-07 First Sonogram: It’s a lot easier to see live since you can see the heartbeat. BB is about 1cm long right now. The dark area is the amniotic sac. Look in the middle of the picture between the two small arrows – that’s BB. The area just to the left is a nutrient sac.

Sono Dec 19-07

12-18-07 BabyMomma has accused me of making the BB page too clinical and melodramatic. Since she’s pregnant, I am compelled to agree with her on any given point. So in lieu of any real baby news (except that the sono is tomorrow, so check back soon for the image), I’ll throw you a couple of fun links. One is, which I assume is self-explanatory. Our first choices for BB’s name, Suggestion for a boy and Shoe for a girl, aren’t listed. So we’re exploring possibilities. The second link is to the maternity t-shirts on, ridiculously overpriced but so funny they’re almost worth it.

12-14-07 The fatigue and hunger are increasing. By eating frequently, she has managed to avoid morning sickness so far. She decided to switch to a closer doctor and hospital now that we live in Irving. The first appointment with him will be Jan 2, and we plan to deliver at Baylor Irving, where Lisa works. Lisa won’t be our nurse, but she will make sure we get a good one!

12-9-07 The second blood test shows her HCG levels growing exponentially, doubling every 2-3 days. Our first ultrasound is scheduled for Dec 19. Jenny is feeling more tired and hungry than normal, and she has waves of SuperNose.

12-5-07 There’s not much to report yet – we are pregnant (confirmed by at least 3 different tests), and Jenny’s HCG levels look good. HCG is a hormone produced by the placenta, and its levels double every 2-3 days. She goes back for another blood test on Friday and our first ultrasound next week. BB is about the size of a small grain of rice, and his/her heart is already beating. I have no doubt that life begins at conception.