17 posts categorized "Pregnancy"


How Quickly I Forget

I came across this picture when looking through Cody's phone the other day and can't believe that this was a short five months ago.


And it just cracks me up.

How quickly I've forgotten what it was like to weigh 28 pounds more. Have Anna inside me, moving and grooving all the time. Not know what Anna looks like. Not know her personality. Get a full night's sleep every night. To not love her for the little person she is.


What No One Told Me About Post-Delivery

As you’ve been able to tell, I was very much worried and anxious about the delivery of Anna that I really didn't think about preparing myself for what happened after delivery . . . No one tells you that:

You can't get rest in the hospital. Too many people coming in and out. Anna had her own nurse and doctor. I had my own nurse and doctor. There was the seemingly hourly visit from a tech who'd check my blood pressure, temperature, etc. Housekeeping to change sheets and towels. Lactation Consultants. Hospital photographer . . . It was a constant stream of people that had different things to do, regardless of the time of day. We just wanted to be left alone.


You still look six/seven months pregnant; it's just that now it's not "cute" since there isn't a baby in there anymore. And on the drive home from the hospital Cody hit a bump in the road. My stomach jiggled. Not something I thought about happening.


You're sweating out what seems to be gallons of liquid, as well as going to the bathroom every hour, as your body gets rid of the excess fluid you've been carrying around. I would wake up to feed Anna and I’d be burning up, sweating up a storm. Cody would be covered in a blanket. It’s usually the opposite around our house, with me covered and blankets and Cody burning up.

The baby doesn't know how to breastfeed, just like you don't know how to breastfeed. It's such a learning process for both people. I didn’t think about or anticipate the different holds, or that there was a possibility of having latching problems, which is what Anna had.


New babies poop a black/dark-green sticky substance called meconium. I didn't know how to really change a diaper, but quickly got the hang of it since Anna had over 10 dirty diapers her first day.

How much work newborns are. There is no end in sight where if you “just make it through the week you can sleep in on Saturday.” It’s 24/7 . . . all the time. I knew it was like that, but until you experience it, you don’t really *know* it.


Having any kind of a tear from delivery sucks (and I was just a “stage 1 tear,” my heart goes out to the women with stage 4 tears). Not being able to control your bladder sucks. Really, everything healing just sucks.

How much pure exhaustion can make you feel like crap. Irritability, snapping at the people that love you and are around to help you out. They call it the "baby blues" if you are moody after having a baby. I just call it being tired.


(See the blue chair on the left side? That converts to a "bed" that Cody slept on for two nights. Yeah, I'm sure it was really comfortable . . .)

How many people show love to you an your child. So much generosity in gifts, time and thoughtful words. It completely took me by surprise how much people gave and it was much needed and appreciated.

I’ve been so fortunate since immediately after Anna's delivery I felt awesome. With an unmedicated birth my side effects from the delivery were very small, but it’s such a life-changing moment that there was just no way we could have prepared for what was going to come.


I’ll definitely say she’s 100% worth it though.


Anna Corine Has Arrived!

We were not prepared. I was convinced that she was going to be late, but Anna Corine made her appearance on Friday, January 21st at 4:51am--38 weeks and 2 days along into my pregnancy.

Here is the story of her arrival . . .

On Monday the 17th (Martin Luther King Day) both Cody and I were off of work and I had some very light cramping--it was more annoying than anything. The cramps would come and go throughout the day and I knew that the process of Anna being born was starting, but I also knew that for first-time moms, that process could take weeks.

Tuesday morning I had my standard weekly doctor’s appointment and Dr. U wanted to monitor Anna’s heartbeat for a half hour just to make sure everything was okay. It was nice and strong and we even got to see on the monitor that I was having Braxton-Hicks contractions every eight minutes, although I couldn’t feel them. I was 0% effaced (the cervix will go from about 2-4cm thick during pregnancy to paper thin right before delivery) and 0cm dilated, which means that my body hadn’t started the labor process yet.


(Passing the time . . . taking pictures of each other while checking email. Fun stuff.)

Dr. U said I was right on target for 38 weeks along and she felt that she’d see me the following Tuesday at my next appointment.

I woke up on Wednesday and started to have cramping that would come either every ten minutes or ever hour—very irregular. I remember describing the pain being similar to someone pinching my leg, more annoying than painful. We even went out to dinner with our friends Randy and Jace. I’d just pause every once in a while when I got a contraction and would go on eating my dinner.

This may sound crazy, but I was totally convinced that these were more Braxton-Hicks contractions, or practice contractions. Everything I had read talked about “real” labor contractions being regular in duration, and these weren’t.

Into Thursday my contractions remained irregular, although they were a little bit more intense than Wednesday’s contractions. I had a three-hour work call at 8am Thursday morning and knew I couldn’t sit through the meeting pretending that everything was okay. I thought I’d work on stuff that needed to get done and just avoid client calls. After lying down mid-morning, I never was able to get myself back to work.


(Writing down my contractions . . . A self-portrait. I looked in the mirror after using the bathroom and realized how horrible I looked! I had to snap a picture . . . And Spangler illegally keeping me company on the couch to make me feel better!)

Cody got home from work and found me on the couch, which is where I’d been hanging out all day. He made dinner and we continued to time each contraction, 55 seconds long and 7 to 13+ minutes apart. From a pain standpoint, they were to the point where Cody would talk me through each contraction, reminding me to try to stay relaxed and to breathe.

I know it sounds crazy, but we still didn’t think they were “real” labor contractions.

As we got ready for bed I threw the last few items I needed into my hospital “go” bag I had packed the week before and Cody went and got the camera. We joked a bit about how we probably didn’t need to do it as we were going to “really” get ready for the baby that coming Saturday (put the car seat in the car, finish packing, charge cameras, etc.).

The contractions kept coming but were mild enough for me to doze in and out of sleep. I’d be in a half conscience state at each one and then fall back asleep with no problem.

At 1:10am I had a contraction and was jolted awake by the sensation that I was wetting the bed. I woke Cody up with, “Cody. Cody! I think my water just broke.” I ran into the bathroom and sure enough, every minute or so, amniotic fluid would leak out. (Sorry for any man reading this, but in full disclosure, my mucus plug then came out.) I also started shivering pretty bad.

To say that we really didn’t know what to do was a total understatement! We knew that I needed to get to the hospital as my water breaking meant that she would be born that day. But, it was 22 degrees outside and I somehow needed to get myself dressed and in the car, while leaking fluid. (Spangler slept through the entire ordeal.)

A pair of old pants and an old towel later, we were in the car and made the drive to the hospital. Cody pulled up at the drop off point and walked me to the check-in counter.


It was a bit anticlimactic at this point as they needed some paperwork filled out. (Yes, I know . . . I guess they have to do it . . . Luckily, Cody was there to fill it out for me.). I then had to go pee in a cup and change into a hospital gown. They were able to then verify that my water did indeed break and they then checked to see my progress.

Holy. Cow. I was 100% effaced and 4cm dilated. I was for sure in labor.

They put in an IV (I did much better than in the ER back when I found out I was pregnant, but it took three attempts because I kept pulling it out—after attempt two Cody told the nurse to stop telling me when she was putting it in) and did a blood draw to figure out my platelet counts. I was then moved upstairs to a Labor & Delivery room. They also called Dr. U.

It was 3am by this point and I was contracting much more regularly and they became much more intense. Cody called our families and our Doula, Caressa. Caressa showed up fairly quickly since she lives pretty close to the hospital and started to help Cody in talking me through the contractions.

Looking back, the next hour seems like a bit of a blur.

Dr. U showed up and checked in on me, but was waiting for my platelet counts to see what we were working with. She went to consult the anesthesiologist in case of an emergency c-section. My sister, Steph, was the next person to get to the hospital and joined us in the room, although by that time I really couldn’t talk to her as it took so much focus to get through each contraction and to try to relax during the short breaks between each one. The pain was starting to become too much and the idea of an epidural was sounding like heaven.

I don’t know if my platelets would have allowed me to qualify for an epidural or not as the nurse checked me and it was announced that I was already dilated to 9cm. Anna was coming quick and fast and I was past the point of getting any pain medication. Steph was sent to the waiting room, as delivery was eminent. The contractions were almost constant and suddenly I had this huge urge to push. I was checked again and although I was at the full 10cm, I had a lip in my cervix, which needed to go down before she’d fit through. I had Cody, Caressa, Dr. U and the nurses all telling me (well, more like yelling at me since I wasn’t listening) to stop pushing and it took everything I had to not push and I still ended up pushing a few times with each contraction. Caressa was trying to get me to grunt through the urges but she told me later that I would have none of it!


Caressa wanted to change my position (I was on my back) to get me on all fours in the hopes that gravity would do its thing and push the lip open. I was being a bit difficult (again) because the idea of moving AT ALL was not appealing to me, but with Cody telling me that I really needed to do it I flipped around and after three or four contractions Dr. U checked me again and the lip was gone! I heard the most WONDERFUL words come out of her mouth, which were that I could finally push.

I was put on my back again and with the next contraction Anna’s head crowned. Dr. U warned me that I was about to tear and gave me a shot of local anesthesia in anticipation of the tear. The next contraction came and I pushed her head out. Then, with the next contraction, I heard, “She’s out!” and she was placed on my stomach.

The contractions stopped immediately and Cody and I were left staring at our little girl.


I couldn’t have written Anna’s birth out to go any better than it did. All of that anxiety, stress and worry was for nothing. So many people to thank.


It was as if God was showing me that He was in control the entire time. I felt His presence with me, especially when I would call out to Him in the middle of a painful contraction. It was a huge moment for me as I learned that I am not in control of my life, and I need to stop trying to be.

Cody was amazing. He was next to me the entire time and was full of encouraging words. It’s indescribable, but to be able to create life with your best friend is such an amazing experience. It was something we did together. He was with me through everything . . . the scary trip to the ER when I was just weeks pregnant, the doctor’s appointments, the blood draws, and now the birth. I love him so much and going through Anna’s birth together brought us closer than I could have ever imagined.


Dr. U, who put up with my anxiety and craziness during my pregnancy, and made it just in time to deliver Anna. I am fortunate to have a doctor that I trusted and who made sure she did everything to keep Anna and me safe during the pregnancy.


Caressa, who, early on in my pregnancy I’d talk or meet with her and we’d talk through my fears and anxieties and she’d pray for me. I firmly believe that if she wasn’t in the room with me during delivery that I could have easily wound up with an emergency c-section because of the lip in my cervix. The nurses, although very good at what they do, are not used to dealing with an unmedicated birth. It was Caressa that thought out-of-the-box and flipped me over, using gravity to open my cervix to where Anna could be born. I know that God placed her in that room for that very reason, and I will always be thankful for her. (Especially since I have nothing to hide from her now that she’s seen me give birth—Ha!)


My family, who not only showed up at the hospital super early, but who were excited about Anna’s arrival.


To have the people I love show love for my daughter is just priceless. (My little sister, Lizzie, and Cody's family showed up at the hospital later that day!)


And finally, Anna Corine, who has already changed our lives for the better.


Final Wall Collage for the Baby's Nursery

Without further delay, the wall collage for our baby girl's room is finally complete.


You know I'm a huge fan of collages (hence the "M" wall in my entry way) but I always forget that they are a total pain in the butt to do. I did take some photos of my process as getting wall collages correctly spaced is critical to the final look.

Once I received the items I ordered from Etsy.com in the mail, I physically took them around to a handful of stores looking for the right frames. I knew the paper doll and her dresses would do fine in a normal frame, but the baby doll dress needed to be in a shadow box.

(Note I purchased the brown frames from Walmart and the shadow box from Hobby Lobby. As mentioned before, the baby doll dress, paper doll and baby blocks were purchased on Etsy.com. The large metal "A" was found at an antique store in Rockwall, TX. The chandeiler sticker was purchased from LeenTheGraphicsQueen.com. The metal chairs were purchased back in 2006 from IKEA. The acrylic shelf was purchased at The Container Store.)

When choosing colors for the frames, it's good to try to find balance. I picked white for the baby doll dress frame specifically to tie in the white of the chandelier and the brown frames to tie in with the furniture of the room.


Once I got all the pieces, I laid them out on the floor exactly as I wanted it on the wall. This can be a slow process as I constantly move the frames around until I find that balance I'm looking for (for example, I knew I did not want the baby doll dress to be near the chandelier sticker just because they were both white--their separate creates balance).

Once you have it laid out, measure the total width of the collage.


(It helps to have a 75 pound black lab who is "assisting" you with this process.)

I measured the wall I was putting the collage onto to find the center point, with some simple math on a scratch piece of paper. I could then find the center-point of my collage as well--so I knew where I'd hang the first piece of the collage. It ended up being the metal "A's" left side.


I then made newspaper templates of everything. This step always seems excessive and drawn-out (I pretty much despise doing it) but it really pays off. I took each newspaper equivalent and taped it on the wall. (For the shelf I used a thin piece of cardboard.) This allowed me to step back and evaluate the spacing of each item and to make sure the height of the collage itself worked.


Once I got everything where I wanted it, I started the hanging process. I did the sticker first (man, that made me nervous since it's not re-positionable) and added the frames one-by-one.


Finally, the wall came together and it's straight, centered, and exactly as I envisioned it.


(Just don't give your husband the camera as you're finishing up the wall . . . as he'll go crazy and get a bunch of pictures, although it's not bad to get some behind-the-scenes-35.5-week-pregnancy pics!)


Baby's Room Update

I have this week off from work and I've been committing myself every day to do something to get the baby's room done--or at least in livable condition. We only have five weeks left until her due date, and only two weeks left until she is considered full term. (Holy cow!)

To prep for my goal of getting the baby's room done I did a little bit of online shopping the week before last and found some items I'm pretty excited about.

(I have been planning on doing a collage on the wall and knew I wanted to fill it with mainly vintage girlie items. Shopping with my Mom and sisters a few weeks ago was supposed to entail  a trip to Canton, this huge outdoor flea market, but we ended up not going so I needed a plan B.)

I went over to etsy.com and literally within a half hour, I found exactly what I had been envisioning in my mind.


Baby Doll Dress


Purchased in the Beca Runs shop.

This is a baby doll dress with a delicate blue and white lace pattern. The red glass buttons just set it perfectly, as it matches the main fabric I'm using in the room.


1940's Paper Doll Set


Purchased in the Songbird Industries shop.

This 1940's paper doll is named Curly Top and has real mohair hair. It was designed by Alma de Journette, although I have no idea who that is! I just thought this was adorable to frame and put on the wall.

She's a bit taller than I thought she'd be, since she is right around 13" tall, but she is just perfect.


Set of Three Baby Blocks


Purchased in the Venus Envy shop.

These are pretty tiny in real life (1.5" blocks) but I was able to score two out of the three blocks with the letter "A" on them, which is the initial of our little girl's first name. (No, we haven't picked it yet, but we have our short-list done and all three names start with an "A".)

They are a mix of embossed, carved and printed letters, animals and different pictures.


Set of Three Tissue Poms


Purchased in the Prost to the Host shop.

I just ordered these last night after a couple-hour search for a mobile that I actually liked. Either the one I liked was $100 or they were just plain ugly. I'm not sure Cody is really a fan of paper flowers hanging from the ceiling of our daughter's room, but I think it will turn out cute! I got to pick what colors I wanted and so I went with the off-white, mandarin and sunset colors.


It's been so much fun to get these packages in the mail with all the goodies. I'm going to put the collage up tomorrow (I'm really slow at these kind of things) so stay tuned . . .


A 34 Week Reminder

Yesterday I had my 34 week check-up. Usually these are pretty straight-forward. You pee in a cup. They measure your stomach. The doctor listens to the baby's heartbeat. You tell the doctor any symptoms/complaints you're having. You ask any questions. And then, you're done.

I always ask when scheduling my next appointment if there is anything in addition to this usual routine. Medical procedures and I don't really mix well, so knowing what is coming is 90% of what I do to deal with my anxiety. 

This knowing-ahead-of-time approach has worked out really well so far. I knew when I had to do my blood glucose test and doing my every-other-week blood draws have become very predictable. I'm sure there is some scientific explanation to all this, but I know that the more I know in advance about what is scheduled to happen, the better I am in dealing with the situation.

This all sets up what happened yesterday . . . I walk into the exam room and was asked to strip down into my birthday suit for an exam and strep B test (a bacterial infection that is common and no big deal, but they have to know so they can give me antibiotics during delivery so I don't give it to our baby).

I freaked out.

I was NOT prepared for this. It totally caught me off guard. That poor nurse . . . She's standing there with an 8.5 month pregnant woman who is freaking out about a simple procedure and exam. Dr. U comes in and tells me I don't have to do it now if I'm not comfortable but through talking to her and her walking me through what it exactly entails. I get it done but I'm holding back this huge wave of anxiety the entire time.

All of a sudden, I felt very unsure and scared about delivering this baby. I felt like an idiot for freaking out about something so small and simple. If I can't even do that, how can I deliver a baby?

I leave the office and call Cody crying.

He reminds me that I can do this. My body is made to deliver a baby. It will know what to do when I don't.

He reassures me that he will be there during the whole thing. And that we are preparing for it as much as we can.

He tells me that I am not in control, no matter how much I want to be. I have to submit to God and let Him be in control of my life. And that includes my physical body and delivering this baby.

He comes home with these:


He hugs me and reassures me and tells me it's okay.

He shows me how much he loves me.

And I'm reminded that I'm married to the most wonderful man in the world.


32 Weeks Down, 8 Weeks To Go

Dear Little Girl,

We got to see you today, the first time since we found out you were a girl over 13 weeks ago. Trust me--it has felt like a long time since we've seen you and even more importantly, to know that you are growing and progressing like you should.

As soon as the technician put the sonogram-wand-thingie on my stomach we were greeted with this:


(Sometimes it's hard to know what you're looking at . . . here is my translation:)


For the first time, I had some big tears roll down my cheek at the doctor's office because it was so incredible to see your face. What an intense feeling.

I grabbed your Daddy's hand in disbelief at what we have made. We say this to each other all the time, but we are just so ready for you to get here so we can meet you.

You are 3 pounds, 15 ounces and are exactly in the weight range of "normal." We got to see that your organs look healthy (all four chambers of your heart, kidneys) and your arms and legs are the right length. Your heart was beating at 136 bpm, which again, is right where it should be!

Mommy was a bit concerned that we might get surprised and you could turn out to be a boy, but you had no shame in showing us that you were a girl!

We've started our birthing classes, which are a long 12 weeks, but we're hoping the preparation means an easier (well, as easy as pushing you out can be) and hopefully natural birth.

It seems so perfect that you are coming into our lives right now that I know this entire process was completely orchestrated by God. We can't wait to see your face for-reals . . . only two months away!




Making Progress and Confronting Fear

I've talked before about my non-traditional way of finding out I was pregnant and my subsequent diagnosis of Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP).

I've also mentioned, multiple times, that I have a crazy-real fear of needles.

Well, because of my ITP diagnosis I've been going to see Dr. A, the oncologist, since late September. He originally had me going once-a-month for blood work, to test to see where my blood platelets levels were, but I was moved up to every-other week after they went from 89k to 59k in October (yeah, a nice nose dive, especially since "normal" is considered 150k-400k).

I've been down as low as 57k, then back up to 65k, and I went again last Friday to get tested--I am still awaiting the results. Dr. A wants to keep me above 30k and preferably above 50k before he has any kind of an intervention, in the form of steroids, which will suppress my immune system enough to save some platelets for the whole birthing process.

Cody hasn't been going with me to these blood draws since they literally take 15 minutes (which includes waiting room time) but he was off from work early Friday and tagged along. It was the first time he's seen me get my blood drawn in months and I think he was shocked at how much progress I've made.


I don't enjoy it, AT ALL, and still wince a bit when she's doing it. But, I'm now able to do it in a chair (verus having to lay down) and I don't cry or hyperventilate. I'm even managing to laugh in the picture!

For those of you that have for-real fears, you'll understand that I feel like a million bucks every time I walk out of the office. It's all about these small victories that make me feel that I'm making progress and conquering something that used to conquer me.


Sushi Lover

I'm going to be honest with you. I think pregnancy food cravings are for the birds.

Not to make any woman mad that has ever insisted that her husband drive to a store or restaurant for a specific food, but I'm just not a believer. I got food cravings before I was pregnant, so I'm not so sure it makes sense to say that a food craving I get now is directly tied to being pregnant.

But, with that said, I have discovered a new love over the past few months. Could it be the pregnancy? Probably not, but either way, I'm sure loving the taste of sushi right now.

I had sushi once, when living in Illinois, because a client wanted to eat at a sushi restaurant. I didn't leave with the best impression. (What? Is the Illinois/Wisconsin state border not know for good sushi?)

But, I was at the grocery store a few weeks ago when the sushi man that was passing out free samples made his way over to me. "They" say you can't have sushi when you're pregnant, but I read that you just have to have cooked sushi, so I gave it a try. It was good!

I paid the $6.99 for a roll and ate it the next day for lunch.

Last week when I was in Philadelphia for a last-minute work trip I took the opportunity to hit a really nice sushi place, Nectar, which is in Berwyn, PA. (My coworker and I were considering trying out downtown Philly, but with traffic + me being lazy, we stuck to a place a bit closer to where we were.)


Dang. It was good. For an appetizer we got the Crunchy Vegetable Spring Roll, which was in a mango sauce. For dinner I got the California Jumbo Lump Crab and Shrimp Tempura Roll. I then forced myself to try the Pumpkin Bread Pudding for desert.


We left stuffed, but it really was great food and I ate everything I ordered.

I got home from Philadelphia on Wednesday night and my sister Steph came over Friday for a planned cooking weekend (she knows that if she can get me to cook some food in advance, I'm going to be really thankful those first couple weeks after having the baby).

Cody took the opportunity to go duck hunting (poor Spangler, he's not quite mature enough to hang with his Dad hunting, so he had to stay with the girls) and took off Friday after work, leaving Steph and I with an open evening. She mentioned she was craving sushi. So I let her know that I was JUST the person to fulfill her request!

Steph, the coupon-money-saving queen, had a Restaurant.com coupon for $25 of food at Sushi Zone in North Arlington (she bought it for only $2!) so we made the drive over and enjoyed a HUGE selection of sushi that we ordered.


So, it may be the pregnancy, but I've eaten more sushi in the past few weeks than I've ever ate in my whole life. We'll see if I still enjoy it this much after the hormones go back to normal, but I'm just enjoying it for now.


29 Weeks Down, 11 Weeks To Go

Dear Little Girl,

I got to meet your (only-until-you-hit-puberty) friend Hudson this week. He came into the world last Saturday and was a whopping nine pounds! Your Daddy and I were sitting on the couch just a few hours after getting the news talking about how cool it was that Hudson was here when we realized that we are only two and a half months away until you are here.

Two and a half months.

Until you are here.

Until Mommy and Daddy get to meet you.

So . . . your arrival is all of a sudden very real. It’s not that we’ve been in denial that you’re coming, it’s just always felt so far away since we found out you were coming so early. Mommy is not trying to totally freak out, but there is a lot of stuff that needs to get done.

Daddy and I made a to-do list just for your room and it’s pretty long. It includes things like: ordering furniture, replacing outlets and putting outlet covers on, patching holes and repainting over them, getting rid of the rest of the furniture in the room, getting the wall decor figured out, sewing the rest of the curtains, replacing the fire alarms, figuring out a fire escape plan . . . and it goes on and on.

I spent some time tonight trying to shop for your crib. I know I need to order it as soon as I can so we can make sure it’s here and set up in time. I have to admit, I am slightly jealous as I didn’t get my first brand new bedroom set until we moved into our house here in Texas last year, but I’m also super excited that we are going to put you in a super cute room.

No, we still haven't named you. I know . . . I know . . . It's just that it is so much harder to do than I imagined. And, it's not like we're over thinking it. We'll go a week or two without talking about it, then do some serious thinking for a few days, and then get back to a week or two break.

Your grandpa calls you "Sammie" (short for Samantha) and your oldest Aunt calls you "Dot" (since you were just a little dot on the first sonogram we had). I promise we’ll name you something else, but I think the longer we wait the more these names will stick!

Your movements have changed a lot over the past month. They used to be like "pops" and now you are a full-fledged mover. We can feel your limbs pushing out, and then they’ll pop back in. Daddy and I will sit, staring at my stomach watching you move around. But, the WEIRDEST thing is that my belly button will move in and out as you move. I need to get it on video. It really cracks me up—I could just watch you moving my belly button all day.

At 29 weeks you’ve been so good to Mommy, and our trip this week to Philadelphia together went off without a hitch. A little bit of heartburn here and there, lots of constant burping, and the leg cramps are a pain (literally) but I’m feeling so great I have no complaints. We’re already so in love with you and talk all the time about how you coming has already changed our lives.

We just need to kick it into high gear to make sure we have everything ready for your arrival, so we can make sure we’re able to focus 100% on our little girl (even though from watching Hudson and this week, I'm pretty sure you'll be the focus no matter how well-prepared we are).