Friday, December 10, 2010

34 Weeks & First Trip to L&D

Today I am 34 weeks and 1 day. I can't even believe I'm saying that. How is it possible that I am in the home stretch and our baby will be here in just a few weeks? Maybe more than a few...but the time is whizzing won't feel like more than a few. I guess the thought of actually being pregnant took so long to sink in that I feel like I am perpetually newly pregnant, in my first trimester, with a ways to go. My body would beg to differ on that feeling, though.

When people ask me how I'm feeling at this point, I feel inclined to say "I feel great" and "pretty crappy" at the same time. In some ways being this pregnant is taking its toll physically, as would be expected at this point, but in other ways I feel like I've lucked out and it could be a lot worse. For the last few weeks my feet have been ridiculously swollen to the point where I finally had to go out and buy a couple pairs of shoes that are basically slippers you can wear outside because my feet would not fit into anything else except sneakers, which were tight and only worked against me. Putting my feet up and drinking water hasn't really helped. The swelling doesn't hurt, it just bothers me to look at it because I feel like I need to fix it but can't. They do say it goes away very shortly after delivery My feet do absolutely kill me if I am on them for an extended period of time, though. My entire body will also ache for days after if I am out and about doing things for even just a few hours. When we went shopping on Black Friday (and I'm talking 3 hours, low stress, nothing crazy) I ached until Tuesday the following week. It used to be that everything would be better when I woke up the next morning, now everything just hurts worse. Bending over in a certain way really hurts my hips. Bending down all the way is ok (although I have to hold my breath and try not to break the baby in half) but in certain ways, like to put on a pair of pants, really hurts. I'm not complaining, though. None of it is terrible to deal with, it's all to be expected, and really, those are my only issues. I just want to remember what both the good and the bad felt like.

I am also really aware of what I am NOT feeling in terms of discomfort and pain and that is what makes me really not mind what I am dealing with. I have heard so many people say they slept awful most of their pregnancies, if not their entire pregnancies, whether due to insomnia or discomfort from having a huge belly. I have never slept so good in my life, starting in my second trimester. With the exception of a few nights here and there (and everyone has those nights) I sleep like a baby. Even though I have to get up to go to the bathroom, which I never did pre-pregnancy, I still sleep amazingly and so much more soundly than I ever did. A girl could really get used to this....if she wasn't expecting a newborn soon! I also hear "your back must be killing you" a lot....nope. I have had zero back pain the entire pregnancy so far. I had it quite often before I was pregnant, but none now. I also have not had any heartburn, trouble going to the bathroom (TMI but hey, that's a common thing) or morning sickness (except for the brief 10-14 week period and that was moderate). Sooo I really don't have that much to complain about.

Still, the rest of this pregnancy will apparently not be without issue. On Wednesday I went to my routine 34 week appointment during my work lunch hour. When the nurse took my blood pressure and said it was high, I wasn't surprised. It's always high the first time they take it, and then if they retake it later, it will be normal...that's what happens every time. This time, though, it only went down a tiny bit. The OB I was seeing that day came in and talked to me for all of 2 minutes before saying "I'm going to send you to the hospital for bloodwork and monitoring." She was worried I might be developing pre-eclampsia because my BP was higher than any previous appointments and there was a trace of protein in my urine which could also be a sign of it Well, stupid me is thinking this is something we'll set up an appointment for for sometime in the near future. She starts telling me she's going to call the OB from the practice who is on duty there and that I should go up to the 4th floor (Labor & Delivery) when I get there, so I finally understand what she is saying and ask "oh...I have to go now?". "Yes...oh, you probably wanted your husband to go with you, right?" I tell her that my husband is at home just a few miles away (he had the day off) so he can go with me, but that I was just on my lunch break from work so I wasn't really expecting this. I almost asked if I could go back to work and go later, after all hospitals are 24/7 and I was sure this was probably not to big deal she seemed to think it was, but I knew what her answer would be.

I left the office, called Todd and told him "get dressed, we're going to the hospital." I thought it was funny he didn't even ask why, he just said "ok" and hung up. I wondered if he heard me correctly. I called my boss, told him I probably wouldn't be back in that day, and then drove home to pick up Todd. Then I started crying and I don't really know why. I wasn't scared to go, I didn't really believe anything was wrong so I wasn't was just really unexpected and the OB hadn't talked to me much about it before sending me out of there, so I was just caught off guard. On my way home Todd finally called back for a little bit more of an explanation. He had even grabbed our half-packed hospital bag and had it waiting by the stairs (no, I didn't take it with us). By the time we left to actually go to the hospital I felt better about it. I don't dislike hospitals but have had very minimal experience as a patient and was afraid they would make me stay overnight.

For the next 3 hours they just kept me hooked up to fetal monitors to watch the baby and a blood pressure cuff that went off every 15 minutes. When the nurse first hooked up the monitor (two round things with ultrasound gel on them, strapped to your belly) we could hear the baby's heartbeat and she said something sounded irregular, like it was skipping. We could hear it too, although it wasn't very clear it sounded like it was skipping about every 5 beats. She was also concerned because the monitor was showing his heartrate at just 50, but we could all hear it and it was very obvious that it was not 50, but in the normal 140-150 range. She had the Dr. come in who readjusted the monitors and it then sounded normal, but every time this nurse came in she said she heard an irregularity. She said arrhythmia is not "normal" but it's "common" and that often after delivery it can't even be detected. Bottom line is we still don't actually know if there is an irregularity or if there was just something wrong with the monitor. Hoping the latter.

Skip the next two paragraphs if you're a male.

After answering about 800 questions, they left me on the monitors and just came to check every once in awhile. I didn't have any of the other telltale signs of preeclampsia (blurry vision, headaches, upper abdominal pain). The Dr. said that based on my symptoms she wasn't going to do an internal exam because she didn't think I needed it. I have heard a lot of things about "internals" which a lot of OBs will do later in pregnancy, not usually earlier than 36 weeks, to see if you are dilated. A lot of OBs will not do them unless there is a specific reason to, because they aren't conclusive. You can walk around 5cm dilated for weeks and not go into labor, or you could be 0cm dilated and end up having a baby a few hours later. I have also heard they can be pretty painful. I didn't understand why....they do them constantly when women are in labor on all those baby shows and you never hear them screaming about it. So while I was curious to know if anything might be going on, I was also a little relieved that she wasn't going to do one.

An hour later, she comes back and tells me the monitors show I'm having mild contractions and asks if I can feel them. I couldn't feel a thing except the baby moving around non-stop during the entire time I was there. The monitors were pushing in right where he always moves around, so he could feel them and was moving constantly, pressing against them. Because of this she decided she was going to do an internal. Well if anyone is wondering if they really do hurt...the answer is yes, they do, they hurt like hell. I was not expecting the pain at all. Usually I have a high tolerance for pain and have no problem staying still letting a doctor or dentist do whatever they have to, but I was pulling away and oww-ing during this and came pretty close to crying. Some OBs will ask you late in pregnancy if you want to have internals to check progress. My advice is to waddle away as fast as you can. They hurt, you bleed, and it hurts really bad to pee for over 24 hours later. Anyway, the good news is there was nothing at all going on in that department. Now I just sit around waiting to see if I'll actually feel these contractions and if they will end up meaning anything in the long run. I have been saying constantly to my husband for the last week that I think he is going to come early. I don't know how early, I feel like maybe 2-3 weeks. No idea why I think this and I will probably be wrong (90% of first time moms deliver on-time or late) but for the record, I think he'll be early.

My blood pressure got lower and lower every 15 minutes when it was taken and finally it went down to normal. They had done a bunch of other lab work also, which all came back normal. Finally the OB from the practice came in and asked if I wanted to go home. I was bored, antsy, tired and starving so I was thrilled to hear I could be discharged. They wrote me a prescription for an at-home blood pressure machine and want me to check it myself twice a day. I can't find the prescription so I think we must have left it there, so I called the office yesterday and asked if they could call it in for me....apparently they "don't know how" to call in a prescription. Guess I'll have to go there. I also had to set up an appointment with them for a BP check next week and requested the latest appointment of the day in case they decided to send me to the hospital again. I am going to do what I can to keep it down myself (apparently reducing sodium may help) but I feel like it will still be high.

Well, that was my adventure for this week. I may think of more to write tomorrow...maybe a checklist of what we still have to do before his arrival, but for now I'm tired and may as well post this so that it doesn't sit around for a week like it normally does!

I will end with a belly pic from 33 weeks:

Sunday, November 7, 2010

29 weeks and counting...

I think my little Thumper must sense that he’s graduated to his final trimester. I can’t believe how much movement I have been feeling the last two weeks, starting at 27 weeks, and how much different and stronger it is. All of a sudden it’s not just big thumps, not just in the middle, and not just down low. Now it feels like an entire baby moving around and I feel him up higher and also on my sides. If I watch my stomach as I’m sitting down, it will shake and pop up when he moves like there’s a small earthquake occurring in there. I think space is starting to get tight and he’s realizing he should have moved around more when he was smaller! I know he is only going to get stronger. Right now he weighs somewhere between 2.5 and 3 lbs. and he’ll more than double his weight before delivery!

The other weekend I went to the mall, which I had been avoiding, on a mission to get a couple nursing bras and a pair of nice flats that I can wear instead of sneakers because heels aren’t so doable anymore. I know I don’t need nursing bras yet, but my normal ones just weren’t cutting it anymore (for the second time, I had already gotten new ones when I was 3 months pregnant). I ended up with 2, and even if they don’t work well when it’s time, they work great now. I also got a few more maternity pieces – a nightgown with a robe I can wear in the hospital, a cozy sweater in lieu of a winter jacket, and a very lightweight, champagne-colored sweater with subtle sparkles that will be perfect to wear for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Thankfully, one less outfit to think about. At Macy’s (which, excitingly, is already decked out for Christmas) I got a nice pair of flats that I can wear with casual and nicer clothes alike. I don’t want to wear sneakers everywhere and having to bend over to put them on and tie them is not conducive to my current state.

I don’t know if it was hormones or if every store in the mall really was 200 degrees (Todd is no indicator because he’s always hot), but it was a little rough getting through the shopping trip. I’m noticing it’s starting to get harder just being out and about and doing some things I had no problem doing before. I’m considering moving to a place with no stairs for the next two and a half months. In most ways I still feel great; I’m not sick and I’ve usually got plenty of energy, it’s just physically on the outside that I get worn out after awhile or I notice that normal things like getting up off the couch take a little more effort. A couple weeks ago I was having some mild sciatica pain that during the night one night decided to turn into agonizing, immobilizing pain. I woke up feelings like I was being stabbed and every time I tried to move it would happen and it took a lot of self control to not scream. It was literally close to the worst pain I have ever been in. That morning it took me 5 minutes to sit up and get out of the bed, another few minutes to get to the bathroom (which is right in our room) as I could barely even walk, and I almost gave up on sitting down to pee because the pain was so severe. Thankfully it loosened up during that day and then went away. I seriously hope I never get that again, it was pure agony.

I was 29 weeks on Thursday and my monthly appointments are now every 2 weeks instead of 4. I wish I could say I enjoy going to these but I honestly don’t, unless there’s an ultrasound which there hasn’t been for awhile and won’t be again unless there is a problem. I know it’s important for them to check your stats every month but usually I feel like it’s a waste of time. I usually have to wait ½ hour whether there’s any other patients there or not, then get weighed, have my blood pressure checked and then wait another 20 minutes for an OB (any random OB, not mine since week 9) to come in, ask if I’m having any problems (“no”), and then say “ok, see you in x weeks”. To be honest, I haven’t been all that impressed with the practice since going there. I see a different OB every time. At my first appointment, my actual OB told me that there were a few others and that they would rotate for the next few appointments so that I would get to know them all. I thought that was fine, but at this point I don’t know if I’ll ever see my OB again (she isn’t one that delivers) and she probably wouldn’t remember me anyway. They can rotate all they want but you don’t get familiar with any of them by seeing each of them for 2 seconds. My OB is the only one who I thought was pretty personable, the others are far from it. If I had a big issue, of course I would talk to whoever I was seeing about it, but I don’t feel that comfortable talking to any of them. I guess I should just be thankful I haven’t needed to. The office staff really irritates me, too. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a time they were actually working and not messing around, or worse, gossiping about the patients. “So and so has a 5 month old and is knocked up again!” and even talking about a patient’s husband having an affair. Seriously, if you’re going to do that, at least try to be quiet. I shouldn’t be able to hear this so clearly from the waiting room.

I actually never expected to have a really close relationship with an OB, but it seems like most women do during their pregnancies so I thought it might turn out that way, but with everything I mentioned above, it’s really not. I also never completely grasped the OBs role when it comes to delivery. It seems like the norm is that, barring any extenuating circumstances that would stop them from it, your actual OB is the one who is supposed to deliver your baby. Even if I did have a good relationship with any of the OBs at my practice, I honestly don’t feel I’d care if it was them or not. Maybe that sounds terrible, but really, as long as I’m surrounded by a medical team that is trained to deliver babies and does it every day, I’m fine. I trust them just as much as these OBs that I see for 3 minutes every few weeks.

To add to my complaints about the practice, since writing all of the above I had another appointment scheduled for yesterday, Saturday. I was told it was the last appointment of the day, at 11:00am, for a blood pressure check (apparently, 3 appointments ago when my blood pressure was only slightly elevated, someone decided to write it in my chart that I should have it checked every darn week, despite the fact that it has been fine and dandy every time since). We get there at 10:54am and the doors are locked, everyone is gone. Nice. They will definitely be getting a phone call tomorrow morning.

On Saturday we had our 3D/4D ultrasound. Remember I had said I was worried he’d be head down/face down and we wouldn’t be able to see him? I was right! I am glad I had my expectations set low for that reason. The lady was great and before she started the ultrasound she mentioned if he was in that position we would have a problem – I knew that was going to be my child. This is what we could see at first; not only is he turned away from the camera but he has his arm hiding his face (and I wonder if we’re also seeing hair on his head??):

Then she says “we just need to get him to flip” and I am thinking “easier said than done, my child doesn’t do ‘flip’.” Well, we tried everything – drinking orange juice, pushing him around, tapping his little tushy that was against the top of my stomach, bouncing up and down a flight of stairs, but he would not budge. In a way, I am glad he didn’t. He’s in the perfect position for birth, and while I don’t know why he thought it necessary to get into and stay in that position since my third month, it’s still a good position to be in. Knowing him, if he flipped now, he wouldn’t flip back in time. Just as we were about to give up, he turned his head just enough that we could see half of his little face and get a few pictures! They aren’t perfectly clear but they’re a lot better than many I’ve seen. At one point he even smiled for us, she flipped back and forth between a picture where his mouth was normal and the one where he smiled and it made it really obvious he was smiling! He also puckered his lips at one point. I might be biased but I think he’s really cute, I’ve seen some scary 3D ultrasound pictures but my little guy looks so peaceful and perfectly shaped!

Also, I adore this picture of his legs and feet. I don’t know why, but I have always wanted to see his feet in an ultrasound. We had just never seen them before and I thought it would be adorable to see them and I was right, this picture made me so happy:


I decided this weekend that I wanted to get a bedding set after all, only because I fell in love with a nautical one and thought it would add to the nursery décor (I realized I didn’t have quite as much planned in my head as I thought). I went online and found out it was being discontinued and was not even available to order online and have shipped, so we went to the store after my botched doctor’s appointment and bought the last one, along with some matching accessories. I’m not going to leave the bumpers in the crib once he’s in there, we’re using breathable ones instead, but I put them in there for now. I think it’s adorable! I also got the wallpaper border which my mom will help us put up this coming weekend.

And last but not least, a 29 week (+ 2 day) belly picture:

Thursday, October 21, 2010

27 weeks

How far along? 27 weeks

Total weight gain/loss: Plenty. I remember in the beginning when I wasn’t gaining anything and thinking “Awesome, I won’t be gaining much at all!” Umm, yeah, right.

Maternity clothes? All pants except sweats are maternity, and the kind with the thin stretchy band doesn’t cut it anymore. Now I wear the ones with the full belly panel and I love them…so comfortable. Also wearing mostly maternity shirts but a select few normal shirts fit ok.

Stretch marks? A ridiculous amount. They started early on my hips but I was naïve and thought they wouldn’t show up on my stomach. Wrong. You would not believe what my stomach looks like now.

Sleep: I sleep amazingly right now and have been for weeks. It figures that for the first time in years I am on a normal sleep schedule and sleeping great at night, and I only have 3 more months to enjoy it!

Best moment this week: Reaching the third trimester.

Movement: All of the movement is still very low, basically under the actual baby belly. Feels like big thumps. He is always awake and thumping as I’m waking up in the morning and as I’m going to sleep at night, and I can only imagine a decent amount of time in between. Usually not much in the late morning or afternoon, but a lot while I'm relaxing at night. I still don't really understand why the movement is so low if that's where his head is and wonder why I don't feel feet kicking up higher.

Food cravings: Eh, not really. Drinking a lot of water (finally), milk and OJ, eating a lot of raisin bread, cereal and yogurt...but they're not really cravings.

Gender: It's a boy!!

Labor Signs: Nope. They say Braxton Hicks contractions can start around now so I'm curious if I'll get them, although it's not a labor sign.

Belly Button in or out? Still completely in.

Wedding rings on or off? *Sigh* I took them off the other night when they were bothering me and haven't put them back on. I might try, but sadly it may be the end for awhile.

What I miss: Nothing really...

What I am looking forward to: Our 3D/4D ultrasound on October 30th!

Weekly Wisdom: Never say you're thankful such-and-such a symptom/effect of pregnancy hasn't reared its head yet and assume it won't....right after you say that you will wake up the next morning with the morning sickness, the stretch marks, or the extra pounds you were so thankful you were avoiding!

Milestones: Third trimester!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Time is FLYING!

This entry is all over the place because I've been in the process of writing it for 2 weeks. I go back and forth and each time have to change things (It originally started out "Yesterday" then "This past weekend" then "The weekend before last". It's probably a mumbo jumbo of thoughts...oh well!

The other weekend, we my mom painted Baby L’s room! We are thrilled with how it came out, the color is just as I pictured it, a nice deep tan (“Hot Chocolate”). We also got the furniture moved in. You wouldn’t believe how sturdy this crib is. You can try to shake it, pull on it, push it…it doesn’t budge. Even on the tile floor in the store it didn’t move, you would think it’s actually bolted into the floor. I go in the room constantly and try to shake it, just so I can be impressed all over again. Maybe I should stop doing that. We also got the whole house steam-cleaned which came out great. I am so thrilled with the setup of the room and how much space we still have. I had worried that things would look crammed but they don’t at all, it still feels nice and open. We had to run to Babies ‘R’ Us to get money back on the furniture with some coupons we had, and I ended up buying the changing pad and diaper caddy for the dresser and setting them up. I really have been good at leaving stuff on my registry, but I couldn’t resist this time. Hey, I’m his mom, I get to buy stuff, too! I even filled the caddy with newborn size diapers. They are the tiniest things I have ever seen, smaller than my hand, and I wonder if he is really going to be THAT tiny.

Here is a picture of the furniture in place:

And the diapering setup, just need a few more supplies:

Another thing I finally decided on and ordered is a wall decal, a quote that is going to go above his crib. The lettering is in a powder blue color to stand out against the brown paint. This is a Shel Silverstein quote and I love it:

“Listen to the mustn’ts, child, Listen to the don’ts
Listen to the shouldn’ts, the impossibles, the won’ts
Listen to the never haves, then listen close to me
Anything can happen, child
Anything can be.”

Adorable, right?

I also bought these cute nautical closet dividers and separated his clothes out by size. I can’t believe how much he has already. It doesn’t look like a lot hanging in the closet, but when you lay it out it looks like a ton. It’s a mixture of sizes that will fit him over the course of his first year, though, so we definitely don’t have nearly enough yet. We need to get a lot of everyday basics – onesies, footed PJs, socks etc. Right now I actually feel like we have too much room for his clothes. What I should do is take them out of the closet and put them in the dresser drawers by size, and then use his closet for storing our out-of-season clothes, luggage etc., but instead I have been clearing those things out and cramming them elsewhere because I really want it to be his closet. I could actually leave his clothes in there and still fit our stuff just fine, but instead I’ve chosen to be impractical about it.

Here is what his closet looks like so far, the quality is terrible but I will take better pictures when everything is done:

I am in a complete state of disbelief that my third trimester is, as of tomorrow, here. We are now in double digits – just 91 days until his due date. I usually feel like I’m still about 5 minutes pregnant and at the very beginning of this journey. I guess in most ways, it is still the beginning, but the end of the pregnancy part is quickly approaching and he really will be here before we know it.

And here is where I admit that although I wouldn’t say I feel scared or anxious, I have no clue what to expect. Really. I know that we are ready for this little person to join our family, but I can’t pretend for one second that I know or can even imagine what it will be like. As much as I have been around infants, I still have zero concept of what it will be like to have our own, 24/7. I don’t think it’s something that is even possible to understand before it becomes reality. You’re given 9 months to prepare but there is only so much you can really do to get ready. When I say I don’t know what it will be like, I mean it in every sense – I don’t know what it will be like to see him for the first time and hold him, to bring him home, to stay awake all night, to worry about him, to look in the rearview mirror while driving and see him back there sleeping or smiling at me,to say "two plus a high chair" when we go out to eat, to have him as my little companion 24/7. What will it be like to wake up to him every morning and put him to bed every night? And although we already love him, I still can’t imagine what that love will be like when he’s actually here.

A few people have asked me what I picture him looking like when I picture him, and the truth is, I don’t. Is that bad? It’s not that I don’t want to picture him, it’s that I don’t know how to. My brain doesn’t know how to envision a little person that looks just like my husband or I, or both, or neither. The concept that we even created him is still beyond me. I will say I’m starting to picture him with a certain color hair, but then I had a dream the other night where it was different, so I don’t know. That was actually truly the first dream I had about him, which I guess may also seem strange but like I said, my brain still isn’t grasping the reality of this when it’s conscious, let alone when it’s not. In my dream, he was amazing, but I was really screwing up. I couldn’t feed him right, kept putting clothes on him without a diaper and then having to change him, and at one point took a few hours to dress him because I couldn’t find the right clothes. At the end of the dream, when I thought he was just a few days old, he got up and started running around and I was so upset because I had missed out on him being a tiny baby while I was scrambling to take care of him correctly.

These last few days I have really been hit with the “I can’t wait” feeling. It came on pretty suddenly. Before, his birth seemed so far off that I didn’t think that much about it, it just seemed ages away. Actually, it seems like yesterday that even being pregnant seemed ages away. Now the thought of being in my third trimester and knowing how fast time has passed so far has really got me thinking about him being born and major excitement has kicked in. The holidays are going to make the next couple of months fly by and then it’ll be time! We went on a tour of the maternity ward at St. Peter’s University a couple of weeks ago and I loved it. I feel so much more comfortable now having seen the place and being told where to go when we get there, what their policies are etc. We even got to see one of the nurseries, complete with real live babies (I suppose they could have been paid actor babies, though)…which, of course, was my favorite part. I am also determined to start packing my hospital bag, like, yesterday. I know that may sound ridiculous but I know of a few women who were due after me (yes, after me) who have had their babies already. Thankfully they are doing well. I want to be prepared in case the unexpected happens. I know that if anything really happened this early, my hospital bag would be the least of my worries, but still. And as of now, I can say I'm not afraid of the actual labor and delivery.

Also, our 3-D ultrasound is scheduled for October 30th!! I am so excited. We will get a 35-45 minute 3-D/4-D ultrasound, a bunch of pictures and even a 20 minute DVD. We are bringing my mom, too, because it’s her birthday and she “couldn’t imagine a better birthday present than to see Spud.” Yes, she calls him Spud. I am trying not to get my hopes up too high for two reason, 1) I have been told at multiple ultrasounds that I “don’t image well” and that they had a hard time seeing what they wanted to and 2) at my last ultrasound they tried to get a picture of his face but because he is always in his beloved head down/face down position, they couldn’t. Despite these things, the picture we got at our 20 week ultrasound was pretty good, so hopefully it won’t be a problem. Also, most 3D ultrasounds are done somewhere around 28-32 weeks, and many babies are head down/face down at that point, so they must be used to it.

And finally, since I should probably put some of these in here, the only recent bump pic I have. It's from about a month ago, at 23.5 weeks. When I think about how adamant I was that I would take these every. single. week. I just laugh. The most recent one before this was 17 weeks and I haven't taken one since this. Even this is not the kind of picture I intended to take every week...I had a certain outfit and signs and...oh well.

Monday, September 20, 2010

It's a BOY!!!

I am a little late in posting this, but…..It’s a BOY!!!

Which means my instincts from the very first ultrasound were correct! And if you go back and look at our very first ultrasound picture, you know that there definitely was not anything to give it away. The ultrasound tech was able to tell right away, not even 30 seconds in – he was not shy at all. I had two ultrasounds when I was about 12 weeks and they had looked to see if there was anything obvious there, and both times they guessed boy, but they always say it’s just a guess. The second time though, it did look pretty obvious, so we were pretty sure about it and were just looking forward to our 20 week ultrasound to confirm it. I didn’t tell most people that we were “pretty sure” it was a boy because I wanted to be “very sure” first!

We are thrilled and can’t wait to start decorating the nursery! Since before I was pregnant I knew that for a boy, I wanted to do a nursery with a nautical theme. Sailboats, lighthouses, ships, anchors, etc….even some pirates thrown in. I had been scouring the internet for things and am in love with some of what I have found so far – a lighthouse lamp, compass rug, treasure map for the wall…I can’t wait to start buying everything now. We are going to be painting the nursery walls a tan color since so much blue will end up in the room already. Today, our nursery furniture was delivered! I can’t wait to set it up but it’s in boxes in the garage until we can get it upstairs. Pretty sure 200+ lbs. is beyond my weightlifting limit for now (although of course I could do it easily). I think we also picked out a rocker/glider for the corner.

We did some more shopping with Todd’s mom last weekend and then picked up some things from my mom that she had gotten for us. Now, the house is really starting to look like there’s a baby on the way! My mom got us a co-sleeper that we wanted in mint condition and we set it up the other night to make sure everything was there; it wasn’t super easy so we’re going to leave it assembled. We also received an early gift from Marty, our Pack ‘N’ Play for downstairs, and I really want to assemble it but if we do, the cats will have a new bed that they won’t be willing to surrender in 4 months. We even already have a bunch of clothes in his closet; I love to constantly open it and look at them. I ordered some nautical themed dividers to separate 0-3 month, 3-6 month etc. and then whichever size he is fitting into at any given time we’ll put in the dresser drawers.

I am close to being 23 weeks now and sometimes it feels like time is starting to fly. Baby L’s movements are getting much stronger. When we had the anatomy scan, I asked what position he was in. He was head down, butt up, with his feet toward my right side. That was definitely consistent with the movement I had been feeling, I knew his feet had to be on the right side and it makes sense that his whole body is because I rarely feel anything on my left. I’m fairly certain he hasn’t changed positions since the ultrasound, so I wonder if he will stay head down until d-day. If he changes positions now, I worry he’ll get too big to flip back to where he needs to be.

For the last two weeks I have been feeling what I think is his head repeatedly slamming into my bladder. I think that he pushes his feet against the ceiling to stretch out and presses his noggin downward. It can be slightly painful but is mostly just a really odd sensation, a feeling like you have to pee really badly which only lasts ½ of a second. The other movements I feel still aren’t “jabs” of fists and feet like I thought they would be and like they probably will be soon, it’s more like repeated heavy throbs or dull thumps in my lower abdomen. They can be strong but still dull, not sharp, which makes even more sense if his head is down there. It’s really interesting to feel and hard to explain. On Tuesday (9/14), I felt him from the outside for the first time while laying on my back in bed right before I got up. I put my hand there and it bounced up a few times when I felt his little thumping. All week I tried to get him to do it for his daddy but he would either stop, or it just wouldn’t be strong enough for him to feel. Then, on Friday night (9/17…trying to keep these dates for the record) we laid extremely quietly on the bed and after a few kicks/thumps, he gave two that were strong enough for his dad to feel! This week, I think it’s possible he shifted (I wrote some of this last week) because he’s not bothering my bladder now (and by that I mean he’s not slamming into it…I am still getting up what feels like 20x per night to pee, though).

Right now, Baby L (who still does not have a name, by the way) is almost a foot long and weights about 1 lb.. He will really start packing on the weight now that we’re in the second half…and I’m afraid I will too! If he has hair, it doesn’t have pigment yet and is pure white. He can sense light and dark, grab onto things, and has a full set of fingernail and toenails, just to name a few things. As for me, not too much new going on except for starting to feel much more pregnant physically (I sit down on the shower floor and realize I can barely get back up, among other predicaments), started noticing some feet and ankle swelling this weekend, and have started getting a burning reflux-like feeling after I eat which chewing gum usually takes away. I can’t remember what it felt like to not have an appetite those first 4 months. Now, I am hungry pretty often and some days, like the last two, I amaze myself at how much I can eat and still not feel full. I won’t share how much, but seriously, it’s amazing. Still, all things considered I am feeling really good and trying to get things done while it lasts!

We also got a new car last weekend!! No more Prius for me, as much as I loved it, I didn’t love it in the snow or even in the rain, and with precious cargo on the way, we didn’t want to put it off. We got the GMC Acadia and so far are loving it – tons of storage room, easy (and safe) to drive, and the second row captain chairs are nice and low for easy carseat in-and-out, like a minivan.

Here is Baby L’s 20 week glamour shot, in 3D!!! He didn’t want to move his arms away from his face, but that’s ok, it's still a neat shot! I do wish they gave us more pictures, we only got two (the second wasn't great) but in about 5 weeks we’re going to go to a place called Visual Miracles where we will have a 3D/4D ultrasound done and will get a bunch of pictures and even a 20 minute DVD of him…imagine having a DVD of yourself when you were in the womb! I am going to try to make the appointment for October 30th.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Nursery Ramblings

I didn't really have anything to write about when I started this and was just trying to keep occupied at work, but it looks like it turned into some baby gear ramblings.

We are just a few days away from officially finding out the sex!! Our appointment for the “big ultrasound” is this Thursday at 2:00pm. It’s at the hospital where I’ll be delivering, St. Peter’s in New Brunswick, so it will be nice to go there and see it. We have never been there but have heard only amazing things about them. As long as baby cooperates (and his/her track record is not exactly great in that department) they’ll be able to tell us whether it’s a boy or girl…and we’ll see if our instincts were right! I am looking forward to the appointment but have assumed all along that we’re having a [blank] so the suspense is less than one might think. If it’s a boy, he will have an adorable nautical nursery but may not have a name for quite some time. If it’s a girl, the name is pretty much decided, but I’ve got nothing up my sleeve for her nursery, poor gal.

Last week we took all of the measurements we needed in our second bedroom to determine if what we were envisioning would indeed fit, and thankfully, it will...and even better than I expected. My intentions all along were to continue to have a regular bed in the room. I always want to have a place for guests to sleep comfortably. My mom will probably be staying with us for the first week after the baby comes and Todd’s father and stepmom usually come to visit every few months as well. I also want the option of sleeping in there if I need to. We have a queen sized bed in there now but also own a full sized not currently being used. I thought that we would have to put the full back in to free up some space, but alas, the queen fits just fine with everything else we have planned.

Below is the nursery furniture we decided on. It looks even nicer in person than it does in the picture. It’s made of American maple and has a glossy, smooth finish. We were impressed with how solid and sturdy it is and the drawers open and close nicely. It got amazing reviews (you’ll never read so many reviews in your life as when you’re buying baby items) and that sealed our decision. Surprisingly, I didn’t venture far or drive myself crazy looking for the “perfect” nursery furniture. I wanted something solid, classic, functional, durable etc. and this fit the bill. The crib is convertible to a toddler bed and then a full size bed. I could actually take it or leave it when it comes to the toddler bed option. More than likely it will stay a crib for future babies and convert once there are no more babies to be had. I have no qualms about transitioning straight from crib to regular bed (which will already be in the room, conveniently) and actually prefer skipping the toddler bed phase altogether, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. We’ll be ordering the set in a couple of weeks and before it comes I want to get the carpet in the room steam cleaned…a lot of foster kitties have called that room home for a while.

All three nursery pieces, plus the bed and a rocker/glider will fit nicely in the room and we’ll even have some space to spare. At first I considered only getting one of the dresser pieces because we have such a big closet in the room, but everything will look nicer with all three pieces and I’m sure the space will all be utilized eventually, especially when another baby comes along. We aren’t going to be getting a separate changing table; a popular option now is to simply get a changing pad (like this) strap it to the top of the long dresser (they are very secure), and viola, you’ve got yourself a changing table for as long as you need it and not a moment longer. Perfect.

Another thing I have probably decided to forego (and believe me, I surprised myself, too) is a nursery bedding set. I am usually big on the cute factor, but surprisingly after the research I’ve done on baby stuff (and I’m not nearly done), I’ve actually found myself going more for practical than cute. Function over fashion. Even more helpful than asking a seasoned mom “What do I need?” is asking “What do I NOT need?” Your typical nursery bedding set includes a quilt, bumper, fitted sheet and dust ruffle and then has coordinating items that may come with it or be sold separately: lamp, mobile, hamper, diaper stacker, throw pillows, window valance, area rug etc.

Well, you can’t use a quilt in a baby’s crib, it’s not safe so they’re purely decorative and typically end up hung on the wall. Regular bumpers are in general not considered safe now, either, but the manufacturers still continue to put them with all of the bedding sets. I am going to buy breathable bumpers and may not even put them in the crib until the baby starts moving around and then only if we have a problem with little arms and legs getting stuck between rails. Of course we’ll use the fitted sheet, but the dust ruffle I may or may not use. All in all we’d be spending probably around $150 for the main set and only using the fitted sheet and maybe a dust ruffle. As for the other components, they don’t really interest me. I already know the lamp I want to buy, probably won’t get a mobile because they’re supposed to be taken out once baby can pull to a standing position and reach it and there are plenty of other crib toys, don’t need a hamper because I’ll have something out of sight in the closet for dirty clothes, and have no interest in a diaper stacker (but wait, where EVER will you put the diapers if not in a diaper stacker?!?!? umm…in and/or on top of the dresser). Our home already has throw pillows up the wazoo that we don’t use, so I can’t imagine our infant will need any, I doubt I’ll use a window valance, and I already have a little rug picked out. Don’t worry, I will not deprive baby of a cute nursery, the possibilities are endless, but I’m skipping the bedding set unless I stumble upon something that I just cannot resist.

We are going to be registering this weekend once we know for sure what we’re having, although it doesn’t make much of a difference in what we’re picking. We’re going gender neutral with most things so they can be used for future babies. I would say I already have 50% of things picked out and will have another 40% by the time we go, so it’s just a matter of scanning. Still, much of it will have to be done online because Babies ‘R’ Us doesn’t seem to like to carry much in their actual stores. I used to say I loved that store; that was before I was pregnant. When I would walk through the store, dream about having a baby and wallow in what seemed to be baby stuff overload. Now, I go there looking for specific things so that I can see them in-person and try them out and zero times have I found what I was looking for, which at one point included the #1 selling stroller and one of the highest safety rated infant seats. You’d think they would carry floor models of those. My dislike for the store grew even more when, bored one Saturday, I decided to venture an hour out to the nearest Buy Buy Baby, another baby store I had heard great things about. Well, it was even more amazing than I had imagined. It’s owned by Bed Bath and Beyond and set up the same way, so just imagine Bed Bath and Beyond, packed full and stocked to the limit as they always are, but every item is baby. It puts Babies ‘R’ Us to shame. They had floor models of all the car seats I wanted to see and strollers I wanted to take on joyrides through the store check out, also. Thankfully, they are building one just 15 minutes away from us which should be opening next month, and I am ridiculously excited. My friend Angelina just got a job there for when it does open, so now I have the inside scoop on the exact minute their doors will open and I am so there.

Making a real, comprehensive list of everything we plan to get is fun but difficult. There are plenty of checklists available to help you remember everything, but deciding which jumperoo, which car seat, which pacifiers to get is the difficult part. The bigger things are hard to decide on because they require the safety research and review reading and are just bigger purchases in general. I can’t tell you how many times I was 100% decided on something I wanted only to change my mind completely the next day. The smaller things, like pacifiers, are just guesses anyway, who knows what baby will like. I know I can go out and get different things later if I need to, but I’d like to get it right the first time wherever possible. And to be honest, sometimes I picture myself locked up in the house in “survival mode” with a screaming infant and am afraid I will never, ever be able to go to a store again or will need something in a pinch that I forgot to get (hysterical, teething baby in the dead of night and I forgot to get baby Orajel…great). Of course, babies are all different and may not like everything we get, so I fully expect to be running out to get different things and ending up with my own list of “things I bought but never used.” It wouldn’t be any fun if we knew exactly what to expect, right?

Well, enough about baby gear for now. No huge updates on baby. His/her movements have become a little less predictable than they were when they first began, which is a little odd. The first couple weeks I would feel the same kind of movement pretty consistently, but now it’s pretty random. They still aren’t strong kicks and punches, except for one time, a little over a week ago. I was sitting on the couch relaxing and all of a sudden wham, what had to be a foot, right in my side. It scared the hell out of me because I had no idea what it was. I thought something had come up out of the couch cushion and poked me, it was so fast that my brain didn’t have time to register whether it came from the inside of the outside. My heart was racing and it took me a few seconds to realize what it was. Something must have really startled him/her because I haven’t felt anything like that since. There was quite a bit of movement today, some days there is more than others. If I don’t feel much one day I just use my Doppler. I rarely use it for finding the heartbeat anymore, I just turn it on and can hear him/her moving around flailing arms and legs and I know all is well. It’s amazing how much they can move without you feeling it.

I’m finally starting to get a taste of what the insatiable hunger is like. Not every day, thankfully. Last week I came home from work, ate a big bagel with cream cheese followed by a Boston crème doughnut and the second I was done polishing those off, my stomach was growling in hunger and I felt like I hadn’t eaten in over a week. I couldn’t believe that was even possible. Suffice it to say my weight gain is no longer in the negatives, but I still think just a few lbs. during my first bimester is pretty darn good. Did I mention we’re half-baked on Thursday??

Here I thought I had nothing to talk about but this was probably my longest entry yet.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

17w5d Survey & The "New" Nesting

How far along? 17 weeks 5 days

Total weight gain/loss: -1 lb. Which means that by the time I’m halfway through, I may have broken even and not gained anything. I know more weight gain is coming, but hey, to hold it at bay for the first 20 weeks? I’m pretty proud of that!

Maternity clothes? Pants and capris are maternity 100% of the time now. I have some maternity shirts but for the most part am still wearing my normal shirts (not all of them, of course).

Stretch marks? Yeah…old news!

Sleep: Very unpredictable lately. I went through an entire week of sleeping horribly followed by an entire week of sleeping great. I don’t usually sleep flat on my stomach or back, but having to now be conscious of not doing it (neither is safe at this point in pregnant, especially back) is difficult.

Best moment this week: Just the movements getting a bit stronger.

Still hard to explain what they feel like. It’s more than little tickles now, but still not full on kicks and punches. He/she is getting so big that I can now feel movement in two places, 5-6 inches apart, at once, which is pretty neat!

Food cravings: I still wouldn’t say I have cravings, but I sure do eat a lot of cheddar cheese melted into Tostito scoop chips….oh, heavenly.

Gender: We’ll find out on September 2nd!!

Labor Signs: No!

Belly Button in or out? In, and I intend for it to stay that way, thankyouverymuch.

Wedding rings on or off? On…admittedly, only because I got them resized! I am being told this is a lost cause and that they will come off eventually. Well, for now they’re still on, suckers.

What I miss: Coke Zero, scalding hot baths and my husband cracking my back for me.

What I am looking forward to: Feeling strong kicks, finding out the sex and getting some new ultrasound pictures (maybe even 3D??)

Weekly Wisdom: I don’t feel all that wise, yet, so how about some advice that’s been given to me. I’m being told “sleep when the baby sleeps” by many people and I sure hope that works, because one thing that’s always on my mind is “How do you take care of a baby if you haven’t slept in a week?” Seriously, moms, stop telling me you haven’t slept in 10 days or since your baby (who is now 2, 4, 8 years old etc.) was born. You’re scaring the crap out of me.

Milestones: Every week is another milestone right now!

Aside from the movements getting a bit stronger, there is one pretty significant change since the last time I updated…I have my appetite back!! Woohoo!! This could be a blessing and a curse, but right now I’m loving it (the weight gain question above is probably why I have no remorse yet). I’m not eating us out of house and home, but I can eat bigger portions again and don’t lose my appetite around dinnertime (and at other random times) like I had been for a long time. Sometimes I am hungry again an hour after I eat a meal…that was unheard of until I was 16 weeks. Before that, I could eat a cracker and feel like I was good for 3 days.

Another strange thing has started to happen which may or may not be pregnancy related but is so out of character for me that, coupled with the fact you can never underestimate what pregnancy can do to you, very well may be. I have started to actually cook. As in, look up recipes, buy the ingredients, actually make them, cook them and eat them. I did this on occasion before, but for the most part I have always gotten overwhelmed by the fact that I didn’t know how to make anything off the top of my head that I wouldn’t even try. We had pretty simple dinners, and a lot of the same ones over and over, if we ate at home. I would go to the food store, spend $200 and come home with nothing to actually make meals with. Typically when I left work I would be so tired that I just wanted to relax and not cook. Now all of a sudden I am even going to the grocery store after work and then coming home and whipping up new recipes for dinner. Often, I even whip up a dessert after that.

Granted, like I said, this may have nothing to do with pregnancy, but I’ve never been like that and it started pretty suddenly so I have to wonder…what if this is its own kind of “nesting”? When you have kids, you can’t come home and sit on the couch every night. You usually have to come home and cook, and sometimes go to the food store in between. There’s mouths to feed no matter how tired you are or how much you don’t feel like cooking. So even though this little mouth is still in utero, who knows? Maybe it really is some kind of motherly instinct kicking in and getting me ready. I think I may be on to something here, folks.


It only makes sense that I would have a winter baby. I was born in the winter, and if you know me, you probably know how much I adore the season. I love fall, too, but winter has a special place in my heart. While everyone else is basking in the sun on the beach and wishing summer could last forever, I am daydreaming about the first snowfall of the year.

Everything about winter is magical to me. The snow, the ice, the bitter cold. I watch the weather and wait for any news of the next snowfall on the way, and the bigger the better. I love falling asleep and waking up to the hissing, beeping and scraping of salt trucks and snow plows. I love going to the window constantly to watch for the first flurries, knowing the snow will be falling quietly all night long and waking up to the blanket of silence that seems to cover the entire world. Sure, it’s cold, we have to shovel out, stay inside, cancel plans. There may be no school. There may be no work. It creates unpredictability, but that’s what I like. I like that when a big snowstorm is on the horizon, all bets are off.

Of course, I don’t think it would be nearly as magical without the holidays. I like Thanksgiving and New Year’s is great, too, but I l-o-v-e Christmas. While I’m watching the weather forecasts I’m also waiting for and soaking up the Christmas commercials on TV. Christmas commercials have got to be the best out there (maybe second-best to all you Superbowl fans, but first best to me!). I love when the previews for the holiday movies coming out in theaters starts. I love when the Christmas displays go up in the stores and strings of lights start to go up on the houses. And if you combine all of this with snow, there’s just no way to make me happier.

I ought to do my Christmas shopping early this year (but don’t we all vow to do that every year?). I’m not quite sure how it feels to waddle around the stores when you’re 7-8 months pregnant, but just in case it doesn’t feel fabulous, I should start early. I can only imagine how much more magical this winter and holiday season will be for us…and how different it will be. To think that by the following Christmas we’ll have a baby that is [at least close to] walking just blows my mind.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

They Grow Up So Fast

Here's attempting my first picture post....fingers crossed.

This is what you looked like at just 6 weeks...

And at 7.5 weeks, your head is on the right, and the little dark spot below it is where your heart is!

At 9 finally look a bit like a baby!

Just shy of 12 favorite picture so far

And at 13 weeks and 1 day...we couldn't get any great shots, but I loved having one of your little arm and your hand on your head..

Our next ultrasound should be the first week of September, give or take...the "big" one where they tell us if you're a boy or a girl (although we're pretty sure already, shhh!)

To Remember

Yesterday, I felt you move for the first time. They say it feels like the fluttering of butterfly wings, a fish swimming around, a vibration, a tickle, a whisper. I would describe it as feeling like all of those things at the same time, and still, none of those things. I don’t know a way to describe it, but I know what it feels like, and that is all I have ever wanted to know.

Something told me a few days ago that I needed to start paying attention. Maybe subconsciously I was feeling you move but not picking up on it because of how early it is. I started lying awake after I went to bed, concentrating, and thinking about the first time I would feel it and what it might feel like. Finally, as I was sitting at work quietly yesterday, I thought I was starting to feel something. After a few minutes, I felt a tickle so big (yet still so little) that left no doubt in my mind that it was you. On and off for the rest of the night I felt it, and again today. I have learned very quickly that you enjoy Welch’s juice.

I have wanted to start writing about this pregnancy since before it even began. Then, once it did, I found that I couldn’t write about it because it didn’t feel real. I thought it would feel real when that second line appeared on the test, but it didn’t. I thought it would feel real the next night when the word “Pregnant” popped up on the digital test, it didn’t. They say that seeing is believing, yet when I saw your little blob of a self up on the ultrasound monitor for the first time, I still wasn’t convinced you were in there. At the third ultrasound, we heard your heartbeat for the first time. It was amplified so loud that it filled the entire room. At 180 beats per minute, it couldn’t have been mine, but I still couldn’t believe it was yours. By the fifth ultrasound at 13 weeks, you had long since turned from a blob into a baby, but I didn’t believe you were my baby.

Now, as I write this, having felt your strongest movement yet just minutes ago, it’s starting to feel real. I had been thinking that since I was writing from the beginning of the pregnancy, that maybe it was too late to start. Now I realize how crazy that is. Not only do you have 6 more months in there, but a whole new life out here that I will want to remember every minute of.

Daddy and I were married June of last year, so I became pregnant with you 10 months after our wedding. Typical, even quick, some might say. Most people will never know what a miracle baby you really are, and that’s okay. Most miracles in life are unseen by design.

My mom and I realized something neat recently; she was the same age I am when she became pregnant with my older brother, and that was also 10 months after she married my father. Interesting!

I always hear people say they forget what their pregnancies were like…when they found out, when they got sick, when they felt the first movements etc. I want to remember these things or at least have them written down somewhere so I can go back and remember. Here are some dates I want to remember:

May 9th (Mother’s Day!) – first positive pregnancy test (two lines!)

May 10th – first positive digital test (exciting in its very own way, trust me)

May 11th – we told Britti about you!

May 17th – we told Patti about you!

May 27th – first ultrasound – we could see your tiny heartbeat which was slow because it had just started (Dr. said there was less than a 20% chance we’d even see it that early - showoff!)

June 7th – second ultrasound, we could tell which side your head was on, see your heartbeat and calculate the rate at 160 bpm

June 12th – we told Grandma (daddy’s mom), Adrienne, and Marty about you!

June 13th – we told Grandma (my mom), Uncle Bobby, Aunt Kristin, and some friends (Becca, Mike, Angelina, Jenn, Kate, Josh) about you!

June 17th – third ultrasound, you started to take on the shape of a baby and wiggled the tiniest bit, and that night we told Grandpa & Mary Ellen about you!

July 4th – we told Uncle Scott, Aunt Tammi, Uncle Craig, Aunt Kathy , Meghan, Aidan & Brendan about you. Mack & Steph were away at camp so we mailed them letters the next week.

July 7th – fourth ultrasound to do your NT screening but you weren’t cooperating and it was also a little too early, so they couldn’t get the measurement – still fun to see you lookin’ all baby-like! Ultrasound tech also peeked between your legs…hmm, did she think you were a boy or a girl?

July 16th – fifth ultrasound, second attempt at NT screening. Again, you didn’t cooperate, but they were able to get what they needed. Another peak between your legs…now we are nearly certain!

July 26th – first time I felt you movin’ and shakin’!

Right at 10 weeks is when I started to get some morning sickness and it last for 4 weeks until I was 14 weeks. It was usually around dinnertime and in the evening when I wouldn’t feel well, only sometimes in the morning. I never actually got sick until around 12 weeks when I started throwing up when I brushed my teeth at night, thanks to a nice gag reflex. Hopefully that gets better soon.

I really haven’t had any cravings or aversions to specific foods. During the weeks I wasn’t feeling well I didn’t want to eat most things and it was always a chore trying to figure out something I actually had an appetite for, but that was just aversion to food in general. I can’t eat as much as I used to be able to and feel sick if I do eat a lot, so I’ve lost about 6 lbs. instead of gaining so far. I also can’t stand the thought of going out to eat, for the most part, because the thought of big portions makes me feel sick.

There may not have been too much rhyme or reason to this first blog entry, just the order my thoughts came out in, and I’m sure I forgot so many. I’m sure many if not most other entries will follow suit. I plan to use this as an outlet for many things – to write to you, to keep friends/family updated, to write to myself, to remember as many details as I possibly can for as long as I possibly can. It’s hard to believe in less than 6 months your little face will be on here.
If I do neglect to write for awhile, I hope that someone will give me a nudge and remind me to. I have never, ever been consistent with keeping a journal of any kind, but I hope this time will be different, even when life gets ridiculously busy, as we know it soon will.