Category Archives: Pregnancy

Baby’s room, writing and other random thoughts – week 27

Wow, what a week!! My first leg cramp – a very painful charlie horse – woke me up in the wee hours of one morning and I thought I was going to die. Ok, maybe that’s a little melodramatic, but it really hurt! I walk with a noticeable sway now… not quite a waddle yet but we’re surely getting there. The baby is very active and, for those patient enough to sit with their hands pressed to my bump, she will get over her shyness and move. Well, at least for Grandma and big sister it has happened. Another memorable highlight was my fabulous find of a pair of comfortable maternity jeans. FINALLY! I’ll probably wear them out in the last 2 or three months that I have let because they are so great. Like angels singing and rays of light shining down on me when I put them on great. Seriously!

This was the last week before officially heading into the 3rd trimester and I guess you could say I have started the nesting process which at our house means a domino effect of activity that starts nowhere near the actual baby’s room. First, a new set of bookshelves for the master bedroom so I can organize some of my inner sanctuary (ie. books) that are currently taking up the extra space in there (and driving hubby nuts). Theoretically this was not a necessary step but it was something for me and because it also benefits hubby, I went with it! Next the exercise bike will be banished to the basement from the master bedroom so the bassinet will have a spot in the corner. Then we move on to big sister’s room since she is currently the owner of the dresser that matches the crib since it was hers to begin with. We acquired a new dresser for her – a tall chest of drawers that will hold more than her current one and which she is so excited for. But first, we must de-junk her room (or at least that’s what I’ve told her is the first requirement because it is a disaster in there!). We spent part of the past weekend organizing and getting rid of things and made a dent but are far from done. Once we get the new dresser out of the living room and into big sister’s room, the baby dresser will go (let’s be honest for a minute) into the living room while we move the computer desk and painting easel’s and supplies from what is currently the office/art room to their new locations in the basement. Then the dresser and crib for baby’s room can be setup and curtains acquired and hung, etc. The fact that 1) we have a definite plan and 2) we have started the plan toward getting the baby’s room done is great progress for us so I’m celebrating! I stressed so much about it in the beginning and now I remember that big sister’s room wasn’t done until after she was born since we knew she’d be sleeping in the bassinet with us for the first few months anyway. Minimum requirement is the dresser/changing table setup in her room and a place to rock during feeding time. Piece of cake at this rate!

The best part of the week was spent feverishly writing and my word count for the month is now hovering just below 25,000 words. I made a deal with myself that if I got half done before the 15th so I could slack off for a few days and read this month’s selection for the book club and still get my 50K by the end of the month I could read. Now, I’ve gotten so far along in my manuscript that I find myself not wanting to stop to read someone else’s work and I only have two days to finish the book. I will force myself because it is a book I really want to read but I’ll be kicking and screaming and mind wandering back to my own characters the entire time I fear.

No doctor’s appointments or other noteworthy events this week other than our first home visit as part of the National Children’s Study baby and I are participants in. 3 1/2 hours at our house and what felt like millions of questions and samples later, I’m officially helping make a difference in finding the cause of autism and other childhood diseases for the next 21 years. People are still panicking about the swine flu everywhere here and I think it is silly. Even the CDC person I heard interviewed on NPR said (and I paraphrase) that yes, it is different than the seasonal flu because it hits younger kids more often that older people but that it was just another strain of the flu. If you always get a flu shot, get one but if not (like me) and you never get the flu then there’s probably not much to worry about. I laugh about the hysteria the “mainstream” news sources seem to thrive on inciting and how many people buy into it. (My soapbox for the week, I guess!) Oh, and hubby is now on Facebook – aka the mother of all time wasters – after months of bitching to me about how much time I waste and how he would never join. He spent “Football Sunday” glued to it and I laughed… and tried not to actually say the words “I told you” outloud.

Taking time for myself – week 26

This was a pretty quiet week as far as pregnancy goes. Life in general was exciting and full of things going on but not much of it had anything to do with the bun in the oven. The hubby and I celebrated our 15th year of marriage with an evening out just the two of us. It was nice to get out and forget about being parents for a while and just enjoy one another. It was also the first week of NaNoWriMo (otherwise known as National Novel Writing Month) so all of my free time – what there is of it – was spent writing. I’m behind in my word count if I want to do the minimum each day and get to the required 50,000 words to “win” the event but considering everything else I have going on with a full time job and keeping up with a very involved 8 year old, I can’t help but be proud of my current 4500 words in less than a week. The best thing is it is all new material and better than I thought I had it in me to write. Of course it is only a first draft and even when finished not fit to be read without at least one edit, but it is a fossil that I’m excavating out of my subconscious bit by juicy bit. If I accomplish all I want to, I’ll ‘win’ NaNoWriMo with 50,000 words and then finish up the first draft by the time the baby is born in late January/early February. Then I’ll take a break to adjust to a newborn again and pick it up for an edit around the same time I go back to work. I love the creativity and the big dreaming – an indulgence I rarely take for myself as I grind away at day to day life.

As far as the baby news is concerned, things have been extremely quiet compared to the previous couple of weeks. I had a bout of heartburn that made me have to sleep on the couch – what a pain in the ass that was – but a few hours later I was able to lie down again comfortably. The weather was unseasonably warm this week and I got out walking a couple of afternoons at work and a couple of mornings before work with the dog. I don’t remember being this active when I was pregnant the first time and I think it is why I have so few complaints this time around. Not to mention that I’m keeping the weight gain under control which makes me very happy. No doctor visits or new complaints this week either. Just an uneventful week of fetus development. Here’s to at least a couple more weeks like this before we head into the final stretch.

Just say no to H1N1 and the return of uncomfortable things – weeks 23 thru 25

The last three weeks have been an eye opener for me. I have been thoroughly enjoying my second trimester which I realized recently has been flying by so fast it is pretty much over already. I had been feeling so great I didn’t see some things catching up with me until they were staring me in the face – and laughing maniacally!

First, I know this is the mark where if I had been allowed to be running I’m sure I would have to be stopping because I physically can’t do the same things I could just a week or two ago. I’ve kept myself pretty active – I walk 3-4 times a week – and have only gained 9 lbs so far for my efforts. About a week ago I was leaving work and by the time I walked down 6 flights of steps and out the door to walk to my car, I was aching and out of breath. WTF?! I hoped it was a fluke – maybe I was a bit dehydrated or something? – but every day it is the same thing. Even my backpack with my laptop seems heavier lately and my mind goes over ways I can lighten my load. Maybe I don’t need to carry a purse AND a backpack to work every day? What a drag… Second, I don’t have the energy to keep up with all aspects of my life anymore. I haven’t slowed down in the Mom department or the work department and last week the keeping up with my 8-year old and her dance schedule on top of my work schedule with graveyard and swing shifts on call from home really took a toll. By the time Thursday night rolled around I was ready for bed at 8pm. Me, the ultimate night owl! Third, the aches and pains and discomfort of my body as it grows huge to accommodate this baby I’m carrying are starting to annoy me. I feel like I’m back in my first 12 weeks again and always needing to sit on the couch with my feet up except it isn’t because I’m exhausted but because my legs hurt and my back hurts and even sitting there I can’t get comfortable. Even my sleeping has been impacted. I’ve had to start the pillow dance at night in order to be comfortable. What is the pillow dance? It is the weirdness of propping pillows between your legs and under your belly and snuggling with them like a lover in order to find just the right sleep position. If it sounds like a drag, you’re right, it is. But, it is worth it to be able to sleep all night. And fourth, there’s the bladder bothers. Having to wake up in the middle of the night at least once for a bathroom visit is now the norm. And during the day is even worse with visits becoming more and more frequent. I know that will only get worse as things progress but man is it ever so annoying!

The baby bump is still growing and I look my 6 1/2 months along just as much as I’m feeling it. She is still a feisty baby who likes to kick my innards at all hours of the day and night. The funny thing is, the minute I voice that she is kicking and anyone around me touches my belly to try to feel her, she stops. How can she be my kid and be that bashful? I’ve started to employ this to my benefit and when I want a break from her acrobatics I call her sister over to touch my belly. It works like a charm every time!

Last week was a routine doctor visit. Everything looks good – baby sounds great and my ultrasound results are as good as the sonographer indicated. The placenta is a little low and I’ll have to have a follow-up ultrasound in a couple of months to make sure as things grow there’s enough room for her to squeeze by on her way out. If not, there’s a C-section in my future but I’m hoping that isn’t happening. My doc said we’d just have to take a look and see in a couple of months to make sure and was pretty calm about it so I’m staying positive.

The insane (and in my opinion unnecessary) panic and pandemonium about the H1N1 Swine Flu caught up with me twice in the last two weeks. I have said before, I am a healthy girl and I never get the flu – except those two years about 10 years ago when I got flu shots! – and I do not ever get flu shots. This year was no different for me and I’m not giving into the panic and craziness about the newest strain of flu that is getting so much attention. Yes, the swine flu is a nasty flu and yes it kills people but that is no different than the “regular” flu every year. I discussed it with my doctor at my visit and of course he gave me the party line that it is recommended for me to get it because I’m in one of the risk categories. I respectfully declined and I’m sure he wasn’t too happy with me but I’m not going to get scared just because we are now collecting different statistics in order to scare larger pieces of the population. I work in healthcare and I know for a fact that we’ve never collected statistics on flu specific to pregnant women. With H1N1, now they are and I had those statistics thrown at me at the doctor’s office. I asked what the stats were for pregnant women and the regular seasonal flu and he couldn’t answer. Sorry, not compelling enough for me. Especially when I read on the CDC website that there are insane things like mercury and formaldehyde in the vaccine. Sorry, I don’t ever want those things injected in my body for any reason! This last week our company got a limited number of vaccines from the Health Dept and they were only being offered to pregnant employees. Another respectful decline, thanks. It amazes me how easy it is to incite panic in the masses and how trusting people are. Maybe it is my cynical nature but I’m not ever going to be ok taking something that has been so fast-tracked on the way to market that the safety factor is based solely on the history of the companies making it and not on the actual manufacture process itself. “It is assumed to be just as safe as the regular seasonal flu shot” isn’t good enough for this doubting girl! Just say No!

All in all, things are progressing nice and quick and holy shit I’m almost in my 3rd trimester! Where did all the time go? Better get my ass in gear and get working on getting the nursery put together or she’ll be here and we won’t be ready for her!

Fiesty little fetus – week 22

We have officially entered the part of pregnancy where I am no longer the boss IN MY OWN BODY.  Don’t get me wrong, it does come with good and bad but this week has been very eye opening in the “what will my baby be like” department.  She is already a very demanding little fetus who makes herself known and imposes her wishes whenever she wants.  Specifically, she does not like it when I sit in an upright or leaning forward position.  Whenever I try to (or forget!) she delivers some pretty nasty kicks and punches to my insides.  And they downright HURT!  The funniest part is when I adjust to accommodate her wishes she immediately settles down.  If it is any indication of the level of stubbornness or feisty attitude we are in for after she is born, we are in trouble.  More specifically, I think I am in trouble since she will be a fiery Aquarius – JUST LIKE ME!  I do love the active bonding that goes on with these clashes of wills but I hope it is not a foreshadowing of things to come.

I am still on the hunt for comfortable maternity pants but last weekend I visisted THREE stores and came away with – count them – ONE PAIR that were suitable.  And only because I bought a size too big and resigned myself to wearing one of those bella bands to hold them up.  I never thought I’d appreciate the old and ugly styles so much until I couldn’t find anything in the new styles that work for me.  There’s always more shopping trips but seriously, who has the time when I’m worried about knitting a baby blanket that might never be finished in time at the rate I’m going AND getting the nursery started?  At least I have enough pants to last all week now so my stress level has subsided … a bit!  I’m still appreciating and taking advantage of my ability to sleep comfortably through the night and taking every day as it comes.  I am so healthy that hubby has been sick twice – a cold and strep throat – and my daughter had the flu (I like to tell people it was the SWINE FLU just to get their reactions!) and I am still fit as a fiddle.  I love being healthy and despite the fiesty fetus, am loving this stage of pregnancy!

Ultrasound and baby bump discomforts – weeks 20 & 21

Last week marked my 20th week of pregnancy – the halfway mark, the much-anticipated ultrasound, the Holy Grail before the birth.  And what did I do?  I let it slip by without even blogging about it!  A testament of how crazy life has been.  The ultrasound was more comfort than anything else – seeing the baby and hearing that everything looked completely normal was wonderful.  My memories of the ultrasound from my firstborn are dismal – I remember feeling a total let down because we sat there all excited to hear everything and the girl just did her work saying little to nothing.  She even “forgot” to start the taping of the ultrasound until 2 minutes before we were done (back in those days it was VHS tape – how far we’ve come!).  This time was different – this tech explained everything we were seeing on the screen and told me what things were being measured, etc.  It is 100% for sure a girl – and I quote!  The ironic part is the “we” who got to see and hear all these wonderful things were not me and hubby but me and my sister.  She’s single with no kids of her own and that morning when I learned the hubby couldn’t get away from work to accompany me I thought of her.  She’s the world’s most doting auntie who lives for her nieces and nephews and the thought occurred to me that if expecting mothers are allowed only one person in the ultrasound room she had most likely never gotten to experience seeing one live and in person.  She was ecstatic even though it was extremely last minute and she met me there.  I was glad for the company and glad I got to share something so cool with her.  It is still so amazing to be able to see the baby moving around inside and describing doesn’t do it justice.

This week, week 21, was marked with extreme discomfort in the baby bump arena.  I feel as big as a house (although I know I’m nowhere close to huge yet) and now look unmistakably pregnant – which is normal considering I’m 5 months along, right?  The discomfort that has begun to plague me is caused not necessarily from my growing uterus but from the clothes I’m trying to wear.  Let’s be honest – I haven’t done this in 8 years and back then there were two kinds of maternity pants – the ones that went all the way over the belly and the ones with that weird and hideous panel of stretchy material in the front.  These are both gone (thank god!) and when I first started needing more than the top button undone of my pants I embarked on purchasing a few basics to last me the duration.  I quietly collected a poll of all my friends who have done this more recently and the consensus was that everyone liked the “below the belly” pants best.  So, I armed myself with a pair of basic black pants, a pair of khaki’s and a pair of jeans – enough to last me a week of work attire matched with several shirts that were cute and flattering.  The pants WERE comfortable… until this week when my uterus began protruding far beyond my pelvic bones and hips where the waistband now digs into it like a trencher digging holes for sprinkler pipe when I sit down.  And have I mentioned I sit all day at work?  Recipe for disaster and discomfort complete!  (Where are the comfy front panels now because I’d sure kill for a pair?!?)  The only relief I have is stretchy yoga pants as soon as I get home from work.  I have resigned myself to another trip of wasteful spending on maternity clothes that now I will only wear for 4 months total.  It is either that or endure my unborn child kicking all my internal organs trying to escape the trencher threatening to squish her since I can’t go naked to work from the waist down.  I only hope I can find pants that fit AND that will last to the finish line this time!

The best news from this week is that, 5 months in, I’ve only gained 5 pounds.  The hunt (and debate) has begun for a middle name and here’s hoping we have enough time to come to agreement in that arena.  I am now a walking cliche who spouts the evils of high fructose corn syrup and processed food and then consumes donuts and soda on a daily basis.  At least I don’t crave pickles and ice cream or something nasty but the cravings are still there AND piss me off.  I’m enjoying being able to still sleep comfortably at night and am taking everything as it comes.  Here’s to halfway done!

Weeks 18 & 19 – where did my waist go?

Holy growing uterus, batman!  I look more and more pregnant everyday and really, that’s the only thing there is to report for the last two weeks.  I’m pretty irritated that the super comfy “below the belly” maternity pants that felt great before I had a baby bump the size of a soccer ball now cut me in all the wrong places.  I actually broke out the one pair of pants that I kept from my previous pregnancy because they were simple and basic black and didn’t have the icky front panel of stretchy material in them.  They do, however, have a super nice waistband that goes over my belly and rests up where there’s no problem for elastic to make.  Is it insane to want to find THOSE kind of pants again?  I’m sure not a fan of the new “hidden belly” pants that are all the rage!  I caught a glimpse of myself from the side angle today and about shit my pants!  I guess viewing straight on in my bathroom mirror I can still pretend like I have a figure since my belly sticks out front and I can still see waist on either side.  BUT from the side?  Whoa nelly…  THAT’S A BIG ASS BELLY!

What is IN that big ass belly is starting to kick me at regular intervals and sometimes even tells me when she is unhappy at what I ate.  Ok, I have no idea of the accuracy of that statement but my hypothesis holds true since she seems to be way more active when I eat something spicy – say 30 or so minutes after when the digestion process is in full swing.  I’m looking forward to the months where the internal acrobatics can be felt by her daddy and her big sister….  I’m craving everything bad for me – like donuts and candy – and blame all of it on the baby.  There’s now a running joke at work that the baby will have a list of demands which it needs met in order to get whatever the team needs/wants in the coming months.  Not sure if anyone really buys it but it is fun to hear the banter.

Next big milestone is next Wednesday when we have the 20-week ultrasound scheduled…  Stay tuned!  Will the baby’s parts still be girl parts or did her parents in fact get to impatient and go too early?  And will the pesky “short” cervix prove long enough to let me do some more jogging or will I remain benched for the long haul?  Inquiring minds want to know!  In the meantime, I’m knitting up a storm and can’t seem to get enough of it.  I guess the nesting phase has officially begun!

All quiet on the home front – week 17

Week 17 kind of slipped by me without much fanfare. It almost seemed anti-climactic this week with nothing major to worry about and nothing exciting to look forward to. Some of the highlights of the week were: We went camping and yes, I slept in a tent at 4 months pregnant much to the amazement of several of my friends. I actually got the hubby to measure where I want the desk from the baby’s room to come to final resting AND admit that it is a good spot in the house for the new computer location – something he has been resisting for several months. (Now to get him to actually move furniture… but one step at a time, right?) We measured the ginormous window in the baby’s room for curtains and/or blinds since the existing blinds are broken. And, I took our daughter shopping for the first baby items. She went crazy wanting to buy every cute baby outfit she laid eyes on and I had to steer her to the basics and the practical – like onesie’s and pajamas and socks/booties. Together we got a solid start on things we will need to welcome her little sister home in a few months.

I went to the doctor for a routine appointment this week – where I heard the heartbeat and got the first measurement of my growing belly. My blood pressure is still extremely good and even on the low side (yipee!) and my baby bump is measuring exactly as big as it should be for my stage of the game. I begged my doctor to sneak me into the ultrasound room and tell me what I am having (of course I didn’t mention it would be a second opinion!) and he laughed and looked at my chart and finally said the only thing he could do was to make my next appointment in only 3 weeks instead of the standard 4 weeks – putting me right after I hit the 20-week mark. I guess I’ll take what I can get and really, I just want my trusted OB to tell me the girl parts are still the girl parts before I continue spending money on pink things a little baby boy wouldn’t be caught dead in.

I’m still only 2 lbs heavier than I was at the end of my HCG regiment (and realistically that was the time of conception!) but my Dr says not to worry since I’m staying very active (although NOT running like I’d like to be and feel very up for every day!) and the baby is obviously thriving in there. Maybe the baby will just eat my ass and thighs and I won’t gain more than a few pounds through the course of the entire pregnancy! Wouldn’t that be a nice pipe dream…

Intuition Fails Me – Week 16

This week was marked by the much-anticipated milestone of fetus development being reached when we could finally find out the sex of the baby. I say ‘could’ because if we waited for the ultrasound at the doctor’s office then we wouldn’t know until the 22nd week because of the way my monthly appointments fall. The “official” ultrasound is to measure the development of the baby, the organs and all sorts of other medical things with the side note of “do you want to know the sex” thrown in at the end so it happens at about 20 weeks. I might have mentioned before that I am NOT a patient woman… There is no way I could have waited until 22 weeks!! We got super lucky and got an appointment for Monday evening squeezed in between the end of my work shift and the beginning of the hubby’s night shift at the cheapest place we could find in the mall. Since we only needed the information and weren’t interested in the video or keepsake package crap, I figured cheaper was better in this case. This entire pregnancy I have KNOWN, not just had a strong feeling, but KNOWN that I knew what we were having so this exercise was merely a formality so we could officially start shopping. Our daughter was so excited to be coming along because for weeks she had been asking how long before we could know (she’s obviously inherited my impatient gene!) So, I’m lying there on the table, belly all coated in goo and the announcement comes. My reaction? “Are you sure?” You see, I KNEW this baby was a boy – had been calling it ‘he’ for weeks – had been knitting a masculine colored blanket – had been focusing on boy names – and how could it be right when he said “IT’S A GIRL!” How could my female intuition have failed me so entirely?

Yes, I was a bit disappointed. Our daughter was over the moon that she is getting a SISTER and couldn’t stop jabbering while the hubby and I walked out of the mall behind her discussing our shared disappointment. I’m not having babies at 40 so we know this is our last one and we were both convinced we would get our idyllic dream of having one of each. Except now that had just been blown out of the water. My control-freak tried to convert the disappointment into something more tangible like disbelief siting the fact that I am “only” in my 16th week and the beginning at that so technically it could have been too early to tell and they just didn’t want me to be able to come back later since we went for the cheap package. I even went as far as to tell my sister that we were NOT ready to start shopping until the diagnosis had been confirmed by my doctor. That lasted all of about 10 hours until the next day when my co-worker who has background in Radiology and a wife who is a sonographer took a look at the ultrasound photos and declared it a “textbook perfect example” of a baby girl’s parts. Disbelief now back to disappointment which only lasted another couple of hours because then I started thinking of all the benefits and joys of having another girl. We already know we make gorgeous girls – one look at our daughter is enough to prove that. I will NEVER have to pretend to like or endure baseball that a son would be playing. The chances of either of our daughters wanting to follow in Daddy’s footsteps of dirt bike racing are minimal. And I am already a total pro at raising girls! I also reminded myself that I had secretly been scared shitless thinking I wouldn’t know what to do with a boy which now I wouldn’t have to worry about. The hubby got over his disappointment much more quickly than I did and is content to have a houseful of women. (Poor guy, even the dog is female!) Part of me must have known there was no reason to withhold anything since we started spreading the “It’s a Girl” news on the drive home from the mall. I got a kick out of my daughter wanting to be the one to tell everyone that she’s getting a sister!

The rest of the week was a blur of sleep deprivation after attending a concert with my brothers and sisters and second-grade homework overload on top of preparing for the last camping trip of the season. Wednesday I heard from my doctor on the last blood draw testing from the genetic screening and my results were perfectly normal (as we expected them to be after the first round of tests). Luckily, I am still feeling very good with no complications. Sometimes I still have moments of disbelief that the whole thing is even real. I’m starting to feel more little flutters that my mind says logically must be the baby moving but it is so infrequent that it could be gas, too! My baby bump is rounding out nicely and hopefully soon I’ll be VERY CLEARLY pregnant and not in that gray area of ‘it could be weight gain or it could be a baby’ that I’m quite certain every woman must go through regardless of her build before pregnancy. I have still not purchased a single item for the poor baby growing inside but there’s still time and we are slowly gearing up and making necessary preparations to re-task the office/playroom into a nursery and obsessing over girl names rather than boy names. The most amazing thing? Welcome to the 5th MONTH of pregnancy! Where has the time gone already? Seriously!

Highs and Lows – Weeks 14 & 15

The last two weeks (weeks 14 and 15) were a crazy roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. First, we went in for the dreaded and fearful genetic screening tests. We decided to do it just for piece of mind but with all the talk of my “advanced maternal age” and statistics being thrown around and things they were testing for that could go wrong, I admit I was a little more worried than I probably should have been. Call us cold and callous but it was such a relief when both the hubby and I were honest with each other about the fact that if there were indications of severe problems, we would most likely choose to “interrupt the pregnancy” which I guess is the polite way of putting it. (As a woman, I am so glad I have that choice and it is still a legal option in the USA – even though I hope never to have to make it!)

The testing itself was also one of the highs because as part of the screening we got to have a pretty extensive ultrasound. We were able to take our 7-year old who LOVED seeing the baby and getting to be involved. It was so surreal to watch the monitor and see how feisty and lively the baby is – constantly moving around and waving at us – and yet not be able to feel one bit of it yet. At one point the baby had decided to flip over and wasn’t cooperating so we took a break (OK, I had to pee so bad!) and my daughter became like this drill instructor reminding me that I was supposed to be pushing on my tummy to get the baby to move around. It was so much fun to have her there with us and feel like she was a part of the whole process. After a great discussion with tons of our questions answered by the genetic counselor, we headed home for the process of waiting – something which I don’t do well AT ALL. This all happened on Monday and the counselor said (and I quote!) “if you don’t hear from me with the results by next Monday, give me a call”. I of course figured we would hear long before the following Monday….

In the meantime, the following Monday was time for Girl Scout camp which I had signed my daughter and I up for months before I was pregnant and included many hours of planned horseback riding activities. I called my doctor and asked for specific permission on whether it was safe for me to be riding or not (with fingers and toes crossed!) He gave the green light which kind of surprised me considering the “no running” rule but I said THANK YOU and didn’t question it. Now “camp” implies somewhere in a rural setting – in this case, up a canyon about an hour from home. As we were driving and I was trying to navigate to a new location without the help of a male or GPS, in the back of my mind was “today is the day I get to call and bug them about my test results” with the plan to make that call when we arrived. HA! Little did I know we were driving into not only 3 days of horseback riding and camp songs, but 3 days WITH NO CELL PHONE OR INTERNET SERVICE. Of course because I am a good and responsible cell phone citizen and try not to make calls or text (or read Facebook updates) while driving, I didn’t realize this until we were there and what turned out was miles from the nearest service area. I carried my phone with me the entire first day and every time we came to a new spot in camp, I would check to see if I had service there. It was so frustrating when there was never a single bar – especially when we were surrounded by flushing toilets, showers, and electrical lights. I got over it quickly and enjoyed camp but always in the back of my mind was the hope that there would be a voicemail with good news waiting for me when I was back in cellphone range.

Wednesday arrived and that afternoon we bid farewell to camp. I turned the cell phone back on and waited for the inevitable alerts of incoming voicemail and text messages I was certain to have missed to signal our official arrival back into civilization. Came they did – but not until we’d been on the road for more than 7 miles. (Good lord!) When we stopped for the slushy I’d promised my daughter, I checked the voicemail and NONE OF THEM WERE FROM THE GENETIC COUNSELOR. I was pissed… if there’s one thing I hate it is people who do not meet their commitments. I don’t care what you tell me to expect, I will expect them. Since I was told I would get a call LAST WEEK and that if I hadn’t heard I could call on Monday and it was now WEDNESDAY and I still didn’t know what the tests had shown, I was not a happy camper.

Several days and several phone messages later – each one I’m sure in a more bitchy tone than the previous one – finally resulted in the genetic counselor calling me on Friday. After all the anticipation and accompanying worry – which was exacerbated by the fact that I had signed up for a service through my insurance company where I was able to see the test results but still not know what they meant – we got the news that I am officially in the “low risk” category for genetic disorders. What a sigh of relief. We have one more step in the genetic testing processes which includes more blood work this coming week to measure the specific markers for 3 genetic disorders. Because I am low risk, it is merely a precaution and we expect everything to be smooth sailing from here.

The next big step is that this week I am far enough along to find out what the sex of the baby is. Totally frustrating is that there are three different places you can go and pay for an ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby and because we live in Utah, NONE OF THEM ARE OPEN ON SUNDAY. So, that didn’t work out today and who knows when we will have time during the week to go before we leave for the last camping trip of the season on Friday. We are hoping to squeeze it in as early as tomorrow if we can get an appointment so stay tuned!!

Meanwhile, I am still feeling great, getting some of my appetite back for things other than cold cereal, and am finally able to walk without inner-thigh soreness from my horseback riding experience. I tell you, there is one good thing about being a horse girl, and it is toned thigh muscles! I am starting to be able to feel little movements from the baby and besides the very unmistakable baby bump it is the first thing that makes it in-your-face real for me. I still worry about how I will love another child as much as I do my first and how I will go back to sleepless nights and carrying a diaper bag and everything else that goes with having a newborn but man, am I excited!

Week 13 – The good, the worrisome and the bittersweet

Week 13 was marked with another doctor’s appointment. It was such a crazy roller-coaster ride! First, I got to hear the baby’s heartbeat for the first time – strong and steady and totally amazing. Then, I got super depressing news – no more running (or anything high impact) until I deliver. I know, I just got his blessing to run 4 weeks ago but in reviewing my chart from my last pregnancy he realized I have a short cervix which means no running this time around. It made the fact that my first trimester was so filled with queasiness and exhaustion that I couldn’t run even more heartbreaking considering I could have been running that whole time in blissful ignorance until I was ordered not to and now I didn’t even have that. Oh well, I will have to get over it and lament the loss of the months I had envisioned running with a cute little baby bump until it got too big and I surrendered to walking and cherish the last two or three weeks I’ve been enjoying it. Walking will now be the mainstay and I’ll take what I can get. After all, I’m not so totally selfish that I would risk my baby just so I could run and I’m glad I found out the risks now than had I continued running and had problems later.

After that little blow, we talked about genetic screening and I got to hear my new least favorite phrase ‘advanced maternal age’ more times than I cared to count while my nurse tried to get me an appointment with the genetic counselor next week since it has to be done before I’m 14 weeks. We decided to do the early blood test screening which is non-invasive and will give us an idea based on OUR genetic markers and not simple statistics what the odds are for a genetic disorder or defect. I am a bit less apprehensive when I heard that there is ‘only’ about a 1% chance with my ‘advanced maternal age’ of having a Downs Syndrome baby and that there is an even higher chance of causing a miscarriage with an amniocentesis. A blood test and another ultrasound and then we’ll know our specific chances of problems and then decide if any further testing is warranted. I’m looking at it as a smart and routine test – ahem, considering my ‘advanced maternal age’.

After all the ups and downs are behind me, the fact remains that I am still healthy and still pregnant and well past the point of any early miscarriage concerns. And, in about 3.5 weeks we can go and find out what we are having. I’m SO not waiting until the doctor visit ultrasound which won’t happen for 8 MORE WEEKS. It is worth the cost to go to Fetal Photos and pay for them to tell us as soon as they can tell what the sex is. I have now started and abandoned knitting both a light blue and a white with girlie colored bits baby blankets. Neither of which had my heart in them because what happens if I spend all this time and effort and I picked the wrong flavor? So, I came into some really soft red yarn and have settled on my own version of a unisex color and am happily knitting away in between my trying to fit enough reading time into my still shortened evenings to finish the MASSIVE book club pick for the month.

I’ve officially entered the “it feels so great to be pregnant” period that I remember from my first pregnancy and I’m glad I get to be one of the lucky few who feels that way about being pregnant. I had a full-body massage earlier in the week which did wonders for my little bout of sciatic nerve irritation and overall aches and pains and enjoyed an evening at my girl friends new pool with friends who helped me put the whole ‘advanced maternal age’ into perspective with laughter and fun. Here’s to another good week ahead, even if it doesn’t include running!

The First 12 Weeks

I am officially in my 13th week of pregnancy which marks the first week of the second trimester. Today I found myself wondering exactly where those first 12 weeks went. Oh yeah, I vaguely remember them from the nauseated and exhausted fog that has only recently been lifted.

My first pregnancy was a dream – I got nauseous a total of 2 times, that’s it, no vomiting, no nothing. This time it is extremely glaring the toll that being an “older” pregnant woman can really take. I took a pregnancy test two days after the scheduled arrival of my monthly period which put me in my 5th week of pregnancy. Almost immediately (like after I recovered from the shock that it had really happened and I’d taken a second test just to be sure….) I was nauseous at the slightest smells, if I got too hot, if I got too hungry, if I drank my morning cup of beloved coffee, and pretty much if the moon wasn’t in perfect alignment with the other heavenly bodies. It lasted all day making me scoff at the whole term of “morning” sickness. I found fun ways of keeping it at bay including never leaving my a/c climate controlled house if I could avoid it and eating small evenly spaced meals heavy on the protein which kept it manageable at best. Luckily for me, no vomiting! I say lucky for me since I can’t think of many things I loathe more than vomiting and can tell you the exact date and time of the last time I did because each time I give into it and lose the battle it is memorable.

On top of all the queasiness going on, I was SO exhausted ALL THE TIME. Since I work full time there was no option for a nice little nap in the afternoons and most often I would find my head bobbing at my keyboard in the afternoons anyway. By the time I got home from work I only had energy to sit on the couch with my feet up and usually would end up napping with a break for dinner before it was time for bed. I, the ultimate night owl, was hitting the sack before 10pm and sleeping until 7am just to be able to make it through an 8 hour day of work. The worst part of being tired to the point of it being debilitating was the now GLARING EVIDENCE of what exactly I do around the house. No more Mom running around behind the 7-year old picking up the leavings of meals, folding the TV/couch blankets, fluffing the pillows on the couch, making sure the dirty clothes are in the hamper and the towels picked up off the bathroom floor, loading the dishwasher or doing laundry on a regular basis. Nope, none of that was happening and as a result our house looked like it had been invaded by the trolls of filth.

Because of all the queasy and tired crap going on, I was barely able to keep up with my exercise routine – which probably pissed me off the most if I’m really being honest. Come on, after all the hard work of sticking to an HCG regiment and losing 30 lbs, you’re telling me I can’t even keep up my running so I can keep my figure for as long as possible? My 3-times a week running was reduced to leisurely strolls around the neighborhood and then only if I felt up to it. On top of that was the nagging question, should I really be running still now that I was with child?

At week 10, we had our first doctor visit and saw the little peanut on ultrasound. It was very reassuring to watch the flutter of the heartbeat on the monitor with proof there really is a baby in there and that things looked normal for as far along as I was. Of course it wasn’t all flowers and butterflies because during all the verification of pregnancy and seeing the evidence, there was also a ton of blood I had to give – I think 8 vials in total! – the pee in a cup routine AFTER the discomfort of being poked and prodded with a full bladder and let’s not forget the horrible reality check discussion about how I’m over 35 which means all sorts of talk about genetic disorders and additional tests we might want to consider. Ok, so I’m not QUITE 40, but my odds of having a chromosomal defect have significantly increased since the last time I had a baby at the ripe old age of 29. At least we didn’t have to make any decisions about that… yet… but it is right around the corner if we are going to do early testing. The good news of the hour was that I really can continue running with my doctor’s blessing until I don’t feel up to it anymore. My running shoes thank him so we can continue our love affair!

The other memorable and somewhat frustrating issue of the first 12 weeks was how quickly I started “showing”. I can officially no longer fit into any of the pants that I could wear when I found out and I have the beginnings of a distinct baby bump. There is nothing more absurd than the cost of maternity clothing that you will wear for about 6-8 months and then toss in the goodwill pile except how early I had to start buying and wearing them this time around. I didn’t start needing maternity clothes with my first baby until about my 5th month and this time I was in my 2nd month. The only sanity saver is that from talking to other expecting moms on their 2nd plus babies I found it is apparently normal to show earlier with each pregnancy. Something about your uterus having already once expanded to accommodate a growing fetus sends it racing to the finish line the next time around. I guess if you have to be gaining weight because of pregnancy it is nice to have something tangible to show for it in a protruding baby bump.

So, that in a nutshell was the first 12 weeks for me but I am happy to report being one of the very lucky few who must endure these early pregnancy symptoms ONLY in the first trimester. About week 11, I suddenly stopped and looked around and realized I was coherent and not nauseous. Hey, when did that happen? Who cares, really, I’m just going with it and thanking my lucky stars… AND running every chance I get and trying not to obsess about the fact that I have lost weight since my doctor’s appointment. I’m eating healthy and that’s all that matters anyway!

Social Experiment – in Review

The long anticipation is over… because I’m assuming at least one person who reads this blog has been waiting anxiously for my follow-up posting about my little social experiment! Here’s a synopsis of what’s going on:

First the big news: After 7 years and at the ripe old age of 37, I am having another baby.

For those who don’t know me or my reproductive history, an explanation is in order so the rest of the experiment makes more sense. I have a single daughter, who will be 8 in the fall. When my husband and I conceived her, it was PURELY on accident-as in UNPLANNED-as in CAREER RUINING-as in COMPLETELY DIDN’T SEE THAT ONE COMING! We had been married 7 years so it wasn’t scandalous but for me it was life altering. Among the hordes of women surrounding me pining away for motherhood or basking in its glow, I was an island of “I don’t really want to be a Mom” that most people couldn’t understand – and I was practically 30 already so figured I was getting out of that one without really ever having to make a scene about it. Of course, looking back on it, I would never change it and I am glad it happened the way it did because otherwise I would have totally missed out. BUT STILL, I am a very unconventional type of Mom. One who works full time as a professional and doesn’t see anything wrong with it. (Did I mention I live in Utah?) AND, on top of that, was COMPLETELY content with only having the one and spoiling the ever-living-shit out of her because that’s what I had always wanted as the oldest of 4 children growing up. (Of course, I wouldn’t trade my siblings either!)

Now you have the history … fast forward to about 2 years ago. It was about the time I lost my maternal grandfather and started thinking about mortality and how I, myself, would face losing a parent when the time comes. The most comforting thing I had to fall back on was the fact that I had aforementioned siblings to handle it together. Which of course made me start thinking about my beloved daughter who, because of my decisions, wouldn’t have that when she lost us. So, we started talking. Now my husband is just like me – sometimes almost frighteningly so – so we had always been in TOTAL agreement on the size of our family. When I broached the subject assuming a rebuff and some comment about had I lost my mind thinking to start all over again, he surprised me that he’d also been thinking that he would be the end of his family name if he didn’t have a son and all other such nonsense that we’d never cared about before now. (Perhaps we had finally grown up? Nah!)

About six months later we made the decision to pull out my IUD (sorry, I’m the daughter of a nurse so if discussing such delicate matters as choice of contraception bothers you, consider yourself forewarned now…) I’ve already mentioned I come from a large family – it is also the tight-knit type of family where every time my brother and his wife decided to conceive a child, we ALL knew about it and knew when they started and practically the day the pee-stick turned pink proclaiming the impending birth. HOWEVER, that is so not me so we told not a single soul. (Ok, there were 2 or 3 VERY VERY special people in my life who might have known we were trying but I don’t want people to feel bad!) Which turned out to be the best decision we ever made because the next 18 months were an emotional roller coaster of anticipation and horror when each month it didn’t happen for us. Of course, all I could think about was the irony of GETTING KNOCKED UP ON ACCIDENT vs the experience of “trying” to conceive again and being foiled. We had pretty much given up. AND I had reverted to my previous selfish ways – and was totally into myself having lost a ton of weight and getting hooked on running – and was over the whole thing of having another baby.

And THAT was when it happened…

When we stopped “trying” and just “did it” whenever we felt like it and didn’t care about getting pregnant (and truth be told, hoped now that it wouldn’t in part of my mind!) it just sort of happened … like magic almost. (Girls, if you’ve always just listened to your mothers tell you that IT ONLY TAKES ONCE when telling you to wait, it is horse shit! There is such a tiny little window each month when it actually can happen… I had spent years and years preventing birth and then was shocked at finding out just how hard it is to actually make it happen! And now that it has happened – with all the charting and tracking and equally stupid horseshit that goes into it, I STILL don’t know how it happened because we totally blew “the window” that month!)

The social experiment itself consisted of watching people’s reactions to the news and watching the patterns of how and where it spread on its own. My family was completely shocked… some even asking me if I was kidding (like I would kid about something like this!) That is how convincing we had been for years that one was enough and we were D O N E – DONE. Some people were amazed we had been trying and hadn’t told anyone (why is the concept of keeping your private life private so foreign to some?) The couple of people I would classify as “non-childbearing on purpose” in my life actually stopped and asked me if this was happy news or not before offering their congratulations (that was so me 10 years ago and made me feel like despite everything I was still sane!) Interestingly enough, the news did not travel as far as I expected such juicy gossip to spread in my neighborhood social circle (and for this I love them all for it!) I told a couple of closest friends fairly early and asked they not share it. Then, at about 10 weeks, I spilled it to my Facebook crowd and even a couple of weeks later when we were all gathered for book club there were some who were hearing it for the first time. Now I am not naïve enough to discount that some may have known but concealed their prior knowledge well and were able to pull off appropriate reactions but in my gut I think that was the exception rather than the rule.

So, in short, my social experiment proved my theory wrong about the ability of women to keep exciting news to themselves. It almost renewed some of my faith in humanity! And, it further endeared to me my little crowd of women with whom for some of them the only thing we have in common is our love of reading. I will also say I am happy some of my cynical nature was proven wrong because honestly I can’t always be right about the human experience, right?

So, embark with me on the journey of pregnancy – soon to be chronicled in vivid detail here…