Saturday, March 31, 2012

A baby related weekend.

This weekend kicked off as quite baby related although it wasn't necessarily intended to be. I got home friday evening to Justin assembling the crib we'd gotten that day. It came much earlier than anticipated and when he saw it waiting on the porch, he was inspired to put it together. Awesome!

I got home during the first phase, apparently.

Starting to look more like the baby cage.

And even more so... final pictures will come as soon as we have everything more together up there so it could be a while. I stumbled upon this crib online one day and jumped on it. My parents had wanted to buy a crib for us so they actually bought it but I picked it out. It's 100% sustainable Austrailian pine and the matress is made of completely organic and non toxic materials. Win-win!

In the theme of getting the nursery all set up, though not knowing we were going to be doing this, we found a giant moose when we were out shopping. He is HUGE. Like, almost as big as me. But it's so comfortable to cuddle with and we both think that it's going to be a huge hit for a baby and it will look cute in the nursery. His name is Sam. And perhaps I am a nerd but I like this moose.

A shot of me and Sam the moose. Fabulous! He spent his first night at home in the baby's crib. He barely fit.

Continuing our domestic excitement of the day, we spent the evening watching the NCAA tournament. Kentucky won, as expected, and my home town team KU also managed to win (HOW?!) I think I almost had 4 heart attacks during the game and at one point during the first half I was very distraught with how crappy they were playing. But, somehow they pulled it out and not only do I get to be an annoying KU fan saying Rock Chalk over and over again, but I think that also means I won my bracket at work, regardless of who wins Monday night. Yes! Needless to say I was on an adrenaline high after that game which was great since Justin was drinking wine and I couldn't have any.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

18 weeks.

18 weeks. 4.5 months. Holy cow. That means we are 2 weeks away from being at the HALFWAY THERE mark. That is almost unfathomable. Here are the pictures:

And 17 weeks for comparison. I know I am bigger but I think I still just look like I'm getting chunky versus the fact that I'm pregnant. Most people still don't think I'm showing or look pregnant at all. I just look like I ate about 400 boxes of oreos.

How I'm feeling?
NIGHT AND DAY from last week. Holy cow, what was that all about? A growth spurt or just torture? I am so glad that was short lived because it was HELL. Seriously, like all of the first trimester crap rolled into one week. This week I luckily was not dealing with feeling like crap overall but instead, I did have my fair share of headaches. Additionally, something totally new was hip pain. Like CRAZY hip pain. As in: I look like I already have a waddle and am 80 years old and have to have assistance getting off the couch. I know that part of that is the hips starting to move around to prepare for pushing a bowling ball out of me but it is nuts. I think I said about 400 times "I want my body back." I did do a massive leg workout on Wednesday so that might have been some of the issue. I have a hard time setting boundaries and limits for myself. I still feel like I can do everything I used to do but the reality is that I can't. I have to really force myself to slow down and that is not easy for me.  Guess I better learn since I still have 5 months of sharing my body (at least with someone inside of it...)

Speaking of not slowing down, I continued to work out this week... lifted and ran Monday/Wednesday/Friday, walked Tuesday, gardened for two hours Saturday (is this considered nesting since it is so atypical?) and also went on a walk Saturday. I didn't push myself and no long runs this week since the hip pain has been a little out of control.

I've also noticed that the pee thing is annoying in a different way. I am MAYBE peeing less but that's only because it seems impossible to fully empty my bladder at one time. So, amount is less, frequency is more. What is that all about? Oh, yeah, maybe the little sweet potato pushing the bladder all around...

How I'm changing?
Growing, expanding, hip pains, and gigantic boobs. That pretty much sums it up. I still don't think my hair and skin have gotten the pregnancy memo yet but that's ok. I'll wait. I also noticed this week that whenever I floss my teeth, my gums bleed. I know this is very common with pregnancy but I haven't experienced this until this week.  I also can tell my body is preparing more and more for baby- hip pain being one huge sign but I've also felt quite a bit of cramping (kind of like pre-period cramps) that come and go. It's totally normal as the second trimester is a period of big growth for the baby and uterus.

What I'm eating?
This week I am eating pitas, hummus, and pita/hummus sandwiches like it is my job. I'm not even kidding, I have at least one a day. I am CRAVING pita/hummus sandwiches with spinach, tomatoes, and pickles. So amazing. I have no idea what this is all about but it's pretty much all I think about every day when I try to figure out what to have for lunch... really, there's no choice-PITAS! Raw vegetables still gross me out. Eggs also still gross me out. Carrots luckily were a freak thing last week. This week I am quite fond of them again. We did make chocolate chip and oatmeal raisin cookies this week which were incredible (and funny, enough, it was not the preggo's idea- my husband had the genius idea!)
Weight I'm gaining? 
I actually didn't gain much weight this week... I have halted the 2 pounds a week gain! I weighed 130.4 the other day and last week I was 129.6 so it was really a very minimal gain. I have never seen the 130s on a scale so it still totally trips me out but, it WILL come off.

How I'm sleeping? 
Pretty good still. There was one night this week that I was pretty uncomfortable but in general, I really can't complain.

What's the baby doing?
-The baby is 5.6 inches long and about the size of a sweet potato this week
-The bones in the baby's body continue to harden. One of the first bones to harden is the inner ear which is why the baby can probably hear sounds by now (although fuzzy, as if underwater)
-The baby continues to move around and you'll start to feel more and more movements in the coming week (I'm still feeling them randomly and it's hard to tell if it's a movement or gas...)
-The baby's blood vessels are visible through the skin and his/her ears are in the final position.
-A covering of myelin is forming around his/her nerves.
-A girls uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place and a boys penis is now very visible by ultrasound.

What we are doing to prepare for the baby?
-We went to our first hypnobirthing class last week. It was actually really good. We both left feeling like these classes are really going to help us achieve the type of birth we want, barring any sort of unexpected happening. I can totally see the benefit in these classes to both help us connect with the baby now and prepare us for the birth by allowing us tools to cope with the pain of labor. I'm excited to see what we learn in the coming weeks. 
-I bought citizens pregnancy jeans. It was a splurge. It was time. 
-We made our appointment for our 20 week ultrasound- April 10. We are going to find out the sex of the baby and have the tech write it down and we'll find out the sex in Hawaii on my birthday-April 29. The way I see it- it's going to be a surprise at 18 weeks, 20 weeks, or 40 weeks, and I am a planner by nature. I want to know the sex (although I still think it's a boy). 
-My mom and dad bought us a crib- our first actual baby purchase. We don't have it yet but it's pretty cool- espresso sustainable Australian pine, all non-toxic/sustainable materials, convertible from toddler to daybed. I'll post pictures once it gets here and we set it up.

Random thoughts on pregnancy (pregnancy brain?)
This week I went to Babies R Us to buy baby presents for two friends who are having baby showers in the next couple of weeks. HOLY COW. Talk about stuff I don't know. There were things on the registry that I had no idea what they even WERE, much less that I might need them. It was a total enlightening experience and while I know there is a lot of baby related stuff that people just don't need, I think I have a lot of learning to do to figure out exactly what I WILL need. As I have said all along, this is a total adventure!  

Saturday, March 24, 2012

A reminder of why we live here.

Yesterday before we had to pick up Oliver in Seattle for the weekend, Justin and I had a bit of time so we took a stroll through Magnolia (a neighborhood of Seattle overlooking the Puget Sound). It was a beautiful day and much needed after about 2 weeks of freezing cold temperatures, snow (seriously) and rain when the rest of the country was in some "heat wave." I heard countless times over the last couple of weeks that my parents were basking in 80 degrees in some random midwest March warmth while we were in some random snowy cold. Needless to say, I think the entire city embraced this 60 degree sunny day with open arms... even the crazy people who live here who claim they love the gloom.


Absolutely stunning.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

St Patrick's Day and the Sounders!

I really don't typically get too caught up in the whole St. Patrick's day thing. I have no idea if I'm Irish so I guess I could go all out (assuming I AM Irish) but I've just really never been that interested for whatever reason. I do wear green, I do like black and tans, but that's about as festive as it gets. This year, we did more than normal- we had tickets to a Sounders game on St Patrick's day. After a busy morning (I went to the office for a couple hour meeting, then got my hair done), Justin and I headed out to Seattle around 4pm.

Once there, I was totally in AWE. The people that were out and about were completely decked out. It was HILARIOUS. I realized I should go out on St Patrick's day more often for the sheer entertainment factor. We met two of our friends, Bryan and Melissa, at a bar that was jam packed and eventually meandered our way over to the game. I have to say, I really do like Sounders games. They are upbeat and fun and even though it was freezing, it really doesn't seem that cold due to the fact that you're standing the whole game except at halftime. We had a great time with our friends at the game, and they even won!

Almost as notable as the fact that we were out on St. Patrick's day was the fact that I had about half of a cheeseburger (I'm going to go ahead and blame the baby for that one). It was a Kid Valley burger so at least a step up from McDonalds but I kid you not, the last time I probably have had a fast food burger was about 15 years ago. Maybe more. It will probably be another 15 before I do it again... Still not a fan but I was hungry and did not want to have a hormonal breakdown at a sounders game, now THAT would have been notable for everyone else!

Monday, March 19, 2012

17 weeks.

Well, here we are. Welcome 17 weeks. Let's just get right to it, shall we?

The belly picture at 17 weeks. POP! Those true religion jeans are pre preggo jeans and were definitely worn with a bella band. Pregnancy jeans are in my not so distant future...

One more angle. Still trying to decide which angle I like better so you get both (aren't you lucky?!)

And 16 weeks for comparison.

How I'm feeling?
Blah. and blah. and blah. Over it. People who enjoy being pregnant deserve a good slapping. Apparently I'm feeling rather grouchy this week. It's the first week where I've decided that I very much dislike being pregnant. Perhaps part of that (all of it) is because OH HAIL, the SICKNESS has returned...and in full force. I am at its mercy and IT SUCKS. So I'm just going to whine about it. It would be ok if I had no expectation that it was going to be gone but I did. Everyone said, at 13 weeks, you're GOLDEN. You'll feel 100%, full of energy and like you aren't even pregnant. I felt that for about 2 weeks, sort of, and now I just feel fat and terrible and sick...I would dare to say even WORSE than the first trimester. Oh yeah, and add on a daily headache (from apparently the excess blood in my body) and hipaches (from your hips trying to loosen/expand) and you've got yourself one bitchy girl on your hands. A girl who had not one but TWO hormonal breakdowns this week (my poor husband....) I am fully confident that this is just a weird week and next week I'll go back to liking pregnancy.

I continued to work out this week (ran and lifted weights monday/friday, walked Sunday). I also ran a longer run of 4 miles on Wednesday and walked 2 miles after that run. I thought it was awesome and I felt great right afterwards but then my body kicked its own ass for the torture I made it go through in those 4 miles. It honestly felt great while I was doing it- a little weird, but not bad in the slightest. HOWEVER. Afterwards, my hips, as a result of the loosening so they can expand/prepare for birth (they call it "round ligament pain" and it's really common in the 2nd trimester), decided to feel like they were 80 years old and I could barely walk. Also, I burned too many calories I think and didn't eat enough quick enough afterwards so I had a HUGE hormonal crash. Lesson learned. Eat more and stretch more. We'll see how long this kid lets me continue to run... I'm hoping to run through the whole pregnancy but we'll see. Obviously I will stop if it starts to feel bad.

How I'm changing?
Well, I continue to grow. The one thing I noticed this week is that my boobs have not stopped growing. It is just incredible. As a small chested person normally, this is just fascinating to me. I literally have gone from a B cup to probably a full D. I have never had a chest like this IN MY LIFE. It's sort of like I'm experiencing a preview of what a boob job would be like... I'm not sure I'm a total fan. I mean, they're sort of intriguing but I liked being small chested. Call me weird but my small ta-tas served me just fine... and it hurt way less to run with less bouncing around up there. Also, my stomach continues to grow, as does my ass. All part of the process, I guess. My hair and skin still need to catch up to the whole pregnancy glow/growth thing. I noticed this week that my nails took off so I'm hoping my hair and skin start to get the clue. My hair girl did tell me my hair felt much thicker so maybe that's a start!  

What I'm eating?
No eggs, no raw vegetables, and no tomatoes.  I've been turned off from raw vegetables the whole pregnancy with one exception: baby carrots. This week, the little turtle inside of me decided that carrots were NO BUENO. I literally gagged at the sight of them. It was quite unfortunate and really annoying as I typically could live on carrots. Instead this week, this turbo wanted carbs (of course, what's new) and more carbs. I developed an affinity for pita sandwiches with hummus and veggies (which were surprisingly ok in the sandwich so I'll take it). I think I ate one of these a day all week. One of my hormonal breakdowns this week centered on the fact that absolutely everything in the world sounded revolting and like it could make me just hurl all over. Of course, the issue was that I NEEDED to eat (thus the hormone crash) so it was really quite the unpleasant conundrum. Toast every morning is still my go-to. OOH! And I discovered something else that is quite amazing and that was perfect this week- apple cinnamon cheerios. SO GOOD. Carbs are basically the only acceptable food group for me right now while everything else remains vile. I'm just trying to eat what I can at this point. I feel like I regressed back to week 8.

Weight I'm gaining? 
I officially hit The Mark. The "I weigh more than I ever have in my life" mark. 129 pounds. And rising. That means I have gained a grand total of 14 pounds (average right now is about 10-15) which is right on target, especially since I started out small. The number on the scale still really trips me out but it will all come off.

How I'm sleeping? 
Not too bad... really can't complain about anything here. I think I sleep mostly on my side for now although I've noticed I wake up a lot on my back. I've heard you really aren't supposed to sleep on your back (or stomach) but I've also heard that your body will shift you around if something is not right in those positions so I'm not too worried about it.
What's the baby doing?
-The baby is 5.1 inches long and about the size of an onion (seriously what is with the fruit/vegetable references for baby size? It cracks me up).
-The baby has mastered swallowing, sucking, and blinking and may have hiccups
-The baby's skeleton is changing from soft cartilage to bone and the umbilical cord is growing stronger and thicker
-Fat and sweat glands are forming underneath the baby's skin and will continue to do so until the later months of pregnancy to help prepare your baby for the temperature change from inside the womb to outside

What we are doing to prepare for the baby?
We decided definitely on hypnobirthing classes. It sounds weird and it sounds like you get hypnotized for the birthing process but the name is misleading. It's actually a way to focus and relax during natural childbirth. It came highly recommended as a complement to our natural childbirthing class. I compare it to yoga... where you learn to really use the power of your mind to control your body and manage pain. We start the classes this week so it should be interesting! Other than that, we really haven't done a whole lot. Pretty low key week on this front.  

Random thoughts on pregnancy (pregnancy brain?)
This week I sort of freaked out about the whole HAVING a baby thing. Not like giving birth to a baby but actually having a little person around that is solely dependent on us, and specifically, on me. I keep hearing horror stories about how awful the first 6 weeks with a newborn is- from screaming, attempting to breastfeed, trying to sleep (and not), trying to get a schedule, attempting to maintain your relationship in your marriage, to tracking poop/pee/feedings 24-7 and having zero time for anything else, to post partum depression. I think about that and it truly does freak me out because I honestly have NO CLUE what I am in for. I make light of it a lot because I really have no experience with babies (and even less experience with newborns) but when it comes down to it, it does terrify me even though rationally I know it is an incredibly short period of time in the grand scheme.

But right now, I worry. I don't know what to do with a baby and I don't know what it's going to be like. I WANT to feel so incredibly in love with him/her and to have this great experience breastfeeding and live in this oh so happy sunny "we just had a baby world" but the reality is that it sounds like it is going to be a struggle to maintain sanity between lack of sleep, trying to take care of an infant and just trying to figure out how things "really" are versus everything you thought they would be.

I guess what I'm struggling with this week is that I just need to come to peace with it all and just let it go (easier said than done as I am a type A planner)... but, I do. I need to forget and throw out what everyone is telling me from THEIR experiences because those will not be mine or ours. And forget about my expectations of how things SHOULD go based on my vision of how having a baby should be (which is limited since, again, I have no clue). I just need to take a step back, breathe, let all the expectations and fears go and just embrace whatever happens to US. At the end of it all, we will have a baby, a new member of our family, a little turbo that is the representation of Justin and I. I think one expectation that I do have that will hold true (or has to, otherwise, why would anyone have kids?) is that all of the yucky parts are 100% overshadowed by the pure miracle that having a kid brings.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mama mio mama mio mama mio!

So, the promised ever helpful pregnancy post on stretch mark oils. I have been using this (awesome, amazing, I can't say enough good about it) mama mio stuff for about a month now:

I wanted to wait to "review" it until I had time to really assess whether I like it or not, and I made myself wait even though I wanted to post after a week of using it. I figured a month was more time to really be a better judge, but regardless, forgive the length of time it took to make this post when I kept eluding to this great lotion I'd started to use in all of my weekly pregnancy recap posts. 

Back up to why I was even contemplating using a stretch mark cream. Clearly I don't have major stretch marks yet as I am not by any means HUGE. Yet. Key word: YET YET YET. Being as that "yet" is the key here, I do have a little turbo growing inside of me and since I'm a fairly petite person to start, there's going to be a lot of stretching going on. I'm fairly sure I don't want to end up looking like a giant road map so taking the necessary precautions to avoid it seemed like a good idea. And also: I'm vain. I really just want to be able to strut around in a bikini again, even if it's with a kiddo on my hip. I like the sun and I like wearing bikinis...even if it's for 2.5 days a year up here in Washington. Also, I'd like my husband to look at my body post baby without tracing the marks around freckles and moles and saying "oh, that mole looks like Kansas City and wow, great guide- I see the route to Jefferson City right there!" So, no road maps for me on my body, even if it would amuse my husband. NO THANK YOU.

Still in the past tense, about a month ago, I wasn't really at the stage where I could really get my mind around the whole birth and labor thing to really plan for it (can you really plan for this? All my mom friends out there right now are laughing...),  I wasn't really at the point where I HAD to buy maternity clothes, and I really couldn't design a nursery yet OR really buy much for the baby... too soon. SO, what else to do but read a few books on pregnancy/labor/parenting and figure out how to a) stay in shape throughout this process and b) be in even BETTER shape after this process. Which includes elimination of the road maps that could be present on my stomach. And thighs. And ass. I'm telling you, this pregnancy thing has GOT to have a positive outcome for all of its negatives.

Enter: mama mio.

I wanted a cream or an oil that would a) at least HELP with stretch marks and the stretching of the belly (apparently it can get quite uncomfortable!) b) was safe for pregnancy and for me this included none of that fake shit (parabens, sulfates, etc) c) included oils that I had read about that had been proven to help with the whole stretching process (IE: avocado, coconut, vitamin E, borage, almond, etc) and d) was rated well. Once I started looking at creams and oils, this met all of my criteria. Nothing artificial, claims to help with stretch marks (and was rated well by consumers), and had most, if not all, of the essential oils I wanted included. SOLD. 

I bought the oil and the tummy butter (maybe overkill, you could probably do one or the other). Only downfall are both are a little pricey- about $35-$40 a pop for sort of small jars considering the surface area you will eventually be spreading it on. However,  I quickly decided after I started using it that it is SO WORTH IT. Not only does it smell amazing but it totally lubes up my stomach. The skin on my stomach, thighs, etc is so hydrated and so smooth. It is really quite astounding, actually. Of course, the whole stretch mark thing remains to be seen in about, oh, five or so months but just for the pure relief of itchy dry skin that could soon turn to stretched, itchy dry skin, I am a true believer (and supporter) of this product. Also: their packaging is totally cute, quirky and fun and if you know anything about me, you know I am quite the sucker for cute packaging.

So, that's my two cents for all of my friends out there who either are pregnant or may be pregnant someday on what to buy for a great cream or oil to help prevent stretch marks or just to help with your skin throughout pregnancy as your skin changes and needs more moisture and love.

(And no, mama mio did not in any way compensate me to write this post. In fact, they don't even know who I am... I truly just love the product!)

Sunday, March 11, 2012

16 weeks.

Another week down... and now we are "officially" at the 4 month mark. That seems both crazy and not at the same time. On one hand, I feel like I have been pregnant FOREVER but on the other hand, I feel like it's been no time at all. Very strange feeling. Let's get this silly belly picture over with shall we?

16 weeks- I tried a different view than normal although I'm not sure I like this view much better. And sorry also for the no face shots. I do this first thing in the morning. Trust me, you don't want to see that view.

The "normal" view at 16 weeks.

And 15 weeks for comparison. I think I look bigger this week. I FEEL bigger anyway.

How I'm feeling?

Feeling ok this week although the new thing this week appears to be headaches. There were only two days this week I didn't have a headache and funny enough, it was the two days that we were dealing with Justin's heart issue (click here if you missed that post). I guess that means maybe I need more stress/adrenaline in my life to make me forget about headaches OR my job causes headaches. Or maybe, it's just that headaches are pretty common in pregnancy (due to added blood in the body). Regardless, it was the week of the headache and it SUCKED. There's really nothing you can do. Yeah, I could take tylenol. No, I didn't. It wouldn't help so I'll deal.

Speaking of added blood: GROSS. I cut my leg shaving and I swear to god I bled for about 3 hours. It was incredible.

Other than the headaches, I've felt pretty good. No real sickness, no real tiredness (other than not sleeping after the hospital incident so I can't blame the pregnancy for that....)

How I'm changing?
I'm getting bigger! And bigger! And bigger! I'm truly starting to look pregnant. Saturday I sucked it up and went to buy maternity pants. I've been rocking the bella band as well as several pairs of pants that are just a couple of sizes bigger than normal but really? Not that comfortable. I knew eventually maternity pants were needed but I just couldn't do it. We went out and I tried them on and HOLY HELL. AMAZING. They are so comfortable. It's too bad they are so damn ugly (well, if you look at the underneath everything else at the GIANT elastic stretchy band above the "pants") but I would totally wear these on thanksgiving or something if I was planning on eating a lot.... So comfortable. And really, fairly cute without knowing they are maternity pants. I even spied some citizens preggo jeans that I might have to splurge on. My 7's and true religions still work with a bella band now but not for much longer... I am just having a hard time with the whole elastic band crap on such a nice pair of for now, I'll wait on that one.

Also, what are all those pregnancy myths about awesome hair and skin? I'm not seeing those effects... My mother in law says I'm glowing but I'm not so sure about that. My skin is breaking out in ways it hasn't since I was 16 and my hair is definitely NOT growing like a weed OR luxurious. We'll wait for those things to happen.

I also haven't worked out much this week. In my sleep deprivation on Thursday I tried to go on a run. Not my brightest idea ever. I ran/lifted monday, walked Tuesday, tried to run Thursday and did prenatal yoga on Saturday. I'm not so sure that prenatal yoga counts as a workout though. I can totally see the benefits but it was more of the whole "making me stretch and relax" thing (which honestly, I probably need more than a good workout).

What I'm eating?
Carbs. carbs. carbs. I've eating more carbs (and butter) in the last month than I've eaten in the last two years combined, I can almost guarantee that. It's sort of revolting and sort of fascinating all at the same time. Today I woke up and was the closest I've come to puking in this whole time and the ONLY thing that mitigated it actually happening was eating 2.5 english muffins and part of a soft pretzal all with butter. The kid likes carbs. If I'd even TRIED to eat protein or something remotely "healthy" (like a salad) it would have been all over (the contents of my stomach, that is).

Weight I'm gaining? 
A lot, I don't know. I weighed myself at the beginning of this week and I was 125. I assume now I am creeping towards the 126-127 marker consistent with my 2 pound a week gain. I'm over it and have accepted it. I was pretty small (underweight so they tell me) to begin with so I'm probably going to gain more than some people. Whatever. I'm eating pretty healthy (the carb/butter combo in the morning is definitely the "low" point of my day in terms of health) and eating what sounds good so I can only assume it's what the baby needs at this point to grow. At the end of all this, the weight will come off.

How I'm sleeping? 
Well, hello, CRAZY PREGNANCY DREAMS. I've heard about you, but WOW. Insane. Last night I dreamed about my baby that was born who was the size of a doll. And I had to hide it because I didn't want anyone to know I'd given birth so early. So I hid it in my car all day and it got too hot. It was one of those dolls too that had "expressions" on their faces when you picked them up (kind of like a computer game or something). Sad face for unhappy, an X meant sick, some signal meant hungry, and a smile meant happy. My kid was big sad face and dying from heat with "x's" all over it. So weird. I've also had a lot of dreams about having the baby but I can never tell if it's a boy or girl. What does that mean? And also, I had a dream where I went in to labor, had the baby, it came out and no one would let me look at its crotch to see if it was a boy or girl. Very bizarre. Oh, and I'm still peeing once a night (at least) even though they SAY that as you get further into your 2nd trimester you'll start peeing less (and then pick it back up again in the 3rd). I think "they" are full of shit but whatever.

What's the baby doing?
-The baby is about 4.6 inches or the size of an avocado
-The baby's limbs are more developed, legs and arms are longer and are becoming more controlled in movement.
-The baby's skeletal system is developing more as calcium is deposited into the bones. Over the next couple of weeks, the baby's weight will double (IE: GROWTH SPURT...perhaps the reason for craving massive carbs?)
-The baby's head is much more erect and his eyes have moved closer together. The baby has also continued to grow fingernails and is starting to grow toenails.
-The baby's heart is pumping 25 quarts of blood EACH day (woah)...
-Some people start to feel the baby move this week (more on that later)

What we are doing to prepare for the baby?
We signed up for a birthing class in May-June that helps with natural childbirth. Should be pretty exciting. We are also looking in to hypnobirthing classes which also helps with pain management in natural childbirth. The two classes together should compliment each other really well.

We talked to our wedding photographer about maternity and newborn pictures so that's exciting (and of course yet something else to spend money on!). We also bought maternity clothes and I went to prenatal yoga like I already mentioned.

Random thoughts on pregnancy (pregnancy brain?)
A couple of weeks ago, I had a repeat pap smear done by a new nurse practitioner recommended by a friend. In September, I'd had a pap smear by my old OB (who I fired) who also said that, again, I had "abnormal cells." This is nothing new for those of you who are old readers... you remember a year ago I had "abnormal cells" in the words of this doctor which turned out to be "not even visible" after a biopsy and nothing even remotely to worry about (even after entering the biopsy room filled with "what to do if I have cancer" pamphlets). What an asshole, and also: part of why she was fired. Anyway, so I decided I should maybe just get a repeat pap since I'd never done anything with that "abnormal" pap in September so I did (it's completely ok to get pap smears during pregnancy). Test result: totally normal, all results were 100% perfect. AWESOME. I was so excited and a bit validated since I did fire my old OB.

Also: the whole baby movement thing. I'm pretty sure I felt it Friday night. I'd just had dinner and was sitting on the couch with Oliver and Justin and I felt sort of weird bubbles in my lower abdomen. It's entirely possible it was gas but it felt different and I couldn't stop thinking about it- it got my attention in a way that gas really doesn't (oh yeah, and pregnancy gas? Seriously... a real thing. Totally hilarious). I haven't felt it since but I'm almost entirely sure it was the baby. Pretty coincidental, too, since Friday night marked a year to the day since Justin proposed to me.  It will be interesting to see if I feel more as the week goes's only a matter of time.

In other random pregnancy thoughts: I still can't remember anything. It's the weirdest phenomenon. I write these blog posts from about a million lists I make as the week goes on (not kidding). Otherwise you'd have a post that says "I have no clue what happened this week. But I'm still pregnant. The end."

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The heart of the matter.

I was going to title this post "attention whore" but I've recently been informed that some of my readers have a stick up their ass and more than likely wouldn't find the humor in that title (which, as an aside, did beg the question of well, then WHY are you reading this blog? But alas, I clearly don't care other than the fact that I'm softening what would be intended to be a humorous title. Aside from that, it's my forum, if you don't like it, don't read. And also: perhaps go look in a mirror at your own "perfections" before passing judgements along to people you don't know).

Moving on from that as this post is not even remotely about that crap.


We had an exciting week in the Valente household and not of the excitement that mimics the excitement of getting married, going on vacation, or having a baby. No, no... this was more of the terrifying excitement that you never want to experience nor are you ever truly prepared to experience.

Wednesday around 11:30 am I met up with Justin briefly and was chatting ignorantly about my day when he sort of looked at me in a funny way and said, "I think I actually might go to the emergency room."

At which point I started shaking and thought "I think I actually might throw up." For anyone that knows my husband, you KNOW that he could be on his death bed before he actually says the words "I feel sort of bad." Trying to get any sort of read on him if he's sick is like trying to extract teeth out of a shark. Impossible (or at least I'd assume so). He's always "doing great." Doesn't complain, doesn't ever really consider feeling bad, doesn't really get sick.

Except for Wednesday. "I think I might go to the ER."

At which point I said, ok, GO. NOW.

After talking to him for a couple of minutes and asking whether we should go to urgent care or the ER, he tells me he's had a very rapid, erratic heartbeat for about 5 hours (since 7am that morning- REALLY?!), has chest pain and shortness of breath.

At which point I was really freaking out.

We drive to the ER (urgent care was out of the question at that point after I felt his pulse) and he got rushed in as soon as they saw him and he mentioned chest pain. He looked like hell. I have to admit, it was the first time I've never had to wait in an ER (and also the first time I've ever been really truly scared out of my mind that something truly bad is happening and there's absolutely ZERO I can do). They hooked him up to an EKG immediately. I was watching and saw his pulse and almost passed out. 172 beats a minute. ARE YOU KIDDING ME? That's almost my max heart rate on my hardest runs- at the point where you almost feel like you're going to puke. But he was just sitting there. No exertion, he wasn't working out when it happened, he was just sitting. And then sitting more and it. didn't. stop. 172+ beats a minute. Then the nurse literally said, "Oh shit you are in A-fib boy." Justin was pretty out of it at this point so I said, "What the hell is that?" (Atrial fibrillation SOUNDS scary). At this point, I was uncontrollably shaking.

We were promptly ushered back to a room where he got about a million more wires hooked to him, a nurse came in with an IV to get his heart to slow down and a doctor followed about 2.5 seconds later. They weren't messing around.

Apparently atrial fibrillation is actually the most common type of irregular heartbeat but Justin's case was more serious as he had been in such a rapid, irregular rhythm for so long that morning (in fact they said it was like he had run the equivalent of TWO marathons). Their goal was to get his heart rate down and to get his rhythm back to normal via medicine and if that didn't work, they'd have to shock him. Obviously we were all hoping the meds worked.

Just after getting admitted, all hooked up and still looking sort of like hell but happier here than later (foreshadowing!)

Waiting for the IV drip to slow his heartrate down.

Eventually, the doctor came in and said tha the medicine wasn't working and we were going to have to go the shock route. I was given the option to stay or leave but of course, I opted to stay. What else was I going to do? Before it happened though, I walked out to the bathroom and cried a little bit (who WANTS to see their husband shocked? At this point I am thinking the paddles like in movies) and they start prepping to do the treatment.  After we'd been there for about 2.5 hours and Justin had a semi-shaved chest and two pads on him where the shock would be delivered, we had 3 nurses and 2 doctors in the room to do the shot (we both thought in retrospect, wow, 5 medical professionals in the room- pretty serious stuff). First up was oxygen, then the doctor to administer the propinol (the drug that killed Michael Jackson- it sedates you/knocks you out for the shock), and then the doctor administering the shock.

Here Justin is right before getting the propinol.

The doctor administered the propinol and I have to say, not one person in the room could keep a straight face. He was HILARIOUS. I mean, granted, it was a serious and scary moment but I have not laughed harder in a long time than when he was going under. He kept saying (like an old sailor drunk) "WOW, those lights, those are just INCREDIBLE. I've never done ANYTHING like this. WOW." and then "That's my wife, she's 4 months pregnant. I love her. She trusts me." (All slurred, almost unintelligible). After about 10 minutes of laughing at our poor guy under the influence, they delivered the shock which about killed ME. It wasn't paddles like I imagined, just the pads and an electronic delivery of shock where the heart stops and tries to reset but watching him so out of it jolt, and then the expression on his face where you could tell it HURT was just pure torture. Luckily, the plus of the propinol is that he doesn't remember a thing other than feeling sore afterwards. Propinol causes you to wake up 5-10 minutes later so he started to come out of it (with his hands in the air, no one could figure that one out). He kept talking about "get the 15's" so we are convinced that he was training in his semi-consciousness. Pretty cute.

A picture of him as he was coming out of the shock/sedation. He'd finally put his arms down. Looking pretty unhappy here.. or just totally out of it. Probably a bit of both.

He woke up and was amazed that he'd only been out for 20 minutes or so...and that his heart finally felt normal. Unfortunately, the shock treatment didn't work and he went back into a-fib. They gave him medicine to get his heartrate down even further and consulted a cardiologist to see if he should get another shock. The cardiologist said "NO", monitor him for another couple of hours, then send him home with heart lowering medication and let the heart convert to a normal rhthmn on its own...oh, and also: come and see me as soon as possible (aka tomorrow).

So, we were there another couple of hours. We were released after another blood test revealed that there was no damage to his heart (which the doctors couldn't believe after being in a-fib for so long- they said if he wasn't in such great shape it could have been catastrophic). He still felt understandably beat up and out of it but eventually we headed home after a good 6 hours at the hospital. We stopped off to get his version of comfort food (gummy bears and ice cream) and the medicine for the night. We laid low at home that night and tried to get him comfortable and tried to relax despite all of the emotions of the day. Needless to say, it was a rough night with not much sleep.

The next day, we headed to the cardiologist where we found that his rhythm had gotten back to normal finally. We also talked in depth to the doctor about a-fib. Basically, like I said, it's the most common type of irregular heart beat and the "normal" causes are nothing that Justin does or has (overweight, smoking, alcoholism, drugs, old age). The cardiologist said that he would be testing him to rule out any other conditions that could cause it (like thyroid problems as well as doing an echocardiogram to ensure the heart itself is in good shape) but he doesn't expect to find anything based on all other results. Basically he said that in someone Justin's age and good physical health, it's usually just a freak one-off that is more of a nuisance than anything else and we just have to watch it to make sure it doesn't happen again. And, if it does, take the appropriate actions to slow the heart down and get it to convert. Bottom line: there is no cause. I think we're both still undecided on if this is a good or bad thing but I think it's mostly good... it COULD have been way worse. Justin's doing everything already that would "prevent" this (exercise, eating well, not smoking, not excessively drinking, etc) so it was weird that it happened but at least now we know what it is and that all is ok.

At the end of the day? Justin's humor was back, he was back...all was well. He joked he was jealous of my "two" heartbeats (mine and the baby) so he needed to get his as high as the baby's (160) to get some attention of his own... and quipped that "he just wanted to spend more time with me." (IE: the humorous original title of attention whore- all Justin's words). We laughed, we cried, we held each other and we realized that we are very lucky to have our health and each other. It was scary, it was humbling, and it added perspective to what's really important in life (sad that sometimes it takes moments that rock you to the core to bring you back to what matters most). At the end of the day, all that REALLY matters is who you love, how you show it, and that you tell them as often as you can. All the other crap is really just trivial. A good lesson to remember.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

15 weeks. Otherwise known as the pop out week.

Something weird happened this week. I actually started to LOOK pregnant. Granted, it's still fairly easy to cover up if I'm creative so not many people can tell yet and I still don't think I "officially" have a bump but about mid week when Justin said "Wow, you are really starting to look pregnant," I agreed. Here's the pictures for proof:

15 weeks and a *bit* of a bump.

14 weeks for comparison.

How I'm feeling?
I'm still feeling pretty decent. Pretty good energy wise and no major egg induced sickness this week either. Part of that is due to the fact that I AVOIDED eggs like it was the last battle I was ever going to fight in this world. My boobs really hurt again this week (PLEASE not another boob growth spurt!!) and I have had a resurgence of those damn blasted pregnancy hormones that have hit midday now versus in the evenings. This is really inconvenient for the whole working world. As in: when I can't figure out why something doesn't tie, I instead want to throw a temper tantrum or cry. These hormones are much better served when it's 7pm and I can actually act like a crazy pregnant lady with just my husband as my unfortunate witness versus trying to hold it in and maintain professionalism (and of course, I maintained professionalism... it's just, well, HARD to be victorious over these stupid hormones and makes me want to take a nap for 4 hours when I eventually succeed). 

I have also started to experience some of the common but not so pleasant (seriously, are there any PLEASANT?) pregnancy symptoms such as:
-itchy skin. Itchy to the point where I look like I have serious issues and am getting looks from people. And then my legs/arms/whatever look as if I got into a cat fight. Luckily some of the lotion I just ordered and have been trying out specifically for pregnancy has helped that a lot (more on that in a future post).
-pregnancy brain. I swear, I was not a believer AT ALL in this. I thought it was just women's excuse to get out of doing things or something (sorry friends, I truly did not believe in this). I do now. I can't even tell you how many times I go to ask Justin a question and then just blank out. Or what about the time this week when I walked downstairs without pants on completely forgetting that I might just need to wear pants to work.
-Pooping, or lack of: maybe TMI but hopefully those of you who are reading this are finding it somewhat useful and/or can relate. Not pooping (ie: constipation) is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms and I am not immune. A lot of it is due to excess iron in your system, and to your changing body (IE: intestines are shifting around and/or digestion is slowed to give as many nutrients to the baby as possible). Whatever the reasons for it, it's one of the most common symptoms. I miss it, that is all.
-Muscle aches and pains. Definitely experiencing these to a degree and it's not very comfortable. I'm trying not to be a baby about it though as I cannot even IMAGINE how many aches there are when you can't see your toes.

How I'm changing?
I totally started to pop out this week. At our monthly midwife appointment they were still impressed that I was not rocking a full on baby belly yet at almost 4 months. They said my abs are really strong which is why it hasn't totally popped yet (and also: did you know that your abs rip apart to make room for your expanding belly? I almost barfed in my mouth when I heard that...abs rip? Seriously, nasty visual!) Pants that fit last week definitely do NOT fit this week. I have a feeling I am going to be visiting some maternity clothing stores sooner rather than later. I was a little crampy this week with some pain around my hips, and at one point a pinched nerve in my foot (also: annoying)... apparently this is totally normal in the beginning of the 2nd trimester as your body continues to expand/widen to make room for the growing baby.

What I'm eating?
Still not eggs. Although I did have some this morning at brunch, they mostly still repulse me. I'm also still totally disgusted by raw vegetables. No salads for me.  A new thing this week that I decided I'm grossed out by is tomatoes. I even tried to make cooked tomatoes thinking it was the raw thing again but nope, that was nasty too. Oh well. My acupuncturist confirmed that eating things slightly cooked is much better than raw so maybe the whole raw aversion is just my body being in tune to what's best for it. Who knows?! I'm also still definitely craving carbs.

Also, since the beginning of this whole journey, my cravings have been very centered on foods that I loved in my childhood: macaroni and cheese, chicken nuggets, fish sticks, even the random craving for an egg mcmuffin and beef (and also: lately I've been craving my mom's pot roast which I haven't had in YEARS). I'm not really sure what that's all about and those of you that know me or have known me throughout the past 5-10 years and my totally pretty health conscious/vegan lifestyle are probably cracking up at all of this. BUT, I've been going with them and making due with healthier alternatives (IE: healthy chicken nuggets made with all organic ingredients, "healthier" mac and cheese, etc). Well, this week as I was buying my clients donuts to wrap up work at their office, I eyed an apple fritter and HAD to have it. My dad used to love these and we used to go to Winchell's donut shop specifically for these. It was our treat as kids and I have such fond memories of those days and eating those apple fritters. So I bought one, ate it, and it was amazing (side note: I literally probably have not had anything even RESEMBLING a donut since high school. Again, pregnancy is weird).

Weight I'm gaining? 
I weighed myself earlier in the week since I forgot last week and I was 123.8, the time before (a week and a half before I was around 121). At the doctor, I was 126 but I think their scales are always heavier. Now, I'm probably around 125. I've been consistently gaining about 2 pounds a week which I'm told is about normal since I was "underweight" by most accounts at the beginning of all of this. It's so funny though to have gained 8-10 pounds and to not really be totally popped out when I have some friends who have barely gained any weight and have a full on baby belly at this same point in their pregnancy. It just goes to show that pregnancy is different for everyone.

I'm still working out- trying to run one day a week where I'll do about 5-6 miles of a run/walk (about 3.5 miles of total running), three days a week, I'll run 1-2 miles then lift weights and I'll try to walk and do yoga once or twice a week. I'm staying active without overdoing it which is the goal right now. I've definitely had to scale back a bit on the work out front.

How I'm sleeping? 
Pretty good although I had one night last week when I had the pinched nerve in my foot where I only slept a grand total of about 2 hours. I thought my foot might fall off from pulsating. Luckily THAT stopped but not in time for me to get any decent sleep. I'm still peeing every 2.5 seconds and am pretty sure that I could set a record for most times peed in a day. Literally, I go, then right away I have to go again. It's like I don't have a functioning bladder.

What's the baby doing?
-The baby is about 4 inches long or about the size of an orange (the midwife said a little bigger than the size of your palm right now. WOAH, bigger than I thought it would be!)
-The hair on the baby's head is starting to grow in and there's still fine hair around its body to protect it from amniotic fluid (he/she moves amniotic fluid through the nose and upper respiratory tract which helps the lungs begin to develop)
-The baby's legs are growing longer than his/her arms now (meaning it looks less like an alien baby!)
-Some babies being to suck their thumb and the baby can sense light
-Taste buds are beginning to form
-All babies at this stage are moving around
-At this stage, generally you can easily see on an ultrasound if it's a boy or girl (though most sex determining ultrasounds don't happen until around 20 weeks).

What we are doing to prepare for the baby?
We decided on a birthing class and are also probably going to be taking a class for pain management, too, since the whole natural birthing thing might require some sort of knowledge of how to work through labor pains since I ideally will have no medicine (unless something goes wrong and I have to be transported to a hospital). Oh, have I not mentioned I'm having a midwife birth in a birthing center? More on that in another post. So, we'll be starting the pain management class fairly soon and the birthing class this summer.

I'm also going to start taking a prenatal yoga class once a week at least. I've been doing yoga at home but I don't feel like it's the same as in a class. I miss hot yoga so much but since that's out for now, I might as well take the class that's going to help me out in 6 months from now! I also started to revist my acupuncturist. Acupuncture is supposed to be very beneficial during pregnancy so we'll see how it goes.
We also sucked it up and went for the Hawaii trip as a "babymoon" of sorts as well as a 30th birthday hurrah. We'll be on Maui in April (YAY)!

We also booked a trip back to Kansas City one more time pre-baby. That will happen in June.

We are currently trying to decide if a doula is worth it or not. We met one that we like but I'm just not sure if it's worth it or not. That's to be decided once we do some more research on it.

Random thoughts on pregnancy (pregnancy brain?)
We heard the heartbeat a couple of times this week again and it was pretty cool. One of the times was at our midwife appointment and in conjunction with the heartbeat were massive SWOOSHES. I thought it was my stomach growling since I was STARVING but the midwife laughed and said, no, that's the baby moving. It was totally surreal that not only is its little heart ticking, but it was rocking and rolling in there. I told the midwife it was probably doing its darndest to try to kick me to get me to feed it since I was so hungry. Also: another random thought that corresponds to what I've already said: pregnancy brain is TOTALLY real. I got up in the middle of writing this post to do something only to remember I couldn't remember what I was going to do (and thus I enforced my need to keep a million lists right now). At least I still remember my husband's name, even if I don't remember half of the things I was intending to say to him.