Seeing red.

On a scale of one to really-fucking-petty, how bad is it if someone genuinely considers cutting out extended family who can’t seem to help themselves from gleefully proclaiming their support of Trump in spite of the vile things he continues to do and the havoc that he stands to personally wreak on their little family with his Supreme Court Pick? Asking for a friend….

 

 

 

Baby shower, birthing class, and new crib (oh my).

I’m sitting in the glider in baby’s room side-eyeing the brother 1034D serger that is sitting on the desk across the room like the evil villian in a super hero movie just waiting for me to make my first move.

(Can you tell I’m dramatic? In all seriousness, though, new projects are HARD for me to start. I sew regularly – nothing fancy – and I really want to use this to make a few blankets and cloth diaper inserts that I found patterns for online, but I’m so intimidated by the threading and can’t figure out how to even slip my fabric underneath. I felt like I had maybe hopped up to Level 200 sewing, but feel like an novice all over again with this machine).

20180616_090025

(The offender in all its evil glory)

I’m going to commit to figuring it out and at LEAST sewing a test piece after I finish this entry. Hold me to it, blogging world. Make me show you the next time I post.

Anyway, our families threw us a beautiful baby shower two weeks ago at a local pizzeria. Unlike our bridal shower, it was very casual. Everyone dined on pizza and salad at their leisure along with wine, the best cake ever (from my family’s favorite local bakery) and homemade Italian cookies made by some of the women of my wife’s family.

We got to catch up with many people we hadn’t seen recently and got lots of great advice from both new and experienced mamas.

I have to say: there wasn’t a single moment when I felt like we weren’t every other couple in America who was getting ready to welcome a baby. No one asked how we got pregnant, or who the donor is, or anything that you wouldn’t typically ask a straight couple. Overall, the only people who seemed comfortable enough to ask us those questions throughout this process anyway have been close friends and family – so I’m not entirely sure why I was expecting that.

Despite being wonderful, it was an exhausting and slightly overwhelming day and four hours felt like it passed in 45 minutes. We didn’t really get any photos with any of our guests (or even as a couple with the exception of a few candids as we opened gifts) but my wife snapped this one afterward. The pose was intentional as we took the same one with my sister when she was pregnant with my niece. I want to put them side by side in a frame and get one made for each of us.

20180603_195034

I wish I had a photo to share of the baby’s room after the shower. My wife – a self proclaimed neat freak – was almost hyperventilating when all of the boxes and bags were unloaded after the shower. Fortunately, I’m a master organizer and it only took me 5 days to get everything unboxed, sorted, and put away. We are so fortunate to have such generous friends and family and – aside from clothes – really have everything we need for most of the first year of baby’s life. We also bought quite a few of our big ticket items ourselves (many via a local yardsale site, and others from Babies R’ Us as they wrap up their final days before closing). I actually just ran out last night to get a second convertible car seat (we have one infant car seat and two bases, but only thought to get one convertible car seat initially, which is silly as you can’t take it from vehicle to vehicle easily). It was a $300 Chicco Nextfit IX and ended up being $150 as it was marked down 50% at BRU.  Our other carseats and stroller are Britax (which we selected due to the superior safety ratings, but BRU didn’t have anymore Britax models and we read great reviews about this Chicco) and we have a wonderful neighbor who works for emergency services and is trained in carseat installation who offered to help us set everything up.

One of our FAVORITE Babies R’ Us finds was our highchair (which we registered for and promptly removed from our registry when we found it at Babies R’ Us). It is a Stokke Tripp Trapp High Chair (in the Walnut color) and it was initially $250 and we found one left at Babies R’ Us for $100 at the beginning of their going out of business sale. I couldn’t believe it, and can’t wait to try it out. It is designed to grow with baby and turn into a stool and even a child to adult chair once the tray and baby set (that we received as a gift from a relative) are removed.

We (mostly me as my wife already does a good job with this) are trying to be minimalist in our approach to baby gear and find items that can be reused and not tossed out, donated, or sold (though we are open to the last two when necessary). I really pushed her past her comfort zone when I insisted on cloth diapers and she is extremely skeptical but excited after seeing all of the cute patterns and different diaper designs. Since I’ll be home for the first three months, I’m going to have to work really hard to keep up with the laundry and prove that we can do this. I’m fortunate that if I sent anything up with enough solid evidence for my wife, she’ll usually support me, but I absolutely have to respect how neat she is and work hard to stay on top of the maintenance of the diapers so she doesn’t get overwhelmed and throw in the towel. Plus they’ll save us a significant amount of money, which we can use in other ways for this baby.

Our childbirth education class was last weekend: we were the first of four couples to arrive and were greeted by our instructor as we stepped off of the elevator to look around for our conference room. My wife was carrying the two bed pillows that we were instructed to bring and the woman asked if we were each expecting. When we said we were not, she asked if we were a couple, to which I responded, “Yes, but it’s just me who is pregnant. She’s just carrying.” Then I realized how awkward that sounded before I added…”the pillows, not the baby.”

Fortunately, the awkardness didn’t continue throughout the day, and the class was actually very pleasant (albeit terrifying at times) and we learned about breathing and relaxation techniques before touring the state-of-the-art hospital including the birthing rooms and postpartum wing of the hospital. It was kind of surreal standing in the room in which we would soon be welcoming our baby (or one just like it, at least).

While we were in class, my brother-in-law sat at our house and waited for our crib to be delivered. We arrived home to the delivery folks putting it together (an unexpected but much welcome surprise!) and we were able to put in the mattress, launder the bedding, and dress it up afterward. The finished product (which is a deep navy blue but is looking very black):

 

20180616_085539

(yes, yes, we know. Pillow and bear come out of the crib before use. Also: don’t mind the messy desk next door. It’s getting cleaned up and moved). 

The entire process of getting a crib was quite an ordeal (Long story short: We ordered our first crib from a company called Evolur via Amazon. It was slated to arrive in 5-8 weeks. About 4 weeks in the order was cancelled due to no inventory. Why they took the order in the first place is beyond me. The Amazon rep generously offered me free shipping if I wanted to order another crib on the spot while I was on the phone with her, but I had to explain to her that I did hours of research and couldn’t pick a crib on the spot, plus I already got free shipping as a Prime member). Then I wrote a long letter to Evolur basically explaining how disappointed I was and asking if they could double check their inventory. They didn’t find it necessary to even acknowledge my email. So I wouldn’t recommend furniture orders from either.)

The story has a happy ending though, and we are thrilled with the crib we DID get (not from Amazon or Evolur).

We’re waiting for our changing table and a toy box we’d purchased from that same local Yardsale site, as we hired a woman to paint them for us to match the crib. Once those arrive, we can finally start to put everything back together.

In the meantime, we have an ultrasound on Thursday, and I always hate to say this when people ask, but I really feel great overall. I get a bit of heartburn here and there, had some rib pain earlier in the pregnancy, had some nausea in the first 12 weeks, but nothing serious and nothing lasting. I would say the hardest part of this entire pregnancy (aside from the SUA diagnosis and routine fear about baby’s general wellbeing) was having two colds and not being able to breathe at night.

I do get a tad restless at night sometimes and have to pee pretty much all the time, but other than that I feel great and so incredibly fortunate. I’m sure the tough times are ahead, but I’m trying to enjoy every moment leading up to them (and we DID have our share of heartache throughout our IVF process and with our first pregnancy so I’m feeling extra fortunate for a calm 2nd and 3rd trimester so far).

Okay. Back to battle with that serger (and a VERY large mosquito that I just saw wandering around baby’s room before I lost sight of it and retreated from the room with my laptop before closing the door behind me). I guess I’m up for two wars this morning.

Wish me luck…

28/29 Weeks

I have been so bad at keeping up with this blog. I always wondered why people dropped off writing after they were able to successfully conceive. While I still don’t have the answer, I am going to guess that it’s a combination of fatigue (oh you all: it’s so, so real), investment in planning and preparation (though I must confess that I haven’t made it all the way through a single baby book, yet, and the baby’s room is still a hot mess with no crib – long story – and piles of unwashed clothes and baby gear all over), and just general chaos.
I’m currently starting this entry on my Kindle as I’m parked in a beach chair with my toes in some densely packed, damp sand under a fishing pier at a beach not far from my in-laws home in South Carolina. I figured: no excuses. It’s now or never (or more accurately now or 32 weeks or whenever I set aside the rest of my chores to write again))). This is devotion, though. The keyboard on a kindle is larger than my phone, but smaller than a regular keyboard so typing is awkward and I can’t balance it on my belly because every time I set it down the baby must wind one of its limbs back in an effort to shove the device out of its space. I’m not complaining, though. I waited all morning for one of these kicks and began to grow panicked when the first one arrived later than it did the last two days. I swear: some days it feels like my life revolves around drinking enough water, peeing, and waiting for that next kick (but it NEVER grows old). Every one is still magical and even though this kid has been nestled in close for almost 7 months, I still can’t believe that I’m pregnant and I feel so freaking lucky every morning when I wake up.
This week, the baby has been in five different states. We started out at home on the east coast (drove to a neighboring state to catch a flight to the Midwest where we spent the next four days for work) then we caught another flight to South Carolina (and had a layover in between). I really want to plan to travel often once the babe gets here. I didn’t travel much as a child and I want this babe to experience everything we can expose it to. We actually even planned the nursery around that idea and have an assortment of map prints and a beautiful blue and gold globe with which to decorate the nursery.
We haven’t had any big scares since the SUA diagnosis at 20 weeks, and that feels like a distant dream, now. But every so often (such as this morning) when baby’s movements seem irregular, my wife and I both tend to panic and I lay on my side and grab a cold drink and hold my belly waiting for kicks.
Babe moved pretty regularly this week during my travel (which was a blessing since I tend to worry even more without my wife there to calm me) but when we arrived at her parent’s house (where she was waiting for us after a flight she took earlier in the week) the movements got stronger than the rest of the week and I really do wonder if the baby was happy to hear her voice after 4 days away from her. Whenever she puts her hands on my belly she tends to elicit some kicks, too. What can I say: babe loves its Mommy.
(I sound so horrible calling my baby an “it” but he/she takes longer to type…please know that our little “it” is loved profusely. ❤)
My colleagues at my travel office threw me a shower when I was in town this week. They told me I had a short meeting at the end of the day and had a conference room waiting with cake, a guessing game, gifts, and adorable Oreo truffle favors that one of my favorite co-workers made.
They were even kind enough to ship everything back to my office for me as I grew increasingly panicked with each beautiful gift that I opened that I wouldn’t be able to find a home for it in my small carryon bag (I’m a good packer….but not THAT good!)
Our families are throwing us a shower next week. I honestly prefer to be surprised, but they felt like it would be easier to plan if they didnt also have to worry about figuring out how to surprise me with an elaborate story.
If you live in the US, you probably know that Babies R’ Us is going out of business. My wife and I stop in weekly as the sales climb and have already bought a lot of what we need. She is starting to get overwhelmed thinking of the additional piles of STUFF that are going to flood the house post-shower. I suppose we will figure it out.
My wife is incredibly neat, a minimalist, and cant stand when things get messy. After a small disagreement a few weeks ago when we both started to get overwhelmed by how we’d fit everything for baby into our – already crowded – two bedroom condo, we decided to rent a small storage unit. It helped tremendously, but now we have to make sure we dont amass too much more just because we have the unit to fall back on.
Anyway: at 28 weeks (now 29 as I am finalizing this post the next day and officially turned 29 weeks today). Babe is supposedly the size of a butternut squash and weighs 2.5-3.5 lbs. (Which is unfortunate to read since I gained about 20 lbs so far…) It kicks pretty regularly now (except on days like yesterday when we have dry spells and I freak out) and we have learned that it either loves or hates live music (I like to think it loves it) because whenever we hear live music it starts kicking more than usual.
I still feel pretty good for the most part. Every so often I have cramps for a few minutes at a time, and I have this pain in my left rib that comes and goes and based been on what I’ve read I think it may be costochondritis which is inflammation of the cartilage(?) tissue in my ribs. Some days it is unbearable, but stretching seems to help and it isn’t consistent which is nice. Sleeping is getting harder (especially this week since I haven’t slept in my bed for 7 days now), but overall I really cannot complain. As long as this babe is healthy, I’m happy.
Leaving you with an obligatory  beach bathroom shot. I forgot to ask my wife to snap a picture in this full outfit with the hat while we were out so I grabbed one before I jumped in the shower. I’ll try to get a few more before we wrap up our trip.
20180525_141709
Xoxo
Jenn

A nightmare in a dream.

“So everything looked great today,” the ultrasound tech said as she wrapped up our anatomy scan. “But I do have one TINY concern. Nothing to worry about at all. I’m going to have the doctor talk to you before you leave. Your baby is supposed to have two arteries and one vein going into the umbilical cord, but it only has one. No big deal.”

My heart sank.

I felt the way my niece must feel after she falls or bumps herself and I scoop her up and tell her she’s fine before she has the chance to react or cry. Stunned. Confused. Not worried? Kind of worried. Panicky.

My wife and I looked at each other, and I think my eyes started to well up a little. “Seriously, you guys. Happens all the time. Practically normal. You’re VIP today so I’m going to grab the doctor and he’ll come out to get you in the waiting room.”

My brother-in-law happened to work on a play with one of the doctors of this particular MFM practice, so he called her and asked if she could help to ensure that we were placed with my sister-in-law’s favorite ultrasound tech (since she just had my niece two years ago and basically knew them all.)

My wife and I walked silently to the waiting room, and I began frantically googling once my butt hit the chair.

Still birth.

Heart defects.

Chromosomal Abnormalities. 

Low birth weight. 

Kidney problems. 

My face must have registered my panic. “You need to turn your phone off and stop googling, now.” My wife glared at me.

By the time the doctor called us back, I already had a list of questions ready. He explained that while Single Umbilical Artery (SUA) is often found in conjunction with other problems – including chromosomal abnormalities – it is often found on its own and in those cases it is simply a variation of normal. Pregnancies progress with no problem and babies are born perfectly healthy. Of course, if SUA is caused by another factor: it could lead to a host of other problems, but he recommended a fetal echocardiogram and monthly growth scans and sent us on our way.

“Do you think we should hold off on buying the crib?” my wife asked. My eyes welled up. “I mean, just in case…you know…”

Nope. No way.

This is my baby. This is our baby. There are no guarantees with pregnancy. Ever. If this child isn’t meant to be ours forever, it is at least ours now and I plan to prepare as though it will live a very long life. And that means purchasing the convertible crib we picked out that will follow our child into adulthood once it turns into a full sized bed.

(Side note: it still took me a month to buy the damn crib, but not because of the SUA. I’m partially indecisive and partially a procrastinator, but the crib is officially on order as of two days ago.)

evolurparker

An appointment with our regular OB the following day, provided more of the same information.

Variation of normal.

Early testing showed no signs of chromosomal abnormalities.

Fetal echo and growth scans will help us monitor things.

A week later, we went in for the fetal echocardiogram which was done at our local MFM by a pediatric cardiologist from one of the leading children’s hospitals in our area, and she said that baby’s heart is looking PERFECT and she has no cause for concern. She confirmed what two other doctors (and my best friend, a Nurse Practitioner) all also confirmed: this appears to be a stand alone case of SUA with no other complicating issues, and we have every right to hope for a normal pregnancy and birth.

(although my friend added that we should likely not expect to go past my August 12th due date, as research suggests that babies with SUA should be delivered on or before their expected due dates to prevent further complications and since we are 100% certain of the due date because of our IVF procedure, I can expect that we’ll be meeting this kid in 113 days or less).

What a rollercoaster ride pregnancy is.

We started out fearful. Afraid to get our hopes up. Anxiously waiting.

For the 12th week.

For the heartbeat.

For the kicks.

For the week of viability.

And throughout that process, the little milestones set your heart on fire. Those first kicks. (oh, those first kicks). Those ultrasound pictures. Those sweet little baby belongings that pile up in the guest bedroom (that is really no longer a guest bedroom) waiting to be washed and sorted and put into the baby’s closet and drawers.

Then you get some kind of crazy news. Either a health problem for you, or a potential complication for baby.

And if you’re lucky, it resolves itself.

Gestational diabetes.

A hole in the heart.

A cyst.

Hypertension.

Sometimes it doesn’t. If you’re lucky, you still get to walk away healthy at the end with a sweet little babe to raise.

Then there are the ones that don’t walk away. Either at all, or with a baby. And those hurt my heart and scare me the most.

Bu then you feel another kick.

And everything feels right in the world.

Overall I feel so incredibly blessed. I have wanted this experience for longer than I can remember.

My mom said that when my sister was born [I was 17 months old at the time] she would find me trying to “breastfeed” my own dolls like she would feed my sister. When I got a little older, I would stuff a rolled up blanket under my shirt and tell her I was pregnant.

When I got older, still, I got this doll: it was Magic Nursery doll (shout out to my fellow 80s/90s mamas!) and it came in this pouch that you could wear on your belly (like a backwards backpack of sorts) and when you pushed a button it would mimic kicking sensations). I mean…in retrospect, it was probably a bad idea and maybe contributed to the rise in teen pregnancy rates in my generation…but I thought it was SO AMAZING and anxiously awaited the day when I’d feel it for real. I was like…8-years-old, y’all.

My sisters and I used to play “house” all the time as well. I was ALWAYS the mom, and had a plethora of children of assorted ages.

I get that having a baby is half of the process. Raising a human is the larger – inevitably more important half – and over the years, my dreams of baby kicks and snuggles grew to include teaching a toddler about being kind, and teaching a elementary school child to learn, and love art, and volunteer. Now my dreams even include watching a young adult graduate from high school, college, grad school, and whatever level of education and reach any level of success that his/her heart can possibly dream of: enjoying life and friends and art and culture and every piece of joy that the world has to offer in the process.

But first, I can’t wait to snuggle them.

And now…I can’t wait for that next kick.

Every day I realize how lucky I am. I try to remember to say a prayer of gratitude every night (not always successful, but I’m working on it). This was my dream. This IS my dream. And I am so thankful for it all. And with that, I leave you with what was my favorite printed shot from the anatomy scan session.

babyfoot

(have you EVER seen such a cute little foot?)

A letter to my baby.

Dear Zophia (although that isn’t your name, and might be even stranger if you end up being a boy, it’s what you’re Mommy named you a few weeks ago, so it’s what we’ve been calling you in our texts to each other. If you’re wondering why…..don’t. I’m honestly not sure.)

Today you’ve been growing inside of me for sixteen weeks and five days. Technically, I’m nineteen weeks and three days pregnant with you, but the way that is all measured is really funny to me.

Some days, it feels like you’ve been a part of me forever: almost as if I’ve never worn pants that button at the waist, and I’ve always approached medicine with trepidation – terrified of what it could do to your tiny developing body: no matter how congested and sick I feel.

Other days, this process feels as though it’s taking forever, as I longingly stare at the wine cabinet in the corner of our living room, with my phone open to The Bump app, as I scan it to learn more about our most recent developments. I stand in front of the mirror and push my shirt down around my growing belly and imagine how much of that bump is comprised of you. I wonder where you are curled up as I poke and prod my belly, hoping you’ll tap back and remind me that you’re in there.

Last week, you did for the first time. I’d felt sensations that reminded me of bubbles and based on what everyone had told me, I’d figured it was you moving around. Then, on Wednesday evening, I was sitting with your mommy on the couch – eating dinner after a very long day – and I told her I thought I’d felt you move. A moment later, you kicked me with an intensity that I hadn’t felt before (and have longed to feel, since) and she was able to put her hand on my belly long enough to feel it, too. I felt you again and my eyes must have widened, as she looked at me and said, “that was a kick, wasn’t it?”

Since that day, you’ve only kicked me lightly, and now I’m much more aware of those sensations and I try to stop and enjoy them. Sometimes I think you know that, and like any child trying to tease their parents, you stop just when I get excited – leading me to wonder if I was just experiencing gas bubbles.

I wonder what you’re going to look like all the time. Next week, we’re going to have your anatomy scan: we’ll see all of your organs close up (well – almost all of them as we’re hoping to keep your sex a secret until you’re born), and I’m so excited to see your face again. I know you won’t look like me, and sometimes that makes me a tiny bit sad, but then I remember how much you’ll look like your beautiful mommy and I smile. Both she and our donor have curly hair, so I’m expecting to have to learn how to brush and style curls – a modest challenge for your mama who has had straight auburn hair her whole life. Your mommy straightens her curls every other night: pulling and ironing each curl into straight submission. You can do that too, if you want to, but I hope you love every part of yourself the way I already do: every hair, freckle, inch of your skin.

I hope you grow up to be happy. The world is sometimes a scary place, but I plan to expose you to as many of the happy and loving parts as I possibly can, so that you never know darkness more than you know light. When you experience the scary parts of this world, I promise to always remind you of your strength, your voice, and your heart – living in this family, I know you’ll have a steady voice and a good heart.

Speaking of this family: you’re going to love it. In addition to me, you have a really amazing mommy. Just tonight, she was out in the snow cleaning both of our cars so that I could get to work with no trouble in the morning. That’s pretty typical: she had a day off from work today, so she cleaned our entire house from top to bottom. She works so hard so that we can all be comfortable, she she must ask me 10 times a day how you are doing and if I’ve felt you move. She is patient, and quiet and will teach you so much about sports: I can say with total confidence that you’ll learn much more from her than almost all of your friends will from their dads. She’s a fantasy baseball champion (four years in a row now, but don’t remind her – she can be cocky about it!), and she follows football almost as closely. If you want to know about hockey, you have three uncles and an aunt who are total fanatics, and a Pop Pop who can rattle off stats about almost any sport you can think of. In fact, he can rattle off random facts about almost anything: he’s a trivia whiz, and will undoubtedly teach you lots of things about different topics. You have a mom mom who already loves your two cousins fiercely, and uses her precious vacation time after driving two hours just to watch them while your aunt goes to work. I hope she can retire sometime soon, although she’ll always be doing something (probably offering to watch you, if she does. She’s really excited that you’re going to live so close to her…she asks about you all the time). On the other side, you have another Pop Pop (who we’ll have to watch as I have a feeling he’ll try to teach you some pranks and….probably inappropriate jokes) but he’ll absolutely make you laugh when he says something unexpected. Your Nana always corrects him (she is very sweet and polite), and in addition to helping you to become a good person, she’ll teach you how to make all kinds of delicious Polish cookies like her mom (Great Nana) used to make. Although Great Nana isn’t with us anymore, I’m confident that she helped bring you to us: I would tell you that you’d love her, but I think you already do.

Finally: going back to our little family of four, in addition to me, you, and Mommy, you will have an amazing little guard dog – Barley. She’s kind of temperamental, and if you lay under a blanket and she decides to lay with you, don’t move any of your extremities until you lift them above the blanket: otherwise she’ll think it’s some kind of a monster and try to attack it. I may have had a toe or two nipped by her, but I swear she’s just trying to protect us. I ask her where you are sometimes: they say that dogs can sense babies, but she hasn’t let on that she knows you’re coming, yet. One time, a few weeks ago – when I was sick with the stomach virus – she stayed by my side for hours, even though your Mommy was also sick, and she’s usually Mommy’s best bud. I can only imagine that she knew I needed her (although we’ve also speculated that she sensed that Mommy had a fever and she was avoiding that), but either way: you can expect to be part of the group she guards with ferocity, and I hope your chubby little baby hands aren’t too hard on her curly fur.

We’re starting to prepare your nursery: since we won’t know your sex for a while still, we decided on a neutral color theme: gold and navy (which I just realized as I was writing this, is just like your Pop Pop’s favorite football team: Notre Dame. Clearly, though, it’s not why we chose it…especially since your Mama’s loyalty lies with a different school. But whether we like it or not, Pop Pop will definitely still try to teach you the Notre Dame fight song – so I guess I better start singing it to you now…). Some people have told us that it seems girly, and other’s have assumed you’re a boy because of it. This is why we’re keeping your name a secret until we have you snuggled in our arms: we love our (your) friends and family, but they can have some strong opinions (you probably will, too). That’s totally fine: but right now, we are just trying to figure out what is best for you, and we already second guess ourselves at least 100x a day: no need to add more stress to that.

Sweet baby, there is so much more I want to tell you, but I’ll save it for another letter on another day. Until then, please don’t be afraid to move around and kick me. I’ll admit: it did scare me the first time, but since then I’ve looked forward to it. I just like reminders that you’re still close by (I mean, aside from the app updates and my ever-growing belly…)

We love you very much. See you in 144 days if you come on your due date (or somewhere around 151 days if you take after me…)

Love You Always,

Mama

Here comes the 2nd trimester…and the stomach bug :(

Even though I watch my belly daily for signs of growth: poking and prodding it, hoping that the baby will show some sign of life in between these now – very distant – ultrasound visits;

Even though I open the Bump and Baby Center apps weekly: eager to see what new feat my baby has conquered since the prior week, and how many precious milimeters and fractions-of-an-ounce little one has added on over the last few precious days;

Even though work and life have kept us as busy as ever….

the 2nd trimester has actually kind of snuck up on me. I can’t believe I’m 1/3 of the way through this pregnancy: especially since I don’t feel pregnant at all half of the time.

I imagines what I would look and feel like at 14 weeks, and I wasn’t envisioning fat, tired, and still pretty nauseous.

Of course, acquiring the stomach bug this week wasn’t a huge help with that. My sister and her kids had it about 3 weeks ago, and we thought they were all clear when they came to visit last weekend, as they’d been asymptomatic for weeks, and feeling pretty healthy overall.

I saw them Friday, Saturday, and on Superbowl Sunday and by Monday afternoon both my wife and I were feeling a little under-the-weather. She felt worse than I with a fever and chills, but we both felt pretty nauseous.

[I should probably add here that I have a pretty severe case of emetophobia – or an intense fear of vomiting – and I’ve had it for as long as I can remember. I can’t stand vomiting, or seeing/hearing others vomit…which has made for a few pretty interesting plane flights earlier this year. Seeing/hearing others get sick makes me shake and sometimes cry and it’s something I’ve really been working on tackling over the last few years. Yes, I know kids vomit. Yes, I know my kid will vomit. No, I don’t know what I’m going to do about that yet. Here’s to hoping I can work my way up from spit up. Anyway, I haven’t thrown up in about 20 years – aside from maybe 2-3 times when I was drinking heavily and don’t really remember the act of getting sick – so everytime I get any kind of stomach bug, I lay down and breath deeply until the feeling passes.]

Thank goodness our home has two bathrooms, because around 7pm the virus took both of us down. No amount of deep breathing was stopping anything. And just as soon as it started, it passed…and left a low grade fever and very sore stomach in its wake.

In a way, the experience was actually kind of nice – hear me out – as I have had this intense fear for 3 decades now, and it’s been YEARS since I’ve experienced the act of throwing up. I think this experience helped me to feel a TINY bit less fearful, and more compassionate toward others who get sick (the fear is so intense that in addition to being shaky and completely upset, I get angry at the offender – as if they could control it. I know – it’s crazy), and I was kind of glad that if we both had to be taken down by something that severe: that we could have the experience BEFORE kids came along.

We both took as good of care of each other as we could, and it helped us both to hone in on our motherly instincts.

I mean, if it doesn’t kill you, it makes you stronger…right?

This experience also helped me to realize that my pregnancy nausea isn’t nearly as bad as it could be, although now every time I feel nauseous I’m terrified that the virus is making an ugly return, so I just kind of want to experience this 2nd trimester relief that I’ve heard so much about.

So far, my belly just looks fat: I’m eager to see it round out more so that my coworkers and strangers stop looking at me like I can’t control myself around donuts (I mean, I can’t but…) and I’ve gained 8 pounds, which is really making me get upset with myself, but I keep trying to remember that this will all be worth it. In the meantime, I just bought a stationary bike from a local yard sale and am going to try to get more active on a daily basis: I think it will be good for me and for baby.

We are beginning to toss around nursery ideas (leaning toward a grey/white theme, or navy/gold…any suggestions one way or the other? We want something gender neutral as we won’t find out the sex until baby gets here…)

I am also eagerly waiting to feel some movement. I swore I felt a kick earlier this week, but nothing since which leads me to believe that it may have been a muscle spasm or gas.

There are still moments when I have to stop and remind myself that this is all real, and pray that it won’t be yanked away. I envy women who get excited at every milestone. I am always fearful that the next will never come.

But then I think: we made it this far…why NOT us?! And I keep hoping and praying that a healthy little nugget is still growing inside me: kicking away, and that one day soon I will feel them.

Love and hugs to everyone for healthy continued pregnancies, sticky embryos, successful stimming, and good news all around.

Jenn

 

It’s been a while!

All I do is work, work, work, no matter what…

Today I am packing and preparing for yet another work trip: another four days and four nights away from my wife, puppy, and comfy, familiar bed.

While I sometimes enjoy traveling, it just isn’t the same when you share the giant king size hotel bed alone. Somehow I can never position the overstuffed pillows the way my own rests under my head, and the other side of the bed is cold and flat, instead of warm and curved under the weight of my wife’s curled up, sleeping body.

It’s going to be the first of what is looking like four trips over the next three months.

dont-make-me-go

…but, as I told my wife yesterday when we got into a small argument about all of this traveling I’ve had to do (she HATES staying alone), we have to take the good with the bad when it comes to my job. I work in sales training for a fairly large company, and these trips are to help facilitate training sessions for our new hires.

The problem is, this is somewhat of an “add-on” to my everyday job (I also manage a group of anywhere between 10-14 people…at least, this year) and I have to leave that team to help with these training sessions, and I never saw a pay or title increase when I took on this added responsibility last year. So she wants me to push for more, and while I agree and plan to address the topic with my boss when I see her in person next week, I also feel like I am losing a bargaining chip when I announce my pregnancy, as I will be unable to commit to travel in the later part of this year, and will also need time away from my regular group (and I am the only person available to supervise and train them).

Any strong negotiators or badass lady bosses following this blog who have any advice, here?

Speaking of the pregnancy….

I’m 10 weeks, six days today. We’ve met some milestones since my last post. Last week, we officially graduated from our fertility clinic (a bittersweet moment, and I only cried a little…) and were FINALLY able to stop the progesterone shots, 2x/daily estrogen, and baby asprin.

I told my wife, I still sometimes put off brushing my teeth at night, because I sometimes forget that I don’t have to take a shot immediately afterward anymore. It’s been kind of glorious.

We are two weeks from being out of the risky first trimester and being able to tell our friends and extended family about the pregnancy. I have to admit, though: every day until then will continue to be a struggle.

I never considered how hard the first trimester may be. Not just because it is typically when most women experience the worst symptoms (though I’ve been quite lucky and have just been mildly nauseous and ridiculously tired); rather, you can’t yet feel the baby, hear a heartbeat, or have any inkling that they are alive other than ultrasounds. You don’t really FEEL pregnant (and sometimes I forget there is a tiny person living inside me). We were very fortunate and super spoiled to have had ultrasounds weekly throughout most of the first trimester. When we had our first OB visit yesterday, they were incredibly warm and welcoming and put me at ease right away, but they explained that neither a fetal heart scan, nor an ultrasound would be part of our first appointment, and I began to freak out a little since I’m headed across the country without my wife for the next few days and just want to know that I’m traveling with a living tiny travel buddy. They were so kind and understanding and squeezed us in for an ultrasound at a local radiology(?) facility, and I had my first trans-abdominal ultrasound (visualize a light shining down from the heavens and a chorus singing “ahhhhhhh!”), during which we saw baby moving around and his/her heart beating furiously at 155 BPM. The picture was not quite as clear as our prior trans-vaginal ultrasounds, so I am attaching the photo from last week (during which baby’s hand was at his/her mouth as the Doctor suggested…or perhaps they actually look like one of the Whoville Who’s from Dr. Seuss’ books…time will tell).

LO

I want to soak up every moment of this experience, but I’d also like to fast forward by a few weeks and feel some kicks, or SOME sign of a healthy, growing baby on a regular basis.

So…bring on the next ultrasound at week 12! We’ll hopefully hear the heartbeat and see another image of this sweet baby, and hopefully be able to put our first trimester fears behind us.

Love and baby dust to all. ❤