Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Making a Baby: Weeks 20 and 21

Dang! I did it again. I meant to post a weekly pregnancy update last week, I swear. I was probably busy writing a grant while simultaneously eating all the baked goods in the house. So, instead, you'll get a two for one deal - which includes two pictures of my ever ballooning belly in one post. Now, who doesn't want to see that?

Well, we're past the mid-point. I am obviously pregnant (see photos below), though I have not had to fend off any strangers from trying to rub my belly. I'm guessing because it's winter and I am usually wearing a coat; basically I'm a pregnant ninja when I'm wearing the one coat that still fits.

Interestingly, I do still have to say 'no thank you' to hoards of clueless servers who continue to offer me wine and one really persistent barista at a hoity-toity culinary shop who just wouldn't let me pass up this delicious Ethiopian roast. And yes, I know I could have caffeine in small doses, but when a pregnant lady says 'no,' just roll with it, okay?*

*Once the first trimester passed, coffee suddenly smelled SO good. Even though I had been months without it, thus it had nothing to do with caffeine withdrawal, I needed it. So R found some good decaf and now brews me a small pot each morning...you know, after he's finished making himself real coffee.

A fun side note, since the baby has been capable of tasting what I'm eating, we've had Indian, Thai, and Ethiopian. I've convinced R that we are preparing our child to be a good eater willing to try a diverse range of foods. This is partially true but my primary motivation is nom nom nom!

I am now in my second week of pre-natal yoga. It's good exercise, since going I'm more prone to moving on my own and working on my poses and stretches, and (best part) it seems to alleviated my round ligament pain and my horrible leg cramps. Pregnant ladies, get thee to the yoga! Plus I get to chat with other pregnant women. The only downside (besides repeatedly going into down dog while enduring massive heartburn) is that I feel especially huge thanks to all the available comparisons. Most of the other women are further along than me by a few weeks, yet I think proportionately I am bigger. There are two explanations: 1) I am short and (was) petite and am carrying a bigger than average fetus so my belly is just going to be bigger; 2) all the pregnant women feel that they are bigger. I'm guessing it's a bit of both.

I recently realized that I have been taking my belly button for granted all these years. I knew it was going to get distorted, maybe even stick out, but I didn't think it would happen so soon and so suddenly. Initially it was just sort of spreading and getting more shallow. Then suddenly one day it looked like the angry eye of Sauron. I think it will be a while before it actually pops...but who knows. My next post might be: Hey everyone, my turkey timer is out!

See! If there were flames coming out of my belly button this would look exactly like the eye of Sauron!
P.S. See that little ridge? Notice the pale oval all around the belly button? Yeah, that was my belly button. All that part was on the inside.

Now, without further ado, here are my Week 20 and Week 21 belly pictures. Yep, there's a baby in there.

20 Weeks - just found out we're having a boy!

21 Weeks. Am huge, getting bigger, business as usual.
A general statement: I do own more than one pair of pants. Those are just the pants R and I agreed I would wear for The Taking of The Pictures. A very grave ritual which mandates that I don my 'picture pants' and force myself to smile while R shouts things like "Say baby!" and "Where's your belly button?"

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Middle Of Pregnancy

Hello People of the Internet. Do you want to hear more bizarro pregnancy side effects? No? Well too bad.

1. Red spots. That's right, tiny red spots that could almost be mistaken for acne or teeny tiny spider veins, except they aren't. They are just red spots. At first they covered my shoulders, then my chest, and now they are moving down my arms. It's like a very slow, anticlimactic alien takeover.

What I think they are: pigmentation. You see, many preggers sites/books/blogs mention that pregnant women often get dark pigmentation spots. However, as my natural coloring is roughly equivalent to skim milk (mostly opaque, but slightly translucent), my dark pigmentation spots are red...kind of like the eyes of an albino rabbit.

2. Belly expansion. I had been getting some pretty terrific round ligament pain. Think sharp, shooting pains spearing you from groin to waist. Prenatal yoga seems to have cut this symptom off at the pass...for now. But these pains are certainly associated with belly growth. Fun fact: my uterus, that organ that I used to think of as a little ball in my pelvis, is about an inch and a half above my belly button and the whole thing is as hard as a rock.

3. Clenchy muscle spasms of Holy HELL! Leg cramps, aka charlie horses, are common during the second and third trimester. Many experts are scratching their heads and spinning in circles trying to understand the underlying cause - weight gain!, vascular constriction!, magnesium deficiency!, a need for more calcium or potassium or...crap, we don't know. Eat yogurt and bananas or something. Stretching is good. Also lie on your left side and recite all the constitutional amendments.

These leg cramps occur most often at night. Again, no one knows why. But let me assure you that when you are awakened from a dead sleep by intense pain as all the muscles in your calf suddenly snap so tightly together that it feels like the muscle is being torn from the bone, awakening your poor husband with shrill screams of pain, the term 'cramp' seems to be a bit of a misnomer. It's like your leg is having a contraction. And I have done everything (stretching, diet changes, heating pad, increasing my already ludicrous water intake, etc.) to avoid having to endure more of them. It's been four days. I'm keeping my fingers crossed (but not my legs - that could cause cramps. maybe.).

4. Internal bruising. Okay, that might be an exaggeration, but if I hadn't seen the ultrasound with my own eyes I would be convinced that I have a jazzercizing wolverine in my uterus. This baby boy is SO active. And seems to have super human strength. And very pointy elbows.

5. Heartburn and indigestion. There is no particular rhyme or reason to when it comes. Sometimes it's set off by water. Other times I can eat chicken curry and be fine. It has an uncanny knack of hitting me right before bed time, regardless of when I last ate. I've decided to give in to my lack of control over this symptom and eat whatever I want. I've decided that this is very zen of me.

6. Bliss. I love this little guy and when the symptoms are at their worst or most painful, I just have to remind myself that at the end of all this I will get a little baby boy. Awww...lovey mushy stuff. Also, it helps to remind myself that I'm over the halfway point. As the side effects get worse (yes, I know that this is the "best time" during pregnancy - face punch), I'll keep reminding myself of how close we are to being done.

So, that's that. It's not horrible, but you certainly wouldn't sign up for this without the big prize at the end.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Winter Wonderland

The sun is currently making an appearance. This is in contrast to the gray clouds that hunker over the city. Even the sun is ringed tightly by swathes of gray vapor, but somehow the light has broken through and the snow on the ground and the frost in the aspen trees are shining brightly. And it is snowing.

The flakes are small and falling straight down like rain. Heavy and silent, the torrent of snowflakes is broken only by bits of ice that mingle with them. The flakes are starting to form a soft layer while the flecks of ice bounce across the rocks and trampled snow of my backyard.

I hope I have captured the scene for you, because it is truly beautiful.

There are three of four inches of snow on the ground already. Much of it trampled by our dogs. I hope the snow continues to fall through the sunshine, creating a thick layer of white, scrubbing away the evidence that the dogs have left in the snow.

Because they've left more than paw prints.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Making a Baby: Week 19 and 20

Okay, originally I was going to make this two separate posts, but I can't wait to talk about Week 20. Frankly, Week 19 is lucky it got mentioned at all.

Let me see if I can think of anything worth talking about from Week 19. Um...nope. Moving on.

We got to see the baby! Our Week 20 ultrasound was on Monday. And he is adorable! That's right he, as in I have a penis inside me.* Mommy intuition won out. I've been slipping and using the male pronoun for weeks, then awkwardly trying to cover it up by hastily adding 'or she.' Well, those days are behind me. I will proudly say 'he' as often as I like.

*I can't stop saying that. I think it's hilarious. I'm pretty sure I'm the only one.

Also, for all our talk about being happy with either sex, it turns out we were hiding a deep dark preference. Especially R, who literally hopped around the exam room whispering "It's a boy" when we were alone.

Frequent readers may recall that my MIL was certain we were having a girl. We have been witness to some pretty serious backpedaling in the last few days. My favorite: I was at a disadvantage because I hadn't actually seen you. *chuckle*

Even better than a penis, our baby is perfectly healthy. He's growing and growing (now at the 53rd percentile in length, up from the 43rd percentile at his 12 week photo shoot). And he's turning out to be quite an athlete. Words that medical staff have used to describe our baby: active, crazy, and busy.

Another fun fact, my placenta is anterior, meaning up against my belly. Usually, this means mommies don't feel their babies as early and tend not to feel as much movement. Having felt this little guy at 15 weeks, and his daddy able to feel him at only 17 weeks, we can assure the medical staff that they are right. This active/crazy/busy guy is also pretty strong!

Further, the sharp cervical pain I was beginning to worry about was explained. The little guy is head down and headbutting me. Seriously, we watched him do it. Again. And again.

Other than that, we're simply going overboard buying baby things. R seems to have started nesting. He reorganized the pantry, cleaned the garage, put together the pack n' play, bassinet, and crib, and emptied the guestroom furniture out of the nursery. Mostly I watched while eating various chocolates.

Now, without further ado, the belly pic:

Week 19: I swear I feel 10xs this big.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Pregnancy Scare Resolution

Hi Internet. Let me begin by admitting that I've been keeping something from you. You see, during my 12 week ultrasound something potentially bad was noted.

They saw that my placenta was circumvallate. That means that it wasn't completely connected to the uterine lining. The doctor talked to us, telling us that this could be a problem but we shouldn't worry about it until our next ultrasound because it often resolves itself. Then, he insisted we NOT Google circumvallate.

And because we went to Tacoma the very next day and visited friends, I was distracted and mostly didn't think about it. That lasted for three whole weeks (the distraction not the staying with friends part). Then my inner researcher took over and I did the unthinkable, I looked it up. It turns out that circumvallate placentas are very rare, like less than 1% of all pregnancies, and are associated with preterm labor, restricted fetal growth, and higher rates of placental abruption, which is seriously not good. I went on to look up academic journal articles, which only confirmed what I had found.

Then I stewed.

I wanted to talk to R about what I had discovered, but I didn't want him to freak out. He's prone to worry already. Also, the doctor had told us that the situation might resolve itself. Why make R worry unnecessarily? So I stayed quiet and tried to ignore what I'd found out.

We had our 20 week ultrasound yesterday and situation resolved! Everything is looking fabulous. The placenta is completely attached and fine. The baby is growing and has actually moved from the 43rd percentile in length to the 53rd (Whoa baby! Wait to grow huge until mommy has you out of there!).

I wanted to write about this because I know other women are being told the same news I was at 12 weeks. It's scary. It's hard not to freak out. There's not a lot of information out there and the chat sites are mainly limited to scared mommies who have just been told that they are circumvallate...no follow ups to ease others' minds.

So mommies, call down. This situation doesn't necessarily spell disaster. Follow your doctor's instructions and know that plenty of women with this diagnosis go on to have beautiful, perfect babies. I'm rooting for you.

With love,
Call Me Jo

Sunday, January 13, 2013

That Time I Tried to Write About Something Besides Pregnancy

For the last few days, I have been trying to come up with something to write about that did not concern my expanding belly. I tried to keep track of some of the funnier conversations R and I have because some are hilarious. The world deserves that kind of all out belly laugh. You would think hilarious = memorable, but apparently not to me and my hormone soaked brain.

You guys, nothing seems to stick. I frequently find myself starting to ask a question or make a statement only to pause and end with "Never mind, I forget."

Thus, I am comedically useless to you. Sorry. Am failure.

To compensate, I give you cute pictures of Odin and his blanket:

Isn't he adorable??

Until we got Karma, Odin always had a blanket. He would drag it around like Linus from The Peanuts. Then Karma came and she would lay on his blanket while he drug it across the room; inevitably the squabbling was too much and the blanket had to go. But, somehow, this has happened again (and I love it).

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Making a Baby: Week 17...and 18 (aka The Time I Ran Away From the Internet)

So, hi. Um...how's it been going? I guess I should apologize for abandoning you. I didn't really mean to, it's just that I took holiday vacation, and I was busy. Busy doing what? Well, um, you know, hanging out, playing Wii, snuggling on the couch. It sounds a lot less busy when I say it out loud.

R and I synchronized vacation time and it was awesome. So there. It was and I won't deny it.

We had all the nearby family and their respective boyfriends and kids stay over xmas eve. That meant I spent most of xmas eve cooking a big turkey dinner. But the bright side is that R and I were left with an abundance of leftovers to snack on while watching movies and playing video games...which we did a LOT. Also, SUPER BONUS, no one lost their shit or otherwise ruined xmas. It was a holiday miracle.

Let's see, we also went snowshoeing. This pregnant lady is badass, yo. Almost 2 miles wearing snowboarding pants that had to be held up with R's belt because my belly is WAY too big to be confined by the zipper. In addition to my pregnant badassery, there was beautiful nature and stuff.

Snowboard pants fail? Win? I'm not sure but they stayed up.
Proof of beautiful winter scenery:

Baby's first snowshoeing trip.

Then we went snowboarding. As in R went snowboarding (on his new snowboard his wife bought him because he has been working so hard and all this spousal spoiling is about to come to an abrupt end when the baby arrives) and I spent the day on my laptop and kindle from inside the ski lodge. Just me and my electronics and my jealousy. *sigh* No snowboarding this year.

Interesting side note: one of the OBs at the practice I go to gave me the green light to go snowboarding as long as, and I quote, "you're a good enough snowboarder." Then I spent a half hour puzzling over my snowboarding skills and weighing the pros and cons of snowboarding against the life of my unborn child. I ultimately decided life was more valuable than going fast down a mountain of death. Though, obviously, it was a non-issue (see snowboarding pants that had to be held closed by a belt in the paragraph above).

Then, on a crazy, pregnant whim, we went shopping for baby stuff. We hit several consignment shops and a couple crazy, over-priced places and bought the cutest wee little clothes.* Then we found the perfect crib and it happened to be on clearance so we had to buy it. Also, after weeks of comparing pack-n-plays online (we plan to keep the baby in our room at night for several months), we found a totally better one and they were almost sold out so we had to buy that.

*Note: you can get the crazy, over-priced clothes at the consignment shops for an 8th of the price. Seriously, same clothes, worn like two times. But we hit the consignment shops first and weren't sure if we were getting  a good deal until we went to the crazy, over-priced clothes place (I'm looking at you Carters) and were like, holy crap, that's more than my shirts cost! But of course we still bought some things there because they were SO cute. Essentially, we spent the day going AWWWW, look at this! And buying all the things.

**Also note: you may remember that we are trying to go gender neutral with the clothes. This basically means buying green/yellow/orange/gray/brown/red boys clothes because ALL girls clothes are pink or purple, or ruffled, or have bows, or have tiny vaginas sewn on them.

As for pregnancy, it's all going good. You know, there's the round ligament pain and the back pain and the boob pain and growing out of all my clothes...so things are going as expected. OH, except this: R got to feel the baby move on xmas night (week 17)! And almost every day since. I don't know if it's just because I am small or because our baby is practicing jujitsu, but there is plenty of detectable movement weeks earlier than we expected. Some of those little kicks pack a pretty good punch, which is great now because R can feel them, but it does make me flinch when I think what things will be like in another month or two.

And with that, here are two  three weeks worth of pregnant belly pictures. Please remember, I was on vacation, which means that hair styling and makeup are herculean tasks reserved for going to Babys-R-Us.

Week 16

Week 17

And now with even MORE belly!
Week 18