Thursday, August 25, 2011

No News is Good News, Right?

I apologize for the radio silence. There hasn't been a huge amount to talk about since the anatomy scan. My days are pretty much the same in and same out. Kinda boring really. Also, I'm not quite sure why, but August and September always seem to be rather hectic months. Time just flies, and *poof*, it's October. I've been contemplating a finance post, but I'm not sure how entertaining a "Holy crap! We need to get our $$ ducks in a row super quick! Ack, we have debt!" post would be. I'm sure most 1st time parents feel the same. Heck, most people in general probably would have a similar post. For now, I'll just give ya'll an update on the newest thing going on here.

I had our 20w check up this morning. It was pretty much the same as the 16w. Pee sample. BP and weight. Talk with Dr/Nurse Practitioner. Today was slightly different as it was with the NP I normally see at the practice for all the routine and annual stuff. Last I saw her was almost exactly 1 year ago when she referred us to the RE. She was very happy and excited to see us for a prenatal appt rather than another annual.

Everything checked out as normal. Baby does not enjoy the doppler these days. It goes on, and the bugger wakes up, jostles around and hits the probe! It is a crazy feeling when baby makes direct contact with that piece of plastic. Heartbeat, when it could be heard, was right on target. I'm measuring on track with my uterus right at my belly button. I was told by 3 people at the office that I have such a "cute, adorable, tiny, baby belly!" I admit I'm not huge but to be honest I'm getting bigger. None of my bottoms fit unless they are elastic, and even some of them are uncomfortably tight. My belly is large enough if my wardrobe is the judge.

The only not great, on track thing going on is that I'm gaining weight slowly. I lost 5lbs in the 1st tri. I've gained those all back, plus 2 additional pounds. To stay on target for the 25-30 they would like for me to gain (as I was on the light end to begin with), I need to gain 23-27lbs more in less than 20w. Looks like I need to schedule in another snack break somewhere in my day. I'm not worried about gaining weight. I know I'm suppose to and I'm trying to, but (about 99% of the female population is going to hate me for this next bit) I've never really gained weight easily. No weight gain on the Depo shot. No freshman 15. No anti-depressant/anxiety med weight. Maybe protein shakes are in my future...

Other than that, we are just doing yard work. Digging up some shrubs and plants from the previous owners' (non-planned) landscaping. Tearing down the old busted-up deck. Rebuilding the back deck. Pouring cement in the utility room/garage to level things out. Install new water heater.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

All the bits and pieces

Thursday's appt was probably my 2nd favorite to date (just behind see that 1st little heartbeat on the screen). We arrived at 9:10a and left right about 11a (EST). These people were thorough!

We did the general info, relatives' health survey thing upon our arrival. It was the strangest thing filling in spots with "mother" and "father" and actually be referring to ourselves! Craziness. Thankfully, I have a bit of background in genetics and knew that we didn't have to include every little health issue that uncles, cousins, and great-aunt-twice removed had. Allergies and vision issues are not something that you can pick up as defect on these scans!

We then were taken back with a genetic counselor to go over the family history and discuss risk factors and such. I'm such a dork and thought it was super awesome that she was drawing out our pedigree! None of the health issues anyone in either family has is considered a genetic/inherited risk or birth defect. She did reassure us though that it is definitely better to be thorough and do these types of checks than to "wait and see"- Better to be safe than sorry, pretty much. I pretty much found myself reiterating that the only defect we were actually concerned about the baby having is a heart issue. They asked if we were interested in any amniocentesis or CVS or other screenings. All I want to know is that the baby is healthy. Sure, it would be great to know if it had this or that disability to prepare.

And then it was time to go back and let the real fun begin! We were told to tell the tech right off that we were trying not to find out the sex. She said she'd do her best and have us turn away when they do in to scan that region. After she loaded my belly with what would be about 2 handfuls of jelly, we were off! Baby was in a great position for the scan, laying side to side in my belly, just folded in half with legs up and over the head. She was able to get awesome shots of the heart and everything looked A-okay and 100% normal! The rest of the scan was just icing after that.

We worked our way from head to rump (since baby was a sandwich). It was incredible to see the amount of detail they were able to get. We could see brain structures, each chamber of the heart, the stomach filled with fluid, the bladder, the kidneys the major blood vessels, each and every vertebrae in baby's spine, all the little bones in the hands and feet. Apparently, baby has the correct number of bones in its pinky finger even! The tech seemed to be mightily impressed that I had any clue what she was looking at as we went along. I'm no stranger to ultrasounds (not at this point) and I've done my research.

Baby was incredibly cooperative with it all and pretty much stayed in the exact same position throughout the scan, just moving the limbs a bit here and there. It did have its head tucked to chest which made capturing facial things a bit more difficult, but the tech was able to get what she needed. My favorite part was when she was checking the face for any defects (nasal, cleft lip/palate, etc). We got a shot of baby's chin, mouth and upper lip and nostrils. And then it swallowed! Not only was it adorable, but it showed that baby has that ability and that the fluid was going where it was suppose to since there was fluid in the stomach.

We finished the scan with the all important between the legs shots. We turned our heads, closed our eyes, and held each others hands.

I'm not going to lie. I'm not some great fortress of patience and resolve. I was so very very VERY! tempted to just turn my head and see. I one point I opened my eyes. Just in my peripheral vision I saw some red and blue flashes. The imaged flow of blood. Most likely from the umbilical cord. It took every single ounce of self-restraint I had to not look up at the screen. Heck, I strained to see if I could make something out from that side glance! After a few seconds of only seeing a grey and black haze of jumbled shapes, I squeezed my eyes shut until she cleared us to look.

The tech was great at the secret keeping though. She didn't label the images as Boy or Girl. Just Gender. That way parents-to-be couldn't count key strokes. She even filled out the info to send over to my OB as "Gender- normal" rather than any confirmed sex so that they wouldn't accidentally spill the beans in excitement. I will also admit that I'm really glad she set the screen back to the start of the scan, because I was 100% trying to see if one of the pics on the monitor showed the all important "parts". Not that I could make out any details from the ~1in pictures, but I tried!

The perinatologist then came in and talked with us about everything from the scan. he agreed that everything looked great, normal, and healthy. He did ask if we were interested in a fetal echocardiogram, just to make sure that there isn't any irregularities that the anatomy scan didn't catch. Those things are even more refined and high-def than this Level2 scan was and would pick up any slight rhythm variation, murmur, hole or flow issue. As it is also non-invasive and we really want to make sure baby's heart is 100% a-okay, we scheduled that too. Plus, it will be another opportunity to see the little. That's in 4 more weeks.

I was pretty nervous going into the scan, though. Not that I thought the baby wouldn't be alive like for previous scans. I'm reassured often that that is not the case with the little bumps and thumps I can feel now. I was just so scared to know or find out that the baby had some misdevelopment that would make living on its own without my body as its life support system either impossible or extremely difficult. The fact that everything was completely normal and average was a larger relief that I think I can put into words. All I can keep thinking is "healthy."


It's more beautiful a word than pregnant to me these days.

Friday, August 12, 2011

We're having a...

Healthy Baby!

I am so very relieved. The heart looked absolutely normal and heartbeat was spot on. I'll expand on this later. Just wanted to put that out there!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Random Run-down #2

I think I'm going to start doing these "Run-downs" periodically when lots of little things go on, but nothing worth a huge, full post on their own.

Monday - I felt a true, unmistakable, genuine baby movement after dinner. Since then, they've only gotten more noticeable. I can pinpoint the common times of day that the little bugger is most likely awake and practicing it's baby-fu (mid-morning and after dinner are the most active times). It's a pretty incredible feeling. Also, completely weird and mildly disturbing at the same time. It's crazy.

Tuesday - My youngest sister "moved in" and will be staying with us for a bit. She's relocating from the town she went to college in to this area and needed a temporary lay-over. Almost 1 week in and so far so good. We haven't had the best track record/experience with letting family (BIL) and friends stay with us, but here's hoping things continue to go well. Plus, she likes to cook and bake. Oh and totally loves the dogs (Hello! In-town pet sitter!).

Wednesday - found out from my mom that my dad was laid off from his job. He'd been with the company for 15yr. They needed to cut some expenditures and the more senior supervisor (not managers mind you) seemed to have taken the brunt of the pink slips. While that completely and totally sucks, it means he can find a new job (hopefully soon) that he likes better. My parents will be fine financially as he gets a week paid for each year he worked and all his stored up PTO. Their only real worry right now is health insurance. The only exciting bit from this all is that there may be a chance of them moving to this area as well!! I would be pretty stoked about that!

Thursday - Wellness appt for the pups! They are "prime" examples of happy, healthy pooches! "Great dogs." I've apparently done a great job with them as they are "so well behaved and look fantastic!" Our almost 6yr lab mix, Mazzy, has only the tiniest hits of tarter on her teeth and the only health problems they have are Cricket's joint issues and Mazzy's chronic ear infections. They are such great dogs that they "volunteered" to participate in a study at the Vet school. I felt kinda bad for them as it required vaginal swabs, but they were champs like always. I totally felt for them though.

Friday - Not so great work day. Was straight up lied to by the newest co-worker. I had to clean out a waterbath and scrub it because it was completely gross and smelly. Apparently, it was all clear the day before when she put our stuff in it. That and I've noticed how much time she spends talking without working, talks on her phone, does non-work related stuff on the computer (which we are "prohibited" from doing), and just all-around wasting time. She's pissing me off.

Saturday - The Boy finally was able to feel The Baby move/kick! Each time he's tried, it stops or he only notices my GI movement. His reaction was classic. Que eyebrow quirk, a smirk and a bit of a giggle/chuckle. I was practically in tears, I was so touched, and he's only mildly amused. Oh well. We went ot the $1.50 theater and saw Pir,ates of the Cari.bbean 4. Good movie. Plus, I stayed awake through it all, didn't have to leave to pee, and was comfortable in the theater without a jacket on.
We ended our evening with a pseudo-birthday grill out at a friend's house. It was great to see them all again. As they were Boy's friends that I inherited, he was in charge of telling them all. Oops. It was still a bit of a surprise to quite a number of them. the fact that I'm almost 18w was pretty much a surprise to everyone though!  The food was absolutely delicious! Chips and mango salsa. Veggies and dip. Cheese (with the mango salsa). Black bean and corn salad. Caprese soaking in balsamic. Grilled jerked chicken. Mac & cheese (by yours truly). Homemade Pina Colada ice cream! Pecan cinnamon swirls. All 3 of us thoroughly enjoyed it!

I'm not looking forward to my dental appt on Tuesday morning. I'll have to inform them I'm pregnant and answer the hygienist's barrage of questions. With instruments and a spit sucker in my mouth. I hope they don't yell at me for not flossing...

Then, Thursday is the big day. THE Anatomy Scan. With a perinatologist. I really hope all the baby's structures are just as they should be, and its little heart is perfect. I'm also hoping that the little one is modest and won't have all the "goods" in full display. We shall see. I can't wait!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Change of Pace

I know I said I'd write a post all about the visit with the head doctor from last week. I've tried several times to sit here and write it all up. Forgive me for not doing so just yet (if at all). I just keep end up focusing on one thing that came up from the session.

We don't want to find out the gender.

Well, mostly I don't, but I've convinced the Boy that he doesn't either. Between my eloquent and heart-felt explanations and a few favors on top, he has agreed to wait it out with me. For 5 more months!

Call me crazy. In fact, I probably am. At least, crazy for me (but most likely, crazy for other people, too). This is a complete 180 from the normal, usual Christina. If I'm known for one thing, it's for being a planner/organizer/Type A/OCD. I would plan out what to pack for an overnight stay at friends' or family's. Heck, I actually still do! If it is for several days, I'll probably even make a list and check it off as I put the items in the bag. I schedule my days at work by the hour, for the week. If it is something that can be planned and over-thought, I'm your girl.

And yet, this whole pregnancy, I haven't really planned, other than scheduling appts when the Boy has the day off and in the morning to impact my work day as little as possible. I've been moving along, letting things take me where they will. On a day to day basis, my anxiety levels are almost non-existent. I worry about things, sure. I'm just not doing it for as long or as often. Most of the time, if I'm fretting about something with the baby or my body, I practically dismiss it with a "What will be, will be. Nothing I can do to change that."

That is probably the overriding theme of this pregnancy. Nothing I can do to change anything. It's all beyond my control, so I might as well accept it and enjoy this whole trip. That definitely carries over into the "to know or not to know" decision on the baby's sex. There is nothing I can do to make it one or the other, nor do I have a preference either way. As long as it is healthy and happy and I can take it home, I'm a happy camper. What difference will knowing the sex have any of my decisions or actions the remainder of this pregnancy?

We are planning a gender neutral nursery (green, aqua and chocolate). I'm not huge on going all blue or all pink. I don't want to force my possible daughter to wear big flowery headbands and frilly, flowery dresses. Nor do I want my boy stuck in sport themes and construction vehicles. I feel (other than the frillies) that babies of either sex can wear little overalls with bugs or dinosaurs or hearts on them. Whatever. When they are older and decide they want to wear pink (both sexes), then so be it. As long as they are happy and comfortable with themselves and in what they are wearing, does it really matter? Besides, I know how to care for boys and girls in the early stages and on up thanks to my older sister and her kids, not to mention all the baby sitting I've done. No huge surprises there or tips/tricks I need to prepare for before birth.

As for the name game, I'd like to meet the baby before saddling them with a name for the rest of their life. If I wait to get to know my pets before naming, at least I could do the same for my child! We'll likely have had several names picked out even if we end up finding out if it is a he or she, just to have a few choices to find the one that fits best. Besides, gender isn't always 100% on u/s. There could be a surprise at delivery anyways, in spite of months of planning and name selecting. (The Hubs nixed the idea of selecting gender neutral names, though, which solves this problem altogether).

Most importantly, it's been an uphill battle to get to this point since day 1. maybe more like month 3, but still. We didn't get here easily. We didn't have that naive innocence that most couples get to experience when TTC but for 2 months, 1 of which we weren't technically "trying" as much as giving it a whirl. It was bad news after bad news for us from September to easily January if not into March with the crazy ovarian cyst. None of that was planned. We weren't able to decide on those things ahead of time, schedule them in to best fit in with our lives. Why start now? We've had few happy surprises this past year. This pregnancy happening, and then continuing to progress well, happily, and healthy has been one of the greatest surprises of our lives. We may not get to experience many more joyous surprises like this. Why not make the most of it? How sweet would the icing on the cake be in the delivery room to not only welcome our child into the world (hopefully) but to find out the sex as the nurse/Dr yell "It's a _____!!"

It is more important for me to end this whole family building (phase I) with a baby than with a boy or a girl. Not all the family/friends/coworkers think it is the best choice, but it's ours. And I'm kinda digging the more relaxed approach on things. I know it will all change with that 1st little cry, so I should enjoy it while I can!