Thursday, February 27, 2014

I passed!

Since I didn't hear anything from my OB's office, and wanted to ensure I could indulge in some virgin frozen drinks and otherwise enjoy our babymoon without worry, I gave the nurse a ring before we left for our trip to check up on the results of the glucose and iron tests done at my latest appointment.

The great news is that I passed my GTT with flying colors!  Woohoo!!

Though that orange drink they had me chug was not exactly my first choice of beverage, I didn't feel any different physically after drinking it, but I didn't know if that meant anything or not in terms of what the results would indicate.  I've heard of otherwise healthy women who find themselves diagnosed with gestational diabetes out of the blue during pregnancy, so was very relieved to learn that I passed the test.  Phew, one hurdle under my belt!

In terms of my iron levels, this is something I've been pretty concerned about lately, for several reasons:
(1) I've had iron-deficient anemia issues in the past few years, pre-pregnancy.
(2) I've noticed lately over the past month or so that my fingernails have a special talent for turning very blue/purplish, on what seems to me like random occasions, moreso than they normally do when I get extremely cold.
(3) I'm super tired, but what else is new.  ;)
(4) I've heard several horror stories at work about women who were iron deficient, who almost died, or needed several units of blood transfused, due to extreme blood loss during delivery.

Apparently my iron measurement was 10.9, and the normal range is 11-15, so I'm just under the normal range.  The nurse wasn't concerned, and explained that the doctor hadn't seen the results yet, but would be in touch if any follow-up was needed.  Since I haven't heard back from the doctor, I don't think they're going to prescribe me any iron supplements to take, so I've decided to take it upon myself to increase my iron consumption through food where possible.  Quaker has a cereal called "Oatmeal Squares" that has 90% of the daily required iron.  It comes in Cinnamon flavor and it's actually pretty tasty!

I've also tried to eat a little more red meat, spinach and egg yolks, all of which contain iron.  So, I'm hoping that by concentrating on eating more foods with iron, I can raise my iron levels on my own enough to put me in the clear.  Wish me luck!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

27 Weeks

Guess who's nearing the end of her second trimester?  This girl!  Here I am, in week #27, with a fetus the size of a rutabaga {whatever that is!}...

I had my monthly OB appointment yesterday, and so far, so good!  The doctor measured my fundal height as a tad on the large size during my exam, so I got a surprise ultrasound to check on the growth of the baby.  The little one is currently clocking in at 2 lbs. 7 oz., which puts him/her in the 68th percentile.... pretty much right on target!  Though on the larger side of "normal", the measurement wasn't enough to affect my current estimated due date, so Shep has lovingly been referring to baby as "our little chubster" ever since.  While I'm certainly not concerned about having a large baby at this point in time, this does help explain why my tummy has felt so gosh darn full for the past week or so.  It always feels like I've just gulped down a gallon of water in that "a bit hard to breathe deeply" kind of way.  In addition to the size, all of the baby's body parts looked good, the heart rate was strong, and we got another photo for our sonogram collection, so I'm a pretty happy camper!

In addition to my regular exam, I also took my 1-hour glucose tolerance test and had a blood draw to check my iron levels.  I'm not sure exactly when the results will be back, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that I passed with flying colors!  :)  And last but not least was the Tdap vaccine.  Apparently this is given to women in their last trimester, to vaccinate against pertussis {a.k.a. whooping cough} in particular.  The baby will get its own Tdap vaccine upon birth, but since whooping cough get be life-threatening to infants and the U.S. is currently experiencing an epidemic, it's best to receive the immunization during pregnancy.  I'm all for vaccinations, but booooooy did this sucker hurt!  36 hours later my arm is still SO sore that it hurts to dress myself or really do anything that requires lifting my arm more than a few inches.  I get the flu shot every year and am used to some soreness after that, but this Tdap soreness is a whole new meaning of sore!  Ouchy mama!  I hope it goes away soon!

I realized while looking at my calendar today that my due date is exactly 3 months from today {May 25th}, and my last day of work is exactly 2 months from today {April 25th}, so things are definitely "getting real", real quickly!

Here's a photo for anyone on bump watch!  Any new or revised guesses as to whether baby will be wearing pink or blue once born??  :)

27 Weeks

Saturday, February 22, 2014

26 Weeks

Source: The Bump
Today is the last day of my 26th week being pregnant, which means I've been pregnant for 1/2 a year!!!  There was one point in time when I feared I'd never make it this far, and now that I have it's a little shocking that the time has flown by so quickly lately!  With just about 3 months to go, things are starting to get really real around here!

As Shep mentioned earlier this week, our little bambino has been up to some gymnastics in its little womb home.  Sunday night it felt as if the baby was taking a running leap and then body-slamming itself against my tummy.  That or having a private bowling match where s/he was getting all strikes.  I swear I felt multiple body parts hit the wall of my tummy at once, and we could actually see little bumps pushing out my sweater simultaneously!  The strength of the movements was a bit shocking to me to be honest, but knowing that the baby weighs around 2 pounds I guess it makes sense!  Not to mention that all the strong kicks and punches earlier this week were a bit ironic after a little scare we had toward the middle of last week when I felt decreased activity for a couple days and called my OB in a panic for a visit to check things out.  The doctor examined me, then hooked me up to the fetal monitor for 20 minutes to check the heart beat, and then gave me a quick ultrasound as well just to ensure all looked okay.  Well, there are certainly no shortage of movements this week!!

In other scary news, I had a fever this week that put my totally out of commission for more than a day.  It was 99.5 F, so not quite at the 100 degree threshold my OB would be concerned about but made me nervous nonetheless.  That is of course when I was actually conscious...  I spent all of Wednesday in bed, mostly sleeping, waking only to visit the loo and force myself to drink water to prevent dehydration.  I had no appetite, but otherwise no real symptoms -- no sore throat, no vomiting (except when I tried to swallow Tylenol for my fever), no aches and no more of an upset stomach than I normally have.  I had a slight headache with dizziness, but that's typically in pregnancy land.  I'm not really sure quite what I had going on, but thankfully I'm better now.

I have lost a pound or so this week, but that's probably due to not eating normal meals for 1-1.5 days, so I'm not too concerned, especially since I can feel baby moving and shaking in there!  I have noticed a small space re-forming between the top of my abdomen and my breasts, which is a relief.  My chest is not that big to begin with, so it's been very weird having my boobs basically resting on my stomach for the past 1-2 weeks.  I wonder if this means that my tummy is starting to drop?  Whatever is happening, I feel like it's now a little easier to breathe, so I'm going to take it as a good sign.  The only other new thing body-wise I have going on lately is the start of some serious back pains.  Not great but not surprising since I've never had super strong back muscles and I'm carrying around a lot of extra weight out front lately.  Luckily my hubby has been kind enough to give me some back rubs when things get really bad.  :)  And of course there's the still-present nausea, but that's definitely not new!

... On to Week 27!!!

Monday, February 17, 2014

Our Little Fighter

Ever since Nicole's doctor called our baby "very active" during a sonogram he/she seems to have taken that description to heart. At first, our little one would jab Nicole with little punches and kicks now and again. Sometimes she could feel it moving around a bit.   Lately, our budding ninja seems to have taken whacking Nicole to a whole new level. The following are renditions of our child in Nicole's womb (according to Nicole).

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, and 6th Engage-aversary, to my handsome and loving hubby!  Six years ago today, he asked me to be his wife, and changed my life forever.

I still remember getting dressed that morning, leaving work to meet my boyfriend for a romantic dinner, and the surprise visit we made to the Empire State Building. The rest, as they say, is history!

Here is the site we made in 2008 to announce our engagement:

Oh how young(ish) we were!  ;)  Ah, memories...

Thank you for asking me to marry you, Hubby!!!  You're not only my hubby and baby daddy, but you're my forever valentine.  XOXO

If there were no words, no way to speak
I would still hear you
If there were no tears, no way to feel inside
I'd still feel for you

And even if the sun refused to shine
Even if romance ran out of rhyme
You would still have my heart
Until the end of time
You're all I need my love, my valentine

All of my life
I have been waiting for
All you give to me
You've opened my eyes
And shown me how to love unselfishly

I've dreamed of this a thousand times before
And in my dreams I couldn't love you more
I will give you my heart
Until the end of time
You're all I need my love, my valentine

~ Martina McBride

Thursday, February 13, 2014

100 Day Countdown!!!

Only 100 days to go until baby is expected to arrive!  And given that only 5 percent of babies are born on their actual due date, for all we know it could be sooner than that {though I hope not much sooner of course}!  Can I get a YIKES?!

Although this pregnancy has felt at times as if it's been passing by too slowly -- mostly due to my pregnant-after-a-loss nervousness and never-ending physical symptoms {yes, nausea, I'm talking to you!} -- the 100 day countdown makes me realize that it's passing by much too quickly!  We still have soooooooo much left to do to prepare for our little one's arrival.  There are classes yet to be taken, birth plans to be decided, registries to finalize, a small nursery to fix up from paint to furniture, books to read, exercises to be done, time to be spent with one another as a twosome before we officially grow our family into a party of 3...  I'm overwhelmed just thinking about all we want or need to do in the next 3 months!  But I know that time will keep passing, and there's nothing I can do about that, except to try and enjoy every minute of waiting for this baby that Shep and I both already love so much.

P.S. -- This isn't the first time this clock has marked an exciting countdown for us.  We used the same timer {with a different face plate} as we anticipated our wedding day, just about 5 years ago!  Here's a "throwback thursday" photo:

Let the countdown continue!

Monday, February 10, 2014

25 Weeks

25 weeks and counting!

Source: The Bump
I gained 2.5 pounds since last week {yikes!} so am now up a total of 17 pounds.  I hope this weight gaining speed doesn't continue over the next 15 weeks!  This week I'm going to try to focus on eating fewer desserts {starting tomorrow, since I had vanilla froyo in addition to a peanut butter cookie bar today after lunch} and more fruits and nuts for snacks between meals.

My symptoms haven't really changed over the past week {fatigue, stuffy nose/nose bleeding, intermittent nausea, reflux & gas?  still present!}, though I have been dealing for almost a week now with a very annoying soreness in the very upper inner thigh of my left leg.  It feels like the type of pain one would experience the day after doing 1,000 walking lunges.  Or riding a horse for 16 hours straight.  Seeing as I haven't suddenly started training for a new sport, I assumed maybe I'd pulled something getting into or out of bed one sleepless night.  But, once the discomfort was still hanging around after a few days I turned to Google.  Some of the posts and comments I read had me about to head to the ER, thinking I might have DVT.  But, the more likely explanations are: the baby is hitting or causing pinching of a nerve, it's caused by my ligament stretchings, or it's Symphysis Pubis Dysfunction.  Just for my peace of mind, since I've been experiencing this pain for about a week now, I'm going to place a call to my OB this week to ask whether they think I should come in to get checked.  I have a feeling they'll say it's no big deal -- it sort of annoys me how nonchalant they seem sometimes -- but I'll give it a shot.  Wish me luck!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

How To Be A Parent

As future first-time parents, it's fair to say that Shep and I don't really know exactly what we're in for.  Sure, we've both been around children before, but neither of us have ever been 100% responsible for the safety and care of a newborn!  We're planning to take a class at our hospital on basic newborn care, read some infant care books & watch some videos.  People say that many parenting skills are common sense, and I'm hoping that's true, but we want to be as prepared as possible.  I'm sure we'll both make some mistakes while we're learning our new role, but hopefully it won't be anything too bad!

Here's a funny "how to" site I came across and wanted to share:

My favorites are:

I was cracking up at the bottle testing one, because I was picturing my loving hubby easily making that mistake!  Even funnier is that when I showed Shep the photo his response was: "I would totally do that".  Do I know that man or what?!  ;)

Friday, February 7, 2014

24 Weeks

Wow, a cantaloupe!!!  That's pretty big!  No wonder I often feel a little bowling bowl rolling around knocking pins over inside my tummy.... oh wait, no, those are the baby's {many} kicks!  ;)  Kicking is still happening with great frequency, and I admit at times it's been a little bit painful.  I'm sure the kicking will only get stronger from here on out, as the baby grows and as my uterus gets a little more cramped!

Earlier this week at my 24 week check-up, my OB measured the length of my abdomen with a measuring tape, and while I don't know what the number is or what they compares it to {since this was the first time they measured me in this way} my measurement was "on target" which is good news!  To date, I've gained a total of 14 pounds and my waist has grown 5 full inches, though it feels like so much more!  Over the past 1-2 weeks I realized I was starting to walk a bit differently, and now I have a full-out pregnant lady walk.  It's only a matter of time before it becomes a waddle.  ;)

In other belly news, my linea nigra has now officially passed the top of my belly button.  And baby's heart rate at this week's check-up was around 145 bpm.  According to some old wives tales, the extension of the linea nigra indicates I'm have a boy.  But the heart beat indicates I'm having a girl.  I guess one of them is right!  ;)

I scheduled my glucose tolerance test for later this month, so will be crossing my fingers from now until then that all goes well sugar-wise.

I've been having a lot of trouble sleeping over the past several weeks.  At this point, the bags under my eyes are taking over my face.  I can't get or stay comfortable, despite the cushy pregnancy pillow my hubby bought me, and I wake up at least once but usually twice and sometimes even THREE times per night to pee.  {I guess I'm practicing for feeding time?!}  During this stage of pregnancy, I'm not supposed to lay on my back and I'm not a great side sleeper, so it's been a bit of a challenge.  I frequently wake up startled, realizing that I'm on my back, and then have to turn to my side and try to fall asleep again.  I've also started to get some minor foot/leg cramps and some minor hip/back pain.  It's all for a good cause though, so I'm trying to hang in there!  :)

Here's my 24 week snapshot.  Don't mind the sweatshirt, it was taken on SuperBowl Sunday after all!  {I'm actually not sporty at all -- I just felt particularly "loungey" that day!}

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Reactions, Part II

Note: This is Part II of our "Reactions" series.  Read Part 1 here:

You saw firsthand how our families reacted to our baby news in our Announcement Video.  Here are some other memorable reactions we received from people after sharing the news of our growing family:

Nicole's Co-Worker:  hey, i hear you're leaving for maternity leave this spring? a) i'll be screwed b) congrats

Staff Member at Non-Profit Nicole Volunteers For:  CONGRATULATIONS!!!  You and Shep are going to make the best parents ever.  I know this for certain because I've often thought about seriously asking you two to adopt me  ;)

Friend who is a News Reporter:  Congratulations to you both!!!!! This is such WONDERFUL news! I couldn't be happier for you two. I need to know more!!! Boy or girl??? I'll put out a news alert! xx

Friend's Reaction to Video:  LOVE IT!!! LOVE IT!!! LOVE IT!!!!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Car Seats, Cribs & Strollers, Oh My!

I am terrible at making decisions.  I generally don't like committing to a certain item or certain choice over others, I over-analyze everything to the point of being ridiculous, I am constantly on the look-out for better deals or more advice.... you get the point.  You know how most people will tell you to follow your gut when making decisions?  Well, the thing is that most times I don't have a gut feeling!  Nada.  Niente.  Null.  This makes decision-making an especially hard activity for me.

When I think about it, it's amazing I'm married!  Not only did I choose a life-long partner {talk about commitment! ...though that was the easy part!} but I planned our entire large wedding, from start to finish, endlessly debating over every. single. detail.  Shep will tell you that he remembers the pain of that planning process well.  Though it was a LOT of work, and took a lot of time, I remember it fondly.  Seeing everything come together and seeing all of our guests enjoy themselves so fully was such a treat for me.

So why am I having such a hard time making decisions about what most people would consider simple baby-related material items?  I know I don't have to rely on one stroller until the day I die.  I know a world war won't ensue if I don't choose the exact right paint color.  These things can all, with various degrees of difficulty or cost, be changed!  These are not life or death choices.  But for some reason, although I know that in my head, it's not clicking.

Speaking of life or death choices, since I previously suffered a loss, I am especially focused on "safety" features and the like.  Yes, I absolutely want my baby to be safe and healthy!!!  What I'm having trouble deciphering in my head though is the difference between ACTUAL, meaningful safety differences versus being overly susceptible to sales pitches about such features that I'm having a hard time finding back-up evidence for online.

One example is cribs:  Greenguard vs. JPMA certification.  I understand that Greenguard tests for ~10x the harmful toxins that could potentially be emitted by paint, glue and wood than JPMA.  However, does that warrant the extremely inflated price?  I'm extremely lucky in that I can afford the higher-priced models, but that doesn't mean I want to be suckered into spending money in a way that doesn't actually benefit my baby's health.  The problem is in some cases, there's just no way to know.  The word SIDS is tossed around and suddenly my hubby and I panic and are looking to spend a whole lot of mula on a crib and a dresser.  Then do I need to worry what else I'll be putting in the room???  What's the point of Greenguard-certified crib/mattress/changing pad if I hang a picture frame in the room that has regular wood/paint.  Does that regular photo frame "contaminate" the whole room???  If so, what's the point of the Greenguard crib to begin with.  {Now you see where my mind has been heading...}  I fully realize that most of us were raised in conditions and with furniture that wouldn't even come close to passing safety standards today, but that doesn't mean I don't want to offer my baby as healthy of an environment as possible.

The bottom line is that I am driving my poor hubby CRAZY with my indecision paralysis.  And this is only the beginning!  We haven't even gotten to NAMES or child-rearing decisions that will be lifelong commitments or that will undoubtedly affect our baby's future!  Gulp...


I blame the existence of too many choices, the use of fear by sales people for marketing purposes, and my hormones.

Decision Gods, please give me a sign!

Does anyone else struggle with making decisions as much as I do???  Please raise your hand if so and share any advice you have of how to actually go about making, and sticking with, a decision!!
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