27 March 2011

Nerd in Utero Project: Week 9

Funniest remark on my belly size all week came from my teammate, Tamara: "You can totally tell you're getting bigger.  Your belly used to be concave.  Now it's become flat!"  Love you, Tam!


This Week in Nerd Growing:
How Far Along: 9 weeks, 5 days
Size of Baby: The size of a green olive.  I bought a jar at the grocery store earlier today.  Yum.
Total Weight Gain/Loss: The same 2 pounds from last week.  Also, I finally measured for increase in bust (1 1/2 inches) and waist (1/2 inch) since we first discovered we were pregnant.
Maternity Clothes: I may have to start shopping for maternity clothes, like, next weekend.  All of my pants are snug, and wearing a belt just hurts.  I am going to need all new bras, too.  My girls are trying to escape all of my current bras from every angle possible.
Baby-related Purchases: No, but my sister-in-law's family got me a Babies R Us gift certificate for my birthday!
Gender: We keep referring to our nerd as a "he".  Just sayin'.
Movement: I haven't felt any movement, but we definitely saw movement on last week's ultrasound!  It was as if our baby knew we were watching intently--he gave a whole-body wiggle.
Sleep: Seriously…this whole bone-crushing, zombie-walking, please-don't-talk-to-me-before-9:00am kind of tired is getting old.  The doc said it was likely it will be over with the end of the first trimester.  Gosh, I hope so.
Stretch Marks: Don't want them, so I'm already using the Palmer's cocoa butter.
Belly Button In or Out: In as in can be.
What I Miss:  A restful night's sleep.  It's ridiculous at how unrefreshed I feel when I wake.  When I got up at my normal 5:00am last Monday, I had the most difficult time getting through my morning routine.  In fact, it wasn't until about 1:00pm that day that I finally felt "awake".
Cravings: Anything with cheese: nachos, mac and cheese, pizza, enchiladas, pimento cheese sandwiches…  When Michael and I shared a Newman's Own pizza the other night, I cut it into 6 slices.  I ate 4.  He ate 2.  I'm going to need more fiber.
Symptoms:
  • Sleeping like it's my job.
  • The acne continues.  It seems to be concentrating on my upper arms, so my affair with summer sleeveless tops may have to come to an end.
  • Boobs hurt less, but they are starting to get in my way.  MY boobs…in MY way.  Never thought I'd see the day.
  • Having to get up in the middle of the night to pee.  The first time I had to get up, I stumbled across our bedroom and ran smack into the wall.  This was roughly 6 inches from the door to our bathroom.  That was 3 nights ago, and my chin still hurts.
  • My mental acuity is waning.  It took me 5 minutes to figure out how to open the door to the gas tank on our new car and another 5 to figure out how to pump the diesel.  Non-pregnant me would have done it with my eyes closed.  And I keep leaving those damn bags of potato chips in the wrong place (instead of losing in the fridge like the last time, I found them on top of the fridge)!!!
Managing the Stress: Love my work-outs.  Got a pedicure with my next-door neighbor and her daughter last Sunday, which was VERY relaxing.  Getting out in the yard on the really pretty spring days is a great stress buster, too.  I'm ready to get some tomatoes and peppers planted.
Worries: Being able to afford everything we need for a baby, and that's anticipating everything goes smoothly with gestation, as well as taking home a healthy baby!  It's difficult for me to accept the cost of so many needed items for new babies.  I mean, $100 for a baby monitor?  I'd rather buy a used one for $50 off eBay.  $150 for a car seat?  They outgrow the dern things so quickly!  I can see me trying to buy used baby stuff from all my friends with kids.
Celebrations:
  • Seeing our baby move for the first time.
  • Getting the news from the doc that our pregnancy was exactly what it should be.
  • Being over the stomach virus and having my appetite back!


23 March 2011

A Textbook Pregnancy for a Woman with Not-so-textbook Ovaries

Maybe I've grown so accustomed to "abnormal" results over this past year and some months, I don't know how to anticipate getting any "normal" news from my doctor.  Of course I was excited for our second ultrasound.  In my mind, if things were developing as they should, we would be able to see the beginnings of arms and legs, as well as more definition of the head.  But there's always that nagging suspicion in the back of my mind that tells me something could be "abnormal".  Gestational diabetes?  Improbable, but not impossible.  Developmental defects?  That could happen during the growth of any baby.  Low amniotic fluid or imbalance of hormones?  Both were certainly possible.  And your anxiety is never assuaged when you are an information junkie like myself.  The access to books and websites that outline the infinite number of things that could go wrong in a pregnancy is dangerous for someone like me.

So while I sat in the waiting room of the OB/GYN's office on Monday afternoon, I tried to distract myself with articles in Time magazine and a handful of grammar worksheets that needed grading.  When Michael arrived, I turned my focus to a conversation with him.  We made tentative plans for dinner at home and complained about how he would have to go back to work when our appointment was over.  But we only briefly spoke about why we were there to begin with.  Maybe we were both a little edgy about what would pop up on today's grainy black and white screen.

Finally, my name was called.  They measured my blood pressure and checked my weight.  Those seemed to be normal.  The doctor came into the patient room.  He reassured me that having the stomach virus last week was normal for many women in their first trimester and I shouldn't worry.  That made two "normals" for the visit up to that point.  Would our ultrasound make a third?

My abdomen was squirted with sonogram jelly and the doctor got right to work.  He slid the wand around, pressing and changing the angle until he saw exactly what he needed to see.  And there our baby was in all its glory.  No longer an amorphous mass, but a mini-human taking shape.  It was what an almost-9-week-old fetus should look like.

A view of our nerd from his/her front side.  The head is on the right, and a tiny arm bud is poking out on the top.  Growth is looking downright good.

And what our doctor said next was what made my heart flutter:
"That is one good-looking baby.  This is a textbook pregnancy.  It's what we hope to see each and every time we reach the eighth week."
I could have cried.  After months of "we don't know what the hell is wrong with you" because your ovaries would rather play hooky than give you a healthy follicle, it was nice to be "normal".  Michael even gave a little chuckle at hearing the doctor's words.  He was obviously as relieved as me.  And as if the baby knew we were watching in sheer amazement, he/she gave a little wiggle.  Holy crap, our baby moved!  This ultrasound had just gone beyond all expectation.

The doctor went on about how our pregnancy was low-risk for all the concerns I had.  There was another "normal" for me.  When I mentioned the vividness of my dreams and how I was only reaching the REM stage of sleep, he threw a fifth "normal" in for me.  I don't think the visit could have gone any better.  He kindly put our baby nerd's pictures on a flash drive and sent us away smiling until our faces hurt.


The doc threw in a 3-D view because he's addicted to the technology.  Our nerd is starting to look more human and less like a wad of gum.


Thanks for your continued love and support.  It's making this pregnancy all the more special.


19 March 2011

Growing Green(s)

We grew a small winter garden of mixed greens (turnip, mustard, collard) and spinach.  It wasn't until after we had the "big snow" that the greens really took off, though.  Here's a glimpse of the botanical explosion from when we harvested last weekend.

Michael clips greens from their bed.  We harvested 5 gallons, and you can't even tell.

Close-up of one of the turnips.  We were surprised they grew as large as they did underneath the mass of greenery.

A few of the turnip bulbs we pulled up before trimming off their tops.  We did not fertilize these suckers at all.  Nature was just that good to them.

Me with the mother of all turnips we harvested.  Look at how healthy those green tops are!

Michael helping me wash and dry the 5 gallons of greens.  It took a while, and they covered our entire kitchen counter.

We gave a lot of the greens away, but they were a great part of my birthday dinner when my mom came to visit earlier in the week.  Here's a simple recipe for greens that does NOT require any boiling (which only drains their color and flavor anyway--this recipe brings out their color and flavor!):

Ingredients:

  • gallon of greens, washed and chopped
  • olive oil
  • white wine or white wine vinegar
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt and fresh-cracked pepper
  • Parmesan cheese
Directions:
  1. Heat 2-3 tbsp olive oil in a large saute pan at a medium-medium hot temperature.  When hot, add greens to the pan.
  2. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes.  Use a pair of tongs to turn greens in the oil as they wilt.
  3. After the greens have wilted significantly, pour in 2-3 tbsp of white wine.  Continue to turn with tongs.  Add salt and pepper as desired.
  4. Allow greens to cook to desired tenderness.  Always turn so they don't burn.
  5. Portion out onto your plate.  Grate fresh Parmesan cheese as a topping.
  6. Enjoy!

Nerd in Utero Project: Week 8

So the doc told us at our ultrasound (on 7 March) that we were not yet to 7 weeks.  Based on that news, our turnaround day for each new week is Wednesday, not Sunday (like I thought).  It moves our due date to 26 October 2011.


Also, Weeks 11 and 24 have been claimed by 2 of my co-workers.  Let me know if you would like to design one of our "posters" for a week number you are interested in!

Looking a little haggard after fighting a stomach virus the last couple of days.  You can laugh at my attempt at being creative in honor of the most recent holiday.

This Week in Nerd Growing:
How Far Along: 8 weeks (and a few days…I'm a little late posting this one)
Size of Baby: The size of my favorite fruit: the raspberry.
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Two pounds on, which is probably all in my chest.  My boobs are slowly invading my upper body.  Maybe I'll finally be able to fill my A-cup bras!
Maternity Clothes: I wore a loose-fitting shirt the other day that I purchased from Victoria's Secret last summer (which everyone knows they do NOT make maternity clothes).  Yet, my students were convinced it was a maternity top and told me just how pregnant I looked in it.  I know I don't have washboard abs or anything, but I still don't have my pregnant belly.
Baby-related Purchases: I'm afraid to buy anything baby-related, as I don't want to jinx the pregnancy.  I want to get past (at least) week 10 before I start purchasing bibs and onesies and furniture.
Gender: Our "psychic" powers (read: gut instinct) tell us it's a boy.
Movement: Just the movement of my uterus slowly expanding.  Apparently, it's the size of a grapefruit now.  That's one swollen uterus.
Sleep: I can't get enough sleep, it seems.  I want to fall asleep at work or right after a meal.  Growing a human is exhausting.
Stretch Marks: Do the ones on my outer thighs from gaining weight from my college meal plan count?
Belly Button In or Out: Still in.
What I Miss:  I miss beer.  Its sweet, yeasty smell, the beautiful shades of amber, the seasonal brews...  At least with with the restrictions on cheese, there are still options available based on pasteurization.  There are no worthwhile beer alternatives.
Cravings: Salty foods and anything fresh, like the greens from our garden.  I'm liking sweet foods less and less.
Symptoms:
  • Still sleepy.  
  • Still sore if I'm not in a sports bra.  
  • Still hungry all the time.  
  • Still no morning sickness (yay!), but I had a nasty stomach bug over the last couple of days where I couldn't keep down even a few mouthfuls of chicken noodle soup.  Had to get a scrip for Zofran to cease the vomiting.  Baby needs to eat!
  • Now acne is a menace.  I thought being pregnant would clear my skin faster than a week with Proactiv.  Alas, I am stuck with the skin of my teenage years.
Managing the Stress: The work-out schedule with Brittany is all over the place with both of us being so busy, but we try to manage meeting at least twice a week.  Michael and I have managed working in our yard some, and that definitely helps ease some of my anxiety.
Worries: Like I said, I just want to make it past week 10.  I realize there's not some magic threshold to cross that says that we're out of the "risk of miscarriage" woods, but I'll breathe a little easier once we pass that week.
Celebrations: Let's start a list for this category:
  • We heard our baby's heartbeat!  It was 128 bpm, and we could see it pulsating on the ultrasound.  It was ridiculously awesome.
  • We bought our first family vehicle.  And what did we get? (drumroll please...)  The VW Jetta SportWagen TDI!  I can't believe it's actually ours, but it's everything I hoped for in a family vehicle.  I couldn't be happier with our choice.
  • I celebrated another year of life.  I've always loved having a birthday on the Ides of March.  What made it even cooler was the fact that every category of the first round of Jeopardy! was themed for the Ides.
  • Michael started his permanent day shift schedule!  His hours are almost exactly the same as mine, so we'll have every evening together, as well as our weekends.  I'm no longer a pharmacy widow every other week.
  • I received TWO pieces of good news that I'm not yet allowed to share.  Those entries will have to come later.  :)

07 March 2011

Nerd in Utero Project: Week 7

After much thought, I am changing these entries to "Nerd in Utero Project".  It feels more appropriate somehow...

Still no bump, but we made it another week! And 7 is such a lovely number! 




How Far Along: 7 weeks
Size of Baby: The size of a blueberry.  Mmmmm…blueberries sound good right now...
Total Weight Gain/Loss: Not an ounce.
Maternity Clothes: Still not there, but I'm already mourning the day I can't button my favorite jeans from Target.
Baby-related Purchases: No purchases, but my fabulous next-door neighbor brought me her copy of Pregnancy Week by Week.  It's really fun to sit down with Michael and study what our baby is doing each week.
Gender: Boy nerd, girl nerd--who knows?
Movement: Still just gas...
Sleep: I'm in love with sleep.  I feel like I need a nap after every meal and all physical activity, like working all day or chewing gum.
Stretch Marks: Not yet.
Belly Button In or Out: Very much in.
What I Miss: I found pasteurized feta at Publix, so I don't miss feta anymore!  Now I just miss bleu cheese and all foods containing it.  Looks like I'll have to eat ranch dressing with my hot wings.
Cravings: I want salty foods more than sweet foods, but I favored the salt over sweets before baby.
Symptoms: So dang tired!  ALL THE TIME!  My boobs don't hurt nearly as bad (which worries me--does that mean something worth worrying over?).  And I'll knock on wood for this one--no morning sickness to date.  :)
Managing the Stress: Keeping up my work-out dates with my friend, Brittany.  I also sleep more.
Worries: It's still miscarriage.  My mom miscarried at week 8.  I've known others to miscarry even later than that.  The idea of making it this far after all of our trials and then losing the baby gives me nightmares.
Celebrations: It hasn't happened yet, but we go tomorrow for our first ultrasound!  I'm still in disbelief that we're pregnant, despite the fact I've had no period (but hey, I'm used to inconsistent periods), 4 positive home pregnancy tests (and they're 99% accurate), and positive results from the NP (those are pretty darn accurate, too).  It's as if I can't believe that we are capable of conceiving until I can actually SEE our little nerd and hear his/her heartbeat.


The Week 24 poster is going to be designed by my friend, Jodie.  She called dibs 5 minutes after the last posting.  Any other takers on those wacky weeks?



02 March 2011

Nerd in Utero Watch: Week 6

I love viewing friends' photojournalistic records of their slowly-expanding bellies.  They find their "spot" in their household to stand week to week, smile and stand sideways, and then make note of the point on their gestational timeline.  Some friends have done this form of documentation in full head-to-toe mode.  Others would rather concentrate their photos on just their bellies, excluding their faces from the shots.  No matter how it's done, though, it is meaningful and poetic.  It is a way to immortalize the single-most important achievement a couple can make: creating life.

Well, it might be VERY early in our baby-growing, but I wanted to put a spin on the documentation of my soon-to-grow belly.  Each week, I'll stand in my spot, smile and turn sideways, and hold up the week's number.  But will it be just the week number?  Oh, no no!  We will have a statement below the number that relates to the number's significance.  Some will be really dorky (like the one for this week), some will be ridiculously funny, and some might be made up (I mean, I'm struggling with the significance of 33).  And since we have so many friends and family who are following on our journey, we will take suggestions on what to post for different numbers when we get stuck and I'll give you an internet shout-out!  Heck, you could even design the number page if you're artsy-fartsy (unlike myself).

Week 6: No bump, but we're definitely growing a future nerd.  Hope he/she likes Jeopardy.

Thanks again for all the love and support since we made the announcement!  Now go out and enjoy this absurdly awesome Georgia weather!


01 March 2011

I Can Finally Enjoy the Land of Pickles and Ice Cream

We flippin' did it: we made a baby!  Bring on the bowls of pickles and ice cream to celebrate.  Just bring them in separate bowls.  I don't like it when my food touches.

OK, so you're probably wondering: How could we be pregnant if we had a negative pregnancy test on Valentine's Day?  Well, it turns out that false negatives can happen the same way false positives do.  I had my normal period symptoms: cramps, breaking out like I'm 15, pants not buttoning because of bloating.  So when I had (yet another) negative test, I wasn't terribly surprised.  I figured the Amazonian pygmies were staging another attack on my uterus.

Well, my period never came.  I woke up the morning of the 16th ready to spit nails.  I needed an answer: either have a period or have a positive.  It's way lame to have no period and a negative.  I decided to take another home pregnancy test…at 5:00am.

That's when it happened.  A  v e r y  f a i n t  plus sign appeared.

Holy shit, a plus sign?!?  I don't pee plus signs!  I needed a second opinion.  There was a very real chance I put my contacts in the wrong eyes and wasn't seeing it correctly.  That, or I was hallucinating.  I ran to wake Michael.

"Does this look like a plus sign to you?"

"What?  Huh?  Let me see…"  He stares at my pee stick with his sleepy eyes.  "I think it is!"

See what I'm talking about?  It was like looking at a Magic Eye puzzle, and I never can see the stupid hidden picture.

We hugged and kissed and screamed in our PJs.  Our joy was met with anxiety and lots of "now we have to…" plans and ideas.  While I readied myself for work and double-checked my contact lenses, Michael made me our first "We're Going to Be Parents" breakfast.  We were riding high.

But I wasn't going to buy what this pregnancy test was selling until I had a confirmation from the NP.  I vowed to call her after work.  She was incredibly excited for us and scheduled me for the next day.  Patty, my favorite nurse, was the one to draw a blood specimen.  She proclaimed her excitement when she saw the paperwork to test my hCG levels.

The positive from the doctor's office was confirmed Friday, 18 Feb. 2011 at 4:30pm.  I had hounded the doc's office all day, only getting a busy signal.  But when I finally got through, Patty answered and squealed with delight as she told me the good news.  What made the moment even more special was the fact I was with two very close friends/co-workers when I received the news: Tamara and Tamela.  They have dubbed me their love child (OCD like Tamara--my "mom", a smart-ass like Tamela--my "dad"), so they started going through a list of "grandparent" nicknames they wished to be called.  What an incredibly happy moment.

So for the FIRST time in 20 months of trying to conceive, I present to you: V. Dub, pregnant woman.

--------------------------------------------

This Week in Bun Baking
How Far Along: 6 weeks
Size of baby: The size of a sweet pea.
Total Weight Gain/Loss: None.
Maternity Clothes: Not yet.  But my friend, Jean, is convinced that I will magically pop a belly overnight, so it may happen sooner than later.
Baby-related Purchases: Got an app for my iPhone called "BabyBump" where I can track my progress.  I also bought a pregnancy planner at Barnes and Noble.  I came thisclose to buying a baby book, but decided against it.
Gender: Won't know for a while, but I know Michael wants a strapping boy.
Movement: Does gas count?
Sleep: Still get to sleep on my stomach, so I'm good for the time being.
Stretch Marks: Not a one, but I plan on swimming in cocoa butter, just in case.
Belly Button In or Out: Innie for now.  Michael says protuberant belly buttons scare him.  Maybe I'll cover it with a Band-Aid when it juts out.
What I miss: Unpasteurized cheeses!  I had to pass off my newly-purchased contained of feta to my friend, Jessica.  Greek salads just aren't the same without feta...
Cravings: Food.  Just food.  I like to eat.  I do it 5-6 times a day.  I crave food.
Symptoms: General fatigue, but I'm always tired from my job anyway.  Oh, and my boobs hurt like hell.  They make me want to wear a sports bra at all times.
Managing the Stress: I'm back at the gym, working out at least 3 times per week.  Yoga happens at home when I need it.
Worries: Miscarriage.  It happens to lots of women, and I have a rather unruly hormones, so it seems completely possible…  BUT, if it does happen, we do have the satisfaction of knowing that we actually can get pregnant.
Celebrations: I finally got to shout it from the roof tops!  Actually, it was in front of the staff of my school.  And, of course, it's now on the blog.  But that is akin to "roof top shouting" for me!


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