Monday, August 31, 2009

Intuition Fails Me - Week 16

This week was marked by the much-anticipated milestone of fetus development being reached when we could finally find out the sex of the baby. I say 'could' because if we waited for the ultrasound at the doctor's office then we wouldn't know until the 22nd week because of the way my monthly appointments fall. The "official" ultrasound is to measure the development of the baby, the organs and all sorts of other medical things with the side note of "do you want to know the sex" thrown in at the end so it happens at about 20 weeks. I might have mentioned before that I am NOT a patient woman... There is no way I could have waited until 22 weeks!! We got super lucky and got an appointment for Monday evening squeezed in between the end of my work shift and the beginning of the hubby's night shift at the cheapest place we could find in the mall. Since we only needed the information and weren't interested in the video or keepsake package crap, I figured cheaper was better in this case. This entire pregnancy I have KNOWN, not just had a strong feeling, but KNOWN that I knew what we were having so this exercise was merely a formality so we could officially start shopping. Our daughter was so excited to be coming along because for weeks she had been asking how long before we could know (she's obviously inherited my impatient gene!) So, I'm lying there on the table, belly all coated in goo and the announcement comes. My reaction? "Are you sure?" You see, I KNEW this baby was a boy - had been calling it 'he' for weeks - had been knitting a masculine colored blanket - had been focusing on boy names - and how could it be right when he said "IT'S A GIRL!" How could my female intuition have failed me so entirely?

Yes, I was a bit disappointed. Our daughter was over the moon that she is getting a SISTER and couldn't stop jabbering while the hubby and I walked out of the mall behind her discussing our shared disappointment. I'm not having babies at 40 so we know this is our last one and we were both convinced we would get our idyllic dream of having one of each. Except now that had just been blown out of the water. My control-freak tried to convert the disappointment into something more tangible like disbelief siting the fact that I am "only" in my 16th week and the beginning at that so technically it could have been too early to tell and they just didn't want me to be able to come back later since we went for the cheap package. I even went as far as to tell my sister that we were NOT ready to start shopping until the diagnosis had been confirmed by my doctor. That lasted all of about 10 hours until the next day when my co-worker who has background in Radiology and a wife who is a sonographer took a look at the ultrasound photos and declared it a "textbook perfect example" of a baby girl's parts. Disbelief now back to disappointment which only lasted another couple of hours because then I started thinking of all the benefits and joys of having another girl. We already know we make gorgeous girls - one look at our daughter is enough to prove that. I will NEVER have to pretend to like or endure baseball that a son would be playing. The chances of either of our daughters wanting to follow in Daddy's footsteps of dirt bike racing are minimal. And I am already a total pro at raising girls! I also reminded myself that I had secretly been scared shitless thinking I wouldn't know what to do with a boy which now I wouldn't have to worry about. The hubby got over his disappointment much more quickly than I did and is content to have a houseful of women. (Poor guy, even the dog is female!) Part of me must have known there was no reason to withhold anything since we started spreading the "It's a Girl" news on the drive home from the mall. I got a kick out of my daughter wanting to be the one to tell everyone that she's getting a sister!

The rest of the week was a blur of sleep deprivation after attending a concert with my brothers and sisters and second-grade homework overload on top of preparing for the last camping trip of the season. Wednesday I heard from my doctor on the last blood draw testing from the genetic screening and my results were perfectly normal (as we expected them to be after the first round of tests). Luckily, I am still feeling very good with no complications. Sometimes I still have moments of disbelief that the whole thing is even real. I'm starting to feel more little flutters that my mind says logically must be the baby moving but it is so infrequent that it could be gas, too! My baby bump is rounding out nicely and hopefully soon I'll be VERY CLEARLY pregnant and not in that gray area of 'it could be weight gain or it could be a baby' that I'm quite certain every woman must go through regardless of her build before pregnancy. I have still not purchased a single item for the poor baby growing inside but there's still time and we are slowly gearing up and making necessary preparations to re-task the office/playroom into a nursery and obsessing over girl names rather than boy names. The most amazing thing? Welcome to the 5th MONTH of pregnancy! Where has the time gone already? Seriously!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Double Junior Whopper

Not many times are there 'blog worthy' moments that would warrant a post while at a concert... But there was one tonight! My sister picked me up from work early because we have General Admission lawn seating and wanted to get here before the gates opened. We hit the Burger King drive through instead of paying $10 for a slice of icky pizza. Nothing noteworthy about Burger King drive through, right? Until the following exchange took place:
"Can I get a double junior whopper?"
"Sorry, we don't have a double junior whopper"
"You have a junior whopper, right?"
"Well, can I get one of those and get an extra patty?"
-wait for it-
"Oh, you mean a double junior whopper?"
It was at that point we looked at each other and my smartass said "isn't that what you said?" We were cracking up so bad she could barely answer his question on whether she wanted cheese on that. I tell you, the IQ requirements are super low at Burger King these days!

OMG I just saw a guy with a mullet! (and is that marijuana I smell?!) Rock on!!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Highs and Lows - Weeks 14 & 15

The last two weeks (weeks 14 and 15) were a crazy roller-coaster ride of highs and lows. First, we went in for the dreaded and fearful genetic screening tests. We decided to do it just for piece of mind but with all the talk of my "advanced maternal age" and statistics being thrown around and things they were testing for that could go wrong, I admit I was a little more worried than I probably should have been. Call us cold and callous but it was such a relief when both the hubby and I were honest with each other about the fact that if there were indications of severe problems, we would most likely choose to "interrupt the pregnancy" which I guess is the polite way of putting it. (As a woman, I am so glad I have that choice and it is still a legal option in the USA - even though I hope never to have to make it!)

The testing itself was also one of the highs because as part of the screening we got to have a pretty extensive ultrasound. We were able to take our 7-year old who LOVED seeing the baby and getting to be involved. It was so surreal to watch the monitor and see how feisty and lively the baby is - constantly moving around and waving at us - and yet not be able to feel one bit of it yet. At one point the baby had decided to flip over and wasn't cooperating so we took a break (OK, I had to pee so bad!) and my daughter became like this drill instructor reminding me that I was supposed to be pushing on my tummy to get the baby to move around. It was so much fun to have her there with us and feel like she was a part of the whole process. After a great discussion with tons of our questions answered by the genetic counselor, we headed home for the process of waiting - something which I don't do well AT ALL. This all happened on Monday and the counselor said (and I quote!) "if you don't hear from me with the results by next Monday, give me a call". I of course figured we would hear long before the following Monday....

In the meantime, the following Monday was time for Girl Scout camp which I had signed my daughter and I up for months before I was pregnant and included many hours of planned horseback riding activities. I called my doctor and asked for specific permission on whether it was safe for me to be riding or not (with fingers and toes crossed!) He gave the green light which kind of surprised me considering the "no running" rule but I said THANK YOU and didn't question it. Now "camp" implies somewhere in a rural setting - in this case, up a canyon about an hour from home. As we were driving and I was trying to navigate to a new location without the help of a male or GPS, in the back of my mind was "today is the day I get to call and bug them about my test results" with the plan to make that call when we arrived. HA! Little did I know we were driving into not only 3 days of horseback riding and camp songs, but 3 days WITH NO CELL PHONE OR INTERNET SERVICE. Of course because I am a good and responsible cell phone citizen and try not to make calls or text (or read Facebook updates) while driving, I didn't realize this until we were there and what turned out was miles from the nearest service area. I carried my phone with me the entire first day and every time we came to a new spot in camp, I would check to see if I had service there. It was so frustrating when there was never a single bar - especially when we were surrounded by flushing toilets, showers, and electrical lights. I got over it quickly and enjoyed camp but always in the back of my mind was the hope that there would be a voicemail with good news waiting for me when I was back in cellphone range.

Wednesday arrived and that afternoon we bid farewell to camp. I turned the cell phone back on and waited for the inevitable alerts of incoming voicemail and text messages I was certain to have missed to signal our official arrival back into civilization. Came they did - but not until we'd been on the road for more than 7 miles. (Good lord!) When we stopped for the slushy I'd promised my daughter, I checked the voicemail and NONE OF THEM WERE FROM THE GENETIC COUNSELOR. I was pissed... if there's one thing I hate it is people who do not meet their commitments. I don't care what you tell me to expect, I will expect them. Since I was told I would get a call LAST WEEK and that if I hadn't heard I could call on Monday and it was now WEDNESDAY and I still didn't know what the tests had shown, I was not a happy camper.

Several days and several phone messages later - each one I'm sure in a more bitchy tone than the previous one - finally resulted in the genetic counselor calling me on Friday. After all the anticipation and accompanying worry - which was exacerbated by the fact that I had signed up for a service through my insurance company where I was able to see the test results but still not know what they meant - we got the news that I am officially in the "low risk" category for genetic disorders. What a sigh of relief. We have one more step in the genetic testing processes which includes more blood work this coming week to measure the specific markers for 3 genetic disorders. Because I am low risk, it is merely a precaution and we expect everything to be smooth sailing from here.

The next big step is that this week I am far enough along to find out what the sex of the baby is. Totally frustrating is that there are three different places you can go and pay for an ultrasound to determine the sex of the baby and because we live in Utah, NONE OF THEM ARE OPEN ON SUNDAY. So, that didn't work out today and who knows when we will have time during the week to go before we leave for the last camping trip of the season on Friday. We are hoping to squeeze it in as early as tomorrow if we can get an appointment so stay tuned!!

Meanwhile, I am still feeling great, getting some of my appetite back for things other than cold cereal, and am finally able to walk without inner-thigh soreness from my horseback riding experience. I tell you, there is one good thing about being a horse girl, and it is toned thigh muscles! I am starting to be able to feel little movements from the baby and besides the very unmistakable baby bump it is the first thing that makes it in-your-face real for me. I still worry about how I will love another child as much as I do my first and how I will go back to sleepless nights and carrying a diaper bag and everything else that goes with having a newborn but man, am I excited!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My new favorite quote

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

A very dear cousin sent me this quote today and said when she saw it she thought of me. Indeed it very accurately sums up my philosophy in life – well, that is if I had ever actually taken the time to DEFINE a philosophy for my life. More accurately perhaps is that it sums up how I act. I’m always going to be the friend who tells you exactly how I feel about {insert topic, whatever it is we happen to be talking about}. And I won’t lie if, yes, those pants make your ass look fat. If you don’t want to hear the honest answer, don’t ask the question. I don’t ever apologize for being outspoken and opinionated because I’ve learned exactly what this quote says – those people in my life who matter never mind that I say what I think and most of the time I am endeared to them more because of this quality. The converse is also true – those that do mind don’t matter to me because anyone not willing to allow others to have an opinion AND FREELY EXPRESS IT shouldn’t be allowed the same consideration to express their own, or in the very least have anyone give a shit what their opinion is since they won’t listen to what others have to say either. I can’t tell you how free and easy living life this way is or how uncomplicated life becomes. I pity those who care more about what other people say or think about them than just being themselves. What a time and energy waster that is! So, here’s to being who you are and saying what you feel – WHATEVER THAT IS – and thanks Yayma for the great quote!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back to kickin my trash

Ok, I will admit to being in a total downward spin since Friday about being taken off the running circuit against my will - mostly because I thought there wasn't anything else out there that would give me the workouts I wanted and had come to enjoy. Last night I loaded up my NextFit keychain trainer with a new training program I found under the heading of "prenatal fitness" and hit the gym this afternoon. I am happy to report that it was a low impact treadmill workout that totally kicked my trash! At one point I was speed-walking at 4 miles per hour on a 7.0 incline and loving the sweating going on. Now that I am over THAT little hurdle, it is time to patiently wait for genetic screening test results and the baby to grow enough to solve the mystery of what sex it is! Ummm... the only problem with that being I am SO NOT a patient person!! At least I can still have great workouts with all the crazy waiting going on!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Week 13 - The good, the worrisome and the bittersweet

Week 13 was marked with another doctor's appointment. It was such a crazy roller-coaster ride! First, I got to hear the baby's heartbeat for the first time - strong and steady and totally amazing. Then, I got super depressing news - no more running (or anything high impact) until I deliver. I know, I just got his blessing to run 4 weeks ago but in reviewing my chart from my last pregnancy he realized I have a short cervix which means no running this time around. It made the fact that my first trimester was so filled with queasiness and exhaustion that I couldn't run even more heartbreaking considering I could have been running that whole time in blissful ignorance until I was ordered not to and now I didn't even have that. Oh well, I will have to get over it and lament the loss of the months I had envisioned running with a cute little baby bump until it got too big and I surrendered to walking and cherish the last two or three weeks I've been enjoying it. Walking will now be the mainstay and I'll take what I can get. After all, I'm not so totally selfish that I would risk my baby just so I could run and I'm glad I found out the risks now than had I continued running and had problems later.

After that little blow, we talked about genetic screening and I got to hear my new least favorite phrase 'advanced maternal age' more times than I cared to count while my nurse tried to get me an appointment with the genetic counselor next week since it has to be done before I'm 14 weeks. We decided to do the early blood test screening which is non-invasive and will give us an idea based on OUR genetic markers and not simple statistics what the odds are for a genetic disorder or defect. I am a bit less apprehensive when I heard that there is 'only' about a 1% chance with my 'advanced maternal age' of having a Downs Syndrome baby and that there is an even higher chance of causing a miscarriage with an amniocentesis. A blood test and another ultrasound and then we'll know our specific chances of problems and then decide if any further testing is warranted. I'm looking at it as a smart and routine test - ahem, considering my 'advanced maternal age'.

After all the ups and downs are behind me, the fact remains that I am still healthy and still pregnant and well past the point of any early miscarriage concerns. And, in about 3.5 weeks we can go and find out what we are having. I'm SO not waiting until the doctor visit ultrasound which won't happen for 8 MORE WEEKS. It is worth the cost to go to Fetal Photos and pay for them to tell us as soon as they can tell what the sex is. I have now started and abandoned knitting both a light blue and a white with girlie colored bits baby blankets. Neither of which had my heart in them because what happens if I spend all this time and effort and I picked the wrong flavor? So, I came into some really soft red yarn and have settled on my own version of a unisex color and am happily knitting away in between my trying to fit enough reading time into my still shortened evenings to finish the MASSIVE book club pick for the month.

I've officially entered the "it feels so great to be pregnant" period that I remember from my first pregnancy and I'm glad I get to be one of the lucky few who feels that way about being pregnant. I had a full-body massage earlier in the week which did wonders for my little bout of sciatic nerve irritation and overall aches and pains and enjoyed an evening at my girl friends new pool with friends who helped me put the whole 'advanced maternal age' into perspective with laughter and fun. Here's to another good week ahead, even if it doesn't include running!

Monday, August 3, 2009

The First 12 Weeks

I am officially in my 13th week of pregnancy which marks the first week of the second trimester. Today I found myself wondering exactly where those first 12 weeks went. Oh yeah, I vaguely remember them from the nauseated and exhausted fog that has only recently been lifted.

My first pregnancy was a dream – I got nauseous a total of 2 times, that’s it, no vomiting, no nothing. This time it is extremely glaring the toll that being an “older” pregnant woman can really take. I took a pregnancy test two days after the scheduled arrival of my monthly period which put me in my 5th week of pregnancy. Almost immediately (like after I recovered from the shock that it had really happened and I’d taken a second test just to be sure….) I was nauseous at the slightest smells, if I got too hot, if I got too hungry, if I drank my morning cup of beloved coffee, and pretty much if the moon wasn’t in perfect alignment with the other heavenly bodies. It lasted all day making me scoff at the whole term of “morning” sickness. I found fun ways of keeping it at bay including never leaving my a/c climate controlled house if I could avoid it and eating small evenly spaced meals heavy on the protein which kept it manageable at best. Luckily for me, no vomiting! I say lucky for me since I can’t think of many things I loathe more than vomiting and can tell you the exact date and time of the last time I did because each time I give into it and lose the battle it is memorable.

On top of all the queasiness going on, I was SO exhausted ALL THE TIME. Since I work full time there was no option for a nice little nap in the afternoons and most often I would find my head bobbing at my keyboard in the afternoons anyway. By the time I got home from work I only had energy to sit on the couch with my feet up and usually would end up napping with a break for dinner before it was time for bed. I, the ultimate night owl, was hitting the sack before 10pm and sleeping until 7am just to be able to make it through an 8 hour day of work. The worst part of being tired to the point of it being debilitating was the now GLARING EVIDENCE of what exactly I do around the house. No more Mom running around behind the 7-year old picking up the leavings of meals, folding the TV/couch blankets, fluffing the pillows on the couch, making sure the dirty clothes are in the hamper and the towels picked up off the bathroom floor, loading the dishwasher or doing laundry on a regular basis. Nope, none of that was happening and as a result our house looked like it had been invaded by the trolls of filth.

Because of all the queasy and tired crap going on, I was barely able to keep up with my exercise routine – which probably pissed me off the most if I’m really being honest. Come on, after all the hard work of sticking to an HCG regiment and losing 30 lbs, you’re telling me I can’t even keep up my running so I can keep my figure for as long as possible? My 3-times a week running was reduced to leisurely strolls around the neighborhood and then only if I felt up to it. On top of that was the nagging question, should I really be running still now that I was with child?

At week 10, we had our first doctor visit and saw the little peanut on ultrasound. It was very reassuring to watch the flutter of the heartbeat on the monitor with proof there really is a baby in there and that things looked normal for as far along as I was. Of course it wasn’t all flowers and butterflies because during all the verification of pregnancy and seeing the evidence, there was also a ton of blood I had to give – I think 8 vials in total! – the pee in a cup routine AFTER the discomfort of being poked and prodded with a full bladder and let’s not forget the horrible reality check discussion about how I’m over 35 which means all sorts of talk about genetic disorders and additional tests we might want to consider. Ok, so I’m not QUITE 40, but my odds of having a chromosomal defect have significantly increased since the last time I had a baby at the ripe old age of 29. At least we didn’t have to make any decisions about that… yet… but it is right around the corner if we are going to do early testing. The good news of the hour was that I really can continue running with my doctor’s blessing until I don’t feel up to it anymore. My running shoes thank him so we can continue our love affair!

The other memorable and somewhat frustrating issue of the first 12 weeks was how quickly I started “showing”. I can officially no longer fit into any of the pants that I could wear when I found out and I have the beginnings of a distinct baby bump. There is nothing more absurd than the cost of maternity clothing that you will wear for about 6-8 months and then toss in the goodwill pile except how early I had to start buying and wearing them this time around. I didn’t start needing maternity clothes with my first baby until about my 5th month and this time I was in my 2nd month. The only sanity saver is that from talking to other expecting moms on their 2nd plus babies I found it is apparently normal to show earlier with each pregnancy. Something about your uterus having already once expanded to accommodate a growing fetus sends it racing to the finish line the next time around. I guess if you have to be gaining weight because of pregnancy it is nice to have something tangible to show for it in a protruding baby bump.

So, that in a nutshell was the first 12 weeks for me but I am happy to report being one of the very lucky few who must endure these early pregnancy symptoms ONLY in the first trimester. About week 11, I suddenly stopped and looked around and realized I was coherent and not nauseous. Hey, when did that happen? Who cares, really, I’m just going with it and thanking my lucky stars… AND running every chance I get and trying not to obsess about the fact that I have lost weight since my doctor’s appointment. I’m eating healthy and that’s all that matters anyway!