Wednesday, April 24, 2013

26 Weeks- The End is Near!

 26 Weeks

     Twenty-six weeks seems like such a long time in some ways and such a short time in others. The end is nearing as we spend our last week in second trimester. Third trimester is going to bring all kinds of fun stuff like our next 3D/4D scan (in only 4 weeks!), our baby shower, maternity photos, and most importantly...prepping for labor! We have officially made it to the "double-digit" countdown phase with only 98 days left until our guess day. This time I'm anxious to meet our little girl but at the same time I'm cool with her staying in there a little while. She is so low maintenance, and extra easy to go out and about with right now!
     Lucy is about the length of an eggplant and about 2lbs. Her nerves are developing even more as she works on her sucking and grasping reflexes. The skin is taking on more color as it begins to produce melanin and baby fat is deposited underneath it. Her eyes are beginning to open now, although she isn't seeing a whole lot. Brain-wave activity is kicking up and she is now able to actually respond to noises she hears and when I poke her through my belly, which is often.She is growing so fast right now which is probably why I've developed a new found desire to eat everything in sight. If I'm not eating, chances are I want to be. I've put on a whole 6lbs since my first doctors visit, I'm surprised I haven't gained 20 just in the past week alone. I've been craving just about everything that is bad for me. They say you crave sweet and salty with girls and considering the nearly empty bag of dill pickle lay's chips that is sitting next to me I'd say that's about right. I have to start watching my sodium intake though. My ankles, fingers and wrists are beginning to swell and my wedding ring has been safely tucked away and replaced with my "fake" wedding ring that I won't be too upset about losing in the event it needs to be cut off.
     School is also winding down for me. We had our last clinical day yesterday which was bittersweet. On one hand I will miss the amazing experiences of caring for patients and helping people, but on the other I will be SO happy not to be getting up at 4am every Tuesday! Our last lecture was today and we also had our pharmacology final. I was really worried about this final but I thoroughly surprised myself with a 97% on the exam, thus securing my "A" in the class. Now I just have to take the nursing course final next Wednesday. Hopefully I can surprise myself then too. I'm really quite sad that I won't be with all my friends for the coming semester but I'm also feeling much better about our choice to defer the third semester.
     The next three months will be full of fun and exciting things. I'll be spending the summer enjoying my time with just Roxas while I can. I know once Lucy is here my attention will be spread a little thin, especially in the first few months when newborns are at their neediest. Hopefully I'll be able to manage two kiddos without losing my mind too.

Until next time...


Monday, April 22, 2013

First pregnancy vs. Second

     I've often been told of how different the first child is from subsequent children. A friend of ours calls it "the binky rule". This is how the binky rule breaks down: First baby drops the binky you throw it out and get a new one, or at the very least sterilize the thing in an autoclave. Second baby drops the binky you rinse it off with soap and water. Third baby drops the binky and you wipe it off on your shirt.
     Pregnancy is no different. There are countless little blogs out there that highlight the differences in 1st vs. 2nd pregnancies and some of them I agree with, some of them I don't. Here are some of the top differences I've found so far.

1) The obsession
1st Pregnancy: I read every baby book they ever made. I obsessed over every baby development website. I had the baby's room done by about 8 weeks and the cradle was set up in our bedroom by 6 months. A whiteboard on our refrigerator boasts a countdown of days/weeks that is updated promptly every morning, and every week I drag out my camera and do a weekly picture.
2nd Pregnancy: I bust out the baby books when I type my blog posts, and occasionally look at the websites. I took a little longer to finish Lucy's room but it's still pretty much done, and our whiteboard is still counting down. The cradle is still sitting in my garage waiting to be assembled though.

2) The Attention
1st Pregnancy: Everybody and their dog seemed to be as excited as we were. I was bombarded by questions of how I was feeling, how the baby was, advice for when he arrived and tons of other questions. There were 80+ comments on the first ultrasound picture I put up, and excitement just oozed out of people.
2nd Pregnancy: *cricket*cricket*cricket* Lest you get the wrong idea,  I actually enjoy the lack of advice and questions. I will admit it's a little disappointing at first because I was so used to a certain level of excitement from Roxas. We are just as excited and happy to have another little munchkin in the house and that's all that really matters.

3) Going Out
1st Pregnancy: Ok, I don't want to toot my own horn here but...I was a pretty cool pregnant lady the first time around. I would drive our friends to the bar, hop up there and enjoy my Dr. Pepper while the boys had their beer and then drive them home. We went out AAALLLLL the time (not always to bars) going to various dinners, lunches, movies, social gatherings etc. It was great. We were still free.
2nd Pregnancy: Go out? Ok...who is going to watch the kiddo? Do you think they'll watch him on such short notice? How long do you think we can reasonably expect the grandparents to put up with our galavanting? Hmmm...maybe you should just go, I'll stay home with Roxas.

4) The Timeline
1st Pregnancy: It dragged on and on and on and on. It seemed like I waited forever to get that cute baby bump. Every morning I scrutinized my abdomen for any changes. I longed for just some kind of symptom to signal the baby growing within. It wasn't until at least 30 weeks when I began getting uncomfortable.
2nd Pregnancy: My tummy began pooching out almost as soon as that second line showed up on the test. By 12 weeks if I wore a regular t-shirt there was a definite bump there. Now that I am rounding the last week until third trimester I'm waddling like a duck, huffing and puffing like a smoker, and just generally all over uncomfortable. 

5) Enjoyment
1st Pregnancy: I spent a ton of time rubbing my tummy, playing find the baby, and making video of his kicking antics. I would talk to my tummy, sing songs and read books all the time.
2nd Pregnancy: Ah, that's right...the baby. Well she gets to hear my terrible singing in the car...that's good enough right? If she gets going on a kicking spree I don't exactly have the luxury of stopping what I'm doing to record it. That's just life with a toddler don't really have the luxury of stopping anything to do anything if it's related to yourself.

6) The "Plan"
1st Pregnancy: I had our hospital bag packed to the brim with stuff like music, candles, a massage tennis ball, and my trusty birth plan all typed out. None of these things saw the light of day. I think my birth plan is still in its little envelope tucked away in a front pocket.
2nd Pregnancy: No, I don't have the bag packed...yet...but I do have a list in my head of what it going in it. Birth plan? HA, that's what I have a husband for. No, this time I'm packing comfy PJs for myself, my pillow and that's about it.

7) The Stuff
1st Pregnancy: I spent A LOT of time surfing baby stuff websites and buying stuff that I knew I would really, really, really need. Yes honey the baby really does need three types of bouncers.
2nd Pregnancy: I still spend what time I can surfing the web for baby stuff but I've become unbelievably more practical, and thrifty. Sure there are a gazillion adorable little girly toys and accessories but I highly doubt any of that stuff would make it out of the closet. No this time my wish list looks a million times more practical. Although I do NEED that $300 double stroller...NEEEEEED.

The last difference really isn't a difference at all but a similarity:
8) The Love: There is no difference for the love I feel towards Lucy compared to the love I feel towards Roxas. Even though I am much more aware of the fact that I will spend my first several months as a new mommy very sleep-deprived and looking a bit like I could be on the set of the walking dead, I still love this little girl with all my heart. That will never change no matter how many children we have. 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

25 Weeks- One Tired Mamma

     25 weeks today and just like that, another week has gone by. It's been a trying week with the semester coming to an end and Roxas working on getting his teeth in I feel like I've been run over by a bus. I miss the days when I could just put my feet up and relax when I was feeling rundown. There is no sitting down and relaxing now. Well, I could sit down and relax but then Roxas would probably destroy half of the house.
     Just another two weeks until third trimester and coincidentally the end of my second semester of nursing school. I won't be going back to school this fall so I will be on my own "maternity leave" until January next year. I'm looking forward to getting to spend those first few months with Lucy and find a routine that works for us before school resumes. It will be a nice break but there are so many friends I will miss by staying behind.
     Ms. Lucy is growing by the second it seems. My instructor asked me if I was wearing a smaller sized scrub top this week compared to the previous one. Apparently my growth over the past week is quite noticeable. She measures up at about 13 1/2 inches and is heading towards the 2lb. mark. This week begins an intensive growth spurt and maturation of the nervous system. More body fat is being deposited and capillaries are forming just under the skin. The cortex of the brain is developing into layers which will allow her to think, play and feel in complex ways. Something kind of strange but interesting...her nostrils are starting to open up this week. Up until now they have been plugged with mucous. If she has hair, we would be able to see the color now. I'm betting she'll be a blond, but who knows maybe she'll have jet black hair at birth like I did.
     If fetal personality is any indication how a baby will be out of the womb then my hopes for a quiet, sleepy, well-behaved baby are not high. She moves all the time and kicks really, really, hard. I'm almost positive my insides are black and blue. She has some serious power behind those little limbs. During my test today I was having a hard time concentrating on the questions while I was being pummeled.
     My body is beginning to give me the signs that I need to start behaving myself a bit better. By the end of the day I no longer have my ankles anymore and my joints hurt in places that I didn't even know had joints. I also breathe like I just ran a marathon just from getting the mail. It's pretty sad really. I'm not sure how I will get through the summer with the 120+ heat and a crazy toddler to round up all the time. I probably won't leave the house (and the A/C). We have another doctor appointment next week and I can't believe how quickly those appointments creep up on me. Seems like I was just at the doctor. Sometimes it seems like we have an eternity left but then again...there aren't all that many weeks left to go.

Until next time...

Friday, April 12, 2013

I Have Issues

     Something I don't talk about a lot is my issues. Granted everybody has issues but for me it's been affecting my life for awhile now and the weird thing is I never realized it until Roxas was born. I suffered from a pretty nasty case of post partum depression (PPD) after Roxas. I am really, really, good at putting on a front and never revealing how I'm really feeling in my head. Heck, half the time I could talk myself into saying I was fine and I'd believe myself. After Roxas I had a hard time keeping my happy face on and things began to show through the cracks. People began noticing, family, friends, and mostly myself.

     I had always wanted to be a mother, it was a passion that burned in me for a very long time. So when I actually became one I had the idea that I was going to be an awesome mother who never got upset when her baby cried, let alone allow him to "cry it out". I would never have a nasty feeling towards him. I would never secretly wish for my life back. Truth be told...I've done all those things. I know I'm not a terrible mother. Roxas is loved, well cared for, happy and healthy. We're doing something right. Still, the birth of Roxas and resulting depression spurred me to actually get some help.

     I found myself in my primary care physicians office telling her how I felt. All the nitty-gritty, awful, feelings. We talked more and I walked out with a prescription and a referral to a counselor. I met with the counselor and learned a lot about myself. It was odd, she would ask a question and I'd go yeah, you know what that is exactly what it's like. Then she said something that, if I'm honest, I have wondered about before. She said "You sound exactly like you have a mood disorder". Great. I'm crazy.

     What I found was looking back at my behavior and feelings there were somethings that were perfectly normal but then there were some things absolutely not normal. I had never been able to explain the weird feelings I would get and I kind of assumed they were just normal for a growing teenage girl. They weren't normal. I have cycles of hypomania, which are not as severe as a full-blown mania but they are the times where I get excited, hyper, can't sleep, and want to do 8 projects all at once. It's great really. I have energy, I want to do everything and anything, those states I'm not too bothered by. Then there are the depressive cycles. These suck. I get into a "funk" for usually 3-5 days where I don't want to do anything. Food doesn't sound good, so I don't eat. I am almost constantly teetering on the verge of tears, I will feel worthless and usually this is when the "I'm a terrible mom" thoughts start in. I have no joy anymore, and I just want to lay there and slip into oblivion. This is also the state where I can become angry very quickly and with no warning. One of Kenny's favorite stories is how I shook him while we were working on our house one day. I hate this story because I remember the feeling. Yes, I was frustrated about something but in a nanosecond I went from just annoyed to so full of rage it's scary. I've been known to scream, yell, throw things, break stuff, and my famous trick of just leaving when upset. I overreact and once it starts I'm pretty worthless at stopping it. That is the worst thing- I can't just snap out of it. It's like asking a paraplegic to wiggle their much as they really want to...their body just won't let them. That's how it is. I realize I'm in a depressive state but I can't stop it.

       Thankfully the majority of the time I'm balanced between the two states but it can tip one way or the other instantly. My medication gave me some relief, although other types of medications were discussed to try and really get these mood swings under control. The problem with the other meds was their potency. They have serious side effects and many of them are unsafe for breastfeeding (let alone pregnancy). I went off of my one medication after finding out I was pregnant because even though it's considered to be "OK" for pregnant women...I don't trust anything. The benefit was not worth any possible risk to Lucy. Thankfully it has been studied to the max concerning breastfeeding and they've found it's just fine. So I'll be back on it after delivery, but I'm also going to give the placenta thing a try (again). I've read so many stories from other moms with mood disorders that have benefited, I just have to try it. I'm doing it myself this time though, the last "professional" I had just stole my money and organ. Long story for another day.

     Anyways, as a result of being off medication for the pregnancy all of my crazy has come back. Pregnancy hormones don't help one bit, they tend to shift me into one cycle or another. It was really, really, bad in the beginning when the hormones were at their craziest and I had just come off my meds. It got better for awhile but recently I've gone through another hypomanic cycle and begun my depressive cycle. For me they do tend to happen almost back to back, like my body over-corrects the mania and goes depressive. It is a constant struggle to keep myself from totally losing it, and having a family to care for (oh and then there is school) can push me to my limits during these times. I've been trying to learn how to cope with my moods better and learn what helps them and what makes them worse. It's a huge challenge, and one that I'm pretty quiet about but I feel like I shouldn't stuff it away anymore. It's a part of me and it's made being a mother more of a challenge that I ever thought it could be.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

24 Weeks! It's V-Day!

     Twenty-four weeks marks a very important milestone, it's "V-day" for Lucy! V-day is short for viability day and it's a term a lot of pregnant women use to mark the point when a fetus is considered to be viable. Most hospitals and doctors in the US will not intervene to save the life of a fetus if it is less than 24 weeks gestation, however past this point most doctors will use every available resource. Kind of the difference of doing nothing, and doing everything. So it's kind of a big deal. Of course the chances of survival still aren't splendid (40-70%) at 24 weeks and even then it means crazy intensive medical intervention and adverse developmental effects. Still, it's something...and something is better than nothing.

     My little acrobat has been very busy putting on the ounces! She now weighs more than 1 1/2 pounds and is about a foot long. From this point on she will gain about 6oz a week. She has even more muscle tone, and an incredibly good right hook. Babies are the most active between 24 and 28 weeks which Lucy has made perfectly clear. I'm not sure if it's just that I've been feeling her move for so long so it seems like more but she moves A LOT more than Roxas did. She gets going and my belly starts popping, jumping and rippling all over the place. Usually this happens when I'm trying to go to sleep. The skin is still pretty transparent but as baby fat starts filling in she will begin looking all cute and pink. Her lungs have fully formed but aren't ready to function outside the womb on their own just yet. The parts of her eyes are all there too, but for now they are fused shut. She is proportionally perfect now, a miniature version of herself on delivery day. I can't wait to meet her.

     Some days I feel like a cow, and others I feel tiny, but one thing is for's going by incredibly fast. I've begun playing one of my favorite games that I really missed: guess the baby part! She really likes shoving her elbows and fists into my side so more often than not I can feel her by just pushing on my belly. This of course makes her kick and punch but I enjoy it. I've been having another run of particularly annoying braxton hicks, but so far they aren't causing any issues for us besides making me uncomfortable. I've managed to put on a little bit of weight now, a whole whopping 4 pounds! I'm enjoying this phenomenon now because I know in a few more weeks that scale is going to be telling me a different story.

     It is really amazing to me how hard it is to wrap my head around the idea that there is another little baby in my belly. Intellectually I get it but until I actually hold her, see her, smell will not be real. I still have a hard time believing we have Roxas, never mind the fact that he is a year old. We have a video of right when Roxas was born and even after watching it recently, I can't believe I was there. I mean, obviously I was, but I can't believe that was me and I had a baby. Really it seems more like somebody just handed us this tiny human. Then I can't believe I'm going to do it all again. Hopefully faster and with no Pitocin involved this time.

     Thinking about all this got me thinking about all the life events we will see with Lucy. Images of a little girl getting to meet her favorite princess for the first time, dress up, tea parties and dolls give way to make-up, boyfriends and various talks. Then I see Kenny walking a fair-haired beauty dressed in white down an aisle with rose petals underfoot. Here is generally where the tears start welling up. Then maybe someday, if I'm lucky, the image of my baby girl with a baby of her own in her arms. Yup...there are those tears. Anyways, all of these ideas and thoughts swirl around my head but hardly ever seem real. I try to imagine how it will be seeing Roxas meet his baby sister, watching them grow up and flourish...but it's like trying to look through mud. It's not something you can know until you experience it. I'm excited, afraid, anxious, elated, euphoric and terrified all at once.

Just for kicks and giggles, the top picture is today and the bottom one is 24 weeks with Roxas.

Until next time...

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

23 Weeks- Who hit fast forward?

     Twenty-three weeks and less than 120 days left until the due date! I kind of took that whole "everything in the second pregnancy happens bigger and faster" thing as an exaggeration. It's not. It seems like somebody hit my body's fast forward button. If I didn't know better I would think I was in third trimester- not second! I mean really, I feel a bit slighted here. I am supposed to enjoying three months of boosted energy, leveled out moods, and just generally enjoying pregnancy. Instead I'm putting on my compression stockings (oh so sexy), waddling like a duck, and watching my ankles slowly merge with my calves. It's a glamorous thing, growing humans. My belly seems like it is just growing more and more, inflating overnight. I am absolutely bigger this time. Looking back on my pictures from Roxas, the way I look now is about how I looked around 27/28 weeks then. On the plus side my hair has recently become incredibly soft, it's the little things right?

     Speaking of little things...Lucy is growing and growing and growing. The weeks between 22 and 24 are kind of hard to measure but she's about the size of a small doll and probably weighs around 1 1/2 pounds. She is working on laying down that adorable baby fat. Her vestibular system has matured enough to allow her brain to make sense of movements, and her other internal organs are all working hard on maturing too. We had our doctors appointment last week and the doctor measured just about everything there was to measure and she is growing right on track with her due date (hey, maybe she won't be late! Ha.) She is a happy and healthy little girl, she even took a few swings at the doctor while she was doing the ultrasound. Her heart rate is a nice 151, and if you believe old wive's tales...goes along with the "girl" side. According to the doctor she is still a little girl, so at least that fear is alleviated now. I know ultrasounds are never 100% but I'm 99.99999999999999% sure she is a girl, just from what I can see on the scans and what the professionals are telling me. I was a smidge worried that I was going to have a TON of pink stuff to return but alas it still looks like our future will still be very, very pink :-D
 This is her face, looking straight on
 A little foot (it looks huge because it's magnified)
 What we all wanted to know...still a girl!

     In other small human news, Roxas is growing up fast too. I know Lucy has kind of taken over the blog lately but Roxas is making all kinds of leaps and bounds too. He is now a professional at walking. He walks just about everywhere he can and loves it. For now it's not that much more of a hassle having him walk versus crawl. He gets into just about as much trouble. We took him to his very first Easter Egg hunt (since last year he was oh so tiny still) and he did great. I had been helping him learn how to pick up eggs and put them in his basket at home and all our training paid off! 

     He finally got a few more teeth, his top two teeth have come in and the other top two are hard at work making their break for the surface. Of course this means I have a VERY cranky little boy on my hands sometimes. It's one of the most frustrating things trying to help a teething toddler. You just can't explain to them why it hurts or what is happening and it sucks. He has been developing his own little personality. Testing his limits with us as parents with some rather undesirable behaviors like hitting and throwing things. Here I thought having a baby was hard...babies are nothing compared to toddlers!

     I have no idea how I'm ever going to figure out how to have a baby and a toddler coexist in the same house. Both needing my attention at the same time. I guess I'll learn in a few months. We still aren't sure what our final decision on the whole school thing is yet. Honestly for every "pro" I come up with there is also a "con" to it. It's a really tough spot to be in. My doctor said she would be fine letting me go back at 4 weeks post partum which would be if Lucy came right on her due date and no later. She even offered to induce me a week early to give me an extra week of recovery. That is absolutely not happening. No way. At all. EVER. First of all I'm vehemently opposed to evicting a baby before 40 weeks without a very good medical reason and secondly the risk of C-section goes up dramatically with induction and not only do I really just not want that but if I had a C-section...well that's a minimum 8 week recover time...and I couldn't go back to class anyways. Yeah. Not happening. There are just a lot of things to consider and it's a really tough choice to make. I've talked with several people about it and for now nothing is in stone but I'm leaning more on the side of deferring my semester. It's a lot of travel, I mean A LOT, so that really limits the amount of time I would be able to spend with Lucy. I'm blessed to have an amazingly supportive family who will bend over backwards to help us but will it be worth it to miss those first few months of her life? Will it be worth it to potentially lose out on a breastfeeding relationship? Will it be worth that crazy, insane, inhuman, amount of additional stress? Sure, I know I COULD do it...but would it really be worth it...just to be done in May instead of December next year? There are about a million reasons why and why not and we are still thinking and praying about it.

    That's all that is really going on for now. So, until next time...