Friday, September 28, 2012

Heading out...

Written sometime before 7am this morning, before a very long but very fun day...

Well, here we are on our first flight as a family.  The 4am wakeup call was pretty painful considering we didn't get to bed quite as early as we'd have liked.  I wanted to get Jacob into bed at 8pm, but that didn't happen until 8:30, and then he was apparently a little excited because he was up until about 9:45 or so.  Ugh.  I panicked about my wardrobe until about 10pm, when I finally decided it wasn't going to get any better.  Craig and I were in bed by a little after 10pm, but it took a while for me to fall asleep, and both of us woke up quite a bit during the night.  When we got up at 4am, I said, “Well, that was a good nap!” because that's pretty much all it felt like.  I'm doing OK now after getting ready, getting through the airport chaos, and having a little something to eat and drink, but yeah, it's been a busy morning.  Considering I'm writing this at a time when I'm normally still laying in bed a couple minutes away from my alarm clock buzzing, and we happen to be on a plane somewhere 20 minutes or so south of Rochester, so far so good. 

Things were a little tight at the airport because we got there about 15 minutes later than I wanted to and the security line was long.  Then we ended up in the worst possible line because it was the cut-through for crew members.  We had about a dozen crew members cut into our line to put our luggage through the x-ray machine, so the process was a little longer than would be ideal.  Then we had to stop in a bathroom to get Jacob out of his pull-up and PJs, but that turned into an argument because he's in love with the new jammies I let him wear last night (so he had nice ones to wear in public) so we compromised and I let him keep his shirt on.  I may or may not have had to shed a couple tears to get to that compromise, but while I may have embellished a bit, the last thing I needed this morning was to argue about clothes so I didn't have to embellish much.  We'll have to change once we get to Atlanta anyway (it's going to be 87 there today, so this morning's jeans will not work!), so we'll tackle it then.  It's a pretty cool shirt, I'll admit.

We walked right on the plane after the bathroom stop, and were probably among the last dozen or so passengers to get on.  Oh well.  We had enough room for our carry-ons and we have three seats together, so that works for me.  We took off about 10 minutes late, but it was an easy take-off and Jacob seemed to like it.  We flew right up into clouds after a couple minutes and it's just starting to get light now.  Hopefully we have some good scenery upon arrival.

So, Jacob's watching a movie, Craig is sleeping, and I'm blogging.  We should be to Atlanta in about an hour and a half (two hours total).  Not bad considering this trip isn't much longer than our normal drive to Buffalo and we'll be in a totally different place!  So far the sleep deprivation hasn't been much of an issue with Jacob, but it'll be a long day outside in the heat so we'll see how that goes...for all of us.  More to come soon...

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Letters to Baby #11 - August 10, 2012

Dear baby-to-be,

One year ago today was your great-grandmother's funeral.  Today I went to my doctor for my first official prenatal visit.  What a difference a year makes.  Last year we were hoping to try to get pregnant, and this year, here we are at the 10-week mark as of tomorrow.  Later than we'd thought it would be, but happening nonetheless.  I'm a little sad you won't get to meet your great-grandmother (either of the ones on my side, for that matter) and I'm hoping that Nana, Daddy's grandmother, stays healthy enough to meet you next year.  Having you meet one, at least, would bring me a lot of joy. 
Today's appointment was just to get the dos and don'ts, decide what screenings we'd like to do, and make an appointment for our big ultrasound when we'll find out when you're a boy or a girl (and hopefully confirm all is well with all your body parts, too!).  October 17th will be a big day. 

Monday's appointment is still coming and I hope to hear your little heart beating nice and strong.  But for tonight, I'm extra sleepy and ready for bed.  One of these days I'll feel almost normal again!

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Leaving on a jet plane...

So, in two days we'll be hopping on a plane and heading to Atlanta.  The fact we're even doing this trip is a little beyond my comprehension, but at the moment I'm glad we're doing it and really excited to get away.  It'll only be for three days, but we're going to pack a lot of fun (and years of wanting to do something like this) into those three days, so I think it has the potential to be awesome.

Notice I said "potential".  It also has the potential to be a disaster, and a rather expensive one at that.  The trip isn't ridiculously expensive or anything, but for three days it's a bit more than we'd normally spend to go anywhere else more local.  Our flights were just over $200 each (plus insurance, which was only $15 each--can never be too careful with a four year old and a pregnancy), which I thought was reasonable.  Our hotel is definitely within the realm of what I'd be okay with paying on any other weekend jaunt.  The rental car seemed to be a good deal when I shopped around.  The only other big expense on this trip is baseball tickets, and since that's the key reason for the trip, I can't really worry about that.  We're going to visit the zoo while we're there, and our zoo membership here gets us 50% off there, which is awesome.  We'll have meals, souvenirs, and a couple other activities, but considering the circumstances I don't think we did too badly.  And, of course, consider the fact that we're doing this now with just three of us.  In a few more months there will be four and traveling will get infinitely more complicated.  Oh, and there's the little detail that Craig's favorite baseball player is retiring after this season so we would never have this exact opportunity again anyway.

Taking a trip like this is completely unlike me.  The only time I've ever done something similar was the time I spent $450 on a flight to Phoenix (the next day!) when the Knighthawks were playing in the NLL Championship Game.  Again, it was a rare opportunity--they were so good that year that the odds of them winning seemed favorable, and I just couldn't bear to miss it.  And it turned out to be completely worth it--they won and it was an AMAZING weekend.  I'd still be kicking myself to this day if I had missed it.  Anyway, about a month ago I was thinking about how Craig's favorite baseball player, Chipper Jones, was retiring, and how we'd talked before about going to Atlanta for some sightseeing and a ballgame.  Craig's 40th birthday is coming up, and let's be honest, by December I may be completely unmotivated to give his big day all the attention it might deserve.  So, it seemed like a trip to Atlanta to catch Chipper before he retired might be a nice way to celebrate early.  And surprise--when I checked the flights, I was shocked at how reasonable they were.  So, we discussed it a bit and considered our options.  I researched hotels and rental cars to make sure the whole trip would be reasonably priced.  Of course, when I finally confirmed that everything would work, I hopped back online and the flights had jumped literally $100 a ticket.  Seriously?! 

Part of me thought that was fate's way of telling us it was just a crazy idea, but I continued to stalk travel websites anyway, hoping the flights would drop.  Just when I had given up, I got an airfare alert that there were cheap flights again.  Turned out that suddenly the dates a couple days later than our original dates had dropped in price (believe me, I had been checking them all along, too), and out of the blue we were back at or below the original fares.  We had a couple options this time around, as well, because Buffalo's fares were also cheap and Craig has to head to Toronto right after we get back anyway.  The flight times all around weren't super ideal for our schedules, but eventually we settled on ones that worked and booked them ASAP before anything else changed.  I booked the hotel a day later, Craig bought baseball tickets after that, and I finalized the rental car over the weekend.  Trip booked.

Because it's only for three days, I'm trying not to freak out about packing.  My goal is to get everything into carry-ons so we can avoid checked bag fees and waits.  The weather is looking pleasantly summery, so it's nice to be able to pack up clothes we wouldn't need to wear in the meantime.  My wardrobe is going to be interesting, of course, as it's pretty limited these days anyway.  I have some trying on to do tonight to make sure a handful of summer stuff still fits. 

My biggest concern is probably in-flight entertainment.  Jacob knows that he is limited to whatever stuffed animals/toys fit into his backpack.  I will obviously make room in my bag for my laptop (Craig will have his, too), and my iPod and Craig's phone will be helpful as well.  I'm planning on making sure we have some coloring books and crayons, Jacob's travel Magna Doodle, and hopefully a travel game of Connect Four (which I want to go buy--he plays it at daycare and I like it too).  It's not a long flight, but our flights are at weird times so I want to be prepared for anything, with as many distractions as possible.  Airport waits aren't particularly fun either.  We'll have the bonus of this being Jacob's first set of flights, and therefore it will be a novelty.  Hopefully he'll be so excited and fascinated by the whole thing that he won't even think about being difficult.  But considering our departing flight is at 6am and our return flight is very late on Sunday (figured it was better than spending money on another night at a hotel, just to leave right away in the morning), he may not have full control of his behavior at those times so we'll just have to wait and see.  If nothing else I'm looking at this as a trial run for our trip to Florida in November.  Better to figure out what works for Jacob now, rather than having to do it among four other kids and with a much longer trip duration.  That trip will be fantastic regardless, but I'd like to work out the kinks now, if possible. 

We're all very excited but it's been fun to see Jacob get so excited about it.  He just doesn't get super excited about many things.  But he's REALLY excited about this.  He asks every day if today's Atlanta, and I finally sort of got him to understand the number of days before we go.  He's definitely counting down.  I'm really dreading having to go pull him out of bed sometime after 4am on Friday, though.  I'm planning on keeping him in his PJs until we're through security, hoping that we can minimize our "get ready" time that morning, transfer him to the car still asleep (fat chance), and have a clothing change to kill time in the terminal.  But it should all be worth it when we're in Atlanta by 8:30am and have the whole day at our disposal.  At least, that's how I've felt every other time I've taken a ridiculously early flight...without kids, of course.  Let's hope adrenaline takes us all a long way. 

It should be quite the adventure regardless, and I'll certainly try to post when I can.  In the meantime I'll keep the baby letters coming...

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Working it Out

Last time around I worked out until I was about 7-1/2 months pregnant.  I was quite large by that time and it got too hard to do my normal class without modifying everything.  The class I'm taking this time around is similar in the activities, but the structure is a little different and covers a wider variety of exercises from week to week.  Each part of the class targets a different muscle group for an extended period of time.  For example, we might do a series of exercises that target certain areas of the body--say, four different exercises--for three sets in a row.  Four exercises for 20 reps, the same four exercises for 15 reps, and the same four exercises for 10 reps.  All of that repetition is tough.  In the old class we'd jump between parts a little more, so there'd be a built-in break for each muscle group.  I like the class and definitely need the workout--it's all I can seem to fit in right now, even though I'd rather do two workouts a week.  I'm just worried that I won't make it as far this time.

Originally I wanted to run while pregnant.  Not for long, but at least until it started to get uncomfortable.  However, I happened to take a running break around the time I got pregnant, and once I was, I was a bit out of the groove and I was nervous about whether my body could handle it.  They say you can keep doing what you were doing, but I had sort of stopped and didn't want to push it.  The couple times I tried I didn't like how it felt and I was more nervous afterward than it was worth.  So I gave that up pretty quickly.  I had just started going to this class a little while before I got pregnant so I kept that up, but then the instructor got injured in a deer-on-motorcycle accident (not bad, thankfully) and for that and other reasons I didn't go to a class for quite a few weeks straight.  I was nervous about getting back to that, but the last couple weeks have been okay.  I have to take it easy a bit and I'm noticing my belly already getting in the way sometimes when I need to crunch my mid-section.  I'm a little tired after tonight's class, which was a tough one, and of course that makes me wonder how long this will last. 

Heading into this pregnancy I sort of assumed that things would go pretty similarly to last time.  So far that has not been the case.  I felt sick longer, I've already had more discomfort early on, and I'm getting bigger sooner.  What if I can't work out for very long this time?  What if I get huge?  I'm already worried that I'm going to be less cute-pregnant this time and the discomfort is going to continue.  Giving up workouts early would mean a loss of fitness leading up to delivery and the chance I'll gain more weight than last time.  Obviously I'll figure out how to manage it if it happens, but I've just learned I can take nothing for granted this time around.  I'll miss working out if that gets taken from me early this time, so for now I have to just do what I can and hope for the best.  One workout at a time...

Monday, September 24, 2012

Hello, Fall...

Usually I'm fighting the arrival of fall with every fiber of my being.  I don't want to give up the warm weather or the sunshine, and there's usually so much fun in summer that I dread getting into a "boring" routine of weekends spent at home.  But you know, this year, I'm not fighting so hard.  I'm actually a little happy to see fall arrive, aside from significantly cooler weather and the knowledge of what comes after fall.  But even still, this year is decidedly different. 

I think there are a lot of reasons for that.  First, the end of our summer was incredibly busy.  Most of September hasn't been any better.  We spent almost every weekend doing something.  I can't even tell you how many weeks of church we missed because we were on the road somewhere or getting ready to leave on Sunday morning.  We probably could have tried harder a couple of times, but when everything is so busy already, dragging ourselves out of bed early only to rush around and spend the time at church thinking about what I have to do the second I get home so we can get on the road just didn't sound appealing.  It was nice to be back yesterday and just sort of chill during that hour.  And it was nice knowing that with the exception of this coming weekend, we should be back there on a regular basis from now until at least late February.  I like seeing family and I like doing fun things, but I also like my house and I like getting things done, and neither of those things had much of a fighting chance for the last few months. 

I totally feel like we failed at a few things this summer.  We didn't swim in our pool enough, we didn't take warm after-dinner walks as a family, we didn't go to enough playgrounds, we didn't go to any festivals, and only hit up the zoo a couple times.  We were either a) not home enough; b) busy with other things; or c) too tired to bother.  Obviously the nausea and exhaustion that accompanied the last two months of summer didn't really increase my motivation to do much of anything.  The busy weekends were probably a nice distraction at times, but being able to nap and rest at will would have been pretty helpful, too.  So while I'm bummed that we didn't do nearly all of the fun stuff I'd like to have done, at the same time it's nice to put that behind us and take a little of the pressure off.  When fall comes, I pretty much have one thing on the to do list as far as family activities--we need to go to a pumpkin patch.  Generally that's pretty doable.  If we get in some bonus stuff, like a fall festival (we'll be missing the one I always want to go to this weekend--bummer), whipping up some fall-ish treats, or playing in a pile of leaves (which won't be in our yard, thankfully), then great.  But the pumpkin patch is the big one and we have a handful of weeks to accomplish that.  We'll have things to do in the meantime--probably a college football game in a couple weeks, possibly a visit from my oldest friend after that, and a trip to Buffalo in late October to see my cousin who will be in town--but truly, it will be so nice to just have time at home to accomplish a few things and relax a bit. 

Obviously this year things are also a little different because we have a baby on the way.  Every day, week, and month that passes is a little closer to finding out more about this baby and eventually meeting him or her.  That itself is exciting and good motivation to keep things moving.  I certainly don't want to wish this time away, of course, because I want to enjoy our last months alone with Jacob.  When he's acting like a normal, pleasant child, he's really fun to hang out with these days.  When he's not, well...you know, time can't go quickly enough at those moments!  But we've had some good moments lately and I know that someday I'll look back at this phase (with rose-colored glasses, of course!) and think how special it was to have that time with only one child. 

It's also nice to know that this winter will be broken up a bit by baby preparations and eventually the baby's arrival.  It will add a little boost to the part of the year that's normally the hardest for me--waiting for the weather to break and start heading toward spring.  I keep hoping that we'll get another freakish March this time around so I'll have nice enough weather to go for walks in.  But even if that doesn't happen, I'll have the best distraction possible. 

But I do love so much about fall--the comfortable weather, the decorations, the foods, the leaves, the coziness--and it's nice to know that's all coming.  Beyond that is our trip to Florida, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and then the countdown to baby!  There are so many other good things to look forward to in the coming months that fall is just another part of the fun.  And for once, it's nice to leave summer behind and embrace fall the way I should.  Here we go...

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Letters to Baby #10 - August 7, 2012

Dear baby-to-be,

I'm really starting to notice some changes now.  The nausea is still here—though I think sometimes it lays off a bit, and sometimes it feels worse than ever.  Sometimes I wonder how I'm ever going to get through this for a couple more weeks...and sometimes I'm just grateful because it's a sign all is still well in there.  Sometimes I get nervous, thinking things are going too well or wondering if I got a little too ambitious during my workout.  I try to be very aware of my body when I'm working out, but it's a tough balance between doing what I can while I can and being cautious.  I need to stay active for as long as possible, because that fitness and stamina is key as this goes along.  I need to keep up my energy and strength, and the more cardio I can do all along, the better off I will be when the time comes to bring you into this world.  God knows I needed it last time.

Anyway, the changes I'm noticing are in my belly.  I'm definitely coming across more moments where I can't suck it in.  If I eat too much or have to pee, it sticks out and is hard to hide completely.  Yesterday I was trying to finish up something at work and I really had to go to the bathroom.  By the time I got there, I could tell my belly was puffed out, and it took forever to empty my bladder.  I think once it starts getting squeezed even a little bit by the space you're taking up (and I think muscles relax while pregnant, too, so it's harder to “squeeze”), it just cannot function normally when it's pushed to its limit. 

Tonight I went to the gym, and I kept noticing my belly looking awfully large in the mirror.  I was trying to suck it in and rearrange my shirt, but nothing was working!  It'll be a while before it's really a problem, but possibly within the next few weeks getting dressed is going to be an issue.  It happens quicker the second time around, so I wouldn't be surprised if suddenly I wake up and nothing fits.  I figure I'm going to take off work on my birthday at the end of this month and set aside some time to pull out my maternity clothes, take stock in what I have, then go shopping (alone!) and find some transitional stuff to get my through until the real stuff fits.  I can't help but wonder if I'll care less this time around, or not.  Once my belly is legit, I think I'll be more willing to show it off this time as long as it's as cute as last time.  But until then, I'm not sure I'll be willing to look fat.  Or maybe I just care less this time around.  We'll see.  It's all part of the fun. 

I've been staying up late watching the Olympics for the last week and a half, and that hasn't been doing me any favors at all.  It's only two weeks once every four years (can't believe you'll be three and Jacob will be eight next time around!), so I just sort of want to enjoy it while it's here and I guess I'll deal with the consequences.  You'd think in an era of great technology I'd just DVR it and go to bed, but no...it's more fun to watch it (sort-of) live.  Hopefully after it's all over, I'll start training myself to go to bed super early.  I need it.  Last time around I remember a lot of nights falling asleep on the couch very early.  Hopefully this time I can fight that and be smarter.  I'm working on four-plus years of sleep deprivation at this point (even though Jacob's a pretty great sleeper—I think I'm just a lighter sleeper in general now), so I can only imagine it's all going to hit me harder this time around.  Hopefully in the next couple weeks I'll start feeling considerably better and I'll be able to take advantage.  I feel behind on a lot of stuff, and there's a lot to do in the coming months so I need to start soon.  Time is going to fly!  I just wish it would fly a little bit in these next couple weeks so I can start feeling better, and we'll see how things go from there. 

I have a doctor's appointment next Monday and hopefully I'll get to hear your little heart beating then...can't wait.  Grow strong :)

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, September 22, 2012

News and Notes, Week 16

- The nausea finally seems to have subsided for the most part.  I haven't had more than a fleeting moment for about a week.  I'm still beyond tired and have moments where I'm feeling off, but at least one symptom is off the list.  Of course, last night I added another.  I'd had a bit of a headache most of the day and last night it blew up badly.  We'd had a lovely little movie night with pizza and "Field of Dreams", but I was in bed before Jacob, at 9:15, because I couldn't even function anymore.  It stuck around most of the night and is still lingering today.  It was brutal and now I'm wondering if I need to get an adjustment or something.  I had shooting pains up my neck, too, so it may just be an alignment thing.  I'm hoping, anyway.

- Despite the headache issues, I did manage to get bit by the nesting bug today.  When I got up this morning I pulled out my fall decorations, which led to dusting my dining room and washing my kitchen windows.  It felt good to get a couple things done and get the house looking a little more fall-ish.  Just in time...

- I'm still eagerly awaiting real, obvious kicks from the baby.  I've had some moments where I've felt something, but it's still not clear when it's a kick vs. gas or a muscle spasm.  I didn't start knowing for sure until about 18 or 19 weeks last time, so I'd think I'd have to be feeling the real thing soon.  Sometimes if I'm laying quietly on my side or my pants are squishing my belly in a certain way I think I'm feeling something, but again, it's hard to know.  I'm really looking forward to feeling those kicks because it's the first little connection with the baby.  And once the kicks are obvious from the outside it'll be even more fun because Jacob can feel them, too!

- This is our first weekend at home in a long time.  It's nice to not be rushing off down the Thruway.  We've crammed in a lot of good family time in the last month or two, but it's nice to have a break.  I need the sleep, I need the time, and I need the lack of a set schedule.  We'll hopefully run some errands tonight and grab some dinner out.  Tomorrow is the Bills game, and that's about it.  I can make a good, home-cooked dinner and not rush to do my Sunday evening laundry.  The downside of all of these weekends away is that Jacob is out of the groove when it comes to his naps, so going down for one today was a challenge.  Ridiculous.  I am really going to miss naptime when it's officially done.  That break is always so nice.  At least I have another baby's naps to look forward to, and hopefully by then Jacob will be able to more easily take care of himself...even if it means locking him in his room with Legos for a while.

- I don't know what I wore at this stage last time I was pregnant.  I must have had some really frumpy clothes I've since donated, because right now I look at my closet and I'm not seeing many options. Of course, last time it was the middle of winter and I could hide behind some bulkier sweaters, but I don't own that many of those.  My jeans are still workable with a ponytail holder around the button and I have some fat pants that still work, but my shirts are pretty much of the non-maternity empire waist variety.  I have a couple other things that still work (cardigan sweaters, for example), but it's a struggle.  Next weekend should be interesting as well, since we'll be in Atlanta (!) and I'll have to manage three days of warm weather outfits.  I have capris from a fatter phase, bigger shorts from post-pregnancy last time, a summery dress, and hopefully a skirt or something.  Again, the tops will be trickier, but hopefully I can figure out something!  Regardless, I never thought I'd be in such a hurry to get bigger!

That's about it for now.  I'll keep posting the letters in between current posts...so I hope you're enjoying the insight into the last couple months!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Letters to Baby #9 - August 3, 2012

Dear baby-to-be,

Well, tomorrow marks nine weeks.  So far so good.  I have a couple doctor's appointments coming up in the next week and a few days.  I'm sure those will bring back some memories from last time, when I was doing all of this for the first time and was pretty clueless.  It was all so new and different then.  On one hand it was scary because everything was so unknown.  On the other hand it was exciting because each day had the potential to bring something new.  This time around I know a little better what to expect, and that's both good and bad.  I know that there are fantastic parts that I can't wait for, like when you start kicking me.  But I also know the bad parts—the awkwardness of getting bigger before my belly is obviously pregnant, how hard it is to do things and how careful I have to be about everything, and how hard it is to bring you into the world and take care of you once you're here.  I also know how amazing it is once you are here, so there's that to look forward to, even if it's hard.
 
I'm still not feeling good, and figuring out food is a challenge.  I have some crackers in the morning to try to stave off nausea until I get to work and have breakfast.  Breakfast works for a while, but at 11:30 I have a snack (usually a banana or yogurt), which helps me not be starving by lunch.  I usually have another snack around 4pm, just because I'm getting hungry by then and I can't get too hungry before dinner or else the nausea takes over and it's hard to pick anything to eat or feel good enough to make it because everything just feels gross.  It's a challenge staying awake at work or having energy to play with Jacob.  I'm feeling a little overwhelmed right now just looking around the house—so much cleaning that needs to be done, parts of the yard growing out of control, toys everywhere, and some home improvements to do before you arrive.  We need some new carpets and I need to design a big boy room for Jacob so you can have his baby room.  It's a lot to do and I just need to take it one step at a time.  Hopefully it'll seem easier when I'm not feeling so crappy all the time. 

Anyway, nine weeks sounds pretty good right now.  Hang in there and keep growing!

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Ways Pregnancy is Like Having a Child

Now that I have a child, I'm starting to really realize that pregnancy prepares you for parenthood in weird little ways.  In some cases it prepares you for the early days, and in others it prepares you more for toddlerhood and the preschool era.  Nevertheless, I don't think I realized the first time around how similar pregnancy and parenthood can be.
  • Sleep deprivation - Obviously sleep deprivation is worse with a newborn or sick or teething child than at any other time, but even pregnancy makes sleep a valuable commodity.  I wake up at least a couple times each night, usually at least once to pee and another time due to some odd dream.  It always takes me a bit to get comfortable again.  No matter how early I go to bed (let's not get crazy--I do have things to do in the evening, so 10:30 is about as good as it gets), I still wake up tired.  I know it will only get worse from here, though.  On a related note, early nights are a side effect of both situations, as well.  You don't get out much at night with a baby, and I'm too tired to be that adventurous while pregnant.  My body lets me know pretty emphatically when I have stayed up too late.
  • Picky eaters - Kids are infamous picky eaters, but right now I'd add that label to myself.  It's probably a little less now than it was about a month ago, but I still have moments where nothing sounds good and my ability to eat is sketchy.  It is very hard to pick out a dinner option when everything sounds gross.  And when I do eat, I'm either instantly full or realize too late that I ate too much.  It makes eating in general a tough proposition.  I just don't know what food is going to work and what isn't.
  • Snacking - On the other side of the coin, early on I literally had to eat every couple hours or I'd be crazy nauseous.  It didn't have to be much, but I needed something in my stomach or I was absolutely miserable.  After a while even eating didn't help the nausea, but if I didn't eat I'd get crazy hunger pangs on top of it, so that was pretty miserable, too.  It's just like having kids--I have to have snacks available at all times.
  • Thinking about what we're eating - When you have a baby who's starting to eat solids, you're extra conscious about what you're feeding them.  You only want to give them the best, purest food.  You keep sugar and processed crap to a minimum, and pay extra attention to allergens that might trigger a reaction.  During pregnancy, there's always that whole "eating for two" thing, which is a fallacy.  There are times when I take some extra liberties--knowing this is the one time that I can probably deal with a few extra calories without gaining a ton of weight--but I still think a little more about what I'm putting into my body.  I'm trying to eat fruits, vegetables, and things without artificial sweeteners or high fructose corn syrup.  I don't always succeed, but at least I'm thinking about it.  I also think twice about nuts, since there are mixed study results out there about whether eating nuts while pregnant impacts a baby's chance to have an allergy.  I also just read that a mother's high fat diet during pregnancy can lead to increased risk for things like breast cancer for not just her daughter, but for the next generation as well.  Scary.
  • Carrying around a little extra weight - Parenthood usually brings with it some extra weight, be it from pregnancy itself, or having less time to eat right or work off what's there.  Pregnancy changes the body regardless of weight, too.  I may have weighed less than I did in years, since before I got pregnant (nursing aside--the weight loss there was crazy), but my stomach never did look quite like it did prior to Jacob.  Add in the fact that once you have a kid you spend half your time carrying (or dragging) a small child, not to mention all of their gear, and life is a weighed down world once you have a kid.  Pregnancy just adds to the fun, since these first few months just feel like I've put on an extra ten pounds (even though I haven't...my clothes just fit that way), and as it goes on I'll just start feeling like a whale.  The moment you realize you can no longer stand up from sitting on the floor in one try or easily flip over in bed is quite a bummer.  Trying to squeeze through tight spaces (like between two cars' side mirrors) and realizing you can't also stinks.  That happens, too, when you're carrying a live baby and their stuff, so it's all just preparation for the months to come.
  • Life revolving around a bathroom - Any potty training parent knows the exact location of all bathrooms nearby.  And so do all pregnant women.  I'm already visiting the bathroom at work an average of four times per day.  I absolutely have to go before I leave work, or I'm sprinting into the house after daycare pickup because I have to go so bad.  Heck, I still do that even when I do go at work.  Jacob's pretty well potty trained (daytime at least...night might kill me if it lasts much longer), but I'm still pretty in tune with bathroom locations anyway, which works out well for both of us these days.  But when we have to find them, it has to happen fast
  • Getting beaten up - Not gonna lie, when Jacob gets ticked, it's not uncommon for that kid to try hitting or kicking.  It's unfortunate and it's something we're working on, but suffice it to say that I've taken some shots here and there.  I've taken my fair share of unintentional shots, too.  I am pretty sure my crooked septum is the result of a couple head shifts from Jacob.  And don't even ask Craig about what Jacob's done to him far too many times!  Hopefully soon, however, I'll be getting some internal kicks instead.  Those, of course, I look forward to.  I know it's not always pleasant, but I long for good, consistent movement in there because it's a reminder that the baby's there and it's confirmation that he or she is doing well. 
  • Frequent doctor visits - In the middle of winter I feel like I'm at the doctor's office all the time with Jacob.  He's usually got something worth getting checked every month or two, and if you add in specialist appointments, it's even worse.  Of course now I'm going to the doctor once a month, plus there's always the random ultrasound appointment, bloodwork, etc.  And once this baby is born, we'll start up the frequent visits to the pediatrician as well, followed by the same frequent sick visits that we've done with Jacob.  Oh, the joy of two kids in a school setting who share germs with each other, too.
  • Worrying about every little thing - When you're pregnant, every little oddity that happens with your body makes you wonder what's going on.  You worry about everything.  It's the same thing with kids.  Every little thing that happens with them can be cause for concern, leading to random calls to the doctor and sleepless nights all around.  You never stop worrying once you get pregnant, apparently.  It just goes on and on as long as you and your children walk the earth. 
There are probably so many more that I'm not even thinking about right now.  But there's no doubt--pregnancy is all about preparing you for parenthood, and I didn't realize just how much until I did both at the same time.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Letters to Baby #8 - July 28, 2012

Dear baby-to-be,

It has been a rough week.  The exhaustion and nausea are really getting difficult to deal with.  The nausea is almost constant now, and while food used to help it, even that doesn't work these days.  I haven't gotten physically sick (never did last time either), but this time I feel like the urge is worse and more frequent.  Last time I do remember thinking that the wrong scent could have put me over the edge, but it never did.  This time I don't have a sense of smell (long story—lost it a few years back, hopefully once you're here I can try some new things to get it back), which is probably a good thing for now because I really think that could do me in.  I don't remember having a real aversion to anything last time, but this time, it's black beans.  I've never loved them, but learned to tolerate them recently (much easier without a sense of taste!) and I had a burrito with them a while back that didn't sit well, and ever since the mere thought of them has been a problem.  It's so weird, so illogical, but that's how it goes.  I'm also having itchy skin and some chills/hot flashes that are probably all hormone-related, so overall it just feels like I have no control over my body.  It makes it hard to get through a work week feeling so yucky, but I figure that I've got three bad weeks to go and then it should start getting better.  I'm eight weeks along today (so, 1/5th of the way through), and I think the nausea started to lay off around 11 weeks last time.  Of course, at that point we headed off to Florida, so the good weather and distractions of Disney may have helped with that!  This time I'll have my birthday to look forward to, but it will also signal the end of summer.  On the bright side, that will be the time when we can really start telling people, and hopefully I can really start enjoying this experience then, once I'm not feeling the effects all the time.

In the meantime, I guess I should take the nausea as good news that all is still well.  I should be enjoying still being skinny.  Of course, my workouts have been a bit lacking—both in quantity and quality.  I worked out up through 7-1/2 months last time, and I'd like to do that again.  But I haven't had the time or energy to work out more than once a week lately, and what's worse, I haven't been able to run.  I know my time to do that is limited as it is (makes me nervous enough now), but I'd like to do it for a little while yet.  I've been going to a class at the gym, and that's been a good, hard workout.  I'll do that as long as I can, just like I did last time, and start modifying moves when things start to get too hard or body parts get in the way.  I need all the fitness I can get leading up to delivery, because based on your brother, it's a long, tiring process.  I don't know how I would have gotten through it if I didn't work out as long as I did. 

It's all very hard, but once you're here, it will all be worth it.  So pardon my complaining for a bit, and keep growing in there.  Love you :)

Love,
Mommy

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Letters to Baby #7 - July 19, 2012


Dear Baby-to-be,
Today we saw you for the first time! We had our first ultrasound to make sure all was well in there. I wasn't sure what to expect since this was significantly earlier than our first ultrasound last time around. When the ultrasound started, sure enough, there you were! Things were a little hard to make out, but we could definitely see a head, a little body, and a tiny flickering heartbeat. We got to hear your heartbeat, too! It was nice to hear that sound again after all these years. There's nothing better, actually. That was always my favorite part of doctor's appointments last time. It was so funny seeing you for the first time, and hoping it was the first of many millions of moments with you. There's still the fear that it's not you and that will be the only time we see that sweet, tiny baby, but I really hope it's you and you're doing well. You measured perfectly, though. We pretty much know when you were conceived—within a day or two—and your size hit that target perfectly. That was good to see. It could all still mean nothing as we have a long way to go and so much can happen, but it's good to know that so far things seem to be going well.

I'm hoping we get another ultrasound sometime in the next month or two when I switch back to my regular doctor (from the one who helped us along this path), because I'd love to see you again. But, if not, I will gladly wait until the midway point to see you once you have recognizable parts and we can answer the BIG question—whether you're a boy or a girl. Admittedly I'd love a girl to balance things off in our household. I'm better at playing dolls than sports, and girls clothes are SO cute. I'd just like a girl to bond with. I'm grateful for the relationship I have with my mom and treasure the times we spent together. Even though we both hated shopping, those shopping days out together were special. I liked standing on the other side of the counter while she baked. It's not that I can't involve Jacob in activities like that, but I'm just not sure that's his thing and I think I'd have a better shot with a daughter. I also feel like I'd compare my kids less if they were different genders, because we all know boys and girls are inherently different. At the same time, I'm preparing myself for another boy, and trying to focus on the fact that Jacob would love to have a brother, we already have boy stuff (although the seasons will be out of sync for sizes), and I know a little more what to expect with a boy. Aside from the boundless energy, boys are considered easier in the long run. We'll love you either way, but forgive me if it takes a little time to adjust if you're a boy. I'll get there, I swear.

Anyway, it was good to see you today. Stay healthy but take it easy on me. I'm still tired and not feeling great, but today definitely perked me up a bit! Can't wait until next tine!

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Letters to Baby #6 - July 16th, 2012


Dear Baby-to-be,
A week into this thing, and I'm not doing so well. I'm really tired, even when I nap. The nausea has been worse than I remember. I remember it being this bad at times, but not all day. I don't get sick, but I feel like seeing the wrong thing at the wrong time could put me over the edge. It's pretty miserable. Worth it in the end, of course, but hard in the meantime. I don't even know what to post as my Facebook status these days because the fact that I feel like crap is overwhelming my thoughts and I can barely think of anything else to say. That sounds so ridiculous, but it's seriously tough to deal with.
It's extra hard to sit at my desk all day without interesting things to keep me distracted. I try to eat when it gets worse, which sometimes helps, but not always. It's just mentally and physically exhausting, and it makes it hard to do anything well. I suddenly feel like I'm failing summer because we didn't do much of anything yesterday on a rare weekend day without plans, and I don't even want to make the effort to go into our pool in the evenings. At the end of the day (and the beginning and middle, too), I'm just tired and low on patience. It's not fair to everyone else, but I'm not quite sure what to do in the meantime. I know this feeling goes away after a while, because I know I wasn't this miserable the whole time last time I was pregnant.

The end of the work day is just a “perfect storm”. I'm tired, my stomach is empty and therefore nauseous, and I have a busy hour or so of leaving work, picking up Jacob, and heading home. From there I need to make dinner, but when my stomach is off and I'm tired, it's hard to choose something to make, let alone make it. I'm not sure how women who have it worse actually function. This is bad enough.

I'm really just eager to tell people, but that's still so long away and I have to suffer in silence until then. I don't really know how I got through this phase last time because I didn't start blogging about my pregnancy until I was through the first trimester. That's part of the reason I'm writing these letters now. It's the best way to remember this time when I can't write about it openly. It feels better to be able to “talk” about it, and right now this is my best option...and the one that will bother the least people, at least for now.
I got another email today that told me you're the size of a lentil bean, about a quarter of an inch long. I don't think you're going to look like more than a blob on the ultrasound on Thursday, but maybe we'll get lucky and you'll be active. The first time I saw Jacob's little arms moving around (at 10 weeks, not 6-1/2), I could barely believe my eyes. Seeing that email made it a tiny bit more real. Of course, it probably won't start feeling really real (despite the obvious effects right now) until I start getting bigger and especially when I start feeling you moving around. Again, that's still a long way off, so I have to push through in the meantime.
There are moments when I wonder why I wanted to go through this again after getting my body back a few years ago, but then I think about how amazing it was to see Jacob be born and grow up, and I know why I wanted to do it again--so badly that I got help to make it happen. It's admittedly a little harder to go through it, knowing this time what can happen and how the end usually goes, but I promise, once I get past this phase, I will be a lot happier and a lot more excited, albeit stressed and a bit overwhelmed with all that's to come. But you are loved and wanted. I just wish it wasn't such a tough road to bring you here since the road after is hard enough!

Time for Mommy to get some sleep and see if it helps me feel better in the morning. Talk to you soon!
Love,
Mommy

Friday, September 14, 2012

Real-Time Update

Hope you've been enjoying my "Letters to Baby" posts.  It's been funny reading back through them and remembering all the different points I was at when I wrote them.  There's still about 10 more to go, I think, and I'll continue to post them when I have nothing else to write about.  But I figured it was time to check in on our current situation, so I'm not looking back down the road saying, "Well, that's great we know what was happening two months earlier, but how were you feeling on that actual day?"

Well, here were are at nearly 15 weeks, as of tomorrow.  For sure now we're less than six months away from the big day, and I feel like I have so much to do.  I know there's time, but I also know how quickly it's going to go, particularly once we hit the holidays and all that.  Normally the wintertime post-holiday goes SLOW, but I have a feeling this year it might not be a problem--unless, of course, I'm feeling like crap and desperate to have this baby already.  Let's hope that's not the case, but the longer I go with slight nausea and the blahs, the more concerned I get.  As a whole things are better, but there are still days when I don't feel great.  Some days I feel almost normal, and others are just hard.  Normally those bad days coincide with lack of sleep, but even today I don't feel particularly fantastic and I went to bed extra early.  I did wake up once at 5am, but I actually fell back to sleep much more quickly and soundly than usual.  It's just a bummer that I can't trust my own body one bit these days.

I've determined that I'm a good 3-4 weeks ahead of where I was last time, belly-wise.  Looking back at the blog, I was having some clothing issues right around the 17-18 week mark, and that seems to be about where I am now.  The weather has complicated things a bit this time, because my summer clothes are even less conducive to camouflaging a belly than my winter stuff.  Very few of my summer bottoms fit right now, so every time the temperature spikes, I'm faced with a dilemma as I stare down my closet in the morning.  I can still do my normal jeans--albeit with a hair tie giving me a little extra breathing room around the waist--and the good news is that more of my clothes are long enough to cover that adjustment this time, since styles changed in the last 4+ years to favor longer shirts.  I have a handful of tops that will get me through this awkward phase, but it'll be nice to get into real maternity stuff with a real belly within the next few weeks (I hope).  Not wishing to be huge, but looking pregnant beats looking fat any day.

I'm already generally more uncomfortable than I remember being last time.  I was in no rush to deliver so things couldn't have been that bad (or was the fear just that intense?), but this time I'm already uncomfortable sitting in certain positions or trying to sleep.  I got back into a stomach-sleeper habit in the last four years, and now I need to break that again.  It's so hard sometimes, especially when my back isn't a valid position either!

Still, I know how lucky I am to be at this point and I am grateful.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Letters to Baby #5 - July 13, 2012

Dear baby-to-be,

Well, we're done with our mini-vacation and we've been back home for a couple days now.  And boy, do I feel awful.  I don't feel awful ALL the time, but most of the time I just feel a little off.  I've been very tired, which has made the last couple days at work very difficult.  I don't like feeling like I have to lay my head on my desk and rest a few minutes...but yet, I have to.  I really have to work on getting to bed earlier!  I've had some minor nausea issues, too.  It seems like if I get too hungry, it gets worse.  So, I am finding myself constantly snacking on something.  I need to get a better plan together so I'm not stuck eating everything in the candy jar on my desk!  I never did get sick last time I was pregnant, but I remember this feeling sticking around for a month or so.  It was hard enough last time, but this time I have your big brother to take care of, too, so reality is definitely setting in a little bit.  Two is going to be different. 

After your brother was born, I remember thinking how much easier it was having him living in my belly, where he pretty much took care of himself.  So...right now it's easier having you in there, and I'm already starting to wonder how I'm going to function when I'm sleep-deprived, physically exhausted, and managing the schedules of two kids, one husband, and my job.  It is scary, but I survived the first time around and I hope I can this time, too.  I have a sneaking suspicion having you around will be worth it.
 
It's hard being exhausted and not feeling great, and not being able to tell anyone why.  Getting through a work day is hard, and I'm trying to be as functional as I can both there and at home.  It's not easy, though, and I worry about how my work might suffer.  I'm also trying to find ways to spend quality time with your brother without having to exert much energy.  Turns out the new iPod I got does a good job of that, since we can cuddle on the couch and play games together.  Still, part of me wants to run out and tell everyone the news—partly because it's great news, and partly because I want them to know why I might not be my normal self. 

We probably have another month and a half before we're OK to start sharing the news with more people.  In the meantime we'll probably tell a few people as the opportunity arises—close family and friends, mostly.  We told Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle John, and Aunt Kristin at the end of our vacation, and then we told a good friend of mine on our trip home since I probably won't see her in person for a while.  She was one of the last to find out last time (by email, no less!) so I felt like I needed to tell her now, while I had the chance.  But for the most part we'll be quiet about it until we get closer to the “safe zone” at the end of the first trimester.  The end of summer will come soon enough, so I don't want to rush it despite the obvious excitement to come.  In the meantime, we have next week's ultrasound to look forward to, and hopefully everything looks good.  There's always a risk that it won't, and I'm just trying to prepare in case the news isn't what we hoped.  I'.m hoping that the fact that I'm not feeling great indicates that all of the hormones are doing what they're supposed to, but it's always still a little scary.

It's probably all in my head, but I swear I'm already starting to feel fatter—or at least, my body seems to decide that the second it's pregnant, it doesn't want to suck in my stomach at all.  We'll see if I can make it to the end of the first trimester without having to tell people because my belly is getting obvious.  It took me a long time to show last time (about halfway), but I hear you show earlier with each pregnancy and I've heard more and more about people having to tell early because they couldn't hide it anymore.  We'll see how that goes.  Let's hope I can hide it in the meantime.

Well, time to head off to bed.  It's a weekend night, but I need to start practicing going to bed at a reasonable time.  I have a long day alone with Jacob tomorrow, so I'll need whatever energy I can get!  Hope all is well in there!  Keep cooking and I'll talk to you soon!

Love,
Mommy

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Pittsburgh - The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

We ended up taking a last minute trip to Pittsburgh over the weekend.  It had been discussed briefly the previous weekend, but it was only at the end of the week that anything really got moving on it.  It was a question whether or not we were going to go, right up until the last minute.  But go we did.

Craig's dad loves going to baseball games with his sons (and grandkids) and there hadn't been an opportunity to get to a major league game in a while.  The Pittsburgh Pirates were home this weekend, so off we went.  I was a little worried about it given how I've been feeling for, oh, the past two months.  It was a lot of last minute packing and planning, long drives, and the potential for a bad overnight in the hotel, which tends to happen when Jacob's around.  I was also concerned because the weather forecast was cool and rainy.  The rain was forecast to let up just before game time, but we all know how accurate forecasts can be.

We left for Buffalo Friday night, and fortunately Jacob fell asleep on the way and pretty much stayed asleep once we got there.  He didn't sleep in particularly late, but it wasn't too bad.  Still, I was tired and vaguely nauseous (as I am many days still when I'm short on sleep or otherwise out of my normal groove).  The drive was rainy, but Jacob and I hung out in the back seat and ended up sharing his Pillow Pet for a little nap.  When we got to Pittsburgh, our hotel was lovely--within walking distance of the stadium, in an old building in the Cultural District that was very chic and modern inside.  Our room had high ceilings, huge windows, and cool wallpaper and decorative touches.  Nice.

We headed out to the game early and walked around the stadium to kill time until the gates opened.  Here's a picture of the boys with the Roberto Clemente statue outside:   
No matter how many times I go there, I can't help but snap pictures of this statue.  It just oozes photo op.
By the time we had gotten to the city, the weather had begun to clear, and by the time we got to the stadium, it was gorgeous.  It wasn't particularly warm--definitely pants weather for me!--but it was sunny and pleasant.  I couldn't help but snap this picture to remember the lovely evening.

Once inside the stadium, we saw this fun piggy bank for charity.  Not every day you see a pig dressed up like a pirate!

Here's Jacob getting a look at the opposing team (the Cubs) during batting practice...

PNC Park has one of the best views in sports, and I was excited to be attending my first night game there because the view would change during the course of the night.  I snapped this picture the second I noticed the glare of the setting sun off that one building.  Later on there was a cool red reflection from the sunset but that picture wasn't quite as stunning...
 
It was a good game and we had a blast even though the Pirates lost.  The evening was perfect and Jacob was spoiled, of course.  He got a baseball and another racing pierogy guy--he's now got three of them!  We got one before he was ever born, and Jacob's gotten one on each trip to Pittsburgh.  I told him that we'll probably round out our collection next time, when he and his sibling will probably each get one.  I told him that if he has a sister, it would be perfect for her to get the only girl pierogy, the winner of that night's race, Jalapeno Hannah.  I'm sure she'd share :)  We all snacked our way through the game, and it was a nice change of pace to not be roasting during the game like we usually do during day games.  We stuck around late for the fireworks, and they were well worth the wait. 

We walked back to the hotel, and despite the late hour, Jacob still had a hard time going to bed.  Craig and his dad went out for a bit, but the good news is that I was so tired myself that I had no need to stay up and battle Jacob to sneak in a few more minutes of computer time.  It was lights out and he had no choice but to give in to the darkness after a bit! 

The "bad" part of the weekend (per the title) was overnight.  I didn't sleep very well despite the comfy bed, and then Jacob woke up early.  Hotels and travel are always a risky proposition when it comes to sleep and restfulness, but it's extra risky while pregnant when how I feel on any given day is directly related to the quality and duration of my sleep the night before.  I was tired and feeling even more blah than usual on Sunday.  As much as I would have liked to stick around and make the most of our trip with some sort of touristy stop on Sunday morning, I think we were all pretty much ready to go home, so we headed out late in the morning after breakfast.  The "ugly" part of the trip was Jacob's behavior on the trip home, which was most likely driven by sleep deprivation and being off his schedule.  He was constantly doing something annoying, be it touching me, whining, throwing animals, or being generally difficult.  That alone inspired me to get his new discipline chart together, which I got half done that night.  More on that in another post! 

We stopped in Erie for lunch (Steak 'n' Shake--yum!), and caught bits and pieces of the Bills game, which was pretty painful to listen to.  We had another potty stop and caught a decent nap on the way to Buffalo, then dropped off Craig's dad, grabbed some snacks and beverages and headed home.  I was eager to get home and do my usual Sunday night craziness before dropping into bed as early as possible.  Of course it's never as easy as I'd like, but you do what you can. 

In the end it was quite an exhausting weekend, but the game was great and I know Craig's dad enjoyed the time with us.  Pittsburgh is a great city and I always find myself wanting to stay longer and explore more.  Always motivation to go back!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Letters to Baby #4 - July 9, 2012


Dear Baby-to-be,

Yesterday was the first day I wasn't feeling well, which probably marks the beginning of the tough part of pregnancy. Last time around I started feeling yucky right around this time, moved along by a busy weekend without a lot of sleep. This time around I'm pretty much dealing with the same thing, as we're on vacation visiting Uncle John, Aunt Kristin and your cousins in Aunt Kristin's hometown. Your big brother is being an absolute pain (please don't be like that) and he's not sleeping well on top of it, so it's been a rough couple days. Yesterday I had a few moments of nausea, and really started feeling some of the exhaustion. Today was better thanks to some fun activities, but I did take a two-hour nap and still woke up exhausted. I'm just noticing myself being tired at weird times, and my patience is almost non-existent, which may be a combination of being tired and being extra hormonal. God help us all for the next eight months or so. In fact, I think my due date is approximately eight months from today. I'm not sure when the magic actually happened, so in reality I'm figuring it's anywhere from the 7th to the 9th, though I'm voting for the 8th since that was your Great-Grandma Binkley's birthday and it would be a great honor to have you share a birthday with her. She was an awesome woman.

The best news out of today is that my last batch of bloodwork came back looking good. So good, in fact, that I was excused from another round I was supposed to get when we got home from vacation, and got to set the appointment for our first ultrasound instead! That was exciting, though I actually wish it was scheduled a little later because I think I'll only be about seven weeks along at that point, and I think we were nearly 10 weeks last time so we could see a pretty obvious baby shape by then. You might be a little more of a blob, which might be a little disappointing. Still, it will be a relief to make sure things look good, and maybe because of the intervention we had to get this far, they'll do more than just two ultrasounds during this pregnancy. Probably not, but maybe. Anyway, it was good news to know that things are progressing as they should so far.

Thanks to the good news, we'll probably tell Grandma, Grandpa, Uncle John, and Aunt Kristin tomorrow. I'd rather tell Uncle John and Aunt Kristin in person, so that means tomorrow is pretty much our only chance. It's a bit of a risk, but they'd find out eventually even if things didn't go well, so I think it'll be okay. Everyone will be thrilled, I'm sure! Not sure how much we'll tell your brother just yet, as experts say that it's better to tell kids later because their concept of time isn't too good and it could create a lot of confusion and anxiety if we tell him too early. Still, we need to keep warning him about not hitting or kicking my belly, so hopefully we'll tell him, keep it light, and just discuss it only when we have to, for now.

Anyway, I'm not looking forward to getting into feeling not-so-great, but I also know it's a sign that things are progressing as they should. I need energy at least for the next couple days to get through this vacation! It's been great, but boy, am I tired! Worth it, but tired! Talk to you soon!

Love,
Mommy

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Letters to Baby #3 - July 5, 2012


Dear baby-to-be,

Today I got the results of my blood test.  They said my level was 1234, which is apparently a good level.  Of course, they won't know for sure how good until I get bloodwork done a couple more times, to make sure the level is going up at the rate they'd expect.  Unfortunately, I was stuck at work today when they wanted me to go in, so I'm going in the morning.   Then they wanted me to go on Saturday, but we're going to be out of town (family wedding, followed by a mini-vacation), so I won't be able to go until next Thursday!  Not ideal, but it's going to have to do.

I'm still not feeling any major effects of being pregnant, other than a slight tendency to be tired at random times, as well as some minor belly issues, which may be coincidence.  I noticed last week that random things were causing me to feel like I was pulling muscles in my stomach.  I swear I remember that from last time around, too, but it's been over four years so I could be wrong.  Today I felt like my stomach was bigger, though that's probably just a fat thing and not a pregnancy thing.  I haven't been working out as much lately because I've been busy and the weather's too nice to be in a gym, but I've also been a little nervous about running or working out too hard, because I don't know how much I should be limiting myself.  I wasn't in as good of shape last time around—or at least, I wasn't as conditioned to run—but I remember reading that if your body was used to it pre-pregnancy, you can probably continue it for a while.  But I also know I should try to keep my heart rate low-ish, so I'm not sure where the happy medium is.  I want to stay in good shape, though, not only so I look good, but also because it makes me feel good and I want to stay in the best shape possible leading up to delivery.  I know how hard it is and the stronger I am, the better.

I'm still very nervous, but part of me is so excited and dying to tell people.  Since so much of this journey has been out in the open, part of me feels like I might as well tell people.  But the fear of miscarriage is real, and the more people I'd have to tell, the worse it would be.  Even still, we're seeing some family this weekend that we won't see in person for a while, so part of me wants to at least share it with them.  We'll see.  Daddy's not convinced.

Anyway, so far so good.  We have a long way to go and the waiting between each blood test is going to be tough.  I was so nervous waiting to get the results today, and it will probably only get harder.  But the good news will be even better when it comes, and I hope you're in there and you're in it for the long haul.  Until next time...

Love,
Mommy

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Letters to Baby #2 - July 2, 2012

Dear baby-to-be,

So, it's been a couple weeks since I last wrote.  It's been a busy couple weeks, with your brother's birthday, Mommy and Daddy's anniversary, and Bacie & Dziadziu's 40th anniversary party, among other things.  But it's been a couple weeks of waiting patiently as well, to see if you're in there or not.  And when the two-week wait was over, it turned out that we STILL didn't know.  I took a pregnancy test, and it came out a faint positive.  BUT...one of the side effects of the HCG shot that I got is that sometimes it sticks around for a bit and can give you a false positive.  I had waited until the end of the recommended window, but from all I read online, there's still a chance that it could be hanging around. 

So, we had a busy weekend to attend to, and I decided I'd wait until this morning to try again.  Well, it was a faint positive again this time, though a little stronger than before.  The good news is that it probably means it wasn't just the HCG, as I think it really should have faded to nothing by now, rather than getting stronger.  However, the bad news is that the faint line could mean that the pregnancy-induced HCG level isn't very high, which could mean that it wouldn't be a viable pregnancy and you're not actually in there yet after all.  So, now I'm going in for bloodwork in the morning that should give some conclusive answers.  Of course, there's a holiday the next day, which means we'll have to wait an extra day, but at least we'll know.  I've heard about people who have struggled with infertility getting these tests repeatedly, because if they become pregnant their levels need to be watched closely.  I never really thought I would be one of those people, but most likely, here we are. 

After all we've been through this time around, I thought the second I saw that second line on the test, I'd be ecstatic.  Turns out that the excited but anxious fear I experienced last time wasn't a fluke.  Apparently you can never really get comfortable with the concept of carrying a tiny baby in your body, because there's always something to terrify you.  It doesn't mean you're not already loved--but on the contrary, the love is so immediate and so strong that the thought of anything going wrong just scares me to death.  While I'm pretty sure that at some point you WILL be a reality, the thought that whoever might be in there isn't you, after all, is sad.  I thought about why I wouldn't be writing this letter to them, just in case, but I decided that since you're the one I'm going to have the pleasure of knowing down the road, it's probably better to put my energy into telling you the story of you.  If you're not in there yet, we'll meet whoever is there someday in heaven...which is awesome.  But for now I think it's better to think of you as an inevitability, rather than trying to talk to someone that I might never have the chance to know, and starting over again after that.  Just seems easier to believe that you're coming eventually and you're destined to be my child, whenever you happen to appear.  That's all very deep, but hey, I'm new at this whole writing to my as-yet-unconfirmed child, so I guess there really are no rules, you know?

I'm doing my best to keep everything in perspective.  I've said before that this time around it feels a bit more like a thrill ride.  I know that parenthood is full of ups and downs, and while I'm grateful we haven't had any major downs yet, I know that it's just a part of the ride.  The downs make you appreciate the ups.  You always learn a little something from every experience, so no matter how sad an experience might be, I know there's a reason down the road for why that experience happened.  So, even if this doesn't work out as planned, I know there's a reason--and in this case it may just be that, like I said above, you're destined to be my child.  We're probably only having two, so if this one doesn't stick, I'll assume it was because this was a necessary step to get to you.  And if it is you in there, I already can't wait to meet you...but invite you to take all the time you need getting fully cooked!  If this pregnancy is anything like my last one, I really don't mind being pregnant, and if this is my last one, I'd like to enjoy it fully.  It'll take a lot of time to adjust to the concept of two kids, so just take your time and if you can, take it easy on Mommy.  Even if you're not in my arms yet, taking care of you can be pretty hard work.  I'm not quite sure how four years of sleep deprivation and the exhaustion of pregnancy will mix, so I'm bracing myself for a bumpy ride.  I guess when that exhaustion and nausea start kicking in, it'll be good news-bad news.  Good news is that it's really happening and the hormones are haywire as they should be, and the bad news is that I will be useless for at least a month or two.  Or who knows?  Maybe this will be totally different than before and I'll feel great.  Ha! 

I'll probably spend a good chunk of time this pregnancy comparing to last time.  I promise, I'll try not to compare you to your brother too much once you actually arrive, but I'm afraid it might be impossible to avoid since he's all I know!  Seeing him become such a little person has really been a big driver in wanting to have another baby.  I mean, I always wanted to have two, but until he got old enough for us to start seeing his little brain work and experience what came out of it, I didn't have full understanding of how amazing it is to see a helpless baby become a real person who you want to hang out with.  Each stage has its miracles and discoveries, I guess, and the older Jacob gets, the more we see and the more amazing it is.  It's also more insight into how far we've come and how quickly time goes, so we need to embrace each stage as much as we can before it's gone.  Anyway, I hope he's a good big brother.  He's not always the gentlest, but we'll work on that before you get here.  Sorry to say you may experience some of that before you arrive, simply because he's got a tendency to kick me in the stomach when we're hanging out in bed or playing in the pool.  I'm going to do everything I can to break him of that habit ASAP! 

Anyway, there are all sorts of emotions flying through my brain these days, and I'll be very interested to see what's happening when my results come back.  We still won't know for sure if you're in there, but we should know for sure if someone's in there.  Which is when things would start to get interesting, even if we can't share it with too many people for a while. Should be quite a ride!

Love,
Mommy

Friday, September 7, 2012

Letters to Baby #1 - June 16, 2012

To our child-to-be:

Hi!  I'm keeping the faith that you are going to be an eventual reality, so I decided to start writing to you to tell you the story of how you came to be.  I wrote about your brother's story for most of my pregnancy, but I decided that I wanted to document everything this time around because the time leading up to that point is such a special time itself.  It brings with it so many emotions and so much excitement (not to mention a lot of worry), and I thought this would be a good way to remember it.  I blog about our family on the internet (don't worry, you'll learn about that soon enough) and someday this will hopefully make it to the blog to share this part of the story.  But right now I'm not ready to share this with the world yet.  Just you.

Two days ago, I went to the doctor.  A couple weeks ago I went to the same doctor and she suggested that I take some medicine to make my body work a little better.  Part of mama's baby making machine isn't working so well, and the medicine's job was to get things working again.  My trip back to the doctor two days ago made sure that the medicine had worked, and then they gave me a shot to make sure that things kept working correctly.  Daddy and I did what we had to do to try to make you (and we might try again, just to be safe), and now we just have to wait.  In a couple weeks we'll know if it worked or not.  If it did, we'll hope and pray that everything goes well and you grow perfectly for the next nine months.  If not, we'll try this again next month and hope that will be what it takes to bring you into our lives. 

Some people don't have trouble having a baby.  Some people have babies without even trying.  Please keep that fact in mind when you're older and you start thinking you're ready to be grown up.  Chances are, it could happen easier than you think, when you least want it to.  But once you're married and ready to have a family, I hope it's easy for you and your spouse.  I never thought I'd have a problem with it, but it turns out that I did.  I had issues when we had your brother, too, but we got very lucky and didn't even know he was on his way until Mommy started feeling not-so-great, which sometimes happens when you're pregnant.  Mommy's not looking forward to that part of your journey here, but I'll deal with it if it means you get here happy and healthy.

Anyway, having to get help from doctors this time around wasn't a big surprise, but I was hoping you'd just surprise us like your brother did.  After a year of trying, it didn't happen, so that's why we're getting help.  There's nothing wrong with that, and in fact, it only proves how much we want you to come into our lives.  We've been waiting a long time for you, and now there's a chance you're already in Mommy's belly, just a tiny cluster of cells.  Most likely you're not there yet, but you never know.  I was a little tired today!  I'll be driving myself nuts like that for the next couple weeks, no doubt.  This whole process is a little mind-boggling, because having a baby is such a big deal, and just thinking about it takes me through all sorts of emotions—joy, fear, excitement, exhaustion, confusion—and in the end it's all worth it.  Don't worry if I seem scared out of my mind during this process—it's normal and it's not a reflection of my love for you.  If anything, it just shows how much I love you (or the thought of you, at this point), because the fear of losing you is heartbreaking, while the excitement about welcoming you is one of the highest highs.  That's how love goes.  Consider that life lesson #1.  Love is one big roller coaster.

There are a lot of things that scare me about having another baby and being a mommy to two kids.  But I can't wait to love another little person as much as I love your brother, and I think it will be amazing to see him as a big brother to you.  I hope you think he's the coolest kid ever, and he thinks the same thing about you.  I'll tell you more about that later, but for now, just know that we hope you decide to show up in Mommy's belly sooner rather than later.  It's ok if you wait another month or two, but I hope you don't mind that I'm wanting to talk to you already, just in case you're there already.  Until next time...

Love,
Mommy

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Speaking of the First Day of School...

Because Jacob moved into his Pre-K 4 room months ago, we really didn't have a "first day of school" this year.  Sure, I could have taken a picture of him on the first "official" day of him being in that room, but he'd been visiting so much already and I always dropped him off in that room anyway because he eats breakfast there, so there wasn't much of a transition.  And who takes a first day of school picture in June anyway?  So, this morning, on the first official day of school in our district, we took this picture:
Like his shirt?
Yep, you got it.  That crazy and adorable four year old child is going to be a big brother! 

I'm sure my relative silence on the topic has been a tip-off, but indeed, I'm pregnant and we'll be welcoming baby #2 somewhere around March 7th, give or take a week or two.  Since I was 10 days early last time, I can't help but wonder if we'll end up with a February baby instead!  So much for enjoying the weather during maternity leave this time around, but when you need a little assistance to make things happen, you take what you can get!

We did get minimal help from the fertility folks this time around, but it worked like a charm on the first try.  That was in mid-June, and a couple weeks later we got a very faint positive pregnancy test.  I was concerned it might be the effects of the hormone I was injected with, as that sometimes lingers and can cause a false positive, but the next test I took a couple days later was a little less faint.  Bloodwork confirmed it, and by early July I was starting to feel the effects...and I have been ever since.  We're now nearly 14 weeks along, and I am still feeling pretty crappy most of the time.  Last time the nausea ended around 11 weeks when we went on our trip to Florida, and this time it stopped being constant around 12 weeks but still pops up from time to time (like, usually at least once a day, or all day when I'm extra tired).  No puking, thankfully, but the constant crappy feeling isn't a picnic either.  In the past couple weeks it's been a lot of tiredness and just a general feeling of "blah".  Where last time I was a bottomless pit when it came to food, this time I get full quicker and stay full if I eat too much.  Otherwise I'm hungry every couple hours and feel terrible if I don't eat soon enough.  It's a delicate balance, though somehow despite a constant schedule of eating I haven't really gained any weight yet.  It's probably due to the loss of muscle from less frequent, less intense workouts, but oh well.

I'm just finding everything a lot harder this time around, but I suppose that could be for a lot of reasons.  I'm four years older, I have an active and defiant little boy running around, and I think this time my body just isn't reacting the same.  The "blahs" have lasted a lot longer--tiredness I can manage, but feeling crappy just impacts everything--and I've already been having some general discomfort from what I think is round ligament pain.  It seems way too soon for that.

I'm not officially showing yet, but I can't suck in my stomach anymore and it's definitely pouching out a bit.  I'm doing my darnedest to dress around it, but it's not easy.  Now that the news is out I guess I shouldn't worry as much about it, but I still want to dress nicely and look respectable until I can officially pull out the maternity stuff, which is still mostly huge.

I'm sure I'll have a lot more to share in the coming days, weeks, and months about all that's been happening in these last couple months, but the good news is that I've been keeping a little "diary" on the side.  I wanted to document the early stages, and particularly once we really got into the process and I found it frustrating to not have a record of how I was feeling early on in my last pregnancy.  Since I didn't start blogging until just around this same time last time, I don't have a vivid description of how things progressed in those early weeks.  I would have liked the reference!  So, over the next couple weeks or so, I'll be posting my account of nearly three months of this process, in the form of letters to the baby.  It should give you the bulk of the back story and give you insight into the first couple months that pregnant women are usually pretty quiet about.

I had wanted to share the news sooner but really wanted to get Jacob a shirt like the one above to do it, and I had zero luck finding one.  I finally had to settle on making one myself with iron-on transfers.  That one looks pretty good in the picture, but geez, the real thing was a bit of a challenge and I'll be shocked if it makes it through a washing or two.  I even did a tiny bit of touch-up with a Sharpie.  Smooth.  The whole t-shirt process took a bit (from finding the time to look, to realizing I couldn't find one, to not liking the one ready-made transfer out there, to having to pick out the shirt and letters, to finally making it far too late last night), and I figured there was no harm in waiting anyway, so here we are.  Jacob wore it to daycare today, too, so I'm sure that made for an interesting day.  We just told him the news Monday night.  He seemed excited though a little unsure and possibly unimpressed by the whole thing.  He did seem a bit intrigued knowing that there's a baby in Mommy's belly right now, but he got over it pretty quickly.  We've been trying to hype it up (mostly the cool big brother aspects), but still keep things pretty even-keel since nothing's happening for about six months.  I think it'll be more real when my belly is huge, we know the sex (yep, October 17th is the big day), and we start feeling kicks.  The jury's out on how he'll respond to big brotherhood, but we've got some time to prepare. 

We're obviously very excited, though the whole experience is very different this time around, between feeling crappier longer and having Jacob to keep us busy.  We have a lot of projects to accomplish in the next six months, though different ones than last time.  Instead of starting from scratch, we have a ton of baby stuff to sort through and find new places for.  We have to get Jacob moved over to a big boy room, and figure out what the loss of our guest room means for future visitor accommodations.  If it's a boy I have a TON of clothes to sort through and reorganize...and if not, I'll still sort through the baby stuff and set aside the gender-neutral clothes before running out to every store in the mall and snapping up the cutest girl stuff ever (just kidding...sort of).  If it's a boy we may also need to bite the bullet and replace the purple in the baby's room.  It matched the baby stuff perfectly, so we've passed it off as a Knighthawk color until now, but a new baby boy probably deserves better since we have a little more lead time to change it than we did when we moved in.  This baby will also be born in the middle of the lacrosse season, so that's going to be a challenge itself.  Not only will Craig be around less and going on roadtrips, but it's going to break my heart when I can't take Jacob to games later on in the season.  He loves it so much, but obviously we're not going to be going a loud, germ-filled arena late at night with a tiny baby. 

Sorry, this random stream of thoughts will probably come fast and furious the next few months.  Bear with me.  I need to vent/ponder it somewhere, so it usually ends up here.  Anyway...we're excited and I'm glad to be finally sharing our big news with you!  Stay tuned...things are about to get interesting :)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

So much for that theory...

I can't find the actual post, but I swear somewhere in the depths of this blog I wrote about how sending Jacob to daycare from the time he was seven weeks old would inevitably have an impact on how I viewed the first day of school.  The closest I can find is here, but I swear I speculated in detail at one point about how I'd react when I finally shipped him off to Kindergarten, given the fact that he's been spending the day at a "school" for nearly his entire life.  Of course, I can't find it right now.

I think I concluded that I wouldn't be as emotional as some parents because I'm just used to it.  We've been leaving him somewhere every morning for over four years now, and at least once a year (more when he was younger) we've adjusted to a new classroom and new teachers.  None of that stuff will be new to us.  And, most likely, he'll be busing back to daycare after school anyway, so I'd be picking him up at the same place I have for the last few years. 

Last year I got a little glimpse at the fact I had overestimated my emotional fortitude when watching the new kindergarten parents stand outside daycare as their kids got on the bus for the first time.  You could see how emotional they were, and while I don't remember my exact reaction (obviously it wasn't enough to blog about), I do remember thinking, "Oh, crap...that's going to be me in a couple years," and thanking my lucky stars that we still had two whole years before it was an issue.  But seeing the emotion coming from seasoned daycare parents tipped me off that maybe it wouldn't be as easy as I'd hoped. 

On the bright side, we are getting to skip out on the trauma of the first day of preschool.  Jacob got a new backpack over the weekend so it felt a little like a new school year this morning, but he skipped right into the same room he's been in for months.  I did mention previously that I am looking forward to having the new kindergartners out of his classroom, because I think the older kids are a bad influence and I'm looking forward to having him in the same room again as a few of his old friends who happen to be a couple months younger than him.  I was hoping that would happen as soon as today, but it turns out that our district doesn't actually start until Thursday, even though most districts around here start today or tomorrow. 

I'm not sure how I feel about the late start.  I think it's a little weird, but on the bright side, next year I'll have more time to adjust to the "first day of school" concept before we actually have to do it ourselves.  I'll spend days watching other parents' pictures on Facebook and hearing all their stories before I'll actually have to do it myself.  Perhaps the school supplies elsewhere in the area will be replenished by the time we'd need a last minute item, or that extra day will give me the chance to ensure that we are perfectly, completely prepared.  Or it will give me another day to obsess and completely lose my mind over sending my little boy out into the world.

Because, as it turns out, kindergarten is going to be a whole new ballgame.  When I didn't see buses around town this morning, I decided to look at the district website to see when they started.  While I was there, I noticed that the school around the corner from us is actually only for grades 3-5.  For some reason I never noticed that before (even though I had suspected there was a chance that was the case and feel like I even looked for that before).  So that sent me on a hunt for which school he'd actually go to if we go the public route, and it turns out it's the one I'd hoped it would be.  It's down the road from daycare, actually, so it turns out his end-of-day bus ride could be rather short depending on the route.  Good to know.  Of course, it's a whole other scenario if he goes to the local Christian school, which is a considerably farther drive.

While I was on the district site, just for kicks, I looked at the lunch menu.  And for some reason, that was what sent me into a sudden panic about kindergarten.  I noticed that there were two options each day.  The thought of sending Jacob to school having to pick his own lunch, let alone be responsible for the money to pay for it, blew my mind.  Then when I started to think of him having to carry a tray from the lunch line to his table, that pretty much sent me over the edge.  I mean, right now there's one option at daycare, someone serves it to him at the table, and someone keeps an eye on what he does or doesn't eat.  The thought of him managing his lunch by himself a year from now doesn't even seem possible.  Perhaps there's help, but who knows?  I don't even have anything to compare it to, because I had half-day Kindergarten when I was a kid and came home for lunch every day.  When I got older, my mom usually made my lunch, but I had the option to buy lunch if I liked that day's selection.  Taco day was my favorite, and I remember the lunch calendars coming home with the monthly newsletter and being tacked right up in our kitchen.  To be honest I have no idea if I'd ever risk having Jacob buy his lunch early on, so most likely I'll be packing it out of pure fear.  Perhaps we'll try buying on pizza day or something as a test.  I know this is getting way ahead of ourselves, but there was just something about the concept of school lunch that made me realize I'll be sending my little boy out into the big (bad?) world all by himself, with very little control on my end.  Yikes.

I think the idea of a smaller Christian school scares me less because that was the environment I grew up in, but until we do open houses and all that stuff, I won't know what we're most comfortable with.  We have a year to come to a decision and prepare ourselves, but I know it's going to go far more quickly than we can imagine.  I'll definitely feel a little nervousness on Thursday when all those parents are outside daycare waiting for the buses again, and I'll be in complete disbelief that that'll be us in another year.  Doesn't seem possible.