So, other than random references to things in the course of talking about the Atlanta trip, and all of the letters to the baby that I've posted so far, I haven't really had much of a chance to give you a firm update on things in general.
As of Saturday I officially hit 18 weeks. The big ultrasound is next Wednesday and I'm already nervous about it. I'm sure I'll have a nice lengthy blog post about that in the coming week. Last time around the gender thing didn't really phase me. I was totally OK not knowing, and there really wasn't much of a temptation to find out even when we were sitting in the middle of the ultrasound. But this time around? Holy cow, I really want to know. I don't know what the major difference is this time, but I am dying of curiosity. I suppose it could be a lot of factors. I think it'll help me bond with the baby earlier. I think it'll be easier to talk to Jacob in real terms. We already have so much baby stuff, so I really want to know how much different stuff we'll need this time around. We have a room that will potentially need some redecoration depending on the gender. But, perhaps the biggest, is that I just want to have a firmer concept of what type of mom I'm going to be from here on out. I mean, I've done the boy thing and I'm cool with that. But there's a difference between a mom to boys and a mom to a boy and a girl (and a mom to all girls, for that matter). There's just a different mindset and a different set of future tasks ahead if this baby is a girl. I told Craig the other day that I might need some time if this is a boy to mourn the girl things I'll never get to do. My emotions have nothing to do with this baby, specifically, but rather the idea of what being a mom to a girl would be like. I will love this baby like crazy no matter what it is, but when you grow up a girl and do things with your mom, I think it's only natural to imagine doing that same stuff with your daughter someday...even if it is some horrible rite of passage like buying a prom dress (sorry, Mom...that was a tough one). And to not be able to do that stuff...well...it'll just take some time to get past it, which is sort of why I wanted to find out now, rather than try to sort through those emotions in the midst of the craziest emotional time possible, right after childbirth. I didn't want to be disappointed during what should be an amazing time. I want to get any possible sadness out of the way now before it impacts anyone else. And conversely, if it is a girl, I will need time to adjust to that reality, to prepare for a world of girliness I might not be too well-versed in since I was never super-girly. Having a girl scares me to death on some levels, but part of me feels like I'll always wonder if I don't have one. Anyway, more on that later, I'm sure.
I really need to get going on taking pictures of my belly. I tried once a few weeks back with the self-timer on my camera, but it didn't really work so I either have to find another way to rig it up, or I need to just have Craig do it and try to do it on some sort of schedule. There's actually something to see now, so I need to get on it ASAP. Just in the last few days I've felt like I've expanded. For a while it just seemed like I wasn't sucking in and had put on a few pounds, but I can't really suck it in now anyway and it's getting to feel a little more solid. I still look fat in most of my normal fitted clothes, but I think within the next couple weeks those clothes won't fit anyway and I'll be stuck in maternity clothes (which, ironically, make me look bigger!). However, it could almost be mistaken for a real bump in something really tight. I actually think it looks better bare than in clothes. Without clothes I can see that I still look like I have some definition on the sides of the bump, and it's just this very defined bump sticking out from there. My chest is also quite a bit bigger this time (which I don't really remember from last time), so that's making things interesting as well. Let's just say I can sort of see the beauty in the feminine pregnant figure right now, but the reality of dressing it is a little more complicated. In general right now my belly just feels heavier. I don't know how else to describe it.
As a whole I'm definitely feeling much better. It took two solid months to drop the constant blah feeling, which was considerably longer than last time. Just when I'd think it was laying off, I'd have another day where it was really miserable. But over the last two or three weeks I've been feeling a lot better. I'm still tired, but the constant funk isn't dragging me down like it was. I can't say I feel particularly motivated to do things around the house, but periodically my nesting instinct pops up and can be pretty powerful. I think part of it is a mental thing, knowing that if I jump into a project, there just may not be enough energy to get me through it. For example, I have a really out-of-control flower bed in our front yard that could really use some taming. There's a lovely mum in there and a couple of other plants of value (sort of), but the rest just seems to be whatever wildflower or weed happened to take root. Every year it's been a little different, and this year (probably because I was too tired and busy to do much about it), it was worse than ever. Now most of what's there is dying off, and I need to get out there and do some weed pulling (and possibly plant-killing). It needs to be tamed for the winter, at least, but I know doing it is going to be exhausting (and possibly beyond my physical abilities at the moment--I tried to pull a weed a month or so ago and felt like I pulled a muscle in my abdomen), so it's hard to convince myself to go out there and give it a shot. But at least I'm not feeling as horribly as I was. I can't imagine being pukey that whole time, so thank goodness that wasn't an issue. I don't know how people do it. What I had was bad enough.
I'm finally starting to feel the baby move, which has been a long time in coming. It's still just these weird tickly feelings in my pelvis, mostly, but it's nice to know the baby's there. Particularly this morning, actually. I had a doctor's appointment first thing, and I definitely felt a little movement at some point prior. However, once the physician's assistant starting probing around to find the heartbeart, she couldn't find anything. It took a good minute of searching, and then she finally went a little lower and found it. During that minute I was a little nervous, but knowing I'd just felt the baby move earlier I didn't have the complete sense of panic I otherwise might have. The movements still aren't obvious and I can't feel them from the outside, but progress is nice. This will be much more fun when I can share the movements with Craig and Jacob, and watching my belly move while sitting at my desk is quality entertainment!
Jacob is still doing okay with the concept, I think. He talks about his brother or sister once in a while, mostly about protecting his toys, moving into his big boy room, or about when they'll be ready to play. Just recently he said something about teaching them how to talk, which I thought was cute...though given some of the things that come out of his mouth these days, I'm not sure how I feel about that. My belly has taken a couple very minor shots in his recent fits of anger, but he gets a stern talking-to about it and luckily nothing's been serious. I don't know if he even realizes what he's doing when he does that. My guess is that it has nothing to do with the baby and more to do with being a convenient, eye-level target. But so far he seems to be adjusting to the idea, and I'm sure he'll get much more into it when we know what it is. He seems to be defaulting to a girl when he talks, but we shall see. Initial name choices were Superman and Wonder Woman, but we'll see what he comes up with when we finally know which way we need to go.
I still haven't really started my pre-baby to do list in earnest, but I really need to. I know that with the holidays coming up (Halloween right on through, particularly considering our Florida trip a month from today), time is going to fly. It was crazy enough getting ready for a baby last time, let alone now with another child to keep us occupied and lots of holidays in the middle of it all. Should be a wild ride...