Profile of head with her hand up near her nose:
Click here for a bigger version.
Definitely a girl!
Click here for a bigger version.
Head turned toward us:
Click here for a bigger version.
I had my 28-week visit with the midwife this morning. I had to go to the lab first to get my orange glucola drink, and I had 10 minutes to finish it. I think I finished in about 90 seconds. It really wasn’t that bad this time, I think because this time I didn’t have to fast beforehand. Last time the sugary drink going on top of an empty stomach wasn’t so great, but no issues this time. After that, I went upstairs to the midwife and had my ultrasound done. The white spot on the heart is not there anymore (yay!), the placenta looks like it has moved up and isn’t covering any of the cervix anymore (yay!), she is currently engaged in a head-down position (yay!), and she is indeed still a girl (yay!). I had a really good ultrasound tech this time who went over in great detail all of the things she was measuring and looking at. She wasn’t able to get a good look at the cervix area via abdominal ultrasound, so she had to do a transvaginal ultrasound to get a look there, but all was well. We even got a good look at her sucking her thumb and her eyes opening and closing.
After the ultrasound I went back down to the lab to have my blood drawn for the 1-hour glucose tolerance test, then returned to the office for my midwife visit. Blood pressure was good at 106/60, and the fundal height was 29 centimeters, so not as much off as it was last time. She didn’t have my gall bladder ultrasound results in front of her, but she said she didn’t see anything immediately alarming in there but still does recommend it comes out after I have the baby. She went ahead and talked to me about signs of preterm labor and when I need to give them a call (basically if I have 4-6 Braxton Hicks or regular contractions in an hour, and it doesn’t go away after drinking water and lying on my side). We talked a little about sterilization issues afterward but we haven’t made any final decisions on that yet aside from the fact that we are stopping at two children.
I’ll go back in four weeks, then will be at visits every two weeks, then visits every week until delivery. They had me go ahead and schedule the rest of the visits so I can get the times I want, so that’s all set through 40 weeks.
I have some new ultrasound pics to scan soon, but until then, here’s finally some visual proof that there really is a baby in there. I still only look about 14 or 16 weeks pregnant here, but it’s all I’ve got! LOL
I hit 27 weeks yesterday, and I was welcomed to the third trimester by throwing up after breakfast even though I’d taken my Zofran. I guess it was my body’s fun way of saying, “Sorry, lady, you’re not done with THAT.” Ah well. I think I’ve accepted the fact that I’ll be taking it the rest of the time, and I’m still just glad that it seems to be managing things much better than in the first trimester.
With less than 13 weeks to the due date now, things are finally moving along. Movement is much stronger and it’s fun to watch my belly jump when reading before bed. Overall I’m feeling pretty good. I might actually be close to having visual proof that there’s a baby in there, as the abdomen begins expanding a little. (Comparing pics to Baby B’s pregnancy, I look about the same as I did at this point with her.)
We’re gearing up to begin cleaning out and decorating the nursery, which will be a major undertaking, but at least we have a couple of holiday weekends coming up for us to work on it. We should be registered (still need to confirm) for the sibling preparation class and the three-class series for preparing for unmedicated labor, both of which are set for July. (I’m much more open to this option this time around, as I really want to do what I can to minimize the chance of a c-section. Plus, I’ve done two half marathons since Baby B’s birth, so if I can do those, then I can do this.)
At times (okay, most of the time) it feels like I’ve been pregnant forever, but as the rest of the spring and summer weekends quickly fill up with plans, it’s finally beginning to seem like much less time remaining. Still, I certainly don’t want to wish the entire summer away, so I’m trying my best to enjoy the time I have with my family as we play the best waiting game I can think of.
Going to the theater is something that The Husband and I have always enjoyed doing together. As for me, I remember being as young as 9 or 10 and going with my dad to shows in the touring Broadway Live series, including such shows as Driving Miss Daisy (before it was made into a movie) and Into the Woods. I remember the excitement of getting dressed up and going to see these wonderful plays and always being eager to impress the audience full of grown-ups that I was mature enough to be included. I never had much desire to be part of the action myself (see also: don’t like the spotlight!), but I certainly began to hone my appreciation for the theater back then, and it has carried through into my adult life.
At age four, Baby B is still too young to see a lot of the plays and musicals that The Husband and I see, so for now it is our thing that we do together as adults, but of course I want her to develop an appreciation for it, so when we decide she’s old enough, she’ll get to accompany us if she wants.
In the meantime, we have a great way to let her practice the rituals of theater-going in an age-appropriate way, by taking her to productions put on by our local children’s theater. We took her to a preview showing of Click Clack Moo at a local bookstore recently to test the waters and she said she wanted to see the long version of the play, so we got tickets for this past weekend.
We got all dressed up, we reminded her beforehand about appropriate rules of behavior for such situations, and then we enjoyed our Sunday afternoon together at the theater. I watched her reactions during the play, and they ranged from intense concentration to full-on laughter at the funny parts, so I could tell she was enjoying herself. She did well with sitting in her seat and kept her questions to a minimum.
After the play was over, I asked her, “Did you enjoy it??” She furrowed her brows, crossed her arms, and said, “NO!” Admittedly a little disappointed, I asked her, “You didn’t? How come? It looked like you were having fun.”
She said, “I wanted it to be even longer!”
It’s too early to know if we have another theater fan among us, but in the meantime we’ll continue to offer her opportunities to see shows at the children’s theater (and perhaps also less-formal amphitheater-type shows) and see what kind of interest might develop.
We’re out for a walk. Suddenly, Baby B starts taking funny steps. Larger leaps than necessary, or itty-bitty steps. I ask her what she’s doing. Fully in her Rules Declaration Mode, she declares, “Okay, when you walk, you can’t step on the cracks or you lose!”
She didn’t quite say “step on a crack, break your mother’s back,” but for all intents and purposes, it’s the same thing we declared when I was little. This is not something she picked up from us, as I got past that superstition long ago. Most likely she got wind of it from someone at school, but it’s just so neat to see all of the childhood rituals that continue from one generation to the next. How long have some of these things been going on?
The other day she started singing:
Bubble gum, bubble gum,
In a dish.
How many pieces do you wish?
The first couple of times, the song didn’t ring a bell, but then one time she sang it and everything came flooding back suddenly — I very clearly remembered singing that with my friends during recess.
No doubt, before long, she’s going to be doing even more of the common childhood chants that I did when I was little– “Miss Mary Mack,” “Down by the Banks of the Hanky Panky,” “One Potato, Two Potato,” “Engine Engine Number 9,” and more. I’m sure there will be new ones that I never did too.
Except this time I get to experience it from a very different viewpoint — one that both allows me to reminisce about my own childhood while appreciating what a great bonding ritual it can be for Baby B and her friends. I think that’s one of the most wonderful things about being a parent — seeing your child go through the rites of passage (big and small) and milestones that you did, only this time you have gained the element of perspective.
I took off last Friday afternoon to attend the Mother’s Day ice cream sundae party at Baby B’s preschool. Not long before I left the office, Serenity found out that her final IVF cycle in trying for #2 did not work, and it had already been decided that they would no longer be taking steps to get pregnant. Crushed — though obviously not as much as her — I said to Baby B when we left school, “My friend Serenity is sad. What do you think of going to buy her a card to help her bit a little bit less sad?” She agreed this was a good idea, so off we went.
Along the way there, Baby B had many questions, as I expected she would. This is roughly how our conversation went:
Baby B: Why is she so sad?
Me: Well, you know how you’re getting a baby sister soon? Well, she wants a baby brother or sister for O, but she found out today that it won’t be happening.
Baby B (looking concerned): Why not?
Me: Because not everyone is able to have a baby in their belly.
Baby B: How come?
Me: Well, sometimes the parts that are needed to make a baby don’t work how they’re supposed to work. Remember the baby’s home? The uterus? Sometimes the uterus doesn’t do its job right. Or sometimes the seeds that need to meet with the egg aren’t quite right. Sometimes the eggs aren’t quite right. Sometimes even if a good seed mixes with a good egg, it still doesn’t turn into a baby. It takes a LOT of things for that to happen, and it doesn’t always happen how it’s supposed to. So Serenity was going to the doctor to try and fix the things that weren’t working right, because doctors can help with that sometimes. It didn’t work, though.
Baby B: So O isn’t going to have a baby sister?
Me: Probably not, and that’s why she’s feeling sad right now. But you know what? Families come in all kinds of different sizes. Some kids have a sister like you will. Some kids have a brother. Some kids have both brothers AND sisters. And some kids don’t have any brothers or sisters. [We then talked about some of the kids in her class and how big or small their families are.] But each family is very special, no matter how many people are in it. The most important thing is that the mommy and daddy love their kids and that everyone has a lot of fun.
She was taking all of this in, seemingly reassured by my answers. I was pretty proud of how I was explaining it to her too. I have no problem sharing with my kids that fact that we had trouble conceiving the second time around, but that’s one of those things that is kind of hard to bring up when she’s just barely beginning to understand how conception works in the normal way — let alone compounding that information with stories of infertility.
And then she asked me very quietly: “Mommy, how come you didn’t have trouble getting a baby in your belly?”
It was my moment. My opportunity arose right in front of me, and I pounced on it.
I answered her: “Actually, we DID have trouble getting a baby in my belly. It took a long time, so we went to the doctor, who helped us and we got very, very lucky.”
She acknowledged my answer but didn’t press any further, and I didn’t want to overwhelm her at that point, so slowly the conversation turned in a different direction. I’m sure follow-up questions will come at some point, and I will answer them as honestly as I can.
We continued to the store to get a card, and Baby B picked one out all by herself. Thankfully it turned out to be an appropriate card and not the wedding card she also was considering. I asked her, “If you were going to say something to someone who was sad, what would you want to say?” She told me, and I wrote it down for her on a piece of paper, then she copied it onto the card all by herself. She chose: “Smile. Don’t be sad.” And she drew a heart on the card and signed her name.
As for myself, I can’t tell Serenity not to be sad. I know I would be if my path had gone that direction — which it very easily could have. But I can smile myself knowing that out of her crappy situation came a chance to talk to my daughter about something that’s been a big part of our lives for a couple of years now. Now, would I have rather NOT had that particular opportunity? Of course. But that’s the reality that happened, no matter how nightmarish it might feel. It will take time, but I hope Serenity is able to take the first part of Baby B’s advice: smile. Four-year-olds are very wise, you know. Well, as long as they’re not sending offbeat wedding cards to someone who needs encouragement.
As a copy editor, it’s probably no surprise that words amuse me on many levels, so it’s quite fun to see Baby B really playing around with the language. Her obsession for the past few months has been rhyming words. We’ll be having a regular conversation and she’ll then tell us which words rhyme. If I say, “Time to go to school!” she’ll answer with, “School and pool RHYME!” And apparently there is no end point to this game, as her saying, “Hey! _____ and _____ RHYME!” is probably the most common thing I hear from her each day. Or, she’ll get into a rhyming mood and we’ll play a game of coming up with as many words that rhyme with her initial word as possible. Or we’ll read a book that is written in rhyme, and she’ll insist on saying the rhyming words herself, even if it’s a book we’ve never read.
I was talking with The Teacher the other day, and she said that Baby B is as ready for kindergarten as the kids who will be moving on to kindergarten in a few months, so that was nice to hear. Add one more year for further preparation and she should most certainly be set when it’s time for her to move on. We were talking about how she’s good with her letters and most of the letter sounds (she gets confused sometimes with those letters that have multiple sounds, which is certainly understandable), so The Teacher said, “I’ve run out of things! What am I going to teach these kids next? Reading??” I told her that one thing we’ve started working on is learning to sound out and spell basic words. We have some foam letters for the bath, and she really enjoys spelling out words on the wall — so much that sometimes she’s VERY eager to take a bath so she can play with her letters. (She’s been bath-resistant lately because she hates water getting in her ears when washing hair. We use ear plugs, but she doesn’t like them much.)
Since Wordless Wednesday generally involves a photo of some sort, here’s a recent one that fits this wordy post. I asked her to spell dog, and she insisted on spelling the word “spell” too. She did really well sounding out the word herself too. She didn’t quite get it completely right all by herself the first time, but pretty close.
I missed the boat on a Mother’s Day post, as a large chunk of my day was spent at work. (Despite the change in press days to Mondays, there are still four Sundays I have to work each year. One of them was Mother’s Day. Another will be my birthday. Woo hoo!)
But I’m not sure I have any insightful reflections on being a mother, at least not beyond the thoughts I already post here from time to time. It is the best thing I’ve ever had the opportunity to do. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever taken on. Bottom line: Even on my worst day, I wouldn’t trade any of it away.
Maybe it’s not PC to say it, but I think I’m a really good mom. Yes, I make my child a priority, but I also make my husband a priority, and I make myself a priority. If I’m in need of something, I do not hesitate to speak up for what I need, whether an afternoon nap, some time to myself, or a night out with friends. I refuse to play mom martyr. I try to fully answer my daughter’s (many, many) questions in an age-appropriate manner but do not shy away from things that I might really prefer to shield her from. I try to give her many experiences and keep her engaged and challenged but also recognize her need to just be a kid sometimes. I encourage her independence while attempting to nudge her in the right direction. Most of all, I try to make sure we have fun as a family — that’s really at the heart of everything we do. There are times I might feel like I have no idea what the heck I’m doing, but I power on through, try to be flexible, learn from my mistakes along the way, trust my instincts, and hope I come out on the other side with a reasonable amount of sanity intact.
Some days that last part may be questionable, but I think it’s success on all fronts so far.
On Tuesday morning I went for my gall bladder ultrasound. My doctor’s office had told me not to eat anything within 2 hours of the test. I thought that was kind of strange because last time I’d not been allowed to eat after midnight. I questioned them — “Two hours?” — and they assured me that yes, it was two hours. To err on the side of caution, I’d planned to not eat anything that morning, but the problem with still having morning sickness is that I get sick if I don’t eat anything. I almost threw up, so I went ahead and had some yogurt, about 2 1/2 hours before the test, because I knew at that point that I couldn’t make it that long without food.
I got to the diagnostic center and was taken back nearly immediately (yay!). The tech asked me if I’d had anything to eat that day, and I said yes, but 2 1/2 hours ago. She said it was supposed to be nothing to eat within 8 hours, so my doctor’s office told me wrong (boo!). She said I may have to come back and do the test another day because when you eat, the gall bladder contracts and they can’t see what they need to see. She said she’d take a look, and thankfully she was able to see in there okay. Whew!
The test took about 15 or 20 minutes and much it involved me taking in a deep breath and holding it for 30-45 seconds, so by the end I was pretty out of breath. They were unable to tell me results immediately, as they had to have their doctors read the report, then they would send the report to The Midwife. Originally I’d planned on calling at the end of this week if I hadn’t heard from their office, but at this point I might just wait until my next appointment. I don’t think any immediate action will be taken anyway and it’s not like it changes anything I do now, so it’s more just a curiosity thing on my part.
This morning I took Baby B for her ENT follow-up. We’d tried to do a hearing test at her last visit in February, but she said her ears hurt and they didn’t want to do the test. The ENT saw fluid in her ears at that visit and within one or two days, it had gone into a full-on ear infection with a great deal of drainage on both sides. So they had us come back today for the hearing test and checkup.
Unfortunately, Baby B developed a cough overnight and still had it this morning, so my automatic suspicion turned to the ears. Good thing we were going to see The ENT, huh? This time they were able to do the hearing test, which is slightly different now that she’s a little older. The ENT told us that she has had some hearing loss since her last test, but I do wonder how much of that was her not understanding some of the instructions for this new test. Maybe a little of both.
He looked at her ears, and that second tube finally fell out. Not surprisingly, he said he saw some fluid building up in both ears. He said that because 90% of kids have outgrown ear infections by this point, they typically don’t wait for a series of new ear infections to occur before they replace the tubes if the child had fewer infections with the tubes. If this turns into an ear infection, this is her second one this year, and combined with the slight hearing loss now that the tubes are both gone, he said he’d go ahead and recommend a third tube surgery.
I’m certainly not one to hesitate to go for tubes if they seem necessary, but I think this time I want to see how the next few months go. If she continues to get infections during the time of year those aren’t as common, then I’ll be more sold on the idea, even if it’s just one more after this current potential one. So we’ve got a follow-up scheduled for late August, and we can call before that if she does develop a pattern and we feel we need to schedule surgery before then. Hopefully it won’t be necessary, but we’ll see how things look then. In the meantime, he said it’s possible that seasonal allergies are causing her infections (we live in an area that is known for allergies). He gave us some Flonase for her, and he said that even if it’s not caused by allergies, the Flonase should help the fluid in there drain some. We can also give her Zyrtec to help with this.
It feels like it’s been a while since I’ve given an update just on Baby B, so I’ll focus today’s post on her.
*You know how dogs sometimes do this crazy run around the house, running at full speed from wall to wall for a few minutes just before settling down for some rest or sleep? (Well, our dog does that, at least. I can’t speak for all dogs.) Baby B has taken to doing this, as well, usually when she’s naked before a bath or before putting on her pajamas at night. As she runs at top speed from one end of the house to the other, she always proclaims, “I have to get my energy!” I’m working on breaking it to her that she means to say, “I have to get my energy OUT,” but it’s kind of cute that she thinks that’s how she gets her energy, by running around like that.
*Baby B has shown some signs lately of not wanting to be alone. For example, I’ll tell her that she can play on her new swingset in the backyard while I’m getting some things done around the house, and sometimes she’ll go out there without a problem, but sometimes she says she’s scared. I ask her why, and she always says eagerly (not in a scared way), “Because of the tornado!” Naturally, no amount of explaining tornado conditions — and why a tornado is very unlikely with a perfectly sunny sky — seem to settle down her imagination. (Generally we come up with some sort of compromise, that if she will go out there for five minutes, then one of us will come out there to spend time with her.) We are also working to make it so The Husband doesn’t have to stay in her room with her until she falls asleep at bedtime since she says she’s scared with one of us in there. Now, if staying in there involved 15 minutes of our time, no problem, but it takes two hours or more. It’s definitely a fine line between giving your child the comfort and reassurance they need and making sure these master manipulators don’t play you for a fool.
*Baby B is enjoying her new swingset and has really mastered getting herself started and pumping her legs to continue swinging without need us there for that. For whatever reason, this is something she couldn’t quite get on park swings, so it’s nice to see some development in that area. At parks, though, she still prefers the bucket swings because we’re able to push her super high, which just isn’t possible on regular swings without the fear of us pushing her out of her swing onto the ground. (And yes, that has happened. Multiple times.)
*The Husband has started to introduce Baby B to non-princess Disney movies such as The Sword in the Stone, The Black Cauldron, and Pete’s Dragon. Although they don’t have nearly the production quality that current movies have, that hasn’t bothered Baby B one bit and she’s enjoyed all of them — and has enjoyed asking all the new questions that arise.
*Speaking of movies, she was asking me about magic, like the kind that happens in movies. “Like in Shrek when Fiona turns into a yogurt.” “An ogre?” I clarified. “No, a yogurt.”
*Baby B is quite familiar with Disney songs, so I wasn’t surprised when she started singing along with “A Whole New World” from Aladdin when it came on during dinner last week. What did surprise me was when she started doing choreographed hand motions to the song. I thought, “Why in the world does she know something like that?” Then it dawned on me. Her class is preparing to do the preschool graduation program at the end of the month. I asked her, “Are you all doing that song for the preschool graduation?” She said they were. Listening to the lyrics in that context, I immediately started tearing up. And my kid isn’t even graduating from preschool this year!! I’m going to lose it next year, it seems! A whole new world indeed.
I can show you the world
Shining, shimmering, splendid
Tell me, princess, now when did
You last let your heart decide?
I can open your eyes
Take you wonder by wonder
Over, sideways and under
On a magic carpet ride
A whole new world
A new fantastic point of view
No one to tell us no
Or where to go
Or say we’re only dreaming
A whole new world
A dazzling place I never knew
But when I’m way up here
It’s crystal clear
That now I’m in a whole new world with you
Now I’m in a whole new world with you
Soaring, tumbling, freewheeling
Through an endless diamond sky
A whole new world
Don’t you dare close your eyes
A hundred thousand things to see
Hold your breath – it gets better
I’m like a shooting star
I’ve come so far
I can’t go back to where I used to be
A whole new world
Every turn a surprise
With new horizons to pursue
Every moment red-letter
I’ll chase them anywhere
There’s time to spare
Let me share this whole new world with you
A whole new world
That’s where we’ll be
A thrilling chase
A wondrous place
For you and me
I had my 24-week appointment on Friday, and overall things went well. Blood pressure was 102/60. Heartbeat measured somewhere in the 150s (I can’t remember what). I didn’t have to do a urine test this time.
You’ll love this, though. The Midwife measured the fundal height for the first time, and the number of centimeters should correspond with the number of weeks you are. Gestationally I was at 24 weeks. I measured at 27 weeks!! No belly and still measured three weeks ahead. How is that for real? I suspect some kind of measuring error, or I guess it’s possible things are growing UP instead of OUT.
I mentioned my gallstone attack, and The Midwife wants me to have a new ultrasound done on it since it’s been almost five years since my last one. She may send me to a surgeon for a consultation as I did last time, but it’s unlikely it would come out before I stopped nursing. I go for the ultrasound tomorrow morning but probably won’t get immediate results if it’s like last time.
My next visit will be at 28 weeks, on May 26. I wil have my glucose tolerance test that day, as well as an ultrasound to check the position of the placenta and the white spot they saw on the heart at 20 weeks to see if that’s gone away.
Some other pregnancy-related items of note:
*Baby B felt the baby kick once over the weekend. She excitedly went to tell The Husband: “I felt my baby sister kick! I really did! I’m not even joking!”
*I think I’ve started to feel hiccups.
*I have no clue what position she’s in based on movement at this point. Sometimes it seems like she’s head up, other times head down. And it’s quite possible that she’s still able to manage both positions. I should know more at my next visit.
*Last week I began feeling heartburn some in the evenings. So far it’s pretty minor, but it did make me kind of nauseated one night. I looked back at my blog and found a description of the heartburn from last time, and it was nearly exact, including the nauseated feeling it gave me (that I’d forgotten).
*My pubic bone still hurts off and on. Thankfully so far it’s still minor and it’s not constant, but definitely present at times.
*I’ve also hit the extremes as far as my stomach and my bladder. I can go from very hungry to “OMG I’m so FULL” in an instant. And also back to hungry in an instant. I also have gotten to the point where bladder-wise I feel fine, then instantly I have to pee RIGHT THEN.
*I wish I could say, “Wow, 24 weeks already!” Very grateful to be here — believe me! — but wow does it feel like I’ve been pregnant much longer!