Monday, October 24, 2011

Salvation through technology: On being one's own advocate

I am neurotic to a fault. I like having control and hate waiting. Being frustrated with these weeks of waiting and lack of diagnostics during our initial prenatal visit, Glenn and I purchased the Sonoline B fetal doppler at around 8 weeks.

It's a handy little doppler that comes with gel and is basically a $50.00 plastic piece of mind. I have been trying fruitlessly since 8 weeks 2 days to get a heart beat. (Doctors tell you it's difficult to hear the heartbeat before 12 weeks)

I can find my own heart beat, and would hear the "woosh woosh" of my placenta/cord(?) but couldn't get the actual baby's heartbeat. Upon research I knew it should sound faster than mine (anything 125 and under is mom), and should sound like a train or galloping horses . I would start right above pubic line and move left to right (weeks this early in the first trimester the baby sits very low behind your pubic bone). Well after a week and a half of trying, I finally got the lil bugger!

There is indeed a baby Lovelace growing in there! Words cannot express how happy this makes me, and the feeling of reassurance that all these symptoms and feelings I have are not for naught.  I had to go wake Glenn up to have him listen....he was delirious but excited! So high on baby love right now! 

Without further ado: Baby Lovelace at 9 weeks 4 (well, 5 at midnight) days:

Health and Exercise (or lack there of)

As I am wont to do - I will continue to relinquish any self-abashment. I figure I have shared this blog with enough people who know me and love me to not care how much I really put myself on front street. That being said, I feel like a huge bloated whale. While I know pregnancy is the most rewarding gift a woman can ever experience, I'll be damned if it isn't a shot to the esteem to not fully be "showing" and have this constant bloating feeling.

Pre-pregnancy I used to go to the (bourgeois, fancy, rich white people) gym fairly frequently (okay 3 times a week if I was lucky) or run outside to stay fit. I especially loved the high impact weight lifting and cycling classes. As soon as I found out I was pregnant I fell into the fear-induced rut that somehow working out (other than walking or swimming slow) would somehow increase my odds of miscarriage or somehow hinder the healthy growth of baby Lovelace. 

Well, I've just about had it with feeling like a cesspool of sleepiness and pudge. Why am I not "glowing" yet? (Nice) people in the know have been telling me I look great, but it's hard to step on the scale everyday and wonder if these 4 lbs of weight gain are healthy pounds full of nourishment for the baby, or if mama has just been enjoying those vanilla muffins and skim milk too much. THE BABY CRAVED IT OKAY. 

My darling nurse practitioner wasn't providing any revolutionary guidelines on what I should or should not be doing exercise wise, and since I won't know til week 12 the stability of my cervix (thanks HPV!) I have been taking it relatively easy. I have gone running approximately twice, and done the elliptical twice in....NINE WEEKS AND 4 DAYS. No wonder I feel like a blimp. 

Today I did the elliptical for 35 minutes set to cross-training, and then did some weight training - arms. I must say it felt amazing to sweat, and for once I didn't have headaches. I am looking to purchase a probably turbo-expensive heartrate monitor to keep below that (140-160 beats per minute) dreaded fetus stressing number. 

I still got it!

9 weeks 4 days in the ladies restroom at Lifetime Fitness - whatofit?


This week draws us to 9...ever so close but seemingly so far to our "safety zone" and that first ultrasound. We are now 2 days out and I'm still impatient but hopeful. New symptoms are on and off headaches (more on than off as of late) and some shortness of breath. Not like, an exercise out of breath sort of scenario, but I find when I am doing trainings I have to pause more often instead of having run on sentences explaining how to move slides on a webinar. 

My patience is still wore thin to none. Some days are such a frustrating blur, I can't wait to get home to crash on the couch. Other days I do get some reprieve to do some babyboarding (not at all like waterboarding) but more of a forum of crazy moms-to-be, as well as utilizing Pinterest to keep track of some nursery room inspiration. It's a pretty fun site where you "pin" (duh) images/links to relevant interests. The other fun aspect is that you can friend people who can also pin to your board if they think it suits your fancy. Join and pin me!

This weekend we got to share the news with some more friends, by way of a pumpkin carving contest.

Ours is 3rd from the right -- A Jerome dog Yorkie!

I have for the past few years, been blessed with the friendship of several wonderful gay men, and letting them know about the ol pumpkin I'm harvesting (harharhar) has been precious. I think the range of emotions has gone from being teary-eyed, to shocked, to super curious about women bits, to excited. I know one thing is for sure, this child will have no shortage of fantastic uncles. (Or Aunts as Chris would favor)

Uncle Peetz, Auntie Chris, Uncle Bee Why - pondering their niece or nephew
Pizza gets the prize for most emotional reaction
October always brings fall festive cheer, pumpkins, and support for breast cancer awareness -- by way of Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. I have served on the Race Executive Board for the past 3 years as the Information Chair and it has been awesome being involved in a volunteer capacity for the biggest foot race in Maryland. I am however, hanging up my pink gear and probably stepping down, as we will have a 5 monthish old and I figure I will have my hands (and boobs) full. 

Race committee folks like myself have to show up at 4:30AM, and it was a long, cold and tiring day but I was glad to enjoy some sunshine and cheer on the survivors. Behold: your Komenesque exhausted post-race requisite belly shots:

4 hours of sleep and some facepaint later...
grow, baby gourd, grow!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

give me a 5, 6, 7, 8....

This is amazing to me and gives me faith!
(weeks 5ish to 8wks 3 days) 
cue jazz drums..and a 5, 6, 7, 8 (click to enlarge)

First official cravings & obligatory belly shots

Today was a bit of a trying day, after the high of this weekend's socializing. I learned a high school classmate had passed away unexpectedly and was feeling pretty bummy on an otherwise beautiful Sunday afternoon. After some quality couch time I decided to do something with this day, and satisfied one of my current cravings -- oatmeal chocolate chip cookies!

The good thing about cookies is that they taste great with milk, so I have been quenching that calcium thirst all day. Delicious!

And without further ado, peep my weekly growth ya'll:

hooray new yoga pants!

grow baby, grow!

do I look pregnant yet? 8 Weeks - 3 Days!
This week, other than feeling hormonal my boobs (albeit small looking here) have been really achey and feeling heavier. When I hug people the pressure hurts. I've been waiting 28 years to have boobs, I hope we get that C cup! I also have been having alot of dull headaches that come off and on, and some vivid dreams and now obviously....cravings. Delicious!

Bearing of good news - my social life still exists! (8 weeks pregnant update)

After much consideration and fatigue from being MIA and making up stories, we decided to share the news with our football team. At least this way they could look to pick up another girl for the team, or better determine subs from here on out. Everyone was overjoyed and excited for us, which is a nice feeling after sitting in 8 weeks of silence! I can cross that stressor off my list. The girls are super enthusiastic about the baby - I am looking forward to them sharing their own baby tales, and giving me hand me downs. Yay free stuff!

We also went to a good friend's birthday party and gave the heads up to some other dear friends. We are kinda the "first" of this group to be pregnant so it was fun to hear all of the different people's reactions. Everyone is really nice to you when you're pregnant. Especially drunk people, I've since found out!

the birthday boy and a bunch of delicious treats

my big dumb toytle friend who will totally come to my baby shower

Pretty Shineza
I especially love "straight guy" questions and concerns about pregnancy. It's like I am a science experiment in action and they are quizzical about everything. It is actually quite endearing. The women folk mostly tend to be very protective and affectionate. I do love attention, so being pregnant and being open about it rules. Kidding about the attention part. Kidding about not kidding. 

While we didn't wait the 12 weeks to share the news with alot of our friends, I am still being very optimistic and figure the good juju of other's happiness and excitement for us can't be a bad thing. One thing I do know, Baby Lovelace is already loved. 

8 weeks & counting...frustrations aplenty

So we had our first "official" prenatal visit. If you can call it much of a visit. I know I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up for any bells and whistles, but I left feeling like the entire process was super structured and cold. We met with a nurse practitioner who didn't really answer any of my questions "they will get to that at your 12 week appointment" and basically gave me a brief pap smear "your uterus seems to be at the 6-8 week mark size wise", some pamphlets and a referral for blood tests and a sonogram and sent me on my merry way. 

When we asked about viability she basically told me that if I had peed on sticks that said I was pregnant I was pregnant and to wait for my "dating ultrasound" at 10 weeks. Not something a 1st time high-anxiety ridden mom wants to hear. That coupled with my knowledge of the ability to hear a heartbeat at 6 weeks, (countless friends have had ultrasounds from 5 weeks on),  and the fact that these different practices pick a random arbitrary date out of their ass to determine if/when an ultrasound could be done really grinded my hormonal gears. I don't know why I was so upset (yes I do, I am neurotic & hormonal), but I basically cried from the time we left the appointment to the time we got home. If there's one thing I hate in life it's not KNOWING something or being able to PLAN for something. I am a planner by trade (well, job) and feel a comfort in knowing the reasons and order for things. While the NP so gleefully said, "oh 2 and a half weeks will fly right by!"  I wanted to cut the bitch. The whole experience didn't leave me with warm fuzzies. I felt like I was a pregnant cow, just being herded through the motions. Not that I wanted glitter and rainbows, but sentimentality of the experience was completely stricken. 

It's taken me a few days to get out of this funk, which is why I hadn't updated in some time. I have alot of great friends who were of a huge help in making me relax and take it easy on myself and this baby. I have to accept that I don't know whether or not everything is okay, and will simply have to wait these arbitrary 2.5 weeks until the ultrasound, as much as it feels like every fiber of my being is white hot in frustration. I just can't imagine that with our technological advances we can't give some sort of "breathe easy" standardized treatment. I am aware that some early ultrasounds are only for high-risk pregnancies....but in all honestly, all pregnancies should be "high risk" until we know otherwise, yes? They all essentially start out the same - so what is the harm in helping a person relax?

Off of that soap box -- special shout out to Alexis, who sent me a very thoughtful gift in the mail Mama to Be Tea! It was so unexpected and appreciated! Glenn retrieved the package at the door and was all "what'd you order from Amazon now?!" Upon opening the box I burst into hormonal (but happy!) tears.  I have tried 2 of the varieties in the sampler and both are fantastic! Since I have not been drinking coffee, I have looked to these warm beverages as a special treat. 

Last week I went to visit my mom in West Virginia to take part in some fall festivals and to see my grandparents, but previous to that Glenn and I went to see the Tuneyards. It was pretty much the greatest live band experience I have ever seen. Glenn got to drink some delicious Natty Boh's and I got a requisite band shirt because I am a nerd. 
no flash - no problem
We ended up having beautiful weather all weekend long, and Grandma, Mom and I did some crucial shopping at lawn sales and the Colorfest and Apple Butter Festival. Alot of quality eating was done as well. 
once we finally found eachother in a sea of thousands

Papa Howie, 89 years young!

Dancing at the Troubadour!
We went to one yard sale where the woman had a bunch of baby clothes and furnishings and made out like bandits. I have no shame in buying used things, especially because so much of what you need for a child they grow out of ASAP and it can be expensive if bought outright. So long as items are clean and well taken care of I am totally pro. So totally of me. Ha! In any event we got a bouncy chair, a bunch of unisex (read: yellow and white) sleepers and some boppy covers. We were quite pleased with ourselves. My grandma is also already working on an afghan!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

7 weeks and some colustrum

So this has been an interesting week full of decision making and novelty boob references. I have been sleuthing the baby boards for information about women's 1st prenatal visits. I had an appointment made for weeks, and decided to do some follow up to get a grasp on what all actually went down.

Well the darling receptionist couldn't tell me squat. They maybe would do an ultrasound but probably not, and my insurance probably didn't cover it. They may do  blood test, but probably not, unless they were worried something was wrong. (Again, how would they know if we don't do any tests?) They probably would do a pap/pelvic if I was due, but it depended. On what? This chick was useless in providing me any info, or reassurance about a nervewracking first visit, so I decided to look elsewhere.

Using (again) the babyboardsphere I did some research and found another clinic that still works within my hospital network, and IMAGINE THAT they even had a website! With...*gasp* prenatal checklists! The receptionist was not only warm and friendly, but offered me realistic guidance and was able to fit me in this coming Monday! So there! It sounds like we will get a dating sonogram - and probably a prescription to have blood drawn to take my levels. These people make sense!

In other revelations I have begun feeling more energetic as of late, and managed to work out twice this week. (Thus far) It had been a month and a half since I went to the gym, and doing the elliptical for 40 minutes felt surprisingly refreshing. I ran (not walked) 2.5 (albeit slow) miles and felt amazeballs 3000. Glenn says this baby gives me super powers. I don't know about all that but I did feel pretty rad.

is my uterus changing shape?
Obligatory weekly photos:

Sorry about the boob sweat
you can be pregnant, but won't forget how to pose
In other fun news I noticed what I thought was dry skin on the ol' nips and did some preliminary research and realized it was in fact dried colustrum. THE LIQUID GOLD. I am hoping this bodes well for future breast feeding, Niter (the original matriarch of nursing) is  of course thrilled. Valerie gave me This Book, which is full of anti formula propaganda and fear inducing statistics. I always knew I wanted to breast feed but this book INSISTS on it. Hopefully this delightful new collection on the party I call my nips will bode well for the feedings to come. 

I haven't had any morning sickness (brief feelings of nausea), nor have I had any food cravings, but I would like to hand it to Trader Joe's for having the best frozen healthy meal options ever. Shoutout to chicken gyoza and spicy edamame! Eating good like I know I should.

Even more delicious in real life!

This weekend my Grandma and Papa Howie are in town and will be staying at the chateau de Niter in West Virginia. I am making the hour and a half trek to share the good news and do some festival hopping. I love festivals any time of year, but especially in the fall! This one promises tons of vendors, and I hope the weather is gorgeous. I shall be on the lookout for cute baby oriented ish, of course! I hope my grandparents are elated, word on the street is Grandma has already begun an afghan! Each week I get more excited! 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

6 weeks & counting - Sharing good news

Glenn and I were headed home this weekend to see some fam and I arranged to connect with my college girlfriends in order to share our good news with everyone in person. Again, I know it is very early, but I pretty much wear my heart on my sleeve and have been excited to communicate about this ever-changing new lifestyle.

Erin, Val and Maria are 3 of my best girlfriends from Clarion - and we have all stayed in touch post college, from weddings to pregnancies and 2 new babies! We don't often all have schedules that can coordinate at the same time, so I was especially excited to "surprise" them.

Erin, Maria and I at Sal's. Watching people do shots made me want to vom.
So different from 6 years ago when we would all be doing shots!
There is only one first time you can tell people, and I have cherished the looks on people's faces. Alot of genuine excitement and shrieking and story telling! Erin and Val are mommies and provided me lots of reassurance, crazy boob stories, maternity clothes and breastfeeding books! We also ate funfetti cake, which is a treasured pasttime of ours. Maria also managed to fix my hair and rid it of its horrible rootiness, so now I am fresh-for-fall semi red-head!

Miss Claire Isabella and myself
Glenn also got alot of quality baby time in - throwing Val's son in the air and cuddling Claire. If I wasn't pregnant already my ovaries would be swooning in full effect!

so dreamy!
We got to tell Glenn's family this weekend as well (although it didn't go as I anticipated). We had bought his mother a frame that said "family" as we couldn't find a "grandma" one to give her as a surprise --  and when we arrived at his sister's house she was fussing at him for not calling and telling her he was coming into town that I think she didn't realize what was happening. Regardless she (and the entire family) are elated and looking forward to the new arrival. They are all team pink when I strongly feel that Baby Lovelace is team blue. Soon enough we will find out!

We also got to spend a brief brunch with John and Lindsey - who will be proud parents this month! Emilia Antionette is due October 31st but we are all thinking she will make her grand debut a bit earlier. It was nice to catch up and share preggo tales (
why are my boobs doing this? Were you constipated? I can't stand thinking about eating meat!"). Looking forward to being able to meet their new baby soon!

6 weeks and ....32 weeks?

6 weeks - 1 day

Taken right before another road trip to Pittsburgh! - don't worry my roots will look better in future photos

Full disclosure : I ate 2 pieces of pizza that day


5 weeks - 1 day

I am excessively bloated - so while these aren't "bump" pix per se - they are photos of my increasing gut due to that growing uterus

Look - I'm glowing....or sweating

5 weeks and a plus sign!

if I look annoyed it's because my baby daddy was getting too much "background" in the pic

hooray uterus!

Lilypie Pregnancy tickers