about
Alisa. 37. New Hampshire. Married for almost three years to this wonderful, funny, smart guy. Previously married. Went through in-vitro fertilization to have my five year old magical son Keegan. Stepmother to the charming Isabelle (6). Gushingly in love with our baby boy Harper(1). Policy Wonk and dreaded bureaucrat. Lover of fine cuisine, honeybees, truly romantic moments and the underdog.
cooking
Curried Beef Short Ribs

Note: I found this was more realistically four servings.

Finishing this dish with lime zest and juice brightens its rich flavors.

Yield 6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces ribs, 2/3 cup rice, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons sauce)

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds ...continue reading

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Mommy Meme #2

I had to do this again to cover my second born

1. WAS YOUR SECOND PREGNANCY PLANNED? Yes and I was getting a bit nervous even though it really didn't take long at all.

2. WERE YOU MARRIED AT THE TIME? Yes.

3. WHAT WERE YOUR REACTIONS? I couldn't believe I was lucky enough to conceive naturally even though I had no reason to think I wouldn't.

4. WAS ABORTION AN OPTION FOR YOU? No.

5. HOW OLD WERE YOU? 35 (36 when he was born) Advanced maternal age and they treat you like a freak.

6. HOW DID YOU FIND OUT YOU WERE PREGNANT? I couldn't sleep one night and I got up at 2:30am and peed on a stick. I saw two lines and re-read the directions because I had never seen a positive before.

7. WHO DID YOU TELL FIRST? I woke up poor Jeff and then we were so excited we couldn't sleep.

8. DID YOU WANT TO FIND OUT THE SEX? Yes.

9. DUE DATE? May 29, 2008

10. DID YOU HAVE MORNING SICKNESS? No but I didn't the first time either.

11. WHAT DID YOU CRAVE? Sleep and sex. Not in that order.

12. WHO/WHAT IRRITATED YOU THE MOST? I hated being so emotionally unpredictable (AGAIN!).

13. WHAT WAS YOUR SECOND CHILD'S SEX? Boy.

14. DID YOU WISH YOU HAD THE OPPOSITE SEX OF WHAT YOU WERE GETTING? Yes I was so sure it was a girl because my pregnancy was so different than the first. But after we found out I realized it was for the best to give Keegan a brother.

15. HOW MANY POUNDS DID YOU GAIN THROUGHOUT THE PREGNANCY? 22

16. DID YOU HAVE A BABY SHOWER? No we were going to but we had moved into a new house and it was chaos. Then we were going to have welcome baby party afterward but I am too anal to have anyone over until the house was perfect. I am still working on the house.

17. WAS IT A SURPRISE OR DID YOU KNOW?

18. DID YOU HAVE ANY COMPLICATIONS DURING YOUR PREGNANCY? Yes. PUPPP the most evil rash in the world (AGAIN!) who's only cure is giving birth and a breech who flipped right before we were going to have to do ti from the outside (OUCH!) This culminated in one stubborn baby who did not want to come out on time.

19. WHERE DID YOU GIVE BIRTH? Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, NH (AGAIN!).

20. HOW MANY HOURS WERE YOU IN LABOR? It was around 5 hours of hard labor.

21. WHO DROVE YOU TO THE HOSPITAL? Jeff.

22. WHO WATCHED YOU GIVE BIRTH? Jeff, my midwife, some extra nurses and an OB because they were worried about the baby's heartbeat at times. My mom and Erika were supposed to be there again but it all happened so fast at the end.

23. WAS IT NATURAL OR C-SECTION? Pitocin induced vaginal birth (AGAIN!)

24. DID YOU TAKE MEDICINE TO EASE THE PAIN? This time I was smart and asked for an epidural as soon as I was past 5 cm. And even then I had to wait over an hour before they would give me one and by then I was 8cm.

27. HOW MUCH DID YOUR CHILD WEIGH? 8 lbs 4 oz.

28. WHEN WAS YOUR CHILD ACTUALLY BORN ? June 10, 2008

30. WHAT DID YOU NAME HIM/HER? Harper Harris

31. HOW OLD IS YOUR FIRST BORN TODAY? 7 months & 21 days and the best baby ever.

Imagine Whirled Peace

I had a contraction last night strong enough to wake me up but none others. This morning I went to watch Keegan's swim lessons at school because usually I am working and am not able to. That pool full of four year olds is one of the cutest things ever. The pool room was 83 and the water was 81 so not much better than being outside. I don't know how those poor teachers get 15 kids dressed and undressed every Monday. It was like herding cats in bathing suits.

I got a request from a college friend for us (the fake sorority) to help her and her wife choose a new sperm donor. The previous one has a short supply and as she so eloquently put it, "he may not be compatible with me and my goods." So I looked through donor profiles and cast my vote. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.

I had my checkup and another nonstress test today. The baby is still doing fine. I have been having contractions today but nothing helpful. My midwife asked me when I wanted to induce and said, "As soon as possible but not today." So she checked on tomorrow and we are booked for 6:30am. My mom is spending the night here tonight and she will take Keegan to school and then join us at the hospital. My room has internet so we will post here and also twitter as we're able. The concept of possibly "holding our baby in our arms by dinner," is completely bizarre. Although easier for me since I have been growing the baby for 10 months.

So we shopped for my "last supper" and there is a pint of Ben & Jerry's with my name on it for dessert. One last hurray before I go into diet lock down.

My sweet husband sent me this:

delivery.png

She Dropped A Bomb On Me

We had some excitement here last night. Around 10:30 I had my first real contractions. I sent a text to Erika to put her on alert. At 11:30 I had one so severe I had to hold on to the counter to stand up. I was on the phone with my mom to put her on alert and when that one came I told her to come up. I did not have any more strong ones after that. But they were consistently 6 minutes apart until 2:30am. I had gone to bed around 1:00 to try and rest. In between the contractions the baby would go nutty so I wasn't getting much sleep. I woke up at 3:30 to use the bathroom and realized they must be gone or not strong enough to wake me. I haven't had anything significant today. A few here and there but nothing to indicate we're back on target. Both of my parents stayed over so my dad could stay with Keegan while my mom came with us. Instead we all slept through the night and then my mom got Keegan ready and to school before Jeff and I got up at 8:30. Now my dad is at work, my mom is off running her errands and Jeff stayed home with me in case anything else happens. He put the stroller together this morning and we're going to install the car seat. I have my toiletries packed and ready to throw in my suitcase. I would love a 6-6-08 or 6-7-08 baby. I was going to go to Coach today to shop for a wallet but I'm thinking that would not be a smart idea. Sticking close to home sounds good.

41 Weeks

I did not put the pregnancy website entry for 41 weeks here because frankly it is doom and gloom. All the horrible things that can happen if you go past 42 weeks. We had the ultrasound this morning. The baby is doing great, plenty of fluid and measuring not quite 8 pounds. We had time until the midwife appointment and Jeff took the morning off so we went shopping. Then we went in for the nonstress test. The baby did great and I checked out very healthy too. So it was decided to leave him alone. I will have another nonstress test on Monday and as long as that one is good he will stay in until Thursday at the latest. I am fine as long as he is okay. Most babies are born between three weeks before and two weeks after the due date. So the odds are in our favor. And no matter what we will get this show on the road in the next 7 days. I feel good and we are making plans for the weekend. We'll see how they play out. I did learn that staying hydrated can really make a difference for labor. A dehydrated uterus makes for more painful contractions with less progress made. That does not sound fun. And I have also learned that when I am not working I spend more money, granted on things we need. And I crave ice cream every day. Poor Jeff who gets sent out at night to fetch it from the stand down the street. I try not to send him every night though. That explains the pound I gained since last week.

Forecast Is Foggy

Monday I experienced some pre-partum depression about the lack of labor and delivery of this child. I slept in while Jeff took Keegan to school and basically found myself unmotivated and weepy all day. Not much anyone can do for me with that.

Tuesday I woke up with tons of energy. After dropping Keegan at school I hit the bank (leaving $40 in the ATM but someone chased after me) and then the post office. We sold my cloth diapers because I will not be able to use them this time. Then I picked up a couple of necessary items from the grocery store. After that I went to the garden center. They are at the top of my list of places I love to browse. Some people love a bookstore, I love a good nursery. I spent some time looking at perennials and ground cover dreaming of the garden beds we will put in next year. Then I grabbed a wagon and filled it with annuals to continue my container gardens for the patio. On the way home I dropped off a hanging basket for our tenants. She and I had talked about them the evening before when she dropped off the rent checks. She called later to thank me. At home I was like a ball of energy putting together the flower boxes and baskets. I figured what was the worst that could happen? I'd go into labor? I took a break when the sun came out because it was way too humid. After lunch and a movie I finished up. I have to say they make me happy just looking at them. I definitely felt like I was doing my own version of nesting.

Today I woke up less energetic but still in a good mood. It rained all day, finally, which is good for my flowers and a good excuse to veg out. I am amazed by the number of people who have taken a personal interest in when this baby arrives. I love the support. I am not so crazy about the questions about how long they will let me go and inducement, etc. Thinking negatively is not where I need to be right now. Tomorrow we go in to make sure he is okay and still getting what he needs remaining inside me. Let's deal with that first.

According to my experience, what doesn't cause labor:
Spicy food
Sex
Wishing
Jeff telling the baby it is time to come out
Bumpy roads
Bumpy boat rides
Foot massages
People asking me when the baby is coming
Walking
Exerting myself with yard work
Keegan telling the baby it is time to come out
Hating my maternity clothes

You Think You're Tired Of Waiting

No baby. No signs of labor. Just one very pregnant lady trying to keep from going crazy. And one very patient big brother and one supportive husband. And clearly I am not getting my May child.

With such beautiful weather we went to my parents' today. I thought last weekend would be my last boat ride pregnant. We went over wakes and the bumps didn't budge anything. But Keegan had a great time and my dad loves taking him on the jet ski. He played in the sand and got very wet. Proving that yes I should have brought his bathing suit. I forget that kids don't have any nerve endings and therefore don't care how cold the water is. And my mom won't be happy until the kids suits are hanging on the rack for the summer. Nanas love that stuff. And I got to hear all of the neighbors surprised reactions when they saw I was still pregnant. Yay. But it was a lovely day and I should have put my feet up more. But I have always had trouble knowing my limits.

I will keep posting so you know the baby isn't here yet. And when we finally head to the hospital I will put out the alert. Why don't you people get focused and send me some baby out vibes? Thanks.

Holy Moly

Jeff posted today. Not once but three times. It must take being stuck inside on a rainy day to make it happen. I only give him a hard time because I like what he writes and we get so little. He didn't even tell me, I had to find out on my feeds. Let me point out this post because well, it's about me!

40 Weeks

"It's hard to say for sure how big your baby will be, but the average newborn weighs about 7 1/2 pounds (a small pumpkin) and is about 20 inches long. His skull bones are not yet fused, which allows them to overlap a bit if it's a snug fit through the birth canal during labor. This so-called "molding" is the reason your baby's noggin may look a little conehead-ish after birth. Rest assured — it's normal and temporary."

When I first checked my pregnancy update it said "newborn." The assumption being that I must have delivered by now. Way to rub it in.

I have nothing to report. Nothing like labor going on over here. Jeff said it is kind of weird because I could go into labor at any moment. Which is true. When I go to bed I wonder if I will wake up during the night with contractions. Each morning I wonder if the day will end with a baby. I have an appointment tomorrow which I am hoping will shed some light on it.

Come Out, Come Out, Whenever You Want

No baby yet. No sign he is coming soon either. I did ask him not to arrive over the weekend and he was nice enough to listen.

Saturday we had a 4 yr old birthday party. Lots of running around the yard, pinata and cake. Both kids and I had naps after that one. That evening we had a 95 yr old birthday celebration. My grandpa turned 95 - no running around the yard, pinata or cake. But a nice four generation meal out and lots of cards and hand made drawings from his great grandchildren. I think he was really happy.

Sunday Jeff and the kids went to climb a mountain. They each wore their own backpack and carried their own lunch. Jeff said people were so impressed they were going that far at their age. Jeff and Keegan had hiked it last year when he was 3 1/2. And both kids love to hike and explore. I wouldn't let him take them farther north because he would be out of cell phone range. I went down to Boston to see Sammy and family. I picked a good time because I got to see him discharged from CICU and moved to the floor. I stayed five hours and then headed home. I must confess I had a plan to leave if I had any contractions and a plastic bag to cover my seat with in case my water broke. Fortunately nothing happened.

Yesterday we went to my parents' for the first boat ride of the season. Then the kids went fishing with my dad and caught their first fish of the season. They also played on the beach and tested the limits of how far we would let them get in the water with clothes on. Lunch was a classic cookout and then we headed home so Jeff could take Isabelle back to Maine. His four hour round trip drive was the last inopportune time to go into labor. No signs what so ever though. Now the baby can come any time this week because Jeff is only 40 minutes away from the hospital at work and I can always meet him there if I need to.

It is hot today and I keep getting puffy hands and feet. I have been trying to hangout in the cool basement with my feet up and that seems to work. Jeff joked he was leaving a list of chores for me today. I said it better say: Rest, relax, recharge for labor. I was going to go into work to check in but decided not to. I did return one message because it was easier for me to than someone else. I am hoping to pickup Keegan early today and take him to get new shoes. Also I need to stock up on conditioner. And I harvested a whole bunch of rhubarb to freeze for later. I did some light nesting with laundry.

I would suck at being on bed rest.

Anticipation
In case the baby comes out soon I wanted to post pictures of him inside.  These were taken about a week ago when I was 38 weeks along.

38K-web.jpg38-web.jpg


39 Weeks - Maternity Leave Begins
"Your baby's waiting to greet the world! He continues to build a layer of fat to help control his body temperature after birth, but it's likely he already measures about 20 inches and weighs a bit over 7 pounds,a mini watermelon.  (Boys tend to be slightly heavier than girls.) The outer layers of his skin are sloughing off as new skin forms underneath."

Today was my last day of work.  I still have two projects I will stay in touch on while am out.  But for the most part everything has been completed or handed off.  My boss asked me if I was sure I was coming back.  I assured I most definitely would be.  It was weird to walk away knowing I will be gone for three months.

I had my midwife appointment today also.  I told her I felt too good to be 39 weeks.  My energy has returned and the soreness and stiffness have almost completely gone away.  She said I was really lucky to be feeling this good.  Tell me about it!  I had her check under the hood.  I know it doesn't really tell you when the baby is coming but I was curious.  I was thrilled to hear I am 3 cm dilated (opening), 50-60% effaced (softening) and she could feel his head.  So he is engaged and not going anywhere but out at this point.  Even though she cautioned me that I could walk around 3cm for 2 weeks, she really feels he will be here before my appt next Friday.  It would be awesome if he came on Tuesday.
38 Weeks
"Your baby has really plumped up. He weighs about 6.8 pounds and he's over 19 1/2 inches long (like a leek). He has a firm grasp, which you'll soon be able to test when you hold his hand for the first time! His organs have matured and are ready for life outside the womb.

Wondering what color your baby's eyes will be? You may not be able to tell right away. If he's born with brown eyes, they'll likely stay brown. If he's born with steel gray or dark blue eyes, they may stay gray or blue or turn green, hazel, or brown by the time he's 9 months old. That's because a child's irises (the colored part of the eye) may gain more pigment in the months after he's born, but they usually won't get "lighter" or more blue. (Green, hazel, and brown eyes have more pigment than gray or blue eyes.)"

I had a midwife appointment yesterday.  The baby is still head down and has dropped into position.  I am hoping that means both there is no chance of him moving and he is getting ready to pop out on time.  I feel really stretched out right now and my belly is rock hard.  My skin has fully healed from PUPPP and looks healthy.  When I have a Braxton Hicks the muscles get so tight it hurts.  I think the baby is pushing back to keep some space.  She felt me from the outside and thinks he will be 8 pounds.  I was induced with Keegan at 38 weeks so I don't really know what the last weeks are like.  Lots more weird pains and stiffness and weight on my hip bones.  But I keep reminding myself this is my last time experiencing pregnancy.  I remind Jeff of this too.  I think he is more eager for the baby to come than I am.  He did describe me as "effortlessly pregnant" so it can't have been too hard on him.

Tomorrow marks five years since two embryos were put inside me.  One of them held on like a champ.  Keegan has been amazingly strong and stubborn ever since.
37 Weeks
"Congratulations — your baby is full term! This means that if your baby arrives now, his lungs should be fully mature and ready to adjust to life outside the womb, even though your due date is still three weeks away.

Your baby weighs 6 1/3 pounds and measures a bit over 19 inches, head to heel (like stalk of Swiss chard). Many babies have a full head of hair at birth, with locks from 1/2 inch to 1 1/2 inches long. But don't be surprised if your baby's hair isn't the same color as yours. Dark-haired couples are sometimes thrown for a loop when their children come out as blonds or redheads, and fair-haired couples have been surprised by Elvis look-alikes. And then, of course, some babies sport only peach fuzz."

Keegan had peach fuzz, this baby will have a full head of hair.  We could tell on the ultrasound.  I had another midwife appointment on Friday and they feel he is still head down.  We canceled the ECV for next week.  We can always schedule another one if he flips again.  I do feel he is lower and there is less pressure around my ribs.   PUPPP has been annoying as I predicted.  Some nights I can dope up and sleep through, others there is no winning.  I have not been to work since Wednesday.  I take 3 hour naps just to function.  I feel like I could sleep the whole day away but I want to spend time with my family.

This morning we took a hospital tour.  They were really sweet to the kids and sent them home with newborn diapers and tiny hats for their baby dolls.  I don't know if it made it any more clear to them about babies being born but at least they got to see where it happens.  Keegan had asked me awhile ago if he could be there.  I told him that it is hard to get a baby out and he probably wouldn't want to see me like that.  We explained to the kids that some people have babies at home or birthing centers or hospitals.  One of the rooms we got to see while there is the one where Keegan was born.  It looks exactly the same but seemed like forever ago.  Later in the day I felt sad because I thought of Tom when Keegan was born.  I would not want that room again, too powerful are the memories.

Hopefully we have less than three weeks to go.  Now that he is not breech I am excited about the delivery again.  I really want to meet this baby.
Worry Beads
Thanks to the oral antihistamines I slept through last night.  They make me feel dopey during the day but it is worth not to be completely exhausted.  Along with my appointment yesterday my midwife wanted me to have another ultrasound to check my fluid levels.  If my levels were down they would put me on bed rest.  Having PUPPP was probably one of the contributing factors to my problem last time.  They could not see me until 4pm so I went back to work instead of taking her advice to dope myself up and sleep.  I also took the opportunity to continue to take care of tasks before the baby is born.  I scheduled a tour of the hospital and finally switched Keegan's pediatrician to up here.  This will save me time and mileage just because I was sentimental about taking him to the place he had been going since he was born.  The baby will eventually go to the same new doctor up here as well.

Just as I was leaving work to head for the ultrasound I got a call from Keegan's school.  He had gotten bored during nap time and decided to shove a bead up his nose.  That's right, a bead.  He has never done anything like this before.  They said he appeared fine physically but was very distraught about where the bead would go from here.  I said I was glad he was distraught because now maybe he wouldn't shove things in his nose.  Then I got to make my first call to the new pediatrician a mere two hours after we became patients.  They said a nurse would call me back.  Which happened but cell phones are blocked in radiology so I had to wait until my ultrasound was over before finding out what to do.  My fluids levels were actually better than the last time.  And I told the tech not to be surprised to see the baby was breech.  I was the one surprised.  He had flipped and was head down!  I left there and consulted with the midwives office.  We decided to keep the procedure appointment for next week just in case and we will check the baby's position on Friday.  This kid is some kind of magician.  At this point we are cautiously optimistic that he will stay head down and everything else will go smoothly.

Back to the bead.  The pediatrician said I needed to get Keegan to put his head forward, hold his beadless nostril and have him blow his other nostril really hard.  If this did not work after several tries I had to take him to the ER where they have the right kind of instruments to remove the bead.  When I got to school there was the bead wrapped in a tissue.  Keegan was quite proud of having gotten it out himself.  I was thrilled to save a $50 co-pay and an evening in the ER.  After a day like that I didn't want to cook.  Jeff was out with the guys.  So Keegan and I went to the walk up window place down the street.  He had a hot dog and I had the taco special; 2 tacos, a coke, chips and a soft serve for :$4.50.  Keegan got my chips and ice cream.  I got to sit still and relax.
36 And A Half Weeks
So after a wonderful weekend the other shoe had to drop right?  Yup.  Let's review.  I found out Baby X is breech.  That is a 3% chance at term.  Jeff bought me a scratch ticket that day.  No winner.  Sunday I felt a little itchy and momentarily entertained the notion that maybe I was having a reaction to the massage oil.  But I was kidding myself, I knew what it was.  It is something that you have a 1% chance of getting during pregnancy.  PUPPP.  I know this because I had it with Keegan.  The odds of getting it again?  .25%.  Yay me.  You can't truly appreciate it until you see pictures.  Now mine doesn't look like this yet.  But the belly shots are what it looked like the last time I had it.  I looked up my archives to refresh my memory.  Needless to say this was a depressing development.  The first night I did not sleep well.  I ended up staying home from work yesterday and slept from 8am to 12pm.  Then I tried to get an appointment.  They told me to call back today in the morning.  Last night I got even less sleep.  There was one trip to the bathroom at 2am to reapply an OTC cream I knew was safe.

I did go into work today because I had been warned about a surprise party for me.  I called and found out I had a midwife appointment at 10:20.  I left full of cake and headed down to the office.  They were running about an hour behind so I curled up on the paper on the exam table and tried to rest.  Once I was seen she believed my self diagnosis and we talked about options.  She prescribed an oral antihistamine because she was worried about using a steroid cream on such a large surface area.  It could impact the baby, specifically the adrenal glands.  So in four years they have not made any progress with the treatment.  I did see a new study where they think DNA from a male baby might cause an immune reaction.  Who knows?  The bottom line is whether or not the baby stays breech and I have a c-section or he flips and I can go regular I still have to put up with PUPPP until at least 39 weeks.
36 Weeks
"Your baby is still packing on the pounds — at the rate of about an ounce a day. He now weighs almost 6 pounds (like a crenshaw melon) and is more than 18 1/2 inches long. He's shedding most of the downy covering of hair that covered his body as well as the vernix caseosa, the waxy substance that covered and protected his skin during her nine-month amniotic bath. Your baby swallows both of these substances, along with other secretions, resulting in a blackish mixture, called meconium, will form the contents of her first bowel movement.
At the end of this week, your baby will be considered full-term. (Full-term is 37 to 42 weeks; babies born before 37 weeks are pre-term and those born after 42 are post-term.) Most likely he's in a head-down position. But if he isn't, your practitioner may suggest scheduling an "external cephalic version," which is a fancy way of saying she'll try to coax your baby into a head-down position by manipulating him from the outside of your belly."

Wednesday we had an ultrasound scheduled to check amniotic fluid levels since that was an issue in my first pregnancy.  My fluid levels were good, the baby looks great and they guessed he weighs 6lbs 5 oz plus or minus a pound.  So really they have no idea how much he weighs.  But we do know is that he is breech.  Which basically sucks.  The odds of him flipping himself are very slim.  Only 3% of pregnancies are breech at term.  Lucky me.

Jeff and I met with my midwife on Friday to discuss our options.  Which thanks to the internet we already knew.  Vaginal delivery of breech is out because it a lost art and we feel way too risky for the baby.  So I can sign up for a c-section or try external cephalic version which was so conveniently mentioned in the update this week.  I chose to schedule an ECV for next week.  It is a very strange looking procedure and will be uncomfortable but I hear it only last a few minutes.  I am willing to give it a try.  If the baby flips I can go the rest of the time and let him come when he is ready.  If he does not flip (they are 50% successful) we would schedule a c -section for between 38-39 weeks.  I was feeling much more hopeful after that.

More to come after I update about our weekend...
Twitchy
All afternoon I kept getting this flickering in my peripheral vision.  Early on in my pregnancy I had some dizzy spells with floating light motes and had to put my head down to recover.  I wondered if I was developing some kind of late pregnancy condition.  Of course I was too busy to stop and worry about it.  Then I moved over to my table to review some files.  The flickering got worse.  As I looked up one of the flourescent tubes blew out.  Duh.  I may be sitting mostly in the dark right now but at least it's not a seizure.
34 Weeks
"Your baby now weighs about 4 3/4 pounds (like your average cantaloupe) and is almost 18 inches long. His fat layers — which will help regulate his body temperature once he's born — are filling him out, making him rounder. His skin is also smoother than ever. His central nervous system is maturing and his lungs are continuing to mature as well. If you've been nervous about preterm labor, you'll be happy to know that babies born between 34 and 37 weeks who have no other health problems generally do fine. They may need a short stay in the neonatal nursery and may have a few short-term health issues, but in the long run, they usually do as well as full-term babies."

I saw my midwife yesterday for my two week checkup.  After the next visit I go every week.  The baby is measuring one week ahead instead of two as before, but his growth is fine.  He remains head down and is lying on his left side which is the opposite of Keegan.  Which explains my ribs on the right side being constantly poked.  The little bugger keeps kicking me.  The other day during a meeting he had the hiccups which was really kind of fun to feel.  I continue to gain a half a pound a week which she was also pleased with.  I asked her if it was okay to have a pedicure and facial this far along and she encouraged it. So sign me up!  At the next visit I will have my strep B test and I think that is the last thing before delivery.  I also looked into a sibling class for the kids to learn how to help care for the baby and a tour for Jeff and I of the birthing center.  I keep forgetting he hasn't been there.  I remember it so vividly but that is probably because I was there so long for Keegan.  Hmm...what are the latest side effects?    I got some pepc*d this week to combat the acid reflux.  I am out of breath sometimes now simply from sitting because the baby pushes up against my sternum.  Most nights I sleep well but every few nights, like last night, I keep waking up and rolling around.  People still tell me I don't look 34 weeks along although many people tell me I am getting big.  Can you imagine saying that to anyone when they weren't pregnant?  When you are pregnant you become community property.  I had forgotten about that part.  The warm weather has also brought swelling to my hands and feet.  I am trying to fight it through drinking lots of water, putting my feet up and also walking around a lot.  I think 78 degrees is too hot when pregnant.  I cannot imagine those women who carry through the summer.  Ugh.
Large And In Charge
Yay!  Pregnant women in power!
33 Weeks
"This week your baby weighs a little over 4 pounds (heft a pineapple) and has passed the 17-inch mark. He's rapidly losing that wrinkled, alien look and his skeleton is hardening. The bones in his skull aren't fused together, which allows them to move and slightly overlap, thus making it easier for him to fit through the birth canal. (The pressure on the head during birth is so intense that many babies are born with a conehead-like appearance.) These bones don't entirely fuse until early adulthood, so they can grow as his brain and other tissue expands during infancy and childhood."

Another book describes it as having a swallowed a small chicken whole.  You can imagine how much room is left in your body for all the other parts.  I had the first nose bleed of my life last Saturday.  Nothing major just a big surprise.  And I am so pregnant looking that no one can miss it.  Almost everyone has asked me when I am due.  And people who don't ask me just look at my belly and smile.  I keep consistently measuring two weeks ahead but I still don't feel terribly big.  I have been more tired just as expected.  I slept a ton Friday night and then needed a nap 4 hours after waking up so I took a 2 hour nap.  Today I took another 2 hour nap.  I have had to sleep propped up for several nights in order to combat the acid.  And unfortunately I have had headaches on a daily basis this week.  I am hoping another hormone shift will send them away for the remaining 7 weeks.
32 Weeks

Okay it is 32 weeks and 4 days by the time I am posting this.

"By now, your baby weighs 3.75 pounds (pick up a large jicama) and is about 16.7 inches long, taking up a lot of space in your uterus. You're gaining about a pound a week and roughly half of that goes right to your baby. In fact, he'll gain a third to half of his birth weight during the next 7 weeks as he fattens up for survival outside the womb. He now has toenails, fingernails, and real hair (or at least respectable peach fuzz). His skin is becoming soft and smooth as he plumps up in preparation for birth."

Jicama was actually our second choice for a name.  It goes so nicely with Druzba.  ;)

I had my midwife appointment last Friday and all continues to go well.  I am going to have an ultrasound at 36 weeks since I had a low amniotic fluid problem with my first pregnancy.  This should give us peace of mind and be one last look before he comes out.  I am having shortness of breath especially when I am sitting at my desk.  My kness now hurt when I take the stairs so I am cutting back.  Weight gain is good, about a pound in the last two weeks.  I feel comfortable that it is all baby weight and not bad eating habits.  Not to say I don't splurge on occasion.  Darn Easter candy and my current weakness, root beer floats.  Although GS cookies aren't holding too much appeal for me right now.  That's just plain weird.  I tried wearing support hose last week.  Jeff got quite a chuckle watching me try to put them on.  After all that wrestling I ended up taking them off at work because they make my pants slide down below my belly.  Revel in that awesome image of coolness at work.  I have thigh high versions on order at the pharmacy.  I'm so old lady sexy.

Back to the name.  We have one.  It is a secret.  I had one I was lobbying for that Jeff had originally suggested.  Finally at dinner two weeks ago I asked for the umpteenth time if we could just pick a name and Jeff agreed.  I think he wanted to keep the options open for as long as possible.  Let me assure you that we scoured the globe before deciding.

31 Weeks (The Plump Out)
"This week, your baby measures over 16 inches long. He weighs about 3.3 pounds (try carrying four navel oranges) and is heading into a growth spurt. He can turn his head from side to side, and his arms, legs, and body are beginning to plump out as needed fat accumulates underneath his skin. He's probably moving a lot, too, so you may have trouble sleeping because your baby's kicks and somersaults keep you up. Take comfort: All this moving is a sign that your baby is active and healthy."

Apparently his bones are ossifying which explains why this week the kicks now hurt.  Yipes that'll take your breath away.  And I feel bigger almost overnight.  Tonight I took Keegan with me to the mall to buy some pregnant lady clothes.  I have more for work but I need casual since up until this week I could still get away with some regular tops.  I put on one this morning and Jeff suggested I not wear something that rides up.  Good tip.  There was a woman there who's boyfriend talked her out of the E cup nursing bra.  I wanted to tell her, "Sister if you are already a D you're gonna need that big one.  Take it from someone who knows."  I went ahead and bought some nursing pajamas so I won't have to worry about them later.  I am very conscious of not buying anything I wouldn't wear if I wasn't pregnant.  Growing a human is no reason to lose your fashion sense.

I don't want to jinx it but I am still sleeping like a dream.  I do feel fatigued at points in the day but all in all I feel peppy.  Jeff complimented me on my being this far along and not complaining very much.  Apparently he expected me to take advantage of my condition to gripe and be waited on.  I wish I had it in me.  Damn independent streak.  I'll have to work on becoming more helpless as this progresses.  I could really do without the foot and leg cramps.  They suck.

Most annoying thing people are saying to me this week:
"Wow!  You are really showing."

What I do:
Smile and keep walking

What I want to do:
Stop and say, "No shit, I am almost 8 months along.  I should be showing."

Repeat after me, "You look wonderful.  Pregnancy looks great on you."

Even the most well adjusted woman becomes susceptible to not so positive body image during pregnancy.  Why not help them feel good?
30 Weeks
"Your baby's about 15.7 inches long now, and he weighs almost 3 pounds (like a head of cabbage). A pint and a half of amniotic fluid surrounds him, but that volume will decrease as he gets bigger and takes up more room in your uterus. His eyesight continues to develop, though it's not very keen; even after he's born, he'll keep his eyes closed for a good part of the day. When he does open them, he'll respond to changes in light but will have 20/400 vision — which means he can only make out objects a few inches from his face. (Normal adult vision is 20/20.)  74% of your pregnancy has passed."

I had my midwife appointment on Thursday and everything was good.  He is still measuring ahead, about 2 1/2 weeks.  Of course it is all a guess because they do it from the outside.  She was able to tell me that he is head down.  So hopefully he will stay that way until the big day.  I told her that just this week I have felt tired again.  She said it is normal with subsequent pregnancies to feel the later term symptoms around now.  So I can expect fatigue, back pain and heartburn.  I've go the fatigue but the heartburn hasn't been bad and the back pain only when I do too much.  Some nights I feel really stretched out and sore but by morning I feel all better.  And I am still sleeping well.  Except the nights when I am woken up by leg cramps.  Those suck.  I have to get out of bed and stretch and walk around to get rid of them.  My midwife suggested I start shortening my work schedule around 34 weeks and definitely by 36 weeks.  I think I am going to take that advice.  No need to be superwoman here.

Yesterday I went to a baby store to look at furniture and a travel system.  I felt like I was there for shopping for someone else.  Even though this is my second I am still having trouble grasping he is a real baby.  I had the same feeling with Keegan until he came out.  Today we went south and met Erika, Jay and Sammy for lunch.  Then Jeff,  Keegan and I hit two more baby stores.  Jeff scored a floor model jogging stroller for only $50.  I say Jeff because I don't run or jog.  I have never enjoyed it.  We did get a really nice travel system (Keegan liked the animals on it) and picked out a combo table (couldn't find a picture online).  We had to order it and my parents will actually pick it up for us because it won't fit into our cars.  That is unless we get the minivan in the next two weeks.  I took a glorious one hour nap today.  I wish I could do that on the week days too.
Softer, Rounder Contours
Finally a role tailor made for me.  Too bad I will be past the 32 cutoff point.  Oh and it is in England.
29 Weeks

"Your baby now weighs about 2 1/2 pounds (like a butternut squash) and is a tad over 15 inches long from head to heel. His muscles and lungs are continuing to mature, and his head is growing bigger to make room for his developing brain. To meet his increasing nutritional demands, you'll need plenty of protein, vitamins C, folic acid, and iron. And because his bones are soaking up lots of calcium, be sure to drink your milk (or find another good source of calcium, such as cheese, yogurt, or enriched orange juice). This trimester, about 250 milligrams of calcium are deposited in your baby's hardening skeleton each day."

I miss alcohol. This is what I said to Jeff last Saturday. I miss a glass of wine or a beer or a cocktail. Truly the taste of them. I know that some people do drink a little when they are pregnant but I choose not to. I couldn't live with myself if something went wrong. It has not been proven safe and that would take all of the enjoyment out of it. Between weeks 28 and 29 some major growth must take place. I have had all kinds of comments at work about how much I am showing. I can't see my feet when I look straight down. Bye bye feet, see you in ten weeks. I passed my glucose screening fine but I am low on iron. I had the same thing when I was pregnant with Keegan. I thought this time since I am eating so healthy I could get by. Nope one ugly black pill two times day with citrus juice. We put the crib together and talked about things we need to buy. But that is as far as we have gotten. I am starting to feel the nesting urge but will try to wait until April to focus on the nursery.

Belly Laughs:

If only you'd known you were going to trade...
Monthly PMS for nine months of weeping
Lacy thongs for cotton tents
Sex for gas
Zinfandel for Ovaltine
Birth control for laxatives
Going to the gym for getting up to pee
Your waist for a hot-air balloon
Kickboxing for kick counts
Your innie for an outie a way-outie
Sleeping for groaning
Freedom for the most intense love you've ever known

27 Weeks
"This week your baby weighs almost 2 pounds (like a head of cauliflower) and is about 14.4 inches long with his legs extended. He can now open and close his eyes, and he sleeps and wakes at regular intervals. He may suck his fingers, and although his lungs are still immature, they would be capable of functioning - with assistance - if he were to be born prematurely. Chalk up any rhythmic movement you may be feeling to a case of baby hiccups, which may be common from now on. Each episode usually lasts only a few moments, and isn't bothersome to him, so enjoy the tickle. With more brain tissue developing, your baby's brain is very active now."

I can definitely feel his periods of awake and asleep.  Whenever he is awake he is moving all over the place.  I think he has stretched out because I could feel some tickles under my ribs today.  And he has had the hiccups a few times.  Tomorrow I drink the glucose and get to the lab in an hour for my blood draw.  I also get my iron levels checked.  With Keegan I had low iron despite being on the prenatal vitamins and had to take a supplement.  I hate those because they make you totally constipated so then you have to take a stool softener too.  And on top of all the Tums that is a lot of pills.  The nesting instinct has not really kicked in yet.  Unless you count helping my friend Andra get her nursery ready.  I do want to get the nursery set up but that is more a case of being organized than nesting.  We should probably register for the few things we will need.  And at some point we will get things especially for him.

Episode in the life of pregnant career woman:
I was away at my conference Monday and as mentioned in an earlier post I took a long nap.  You know how sometimes you wake up from a nap and feel out of it for a while?  Jeff called so I could say goodnight to Keegan.  I told him I had a long nap and was generally tired.  And he kept saying I sounded weird and wanted to know if anything else was wrong.  I felt badgered so I started crying.  Of course he is like, "Why are you crying?"  I respond that I am tired and I don't want to be in that hotel and I just want to be home and now he is yelling at me.  He says he is not yelling at me (which he wasn't but I was feeling out of sorts).  I stop crying and talk to Keegan and ask Jeff to call me back later.  He does call me later and asks if I feel better.  I feel totally fine then and say that I think I was just hungry.  Noting can't be cured by a great room service meal and a nice slice of cheesecake.
26 Weeks
"Your baby now weighs about a pound and two-thirds and measures 14 inches (an English hothouse cucumber), from head to heel. The nerve pathways in his ears are developing, which means his response to sounds is growing more consistent. His lungs are developing now, too, as he continues to take small breaths of amniotic fluid — good practice for when he's born and takes that first breath."

What is up with the random vegetable references?  The bigger he gets the less likely I will know what they are talking about.  I'm six and a half months which seems like a lot but there is plenty of time left.  I have a few regular sweaters I can still wear but I am in maternity clothes most of the time.  Thanks to many donations from friends I haven't had to buy much yet.  Jeff said the sweetest thing, "from the back you don't even look pregnant."  I don't know if it is true but it is nice to hear.  The other night when I was in the bath I saw the baby kicking from the outside.  That was pretty cool.  The movement is my favorite part of being pregnant.  A couple of nights ago my left leg was swollen from the ankle to the calf.  It was gone in the morning so I don't think it is anything to worry about.  The heartburn has become an every night thing no matter what I eat or do.  I expect it to be my constant companion from here until the end.

25 Weeks (A Day Late, Again)
"Head to heels, your baby now measures about 13 1/2 inches. His weight -a pound and a half - isn't much more than an average rutabaga, but he's beginning to exchange his long, lean look for some baby fat. As he does, his wrinkled skin will begin to smooth out and he'll start to look more and more like a newborn. His hair is probably recognizable now (in color and texture), although both may change after he's born."

"This week marks a major milestone in your baby's hearing and sight. Your baby's hearing system (cochlea and peripheral sensory end organs), which began fine development during week eighteen, is now completely formed, and over the next few weeks, he'll become increasingly sensitive to sound. In about a month, you'll feel him jump if he hears a sudden loud noise. Sound passes easily into your uterus, which helps his ears develop. His eyes are almost fully formed.  The air sacs of the lungs, called alveoli, will be developed by the end of this week and will begin to secrete a substance called surfactant that keeps the lung tissue from sticking together."

How many know what a rutabaga looks like?  Last Tuesday I had my midwife checkup that was canceled before my trip.  I am doing fine except for that pulling muscles thing.  I have stopped take the stairs up but still take them down.  It is just too much strain at this point.  I gained about a pound a week since my last visit.  It feels like all baby and this kid is measuring almost a week ahead.  No name for Baby X yet.  We through out suggestions to each other the last few nights but nothing really grabs us.  We're getting to the point where we already know a child who has name we like so it's on to the next one.  Particularly if they are kids who are trouble. :)  Baby X has also moved up so now you can feel him kick from the outside.  The more pregnant I look the more real it becomes for other people.  They have started talking directly to the baby.

Okay back to packing!  The nursery was painted yesterday and it is the most fun color green.  I'll get pictures up when more of the house is done.
22 Weeks
"Your baby now looks like a miniature newborn, checking in at 10.9 inches (the length of a spaghetti squash) and almost 1 pound. His skin will continue to appear wrinkled until he gains enough weight to fill it out, and the fine hair (lanugo) that covers his head and body is now visible. His lips are becoming more distinct, and the first signs of teeth are appearing as buds beneath his gum line. His eyes are developed, though the iris (the colored part of the eye) still lacks pigment. Eyelids and eyebrows are in place, and his pancreas, essential for hormone production, is developing steadily.  The senses your baby will use to learn about the world are developing daily. Taste buds have started to form on the tongue, and the brain and nerve endings are formed enough so that the fetus can feel touch. Your baby may experiment with this newfound sense of touch by stroking his or her face or sucking on a thumb, as well as feeling other body parts and seeing how they move."

Not much to report since last week.  Not showing enough still for people to be sure I am pregnant.  I still get surprised reactions when I tell them.  I did have a migraine this past weekend.  Even after my midwife's assurances I still looked up more info online before taking my class b pain reliever.  I was out of my misery in 15 minutes.
21 Weeks
"Your baby now weighs about three-quarters of a pound and is approximately 10 1/2 inches long — the length of a carrot. His eyebrows and eyelids are fully developed. And you can certainly feel him move. He's oblivious to your schedule, though, so don't be surprised if he starts working out just when you're settling down for the night."

It's that great time of pregnancy when you look and feel great and finally have some energy back.  The other good part, not only are you allowed to eat after 8pm, you are encouraged to.  My strawberry craving continues although it maybe winding down.  No other food desires on a regular basis.  Except lots of it.  And then other times I have no appetite at all.
The other night we were laying on the couch and Jeff felt the baby kick.  That was a surprise because I didn't expect other people to be able to feel it this soon.  It's nice to be able to share that with him.
20 Weeks - Halfway!

"Your baby weighs about 10 1/2 ounces now. He's also around 6 1/2 inches long from head to bottom, and about 10 inches from head to heel - the length of a banana. (For the first 20 weeks, we use measurements taken from the top of the baby's head to his bottom - known as the "crown to rump" measurement. After that, we use measurements from head to toe. This is because a baby's legs are curled up against his torso during the first half of pregnancy and are very hard to measure.) A greasy white substance called vernix caseosa coats his entire body to protect his skin during its long submersion in amniotic fluid. (This slick coating also eases the journey down the birth canal.) Your baby is swallowing more, which is good practice for his digestive system. He's also producing meconium, a black, sticky substance that's the result of cell loss, digestive secretion, and swallowed amniotic fluid. This meconium will accumulate in his bowels, and you'll see it in his first messy diaper (although a few babies pass it in utero or during delivery)."

"This Week's Activity:

Treat yourself to something nice. You've made it to the halfway mark in your pregnancy, so celebrate with a little indulgence. Need some ideas?
For your comfort, try scented soaps or candles, new pajamas, or a prenatal massage.
For a keepsake, splurge on a piece of jewelry with your baby's birthstone, professional pictures of your pregnant self, or a frame for your ultrasound pictures.
To share with your baby, consider a favorite book from your childhood, a calming CD that you can listen to together, or something special for the nursery.
To feel like a hot momma, buy yourself a piece of clothing that makes you feel really sexy or get a free makeover at a department store."

I already have the maternity massage and foot treatment scheduled for this Saturday. I have the last ultrasound hanging in my office next to pictures of Keegan and Isabelle. I am superstitious about buying a birthstone before the big day. Don't have the nursery yet, so that's out. I do like that buy something sexy idea though....

Baby X is kicking and punching up a storm. I used to only be able to feel the flips. I still feel really good. My midwife said I could take a Class B drug for my migraines and I already have a prescription, but we'll see how it goes. I think keeping my blood sugar up would help too. I also asked her about preventing varicose veins. I have really thin skin that has only gotten thinner. I have a vein below my knee that looks like it could get ugly. The answer? Support hose. Now I'm thinking Carol Burnett dressed like a cleaning woman with those hose falling down around her knees. But I looked around and it comes very sheer while still supportive. And better yet, thigh high with lace trim. Very hot momma.

Count your blessings:
The penis of a rhinoceros is 2 feet long.
The penis of a mosquito is a hundredth of an inch long.
The praying mantis bites her mate's head off while he impregnates her.
Elephants are pregnant for two years.
Many animals give birth to a dozen or more babies at a time.
Your baby won't be born with hooves.

19 Weeks (A Day Late)

"Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces, and he measures 6 inches, head to bottom — about the size of a large heirloom tomato. His arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of his body now. His kidneys continue to make urine, and the hair on his scalp is sprouting. This is a crucial time for sensory development: Your baby's brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch."

Now that we know it's a boy it seems even more real.  Yes, yes being pregnant is very real.  It's just hard to grasp the whole baby coming soon thing.  Now I can try to picture another little boy.  I am dying to find out what he will look like.  What his personality will be like.  What special new facets he will bring to our family.  Keegan really wanted a girl.  So I pulled him aside privately when I picked him up from school.  I knew he would be upset for a few minutes and then be fine.  And he was.  I explained that I am not in charge of how the baby grows and we cannot change that even if we wanted to.  He can do girl stuff with Isabelle and boy stuff with this baby.  He still wants to name it Lucy and call it Bubba.  He wants me to give him this baby.  I told him we'll see how he does with the two fish he got for Christmas.  They are named Lucy and Bubba.

I feel good right now.  Just getting over a cold.  I plan on asking about migraines at my midwife appointment today and I also have a varicose vein concern. Otherwise not too many aches and pains.  I get a little winded when going up and down the stairs at clip.  My nails are growing like crazy and my hair is getting thicker.  I feel better than my first pregnancy and I can only guess that is due to weighing so much less this time.  The stress on my body is not as severe.  Then again, talk to me in a few months.

Baby X
Is a boy!  No doubt about it.  And everything looked great with his growth and important parts.  The ultrasound was very exciting and he moved around a lot.  This will probably be our last look at him until he arrives.
18 Weeks

Head to bottom, your baby is approximately 5 1/2 inches long (about the length of a bell pepper), and she weighs almost 7 ounces. She's busy flexing her arms and legs - movements that you'll likely start noticing more and more. Myelin (a protective covering) is beginning to form around her nerves, a process that will continue for a year after she's born. If you're having a girl, her uterus and fallopian tubes are formed and in place. If your baby is a boy, his genitals are noticeable, though he may hide them from you during an ultrasound.

I like the references to food because it is easier for me to visualize than inches. I have felt the baby move they feel like flips more than kicks or punches. We definitely have a swimmer here. My next pregnancy side effect has arrived. Migraines. I was worried my first pregnancy and they never happened but they have been frequent since entering my second trimester. I have a perfectly good prescription pain killers in closet but instead I have been hurling Tylen*l at them. Not very effective. I am going to talk with my midwife at my appointment next week about other methods to combat them. They aren't just painful they are debilitating. Our ultrasound is also next week. So get in your votes on what you think we are having.

17 Weeks

Your baby weighs 5 ounces now (about as much as a turnip), and he's around 5 inches long. He can move his joints, and his skeleton - until now rubbery cartilage - is starting to harden to bone. His sense of hearing is also developing. The umbilical cord, his lifeline to the placenta, is growing stronger and thicker. You may also have already felt your baby's first movements by now. This is called quickening. It feels like a butterfly fluttering in your stomach. It's also been describes as "bubbles". It will be a few more weeks before you start feeling kicks and punches.

I do think I have felt the baby move but it is usually when I am in a meeting or just waking up so I wonder if it is real sometimes. My AFP test last week came back negative so that is one less to worry about. Now if we can through the ultrasound with all the vital organs formed normally we will feel extremely lucky. I don't take that kind of thing for granted any more after Sammy and Jack. The whole thing is even more of a miracle to me. I have been wearing maternity clothes but some of the pants still fall off. I did a bunch of shopping and got some great deals on ebay too so I think I am set for now. My skin is settling down and I can't bend over so well now. Supposedly I should drop the heels in favor of flats because my balance is effected but I am going to hold off on that for as long as possible. My shoes and I have a special thing going on. I have to admit I am dying to know the gender so when can think of it as a he or a she. Plus then we can pick between the two baby names we have at the top of each list.

Right now.
Worst things about being pregnant:
Spicy food coming back to haunt me. I love spicy food and I don't seem to be learning my lesson.
I miss alcohol. Not that I was a lush but I miss wine, margaritas and martinis.

Best things about being pregnant:
Thinking about this new life coming.
Expandable pants. Perfect for holiday lunches, potlucks and goodie packages in the mail.

16 Weeks
"At 4 1/2 inches long (head to bottom) and 3 1/2 ounces, your baby is about the size of an avocado. In the next three weeks, she'll go through a tremendous growth spurt, though, doubling her weight and adding inches to her length. Her lower limbs are much more developed now. Her head is more erect than it has been, and her eyes have moved toward the front of her head. Your baby's ears are close to their final position, too. Some of her more advanced body systems are working, including her circulatory system and urinary tract. Her heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, circulating her total blood volume through her body many times. (By the end of your pregnancy, this will increase to about 190 quarts.) The patterning of her scalp has begun, though her hair isn't recognizable yet. Although closed, her eyes are moving (slowly), and she's even started growing toenails."

That increased blood flow is supposed to make me glow.  I'll let you know when that starts.  I'd really like the hormones going directly to my skin to slow down because I'd love my clear skin back.  Well I am four months, 37% of the pregnancy is over.  This is the time with Keegan I really started to enjoy myself.  You get some energy back, you aren't worried about miscarrying and you still feel agile enough to get around.  I wore my first pair of maternity pants today.   They slide down a bit.  But I went to a meeting and was invited to their potluck lunch.  Expandable pants really come in handy at a time like that.  Keegan's school director commented that I wasn't even showing.   I lifted the bottom of my shirt to show her indeed I was.  No mistaking that rounded middle.

Keegan continues to be very excited about the baby.  He has really caught on to how it effects me.  He accepts that I have to take most of my food home from the restaurant, how my back hurts sometimes, how we stop to pee for me all the time now and how I can no longer lift him up.  Before bed he was patting my belly and told me that he likes my baby.  I told him that in a few months he will be able to feel it kick from the outside.  He said it is kicking because it is tired of being in there for such a long time and it wants to see him.  Keegan thinks it is a girl.  He wants to name it Bubba.  That's what happens when you read him stories that take place in Louisiana.
15 Weeks
"Your growing baby now measures about 4 inches long, crown to rump, and weighs in at about 2 1/2 ounces (about the size of an apple). She's busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop. Although her eyelids are still fused shut, she can sense light. If you shine a flashlight at your tummy, for instance, she's likely to move away from the beam. There's not much for your baby to taste at this point, but she is forming taste buds.  Your baby’s skin has been continuously developing, and it is so thin and translucent that you can see the blood vessels through it. Hair growth continues on the eyebrows and the head. Your baby's ears are almost in position now, although they are still set a bit low on the head.  Internally, your baby's skeletal system continues to develop. Muscle development continues too, and your baby is probably making lots of movements with his or her head, mouth, arms, wrists, hands, legs, and feet."

We've gone from a lemon to an apple.  My appointment went well.  They did not have the results of my blood work from last week but they were sent to the genetic counselor's office.  They were pretty sure she would have called me if something was wrong.  I will have the AFP next week when I get to 16 weeks.  Another blood test that checks for spina bifida.  This is what you get when you ask for every test that is reasonable when you are over 35.  The midwife told me to expect more pelvic and back pain with a second pregnancy.  She said I am like box.  The first time everything is tight and firm.  Then you go through labor.  The box is a little more broken in the next time.  And box is an analogy people for my body as a whole.  It does not mean my "box" per se.  I have gained a half a pound.  And I got to hear the heartbeat.  I called Jeff but that was the exact moment when a client finally called him back.  So I left a voice mail which is nice because now we have it recorded.
Feast Or Famine

Snow day yesterday.  I still had work but I took the day off.  Keegan went into school because it was swim day and also he gets lots of attention on days with fewer kids which he of course loves.  That worked out better for Jeff who worked from home.  I really didn't want him commuting in that weather.  He amazingly can totally focus at home.  I wouldn't get a thing done.  He camped out at the kitchen table with headphones and I watched TV and napped.  And made him breakfast for once.  I knew those waffles we froze from Sunday would come in handy.  I watched "Wit" which he had no interest in.  Nothing like the words "ovarian cancer" to drive even the most sensitive man from the room.  Oh and I bawled all the way through that one.  Extremely well done.  And when we do finally move I will miss the snow removal service.  They worked all day yesterday and were back today.  They shoveled the path and around my car right before I needed to leave.

Date night tonight.  Finally.  Maybe.  I really need this baysitter to come through and be awesome and be my best friend and come every Tuesday so I can have some semblance of a routine.  And tonight I am planning on making up for Jeff not getting a special birthday dinner.  I can't tell you where we are going because it is a surprise for him but he should like it.  Nothing fancy, just ample food.

I saw myself in the mirror in lingerie the other day and I have no waist.  It disappeared.  Jeff says it still there but it's only an indentation.  The belly I can handle but no waist?  I am so used to seeing my curvy figure.  Not so much any more.  Except in profile.  And I think my maternity clothes are too big.  So I will have to send them back for a smaller size and when they finally get here I will still have to have them hemmed.  Excuse me for being the average height of American women.  The ebay stuff fits well though so I will keep augmenting with that.  And someone at work who didn't know I was pregnant asked me.  Which is risky for her but means that there is no doubt I am showing.  And guess who is craving egg nog?

 

14 Weeks

This week's big developments: Your baby can now squint, frown, grimace, pee, and possibly suck his thumb! Thanks to brain impulses, his facial muscles are getting a workout as his tiny features form one expression after another. His kidneys are producing urine, which he releases into the amniotic fluid around him - a process he'll keep up until birth. Your baby's stretching out. From head to bottom, he measures 3 1/2 inches - about the size of a lemon - and he weighs 1 1/2 ounces. His body's growing faster than his head, which now sits upon a more distinct neck. By the end of this week, his arms will have grown to a length that's in proportion to the rest of his body. (His legs still have some lengthening to do.) He's starting to develop an ultra-fine, downy covering of hair, called lanugo, all over his body. Your baby's liver starts making bile this week - a sign that it's doing its job right - and his spleen starts helping in the production of red blood cells. Though you can't feel his tiny punches and kicks yet, your little pugilist's hands and feet (which now measure about 1/2 inch long) are more flexible and active.

We had our first trimester screen on Wednesday.  I had blood work to check for specific proteins in the placenta.  This combined with an ultrasound will determine any risk for Downs.  The ultrasound went well although was lengthy.  Baby X kept laying on it's side and looking coyly over it's shoulder.  They needed it to lay with it's spine and head straight to take the measurement.  So there was a lot of poking, rolling and stretching of skin in order to move it around.  Boy did Baby X swim all over the place.  It was kind of fun to watch.  At one point it was doing a head stand.  Finally they were able to take the measurements they needed.  We got one more picture to take home and this one is head on so really looks more like a skeleton face.  The next time we see it should be in Jan and hopefully we'll find out if it is a boy or girl.

My maternity clothes I ordered arrived.  And I can't wear them because they are way too long.  Looks like a trip to the tailor is in order before I get any waistline relief.  I have four or five things I got on ebay coming too.  I am still in my regular clothes, I would just be happier if I could wear something that stretches.   I am hoping to get through the winter in regular sweaters.  The weeks are flying by because of work and the holidays.  May seems so far off but probably won't feel like it.

13 Weeks

Fingerprints have formed on your baby's fingertips, her veins and organs are clearly visible through her still-thin skin, and her body is starting to catchup with her head which makes up just a third of her body size now.  Your baby is almost 3 inches long (the size of a medium shrimp) and weighs nearly an ounce.  Your baby may also be able to put a thumb in his or her mouth this week, although the sucking muscles aren't completely developed yet.Your baby may also be able to put a thumb in his or her mouth this week, although the sucking muscles aren't completely developed yet.  The baby will react to any poking or prodding by wriggling around.  You may be feeling more energetic now that the major work of organ development is almost complete.


I do feel less tired but I wouldn't say I was energetic.  I remember feeling great during my second trimester with Keegan.  Something I will need with all of the holiday tasks and celebrations.  I ordered some maternity clothes this week.  I still feel weird about it but I am pushing the limits of comfort now.  I also have some bids in on some great things off of ebay.  I have my first trimester screen coming up this week.  Bloodwork and an ultrasound.  So another chance to take a look at the baby.  I am enjoying the excitement in my family around this baby.  This will most likely be my last pregnancy.  Unless I feel completely differently after the baby comes.  So I am trying to not dwell on the discomfort but focus on each experience.  We really wanted this child together.  It feels like our family will be complete now.  Three is a magic number.
12 Weeks

I swear my stomach popped out overnight.  My pants were starting to get snug and then I woke up this morning with a belly.  Looks like I will moving up my maternity clothes shopping trip.  I think at some point I will have to make the pilgrimage to Mass for nice maternity clothes.  My previous maternity clothes will not work for two reasons.  One, I didn't work then so they are not really up to the job environment.  Two even if they were, I weigh 40 pounds less now.  Well, maybe not for long.  Ha, ha.

I think Baby X should be a little over two inches now.  I remember being obsessed with every detail during my first pregnancy.  Now I just touch base each week to look for milestones.  Plus I already get the whole "your body is no longer under your control" thing that freaked me out the first time.  Speaking of milestones.  We have a heartbeat, we have seen it is growing on schedule and this week I found out that I am not a Cystic Fribrosis carrier.  I thought I had been tested during IVF but apparently they only did Tom.  And I didn't consider it until I found out it was a possibility on Jeff's side.  Without me being a carrier our odds of this baby having CF are so greatly reduced that I have ruled out invasive testing at this point.  Well because people I am AMA.  That's advanced maternal age.  Isn't that happy?  That's what you get after turning 35.  And all bets on the chromosomal abnormalities are off.  So I am having the first trimester screen done.  That involves bloodwork and an ultrasound to look at the nuchal fold.  I opted out of all of these the first time.  And our date is set for our 18 week ultrasound which I have opted to have with a fetal-maternal specialist.  I don't have any anxieties that something is wrong.  We are just trying to have as much information as possible.

But Mummy...
I have always suspected that my brain is filled with useless pop culture.  I wish I could flush it out and make more space.  The other day Keegan was explaining to me that a fig newton is also a cookie.  Inside my head I heard an upper crust British accent say, "It's not a cookie, it's a fruit newton!"

In other news, you know you are pregnant if you cry while browsing the UNICEF card catalog.   Oh and you have an uncontrollable craving for Fr*tos to go with your homemade chili for lunch.  At which point you discover that in the cafe and four vending machines throughout the building there aren't any Fr*tos.  No corn or tortilla chips of any kind.  Except baked Dor*tos.  Ugh.  At least I got some exercise out of it.
11 Weeks
Today we had our first official midwife visit.  All my bloodwork looks good and I feel really great.  We were hoping to hear the heartbeat but she tried for a long time and couldn't hear it.  She thought maybe I was not as far as long as we thought.  I was a little anxious and of course would have felt better hearing a clear sound.  She asked if we had available time today and suggested we go over for an ultrasound.  We had to waste a couple of hours until the appointment.  So we ate lunch and walked around the mall and looked at cooking stuff.  Then we headed over and were seen right away.  The tech had no problem showing us a healthy baby with a nice strong heartbeat.  167 bpm.  She also measured it and I am right on 11 weeks.  Then we got our first picture.  A really nice gift for Jeff's birthday.  So I headed north to work and he headed south to work.  Then we called eachother and he said, "How about that baby?"  I am even more excited having seen it and it feels even more real.  Oh and relieved to see only one baby in there. 
And Ours
I'm pregnant.
I'll give you a moment to absorb it.

I was going to have this long intro before telling but I decided to get right to the point.  I am ten weeks along and we are thrilled.  We just told Keegan and Isabelle today.  They are pretty excited.  Of course it is a very long time in a pre-schooler's mind.  I am due May 30.  It will be wonderful to have a warm weather baby.  It will be wonderful to have a child with Jeff.

PS The kids have been thinking up names.  Keegan just said he wished I hadn't named him Keegan but he would have preferred Fuzzbutt Fishbowl.  Yeah that was our second choice.