Sunday, January 29, 2012

My (Little) Bump

January 29, 2012

I am now 17 weeks along.  According to What to Expect When Expecting, my baby is the size of a sweet potato.  I’m now at the point where I can still button my regular pants, but they are very tight. For some weird reason, I feel like my stomach gets bigger during the day, and then flattens out again at night while I am sleeping.

I realize that to anyone who doesn’t know me and doesn’t know that I am pregnant probably would never look at me and say, “She’s pregnant.”  It really probably just looks like I ate a little too much over the holidays.  But here is a side-by-side comparison.  The first picture was taken on our anniversary when I was 11 weeks.  The second picture was today at 17 weeks.


It is funny, though, because last weekend, I went to a baby shower on Saturday and a bridal shower on Sunday.  At the baby shower, my friend, the honoree, told several of her friends that I was also pregnant, and they all looked at me and said, “Really???”  The next day at the bridal shower, the sister of the bride (who is like a sister to me too), greeted me at the door and said “Oh, cute little baby bump!”  So yeah, I think it depends on who knows me (and knows what I normally look like), and it also depends on what I’m wearing – some clothes highlight my slight bump a little more than others.

I’ve been wearing this wonderful thing called a BellaBand.  It’s basically a piece of fabric (very similar in size and material to a bandeau bra), which I can wear over my unbuttoned pre-maternity pants, and it will hold them up and smooth them out.  I also bought my first couple pairs of maternity pants.  My friend took me to her favorite consignment maternity store, Baby Go Round, in San Diego.  This place was amazing!  I bought one pair of slacks, one pair of jeans, one shirt, and a dress, all for $30!  The pants were on average about $8, which is far better than $30 for brand new pants at Target or wherever. No wonder it’s my friend’s favorite store!  There’s no point in spending lots of money on clothes you can only wear for a couple months.  Now I just need to find a place like it in LA!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

2nd Ultrasound

December 28, 2011

A couple days before Christmas, I got a rather frantic call from a specialty ultrasound office that had received a referral from my doctor.  They needed to schedule the NuchalTranslucency Ultrasound immediately.  The NT Ultrasound, used in conjunction with blood tests, can give an indication of the likelihood of Down syndrome.  My doctor would be out of town for the holidays, and apparently this ultrasound needs to happen between 10-13 weeks because that is the only time the doctors can see through of the nuchal fold (near the base of the neck).  The one disadvantage to fast forwarding the pregnancy by 4 weeks meant that I was already 12 weeks by the time were scheduling the appointment, so we only had one week to spare in getting this ultrasound done.  Fortunately, we were planning on spending the entire week between Christmas and New Years at home, and not going out of town (for the first time . . . well, ever).  

I thought it would just be a quick ultrasound to determine the likelihood of Down Syndrome . . . but it was so much more than that!  They used that fun 3D technology.  I had no idea that the images could be so detailed this early on!  The doctor was able to see all five fingers and toes on each appendage.  He pointed out the kidneys and the heart, including all the ventricles.  He showed us the bones forming in the arms and legs. And, the most emotional moment (for me anyway) was when we got to hear the heartbeat for the first time.  I actually shed a tear when I heard it. 

Also, it turns out that the doctor we saw is a former professional dancer (ballet dancer . . . what is the male version of “ballerina”?  I can’t ever remember).  He told me that I could still take class as long as I was comfortable and to be sure to listen to my body if it was getting exhausted.  The one major thing to be careful of, he said, is not to push my extension.   Apparently the ligaments loosen significantly, so I could injure myself if all of a sudden I push the extension and try to lift my leg too high, thinking it’s “real” extension and not “pregnancy” extension.  Though, I have to say, so far, I think my muscles are tighter than normal, so I haven’t had the chance to experience “pregnancy” extension yet.  J

Here is the full slide show we got to take home!

We like to call it our alien child because, well, it kind of looks like an alien at this point in time.

Oh, also, the doctor said the likelihood of Down Syndrome is very low, so we don't need to worry about any additional testing for that at this point.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Telling the parents

December 24, 2011

Aaron and I decided to tell our parents the big news by framing copies of the ultrasound and giving it to them as a Christmas present.  We were fortunate enough that Aaron’s mom flew out to visit us for Christmas this year, so we could tell both my parents and Aaron’s mom at the same time.  It was a full house Christmas Eve morning, we were all in San Diego at my parents’ house: me, Aaron, Aaron’s brother Dominick, his girlfriend Sam, my sister Sharon and her fiancé, and of course, my parents and Aaron’s mom.  Aaron and I had been debating on the timing of giving our special present because we wanted them opened at the same time.  Fortunately, my bladder wakes me up crazy early these days, so I woke up before everyone else in the house.  I decided to set out the gifts to the parents under everyone’s stockings.  When everyone was up and had had some coffee, I said, “Oh look!  Santa came for the grown ups this year!”  (I suppose by next year, I may need to amend that statement since there will be a new generation and my generation will become the “grown ups” as well – but it worked fine for this year.)

As we sat there watching our parents open the gifts, I saw their faces shift from confusion to realization.  All of a sudden, there were squeals of excitement.  My mom kept saying, “Oh my gosh!” over and over again.  Then there were lots of hugs and more squeals.  This will be the first grandchild on both sides, so everyone was very excited.  Afterwards, we opened the rest of our presents, ate breakfast and got ready for the annual Stevens family Christmas Eve dinner at my aunt and uncle’s house in Orange County.

The nice thing about being able to fast-forward by a month in the first trimester meant that we could tell the rest of the family at dinner.  We had been expecting to tell our parents and then swear them to secrecy and help me hide the fact that I was not drinking.  But we didn’t have to!  This would be the first event all holiday season where I didn’t have to hide not drinking.  Let me tell you, being in the early stages of pregnancy and having to hide not drinking during the holidays is no easy feat!  There were many holiday parties where I would take a glass of champagne, hold it, and then sniff it as everyone else took their sips.  Then I would quietly hand off my drink to Aaron when no one was looking.  I’m not a huge drinker, but if I turned down champagne, everyone would notice!

Speaking of turning down champagne, one of my favorite parts of Christmas Eve dinner is that there is always a specialty cocktail that gets put in your hand the moment you walk in the door.  Aaron and I arrived before my parents.  I wanted to wait until my parents got there to tell everyone – if you know my mom, you’ll know that she would have felt terribly left out to have missed out on the announcement, even though she knew the big news.  As a result, I had to say no to the yummy looking cocktail: champagne with raspberry liquor.  After the third time I said “no” to the drink, my cousins started to get suspicious.  Finally my parents arrived and we gathered everyone together and made the big announcement.  Again, there were plenty of squeals and congratulations.  I have to say, now that people know, it’s starting to feel a little more real.

Monday, January 16, 2012

First Ultrasound

 December 20, 2011

***Fair warning for everyone who reads this, I will be talking about bodily fluids and internal ultrasounds.  If you don’t want to know, don’t read this entry.  :) *****

We went in for our first ultrasound today, which was also our first time meeting our doctor.  Obviously, I was a little nervous . . . and excited.  (For those of you who know my musical theatre background, just imagine Little Red’s song from “Into the Woods” circling round and round in my head, and it describes exactly how I’ve been feeling this whole time “excited and scared.”)  Aaron and I left the house really early because I get incredibly nervous at the doctor’s office in general. The last couple times I’ve gone in, they had to check my blood pressure twice because the first read made it look like I had blood pressure, but it was just nerves and running from the parking structure because I’m super paranoid about being late.  Maybe by the time this whole thing is over, I will stop getting so nervous just because the doctor will seem so familiar . . . but knowing me, I will probably remain high stress regardless.

Aaron and I were shown into the examination room, and the ultrasound machine was already there.  I stared at it and got a little scared just looking at the size of the probe.  For those of you who don’t know, the first ultrasound is an internal one – i.e. there is a probe that they insert so they can see the fetus because, at this point, it is way too small to see through the ab muscles . . . especially my rock hard ab muscles (lol).

The doctor walked into the examination room and said, “This must be your first time.  I can tell by the look of excited anticipation on your faces.” I instantly liked him.  He also joked with Aaron that it would be “dad’s turn next.”  We got the ultrasound started, and I was a little confused.  I was expecting to see a little bean shaped blob, like I had seen in so many of my friend’s first ultrasound pics.

Instead, we saw this:

(forgive the photo quality - this is actually a picture of the ultrasound taken with my iphone and then emailed to my computer.  But I swear, in the real life picture, you can almost make out the face!)

It looked like a baby!  The doctor then informed us that we were not 7 ½ weeks pregnant, like I had thought, but 11 ½ weeks . . . soooo, I was off by an entire month!  Oops!  What we thought would be an August due date, turned out to be July 7 based on how big the baby was at that ultrasound.

How does this happen?  You ask.  Well, let me tell you about a little something called implantation bleeding.  Implantation bleeding is spotting that usually occurs a couple days before your expected period. I knew of implantation bleeding, but no one told me it could last 5-7 days!  I have never had a very regular period – sometimes it’s early, sometimes it’s late, sometimes it’s heavy, sometimes it’s light.  So I just thought it was a really light period.  Oops!  So, for those of you out there who are trying to get pregnant and/or might be pregnant, if you have a super light period, do yourself a favor and take a home pregnancy test . . . just in case.

Of course, our minds then went to everything we did during that month we didn’t know we were pregnant, and wondering if I did anything dangerous for the baby, not knowing I was pregnant.  Fortunately, my lifestyle is such that I don’t really have to worry too much about that.  I don't smoke, drink only occasionally, and don't engage in dangerous activities on a regular basis.  I think I had a drink or two at Halloween, but that’s about it.  But it does turn out that I performed en pointe when pregnant (which is something I kind of always wanted to do).

Next up: telling the parents.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Pre-first doctor's visit thoughts

November 30, 2011

My first doctor’s appointment is tomorrow.  Well, actually it’s really just an appointment with a nurse to confirm the pregnancy and go over family history.  Aaron’s coming with me.  I figured it would be best to have him join – after all, the baby is half his, so they probably want his family history too.  It’s so weird, until the doctor confirms it, I’m having a hard time believing it’s real.  I have this irrational fear that I’ll show up and they’ll do whatever test it is they do and then say “what are you doing here?  You’re not pregnant!”  I even took a second home pregnancy test today to double check that I still got the same result (yes, I did).

But then, I think about the symptoms that I am already experiencing, and there really can’t be any doubt (even without the double verification of the hpk).  I have a new found super human sense of smell.  It’s amazing (both in a good and a bad way)!  I walked into the bathroom when I got home tonight and noticed a funny smell – turns out, it was Aaron’s mouth guard sitting in the denture cleaner he uses every day.  That has been the same situation in our bathroom every day since he got the mouthguard 3 years ago, but now, all of a sudden I can smell it!

I’m not getting full blown morning sickness yet.  But I have found that if I am not constantly eating, I get a little queasy.  My hour-long commute in the morning is really not fun – so this morning, I made myself a protein shake and sipped it the whole way, and I was fine.  Triscuits are my new best friend!  I just eat them throughout the day, and that helps to stave off hunger.  Speaking of hunger, the most uncomfortable symptom I have right now is sudden, extreme hunger.  I’m not really used to feeling hungry at all, so this one threw me a curve ball.  But it seems like if I don’t eat every hour or so, I get super crazy hungry – hungry to the point of nausea and shakiness!  This is where the triscuits become my best friend.

The most annoying symptom is the exhaustion.  It’s 10pm as I type this, and I can barely keep my eyes open.  I usually go to bed around midnight, and wake up at 6.  Lately, it’s been more like fall asleep on the couch around 9:30 or 10 and then wake up at 5.  From what I understand, all of my symptoms are only going to get worse before they get better.  Lucky me!

December 4, 2011

I went to the gym for the first time since finding out I was pregnant today . . . and it felt good!  I was so relieved!  I’ve been so exhausted and hungry that I was terrified that 15 minutes into the elliptical, I would want to pass out – but I didn’t!  I did get more tired than usual by the end of my 30 minutes, though – but nothing I can’t handle.  Oh, and Aaron came with me to the gym.  Ever since we found out, he’s been trying to eat healthier and get more exercise.  The running gag is that as my waistline expands, he wants his to contract.  J

We had our first doctor’s appointment last week . . . well, it wasn’t actually with a doctor.  It was with the intake nurse.  She weighed me (on a scale that looks like the scales at the vet, I might add – not exactly a comforting feeling, considering that I know I will be getting much bigger over the next 9 months!), and took a family history from both Aaron and I.  Then she sent us down to the lab for tests.  I had to chug a brightly colored glucose drink that tasted like Gatorade and then wait an hour for blood tests.  I’ve heard of the glucose test before – they use it to test for gestational diabetes, but from all my friends who have been pregnant, that test usually comes much later in the pregnancy.  Perhaps they wanted to get a baseline to see if it changes?  They took about 8 vials of blood from my little arm!  Now I know why I am not allowed to donate blood!  8 vials from a person as small as me is a big deal.  I was super delirious as Aaron took me out to dinner at El Torito to help me recover.

My first appointment with the real doctor is December 20.  They’re going to do the first ultrasound at that appointment . . . just in time to get extra prints for the parents for Xmas presents!  I really can’t wait to tell my mom.  I just want to be able to talk to her about all these early symptoms and compare notes with how she remembers it being for her.  I want to complain to her and have my mommy make it all better!  Holy bejeezus – that’s going to be me eventually!  I’m going to be the mommy that makes it all better?  Does that wisdom get imparted magically?

And . . . now I’m hungry again.  Off to get a snack.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Best Thanksgiving ever!

Thanksgiving 2011

My bladder woke me up at 5:30am this morning.  I tried very hard to get it to let me sleep, but it just wouldn’t relent.  I knew that the first pee of the morning had to be dedicated to a home pregnancy test, so I stumbled out of bed, flipped on the light in the bathroom and tried to get some sort of cognitive awareness to break through the fog of sleep.  As I attempted to focus my eyes on the instructions, I gave myself another pep talk.  “It’s ok either way.  Don’t get your hopes up, it could just be really bad PMS.”  And then I remembered that I started crying during a Folgers commercial the other night . . . that seems a bit extreme, even for my emotional self!

I took the test and within seconds, a blue line appeared . . . a blue line indicating that yes, indeed, I am pregnant!  I tried desperately to re-focus my eyes and make sure I was reading it right.  I looked at the instructions, and I looked at the test again and again . . . yep, there was no mistaking it – that blue line was bright and clear!  Holy Moly!

I had all these grand plans of how I was going to tell Aaron when we eventually got pregnant.  Did I do any of them?  No.  Instead, I went back into the bedroom and poked him with my finger and said “Hey, sorry to wake you, but you’re going to be a daddy.”  At which point, he rolled over and said, “Wait, really?  That’s ok, you can wake me up for that kind of news.”  Then I made him get up and double-check my reading of the test, you know, just in case I was wrong or dreaming it.

I guess that makes this the most thankful Thanksgiving ever!  We stayed awake for a little while talking about it and when we would tell people.  We’re not going to tell anyone today – it’s way too soon.  Though, if people notice me not drinking at Thanksgiving, it might be hard.  That’s actually the main reason I took the test today – I needed to know if I could have some wine with my Thanksgiving dinner.

I need to make a doctor’s appointment.  There’s so much to do around the house.  I’m really excited, but also a little overwhelmed.