Good days and bad.

It’s hard to believe it’s been a month since our D&E. Emotionally, I’m feeling okay most days. I know I’ll carry both our losses with me forever, but it’s true what they say — time heals. Each day feels a bit better than the last, but I do notice certain “triggers” take me by surprise. Like earlier this week I was sitting in a meeting and noticed the date on the calendar and had the realization that I would have been 18 weeks that day. It hit me like a ton of bricks and took my breath away. I had to really focus to compose myself. Little things like that seem to come out of nowhere, but overall I’m doing okay.

Physically-speaking, I had my post-op appointment and talked to my doctor about next steps last week. In another month or so, we’ll do an HSG test (where they inject dye into your uterus and tubes to look for abnormalities), and we’ll test for autoimmune and blood clotting disorders at the same time. I’m also going to get tested for Celiac disease again. My dad has Celiac, and it’s hereditary, and can cause miscarriage. I tested negative for it about 5 years ago, and I’m not showing any symptoms, but it’s possible to be asymptomatic and test positive at a later date, so we’ll get that checked out. Unfortunately, my doctor said she doesn’t think any of these tests will find anything, because if I had had any of these issues they would most likely have affected our pregnancy with Theo, and that pregnancy was essentially textbook. She said if she had to guess we’ve just had bad luck. I still want to do all the testing, though. As strange as it sounds, I hope they find something wrong with me. Most of these things can be treated if you know what you’re treating. But if we can’t pinpoint a cause, I’ll feel more confident knowing we’ve at least ruled out some things. It feels good to have a game plan, but I need to start accepting the reality that we may never know what happened or why.

Unfortunately, I was still bleeding slightly at my appointment, which the doctor had hoped would be over with by that point. She did an hCG draw and my levels were 11.6. That’s very low (the most sensitive of home pregnancy tests will detect around 25), but she had hoped they would be zero. We just did another draw this week and I’m happy to say they’re finally zero! I’m pretty sure the sheer elation of reaching zero is truly something only a miscarriage survivor can appreciate. I’ve also finally stopped bleeding, so that’s a relief. I recently started tracking my cycles again by taking my temperature, and my body seems to be still wonky. 32 days out and I have yet to ovulate. It’s not like we would do anything about it yet (more on that in a minute), but it would be nice to know my body is back to normal.

Some good news: D and I had a serious talk the other day about trying again. I was terrified about having this conversation. He was on the fence about trying this last time, due to fears leftover from our first loss, and I was afraid this later miscarriage would put him over the edge and he would be totally closed off to the idea, but to my surprise, he is completely on board. So that’s a relief. We’re still going to give it a few months so we can do all the testing, but I have hope that we will be pregnant again — it’s just a matter of when.

I think the “when” aspect is actually one of the hardest things for me to accept this go-round, though. I had always dreamed of having children 2-3 years apart. Now, best case scenario we’re looking at 3-4 years apart. I’m trying to have patience, but the truth of the matter is, the more time that passes, the farther apart the siblings will be in age, and that’s hard for me to accept, since I have such great memories of playing with my brother growing up (he’s two years younger). The other thing is that, frankly, time is not on our side. I’m 34 now, and best case scenario, I’ll be 35 when this next baby is born. That’s considered “advanced maternal age” by the medical community. I know women are having babies later these days — and I still feel young — but biology doesn’t lie, and the older a woman gets, fertility declines and chances of complications rise. It’s ironic — we got married so young — who would have thought we’d reach the point where we were at risk of being “too old” to have children? It sounds dramatic, but in some ways I sometimes feel like my life is passing me by and there’s nothing I can do about it…

Flying with a baby…

As I mentioned in my last post, we took Theo to Hawaii last month. It was our first time flying with him and we pretty much just dove right into the deep end with a 5 1/2 hour flight. I did quite a bit of research ahead of time on tips for traveling with a baby, but the truth is, you really never know how your baby will act until you just do it. With that said, in case any friends or family need advice, or any strangers stumble upon this blog while searching for tips, here are my two cents based on my limited experience flying with a nine month-old:

Booking the tickets:

Since children under two can ride on your lap without their own ticket, we went this route to save money; however, we purposefully booked an aisle and a window seat for D and me, hoping the middle would stay vacant. Different airlines have different policies, but many will allow you to bring your car seat on and use it in the empty seat if it’s is still vacant at boarding time (here’s Alaska Airlines‘ policy). I figured, best case scenario we get to bring the car seat on for free; worst case scenario, we offer the person in the middle the window seat. It’s not like they’d refuse. Our plan worked on the way there. On the way home our flight was full and we had to gate check the car seat.

Having done it both ways now, I’ll say this: if you can swing it financially to spring for that extra seat, it may be worth it, particularly on a long flight. On the way there when we had the car seat, we were actually able to get him to fall asleep for a little while (he sleeps great in the car, so I imagine it felt similar). On the way home, he squirmed the ENTIRE flight, and I had to stand most of the time. But if you’re on a budget or can’t justify the price of an extra seat, you may just get lucky and have an empty middle seat – especially for a touristy destination like Hawaii where people are less likely to be flying solo. Either way, you definitely want that aisle seat, so you can get up easily. Because chances are you’ll be up a LOT.

In-flight entertainment:

I had read one article that suggested buying a couple new toys to introduce while in flight, hoping the novelty would hold the baby’s attention more than toys they already know. This might work better with an older child. Or maybe my kid is just super ADD. But he was interested in the new toys for all of five minutes before he was squirming again. A napkin, a plastic cup and the in-flight magazine held his attention just as well, so my advice would be to save your money and not go gangbusters buying a bunch of new toys like I did, especially since you aren’t going to want to buy noisy electronic toys, so your selections will be rather limited.

Food actually held his attention much better than toys did. What can I say? My kid loves to eat. I brought some squeezy pouches and a spoon, and fed him small bites of food at a time, and that bought us about an hour. Puffs are always a hit, and as a bonus, you can let them hold and shake the container, which doubles as a rattle.

The best form of in-flight entertainment, I discovered? Other people. For a social baby like mine, having old ladies coo at him was pretty much the greatest thing in the world. Oh, and other babies can be great distraction too. Go on a walk and visit with the other babies on the plane. Chances are, their parents are also trying earnestly to keep them happy and will be grateful for your company for the sake of their own kids’ entertainment.

Mile-high diapers:

Nothing makes you realize just how tiny those airplane bathrooms are like trying to wrestle a squirmy, poopy baby on a changing table the size of a place mat. During turbulence, I might add. (Imagine my horror when the fasten seatbelt sign came on while I was doing damage control on a blowout.) The last thing you want to do is add a giant diaper bag to the mix, especially since there’s nowhere to set it except on the nasty floor. I’d suggest getting something like this; something you can stow in your big diaper bag under your seat, and quickly grab before heading to the lavatory. It folds out into a changing pad, which you’ll want anyway (in case the person before you lost the battle with poopy turbulence!).

Despite the fact that I normally prefer cloth diapers, we went with disposables for the flight (and the entire vacation, actually), which I would highly recommend. They pack more compactly and you don’t have to worry about wet bags or carrying smelly diapers back to your seat. There’s enough going on already when you’re flying with a baby, and there’s something to be said for the convenience of just being able to toss them in the trash and forget about them. I’d say that’s a pretty good overarching theme for flying with a baby: do whatever is most convenient and makes your life easiest. You can save the planet or worry about instilling good habits another day.

One more tip: on many airplanes, only one of the bathrooms has a changing table. It took me forever to figure this out the first time I went into one of the non-changing table lavatories.

What (and how) to pack:

The rules will be different if you’re traveling solo with a baby (and in that case, you have my condolences), but here’s what we did, and it worked well for us:

The diaper bag was my one and only carry-on. I had my wallet, phone, chapstick, gum, and the rest was stuff for Theo. Don’t even bother with magazines or books for you – chances are you won’t have much time for yourself and if you do, count yourself lucky and get some sleep! If you’re feeling really optimistic, maybe consider installing the Kindle app on your phone and downloading a book ahead of time. But you’re better off saving your bag space for baby stuff. Back to the diaper bag: in addition to minimal items for myself, I had my nursing cover, the diaper changer thing I linked to earlier (stocked with diapers, wipes and hand sanitizer), an extra change of clothes for Theo, several small toys and books, and some baby food in a small bottle cooler bag with an ice pack. I put the toys and food in the outside pockets where I could quickly grab them if he started to fuss. I also packed my manual breastpump in case he decided not to nurse and I needed some relief. I ended up not needing it, but if you have a finicky or distracted nurser and a long flight, it may be worth it.

I had D carry our rollaway carry-on bag, which had extra changes of clothes for both of us, extra diapers and anything we couldn’t live without for a couple days in the event our checked luggage got lost. We checked one very large bag with everything else for the three of us. Normally I hate paying to check a bag, but when you’re traveling with a baby you need a lot of crap that’s hard to fit into a carry-on. Plus it was nice to not have to worry about dealing with yet another bag through the airport and onto the plane. So walking through the airport, D carried our rollaway and empty carseat, and I carried the diaper bag with Theo strapped to me in a carrier (I have the Beco Gemini and it’s awesome – it was also a lifesaver for the flight home when I had to stand/walk the aisle the entire time). For a really tiny baby I would have considered bringing our snap and go stroller for the carseat and wheeling him through the airport since you can gate check strollers for free. But since we knew we wouldn’t use the stroller at our destination, we opted not to bring it.

What to wear:

I would recommend wearing pants or a skirt you can get on and off with one hand instead of jeans or anything you need to button, so you can hold the baby with one hand and get your pants up and down with the other (on a related note: if you go to the bathroom to change the baby, don’t forget to go yourself while you’re there – the last thing you want is to have to go later when the baby finally falls asleep on you). If you’re nursing, you’ll obviously want to wear a top with easy access. I would recommend stretchy low necklines as opposed to anything with buttons or clasps. Less to fumble with in already tight quarters.

Footed jammies are convenient for baby. He’ll be comfortable (and hopefully sleep?) and you don’t have to worry about losing shoes or socks. Plus, then you don’t need to take pants completely off to change him and risk dropping them in the nasty lavatory or something. Bring a couple extra changes of clothes – for you and baby. We had a blowout about 20 minutes into our flight, thanks to some antibiotics Theo was on for an ear infection that caused massive explosive poops several times per day. Speaking of ear infections…

Ears

I was really worried about his ears in flight. I had heard babies can sometimes have trouble equalizing the pressure in their ears on takeoff and landing, but surprisingly we didn’t have much of an issue, even though we were dealing with the tail end of an ear infection. He got pretty fussy on takeoff on the way there, but I had him in his car seat and was trying to feed him a cold bottle of pumped milk, which he wasn’t having. About halfway through our ascent with him screaming, I took him out of his car seat and nursed him instead and he instantly calmed down. We nursed most of the way through descent until he lost interest and got distracted by the turbulence (which he thought was fun – laughed and squealed with every bump and drop, even though my stomach was in my throat). Thankfully he didn’t seem bothered by his ears at all.

Security

Security was a lot easier than I expected it would be. On the way there we got waved through a special line and didn’t even have to take off our shoes or remove liquids from our bags. On the way home, we had to go through the whole song and dance, but they still let me wear Theo through the scanner, and even though we had to declare the breastmilk and baby food (they made us take it out, briefly looked at it and then waved us on through), you don’t have to adhere to the 3-1-1 rule when it comes to breastmilk, formula or baby food (or ice packs to keep the aforementioned cold).

Other passengers:

This was perhaps what I was most nervous about – getting dirty looks (or worse) from other passengers. I read somewhere that you should hand out candy or Starbucks gift cards to the people around you, but that just seemed overly apologetic to me. Yes, he’s a baby and he’s rude and noisy sometimes, but he has just as much right to take a vacation with his family as anyone else does. If he were particularly fussy I could see offering to buy your seatmate a drink, but it felt like overkill to me to preemptively apologize for your baby just for being on the flight.

Actually, most people were really nice. A few people even commented about what a good baby Theo was being, or gave me a knowing look and told me I was doing a good job; that they’ve been there before. We only had one rude encounter when the woman across the aisle from me made a loud passive aggressive comment to the person next to her about me standing in the aisle for the whole flight (believe me, lady, I’d much rather be sitting).

I’ve always tried not to show my annoyance toward fussy babies when I know the parents are doing the best they can, but I also can’t say I’ve ever paid any parents a compliment for having a good baby either. But I’ll admit, it really meant a lot to be reassured that I was doing a good job, or even just to hear people tell me how cute Theo was. I’ll remember that next time I fly and will go out of my way to tell a flustered looking parent that they’re doing great.

This turned into a long post and I haven’t even gotten to the actual vacation part yet! I’ll stop here and will save that for a separate post. With that, here are a few pictures of my little flyer.

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I am woman, hear me moo!

Long before I was pregnant, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. It’s just one of those things that I knew would be important to me for numerous reasons: the health of the baby and increased immunity, the cost (formula is expensive, yo!), helping me get back in shape (can’t argue with burning an extra 500 calories a day while sitting on the couch!), and just the overall emotional bond. Not that women who bottle feed don’t bond with their babies – I’m not trying to start a mommy war here – but there is just something about holding the baby skin to skin, knowing you are providing him with all the sustenance he needs to grow… it just felt like a right of passage to me as a mother. It’s a personal choice, but my goal was to do this for one year and try to avoid formula altogether.

I wasn’t naive to think breastfeeding would be all puppies and rainbows, though. I suppose one of the benefits of being some of the last of our friends to have a baby is that I’ve been able to learn a lot through everyone else’s experiences. I can’t think of one friend who didn’t have at least a couple hurdles to get over in her breastfeeding journey. From poor latch, to engorgement, to cracked and bleeding nipples, to mastitis, to diminishing supply, I had heard it all, and so I read up on everything I could get my hands on. I went into this feeling like I was pretty well-prepared. So it’s ironic that the one issue I didn’t study ahead of time would prove to be my biggest challenge.

As I mentioned previously, we had a couple small hurdles to get over at the beginning of our breastfeeding journey, including a bad latch and falling asleep at the boob. Once we got over these issues, though, we were able to settle into a good groove and I actually began to enjoy breastfeeding. I counted myself lucky for the relative ease of it. I didn’t even leak. I was comfortable feeding whenever and wherever, thanks to my nursing cover, which I love. So much easier that packing bottles, since I can’t accidentally leave my boobs at home.

When Theo was about four weeks old, I started pumping once a day. I needed to start building a freezer stash that we could use when he went to daycare, or if we wanted a night out. We gave him his first bottle, and he did okay on it. The flow was a little faster than the real deal, so IĀ  ordered some slower flow bottle nipples, and he seemed to do great. For the next few weeks, we gave him one bottle per week, to keep him in practice. Meanwhile, I dutifully pumped every day, and even though I really hate pumping, I had built up quite an impressive freezer stash, and I recently estimated I had about 300 ounces squirreled away.

But after a few weeks, we got lax on giving him his weekly bottle, and when I dipped into the frozen stuff for the first time last week to have D give him a bottle, he outright refused it. In fact, he was screaming, he was so hungry, but just wouldn’t take the bottle. I think I got my first dose of what’s known to working moms as “mommy guilt.” As I sat there listening to him cry, hooked up to my cold, noisy, mechanical pump, tears streaming down my face, all I wanted to do was comfort my baby. And if it weren’t for the fact that I’m returning to work in two weeks, it wouldn’t be so important to get him to take a bottle. I had these visions of him on his first day of daycare, scared, hungry and wanting his mommy. It was too much for me to handle, and I unhooked from the pump, snatched him out of D’s arms and put him to my breast. He immediately calmed down. It was one of the most emotional moments I’ve had since he was born. I can’t describe it, but as a mother, there’s just something so primal about the need to feed your baby. Listening to him scream from hunger pains broke my heart into a million pieces.

At first we thought the bottle itself was the problem, since we hadn’t given him one in a couple weeks. So D and I vowed to start giving him bottles more often to get him used to them again. We had a few different kinds, so we experimented with different bottles. We weren’t having much luck. After a few frustrating attempts, I wondered if maybe it was the milk, since the problem seemed to have started at the same time we started feeding the frozen stuff. I gave it a sniff and – wow – it smelled terrible! Sour, metallic, and slightly soapy. Dipped a finger in and tasted it – yuck. No wonder Theo was refusing. But, since I had never made a point to smell or taste my milk before, I had nothing to compare it to. So I quickly pumped a small amount and smelled it – no odor at all. Dipped a finger in and tasted it – it tasted sweet. Clearly something was wrong with the frozen stuff. I vaguely recalled reading about this in one of my books, so off to the internet I went. From everything I read, it sounded like I had found my problem. Essentially, some women have too much lipase in their milk, an enzyme that breaks down fat, causing the milk to take on a bad flavor in a short period of time. It varies in extremes – for some women, this happens mere minutes after expressing. Others can store their milk in the refrigerator for a few days before it starts to go bad. But in all cases, freezing doesn’t do anything to slow this breakdown, so while most women can freeze their milk and store it for months, the only way to freeze milk when you have excess lipase is to scald it first. This involves bringing the milk to almost but not quite boiling, and then cooling it quickly.

Sound like a lot of work? It is. So in addition to my anxiety about leaving my baby, going back to work and pumping 3-4 times per day, and missing the special time T and I have breastfeeding throughout the day, now I have an extra step to take in storing my milk. Not to mention, those 300 ounces of liquid gold I’ve worked so hard to pump are now useless. That part was especially devastating. Anyone who’s breastfed knows how valuable that milk is. I’ve cried before over accidentally spilling 6 ounces while transferring it to a freezer bag. And now I have to throw out 300 ounces? Kill me now. If only I had tested my freezer stash sooner, I might have been able to prevent all this waste. I have heard that milk banks will take milk with excess lipase, as it’s not harmful; it just tastes bad. Milk banks use it to tube-feed babies in the NICU, so it doesn’t matter what it tastes like. It’s also combined with other milk, so the lipase is diluted anyway. It’s something I need to look into more, but I would feel better about donating my stash than just throwing it all away. What a waste.

So, over the past few days I’ve been defrosting milk from various dates just to make sure it’s all bad (it is), and conducting a series of experiments to find out just how much of a grace period I have after pumping. If my milk will stay good until the next day, then I can essentially just pump each day at work for the following day, and on Fridays scald my milk for Monday. And any excess that I pump that is more than he’ll need the next day at daycare, I can scald for rebuilding my freezer stash, and hopefully D and I can have a date night someday. However, if my milk goes bad within less than 24 hours, then I’ll have to scald nightly. And if my milk goes bad shortly after pumping, I’ll have to find a way to scald at work, or possibly use formula while he’s at daycare. The problem with supplementing with formula, though, is that without pumping for every feed, my supply will drop, or possibly dry up altogether.

So this morning after pumping, I did my first scalding. I hope I did it right. I’ll need to pump and scald a couple times per day between now and August 1, when I go back to work, so I have enough milk for his first day and a little extra for “insurance.” It’s not going to be an easy road, and switching to formula would probably be the easier route, but this is something that’s important to me, and it’s the path I’ve chosen to take.

Moo.

Two months old.

Well, so much for blogging more frequently. Theo is now two months old. Actually, as of today, he’s 10 weeks. So much for blogging on time too. Time is just flying by, and I can’t believe I go back to work in two weeks. In some ways I’m looking forward to it. I’m definitely looking forward to having more money again, and I’m also looking forward to some adult interaction and putting my brain back to use. But in many more ways, I’m really dreading it. I’ve grown so attached to this little guy and I can’t imagine leaving him for 11-12 hours every day, including my commute. Thankfully I’ll be able to work one day a week from home, and even though we’ll still need full-time childcare, at least I can get 2-3 more hours back in my day by eliminating my commute. I may see if work will let me do two days a week at home. If I only had to go into the office three days a week, I think this whole working mom thing may be manageable. Hard to believe next monthly update will be after I go back to work!

Okay, here’s what’s happening at two months…

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Stats: 12 lbs. 6 oz.; 24 inches long; head is 15 inches around.

Sleeping: We’re getting about 4 hours at a time at night, which means if I nurse him right before we go to bed, we usually get one middle of the night wake-up around 2 or 3, and then an early one around 5 or 6. Once I go back to work, this will be the point where we get up in the morning, but for now I usually try to get him to go back to sleep for another couple hours and then we’re up for the day around 7 or 8. I’ve been better about not falling asleep with him in our bed during the night, though I do usually snooze with him in our bed for that last stretch in the mornings. It’s not a really sound sleep, so I don’t worry as much about his safety. D is also out of bed for work by this point, so I make sure T has plenty of space and is away from the blankets or anything that could harm him. He’s still not very good about napping in the crib. Every time I try to transfer him there he wakes up, and he won’t fall asleep if I put him in there awake, so it’s usually just easier to let him nap in his swing or on the couch.

Eating: He is getting much better about eating efficiently and staying awake through a feeding. He is spacing his feedings out closer to 2.5 to 3 hours now during the day, and 3-4 hours at night. During the day he will eat from both sides for about 10-15 minutes at a time, though we occasionally have a marathon session, where he nurses for up to an hour, half-asleep, mostly pacifying. I don’t mind, since I usually don’t have anywhere to be, and the nursing isn’t uncomfortable to me anymore. In fact, I really enjoy nursing now. Hate pumping, though, and I’m not looking forward to going back to work for this reason. I’ve gotten pretty comfortable nursing in public, thanks to my nursing cover. I find myself nursing in parking lots quite often since he always seems to get hungry while we’re out running around!

Personality: He is really getting fun, and his personality seems to develop more and more every day. I think he will be a very active baby, despite previously thinking he was going to be very chill. I do still think he will be pretty easygoing, as he doesn’t seem to fuss nearly as much as other babies I see. He does not like to sit still, though, and he constantly wants to be looking around. He is smiling a ton these days, and it never gets old. Each smile gets me so excited as if it were the first time. I’ve heard of baby smiles described as “parent crack” and it’s absolutely true. I find myself making a fool out of myself with silly faces and voices, just to get that fix and one is just never enough. He is cooing and “talking” to us quite a bit now too, and it’s fun to carry on “conversations” with him. He doesn’t really like his tummy time, and the pediatrician said that’s something we need to work on more. He has good head control when he’s upright but he should be getting close to the point where he can push himself up and support himself on his elbows while on his tummy, and he isn’t doing that yet.

Likes: Still likes having his diaper changed. I mentioned this to our pediatrician and she said her son was like that too, and that they called it his “reset button.” It’s a good description, because even when he’s fussy, he’ll calm down and give me a smile when I change him. He is really starting to like bath time too. I’ve started giving him a bath once a day and it’s so fun to watch him splash and smile up at me. He also really loves to stare at his own reflection. Can’t say I blame him – he’s a pretty handsome dude!

Dislikes: He seems to have regressed a bit on taking a bottle, which is something we’re working on – we need to get this problem fixed before I go back to work. The bottle thing is turning out to be quite an issue, which I’ll go into detail more about in a separate post. His gassy issues we were dealing with last month seem to have subsided, thankfully. He still gets a bit fussy when he has a big burp or fart he can’t seem to get out, but he’s gotten more efficient about working them out himself, I think.

Mama: I’m feeling pretty good these days. Still about 5 lbs. away from my pre-pregnancy weight, but my clothes are definitely fitting better. Still won’t be rocking a bikini anytime soon, and I’ve got a little bit of a gut that wasn’t there before getting pregnant, but I feel pretty good about my ability to work that off. I just got my IUD placed today, and that was SO much easier than getting it placed the first time around. I had heard that it would be less painful after having a baby and boy, was that the truth! The first time I thought I was going to pass out from the pain. This time it felt about as uncomfortable as a PAP.

Looking forward to some of the next milestones, such as laughing, rolling over, and getting some more head control! Every day he becomes more and more like a little person, and less like a cute little lump. As cliche as it sounds, he is truly growing up before my very eyes!

Same love.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled DOMA (defense of marriage act) unconstitutional, forcing the federal government to recognize same-sex marriages in states where it is legal. I’ve always been a proponent of gay rights, and becoming a parent has only reinforced this for me. Looking at Theo’s sweet face and wondering what sort of a man he will one day become, I can’t imagine him being denied the right to one day marry the person he loves, whether that person be a woman or a man. It breaks my heart to know that other parents have lost their precious children to things like hate crimes and suicide because people can’t accept people for who they are. I like to think that Theo will grow up in a more tolerant society.

The following song/video from Macklemore and Ryan Lewis was released a while back, but in light of today’s news, seems appropriate. A beautiful tribute to love in all forms.

Ready.

It’s suddenly hit me today. I’m ready to have this baby now. Not because I’ve crossed everything off my list (because I haven’t yet). And not because I’m so uncomfortable I can’t stand to be pregnant any longer (because I really feel fine during the day and it’s not like I’m going to be sleeping at night anyway once he’s here). And not because I logically want him to be born early (I’m fully aware that babies are healthiest when they go to at least 39 weeks). But it’s like somethingĀ  in me flipped today and I just feel ready. I can’t explain it. Maybe I’m confusing readiness with impatience, which is entirely possible as well. But I’m just sort of ready to get this show on the road.

Sometimes life needs a fast-forward button.

31 weeks.

Another week down, 9 more to go. Here’s what’s going on at 31 weeks…

Baby is somewhere between 16 and 19 inches long and weighs about 3.3 lbs. The books and websites say he is heading into a growth spurt very soon, though I wonder if maybe he’s already there. He was moving a ton for a while and less so over the last few days. I definitely still feel him, but the movements are smaller and I wonder if maybe he’s getting a little cramped in there. I try not to worry about the decreased movement since everything I’ve read says it’s normal toward the end as they run out of space. But I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry just a little bit. I guess that’s part of the “PGAL brain.” There’s always a little bit of worry in the back of my mind that something might go wrong.

They say he is likely in the head down position by now, and I think it feels like he is too, but it’s hard to tell. I have felt what feels like a foot lodged up in the right side of my ribcage for several days now (though it could be a hand), and I often feel a large mound roll from side to side up toward the top, which I think is his butt (though it could be his head). At my last checkup I asked the nurse practitioner if she could tell which direction he is facing and she said they probably wouldn’t check his position until closer to the end since he can still flip around and there’s no sense in causing any worry if he is in fact breech. Likewise, there’s really no sense of security if he is head down already. It simply doesn’t matter yet.

Mama is up 1.2 lbs this week for a total weight gain now of 19.2 lbs. Belly button is sticking out more and more every day, but still no stretch marks, thankfully.

On Sunday I had quite a few Braxton Hicks contractions, which worried me just a little bit. I typically get one or two a day and have been for several weeks now. My doctor said I don’t need to worry unless I’m having more than four per hour. Well, on Sunday, I had about 2 per hour for a good six hour span. It still wasn’t the four per hour that would be cause for worry, but that was a pretty significant change from my normal 1 or 2 per day! I drank a lot of water and they seemed to subside by the end of the day and things have been normal since. Weird.

This morning I caught sight of myself in a reflection of a window as I was walking to work and I think I’m starting to waddle a bit. Lovely. I’m definitely feeling very large. I’m also craving sweets like none other. Last night I was watching the Bachelor and I had the most overwhelming craving for something sweet and chocolatey. I’ve never had such a strong craving before — like, I HAD to have it and we had nothing in our house. I tried to convince D to run to the store and get me something (hello, I couldn’t leave the Bachelor!), but he was already in his sweats and said he didn’t want to go to the store. So I said he could drive through Dairy Queen and get me a blizzard and he wouldn’t have to get out of the car, but he still whined about it. I think I almost had him convinced when he suggested I just make myself some hot cocoa. I had forgotten we had some, and that seemed to satiate the craving. So no need to send him out to get me a blizzard at 9 p.m. but I was thisclose to becoming a major pregnancy cliche. I did leave work this afternoon to run out and get some Cadbury Mini Eggs. Those are my weakness even non-pregnant, and I have been munching on those all afternoon at my desk!30w3d

30 weeks.

Can’t believe I’m in the home stretch. I don’t know why, but it feels like a big deal going from 29 weeks to 30 weeks. Maybe that’s because you often hear about babies born at 30something weeks. Obviously we want to keep him baking until as close to 40 as possible, but it wouldn’t be abnormal for him to come around 37 or 38 weeks, either. We’re in the 30s, folks. Just crazy to think about.

My parents came over on Saturday evening — their last night in town before they started their move to Texas Sunday morning. It was nice to spend the evening with them and to see them off, but sad to see them go. They’ll be back a couple weeks after the baby is born, though, which will be nice, and then I think we’re going to try to make it down there for Thanksgiving this year (baby’s first plane trip – yikes!). Thankfully they’ll only be in Texas for two years and then my dad will retire and they’ll move up here again permanently.

Had a nice walk around Greenlake yesterday with my friend Molly, whom I used to work with. She is due in just three days! They are also having a boy. It’s fun to be able to talk about pregnancy stuff with other people who are going through it. After I got home, I parked myself in front of the TV and ended up falling asleep for several hours! I almost never nap on the couch (I’m one of those picky sleepers who can only fall asleep in my own bed), but the long walk and the cold air must have really taken it out of me. I’m definitely feeling myself slowing down. I woke up a few hours later and watched the Oscar red carpet coverage, and then D got home from snowboarding and we watched the Oscars. It was overall a pretty lazy Sunday, which was nice.

Okay, here’s what’s going on at 30 weeks…

Baby is about 16-18 inches long and weighs about 3 lbs. He should be surrounded by approximately a pint and a half of amniotic fluid, though that amount will peak soon before it slowly starts decreasing as he gets bigger and takes up more room. Brain activity is picking up speed this week, and his eyesight is developing more, even though he can’t really see anything from his current point of view! I learned today that babies are born with about 20/400 eyesight, which means they can’t see much beyond a few inches from their face.

Mama is feeling large. As you can see below, I snapped a picture last week wearing the same outfit I wore in my 18 week photo. The scary thing is, I remember feeling large at 18 weeks, and looking back on that photo makes me miss my old body. Look how small I was! This distorted perspective actually makes me very scared of how big I’ll be in another 10 weeks! Will I be looking back at my 30 week photo thinking I was small?! Yikes! The sciatic pain seems to have diminished for the most part (knock on wood), though I did notice it came back on Saturday after vacuuming the house. Gained 1 lb. this week for a total now of 18 lbs. Still no stretch marks, but stomach muscles are still very achy, especially after I eat. On Saturday evening I sneezed and felt like I actually pulled a muscle in my side. Super painful. I think I’m just out of room. Hopefully my muscles loosen up at some point and allow me to stretch some more, since clearly I am going to get quite a bit bigger in the next 10 weeks!

Photo taken at 29 and 1/2 weeks.

Photo taken at 29 and 1/2 weeks.

Photo taken at 18 weeks.

Photo taken at 18 weeks.

The last milestone.

This pregnancy has been filled with both excitement and trepidation. And as much as I try not to compare this pregnancy with my last one – and believe this one will have a happier ending – it’s only natural to reflect on prior experiences when navigating anything in life. In the beginning of this pregnancy, I couldn’t help but compare my feelings and symptoms to what I experienced last time. And then we made it past 8 weeks for the first time, and suddenly we were in uncharted territory gestation-wise. In many ways it was freeing to not be able to compare what I was going through to the last time. Things started looking up, and I started feeling more confident.

But while the gestational milestones were officially behind us, significant dates were not — certain dates that have been ingrained in my mind. We had already passed the anniversary of our previous due date. That one was the hardest to get through, mostly because we weren’t pregnant yet. But even after getting pregnant, some other anniversaries have come up that caused me to reflect on our previous experience. October 6 was the day we got our first positive pregnancy test. Then last week, there was November 7 – what I consider to be the anniversary of our loss – the day we went in for our first ultrasound and found out our baby had died. Now today, November 14, is the anniversary of when I had my D&C. To be honest, I’m not as sad today as I thought I might be, though the significance of the date did not go unnoticed.

I hope that the freeing feeling I felt passing our 8 week milestone will only increase now that all of our previous pregnancy and loss milestones are truly behind us.

Mo-om, knock it off!

I can just hear my kid saying that already.

As I mentioned yesterday, baby is supposed to be sensitive to light now and I had read that if I shine a flashlight at my belly, baby will try to move away from the light. Well, this morning before getting out of bed, I gave it a try. Whether baby was moving away from it or not, I couldn’t feel anything. Sad face. I’m definitely looking forward to feeling movement.

So, I decided to get out the doppler. Not because I was worried, but just because I felt like it. I don’t think baby likes being dopplered, though. Every time I would find the heartbeat, baby would move and I’d lose it, only to find it again in a different spot, before baby would move again. Still couldn’t feel anything, but it was amusing nonetheless. After a few minutes, I finally decided to stop pestering my kid. I’m not sure if baby can roll its eyes yet, but I’m pretty sure it would if it could.