Welcome to the world, Emmett!

This is certainly not a post I ever thought I’d be writing at just 26 weeks 2 days.

I really should go to sleep right now. It’s been a long, emotional day. But I’m completely wired and I don’t really feel like leaving the NICU, so I thought I’d grab my laptop, sit by my baby, and try to make sense of the day’s events in one of the most therapeutic ways I know — writing. And, much like my birth story with Theo, I know is is probably way more information than most people would ever want to read, but recalling all the details helps me process.

The short version:

Emmett John Hoffman made a dramatic entrance into this world today at 2:20 p.m. At just 26 weeks 2 days gestation, he weighed in at 1 lb. 14 oz and is 13 inches in length. We have a long road ahead of us, as doctors estimate he’ll stay in the NICU until close to his original due date of August 22. But this guy is already a fighter. He came out crying and already peed on the nurses.

The novel:

For the last couple days, things have felt, shall we say — a little more damp than normal. A lot of this I just chalked up to one of the less glamorous things about pregnancy that no one talks about. I remember The Grossness with my pregnancy with T, but I couldn’t quite shake the concern that it seemed to come on fairly suddenly this time. By last night it had increased to the point where I was genuinely starting to worry. Still, I know I can be a bit of a hypochondriac, and the fact that we’ve had two losses certainly doesn’t help that. After googling whether you can check for amniotic fluid at home, I hopped onto Amazon around midnight last night and one-day-Primed some Ph test strips. I figured $10 was a small price to pay to put my mind at ease. I’d test today and if anything looked questionable or I wasn’t reassured, I’d head to labor and delivery to get checked out. Just to be safe.

This morning I woke up around 5  a.m. to not only more of The Grossness, but it was tinged with blood and I was having mild contractions about 3-5 minutes apart. Even though I’ve been getting Braxton Hicks contractions for a few weeks now, I’d never had them this regularly. This was all making me feel really uneasy so I called the on-call OB. Without hesitation she told me, “Go to labor and delivery.” Unfortunately, D was out of town for work, so I had to get T off to daycare myself first. Getting him ready has been a bit of a struggle lately and timeliness has not been our strong suit. I may have bribed him with candy just to hurry and get in the damn car. Dropping him off was an incredibly emotional experience. This was possibly his last day as an only child but I had to rush him into his class while trying not to appear too worried (after all, there was a part of me still holding out hope it was nothing). I fought back tears as I kissed both cheeks, the top of his head and inhaled the smell of his hair. And then I practically ran out the door and sped to the hospital.

When I went to check into triage, I burst into tears and could hardly even tell them my name. I was alone and scared. D had no clue what was happening because he was on a plane and I couldn’t reach him. And I didn’t want to worry anyone else until I knew what was going on. They took me back and monitored my contractions and the baby’s heartrate for what felt like hours, and then finally the on-call OB checked me and determined I was 1 cm dilated. A tad concerning, but since I’d already had a baby, some dilation can actually be normal. She also took some swabs to send to the lab to see if there was amniotic fluid. She said it didn’t necessarily look like amniotic fluid to her, but that there was definitely more fluid than she was comfortable with. She said it actually looked more like what your cervix produces when you’re in labor (I had no idea this was a thing). Either way, not ideal, but no amniotic fluid was certainly the preferred outcome, so this sounded promising. If it were “just” preterm labor they said there was still a lot they could do for me. They would give me some magnesium to slow labor and could maybe even send me home tomorrow!

After the OB exam, I was sent to Maternal Fetal Medicine for an ultrasound to assess the baby’s size and viability. The MFM told me baby looked beautiful for a 26-weeker, but was very honest about what a rocky road we’d have ahead if we were to deliver now. Survival rate is about 90%, but beyond sheer survivability, we face potential heart, lung, eye and brain complications. He said the magnesium would help protect the brain and that they’d give me a steroid shot that would strengthen the lungs — just in case. The good news was that there was still a fair amount of fluid around the baby, so even if I were leaking amniotic fluid (we were still waiting on test results), it was likely a slow leak. And he said in rare cases, a pinhole leak could even repair itself. Either way, he didn’t think I was in immediate danger of “draining the pool,” so to speak, but if I were to completely rupture, I’d deliver within 48 hours.

About this time, we got the labwork back on the amniotic test. It was showing very small amounts of amniotic fluid. Not great news, but they were optimistic we could still keep this baby baking for longer with magnesium to slow contractions and antibiotics to stave off any infections threatened by the leak. I was able to catch D on a layover and update him on what was going on. While he was worried, everything I had been told sounded promising at that point. I told him not to worry – just get here when you can. I got officially admitted to the maternity ward for 24-hour observation.

Unfortunately, after a couple hours on the magnesium, contractions were getting progressively stronger, not weaker, even after they upped my dosage. And when I stood up to use the restroom, it was clear we were dealing with more than the slow leak we had suspected. When the doctor observed me writhing in pain and yelling through a contraction, she thought we should probably check my dilation. I’ll never forget the way her face fell and she said in a quiet voice. “You’re complete. We’re taking you to delivery.”

At that point I kind of traveled out of my body. I heard myself let out a scream that sounded like no sound I’d ever made before. Suddenly there were about 12 doctors and nurses in the room. We weren’t sure whether I’d need an emergency c-section, and they knew they needed the NICU team on standby, so they wheeled me down to the OR, even though the regular rooms are typically set up for delivery. I had about three contractions on the way and was yelling like they do in the movies (nothing like Theo’s calm but long birth!). I had completely lost control and I think it was part pain and part complete and utter fear. I had an overwhelming urge to push, but they kept telling me not to because the NICU team wasn’t ready yet. I knew the only way I could not push was to get an epidural. I asked if it was too late, and they all looked at each other like they didn’t know. They paged the anesthesiologist anyway and he met me in the OR. He agreed to the epidural. Unfortunately, he was working so quickly that he didn’t get me completely numb before putting the giant needle and tubing in my spine and digging around to get it into position. I think I yelled as loud as I had during contractions. To make matters worse, he messed up and had to start over. So I’m the lucky girl who got two epidurals today.

About this time, D burst into the OR in scrubs. I’ve never seen him look so scared in my life. He held my hand while I yelled through two more contractions, fighting the urge to push (why was the epidural not working yet?!) and then suddenly the NICU team was ready and it was go time. About 20 seconds and two pushes and he was out. It would have been one push but they actually made me slow down. He cried once he was out, which the doctors said was amazing for a 26-weeker. They held him up so I could see him and then they whisked him away to the NICU. He was bright pink, not blue – which the doctors also said was a good sign. His APGAR scores were 1, 4 and 8, which I’m told is also pretty amazing for a preemie this small. We later learned in the NICU they had to intubate him and then perform CPR to get his heartbeat back – not uncommon, but scary nonetheless.

While I was waiting for my placenta to deliver, I felt my lower half begin to tingle and go numb. Huh. Nice of the epidural to start working now. I delivered the placenta and got a quick exam, and then they rolled me back up to my room. It took forever before we were allowed to go see Emmett, partially because we had to wait for my epidural to wear off (again, so glad I got that :/). He is hooked up to a lot of tubes and wires, which is a bit intimidating, but everyone assures us he looks great for such a tiny preemie. We aren’t allowed to hold him yet, but they said we might be able to as soon as tomorrow or Friday. In the meantime, we’re allowed to hold his hand or foot, or sort of cup his head and feet while he’s awake. When he’s sleeping, they’ve advised us to let him rest. Meanwhile, I’m pumping every 3 hours around the clock to give him what I can to help him grow. I’m not producing anything just yet, but the frequent pumping should tell my boobs to get with the program!

I will get discharged from the hospital tomorrow, but I think we’re just going to camp out in E’s room and not go home just yet. Grandparents are watching T for a couple days, and I think the NICU is going to become our second home/office for a while. The doctors have told us he’ll likely stay in the NICU until close to his actual due date in August. I don’t think I’ve grasped the magnitude of spending three months in the NICU at this point, and I have a feeling we aren’t getting off the emotional roller coaster any time soon. For now, I’m trying to look at the NICU as an extension of my pregnancy – only now they’re carrying the baby, not me. We hadn’t planned on meeting him until August anyway, so this is sort of a sneak peek, and we’ll get him in August as planned. We’ll see how long this optimism holds up, anyway!

Holding Daddy's hand

Holding Daddy’s hand

 

Big little feet

Big little feet

 

Mommy and Emmett

Mommy and Emmett

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TWENTY-FIVE/SIX.

I didn’t get around to writing my update for last week, so this week’s will be a combined update. Not a ton going on at this point, anyway — I’m now remembering this is the stage of pregnancy that just sort of stretches on, and if things are going well, is pretty uneventful! So let’s get to it…

Baby: is about 14 inches long and 2 lbs now. He has eyelashes and can now open and close his eyes, after having them closed for the past few months. Supposedly that means he is now receptive to light, though I would imagine it’s pretty dark in there most of the time, regardless of time of day. He certainly tends to be really active at night and has even woken me up a few times with his acrobatics. I’ve heard this is pretty common, as the movement you make during the day rocks babies to sleep, and they wake and party once you’re still. Baby’s primary job at this point is to fatten up, though his lungs are the other major thing he needs to strengthen to prepare him for life on the outside. He’s practicing “breathing” amniotic fluid now, which seriously blows my mind. I’ve mentioned this before, but how do they not drown? Crazy.

Mama: now has heartburn almost ALL THE TIME. Fun! Maybe this baby will have a lot of hair. Isn’t that the old wives’ tale? I also have restless legs when I’m tired, and the nightly waking every two hours to pee routine means I’m tired a lot. Hard to believe I’ve still got about 14 weeks to go. I am noticing I’m just sort of “over” pregnancy this time around. Don’t get me wrong, I’m beyond thankful that things are going so well and I really take nothing for granted. But the novelty of pregnancy itself has sort of worn off now that we’ve been through this before and I’m just kind of ready to be done so I can meet my baby! The good news is, I passed my gestational diabetes test, and my thyroid is still looking good, so no changes to the dosage of my thyroid medication. I was a little anemic at my last blood draw so I have to start taking iron supplements, but other than that, things are going well! We have our next appointment in two weeks, at which we’ll get a growth ultrasound. It’ll be nice to see baby again and I hope he’s growing like he should. After next week we move to biweekly appointments, and then at 36 weeks, we’ll have weekly check-ups. Home stretch.

Weight: up 1 lb. between weeks 24 and 25, and then no gain between 25 and 26, bringing the total to 14 lbs. gained so far.

Cravings: Nothing really. The heartburn kinda puts a damper on most food!

Photo taken around 25 and a half weeks.

Photo taken around 25 and a half weeks.

TWENTY-FOUR.

Viability week! 24 weeks down; 16 to go … and for anyone wondering, we’re nowhere close to a name yet! It was so hard to name T — I honestly think we discussed every name out there. And by “discuss,” I mean I threw out name suggestions and D shot them down because they “just didn’t feel right.” After not coming up with any suggestions of his own, in the end he finally agreed to my top pick, since he knew I loved it. At least he picked the middle name. Honestly the worst part about finding out we were having a boy was knowing how hard it would be to come up with another boy name we like! And so far our name conversations seem to be following a similar pattern. I actually do have a couple favorites, so if he doesn’t start coming up with ideas soon I’m going to be picking the name by default again — which wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world (after all, I do like getting my way!), but I’d really love it if he felt strongly about a name! I’d probably agree to anything he loved, just because he loved it. But I guess we have a little more time.

At 24 weeks…

Baby: is the size of a cantaloupe now. His once translucent skin is becoming more pink and opaque. He’s still moving like crazy. T has even felt him kick a few times. Or at least I think he has. Sometimes he’ll lean on my tummy and exclaim “baby is kicking my head!” (even when baby is being perfectly still).

Mama: is starting to slow down. I just feel larger these last couple weeks and I’m noticing that while my energy level is actually pretty high, I overdo it easily. I’ve never been the type to be able to sit still, especially on weekends, my only time to really get stuff done. So after a weekend of running around nonstop I usually spend a day or two stiff and sore. Interestingly, actual exercising doesn’t wipe me out the way a day of running errands or vacuuming do — although exercise is getting progressively harder. I missed my barre class last week so we’ll see how this week goes. I’m officially resolving to make it to my class twice a week from here on out. I’m worried if I fall out of practice I simply won’t be able to pick it back up. I’m still getting that weird side cramp/stitch feeling, which I’ll be sure to bring up with my OB this week. I have a checkup Friday, and will also take the gestational diabetes test at that time. Here’s hoping my candy cravings haven’t sent me to a diabetic state!

Weight: up one pound this week, for a total gain now of 13 lbs.

Cravings: fruit and sour candy. Or fruity sour candy. I discovered these last week and they’re amazing!

IMG_0915

24 weeks.

24 weeks.

Stuff.

One of the greatest things about having another boy is that we really don’t need much “stuff” this time around. We saved all the big items from T, like his car seat, swing, and bouncer. And we saved most of his clothes too, so we are pretty well set! Fortunately, the weather here in the PNW is pretty mild most of the year, so we shouldn’t even have to worry too much about the boys being born in different seasons, though we’ll evaluate as baby #2 grows and we see what fits and what we need. Poor kid is going to be dressed 99% in brother’s hand-me-downs (such is the life of a second child!). Fortunately, big brother has pretty good taste in clothes (*ahem).

There are a few items we’ll need, so I did start a registry on Amazon. It’s mostly my own shopping list — plus Amazon gives registrants a 15% off “completion discount” where you can buy anything off your registry yourself in a single purchase to snatch up any last-minute stuff, up to 60 days prior to your due date. And we’ve also had a few people ask us for ideas. Even though we aren’t anticipating a baby shower this time around, it’s nice to have somewhere to point people who would want to get the baby something regardless.

For this second baby, we’ve found we need stuff for generally one of four reasons:

  1. Duplicates of things T is still using (sound machine, second camera for our monitor, etc.)
  2. Replacements for things that have worn out over the years (e.g., bottle nipples, new crib mattress, new pump parts)
  3. Things that get used up (diapers, diaper cream, breast milk storage bags, etc.)
  4. And then a few “nice-to-haves” — things I wished we’d had the first time around (like a Rock n Play or a snuggle nest), or things that might make life with two easier, like a nice baby carrier, a sit and stand stroller, or a bigger diaper bag.

For anyone reading who may be preparing for the birth of a second baby, here’s what’s on our list, broken down by category:

  • Diapering:
    • newborn diapers (we’ll reuse most of T’s cloth diapers once baby fits in them around 2 months)
    • diaper rash cream
    • new diaper bag (the one we used for T was a little on the small side)
  • Feeding:
    • bottle brush
    • Soothies gel pads
    • bottle nipples
    • pump replacement parts (new membranes, tubing, etc.)
    • Medela quick clean micro steam bags
    • lanolin
    • breastmilk storage bags
  • Bathing:
    • hooded towel
    • washcloths
    • bath sponge (the kind they lay on in the sink)
  • Sleeping:
    • new crib mattress
    • new PNP mattress
    • snuggle nest
    • a couple of Woombies
  • Gear:
    • Tula carrier
    • Rock n Play
    • Sit and stand stroller
  • Misc:
    • new nail clippers
    • sound machine
    • humidifier
    • second camera for our monitor

It’s a pretty small list, compared to all we needed to get ready for T! Definitely not feeling as stressed about being ready this time around. The biggest thing we need to do now, though, is get T’s big boy room ready since baby will be taking over the nursery. But that’s a post for another day…

TWENTY-THREE.

23 weeks – just one week from viability! 24 weeks is when the medical community recognizes a baby’s likelihood of surviving on the outside, so it’s a pretty big milestone. And while those odds are still only 50-70 percent, that’s a lot higher than they are at 23 weeks (20-35 percent). In fact, between this week and next, baby’s chance of survival increases by 3-4 percent every day. Obviously I’d prefer to keep him baking until 40 weeks, but there’s something about reaching viability that makes this nervous mama breathe a huge sigh of relief. Just one more week!

At 23 weeks…

Baby: is still somewhere around a foot(ish) long and between 13-21 oz. I think this is the stage of pregnancy where babies start to really vary in their measurements, so the pregnancy websites start backing off a bit on those stats. Though one site told me this week he was the size of a grapefruit, which I’m trying to wrap my head around since I’ve never seen a footlong grapefruit. Maybe they mean by weight? Anyway, he’s getting bigger. And he’s now forming nipples (what’s the evolutionary reason for those on males?). His face is now fully formed and just needs a little more fat to fill it out. His pancreas is kicking into gear around this time, and lungs are also undergoing some major developments, which plays a huge role in viability.  I also suspect he may have flipped to be head-down (more on that in a minute), but we won’t be able to confirm until our next appointment, and doesn’t really mean anything at this point since he can still move around quite a bit. I do wonder if last week‘s inner ear developments have given him the sense of balance to figure out which way is down and to start getting into position.

Mama: is feeling a ton of movement, and the kicks are getting stronger. In fact, yesterday I felt him stretch and push his foot out so hard, that I could actually feel a hard lump on my upper right side (at least I’m pretty sure it was his foot, hence why I think he’s head-down now). I pushed back on it and he kicked my hand a few times and stretched out again. I pushed him in again and he did the same thing. It was like a fun little game (I was probably annoying him).

In addition to movement, I’m just feeling a lot more of everything these days. I’ve started having the occasional Braxton-Hicks contractions (normal and painless, if just a bit uncomfortable – I started having these with T around this time too). Heartburn started up this week too. The sciatica comes and goes, mostly when I overexert myself, but overall still isn’t as bad as it was when I was pregnant with T. New this week are these weird side stitches, like you get when you run, only they’re not quite in my side — they’re about halfway between my side and my belly button. Then again, maybe that’s where my “side” would be if the belly wasn’t stretching everything out. Similar to side stitches, they seem brought on by exercise (or in my case, walking), and when I stop, they stop. I’m trying to drink more water to see if that helps. Could also be round ligament pain, though I thought that was usually lower. Pregnancy is weird.

On the emotional front, I’m feeling pretty good and just realized I haven’t used my doppler in about 2 weeks. I definitely think the constant movement helps.

Weight: No gain this week. Still holding out at 12 lbs.

Cravings: Starburst jelly beans. And oranges.

A coworker told me I don't look pregnant from the front. Clearly from the side it's a whole 'nother story!

A coworker told me I don’t look pregnant from the front. Clearly from the side it’s a whole ‘nother story!

TWENTY-TWO.

Another week down, 18(ish) more to go! Not a lot new to report this week, so let’s get right to it…

Baby: is now close to 12 inches long and weighs about a pound. About the size of a coconut or an ear of corn, depending on the website you’re looking at. The websites say he’s sleeping about 12-14 hours a day, but I have a hard time believing that since he is constantly moving! His inner ear is now developed to the point where he should have a sense of balance, and can also hear a fair amount. Funny, we were visiting our friends Sunday night and they have two girls, and the little one kept screaming (in play). Every time she would screech, baby would jump around.

Mama: is feeling streeeeetched. Hard to believe I’m only a little over halfway, because my belly feels like it’s going to burst. You know that really full, uncomfortable feeling you have after a huge meal? Multiply that times 100 and that’s how I’m feeling right now. I wonder if my abdominal muscles have reached a certain threshold now and that’s why I’m noticing it or something. Maybe they just need to get used to it and then the stretched feeling will subside. I haven’t been to Barre class in almost two weeks so it will be interesting to see if my abs have been rendered completely useless when I go again on Wednesday. Thankfully I’m not experiencing any swelling in my hands or feet, which a lot of the websites say I may be experiencing by now. We’re having a mini heat wave and I think I’m getting a preview for how uncomfortable this summer may be, though! Belly button has started to pop out, depending on how I’m sitting/standing. Really hate the outie belly button stage of pregnancy, but certain clothes hide it better than others. I just learned of a product today called the Popper Stopper that is meant just for that – ha! Don’t think I’ll be buying that though. Oh, and you know how I’ve been saying how much bigger I feel, so much faster this time around? On Saturday night I was at a friend’s party and there was another pregnant woman with this teeny cute bump. I figured she was probably due in September … maybe October? Nope, July. So she’s a full month ahead of me and looks far less pregnant. :/

Weight: up 2 lbs. this week for a total gain now of 12 lbs. Exactly where I was at this point with Theo.

Cravings: nothing really, this week. Maybe fruit.

22 weeks

22 weeks

TWENTY-ONE.

Last week we had our anatomy scan and I’m happy to report everything looks perfect! That was a big relief, to have checked off that major milestone, and to see baby again since we hadn’t seen him since 13 weeks. I think we got kind of spoiled in the beginning with the weekly ultrasounds. Pros and cons of being mostly “normal” now, I guess! I am kind of bummed that we didn’t get very many good images to take home with us. We didn’t even get the classic side profile shot that always looks so much like a real baby. The only face shots we got were head-on, and those always look so alien and scary. Our next appointment is at 24 weeks, where we’ll do the glucose test (for gestational diabetes), and then at 28 weeks we’ll get another ultrasound due to my slightly increased risk of IUGR (according to the repeat loss testing we had done early in the pregnancy).

At 21 weeks…

Baby: is about 10.5 inches long, and the ultrasound tech had estimated his weight around 13 ounces last week, which is right on track. So hopefully that means the risk of IUGR is low, though I don’t think that usually starts presenting itself until later, anyway. This week baby continues to produce meconium and his skin is wrinkly, since it will eventually fill out with fat. He’s still pretty skinny, compared to how he’ll be at birth. At 10.5 inches he’s already about halfway there in length, but his weight will probably increase tenfold before he’s born!

Mama: is feeling pretty good, but definitely slowing down already. The sciatic pain flares up every now and then, mostly after I’ve done something to strain it, like vacuuming the house. I think I overdid it this weekend as I ran a million errands, grocery shopped, vacuumed top to bottom, bathed the dog and put the finishing touches on our bathroom remodels (hung towel hooks, a shower curtain, artwork, etc.). When I got out of bed to pee in the middle of the night Sunday I almost collapsed from the back pain and had to shuffle my way to the bathroom. When I got up for the second (and third) time to pee, it was a little better, and two days later I’m back to normal. Belly is definitely getting bigger, and my skin feels really tight. Still hoping I can mostly avoid stretch marks again. With Theo, I didn’t notice any while I was pregnant, but after I had him, I noticed two faint little parallel marks, each about an inch long, on the left side of my stomach. I’ll count myself lucky if I can get away with just that again, as I know some women’s bellies get completely destroyed from pregnancy.

Weight: up 1 lb. this week for a total gain of 10 lbs. now.

Cravings: still loving sour candy!

Alien face.

Alien face.

21 week belly - and return of the bun. I need a haircut!

21 week belly – and return of the bun. I need a haircut!

TWENTY.

Happy halfway! It’s hard to believe I’m halfway done. So far things are still looking good. We have our big anatomy scan on Thursday, which I’m really nervous and excited about. I still am terrified every day that something will go wrong, and in some weird way I almost feel like I’m an impostor with this pregnancy. Like it’s not really happening. But there’s no denying the belly I’m sporting these days, or the party that’s happening on the inside. Here’s what’s going on at 20 weeks…

Baby is about 10 inches long and now being measured head-to-toe instead of head-to-rump. He consumes multiple ounces of amniotic fluid each day and is growing tooth buds, lips, eyelashes and eyebrows. He’s also beginning to produce meconium, or what will be his first poops, though they’ll just sit in his bowels until after birth (or sometimes shortly before).

Mama is still feeling pretty good, relatively speaking, though the sciatic pain seems to have reared its ugly head again. Definitely feeling like I’m handling the pregnancy better this time, though, despite the fact I’m getting bigger faster. I took a peek at my 20 week entry from T’s pregnancy and I was dealing with quite a bit of hip pain with him by this time. Haven’t had much of that this time, minus the couple nights we spent up at our cabin while we had some work done on our bathroom. Not sure whether it was the mattress itself, the lack of a mattress topper, or the fact that it was a full-sized bed and I didn’t have room to surround myself with pillows like I do in our king-sized bed, but I woke up with achy hips both nights. But my hips haven’t bothered me at all since, and even though the sciatica has crept back up the last week, it’s definitely been less bothersome than it was with T.

Weight: up 1 lb. this week for a total gain now of 9 lbs. I was up 8 lbs. at this point with T so I’m feeling okay with that number.

Cravings: Still sour candy. Still “snashing” it in my car. Speaking of cars, we bought a mini-van last week (gasp)! I always swore I would never own one, but D actually talked me into it and it’s sort of awesome. I’m going to really love those automatic doors when juggling a toddler and an infant seat, and we can fit two kids, two dogs and all our stuff in there when needed — and we won’t have to remove car seats to put friends or family in there either. Gotta say, sometimes functionality trumps ego (though I was sure get the black exterior and leather interior because it seemed the least “soccer mom” to me!).

The newest member of the family.

The newest member of the family.

20 weeks pregnant.

20 weeks pregnant. The belly doesn’t lie.

EIGHTEEN/NINETEEN

I slacked on my weekly update last week, so this week’s will be a combined update. As of today, I’m 19 weeks pregnant. Almost halfway done! We have our big anatomy scan a week from Thursday, which can’t come soon enough. Even though getting the early bloodwork means we aren’t waiting on the anatomy scan to reveal the sex of this baby (which is what people typically associate with the big anatomy scan), this very important ultrasound will tell us whether everything is in working order. They’ll be looking at the brain, heart, kidneys, stomach, liver and will be taking numerous measurements to make sure everything is developing as it should. They’ll also check to make sure my cervix is staying closed tight as it should. While I have no reason to worry at this point, I think I’ll breathe a lot easier once we can confirm all looks good still. It’s been a while since we got to see baby.

Here’s what’s going on at 18-19 weeks:

Baby: went from about 5.6 inches last week to 6 inches this week. He’s now about the size of a mango. Last week’s big accomplishment was yawning, hiccuping and swallowing. This week his brain is developing his senses: taste, smell, hearing, sight and touch. He’s developing a layer of vernix over his skin, which will protect him from marinating in all that amniotic fluid for the next 4.5 months.

Mama: is feeling baby a LOT more. I even felt my first kick from the outside today. I’m actually really happy to say I haven’t used my doppler as much these last couple weeks because of all the movement I’m feeling. He throws a dance party 2-3 times per day, lasting several minutes at a time, and will give me the occasional nudge or kick throughout the day as well. Dare I say, I’m actually feeling pretty good right now, physically speaking. I’m working out more with this pregnancy than I did with T, and I think it’s paying off. I started taking barre classes just before I found out I was pregnant, and I’ve managed to stick with it, even though it’s getting harder, not easier as time goes on! And while the numbers on the scale are continuing to rise and my middle is getting thicker, I’m noticing my legs and arms are looking more fit, and the sciatica has eased up in the last couple weeks, which has been a huge relief! So while the ab work I’m doing in barre class seems pointless at times (no flat tummy or six pack in my near future), I do think perhaps a stronger core is contributing to less back pain. Hooray!

Weight: up 3 lbs in week 18 (yikes!), then down 2 in week 19. Total gain now of 8 lbs.

Craving: sour candy. Funny story: my sister-in-law coined a term, “snash” a while back (snack + stash), and it’s been an inside joke ever since. I texted her today to tell her I totally had a “snash” of sour jelly beans in my car console and lemon heads in my desk at work.

Here’s a picture from around 18 and a half weeks:

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SEVENTEEN.

Another week down and things are still going well. This period of time between appointments seems to drag on forever, though. Our next appointment/anatomy scan isn’t until April 6th — I’ll be 20 weeks and three days. Our last appointment was March 2nd, at 15 weeks and two days. So that’s more than five weeks in between appointments. The gap feels especially long since we saw the RE weekly during the first trimester and, then I had OB appointments at 13 and 15 weeks. If all looks good during the 20 week scan, I will keep going monthly until 28 weeks, and then the bi-weekly appointments start up. Then weekly appointments start at 36 weeks. Hard to believe I’m almost halfway done!

Here’s what’s going on at 17 weeks…

Baby: is approximately 5 inches long (head to rump – legs don’t count for some reason) and 5-6 oz in weight — about the size of an onion (or an iPhone). Big developments this week include the ability to swallow and moving his joints. I’m definitely feeling more of that movement now, which is fun.

Mama: is definitely feeling bigger. Yesterday I got my first public comment from someone assuming I was pregnant — which seems ballsy to me, considering I still think I just look like I’ve had too many cheeseburgers. I mean, you’ve got to be reeeeaaaally sure someone is in fact pregnant if you’re going to comment on their pregnancy! I’m almost 100% in maternity clothes now and I’m finding some of the pre-pregnancy clothes I thought I could make work just don’t cut it. I should have known better – this isn’t my first rodeo. And even though I have a very large maternity wardrobe, thanks to my pregnancy with T (and some friends who have passed down some clothes), I’m finding a lot of my clothes aren’t the right season now that we’re headed into spring. (And let’s face it, these clothes are 3 years old, so not everything is still in.) So I may need to do some shopping. My belly button is getting shallower already, which I don’t remember happening until quite a bit later last time. Not looking forward to the inevitable outie – AKA the belly nipple. Having a pretty good week as far as the PGAL brain goes, but I still use my doppler almost daily, just for that added reassurance. I’m also finding that now that we’re mostly past the risk of spontaneous miscarriage, I find myself worrying about things like incompetent cervix or premature labor/rupture of membranes. I really have no logical reason to worry about these things, but it’s like we’ve been through so much that my brain can’t comprehend that things could go right, so I’ve got to move on to the next thing to worry about. Shut up, brain!

Weight: Up 1 lb. this week for a total gain of 7 lbs. now.

Cravings: Fruity and/or sour candy.

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