Jan 26, 2015

28 weeks

How far along: 28 weeks - officially in the third trimester! Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, there were so many times when I wouldn't even let myself imagine getting to this point and now it's here!

How big is baby: Lemon went from the size of a scallion, to a head of cauliflower, and is now the size of a large eggplant. Next week he'll be the size of a butternut squash - woah!

Anxious about: My anxiety is definitely getting better, and at this point I'm now going to the doctor every other week, and we get to hear his heartbeat each time which I love love love!

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Mmm, all the fruit and veggies. I'm really enjoying eating well lately, and hopefully that reflects in my glucose test. (For the record, drinking glucose wasn't nearly as bad as I anticipated, but it did have a gross after taste).

Movement: Oh my gosh how I love movement! I've definitely noticed him moving around more during the day, but there was one night last week when I was tired and anxious and I asked Lemon to give me a few reassuring kicks. I felt some movement a few minutes later and whispered, "thanks bud." Fast forward to a few minutes later when I actually went to bed, and I felt the strongest kicks and punches yet! I ended up giggling myself to sleep because I swear it felt like he was doing somersaults!

The belly: Definitely growing! When I've been sitting for awhile I'm a little stiff when I get up and there are awkward moments because sometimes I forget I can't move quite as gracefully as I once did.

Miscellaneous: I'm not sleeping well because I'm up a lot to go to the bathroom or my hips are sore and I wake up to shift around, which I think contributes to my frustration levels. I get super impatient about inconsequential things now; for instance, the other day I dropped something twice in a row and actually screamed out loud because I was so irritated! It's funny talking about it but oh my gosh is it frustrating in the moment!

We're also moving into "getting things done," mode. We have a meet and greet with a pediatrician scheduled later this week, we've done a virtual hospital tour (they cancelled the actual tours because the flu has been so rampant), and we're signed up for a birth class next month.

Things that made me cry/laugh: I started working on a digital photo album to document this pregnancy. It's going to be as much writing as there are pictures (I'm hoping to include my blog posts as well), and the other night I just kept thinking how grateful I am to be doing this.

Also, every night I sing Lemon a lullaby, and I swear he knows that's when it's time for bed. If he's been active he settles down (for the most part), and sometimes he'll even kick while I'm singing. I love that we're already establishing traditions with him!

Best moment of the week:  I visited my best friend this past weekend and she sent me home with all sorts of goodies for Lemon - prints to put up, clothes, lamps, and even a little wooden robot who is now hanging on the wall. We've had furniture (crib, dresser/changing table, bookshelf) in his room for awhile, but finishing more of the "homey" touches really hit me and made it start to feel like a room.
So far so good!
At one point Ben and I just stood in there, his hand on my stomach, and I said, "just think, in a few months there's going to be a little boy sleeping in here," and we both just grinned like fools!

Jan 18, 2015

Granting Grace

This post could also be called "how week 26 kicked my ass."

Getting pregnant was hell. Staying pregnant was hell. Losing our daughter was heart-wrenching.

I knew pregnancy would be hard, but I think on some level I thought/hoped/wished maybe it wouldn't be quite so rough for me since it had taken us so long to get here.

I'm ready to be a mom. Yes there are going to be sleepless nights, and tears, and doubts and worries that are probably going to make the ones in this pregnancy look like child's play (pun definitely intended) - I don't expect it to be a walk in the park. Bring it.

But for some reason, I can't wrap my mind around that for pregnancy.

There are moments when  I have to take a breath because the amount of things I summon to worry about overwhelm me. I'm active in the infertility community, and because of that I know incredible stories of hope, and horrifying stories of loss. I know someone who has lost a child at every stage of pregnancy and beyond, so the "out of the woods" feeling has yet to sink in.

Of course I'm grateful to be pregnant, and I love this little boy so fiercely that it sometimes takes my breath away; yet there are times when I am so miserable I don't know how I'm going to do this for another three months. Then I immediately think, I'm sorry, I can do this, please don't take that as a sign that he should come early or anything bad should happen. Some days everything I say is with a caveat - I don't want to seem ungrateful.

However, there are days when I think oh my gosh, this is why I was never successfully pregnant - I'm simply not cut out for it.

For all intents and purposes, I've so far had a pretty textbook pregnancy, which is fantastic! But the fear is there. It's there and it's real, and it's not me simply thinking, "oh I hope nothing bad happens." It's me thinking of friends and family and knowing their stories of loss. It's me thinking if I don't honor their loss in my mind, it will happen to us too.

I start to get excited about my baby shower and then check my ankles for swelling because I'm paranoid about preeclampsia.

I feel happy and excited, and then temper it with "well, so far so good. Let's hope it stays that way."

I sleep with a humidifier every night, yet my nose alternates between being runny and so dry it's bloody and painful. I get leg cramps at night and I stretch and drink more water, yet that only makes me wake up more times to go to the bathroom, which then makes me aware of how sore my hips really are every time I turn over.

The other day a friend of mine said, "Becky, give yourself a break - you're building a human!" I laughed, but it's true. There are changes that are happening I can't see, and there are things that will happen I have no control over - and at some point I need to believe everything is going to be okay.

I want to be clear - this is not my outlook all the time, or even half the time. Yes, it's going to be another three months of frequent bathroom breaks, and uncomfortable aches and pains. But I also recognize it's another three months of feeling more and more movement, finalizing his room, and making preparations so when our son is here all we have to do is focus on him.

I tell myself, It's okay that it's hard. It's okay that you're not happy all the time. It's okay to have a slurpee two three days in a row.

Tomorrow is a new day. I'll be 27 weeks, and I have a prenatal massage scheduled that I hope is going to alleviate some tension I've been carrying. So today I will rest and relax, and pat my stomach each time this little man moves around.

The worry is there, but so is the joy.

Early on I realized just because I wanted something, doesn't meant it wouldn't be hard. I promised to be honest even if it wasn't pretty - thanks for granting me grace to do so.

Jan 12, 2015

26 weeks

How far along: 26 weeks - this means only 14 weeks to go, which means I am almost at the third trimester! Woah!

How big is baby: Lemon went from an ear of corn, to a rutabaga, and now is the size of a scallion. I imagine he's the length of a scallion but with the weight of a rutabaga - you know, that whole "plumping up" thing!

Anxious about: The past couple of days were rough - I think with Cece's anniversary, and some lack of sleep on my part, I had a few nights of being very worried and anxious. (I just kept thinking about how I couldn't go through that again, and so many things can still go wrong). Ben was so sweet and patient - he just sat and talked with me, and then when Lemon gave me a few gentle kicks said, "See? He's letting you know he's okay!" I know how wonderful Ben is and how happy I am to have married him, but in that instance it gave me such a great glimpse of the kind of father he's going to be, and I can't wait to see that.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: So far so good on this front. There are a few things that give me a little acid reflux (sadly, pumpkin is one of those), but I am no longer puking so oh my gosh I don't even care!

Gender: Baby boy!

Movement: Loving it! I'm starting to learn his patterns of when he's the most active, and every time he kicks I laugh, and stop what I'm doing to talk to him.

The belly: Growing! The other day I walked into the bathroom and as I glanced in the mirror I started laughing - my belly definitely leads the way now!

Miscellaneous: I'm usually up a couple times a night to go to the bathroom but because my hips have started to get a little sore (I'm trying to sleep with my pregnancy pillow under my stomach and between my knees which helps), sometimes it's nice to get up and walk for a minute so I'm not so stiff in the morning. It's winter and everything is dry, but I think pregnancy is definitely exacerbating this for me; my hands are soaking up lotion like it's their job and my nose is so dry it's often times bloody. I drink lots of water and we've started using a humidifier which helps, but on mornings when I'm really miserable, I simply remind myself it's better than throwing up!

Also, because I talk about how Ben makes me laugh all the time, I thought I'd show a little proof - here's an outtake from when he was taking pictures of me for this week's post.
Things that made me cry: I definitely think my emotions are stronger now (I'm sure due to all the hormones), so when I do have happy or sad moments I tend to get drained a lot faster - I forget how much energy feelings can take out of you!

Best moment of the week:  Last night before I went to sleep Ben was talking to my stomach, telling Lemon good night, and right where his mouth was he felt a little push back! I love seeing when Ben can really distinguish movement so we were both happy about it - I told him maybe Lemon was giving him a kiss goodnight and he said, "Yeah, or maybe that was his butt!" I laughed so hard!

As I was going to sleep I was exhausted but happy, and it was the first time in awhile I remember feeling a sense of peace. Here's hoping that lasts!

Jan 8, 2015

A year later

A year ago, Ben and I headed into our specialist's office to hear about the status of my pregnancy. I remember we had to wait longer than usual, and how apologetic the doctor was about the delay once we were finally in the room. I remember the ultrasound machine turning itself off, right as we were about to get started, and how that made me laugh, helping to alleviate some tension as we waited for it to reboot.

I remember the doctor searching the black and white screen that no longer flickered, saying, "I'm sorry, there is no heartbeat." I remember how kind she was when talking to us about our options, and how my nurse gave me a hug before we left. It was called a "missed miscarriage."

I remember sending emails to update people, and resting on the couch, while waiting for the confirmation of our d&c time. I remember being sad but not crying. That afternoon I went out and bought a birthstone necklace for August, the month I was due.
On the morning of January 9th (a year ago tomorrow), I remember posting about everything. I was comforted by the messages flooding my phone as we made our way to the facility in Maryland. I remember thinking we were surrounded by the best people possible - the staff couldn't have been kinder, and we even laughed with our nurse as we were waiting.

I remember in the last ten minutes or so before I went into the operating room I held Ben's hand and tears trickled from my eyes. I said, "I'm scared," but what I really meant was, "I'm sad." I got walked into the room and I remember looking back over my shoulder at Ben and just saying, "I love you, I love you." I wasn't nervous about the procedure, but rather that he had to be by himself during it.

I remember the grogginess after waking up, the discomfort on the way home, and how I felt more fine than I expected to be. That night we went to bed early, but I couldn't sleep. I remember closing the door to the bedroom, not wanting to wake Ben - I knew he was exhausted and also hurting. I texted a friend and when she called me I remember it all hitting me at once.

I sat on the floor of the bathroom sobbing, telling her I didn't want to go to sleep because if I didn't go to sleep maybe it hadn't happened - maybe it wasn't real. I don't remember what she said, but she talked to me, and I think at one point even made me laugh. Eventually that night I slept, but I remember it was a few days before I felt rested.

I remember, I remember, I remember.

We love you Cecelia Grace, and we will always remember you.

Dec 31, 2014

The moment in between

When I was little, my family took a lot of road trips - vacations, visiting family, shuffling to and from soccer tournaments - so there was a decent amount of time spent in the car. I'd entertain myself, I'd fight with my siblings, but my favorite moment was near the end of a trip, when we were almost home.

Eyes closed, head against the window, not asleep in the sense where I couldn't hear my surroundings, but enough if someone asked me a question I'm not sure I could respond.

I'd feel the car start to slow down - I could tell we'd gone from highway to local roads - and the closer we got, the more still everything seemed to be. Most of the time it would be at night, and the quiet seemed to grow, slowly building. I felt happy and safe, and completely relaxed. When the car came to a stop, I'd hear the familiar sounds - slight noise of the brakes, the gearshift being adjusted, emergency brake engaged, and finally, the keys turning and the car was silent.

It was only a moment, I couldn't even tell you how long, but that moment between the car shutting off and movement in the car was almost precious.

That's what I want I want 2015 to be.

So much of this year was steeped in sadness and anxiety for me - wondering how, if, when - and I'm hoping next year will bring only joy.

I want to savor where I am.

I want to be in the moment and not let fear of the future, or ghosts from the past overwhelm my present.

This year has been big for me in a lot of ways. I've learned how strong I am. I've learned what I'm capable of. I've learned that life continues on, and sometimes you stand still, but eventually I keep going.

I'm ready to let go of the sad, but to keep the lessons it brought me.

I'm ready to embrace the good.

I wish you all a safe and happy new year.

Here's to 2015.

Dec 29, 2014

24 weeks

See also: this is what my hair looks like when I sleep on it wet
How far along: 24 weeks or six months! Woah!

How big is baby: Lemon went from a spagetthi squash, to a large mango, and is now an ear of corn. Ben and I have think the size refers more to the mass/weight than the actual size of the baby. However, the update I read on 24 weeks did say he'll start to "plump up" soon. Ha!

Anxious about: Part of me is really relieved to be at 24 weeks because that means viability - we definitely don't want Lemon coming anytime soon, but from this point on the chances of survival only increase, so I'm happy to at least be at this point. However, I feel like I'm reading all the things about pre-eclampsia and pre-term labor and oh my gosh, this and this and that. I'm trying to read enough where I'm informed but not making myself paranoid - we'll see how that goes.

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: Okay, so I have officially been off my morning sickness medicine since Christmas Day, and so far so good. If I could be really and truly done with puking, well, I'm not even sure what to do with myself! As far as cravings go it's mostly been cheeseburgers and root beer (which I try to not over indulge in), but lately there's been a shift and I want all the fruits and veggies. I'll take it!

Gender: Baby boy!

Movement: Lemon's movements aren't really visible on the outside yet, but they are enough where I can distinguish between when he's moving and when he's kicking - and Ben's been able to feel a lot of them which makes me so happy! Although I swear every time I'm like "babe, give me your hand, he's kicking," Lemon stops the minute Ben puts his hand on my stomach. It makes me laugh. A lot.

The belly: Growing! I don't really know what else to write in this part, but I did a fun little side by side comparison - the picture on the left is me at 16 weeks and the right is 24 weeks. Growing indeed!
Miscellaneous: We're starting to take care of some logistical things - signing up for a hospital tour, meet a pediatrician, and soon signing up for a birth class as well. But honestly? What I'm most stressed about these days is a name. We're pretty laid back about it and we have some favorites, but I change my mind all the time, and I just have no idea how we're ever going to settle on one. Sheesh! I know it'll happen/come to us eventually but it's quite a responsibility, naming another human being!

I definitely have been hit by the tireds lately. (I mean, did you see my face in this week's picture?) Some of that is from all the fabulous holiday celebrating, but I'm also realizing I need to not push it when I'm tired and simply listen to my body. (I have a feeling this will be a lesson I'm learning over and over again for the next few months...)

Things that made me cry: It didn't make me cry, but at my 24-week appointment this morning, as soon as I heard the whoosh-whoosh-whoosh sound of his heartbeat on the doppler machine, I couldn't stop grinning. There are things I'm worried about, and things that make me anxious, but sometimes I just grin and tear up because wow, this is really happening.

Best moment of the week: I haven't slept well the past few nights (couldn't get comfortable, up to go to the bathroom a lot, etc), and this morning I was up at 4 AM to make another trip to the bathroom. I was trying to get back to sleep when Lemon started kicking pretty strongly - it made me giggle even as I was saying, "no buddy, not time to play, we're going back to sleep now, all right?" Ah! And he was kicking when I was typing this. It must be his way of saying hi to you all!

Dec 24, 2014

In the spirit of the season

Dear Cece,

I've been thinking of you a lot lately.

A year ago today we were told your heart rate was not where it should be, and there was a good possibility at some point it would stop beating completely.

The doctor was wearing a Santa hat. The nurse handed me tissues when I started to cry.

It's almost surreal now; there was a time I couldn't imagine thinking of you without sadness, yet now you always bring a smile to my face.

The excitement we have for your brother does not diminish the loss of you. 

I firmly believe you had a hand in us being blessed with him, and I promise he will know you.

There are a lot of people hurting during the holidays - I know it's a lot to ask, but if you could bring some peace to them, or a moment of hope, I know they would appreciate it. I'm determined to do that myself this season - we'll work as a team, you and me.

Merry Christmas, sweet girl. Thank you for being in our lives - we were forever changed by your presence.

All my love,
Mom

Dec 17, 2014

Grateful

First off, thanks for all the well wishes for Ben's eye surgery. It went really well, and while his eyes are still tired, he's recovery beautifully and can already see a huge change in his vision!
Nothing like a medical procedure to really put things in perspective.

Monday night I sat next to Ben as he dozed off to sleep, and thought about how grateful I am to have him. We've been through so much and my life is absolutely, completely wrapped around this man.

Two years ago we were told an IUI would be our best chance of getting pregnant.

One year ago I was pregnant with Cece, but things had already started to go downhill - I was bleeding, and Christmas Eve will be the anniversary of when we were first told her heartbeat was not where it should be.

A year later I am pregnant with our son, and I hope a year from now we'll be enjoying our first Christmas as a family of three.

I blinked back tears as all I could think is...I am grateful. 

Grateful to be in a less hurtful place than I was at this point last year. Grateful for being pregnant. Grateful for still continuing to advocate for infertility rights, and excited to be gearing up for next year's DC Walk of Hope in June.

I am grateful for Ben, and for having someone who is absolutely a partner in every sense of word.

It sounds silly, but this surgery was eye-opening for more than one of us.

Dec 15, 2014

22 weeks

How far along: 22 weeks, or five and a half months, say what?!

How big is baby: Lemonhead (what I sometimes call him - because, you know, one nickname is not enough), went from the size of a banana, to a carrot, and is now the size of a spaghetti squash - uh, that's kind of a big jump!

Anxious about: Last time I posted an update I talked about being anxious when people asked me about movement. That has since passed (see below!) so right now I'm feeling good. I'm sure something else to worry about will crop up soon, so right now I'm just trying to enjoy the moment.

Non-pregnancy related - today is Ben's eye surgery. It's going to help correct a condition he has and should be a huge improvement in his day-to-day living. The surgeon is very good and the success rate is at 90% but it's still surgery so I guess I'm a little anxious about that. If you wanted to send a couple good thoughts our way this morning we'll take 'em!

Diet/Cravings/Aversions: So far so good on not needing to avoid too many foods. I actually think I'm getting hungrier so there may be some growth happening. (I mean, spaghetti squash - that's a decent size, right?) The amount of food that was fine for me even a week ago is most of the times not enough. It's been over two weeks since I've gotten sick, but I am too chicken to stop taking my morning sickness medicine - I mean, I puked for five months. I just don't want to go back to that at all. 

Gender: Boy! And because it was so much fun to do, I thought I'd share the photo from our holiday cards this year!
Taken the day after our ultrasound
I got the idea from Pinterest which is awesome in and of itself because 99% of the time I forget Pinterest exists, and the other 1% my projects never turn out how they should look.

Movement: I was almost 21 weeks when I thought I might have felt something. It was late at night and I was getting into bed and felt like something shifted in my stomach, but I was tired and kind of brushed it off. A few days later I was emailing a friend asking if she thought by 22 weeks it would be too paranoid to call the doctor if I hadn't felt anything. I think Lemon knew I was worried, because later that afternoon it was as if someone really lightly (and very quickly), brushed a hand over my stomach - more movement then even the sensation of a touch. I was sitting at my desk at work and I put my hands on my stomach and whispered, "Lemon, was that you? Do it again!"

Within the next couple of days I was consistently feeling little "plops" (as I so scientifically call them), in my stomach - like little bubbles, and every single time it makes me grin like a fool.

The belly: Growing, growing, growing!

Miscellaneous: Again, with the growth. Sometimes my stomach will feel heavy or I can feel it stretching. But hello, spaghetti squash!

Things that made me cry: Oh you guys. A couple weekends ago our thermostat was being weird - the temperature kept dropping, so that Monday we called our property management company (ah, the beauty of renting), and the landlord came out that night to take a look. He knew what the problem was, but couldn't get the specific part that night. He was so nice and so apologetic - he told me (Ben was still at work) that we should go to a hotel that night, they would reimburse us for it, because he didn't want us staying in a house with no heat.

I talked to Ben, and then talked to my mother-in-law, trying to weigh our options. (Did we really need to stay at a hotel? Could a space heater in the room work? Should I look at prices just to see?) We had a few options, I just needed to make a decision and then let Ben know. My sister called me in the midst of this and even though I was perfectly fine thirty seconds before, as soon as she said, "hey what's going on," I lost it. (Like the eggs for Thanksgiving only 100 times worse).

I could not stop crying. I told her I was fine, I just had to make a decision and I think the long day hit me (it was almost nine o'clock at night by this point), and my brain simply shut down. She kept saying, "it's okay, it's okay," and then finally told me she would come over. While waiting for her I packed a suitcase in case we weren't going to stay at home, and at one point knocked something over in our room - nothing broke, I wasn't hurt, but I started crying all over again. It's definitely the least in control I've ever felt of my emotions.

My sister and my cousin showed up a bit later with keys to hotel room nearby. They made me laugh, she told me to get some sleep, and made me promise that I'd text when I got to the hotel. The heat was fixed the next day and while parts of the story are definitely funny now, it was crazy at the time, and I'm so grateful to my family who can put up with me in hysterics. Sheesh!

Best moment of the week: Feeling Lemon move. I love it every time, and one night Ben was telling Lemon good night and blew a raspberry on my stomach. When I laughed, he said "that's what he's doing," (talking about the movement), and man if I didn't feel a little plop right then. Ben goes, "see - he likes it!" 

Dec 11, 2014

Four Things

This little thing has been floating around the blogosphere and I thought it might be a fun way to end out the week!

Four names that people call me (other than my real name):
1. Becky Jo - okay technically that's still my name but you can tell someone has known me most of my life if they call me this name.
2. Red - another nickname from when I was little. For a long time this was my paternal Grandpa's name for me, and I would get angry if anyone else would call me that.
3. Legs - this one cracks me up! Nine times out of ten when Ben and I are walking somewhere I'm behind him (hello, I'm short), and he'll always say "come on Legs, you can do it! Keep up!" It makes me laugh every time.
4. Peeps - how my best friend and sister and I refer to each other. (Did you follow that?) There's a long story of how this started that I honestly don't even remember anymore!

Four jobs I've had:
1. Cashier at a Gap Outlet
2. Volunteer at Girl Scout camps
3. Packer at a moving company (Weirdest thing I packed - a room full of beanie babies in glass cases. In a house with a retired couple. Um...)
4. Technical writer

Four movies I've watched more than once:
1. The Bourne series - just the ones with Matt Damon though. I am nothing if not a purist.
2. Elf - all the time during the holiday season.
3. Braveheart - there was a time I watched it every day.
4. Dirty Dancing - I used to be obsessed with Patrick Swayze. In a totally not healthy way.

Four places I've visited:
1. Kosovo
2. Ukraine
3. Canada
4. Hawaii

Four books I'd recommend:
1. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. Tiny Beautiful Things by Cheryl Strayed
3. Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Doyle Melton
4. The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Four things I prefer not to eat:
1. Lima beans - I used to trade my brother my lima beans for his carrots. It was a good system we had going.
2. Right now any kind of burrito from Qdoba or Chipotle - but only because I've thrown them up one too many times. (I bet you really wanted to know that, right?)
3. Yogurt. I loooved yogurt as a kid and I think I overdid it, because try as I might, I cannot like it no matter what flavor, kind, etc.
4. Pickles. Again, too much as a kid. I would eat them like candy, but as I got older even the thought of them makes me want to gag.

Four things I'm looking forward to this year:
1. The drive home from work. My commute can be a pain but between podcasts (hello Book Riot and Serial), and Christmas music I'm enjoying it a little more than usual lately.
2. I'm counting this as the next full year, so having a healthy baby boy!
3. Resolve's D.C. Walk of Hope next June. This year was such an incredible experience, I can't wait to see what next year brings!
4. Ben's eye surgery which is next week! It's going to fix a condition he has and should make a huge improvement in his day-to-day living.

Four things I'm always saying:
1. "Dude." This can be used pretty much in any way.
2. "You're my favorite." Probably what I say the most to Ben (other than I love you).
3. "That's awesome!" When I asked Ben something I say a lot, he didn't hesitate before telling me this.
4. "Up your butt and around the corner." Here's the best part about this - I would say it when I was younger (and then get scolded for it), but I will randomly say this now and every single time, I laugh like it's the funniest thing ever. (Don't hate on my maturity level).

What are four fun facts about you?

Happy almost Friday!