Well, That Was Fast…

Let me start by saying this: Our family should probably buy stock in Clear Blue and First Repsonse pregnancy tests. I would be embarrassed to admit just how many I’ve taken over the last week. But when you’ve been waiting to be able to at least try to get pregnant for roughly three and a half years (I was ready to go when E. was about six months) and you think, maybe, when you take that first test, that there might just be a smidge of a line, you can’t resist the temptation to test…and test…and then test quite a bit more. You test, in fact, until one day you finally pee on a stick one morning and the lines that had formally been so very, very faint are not so faint any more (i.e. you don’t have to stand directly under a light and squint). That’s when I decided, sort of spontaneously that same day, to take one of the digitals I’d been saving for when I missed my period.

I don’t know what it is about the digital appearance of the word “pregnant” on a test that made what I had been seeing all week anyway more real, but somehow, at that moment, the reality of the situation hit me. I was, in fact, pregnant. All those pangs I’d been feeling all week, along with the exhaustion, were totally legitimate, not just the fabrication of a hopeful heart. I guess it was all the more surprising because this was the first month we actually tried. I don’t know why, but I always assumed that getting pregnant with number two was going to take forever. And I do realize that just because I’m pregnant now doesn’t mean it will stay that way. The earlier I know the more likely I’ll know I miscarried, rather than assuming I just got my period late.

That said…I really think this is going to stick. I’m not quite four weeks, but I don’t think I could feel more pregnant if I tried. And I’m really hoping the general, crummy, almost flu-like feeling I’m dealing with will dissipate after a couple of weeks (by the way, I don’t actually have the flu, in case you thought that; no fever!).

All right, let’s get to the good stuff:

Week 3 (May 26 – June 2) *

*This is just a guesstimate according to when I think I ovulated and when I *think* implantation might have occurred. Hopefully after my first prenatal visit I’ll have a better sense of how far along I am.

Esitmated Due Date: February 11th, 2013

Symptoms: Crampiness (I remember this from E.’s pregnancy – very annoying); peeing…a lot; very tired; headaches; swinging between feeling sick at the sight of food to being so ravenous I easily ate everything in my Chinese take-out meal last night; being very tender up top and already starting to have major changes there, too; very, very, very emotional…like, bad

Body Changes: Feeling a wee bit bloaty and my upper top half is experiencing some major changes as well, and it’s a pain, literally.

Cravings: Not much yet, other than I definitely am prefering savory over sweet. Anything too sweet sort of grosses me out, though, of course, I still love chocolate.

High Point: Getting repeated positive pregnancy tests all week!! And telling the family – E.’s super excited!

Low Point: Sobbing uncontrollably at work because I had to be an aid on an hour long bus run while I was already feeling incredibly naseous AND am very susceptible to motion sickness even without being pregnant.

Paranoid Moment: Worried that I’m jinxing myself by being so open so early about being pregnant and that this whole grand adventure will be done long before I want it to be :-( I’m trying to not think like that though and just enjoy everything, even though it’s making me feel lousy.

What I did to prepare this week: I got out ALL of E.’s old baby clothes and started sorting through them. More to do, but at least I got a start. I also started researching strollers since we’ll need a new, non-jogging one.

What’s going on “in there”: The folks at BabyCenter say: “What’s going on in your womb now? A lot. Your baby-in-the-making is just a tiny ball consisting of several hundred cells that are multiplying madly. Once the ball of cells (called a blastocyst) takes up residence in your uterus, the part of it that will develop into the placenta starts producing the pregnancy hormone hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin), which tells your ovaries to stop releasing eggs and triggers increased production of estrogen and progesterone (which keep your uterus from shedding its lining — and its tiny passenger — and stimulates placental growth). HCG is the hormone that turns a pregnancy test positive; by the end of this week, you may be able to take one and get a positive result! (If your test is negative and you still haven’t gotten your period in two or three days, try again then.)

Meanwhile, amniotic fluid is beginning to collect around your ball of cells in the cavity that will become the amniotic sac. This fluid will cushion your baby in the weeks and months ahead. Right now, your little blastocyst is receiving oxygen and nutrients (and discarding waste products) through a primitive circulation system made up of microscopic tunnels that connect your developing baby to the blood vessels in your uterine wall. The placenta won’t be developed enough to take over this task until the end of next week.

My mom does this thing on my birthday every year. She’ll look at me with that weird, nostalgic mom look and wistfully say, “At this time, twenty-*insert appropriate number here* years ago, I was…” and some part of my miraculous arrival would be revealed. I know I roll my eyes every time I hear it (in fact, I rolled them a bit as I write this), but in reality, I kind of like it (okay, love it). I don’t remember the day I was born, so it’s nice to know that someone remembers.

And now I find myself doing the same to E.

Today is her birthday, and every time I glance at the clock I try to guess where I was at that moment. It’s hard to remember, because time moved so quickly that bright Tuesday in early April. What I remember, however, with absolute clarity, is the moment I heard her and the moment I saw her and the moment she was placed in my arms and I held her to my chest. It was time slowed down, every emotion flooding through my body, out my fingertips, making my heart pump the blood through my body with a sudden new purpose.

I was a mother, but, more importantly, this was my daughter. If I didn’t have a reason for life, I most certainly had one now.

And the last four years have been the purest I’ve ever experienced, with the greatest joy and the greatest love (and sometimes the greatest fear and frustration). E. has transformed from a beautiful baby, the model infant – perfect nurser, sleeper, completely content – to a full blown child with ideas and loves and a vivid brilliance and ridiculous vivaciousness. I try to not think so much about how she has changed and how quickly it has all happened, because it can bring me to my knees with joy and wrench my heart with the horrible speed in which it has all happened.

I expect the next four years will go in much the same style the previous four have. I will blink and too much time has passed. There will be the cliche struggles and joys. And ever before me will be a girl who I will simultaneously see as the growing, wonderful person she is, but also as the bawling, raw, pink baby quickly thrust over the curtain as she was delivered nearly exactly four years ago today.

Happy Birthday E. You are loved.

I tend to get obsessive. I latch on to an idea and can’t seem to let go until I’ve exhausted every aspect of the idea (and if it’s inexhaustible, well, then we’ve got a problem). Lately I’ve got a few things I feel like I just need to write about, because I am completely obsessed.

1.) Vermont. I about a upcoming family vacation (the first out of state) to Vermont this summer. Well, this afternoon we finally reserved a campsite at a state park on Lake Champlain for two nights in August. Holycrapiamsofreakingexcitedimightpuke!!!!! I’ve started complying lists of things I want to do and places I want to go. The trip is 20.5 weeks away (you know I’m serious when I pull out the decimals), but I’ve already started putting together a supplies list. Granted, that in and of itself isn’t so unusual (I’m a super organized camper, otherwise I’d go insane), but doing it five months ahead of time is a little wacky, even for me. Must be the crazy summer-like weather we’ve been having in Maine.

2.) Whole and real foods. I’m still learning what exactly qualifies as “whole” or “real” (or if those two concepts are the same or even related), but the gist is, I’m starting to get a little obsessive about the food we eat. I think it goes hand in hand with the fact that I’m watching how much and nutritious the food is that I am eating, and I’ve always tried to be conscious of what E. eats. Now, however, that I’m not obsessing as much over delicious chocolate cake or cheesy potatoes, my food fixation has shifted to how exactly nutritious and healthy and safe our food actually is.

3.) Women’s (my own, specifically) health. Between exploring the options available to pregnant women when it comes to their care, learning how to track my cycles (something all women, in my opinion, should be taught), and all the craziness that has been in the news lately regarding birth control, Planned Parenthood, and politicians and some members of the government deciding they need to stick their noses where they don’t belong, I’ve found myself becoming extremely passionate about women’s healthcare and access to services for and information about their bodies and how to properly take care of themselves. It has become so ridiculously empowering to know so much about my body, what I can do, without the help of anyone or device or medication, to decide whether or not I want to get pregnant, maintain reproductive health, and just have this intimate knowledge of my whole self.

4.) Babies. I have full-blown baby fever (example here, and please check out the comments area, my cousin Kate offers up some great information). We are so, so ready to have another and the summer (one more reason I can’t wait this next season!) can’t come soon enough.

5.) Above all, I cannot get over my family. I am more in love than ever. There has been so much growth between my husband and I in our relationship. I feel more and more ownership in role as a mother and the love I have for E. is one of the most overwhelming feeling in the world. I am getting my hands on lots of literature, lots of ideas, and doing lots of thinking to help expand and secure my role and abilities as a mother and wife. I take such tremendous pride in who I am in my family that I can’t help but obsess a bit over it.

What are your obsessions or can’t get enough of?

What You Do When You’ve Got A Fever

I’ve gots the fever.

Baby fever.

And what’s a girl to do when she feels so emotionally ready for another little one, but all the pieces haven’t quite fallen into place? Why, she dreams about all the little baby things she wants to have when baby number two makes his (or her) appearance.

Now that we’re a few (almost FOUR) years into this whole kid shindig, I think I’ve been able to give myself some perspective on what crucial “stuff” I want for our next baby that we might not already have (or were decimated in the multiple moves we had to endure or from over use).

Here are the top ten things that I think we need and really, really want.

1.) An electric breast pump. Word to the wise, if you anticipate having to pump more than just rarely, get an electric breast pump. It will save you hours of stress and probably some discomfort. We weren’t really able to afford an electric pump with E. and I felt like they were too pricey to put on a registry for someone else to purchase, so we went without. I will not do that this time, especially since I’m sure I will have to pump a lot as I plan on going back to work after I have our second (assuming the world doesn’t end this year, or something, being 2012 and all).

2.) The Joovy Scooter. I have a Joovy jogging stroller and I love it. While I don’t really jog per say (though I’m trying), it’s a dream to push on almost any terrain (including along the water at the beach), folds compactly into my little Ford Taurus, and just sort of looks cool! Now I want the Scooter to be our new stroller to replace the old Graco (which lost a wheel about two years ago), because the jogger isn’t really the place for infants, PLUS, it is a wee bit bulkier than a regular stroller. AND the Scooter allows you to place an Graco infant car seat inside of it (I probably didn’t describe that well, but hopeful the above picture gives you an idea), which leads me to number three…

3.) The Graco SnugRide 35 Infant Car Seat (preferably in Zurich). We had a Graco car seat, which I loved, but mysteriously disappeared after we transitioned E. into her “big girl” convertible car seat on her first birthday. I loved the Graco car seat and am all over getting another, even if the old one is found. Because, let’s face it, I like pretty things and I like the Zurich pattern way more than the pattern of our old car seat (though that wasn’t bad, either).

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4.) Cloth diapers. There are so many reasons why I want to cloth diaper. The eco-friendly factor. The cheapness factor (after you get over the initial expense). And, okay, let's face it, since I'm a cute-things dork, the CUTENESS factor. I had wanted to cloth diaper with E., but since we were a) completely broke (versus only kind of broke now), and b) didn't have constant access to a washer and dryer, it just wasn't really in the cards. The next time around we will certainly be cloth diapering, hopefully with full success.

5.) A GOOD breastfeeding book. You change as you grow as a parent and adult. Or, at least I hope people do and I’m not the only one. Because, I’ve changed a lot. Prior to having E., I researched nothing. In my defense, coming from an age of technology, where I researched everything online in high school and college, I’m not entirely sure if I fully remembered how to look things up in a book, and while I was pregnant I didn’t have reliable access to the interwebz. So, I knew very little about what was going on with my body, with my baby, and what would happen afterwards, at least beyond what a couple of pregnancy books told me (which, trust me, was a enough at times…can we say paranoia?). I knew very, very little about breastfeeding. I had a couple of pamphlets and there was a chapter or two in my pregnancy books, but nothing in-depth. Plus, I received limited help at the hospital. I was also burdened with a “know-it-all” attitude that prevented me from really pursuing help. It made breastfeeding HARD and unnecessarily stressful and not at all the experience I wanted. I feel with the extra help of a book specifically on breastfeeding and being able to show that I don’t know everything and ask for more help will make a difference.

These are the top five items I really, really want/think I need the next time around. In short, some other stuff I think will make it’s way into my home are:
6.) Trays made for freezing homemade baby food, plus a new blender…maybe (having made baby food before, I really do think these are necessary).
7.) A bouncer.
8.) A co-sleeper (rather than a bassinet, which we had and never used)
9.) Nursing bras and/or shirts.
10.) One of those band thingies that helps your belly go back to normalish.

So, are any of my items completely useless? Or do you have a better idea? What items do you totally wish you had the first go around?