Sunday, September 21, 2008
Thursday, September 18, 2008
First of all, sorry for my long absence, but Hurricane Ike has certainly put a major damper on my internet access. We evacuated for the storm and didn't return home until our power came back on yesterday. We had relatively little damage, but many other relatives and friends had a lot--some even completely lost their homes and everything in them. It's very sad, but we will help each other get through it. If you are the praying type, please pray for all who have suffered down here on the Gulf Coast of Texas.
Now for the nasty part. And I can't stress this enough--TMI ALERT! This story is included strictly for the enjoyment of my pregnancy/mommy blog-oriented readers. Over the past month, I have had increasingly bad pain in my groin area. If you remember, I thought a while back that I might have a hernia, but my doctor said it was probably just bad round ligament pain, a very common pregnancy ailment. I went back to see him yesterday, and I have now developed what's called a vulvar varicosity, which is a nice way of saying I have a gigantic varicose vein in a VERY private place!!! The doc says it will probably go away after I give birth, but in the meantime, I have to wear this lovely contraption called a "V2 supporter." It looks like a giant jock strap and is basically a compression garment designed to squeeze my nether regions into submission for the next three months. It is NOT sexy, but I have to admit the pain is relieved when I am wearing it. The doctor said he has only had to remove two of these veins from people in the past sixteen years since they usually resolve themselves, but he said I would be number three if I didn't wear this god-awful thing until the baby comes. Ugh.
So anyway, if Billy didn't find the actual ailment repulsive enough, now I have to wear this massive elastic chastity belt on top of it. Poor guy! I am one hot mama, let me tell you!
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
When Max was about nine months old, my dad made the very generous offer to pay for me to have my own (real) tattoos removed by a plastic surgeon. His reason, I concluded, had to do with Max and the sort of "example" he felt I was setting for my son. I considered his offer, but not for very long. First of all, it would have been a long, painful, and extremely expensive process--and despite the fact that I have one tattoo in particular that I do NOT love and would like to be rid of--they are part of who I am. And they have absolutely nothing to do with what sort of "example" I set for my son. What is much more important than my ink is that he sees me as kind, compassionate, loving, hardworking, smart, responsible, and decent in every way.
If he eventually gets a tattoo because he admires me for these reasons and wants to be like me, then so be it. And in the meantime, I think he looks pretty cute in his newfound role as "tough guy."
Monday, August 18, 2008
Welcome to the story of my life...
Actually, I passed the halfway mark of my PREGNANCY two weeks ago, but it's kind of nifty to see it illustrated in living color for the whole world to see.
Just thought I'd point it out so someone else noticed it, too.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
We had a party for family and very close friends two weekends before his birthday, since it was the only time several special people could attend. We then had another (wonderful but wild) party yesterday for the kids in his playgroup, and almost twenty little children showed up. For both parties, we had an inflatable bouncer/waterslide in the backyard (thanks to my awesome friend Michele), and lots of delicious food.
Every time Max has a birthday, it is also a special time for me to remember what was one of the happiest days of my life. Labor and my ultimate emergency C-section were nightmarish, but every bit of pain was completely erased the minute he entered this world. It sounds hokey, but it really was love at first sight; and I would have gone through every bit of it again at that very moment without a second thought.
Here are a couple of my favorite pictures of him from those first few days. I know every mother says it, but he REALLY WAS absolutely beautiful from the very start:
And, of course, he's still beautiful. But the most important thing is that he's healthy, happy, and decent--and hilarious! He makes us smile and laugh out loud numerous times every day. Here are some highlights of his big day, including the famous Spiderman 3 cake:
Blowing out the candles:
And enjoying it with some ice cream...life is so hard, isn't it?
HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MY SWEET GUY! I love you!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
First, a body shot:
Next, a profile. Doesn't this look like Max's profile? Weird...
And if you haven't heard yet, it's a BOY!!!!!!! Here's the money shot:
Next, the tech switched the machine to 4D, so we got some more realistic pictures. This was very cool, but I think it freaked Max out pretty bad. He kept asking, "Why is my brother all smushy?" You can even see the little guy sucking his thumb in one pic:
Pretty cool, huh? They didn't even have this technology at my hospital (at least they didn't offer it) when Max was born, so this was the first time I had actually seen these types of pictures in person.
The best news is that he is totally healthy and appropriately developed (even a little big) for his gestational age. Just a perfect little baby.
We have no clue yet what we will name him (we can't agree on ANYTHING!), but it's nice to at least be able to stop calling him "it." It always feels so much more real once you know the baby's sex. I am thrilled to have another boy, but I am now at a loss about what to do. If he had been a girl, I would have wanted to convert the nursery to something more feminine, and I would have had lots and lots of sweet clothes to buy. However, because I already have enough "boy stuff" to last a lifetime, I find I'm just finished. No getting ready necessary. I guess I should just relax, huh? Get some sleep while I still can...
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Now, I have been pretty convinced all along that I'm having another boy. But with each additional confirmation in my group, I am getting a little less sure of myself. I mean, SOMEONE has to break this streak, right? I find it extremely hard to believe that that many of us could be pregnant at once and NO ONE will have a girl. That would be really odd, right?
So place your bets now. My big ultrasound is a little over week away, on July 21st. I guess if we get a surprise and the baby IS a girl, at least she'll have lots of cute boys to chase. And if it's a boy, he'll have a built-in crew to run with from day one.
I'm just about to EXPLODE, I'm so excited!!!
Saturday, July 5, 2008
I think the biggest reason most people fail is because they DO go into it expecting it NOT to work. You hear so many new moms say that they just didn’t have enough milk, or that their milk dried up too fast, or that—-for whatever reason—-they just COULDN’T do it. I know there truly is a small percentage of women who just physically CAN’T, but more often than not, it’s more of an emotional decision to quit than anything else.
I don’t care what people say; breastfeeding is NOT a natural process. It’s not pretty. It sucks at first. It's hard as hell, and I TOTALLY understand why so many women give up before it starts to work for them. Put it this way--Max was over nine pounds when he was born, but it took us a good two and half weeks to get the nursing thing down, and he had lost more than TWO pounds by the time he really started eating well—that’s a lot of weight on a body that tiny! I remember many a day I would just sit on the couch crying, trying to get him to latch on, convinced I was starving my baby to death. It was scary, but luckily I had an awesome pediatrician who encouraged me to not give up. Most babies will lose some weight (and some, like Max, will lose a LOT) before they figure out what to do.
But you just have to keep telling yourself--babies survived for thousands of years before formula and bottles. They didn’t all just perish because their mothers found nursing difficult and decided to quit trying. It's a process, like lots of other tough things in life—one that both mommy and baby have to learn together. And being prepared before the baby is born is the most important thing you can do; arm yourself to the teeth with information. The biggest thing that helped prepare me: Billy and I took a breastfeeding class at our local women’s hospital before I gave birth, and that alleviated some of my nervousness and prepared Billy to help me out a lot (partner support is super-important). There’s a lot of gear out there that can make things easier, too, and that class was a godsend in educating us both. Also, I got a phone number for a good lactation consultant who lives locally and would come to my house. And, of course, LaLeche meetings help a lot of women (even though I found their members a little overzealous at times—-the mom with the kindergartner hanging off her breast was extremely unsettling, but that’s a story for another day).
One more thing I can say in favor of breastfeeding (and other than the baby's health, the BEST thing to me about bf'ing) is the financial benefit! I really think that kept me focused more than anything. We saved several THOUSAND dollars (almost five, think) by breastfeeding that first year, which Billy always claims paid for our new AC and the last big screen TV we bought. (By the way, I told Billy the money we save this time will have to go to my boob job--I am going to look like someone on a National Geographic special after this one!)
Don’t get me wrong—I’m not criticizing moms who choose not to breastfeed. It’s not for everybody, but I do want to encourage every mom-to-be to check out her resources and give it a good, solid try before giving up. It's hard, but the benefits are incredible.
Thursday, July 3, 2008
As most of you know, we just got back from our annual vacation to Perdido Key, Florida. Thanks again to Momille for the use of her gorgeous condo and to Mimi and Pop for inviting us--as usual, we had a blast. Here are the highlights for all you photo hounds:
Grandma and Papa were kind enough to loan us their Honda Civic in which to make the trip--ten hours each way, and we only had to fill up TWICE!!! Max was an absolute angel in the car. We were so proud of him.
Max also slept in the big kids' room at Momille's this year. He really liked the bigger bed (and he didn't even use rails!).
Next, Max and I enjoy the view from Momille's sixth floor balcony:
We also shot bubble guns and water pistols from up there:
We had fun in the pool:
AND at the beach, of course. Max was really brave in the surf this year. He would run right in, and if he got knocked down, he would say, "That was FUN!"
Max flew a kite for the first time this year, and he did a really good job with it.(Isn't Billy a hot daddy?)
Of course, you get sand in your pants when you play on the beach all day (please disregard my giant butt):
Like my hat?
Beware the curse of the evil tiki...
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
BTW, for those of you who didn't know, the results of our nuchal translucency (early Downs) test came back GREAT! The chances of any chromosomal abnormality are so low that my OB is not recommending any other testing of that sort, which is good since I'm sort of an old lady as far as pregnancy is concerned. Every time I hear someone at the doctor's office mention my AMA ("advanced maternal age"), I look around like, "HUH? Did my grandmother just walk in?" It's so weird.
One last bit of news: we have our "big" ultrasound on July 21, and that's when we will find out the baby's sex. I can't wait to stop calling it he/she or it! Start placing your bets now and stay tuned...
Saturday, June 21, 2008
So again I lay there for another infinite amount of time while I waited for her to go do whatever it was she was going to do. I just KNEW she was going to get my doctor so he could be the one to break the devastating news. But when she came back, she was still alone and she did have another Doppler.
"How far along are you again?" she asked.
"You're just at that weird stage where the baby could be anywhere in there--really high or really low. Let's try again. Can you pull the top of your shorts down a little farther?"
This time she probed what seemed like the top of my thigh, but sure enough, PAY DIRT. A good, strong 155 bpm heartbeat. I have never been so scared and then so relieved in all my life. WHEW.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Sunday, June 15, 2008
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Okay, it's not REALLY Butch--it's actually a picture of a twelve week old fetus I found on WebMD--but it's better than any of the crappy pictures I got at my ultrasound yesterday. I went for my nuchal translucency (early Down's) test, which includes among other things a nice, high-def level 2 ultrasound. Although the tech was not allowed to tell me the sex even if she saw it, she made sure to get me a good between-the-legs shot and hold it while I looked. I pretty clearly saw a "protrusion" that looked very similar to every ultrasound I ever saw of Max, but I still have to wait a few weeks to find out for sure. I go to OGA at Women's Hospital, and they have a policy not to say a word until eighteen weeks. Oh well...I don't care one bit either way this time--I just want to be able to start SHOPPING!!! And...as my friend Sherri from WebMD said, "Butch would have been a weird name for a girl, anyway."
I am feeling MUCH better this week, just fat. Of course, Max's Mommy and Me swimming lessons started this week, so I have to get into a bathing suit every day in front of a million people. I feel like I should announce to everyone that I am pregnant, not just pudgy and out of shape. I saw a t-shirt the other day that said "With bump--NOT plump!" and I want it!
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
He is thoroughly excited about being a big brother, and he thinks we should name the new baby either "Otto" or "Firestar"--at least those are his top choices this week.
Speaking of the new baby, we had another ultrasound recently, and everything is progressing perfectly. This is a ten-week picture, and you can see that (s)he is really starting to look like a baby. (S)he even seems to be sucking a thumb, although the doctor said that is still physically impossible.
I promise I will get my butt in gear and post some really good pics and interesting anecdotes soon; right now, I am just trying to relax and get through the end of this pukey first trimester. Love to everybody...
UPDATE: When Max saw his picture on the blog this morning, he said, "That's me! I'm a lady pirate!"
Thursday, May 8, 2008
In the second one, you can ALMOST make out a bit of a "real" baby shape. The head is closest to the bottom of the picture, and you can see little arm and leg buds forming. The circle toward the top is the yolk sac, which nourishes the fetus until the placenta forms. It is now almost completely depleted and moving away from the baby. It will dissolve soon, and the placenta will take over.
Dr. Dunn told us that the chance of miscarriage is now less than 3%, so we feel very confident and excited about this pregnancy. He congratulated us on our "graduation" and released us to start seeing our regular OB, Dr. Cone.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
He also reassured me that even at this early date, my chances of a miscarriage have declined to less than 10%, and after 10 more days, they'll be below 5%.
Needless to say, Billy and I are suddenly feeling a lot better about things. Now, as if you can actually see ANYTHING in these pictures, here is Butch:
Monday, April 21, 2008
My brother and his wife found out today that they are having a baby BOY in August, and we couldn't be happier. They already have twin girls, so I'm sure Jay will welcome a little extra testosterone in the house. A SON--how cool is THAT? (I know because I have one.)
Saturday, April 19, 2008
As most of you know, I cheated and POAS on Tuesday, April 10, a day before my scheduled beta test. I got a clear BFP, so I called Dr. Dunn's office to see if I could go ahead and come in for the blood test. Gloria said come on; no problem.
So I drove up there with Max and Teri and gave my blood. We decided to go over to the zoo and walk around while we waited for my results. I was feeling kind of crampy, but I didn't think much of it, because I had felt that way for several days and just attributed it to early pregnancy. However, when I went to the bathroom about an hour into our walk, I was panicked to discover I was (perhaps TMI) gushing blood--LOTS of it. I immediately started shaking and crying and trying to call Gloria (my nurse) from the bathroom stall. Unfortunately, she was at lunch, and the on-duty nurse couldn't tell me much more than 1) they had not yet received the results of my blood test; and 2) I needed to get the hell out of that zoo as fast as possible and get home to bed.
Teri took off and summoned the zoo shuttle to come pick us up, so thankfully, I didn't have to try to walk the mile out of there. I was in a total daze all the way home, certain that I was miscarrying; in my mind, the whole thing was over before it had ever really started, and I was devastated. However, Gloria called me back as we were walking into the house and told me my beta number was 112 (a good, strong number for that early); and she was surprisingly unconcerned about the bleeding. She told me that it's totally common, especially in women who have had as much "work done" as I have and not to worry. She said just take it easy over the weekend and come back in for another beta on Monday. Remember, this was Thursday--THURSDAY!!!--so this was much easier said than done.
Billy and I decided to go out to the lake for the weekend as we had previously planned. We figured I could relax just as easily out there as I could at home, if not moreso. I stayed on self-imposed bedrest most of the weekend, and while I continued to have spotting for the next three days, I didn't have any more major bleeding. I was still convinced, however, that I was having a miscarriage, despite the fact that I continued to get BFP's on the HPT's I was taking every morning. I know those home tests detect HCG at around 50, so I knew my number could have dropped and I would still get a positive. Something about POAS was reassuring, though, so I continued to do it. It was all I had, really, at that point.
On Monday the 14th (my BIRTHDAY, FGS!) I went back for my second beta test. This time I got the callback as I was sitting at Pappa's Seafood for my birthday lunch with my family. The news was still worrisome: my beta had only risen to 246. The good news was that it had risen, but it SHOULD have been up around 400 by that time and it wasn't. Things still did not look promising. And Gloria STILL could not tell me much other than to come back Wednesday for yet another test.
FINALLY...my beta came back at 620 on Wednesday! Gloria said everything looked good, and I could stop worrying so much and start getting excited about this pregnancy. Billy and I were so relieved that we both cried. It was just SUCH a relief, I can't even describe it.
We will have our first ultrasound on Tuesday, and I will feel much better after that. If everything is going well, we should be able to see the baby AND a heartbeat, which will make it all seem much more real. I'll post an update (and, hopefully, a picture) then...
Love to all!!!
Monday, April 14, 2008
BUT--Happy Birthday to me!!! There is no doubt we are pregnant, but we did have a brief scare late last week. I'm actually headed to the doctor right now to have it checked out, but it looks like everything is going to be fine. I'll post an update later.
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
The good news is that I have felt like crap (headache and nausea) since last night.
God, please continue to give me strength...
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
Here are some of the more realistic symptoms I have found that I DO have:
- Elevated temp? Check. I'm sweating like a pig, and Billy's going to KILL me when he sees the AC bill!
- Acne? Check. I look like a teenager (and not in a good way).
- Intermittent abdominal cramps? Check. But these could also mean AF is on her way.
- Weird cravings? Check. I ate buttered spaghetti noodles for breakfast today--all I could stomach.
- Periods of deep night sleep interrupted by periods of wakefulness? Check. 3 a.m. seems to be the magic hour; I have awakened the past three nights at this time.
- Fatigue? Check. I can't keep my eyes open past 9 p.m. (except for when I wake up at 3, of course!).
- Sore throat? Check. A weird one, I know, but I saw it listed a lot; and sure enough, I have one. Go figure.
- And, of course, there are the TMI symptoms I won't elaborate on. Just know that there are some.
My biggest problem at this point is that most of this stuff could also be caused by the progesterone shots I am still taking, or PMS, which would mean I am definitely NOT pregnant.
I am continuing to hold out on the POAS, but it's getting really hard, even though I know it's still too early. I know for a fact I will do it Friday morning before my blood test, just so I have an idea of what to expect. Plus, I really love my nurse Gloria, and I want to spare her the discomfort of listening to my nervous breakdown if she has to deliver bad news.
Which she WON'T...I'm determined to stay positive.
Crazy and obsessive, but POSITIVE.
UPDATE: It's 3 p.m., and I just returned from CVS, where I purchased milk, apple juice, and a two-pack of First Responses. I SWEAR I will wait until at least Thursday (I only have two tests, after all.) Stay tuned...
Friday, April 4, 2008
Last night, a security system salesman came to our door, and Max immediately struck up a conversation with him.
Max: What's your name?
Max: You have a big fat belly, Justin!
Whoa. That'll teach him to knock on OUR door!
Thursday, April 3, 2008
I can't stand the suspense!
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
I think the green frog rain boots really complete the look, don't you?
Monday, March 31, 2008
Now I'm going to put my feet up so he can snuggle in and get comfortable. The dreaded 2-week wait is upon us...but I'm glad it's finally here!
If this one little guy had the strength to develop, considering the sorry lot he came from, then there must be something super-special about him. I'm interested to hear how many cells he has now. The more the better. Anyway, I spent this morning getting work for my class done so I can come home and relax afterward. Dr. Dunn doesn't require bedrest after a transfer as some RE's do, but I'm requiring it of myself this time, since our situation is so precarious.
By the way, Billy and I have taken to calling our embryo "Butch." We decided it needed a tough guy's name, and that's what we came up with. I guess we'll have to change it if it turns out to be a girl; the name "Butch" does not bode well for a female child. But it works for now.
I'll post an update later.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
We are going to transfer the embryo on Monday. It's scary, because honestly, if you look at the statistics, the odds for a single, three-day embryo are not very good. I have been pretty sad and frustrated, needless to say.
Billy has been great, though, and he has really worked hard to raise my spirits today. He refuses to see this as anything but a good omen (at least we won't have multiples!), and he kind of made me think--at this point, there should be no difference in my attitude whether I have one or ten. This one embryo is our potential child, and it deserves every ounce of positive energy and faith that we have. It doesn't make it any less important just because the odds for a successful pregnancy may not be as spectacular. I could have put back three, and THIS ONE might have been the only strong one that survived, right? I just keep telling myself that as of Monday afternoon, I am pregnant, and I will continue to treat myself as if I am until I hear otherwise.
Your continued prayers and kind words are keeping us sane. Thank you so much.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Keep us in your prayers.
Friday, March 21, 2008
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Max: Mommy, what is in your booby?
Me: What is in my booby? Do you mean my bra?
Max: No. What is in your booby?
Me: Well, nothing is really in it. Just skin and fat, I guess. What is in your booby?
Max (as if it is the most obvious answer in the world): My PECTORALS, silly!
Wow. He never ceases to amaze me.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Now excuse me while I go dig out my fat pants...
Monday, March 10, 2008
Thursday, March 6, 2008
This morning, I was in the kitchen washing breakfast dishes while Max sat watching television in the next room. As I did my chores, I looked down and noticed that the dog was licking a sippy cup that Max had left on the floor.
"Stop it, Abbey!" I scolded her.
Max wandered into the room. "What did she do, Mommy?" he asked.
"She was licking your cup," I replied.
"That fucking Abbey," he said, shaking his head in disappointment.
I seriously don't know where he gets this stuff, but I for one plan to watch my mouth a little more closely in the future. Sheesh.
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
The problem is that he has trouble pronouncing the final -m sound in ma'am; the result is that he goes around saying yes, man, and no, man.
So instead of a polite little boy, he sounds like an aging hippie.
Sunday, March 2, 2008
Max, on the other hand, was a little more confused. As I was trying to explain my order to "Pat" (as I have begun calling her in my mind), Max inquired loudly, "Mommy, what is THAT?"
I'm sure I turned twelve shades of red, but I ignored him for the moment and continued talking, a strategy that just served to make him MORE curious. He tugged on my sleeve impatiently. "Mommy, what is THAT?" he asked again, this time blatantly pointing at Pat.
I was mortified. I tried to pretend that I didn't know what he was talking about. "What is what, sweetheart?" My eyes darted frantically and finally rested on the bucket of wooden sticks on the counter. "Oh, that--THAT is a paint stirrer!" I announced triumphantly and handed him one, sure I had dodged any further embarrassment.
"No, Mommy--THAT!" he yelled, throwing down the stick so he could again point directly at Pat. "Is that a boy or a girl, Mommy? Is that a BOY or a GIRL? "
There was no avoiding it this time. I was mortified. In retrospect, I should have just honestly answered his question and forged on, but I was so humiliated that I again ignored it. Luckily, Pat just let it go, too.
When I told Teri about the ordeal later, she said the girl had obviously dressed that way for a reason, and she was probably HAPPY that Max couldn't discern her gender. I know she is probably right, but it doesn't make me feel much better. I'm sure it won't be the last time something like this happens, and I hope I react more tactfully next time. Live and learn, I guess.