33 Weeks: Cauliflower Blossom

How far along? 33 Weeks

Size of baby: The heads of a cauliflower. Last week she was an armadillo!

Total weight gain/measurements: 2 lbs since February. Miss Hannah is in the 70th percentile for her size, which is apparently a good thing.

Sleep: I am having a hell of a time getting comfortable and end up on the couch most nights. I am eating Restless Leg pills like they are Skittles (pregnancy approved) and going through our COVID toilet paper stash pretty quickly.

Best moment this week: It’s been a few weeks since I last updated, but we have gotten her room mostly set up (not organized), but things are in place. I packed HER hospital bag and started mine (totally out of character). And today at my MFM appointment, I was able to see her in 3D! I just wish the boys were with me. She also doesn’t like when I rest anything on my stomach. Hands, phone … no pressure. She kicks like a crazy woman.

Miss anything? Swimming – which gave me such relief when I was in the home stretch with Mike. Same for my chiropractor and massage therapy. Also, being able to bend over. Now I just kick things I drop to the side and figure they will stay there for a few more weeks or become someone else’s problem.

Food cravings: Caramel, cheesecake, scrapple, sausage

Symptoms: My hips and lower back are screaming, full body fatigue, super emotional … I’m fun to be around right now. Plus I just feel huge.

I Hope You Remember

Dear Mike,

The last few weeks (and likely the upcoming weeks) have been a challenge. We’ve been inside the house a lot and focusing on staying healthy and not sharing germs. It’s been hard for you to understand why we can’t see family, go to the playground, or go swimming. It hasn’t been much fun most of the time, but there have been some good things I hope you remember during this time in quarantine.

{Sleeping in Mommy and Daddy’s bed} It used to be a rare treat, but lately it’s been a nightly thing. You get the best rest there and it gives Daddy and I time downstairs to watch something other than Spongebob. Plus, there are extra morning snuggles. I know it’s temporary, but it is working for us.

{Playing the Nintendo Switch} I never had a ‘gaming’ system growing up so when Daddy suggested it, I was really hesitant. But our vacation was canceled so we had the extra funds and we (finally) found one and it has been an AMAZING investment for us as a family and individually. We’ve started playing it in the afternoons when our day is done and I hope you remember how much fun laughing and being competitive. Then when it is just Daddy and me, we play old school Nintendo games.

{Seeing Daddy and me working} Every day was the same, you went to school and we went to work. Our jobs aren’t so simple to understand like a police officer or teacher. I hope you remember seeing us on the phone with coworkers and working on our computers. I hope you know our work is important and needed during this time.

{Snuggles} No one will argue that this time is hard on everyone, including little kids. You tend to need quiet time to process things and think about things and I’ve noticed you do that snuggling. I’ve kept a quarantine ‘journal’ on Facebook and each day mentions snuggles. Sometimes you just want to lay quietly under a blanket, some days with a book, and some days watching TV. I hope you remember how it made you feel. I hope it makes you feel safe, loved, and adored (because you are).

{Getting ready for Hannah} While we’ve been home, we’ve been getting ready for Hannah’s arrival! You’ve been helping in the room and picking out clothes and reminding us what we need to get (mostly toys). You’ve been a HUGE help and I hope you remember that.

I hope you remember what little things we sacrificed to do what was right for our community. It wasn’t always fun or easy, but we are continuing to do it.

So much love,

Momma xoxo

Dear Hannah: Your First Letter

Dear Sweet Hannah –

It’s your first letter and the start of our last few months ‘just you and me’. According to my app you are as big as a rollerblade. I am pretty sure you will have no idea what those are, so when you are old enough, ask Daddy. He was coordinated when he was younger and can show you pictures.

I must say, growing you has given me a run for my money. You are busy most of the night and a good part of the day. You are refusing to stretch out higher than my belly button so your Irish dancing is doing a number on my bladder. You really like to hear your brother’s voice and any music. Will you be a dancer like Mike? I hope so!

We’ve started putting your room together and gathering what we need for your arrival. It is so much fun shopping for pink and glitter. I figure until you can decide for yourself, you are going to be a walking sparkle. Will you have hair? I hope so, you’ve been given a lot of bows! I know your cousins will be thrilled.

It’s a strange time my sweet girl. Not at all how I expected our first few months just you and me to go. But we’ve made the most of it and I’ve gotten quite a bit of rest and time to think about you. It is certainly going to be something I hold over you for the rest of my long life. I never imagined after two years of thinking, praying, crying, and wanting you I would be giving birth during a pandemic!

Hannah, please stay in as long as you can and keep cookin’. And for the love of all things holy in this world … move OFF MY BLADDER.

With love,

Momma xo

Dear Mollie: Super Seven!

Mollie –

How strange is it I have all the time in the world right now, but have been dragging my feet to get you your letter. It is really a weird time we are experiencing and I haven’t been sure what to say. I just hope when you look back on when you turned seven you won’t remember what you lost out on but what you gained. A Zoom singalong! Presents delivered to your driveway! A family day! This will just be a second of your long life my dear.

Now. On to the fun stuff kiddo. You are still my silly, smiley girl who always has a story. You feel big things and love even bigger. I love to listen to you play with Mike – you always have a pretend story in your head and he more than happy to play along. And soon you will be the OLDEST cousin to a new youngest! She will need a strong girl to follow and I bet that will be you.

One of my favorite memories from this year was our family trip to the beach. One of the days you trusted me enough to hold on to a boogie board and float along the waves with me. I taught you want Grandpa taught ME when I was little. When a wave comes you jump, kick, kick, kick to stay afloat until it passes. We had so much fun not just then, but on the whole trip.

I love you Mols. Be brave.

Love,

Aunt Jay Jay xo

Pregnancy in the Time of COVID

Today I left my house for the first time in weeks. I drove with the windows down, radio up, and took the long way to my high-risk doctor appointment. Mike hasn’t been to school and S. and I haven’t been to the office in two weeks.

I had to go to my appointment alone this time. I had to call from the parking lot to let them know I was there. Then I had to go in to hand a receptionist, who was wearing a mask and gloves, my credit card. I have to admit, for the first time ever, I hesitated when she handed me a pen to sign the receipt.

I returned to my car, alone, to wait for yet another call. Once I was called back into the empty office I was rushed to an exam room. I saw one person who asked me all the normal questions. When I asked if I could Facetime my husband during the sonogram it was a quick and firm no – it is their policy and protocol. But nothing about what is going on now is normal ‘protocol’.

Then I saw pictures of our beautiful Hannah. Our 1.5lb beauty had a button nose, strong heart and very active (I didn’t need a doctor to tell me that). She has no idea what is going on. When I was this pregnant with Mike Sandy Hook happened and I cried. Now, I am too tired and overwhelmed to cry.

After printing pictures, I waited for 10 minutes for my doctor, who was at her house, to review my scans. During those 10 minutes, I texted with S. about whether I should stop at Staples to get a headset for my upcoming teleconference (no, I shouldn’t). Then the same nurse who did my sonogram returned to report back what the doctor said, ending with, ‘we will see you in 4 weeks, but don’t stop at the desk. Someone will call you to make an appointment so we can get you out of here as quickly as possible’.

I know this is going to be an amazing story for Hannah when she is older, and all babies who are born during this pandemic. But I can’t help but grieve for our family who is missing out on so much. So many pictures will be missing from her baby book – S. at doctor’s appointments, a 3D sonogram, grandparents feeling her kick, being celebrated at a baby shower with cute clothes, maternity pictures we’ve been planning for weeks … this is our last baby. We won’t have this time again and based on the pregnancy groups I belong to, I am not alone in this emotion. And creating new memories with us quarantined in the house is important and we are trying AND doing our part to flatten the curve so when July rolls around we will have a positive delivery experience.

22 Weeks: a Barbie

How far along? 22

Size of baby: A Barbie! This excites me to know end hoping Hannah is a Barbie lover.

Total weight gain/measurements: I have no clue. I am sure I’ve lost some since the gestational diabetes diagnosis

Sleep: Crazy dreams, pottying a lot …

Best moment this week: The guys feeling her move! I’ve been feeling her stretching and dancing around for a few weeks now. Mike felt her a few days ago and his eyes got big. Sam felt her last night and thought I was doing the movement on purpose. She’s a strong one!

Miss anything? Eating when I want without thinking. I realize this is not a good thing to be doing in the first place, but the planning is killing me.

Food cravings: Actually, nothing really. I am eating a lot of prosciutto.

Symptoms: Tired, sweaty, obviously more emotional.

Half Way There!

How far along? 21 weeks tomorrow

Size of baby: A paper airplane

Total weight gain/measurements: I think I am up about 8 pounds.

Sleep: I toss a bit, I turn a bit, I sweat like I just stole a car …

Best moment this week: Having a great anatomy scan at my high-risk doctor. She is growing like a champ and even breathing on her own smarty pants!

Also, we went to Monster Truck Jam and girl LOVED it. I think. I took her busy movements as love for the noise and vibration.

Miss anything? A bunch of stuff. I was diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes, which is a first for me. I am working on accepting this and getting as much information and assistance as I can to make sure we are both healthy for the next few months. So I miss not having something else to worry about.

Food cravings: Actually, nothing really. I am still eating a lot of cheese.

Symptoms: Tired, sweaty, obviously more emotional.

It’s a Girl!

It’s a girl! But we already knew that. I hate to say I’ve ‘come to terms’ with the idea of being a girl mom because it sounds like I didn’t WANT a girl. I truly, TRULY wanted a healthy baby and so far that’s what we have. But for the first 12 weeks I convinced myself our Hannah Beth had a penis.

I’ve been settling into a baby registry of pink and bows. But I still have mini anxiety attacks over raising a girl, ESPECIALLY in this political and social climate where being a woman is hard. Here’s my internal argument which I have on a daily basis:

I don’t how to take care of a girl! I KNOW how to take care of a boy: True, but you didn’t know how to take care of a boy, yet here we are six years later with a boy who is thriving. You’ll figure it out.

Mothers and daughters have difficult relationships: Probably true, but despite some hard years, I have an amazing relationship with my mom.

But I can’t do hair/makeup/style: This is true. Have you seen my frizz lately? If I can’t buy my shampoo from Harris Teeter Express Lane, I won’t have any. And why do I use a grocery store pickup? Because I think my weekend sweatpants have a hole in the crotch. Which would make sense because I’ve had them for a minimum of eight years. But guess what? There’s YouTube and my awesome Momma community who will come to the rescue. And ponytail holders.

Girls notoriously have mood swings, attitudes, and are referred to as ‘spirited’: Probably true? I have no idea. I know lots of little girls who are ‘spirited’ and their parents adapted. You’re supposed to raise the kid you have, not the kid you expected or hoped for. Also, as for mood swings and attitudes … boys have them too.

So as my brain is busy telling me why having a girl is going to be a nightmare, my heart, and soul (and friends, and family) are telling me how amazing and special it will be and how S. and I will rock at raising an emotionally intelligent little feminist.

15 Weeks: Crayon Box

How far along? 15 weeks and 1 day. Hello, second trimester!

Size of baby: A box of crayons (or an avocado)

Total weight gain/measurements: Just a few pounds

Sleep: It is so strange. When I sleep it is like I am drugged – dead to the world and dreaming some crazy stuff. But getting to that point is proving to be difficult.

Best moment this week: I missed a few weeks where key things happened. We confirmed it is a girl, and we chose a name. The middle name is TBD, but I am thrilled with where we are headed. We also chose furniture and linens so we can get started in the nursery. OH! And we took the bump with us to the Natural History Museum and had a grand time.

Miss anything? Oddly enough, a large choice in wardrobe. Now it’s deciding what top to wear with my black maternity pants. And my PJs are getting a little snug too.

Food cravings: Definitely still salty – I am loving chips and dip. She has strong feelings when she doesn’t like something (um, I thought ‘morning’ sickness would be gone by now). I am more in the stage of getting really excited when I see a commercial for food that looks good.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nope. I mean, I have thrown up since the last post, but it isn’t anything specific. Which makes it even more fun.

Symptoms: Fatigue, DEEP sleep, bursts of nesting, growing belly

13 Week – Hot Wheels Car

How far along? 13 weeks today!

Size of baby: A hot wheels care

Total weight gain/measurements: Just a few pounds

Sleep: I am starting to be uncomfortable with twitchy legs and tossing.

Best moment this week: I haven’t updated in a while, but I think hearing the heartbeat and seeing an actually BABY image and not a dot was pretty exciting. Plus hearing that all is well with first-trimester screening

Miss anything? Not having a strange tummy ache and being able to move quickly.

Food cravings: I don’t have much of an appetite, but I am easily swayed by commercials and mentions of food. I do still really like meat and cheese.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nothing specific. Just general queasiness.

Symptoms: Fatigue, queasiness, growing belly, probably irritability if you ask S.