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.

Week 10: A Lego Mini-Figure

How far along? 10 weeks today!

Size of baby: A Lego Mini-figure. Mike is going to be SO excited, he loves mini-figures

Total weight gain/measurements: Still no idea. Probably safer that way …

Sleep: I am managing, but my crazy dreams are taking over!

Best moment this week: Going ‘social media official’. It just shows how much our family is loved and supported.

Miss anything? Drinking Diet Coke ALL DAY.

Food cravings: Just meat and cheese. And breakfasts.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Not really. I seem to have turned a corner with nausea.

Symptoms: Fatigue, mood swings (mostly instant rage over stupid things)

9 Weeks: A Jack

How far along? 9 weeks today!

Size of baby: A jack

Total weight gain/measurements: Yikes, I have no clue! I was working on losing weight before I got pregnant, so I am sure it is pretty significant.

Sleep: I do it. And I love it.

Best moment this week: Graduating Shady Grove! After 2 years I am ready for the real deal.

Miss anything? Underwear that fits. I decided I am going to be comfortable this go around and not put off maternity wear (especially since my pants are a little snug) so I am wearing stretch 75% of the time. But I still need some maternity underwear that will STAY UP.

Food cravings: It varies, but definitely meat, cheese, and salt. I could crush some sausage right now.

Anything making you queasy or sick? Nothing really specific, I am able to eat more now – which is good.

Symptoms: Fatigue, mood swings (this morning I cried in the car listening to a Selena Gomez song and thinking about Justin Bieber did her dirty), queasiness.

Dear Sally

Dear Sally,

You were the biggest non-surprise of our life!

2 years
5 timed intercourse cycles
1 IUI
1 chemical pregnancy
58 shots

On October 23rd I had an IUI and today was my third blood test and you are rocking and rolling with a strong HCG level of 490.

Your brother already loves you so much. When I asked him how he would help with his new sibling, he said he would name you Molly. But you have a cousin named Mollie, so Mike said he would name you Sally. While we love how involved he is already, you will not be named Sally. But until we decide if you are he or she, I’m going to call you Sally.

Sweet Sally, so many people are praying for you and loving you already. In a few weeks, we will see that pretty heartbeat flicker – I am confident. Until then we will think about you, dream about you, talk about you, and pray for your stickiness.

Love,

Momma xoxo

Marcie’s 3!

Dearest MJ,

My sweet girl, you are 3! Well, 3 years and a few weeks because I’ve been too busy to sit down and write everything my mind has been thinking for you. I am sure you understand. You seem to be a busy bee yourself!

This was the year we went on our first Barry Family Vacation to Bethany Beach. And it was there I first heard a little voice holler ‘Ann Ackie’ and when my heart melted. I am pretty sure after that moment you didn’t stop talking.

It was also on that vacation where we spent a lot of time together hanging out and having fun and you truly warmed up to me, despite all the time we spent in the past. You are such a cool little girl. You know exactly what you want and will die on the mountain to get it. You are anything but a people pleaser and that is so, SO important for future women. Your attitude is very much, ‘Nah, I’m good’ when you don’t want to do something.

But when you want to do something – you DO IT. With smiles, giggles, and curls flying. You like to ‘run with the big kids’ and love your cousin Mike – I am 100% sure the feeling is mutual.

Miss Marcie, thank you for being my favorite 3-year-old and making our life fun.

Love you!

Ann Ackie xoxo