Category: Pregnancy

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.

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.

New Parent Advice

A family friend is having a baby soon and her mom is compiling a book with advice from other moms. Well, I have more advice than I know what to do with. WAY more than a note card will hold. Does that make me an expert? Oh hell no. Just another Momma trying to figure it out.

{Find your tribe} Don’t over think this one. It doesn’t need to be women in real life who subscribe to your parenting beliefs 100%. Find a blogger who you like, explore a local FB group or even an older mom from your place of worship. I have a few tribes: one of Facebook with a group of friends in real life and strangers I joined when I was pregnant, one on Facebook with local moms and then from that group a smaller group of moms who meet monthly and chat weekly. I also read a few blogs and half read some parenting books. These ‘relationships’ take time to find, but they are so worth it. To have a second opinion, to learn about their past experiences as a mom, to have an ADULT conversation – those are invaluable.

{No one has the answers} You will most likely find your tribe by asking questions about their experience. What a cry means, how to wean, when to sleep train … but that’s they have – EXPERIENCE. They don’t have the answers. Which leads me to the next tip.

{While you are learning to be a parent, your baby is learning how to be baby} Each baby is different and no one knows that baby like you do. And while you are trying to figure out how to be a mom, that baby is learning how to be a baby. Sometimes they will cry just because they are crying. Not because they need a bottle or a diaper change. Trust your gut and understand no one has the answers. Not you, not your partner, not your tribe and certainly not your baby!

{Buy a nightgown for the baby} This is a very small thing that makes a huge difference. Before you go to the hospital, buy (and pack) as many of these nightgowns as you can. They save time and energy, especially in the middle of the night when they wake up every 4 minutes with a wet diaper.  And while you are at it –

{Buy a swaddles} I was not the master swaddler in the family, so these pre-swaddled swaddles (is that at thing?) saved me. Pack those too!

{Baby blues is real} My parting advice might be the most important. The ‘baby blues’ are real. You just carried a baby in your belly for 9 months and then delivered a tiny human only to be sent home at 2 days (if you are lucky) to raise said human being into a functioning member of society. You are super woman! But that doesn’t mean you have to be super woman all the time. If you are feeling out of sorts or sad, talk to your doctor. I did and my little antidepressant makes me (yes, 4 years later) and better mom.

What advice do you have for parents-to-be?

Birth is Birth is Birth

By now you’ve probably seen the viral text between a momma planning her c-section and a birth photographer where the photographer is essentially shaming the momma for not having an ‘actual birth’. For what it’s worth, I don’t think this is a real text. I have a hard time believing a birth photographer would have this mean and visceral reaction – BUT it has prompted a lot of really cool pictures and articles about c-sections. As a c-section momma I love seeing these images! I really like the Huffington Post’s recent gallery.

Mikey was a planned c-section and I was more than happy about our decision. When our (amazing) OB/GYN said with my PCOS diagnosis and Mike’s growth history he would likely be 10lbs. That was all I needed to know to make my decision. I didn’t want to be in a situation where I pushed and pushed only to have to have an emergency c-section. I wanted Mike’s entry into the world to be as safe and with as less stress for him as possible.

Mommas – you do you. You find what works for you and your baby. Don’t let anyone tell you you ‘picked’ an easy out (pun intended) or that you’re choice was wrong.

Whether you have a vaginal birth, a c-section or pull him out of you ear – I think we can all agree that birth is birth. And in honor of my c-section – here are my favorite images.

Don’t Overpack for the Hospital

I know it’s been over a year since I spent 5 nights in the lovely Fair Oaks Hospital with my newborn, but I remember my hospital bag vividly. It was heavy. I am a ‘just in case packer’. Though my C-Section was scheduled well in advance, you never know when plans change – what if I decide last minute to have a water birth? I need my snorkel! Or what if I get hungry? I need multiple snack options (you know, because the hospital is in the middle of nowhere and doesn’t have a cafeteria or vending machine)!  Let me breakdown, in my opinion, what you truly need when having a baby.

overpack for the hospital

{Socks} I was so thankful to have my cheesy, fuzzy socks in the hospital. On the operating table it kept me warm and during my stay (which was longer than anticipated), it was nice to have some comforts of home. Plus, those rubber tread hospital socks are just not comfortable.

 

{Big Clothes} I remember watching an episode of Reba when Cheyenne was a pregnant teen having a baby shower. Her friend gave her a teeny tiny shirt and Reba said it would be cute on the baby. Cheyenne replied it was for her to wear home from the hospital. Sorry Momma-to-be, you will still have a belly. I brought my maternity yoga pants, nursing tanks and a light cardigan for when I had callers. I left the hospital in what I came in – a maxi dress.

 

PS – The minute you feel up to it, go to Target and get clothes that fit. Don’t look at the size. Don’t expect to fit in your skinny jeans. Be comfortable for the next few weeks. Your body just spent 9 months growing a little human. It needs some time.

 

{Toiletries} Small bottles of shampoo, a tube of toothpaste, toothbrush … all the normal overnight stuff take with you. I couldn’t WAIT to take a shower a few days after giving birth. I felt so human again and with deliciously smelly hair it was hard not to. I also asked my Momma to bring my mascara. It was pointless, but it just made me feel better.

 

{Pillow and/or Pillowcase} I am all for being comfortable and though I didn’t bring my pillow from home, I brought my neck roll pillow which I am attached to. It just felt good having something from home since we were there for awhile.

 

{Swaddlers} I am a terrible swaddler, S. is the pro. I will forever be grateful for the SwaddleMe velcro sacks. It made it so much easier for me to wrap Mike up since every half hour someone was coming in, undoing it and checking vitals, giving shots, etc.

 

{Boppy} I’ve seen a few blogs about how pointless Boppys are, but I disagree. I brought mine to the hospital and it helped me when I was breastfeeding and I wanted to put Mike down near me. I also seem to remember S. using it as a pillow at one point …

 

{Chargers} I am pretty sure we packed every single electronic we owned. And two chargers for each just in case. Oh, and extra batteries. I don’t think we used anything but our cell phones and chargers. Be realistic and if you change your mind, send someone home to get your stuff. If you are thinking about packing a book, you are clearly kidding yourself. You will either be sleeping or staring at your little wonder.
I’m probably missing something, but the point is, don’t overpack. Save room for the freebies – diapers, formula samples, and wipes. Don’t be afraid to ask for extras! You just pushed out a human. You’ve earned it.

 

5 Registry Must Haves

A pregnant friend of mine asked me yesterday what they REALLY needed to put on their baby registry. I thought I would suggest a few things, but as I got to remembering and listing what I thought she REALLY needed, my list got pretty long. I did warn her, everyone has a different ‘must have’ list. I remember asking my Facebook friends the same question and for everyone who SWORE I needed a wipe warmer the same number told me they aren’t necessary. Regardless, we registered for EVERYTHING and exchanged a lot (that’s a good point, check out the store’s return policy before you register!). Also, we had quite a few things we never used or figured out were more trouble than they were worth *cough*bottle sterilizer*cough*.

After much thinking I put together my list of what I would consider ‘registry must haves’.

registry must haves

 

{Video Monitor} S. came home from his Daddy class swearing we had to get one of these, and I, of course, poo-poo’ed it. We have a small apartment, video monitors aren’t cheap, yadda yadda yadda. However, I let him talk me into getting one and we got a great deal on a Summer Infant Safe Sight™ Digital Video Monitor on eBay. Since Mike has been sleeping in his crib, that monitor is a lifesaver. Mike is a loud sleeper, often ‘singing’ himself to sleep and we are able to assess whether we need to go in because he is awake or ignore him because he is dreaming. Also, if you are going to sleep train – a video monitor is essential. I do recommend our model, but there are plenty to chose from. 

{Crib Soother} We used the  Baby Einstein Sea Dreams Soother because we had a few other toys from that line and the music was the most tolerable. It was great when he was littler and the ocean noise was calming. Now that he is older, he has a different rumbly white noise app at night, but when he wakes up he LOVES pushing the buttons to turn the glowing light and sound on an off. It also has a night light feature for when it’s time for late night diaper changes. We had a mobile, but we had to constantly crank wind it up and eventually Mike got to pulling himself up and practically swinging from it. Really any white noise ‘thing’ is a necessity in my book.

{A Comfy Rocker} Ah, everyone has an opinion about rockers. A few of my friends said they never used their’s, but other people said they lived in their rocker. I fell in love with a $400 microfiber recliner rocker, but who in their right mind would gift us a $400 rocker? I am not even sure we spent that much on our dining room set. However, we did get some cash and gift cards from family, used a 20% coupon AND bought the floor model leaving us with $56 out of pocket. I won’t spend $400, but I sure will spend $56! Turns out we fell into the second camp – we use the heck out of that rocker. If you think you are going to use your’s – invest in something comfortable. I used a glider when we visited my parent’s and my butt hurt for a few days.

{Same Bottles} We thought it would be smart to register for a variety of bottles so we could find one Mike liked. Wrong. Mike liked them all and each had different parts and nipples. That wouldn’t have been a problem, but while we were at the hospital, my Mom thought it would be helpful to wash the bottles (it was, trust me!) so we weren’t sure which parts went to which bottles. The only way we figured it out was to Google why a certain brand leaked to find out it took a ring or a special nipple we thought went to ANOTHER model. I would suggest registering for ONE kind of bottle and an easy kind. We stuck with EvenFlo Bebeks and Avent Free Naturals. Both had nothing extra or fancy and had distinct nipples. This also needs to be categorized under things no one told me.

{Space Saving Glider Vibrating Chair} We got this a little too late, but not late enough to realize it’s importance. We had a second hand vibrating chair as well as a swing that Mike enjoyed, but living in a small apartment having two rather large items took up space. We happened upon a good deal on a Graco Glider XL and it made so much sense. First of all, it swings, plays music and vibrates, so takes two things and combines it into one. I also liked that it sat up pretty high so I wasn’t constantly leaning down to maneuver Mike in and out. I am all for multi-purpose gear!

Again, these are what I would consider ‘must haves’ from our experience. You might talk to someone else who had a swing their little one hated. It’s always a good idea to borrow or buy second hand to test out something before making an investment.

What do YOU recommend adding to a baby registry? 

Another Time Another Place

I glanced at my calendar today and realized next weekend we are celebrating my friend’s son’s third birthday. We met literally a few days after he was born when I volunteered to bring them dinner, even though we had been attending the same church for awhile. While I held baby D,  M and I got along like a house on fire.

A year later, when we were celebrating D’s 1st birthday, I remembered her asking me if I was doing okay being the only person there without a kid and if it bothered me. I remember saying no and meaning it.  We had just started trying to have a baby and we didn’t anticipate being in the family way that quickly.

Fast forward to D’s 2nd birthday last March. I had to find something to fit over my huge belly and shoes to shove on my swollen feet. As we waded through bunches of kids at Gymboree, M and I joked that at D’s 3rd birthday in 2014 Mike would be able to attend and have fun.

I had to go back through my blog to read about what was going on in March of 2012  and it was a lot of nothing. I was starting Clomid and going through my first unsuccessful attempt at getting pregnant. Then in March of 2013 I was blogging about maternity pictures, the shape of my tummy and the baby shower M hosted for me.

Why do I bring this up? I am forgetting the hard part of our journey – the dates and details are running together. All the months of medicine with no results, the wondering, the Googling. I do remember the hardest part of the journey – the daily doctor appointments to monitor levels, the belly shots and 2 weeks of uncertainty. Why do I remember it? Not because it was hard or painful or stressful, but because it resulted in a big stinkin’ ball of love.

If you are on your own journey, you will forget the details, and that’s okay. I promise you will remember the important things. Like the last shot to the belly before it grows a human. And those memories will sneak in at the strangest times. Like for me tonight while I was rocking Mike to sleep while I was trying to memorize his face while he snored.

march

 

Your Birth Story

One day, Mikey is going to ask about the day he was born and frankly, it was pretty boring compared to some other stories. But it is his story and one I am so very proud of.

Dearest Mikey –

I am sure when you ask about your birth story, you will still be achingly adorable. Here’s what happened. First of all, you were SO wanted. So much so, we had extra help and time to make sure you would arrive for us. We joked you were already an expensive baby and you weren’t even born yet!

We spent lots of time getting ready, with help from lots of people. And as your original due date got closer, and you kept getting bigger, Dr. Hashemi decided it was time to schedule a c-section, so instead of June 9th as we originally planned, you were going to come on June 5th at 9AM. No waiting for contractions, or pacing the hospital through contractions. You had a date and a time of arrival! That gave Daddy and me time to go to the movies and eat out a lot and enjoy your time together thinking about you.

The night before, we stayed home, ordered pizza and watched a pretty lame video. We made sure to get a good nights sleep since we had to be at the hospital very early and drop off Charlie to day care. Grandma was going to pick him up and later and stay with him until we got home.  When we got to the hospital, we took the very long walk through labor and delivery and had to change into hospital clothes. The nurse, Karin, came in and helped us get ready and I know I was feeling very calm. 9 months to think about this moment and it was finally here! I had an IV put in and all my vitals taken. The only concern was my crazy high blood pressure, but thankfully this wasn’t going to stop your arrival, especially since I was feeling fine.

I had to go into the operating room by myself while Daddy waited outside and they put in the numbing medicine and helped me lay down. I was really happy to have some music to listen to to take my mind off the surgery. I also thought about you!  It seemed like forever, but Dad and came in and held my hand while the doctors worked their magic. I felt some pulling and tugging and the doctor told Dad, ‘Okay, Dad, in 90 seconds have your camera ready!’  The next thing I heard was your HUGE cry. You didn’t even make us wait to know you were here. I am sure that hasn’t changed.  Daddy got a huge grin and rushed over to the table to see you and help get you all cleaned up.  The nurse held you over the curtain quickly and all I saw was a big head of hair and a red, angry face.

Once you were cleaned up and measured, which again, felt like forever, Daddy and you came to see me. The nurse put you to my face and you were so soft and squishy. I couldn’t wait to hold you, but my hand was held down by the IV. You turned your head towards me and your mouth opened and you tried to nurse my cheek! We had some pictures taken and I was being stitched up.

Everything happened very quickly after that, but we were whisked into the recovery room where I was able to hold you and you started to nurse. A few hours later we went to our hospital room where we were going to stay for awhile and where all your visitors came – Grandma and Grandpa, Bubbe and Great Aunt Phyllis, Great Aunt Cathy and Miranda. You loved being passed around and cooed over. The big discussion was who you looked like. The verdict was your face was mine, but your profile is Daddy’s. We loved having the crib between my bed and Daddy’s and watching your head and eyes follow the sounds of our voices. We had a hard time believing we created you and you were our’s!

You had a slew of amazing nurses who thought you were the cutest baby ever and loved coming in to check on us. I got very sick with a fever and blood pressure, so we stayed an extra night. You didn’t seem to mind. You did your job – sleep, eat, potty and go back to sleep. You are only 5 days old and have been home 1 full day,  but you seem perfect to us.

I hope you ask about this story often because it is quickly becoming my favorite one to tell. And hopefully by the time you can talk, my hormones will be back to normal and I won’t cry every time I think about it!

With every ounce of my love,

Mom