my, how you’ve grown!

April 23, 2010 at 8:59 pm (Second Trimester, Thoughts) (, , , )

We had our ultrasound yesterday. It has been 12 weeks since our last one and it was in one word: incredible!

At our 9 week ultrasound, baby was 1 inch long and looked just like a gummy bear, complete with the little arm and leg buds. But now! We could see baby’s head in profile, with it’s little nose and mouth! We got a lovely picture of the bottom of baby’s foot, so it looks just like a little footprint. And we also got a picture of baby’s spine, with each and every vertebrae clearly in view. It was so wonderful to see how much baby has grown these past several weeks. The technician also measured baby’s heartbeat at 148, very nice and healthy, to my relief.

I must say, though, there are a couple of things about ultrasounds that I don’t like. One, that M is not allowed to come in the room with me at first. He has to wait outside for about 10 minutes while the tech checks things out, then they let me know that I can get up and tell him to come in. Why is that? I should have asked, I know, but it must be torture for him to sit out there wondering if everything is OK. With every minute that he has to wait longer, I think he must worry that something is wrong and that’s why he hasn’t been summoned in yet. Two, I hate the way the techs look at the screen for so long before they say anything to you. I was laying there for several minutes before she said a word. For the first while, I just looked up at the ceiling, but after awhile I stole a look over at her and watched her changing expressions: frowning, satisfied, curious, frustrated, inquisitive…. I was torturing myself wondering if that meant she saw something she didn’t like or if she just needed a new pair of glasses or a better angle to see what she was looking for. After just a few moments, I decided I shouldn’t drive myself crazy with the guessing and just go back to looking at the ceiling. It was definitely the more sane choice, and I’m glad I forced myself to do it.

She said that baby looked a little bit smaller than expected, which wasn’t a huge surprise to me as that’s what they told us at the first ultrasound. I let her know that my cycles are a bit long, more like 31-33 days instead of 28, so she said that likely explained it and that if the due date is off by up to as much as 6 days, they usually didn’t bother to change it. I may be called back for another ultrasound in 4 weeks if they decide to check on the growth rate, just to make sure that it’s the date that’s off and not that baby isn’t growing fast enough. However, she said that everything looked good and that there were no concerns. Baby was also a bit uncooperative at first, deciding to stay in a curled up position. After I emptied my bladder and came back, I guess baby woke up or maybe had more room in there, and agreed to stretch out a bit for some of the other checks and measurements.

The only other thing is that apparently my placenta is on the front wall of my uterus. This is also called an anterior placenta. It’s not a big deal, even though most of the time, the placenta will be at the top of the uterus. Basically, it just means that baby’s movements may not feel as distinct as they would have if the placenta was not in the way. Think of it as if baby was kicking me through a pillow instead of directly in the gut, which i think is probably a good thing! Luckily, the placenta is pretty tough and won’t be damaged at all, even if baby is using it as a bit of a punching bag or dance floor. I also read that an anterior placenta can sometimes make it a bit more difficult for the doc to hear the baby’s heartbeat with the doppler, but we had no problem at all. As soon as the doctor placed it on my belly, there was the heartbeat, loud and strong, even bigger than last time. We also heard a few swishing sounds, which was baby moving around in there!

I think things are starting to feel more real for me now, as well as more safe. Every time I get to see baby or hear it’s heartbeat, it reassures me. We’re one step closer to meeting in September.

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an exciting week

April 20, 2010 at 7:18 pm (pregnancy after miscarriage, Second Trimester) (, )

This is going to be a big week for us! On Thursday, we are going in for our regular monthly appointment as well as our ultrasound! I’m really excited for that since we had our first ultrasound back at 9 weeks. It will be amazing to see how much baby has grown. Also, on Saturday, we have an appointment booked for one of those 3D ultrasounds. Our parents and M’s siblings will also be on hand for that one so we can all see baby’s face for the first time together!

We always look forward to our monthly visits at the prenatal clinic because we get to hear baby’s heartbeat. I read that at 20-22 weeks, baby’s heartbeat starts becoming much stronger, and that it can even be heard with a regular stethoscope. When we were at the vet this past weekend, I was tempted to ask him if he thought he could hear a fetal heartbeat with his animal stethoscope… I thought he might think it was a crazy thing to ask, so I bit my tongue! I remember how much awe we felt last month when we heard the difference between that visit’s heartbeat and the previous months. I wonder how much it will have grown now!

I also have a few other questions that I want to ask this week: 1) I have a belly button piercing – when do I have to take it out? I don’t want to take it out too soon and have the hole close up, but I don’t want to leave it in too long and have the piercing get all big and stretched out. 2) I noticed a few times lately that I get a short, quick pain in my belly – is that just round ligament pain? How do I tell what’s normal and what’s worrisome? I don’t have any longer duration cramping or any bleeding. 3) We want to get away one last time before the baby comes. Will it be safe to fly when I’m 28/29 weeks pregnant? I’ve read that the 2nd trimester is the best time to go on vacation, but that late in the 3rd trimester, it’s not advisable to fly in case you go into early labour.

Our 20 week ultrasound is on the same day as our prenatal appointment (actually, we’re a week late, so it will be at 21 weeks for us), and it will be at the hospital where I plan to deliver the baby. We pulled out the picture we got from our 9 week ultrasound to check it out again – baby was so small at that time, just 1 inch long. It looked just like a gummy bear with it’s little arm and leg buds sticking out. It will be mind-boggling to see how much baby has grown now. Baby is about 6-7 inches long now, with fully formed arms, legs, feet, toes and hands! We should be able to see the spine and other bones starting to form and harden now, too.

We will have to tell both ultrasound techinicians that we don’t want to find out the sex of the baby. Hopefully the little one co-operates and doesn’t do a backflip with it’s legs spread eagle! I’ll have to laugh, though, as it would just be fitting for M’s baby to flash everyone his or her bits 🙂 They will also take a recording of baby’s heartbeat and put it into a teddy bear that we can take home with us! I am most excited about this wonderful keepsake so we can listen to that lovely thump-thump-thump-thump whenever we like. We are going to play it for our other children, the furry kind, to introduce them to baby!

As excited as I am, I still have some nervousness with these upcoming appointments. I don’t think the fear and doubt will ever quite go away, even as my belly (and boobs!) continues to grow like mad. The past two weeks have seen an incredible amount of growth in my tummy, but I can’t help but worry just a little. What if the umbilical cord gets wrapped around baby’s neck? What if baby’s heart stops beating? What if we go to the ultrasound, or even worse, the 3D ultrasound with our family, only to find out that something has gone terribly wrong? I know I can’t think like this, and I do try to focus on all the positives, but it’s still scary. I just want Thursday to arrive so we can get to see and hear our baby again!

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halfway there

April 15, 2010 at 8:45 pm (pregnancy after miscarriage, Second Trimester) (, , )

Today is the 20 week mark. I am halfway through my pregnancy, so I find myself thinking back to when my story began, and how my life is different today compared to November 2009.

I went back to my first post, and the first line reads: I would have been 11 weeks today. I remember the turmoil I was going through at that time and how sad and empty I felt. Sometimes I felt like a zombie, barely making through each hour, and other times the grief was sharp and painful, tearing at my insides. It feels so long ago when I took my first pregnancy test back in September and we first thought we were going to have a baby. How different that pregnancy started off compared to this one! It was all joy and excitement, with a blissful naivete. This time, even well past the first trimester mark, and an obviously growing belly, I still find myself wondering now and then if everything is really going to happen for us. The first time, it just never occured to me that anything coud possibly go wrong, and now I can’t help but wonder if it’s possible that everything will be ok. It’s strange how our experiences can completely reverse our outlook on things.

Sometimes I think about what could have been. If things had worked out the first time, I would have been halfway through my third trimester! My original due date was June 3rd…. only a month and a half away. I wonder what that day will feel like for me now. I think it will still be sad, but I hope that my baby gives me an extra hard kick that day to remind me that it’s different this time.

I think with every passing day, and especially every passing week, I feel more confident. The outward signs are becoming more obvious, and I’ve definitely started feeling flutters in my belly that I’m sure are my baby turning cartwheels. They always seem to be between 3-8PM, and I can expect to feel them daily. It’s so comforting for me to imagine him or her in there, doing little karate moves or having a dance party. Sometimes I’ll be sitting there and – ooh! There it goes again!

We’ve also made a couple of purchases, as gifts from our parents. We’ve picked up our stroller, bought the dresser and ordered the crib. It’s a nice feeling to actually have a couple of things in the baby’s room. There’s still plenty left to do, but it’s wonderful to go into that room and start to imagine what our lives will be like when baby’s sweet scent fills the nursery.

It’s strange to think that as of today, we are closer to the end of the tunnel than we are to the beginning. When our ordeal began, I could not even imagine this day, even as much as I wished for it. It’s nice to be here.

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lady lumps

April 11, 2010 at 10:20 am (Maternity clothes, Second Trimester) ()

A couple of weeks ago, I cried in the morning because I felt like I wasn’t big enough yet. It’s funny how one day, I feel like my tummy is so big and heavy and round, and then the next day it doesn’t seem like it’s really showing much at all. M, as usual, supported me in his teasing way when I broke down that morning, assuring me that I was definitely starting to look like a fat chick. I’ve read many articles aimed at daddy-to-be’s, advising very strongly that they stay away from the word “fat”. But for me, I almost welcome it. First of all, because I know that’s just how M is, he always teases and I know he doesn’t mean it, and secondly because I’m very small and I don’t worry that I really do look fat.

We finally got our act together and found a battery charger for our camera, which was a much more difficult task that it should have been. So, on Thursday, the 19 week mark, we took our first belly pictures! One with my belly band on over my jeans and my sweater lifted up, and one with full on bare belly! These will be just for us, since I’m not bold enough to post them here on my blog for everyone to see. (One of my favorite pregnancy blogs does have a week by week belly picture section, though! It’s great to be able to compare as Kate is a few weeks ahead of me.)

There is no denying the belly bump now, though. I feel like I’m all lady lumps with my growing belly and boobs. I love feeling my tummy first thing in the morning when I wake up. It’s always already feeling swollen and rounded, whereas a few weeks ago, it felt flat when I was lying down in the morning and would gain fullness through the day with food and bloating. I remember that feeling my stomach in the morning used to be so sad when I first miscarried… that feeling is reversed now, with the joy of feeling that assuring roundness.

I’ve finally given up and bought a couple of pairs of pregnancy pants. I was sort of hoping to make it through like a colleague of mine, who stuck with leggings and dresses throughout. She said she didn’t want to buy maternity pants because she was scared that she would always fit into them afterwards 🙂 I did my best, but I just can’t do my regular jeans anymore unless  I wear them completely unbuttoned and unzipped with a belly band to hold them up. This is OK if I’m wearing longer shirts or sweaters, but I missed my easy jeans and t-shirt days. So yesterday, I took an hour and a half and tried on what seemed like every pair of jeans and casual pants in the store and found two that I loved. I gotta say – they rock!! So comfortable! It’s nice to be able to wear pants with a pair of sneaks and a body-hugging t-shirt again.

I love showing off my belly bump. It’s getting more obvious now that it’s a pregnant belly and not just a fat chick. Either way, I don’t care, because I know that it’s my baby growing bigger and stronger inside of me.

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hello, baby? it’s me, worrywart

April 2, 2010 at 7:53 pm (Emotions, Second Trimester) (, )

I am18 weeks now.

It’s incredible for me to think that I am almost halfway through my pregnancy. Every time I touch my growing belly, it astounds me at how round it’s getting. Everything has been going really well. My appetite has definitely kicked up a gear and I think I need to eat every couple of hours. I can never eat a whole lot, but I need to eat a little something all the time. But as well as I feel, I still can’t help but worry. I guess that’s what pregnancy after miscarriage is all about, though. I thought it would get better after my first trimester, when the chance of miscarriage goes down drastically, and it did a bit, but the worry is still there.

I suppose what really surprised me was when M and I went to that second doctor’s visit a couple of weeks ago. After I had asked all of my questions, the nurse asked if there was anything else she could answer for us. Unexpectedly, M asked if there was anything she could tell me to help me feel not as scared, based at how far along I was now. As soon as he asked that, I burst into tears. I guess it just caught me off guard – I had no idea he was going to do that. I was also a bit surprised at her answer. I can’t remember the exact words, but she said that this is a new baby now, and that I have to say goodbye to my first pregnancy, that it wasn’t meant to be and that I can’t worry about it. I was very surprised at her response. I thought she would have said something more like: this time is different, you’re in the 2nd trimester now and everything should be fine, your baby is doing well.

I still count down every day and every week. Often, people will ask me how my pregnancy is going and if I’m excited. Of course, we’re very excited. But I could never say that my pregnancy has been joyful. I hear some women say that they loved their pregnancy, and I wonder if I’ll ever be able to say that about any part of mine. I can’t honestly say that I love being pregnant because there is always that seed of fear and doubt in me. When people tell me how fast my pregnancy will go, I can’t help but think that it can’t go fast enough. Whenever I hear of late miscarriages, or even worse, stillbirths, it makes me shudder, making me think that I won’t ever feel safe. I just want to give birth so I can hold my baby in my arms, alive and well and breathing.

At around this time, it’s possible that I will finally get to feel baby moving. I’ve read that quickening can happen anywhere between 16-20 weeks, and possibly even as late as 22 weeks. It happens sooner if it’s your second child or if you’re slim, or later if it’s your first time or are overweight. I’m quite small, so I’ve been hoping to feel it as soon as I hit that 16 week mark. Supposedly, it’s also harder to tell in your first pregnancy because you don’t really know what to feel for, and it could seem like gas bubbles! It can also feel like a fluttering or popcorn popping. Sometimes, I lay on my back and try to concentrate on my lower abdomen to try to feel for something, anything going on down there.

Today, M and I went to a movie and while I was sitting there, I had this weird sensation. It wasn’t really a tummy rumble, like I often get when I’m hungry, even before I was pregnant. I suppose it could be described as a fluttering. I felt it again later tonight, the same sort of sensation that I can’t quite describe.

Is that you, baby?

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