I can barely believe it… Only ONE MONTH to go until I’m due!!! Looking back at everything we’ve been through since we first conceived in September and lost the baby in October… dealing with the miscarriage through November… getting our lives sort of back on track when I got my period again…. then that wonderful Christmas Day when we found out I was pregnant again…sitting on pins and needles through the first trimester… continued anxiety through my second trimester as I couldn’t shake that nagging worry…. dealing with sleepless nights due to this watermelon where my stomach used to be…. and now – at nearly 36 weeks!
September 2nd is oh-so-close!! I can’t wait to meet you, baby!
I’ve had a belly ring since I was 19. Not a barbell, like most people have, but old school, an actual ring. I used to change the bead on it all the time, going from bright blue to plain silver to red, and sometimes even hanging various trinkets off it like oval crystals. In my twenties, I would often wear cropped shirts or sweaters because I wanted to show it, and my toned stomach, off. For a long time now, though, it’s been completely covered, unless of course, we were on a beach or in our hot tub, or some other bikini type of situation. Most of the time, I even forgot that I had one at all.
I have been wondering for some time now how long I would be able to keep my belly ring since I was pregnant. I even asked my doctor about it a couple of visits ago, and his response was most unhelpful: “They don’t teach us that in medical school.” I wasn’t exactly impressed, and went to the internet for answers instead. Unfortunately, answers from women who also had belly rings while they were pregnant ranged from them taking it out in the 2nd trimester, to leaving it in the whole time. I also read a variety of experiences from women who’s piercings closed up during the time the ring was out to people who were able to put them back in afterwards with no issues at all.
Over the last several weeks, my belly has remained in that threatening-to-pop stage. I don’t think it’s getting any closer to popping out now than it was before we went on our “babymoon” to Hawaii almost a month ago. Who knows if it ever will or not, but I still have my fingers crossed that I’ll get to keep my innie over the last few weeks. My navel ring, though, had adopted a permanently crooked position, always leaning over to the right, with the bead leaving a small, round, painless dent in my very round belly. I contemplated taking it out, but worried about what would happen to the piercing. Would it close up? Would the hole get stretched out due to my growing belly? I had heard about those special pregnancy navel rings that are designed to be longer and flexible so that you can keep them in during your entire pregnancy. They can be quite inexpensive, and are available at most piercing places.
The other thing I struggled with was whether I would just take it out permanently. I’ll be 33 this year, and I certainly don’t show it off anymore. On the other hand, though – I still like my piercing. I find it cute and sexy and fun. (Well, maybe not so sexy with my huge belly, but pre-pregnancy, I think it still looked great.)
In the end, I decided it was time to just take it out and I can decide after I have the baby if I’ll put it back in or not. If it does close up in that time, then so be it. It’s highly unlikely that I’ll bother getting it re-pierced. But if I can put my ring back in, then maybe I will wear it again. I just hope that the hole doesn’t do any strange stretching over the last few weeks of my pregnancy and leave me with a weird scar. I guess we’ll just wait and see!
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!
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.
Sorry I haven’t posted in awhile. I feel like I haven’t had much to write about. My belly is still growing and I’ve given up on regular pants. I’m now exclusively in yoga pants or leggings since I find them to be the most comfortable. I think I could still squeeze into one pair of jeans and one pair of dress pants, but why bother? I enjoy wearing some of the new maternity shirts I’ve bought because they’re cut to show off my expanding belly. Depending on what I’m wearing, it’s actually very obvious that I’m pregnant now and not just fat.
For the most part, I’ve been feeling great. Just hungry. REALLY hungry, and all the time. I can’t eat a lot at any one sitting, but I honestly need to put something in my tummy every two hours or else I’m starving. I am feeling pretty proud of myself that I’ve stuck to healthy foods and snacks: fruit, whole wheat crackers, multi-grain cereal and lots and lots of water. However, I did cave yesterday afternoon and bought an ice cream sandwich from the office vending machine. It was heaven!! So good!
Today was our second appointment with the prenatal care clinic. It was thankfully much shorter than the first one, with no pelvic exam (hooray!). At the end of the exam, we got to hear baby’s heartbeat again. It was nothing short of amazing…. It was so loud! Baby was moving around a bit, so sometimes it would fade and she would have to re-position the listening device, but then she would find it again and the sound was so loud, I could barely believe it! When we got to hear it a month ago, it was there, but faint. It sounded like it was at the back of a cave. Which, in a way, makes sense… baby was so small at that time and my uterus had not started pushing forward yet. This time, the heartbeat was strong, loud and fast. The rhythmical beat sounded just like a washing machine! M and I just smiled at each other as we listened breathlessly. Baby’s heartbeat was 156 beats per min 🙂
Now that we had gotten the OK from the doc to start telling people about our pregnancy, it was time to take that big, big step – telling my work. There have actually been a LOT of babies in my office in the past two years. Last year, there must have been 10 new babies, which is a ton considering we have a staff of about 150 people. I suppose we are all just sort of getting to that age, so I figured that the news would get a good reception.
Telling the boss that you’re pregnant can be a pretty intimidating thing. I wasn’t too worried about it, but I still wanted to make sure that I was well prepared. I decided that I would speak to my HR rep first, then to a co-worker in my department who recently came back from maternity leave so I could see what her experience was like, then tell my boss the following day. It turned out that my HR person was only available later in the day, and I definitely wanted to speak to my co-worker the same day so I would not have to delay telling my boss. So, I strongly suggested to her that we needed to go for lunch together so that I could talk to her alone.
As we were headed to pick up some food, we started talking about her baby, and how it was lots of work to have to go out anywhere now since they had to deal with packing up the stroller and having all of thier just-in-case supplies ready to go, and I thought that was a good lead in. When I told her I was pregnant, she started SCREAMING! Like full on screaming, to the point that I was actually a bit scared to keep driving! She was so excited for me and gave me a big hug. It was helpful to talk to her about how she told her boss at the time, and what sorts of questions they asked. Next up was talking to HR, which went quite smoothly – ie., no screaming – and she gave me the run down on what my benefits would be while I was off, and some advice on what I should talk to my boss about when I told him. She advised that I should let him know when my due date is, and how far in advance I was planning on going on leave. She also suggested I let him know if I was planning on coming back or if that was to be decided later on, and that he would likely also appreciate knowing if he should keep the news mum, or if it was now open knowledge.
The next day, I told my boss. I was emailing M to get his opinion on whether I should do the “pop-in” or schedule an appointment. We agreed that the pop in would be more appropriate as it’s more casual. He also changed my mind about leaving it until the end of the day and suggested that I do it mid-day- more confident/assertive instead of giving him the news and then taking off for the day. I had not really considered that an end of day meeting might leave that kind of impression, so I decided to go for the mid-day chat. It was nice to get M’s input on this since he is a manager and has had to deal with women letting him know that they are pregnant. Anyhow, the chat went extremely well. To my surprise, he told me that he had a feeling about a month and a half ago that I might be pregnant. And here I thought I was hiding it so well! He congratulated me and was very supportive. When I told him my plan was definitely to come back, he laughed and said he had little doubt about that 🙂
So – now the news is out there. I told more co-workers at the end of the day that day, and then this morning, I was sort of put on the spot to announce it to the larger management group in our morning meeting. A VP (who knew I was pregnant) announced that a co-worker had given birth to her baby girl, and then asked if there were “any other highlights” while looking at me. Everyone else in the room who already knew were also also staring at me expectantly so I had to say “Ok, Ok, I’m next!” Everyone cheered and congratulated me. Other than the embarrasment of being the center of attention (and thus turning beet red), it was a wonderful moment.
It’s sort of strange now that it’s completely out there after trying to hide it for so long. In a way, it’s exciting because everyone is so happy for us. It might even make it seem a bit more real since now it’s public knowledge. But in an odd sense, it’s scary. I know the chances of having another miscarriage is very low at this point, but anything can happen. When we went through our miscarriage, it was just us, we clung to each other for dear life, but no one else knew what we were going through. Now that we’ve made our announcements, it would be so terrible to have everyone know about it.
I have to keep telling myself that it should be OK now, that we are going to have our baby, but I think that fear will always be there. Right up until I’m holding baby in my arms…. And then I can worry for the next 18 years rest of my life!
Yesterday was Judgement Day. That’s what I’ve been calling it – the day that we would go in for our first “real” prenatal appointment. It was a day that I both looked forward to and dreaded, just like my first ultrasound. It’s scary to know going into something that it’s either going to be a wonderful experience or a devastating one. There could be no in between. Either we would get to hear baby’s heartbeat for the first time or we would be told that there was nothing to hear, that we had lost the baby, that I was about to have another miscarriage.
Upon arrival, I had to fill out a bunch of paperwork and go pee on a stick. Thankfully, M was with me to help me answer some of the questions. I have a terrible memory, and I think it’s even worse with baby brain. Honestly, sometimes I’m amazed I don’t forget my own head lately. A ton of the questions were around drug and alcohol use, and some were even about our financial situation. I can imagine that this would be an important one for the government, as they want to know whether they’ll have to be supporting this new family. I’m so thankful that we are in a solid situation with our house and our jobs and no debt. When I came back with the pee stick, the receptionist took one look at it and asked if I had any sweets that morning. I thought about it for a second, then remembered what I had for breakfast… “Um, I had Pop Tarts…” I answered guiltily. She said “OK, then, that explains it. It’s fine then.” I felt the need to tell her that Pop Tarts are not my usual breakfast – that I usually have Multigrain cereal and fruit. Oops.
The doctor seemed nice enough. Very open to questions, I noticed, and he even stopped whatever he was doing to fully give me his attention whenever I did ask something. Sometimes, my family doctor will continue writing as she answers, but not this doctor. I really appreciated that. He started with some of the basics, checking my breathing and that sort of thing, until he finally said it was time to listen for the heartbeat. He said that it could still be very faint as I was only 13 weeks and my uterus was still sitting back in my body, but that we could give it a try.
I think I held my breath and looked anxiously but excitedly at M as he pulled out the listening device. He began to move it around my belly, and we could hear the whooshing as he tried to locate the heartbeat. Then suddenly, faintly, I heard something…. ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum…. then it was gone, then back again. Our baby’s heartbeat!!!! I thought for sure that I would cry when I heard it, but I was nowhere close to tears. I think I was just concentrating so much on listening for it, and watching M’s face as he listened intently as well. I think because I had no reaction, the doctor asked “Do you hear it?” and I breathed out a yes. He searched for it some more and there it was again: ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum, ba-bum…. like a drum hidden deep in a cave.
We asked if it was safe to start telling people now. The doctor said everything looked great, and that the chance of miscarriage is now very low.
Our baby is in there, it’s real, it’s heart is beating, and I’m finally starting to feel like it’s safe.
I knew it would come up eventually, and now it has. My sister in law and her hubby have been trying to concieve for about a year now. I was concerned about what her reaction would be when we announced that I was pregnant because we never told anyone that we had started trying. I knew that she would be upset, hurt and likely disappointed when she found out that I got pregnant before she did. It’s completely understandable. They really want to start a family, and because they had told people that they were trying, they have had to deal with people always asking “How’s it coming? Are you pregnant yet?” I can imagine how frustrating that could start to become after more and more months passed and you had to keep saying “No, not yet.” It would be difficult enough dealing with the monthly disappointment personally – but having it out there for people to ask you and remind you about it constantly would start to become painful.
When we told our families, the inevitable question did come up: How long have you been trying? That was a tough one to answer, because technically, I got pregnant right away. But we started trying back in August – it just didn’t work out the way we had hoped it would. When we started trying again in November, we thankfully got pregnant right away again. I don’t think I had prepared myself enough for that question, and so I blurted out “Uh, a couple months”, which is sort of true, I guess.
Yesterday, it came out that my sister in law had made a comment about how it sort of sucked that we got pregnant after just a couple of months, when they had been trying for over a year. I knew that this would be in her head, and I was prepared to get a comment about it at some point, but it still stung. If only she knew…
What would she choose – to be in their situation, where they hadn’t been able to conceive for a year, or to be in ours, where we lost our baby?
I wonder if I will ever tell her, or anyone for that matter, that I had a miscarriage. I still don’t think I could mention it out loud to anyone but M and my doctor without bursting into tears. Maybe in time that will change. Maybe it will be different once our baby is born and I know that it is safe and sound.
I’m terrified of needles. In fact, my doctor once teased me that the little kids were braver than I was when it was time to get my shots. So you can imagine my growing dread as the date of my blood test arrived.
I had to go in for the usual prenatal bloodwork before “the big day”, aka my first real prenatal appointment with the prenatal clinic. My appointment at the clinic is for next Wednesday, so I went in for my bloodwork last week. They check for all sorts of things, like your blood type, Rh factor, rubella and any STIs. (Side note: When did they change it from STDs to STIs??) I had to go in to see my doc first to get all the forms, then would head over to one of the many labs to get the actual blood drawn. She was very pleased to see me, because she knew how hard I had taken it when I miscarried back in October. That seems like eons ago now, but the feelings are still very sharp and clear in my mind. She told me about all the things they would be checking for, and she didn’t mention HCG levels. I asked if they check that and she said they don’t do that unless there’s concern that something is wrong. They just assume that your HCG levels increase throughout your pregnancy, and they don’t check it in routine prenatal screening. I know it sounds like I’m being paranoid, but I wish that they checked for that anyway, just to be sure.
Even though we had a very positive ultrasound only a couple of weeks ago, I’m still scared. I still want every reassurance possible that everything is OK this time, that the baby is growing and safe and healthy and that it’s little heart is still beating away. I still get terrified sometimes, and I try to tell myself to just relax. Nothing has happened that should cause me to think that anything is wrong, but I can’t help it. I’ve had plenty of good symptoms, if you want to call them that, like bloating and nausea and dizziness.
My waistline is definitely growing now, too. I can easily hide it with sweaters or looser fitting clothing, but in a t-shirt and yoga pants, there is no denying my little belly isn’t so little any more. I had sadly given up on my skinny jeans weeks ago, but I found a handy little trick online at WhatToExpect.com. Just loop in a thick elastic band through the button hole and use it to wind around the button so you don’t have to do it up! Then you can still zip your jeans and hide the elastic with a longer sweater or top! It works great! M laughed when I showed him my little trick, but honestly, you could never tell if I didn’t lift up my sweater.
It was sort of fun this weekend to see family and our two friends who are in on our little secret. I could wear whatever I wanted and they could see that stuff is starting to happen down there. I showed my friend, V, the picture of the ultrasound and she was screaming and so excited. We also popped by M’s dad’s place and it was so cute to learn that he’s already keeping his eye out for baby hockey wear so that he will have something cool to give baby in December.
The day I have been both dreading and anticipating finally arrived. Today was my ultrasound.
Two hours before my scheduled appointment, I started to drink those vast amounts of water that you’re supposed to drink before the ultrasound. You’re supposed to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water in an hour and a half and NOT pee. Let me tell you – I have a hard time holding it for two hours as it is. Holding it while downing that much water wasn’t just causing me discomfort, it was painful! Every little bump in the road had me clenching my teeth, trying to keep my bladder under control. I could barely walk from the car to the clinic, and sitting down once I had checked in was a huge debacle. M told me just to go let a little bit out because I was so uncomfortable, and for awhile I refused, but finally I gave in and went. It was hard to stop!!!
Finally, they called my name and took us in. They asked M to wait for a moment in a seating area, assuring me that he would be able to come in shortly. The techinician could tell I was in extreme difficulty, so she said she would just have a quick check and that I would probably be able to let some more out. Immediately upon placing the ball on me, she said I could go pee a cup worth! I was in heaven and much more comfortable when I went back in and laid down. Then she set back to work.
Some searching and rolling. A couple of strokes on the keyboard and a few beeps. I don’t think I took a breath. I don’t think my own heart was beating until she said those wonderful wonderful magical words:
I see a heartbeat.
Immediately, I started to bawl. “Thank God!” I cried. After a few more checks, she said she would go out to get M. As the door opened, he could already see my beaming face and the Cheshire Cat grin that stretched from ear to ear. She turned the screen to us again and showed us our baby. She pointed out the tiny heart beating away wildly, the head and developing brain, the little arm and leg buds. She described the little appendages as looking sort of like a gummy bear. How cute! Baby is a little bit smaller than expected at 9 weeks, and she asked if my cycles were a bit long, which I confirmed at about 31-33 days. She said that because it’s within 5 days that they likely would not change my due date. That remains at September 2, 2010. We even got a picture to take home with us and it shows that baby is just about an inch long right now.
I am floating on air right now, with relief washing over me. I can’t describe the feeling of seeing that heartbeat! Seeing it pulse away so madly, so feverishly… it brings me to tears just to picture it again in my mind. I love you, baby, and I can’t wait to meet you.