Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Bigger already

I was feeling big enough for another picture. I wore that shirt to work. Three separate coworkers asked me if I was showing yet. Seemed I was always carrying something or sitting or rushing by, but it was obvious that the shirt made people think about it. When I stopped and pulled the shirt taut, yup, there it was.

I'm still feeling happy enough to show it off and talk about it to anyone who'll ask. On the other hand, I ended my day with a dizzying headache. Just when you think things are normal again...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Just a blood test....surprise!

Today I had a blood screening. They draw my blood to see what kinds of chemicals the baby is excreting. These act as early warning signs for things like Down Syndrome, spinal defects, and other scary possibilities.

I thought it was going to be just a blood test. But lo and behold, I'm getting what's called the Full Integrated Screening, which includes 2 blood tests (the second one is in another 4 weeks) and oh yeah, a nuchal translucency ultrasound, as they look for visual cues.

Ultrasound? Right now? I felt bad because Greg didn't accompany me, and I felt dumb because I didn't know it was going to happen, but as soon as the baby showed up on the screen all I felt was wonder.

The photos do not do it justice, of course. It looked like a baby, very unlike the jellybean I last saw. There were legs, an obvious head with featured face, and the whole thing bucked and jerked around, very alive. There seemed to be so much room in there for it to move.

In the center shot the baby is looking directly at the camera, with its early eyes and brain visible. At one point (no pic) the camera saw only the legs and feet. So cute!

The doctor poked and prodded me trying to get the wiggly baby in the right position. She measured a "gap" in the baby's neck and the size of the nasal cavity. She said both looked completely normal - phew - and that everything else looked good too.

I then had my anti-climactic blood drawing and left.

We're going in a week from today to visit the OB and he definitely said there would be an ultrasound then, so Greg will get to see it, and we'll have video. If it were farther in the future I would truly feel bad!

Otherwise, I'm feeling very lucky, in two ways. Our medical coverage is apparently very good. I didn't even have a copay for this test. We'll be up to 3 ultrasounds in barely 14 weeks of pregnancy. After hearing the stories of others I know this is often not the case.

Lucky also, in that all the signs have been good so far! :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

Scare tactics of all kinds

Like most moms-to-be I already have a stack of pregnancy books. Some I purchased, some were gifts. I'm also beginning to eye the ones at the library, now that I'm outed at work.

It's interesting because people react so differently to the different types of books. Of course, everyone's different, and everyone needs a different voice to tell them the facts in ways that are comforting and informative. You can't even really use the word "facts" because every pregnancy is different. Most people have certain problems, but there is so much variation that there is definitely a need for the many different books out there. Ok, enough with the word "different".

My favorite so far is the Mayo Clinic book. I love a good thick reference work. The text is straightforward and, well, clinical. It covers most everything and fills gaps I've found in other books. What I want is cold hard data and this book supplies it.

Now many people find these types of books daunting at best, unreadable next, and frightening at worst. They don't want to know about the medical things that can go wrong. They want a personal voice with personal experience. While this does sound good on paper, it doesn't work that way for me. The more impersonal it is - the more it shows that my pregnancy is just like any other in the history of humankind - the more reassured I feel. The more I read of the possible roadblocks, the more informed and empowered I feel to deal with them should they come to pass.

Even so, I felt the need to give the other books a try. Perhaps I may need some reassurance from a person who's been there. Maybe I'll have my emotional days when a clinical textbook will just frustrate me.

At best, I find these books tolerable. At worst, I find them far more horrifying than any of the textbooks. These books tout themselves as more "real" or down-to-earth than the drier books. They often claim that the classic texts are full of lies or that in reading them these writers were given unrealistic expectations. They then go on to tell their stories of pregnancy that include all kinds of awful circumstances.

They also talk about all kinds of emotional issues that seemed bizarre and unhealthy to me, including not wanting to gain weight, having a spouse who is too shell-shocked to help you through this tough time, or just the basic concept of not wanting to be pregnant at all. The point of such stories is obviously to point out that they were wrong and that these are things some pregnant women deal with, but the other side of this is to show that lots of people feel this way and it's normal. Personally, I felt that trumping up these issues gave them way too much power. I found myself feeling the same way other people feel about the clinical books - I don't want to read about these possible problems, they scare me.

Part of the "friendly" aspect of these books is advice on how to cope with the everyday silliness of being pregnant. Some of it is funny, some mildly helpful, but I was shocked at the things people think constitute "problems" of pregnancy that need coaching.

In one such book, there was an entire paragraph given over to the idea that you should NEVER CUT YOUR HAIR DURING PREGNANCY. Yes, they used All-CAPS, as if it were warning you about some poisonous food that would cause a miscarriage. The reason for this admonition? No matter how annoying you think your longer hair is, especially late in your term, if you cut your hair into a short style you will look fatter in the face. God forbid! That is my biggest concern right now! Give me a break.

Don't get me wrong. As stated in the beginning of this post, I understand, everyone is different. As a woman who doesn't count myself as a girly-girl, as a "girlfriend", I find this transformation into a mom intriguing. Will I take on more "feminine" qualities? If my foray into these more sensitive books are any indication, the current answer is no.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Hunger pains

Now that I've got lots of people on board with the blog, I feel compelled to update, though not much is happening right now.

I have slight twinges a few times a day in various parts of my abdomen. I know it's everything stretching and growing in there. They're extremely brief.

However, hunger is a different feeling these days. As soon as I feel like I could eat, I get thin stabbing pains. This works like the best training in the world to make myself gain weight. I feel pain; I then hunt down food and eat as much of it as I can. All I can think is: Make the discomfort stop and prevent it from coming back any time soon.

Even so, these pains seems negligible to me, and I can cope in situations where I don't have a snack immediately on hand. This encourages me to think that the aches and pains that lay ahead will also be more tolerable than I expect.

Beyond that, at this point it's hard to know how much of me is affected by the pregnancy and how much is just my usual small complaints. I've been avoiding caffeine here and there (probably cut my usage in half, and I never had more than a cup of something a day in the past, so it's well under recommendations) and perhaps my tiredness can more be attributed to that rather than baby-making. I do think I get dizzy more often, and that bending at the waist then standing up quickly is less of a good idea right now.

I have to admit feeling inclined to use baby as an excuse and then I feel bad about that...but everyone and everything I read encourages me to indulge myself and let others take care of me. Kind of hard to say no to that. On the other hand, I also know that the more mobile and active I act, the better I'll feel. Laying around is good for neither me nor the fetus (at this point, anyway - 8th month can be a different story). Moderation is still king.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Photo Number One - 3 months

Ok, here goes, me and my belly. No, I'm not sticking it out. I had been checking once in a while with a measuring tape at my belly button but now I know better. The bump is below that.

You're going to see lots of pics of me in my lay around sweats!


Everything I've read says that around this time my belly may not look like much and they've been right. I gained about an inch a month ago and it hadn't changed since. There are small variations that depend on how much food I ate or whether I went to the bathroom recently.

This week things seem to have changed. I think I've been bigger this week than I was last. Now that it seems to be on, I keep meaning to start taking a photo of my belly but I keep forgetting to do so before I eat. It could all be in my head. I was never one to know exactly how big my waist was at any given time, and now I stare at it a lot, imagining the construction of a placenta.

Anyway, must take a photo tonight (I already ate breakfast).

I've debated whether to take the pic with clothes covering the belly or not. I think it's cooler to see the belly. Perhaps after I see a pic of my revealed pudge I may feel differently.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Haz a bebe.

Welcome to Haz a bebe, my new blog. First post, testing, testing.

I'm pregnant, and as a member of this generation I just can't stand to not let the World Wide Web in on my every move.

I'm going to cheat and start by posting a copy of what I've said elsewhere in the past week, as we have let everyone in on the secret.

We had an early ultrasound showing a jellybean with a vibraty heartbeat! Our next one is in early August and I promise an HD video of the event. It should look like a tiny person by then.

Yes, this was planned, yes, we're going to find out the sex (usually not doable until 5 months), no, we don't mind whether it's a boy or a girl.

The first few weeks were queasy and exhausting, though I never did throw up, nor close to it. Thank you Mom for the awesome genes! At this point I definitely get tired easily, I eat smaller meals, and I snack as much as possible. Everything has been textbook and very encouraging. My worst side effect at this point is super greasy skin and the resulting breakouts. The next trimester is supposed to be full of energy and I can't wait to turn that corner.
The food thing is weird. Fruit is always appetizing. Often meat can turn me off. Most things I can eat anyway, I just stop looking at it and suddenly I'm stuffing it in my mouth like a chipmunk. I don't usually eat without thinking, now I do.

My initial hormone overdose seems to have mellowed out (or rather, my body is used to it now) so now I "crave" whatever I see. I see an ad for pizza, I want pizza. I drive by a chinese restaurant, I want chinese. I almost feel like pointing at the sign and saying "THAT!"

I have had some very vivid dreams (which I didn't used to) but I tend to wake up about 4am and go back to sleep intermittently after that (which I didn't used to either) so I forget the dreams in the process.

The first book I picked up was What to Expect When You're Expecting, which I liked. In reading reviews online and as evidenced in the conversation here, it seems that people respond to it differently (same goes for all other baby books). I prefer encyclopedic, biological books instead of emotional support ones, so I also picked up the Mayo Clinic book, which is awesome. I seem to be ok with reading about all the things that could go wrong - in fact I feel empowered with the info. My biggest annoyance with What to Expect was the cutesy conversational tone. Then my sis-in-law gave me a stack of her books, including the Girlfriend's Guide and Chicken Soup for the Crazy Pregnant Lady, so now I'm set if I have an emotional onslaught (which I probably will eventually).

We didn't think to bring our fancy HD camera to the first ultrasound. So instead you get to squint at a terrible cell phone video on which it's impossible to make out the little vibrating heartbeat, even if you know what you're looking for.

Enough old posts...more new stuff later.