Sunday, September 27, 2009

Smile for the see-through camera

I'm sure you are on the edge of your seat about my technical ultrasound last week.

The reason I didn't race home and blog about it immediately is that it was definitely a technical ultrasound. We visited a different doctor, an expert at this specific task. He wasn't here to make the baby look pretty on the monitor, he was trying to get the best angles possible to measure the baby's proportions. To be honest, most of the time we were there, while I had some idea what I was looking at, it wasn't very eye-pleasing. Mostly a jumble of bones and limbs.

There were some cool moments showing the practically fully-formed skull complete with eerie eye sockets, the heart's multiple chambers pumping away, and the myriad bones and teeth that already look fantastic. Thing is, when you watch the video, it's not much to post or show off.

The doc did take some stills of the baby's face profile but I have to say they are no better than the ones I got back in late July. Add in that it's been a very busy week for us and you have no posts about that visit.

The GREAT news is that the doctor said everything was fine. He confirmed my OB's assertion that it was definitely a boy (along with the usual "nothing is 100%" caveats) and that all other measurable characteristics were proportional and well-sized for this stage. This is the important bit of the visit, not getting pretty video or photos to ogle.

While it didn't take quite the hour I was told it might, about 30 solid minutes of being pushed in the belly with that device left me winded anyway. He moved the wand a lot, trying to get better angles, and often jiggling and jabbing roughly to get the kid to cooperate. The baby had a hand on the side of his face and wouldn't move it for anything, though we wanted to see that both hands were ok. The doc asked me to cough, and I did, which wiggled the womb in an amusing way, but still, the kid kept his hand to his face. After a while the doctor said he'd seen enough anyway from as many angles as possible, and the hand was fine.

Perhaps I'll watch some of the lengthy video again and find some good short clips and string them together, but believe me, it's needles in a haystack. A very boring, confusing haystack. Maybe a screenshot of the skeletal structure would make a fun Halloween-themed post.

In any case, healthy baby. Healthy baby. :)

In other news - I went in yesterday for a second diabetes test. The first one was an hour long. This one was THREE hours long. I fasted overnight and got there first thing in the morning. They drew blood, made me drink the horrible sugar drink (I make uncomfortable faces just thinking about it) and I sat in the waiting room. They drew blood every hour, for a total of 4 needles, and I just felt weak and uncomfortable. When I got out of there I made myself eat something and took a nap in my car before going back to work. The rest of the day I didn't feel too hot, either.

I get very confused about diabetes terms and types, but I do know that I've always been one to need to eat on time, or I get weak. I used to attribute this to my lack of reserves (ie body fat) but now I'm not so sure. It's never been a big enough deal for me to mention to my doctor. Everything I've read says that if that is indeed due to a type of diabetes, it's the non-medicating type which is manageable simply by eating right and on time. It's especially not a big deal in pregnancy when "eating" is the prescription to a healthy baby and mom.

Anyway, we'll see. Whatever they come back with, I'm ready to roll on, since everything else has come so easily.

Enough for today! I have a backlog of things to talk about - more posts when I get a moment!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

BUMP in the night

We felt the first kicks on Thursday night.

We were talking about the very topic - and how I hadn't felt anything - while we were getting ready for bed. On laying down, I put my hands on my belly as we spoke, something I've done many times in the last month or so. Nothing.

I took my hands off the belly and relaxed another few seconds, and that's when I felt it. BUMP. Definitely something I had never felt before. A movement by something small inside of me. Not digestion, not gas, not my heartbeat or breathing, not anything having to do with my own rhythms, but a movement driven by a different source. Trying not to spoil the moment, I put my hand there, and BUMP, I felt it again, clear as anything.

I grabbed Greg's hand and put it there. BUMP. Yup, he got to feel it too.

Since then, I know what I'm looking for, and I notice it about 4 times a day. Unlike the first time, it's usually only one or two bumps before he takes another long break.

It's a little piece of amazing. A little person, inside of me, moving of his own volition.

I'm beginning to believe that even to a person who is raised among large families, where pregnant women and babies are prevalent their entire lives, the stirrings of another life inside your own body would be an entirely new, strange thing.

It's also a big reminder to me that time is racing by. If you're counting by months, the end of September is 5 for me.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Hospital Tour

Last Sunday we visited Orange Coast Memorial Hospital in Fountain Valley for the maternity tour. We gave ourselves plenty of time to figure out the place. Sections of this hospital are so new they're still being constructed, so it's a good thing we had the extra time.

It's a smallish place. Everything seemed steps away from each other. The lobby had a dozen seats max. There are 20 beds total in the maternity ward (more on that in a minute). The staff seemed friendly and the atmosphere personable.

When we arrived I was surprised to find that nearly everyone else there was a good 2 or 3 months ahead of me. Plenty of big bellies, including some that looked like they could drop a baby at any minute. I know we're the freaks who plan way ahead, but the idea of visiting at the last minute and finding out you possibly hate the hospital isn't something I could do.

We marched our tummy parade into a labor room. Medical machinery was definitely present but softened with wooden furniture-style accents wherever possible. The nurse talked about basic rules and we asked a few questions. Their nurses would work with you throughout their shift, no floating or rotating. They have a dedicated anesthesiologist and lactation consultant. They practice "couplet care", where the baby stays with the mother from moment one onward. If you want to breastfeed, they encourage latching on almost immediately after birth, which is recommended for bonding etc.

These answers were all music to my ears, all concepts that were soothing and helpful, all things that I'd heard were possible but that not all hospitals offered.

After the labor room we got to see a postpartum room. We'd get to stay for 2 days. The default rooms have two beds to accommodate 2 recovering moms, but usually people don't have to share a room. When we arrive we'll find out just how busy it is, and if we're lucky we'll get a room all to ourselves, allowing Greg to stay with me overnight on a reclining Lazy Boy chair. According to the nurse, August/September is their busiest time of year, and at other times it's "95% likely" we'd have a room to ourselves. If we arrive when things are busy and we want to guarantee a room alone we can pay more money for our own single room, which we'd definitely consider, as the rate really wasn't that bad.

So...on the whole, very exciting, very soothing, and I'm glad to check another step off my list.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

20 weeks

If you look at this pic and the last one together you may not be able to see a difference, but it's all in angles and lighting (and happenstance of momentary sizing as things fluctuate). I can tell you though that there is a definitely difference in the last 10 days. The expansion has shifted forward instead of sideways.

I keep laying hands on the belly to feel for the movement and while I think I might be able to feel something, it could be anything, really. Again, this is fine, due to the placenta force field.

In development this point we change how we measure the fetus. At first it was from crown to rump, but now it's from crown to toe, so the official size has jumped to 10 inches. The proportions are about normal now, with finishing touches to things like skin layers and eyelashes. Lots of neat stuff is still to come - I'll save that for future updates.

I picked up some actual maternity clothes instead of loose styles, and it's really interesting. The cut of the clothes is designed to make you look pregnant, as opposed to just overweight. The first time I wore my first maternity top to work, someone actually worked up the courage to ask me if I was pregnant. Works like a charm.

I am still able to wear regular, very-low-rise pants so I picked up a pair (I'm wearing them in the pic). These should continue to fit afterwards. I'd hate to get a ton of those preggy pants with stretchy panels and not wear them ever again, but I may have to acquiesce later on. A visit to the local used maternity store was disappointing but I need to do more looking farther from home.

This afternoon we're headed to the hospital for our official maternity tour. I'm excited to see the facility, ask a million questions, and perhaps even meet other expecting couples in our area. A full hospital report will be forthcoming.

I just did a standard diabetes test (no results yet) and the super-awesome, high-res, hour-long ultrasound is this Thursday!

Otherwise - I feel great!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Week 19

Funny, in comparing this pic and the last one I took, seems like it's not that much larger but definitely a different shape. The belly button is practically in a different place!

I love how weird this continues to be.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009


Click here for the video of the gender reveal ultrasound.


Watching it on the video I find it easier to see the revealing bits, though I wouldn't blame you if you did not. Even so, there are some good movement moments, and the bright white lines are bones, much more formed than they were a month ago.

A few other things were revealed at this visit.

As you heard at the beginning of the video, the placenta is towards the front of my belly, not the back. This means that baby movements will be harder for me to feel, which explains why I haven't felt anything yet. The placement of the placenta depends on where the embryo implants itself, so it's totally random. It's another good sign - the placenta is not towards the bottom, so it's out of the way of the birth canal.

I have a diabetes test coming up, which is standard. Babies do weird things to your blood sugar.

Also, another ultrasound, which is actually much more exciting than it sounds. It'll be a serious ultrasound, with much better equipment, and take a long time. What my OB does is basically look to see that things are generally ok, but this one will be much more technical, at a different office. I'm excited for the high resolution images.

I keep thinking this over and over - It's a BOY! People keep asking if we had a preference. All I can say is 1) I don't care, I want it to be healthy, 2) I grew up around baby boys so it's what I know and 3) I'm not a girly girl so I admit, I might be a little more out of my element with a daughter....but again, I don't care, I want it to be healthy!

And yes, we are thinking of names. :)

Other angles - this does mean that the Family Name continues - we get less hand-me downs from his close female cousin (though there is a male cousin in the mix as well) - we need to plan a bris.

The biggest news of all is that I'm hitting 19 weeks - HALFWAY. I'm already eternally grateful for the easy time I've had. Let's hope the second half is just as lucky.

Now hear this!

Just had an ultrasound.

Doctor says it's a boy! He was completely sure.

Video will be posted tonight, though it would be very hard for anyone else to tell.

Hazabebe readers get the scoop before anyone else!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Sorry, gentlemen.

On Tuesday this week we have another doctor visit so I'll have news then, but for now, a post about bras.

My apologies to the men reading this (and perhaps the grandmothers as well!). But this is a bit of an important thing for women in pregnancy and I feel like addressing it.

Way before the belly showed, I went up a cup size, seemingly overnight. I have to admit, it's rather nice. I'm small-chested by nature so I'll take it. Oddly, I don't achieve more cleavage, they just grow farther apart, but it does give one more to work with.

I put off buying new bras for a while because supposedly they could continue to grow all the way through the pregnancy. However, it soon became apparent that the difference between an A and a B cup isn't just size.

See, there's a physics threshold. In the past, I have been able to get away without wearing bras, or wearing bras that didn't provide support. Naturally, a woman with a D cup needs more support than I did. Most women not only can't leave the house without a bra and look polished - they can't linger at home without one either, because it hurts.

A few weeks ago I realized that when I got home from work, took off a now ill-fitting bra and put on pajamas, I would be rather uncomfortable by the end of the night. On stay-at-home weekends the effects were undeniable. I think having a stairway in the house to jog up and down didn't help matters either. Gravity tugs on me a little harder now. The fact that they're new boobs makes it even worse than it would be for a tried-and-true B or even C cup, because my skin and muscles aren't used to the extra weight.

My first move was to do something I'd never done before - buy sports bras. For the men still reading (I know you're there!), sports bras are not much more than strong elastic in the shape of half a tank top. I'm not a particularly sporting person, and again, not a particularly chesty person, so I've never really had a need for one. Once I tried them on, I realized how awesome they are for women with larger boobs that want to, say, jog.

Now, when I get home from work, I can slip into one of these guys and not feel a thing up there. Some days, when my skin is feeling especially sensitive, I'll sleep in a sports bra.

Yes, the irony of buying sports bras to lay around the house is not lost on me.

That worked for a bit, but there was no denying the inability of my old, mostly useless bras to keep me happy during the day. Sports bras aren't really a public option for anything other than exercise because they do make one look flat-chested. Having achieved the chest, why would I hide it? Finally I broke down and went shopping.

Here's the thing - I've always hated bra shopping, more than most other clothes shopping (and I hate most other clothes shopping too). It's happened to me quite often that basic department stores simply do not carry my small size, and if they do, it's only in one or two styles. Yes, in the past I've been to Victoria's Secret, and they measured me, and I bought bras there. Even at VS, certain styles are not even made in my size. Just being limited in my choices irks me. The bras I've bought there have been about twice the price of bras elsewhere, and to be honest, I've found they are not any better for the money. But when you've got a special size, you eat it and move on.

To recap - places usually do not carry my size, and even when I do find a bra I'm often not happy with it. Add in the humiliation of my troubles beginning with being TOO SMALL and it makes for an experience anyone would want to avoid. (I've often thought of opening a small boob boutique - call me if you have investment capital to spend.)

When I was putting off my current shopping trip, I forgot one important fact: I'm no longer an A cup.

This was the best bra shopping trip ever.

I had my choice of style, color, fit. Underwire? Front closure? T-back? Satin, cotton, lace? It was as if I had finally been let into the lingerie section. I discovered that it really did matter whether I got full coverage or a demi-cup, a push-up or a plunge. I also had a look at bras filled with gel that would clamp my boobs together and make me look like I was topping a C cup. Tempting, but as I am still feeling sensitive, pushing things up and out probably wouldn't be worth enduring. There's time for that later. Besides, I found that my current, natural upgrade made me giddy enough.

I found a few solid bras for everyday use, one for ultimate comfort, one for a bit of a boost, and another for a little of both. I had to stop myself from buying everything else that fit. I've had these for about 2 weeks now and the difference is noticeable, both in how I feel and how I look.

My belly has already caught up with my chest, and pretty soon it won't matter if I get up to C cup territory, because the belly gets the attention. Just this little bit of a boost is a lovely side-effect that I enjoy lingering in for now.

And of course, there's always after the delivery!