Sunday, May 13, 2012

Pregnancy Reflection

I'm currently 38.5 weeks pregnant with my second child. Before my life gets turned upside down and I can't find a second to myself, I thought I better take a moment and capture some of my thoughts and memories of this pregnancy.

Finding Out

We found out we were expecting in Sept. 2011. After dealing with Secondary Infertility, undergoing fertility treatments and being diagnosed with PCOS and Hypothyroidism, we were excited when we finally achieved that positive pregnancy test.

On Thanksgiving Day, we went public with our news. You can read the announcement blog post and more details about our fertility treatments in this post.

First Trimester

Symptoms: I had a lot more nausea with this pregnancy than I did with my first pregnancy. However, I didn't get that "I've been run over by a truck exhaustion" as badly as I experienced with Ethan.

For morning sickness relief, I found that Sea Bands worked really well for me. They are wrist bands made with pressure points that are used to treat motion sickness.

I was surprised by how quickly I started showing. It seemed to me like my belly immediately waived the white flag and didn't give any resistance at all to popping out to make room for baby. With my first, my belly button didn't pop out until the last month. With this pregnancy, my belly button popped out in the first trimester. It didn't provide any fight at all.

Cravings: Roast beef sandwiches, Pillsbury Toaster Strudels, and Greek yogurt parfaits. There was something about the cold, creamy yogurt mixed with crunchy cereal that made for an amazing taste/texture combination that I had to eat every morning.

Changes: For this pregnancy, we decided to switch doctors. For Ethan, we doctored in Hays. After all the complications I had with Pre-Eclampsia, Eclampsia and the epidural, I wanted a new experience and a doctor that could provide me with personalized care and really get to know my specific case and concerns. Since I was working in Downs, over an hour away from home, I choose a doctor in Beloit that was only 20 minutes from my place of employment so it would be convenient for appointments. She spent a lot of time going over my concerns with me during my first appointment and really put Jim and I at ease that we would be in good hands under her care.
Second Trimester

Symptoms: Still dealing with morning sickness and almost constant nausea during the beginning of the 2nd trimester. I was glad to see my energy levels start to return to normal and finally feeling up to exercising again. Before getting pregnant, I was running between 2-6 miles a couple times a week and really enjoying the activity. It took me a long time to even want to go for walks and I had to force myself to get through 30 minutes of walking.

Cravings: Our local bakery makes a lemon danish that I couldn't seem to get enough of. I tried to limit myself to one on Friday mornings but it was tough. Really, doughnuts of any kind were calling my name. With Ethan, I had a few, very specific cravings. (Sour Patch Kids, Sugar Babies, and Ketchup/Mayo mixture) With this pregnancy, I find that I'm much more hungry and cravings are constantly changing. TV commercials play a big part on what I'm craving at that exact moment.

Changes: A big change that took place was that I started a new job during my 2nd Trimester. I debated even applying for the job, since I was noticeably pregnant by that point, but it seemed like an ideal position and I couldn't get it out of my head. I decided to interview, figuring I had nothing to lose, and was offered the job that same afternoon. It was stressful changing jobs in the middle of pregnancy but it has turned out to be the right decision and I'm so thankful I took that leap.

With the job change, I stopped working in Downs and started working in Norton. It meant less of a daily commute but was in the opposite direction of my doctor in Beloit. By this point in the pregnancy, I had gotten very comfortable with my doctor and didn't want to switch practices. I decided to keep her as my doctor after weighing all the Pros and Cons.

Now, if I was to go into labor at work, I'll be 2 hours away from the hospital in Beloit. With no hospitals between here and there, we have a little bit of pressure to make sure we make the trip quickly at the first signs of labor. My work has been great around my doctor appointments and has let me work from home on my appointment days so I can shave off some of the time I would otherwise have to spend on the road. These are part of the costs of living in a rural location.

Third Trimester

Symptoms: The last month, I have really been struggling with upper back pain, located between my left shoulder blade and spine. I'm not sure what I did, but it gets worse every day and there are little options for treating the area due to my huge belly and lack of safe medications for pain relief.

Throughout this entire pregnancy, I've dealt with insomnia. I had it with Ethan, too. I'm not sure if it's anxiety, stress, the inability to get comfortable, having to constantly pee, racing brain, or a combination of all the above that causes me to be unable to get a full night's sleep. I really struggle with sleeping past 3:00 AM. So much for the advice of sleeping while you can before the newborn arrives. The combination of giving up caffeine and not being able to sleep is just cruel and unusual punishment.

The nausea has pretty much disappeared but I am still throwing up almost daily. Usually, I throw up once per evening and immediately feel better following. I threw up all 9 months with Ethan, so this was expected but not welcomed.

At my last appointment, at 38 weeks, I was up a total of 15 pounds. I gained 17 pounds with Ethan at my last regular appointment, so I'm on the same track for weight gain. I think this baby may be a little bigger than Ethan was though. We'll see...

I found my love of walking again and tried to aim to walk 10 miles per week during the last trimester. This past week, I've stopped walking though to try and avoid bringing on early labor. I'm hoping that the baby will wait until after Ethan's Preschool program and graduation in two days. I would hate to miss this event, as it is very important to him. I also feel like it would start things off between the siblings on the wrong foot. Jealousy of the baby from making him, or most of his family, miss his program would be understandable and I'm hoping we don't have to face that situation.

At my last appointment, at 38 weeks, I was almost 2 cm dilated and 50% effaced. I was induced with Ethan before I had made any progress naturally so I really have no idea what to expect from this point. It could mean labor is around the corner or I could just hang out here for another couple of weeks.

So far, I have had no signs of Pre-Eclampsia. My blood pressure is low, there is no protein in my urine and I haven't had any swelling. I'm trying to eat foods that are higher in protein, as there are some studies that suggest that protein helps flush the toxins out of the body that can contribute to Pre-E. I'm very high risk for Pre-E but my doctor is keeping an extremely close eye on me. I take my blood pressure at home every day and at the slightest sign, we will not hesitate to immediately induce. I am hoping baby comes soon after Ethan's program. The less time the baby cooks, the less time my body has time to start building up complications since I had extremely late onset Pre-E and my Eclampsia developed a couple of days post delivery with Ethan.

Cravings: The lemon danishes are still topping my list and I've continued to eat Greek yogurt parfaits throughout this entire pregnancy. Thick, dense brownies also sound really good and I've been searching for just the right one but haven't yet found it. My limited access to bakeries hinders my brownie craving fulfillment. I'm still mostly just hungry for whatever I'm influenced by on TV.

Changes: We converted our office/spare room into the nursery. It was stressful to find new homes for all the stuff that we stored in there, but we eventually got the room cleared out and turned into a little girl's nursery. There was a lot less excitement over doing a nursery this time around for me. I tried to utilize decorations that we already owned around the house and re-purpose Ethan's old baby furniture. It was fun to get out some of the old pictures that had decorated my room as a little girl and hang them in the nursery.

I still have a lot of finishing touches that I want to do to the nursery to make it a complete room but one thing I learned from my first child is that the room quickly fills up. There's no reason to fill all the walls, shelves, etc. now when they accumulate so much stuff, so quickly!

The Final Days...

Now, we just wait for little Miss Knowles to make her arrival!

(Oh, and we call her Miss Knowles because we don't have a clue on a name yet. Jim and I haven't been able to reach an agreement and don't really even have a short list yet. Hopefully, when we finally see our little girl we'll be struck with inspiration. Giving someone their name, and such a large part of their identity, is just too much pressure!)

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Soccer Mom

Ethan joined his first organized sport team this Spring. With this new activity, I officially became a mini van driving, soccer mom. 

Ethan has practice once per week for 30 minutes and one game every Saturday morning. I'm getting a small taste of how busy life is going to get in the future with the kiddo's activities. 

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Easter 2012

The night before Easter, we decorated Easter Eggs.

The Easter Bunny came to our house during the night and left a surprise.

The Bunny Puppy was a big hit!

Eggs were found that the Easter Bunny had hidden around the living room.

Daddy had trouble waking up since we started the Easter Egg hunt during the 5 o'clock hour! He tried to sleep on the couch but Ethan wouldn't let him miss any of the fun.

We got dressed up and headed to church. I am so blessed to have these handsome boys in my life! (and the 8th month of pregnancy)

I volunteered make special treats for our church congregation following the Sunday Morning Service. 

Bunny Cake Pops

 Bird Nests (mini brownies with frosting, malted milk eggs and peeps to decorate the platter)

Bunny Tails (powdered sugar doughnuts)

 Cheesecake Stuffed Strawberries

My mom ended up coming down with Pink Eye, so we weren't able to have Easter Dinner with the Mason side of the family as we had originally planned. We ended up enjoying a nice meal at Jim's parents that they graciously allowed us to crash at the last minute. After making all those church treats, I wasn't overly eager to have to make Easter Dinner myself.

Here's to the promises that Easter holds and the new beginnings that come with the Spring season.