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Friday, December 17, 2010

22 Weeks

22 Weeks! Baby is definitely getting noticeably bigger every week now as evidenced by the size of the belly, which is starting to look alarmingly rotund these days, and her movements are getting stronger (a little) day by day.  Matt got to feel a good thump last night, which was great! We were laying in bed looking at lists of names together, and she must have known we were talking about her! I think the name we were looking at when she popped Matt was Laqueesha (and why the HELL did that come up under a list of Gaelic origin, I ask you?), and I'm certain that was a "You two had better choose something a little better than that for me, I mean there are millions of names out there and you're looking at Laqueesha?".  She should weigh just over a pound by now, and we are now 2 weeks away from the brink of viability - I can't imagine that there is a human baby in there who albeit with MAJOR medical intervention, could survive outside the womb.  We will appreciate another 15-18 weeks inside, though, thank you very much little girl. 

Here she is in profile at 22 weeks :) 

We are having trouble with the sharpness of the photos of late. I have a great camera, a great lens, a fairly good understanding (at least I thought) of settings to use in various conditions, and most of these belly shots have been slightly out of focus or the white balance is off, or something.  In fact, I feel sorta disappointed in the Tamron lens I got for my camera this summer, but I'm 99.9% sure it's not really the lens but user error ;).  Need to work on that, and spend some time with the book I have on using this camera (2 years later, natch). Of course, for these shots, I'm also asking someone else to use my camera who doesn't spend much time with it.  Maybe I should pull out the Powershot A430 point and shoot, and we'd have better luck with these pics. Any of you photographer friends have any tips for sharper pics taken indoors after dark (my Thursday week turnover day lends us to taking these either before work or after work, in the dark with artificial light)?

With the Christmas holiday now 8 days away, I have been pushing myself to get things ready this week, and have spent late hours decorating, shopping, baking, and making projects for gifts.  I love to do this stuff this time of year, and although it feels hectic and last minute I do get satisfaction from knowing I did something creative and it turned out well enough to give someone! This week I baked approx 4 dozen molasses spice cookies for Matt's classroom holiday party (recipe originally from Cook's Illustrated, courtesy of, power-shopped after work until 10 PM on Wednesday night, and made Lavender-Lime Sugar Scrub for gifts.  Consequently, my pregnant body has said ENOUGH and told me so when I tried to get out of bed today.  I literally could not stand long enough to even think of getting in the shower, so I am home, resting instead of at work today, and while I feel slightly guilty about that, I have to remind myself that my body is doing the work of two right now, and some days I will just have to rest.  (Holy Run On Sentence, or at least Overuse of Commas Batman). But, I wanted to share my scrub recipe and some photos for fun :) 

Sugar Scrub 

-Equal parts natural ("raw" or turbinado) sugar and oil - I used half Sweet Almond Oil and half Grapeseed Oil, but you can use any kind you like.  (One 24 oz bag of sugar filled 2 of these containers from Michaels)
-Essential oils for aromatherapy purposes - I used a combo of Lavender and Lime, and let me tell you it smells heavenly! Wish you had a scratch and sniff screen, cuz this is the bomb.  I know it's for skin, but I seriously wanted to taste it! 

Mix sugar, oils until all moistened and glistening, and then add essential oil - drop in a little at a time until you reach the desired potency of the scent - those babies can pack quite a punch and you don't want to inadvertently clear the sinuses of your gift recipients! Then, scoop into jars, add a square of spare fabric and tie with a ribbon. Perfect for gifting! 

So there you are, 22 weeks recapped.  6 weeks until the 3rd trimester, and also 6 weeks until they recheck the placenta previa.  Hopefully I'm not told to go on bedrest, but we'll figure that out as we need to! 

Happy last week before Christmas! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

21 Weeks

I can't quite believe another week has ticked by...December is quickly speeding past as it usually does, and along with it so are the weeks of this second trimester.  7 weeks left until the third trimester begins! This week my belly is really starting to feel like a pregnant belly.  I'm noticing sensations of internal and external stretching that are somewhat uncomfortable at times, as though I'm walking around with a post-Thanksgiving belly full of food all the time!  I don't believe I have as yet adopted the pregnant lady waddle, although there are times when I feel like it! Maybe I should ask someone to walk behind me and assess that...

Inspecting my un-clad self after a shower the other night (as I have developed the slightly disconcerting habit of doing), I discovered the appearance of several silvery white stretch marks on my sides.  I do believe these have been there since sometime in middle school (another period of awkwardly rapid growth, it seems), but now that my belly is starting to tug at the sides they are showing their sneaky little selves again.  I'm not sure if the fact that I had them earlier in my life means my skin is just prone to getting them and I can look forward to all kinds of new lovely, probably purple ones in the coming weeks, or if I still have the chance of escaping with a smooth skinned belly.  Of course, I have no choice but to wait and see, and although I know no amount of cocoa butter or belly oil will stave them off, I'm still doing my best to moisturize the heck out of my skin under the premise that it's winter and who wants dry, itchy skin on top of stretch marks?! Bring on the Burt's Bees Mama Bee belly balm!

21 Week Belly:

I really need to have these taken at the beginning of the day instead of at the end...

Dinner last night - tostitos and salsa, chocolate ice cream (I guess this is probably why they have pregnant ladies take vitamins)

Pregnancy cleavage is obnoxious.

Pregnancy skin is still weird.

Pregnancy dreams are weirder. Like the one where the baby was born with all of her baby teeth? Yeah like that.

The room that will become the nursery at my Mom's is in a state of unbelievable possibly pre-hoarding stage disarray.  We have MAJOR work to do after the holidays.  See for yourself:

So anyway, there you have it.  Our life at 21 weeks, in a nutshell.  

Monday, December 6, 2010

20 Weeks - Halfway to a baby

While I hate to start a post with an apology, I do have to say I'm sorry for the delay in getting this updated this week...of all weeks! Big News! Last Thursday was the halfway point for me in the pregnancy, 20 weeks, and we had a midwife appointment that went well that day.  My blood pressure remains normal, baby's heart rate is hovering in the mid-150s, and my weight gain has been modest so far, which is all good news.  Not much else to add there, things just keep rolling along normally.

Then on Friday we had our much awaited ultrasound.  Baby is growing right on track and weight is estimated to be about 13 ounces right now.  Our sonographer spent plenty of time checking out each part of baby's development, head to toe.  Every major organ system is looking normal, all structures and bones are growing normally, all fingers and toes seem accounted for.  Femur, humerus, feet and hands are measuring right on track.  There seems to be no evidence of a cleft lip or palate.  Brain development appears normal so far.  The heart appears to be perfect from every angle they could get (which was a lot!).  Little one is stubborn and would.not.move for the longest time for them to get a good peek at the profile, so I was asked to get up and pee, and do a few jumping jacks to get it going! We asked the tech not to tell us the baby's sex, but write it down and we would open it together after the appointment.  After all the measurements were taken, a perinatologist looked them over and then met with us to discuss everything.  By and large, baby looks like a healthy, fabulous little 20 week fetus.  There was one particular measurement which was slightly "abnormal", but they discussed what this might mean, and also that it can be off in the spectrum of typical babies very often as well.  Without getting into too much detail, I will say that although it was a surprise to both of us that we didn't walk away with a "perfect" assessment, there seems to be no real need for concern regarding baby's health or development at this point.  On that note, here are some cute pictures of our little one!

Right Foot 

Left Foot 

I like to call this shot "skeletor" - front view of baby's skull, with a creepish looking hand curled up

Profile, with arm across the top

However, they did discover that I have a total placenta previa, grade 1.  Basically, a little bit of the placenta is implanted covering the cervix.  They felt that this would likely resolve over the next part of the pregnancy, but they want to repeat an ultrasound at 28 weeks to check it again.  If it hasn't moved, we will start discussing what this might mean for the remainder of pregnancy as far as restrictions (i.e bed rest! ugh!) and for delivery.  If it is still there at 32 weeks, they will most likely plan for a c-section.  Not much else to say about that at this point, but hopefully it resolves itself and we won't have to discuss it further!

So, for those of you who haven't already heard, we did find out the sex of the baby. DISCLAIMER - Mark if you are reading this, stop now!!! And for any of you who know Matt's father, please do not tell him! He doesn't want to know, and we will do our best to honor that wish for him.  Anyway, the tech was quite sure he saw what he needed to see (I'm pretty sure I saw it when he did too).  He wrote the sex down and we decided to go to the Michigan Theater and open the envelope on the landing where we got married.  It was really sweet, and totally Matt's idea.  It was a perfect way to find out that we are going to have a daughter! It's a girl :) Neither of us were surprised to see that word written on the paper, but it was so wonderful to know that we can now start calling baby "her" and thinking of names.  No, we don't have any front runners yet, and I think we might keep that little part a secret until the end when we do!

I know this post is getting super long, but I wanted to end with a belly pic from 20 weeks.  Halfway - think it's half as big as it's going to get? Haha, yeah right! I look like I could use a good nap here. Hope 21 weeks photographs better.  I'm wishing I was a bit more creative with my weekly shots, but I guess there's still some time left.