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Another week gone by. Week 25 comes to a close by shaking its jazz hands obnoxiously in your face. Well, my face, specifically, in the form of a big, fat head cold. A head cold that is sitting directly on my eyes and nose. In fact, I feel like my big belly is crushing my face. Yes, that’s what I feel like. I’m not usually a complainer when it comes to being sick, but I swear, right now you would think I had a Man Cold the way I’m going on and on about it. I just feel crappy, crap, crapster, and since I’m still trying to remain drug-free during this pregnancy, spritzing saline solution up my nose is proving to do nothing more than make me gag on salt water running down my throat. Hopefully the cold will pass soon, and in the meantime, I will fantasize about a Nyquil-induced sleep and contemplate finally using that weird Neti pot. (More on that tomorrow.)

Weight. According to my bathroom scale, 19 pounds in total, including another seven pound weight gain this month. I’ll have the official weigh-in tomorrow at my doctor’s, but my scale as proven to be pretty accurate. I’m still taken aback when I see the numbers rise, but my mentality about it has shifted a bit. I’m a bit more comfortable each time I see a new number and can pretty much just shrug and think, well, he’s growing!

Sleep. Sleep? What sleep? I’m up at least twice a night now to use the bathroom and since rolling over now includes sort of a hurling motion, sleep is no longer and solid stretch of time. Especially with this head cold. I mean, uggggggggghhhhI can’t breathe, complain, complain, complain. I’m writing this post at 6:34 a.m. after lying awake in bed since 5, so that should tell you something. The silver lining to not sleeping is that I wake up to This Little Baby putting on a tap dance, and get to spend some time just lying there and feeling him. If he stays true to his nighttime routine when he’s outside the belly, he’s going to be up and ready to party at around both 1 and 4 a.m. Mamma hasn’t partied at 4 a.m. in quite a long time, but I’ll gladly put on my party shoes for him.

Movement. Speaking of tap dances, TLB is trying to rival Fred Astaire. He is active most of the day, except if I’m in the car. Maybe this means he’ll be a good car sleeper. Many people have spent time with their hands on the belly feeling him kick, and my sister spent a good amount of time yesterday just watching my stomach bounce. It’s pretty cool in an alien sort of way. He’s very still during my yoga class until the very end, when we lay perfectly still on our sides. That’ s when he wakes up and is all, “Hiiiii, Mom!!!” He also really likes it when we “om”, which means he must be a zen baby, right?

Yesterday, I was lying in bed when all of the sudden he spazed. It felt like what I imagine a flying squirrel taking flight looks like. Kind of a BAM! All limbs out! sort of feeling, pummeling me all over at once.

Am having baby, not squirrel. I think.

It made me gasp, then laugh and pull Michael’s arm around me, where he spent the next half hour just lying there feeling his son kick. The belly is cute and all, but nothing compares to feeling him move. Nothing.

Body. I haven’t really noticed any changes in what I think are stretch marks, and I’ll take it. (She says, clearly jinxing herself.) What I have noticed is the creepy one-sided belly button protrusion is continuing. I don’t know when it’s going to happen, but the right side is definitely about to pop out and say hello to the world. I mean, I can’t blame it, really. It’s been in seclusion for 27 years. I’d want to say, “Hello, World!” too.

I’m becoming more clumsy, as my center of balance has significantly changed, as well as my depth perception. I’m constantly bumping into things — and people — with my stomach. The other night I impaled myself on the corner of a pizza box while taking it into the kitchen. I bumped it into the banister and it bounced off and stabbed me in the gut. A quick Google search confirmed that no, you cannot dent your baby’s head with the corner of a pizza box while it’s in utero, stupid. (I’m pretty sure at least 11 of those 19 pounds are purely pizza and I will be disappointed this summer when I learn that I actually delivered a medium cheese pie and not, in fact, a baby.)

I’m providing Michael with endless amusement, at least, as I propel myself forward off the couch with a grunt, or need help getting up from a low sitting position. So, at least there’s that.

I can’t believe there’s only two weeks left until the third trimester, which means just over three months until we meet this little person. I really can’t wait.

Shoes still visible, only slight less so.

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Another week comes to a close! According to one of my books, tomorrow begins my six month of pregnancy. What? Month six? We’re there already? Holy moly. This past weekend my mom came to visit and spent a lot of time with her hands on my belly. She also remarked that I’ve developed the classic pregnant woman “wishbone” shape, where my lower back curves like it’s ready to be snapped and make a wish.

This probably explains why I spend at least 10 minutes of every day complaining that my back/butt area hurts.

I decided to start doing the weekly updates in more of a bullet form and leave the letters to baby mostly private, with some sharing of them here and there. Mostly because they’re always so darn sappy! I really liked how Kasia formatted her last pregnancy update, so I’m basically stealing it from her. It’s OK, though, because she rocks.

WEIGHT. I weigh myself occasionally at home, but since it can fluctuate day to day I leave the official count to the scale at my doctor’s office. Which informed me last week that I have currently gained a total of 12 pounds. I know this is a good thing, but nothing prepared me for the surprise of gaining seven pounds in one month. My doctor told me I’m still on track, though, and said she would suggest I gain as much as 35 pounds  by the end of my pregnancy. I’m not shooting for a specific number, because it could end up being any number above or below that, but I will try to keep gaining and a (somewhat) steady rate.

What’s funny to me is I am officially the weight I was when I graduated college, although I’m carrying it completely different now. I guess that’s what happens when your weight is mostly baby related and not caused by 10-cent wings and the contents of red Solo cups. Huh, what do you know.

SYMPTOMS. Other than the aforementioned lower back pain, my symptoms haven’t been too bad. Occasional heartburn, a little sleep discomfort and the ever-present stuffy nose. I almost hate to say it because I’ll probably jinx myself, but my skin seems to finally be reverting back to its 27-year old self, and not that of 14-year old me. I hope. Please.

MOVEMENT. He is SO BUSY. At 22 weeks there will still be days when I don’t feel him as much, but most of the time he is active, awake and letting me know it. And letting others know it, too. Having Michael be able to feel him makes me incredibly happy, but it was equally cool when my mom and friend Ashley felt him kick as well.

The other night, I fell asleep on the couch lying behind Michael and he told me the next day that the entire time, he was getting kicked in the butt by his son. Hilarious! And last night someone else got kicked in the face…Kodiak! He was lying on my belly when he got a surprise bop to the face. He was all, “mom, why did you do that?”

At our 18-week ultrasound Little Boy was stubborn and wouldn’t roll over for the tech, making it difficult for her to get a clear measurement of his heart. Everything looked fine, but since they wanted that shot, we got to go again! This time we watched him put his hands on his face and kick, kick, kick. It was fun being able to watch him move, and feel it at the same time.

I tried to label this one to make it easier to understand. See the feet in the left corner, followed by a leg, a knee bent and a little tush on the bottom right?

WHAT I MISS. I don’t really miss alcohol, but my friend was drinking wine the other night and it smelled incredible. I wanted to crawl inside the glass. At the same time, though, her brussel sprouts smelled like roasted feet, so maybe my sense of smell is still wacky.

I miss my waist. I’m thinking of throwing it a bon voyage party, because it’s definitely on its way out. I am feeling decidedly rectangular, with a big ol’ belly in front. I’ve been told that I look like I’m all belly right now, which is flattering, but I don’t totally believe them! I miss my belly button. It used to be so deep and small that I had never seen the inside of it, and now it’s a weird innie-outie hybrid that seems to be sticking out more on the right than on the left. I don’t know when it’s going to pop, but I think it’s going to happen soon.

On to week 23!

Little Boy,

Welcome to the end of our 21st week together! Tomorrow is my monthly doctor’s appointment, which means Daddy and I get to listen to your heartbeat again. It’s one of my favorite things to do!

This past weekend, your Grandpa came to visit. We had a really nice time, and even took some pictures to show you when you’re bigger. You’ll probably make fun of the one of me lying on the couch, annoyed that Grandpa was tying to take a picture of me with toilet paper up my nose. (I hope you never have a bloody nose. It’s gross.)

The best part about this week is that Daddy felt you kick for real! I was lying on my side and you curled up in the crook of my hip and BOP! I grabbed his hand and shoved it under my side and then…BOP, BOP, BOP!!!!

He was so happy to feel you and it gave me the warm fuzzies all day. It’s becoming more frequent now, and every time he can feel you kick it puts a big smile on his face.

You’ve become quite active, and are kicking around most of the day. You do quiet down in the car, though, which makes me think you’ll fall asleep as soon as the car starts moving. Fine by me!

This weekend your Nonni (that’s Mommy’s mommy!) is coming to visit and she can’t wait to put her hands on my belly. You were stubborn for Grandpa, but maybe you’ll give Nonni a good kick.

My letter to you this week ends with a little advice: as you get older, people will not always be nice. Sometimes they will say mean things and hurt your feelings. It happened to Mommy today — words that stung from a perfect stranger on the Internet! — and it never feels good. (Actually, I think you’re not going to be allowed to use the Internet for a very long time.) But I want you to know that no matter what people say to you in your life, you are already an incredible little boy and we love you with our whole hearts. Ignore the meanies, baby.

I love you, kicking boy!

Love,

Mommy

Dear Baby Boy,

Today is the last day of our 19th week of pregnancy. Tomorrow we will officially have reached the halfway point! This week you were showered with so many presents, including super soft jammies, the sweetest little onesies and your first pair of shoes — teeny, tiny navy blue boat shoes that I want to gobble up for breakfast.

You have been so active this week, especially in the evenings. My new favorite part of the day is when I first go to bed. I lie on my back and you kick, kick, kick. “Hi, Mommy! I’m awake, Mommy!” We’ve tried a few times to get Daddy to feel you, but the minute he puts his hands on my belly, I swear you stop. It’s like you’re playing a little game with us.

I have a new game I like to play with you, too. It doesn’t work all the time, but sometimes you’ll kick me, I’ll nudge you back, and then you’ll kick me again! Most likely, you don’t like me shoving you, but I like to think it’s our way of talking.

We’re trying to pick a name for you. I’m pretty much set on one that I love, but while Daddy likes it, he hasn’t committed to it yet. Names are hard, little one! We want one that will work for you from childhood through adulthood, isn’t too common, but isn’t too trendy, and has a nice flow with our last name.

I’ve started imagining your life in the future. What will you be like? Will you like sports? Love sailing like Daddy? Play music like Mommy? Be artistic? You come from a long line of musically and artistically talented people, so I hope you inherit some of that. We don’t have a piano in the house right now due to space issues, but every time I have the chance elsewhere, I play for you. As soon as we have more space I’ll be getting a piano for our own home, and I hope it’s something you enjoy to play as much as I do.

Will you have white-blond hair like Daddy did when he was a baby, or a darker shade like me? Will you get Daddy’s mile-long eyelashes? (I hope you do!) What about Mommy’s smile?

I’m so excited to see who you will be, Little Boy. It’s been a great first half of pregnancy, and I’m so excited for the next half with you.

I love you!

Love,

Mommy

Dear Baby Boy,

You have a pronoun! You’re a “he”, a “him”. This is so very awesome.

Week 18 was my favorite week of pregnancy thus far, because we were able to see you on the ultrasound and this time you were so much more than a little lima bean. You’re a person — an actively kicking little boy, who at one point during the ultrasound put your little fist under your chin like The Thinker. Oh my goodness, you are just too cute.

You spent most of the time on your side, waving hello and kicking Mommy in the kidney. Ouch. The ultrasound tech tried in vain to get you to roll over to get a better view of your other side, but you were too cozy and content to move. Daddy joked that you’re just like him — not a morning person! If you end up being a night owl like him, you will have lots of special bonding time with Daddy night, while I crash into bed by 11…or at least until your next feeding.

Your ultrasound pictures are on the desk in our office — the room that will soon be converted into your bedroom — and every time I walk past the room I have to stop and take a peek. I can’t stop marveling at your little profile, how round your head looks and how tiny your nose. I am unbelievably smitten and find myself pridefully boasting about you and your cuteness to whoever will listen.

They estimated you to weigh about 9 ounces right now, not even as much as a can of soda. According to statistics, you’re a little larger than most babies at this stage, but only a little. And those stats are just an estimate anyway. You probably just had a growth spurt this week — especially since the ultrasound tech laughed and said you have a big belly! Being a worried mommy, I asked if that was OK and she assured me it was — that it just meant you’re a healthy, growing boy. But with a daddy who was 9 lbs. 8 oz. and now stands at 6’4″, you have the potential to be a VERY healthy and big boy. Your mommy was only 5 lbs. 10 oz., so maybe you’ll be somewhere right in the middle. With that round head, I sure hope so for my sake!

The announcement that a little boy was joining our family has been such exciting news for you grandparents, your Auntie S. and extended family and friends. Everyone is so psyched to meet you! This week, two very sweet packages arrived for you, full of the softest and sweetest little clothes I could ever imagine. I held them up to my chest and the smallness of them overwhelmed me. I pictured your Buddha belly filling the onesies and your little legs and arms snuggled inside them and melted into a puddle of mommy goo.

Symptom-wise I feel fantastic, aside from a very stuffy nose (still) and some shortness of breath. Sleeping continues to get less and less comfortable, but we’re down to only one bathroom visit in the middle of the night, and for that, I’m very grateful. Your kicks (I call them “bops”) are getting stronger each day, and I bet Daddy will be able to feel you in the next few weeks.

As I write this, you’re making your now familiar bubbles on my left side. I think we have the Girl Scout cookie I just ate to thank for that. It’s probably a good thing you’re not going to be Girl Scout, because I would buy (and eat) all your cookies!

Thank you for another wonderful week, little boy.

Love,

Mommy

On July 31, 2008 I wrote this post. In it I said:

“I have a very strong gut feeling my first child will be a boy. I’ve felt it for years. When the time comes we both agreed we want to be surprised. It will be all yellows and greens until the actual birth day. But I’ll tell you, if I have a girl first, I’ll be SHOCKED.

Unbelievably happy.

But completely and totally shocked.

Can you have mother’s intuition long before you’re even pregnant?”

Obviously, we decided not to wait to find out. It turns out that yes, in fact, you can have mother’s intuition before you’re a mother.

We’re having a BOY!!!!!!!!

I think this is the cutest little profile I’ve ever seen.

Thank you all for sending your love to Kodiak. We’re still waiting on final test results, but he appears to be clear of any major medical problems. Yay, but frustrating, because we still don’t know what makes him hurt from time to time. I’ll keep you posted.

Aside from the period of time I spent acquainting my face with the toilet, I really enjoy being pregnant. Now that I finally am showing, I feel womanly, like this is what my body is supposed to be doing. I’m not even halfway through and I can honestly say I definitely want to do this again. And probably again after that.

I am fascinated daily by the changes in my body. Seriously, the human body is SO COOL. I am amazed that a) we created a person who is growing inside of me and b) that my body knows exactly how to do that. I’m constantly surprised by small symptoms that I never would have given much thought to, but that have everything to do with pregnancy. Like my all-the-time runny nose. The reason? Because increased blood flow that’s helping my uterus grow (and wow, has it grown. I can feel it from the outside!), is also helping all my other membranes swell. Like the ones in my nose.

Pass the tissues.

Every week surprises me, but week 16 has been the most surprising so far. The beginning of the week, I was very uncomfortable. My round ligaments — the ligaments that curve around your stomach like an upside down heart — were stretching. A LOT. A simple sneeze caused shocks of pain and rolling over made me want to scream. There’s not a ton you can do to ease the pain of stretching ligaments that have never stretched before, so my only relief was a heating pad set on low wrapped in a towel. It worked OK. Yes, theoretically you can take Tylenol while pregnant, but I’m trying to avoid all drugs unless absolutely necessary.

The ligament pain eased, and the next day Michael was staring at me and remarked that wow, you look pregnant. My stomach seemed to take on a rounder shape overnight. I guess I had a growing day.

And then, I was lying on my couch when I began to feel some pressure in my lower pelvic area. Thinking baby? maybe? I put my hand down there just in time to feel my uterus become rock solid for about 10 seconds. It was the strangest thing I’ve ever felt.

Of course, I turn to Google instantly, which informs me that it’s probably a Braxton-Hicks contraction — a sort of practice contraction your uterus does periodically in preparation of the big day. Apparently the uterus starts contracting in the first trimester, but most women don’t feel it until after week 20. Except some women who apparently feel it early and freak out.

I of course, called my mom. She said it sounded fine, but if it bothered me I should all my doctor. I have to remember that it’s been 20 years since my mom was pregnant, so if she doesn’t remember exactly what day she experienced a particular symptom, I shouldn’t worry when I have it.

I hung up, and called my friend Sara, who had her first baby six weeks ago and clearly remembers her pregnancy. Before I could even finish she informed me that yes, it’s a Braxton-Hicks and she had them around the exact same time as me. Phew.

But see, I was still looking at Google — the best and worst place to read about symptoms — and convinced myself that I was probably having these contractions because I had an undiagnosed urinary tract infection. They’re common in pregnant women and even though I wasn’t experiencing any of the other traditional side effects, I WAS peeing a lot and hey, it could happen.

So I called my doctor. And she said they yes, it’s probably just Braxton-Hicks, but come in for a urine sample anyway just to be sure.

Remember what I said about swollen membranes? Well, ALL your membranes swell. Try peeing into a cup when you’re pregnant and it’s an acrobatic feat. The stupid cup is sterile so you can’t touch anything, and you’re trying to aim while doing your best to remain as pee-free as possible (which, total fail, by the way) and you’re trying not to think about germs in the bathroom and woo hoo! Finally!

They said they would call if anything came up and I haven’t heard from them, so I assume it’s just Braxton-Hicks and nothing else. And all that peeing? Dehydration can cause the contractions too, so I’ve upped my water intake and I believe my uterus is now pressing on my bladder. The toilet and I have become reacquainted, just not with my face. I have about two Braxton-Hicks a day now, and they feel kind of like a Charlie Horse in your leg, but without the pain. Does that make sense? They don’t hurt at all, but the muscles get very hard and ball-like for a few seconds, then release. Body! Weird!

But! A silver lining to week 16 has been an amazing development that happened just last night. On a whim, I made brownies, and after eating one I felt the most amazing thing.

Two little bumps.

Bump.

Was that the baby? Did I just feel my first kick? Could it really be…

Bump!

Imagine a nudge from the inside out. Twice.

I know that babies respond to a spike in blood sugar, and while I really wanted to feel that Bump again, I decided against putting This Little Baby into sugar shock.

But I’ll definitely try it again today.

Oh yeah, and then the brownie gave me heartburn for the first time.

Fire-y, flame-filled heartburn that reached to the back of my eyes and left me tossing and turning past 1 a.m. while my husband snored away. (Water made it worse and Tums only mildly eased the burn, so if anyone has any suggestions I’ll be your best friend.)

I can’t wait to see what week 17 has in store!

Yesterday was the start of my 15th weeks of pregnancy and I swear, it’s flying by!

(This is actually week 14, but it came out better than the week 15 photo.)

According to all the weekly newsletters I receive in my email, This Little Baby is now the size of a navel orange and is kicking up a storm, even though I can’t feel it yet. Although, if I’m being honest, during a prenatal massage on Wednesday (the only solution I found for the persistent 2nd trimester headaches), I rolled onto my stomach (yes, I can still lie on it) and I felt…something.

It wasn’t quite a flutter, or a swish, or any of the other descriptions I’ve read that describe baby’s first detected movements (the technical term is “quickening”), but is was definitely a something. Enough of a something to make me gasp and shove my hand under my belly. The best way I can describe it was like a slow rolling feeling in the lower right side of my belly. It was not gas, and I’ve read that if you’re of a slim build you can actually start to feel little movements here and there this early so WHOA! That’s my BABY!

It happened once more when I was on the couch last night, so I’m hoping in the next few weeks I’ll really start to recognize his/her movements.

And the his/her question? Will be answered in three weeks omigod! (Assuming, of course, that TLB is feeling cheeky enough to expose itself to us during the ultrasound!)

One last thing of note, after dinner last night I was feeling really full and hiked my shirt up to rub my belly absentmindedly while watching TV. Michael came over and exclaimed, “Hey! Your belly button is different!”

It is?

“It used to be so deep and tiny I couldn’t see into it, but now I can! And it looks like a little butt!”

Thanks, honey. A little butt. A belly BUTTon.

Just wait until it pops out  like a turkey timer!

Happy weekend!

December 31, 2009

Dear Baby,

Today is my 27th birthday and the last day of 2009. Tonight, your Daddy and I will ring in the new year together with a pizza and a bottle of sparkling cider and celebrate the beginning of  2010 — the year you will be born.

Did you hear that? The year you’re going to be BORN! I can’t tell you how excited that makes me. In a little while I will be heading off to my monthly doctor’s appointment, where I will get to listen to your heartbeat again. I can’t think of a better birthday present than that.

Last night at midnight, Daddy pulled me into a hug and wished me a happy birthday. Then he put his hands on my belly and told you he loved you. You are so lucky, Baby, to be coming into a family filled with love. It will be my mission to make you feel as loved as I do every day of your life. I don’t think that will be hard, since you’re already loved so much.

We don’t have any big plans tonight, just us, home, together. There’s supposed to be some freezing rain anyway, and who wants to be on the road with that?

Sixteen years from today you’re going to ask me if you can go to a party tonight and I will tell you no. You will probably be mad at me and roll your eyes. You’ll tell me I’m so uncool. And I will tell you exactly what your grandmother told me every year — you are my baby and I love you too much for anything to happen to you. New Years Eve is not  a safe night to be out. Not until you’re at least 18 and then only if I know where you are at all times and you’re not drinking or getting in a car.

That won’t appease you, but I’m your mother so what I say goes.

I finally really understand what my mother meant, Baby. Because you’re not even here yet and I would give my life to keep you safe.

I will show you this letter someday and hope that you understand.

Twenty-seven is the best birthday by far, I think, because of you. You are exactly 14-weeks old in there and in just 4-6 weeks we will find out if you’re a boy or a girl. That seems like an eternity, but it was just that long ago that we heard your heartbeat for the first time and that feels like just yesterday.

That perfect little heartbeat.

I love you, my little Baby. And I’m so happy that 2010 is going to be your year.

See you in six months!

Love,

Mommy

I’ve entered that weird place where my normal clothes don’t fit quite right anymore, but I’m not really big enough for maternity clothes.

It’s really frustrating.

Early in my pregnancy, my then VERY pregnant friend dragged me to Target to purchase a BellaBand. The stretchy tube-like contraption is supposed to help you get through the awkward clothes issues you face in pregnancy.

In the beginning when your pants juuuust don’t close anymore, you wear it over the top of your jeans with the button open. Your pants stay up, and the open button doesn’t poke out unsightly. When you have a big belly, it helps keep up maternity pants that tend to slip down. And then, postpartum, it helps you start squeezing back into your old pants again.

I’ve played around with it a few times over the last three months, but all of the sudden this week it became a necessity.

My pants don’t close anymore.

I think it’s also important to tell you that not only did smaller pants come ushering in with the 2nd trimester, so did a flood of emotional crying. I bet you can guess how great those two things go together.

(Side note — Things That Made Me Cry This Weekend: Watching the opening montage in Up, when Kevin gets captured and taken away from her babies in Up, when Michael left NY a day earlier than me to head home to go to work, opening a beautiful painting of the place we were married, Teen Mom on MTV.)

I know it’s something that all pregnant women go through, but I have officially hit the “I feel gross and fat, NOT pregnant” stage. I’m lucky that Michael is so comforting and reassuring that I’m beautiful, but still. When the only thing I fit in correctly is sweat pants, it’s hard to feel attractive.

I think I might have to go try on some maternity pants.

WHAT?

Case in point:

You might notice the yoga pants I have on. About three minutes before this picture was taken, I had the jeans/BellaBand combo on. And then I ate some artichoke/cheese dip and well, the jeans were too tight.

Any mommies or mommies-to-be have good recommendations on maternity pants? I’ll take all the help I can get.

(Also, This Little Baby apparently liked the dip. A lot.)