In an effort to keep our family blog, The Parker Pack, from being overrun by pregnancy photos and updates, I’ve started this blog, A Belly in Bloom, to record my voyage through these next 9 months. Check back often for belly pics, sonograms, and just general posts about Mom’s thoughts throughout this journey. Keep watching our original blog, The Parker Pack, to see videos, photos, and more from our day-to-day lives.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Aubrey's Birth Story

On Tuesday, I woke up feeling horribly down and emotional (see my blog post) and out of sorts. Little did I know that all of those emotions were probably due to my body getting ready for labor!

Tuesday night, after a long day, I climbed into the tub to relax. I started having contractions in the bath, and noticed that they seemed really close together. I figured they'd probably quit, since I had been having contractions for weeks now, and just stayed in the tub. When I got out, I began timing them--and they were 2 minutes apart, lasting only 30 seconds, and not very strong. I figured it was just my uterus acting weird again and decided to watch TV with Brad.

My contractions started spacing out and getting longer and stronger, but since they had started out closer together and weak, I figured they were still just Braxton Hicks. After several hours, about 10:30 PM, the contractions stabilized at every 5 minutes and began getting pretty intense, so I called my doctor for some advice--I knew it was going to take family members at least an hour to get to our house to care for Aiden, so I didn't want to wait too late, but I didn't want to rouse the troops and be sent home from the hospital for a false alarm, either. The doc called me back at midnight and told me that I was probably in early labor, but that I could labor at home until I felt them getting really intense--he encouraged me to trust my body, that I would know when to come in.

The contractions were too strong to really let me sleep, so I cat-napped on the couch between contractions, which were now about 4 minutes apart. At around 4 AM I put out the call, knowing I'd want to go to the hospital soon. Brad and I got to Medical Center of Plano around 6:30 AM and I was hooked up to the monitors. I was contracting every 4-5 minutes and had dilated to 3 cm, so they admitted me and monitored me for a while, then I got up and began walking the halls, hoping to speed things up.

Several hours later, after many walks and a couple of catnaps, they checked me again and found I was still at 3 cms, despite hours of regular contractions. The nurse put a call in to my doc, who suggested that I consider either Pitocin or having my water broken. He was at the office and had meetings to attend, so I had a couple of hours to decide what I wanted to do and to see if things would speed up on their own.

I think I must have walked about 100 miles that day! We tried natural induction methods, like nipple stimulation and walking, but when the doc arrived at 2:00 PM, I was still at 3 cm, so I agreed to have my water broken--we figured this might be enough to get things moving along, but I would be able to avoid the really intense and close-together Pitocin-induced contractions. Doc broke my water, then I was up and walking the halls again.

Within a couple of hours, the contractions got much stronger and more intense. I walked for a while, sat on the birth ball, kept moving around, and then got into the shower with the birth ball when things really got tough. I stayed in the shower for probably an hour, and despite a small flood of the bathroom floor when I blocked the drain with the ball (oops!), the water felt great and kept me relaxed between contractions. I was in a lot of pain during the contractions, but I was able to rest and relax in between, so I kept laboring naturally. Pretty soon, it was time for me to be monitored, so I had to climb out of the shower and back in to bed. This was absolute torture--at this point, my contractions were 3 minutes apart and lasting about a minute, and I was in a ton of pain. They checked my cervix and informed me I was only dilated to a 5, maybe a 6, so at this point, I threw in the towel and asked for an epidural. Had I been dilated to an 8, I could have gutted it out, but I still had 4-5 cms to go, which had taken me 22 hours to accomplish so far, with no sleep, so I knew I was just too exhausted to continue.

The nurse hooked me up to an IV and began running fluids in so I could get the epidural, and about an hour later, my best friend (a.k.a. the guy with the drugs) came in and gave me the epidural. He gave me what I really wanted--a light "walking" epidural that would take the edge off, but I could still move my legs around and change positions in the bed, and I could still feel my contractions.

A few minutes after getting the epidural, my blood pressure dropped and I got the shakes. Aubrey's heart rate dropped with it, and so they put me on oxygen and began moving me around to find a good position that would make her happy. The charge nurse came in and began working with my nurse, and she asked how I was feeling. I told her I was feeling a lot of pressure and described where, and she suggested that my nurse check me. It had been 15 minutes since my epidural, and I had just dilated from 6 cm to 8! They now knew why my blood pressure had dropped and Aubrey was having the decelerations in her heart rate--the quick descent and change had stressed her (and me) out. She rebounded within a minute or two and started doing well again, so they began prepping the room and getting things set-up, figuring I didn't have much longer to go. But even the nurses didn't expect me to go as fast as I did--in 15 minutes, I was complaining of a ton of pressure in my butt and groin and feeling like I needed to push, so they checked me again: I was completely dilated and Aubrey's head was practically ready to be delivered!

The nurses began scrambling and calling my doc to hurry up, while I panted and tried to not push. The nursery team and all of the delivery team were in place, I was in position, when my doc came in and quickly suited up. I pushed through 3 contractions and Aubrey was delivered--an hour after having received my epidural! 24 hours of labor, 23 of them natural and dragging along, then 1 very fast hour and she was delivered!

The delivery itself was great. With Aiden, I had had so many complications, from spiking a fever and getting a uterine infection, to having to be on medication for pre-eclampsia, to multiple decelerations in Aiden's heart rate that resulted in him having to be vacuum-extracted. When he was born, he was instantly whisked away to the NICU and I didn't get to hold him but for about a minute. But with Aubrey, I got to watch her delivery in the mirror (which I know would freak some people out, but to me, it was amazing to see), and then she was placed on my tummy for me to touch and hold as soon as she was delivered. They kept her in the room to be quickly cleaned up, then brought her to me and I was able to hold her and nurse her for a couple of hours before they came and took her to the nursery to be bathed and assessed. My doc was so relaxed and encouraging, my nurses were fantastic, everyone was laughing and joking and happy--it was such a great experience all around. It was a joyous time that matched the excitement of the moment of bringing my daughter into this world.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A watched pot never boils...

I think everyone and their mother has called me in the past few days.

"Have you had that baby yet?"
"Are you still pregnant?"
"When is that kid going to come out?"

I've gotten plenty of advice on things to try to get labor started--most of them I've already been doing, some of them are just plain silly, and a couple border on dangerous or sound amazingly uncomfortable, so I'll just skip those! By the way, I don't think I've ever had so many people encourage me to have sex in my life!

I promise, everyone, when we go to the hospital, I'll post on the blog before we leave and will send an email to everyone I have an email for. After that, I'm sure you'll get phone calls from each other as to when Aubrey arrives--the family/friend phone tree has a surprising way of working on its own. And some time after the birth, I'll post pictures and the birth story on the blog.

Until then, I'm waiting.... I think I'm going to go crazy or broke trying to come up with things to distract me and keep me busy until she gets here!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

39 weeks

We're getting close! The bags are packed, care is lined up for Aiden, I'm officially on maternity leave, we've found people to cover our class of 5th and 6th graders at church, and we are SO anxious for her to get here! Now, if Aubrey will just get with the program and decide to join us on the outside, we'd be all set!

At my weekly sonogram, she looked great--measuring 7 lbs. 12 ozs, her measurements actually putting her a little ahead of schedule. She is practicing her breathing so often that now, I'll see my belly rising and falling with her "breaths." Her movements are great, the fluid volume is still optimal, and her umbilical cord is still functioning very well, so there's no rush to get her out...but her daddy and I would be very happy if she'd decide to join us sooner rather than later!

I walk with a decided waddle these days--between my pubic bone having split entirely (no cure except delivery of the baby), my back having long ago moved out of alignment, and some major sciatic nerve pain, by the day's end, my walk looks pretty awful. But that's OK--I have the "cankles" and swollen feet to match the waddle, so it's all good! My weight gain has seemed to stall at 36 pounds, but I think my butt is getting wider by the moment. I'm swollen everywhere these days--my face, my hands, my entire legs, but since my blood pressure has stayed low, my doc isn't concerned. But my engagement ring has been abandoned to my jewelry box and most of my shoes (including all of my cute fall boots) are sitting quite dejectedly at the back of my closet until after baby arrives, since I can no longer stuff my feet into them.

I know she'll be here soon enough--but what is it about these last few weeks of pregnancy that make every women wonder whether she'll be the first woman to stay pregnant forever? Or that she'll deliver by "uterine explosion" instead of vaginally or by c-section? I know, ridiculous, but these thoughts have crossed my mind!

For now, I guess I'll just keep waiting.... Hopefully, the wait won't be too long!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Does anyone know...

...if there is a place on a pregnant woman's body you can push/bang on in order to get the kid out? You know, how on a ketchup bottle, if you turn it to just the right angle and tap on the 57, the ketchup comes pouring out? I need to find that spot on my body, thank you, 'cause I'm sick of having this kid in me! Get her out, please! Maybe if I lean back at a 45 degree angle and someone taps my belly button....

By the way, before you leave me some dirty, perverted comment on where I can be "banged," just remember who you are talking to and how I got into this mess in the first can bet Brad and I have already tried all of the "obvious" spots to no avail! :) All you perverts should be ashamed....

Monday, October 27, 2008

37 Weeks

If Aubrey were to come today, she would be considered full-term, so I am officially hanging the "No Vacancy" sign in my uterus.

On Friday, I went to my OB for a check-up and my weekly NST. Aubrey is doing great--her heart rate is still in the normal range and shows good variability. My doc also checked my cervix to see if I'd made any progress, and he informed me that I'm not even quite dilated to 1 cm yet. What?! I'm still at the same dilation I was before, when I started having early labor contractions at 31 weeks! Even after all these weeks of Braxton Hicks, nothing, no progress.

My doc told me we'd schedule my induction for 40 weeks at my next appointment, but I quickly declined--I'm adamant about wanting as few interventions in this birth as possible, after having just about every intervention short of a C-section last time, so starting out with an induction seems like a horrible idea to me. I told him we can schedule an induction at 42 weeks, but not before--I may be miserable, but I'm not THAT miserable! He said he'd strip my membranes next week to see if that would help things along, and said I could spend the next few weeks doing "my part" and hopefully this kiddo will come out sometime between now and her due date (neither of us really wants me in labor on Thanksgiving, right after her due date, if we can help it along naturally). "So, basically I should spend the next few weeks walking around, keeping upright, vacuuming floors, and 'stealing my husbands prostaglandins'?" I asked. "I've never heard it put that way before," he chuckled, and sent me home to have sex with my husband. (A prescription Brad didn't mind in the least, after weeks of being "benched" while I was on bed rest.)

I've stocked up on red raspberry leaf tea and evening primrose oil supplements (2 herbal remedies that are supposed to help things along). I've been walking as much as my poor feet will allow me to, but the swelling has gotten horrible in the past few days. My poor feet look like giant loaves of bread, and my hands are looking pretty bad, too. I'm still having tons of Braxton Hicks contractions--I just hope they'll actually do something to move things along--I'm so tired of being pregnant, I could scream. My back is sore, I can't sleep at night, the heartburn is torture, my feet ache non-stop, and I feel as if I'm puffy and swollen everywhere. It is as if a cartoon character has come along and inhabited my body--I no longer recognize it as my own.

And to top it all off, none of my maternity clothes fit anymore. How this is possible, I don't know. Most of my maternity clothes are leftover from last pregnancy--in which I gained just shy of 60 pounds--and they fit fine through the end. I've only gained 34 pounds this pregnancy, yet my belly sticks out more--most of my shirts no longer cover my big ol' round tummy! (Did they shrink in storage??) So I'm stuck wearing the same 5 shirts and 2 pairs of pants every day until the end--I really don't want to invest in new maternity wear that I'd only wear for a max of 3 or 4 weeks! And now my shoes are all getting too tight--at this rate, I'll be living in PJ's and house shoes all day!

Monday, October 13, 2008

35 Weeks

Only 35 days to go! Aubrey is doing great so far. Her weekly BPP's and non-stress tests (NST's) have all come back great so far, meaning she is doing very well in there. She has been practicing her breathing in the uterus for weeks now, so if she were to come early, the chances are good that she would not need any special help with breathing and would be able to come home with Mom and Dad from the hospital. Mom is doing well so far, too--my blood pressure is staying down and I'm not showing any preeclampsia signs, so all is well.

Cathy and Wayne, Brad's Aunt and Uncle, are in town to close on their new house they bought north of Dallas, so they joined Brad, Aiden and I for the ultrasound this week. Most of these appointments I end up going to alone (the BPP's only take about 5 minutes), but since they were doing both a BPP and a growth check, I brought along the whole gang. Cathy and Wayne enjoyed seeing Aubrey on ultrasound, and Aiden got a kick out of watching her shake her fist at him. The sonographer indulged us with a few extra minutes of "show time" and was great about pointing out Aubrey's many features.

At today's appointment, Ms. Aubrey measured at a whopping 6 lbs. 3 oz. Her thigh bone, arm bone and tummy circumference are all measuring several days ahead of schedule, but what really worries Mom is that her head is measuring 2 WEEKS ahead! Heaven help me if this kid keeps growing like this these next few weeks!

The late-term ultrasounds are so neat. With Aiden, we got one ultrasound at 20 weeks and that was it. At 20 weeks, you can tell the baby's sex and see their basic shape, but with the late ultrasounds, the baby has fat under their skin, so instead of seeing a skeleton, you really see the baby's face and features, even her hair. Speaking of which, I now know why I've been having all this heartburn--Aubrey has grown quite a thick head of hair and it is already pretty long! And it looks as if I'll be getting a chunky baby this time around--she already has little fat rolls along her back!

Now it is just a matter of waiting. As long as all of the NST's and BPP's come back with good results, she'll get to stay inside. If anything changes, they'll induce me that day. And now that I'm past 35 weeks and since Aubrey is showing "respiratory maturity," they won't stop my labor if I go back into labor again. Brad and I are hoping she'll keep "cooking" for another week or so, but then I'm ready to get this kiddo out--I am feeling pretty miserable these days! Constant heartburn, an aching back, swollen feet, a sore belly from all the contractions and little knees and elbows digging in, and sheer exhaustion from an inability to sleep has me ready to GET HER OUT SOON!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

3D/4D Ultrasound

Since we didn't get to do it with Aiden, we decided to splurge and go for a 3D ultrasound this pregnancy. My mom, Marilyn, and my grandmother, Charlotte, joined Brad and Aiden and I to get a sneak peak at Aubrey Ryann.

She didn't want to cooperate at first--apparently, my daughter is using the placenta as a pillow and likes to keep her face buried against it--but after some walking around, a few yoga poses, and some maneuvers from side-to-side, we were able to get a clear view of her face. Brad was elated to see she has the signature "Parker chin" with the adorable dimple, and I was happy to see she has inherited the chubby "Brum cheeks" from my side of the family. Aiden got a kick out of seeing her yawn and smile, and he was pleased to see that she was "cool" and had fat feet like Aiden and I (we tell daddy that he isn't cool because he has skinny feet). And we can all rest assured that we won't have to return any pink clothing--Aubrey is definitely a girl, and gave us a good shot of her butt and girl parts to prove it!

It was such a neat experience, getting to see our little girl for the first time. We got a tiny glimpse at her personality, seeing her grab for her feet, smile, and rub her forehead with her fist. It makes me even more excited to meet her face-to-face!! I hope these next 8 or 9 weeks fly by so I can hold her already!

Here is a slideshow of the stills--you can click on the pics to be taken to a larger version of them. I've tried several times to upload the DVD, but my DVD ripper software isn't working, so I'll try to get it added as soon as I can.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

A Practice Run

Aubrey gave us the opportunity to practice our "labor dash" to the hospital late Monday night. I had been eating dinner when I noticed I was having quite a few Braxton Hicks contractions, so after I finished eating, I laid down on the couch and began timing them. 6 minutes apart, then 5 minutes apart, then 4...I figured it was time to call the doc! My OB told me to go in to the hospital to be monitored and have them check my cervix, so Brad and I began throwing things into my labor bag and calling our friend, Emily, to come and sit with Aiden (who was, thankfully, sleeping through the commotion). It was ironic, I had purchased a new duffel just to use for my hospital bag, I had even come up with a list of items I needed to remember...but not one item had found its way into the bag, so Brad and I were trying to think of things we'd need "in case" I was going into real labor, but also hoping desperately we wouldn't need a thing in there.

When we got to the hospital, they put me in a room and hooked me up to monitors. I was contracting away at about 4 minutes apart, so they checked my cervix, and it had changed slightly since the week before at the doctor's office. They called my doc, who prescribed an injection of terbutylene, in hopes it would stop my labor. They gave me the shot, which caused me to feel miserably jittery and like my heart was going to pound its way out of my chest. At this point, it was almost 2 AM, so I sat in a drugged stupor, feeling like I had drank 50 cups of coffee, for several hours. Finally I felt as if I could sleep, so I tried to get comfortable (pretty impossible with a blood pressure cuff, contraction monitor and fetal heart-rate monitor strapped to me). I managed to get a few catnaps in here and there through the night, then they sent the doc in to see me in the morning. The contractions had not disappeared, but they had spaced out considerably and weakened, so they sent me home on modified bed rest around 10 AM. I don't have to stay in bed all day, but I need to spend the vast majority of my waking hours either sitting or lying down.

The whole experience gave me a sense of deja vu--Brad and I went though almost this exact same scenario with Aiden at 31 or 32 weeks. Same contractions, same meds to stop it, same outcome. Pretty strange!!

I'm still having contractions from time-to-time, but they haven't become regular at all. They've also discovered that I have a urinary tract infection, so they are putting me on antibiotics (the UTI could be the culprit behind the pre-term labor). For now, I am trying to keep myself busy with sewing and scrapbooking and reading. The next few weeks are going to be LONG and boring, but worthwhile if they can buy little Aubrey some additional "cooking" time.

Monday, September 15, 2008

31 Week Belly Shot

OK, Blogger is acting goofy, my 31 week post is published but doesn't show on my list of blogs (weird!), so here's the pic I forgot to add.

31 weeks

Only 9 weeks to go! Ms. Aubrey is growing like a weed--she is still measuring ahead of schedule. Luckily, my weight gain has slowed back down to normal after that growth spurt a few weeks ago! Aubrey is very active, especially at night. It seems she decides it is time to tap dance on my ribs every night at about 8:00 and doesn't stop until around midnight or 1:00 AM. She has gotten so strong--she'll push a foot out or dig an elbow into my belly, trying to get comfortable, and even Aiden can see my belly move. Yesterday he leaned down to kiss my belly and got a kick on the cheek--his startled look was priceless!

We had a growth check ultrasound today, and Aubrey is doing great. On U/S, she measures 4 days ahead of schedule, her heart rate is strong, she moves a lot, and my amniotic fluid levels are good, so all is well. Starting next week, we'll be going to the maternal-fetal medicine specialist every week for a biophysical profile (BPP). Because of the lupus issue, they want to watch the placental function carefully and make sure Aubrey continues to do well in utero. The BPP is all done via ultrasound (so we'll get to see her often) and is basically just for them to observe her movements, make sure her heart rate varies with activity, watch her practice "breathing," and check on my fluid levels. It will be good to see her each week and know she is OK, but it will be a lot of driving and waiting room time--my regular OB will also be seeing me weekly! Guess I'll have plenty of time to catch up on crappy magazines and work Sudoku puzzles!

Here's the latest belly shot. I feel so big! My belly attracts quite a bit of attention these days--perfect strangers feel compelled to touch it and little kids point to it and ask about the baby growing inside. It's gotten Brad out of a ticket, and usually prompts people to get up and offer me a seat. I've got a pretty good shelf to set my book on when I read, and Brad laughs at how I use it as a table when I'm snacking on the couch.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Aubrey's Nursery

All of that "nesting" has finally paid off--we've finished Aubrey's nursery. It was a project--the room was being previously used for storage, so it took a lot of cleaning out and organizing to get it emptied and ready for her! We also re-finished a dresser that used to be Aiden's and re-purposed what used to be a dining room buffet from our old dining set into a changing table. I sewed all of the crib bedding, dust ruffle, a valance and pillows, made a French memo board, and covered all of the knobs with fabric as well. I've sewed a matching quilt to go in her room, too, but I haven't been able to assemble the quilt yet--that's my current project, and considering this is my first attempt at quilting, it is probably going to take me FOREVER! Maybe I'll have it finished before she is born!

Aiden is very cute about the nursery. I catch him in there at least once a day, admiring her toys, pushing her swing, and rocking in what used to be HIS rocking chair. He doesn't seem jealous, just curious. He usually tells me all about the things he's going to do with his sister--teach her how to play with her toys, rock her, pat her back, push her in her swing, etc. Let's hope he feels the same way when she arrives!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The honeymoon is over

Yes, pregnancy can be a wonderful, miraculous thing. It can provide moments of sheer joy and amazement as you watch and feel this life growing inside of you. But contrary to what so many women want you to believe, it is not 9 months of bliss. Yes, I am grateful for the fact that I am pregnant, and I know for some women they would do anything to be able to share in this miracle--I am not overlooking how fortunate I am to be able to get pregnant and carry my own children. However, the experience isn't all glowing and happy, either.

For me, the "honeymoon phase" of this pregnancy is definitely over. For most of the second trimester, I felt well, I had energy, my hormones were (fairly) stable, and I was excited about the pregnancy. But now that I'm 29 weeks and growing more uncomfortable by the minute, those days are long over.

It's gotten impossible to sleep, between having disturbing dreams every night, Aiden waking me up for drinks of water or bathroom breaks, the inability to get comfortable, waking up drenched with sweat several times a night, etc. My body is tired from carrying around a whole other person--my back hurts, my ribs hurt, my legs feel like they have pins and needles all the time, and I've got someone's knees or head or elbows poking me in the gut all the time. I've been horribly irritable and cranky lately--the exhaustion and the discomfort of being pregnant, especially in the heat of the summer, is wearing on my ordinarily sunny disposition.

My poor husband is probably feeling pretty "neglected" about now, but I'm just so tired lately and I feel huge and not exactly beautiful these days. My brain has gone to mush, I can't remember a thing, I'm clumsy and awkward and tired all the time and feel like my body has been taken over by someone else and isn't my own anymore. I want to cry at the drop of a hat and the smallest things annoy me to no end. I don't want to be at work, I hate my job, I just want to clean my house, obsess about getting ready for the baby, and get everything I possibly can done and organized before she gets here, because I know once she arrives our lives are going to be turned upside down.

And then there are the worries--about the baby; the birth; my health; the stress another kid is going to put on my marriage; how I'll ever manage taking care of Aiden and Aubrey; how I'll ever be able to love another child the way I do Aiden; how I'll ever be able to care for the demands of an infant while still making Aiden feel important and special and loved; how another family member will affect our finances; whether I'll be able to take my time going back to work or whether I'll have to return quickly or pull Aiden out of school because of budget concerns and, if so, how I'll ever be able to handle putting an infant in day care...the list goes on and on and on.

I know, rationally, that this pregnancy will end soon enough and I will miss having her inside me. I know that many of my worries and concerns are probably unfounded and will work themselves out. "Don't worry" people tell you, but that's like telling me not to blink--sure, I can control the urge for a while, but eventually, my body is going to give into the reflex.

I don't want to rush her out, I want her to stay in and "cook" for another 9-11 weeks, as planned. And part of me thinks that this may be my last pregnancy (we haven't decided), so I should be treasuring every moment. But another part of me just wishes there was a fast forward button on this pregnancy.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Feathering my nest

I've had a sudden urge to get everything done these past few weeks. I've sewn all the bedding, sanded and painted furniture, hung pictures and curtains, scoured sales racks for baby clothing and unpacked all of our baby gear from storage. I've made lists of things to get done, cleaned the house like crazy, and even washed all of the baby clothes in infant detergent. I've even started making Christmas lists and started shopping, determined to get as much done now as I can, before Aubrey arrives, so I won't have to drag a newborn infant around the mall during cold and flu season. To say that my nesting instinct has kicked in is a bit of an understatement--Brad teases me that one day, he expects to come home and find a pile of old blankets, sticks and shredded newspaper piled in a corner of our bedroom!

Since I went into labor early with Aiden and ended up on bed rest a couple of weeks, I just worry that if I don't get things done now, something will happen and I'll be left sitting in bed down the hall from an unfinished nursery, unable to do a thing about it. I know, I'm probably being a neurotic mother-to-be, but with the same early pre-eclampsia signs beginning to show up that I had with Aiden, I'm a bit worried. Nothing to technically worry about yet, as my blood pressure is still low and I don't have protein in my urine, but with Aiden, I had swelling in my face, sudden weight gain, and spots/floaters in my vision weeks before my blood pressure went up--and suddenly I find myself with those exact same symptoms. I called my doc to give him the heads up and ask to see if he wanted to see me before my next scheduled appointment in a couple of weeks, and he said yes and squeezed me into his busy schedule on Tuesday afternoon. Keep your fingers crossed that these symptoms are nothing to worry about...and that I avoid having pre-eclampisa this pregnancy, too!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

27 Weeks

It has finally happened...a total eclipse--I can no longer see my feet without some major bending over! And my "turkey timer" (a.k.a. belly button) has completely turned inside out. Just as I did with Aiden, I have had a sudden spurt of weight gain. No changes in appetite or diet, just a sudden increase in weight. Let's hope the trend doesn't continue!

Aubrey is growing right on track--in fact, she's even a little ahead of schedule. I had another growth check ultrasound at 26 weeks and she was 2 days ahead of schedule, with an estimated weight of 2 pounds. At my OB appointment on Friday, she measured at 29 weeks instead of 26 1/2. She's now tucked underneath my ribcage and spends much of her day kicking me under the ribs--just a little uncomfortable! She's a very active baby and especially loves to kick while I'm listening to the music in the car or when I am trying to go to sleep at night.

The pregnancy is going along well so far--I'm still being carefully monitored, but no major warning signs. I've had a ton of Braxton-Hicks contractions lately and a lot of ligament pain from her stretching me out. My belly feels like it is ready to explode, it is so tight. Some days, when she decides to roll over or stretch, I swear I'll be the first woman to deliver her baby via abdominal explosion instead of a vaginal or C-section birth.

Aiden is getting antsy for his sister to arrive. He's been spending a lot of time in her nursery while I'm making preparations, asking about her toys and telling me how he'll teach her how to use things. Halloween should be extra special this year, since I've told him that his sister will come some time after he gets to go trick-or-treating. He's doubly excited--buckets of candy and a new baby on the way!

Our friends, Brooke and Will Lasher, recently welcomed their son, Breckin, into the world and Aiden has had mixed feelings about the baby. "Baby Breckin makes me nervous" he told me one day, yet he has added him to his prayers and even tries to shop for him while we are out and about. He thinks the baby is cute and even patted his back and tried to soothe him when he cried while at our house last week, but was also a little jealous and asked me to put the baby down a couple of times. We'll see how this all plays out with Aubrey in a few months!

Here is the latest belly pic. I'm huge!!

Monday, July 28, 2008

24 Weeks

I can't believe how quickly this pregnancy has gone by! Of course, if you ask me at 10:00 at night, when my back hurts and my feet are swollen and my belly is tired, I usually feel like I've been pregnant 10 years, but when not so focused on my misery, I have to admit that these weeks have flown by. I guess having a 3 year old running around helps to keep my mind off the time!

Aubrey has become quite the kicker. Her blows now make my entire belly shake, and she is VERY active. She especially likes to kick along with dance music--every time I'm riding in the car with my music blaring, she kicks along with the beat and goes crazy in there! Last night, she and Brad had some bonding time--he would poke at her, then she would kick him back, over and over again. Finally, she got perturbed by his prodding so much that she squirmed around and rolled over, but not before a few hard jabs at his hand. Brad has informed her that he already has their first shopping trip planned--I think he's pretty excited to be getting a daughter who will likely enjoy shopping as much as he does. (Yes, my husband loves to shop. No, he doesn't watch sports on TV. I am one lucky lady!)

Aiden has really settled into his big brother role. When shopping the other day, he saw a baby toy, a soft plush Piglet, and asked me if he could get it for Aubrey. He brought it home proudly and told his daddy that it was for Aubrey, so she could have it in her crib and see it when she woke up in the morning. He keeps asking when Halloween will be here, since we've told him that Aubrey will come out sometime after Halloween. He kisses my belly at night and talks to his sister through my belly button.

Lately, the pregnancy has been going along uneventfully. I'm still seeing a rheumatologist, who believes I have "sero-negative lupus," meaning lupus without all of the crazy blood work. All of my symptoms and rashes point to lupus, but I only have one abnormal blood result, and not the usual array of serological abnormalities associated with lupus. Most doctors in the past have dismissed my symptoms since my blood work didn't align with the usual pattern associated with lupus, but this rheumatologist explained that about 5% of lupus patients don't display the typical blood work patterns, and has assured me that I'm not crazy. The good news: sero-negative lupus is usually a much milder disease and is unlikely to affect major organs, like my kidneys. Also, he has tested me for the most severe problems associated with lupus and pregnancy, and I test negative for those, so it is unlikely that Aubrey will be affected by my disease. Most of my symptoms have subsided for the time being, so he believes I am in a remission phase of lupus for now, and he's not going to put me on medication. I do have a few changes I have to make in the coming weeks, like getting lots of rest and making sure I don't over-exert myself. And I have to avoid sun exposure as much as possible, since the sun could potentially make my lupus flare into an active phase, leading to pretty serious complications for Aubrey and I. This part really sucks, since Aiden loves to be outside, but it is a small sacrifice to make to ensure Aubrey and I are both healthy.

I'm still seeing a high-risk OB in conjunction with my regular OB and they are watching Aubrey closely, but so far, she is doing great! We have another ultrasound scheduled with my high-risk OB next Monday to check her growth, but if my weight gain is any indication, she's growing just fine. I've gained 17 pounds so far, which is right on track for the 30 total pounds that they want me to gain. My blood pressure has been great, so no signs of the pre-eclampsia I had with Aiden in this pregnancy.

Here's another belly shot. As you can see, I'm getting pretty big. Aubrey's feet have taken up residence right under my ribs, I have a constant case of heartburn, and late last night, when I laughed, my belly button completely turned inside out. My "turkey timer" (as Brad calls it) has popped early this time around!

Friday, July 11, 2008

And the name is...

Aubrey Ryann Parker

We've finally settled on it. We've been testing it out, and it meets with Aiden's approval, so the decision is final. Now, let's just hope that this doesn't turn out like Aiden's name and suddenly become the most popular name in America. When we decided on Aiden, it was #32. By the time he was born, it had moved to #1! (Thank you, Sex in the City, for that one!) There is an Aubrey on the TV show October Road--let's hope that it doesn't catch on like the name Aiden did!

Now I just have to get the nursery ready. I've managed to clear out most of the storage boxes we had in there. But I have so much left to do in the next 18 weeks! I need to sort through all of Aiden's baby stuff to figure out what I can use and what has to be tucked away again. I have a dresser and a cabinet that we're going to use as a changing table to paint. We have to paint the walls in the nursery. I have to sew the crib bedding, bed skirt and window valance.

I've ordered fabrics--I just have to get all of the stuff sewn! (I figure I'd better get it done quick, before my belly gets so huge I can't reach the sewing machine.) Here's the fabric--we're going for a surfer girl theme. Wish me luck on this project--I'm not a bad seamstress, but I'm SLOW! Hopefully I'll have pics of a finished project to post BEFORE she gets here!

So much to do, so little time! Maybe all of the work will keep my brain busy and make the next 18 weeks or so go by quickly.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A little help in the name department...

We have picked out the first name for our daughter, Aubrey, but we're struggling a little with the middle name. I've posted a poll on the right of this page--please vote and let us know what you think. (We reserve the right to go with whatever name we want--just because one option wins doesn't mean we'll necessarily follow along. But input is always nice!)

Here are the contenders:

Aubrey Ryann (pronounced like Ryan): to honor my younger brother, Ryan, who passed away a couple of years ago.

Aubrey Elizabeth: after my great-grandmother Adams. She was an incredible woman.

Aubrey Anne: It was supposed to be my name when I was born, but long story short, the name met with disapproval from a family member and my name was changed to Angela Michelle.

Vote on your favorite, and feel free to post a comment to tell me why you do or don't like a name combo, etc.

Monday, June 30, 2008

20 Weeks

It's official...this pregnancy is half-way over! Ms. Parker should be here in 20 weeks! I can't believe I'm half-way through. Boy do I have a lot to do before she arrives! We went for our 20 week detailed ultrasound. Ms. Parker is perfect from her head to her toes. She's growing right on track, which is the best news, since that is the biggest worry (with all of the auto-immune/connective tissue disease symptoms I'm having). She's 13 ounces now and is very active. She showed off for my mom and Brad, who were both at the ultrasound. I even caught her giving me a hard elbow jab--I knew she was elbowing me in there. Not so bad now, while she's small, but in a few weeks, those jabs are going to hurt!

The mysterious cramps from last week have gone away and I'm feeling fine. They checked my cervix on ultrasound while I was at the Dr. and I'm not dilating at all, so they figure they are just really weird, really strong Braxton-Hicks contractions or some kind of muscle cramp from all the stretching of my uterus. Who knows?! As long as baby and I are OK, that's all that matters.

I've included a video clip from the ultrasound for those who would like to watch. And another belly shot, of course. I'm really sticking out there these days! I'm so jealous of my friends Andi and Brooke, two tall girls whose bellies were so cute and pretty--both of them have LONG torsos with plenty of room. Then there's my belly--a short, round bump that is already crowding my stomach and diaphragm and making me feel miserable when I sit down! Just wait--by the end, my belly will stick out like a torpedo! When I was at the end of my pregnancy with Aiden, I always looked like I was about to fall over forward, I stuck out so much!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Scary Morning

I woke up this morning to excruciating pain in my lower left side. It was a deep, aching pain in my lower belly, all the way through to my back, and I even hurt in my hip and down into my groin. I got out of bed and went to the bathroom, the pain getting worse with each step, then began pacing around the house. The pains reminded me of labor pains, but they were only on one side and I could tell my uterus wasn't contracting. Brad had gotten up with his alarm a little while earlier and was in the living room, laying on the couch and trying to get himself awake. I went in a told him what was happening, how I couldn't get relief from this pain, how it was taking my breath away, and so after several more minutes of debating whether we should, we started getting ready to go to the hospital.

We woke Aiden up and took him with us to Baylor Garland, jammies and all. He was wearing his Superman jammies with the cape on the back, so everywhere we went, nurses and doctors were exclaiming how cute he was and how lucky they were that Superman was there. I didn't have to wait at all and was taken back quickly. The pains had lessened somewhat, and would feel better for a while, then come with a vengeance. The doctor did a pelvic exam, some blood work and sent me for a sonogram. Everything came back normal--Ms. Bean (and yes, the sonogram today still showed it was a girl) is growing exactly on track and was kicking around and showing off for the camera today. We even got to see her try furiously to get both of her thumbs into her mouth to suck--too cute! She kept rubbing at her face and trying to get that thumb in, and I think she finally succeeded.

As far as why I'm having the pains, the doctor's thought is they are muscle and ligament cramps from my uterus stretching, but I'm not convinced. I have had round ligament pain plenty of times before and this is definitely different. They sent me home with some strong painkillers to take and told me to follow-up with my OB-GYN tomorrow, so we'll see. But at least we know baby is doing well and all of the really scary things (problems with the placenta, etc.) have been ruled out.

Here are the sono pics from today. The pain is coming back, so I'm off to drug myself. I'll keep you posted!

Monday, June 23, 2008

19 weeks

Ms. Bean and I are doing well. She's been kicking and moving around quite a bit lately, although I only feel her when I'm lying still. Brad has felt her move a couple of times now, but it is still a rarity--she has to really kick hard or roll over for him to feel. I've gained 10 pounds so far, and I swear it is mostly boobs. I've grown out of all of my old bras and am having to wear my postpartum/nursing bras these days.

Aiden and I have been reading some books about being a big brother that I checked out of the library. He seems to be settling into the idea that he's going to be a big brother soon, but he asks me very frequently if he's still my special boy. I'm always quick to drop everything I'm doing, give him a cuddle and reassure him that he'll always be my special Aiden. I tell him that no matter what he does or how many little brothers or sisters he may have, he'll still always be My Special Aiden and my first child. That seems to reassure him enough to go back to whatever mischief he's into at that moment!

I've been feeling well. I don't tolerate the heat for long periods of time well, and sun exposure makes me break out into a rash and feel achy and tired, but I feel great otherwise. My belly has really started to grow and now gets in the way when I try to hug Brad. Aiden has yet to notice that my lap is getting crowded and is constantly begging me to carry him, but I have to tell him that he needs to walk--it is really hard for me to walk and carry a 35-pound kid these days and I know its only going to get harder, so he'd better get used to the idea now!

Here's an update on what's going on with The Bean:

How your baby's growing:
Your baby's sensory development is exploding! Her brain is designating specialized areas for smell, taste, hearing, vision, and touch. Some research suggests that she may be able to hear your voice now, so don't be shy about reading aloud, talking to her, or singing a happy tune if the mood strikes you.

Your baby weighs about 8 1/2 ounces and measures 6 inches, head to bottom —about the size of a large heirloom tomato. Her arms and legs are in the right proportions to each other and the rest of her body now. Her kidneys continue to make urine and the hair on her scalp is sprouting. A waxy protective coating called the vernix caseosa is forming on her skin to prevent it from pickling in the amniotic fluid.

Next week is our big 20-week ultrasound with the high-risk OB. They'll be checking out The Bean in close detail and we should be able to confirm the sex of the baby that day. Hopefully all will go well and baby is still growing on track. I'm also still in the process of getting an appointment with a rheumatologist. They are having trouble finding a doctor in the area that will accept my insurance plan and that is taking new patients. Hopefully I can be seen soon to get some more answers about all of the weird rashes and symptoms.

Be sure to check back next week--I'll post pics and video from the ultrasound as well as a new belly pic so everyone can see how big I'm getting.

Monday, June 9, 2008

17 week update

I had an appointment today with my OB and Ms. Bean is doing great. I'm measuring on track, I've gained 8 pounds, and her heartbeat is strong. My OB is sending me to ANOTHER specialist now, this time a rheumatologist to check out all of these weird sympotoms I've been having. (Rashes, sun sensitivity, achy joints, fatigue, etc.) He wants to rule out some of the more common connective tissue and auto-immune diseases with known pregnancy complications, just to be on the safe side. Brad and I joke that my docs seem to be trying to see how many specialists they can send me to in one year. I'm glad that my doc is taking this all seriously, though, and not writing me off. For now, though, Ms. Bean is doing great, her mommy is doing well, and we're counting the weeks until she arrives.

Monday, June 2, 2008

16 weeks

Here is the latest belly pic. Ms. Bean is 16 weeks along and doing well so far. I've gained 6 pounds so far, which makes me a little behind, but the stomach bug I had set me back 4 pounds.

I've been feeling so much better these days. The nausea is gone, my appetite has returned, and I've gotten much of my energy back. My only complaint--the Texas summer heat! It's hot enough without the extra weight and the roaring metabolism, so being pregnant in the summer in Texas is miserable! And it's only MAY!! Can't wait for the 20 straight days of 100 degree plus weather that are coming in August!

The baby this week:

Get ready for a growth spurt. In the next few weeks, your baby will double his weight and add inches to his length. Right now, he's about the size of an avocado: 4 1/2 inches long (head to rump) and 3 1/2 ounces. His legs are much more developed, his head is more erect than it has been, and his eyes have moved closer to the front of his head. His ears are close to their final position, too. The patterning of his scalp has begun, though his locks aren't recognizable yet. He's even started growing toenails. And there's a lot happening inside as well. For example, his heart is now pumping about 25 quarts of blood each day, and this amount will continue to increase as your baby continues to develop.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Maternity shopping

It's official, my belly has popped out and my pre-pregnancy clothes don't fit at all anymore. Since Aiden was a winter baby, I don't have a lot of summer pregnancy clothes, which meant a shopping trip for Mommy today! Brad had to work, so Aiden went with me. As you can imagine, he was pretty bored throughout the whole process. And I think the fuss over me being pregnant made him a bit uncomfortable--he threw quite a fit in the dressing room at one point. "Mommy, don't buy clothes for your belly! I like your old clothes. Don't buy new clothes!"

After a cuddle and a talk, he was OK with me trying on some new things, but he was pretty antsy. He kept peering underneath the stall walls, despite my scolds and pleas (luckily the woman next to me was already a mom with a small child, so she wasn't too offended). Then he spotted the maternity pillow hanging on the hook and began playing with it. (For those of you not in the know, maternity shops have dummy pillows for sizing so newly pregnant women can try on maternity clothes before they are showing.) He began swinging it around and kept whacking at the curtain in the doorway. Not wanting to be exposed to the world, I decided to show him a fun way he could use the pillow. We wrapped the Velcro strap around his forehead, attaching the pillow to the back of his head. Then I spun him around so his back was against the wall and presto, my son got to play crash test dummy while I tried on clothing. He thought it was pretty cool that he could whack his head against the wall and feel nothing! He giggled through the rest of my dressing room time.

Now, for those of you without children who are reading this and judging me, all I can say is "Just you wait...." I can almost guarantee you that the moms with kids are either laughing at my desperation or remembering some other crazy, half-hearted distraction attempt they've made to entertain an antsy little one. You'll one day be amazed at how easily you can entertain a kid--and how stupid you'll make yourself look in order to prevent a meltdown in public!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Little flutters

It is such a magical moment, feeling your baby move for the first time. It's as if the pregnancy finally feels real--it hasn't just been a 4 month stomach bug! I still remember when I first felt Aiden move. I was 17 weeks along, visiting Brad's parents, Scott & Livy, and I'd just woken up from a nap. I was lying still when suddenly I felt a distinctive bump--there was no doubt that it was the baby moving. I lay there for 30 minutes, enjoying the occasional thump in my tummy and marveling at the miracle of it all.

This time around, I got to enjoy the experience much sooner, at 15 weeks. At 14 weeks, I'd felt a few flutters that I thought might be Ms. Bean, but it was hard to be certain. But this week, as I lay in bed one morning after a Braxton-Hicks contraction woke me up, I could distinctly feel the baby moving about. Guess she didn't like the contraction, because she was thumping and bumping away for several minutes. I don't notice her movements very often, usually during a contraction or when I'm very still, but the little flutters and bumps are such a wonderful treat. It gives me hope that all of this is going to work out OK and fills me with excitement and wonder and gratitude for this miracle happening inside me. Now I just look forward to the day when I can share this fun with Brad and Aiden.

Monday, May 19, 2008

14 Week Sonogram

Today was the appointment with the high-risk OB, and although we still don't know what caused the illness in Mommy and how it is going to affect The Bean, we did get some great news. The Bean is growing right on track, is perfectly formed, and is quite active! The Bean jumped around, turned and looked at us and waved, and spent the sonogram kicking and showing off. Brad and I were so relieved to see the baby. With everything going on, our worst fear was that we'd show up for an appointment and there wouldn't be a heartbeat or baby would have severe complications. And although we're not out of the woods, this good news is exactly what I needed to help lift my spirits and get me through this wait.

We even got to learn the sex of The Bean today! Although it is still a little early to be certain, it appears that The Bean is... A GIRL!! Both the doc and the sonogram tech agree. (Mom--no rushing out to stock up on pink just yet--it is still early, so they could be wrong!)
Brad and I are ecstatic! However, we're not quite sure how Aiden is going to take the news. He has been adamant that this is a boy--"That's my brudder in there," he tells everyone. We've decided to hold off on telling Aiden the sex for now--we figure we'll wait a few more weeks until we're certain before bursting his bubble. In the meantime, we'll be trying to wear down his defenses. "You know, it could be a little girl in there..." and the like.

My cousin, Quinn, will be happy to hear that the baby is a girl. Quinn has accurately predicted the sex of 4 or 5 pregnancies now! When we were in Oklahoma for Mother's Day, he touched my belly and nonchalantly announced that it was a girl. Looks like Quinn has a gift! That's one talented kid!

We'll keep you posted as we hear more news. Keep praying that all goes well and that The Bean stays healthy.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

12 Week Appointment

Monday marked the twelfth week of pregnancy, which means on Sunday, we'll officially graduate from the first trimester to the second. This appointment was pretty short and sweet. I was weighed and vitals taken. I've actually gained, then lost, 3 pounds since my last appointment, which isn't fantastic, but isn't bad either. The Bean is the perfect parasite--it'll get everything it needs from me first and just leave what's leftover for my body. My blood pressure was great at 100 over 70, so no signs of pre-eclampsia with this pregnancy so far.

We listened to The Bean's heartbeat, strong at 165 beats per minute. The doc and I talked about some strategies for regaining the weight I'd lost with this stomach bug and he recommended a few things to try, like vitamin B6 supplements and Emetrol, for the morning sickness, which is still plaguing me. But the good news is, everything looks great so far.

I'll go back at 16 weeks, in which they'll offer to do prenatal testing and schedule me for my ultrasound. Brad and I will probably decline the prenatal testing, just as we did with Aiden. The test is a simple blood test to screen for an increased likelihood of Downs Syndrome, cardiac abnormalities and neural tube defects, but it has a high incidence of false positives, which means that we'd have to either wait the remainder of the pregnancy worrying or have an amniocentesis, which carries a significant risk of miscarriage, to find out for sure whether baby has any real problems. And since Brad and I would never be able to terminate the pregnancy even if there was a problem, we wonder what would be the point of really knowing? Many people disagree with us on this, I'm sure, and others probably think we're sticking our heads in the sand, but we feel we just have to have faith in God. He won't give us more than we can handle, and no matter what this child brings to the table, we can deal with it with God's love and grace.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Labor anxiety...from Aiden!

Unfortunately, our family has come down with a nasty stomach bug this week and I have spent much of my day on the couch, holding my stomach, or in the bathroom. I guess all of the baby shows we've been watching have gotten Aiden prepared for when I go into labor. Several times today, when he would see me clutch my stomach and groan or moan, he would ask me, "Mommy, do you need to go to the doctor to push the baby out?" I giggled, then explained that The Bean has a lot of growing to do before he is ready to come out. "Yeah, The Bean has to get THIS BIG before he can come out," he said, with his arms stretched wide apart.

Let's hope The Bean doesn't get THAT big!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Babies everywhere!

Now that Aiden is aware of the fact that there is a baby growing in my tummy and that pregnant women with round tummies have babies in there, he suddenly believes that everyone with a round tummy has a baby growing in there. This can lead to some embarrassing moments in public.

"Mommy, does she have a baby growing in her tummy?"

"Mommy, look, her tummy is BIG! She has a baby in there!"

"Mommy, boys can't have babies in their tummies. Why is that man's belly so BIG?"

Needless to say, I hold my breath every time an overweight person walks by when we're in public! It is so mortifying, and I'm never sure quite what to say! I usually end up saying something like "People come in all shapes and sizes, and only some girls have babies in their tummies" while walking away as quickly as possible and praying that the person he was referring to didn't hear! I really don't want anyone to get their feelings hurt and I have no idea what to say that would make the situation better, not worse. Hopefully Aiden's outspokenness about pregnant bellies will subside soon!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

When will it end?

The morning/afternoon/evening sickness is starting to wear me down. I throw up when I first wake up. I eat a light breakfast, manage to keep that down for a few hours, then get hungry for lunch. I eat lunch. Then I get nauseated and spend an hour lying on my left side and trying not to puke up my lunch. Then I start to feel better. I eat a snack to tide me over 'til dinner and try to accomplish a day's worth of work/chores before dinner time. Then in my rush to get things done, I end up starting dinner late, absolutely starving. I rush around to fix dinner, fighting back the urge to throw up while handling raw meat and dealing with all of the cooking smells. I sit down and eat, usually only eating half of a normal portion because my stomach can't handle any more. Then I get queasy again and end up on the couch, breathing deeply. Some nights I end up running to hurl, others I win the battle and keep dinner down. Then it's bedtime and I'm hungry again. Time for a late night snack, 'cause if I don't eat, I'll throw up. Brush my teeth, head to bed, and if I'm lucky, I'll fall asleep before the next bout of nausea hits.

The next it says on my shampoo bottle, rinse and repeat....

I was never this sick with Aiden. I wish I could believe all of my friends: "I must mean it's a girl this time!" I just hope this isn't foreshadowing of this child's temperament: drama and high-maintenance from the start! Keep your fingers crossed that this ends soon!!

Monday, April 21, 2008

10 Weeks

Only 10 weeks, and already I'm running around with my pants unbuttoned, rubber bands keeping them closed. I'm stuck in that awful phase in which the waistbands of all of my pre-pregnant clothes are too tight, but maternity pants are too big.

I didn't really show until 4 months with Aiden, but I've filled out much quicker this time around. I've only gained 2 pounds so far, which is I swear is more boobs than baby, but I'm already showing quite a bit. At this rate, I'll give birth to a linebacker! :)

10 weeks with The Bean...

10 weeks with Aiden...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

8 Week Sonogram

OK, so I've been meaning to get this posted for a while, but I keep forgetting to scan it in. Here is "The Bean" in all of its scrunched glory. Aiden has his own copy of this photo, which he proudly shows to anyone that will look. "This is The Bean. This is my brother!" (Which always prompts people to say, "Can you tell this early?!")

FYI--No there aren't 2 babies in there. No, The Bean's head isn't floating unattached above its body. The small round blob on top is the yolk sac, the bigger lima-bean-shaped blob on bottom is our beautiful child.

Monday, April 7, 2008

I forgot... miserable this is. The exhaustion, the nausea and vomiting, the frequent trips to the bathroom, the sore boobs. Pregnancy can be SO miserable in the beginning.

Yes, that's right. We're PREGNANT!

The Bean is due to arrive November 17th. (Aiden's nickname in utero was "Peanut" so we had to have something new, hence, The Bean). We attended our 8 week prenatal appointment today and all is well. The Bean looks like, well, a bean, measures right on track, and has a heartbeat. Aiden attended this appointment with us and was thrilled to see "his" baby on the ultrasound screen. The pregnancy is still in the early stages, so we are still worried and praying that things will continue on track, but since Aiden isn't so great about keeping a secret (everyone at his school and all of our neighbors have been told), we figure we might as well make the public announcement!

So far, this pregnancy has been different from my experience with Aiden. I'm much sicker this time around. Before, I mostly just felt nauseated, but I rarely threw up. This time around, I rise to spend my mornings hugging the toilet and even spend some of my evenings doing the same. My pants have already begun to get tight and my belly shows a little--MONTHS earlier than last time around, even though I've only gained 1 pound. I'm much more tired and run down, too--probably because I spend my days chasing Aiden! Don't tell The Bean, but I even spend hours at a time in which I never even think about the fact that I'm pregnant. With Aiden, it was all I could think about, but this time around, it seems to just hit me at quiet moments. I'm excited, but it isn't nearly as consuming this time--I'm just too busy raising the child I have to really obsess about the one I'm growing!

We're all very thrilled about adding a new member to the family. Check back often or sign up to be emailed when this page updates--I'll be posting pics and news and updates frequently, so stay tuned!