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.

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.