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, 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.