18 weeks

It was well into the day today before I realized that it’s Wednesday, which means another week has gone by.  My baby is supposedly 6 inches long now – the size of a mango.  That’s getting pretty big! 

D returned home from his hiking trip, which was a nice treat for Littleman and me. Having him gone – and completely out of touch – for so long was really tough. 

I’ve also been thinking a lot about a good friend of mine, who has been TTC since 2009.  She finally started the IVF process and has her first transfer today.  I really, really hope this works for her.  She deserves it.

So, on to the 18 week update…

Symptoms:  Feeling pretty ok this week, aside from the exhaustion.  Going to bed (with my awesome pillow) is my favourite time of day. 

My skin still really sucks.  I was looking in the mirror this morning and cursing my ugly chin.  Too many red spots and not much I can do about it.  I hate acne.

Clothing: Getting dressed continues to be a challenge but I’m doing my best.  I hit up the one and only maternity store I could find in the downtown area today and it was a bit of a bust.  Where the hell do people shop if they don’t live in the ‘burbs?  I did purchase another pair of leggings to try and I’m hoping that they’ll stay up on my belly a bit better than the last pair.  I also got a pair of maternity yoga pants because I don’t want to wreck my good ones by stretching them out.

I still have some items of clothing on my wish list but I’ll need to find some time to get out shopping.  I really want some skinny jeans and long tops/tunics.  Other than that, I think I can make do with what I have.

Fetal movement:  So, as of yesterday, I was starting to get really nervous about the lack of movement.  Aside from a couple of random flickers, I haven’t felt much kicking or movement at all.   I know from my last ultrasound report that I have an anterior placenta, so I was really hoping that was the reason that I couldn’t feel any kicking.

Then, last night as I was lying in bed reading, I felt something.  It was stronger than anything I’d felt to date.  I put my hand on my belly and waited, hoping it would happen again.  It did!  And this time it was hard enough that I actually felt it on my hand!!  It didn’t continue for very long, but I was so happy and relieved.  This morning, starting around 4 a.m., there was definitely some flip-flopping going on in there.  I will happily be woken up by movement if it means Bo is alive and well in there!!

My body: the boobs

As I’ve been struggling to get dressed lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about my body and how I feel about it.  I must start by saying that I think women’s bodies are pretty amazing.  It’s actually quite incredible what our bodies can do.  But that doesn’t mean I always love what I look like.

My breasts are one part of my body that I’ve always thought were ok.  Pre-pregnancy, they were not too big but not too small.  They seemed to be just about right for my 5’6”, 130 lb frame.  The left was always a tiny bit bigger than the right, but not enough that anyone other than me would notice.  Clothes always fit me just fine and, to be honest, I didn’t pay all that much attention to them. 

When I got pregnant with Littleman in 2010, I started to notice changes in my breasts almost right away.  The first thing was the veins.  I’m a pretty fair-skinned (ok, pasty white) girl to begin with and my boobs had never seen the light of day, so the blue veins showed through pretty quickly.  Then the girls started to grow.  I hate having to buy new bras that I knew would never fit me again, but I did it to be comfortable.

After Littleman was born and my milk came in, they were big, hard and sore.  Following a painful and miserable six weeks of getting used to breastfeeding, we finally settled into a good routine.  Of course my breasts seemed pretty ginormous to me, but that’s breastfeeding for you, right? 

It didn’t really bother me at first because I spent most of my time wearing sweats and hoodies.  I had a few nursing tops but I didn’t really go anywhere that required me to look nice.  It wasn’t until we had a few weddings to attend that first summer that I started to hate my boobs. 

First off, I noticed that my left boob was now a lot bigger that my right.  I don’t know if that side was more efficient at producing milk or if Littleman preferred that side more or if I hadn’t paid enough attention to switching sides when nursing.  Whatever the case, it seemed much more noticeable to me and made me self-conscious. 

Then, of course, there was the struggle to find dresses that fit appropriately.  I needed dresses with sleeves or wide enough straps to conceal my nursing bras.  There was no way I was getting away with a strapless bra.  Then, there was the fact that the rest of my body could fit into my regular dress size, but my boobs needed a size up. 

I managed to buy a couple of dresses that worked, but I hated the fact that I knew they would likely never fit me again once I finished breastfeeding.  It felt like such a waste.

And then there were bathing suits.  We had a holiday on the beach in Maine in the summer and then a wedding in Jamaica in the winter.  I was still breastfeeding for both and trying to feel comfortable with my body in swimwear was really, really tough.

After 14 months of nursing, Littleman was finally weaned.  I quietly hoped that the girls would go back to normal.  No such luck.  My poor boobs, which used to fill out my bras quite nicely, now felt empty.  They seemed to be deflated.  The top half of each breast felt like it had lost everything that used to be in there.  I hated it!  My pre-pregnancy bras were too big because I could only fill out the bottom of them, leaving a big gaping space at the top.

I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on new bras because I knew we were about to start trying for baby #2.  Of course, after several months of trying, I still wasn’t pregnant and my bras still didn’t fit.  So, finally, I bit the bullet went bra shopping.  I felt pretty good in my new, smaller push-up bra that I actually filled out.  My naked boobs were still empty and droopy but at least I looked ok when I was dressed.

Of course, two days later I got my BFP.  I’ve never been a smoker but this kind of reminded me of back in the day when people used to smoke in restaurants.  As soon as someone would light up their cigarette, the meal would come.  Anyway…

That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage and here I am now, almost 18 weeks pregnant again.  This time, my original pre-pregnancy bras fit me perfectly.  While my breasts don’t seem to have grown all that much, they’ve definitely filled out again.

I know that I’ll probably never love my breasts again.  I’ll probably have many more moments where I’ll struggle to get dressed and wonder where the lovely, perky fullness has gone.  But then I will remember the amazing things my body has gone through and the fact that I was able to feed my son – and, hopefully, this next baby – for many months.  I did this for them.  And then it won’t seem so bad.

The plight of the the tights

As I was hiking up my sagging maternity leggings the other day, I was reminded of the first time I ever wore maternity tights.

I’ve always been a tights kind of girl.  In high school, I wore a school uniform so I dressed in a kilt and tights almost every day for five years.  As a working woman, I’m most comfortable in a dress or skirt with tights and boots.

When I first became pregnant with Littleman and my baby bump started to appear, I figured I’d be taking a hiatus from wearing skirts or dresses.  My second and third trimesters were during the fall and winter, so bare legs wouldn’t be an option.  I bought myself a few pairs of maternity dress pants and that’s what I wore most of the time.

Then, I discovered maternity tights when I was out shopping one day.  I thought, why not?  I had a black maternity dress that I had purchased earlier in my pregnancy but didn’t have the chance to wear it very much. 

So, one day, I threw on the dress, a pair of black maternity tights and my knee-high black boots.  Perfect.  My belly was quite large by this point but the outfit was totally cute (if I do say so myself!)

I waddled to the bus stop and rode the bus to the subway station.  As I stood on the subway platform waiting for the train to arrive, I could feel the tights starting to slip down a bit.  I tried to do some inconspicuous readjusting and managed to hike them back up enough for the time being. 

When I got off the subway, I had to walk a fair distance through a shopping area and office building to get to my office.  Again, I could feel the tights slipping.  But this time, there were far too many people around for me to stop and hike them up.  I kept on going.  By the time I reached the elevators, I could feel the crotch of tights between my knees.  I shuffled onto the elevator and bit my lip, trying not to laugh out loud on an elevator full of strangers. 

When the elevator finally arrived at my floor, I hobbled off as quickly as I could.  Luckily, no one else got off at my floor.  I burst out laughing.  Howling, actually.  I grabbed my tights and yanked them up enough to allow me to waddle-run to the bathroom.   

Once there, I wiped away my tears of laughter and tried to figure out what the hell I was going to do to get through the day.  There was just no way those tights were going to stay put on my big, smooth belly!  I considered removing the tights all together and going bare-legged, but I thought that might look a bit awkward with the knee-high boots.  Then, I discovered a solution.  I (quite luckily) was wearing a camisole under my dress.  I hiked up the tights as far as they would go, tucking the cami inside them.  The cotton cami provided some friction and was just enough grip to keep the tights in place. 

The maternity leggings that I cracked out earlier this week were definitely not as bad as those tights, but there’s nothing I hate more than feeling like my pants are falling down.  I suppose, in a pinch, I can try the cami trick again but I’m really hoping I can find some leggings that are able to stay put on their own.

17 weeks

Baby Bo is the size of a sweet potato today!  Holy cow, that’s getting big.  No wonder I’m struggling to get dressed everyday.  This past week has been a challenge for a couple of reasons, so I’m looking forward to moving ahead another week.  My husband has been away (with no phone or internet access!) so I’ve been alone with a toddler for over a week.  He returns tonight, so I think things will be looking up.

Symptoms:  I’ve been having a lot of headaches lately, which is a total pain in the… head.  Sometimes Tylenol with a coffee will do the trick, but most of the time I just have to suffer through it.  I’m also friggin’ exhausted.  Where or where is my second trimester burst of energy?

Clothing: So, I’m full on into the maternity clothes now.  The weather turned cold so there was no way I could keep wearing my stretchy summer dresses.  I wore a pair of my old maternity dress pants earlier this week, which are definitely too big but at least they were comfortable.

I also purchased a few new things, including some maternity leggings.  I loved the idea of them, but they weren’t as amazing as I had hoped.  I found that they drooped in the crotch area as I walked, much like my maternity tights do (which reminds me, I must write about my maternity tights experience sometime!)  If anyone has any particular brand of maternity leggings to recommend, please let me know.  If I could find a pair that fits well, I think I could live in them for the next five months!

Fetal movement: Aside from some friendly little pokes from Bo on Puppet’s due date, I haven’t felt much movement.  Sometimes I think I feel something, but when I sit still and pay attention, there’s nothing.  I’m really hoping to feel some regular movement soon.

Yumminess:  I have to take a moment to mention the few things that I’ve eaten/drank this week that were SO good.  I’m totally loving pink lemonade these days.  I drink a ton of water and it’s been nice to have another drink to mix things up a bit.  I also just discovered (I know, I’m totally behind on this) Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte.  I’m currently enjoying a decaf right now and it is delish!  Finally, I enjoyed a plate of deep-fried pickles for lunch the other day and I’m pretty sure they were the best things I’ve ever eaten.  Ever.

The due date that might have been

Today is Friday the 13th. It’s also the day that Puppet – the baby we lost in March – was originally due to arrive.

I had the pleasure of starting my day with a dentist appointment. I hate going to the dentist, but it seemed somewhat fitting today.

Now I’m at work. It’s weird to be sitting here when, if life had gone a different way, I might be at home with a newborn baby. Or waiting uncomfortably for my baby to arrive. Or be in the throes of labour.

But life did not go a different way, so here I am.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking lately about all of the ups and downs of the past nine months. In early January we found out I was pregnant with Puppet. We had been trying since May and, while I know that isn’t a terribly long time, it was starting to get stressful. We were thrilled that we had finally conceived and were so excited that Littleman would be a big brother.

Things progressed normally for a while, although I don’t think I ever really felt like it was a normal pregnancy. Mainly, I felt fine. I hated that I didn’t feel sick or totally exhausted or have super sore boobs. But when everything looked perfect at our NT scan, I started to relax a bit.

Of course, that was when shit hit the fan. Two weeks later the spotting arrived and an ultrasound at 14w1d confirmed that our little one had died.

What followed was the worst sadness I’ve ever experienced. While the D&C was pretty easy from a physical perspective, the emotional pain was excruciating. I felt truly beaten.

I struggled to talk about what had happened. Luckily, I found an amazing and supportive group of people online. Writing in this space was the only place where I really felt like I could express myself and I was amazed to discover the number of people who had been through similar experiences. And not only that, they were willing to reach out to me and offer their support.

A month after the miscarriage, D and I took our first solo vacation since Littleman’s birth. It was hard leaving him but it was the right thing to do for us. We needed some time alone together to regroup and get our heads around moving forward. We had been through a terrible loss but we still had a wonderful little boy at home who needed his parents to be there for him wholly. The vacation helped us in so many ways.

After waiting the prescribed two cycles to start trying to conceive again, we decided we were ready to get back on the horse in May. Of course, this brought forth a whole new set of emotions. I was terrified. I was scared of not getting pregnant. I was scared of getting pregnant and losing another pregnancy. Fear continued to dominate me for the next few months.

In mid-June, I found out that our first cycle had been successful. I was pregnant again. Happy, sad, scared… so much to process. Almost immediately after my positive HPT, I ended up with a raging yeast infection and UTI. It felt like things were getting off to a rocky start. After curing those infections, I spent a horribly scary day in the ER with gushing blood, only to be diagnosed with a subchorionic bleed at 8 weeks. Thankfully, the baby looked just fine.

So that brings us to today. I’m 16 weeks 2 days pregnant. My NT scan at 12 weeks looked good. I heard my baby’s heartbeat at 15 weeks. I love this baby and I want him/her to stay strong and keep growing so he/she can meet us in February.

But I miss Puppet with all my heart. Sometimes, I can’t really believe everything that has happened this year. All I can say is that I am still working on coming to terms with what happened. I still think about it every day but it’s starting to hurt a little less. I’m trying to trust my body again and am starting to feel more positive about this pregnancy.

To my sweet Puppet: I miss you and I’m sad that we won’t get the chance to know you. Please know that your mom and dad will always remember you. You are loved and you won’t be forgotten.

To my Baby Bo: Your mommy and daddy love you so much and we are so happy to see you growing. We may not have been expecting you, but we know that you were meant to be a part of our family. Keep doing what you’re doing in there!

As if sensing the difficulties of this day, Bo just gave me the sweetest gift ever – movement! As I finished my lunch and sat quietly at my desk, I finally felt what was obviously, clearly my little Bo. Thank you, baby.

16 weeks

Although my iPhone tells me my baby is the size of a turnip (or a pear, depending on the app) this week, I feel like it is much bigger.  My belly has definitely “popped” and there is no hiding the fact that I am expecting.  We’ve started to share our news, although I’m still only telling people on an “as needed” basis.  No email announcements, no Facebook declarations.

Here’s what’s been going on with me over the past week:

Symptoms:  Physically, my symptoms are still coming and going.  I still get hit with random waves of nausea (for example, right at this very moment, I feel like I could puke.)  Boobs are still a bit sore.  I’m still plagued by fatigue.  Sleeping is becoming more uncomfortable, with my back and hips starting to get a bit sore.  Luckily I still had my trusty pillow from my first pregnancy!

Clothing: Getting dressed has become a bit of an issue.  I caved and pulled out my maternity clothes, only to find that the pants are all massive.  Totally stretched out.  I guess that’s what happens when you wear them right up to 39 weeks gestation.  I dragged myself into the mall to see if I could find a pair of pants that fit.  I felt nervous being in the maternity sections, like somehow I would jinx myself.  But I knew I had to get something.  I ended up with one pair of black skinny jeans.  The weather subsequently warmed right up to summer heat wave temperatures, so I’ve been able to get away with my stretchy summer dresses and skirts this week.

Fetal movement: I think I’ve (maybe!) been feeling the baby move.  The past couple of nights (or more like very early in the mornings) I’ve woken up and, as I lay in bed, I’ve felt a couple of little pokes.  I’ve tried to lie very still in the evenings to see if I feel anything, but no such luck.  I’m hoping that I’ll start feeling more regular (or at least more obvious) movement sometime soon.

An old friend

Since my husband is away, I decided to invite someone to join me in my bed last night.  This guest is long and slim, but comfy and good for snuggling with.  As with any good bedmate, this guest spent the night between my legs.  It took a bit of time to get comfortable, but it wasn’t our first time sleeping together so we got back into our usual position pretty quickly.

Welcome back, pregnancy pillow! 

I know it’s still early in the pregnancy, but I am already finding sleep to be uncomfortable.  My hips and lower back are starting to get sore and I’ve been waking up a lot in the night to roll over and try different sleeping positions.  Then I remembered the body pillow that I had stuffed up onto the highest shelf of my closet after Littleman was born.  I pulled it out last night and am so grateful that I did! 

The pregnancy fatigue is still hanging around and I need every bit of sleep that I can get.  Being comfortable in bed makes a huge difference and wrapping myself around a body pillow seems to help me settle down.  Bring on the sleep!