Tuesday, June 30, 2009

15 weeks - cashew's first trip to Louisville + telling big sister tonight!

Today marks the 15 week mark of my pregnancy. I feel like time is creeping by and I still have my moments that I fear something will go wrong or that something is going wrong and I just can't tell that it is. I still feel in the gray zone where I seem to be growing in the mid section but I still don't receive the kicks and squirms to reassure me that there is a baby in there. Or at least a healthy baby. So, everytime I go to the bathroom, I am still checking the toilet paper for blood. I guess that never ends...the worry...until they are here. And then it is on to other, larger worries!

But all that aside, cashew is going on his/her first flight tomorrow and his/her first trip home to Louisville! This will be one of many in the future years!! I don't know what his/her excitement level is at this point but mine is through the roof!! I just can't wait to see my family and friends. It feels like it has been a lifetime! And I hear the weather can't be beat right now!

We will be getting Tay tonight in preparation for the trip. She gets to come home with us and catch more lightening bugs (which was a first for her last year)! She is excited! I think there will be even more bounce in her step because we will be telling her tonight that she is going to be a big sister. We bought her a "big sister" T shirt and her Aunt Lauren made her some really cute bracelets that say "big sis" and her name.

I must admit that I am a bit nervous about telling her. I truly believe that she will be very excited but it is such a huge life changer for her. I just hope she is excited and that her excitement will remain! I am hoping to include her as much as possible in future doctor appointments so that she can see cashew on the monitor and hear his/her heart beat. I want her to feel included on everything so that she has vested interest in cashew.

New update on the nursery. We found bedding that we really like. Here is the link:

It is simple, classy, neutral and soothing. All of the things that are very important to me. I can't wait to get the room started. We picked up some paint sample cards over the weekend. We are leaning towards a mild green like what you see in the bedding. We are going to try to do a chair rail around the room. The top will be the solid color that we choose and the lower will be white with leaf stencil or something similar in the color we choose for the top. Does that make sense? We are both excited to get started on everything.

So here is the ol' stomach at 15 weeks. I don't feel like I am growing much anymore but the process may just be slowing down a tad. The shorts I am wearing are a size 8 (my usual size) and I have them buttoned with no belly band. Of course they were a tad loose before the gut and now they are definitely "fitted" but no band and no maternity shorts today. T says that it is because I am so fit (he's sweet and always knows the right things to say - haha) that my stomach is progressing the way it is. I don't know but I have bought some maternity pants to wear while in Louisville to allow for as much comfort as possible. With the schedule being so crazy, comfort will be a MUST! =]


Dear Cashew,

You're still in there, right? Your Grandma reminded me that I just heard your heartbeat a couple of weeks ago but it feels like it has been months! So I am sure you are fine and just floating along as you should. You are still making me feel a little sick at night. I haven't been taking my vitamins the past couple of nights because of my increased queasiness - sorry. And the heartburn has started to kick in and I've heard it will only increase. But that's ok. As long as you are ok. That's what matters.

You will be on your first flight tomorrow. Of course you will have the best seat on the plane. You won't be stepped on, hit with luggage or have drinks spilled on you. Your first flight is American Airlines 1428 out of Phoenix to Dallas. Eventually we will get to Louisville! Don't worry! You will see a lot of Louisville when you make it out here. You will love it!!

Well, I hope that you are doing well in there and that I am making your accommodations as comfortable as possible. I am trying to drink more straight water even though it really makes me gag. I mix it up with decaf tea and vitamin waters. Hopefully you are getting enough fluids. I'm doing the best I can with my stomach still being wrecked!

We are telling your big sister tonight about you! I think she is going to be super excited and I am sure it will make you feel better that she knows a ton about babies. She loves babies! So I will be relying on her to help me learn about what to do with you when you are here! She will be a great help and I think you guys will really get along well.

Nothing more right now cashew. Let's go get ready for our big trip! Well, not much to pack for you other than my new maternity clothes and a couple of belly bands! Wow! You are an easy travel companion at the moment.

Daddy and I love you!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

My head is definitely in my uterus...or at least in the baby room!

Last night was a night dedicated to figuring out what we want in the nursery. I felt now would be a good time for this since we are planning on getting started when we get back from our Louisville trip. I ended up with two options depending on what will fit in the room. T is going to CAD it out to see what fits and what will make it look too cluttered. I want the room to be open without a lot of furniture in it. I love uncluttered space so that's the ultimate goal - serene and uncluttered.

Here are some of my ideas at this time. Always subject to change. Luckily, when priced out, it falls within the budget T has created for the new room.

Option 1:
I thought it would be nice to have a separate changing table from the dresser. The one and only reason for this is my anal retentive self. The way the organization is working in my head right now is that the dresser would be for clothes only (and can be used as cashew grows up) and the changing table would only have changing essentials stored. This, of course, is not a necessity and I am still weighing it all out in my mind (option 2 is a dresser/changer combo).

Crib: I love this crib and the sleigh bed design. It perfectly matches our bed in the master bedroom which is located right next to the nursery. I wanted the furniture to match. This crib is IT. T and I both love it.

Changing table: I really like the open shelves because I love lined baskets. I just think that look is really cute. And this table also has the sleigh bed look and feel.

Four drawer dresser: This is part of the same set as the crib so everything should match perfect.

Glider/rocker: I just picked this one out because it had good reviews and looked comfortable. I am not necessarily sold on anything yet. But this was good enough to get a price and some dimensions.

Option 2:
Much more simplified and may be the way we go if the room looks too cluttered with option 1. In addition to the furniture that I am listing, I would also like a small nightstand next to the glider to place drinks, a lamp, etc. So we will need to take that into account as well. So this may be the option we choose.

Same crib (that's a given) and the changing table/dresser combo.

The glider idea and nightstand stays the same.

We still don't know what color paint we will use. I have to do some deep cleaning in that room (cleaning carpet, washing walls, etc.) especially since we used that room as a plant nursery and now it smells like onions! Haha! We do already have a ceiling fan (with lighting) that we will install. It is very contemporary looking (not baby'ish at all) so I am looking forward to getting that up and running. It should help the smell. We will need to install blinds and I might do a window treatment as well to soften it up a little.

My idea for on the walls - I want to put some cherry shelves on the wall for knick-knacks and what not. I also want to hang pictures of grandparents and great-grandparents - like a family wall (maybe a family tree type thing) - so that cashew never forgets about (and always sees) his Louisville family. I want to frame them in a cherry frame with a matte that will compliment the colors of the room. That's as far as I've gotten. Obviously, since we won't find out what cashew will be until his/her's birthday, it will all need to be neutral colors. I am starting to lean more towards the light greenish colors. But we will see. Maybe go take a look at some paint samples.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

14 weeks and feeling larger

No huge developments right now other than my ever growing gut! But I guess that's to be expected. I am trying to keep the "growth" minimized and only on the gut - nowhere else. So I have been hitting the gym pretty regularly and for my usual amount of time. I alternate days and do biceps/triceps/shoulders on one day and legs/chest/back on the next day. Every day gets a good 30 min of cardio and abs. Now that T is working out with me - today was day 2 of our program together - I notice that I try to push myself like I used to (showing off maybe?). I have to keep stopping myself from doing as much weight as I used to pre-preg. But it sure is hard. I have been trained for the last three years to push myself past my limit and now, to back off of that, makes me feel like I am not accomplishing anything. But I have to remember that I am only maintaining right now...not training.

I still have bouts every now and then of queasiness but not as bad as in the first tri. I usually get this ick feeling in the evenings after dinner. My latest annoyance is heartburn. No matter what I eat. And it usually happens in the evenings as well. So nausea and heartburn combined makes for an early bed goer.

I haven't been really eating more than usual but I do try to snack throughout the day between meals. Mostly on fruit and raw carrots. But it's hard. I don't always feel hungry but, if I don't eat, I end up feeling a little ick. And I weighed myself at the gym yesterday and, according to that scale, I am at 139 (with tennis shoes on). I was instantly wondering what the heck? That means I am down another two pounds since my appointment. But, based on the online research I have found, this can be common. I should start gaining soon. Maybe the loss is from my rear end - that would be ok. I wouldn't mind a little deflate in the ol' J-Lo!

But, as you will see in my pic, my belly is gaining fast and furious. It is so hard for me to wrap my head around this growth after working so hard on getting my abs flat and strong for three years. It certainly is an adjustment. But T loves it and comments on it daily. I guess I am definitely looking "pregnant" now. So hard to believe...

Other than that, no real news. It is hot as hell out here in the Old Pueblo and our skins literally melt just walking to the car. I am so glad I am not huge right now because I am sure it would be highly uncomfortable. I feel for my sister-in-law who is about to pop. The heat can NOT be a welcoming friend!

I am going home next week to Louisville and I couldn't be happier or more excited. Not because of some thought that ahhhhh everyone will be oohing and ahhing over my pregnancy. It is more because I severely miss my folks and the rest of my family. It feels like it has been so long since I've been home. And the last time I was there I had my miscarriage so it kinda tainted my visit. I am just so glad to be seeing everyone and enjoying quality time together. My family absolutely ROCKS!

Wow, by the time I get there I will be 15 weeks....

14 week pic - taken today before heading to the gym (not able to suck in anymore):

14 weeks

Thursday, June 18, 2009

13 weeks, 3 days - Officially out of first tri!

Well, here I am! I made it out of the dreaded, scary first trimester! Whew that took forever! But with that behind us and the NT Scan results back as "normal", we are feeling our excitement grow more and more.

Today I had an appointment for a check up. Dr Hutch wasn't there - she was called away for an emergency surgery. So I ended up with another lady in her office who was super nice. Again I had to pee on a stick and, again, I peed on my hand a little. When will I ever figure out where the spout is? The stick looked good.

I was sent into one of the sonogram rooms and thought that I was about to see cashew after a week. No such luck. No pics of cashew this time. This appointment was to check on the heart rate and the measurement of my uterus - which she did with a measuring tape on the outside of my stomach.

While she was doing the measurement she had to feel around on my stomach to find the top of my uterus (gross, huh?). She made me feel like a million bucks when she said, "wow! Nice ab muscles." Yay!!! Although I slacked on working out for a month or so, I've been back into it now for about a week. That just made me feel really good about my muscle tone!

After the measurement - which was only told to me as "perfect" - she used a little handheld device and some gel to find the heartbeat. She searched for a few minutes (probably more like a few seconds) and I began to have a bad feeling, like something was wrong. I think I always have a little apprehension at these appointments. I mean, even though I am in the "safer" second tri, anything can happen before and/or during the birth. It ain't over til it's over, ya know?

But she finally found it towards the top of my belly button (way too close for comfort for me - I hate things around my belly button). It was a loud, solid heartbeat. Slosh, slosh, slosh...140 was the heart rate which she simply stated as "absolutely perfect." Whew! Good news.

My clothes are definitely tighter but my weight is down as per the scale today. But the nurses didn't seem concerned. They said that some women gain, some women lose but it will start to average out towards the end of my second tri or so. Of course, my first reaction when I see the numbers on the scale decrease is to celebrate! But now I get concerned. But no one else seemed to be so I moved on.

As I was saying, my clothes are definitely tighter. I am an addicted fan of the bella band that allows you to keep your pants unbuttoned without them falling down. Brilliant! I think this band will also be put to good use post-baby when I am out having some greasy poppers with beers! If my pants get too tight, pop the button and put the band over the opening. Done! Someone sure is rich by keeping it simple stupid! I mean, really! It merely looks like a tube top (but lighter weight) that you put over your stomach and then fold over the top of your pants. Good goin' girlfriend!!

So, speaking of weight...when you see this picture, you are going to wonder how the hell I am losing lbs instead of gaining because I look like I just left a keg party. Don't ask me! I guess I am losing on my limbs and butt and balancing out with the gut.

This is 13 weeks straight up wearing my gym clothes...
13 weeks

Yikes, huh? I don't think I look pregnant...just beer bellyish. And, honestly? I think I instinctually sucked in my gut like I always do before a camera snaps!! I do it without even thinking about it but I can't suck it in much...if at all...anymore.

So the doc office said that I have to do more blood work July 9 - two days post my trip home. It is to test for Spina Bifida. I said, "will they take it out of my finger?" She half-laughed and said "no, out of your arm." Evil woman. When will the poking end? The next poke after this one better be the one in my back to relieve me from the hella pain...

My next appointment with Hutch will be July 16. I think this is when we would be able to hear what the sex will be but we aren't going to find out. But I am excited to get more pics of cashew to add to the collection! I suppose I will be about 17 weeks by that appointment.

More to come...

Dear Cashew,

What are you doing in there, man? Running a marathon? Your heart was beating so loud and clear! But that is definitely a GREAT thing! I was hoping it was beating correctly and the doc says it was! I was smiling the whole time, trying not to laugh so she could hear it correctly. Partly because it kinda tickled and mostly because I couldn't believe there was a heart in my body other than mine! I know you probably don't understand what I'm saying. Heck, you can't even read, speak English or even hear anything yet. But it is pretty wild to have a replica of yourself in a smaller version in your stomach.

I was hoping to get pics of you today but no-go. I know we will get plenty more so that's ok. I've already registered for childbirth classes in late October/early November and they had electives I could take which I chose breastfeeding, infant CPR and infant care. I want to be sure I know what the heck to do when you get here. Not to scare you but...I don't know one thing about babies. Not one. But you don't know one thing about being here so hopefully it will all balance out. I will take good notes and I will be holding your cousin, Londyn, which will be the first time I held a baby since I was probably 9 or so. That will give me some sort of practice I hope. Not to scare you...you scared yet? Oh yeah, you can't read! Ha!

Well, I think you are telling me that we are hungry. I am feeling the usual symptoms of needing to eat. I will sign off for now and get you a nice baked potato and some broccoli. Might as well try to get some veggies in you now before you revolt at a later age!

Love you my little cashew,

PS...Daddy couldn't go with me today because he was out of town for work. He is a hard worker and does so much to keep us comfortable. He loves you so much already and always tells me to tell you HI for him. =]

Monday, June 8, 2009

Milestones Marked With Joy! 11 weeks, 6 days

I haven't written for a while and, while I would like to blame it on all this new fangled technology crashing all the time, the truth is...it was ME crashing all the time. Being pregnant, at least for me, has been quite a trip! A trip down a spiral of nausea and headaches followed by evening headaches that could bring a grown man to his knees! Speaking of which, I have one coming on now so I need to speed up this entry so that I can lay my ever expanding pregnant ass on the couch for another evening of upset stomach and TV watchin'.

With all of these "glamorous" aspects of pregnancy, it's no wonder that - not only have I not written in a while, my excitement level has been less than...well....exciting. It's really hard to completely change your lifestyle, feel like a pile of steaming poo every day and see your buttons on your pants moving further away from the hole on the other side. There's no baby kicking or any sort of stomach to put your hand under like a lot of pregnant women do. You just walk around looking like you've had too many Big Macs and, due to the green tint of nausea on your face, you look as if you are paying the price for eating them.

And then there are days like today. I swear the world turned the opposite direction and made the colors of the sky, trees and flowers a deeper, more vivid shade. Everything looked and smelled amazing and my stomach seemed to cooperate even with my nerves escalating on the way to my appointment. Today was our NT Scan (Nuchal Translucency). Just as a reminder, this is a screening test to help assess whether cashew has any chromosomal abnormalities or other chronic conditions. It doesn't diagnose and it isn't fail proof but the scan combined with the blood work makes the outcome 90% accurate.

I was being brave this morning. I decided to keep calm even though I knew it was going to require another blood draw. I even stayed calm when it looked like we were leaving later than I had hoped in order to get there on time. But we arrived on time even after trying to find the building that was tucked in the middle of a huge hospital campus.

When I was called back, T and I went into the sonogram room (straight back, to the left and then the first left - funny what my brain holds on to). I realized immediately that I have hit another milestone in this pregnancy. I no longer have to have the magic wand inserted in low places for my images!! I have now graduated to the cold gel on the belly and the actual ultrasound gadget that you see on all of the TV shows and movies. That alone was one exciting step.

Because I was advised to drink a lot of water before having blood drawn to make things flow faster (thus getting the procedure done quicker), I had drank a glass of water at home (water still makes me gag) and then a large Vitamin Water on the way in. Well, the technician really needed to position the gadget correctly which meant pressing strongly on my large bladder that, yes, she could see on the monitor (oh yes, right there...that big black hole...you DO have to go. So nice how there is nothing to hide when you are getting a sonogram done!). The first thing we saw was...well, a BABY! It is no longer a strange booger shaped alien looking creature. You know, that thing that crawled into the dude's ear on Star Trek the Wrath of Khan. No, cashew has grown. It now looks like a real baby of sorts. And the crazy thing? It's in ME!!! What the???

But it was awesome and I will admit, I teared up a couple of times in sheer amazement. We heard the heartbeat the first time. It sounded good and...wet. Like it was pumping jello or something. The technician promised us a tour of the baby after she got what she needed which was for cashew to lay on his (yes, I am just using the male gender so I don't call it "it") back with his nose in the air so that she could measure the fluid in the back of his neck. After many strong pushes (that almost released some urine), cashew cooperated and she was able to measure the neck.

She said that we were at 13...now, I am an internet junkie and I just researched what a normal range for NT Scans and the numbers she gave us do not jive with the ones on the internet. But I am going with what she told us until I hear otherwise. She said that cashew's NT was at 13 (mms? cms? I don't know) which is skinny. Very skinny to use her exact words. She said that the "big" area was 30 so we are in real good shape! T and I just figured it out! She was using the centimeter scale so it was .13 cm which she just called "13". Putting that in millimeter format, we are completely normal at 1.3 mm. Oh yay! Now I feel better again. I was wondering how that calculation was figured out after looking online. Whew! Ok, back to the story now that I just dragged you selfishly through the mud that I call my brain!

After learning that cashew has good looking neck fluid (he must get that from me), we moved on to the "tour" de bebe! She moved that little gadget around hitting as many angles as she possibly could! It was incredible to see. Now the long awaited pics...here is what we saw today with some descriptions to help you see things a little easier...

This was the pic that she used to measure the fluid in the back of the neck. What you are looking at is cashew's profile. If you look close, you will see an outline of his face. The four "dots" above his face are his left hand fingers. The fluid space that they measured is from the back of his neck to the white line directly below his neck. That small space is what she measured...the key word being SMALL!!

Ok, these pics are a little harder to decipher. There are two separate pics in one. So there is one on the left and then a separate pic on the right. If you look close, you will see where she typed "lower extremities" on the left pic and "upper extremities" on the right pic. I must say, I do not see the upper extremities. She said it looked like he was clapping his hands. Um. Ok. I really don't see it but at least she sees two hands and arms. That's a good sign.

The left pic is one that I am still ogling over. What you are looking at are his legs (she called them frog legs...must get that from T). It is almost as if cashew is diving head first into the bottom right hand corner of that left pic screen. From there, you see his butt (with a bright white dot that T swears is his....well, what makes him a him. Don't worry folks. We are still gonna be surprised. That white dot means nothing and it is still WAY too early to tell). Now, after his butt you should be able to see a little bit of a black gap and then his calves and then his feet. Don't worry, it is all attached (at least I assume so). I am guessing his legs are bent. Plus, the printed pics are kinda different than what you see on the screen and it was pretty vivid on the screen.

The last pic is of cashew trying to smile with his best gorilla face he could muster. I swear I had no relations with monkeys or gorillas in the past so I am hoping that this trait will fade as we move closer to due date! But, really...it does kinda look gorilla'ish. But you can see his left hand giving a wave...all four fingers and a thumb! I really just couldn't believe it.

It was a great tour and finished off with even better news! The blood that they were going to have to take was not coming from my arm!!! It was coming from my finger!! Oh I deal with that so much better! I can even sit up and make conversation during it. I can't watch them squeeze the blood out but I can handle the pin prick. I was so thrilled and it just put a cherry on top of the entire appointment. I think I floated out of there.

It all became very real and exciting after that. I couldn't stop looking at the sonogram pics and realizing that there is a little person inside me. A real one. Like mine...well, and of course, T's. It was so surreal but yet real all at the same time. I realized that I didn't feel pregnant other than the negative nasty parts so I never really felt like it was real. But this little thing was in there growing every day...trying to survive. Inside of ME! It was, and is, so incredibly insane.

Then I realized that this little creature has NO idea of his family out here in the real world. His grandparents, his fuzzy brothers and sisters, his aunts and uncles, cousins...all the places he will go, people he will visit...all the things he will do. He is just in his own little wet bucket swimming around and growing. So crazy and interesting...

I don't know where the old bitchy Dawna that complained about not being able to ride rollercoasters, eat gorgonzola cheese or drink a cold beer went but this new Dawna came out today that couldn't wait to get a baby name book and become the goofiest, cheesiest pregnant woman around! It's kinda embarrassing to admit that I felt that way today but I actually started to feel like...well...I don't know....a Mom kinda. And there was a sense of fear and joy all wrapped up in one big smile that stayed plastered on my face all day even during times of queasiness. I can't believe this is happening to me.

So we headed out after the appointment in search of something to do until lunch time. We walked through a really cool furniture store and then went to El Charro (mexican restaurant) for lunch. The food was one step lower than "below average" but whatever. After that we came on home. After some conversation, we realized I needed to make a deposit at my bank so we headed back out again. We went to the bank and then decided we would go see a movie. Since we had an hour before the movie began, we looked for something else to waste time. I have been wanting to get a library card for a while now so we hit the library. I guess you can imagine the books I checked out with my new card!! Yes, two baby name books, a nursery ideas book, a "bringing home baby" book and a crochet for dummies book. Wow, wild days are rapidly coming to an end for me! Haha!

We went to see The Hangover which was a good mindless movie that had only a few minor chuckles for me...and I might have only given courtesy chuckles which makes no sense since they can't see me anyway. But who cares? It was nice to be there with T and put a nice bow on top of our nice day.

Now we are home and the vices that squeeze my head every night are getting tighter and more intense. I know it is this headache that is making my hearing that much more sensitive so that I can hear the couch downstairs whispering my name. But here is a list of milestones we have reached at this point:

1. The 6 week mark - miscarriage moment during last pregnancy
2. Saw a strong heartbeat
3. Baby measured correctly at 7 weeks
4. NT Scan exactly normal
5. Heard the heartbeat

I am at 12 weeks tomorrow! This is my last week in my first trimester. Another huge milestone is on the horizon. Thanks to all of you who have been so supportive and encouraging through the process. Cashew has the most AWESOME family and friend support system than any kid. I feel so lucky and downright thrilled!

Dear cashew,

You sure are looking good in there. If your good looks is in any relation to how sick I have been over the last couple of months, you sure are going to be one heck of a knock out! And you already have a cute butt! You definitely get that from your Dad!

We heard your heartbeat today. Sounded like you were kicking back enjoying the ride. Well, cashew, I promise to do the same. I am going to stop stressing, stop complaining and just enjoy this ride with you. You may be the only cashew I ever have so I really want to experience the adventure. And, boy, has it been an adventure! I am moving into my second trimester so hopefully I will start feeling better so that I can start eating better for you.

It is amazing seeing you grow. Daddy and I were saying when we left our appointment today how our cashew isn't really a cashew anymore. But you will always be cashew to us. And, if that was you waving to us today, here's a wave back! Maybe someday they will make technology so that future cashews can have a flat screen monitor in there so that they can see their folks before they pop out. Or maybe not. Some may not want to come out then.

Well, we are excited and feeling awesome about the rest of the year! We are already playing around with names. What a scary thing! Naming you! We want to be sure it is a good one with little to no chance of ridicule. We know it may take a while and, since we won't know if you are a boy or girl until your birthday, we have to think of TWO names. No, wait...FOUR names if you count the middle name! But we have time and we are going to take it!

Daddy is really excited to start on your room. We have decided that we will start working on that when we get back from Louisville in July. Ahh yes, cashew. Louisville will be your second home!!! You have some wonderful Grandparents & GREAT Grandparents that are really looking forward to meeting you and spoiling you to no end. We will be there as often as we can possibly stand it. So keep that in mind when you are working on your crying voice. We will have to be quiet on that long plane ride.

Well, I could sit here and chat with you all night but, thanks to the hormones, my head is splitting and my stomach churning. But that's ok. Your gorilla smile makes it all worth it!!

Love you already,

Mommy at Aunt Lauren's shower - 11 weeks, 5 days (and a shirt that makes me look larger than I am, I think):