Leading up to any of my doctor appointments, I always have a sense of dread. I am afraid that they will find something bad or, even worse, find nothing at all. Not even a heartbeat. My frequent visits to message boards of other pregnant women can sometimes make this anxiety worse. Hearing stories about women who's babies heartbeats have stopped without their knowledge weeks before there ultrasound - even at 20 something weeks - just makes my heart skip a beat. I know this has a lot to do with having a miscarriage combined with my intense personality. I always fear the worst. I think I do this so that I can prep myself in case the worst has happened but then be pleasantly surprised when the worst hasn't happened.
Knowing my appointment was coming up and having a little time on my hands, I found myself browsing the message boards to see what everyone was chatting about. Turns out, some people can feel movement inside (not on the outside) anywhere from 16 weeks to 20 something weeks when it turns to outward kicks. The challenge is that, these women described these feelings as "fluttering" and "bubbles". All I thought I was feeling was gas bubbles and the occasional cramp. Not that this should be concerning or surprising. I read that a lot of women confuse the "quickening" or small movements as gas or hunger pains. While I overanalyzed my gas bubbles, I wondered if everything was ok in there. Or was I carrying a bundle of bad news.
I kept my mind off of things yesterday by going with my mother-in-law to Babies R Us (not sure how that keeps your mind off of babies) so that she could help me register for some of our smaller needs such as pacifiers, bottles and bath stuff. I also wanted to go ahead and get the bedding that we fell in love with. After our shopping trip, we headed to lunch and just chatted about everything under the sun. Luckily a lot of talk about things other than babies. Last night I went bowling with one of my best friends and her boyfriend. We had a GREAT time and it was just what I needed to a) take my mind off of things and b) possibly get a good night's sleep.
I slept ok but not well. I haven't in quite a while. Not so much because of my belly (which isn't really big enough to make me uncomfortable) but because of my insane dreams and my toes. Yes, my toes. I have read that some pregnant women have problems with restless legs. My problem is restless toes. It feels like I am crawling out of my skin and it happens EVERY night. I try to make myself relax so that I can fall back asleep but it takes a lot of time. And it is very frustrating.
My dreams have also been very strange. Last night I dreamed that T was with another woman. A really pretty college aged girl. In my dream, I was trying to understand the situation and knew that we were over. But I was so hurt...I was devestated. And I was pregnant. I started begging him to punch me in the stomach and saying that I didn't want to be pregnant with his baby while he was with her. Can you believe that madness? Disturbing isn't it? I read today on the internet (my friend and foe) that pregnant women sometimes have dreams just like this because they are so vulnerable and dealing with something so out of your norm. Add to that the fact that T is out of town on business this week, disturbing dreams I guess are bound to happen. Luckily I woke up to the realization that T and I are very happy and together and no one - I mean no one - will punch my stomach for ANY reason!
After a hot and long drive to my appointment, it was time to find out how cashew was doing. The office wasn't very busy - only one other couple was waiting in the small, cozy lobby. They were a cute couple - the guy was one of those large, kinda loud guys that is well spoken and kinda funny. He was asking the ladies behind the window about the 3D/4D ultrasounds. He said, "I know what a 3D image is but what is 4D? What dimension is that?" I couldn't help but chuckle behind my People magazine. He has a good point! But he ended up calling the number on the brochure advertising these ultrasounds and it was sweet hearing him talk to them. He was obviously very protective over his wife (asking things like "how hard will you have to press on her belly for the image?") and very organized with his thoughts and questions. They went back shortly after his phone conversation and it was just me and the Gosselings in People magazine left in the lobby (so sad about that family - John & Kate Plus 8).
Finally my name was called and I headed back and to the left to the usual small work room where they take my weight. 145.0. Looks like I am gaining a little weight. Finally. As hard as it is for me to see the scale rise after years of watching and cheering it DOWN, I really want to be sure that I stay healthy and I understand that weight gain (within the correct range) is healthy.
Next the nurse handed me the pee stick - the usual pee on my hand moment - that I have to do every visit. I headed to the bathroom. What I saw when I walked into the bathroom is something not commonly seen at your OB/GYN's office bathroom. The toilet seat was up. My first thought is that someone must have just cleaned the toilet and didn't put the seat back down. That's when I saw the remnants on the rim. There was a GUY in this bathroom! I could only assume it was the one that questioned the 4th dimension. Maybe the 4th dimension is what he was aiming for when peeing in (and on) the toilet. Guys, I know that you may occasionally need to pee while at the OB/GYN office with your wife, girlfriend or significant other. I am not trying to be an elitest but, guys, the OB/GYN office is a woman's world. You may get a sense of this when you go into the floral scented bathroom stocked with tampons, a changing table and pee cups. Please, please, please, respect the fact that this is a revered place for women. A place where we have to let down all modest guards and let the doctor poke and prod places with instruments that would bring a tear to your eye. Could you please wipe off your pee from the rim and put the seat down after you pee in that bathroom? I am sure your significant other would advise you to do the same in your home but I don't care what you do there. Please, be considerate of those of us who must frequent the OB/GYN and keep good aim and good manners. Oh, and stop touching the tampons.
Ok, back to me. After hovering over the wet rim after putting the seat down, I did my usual balancing act to pee in the cup for the dipstick. Yes, as usual, a little pee ended up on a finger. I wondered to myself while this process was working, how am I going to do this when I can't kinda look down there to get my aim. What happens when I look down and only see a belly button? That should make it more interesting I'm sure.
I guess my dip stick looked good to the nurse and she guided me into the ultrasound suite. You know, the big room with the recliner? I love that room. She checked my blood pressure - 180 over 20 or something like that. If that means I'm dead, I got the numbers wrong. I have never really been good at understanding the blood pressure thing. She asked me how I've been feeling and then, the second question, "have you felt any fetal movement?" Ugh - well, I answered, I haven't. Or at least I don't think I have. I don't know. I have felt gas bubbles - or was that fetal movement. I don't know. She assured me that it can be hard to distinguish so not to worry. But I did.
The wait for Hutch seemed like an eternity. I couldn't get comfortable (mental note - sit in the comfy recliner next time) and my mind was running all over the place. I kept looking at the ultrasound machine wondering if it would seal my fate today. Will it bring good news or bad news? This went on for however long I was sitting in the room. Then the jiggle of my chart on the outside of the door was the welcoming sound of Hutch coming in.
Hutch is just one of those women that you instantly love. She is bouncy and happy - but not over the top. She is eccentric and quarky but warm and inviting. She came in, gave me a hug and pulled up a chair. She asked how I was doing and I shared my concerns that I have every time an appointment rolls around. She said that she understood and that she was there to ease those concerns so the first thing she did was listen to the heartbeat. Oh, and no...no sonogram today - no pics. But she did put the gel on the belly and waved the magic wand so that we could hear the heartbeat. It took no time for her to find it. As soon as she touched my stomach you could hear it. My first reaction - and question - is that my heartbeat or the baby's? She said it is the baby's! I couldn't believe how loud and clear it was! She said it was definitely moving! She had to chase it down with the wand to keep listening to the heartbeat. You could hear it strong and then it would fade a bit...it was moving and repositioning. Every now and then you would hear a THUMP - Hutch said, "that's a kick!" WHAT?? I couldn't even feel anything!! Then you would hear a SWOOSH - Hutch said, "that's movement!" I couldn't believe how much it was moving around in there. Absolutely amazing!! As much as I would have loved pictures to share with you tonight, my peace of mind was rekindled with the heartbeat wand.
Hutch told me that the results of my NT Scan are all perfect and in the normal zone! That's great news. It isn't a guarantee but, when it is in the range of mine, there isn't much concern at all. She commented that I looked "fit" and "healthy" and that I don't even look pregnant other than the bump forming! Boy, that made me feel good. I am trying so hard to stay fit so that I can keep cashew healthy and so that I can be back in my normal jeans (minus the belly band) after this is over.
She said I could travel in October so that I can see my family and have a shower (well, I take showers every day but the ol' shower party thing). I told her that my prenatal vitamins make my stomach upset so she gave me samples to try (although I read I could take 2 Flinstone Complete chewable vitamins a day which I have decided to try instead). She informed me that my next ultrasound will be the "big" ultrasound and will take place in a different location. That will be at 20 weeks or so. This ultrasound would be when we could find out the sex. But we aren't!! We still want to be surprised!! But I AM excited to get more pics. Then we will be back to Hutch around August 12 for another quick exam. Probably no pics but maybe a good heartbeat listen!
All in all, the appointment went GREAT and I was so relieved when I left. T was out of town but I called him with the updates and he was very happy. I decided to treat cashew to a mexican lunch - just the two of us. It was delicious...and happened to be next to a Target. I decided to stop by Target after lunch to pick up some flavored waters I like. Well, just like it goes with Target, I ended up getting more than I bargained (or budgeted) for. I decided that I should continue the celebration of a good appointment by buying myself some new jammies. I love them and have them on now! I also bought (Dad's and boys turn your heads) a new bra. The girls are growing which is making my old bras very painful to wear so I bumped up in size. Luckily they were on sale because I know I won't always be this side. I wonder if they have a size "saggy" for after pregnancy?
Then I thought about cashew. He/she had a good appointment too! So I should just go look in the baby section to see if there is something that catches my eye. Well, many things did and I decided to start a registry there as well! Haha! I have officially become the silly pregnant lady that can't stop looking at baby crap! Even the stuff that I don't know what it does! I registered for toys, books, boppy pillow (don't ask), some blankets and some onesies. In neutral colors of course. But I did see a cute 3 month old outfit on clearance that I thought would be a good celebratory gift for cashew. Oh...and some booties/socks that rattle! So cute! I just had to get it. This child...spoiled already.
It relieved my mind and heart when I heard your heart beat! I am always worried about you and can only imagine that this worry will continue until the day I turn to dust! But your heart beat is strong and your movements were incredible! Were you playing with us? Doc said she heard a kick and other movements. No matter if you are a boy or a girl, sounds like sports might be in the cards for you! I am your number one supporter if you would like to take something on!!
I bought you an outfit today and registered for some toys and other bright, weird kid things that I suppose you will enjoy as much as the model babies on the boxes. I also registered for a "goodnight" book and some other books that you and I (and probably your big sis) will enjoy very soon. Once I get the idea that you can hear stuff out here, maybe Daddy and I will read you some things. With your Daddy's genes, we know for a fact you will already be smart but couldn't hurt to make you smarter!
I keep hearing and reading that I will be feeling you soon. You will have to make some deliberate moves to get my attention since gas bubbles and other strange sensations are pretty common in there lately. But I do try to concentrate to feel something. I know I will really get some kicks someday soon so I am trying to be patient.
Your cousin Londyn will be born any day! Aunt Lauren's doc says that it could be before her next appointment next Thursday! I am excited to see her and to see the hospital where you will be born! I am really excited that you two will be so close in age. That will give you someone to play with.
Well, I am sure you are currently swimming away and enjoying the comfort of your bubble. I am so glad that you are doing so well and it sounds like you are the perfect baby...boy or girl. We are still not going to find out what you are until your birthday!! How exciting!!!
Well, goodnight for now. I am looking forward to seeing you in a couple of weeks and maybe feeling you sooner!
Love you always,
Mommy and Daddy
PS...Daddy was out of town for this appointment but stayed in constant contact to be sure he knew how you were doing. He is very happy to hear that we are both doing great and progressing wonderfully! You will love your Daddy - he rocks!!
Belly picture at 17 weeks: