Friday, December 19, 2014

Twenty Six Weeks

I'm finally starting to feel better, most days. I think I've only taken Zofran twice in the last week; what a relief! As a result, I have been eating more, if not normally. My belly seems to have grown hugely in response (look at last week's photo -- can you believe the difference?).

I'm up ten and a half pounds and feeling the change in my body -- it's suddenly so uncomfortable as to be painful to bend over or to carry anything heavy. Carrying Calliope feels slightly ludicrous -- I hike her up high, above the belly, then twist her sharply sideways. Needless to say, she doesn't get held for long.

Some days I have tons of Braxton Hicks contractions, mostly while walking home from the train. They are not exactly painful but they are definitely intense. I generally have to sit for a few minutes when I get home to recover.

And a couple of days ago, I felt a body part suddenly poke out at my skin. A limb of some sort. Still small but strong and distinct.

I suddenly panicked this week about the fact that I've done basically nothing to prepare for this baby's arrival. My plan had been to work on my to do list over February School Vacation but it suddenly occurred to me that I might not not be feeling full of zest by then. So this week I finally bought Calliope a long-researched twin mattress. And hopefully on Sunday, if everyone is healthy, we are going bed shopping. Thus liberating the crib mattress from the toddler bed so it can go back to being a crib mattress. That will be two big items off my list. It's possible that not every item on my list, things like "organize underwear drawer" will be addressed, but I'm trying.

Calliope has started asking to "hug my sister." She has threatened to "hold my sister" (hug my belly?) in bed when we are sharing a hotel room during our upcoming travels. Which makes my heart sing. I just hope Calliope still loves her sister when she's on the outside.

Calliope and Tree Leaf

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Trying to Explain Marriage. And Talking About Daddies.

I explain to Calliope that we will be staying in a hotel in Mexico. She nods.

Me: Calliope and Mommy will stay together in our hotel room.

C: Will Eliana stay with her Mommy?

Me: No, Eliana will stay with her sister, Talia.

C, wide eyed and slightly aghast at the prospect of maternal separation: Why?

Me: Because Aunt J wants to stay with Uncle Jeff.

C: Why?

Me: Because married people usually like to sleep in the same bed.

C: Oh.

Me: Do you know what "married" means?

C: Yeah? (*She always says "yeah" but fails to answer when she doesn't know the answer to something.)

Me: People get married when two grown ups decide they want to spend their whole lives together. Sometimes it's a man and a woman, sometimes it's two women, and sometimes it's two men.

C, wide eyed: [So] Talia and Eliana are two womens [sic]?

Me, stifling laughter: No, Talia and Eliana are sisters. They can't get married. And also, they aren't grown up yet.

Me: So Aunt Jonquil and Uncle Jeff are married, and Uncle Nate and Aunt Sarah are married, and Seth and Amy are married. They aren't just mommies and daddies together. They want to spend their whole lives together.

C: We don't have a daddy.

Me: That's true.

C: We don't have one.

Me: Do you wish we had a daddy?

C: No. But we could be with one.

Me: You mean we could have a daddy visit? Like Seth visits?

C: Yeah! Or we could live with one!

Me: We could live with Amy and Seth?

C: Yes. We could live with them in our house inside their house.

Me: Hmm. That might be crowded. Where would we sleep? Where would we put Mommy's bed?

C: Abby's bed and Calliope's bed would be in Eleanor's room. Because Amy and Seth sleep together in their room. And that's the trick! (No idea what the "trick" part means.)

Friday, December 12, 2014

Twenty Five Weeks

This week seems to have lasted forever. After a day and a half of feeling good, another stomach bug kicked in. Totally different symptoms, so hey, that's fun and different, right? But I'm starting to worry about being sick for the rest of my pregnancy. And the prospect of fifteen (or even seventeen!) weeks of feeling like crap is worrying. On the days the symptoms are bad, I can't work. I just sit in the dark in my office, motionless, with a trash can next to me. I don't know how people work with morning sickness. I try to but I worry that if I open my mouth to speak, I'll vomit on my desk. This feels pretty paralyzing. The desperate runs to the bathroom are also not ideal for seeing patients.

I actually lost a pound (up nine pounds total so far) from all these different illness.

And despite being able to see movement on the outside of my stomach, I still find it really hard to believe that there's an actual baby in there.

Calliope is seriously into babies these days. When there's a baby in the room, she can't hear anything being said to her because she's in a total Baby Trance. Caring for Baby Jenna takes up a big part of the day. I'm wondering if we are going to have fights over who gets to hold Baby Sister. Or perhaps she'll be totally bored by the whole thing. Luckily Eleanor's parents generously agreed to have a baby two months before me, so Calliope will have lots of time to get used to the idea of a little baby being around all the time.

Front view

Side view

Side view displaying my prominent "outie" belly button -- eww!

Tenderly nursing Baby Jenna in one of her favorite, if non-traditional, seats

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Twenty Four Weeks

I caught sight of myself partly dressed in the mirror last night and was completely taken by 
surprise. I can't believe I have a lot of growing still to do. 
Twenty four weeks has arrived! Hooray! Tree Leaf is technically viable, though I feel like at this stage, it's still a coin toss.
"My belly's not bigger yet but it will be soon!"
I think she's starting to question her own declaration that we BOTH have babies in our bellies.

I got sick last weekend with a stomach bug and my digestion has been off ever since -- I've been living on buttered (whole wheat, at least) bagels and watered down Vitamin Water all week and have been pretty uncomfortable all week. I'm thrilled to have been able to finally eat normally last night without pain, and today the frightening bloat in my stomach is finally gone and I am finally smaller... if not small.

Now if only two of Calliope's classmate hadn't been vomiting in the last forty-eight hours, I'd be really relieved. As it is, I'm bracing myself.

I don't look as shockingly big with my shirt down. Yet. 
But that gigantic belly button is poking through my shirt. Dead giveaway. 

From the front, it's not that noticeable... until I turn. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Twenty Three (Plus) Weeks

Twenty three (plus) weeks. I've been battling another tummy bug, my second in three weeks, so my belly is looking (and feeling) very big and distended. After only once being sick between Calliope's birth and getting pregnant, I'm feeling like twice in three weeks is a bit much. Thanks, pregnancy immune system!

Two days ago, Calliope and I got to see Baby Tree Leaf's movements from the outside. Calliope was interested but not all that enthused, but I was excited, anyway.

It's hard to believe that in two more days I will reach another huge milestone, viability!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Twenty Two Plus Weeks

At my midwife appointment yesterday, I was twenty two weeks (plus four days) but my uterus was measuring [at least] twenty-four weeks!

According to Chris, this doesn't mean my baby is unduly large or anything like that. I think things just stretch out a lot faster the second time around. I hope so. I'm scared of delivering a giant baby.

Last I checked, I was up nine pounds. I think this photo makes me look a little smaller than I feel (angling the camera down away from the overhead light will do that).

I mostly feel pretty good, but I've slowed down climbing stairs. And I am getting stomach aches pretty frequently, especially after dinner. Nothing to do but climb into bed... sometimes by 8 pm.

I'm excited that in just over a week, the baby will be officially (if minimally) viable. Of course I don't want her born any time soon but it's crazy to think that it's even possible. That a bunch of cells thrown into my body could turn out a real living person. Wild.

Monday, November 24, 2014

More Photos

Holiday card contender number one. 0396
Holiday card contender number two -- 0407. I like that it's more direct of her face, though I love the light on her hair in the first one.
(What would it look like with less tree showing?)

Love the composition. 0275
0348 Another option for the FB reveal. (See below for the alternative -- PLEASE someone tell me how I can freely move photos around on Blogger!)

Love: how secure she is being loved.
Don't love: my back fat. Could we crop this? This would be a private photo, not for a card.
LOVE how joyous and free she looks.
Don't like how I like like I'm straining to hold onto her.

Versus the original favorite for FB reveal, 0496.

More Photo Comparisons -- Tea Party (it helps to see them laid out together). For photos at home.

0060. I love how we look so absorbed in each other.  
0067? I love how we are looking at each other. So much love and delight.
This (069)? It's starting to grow on me. A lot.

Or this? (055)

Monday, November 17, 2014

Twenty One Weeks Belly Shot

Feels like I'm getting bigger every day!
And some good news: my Materniti21 was negative for Trisomies 13, 18, and 21! 


Guess which cookie Calliope made?
Only a tiny little spoon works for mixing an enormous bowl of flour, salt, and baking soda.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Comments From Calliope

"Mommy, why do dogs pee and poop on the street?"

"Well, have you ever seen a doggy use a potty? They don't know how to use the potty so they have to go pee and poop outside."

"Oh! Dogs don't have belly buttons because they don't know how to use the potty yet!"

(Made perfect sense to her, anyway, if not to me.)


Lying on the couch together and looking at her small legs next to my longer ones.

"Mommy, someday I'm going to have big feet like you."

"Yes, that's true."

"And I'll have hair on my tushy!"

"Yes, that's true, too."

"And I'll have a really big belly button like you!"

(Well, my sweets, only if you are unlucky enough to end up with an umbilical hernia like me, as a result of pregnancies with you and your sister.)


"Calliope, sometimes pregnant women -- that is, women with babies in their bellies -- get tummy aches and have to take tummy medicine (aka the tropical flavored Tums I take that Calliope is enamored with).

At 6:15 the next morning, a Saturday, of course, 

"Mommy, the baby in my belly needs medicine!"


Fall Photos, Age Three

A few of my favorites from our recent photo shoot. I'm so glad we did it in the park -- Calliope had a blast with our tea party and with running around. I love our photographer! (IM me if you are in NYC and looking for an affordable photographer who is a sweetheart to boot. She does gorgeous maternity shots, too, for late in pregnancy.)

Please vote on your favorites... for both a holiday card, for my wall (framed), and for my [hopefully tasteful] FB reveal of my pregnancy.







Twenty One Week Ultrasound

Blueberry is looking good and healthy at twenty one weeks. Look at her arm behind her head in repose! I guess it's pretty relaxing in there.

Unfortunately, I've had a little tummy bug the last couple of days and all that pressing on my stomach made me get very dizzy.

Once I said I wasn't feeling well and rushed off to the bathroom, the ?student sonographer was banished and the doctor himself came in to finish. He had a much gentler touch and finished quickly, thank goodness. He said he got all the necessary views of the heart and everything looks good.

He said he wasn't concerned about the fact that my previous results showed a slightly elevated risk of Down Syndrome (based on lab results only, not the ultrasound), given that the ultrasound looked so normal. I shouldn't really need to worry, since I had PGD testing on my embryo before it was transferred, but I guess there's a risk of a mosaic (spontaneous mutation) Down Syndrome. Just in case, I got blood work done last week for Materniti.21, but I'm not losing sleep as I wait for the results.

Hard to believe I'm more than halfway done. I visited the midwife yesterday, due to not feeling well, and the the tummy bug was making my belly measure 25 weeks instead of 21! I assume it will go back to normal any time now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014



Just a cute girl I met on the street
I was so very anxiously awaiting this twenty week, halfway point moment, that it's hard to believe it slipped away so quickly, without even a photo until five days later.

I'm feeling more movement now, like a snake slithering around in my gut. It's very odd (but cool).

I'd gained seven pounds as of last Friday but I feel like I'm getting bigger by the day now. Time to [try to] cut back on my nightly intake of sugar!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Nineteen Weeks and Anatomy Scan

19w3d, front view (at work)

19w3d, side view
Slightly scary looking but more baby-like, too. 
Check out those skinny legs and giant feet hovering above her chest!

Nineteen weeks (plus three days) with small guest star, drinking her milk

All went well at the anatomy scan last week. The sex was confirmed -- definitely a girl. Only the tech couldn't get all the heart images she needed so I have to go back in two weeks to try again.

My sister came for my prenatal visit on Thursday afternoon and my ultrasound on Friday morning. It was so nice to have her company. We spend a long time with the midwife -- who I am totally loving. She just seems so unhurried and caring and kind. My sister really liked her too, a nice change from the previous midwife, who she never liked.

I was looking forward to the anatomy scan but honestly, it was sort of boring after the first few seconds of thrilled relief that the growing belly actually still housed a growing human who might someday, hopefully, become a baby. Still, I'm very glad to have another milestone checked off. I've been looking forward to reaching twenty weeks for quite a while now, so Friday will be another happy milestone.

I'm suddenly feeling much more pronounced kicks and movement, which is really fun and much more reassuring than those very faint flutters. Now I'm much more sure it's not just my imagination.

My fatigue suddenly seems a bit better the last few days, which is also a relief. My friend Talia foisted my infant car seat back onto me so now that's strapped into the backseat of my car -- my first bit of baby gear for the second child. And being kept there mainly so it doesn't take over precious closet space in my apartment.

I was offered a seat on the subway for the first time last week, and couldn't stop smiling. And several people have asked in the last week if I'm pregnant. So I guess I'm showing... though most people still don't seem to notice.

I'm up six pounds, which is, I think, twice my weight gain at nineteen weeks in my first pregnancy, but still seems reasonable, and anyway, this time around I've got a healthier view of my body. Or at least, I care less. Whether that is healthier or not is debatable. The midwife said my uterus is just the right size -- at my belly button, and the size of a cantaloupe, I believe, so that's great. I can deal with my lumpy thighs next year... or not. Luckily neither Calliope nor Blueberry will care, as long as I am happy. And even more luckily, motherhood has taught me a lot about the value of self acceptance.

The last photo is of me at 18 plus weeks pregnant with Calliope. What a difference! Everything looks so much more tucked in and tidy the first time around, despite the fact that I am actually doing a little core work this time around and only did elliptical last time. The human body is quite a miracle, even when it looks a bit untidy.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Week 18 (Plus)

It's stranger how much bigger these profile pics with clothes make me look!
Still feeling pretty good but needing a lot more sleep these last couple of weeks. I'm totally fine during the day but by 9 or 9:30 at night, I'm completely exhausted and totally non-functional.

I'm also getting winded much more easily, climbing stairs or walking and talking at the same time. And I feel a strange downward pressure at the bottom of my belly when climbing stairs.

I plan to ask the midwife about the pressure, and ask her to check for Vitamin D deficiency and anemia to explain the new fatigue.

Just a few more days until my anatomy scan!

Swim Lessons

Week three: Refused to get into the water at all. 
(Not a good morning for her even before we arrived.)
Received her candy bribe since she did, at least, sit there for the whole lesson. Sigh.
Week two: Gamely smiling with always-jovial Chester, who seems to truly love his work
Thanks Blogger for not allowing me any control over the order of my photos or where they fall in relation to the text)!

So partly on the encouragement of some loyal blog readers but mostly because Calliope was loving the water so much this summer -- and showing rapid progress with her comfort in the water -- I decided to sign her up for swim lessons. She really seemed ready. She was independently bobbing up and down in the water, blowing bubbles, "walking" in the shallows on her hands while kicking her feet. It seemed like she was on the brink of learning to actually swim, at least a little bit.

Well. Swim lessons have not been an unmitigated success, to put it mildly. This last week, I counted nine children in her class, along with two instructors. Most of the other children look to be 2 years older and at least ten pounds heavier than her. And certainly a lot more confident. She never volunteers to go first. And she spends a lot of time clinging to the side of the pool (where they wait their turns -- they were floation belts), looking beseechingly at me. She only responds well to the head instructor of her group, and half of her turn practicing a given skill is just devoted to focusing on what the teacher said.

The third week she refused to get in the water at all. This week she did get in, though she wanted to get out a couple of times. I've resorted to bribery to get her to participate. But all she has to do to earn her candy is sit on the side and listen, so the fact that she got in the water at all was a victory. And her teacher coaxed her back in a couple more times after some breaks of sitting on the side.

But even when she does participate, with all that time spent sitting plus the limited comprehension of a three year old in turning verbal instructions into bodily movements (especially after all that time waiting), I just wonder if it's worth it. I worry that this might be killing her love of the water. And that she might be better off exploring at her own pace. Kind of like literacy (and all the great advice I got here about it)!

I researched private and semi-private swim lessons but they don't fit in our schedule right now, unfortunately.

The director of the acquatics program, a actual grown up, called me last week and we had a long chat and she had some specific ideas to help. Specifically, one, go to Family Swim to practice and reinforce what Calliope learns in swim lessons. And two, she would talk to her (really great, in most respects) teacher, Chester, to ask him to a) sometimes go first, and b) keep her and the other little ones engaged even when they are waiting their turn.

This past Saturday was a bit better. I saw some smiles on her face as she practiced with Chester, which made my heart glad. Unfortunately, she cried during her entire turn with the female assistant -- after said assistant pried my girl's fingers off the edge of the pool as she wailed -- which made my heart hurt.

The next day, I took both Calliope and her six year old friend Annabelle to the pool for Family Swim. Skipping naptime, intentionally, for the first time. Calliope (and Annabelle) loved it. We didn't bother with the flotation belt that she is forced to wear during lessons -- it's not like she trusts the thing, anyway. She jumped (holding my fingers) off the wall into the water over and over and over again. She kicked her little heart out and gaily did lots of "ice cream scooping," aka practicing the arms for the crawl stroke. Total joy. Despite the shivering.

As for me, my pregnant n*pples were on fire -- they are like my cold weather indicator -- and not in a good way. Serious pain. But all for a good cause.

We will see if the next (and last) swim lesson is any better as a result of doing our homework. And after that, no more serious lessons for a while. We might try a dance class with Calliope's best friend, but apparently it's very "developmentally appropriate" and fun. And we can try a drop-in class to make sure it's a good fit. And going with her friend probably guarantees she will relax and enjoy it. But either way, I will try to get my own ideas of what my preschooler "should" be doing out of the way.

Week two
Calliope's version of a flutter kick on her back looks more like 
a ?synchronized swimming move

Week six -- she's smiling! 

Week one: My little peanut amongst her much larger classmates (the other little girl promptly switched classes)

Week six and so happy to be getting attention from Chester... but is she actually any closer to real swimming?