Okay, where to begin with the baby post? I have 18 weeks' worth of pregnancy talk that I've been saving up! This is probably way more than anybody is interested to hear, but I want to get it all written down for posterity.
Having been together for 11 years and married for 4 years, Patrick and I have been talking about starting a family for a couple years now. We were considering it seriously back in mid-2008, before we moved to Portland, and then we put it on hold while we got settled here. We figured that aiming to get pregnant in mid- to late-2009 would be ideal. Based on some big work deadlines I had scheduled for late 2009, it seemed like I wouldn't want to give birth until 2010, so September looked like a good time to start trying to get pregnant (early summer seems like a nice time to have a baby). I even wrote it in my planner so I wouldn't forget. Yes, I'm a big dork :)
I started reading What to Expect When You're Expecting this past summer (full of eye-roll-worthy writing, but also pretty informative), and based on information in the pregnancy preparation chapter, I started taking prenatal vitamins about 2 months before I planned to get pregnant. Patrick and I spent a long time staring at all the vitamin options at the grocery store and trying to figure out which we should buy, and we ended up going with the Rainbow Light Complete Prenatal System vitamins. They're big and expensive and you have to take six a day, but they've been really gentle on my stomach, so I'm happy. I'm also taking an omega 3 supplement for kicks.
I went in for a pre-pregnancy exam in August (which turned out to be unnecessary; the doctor just told me what I already knew from reading books), and Patrick and I sat down and talked about the pros and cons of having a baby and decided we were ready to start trying, and that was that--September was go time!
I had been using the fertility awareness method as a means of birth control since mid-2006, so I already knew when I'd be ovulating and all that good stuff (Taking Charge of Your Fertility is a great resource for this--I really enjoy knowing what's going on in my body at any given time, and it's such a reasonable scientific approach!). I figured despite knowing exactly when I was ovulating, it would still take a few months to conceive, but we were pleasantly surprised (and a little freaked out) to find out that we'd gotten it on the first try!
Since I was tracking my basal temperatures, I knew when I didn't see the typical drop in temperature 12 days following ovulation that something was up, but I didn't want to get my hopes up too soon. I happened to be in California that week for work, so I had to wait a whole week to get back to Portland and buy a pregnancy test to find out if I was really pregnant (I didn't want to take the test in my hotel room by myself; I wanted Patrick to be there too!). Right after Patrick picked me up from the airport, we drove to Walgreens and bought a test (only one; not a whole shelf-full like in the movies). The next morning, I took the test, and it was positive. Holy crap!
This was about 5 weeks into the pregnancy (using the wacky counting method where you get to count the 2 weeks before you even got pregnant), and my first OB appointment wasn't until 8 weeks. Waiting was kind of excruciating. I wanted some sort of confirmation that I was pregnant beyond a plus sign on a stick!
Morning sickness kicked in around week 5, with general yucky feelings, lack of appetite, and a bad taste in my mouth. Oh, and sometimes there was excessive salivation, which is kind of unnerving. Those symptoms stuck around until about week 14. I hadn't realized it before I got pregnant, but that's a long time to feel crappy! But I think it was pretty mild morning sickness (no vomiting; phew!), so I consider myself lucky. I ate crackers a lot at first, but then those started making me feel sick (I think because I associated them with feeling sick), so I had to move on to other mild foods, like oatmeal. I ate a lot of salad in the first trimester, because it was the only thing that I could bring myself to eat, and as a consequence, I ended up losing about 7 pounds compared to my pre-pregnancy weight. I'm putting that weight back on now, not to worry.
At week 8, we went to the OB, where they gave me all sorts of brochures and ran some blood tests and--the best part--did an ultrasound. The baby looked like a little frog at that point, but we got to hear its heartbeat and see the corresponding flutter on the ultrasound, and suddenly it was real--I was really pregnant! That was a pretty amazing moment :)
We opted for the First Trimester Screening, which meant we got a bonus ultrasound at week 12. The baby looked much more baby-like at this point, and the ultrasound tech even got a picture of it waving at us (we'll pretend that's what it was doing, at least). The screening results were good, which was reassuring.
I started sleeping on my side around 12 weeks, since stomach sleeping is out, as is back sleeping (so many things to worry about!). I picked up a Snoogle at our neighborhood consignment store early on, and although it's kind of cumbersome (especially when I need to get out of bed), it definitely makes sleeping on my side more comfortable.
My morning sickness mostly went away around Thanksgiving (13 weeks), though I came down with a cold soon after, followed by another cold a few weeks later, so I wasn't really at full appetite/energy levels until about a week ago. It was kind of disconcerting when the morning sickness went away, because I suddenly didn't have any day-to-day tangible proof that there was a baby in there, and it had been a few weeks since my last ultrasound. It made me unreasonably nervous. I'd keep sticking out my belly in front of the mirror, looking for signs that I was pregnant.
Things got more reassuring about a week ago (around 17 weeks), when I started feeling the baby move! (This is also known as "quickening." I wanted to go rent Highlander to celebrate, but it was checked out at our neighborhood video store. Bummer) I first felt it when I was lying in bed a little over a week ago. It's hard to describe--it was like a little pop or tickle on the inside of my belly. The day that we flew back from California, we got Lebanese food (Ya Hala, yum!) and went to a movie (Whip It at the Academy), and something about that really riled the baby up, because I felt it move four or five times that day! It has calmed down since then, but I usually feel it move once or twice a day (most often at mealtimes), which is really reassuring. I'm excited for when it gets strong enough that Patrick can feel it on the outside.
We're lucky to have two great maternity/baby consignment stores within walking distance of our house (as well as additional stores around Portland). Although it was a little early, I picked up a few maternity pieces at Piccolina before I left for California in mid-December, and I was glad I did. I splurged on some used Citizens of Humanity maternity jeans, and I have been so happy to have them, because they fit really nicely and give me plenty of belly room.
Speaking of belly, here are a couple of pictures. When I was in my first trimester funk, I didn't take any pictures, because I figured that everybody has seen plenty of pregnant bellies. But now that I'm feeling more energetic, I've decided to start documenting the pregnancy in pictures. I think I'll enjoy having them.
14. 3 weeks
(I'm sticking my belly out as far as it will go in that last picture; I don't think I normally look quite that big)
We went in for our monthly checkup a few days ago, and we got to hear the heartbeat again, which was nice. I'm really looking forward to our appointment in two weeks, when we get our third ultrasound and get to find out if it's a boy or a girl. It will have been 2 months since our last ultrasound, and I'm excited to see how the baby has grown (but I don't want a 3D ultrasound--those pictures creep me out for some reason).
We had considered waiting until birth to find out the sex of the baby, but I've found that I'm operating under the assumption that it's a girl (partly based on the timing of conception, but also just on my own unintentional bias, I think), so if it's a boy, I want time to change my assumptions. Either a boy or a girl would be awesome, of course; I think I just have a tendency to imagine our child as a girl because most of the babies and little kids I've been around have been girls. Raising a boy is kind of a mystery to me, since I didn't have any brothers, but Patrick has plenty of experience with boy stuff, and I'm sure we can figure things out either way :)
As far as names go, I've been keeping a running list of possible names for the past few years, but we haven't made much progress narrowing it down yet. There's also the question of what to do about our last names, since neither of us changed our names when we got married (and our names are too long to hyphenate comfortably). I had originally suggested that we give the baby my last name if it's a girl and Patrick's last name if it's a boy, but that would probably be too confusing. I think we'll go the least-confusing route and use Patrick's last name for all children. At least it's easier to spell than mine :)
We're planning on turning the room next to ours into a nursery, but we haven't done any work on it yet. Over the past week, I've spent an unhealthy amount of time on Ohdeedoh, which is simultaneously inspiring and stressful. Too much to think about! And as one commenter said, in retrospect she should have spent less time perfecting her nursery and more time learning about how to take care of a baby! So I'm trying not to get too caught up in nursery madness. The baby won't care what it looks like (but I would like to create a nice space, since the rest of our house was kind of decorated on the fly as we unpacked in 2008). I'm also hoping that we can get a lot of our baby stuff at our local consignment stores, rather than buying new. I think we can do it!
Speaking of learning how to take care of a baby, I checked out The Happiest Baby on the Block from the library and read it over Christmas break. Dr. Karp has some interesting theories, and it sounds like a lot of parents have found his method useful. I've put a hold on the Happiest Baby DVD at the library, since I think seeing the 5 S's in action will be helpful. I have no idea if this is something that we'll actually need to know, but it seems good to learn about it now, rather than after we've got a colicky baby in the house.
Oh, and I've just started reading about natural childbirth techniques. At the moment, my feeling is that it would be nice if I can give birth without drugs, but since I have no idea what labor is like, I'm not going to rule out an epidural as an option. But I would like to take a class in pain management. Lamaze seems reasonable (that's what my mom used when she had me), or there's something called hypnobirthing, which sounds kind of iffy based on the name (hypnotoad!), but when I asked my OB about it, she said she's seen women have success with it. I don't know, I need to read more about it.
It's funny how many things there are to think about related to having a baby. I feel like I shouldn't spend my time obsessing about all of this, but I'm not sure what is important and what can be ignored. And I'm sure all of my careful planning will go out the window when it comes time to actually have the baby. I'll definitely need to learn to be more easygoing. Being organized and planning ahead might work for us now, but it probably won't work once we have a child. That'll be an interesting change for me :)
While I'm writing, I also wanted to say how lucky I feel that this has all gone so smoothly so far. I'm really grateful that we were able to conceive so quickly and that my morning sickness was relatively mild. I know not everybody has been so lucky. Here's hoping that things continue to go well!
Okay, I think that's everything I wanted to say for now. I expect that my posts will be baby-centric for a long time to come, though hopefully I'll still have time for baking and crafts and all that good stuff. Now that my energy is back, I'm definitely enjoying spending time in the kitchen again. That's a relief. It was weird not wanting anything to do with food!