Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Pregnancy Update: 32 Weeks

Today I'm officially 32 weeks pregnant. Coincidentally, I did a pregnancy update when I was 32 weeks pregnant with Henry, back in 2011. I suppose I was about the same size, even though this baby girl is bigger than Henry was at the same age.

Weeks Pregnant: 32 weeks as of today. Depending on the website you visit, she's about the size of a pineapple, a Napa cabbage, or a jicama. Actually, I had a growth ultrasound yesterday, and she's at the 78th percentile, so she may be larger than your average pineapple. They estimate that she weighs 5 pounds, 1 ounce now. That's much bigger than either of my boys, so she's looking pretty healthy. The doctor said that if she continues to grow at this rate, by 40 weeks she'll be 9 pounds, 3 ounces. Good thing I'm having a planned c-section!

This is a 3D ultrasound of her face. They checked all of her organs today and everything looks normal. That's her little hand up by her face, just like the last ultrasound.

Weight: (From starting weight) +31 pounds. No comment.

Nick took this picture around sunset, so the color is a little off. 

Movement: Actually, even though I have an anterior placenta, I can feel her move much more now. It's still not always easy to do kick counts, but at least she is making her presence known.  It seems she's on my right side and not directly behind the placenta. According to the ultrasound technician, her feet are kicking my lungs and ribs and her head is using my bladder as a pillow. No wonder I have to get up multiple times every night to go to the bathroom.

Nick likes to feel the baby move, and he periodically gets very, very exuberant when thinking about having a baby sister. He's very thrilled, and he loves babies. Nick wants to push the stroller. Based on his scooter skills, I'll have to train him very carefully before letting him do that!

Henry is much less interested. He was also not at all thrilled when he came with me to the ultrasound yesterday. What was he thrilled about? I let him play Minecraft during the doctor's visit. I think Henry is going to have to adjust to being the middle child. He didn't think the ultrasound pics looked anything like a baby.

Exercise: Not so much. I was religiously making 10,000 steps daily until about a week or two ago. Between the foot pain, back pain, and the shortness of breath, hitting 10,000 steps has become less important than simply making it through the day. I've been averaging between 6,000 and 8,000 steps per day, and I'm going to have to be satisfied with that. The doctor said my fundal height is measuring at 37 weeks, which basically means my uterus is compressing my lungs. That brings me to. . .

Nesting: Oh, boy, the nesting has been quite intense this time around. Besides getting the boys' new room ready, I've been planning the upstairs. Greg is doing the actual work (painting and putting in engineered hardwood), but I've been researching things like area rugs, new curtains and lighting fixtures. Renovating our entire home during the 2nd half of pregnancy? Sure, we can handle that.

Cravings: I've been drinking a lot of milk, all Fairlife 2%. That's not really what I crave, though. Lately, I like Mexican food. Fajitas, tostadas, burritos, nachos. Yum. Just like when I was pregnant with Henry, I've had smell cravings, too. I actually enjoy doing laundry lately because of the smell of the Gain laundry beads (weird, I know). It's almost a workout now doing laundry, though, since my belly is so big I can barely reach the bottom of the washing machine.

Sleep: I was averaging two hours or so at a stretch (and maybe 5 hours total) until about a week ago, when my friend loaned me this amazing pregnancy body pillow. It's called a snoogle, and it is gaining me at least an hour of sleep per night. I still wouldn't say I'm sleeping great, but it's a little bit better. Of course, when I go back to work in twelve days (yikes!), I think I'll get much less sleep. 

Medical: I'm anemic, but right now only enough for it to impact me. The doctors keep checking my blood to see if the levels go below a certain point. If so, it'll be IV iron for me. It's obvious, by the size of the baby, that my anemia isn't impacting her. It sure makes me bruise easily, though! My blood sugar readings have been more normal, so long as I stay in air-conditioning. I have had some asthma issues as well, though it's hard to tell if I'm out of breath because someone's feet are in my lungs or if it's because of the asthma. That will only get worse, I think, once I go back to work in my non-air-conditioned classroom. Oh, and my plantar fasciitis has been acting up, in addition to the typical leg and foot swelling of pregnancy. Okay, enough whining. This baby is healthy, and I can make it another seven weeks!

Mood: I've still been pretty anxious, but once I was able to get more than five hours sleep per night, the anxiety eased up a bit. I can be a little, ahem, irritable, but I think that's likely normal at this stage in pregnancy. 

I made it until 30 weeks without buying a single thing for this baby. After years of fertility treatments, I was afraid to tempt fate by purchasing lots of little girl things. It was an anxiety thing. However, I finally gave in and starting getting things for this little girl last week. I started with a few outfits from a garage sale, and then I started to realize all the things we would need. I've been pricing car seats, bassinets, and strollers, waiting for the prices to be just right. We now have a pack and play with a bassinet coming in the mail. Hopefully it'll be set up in our newly renovated bedroom well before this baby makes her appearance. 

Some of my amazing friends from work threw me a "Sprinkle" to celebrate finally having a baby girl. It was sweet and wonderful and it made me start to get really excited about the birth. Opening some of the adorable outfits, I started to get really excited, and this time, I let myself dwell in the excitement. The purple and pink balloons, the cake with "Welcome Princess" written on it. . . . this is really happening!

Monday, July 31, 2017

A Basement Room for Nick and Henry

This summer has been quite an adventure! Our whole house is undergoing major renovations, all towards the cause of making our two bedroom home comfortably fit two adults, three children, and two cats. Step one is now fully complete!

Though they've been sleeping down there for awhile now, just this morning I finished putting together their room. Don't feel sorry for them--we tried our best to give them the nicest, hugest basement bedroom you'll ever see. I'll give you the grand tour in a minute, but first. . . Imagine every toy and piece of clothing these two kids have ever owned, all dumped together randomly in boxes, stacked all the way up to the ceiling of an unfinished basement. . . . That is what this room looked like just a few months ago. In fact, you don't have to imagine. This is what the basement looked like after we cleaned out all of the boxes and before the renovations started. There are lighting issues because the bulb in the ceiling only worked if you tied something heavy to the string (like a saucepan).

Now for the post-renovation pictures. As you walk down the stairs into the boys' "apartment," notice the carpeted stairs and the stained concrete. We wanted everything to be as indestructible as possible, since Henry and Nick are rough-and-tumble guys. The door at the bottom of the stairs is to our storage room, which we left unfinished and with a lock on it.

You can't destroy stained and sealed concrete, right? 

As I was planning out their new room, each boy picked out his own "theme." I originally wanted to divide the room with a bookshelf, but for now, there is a dedicated bedroom area and a big playroom area. They can move the furniture around when they get older and want their own spaces.

Nick picked a Harry Potter theme, and we had wall stickers left over from his birthday party last November. He wanted the poster from the first movie to go over his bed, and his grandma got him a blanket with the train to Hogwarts on it, plus the foam mat between their beds. See the ceiling? It's a special black spray for an industrial look. It was way cheaper than a dropped ceiling, and it makes the room feel taller, too.

Henry, true to form, picked a Minecraft theme. He loves his stuffed ghast and his creeper bedspread--if everything is square, Henry is happy. Their beds are unbunked now, so I was able to fit six plastic bins with lids under each of their beds. Out-of-season clothing? Boxes of blocks and cars? All of them fit under the beds.

This is their study area. I found these desks at a garage sale, and both Henry and Nick now have their own space to study, color, and write. Nick's desk is actually an old metal school desk that was painted red and decoupaged with a world map. Henry has a Minecraft "window" over his desk. Oh, and both boys can play basketball on the back of the storage closet door.

 Here's what the rest of their room looks like. It really is like a miniature apartment. (The little nook in the back is because the hot water heater and the furnace are walled off from the rest of the space, for safety. In their "apartment," Nick and Henry have a trampoline, a reading nook, a TV with a DVD player, a karaoke machine, a Wii system (no cable or internet, though), and of course, Nick has his drum set.

Another garage sale find was the huge beanbag chair in the corner (below). See the Lego table and the shelves of boxes? Everything was dumped together, and it took me about a week to get it all sorted out nicely. Yes, this pregnant lady sat on the concrete floor, day after day, sorting magnets from Squigz from beads from Legos from Zoobs, with crayons and random detritus mixed in for good measure. These guys have more Legos than they know what to do with!

Last picture, I promise. See the blue cabinet to the left of the window? Those are rulers glued to the front cabinet doors--another garage sale find from the same lady from whom I bought the desks. After sitting on the concrete floor all weekend, I just ordered another one of those large green foam mats (24 square feet), so pretty soon they'll have a soft area in the middle of the room if they want to sit on the floor. The boys also got their own brand-new curtains on their window, and you'd think with all the light they block my boys would sleep past 7 a.m. No such luck, unfortunately.

I guess the pregnancy nesting has hit me early this time around. When I was pregnant with Henry, the urge came later. I suppose that's what I get for doing major home renovations two months before having a baby. Our next step? Greg just tore out the carpeting (original to the house, circa 1997) from our bedroom. The entire second floor is getting engineered hardwood and a new coat of paint, and the stairs are getting new, heavy-duty carpeting as well. The hope is to have the whole upstairs done by the time this baby arrives.

We went with a grayish-purple for the master bedroom. 

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pregnancy Update: 27 Weeks

I survived a nine-day road trip over ten states! We got back last week, and have been deep into our home renovations since then. Here's an update on my pregnancy:

I know this baby can hear, because she jumped at the sound of the fireworks.

Pregnancy Statistics

Weeks Pregnant: 27 weeks as of today. Depending on the website, the baby is the size of a large eggplant or a head of lettuce. My uterus is big enough that it's poking into my ribs, making sitting up straight quite uncomfortable. Oh, and this little girl likes to tap dance on my bladder, just for fun. I wonder if she'll want to take dance class when she's older? She kicks for sure, but because the placenta is in the front, it isn't regular. I'll just feel a sucker punch to one of my organs, and then nothing for hours or even a day.

Weight: (from starting weight) =20 pounds, approximately. I've been retaining water, so my weight fluctuates a lot.

Exercise: My average is still 10,000 steps a day, though there have been a few days I didn't meet my goal recently. One of those days I was grocery shopping (at two stores for several hours) and Fitbit only recorded 400 steps that whole time. I was robbed! I had another day where my feet and legs hurt so badly I just couldn't go for a walk. On hot days or when I can't put my feet up, I've definitely had some swelling. But nearly every night, if I'm not close to my goal, I go out and walk circles around my cul-de-sac. My neighbors must wonder why there's a pregnant lady in her pajamas walking around in circles, reading a book on her cell phone.

Cravings: Lately I've been having corn tortillas with black beans, avocados, shrimp, and cheese nearly every day. I've been craving peanut butter, too. Oh, and red meat. (That's the anemia.)

Sleep: My master plan to sleep in all summer and get 8 hours per night hasn't panned out too well. For one, I've had morning tutoring jobs many days. Also, I keep waking up in the middle of the night, and it's hard to get back to sleep. I'm averaging about 7 hours, which isn't enough for me. The night splint I wear for my plantar fasciitis doesn't make sleep any easier, either.

Mood: I've been a little less irritable since getting back from our vacation. Something about driving across 9 states in a minivan with two whining children made me more on edge than usual. Oh, and the pregnancy brain has been quite severe. I've now lost my car twice in grocery store parking lots, just in the last week.

I'm still pretty anxious, though slightly less so now that I've had my 24 week ultrasound to measure the baby's heart. (No problems detected.) Check out the pictures we got--I should have grown ultrasound pictures at least every 4 weeks from this point forward.

She's covering up her face with her hand.

This one is full-length, with her face down.

She looks perturbed in this one. Maybe she doesn't like having her picture taken?

Medical: The Fetal Medicine Specialists said she looks great and her heart has all the necessary parts. I find it amazing that they can see and measure each chamber of the heart when she's so tiny and still inside me. I have another growth ultrasound scheduled in about a week. It's getting close to the time when they check that really closely, because the third trimester is when Nick ended up with growth restriction.

I go to see the Hematologist tomorrow to see if IV iron is necessary yet. My iron was dropping at a pretty fast rate, so this afternoon they called me to come get blood drawn. When the results come in tomorrow I'll know if I need to have infusions. To be honest, it's more likely a case of when than if I'll need IV iron. The hematologist has told me I'll most likely need iron infusions at least once a year for the rest of my life, and anemia gets much worse in pregnancy.

With Nick, they tried all kinds of iron pills and even liquid iron (nastiest stuff ever), and it didn't work--he was still born with IUGR (Intra-Uterine Growth Restriction) and a smaller head. This was likely due to my RNY Gastric Bypass surgery, which I had in 2003. With Henry, as soon as my anemia got below a certain point, they just cut out the middleman (my stomach) and went directly to IV iron for the last six weeks of my pregnancy, which worked. Henry wasn't a huge baby (6 lbs., 14 oz.), but he wasn't growth restricted and his head was more normal-sized. Small babies are not normal in my family (I was 9 lbs, 14 ounces, I believe), so the stomach surgery has a definite impact. However, without the RNY surgery I would never have been able to have children at all.

I'm still using a Dexcom 5, which is a continuous blood sugar monitor that sends constant readings to my iPhone and alerts me if I go high or low. (It's basically a tiny filament that sits under my skin, and no, it doesn't hurt at all once it's in.) I have low blood sugar (40-60) at least three to five times per day, but the high blood sugar readings I was getting last month are more rare for some reason.

Nesting: I know nesting isn't supposed to hit until later in the third trimester, but it has definitely arrived for me! Our basement renovations are underway, and hopefully in a week or two the boys will be fully moved into their new basement room. Don't feel bad for them--it's easily triple the size of their current room. Here's the before and in-progress pictures.

This room was once stacked six-feet high with boxes, so it looks great to me!

I think it already looks brighter in here with the drywall up.  

This week, I've been planning out colors to paint our upstairs. (I've been going crazy on Pinterest.) After that, it'll be time to tear out the carpet and put down some Pergo-like flooring throughout the entire upstairs. I'm thinking a pale pink and grey for the nursery.

Who decides to renovate their entire home just three months before having a baby? We do, I guess. With a two-bedroom house, though, it was kind of necessary. Plus, we haven't painted or done any kind of updating to our upstairs since we bought the house in 2006. Everything is original to 1998, when it was built, including floral wallpaper in the loft and a hideous border of hearts (!) in our bedroom. We're going to need a lot of luck to get everything finished before this baby arrives!

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Nick's Summerfest Concert at Settler's Park

Today was Nick's summer concert, and he got to perform at an outdoor amphitheater here in Plainfield. He plays the drums, and today he got to play on the "big kit," the "mini-kit," and the "base." I'm calling the different drums what he calls the drums, because my knowledge of musical instruments is seriously limited.

Nick and his daddy, in front of the amphitheater. 

The weather was warm and sunny, and I ended up with some definite sunburn. Like all the other parents, we sat and took photos and videos of our kids. We were kind of like kid band groupies.

I'm always impressed when I hear the kids performing these songs, all by themselves. This first song was Nick's favorite. It's "When I Come Around," by Green Day.

These kids have been practicing their songs for months. Nick has been taking drum lessons at School of Rock in Plainfield. Their band met every Thursday for an hour and a half, and Nick took drum lessons privately once a week for 45 minutes. For this concert, they decided to call themselves: RIP, Rock In Peace. This is Nick's special "Artist Pass" that he had to wear because he was a performer.

Greg had to take video of this one from the side of the stage, since Nick was on the big kit. He's fairly short, so the kid standing in front of him blocked the view. You can see him really well from this angle, though. They're singing "Sweet Home Chicago."

Here's the six to twelve-year-old  cover version of "Louie, Louie."

And last, but not least. . . Here they are performing "Blue Suede Shoes."

After Nick's performance, we got some BBQ from a nearby food truck and watched the other bands. Nothing like BBQ and sunshine after a rock concert.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Pregnancy Update: 22 Weeks

Well, I've made it to the stage where there's no denying I'm pregnant. I've made it more than halfway through this pregnancy!.Walking up to the cash register in the liquor store the other day, buying two 1.5 liter bottles of wine (for my husband, of course), I certainly got some wide-eyed looks. 

Pregnancy Statistics:

Weeks Pregnant: 22 weeks. Baby is the size of a banana, approximately.  Here's a post from when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Henry.

Weight: (From starting weight) +13 pounds. Lucky 13, I guess. 

Exercise: I have met my goal of walking at least 10,000 steps for 6/7 days of every week. My Fitbit says my average is around 12,000 steps a day. On Monday I got 16,907!  :)  My feet still hurt quite a bit, but for some reason they hurt a lot less when I can wear wedge flip flops every day. Thank goodness for summer weather!

Cravings: Meat in all of its forms. Henry was messing around with my phone the other day and commented, "Mommy, why do you have two different hamburger apps on your phone?" He's right, too. The doctors say I'm starting to get anemic, and I'll bet that's why meat has been calling my name. 

Sleep: I tend to get 6-7 hours of sleep per night, which isn't enough for me. I'm looking forward to summertime, when I can sleep in most days. The night splint makes me sleep more lightly, and my Dexcom alarm goes off some nights, waking me up. When I do wake up, no matter what the reason is, it's much harder to fall asleep for some reason.

Also, three times in the last week I've woken up ravenous a few hours after falling asleep. It's the weirdest feeling to be sleeping one second and then bolt upright in bed, and know that you just have to eat immediately. I'm becoming an expert at midnight snacks. 

Mood: Even though my 20 week ultrasound came up normal, I still worry a lot. I have a 24 week ultrasound coming up to check the baby's heart, and that makes me nervous. Also, I don't feel her move very much. Just like when I was pregnant with Henry, I have an anterior placenta. It's right up in front and she is behind it, making it very difficult to feel her moving around. 

Here are some pictures from my 20 week ultrasound:

She's measuring right where she should be for her gestational age.

Can you see her little arm waving?

There she is, full-length.

Medical: I'm now seeing an obstetrician, a fetal medicine specialist, an endocrinologist, a bariatric surgeon, a hematologist, and a podiatrist. Something tells me I'll hit my out-of-pocket max on my health insurance well before this baby is born.  ;)

Because of the reactive hypoglycemia I'm prone to, my endocrinologist had me start wearing a DexCom 5 continuous blood sugar monitor. It has a tiny filament that sits under my skin and sends signals to my iPhone, continuously keeping track of my blood sugar. You'd think it would hurt, but it doesn't. In fact, I don't really feel it at all. It only requires two finger-sticks a day, to calibrate, and that is way better than what I was doing before. 

It's been very helpful to know what's happening, and to have the warning alarms when I start to get low. The Dexcom warned me a few times that I was having low blood sugar overnight, and the doctor started me up again on one Metformin every evening with dinner. That seemed to help with the overnight lows. However, I've also noticed high readings lately, so now I'm also watching for that. I'm really hoping I don't end up with gestational diabetes. 

Nesting: In other news, Greg and I took out a loan to finish our basement. We have a small, two-bedroom duplex, and we're starting to feel rather cramped. Our goal is to finish the basement and have the boys move down there. Then we will have room for a nursery upstairs. The boys will have their own little apartment downstairs, so they'll have much more room, too. It will be our summer project--like nesting on steroids!

We've been working on cleaning out the basement. To be honest, neither one of us is particularly handy, so we have a contractor coming in to do the work. We bought our home in 2006, right when prices peaked, so we're underwater and can't sell. I'm really glad we bought a house big enough to renovate, so that we can make the house we have work for us. 

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Cub Scout Camping Trip

I must be insane!, I thought to myself as I wandered the aisles, my cart full of roasting sticks, emergency compass/whistles, flashlights and sleeping bags guaranteed to keep you warm even if the temperature hits 40 degrees. I'm pregnant, I'm asthmatic, and I hate the cold, and yet I'm packing for a camping trip when there's a frost warning. 

Saturday was Nick and Henry's first Cub Scout camping trip, and we were going to spend the night tent-camping at the Jellystone Campground in Millbrook, IL. I've taken the boys camping before, but that was in a cabin with heat, air-conditioning, and a refrigerator. This was a whole different ball game, and I kept questioning the wisdom of the trip. I am nothing if not stubborn, however, so I pushed on with my extremely full cart. I opted for an air-mattress, figuring I wouldn't be able to get off the ground in the morning if I slept without one.

I have been camping many times before. In fact, I was an Explorer Boy Scout in a co-ed troop when I was in high school. (Explorer Scouts investigate careers, and our group was all teens interested in becoming teachers.) From what I can remember of those days, though, any camp outs we had consisted mostly of the guys showing off their manly skills while I clapped appreciatively, gingerly perched on a log.

Henry continually lost his shoes on this trip after going in and out of tents. 

I haven't slept in a tent, though, since college. That wasn't true camping, either. Instead, it was more a case of wanting to take a trip but being too broke to afford hotel rooms along the way. I have vague memories of setting up a tent in the dark and collapsing inside of it, exhausted. My nineteen-year-old self had handled sleeping on the ground without too many repercussions. How would my thirty-eight-year-old body deal with getting back to nature? That remained to be seen.

I love having my boys in scouting. It's outdoors, it's active, and running around poking each other with sticks is what Nick and Henry do best. Really. It's a true talent with these two.

These guys found firewood for our fire!

Speaking of sticks, Henry did an especially good job of gathering them. Long after the other kids had given up and gone to play, Henry was still bringing us piles of kindling.

One thing that I love about camping is the food. We had hamburgers and hot dogs, and they were delicious. I should add, however, that Henry and Nick both refused to eat the hot dogs they cooked over the fire. There were "brown spots" on them, you see. Sigh.

We borrowed a tent, and the boys were super-excited to get to sleep in it. They kept wanting to go in and out of everyone's tents.

Henry, however, was devastated when we told him there wasn't room on the air-mattress for him. Little did we know that Henry would indeed spend more than half the night sleeping in my sleeping bag on top of the air mattress. . .

While the campfire was cool, Henry and Nick really liked the night hike. Here they are with their buddies. I was very glad they were not hike buddies with one another--they fight too much.

Our troubles didn't start until bedtime. The boys were up past their normal 8 p.m. bedtime, and we didn't even get into the tent until around ten. It was definitely cold, but in the sleeping bags I'd bought definitely helped, so we were not too chilly. My anxiety kicked in around 2 a.m., when I woke up gasping for breath since I'd had the blanket over my head. I started worrying about what would happen if the boys had blankets over their heads, and then I grabbed a flashlight to check them out. I pulled the blanket off of Nick's head, and checked out Henry. Not only did he not have the blanket over his head, he was only half in his sleeping bag, and somehow he had taken off his shirt. (!?!) How was he sleeping so deeply in this freezing weather? At this point it was in the low 30s, temperature-wise. I could see my breath with every exhale, and a light coating of frost covered the part of my pillow where my head did not rest.

I pulled both boys onto the air mattress with us, made Henry put on a shirt and climb into my sleeping bag with me, and tried to go back to sleep. The rest of the night consisted of Greg and I shivering and trying to get comfortable with four of us on a supposedly queen-sized mattress that was more like a full. Greg actually spent about an hour in the car warming up. The kids fell back to sleep within an hour, but I didn't fall asleep again until after 4 a.m.

Greg went on a Starbucks-finding mission as soon as he woke up. To be honest, he'd mapped out where the nearest Starbucks soon after arriving at the campsite on Saturday. I was just grateful for the caffeine he brought. When I got out of the tent, there was actual frost on my shoes.

This morning it was Nick helping to find firewood. Henry? He found me something very special. A rock shaped like a heart. "For you, Mommy," he said. My heart melted.

Well, we survived. To be honest, the kids had such an awesome time that I won't be able to deny them future camping trips. Overall, the trip was definitely worth it. I will, however, get a heated cabin if the temperatures are predicted to be below about 55 degrees. I don't want to miss out on the memories, but I do not want to risk frostbite again.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pregnancy Update: 17 Weeks

When I was expecting Henry, I did monthly pregnancy updates. I like having those to look back on, so I remember how I was feeling. The first one I did was when I was 17 weeks pregnant with Henry. Today, I am 17 weeks pregnant with this little girl.

Pregnancy Statistics:

Weeks Pregnant: 17 weeks exactly. I will go for my  next growth ultrasound in Mid-May.
Weight: (From starting weight) +7 pounds. It's hard to keep your weight down when you're taking multiple intramuscular injections of progesterone (as well as estrogen) every day for over three months. I was very happy to have that very last shot a few weeks ago.
Exercise: Since recovering from influenza over my spring break, I've been meeting my goal of walking a minimum of 10,000 steps every day, at least 6 days per week. If it wasn't for the plantar faciitis, I'd probably try to walk even more than that.
Cravings: Baked Potatoes, hamburgers, steak, and all kinds of desserts. I've been indulging in small portions.
Sleep: I was doing better with sleep until my podiatrist said I should sleep with this splint on (see below). It helps a little bit but is terribly uncomfortable.
Mood: I've had a lot of anxiety with this pregnancy. After all I've been through with IVF, I'm very nervous at every little twinge.

My night splint. I only wear it on one leg at a time.

Here's a sideways view of my bump.

If you're interested in my IVF story, I'm going to tell it here. I know when I was starting out with a fertility doctor, I read the stories of as many real women as I could find. Here is my story.

I think this is likely the most medically-involved pregnancy imaginable this time around. I've known since my early 20s that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, which can cause infertility and increase the likelihood of miscarriages and chemical pregnancies (both of which I had right before getting pregnant with Henry). Nick was sheer luck--I became pregnant with him literally the first cycle I could ever have gotten pregnant in my life. Henry, who is now almost six, was born with the help of Clomid, which is a pill that often helps with fertility.

When Greg and I decided to try for a third child back in 2014, we tried Clomid for an entire year, in slowly increasing dosages. It never worked. I decided to see an infertility specialist in January of 2015. He recommended IVF, since I could have genetic testing done that could cut the rate of miscarriages significantly. In 2015, when I was 36 and 37 years old, I went through four egg retrieval cycles. Greg and I ended up with 48 embryos, 7 of which made it to the blastocyst stage (5-days). We tested all 7, and only two of them were genetically normal. Both were female. The doctor had been right. If we had opted for IUI or if we hadn't tested the embryos, I likely would've had multiple miscarriages. Now, even though I'll be 39 when I have this baby, the embryo is from my 36 year old self, which I found out does make a difference.

In March of 2016, I went through an implantation cycle. This is where the progesterone and estrogen come in, and while I had plenty of shots during egg retrieval, these shots were intramuscular and far more unpleasant. That embryo failed to implant, and we were disappointed, to say the least. My IVF doctor wanted to try to find out what had gone wrong before trying the other embryo, so I went through what they call a trial cycle. This means you do all of the medications (and yes, all the shots) for an implantation cycle, but instead of putting an embryo in, they take some of your uterine lining on what would've been implantation day and send it to a lab. This test (which was pricey, to say the least), told us that I needed more progesterone and that they should implant a day later than they had the first time.

Another hypothesis my doctor had is that I could have endometriosis. Basically, this is when uterine tissue that usually grows inside the uterus grows outside the uterus and in the abdominal cavity. It can cause a great deal of pain as well as infertility. However, the only way to know if you have endometriosis is to sign up for exploratory surgery. It was a big risk, signing on and basically telling the doctor, "Yes, cut me open and root around in there to see if anything might be wrong." That doctor was right, though. One of my Fallopian tubes was kinked (which he fixed), and I had plenty of endometriosis that he was able to remove.

That was last summer. I was originally supposed to have an implantation cycle in October, but it was postponed when I came up anemic in a blood test. In 2003, I had RNY Gastric Bypass Surgery (more about that experience here), and one of the side effects is an inability to absorb iron. I had anemia in both pregnancies, and it caused growth restriction with Nick. When I was expecting Henry, they actually hooked me up to an IV once a week and just gave me the iron that way.

My doctor had me go to a bariatric surgery center and get evaluated. I saw a surgeon, a nutritionist, an exercise physiologist, and a surgical nurse. I had B12 shots, went to a hematologist, had IV infusions of iron, and was finally cleared in December. That's when I started up on all the shots again. My implantation date was on January 16th. They even gave me a picture of the embryo before they implanted it.

Earliest picture---5 day blastocyst

I was shocked when I found out I was pregnant, just a little over a week later. I had been mentally preparing myself for another failure. Besides the utter exhaustion that comes with early pregnancy (and the anxiety, of course), I generally felt okay. I have never suffered from morning sickness, though I've had some taste aversions and general nausea after eating.

After I made it through the first trimester, I've allowed myself to get just a little bit excited. I haven't bought anything yet, though. Not until summertime, at least. I'll have to go a little crazy in August, though, because all of my baby stuff is from 2008 and for a little boy. Good thing I enjoy shopping.

Greg is thrilled to be having a little girl. He is looking forward to a calm, quiet little girl. Let's not destroy his illusions about little girls-he'll find out in time.