23 Week Bump Date

Time for another update because yesterday marked 23 weeks!

23weeks

What’s happening with baby:  Baby is growing more and more proportioned and starting to actually look like a newborn.  It should also be very active these days.  (True!)  Baby’s sense of movement is well developed and it can feel when mama dances and moves.  Baby continues to listen to noises from the outside world and common noises like the dogs barking or a vacuum running will be familiar to baby after it is born.

What’s happening with mama:  Overall mama is feeling good!  I’m still a bit tired most days because my sleeping is still off but I think that it is getting better.  At least I am hopeful it is!  My allergies have reared their ugly heads and have been kicking my butt for the last week – I am sure that isn’t helping.  Oh, and I have had more sciatic nerve pain on my left side the past week.  Not sure what has got that so aggravated but I haven’t been making it to yoga as much as I had been and I really think that helps as far as sciatic nerve pain goes.  E and I are visiting family in New York this week, so we’re on the road again and as a result workouts have taken a backseat to visiting with family and friends we haven’t seen in many months and fun plans with them.  I don’t have anything to really complain about!  (Except maybe the heat… yesterday was stupid hot!)

I have been feeling the baby move more and more.  That’s very exciting!  So different than when I was pregnant with E.  I wasn’t able to feel her move nearly this much at this gestational age.  Or at least I don’t remember bring able to!  Papa Bear and I were also able to for sure watch my belly move this week!  But so far we’ve been the only ones to see or feel the baby move.

I continue to get a bunch of Braxton-Hicks.  They happen, generally, multiple times on a daily basis.

In general things are pretty status quo!

Thoughts from grandma:  It has been an absolute delight to have Holly and E here for the week.  I can’t wait to share the same time with the new baby.  I look forward to sharing the morning kisses, the imagination, the sweetness and innocence in the voice with both grandbabies.  I am still waiting to feel baby move but so far he has not cooperated.  (Obviously grandma is Team Blue.)

Papa Bear has been in quiet solitude this week.  I’m sure he missed them immensely, but I hope he is enjoying his quiet time as much as we are enjoying our time with Holly and E.

Baby is the size of a:  large mango.

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All My Doctors

Last week I wrote about being high-risk; as a follow-up I thought I might write a little bit about the different doctors I have to see while pregnant and what they each do for me.  Maybe it will shine a little more light on the situation.

Hematologist:  A hematologist studies the blood, the organs that make blood and blood diseases.  Due to my blood clotting disorders, I normally I visit the hematologist once a year for an annual check-up.  In the event of anything that would increase my risk of developing a blood clot – pregnancy, surgery, long flights – I would also need to consult my hematologist.  Since becoming pregnant I have had to go into my hematologist’s office once a month to have blood drawn and a variety of labs run.  This is because I had to switch from my daily regime of a low-dose aspirin and folic acid to a daily blood thinner injection and folic acid when I became pregnant and they need to monitor the level of blood thinner in my body to make sure I am on the appropriate dosage.  Dosage could change as the pregnancy continues due to increased blood volume and weight gain, so they need to monitor it throughout.  These appointments are typically pretty quick as I don’t need to consult the doctor every time, I just get blood drawn by one of the office staff and call in the following week to speak with a nurse about the results.

Maternal Fetal Medicine:  Maternal Fetal Medicine is basically a fancy name for high-risk obstetrician.  These OB doctors focus on monitoring and treating women with high-risk pregnancies.  I only have to see these doctors when pregnant.  Thus far I have an appointment with MFM once a month for an ultrasound but as pregnancy progresses I will see them more often as they will want to keep a close eye on the baby’s development as well as blood flow in the placenta and to the baby.  At each MFM we have an ultrasound where they check on baby’s growth and development, which one of the doctors reviews after the technician is finished.  The doctor will typically come in at the end of the appointment for a few minutes to let us know their thoughts and answer any questions we might have.  If I did not have a hematologist, MFM could also monitor my blood thinner dosage (which they did during my first pregnancy when I did not have a hematologist).

The Midwives:  The midwives are my primary care providers for pregnancy (and gynecology).  I chose to go with a midwifery practice over an OB practice because their model of care most closely aligns with my preferences as to how I wish my pregnancy and labor to be handled.  Midwives view pregnancy and labor as natural life processes and their focus tends to be on providing well-rounded care for mother and baby and natural birth.  From http://www.ourbodiesourselves.org, “The classic midwifery model is based on the assumption that most pregnancies, labors, and births are normal biological processes that result in healthy outcomes for both mothers and babies. It focuses on maximizing the health and wellness of a woman and her baby, identifying and managing medical problems early on, and attending to the emotional, social, and spiritual aspects of pregnancy and birth.  Midwifery care seeks to protect, support, and avoid interfering with the unique rhythm, character, and timing of each woman’s labor. Midwives are trained to be vigilant in identifying women with serious complications. Medical expertise and interventions are sought when necessary but are not used routinely.”  I chose to go with midwives during my first pregnancy because my goal was a natural, drug-free labor and I felt midwifery care mot closely align with my pregnancy and labor goals.  I was so happy with my care during my first pregnancy and labor that I knew I would stick with the same midwifery practice for this pregnancy and labor.  Currently I see the midwives once a month but once I reach 28 weeks, I will start to see them every two weeks and then weekly at the end of labor.  Appointments with the midwife tend to be short and sweet.  One of the midwives will go over how I am feeling and any questions or concerns we have at the beginning of the appointment, following which they examine and measure my belly (fundal height) and listen to the baby’s heartbeat via doppler.  The midwives will also handle labor and delivery of the baby when the time comes.

So, there you have it!  Those are the folks that handle my pregnancy care!

22 Week Bump Date

I was 22 weeks yesterday, so here’s my weekly update!

22weeks

What’s happening with baby:  While baby’s eyes have formed, we still wouldn’t be able to tell what color eyes s/he might have because the irises still lack pigment.  Baby is also developing taste buds and its nerve endings should be developed enough that it can experience the sensation of touch.  Soon baby’s hearing will be developed enough that it can respond to sounds as well!

What’s happening with mama:  Mama is tired.  It seems like this past week my sleep has been really off.  I’m waking frequently for no real reason (I don’t need to get up in the night to use the restroom most nights.) and it takes me a while to fall back asleep.  As a result I’ve felt a little run down this week!

But I’ve tried not to let that hold me back too much, so I made sure to hit up spinning on Tuesday and ran on the treadmill yesterday.  I really need to make sure that I keep up with my exercise.  We’ve been traveling a lot this month, which has thrown off my workout schedule a ton and I’ve not gotten in nearly as much sweat sessions as I have in previous months.  Since this will continue to be a busy month for us, I need to make sure I am utilizing the gym as much as possible when I’m home because both spinning and running kicked my butt this week.  (I’m sure the lack of sleep didn’t help.)  Running has definitely gotten a lot harder but I really want to keep it up as long as possible into this pregnancy.  Knowing that that has been one of my goals all along, I really should have been running more often but…  it just didn’t happen.  I’m hoping it’s not too late to make a difference with that.  I’m going to keep trying but I’ll listen to my body and when it decides it’s done with running while pregnant, I’ll stick to other activities.  Maybe I’ll try out the lap pool at the gym!

Mentionables:  There have been a couple of things in the past coupe of weeks that I meant to write about but then completely forgot about when I was writing my updates.  (Baby brain?)

When we were at the beach (so when I was 20 weeks), a little girl (three years old) came up to me at the hotel pool, pointed to my belly and said, “Baby brother?”  Her mom had brought her over and, after the little girl’s query, nervously asked whether I was, in fact, pregnant.  Apparently the little girl has told her mom, “baby brother” in regard to me while they were across the pool and she decided to bring her over.  Kind of funny!  Guess we’ll find out if the little girl was right in November!

I removed my navel piercing last week.  There were no issues with it; it just seemed like it was time.

Also, I might have actually seen my belly move when baby was kicking around in there yesterday.  I couldn’t get it to happen again but I’m pretty sure I saw a little twitch!

Baby is the size of a:  spaghetti squash.

On Being High-Risk

I have mentioned it now and then in my pregnancy updates but have purposely chosen not to make the fact that my pregnancy is high-risk the focus of my second baby-growing experience.  I could easily do so but… that’s just not me.  Yes, I have many more doctor appointments than the “average” pregnant lady, I have to stick myself with a needle daily and I have to take other precautions but those things have just become my normal.  It doesn’t often occur to me that it could be different and, in fact, is different for many other women.

Because I have Factor V Leiden and a couple other genetic abnormalities I am at risk of developing blood clots at any time, even when not pregnant.  However, the increase in estrogen during pregnancy greatly increases the chance of a blood clot.  Developing a blood clot can put me at risk but not only that it could put the baby at risk, depending on where the clot occurs.  If a clot were to develop in the placenta or the umbilical cord, it could cut off nutrients and blood flow to the baby and result in miscarriage or still birth.

4-21weekswarrrow So far, so good!

Thankfully, we are aware of my conditions and are able to be proactive.  I inject myself with blood thinners daily to prevent blood clots and doing so should drastically lower my risk, reducing it to that of a normal pregnancy.  That’s provided that the medication works as it should (and we all know that doesn’t always happen) but so far everything has gone extremely well.  Both the baby and I are doing great.  But, while it seems very dramatic to put it this way, the reality is until the baby is safely delivered and in ours arms, we could lose it.  That is a fact of pregnancy for us.

And that’s really scary and difficult to think about.  It would be very easy to spend the entire pregnancy full of anxiety, fear and worry.  Very, very easy.  And exhausting.  I just can’t live that way.  Maybe I am avoiding reality by refusing to think about the possibility of losing the baby for more than a few moments but I choose to believe that I just cannot live in a constant state of fear when I have so much to be grateful for. When the options are spending time worrying about what hasn’t happened and may not happen or enjoying the present, in which things are pretty fantastic… I choose to enjoy the present and all that it holds.  I feel that the rest of life would suffer if we let the fear and anxiety take over.  It would be all-consuming.  How would we function?  How would we care for E and give her everything that she deserves?  Letting those feelings take over would make our lives and this whole experience so much more stressful without any benefit.  So, we accept the high-risk designation and choose to focus on the positive.

Having never lost a pregnancy makes this outlook possible, I think.  I’m definitely not saying that all high-risk mothers (and fathers) should feel this way.  Not at all.  I can easily imagine so many different ways of dealing with and accepting a high-risk pregnancy.  This is just my personal experience navigating these waters.  I suppose I feel very matter-of-fact about the whole thing.  It is what it is.  We are doing everything we can and the rest is out of our hands.

21weeks2

I have a wonderful husband, an exceptionally amazing daughter and another baby on the way who is squirming and kicking as I type this.  Life is good.  In spite of everything we are thriving and I very much firmly believe that we will continue to thrive.  I know no other way.

21 Week Bump Date

Whew, these weeks are flying by, eh?  I was 21 weeks yesterday, so time for an update!

21weeks

What’s happening with baby:  Baby’s digestive system is continuing to develop and every bone in its body now contains bone marrow.  It’s still practicing swallowing and will do so until it is born.  Baby also continues to be very active and moves its hands constantly.

What’s happening with mama:  I’m doing really well!  We had a fantastic trip to Virginia Beach and are now settling back into our normal routine at home.  I didn’t get in too many workouts over our vacation (though I walked a ton) but I am looking forward to getting back to a regular workout schedule.  I know it’s best for me and baby for me to remain active and fit!  That is definitely one of my goals this pregnancy (as it was with my last one).  All in all, there is much new to report as I continue to feel good!

Feeling the baby moving more and more has been one very exciting that has been happening lately.  I still notice it most when I am being still, either laying or sitting down.  I think that’s pretty typical for this stage in pregnancy.  This past Sunday morning was particularly exciting as Papa Bear was able to feel baby move as well!  According to our midwives that was pretty early for someone other than me to feel the baby move, so we’re lucky!  I can definitely feel more movement from this baby than I did at E at 21 weeks.  I can’t wait until the movement is strong enough for E to feel it.  That will so fun to see!

This week’s appointments:  On Tuesday we had both an appointment with our midwives and the 20-week anatomy ultrasound.  Our midwife appointment was first and was a very fast, routine appointment.  We listened to baby’s heartbeat (135-140) and the midwife said everything looks great!

21weeks2

Our ultrasound went just as well, thankfully!  We were there for quite a while as there are numerous measurements and pictures the tech must take during the anatomy ultrasound.  They measure the bones in the arms and legs, look at the brain and spine and check out the function of the heart among other things.  It’s all pretty fascinating, honestly!  They can also tell the sex of the baby at this appointment if the parents so choose but of course we elected not to find out.

Baby looked awesome!  Currently they estimate baby is about one pound and it is still measuring a week ahead.  They say that isn’t anything to worry about.  It may change over the next 19-20 weeks or it may just mean it’s going to be a big baby.  We confirmed that my placenta is anterior but I’m not as disappointed about that as I was since I have been feeling so much movement already.  The best part of the ultrasound was that the baby was making the tech’s job difficult by moving around like crazy.  The tech may not have been thrilled by all the moving and grooving but it certainly was fun for us to see the baby moving all over like that.  And to make it even better I could feel the baby kicking and squirming while we were watching it happen on the screen!

Weight gained:  About 12 pounds.  Yes, I did weigh myself again.  I do want to keep track of this in some way but I still likely won’t be reporting it every week as weight gain does still concern me but it’s better not to be obsessing about it.

Baby is the size of a:  carrot.

20 Week Bump Date – Halfway There!

We hit the 20 week mark yesterday, which means we’ve made it to the official halfway mark of pregnancy!  (Though if this baby is late like its sister, we’ll actually hit the halfway mark in another day or two.)

20weeks

What’s happening with baby:  Baby is busy practicing swallowing and should measure about 10 inches from head to heel.  Also, vernix (a waxy coating that protects baby’s skin is continuing to cover its body.  Baby is also starting to produce meconium, i.e. baby’s first poo, but it won’t be passed until (hopefully) after delivery.  Kind of gross but there you have it!

What’s happening with mama:  It’s very exciting but also kind of unbelievable that this pregnancy is already halfway over.  Time has gone by so quickly!  But at the same time, November still seems very far away.  Okay… maybe not very far away but still far away!

In a lot of ways it still seems very unreal that we are having a second baby.  Obviously my body is changing, we have heard the baby’s heartbeat so many times and even seen the baby via ultrasound numerous times but, even while you treasure it, it’s hard to believe.  We’re going to have another child, provided everything continues to go as well as it has.  I guess it’s normal to have that feeling of surrealism whenever you know you’re facing life-changing events but are unable to really predict how they are going to change your life.  I know we felt that way a lot before E as well.  And it’s very conflicting to be both excited and happy about the new baby as well as scared and nervous about adapting to handling two children and how it will all affect E.  We both feel that giving E a sibling is one of the best things we could do for her and we always knew we wanted more than one child but it’s also bittersweet to be tackling things as a family of three for the last time in many instances.  For example, this annual beach vacation will never never just be the three of us again and that’s just a little sad because it’s been so wonderful.  Not that it won’t be wonderful with another…  I’m sure that it will be!  It will just be wonderful in a new way.  It’s a little sad to say goodbye to the old wonderful to make way for the new.

beachtime

In terms of how I am feeling physically, things continue to go great!  I haven’t weighed myself in quite a while, so it has actually been nice to not worry about that and I have been enjoying the pregnancy a bit more because of it.  I feel really good and I feel like I look pretty good, so what more do you want!  I haven’t gotten many workouts in since last week’s update – I think I went to one yoga class before we left for the beach on Friday.  Since being on vacation I have gone for a walk every night and did yoga in our room one day while E napped but otherwise I really haven’t made the time for other workouts.  I’m okay with that.  We’ve been very active playing in the pool and in the ocean.  We’ll get back to exercising as usual when we get back to life as usual.

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The movement that I thought I was feeling last week from baby continues and has gotten even stronger.  I don’t feel a ton during the day but when I take a break to just relax and lay back that’s when I can really feel baby’s subtle movements.  I can’t wait for it to get stronger and for Papa Bear and E to be able to feel the baby move!  I’ve also been noticing Braxton-Hicks more and more, which is pretty par for the course as I had a ton of that with E.

Upcoming appointments:  Next week we have our monthly slew of appointments.  I see the midwives and maternal fetal medicine on Tuesday for my regular appointment and an ultrasound respectively.  This ultrasound will be the big anatomy scan to make sure baby is growing properly.  I will also be going in to have my labs run with the hematologist next week – that being the least exciting of the appointments!

Baby is the size of a:  banana.

Life’s a Beach

E and I have been soaking up sand, sun and sea at Virginia Beach the past couple of days.  We’re probably on the beach getting sand in our suits as you read this.  Nice, right?

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Actually… it has been particularly lovely.  The weather has been beautiful and the water warm (if a bit rough).  E has, for the most part, been a total peach – which is nice because right now I am solo-parenting.  We are with some family (which does help, don’t get me wrong!) but I was a little nervous as we approaching this trip knowing that it was just going to be E and I sans Papa Bear for a number of days and she has been so very two lately.  But other than some fussing at bedtime because she was overtired (my own fault for having her out way too late), she has been very happy and cooperative.  We haven’t done much but go to the pool and the beach – nothing fancy – but I have had a wonderful time just being with her.  So far it has been just what you hope a vacation will be!

 beachye beachye3

The being said… we can’t wait for PB to join us!

This is the first year that E has really been into the beach.  She’s still not so hot on going into the ocean but she’s fully enjoying playing in the sand, particularly if a big bucket of water is at hand to play in.  She’s been great about playing independently or with her cousins, leaving me free to supervise from my beach chair.  It has been very relaxing!

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Being pregnant at the beach is a new experience for me as I was pregnant with E over the winter.  I’m not going to lie – I’ve kind of always wanted to be that pregnant lady at the beach proudly sporting her big ol’ baby bump while rocking a bikini.  And I guess I kind of am… at least in part…  I’m still rocking the bikini but I’m not really far enough along to have a big ol’ baby bump, I have a cute little baby bump that, when clad in swimming attire, looks like it could just be a baby bump or it could be a big ol’ bump caused by excessive cheeseburger consumption.  A little awkward but I am rolling with it.

beachwithe

Even though when I look at pictures I can’t decide if I look pregnant or just bigger than normal, I feel cute and adorably pregnant when I am out there at the pool or on the beach (particularly with the new swimsuit bottoms I found just before this trip!) and, really, that’s all that matters.  I am feeling very content and happy with my changing body.

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What is your favorite beach activity?

19 Week Bump Date

Another week gone by, time for another pregnancy update!

19weeks

What’s happening with baby:  Sensory development!  The areas in the brain that are specialized for vision, smell, touch and taste are growing.  Baby’s kidneys are working and it is probably growing hair on its head.  Tooth buds are present under baby’s gums its spine is now straight.

What’s happening with mama:  The belly is getting more obvious and I had my first stranger ask if I was expecting this past week (last Thursday).  Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a stranger but it wasn’t someone I really know either – it was one of the care providers at the Kids Klub at my gym.  Being that I haven’t gotten many comments yet, it was kind of nice that someone noticed!

I’ve been feeling a bit more tired this week.  Not exhausted but like I only have so much energy for the day.  I am typically most productive in the morning.  That’s when I try to workout, get some cleaning done and generally get the most done.  Come afternoon I have no motivation to do anything.  I just want to relax and veg out!  Of course that’s rarely possible with a two-year-old.  And, oh, how two she has been!  E has hit a point where she willfully ignores me when I ask her to do/not do something.  Totally normal, I know, but she is definitely challenging me to work on my patience at times.

Otherwise I’ve still been feeling really good physically!  No complaints.  This past week I managed to go for two runs – a three miler with E in the jogging stroller on Friday and four miles with some mommy friends on Sunday.  It was really nice but, boy, am I feeling slow!  I really need to continue with the running and try to make sure I get in two runs a week so that I am able to keep it up like I would like to.  I’ve also been to yoga twice in the past week.

Also, I think I might be feeling some movement!  I feel small prods and pushes now and then.  Nothing huge that I could say 100% is baby but I think that it is.  I think I can also feel it rolling around in there sometimes – a totally different feeling than the small prods, more like someone was gently rolling a tennis ball against the inside of my uterus if that makes any sense!

Baby name game:  Papa Bear and I haven’t really discussed baby names much yet this pregnancy.  It’s tough because a lot of the names we liked last time have become more common and now we’re not sure we’re feeling them as much.  With E we kept our name choices secret and we’ll likely do the same this time.  Our family gets a lot of surprises when baby is born not knowing sex or name!  However, even if we wanted to share we have a big ol’ nothing to tell so far.  We’ve been talking about it a little more lately but haven’t made a ton of progress.

Baby is the size of an:  Heirloom tomato.

For Two Fitness Instagram Giveaway

You may not have noticed but recently a new button appeared on my sidebar – why?  Because I was selected as a For Two Fitness Ambassador!  I’m super excited about this because the For Two Fitness Ambassador community is full of supportive, inspiring, fit and healthy pregnant and post-partum mamas.  It’s an awesome group to be associated with!

For Two Fitness makes some super cute maternity activewear.  I haven’t personally had a chance to try any of their apparel yet but I want to very badly!  I love the Sweating For Two Racerback Tank in berry and the We Need a Nap Racerback Tank in surf!  Super cute!  And their maternity capris look so comfy.  If you’re expecting and haven’t had a chance to try For Two Fitness activewear, they are running an Instagram giveaway just for you!

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One lucky instagrammer will win a $100 gift card to For Two Fitness – the very best in maternity activewear.  Simply post the above image on your instagram feed along with the tag #fortwofitnessgift and mention @fortwofitness (and mention @mamabearblogs so I can cheer you on!).  Include in your comment the item or items you love the most.  A minimum of 50 reposts will be required to unlock the prize, so share with all of your pregnant friends, and good luck!

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