Bye Bye Belly Button!

My belly button is slowly fading away.  I always had a fairly deep belly button (BB), but it's slowly been coming to the surface and is nearly flat with the rest of my stomach.  I am only 23 weeks along, so I have a feeling this means there's no chance that sucker is going to stay in for the next 18.

It feels "weird" all the time.  I have to put the word "weird" in quotations because I can't find words to better describe the super strange feeling coming from that region of my stomach.  It doesn't quite hurt, doesn't quite tickle, but those would be the next two closest words I'd use to describe the feeling.  Here's another way I would describe it - "I do not like it."  At all.

I want my BB to stay in, for no real reason other than I'm afraid it's going to hurt if it pops out.  If I bump my stomach on something (which I seem to do all the time now) there is definitely slightly more "pain" than "tickle" and definitely a whole lot of "weird."  I am an innie, and apparently extremely proud of it.  I desperately don't want that to change, but I also recognize that I have no control over it.  I've known women whose BB's have popped very early on, and others who remained an innie for the entire 40 weeks.  I hope I fall into the latter category, but if not I just hope that I learn to be more careful about walking into things....

Day Care Determined

It's official - we've signed a contract and paid a deposit on a day care for little Hartman. We didn't want to have to worry about the stress of being on a waiting list, and we were happy with the amount of day care research that we did.

We decided to go with a place that was close to our home.  If my last day care post wasn't enough to convince me of all of the reasons why "close to our home" was a good idea, the fact that we could be guaranteed a space at this place compared to having to wait until the following August at the other place close to my job basically sealed the deal.  They claim that we "got the last infant" spot, and although I have no sense as to how day cares make sure that they're full and operating with enough income to support themselves, it seems crazy to think our November reservation was really the last spot!

Anyway, the place we decided on is about 8 minutes from our house.  We realized that staying close to home makes a ton of sense.  One person doesn't have to bare the majority of the responsibility for both drop-off and pick-up.  If I ever want to take a day off and just stay home but still take the little one to day care, I can do that without having to drive into the city.  DH can just stop on his way home from work to do pick-up, or if he needs to stay late for some reason, I'll stop by on my way home from work.  Likewise, even though it would be terrible early, if there was a reason that I couldn't do drop-off in the morning, DH could do that as well.  No one is terribly inconvenienced no matter what the scenario is for any given day and baby Hartman won't have to deal with stupid rush hour traffic.  Plus, if one of us - for whatever reason - decides to change jobs, having a day care situation linked to a place of employment would mean panic and scrambling to find a new place.

One of the downsides is that taking my child to work with me every day means that I would get to take the HOV lanes, which could potentially save me a lot of driving time on a normal day.  But on bad weather days, I'm not sure how much time that would actually save me, since I have to drive quite a ways to get to the HOV anyway, and I usually get hung up in traffic long before I can actually get onto the HOV.  (HOV stands for High Occupancy Vehicle lane, for those who aren't familiar, and one of the only HOV's in Pittsburgh happens to be on my route home, but I've never been eligible to use it.)

I am still trying to make peace with the fact that my child will have to go to daycare at all, and that I can't be there to watch him grow up during those early months.  I makes me sad to think (realize, really) that the first steps or first words might happen when I'm not around.  Although we'll do everything we can to make our child's home life fabulous, I can't help but be saddened by the fact that he/she will spend nearly 50 hours a week being raised by someone other his parents or family.

But I also know that daycares can be amazing places for kids to develop amazing socialization skills, become used to other people, and give them an opportunity to learn in a structured environment with other kids their age.  I know I would do a great job at home, but I'm not an early childhood educator, so I find solace in the fact that our kid will start learning in "school" from age 3 months, and hopefully that will prove to be a benefit.

In anyway case - decision made on the day care front, and we both feel good about it.

Quote of the Week

Much like the "Strange Pregnancy Fact of the Week" this week's quote will probably be the one and only.  But just in case I come up with any other doozies, I'm going to stick with the title.

If you were a stink bug on our wall last week (didn't you know? Stink bugs on the wall are the new "fly on the wall," at least according; let's make this phase catch on! Start saying "stink bug on the wall" - who worries about flies anymore anyway?) you might have overheard me make the following claim:

"I don't understand how THIS (holding and gesturing towards my stomach) can get any bigger, and I still survive." 

I know. I have a lot to learn and a long way to go.  Something tells me I will survive, but on those nights when I feel like an overinflated balloon, I can't help but wonder how anyone can think this is normal.

4-13-11 - 21 weeks and counting

Last night I said, "Wow, I'm 21 weeks now! Only 19 weeks to go!"

And DH said something like, "Holy crap! You mean that baby is going to be here in 19 weeks!?!"

Yep.  Only 19 weeks.

Which sounds interminably long and yet so quick at the same time.  Long because I'm the one living this pregnancy every minute of every day, the one who had to give up alcohol and deli meat and my obsession with maintaining my weight.  I had to give up a lot already, which is why I think they say that women become "moms" before men do - we don't have a choice.

Then I look at our calendar, and I have that same "Holy crap, 19 weeks!?!" moment that DH did.  Our summers are notorious for filling up before the first day of spring, and this year is no exception.  I'm sorry to say that if you're planning on inviting us to anything for the summer, I hope you already sent us an invite, otherwise we probably won't be able to make it.  Between weddings, baby showers, family visits, weekends that I have to work, and DH leaving me for 2+ weeks this summer to earn some extra cash, our summer is shot.  That's factoring in the fact that I'm not committing to any traveling starting August 1, since I'll likely be in that window of "it could happen any time now" and won't want to stray too far from Pittsburgh.

19 weeks isn't that far away at all.  We have sooo much we still need to do, including finishing the baby room, and then moving our furniture into it so that we can paint and install overhead lights in the master bedroom.  Given the rate of progress that we've made on the baby room so far, at this rate we won't finish the master until mid-December.  Our house is still gutterless, our attic needs floor boards so that we can move some of the stuff from our overflowing garage into it, and DH has ambitious plans to rip up the rest of the carpeting in the house and finish all of the hardwood floors.  Plus, one needs time for fun and hobbies, right?  Gardening season is right around the corner and I still haven't planted my lettuce, spinach, and chard seeds. I'm going to be too late to be early if I don't do that this weekend. I am determined to still maintain a thriving garden despite my "condition" for the summer.  Hopefully Baby Hartman will enjoy sunny weather gardening as much as I do.

So needless to say, we feel like we're drowning in projects right now.  And projects cost money, which we don't have a lot of currently, so budgeting is tight, and these gas prices are NOT helping.  We're now accepting applications for manual laborers.  The pay is non-existent, but lunch is provided!  See you on Sunday at 9 a.m.

4/19/11 - Lab Results

So I received a call from my doctor's office today, and they let me know that both tests I had done last week after the ultrasound scare came back negative. That's great news and means that it's even more likely that Baby H just swallowed a little blood that his body was processing at the time of the ultrasound.  I go back to the doctor next Friday for a check-up and at that point they'll give me a prescription for another ultrasound so that they can confirm that the blood has passed and that there are no recurring signs of echogenic bowel.

So, it's "good news," for sure.  However, that does not necessarily mean that we're "in the clear" either.  If the problem still exists at the next ultrasound, they'll then look at more obscure things that might be causing it, if we're interesting in doing additional testing.  I'm not sure where I stand with that, as I feel like we've done a lot of testing.... but for now, we have a few weeks to wait.

Anyway, two side stories about this lab work.

When I went to the lab last week the nurse apparently had a hard time finding a good vein in the middle of my arm.  I'm not sure why this was the case since I've given blood dozens of times and they've never had a problem finding a vein.  But in any case, instead of asking to see my other arm, she decided to try for a vein on the side of my arm.  Holy hell, that hurt!!!  As soon as the needle went in I jerked and slammed my head against the wall and was "Oooh...ooh, ohoh, that burns, that stings!! Ow ow ow ow ow."  (I was clearly really mature about dealing with the discomfort.)

She nonchalantly explained - AFTER the fact - that she couldn't find a good vein so she had to take one from the side, which is always more painful.

Through fits of deep breathing to keep myself from fainting, I said, "Next time remind me to give you my right arm first instead!"

Seriously, nurses - If you KNOW it's going to cause someone pain, you might want to politely ask them if they'd prefer that you check the other arm before proceeding with the known painful route!!!  It wasn't even busy in the lab that day! Needless to say, that woman was NOT my favorite nurse. 

Side note to this side story - did you know that Magee doesn't even do their own lab work in house?  They ship it out to another lab and it apparently takes forever to get it back.  For a hospital as big as that, you'd think they could have someone in house to process their lab work.

Anyway, side story number 2....

I had this lab work done last Tuesday.  One Monday of this week I called my doctor's office to see if I could get the results.  They told me "No news is good news" and that they don't usually call unless there is a problem, but they told me that they still hadn't gotten the results back yet, because Magee ships their lab work out (see above - how stupid.)

So I relayed this information to DH, and the next day, he gets home around 4 p.m. and immediately calls me, informing me that my doctor's office called but that they didn't leave any information the message.  I immediately called them back and they confirm that both tests came back negative.  Great! Except, why did you call when you JUST TOLD ME that "no news was good news?!!?!"  Don't they see what they did there?? Seriously... way to make me panic.  But again, in the end it was essentially "good news," so now we wait....

4-12-11 - Echogenic Bowel

This is hard post to write because it's somewhat scary.  During our ultrasound, the technician had to go "talk to a doctor," who came back and confirmed that there was one abnormality that they were seeing in our ultrasound.  Our baby had what is called "Echogenic bowel," which basically means that the bowel - which normally shows up as dark gray or black on an ultrasound - was bright white. There are a number of reasons why this might happen.

1. The baby swallowed some blood and the iron in the blood shows up as white as it is being processed in the bowel - this is most likely and completely harmless, as the blood will be processed and then everything will go back to normal
2. It can be a sign of cystic fibrosis.
3. It can be a sign of Down's Syndrome.
4. It can be a sign that I had an infection of some sort, the most common being cytomegalovirus

We were nervous about the whole thing.  The ultrasound doctor was sort of weird and awkward, and so that didn't help us to feel any better about the situation.  On top of that, the little guy wasn't being cooperative during the ultrasound at all - there were some pictures that they had a really hard time getting - and I worried that this had something to do with it. 

Our Down's Syndrome screening showed that we were at extremely low risk for that, so the doctor that I spoke with my OBGYN's office didn't think that additional Down's testing was necessary.  However, I had originally declined the cystic fibrosis test since there was no indicators that there was any reason to concerned about CF.  But with this new diagnosis, I am going to have the CF test done because there is a reason now, and I think it's important to rule out any possible problems for the future.

I'm still waiting for a call my doctor's office so that we can get this set up, and hopefully everything will be taken care of and straightened out very soon.

3-21-11 - Pregnancy Sleep Woes

It's no secret that most pregnant women don't get a good night's sleep basically from the moment they find out until... well, ever, probably.  (Am I right?)  I'm an awesome sleeper though.  I'm also a really light sleeper, in general.  You would think those two things wouldn't go hand in hand, but it works for me.

You see, my conscious and sub-conscious work together to determine what I should be concerned about when sleeping.  A loud thumb in the night? Or perhaps Murphy making low, threatening barks?  I wake up instantly, and am pretty much fully awake.   But DH putting the dishes away in the morning, people talking in the next room, etc.  I sleep right through it.  It's awesome.  There are also a few random things that set me off instantly even if they're not necessarily threatening, including dripping water (one drip and I'm awake!) and mice feet, to name a few.

Anyway, all of this is to say that I normally sleep quite well at night.  I sleep soundly and don't even notice when DH wakes up and leaves the room.  I can easily sleep for 10-12 hours per night if given the opportunity and when such an opportunity arises, I take full advantage of it.  But obviously, a lot has changed in the last few months.

First it was just the waking up to go to the bathroom.  Hormones, increased fluid intake, and a growing uterus have all put the pressure on my poor little bladder, which was already sort of weak to begin with.  What's most frustrating though is that even though I am waking up all the time to go to the bathroom, it's not like my "output" - so to speak - has increased.  Why can't my bladder just wait until morning??? It wasn't like it was so full that it couldn't stand to hold anything more. 

My second sleep woe is caused by this constant nasal stuffiness that is also apparently pretty normal.  In fact, DH politely likes to tell me that I "breathe like a horse."  Of course, that's only when I'm not snoring, which I've suddenly starting doing as well.  I'm so conscious of the effect that my heavy breathing has on him that I often wake up when I am breathing particularly loudly, and then I can't fall back asleep because... well because I'm still breathing loudly and there's nothing that I can do about it.   Sometimes he'll sleep in the spare bedroom so that he can get a good night's sleep, but I feel bad for essentially forcing him out of room, although admittedly I usually sleep better then as well.

Finally, I have recently developed a fear of sleeping my back, and as a back-sleeper by nature, this has been a hard habit to break.  When I sleep on my back for extended periods of time, my legs, arms and even my neck and scalp turn to pins and needles.  It is horrible painful and uncomfortable.  I fall asleep on my side and wake up on my back with feeling only existing in my torso region.  I figure that if sleeping on my back creates such severe circulation problems for my limbs, it certainly can't be good for the creature who relies on me to survive (although thankfully said creature is located in that torso region that generally doesn't seem to be affected.) 

All of these factors mean that sleeping has become a luxury to me, so much more so than even before.  I still adore sleeping and want to do it all the time, but it's become harder and harder to get a good night of uninterrupted sleep.  I'm pretty sure most parents would just tell me to "get used to it," as I have a feeling interrupted sleep is going to be in my future for at least the next couple of years.

3-22-11 The "Stretching" Period

I've already written about what I call "the puff" - that horrible time in the evening when my stomach puffs out and it's really painful.

But yesterday it went to a whole new level.  I couldn't move.  Everything hurt.  I was flopped on a chair and couldn't get out without help.  My stomach was SO big.

DH tried to help by offering to get me things but I wanted nothing other than for the pain to go away. 

He said, in a voice that almost convinced me he knew what he was talking about, that I was going through the "stretching period" and that this was how my skin prepared for the stretching that it would need to do in the future. 

An example of what I look like during the "stretching period" aka evenings

I don't think the stretching period is a real thing (or is it!?!?) but it makes sense in a way.  Your skin needs to stretch gradually, and instead of constant, steady stretching mid way through the pregnancy, going through a "stretching period" followed by time where your skin goes back and has time to relax could actually be a good thing.  I know I'm probably just trying to justify this in my mind, but that's a lot easier than admitting I can't eat a normal dinner like I could before....

3-20-11 - Baby Hartman's Room

We have been working on our second bedroom - which will be Baby Hartman's room - for awhile now.  It's slow going, as there have been lots of other distractions preventing us from making good progress. 

But now the room is painted, and it looks great.  Unfortunately for some reason it has been particularly difficult to capture the true color that we painted this room.  If you want to look it up, it's Behr color "Spartan Stone." 

The room started out a light baby blue.  The previous owners only put one coat of this light blue over the previous color, which was pink, and there were numerous places where pink spots were peeking out.   Why are people so bad at painting? 

There were also a lot of holes and other areas where DH need to patch with joint compound.  This job was made more difficult by the fact that our walls are textured with this annoying sand-pappery texture so the final coat of joint compound had to be mixed with playground sand to get the desired effect.  Compared to the attempt made to replicate this texture when doing the office, I would say that this attempt was a major success.  (The office patch job, while not horrible, was definitely not quite right.)

You can sort of see the sand in this picture

Then the paint started to go on.

This is probably the best representation of the true color - it's like dark sage green

You might have noticed that DH's shirt matches the paint color.  That was actually intentional on his part, to hide the evidence of any paint that might get on his shirt (even though it's a work shirt.) Solid proof that he CAN color coordinate!

Halfway done - please ignore the devilish red eyes

The paint we chose was not a "low" or "no" VOC paint, and the fumes that were created when he was rolling the paint were intense.  I helped with the edging in the early stages of painting, but when it came to rolling he took on this task himself, since VOC's aren't necessarily good for pregnant women to be around.  Every once in awhile I would pop in to take a picture and could not believe how horrible the fumes were.  Pregnant or not, I'm not sure that it's healthy for anyone to be in a closed room with such intense fumes.  Apparently we should have waited for warmer weather so that we could create some circulation with open windows, but we were on a mission, and wanted to get this done.

I don't have a picture of the finished product.  Well actually I do, but it was bright outside that day and my camera was overcompensating for the light in crazy ways, so the walls just look dark gray instead of green.  The color is slightly darker than I had originally thought it would be, but overall it's a great, gender neutral color for any room and I'm happy with the choice!

3/9/11 - 16 weeks - Day and Night

Today officially marks the 16 week point.  Some people say, "Wow! You're already 4 months along!" although I don't really buy that.  Months aren't really 4 weeks (except for February, obviously) and so really I'm just over 3 and a half months.  I'll be at 4 months on the 17th (oh! St. Patrick's day! No green beer for me. Sad face.)

I thought this might be a good time to show you the different between my day belly and my night belly.

I am still wearing exclusively non-maternity clothes, even though I do have some maternity things ready for when the time comes.  But right now, I have at least 6 pairs of pants that I can rotate through that fit relatively well, and I haven't even needed to unbutton them yet.  Mostly this is because these 6 pairs of pants used to be too big for me, but they were too nice or I liked them too much to get rid of them, but now they are serving their purpose quite well.

Anyway, this is what my stomach looked like on the morning of Day 16.  We'll call this photo "Day 16 -Day."

This is the stomach that my non-maternity clothes fit into.  It lasts me through about 5:30 p.m.  At 5:30, for some reason, I start puffing up like crazy.  I'm usually starving by this time, so I think it's probably just air in my stomach, or gas.  But whatever the case may be, by the time I get home from work, I am ready to rip off my work pants and put on sweatpants.

But it gets worse - oh my does it get worse.

After dinner, even if I don't eat a lot, "the belly" comes out.  I mentioned this last week as well, but it's time for you to see "the belly."

We'll call this one "Day 16 - Night."

I'd say there's at least an extra two inches around in the Night picture, don't you agree? If not, let me tell you that it certainly feels that way.

At "Night" my stomach feels hard and I like to flick it with my fingernail to hear the hollow "thud" sound that it makes.  My skin also feels like it's stretching beyond it's capabilities and by the time all of this kicks in I am moaning and groaning and holding my stomach while I stumble around the house like a drunk.  Sometimes I can't take deep breaths because of the pressure.  I can't bend over comfortable and I want to stick a pin in my stomach to relieve the intense pressure.  It's no fun, I tell you.  Is this simply a sign of the times to come?  Ugh... if so, I'm going to be one uncomfortable baby mama.

4-11-11 - IT'S A.... BABY!

If you aren't friends with me on Facebook and you don't follow me on Twitter (@lisamdh) then you may not have heard the news.

Baby Hartman is a boy!

After weeks of telling myself that I didn't care whether it was a boy or a girl (and I don't!) and that I didn't have a guess either way (that was apparently a lie) I will admit that deep down I thought it was a girl.  I fooled even myself, since it wasn't until after they told us it was a boy that I said, "But I was so sure it was a girl!"

Oh well, boy it is! And it's still true that I didn't care either way.  We are thrilled.  Baby H didn't get a clear bill of health though, and I will be going in for some additional testing later this week. I will tell you all about that in another post.

So now we are getting the daily question, "Have you thought about names?"

Well, we have.  But all of the names we picked up out and agreed on were girl names.  And now we're not having a girl.

So we have some "girl names" in our pocket just in a case we're surprised on due day and a little girl comes popping out instead of the little boy that we're now expecting.  But we're moving expecting a boy, and now we come to realize that naming boys is a LOT harder than naming girls.

There just seem to be more girl names out there.  This may be due to the fact that people get way more creative with girl names.  Creative girl names can often equal cute, but it seems like creative boy names usually equals girly, and we're not interested in any gender identify conflicts.  Plus, we like more traditional boy names, but we haven't really stumbled upon anything that we can definitely agree on.  At least not yet.

Naming a human for the rest of it's life is BIG DEAL.  Something we take very seriously and plan to put a lot of thought into.  Good thing we still have four months to figure it out!

Please start providing your baby boy naming suggestions below!

3-16-11 - Week 17 and "healthy" weight gain

Weeks 16 and 17 have been all about weight gain.  I have not changed my eating habits but I am gaining weight steadily and can also notice a huge difference in my clothing.  To date, I have gained 8 pounds.  Are you tired of hearing about my weight gain?  Don't worry - I'm not whining about it anymore, just amazed by it and I want to make sure that I stay on track with what is considered to be healthy. 

According to AmericanPregnancy.Org, below are the guidelines for weight gain.
  • Healthy weight before pregnancy:
    • 3-5 pounds during the first trimester
    • Approximately 1-2 pounds per week in the second trimester
    • Approximately 1-2 pounds per week in the third trimester

I'm considering the first trimester to have ended at week 14.  That means that (since I am in week 17 now) I can have gained about 1 to 2 pounds per week for weeks 14, 15, and 16.  I stopped weighing myself in the last few weeks of the first trimester because I realized I was obsessing about it way too much.  So I have no real reference point for what I weighed at the end of week 13.  But assuming that I gained 5 pounds, then gaining one pound each subsequent week is actually right on track.  I started at 150.4 and was 158.2 today. 

I also cannot eat large meals anymore.  This is sad for me, as I really enjoy dinner which is usually my biggest meal of the day.  I am in so much pain after dinner my abdomen feels like it's going to explode.  Even when I think that I had really reasonable portions, that I'm realizing I need to cut back even more.  I think I need to break my dinner into two distinct sections, eating 1/2 at actual dinner time and then saving the rest for later. That will be hard, but it necessary!  It hurts so much that I end up just laying around moaning most evenings and it totally ruins my evening workouts because I can't bend over to put my shoes on without crushing pain.

Week 20 - Whoa! Half-way there!

Today (actual today, April 6th), marks the official 20 week mark.

The official "half-way" point. 

The official "only 20 more weeks until there is a baby" mark. 


Things are really hectic at work so I don't have a picture for today, and I'm obviously still behind in getting those back-posts up, but it will happen soon, I promise! 

Friday is the big ultrasound day and assuming that New Hartman isn't being overly modest, we will hopefully find out the gender!  I can't wait to find out, as I have been putting off thinking about names until I know whether it's a boy or girl.  I didn't want to fall in a love with a name (whether it be boy or girl) only to find out that the baby was the opposite gender.  But soon I won't have to refrain anymore. 

According to poll - and there's still time to vote - the majority of you think that we're having a girl!  We'll find out soon enough!

Boy? Or Girl?

On Friday, April 8th, we'll find out whether the New-est Hartman is a boy or a girl.  What's your guess?  Leave a comment or vote using the poll on the main page. 

Need some help making your guess?  Here are a few stats/facts that people often use to make gender predictions:

Heart rate: Usually around 158
Morning sickness: None
Hair and Nails: No noticeable change in growth
Carrying: Middle of the road
Weight Gained: Just shy of 10 pounds so far

Vote now! 

3/10/11 - The Day Care Connundrum

We recently started investigating day cares.  Originally, DH felt strongly that we should send our child to the day care associated with my place of employment - a reputable albeit expensive early childhood education center.  Their tuition is over $1500 a month but with an employee discount it would be just shy of $1200.

I don't love the idea of taking our child to a day care so close to my job.  Although the convenience of having him or her so close by seems awesome at first glance, there are a number of reasons why I feel pretty strongly against it.

Reason number one is my commute.  On a good day, I spend 45 minutes in the car each way.  On a bad day, I can spend well over 2 hours, sometimes as much as 3 hours (See "The Worst Commute Ever" post.)  The stress of my drive regularly brings me close to tears.  In the winter, I dread going to work and all I want to do is leave once I'm here.  I curse like crazy at bad drivers and the only things that keep me from driving off the side of the road on a really bad traffic day are my books on tape and my Droid.  (Yes, if I am sitting in traffic and not moving I will play games, read news online, browse Facebook, etc.  I'm not "driving" if I'm not moving, so give me a break - this is for my sanity.)   I have looked at other jobs for years now, but I have it pretty good where I'm at, and I'm not ready to take a massive pay cut to get a job closer to home - it just isn't financially reasonable at this point.

I can't imagine subjecting a child to that sort of drive, especially an infant.  That poor thing would be strapped into a car seat, facing backwards and wouldn't even be able to see me.  I know that babies sometimes like to sleep during car rides, but I won't be able to do a thing if the baby is crying on those night where my drive takes over 2 hours.  In the winter the driving conditions are treacherous, and there have been times that I thought I might get stuck and just never make it home.  Could you imagine having a child in the car with me at that time??!?! They'll be starving in the backseat, sad, and alone.  (And to top it all off, I'll have to listen to a screaming child instead of my books on tape that are the only thing that can take my mind off of my stress and unhappiness.) 

So yeah, I'm definitely not interested in subjecting a child to a commute that I can barely mentally handle myself.

The second reason for not preferring the work-related day care option is somewhat related to the first - it would be all me. I have to get the kid ready in the morning, take him or her on that awful commute, drop them off at day care, pick them up, drive some more.  Then I would still have to go home and immediately start cooking dinner (which I always dread after a particularly tough commute.)  It's all me, with no help from anyone else.  I could handle it, I'm sure, if I had to.  But it would definitely add of lot of stress on me whereas absolutely nothing would change for DH.

If baby Hartman is at a day care near our house, the responsibility could be nicely shared.  I could take care of morning drop off and DH could take care of afternoon pick-ups.  On afternoons that DH couldn't do the pick-up for some reason, I could still do it on my way home.  If I ever wanted to take a day off but still take baby Hartman to day care for some "me" time, I could do so without having to drive an hour into the city.  In fact, there's no way in hell I would take a "me" day and take the baby to day care if we were using a city day care.  It just wouldn't be worth the drive.   And in this scenario, no one parent would be shouldering 100% of the responsibility.

Those are only two reasons, but they're two pretty significant reasons if you ask me.  Amazing day care or not, I'm not sure that it's ever going to be worth it in my mind.

15 Weeks and Symptoms - Stay Puft Marshmallow edition

(For some reason I didn't date this post, but 15 weeks was around  March 9th, so let's just say March 9th.)

As I am now in the second trimester - that magical mid-point that everyone says is "the best!" - I thought it was time to review my symptoms once again.  They are very different than the first trimester symptoms were and there's almost no comparison, really.

But first, a picture. (I am going to start trying to take my own pictures, since we are not good about remembering to have DH take them on the weekends.)

I am officially starting to look like I'm pregnant.  If I'm not actively trying to hide it, there's no way you wouldn't be able to guess.  This "puff" has definitely happened in the last week or two.

Anyway, on to the second trimester symptoms!

1. Bloat
In the morning I look like any other 15 week pregnant women should.  I show with a very small bump on my stomach, but nothing more.  I can put on nearly any pair of pants that I own, and I am fine.  However, as soon as I start eating or drinking anything, I puff out like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.  It gets progressively worse throughout the day, particularly if I eat something that is high in sodium.  My belly puffs out so far that I look like I'm around 24 weeks pregnant, at least, and my pants start cutting into my stomach.  I can't hide my bulge under my clothing like I could just a few hours earlier, in the morning.  I put on sweat pants and sweat shirts and DH stays at me wide eyed and says things like, "Wow, you really are pregnant."  Thanks, honey.

2. Headaches
Some women have told me that when they were pregnant their headaches went away, even their migraines.  I wish this was true for me, but alas it is not.  I get headaches more frequently now, although they're not always of the migraine variety, like they were before.  Previously if I got a headache it was probably a migraine or about to be a migraine.  Now I get regular old headaches that last anywhere between one and three days.  I hate them but I guess I should be grateful that they're not migraines.

3. Burping
So strange, right?  The books all talk about gas of the "other" variety, but I have actually experienced burping gas more than anything else, particularly when I lay down.  At night I'll lay down and then sit up to burp, then lay down again and then back up to burp.  This happens at least twice before I'm actually able to fall asleep, otherwise I just feel pain and pressure in my stomach, probably related to the "bloat" mentioned in item #1.

4. Dizziness
I frequently feel dizzy or lightheaded, particularly when I'm hungry.  In the mornings before I get a chance to eat breakfast, and at dinner time, when I'm preparing dinner, are the worst times.  I get really lightheaded and my vision starts to get blurry.  I start sweating and it feels like my heart is racing.  I usually exclaim something like, "Oh my god, I think I'm going to faint" to DH and then have to sit down for a moment to let it pass.  It's not that I'm starving by any means, and in fact I've spaced my snacks out during the day to try to work around this problem, but it's only getting worse.  I don't want to eat more - I'm already gaining too much weight! - but I'm not sure what my other options are.

5. Rashes/Acne
I have a weird rash, that I'm pretty sure is acne, all over my chest, upper arms, shoulders and back.  I'm not 100% sure that it's acne because I've never had acne in those places before, and because it's not the traditional pimple or zit that I'm used to seeing on my face.  It's most like a ton of reddish, sometimes purplish bumps.  On my arms is actually more skin colored, but you can feel all of the little bumps when you run your arms over my skin.  Definitely weird although it's not uncomfortable or anything. I just hope it goes away before summer and tank top wearing season!

I'm trying to think of more, but really those are only the things I can come up with right now!!!  Not too bad, if you ask me.

3/4/11 - 1 in 4,800

Today I had my 15 week check-up.  This was a very quick in and out appointment.  However, they did give us the results of the nuchal translucency screening that we had about two weeks ago (when we had the first ultrasound done.)

It was all good news.  At my age, the risk of me having a child with Down's Syndrome is about 1 in 400 or so.  After the screening, the results show that my actual chance of having a child with Down's is actually 1 in 4,800, which means it's really unlikely.  The doctor said that he wasn't going to recommend any additional genetic testing, although we are going to have an extended ultrasound done at 20 weeks to make sure that developmentally everything looks normal.  I asked if that was still necessary and he felt like it would just be added precaution, since it's basically non-invasive.  I'm ok with that.  My next regular appointment is April 1st and then the ultrasound is on the 8th.

I am going to take off work that afternoon so that DH and I can go to the appointment together.  Afterward we're going to go to dinner, at a predetermined location based on the gender findings.  For example, if it's a girl we'll go to X, whereas if it's a boy, we'll go to Y.  Not sure why I decided that this is how I wanted to do it, but I like it!

At this appointment they were also able to find the heartbeat right away. No adjustment of my uterus needed, thank you very much. The baby is so low in my abdomen that I am having trouble believing that all of the bulge everywhere else in my abdominal region isn't baby.  I feel enormous, particularly right at this moment, since I just finished lunch.

The price we pay to procreate....

2-25-11 - When It Doesn't Feel Real

I always had the sense that when I became pregnant, I would obsess about it, constantly thinking about baby related things, looking at baby websites, and planning baby registries.  It was certainly that way when planning my wedding - it's all I could think about!

For some reason, this baby thing doesn't feel real yet.  Early on, there wasn't a lot of reason for it to feel real.  The only real evidence that I had was a blue plus sign on a plastic stick.  I said to myself, "After 12 weeks, I think it will feel more real."  It didn't though.  Then I thought, "Once I start buying maternity clothes it will feel real."  Nope, not really. When we had the ultrasound, afterwards I said "That made it feel more real. " And it did, at least for that day, but that's in the past now and that feeling has gone.  Now I say "When I start feeling movement, it will feel more real," and at that point if I'm still in denial there truly might be something wrong with me.

I would not call these thoughts or feelings ambivalence - maybe at one point they were, but not anymore.  I have truly accepted this pregnancy and am excited about it, but what makes it "feel real?"  Why was I annoyed by all of the "What to expect" books?  Why don't I want to browse expectant mother websites or browse through Babies 'R Us?  Right now I pretty much feel fat, not pregnant at all.

I'm thinking all of this right now because as we speak, something weird is going on with my stomach.  I ate too much for lunch and my belly is all puffed out. I actually look pregnant right now, or at least like I've taken a serious break from my regular calorie counting.  I'm pretty sure that the "something weird" is just gas or digesting but then I was like, "Oh! Do you think it could be movement?"  A search on the Google machine tells me that it's too early to be feeling anything, but yeah.... I'm pretty sure that it's going to "feel real" real soon.