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Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Baby Squish : 20 Weeks : Halfway!

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11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
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31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

Look at that - two lines down, two to go!  The next four weeks are crucial; after 24 weeks, should anything happen that makes Squish arrive early, chances are good that he or she would survive. Of course, Carys was born on the date of her scheduled c-section, so I have no reason to believe that with the cerclage this kiddo will do anything different. BIONIC CERVIX FTW. (knock on all the wood)

Other than that, all is going well over here in Occupied Uterus territory.  A bit of heartburn here, a bit of...well, nothing else, really. It's all Easy Pregnancy 101 up in here.  In YES LOVE news, Squish has been moving and kicking and hitting me (preparation for being two years old apparently, according to Carys). In DIE IN A FIRE news, I'm battling a horrific head cold that, in addition to rendering it impossible to breath, has settled in my eyes, which makes me look like I'm in a perpetual state of sobbing.  Because we're a family who loves each other and shares everything, Carys got it from me. Or I got it from her. Either way, we both are miserable. And Chris is REALLY loving the hacking coughing that keeps me up all night. And that night when Carys was at her worst and woke up sobbing and unable to breathe while laying down and just wanted to be held upright for three straight hours in the middle of the night and screamed bloody murder every time I tried to lay her down? That was TONS of fun. Neither of us are on edge from lack of sleep at all! It's been joyous! At least he gets wine to soften said edge. Hmphf.

But the pregnancy...that part's been easy peasy so far.

It still seems pretty surreal that I'm pregnant with our second child when I still find myself amazed that I have a first one. I will be walking down the hall from dropping Carys off at preschool and looking around for the Parenting Police who are no doubt coming to arrest me at any moment for playing mom to this kid that I surely stole from somewhere. I consistently feel like I'm one of the youngest moms there, when in reality I'm probably solidly in the middle, if not on the older end of things. But somehow in my mind I feel like a baby having a baby. Aren't I BARELY out of the teen mom statistics? Like I actually feel sometimes that people must be judging me for having a kid and being pregnant at such a very young age.  HOW AM I ALMOST 33??? Someone please hold me.

20 weeks in an outfit that, from the side, makes the bump look a bit bigger than it is, and also makes me look kind of squat, which is a feat since I'm 5'10". Maybe I'll throw some wedges on next time to balance the Bermuda SHORT effect. HA. Since it makes me look short? Bermuda SHORTS? GET IT?????

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Carrots and Baby Squish

People keep asking me, "What does Carys think about the new baby?"

To which I give them a weird look and wonder if the two year olds they know are more perceptive than mine. She doesn't have a clue! She thinks nothing about the new baby! She thinks she wants some ice cream.

We have told her that there's a baby in my tummy, and if you ask what's in my tummy, she'll say, "Baby! It's growing!" She will ask to put lotion on the baby or tickle the baby or kiss the baby (AKA my stomach) but come on. She doesn't really KNOW that there's a baby in my tummy or at least understand what that concept means overall, even if in some abstract way she does actually think that there's a baby inside there. She also now thinks that there's a baby in her tummy and a baby in daddy's tummy (though we've told her it's just mommy's tummy).

I  tried to explain that mommy has a tiny baby in my tummy, and that the baby is going to grow and grow and grow until it gets bigger and then it will come out and it will live with us, and that the baby growing is why mommy's tummy is getting bigger. I read her a "Big Sister" book and we play baby with her dolls.

But really, let's be real. She's two. She's in for a rude awakening no matter how much we talk about it or try to prepare for it.

I expect Carys to both completely adore the new baby and completely loathe the new baby. I think she'll be jealous of the nursing (though it's been a while since she nursed, she definitely still recalls it and even asks sometimes), and that she'll probably try to push the baby off me so I can focus on her, and throw regular fits that I'm not paying as much attention to her (the likes of which I am not accustomed to since she's so easygoing at the moment).  On the other hand, I think Carys will be very possessive of the baby and want to do everything: hold the baby, feed the baby, change the baby, etc.
I think she'll try to give the baby her toys and will be very worried when the baby cries and try to soothe the baby.

Second-plus-time-moms are laughing at these predictions, I'm sure. They're probably all a complete given, par for the course, DUH LARA.

As far as plans for when the baby is actually with us...right now, the plan is for Carys to stay in the room she's in. It's her room, and having her keep it will hopefully help the transition. We have no plans to transition her to a toddler bed yet - she's perfectly content in her crib and shockingly hasn't tried to climb out. The baby will sleep in our room for the first six months or so in the Rock 'N Play if all goes as planned, so there's no hurry to get Carys out of the crib - that's another year of use she can get out of it before we have to start figuring out what we want to do.

The new baby - well, at least the new baby's THINGS if not the new baby - will officially go to the third bedroom, which is currently a storage room literally filled three feet high with clothes and unused furniture and computer parts. What will happen to all that shit? NO IDEA. Although I'm not opposed to just throwing it all away since it's been in there for ages and ages and most of it hasn't been needed in all that time.  It will probably take a year to sort through everything so I should probably get on that at some point while I'm still capable of lifting things without a blimp of a belly getting in the way. (UPDATE: I actually wrote this post a week ago and I got all my shit cleaned out of the room. Chris, you're up. Adios computer stuff!)

The third bedroom is currently painted a very dark grey, with some sort of textured paint that my mother-in-law chose for it (it was Chris's computer room for a long time, and she wanted to design it for him). I need to look into what we need to do to remove the paint, and if it ends up being too much of a pain, it might just stay gray and I'll work around that. Yellow and gray and orange and gray are both so trendy right now (maybe even heading downward) but they're both combos I like. Gray and peach? Gray and mint green, maybe?  I don't, however, like the idea of a black crib in a room with dark gray walls, so I'm not sure if I'd try to paint the crib or if I'd convert the crib to be a toddler bed for Carys and buy a new (new to us - probably used off Craigslist) white crib for the nursery.  With such dark walls, everything else would have to be very bright and light. If we are able to repaint completely, I'm thinking one yellow/white striped wall and the rest a light mint green. That might look better in my head than in reality; we'll see.

That's all hypothetical right now, though. The way things are looking right now, nothing will be ready for the new baby until around 2015. Which is a problem since the baby will be here this year.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Baby Squish : 18 Weeks

First things first.

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11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40

Sooo close to halfway. C'mon, next two weeks!  Also, I just noticed that I started at 1 - as if weeks one through four count for anything. Ha! Oh, well, makes me look further along visually. More to cross off. It's like making a to-do list and adding things that you've already finished just so you can cross them off. That's not just me, is it?

Obligatory three-pregnancy-comparison-pic (Caleb first, then Carys, then Squish on the bottom).  I was definitely smaller with Carys than with Caleb. This one....well, it seems to be growing outward more from boob to pelvis, rather than a slow slope downward and out, but about the same overall as Carys.  Can we talk about my ass? Specifically, current lack of one?  I used to have a decent butt, and it all but disappeared towards the end of my pregnancy with Carys and never came back.

Sadly, that will be my first and only three-pregnancy-comparison picture, as my water broke before I got to 19 weeks and I never took another belly picture with him.

Specifically, at 18 weeks and 5 days pregnant, my water broke with Caleb. He was born at 19 weeks, 3 days. So these next two weeks are completely nerve-wracking for me and I'll just be floating along in a cloud of anxiety until those milestones pass, I think.  I'd kind of like to ask the doctor if I could just come live in the OB office, hooked up to an ultrasound machine, for the next two weeks. Actually, make that til 24 weeks.  But the cerclage did its job with Carys, and I just have to trust that it will continue to do so with this kid. 

This has been my favorite week so far, because I can feel Squish moving - very lightly, and not often, but it's there. I never felt Caleb, and it wasn't until closer to 20 weeks that I felt Carys (though all three have been insanely active during ultrasounds).  I absolutely cannot wait until later, when I can feel it from the outside and see the shifts and rolls and bulges. 

I actually got started cleaning out the storage room, only to discover that our dog had at some point peed on the carpet. WONDERFUL. Don't you love those little disgusting surprises?  I got out all my stuff and all our shared stuff, and now all that's left is approximately five tons of Chris's old computer parts and cables and wires. Along with a few pieces of furniture that will immediately be Craigslisted, once I can free them from the clutches of a thousand feet of computer wires. 

I also hung a bunch of newborn size clothes (all gender-neutral - don't get too excited!) in the closet, hoping that seeing them there would make it more real.  It didn't really work.  I'm still in a weird world of denial. Not active denial - I want to be pregnant and I know I am! - but I still don't really FEEL pregnant and it still hasn't really sunk in yet.  Maybe when the kid is being pulled out of me it will finally feel real? Maybe when they had him or her to me? Maybe when I'm listening to two babies cry for me and I'm wondering what the hell I did it will feel real?

One last covered belly pic - which I love because I look TEEEENY, which I am not in any way.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Baby Squish : Scary News (That will be okay?)

Last Friday, I had my 16-week appointment (where, by the way, Squish did NOT cooperate to allow the sonographer to confirm the sex guess from the 12-week appointment!).  I always love seeing Squish and how he or she has grown since the last appointment, and I got wonderful confirmation that my trans-abdominal cerclage is holding the cervix nice and closed.

However, as she was scanning the baby and hit the lateral (I think?) view of the brain, I immediately noticed the large, dark spot.  It looked much like this (except only on one hemisphere of the brain):

(not my picture)

She spent a lot of time measuring it, and I spent the entire time debating on whether I should ask about it. I sometimes thought I saw a similar spot on the other side (I didn't; it's only on one side), which made me think maybe it was normal and I just didn't remember it from Carys, and didn't want to ask a stupid question about a normal part of the brain.  

After the ultrasound ended, the doctor came in to do the debriefing. He first assured me that the baby looked wonderful and that everything looked perfect, then commiserated that they couldn't confirm his sex guess, and finally told me not to freak out, but that they saw something on the ultrasound of which they wanted me to be aware. 

A cyst. A cyst on our baby's brain.

The second those words left his lips, I disconnected.  Inside, I was panicking and wanted to scream, but outside, I just kept smiling and nodding. He explained that it was a choroid plexus cyst, and that they occur in 1-3% of pregnancies.  He said that they can be markers of something worse - like Trisomy 13 or 18, which are often fatal.  However, he quickly reassured me that with a completely normal NT scan and completely normal blood test results, as well as zero other markers seen on the ultrasound, he has no reason to believe that there are any issues with the baby, and that the cyst should completely disappear by the time Squish is 24 weeks old.  He further explained that he sees these in about one in forty pregnancies, but probably only sees trisomy in one in a thousand pregnancies, so that the odds were highly in my favor, particularly because of the lack of any other conerns. 

So I'm trying to be confident and really have no reason not to be....

....but a cyst.

On my baby's brain. 

That is some scary shit! I just see that big black hole on the ultrasound and wonder whether the brain can possibly develop normally around it for the eight or so weeks it takes to develop and then go away - Dr. Google and Dr. Real Doctor said yes, it's absolutely possible and there aren't any long-term effects, but still. A CYST ON THE BRAIN. No matter how harmless the doctor hopes it is, that's still a terrifying thing to hear.

I keep thinking that this pregnancy has been SO easy that of course something had to be wrong, and then I keep thinking that this pregnancy has been so easy that a most-likely-to-disappear-cyst surely can't be the last of it. 

I'm just hoping the next seven weeks - until our 24 week appointment - absolutely FLY by so that I can go back and get the great news that the cyst is gone (fingers crossed/knock on wood/consult witch doctor). I asked if they'd be able to tell us anything at the 20 week ultrasound, and he said probably not - they cyst will (hopefully) appear smaller because the baby's head is bigger, but it usually takes until 24 weeks for it to resolve.

I know we have absolutely zero reason to worry and that chances are fantastic it will be totally fine and go away just like the doctor predicts, but there's always that little bit of doubt and worry in the back of your head - and I'm sure it will be there until they give us the all clear.  Fingers crossed so hard that we get an all clear.  I know people that have gotten much worse news and have had much worse diagnoses, so I completely recognize how lucky I am that the issue with our baby is comparatively small and likely self-resolving, but.....it's still something wrong with my baby. And no mother ever likes to hear anything other than "perfect."

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Letters to Carrots : Month Twenty-Four : Two Freaking Years

June 7 - July 7, 2013
Dear Carys,

Hold me. Help me. Oh, Lord, how are you two years old today? TWO YEARS OLD. I'm the mother of a two-year-old. My baby girl is two years old. Two. Two. Two. (breathe in, breathe out...it will be okay...)

You're my big girl, as you like to remind me whenever I ask you if you're a big girl or a baby. "I a big girl!" you respond. Once I called you my baby and you completely blanched and said, "No, no, no mommy....BIG GIRL." Please stop reminding me. Yes, you're my big girl. My wonderful, spirited, sweet, smart, beautiful big girl. 

This is probably a good stopping point for these letters, but I don't know if I can actually bring myself to stop. I love writing them and reminiscing about everything we did that month and all you learned and how much you grew. However, I just can't bring myself to write out "Month Twenty-Five" because that's ridiculous. I saw someone refer to their child as 41 months old the other day. I have no idea how old that kid is. 3? 5? 17?  Maybe I'll proceed with just one long yearly letter. It will be two hundred pages long, probably.

I'll have your brother or sister's monthly letters to write for at least two years - he or she is already getting screwed over just by virtue of being the second kid (new clothes? HA! broken leg? WALK IT OFF!) so I want to at least commit to documenting the first two years, since I managed to give that gift to you. Since I could barely get it together each month to do your monthly picture and write your monthly letter (I mean, take a picture AND write some words? the strain! the difficulty! the sacrifice!), the possibility that I'll ever be able to do TWO in a month is laughable.  I mean, maybe. But maybe pigs will start flying also.

So perhaps this is your last monthly letter.  And perhaps I just burst into tears writing that. And perhaps I'm super tempted to go wake you up from your nap and cuddle you for ten hours straight and buy you ice cream and ponies.

I cannot talk enough about what an incredible little girl you are. I know ALL parents think their kids are completely amazing, and it's our right as parents to think that our own kids are, of course, the most amazing of them all.  So any other parents reading this no doubt thinking that sure, you're alright, but their kids are even more special. But to me? You are the most special, incredible, amazing kid who has EVER WALKED ON THIS EARTH. Or crawled. Or pretended to be a dog in the middle of the zoo in front of two dozen people.

 You are so sweet. You give your friends hugs at the end of swim class, you offer a bite of your precious watermelon to your cousin, you call for a hug when you see someone leaving.  You sing songs to me in the car and you cuddle me for no reason. Your hundred kisses at bedtime are the highlight of my day. Your baby dolls are tucked in and patted and read to and fed.

You sometimes share, which for a toddler, is about as good as it gets (hilariously, if you have two of something, you struggle to figure out which one to share, because you realize as soon as you give them option A, you'll be stuck with option B, and just the fact that they have option A immediately makes it more desirable...so you should give them option B, right? But then option B becomes the desired one and option A sucks! WHAT TO DO??). When you don't want to share, you're really funny about offering an alternate. Sometimes the alternate is even better than what the person actually has, but because they have it, it becomes a beacon of ALL THAT IS COVETED to you. So you'll want the rock that someone is playing with, and you'll look around for something else to offer them in exchange for the rock. Sidewalk chalk! A doll! A book! Won't you please take this book and give me that rock instead?!?!

My absolute favorite thing you do at this very moment is respond, "Oh, yes!" to anything that requires a modicum of thought. "Carys, if you can't reach it from this side, do you think you can go to the other side and reach it?" (pause while you consider) "Oh, yes!" It. is. adorable. 

My other favorite thing about you is your love of ice cream. This is, of course, because I love ice cream. You come by your love for frozen dairy honestly.  I would eat ice cream every day if I could, and I have to physically restrain myself from offering it to you daily. But when you do get it, you're in heaven. Drippy, sticky, messy heaven.

You still love water of all kinds. You love taking a bath, you love swim class (which you're doing by yourself, without me! I think I mentioned that last month.), you love lakes and rivers, your water table, and even a simple glass of water becomes an opportunity for water play.  You may be half mermaid.

This is an incredible age of mimicry, and I am constantly cautioning myself to watch what I do or say around you. You're a sponge, and it's so important to model healthy behavior around you. One not-so-healthy example could possibly lead to a visit from CPS in the future:  as I was getting ready to shower, you emptied the cabinet under the bathroom sink of all the lotion and hair stuff that was stored there and climbed in. I asked you if you would stay there while I showered, and when you said, "Yes!", I commented to your dad that this was a much cheaper form of baby-sitting than buying your Nana and grandpa dinner.  Which, of course, is much cheaper than paying a real baby-sitter (lucky, lucky us!). A few minutes later, you disappeared, then came back with one of your babies. You stuck the baby in the cabinet, shut the door, and then stepped into the shower, saying, "Bye, baby! Stay there. I be back. I shower." I could not stop laughing. But maybe you're onto something in cheap child care!

In other "Adorable Sh*t My Kid Says" news, we were going to visit my dad's mom (your great-grandmother) and I said, "We're going to see Grandma A. This is the grandma that has all the dolls and the bear chair, remember?" You eagerly replied, "YES! Grandma blankets!"  And it's true: that grandma has blankets all over the place, because she's a very talented crocheter and quilt-maker, and you love getting out all her blankets and wrapping up in them. So needless to say, Grandma A is now Grandma Blankets. 

We have family visiting from out of town - my mom's sister and her husband and four kids and wife and son and daughter to one of the kids.  You have totally and completely latched onto the daughter, Danika. Literally from the first moment you met, you've been fascinated by her. You went up to her, shyly put your hand on her leg, smiled, then ran away. A few minutes later, you moved your highchair to sit next to her. A few days later, Nana took you to the family picnic early, and you ran to get a place next to her as soon as she sat down. Even when I arrived, you didn't want to move from her side. The two of you explored the picnic site and played on the playground and you gave her the biggest hug of your life when she left. It was heartbreaking to know that she was leaving in a few days and it'd be a long time before you saw her again!

 Your dad and you have been having a fantastic time, too. It's nice enough outside and he's now brave enough to actually take you places on his special days with you, so you've been going to fly kites and explore new playgrounds almost every week. He just adores you beyond words. Proof: he is NOT a morning person (seriously: he could sleep til noon and stay out til 3 a.m. every day if he didn't have to work) - but no matter how early you wake up, if you want to say hi to him, he'll open at least one eye and say hi back and tell you he loves you. It may not sound like a lot, but I promise you I didn't see his irises a minute before he absolutely had to open his eyes for the entire time we were married before you came along. But for you, he'll open his eyes at 6:30 and even lift his head off the pillow, even if he has another two hours to sleep before he has to wake up for work.

It's insane to think that you've been doing things for over a year now - walking for over a year, climbing and going down slides yourself for over a year, talking for over a year, going up and down stairs (crawling) for over a year, using a spoon or fork to eat for over a year....it seems like just months ago that you were born, and already you've been doing things FOR OVER A YEAR.  How is that possible?

Maybe because of that, you SO think you're grown sometimes. Nana and I took you on a bus ride (to feed your obsession with buses - now all we need to do is get you on a motorcycle and your bucket list will be complete) from Nana's house to downtown to eat lunch with Jenna and Kimberly, and a few minutes after boarding the bus (after you got over your complete and total awe) you got up from your seat between us and climbed on to an empty seat in an empty row a couple rows up from us. When someone got off the bus, you'd lean over and look back and ask, "Get off?" and we'd say no, and you'd sit back again. Just sitting. By yourself. On a bus full of people.  Not needing or wanting us next to you. 

You'll be playing in the front yard, then decide you want to go on a walk by yourself and tell me bye and that you'll be back soon, and just take off walking down the sidewalk (clearly I quickly follow right behind - I'm not THAT free-range!). You have been using "real" cups (without lids) for about six months now, and you often will refuse a "baby" cup entirely. You dress yourself and undress yourself and take showers and sing entire songs and help me sweep and imagine and climb into your carseat and say, "Bless you" and "See you later!" and all sorts of entirely grown-up things that I'm not entirely ready for you to be doing yet.

Carys, you may think you're grown, but you're still my baby little girl.

Some day that "little" will be crossed off and you'll just be my girl, but you'll always and forever be my girl.

Two years ago, at 9:16 a.m., while lying on an operating table, my life changed forever, in the best way possible. I would never go back to the way it was, knowing what it is now. You are the most incredible thing that has ever happened to me and I am so grateful every day to not only know you, but to get to be your mom.  

I love you more every day.

More than I ever thought possible.

More than I ever even understood was possible.

Happy birthday, sweetie pie, Care-bear, Honey Bunches of Oats.

I love you a million billion.


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Belly Pic Comparison

4th of July 2011, 39 weeks with Carys. 4th of July 2013, 17 weeks with #2.

(Ok, 16.5 weeks if we are being technical.)

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Baby Squish : 16 Weeks

Every single time I've been pregnant, 15 weeks has felt like a big milestone. It's not any of the obvious ones, like 2nd trimester, or the halfway point, or viability, or 35/35....but for some reason, to me, 15 weeks feels solidly pregnant. 14 weeks is still barely pregnant. 14 weeks hardly counts. But 15 weeks is legit.   

I forgot I did this countdown with Carys, and I'm a visual person, so I love seeing the weeks get crossed off.  Look at that - four more weeks and I'm in the third line (and halfway done, holy crap!).

1    2   3    4   5   6   7   8  9  10
11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30  
31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 

Apparently I'm still stuck on the 15 week thing (even though Lil Squish is all, "HEY. MOM. Get over it already, I'm 16 weeks old already. 15 week fetuses are SO IMMATURE. Do they even have fingerprints yet?.") because here's my 15 week belly picture. 

Dude. How awkward is that cup? WTF.  And how pasty are my fricking legs? Dear lord. Gross. Get the girl some sun, STAT. (Note: the color discrepancy between my face and legs is not that noticible in real life....I don't think. I hope.) And my work bathroom is the only place where I have access to a full-length mirror, so blah blah blah, yes, I'm the weirdo taking selfies in the bathroom, blah blah blah.

I'm not at the "OMG I LOVE MY BIG FAT PREGNANT BELLY" point yet (explained here), because I don't have a big fat pregnant belly yet, but there's definitely a bump there. And I think that bump is about the size of my 18 or 20 week bump last time. Damn three-time-stretched uterus and stomach muscles (or lack thereof, I should say). 

I cannot wait to start feeling Squish moving, because I'm hoping that will make this feel real. I hear the heartbeat with the doppler, I've got the mini-bump going on, I've seen the kid on ultrasound four times now.....and I STILL am having a hard time believing I'm knocked the fuck up.