Thursday, July 30, 2015

bump watch: week 19

I'm about halfway through week 20 now, but just realized I forgot to post my update at the end of last week. I can blame pregnancy brain, right?

This photo pretty much sums up this week. There is no denying there is a baby in there now.

I finally went maternity shopping and I now know why everyone told me I was crazy for putting it off. Maternity pants > Real pants. I mean, they are like real pants that merged with stretchy pants. It's a dream come true. And since we are more than halfway through the summer (real summer, not that official summer that starts in June business), I've been able to find a lot of things on sale, which is nice because I'll have to buy more things when the weather turns colder. A December due date is not ideal for maternity shopping. Since it's warm here through Sept, I'll need bump clothes for two seasons. I even bought a maternity swimsuit this week. It was traumatic, but it fits so I bought it.

We shopped for baby gear on Saturday. We mostly looked at strollers, car seats and rocking chairs/gliders. I thought it would be more overwhelming, but it was actually kind of fun. Nothing makes you feel like a boss quite like figuring out how to open and close a stroller on your own. I feel like if we can conquer baby gear, we can conquer anything. We have an early favorite for a stroller/car seat system that we both really liked so now all others will compare.

Skippy, you are becoming more fun every day. They say you can hear us now and your Dad has been taking full advantage of that. He loves to talk to you. So far, he's told you all about his favorite sports teams and taught you a little bit about music too. Most importantly, he told you that it's best to let Mom think she is always right. Your Dad is a smart man.

As for me, I mostly talk to you when I'm blaming you for something - like my desire to always eat or my inability to get up the stairs as quickly as I used to. But please don't take offense. It's not because any of this is your fault per se, but you are an easy target since you can't talk back. I felt you move this week! You don't move all the time, and it's not quite strong enough for anyone else to feel. It's almost like we share a little secret right now, but I'm sure you'll be kicking up a storm soon.

Friday, July 24, 2015

bump watch: pink or blue?

Yes, we are going to find out the gender, but we won't know until next week. I know some people like to be surprised, but I figure it's just as much a surprise at 20 weeks as it is at 40 weeks. :) I've been kicking myself lately for rescheduling my ultrasound appointment. I had it scheduled at 18 weeks, but I let the sonographer talk me into moving it to week 20. So now as I sit here waiting for next Tuesday to roll around, I've watched a few friends with due dates after mine already find out their gender. I'm never this patient, and it might actually be killing me.

Here is what everyone is predicting:

I was completely convinced it's a boy, and while I'm still leaning that way, I've been faltering in the last couple of weeks. I had a dream the other night that it was a girl. It's hard to deny the gender reveal dream! I also think the fact that most others are team girl has made me second guess myself, but deep down, I still think it's a boy.

Jon had a dream it's a girl and he likes to be contrarian so he is 100% team girl. He has not faltered since day one. 

My Dad also thinks girl, and he is also 100% convinced. My sister votes boy, and I think Mom is torn.

Jon's family is full of boys so I think they are all hoping to add a little girl to the brood.

Apparently our pastor is pretty good at predicting these things, but now I'm thinking that's only because he plays both sides of the aisle. Last week, he said girl, but this week, he told us it's a boy so his vote is cancelled out.

And just for funsies, let's see which way the old wives tales are pointing: 

Heartbeat: It's always been over 140. Girl: 1 point.

Chinese Calendar: I'm 29 and the conception date was in March. Boy: 1 point.

Cravings - For someone who normally has a huge sweet tooth, I'm all about salty and savory foods these days. Boy: 1 point 

Hair & skin - For the most part, my hair and skin has been more on the dry side and has not gone completely haywire. In fact, when I actually do my hair, which is rare, I almost always get stopped by someone complimenting me on it. So no matter the gender, I'm giving a  +1 to pregnancy hormones. Boy: 1 point.

Morning sickness - I didn't have an appetite and I constantly felt like I was riding in the back of a car, but I never threw up nor would I call it debilitating morning sickness so I'm giving this one to team boy. Boy: 1 point.

So the old wives tales point to a boy. The plot thickens...

Whatever the gender, one thing is clear - we may never be able to agree on a name. Jon is an expert name killer. He has literally found a way to shoot down every suggestion I've thrown at him. I think there was one name on my list that made the cut. Sorry, Skipper, but your nickname might have to stick unless Dad starts cooperating.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

aunt kitty meets abby kate

Abby was born June 18. She was a little (or a lot) late and we were all beginning to wonder if she ever wanted to meet us. But now that she is here, I don't think she was harboring any ill will towards us. She must have just been too cozy hanging out inside her Momma. She is a sweet baby - probably thee sweetest. She's adorable (duh), happy, and easy to please. She does like to be held, but with so many eager arms, that hardly seems like much of a problem. She mostly just loves to eat and sleep. She's not quite a month old and Mom reports she slept for 13 hours last night!

I went to stay for a week to help Mom & Dad, but mostly to love on little Abby. I'm pretty sure we are going to be best buds. I hoped my visit would give me a glimpse into my future with Skippy, but Abby is such an easy baby that I'm not really sure I got much training.

Staring contest with Uncle Jon.

That time she had a little accident and had to ride home naked.

Her first outing. She was a big hit at the fro yo shop.

One thing is for sure, if we have a girl, she'll already have an adorable wardrobe to borrow from her big cousin. 

First stroller ride. She lasted about 10 minutes and then had to be carried home while I pushed an empty stroller.

On the 4th, we had a low country boil bc there is no better way to celebrate America than by eating right off the table. Yum!

I was soooo sad to leave little Abby. I know she will be so much bigger the next time I see her. She's already working on some pretty great fat rolls, not to mention her cheeks double in size every day.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Bump watch: Week 17

Whew. We are finally all caught up and back to real time. Weeks 14-17 were really more of the same. I'm feeling great, enjoying having energy again, and most of all, taking full advantage of my rediscovered appetite.

Skippy's cousin was born June 18th so these last few weeks have been all about Abby. I got to spend some time in Oklahoma for a crash course in newborn care. I passed with flying colors, but Abby is such a good baby that I'm not sure I got that much practice. Something tells me Skippy won't be quite as chill as his older cousin. I'll write a full post all about Abby soon - she's kind of the greatest thing ever and I'm totally smitten.

In other news, I still fit into my real pants, but they are getting more snug by the day. It's almost time to breakout the belly band and hair ties. I arrived in Oklahoma bump free, but by the end of the week I was sporting a pooch that I could no longer hide by sucking in. I took a little bump photo my last day in Oklahoma at the start of week 17.

Babymoon planning has been in full swing. I kind of hate the term "babymoon" because really we just need a vacation, but whatever. We're taking this bump to Hawaii in early September. We had a tough time deciding between Paris and Hawaii, but sun and relaxation won out. [Speaking of Paris, have you guys been wondering about the 30x30 list? More on that later, but I think it's safe to say I won't be turning 30 in Paris with a 2-month old baby in tow.] But I now deeply regret our decision to choose beach over city after trying on a maternity swimsuit the other day.

On Thursday, I had my first complete stranger notice I'm pregnant. It was a man, of course, because women no better than to ever venture there. I was picking up something at Home Depot and the guy helping me suggested we get a cart because, "You don't look like you should be straining yourself." To which I replied, "Can you tell I'm pregnant?" "Oh, honey, I know better than to ask that, but I've got three myself so I had a hunch."

So congratulations home depot man, you are the first stranger to identify my growing midsection as an actual baby and not just a food baby.

Cravings: mostly the same - strawberries and cream frapps, Jimmy Johns (I had at least 3 turkey tom subs before remembering I'm not really supposed to be eating deli meat), comfort foods, and anything salty/savory.

Highlights: getting to meet Abby, booking our trip to Hawaii, clearing out all the random boxes and things that were in Skippy's future nursery - now it's a blank slate just waiting to become an adorable nursery!
Thursday, July 9, 2015

bump watch: week 13

Finally, it's public. I did a good job keeping the secret, but Jon was incredibly antsy. This is not surprising because Jon is terrible with keeping secrets and surprises. I told him next time he is having a baby, he can tell people whenever he wants. For someone who couldn't be patient, it should be no surprise that he had the worst delivery when telling people the news.

When we told our church community group at our last meeting before summer break, he just blurted out "Katie's pregnant." We had practiced a few solid ledes beforehand, but he threw all of those out the window in the moment of truth. I'd like to think I'm much better at slipping the news into conversation, but even I have to admit that it doesn't always come up in the most seamless way.

We had an ultrasound on Monday as part of the first trimester genetic screening, which came back all clear (yay!). Skippy is looking more and more like a little human. There are hands and feet. He was incredibly squirmy the entire time. It took several minutes for the sonographer to get all the photos she needed. We also got to see him taking a little sip of water. It's amazing to see life form like that. And then it's incredibly weird to think that it's forming INSIDE you.

Jon decided the middle of the ultrasound was a good time to tell me that Hardins have big heads. I'm going to file that special piece of information under "things I really didn't need or want to know."

I feel bigger, but I haven't actually gained any weight yet. I lost a few pounds over the first several weeks by virtue of having zero appetite. I suppose this means my body is just re-arranging itself in new and fun ways.

Now that I have more energy, the urge to nest is starting to hit me hard. I've started planning two nurseries so we'll be a little more prepared once we know the gender. I've also started researching baby gear, but I usually get overwhelmed and give up after 10 minutes or so. If I had trouble choosing between 5 doulas, I have no idea how I'm going to choose between 500 strollers.

Current cravings: anything! I'm just happy to like food again. Some things at the top of the list include hot dogs (not exactly pregnancy approved, but I think rules were meant to be broken), fruit, strawberries & cream frappucinos, grilled cheese sandwiches and anything else salty or savory. I've even been enjoying some things I don't normally love, like tomatoes and bell peppers.

Highlights of the week: announcing Skippy's arrival, passing the first trimester genetic test, and yoga in the outfield with my friend Rebekah at Nats park.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

bump watch: weeks 9 & 10

These were the weeks of the doula search. My midwife practice highly recommends hiring a doula - especially for first-time moms. After doing some research into exactly what doulas do, I needed no further convincing. Who wouldn't want someone who is there solely to support you and your husband non-stop for the entire length of your labor?

One article I recently read put it this way:
"Have you ever cut your hair yourself? It might turn out okay, but then you get it done at the salon with the hypnotizing head message and the mysterious, magical products and the blow-out-you-can-never-replicate and you realize, yeah, that was better with professionals. That's kind of what doulas are to birth."

Typical doula services include 1-2 prenatal visits to get to know you know, discuss your birth plan and teach you some pain management techniques. When you go into labor, they usually come to your house in early labor and help you decide when it's time to go the hospital or birth center. They stay with you throughout labor and a few hours after delivery to make sure all is well with mom, dad and new baby. There is also a postpartum visit to see how everyone is adjusting to their new normal. On top of that, they are available for questions throughout your entire pregnancy and most have a large lending library of great resources.

Again, once you realize everything they do, it sounded like a bargain to me. The good news is that there are many, many doulas in the DC area. The bad news is that it's really hard to choose with so many great options!

I was getting an early start on my search, but I knew the December delivery complicated things a bit because not everyone takes clients around the holidays. I interviewed 5 doulas over the course of two weeks. There were things I really liked about all of them, which made the decision ridiculously hard. I ultimately chose a team of two doulas who have both helped deliver over 200+ babies. It's like I'm getting two amazing resources for the price of one.

Other items of note:

At the beginning of week 9, I had my first official appointment with my midwife practice. There are several midwives in the practice so I'll rotate through all of them before my delivery. So far, so good.

Jon sent me flowers for Mother's Day, which was very sweet. It feels very surreal that I'm going to be a mom. I guess that's why they give you 9 months to let it sink in.

I'm still tired, and still not enjoying a healthy appetite, but not all is lost. I'm still going to yoga/pilates barre classes 3x week and powering through. It's hard to not have the energy to do everything I want to do, but I know the end is near.

Current cravings: watermelon and fruit.
Monday, July 6, 2015

bump watch: week 8

Hallelujah, the fog has lifted...kind of. After spending most of last week napping, I'm feeling more and more like myself this week. And thank goodness because it's been a busy, busy week at home and work. We had custom built-ins for my office/closet landing installed this week. They showed up the same day as my yard clean-up crew and they all kind of worked on top of each other for a few days. There was definitely one day where my entire driveway was filled with yard debris and cabinets. It's been a bit of a zoo, but luckily I'm on my feet and able to direct traffic. And thank goodness I didn't need as many naps this week because it would have been hard to sleep with the constant noise.

Jon is finally home...for now. I'm so happy to have him back, and to have someone available to fetch things for me. He's been a trooper. He even made me dinner one night - grilled fish and corn. I'm surprised it sounded good to me, but as long as I didn't have to smell it while it was cooking, it turns out it was quite enjoyable to eat. It's probably the healthiest and most substantial meal I've had in a few weeks.

On Tuesday, we went to a Meet the Midwives session at the hospital. I did quite a bit of research before deciding on a practice so I already knew a lot of the information before the presentation, but it was still helpful and informative. Jon was able to go with me, and I think it was good for him to hear everything about their practice and birth philosophy since he hadn't done any research. I have my first official appointment with them next week, but so far, I'm already very happy with my choice.

I've also already begun researching doulas. Having a doula is highly recommended by the midwives - especially for first-time moms. And I'm certainly not going to argue with the idea of having the equivalent of a birth Sherpa with me during labor and delivery. Since the December/holiday timing complicates matter, I wanted to get an early start on the process.

On Friday, we had our 8-week ultrasound with Shady Grove. Skipper has arms, legs and a growing brain now. It's amazing that the little dot from two weeks ago has already became a recognizable person. The heartbeat was 178, and everything looked perfect. I've officially been released as a patient. They sent me on my way with some anti-nausea meds. I can't think of a better parting gift. There were hugs and lots of promises that I would send photos after Skippy is born.

My latest weapon in the fight against the nausea is water with lemon slices. Sometimes I can eat whatever I want. Sometimes, water and lemon is all I can stomach. I think I'm turning the corner, but I'm also holding my breath because I know it's really day to day. I can go from feeling great to feeling terrible pretty quickly. I just keep telling myself that this is completely normal and it all means Skipper is healthy and growing.  

Highlights of the week: yard work finished, new office installed, Meet the Midwives session at the hospital, and my final ultrasound at Shady Grove fertility. 

Food cravings: water with lemon, watermelon, popcorn.