Saturday, July 31, 2010

What a surprise!

Yesterday, we drove home from Cape Cod to my grandma's house, where my family (dad, stepmom, and three brothers) were waiting. We went over to my Aunt Nuala's house for dinner, and to my surprise, it was ACTUALLY a surprise baby shower! Unfortuantely, most of the people she invited couldn't come because they were on vacation, but it was still a wonderful surprise! I wasn't expecting to have any baby showers for a few more months, and definitely not out east!
I got a lot of things off my registry- my travel system, pack & play, infant bouncer/seat, tummy time mat, part of my bedding set, crib/floor mirror, onesies, books, toys, and more! I'm so glad that my family has been so supportive and optimistic. I honestly wasn't sure how my family would even feel about baby showers and gifts and things like that, because so much is unknown about this little one, other than, of course the omphalocele. But they have all adopted the same strong, positive attitude that I have, thank goodness! :)
Here's a sneak peak-
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My cake- it was DELICIOUS.
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My Aunt Nuala, who planned and hosted the surprise baby shower, and I.
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My dad and I (and the cake!)
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Presents!
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My baby cousin Camdynn enjoyed helping me open my presents! She was a little confused, though, and wanted to see the baby NOW, hehe.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Dear Ocean: I missed you.

I can't believe it had been almost three years since I'd been to the ocean! The moment I stepped into the water and felt the water lapping against my shins and the sand squishing beneath my toes, I was at peace with the world.
As I looked out onto endless miles of breaking green waves, nothing else mattered. I walked out into the water, letting the whitecaps break and froth onto my chest and shoulders, and closed my eyes. Hugging my belly, cradling the tiny, fragile baby inside, I knew this: my future is about to change in ways that I cannot possibly imagine. And it doesn't matter what happens- this baby will always be a huge part of my life.
I don't know if it was the tangy, salty sea air, the cool ocean breeze, the warmth of the sun, the carefree children splashing in the water, or some combination of it all, but here, in this place, in Cape Cod, I feel reassured. God has a plan. I haven't the slightest idea what it is right now- but that doesn't matter.
I honestly, truly think that everything's going to be all right- one way or another. I will come out of all of this a stronger person, and most importantly, a better mother.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

17 weeks!

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"Baby's skeleton is hardening, changing from rubbery cartilage to bone, and fat is finally accumulating around it. The umbilical cord is getting thicker and stronger, and those little fingers and toes are now topped by one-of-a-kind prints."

How far along? 17 weeks
Baby’s Size: onion- which I normally can't stand, but of course, when you're thinking in terms of your child, an onion sounds great!
Total Weight Gain: Haven't weighed myself since I'm on vacation. That's probably a good thing. I definitely don't need anything else to worry about.
Maternity Clothes: Oh yes! I can still wear my regular sundresses, though. And some of my regular shirts.
Gender: I wish I knew!! have a feeling it's a little boy, though.
Movement: I feel little pops and kicks in my tummy now, mostly when I'm trying to fall asleep. I can't wait for some stronger kicks!
Sleep: I've been sleeping pretty well lately. Every time I wake up in the middle of the night, though, I'm on my back. I've read you shouldn't sleep that way after the first trimester... something to do with blood circulation. I always fall asleep on my side, darn it!
Symptoms: HUNGER! My Grandma is AMAZED at how much I can eat. I have just been SO hungry all the time.
Best Moments this week: Getting to spend time with my family- especially my baby cousins :) It just makes me THAT much more excited for this litle one.
Food Cravings: None, really.
Food Aversions: Well, I gagged on the seeds/grains in a multigrain bagel today...
What I miss: Not feeling like a whale in my bathing suit, and my husband.
What I am Looking forward to: We're spending most of this week in Cape Cod! :) And I FINALLY bought some new cover-ups, so I'm pumped to read and relax on the beach.
Milestones: Mmmm... I don't think there are any. Well, I bought our child's first onesies yesterday? Haha.


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Monday, July 26, 2010

Score!

I've never been a patient person, and being pregnant makes it about 10,000 times worse. All I really want to do is shop for baby things, but it's SO difficult when we don't know what we're having. So even though we should find out what we're having in a couple of weeks, I couldn't wait, and I went out looking for unisex clothing again.
I FINALLY found something!
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I found this set of seven onesies at The Children's Place for only $10 on sale. Yes, you read that right- TEN DOLLARS. That's $1.43 per onesie. The original price was $25. Score! :)

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A walk to the park.

I had the pleasure of babysitting my cousins Quinn and Camdynn today. We walked to the park. It was almost 100 degrees with extremely high humidity, but we had a great time (despite being DRENCHED in sweat).
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Friday, July 23, 2010

Back east, day one.

Today we went to visit my aunt Meghan and cousin Harper at Rye Beach in the Hampshires. I'm so glad I got to meet Harper because she's in such a delightful, cheerful stage (at 5 months old) and who knows when I'll be able to see her again. She was a little sleepy, but Grandma Ellen still coaxed some giggles out of her.
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It was an overcast day, but still warm and I somehow STILL managed to get a little pink on my face. Hopefully this baby doesn't inherit my ghostly paleness which seems to react horribly to the sun.
Rye Beach
Sorry, no pictures of me. I desperately need a new beach cover up- I don't have anything comfortable (read: stretchy and breathable) to wear to the beach, and at this point, I wouldn't be caught dead in my bikini. I'll make sure I get something before we head out to Cape Cod (this week) and Maine (next week).
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Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Growing belly.

16 weeks :)
I didn't take a picture last week because I was feeling a little overwhelmed.
I'm feeling better now. It still drives me insane that I'm facing the unknown, but I'm doing so with a more positive attitude. Watching my belly continue to grow is comforting. I just keep picturing the baby inside, kicking happily, unaware of his/her birth defect.
I'm flying out east to be with family tomorrow. I'll be back on Friday the 6th, and we have our meeting with the geneticist, ultrasound, and amnio on the following Monday. I think I'll feel even better once I actually know what we're up against.
Keep growing, little one!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

16 weeks

16 weeks
"Watch what you say... tiny bones forming in baby's ears mean the little one can now pick up your voice. Eyebrows, lashes and hair are starting to fill in, and taste buds are forming. And, if you're interested, an ultrasound might be able to determine gender."

How far along? 16 weeks
Baby’s Size: avacado!
Total Weight Gain: 9-10 pounds
Maternity Clothes: My father-in-law and I went back to Motherhood Maternity, and I got two pairs of maternity shorts. They're really comfy and surprisingly cute!
Gender: I'm lost on this one. Now all of my baby dreams have switched to girls. What the heck?
Sleep: Not great ever since finding out about our little O baby. It also takes me a lot longer to fall asleep without my husband.
Symptoms: Not much to complain about this week. It's amazing how BLOATED I feel by the end of the day.
Best Moments this week: All of the wonderful emails, comments, and phone calls I've recieved since announcing the news about our little one. Everyone has been so kind and supportive!
Food Cravings: Hmmm. I'm not QUITE so ravenous 24/7... no real cravings, either.
Food Aversions: Nothing new to report.
What I miss: My husband!!!
What I am Looking forward to: Going out east to see my family in a couple days.
Milestones: Four months pregnant! :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Happy "O baby" stories

I've been doing a lot of research lately, trying to learn as much information as possible about our baby's condition. Along the way, I've happened across some very cute "O babies" who had happy endings! Here are links to a couple:

Baby Luna- born at 36 weeks gestation, her omphalocele included her liver and part of her intestines and stomach. She is now a healthy (and adorable!) five year old.
Zack- born with a giant omphalocele including all of his intestines and liver. Instead of immediate surgery, his doctors and parents opted for the more conservative "paint and wait" method. He was able to breast feed at two days old and come home after only one week in the hospital! He had surgery at six months and is now a very healthy young boy!

Stories like these give me hope :)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Thinking positively.

I've decided to take things day by day, and to think as positively as I can. What good will it do to sit around worrying about all of these different things that may/may not happen? All it will do will stress me (and the baby!) out and drive me insane. So instead, I'm going to hope for the best possible outcome. I recognize what could happen, but I will tackle those hurdles if and when they come. Until the 9th, we really won't know what we're up against.
For now, I will make sure this little baby knows how much we love him/her. Hopefully that will give Peanut the strength to pull through. People don't give babies enough credit. It's amazing what so many babies in the NICU overcome! They are such strong little fighters.
I'm trusting that God has a plan, and that no matter what happens, there is a reason. I might not understand it right now, but I will eventually. And one thing's for sure- I'll definitely come out of this a much stronger person!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Very bad news.

It's amazing how quickly your entire life can change.
Yesterday, I had an ultrasound. My husband and I happily watched our baby kicking and punching, opening and closing his mouth. We heard the little heart beating strongly. As we left the hospital, I was finally reassured that everything was going to be okay- that our baby was fine.
Last night, I sat happily staring at the black and white picture of our child's profile, wondering what he or she would look like, thinking about how wonderful it would be to finally hold this baby in my arms.
Today, all of those good feelings came crashing down. At an OB appointment this morning, we were given the kind of news that nobody wants to hear.
Unfortunately, we do not know much right now. All we know is that our child's life, both in and out of the womb, now hangs in the balance. Our ultrasound revealed a horrible problem. Our baby has an abdominal wall defect, and part (how much, we do not know) of the bowels and digestive system are actually outside of the body cavity. The formal term for this is "omphalocele".
In the best case scenario, if I were able to carry this child to term, he/she would require extensive surgery immediately after birth and specialized care in the NICU. In many cases, however, an omphalocele is only one of many symptoms of an underlying chromosomal disorder or anomaly. In two thirds of cases, omphalocele is accompanied with other malformations and abnormalities.
My head is spinning with possibilities. Unfortunately, we will not be able to find out what, exactly, is wrong with our baby for almost a month. We have an amniocentisis and targeted ultrasound at a specialized children's hospital in Grand Rapids, MI on August 9th. Until then, all we can do is wait and hope that everything is all right. Well, actually, we already know everything is NOT all right. All we can do now is hope for the best possible outcome.
To make matters worse, my husband leaves tomorrow for South Korea.
We now know that there is absolutely no way I can accompany him, as we originally planned. I must stay in the states, away from him, so that this pregnancy can be closely monitored and the baby can be delivered at the children's hospital in Grand Rapids, where he/she will have immediate access to qualified surgeons and specialists.
I do not know what is to come. All I know now is that the upcoming months will be extremely difficult, but that I must remain strong for the sake of this child. Please keep our baby and family in your prayers.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

15 weeks!

15 weeks!
"Continuing the march towards normal proportions, baby's legs now outmeasure the arms. And, finally, all four limbs have functional joints. Your fetus is squirming and wiggling like crazy down in the womb, though you probably still can't feel the movements."
How far along? 15 weeks
Baby’s Size: a naval orange, one of my favorite fruits :)
Total Weight Gain Around 8 pounds now.
Maternity Clothes I've been wearing maternity tank tops for awhile now, and I'm going to have to start wearing only maternity shorts and jeans soon :( I've been using the "hairtie trick" for my regular shorts but oh man... it's hardly working anymore.
Gender: Still thinking it's a boy. We MIGHT find out this week!
Sleep: Not too bad. I don't think I'm getting up QUITE as often anymore.
Symptoms: A lot of abdominal pain this week :( But it's okay. Just means Peanut is growing!
Best Moments this week: Getting to hear the baby's heartbeat at my OB appointment was amazing. We also went downstate for a wedding, which was really fun.
Food Cravings: Macaroni and Cheese. Seriously.
Food Aversions: Anything pork. I've always hated it, but now the smell is absolutely nauseating. And I mean ANY pork- ham, pork chops, bacon, pork roasts, etc.
What I miss: It was REALLY annoying to be one of the only sober ones at the wedding we went to. Everyone else was drunk and having a great time... and then there was me, ordering my sprites with grenadine, lol.
What I am Looking forward to: Our ultrasound this week. Finally getting to see Peanut will be really amazing and a big relief. It'll be nice to finally know that everything is all right.
Milestones: There will be two this week- hearing the heartbeat for the first time, and our first ultrasound (FINALLY!!)


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Monday, July 12, 2010

Hello heartbeat!

We had an OB appointment with our new doctor today. I loved him! He was hilarious yet still answered all of my questions. It's too bad that we won't be delivering here in the states. We heard the baby's heartbeat today for the first time, which was amazing. I was grinning like a maniac and when I looked over at my husband, I was happy to see that he had an insane grin on his face, too.
"I always say that if the baby cooperates, it's a boy. If not, it's a girl," the doctor said. Well, sure enough, it took awhile for him to find the heartbeat. But once he found it, there was no question- the baby's little heart was pumping away strongly at 159 beats per minute.
We will have an ultrasound this week, so that Aaron gets to see the baby, and another at my next appointment, when I'm 19 weeks, for the anatomy scan and to find out what we're having. I can't wait to finally get a glimpse of our peanut! My next appointment is on August 9th.
I'm still pretty giddy from actually hearing our little one's heartbeat. It was the most amazing thing I've ever heard.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How to feed an expanding belly

I have to admit, since being home, eating healthy has been a bit of a struggle. Every time I open the pantry, I am greeted by boxes and bags and cans of unhealthy food that wouldn't even be allowed in my apartment. We're talking macaroni and cheese, spaghettios, chips, cookies, twinkies- the works. The fridge and freezer are even worse- frozen pizzas, pizza rolls, hot dogs, ice cream... you get the picture. I guess that's what happens when you have three growing boys in the house.
Don't get me wrong. They DO have a lot of healthy food, too. However, when you are starving and searching for something to eat (which, for me, is all the time!) it seems like all of the quickest and easiest things to make are also the unhealthiest.
So, needless to say, I haven't been eating as healthy now as I was earlier in this pregnancy. Dinners are always healthy around here- high in protein, low in fat, plenty of veggies, and all that. Lunchtime, however, is tougher. And don't even get me started on snacks.

So what does a guilty pregnant woman eat after having macaroni and cheese for lunch? Well, a bowl full of antioxidants, of course!
Berries
And it was delicious! This is the end of my week-long junk food binge and the beginning of eating healthily for the rest of this pregnancy. I promise.

Here's my fourteen week belly, after eating the above bowl of berries.
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Could you vote for me please? :)
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Tuesday, July 6, 2010

14 weeks!

14 weeks!
"Your adorable little fetus is busy with thumb sucking, toe wiggling, and (not so cute but equally amazing) making urine and breathing amniotic fluid as the liver, kidneys and spleen continue to develop. Lanugo (thin, downy hair) is growing all over the body for warmth."

How far along? 14 weeks
Baby’s Size: a lemon! I actually picked one up and held it in my hand at the grocery store to get a feel for the size. Amazing! Keep growing, little one!
Total Weight Gain: same as last week, up four pounds
Gender: I have a feeling it's a boy (again). The baby dreams have returned- and in almost all of them, we have a son.
Sleep: Getting better at sleeping on my side- a pillow between my knees helps.
Symptoms: Well... I'm not constipated anymore. I have the opposite problem. Grrrrreat.
Best Moments this week: Fourth of July- my husband was grand marshall of the Joburg parade, and then we had a party at my dad's house where we lit off fireworks. I loved being surrounded by all the kids (and can't wait until someday we'll have a bunch of OUR kids for holidays like this!) I'm very pround of my husband and all he has done for this country.
Food Cravings: JUICE. After going this whole pregnancy drinking glass after glass of water every day, I'm now starting to crave fruit juices. Don't worry, though- I'm still drinking PLENTY of water, too.
Food Aversions: Pancakes. I've never been a huge fan to begin with, but we had pancakes for breakfast this past weekend, and I could hardly stand the smell of syrup. I've always hated syrup, but the smell is nauseating now.
What I miss: Loose waistbands.
What I am Looking forward to: Flying out east to see the rest of my family in a few weeks.
Milestones: SECOND TRIMESTER, woo-hoo! I now have less than a 1% chance of having a miscarriage. What a relief. This is supposed to be the feel-good trimester, too.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Musical Monday!

It's been awhile since I've done one of these. Today's artist is:
Ingrid Michaelson
Ingrid Michaelson was born into an artistic family, where she was encouraged to explore her musical talents. She began playing piano when she was four, attended several well-known music schools and institues while growing up, and eventually received a degree in theatre from Binghampton University.
Ingrid is an indie-pop singer-songwriter whose songs have been featured in episodes of several popular TV shows (such as Scrubs, One Tree Hill, and Grey's Anatomy). She has released three albums so far- "Girls and Boys", "Be OK", and "Everybody". Depending on the song, her lyrics can be deep and meaningful or take on a more playful nature. Her music is enjoyable for almost anyone- young and old alike. My personal favorite songs of hers are "Keep Breathing", "The Way I Am", and "Breakable".



Saturday, July 3, 2010

Back to the source.

Today Aaron and I went with our whole family (his and mine) to church. It was really wonderful to go back, especially since St. Mary's Cathedral is where we first met almost seven years ago, when we were both only fourteen years old. (Wow, time flies!)
A couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary during the mass, and I ended up getting a little teary. You could really see the love shining in their eyes, and they still looked SO genuinely happy. It moved me deeply. I was not, however, the only person with watery eyes. It seemed even those who WEREN'T being bombarded with pregnancy hormones were just as weepy as I was. Of course, the fact that Aaron squeezed my hand and said that would be us someday probably didn't help.
It's been wonderful to be back home surrounded by family. It truly has. And it makes me worry about how hard it'll be to be so far from family (across the world!) for the next 2-3 years. Oh well. At least I'll have Aaron and Peanut- my happy little family. :)

Friday, July 2, 2010

Motherhood Maternity

Today was my first adventure in maternity shopping... and it went surprisingly well! The saleslady at Motherhood Maternity couldn't have been more friendly or helpful... and she has three kids of her own, so she actually knew what she was talking about when it came to what was worth buying or skipping.
I ended up buying a few rouched tees that fit me now but will continue to fit as my belly grows, a pair of (surprisingly cute!) maternity jeans that are dangerously comfortable, and some long tank tops. That combined with my large selection of roomy sundresses and cardigans should hold me over until it gets colder. And who knows how soon that will be- I *AM* in Northern Michigan at the moment. It's 84 out now... but two days ago it was barely in the 60's.
I also FINALLY found an OBGYN in the area and set up my first appointment- which is on July 12th. I will be exactly 15 weeks. This doctor is supposed to be very nice and was highly reccomended by several people that I know.
It looks like I'll be stuck in Michigan for a month or so after my husband leaves before I get to join him in Korea, so I'll get to fit in at least two appointments here before leaving, which is nice. AND in about six weeks, we'll be finding out what we're having! *insert obnoxious squeal here*