Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Let's Go Somewhere!

A few weeks ago, I emailed my husband and suggested we take a day trip somewhere close. As I looked over my calendar and saw weekends filling up quickly with child birth classes and work hours, I realized that our time as "just the two of us" was coming to an end quickly!

My first thought was to drive up to Bodega Bay because I don't recall ever going there (my mom corrected me-I went as a teen) and I really just wanted to spend some time staring at the ocean and walking on the beach. I got some great guidance on Facebook when I inquired about where to go and what to do but was concerned about not having enough to do so I scrapped that.

The obvious fall back was to go to San Francisco. One of my favorite places to day trip and my husband's least favorite place to go. Period. But because he is awesome and I'm pregnant and emotional, he agreed to the trip. We decided to drive in (I never do that and won't ever do it again) and spend our time near Fisherman's Wharf and Fort Mason.


  It was a perfect weather day. Almost too perfect. I would say it was 70 degrees which means it was HOT in the sun. No jacket needed and a skirt would have been more appropriate than jeans! We ate lunch at Tarantino's. We both got the chicken sandwich. At a seafood restaurant. We are SO meant to be together.

Across the street, we saw barrels of salt water taffy so obviously we had to fill up a bag. We have a history with salt water taffy that is purchased in SF. Long story short: We purchased $20 worth, tried to bring it into a Warriors game, only to be told we couldn't bring it in and had to stuff some in our pockets and toss the rest. It was a sad moment.


 Next, we trekked through Fort Mason and over to the Marina. I tried to play it off like it wasn't that long of a walk and acted like we were just wandering because I knew my husband would be like "WHERE ARE WE GOING IT IS HOT!" I was punished for playing dumb. I had to walk up a huge hill and let me tell you, I was moving SLOW. I thought I would need a push. But the view from the top and on the other side was totally worth it.

There were tons of 20-somethings out at this park playing volleyball, frisbee, and catch. Drinking beers and soaking up the wonderful January weather. January. In San Francisco. With shirtless guys and girls wearing shorts and sundresses. What is this world!?!?

Finally, we made it to the Marina and plopped down on a bench to rest. The water provided a small breeze and cooler temperatures that felt amazing. I marveled over the clear sky and quizzed my husband about what city is on the other side of the bridge (Sausalito. He needed some help).


After a few minutes, we walked back with a quick stop at Safeway to use the bathroom. We made the wrong decision on which way to drive home and it took an hour to drive 2.8 miles from Ghirardelli Square to the Bay Bridge. And another hour to get home. The $52 round trip ferry ride that I didn't want to pay for would have been worth it 45 minutes into sitting on Battery St., not moving.

Traffic issues aside, it was a really great day. I say this every time I write about going to San Francisco but I feel so lucky to have this in my backyard. We heard accents of all types while walking around and I thought "those people came all the way from Germany/China/Europe/wherever to come here" and for me, it is a short (or long) car ride/ferry ride/BART ride away.

I can't wait to take our daughter there and stroll along that very waterfront pictured above. I'll have to tell her stories about how her great grandmother worked in San Francisco and commuted from the other side of the Golden Gate to get to work each day. How we are so lucky to live close to one of the best cities in the world and how I can't wait to see her fall in love with the place like I have.

I just have to make sure her father doesn't get in her ear too much regarding his feelings!


Thursday, January 23, 2014

My Common and Uncommon Pregnancy Symptoms


You know about the nausea. And the fatigue. But there are other symptoms that I have experienced over the past 6 months that I wanted to describe a bit more to prepare all of you trying to conceive folks! Please feel free to chime in and leave a comment on how you experienced pregnancy symptoms. I'm fascinated by how different people are.

Pre-Positive Test:
I always thought I would know I was pregnant before getting a positive test because everything I read online led me to believe you were exhausted, had sore boobs and were moody. False, false and false. I had NO signs of anything except an impending period. I was spotting prior to my period starting as per usual and didn't feel any different, despite being late. Don't be fooled into thinking your body will start acting pregnant before you have confirmation.

As soon as I peed on that stick (all of those sticks) and saw the positive, the two lines and the "+", things changed. 

Discharge: Two days post positive test, I recall telling my husband "ummmm I'm really, ummmm....well, you know, "down there." Discharge is the right word. So much so that I was running to the bathroom in between actual bathroom trips to make sure I wasn't bleeding. So.much.discharge. That hasn't stopped, by the way. You're welcome.

Discharge Part 2: I'll just say this-seeing brown blood isn't always a bad thing. It is normal. And in most cases, if it isn't followed with a lot of red bleeding or heavy cramping, there is nothing to worry about. Worrisome? HELL YES. Stay calm. Alert your doctor. Rest your pelvis.

Cramping: I was so happy when THAT went away. I had a decent amount of cramping. It worried the heck out of me. I was constantly googling and reading message board postings of women who experienced cramping. This stopped around week 14 and changed to more of a stretching feeling in my hips. It was never as bad as period-like cramping but it was there nonetheless and laying in bed was the only thing that helped take it away.

Nausea/Vomitting: My sister said she only threw up once in both pregnancies (or once in two pregnancies) but I remember she was nauseous throughout the first trimester during her first pregnancy. I wasn't so lucky on the barfing front. I threw up at least once a week from week 6 to week 16. One glorious week, I barfed 4 days. It would only happen once a day and always in the morning. Luckily, never at work. Do yourself a favor and eat three crackers before getting out of bed if you feel this way. For me, eating solved the problem. I know for others, eating makes it worse. I'm sorry if you are in the latter camp. I can't imagine not being able to eat. Ginger ale and crackers worked for me and I kept a sleeve of saltines in my car, in my desk, in my nightstand and in my purse. 

Fatigue: Hello, 6:30 bed time. Okay, I'm lying. I once (and thrice) fell asleep on the couch at 5:45 p.m. It was August/September and still light outside. I told my husband that I read that my placenta was taking all of my energy in order to grow. He asked "when is your placenta done growing because I'm getting lonely." I couldn't sleep enough. It would hit at 1:30 p.m. everyday. I would fight through it, be fine for a few hours and I would find myself completely useless by 5:30. I always wondered what pregnancy fatigue felt like. Now I know. It is "I can't possibly be awake one more second" tired.

Gagging/Puking while brushing: No one told me about this. NO ONE. I'd be brushing my teeth in the morning, afternoon or night, minding my own business when I would start to gag and more often than not, throw up right into the sink. What a waste of breakfast that was. Forget trying to floss. Are you kidding me? This was a daily occurrence until well into my second trimester. I finally realized the other day that it wasn't happening anymore and I even managed to floss my teeth without a major gag-fest. So gross but so true. Beware.

Cravings/Aversions: Other than a mac & cheese stage, I don't feel like I ever craved any food or felt disgusted by any food. I'm a sugar addict and the first three weeks after getting the positive test, I barely ate any candy. I wasn't turned off from it, I just didn't crave it like I normally do. That went away. My weight gain shows that. I could handle raw meat with ease. I didn't want pickles. Ewww. I have a sensitive sniffer anyways so smells always bother me. This common symptom was a fail for me.

Big Ol' (Sore) Boobies:   My first LOL pregnancy moment was when the lady at the maternity store told me that I wasn't a C cup anymore. WHATEVER. I rocked my old bras until last week. Sidenote: I should have replaced them a long time ago. Back to the start, my boobs were sore. Not horribly sore but sore enough where I would squeeze them several times a day to ensure that they still were sore because that meant I was still pregnant. (The first trimester is a complete mind game.) My husband would catch me massaging my mammaries and while I'm sure he didn't mind, he still gave me a puzzled look every time. Eventually the soreness went away, but I transitioned to staring at my naked chest to see if they were growing. My current D cup suggests the answer was yes. The next 13 weeks (and 6-12 months) should be interesting.

PEEING ALL THE TIME: For reals, I once kept track of how many times in one 8 hour work day I went to the bathroom. It was 9 times. And I wasn't chugging water either. Normal amount of water intake folks. NINE BATHROOM TRIPS. I still go every chance I can. The last thing I want is to get stuck in my car and need to pull into a shady gas station. I use the staff bathrooms at nearly every single school I visit for work. I'm now at the lovely point (this started about 4 weeks ago) where if I don't pee, I can feel my uterus getting tight. And that scares me. So I relieve myself whenever a clean bathroom is near.

Shortness of breath: Its that thing when you are walking up the stairs at work and you straight up can't breathe. It feels like an elephant is on your chest. Walking becomes a chore. And no, this didn't happen at week 27. It happened at week 20. It passed, thank goodness but that was a doozy. Expect to gasp for air at some point and feel completely pathetic for taking the elevator one flight with the other lazy bones you work with. 

Moody/Emotional: My name is Michelle and I'm a Leo. I'm an emotional mess 24/7/365. Old episodes of Full House can make me cry. The Cheerios commercial or the Trident commercial or God forbid.....a Google commercial send me over the edge. Table for One: Hot Mess, Reservation Michelle. Do I think I have been overly emotional during the last 6 months? Hard to say. This pregnancy is a miracle so when I relive telling our families or imaging meeting my daughter, I cry. Okay, I bawl. But that is normal behavior for me. Moody? I don't think so but my husband might have something different to say. But he better not because I'll kick him.

Stuffy nose/sneezing: I've had a stuffy nose for, ummmm, 28 weeks. The entire pregnancy. I have heard this is another wonderful side effect from increasing hormones. I've also been a sneezing machine and it isn't even allergy season (yet!). Such a strange symptom but it has been ever present for me. 

The funny thing about pregnancy is that everyone is different. There isn't a formula that is standard. My cousin didn't have any morning sickness. I can't even imagine how that is possible! So far, I am stretch mark free but not really worried about seeing the stripes appear on my body. I already have them on my hips from getting fat at 23 years old.

Which of these symptoms did you experience? Did I leave any common symptoms out? As I head into the third trimester, what should I expect? I already can barely put my shoes and socks on!





Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Family

Over the past year, most family celebrations took place at my Dad's house. Since he couldn't yet drive, it was easiest to go to him for birthdays and holidays. This worked out well because his house is big enough for everyone to be comfortable and the backyard is huge so my nieces can ride their scooters and bikes and play catch on the lawn with no worries.

My dad earned his drivers license back in December and I must say, seeing him drive up to my mom's house on Christmas Eve was very emotional. Having reached that huge milestone in his recovery, I suggested that we have his birthday party at my house. No reason for him to always play host now that he can hit the open road.

Sunday morning found my husband waking up at 2 a.m. to put ribs and a pork belly in his new electric smoker. I found him sleeping on the couch when I got up to feed Kitty at 5:00. We cleaned the house, watched the first football game and awaited the arrival of my family. I love hosting. Aside from the added benefit of not having to drive anywhere and get home after dark, it is just nice to have a house full of people you love.

It was nearly 70 degrees outside so my nieces rode their scooters and bikes in the cul-de-sac, we ate lots of really good food (thanks Chris!) and celebrated another birthday. My nieces loved going into the nursery and took note of every detail:

"I like those shoes."
"Can I read that book?"
"Where did you get this dresser?"
"This rug is cute."

I think they approve.

Although the 49ers lost, it was another successful family gathering. I can't help but picture these moments in the future with a little person in my arms (or in the arms of her aunt, who will no doubt try to hog her from everyone). It makes me so happy that we live so close to both of our families because I know moments like this don't happen for everyone. I get to tuck away these memories several times a year and as my parents get older and my nieces grow up so fast, I know the dynamic of our family will change but I have no doubts that gatherings like these will continue to take place and bring happiness to everyone involved.

Friday, January 17, 2014

Housekeeping

If you are reading this post from Feedly or some other third party site, please click through to my blog. I'll wait!

...........................................

Welcome! I rarely, if ever, visit the actual home pages of the blogs that I read so I never know when they make layout changes unless they write a post about it. I wanted to let you all know that I updated and added some new tabs and updated the content that can be found in those tabs.

About Michelle: I've updated this to make it short and sweet and to reflect where I currently stand with my life.

Infertility: This tab covers all of the posts that I have made where I discuss infertility. The first post is from January 2011. WOW! I can't believe it took me that long to blog about our efforts to get pregnant. We first got medical help in March of 2010 but when I look back at my blog, I never talked about it. I hope the posts about our journey provide useful information, comfort and most importantly, laughter, as I always tried to find humor through the pain.

Pregnancy: I will keep this up to date throughout the remainder of my pregnancy. In this tab you will find the posts explaining how this all happened (other than the, you know.....) and updates along the way.

Travel Near and Far: Since I have documented our travels on this site, I wanted a place to group the links all together. Sadly, because I removed so many pictures from the blogger storage site, many posts are without pictures. That makes me sad! And I never even blogged about our honeymoon. I'm going to try to do a better job in the future of uploading from an outside storage site and keeping our travel (or lack thereof) adventures linked in this tab.

I hope you all have a great weekend! I get three whole days to relax which is greatly needed. I'm looking forward to a pedicure tomorrow, a family birthday party and 49er game on Sunday and potentially going to check out a daycare on Monday. I'll leave you with a bump picture I took today. Forgive the selfie. No time in the mornings for a photo shoot!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

27 Weeks

Eeek!!! I'm 27 weeks today which, according to my apps means that I am in the 3rd trimester. Freaky. While it is normal to think I have 13 weeks left, I understand that sometimes, babies have different plans. I could give birth in 10 weeks! Or 8! That isn't an invitation, Baby D, to arrive early but I'm fully aware that I have no control over my labor starting, early or late.

Due to the unseasonable warm weather we are experiencing in Northern California (70 degrees through next week), my allergies have already started to arrive. I've had a horrible sinus headache and pain the last two days. Usually, I go through this and then my body adjusts and I feel fine but it is tough not being able to take good medication to stop the annoying pain.

In baby news, my apps say she is about 2 lbs and 16 inches long. I'm feeling her kicks more frequently throughout the day now which is really nice. She really gets going at night when I'm laying in bed. It isn't at the painful or annoying stage yet and I might be eating my words in a few weeks but I can't imagine being annoyed by her movement. It is magical, especially now that her kicks have become flips and turns. If I sit very still and place my hand on the side of my stomach, I can feel her entire body moving around. That part is a bit creepy! :)

Now that the dreamy 2nd trimester is over, I'm wondering what the 3rd will bring. My nausea didn't go away until week 16 but after that, I felt pretty incredible. I no longer gag while brushing my teeth. My fatigue at night still exists but being tired is just something that I'm learning to live with. My appetite is normal and I really hope my weight gain isn't out of control at my next appointment. I still haven't had any huge cravings or food aversions. I even started eating sweet potatoes roasted in the oven. For someone who hates all vegetables, this is a big step for me. I ate them 3 times last week!

As the weeks go by, I am starting to get really excited about what this kid is going to look like. If she will have hair that starts dark but turns blonde. What color her eyes will be. I can't wait to see her little facial expressions and to hear her cries. To know that this little person was created by us gets me very emotional. The next 13ish weeks are going to bring a lot of changes as we get closer to meeting our daughter. I can't wait to see how it all pans out.

As always, thanks for reading!





Thursday, January 9, 2014

26 Weeks

Depending on what website you look to for information, this could be the last week of my 2nd trimester. Or I could be two weeks away from my 3rd trimester. Isn't pregnancy based on science? Shouldn't it be easier to find an answer for this?

I have to admit that the second trimester went by in a flash. August-October seems like ages ago and as I look at my calendar and see that January 17th is next week, I realize April is quite close. Sure, it doesn't feel like it but in the grand scheme of things, it is right around the corner.

I'm starting to feel the crunch of that to-do list. Call about day care, take some classes at the hospital, think about preparing my body for labor, ramp up the healthy eating, etc. What seemed like distant planning just a month ago is now staring me right in the face. For no good reason, I'll say that I think I will give birth before my due date. Go ahead and laugh. Or wait until April 21st when I'm overdue and laugh at me then. But I just wanted to put it out there for reference later so I can say "oh wow, I thought I knew SOOOOOO much!"

Aside from the heart burn (still) and increasing difficulty putting my shoes and socks on in the mornings, I'm still feeling pretty great. I'm trying to appreciate that feeling while I can because I know when the comfort ends, I will be thinking about the days I could move around with ease.

While changing out of my work clothes and into pajamas the other night, my husband walked past me and my bare belly. His eyes got big and he moved towards me as if there was a gravitational pull from my stomach to his hands. "You denying it now. You are for sure pregnant." I think I waited for this bump for so long (in years and just in the first part of the 2nd trimester) that it is a bit unreal (and sometimes unsettling) to see my stomach round and protruding.

I have some thoughts that I hope to jot down for another post regarding the things that I have experienced and have not experienced up to this point. There were the standard symptoms that I expected to happen that did and others that I knew nothing about and felt angry at all mothers for not warning me about. Look for that next week!



Monday, January 6, 2014

#weVerb14: Days 5-6

#WEverb14 is a set of 31 prompts meant to encourage reflection on the past year (2013) and look forward to the coming year (2014).



Day 5: What song or lyrics will be forever tied to 2013 in your mind? What songs are you excited to keep with you through 2014?

The Civil Wars released their new album just 4 days after I found out I was pregnant. Instantly, "From This Valley" became not only my favorite track on the album but I listened to it each and every morning that I drove to work and often shed a few tears.

Oh won't you take me from this valley
To that mountain high above
Oh I will pray, pray, pray till I see your smiling face
I will pray, pray, pray to the one that I love

This song comforted me when I was worried and gave me hope that everything would be okay and I would see the smiling face of this baby growing inside of me. 
As far as songs for 2014, I love my old standbys. I listen to my morning AM talk radio show on my way to work and catch the rest of the show via podcast throughout the day so I don't listen to the FM radio much but I know I will need to listen to music that keeps me relaxed and calm this year! A lot of The Civil Wars, Coldplay and Mumford & Sons. Throw in some classical music for brain growth and development for the baby and I'll be set!

Day 6: Share your favorite memory captured from 2013. What’s your plan to capture 2014?

When I told my sister and nieces that we were having a girl over dinner one night, I told the girls that the baby could hear them and they should say hi. Both Diana and Amy walked over to my belly and said "hi baby." It was the cutest among many amazing 2013 memories. Other great memories include seeing my dad improve and on Christmas Eve, drive up to my mom's house in the car all by himself.

As for 2014, I hope to continue blogging and taking pictures to capture moments. I try to upload my pictures from my phone to my Flickr account daily so I make sure nothing get deleted. I just purchased a baby book and as all mother's hope to do, I want to keep it filled out and up to date!


Friday, January 3, 2014

Gaining Through Losing

It has been 4 years since our friend Jonathan passed away. Whenever he comes up in conversations in our household, my thoughts always go to "why?" Why did he have to die so young? Why isn't he still here? How could this happen to someone so amazing?

Time gives you a perspective that you don't have in the midst of grief. We spent hours in the hospital with his friends and family. The Christmas season always causes me to reflect on those memories. I recall each trip to the hospital, each update we received and realizing that the last time we drove there was the actual last time.

Within the walls of the waiting room, friendships were born. We gained through losing. We gained friends. Friends that to this day I text with. Friends that we played softball with year after year and created really amazing memories. Friends that have supported us through our trials.

One memory that stands out was at Jonathan's memorial service. There was a chance for friends and family to share memories and I wanted a chance to share a funny story from when we worked together. The person with the microphone was on the other side of the room and didn't see me raising my hand. Our friend Michelle, who happens to be the wife of the Pastor who's church we were in, saw my hand raised and spoke up for the microphone to be given to me.

This was a person who I had only known for a week, maybe a week and a half. Sure, we spent hours and hours together in a waiting room but I'm not sure if we had many deep conversations. But when I wanted to say something at that service (one of hundreds of people who had hoped to talk on the mic), she helped me out.

At the time, the thought of being grateful for friendships gained seemed insignificant. We lost our friend. Kids lost their father and his wife lost her partner. But there is no going back now. Four years later, the friendships we made while praying for Jonathan's recovery and mourning his death remain in tact.

So thank you Jonathan, for bringing people together. You continue to provide joy for people even though your time on earth has ended. You have provided me with the gift of a lifelong partner and lifelong friends. I remain forever in your debt.


Thursday, January 2, 2014

weVerb Day 2: Remember

#WEverb14 is a set of 31 prompts meant to encourage reflection on the past year (2013) and look forward to the coming year (2014).

2:  Remember
What did you do in 2013 that you will remember the details of forever?

Shared the news with our immediate families that we were finally, after 4 years of trying, expecting a child. Part of me wishes we would have recorded the entire day, from start to finish but as we are 4 months out from that day, I remember it all so well that no recording is necessary. In a way, it is nice to have it be something that was only between us, our parents, siblings and nieces.

It was a series of moments that had only lived in my brain via daydreams. When I was driving home from work and sitting in traffic, I would imagine how we would share the news, what we would say and how the reaction would be. I scanned my mind for the most creative thing we could do but kept it inside, not wanting to share it with my husband since we didn't know if that moment would ever be granted to us.

When the day was over and the news was finally off of our chest after keeping it a secret from our loved ones for 3 weeks and 1 day, I felt a huge sense of relief and joy. Each moment, all 4 of them, was extremely special. I was a nervous wreck each and every time. I wanted our planning to go perfectly and the anticipation driving from one house to another left me a mess!

I know now that it was just the first of many moments of this pregnancy journey that will forever be engrained in my mind. And after I give birth, those moments will multiply. I'm not sure if I have enough space in my brain for all of the happy moments in store for 2014.

25 Weeks


When I reached the halfway point, I never thought the weeks would start flying by but they are moving a little too quickly for my liking. 

Christmas and New Years went by in a flash and thanks to a lot of time off, we were able to make major progress on the nursery. I'll show you just one photo of one wall because I'd like to wait until it is a bit more "done" to reveal the entire room. But I'm basically in love with it and once the glider gets delivered today, I might be spending a significant amount of time hanging out in there!

It seems that IKEA may have marketed these spice racks the wrong way. Book shelves all the way!


I had my 24 week check up with my doctor earlier this week. I hadn't seen her since November 7 so I was curious to see what these appointments were going to be like at this stage in the pregnancy. Verdict: pretty much the same. A quick review of my blood pressure, an overview of the ultrasound results from 6 weeks ago, a few seconds of checking the heart beat on the doppler and the first measurement of my belly, which was right on schedule.

The one "yikes" moment occurred when she was running through my chart. "Blood pressure, good. Weight, good....oh wait,  weight not good!" Yeah....I assumed as much. I pretty much stopped weighing myself after my last appointment. Big mistake. I'm already up 20 pounds total. I was hoping to make it through the entire pregnancy only gaining 20-25 pounds and my doctor was hoping for even less since I started overweight. I guess this means it is time to put myself in check and weigh in each week. No, I'm not going to diet, of course but it is important to me to be healthy and in good physical shape to give birth and that means not having a lot of extra weight on my body in April. She said if I was able to stick to gaining .5 pound per week, I would be ok so that is my goal. 

Selfie bump picture taken on Monday. I swear that stomach shrinks and grows throughout the day! 

Today is my first day back at work since December 20th as I think more and more about this baby growing inside me, I really need to concentrate on work! I have a lot of important projects and events coming up which I know will make the days on the calendar speed by. 

I'll leave you with this adorable picture of Kitty. She has been very curious about the nursery and while we kept the door shut during construction, now that it is all cleaned up, she enjoys looking out the window and hiding under the dresser. On New Years Eve, Chris walked upstairs and saw her laying down in the crib. 

Cutest. Moment. Ever.