Thursday, December 19, 2013

Week 22 Update

Some blogger-moms-to-be do one of these “pregnancy weekly updates” every week.  I admire their dedication.  I have a hard enough time remembering to take a weekly photo in a timely manner (usually at XX weeks and 6 days, the last possible day before I cross over into the following week).  But, I like this idea, so I’m going to do it periodically.  Yes I know, I’m starting more than halfway into my pregnancy, but hey better late than never, right!?  In this post, I’ll do a catch-up of the last, oh, 22 weeks or so.  NBD.

How far along:  22 weeks 3 days
Size of baby:  A papaya (who even knows what a papaya looks like? Not me. At our 20 weeks 4 days ultrasound, she weighed roughly 12oz.  And the week 23 fruit comparison is a grapefruit.  Maybe that provides some clarification)

Total weight gain:  9 lbs.  Sigh.  I actually started out by losing weight during the first couple months of pregnancy.  It wasn’t until about week 18 or 19 that I started to gain weight, and then it came very quickly.  I know that a pregnant body is a beautiful body, growing and nurturing a tiny human being.  But that doesn’t make gaining weight any easier, and seeing the numbers rise on the scale is never easy.  Our doctor told me I should gain anywhere between 25-40 lbs.  (40lbs!?  You’re kidding, doc.) 
Symptoms:  Knock on wood, this pregnancy has been nearly symptom free so far.  I only had morning sickness once, right before work in the morning during week 14.  I was having a lot of back pain at the end of the 1st trimester, but truthfully that might have been caused by my awful uncomfortable chair at work.  That didn’t stop me from taking warm baths every night, utilizing a heat pad in “Tom’s” recliner, and insisting that I needed a giant pregnancy pillow for my birthday. But that’s a whole ‘nother story.

Cravings:  Nothing too bizarre.  The only cravings run Tom has made for me was cheese and crackers one night (pasteurized – don’t worry!).  I’m doing the stereotypical pregnancy pickles and ice cream thing (but not together).  Cotton Candy ice cream from Maggie Moos was my go-to for a while, but it turns your mouth bright blue for days.  I can’t even take myself seriously looking like that.  I’ve always been a lover of chocolate and sweets, and pregnancy has been a great excuse to indulge a little.  Cookies, brownies, candy, bring it on!
Sleep:  Decent.  I usually wake up at least once during the night for a potty break, but other than that I’m sleeping through the night.  I’ve struggled to find a comfortable position to sleep in.  I always thought I was a side-sleeper, but now that I know I’m not supposed to sleep on my back, I always wake up on my back during the early morning hours and toss and turn to get comfortable on my side.  The giant pregnancy pillow is really too big for our bed, so I’ve transitioned to just having an extra pillow supporting my back.  I’ve also put a folded blanket under my pillow to prop my head up a little to aid in digestion and breathing.  Ta-da, there you have it, my magical fixes for a good night of mid-pregnancy sleep!

Movement:  Yes!  Oh my goodness, yes.  This girl is very active.  Her most active times are:  early morning, lunch time, late afternoon, and 9pm.  Feeling her movements gives me really mixed emotions and feelings.   All at once it is amazing, special, weird, alien, sweet, uncomfortable, and sometimes annoying.  But feeling her movements always makes me feel reassured.  I’m so happy that she is comfy cozy and growing like a weed.  And whenever I nervously think wait, have I felt her in the past few hours?  She always seems to give me a nice big kick to the bladder.  Oh good, you’re still in there.
Gender:  GIRL!

Name:  We have decided on a name!  And I’ve ordered the wooden letters to hang on the wall, so no going back now ;)  Our sweet little thing’s name will be:  (drumroll please) … Madelyn Grace.  We will call her Maddie for short.  And I’ll probably lovingly call her Maddie Grace, Miss Maddie, Baby MC, Maddie G, etc.  What can I say, I like nicknames :)
Style:  I have transitioned into maternity clothes.  Well truthfully, I started wearing some maternity pants back in like, week 13.  They are just SO comfortable, I really might never go back.  I can still wear a lot of my regular shirts, but it’s getting to the point where I might stretch them out, so I’ve ordered a few basic tees.  My usual maternity-uniform tends to be these pants from Old Navy, a tank top, and a cardigan sweater unbuttoned.  Rinse and repeat, every day.  Sometimes I toss on a scarf, or a cute necklace.  My favorite place to shop for maternity wear is by far Old Navy – reasonably priced, super cute and simple.  I also happened upon a few cute things at Target.  I dislike Target’s website design for ordering online, so I’ve only picked up a couple things from the limited selection in store.

Nursery:  Love love love her cute nursery.  Although truthfully, I was really more excited about designing the vintage airplane nursery for a boy.  Instead, I’m buying pink and green and loving it just as much!  We themed the nursery around this quilt from Pottery Barn Kids.  It’s pastel pink and green, with touches of blue, yellow, brown, tan, purple etc.  (no really, the description says it has 16 colors.  Which sounds outrageous and obnoxious, but they’re so subtle that it’s perfect).  It also has a combination of polka dots, stripes, gingham etc.  If you’re thinking it sounds hideous, check the link, I promise it’s not!  We have already purchased and assembled (I say “we” very loosely, Tom did all of the assembly) the crib and changing table.  They are basic white and were ordered off of amazon.  We are using Tom’s childhood dresser, which is dark brown wood, and we have plans to purchase a glider in a similar shade of brown stain.  Yeah, we’re mixing and matching, and I don’t really care anymore.  I initially had GRAND plans to paint Tom’s dresser white, paint the walls pink, add chair rail, paint the bottom part of the wall gray…. and then I just got lazy.  Nah, I didn’t get lazy, I got realistic. I just don’t have the time or the energy for that, and I’m actually really loving the tan walls and the mismatched furniture.  Now that the furniture has been assembled and arranged (then rearranged 100 times at 10pm one Saturday night, and finally put back exactly the way it was before), I am starting on the decorations and organization.  I’ll save those for a post devoted to the nursery.
Best moment of the week:  Strangers have started commenting on my bump!  Which, granted, I realize means I’m getting large.  But it also means we’re getting closer to meeting our girl, and now everyone can notice and share in our excitement.  I love getting questions about our baby (gender, due date, names etc), and I don’t even mind when people want to touch!  Although so far no strangers have touched, so that’s good.  That might be weird.

Worst moment of the week:  Getting dressed for my work Christmas party.  Last week, I had tried on two separate dresses (one borrowed from my mom, and one purchased from ASOS) and I thought, oh perfect, these look great!  Either one will work!  Fast-forward to Saturday night when it’s time to get dressed… somewhere between Tuesday and Saturday, these dresses shrank.  Ok maybe it wasn’t the dresses.  But really, they just looked all wrong, in all places.  I must have spent an hour in the closet trying to decide what to wear.  So then we were an hour late to the party, and there may or may not have been some tears shed in the kitchen when I came downstairs and Tom told me I looked beautiful, but all I wanted to do was put my sweatpants back on and crawl under a blanket.  I blame the hormones.
So there you have it, 22 weeks of pregnancy summed up in one weekly post!  What a fun adventure it has been so far.  In other exciting news, I’m an AUNT!  Tom’s older brother and his wife just had their first baby boy on Monday.  I am so excited to visit and hold baby Connor tomorrow!  From the pictures I’ve seen, he is just the cutest little thing.  Chubby cheeks and a head full of hair.  Love him already!!  What fun it will be to have our two babies so close in age.  And lucky for Tom’s younger sister, she is totally set for a ring bearer and flower girl at her future wedding.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Ribbons and Curls

The word is out - Baby Cooper is a GIRL!

I drafted this post a month ago but then never quite got around to posting it - oops. 

So here's the full story on our journey to finding out if Baby Cooper would be wearing Hair Bows or Bow Ties.

The Early Weeks: 
Tom and I both had an inkling that Baby Cooper would be a girl. Perhaps wishful thinking on my part, and "that's my luck" thinking on Tom's part. We were fairly certain. As certain as you can be with on a 50/50 gamble. We each had our hopes, but agreed in our thoughts that Baby would be a girl.

Week 13:  
Around this time, I learned about elective gender scans at private ultrasound businesses (say what!? I previously thought I had no choice but to wait until our anatomy scan at 20 weeks). While googling "early ultrasound gender scan", I happened upon a product called Intelligender. Basically, this product tests the pH level of your urine and can (supposedly) tell you your baby's gender as early as 10 weeks. And the best part? The product is sold at drug stores for less than $50! 

"If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." The saying that should have been resonating my head, and was resonating for skeptical Tom.
But, you should know that patience is NOT my best virtue. It's probably my worst. The thought of waiting another 8 weeks was killing me. So of course I stopped by Walgreens on the way home from work that day. I followed the instructions on the [dinged up, last one on the shelf] box and waited until the following morning to take the test. I could hardly sleep a wink and was up before the sun. The results? BOY!

Before the test, we agreed upon the mindset of: let's take this with a grain of salt and NOT buy anything pink of blue. After the test, I went a little crazy. I bought a big red airplane to hang on the wall in the nursery, read articles on mothering boys, and started calling the baby by "his" new name. I was, however, doubtful enough to agree with Tom that we should keep this rather uncertain news to ourselves for the time being.

To "confirm" our new finding, I scheduled an elective gender scan at Clearview Ultrasound as soon we could.  They start doing gender scans at 15 weeks, so I scheduled us for 15wks 4days. We didn't tell a soul we were going. We were skeptical and wanted to check it out in person before we shared any news. [In retrospect, why I was skeptical of ultrasounds and not a little pee cup from the drug store, I'm not so sure.]

Week 15:
The big day! Our gender scan ultrasound! Let me first start off by saying, this place was so cool. And so unlike the doctor's office. It was warm and cozy, with a big screen TV to watch the ultrasound. At first, our little baby was sound asleep. Sound asleep. As in, would not wake up! The sonographer prodded my belly a little, hoping to get a reaction. Still sleeping. Fastforward 5 minutes (what seemed like an eternity), and still no movement. We could see the little heart beating but my mind was racing, why won't our baby move!?

The sonographer suggested we try something different. "Would you like a piece of chocolate?" she asked. Ha, well I guess, if it's for the baby! ;) Fastforward a minute after I eat a small piece of chocolate, and Baby is practically doing flips! (which really made me think about the foods I'm eating, they are obviously going straight to the baby). Finally, Baby gets positioned correctly so that the sonographer can identify the gender. Alas, to our disappointment, she told us it was too soon to tell. And if she told us one way or the other, she would really be taking a gamble. She apologized for keeping us in suspense, and asked us to come back in a week.


We were really bummed not to have an answer, but we were pleased that she was honest with us and didn't try to make a call if it was too early. So, we waited. But this time I couldn't do it quietly, I convinced Tom that we should tell our friends and family what we were doing the following Saturday afternoon. And so we did, and we planned a little get together gender reveal for Sunday afternoon, and we crossed our fingers that Baby would be ready to share some news with us in a week!

Week 16:
After a long week of waiting, and nervously, tentatively, planning a gender reveal, the new big day finally arrived. We watched our little baby squirming on the big screen, and laughed at the crossed legs which were making it difficult to tell the gender. Finally, the sonographer paused the screen, circled something, and wrote "ALLLLL GIRL!!!" I cheered and then patted Tom on the shoulder, "It's okay, you're going to love her anyway!" Ha! The things you say in the moment. I felt so bad for him as he cursed the pee cup test the whole way home, we never should have done that! 

But as the reality set in for us on our 2 hour drive to College Station for a football game, we were both SO THRILLED! Bows and ribbons, barbies and dolls, tea parties and dresses, my mind was spinning! And I couldn't help but tear up as I thought about Papa Tom toting around our sweet little girl on his shoulders. What a perfect, patient, protective Daddy he will be to our little girl.

I asked if we could stop in at the book store so I could buy her an Aggie dress, and Tom suggested, "how about I buy our little girl her first dress?" Cue my melting heart. And so he did, he picked out her very first dress, complete with a tiny white bow. (And then joked that he will buy her last dress for her when she is 35, because she's not allowed to get married until then, ha!)

The Reveal:
On Sunday afternoon, our house filled with friends and family, sweets, treats and fun. I set up an amateur photo booth in the living room and decorated little bow and bow tie cookies. Everyone placed their guess on the board - hair bows just barely won!

 And then finally, we readied to share the news. We gathered everyone in the living room - no peeking! I stood in the kitchen, camera ready and stereo remote in hand as Thomas drove a tiny pink remote control car with pink balloons in from the hall, Girls Just Want to Have Fun blaring from the speaker the whole way.  Looks of surprise, joy, laughter, and hugs ensued. It was such a wonderful afternoon shared with many of the most important people in our lives. Baby Girl Cooper is so loved already, what a lucky girl she is to have so many people excited for her arrival and ready to watch her grow.

We are truly beaming with excitement this week as we look forward to the years ahead with our little girl. My recurring thought of "I'm pregnant. Actually pregnant. Really pregnant" has been replaced with "It's a girl. She's a girl. We're having a girl!"

Now we just have to wait 5 months and 11 days to meet her (who's counting?)!

The 20 week ultrasound which seemed SO far away, has now come and gone.  We confirmed that Baby Cooper is indeed a girl!  And we watched in amazement as her tiny body squirmed on the screen, changing position several times and posing in all the right ways for the sonographer to get the necessary measurements.  We could see all four chambers of her tiny little heart pumping, and from the profile view, we watched her tiny tongue move as she swallowed.  At the conclusion of the ultrasound, the sonographer told us she weighed approximately 12 oz. and was measuring at 20 weeks 1 day.  Our doctor told us that the 20 week ultrasound can be off by +/- 10 days.  According to our due date, we were at 20 weeks 3 days, so the measurements sounded right on track!  The sonographer also told us that our girl has really long arms and legs.  Sorry I gave you monkey arms, chickadee, blame your Grandpa Radford for those genetics!  But you'll appreciate those long legs someday :)

In other exciting news, I am now feeling our girl's movements!  I think she is practicing karate in there.  Kicks, punches, and jabs are a common occurrence.  I have also seen and felt the movements from the outside of my belly, but every time Papa Tom comes over to see/feel, the silly girl goes still as can be.  Hoping she'll give him an early Christmas present soon by giving him a nice big kick while he patiently waits with his hand on my belly.

Papa Tom felt our girl kick tonight!!  She loves Maggie Moos ice cream :)

I promise to be better about updating my blog in the coming months.  Only 4 months and 9 days until our due date!  She'll be here before we know it.