Monday, December 26, 2016

not sure if I want to remember or forget, buuut...

Um, so somehow I'm already 16 (and a half) weeks along in this pregnancy. The first trimester was such a bitch that I promised myself more than a few times that I'd never have another baby again...which, of course, I've already softened on, now that I've had a few weeks of feeling normal again. It couldn't have been that bad, could it?

And no, comparatively, I didn't have it nearly as bad as some pregnant women do, in terms of sickness. Buuut it did suck. That said, I don't want to forget some of the details, and I know I will if I don't record them somewhere. I also want to start taking belly pics soon! Looking back through my old posts, it was right at this time during my pregnancy with Rowan that I started taking them. Maybe I'll get one tomorrow, in between our library trip and heading to the ophthalmologist to check for tumors behind Rowan's eyes (more on that here, but I don't think it's anything to be concerned about).

Anyway...here are the things I'm finally remembering to remember about my (second) first trimester. Even if some of it is stuff I'd probably rather forget.

:: The early scare
I think I was around six weeks along when it happened. My friends threw a birthday party for me and another friend, and I had just gotten home after a great night. Honestly - unlike with my first pregnancy - I hadn't really remembered to be scared at any point yet. The first time, I remember checking every time I used the bathroom, fully expecting to see blood (which I never did). Not this time. I had just started feeling totally horrific and ill, so I figured everything was proceeding according to plan. 

I got home from the birthday party, had to pee, and boom - there it was. Spotting. My heart dropped, and I didn't know what I was supposed to do. Go to the ER? Call my OB? Nothing? I ended up texting my OB, but it was midnight, so of course she didn't text back right away. I posted a message in my mom group (the one I joined when Rowan was three weeks old...who just happen to be the friends who had just thrown the party for me that night), and immediately got a flood of responses saying that a bunch of them had had spotting early on, too, and not to worry unless it was red and I was cramping a lot. I felt way better, but I called triage just to be safe; they said the same thing. My OB texted me back right after I hung up with triage and was also immensely reassuring. We ended up scheduling an early blood test and ultrasound just to check on everything. Even with all the reassurance, I did spend my birthday weekend feeling both disgustingly sick and afraid to be hopeful. Obviously, everything turned out fine, but I was pretty freaked out for a few days.

:: 24 hours of having twins
Spoiler alert, THERE IS ONLY ONE BABY IN THERE. Trust me, I double-check at every ultrasound, ever since my first blood test. So after my weekend of spotting, I went in that Monday for a blood test to check my hormone levels. The next day, my OB called me to say that my hormone levels were good. Great, actually. In fact...really really freaking high. So high, in fact, she wanted to know if there any chance I was a month ahead of what I thought.

For a minute, I got really excited, because that would mean I was 10 weeks along instead of six, which would mean only a few more weeks of sickness! Seriously, I was so ill at that point that the thought of possibly shortening my sickness by a month made me deliriously happy. But I also was 100% sure that I wasn't 10 weeks along. I listed my reasons for my OB, including the fact that I'd a urine test and a routine pap smear a week before conception, and asked her why she wanted to know. Turns out my hormone levels were off the charts. At six weeks, they should have been anywhere from, like, 1,000 to 50,000 [insert whatever freakin' units hCG is measured in here]. "What were mine?" I asked. "A hundred and twenty thousand," she replied. Shiiiiiit

And then I remembered the other reason hCG levels might be unusually high. "Please tell me I'm not carrying multiples," I hissed into the phone. The last THREE moms from my mom group to get pregnant were all carrying twins; was I the fourth?

My OB tried to slot me in for an ultrasound that afternoon, but I was working and couldn't skip it. I had one scheduled for the following day, and let me tell you, I spent the next 24 hours pretty much convinced that I was having twins. I thought about how we'd just turned the second biggest bedroom into Rowan's "big kid room," and how there was no way the nursery would accommodate two cribs. Would we have to move her back into the smaller room? I thought about our teeny-tiny cars and how we'd never be able to squeeze three car seats into them. I thought about how I still didn't feel ready for two kids, let alone three. But I also thought about how fun it might be, and how cute they'd be, and how it would be so crazy if I really were the fourth one in a row from my mom group to have twins. I mean, there are only 20 of us or so in the group; what would the chances be?!

But the ultrasound the next day showed just one little sac with one little sweet flickering heartbeat. I was elated, somewhere underneath the layers of rolling nausea and incapacitating heartburn. Which, actually, made a little more sense, given my skyrocketing hormone levels.

:: Rowan's family portrait
About a week after the spotting scare and the maybe-multiples incident, Rowan drew her very first picture of our family. She'd only recently drawn her first figure beyond scribbles, so I, of course, planned to frame and preserve and broadcast her first family drawing. Buuuut she had a little surprise for me. Remember - we hadn't told her yet that I was pregnant. Here's what she drew:

I asked her why she drew a baby, and she replied nonchalantly, "Oh, just in case we ever have one!" I'm telling you, this girl has been asking for a baby since before she turned two. She wants nothing more than to be a big sister. I almost spilled the beans to her right then and there, but J.J. wasn't home, and we hadn't told everyone in our families yet; I didn't want Rowan to let it slip to them before we could tell them. So I kept my mouth shut...and sent a photo of her drawing to pretty much everyone who already knew. Because omg. Adorable.

:: Timing our announcement
I meant to tell everyone we were expecting early on. I know different people choose different times to announce the news, and all for valid reasons. Some people wait until the end of the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage lessens significantly. Some people tell everyone in shifts - first family, then friends, then work, then the general public, or whatever (that's basically what we did with Rowan). Some people keep it under wraps as long as possible so they don't experience discrimination at work. Some people never make a public announcement, especially if they've experienced a loss before, which makes total sense to me. But I had always thought that, for my second pregnancy, I'd tell everyone pretty much right away. Not because I was under any illusion that we were safe from loss - hate to sound dire, but no one is, at any point - but because I know my style. I know that if I were to experience a loss, I'd want and need my village to back me up in all sorts of ways.

But, you know, best laid plans. I told my family and J.J.'s family right away, and a couple friends. Then I sort of accidentally ended up telling my whole mom group when I asked my panicked question about spotting in our Facebook group. Then Rowan told her teacher by way of her family drawing, which she had brought to school. Aaaand then I meant to tell everyone else, I really did, but I got so busy being sick and juggling work that all of a sudden it was just a few days before our 12-week ultrasound, so I figured I'd just wait for that. Oh, and that's when I finally had a chance to get together with my friend Tanya, who had generously agreed to take some announcement photos for us. And there you go...13 weeks along and finally an announcement

:: Telling J.J.
Oh, but I did tell J.J. right away, obviously. Well...sort of right away. We'd been going through the trying-to-conceive roulette for...I think seven months at that point, and September didn't seem any different. In fact, I thought for sure I was having undeniable PMS symptoms just as he left town for a work trip, so I told him as much and figured we'd try again the next month. I was bummed, especially since I knew I was at the point where I was supposed to start consulting with reproductive specialists, given that I was about to turn 36 and had been trying for over half a year (not very long, but that's what they recommend for women over 35).

Then I spent the weekend eating entire bags of yogurt puffs - you know, the melty kind meant for babies with no teeth - and devouring bowl after bowl of spaghetti topped with red wine vinegar, olives, and parmesan cheese. I felt like a bottomless pit. That Sunday night, after Gigantic Bowl Number Two or Maybe Even Three of pasta, I decided to take a pregnancy test. Two pink lines popped up almost immediately, and that was that. 

I sat there shaking for a minute, wishing I had already planned out a cute way to tell J.J. - like Rowan donning a surprise "big sister" shirt when he came home the next day or something. I tried to think of a cute idea, but I promptly fell asleep. So I took another test in the morning, just to be sure, and dropped Rowan off at preschool, thinking I'd come up with a fun way to tell J.J. while I had the house to myself for a couple hours.

Instead, the second I got home, I FaceTimed him. He was already sitting on the airplane, waiting for his flight home to take off, but he answered. "Uh, what's up?" he asked, surprised to hear from me when he knew I knew he'd be on the plane. "Well," I replied, my voice shaking a little, "your first kid isn't home to FaceTime with you...but your second one is!" Ad I flashed the pregnancy test his way. Aw, it makes me smile just remembering his sweet reaction, and how he tried to play it cool to the colleague he was traveling with. So it ended up being a pretty cute way to break the news after all.

:: Feeling like utter shit
And, of course, I must create a permanent record of the main theme of my first trimester: feeling like shit. Look, I don't know how people with hyperemesis gravidarum (or super extreme morning sickness) do it. I never even threw up, but I felt like I was on my death bed. I was seriously non-functional for large chunks of time over the course of two months. I'm not kidding - the sickness was incapacitating. I was terrified that it wouldn't clear up at the end of the first trimester, since it was so much more severe than with Rowan. Like, with Rowan, I felt crummy a lot of the time, definitely nauseated and exhausted - but nothing like this. My main issue was actually heartburn, which manifested as a weird, full-throat feeling, like something was stuck at the base of my throat all the time. It was worse if I laid down (or sat up or sat still or moved or...breathed...), and the only thing that helped was eating. So eat I did, but the eating only made the heartburn better for about a half hour...and then it would come roaring back, even worse than before. It. Sucked. Plus, all food made me want to puke, so it was hard to find anything I could choke down to calm the heartburn. I did manage to figure out a few palatable things, though: bagels, fruit snacks, Jolly Ranchers, apples, crackers and cheese, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and ice cold water mixed with orange juice. And one day I took Rowan to preschool and then swung by Zingerman's Deli for the most pregnant purchase I've ever made:

That would be a jar of sour cherry preserves and a jar of sauerkraut. Twenty freakin' dollars' worth of mmmmm. Most of my other cravings turned quickly into hard-core aversions (good-bye forever, nutritional yeast), but these two are still going strong.

So that's about it for now from this elderly multigravida (as I'm referenced in my medical record). Oh, hey, the bonus of being "elderly" in the pregnancy world is that you become eligible for some high-tech testing - specifically, chromosomal testing, which can be done as early as 10 weeks. And which I had done around 12 weeks. And which revealed info about this baby's chromosomal makeup. Which appears to be typical, in terms of anomalies. But (do you see where this is going?) these tests can also reveal whether or not any Y chromosomes are present. So remind me this week to share another sweet video reveal that we have...it's a good one. :)


  1. Ahhh... as an alum of the "allergic to pregnancy" club (as I refer to hyperemesis gravidarum) ... I can tell you it sucks hard. I jokingly say pregnancy was the best diet I was ever on. I lost forty pounds. Amazing what throwing up for nine months (even during labor and delivery) will do for you. BRUTAL! Luckily, Megan is cute. :-) Love reading these! Thanks for sharing. I'll be on the lookout for the video!

    1. You lost 40 pounds?! That is some harsh HG! :( I'm on the opposite track right now, since eating is the only thing that makes me feel better. (Literally had to stop in the middle of typing that sentence to wipe jam off of my keyboard. ALWAYS EATING.)



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