Monday, December 22, 2014

bump #82: 27 weeks

27 weeks!
The third trimester is right around the corner and I am still loving every minute of being pregnant!

Even this morning's glucose test...

It was not as bad as everyone said. I never drink soda, so the glucose sugar orange drink tasted like a Fanta and was quite refreshing. The hardest part was to sit still for an hour afterwards until they could do the blood test. They say no news is good news, so I'm hoping not to hear back from them about the results of the blood work and to go on my merry way indulging in all the tasty treats I want.

Andrew and I took some self timer Christmas photos in the woods near our neighborhood. I need to get better about remembering to take pictures each week. The time is just flying by!

Oliver is measuring right on track, according to our doctor's appointment this morning. My nurse said my belly is "all baby" bless her heart. I know better. I've gained at least 20 pounds at this point and I know for a fact that about 5 of those pounds are from all the delicious Texas BBQ we ate over the weekend. My belly may be mostly baby weight, but my thighs are all brisket :) The big highlight this week (and the culmination of the last 4 years) was when Andrew graduated from UTSA with his PhD on Friday! Yay!

This week we're excited to head home to Pismo Beach and spend Christmas and New Year's with family. When we get back to San Diego in January, we're signing up for a bunch of pregnancy, newborn care, and nursing classes at our hospital. Fun times ahead!

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

bump #81: 24 weeks

 24 weeks, baby!

I thought I was already so huge, and then POP! I got even bigger! But the bigger I get, the bigger the baby gets, and he is growing strong and healthy in there, so I am absolutely thrilled and waddling around with pride :)

We had our 23 week 3-d ultrasound November 25 and it was so amazing to see our little Oliver moving around.

He lays on his back with his head on the left side of my stomach and his feet on the right. He keeps his feet crossed and his hands tucked up by his face like a bunny. He was in the same position last time we had this ultrasound at 14 weeks. Soon he's going to run out of room in there!

You can see the umbilical cord wrapped around his little legs below.

At one point, he rolled over as if to say he was done with the photo shoot. 
Uh oh, he better get used to having his picture taken all day everyday!

 We got to see him stretch and work on his dance moves.
 He's often deep in thought!
 Sometimes he sucks his thumb.
 And pulls on his umbilical cord.

 I feel lots of kicks all day long and it is MY FAVORITE thing in the world!

In fact, I'm the opposite of the typical pregnant lady who doesn't want strangers touching her belly. 
I'm like "Oh, he's kicking right here! Feel this! Wow!" and I make anyone who's near me feel my belly. 
I'm sure they're over it by now, but I can't help it! This is the best... until I get to meet him and hold him in my arms. I can't wait!!!

Monday, November 24, 2014

bump #80: choosing baby's name

Truth be told, we've had these names and more picked out for a long time now. Years. So the second we found out that our baby was a boy, we started calling him by name.

Oliver Vance
"Ollie Bear"
I always liked the name Oliver and Vance is Andrew's middle name and a family name passed down for generations. Easy. Plus, it turns out I love names with v's in them so it works perfectly!
I don't really care about name meanings and such. But I remember looking up the meaning of the name Oliver at one time or another and being laughably surprised to learn that it's Germanic roots mean "Elf Army." How fitting, being that I'm of such short stature!  Perhaps it's just a clue that he will be way into Lord of the Rings and one of my favorite Will Ferrell Christmas movies. Needless to say, that certainly wasn't enough to cross it off my list. For more hilarious oliver=elf information click here
Oliver also means "Olive Tree" or peace and reminds me of the story of Noah in the Bible. He releases a dove hoping that it will come back with signs of life. The dove returns with an olive branch, which, to me, symbolizes hope.
To me, Oliver means hope.
Hope that we would have a family, hope that God would work a miracle, and hope for the future.
I haven't gotten a good enough look at our little Ollie to see if he has elf ears, but here's hoping...
that he doesn't!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

bump #79: nothing short of a miracle

God answers prayer.
There is no other explanation for what has happened.

Ollie at 23 weeks   1 lb 2 oz

profile, arm, and foot

I had vasa previa 3 weeks ago and today it is gone.

I was praying constantly for healing, but also preparing for the worst. This prognosis meant incredible danger for the baby and myself. It would have required immediate blood transfusion and resuscitation following an emergency C-section for the baby. We would have approximately 3 minutes to revive him and he would have stayed in the neonatal unit and NICU for many weeks  possibly suffering brain damage. In severe cases of vasa previa, a hysterectomy (complete removal of the uterus) becomes necessary, which would mean no more pregnancies. This was all around heart breaking news and the last few weeks have been an emotional roller coaster for us. I simultaneously rejoiced and worried over every kick I've felt. I love knowing that he is ok in there, but I'm freaked out that he's going to rupture the placenta if he moves too much. I cried and cried at the thought of never getting to be pregnant again and couldn't stop thinking about our one little remaining frozen embryo. All I could think was what if, what if, what if? And none of the scenarios ended well.

Today we went to the appointment expecting the worst.

We held our breaths through the 10 minute anatomy scan, reassured to see Oliver continuing to grow and develop right on track. The doctor came back to get a second look with a trans-vaginal ultrasound that would show a better view of the cervix, umbilical cord, placenta, and extra lobe that is on the placenta. The perinatologist reviewed the results of these scans and cool as a cucumber, said "Well I won't be seeing you anymore. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy!" My response was something like... "But I have 3 pages of very specific questions for you pertaining to complications with vasa previa and I need to know what our next steps are." He said we definitely don't have vasa previa, but there is an "accessory" lobe (succenturiate) located higher on the placenta (in the fundus, whatever that is!) so it does not block the cervix and is not at risk for rupturing. The only potential risk with the accessory lobe is making sure the whole placenta is removed after the baby is born to prevent infection. That may require a c section delivery, but not an emergency c section. There are no free floating blood vessels that could burst at any time, like we thought. In fact, nothing is blocking the cervix except for the umbilical cord, and it moved when we pushed on my belly, so that is not an issue. They went on to perform a 3rd high resolution ultrasound (for my piece of mind) and there was absolutely no vasa previa. Yay! I think we were all surprised. We have an appointment next week with my regular doctor to discuss the results and I will ask for another scan in the third trimester just to be safe, but this is such a relief!

Thank you for lifting us in prayer. I certainly don't understand all of the medical talk, but God has definitely performed a miracle for our family and we are in awe.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

bump #78: 21 weeks

Thank you so much for the overwhelming support, prayers, and love you have all shown us this week. Words cannot express how grateful we are to be surrounded by such awesome friends and family who care about us and our sweet little Ollie so much! We are hopeful that with the early diagnosis and proper precautions, everything will be ok.

That said, we still haven't met with the specialty obstetrician. After days on the phone obtaining referrals, authorizing insurance, and jumping through hoops with uncooperative receptionists, we were told the earliest available appointment was in December. Are you kidding me?! I'm living minute to minute with the mantra "Pelvic Rest" running through my head and worrying that my placenta could rupture at any time. Waiting another month to consult with the expert is not an option. Today the pregnancy hormones kicked in and I relentlessly contacted the front desk at Specialty Obstetrics of San Diego until they finally got an appointment for me next Wednesday afternoon. Which is still ridiculous. At this point, I'm done remaining calm. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. "Squeak, squeak, squeak!"

This week was rough, but there were some high points that got us through. Friday was the day Andrew went to San Antonio to defend his dissertation and he now has his PhD! I can't wait to get the Dr. and Mrs. address labels started! That's what it's all about, right?!

With Andrew out of town for a few days, my mom drove down to stay with me, keep me off my feet, and help me get report cards and parent conferences ready for next week. She is an angel! I forgot to mention our little maltese, Maxwell, got neutered yesterday so she has been caring for me and my invalid dog. I don't know what I would do without her!

She is so sweet and is always talking to the baby!
For now, I will continue to thank God for keeping Oliver healthy and safe in my tummy as long as possible. And I will savor every little kick and nudge I get. Sometimes it feels like I have popcorn kernels popping in there! So fun! Oh, and now I want some popcorn. Yum yum yum!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

bump #77: when the other shoe drops

We received a not so great phone call from my doctor last night. After reviewing our anatomy scan from last week, she noticed something wrong.

The baby is fine (for now). That is all that matters.
To me.
She described a condition called "Vasa Previa" where basically the blood vessels connecting the umbilical cord to the placenta are blocking the cervix and could rupture at any time, but especially when delivery is near and the water breaks.
"Is it fatal?" Is all I could keep asking. "Is the baby ok?" "What does this mean?"
It is not usually fatal, but, gone undiagnosed, it is devastating and the baby would not survive natural delivery. It means I have to have a scheduled C-Section before 37 weeks and bi-weekly ultrasounds for the remainder of the pregnancy. I will most likely have to go on bed rest from 30 weeks on and am back to that "high risk" category I was only recently so relieved to get out of.

I was still at work when I got the call and had to step out of a meeting, so you can imagine the mess of a situation that is a 5 month pregnant woman in an elementary school hallway in hysterics. I don't even want to go to work today!

In all my research of potential complications I never came across Vasa Previa and still don't know a lot about it. (Don't google image it. Just don't.) It is rare, but more common in cases of patients who have undergone IVF as we have. The risk goes from 1 in 3000 to 1 in 300. Why do I have to be the one?

This is because we did IVF. But what choice did we have? This is the only way we get our baby.
And now it's complicated.
I was so excited to reach the half way point. 20 weeks felt like an amazing accomplishment for someone who thought they would never get to be pregnant. On Monday I even felt real kicks, finally. It was as if baby boy had his own spin class going on in there! So surely everything was fine.
In a journey so fraught with equal parts excitement and anxiety, we are devastated that the remainder of the pregnancy is going to be so stressful and scary. We also know that God is in control and we have remarkable doctors and technology to make sure our baby is safe and healthy. We are grateful to know now, and not when it is too late, so we can plan ahead. Any dreams of a natural delivery or third trimester are dashed, but what matters more than anything is that our little Ollie Bear is ok.
His name is Oliver Vance.
And he can hear us and all the prayers we are praying over him.
Thank you God for protecting our miracle baby.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

bump #76: 20 weeks and anatomy scan

This is already the half way mark! Unbelievable!
Part of me wants to freeze time because it's going so fast and I love being pregnant.
The other part of me wants to speed it up because I can't wait to meet him and snuggle him up!

The anatomy scan (detailed ultrasound of baby's vital organs) today went great. He is measuring 20 weeks exactly and weighs 11 ounces. We counted 10 fingers and toes, his heart rate was 154 bpm, and he is cozy and mellow. He cooperated and only moved his arms and fists around a little bit. I haven't felt big punches or kicks yet, but I do feel him rolling around some. New symptoms this week include minor back pain (sciatic nerve?), daily bacon cheeseburger cravings (I might have to name him Carl after my favorite fast food: Carl's Jr.!), a little dizzy spell (prompting me to retire my 4" heels and stick with more practical shoes: 2" wedges), and more *ahem* undergarment shopping. It appears that along with IVF, I got a complimentary boob job :) On the bright side, think of how much money I saved! Next up: a "designer" C-section with a follow up tummy tuck. Just kidding. Unless they offer that as a package deal... I am getting so big and this is only the half way mark!

20 week bump

Some days I feel HUGE. Other days I just feel blubbery. It is safe to say I will not be one of those cute preggos who only gains weight in the belly. I am bigger everywhere! My bottom and my tummy wobble like a teeter totter! It's pretty precious. But as long as the baby is comfortably cushioned in there, I will happily go on growing. *chomps into another burger bite*

And now I get to focus all my shopping energy on toys and clothes for a baby boy! I'm so excited! I've never been to Lego Land or played with GI Joe's and Transformers. This is a whole new territory. Challenge accepted!

And just in case there was any doubt about the gender, that right there is the money shot.
He is ALL BOY :)


Friday, October 17, 2014

bump #75: It's a BOY!

See pics of the gender reveal party here.

After our 6 week ultrasound and reading about the location of the yolk sac determining gender (it's on the left for a girl and right for a boy in your first ultrasound pic), I had a strong feeling that baby bear was a boy. The gender vote was split about 50-50, so it was a fun surprise! This is the first boy and first grandchild in our families. My initial reaction was "YAY!" followed quickly by, "But wait, what do I do with a boy?!" It's all girls in my family, so this will be a fun new adventure. I see a lot of legos in my future :) 

We are so excited for a boy! I've already been collecting cute little boy things like newsie caps, converse, and 4 piece suits. You know, the practical things every baby boy needs :)
 My Aunt Vanessa loaned us her beautiful Emmajunga antique pram carriage, and it's so darling! 

My mom and I spent over 3 hours at Joann's Fabric Store on Monday (Columbus Day Sales!) to get 50% off fabric to decorate the nursery. It turns out I'm kind of picky about that stuff and was having a hard time finding any neutral, classic looking crib bedding that I really liked, so we decided to make our own (except that I don't sew, so thank you mom!)  Here's some blurry cell phone pics of the fabrics we decided on. My amazing mom has been busy sewing away and already reupholstered the glider and ottoman.

I still can't believe this is all happening! I'm preparing to decorate a nursery! What?! For my baby boy?! Yay!!! This is a dream come true!!!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

bump #74: 16 weeks

I always dreamed of doing those silly "Pregnancy Update Surveys" and now I get to! Yay! It's probably not as riveting as one would hope, but I've been majorly slacking on the pregnancy journal front, so a blog update it is...

How far along?: 16 weeks

Total weight gain: 8 pounds, but that was on the doctor's sketchy probably accurate scale after a full day of eating, fully clothed (including layered necklaces and 4" platforms), and a full bladder. Not that I'm in denial about gaining so much weight so fast or anything :)

Belly button in or out: in for now, but I have a feeling it will pop out towards the end.

Maternity clothes: Yes! Just this weekend I went out and bought a whole new maternity wardrobe at Kohl's, Ross, and Target. My regular clothes are getting to be a bit snug and those pants with the big old elastic belly band are way too comfortable to not start wearing right away. Originally I thought I would just wear extra large regular clothes, stretchy leggings, and maxi dresses for as long as I could, but maternity clothes are cozy and it's fun to have a couple outfits I get to grow into rather than the reality of what I have (a closet full of clothes I've grown out of.)  Thus far my maternity wardrobe consists of 6 dresses from Target (buy one get one half off. Score!), 3 pairs of jeans, yoga pants, and black leggings from Kohl's, and 4 sweaters, 3 shirts, 3 dresses, and pajamas from Ross. I still need to hit up Old Navy, Gap, and Motherhood Maternity. But I'm trying to pace myself!

Stretch marks: Not yet, but I sleep like a rock and every morning I wake up with lines from my pajamas and sheets imprinted all over my body and have a little freak out sesh that I've turned into one gigantic stretch mark. I know they're on the horizon... when do you start using creams and such to reduce them?

Sleep: As much as possible. I have been going to bed early and even hitting snooze on my alarm clock in the morning so that I get about 9 hours each night (minus waking up to pee every 3 hours). I cannot get enough sleep! It was so nice that most of my 1st trimester was over the Summer when I was off from school/work and could nap all day.

Best moment this week: Feeling the baby move around more, especially at night when I'm laying down. Very tiny flutters, almost like an eyelash blinking in my belly. I can't wait til it gets bigger and I can feel some real kicks!

Miss anything?: We've had a crazy heat wave with temps over 100 the last few weeks. Combine that with 31 six year olds held captive inside your class all day with no recess or p.e. and come 6:00 a Pacifico with lime or a chilled white wine sounds divine. But I wouldn't trade this experience for the world, so a slushie from Sonic or a slurpee from 7-11 it is.

Food aversions/cravings: No real aversions. I have been all about the junk food and salt, salt, and more salt! Here were some favorite munchies from the weekend...
I've been craving salty and sour over sugars and sweets. I could eat onion rings for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Mmmm.  I mostly crave junk food like potato chips and sour straws, but I do eat salads and stir fry occasionally. I thought after trying for so long to get pregnant and wanting to take super good care of my baby that I would be a little more of a health nut. I went the opposite direction, thinking "this might be the only pregnancy I get to experience and I am going to enjoy EVERY SECOND of it." And that means saying yes to seconds and thirds and chowing down on whatever I want whenever I want to. These are the best days of my life!

Gender: To be revealed soon...

Symptoms: I don't want to complain because I know I've had it easier than most and am so, so grateful for every little symptom because it means pregnancy is progressing as it should. That said, so far the 2nd trimester is slightly more uncomfortable than the 1st. Which is odd, because everyone told me the 2nd trimester is the best. I'm experiencing severe allergies and sneezing seventy something times a day. Each sneeze brings on really sharp lower abdominal cramps that are called "round ligament pains" that knock the wind out of me. And I have to sleep practically sitting up because I can't breathe (thanks allergies!). Nothing terrible, it's just that apparently my regular allergies are super aggravated by pregnancy. At least I don't pee my pants when I sneeze yet. That's going to be special!

Looking forward to: The gender reveal party this Thursday! It is so hard to not slip and say the gender. I'm a terrible secret keeper. This is so hard for me!

Friday, September 26, 2014

bump #73: 14 weeks

14 Weeks!!!

Ignore the sweaty armpits and the poison oak I'm standing next to... 
This was after a bit of a hike on a very hot day! 

When I learned that you could find out the gender at only 14 weeks, 
I made an appointment at The Ultrasound Experience right away!

 Andrew in the waiting room.

Yesterday we got to see our baby bear on the big screen!

We even got a 4d preview and saw the baby moving and kicking. 

We DID find out the gender, but we are keeping it a secret until we tell our families in person in a couple weeks. Andrew thought the baby was a girl and I thought the baby was a boy. One of us is right and both of us are super excited!!!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

bump #72: 12 weeks

I am happily cruising through the first trimester and will be thirteen weeks along tomorrow. Yay! Unfortunately, since being released from the fertility center and their lovely weekly ultrasounds and check ins, I am going on 4 weeks between doctor's appointments and have no current baby photos to share. 

However, the bump (the one that begs the question "is she fat or is she pregnant?") has arrived.

The fetal doppler (heartbeat monitor) I ordered on Amazon last month came just in time for us to hear baby's heartbeat at 10 weeks. It takes some patience and I first have to get a reading of my heart rate so that I can discern it from the baby's, but it is so worth it to know everything is ok each day. Baby Bear is snug and cozy in the lower right part of my stomach. No noticeable movements yet because it's still way early, but yesterday when I was laying down I think I felt a little flutter like it was stretching and it made me super happy. It could have just been gas from the burrito I ate... jury's still out on that one :)

I thought I would be way better about documenting this pregnancy... taking weekly belly pics and remembering to write everything down. Honestly, I am still in shock that IVF even worked for us. Most of the time I feel like I'm living in a dream and worried I will wake up and it will all be over. Over the years I learned to be so cautiously optimistic and prepared for failure that I don't quite know how to react to this overwhelming joy. Basically I walk around with a big, goofy smile on my face and just count the hours til I can come home and listen to the baby's heartbeat to make sure it's still there. Living the dream!

Next month we have our first of three 3-d ultrasounds here. Can't wait to find out the gender! I think it's a boy and Andrew thinks it's a girl so we might have to throw a gender reveal party and make some wagers. What do you think is the best way to reveal the gender? I'm thinking a destination vacation, you know like we'll do Bahamas if it's a boy, and Grand Cayman if it's a girl. :)

Thursday, August 14, 2014

bump #71: 8 weeks

The baby grew! It doubled in size again this week and is almost a whole inch long. My stomach has gained more than an inch, as have my thighs and bust, but I don't want to talk about that! I know it still looks blobbish, but there are actually little arm buds and a distinct head and body.
The coolest thing was that we actually saw the baby do a somersault and flip itself over during the ultrasound.  I don't want to brag about my obviously gifted fetus, but we may have the next Keri Strug in there! I can't wait until I can really feel our little gymnast move around and kick. So exciting!

Today we "graduated" from the extra special care of the Fertility Center. Sad face. But also happy because it means everything is progressing as it should. Phew! As a parting gift, they gave us a swag bag full of fun goodies like The Essential Pregnancy Organizer, Fit Pregnancy magazines (haha, that ain't gonna happen!), a "miracle baby" onesie, and some other cute reading materials. Here's a shot of the 8 week and 3 day bump. I still feel mostly bloated and puffy everywhere and the #2 I ate at In-N-Out right before this picture is at least partly responsible for my pooch.

In other news, today was my first day teaching first grade and I. Am. EXHAUSTED!!! Those kiddos are adorable and fun and I love them, but I cannot keep up with 31 six year olds. 

                      Is it bad that my mantra has already become "I've just got to make it to March"?