Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pregnancy Week 15--Yes, I have a pregnancy belly! (well, sort of)

So I'm 15 weeks pregnant now--over a week into my fourth month, and yes, I finally have a little belly (and I'm giving you 3 pictures to prove it). I guess it's about time, but apparently I'm still adjusting. Because--

Last night, after dinner and a shower, I'm walking around the apartment and Mike sees me from a distance. "Your belly really is a little out there now," he says. Of course, I've been telling him this for days, but when he now agrees with me, I narrow my eyes and make a scowling face.

He rushes over to me, grabs and kisses me, caressing my stomach. "I love it! It is soo cute and sexy! I can't wait to see your belly grow!"

I then "defend" my belly in a strange way. "It's just there because I ate a lot of hummus and drank so much water!"

I instantly smile at the oddness of my saying this.

"I don't know why I just said that," I tell him. "It is the baby. Of course, I would rather it be the baby than food. You'd think I'd want to argue it the other way around." Then I get defensive again, egged on by absolutely nothing. "I mean, I am over three months. A lot of people are showing more than me at this point, so it's perfectly normal to have a little belly now. It's just going to get bigger," I state the obvious.

"I know," Mike says. "Of course it's the baby. The baby needs somewhere to go. I love it," he emphasizes. He's a good guy.

My chiropractor lowers the belly part of his table for me yesterday. My friend at work today says she can finally see I am pregnant (then perhaps sensing my unfounded fear to hear this, she stresses that I'm normally so thin, which is how she can tell). So I guess it's out there. My belly, that is.

So obviously, I have my moments of feeling weird about it, but then I have a lot of moments where I am loving it, look at it in the mirror and smile, eager for it to grow even more.

Of course, I do think people who don't know me would assume I just ate a little too much hummus, but for those who have observed my abs more frequently, yes, they are a' changing!

The "Message in a Baby Bottle" Project - Launched!

[by Mike]
Tara and I, while wandering about in Fishkill, NY a month or two ago, bought a little baby bottle with the idea of turning it into a little place to collect messages for the baby.

However, as of today, it was still wrapped and unopened. (Like I said, I'm so glad Tara started this blog!)

Fortunately, as of 10 minutes ago (I got a little inspired), it is now up and running -- presenting the "Message in a Baby Bottle" bottle! We've got a bottle, multi-colored post-it note squares, and a pen on our dining room table for anyone to write a little message for the baby at any time. Fun!

A Word From Tara's Husband...

[by Mike]
Hooray! My first post. First, an ENORMOUS thanks to Tara for starting this blog; I'm so, so glad we (she) kicked this project off. (Thanks, Babester!)

Where to start. How 'bout a stream-of-conciousness, shot gun approach to set the scene? So, I'm reading about "Month 4" in The Expectant Father (thanks to Jay, Dan, Kat, Mike M, another Mike M, for the referral). I'm incredibly excited about learning whether our little baby is a boy or girl. I'm incredibly lucky to have such a wonderful mom-to-be as my wife. I'll stay away from "global depression"-related topics for now... What else? A ginormous election (but you folks know all that). SNL is hilarious. Tara and I are writing a song. We're still looking for a house...however, our real estate-related dialog has morphed from "...if we move into Stamford, CT, we'll afford more room for our growing family.." to "...if we move the bed out of the guest room, we'll have some room for a crib...".

But enough of that money stuff. (Sorry, "Month 4" in TEF is all about college funds, investments, and money...)

So, I'm going to be a father. Crazy. Hopefully, it's okay that I still think NHL '94 is the best video game ever, and am still willing to perform the 'Monkey Dance' when Tara prompts me... But it certainly is a different thing when a little life is in your hands. But then, I'm really not one to talk about any of this yet, since I'm not there; I need to earn the badge first. So we'll stop immediately. (I salute all the many proud dads I know!)

Quick Question: Will I still be able to call Tara "Babe" and "Babester" once we have a baby?

Well, that's it. That's my glorious first random post/rant. NOW LET'S GET PUMPED!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Yes, Mike's the father...

Mike is reading The Expectant Father, and one short section refers to the irrational fears some men have that they are not the father of the baby. It tends to stem from a feeling of inadequacy or insecurity, i.e.: "I can't be good enough to have made that baby, so someone else must have done the job."

Mike hasn't felt this way (he's a secure guy), but we did have someone doubt his paternity the other day...our doctor!

So my blood type is A negative. Over 85% of people are positive (10th grade Genetics reminds me it's dominant), so chances are our baby would be positive, as well. This could cause a problem, as if my blood mixes with the baby's blood, my body would see the baby as an intruder and try to attack it (which could cause brain damage and even death). Once these antibodies are formed, they are there forever, so all subsequent pregnancies would be very high-risk.

Luckily, there is a shot that I will receive at 28 weeks and at delivery, which solves this. It's basically rh positive blood from donors which prevents my body from making the deadly antibodies. (Btw--this does not happen when the mother is rh positive and the baby is negative.)

Of course, I'm not too keen on other people's blood being injected in me unnecessarily, and I read that if the father is also rh negative, then the baby would be rh negative (again, Genetics). No shot needed; no antibodies would form. Rh negative won't attack rh negative.

So Mike and I are at our last OB appointment, and I bring this up to the doctor. I tell him Mike doesn't know his blood type, but should we get him tested to see if he's negative to know if I actually need the shots. He cuts me off pretty quickly with that train of thought.

"Well, even if he is negative, we still would give you the shot anyway," he says.

"Why?" I ask. These doctors and their shots...I tell ya!

Then, with a mixture of matter-of-factness and sheepishness, he states, "In case he's not the father."



Mike and I smile at each other and kind of laugh. I think Mike or the doctor makes a joke about the milkman, and I assure Mike he is, indeed, the father.

I thought that was interesting though...I met a woman in Las Vegas who was rh negative and her OB said the same thing to her! So I guess doctors figure, better be safe than sorry!

But when the baby comes out of the womb, grabbing a guitar with one hand and a blog with the other hand, then any of Mike's fears will be laid to rest...

Yes, Mike! No need to be suspicious, what with your Hoover Dam security signs and all. This baby is yours! :)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Pregnancy Week 14: That's a baby in there!

So BabyCenter gives you weekly updates on the development of your body and your baby's growth during pregnancy. I usually go to their site once a week to gawk at the see-through shot of the baby in the womb. However, I must not have been there for a while, because I check it out this week and can not believe what the baby looked likes! The last I saw, I could barely make out the baby in the womb; well, I could see the baby, but it didn't look like a baby. It just looked like a little thing, a shape, a tiny pink squiggle from a distance.

But now, not only does the baby look like a baby (its lost most of the alien features), but it now looks like it's actually taking up a bit of space in there! I'm at 14 1/2 weeks right now, so the baby is around 4 inches or so, head to rump. That is the size of some little baby dolls, or figurines; it's bigger than barbie babies.

When I see the picture, I am in such pleasant disbelief, I call Mike over just to look at it. He has the same reaction I do. We both marvel that a precious little baby, and it really is a little baby, is actually living inside of me.

A few years ago, the thought of having a baby inside of me freaked me out. I thought the baby would feel like a parasite or alien, like, "What is it doing in there?!" I knew I was not ready to be pregnant. Then around a year or so ago, I had a dream where I had just delivered a baby. I don't remember being pregnant in the dream, or having the baby, but I remember the feeling I had of no longer being pregnant. I was sad. I remember touching my stomach and feeling that it was not big, hard, round. And I missed that feeling. I started longing to feel pregnant again (even though I had never actually been pregnant, even in my dream! A bit bizarre...).

When I woke up, for the first time ever, I felt it would be amazing to be pregnant. Of course, Mike and I didn't actually want to get pregnant then, but I knew that when we were ready, I would be okay with it. And maybe I would even love it, and maybe even miss it when it was gone. Feelings or thoughts I have due to dreams often fade after a day or so. But this dream was very different. While it was only a dream, that feeling never left me, and I thank God for that (as maybe it was God giving me that little go-ahead after all).

I know pregnancy and delivery and recovering are not going to be easy, but man! It really is such an honor that a woman gets to carry a living child inside of her!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

First Trimester Down...

Well, we've made it through the first trimester!

I have to say, this has been a pretty easy pregnancy so far. A little nausea for a week or so, but nothing too major. Barely gained any weight (in fact, I lost weight at first, because I was so anxious/excited), so I can't complain about my clothes not fitting yet (although soon to change, I'm sure!). No hormonal emotional swings on my end, so Mike has had that part easy. :) No scares like spotting or other worrisome symptoms. An OB who listens and takes time with us, a husband who attends appointments with me. My biggest complaint is that I'm still not sleeping well (there are nights when I literally wake up every hour, and four hours of straight sleep is about my max still), so naturally, I'm somewhat tired, but it could be worse. All in all, I could not have asked for a much better first trimester. And now we are supposed to be going into an even better trimester! So we are very excited!

Pregnancy Week 13: From ANTM to the Grand Canyon--Pictures from Las Vegas

So Mike, the womb-baby, and I, all have a great time in Nevada. In Las Vegas, I can do without all the smoke from cigarettes and cigars (it is even smoky outside!), but we have fun.

While at our at hotel, we see the filming of the America's Next Top Model (next season), and get a close-up view, since we can swim right up to the taping from our pool. A new vacation friend of mine, Lynn, and I (and a random lady in the pool) talk with "Miss Jay" whose personality seems quite like his tv persona. When the taping is over, Jay walks near us, and Lynn's boyfriend, Brad, is bold enough to ask him to pose for a picture with us. At first, he hesitates; they are not supposed to take pictures while filming, but we promise to make the picture a close-up (so as not to give away the location), and get our shot.

Nothing bonds two couples like a celebrity sighting, so Mike and I have dinner with the vaca-friends the next night at Fix in the Bellagio (to the right is Mike's dessert there--the "Shake and Cake").

We see Cirque's "O" (and do our own act pre-curtain, pictured to the left), have a lot of great dinners out, and I get a massage (but the therapist is too scared to give me a nice strong massage, since I'm pregnant--bummer). We gamble a little and Mike wins $85 at his slow-and-steady method of playing roulette. We also rent a car to the Hoover Dam and swim in Lake Mead.

However, the highlight of our trip is our Grand Canyon tour. We fly in a tiny plane to the Grand Canyon, take a helicopter ride into the canyon itself, then enjoy a relaxing boat ride in the Colorado River at the bottom of the GC before making the mount back to the top, where we wander around and eat an "authentic American Indian meal" (i.e. mac-n-cheese, beef and cornbread). Here, Mike and I relax on a rock at the Grand Canyon. There is nothing between us the 4000+ feet below!

Below is the view from the inside of the helicopter.

Our peach-sized baby enjoyed it all!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pregnancy Week 12: We're in Vegas, baby!

Mike has a marketing conference in Vegas this week, so I have tagged along, and we're adding a few extra days to his stay so we can have a little vacation. I guess it's kind of a Babymoon, although we're really hoping we can go somewhere in January or February that is out of the country. We know it is going to be really hard to vacation in the same manner once we have kids (well, we won't really vacation in the same way). How does your vacation change once you have kids, all you current parents?

So no drinking for me this vacation (which is a shame, as we have all these complimentary swanky work dinners with free drinks that I will substitute for orange juice).

It's nice that I'm nearing the end of the first trimester, because we can be totally open about being pregnant now. Once you're around 3 months, no one says "wow, you're early on" anymore when you tell them (which I didn't experience, but Mike encountered every time!). It's been fun to talk to people at the dinners in Vegas about being pregnant too. I'm hearing a lot of stories about pregnancy and childrearing (no horror stories, which is good, although I don't get too freaked out by those yet...). It's fun!

So for now, we're living it up, baby-Vegas-style, baby! :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Third Doctor's visit--it looks like a baby! Sort of...

We have our third doctor's visit today. Mike had forgotten about the appointment, so he scheduled a meeting at work, but at the last minute, he decides to do a conference call on his cell instead, so he can accompany me. While I drive and sit in the waiting room, he wheels and deals on his cell phone, and finishes with enough time to even read a travel magazine article and start to do a silly dance in the waiting room. I'm glad he's come.

So--I have opted not to have "sequential testing", which is a sonogram and bloodwork that tell you if you have a greater chance of having a baby with downs syndrome. I figure, my chances are low that is the case, and I'd rather not have unnecessary sonograms. They can do bloodwork and will do a sonogram later anyway, which can tell pretty much the same thing, so why bother with an extra sonogram now? While US doctors and reports will say they are safe, it is still debatable, and there have been studies done in other countries to indicate they are not necessarily completely harmless (and if you think about what a sonogram is, it makes sense that it would at least cause some disruption).

The cool thing with the sequential testing though is that you get a 4D image of your baby, which is wild! One of my friends who is 5 days ahead of me had it done and the pictures are amazing. It was tempting, for that reason alone, to get the test--but entertainment is not the right reason for me personally to do it.

However, when I have my visit today, he does one anyway! And this is the standard b&w picture, so I didn't even get the cool 4D.

The thing is, this time, I don't even realize what he's doing. My first 2 ultrasounds have been transvaginal, so it's pretty obvious, but this time, he does it on my belly, after the nurse mentions listening for the heartbeat, so I assume that is what he is doing. Then I suddenly see a picture of our baby on the screen!

It is a quick ultrasound, and I tell him after that I want to avoid unnecessary sonograms. I think he feels a little bad or embarrassed, but now he knows.

Since Mike and I are caught off guard when the sonogram comes up, we cannot enjoy it as much as we had before, but still...I cannot stop looking at the picture! The baby is over 2 inches long, and it looks more like a baby than ever. the heart beat is strong, all is positioned well.

We leave the doctor's appointment, and instead of going back to work, Mike suggests we go out to eat to celebrate. I choose an Indian restaurant which we haven't been to in a while. I love Indian food, but it's a little hard on my stomach at times, so I tend to avoid it. But today is special, so we have an amazing meal and leave with leftovers. Mike then goes back to work and stays until 11pm! At least he has a full stomach...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Pregnancy Week 11--There must be something in the water...

...Because everyone is pregnant!

I just found out one of my good friends is expecting, two other college friends are pregnant, one of my cousin's is pregnant, one of my work friends is pregnant, two of Mike's college roommate's wives are pregnant--and almost all of us due around the same time--March to June. I also know a lot of people who just had babies in the past 3 months. I could say, I guess it's just that time in our lives...first we have the half decade where we attend 5-10 weddings every year, now we have moved into the baby decade.

But I feel it's something more than that. One of my friends wrote on facebook, "Is anyone NOT pregnant? I'm sure the list will be shorter." And we travel in different circles. It is not just me who is noticing. I don't know if it has to do with the economy, a surge in telling women to not wait until their late 30s/early 40s (remember all those scare-tactic posters up in the subway a while back? Warning women to get on the baby bandwagon soon or else?), or if it really is just a coincidence/age/timing thing? But we pregnant women are everywhere!

I'll guess I'll have to wait a while to find out the statistics of 2009 births, but I am guessing that it will be higher than 07s and 08s. We'll see!

It is nice to know that our child will have a lot of built-in friends from my friends' children, as well. I wish the best of luck to all my fellow pregnantees!