16 weeks

Today I am 16 weeks along. Let's just say that all I want for my birthday (which is in five days, but who's counting?) is to not puke. Just for that one day. Is that asking too much?

I am a lot less sleepy now, which I'm thankful for. I've been managing to run errands without coming home in between for a recharge (see also: two hour long nap). I've gotten that pregnant-woman-sniffly-nose thing but don't mind it too much. After four consecutive months of vomiting my throat raw, there's not much that bothers me these days. I'm still speckled in acne like a teenager -- okay, who am I kidding? My teenager sister and her friends don't even have close to this much acne -- but learning to deal with it and focus on the bigger picture. The bigger picture, of course, being baby.

Baby is the size of an avocado this week. Not going to lie...when I read avocado, I thought, "guacamole!" From there, I sat here at the computer for a solid three minutes just salivating over thoughts of tacos...and am still fighting the urge to drive to Chipotle as fast as humanly possible. Mmm, Chipotle.

If Baby is a girl (which my gut still says HE isn't), her uterus is fully developed and the ovaries already hold primitive egg cells. Baby's skin is wrinkly and translucent, kind of like an old man's. Right now, all of his/her veins are visible underneath his/her skin. Baby's heart is also now pumping about 25 quarts of blood per day.

In the next couple of weeks, Baby will double in weight and add inches to his/her length. His/her ears are closer to their final position and his/her eyes have moved to the front of the face (well, that's a good thing).

I'm still going with my gut that Baby is a boy...though I'm in the minority. Still, the majority of my friends and family insist that Baby is a girl with only a handful of people joining me on "team blue." Do I have a preference? Absolutely not! I just can't wait to find out and start preparing Baby's nursery.


15 weeks

Today, Baby, I am 15 weeks along. Is the morning sickness wearing off? Well, maybe a little bit. Today, though? Not so much. I reeled in my 15th week of pregnancy hunched over the toilet in a sad kind of tribute to my nightmarish 1st trimester that just won't fully quit. It's okay, though, because it's so worth it. I'll live off of Saltines and Ginger Ale as long as I need to. Bigger picture!

Bigger picture, bigger baby! Baby is approximately the size of a naval orange today! That is a huge jump from last week's lemon. According to the professionals, I should be remembering that I need my sleep (check!) and I'm probably finding it uncomfortable to fall asleep. Check times ten. Thank goodness for my Snoogle and my ultra patient husband who puts up with my blanket pulling and pillow shoving and fussing until I get comfortable enough to actually drift off to sleep.

They say I should feel you moving, Baby, in just a couple of weeks. I can't wait!

Baby's head is now resting on his/her nicely formed neck. He/she is beginning to grow eyebrows and eyelashes this week. Also this week, he/she is beginning to grow hair on his/her head! (I am already anticipating one hairy, hairy baby.) Even with eyelids fused shut, Baby is able to sense light. His/her eyes and ears look like eyes and ears this week. Baby is practicing swallowing and may even be hiccuping soon. He/she is busy moving amniotic fluid through her nose and upper respiratory tract, which helps the primitive air sacs in her lungs begin to develop. His/her legs are growing longer than his/her arms now, and she can move all of her joints and limbs.

This week, I still think Baby is a boy. The rest of the world? They think it's a girl all the way.


Baby's Heartbeat

I'm 14w5d today, which meant today was my 15 week appointment. We got to hear Baby's heartbeat and, of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to record it.

We also set up our anatomy scan! On February 24th at 8:30 a.m., we will be finding out if Baby is a BOY or a GIRL! My mommy-instinct is telling me BOY. I will be legitimately surprised if Baby is a girl!

We also set up a (tentative) c-section date...or, more excitingly, Baby's birthday! July 7th, 2011. 7/7/11. Thursday, July 7th, 2011. I love the sound of it! How exciting it is to know that Baby has a (tentative) birthday!


How I Met Your Father

Otis Redding - Everclear

Dear Baby,

There's nothing that I love more than listening to my parents tell me stories about when they were younger or how they met -- even if it's a story I've heard so many times before that I have it memorized. I think these stories as a whole are important because they help those who weren't there (me) put together so many of the pieces of how life as we know it came to be.

On that note, I want you to know that I fell in love with your father on August 27th, 2001. I remember that day not only because it was the first day of school during my 10th grade year (your dad's 11th grade year) but because it was the first time that I ever saw his face. I was standing in front of Building 7 waiting for the bell to ring for my first period class (it was typing class). Five minutes before the bell, your father walked past me to get to his class (it was guitar class). He was wearing his school football jersey with khaki shorts, argyle socks to his knees (yes, really) and puffy black Vans. My friend, Meghan, knew his name because he had done a project last year with her brother. Back in those days, we didn't have Facebook or an easy way to e-stalk people (I can admit it! I was a creeper!). Instead, we had AOL profiles. I somehow found his and swooned with every Operation Ivy, Rancid and Bouncing Souls quote that lined his profile. I also found out that he played bass guitar in a local band. Your uncle Mike had a local record label at the time. It seemed only natural that I beg Mike to send an instant message to Aaron and ask if he could have one of their demo CDs. Your uncle Mike went to a different school, so he made it "coincidentally" work out that his cousin (that'd be me!) would pick up the CD for him before school one morning. I'm not usually a go-getter by any means but, Baby, I declared after the very first day of school that year that I had found the person that I was going to marry. You can imagine the reaction that got because I was only 15 years old at the time and everyone was quick to tell me that I didn't know what love meant and he certainly wouldn't be the person I would marry.

I'm not trying to deprive you of any details, but there really weren't any. For months I pined over your father while convinced he didn't have any feelings back for me. Thanks to your uncle Mike and his nifty record label trick, your father and I became friends. We'd talk before school and after school and, a lot of times, online or on the phone until the wee hours of the morning. For Christmas 2001, he gave me an Ataris CD and, let me tell you, Baby, I went to sleep listening to that CD for months until it was so worn out.

This is a photograph of us taken that Christmas after we exchanged gifts (I had gotten him a Volcom t-shirt):

On January 17th, 2002, Punxter36 (that's your dad! Yes, really!) sent KissMeImEmo12 (that'd be me!) and instant message with five simple words that'd change the course of life as I knew it: will you be my girlfriend? Baby, before you smack your dad for asking me out online, let me tell you that it was one of the biggest joys I'd ever experienced. Our first date was to see Stretching FM play at a local park. He was so nervous to even hold my hand and barely spoke two words the entire evening. It didn't matter, though, because I had confirmed everything that I already knew: he would be the person I would marry.

This is a photograph of your dad when he came to pick me up on our first date:

Baby, I got the most wonderful gift in the world: the chance to grow up alongside your father, the love of my life. I had the chance to experience sweet sixteens and driving tests and master's degrees and first mortgages with him. And, Baby, ever since we were kids together, he and I always wanted you.

When your dad had to go away to college (I was still a senior in high school), we went to this new park in Boca Raton that wasn't done being built yet. It was late in the evening and we laid down a blanket and watched the stars. "Tell me about your dreams," your dad had begged. I was admittedly a wreck those few months as talk of colleges and shipping off and long distance came to the front of my mind. We talked about our dreams for hours and, Baby, it all came down to one thing: you. After the selection of colleges, the courses signed up for, the silly details...we shared one common dream: having a family. There were sacrifices we were both willing to make and, Baby, I moved right up there with your dad as soon as I could -- despite the fact that Orlando and I share nothing in common at all other than a mutual hatred for one another. Each bad day that I had, I knew at the end of the day that we were making these sacrifices to bring ourselves closer to having you. Your father and I were never apart, we were never not together, starting nine years ago today. We never didn't love one another and, Baby, we never didn't love you.

On the 9 year anniversary that your dad and I have been together, I want you to know how much we always loved you. I want you to know how I met your father and what he will always mean to me. I want you to know the love that you were brought into and the love that will always surround you.



I Will Be Grateful For This Day - Bright Eyes

I will tell you one thing, Baby: I am loving this second trimester thing so much more than the first! The sheer first trimester excitement of knowing you were on your way was often paired with terror, panic, the never-leaving feeling that something would go wrong. That was paired with the worst nausea that I think it's possible to even feel. Today is my first morning without the Zofran so maybe I'm all hopped up on the hope that this terrible morning all-day sickness is gone, but we'll go with that hope.

Right now I'm in 65% maternity shirts and 100% maternity pants. (Right now it's 40 degrees in South Florida and I'm bundled up in the only maternity sweater that I have. Totally unprepared for this). I'm not running to pee as much, my nausea has definitely decreased, I'm starting to gain more of an appetite. I am, however, having immense difficulty falling asleep at night or getting comfortable. Last night it took me two hours of tossing and turning to find a position I could be comfortable in.

Your Development: Today, Baby, you are the size of my favorite fruit: a lemon!

You are squinting, frowning, grimacing and learning to make facial expressions. Your kidneys are producing urine. You can even suck your thumb! This week, your liver will start to produce bile and your spleen will help produce red-blood cells. I can't feel you yet (I can't wait until I can!) but you're kicking and "punching" up a storm in there.

My favorite fun fact about you this week, Baby, is that you formed fingerprints -- all by yourself! As you moved your hands around in the amniotic fluid, the skin on the tips of your fingers formed unique ridges and folds.

We are already stocking up on so many things for you. I am counting down the days until we find out if you're a boy or a girl (I'm back to thinking you're a boy!) so that we can decorate your nursery!


Not the 13 week update I was hoping for!

This past Thursday was my 13 week mark but I'm afraid I don't have any belly pictures! This is because I spent Thursday day out of commission with this terrible cold/sore throat and then Thursday evening in the emergency room.

Most importantly, though, Baby is okay!

I had intense cramping (think menstrual cramps times a thousand) that ended up being a bladder infection, which is the short-story version. It was a scary hour or so of thinking there was a problem with Baby but it was wonderful seeing her/him bounce around on the ultrasound screen!

Since then, I've been recovering from both the bladder infection and the cold/sore throat and the stomach virus I inevitably picked up at the ER. It's been a rough few days. I'm still feeling super miserable, actually -- but also quite happy that Baby is unfazed and doing awesomely regardless of my own horrible bill of health. I'm pretty sure I've never been more scared in my life than I was when the cramps had me on the bathroom floor unable to get up, just sobbing and trying to figure out why I couldn't feel my legs. It's not a place I ever want to be again so, yes, I will dutifully add cranberry juice to my diet religiously and try not to complain too much about being so miserable. An unwavering cough, chest congestion, a cold, a persistent sore throat and a stomach virus cannot tackle my joy that Baby is okay.

And, plus, while I may not have gotten 13 week belly pictures, I did get the joy of being able to bring home this picture to hang up on my 'fridge and look at:

So even though I'm hacking up a lung with a tissue rammed up my nostrils, I can't really complain.


Books & The Beach

This morning, Baby, we went to the beach. I absolutely couldn't ever imagine living anywhere else as, to me, there's nothing more magical than being able to spend the morning at the beach. You'll learn soon that your dad doesn't agree, but that's okay...you'll see for yourself how great it is. We got to the beach a little bit after 8:00, which is the perfect time. The beach is still quiet other than a few elderly walkers or other people who came to sit and enjoy the fresh ocean air.

On our walk up and down the shore, something exciting happened! I got "recognized" as being pregnant for the first time! It felt as magical as I thought it would! I was wearing an already-snug old t-shirt (that I slept in...shh!) so maybe it was more obvious, but it was so great! This elderly woman asked how far along I was, just like that. I told her almost 13 weeks and she was so excited. She told me that she spent her pregnancies walking up and down Miami Beach in the mornings and there is nothing that can refresh you or make you feel better than the salt air. Before long, we were walking with her...which is good, because she moves at the same pace that I'm moving these days. She had that unable-to-ditch-it New York accent that my grandmother had and it was so comforting to be walking with her. Eventually she retreated back to her condo -- but not without a final "mazel tov!" -- and we sat down to read.

In my pregnancy journal, it always asks what I'm reading. Today we read a short story collection by Raymond Carver titled, "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love." He is one of my favorite short story authors. I'm sure at some point you'll read his work in school. My favorite days in school were days when we'd have to read Raymond Carver.

We spent nearly two hours at the beach and returned home a little after 10:00. Baby, I think I am going to have to make this part of our while-you're-in-my-belly routine. I loved spending the morning with you this morning. I can't wait until you're here and we can take you to the beach "for real" so you, too, can feel the magic of your toes in the water and the ocean air.

Bedtime Stories

Even though you're technically not supposed to hear us inside there yet, I can't accept that as a valid excuse not to read to you. We've been reading you bedtime stories since the moment we found out you were coming. There was no way my child would exist so long in my belly without bedtime stories! It just wasn't going to happen.

I love it when your daddy reads you bedtime stories. Tonight he read you Mercer Mayer's Just My Dad And Me. You have quite an impressive library already, Baby! I can't help but wonder if you'll end up being a huge bookworm like me. I can't wait until you get here and we can watch you look at the illustrations, too. I'm so excited to take you to the special events at the library or to pick out books with you at the bookstore. Between your books and mine, we're quickly running out of space! There are just so many magical components to reading with you...even now, even though you're still so tiny inside my belly.



My 12 week update is a bit late this week, too. The good news is that I'm officially done with working so I can devote the rest of my pregnancy to the important things -- you know, like blogging. No, but really, I'm looking forward to getting in touch with my pregnancy and being able to enjoy it. Because I'm sure it has to get enjoyable at some point, right?

Right now my morning all day sickness has alleviated quite nicely. Right now, however, I'm also spending my evening with a bottle of prune juice and a box of Fi-Bars (I'll let you use your imaginations where I'm going with that one but, please believe, this is agonizing).

...But that's okay because this week, Baby has reflexes! His/her fingers can open and close, his/her toes can curl, his/her mouth will make sucking movements. His/her intestines will start to move into his/her abdominal cavity about now, and his/her kidneys will begin excreting urine into his/her bladder. Baby weighs half an ounce and is the size of a lime.

I'm also officially in maternity jeans. I gave up on my regular jeans on Friday and caved and bought my first pair of maternity jeans on Saturday. I can still wear my regular shirts with no problem, but I'm enjoying the comfort of maternity shirts here and there. Otherwise, things have gotten better...minus the lingering fatigue. And the whole prune juice thing. Minus that, too.
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