25 Weeks

At this point, the 3rd trimester is so close I can feel it! That scares me on quite a few levels. One being that it feels like just yesterday we found out that I was pregnant and the other being that I quite like feeling this little guy rumble around in my belly. Which isn't to say I can't wait to meet him (because it's essentially all I think about!) but I quite like our baby-in-belly bonding time.

Pregnancy qualms and complaints are dwindling done to nothing major. Heartburn that feels like I've swallowed fire and leg cramps that wake me up in the middle of the night with tears in my eyes but, other than that, nothing new or worse. Which I can deal with. Really, I can.

As for little (or, really, not-so-little) Ethan, he is the size of an eggplant this week!

He's developing his baby fat and also readily growing hair! I'm curious if he'll end up with his dad's Cory Matthews hair (fingers crossed for Shawn Hunter's locks instead, please!). Little capillaries forming inside are giving Ethan a healthy and pink glow. His blood vessels are also forming in his lungs, too! He's soaking up antibodies and getting his tough little immune system ready for the big, scary world outside of the womb. His eyes are forming, too! It's almost time to start blinking.

Also pretty cool: Ethan is so aware of his hands and spends a great deal of his time groping around in the darkness in there. His brain and nerve endings are developed so that he can feel the sensation of touch! His nostrils have cleared out and he's actually mastered breathing through his nose. Pretty awesome, right?

On a more complex note (is all of this really happening right inside of my belly?), Ethan's spine is made up of 150 joints, 33 rings and over 1,000 ligaments.

It sounds like a very busy time for little Ethan in there! He's so awesome.


I'm also proud to announce that my husband and I have selected Ethan's "coming home form the hospital" outfit. I figure this is our one time to completely doll up the baby for his grand initial photoshoot before we change him back into his layette gowns the second we walk in our door for the first time.

Totally precious, despite the fact I can envision my mother cringing at this very moment. (Hi, mom!)

Do the newborn DC's not make you just MELT? Come on, you know they do. I'm totally melting.


Since We're Being Honest...

Even through my sickest days -- those hellish ones where I lay in bed reeking of my own vomit and too dizzy or sore to even move -- I've enjoyed being pregnant. Every overly-neurotic ER trip or stretchmark has been an adventure in, you know, housing a child inside of me for the first time. Every flutter or kick, especially the ones so strong you can watch your belly bounce, have been nothing short of magical. I've been completely overjoyed "getting to know" the little boy inside my belly -- oh, and buying him things. Lots of things. So many things that his room is already packed to the brim with things.

But, since we're being honest, I've found myself awfully sad a lot.

And the reason for that sadness is because I really, really miss my husband.

Image by Debra Weisheit Photography

No, he hasn't been assigned on some far away business trip somewhere. He's quite simply just an accountant and it's simply this time of the year.

My husband hasn't had a single day off of work for five weeks straight and, out of all of those work days, he's only been home before one or two in the morning a handful of times. Most of the time I'm asleep when he gets home and still asleep when he leaves. I eat dinner by myself, read Ethan stories by myself and spend my evenings putting the TV on in the living room just to make it seem like I'm a little less by myself.

Not to be all woe-is-me, but then there are all of the "pregnancy firsts" that I had to tell him about via e-mail, like the first time I felt the baby move or a picture of the outfit someone sent us. I'd already been feeling the baby kick from the outside for a couple of weeks before my husband was able to feel it for the first time.

And then there are all of the overwhelming things that simply are no fun to do while pregnant without assistance, such as unloading the groceries from the car (which now takes at least five trips) or figuring out how to clean up the cat puke from underneath the kitchen table.

All in all, after the holidays, I started feeling sad a great deal of the time which, frankly, is no fun at all. He may live under the same roof as me, but sometimes it can be days before I so much as even catch a glimpse of my husband...and I miss him! I miss him and the annoying "ding!" of his BlackBerry while I'm trying to sleep and the way he refuses to get ready for anything until ten minutes before we're supposed to leave.

It's a confusing and frustrating thing to have the happiest time of your life also be one in which you're sad a lot of the time, but I'm trying to deal. (I say this as halfway through my composing this entry, I receive an e-mail from my husband saying he's running later than anticipated.)

Since we're being honest, it felt kind of good to get that out in the open. I feel guilty keeping the sad feelings locked up inside, like somehow they become a burden on Ethan...and he already makes me nothing but happy, no matter how hard the kicks in the bladder become and how many pairs of panties I've peed in as a result.


Weekend With Teenager

I grew up in one of those lived-in houses. We didn't have a separate living room filled with white carpeting and furniture that wasn't allowed to be sat in. Every inch of the house was constantly being utilized by not just us as kids, but by all of our friends who seemed to live at our house almost as much as we did. There were books, backpacks, crayons, toys never far from sight. More than anything, though, there was the wonderful sound of life and happiness and love and laughter! There was noise! "Want to do something this weekend?" as a teenager translated to do "want to come over this weekend?" We never didn't have people over at our house. My mom was never not in the kitchen making meals for our friends or schlepping us from point A to point B (and C, D, E and F) in her car. My mom's car almost served as a charter bus taking us from lesson to class to friends house to wherever-we-needed-to-go. This wonderful kind of chaos became a strangely comforting feeling and one that I missed immensely when I moved away for college.

Needless to say, when my parents asked me to "babysit" (is that term even still applicable?) my 14 year old sister from Friday through Sunday while they went away on one of my dad's business trips together, it seemed like a challenge I could definitely be up for. What I totally neglected to think about, or fully grasp, was the fact that as chaotically busy as I was as a teenager, it was nothing compared to how busy my sister is. What do I mean? Well, for starters, she dances on two (not one, but two!) hip-hop companies, takes a teen hip-hop class, takes acro, jazz, tap and stretching, has a math tutor and gets picked up early from school due to a PE exemption for all of the dancing that she does. That in itself is a lot to throw into a day where school takes up a great deal already, but factor in meals and homework and you've got yourself one busy day. (Understand my sister is 14 so you're also throwing in hair, make-up and an intense wardrobe selection and you've got yourself one heck of a busy day.) Suddenly I found myself behind the wheel of my mom's car, chauffeuring my sister from point A to point B with that same frantic behavior I knew so well. Suddenly I understood what my mom would freak out about when it was 6:00 and dinner wasn't on the table and we had to be somewhere in fifteen minutes, oh my god. (And suddenly it wasn't very comforting. Suddenly it felt like a nap came before food on the priority list.)

I lost track of how many relatives or friends called to say "how are you liking it?" or "enjoying life running around with a kid?" or otherwise laughing at the crazy fiasco that I found myself in when my parents called to say dad's car broke down, he got sick and they'd be returning a day late. Really? The answer was yes. I loved the chaos. I loved fighting the exhaustion that took over my eyelids as I begged her to please just get ready for bed, tomorrow is school. I loved the meatloaf cupcakes and the guess-what-happened-in-school-today and the taking her and her friend for ceramics painting and Mexican food. I loved the history homework and the teenage freak-outs in the grocery store over popcorn chicken. (The only part I didn't love were the torrential downpours we had here on Monday evening, though that is no fault of anyone other than the cruel weather gods.) It was busy, frantic, fun and a few times frustrating -- but at the end of the day, as I was laying in bed, she called out, "thank you for everything!"

...And suddenly it got a lot less frustrating. Suddenly it got a lot less tiring. Suddenly I didn't care that we didn't eat dinner until 8:00 at night or I wasn't able to get to the grocery store before round 500 of dance class.

Now I find myself back in my own quiet house, with four quiet kitties and a husband still at work (we'll save that for another entry called Why I Hate Being Married To An Accountant This Time Of Year) and it's back to being eerie. There's no one to drive to four thousand dance lessons. There's no one to fight with about taking a shower and getting into pajamas. There's no one asking me to help her decide what elaborate outfit she should wear to school the next day or to straighten her hair over breakfast.

Then that little baby in my tummy rumbles around and delivers a swift kick and I know that it won't be this eerily quiet for long. Those days of familiar chaos really, really aren't that far away.

(And I'm glad. Even after my sister asks me where we left the container of ice-cream that didn't wind up back in the freezer, I'm glad.)


24 Weeks

Today is 24 weeks and, if it's anything like last week, I'm loving this second trimester/end of the second trimester thing. I no longer require naps to function properly and have found myself able to run errands without breaking down in tears from the discomfort and stress. (Not that pregnancy made me melodramatic or anything.) Everything has truly been fantastic as my belly has gotten bigger and Ethan's kicks have gotten stronger and more regular, not to mention able to be felt from the outside now.

Strangers have been stopping me to ask "boy or girl?" or how far along I am or, even, to simply wish me a congratulations in passing. I'm loving every second of that and for people to no longer be wondering "bloated or pregnant?" and having everyone be too unsure or nervous to say something. My belly is a free-for-all now with the ladies who work at the grocery store always wanting to touch it and, not going to lie, I kind of love it.

We've started interviewing pediatricians for Ethan and met with our first yesterday. I absolutely loved her so I'm hoping this doesn't end up being a difficult decision. Our next interview with another office is on the 5th. We've also signed up for our birthcare pavilion tour at the hospital and are now choosing our prenatal and breastfeeding courses offered by the hospital. It's all just one sign after another how real things are becoming and how quickly it's getting here!

As for little Ethan, it's an exciting time for him in there, too. He's approximately the size of an ear of corn or a foot-long hotdog (both of which sound delicious at the moment, I won't lie). He's gained about four ounces since last week. He's about to start plumping up and getting all of that cute baby fat! His brain is growing quickly and his taste buds are rapidly developing. Little Ethan's lungs are in the process of developing respiratory tree "branches" as well as surfactant, which helps his air sacs inflate upon birth.

Ethan officially has little eyelashes, which are finishing formation this week! His ears are fully functional now, too. His inner ear is fully developed which means he also has his sense of balance.


23 Weeks

Today marks 23 weeks and I still can't believe how quickly it's all flying by. A couple of pregnancy websites suggested that I would very soon be welcoming the always lovely swelling of the feet and, yes, the past few nights I've definitely had the pleasure. Not to jinx it, but I'm otherwise doing awesomely. If busy season decides to give back my accountant husband, we may even begin to tackle the nursery soon.

This week, Ethan is still being compared (size-wise) to a papaya for the second week in a row. Other comparisons are to a Harry Potter book and a large mango. I think we'll stick with the double dose of papaya!

I had a doctor's appointment yesterday and got to take a peek at little Ethan. He's weighing in at 1 pound, 6 ounces!

Some really cool things are going on in there this week. Ethan has developed his sense of movement which means he can feel me move around. He's developing blood vessels in his lungs to prepare him for breathing and his ears are able to pick up outside sounds. Ethan's fat production is working hard this week and he's expected to double in weight over the next month! His skin is becoming less and less see-through these days, too, and his body-to-head ratio is becoming more and more proportionate.

We begin interviewing pediatricians (appointments already made!) over the next couple of weeks and everything is starting to feel more and more real.


Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner for our free (super-cute, super-awesome) custom knitted hat/beanie giveaway from anamorphicecho!

Congratulations, Amber!

Thank you to everyone who entered and to anamorphicecho for hosting such a great giveaway! Be sure to head over to anamorphicecho and check out those super cute hats...I'm sure you'll find a ton that you just love!


3D, 4D, Favorite Thing

Be Still My Heart - The Postal Service

Yesterday morning, my family and I had a 3D/4D ultrasound done at 4D Picture Perfect in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. This appointment was initially scheduled as a means to include the whole family in a big ultrasound as we weren't able to have everyone join in the anatomy scan. Being that this is my first pregnancy, I haven't had much experience with the whole 3D/4D thing. Also, being that this is the internet, there are numerous opinions on how wasteful, frightening, creepy and unwelcome 3D/4D ultrasounds can be in the lives of, oh, almost everyone. Personally, I always found them cool and that's all I knew going into this. When I came out of the room after my session, everything felt surreal. I felt like I knew little Ethan so much better, like we shared some kind of connection during that time when I could see his features (the poor boy has my chin. Sorry, Ethan!) up close. I knew I wasn't the only one because my dad sat in the room (and the lobby...and the car ride home...) and cried like an absolute crazy person.

Ethan has big feet and long legs like his 6'4" dad, which is a foreign concept to me as a five footer. He has my silly chin but my mom and sister are insisting he looks just like Aaron. (I guess you do this when it's your first child/the first grandchild: everyone, yourself included, analyzes the little baby on the ultrasound when you're not even 23 weeks along and likens his characteristics to those outside the womb!)

Before I left the house in the morning, I said, "I bet he'll have his hands over his face the whole time." He did. Well, he did until the tech gave me a small Milky Way chocolate bar...then he began cheering, smiling and proving he really was a Schneider after all. He'll fit right in with me and my mom's side of the family!

There are lots of these things that warrant usage of the word "unreal," but nothing can feel as "unreal" as seeing the little baby that is inside of you sucking his thumb, or smiling as he "eats" a piece of chocolate.

All in all, I think this has been one of the most incredible experiences of my life, not just my pregnancy. We're already choosing the date later on in my pregnancy to go again. That, and I've admittedly sat here and leafed through the 50+ pictures and watched the DVD of the session well over 30 times since yesterday. I can't help it. That's Ethan in there, and he's awesome.

One last thing, don't forget about our giveaway! Enter now because it closes on Wednesday!


22 Weeks

I'm 22 weeks along today and let's just say that this week is so much better than the last. I've kept myself safe and out of the hospital, thank goodness, so there isn't much to complain about. Except for, you know, the excruciating heartburn and the god-awful leg cramps that wake me up in the middle of the night (as if getting up to pee 500 times wasn't bad enough!). Still, I'm getting through the days without needing or wanting a nap and have returned to my slightly useful self by running errands, grocery shopping and preparing meals without wanting to die a little inside. It's the little things.

Next week is a busy one for baby, with our 3D/4D ultrasound, the 2nd part to his anatomy scan and our regular monthly OB check-up. I'm pretty sure there is nothing that baby hates more than when the ultrasound technicians or doctors try to find him with the doppler or ultrasound wand. He tries to kick them away as hard as he can! (I, however, am incredibly excited for all of these upcoming events.)

Baby is approximately 11 inches now which is crazy to think about! Even crazier is that this week baby is the length of a papaya!

Ethan is starting to look like an actual little newborn in there! His lips, eyelids, and eyebrows are becoming more pronounced. He even developed tooth buds beneath his gums! His eyes have formed and he has the start of his hair, but both his irises and hair remain white as they still lack pigment! Kind of creepy, actually.

Ethan has also started to develop taste buds and might be able to taste stronger flavors in the amniotic fluid! (Way to make me feel guilty for the Chipotle that I had the other night.) Ironically, baby's weight this week can be compared to a large bag of tortilla chips!

Don't forget to enter the giveaway!


Time for a giveaway!

Since finding out we're having a boy, I have spent countless hours on Etsy browsing the wide array of adorable little knit hats and beanies. I've also spent countless hours ordering said hats and beanies. My husband and our bank account would sadly agree. I can't help it! There is something so-cute-you-want-to-just-die about little knitted hats and beanies.

Which is why when anamorphicecho decided to offer my blog readers a giveaway on one of these adorable little beanies, my excitement flew through the roof! anamorphicecho makes some of the cutest little hats, beanies and even little knitted toys that you ever did see!

Some more fun details:
- The hats are made to order as far as not only sizes go, but colors as well!
- Your winning selection can be $15 or under.
- It's not just for babies! You'll get to choose from baby sized, kid sized, adult sized or also between a few knitted toys.
- The contest closes on Wednesday, March 16th at 10:30 a.m. EST. Winner to be announced later that day.

Ready to enter? Here's how!
1. Vote! On my right menu bar, vote for me on Top Mommy Blogs & Picket Fence Blogs. Just give each button a click and you're done.
2. Comment! Once that's done, leave me a comment with your name and e-mail address. E-mail address is mandatory so you can be contacted in the event of your winning.

And a GIANT THANK YOU to anamorphicecho!


#1 or #2?! WHICH SHADE OF BLUE?!

I am NOT an interior decorator by any means (and neither is my husband). I mean, if you've seen my house, that's pretty obvious. We kind of just order whatever furniture or paint colors we like for each room without any other thoughts or considerations. We definitely picked our own bedroom paint color and then coordinated the bedding to match that. I foresee many cringes as that sentence is read but it's true! We're hopeless. My cats leaving their hair all over the place is the only constant in our house. None of our rooms really have decorative themes. That just meant added pressure when putting together Ethan's nursery!

We picked out the furniture and bedding set no problem. We're doing an "under the sea" themed nursery.

Thanks mom and dad! What fantastic grandparents they are!

Yesterday morning my husband suggested we go to Home Depot to select paint samples and see what would look best in his nursery so we can start painting since the furniture will be here before we know it. Toting along a window valance with us for reference, we narrowed it down to two choices. One is just a tad bit darker than the bedding and the other is just a tad bit lighter. All we really knew is we didn't want the very same shade of blue to drown out the bedding entirely...but we also didn't want the blues to clash. We spent an embarrassing amount of time in the paint aisle. Other customers probably picked out paints for their entire house while we sat there doting over blues for one tiny little nursery.

Then it was go-time. The cats and I watched intently as Aaron painted little patches on the walls with the sample paint. I tried to be patient as the first coat dried and he applied a second. Then I tried to be patient and go to sleep so I could see how it looked in the morning when it was dry and the sun was shining into the room. (We won't mention the fact that I woke up to a dreary, gray day. Of course.)

This morning before my husband left for work we stood in the nursery and stared at the colors on the wall. I held up the window valance against them and we grew even more perplexed. Finally we both concluded we needed a second opinion. (We both knew this meant I'd blog about it.)

So this poses the question: #1 or #2?! WHICH SHADE OF BLUE?!

I think I like #1 better but I'm not sure if it's too dark. I'm going to be crossing my fingers all day that the sky opens and the sun comes out and shines light into the room so I can get a better idea without the assistance of a lamp or a camera flash.

What are your thoughts? #1? #2?


21 Weeks...A Day Late & A Buck (Or A Thousand) Short.

Technically, I'm 21 weeks and one day. This makes the 2nd Thursday that has come and gone this pregnancy when I'm not making my pregnancy progress posts. This also makes the 2nd Thursday that has come and gone this pregnancy in the hospital. Let's hope it's the last, shall we?!

I woke up Wednesday morning at 5 a.m. to pee and got more dizzy than I ever remember feeling. It was so bad that I couldn't even lift my head or focus my eyes...and then came the inevitable blacking out. I somehow calmly called my husband who, not so calmly, passed out himself at the sight of me. Talk about great to have around in case of emergencies, right?! Eventually we called and woke up my mom (my poor mom) who said to call 911 after I still couldn't control my head or focus my eyes after 20 minutes. I've never called 911 or had to deal with the paramedics before so it was pretty scary. My dad got there at the same time the paramedics were lifting me out of the bathroom because I couldn't walk and as I heard him saying, "daddy's here! Daddy's here!" I kept wondering where my husband was and was sure he was passed out on the floor somewhere. Good to have around in case of emergencies AND good for giving me something else to worry about, too! Oh, that husband of mine. The paramedics tested my blood sugar and pressure which were both normal and insisted they had to take me to the city hospital where I did not want to go. My doctors are all in Boca at my hospital and, well, the city hospital doesn't have a good reputation. Which is why the short version to the story is that I signed myself out of the hospital after 36 hours and no exam by an OB, went to my OB office and had my OB do everything in 30 minutes than an entire hospital staff did in 36 hours. Trust me. That's the short version.

Of course, most importantly, baby is okay. I apparently react very strongly (in a bad way) to circulation changes caused by pregnancy. It happened the next morning in my hospital bed, too. The next short version to the story is that the poor woman in the neighboring bed had to scream for nurses since they were ignoring my button-pushing as I tried to keep myself off of the hospital floor and was covering myself in puke. Again, that's the short version. Trust me.

I've been feeling even stronger baby kicks these days. Ethan has a pair of legs on him! He's also the size of a banana this week, which is when we start measuring him from head to toe instead of head to butt. By now Ethan looks like a mini-version of what he'll look like when he's born. All of his facial features are formed and hair is growing on his head. Cutest part: He's even acting like a baby and will occasionally suck his thumb or yawn. By 21 weeks, fetal bone marrow starts making blood cells which was previously done by the liver and spleen.

The amniotic fluid that has been cushioning the baby now serves another purpose: he uses it to "practice" eating. Ethan has been swallowing amniotic fluid for a while now, but now the intestines are finally developed enough that he's absorbing small amounts of sugars from it. Baby also has REM (rapid eye movement) which is a key component to any healthy baby's sleep schedule, that indicates they're now capable of dreaming. Lastly, the beginnings of what is commonly called “brown fat” is just starting to fill in to help your baby retain some body heat, which is crucial as they’re not yet capable of regulating their own body temperature.

I wonder what Ethan is dreaming about these days. Not to be all pregnant-and-cliche, but I've found myself suddenly thinking a lot about mint chocolate chip ice-cream.
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