Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Bye-Bye, 1st Tri

"For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful, I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me
were written in your book before one of them came to be."
(Psalm 139:13-16)

Not only am I leaving my job, and will be packing up to move to Michigan for a year after my husband graduates from medical school next month, but Sam and I are expecting a baby, due November 10, 2014. Lots of big changes! I recently graduated from 1st trimester, a huge milestone for me, and am now in what is supposed to be the best trimester with the most energy and an eventual obvious baby bump, rather than chronic fatigue and an awkward bloated belly/food baby.

I've discovered that there are many ways to document a pregnancy: weekly "bump watch" photos, chalkboard updates, fruit size comparisons, pregnancy planners and journals, letters or emails written to the baby to presumably read at some point, pregnancy websites or blogs, scrapbooks, and maternity photo sessions, just to list some options. Since I don't like any of the pregnancy journals I've seen (besides maybe the Rag & Bone Baby Book, which is actually nice and has lots of not-too-cutesy cover design options), and I already have a blog, I decided to post some general updates that aren't too personal.

It's definitely out of my comfort zone to be writing this, and I'm sure I will remain cautious until I actually give birth to a healthy baby, but I'm allowing myself to be excited and to trust that everything will happen according to God's plan. Maybe for any future children, I'll do something a little more creative to document the pregnancy. Or I'll be like every other parent out there that has a million photos of their first child, and 5 of their second!

4 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a poppyseed.
  • Neural tube (the building block of spine, brain, and backbone) is already formed, amniotic sac and fluid are forming into protective cushioning.

Testing (and testing camera) at 4w6d

5 Weeks
  • Appointment at 5w2d: Blood pressure taken, blood drawn, weight taken, and ultrasound.
  • Baby is the size of an appleseed.
  • Starting to form major organs (heart, stomach, liver, kidneys) and systems (digestive, circulatory, nervous).

6 Weeks
  • Appointment at 6w1d: Ultrasound.
  • Baby is the size of a sweet pea.
  • Circulating blood, starting to sprout a nose, eyes, ears, chin, and cheeks.
  • Symptoms: Soreness, increased appetite (especially for carbs, e.g. pancakes, Thai noodles, bread), moments of mild nausea, skin breaking out.

7 Weeks
  • Appointment at 7w1d: Ultrasound. Heart rate of 114 bpm. CRL (length of embryo) of 1.04 cm.
  • Appointment at 7w3d: Blood drawn.
  • Baby is the size of a blueberry.
  • Generating about 100 new brain cells each minute, developing a permanent set of kidneys, and arm and leg joints are forming.
  • Cravings: Animal crackers, Wheat Thins, nachos, French toast. 

Jelly belly bean at 7w1d

8 Weeks
  •  Baby is the size of a raspberry.
  • Taste buds are forming.
  • During my 7th and 8th weeks, I had a very bad cold or flu, starting late Monday night after a big work event, and lasting 2 weeks. I had fever, chills, headaches, congestion, runny and stuff nose, sneezing, coughing, sore throat, and fatigue, so any pregnancy-related symptoms I might have felt during these weeks were completely overshadowed.

9 Weeks
  • Appointment at 9w3d: Ultrasound, blood pressure taken, and 7 tubes of blood drawn for genetic screening.
  • Baby is the size of a green olive.
  • Is now a fetus, and developing more distinct facial features.
  • Cravings: Mexican food, pizza, bagels with cream cheese.

Yogi gummy bear at 9w3d

10 Weeks, 25% There!
  • Baby is the size of a prune.
  • Vital organs are fully developed and starting to function; swallowing and kicking.
  • Symptoms: Bloating, swelling, starting to feel large and uncomfortable, even if no one else noticed.
  • Cravings: Fall foods, like pumpkin-flavored baked goods and Thanksgiving leftovers sandwiches (which I kept talking about, so Sam actually made some a week or so later).

Homemade Thanksgiving leftovers sandwiches!
Feeling very bloated at 10w5d

11 Weeks
  • 1st trimester screen at 11w4d: Ultrasound, NT scan, and finger stick blood test for Down syndrome, Trisomy and other chromosomal disorders, as well as congenital heart defects. Heart rate of 174 bpm. CRL of 4.57 cm. NT measurement of 1.25 mm.
  • Baby is the size of a lime.
  • Tooth buds, nail beds, and hair follicles are forming. 
  • We told our families at the end of this week. The only ones we saw in person were my sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and niece. I made them a chocolate chunk cookie cake, wrote "hey baby" on it with white icing, decorated it with rainbow sprinkles, and boxed it up with pastel baker's twine, a tag I stamped "get chunky with me" (get it? I haven't found that on Pinterest yet, so I think it's an original!) and some cute milk and cookie images I printed.

Looks more like a baby at 11w4d
Added dark chocolate chunks to recipe for chocolate chip cookie cake
Let's all get chunky together!

12 Weeks
  • Baby is the size of a plum.
  • Developing reflexes, opening and closing fingers, and curling toes.
  • Symptoms: Breakouts, fatigue, mild nausea.
  • Cravings: Feeling like Joey Tribbiani, with a love for sandwiches (e.g. grilled cheese, panini, AB&J, ice cream sandwiches). The best, most delicious almond butter is Almond Naturally More, which is fortified with roasted flax seeds and other nutrients for additional protein and Omega-3 and Omega-6 essential fatty acids, and is all natural, with no cholesterol or trans fat.

Admiring cherry blossoms at 12w6d

13 Weeks
  • Appointment at 13w1d: Weight taken, blood pressure taken, heartbeat check. Received good results from 1st trimester screen.
  • Baby is the size of a peach.
  • Forming vocal chords and teeth, and already has fingerprints.
  • Symptoms: Bloating, swelling, overeating then feeling uncomfortably full and lethargic for hours, and chacne (what Tina Fey calls chin acne).
  • Mother's Day was the eve of the definitive start of my 2nd trimester, though there are lots of ways to calculate trimesters, depending on development, gestation, or conception. Our families and some of our friends already knew about the pregnancy, but that night I posted a photo on Instagram and Facebook, and was seriously sweating before hitting the final button! But I thought it was so sweet that Sam got me flowers and a gift, and my nephew picked out tulips for me.

#mothersday #mommytobe #novemberbaby

Fortunately, I didn't really experience morning (or all day) sickness, just some brief, mild nausea once in a while. I've been eating a lot, and often, because I get hungry really quickly. Most of my cravings have been for carbs, some very specific but nothing too strange yet. My total 1st trimester weight gain has been around 3 or 4 lbs.

Throughout 1st trimester, I had appointments at least every other week due to previous losses, and those did not even include any additional or optional tests, which I'm not interested in and my OB has not requested me to take. But I'm nervous that my next appointment isn't until almost 3 weeks from now, since I'm so used to going more often. Later in June, hopefully before we move out of Brooklyn and I have to find a new doctor in Michigan, we should find out the baby's sex.

I realized I'm not really a big pregnancy reading kind of person; the only books I've purchased are the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy and The Birth Partner: A Complete Guide to Childbirth for Dads, Doulas, and All Other Labor Companions, which I haven't opened yet but I hope they cover everything. I've been following a few pregnancy blogs, including The Stir, Pregnant Chicken, My Green and Natural Pregnancy, Giving Birth with Confidence, and The Shape of a Mother, and some baby-related blogs like Project Nursery, Lay Baby Lay, and Homemade Mommy. If you have other other suggestions, or advice in general, please let me know in the comments!

Finally, if you have not seen this video on baby Zion, who had Trisomy 18 and only lived 10 days after birth, please click and watch now. Warning: It's a tear-jerker, but so special and beautiful.


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