It's A ....

20 Weeks
Now the fun stuff!  Week 20 rolled around and John and I headed to my OB's office for the ultrasound.  We had asked family and friends what they thought it was, boy or girl.  My mom thought it was a girl so my aunt and mom started calling Peanut "Baby Ella".  Most of our friends and neighbors thought it was a girl, but no real reason.  Our neighbor Mark thought it was a boy since he had a vision of John and a little boy throwing rocks onto his garage roof.  According to the Chinese Gender calendar, we were having a boy.  John's mom thought it was a girl.  John had a dream we had a girl (a very cut girl, he said).  I dreamt it was a dinosaur.
The ultrasound tech asked if we had a guess.  We said not really, other than John's dream. 
Are you ready?
She turned on the US and this was the first image:
Hey Mom, look at me!
 Can you tell what you're looking at?  I'll give you a hint, you're looking at the business end.  She says, "Well, you're wrong!" to which I replied "Is that his butt?"

"That is most definitely a boy.! There are his legs, and that's his "stuff"."

Of course, the first distinguishable photo of my son is him mooning the US.  I like saying that: My son.

He still has a German drinking nose.

Flexible little dude.
Obviously, we're thrilled.  Neither one of us really had a preference either way.  Although to be perfectly honest, I was a little disappointed it wasn't a girl.  But if it had been a girl, I would have been a little disappointed it wasn't a boy.  I know you can't have both without twins, but either way I would have been happy and disappointed, if that makes any sense.  But one clear benefit of a boy, we now have a namesake for John's family since John and his brother are the last two males.  At least with a boy, the pressure is off for a second.  To quote John's grandpa (age 89) "Oh good, the K's are saved from extinction for another generation!"

Week 22-26

It is smooth sailing now.  Other than heartburn and the occasional GI issues (and the abnormal test results), I have had a very smooth pregnancy.  I'm still running a couple times a week with an easy 6 miler on Saturdays.  I really enjoy slow runs, even though I pretty much need to stay on a route where there are bathrooms every 2 miles. 

I've gotten a lot of questions on my running, mostly how long I can keep running before I should stop.  At one of my appointments, I asked my OB.  She knows I'm active and I do follow the rules of
  1. Don't overheat
  2. Stay hydrated
  3. Listen to your body
She told me that I can keep exercising and running as long as I'm not having any contractions.  She's had patients run up to the day they deliver and she thinks it's great.  In her experience, women who exercise consistently have shorter and easier deliveries.  That's what I wanted to hear.

I also ride my road bike occasionally; my tri bike was hung up on the wall months ago.  I also started doing ashtanga yoga, which I love.  I tried to keep swimming, and there are a lot of pregnant women who love it, but I don't.  With the cantaloupe in my belly, I can't comfortably flip turn, and swimming in general feels like too much strain on my abs.  Not to mention I'm falling out of my suit and I don't want to but a maternity suit.

And Optimus Prime is entertaining as hell.  I first felt him kick at week 18, John felt him kick at week 19, and then one night John was listening to my belly and got kicked square in the ear.  By this point, he kicks the crap out of me daily, which is a little freaky to see my belly move on it's own.  One night he kicked me so hard in the stomach, I woke up in the middle of the night with heartburn and the taste of vomit in my mouth.  Thanks little man, I'll remember that one. 

He has also kicked our cat in the head while the cat was on my lap.  That was pretty funny. The cat turned and looked at me like "What the hell?"  After the second kick, he turned so his head wasn't on my belly. 

I wish I could say I have a cute pregnancy belly.  I don't.  It looks more like a beer belly.  But we've been taking pictures every week and I'll post a few pictures soon.


Answers, finally

I'm going to fast forward through a few weeks to get you all caught up a little faster.

Week 17

I got a call on my cell phone at work from a number I didn't recognize.  It was the genetic counselor with the results from my blood work. "Everything looks good" was all I really caught.  Oh, thank God.  The actual risk factors were:
  • Down's Syndrome 1 in 10,000
  • Trisomy 18: 1 in 9,900
  • Spina Bifida: 1 in 5,100
Happy Dance!

While nothing is 100% guaranteed, we took those numbers to mean we can officially stop worrying.  The genetic counselor asked if I was interested in any of the other testing options and I didn't even let her finish listing off the tests before I said no thank you and hung up the phone.  There is no reason to worry about additional testing, especially since we have no family history of genetic issues.  I did not want to repeat any of this.

6 weeks after my first appointment, we can finally put all of this behind us.  I called Mom and Dad to tell them the good news.  Hopefully, the rest of my pregnancy will be normal and boring.  Normal is good.  Boring is good.  The only thing that remains is the bill.  Two ultrasounds, genetic counselor, specialist, and blood work.  Yikes.

Week 18

I was back into my OB for my monthly appointment and learned the monotony of the monthly appointment - pee in a cup, stand on the scale, find the Peanut's heartbeat, make next appointment.  At least the waiting room always provides entertainment.  This week, it was two teenagers very worried about whether or not they needed their parents' permission to be there.  Ah, youth. 

I made my appointment for my 20 week ultrasound and my next routine appt.  20 week ultrasound means we get to find out if the Peanut is a boy or girl.  And it also means we're halfway!  We started throwing around names and picked names we "liked."  If it's a girl, Petunia Rose and if it's a boy, Optimus Prime (OP for short).  The Peanut needs a better name than the Peanut.

Week 19

So far I had not bought any maternity clothes and I was still wearing my own blue jeans.  Then week 19 rolls around and I realized sitting in my desk at work that my days of wearing non-maternity jeans was over.  I worked at my desk with my pants unbuttoned and a rubber band looped around the button so my fly wouldn't unzip.  Yeah, I'm classy.  Oh well, it was a good run. 


Doula Oblongata??

Week 16

I had to wait until at least 15 weeks 2 days before I could go back in for my second blood draw.  Due to work and my schedule, I didn't actually make it back in until 16 weeks.  Luckily, it was quick and didn't take too much time.  Just more waiting.

Again, the waiting game.  A friend of mine recently had a baby and she hired a doula.  What's a doula?  Good question.  You'll have to excuse me, I'm going to go a little hippie on you.  I had never heard of doulas until Jenn told me about her experience.  Doulas are women similar to midwives, who assist pregnant women with labor and delivery, but unlike midwives, they can't actually deliver a baby.  The ones I've met are all about empowering and educating women so they can have the birth experience they want.

I decided to hire a doula for a few reasons.  1) I have no experience with childbirth.  Duh.  2) The whole labor and delivery thing is a little scary and to have a calming person with experience would be much appreciated.  3) I wanted an impartial 3rd party to be my advocate in the hospital since I have had poor experiences with pushy medical personnel (read: bitchy nurses)  4) there is no guarantee that my OB will be delivering and I want a familiar face beside John.

I found a great doula website for KC and started emailing a few different doulas.  After meeting and interviewing a few, I hired Catherine, who has so far been fantastic.  One of the reasons I chose her was she is also a certified prenatal yoga instructor. 

Most doulas have different packages of services and costs, but a typical package is 2 pre-natal visits and answering questions via email and phone including assist with putting together a birth plan.  At 38 weeks, she is on-call for that client meaning if I call, she'll drop everything to answer.  She will come to out house when I go into labor and my plan is to labor at home as long as possible.  She'll then go with us to the hospital, stay through delivery and stay for a few more hours.  She'll also do 2 post-natal home visits, one at 2-3 days and 2 weeks.  During labor, she'll help with relaxation, pain management, and help explain what is going on and what other options may be available.  She'll run interference with overbearing family, help with breastfeeding, and help coach the dad to do and say the right things.  All this for $500.  Sold.

In addition, Catherine does one-on-one yoga packages for her clients and she's also certified in Thai massage.  And she's pretty awesome.  I feel better already.

I was a little hesitant to see what John was going to say about all of this.  He's a little more reserved, but he is totally on board with anything I want to do to make the childbirth experience better for me.  Smart man.  He has also wisely ceded control over the thermostat and insists I make all restaurant decisions until November.  Very smart man. 

There is a whole lot for us both to learn and I've started reading and researching all of my different options.  I didn't realize how much I didn't know. Right now, I'm leaning towards natural childbirth, although I reserve the right to change my mind at any time.  Classes, daycare, hospital pre-registration, and the list goes on.  Time to start getting organized.



Week 15

The cat is out of the bag and everyone seems excited, except for my parents.  They are still asking about when we'll get results and I know they're worried for us.  I felt so bad that they couldn't just be happy.  That has to be a terrible feeling, to have your daughter call from hundreds of miles away, completely distraught and not be able to do anything.  I tried to reassure them and I promised I would call as soon as we had actual answers. I didn't want to dwell on it and I didn't want them to, either.

We had more than a few people say they were surprised we're having a kid.  I don't take it personally.  But I can reassure you, the Peanut was completely planned.  We talked a long time about kids and I did a little bit of negotiating (jewelry, personal trainer, and a puppy for all my hard work) before we decided to take the plunge.  We didn't talk about it with anyone else because we know far too many people that have had miscarriages or fertility issues and we wanted to keep this private, just in case things didn't work out.  We always said "when and if" when people asked so they wouldn't ask for details.  My heart breaks for couples that have to go through a miscarriage or just have a hard time conceiving.  Especially when you see all the bad parents in Wal-Mart.  It's not fair, it really isn't.  I just couldn't imagine going through that in public. 

In the mean time...

John and I kind of have a thing for penguins.  And monkeys.  You really can't go wrong with either one.  It's always a challenge to see who can find the best birthday and anniversary cards with penguin or monkey themes.  If we could have a penguin and a monkey as pets, we would.

I thought penguins would be easier to sew than monkeys.  Then I started cutting and piecing and realized 1 giant penguin would have been easier.  I chose a dozen little ones.  But I did manage to get one entire block put together.  I spent a good hour or so practicing the eyes because they were tricky.  I should have probably picked something with large geometric shapes and straight lines for my first applique quilt.

It ain't perfect by any means, but here's one penguin.

One down, 11 to go!
The penguin blanket is doing the trick - I'm having fun teaching myself how to sew and it is a good distraction, especially since I'm not spending 2-4 hours a weekend day training.  It's amazing how much free time I have with my "long" workout of the week being 1 hour.  Then again, my weekend naps are about 2-4 hours, so really my free time is probably a wash.  Hey, it's hard work growing a tiny human!


Needed Distractions

Week 14

After the last few weeks, I really was looking for happy-baby things to stop worrying about all the stupid screening stuff.  So that weekend I ran the Running with the Cows half marathon as planned.  Then I took to the kitchen to bake, which is always fun for me.  I made baby-themed cookies to officially tell the neighbors (even though they already knew) and a second batch to take in to the office to tell my co-workers.

And in my new found mommy-bliss, I also decided I was going to make a crib blanket.  I still can't explain why.  I've never made a quilt.  Before Christmas, I didn't own or have any experience with a sewing machine.  In fact, the only thing that I had sewn thus far was some seriously ugly curtains that were a gag gift for my neighbor.  But baby quilt seemed like a good idea, so baby quilt it is.

Since we didn't know if Peanut was a boy or girl yet, I picked penguins.  Again, I have no real reason for any of this other than it had nothing to do with screenings or risk factors.  I found a baby penguin cartoon I liked and sketched out a pattern.  Here's the cartoon that I used.
My plan is to have 11 black and white penguins and 1 orange and white penguin.  Since I don't have any quilting experience and I've never been one to do things the easy way, I decided not only would I make a quilt, but I'd applique the penguins!  Distraction I wanted, and distraction I created.

The main reason I want to make a blanket is that I had a blanket my grandmother made me that I just loved as a kid.  It was light green with a panda on the front and was flannel on the back.  It was a perfect blanket for watching movies or taking naps on the couch.  I remember how much I loved that blanket and I want my Peanut to have something like that.  And if it turns out terrible, then we'll just say it was an exercise in "See how much mommy loves you!"