Saturday, April 30, 2011

A Little Hope

Dear Sprout,

Week 15 has been another great one. You've supposedly been about the size of a naval orange this week. I get a little more freaked out each week by the fact that you are getting bigger. We're  finishing up our fourth month. Can you even imagine? Me, neither.

You have a name, one way or the other. We made decisions, though we do reserve the right to revisit the matter at a later date. I picked a fantastically normal name for you if you are a girl and you're father picked out a amazingly wonderful/bizarre name for you if you are a boy. I'm determined to keep them a secret until we go for our 20 (21) week ultrasound in June. We'll see how well that goes. I'm pretty terrible at keeping secrets.

We had another OB appointment this week with the third doctor we've seen since your conception. I was, to put it mildly, petrified. After my previous experiences with baby doctors, I was really uncomfortable and not at all hopeful we'd have anything different.

Dr. Bloomquist walked in the room, introduced herself to your father first with a smile and a handshake (brilliant strategy, as far as I'm concerned) and then the same to me. Her first words were "So, I hear you've had a pretty frustrating experience so far." She let me vent a bit and then explained in a kind, compassionate way why I was now with her and not the other two doctors. She said it in a way that made sense... that made me feel OK with not being able to stick with the first doctor I saw.

She agreed that while I am more at risk for having a high risk pregnancy, I am not automatically going to have trouble. In fact, she told us that we were going to do this thing and we are going to stay healthy and safe. She looked your father and I right in the eye and said we were going to deliver a healthy, beautiful baby and we're not going to need to keep stressing over doctor care.

She is the first doctor who's bothered to give us words of comfort and reassurance -- or hope.

I loved her immediately.

I feel better about bringing you into this world. I feel good about this team of doctors.

And look, I KNOW I promised to stop being so paranoid but I think while I'm feeling so good and until I can feel you moving around in there, I won't be able to help myself. I will just have to be a little nervous. So, hearing your heartbeat again gave me an overwhelming sense of relief that everything will, in fact, go as it should. The doctor said it was 160 and sounded perfect. See why we love her?

The doctor also mentioned that we should start looking into birthing classes, which your dad was all for. Dr. Bloomquist really sold me on the idea of learning how to strengthen our partnership during labor and to really get your father involved in the process. We aren't really able to take a 7 or 8 week class with our work schedules, so we're looking at long marathon weekend classes. Ideally, we'd do the one at the bed and breakfast on Bainbridge Island in the country, but the cost is prohibitive to say the least. And that's okay because I am good with having classes at the hospital we'll be delivering at and having a tour of the labor, delivery and recovery suites.

The other day, your dad patted me on my tummy and said to you, "You're a good sprout! You're doing such a good job growing!" It's fantastic to watch him become more attached to you. He's constantly touching my belly. I can't wait until you are big enough for him to feel and until you get to meet this wonderful father of yours.

Good job growing, Sprout!

Your mama

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Forever and Ever

Dear Sprout,

Another blissful week. Another week with nothing much to report symptom-wise. We're feeling pretty good, you and me. Still a little tired, still sore, and a few other small things but for something the size of a lemon, you're going pretty easy on me. I do appreciate that.

Mother's Day is coming up and it really got me thinking about my own and how someday you're going to look back on your life and judge me as your mother. Luckily, you'll still like me without prejudice for several years yet. When I think about giving a gift on Mother's Day, I always think that to be fair, I should also send gifts on Father's Day, as well.

We're lucky, kiddo, you and me. We have a man in our life who we can love and trust and depend on. He's going to be one amazing father, even if he doesn't know it yet. I promise you right now that no matter what life throws at the three of us, you will always have him and his incredible family in your life.

Where I'm going this week is a hard topic for me. Hard because I don't always know how to adequately express my feelings on the subject and hard because I never want anyone to misinterpret what I say publicly and think I am trying to hurt anyone's feelings.

I grew up much differently than you will. My mother, your Nini, didn't have the same supportive, dependable partner in raising me that I will have with you. She was forced to make decisions that impacted the both of us the entirety of our lives-- decisions that couldn't have been easy for someone her age to make.

I love her and our entire family and while we were never rich, by way of family, we never went without. I had loving aunts to play with and to learn from and to care for me. I had a grandmother that I believed the world revolved around and who introduced me to a variety of experiences in life. I had a mom who worked hard and loved hard and always did the best she could. My childhood wasn't always the best or the easiest, but we made it... together.

I do feel I missed out somewhat in not getting to know my own father and his family. I understand (I really, really do) why I wasn't given that opportunity. My mother made that choice under strenuous circumstances and at age 18 and I can't say one way or the other that I wouldn't have chosen that route given the same situation. Probably so.

Luckily, for you and I, I'm not in that situation. The man in our lives is a loving, gentle, responsible man. He has goals and plans and he works hard and he plays hard. And most importantly, he cares about you, about me. He wants you. He wants to be a part of your life. You will be a priority. He would not sit idly by while I take you from him and his family. I know this is true to the depths of my heart. He was given the choice when I found out about you. He chose to be a part of this family. And already your life is guaranteed to be different than mine.

Life makes us no promises, Sprout. Though we are madly in love with each other and happy about starting our family... life changes things without our permission and against our deepest desires. I want forever with your father, but even if life has different plans for us in the long run, I promise you will always have forever with him.

Sorry for the so very serious post this week, kid. Start kicking me and keeping me up all night and I'll have other stuff to write about.

Love love love,
Your mama

(For my own mama, please don't be offended by this. The depth of my love and affection and gratitude to you knows no bounds, even if I was a righteous jerkface for most of my teenage years and sometimes even after. You are so incredible and I love you more than you can ever, ever imagine. You are one tough cookie and you taught me so much about how to face life.)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Week 13: Or, How We Are Totally Healthy Up in There And I Am Officially Going to Stop Being So Paranoid

Dear Sprout,

This week was another week full of pleasant, symptom-less days. Of course, that's if you don't count the sore boobs, the charlie horses and the sensitive gums, which I don't. I am willing to overlook all of these for the happiness of the no morning sickness.

These days have been going so well, I was starting to become paranoid that something was dreadfully wrong. It didn't make any sense. This week you are supposed to be the size of a peach, so why haven't you been making me miserable?

Turns out? It's because you're awesome and we're just in our second trimester.

We went on Wednesday for our genetic testing and counseling session. This involved our third ultrasound and some more blood draws. I was nervous going into this-- all of the things that could possibly have gone wrong had been swimming in my head for days.

The first thing we saw on the ultrasound were your legs. Waving and moving around. The relief was immediate. You were still there and now you were moving. And, oh baby, were you ever. You were being unruly... spinning around, punching and kicking my insides, and generally making the ultrasound tech's job unreasonably difficult. We were so proud of our hell-raising baby.

I think I can speak for your father when I say we were both fascinated by how much you moved. You didn't stop until your thumb made it to your mouth, You were soothed then and you managed to stay still long enough for the tech to get the pictures and measurements she needed.

Afterwards, we met with a genetic counselor who said the words I'd been waiting to hear. "Your baby doesn't have Anencephaly." Of everything that could be bad, that would have been the only thing to really scare me. The rest was great, too. We are at a very low risk for any other genetic issues or neural tube defects.

We also learned that while I am a carrier for cystic fibrosis, the gene I carry is a mutation that more than likely would result in being asymptomatic or a very mild case. This, of course, will only happen if your father happens to be a carrier, as well, and even that's only about a 1 in 100 chance. We are much more relieved about that, also. Though, if you do get it and you're a boy, well... I'm sorry in advance to your future wife (if that's how you go) and the troubles you could have in making a baby. Sorry about that. Funky genes and all.

All in all, it's been a pretty fantastic week. Only seven more weeks until we get to find out if you are a boy or a girl at the time of your birth. As was said by one of your grandmothers (I won't name names), "God help our pocketbooks."

You're going to be one hell of a dancer, sprout.

Your mama

Saturday, April 9, 2011


Dear Sprout,

This week you were the size of a plum. You are fully formed in there. You are a really tiny, real live baby. The big book says you can smile in there. I sure hope you are, because we are out here.

This week has been uneventful-- amazingly, blissfully uneventful. No more moving, though I am still busy trying to get things put away. No big dramatic events. And probably most excitingly, no more morning sickness. Sure, there have been a few waves of nausea here and there, but we've had none of that stop-everything-run-to-the-bathroom-and-pray-for-forgiveness morning sickness. I've felt better than I have in months. Welcome to our second trimester!

We have decided that for now, you will be an only child. We made our decision to achieve this by whatever means necessary. We're going to love you and cherish you and think you are awesome, but we don't want to go through this part again. If we change our minds, we decided we will adopt a brother or sister for you.

We made this decision to not make another baby well before this week, but it was cemented in my mind after researching the cost of child care. At a ridiculous $1600 a month, I have no idea how we're going to afford it. At that price, I might as well not even work. After you figure that into my take home pay each month, I'd be lucky to be bringing home an additional $300. It seems hardly worth the heartache of leaving you for 10 hours a day.

This is one of those things that I had never really considered. When I was growing up, I was so lucky to have family around to help care for me. My sister had a babysitter for awhile before I became the babysitter. I never expected I'd be 2400 miles away from that luxury when I had our first child. How we're going to muddle through this one, kid, I have no idea right now.

This figures into but is not even close to the only reason why I am missing our family right now. It's an ache I have inside to be close to people I love. Besides your dad, I really have no one I talk to on a regular basis to help me through this. I feel quite alone in this endeavor. I'm sure some of this comes from being a tad overly emotional right now, but it's still all true. I miss my mommy. I miss my sister. You have a cousin who will be about three months older than you and two cousins that are incredible and I have no idea if you will ever truly know them and that makes me incredibly sad.

Onto lighter subjects, please. The past several nights I have had incredibly painful charley horses every time I stretch my legs in bed. I was becoming worried that I had some sort of potassium deficiency even though I try to eat bananas very regularly and I have been taking my prenatals. Of course, I had to Google this to see what horrible disease was taking over my legs and lo! behold! it's you. Of course it is. Of course. It seems there is a whole laundry list of things you do to my body that I had no idea I'd have to deal with.

You are, incredibly and wonderfully, continually full of surprises. I love you and love being your mama already.

All of our love,
Your mama

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm Craving Mojitos

Dear Sprout,

This week has been an absolute whirlwind. Moving is really the worst thing ever -- and this coming from someone who constantly feels like someone is stabbing her in the boobs. Your dad- I swear, kid, someday you'll know - your father is a total superhero. He's made sure this move has gone well. I've done a lot of the packing and cleaning and putting away of things, but he's made sure the actual moving of things has been done without me having to lift much stuff at all. Be sure to thank him for that when you are born safely.

We are teetering on the cusp of your 12th week and that is so incredibly exciting. One week closer to the supposed "safety zone." I know that there really is no such thing until you actually show up, but having seen your heartbeat on that screen and after hearing you in there... everything just feels really good. The first weeks of this experience had me so on edge, so worried that at any moment we were going to lose you. This week, I feel much more relaxed and positive - no thanks to the rotating, horrible doctors.

You've been about the size of a lime this week and having held one in my hand at the grocery -- that is SO freakin' creepy. You're substantial. You're getting bigger. Before long you'll be able to be felt in there. Can we wait until the nausea subsides? Please?

The morning sickness sure has stepped up it's game. Bus rides are miserable beyond belief. 4-10 PM is my own personal hell. I hear it's normal in the last part of the first trimester. I like normal. I like the idea that we're doing fine and normal and boring. I will suffer this and be happy. Unless you ask your dad. Don't ask him. He's got hormone issues or something.

This week's doctor appointment was, frankly, another disappointment. It was informative. We made some decisions about genetic testing. AND! We got to hear your heartbeat and some weird noises that the doctor said was you moving around. Again, though, we were tossed aside because of my weight. Your father really is a champion for me and I am so incredibly lucky to have him by my side through all of this. I promise you, baby, we are doing everything and watching everything and we will do this and we will have a safe, healthy delivery. And I promise, I will show those bitches not to count us out because of their own personal bias and ignorance. And when I do, I will go to each of them and give them a big nyah-nyah.

We made our appointment for the 20 week ultrasound for June 6th. Under nine weeks to go before we get to see you and all your little bits and bobs. It's excruciating. All of this waiting. It's enough to drive a person crazy. While we want you to be fully baked before coming out of the oven, I really can't wait to meet you. Your father says I just want to put your feet in my mouth. I won't even dignify that with an answer, though I will say I imagine them to be absolutely d-e-l-e-c-t-a-b-l-e.

I love you already. I honestly do. And while in my head I compare you to a common parasite (feeding off your host, making your host ill, and growing continually), in my heart, you are my awesome kid-to-be. And I have your name picked out. Though I am pretty sure your father disagrees. Imagine that.

Time for a nap, sunshine,
Your mama